19472 Thursday, 17 May 2012
[The accused entered court]
--- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. Registrar, can you kindly call the case, please.
Mr. Registrar. Sorry.
THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, and good afternoon to Your Honours. This is case number IT-03-69-T, the Prosecutor versus Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I'd like to specify that in accordance with Rule 15 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, we will be sitting here this afternoon in the absence of Judge Orie, who had urgent matters to deal with.
Mr. Jordash, am I to understand that you had a statement to make?
(10 lines redacted) 19473
(11 lines redacted)
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you. This is now on the transcript.
MR. JORDASH: [Previous translation continues] ... thank you, Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you. I think we can bring the witness into the courtroom now. Were we in closed session or in open session? Mr. Registrar.
THE REGISTRAR: My information is that we were in open session, Your Honours.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well.
[The witness takes the stand]
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Could you redact the first part of this hearing, please, which relates to Mr. Jordash's submission. Thank you. 19474 Good afternoon, Mr. Plahuta. You may sit down.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Let me remind that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you made on the first day of your testimony.
WITNESS: DEJAN PLAHUTA [Resumed]
[Witness answered through interpreter] Mr. Bakrac.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, apologies. I wanted to get up earlier, but I did not want to interrupt you halfway.
In case my learned friend will rely on the document which we have completed the day before yesterday, which was page 19468 of the transcript, Ms. Harbour was dealing with 2D5104, she wanted to put a question to the witness which was followed by a discussion and a question was actually not put. It was page 19468, lines 4 and 5, where we see that P5204 is a personnel file from the DB of Mr. Neskovic. I tried to find 21-- document 2104 and was unable to locate it. Therefore, I wanted to ask Ms. Harbour whether the document comprises only the two pages that were disclosed to us, or are there any more? P2104.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Ms. Harbour, are you able to answer this question or do you need a little time?
MS. HARBOUR: One moment, I'm just trying to understand the question, Your Honours. 19475
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Perhaps I may be of assistance, Your Honour.
The question was concerning the document I mentioned, and it was stated that it was the personnel file of Bosko Neskovic from the Serbian DB. We have two pages and I basically wanted to know if that is the whole document. And if so, I wanted to ask Ms. Harbour where in -- on those two pages we can see that it is a personnel file of the Serbian DB, in order not to confuse the witness.
MS. HARBOUR: Yes, Mr. Bakrac. That is the whole of the file. And ...
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Then my next question is this, so as not to confuse the witness and be fair to him:
I would kindly ask you to tell us where on the two pages we can find that it is a personnel file of the DB of Serbia.
[Prosecution counsel confer]
MS. HARBOUR: Mr. Bakrac, that information is not on the face of the document. That information was provided to us in the response to our RFA from Serbia.
However, the document states that it is a personnel file of special-purpose unit member, the Serbian -- the Serbian MUP. That's on page 2 of the file.
And for the record, we're talking about 65 ter 6494.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I believe the question should be in the same vein, then, based on the information provided just now so as not to confuse the witness. 19476
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Bakrac. I am not sure I quite understood what you just said.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wanted to have it verified for the transcript whether the so-called personnel file received from the Serbian MUP comprised the two pages, which was just confirmed by Ms. Harbour. It was put here as a fact. The question that was put to the witness was as if it -- it included indisputable facts, and to us that is still in dispute, this alleged fact that it is, indeed, a DB personnel file.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. We have covered this question.
Ms. Harbour, you may resume your cross-examination.
MS. HARBOUR: Thank you, Your Honours. Cross-examination by Ms. Harbour: [Continued]
Q. Mr. Plahuta, when we left off Tuesday, and as we have just been discussing now, we were discussing your testimony about an individual named Bosko Neskovic. And I would like to ask if we could please have 65 ter 6494 on the screen. And this is the same document that we were discussing on Tuesday.
When I asked you a question about this document on Tuesday, the Simatovic Defence asked me to specify a time-period for my question about Bosko Neskovic, which I will do.
First, let me remind you that during direct examination you were asked: "Do you know Bosko Neskovic, and was he ever a member of the JATD unit of the Serbian MUP? 19477 You responded: "No, I don't know this name. I don't think he ever was a member."
And this was at transcript page 19336. If you had been asked whether Bosko Neskovic, to your knowledge, ever participated in operations with the Serbian MUP special-purposes units, what would your answer have been?
A. As I have said, I'm not familiar with that name. I have never heard of a Bosko Neskovic. From the time I joined the unit onwards, I did not know of that person.
I can't speak to the period preceding my arrival, but as far as I know I have never heard of the name or the person in the JATD.
Q. In light of your evidence that you're not familiar with the name but you can't speak to the period of time preceding your arrival and having viewed this file of Bosko Neskovic, do you agree that you are not in a position to know whether or in what capacity Bosko Neskovic was ever at any time in a Serbian MUP special-purposes unit?
MR. JORDASH: Sorry, I object to the question. Do you know what you don't know is what the question amounts to.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Perhaps you could formulate your question in a somewhat clearer fashion.
Q. Well, the question that you were asked on direct was whether this person was ever a member of the JATD unit of the Serbian MUP. And my question is: Do you agree that you are not in a position to know whether he was ever in a Serbian MUP special-purposes unit. 19478
MR. JORDASH: Sorry to leap up. The -- the question is unfair, inherently unfair, because the witness would be in a position to know if Bosko Neskovic was in a special-purpose unit that operated next door to where he lived. He wouldn't be in a position to know if Bosko Neskovic was in a special-purpose unit which operated perhaps in Russia. So my learned friend, in our submission, should say what it is that's being alleged that Bosko Neskovic was doing, in which special-purposes unit, and where. Then we'll know whether the witness is in a position to know that or not.
MS. HARBOUR: Your Honours, if I may respond. On direct examination, when this witness was asked about the individual Bosko Neskovic, the question was similarly vague. It was not limited in time or in place. It was simply: Do you know if this person was ever a member of the JATD of the Serbian MUP? And my question to the witness now is to show that that answer that he gave had no probative value. And if the -- my learned friend wants to challenge the value of my question, I suggest that this should be done on re-cross.
MR. JORDASH: The JATD situates the witness's proximity to Bosko Neskovic. He was a member of the JATD, so one can understand when he says, "I knew he wasn't a member of the JATD." He wasn't a member of a special-purpose unit according to the witness, so there's nothing in my learned friend's question which would allow Your Honours to situate the witness in a particular place so you could evaluate his answer when he says, "I don't know whether Bosko Neskovic was a member of the 19479 special-purpose unit." That's the point. The question "JATD is connected to the witness, special-purpose unit" is not.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] The objection is dismissed. You may put your question. And I think the witness is a grown-up man and can answer this question.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, would you like me to repeat the question, or are you able to answer it?
A. You don't need to repeat. As I said, I have never heard of a Bosko Neskovic. At least not during my stay in the unit. I never heard any of my then-colleagues mentioning the name or referring to the person at all. This person is completely unknown to me. As I said already, I've never heard of him and I've never heard of his membership in the unit.
You asked me whether I was in a position to know of this and other people. In terms of a position, well, I was a member of the unit. We conversed. We talked about what people heard about others, et cetera, but no one ever mentioned this particular person to me. That's the extent of my answer, I'm afraid.
MS. HARBOUR: Could we please tender this document into evidence, Your Honours.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Jordash.
MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, may I just take two minutes to outline our objections and then the objections will stand for, with Your Honours' leave, for the remainder of the personnel files which my learned friend 19480 intends to use and tender, unless something arises which is unique to that particular issue.
I think, with Your Honours' leave, that would save time. We object to the use of and tendering of this document. It is an attempt by the Prosecution to introduce perpetrators into this trial and an attempt to create criminal liability from the introduction of those perpetrators into this trial.
In our submission, the jurisprudence is clear that if the Prosecution know the name of a perpetrator and they intend to rely upon the acts of that perpetrate to create Article 7(1) or 7(3) liability, then they have an obligation to put that name into the indictment. The Prosecution received these personnel files on several different dates, ranging from the 7th of May, 2007; 29th of August, 2007; 24th of July, 2008; 17th of September, 2008; 14th of October, 2010; and the 21st of January, 2011. Dates which, at the very least, in our submission, they should have applied to amend the indictment in accordance with the jurisprudence. And for the avoidance of doubt, that is the same -- our position is the same whether these documents are to be used for impeachment because -- rather than the truth of their contents because effectively there is very little distinction when approaching such an issue of -- when approaching impeachment in the way my learned friend does, which is not to use material which goes to the reliability of this witness's evidence or to the credibility of this witness's evidence, but is simply a means by which they -- the Prosecution can introduce fresh evidence. It's it very straightforward to introduce 19481 fresh evidence if the threshold criteria is simply to say to the witness, Have you ever heard of Mr. Smith? No, I've never heard of Mr. Smith. Well, here's a personnel file from Mr. Smith. Have you ever heard of him now? No. Can I tender the document of Mr. Smith?
We can introduce any information using that so-called impeachment threshold.
If I may just complete my submission by quoting from a decision of the Haradinaj Trial Chamber, 31st of May, 2007, which summarizes the position in relation to the naming of perpetrators in the indictment. Paragraph 8, decision on Balaj's preliminary motion concerning paragraph 29 of the indictment, where the Trial Chamber there were considering the failure of the Prosecution to name perpetrators in the indictment, and at paragraph 8 note:
"It is true that whereas the indictment named some alleged JCE members, it does not name any non-members allegedly used by JCE members to achieve the objectives of the enterprise. Persons in the latter category are, however, named in the Prosecution's pre-trial brief, filed in a timely manner more than a month before the case went to trial. Just as it is not always possible or required for the Prosecution to list ever member of an alleged JCE, the class of non-members of the JCE pressed into service by JCE members might not be known to the last person and need not be specified in full. The pre-trial brief rectified a shortcoming in the indictment."
And, in our submission, the introduction of what is now amounting to, so far, at least 60 direct perpetrators into evidence, according to 19482 the Prosecution, has not been rectified whether in the pre-trial brief or the Prosecution opening or any of the evidence, if it was permissible to do that by the evidence, which it's not, in our respectful submission.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you. Ms. Harbour, do you wish to reply?
MS. HARBOUR: Just briefly, Your Honour. I think some of these arguments, as we're hearing them without having any notice we would hear them today, will need to be responded to in writing.
In particular, any arguments regarding sufficiency of the pleadings we'll need to respond to in writing. If the Stanisic Defence will rest on what it's submitted today, then we will respond to these oral arguments in writing.
MR. JORDASH: Well, we'll be filing very shortly a motion which, first of all, asks for exclusion of all late disclosed alleged direct perpetrators, and in the alternative various other remedies, including suspension of the trial and for -- for purposes to allow us to investigate the new material, and including re-call of witnesses. So perhaps then my learned friend can respond to that.
MS. HARBOUR: In that case, for that particular issue we'll wait to see what is filed by the Stanisic Defence.
With regard to the admission of this particular document, I fear that the Stanisic Defence has mischaracterised what was done here. This person's name Bosko Neskovic was introduced during the Simatovic Defence direct examination and we sought to challenge the witness's evidence that 19483 was elicited during his direct examination. And in fact it was over my objection that the Simatovic Defence was permitted to show the witness a document that he had never seen before simply for the purpose of asking him if he recognised this name, which the witness said he did not. So I would submit that it is proper to tender and admit 65 ter 6449 to challenge that evidence.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I completely agree with my learned friend Mr. Jordash. I second everything he has said thus far. As for my learned friend from the Prosecution's argument, we have P2104 in evidence, where the Red Berets are mentioned in the ranks of the --
THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Bakrac kindly slow down when reading and repeat the last portion of his question.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac, you're speaking too fast and the interpreters have difficulty keeping up with you.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues] ... to the interpreters and the Bench.
Joined the ranks of the Army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the second paragraph, it is stated: "In mid-July this year, a group of 20 soldiers arrived in Bratunac commanded by Bosko Neskovic from the village of Obadi." Nesko, Bosko and this document stating that he belonged to a unit of the Army of the Republika Srpska was a P document, an exhibit in this 19484 case, and it is based on that document that I asked the witness that question. Because there is a reference to the Red Berets, which are mentioned as part of the JATD, and therefore I asked him whether Mr. Neskovic was ever a member of the JATD. He provided the answer. What my learned friend is trying to do now is to introduce new, fresh evidence or documents through the back door.
Thank you, Your Honour.
[Trial Chamber confers]
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. Since Mrs. Harbour told us that she wished to reply in writing to the Defence, our decision on the objection raised re this document relating to Bosko Neskovic states that this document will be MFI'd for the time being.
THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. 65 ter number 6494 will be marked for identification as P3125.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you. Ms. Harbour.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, on Tuesday we discussed a document from the Skelani Independent Battalion that described a Serbian MUP Red Berets unit in Skelani under the command of Bozovic. This document, which is Exhibit P399, also attached a list of 52 of the Skelani Red Berets which included their names and their father's names and their birth dates. And you recognised one name which was the same as someone you knew from the JATD, and that was Milorad Maksimovic.
And when I asked if he was a member of the Red Berets unit at the 19485 time of the document, which was April 1993, you testified that you: "Wouldn't know whether he was a member at the time. I wasn't a member at the time."
And this is at transcript page 19446. Do you recall this discussion, Mr. Plahuta?
A. I do recall the discussion. There's just one correction I'd like to make.
It wasn't Milorad Maksimovic whom I recognised, but Miroslav Maksimovic. So it wasn't Milorad Maksimovic. It was Miroslav Maksimovic.
Q. Thank you for that correction. I'm going to ask you now about 15 of the individuals that were on that list of Skelani Red Berets.
MS. HARBOUR: Could I please have 65 ter 6515. And page 2 of the English and page 7 of the B/C/S. And I would ask that this not be broadcast to the public.
The document -- oh.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I have the feeling we don't have the right document on our screens.
MS. HARBOUR: Is this 65 ter 6515?
THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it is, Ms. Harbour.
MS. HARBOUR: Sorry, I had the page wrong. It's page 3 in the English and page 6 in the B/C/S version, I believe.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, what we have on the screen is what the Serbian authorities have told us is the DB personnel file of Milenko Trifunovic. 19486 Here on page 3 in the English and page 6 in the B/C/S we see that he went to Ilok for training in May 1992, and upon completing this training he returned to Skelani and was appointed commander of a JPN.
MS. HARBOUR: If we could turn to page 1 in the English and page 3 in the B/C/S now.
Q. This is a card or a form that is very similar to the one that you did not recognise from Branko Pavlovic's file when that was put to you during your direct examination. We can see from the header that this relates to a MUP of Serbia special-purposes unit. And the first box on the far right records that Milenko Trifunovic arrived in the unit on the 27th of May, 1992. You've testified that the MUP of Serbia did not have a unit during this time. If that's the case, do you have any information that would explain the information in this personnel file?
A. I don't know what to say. I don't know the individual. There's nothing I know. I haven't seen this file, so I can't comment on it. It looks like the same file we saw a minute ago in relation to Bosko Neskovic. The date is before 1992, so there's really nothing I could say about it.
Q. Turning to page 7 in the English and page 10 in the B/C/S, please.
Here's another page which you'll see is labelled "MUP of Serbia, personnel file of the member of the special-purpose unit. And I'm interested in this patch on the B/C/S version of the file. Have you ever seen this patch before?
A. It's not very clear here, but it does look like the coat of arms 19487 that I've already seen.
Q. Where did you see it; and what do you associate it with?
A. I have seen one -- or, rather, we had a similar coat of arms, a similar patch, in 1996, in the special operations unit. It was a patch that was similar to this one.
Q. Could I please have now six--
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I don't know if my learned friend has an example of this patch in colour. Perhaps it would make it easier for the witness to recognise it.
MS. HARBOUR: I will look into that, Your Honour; I don't with me now.
Could I please now have -- I'm sorry.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Go ahead, please.
MS. HARBOUR: Could I please now have 65 ter 6509. And again, please could this not be broadcast to the public. And we're going to look at page 2 in the English and in the B/C/S.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, what you're going to see on the screen in a moment is the -- what we've been told is the DB personnel file of Predrag Jovanovic, who is the second person on the list of Red Berets in Skelani on Exhibit P399.
As can you see on this page, this is another one of those forms from the MUP of the special-purposes -- MUP of Serbia special-purposes unit, just as we saw on the files of Branko Pavlovic and Bosko Neskovic 19488 and now Milenko Trifunovic. And the box on the far right notes that Mr. Jovanovic joined the unit on the 27th of May, 1992, and we can see further down that he's from Bajina Basta. I don't think it's necessary to bring up the document, but for your information he also has a Serbian MUP special-purpose unit form bearing the same wolf patch, and that's on page 15 in the B/C/S version and on page 10 in the English. Mr. Plahuta, these are only the first two people from the list of Skelani Red Berets. Do you have any explanation for the information in this file, in light of your testimony?
A. As I have already said, with regard to the personnel file, no, Jovanovic is a name that you come across in Bajina Basta, but these -- this person is not someone I know. I have never met him. I really don't know.
Q. I have 13 more personnel files of people who are on the list of the Skelani Red Berets from April 1993. Each person lived in Skelani or Bajina Basta and joined the Red Berets unit in Skelani in 1992 or in early 1993. I'm not going to go into them in detail, since it appears that you don't know anything about these individuals, and I don't think it's necessary to pull up every file, but if the Court finds it worthwhile, I will tell you the names of each of these individuals, the place where they were recruited from, or from which they joined the unit, and the date which they joined the unit and where this appears in the documents that I will be tendering.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I don't think it's necessary. Unless the Defence wishes to get all the details? In open session. 19489
MR. JORDASH: No, thank you.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] It's not necessary. Thank you very much.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I've understood this correctly, it's not necessary to show each document. My colleague can provide the first and last name and information and ask the witness whether the witness knows these individuals, and we believe that my colleague will read out the names correctly.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I'm absolutely convinced of that. But I think that the witness had the opportunity to read all those names yesterday. Right?
MS. HARBOUR: That's correct, Your Honour. They were all listed on the list of 52 individuals in Exhibit P399.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence's intention is to assist the Chamber. The names were read out, and the witness said that he recognised the first and last name of one of the individuals, but it was a frequent name and he wasn't sure that was the right person. If we could provide details for that individual on the date of birth and place of birth, then perhaps that would assist us to see whether that is, in fact, the person whose first and last names were recognised by the witness.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] So it's Mr. Miroslav Maksimovic? He's the only person that the witness recognised yesterday. I don't remember if the witness had the opportunity to see all the details of the personnel file of that particular person, but I seem to believe that he 19490 was able to tell us no, not really. All right, fine. Well then, maybe you can show the personnel file of Mr. Maksimovic to the witness and to see if this is the same Miroslav Maksimovic that the witness thinks he recognises.
MS. HARBOUR: Your Honour, unfortunately he is one of the ones for whom we have not received a personnel file. We can do further investigations and look into this.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] That's very unfortunate. Unless you're able to give us at a later date his personnel file, but we have to do with the answer of the witness, that is, that he thinks he recognises that person but is not absolutely certain of it.
You may continue.
MS. HARBOUR: Your Honours, at this time I would like to tender the personnel files of these 15 individual members of the Skelani Red Berets unit. And we've prepared a chart of 65 ter numbers and ERNs to assist the Registry, the Chamber, and the parties, which we've circulated via e-mail prior to court. There have been a few changes; we were able to fix some issues in e-court since then, so I have an updated copy of that chart, if it would assist. And we note that, unfortunately, most of the files only have excerpts translated, and we would ask that the ones for which full translations are not yet ready, that those be MFI'd until the full translations are available.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Mr. Jordash.
MR. JORDASH: The objection is as outlined earlier. But I can 19491 just inquire, so we have it on the record, whether the Prosecution introduced these files for the truth of their contents or for impeachment purposes.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mrs. Harbour.
MS. HARBOUR: Yes, Your Honours. We introduced them for the truth of their contents in addition to for impeachment purposes. We're not simply tendering them to impeach Mr. Plahuta's credibility or to undermine his credibility. We're tendering them for the truth of their contents, which is directly contrary to Mr. Plahuta's evidence. And in view of the totality of Mr. Plahuta's evidence, we submit that the information in these personnel files refutes the evidence of Mr. Plahuta and is more reliable than Mr. Plahuta's testimony on the existence of a Red Beret unit in Skelani.
MR. JORDASH: I'm not going to delay the proceedings, but what my learned friend just described was impeachment purposes. She didn't deal with the issue of how this is part of the Prosecution case. Therefore, the truth of the contents.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I believe that your description of the reason for which you wish to have this document admitted is to, in fact, impeach the witness's testimony; is that right?
MS. HARBOUR: Your Honour, it's not exclusively to impeach the witness's testimony. The documents contradict the witness's testimony, but we submit that the truth in the documents is the evidence that this Chamber should consider, and this Chamber should not simply consider these files because they show that the witness -- that the witness has 19492 perhaps made a mistake or lacks knowledge.
And I have prepared submissions for -- because we are actually tendering these files not only to challenge this witness's testimony but also to rebut the Defence case in general. They're quite substantial submissions but which I'm happy to make now.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Jordash, I imagine that you still object to the -- to these documents for the same reasons that you explained earlier; is that correct?
MR. JORDASH: Correct, Your Honour, yes.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] These documents will be MFI'd provisionally, up until the time we receive conclusions -- written submissions by the parties.
MS. HARBOUR: Would it assist if I handed the chart that I've prepared to the Registry?
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, I believe that it would assist, because I think that apparently the Registrar did not receive the list.
THE REGISTRAR: I've just received the list, and a memo will be circulated in due course identifying the MFI numbers.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Registrar.
Ms. Harbour, you may continue.
MS. HARBOUR: Could we please have 65 ter 6496 on the screen. And it is fine for this to be broadcast to the public.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, what's going to come up on the screen is an excerpt 19493 of your personnel files which I gave to you to read on Tuesday, and I have a copy which I could give to you now in case you'd like to consult it in answering my questions.
A. It's not necessary for me -- for you to provide that. I'll read it here. So it's not a problem.
Q. So you have had a chance to read the excerpt on Tuesday; is that correct?
A. Yes, I did read it, and you may continue.
Q. You've told us that you left the VJ after only six months of service because you had a clash with an officer about the renewal of your contract. And that was at transcript page 19310. When you applied to join the JATD, the Serbian DB conducted a background check on you. This is the report on that background check, dated the 20th of April -- oops.
MS. HARBOUR: One moment. Page 15 of the English is what we need, which I believe is page 11 in the original.
Q. This is the report of the background check that I was mentioning. It's dated the 20th of April, 1995. And here it states: "He tried to get a job with the VJ as a contract soldier but he was thrown out of the VJ for lack of discipline and disregard for military service rules. Dejan is known as a restless young man exhibiting a more aggressive behaviour."
Were you thrown out of the VJ?
A. That's what it says here. But it was a little different. It was probably on the basis of some papers that they received there that they wrote this. It says because of a lack of discipline and failure to 19494 respect the rules of the military.
This was a few days before the contract, six-month contract, expired. And as I have already said, because there was an incident at the border we went to our command at the border post in Bajina Basta. We drove away some fishermen from the Drina. It was an administrative border with the Republic of Bosnia. But the fishermen were friends of that officer, by some unhappy chance, under whom we were supposed to extend our period of military service. He then told us that we could go home, that our contracts would not be extended, because naturally he was angry. But all we were doing was our job. He said we didn't have to work anymore, we'd receive decisions, but when we arrived at the watch-tower, the commander of the watch-tower said, You can stay on to work; it's not that serious. We stayed on and worked for a few more days and then we received decisions according to which we were being given a dishonourable discharge for lack of discipline and failure to respect the officer. And the officer didn't want to extend our contracts. And at the time, it was a way to survive. It was a sure job. You could be sure to receive your salary.
But, anyway, this is what was noted, but I have provided you with an explanation as to why a few days before the contract with the military expired -- well, here it says "driven away," but when we received the decision, in the decision it said "discharged from military service." But, in any event, that was the situation.
Q. This document dates from the 20th of April, 1995. And you've told us that you joined the JATD in October 1994. Were you a member of 19495 the JATD unit before your background check cleared?
A. We don't know. We have the date on the document. Once we arrived in the unit, they told us, You are now members of the JATD. I suppose that there was some kind of background check that had been carried out. When we applied for membership in the JATD, or, rather, in the training centre at Mount Tara, where MUP conducted training, they told us, Come back in a few days. Which means that by that time they had already undertaken some checks. This may have been a different kind of check or verification. I really can't say. I saw this background check report for the first time when you showed it to me.
Q. After receiving the results of this background check, you remained in the Serbian DB, JATD, as a reserve member; is that correct?
A. We were told -- Milenko Pajser, if you recall him, I mentioned him, he was in charge of administration in our unit. He told us, perhaps a month after our arrival in Lipovica, he told us that we were made part of the active-duty part of the JATD unit and that we were going to receive appropriate decisions to that effect later on for signature. He meant to say that the administrative part of the job would be completed by that time. I guess that's what he meant.
Q. I'd like to just summarise a few of these -- a few related entries in your personnel file.
In the interests of time, I don't think it's necessary to bring up the documents.
MS. HARBOUR: Of course, if Your Honours would like to see them or if my colleagues on the other side would like to see them, then we can 19496 do that.
Q. For your reference, if you would also like to follow along in a hard copy, just please let me know?
A. Well, no. Please go ahead. Put your questions.
Q. In e-court page 2, in the English and in the B/C/S, which contains only an excerpt of a document, so we don't have the date, it describes you as:
"One of the most irresponsible and undisciplined members of the group, was given disciplinary measures on several occasions but it doesn't affect him."
Then at page 13 to 14 in the English, which is page 10 in the B/C/S, an Official Note from the 19th of March, 1996, by Dusan Momcilovic, describes a petty theft for some money for which you and your brother were identified as potential perpetrators. Then, at e-court page 8 in the English and page 7 in the B/C/S, an entry from 29 August 1997, Janko Keres reports about you smoking weed and states that he had already given you an official warning, as you already had several disciplinary misconducts.
At e-court page 1 in the English and B/C/S, an excerpt of a report dated 19 February 1998 states that you were irresponsible in your obligations lately, especially since getting married and receiving a decision awarding you with permanent employment.
At e-court pages 5 to 7 in the English and 5 to 6 in the B/C/S is an Official Note recording an incident on 20 June 1999 that occurred after a JSO training exercise during which you separated from the convoy, 19497 stopped to purchase alcohol, and did not notify your superiors of your actions.
Would you like to say anything about any of these reports?
A. Of course I would, since it all comes from my personnel file. Perhaps I should start in the order you enumerated.
The first note from the file where it is mentioned that I was irresponsible, or something to that effect, I think on the other side of that note, as far as I remember, it is stated that I was -- that my abilities are above average. That is to say, above the average of the unit. In other words, I managed to fulfil all the requirements put before me by the MUP as a trained member of the unit. The second thing you mentioned, if I remember correctly, had to do with some theft. It involved money. The same member who wrote that, who is mentioned in the note, was driven away from the unit because of his stealing some boots, money, et cetera. It happened on a number of occasions. Ultimately, he confessed he had spent that money with another colleague. If I remember correctly, it was in a striptease bar that they spent the money. He didn't dare go back home without the money and then reported it stolen. Perhaps during that evening or the next morning he saw me passing in the hallway, but it had nothing to do with anything. The next thing, if I remember correctly, there is some mention of me smoking weed. If I remember well, it -- there is also some mention that I wore a head scarf or a bandana as well as an earring. It was unacceptable to them -- for them that a member of the special unit should be dressed like that. 19498 They were also irritated by the bandana which was basically in the colours of the American flag. I had three bandanas at the time that I changed frequently. One was bearing the pattern of the British flag; another of the American flag; and the third was the Yankee or the southern flag that was used in the American Civil War. Perhaps this was my silent protest against authority or whatever my inclination was at the time, but they were basically irritated by my attire.
As for the weed, I believe it is mentioned that the Keres person who drafted the note heard about that from the commander and then he included it in the note. There is no basis for that. I think that explains it.
What was the last thing you read out? I'm not sure I remembered everything, since your question was rather long.
Q. You did remember a lot, however. At e-court page --
A. Perhaps I can be of assistance. Alcohol abuse, I think that was the last thing.
Q. Yes, there were two remaining things. The first --
A. I remember now. What it says in the note, well, the person who drafted it was not my immediate superior. My immediate superior was Bato Sabatovic [phoen], who drove the vehicle, and I was in the co-driver's seat when we bought the weed. So my immediate superior told me, Go and buy a couple of beers for the guys. There were up to a dozen of us. It wasn't much. 19499 The few notes that you have all boil down to one thing: Once the first training was completed, many people were jealous of the first or top 20 people, and the people driving -- writing these notes ranked lower than we did. And yet, in time they advanced and were put in a position to write what they did.
MS. HARBOUR: I'm going on to another entry in the personnel file. I'm not sure if now would be a good time for a break.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] It really depends. We still have a few minutes. I don't know if you have a very long question.
MS. HARBOUR: It is quite long, but ...
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. We will then take a half-an-hour break, and we will resume at 4.00 p.m.
--- Recess taken at 3.27 p.m.
--- On resuming at 4.03 p.m.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] We're back in session. Ms. Harbour, would you please be able to tell me how much time do you need? How much longer do you need?
MS. HARBOUR: Approximately 45 minutes, Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Bakrac.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar cautioned me to say for the transcript that Exhibit D860, which was problematic in terms of English translation, has now been uploaded with amended translation which corresponds to the original.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I was going 19500 to get to it a little later. We did receive a new translation, but I'm not absolutely sure that it's much clearer than the previous one. But, at any rate, we may look into it later.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Ms. Harbour, you may proceed.
Q. While we're still looking at your personnel file, Mr. Plahuta, could we please turn to e-court pages 3 to 4 in the English and in the B/C/S. We can look at page 3 first.
I'd like to talk about one last incident in your file in a little more detail. This is an Official Note of an incident on the 2nd of September, 1999, and it's signed by Zoran Gulic, an individual that you mentioned during your direct examination. This note describes an ongoing problem that you had with your neighbours, the Pimics. They had complained about you playing music very loudly, fighting noisily very often, jumping, banging the wall with your arms and legs, leaving trash outside the apartment door until it stank, letting your dog urinate on their carpet.
The incident at issue occurred on the 2nd of September at around 12.10 when the Pimics were coming back to their apartment but they could not enter due to bags blocking the doorway. According to this report, Mr. Pimic asked you to move the bags so that they could pass, and you let the wife through but cursed violently at the husband. And I won't read what you said, but it's in the document. According to the report, you then put your hands on Mr. Pimic's neck and leaned in as if you were 19501 going to head butt him. Mrs. Pimic tried to separate you, but you caught her arm and you pushed her, and she had a bruise where you held her arm. According to the report, you then said, "I am now off on the road, but as soon as I come back, I will slit your throat."
Does this report accurately describe this incident?
A. It is true there was an incident. I do not deny that. It involved two neighbours of mine who lived on the same floor. Where should I start? When they arrived, there were indeed things at the entrance, not garbage, but my stuff that was left there when I went to the field. Those things were in front of the door as I was waiting for the elevator. It's a narrow hallway, since it was an old building, and they couldn't pass by my things.
They actually argued with me, saying that they couldn't go through. I did raise my voice, but there was no physical contact. When he came to our centre to report the case, no one could enter, and he wanted to report it to the centre because in the police station which would otherwise would regularly deal with it, rather than the command of my unit, the police in Kula actually drove him out of the police station. His wife, as I was told by the police, had a diagnosis as a mental patient. The gentleman in question is a former policeman who, at that point in time, had 25 complaints he filed against basically everyone in the building out of the 38 apartments, so they didn't take him seriously. It suffices to say that there was no caution whatsoever or any written notice that we received from the police.
As for my threats, that I would slit his throat as is stated 19502 here, that's something I never said. Zoran Gulic was the commander of our guard service at Kula. They drafted a statement, and this person signed it. They involved the police chief who inquired and he received the same answer from my neighbours. There were many such cases in the building that he complained about, and none of it was strong enough to go before a court. Nothing ever happened with any of that. As for any loud music in the apartment, I did play music. I was young. I had recently married. I had friends over on occasion. That's all true. I was a youngster. That's the way I lived at the time. As for any other incidents, it's not true. I didn't even have a dog at the time. I don't know where this dog came from. That really surprises me.
That's my comment on what actually happened.
Q. Even though your official DB records indicate that you were thrown out of the VJ for disciplinary problems, the DB hired you into the JATD and kept you on in the JSO after you continued to have disciplinary issues and your files indicate that you had violent tendencies. Do you have any special skills that would explain why the DB would look -- or overlook your prior disciplinary problems?
A. Well, how should I respond to that? We, in the unit, engaged in different jobs and tasks. We had different training in the unit, and the people in the DB probably realised I was capable to carry out all the tasks assigned to the unit. That's why they kept me.
I think in the previous document on the screen it said that I did 19503 not have a criminal file at all, which means that I never committed a crime, which would require my departure from the force based on the Serbian constitution or MUP regulation.
On the other hand, I fulfilled all the criteria that the unit put before me.
MS. HARBOUR: I'd like to tender this document, which is 65 ter 6496. And what we've uploaded under the 65 ter number contains only the excerpts of this personnel file that we've discussed today and also the witness's application form containing basic details and a numerical evaluation form.
If the Defence would wish to tender additional portions of the file for context, we would not object.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like the entire file to be admitted because we don't want it to be taken out of context. We don't want just the extracts that my colleague showed to the witness. We would like the entire file to be admitted.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] No objection. Mr. Stanisic's Defence has no objection. Very well.
Fine. So the personnel file, the entire personnel file, will be admitted.
Mr. Registrar, could you please give us a number.
MS. HARBOUR: If I may, Your Honour, currently the entire file is not yet uploaded, so perhaps if we have this marked for identification and the Simatovic Defence or the Prosecution can upload the entire file, 19504 and between us we'll figure out which ones will take care of the translations for the additional portions that the Simatovic Defence would like to tender.
THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. 65 ter number 6496 will be marked for identification as Exhibit P3141.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
MS. HARBOUR: I'm sorry, could the Registrar please repeat the exhibit number?
THE REGISTRAR: MFI P3141.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. Registrar.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, did you ever have any responsibilities for the JATD personnel files kept at Lipovica?
A. I don't understand your question. I'm sorry.
Q. Did you ever have any responsibility for keeping track of or filing or organising or any other responsibilities related to the personnel files for JATD members, which were kept at Lipovica?
A. No, not at all. I'm not aware of there being any such files that were kept in Lipovica. But, no, I had no such responsibilities.
Q. During direct examination you commented on a form with the heading of the Serbian MUP special-purposes unit from the file of Branko Pavlovic which is now in evidence as Exhibit D864. And you 19505 testified that you were not familiar with this form and that you have never filled out such a form, and this was at transcript page 19375.
MS. HARBOUR: Now, if we could please have 65 ter 6499 on the screen. And this should not be broadcast to the public.
Q. You've just testified, Mr. Plahuta, that you're not aware of any files being kept at Lipovica. Did you know that JSO personnel files containing these same JPN forms, the same as the one found in Branko Pavlovic's file, did you know that those files were stored at Lipovica?
A. I wouldn't know. That was the administration's responsibility. When I became a JATD member, sometime later, I no longer had any contact with logistics. In fact, I was involved in performing other duties. I'm not aware of there being any documents kept in Lipovica, or files in particular. I thought that these things were probably kept in the archives somewhere, but I'm not aware of such things being kept in Lipovica. I wasn't involved in anything of that kind.
MS. HARBOUR: Could we please turn to page 12 in the English and page 8 in the B/C/S.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, this is the full personnel file of Branko Pavlovic. And this page in front of you is a personal history. If you look to the second-to-last sentence, it states that on 13 August 1991, Pavlovic joined as a volunteer the MUP of SAO Krajina. And then it states: On the 6th of November, 1991, he joined the special unit of the MUP of Serbia, which was stationed at Fruska Gora.
MS. HARBOUR: If we could now turn to page 10 of the English and 19506 page 6 of the B/C/S.
Q. Here we see that Bozovic has written that he only has words of praise for Pavlovic, and in the last sentence he states: "I hereby propose, from my deepest convictions, that he should be accepted into the active composition of the MUP of Serbia." Mr. Plahuta, this entire file is full of such information indicating Branko Pavlovic's involvement in a Serbian MUP unit before you joined the JATD. And I put to you that the form that you were not familiar with was used by the Serbian MUP special units whose existence preceded the official formalisation of the JATD.
Do you have any comments?
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I object to this question, because my learned colleague is suggesting that the entire personnel files are full of evidence according to which this individual was actively employed in MUP. If that is the case, if there is so much evidence that he was a member of the active MUP force, we should be shown that. Because it's not fair towards the witness to claim that there's voluminous evidence if that evidence isn't first shown to the witness. All that evidence should be shown to the witness. Evidence to the effect that this individual was actively employed in the Serbia MUP.
MS. HARBOUR: May I respond?
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, please do.
MS. HARBOUR: First I would like to correct what the Simatovic Defence has just said. I put to the witness that the entire file was full of information indicating Branko Pavlovic's involvement in 19507 a Serbian DB MUP unit. I did not mention whether he was active status or some other status. And, as a second matter, I would like to point out that this person, Branko Pavlovic, only came up because the Simatovic Defence put an excerpt of his personnel file to the witness and tendered a letter from the NCC stating that the Serbian DB had no record of this individual. And I objected at the time to the tendering of the excerpt of Pavlovic's personnel file unless the whole file was tendered, because the form alone stripped the file of highly relevant contextualising evidence.
Your Honours admitted the excerpt of Pavlovic's file and stated: "To the extent that there's a suggestion in it that these forms did not really relate to what happened in the service but that it must be wrong, or whatever, if you would seek to tender the remainder of it to give context, then we would wait to see whether you do that." And that is why I have now put the remainder of the file to the witness. And I submit that it should be admitted because the isolated form is already in evidence. The probative value is very much impacted by other documents in the personnel file. And if the Simatovic Defence wish to further examine the witness on re-direct with the remainder of the file, they should do that during re-direct.
[Trial Chamber confers]
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac, do you wish to respond?
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I stand by my objection. Because, in my opinion, it would be fair towards the witness 19508 to show what the Prosecution considers to be evidence that he isn't speaking the truth, evidence that Branko Pavlovic was a JATD member. This should be done if a response is desired.
I'd like to remind you of D865 that has been MFI'd. That is a request that the Republic of Serbia inform us about whether this individual we are now discussing was at any point in time a member of the MUP in Serbia. We've received a response to that request, so if my learned colleague thinks there is strong evidence, it should be shown to the witness and the witness should be asked about this. The Prosecution should then say, Here's evidence that the individual is a member of the JATD and not speaking the truth. But you cannot just say to the witness that there is an entire series of exhibits that state such and such a thing and then ask the witness what his opinion is about the issue.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Do you wish to respond, Mrs. Harbour?
MS. HARBOUR: Yes, Your Honour, only briefly. The witness did not say that this member is not a member of the JATD. The witness testified that he was not familiar with this form and had never filled out such a form and that he did not recognise the name. And, in fact, the document that the Simatovic Defence tendered via the bar table because this witness had no knowledge about it, which is this letter from the NCC, D865, the Simatovic Defence is apparently -- has apparently tendered that for the purpose of showing that this Branko Pavlovic was never involved with the Serbian MUP or Serbian DB or federal SUP. And the parts of this file that I've already put to the 19509 witness directly rebut that.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] The objection is dismissed.
MS. HARBOUR: Could I tender this document, Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Registrar, could we have an exhibit number, please.
THE REGISTRAR: The 65 ter number 6499 will be Exhibit P3142 under seal.
JUDGE PICARD: [No interpretation]
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I know whether the entire so-called - and I emphasise the fact that's so-called - personnel file of Branko Pavlovic is being admitted or only part of it.
MS. HARBOUR: I have tendered the entire file.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] The documents -- the entire document P3142 is admitted under seal.
MS. HARBOUR: Your Honours, during the break my colleagues informed me that I had been misinformed, and in fact we do have the personnel file of Miroslav Maksimovic, about whom the witness has knowledge or at least he has knowledge of someone by that name in the JATD, so I'd now like to take the opportunity to show that to the witness. And that is 65 ter 6522. And I apologise, there's not yet a translation for this file.
MR. JORDASH: Well, it would be fair, in our respectful submission, for the Prosecution to simply ask the witness about some of the details. And if he says no, then we don't need the document. If he 19510 says, I don't know, this doesn't ring a bell, I have nothing to say about this man and his relationship with the DB, then we don't need the document, in our submission.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I believe the witness has already said that a priori he knew Miroslav Maksimovic. Unless his file shows that Miroslav Maksimovic, the one he knows, is not the one mentioned in the document, well, then he could say something else in his testimony. It's only by looking at this that he will be able to tell us whether it's the same Maksimovic as the one he knows.
MR. JORDASH: Well, respectfully, it's by asking the witness about facts contained in the document rather than him having to see the document. I don't think we need to go to the extent of showing him the document. It's the facts within the document which are critical, in our submission.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I must say that I cannot read the document, so I don't know if you are going to be raising relevant questions regarding the contents of this document.
MS. HARBOUR: Your Honour, I was merely going to take the Simatovic Defence's suggestion which they suggested earlier when I was tendering the other Skelani Red Berets files of putting this document to the witness to see if he could confirm that this was, indeed, his former colleague in the JATD. And I would also seek to tender this as a 16th Red Beret Skelani file.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I believe that that is what we said we would do. We would show the complete file of Mr. Maksimovic to 19511 the witness. But the problem is that this file has not been translated, so we don't know what this document contains. We don't know whether it's relevant or not. And we don't know whether the witness can recognise it or not.
MS. HARBOUR: The witness certainly will be able to read the document.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I suggest we show this document to the witness, and the witness must tell us on what grounds he can tell us whether Miroslav Maksimovic is his friend or the person he knows or not. Please read the document.
Could you put the document back on the screen again, please. Tell us whether there's anything in this document that indicates that this is the document you had in mind or not, whether it's the person you were thinking of or not.
MS. HARBOUR: I suppose to allow the witness to read the document, yes, we could go to a certain -- a few pages until he sees something that he recognises or can state that he sees information which precludes this from being the person that he knew.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Next page, please.
[Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mrs. Harbour, can this document be broadcast outside this courtroom or not?
MS. HARBOUR: One -- one moment, Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may be of 19512 assistance. I think we're now entering a labyrinth.
The witness said that there was a Miroslav Maksimovic in his unit. What we can see from the document that has been shown, P399, well, there we have a list of individuals from the municipality of Skelani. It's necessary to see whether Miroslav Maksimovic was born in Skelani. We have a date of birth, 1972. That's all we have in this list. That's all we have with which to make a comparison at this moment. I'd like us to focus on this. These are the two items that we have from the list. There's the individual under number 27 who is from the municipality of Skelani, from Bosnia, and he was born in 1972.
MS. HARBOUR: I apologise for interrupting. If I may, I do note that on page 5 of the document there is a file with the heading of the JSO, which may jog the witness's memory or inform the witness whether this is the person he knew. And then on page 32 of the document there's information indicating that this is the same person with the same birth date as the Miroslav Maksimovic listed in Exhibit P399.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Can we show page 5 to the witness, please.
MS. HARBOUR: Also, I believe this is not being broadcast to the public. And out of an abundance of caution, I would ask that that be the case.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since we only have the B/C/S version, I'm not sure that we have the right version on the screen. I don't know whether my colleague had this document in mind, but nothing 19513 mentions the place of birth here or the date of birth in relation to this individual.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] In that case, let's turn to page 34 where we have an excerpt of Mr. Maksimovic's ID. There's his photograph. I'm not sure that it's very legible.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, are you able to discern whether this is your former colleague Miroslav Maksimovic?
A. My colleague - and I said that his name was Miroslav Maksimovic - I think that this is the person, but I said that I did not know where he worked. I did not know what sort of work he did. If we're talking about the same person, well, I do think that this is my colleague Miroslav Maksimovic. Yes, that should be him.
MS. HARBOUR: Perhaps we could now go to page 32 of this file.
Q. This page is in the same file. It's on a special purpose unit of Serbian MUP form. It states that the name of the individual is Miroslav Maksimovic. The father is Stevan. It gives the birth date and the place of Bajina Basta.
In light of this information, does that impact your testimony regarding the Red Beret unit in Skelani in 1993?
A. I wouldn't know the name -- his father's and mother's name, but I can see that the place of residence is Uzice. I'm not sure that he's from Uzice. I'm not sure that he ever told me that he lived in Uzice, if we're talking about the same person, of course. So place of residence is supposed to be Uzice, which is about 40 kilometres from Bajina Basta, so 19514 I can't say whether it's the same person. The first and last names are identical to the first and last names of my colleague, but I don't know anything else with precision. I think he was born in 1972, but these aren't really things I discussed with him, so I don't know, really.
MS. HARBOUR: Your Honour, I would ask that this be marked for identification while we can obtain a translation and then I will tender it along with the other 15 Skelani Red Beret personnel files.
MR. JORDASH: [Microphone not activated] ... my objection on the same basis.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] This document will therefore be MFI'd, Registrar, please.
THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. 65 ter number 6522 will be marked for identification as P3143 under seal.
MR. JORDASH: Sorry, I think my microphone wasn't activated, so I just want to make sure my objection's recorded. Thank you.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] It is now.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, it is the Prosecution's case that while Bozovic and Legija lead their tactical groups in Operation Pauk in co-ordinated operations under a joint-command structure, Bozovic and Legija were deployed to this joint command on the direct authority of the Serbian DB and specifically Franko Simatovic and Jovica Stanisic. I wanted to make sure that you understand that that's our case in light of the extensive evidence that you've given on the command that Bozovic and Legija had over tactical groups. 19515 Do you have any comments to make?
A. Well, my comment is that when I met them, when Karapandza sent me to see them, they were, as far as I know - that's what my superior in fact told me at the time - my only superior in Petrova Gora in that area, he told me that they were under direct command of the Pauk Command. That's all I can say about them. Because I didn't collaborate with them. I didn't discuss that issue with them. All I can say is that I received some information from my superior at the time, and I've mentioned the nature of that information. I wasn't interested in anything else. I didn't ask him about anything else. I've just told you all I know about them. There's no other comment I could make.
Q. There are three specific individuals from the RSK MUP that you mentioned you met at Petrova Gora. These three individuals were Dusan Momcilovic, Zoran Gulic, and Mica Petrakovic, and this was at transcript page 19362.
While the Registry is over here, I just wanted to signal that I will be asking to call up another document and not to broadcast in just one moment.
Mr. Plahuta, you stated that these three individuals were applying in Kula to be made part of the unit in 1996. And this is at transcript page 19363. Why did you believe Momcilovic, Gulic, and Petrakovic to be members of the RSK MUP?
A. You're asking me how it is that I know that they were from the MUP of the Republic of Serbian Krajina?
Q. Yes, I'm asking you why you believed that that was the case, or 19516 what the basis of your -- what was the basis of your knowledge, yes.
A. Well, just as I earlier said, they were subordinated to the Pauk Command. And my superior, Karapandza, introduced me to them at the time and that's what he told me about them, and this is the information I conveyed to you. I had no other information.
MS. HARBOUR: Could we please have 65 ter 6518 on the screen. And please shall we not broadcast this to the public.
Q. The document that I'm pulling up now, Mr. Plahuta, is the -- what we've been told is the Serbian DB personnel of Zoran Gulic.
MS. HARBOUR: If we could please have page 11 in the English and page 8 in the B/C/S.
Q. This document, dated the 29th of January, 1996, is Zoran Gulic's biography. And in the first paragraph Gulic details his various positions in the RSK MUP. And then in the very last line of that paragraph, he states: "I have a contract in the MUP of Serbia from the 1 July 1994 until present."
According to this document and others in Gulic's personnel file, Gulic was already a member of the Serbian MUP before you met at Petrova Gora. Do you have any information that would explain this discrepancy with your testimony?
A. I really didn't know those individuals even before the time when I met them at Petrova Gora. And as I have already said, I was involved in logistics and providing security there, and as a result I had no contact with these members because they weren't up there on a permanent basis. I'm thinking of Zoran Gulic in particular. As I said, I saw him 19517 at Petrova Gora at the time, and I've told you what my superior informed me. The next time I saw him was in Kula. I didn't see him working with us. Afterwards, I didn't met him. The next time I met him was in Kula, so I can't comment on this. All I'm saying is what was said to me at the time.
So I didn't try to find out who they were or where they were from, or anything else. This is what I was told, and I have conveyed that information to you, and there's nothing else I know.
MS. HARBOUR: Could we please now have 65 ter 6519 which also should not be broadcast to the public. And if we could have page 2 in the English and in the B/C/S, please.
Q. As we can see, this document has the heading of the Republic of Serbia MUP, State Security Department, instructors group. This is from the file of Mico Petrakovic, and he signed this document. In the second paragraph, he states:
"I have been working in the Ministry of Interior since 1992, and I have been working in the RDB since 1 July 1994."
So, like Gulic, we see that Petrakovic joined the Serbian DB in 1994 and he was a member before you met him at Petrova Gora. Based on these files, Mr. Plahuta, I put to you that your information about these individuals is inaccurate. That they were former members of the RSK MUP but had already joined the Serbian MUP when you saw them. Would you like to comment?
A. As I mentioned already, I saw these people for the first time there. They were introduced to me as such, and that's the extent of 19518 information I have about them. I did not have any other information, as it was not under my -- at my disposal.
I told you what my immediate superior shared with me at Petrova Gora. He didn't tell me whether they were employees of this or that MUP; he just told me that they were part of the Pauk Command, working there. Nothing else. I knew they were there for fuel, and since I did not have much contact with them, I did not inquire where they worked and what they did. I told you the information I had.
MS. HARBOUR: I don't think it's necessary to spend time discussing Dusan Momcilovic's file, but I will state for the record, for the Chamber's and for the Defence information, that this is in evidence in D-- as D456.
I would like to tender the files of Gulic -- the excerpts of the files of Gulic and Petrakovic, both under seal.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Jordash, you still have the same objection?
MR. JORDASH: Not in relation to this. I think it does goes to impeachment. Thank you.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you. No objection from Mr. Bakrac.
These documents are admitted. Could we have an exhibit number, please, Mr. Registrar.
THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. 65 ter number 6518 will be Exhibit P3144 under seal. And 65 ter number 6519 will be Exhibit P3145, also under seal. 19519
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you. Mrs. Harbour.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, did you meet Aleksandra Bugarski when you were at Ilok?
A. If we are talking about Aleksandra Bugarski, then it would be my wife. But I did not meet her at Ilok.
Q. Where did you meet her?
A. I met her at Kula. In 1998. The same year I married her.
Q. Aleksandra had a sister named Sanja Bugarski; is that correct?
A. It is correct.
Q. And Sanja Bugarski was married to Franko Simatovic; is that correct?
A. It is.
Q. You've testified that you only saw Mr. Simatovic a handful of times in Pajzos in 1995 and that you did not see him again until May 1997. In fact, was he your brother-in-law for a period of time?
A. Well, he was my brother-in-law, although we use a different term. As for the two sisters and their relationship, I think Mr. Simatovic divorced his wife two or three years before I even met my wife. Therefore, in terms of any kind of relation in that regard, or family ties, we never met or spoke.
As far as I know, Sanja, his former wife, was not on good terms with her former husband. They were not speaking terms at all. And I never talked to him either. I didn't even discuss that topic with my own 19520 wife.
Q. You testified at transcript page 19373 that at Pajzos there was a small warehouse for quartermaster equipment, which was equipment used for the needs of the unit.
You then testified at transcript page 19369 that during the incident when Arkan was at the gate, you had your automatic rifles at the ready. The automatic rifles and ammunition that you and your fellow JATD members used at Pajzos were issued from the warehouse that you described; is that correct?
A. My automatic rifle and my side-arm are the weapons I had been issued at Lipovica, much as any other member did.
Q. So is it your testimony that you were permitted to bring your automatic rifle and your side-arm across state lines from, Lipovica in Serbia, into Pajzos, in Croatia?
A. Our personal weapons, that is to say, a side-arm and an automatic rifle, were part of equipment of any member that we took with us from base to base, according to the regulations. Of course, they needed to be packed properly during transport.
We always took our weapons wherever we went, so that is correct.
Q. Is it your evidence that there were no weapons and no ammunition of any kind kept at Pajzos?
A. I did not say there was none. I said we had a small warehouse sufficient to satisfy the needs of the unit members. There were smaller quantities of ammunition there for personal use of each member. There was always a separate combat set on store for each of the members. 19521
Q. Mr. Plahuta, according to you, Pajzos was a facility that housed electronic equipment for reconnaissance, surveilling, and scrambling, and this was at transcript page 19365, and it was secured by you and up to 20 members of the JATD and it was surrounded by mines to prevent incursion; is that correct?
A. That is correct. Approximately, there were also around 20 members providing security. The electronic centre was there to conduct reconnaissance, that is correct. And we were engaged in guarding it. Part of the vineyard was mined, of course, so as to prevent incursion into the facility.
Q. You've described one occasion when Arkan showed up at this facility and your brother refused to allow him to enter. And this was at transcript page 19367 through -69.
Did Arkan announce himself when he came up to the gate?
A. I don't know whether he introduced himself right away. Or maybe several minutes later. I wasn't present at the moment he arrived. However, a few minutes following the alarm signal, when assistance was needed, I arrived at the gate and my late brother told me that it was Arkan. I don't know if he introduced himself to my brother as Arkan or whether he used his first and last name.
At the moment of my arrival, which was, say, after three to five minutes, they were there. I wasn't there from the beginning.
Q. How were -- how was Arkan dressed; and how were his seven or eight escorts dressed?
A. They were all in uniform. Camouflage military uniforms. 19522
Q. And they were armed; correct?
A. Yes, they were armed.
Q. When you were asked why Arkan wanted to enter Pajzos, you told us that:
"... well, I suppose he may have wanted to take the wine away or perhaps to see whether there was any wine there. So that must have been the reason why he was shouting. He also mentioned the wine. And he even said, What? I want to buy some wine."
Is it your evidence that the only reason Arkan showed up at this Serbian DB reconnaissance outpost with seven or eight escorts in combat uniforms and with weapons was to buy wine?
A. The only reason I could hear mentioned when I arrived, since I can't talk about what happened before, is what I was told by my late brother. As of the moment of my arrival, the only reason he mentioned that I could hear for him wishing to enter was wine. There was plenty of wine in the cellars. Perhaps he wanted it. I really can't say. As far as I could hear, the only reason he gave was the wine. He said, So what? Perhaps I want to buy some wine. Perhaps he was mocking us, but that was the only thing he mentioned as of the moment of my arrival.
MS. HARBOUR: I have no further questions, Your Honours.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Mr. Jordash, do you have any additional questions.
MR. JORDASH: Yes, please.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] -- in re-direct? Go ahead, 19523 please.
Further cross-examination by Mr. Jordash:
Q. Good afternoon. You've been asked many questions about documents which are alleged to come from DB archives. I just want to clarify what you know and what you don't know about DB archives.
Do you know who was in charge of those DB archives? If, indeed, they were DB archives.
A. I really don't know. It would be a secret anyhow, so I really can't say.
Q. Do you know who would have access to those DB archives at any time between 1991 and 1998?
A. I wouldn't know.
Q. So you wouldn't know who, if so minded, could have put documents in those archives for reasons less to do with truth and more to do with benefits, such as pensions and so on?
A. I am unable to say.
Q. Are you able to comment on whether -- do you know anything about pensions and benefits, such as pensions which DB -- those engaged by the DB might be entitled to? Do you know anything about them?
A. I really can't say. No, I can't.
Q. Are you able to say this: That benefits and pensions within the DB and within the Serbian MUP were connected to length of service for the DB?
Do you understand my question?
A. I wouldn't know who was supposed to decide who deserved a pension 19524 or benefit and what it all depended on.
Q. So you're not able to confirm that pensions, for example, were connected to those who'd served for a particular number of years? You couldn't get a pension unless you'd served for a number of years. Are you able to say anything about that?
A. I can't comment. It strikes me as logical that I would need to serve a certain number of years in order to be entitled to a pension, such as in my case, for example.
Q. Do you have a pension? Or did you receive a pension from the DB, or other such benefits?
A. No. I only received regular salaries. And not from the State Security Service but from the MUP of Serbia.
Q. Is there any reason why you didn't receive a pension?
A. I still need a few years of service.
Q. Thank you. Let's move to another subject. I want to take you to 1992 and 1993 and the issue of paramilitary units or, rather, units which were formed and sometimes were within the VRS command structure and sometimes were not.
MR. JORDASH: Could we please have on the screen P3119. Actually, Your Honour, I'm going to try to save time. And if I can save this exhibit for the witness to look at during the break, and the same with another exhibit.
Q. And I'll take you, instead, to --
MR. JORDASH: Could we have on the screen, please, 65 ter 3821. 19525
Q. This is a document which we obtained from the Prosecution. And it appears to emanate from the Command of the 3rd Infantry Battalion, Bratunac. And it appears to give a history of the Red Berets from Bratunac.
Take a moment to read it, please.
Q. Now, without stating the obvious, the 3rd Infantry Battalion and the Light Infantry Brigade, who were supposed to be the -- those who received this document, were part of the VRS; is that right?
Q. And are you able to confirm, as we can see from the document, that the Panther Guard was also part of the VRS?
A. Yes, yes.
Q. And, in fact, would you agree with me that the other identified units within this document, whether the Guards unit from Han Pijesak or the Drina Wolves, were all part of the VRS?
A. Yes. These units were in Republika Srpska.
Q. Had you heard of the Red Berets from Bratunac, or did you hear about them during the time that you were on the border, or subsequently, as a group which were commanded by, subordinated to, the VRS or Republika Srpska police, as this document seems to indicate?
A. I heard about these units, although I don't remember when precisely, as it was some 20 years ago. I no longer remember the date on which I heard of the Red Berets from Bratunac, the Panthers, the Wolves from the Drina. But all these are Bosnian units that I heard about in 19526 Bajina Basta, perhaps at the watch-tower or shortly afterwards. It was during that period of time in any case. I lived in Bajina Basta, and there were many people coming from Bosnia telling all sorts of things. As part of that, I heard about these units from Bosnia.
MR. JORDASH: Could we have, please, on the screen 1D2238.
Q. As you can see: Republika Srpska, special brigade -- special police brigade in Bijeljina, 5th of April, 1995, to the RS minister of the interior. Request for payment of funds.
MR. JORDASH: And if we go over the page in the English, please, so that -- and also in the B/C/S.
Q. We can see a list of soldiers of the Red Berets with the unit commander: Rade, son of Sreten Petrovic.
And if we go to the third page of the English, we can see the names there. And if we go to the fourth page of the English and the next page of the B/C/S, we'll also see a list of those who were killed, including Bosko, son of Nedjeljko Neskovic.
Is this consistent with your knowledge that the Red Berets -- or do you know anything about this? - the Red Berets, even in April of 1995, being subordinated to Republika Srpska units? This -- on this -- at this point in time, the special police brigade.
A. I knew that the Red Berets from Bratunac were subordinated to the Republika Srpska. I don't know to which unit exactly. But I know that they were from Republika Srpska and they were either subordinated to the military or to the police.
Q. Let me ask you this. I don't know if you're aware of the - 19527 excuse my pronunciation - Blagojevic Judgement in this -- from the -- from this Court, which --
MR. JORDASH: Your Honours, at paragraph 56 of the Judgement.
Q. -- found that in 1995 the Red Berets were under the command of Colonel Blagojevic, commander of the Bratunac Brigade. Had you heard that the Red Berets in 1995 were under the command of Colonel Blagojevic?
A. I didn't know about that.
Q. Fair enough. Just so you're clear what our case is, so I'm not misleading you: I'm not suggesting that no one from the Red Berets under the VRS had contact with anyone -- let me clarify that. I'm not suggesting that there weren't individuals from the Serbian DB who had contact with the Red Berets from Bratunac, but it's our case that the Red Berets from Bratunac were essentially a VRS unit. You follow me?
A. Yes, I'm following you.
Q. Thank you.
MR. JORDASH: I note the time, Your Honour. I do apologise. I think I've gone over the time.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. We will take a break, and we shall resume at ten minutes to 6.00.
--- Recess taken at 5.21 p.m.
--- On resuming at 5.55 p.m.
JUDGE ORIE: I just hereby put on the record that we're not -- that my colleagues are not any longer sitting Rule 15 bis. At the same 19528 time, I would also like to announce, since I have been unable to read the transcript yet, that Judge Picard acts as Presiding Judge and -- until the next witness appears.
So I leave the conduct of the proceedings in her hands, including all matters that arise out of the testimony of this witness. Judge Picard.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Mr. Jordash, you may proceed. And please tell us, before that, how much more time do you need approximately? Do you know?
MR. JORDASH: Yes, I've been discussing with Mr. Bakrac and in order to try and get the witness finished I'm going to need, I think, 20 minutes. And I think that suits Mr. Bakrac. Whether it suits the overall plan, I don't know.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. You may proceed. You have the floor.
MR. JORDASH: Thank you. In order to save time, what I'd like to do is, first of all, to tender the two documents which I've just been asking the witness about. 65 ter 3821, 1D2238. And what I'd also like to do to save time is to tender from the bar table similar documents. And if I can just explain that very briefly.
The first two documents, as Your Honour know, were documents which we say demonstrates that the Red Berets from Bratunac were subordinated to either the VRS or Republika Srpska. And then the documents I'd like to bar table are: 1D2002, which is a report on combat readiness in the Bratunac Brigade dated the 26th of September, 1994, 19529 which has listed on the third page the Red Berets platoon; 1D107 regular combat report of the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, which, again, has the Red Berets listed as a platoon; 2D132, 24th of December, 1994, regular combat report of the Light Infantry Brigade, again, Red Berets platoon, spoken in terms of being part of that brigade. And, finally -- no, that's it. That's what we'd like to do, please.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. Ms. Harbour, do you have any objections?
MS. HARBOUR: Yes, Your Honour. We haven't been able to review these documents or verify that we have origin information yet, so if we could have the opportunity to do that before giving our response.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Is this for all documents or just the first two documents that we have looked at? Or can the first two documents be admitted now?
MS. HARBOUR: Thank you for asking further clarification. We have no objection to the two documents that were put to the witness being admitted. We've verified their origin information.
As for the rest that are being tendered via the bar table, we would like an opportunity to look into them.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I imagine that Mr. Simatovic has no objection. Doesn't seem like so. Mr. Registrar, can you please give us the numbers for the first two documents.
THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. 65 ter number 3821 will be Exhibit D866. 19530 And 65 ter number 1D2238 will be Exhibit D867.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you very much. D866 and D867 will be admitted.
As for the other documents, it is maybe better to wait for the Prosecutor to be able to consult them. Would you like to have these documents MFI'd for the time being?
MR. JORDASH: [Previous translation continues] ... yes, please.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Registrar, can you please MFI these documents.
THE REGISTRAR: [Previous translation continues] ... yes, Your Honour. 65 ter number 1D2002 will be Exhibit D868 marked for identification; 1D107 will be Exhibit D869, marked for identification; and 2D132 will be Exhibit D870, marked for identification.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much -- [overlapping speakers] ...
MR. JORDASH: [Microphone not activated] Thank you, Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: -- Mr. Jordash, you may proceed.
THE INTERPRETER: Overlapping speakers. Thank you.
MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Your Honour. Please could we have on the screen 1D1439.
Q. I want to ask you about the border and --
MR. JORDASH: Sorry, I think it's 1D1459 that I want. Sorry.
Q. I want to ask you about the border because I'm interested in trying to work out what you know about the way in which these paramilitary groups that we're hearing about, including the Red Berets 19531 from Bratunac, how they obtained their logistics and weapons and so on. Would you agree with me -- while that document's being found, would you agree with me that the crossings at Bajina Basta were carefully manned to prevent weapons being taken from Serbia into Bosnia in the time that you were there on the border? Do you accept that?
A. Yes. At the border, our main duty was to guard the border, ensure that there weren't any crossings from Serbia into Bosnia and from Bosnia into Serbia. As for the border pass at Skelani, it was under the control of the police that performed the same duties.
Q. Now, this is a State Security Department report from Nis. And I just want to -- and dated the 30th of March, 1993. And if we can go to the second page, this concerns volunteers crossing into Bosnia. And it says on the second page of the English and the B/C/S: "During their departure from Nis on the 26th of March, 1993, the group of volunteers was not carrying fire-arms, as Petrovic had warned them about possible checks in the train and at the border ... in Bajina Basta."
Would you agree with me, Mr. Witness, that this description is consistent with what you were doing and what others were doing, i.e., preventing men from entering Bosnia carrying weapons or ammunition and the like, in 1993 and 1992?
A. Yes, that's correct.
[Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
MR. JORDASH: Now, could we have on the screen, P3119.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Jordash, I'm interrupting you 19532 to tell you the following.
The documents that you wanted to be admitted through a bar table motion are not there. There's one testimony; is that right?
MR. JORDASH: No. They're all reports from the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] It would seem that that's not the case though.
So do we have 1D107; is that right?
MR. JORDASH: No. 2D107.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar will verify. Can you please check, Mr. Registrar.
[Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very good. You gave us the right number, so you may proceed.
MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Your Honour.
Q. Let me take you, please, to P3119. Because what I suggest is that rather than weapons being taken into Bosnia to supply paramilitaries in 1992 and 1993, Bosnia itself was awash with weapons, and paramilitaries obtained their weapons locally.
Are you able to comment on that?
A. Yes. At the time, there were a lot of weapons in Bosnia. And according to the information we had, practically everyone was armed there. So there would not really be any need to transfer weapons across, and I'm not aware of that having been done, in fact.
Q. Let me take -- this is a report of the Independent Battalion, 19533 Skelani, February 1993, as we can see.
MR. JORDASH: And let's go to page 3 of the English, and page 4 of the B/C/S.
Q. And it says there, two-thirds of the way down the page: "Very little attention was devoted to war booty. No records of war booty were kept, and tons of goods were ferried across the Drina river, such as tractors, automobiles, farm machines, livestock," and so on.
MR. JORDASH: And then over the page to page 4 of the English and 5 of the B/C/S.
Q. Situation from 1st of January to 25th of February, 1993. And the paragraph which begins "After the attack by Muslim forces on the 16th of January, 1993," and further down the page, where it says: "When the evacuation began, stories and rumours spread about the VRS General Staff and Republika Srpska Presidency to the effect that someone had sold out this territory, which was followed by a mass laying down of weapons and crossings over into the FRY."
Are you able to confirm these remarks, that, first of all, equipment was being ferried into Serbia, personal belongings, war booty, whether belonging to the person carrying it or not, and, secondly, this mass laying down of weapons in the area covered by the Skelani Independent Battalion Brigade -- sorry Skelani Independent Battalion?
A. Yes. After the 16th of January, people fled from Bosnia en masse. That's well-known.
As for this war plan, I don't know what the plan could be, 19534 because people were taking their personal belongings with them. In fact, that's what they claimed. They said that the belongs were theirs. But as for weapons, the weapons weren't taken over the bridge. That was prohibited. We didn't have any incidents on the border with Bosnia, so these crossings referred to here took place at the bridge that was under the MUP control. So I do know that no one could take weapons across the territory of Serbia. As for war booty, I don't know what is considered to be war booty.
Q. Well, I think you've clarified the issue to a certain degree. What I'm suggesting is the case is that it was impossible for the border to prevent personal items being taken, because an individual could simply claim that the items belonged to them. But what the border could do, the border police and the military, is prevent weapons being brought over into Serbia; correct?
A. Yes, that's correct. As I have said, weapons couldn't be taken over into Serbia.
Q. I'm just going to try and shortcut things.
MR. JORDASH: Let's have P1081 on the screen, please.
Q. And I want to deal with the issue of Vaso Mijovic, what you know about him.
Now, as we can see from this document, 15th of May, 1993, order: 1 there's an order that Mijovic resubordinate himself to the command of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade.
From what you observed, would you agree with me this, as a general proposition, from what you observed: The problem for the VRS at 19535 the time was that groups from within the VRS were prone to removing themselves from subordination and forming into semi-autonomous groups? Is that a general proposition you can agree with?
A. Yes, of course. I could agree with that. That was a problem that we were aware of over there. People would organise themselves to defend their village. They didn't want to be under anyone's command, under the command of the army or the police. They quite simply defended their villages, and they didn't want to engage in the war. But some went. Others said, I'm the commander of the village, I'm defending my village. The other commander in another village would say, I'm defending my village. So it was a permanent problem. They couldn't organise themselves and place themselves under a single command. They persisted in just defending the territory of their own villages. So if that is your question, yes, various groups did exist under their own command, so to speak. There were such groups.
Q. So the suggestion here in this document that at one point Mijovic, who, from other evidence we've been discussing, was a member of the Red Berets, had at one point been a member of the Red Berets under the Bratunac Brigade, or Light Infantry Brigade, then he'd left, and then there was an order to resubordinate himself to the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, which he then did, would be consistent with your understanding of how it worked with many of the paramilitaries?
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Yes, Ms. Harbour.
MS. HARBOUR: I'm finding it a little hard to follow these compound questions. I'm not sure if it might be also the case with the 19536 witness.
MR. JORDASH: Well, let me simplify it.
Q. This document suggests that Mijovic was subordinated to the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, left, and then was ordered to return. That is consistent with what happened with many of the paramilitaries which formed in this area at that time.
Do you agree?
A. I don't personally know anything about Vasilije Mijovic, but I'm familiar with that case over there. I know that they would be placed under one command and then they would leave. When another unit appeared, they would then join that unit. And then when that unit left, they would return to their previous units. I'm familiar with that phenomenon, so to speak, but I don't know about this particular individual. But I do know that such things did occur.
MR. JORDASH: Your Honour, I think, because of the time, what I'd like to do is, it's our submission that when one puts together the various documents which deal with the Red Berets in Bratunac with the documents relating to Vaso Mijovic, one can see precisely what happened and where Vaso Mijovic obtained his weapons and ammunition to be able to set himself up for -- as a semi-autonomous unit for approximately three to four months in 1993. And I would like to bar table, if possible, documents which fill in the gap, which exists at the moment in the documents which reflect -- which would reflect that story. If I may then apply to bar table D188, which was MNA'd, which is 30th of June, 1993, which is an order to prepare -- from the command of 19537 the Drina Corps to the command of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, for Mijovic to prepare his reconnaissance and sabotage unit to be under the command of Mijovic but to be subordinated, once again, to the Light Infantry Brigade.
And, similarly, D186, MNA, which is 19th of April, 1993, which is a document which reflects the -- a similar attempt to resubordinate Mijovic.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Jordash, maybe you could make a submission later on or produce these documents later on, because -- when the witness is gone, because the witness told us that he did not know Mr. Miomir [as interpreted], so maybe that's the way to proceed.
MR. JORDASH: [Previous translation continues] ... Your Honour, I'll do that.
May I just -- this is about Mijovic, but I want to ask about the principle, then I've finished.
Could I have, please P1585, and it's B/C/S page 32. And it's from -- could this to be under seal, please. And it's from a personnel file relating to Mijovic. It's supposed to be Mijovic's DB file, according to the Prosecution. And it shows Mijovic being stopped at the border crossing at Mali Zvornik, and Mijovic getting out of his vehicle and asking if he could use the official telephone to call Sokolovic, minister of interior, and not being permitted to.
Q. And I -- whilst it's not strictly necessary for you to look at it, I want you just to orientate yourself.
MR. JORDASH: Perhaps I can shortcut things. We are running out 19538 of time.
Q. Would you agree with me that nobody, as far as you were aware, had privileged status at the border to bring in weapons and ammunition from Serbia to Bosnia, or vice versa? And I include in that Mijovic.
A. As I have said, at our border crossing at Skelani, no one could carry over weapons. While I was at the watch-tower, I am positive that during that period no one carried weapons and military equipment over the bridge. As I have said already, we were in contact with the police working there, and they, too, told me about it, saying that nobody could bring weapons.
I agree with you that everyone enjoyed the same status, i.e., that no one was authorised to bring weapons across the border.
Q. And you were never asked, were you, to look out for a particular Serbian MUP group and make sure that they could cross unhindered without -- with their weapons or ammunition or supplies such as that; is that correct?
A. I'm afraid I didn't quite understand the question.
Q. You were never asked, were you, to allow any Serbian MUP unit to cross the border whilst carrying weapons and ammunition from Serbia into Bosnia?
A. No. No one of asked any such thing of me.
Q. Thank you.
MR. JORDASH: I've got no further questions.
Q. Thank you, Witness.
MR. JORDASH: Thank you, Your Honours. 19539 Your Honours, would Your Honours excuse me? I have to leave. I've -- Mr. Martin will cover Mr. Stanisic's interests.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Mr. Bakrac, do you have any questions in re-direct for this witness?
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes. Certainly, Your Honour. I have additional questions. With your leave, of course.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very good. And how much time would you need?
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm afraid I will barely finish by the end of this session. But I'll try to do everything in my power to conclude by 7.00.
[Trial Chamber confers]
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] May I ask Ms. Harbour if she will have any other questions later, eventually? I don't know if you are able to answer now, but I'm putting the question to you nevertheless.
MS. HARBOUR: [Microphone not activated] ... no questions arising.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] For now.
MS. HARBOUR: [Microphone not activated] ... no questions for now. I'm sorry, my microphone is not working.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] We heard you. Thank you. Mr. Bakrac, if you could finish just a few minutes before the end of the hearing, that would really be great, because the Judges would also like to put a few questions to the witness. Would you be able to conclude before the end, a few minutes before the end? 19540 And I would also like to add -- or ask you, rather, if the next witness is already here.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I'll do my best, although I'm not sure I'll succeed. I believe there are many important questions. And we have the next witness waiting. But I'm not certain I'll be able to cover all important questions I have.
Well, I'll try. Perhaps we can start.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Very well. Please proceed. Re-examination by Mr. Bakrac:
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, could we look at 2D525. My learned friend Ms. Harbour asked you about your marriage to a certain Aleksandra Bugarski. Can you tell us if you are still married? In other words, when did you marry Aleksandra Bugarski? And if you divorced her, when was that?
A. I am no longer married to Aleksandra Bugarski. We divorced in early 2000, I believe, after about a year and a half of being married.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, I have a decision here on the divorce of Mr. Franko Simatovic and Sanja Simatovic, maiden name Bugarski. As stated here, it was on the 11th of September, 1996. If we scroll up, we can see in the statement of reasons that the marriage was concluded on the 9th of July, 1995. It means that it lasted for just over a year.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] In the transcript, I can see that the marriage was concluded on the 9th of July, 1995. And the divorce occurred in 1996. On the 11th of September. 19541
Q. During this period, did you know Sanja Bugarski?
A. I did not.
Q. Did you know your future wife Aleksandra Bugarski whom you married later on? Did you know her during this time?
A. No. As I've said, I only met her in 1998, when we also became married.
Q. When you became married, was Aleksandra Bugarski or members of her family, in any kind of contact with Franko Simatovic?
A. I don't know about that. They never mentioned being in contact with him. Sanja had divorced him, and for them it was over.
Q. Did you ever, on that basis, the basis that you married the sister later on, did you ever meet with Franko Simatovic?
A. No, never.
Q. Thank you.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we next look at D456.
Before that, could we have this judgement, which is on our 65 ter list be -- could we have it admitted in this case.
MS. HARBOUR: Would you let us know what the provenance of this --
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Ms. Harbour.
MS. HARBOUR: -- is?
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour. Your Honour, after a divorce, a copy of decisions kept by the partners, or the former partners, that's how it was provided to us by Franko Simatovic. Should 19542 you require any further explanation, we can receive appropriate documents from the court.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Ms. Harbour, I don't think that a divorce judgement can be challenged.
MS. HARBOUR: [Previous translation continues] ... no objection, Your Honour.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Registrar, could we have an exhibit number, please. This will be MFI'd because the document hasn't been translated.
THE REGISTRAR: [Microphone not activated]
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise about having it translated. It any case, it will be done.
Next could we please go to D456.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, my learned friend asked you --
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It is under seal. This document is under seal, and I would kindly ask that it not be broadcast to the public.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues] ... document. As far as the divorce judgement is concerned, Registrar, your voice hasn't been recorded because your microphone was off. Could you repeat the number, please.
THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, 65 ter number 2D525 will be marked for identification as D871.
JUDGE PICARD: [No interpretation] [Overlapping speakers] ...
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my learned colleague is 19543 telling me that we do have a judgement of -- do have a translation of this judgement and that it has been uploaded into e-court. But not to waste any time on that, could we have D456, page 43 in B/C/S and 41 in the English version.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, during your examination-in-chief you testified that you met three men at Petrova Gora. Once you returned to Serbia, they became members of the JATD.
My learned friend showed you documents concerning Mico Petrakovic and Zoran Gulic. I would kindly ask you to look at this. This document comes from the personnel file of Dusan Momcilovic. It seems that it is a statement signed on has behalf in the presence of two witnesses. It is stated here that he was permanently employed with the RSK MUP and the Glina SUP between the 26th of June, 1991, and 5 August 1995. Could we please go to the bottom of the page so that you can see the signature on the left-hand side.
Momcilovic, Dusan. Given that you say you met them at Petrova Gora between late April and late July 1995, does this fact, that Dusan Momcilovic was employed with the Glina SUP, correspond with what you heard from your superior or from them at Petrova Gora?
A. Yes. My superior told me that they were from the RSK MUP and that they were subordinated to the Pauk Command. That's what I needed to know, and that's what he told me.
Q. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Plahuta.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have P399 next. 19544
Q. Mr. Plahuta, I'll try to refresh your memory while we are waiting for the document.
It is entitled: "Report on the Establishment of Units for Special Purposes, the Red Berets of the MUP of Serbia in Skelani." There was an abbreviation that was mentioned in this context and some discussion about the document itself.
Could we look at the penultimate paragraph from the bottom. I'll read it out. It says:
"Lately, the unit has spent some time in the area of the dry border in the area of Visegrad."
My question is this: Visegrad and the dry border, is it in the Republic of Serbia or in Republika Srpska?
A. Visegrad is a town in Republika Srpska, of course.
Q. This document is dated the 15th of May, 1993. Which institutions existed in Visegrad at the time - those of Republika Srpska or the Republic of Serbia?
A. Of Republika Srpska.
Q. I'll keep reading: "They returned to the camp on the 14th of May..."
So they returned, it seems, "... from Visegrad on the 14th of May, 1993, and refused to be placed under the command of the Skelani Independent Battalion, saying that only the RS MUP can command them, because that is what they had been told when they -- before they returned to Skelani."
Do you allow for the possibility that this abbreviation, MUP RS, 19545 suggests the MUP of Republika Srpska?
A. Well, my reading of the context would that it is the Republika Srpska MUP.
As for the SBS abbreviation, it is very likely the Skelani Independent Battalion.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, this document is dated the 15th of May, 1993.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we next move to P387 concerning this topic. It is dated the 17th of June, 1993, that is to say, a month following this document.
Q. The SB Skelani Command issued this report on combat readiness. In item 1 - look at the last bullet point - it says: "I had a conversation with Mr. Markovic, Goran Markovic, deputy commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija-Bircani detachment of the special brigade of the MUP RS (a headache)."
My question is this: The Sarajevo-Romanija-Bircani detachment of the special brigade of the MUP RS, this term, or geographical designation, "Sarajevo-Romanija-Bircani," does it tell you that it concerns the MUP of the Republic of Serbia or Republika Srpska?
A. The MUP of Republika Srpska. Sarajevo and Romanija are in Bosnia, and it's only logical that it is the Republika Srpska MUP.
Q. Then it continues: "At my insistence, Markovic reported that 57 military conscripts of the Skelani Battalion (Crvena Beretka) were formed into a special platoon that joined the Srb detachment of the Misa Pelemis company." Did you ever here, of the Sarajevo-Romanija-Bircani of the 19546 special brigade of the MUP of Republika Srpska, that there was certain Misa Pelemis and his company as part of that formation?
A. I am unaware of that.
Q. If I understood you properly, you are not aware of Misa Pelemis?
A. Well, your question was whether I had ever heard of him, and my answer is no.
Q. What about later when you became member of the JATD? You did not encounter such a person in the JATD?
Did you hear your colleagues mention a certain Misa Pelemis?
A. No. This is the first time I hear of that first and last name.
Q. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Plahuta.
I'll go back to P399; the first paragraph. The document titled: "Formation of the Red Berets
Special-Purposes Unit of the MUP in Skelani." Well, it says the following:
"The Red Berets unit was established on the 8th of June, 1992. It had 20 military conscripts and was under the command of three instructors who trained the soldiers. The unit continued to grow, and there are 50 soldiers in the camp in the school now. "Since September 1992, only persons who did not complete their military service have been sent to the Red Berets unit in order to - text missing - through basic military training."
I read out this portion. Please bear it in mind.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] And I wish to go to P2104 next. It 19547 is dated the 3rd of August, 1992.
There was some mention that in June 1992 a training camp was established at the school facility with three instructors.
Q. Have a look at this document sent by Drago Nikolic, desk clerk or desk officer, who sent it to the commander of the East Bosnia Corps. The title is: "Operations by Red Berets Units in the Ranks of the Army of the SRBH."
The first paragraph reads: "At the beginning of June 1992" -- in the previous document, we saw that the unit was establish on the 8th of June. "At the beginning of June 1992, a training camp was organised in the Serbian municipality of Skelani for members of the Serbian army from a few municipalities in the Birac region. The camp was managed by a certain Pupovac, from Captain Dragan's group, who hails from the Knin Krajina. All those attending the training in the camp received food from the army and they have enhanced nutrition. Apart from exercises to improve their physical condition and endures, they have only had a few sessions of firing practice and a couple of tactical exercises. After completion of the training of the first group of camp attendees, the camp continued its activity and the group that had completed --"
THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: the groups that had completed training.
Q. "... returned to their home municipalities." Mr. Plahuta, did you know that in the school in Skelani there was a training camp for certain people?
A. Yes. We were aware of that camp in late 1992, when I transferred 19548 to the watch-tower. We were informed that there was a training camp accommodating members from Republika Srpska. We needed to know about them so that in case of significant movements we should not be alarmed or resort to weapons, since the school was visible from our side. It was some two kilometres away from the bridge in Skelani. We could see it. It was in Bosnia. And we knew there was a training camp in the school training their police or army.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Ms. Harbour.
MS. HARBOUR: I've been very hesitant to object just because of the time, but I do want to remind everyone that this is re-direct and there have been some very leading questions, as well as in this instance, putting a number of documents to the witness before asking him about the issue, whereas usually the practice is the reverse.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] You are quite right. You are quite right.
Mr. Bakrac, I know that you're pressed for time, that you're trying to do your best, but please try not to put any leading questions.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's the reason. But if you have a look at the summary for this witness -- well, perhaps I omitted to mention this in my direct examination, but this is reaction to the cross-examination, but if you have a look at the summary for this witness, it says that this witness knows that in the Bajina Basta area near Skelani there were refugees from Krajina. And also that there was training camp for the police of Republika Srpska which was located in the Skelani school where there was also a playground. 19549
Q. So, Mr. Plahuta, my question is: Are you sure that that centre for training in the school was used for the police or for the army?
A. It was a centre for the police from Republika Srpska. That was the centre located in the school.
Q. In the summary you said that you knew that there were some refugees there. Do you know where those refugees were from, and do you know their names?
A. I don't know their names, but I do know that the refugees were --
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Ms. Harbour.
MS. HARBOUR: I unfortunately object to this line of questioning because the summary is not in evidence. If you'd like to elicit this evidence from the witness, that would be another matter.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my learned colleague tried, in the course of her cross-examination, to link up a group of the Red Berets from Skelani with the DB in Serbia with our client, Simatovic. I'm now trying to use these documents to establish what this witness knows about this issue, and I'm also showing that in his summary he had information about some individuals who stayed in the school.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] I understand. But we don't have the summary of his statement, so the question you are putting to him at the moment are closed questions.
So please pay more attention to the way in which you put your questions.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I will, Your Honours. I thought that in the request to add this witness there was also a summary 19550 included. But I do apologise. I'll bear this in mind.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, let's now have a look at exhibit -- before we have look at the exhibit, my question, Mr. Plahuta, is as follows: Along the border along the Drina in Bajina Basta was there a lorry of some kind with an antenna that moved along with the border?
A. You mean with antenna for electronic surveillance? Yes. A lorry for electronic surveillance did appear from time to time.
Q. Thank you. Mr. Plahuta, let's please have a look at Exhibit 3119 now.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, I apologise, Your Honours. Exhibit P3118.
Q. Mr. Plahuta, here mention was made of the Udar operation in 1993, and my learned colleague showed you an analysis of the combat conducted under the code-name Udar.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Let's please have a look at the next page.
Q. First of all, I'd like to ask you the following: It says in order to carry out Operation Udar certain forces should be engaged. Under (a), from the corps; and under (b), from outside the corps. Please have a look at this document and tell me whether you can see the Red Beret unit from the Serbian MUP mentioned anywhere here?
A. I can't see it anywhere.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I asked for the next page.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see anything here. I can't see that here, but I don't know whether I have the right document in 19551 front of me.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we see the next page in the B/C/S version, please.
Q. Here we can see the Vlasenica military platoon. It's outside the corps formation. The VRS Sabotage Detachment. The Main Staff VRS sabotage detachment. And do you see the Red Berets from Skelani anywhere here?
A. No, I don't.
Q. Can you tell me whether you know who was present? We can see that the combat is under the command of Lieutenant Dragomir Milosevic in this operation order. Do you know which unit he was a member of and which army?
A. No, I don't know. As I said, before this Operation Udar, I similarly couldn't say.
Q. Thank you, Mr. Plahuta. Mr. Plahuta, can you tell me, my learned colleague asked you about your personnel file and asked you about the Official Note according to which you were suspected of smoking grass and so on and so forth. Did anyone ever see you acting in this way or --
A. Well, so that you don't have to go on, I can quite simply say that I have never smoked grass. No one ever saw me doing that. No one every found any opiates of any kind on me. I never used any such opiates.
Q. If this had been found on you, given the code that the unit abides by and given the regulations, would disciplinary procedures have 19552 been initiated against you?
A. Yes. And I would have been removed from the unit forthwith.
Q. You said that you assumed that this report was made because you had a scarf with the American flag on it and you wore an earring. Did you dress in that way when you were on duty in the unit, or did you dress in that way when you went to town?
A. When I was on duty I would never dress like that. When I was on duty, I was always dressed in accordance with the regulations. But what I wore in my free time is the manner in which I went to town.
Q. Given the allegations made by certain individuals with regard to you, were any proceedings initiated against you, and were you held to account because of the criticisms levelled at you?
A. No, I was never head to account for anything of that kind. You can check this. I was never punished, although it says so. I was never punished, and nothing was ever deducted from my salary as a form of punishment.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Mr. Bakrac, it is 7.00 p.m.
MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, I see that, Your Honour. I'm looking at two documents. My colleague Jordash examined the witness with regard to those documents. Both were P documents. I think that we can deal with them in the analysis. I don't think we need the witness for this, so I will leave these two documents out for the moment. And thank you for the time you granted me. That's all I had for this witness.
JUDGE PICARD: [Interpretation] Thank you. 19553 Do you wish to ask any further questions or not? That's fine.
MS. HARBOUR: [Previous translation continues] ... Your Honour.
[Trial Chamber confers] Questioned by the Court:
JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you were shown a document, D860, which then had a bad translation - but a better translation has been prepared meanwhile, Mr. Bakrac - dealing with a request from the Zvornik Light Infantry Brigade to the command of the 72nd Special Brigade to provide red berets.
Do you remember that document? Otherwise perhaps it could be shown. D860.
A. Yes, I remember that document.
JUDGE ORIE: It -- it mentions the Podrinje detachment, numbering 350 soldiers. Do you know whether the Podrinje detachment -- do you know anything about the Podrinje detachment?
A. As I have said, no. I don't know anything about them. They were downstream from where we were located. Bratunac is 50 or 60 kilometres from Bajina Basta, and Zvornik is almost 100 kilometres from Bajina Basta.
JUDGE ORIE: Have you ever heard of the Drina Wolves?
A. Yes, I've heard of them. I never actually had contact with them, but I did hear about the existence of such a unit.
JUDGE ORIE: Have you ever heard of a Podrinje detachment being called the Drina Wolves?
A. I wouldn't know which unit went by that name. I don't know. 19554
JUDGE ORIE: I then take it that you're unfamiliar with the -- where the soldiers came from which were serving in the Podrinje detachment?
A. No, I know nothing about that.
JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
[Trial Chamber confers]
JUDGE ORIE: There are no further questions apparently, unless the questions of the Bench have triggered any.
This concludes your testimony. I'd like to thank you very much for coming a long way to The Hague and for answering all the questions that were put to you by the parties and by the Bench, and I wish you a safe return home again, Mr. Plahuta.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to thank you, too, for the warm welcome I received in your country and for the fact that I was able to assist both parties in these proceedings.
JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll adjourn for the day. And we will resume on -- let me have a look. I think it would be the 22nd of May, at 9.00 in the morning, in this same courtroom, II.
We stand adjourned.
[The witness withdrew]
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.06 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 22nd day
of May, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.