1 Friday, 5 February 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. The affirmation you made to tell
7 the truth still applies. Ms. Petersen.
8 MS. PETERSEN: Thank you, Your Honours.
9 WITNESS: DJORDJE CURCIN [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Cross-examination by Ms. Petersen: [Continued]
12 Q. Good day, General. Just to make sure that we're on the same page
13 if we could just recap a little bit. Do you recall that yesterday we
14 talked about your witness statement, paragraph 9, which says that you
15 studied the combat reports and none of them report on such things as
16 taking of identity documents, a tax on the civilian population, mass
17 killings, deportation of the Albanian population, or deliberate
18 destruction of religious and cultural buildings? Do you recall that we
19 discussed that yesterday?
20 A. First of all, I'd like to say good morning to everybody. Yes, I
21 do remember.
22 Q. Thank you, sir. And do you also recall that we discussed
23 paragraph 20 of your witness statement which talks about the plans of the
24 VJ and the VJ General Staff and states that there never has been a plan
25 to support terror and violence against the Albanian civilian population
1 in Kosovo, and I believe you also testified yesterday that there was no
2 plan to expel the civilian population. Do you recall us discussing that?
3 A. Yes, I do remember, but at the end of that quotation, which you
4 summarised there, you made a mistake or there was a mistake in the
5 translation. Anyway, I didn't put it that way. It doesn't say that in
6 the statement.
7 Q. Would you -- what I was stating was that -- and yesterday I
8 believe I asked you a question if there was a plan, if your testimony was
9 that there was no plan to expel the civilian population, and you agreed
10 that there was no plan, but please state it in whatever way you believe
11 is most accurate. Your testimony would be on that, sir?
12 A. That's not the problem, I did say that and I stand by that, but
13 in that free interpretation of yours, towards the end you used an
14 expression two words which I didn't actually say yesterday, so since it
15 was rather long passage, I can't tell you exactly now, but we can take a
16 look at it. Something about lending support, et cetera, et cetera. You
17 said something and you used two words which I didn't use, and I'm sure
18 you'll be able to find it in the transcript.
19 Q. Was that about the expelling of the population or the violence
20 against the population, which part of that did you have -- did you differ
21 with, sir?
22 A. Well, I'd like somebody to read from the transcript in Serbian
23 what it was and I'll then stop you, stop the person reading when he comes
24 to that passage and then I'll say that's not what I said and that's not
25 in the statement because I can't follow in Serbian otherwise. And as I
1 say, it was rather a long passage that you read out, so I'd like us to do
3 Q. Okay.
4 MS. PETERSEN: If we could go to yesterday's transcript, page
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not yesterday, now, what you just
7 read out now, the passage you read out earlier on a moment ago before you
8 asked me the question.
9 MS. PETERSEN:
10 Q. Okay. So just to be clear about what I'm going through right
11 now, sir. I just am trying to make sure that you recall the topics we
12 discussed at the end of the day yesterday so that going forward we are
13 both on the same page right now.
14 So why don't I -- I'll try to simplify this by re-asking the
15 question. Do you recall yesterday that we talked about paragraph 20 of
16 your statement in which you say there was no plan to - and I'll read
17 this - to support terror and violence against this Albanian civilian
18 population; do you recall that we discussed that yesterday?
19 A. Is that what it says there?
20 Q. Sir, I believe that's what it says in your statement.
21 A. I'd like it to see the statement. That's what I'm saying. So
22 that I can read it out loud, read out loud what it says there because
23 that sentence does not stand either in the statement, nor did I say it
24 yesterday, nor did I say it today, nor did I ever say to support terror
25 against the civilian population. Perhaps it's a question of
1 interpretation. I never said that we supported terror.
2 I'll readily help you if I get the page so that I can read it
3 slowly and then the interpreters can interpret it slowly.
4 Q. We can certainly put this up, sir, but you understand I'm not
5 saying that you said there was a plan to support terror. I'm saying in
6 your statement you say there was not a plan to support terror?
7 A. I didn't use the word "terror." Throughout my statement all my
8 testimony never did I use the word "terror."
9 JUDGE PARKER: Could I suggest that paragraph 20 in Serbian be
10 put on the screen.
11 MS. PETERSEN: Yes, thank you, Your Honour. And this is --
12 JUDGE PARKER: Of Exhibit D553.
13 MS. PETERSEN: 553. Thank you. If we could have paragraph 20,
15 JUDGE PARKER: Serbian, please, paragraph 20.
16 MS. PETERSEN:
17 Q. All right, General. So if we look at paragraph 20, you can read
18 that --
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You can read that on your own in English. It says:
21 "I solemnly declare that in the VJ and in the VJ General Staff
22 there has never been a plan, order, or anything like that which planned,
23 prompted, ordered or in any way assisted or supported terror and violence
24 against the Albanian civilian population living in KiM."
25 Do you recall that we discussed this paragraph yesterday?
1 A. Yes, I do remember that, but you left out a letter, the letter U,
2 in the first sentence or perhaps the interpreter did, but it doesn't
3 change the contents of what is being said, but I remember that we did
4 discuss that yesterday.
5 Q. All right. Sir, and finally I believe we also discussed that
6 this last sentence that, the last two sentences:
7 "No such plan could have existed without me knowing about it.
8 Plans for the use of the VJ were drawn up and kept in the administration
9 whose chief I was." Do you recall that we discussed that?
10 A. Yes. That is correct because all the plans that were devised
11 were in the first administration and that's where they were stored and
13 Q. All right. So I think we are in the same place now.
14 MS. PETERSEN: If we could now, please, pull up Defence Exhibit
15 160, D160.
16 Q. Sir, if we could have a look at a few parts of this and then I'm
17 going to ask a question after we've looked at a few parts. If we look at
18 the title of this, we can see it's Resolution 119, United Nations
19 Resolution 119, and it's dated 23 September 1998. If we look down at the
20 6th paragraph down on the first page it starts with the words, "gravely
21 concerned," and I'll just read this so that we have it in the record what
22 we're --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Please slow down when reading.
24 MS. PETERSEN:
25 Q. "Gravely concerned at the recent intense fighting in Kosovo and
1 in particular the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by Serbian
2 security forces and the Yugoslav Army which have resulted in numerous
3 civilian casualties and, according to the estimate of the
4 Secretary-General, the displacement of over 230.000 persons from their
6 If we look at the paragraph just above it reads:
7 "Noting further, the communication by the Prosecutor of the
8 international Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to the Contact Group on
9 7 July 1998, expressing the view that the situation in Kosovo represents
10 an armed conflict within the terms of the mandate of the Tribunal."
11 And if we look on page 3 in both the B/C/S and the English, it's
12 paragraph 4(a) and (b), if you will just note there, sir, that this
13 resolution demands that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia first cease
14 all action by the security forces affecting the civilian population, and
15 order the withdrawal of security units used for civilian repression, and
16 (b) enable effective and continuous international monitoring in Kosovo by
17 the European community monitoring mission and diplomatic missions
18 accredited to the FRY.
19 Now, sir, do you recall that this resolution was passed at this
20 time in September 1998?
21 A. Well, I can't actually say that I remember, I wasn't in the
22 General Staff at the time, and this didn't come within the frameworks of
23 what I was interested in occupying my work post at that time within the
24 job that I was doing.
25 Q. So, sir, is your testimony today that you were not aware of this
1 UN resolution that had such demands on the Army of Yugoslavia?
2 A. That's what I'm saying. Maybe I did hear that the resolution was
3 passed through the media, but I certainly didn't see it or read it, and I
4 can't tell you much about it then.
5 Q. So you were aware that it had been passed through the media?
6 You'd heard about this in the media?
7 A. I wasn't informed of it through the media, but I heard that some
8 such resolution existed, as did many others. I don't remember this one
9 in particular or others for that matter except for the 244 one.
10 Q. Sir --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 1244 one.
12 MS. PETERSEN:
13 Q. And General, in the summer of 1998, KDOM began monitoring the
14 activities of the MUP, the VJ, and the KLA in Kosovo; correct?
15 A. I can't confirm that either because in the summer of 1998 I had
16 no points in common with Kosovo. I worked in the command of the 1st Army
17 in Belgrade, and I didn't have occasion to follow that, nor can I confirm
18 that now. But later on, I heard that this particular mission, KDOM, the
19 American mission was an independent one and never was subordinated to the
20 OSCE Mission. I happened to hear that somewhere later -- sometime later
21 on when I arrived at the General Staff in January 1999.
22 Q. Is at some point before the NATO bombing, you were aware that
23 there had been in KDOM monitoring mission, correct?
24 A. At the he collegium, I heard somewhere that there was a KDOM
25 mission before NATO executed the aggression against my country. But the
1 details about its work and its general situation, I did not know and I
2 don't know to this day.
3 Q. Fair to say though that the VJ was aware of KDOM. Maybe you
4 personally didn't have detailed information but the VJ knew that KDOM was
5 monitoring its activities?
6 A. Well, probably. There were quite a few people in the Army of
7 Yugoslavia whose job that was and who probably knew who was coming, how
8 many people were coming in, and what their remit was.
9 Q. Thank you, sir. And then after the October Agreements in 1998,
10 in late 1998, the Kosovo Verification Mission of the OSCE began
11 monitoring the activities of the MUP, the VJ, and the KLA in Kosovo;
13 A. Not quite. Nobody monitored the KLA nor did they report on their
14 evil deeds, not a single mission, not the OSCE and not KDOM either.
15 Quite simply an agreement was not signed with them, I don't know why, and
16 nobody controlled or monitored them at all.
17 Q. You will agree, sir, that the KVM monitored the activities of the
18 VJ and the MUP? Leaving aside the KLA for now.
19 A. Well, I'd leave MUP to one side because I know very little about
20 that. And I do know that they monitored the units of the Army of
21 Yugoslavia and the reason being is that we had observers who organised
22 that part of the job, but what I want to tell you is this, I'm not really
23 a good collocutor for this topic. It wasn't my area. I didn't follow it
24 in any detail or studiously but just in a peripheral way when I happened
25 to hear something, but my job involved something quite different, so I
1 can't really say that I'm the proper witness for you to ask these
2 questions of.
3 Q. And, sir, that's fine, I'm really just asking not for details
4 about it but just whether there is a general awareness that these
5 existed, that KVM existed and was monitoring?
6 A. Yes, and to inform NATO or rather the American government
7 directly. They did not submit reports to Walker, the head of the mission
8 or his deputy, and that was common knowledge.
9 Q. Now, sir, at the time of the NATO bombing, so we are now talking
10 March 1999 when this begins, this Tribunal, this Hague Tribunal existed,
12 A. I really don't know. We don't put it that way in my country.
13 Everybody says NATO's aggression against the Federal Republic of
14 Yugoslavia without a valid decision on the part of the Security Council,
15 not campaign or bombing or whatever, and I don't know when the court
16 started working, when the Tribunal was set up, when the decision was
17 taken to set it up, I don't know.
18 Q. Sir, I'm asking you if you are aware that this Tribunal existed
19 in March of 1999, that it was in existence?
20 A. Well, most probably it was, but I don't really know. I don't
21 know when it came into existence and when the Security Council made a
22 decision to form it, so I don't know the details, as I say. I can't
23 remember. I would like to be able to answer your question, but I'm
24 afraid I really can't. I'm not challenging the fact that it existed.
25 Q. Okay. So just to get your testimony clear, you are saying that
1 you are not sure in March of 1999 if there was a Tribunal that could
2 prosecute war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, you weren't aware of that?
3 Is that what you are saying, sir?
4 A. Well, perhaps that would be the proper answer, that I'm not sure.
5 Q. Okay. You recall yesterday we spoke about how you were aware
6 there was an indictment and arrest warrant for Ratko Mladic from this
7 Tribunal? Do you remember we talked about that yesterday?
8 A. Yes, you talked about it.
9 Q. And you agreed that there was an indictment and arrest warrant
10 for Ratko Mladic?
11 A. Well, I don't remember that I agreed that there was such a thing.
12 I agreed that I had heard somewhere, probably from the media, that that
13 was in existence, and I say again, I did not see anything like that nor
14 in a public -- nor was that published in our country except that warrant
15 with the picture on the walls that he was being looked for, sought for,
16 and that a reward would be offered for anybody, et cetera, et cetera, who
17 could ...
18 Q. So in the years preceding the NATO intervention, there had been
19 some high-profile indictments and arrest warrants from this Tribunal,
20 Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic. Is it your testimony you weren't aware
21 that the Tribunal even existed by this time?
22 A. No, that is not what I said. I said that I don't know when it
23 was formed, when it started working, when it became operational.
24 Q. I'm not asking you if you know the date that it first was formed.
25 I'm asking you if you knew it was in existence by March 1999?
1 A. Well, I just answered that question. I answered it twice this
3 JUDGE PARKER: Would you answer it again, please.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What question was that? Was I
5 aware that the Tribunal existed in March 1999? Is that it? Yes.
6 MS. PETERSEN:
7 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, as Resolution 1199 noted, which we just
8 looked at, this Tribunal had made clear before the NATO intervention that
9 the situation in Kosovo was within its mandate, meaning that it could
10 prosecute any war crimes committed in Kosovo; correct?
11 A. If that is what you said a moment ago and quoted earlier on, then
12 it's correct.
13 Q. All right. Sir. Now, in your statement paragraph 18, you state
14 and I'll just read from the statement:
15 "I know" -- and this is, I'm sorry, Exhibit D553.
16 "I know that in late April of 1999 General Ojdanic received a
17 letter from the then-chief prosecutor of The Hague Tribunal Ms. Louise
18 Arbour, and I know what action he took in this connection?"
19 MS. PETERSEN: Now, if we can look at Exhibit 65 ter 00401.
20 Q. Now, if you look at the bottom of this letter, sir, you'll see
21 that it's to Colonel-General Ojdanic, and it's from Louise Arbour
22 Prosecutor. The date at the top if we could in Serbian just -- in the
23 English show it's 26 March of 1999, but it appears in your statement you
24 are saying that General Ojdanic did not receive this until later in
25 April. Is that your testimony?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. Thank you. And if we could just look at this letter,
3 in the first paragraph it says:
4 "As you will be aware, the failure of the Federal Republic of
5 Yugoslavia to co-operate with my office regarding the investigation of
6 war crimes in Kosovo has been reported to the Tribunal's president to the
7 Security Council of the United Nations."
8 If we go to the next paragraph:
9 "In that context and in light of current reports of escalating
10 violence in Kosovo, I'm gravely concerned that serious violations of
11 international humanitarian law continue to be committed."
12 And the first sentence of the last paragraph:
13 "It is my intention to investigate all serious violations of
14 international humanitarian law that merit prosecution in the
15 international forum, particularly those involving attacks on the civilian
17 And if you look in the second paragraph it shows that the
18 Prosecutor attached the relevant statutes.
19 MS. PETERSEN: Now, Your Honour, could I please tender this
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
22 THE REGISTRAR: It will be admitted as Exhibit Number P01525.
23 Thank you, Your Honours.
24 MS. PETERSEN: If we could look at P01511.
25 Q. And we can see from this that this same letter went to the
1 president of Serbian, Mr. Milan Milutinovic.
2 MS. PETERSEN: And finally if we could look at P01513 already in
4 Q. In this document P01513, we see that this same letter was also
5 sent to Slobodan Milosevic, the president of the Federal Republic of
7 So, sir, in light of these documents, would you agree that
8 leading up to and during the NATO bombing, the VJ and the MUP had been
9 the subject of a UN resolution; correct?
10 A. You mean that resolution that you mentioned a few moments ago,
12 Q. Yes. They had been being monitored by KDOM and KVM?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And they were being scrutinized by this Tribunal in The Hague;
16 A. Who?
17 Q. This Tribunal in The Hague, the letters we just read from Louise
18 Arbour, the Prosecutor at the Hague Tribunal.
19 A. The print is so small here of this text that I cannot see who
20 they are actually after, and I kindly ask you to read that portion out of
21 that paragraph, what you are claiming just now or enlarge the text for
22 me. As for the other letters, I have not had occasion to see them until
23 now. I see the 26th of March there and the aggression against my country
24 started on the 24th of March. So this was allegedly written two days
25 later, but it is stated in the log-book of the communications of the
1 Chief of General Staff when communications arrived, and it's the end of
2 April, so I can say that.
3 Q. So, sir, you do recall this letter from the Prosecutor of this
4 Tribunal going to General Ojdanic in late April? That's what it says in
5 your statement.
6 A. Yes, I remember, except that now after so many years, I can no
7 longer para-phrase it, but I do know that it did arrive, and I know that
8 General Ojdanic was upset, was angry, because it was one month late
9 because it went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of
10 Justice and wherever else, and it's only then that it arrived in his
11 office, and it was properly recorded that it arrived in his office, and I
12 do know what measures he took after that. He informed his closest
13 associates, his colleagues about that straightaway.
14 Q. And, sir, you'll agree at this point the VJ is under scrutiny?
15 A. I will not agree with you that it is the VJ that someone is
16 after. Perhaps certain individuals are being -- are wanted because of
17 the possible commission of war crimes. That is the the interpretation I
18 received and that is not something I can agree with.
19 Q. I'm not asking if anyone was wanted on charges. What I'm asking
20 you is, will you agree the VJ was being watched by this Tribunal to see
21 if war crimes would be committed?
22 A. How carefully this Tribunal watched this, I don't know, but there
23 were verifiers on the ground, there were diplomats, there were
24 intelligence officers who monitored that, and probably for the purposes
25 of this Tribunal, they provided this information. That I do know.
1 Q. Well, sir, you'll agree with me that this letter that reached
2 General Ojdanic says from Louise Arbour, "It is my intention to
3 investigate all serious violations of international humanitarian law that
4 merit prosecution?" You will agree the letter says that?
5 A. Well, if that is what is written, then that's it. I haven't read
6 it yet. I'm not challenging what you are saying right now, but I simply
7 cannot see it here, I cannot read this.
8 Q. All right, sir. Let me ask you this: If a combat report stated,
9 "Today the VJ and the MUP went door to door through a village and
10 expelled all the Albanians from their homes at gun point, on the way out
11 of town we set the mosque on fire." If a report said that, that would be
12 evidence of a war crime; correct?
13 A. Yes, but that is not written in a single one of our reports, not
14 in a single one of the reports of the 3rd Army or our reports.
15 Q. I understand you are saying it's not in any of the reports. Sir,
16 if a VJ General Staff, if they wrote an order and that order said "Go
17 from house to house and depart all the Albanians," that would be evidence
18 of a war crime; correct?
19 A. Yes, but in that case, I would like to see that proof because the
20 General Staff had never written any such thing or were they have written
21 any such thing and that would be evidence if something like that did
22 exist somewhere.
23 Q. I understand you are saying it didn't exist, I'm asking you if a
24 report like that would be evidence of a war crime, and I believe your
25 answer was yes.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djurdjic.
2 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I was sitting and waiting but
3 there were a lot of hypothetical questions here. What would have
4 happened had this happened or what would have happened if things were
5 this way or that way or some other way, calls for a lot of speculation
6 and questions like that are being put to the witness.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Ms. Petersen.
8 MS. PETERSEN:
9 Q. General, in light of the scrutiny that the VJ was under, isn't
10 this exactly the kind of thing that no one would put in a written report
11 or order?
12 A. No, no, that's not right. Had that happened, that would have
13 been written, and they would have to write it with full responsibility.
14 It would have to be written by all the commanders from brigade level,
15 corps level, army level, General Staff. We would not hide that. As a
16 matter of fact, we would take measures against anyone who had done
17 something like that so that they would be punished and properly
19 Q. Sir, you'll agree it's not hidden if the leadership already knows
20 very well that it's going on?
21 A. Could you please repeat that once again, I did not understand,
22 and it is a major problem for me is when you say at the very outset of
23 your question you will agree. Could you please put that question to me
24 very carefully once again so that I would answer it impeccably.
25 Q. Sir, you said that people would never leave this out of reports,
1 they would never hide it from the leadership; correct?
2 A. Yes, I did say that, that is correct, and that is what I assert.
3 Q. And I'm suggesting to you it's not hidden from the leadership
4 when the leadership already knows that this is exactly what's going on,
6 A. If you know that, that the leadership knows that, then fine. But
7 I do not know of our leadership knowing about that, and I assert that our
8 leadership did not know about that.
9 Q. Sir, in this trial, we've had a lot of evidence from witnesses
10 who lived in Kosovo in various villages who were expelled from their
11 homes by the VJ and the MUP. Is it your testimony that none of this
13 A. No, I did not state that.
14 MS. PETERSEN: All right. I have no further questions for this
15 witness. Thank you.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Petersen.
17 Mr. Djurdjic.
18 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Re-examination by Mr. Djurdjic:
20 Q. Good morning, General. Let us start from the very end, the last
21 questions that were put to you. To the best of your knowledge in view of
22 the position that you held, did the military organs take measures when
23 they learned about misdeeds committed by their members?
24 A. Good morning to you too. Yes, at all levels officers who were in
25 charge of such matters did take measures and they prosecuted all of those
1 who violated the law, especially international humanitarian law.
2 Q. Thank you. It is being insisted upon here that no one in his
3 right mind would write up a plan saying let us expel a certain ethnic
4 group, let us do something to a particular ethnic group. And now I am
5 going to ask you, if there is not a plan, what about you and anyone else
6 from the Army of Yugoslavia or the Republic of Serbia, did you carry out
7 any kind of policy of persecution of the Albanian national minority
8 during 1999?
9 A. No. No plan, none of that. None of that is correct.
10 Q. I'm asking you now, if there was not a written plan, if there was
11 a plan that had not been written up in the position that you held, would
12 you have to know of such activity on the part of the Army of Yugoslavia
13 or other security organs?
14 A. Everything that is called a plan that can look like a plan
15 regardless of whether it is in the form of text, map, or any other form,
16 or quite simply any kind of assignment, any kind of note, no such thing
17 was ever written, was ever compiled, because it would have to be
18 preserved in special storage at the General Staff in the first
20 Q. Thank you. In field reports, bearing in mind the system of
21 reporting in the Army of Yugoslavia, did you receive any reports about
22 planned and massive commission of crimes against the Albanian population
23 or the expulsion of the Albanian population?
24 A. No, and if something like that had happened it would have been
25 included in combat reports.
1 Q. Thank you, if we could now explain the system of reporting from
2 the very base, from the grass roots up to the General Staff headquarters
3 during the war, could you explain this chain of reporting and filing
4 reports, but briefly?
5 A. At lower levels it is oral, the commanding officer writes it up
6 and then further up the regiment and the brigade they write reports every
7 day on the basis of a certain structure as to what happened during the
8 course of the day. When the corps collects these reports then they write
9 up their own report and they send it to the army. When the army collects
10 all of its reports they study them and they send a report to the Supreme
11 Command staff, and the Supreme Command staff once they study all these
12 reports they send their own combat report to the Supreme Command and then
13 they act as I explained yesterday.
14 Q. Thank you, no need to elaborate on this further. From January
15 1999 you were in the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia and you
16 attended collegium meetings. Do you know who the members of the Kosovo
17 Verification Mission were, professionally speaking, did you discuss that?
18 A. Well, yes. What was the name, the Kosovo Civilian Verification
19 Mission? Yes, I know. For the most part or practically all of them,
20 they were intelligence security officers from NATO countries who were
21 trained and prepared to collect intelligence and information. They
22 provided information through regular channels, but we are aware that they
23 submitted other reports for the public.
24 Q. Thank you. In the assessment of the General Staff, as it was at
25 the time, tell me in terms of objectivity, how were these reports
2 A. As far as we know and on the basis of the extent to which we
3 could see this, we, I mean my colleague and I who worked on this, I could
4 say that they were not fully objective and particularly they did not
5 verify cease-fires on the part of the so-called KLA.
6 Q. Are you done?
7 A. Well, yes, now, perhaps.
8 Q. Now I would like to speak of the proportionality of use of force.
9 To the best of your knowledge, from the beginning of 1999 that is, did
10 you ever receive reports from the 3rd Army, daily reports?
11 A. Yes, until the beginning of the aggression we would receive daily
12 operative reports and when the aggression started on the 24th of March,
13 we would receive combat reports from the 3rd Army regularly.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, General, sir, do you happen to remember whether
15 at the time when you arrived at the General Staff there was a team for
16 co-operation with NATO and the KVM?
17 A. Yes, my superior. General Obradovic led the team in the General
18 Staff and co-operated closely with the state commission or rather with
19 the team in Kosovo.
20 Q. Thank you. Now, the team, did it receive reports from the
21 corresponding liaison teams from the 3rd Army and Pristina Corps?
22 A. Yes, on a regular basis, daily reports, weekly reports, so that
23 they became acquainted with all the events on the ground with the support
24 of the people who signed it.
25 Q. Now, in the reports from the time you were in the General Staff,
1 that is to say from the 13th of January until the beginning of the war,
2 to the best of your knowledge, there was any disproportionate use of
3 force by some units in Kosovo and Metohija?
4 A. No, I don't know about that. I never saw a report to that
5 effect, and not only me personally, but the entire first administration
6 scrutinized the reports in detail, and it was our duty to react if there
7 was anything that was outside the system. But I'd like to add a
8 sentence, nowhere did anybody in the world define what indiscriminate use
9 or disproportionate use of force means. So just a digression. Now what
10 was happening -- what is happening in the Middle East and what happened
11 in the Middle East in other countries where NATO launched an aggression
12 wasn't the greatest indiscriminate use of force when 19 of the strongest
13 countries in NATO carry out an aggression without a Security Council
14 decision on a small country.
15 Q. Thank you. I'd now like to ask you something else. Did you ever
16 receive a report saying that any action on the part of the army or other
17 security forces were directed against civilians in Kosovo and Metohija
18 during 1999?
19 A. I can say with full responsibility that we never received a
20 single report to that effect saying that army unit undertook any action
21 against civilians in Kosovo and Metohija.
22 Q. Thank you. General, my colleague, the Prosecutor showed us
23 Ms. Arbour's letter, and you explained to us that it reached the Chief of
24 the General Staff at the end of April because of some difficulties in
25 being handed over, but you interrupted when you were saying what the
1 Chief of the General Staff did upon reception of the letter?
2 A. The Chief of the General Staff, or rather, the staff -- the
3 Supreme Command staff gathered together his associates and gave him a
4 task of reading the letter carefully, lawyers and other experts, to tell
5 him what should be done, what he should do, and they proposed, and he had
6 a similar idea, that he should send a telegram straightaway to General
7 Pavkovic, the commander of the 3rd Army and to send him the letter too,
8 and he demanded that he state his views on the letter and each section of
9 the letter in very clear terms. Then he also requested that the 3rd Army
10 commander in a written report with a dead-line should write down what
11 measures he took on the basis of our orders and his orders to prevent war
12 crimes from happening and when the dead-line was up, General Pavkovic did
13 send in this detailed report describing all the orders and commands that
14 appeared from the General Staff in the general army to show that he had
15 received them and studied them as well as his own orders following on
16 from those first orders so other orders too that he wrote at his own
17 initiative to prevent war crimes which are now being discussed here
19 Q. Thank you. According to the reports that you received, was there
20 any knowledge and awareness of civilians being persecuted or any
21 organised crimes being committed against them or anything like that?
22 A. No. There was no such case recorded in a written report by the
23 command of the 3rd Army.
24 Q. Thank you. Now, according to the reports that you received, what
25 about the individuals who did commit crimes, were steps taken to
1 prosecute by the military authorities?
2 A. Yes, and at one point in time during the aggression, the Chief of
3 the Supreme Command staff issued an order that within the frameworks of a
4 daily report, the legislative organs should provide precise data on a
5 daily basis what they did in the area. So we could have a daily overview
6 of how many prosecutions were executed, how many people were sentenced,
7 tried, and so on and so forth.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] May we get D006-0042, please. The
9 next exhibit. D557 is the number.
10 Q. Section 4 in your set, General. Number 4, General. It's a
11 response from the 3rd Army of the 21st of January, 1990, well, there is
12 a mistake here, it should read 1999. Maybe it's not a mistake.
13 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I think the translation says 1995
14 too, Your Honours, but it's actually 1999.
15 Q. Now, let me ask you first, with infantry weaponry, automatic
16 rifles specifically, are there or can they be -- can Tromblon mines and
17 others be used against armoured vehicles?
18 A. Yes, they can.
19 Q. Rifle grenades and they are devices against armoured units,
20 right, and when they are used they are considered to be fired from
21 artillery weapons; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, let's look at point 2. When regular training is carried out
24 around the village of Rance to 700 metres west, fire was open from
25 artillery weapons, and can you tell us which weapons were used by the
2 A. As it says here in this report, in addition to what you have just
3 said, it says, and hand-grenades and from the village of Rance mortar
4 fire, and it doesn't say which calibre or rather hand-held
5 rocket-launcher, but it doesn't say whether they were 80 millimetre or
6 120 millimetre, but they were certainly mortar fire, so mortars were
7 used, hand-held launchers were used and so on.
8 Q. Now, that's page 2 of the English, and it's towards the end of
9 the first page in your set says from the village of Belince 700 metres
10 south artillery fire was used, et cetera. Could you tell us what the
11 rest of that is?
12 A. Belince is a 12/7 millimetre anti-aircraft machine-gun. It has
13 various effects, inflammatory and so on, but it's considered to be a
14 heavy machine-gun in the west, and the 82-millimetre mortar. Now, this
15 defines quite precisely that 82-millimetre mortar was used to open fire.
16 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now, may we have the
17 next document called up, please, P1522.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I stop you here for a moment.
19 On the second page of the telegram here, we have what we were discussing
20 yesterday but did not actually see yesterday, and that is the following:
21 A stamp when this telegram was received and a registered and the
22 registration number in the General Staff. So apart from the other data
23 that is usually there, here we see that the first administration of the
24 General Staff on the 22nd of January received this particular telegram
25 and entered it in the log-book under the number there, and it was signed
1 by the colonel who was on duty. And what's more, in the lower left-hand
2 corner, he wrote who it was being sent to so that there is a lasting
3 trace as to what happened with this telegram and proof that it reached
4 the General Staff, that it arrived in the General Staff.
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you. Now, General, we are going to look at P1522 now,
7 please. Yesterday the Prosecution presented an order, showed us an order
8 from the General Staff dated the 6th of March, 1999 sent to the command
9 of the 2nd and 3rd Armies, and you were also shown item 1 of that order
10 resubordination of the 3rd Army -- of the 37th Motorised Brigade on the
11 2nd Army to the 3rd Army Command. Now, could you comment on the
12 following paragraph.
13 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] And can we zoom into that,
14 please. Paragraph 2 of item 1. Item 1, please.
15 Q. I'll read it out, General. It says, "Resubordinations to be
16 carried out in the garrison of the Raska peacetime location on the 7th of
17 March." What does that mean, General?
18 A. That means that the unit which is being resubordinated must be
19 ready and that a commanding officer or team would be arriving from the
20 3rd Army to which it is being resubordinated to see whether that
21 particular unit is ready to carry out its assignment. The unit remains
22 in its barracks on that territory until it receives permission to move
23 on, move elsewhere. Now, the commander, or rather the team he sent
24 establishes whether the unit is ready to carry out its assignment. From
25 that moment, it is considered to be resubordinated to the commander of
1 the 3rd Army or to whom he resubordinates it and carries out his plans
2 and orders. And reports are sent out to two persons, to the 3rd Army
3 commander or the Pristina Corps, resubordinated to it, and the exactly
4 the same report is sent to the commander of the 2nd Army or rather to his
5 corps for him to be able to follow the activities of that particular
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Now, may we have called up P1328,
10 Q. This is an order. It says, Joint Command dated the 15th of April
11 1999, 455-148 is the number. General, this registration number, to what
12 unit of the Yugoslav Army does it belong? Which unit uses that?
13 A. 455, that's the Pristina Corps.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, we'll come to look at the document in its
15 entirety but it says here that it is map 1:50.000. Now, can this
16 document be used without a map?
17 A. No, you must have a map, the specific map written there for the
18 document to be complete.
19 Q. Thank you. Now, would you please focus on point 2 of this
21 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Lower down in the English or the
22 following page in the English version, please. Next page. Item 2 next
23 page, please.
24 Q. The title there is "Joint Command." Now, as a layman, I'd like
25 to know the following: Here we have a task of the Pristina Corps as it
1 says in item 2; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And then it says in paragraph 2, the task "Support the MUP forces
4 in the blockade." Now, if it's a Joint Command, do all the units which
5 are being deployed, do they all belong to that Joint Command?
6 A. I assume so, but I don't really understand your question and how
7 you refer to the Joint Command.
8 Q. As a layman, if it says Pristina Corps assignment or task it
9 says, support MUP forces, and we have a command that is in charge of all
10 the units, so both the police and the army units, would this kind of
11 formulation be used, or would it be the task and assignment of all the
13 A. Oh, I understand your question now. It would be the task of all
14 the units, and that's what it should specify. It should specifically say
16 Q. Thank you. Now, yesterday you commented on item 5, the tasks of
17 the units.
18 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] May we go to the next page in the
19 English version and in the Serbian, please, so next page, please, point
21 Q. To which unit was this task issued in this order?
22 A. Well, I suppose there was something that went before, but without
23 a doubt here it says that the task is issued to the 125th Motorised
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] May we have the next page in the
2 Serbian version, please, so you can see the whole of point 5. Thank you.
3 A. Well, here the task was issued to only this brigade and nobody
4 else, that's quite certain.
5 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you. Now, according to this, could any other unit act upon
7 this order except the 125th Motorised Brigade regardless of whether it
8 was a military one or a MUP unit?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Thank you. Now I want to ask you something else. Do you
11 remember the first item of point 2 of this order, or rather, paragraph,
12 and it says Pristina Corps supports the MUP for --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel repeat that reference, please,
14 thank you.
15 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. In point 5 where it says "tasks," is there any task or assignment
17 for an armed non-Siptar population to undertake?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Thank you. I'll have to repeat my question, I see. It was point
20 2, and there we see that the Pristina Corps regarding the non-Siptar
21 organisation in --
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot follow the text.
23 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Now, bearing in mind point 5, was there any task for an armed
25 non-Siptar population?
1 A. When I said no, I considered that there wasn't a task for anybody
2 else except for the 125th Brigade, so there was no task as far as this
3 population was concerned.
4 Q. Thank you. Now, in the orders, what would item 2 contain in an
5 order generally?
6 A. Item 2 in an order is in fact an item from the order of the
7 Supreme Command written out again, copied out, so the Pristina Corps
8 could have received this kind of order and task only from the 3rd Army or
9 it could formulate its own tasks for itself.
10 Q. That you.
11 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] And now may we turn to the last
12 page -- last page of the document I mean.
13 Q. Is there a signature on this document?
14 A. No, no, there's no signature, and it doesn't say who the
15 commander is and it doesn't say who wrote it, who typed it up. Yesterday
16 I said several times what my opinion was of unsigned documents.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I would now like to have D104,
20 Q. General, what we have before us is an order, to rout and destroy
21 the STS
22 says in the heading, Joint Command for KiM, Kosovo and Metohija Strictly
23 Confidential Number 455-56. This registration number, what unit does it
24 belong to?
25 A. The Pristina Corps.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have the last page
3 of this document. And also if you could just note or remember the number
4 of this order.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't got a pen.
6 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] All right. We are just going to
7 use the last number. Could we please have the last page.
8 Q. Has this order been signed?
9 A. No, no, there's no signature, and it doesn't say who the
10 commander of this Joint Command is, and it doesn't say who actually wrote
11 this up. And also, no command can exist without a military commander.
12 Q. Could you please tell me, sir, according to the rules, who can
13 amend this kind of order? I mean, once an order is adopted, who is
14 authorised to amend it?
15 A. Any order including this one can only be amended by the person
16 who passed the order in the first place, who issued the order and who
17 signed it.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like to ask for
20 document D105, please. Could we please zoom in on the heading.
21 Q. General, can you give us the number of this document?
22 A. Strictly Confidential Number 455-56/1.
23 Q. "/1," do you remember the number of the order a few minutes ago?
24 A. Yes, it was 56.
25 Q. What does "/1" mean?
1 A. That this is a continuation of that document, or rather, that
2 this number is in the same place in the log-book and that both documents
3 have to be archived one next to the other.
4 Q. Can you tell us what the date on this document is?
5 A. The 22nd -- now, I cannot see this very well, I cannot see the
6 month very well. 1999. It looks like a 5 but, I'm sorry, I'm not sure.
7 No, no, the 22nd of March, 1999.
8 Q. Thank you. Do you see the title of the document, as it were?
9 A. Yes. It is "Amendment to the decision on supporting the MUP
10 forces in breaking up and destroying the STS in the area of Malo Kosovo"
11 and underneath it says which maps should be used when this amendment is
12 being carried through.
13 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we please have
14 the last page of the document, if possible. That's right, yes, that's
15 what we wanted to have enlarged, where the signature is.
16 Q. General, can you see whether this amendment has a signature and a
18 A. Yes, there is a clear signature here and a stamp. This is a
19 legal document and the only right kind.
20 Q. Whose signature is this?
21 A. It says that it's the signature of the commander of the Pristina
22 Corps, Major-General Vladimir Lazarevic.
23 Q. Thank you. Do you recognise his signature?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, tell me, in view of this document and in view of
1 the previous document, this is 455-56/1 and the other one is 455-56,
2 who -- I mean, well, if we have this amendment here, what does that tell
4 A. Well, that can tell us the situation had changed, that there was
5 an indispensable need to make certain corrections in the decision so that
6 it could be properly carried through and the commander of the Pristina
7 Corps decided to write up an amendment on the basis of which certain
8 combat activities will possibly be carried out.
9 Q. And who is authorised to amend the basic document?
10 A. The corps commander, General Lazarevic.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Now I'd like to ask if we could
13 get document D0 -- rather, P1523, please. Page 3 in Serbian, page 4 in
15 Q. So this is the briefing of the 18th of April, 1999. The Chief of
16 the General Staff of the Supreme Command is making the concluding remarks
17 and he says one should look into when the telegram was sent to the 3rd
18 Army command, "ask when the telegram was delivered," and you said or
19 rather, you wanted to say a bit more, you wanted to give us a wider
21 A. First of all, I would like to ask you kindly if I could have a
22 look at it here, I would like to read this. I would like to read the
23 actual wording. I didn't quite catch it. I mean, the page is here but
24 could we just have a lowered, scrolled up or scrolled down.
25 Q. Number 6?
1 A. That's right, now we have it. Can I see the next page in the
2 Serbian version?
3 Q. Yes, as far as I know, yes. Yes, yes, the next page. "Ask when
4 the telegram was delivered."
5 A. Yes. Well, I do remember that at the evening meeting concerning
6 an analysis of the situation on the front line, we were analysing the
7 situation, the Chief of General Staff gave me the task of checking when
8 the telegram arrived, when it was delivered, and when it was acted upon.
9 Actually, the chief of the staff of the Supreme Command was in a hurry to
10 send this telegram hoping that it would yield fruit. However, the
11 telegram was not delivered properly and on time probably because perhaps
12 that night there had been some heavy bombing and the army commander could
13 not move about freely and a courier couldn't either. We have precise
14 information on the telegram as to when it was sent --
15 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] And now I'd like to ask if we
16 could have on our screens P1236, please.
17 Q. It's tab 27 in your binder but you will see it on the screen as
18 well. You see?
19 A. Yes, we did deal with this, and we have here a report of the
20 commander of the 3rd Army sent to the Chief of General Staff when the
21 telegram was sent.
22 Q. No, I asked you to have a look at tab 26. You started talking
23 about the sending of the telegram.
24 A. Yes. I assume that the question relates to the bottom of this
25 telegram, when it was sent from the Supreme Command staff. On every
1 telegram we have a stamp, a signature, and a date like here, the 17th of
2 April, 1999, and also the hour and minute along with the signature as to
3 when it was brought for coding and then when it was registered and it was
4 sent, so it was sent at 2000 hours, 40 minutes. And then it was fully
5 handed over at 2155, that is to say there was confirmation received from
6 Pristina or wherever that it was properly received with no error.
7 Q. Thank you. Did you notify the Chief of Staff of the Supreme
8 Command about what you found out?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. And now could you look at tab 27, that's the next document, or
11 rather P1449.
12 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Could we have the last page.
13 Q. This is a report of the command of the 3rd Army dated the 20th of
14 April, 1999. General, on the last page could you have a look at the
15 square stamp, and could you you interpret it for us?
16 A. This is proof of the fact that this telegram was received at the
17 coding department by -- at a certain moment when it was sent on the 20th
18 of April, 1999. At 1205, that's when it was processed.
19 Q. And underneath that, underneath the stamp, who wrote that?
20 A. The part that is typed in Cyrillic where it says "submitted to"
21 that was done by someone at the Supreme Command staff who received this
22 telegram and he wrote who it was sent to. Since there are several
23 addressees where information was sought, he decided probably to send
24 copies to assistant Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command for operations
25 and staff affairs, and the chief of the operations administration, that
1 is to me, and to the chief of KoV administration, because it wasn't only
2 one person who was in charge of everything that was contained in this
3 telegram. At the end is the signature of the person who certifies that
4 this document is authentic, or rather that the photocopy of this document
5 is authentic, and he signed here, it's Colonel Vujic.
6 MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, General, for having
7 come to testify in our case. Thank you, Your Honours. I have completed
8 my redirect.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Djurdjic.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE PARKER: We will have our break now and resume at 11.00.
12 There are some questions of the Chamber.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 11.04 a.m.
16 [The witness takes the stand]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Judge Baird will ask some questions.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE BAIRD: Now, General, you've been giving evidence for some
20 time so I shall try to be as brief as possible. There are one or two
21 very small points about which I should like some clarification, and I'm
22 confident that you can assist me in that area. What I shall do, I shall
23 give you an idea of the evidence so that I can put the question in
25 Now, I'm referring to Exhibit P888, and this is the report from
1 the 3rd Army forward command post dated 25th May, 1999 addressed to the
2 Supreme Command staff, Chief of Staff, in person. It is classified as
3 military secret, strictly confidential. Do you recollect this?
4 A. I do recollect this document from the courtroom and also from the
5 proofing session during my last testimony here, but I don't remember it
6 from the actual time.
7 JUDGE BAIRD: All right. But you stated that during the war you
8 had not seen that document?
9 A. Yes, I did say that I hadn't seen the document and that it did
10 not arrive at the Supreme Command staff.
11 JUDGE BAIRD: And Mr. Djurdjic asked you to describe the
12 procedure of receipt when a document such as that one was sent to the
13 Chief of the Supreme Command in person, and you gave a brief description
14 of the procedure. You said that if a document like that were sent to the
15 Chief of Staff, then the office of the chief receives it when it is still
16 sealed, the Chef de Cabinet receives it, puts a stamp at the bottom, as
17 to who received it, where it was sent, later on et cetera.
18 Now, my question to you, General, is this: Would there ever have
19 been instances when the particular document was so very personal and
20 confidential that the Chef de Cabinet would not open it at all but would
21 pass it unopened to the Chief of the Supreme Staff who in turn would open
22 it, read it, and if he so desires he then passes it back to the Chef de
23 Cabinet; would that be possible at all?
24 A. Yes, in principle you don't open an envelope of that kind in the
25 office. It comes sealed to the Chief of the Supreme Command staff,
1 having passed through anti-diversionary or sabotage control and then the
2 Chef de Cabinet opens it with scissors, takes it out, and hands it over
3 to the Chief of the Supreme Command staff. Only afterwards is the
4 procedure put in place whereby a stamp it placed on it, registration, so
5 on and so forth.
6 JUDGE BAIRD: So there's never a situation where the letter goes
7 to the Chief of Staff without being opened by the Chef de Cabinet?
8 A. I don't really know whether it ever happened or not. I can't say
9 that it actually didn't, but I don't know of any such thing happening.
10 JUDGE BAIRD: I see. Okay. Now, on that very situation, you
11 were asked to describe the procedure when a document of that kind was
12 sent to the Chief of the General Staff, and you said that when the report
13 like that arrived or was handed to him, he would review it and he would
14 invite his closest associates to review it, and at the evening briefing
15 on combat readiness, you all would study it and voice your opinions and
16 proposals. Do you recollect this?
17 A. Yes, until the evening briefing we were supposed to examine it
18 and then put forward proposals at the evening briefing.
19 JUDGE BAIRD: Now, my question is: Would the Chief of Supreme
20 Command be absolutely bound to invite his associates to review the
21 document and to have it discussed at the evening briefings? I mean, was
22 he absolutely bound by this procedure, or could he have said to the Chef
23 de Cabinet, Look here, I don't want all my associates to see this, I just
24 want two or three; could that have happened?
25 A. Well, it's possible, but the style of work, the way in which the
1 Chief of the Supreme Command staff General Ojdanic, whom I've known for
2 over 40 years, worked and how he functioned, everybody who was connected
3 with this document must be informed so that he could hear as many
4 different opinions and proposals as possible to be able to make the right
5 decision or issue the right order having heard all that. So he always
6 advocated team-work.
7 JUDGE BAIRD: I see. Now, tell me, General, was it ever brought
8 to your attention as chief of the first operation administration at the
9 General Staff, that during the war there were frequent altercations at
10 the check-points manned by the MUP and the military police units
11 springing from the fact that the MUP members permitted criminal acts by
12 their fellow MUP members and civilians such as appropriation of motor
13 vehicles, and technical goods and so on, ever at all?
14 A. I don't know that anything like that happened. I was never
15 informed about anything like that happening.
16 JUDGE BAIRD: I see. Now, Ms. Petersen - and this is my last
17 question - Ms. Petersen asked you about Combat Report Number 28 from the
18 Supreme Command staff. It's dated 21st April, 1999, and she referred to
19 section 2.4, the second paragraph, where it was stated, I would summarise
20 her, I would summarise here, that between 19 and 20 April 1999, about
21 3.000 people crossed from KiM to Macedonia escorted by the MUP. She then
22 asked if we conclude from the report that the MUP were walking alongside
23 the column, and you gave your answer and you ended the answer saying that
24 she was right, it was written there and "we did not hide it that this
25 column passed through there and went towards Macedonia, and it says
1 clearly escorted by the MUP." And then there was a follow-up question
2 and you answered that "it did say that the 3.000 people crossed from
3 Kosovo to Macedonia." Now, do you recollect this yesterday?
4 A. I do recollect it, but I'm not quite sure that I used all those
5 words since they had crossed from Kosovo to the rest of Serbia and then
6 across the village of Miratovac, went towards the border which is
7 something else, and I'm even not sure whether that column ever left
8 Serbia to go to Macedonia but that it was stopped at the border and sent
9 back, and we have that in some of the later reports, but yes, I do
10 remember that part.
11 JUDGE BAIRD: Thank you, thank you. Now, are you in a position,
12 General, to say why the MUP escorted these 3.000 people?
13 A. I assume -- I hope you'll understand me, all I can do is to
14 assume why, assume the reason. There might have been a number of
15 reasons. One of the reasons was to prevent somebody in the forest, along
16 the road at night, that they should not be fired at by some forces and
17 that that be ascribed to the MUP or the army. And that the Serbs in
18 retaliation on Serbs in retaliation for certain ill-deeds committed in
19 their own villages perhaps might have ambushed them and massacred them or
20 to prevent them from entering a minefield along the border belt and be
21 killed that way so these are all possible reasons that I can see. Or
22 they might have been asked by some of the locals to escort them in safety
23 and security and to ensure that they have no problems in crossing the
25 JUDGE BAIRD: Protection?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE BAIRD: Thank you very much indeed. Thank you, thank you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: You'll be pleased to know that that completes the
4 questions. The Chamber would like to thank you for your attendance, for
5 the assistance you've been able to give, and you may now return to your
6 normal activities. A Court Officer will show you out. Thank you.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Petersen.
9 MS. PETERSEN: Yes, Your Honours. I am offering to basically do
10 the same thing that Mr. Stamp did the other day if it would assist the
11 Court. We have a comparison of exhibit numbers that were used with this
12 witness in the Milutinovic case and corresponding numbers that have come
13 in that were tendered in this case, if that would assist the Court. I
14 know that we're working on a more permanent solution to this -- trying to
15 correspond the numbers, but if it would assist, in the meantime I could
16 give the ones right now or we could just wait until we have a more
17 permanent solution.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for your offer, but we think it would be
21 just complicating life to have such details after every witness and it
22 would be better to wait for a co-ordinated overall comparison. Thank
24 MS. PETERSEN: Thank you, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic, is it you that I look to? Every time
1 I turn around I see a different lineup in the team there.
2 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honours. It's
3 the youth that are in the front lines today, so we are going to deal with
4 the next witness in my person, and the next Defence witness is Mr. Rade
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Will it be Ms. Kravetz or Mr. Behar?
7 Mr. Behar, right.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read the affirmation that is
12 shown to you now on the card.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
14 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Popovic has questions for you.
18 WITNESS: RADE CUCAK
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Examination by Mr. Popovic:
21 Q. Good morning, Mr. Cucak.
22 A. Good morning.
23 Q. First of all, Mr. Cucak, before we begin the
24 examination-in-chief, I'd like to ask you to speak slowly, and since you
25 and I speak the same language, could you make a pause between my question
1 and your answer, and that will facilitate the work of the interpreters
2 and they will be able to do their job properly.
3 Could you start off by giving us your first and last name.
4 A. My name is Rade Cucak.
5 Q. Where were you born?
6 A. I was born on the 28th of November 1947 in a small village along
7 the banks of the Una River 25 kilometres away from Bihac.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, Mr. Cucak, on the 17th of August, 2007, did you
9 give a statement to the Ojdanic Defence team, and did you sign that
10 statement personally?
11 A. On that day I did give a statement, and I personally signed the
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness be asked to approach the
14 microphones, please. Thank you.
15 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Thank you. Now, before this Court -- Mr. Cucak, I'm going to ask
17 you for the benefit of the interpreters so that they can hear everything
18 you say, could you approach the microphone, please. Get a little closer
19 to the microphones. Yes, thank you.
20 And I'll repeat my last question. Have you testified before this
21 Tribunal in the Milutinovic et al trial on the 31st of August and the 4th
22 of September, 2007?
23 A. Yes, I did testify.
24 Q. And during the proofing session for today's testimony, did you
25 have an opportunity of reading through your testimony given in the
1 Milutinovic trial?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And would you give the same answers to all the questions posed to
4 you and recorded in the transcript, would you give the same answers today
5 as you did then if you were to be asked those questions?
6 A. Yes, I would give the same answers.
7 Q. Once again, may I ask you to pause between question and answer.
8 A. I'll do my best.
9 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Your Honours, I would
10 like to tender Mr. Cucak's statement of the 17th of August, 2007, which
11 is Exhibit 006-0883.
12 JUDGE PARKER: When you gave your statement in August of 2007,
13 when you prepared it and signed it, are the answers that you gave then
14 the answers that you would -- or the evidence that you gave in that
15 statement what you would say today?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, mostly I would say the same
17 today. I didn't look at the details of the statement again. I looked
18 through it, of course. It was a long time ago when I gave the statement
19 and signed it, but, yes, I would mostly, I suppose, give the same answers
20 that I did then.
21 JUDGE PARKER: The statement will be received.
22 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D00569. Thank you, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE PARKER: The transcript will be received.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D00570. Thank you, Your Honours.
1 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I am now going to read
2 out a summary of the witness statement.
3 In his testimony, the witness will speak about the organisation
4 and methods of the application of the system for marking the state
5 borders of the FRY towards neighbouring countries and the realisation of
6 international agreements linked to border questions for the period from
7 1987 to 2003.
8 The witness was appointed to hold various posts in the JNA and
9 Yugoslav Army until 2003 when he retired with the rank of colonel. From
10 1987 onwards, he was the chief of the department within the frameworks of
11 the first administration of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia
12 which dealt with border questions.
13 While he occupied functions closely linked to matters of the
14 state border, the witness was a member of many state and international
15 commissions and other bodies dealing with the establishment and adoption
16 of international rules and regulations linked to borders. The witness
17 will explain to us what a border regime means, a border incident means,
18 violation of border incidents, border belt, and the establishment and
19 delineation of the border belt.
20 He will explain what actions and procedure were undertaken within
21 the border belt in order to protects the borders of the FRY and protect
22 the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the FRY. He will also
23 explain that it was the basic task of each army, including the Army of
24 Yugoslavia, and is its task to secure the borders of its country in
25 peacetime. The witness will quote legal acts and documents regulating
1 the issues that we are discussing, and he will go on to explain that the
2 situation along the state border was constantly monitored by the
3 department for state borders which was a component part of the operative
4 department of the sector for operative staff affairs of the General Staff
5 of the Army of Yugoslavia.
6 The witness will provide essential data linked to the border with
7 the Republic of Albania. He will confirm that from the first half of
8 1995 members of the VJ dealing with border issues started to observe and
9 notice increasing numbers of armed civilians on the territory of the
10 Republic of Albania right along the border, or rather that during this
11 same period of time, the number of border incidents began to increase,
12 which culminated with the killing and wounding of Yugoslav border
13 officials. He will also speak about the joint commissions of Yugoslavia
14 and Albania, established to deal with border incidents, however, because
15 the Albania state organs refuse to co-operate, such commissions
16 completely lost all importance. The witness will also speak about border
17 incidents which took place during 1998 and 1999 and which were a direct
18 consequence of the activities of the KLA.
19 The witness will confirm to us how many members of the Army of
20 Yugoslavia lost their lives and how many members of the border units who
21 were securing the border towards Albania and how many were wounded during
22 terrorist attacks. He will confirm that the protection of lives of the
23 members of the VJ who were carrying out their duties along the border
24 with Albania and Macedonia was the only reason for the re-establishment
25 of the border belt. After the border belt was established in accordance
1 with the situation on the ground, it made it possible for members of the
2 VJ to apply different tactics of securing the state border in an effort
3 to preserve the sovereignty of the FRY.
4 The witness will confirm that the units that were securing the
5 border did not get any special instructions related to refugees. They
6 were careful when there were attempts to cross the border illegally, and
7 if such persons were captured, they were handed over to appropriate
8 institutions. The witness is going to speak of what happened during NATO
9 bombing and joint activities of NATO and the KLA along the border of the
10 FRY and the Republic of Albania.
11 He is going to speak about a document that was issued by the
12 Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs which registers all the incidents
13 that occurred on the border of the FRY during 1998 and 1999 and that are
14 a result of the activities of terrorists along the border with the
15 Republic of Albania.
16 The witness is also going to speak to us about the way in which
17 reports were compiled when the state of war was proclaimed and the
18 information that he received on the situation along the border. That
19 would be a summary of this witness's statement.
20 Q. Mr. Cucak, were you a member of the Army of Yugoslavia, and if so
21 until when?
22 A. Yes, I was a member of the Army of Yugoslavia from the date when
23 I entered the military academy. That was a long time ago in 1966. And I
24 was a member all the way up until 2003 when I was pensioned off.
25 Q. Thank you. Tell me, what rank did you hold at the moment when
1 you were pensioned off?
2 A. I was a colonel at the time.
3 Q. Thank you. Can you explain to us briefly which positions you
4 held within the Army of Yugoslavia during the course of your military
6 A. During my military career I started with the lowest ranking
7 positions such as platoon commander and company commander, then I was an
8 officer in the escort of the supreme commander of the Army of Yugoslavia
9 Josip Broz Tito, then Comrade Josip Broz Tito. Then I worked as an
10 operations officer in the organ for operations in training, then I was
11 battalion commander, then the brigade commander. I also did different
12 types of work in border affairs, starting off as desk officer and I ended
13 up as a chief of that service in the VJ and the last few years I spent as
14 head of the state border service in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and
15 I dealt with different questions related to international treaties and
16 other border related matters.
17 Q. Thank you. Since the state border is going to be the main topic
18 of your testimony today, tell us first and foremost what are the laws
19 that regulate the state border?
20 A. I will be able to say what the basic law in this field is and
21 that is the law on crossing the state border and movement within the
22 border belt. There are other bylaws that regulate details on the basis
23 of the aforementioned law.
24 Q. Thank you. We will probably be speaking a bit outside the period
25 of 1998 and 1999 as well, but could you tell us what your duties were in
1 the VJ in 1998 and 1999? I'm primarily referring to the situation when a
2 state of war was declared during the aggression of NATO against the FRY.
3 A. At that time I was head of the department for the border in the
4 first administration of the General Staff. That was a department that
5 dealt with organising the functioning of the system of the state border.
6 That is to say, the organisation and functioning of securing the state
7 border of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. That is to say, the
8 overall border of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Of course,
9 including that particular part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
11 Q. Thank you. Before we move on to a more detailed analysis of the
12 situation along the border, can you explain to us as laypeople what the
13 border regime means, also what does the border belt mean and what is a
14 border incident?
15 A. First of all, although that was not a question that was put to
16 me, can I first say what the border actually is? The border is a line
17 that cuts across the territory of a country. Also it includes the air
18 above it and the land below it. It separates the territory of one
19 sovereign country from another.
20 As for the border belt, the border belt is part of the territory
21 or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in relation to that border-line
22 that goes in-depth in the territory and that is a belt within which the
23 security organs exercise the rights vested in them by the law and that
24 means exercising control over the situation at the border.
25 Q. The border regime?
1 A. The border regime. That is a set of legal and other regulations
2 setting the rights of citizens in the border belt in relation to border
3 units and make it possible for them to function in the system of securing
4 the state border within the border belt.
5 Q. Thank you. What about a border incident?
6 A. Well, a border incident, that is any violation of the state order
7 which excludes an infringement upon the territorial integrity and
8 sovereignty of a state. That is to say that borders incidents are
9 actions that take place at the border but without infringing upon the
10 sovereignty of the state concerned, that is what a border incident is.
11 Or rather, bringing into question - perhaps that would be a better way of
12 putting it - of the sovereignty of the other state involved.
13 Q. Very well, thank you. A special part of your testimony is going
14 to pertain to the border belt. You told us what the border belt is, and
15 could you also tell us now according to law how big is the border belt
16 and how is it defined?
17 A. Well, you see, the law on crossing the state border and moving
18 within the border belt stipulates that the border belt runs along the
19 state border of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 100 metres from that
20 particular line. And if necessary, it can go even further in-depth, so
21 basically it is 100 metres but it can be even bigger. So that is the
22 belt that makes it possible for the organs in charge to exercise their
23 duty along the state border.
24 Q. Tell us, when you say 100 metres, does that mean that at each and
25 every point at the border that is 100 metres from the border there is a
1 marking of the border belt, and how is it marked? In metres or how do
2 you do it?
3 A. The border belt is not marked in terms of metres. There are sign
4 posts at roads in the area that say, Attention, border belt. So persons
5 entering the border belt have to have the right kind of documents for
6 entering the border belt.
7 Now, the border belt is only marked on different landmarks and
8 that's how it's defined. So it's not only 100 metres away from the
9 border, no. It depends on the terrain itself. So whoever gets that
10 decision that has to do with the state border and that is published in
11 the Official Gazette of the state, everyone can see where this border
12 belt actually is.
13 Q. Thank you, however, I'd like to check whether I'm actually
14 understanding what you are saying. If the state border is marked with
15 particular objects on the ground, does that mean that in certain places
16 the border belt can be narrower or wider than those 100 metres, or is 100
17 metres the rule that has to be observed?
18 A. I said that according to law, it was 100 metres in the case of
19 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in relation to the state border, but
20 it also run further in-depth in relation to the state border, only when
21 it would so be proposed by the appropriate state organ or institution.
22 Rather, it would be proposed by a different organ, but then the
23 government would have to pass a decision to that effect, that the border
24 belt is bigger than 100 metres from the state border.
25 So it is only the government that could pass that kind of
1 decision ultimately.
2 Q. Thank you. In relation to the powers of the members of the Army
3 of Yugoslavia, tell me, what authority did they have in the border belt,
4 and what authority did they have outside the border belt?
5 A. Well, you see, the members of the Army of Yugoslavia secure the
6 border in the border belt, that is to say, they served within the border
7 belt outside built-up areas, and also apart from border crossings.
8 This -- these other parts that I referred to just now were under the MUP
9 or rather, other organs that exercised their duties in the area. For
10 example, the customs office. And outside built-up areas and apart from
11 actual border crossings it was the Army of Yugoslavia that exercised its
12 duties. They had the right to stop persons, take their IDs, and even
13 bring them into custody if they did not have appropriate weapons and they
14 could even use fire-arms if it had to do with armed individuals or armed
15 groups that were putting point up resistance.
16 If they were chasing persons in the border area, they had the
17 right to pursue these persons until this activity would be taken over by
18 the Ministry of the Interior. Outside the border belt, the members of
19 the VJ only had the right to intervene if they came across an armed group
20 that fired at them, but not in other cases. They didn't have the right
21 to respond in that way either.
22 Q. Thank you. We'll deal with border belt a bit more when we go
23 through the documentation that I'm going to show you. However, in order
24 to move on, could you tell me briefly what the situation was like between
25 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Albania in the beginning of 1998
1 and during 1998?
2 A. Well, let me tell you, the border towards the Republic of Albania
3 was not only burdened -- or rather, it became burdened as it were in 1998
4 when there was a coup or a revolution in the territory of the Republic of
5 Albania, I don't know what it was called then, that is when all border
6 facilities on the Albanian sides were held by persons unknown. We could
7 see from our border, observers did see this that unknown individuals were
8 taking position of weapons and facilities on the Albanian side, and after
9 that a large number of persons appeared on the border with Yugoslavia but
10 they were moving in the border belt on the Albanian side.
11 Also when our border officials would see armed persons moving
12 about in civilian clothes but with heavy weapons when you see that they
13 did not have say hunting guns or something like that, this was something
14 that was experienced as a burden as it were.
15 Q. Could you please speak slower.
16 A. I will do my best. I get carried away.
17 Q. Tell me, what problems did you have mostly linked to the border
18 with the Republic of Albania, and what were the border incidents which
19 happened mostly? What type of incident?
20 A. Well, allow me, first of all -- well, to answer the question of
21 what these border incidents were, I have to say, first of all, that the
22 border existed, or rather, the border became burdened with this vast
23 quantity of weapons, and at the time a large number of individuals
24 attempted to cross the border illegally, and go to Albania, either
25 individually or in smaller groups.
1 Next there were some individuals, and this was established, had
2 the necessary papers to cross into Albania legally, and then with weapons
3 and military equipment, they attempted to come back across the state
4 border illegally and come back to the territory of the FRY. And next
5 there were registered a large number of cases, I don't know the exact
6 number now, but anyway, many cases where individuals loaded up horses
7 with weapons and military equipment belonging to the FRY, they were
8 caught that way, and some people loaded up some animals and set them free
9 on the territory of Yugoslavia, and usually animals and horses go back to
10 the home they have come from.
11 So the border was being closed down and then there were terrorist
12 actions coming from Albanian territory more and more with this
13 restriction of border crossing, and they used various weapons, mortars,
14 and so on, machine-guns, anti-aircraft cannons, and so on directly from
15 Albanian territory, so the FRY came under threat from Albanian territory
16 and on the other hand, there was open aggression with assistance from
17 Albania's allies and so on, so those were mostly the kind of incidents
18 that took place in 1998 and 1999.
19 Q. Thank you. Now, when we speak of the expansion of the border
20 belt, and I'm referring to 1998, tell us, please, when was the border
21 belt first expanded?
22 A. Well, when at the beginning of 1998 border incidents started
23 happening and when they had serious consequences and needed fire support,
24 the General Staff border service that I headed proposed to the officers
25 in the General Staff and the Chief of the General Staff and the chief of
1 the first administration and through him the Chief of the General Staff
2 of course, that given the situation and given the fact that there were
3 firing incidents along the border belt, that the need arose for expanding
4 the border belt, so that the organs that were positioned along the border
5 with the 100-metre depth should withdraw and prevent themselves from
6 being targets for these groups.
7 So at the time there were mountains in the Pastrik area in
8 general, that in that section, the border belt should be expanded
9 somewhat. The General Staff gave its permission and we prepared a
10 decision put through the Ministry of Defence and put to the government,
11 and the decision was taken, don't hold me it to the exact date, but I
12 think that it came into force in April or mid-April, I'm not sure of the
13 exact date. If I had the decision in front of me, I could see what the
14 exact date of that was. In 1998 of course. I'm referring to 1998.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, let me ask you this: Was it acted upon, as you
16 have described to us thus far, did they pin-point points along the border
18 A. Yes, the border belt was defined on the ground straightaway and
19 even minor roads and paths that entered the border belt would -- there
20 would be a notice warning citizens that they were entering a border belt.
21 And the citizens were informed of the decision taken by the information
22 media and a proclamation stating that a border belt was in existence.
23 And the citizens already knew what their rights and duties were with
24 respect to movement around the border belt.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] May we now have Defence Exhibit
2 D006-1273 called up, please. Thank you. And with the Trial Chamber's
3 permission, could the witness be handed the binder with the documents
4 that we shall be dealing with during this session. Thank you.
5 Q. Now, Colonel, you will find the document under number 1, and it
6 is dated the 17th of April, 1998. It is the Pristina Corps Command to
7 the security administration of the Army of Yugoslavia, the security
8 department, and it reads as follows:
9 "On the 16th of April, 1998, at 0145 hours, a group of terrorists
10 (an estimated 50 to 60 men) in the Morina border post sector, near C-7,
11 crossed from the territory of the Republic of Albania into the territory
12 of the FRY with 12 horses loaded up with weapons and military equipment.
13 A state border security organ opened fire, dispersing the group of
14 terrorists. The terrorists returned fire during the pullout and at the
15 same time fire was opened on our state border security organ from the
16 territory of the Republic of Albania."
17 First of all, may we have your comments. Is that an example of
18 the sort of incidents that took place along the border belt in 1998, that
19 is to say between -- the border between Albania and Yugoslavia?
20 A. This is unfortunately only one such incident that took place
21 along the state border with -- the border with the Republic of Albania
22 facing Kosovo and Metohija. There were many more such incidents which
23 were far more serious than this particular one, and of course, there were
24 some minor incidents as well, but we are dealing with the beginning of
25 1998 or rather the first half of 1998 when there were extensive border
1 incidents along the borders between Albania and Yugoslavia threatening
2 Yugoslavia's security and integrity.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, we see the date there as being the 17th of
4 April. You said that the first time the border belt was extended was
6 A. Sometime during April. It came in to force in mid-April, so this
7 extension of the border belt -- well, this is an indicator telling us
8 that we had to extend the border belt, had to take that measure for the
9 army to be able to exercise its right under the law to protect and
10 safe-guard the countries territory and integrity.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, let's just be very precise. This extension of
12 the border belt from April 1998, what part of the border of the Federal
13 Republic of Yugoslavia did it refer to?
14 A. The April border belt expansion related to the entire stretch of
15 the border with Albania, from the Bojana River estuary into the sea with
16 a point that was not precisely established at the time but anyway was
17 bordering on the Republic of Macedonia.
18 Q. Thank you. Would you focus on the last sentence in that
19 paragraph where it says:
20 "The superior command was immediately informed. A report was
21 sent to LMK-4 local mixed commission, and requests were made for
22 announcement of a border incident, a meeting with LMK-4 and joint on-site
24 What does this LMK-4 mean in actual fact?
25 A. Well, let me explain. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
1 vis-à-vis neighbouring countries had signed an international agreement on
2 state borders, that's what it was called, and it regulated many issues,
3 many questions related to the border. So it was on the basis of this
4 international agreement that mixed commissions were set up at the level
5 of states to deal with violations of the border regime and border
6 incidents as a more severe form of that. And also other questions linked
7 to the state border.
8 Now, in addition to this main mixed commission, or let me say
9 that the main mixed commission did not come under the authority of the
10 state -- state organs appointed by the government, but in addition to
11 these mixed commissions, there were local commissions too and they
12 covered part of the territory, or rather, adapted to individual sectors
13 and entrances to Albania. So along the border with Albania there were
14 five sector commissions, one of which was along the coast dealing with
15 questions of the sea. The third was in Potkovica, the fourth was in
16 Djakovica and Prizren. And every local commission, the leaders and
17 officials of which were from the Ministry of the Interior and from the
18 border units that provided security for that belt usually there was a
19 commander of the border battalion, and their task was when any untoward
20 event occurred along the border with Albania, that they should issue a
21 warning to the Albanian side and ask them to make an on-site
22 investigation and established facts to try and establish what had
23 happened, what kind of border incident had taken place. And if not, then
24 they could leave the task to the international mixed commission to do the
1 Q. Thank you, now, for the transcript, the main mixed commission,
2 where did that come, under whose authority was that?
3 A. The main mixed commission was under the state organs.
4 Q. Thank you. I think that's what you said but it was wrongly
6 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Anyway, now let's turn to page 2
7 in both versions, the Serbian and the English, or rather the B/C/S.
8 Q. It says their members of the 53rd Border Battalion did not return
9 fire but warned LMK-4 that fire had been opened on members of the VJ from
10 the the Albanian side and asked that the chairman of the Albanian LMK-4
11 side Mr. Selim Demusi go to the territory of Albania and prevent fire
12 from being opened on members of the VJ from the territory of Albania.
13 Having contacted the attackers Selim Demusi said that he could not
14 control them because they were a gang and asked that the LMK-4 return
15 without completing their mission because as a member of the Albanian
16 LMK-4 side, he could not guarantee the safety of VJ members and the
17 Yugoslav LMK-4 side. May we have a brief comment to what I've just read
19 A. This is a case I'm particularly familiar with. It was one of the
20 rare times when the Albanian side agreed to go out with a local
21 commission to carry out an on-site investigation of the territory where
22 the border incident had occurred. This was a very rare occasion. They
23 went on site while both sides did. The Joint Commission made up of
24 representatives of both sides, and at that point the organs providing
25 security for the state borders provided security on that occasion. So as
1 to secure the people and ensure their safety, the people conducting the
2 on-site investigation from -- at that point they were opened fire on from
3 the Albanian side, and our member of the mixed commission intervened and
4 asked the Albanian representative to calm the situation down, and he did
5 indeed go to the territory of Albania where this had happened. He came
6 back sometime later and said what he said, that they were terrorists
7 bands or gangs or whatever, moving around the border belt area. So that
8 is the substance of this particular incident, and I could add some
9 things, perhaps I could do so now.
10 Q. How would you assess the co-operation between the state organs
11 and organs in general who were supposed to take part on the Albanian side
12 in these Joint Commissions dealing with these issues?
13 A. Well, here is my assessment. I'd like to make an observation and
14 that will indicate to you what kind of co-operation that was. Well, the
15 Albanian side, the mixed commission sat every year, met every year, once
16 on the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the next time
17 on Albanian territory. The last such session that was held of this mixed
18 commission, took place on the territory of the FRY. And that was in
19 1996. I think it was held in Potkovica, and ever since that meeting was
20 held, there were no other meetings because the Albanian side was supposed
21 to host the following meeting and they did not wish do so. They did not
22 wish to implement the agreement that we had whereby annual meeting would
23 be held. They did not schedule any such meeting and the initiative taken
24 from -- by the General Staff through the foreign ministry to offer the
25 Albanian side, or rather, for the FRY to host a new meeting to resolve
1 the incidents, there was that kind of proposal because the incidents had
2 become more and more prevalent. Minor ones and more serious ones.
3 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to tender this document
4 into evidence now, please.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
6 THE REGISTRAR: It will be received as Exhibit D00571. Thank
7 you, Your Honours.
8 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. May we have D006-1358,
9 a Defence document to be called up next, please. It is document number 2
10 in your set, Witness.
11 Q. As we can see, we have the 53rd Border Battalion command and an
12 assessment of endangered areas and, or rather, axes and the estimate of
13 forces required for full heightened security, and in point 1 it lists the
14 most endangered axes from 1 to 11. I won't go into that in detail, but
15 anyway, on the last page which is page D006-1360 in the B/C/S version and
16 D006-1363 for the English. It says in the last sentence there:
17 "At present for providing security along the line we have 540
18 soldiers and 68 officers which means that we're lacking 960 soldiers and
19 62 officers."
20 Now, linked to what I have just read out, the most threatened
21 axes and the number of officers and soldiers needed and lacking along
22 those axes.
23 A. Could I please go back a bit, particularly in relation to this
24 document. When it became obvious that after the first -- the border belt
25 was extended for the first time, the situation became even more serious.
1 As soon as -- there were a large number of incidents that were actually
2 discovered. So the professional service of the Army of Yugoslavia asked
3 for an assessment to be made of threats to the border belt. I see here
4 that it was the Pristina Corps that asked the 53rd Border Battalion to
5 carry this out. They were located in Djakovica. They were asked to see
6 where the threats were along which axis. And it was the 57th in Urosevac
7 that also received such orders. They were supposed to see which axes and
8 which roads were threatened and the question was whether we really had
9 sufficient forces to deal with the situation. It wasn't only lighter
10 violation, but very serious violations that were at hand, seriously
11 violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country. On
12 the basis is of these documents, thought was given how to prevent these
13 terrorist incursions from the territory of the Republic of Albania.
14 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'd like to have this
15 document admitted into evidence, please.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
17 THE REGISTRAR: It will be admitted as Exhibit Number D00572.
18 Thank you, Your Honours.
19 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] In relation to what you said when
20 you finished answering the last question, could we please have document
21 D320 on our screens now. It's number 3 in your binder.
22 Q. It's a letter. A piece of information of the Chief of General
23 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia dated the 16th of July, 1998. He is
24 sending it to the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs Mr. General
25 Jovanovic who was federal minister at the time. And it says here, "In
1 order to launch a diplomatic initiative in international organizations
2 and institutions, the OSCE and the United Nations in particular, we are
3 hereby forwarding to you a report on the involvement of the Republic of
4 Albania in events in Kosovo and Metohija, a list of border incidents that
5 occurred on the border with the Republic of Albania between the 1st of
6 January 1998 and --"
7 JUDGE PARKER: The poor lady interpreting needed to catch a
9 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise to the interpreters.
10 We are trying to catch up in terms of time because we seem to be lagging
11 behind this week, but of course we don't want to do it at the expense of
12 the interpreters, so I will slow down.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Could I point out that we do have the document,
14 you do not need to read large parts of it aloud. That could save time.
15 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] I take that into account, Your
16 Honour. This is where the part that I wanted to read out actually ends.
17 Q. Colonel, you heard what I read out to you, and could we please
18 have a brief comment from you?
19 A. This was a regular thing that the General Staff of the Army of
20 Yugoslavia or rather, the first administration and the department -- the
21 border department inform the appropriate organs about the situation at
22 the state border, not only in Kosovo, but in relation to all states that
23 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had a border with. However, this
24 indicates a serious violation that borders on aggression, if you will, in
25 view of their characteristics. All of these were armed provocations or
1 attempted incursions by armed groups bringing in large quantities of
2 military equipment as well. This was rightly interpreted as a type of
3 aggression against the state without a declaration of war. I looked at
4 this survey, I happened to see it now -- I saw it a long time ago but --
5 Q. Colonel, we'll get to that, but let's do things in the right
7 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] First of all, I would like to have
8 page 5 called up, please, in English and in B/C/S.
9 Q. You see this is a survey of border incidents along the border
10 with the Republic of Albania between the 1st of January, 1998 and the
11 30th of June, 1998. I don't want to dwell on it any longer, but I did
12 notice something. If one were to analyse this survey you would see that
13 up until mid-April there were 14 violations from the 1st of January until
14 the 15th of April and from the 15th of April until the 30th of June, so
15 it's the same period of time, there were 46 incidents. Can you give us
16 your comment on this? You spoke about the extension of the border belt.
17 Does that have anything do with that, and if so, what is it exactly?
18 A. Well, when we extended -- no, not extended, that would not be the
19 right term to use. It is people who are not very knowledgeable about
20 borders that use that term. It was actually establishing the border belt
21 that went beyond 100 metres. And it's the federal government that
22 decides on that. When we were to establish the border belt we had to
23 deal with these different violations coming from the Republic of Albania.
24 When we went further in-depth in term of our own territory, then more
25 organs could be engaged in the area of their activity. They could deal
1 with inaccessible areas, areas that are not accessible even on horseback,
2 only on foot.
3 Then there was an increase in captured -- in the number of
4 captured individuals carrying equipment, et cetera, on the border. When
5 groups were discovered in that area, then this -- that had a reflection
6 on the number of groups coming from the Republic of Albania.
7 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Page 13 in B/C/S please now. I
8 don't think that this page does not exist in the English version. We did
9 send it to the translation service to have that page translated and the
10 next one. I'm going to deal with this page very briefly.
11 Q. It is a list of weapons that were seized. What we see on our
12 screens now is page 9, and I had asked for page 13. Or rather, it's the
13 next page, the one after this one, the one after this one is the one that
14 I'm talking about. So that is a list of seized weapons and other
15 military equipment on the border with the Republic of Albania between the
16 1st of January and the 8th of June, 1998.
17 Colonel, very briefly, a comment on this table. I would be
18 interested in more -- I would be interested in heavy weaponry, we see
19 that there are small arms here as well.
20 A. Let me say straightaway that you don't have to be a military
21 expert to draw the right conclusion on the basis of this list of seized
22 weapons. You can see that the quantity of weapons recorded here is
23 sufficient to arm two battalion strength units at least. So this is
24 military equipment and weaponry for combat activities. It is obvious
25 that this is intended to arm units that are supposed to engage in combat,
1 if you look at everything that is listed here, so these are stronger
2 manoeuvring forces for activity in the area of Kosovo.
3 Q. Four -- three recoilless guns, right?
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the witness.
5 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Number 16, or rather, 16 mortars.
6 A. Yes, 16 mortars. So these would be sufficient for two
7 battalions. Only in terms of mortars, and look at how many hand-held
8 rocket-launchers, 927, that's the number here. It shows that the
9 intention of those who carry these weapons was the establishment of
10 groups for destroying facilities not only in the border belt but probably
11 throughout the territory of Kosovo and perhaps even beyond that.
12 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation]. Thank you. Now I'm going to like
13 to ask for D006-1261.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Are you -- [Microphone not activated]
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Judge Parker, please.
16 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, D320 was the document
17 we saw previously.
18 Q. Colonel, the Official Gazette of the Federal Republic of
19 Yugoslavia dated the 21st of July, 1998, and the decision of establishing
20 the border belt adjacent to sections of the state border of the Federal
21 Republic of Yugoslavia. So this is what you've been insisting upon,
22 establishing the border belt, not extending it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you tell us the basis of this decision, for which sections
25 was the border belt established, how was it done? Could you please
1 answer that first and then we'll look into the reasons.
2 A. The decision on establishing the border belt or rather this
3 decision pertains to the state border towards the Republic of Albania.
4 Let me put it this way, from the mouth of the Bojana River up to the
5 tri-lateral border with the Republic of Albania -- of -- that hadn't been
6 regulated yet.
7 Q. Towards the Republic of Macedonia, that's what it also says, so
8 does it pertain towards -- to the border towards the Republic of
9 Macedonia as well? Number 2 on the right.
10 A. I don't see that.
11 Q. On that a same page that you are looking at, on the right-hand
12 side, it says the border belt is being extended and then it says --
13 A. Yes, yes, yes, but it's the first part that I've been speaking
14 of. I thought you asked me about that. If you are referring to the
15 entire area, so it is from the mouth of the Bojana River to the
16 tri-lateral border with Macedonia that hadn't been established yet, and
17 then Macedonia from the tri-lateral border with Albania all the way to
18 the border with Bulgaria.
19 Q. Thank you. In relation to what you said to us about April, that
20 was the establishment of the border belt facing the Republic of Albania,
21 now we are talking about establishing the border belt facing the Republic
22 of Macedonia. What is the reason for that decision?
23 A. I'll tell you. Again I have to go back a bit. When the border
24 belt was extended the previous time, the deployment of forces on the
25 border belt for securing the state border was far more favourable and
1 more concealed so they could apply different tactics in the system of
2 securing the state border which made it possible for them to capture many
3 illegal border crossers and to capture large quantities of equipment.
4 It also made it possible for us to further strengthen the forces
5 engaged in securing the state border precisely because it was realised
6 that this was a major threat. If I can call them that, these terrorists
7 forces from the Republic of Albania realised that that was the case and
8 then they changed their methodology.
9 Equipment was taken from Albania to Macedonia and then from
10 Macedonia across Mount Sara [phoen] and Gora into the territory of the
11 Federal Republic of Macedonia. That's where we first captured those
12 horses on the Macedonian border with guides. Large quantities were
13 involved. They tried to smuggle in large quantities of equipment, so
14 obviously this involved a change of tactics in order to make it easier
15 for them to bring military equipment from Albania into Kosovo and
17 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, I'd like
18 to tender this.
19 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
20 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit Number D00573. Thank you, Your
22 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. While this document is still on our screens, Colonel, how was the
24 border belt established, in which way?
25 A. Like all others it relate -- it was set by a decision regarding
1 the actual situation on the ground, the landmarks on the ground. 400,
2 500, 700 metres, some were even 1.000. It's not like I read in the media
3 where various individuals said it would only be 500 metres and that would
4 be it. We wanted to cover different roads leading into villages so that
5 people could communicate normally between and among various villages and
6 towns that were their homes.
7 Q. Thank you. Just a moment, please.
8 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] D168.
9 Q. Colonel, this is the first special session of the collegium on
10 the 14th of December.
11 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to have page 18 in B/C/S
12 and page 22 in English. We will deal with this document very briefly.
13 Q. We see what Major-General --
14 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] No, this is page 17 in B/C/S and I
15 would like to have page 18, please. Yes, that's the page in B/C/S.
16 Q. Major-General Spaso Smiljanic is speaking here and he is saying:
17 "General, sir, on the basis of an order issued by the Chief of
18 the General Staff on the 16th of November, 1998, the 3rd Army Command on
19 the basis of an order of the Chief of General Staff, set up an expert
20 team which inspected the security system and the functioning of the
21 security system on the state border with Albania."
22 My question for you is: What expert team is this? What is it
23 that General Spaso Smiljanic is talking about?
24 A. In order to make things clear to all, I have to go back a bit.
25 After the border was established more in-depth in April, there were
1 masses of individuals who were trying to cross the border illegally that
2 were captured, individuals and groups. When we saw that in that part of
3 the border it was more difficult to get into the territory. There were
4 situations when various forces from the territory from Kosovo and
5 Metohija tried to fire at security organs in the border belt in order to
6 distract their attention from the border, and in that way make it
7 possible for large quantities of weapons to be smuggled in from Albania.
8 Then the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia took measures. They
9 asked for a further strengthening of forces in securing the state border
10 and further improving the system in order to raise its efficiency to a
11 higher level. And that was done, now, I don't remember exactly on which
12 date. I think it was sometime in the beginning of November when this was
13 discussed by the General Staff. Mr. Momcilo Perisic, General Momcilo
14 Perisic who was Chief of General Staff at the time, he took note of that,
15 but he personally went to Kosovo and Metohija to see what the situation
16 was. I don't know who received him down there, and they reported to him
17 and when he returned from there, or rather, it was while he was still
18 down there that he issued an oral commander to -- oral order to the
19 commander of the Pristina Corps to have the entire security system in the
20 border belt analysed. So this expert team was established on the basis
21 of his order.
22 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. May we have Exhibits
23 D006-1259, Defence document, called up on our screens, please.
24 Q. Colonel, you can look at your screen, it will be simpler for you.
25 Anyway, it refers to the organisation of the security system facing the
1 Republic of Macedonia?
2 A. I don't have it on my screen.
3 Q. It will appear in just a moment.
4 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] May we zoom into the map which we
5 can now see.
6 Q. Are you familiar with this map, and if so, who compiled it and
7 can you explain to us what the yellow line means and the red dots along
9 A. I am familiar with this map. This map existed during
10 preparations for additionally expanding the border belt. The yellow
11 colour denotes the existing border belt. Now, the service in the General
12 Staff in charge of borders --
13 Q. Let's just try and be more precise here, Colonel. The yellow
14 line was the border belt, shows the border belt on the basis of a
15 decision of the 21st of July, 1999, is that it?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. Thank you, please continue.
18 A. Let me just remind you of one point, the security organs were
19 highly efficient but there were quite a lot of victims and attacks
20 carried out along the border in attempts to introduce weapons both
21 through Macedonia and through Albania into the country. So these axes
22 were closed off and additional measures needed to be taken to expand the
23 border belt, or rather, to create the proper conditions for border units
24 to provide security to the country and the border belt.
25 Q. What about the red dots? What do they represent?
1 A. Well, you didn't ask me, I would have answered had you asked me.
2 When my service made a proposal to an organ, it had to submit a detailed
3 proposal substantiated in fact. Now, the red dots here, yes, I can see
4 it now, the red dots are where there was incursion action along the
5 border belt at the various observation posts. And you can see that there
6 was firing from different calibre weapons along these points, along the
7 border belt. That's what these red points show, the firing points,
8 points from which the country was fired at.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] May I tender this document into
11 evidence now, please.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
13 THE REGISTRAR: It's admitted as Exhibit D00574. Thank you, Your
15 JUDGE PARKER: We must have our next break now, and we'll resume
16 at 1.00.
17 [The witness stands down]
18 --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
20 [The witness takes the stand]
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Popovic.
22 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. May we have called up,
23 please, P1343.
24 Q. And, Witness, it should be document number 8 in your set. It is
25 the minutes from the 8th session, document number 7, minutes of the 8th
1 session, of the Supreme Defence Council held on the 25th of December,
2 1998, and on page 1 under item 1, we see that the agenda says:
3 "Discussion of the situation on the state border with the
4 Republic of Albania."
5 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we look at the next page in the
6 Serbian and B/C/S.
7 Q. Colonel, towards the end of that page it says that the border
8 organs of the Army of Yugoslavia in the period from 1st to the 24th of
9 December, 1998, at the Yugoslav Albanian state border, apprehended 676
10 persons crossing the border illegally.
11 A. What page did you say?
12 Q. It's on the second page, the first page is titled "minutes" where
13 it is in fact the documents of the minutes of the Supreme Defence Council
14 session. There you are, on the next page, fine, that's it.
15 It says that they apprehended 676 persons crossing illegally,
16 about 80 sabotage and terrorists groups were stopped which tried to cross
17 into FRY territory in an organised and violent fashion with quantities of
18 weapons and military equipment, and in the following paragraph it says
19 the Albanian side this year committed 122 border incidents or violations,
20 99 of which directly infringed upon the sovereignty of the FRY.
21 May we have your comments to that.
22 A. The regular reports were sent to this body for its sessions, and
23 one of the subjects discussed was the situation along the state border
24 and here we wanted to inform the top leadership about the situation along
25 the border. We wanted them to be held -- kept abreast of the situation
1 so that they could take steps to enforce security along the state
2 borders. Now, the number itself indicates that this was a massive influx
3 and many incidents taking place along the state border without counting
4 other incidents that took place elsewhere.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Now may we take a look at the next
7 document which is Exhibit P1017.
8 Q. It is document number -- well, actually you could look at the
9 screen, and the document will be called up there.
10 This is a report covering two pages mentioned in Major-General
11 Drewienkiewicz's report dated the 23rd of June, 2000. You don't have
12 that document in your binder in actual fact, so please follow it on your
14 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] And may we turn to the next page in
15 B/C/S and in English, please. So the next page. Yes, thank you.
16 Q. Colonel, I'm going to try briefly to focus your attention on what
17 I'm interested in. Background information is under number 1 and it says,
18 Even if the KLA were instantly disbanded and completely disbanded, the
19 lack of law and order in Albania and the lack of proper Albanian border
20 controls -- have you found it?
21 A. Yes, I have now. Thank you.
22 Q. The lack of proper Albanian border controls will force the legal
23 authorities of Kosovo to secure its frontiers. That's the end of that
24 sentence. And another sentence I'd like you to focus on is under item 4
25 and the subtitle is, Boarder Area, and it says as follows:
1 "There are 32 [Realtime translation read in error "3"] boarder
2 posts or observation towers. The towers are not usually manned as the
3 Albanians use them for target practice. FRY patrols rarely patrol along
4 the actual border as they are shot at.
5 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] And for the transcript, the
6 beginning of the sentence reads, "There are 32 border posts, not three.
7 There are 32 border posts is the beginning of that sentence.
8 Q. May we have your comments?
9 A. Well, this was clear even before that date, it was clear to all
10 of us dealing with the security service at the borders, the observation
11 post after the general chaos in Albania when they stormed the barracks,
12 took away weapons and military equipment, the border observation posts
13 never existed anymore, they existed as features, and they were fired at.
14 Q. Thank you. Just slow down for the benefit of the interpreters,
16 A. As I was saying, those facilities, the observation towers ceased
17 to exist not when this was stated, but far before, that is to say in 1997
18 they were no longer manned, and they had been damaged, the glass,
19 protective glass was shattered, precisely because they were targeted from
20 Albanian territory. Because they were in the best possible area giving
21 very good vantage point to the Serb side of the Albanian side.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Now may we have Exhibit D523 next,
24 please. It should be document number 8 in your set.
25 Q. Colonel, it is titled "Assessment of the Intelligence and
1 Security Situation and Danger to the Security of the Federal Republic of
2 Yugoslavia," dated February 1999.
3 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation]I want us to look at page 18 in the
4 B/C/S, which is page 20 -- it's the document you just turned. Page 18 of
5 the B/C/S and page 24 of the English. Page 24. And can we look at
6 section 5, item 2. So page 24 for the English, please. That's the right
7 English page, but for the B/C/S could we have page 18 and not 14, which
8 is on the screen now.
9 Q. At any rate, under item 4 it says:
10 "The state border towards Albania and Macedonia continue to
11 reinforce in-depth security along the state border and to the best of
12 your ability prevent the infiltration of weapons and terrorists into
13 Kosovo and Metohija. Consider the possibility of providing appropriate
14 forces to prevent the forced entry of strong terrorist forces and moving
15 the security line deep into the border belt."
16 A. Yes, this was considered and discussed in case there was a
17 peaceful solution that conditions should -- could allow for normal work
18 and life and security of the border belt. And that the border
19 authorities should be further away from the border line because their
20 presence along the border line itself would not be visible.
21 Now, as to the number of border organs, the situation in Kosovo
22 was considered to be unstable for a long period of time and that it was
23 necessary to have rapid intervention forces, not only to cover the border
24 belt, but generally. Thank you.
25 Q. Yes, thank you, Colonel. Now, the last few documents that we've
1 looked at talk about different incidents and different ways in which
2 problems occurred and the kinds of problems that existed along the border
3 belt between Albania, Macedonia, and the FRY.
4 Now, what steps were taken to prevent incidents of this kind from
6 A. I said something about this previously. The latest incidents
7 that occurred in the area at the time meant that there was firing from a
8 broad area and from Macedonia too on Mount Sara, so that part of the
9 border came under fire and was under threat, and along the whole border
10 belt with Albania. And at that time the General Staff or rather its
11 professional services, once again gave its consideration to these issues
12 and to stepping up efforts to create the necessary conditions for people
13 to be able to live normally in the border belt. So that was their
14 intention, not to suffer losses and to have an efficient service
15 satisfying the security needs of the state border.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Now, can we look at D006-1347 the
18 next Defence document, please. D006-1347 is the number. That's right,
20 Q. It's document number 9 in your set, Colonel. It is dated the 3rd
21 of March, 1999, and it is a report concerning a border incident. Now,
22 without going through the whole document, I'd just like to ask you to
23 focus on what it says tonight at 0015 hours from the territory of the
24 Republic of Albania from the region of their border post at Pogaj a fire
25 was opened targeting -- a fire was opened from artillery weapons.
1 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Nothing has come up on our screens
2 as yet. May I just take a moment to check the number. That's the right
3 document, yes. We see that it goes on to 0045 hours when there was
4 repeated fire from the Albanian side targeting the Gorozup observation
5 post and its crew. So in March 1999, is the situation the same? What
6 was happening along the border?
7 A. Well, let me tell you, in March 1999 there was intensive fire
8 coming in from Albania and here the Yugoslav side tried to inform the
9 Albanian side of the incident through the local mixed commission.
10 However, by this time, the Albanian side did not respond at all. The
11 border still came under fire, and there were a lot of border incidents
12 with serious repercussions, artillery weapons were used to fire at the
13 FRY from Albania, and also terrorist groups infiltrated from Albania or
14 from Kosovo Metohija into the border belt opening fire at the border
15 forces so as to ensure, well, conditionally speaking, free territory for
16 infiltrating manpower and weapons.
17 Q. If I understood you correctly, what you are saying is this: That
18 terrorist groups could storm the border belt from Kosovo and Metohija but
19 also from Macedonia?
20 A. That's right, there were small groups that appeared, and we
21 weren't able to say straightaway whether they were coming in from Kosovo
22 and from Macedonia and whether they infiltrated the border belt from them
23 to open fire at the forces along the border belt which detracted the
24 forces, and this also helped create conditions for groups from Albania,
25 on groups from Albania from infiltrating the country.
1 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to tender this document
2 now, please.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
4 THE REGISTRAR: It will be admitted as Exhibit Number D00575.
5 Thank you, Your Honours.
6 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Now may we have D006-1278 next,
7 please, which is document number 11.
8 Q. And while we are waiting for that document to appear on our
9 screens, let me say that it is a copy of the Official Gazette.
10 Colonel, we have heard all the problems raised before the higher
11 state organs in the course of November, December, and January -- November
12 December 1998 and January 1999, and we see the problems that have
13 occurred on the basis of this report.
14 The Official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on
15 Friday, the 5th of March, 1999, decision on amending the decision
16 defining the border area in certain parts of the state border of the
17 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Does this decision have anything to do
18 with the events that we witnessed before that?
19 A. First of all, let me say that on the basis of -- that this
20 decision -- that there was a profound analysis of the situation and the
21 functioning of the state security border system before this decision was
22 written, not only in this area, but in Montenegro and the area facing
23 Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, and so on. So these border organs at one
24 of their collegium meetings discussed border proposals and came to the
25 conclusion that the security system needed to be improved and that was
1 the opinion of the expert group set up at the request of the General
2 Staff. So we accumulated all this knowledge, gathered all the knowledge,
3 put it down on paper and saw that the border belt needed to be
4 additionally expanded so as to create the necessary conditions to provide
5 proper security for the border and the country to be able to stand up to
6 external aggression. They weren't only incidents by that time, they were
7 actual acts of aggression.
8 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to tender into evidence
9 now -- I'd like to tender this document into evidence.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit Number D00576. Thank you, Your
13 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Now let's
14 look at D574, a Defence document once again. It's the map that we were
15 looking at earlier on.
16 Q. Looking at this map, can you explain to us, and linked to the
17 decision of the 5th of March, 1999 and the establishment of the boarder
18 belt and the amendment to the 21st of July decision, what border belt
19 reflected this March decision? What colour on the map?
20 A. On this map -- well, I can't say which colour but the darker
21 colour anyway. Is it dark pink or is it -- it's not a very clear colour,
22 anyway, the darker area, shaded area, and I'd like to say that this was
23 conditionally speaking an expansion of the border belt, or rather
24 establishing the border belt at a greater depth within the FRY facing
25 Albania and Macedonia. That was the proposal that was submitted to the
1 government, and the government later adopted it. And according to that
2 proposal and decision, the border belt was established in this fashion.
3 Q. Colonel, let's clear one thing up, there were some documents that
4 were mentioned talking about a 5- or 10-kilometre expansion of the border
5 belt. Now, according to the markings here, we see that the depth of the
6 border belt is different at different parts of the border. So what does
7 it mean when we say to establish and fix the border belt? How is that
9 A. Let me say at the outset that fixing the border belt is something
10 that the highest organs of the government carry out at the proposal of a
11 professional body to ensure that the life and work of the people at the
12 border, the soldiers and everybody else, the MUP and the people in the
13 area are secure or can secure the border crossings. This included the
14 customs services, the customs also had their tasks with respect to the
15 border crossings. So it was fixed at a deeper depth.
16 The border belt was never established at a 5- or 10-kilometre
17 depth. It depended on the facilities and features on the ground, and
18 here, if you look at this map carefully, we see that we avoided having
19 larger settlements such as Djakovica, Prizren, and Urosevac thrown
20 outside the border belt because the object was to ensure normal life for
21 the people in that area, in those larger towns. The others had to stay
22 within the belt so that the security organs could perform their duties
24 And I have to repeat and stress once again, the population living
25 within the border belt where they reside, there was no -- there were no
1 obstacles to these people moving around. All they needed was an ID
2 saying that they were from such and such a village if they were stopped
3 and asked by anybody. Whereas anybody else coming from the hinterland
4 into the border belt had to have extra permission for moving around the
5 border belt. That is the substance of this issue.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Now may we have Defence Exhibit
9 Q. And, Colonel, it is document number 10 in your set. Before the
10 document comes up on our screens, tell me this, please, do you know that
11 the observation mission, observer mission during 1998 and 1999, visited
12 the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, that they were there, and if so
13 what was your relationship with them and how did they, in fact, carry out
14 their work of observation?
15 A. Yes, I do know about that and our relations were, for the most
16 part, well, there was nothing untoward or improper. Conditions were good
17 and we didn't have any problems with respect to their stay and work in
18 the border belt. There weren't any special problems. And at some
19 meetings, they even raised that question, they said they were satisfied
20 with the treatment and so on.
21 Q. Thank you. And what was the regime like? What did the members
22 and did the members have to do anything when they entered this border
23 belt, and how were they enabled to go about their duty?
24 A. It was like this: In the border belt, we had some terrible
25 things happening and we've already mentioned some of them today. Now,
1 when it came to the members of the mission, we insisted, the observer
2 mission, we insisted that they had to request and be given permission to
3 move around for the border belt, not for just one day, but for five days,
4 ten day, a month, to have a valid pass and permit to move around the
5 border belt. They had to have this permit so that we could provide
6 security for them in the performance of their duties, and frequently, we
7 were afraid that -- well, we were afraid that they would be fired at and
8 have the border units providing security for the state borders accused of
9 that. So the sole condition was that they had a permit to move around
10 the area, and if they had anything urgent, they could contact the liaison
11 officer allowing them special permits to move around because they might
12 have to visit some observation tower, 20 or 30 kilometres away and not be
13 able to return.
14 So whenever the possibility existed, we would ask them to
15 announce their intentions 24 hours before they needed to go.
16 Q. Thank you. Now let's look at the next document, which is one
17 from the Pristina Corps Command dated the 2nd of March, 1999, and it says
18 there that the representatives of the OSCE expressed their satisfaction
19 with the co-operation they had and the changes in approach to the mission
20 by the organs and units of the Army of Yugoslavia.
21 They pointed out that the problem of access to the border area
22 was resolved and that communication was established between the mission
23 and the liaison officer which guarantees co-operation. They were told
24 that they could submit a seven-day plan of visits that they would then
25 later have to observe, and that they should announce similar visits 24
1 hours in advance. They accepted that, and this will make it possible for
2 us to prepare and organise ourselves better for access to the border
3 area. Could we please have your comment?
4 A. I've already given my comment basically. The essence of this is
5 to truly make it possible for them to be active in the border area as
6 stipulated by the international agreement. So they would submit this
7 plan to the organ who was their host, as it were, in charge of
8 co-operation with them, and then they would make it possible for them to
9 move about so they wouldn't have to make -- wait for this person to come
10 because these people had other things to do as well. For example, the
11 border area, this person cannot sit in his office all the time. He can
12 be moving about. It's a large area after all. That's the point.
13 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, could it please be
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
16 THE REGISTRAR: It's admitted as Exhibit Number D00577. Thank
17 you, Your Honours.
18 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Could you please repeat part of your answer. What was the
20 length -- for the transcript. What was the length of the border with
22 A. No, not with Albania. The length of the border between Albania
23 and Serbia was 332 kilometres and the area of Kosovo and Metohija from
24 Globocica to the tri-lateral border with Macedonia was 127 kilometres.
25 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we please have
1 D006-1355. It's number 12 in your binder.
2 Q. This is the command of the border battalion on the 14th of March.
3 They are submitting this to the Pristina Corps Command, and it says in
4 paragraph 5 in the area of Globocica, three members of the OSCE with a
5 vehicle, et cetera, asked for permission to visit the villages of
6 Gorance, Globocica, Kotlina, Dragomance, and Straza. They were granted
7 permission to visit. So this is the 14th of March. After the border
8 belt was established on the 5th of March, could you please give us your
9 comment how this functioned?
10 A. I cannot see that document here. There is a completely different
11 document under number 10 in my binder but I can say something.
12 Q. It's 12.
13 A. Oh, 12, sorry, I was looking at 10. That's right. Now, this
14 is -- you were asking me about 8.5, yes. It's the area of Globocica.
15 It's the border towards Macedonia. Globocica is actually one of the
16 boarder crossings from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was
17 Macedonia. There were several towards the Macedonian border, but this is
18 the one that is on the extreme west. There was no impediment for them to
19 work. We just wanted to take the necessary measures to prevent accidents
20 of any kind or heaven forbid something even worse. We wouldn't want any
21 representatives of the international community to be killed in the
22 territory of Kosovo and Metohija at that time.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have this admitted
25 into evidence.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
2 THE REGISTRAR: It's admitted as Exhibit Number D00578. Thank
3 you, Your Honours.
4 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now I'd like P1339,
6 Q. You have it under number 13. Colonel, this is the collegium of
7 the Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia on the 18th of May,
8 1999 -- 18th of March rather, 1999. I would like to have page 18 in
9 English and --
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the page in B/C/S.
11 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Colonel --
13 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] It is 15 in B/C/S.
14 Q. Colonel-General Djordje Curcin provides some information here. I
15 don't want to read it to you. It's rather long. At any rate, it is a
16 meeting held at the request of the head of the OSCE delegation, the 15th
17 of March, 1999, and it was held on the premises of the office for
18 liaising with foreign missions, and you were present as well as Colonel
19 Memisevic and representatives of the first administration. Can you tell
20 us what was discussed and who attending this meeting?
21 A. Yes, the meeting was held in Belgrade at the request of Mr. Bo
22 Pelmaz I think his name was, if I'm not mistaken. Bo Pelmaz. This
23 meeting was convened. It so happened that I was sent to attend that
24 meeting. The meeting started and Mr. Bo Pelmaz first asked why the
25 border belt had been expanded and what were the legal regulations that
1 made it possible to do that. Also he asked for permission to move about,
2 or rather, he asked for a document on the basis of which this border belt
3 was expanded. And thirdly, he asked us to give us a map with the broader
4 border belt marked on it. He asked whether that would have any
5 repercussions on the work of the organs of the OSCE. That is to say,
6 whether their work put would have been affected.
7 As I was the professional there who was familiar with the
8 regulations concerned, I responded to his questions saying that the
9 border belt document was adopted in accordance with the law and that such
10 things were done by all countries in the world. Also, I told him as for
11 the decision on the expansion of the border belt, I said to him that we
12 would give him the Official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
13 as an official document that will specify exactly where the border belt
14 is. We also told him that he already had a topographic map. I
15 personally saw that he had it. He had a map on a scale of 1:50.000, and
16 his officers could then mark the border belt on that map.
17 Also we added that they could still have unhindered access to the
18 border plan but it was just their duty to provide a plan of their visit.
19 I would also like to add one more thing that Mr. Pelmaz said there and
20 then, that they would not honour that decision. I was surprised. I
21 didn't know how to react. I'm an official, and I know that the laws and
22 regulations of a country have to be respected. Of course, I informed my
23 superiors in Belgrade when I returned about this, and a decision was made
24 that the organs of the MUP and the military organs in charge of the
25 border and representatives of the foreign ministry should convene and
1 discuss the matter. In order to avoid any repetition, all of this was
2 communicated to the foreign ministry, and they took it upon themselves to
3 inform the appropriate organs in the OSCE about what happened.
4 Q. Thank you. Did anything change in relation to the OSCE before
5 and after the border belt was established on the 5th of March, 1998?
6 A. No, on the contrary, the relations remained the same, and their
7 officials could have unhindered access in the border belt and they could
8 move about freely unimpeded. The only condition was that they announce
9 where they were going and when, but for one sole reason, to make sure
10 that they were provided with the necessary security.
11 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] D006-1267. Could we please have
12 that document called up now.
13 JUDGE PARKER: I am afraid, Mr. Popovic, we'll have to stop you
14 there. I know it's a bit early, but we will continue on Monday. We must
15 adjourn over the weekend now. We continue the evidence on Monday.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.42 p.m.
17 to be reconvened on Monday, the 8th day of
18 February, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.