1 Wednesday, 5 March 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
8 And good morning to you, sir. Would you please stand and read
9 aloud the affirmation on the card that is given to you now.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. Good morning.
11 I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
12 and nothing but the truth.
13 WITNESS: NIKOLCE GROZDANOVSKI
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down. I believe
16 Mr. Apostolski has some questions for you.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
18 Examination by Mr. Apostolski:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness Nikolce Grozdanovski.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. We know each other, but I would like to officially present myself.
22 My name is Antonio Apostolski, and together with my colleague Jasmina
23 Zivkovic, we are defending Mr. Tarculovski.
24 Before I start my questioning, I would like to point out one
25 thing. The two of us speak the same language, but I would kindly ask you
1 to make a pause between answering and questioning, so that your answers
2 can be translated in order that everybody the courtroom understand what we
3 are talking about.
4 Do you understand this?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. Could you give me your name, please.
7 A. My name is Nikolce Grozdanovski.
8 Q. When were you born?
9 A. I was born on 11th of January, 1969.
10 Q. Could you tell me your marital status, please.
11 A. I'm married. I am a father of two children.
12 Q. Could you tell me if this is the first time that you speak about
13 the events in Ljuboten and Ljubanci in August 2001?
14 A. No, it is not my first time. I have spoken twice, with the
15 Prosecutor and once with you.
16 Q. When you were called by the Prosecution, did they tell you in
17 which capacity they wanted you to speak?
18 A. No. I just had a phone call through a colleague of mine, and I
19 called myself, the Prosecutor. And when I came to see the Prosecutor, I
20 was told that I'm in the process as a suspect.
21 Q. Did you finish the conversation with the Prosecutor?
22 A. When I was called the second time, I was told that I would be
23 called again and that I should be thinking or recalling the situations,
24 because I might be called again, but I was never called again.
25 Q. Could you please tell me about your education?
1 A. I have a university degree, meaning I graduated from the Military
3 Q. When and where did you finish from the Military Academy?
4 A. I graduated the academy in Belgrade in 1991.
5 Q. Which department?
6 A. Artillery.
7 Q. Have you ever been convicted?
8 A. No, no.
9 Q. Are you a member of any political party?
10 A. No, I'm not a member of any political party.
11 Q. Could you tell me what you work now?
12 A. Now I am working in the crisis management centre as an official.
13 Q. Could you please explain whether that is within the army of the
14 Republic of Macedonia?
15 A. No. The crisis management centre is a government institution and
16 is not a part of the army or the Ministry of Defence.
17 Q. That means that you are not an army official now?
18 A. That is correct. Now I'm not an army officer.
19 Q. Could you tell me when you left the army of the Republic of
21 A. I left the army of the Republic of Macedonia on the 1st of
22 October, 2005.
23 Q. Which position and rank did you hold then?
24 A. My last duty in the army was artillery officer in the General
25 Staff, and I had the rank of major.
1 Q. Could you tell me whether you had any combat experience during
2 your army career?
3 A. Yes, I had combat experience. The first one being in Croatia in
4 Koprivnica in 1991 and then in the Republic of Macedonia as well.
5 Q. When you say "Republic of Macedonia," which period do you refer
7 A. My first combat experience was in March 2001, and then in August
9 Q. Could you tell me, in the summer of 2001 what were you doing?
10 A. In the summer of 2001, since June, I was the commander of a mortar
11 battery in the 3rd Guardist Brigade.
12 Q. Where was the 3rd Guardist Battalion stationed?
13 A. The 3rd Guardist Battalion was stationed around the village of
14 Ljuboten, on the foothills of the mountain Skopska Crna Gora.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction line 11 should be 3rd
16 Guardist Battalion instead of Guardist Brigade.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Could you tell me where your battery was stationed?
19 A. The soldiers were accommodated in the children's rest house above
20 the village of Ljuboten, and the battery's position was just above the
21 children's rest room, near the monastery.
22 Q. Who was your superior?
23 A. My immediate superior and the commander of the 3rd Guardist
24 Battalion was Major Despodov Mitre.
25 Q. Can you tell me who was the major's superior?
1 A. Major's superior, as well as my superior, was Colonel Blazo
3 Q. Where was the battalion's headquarters in the summer of 2001?
4 A. The headquarters was in the school in the village of Ljubanci.
5 Q. What kind of communication did you have between the children's
6 rest home and the battalion's headquarters?
7 A. There was a wire communication and mobile phone communication.
8 Q. Could you describe the wire communication setting and how did the
9 communication function?
10 A. The links were set in a way that from the commanding post we had a
11 wire that went to the children's rest home and in the rest home there was
12 a station that divided the links towards the positions where the soldiers
13 were. So all positions were connected with wire through the switch
14 operating station and that is how we functioned.
15 As pertains the mobile phone communication, we used them only in
16 emergencies, whenever the need would arise, and sometimes the soldiers'
17 families or relatives would call or the soldiers used them to call home.
18 Q. Did your soldiers have mobile phones at the time?
19 A. At the time, not all of them had mobile phones. Very rare were
20 the soldiers that had mobile phones because they were very expensive at
21 the time.
22 Q. We are talking about the year of 2001, right?
23 A. Yes. One mobile phone cost 600 Deutschemarks at the time and it
24 was very expensive for a soldier to have a mobile phone.
25 Q. Could you tell me what kind of mortars your battery had at the
2 A. My battery had 120-millimetre mortars, M38 and M43.
3 Q. What kind of range?
4 A. The range was 6.500 metres.
5 Q. Were there any other mortars within the battery?
6 A. Yes, there were other mortars as well. 82 millimetres. They were
7 within the 1st infantry squad where Jurisic Mario was the commander.
8 Q. Did you have any optical instruments for monitoring?
9 A. Yes. My battery had binoculars and artillery Busola. So the
10 snipers were used for observing and for night observing we had one night
11 binocular within the first companion [as interpreted].
12 Q. Where did you have the night binoculars?
13 A. It was on the Zdravec position. That is where it's located.
14 Q. Could you tell me what observation posts your battery had at the
16 A. There was only one observation post on the location of Zdravec,
17 and one reserve observation post on the position of Smok.
18 Q. Could you explain to me in more details what your answer means?
19 A. It means that in the positions Zdravec we had two soldiers that
20 were on a shift around the clock, and on the position Smok we didn't have
21 any soldiers. We only had wire communication because that was a reserve
22 observation post. On Zdravec we always had soldiers that were
23 continuously linked.
24 Q. Did I understand well that your battery had the Smok position as a
25 reserve observation post?
1 A. Yes, that is correct.
2 Q. Whose observation point was Smok?
3 A. The position Smok was the observation point of the 1st infantry
4 company. They had their soldiers there.
5 Q. Did you, in the course of the day, have soldiers there, from the
6 1st Infantry Company?
7 A. Yes. There were -- there was -- this position was always manned,
8 around the clock.
9 Q. Can you tell me about the soldiers of your battery, whether they
10 were regular soldiers of the army of the Republic of Macedonia?
11 A. No. My unit was composed exclusively of reservists who were
12 called in through the municipality to come in for duty.
13 Q. Did you have active officers in your battery?
14 A. I had one active officer. This was lieutenant Slavco Buteloski
15 [phoen] and one -- and one other officer.
16 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not get the name of the
18 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
19 Q. How were your soldiers trained?
20 A. The reservists were persons who had served the army in the
21 artillery department. Previously they had had experience in serving the
23 Q. Once they came to you, did you organise any additional training?
24 A. Yes. We organised training to -- for the use of personal weapons
25 and other tools. After the training they were taken to a firing range to
1 fire with their personal weapons, and then they were taken to Krivolak so
2 they can practice with the mortars.
3 Q. Can you tell me the command system of your battery?
4 A. I was the commander. The lieutenant Slavco commanded with the
5 mortar elements and the Sergeant Igor with the command path, that is to
6 say, the units for the remaining sections. In the activity of the
7 battery, I was at an observation point and I was in command of the fire
8 and they were in the firing position and they commanded the soldiers which
9 were at the firing positions.
10 Q. How did this function in practice? How did you carry out the
11 tasks within your battalion?
12 A. In the need that we would open fire, we would -- I would go to the
13 observation point and see where the enemy was and commanded from there,
14 gave the direction where the fire should be sent. They were on the firing
15 positions, and upon my command, they fired with their weapons.
16 Q. Did your mortars, or were your mortars -- how were they
18 A. The mortars were positioned in three directions, each direction
19 will -- had two mortars, one such direction was towards Crn Kamen, near
20 the village of Brodec. Two mortars were aimed towards Bel Kamen. And one
21 direction with two mortars towards the village of Ljuboten.
22 Q. So did I understand you well: You had therefore six mortars?
23 A. Yes, six.
24 Q. Did you have marked targets placed on your mortars?
25 A. Yes, each direction had a marked target. That is to say,
1 benchmarks, which were visible and were -- and locatable on the map.
2 Q. Which were these benchmarks towards Ljuboten?
3 A. We decided that these benchmarks which could be located on the map
4 would be the church, the mosque, the mask -- the graveyard and the
6 Q. Do you know where the last stop of bus number 57 is?
7 A. Yes. There is at the end of the settlement Radisani, and there's
8 an empty space there and this is where it is located, towards the
9 beginning of the village of Radisani.
10 Q. Can you see from there the position of your battery and the
12 A. No. From this place it is not possible to see it, the position of
13 my battery or to see the mortars. This is not possible from any position
14 lower than the location of my battery, only from the higher elevations
15 such as Zdravec and Bel Kamen.
16 Q. Why is it not possible for it to be seen?
17 A. It is not possible, because the mortars were in a valley. There
18 were higher elevations above it. Therefore, it was not possible for this
19 to be seen from lower positions.
20 Q. Is it possible from any part of Ljuboten or the surroundings of
21 Ljuboten to see the position of your battery where the mortars were?
22 A. No. It was not possible at all to see my position from Ljuboten.
23 From Ljuboten, we -- one could see only the 82-millimetre mortars and the
24 cannons one located at the position Bomba and from the settlement
25 Radisani, these could be seen.
1 Q. If your battery was active, is it possible to see from these
2 position the position of your mortars, in view of the fact that when the
3 mortar is active there is fire?
4 A. No, it was not possible to see it, because these sparks, the fire
5 that is emitted by the mortar, is within one half metre. So, once again,
6 it is not possible to see it from lower positions.
7 Q. Very well. Thank you. Can you tell us why your battalion was
8 deployed in this part of Skopje?
9 A. We were charged with the task to prevent the entry or advancement
10 of the terrorists from the region of Matejce, Vaksince, and Slupcane
11 towards Skopje. Our basic task was to observe and to prevent the entry of
12 terrorists in the city of Skopje.
13 Q. Can you explain to us the general security situation in the region
14 of the 3rd Guardist Battalion in the period of your coming until the 10th
15 of August, 2001?
16 A. As a whole, I can say that it was fine, because we had no combat
17 action. At the same time, the soldiers, on several occasions, were able
18 to observe movements in the slopes above Ljuboten near Ljubotenski Bacila,
19 towards the village of Matejce. Thus, on several occasions, they noted
20 night movements of people and horses. Therefore, this part was not in
21 very good order.
22 Q. You had indications then above all for night movements?
23 A. Yes. Night movements was constant. Also, it was characteristic
24 that vehicles from Skopje towards Ljuboten and in the other direction were
25 noted during the late night hours. Also, in the area of Ljubotenski
1 Bacila, during the night, we noted dogs barking which was a sign that
2 there was presence of other persons there as well. Also, our patrols,
3 which moved in the area above Ljuboten and Ljubotenski Bacila, oftentimes
4 on the roads found bullets along the road.
5 Q. What did this indicate to you?
6 A. This indicated that in this region there were terrorist groups who
7 were moving from the village of Ljuboten towards Matejce and vice versa.
8 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
9 the picture, 65 ter 178, N003-0425.
10 Q. Do you see this photograph in front of you?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Do you recognise this area?
13 A. Yes. This photograph was most probably made from the Smok
15 Q. Can you tell us and to point the locations which you were just
16 speaking about?
17 A. Yes. I see them here.
18 Q. Now the court usher will give you a pen. Can you please mark
19 these locations?
20 A. Yes. The road where we had night movements of horses was the one
21 I'm marking now. And they often used this road as well.
22 The road by which one can go to Ljubotenski Bacila and then on to
23 Matejce by car is the one which the soldiers used, and it's this one which
24 I'm marking.
25 Q. Can you now please with the number 1 mark the first road which you
1 marked on the photograph, and for the purpose of the transcript indicate
2 from where and to where this road leads.
3 A. This road leads from Ljuboten to Ljubotenski Bacila and then
4 continues on to Matejce.
5 Q. Could you now please, with the number 2, mark the second road, and
6 could you tell us from where to where this road leads.
7 A. This road leads from the out-clinic in the village of Ljubanci up
8 until Matejce and one can go on this road by car.
9 Q. You marked yet another road. Could you now tell us, please, and
10 mark this road with the number 3.
11 A. This is a road from the village of Ljuboten to -- leading to
12 Ljubotenski Bacila.
13 Q. Could you now please use an arrow to mark where Ljubotenski Bacila
14 are [as interpreted] located?
15 A. Right here. There in a valley. They cannot be seen from here.
16 There are hills up above. Therefore, one cannot see it, but they're in
17 the valley.
18 Q. Could you now please, next to this marking, post the number 4.
19 A. [Marks]
20 Q. Can you tell us, please, the direction of the village of Ljuboten?
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. Can you mark this with the number 5.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. And could you please mark the direction towards Matejce.
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. Can you explain to us how you marked this with an arrow?
2 A. Matejce is over the hill. You have to go over the hill and go
3 down towards Matejce. After the hill, a kilometre further down, is the
4 village of Matejce.
5 Q. Could you now please above this arrow which you drew and for the
6 purpose of the transcript, mark with the number 6 the direction of --
7 leading towards Matejce.
8 A. [Marks]
9 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us, please, next to the road you marked
10 with the number 3, we can see some houses, it seems. Do you see these
12 A. Yes, I see these houses. They're old and abandoned shepherds
13 which, at the time we were there, were not operational.
14 Q. Could you please mark these shepherds with an X.
15 A. [Marks]
16 Q. And place the number 7 next to them.
17 A. [Marks]
18 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could, Your Honours, put this
19 picture on 65 ter list, because this is a photo that we received from the
20 Prosecution and we would seek to tender this photograph.
21 JUDGE PARKER: The photograph as marked will be received as an
22 exhibit. And the photograph will be added to the 65 ter list,
23 Mr. Apostolski.
24 THE REGISTRAR: The photograph will become Exhibit 2D85, Your
1 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we have the photo removed
2 with all the markings and then have the photograph shown without the
3 markings. This is 65 ter 178, N003-0425.
4 Thank you.
5 Q. You told me that this photograph was made from the position of
6 Smok. Could you, in the left-side corner, mark with number 1, or where
7 the position Smok would be?
8 A. Here, in the left-side corner, maybe more to the left or maybe to
9 the right. But this is the position of Smok more or less.
10 Q. Can one see other positions of the battalions on this photograph?
11 A. Yes. This is -- these are the positions of the 1st Infantry
13 Q. Could you tell me first what are the positions?
14 A. Yes. Positions are Bomba, Mecka, Volk, and Zdravec.
15 Q. I would now like to ask you to mark all of the positions with an X
16 and please put a figure next to the Xs and explain what the positions are
17 as you mark them so that it can be entered in the transcript.
18 A. This is number 2, marking the position of Bomba.
19 Point 3 is the Mecka position.
20 Point 4 is the position Volk.
21 Point 5 marks the position of Zdravec.
22 Point 6 is a protruded point of the position Zdravec.
23 And point 7 is a point of the position Zdravec number 2.
24 Q. Can you mark -- sorry, do you see the position Bel Kamen on this
1 A. Not completely, but it is located in the upper right corner on the
2 top of this hill, on the right side.
3 Q. Could you please mark the position with an arrow.
4 A. Yes. Should I maybe put number 8?
5 Q. Yes, put number 8.
6 A. So near the arrow is the Bel Kamen peak.
7 Q. Can you tell me which position had the best view to the village of
9 A. We had the best view from the position of Smok, because it was the
10 closest point located above the village and we had a complete view of the
12 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
13 have this photograph on the 65 ter list and receive it in evidence.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received and added to the list.
15 THE REGISTRAR: It will become Exhibit 2D86, Your Honours.
16 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Do you regularly visited [as interpreted] the position of Smok?
18 A. Yes. When I was doing visit to my soldiers, I frequently stopped
19 to see the points of the first companion.
20 Q. Can you describe how the position of Smok was organised, how it
21 was prepared?
22 A. The position of Smok was composed of two parts: A bunker which
23 was well equipped and well dug into; and a monitoring post which was
24 located on the cliffs. Both were connected with a trench. A person
25 kneeling down could move along that trench without being seen.
1 Q. How long was the trench?
2 A. Not more than 100 metres.
3 Q. You said that you frequently visited the position of Smok. During
4 your visits, did you observe the village?
5 A. Yes. Frequently we watched the village.
6 Q. While you were watching the village, did you see some typical
7 preparations for combat in the village, such as digging trenches?
8 A. No. We did not notice any fortification in the village. If we
9 had noticed it, we would have reacted, but there was nothing like that in
10 the village.
11 Q. If there had been preparations of that kind, they would have been
12 immediately noticed from the position of Smok. Isn't that right?
13 A. Yes. If there had been any preparations at any point of time, the
14 soldier would say have noticed it and reported to the commanding post.
15 Q. Thank you. Now I'm going to ask you something concrete about the
16 month of August, more particularly, the 10th of August, 2001.
17 Do you remember what happened that day? We are talking about
18 Friday, 10th of August, 2001.
19 A. Yes, I recall that day very well. There was a tragic event when
20 eight soldiers died and other eight were wounded. It was a really
21 gruesome event that shocked us all.
22 Q. Where were you when that happened?
23 A. I was in the rest house at the moment; I was having breakfast.
24 And then the duty officer arrived and informed us that the truck hit a
25 land-mine and the truck was used to transport soldiers from the shift.
1 Q. What did you do when you heard that?
2 A. I gave an order to lieutenant Slavko to go immediately to the fire
3 position and prepare for action and to lieutenant Mario, I ordered to go
4 to his positions together with his soldiers, and I also gave an order to
5 my driver to get prepared and to get the jeep prepared and together with
6 two soldiers and a medical person, I went to the place.
7 Q. And where did you go?
8 A. We went towards Ljubotenski Bacila, and around half an hour later,
9 we stopped about 500 metres away from the Bacila because we were not sure,
10 we thought we might be attacked, so we continued on foot, and after an
11 hour, we arrived to the truck.
12 Q. What did you do when you came on the spot where the mine explosion
14 A. We were the first ones that arrived there, and we saw a shocking
15 sight. The soldiers were scattered around. There were body parts
16 scattered around and the sight was really horrible. We gathered the
17 wounded soldiers closer to us so that they are not attacked. They were
18 dehydrated. They asked for some water, and we were really sorry that we
19 didn't have water with us and they were constantly asking for more water.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Dobbyn.
21 MR. DOBBYN: Yes, Your Honour I am sorry to interrupt.
22 I'm just wondering, this -- the issue of the mine incident is an
23 agreed fact. So I'm just wandering if my learned colleague could explain
24 the relevance of this particular testimony at this point.
25 JUDGE PARKER: The fact that is an agreed fact doesn't mean that
1 it's not relevant. Carry on please, Mr. Apostolski, but of course you've
2 no need to spend a lot of time on this, because there's no dispute.
3 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Yes, my intention was to connect
4 the events in one series.
5 Q. Could you tell me if you gave any orders from that position?
6 A. Yes. I ordered my unit to act in the area of Ardievi Bacila where
7 the fightings were taking place at the moment.
8 Q. While you were on that position, did you have any phone calls?
9 A. Yes. At that time, Mitre Despodov, Colonel Blazo Kopacev, General
10 Sokol called me, they all called me on my mobile phone.
11 Q. Could you explain who General Sokol is?
12 A. General Sokol At the time was the commander of defence of the city
13 of Skopje, and he was commanding all units in and around Skopje.
14 Q. What is his family name?
15 A. Sokol Mitrevski.
16 Q. And when the two of you talked, what did General Sokol Mitrevski
17 tell you?
18 A. First, he asked me about the situation and the incident, and then
19 he gave me an order, if there was a need, to act, and to remove it from
20 the position, because we were expecting a transport vehicle and we had to
21 clear up the place.
22 Q. What was your priority at that time?
23 A. Our priority was to chase out the terrorists or to expel them from
24 the forest, and we had the assistance of the combat helicopter that was
25 flying above the forest at the time.
1 Q. What did you do afterwards?
2 A. After some time, after 12.00, we had the transport helicopter and
3 we put the wounded soldiers on the helicopter, and we loaded the killed on
4 the truck and we returned to the rest house.
5 Q. When did you leave the position of Ljubotenski Bacila, where the
6 mine exploded?
7 A. I think it was around 1.00 and then we went back.
8 Q. Where did you go back?
9 A. First, I stopped at the position of Smok, because Major Mitre
10 Despodov and Colonel Blazo Kopacev were there. I stopped at the position
11 first to explain to them the situation.
12 Q. And where did you go afterwards?
13 A. Then I went to the children's rest house -- no, sorry. First I
14 went to the mortar positions where I spoke with my soldiers, and after
15 that I went to the children's rest house.
16 Q. What was the morale of the soldiers?
17 A. I can say that it wasn't very good. Everybody was sad and the
18 morale was very low at that time.
19 Q. Did you meet with Major Mitre Despodov that Friday?
20 A. Yes. First time, as I said, I met him on the position of Smok and
21 then I met him in the school of the village of Ljubanci.
22 Q. What time was that when you saw him in the school?
23 A. It was about dusk, around 7.00.
24 Q. Could you tell me what the two of you spoke at that meeting?
25 A. All commanders of the battalion companies were present at that
1 meeting and we were giving a report about the situation. We reported
2 about the soldiers that we received, what the current problems were, and
3 we talked about the possibility that there were terrorists in the village
4 and that we should be very attentive and prepared for any provocations.
5 Q. In which village?
6 A. In the village of Ljuboten.
7 Q. Can you tell us, please, where you were on that Friday evening?
8 A. I was at the rest home throughout the whole time of that Friday
10 Q. Can you tell us, please, on Saturday, the 11th of August, 2001,
11 where were you throughout the whole day? Can you describe to us what you
12 did that day?
13 A. Throughout Saturday, I was at my position with the mortars. We
14 were training soldiers, since, on Friday, we received new soldiers and we
15 had to train them how to use their personal weapons and the mortars.
16 Therefore, the whole day, I was at my position.
17 Q. On Saturday evening, could you please tell us where you were then
18 and what did you do?
19 A. I was at the children's rest home that Saturday evening, and
20 nothing in particular happened then.
21 Q. You did not notice anything unusual that Saturday evening?
22 A. No. There was nothing unusual going on.
23 Q. Now I will ask you questions regarding Sunday, the 12th of August,
25 When did you get up on that Sunday, the 12th of August, 2001?
1 A. On the 12th of August, I got up at the regular time, around 6.00
2 a.m. This is my usual waking up time.
3 Q. And what did you do once you got up? What were your activities?
4 A. First, I call in the command, and then the regular things.
5 Preparing with the soldiers, starting from breakfast, change of shifts,
6 the usual things.
7 Q. When you called in to the command can you tell us, please, what
8 did you speak with them about?
9 A. In the morning when we call in we report about the developments
10 during the evenings, if there had been any changes. Since there were no
11 changes, I reported that everything was in good order, and I did not
12 receive any concrete tasks, nor did I have any particular comments.
13 Q. Did anything unusual happen on that Sunday morning?
14 A. Yes. Around 8.00 a.m. Major Despodov Mitre called me and ordered
15 me to go to the Smok position to visit, and for the soldiers to be
16 prepared to act and that we go to the positions where the mortars were.
17 This was so because we heard sporadic fire from the village of Ljuboten.
18 Q. And when you arrived at the Smok position, what did you see?
19 A. When we arrived at the Smok position, the soldier in charge told
20 me that there was fire from houses in front of the church to the left.
21 There were several terrorists who were firing with automatic weapons, and
22 from the Smok positions, we could see them.
23 Q. How could you see that -- that they were firing with weapons from
25 A. We could see the fire from the weapons that they were using.
1 Q. Did you see them, and, if so, where?
2 A. I saw them, yes. They were a group of about four to five
3 terrorists that were firing from the houses, near the church, in front of
4 the church on the left side. It was characteristic that there was a wall
5 there in -- there was a courtyard with a wall and they were firing from
6 the wall, from the balcony, from the windows.
7 Q. Did you notice anything else happening then, when you were at the
8 Smok position?
9 A. Yes. After a while, close to the Macedonian houses three mortar
10 grenades fell.
11 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
12 picture 65 ter 178, N003-0375.
13 Q. Could you please tell us from this position of Smok how did you
14 make your observation? What did you observe with?
15 A. We observed with binoculars and artillery compass, and also there
16 was a sniper vision.
17 Q. Witness, can you see the photograph in front of you?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you please describe what you see on this photograph and
20 whether you recognise this area?
21 A. Yes. This photograph was also most probably made from the Smok
22 position. And from here one can see the part of the village of Ljuboten
23 around the church, if one can say this.
24 Q. Could you please mark for us the location of the church. But,
25 first, wait for the assistance of the court usher.
1 A. This is where the church is located.
2 Q. Therefore, the circle you just made was that of the church?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Could you please mark this with the number 1.
5 A. [Marks]
6 Q. Could you circle the houses, if you see them, which you talked
7 about earlier, and to mark them, circle them, and mark them with the
8 number 2, the houses from which you told us that you saw fire coming from.
9 A. These are these houses here, which I just circled and marked with
10 the number 2.
11 Q. Could you please mark the area where the mortar grenades fell?
12 A. This is this area, here. This is where the mortars fell.
13 Q. Could you please mark this area with the number 3.
14 A. [Marks]
15 Q. When you saw that there was fire from the houses which you marked,
16 what did you do then?
17 A. At that moment, we were just observing. We did not undertake any
18 activities towards these positions, up until the moment when from point 2
19 and from other points, there was incoming fire towards us, towards the
20 position of Smok. At that time, I called Major Mitre Despodov and I
21 informed him of the situation. I told him that our point was under
22 attack, and he told me to discover the targets and to act on them.
23 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the markings seem
24 to have been lost on the picture. Therefore, it seems we would have to do
25 this again, that we would have to go through the marking procedure again.
1 At least I don't see these markings on the screen in front of me.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It appear it will need to be repeated. Oh, all is
3 saved, thankfully.
4 You wish to tender them.
5 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] If they're preserved as we had
6 them marked, that I would first propose that this be put on the 65 ter
7 list and then that it be received in evidence. Oh, yes, I see them now.
8 JUDGE PARKER: The photograph as marked will become an exhibit and
9 the photograph will be added to the list.
10 THE REGISTRAR: It will become Exhibit 2D87, Your Honours.
11 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Grozdanovski, could you please continue telling us what you
13 did after you spoke with your superior, Major Despodov?
14 A. Once I spoke to him and once he approved action, first, I ordered
15 the soldiers who were at the Smok position to use machine-guns and the
16 sniper that was positioned at the Smok position, to open fire towards the
17 persons who were shooting towards us. Also, to my units, the mortars, I
18 gave them elements to open fire towards this position, the point 2.
19 Q. Did they do so?
20 A. Yes, we did so. We fired the mortars and the soldiers also used
21 the machine-guns and the sniper.
22 Q. At that period of time, in this area which we're looking at the
23 screen right now, did you notice down there, members of the Macedonian
24 security forces?
25 A. At that moment we did not notice such members of the security
1 forces. Much later we noticed them.
2 Q. When did you notice them for the first time in this area?
3 A. I can say after 9.00.
4 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we look at the photograph
5 once again, please. Could we -- could the witness please be shown once
6 again Exhibit 2D87.
7 Q. Could you please tell us where you noticed the Macedonian security
8 forces in the village?
9 A. We noticed them later, in the area of this house, in this area.
10 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] If we could ask the court usher
11 to assist the witness to mark these with the colour blue.
12 A. In this area, we noticed them in this area for the first time.
13 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Did they fire towards the position which you marked?
15 A. Yes, they were firing towards point 2.
16 Q. Could you please put the number 4 next to the area which you just
17 marked in blue.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. How long did this last? How long did this firing last?
20 A. I can say that it lasted quite some time, over an hour.
21 Q. Until when did you fire with the mortars and the infantry weapons
22 from the Smok position?
23 A. We fired up until we noticed the security forces. When we noticed
24 them, we stopped firing towards that target, because there was danger that
25 we might hit them. Then we continued to fire towards the other targets
1 that we had discovered.
2 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I seek to tender
3 this photograph in evidence.
4 JUDGE PARKER: This will be received.
5 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 2D88, Your Honours.
6 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You said earlier that there was fire towards you from other
8 positions as well.
9 A. Yes. There was such fire from other positions, two other
11 Q. Could you please tell us what those positions were?
12 A. Yes. This was target number 2, an old house, where I think they
13 were shooting with snipers. There was a balcony and there was a kneeling
14 person on that balcony firing.
15 From the third place, a house, looking towards Rastanski Pat, at
16 the end of the village of Ljuboten from the roof there was machine
17 gun-fire coming towards us.
18 Q. You now told us that you think that there was sniper fire coming
19 from point 2. How did you come about this conclusion?
20 A. I concluded this because the person was moving the weapons towards
21 us and his gun-fire came to our positions. If this had been an ordinary
22 gun this would not have been possible because this was a distance of about
23 400 metres, and it is difficult for an automatic gun to reach this
24 distance. Also, the same person was aiming his shots towards the police.
25 At one moment he was shooting towards us and at one moment towards the
2 Q. Did you see an optical aim from -- on this gun?
3 A. From this position, we were not able to see this.
4 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
5 photograph 65 ter 178, N003-0371.
6 Q. Is this photo taken from the position of Smok?
7 A. Yes, I think so.
8 Q. Could you mark the place that you talked about previously, which
9 is the place that you located as a target, and if you can encircle it.
10 A. [Marks]
11 Q. Could you explain what kind of terrain is that?
12 A. From our position we could see that that was a densely populated
13 area with lots of houses, and they were looking at the valley of the
14 village. So, here, down below, there is a valley and a road that leads to
15 the church.
16 Q. If, looking from the position that you encircled, there is a road,
17 what is that road?
18 A. Yes. That is the road that leads from the valley and goes to the
20 Q. Could you mark that road?
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. Could you please put number 1 next to the circle; and number 2
23 next to the road.
24 A. [Marks]
25 Q. From the position that you marked with number 1, is that position
1 on the same level with the road looking at the -- towards the church?
2 A. Yes, I think it is on the same level with the houses that are next
3 to the church.
4 Q. Between the church and the point 1, is the road on the same level?
5 A. No. The road goes downhill towards the valley and then it goes up
6 to the point 1.
7 Q. So if a person is in the valley, that person would be on a lower
8 level than the point 1?
9 A. Yes. That means that the person would have to go up, uphill.
10 Q. Did you have any activities against this target?
11 A. Yes. We used the mortars, the machine-guns, and the sniper.
12 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
13 tender this photograph as evidence.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: As exhibit 2D89, Your Honours.
16 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
17 Q. The photograph that you were explaining just now, first, did you
18 notice members of Macedonian security forces in the course of that Sunday?
19 A. You mean near point 1?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. For the first time we noticed them around 10.00, maybe even later.
22 Q. Was it exactly near point 1?
23 A. Yes. Because that is where we had a good site. We couldn't
24 really see what was happening in the valley, but we could see when people
25 were coming uphill.
1 Q. Thank you. Near point 1, did you see the advances of the security
3 A. I can say that their advancing was very slow. Actually, they
4 couldn't advance at all because they were a target of a fire attack until
5 the APCs arrived, which helped them at that time. The APC was protecting
6 the soldiers because it was moving ahead and the soldiers were following
7 the transporter.
8 Q. You said when you were on the position of Smok, you located a
9 third place as an enemy attack fire.
10 A. Yes, machine-gun.
11 Q. Which part was that? What part of the village was that?
12 A. Those were the houses on Rastanski Pat where the village of
13 Ljuboten ends.
14 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am aware of the
15 time and I would like to continue with questions about the next position,
16 so maybe if this is the right time to have a break and then I continue
17 after the break.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Apostolski.
19 We will have the first break now and resume at 11.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.26 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski.
23 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Could the witness please be shown 65 ter 178, N003-0368.
25 Q. Witness, do you see the photo?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell me where was this picture taken from; can you
3 recognise it?
4 A. Yes. I think it was taken from the position of Smok.
5 Q. Do you see the road to Rastak?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. Do you see on this photograph the place from where your positions
8 were fired at?
9 A. Yes. I see the position where the fire was opened at our
11 Q. Could you please mark the road to Rastak?
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. Could you put number 1.
14 A. [Marks]
15 Q. Could you please mark the position or the place from where shots
16 were fired on that Sunday morning against the position of Smok.
17 A. Yes. From this place shots were fired.
18 Q. Was this the only place from where shots fired that morning?
19 A. No. The first houses from these four houses that was early in the
20 morning when the fire started, and then the machine-gun moved to this
22 Q. Could you please mark the previous house with number 2.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. And then mark the houses where the fire started. Could you put
25 number 3 there.
1 A. [Marks]
2 Q. How did you notice that shots were fired at you?
3 A. From the roof of the house, the roof tiles were removed, and we
4 saw a machine-gun. The machine-gun had a whole barrage of shot that could
5 be heard from our position.
6 Q. Which house are you talking about?
7 A. House number 2, point number 2.
8 Q. How metres [as interpreted] was this house away from your
10 A. Around 400 metres.
11 Q. The place that you marked with number 3, could you tell me how did
12 you see the fires and where did they come from?
13 A. First, the fires were shot from the balconies, and then the fire
14 stopped and moved to point 2.
15 Q. You mean point 2, marked on this photograph?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you very much.
18 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to ask
19 that this photograph is put on the 65 ter list and is accepted as
21 JUDGE PARKER: Before you do, Mr. Apostolski, would you be able to
22 clarify with the witness the fire that he described coming from house
23 number 3 are earlier in the morning, what type of weapon or weapons.
24 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Witness, when you saw the firing from the position marked with
1 number 3, what kind of weapon was used?
2 A. With machine-gun, because it was a long-lasting barrage of shots.
3 Q. How many weapons did you see in that position?
4 A. We suspected there were two weapons.
5 Q. How many did you see?
6 A. On the house marked with number 1, we personally saw the weapon;
7 and on the -- from the house number 3, we heard a pair of weapons, so we
8 suspected that there was another house next to house number 3 where shots
9 were fired from.
10 Q. Do you think that those fires were coming from a machine-gun?
11 A. One could have been an automatic gun, but it was a burst of fire,
12 so we suspect that if one opens fire from that distance against the
13 security forces near the church, it could have been a machine-gun, because
14 an automatic rifle doesn't have that range.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Dobbyn.
16 MR. DOBBYN: Yes, Your Honour, I'm sorry to interrupt I'm just
17 hoping for some clarification. On the transcript at line 11 refers to
18 weapons being seen on the house marked with number 1. There is no house
19 marked with number 1 in the picture. So I was just hoping that could be
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 Q. Could you tell me, which house you had in mind, because on the
24 transcript it is said house marked with number 1 where you saw the shots
25 being fired from.
1 A. We saw the first shots from the houses marked with 3 and then the
2 shots moved from the house marked with number 2. It was some time after
3 9.00 when the shots were fired from the house number 2.
4 Q. Where did you see the weapons?
5 A. The houses that are marked with number 3, the weapons were on the
6 balconies, while the house marked with number 2 the roof tiles were
7 removed and the shots were fired from the roof.
8 Q. Was the shooter on the roof of the house?
9 A. No, from the inside of the roof. The roof tiles were just removed
10 and the shots were fired from that spot. We couldn't see the body of the
11 person. We could only see the flame of the machine-gun.
12 Q. Thank you very much.
13 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could this
14 photograph be accepted as evidence.
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 2D90, Your Honours.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Did you fire towards these positions, towards this position that I
19 just asked you about on Sunday in the morning?
20 A. Yes. We did fire towards the house marked --
21 THE INTERPRETER: The witness has his microphone off. Could you
22 please ask him to turn it on.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We were firing towards the house
24 marked with number 2 with the mortars. We fired with a 120-millimetre
25 mortars. We also fired towards that position with a sniper and with a
1 machine-gun, and then towards the point 3 we only fire in the morning with
2 a machine-gun and with a sniper.
3 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Thank you very much for your explanation.
5 You previously testified that it has been fired from several
6 positions in the morning on Sunday, on 12th of August. In the course of
7 the day, as the day went on, was it fired from other weapons towards your
8 position of Smok?
9 A. Yes. After 11.00, fire was opened towards our position, also from
10 the position of Bel Kamen with an 82-millimetre mortars. The shells were
11 falling at the position of Smok, Bomba, and at the mortar battery.
12 Q. What did you do when they started to fire on your positions with
13 the mortars?
14 A. I ordered my soldiers to take shelter and I ordered -- I gave
15 elements to the mortar battery and ordered it to open fire towards the Bel
16 Kamen position which it did. My battery fired a number of shells towards
17 that region and then the firing stopped later.
18 Q. Did the other mortars within your -- did other mortars or other
19 weapons fire towards their positions?
20 A. We fired with the 82-millimetre mortars towards their position.
21 They were the one firing, but they were under the command of another
23 Q. Under which command were those mortars?
24 A. Under the command of Lieutenant Brasnarski Darko.
25 Q. Once the firing stopped towards your position with the mortars,
1 and after you returned by firing with the mortars, in the village of
2 Ljuboten, did you notice any Macedonian security forces?
3 A. Yes. The security forces were already deeper in the village.
4 They were somewhere after the mosque towards the -- at the road towards
6 Q. Could you tell me how were they making progress at that time?
7 A. They were going rather slowly. The APC went in front of them and
8 it was followed by the police officers and they went rather slowly. It
9 was fired against them from the house number 2 that was on the picture
11 Q. At the previous picture?
12 A. Yes, at the previous picture, the house numbered with number 2.
13 Q. Where was it fired at from that house?
14 A. Towards the APC.
15 Q. What did you see after that? What happened later? Did the APC
16 stop there? Did it go -- did it continue?
17 A. The APC, sometime around 12.00, came to the house marked with
18 number 3, and then the fire stopped, both -- both from the terrorists and
19 the fires also stopped from the security forces. At that moment, out of
20 the house marked with number 2, there was an a haystack behind it and we
21 saw terrorists running towards the forest. That was a group of five or
22 around five terrorists that were running towards the forest and carrying
23 weapons with them.
24 I ordered my soldiers to open fire with snipers and machine-guns
25 and rifles, but what was important was the fire with the machine-gun and
1 sniper. We surely hit one person at that time and two or three of them
2 ran -- managed to escape towards the village, towards the forest. And
3 once the police saw that we were firing against the terrorists as they
4 were in the proximity around the houses -- around the house number 3,
5 they took positions around the house number 2 and started firing towards
6 them, towards the person that were trying to escape.
7 Q. Let me go a step back now. You said you saw -- you said that you
8 hit one person from your positions. Could you describe how did you
9 know -- how did you know that?
10 A. I'm sure about one because a sniper that fired first hit the
11 person. That was the only weapon firing at that time and that person fell
12 down. That's why I'm sure we hit one person and once the other soldiers
13 started firing, as well as the police, then big noise took place from the
14 firing and I saw them running away. I saw two or three persons running
15 away, and I don't know what happened with the other persons that got out
16 of the house. I didn't see whether they fell down or escaped.
17 Q. Could you tell us about the persons that you didn't see. Maybe
18 they were hit by the firings from your position? Is it possible?
19 A. I can say that the soldiers that were around me were saying that
20 they hit them, but I didn't see them personally. They were commenting
21 that they have hit two more persons, but I didn't saw them -- I didn't see
23 Q. At that time the soldiers that were firing from the Smok position,
24 were they all members of your battery?
25 A. There were only four soldiers in my battery while the other
1 soldiers were from the 1st Infantry Company.
2 Q. At that moment who was in command, who was the head of the
4 A. I was in command for them as well, because when an officer is
5 there, all the soldiers are under his command, regardless of the fact that
6 they are on the other position, so the highest ranking officer is the one
7 who is in command at the time.
8 Q. And after that stop -- when did the shooting stop towards those
10 A. The shooting started -- stopped soon after that because there were
11 no targets anymore, there were no terrorists. The police already reached
12 the end of the village and there was no shooting. I remained one more
13 hour at my position to analyse the situation and since it was peaceful
14 there was no shooting anymore, I withdrew with my soldiers to the
15 children's rest house.
16 Q. Let us go a step back. At -- towards what direction were they
17 running away?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Before you do, Mr. Dobbyn.
19 MR. DOBBYN: Yes, Your Honour, I'm very sorry to interrupt. I
20 just need to point out that this testimony on a crucial issue in this case
21 is something which we haven't received any notice of. There are suspect
22 interviews of witness in which this matter has never been mentioned. The
23 notice we were given of witness's testimony also fails to mention anything
24 about sniper shooting from the position and actually hitting these
25 particular individuals. This may be something which is going to have some
1 impact on -- obviously on our cross-examination and the time any further
2 time we may need to prepare for that.
3 JUDGE PARKER: At the moment that is noted, Mr. Dobbyn. And we
4 will see how the matter emerges when you do cross-examine, whether you
5 have need for some further delay.
6 Yes, Mr. Apostolski.
7 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness has
8 testified about these matters in the interview that he given before the --
9 JUDGE PARKER: There's no need to debate that now, Mr. Apostolski.
10 Carry on with your questioning.
11 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Okay. Very well. I thank you.
12 Could the witness be shown Exhibit 1D128, please.
13 No, this is not the document. I might have misspoken.
14 Could it be shown 2D31, please.
15 Q. Before you are shown, I'd like to ask you whether you wrote some
16 written reports regarding these events.
17 A. Yes. I wrote a statement, a report to the commander, Mitre
18 Despodov, right after the events of 13th -- on 13th or 14th of August I
19 was asked to write a report about the firing towards the village, towards
20 what targets, and the report referred to them.
21 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown 2D31,
23 Q. Do you see on the screen in front of you a report?
24 A. Yes. This is my report that I wrote for the commander.
25 Q. You personally wrote this one?
1 A. Yes, this is my hand.
2 Q. I'll read it now. This is a report on command and combat
3 activities on 12th of August, 2001.
4 "On 12th of August, 2001, in the morning I was at the rest house
5 carrying out my regular duties, and at around 8.00 we heard several long
6 bursts of fire which kept repeating. Then I received a call from the
7 battalion commander, who ordered me to occupy the observation post in the
8 sector of the Smok sector and to prepare the battery for action.
9 "After I carry out the necessary preparations, four of my soldiers
10 occupied the observation post at about 8.30. At that moment the combat
11 was still going on. Having observed the village I established that the
12 terrorists were opening fire from the sector around the church. Most
13 probably there was a sniper fire in an old house at about ten metres
14 below the mosque, and machine-gun fire was coming from the area above the
15 mosque, from the four houses and the machine-gun was fired towards us.
16 "I then informed the commander about the situation, and he ordered
17 me to destroy the targets with several 120-millimetre mortar shells. In
18 the time between 9.00 and 10.00 hours, we fired several shells, and we
19 fired around eight around the church. We fired five shells at the sniper
20 and I fired three shells at the machine-gun. During the combat activities
21 in the village of Ljuboten, I fired a total of 600 120-millimetre shells.
22 The combat activities continued, but as the police entered the village
23 after 10.00, I carried out no activities with my battery in the Ljuboten
25 Is this the report that you have written?
1 A. Yes, that is my report.
2 Q. It has been written immediately after the events and this is -- it
3 reflects the picture that you have seen on 12th of August, 2001?
4 A. As you said, this has been written on the 13th of August, and
5 represents the real picture of that moment.
6 Q. I'd like to ask you a little bit more about this report.
7 What did Major Despodov tell you, how to write your report?
8 A. To write a report about where we fired at in the village, to
9 describe the targets. That was it. And that's why this is a brief
10 report, just explaining the targets.
11 Q. When I read this to you at one place you say, "Above the mosque in
12 the four houses, in two of them in the four new houses there was a
13 machine-gun firing at us."
14 What houses did have you in mind in this report?
15 A. Those were the houses that were marked with the number 3 on the
16 previous photograph. When I telephoned the major in the morning, when I
17 informed him that we are fired at, those were the houses that the fire was
18 coming from, the house marked with number 3. That's why we wrote this.
19 We informed the major what are the exact houses that the fire is coming
21 Q. Did the major ask you to inform him about the number of mines that
22 you -- the shells that you have fired?
23 A. Yes. I was supposed to write that in my report, and I wrote it.
24 Q. Could you ask me -- could you tell me specifically about what part
25 and what shells are mentioned in the report?
1 A. These are only about the village of Ljuboten. The targets in the
2 village of Ljuboten. The targets 1, 2, and 3. To write a report about
3 these targets.
4 Q. But you said that you also fired towards Bel Kamen?
5 A. No, this is not mentioned in this report because the major asked
6 us only to describe the firing that we had towards the village.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown the
9 Exhibit P306, please.
10 Could we please see the second page of the Macedonian version,
11 please. The English can remain as is.
12 Could we please scroll up a little bit so we can see the lower --
13 the lower part of the document. A little more, please. Yes. Thank you.
14 Q. Do you see a signature at the bottom of this page?
15 A. As can I see here, it says Lieutenant Jurisic.
16 Q. Do you know Lieutenant Jurisic?
17 A. Yes. He was the commander of the 1st Infantry Company.
18 Q. Were you speaking of him when you were saying that he had under
19 his command mortars?
20 A. Lieutenant Mario Jurisic was the commander of the 1st company and
21 within his company there was a platoon -- mortar platoon and a cannon
22 platoon, 176-millimetre and the commander of the mortar cannon was the
23 Brasnarski, Darko. This platoon was within the unit of Mario.
24 Q. Can we now look at the first page of the document, please.
25 Do you see it in front of you?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. This is information from Lieutenant Mario Jurisic regarding the
3 combat activities on the 12th of August, 2001. Here it reads: "At 8.00
4 on 12th of August 2001, one could hear shots in the area of Ljuboten
5 village. The right wing of the defence of the company informed us through
6 a wire connection that they had come under attack by machine-gun and
7 sniper fire at the observation Smok."
8 Are you following me?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Were there members of the company of Mario Jurisic at the Smok
12 A. Yes, they were constantly on duty there.
13 Q. Was there wire link between him and the position of his mortar?
14 A. Yes. All positions had a wire link with the rest house.
15 Q. Then it says: "I immediately informed the commander of the
16 battalion who ordered me and my deputy to climb up to the position and to
17 observe the situation.
18 "I climbed to the point under attack whereas my deputy went a bit
19 towards the north at the position of B1 and was ordered to be prepared for
20 action in case of need. I start immediately with locating targets and
21 actions from infantry weapons towards strictly selected targets,
22 exclusively from the far lower point, reinforced with five soldiers. All
23 other check-points were in readiness for action because of the possibility
24 of attack from other directions.
25 "After 9.00, my deputy informed me that his positions at B1 had
1 come under sniper and machine-gun fire. From the old house, near the
2 mosque with sniper, and from the last new houses close to the road, the
3 second one of the four possible ones, there was fire on our position by
4 machine-gun. After approval from the commander of the battalion, I
5 received an order to support this activity by cannons against the
6 confirmed targets until they were eliminated. After the activations of
7 the cannons, we started to regroup, the DTG began to regroup."
8 Can you tell us what this means "DT" means?
9 A. This is diversion terrorist groups.
10 Q. "And started to move towards the village and at the same time
11 continued to shoot against our positions. I immediately requested
12 approval from the commander of the battalion to use the 82-millimetre
13 mortars, and after the approval, I fired five projectiles, 82-millimetres,
14 against the DTG at the front part of the houses. The police had already
15 entered the village so we stopped the activities.
16 "At about 11.00, our positions came under fire of 82-millimetre
17 mortars, and during this time the shells were falling on our positions.
18 We established that the fire was coming from the small forest near the
19 village. Upon an order, the deputy fired five projectiles from the
20 observation post over the positions of the DTG."
21 Can you tell us what this means?
22 A. This means the firing position of the diversion and terrorist
24 Q. "After the fifth grenade the fire stopped. Later our activities
25 in Ljuboten village stopped. The police undertook further activities."
1 Does this information, regarding the combat activities on the 12th
2 of August, 2001, are identical with your understanding of the events?
3 A. Yes. Here we have the description of the activities in the
4 village from the positions of Lieutenant Jurisic, from his viewpoint, but
5 they correspond to the situation in the village at that time.
6 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
8 Q. Do you see the photograph in front of you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Can you see it clearly?
11 A. Yes. If it could be enlarged, it would be a better -- better
13 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we please enlarge this
14 photograph in the right corner.
15 Q. Do you recognise this photograph?
16 A. Yes. This is a photograph which the Prosecution showed me during
17 the interview.
18 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Since we can't see the picture
19 very clearly, can we please see 1D281.3. I think this is a clearer
20 photograph. Yes, this is fine.
21 Q. Is this the same photograph as the one you saw previously?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. Can you see it more clearly now?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you tell us, when speaking with the Prosecution, you said you
1 had two conversations. Did you mark anything? Did they show you any
2 photographs which you marked?
3 A. Yes, I did mark this photograph. This marking is mine.
4 Q. Can you please clarify, I see here that Smok is written.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And a line next to it. What is it that you were marking?
7 A. At this moment I can say that the position Smok is not marked very
8 precisely. I think I have missed the distance. It's a little bit-- a bit
9 further down towards the rocks?
10 Q. Can you tell us where this photograph was taken from?
11 A. Probably from the position of Mecka, much higher up.
12 Q. You have noted here "church," "crkva"?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What is it that you have marked?
15 A. R-4, "crkva."
16 Q. Can you tell us what this means?
17 A. This means "reper," benchmark 4, this is the markings we use which
18 I explained earlier, markings, benchmarks which we place before we begin
19 any combat activities.
20 Q. Is it correct that this marks the church?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Then we see C-1. You have markings of three to four terrorists.
23 A. Yes. This is target 1.
24 Q. Are these the same houses which you marked previously?
25 A. Yes. These are the same houses.
1 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we please shift the
2 photograph towards the left. This would be 1D281, 1D281.2.
3 Please move the picture up a little bit. Could we please scroll
4 up some more to see what the markings are.
5 Q. Do you recognise this photograph?
6 A. Yes, this is the same photograph.
7 Q. I see here that you have marked C-2, sniper?
8 A. C-2, sniper.
9 Q. What did you mean by this marking?
10 A. This is C-2, target 2, the houses were from where the sniper was
12 Q. And this is circled in white?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And underneath it says 628.
15 A. As far as I recall now, I think this was the number of mines when
16 I was asked by the Prosecution.
17 Q. Then I see the marking R-2, mosque.
18 A. Yes, this is benchmark 2.
19 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we please scroll on further
20 to the left. We will not be able to see this on this photograph. Could
21 we please open D281.1 -- 1D281.1. If we could enlarge this picture
22 somewhat. Thank you very much.
23 Q. Here we have machine-gun written.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you have circled one house.
1 A. Yes. This is target 3, the house from where the machine-gun was
2 firing from.
3 Q. Can you please tell us what R-1, Grobista marks?
4 A. This is the benchmark, the aiming mark 1, the cemetery.
5 Q. And the house which is marked with the machine-gun, is this the
6 same house which you marked earlier?
7 A. Now can I see that it is not the same house. This picture is
8 taken from a different position. At that time I was led to mark the house
9 I did mark because it seemed closer to the positions of Smok. Also,
10 there's a haystack behind this house while at the moment when there were
11 combat activities, the house which I marked previously with the number 2,
12 had a haystack and from there, the terrorists were fleeing. The nylon
13 over the haystack led me to think that this was the house in question.
14 Q. So let us clear this up. This photograph that the Prosecution
15 showed you, does it correspond, is it taken from your position?
16 A. No. I presume it was taken from the position of Mecka or Volk.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness, again, please be
18 shown 2D90, Exhibit 2D90.
19 Q. Can you please clarify what you were saying earlier?
20 A. Yes. On this picture we can see the house which I have marked as
21 a target, number 3, and this house is located right in front of point 2.
22 When I can see from this angle -- from the angle of the Smok position, I'm
23 sure that this was the house from where fires came from point 2.
24 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the Court usher please
25 assist the witness to circle this house.
1 Q. Could you please mark this with the number 4. And for the purpose
2 of the transcript, this is the house which the witness says the witness
3 marked on Exhibit 1D281 as point 3.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] I seek to tender this document
7 into evidence.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
10 Q. Witness, could you please mark the haystack which you were
11 describing as the place from where the terrorists were fleeing in 2001?
12 Could you mark it where it was?
13 Line 18, can you -- for the purpose of the transcript can you
14 please mark the haystack. Haystack.
15 A. Yes, I understand.
16 Q. Can you tell me what a haystack is?
17 A. A haystack is a place covered with the nylon where tobacco is
19 Q. What is the purpose of this?
20 A. This nylon is placed there to keep things from getting wet or if
21 vegetables are in question to make them ripe [indiscernible].
22 Q. Can you mark where this was?
23 A. Yes. This was right behind the house.
24 Q. Could you please mark this with the number 5 in blue.
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. Do you see such a nylon covering near the house marked with number
3 A. From this angle I cannot say, but from the previous picture I
4 could see that there was such a nylon covering near the point 4, the house
5 marked with number 4.
6 Q. Let us clarify once again. Let us go back to Exhibit 1D281.
7 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] And, Your Honours, we seek to
8 tender this document in evidence.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Can the Chamber be clear what is intended by the
10 evidence, Mr. Apostolski.
11 Is the witness saying that the area now marked with a blue 4 is
12 the position previously marked by the witness but wrongly marked by the
13 witness, he then thinking it was the house which he now sees is house
14 marked 2 in red.
15 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE PARKER: We have different understandings of the effect of
18 the evidence. I've given you one, if the witness is able to confirm that,
19 fine; but if not, you might need to explore further with the witness.
20 Because we really have been somewhat confused by this passage of evidence.
21 [Defence counsel confer]
22 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with this picture,
23 I wanted to explain the difference in markings in 1D281, the previous
24 panoramic picture, which we saw which the witness marked when speaking
25 with the investigators, and what is being marked now with number 2. Now
1 number 4 marks that which the witness had marked on the Exhibit 1D281 as
2 the position of the machine-gun, but since he was not at the position as
3 the picture from the Prosecution, I wanted to show him a photograph from
4 the position where he was located in order that he be able to clarify this
5 and to make it more clear.
6 Therefore, the correct house on this picture where the machine-gun
7 was located is the house marked with the number 2.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Apostolski. This will be received.
10 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 2D91, Your Honours.
11 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown
12 Exhibit P303.
13 Q. Witness, can you see the Official Note in the upper left corner?
14 It says, "Republic of Macedonia, Ministry of Defence, the army General
15 Staff," and below it says, "The 1st Guardist Brigade, Captain First Class
16 Ljupco Kostadinov." Do you see that?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. Do you know Ljupco Kostadinov?
19 A. Yes he was a security organ in the 1st Guardist Brigade.
20 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we have the page 2, opened,
22 Q. Witness, do you see in front of you the paragraph 3 that starts
23 with the word: "On Sunday, 12th of August ..."
24 A. Yes. I see it.
25 Q. Well, in this photograph it is said that: "On Sunday, 12 August
1 2001 at 4.30, the person Johan Tarculovski with other persons (reservists
2 of the Ministry of Interior) started the action. Immediately after the
3 start of the action, Captain Nikolce Grozdanovski, called Major Despodov
4 and informed him about the start of the action that was organised by the
5 Ministry of Interior.
6 "The reservists, wearing MOI uniforms, advanced towards the
7 village up to the point on the bridge where there was a check-point and
8 the house of the person Kenan. When they saw that they couldn't advance
9 anymore they called Major Despodov and they requested support because the
10 buildings were defended by machine-guns. After the agreement with Major
11 Despodov, the persons withdrew to a safe place and the first grenades were
12 fired at 5.30 at the mentioned building.
13 "When they opened fire at the mentioned buildings from the village
14 of Ljubanci towards the position of the 3rd Guardist Brigade, armed
15 terrorists started to flee whereby fire was opened from the cannon B-1,
16 76-millimetres and the anti-aircraft cannons of the 3rd Guardist Brigade."
17 How would you comment on this one?
18 A. Well, sir, this is not true at all.
19 Q. Which part is not true?
20 A. First the description of the event is not true, nor it is the time
21 that is put here.
22 Q. So this document that states that the first grenades were fired at
23 5.30, is that correct?
24 A. No, no, it's not correct.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown
2 Exhibit P304.
3 Q. In the upper left corner, you can see the head line Republic of
4 Macedonia, Ministry of Defence, the army General Staff, 1st Guardist
5 Brigade. This is a report about the area of the 3rd Guardist Brigade and
6 this is sent to General Major Sokol Mitrevski.
7 Could we now see the last page.
8 Do you see the last page?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. You see signed by Colonel Blazo Kopacev. Do you know Colonel
11 Blazo Kopacev?
12 A. Yes, he was the commander of the 1st Guardist Brigade.
13 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Now could we go back to the first
14 page of the document, please. The second page of the document, if
15 possible. Thank you. All right.
16 Q. Do you see in the beginning of the document that reads "On the
17 12th of August at 4.30 the action started and around 5.30 to 6.00 the
18 first mortar from the mortar of 120-millimetre was fired upon request of
19 Mr. Johan because he found fire spots which he requested to be
21 A. Yes, I see that.
22 Q. "The commander of the 3rd Guardist Brigade satisfied this request
23 and began firing 120-millimetre mortar."
24 How would you comment on this?
25 A. I can say that this is completely untrue.
1 Q. Could you tell me if a shell is fired at 5.30 in the morning and
2 if it lands in the village of Ljuboten, 5.30 a.m. is a quiet part of the
3 day. Where would that shell be heard?
4 A. It would probably have been heard all the way to Skopje, because
5 5.30 is peaceful part of the day and the sound could have been heard all
6 the way to the city of Skopje, because it is an open area.
7 Q. Thank you. Thank you for your answer.
8 Could you now focus a little further on the list, on the paragraph
9 that starts with the words: "On the 12th of August 2001 in his regular
10 morning report at 0640, Major Mitre Despodov informed that there had been
11 no problems that night except that soldiers who were guarding the Belgian
12 camp had fired three or four bursts of fire out of fear."
13 Now, reading this paragraph I would continue about the same day.
14 "He phoned me again at 8.30 hours and asked me to check whether General
15 Sokol Mitrevski had any information about the operations in the Ljuboten
17 If shells were fired at 5.30 in the morning, would they be heard
18 in the General Staff of the army of the Republic of Macedonia?
19 A. Yes, certainly. And I find it really strange that Major Kopacev
20 didn't hear them or anybody else if there was an action that early in the
21 morning. I'm sure that some of his colleagues or the police or anybody in
22 the General Staff would have heard it, and I find it really strange that
23 nobody knew about this up to 8.30 in the morning.
24 Q. Thank you. What I just read on the 12th of August 2001 Major
25 Mitre Despodov informed me that there had been no problems in the area
1 that evening, does that correspond to the truth?
2 A. When he was reporting at 6.40 that there had been no problems in
3 the area of his battalion proves that up to 6.40 in the morning there had
4 been no combat activities.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
7 questions for this witness.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Apostolski.
9 Ms. Residovic, do you have any examination of this witness.
10 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I just have several
11 questions for the witness.
12 Cross-examination by Ms. Residovic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Grozdanovski. I am Edina
14 Residovic and together with Mr. Mettraux we are defending Mr. Boskoski.
15 During the hearing you told my colleague Apostolski that on the
16 10th of August, when you went to see the spot where the mine was planted
17 by NLA, that you were called by your superiors.
18 Do you recall that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You also said that there were called by the commander of the first
21 guard battalion, Kopacev and the commander of the defence of the city of
22 Skopje, General Sokol Mitrevski. Do you remember that?
23 A. Yes, I recall.
24 Q. And you said that the General Sokol Mitrevski requested from you
25 to inform him about the situation and he gave you some orders.
1 Do you recall saying that?
2 A. Yes, this is correct.
3 Q. Tell me, Mr. Grozdanovski, did you obey those orders that were
4 given to you by General Mitrevski?
5 A. Yes. We carry out the orders, we opened fire towards the
6 terrorists to expel them from the place where we were. They -- they had
7 to be distanced in order for the transport helicopter to be able to land
8 and take the wounded.
9 Q. Explaining who your immediate superior was, you said that was
10 commander of the battalion, Major Mitre Despodov. Is that correct?
11 A. Yes, this is correct.
12 Q. But being a soldier and officer, you had the obligation to obey
13 the orders of a higher superior. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes. In our command system, if we receive a command for a higher
15 superior we are obliged to carry out this order.
16 Q. And you have to obey that order whether it is oral or written
17 order. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes. At that moment even a verbal order was sufficient for us to
19 carry it out. The situation imposed this.
20 Q. And can you agree with me, Mr. Grozdanovski, that if such an order
21 had been issued by the supreme commander you being an officer would have
22 had the obligation to obey that?
23 A. Yes, certainly of the when the supreme commander would have issued
24 an order then we would of course have carried out his order.
25 Q. Thank you. Mr. Grozdanovski, you were the commander of the mortar
1 battery. Let us suppose one situation. If in the course of any
2 operation, any combat operation, you were given a person that was not a
3 soldier or if you had a soldier from another army unit or a police officer
4 from a police station or an army reservist, or a police reservist, who
5 would be the commander of these persons?
6 A. When other persons are joined to the army, in the case that
7 they're not members of the army, they're put under our command. We
8 command with them. If it is a military person that is added and of a
9 higher rank, then this person takes the command.
10 Q. Thank you. So what I understood from what you were saying is that
11 irrespective of the status of the person who is not a soldier but is put
12 in a combat situation to work jointly with the army, then the army
13 commander is also commander to these persons. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, this is correct.
15 Q. Mr. Grozdanovski, you said that very often you were visiting the
16 position of Smok before the events that took place -- between the 10th and
17 12th of August. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes, this is correct.
19 Q. And from that position, you could very well observe the village of
20 Ljuboten, just as we saw on several photographs that were shown to you.
21 Is that correct?
22 A. Yes, this is correct.
23 Q. And you said that from the soldiers and from other persons you had
24 information about movement during the night or movements of weapons and
25 similar. I wouldn't like to repeat everything that you said.
1 Please, tell me, you also said that personally you did not see any
2 activities in the village, any fortification activities.
3 Do you remember saying that to my learned colleague?
4 A. Yes, I recall. This is correct.
5 Q. Please tell me, do you know or are you familiar with the method of
6 building houses in a traditional Albanian village, just as Ljuboten?
7 A. Yes, I know this. The houses have high walls around the
9 Q. If a person walks down the street between these houses, is that
10 person able to see what is going on behind those walls?
11 A. No. The person is not able to see anything because these are two
12 metre high walls or higher. One cannot see what is going on beyond the
14 Q. Can you agree with me, Mr. Grozdanovski, that these walls around
15 the houses in the village of Ljuboten were practically a natural
16 fortification for possible attacks from the house yards or the houses
17 themselves? Could you agree with me?
18 A. Yes, this is absolutely correct. There was one such example where
19 terrorists were shooting from the wall. They used the wall and they shot
20 from this wall towards the security forces.
21 Q. Thank you. Since you are an artillery person and you were a
22 commander of mortar batteries -- no, let me ask you something else before
24 Having in mind the position that you held at the time, tell me, is
25 it correct that the houses in the village of Ljuboten very frequently were
1 built in a row and they were connected with these high walls?
2 A. Yes. The houses were very densely positioned, one next to
3 another. In many places, they were built in this fashion. They were very
4 densely located.
5 Q. Since this is a village not far away from Skopje, please tell me,
6 if you know at all, what was this population mainly occupied with?
7 A. As far as I was able to see from the period I was there, mainly
8 they occupied themselves with agriculture and cattle herding. They had
10 Q. Mr. Grozdanovski, in addition to the houses where the Ljuboten
11 villagers lived, were there any other buildings that were related to their
12 agricultural activities that you just mentioned?
13 A. Yes. They usually have facilities where they kept hay and cattle.
14 Q. From those positions, could you see whether there were any
15 tractors or oil tanks in the house yards? Were there any vehicles? Do
16 you know if it was customary to have any kind of equipment in the house
17 yards in Ljuboten?
18 A. Yes. Most of the houses did have tractors. We could see them
19 moving during the day so there were plenty of tractors in the village.
20 Q. Thank you. Now being an artillery person and you're a major, you
21 must know the consequences or the effects of one mortar shell. Could you
22 please tell me, a mortar shell, can it, if at all, cause fire?
23 A. A mortar shell has the purpose to destroy and to kill. There is a
24 possibility to set a facility on fire or to cause similar effects in a
25 situation when there are easily inflammable substances such as gas, oil,
1 hay, in such cases it may occur that a fire is caused.
2 Q. If I understood you well, a mortar shell, if it hits the --
3 THE INTERPRETER: The Defence counsel has her microphone switched
4 off. Could we ask the Defence counsel to repeat the question, please.
5 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. So, if I understood you well, if a mortar shell hits an
7 inflammable substance - as you said, oil, gas, hay - it can cause fire?
8 A. Yes. When we go to train in Krivolak, it often happens that we
9 set on fire dry hay.
10 Q. You said there was a higher number of reservists in your battery.
11 Could you tell me whether the company of Commander Jurisic, they were also
13 A. The company of Jurisic Mario, the whole 3rd Guardist Battalion was
14 composed of reservists. As far as I recall there was only one regular
15 soldier. He was a driver. Just one. All other soldiers were reservists.
16 Q. Please tell me whether some of the reservists were coming from the
17 surrounding villages, especially the village of Ljubanci?
18 A. Yes, this is correct. A large number of them were.
19 Q. Replying to the questions of my learned colleague, you said that
20 after the killing of the soldiers in the mine blast some of the soldiers
21 had a very low morale. Could you tell me, since we are talking about
22 reservists and persons that were hurt by this tragedy that happened to the
23 army of the Republic of Macedonia, do you exclude the possibility that
24 some soldiers could have opened fire, sporadic fire, against the village
25 without your knowledge?
1 A. I can say that it is possible. However, as for my battery, I can
2 say that there was no fire from the 120-millimetre mortars on the village
3 because we always had an officer at the positions and in no one moment did
4 he inform me that the village was fired upon.
5 Q. And one last question, Mr. Grozdanovski.
6 Having in mind the vicinity of the position of Smok, was there a
7 possibility that some of the army could have entered the village that
9 A. On the 12th, up until 2.00, around 2.00, while I was at the
10 position, no soldier left in the direction towards the village.
11 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Grozdanovski.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Residovic.
15 I think the time suggests this would be a practical moment to have
16 the second break.
17 We will do so and resume at five minutes to 1.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Dobbyn.
21 MR. DOBBYN: Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Dobbyn:
23 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Grozdanovski. My name is Gerard Dobbyn. I'm
24 representing the Office of the Prosecutor today, and following on from the
25 questions that my learned colleagues have asked you I'm going to be
1 spending some time asking you some more questions about the events that
2 you've described.
3 Now, you've described how you were interviewed as a suspect by the
4 Office of the Prosecutor. Correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And there were two separate interview, isn't that right, one was
7 on the 30th of July, 2004 and the other one was on the 8th of November,
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you have an interpreter present during both of these
12 A. Yes, there was an interpreter.
13 Q. And do you recall being advised of certain rights that you had as
14 a suspect?
15 A. Yes, I was advised.
16 Q. And among the rights that you were advised of, do you recall being
17 advised that you had the right not to answer any questions?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And do you recall being advised that you also had the right to
20 have a lawyer present during the interviews?
21 A. Yes, this is correct.
22 Q. And also isn't that right that you were advised that at the end of
23 each interview you would be given an opportunity to give any additional
24 information that you wanted to and also to clarify any points that had
25 come up during the interviews?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And, finally, do you recall being advised that these interviews
3 would be recorded?
4 A. Yes, this is so.
5 Q. Mr. Grozdanovski, during these two interviews, did you attempt to
6 answer all of the questions put to you truthfully and as fully as
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. Did you attempt to mislead the interviewers at any time?
10 A. No, no, I did not attempt to do so.
11 Q. Did you deliberately hide any facts from the interviewers during
12 these interviews?
13 A. I have not hidden anything.
14 Q. Okay. So it would be fair to say that during these interviews you
15 were -- you tried to be honest throughout them and provide a full picture
16 of the events?
17 A. Yes, I tried to be as honest as I could, as truthful as I could.
18 Q. Thank you. Now, I'd like just to move on and perhaps ask you
19 some of the question just clarifying further some of the points you've
20 covered earlier about the army positions around Ljuboten.
21 And, again, just to be clear, I believe you testified that during
22 the events in Ljuboten in 2001, you were the captain of the 120-millimetre
23 Mortar Battery of the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Guardist Brigade; is that
25 A. Yes, this is correct.
1 Q. And is it correct also that you were posted in the
2 Ljubanci-Ljuboten area from the 12th of June, 2001?
3 A. Yes, this is so.
4 Q. So by the time the events of the weekend of the 10th to 12th
5 August occurred, you had been there for approximately two months?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And I believe you also described that the headquarters of the 3rd
8 Battalion was in the school in Ljubanci. Is that right?
9 A. Yes, this is right.
10 Q. And your unit, the mortar battery, was housed in the children's
11 rest house above Ljuboten. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And also housed there was the company that was commanded by Mario
14 Jurisic. Is that also right?
15 A. Yes, this is right.
16 Q. And could you just remind me again, what -- what company was that,
17 that Mario Jurisic commanded?
18 A. The 1st Company.
19 Q. And that was an infantry company?
20 A. Yes, infantry company.
21 Q. Okay. And your mortar battery consisted of 120-millimetre
22 mortars, correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And the 2nd Company -- sorry, the 1st Company, Mario Jurisic's
25 company, that had also had 82-millimetre mortars; is that right?
1 A. Yes, this is right.
2 Q. Now, Mr. Grozdanovski --
3 MR. DOBBYN: And Your Honours, we have prepared some binders for
4 this witness and I would ask that they be distributed at this time.
5 Now, if we could show 65 ter 1231.
6 Q. And, Mr. Grozdanovski, this is in tab 5 of the binder in front of
7 you. So if you could turn to tab 5, please. And what you have in front
8 of you, Mr. Grozdanovski, is a map showing police, army, and NLA positions
9 in the Ljubanci-Ljuboten area in August 2001.
10 Do you recall seeing this map before, Mr. Grozdanovski?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And in fact you were shown this map, weren't you, during your
13 suspect interview on the 30th of July, 2004?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And if you look at the top left-hand corner this is written in
16 English. I'll read it to you. It says, "Attachment Suspect Interview,
17 Grozdanovski Nikolce" -- sorry, I'll try your name again. "Grozdanovski
18 Nikolce, 30 July 2004, Skopje field office, Investigator Kuehnel," and
19 then it has a signature underneath that.
20 Do you see that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And if you look at the bottom of the page, is that your signature
23 there, Mr. Grozdanovski?
24 A. Yes, this is so.
25 Q. And you accept, don't you, that this picture accurately reflects
1 the positions that your army unit had around the village of Ljuboten at
2 that time?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, where on this map exactly were your mortars positioned?
5 A. My mortar positions are marked with "Zvero."
6 Q. Actually, that's fine. I think it's already marked on the map.
7 So we have the confirmation, but thank you for your assistance.
8 And from Svero was it possible to see into Ljuboten?
9 A. No.
10 Q. And you testified earlier on that you had two observation posts,
11 one at Smok, and one at place called Zdravec. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And if you look at the bottom of the map you'll see handwriting,
14 "Zdravec," with a line going up to a position just to the left of the red
15 explosion, did you put that in there yourself, Mr. Grozdanovski?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And this represents the position of your observation post at
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And I believe you stated earlier that the observation post --
21 sorry, your observation post at Smok was inactive. Is that right?
22 A. Yes, this is right.
23 Q. Could you please explain a bit more fully what you mean by it
24 being inactive?
25 A. At the position Smok, my battery had a wire link from Smok to my
1 battery, which was there and in the case of need that we be able to
2 establish immediate contact with my subordinate, Slavco Butilovski. We
3 had no soldiers -- there were no soldiers, my soldiers who were on duty
4 all the time.
5 Q. Okay. What optical equipment did you have at Zdravec?
6 A. At Zdravec, my soldiers had artillery compass and binoculars,
7 while the soldiers from the infantry of Mario's unit had night visions.
8 Q. Can you explain what an artillery compass is?
9 A. They have an optical device on them. They have a compass, there's
10 a compass, and they serve to establish the angle to the target, and then
11 this angle is used while we're firing.
12 Q. And this artillery compass, does it also magnify?
13 A. Yes, yes. I said this. There is an optical device in it.
14 Q. And what level of magnification are these capable of achieving?
15 A. Sixfold magnifying power.
16 Q. And what about the binoculars that you had? What level of
17 magnification do they have?
18 A. We had binoculars with sixfold and eightfold magnifying power.
19 Q. And did you also have similar equipment available to you when you
20 were at Smok observation post?
21 A. Yes. The same binoculars and the same artillery compass.
22 Q. Now, is it possible, Mr. Grozdanovski, to see Ljuboten village
23 from the Zdravec observation post?
24 A. Yes it is possible, from the position of Zdravec one could see the
1 Q. And obviously the village is also visible from Smok and Bomba,
2 isn't it?
3 A. Yes. It is -- it was best visible from the Smok position.
4 Q. Now if you look to the bottom left of this map, you'll see a scale
5 there, Mr. Grozdanovski. Do you see that? Sorry, to the bottom left of
6 your map.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And using this scale as a reference, would you agree that the
9 distance from Smok -- actually, if I just take a step back.
10 In the village of Ljuboten, can you also see symbols for the
11 orthodox church and the mosque?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Okay. And using the scale at the bottom left as a reference would
14 you agree that the distance from Smok to the orthodox church is somewhere
15 between one to two kilometres?
16 A. Yes, about one kilometre.
17 Q. And, again the distance from Smok to the mosque would also be
18 somewhere between one and two kilometres. Correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And would you agree that the distance from Smok to the
21 northeastern edge of Ljuboten village to the right of the mosque as it
22 appears here, would be closer to two kilometres?
23 A. I believe it's less. About a kilometres.
24 Q. Well, looking from the scale that we have at the bottom of the map
25 wouldn't you agree that, according to that, it would be closer to two
2 A. We can estimate, but perhaps we should measure it more precisely
3 to see.
4 Q. I'll move on from there. Do you see also the map indicates the
5 location of the mine incident at Ljubotenski Bacila, doesn't it? And
6 that's shown by a red explosion symbol.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And, again, referring to the scale on the map, would you agree
9 that this shows the distance from Ljubotenski Bacila to Ljuboten would be
10 somewhere in the range of perhaps seven to eight kilometres?
11 A. As an estimate, I can agree, but it would be better if we were to
12 measure it.
13 Q. Well, regardless of the distance that it shows in a straight line
14 from Ljubotenski Bacila to Ljuboten, in fact, it takes -- it would be a
15 much further distance than a straight-line distance wouldn't it to
16 actually get there because the roads are not straight but wind around the
17 mountains and valley. Is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 MR. DOBBYN: Your Honours, at this time I'd like it tender 65 ter
21 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
22 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P595, Your Honours.
23 MR. DOBBYN: And I would ask that now we show ERN number
24 N005-7603, and this is a photograph that is taken from page 5 of the
25 Prosecution's Court binder.
1 Q. Now, do you see the photograph in front of you, Mr. Grozdanovski?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And would you agree that this is a panoramic photograph taken from
4 the south-east of Ljuboten?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, in this photograph, are any of the locations where the army
7 units were positioned in August 2001 visible?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Perhaps we could have the usher's assistance at this time.
10 And if perhaps with circles you could mark any locations where the
11 army was positioned during August 2001.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. Okay. I see that you've marked three circles and also an arrow.
14 Let's start from the left. The circle on the left, what does that
16 A. The Smok position.
17 Q. And could you please put the number 1 underneath that.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. And the second circle, to the right of that, what does that
21 A. The Mecka position.
22 Q. And could you put a number 2 by that, please.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. And if you go to the far right, what is the third circle?
25 A. Number 2 was position Bomba, and the third circle is the Mecka
2 Q. Okay. So just for the record, if we'll make that clear the circle
3 with the number 2 represents Bomba. Correct? And if --
4 A. Yes, Bomba.
5 Q. Thank you. And if you could put a number 3 by the third circle
6 representing Mecka.
7 A. This is the Mecka position.
8 Q. Thank you. And I see these, what I take to be an arrow, above
9 the 1st circle labeled number 1; what does that indicate?
10 A. The arrow is behind the hill, behind this in the valley behind
11 this arrow was the mortar battery, behind the hill.
12 Q. If you could put a number 4 above that arrow then. Thank you,
13 Mr. Grozdanovski.
14 MR. DOBBYN: Your Honours, I would seek to tender this photograph
15 at this time.
16 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
17 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P596, Your Honours.
18 MR. DOBBYN:
19 Q. Now, Mr. Grozdanovski, I would just like to clarify perhaps
20 through a few questions the composition of your mortar battery.
21 Now, I believe you stated that you had six 120-millimetre mortars
22 in your battery. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes, this is correct.
24 Q. And how many soldiers manned each individual mortar?
25 A. As a rule, five soldiers and one commander should be manning a
1 mortar. But in no moment did we have a sufficient number. We had four or
2 three, depending on the month and the coming of the reservists.
3 Q. Okay. And apart from the people manning the mortars, did you have
4 any other members of your units?
5 A. Yes. There was a command platoon that included the liaison
6 officers, the scouts.
7 Q. And earlier in your testimony you made reference to snipers. Were
8 snipers part of your mortar battery?
9 A. No, the snipers were members of the 1st Infantry Brigade who were
10 at the Smok position, who were at that position. They were from the
12 Q. So they were under the command of Mario Jurisic. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes, in their everyday activities they were under the command of
14 Lieutenant Mario Jurisic.
15 Q. And at Smok -- [Microphone not activated] Sorry, I'll ask that
16 again. At the Smok position were they located in exactly the same area
17 that you were?
18 A. Yes. We were at the same shelters.
19 Q. And you described a trench that runs along the Smok position where
20 you could kneel in without being visible. Were your positions in front of
21 or behind those trenches?
22 A. The Smok position composed of two parts: The point marked with
23 the number 1 is the observation post; while in the area now marked with
24 the number 4 was the bunker from Smok. These two parts were connected by
25 a trench, a dug in trench. The bunker was used for the soldiers who were
1 on duty be able to rest. The soldiers on duty observed from point 1.
2 Q. And did they observe from within the trench?
3 A. It was also possible to observe from the trench. It was about one
4 half metre so that a person was able to kneel without -- and move without
5 being seen. However, one could also observe from there as well.
6 Q. Now, the snipers that were connected with Mario Jurisic's unit, do
7 you know what fire-arms they had, what weapons they had?
8 A. They had a 7.9-millimetre sniper.
9 Q. And how many snipers were there in that unit?
10 A. Each unit that was on duty had one sniperist. Let's say Mario's
11 group of five people had one sniper and efforts were made for each
12 position to have one sniper.
13 Q. So just to be clear from that are you saying that on the 12th of
14 August from Smok there would have been just one sniperist there?
15 A. I believe that there were two, because, at that moment, the unit
16 which is not on duty, was at the position Smok. Therefore, the unit
17 which, under normal conditions would have been resting at the rest house,
18 was then at the position. This is speaking about the soldiers of Mario
20 Q. Sorry, just one minute, Mr. Grozdanovski.
21 Now, in response to questions from my learned colleague earlier
22 on, you described a certain actions taking place around Ljuboten, leading
23 up to the events of 10th to 12th of August, which you took, you described
24 as being indicative of NLA activity around Ljuboten.
25 Do you recall that?
1 A. Yes, this is so.
2 Q. You described movement around certain areas, people moving into
3 Ljuboten, other indications such as ammunition being found on the road.
4 Do you recall describing that?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I'd like to go into that just a little bit further and ask
7 specifically about your personal knowledge of the situation around
8 Ljuboten, leading up to the 10th to 12th of August. And isn't it true,
9 Mr. Grozdanovski, that from your point of view in the two months prior to
10 the events in Ljuboten the general security situation in the Ljuboten area
11 was good?
12 A. Generally speaking it was good. Because there was no combat
14 Q. And isn't it true that you didn't have -- your unit, the army
15 units around that area didn't have any problems from the village of
17 A. Up until then, there were no problems, particular problems. There
18 were small provocations, and the soldiers even opened fire on a number of
19 occasions, but there was no combat. There was no firing towards our
21 Q. So you're saying there was no firing towards your units but
22 soldiers were opening fire. What were they opening fire at?
23 A. Usually this happened in the evening hours, when the soldiers were
24 more fearful and on several occasions they announced that they had heard
25 something and that they opened fire. This was more so on the Zdravec
2 Q. And you testified that you didn't see any trenches, any bunkers,
3 or any other fortifications in Ljuboten prior to the 12th of August?
4 A. Correct. There were no fortifications by the villagers or the
6 Q. Wouldn't it be fair to say, Mr. Grozdanovski, that you didn't see
7 anything in Ljuboten leading up to the 12th of August that would have led
8 you to believe there was a NLA presence in the village?
9 A. I underscored several time that we noticed movements in the night
10 hours, late in the night, we saw horses on the road that leads to the
11 Bacilas, to the sheepfolds, and to Matejce. The diary probably has an
12 entry where the army reports about such movements in the time-period while
13 we were on that position. Also, it was evident that so much movement
14 occurred in a village after midnight.
15 Q. Perhaps I could refer you to the first suspect interview that you
16 gave on the 30th of July, 2004. And could you please turn to tab 2,
17 Mr. Grozdanovski.
18 MR. DOBBYN: And this is 65 ter number 1228.
19 Q. And towards the back of that, Mr. Grozdanovski, you should find a
20 Macedonian interpretation. There are only certain segments of the
21 interview that have been interpreted at this time due to time constraints.
22 And in the English version, would you please turn to page 16, and that is
23 page 16 also in the Macedonian.
24 Now, if you look approximately halfway down your page in the
25 Macedonian, Mr. Grozdanovski, and it's also approximately halfway down in
1 the English, you will see a question from a TK starting "now,
2 Mr. Grozdanovski..."
3 Do you see that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And the question that's asked is: "Now, Mr. Grozdanovski would
6 you explain to us about the general security situation in the area of
7 Ljubanci-Ljuboten, since you and your unit was deployed there before the
8 events in Ljuboten occurred."
9 And you answered: "I can assess them as good. We did not have
10 any problems on the part of the village of Ljuboten, if we can exclude the
11 problem that they wanted to let their cows graze where our positions were.
12 We did not allow them. They were not my positions. They were positions
13 of the 2nd Company. I don't know about some other problems."
14 You were then asked was there any fighting, riots, events,
15 shootings since the time you were here and since the events happened on
16 that weekend, 10 to 12 August, was there any sort of event.
17 You then answered no.
18 You were then asked: "I guess because it was the nature of your
19 business to assess the area of the nature or the areas surrounding you,
20 did you see any sort which would indicate any NLA presence in the area to
22 You answered: "At Zdravec -- from Zdravec where the observation
23 point was located, several times they reported that they have seen people
24 coming from the woods into the shepherds cottages, into the Bacila."
25 You were then asked: "Ljubotenski Bacila?"
1 And your answer is: "Yes, but there were no fights."
2 Now if we can turn on in the English to page 18. It is also page
3 18 in the Macedonian. And to continue on from there.
4 This is about a third of the way down the page. Do you see a
5 question from TK saying: "Good, so you had information from your side."
6 Do you see where that point is, Mr. Grozdanovski? This should be
7 closer to the top of the page, about a third of the way down, I believe,
8 if you're on page 18.
9 A. Yes. I have page 18.
10 Q. Are you looking at the second question on that page, asked by TK?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Well, perhaps I will read it in the English and you can tell me
13 whether this matches what have you in front of you. The question is
14 asked: "Good, so you had information from your side about possible
15 movement from Matejce but what about Ljuboten."
16 Do you have that in front of you, Mr. Grozdanovski?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And then it continues on: "Did you monitor any sort of activities
19 prior to the incident in Ljuboten in the village of Ljuboten."
20 And you answered: "We observed unusual movement of cars, unusual
21 number, big number of cars, during the night as well unusual number of
22 cars for a village and no other things."
23 You were then asked: "I guess from your observation point you had
24 a very good view over the village."
25 And you answered: "From Smok the view was best."
1 You were then asked about combat fortifications and preparations,
2 and as you testified you answered there that you hadn't seen any such
4 You were then asked: "Did you see any other signs or presence of
5 NLA or strongholds, any sort of flags, graffiti or other markings. And
6 you answered: "There flags on the mosque, but no other things."
7 Next question was: "What else is interesting for us to ask you,
8 this movement in the night, was it individual persons or was it a group of
9 persons or horses used or something else?"
10 Your answer was: "Like I said, many cars were travelling from the
11 village to the city. In Macedonia it is unusual at 2.00 a.m. 20 cars
12 would leave the village."
13 And the final question that I will cover on this point was: "Was
14 any activity taken from your side, because of this monitoring of the
15 events? Did you record a number of the plates, did you inform the police,
16 and did the police check these people? Did you check that?"
17 And your answer was: "No, we didn't have such competences.
18 Since it was really peaceful, we didn't pay any attention. It was only
19 striking and it was not endangering us.
20 Now, did you follow all of that, Mr. Grozdanovski? Sorry, were
21 you able to follow that, Mr. Grozdanovski?
22 A. Yes, yes. I followed it.
23 Q. Okay. And would be it fair to say that there's no mention here of
24 any ammunition being found?
25 A. The ammunition was found by the scouts that during the day moved
1 in the regions where we didn't have soldiers. So the scouts were made up
2 from the soldiers from the 1st Company, from Major Mario, and when they
3 were coming back they found ammunition from Chinese production. We went
4 to a meeting with Major Despodov when lieutenant Jurisic Mario was
5 reporting on this.
6 Q. Thank you for that explanation but my question is something a
7 little bit different. My question to you is, is there any mention in your
8 suspect interview about this ammunition being found?
9 A. As far as can I see, it is not mentioned here.
10 Q. And as far as you can see, was there any mention of the movement
11 of horses?
12 A. Yes, I think there was a mention of it in one paragraph. It was
13 explained in one of the paragraphs.
14 Q. Well, perhaps if can I take you back to that paragraph and this is
15 just back over the page, the bottom paragraph and you were asked: "This
16 movement in the night was it individual persons, was it a group of
17 persons, were horses used or something else?"
18 And then your response you only refer to cars. So would it be
19 fair to say that you don't make any mention of horses being used for
20 transportation for these sorts of goods around Ljuboten?
21 A. Yes, that is what is written here.
22 Q. And the movement of cars you've described, isn't it the case that
23 in your view this was nothing more than something that was interesting,
24 but you didn't see it as something that was a danger to you or something
25 that was indicative of NLA activity?
1 A. The movement of the cars was not dangerous for us, but it was just
2 an indication that something was happening in the village, that there was
3 some activity. The cars did not move in our region but they were moving
4 along the road from the village Ljuboten towards Skopje.
5 Q. Okay thank you.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Dobbyn --.
7 MR. DOBBYN: Yes?
8 JUDGE PARKER: -- we have, I believe, reached a point where we
9 need to adjourn. Is this a convenient point.
10 MR. DOBBYN: Yes, I'm sorry, Your Honour. I thought it was 1.00,
11 so this is a good time.
12 JUDGE PARKER: We must adjourn now for the balance of the day and
13 ask the witness to return tomorrow. We resume the hearing in another
14 courtroom at 2.15 tomorrow.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 6th day of March,
17 2008, at 2.15 p.m.