1 Monday, 28 September 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation shown
9 to you on the card.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
11 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 WITNESS: ZIVKO TRAJKOVIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
15 Now, under the procedure here we have questions asked of you to
16 assist us. Mr. Stamp, I believe, will be asking you some questions to
17 start with.
18 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours, and good
20 Examination by Mr. Stamp:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Trajkovic. Could you please --
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Could you please begin by just telling us your name, your
24 father's first name, your date of birth, and place of birth.
25 A. Zivko Trajkovic, father's name Trajan, born on the 12th of
1 December, 1957, in the village of Strezovce
3 Q. Thank you. And I understand, Mr. Trajkovic, that you are a
4 retired former member of the MUP of Serbia; is that correct?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. When did you retire from the MUP?
7 A. In late 2007, in the month of December.
8 Q. Could you give us just a concise history of your role in the MUP
9 over the years from when you joined and the positions you held and where
10 you were based up until the time of your retirement.
11 A. I began working at the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic
12 of Serbia
13 I reported to work at the secretariat as a police officer for securing
14 the republic organs. I worked this until September 1982, when I applied
15 to work in the special units of the interior ministry. As I passed the
16 test to work in the special units, beginning on September 1st, 1982, I
17 was re-deployed to work within the special units of the Secretariat of
18 the Interior. I completed all the training that was envisaged, and I was
19 promoted in service while at the same time I graduated at the Faculty of
20 National Defence in Belgrade
21 squad. I was deputy commander of a unit. I was deputy commander, and I
22 was the commander of a special unit, and from 1992 onwards the special
23 units were renamed and were now called Special Anti-Terrorist Units.
24 Their composition now included the Special Anti-Terrorist Units seated in
25 Pristina as well as the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit seated in Novi Sad
1 well as the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit seated in Belgrade.
2 Beginning in 1982 I worked with the special units of the
3 Secretariat of the Interior, then later on these were the special units
4 of the Ministry of the Interior, and with them I passed a lot of time in
5 various places in the field, whether for training purposes, and the
6 training was extremely hard and difficult, and we were also in the field
7 in order to carry out the tasks that had to do with anti-terrorist
8 suppression, mostly in the territory of the autonomous province of Kosovo
9 and Metohija. Beginning in 1981 we had counter-revolution there that was
10 the way it was called in our public, that was the way it was presented to
11 our public, it was a counter-revolution mounted by one part of the
12 Albanian population in Kosovo, with a request that this territory should
13 secede from the Republic of Serbia
14 tasks was the territory of Kosovo
15 various operations on the territory of Serbia
16 deal with serious cases of crime, with criminals who could not have been
17 arrested by the ordinary police that carried out everyday tasks. In such
18 situations they always asked for the assistance of our units.
19 Beginning in -- during 1981, beginning on the 21st of September,
20 1981, and until the end of April I was in the territory of Baranja
22 the special unit --
23 Q. Sorry, is this 1981 or --
24 A. 1991. In 1991, beginning on the 21st of September, to the end of
25 April 1992, when after having completed the task with the group of our
1 members we returned to our base in Belgrade
2 Q. Okay. I would just like to move to 1998 and 1999. At that time
3 what position did you occupy?
4 A. In 1998 and 1999 my position was the commander of all special
5 units within the Serbian MUP.
6 Q. Is that the organisation known as the SAJ, the Special
7 Anti-Terrorist Unit?
8 A. As this abbreviation will be used frequently, I propose that we
9 use the shortened form, SAJ
10 the MUP.
11 Q. Before we move on could I show you very quickly a document, 65
12 ter 04200, it's P145.
13 MR. STAMP: Perhaps on the copy in Serbian we could scroll down
14 so we can see the signature.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately the signature on the
16 Serbian copy is hardly visible. I can just see that this was printed and
17 that this is Colonel-General Vlastimir Djordjevic, but the signature is
18 hardly legible at least here on the screen.
19 MR. STAMP:
20 Q. But I take it that you had a copy to -- had an opportunity to
21 look at a copy of this. Would this be the official decision terminating
22 your participation in the -- in operations in Kosovo in 1999?
23 A. Yes, that should be that.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. STAMP: Perhaps we could remove it.
1 Q. You told us a little bit about the purpose of the SAJ. Could you
2 give us some more information about its structure in 1998 and 1999. I
3 think you said that there were three seats: One in Belgrade, one in Novi
4 Sad, and the other in Pristina. Who were the commanders, and how many
5 men did these units or subunits have within their structure?
6 A. All three units were part of the systemisation of the Serbian
7 MUP, and they were based on the main principle. They had a commander,
8 they had a deputy commander, they also had a command, a command of a
9 unit, also the operational segment, then the support section, and the
10 section that secured the centres where the units were located. The
11 commander of the Belgrade SAJ
12 the Novi Sad SAJ
14 systemisation had about 100 men, but their composition was never full.
15 And the operational section numbered together with the command around 60
16 members, and the rest were the drivers, then the centre security, and the
17 administrative staff.
18 Q. Where were these three units located? Did they have a central
19 place where they maintained barracks or offices? Let's start with the
20 one in Pristina.
21 A. The unit seated in Pristina was quartered near Pristina at a
22 centre. It used to be the Territorial Defence centre for Pristina. And
23 later on the special unit of the then-Pristina Secretariat of the
24 Interior, that is to say the provincial Secretariat of the Interior, was
25 based there. And when in 1991 almost 99 per cent of the ethnic Albanian
1 members left their positions in Kosovo and Metohija, that also affected
2 the special unit. Until 1991 it had a mixed composition. It had members
3 who were both ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians, but in 1991 the unit was
4 attached to the Joint Command of the Special Anti-Terrorist Units in
6 in Ajvalija, that was the former Territorial Defence centre. The Special
7 Anti-Terrorist Unit based in Belgrade
8 location to another, there was several locations all in all, for a while
9 they were attached to the department of the interior in new Belgrade
10 Later on they were quartered at the Belgrade
11 helicopter and special units were located. And since 1992, late 1992 or
12 1993, the seat of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit from Belgrade
13 Batajnica. It has been in Batajnica at the 13th of May centre near
15 The seat of the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit in Novi Sad is near
16 Novi Sad
17 place called Klisa.
18 Q. And where was your office as the overall command of all three
20 A. My offices were in the building of the Ministry of the Interior
21 in Kneza Milosa Street 103.
22 Q. If we could look at 1998, could you tell us what were the main
23 tasks that the SAJ
24 A. In early 1998 our units mainly had the task to assist the branch
25 secretariats of the interior to resolve the mounting problems that had to
1 do with security in the territory of Kosovo
4 in order to carry out tasks in that region. Our tasks were mostly to
5 resolve the situation as regards to the problems with roads that had been
6 temporarily taken over. That was the Pristina-Pec road, the
7 Pristina-Prizren road, as well as the Prizren-Pec road. It happened that
8 because of the territories that were covered by Albanian terrorists, for
9 long periods these roads were not accessible. It was not possible for
10 normal traffic to move along these roads on the territory of the province
11 of Kosovo. And unblocking these roads was mostly the tasks of our units
12 with the assistance of the members of the special police units.
13 In these areas, police check-points were sometimes mounted in
14 order to secure these roads. I have to note that in this period, I mean
15 the first half of 1998, sometimes we had tasks such as securing police
16 squads that were re-deployed and that were the target of Albanian
17 terrorists; and then on the basis of plans that were prepared by the MUP
18 staff in Pristina our units had the task to secure such police squads as
19 well as some check-points that were the targets of attacks. These were
20 the check-points that I mentioned a minute ago.
21 Q. What were some of the -- please continue.
22 A. May I just finish, please?
23 One of the more serious operations that we carried out at the
24 time was unblocking the Belacevac mine, as the terrorists had completely
25 taken over this mine, and they unabled the production of electricity in
1 Kosovo A and B plans and that was mostly all.
2 Q. Before we move to the second half of 1998, could you just
3 indicate to us what type of weaponry did these units on your command have
4 at their disposal?
5 A. In the first half of 1998 the weaponry was mostly classical
6 weaponry that the members of the Special Anti-Terrorist Units had, but as
7 the problems became more and more complex, as there were more and more
8 attacks on the check-points and our units which were on the move, then we
9 had to take some measures that meant that we had to armour our field
10 vehicles and that we had to introduce more heavy calibres like 12.7 and
11 also -- and also mortars 60- and 82-millmetre mortars.
12 Q. In the -- well, on the 5th of March, 1998, there was an assault
13 by members of the MUP forces on the Jashari compound in Drenica. You're
14 aware of that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you know which unit plan -- or should I say who planned this
17 operation and which units participated in it?
18 A. This operation was planned by the operations service of the State
19 Security Service. As for who participated in the operation, it was the
20 unit for special operations as well as the SAJ -- or rather, a part of
21 the Novi
22 Q. Did the Pristina SAJ
23 time, participate?
24 A. Two combat teams from the SAJ Pristina and from the SAJ
25 took part together with the members of the special police units in the --
1 in the blockade of that region. This area was notorious for terrorist
2 activities, and the plan was to defend the units who were to arrest
3 Jashari and his group in case there was a terrorist attack.
4 Q. Before we move on, you said that the operation was planned by the
5 operation service of the State Security Service and the participants in
6 the operation included a unit for special operations. Was this unit for
7 special operations also known by its acronym, the JSO?
8 A. JSO stands for Special Operations Unit.
9 Q. Who commanded the units involved in the assault on the Jashari
11 A. As far as I'm aware, Franko Simatovic was the commander of that
12 action. His nickname is Frenki.
13 Q. And as some of your units were involved in some way in the
14 action, did you come to your own assessment of the way the operation was
16 A. I made an assessment for myself, but since I wasn't involved in
17 the planning of that operation, given that it was a small area, we would
18 normally call that "action" and not "operation." Nobody came to ask me
19 whether I agreed with the proposal that had been advanced by them, and we
20 didn't really have much opportunity to give comments on how that action
21 was to be carried out. But since I had a lot of experience in dealing
22 with such and similar problems, I believed that the action had not been
23 planned well and that it could have been done differently.
24 Q. We have had evidence before the Court, Mr. Trajkovic, that among
25 the persons killed in this action there were -- well, there were 84
1 persons killed, including 24 women and children, in this action. Would
2 the leadership of the public security department in Belgrade be aware of
3 the casualties that resulted from this action?
4 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] This is the first time I hear of
6 this figure of 84, and if Mr. Stamp is quoting somebody I would kindly
7 ask him to tell us who he's quoting, and he should put it to the witness.
8 Quite the contrary. I believe that we had different data provided by
9 some witnesses. I think it was Mr. Cvijetic who spoke about this.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Stamp, your precise number, 84, is a question.
11 MR. STAMP: And I see that on this occasion my friend is correct.
12 I should have said 54, and that I think was the evidence of Mr. Fred
14 JUDGE PARKER: So you're referring to the killing of 54 people in
15 your question?
16 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
18 MR. STAMP: Can I proceed, Your Honour? I'm prepared to
19 rephrase --
20 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry, please go ahead.
21 MR. STAMP: Thank you.
22 Q. Mr. Trajkovic, did you become aware that there were civilian
23 casualties that resulted from the operation? Forget about the numbers
24 now, but that there were in fact civilian casualties that resulted from
25 the operation?
1 A. Yes. I learned that there had been civilian casualties, but as
2 to the figure I wasn't aware of it. I know that there was an on-site
3 investigation, that an investigating judge went to the site, and that the
4 police unit from the regional secretariat assisted in that investigation
5 and that a report was produced immediately after the action.
6 Q. And would the leadership of the public security department in
8 this operation?
9 A. I suppose they did become aware. I'm not sure.
10 Q. But -- well, from your experience as a senior member of the
11 police where a major operation -- a major action, I beg your pardon, a
12 major action of this nature takes place and there are casualties, would
13 the reports indicate the amount and nature of these casualties, that is,
14 the reports up to the headquarters of the public security department?
15 A. I have mentioned that this action was planned by this state
16 [Realtime transcript read in error "date"] security service, and I truly
17 do not know that anybody from the public security department took part in
18 the planning. That is to say that the analysis of what had been done and
19 how it had been done was done at that level. What I can say on my part
20 is that I wasn't invited to participate in the analysis of how this
21 action had been executed, and therefore, I'm unable to give you anything
22 more than I already have done.
23 Q. Very well. Thank you for the clarification.
24 A. You're welcome.
25 Q. During the next half, the latter half, of 1999, could you
1 describe for us briefly, however, the activities of the SAJ units in
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
4 MR. DJURDJIC: [Microphone not activated]
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
6 MR. STAMP: Yes, thank you, Mr. Djurdjic.
7 Q. I'm referring Mr. Trajkovic to the latter part of 1998. Was
8 there in that --
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
10 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in the transcript,
11 line 13, there should be State Security Service, whereas the transcript
12 says "date security service."
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 MR. STAMP:
15 Q. Was there a major anti-terrorist offensive that commenced
16 sometime in the latter half of 1998, and did the SAJ participate in it?
17 A. Yes, in the second half of 1998 there had been a joint staff set
18 up composed of the command of the Pristina Corps and command of the MUP
19 staff for Kosovo and Metohija. So the Serbian security forces were
20 ordered to clear up the area of the autonomous province of Kosovo
21 Metohija from terrorist activities and to take terrorists to court so
22 that the entire territory of Kosovo and Metohija could be placed under
23 the control of the Serbian security forces. Our units participated in
24 those actions in accordance with the plans that had been approved at the
25 Joint Command level, and all the way up until the end of September 1998
1 we took part in the actions that had been planned in this part.
2 Q. Thank you. You said that a joint staff was set up and later on
3 you said a Joint Command. Is -- was this body that coordinated the VJ
4 and the MUP referred to as the joint staff or the Joint Command?
5 A. Joint Command.
6 Q. And could you tell us about when this body was formed.
7 A. I think that it was in late June/early July 1998.
8 Q. And were you a member of this command, the Joint Command?
9 A. At that time I was a member of the MUP staff for Kosovo and
10 Metohija, and only the top leadership of our command together with the
11 command of the Pristina Corps comprised the Joint Command.
12 Q. Very well. Could you, as best as you can - I know you probably
13 will not be able to include everybody - but could you name all the
14 persons you know who were members of the Joint Command at that time.
15 A. I have never seen a document concerning the Joint Command, but I
16 would say based on the posts of people who were there at the time it was
17 the commander of the Pristina Corps at the time, Mr. Nebojsa Pavkovic;
18 his deputy and Chief of Staff, Mr. Lazarevic; I think that Mr. Djakovic
19 also belonged there as an operations officer of the Pristina Corps; and
20 that on behalf of the MUP Mr. Sreten Lukic was a member; and most likely
21 his deputy, David Gajic.
22 Q. Do you know if any members of the political leadership
23 participated in the deliberations of the Joint Command?
24 A. Throughout 1998 there was a number of politicians who were
25 present in the territory of Kosovo
1 and significance of all the actions that were carried out by the security
2 forces, the army, and the police. Now, as to whether they participated
3 in the decision-making process, I don't know, but there was a number of
4 politicians in the territory of Kosovo
5 Q. At that time and during these anti-terrorist operations, did
6 members of the leadership of the MUP come to Kosovo and participate in
7 the work of the MUP in the field?
8 A. During the period of time that we're discussing now in the
9 territory of Kosovo, there were mostly Generals Djordjevic and Stevanovic
10 present in the territory of Kosovo
12 Q. And do you know what was the nature of their participation in the
13 work of the MUP?
14 A. What I know and what I saw in the field was that both
15 Mr. Stevanovic and Mr. Djordjevic were frequently present in the
16 territory of Kosovo and that they even appeared on the ground where
17 certain units carried out operations. As for Mr. Djordjevic, I can say
18 that he frequently was with our units when we were in the field. And as
19 to their participation in the decisions that were adopted at the level of
20 the Joint Command, I don't know about that; however, their presence
21 during that period of time was obvious.
22 Q. Do you know if they remained in Kosovo all the time or if they
23 would return to Belgrade
24 of the public security department?
25 A. In my previous answer I didn't mean to say that they were present
1 in Kosovo throughout, that they never went back. But what I meant to say
2 was that they were more often present than in the period of time prior to
3 that. And depending on what duties they had, they would go back to
5 either both of them would be present in Kosovo or at least one of them
6 would be present. Their presence was more pronounced at the time, most
7 likely because there was a lot of activity on behalf of the MUP in the
8 territory of Kosovo
10 Q. Did Mr. Djordjevic at any time indicate to you what his attitude
11 was towards his presence in Kosovo?
12 A. On one hand, I understood that his presence as well as the
13 presence of the politicians in Kosovo at the time was meant to express
14 the importance or underline the importance and significance of all the
15 actions and operations that we had there at the time. I remember that
16 once I jokingly asked him, "Boss, why are you so often in Kosovo these
17 days?" And he replied, also jokingly, "I'm safer here than in Belgrade
18 We didn't comment on what he said, but I think that in the
19 discussions and interviews I've had so far I've mentioned this, what he
20 said, that he was safer here than in Belgrade
21 specifically comment on this.
22 Q. Very well. I'd like briefly to show you a document. This is a
23 document that's in evidence, it's P886. These are the minutes of the
24 meeting of the Joint Command.
25 MR. STAMP: Could we go to page 57 in the English and 59 in the
1 Serbian version.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
3 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't think I'm
4 mistaken, but when Mr. Stamp posed a question, the witness said that he
5 did not attend the meetings of the body that he refers to as the Joint
6 Command. And now what is being put to him are the minutes from some
7 meeting of the Joint Command. I think that we should first establish
8 whether he is aware of the existence of this document rather than try to
9 present this document immediately.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Stamp will conduct his examination as he sees
11 fit, but if he goes beyond the point where the evidence would support
12 him, we will stop him. Thank you.
13 Carry on, please, Mr. Stamp.
14 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Could we scroll down in the Serbian version. Thanks.
16 Q. This is the notes for the 23rd of August, 1998, and you see in
17 the middle of the page there there's a record of what General Djordjevic
18 contributed to that meeting and his conclusion at the end in respect to
19 the Belgrade
20 Dulje-Rance direction. I just wanted to indicate to the Court whether
21 there was, in fact, this operation that General Djordjevic is referring
22 to, if your units acted as indicated there.
23 A. In the last line it says:
24 "Prizren company, Belgrade company, and the SAJ
25 the Dulje-Rance axis."
1 That's what it says here.
2 Q. And do you recall your units engaging in that action at that
4 A. Based on these notes, I'm unable to see the context. I don't
5 know what this whole action was about. It says here -- it says that this
6 is a conclusion and that the Prizren company and the Belgrade company and
7 the SAJ
8 of time, yes, we were present in this area and in other areas. We
9 covered on foot the entire territory of Kosovo
10 likely we were present in this area along this axis as well.
11 Q. But specifically can you recall if your unit was engaged to
12 proceed along the Dulje-Rance axis?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. That is all in respect to this document.
15 Can you tell us briefly, Mr. Trajkovic, what was the respective
16 roles of the different units of the MUP, for example, the PJP and the
18 normal situation how were they organised in the offensives against KLA
20 A. The first half of 1998 was characterised by police operations
21 with weapons and equipment that we had, and then from the moment when the
22 Joint Command was formed and the planning of operations for future
23 periods began, the operations were mainly carried out jointly. On
24 various axes various units were active. The Special Anti-Terrorist Units
25 mostly were engaged where the terrorist groups had their strongholds, and
1 when our forces advanced, if there was combat, then we would also be
2 engaged when the regular MUP forces could not resolve such tasks, that
3 was when the members of the SAJ
4 parts of the territory and the members of the SAJ [as interpreted] were
5 mainly in charge of holding the positions on the flanks. As for the
6 Yugoslav Army, we had their support at the time in the sense that they
7 would fire in order to unblock --
8 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you. The record here - and I don't think
9 that is what you said - said that members of the SAJ were mainly in
10 charge of holding positions on the flanks. Is that what you said?
11 A. No, I said that the focus of the activities of the SAJ were where
12 the terrorists had their strongholds and that the flanks were held by
13 members of the special police units.
14 Q. And that's the PJP?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. And you were just about to go on to tell us about the VJ.
17 A. The role of the Yugoslav Army in this period was that of fire
18 support, providing fire support, and we often used their combat armoured
19 vehicles because they had inexperienced young soldiers in this territory,
20 and usually we used those joint units with our members in order to break
21 through until the moment of combat with terrorists. And it was possible
22 for them to break through because they used the armoured vehicles of the
23 Yugoslav Army, and this was more or less how all the actions in the field
24 were carried out in this period.
25 Q. How about 1999, was that the same way you normally conducted the
2 A. 1999 is more specific in terms of the activities of our forces,
3 because on the 24th of March the NATO aggression, the air-strikes, were
4 launched and targets that were of vital importance for our armed forces
5 were being hit so that the units of the Yugoslav Army, as they were
6 highly visible targets, used to camouflage themselves and to get closer
7 to the sectors where the actions were carried out. And only occasionally
8 they could be engaged by firing from their weapons so that they would not
9 be spotted by the NATO radars even though the command remained at the
10 same level, that is to say, there was a Joint Command and the state of
11 war was declared. By contrast with 1998, the focus of our activities was
12 in addition to fighting terrorist groups, which had additional zest to
13 participate in even greater numbers in the activities they had started,
14 the focus of the activities of the forces of the army and the members of
15 our service was to defend the state territory and to prepare for this
16 defence, defend the territory from a possible land invasion of NATO
17 forces against our country.
18 Q. When you said the VJ would provide fire support and they could be
19 engaged by firing from their weapons, what precisely do you mean?
20 A. These were mostly mortars, mortar support, and if the situation
21 was even more difficult then sometimes fire from tanks was used as well
22 in order to break through barricades or strongholds that were harder to
23 break through. But because of the factor that this could make them very
24 visible, this was very rarely used during 1999.
25 Q. Earlier you had indicated that you acted in accordance with plans
1 approved at the Joint Command level. Did you receive your orders to
2 engage in combat actions orally or in writing?
3 A. These were mostly written orders.
4 Q. And who or which body would you or your command or your unit
5 commanders get these orders from?
6 A. Just like in 1998, during 1999 we got excerpts from these orders
7 which related to the engagement and participation. Specifically if it
8 were -- if these were my units, then this would relate to the
9 participation of my unit in a specific action and our coordinated action
10 with the units that were superior to the PJP units and the units of
11 the Yugoslav Army. And probably the same excerpts from these orders
12 that were adopted at the Joint Command were also received by the members
13 of the Yugoslav Army for such specific tasks when that was the situation.
14 And we received these even though the location of our staffs used to
15 change very often, we always knew where they were located. We would drop
16 by for a short visit. We would receive the excerpts from these orders.
17 And when we were in the situation to drop by briefly after we had carried
18 out the actions, we would go there and brief them, we would tell them how
19 the action had been carried out, and then we would go to our final
20 destination, that is to say, where our own units were quartered.
21 Q. Just for clarification, you said you would drop by to the
22 location where your staffs were to visit. When you say "staff," which
23 entity are you referring to?
24 A. I'm referring to the staff of the MUP for Kosovo and Metohija.
25 Our staff continued to operate just like in 1998, that is where Mr. Lukic
1 and possibly a man he had appointed, it could be on one day Mr. David
2 Gajic or one of his other associates, they would go to the meetings of
3 the Joint Command, and I did not know this because in 1999 I did not
4 attend any of these official meetings, so that I could tell where each
5 staff was located, but for our MUP staff we always knew where it was
7 Q. The Joint Command orders that were excerpted, did you have any
8 opportunity to see any of these Joint Command orders during 1999?
9 A. For every action I received the excerpts from the orders, as I
10 said, and the excerpts usually said -- sometimes I didn't pay much
11 attention to that, but sometimes the heading said "MUP staff." Sometimes
12 it was the "Joint Command staff." But mostly the orders that we received
13 said, I think, the MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija.
14 Q. I'd like to show you a couple of documents, Mr. Trajkovic, and
15 ask you a couple of questions about them. Firstly, could we look at
16 D104, please, that's the exhibit number. It's 65 ter 01966.
17 This is a Joint Command order to quote it:
18 "To rout and destroy the STS in the Malo Kosovo area ..."
19 Did you have an opportunity recently to have a look at this
20 document? And can you recall if the action to which this order refers to
21 actually took place?
22 A. This is one of the orders, and it's probable that this happened.
23 But as far as I can see, it's an order that relates to units of the
24 Yugoslav Army. It's an excerpt from the order that was adopted at the
25 Joint Command. It's probable that the second half or the other part of
1 such an order was either headed the MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija or
2 it had the same heading but a different text. Because here in the first
3 line the tasks of the Yugoslav Army units are mentioned, and we received
4 such orders, but in the first line the tasks of our units were emphasised
5 and then the coordinated action with the units of the Yugoslav Army would
6 be mentioned as well.
7 Q. I see. Perhaps if I give to you, with the leave of the Court, a
8 hard copy of the document, you could just look through it and tell us
9 whether or not your unit participated or any of your units participated
10 in that action.
11 MR. STAMP: If we go to the English page 4.
12 Q. And, Mr. Trajkovic, in your copy that's -- I don't know the page
13 in Serbian, but that's on the section 5: "Tasks for the units."
14 A. Yes, this is the task for the 22nd -- the 22nd of March, and I
15 arrived on the territory of Kosovo
16 the afternoon. But I think a part of our unit from Pristina, that's the
18 members were killed on that occasion. However, I was not present in the
19 territory of Kosovo
20 Q. Thank you. Just to be sure that I understand your evidence,
21 Mr. Trajkovic, the -- on many occasions, on most occasions, the Joint
22 Command orders would be excerpted and your unit would receive an excerpt
23 that referred specifically to the task of your unit. Is that a
24 correct --
25 A. That's right. That's correct.
1 Q. And many times the document you received was an excerpt done by
2 the MUP staff?
3 A. On the basis of a joint plan which was adopted at the level of
4 the Joint Command, the Pristina Corps command prepared excerpts from the
5 joint decision to carry out certain tasks for the Yugoslav Army units.
6 And mostly the command of the MUP staff for the Kosovo and Metohija did
7 it for the police units where my units also belonged. They prepared
8 excerpts from these, firstly emphasising the tasks of the units of the
9 Ministry of the Interior, and then the next tasks that were emphasized
10 were those that were to be carried out jointly with the units of the
11 Yugoslav Army. And more or less that was how it functioned.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. STAMP: Could we have now a look at 65 ter 1968, and this is
14 Exhibit P971. And perhaps with the leave of the Court I could hand to
15 the witness a hard copy and retrieve the one that he has. Thank you.
16 Q. Are you familiar with the action or the operation referred to in
17 this order? Do you know if this operation was conducted?
18 A. On the said day my units were on a completely different axis, and
19 therefore I do not know if this operation was conducted or not. But if
20 this is original material then it's probable that the action was carried
21 out. But as I say, on the said day my unit was in a completely different
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. STAMP: Could we move on to 65 ter 01878, and again I would
25 like to hand the witness a hard copy to expedite the proceedings. Thank
1 you very much.
2 Q. An order for an operation of the 15th of April, 1999.
3 A. Just like with the previous document, as soon as I saw the
4 heading of this order I could tell that my units were not present in this
5 territory, that is the territory from Pec towards the Republic of
7 as I say, the document is of the kind that I used to see. But whether
8 the operation was conducted or not and in what way, I wouldn't know that.
9 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, the witness having identified the
10 document as similar to those which emanate from the Joint Command that he
11 used to see, and I think on the face of the document and at the end of
12 the document one can see that it has the stamps and other numbering,
13 subject numbering, similar to other Joint Command orders that have been
14 received in evidence, on that basis I would respectfully tender it and
15 ask that this one be given an exhibit number.
16 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, considering the
17 criteria that we adopted, I have no objections whatsoever.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit P01328.
21 MR. STAMP: And lastly in this vein could we look at document
22 19 -- sorry, it's -- it's 65 ter 01976, and it's Exhibit P767.
23 And again I would with the leave of the Court give the witness a
24 hard copy and recover the other one.
25 Q. This is a Joint Command order of the 15th of April, 1999
1 operation in the area of Jezerce. Do you know whether or not this order
2 or this operation was conducted?
3 A. Please excuse me. My units did participate in a similar action,
4 but as this is only an excerpt intended for the army units, the units or
5 forces of the MUP are not more specifically mentioned, and I cannot
6 really conclude if this is the action I have in mind or not. But roughly
7 at this time our units did have a task to carry out in this sector.
8 So I cannot say with certainty if this is the task that my units
9 had the special police units and the SAJ
10 Yugoslav Army units. But around this time, the 15th of April, it's
11 possible that it relates to this action. But if we had the excerpts from
12 the order relating to the MUP units, then one could see with more detail
13 which were the units that participated in it.
14 Q. Very well. Thank you very much.
15 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I'm wondering if this is a convenient
16 time? Especially since my friend I think has a submission to make.
17 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I think this is the convenient
18 time for the break, but I wanted to speak to Mr. Stamp during the break
19 so as not to trouble the Chamber with it.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Djurdjic.
21 We will have our first break now. This is a break for half an
22 hour. A court officer will assist you during the break, and we'll resume
23 at a quarter past 4.00, continue questioning after that. Thank you.
24 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 4.18 p.m.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Stamp.
2 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. When we broke off, Mr. Trajkovic, we were looking at a document
4 which I still think is on the screen in front of you, and that is
5 document P767. If we could look at page 4 of the English and page 2 of
6 the Serbian version very briefly. Just the top at "Readiness."
7 The document is dated the 14th of April, 1999. But you see here
8 that it -- it says:
10 "For routing and destroying the STS in the area of Jezerce at
11 0600 hours on the 23rd of April, 1999."
12 Have you seen that section?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And does that help you to recall in any way whether or not your
15 units or any of your units were involved in the operation?
16 A. Once again I repeat that my units were present in this territory,
17 but whether this document pertains to exactly that order is something I
18 cannot claim with certainty. As I have told you, it would have been of
19 great help if we had the excerpt pertaining to the MUP forces because
20 that document would list each unit that participated in that action.
21 Here I cannot see any indication of what MUP units were engaged.
22 Q. Very well. Perhaps we could move on from that. During that
23 period 1998 -- sorry, in 1999, that's March, April, May, could the SAJ be
24 engaged by the Joint Command without the overall sanction or
25 authorisation of the leadership of the MUP, including the minister and
1 the head of the public security department?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did the leadership of the MUP cede authority to engage or to
4 sanction the engagement of the forces in Kosovo?
5 A. Once an immediate threat of war was declared and also when the
6 state of war was introduced, it was taken for granted that all units that
7 had been sent by the minister of the interior - I'm now referring to the
8 MUP units - are to be placed under the command of the Joint Command of
9 the army and MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija. This was an
11 Q. Sorry, an understatement or an understanding that you had?
12 A. That's how I took the situation, that's what I took it to mean,
13 and that's how it was. And it applied to all the units that were sent
14 there. We have to distinguish between the peacetime and between the time
15 when there was an immediate threat of war declared as well as the state
16 of war. The order of the minister of the interior indicated that all of
17 the units that had been sent there and that were there pursuant to that
18 order, that were sent there to carry out the tasks of the ministry, once
19 they were there in Kosovo during that period of time they were duty-bound
20 to carry out the orders and accept tasks issued to them by the Joint
22 Q. Thank you. Can we move on to look briefly at the MUP staff. Do
23 you know when the MUP staff was set up and what was its role or function?
24 A. The MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija dates back to 1981 with
25 certain changes. At that time it was the staff of the then-Federal
1 Secretariat of the Interior. And up until 1991 members representing all
2 republics and provinces of the old Yugoslavia
3 disturbances in the law and order system. And then starting in 1993,
4 members of the Ministry of the Interior from Serbia were sent there, and
5 they were under the command of the staff, and the composition of the
6 staff changed as did the units that were sent to Kosovo. They dealt with
7 the problems existing at that period of time. And then in 1998 and
8 1999 - and I think that you're trying to focus on that period of
9 time - in 1998 -- or maybe even in 1997 the staff for Kosovo and Metohija
10 was set up. And all the way up until the end of 1999 or until the
11 withdrawal of our forces from Kosovo and Metohija, that staff existed as
12 the staff of the Ministry of the Interior of Serbia for the territory of
13 Kosovo and Metohija. And this staff was given special prominence in the
14 second half of 1998 and in 1999.
15 MR. STAMP: Could we have a look at 65 ter number 01505 and
16 that's P57.
17 Q. This is a decision to establish the ministerial staff for the
18 suppression of terrorism of the 16th of June, 1998. Are you familiar
19 with this document?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. At approximately the time when it was issued, did you receive a
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And we can see here - perhaps scroll down a little bit on the
25 Serbian version - that you are -- your name is there as a member of the
1 staff, the assistant head for the Special Anti-Terrorist Unit,
2 Lieutenant-Colonel Zivko Trajkovic. Were you a member of the staff? You
3 were saying that you attended its meetings and participated in its
5 A. There were three of us assistants that were designated as
6 assistants for special operations, for staff units, and assistants for
7 special police units; and pursuant to our posts, we were ex officio
8 members of the staff in view of the tasks that we were to carry even
9 though we seldom took part of the work of the staff and in planning.
10 Because, as I have stated in my previous answers, most actions during
11 this period of time were planned at the level of the Joint Command
12 together with the command of the Pristina Corps, whereas we in our
13 meetings received excerpts concerning the actions that we were to carry
14 out and also gave briefing concerning our activities immediately after
15 the completed actions. At that time our headquarters were in the
16 then-building of the Pristina secretariat or the Ministry of the Interior
17 and there were premises where we could meet and talk about the actions
18 that had been carried out.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could all the unnecessary typing please stop
20 from the Prosecutor's desk. There is a lot of noise and the interpreters
21 are having problems hearing the witness. Thank you.
22 MR. STAMP: Could we move on briefly to look at 01989, this is
24 Q. These are the minutes of a meeting of the MUP staff on the 4th of
25 April, 1999. Can you recall attending that meeting?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And I think if we move on to -- I think it's page 7 of the
3 English -- sorry, page 3 of the English, which is also page 3 of the
4 B/C/S copy indicates that you participated in this meeting in your
5 capacity as head of the SAJ
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you recall about how many such meetings you participated in
8 during the conflict -- during the NATO intervention?
9 A. From the beginning of the conflict and during the NATO
10 intervention, there was perhaps another one or none at all of such
11 meetings. I know that I attended one. Now, as to whether we attended
12 another meeting of this kind or not, I cannot remember. I cannot
13 remember attending a meeting with this expanded list of attendees.
14 Q. Very well. Could we -- if we could take down that document and
15 put up 01990, that's P85.
16 Can you recall seeing Mr. Djordjevic in Kosovo, or do you recall
17 his attendance in Kosovo during 1999?
18 A. Unlike 1998, Mr. Djordjevic carried out most of his activities in
19 the territory of Serbia
20 I met him on those occasions, and I didn't hear about him coming there
21 more often than twice perhaps to my knowledge. And I think that one of
22 those occasions was before the NATO intervention and the other time
23 during it. I'm not sure.
24 Q. Well, this -- these are the minutes of a meeting of the 17th of
25 February, 1999, and you see he's in attendance there, and it's also
1 indicated that the head of the SAJ
2 attending that meeting at the staff of the 17th of February, 1999?
3 A. Yes, I remember that because the minister also attended, the late
4 Vlajko Stojiljkovic, and both chiefs of departments. So I remember this
5 meeting, that was on the 17th of February, yes.
6 Q. And do you recall that Mr. Lukic and Mr. -- and the minister,
7 Mr. Stojiljkovic, made presentations at this meeting in respect to the
8 forthcoming offensive?
9 A. [No interpretation]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
11 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I have to intervene because
12 Mr. Stamp asks about what happened at the meeting and then he goes on to
13 say "in respect to the forthcoming offensive." I would ask that the
14 questions be simplified so that the witness doesn't talk about -- doesn't
15 have to talk about what happened at the meeting and in the forthcoming
17 MR. STAMP: Perhaps -- I think the witness understood the
18 question. The question I just asked was whether at the meeting the
19 forthcoming offensive were discussed, not a question about the
20 forthcoming offensive --
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. Carry on, please, Mr. Stamp.
22 MR. STAMP:
23 Q. You told us earlier, Mr. Trajkovic - and I'm moving on to
24 something else now - that you were assigned to operations in Kosovo on
25 the 22nd of March, 1999.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Stamp --
2 MR. STAMP: I'm sorry.
3 JUDGE PARKER: -- we don't have an answer to your question on the
5 MR. STAMP: I -- I'm sorry.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Did you want one or have you --
7 MR. STAMP: The answer was "yes." I heard yes, but I'm unsure if
8 it's on the record, I'm sorry.
9 JUDGE PARKER: It's not recorded.
10 MR. STAMP: Oh, there was no ...
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. If I may add
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When the Prosecutor put this
15 question to me, I understood it to mean the NATO offensive against our
16 country that was becoming more and more evident. That's how I understood
17 it to mean.
18 MR. STAMP:
19 Q. Very well. And -- and at that meeting Mr. Lukic and
20 Mr. Stojiljkovic addressed those present as to what the duties and tasks
21 of the MUP units would be at that time?
22 A. Yes, in case there was a NATO aggression. I think that you can
23 find that formulation somewhere in the minutes. What I remember is that
24 this meeting was called in order to highlight the tasks that would be
25 given to the MUP units should there be a NATO aggression. Because the
1 tasks that were carried out during that period of time probably would not
2 have been carried out had there not been a NATO aggression.
3 Q. And moving on, you personally, not the unit now, you were
4 assigned to take part directly in operations in Kosovo on the 22nd of
5 March, 1999
6 A. That's right. As immediately before that, that is to say upon
7 the completion of operations in late September 1998, I returned to my
8 post in Belgrade
9 around -- I think it said on the 22nd, but I arrived there on the 23rd in
10 the afternoon.
11 Q. On the 24th and the 25th of March were you and any of your units
12 engaged in any action or activity?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Where was this?
15 A. Our task was to carry out coordinated action with the units of
16 the Yugoslav Army and special police units to engage from the direction
17 of Kursumlija, which is located on the territory of Serbia
18 suppress the Siptar terrorist forces in the area of Palane, Gornja and
19 Donja Repa, then also the village of Krpimej, Bradas, and all the way to
21 Q. If you could focus on Podujevo for a few minutes, Mr. Trajkovic.
22 You're aware that at about that time a group of men known as the
23 Skorpions were incorporated into the SAJ in Kosovo?
24 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
25 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I object to this formulation of
1 the question because it contains a statement and also the name of a
3 JUDGE PARKER: You need to introduce this subject matter with the
4 knowledge of the witness, not with your knowledge.
5 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour. I apologise. I really thought
6 that that aspect was not in issue.
7 Q. Do you recall if any of your units was augmented by any group of
8 reservists at approximately that time?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was this group of reservists known by any particular name?
11 A. This group of reservists got its name later on, that is to say it
12 was identified with the name of a combat group which fought in the area
13 of Slavonia
14 this group of reservists that was attached to our unit because the
15 commander of this group, and that is to say the officer of this group who
16 was to join our unit, was the commander of the Skorpions unit that was
17 active in the territory of Slavonia
18 learned later, also in the territory of I think Bosnia.
19 Q. About when did it -- did this group begin to be referred to as
20 the Skorpions?
21 A. The reference to them as Skorpions began I believe in around 1994
22 or 1995 or maybe even 1993. I'm not sure. Because it was approximately
23 formed as a group that was to secure the oilfields in the territory of
25 of Mirkovci where the oilfield was and also in order to secure the border
1 with the Belgrade-Zagreb highway near Adasevci. That was the end of
2 their sector. And later on this group became a unit, but when exactly
3 the symbols and emblems of the Skorpions appeared I cannot say with any
4 certainty, but I think it was the time-period that I indicated.
5 Q. At the time they were incorporated into the SAJ in 1999, who
6 contacted you with a view to effecting that purpose?
7 A. As our units were weakened because they took part in operations
8 in 1999 and considering the fact that the whole SAJ unit from Novi Sad
9 was re-deployed by a decision of the minister [Realtime translation read
10 in error "ministry"], it was attached to the special operations unit of
11 the State Security Service, and considering the requests from both the
12 minister and the leadership of the MUP that the SAJ units should
13 contribute to the combat against the Siptar terrorists in Kosovo and
14 Metohija in 1999 and especially in defending the territory of Kosovo
15 Metohija, I pointed out this problem, that we had a lack of men, that the
16 number of men was smaller than the numbers that we had in 1998. And I
17 talked to my immediate superior, and that was Mr. Djordjevic, and it was
18 only natural that he should be the first that I talked to. And as at the
19 time of our engagement was getting close, we talked more and more often
20 about replenishing our units so that we could carry out the serious tasks
21 that were ahead of us.
22 In this period beginning with the 24th and the beginning of the
23 NATO intervention in the territory of Kosovo
24 and he told me that one combat group was ready to join us. At the time,
25 as we were involved in carrying out one specific task, I could not give
1 any kind of approval, and I said that we should wait with this until the
2 action that had been launched was completed and until we were able to
3 receive this unit in an adequate manner because we needed some means of
4 transportation for them, and we did not have anything attached to us for
5 the transportation of these people because we could not drive them
6 through the territory of Kosovo
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, page 34, line 4, it
9 should be stated that the minister took this decision and not the
10 ministry. I was afraid that the transcript would just continue, so it
11 was the decision of the minister. Line 35 -- page 35, line 4.
12 JUDGE PARKER: [Microphone not activated]
13 MR. STAMP: Yes --
14 JUDGE PARKER: -- with the witness, Mr. Stamp.
15 MR. STAMP:
16 Q. Mr. Trajkovic, whose decision was it to re-deploy the Novi Sad
17 unit to the special operations unit of the state security?
18 A. It could have been done only at the order of the minister. I
19 know that in connection with this I contacted and talked to my immediate
20 superior, Mr. Djordjevic, and when I asked him why this was being done he
21 told me, "What can I tell you when nobody asked me anything about this?"
22 Q. Let's get back to the incorporation of the unit into the SAJ. On
23 the 24th you said -- and the 25th you were engaged in operations in the
24 field in Kosovo. Is my understanding correct?
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. In respect to the engagement of these men, who contacted who?
2 A. I have to note one thing that might be important for the way this
3 combat group was engaged. The Special Anti-Terrorist Units do not have
4 reserve forces according to their systemisation, but as there was a need
5 to replenish the SAJ
6 tasks, we could only do that through the police administration which had
7 within its composition a squad for mobilisation, that is to say a squad
8 of reserve forces. Before I went to Kosovo and Metohija to carry out
9 specific tasks, I talked several times with Mr. Djordjevic about the best
10 way and about the possible way in which our units could be replenished
11 with a combat group. And at the time we did not have any specific
12 resolution for this, but I asked him to find some possibility for some
13 combat group to be attached to our forces. So sometime around the 25th
14 or so I received information from him that one combat group was ready,
15 that it was now part of the reserve forces of the MUP, and that it would
16 be in the sector bordering Kosovo and Metohija. And later on I learned
17 that this group was quartered at the Prolom spa, that was a place
18 immediately next to the border with Kosovo.
19 I noted at the time that in our conversation I said that we
20 should wait before this unit was introduced, and we should see when the
21 preconditions would be met for it to be introduced so that we could do
22 all that in the safest possible way.
23 Q. What do you mean when you say that you should wait to see when
24 the preconditions would be met? What preconditions are you referring to?
25 A. Well, first of all, that as our units were quite mobile we kept
1 moving from one area to another. So in order to be able to receive them,
2 we would have to see together with the staff if we would have some field
3 vehicles ready to bring these people to the place where they would be
4 quartered. So first of all I had this in mind.
5 Q. How about their training and their suitability for action on
6 behalf of the police, was it a precondition in your mind?
7 A. Yes, certainly, but considering the situation that we were in we
8 certainly wouldn't have given these men operational tasks. We simply
9 needed a number of men who would physically secure the places where our
10 units were quartered and accommodated and also in the field so as to have
11 the shifts and change the people who were tired and exhausted in the
12 field because we would be in the field for three or four days. And for
13 these tasks no special training was necessary, and I received the
14 information that this was a team and a combat group that had already
15 carried out the tasks of this kind.
16 Q. Who told you that?
17 A. In conversation with Mr. Djordjevic I learned that these were
18 experienced or partly experienced combatants who had already been at the
19 fronts in Slavonia
20 Q. Now, by what means did you speak with Mr. Djordjevic at the time?
21 Through what medium of communication?
22 A. I think that once we talked by cell phone and on the 27th of
23 March I called Mr. Djordjevic on the telephone from the police department
24 in Podujevo before we had our accident.
25 Q. Did you normally use mobile phones during the war?
1 A. It was not usual, but for passing on very important and short
2 information we had to contact one another because we didn't have any
3 other means of communication when we were in the field.
4 Q. How about the PJP commanders, did they have that facility as
6 A. At the time all officers in the MUP, so beginning in 1993 or 1994
7 they all had cell phones available.
8 Q. And back to where we were in respect to -- before I go on, these
9 cell phones that they had available, they were operational during the
11 A. I think that on the 24th and 25th until around the 27th one could
12 still use them. I'm not sure about the later period. I cannot be
13 certain, but I think that by the 26th or the 27th the phones could be
15 Q. Let's get back to the engagement of the unit. You said that you
16 told Mr. Djordjevic when he contacted you about this unit to wait because
17 you wanted to do your checks on certain preconditions. What happened
18 after that? Were you able to do what you intended to do?
19 A. Unfortunately not, because when I got back after our
20 conversation, that is to say after I called the staff and Mr. Djordjevic,
21 we had an accident. The vehicle that I was in came across an anti-tank
22 mine and hit it, and on this occasion the driver who had been driving me
23 for a number of years was killed, and two other persons from my escort,
24 that was an analyst and another person, were wounded seriously and so was
25 I. And so after this incident, together with the driver and the analyst,
1 I was transported to the Pristina hospital. And the person who was a
2 member of the escort who was with us, he remained in Podujevo. He didn't
3 want to go to the hospital because he felt that he was fit enough to
4 continue working.
5 Q. What happened in respect to these men that Mr. Djordjevic spoke
6 to you about or that you discussed with Mr. Djordjevic while you were in
7 the hospital?
8 A. I learned later that Mr. Simovic -- when Mr. Djordjevic was
9 informed about this incident agreed with Mr. Simovic that this unit be
10 introduced and that later on -- as it was expected that we would stay in
11 Podujevo for several days, that they would see with the staff how they
12 would secure the means of transportation for these people. And together
13 with his driver he went to Prolom Banja, which is very close to Podujevo,
14 and he escorted these men to Podujevo.
15 Q. Just a minute. Mr. -- I think there might just be an error here.
16 When Mr. Djordjevic was informed about the incident agreed with
17 Mr. Simovic -- it seems here from the record that you are saying
18 Mr. Simovic agreed with Mr. Simovic. Can you just explain what
19 arrangements were made in respect to these men while you were in
21 A. I apologise. I hope I said with Mr. Djordjevic, with General
23 Q. I see. So do I take it that you mean when Mr. Djordjevic was
24 informed of the -- of the fact that you were injured, Mr. Simovic agreed
25 with him on the introduction of these men?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And if you could remind us or maybe if I could just ask you if
3 that's correct. Mr. Simovic was the commander of the Belgrade unit of
4 the SAJ
5 A. Yes. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. While you were in hospital did you receive information about what
7 happened in respect to these men on the 28th of March, 1999, at Podujevo?
8 A. I think that we are talking about the 27th of March because they
9 were introduced immediately after I was taken to the hospital, unless I'm
10 mistaken, but I think that this all took place on the same day and that
11 was the 27th.
12 Q. Very well. But there was just around that time an incident in
13 Podujevo involving these men. Did you learn about that incident while
14 you were in the hospital?
15 A. Yes, I learned about it on the next day, on the 28th. I can't
16 remember who was the officer who came to visit me, but he informed me
17 about what had happened immediately after the arrival of this combat
18 group to Podujevo.
19 Q. What did you learn had happened? If you could tell us very
20 briefly in just a couple of sentences.
21 A. During their arrival to the territory of Podujevo
22 commander, Slobodan Medic, together with the commanders of the Pristina
23 and Belgrade SAJs, Mr. Simovic and Mr. Stanojevic [as interpreted], went
24 to our command which was in Podujevo, our temporary command in Podujevo.
25 And the men were told that they should find accommodation in a street
1 that they were assigned to. While the men were being accommodated in
2 these streets, one or two, I'm not sure how many streets were assigned
3 for their accommodation, they came across civilians, mostly women,
4 children, and the elderly, and the incident happened at that time. The
5 information I had was that they were provoked in one way or another,
6 these perpetrators, that several members of the police provoked them in
7 the sense of, "What are you waiting for? Our commander has been injured.
8 Why don't you do away with these people in front of you?"
9 This is the information that I got from several members of this
10 unit later when I went to disarm this unit and send it back to where it
11 had come from. On that occasion many people were killed, all of them
12 civilians, women and children, I don't know the exact number. When word
13 spread about this shoot-out the commanding officers ran out to see what
14 was going on and immediately an ambulance team was called and the doctor
15 that we had attached to our unit. And then they offered the first aid,
16 as much of it as was possible, and care was provided to the women and
17 children. Some of them were sent to the Pristina hospital, but
18 unfortunately there was no way to save a number of these people.
19 Q. The -- or should I put it this way: Do you know what was done in
20 respect of these men, that is, the unit that had been incorporated
21 immediately after some members shot these civilians in Podujevo?
22 A. This unit did not remain more than 30 minutes in the Podujevo
23 area, and the commanders that remained on site, Mr. Simovic and
24 Stanojevic [as interpreted], informed the staff in Pristina and
25 Mr. Djordjevic that this unit is to be sent back immediately to Prolom
1 Banja and that later on they would see what to do.
2 Q. Were they sent back?
3 A. That unit could not remain there, to send them back.
4 Q. Were they sent back to Prolom Banja?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. I see here on the record that you said that the commanders,
7 Mr. Simovic and Mr. Stanojevic, who remained on site did certain things.
8 Is it Stanojevic, or who were the commanders who were there?
9 A. Stalevic.
10 Q. And I see earlier that you said that later you went to disarm the
11 unit and send it back to where it had come from. Can you just elaborate
12 upon that. Where did you go to disarm the unit and when?
13 A. Once I was discharged from the hospital in Pristina, I was sent
14 to Belgrade
16 what to do, and he then asked me whether I could go in order to bring
17 that unit back to Belgrade
18 mobilisation had issued them with weapons they were to be disarmed and
19 then sent home. I responded to him by saying that it would be good if
20 Mr. Milanovic went with me because he knew personally Mr. Medic. And
21 Mr. Djordjevic agreed with me. I mentioned at the time that we would
22 carry out that assignment without any problem. I spoke to Mr. Milanovic
23 and I asked him whether he would be willing to come with me to carry out
24 this assignment. He agreed without any objection, and I don't know how
25 many days after this event, after this incident, we went first to the
1 secretariat in Pristina, where we informed the then-chief of the
2 secretariat -- rather, the police department in Prokuplje about what was
3 our intention, what we were going to do; namely, that the unit which was
4 in their territory would be sent back to Belgrade.
5 Then we went to Prolom Banja. The unit was lined up. I told
6 them that the unit was going back to Belgrade
7 weapons in the location where they had been issued with weapons, and that
8 it was yet to be decided what was going to be done with them, and that we
9 would timely inform them via their commander. And that's how it
11 Q. This Mr. Milanovic that you referred to, could you tell us his
12 full name and whether or not he was known by any nicknames so to speak?
13 A. This is Mr. Milan Milanovic, nicknamed Mrgud.
14 Q. How many of these men in total did you discover had been
15 incorporated into your units?
16 A. In that first deployment, according to the lists that were
17 prepared for the payment of compensation, that there were 128 members of
18 the unit.
19 Q. And what type of weapons were they issued with?
20 A. Classic -- typical infantry weapons.
21 Q. Like what?
22 A. Automatic rifles, AKM-47 [as interpreted].
23 Q. Now, were there at around that time formal investigations in the
24 murder of these women and children at Podujevo?
25 A. At the time I wasn't out on the ground, but I was informed that
1 immediately after the incident an on-site investigation was carried out
2 and that this came under the responsibility of the investigations
3 department from Prokuplje. They were to investigate this case.
4 Q. And do you know what happened to the case at that time was -- in
6 A. Given that the war was still on, I don't know whether they stood
7 trial immediately. I don't know whether the investigating judge
8 instituted any proceedings, but I know that initially the proceedings
9 were instituted against two or three members and that it wasn't until
10 2002 or 2003 when they gathered all of the information about the number
11 of people who had taken part in that crime. Now it is well-known that
12 all of us -- all of those who had participated in that crime were brought
13 to justice and that they were sentenced to appropriate prison sentences.
14 Q. Do you know that all of the men who participated in that crime
15 were sentenced?
16 A. Later on I learned that in that first trial not everybody was
17 indicted, and then later on in 2002 and 2003 they acknowledged the
18 dimensions of this case. And all of the -- those who participated in
19 this event stood trial and were sentenced to long prison sentences.
20 Q. Do you know what happened to the case in 1999 and 2001?
21 A. I do not remember with certainty, but I think that in the initial
22 judgement, whether it was a judgement or perhaps it was just a decision
23 by the investigating judge -- I don't know that -- there was a debate
24 about it. They said that the investigating judge did not act
25 appropriately so the case was dismissed, and then there was another
1 proceedings instituted. So initially there were just two or three people
2 indicted, and later on all of those who participated were included in the
4 Q. I think -- or before I get to that, when you went and spoke to
5 the Skorpions to disarm them, did you -- were they given leave of absence
6 before that?
7 A. I did not understand your question.
8 Q. At the time when you went to meet with the Skorpions and to
9 disarm them, did you or anybody indicate to them that they would be
10 allowed a leave of absence from their duties?
11 A. It's not that it would be allowed, but as a result of this
12 incident which took place an order was issued that they were to return
13 back to the initial location from which they had come and that they were
14 to surrender the weapons that they had been issued with at the Ministry
15 of the Interior of Serbia
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
17 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I did not want to interrupt
18 Mr. Stamp until the entire answer were given, but once again the question
19 was phrased as disarmament of the Skorpions. And up until now the
20 witness has never used that term, whereas Mr. Stamp insists on using that
21 term in his questions.
22 JUDGE PARKER: The answers of the witness have accepted that term
23 and explained how it came to be used, as I understand.
24 Carry on, please, Mr. Stamp.
25 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Earlier on you refer -- you referred to the first engagement of
2 the Skorpions, indicating that there was perhaps a next engagement. Were
3 they re-engaged at any time to any unit under your command?
4 A. When it comes to the name, the Skorpions, in some of my earlier
5 statements and interviews with The Hague investigators I mentioned how
6 the Prosecution accepted this name, the Skorpions; and I think that
7 previously I mentioned that since their commander was the commander of a
8 unit which had been in the territory of Slavonia
9 Srem but which did not have any significant contacts with that unit
10 except that the commander of this combat group was Slobodan Medic and
11 that within that unit as far as I know and as we learned later, 15 or 16
12 members of that unit were investigated. This is how this name came to be
13 accepted. Even in our lists for the payment of per diems and other
14 expenses, due to Mr. Slobodan Medic that group came to be known as the
16 Q. Okay. Very well. If we could get back on track here. Was there
17 re-engagement of the Skorpions to the SAJ in Kosovo during the war?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
19 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Line 5, line 5 it says:
20 "... members of that unit were investigated," which is not true. The
21 witness said something quite different, that it was established that only
22 15 members of that earlier unit were now members of this new unit and not
23 that they were under investigation. I think that I heard it well in,
24 Serbian, and they were not under investigation. That's not what the
25 witness said.
1 MR. STAMP: Very well.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Could you sort that out, Mr. Stamp.
3 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
5 MR. STAMP:
6 Q. Mr. Trajkovic, you heard what Mr. Djurdjic just said. Did you --
7 what did you mean when you referred to the 15 or 16 members of that unit?
8 A. Yes, that 15 or 16 members of the unit belonged to the unit which
9 in the territory of Slavonia
10 the name the Skorpions. And those people participated in this other
12 Q. No, that's a new element. What other event are you speaking of
14 A. I said that 15 or 16 members of this combat group which had been
15 deployed in the territory of Kosovo
16 of the Skorpions unit. And when I -- I said this when I explained how
17 this name, the Skorpions, came about. And I said that due to the
18 commander, Slobodan Medic, this group came to be known as the Skorpions,
19 but that it was not the same unit that had previously been in the
20 territory of Slavonia
21 Q. Was there another event that you are aware of that this unit
22 participated in?
23 A. Yes. Later on, sometime in 2000 -- I'm not sure whether it was
24 2006 or 2007, we saw what was broadcast by the media about how this group
25 had had an incident in the territory of Bosnia
1 Skorpions. I think it was in Trnovo.
2 Q. Oh, I see. Thank you.
3 Back to Kosovo in 1999 during the conflict there. Was the unit
4 re-engaged; and if so, under what circumstances?
5 A. This crime received quite a lot of publicity in Serbia, and I
6 know that Slobodan Milosevic asked for reports about what had happened
7 there. I know that the commanders, Mr. Simovic and Stalevic, wrote
8 reports about that. They had to explain what had happened and how in the
9 territory of Podujevo. Later on -- and when I came to Belgrade to
10 continue my treatment at home, when I spent a number of days in Belgrade
11 I had an opportunity to meet with Mr. Djordjevic and with Mr. Milanovic,
12 and that we discussed this tragic event and that as far as we were
13 concerned that case could be considered as an excessive crime. And that
14 the entire unit did not have to suffer consequences for what happened
15 because, after all, these people went as reservists to defend the
16 territory of Kosovo and that we would see what could be done about that.
17 I came back to the territory of Kosovo several days later and our
18 units had been issued tasks and assignments in a rural area, that is to
19 say we had a huge territory to cover and not enough people for that. And
20 we pointed out this fact in our previous reports, that under those
21 circumstances we had to carry out our assignments. And that the part of
22 the unit which did not take part in this unfortunate event should be
23 cleared of any guilt, and that had I been in the territory of Podujevo
24 this incident would not have happened most likely. And that for as long
25 as I remained there, there would be no further incidents. And we came to
1 the conclusion that we needed men and we could not count on receiving any
2 reinforcement. And at that time the possibility of land invasion by NATO
3 was becoming more and more certain so that somewhat later in Belgrade
4 was decided that -- or rather, some men did not want to join, and those
5 who had taken part in this unfortunate event were left out. And that
6 according to the list, 108 of them joined our units in Kosovo Polje,
7 which is where our headquarters was located at the time.
8 Q. You said that it was decided in Belgrade. Just tell us precisely
9 who decided to do what?
10 A. The three of us talked how should there be a need, this unit
11 should be deployed again. But naturally, given that the staff in
12 Pristina was the only body with authority to issue such approval, a
13 report was sent to the staff in Pristina explaining the newly emerged
14 situation, namely, that our unit needed reinforcement, needed additional
15 men, and that we would set up a new unit that would exclude those who had
16 participated in the incident. And I think that there was some people who
17 were ill and some people who did not wish to be included, engaged as part
18 of reserve forces. So in the first list we had 128 members of that unit,
19 and then in the new list there were 108 of them.
20 Q. Thank you. Who in the police chain of command made the decision
21 to re-engage them?
22 A. As for the decision made in Belgrade
23 staff in Pristina about the engagement of reserve forces, it is always
24 the minister who makes the decision. But he can always delegate this
25 decision to an officer of a lower rank to implement it. I don't know if
1 there was a written order to engage this reserve unit or not, but then the
2 decision to engage reserve forces always has to be taken by the minister.
3 Q. You said that you met with Mr. --
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I think that something was left
6 out here when he says that the minister could delegate this to somebody
7 else, that the decision could be realised or carried out. I think that
8 this was left out from the transcript.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Do you want to ask anything more about that,
10 Mr. Stamp?
11 MR. STAMP: I think that can be clarified by Mr. Djurdjic if he
12 wishes to.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Now, are you still on the same subject, or are you
14 moving to another?
15 MR. STAMP: I am on the same subject, but I will be on it for
16 about five to ten minutes more.
17 JUDGE PARKER: In that case we better have the second break now,
18 and we'll resume at a quarter past 6.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 5.47 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 6.17 p.m.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Stamp.
22 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours.
23 Q. Mr. Trajkovic, I think you mentioned earlier that you had been
24 interviewed by the OTP and you answered certain questions.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you answer these questions truthfully?
2 A. As far as I remember, I mostly did but I have to note that I was
3 in a specific situation, especially as concerns my interview with ICTY
4 investigators. It was the moment when I was a suspect in relation to the
5 events that we are discussing now, and I might have answered some
6 questions with minor changes of details not with intention to not tell
7 the truth. But I might have believed at that time that it suited me
8 better to formulate my answers the way I did.
9 Q. Very good. Did you say anything which was not true to your
11 A. I have not been in the situation to study in detail all my
12 statements and all my answers, but I can freely say that more than 90 per
13 cent of what I said was really so.
14 Q. The question is: To your knowledge, do you recall saying
15 anything which was not true?
16 A. I cannot know with certainty whether it would not be correct if I
17 said that I was certain because had I had the chance to study all the
18 interviews and all the statements in detail then I could say with more
19 certainty when replying to your question.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djurdjic.
21 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we are in the direct
22 examination and the witness is answering about the facts that the
23 representative of the Prosecution is asking him about. I don't see how
24 we can talk about this when there was no reason and no cause to discuss
25 this. And another thing, as far as I can see, there are questions about
1 a statement which the witness gave as a suspect. But since February or
2 January this year when you made the decision that he would be on the list
3 of witnesses, if he gave any statements he could give them as a statement
4 [as interpreted] and he shouldn't be asked now about the interviews, not
5 the statement, but the interview that he had with the investigations from
6 the Prosecution. I think that this is not appropriate for the direct.
7 JUDGE PARKER: The subject matter is an obvious one. The
8 question asked is clear and straightforward and is not leading in form,
9 and the answer could have been most material. So for the moment,
10 Mr. Djurdjic, the Chamber does not accept the point of your objection.
11 In any event, it appears not to have affected the course of the
13 Now, Mr. Stamp.
14 MR. STAMP:
15 Q. You said that you met with Mr. Milanovic and Mr. Djordjevic on
16 more than one occasion in Belgrade
17 re-engagement of the unit. Who decided that they should be re-engaged in
19 A. Your Honour, I noted in one of my previous answers that the
20 engagement of the reserve police forces is approved by the minister of
21 the interior. Now, whether he makes the decision directly or whether he
22 allows some of his subordinates the right to do that, it depends on the
23 situation. As our situation at the time was very specific -- and, for
24 example, I didn't know whether Mr. Djordjevic and Minister Vlajko
25 Stojiljkovic could see each other at the time or not -- I just know that
1 we agreed this at one of our meetings and that I proposed at the time
2 that if it was approved again that this combat group should join my
3 units, that I could guarantee everything about their engagement and that
4 there would be no unfortunate incidents or, God forbid, a crime. Whoever
5 issued this order, I'm not sure about that. I only received information
6 from Mr. Djordjevic that this unit would be engaged again.
7 Q. About when was this that you received this information and about
8 when were they re-engaged?
9 A. It was approximately in mid-April 1999 or, I would say, in the
10 second half of April.
11 MR. STAMP: And could we bring up P86. Could we quickly look on
12 the last page. This is a memorandum to the assistant minister, the chief
13 of the public service department -- public security department,
14 Mr. Djordjevic. Could we just go to the last page in both the English
15 and the B/C/S, please.
16 Q. Did you prepare this report?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And that's your signature there?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. STAMP: Perhaps if we return to the first page briefly.
21 Q. This is just for clarification. It's not dated. Can you tell us
22 about that, if you know why?
23 A. I cannot see in the upper part of the first page -- I cannot see
24 the heading where it just says "Belgrade." It is usual that above that
25 in the upper left-hand corner there should be my unit, the Special
1 Anti-Terrorist Unit of the MUP of Serbia, Belgrade, date such and such a
2 date. And then after that there is the addressee, who the report is sent
3 to, and the upper left-hand corner should contain the date on which this
4 report was sent and also when it was received at the Ministry of the
6 If this is the original, it could only have been produced without
7 this heading at -- somewhere towards the end of the war when the ministry
8 service, which is in charge of receiving documents, did not operate any
9 longer and that Mr. Djordjevic requested a report. Because I previously
10 noted that reports about the incident in Podujevo were also written by
11 Mr. Simovic, as the commander of the Belgrade SAJ, and Mr. Stalevic, as
12 the commander of the Pristina SAJ, as they were two directly superior
13 officers who were there at the time when the incident happened. And it
14 was also requested of me as the SAJ
15 regardless of the fact that I had not been there when this unfortunate
16 incident occurred. But it's possible that someone asked Mr. Djordjevic
17 that I also write a report, otherwise I cannot see why there shouldn't be
18 a stamp from the registry of the MUP and that one cannot see the date
19 when the report was made. I can just assume that it was at the end of
20 the war when all the regular services at the Ministry of the Interior did
21 not fully operate.
22 Q. If you look at the third paragraph there dealing with the first
23 engagement of the unit, are the statements made in that paragraph
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. STAMP: And if we could go to the last page of the document,
2 the last page in English, the penultimate page in B/C/S.
3 Q. If you could read the last paragraph of that page and --
4 A. Yes, I can.
5 Q. It indicates that:
6 "A need again arose for the engagement of reservists so at the
7 proposal of the SAJ
8 the staff at Pristina and the chief of the department, 108 reservists
9 were engaged under the leadership of Slobodan Medic."
10 You wrote that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And that's -- those statements are correct?
13 A. In this report I did not write what I just stated, Your Honours,
14 and it was that before the re-engagement of this combat group we talked
15 on the issue of what should be done in case this unit was re-engaged.
16 And that was why I as the commander, so that the report had some form,
17 probably had to write that the unit would be re-engaged on my proposal
18 because no one, even if it's the head of a department, could say, "I'm
19 sending you a hundred members and you should see what you're going to do
20 with them."
21 So in order that this report would have an appropriate form, it
23 "... at the proposal of the ... commander ... and with the
24 approval of the staff in Pristina and the chief of the department ..."
25 Q. Very well. Were any of the men that are alleged to have been
1 involved in the shooting of the civilians at Podujevo a part of the group
2 that was sent back?
3 A. The information that we had in the beginning - and this was a
4 tacit agreement among the members of the group, that the responsibility
5 for what had happened should be borne by the men who were marked as the
6 perpetrators at that time - this information was what was available until
7 one or two years after all the events in Kosovo. And only later on, at a
8 later time, it became known that it was not the same number that was
9 investigated immediately after the event and during the year after that,
10 but that the number of perpetrators was actually greater and that some of
11 the men who had been investigated had confessed and stated the whole
12 truth. So if any of the members of this combat groups were included
13 again in the composition of the group that was down there again for the
14 second time, it was only for this reason and no other reasons.
15 Q. Your answer is not entirely clear at the end there. Can I just
16 ask you the question again. Can you say whether or not you know if any
17 of the men who were alleged to be involved in the shooting were
18 re-engaged or sent back?
19 A. If you ask me whether I know this now or if I knew that a year or
20 two ago, then I would say yes. But if you ask me whether I knew that at
21 the time when the combat group was re-engaged then my answer would be no.
22 Q. Thank you. You said that Mr. Milanovic, Mr. Milan Milanovic, and
23 yourself met in Belgrade
24 re-engagement. For how long had you known Mr. Milanovic? When did you
25 first get to know him?
1 A. I have known Mr. Milanovic since September 1991.
2 Q. What position did he occupy? And when I say "position," I mean
3 professional or political position did he occupy at that time?
4 A. Do you mean in 1991 --
5 Q. Yes --
6 A. -- or during the period of the unit's engagement?
7 Q. In 1991.
8 A. In 1991, towards the end of that year and in early 1992, he was
9 the assistant minister of defence in Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem
10 Q. And at the end of 1991, what position did you occupy?
11 A. At the end of 1991 when the TO commander for Slavonia, Baranja,
12 and Western Srem, Mr. Radovan Stojicic was assigned to the position of
13 assistant minister with the Ministry of the Interior in the Republic of
16 Q. Who appointed you to that position?
17 A. I think the then-Minister of Defence, Mr. Ilija Kojic. I don't
18 recall precisely. It was either Ilija Kojic or Mr. Milan Milanovic, who
19 was his assistant.
20 Q. Can you recall who signed the instrument of your appointment at
21 that time?
22 A. I cannot.
23 Q. At that time did you -- or let me put it this way: When did you
24 first get to meet Mr. Medic, who was the leader of this group?
25 A. When I met Mr. Medic for the first time he was not a leader of
1 any group. I'm quite positive that we met either in Erdut or in Borovo,
2 but at that time he was with the Territorial Defence of the so-called
3 Sector South, which was the area from Vukovar towards the south. If
4 you're asking me when I met him as the commander of that unit, because at
5 that time I still think it was not an official unit, then I -- my answer
6 is that it was in the course of 1992, around mid-March.
7 Q. I see. Do you know if Mr. Milanovic played any role in the
8 formation of that unit?
9 A. As far as I know, Mr. Milanovic's task concerning that unit,
10 given his position as the assistant minister for people's defence, was to
11 assist in material and equipment. He was supposed to secure vehicles,
12 uniforms, and facilities.
13 Q. In 1999 at the time when they were engaged and incorporated into
14 the SAJ
15 incorporation -- sorry, if Mr. Milanovic played any role in that?
16 A. As far as I know, he was in contact with Mr. Medic. I don't know
17 whether Mr. Medic initiated that contact or whether he initiated contact
18 with Mr. Medic. In any case, it seems that Mr. Milanovic was allowed to
19 form a combat group so that that group could assist in the defence of the
20 country, i.e., to assist in the defence of Kosovo and Metohija. When
21 there were subsequent discussions about groups joining the SAJ, he
22 conveyed that fact to Mr. Djordjevic, and that is how it came about that
23 that combat group was engaged through the Ministry of the Interior of
25 Q. In 1999 do you know what position Mr. Milanovic held?
1 A. In 1999 Mr. Milanovic did not have a position in Serbia
2 I think.
3 Q. You indicated to us earlier that when you discussed with
4 Mr. Djordjevic the disarming of the unit, you requested that Mr. Medic
5 accompany you to Prolom Banja to deal with that. Is there any particular
6 reason why you would need Mr. Medic to -- to assist you in that regard?
7 Could they have been disarmed by any of the commanders who were in the
8 area at that time? I ask you the question because I think you indicated
9 that at that time you were still recovering, and yet it was seen -- it
10 was required that you go and do it and you needed to engage the
11 assistance of Mr. Medic to disarm them -- sorry, Mr. Milanovic to disarm
13 MR. STAMP: I think I should rephrase that question entirely,
14 Your Honour, because I started with the wrong name.
15 Q. Why would you need, firstly, for you in your injured state to go
16 to disarm them, and why would you need the assistance of Mr. Milanovic to
17 go to disarm them, instead of having one of the MUP commanders within the
18 chain of command do so?
19 A. I saw that as a moral obligation on my part, to see that job
20 concluded. I realised that Mr. Djordjevic had full confidence in me at
21 that point in time. He believed I could perform that task, although I
22 was still convalescing, and Mr. Milanovic was on good terms with
23 Mr. Medic. Another reason was so that I don't go there completely alone
24 to round off that topic.
25 Q. Could one of the commanders on the ground, Mr. Stalevic or
1 Mr. Simovic, disarm them?
2 A. They probably could, but, to repeat, I believed that that point
3 in time I enjoyed Mr. Djordjevic's full confidence. He believed that I
4 was the best person to do so.
5 Q. Very well. If we could move on, Mr. Trajkovic, to a different
6 topic -- but before we do that could I ask you to explain one thing. I
7 think you told us earlier that in respect to the Skorpions Mr. Djordjevic
8 told you that these men were experienced or nearly experienced men, and
9 later on you indicated to us -- please excuse me, I'm sorry. I think
10 I'll rephrase that.
11 You told us that when you were discussing the engagement with
12 Mr. Djordjevic, Mr. Djordjevic indicated that these were experienced or
13 semi-experienced men who had been engaged in combat in Eastern Slavonia,
14 Baranja, and Western Srem. And I think later on you told us that when
15 you checked it out only 15 to 16 of the men were from that earlier unit
16 and the remainder had been mustered or engaged later on. Can you
17 elaborate a little bit on that to explain what you mean?
18 A. It is probable that Mr. Djordjevic had that piece of information
19 about that group because of their commander. Those 15 or 16 guys who
20 were with him had previously been with the Skorpions as the unit which
21 served some time in Western Slavonia, and that is, I believe, the reason
22 why he believed that that was a trained unit. Given the situation --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction:
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If the situation had been the same
25 as it was in 1999, then there would not have been any problems. But at
1 that early time any experienced soldier or fighter was more than welcome
2 to join our units in order for us to be able to complete the tasks. And
3 I believe there were good reasons at the time for which we needed that
4 type of group and that type of people.
5 MR. STAMP:
6 Q. And did Mr. Djordjevic share this -- well, let's move on. I
7 withdraw that question.
8 Are you aware - and I believe you are - that sometime in 2001 it
9 became public that over 800 persons had been buried in clandestine graves
10 at your Belgrade
11 A. I missed the year, sorry?
12 Q. In around -- in 2001 there was a discovery, and it became a
13 notorious issue in the media. Do you recall that?
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. And this -- the bodies were found at the SAJ base at the 13th of
16 May centre in Batajnica?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you at any time participate in any operation or any part of
19 any operation to transport and conceal these -- remains of these people
20 at Batajnica?
21 A. I did not take part in any transport. If we are talking about
22 concealing the fact, then my answer is yes.
23 Q. Okay. I'm just asking you now about the transport as well as the
24 burial in the graves, the concealed graves there. Did you participate in
25 that at all?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Very well. Thank you. And when was the first time that you
3 heard about the operation to transport bodies to and bury them at graves
4 at Batajnica?
5 A. The first time I heard about this situation was during a burial
6 of one of our members in the territory of Belgrade
7 this was a memorial service or a funeral. In any case, it was in
8 mid-April as far as I recall. It was the then-chief of the centre who
9 remained behind with a small group of SAJ men to secure the centre at
10 Batajnica who told me that at the centre, at Batajnica, on several
11 occasions there were shipments of corpses who were then buried there.
23 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I had -- I didn't realise the time was
24 moving so quickly, and we are beyond the time.
25 JUDGE PARKER: We must adjourn now, and we continue tomorrow at
1 2.15. A court officer will just confirm the arrangement, Mr. Trajkovic,
2 with you this evening so that you know, but we will continue your
3 evidence tomorrow at 2.15. We now adjourn.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.08 p.m.
5 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 29th day of
6 September, 2009, at 2.15 p.m.