LIEUTENANT COLONEL SEL'S WORKBOOK
At the beginning of the cross-examination, the prosecutor asked Milosevic's defense witness if he had had any written notes on the activities of his company. The witness denied this, but just as the session was drawing to a close, he blurted out that he had had his "workbook". The Chamber then issued an urgent order for the workbook of Lt-Col Janos Sel to appear in The Hague by tomorrow
Janos Sel, defense witness for Milosevic
Lieutenant Colonel Janos Sel commanded a company in the 2nd Battalion, 549th Motorized Brigade during the conflict in Kosovo. The commanders of those two units, Colonel Vukovic and General Delic, already testified as Slobodan Milosevic's defense witnesses. In his examination-in-chief, he spoke about the involvement of his company in the action to rout the "Siptar terrorist forces" carried out by the VJ and the Interior Ministry in late March 1999 in the areas of Orahovac, Bela Crkva and Velika Krusa.
According to the indictment and prosecution witnesses, after NATO launched air strikes, VJ and Serbian MUP /Interior Ministry/ forces shelled villages, burned and plundered houses and killed and expelled civilians in that area. Lt-Col Sel claims that none of the allegations are true, that his company merely passed through Bela Crkva and that his tanks only opened fire o "terrorist strongholds" and their "firing positions" in the villages of Celine and Donje Retimlje.
Lt-Col Sel countered the claims made by prosecution witnesses about the destruction of the old mosque in the village of Celine. According to him, this is not true, because there was no mosque in the village. Although the prosecutor showed him a photograph of the destroyed mosque in the cross-examination – the mosque had been first set on fire and then razed to the ground by a bulldozer – Sel maintained that "there was no mosque in Celine". He added that the rubble "looks more like the aftermath of an air strike".
At the beginning of the cross-examination, prosecutor Nice asked Lt-Col Sel, as he had his superiors, General Delic and Colonel Vukovic, if he had any notes from the relevant time that would relate to the activities of his unit. The witness replied that as a company commander, he had not kept a war logbook, but that he had submitted oral or written reports to the battalion commander, who put together the reports from all the companies and forwarded them to the superior command. He added that the company commanders' reports had been destroyed once they had been entered into the battalion report.
As today's session was drawing to a close, it turned out that the witness, in his capacity of company commander, had kept a "workbook" in which he had been describing all his activities during the day. It also transpired that the workbook was then filed in the unit command. Milosevic tried to explain this away as a "misunderstanding", claiming that Nice asked him about "documents". According to him, "a workbook is not a document". The witness accepted with alacrity Milosevic's interpretation, but this did not help. because the prosecutor quoted that part of the cross-examination from the transcript. After the first question about "a document from the relevant time", there followed a series of questions about "written notes". The witness denied their existence. When Judge Bonomy asked him why he had not said anything about the "workbook", Lt-Col Sel said no one had asked him anything about it.
After the witness said his 1999 notebooks were kept in the archive of the command in Leskovac, the prosecutor asked the Chamber to issue an order to the Belgrade authorities to fax the photocopies to The Hague by tomorrow and the Chamber complied. Nice will this be able to question Lt-Col Sel about their contents.
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- 2005-11-21 SICK LEAVE FOR MILOSEVIC
- 2005-12-01 GENERAL JELIC: "NOT A CHANCE OF SOMEONE FIRING AT CIVILIANS "
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