Written by: Andy Wilcoxson

Mr. Nice concluded his cross-examination of Col. Vlatko Vukovic on Wednesday. The cross-examination was marked by heated exchanges between the witness and the prosecutor.

Mr. Nice asked the witness several questions about the events in Velika Krusa. According to the indictment, Serbian police entered the village on March 25, 1999 and rounded up some 105 Albanian men. The indictment goes on to allege that the men were locked in a house, covered with hay, doused with gasoline, and set on fire.

Col. Vukovic testified that his unit was in Velika Krusa on March 25th and that nothing like that happened.

Mr. Nice continued his campaign by reading a statement that the OTP had taken from a man who they did not call as a witness. This man claimed to have survived being locked in the house referred to by the indictment and set on fire.

In this man’s statement he said that he had seen Serbian police driving tanks outside of Velika Krusa. Col. Vukovic pointed out that the police did not have tanks. He also pointed out that nobody can see who is driving a tank from the outside, because tanks are armor plated and don’t have windows.

Mr. Nice ended his cross-examination by accusing the witness of “lying and lying again” to cover-up his complicity in crimes allegedly committed in Kosovo. The witness responded in kind by accusing the prosecutor of being a liar, which drew a rebuke from the judges who employ the double standard of allowing the prosecutor to insult witnesses, but not the witnesses to insult the prosecutor.

Mr. Nice argued that the use of the term “cleansing” contained in the witness’s war diary actually referred to ethnic cleansing, and not to the removal of enemy forces as claimed by the witness.

During Milosevic’s re-examination of Col. Vukovic, he highlighted several orders that were given to the witness’s unit. The orders explicitly called for “Shiptar terrorist forces” to be searched out and destroyed.

Milosevic compared the orders with the war diary and the situation became crystal clear. When Col. Vukovic wrote that a village had been “cleansed” he meant that it had been cleansed of the Albanian terrorists that he had been ordered to search out and destroy, not that it had been ethnically cleansed, or cleansed of civilians.

Milosevic asked questions about the village of Bela Crkva, which Mr. Nice says was attacked and ethnically cleansed by Col. Vukovic’s unit on March 25, 1999. Vukovic denied that there was any action in Bela Crkva on March 25th. He said that his unit passed through the village without incident and without even getting out of their vehicles. To corroborate his testimony he brought contemporaneous documents such as his war diary, and combat reports.

Mr. Nice had claimed that a prosecution witness had seen a Yugoslav Army captain with 3 stars sewn on his uniform taking part in the attack on Bela Crkva. Under questioning from Milosevic, Col. Vukovic explained that nobody could have seen that because combat uniforms were used during the war. Only the dress uniforms had the star insignia sewn on them. Additionally, the soldier would have been wearing a flack jacket which would have covered the insignia in the unlikely event that he was wearing his dress uniform in the field.

Col. Vukovic was questioned by Milosevic regarding the publication “As Seen As Told,” which was heavily relied on by Mr. Nice during the cross-examination. Milosevic asked if any of what was written about the areas where he served was true.

At this point Judge Bonamy intervened, completely out of left field, saying that the question was foolish because the witness would have had to be in every part of Kosovo at once in order to answer.

Milosevic calmly repeated the question, which was; Was anything that “As Seen As Told” wrote about the areas where Col. Vukovic served true? The witness responded that almost none of what was written in the book was true, but this latest episode raises certain questions about the mental competence of Judge Bonamy.

Judge Bonamy frequently loses the point of the most obvious discussion. At one point during Wednesday’s hearing the witness commented that Islamic fundamentalism constituted a significant danger to world peace. Judge Bonamy angrily responded that he did not share the witness’s view. Bonamy proceeded to base his position on the fact that not all Muslims support terrorism. Of course the witness never said that all Muslims supported terrorism. The witness explicitly used the term “Islamic fundamentalist,” he never insinuated anything against Muslims as a group.

While Milosevic was comparing the orders with the war diary Judge Bonamy absolutely could not understand the point, even though it was easy as pie to understand. The witness was ordered to search out and destroy terrorists in certain villages, and when he completed his orders he would write in his war diary that the village had been “cleansed,” cleansed of the terrorist forces that he had been sent there to find and destroy.

The simplest of concepts escape Judge Bonamy’s understanding. The man is constantly making foolish interventions. When you hear the dumb things that come out of his mouth you just have to be amazed that he ever got to be a judge in the first place.

Milosevic has nearly completed Col. Vukovic's re-examination, and is expected to conclude it during the first session of the next hearing, which is scheduled for Wednesday, November 9th.

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