1 Monday, 8 February 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
6 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic.
8 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Before we start working today,
9 the Defence is very concerned due to certain circumstances. We would
10 like to raise a particular issue, but we would kindly ask the Trial
11 Chamber to allow us to do so before we actually start the work of the
12 day, and could we please do it in private session.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
14 [Private session]
11 Page 10915 redacted. Private session.
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
9 [The witness takes the stand]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Please sit down. The affirmation
11 you made to tell the truth still applies, and Mr. Popovic is finishing
12 his questions.
13 WITNESS: RADE CUCAK [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Examination by Mr. Popovic: [Continued]
16 Q. Good morning, Colonel.
17 A. Good morning.
18 Q. We are going to continue from where we broke off on Friday,
19 however, once again, I'm going to ask you to try to speak as slow as
20 possible or rather, wait for my question and then start answering it.
21 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please be shown D006-1267.
22 Q. Colonel, it is the penultimate document in your binder. This is
23 a document --
24 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Before we look at this document,
25 could we please have a look at D006-1350 actually. I think that it's
1 number 13 in your binder.
2 Q. This is a combat report dated the 30th of March. Right. It is
3 that document. Have you managed to find it, Colonel?
4 A. I'm looking at it here.
5 Q. Look it up under number 14 then.
6 A. No, no, no. It's the protest.
7 Q. Please have a look at the screen on your left-hand side. The
8 command of the 57th Border Battalion on the 30th of March 1999 to the
9 commander of the Pristina Corps number 4 says:
10 "Situation in the territory. On the 29th of March at 1300 hours,
11 we observed a large column of civilian vehicles moving from Kacanik
12 towards the border crossing at Djeneral Jankovic. Some vehicles crossed
13 the state border and some, without appropriate papers, were returned."
14 I would like to hear your brief comment of what I read out to
15 you, Colonel, especially as to whether you received information like this
16 at all and whether your subordinates were duty-bound to convey this kind
17 of information to you.
18 A. Well, commands of border battalions were not duty bound to submit
19 reports because the Ministry of the Interior was not duty-bound to send
20 reports to anyone in the military. So commands of border battalions, if
21 they observed anything, it was their duty to report on that. If they did
22 not, then they did not have the duty to report.
23 This is a particular case. The border post is right next to the
24 border. They probably noted this activity and that's why they acted
25 accordingly. As for allowing vehicles to cross the border, that is also
1 stipulated in the law. Those who have appropriate papers can cross the
2 border and those who don't cannot.
3 Q. Thank you, General.
4 A. Colonel.
5 Q. Yes, Colonel.
6 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Could this document please be
7 admitted into evidence.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit D00579.
10 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could I now please have
12 Q. That's the protest that you saw a few moments ago, Colonel. So
13 you can see on your screen that the date is the 11th of April, 1999
14 Supreme Command staff to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in
15 paragraph 2 it says, "On the 9th of April, 1999 at 4 a.m.
16 launched from the Republic of Albania
17 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from the Morina border post to the Kosare
18 border post along a 10-kilometre front line, on the stretch which is the
19 responsibility of the Djakovica border brigade --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: "Border unit."
21 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Are you aware of this and if so, could you please tell us a bit
24 A. May I say straightaway that I am aware of this incident. It is
25 one of the 20-odd incidents that occurred in the previous period where
1 true aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was an
2 attack towards Pastrik from the Junik mountains. Practically this was a
3 frontal attack with the support of heavy artillery from the territory of
5 through the helicopters that were flying above the territory of Albania
6 It was a typical front aggression.
7 Q. Thank you. In the next paragraph it says:
8 "The attack was carried out by terrorist forces with the support
9 of the armed forces of the Republic of Albania
10 mortars, multiple rocket-launchers and large calibre artillery weapons
11 with direct fire control from NATO helicopter."
12 Do you know anything about that?
13 A. That's exactly what I said a moment ago. It was a frontal attack
14 with support from the territory of Albania
15 directing fire because from their helicopters, they could locate where
16 the artillery action was coming from in the area, so they could manoeuvre
17 with fire against certain parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in
18 order to make it easier for forces on the ground to penetrate the
19 territory, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as much as possible. This
20 is an attempt to penetrate the territory of the FRY or Kosovo and
22 Q. Yes, and in relation to that, paragraph 6 of this document as
23 well, it says:
24 "During the attack, the aggressor managed to enter 300 to 400
25 metres deep into our territory at certain parts of the state border."
1 A. Yes, yes. At first they were successful in certain sections.
2 Why? Because the forces in the border area were not sufficient for
3 covering the entire area. They were deployed only in certain areas so
4 these forces used that in order to penetrate the territory of the Federal
5 Republic of Yugoslavia
6 our forces out of certain areas, certain elevations from which they
7 controlled the entire territory.
8 Q. Thank you. Now that we are on the subject, can you tell us what
9 the effects were of NATO bombing in respect of the units that were
10 subordinated to you, the border area, the border units?
11 A. It can be checked to this day. I'm sorry, again I'm speaking a
12 bit too fast and starting too soon.
13 Q. Please go on.
14 A. To this day you can check what the situation was that I will
15 speak about now. The operations of NATO and the Siptar terrorist forces
16 with the support of Albanian forces created chaos in the area -- border
17 area of Yugoslavia
18 were levelled to the ground. They do not exist to this day. Then border
19 stones, landmarks, except for a few stronger ones, I don't know what the
20 situation is right now because I haven't been there in a long time, so
21 what was there on the basis of the agreement signed in 1958 between the
22 Socialist Republic of Albania and the Republic of Yugoslavia
23 exist. Although both countries took over the documents that were
24 required for succession.
25 So the border no longer exists, the facilities are not there, and
1 that is further proof of the fact that this was pure aggression and an
2 attempt by Albania
3 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I would like to tender
4 this document, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit D00580.
7 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we please have
9 Q. Colonel, you don't have the binder -- you don't have the document
10 in your binder. It's the last document that we will be looking at today.
11 It's a rather voluminous document. This is a book that was published in
13 Kosovo and Metohija in the period from the 1st of January, 1998 until the
14 10th of June, 1999." We see part 2 before us. First of all, tell me,
15 are you familiar with this book? It was published by the Federal
16 Ministry For Foreign Affairs, and if you are familiar with the book, do
17 you know what kind of acts are referred to in this part that we are
18 looking at?
19 A. Yes, I'm familiar with the book. I'm familiar with the fact that
20 it was issued by the foreign ministry. In respect of the border units I
21 studied it in detail and read it in detail because it was my service that
22 provided information about that. It was noteworthy that some border
23 incidents that they thought were minor ones were not included in this
24 book, although they were submitted to the foreign ministry, so the author
25 freely decided which violations or acts of aggression will be taken into
1 account. It is a well-documented book. It contains some terrible
2 things, and from it, you can see what kind of things were happening in
3 the area at the time.
4 Q. Thank you. In this part that is before us, are all these border
5 incidents included, in this particular part, the ones that you talked
7 A. Yes, there is a special chapter, and that chapter deals with
8 those border incidents.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could this document
11 please be admitted into evidence. We didn't want to go through the
12 entire document. A great many incidents are referred to in this
13 document, I'm only interested in this particular part that is before you,
14 not the rest of the book that have nothing to do with border incidents
15 but this one does have to do with border incidents and the ones that the
16 witness spoke of at that.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Behar.
18 MR. BEHAR: Yes, thank you, Your Honours. I certainly have some
19 concerns with respect to the admission of this document, even just the
20 second part is extremely voluminous. The witness has already
21 acknowledged this is material that was put together by another body. In
22 my submission, the standard has not been met for admission of all of this
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber will not receive this volume,
1 Mr. Popovic. It seems that the witness speaks of firsthand of matters
2 affecting his border unit. The rest of this part 2 of the total work
3 deals with matters quite unrelated, and for that reason, the Chamber is
4 not persuaded it ought to receive it.
5 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour. We accept
6 that. The reason why the Defence tendered this document was the fact
7 that the witness told us here that he personally had an opportunity of
8 examining the part that had to do with border incidents and that the
9 service that he headed provided the information about border incidents
10 and that was compiled on that basis.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic, we've ruled on the matter. Move on,
12 please. Thank you.
13 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Q. Colonel, tell me do you know that after the report we saw dated
15 the 11th of April about, as you had put it, the attempted land
16 aggression, or that's what the document says, maybe you didn't quite put
17 it that way. From the territory of the Republic of Albania
18 forces did manage to enter the territory of the FRY. After that were
19 there similar attempts until the end of the state of war?
20 A. Let me say straightaway that in the area of the border, the
21 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia facing Albania
22 pertains to Kosovo, there were acts of aggression and frontal attacks in
23 that period. There were over 20 such attempts. These were true acts of
24 aggression, frontal attacks along 4, 5, or even 20 kilometres.
25 Practically this was defence of the territory from external aggression.
1 During the last days of the war, NATO air force operated
2 increasingly against border units that were involved in the system of
3 protecting the border in-depth and throughout. Land forces acted from
4 the territory of Albania
5 against the border units that were in the border area.
6 Q. Thank you. Colonel, during 1998 or 1999, did you ever hear or
7 see of a plan, or did you see any such plan in the Army of Yugoslavia
8 that would involve the expulsion of the Albania population from Kosovo?
9 A. Let me say straightaway that I've never heard of or seen such a
10 plan and there was no such thing. If there were to be an expulsion, I
11 believe that part of the population would have to go through the border
12 post at the border. Outside border posts we -- or border crossings, we
13 did not allow people to cross the border, and we sent certain individuals
14 if things like that happened to the appropriate authorities. I do
15 apologise, but I caught a bit of a cold yesterday.
16 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
17 further questions of this witness.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Popovic.
19 Mr. Behar.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Behar:
21 Q. Good morning, Colonel. My name is Eliott Behar, I'm counsel for
22 the Prosecution, and I'll have some questions for you this morning.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. Colonel, just some very basic questions to start. If I
25 understand your testimony correctly, any incidents that took place at the
1 border that were identified by the VJ would be notified to organs of the
2 Ministry of the Interior; is that correct?
3 A. No, no, that's not correct. Those border incidents were reported
4 by the army to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that the Ministry of
5 Foreign Affairs within their jurisdiction would be able to take action at
6 a level of the international community and launch protests to the
7 Albanian side because those were not only violations of the state border,
8 but also fire, gun-fire attacks.
9 MR. BEHAR: If we could have up Exhibit D570. So this is your
10 testimony from the Milutinovic case. At page 57, please.
11 Q. We can just look at beginning at line 3, sir, I'll read this to
12 you so it will be translated. You said:
13 "Let me just tell you, for all the border incidents as defined by
14 proper regulations, were always notified to the Ministry of the Interior
15 organs so that the local Joint Command could then report the incident to
16 the Albanian side to go to the site where the incident occurred."
17 It would appear from that, sir, that you in fact directly said
18 that border incidents would be notified to the Ministry of the Interior.
19 A. Let me say straightaway, it was probably a misunderstanding. The
20 main mixed commission was at the level of the state to deal with
21 violations of the border regime. However, there are also local mixed
22 commissions at the level of sectors down there, at the level of
23 battalions, and there were seven of them facing Albania. Two of them in
24 Kosovo and Metohija.
25 The local commanders were duty-bound to report to the local
1 commission any incident so that the Albanian side would be invited to
2 participate in a joint on-site investigation. The local commission had
3 to deal with it. There was a representative of the ministry at the local
4 commission, somebody from the border battalion, and someone from the
5 security forces. Whoever is appointed to the local commission.
6 So local mixed commission are commissions consisted of
7 representatives of various agencies, and the commander of the border
8 battalion would report an incident to the local commission, and the
9 president of that commission would be normally from the local MUP.
10 Whereas at the state level there was a different institution dealing with
11 these problems.
12 Q. So just to cut to the core of my question, Colonel, because I am
13 not sure I followed your answer in that respect, you are saying that your
14 previous statement that the unions of the organs of the Ministry of the
15 Interior were informed is not correct?
16 A. It is correct, but at the local level. Local organs of the
17 Ministry of the Interior. At the local level they had to be informed
18 because somebody from the Ministry of the Interior at the local level was
19 the president of that commission. We did not report to the state level
20 of the Ministry of the Interior. There was even no need because we
21 informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whose job it is to intervene
22 with a different country.
23 Q. I think we have your position on that. Let me deal now
24 specifically with your chain of command. You testified in the
25 Milutinovic case that where any serious events occurred at the border, it
1 would be reported up the chain of command, meaning up your chain of
2 command; is that correct?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. And you stated that where there were serious border incidents,
5 the battalion commander would address reports to the Pristina Corps who
6 would inform the operations centre of the 3rd Army who had informed
7 others along the chain; is that correct as well?
8 MR. BEHAR: Just for my friend I can give the reference as page
9 55 of the transcript.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
11 MR. BEHAR:
12 Q. Given the importance of the events at the border sir, the person
13 in the highest positions in the VJ and the MUP would need to be kept
14 informed of what was happening; correct?
15 A. Yes, yes, and it was established.
16 Q. It was, in fact, the Ministry of the Interior who was responsible
17 for controlling who crossed the border into any neighbouring countries;
18 is that correct, sir?
19 A. Yes, within the belt close to the border posts. That is, in
20 those places where in agreement with a foreign country, a border crossing
21 was opened for the passage of individuals, passengers, and goods.
22 Q. Right. And to cut right to the point, it was the MUP who
23 maintained the border crossings? They ran them?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And the MUP was also responsible for movement within urban areas
1 of the border belt?
2 A. Yes, in a populated area because the army did not have the right
3 to intervene in populated areas until the state of war was proclaimed.
4 Now, once the state of war was proclaimed, then the system of command was
5 effective throughout the territory.
6 Q. Thank you, sir, I'll return to that topic shortly. But just so
7 we are clear, the VJ was in charge of checking movements outside of
8 urban areas within the border belt; correct?
9 A. Yes. And I have to add here that if by any chance terrorists
10 attacked troops of the Army of Yugoslavia from houses or along roads, the
11 units had the right to intervene against such terrorist groups because
12 the law allowed it.
13 Q. In 1998 and 1999, sir, can you tell us how many border stations
14 there were in Kosovo specifically, by that I mean border crossings?
15 A. Not in Kosovo. In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia facing
17 border crossings. From Kosovo to Albania there were two border
18 crossings. One is Vrbnica and the other was Cafa Prusit on the road from
19 Djakovica to Albania
20 Q. And can you identify the border crossings on the Macedonian
22 A. On the Macedonian border, there was a border crossing Globocica
23 and a border crossing Djeneral Jankovic from Kosovo.
24 Q. Was there also a crossing at Cafa Morina, I'm not sure I'm
25 pronouncing that right. Or Bozaj.
1 A. That's the crossing that goes from Djakovica to Albania. It's
2 called Cafa Prusit. Cafa Morina is a mountain pass looking over that
3 area a bit farther away.
4 Q. Sir, you've already spoken in your testimony about the fact that
5 the border belt in the FRY was normally 100 metres wide, and that is, in
6 fact, what was originally prescribed by law in the Law on Crossing of the
7 State Border in Article 2; correct?
8 A. No, you did not understand that correctly. The law envisages
9 that the border belt is 100 metres deep or deeper if so required by the
10 needs of the service. 100 metres but more if necessary.
11 Q. Well, just to break that down, sir, all I was asking you is that
12 normally the law stipulates that the border belt area is a 100-metre
13 strip of territory, and I appreciate that it can be expanded if an order
14 is made in the "Official Gazette," and my question to you at this stage
15 was just that normally pursuant to the law on crossing the state border,
16 a border area was a 100-metre strip?
17 A. Correct, correct.
18 Q. Now, in order to expand the border belt, any expansion would have
19 to be published in the "Official Gazette," correct?
20 A. Any expansion ratified by the government would be notified in the
21 form of a decision to the General Staff, and then the General Staff in
22 keeping with its competences would publish it in the "Official Gazette,"
23 but we in the General Staff would receive the decision directly from the
24 government that the border belt is expanded in a certain stretch. And of
25 course, the "Official Gazette" is also an important document. But the
1 basic document is the decision written by the government and sent to the
2 General Staff.
3 Q. But in order for an expansion of the border belt to take effect
4 it would lawfully need to be published in the "Official Gazette,"
6 A. Yes, the population needed to be made aware of it. The
7 authorities would inform the population in the area that the border belt
8 was expanded so that the population would have a reasonable period of
9 time to deal with certain issues that the law made it incumbent upon them
10 to deal with.
11 Q. Sir, you've been clear in your testimony that the border belt was
12 expanded on the 23rd of April, 1998, correct? It was widened towards
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. But that decision to expand the border belt was never, in fact,
16 published in the "Official Gazette" as required, was it?
17 A. Well, you know, I don't know if it was published or not. I know
18 that the General Staff had that decision to expanded the border belt, and
19 it was signed by the then prime minister of the Federal Republic
21 MR. BEHAR: If we could see Exhibit D570 again, please. At page
23 Q. If I could just take to you line 22, sir, and I'll read it to you
24 again so you can receive the interpretation. You were asked:
25 "So was the decision of the 23rd of April, 1998 published?"
1 You responded: "Yes, published in the "Official Gazette."" For
2 any decision to take effect, it must be published in the "Official
3 Gazette." And you went on to describe the nature of the Gazette.
4 So that was your position, was it not, sir, perhaps that
5 refreshes your memory when you testified in the Milutinovic case?
6 A. Well, let me tell you, that's my position still today, but I know
7 that we received that decision at the time and it still exists somewhere
8 in the safekeeping of the General Staff in the archives. On the 23rd of
9 April, the border belt was expanded in keeping with that decision.
10 Therefore, I had that decision and all the authorities, all the agencies
11 involved in the system of security had copies of that decision delivered
12 down to the lowest level in the chain, including the commander of the
13 border post.
14 Q. I am not disputing, sir, that you were told that the border belt
15 had been expanded. I'm just concerned with whether an entry was
16 published in the "Official Gazette." I put to you that there was, in
17 fact, no entry published in the "Official Gazette" for that border
19 A. Let me tell you straightaway, I did not receive the "Official
20 Gazette" as such. I received the decision of the government to expand
21 the border belt, and that decision is still in existence somewhere today
22 at the General Staff. It must be available. And pursuant to that
23 decision, the border authorities existed and expanded the border belt in
24 order to ensure the continuing functioning of the system of security of
25 the state border. Whether it was published in the "Official Gazette,"
1 I'm not sure. I suppose it must have been.
2 MR. BEHAR: If we could have 65 ter number 06035 up on the
3 screen, please. I can just indicate, Your Honours, this document has not
4 been translated into English yet. We did request a rush translation. It
5 does exist in the original B/C/S. The parts that I'm intending to use
6 today have, in fact, been translated, but we are awaiting a translation
7 of the rest of the document. I trust that should be sufficient for the
8 time being.
9 If we could look at page 14 in the B/C/S and page 1 in the
11 Q. This is General Perisic speaking, it's the third paragraph from
12 the top, sir. And he states -- I can indicate just by way of background,
13 these are the VJ collegium minutes from the 17th of July, 1998. The
14 general states:
15 "None of you mentioned this, but for today it is necessary to
16 send the request to the federal government to widen the border belt
17 towards Macedonia
18 from 2.5 to 5 kilometres up to the entrance --"
19 THE INTERPRETER: Would you read more slowly, please.
20 MR. BEHAR:
21 Q. Just backtrack, sir.
22 "It has already been widened towards Albania from 2.5 to 5
23 kilometres up to the entrance to the water parting in Srevesko."
24 And just underneath that, General Smiljanic states:
25 "The problem is that the federal government has already approved
1 the widening of the border belt, but it wasn't published in the "Official
2 Gazette" or the organs of the state, and" -- and I also draw your
3 attention to this part, sir -- "it is only us who are using the said area
4 for the operational use of the troops, whereas the others are not taking
5 any measures and are not functioning there in that sense."
6 So it would appear quite clear from this document, sir, that no
7 expansions of the border belt prior to July of 1998 had been published in
8 the "Official Gazette" as required; is that correct?
9 A. Well, according to this they were not published in the "Official
10 Gazette," but it was enough for me as chief of the service for the state
11 border that I received the government's decision according to which this
12 existed. About this, you should ask Smiljanic and Perisic, because they
13 know best what they discussed. The decision to widen the border belt
14 arrived at the first administration of the General Staff and was made
15 available to the border service which in turn distributed it down the
16 chain to the battalions, the brigades, battalions, and the battalions
17 made it available to border posts.
18 Q. I think I appreciate your position, sir. And just to be clear on
19 one further point, I note in that document General Perisic states that
20 the border belt has already been widened towards Albania from 2.5
21 kilometres to 5 kilometres, and I would draw your attention to the number
22 2.5, since we know that the border belt -- I see my friend is on his
24 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Behar. You may finish and then --
25 MR. BEHAR:
1 Q. Very well, what I was going to ask you, sir, is that because he's
2 referring to the number 2.5 kilometres and we know the border belt
3 started at 100 metres, does that mean that there was at least one other
4 border expansion prior to the 23rd of April? Am I understanding that
6 A. In 1981 was the last event of widening the state border belt, and
7 the next one was the one in April. In the period before that we did not
8 need to widen the border belt because in that period the state border was
9 not burdened with serious incidents. When serious incidents started
10 occurring, and when there was a danger that we would lose a lot of men in
11 terrorists actions, it was our duty to take the appropriate steps to
12 provide the proper conditions for our security forces to do their job and
13 protect the territory. And that's one of the reasons why the border belt
14 is widened. Or rather, it's not widened, but the length of this belt is
15 stretched further away from the border and that was done on the
16 tri-partite border with Macedonia
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic.
18 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, the thing
19 is that the question was asked, and it's not to the prejudice of the
20 Prosecutor, the interpretation into English was wrong, and that's why the
21 question asked to the witness was also wrong. What we see on the record
22 is that the widening was from 2.5 to 5 kilometres. That's the
23 translation. The translation is wrong. So the question does not
24 correspond to what was said at the collegium and what is written in the
25 Serbian language. I wanted to tell you this. Because in the question
1 there is a reference to 2 and 5 kilometres, and we know the border belt
2 started at 100 metres.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE PARKER: It seems to me that it may be helpful, Mr. Behar,
5 if the witness were to read the last paragraph before the heading
6 "Major-General Smiljanic." That seems to be the paragraph that is the
7 subject of some misunderstanding or confusion.
8 MR. BEHAR: I think that may be the best way to proceed.
9 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Mr. President, what is
10 on the record has nothing to do with what I said in explanation of why
11 this question should not have been asked in this way. This last sentence
12 in the transcript are words that I did not utter. What I was trying to
13 say and to explain to you is that in Serbian, from 2.5 to 5 kilometres,
14 that's in the Serbian translation. The question was asked in a different
15 way because your English translation on the other side of the screen does
16 not correspond because it says 2.5 to 5 kilometres, which is a completely
17 different translation. In English it says from 2.5 to 5 and in Serbian
18 it starting with 2.5 to 5.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Carry on, Mr. Behar.
20 MR. BEHAR:
21 Q. I think perhaps we'll just move on from the point, sir. We can
22 certainly have the translation reviewed, but I think we have the evidence
23 in that regard in any event.
24 JUDGE PARKER: The point is left in the air. The issue is
25 whether there was one expansion of the belt perhaps in July 1998. That
1 expansion being variously between 2.5 and 5 kilometres, or as I think you
2 put to the witness, there were two expansions of the border belt, one of
3 2.5 kilometres and then later an expansion to 5 kilometres. Now, if
4 that's going to be material, we ought to clarify it. If not, move on and
5 deal with something that is material.
6 MR. BEHAR: Thank you for the guidance, Your Honour.
7 Q. Sir, let's try and clarify that, if we can then. First of all,
8 and perhaps to ask you in the most direct way, was there an expansion of
9 the border prior to the 23rd of April, 1998?
10 A. Before the 23rd of April, 1998. Before, I underline. There was
11 a widening, if I remember, because this was a long time ago, in 1981 that
12 was a widening decided about the border of the Socialist Republic
14 successor of all the agreements and covenants that were valid for the
15 Socialist Federal Republic
16 that expansion, I was not yet in the border service.
17 Q. And is that the time, or was there another time when the border
18 belt was widened to a length of 2.5 kilometres?
19 A. It was never widened to 2.5 kilometres. The border belt could
20 have been determined according to installations and points on the ground,
21 but it was established according to installations and features, it went
22 from 500 metres on the Bojana River
23 kilometres. But the line followed features on the ground. Where threats
24 to the border were greater, the border belt was deeper. In difficult
25 forbidding areas it could have been deeper, and when the layout of the
1 ground was less difficult, it was narrower.
2 Q. So it may be that I've misunderstood, sir, but is it possible
3 what is being said here is that the border belt was widened to a maximum
4 depth of 5 kilometres, but that it varied between 2.5 kilometres and 5
5 kilometres as a result of that expansion? If you can follow that.
6 A. Did the border belt vary, is that what you mean? Not the border,
7 the border is established by the law, it is permanent, and it moves along
8 permanent features, and it is established on the basis of an agreement
9 between two countries, whereas the border belt is something that every
10 country has on its own territory, and it's part of the territory on the
11 country on which the border belt is, so this border belt that was on the
12 territory, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a border belt of the
13 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, that is the territory of Federal
14 of Yugoslavia
15 operate. Or rather, they carry out their services and they have full
16 authority there in accordance with the law. Outside the border belt
17 except on one particular occasion if they are pursuing a sabotage group,
18 the border organs did not have the right to move outside the border belt
19 to operate.
20 Q. I understand that aspect of your evidence, sir, all I'm saying is
21 is it perhaps, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but is it perhaps
22 that on the 23rd of April, 1998, the border belt was widened at that time
23 to a distance between 2.5 kilometres and 5 kilometres, depending where on
24 the border belt you were?
25 A. It was widened from 500 metres at the Bojana river up to 5
1 kilometres conditionally speaking because I did not measure it because it
2 actually followed features on the ground. So no one can say it is 5
3 kilometre. It is perhaps 5 kilometres and 100 metres somewhere. I don't
4 know exactly how big its depth is, I did not deal with that, but I drew
5 the line following features on the ground. So that is the core of the
6 matter. It is not a question of metres. It depends on the features on
7 the ground and from the state border it can somewhere be 200, 500, 1.000,
8 1.200 metres, et cetera, but it certainly did not go beyond 5.000 metres
9 as far as this expansion is concerned. There were other expansions later
10 that made the border belt deeper.
11 Q. I'll take you through those in a moment, sir. At the end of this
12 discussion in the collegium, it was General Perisic who took the decision
13 to send a request to the FRY to extend the border zone towards Albania
14 and Macedonia
15 A. I didn't understand you.
16 Q. Let me put the question again. The document that I had shown
17 you, which was from July of 1998, it was a discussion at the VJ
18 collegium, and my question to you was, it was in fact General Perisic who
19 took the decision at that time to send a request to the FRY to extend the
20 border zone towards Albania
21 A. Well, now I have understood you because previously you referred
22 to the Federal Republic of Kosovo, so that's why I said I didn't
23 understand what you were saying. Please, the professional services of
24 the General Staff that was entrusted to me personally, monitored the
25 situation at the state border, and in accordance with the situation
1 proposed certain measures to the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia.
2 Or rather, I was within the first administration of the General Staff
3 that's the operations administration, and we proposed measures that would
4 make it possible for the system to function more successfully.
5 So every proposal that was sent in relation to the border, or any
6 organisational changes in the functioning of the system, started from my
7 service within the first administration and then went to the General
8 Staff because it's the General Staff, or rather, the chief of the first
9 administration had to first give his consent because my service was
10 subordinated to him.
11 So everything that went to the General Staff and was discussed by
12 the General Staff had started from the first administration in order to
13 promote the better functioning of the system of securing the state
15 Q. Thank you, sir. And this led to the expansion, the border belt
16 expansion of the 21st of July, 1998 that you already told us about;
18 A. Well, you see, everything that happened in the territory of
19 Kosovo and Metohija within the border area in Kosovo and Metohija facing,
20 or rather, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia facing Albania
21 occurrences on the border with Macedonia
22 expansion that was declared by the federal government that was
23 established and later on the border units, or rather the border organs of
24 the Army of Yugoslavia subsequently functioned on that basis.
25 Q. Yes, thank you, sir. And then on the 5th of March of 1999, the
1 border belt was expanded again, this time from 5 kilometres to 10
2 kilometres; correct?
3 A. Again, I have to say conditionally speaking from 5 to 10. It
4 became deeper, or rather, bigger than the previous belt. But in my
5 previous remarks, I said that the border was pregnant with dangerous
6 developments. There were many acts of aggression against the Federal
7 Republic of Yugoslavia
8 Q. Sir, we can certainly get into that, but just for now I'm trying
9 to be as specific as I can. It was at that time, the 5th of March, 1999
10 that the border belt was expanded to a maximum allowable size of 10
11 kilometres; correct? Just focusing on that very specific question.
12 A. Very well. I will give you specific answers but, again, I'm
13 saying it's not 10 kilometres. It depended on features on the ground.
14 At certain points it was indeed 10 kilometres but then elsewhere say it
15 was 500 metres, so it had to do with the entire border facing Albania
17 the border facing Macedonia
18 when looking at the border was up to 10 kilometres wide, somewhere it was
19 narrower and in other places it was that wide.
20 Q. Thank you, sir. I'd like to turn to a somewhat different but
21 related topic now, sir, and that concerns your compliance with the OSCE
22 and the Kosovo Verification Mission
23 MR. BEHAR: I apologise, Your Honours, but I realise I intended
24 to tender that document.
25 JUDGE PARKER: It will be marked for identification pending
2 MR. BEHAR: Thank you very much.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will P01526 marked for
5 MR. BEHAR:
6 Q. I'll put the question to you again, sir. I wanted to ask you
7 about your compliance with the OSCE and the Kosovo Verification Mission.
8 Now, the purpose of Kosovo Verification Mission or KVM was to verify that
9 certain terms were being complied with; correct?
10 A. As far as I know. That was not my line of work. As far as I
11 know that was the case.
12 MR. BEHAR: If we could see P835, please. At the bottom of page
14 Q. If we look at number 3 at the bottom, sir, and actually, if we
15 can look it says "the Verification Mission will travel throughout Kosovo
16 to verify." If we can just look at the next page in both languages.
17 I'll just read aloud the last sentence of number 1, sir. It says:
19 throughout Kosovo at all times."
20 Did you in the border service comply with that requirement?
21 A. Yes, the border service fully complied with this. However, we
22 did insist that in order to ensure their security, because of all the
23 firing that was taking place, we insisted that they announce their visits
24 to our organs. We thought that there was the danger of some of the
25 terrorist forces firing at the members of the Verification Mission who
1 would be moving in the area at a particular point in time, and the
2 Yugoslav side to could be blamed for that. We wanted to protect them,
3 and in accordance with the law, they had to have permission to move in
4 the area, or rather, they had to announce that they would be visiting.
5 One days, two days, five days, ten days in advance. If it was
6 urgent, they could provide notification 24 hours in advance again so that
7 we would secure their movement in the border belt facing Albania
10 Q. Okay. I'll try and take you through that step by step, sir.
11 Before I do that, I just do want to in fairness show you page 3, the same
12 page, item 4 that's another item here that deals directly with the border
13 and that states:
14 "The Verification Mission, when invited by the FRY authorities or
15 upon its request, will visit border control units..."
16 I just leave that with you for a moment. You were clear
17 yesterday, sir, or actually on Friday, that you required KVM to obtain a
18 permit in order for them to visit anywhere in the border area; correct?
19 Just yes or no dealing with the permit.
20 A. I am sorry, but I have to say that that is not what I said. I
21 said that they had to get permission for the sake of their own security.
22 That's what it had to deal with. They did have the right to move about,
23 no one challenged that, but they just had to announce their visit so that
24 we would provide security for them so that nothing would happen that the
25 Yugoslav side could be blamed for.
1 Q. But just so that I'm clear, you did require them to apply for and
2 obtain a permit; correct?
3 A. It was sufficient for them to provide their plan on which dates
4 they would tour which areas. Because we had a man who was made available
5 to them, his duty was to make everything possible for them. They were
6 not denied anything. In addition to that duty, that man had other duties
7 as well, so he had to know when they would be coming so that he could
8 make himself available to them.
9 Q. To be more specific about the plan that you required, sir, you,
10 in fact, required a seven-day plan of visits which they had to adhere to
11 subsequently, and even in urgent cases, they had to announce and apply 24
12 hours in advance, and I take it that even in that event, it would be open
13 to you whether or not to grant access at that time; is that correct?
14 A. No, no, I was not authorised to grant them access or not. It was
15 the appropriate state organs that did that, and we honoured that. As for
16 announcements, it wasn't stated that it had to be seven days. Two,
17 three, ten, 30 days, whenever they wanted to submit their plan. If they
18 needed to visit urgently, they were supposed to announce their visit at
19 least 24 hours in advance so that the person who would welcome them would
20 be made available to them. That's the core of the matter.
21 Q. I believe that you did say on Friday, sir, that it was seven days
22 in advance, but let me take you through a document briefly.
23 MR. BEHAR: If we can see D577.
24 Q. If we just look at the first paragraph there, it's about seven
25 lines down in the English. It says:
1 "They were told that they could provide a seven-day plan of
2 visits which they had to adhere to subsequently, and that urgent cases
3 should be announced 24 hours in advance."
4 You spoke to this document on Friday, sir, but is that not
5 exactly what I just put to you?
6 A. Do you see the heading of the document here, Command of the 57th
7 Border Battalion From Urosevac? The commander said -- well, I don't know
8 what he was saying, but at any rate, they must have been used to
9 providing seven-day documents. But for urgent cases, they were supposed
10 to announce their visits at least 24 hours in advance so that the command
11 would allow them unhindered access and functioning in that area.
12 However, I didn't have any special problems with the Verification Mission
13 when they came to the border area, and practically all of them expressed
14 their satisfaction with the way in which the border organs treated them,
15 except for one or perhaps two cases.
16 Q. We'll get to their satisfaction in a moment, sir. But would you
17 agree with me that requiring KVM to stick to a rigid visitation schedule,
18 and requiring them to apply ahead of time to tell you exactly what they
19 would be observing and when would make it very difficult for them to
20 monitor what it was that you were actually doing at the border?
21 A. Again, I have to make a comment in view of your question. We did
22 not ask them for a schedule or a plan so that we would observe what they
23 would be doing. We, or rather, the border organs at the border asked for
24 their schedule in order to ensure their security. That's the point.
25 They could have provided it in one, three, five, ten days more than that.
1 The essence is their security, not for us to check on the Verification
2 Mission as to what they were doing. I really cannot accept that.
3 Perhaps someone did do that, but I'm not aware of it.
4 Q. Well, sir, this was quite a professional mission, surely if they
5 needed security from you or from anyone else, then they could ask for
7 A. Well, let me say this, it was our duty to ensure their safe
8 functioning in the area. That is what burdened us. We were afraid that
9 there might be something unfortunate that would happen and Yugoslavia
10 would be blamed for that rather than the terrorist forces that were
11 operating in the area.
12 Q. Sir, you've testified today and you went into some detail about
13 it on Friday and also in your testimony in the Milutinovic case, that KVM
14 was satisfied with their treatment and that there were no problems with
15 respect to their stay and their work in the border belt. And in
16 particular you relied on one document, D577, which we just looked at, to
17 tell us that KVM was satisfied generally. Do you recall testifying to
18 that effect?
19 A. Yes, I said that that was stated by the gentleman who was the
20 head of, well, I can't remember his name now, that they were satisfied
21 with everything that we did for them. That's what he stated at the
23 Q. If we can, I'd like to look directly at the language in this
24 document that you are relying on. The very first line states:
25 "The OSCE representatives expressed their satisfaction with the
1 co-operation and the changes in the approach to the mission by VJ organs
2 and units."
3 Sir, it would seem to me that the use of the word "changes" in
4 that section is telling us that according to this document they may be
5 satisfied now, but they were not satisfied before; is that correct?
6 A. Let me say straightaway that my service, the one that I headed
7 had never heard of any dissatisfaction with the way in which the border
8 organs had treated them. Now, what were the changes that we had carried
9 out? That they did not have to announce their visit every day. That
10 they could make a single announcement for two, five, ten-day visit,
11 whatever. Basically they could announce their stay in the border area
12 once or twice a month on a regular basis. And whenever extraordinary
13 circumstances dictated yet another visit, they could announce that as
15 Q. If we look at the very next line, sir, it states:
16 "They noted that the problem of access to the border crossings
17 had been resolved..." meaning, I would suggest, that there was obviously
18 or had been a significant problem up to this point; correct?
19 A. There wasn't a serious problem. There was a problem of the law
20 that a person who entered the border area had to have a permit to move
21 about in the border area. We resolved that in the following terms. They
22 did not have to have a permit, but they had to announce their visit.
23 They were not ordinary citizens. They were officials that were carrying
24 out certain activity, that was the difference.
25 Q. Are you saying that a permit was required under the law, sir, so
1 I'm clear?
2 A. Every person that moves in the border area except for persons who
3 have permanent residence in the border area or were born in the border
4 area have to have a permit to stay and move about in the border area. If
5 I were to go to the border belt somewhere now, I would have to have a
6 permit to move about and stay in the border area. I cannot move about
7 freely there because that only applies to organs and persons who have
8 permanent residence there and organs who are performing their duties in
9 the area.
10 MR. BEHAR: Can we see P256, please.
11 Q. It says the "Law on Crossing the State Border," sir.
12 MR. BEHAR: Can we see page 10 in the English and page 9 in the
14 Q. Just to read you what the law actually says, sir. It says, I'm
15 just reading the second paragraph:
16 "Foreign nationals do not require a permit to move and stay in
17 the border area if:" Then under number 3, "so arranged in an
18 international agreement."
19 We've already looked, sir, at the international agreement between
20 KVM and the FRY; correct?
21 A. Well, may I say this: As for this agreement between the KVM and
22 the FRY, I don't know about that. I heard about it from other sources.
23 I was not a member of that team that would reach an agreement with them.
24 I just know that they were given permission to stay in the border area.
25 And we carried that out. We made it possible for them to stay in the
1 border area in accordance with their intentions and the announcement they
3 Q. And just so that I'm clear, I thought that you had said earlier
4 this morning in response to my questions, that a permit was not required,
5 but it sounds like from what you've just been saying for about the past
6 ten minutes, that a permit had indeed been required. Just so we are
7 clear, you did require KVM to obtain a permit; correct?
8 A. Well, as soon as they were given freedom of movement to -- in the
9 border area, that meant that they had been given permission to move about
10 in the border area. I don't know how that was done, through the public
11 media or through some document whatever, but at any rate, they were free
12 to move about the border area. Also what it says here, foreign nationals
13 do not require a permit unless or arrange an international agreement. So
14 it was the international agreement that is their permit, if you wish, and
15 they can thereby move in the border area and carry out their duties
17 Q. Let's return, if we can, sir, to this issue about KVM and whether
18 they were satisfied, as you characterised it. The document that we just
19 looked at where they noted the problems, previous problems with border
20 access, but the suggestion was that they were now satisfied, that
21 document was dated the 2nd of March, 1999; correct?
22 A. I don't see the date here.
23 Q. It's D577.
24 MR. BEHAR: If we can have that up again.
25 Q. You can see there the date, the 2nd of March?
1 A. The 2nd of March, 1999.
2 Q. Can you tell us, sir, what KVM's reaction was when the border
3 zone was expanded again on the 5th of March, 1999, just three days later?
4 A. In my statement I said that the KVM had nothing to do with that.
5 That was the decision made by appropriate state organs at the proposal of
6 the border service to make it possible to function in the border area.
7 That is the sovereign right of every sovereign state to regulate its
8 border area. We suffered tremendous losses. There were terrorist
9 activities in a broad area and for that reason --
10 Q. I don't want to go down that road. I'm just asking you, what was
11 KVM's reaction three days later when the border belt was expanded? I
12 know you had dealings with them at that time.
13 A. As far as I know, apart from Mr. Pelmaz who said he would not
14 honour the border belt, no one else had any objection. And as for him, I
15 don't know for what reason he reacted that way. I really don't know.
16 But I think it must have been something personal, if you ask me.
17 Q. You are mentioning Mr. Pelmaz, but let's look at that more
19 MR. BEHAR: If we can see P1339. And if we can see page 18 in
20 the English and page 15 in the B/C/S, please.
21 Q. So, sir, this is a meeting of the VJ collegium from the 18th of
22 March, 1999. And this document is telling us that you met with the OSCE
23 and you discussed the March 5th expansion of the border belt, and
24 Mr. Pelmaz "expressed his displeasure regarding the extension of the
25 border zone and stressed that the Verification Mission will not abide by
1 that decision." Is that correct, sir, was that expressed to you?
2 A. I think General Curcin was supposed to attend that meeting, but I
3 went in his place. And Mr. Pelmaz said exactly that, he said, we will
4 not abide by that decision.
5 Q. So, it would seem, sir, and just relying on the documents that
6 you've provided us on Friday, KVM was only satisfied with their access
7 and the situation at the border for a period of about three days between
8 the 2nd of March to the 5th of March.
9 A. I cannot accept that. The KVM was satisfied on the whole, and
10 only Pelmaz expressed dissatisfaction. And this statement of his was
11 intended to directly influence the work of the state authorities, and
12 that was not his right. He had the right to be in the border belt in
13 keeping with our obligations and then notification, and it was our duty
14 to enable them to do so, and we always did.
15 Q. Just so we are clear, sir, you are position is that what
16 Mr. Pelmaz told you was only his own personal opinion, did not reflect
17 the feelings or opinions of KVM, that when he told you that the
18 Verification Mission
19 expressing only his own personal opinion, not representing KVM?
20 A. I did not receive officially the KVM's opinion. I just heard
21 Mr. Pelmaz at that meeting. I did not receive any official statement
22 after that. And, of course, I informed the state authorities and the
23 ministry held a meeting and informed its own sector authorities about
24 this incident, if I might call it that, at the meeting.
25 Q. Thank you, sir.
1 MR. BEHAR: Your Honours, I see we've reached the break, I
2 apologise, but I have finished this area.
3 JUDGE PARKER: We resume at 5 minutes past 11.00.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 --- Recess taken at 10.36 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 11.06 a.m.
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Behar.
9 MR. BEHAR:
10 Q. Welcome back, sir. I'd like to try to situate some of your
11 evidence in a bit of a broader context, if I can. Now, in order for the
12 VJ to be used in Kosovo and to be used outside of the border belt, a
13 state of emergency had to be declared; correct? In fact, let me be
14 specific. There had to be a state of emergency, a state of immediate
15 threat of war, or a state of war; is that correct?
16 A. Please don't ask me anything about the Army of Yugoslavia.
17 That's not in my purview. I was only in charge of the state border and
18 the border belt, and I'm prepared to ask [as interpreted] any questions
19 about that. The rest I didn't follow, and I don't know.
20 Q. Sir, it's very important that you focus on answering the
21 questions that I'm asking you and offer us the extent of your knowledge,
22 and I know that you specifically deal with the border belt and we'll be
23 dealing with that specifically as well, but it is very important that you
24 focus on answering my question, and I know that this is something that
25 you are familiar with.
1 So to restate the question: In order for the VJ to be used in
2 Kosovo and to be used outside of the border belt, there needed to be a
3 state of emergency, a state of immediate threat of war, or a state of
4 war; correct?
5 A. I suppose so, but I didn't read documents about the engagement of
6 the army. I was dealing with the state border. I know exactly what the
7 capacities and the situation were at the state border.
8 Q. Certainly, sir, whether a state of emergency was declared or a
9 state of imminent threat of war or state of war, whether that was
10 declared would be of great significance to you in your job; correct?
11 A. The moment a state of emergency or a state of war is proclaimed,
12 my competence ceases. Strategic groups then take over. Upon
13 proclamation of the state of war, the border service is discontinued if
14 the country is in the state of war.
15 Q. And prior to any state of emergency being declared, the VJ could
16 legally act within the border belt but could not act outside of its own
17 initiative outside of the border belt; is that right?
18 A. I know that border units were never active outside the border
19 belt except in cases where they pursued sabotage terrorist groups and
20 other armed formations that were running from the border belt. Then they
21 had legal authority to pursue them as long as it took to catch them and
22 then they would turn them over to other competent authorities.
23 Q. But speaking not just about border units but about the VJ
24 generally, the VJ could act within the border belt but the VJ could not
25 act outside the border belt unless they were defending themselves;
2 A. Under normal circumstances in peacetime, that is the way it is.
3 The VJ was active in the border belt, those were forces for the in-depth
4 security of the state border, and in all other circumstances, they have
5 the right to defend themselves if attacked.
6 Q. And this issue with respect to the proper legal use of the VJ
7 was, in fact, one of the reasons why the border belt was expanded, was it
8 not, because for those who were concerned about legality, this was a way
9 to expand the use of the VJ?
10 A. Let me tell you, in order for the army or rather border units or
11 rather in-depth security forces at the border to be engaged legally, we
12 were under obligation to create the preconditions for their engagement,
13 and that meant not widening the border belt, but establishing the border
14 belt deeper within the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
15 and then we were exercising all our rights and legal authority.
16 Q. But what I'm saying is that there's also a broader issue that in
17 fact the VJ is not allowed to function, they cannot be deployed outside
18 of the border belt, so there is a certain clear advantage in growing the
19 border belt to a large size; would you agree with that?
20 A. I did not understand that question.
21 Q. I'm asking you, sir, if you would agree that since the VJ cannot
22 be deployed unless there is a state of emergency, which there wasn't,
23 outside of the border belt, that there is -- can be a tactical advantage
24 or a very practical use to expanding the border belt? In other words, it
25 allows the VJ to function within a much larger area?
1 A. To function not within the larger area, but within the border
2 belt as expanded conditionally speaking, determined as deeper behind the
3 border. In that border belt they have the right to act in keeping with
4 the rules of service and in keeping with the law.
5 Q. Let's see if we can go through this step by step, sir. I take it
6 that you were very familiar with General Perisic and with his role? He
7 was the Chief of General Staff for most of 1998?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. In fact, he was the highest ranking military officer in the VJ;
11 A. He was not the highest ranking military officer, but he was at
12 the highest position at that time in the Army of Yugoslavia, Chief of the
13 General Staff.
14 Q. I think that's what I meant, sir. We saw from your earlier
15 testimony and from some of the documents that he was, in fact, General
16 Perisic was, in fact, front and centre with respect to the expansion of
17 the border belt; is that fair to say? In other words, he was one of the
18 central people responsible for the expansion of the border belt?
19 A. You want me to confirm that or not?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. General Perisic was Chief of the General Staff and he chaired the
22 collegium, and it was the collegium of the Chief of the General Staff
23 together with the Chief of the General Staff that took that decision.
24 Q. Thank you, sir.
25 MR. BEHAR: Can we have Exhibit P1424 up on the screen, please.
1 And if we can have page 3 in the English and the B/C/S.
2 Q. Sir, these are the minutes of a meeting of the VJ collegium held
3 on the 20th of July, 1998
4 belt was expanded on the 21st of July. If we look at the third page at
5 the middle of the second paragraph, General Perisic here refers to an
6 order that he issued that explicitly prohibited the use of the VJ except
7 in defence of the border area to protect military facilities or to defend
8 military personnel. And let me just read you that excerpt. He says:
9 "I issued an order - I ban the use of the army except in the
10 defence of the border area, where it is to act in full compliance with
11 combat ... to protect military facilities and defend army personnel."
12 So at that time, sir, General Perisic had issued a direct order
13 that the VJ could only be used in the border area and nowhere else unless
14 they had been attacked or were defending themselves; is that correct?
15 A. As far as I can see, I did not attend this collegium meeting and
16 I don't know what they discussed. From this I see that he didn't say
17 that the army can be used only within the border belt in keeping with the
18 law. I wasn't there myself. I attended the collegium meetings only when
19 I was required to, as chief of the service for the state border.
20 Otherwise, I did not attend collegium meetings.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic.
22 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Just for the record, Your Honours,
23 the witness's answer was affirmative. The witness did not deny what he
24 said in Serbian, that he had indeed stated in his statement what
25 Mr. Behar quoted. You can ask the witness to confirm.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 MR. BEHAR:
3 Q. Right. Just to confirm, sir, were you in fact saying you were
4 agreeing that General Perisic did say that the army could only be used
5 within the border belt under those circumstances?
6 A. That is written in the document. I wasn't at that meeting and I
7 don't know, but it's true that the border may be used in the border belt
8 without any proclamation of war. It can perform its duties on the state
9 border in keeping with the regulations and the law.
10 Q. Thank you, sir. I think that's clear now. In that same
11 document, sir, General Perisic noted that the VJ had in fact, taken
12 action using a combat group in the interior, that was in Orahovac. If we
13 look at page 3 again, the first line, he states:
14 "Now, many of us illiterate in a conflict of two motives,
15 patriotism and individual satisfaction or fame, they reach and use the
16 army unnecessarily. Yesterday, MUP went to Orahovac" - and he continues
17 just below, sir - "and Samardzic he used a combat group, the closest to
18 take action towards Orahovac."
19 So this would seem to suggest, sir, that although the army could
20 not lawfully be used outside the border belt, there were instances where
21 it was being used outside the border belt nonetheless that General
22 Perisic was concerned about; do you agree with that?
23 A. Please don't ask me the question that way because it was not my
24 job to approve the use of the army in Kosovo and Metohija. I was charge
25 of the state border. This is outside my purview and beyond my knowledge.
1 Q. Well, let's move on, sir, and perhaps we'll return to that theme.
2 The next day, sir, after this document we've been looking at which is the
3 21st of July of 1998, there was a meeting that day with Mr. Milosevic,
4 representatives of the VJ and the MUP, General Perisic also attended. It
5 was on that same day, the 21st of July, 1998, that the border zone was
6 officially expanded; is that right?
7 A. I don't recall exactly the date, now, but I believe that was the
8 day when the decision was made to widen the border belt, and I don't know
9 about this meeting because it was outside my purview. There is a
10 decision, we saw it yesterday, about the widening of the border belt.
11 You can see the date there.
12 Q. That is dated the 21st of July, sir.
13 MR. BEHAR: If we can have Exhibit P1329, please.
14 Q. Three days after that decision was taken, sir, and after General
15 Perisic had met with President Milosevic, General Perisic sent a letter
16 to Mr. Milosevic and he set out certain facts in that letter. If I can
17 just take you very briefly through that. The first of those facts,
18 General Perisic entitled, "Constant Tendency to use the VJ Outside the
19 Institutions of the System." And if we can look just down below number
21 MR. BEHAR: Just scroll down in the English.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Popovic.
23 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the witness already
24 stated his views in response to this and similar questions, but the
25 letter is now being put to him by General Perisic addressed to President
1 Milosevic. I really don't see the basis of showing such a document to
2 this witness especially bearing in mind his previous answers to similar
4 JUDGE PARKER: [Overlapping speakers] ... [Microphone not
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Behar.
8 MR. BEHAR:
9 Q. Sir, if we look at -- if we look at number 1(a), and I'll invite
10 your comment on this in a moment, General Perisic wrote:
11 "The situation in Kosovo and Metohija could have been avoided by
12 introducing a state of" - there's blank there but presumably he means a
13 state of emergency - "promptly on the 20th of April 1998
14 submitted a written proposal to you. Since this was not accepted by you
15 - the situation has escalated and so representatives of the MUP and you
16 too sought the use of the VJ, some smaller units were used directly and
17 indirectly, which is, from a legal aspect, against the law and the
18 consequences for the state are known."
19 I think that's consistent with what we've covered so far, sir,
20 and if I can invite you to comment then on the next section, which deals
21 as well with the border. He continues:
22 "So that the relevant and professional conclusions of the session
23 of the Supreme Defence Council on 9th June, 1998 might be implemented, we
24 requested the FRY government to assure us (by proclaiming one of these
25 states: Of emergency, immediate threat of war, or war) legitimate
1 material and financial resources." He goes on to say:
2 "This has not, to date, been done which means that any engagement
3 of the VJ in combat operations outside the border and beyond is still
4 illegal - with possible consequences unforeseeable."
5 So just before I continue, are you with me so far, sir, and you
6 agree that General Perisic is making it very clear to President Milosevic
7 once again that the VJ should only be used in the border zone?
8 A. I have to say again, you are putting questions to me to which I
9 don't know what to say. I have no idea. This is the first time I hear
10 of this letter by General Perisic. Please ask me questions about the
11 state border, the situation at the state border and in the border area.
12 That was my area of work, and I really know a lot about these events and
13 incidents at the state border. These meetings of the collegium, I never
14 attended, I hear of these things from you for the first time.
15 Q. Just in terms of commenting then, if you can, on the content,
16 which is what I'm interested in to hear your views --
17 A. I cannot even comment because I don't know the gist of it, I
18 don't know what preceded this, I don't know the background. I really
19 can't answer the question. Give me the document, I'll read it through
20 from beginning to end and then I'll maybe form an opinion. I just don't
21 know what the background was and why Mr. Perisic made this conclusion.
22 Even on issues at the state border, I didn't always agree with
23 Mr. Perisic. I was a professional who used arguments to substantiate his
24 position. I don't know the gist of this entire discussion at the
1 Q. Let me cut right to the point then, if I can. You have seen that
2 General Perisic has been very clear here, that the use of the VJ outside
3 of the border area was contrary to law. My question to you is, sir, is
4 this not one of the reasons why the border area was expanded?
5 A. The reason for widening the state border belt was to create
6 preconditions for the army to be active in a greater depth, to occupy
7 more positions, to carry out more patrols, to remove certain obstacles in
8 securing the state border, to widen the range of their tactics. With the
9 incidents of terrorist acts, both from the interior and from the outside
10 forced us to widen the border belt so as to be able to engage larger
11 forces in securing the border belt and the state border.
12 Q. Let's continue on, sir.
13 MR. BEHAR: If we could look at P1362.
14 Q. I'll just deal very briefly with this, sir. These are minutes of
15 the meeting of the Supreme Defence Council for the 4th of October, 1998
16 You'll see here that General Perisic proposes that the Federal Assembly
17 declare an imminent threat of war. My question to you is a simple one,
18 was an imminent threat of war or a state of emergency declared at that
19 time or, in fact, at any time prior to the 23rd of March, 1999?
20 A. I can say with full responsibility that I don't know.
21 Q. So you are saying you don't know if a state of emergency or an
22 imminent threat of war was declared?
23 A. I don't know from this document what had been done. It was
24 really a long time ago. I really don't know. It's been 12 or 15 years.
25 I don't remember any details any longer. This is the first time I see
1 the document.
2 Q. Sir, you told us earlier that if a state of emergency was
3 declared, there would be extremely significant or very significant
4 consequences for you, it would completely change the nature of your job.
5 My only question to you, put the document to the side for a moment, was a
6 state of emergency or an imminent threat of war declared at this time in
7 October of 1998?
8 A. I don't know about that, I really don't know. I can't say
9 anything because I really don't know.
10 Q. Well, did you continue functioning in your job as you normally
11 would, sir, because if I understood correctly, you told us that earlier
12 today if a state of emergency was declared, then you would, in fact,
13 cease to operate as you had been operating?
14 A. Let me tell you, all the way up to the proclamation of the state
15 of war, the state border operated as a system within the Federal Republic
16 of Yugoslavia
17 border units became part of operations units that protected the territory
18 from outside aggression, and that is when my function in that part of the
19 state border ceased. Under all other circumstances, we continued to
20 monitor the situation because there was no frontal engagement of forces.
21 Q. Right. And there was no state of war declared at that time or
22 imminent state of war, or a state of emergency? None of those things
23 were done?
24 A. I really don't know about that.
25 Q. Having raised these concerns, and we've looked at a number of
1 them here, sir, General Perisic was in fact replaced as the Chief of the
2 General Staff; correct? That's something you would have been certainly
3 aware of having attended all of these meetings, or a number of these
5 A. I really don't know why General Perisic was replaced. I don't
6 know the reasons because that was not within my purview. I didn't attend
7 those meetings at the collegium, and ex officio, I couldn't attend, I
8 couldn't be privy to that.
9 Q. That's fine, I'm not asking you that. I'm just asking you to
10 confirm that he was indeed replaced; correct? In fact, he was replaced
11 on the 24th of November 1998?
12 A. I don't know whether he was replaced or simply someone took his
13 place for official reasons, to meet the needs of the service. Just
14 because I was sent by the army at some point to occupy different duties.
15 I don't know what happened with Perisic. Maybe he was replaced, but
16 maybe by the nature of the service, he was needed elsewhere. Maybe he
17 was replaced for other reasons. Maybe he didn't meet the expectations, I
18 don't know.
19 Q. I think you've confirmed that he was replaced. He was in fact
20 replaced by General Ojdanic, sir, and he was transferred to a post
21 advisor to the federal government on defence issues. Were you aware of
23 A. Please, I didn't say that Mr. Perisic had been replaced. All I
24 know was that General Ojdanic came to occupy the post of the Chief of the
25 General Staff and then he became my superior, as Perisic used to be
1 before. I don't know about Perisic's movement from that time on.
2 Q. Well, it sounds to me that we are talking about the same thing.
3 General Ojdanic took the place of General Perisic. Are you aware, sir,
4 of the position that General Perisic was transferred to and whether in
5 his new position he had any command responsibility?
6 A. I don't know that.
7 Q. Sir, you would also have been familiar with Aleksandar
8 Dimitrijevic as well, I take it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. He was head of the security administration for the VJ?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. BEHAR: If we could look at D169, please.
13 Q. You'll see here, General Dimitrijevic addressing issues with
14 respect to the border as well.
15 MR. BEHAR: If we can look at page 19.
16 Q. I'll just actually read this to you and invite your comment,
17 about way down I'll start. He states:
18 "In all aspects, I still firmly" -- and, sir, before I continue,
19 this is from a meeting of the 17th of December, 1998 of the VJ General
20 Staff collegium. He states:
21 "In all aspects, I still firmly support the idea that we, and we
22 have here the most recent reports, that we should deal with things that
23 have been assigned to us by the constitution, the protection of the
24 border." He continues, but if I can just skip ahead somewhat, he says:
25 "So my proposal is, and I've been repeating it week in week out,
1 that all our measures must focus on closing as much of the border as
2 possible, cutting off all their channels and making it impossible for
3 them to import weapons and for people to get in, thereby creating the
4 preconditions for the MUP to resolve other problems, because this is not
5 the army's task."
6 So again, sir, would you agree that what we are seeing are
7 indications that the VJ's proper role was to be acting only within the
8 border area, of course absent any state of emergency?
9 A. The Army of Yugoslavia, or rather, the border units were
10 duty-bound to act in the border area and they did so. I cannot remember
11 a particular term and date but it happened very seldom that they
12 intervened in order to pursue terrorist groups. If they would notice
13 them and if they would clash with them then it was their duty to pursue
14 them until they capture them or destroy them. That is what the law
15 prescribes and that was what was done. Most often they would withdraw to
16 the territory of Albania
17 Q. Following from that, sir --
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic.
19 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] I would just like to ask something.
20 Although my learned friend Mr. Behar is reading to the witness, the page
21 in Serbian does not correspond to what my friend is reading to him. So
22 he cannot read it for himself. I just wanted to note that. And to check
23 whether I heard this right. Is this D169 or D196? That will be all,
24 thank you.
25 MR. BEHAR: That was D169. In fact, I believe there may have
1 been a typo on our initial notification, which might be a source of some
2 confusion. I think, though, if it's convenient for the Chamber, I'll
3 move on. I believe the witness's answer to the question was clear.
4 JUDGE PARKER: The problem may be that the B/C/S page on the
5 screen does not correspond to the English page.
6 MR. BEHAR: I think that's a fair point. I would propose to
7 proceed just in light of the witness's answer, which I think was clear.
8 Although, if he wishes it, we can certainly take a moment to try to find
9 the passage.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Behar.
11 MR. BEHAR: Thank you, Your Honours.
12 Q. Sir, just picking up on what you had said in your last answer, in
13 fact, the VJ forces, as you've indicated, could actually engage in
14 operations when they've been attacked, so in other words, if the VJ were
15 attacked, not just inside the border area, but also outside the border
16 area, then they were legitimately allowed to defend themselves; is that
18 A. I was not talking about the VJ force. Again, I repeat, I was
19 talking about the border units that were securing the state border of the
20 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They had the legal right to operate in
21 the border area. Further from the border area, they could act only if
22 they were pursuing fugitives or terrorist groups until they would capture
23 them or hand them over to another organ who would pursue them further.
24 According to the rules, the border units are not supposed to
25 operate outside the border area.
1 Q. I understand that, sir. But if we can talk about VJ forces
2 generally, is it not true that, in fact, inside the border area or
3 outside the border area, wherever the VJ happened it to be, they are
4 legitimately allowed to defend themselves if they're attacked?
5 A. Every man has the right to defend himself if he is under attack.
6 The same goes for a military unit if it is attacked. It is not going to
7 surrender, it is going to defend itself wherever that may happen. That
8 is my personal view.
9 Q. It's, in fact, not just your personal view, it's pursuant to law,
10 correct? It's well understood that if the VJ operating anywhere is
11 attacked, then of course, they can respond and this is often the reason
12 used to explain why certain action was undertaken?
13 A. Well, they have the right to react where and when they are
14 attacked and to prevent those forces from attacking them again.
15 MR. BEHAR: If we can see P1335, please. If we can have page 15
16 in the English and page 14 in the B/C/S. And just beginning just
17 underneath where it says: "Colonel-General Aleksandar Dimitrijevic." He
18 states here, sir:
19 "This isn't a question, more a reproach, one for which General
20 Curcin is least to blame. When we take the public line that one of our
21 units, a convoy of soldiers have been attacked, that's okay if one can't
22 do otherwise, but why does the 3rd Army lie to the General Staff?"
23 And he continues, sir, in the next paragraph:
24 "It has been said here that the army has been attacked six times
25 over the past week." I can indicate, as I should have indicated earlier,
1 this document is from 4th of March, 1999. It says:
2 "It has been said here the army has been attacked six times over
3 the past week. Gentlemen, you have to know in this action or operation,
4 as they call it, because they call it an operation, whenever they engage
5 a single platoon ..." He refers to an incident in which a sergeant was
6 killed. Then the next line, sir, he says:
7 "Come now, this was a planned activity by units of the 3rd Army
8 or the Pristina Corps, ordered, carried out, and completed in just the
9 way it was completed."
10 He goes on, sir, but in the interest of time I'll stop there. It
11 seems to me that what General Dimitrijevic is saying there is that the
12 army has in fact been lying about being attacked, when, in fact, they
13 were engaged in planned operations. My question for you is: Was that
14 practice reporting that one was attacked in order to justify offensive
15 operations, was that also prevalent within the border areas?
16 A. I truly have to express my surprise at this kind of statement.
17 As for the activity of the army or any other forces in the territory of
18 Kosovo, I don't know about that. That was not my line of work. I do
19 know one thing, that the army and all forces engaged in the border area
20 never acted unlawfully, and there were no examples of unlawful activity.
21 Now, please, as for statements made by Aleksandar Dimitrijevic,
22 that doesn't mean a thing to me. It would be best to call him to testify
23 in this court and explain his positions taken at the collegium meeting
24 that I'm totally unaware of.
25 Q. In fact, sir, having voiced his dissent in that open way at this
1 meeting, Mr. Dimitrijevic was replaced shortly thereafter, wasn't he?
2 A. I don't know whether he was replaced. I mean, that is a question
3 for the collegium of the Chief of General Staff, or rather for the Chief
4 of General Staff. If he was replaced, why he was replaced, and if he was
5 not replaced, why he was not replaced. I mean, for me, it doesn't mean a
6 thing because I don't know, I'm not a member of the collegium or of the
7 personnel body that deals with such matters as far as personnel policy is
9 Q. I don't want to spend too much time on this point, sir, but
10 perhaps we'll have a quick look at another document.
11 MR. BEHAR: It's 65 ter 00799.
12 Q. So this is a document dated the 25th of March. In fact, you can
13 see that the general has been replaced in his position by Geza Farkas; is
14 that correct?
15 A. Again I have to respond by saying that I do not know that he was
16 replaced or relieved of duty because he was being appointed to another
17 position or whether he was retiring. I mean, I relieved of duty when I
18 retired, when I met the requirements for retirement. I see here that
19 this is an order concerning Geza Farkas, but I really don't know whether
20 Dimitrijevic was relieved of duty because he was replaced or because he
21 retired or whatever, I mean, that is not my line of work, and I don't
22 know anything about it.
23 Q. I'm not asking you for reasons, sir, but you can see from the
24 document that General Dimitrijevic's duty was resumed by Geza Farkas,
25 that much is plain, is it not?
1 A. Well, of course, that he was appointed chief of the security
2 administration, Mr. Geza Farkas, that is.
3 MR. BEHAR: Thank you, sir. Your Honours, I would seek to tender
4 that document.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit P01527.
7 MR. BEHAR:
8 Q. Sir, we've seen that these are some very powerful people who have
9 expressed direct concerns about the propriety and legality of using a VJ
10 in Kosovo in the absence of state of emergency, and I'll suggest to you
11 once again, sir, that one of the reasons that the border belt was
12 expanded was because the VJ could not otherwise be legally used unless
13 there was a state of emergency declared; is that not correct?
14 A. Please, I've already said, and I repeat once again, we expanded
15 the border belt conditionally speaking. It went further in depth into
16 the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in order to create a
17 legal basis for the action of border units in terms of securing the state
18 border within the border area. That is the core of the matter. The
19 lawful use of these units, that was our objective, and we did not want to
20 deviate from the law in any way.
21 Q. Sir, General Perisic was the highest military ranking member of
22 the VJ or certainly we can agree he was a man of great power and
23 significance holding a high rank. He was the man who made the first
24 legal request to expand the border belt in July of 1998. And he also, as
25 we've seen, could not have been more clear in expressing his view that
1 the VJ could only be lawfully used within the border area. Do you agree
2 with that?
3 A. I cannot agree that General Perisic had proposed that. He did
4 not propose that. He did not make that request. It was people who deal
5 with the system of securing the state border that proposed that. From
6 the lowest level, the border battalion, up to the service working for the
7 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia
8 be done because of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, and it proposed
9 that this be discussed by the General Staff.
10 So at that meeting of the collegium of the General Staff where I
11 participated when the border was discussed, I explained these proposals
12 and the border belt was expanded, or rather to put it more precisely, it
13 was established further in depth. Perisic as an individual had nothing
14 whatsoever to do with it.
15 Q. Well, sir, I think you've told us already, and I don't dispute
16 that people from a lower level may have passed on proposals and certainly
17 would regularly relay information to the General Staff and to General
18 Perisic who was Chief of the General Staff, but, in fact, it was General
19 Perisic who took the decision to move it forward; correct?
20 A. No, the collegium of the Chief of General Staff. That is, the
21 collegium. It was the collegium that made the decision to make this
22 proposal to the government. General Perisic was just Chief of General
23 Staff and head of that collegium.
24 Q. Well, it seems to me that you have largely answered that
25 question, sir. Let me move to a very different topic.
1 Sir, in your role, in your employment, beginning in late March of
2 1999 and for at least the next month, you would have observed literally
3 hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians streaming across the border
4 leaving the country. Let me ask you first, sir, is that something you
6 A. First of all, let me respond. I did not see hundreds of
7 thousands or did I receive such information that Kosovo Albanians were
8 leaving the country. However, it is correct that I did read in the media
9 that a certain number of individuals, a large number of individuals,
10 crossed the border thus leaving the country. Now, whether that
11 information is correct or not, I cannot say. I heard that through the
12 media because the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia
13 under whose jurisdiction crossing the border was, did not have the duty
14 according to the law to inform the General Staff about such developments
15 in the border area.
16 Q. Sir, I don't believe that the numbers of people leaving Kosovo,
17 the number of Kosovo Albanians leaving Kosovo is really in dispute in
18 this case, but is it your position then that you did not see these
19 hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians coming across the borders that
20 you were working at?
21 A. Yes, but as for my area of responsibility, that is to say at the
22 state border outside border crossings and built-up areas, it was
23 forbidden to cross the border. If such individuals tried to cross the
24 border, they were returned to report to the appropriate organ of the
25 Ministry of the Interior and to cross the border in a lawful way, where
1 the border crossing is. Probably a certain number of persons crossed the
2 border illegally just like terrorist groups crossed the state border to
4 happening now, and that will always be the case at any border. But we
5 did not allow anyone to cross the border, and we returned them to
6 localities where the border could be crossed legally.
7 Q. I appreciate that, sir, and we already have your evidence where
8 you've been clear that it was the MUP who controlled the border
9 crossings, we are aware of that. All I'm asking you is what you
10 observed, and you've been clear that you were at the borders. What I'm
11 interested in is your observations, you personally.
12 A. You see, the crossing of the border is something that did
13 function, that was there, because we caught people who had legally
14 crossed the border coming back illegally and bringing in weapons
15 illegally. I told you that the other day as well. There were such
16 cases, they would legally cross the border and then illegally try to
17 smuggle weapons across the border. The border crossings points were
18 functioning and the population could move legally. The Djeneral Jankovic
19 border post was closest in my area, whereas all the other border posts
20 were in remote mountain areas where people lived and worked and carried
21 out their border duties. It was far away from the border crossing
23 Q. We can come to the -- a discussion of the Djeneral Jankovic
24 border crossing in a moment, sir. But again, just because I don't think
25 I'm actually getting an answer to my question. I understand that the MUP
1 maintained the border crossing. What I'm asking you is for observations
2 of the hundreds of thousands of people who were pouring through those
3 border crossings while you were working at the border for the VJ.
4 Surely, sir, while you were at the border you would have seen what others
5 have described as miles of tractors, people waiting, massing at the
6 border while they were being processed by the MUP.
7 A. I shall say once again that I and my people, well, did not inform
8 me about this. There were cases when some state organ official would be
9 at the border crossing and they could unofficially say that there were
10 people crossing the border. But as far as I know, this started en masse
11 once the aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia started in
12 the territory of Kosovo
13 Q. Yes, and that's in fact what I'm asking about in March. But,
14 sir, if we can look briefly at your statement.
15 MR. BEHAR: This is D569. If we could look at paragraph 11. I
16 apologise, I'm not sure the exact page.
17 Q. We can see, sir, that, in fact, in your own statement you
18 directly state that 837.166 persons left during the time of the war. Do
19 you see that there?
20 A. I don't see it there.
21 Q. Perhaps I have the wrong reference. No, it's there, the second
22 paragraph, in paragraph 11. It's right in the middle of the second
23 paragraph. You see that, sir?
24 A. That's para 11, right? I see the first para 11 here. The second
25 paragraph. Yes, towards the Republic of Albania
1 Metohija. Only during the proclamation of a state of war in the
2 territory of the FRY, 837.166 persons left, et cetera, et cetera. And I
3 underline, this is very important, "I would like to point out that I did
4 not have this information at the time, and I also emphasise that I found
5 this number in media reports just after the NATO aggression. Different
6 media reported different figures. And that's why I stressed my
7 reservation here saying that I did not receive any figures from the MUP
8 but through media reports we found out this number because I thought it
9 important to show what the NATO aggression had done to the population and
10 they were leaving not only towards Albania
11 to Macedonia
12 Q. Sir, you've relied on that figure, and I don't doubt that you may
13 not have had the precise number down to the one at the time, but having
14 accepted a figure of that size, surely, sir, when you were working at the
15 border, you would have observed every day hundreds or thousands of people
16 streaming across the borders, that's all I'm asking you.
17 A. You don't seem to want to understand me. My area of work was the
18 border belt, and we acted in the border belt and we didn't -- we were not
19 present at the border watching people cross. 25 kilometres is the length
20 of the border facing Albania
21 sovereignty of their state and if somebody just happened to be on the
22 border crossing, they would have been able to see these columns. My job
23 was never at the border crossing, but the people who lived and worked in
24 the forbidding terrain of the Junik mountain and Pastrik mountain
25 et cetera.
1 Again, let me emphasise that this number comes from a media
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic.
4 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Without
5 wishing to interrupt my colleague's examination, I would just like to say
6 that when questions like this are asked, perhaps we should first
7 establish where the witness was at the time in order not to go around in
8 circles. I just don't want to suggest or lead in any way.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Carry on, Mr. Behar.
10 MR. BEHAR:
11 Q. Sir, I'll admit to feeling some surprise that these significant
12 events at the border didn't garner more attention at the time, at least
13 from what you are describing. But you have addressed, you did in fact,
14 maybe ten minutes ago mention that you were close to the Djeneral
15 Jankovic border. Can you describe for this Court the situation at the
16 Djeneral Jankovic border crossing in late March and early April of 1999?
17 A. I have to say one thing once again. Sir, please, I did not say I
18 was close to the Djeneral Jankovic border crossing. I said that one of
19 the military installations that watch tower or the border post for
20 accommodation of people was close to the border crossing. I'm really
21 hurt by these insinuations because I said something quite different.
22 Q. Well, sir --
23 MR. BEHAR: I see my friend is on his feet.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic.
25 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] It's precisely my objection. In
1 his evidence the witness never said that he had ever been close to the
2 border crossing, and I just wanted to ask for a reference.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Behar. Don't look back, go forward.
4 MR. BEHAR:
5 Q. Sir, we've heard quite extensive evidence in this case about what
6 was seen at that border crossing. I'm going to ask you some questions,
7 and you can tell us whether that is something that you either saw
8 yourself or were made aware of at the time. We've heard, sir, about
9 freight train cars that were jammed full of people arriving and unloading
10 at that border crossing. We've heard about large numbers of Kosovo
11 Albanians walking between railway tracks into a no-man's land between the
12 Serbian and Macedonian borders. We've heard about masses of Kosovo
13 Albanians remaining in this area, this no-man's land, often for days
14 until they were removed by bus to refugee camps. I understand, sir, that
15 this was a border crossing and that the specific border crossing was
16 under the control of the MUP. What I'm asking you, sir, is given the
17 significance of those events, how unusual those events would have been,
18 what did you see and what did you know about those events at the time?
19 A. About that event that you are putting to me now, I didn't know
20 and hadn't heard anything at the time. I just read in one report that
21 there were quite a few people who were crossing at Djeneral Jankovic,
22 part of them crossed, and another part of them had been turned back. I
23 never said anything different. I underline again, the purview of the
24 border units was outside border crossings and populated areas in the
25 border belt. And, please, I'd appreciate it if I were asked only
1 questions about the border belt and things that were within my purview.
2 And on those questions, I will always provide correct information.
3 Q. Sir, were you familiar with the practice of the Serb forces
4 taking away identification documents from Kosovo Albanians, and I'm
5 referring specifically here to 1999?
6 A. I'm hearing of it for the first time.
7 Q. So your testimony here today, sir, is that up until this very
8 moment, you never heard concerns expressed about Kosovo Albanians having
9 their identity documents taken away from them, either on their way to the
10 border or as they crossed the border?
11 A. I really never heard about that before this day. I never
12 discussed those matters with anyone, and since I was retired, I've never
13 discussed my previous job with anyone.
14 Q. Sir, you would certainly agree that identification documents were
15 of great significance to anyone wanting to cross the border; correct?
16 A. That I can agree with. That is the main document for anyone's
17 movement. You have to prove your identity. It's still so today.
18 Q. Well, sir, we've heard extensive evidence in this case about
19 identification being taken away from Kosovo Albanians on their way to the
20 border and at the border. So let me ask you just yes or no, did you see
21 identification that had been put into piles, taken away from people and
22 put into piles? Yes or no?
23 A. Never. No.
24 Q. Then I guess you've been clear then, sir, that you've never saw
25 any identification being taken away, certainly not being burned?
1 A. I've never seen either because I haven't been at a border
2 crossing with Albania
3 the Albanian border in 1996 when I was going to attend the mixed
4 commission for violations of the border regime, and that was the last
5 time because the Albanian side was no longer willing to convene a meeting
6 of that commission although they had been required to do so by the law.
7 When I was saying goodbye to the Albanians at the Bozaj border crossing
8 that was the last time I was at the Albanian border and at a border
10 Q. You are also saying this is not a practice that you were made
11 aware of by others given your position?
12 A. No, and I wasn't interested in that. I was doing my job, within
13 my competences.
14 Q. Would you agree, sir, that having your identification destroyed,
15 we can deal with it this hypothetically, having one's identification
16 being taken away and destroyed, would make it virtually impossible and at
17 a bear minimum far more difficult for anyone to regain access to Kosovo,
18 to come back into the country?
19 A. I don't think hypothetical questions should be asked here. I
20 came here to tell the truth and nothing but the truth and that's the oath
21 that I made.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please answer the question. [Microphone
23 not activated] The Chamber will determine what questions are proper to be
24 put to you, and you will then please answer.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll answer the question, but it's
1 a hypothetical one. If this, then that. I really don't think it's
2 necessary to take away documents. If anyone had ever done that. I
3 think -- I mean, a document is there to prove your identity and that the
4 authorities can see your personal details from it.
5 MR. BEHAR:
6 Q. In fact, sir, if someone showed up at the border with no
7 identification documents and nothing to identify them, they would not be
8 admitted; correct?
9 A. I believe so because under the law they would not be allowed to
10 let them cross the border.
11 MR. BEHAR: Thank you, sir. Those are my questions for you.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Behar.
13 Mr. Popovic.
14 Re-examination by Mr. Popovic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you. Colonel, when you were answering a
16 question from my learned friend, Mr. Behar, on page 14, I'll para-phrase
17 before I'm able to give you an exact reference. It's lines 9 through 12.
18 The question was:
19 "Bearing in mind the importance of the events on the border, the
20 highest ranking people in the VJ and the MUP had to be informed of what
21 was going on there; is that correct?" And you answered in the
23 Now, I want to ask you, do you know about the system of conveying
24 information within the ministry and how it operated?
25 A. I don't know, and I wasn't interested. It's a completely
1 different sector, a different method of operation. All I know that
2 within the Army of Yugoslavia, battalion commands were duty-bound to
3 inform the corps, and the corps had to inform the General Staff and in
4 the event of violations on the state border, we insisted that the General
5 Staff be also copied that same document because urgent action was
7 Q. So this answer that the supreme authorities had to be informed,
8 is it actually your assumption, you don't have any specific knowledge?
9 A. No, I don't have specific knowledge, but I know that the General
10 Staff was informed about incidents on the state border, those incidents
11 that were within the competence of the army.
12 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we now look at P1526 marked
13 for identification.
14 Q. It's a collegium meeting of the 17th of July. It was much
15 discussed during your evidence and your statement given to the OTP, and I
16 would like to see page 14 in B/C/S.
17 So this is a collegium meeting of 17 July 1998. Colonel, we will
18 look at this last paragraph that you had been asked about. It says:
19 "It is necessary during the day" and you did not emphasise this
20 to the government, "to send a request to expand the border belt facing
22 kilometres until the entry into the Sreves [phoen] area."
23 Now, you didn't emphasise this before, but it says here, you did
24 not emphasise this to the federal government to send a request.
25 A. A proposal had been sent to the federal government to widen the
1 border belt, and in this case of widening, or rather in the proposal, a
2 specific suggestion was made to widen the border belt facing Albania
3 partly Macedonia
4 Q. So on the 17th of July, the federal government had already
5 received it. And it says here you did not emphasise to the federal
7 A. I don't know whose contribution is this, who is saying this.
8 Q. I think General Perisic is speaking here. The Prosecutor asked
9 you about this already. So Perisic is saying this. And we don't have
10 much time. In the next passage, Major-General Smiljanic says, the
11 problem is that the federal government had already approved the widening
12 of the border, so on the 17th of July, the approval of the government
13 already exists apparently, and it is to come into effect on the 20th of
15 A. I cannot be precise now, but I believe this applies to the prior
16 widening of the border belt when it was widened only facing Albania
18 and Sara mountain had already started to smuggle in arms and the need
19 arose to widen the border belt to better protect the border area and put
20 a stop to this terrorist activity. So he probably means the widening
21 only facing Albania
22 and Macedonia
23 Q. Thank you. When we are talking about verifiers from the KVM, let
24 us clear up certain matters that I believe remained unclear. Did you
25 issue verifiers with any permits, or were they required to give you
2 A. First of all, I didn't have frequent contacts with the
3 authorities of the KVM, only as the need arose. However, verifiers,
4 provided notification of each of their movements. They didn't need any
5 special permits. Once they notify their plan, that automatically means
6 they are allowed to go wherever they like. We only wanted to have that
7 plan to be able to protect these people while they were moving within the
8 border belt.
9 Q. Thank you. Was that the governing principle of your relationship
10 in 1998 with them?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did anything change in 1999 in that respect?
13 A. Until the state of war was proclaimed, nothing. When the state
14 of war was proclaimed, my duties ceased.
15 Q. Colonel, when we are talking about your duties concerning the
16 state border, did they encompass the entire border of the Federal
17 Republic of Yugoslavia
18 A. Yes, I was chief of the service for the state border of the FRY,
19 and it was my duty in those unfortunate years to monitor the situation
20 along the entire state border, to take appropriate steps along the entire
21 stretch of the border to protect the FRY and its security and integrity
22 vis-a-vis Albania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, et cetera.
23 Q. Thank you. Were refugees present at all the borders with all the
24 neighbouring countries and within Serbia
25 A. At the Serbian border, the border between Serbia proper and the
1 autonomous province of Kosovo, there were refugees we could see when we
2 were going on a visit. There were Albanians, and Serbs, and Montenegrins
3 among them. People from all ethnic communities that lived in Kosovo. It
4 was a massive flow of people heading north, or north-west. Of course, I
5 could see that when I visited, when I travelled there.
6 Q. Yes, you are now talking about the interior of Serbia?
7 A. Yes, towards Serbia
8 Q. Just to be more precise about certain things you said to the
9 Prosecution, did you go to Kosovo and Metohija in 1999 and if so, how
10 many times, and when?
11 A. It's difficult to remember the dates. During the state of war, I
12 travelled to Kosovo because I wanted to go there, to see these people,
13 and quite simply, I travelled there. I had travelled there even before
14 the state of war was proclaimed to check and inspect the system of state
15 border protection and to see what problems are being encountered and what
16 we at the higher level need to do to facilitate the life and work of
17 those people who are directly involved in securing the state border.
18 Q. Do you know that every citizen of the Federal Republic
20 et cetera?
21 A. That is the case even now. It's a lasting document that has been
22 so for centuries.
23 Q. And if you deprive someone of their ID card, do you erase their
25 A. No.
1 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you. This is
2 the end of my examination, I have no further questions for this witness.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The answer was no, the
4 answer it to the previous question was no.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic.
6 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] If you allow me. Okay, we have the
7 answer on the record now.
8 Questioned by the Court:
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to come back to the number of
10 refugees and crossing the border to Albania and Macedonia
11 this is page 60 of today's transcript, line 14 and the following:
12 "I also emphasise that I found this number in media reports just
13 after the NATO aggression. Different media reports different figures.
14 And that's why I stressed my reservation here saying that I did not
15 receive any figures from the MUP but through media reports we found out
16 this number."
17 In your statement of 2007 you said in paragraph 11:
18 "According to reports of the Serbian MUP Ministry of the
19 Interior, during the time of the war alone, 837.166 persons left the
20 territory of Kosovo
21 and Metohija for the Republic of Albania
22 I'm a little bit astonished about your today's testimony
23 about your source for your information about the number, the very precise
24 number of 837.166 refugees. Could you explain this contradiction?
25 A. I can explain. I found that number in one of the media reports,
1 and I just copied it. I don't know what media it was. But I
2 deliberately took it down because that number was given. I didn't say
3 around 800.000 or around 850.000. This is the precise number I found in
4 a media report, and I really did not have any information at the time. I
5 can say that with full responsibility. Neither I nor the General Staff
6 had any information.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And why did you say when you were examined by the
8 Defence "according to reports of the Serbian MUP" and mentioned that as
9 your source?
10 A. I'll explain that now. I said that because this reporter
11 referred to a MUP of Serbia report, and he said in his article according
12 to the reports of the MUP of Serbia, and that's what I repeated. Whether
13 this information is correct, I don't know to this day. I quoted this
14 number because that was in the report, and I expressed my doubts as to
15 the voracity of the report.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Didn't mention the media and that you read this
17 figure in the media when you were asked in the year 2007?
18 A. I said I didn't have any reports at the time from the MUP. Or
19 maybe that is my omission that I didn't state explicitly that it was
20 according to media reports. That may be my mistake. It's my mistake
21 that I did not give a reference to my source of information because I
22 can't remember which medium it was.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This statement, D569, you gave a precise figure.
24 This morning you said, "different media reports had different figures."
25 Why did you say in 2007 and reported specific number of refugees?
1 A. Because that was a specific piece of information. Everybody said
2 approximately, whereas this was a specific figure. A specific number. I
3 thought that it may have been the case that they had this exact figure.
4 They didn't say around 800, around 500 or whatever, they gave a very
5 specific figure so I thought that that might have been the case.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE PARKER: That completes the questions for you. The Chamber
8 would thank you for your attendance and for the assistance you have been
9 able to give, and you may return to your normal activities now and after
10 we rise, a Court Officer will show you out.
11 We now adjourn to resume at 1.05.
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 1.05 p.m.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Popovic.
16 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would
17 just like to raise a question very briefly before the next witness enters
18 the courtroom. It has to do with witness Gojovic who testified before
19 this Trial Chamber. On that occasion, on behalf of the Defence in
20 relation to one of the documents that was admitted during his testimony,
21 I took it upon myself to make certain corrections in document D510 and to
22 submit these corrections both to our colleagues from the Prosecution and
23 to you as the Trial Chamber.
24 In the meantime, I discussed that with Ms. Gopalan who
25 cross-examined that witness. My colleagues from the OTP tell me that she
1 is not here at the moment, but I would like to inform the Chamber that we
2 did act upon the obligation we took, and we refer to a part of the
3 transcript which is our basis for tendering the document with all its
5 It is uploaded in e-court and right now -- and it is registered
6 as 0112257 in B/C/S and D001-2128 in English. If the Chamber believes
7 that we need to wait for the response of the OTP, of course we can do so,
8 but I would just like to tell you that we did act as instructed by you
9 and we have made sure that you received this.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that. I think we ought, as a matter
11 of courtesy, to wait until Ms. Gopalan can just confirm the position she
12 takes. So if you could arrange a time when she is here to bring that up
13 or else be in a position to communicate her comments when you raise it
14 next. Thank you, Mr. Popovic.
15 The next witness? Is this you, Mr. Popovic, or -- you are
16 handing over to wiser people, are you, Mr. Popovic?
17 MR. POPOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I will agree with you.
18 JUDGE PARKER: And I see Ms. Kravetz and Ms. Petersen. Which way
19 should I look? Ms. Petersen. Thank you.
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation that
24 is shown to you on the card.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
1 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
3 Mr. Popovic. I was distracted by which was the wiser.
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Maybe. Who knows.
5 WITNESS: MILAN RADOICIC
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 Examination by Mr. Djordjevic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Radoicic.
9 A. Good afternoon.
10 Q. I'm going to put some questions to you today in relation to
11 matters that are important for the Djordjevic Defence. Since we speak
12 the same language, I will ask you to be careful to wait for me to finish
13 the question that I'm putting to you so that the interpreters have enough
14 time to interpret that to all of those who do not speak or understand our
15 language. So please give your answer only after that. I am doing this
16 because we have this problem practically on a regular basis. Even I, who
17 has been appearing before this Court for over two years, still seem to
18 have this problem, so I will kindly ask you to focus.
19 A. Very well.
20 Q. Please give me your full name and surname.
21 A. Milan
22 Q. Where were you born?
23 A. In Sietinja [phoen].
24 Q. When?
25 A. On the 11th of March, 1951.
1 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will now briefly
2 tell all in this courtroom what this witness is going to testify about
3 today and probably for part of tomorrow. He will testify about
4 paragraphs 1 to 5 and 16 to 23 of the indictment. He was chief of the
5 office of the commander of the 1st Army from 1994 until the end of 1998
6 until he was appointed deputy chief of office of the Chief of the General
7 Staff of the Yugoslav army. He will explain to us what the main duties
8 were of the head of office of the Chief of General Staff of the Army of
10 co-ordinate all planned, special, and other tasks that were confirmed by
11 the Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia. In that period,
12 the Chief of General Staff was directly subordinated to the president of
13 the Republic of Yugoslavia
14 As such, the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia had the duty,
15 meaning the Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, to prepare
16 all documents and in co-operation with professional relevant elements,
17 sectors, independent departments, and other organisational units of the
18 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia and for the military office of
19 the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
20 The General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia also compiled monthly
21 and weekly plans of work depending on the annual plan for the work of the
22 Army of Yugoslavia
23 that were set during the collegium of the General Staff -- of the Chief
24 of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia
25 confirm that he co-operated on a daily basis with the Colonel Vlajkovic
1 in writing and formulating tasks after the evening briefings and their
2 technical processing and distribution to appropriate organisational units
3 of the staff and the Supreme Command and other state organs if that was
5 The witness will explain how the minutes from the meetings of the
6 collegium of the Supreme Command staff were technically processed and
7 what individuals he did that with. All the transcripts minutes were
9 The witness will also explain the distribution of official
10 communications at the relevant office. He will also explain his
11 attendance at the collegium and also he will say that he was present
12 several times at these meetings when in the evenings, the situation in
13 the theatre of war was discussed.
14 He will confirm that he has no information about the ethnic
15 cleansing of Albanians in the territory of the autonomous province of
16 Kosovo and Metohija at that time.
17 Q. Mr. Radoicic, I would now like to ask you to tell us all where
18 you went to school and which schools you completed. So please tell us
19 about your schooling from the very beginning up until the moment when
20 you --
21 A. I didn't hear the last bit you said.
22 Q. First of all, I wanted to ask you whether you gave a statement on
23 the 17th of August, 2007, to the investigators -- to investigators Ratko
24 Djukanovic and Ilija Isic?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. If you were asked the same questions today, would you repeat
2 everything that you said then?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. That statement is marked as D010-0746, and I would like to have
6 it admitted into evidence, please.
7 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit D00581.
9 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Radoicic, did you testify before this Court in the case of
11 Milutinovic et al.?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Would you same things then that you said -- today that you said
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The transcript is marked D010-3903, and I would like to tender
17 the transcript from Milutinovic et al., please.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
19 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D00582, Your Honours.
20 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Let me go back now to the questions that I started putting to you
22 at a very early stage. Please tell me which schools you completed and
23 when, so I don't want to interrupt you, I'm not going to put any
24 additional questions, let's try to be as efficient as possible so you
25 please go ahead.
1 A. Thank you. I completed elementary and secondary school in
2 Podgorica, which was then called Titograd
3 part of a Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I completed the
4 military economic academy in Belgrade
5 studied law part time, and I ultimately received a master's degree at the
6 Faculty of Law in Osjek in Zagreb
7 received a doctorate and that completes my education. That is what I had
8 to say about my education.
9 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to ask you to describe to us your
10 professional career. Was your first job in the military, or did you
11 actually ever work outside the military, that's a separate question?
12 A. Immediately upon completing the military economic academy
13 according to the system that was in place then and the regulations that
14 were in place then, it was my duty to get employment with the Yugoslav
15 People's Army. That involved inter alia that I was prepared to be
16 transferred anywhere in the territory of the Socialist Federal Republic
17 of Yugoslavia
18 professional duties took me throughout the territory of Yugoslavia
19 Towards the end of my career, I resided in Belgrade and up until the end
20 of my career, I was in Belgrade
21 As for the duties I had when I arrived in Belgrade and after I
22 got my degree in law was head of the office of the commander of the 1st
23 Army, as you already said. That was from 1994, and then up until the end
24 of my career, I held positions that were at that level but in different
25 institutions from the level of the office of the commander of the army up
1 to the minister of defence. So it was the commander of the 1st Army then
2 of the Yugoslav People's Army, later on the VJ, the Army of Yugoslavia,
3 then the deputy head of office of the Chief of General Staff of the Army
4 of Yugoslavia
5 the Army of Yugoslavia
6 office of the federal defence minister, when it was the federal defence
7 minister and finally of the minister of defence of Yugoslavia.
8 So Serbia
9 April, 2003
10 He is now president of Serbia
11 possible terms, and those were the jobs I held as a professional member
12 of the Army of Yugoslavia, the JNA, and finally the Army of Serbia. That
13 would be it.
14 Q. Were you decorated?
15 A. Several times.
16 Q. Your retirement, was it regular?
17 A. Yes, the procedure was completely regular.
18 Q. Colonel, which post did you occupy during the NATO attack against
19 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until the end of that conflict?
20 A. At that time I was officially deputy chief of office of the Chief
21 of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, and in the period from
22 the beginning of the aggression until the end of the aggression, I was
23 deputy chief of office of the Chief of the Supreme Command staff. To
24 laymen, this may sound like the same thing, but there is a subtle
1 Q. Well, I needed a clarification of that myself while I was
2 proofing you.
3 What is the difference between the General Staff in peacetime,
4 that's how the institution was called, and the Supreme Command staff, and
5 while you are explaining that, compare your duties in peacetime with
6 those in war time?
7 A. In peacetime, the armed forces have at the top of the pyramid
8 because there is a system of subordination that looks like a pyramid, and
9 at the top of that pyramid there was the General Staff of the armed
10 forces. It used to be in the past the General Staff of the JNA, but with
11 the constitutional amendments and the changes in Yugoslavia, the latest
12 organisational form was the General Staff of the armed forces.
13 At that time I was deputy chief of office of the Chief of the
14 General Staff of the VJ. Under the circumstances that everyone is well
15 aware of during the aggression, the entire defence system, everything
16 that is stipulated by the defence law as opposed to the Law on the Army,
17 we all functioned in keeping with that law. But with the proclamation of
18 the state of war, the entire defence system, in addition to armed forces,
19 integrated all the other available parts of the defence system so that
20 the General Staff switched from its peacetime function to the Supreme
21 Command staff, expanding its duties.
22 It's not easy to compare the functions in peacetime with a system
23 of defence governed by the Supreme Command staff in war. The duties
24 multiplied. The Supreme Command staff is a much more complex institution
25 compared to the General Staff of the VJ. You cannot really compare these
2 Q. What did that mean in terms of your duties? There were duties
3 you performed while there was General Staff of the armed forces. What
4 did you do when you became part of the Supreme Command staff? What did
5 that mean for you?
6 A. Well, for me and all those who were involved, it meant that our
7 duties multiplied to a high degree, and it was completely impossible to
8 predict what the war was going to bring, and it was a big question
9 whether we would be able to meet the requirements of the new situation.
10 It's very difficult to explain this briefly.
11 Q. All right. Would you now describe your personal involvement in
12 the days when you were at the Supreme Command staff. For instance, did
13 you have working hours? If so, what were they, what were your duties,
14 how did you organise yourself at the time. And a third question within
15 this one, did anyone stand in for you when you had to rest or be absent
16 for whatever reason?
17 A. We were all aware that this was a situation when our engagement
18 had to extend beyond our real physical abilities and the number of our
19 duties multiplied by the day, and even by the hour. And we had to deal
20 with it by carrying out our assignments. Everything else was on a back
21 burner including our normal rest. No one even gave it any thought.
22 If the Chief of the Supreme Command staff and his man number two
23 were involved in that way, care had also be taken to avoid complete
24 exhaustion of the personnel. So every day we were concerned how long we
25 could keep this up, and we made something that looked like a plan,
1 including a plan for replaceability or interchangeability, including for
2 me and Mr. Stojiljkovic [as interpreted], in view of the duties that were
3 multiplying constantly. And this monitoring by our superiors and these
4 plans kept us from coming to a point where every individual would be
5 completely exhausted, but we were certainly exerting ourselves to the
7 There were no normal working hours, and in the 72 days that the
8 bombing lasted, we worked from morning until dawn because we knew that
9 the way we tackled our obligations could either lead to a successful
10 outcome or to grave consequences that we couldn't even foresee.
11 Q. I'm sorry, I have to intervene. I'm sorry if I misheard, but on
12 page 82, line 4, I see the name Stojiljkovic. Did you say Stojilkovic or
14 A. It must be an error, because I said Vlajkovic.
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Page 82, line 4, should be
16 Vlajkovic instead of Stojiljkovic.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can see that. Although I
18 hadn't paid attention.
19 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Never mind, it's just a slip of
20 the tongue.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, but even in line -- oh,
22 no, no, sorry, that's your intervention.
23 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, that's my correction.
24 Q. Colonel, would you please try in the form of narrative to
25 describe what specifically you did on your job at that time, when I say
1 that time, I mean for the duration of the war. You were in the office of
2 the Chief of the General Staff as deputy to Mr. Vlajkovic. We want to
3 know what you were doing, what Mr. Vlajkovic was doing, what your
4 obligations were, was there anything different in the way you carried out
5 these duties, and if so, what were the differences?
6 A. I think there's one thing you should focus on one thing -- I'm
7 sorry, okay. There are running corrections to the transcript. You
8 mentioned the General Staff. At that time it was no longer the General
9 Staff, it was the Supreme Command staff. And I was deputy chief of
10 office of the Chief of the Supreme Command staff.
11 I emphasise this because I said before, it's almost impossible to
12 compare the duties of the General Staff with those of the Supreme Command
13 staff. And I would suggest to you to pay attention to this.
14 Q. Mr. Radoicic, it was my mistake this time. I meant the Supreme
15 Command staff.
16 A. Well, the entire office and the entire Supreme Command staff were
17 at that time at a certain location in a facility that had much earlier in
18 peacetime been prepared for unhindered work of the Supreme Command staff
19 in emergencies, like the one that actually occurred.
20 It was designed to serve that purpose, it was specially built,
21 and it did indeed serve the purpose completely. There were certain
22 restrictions, of course, because it's a different feeling to be working
23 underground, and some people suffered from claustrophobia, that's the
24 feeling you get when for prolonged periods of time you cannot get fresh
25 air or air the room or open a window. And working under those
1 circumstances and the feeling that you were underground was one of the
2 factors that created some sort of psychological resistance in some
4 Those were the objective circumstances. Now, as far as I'm
5 concerned, in view of the situation in the country and the fact that an
6 extraordinary situation, a state of emergency had been proclaimed,
7 everything was an emergency and that affected the numbers and the
8 character of our work. The people, the number of people who served the
9 General Staff in peacetime, and the number of people serving on the
10 Supreme Command staff were the same. The numbers did not increase for
11 some reasons unknown to me. Probably because there was a need to deploy
12 people in an optimal way. And Mr. Vlajkovic as chief of the office and
13 me as his deputy saw our duties multiplied, which meant that we had to
14 invest a lot more effort and that in its turn caused a great strain.
15 However, two or three days later when we had already adjusted to
16 some extent to the extraordinary duties we were performing, we tried to
17 make some sort of plan to achieve an optimum deployment of our resources
18 and personnel, but I also have to emphasise that in addition to those
19 tasks that were expected, unexpected tasks occurred every day.
20 Mr. Vlajkovic and I no longer really worried much about what were
21 strictly his duties and what were mine. We had a normal co-operation on
22 a human level, and we adjusted by the hour to ensure the best possible
23 work of the Supreme Command staff, and our job descriptions extended and
24 expanded all the time in view of what was going on in the territory of
25 our entire country. Except for the chief of the Supreme Command staff,
1 we needed to meet the requirements of all the other agencies that the
2 Supreme Command staff was working with, including strategic groups on the
3 ground, and in the work-place of the Supreme Command staff itself, which
4 involved also the president of the Supreme Defence Council, who was then
5 the president of the country, so the Chief of the Supreme Command staff
6 had very complex duties at the time, and his office had to support him
7 fully at all times and provide proposals for all the tasks that he had to
8 deal with.
9 In addition to those regular duties, the office had on a daily
10 basis to maintain direct communication with all the units and commands
11 including the strategic groups, that means the 1st Army, 2nd Army, 3rd
12 Army commands, air defence, and air force navy, federal authorities,
13 federal government, et cetera. It's a whole range of communications
14 wherein the chief of the office had to function efficiently with full
15 responsibility, and those were his requirements and our responsibilities.
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, since my next
17 question will require an answer not less than 15 minutes long, preferably
18 uninterrupted, I suggest that we adjourn a minute earlier and continue
19 tomorrow. It would be wiser, perhaps.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We will adjourn now and resume
21 tomorrow and continue the evidence of the witness then. So we adjourn
22 until tomorrow.
23 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE PARKER: The Court Officer will assist you.
25 [The witness stands down]
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
2 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 9th day of
3 February, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.