1 Thursday, 18 October 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, everyone.
7 Before entering the courtroom, I was told by the Registrar that
8 today marks the 300th trial day.
9 Well, before we begin today the Chamber would like to deal with
10 one pending matter. On the 11th of October, 2012, the Registrar issued a
11 decision on the accused's indigency in which he determined that the
12 accused should financially contribute to his own defence. On the
13 15th of October, 2012, the accused filed a request for an extension of
14 time, namely, until 26th of November, 2012, in which to file an
15 application for a review of the Registrar's decision.
16 In support of this request, the accused argues that the extension
17 is needed because the issues involved in the review are complex, his
18 defence case has commenced, and he is presently litigating a number of
19 issues before the Appeals Chamber. The accused also seeks access to a
20 confidential and ex parte decision from another case because it is
21 referred to in footnotes 40 and 58 of the confidential and ex parte
22 appendix 2 to the Registrar's decision. The Chamber notes that in
23 footnote 40 of that appendix, the Registrar expresses willingness to
24 disclose the said decision if ordered to do so by the Chamber. The
25 Chamber also notes that on the 15th of October, 2012, the Prosecution
1 informed the Chamber and the accused via e-mail that it did not intend to
2 file a response to the accused's request.
3 Having considered the accused's request, the Chamber has decided
4 to grant the extension of time sought; thus the accused shall file his
5 application for a review of the Registrar's decision by no later than
6 26th November 2012. The Chamber also orders the Registry to provide the
7 accused with the confidential and ex parte decision referred to in
8 footnotes 40 and 58 of the confidential and ex parte appendix 2 to the
9 Registrar's decision.
10 Further, there is one matter I would like to clarify with the
11 accused in relation to the associated exhibit with Mr. Kovacevic's
12 evidence. One of the items was noted as 1D2337 in his notification, but,
13 actually, if we look at the paragraph 49 of the Statute [sic] it refers
14 to 1D8452. But the trouble is that the 1D8452 does not appear on
15 e-court, and I'm not sure the correct document may be 1D2337. So in the
16 meantime if the Defence could check it out.
17 Yes, Ms. Edgerton.
18 Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to give the witness a warning we
20 General Kovacevic, before you start giving evidence, I would like
21 to draw your attention to a particular rule here at the
22 Yugoslav Tribunal. Under this rule, Rule 90(E), you may object to
23 answering a question from the Prosecution or the accused or from the
24 Judges if you believe that your answer will incriminate you. When I say
25 "incriminate," I mean that something you say may amount to an admission
1 of your guilt for a criminal offence or could provide evidence that you
2 have committed an offence. However, even if you think your answer will
3 incriminate you and you do not wish to answer the question, the Tribunal
4 has the discretion to oblige you to answer the question. But in such a
5 case, the Tribunal will make sure that your testimony compelled in such a
6 way shall not be used as evidence in other case against you for any
7 offence other than false testimony.
8 General, do you understand what I have just told you?
9 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
10 JUDGE KWON: Have you heard the translation? Has the microphone
11 been activated? Yes, could you repeat your answer.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did.
13 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
14 Yes, Ms. Edgerton.
15 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
16 WITNESS: BLAGOJE KOVACEVIC [Resumed]
17 [The witness answered through interpreter]
18 Cross-examination by Ms. Edgerton:
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kovacevic.
20 A. [In English] Good morning.
21 Q. Listening to Dr. Karadzic read a summary of your evidence
22 yesterday, I was struck by a couple of things I wanted to clear up with
23 you, kind of preliminary things, before we begin, if that's okay. First,
24 when you met with me a couple of days ago - and thank you for that - you
25 clarified your present occupation and said that you were actually at this
1 time working with the Federal Ministry of Defence as an advisor in
2 education and training; is that correct?
3 A. [Interpretation] Yes, it is.
4 Q. How does that make you an active officer within the armed forces
5 of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
6 A. Some of the personnel of the armed forces are also employees of
7 the Ministry of Defence.
8 Q. And your rank is actually brigadier, not brigadier-general; is
9 that correct?
10 A. I did say that I was a brigadier. That is actually the highest
11 rank for the officers that we have.
12 Q. And also in reading out a summary of your evidence, Dr. Karadzic
13 said this, he said:
14 "Passage of humanitarian convoys was completely unhindered by
15 Serb forces."
16 And then I looked at paragraph 39 of your statement, I saw that
17 you really hadn't said that but what you said on the subject of
18 humanitarian aid was pretty specific. So just to avoid any wrong
19 impressions, I thought I would read to you what you said at paragraph 39.
20 You said:
21 "At Grbavica there was a passage through which humanitarian
22 relief convoys passed, and I know that Adra, which was a Muslim
23 humanitarian organisation, and Caritas, which was a Croatian organisation
24 crossed over to the other side of town unhindered via the bridge near the
25 school of economics."
1 So you were actually referring to passage at a specific location
2 of two specific charities into Grbavica and nothing wider than that;
4 A. That's correct, yes.
5 Q. Thank you. And now just one more sort of preliminary thing. The
6 summary of your evidence referred to something called the 110th Brigade
7 of the ABiH 1st Corps, which you said in your statement at paragraph 18
8 was commanded by Dusan Topalovic. But given your position at the time of
9 the conflict and what you said you knew about Muslim units in Sarajevo,
10 you must have known that there was never actually any 110th Brigade in
11 Sarajevo and Topalovic's brigade was called the 10th Mountain Brigade;
12 isn't that right?
13 A. There may have been a mistake in the transcript.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the designation
15 of the unit.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that Dusan Topalovic was its
18 MS. EDGERTON:
19 Q. I'm sorry, but I think the interpreters didn't hear the first
20 part of what you said about the unit, the designation of the unit. Could
21 you just repeat that for them.
22 A. There may have been a mistake in the transcript. The 1st Corps,
23 the 1st Brigade, was 1.0, which means 10, the 10th Mountain Brigade. I
24 know that for a fact and I know that Dusan Topalovic, Caco, was its
1 Q. Thank you. That was just to clarify the designation of the
2 brigade as it appeared in your statement. And Topalovic was killed and
3 his unit was eliminated in October 1993; correct?
4 A. The unit was not eliminated. The unit was reformed, reorganised
5 in a way. However, in its essence it remained the same.
6 Q. And was Topalovic killed in October 1993?
7 A. I heard that. I learned that from the media. I can't claim that
8 he was.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, just to focus on your time in the
10 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade for a while, you said you were chief of
11 operations and training in that brigade. What does that mean? What was
12 your job there?
13 A. At that time my job was to organise the training of the units of
14 the 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade.
15 Q. And what does the chief of operations do?
16 A. A brigade does not have the chief of operations. Operations and
17 training are one and the same; they are unified.
18 Q. So who planned operations within the brigade?
19 A. The brigade staff plans operations.
20 Q. Now, I remember you told me a couple of days ago that you were
21 number three in the brigade. Does that mean that you were part of the
22 brigade staff?
23 A. Yes, I was a staff member.
24 Q. So you were involved in the planning of brigade operations?
25 A. Yes, I was, indeed.
1 Q. Thank you. Now, just to move on to some of the areas of tactical
2 responsibility of your brigade, I'd just like to give you a couple of
3 landmark locations and have you confirm whether or not those were within
4 your brigade's area of responsibility. And the first location I'd like
5 to ask you about is the Orthodox church at Veljine. Was that within the
6 area of tactical responsibility of the 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade?
7 A. I'm not familiar with the term Veljine. Do you mean Veljine
8 church? It was in the zone of responsibility of the
9 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade.
10 Q. Yes, that's the -- that's the church I mean. Thank you. How
11 about the Slavisa Vajner-Cica barracks at Lukavica?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. The length of Ozrenska Street?
14 A. Ozrenska, Ulica is much longer. So one part of the street was
15 under the control of the 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade, but the other
16 part wasn't.
17 Q. How about the skyscrapers at what's now Grbavicka Street, that
18 would be skyscrapers in particular at number 6, 6A, and number 8.
19 A. I'm not familiar with their numbers, the numbers of the
20 skyscrapers, but I'm familiar with the names of the streets. One was
21 Milutina Djuraskovica Street and there was a skyscraper there on the
22 left-hand side and it was in the zone of responsibility of the
23 1st Brigade.
24 Q. Maybe I can show you a picture because it's easier sometimes to
25 see pictures. We don't know the addresses always of these buildings.
1 MS. EDGERTON: Could I have 65 ter 23858, please.
2 Q. These skyscrapers, Brigadier, were they in your area of
4 A. Is this on the left bank of the Miljacka river?
5 Q. It's on the south bank of the Miljacka river.
6 A. My zone of responsibility was not there so I don't know whether
7 those facilities were occupied were not. They could have also been some
8 sort of interspace between various units.
9 Q. These are within your brigade, Brigadier, and these are the
10 skyscrapers at Grbavicka 6 , 6A, 8, and 8A. Were they in your brigade's
11 area of responsibility?
12 A. In that case, yes, they were. If they are on the left bank of
13 the Miljacka river, then, yes, they were.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MS. EDGERTON: We don't need that picture anymore.
16 Q. The Vrace monument, was that in your area of responsibility?
17 A. Yes, it was.
18 Q. Osmice?
19 A. If you are referring only to the bed and breakfast facility
20 Osmice, then yes, but not the entire Osmice.
21 Q. The bed and breakfast facility, yes, thank you. Zlatiste?
22 A. Zlatiste is also a feature which also featured a tower. The
23 tower was in our hands, under our control, but Zlatiste as an area was
24 not, not an entire area.
25 Q. And how far east did your brigade's area of responsibility go?
1 A. It's very difficult to talk about the area of responsibility. It
2 is, indeed, a military term; however, our units were undermanned so in
3 effect they had no depth. So instead of talking about zones of
4 responsibility, you should rather talk about front lines.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I ask to clarify something in
6 the transcript. In the transcript it says that "they didn't go
7 in-depth," whereas the general, or rather, the brigadier said that they
8 did not have the necessary depth and I think that there is a major
9 difference there.
10 JUDGE KWON: Very well. That will be clarified by the CLSS later
12 Let's continue.
13 MS. EDGERTON:
14 Q. Taking onboard your comment, can you tell me how far to the east
15 the area or zone or line held by your brigade extended?
16 A. The average depth of defence for the brigade was conditional upon
17 the deployment of the units in the zone. The command post and the
18 artillery positions were in-depth, about 2 to 3 kilometres, not more than
20 Q. I keep asking you about east and you keep telling me about depth.
21 I wonder if we have a problem understanding one another?
22 A. Looking from the point of view, the 1st Sarajevo Brigade was
23 eastwards from Sarajevo.
24 Q. Did it go as far as --
25 JUDGE KWON: Just a second.
1 Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I believe that Brigadier Kovacevic
3 said that it didn't occupy the area east of Sarajevo. I believe that his
4 answer was negative rather than positive, and that may have an impact on
5 the further course of Madam Edgerton's cross-examination.
6 JUDGE KWON: Just a second.
7 Shall I ask the witness to repeat his answer?
8 Yes, Mr. Kovacevic.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 1st Sarajevo Brigade did not
10 have a front line facing Sarajevo from the east. It was rather from the
11 south. That was part of the front line. The front line, however, was
12 fragmented, so you cannot really say that it was in the east or in the
13 west. It would be impossible to state that.
14 JUDGE KWON: Very well.
15 MS. EDGERTON:
16 Q. I'll just leave that and come back to that later. Thank you.
17 Brigadier, your brigade, let's talk more about your brigade and its units
18 and its battalions, your brigade had among its battalions a mixed
19 artillery battalion and an anti-aircraft battalion; correct?
20 A. Correct, yes.
21 Q. Where was the command post of the mixed artillery battalion?
22 A. It was in Tilava. And to be more precise, it was in Uzdojnice.
23 Q. Were those the firing points or the firing positions of that
24 battalion or were there additional positions?
25 A. Everything was there, the basic positions, the reserve positions.
1 In other words, the unit spent the entire war there.
2 Q. And what heavy weapons did it have at those locations?
3 A. What do you mean when you say "heavy weapons"? It was a standard
4 type of unit.
5 Q. If I was to be more precise perhaps I could say: What heavy
6 weapons of 120 millimetres and above did it have at those locations?
7 A. I know that it had a 122-millimetre howitzer battery,
8 155-millimetre battery, and VBR Plamen battery 128-millimetre.
9 Q. How many weapons form a battery?
10 A. In principle, between four to eight pieces, but not necessarily.
11 Depends largely on any given situation.
12 Q. And what's a Plamen?
13 A. This is the small multi-rocket launcher used for closer-range
15 Q. And were there any 120-millimetre mortars also located with the
16 mixed artillery battalion at these locations?
17 A. In a mixed artillery battalion there were no 120-millimetre
18 mortars. However, I know that there was an agreement on the
19 concentration and control of weapons, and according to that agreement
20 that type of weaponry was transferred from all infantry battalions to
21 that particular battalion. All that time at the command post of that
22 battalion there was an observer mission of the United Nations. I
23 remember Sanja Zverovic [phoen] who was their permanent interpreter. The
24 rest of the staff changed. I must also add to this that due to frequent
25 incidents in Sarajevo very often it was insisted upon UNPROFOR to confirm
1 whether fire was opened or whether it wasn't opened. The log-book that
2 was kept at that command post would be very good material for this type
3 of exercise.
4 Q. We'll come back to this in more detail, but when you just
5 referred to a log-book do you mean an artillery log-book?
6 A. Each unit keeps its own record. Here I was referring to the
7 log-book kept by UNPROFOR observers in which they recorded each and every
8 fire opened from any point and from any zone where they were.
9 Q. Oh, but I was referring to an artillery log-book. Did the
10 brigade, since you know what kind of log-books seem to be kept there, did
11 the brigade keep an artillery log-book that noted each and every fire
12 from every point and what the results of that engagement of fire might
13 have been?
14 A. A brigade keeps a field diary and it records the operations of
15 all units, not only artillery. And the results achieved can only be
16 assumed. You cannot enter into a log-book the impact of a specific
17 projectile. The people simply wouldn't know that.
18 Q. All right. Thank you. We'll leave that for the moment and just
19 continue on with the battalions in your brigade. You confirmed you had
20 an anti-aircraft battalion, and where was that located? Where was its
21 command post?
22 A. The PVO battalion was practically pointless because in 1992 or
23 July of 1992, due to the hand-over of the airport to the United Nations,
24 in the area of the Sarajevo airport all PVO pieces of weaponry were
25 withdrawn by us from the area around the airport. To all intents and
1 purposes there was no effectively functional PVO artillery in Sarajevo,
2 only some of the 20-millimetre guns or 30-millimetre guns served as
3 anti-infantry weapons because it is possible to use them for that
5 Q. Thanks for that answer, but I actually asked you something
6 completely different and that was where the headquarters was located.
7 A. In practical terms it did not operate at all. It was attached to
8 the artillery unit. It existed there as a matter of formality, but it
9 was not there practically.
10 Q. And the 20- and 30-millimetre guns that were used as
11 anti-infantry weapons, where were they then deployed?
12 A. They were deployed on the outer ring, as we used to call it,
13 around Sarajevo towards Trnovo, then some of them were in Praca towards
14 Gorazde. Some of them were in Nisici, conditionally speaking, facing
15 Olovo. So these artillery pieces could be more effective in an open area
16 rather than in urban areas. They cannot be used in urban areas.
17 Q. So they were within the battalions?
18 A. Yes, they were given to infantry battalions, that's right.
19 Q. And you also had a tank battalion within the brigade; correct?
20 A. Yes, there was an armoured battalion in the brigade. It was
21 deployed, or rather, one company was deployed at the old airport called
22 Butmir, where now is situated the base of the European forces in
23 Sarajevo. Another company was in Jahorinski Potok at Pale a little bit
24 further from Pale towards Praca. And there was another company in
1 Q. And how many tanks did the armoured battalion have?
2 A. In principle, three or four and 27 tanks, but in this specific
3 instance that was not the case, there were fewer than that.
4 Q. And what kind were they, T55s? T34s?
5 A. All the tanks were T55.
6 Q. All right. I want to go on to another topic now and it's the
7 topic of snipers, because in your statement you said, "There were no
8 trained professional snipers in my unit." And I'm actually not sure what
9 we're supposed to understand for that. And you use the word "unit" a lot
10 in your statement, so sometimes we can only guess what you're referring
11 to. So here when you said that, did you mean to refer to your brigade or
12 your battalion or something else?
13 A. When I spoke in my statement, you can make a clear distinction in
14 terms of what the unit was at the time when I was the chief of the
15 operations and training department in the brigade. I was describing the
16 situation and what I was doing there at the time. When I was the
17 battalion commander I described the situation pertaining to that
18 position, so I don't know what is it you don't understand so please can
19 you be more specific in your question.
20 Q. Sure. When you said there were no trained professional snipers
21 in my unit, were you referring to the battalion or the brigade?
22 JUDGE KWON: Shall we show the passage to the witness?
23 MS. EDGERTON: Absolutely. So it's paragraph 36 of P2331. And
24 of course he'd need to see the version in his own language.
25 JUDGE KWON: So could you read out the passage para 36 or -- yes,
1 para 36 and for the benefit of the witness could you kindly read out that
3 MS. EDGERTON:
4 Q. Brigadier, in paragraph 36 you said:
5 "There were no trained professional snipers in my unit. The
6 story about snipers in Sarajevo is unnecessary, if one knows and takes
7 into account the fact that snipers fire at salient targets at greater
8 distances. At all positions in Sarajevo, and in particular my unit, fire
9 could be opened by weapons of any type including shot-guns because the
10 distances are very small. I had information that there existed snipers
11 in the units of the 1st ABH Corps ranged against us."
12 So by "unit" here, are you referring to the brigade or the
14 A. Here I was referring to the battalion because I spoke from that
15 position, but I can also tell you what is the case with the brigade
16 because I am familiar with that too since I was the person in charge of
17 training units. I had never organised nor conducted any training of
18 snipers. Snipers in units are selected on the basis of their physical
19 and psychological features and traits, based on their inclinations, and
20 they are subjected to special shooting training. They are giving a
21 special VES, which is a military specialty recorded in their military
22 card, and I can categorically assert that in the 1st
23 Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade there were no such personnel.
24 When I said that it was unnecessary, you can see in the maps that
25 you have shown me that the separation lines were 20 to 50 metres on the
1 average. Any person who knows anything about weapons will understand
2 that optical devices cannot be used at these ranges. That all small
3 infantry weapons can be used in such situations, that is true, and that
4 from the military point of view setting up sniper fire is completed
6 Q. So when we talk about, for example, the group of snipers that
7 were commanded by Nebojsa Ivkovic who operated in the area of the
8 2nd Battalion, who are we talking about then? Are we talking about
9 specially trained snipers or are we talking about pretty good
10 sharpshooters who could fire at targets with small infantry weapons?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I be of assistance with the
12 interpretation? Sharpshooters are those who fire; that's how it's
13 translated in our language. And that's not what the witness received in
14 terms of translation because this specific term is very rarely used.
15 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Thank you.
16 Now can you answer the question?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please repeat the question
18 because of this.
19 MS. EDGERTON:
20 Q. Sure. In these buildings that we showed you the picture of
21 earlier on at Grbavicka Street, for example, there was a sniper unit that
22 was operational commanded by Nebojsa Ivkovic and others. Now -- so when
23 we talk about that unit what type of shooter are we talking about, a
24 sniper or sharpshooters firing at targets with small infantry weapons?
25 A. Nebojsa Ivkovic was never in the 3rd Infantry Battalion, never.
1 I heard of this man towards the end of the war. I saw him at Grbavica
2 and I also don't think that he had any role in the 2nd Battalion either
3 but I'm not sure of that. I have to tell you that the
4 1st Sarajevo Brigade had never issued such order because otherwise I as
5 the commander of the battalion would have received it. There were
6 individuals, however, who wanted to portray themselves as being some sort
7 of specialists in order to boost their image. I suppose that's how he
8 represented himself, but I don't know that in the 1st Sarajevo Brigade
9 there was no organised sniper group, and, frankly speaking, I don't know
10 what the purpose would be of such a group.
11 Q. Are you disputing that the brigade had firing positions in the
12 buildings on Grbavicka Street?
13 A. No, I'm not disputing that they had firing positions. However, I
14 dispute that they had sniper groups; that was not the case. The brigade
15 did not organise such things. I know that for sure and I'm positive,
16 otherwise I would have received an order to that effect.
17 Q. For people in these firing positions, were they equipped with any
18 special arms that would help them carry out their mission?
19 A. I know for sure exactly what kind of weapons were issued to
20 1st Sarajevo Brigade. Not a single piece out of establishment or beyond
21 establishment was issued to the 1st Sarajevo Brigade.
22 Q. Can you explain to us what we're supposed to understand when you
23 say "establishment," establishment weapons?
24 A. Well, probably you had an opportunity to see how the units are
25 formed. It is very exactly specified, the manpower, the weaponry, and
1 how units are formed. Brigades are not group kind of motley crew in
2 which everyone does whatever they please.
3 Q. Maybe we can try again and I can help you with this by showing
4 you a document.
5 MS. EDGERTON: Can we see 65 ter 23823, please. And we should
6 have it available in translation and the original language. It's
7 dated -- it's from Veljko Stojanovic, commander of the 1st Sarajevo
8 Mechanised Brigade, dated 29 October 1993 to General Galic. I think you
9 need to collapse the text on the right-hand side of the page and give us
10 the original document. Thank you.
11 Q. So, Brigadier, this document is issued by your brigade's
12 commander, Stojanovic, responding to General Galic's order and informing
13 General Galic that the brigade possesses four M48 7.9-millimetre rifles
14 with optical sights; two 7.62-millimetre semi-automatic rifles with
15 optical sights; three M48 7.62-millimetre machine-guns with optical
16 sights; 12, 7.9-millimetre sniper rifles; ten M76 7.9-millimetre sniper
17 rifles; two 7.62-millimetre rifles with passive infrared sights; four
18 silencers; and four 7.62-millimetre rifle silencers. And
19 Colonel Stojanovic says within your brigade they had no separate sniper
20 unit but had sniper guns among soldiers within the brigades and they were
21 active when they were at the front lines. So are these establishment
23 A. Yes. May I comment on this?
24 Q. Of course.
25 A. The 1st Sarajevo Corps and the 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade
1 didn't have units only facing the city. Only a few units were deployed
2 there. The majority of units were deployed in the manoeuvre area towards
3 the outer ring. And this is where this type of weapons is prominent and
4 it is only natural for the commander to know whether all these weapons
5 were provided. So there is nothing special about it. There was nothing
6 extraordinary that was not regularly brought to these units. The
7 Croatian and the Muslim forces had identical weaponry.
8 Q. Are you saying that brigade units at the confrontation line in
9 Sarajevo did not possess any of these weapons?
10 A. Please. An optical sight can be mounted on any kind of rifle,
11 including hunting rifles. But each person having this kind of weapons
12 does not mean that this person is a sniper. In that case you can say
13 that all hunters are snipers if you apply that logic.
14 Q. Just talking about units deployed on the inner ring - just
15 talking about that for a moment - who used these weapons, what would
16 their mission be?
17 A. I told you a moment ago at distances where the front part of the
18 1st Sarajevo Brigade was deployed in populated areas, these are places
19 where due to the closeness of the ranges it was impossible to use optical
20 devices. I cannot explain maybe to the detail to you what urban
21 operations mean.
22 Q. Units, the inner ring who used these weapons, who planned their
24 A. There can be no planning on fire. A soldier is either in a
25 trench or within a facility. He's observing the area in front of him and
1 whatever appears there that poses a danger he will open fire; if there's
2 no danger, there's no need for that.
3 Q. What kind of reporting did these units have to make? Did they
4 have to report every kill?
5 A. The person who fires a shot, he doesn't know whether he made a
6 kill or not. So how can he send a report to that effect? This is beyond
8 Q. Are you saying that a person firing a rifle shot wouldn't see
9 target impact? I don't quite understand.
10 A. I understand that you don't understand me because you were not in
11 this position. A soldier on the line makes his own decision whether he
12 will shoot or not based on the risk assessment that he himself makes. If
13 he were really in danger and if he waited to send a report and then wait
14 for an order to open fire, he would have been killed a hundred times in
15 the meantime. So that is completely pointless and senseless. Generally
16 speaking, when the chain of command is set up, an order is issued what
17 kind of regime fire is going to be applied. And most often amongst our
18 ranks we had to wait because we were forced to prove that we were not the
19 ones who opened fire first but rather did it in self-defence.
20 Unfortunately, due to that we suffered losses.
21 Q. Let's go on to -- thank you for that. Let's go on to one other unit
22 within your battalion. In your statement at paragraph 43 you talked about
23 volunteers in the ranks of your unit and by that - and since we're talking
24 about your battalion - are you -- do you mean to refer to Slavko Aleksic?
25 A. I was not referring to him alone. He was one of the volunteers.
1 Actually, he was not a volunteer, he was the man who lived at the Jewish cemetery
2 and he felt the need to portray himself as a Chetnik which was basically
3 contrary to what he was actually doing because he had been mobilised, just like
4 everybody else, in a regular procedure, and he was in that position. I don’t
5 think that his political orientation as a radical should be linked to what he
6 was doing. It has nothing to do with it. Slavko Aleksic was not a member of
7 the paramilitary. You can check this and find evidence of it because, just
8 like all the others, it can be found in the basic VOB8 book, including all
9 the members of his unit. It was no paramilitary. They were people who for
10 political reasons portrayed themselves as Chetniks and radicals but were local
11 people. There were volunteers from other countries among them as well.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There's an error in the transcript again.
13 It should say he represented himself as a Chetnik and a radical, not Chetnik
14 and volunteer. And earlier the witness said he had not been a volunteer.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That’s right.
16 JUDGE KWON: Yes, very well.
17 Yes, Ms. Edgerton.
18 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
19 Q. Aleksic --
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The witness confirmed what I said
21 but it's not recorded in the transcript.
22 JUDGE KWON: In any event, the -- CLSS will sort it out later on.
23 MS. EDGERTON:
24 Q. Did Aleksic's unit have mortars?
25 A. No.
1 Q. What kind of fire-arms did they have?
2 A. Infantry weapons without any large calibres, nothing larger than
3 a light machine-gun or a machine-gun.
4 Q. Did they have sniper rifles?
5 A. Just like all other units. That was called anti-armoured
6 company. They had hand-held launchers for anti-armour combatted and they
7 had only rifles within that unit, nothing else.
8 Q. What were their mission?
9 A. Their exclusive and standing mission was not to allow passage
10 through the Jewish cemetery, and their defence line was the entry into
11 the Bosut barracks, which is on the edge of the Jewish cemetery, until
12 the roundabout road in Sarajevo. That's where they started the war and
13 where they finished it, at the wall of the Jewish cemetery.
14 Q. Who provided equipment and materiel to Aleksic's unit? How did
15 they get their supplies?
16 A. Aleksic got weapons just like all other units. His was a regular
17 unit within the battalion and within the brigade. It was a regular supply.
18 This was not a paramilitary unit. In his unit, apart from local residents
19 of the local commune of Kovacici, practically the Jewish cemetery, there
20 were also a few volunteers. Maybe that's the element that introduces the
21 confusion, but all units are supplied in the regular way, including his.
22 Q. Does "the regular way" mean through the battalion command and
23 then to the brigade command?
24 A. Yes.
25 MS. EDGERTON: I'd like to go to another document, but before I
1 do that, Your Honours, could I ask that the last one 65 ter 23823 be
2 marked as a Prosecution exhibit, please.
3 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P5930, Your Honours.
5 MS. EDGERTON: Could we have a look now at 65 ter 23874. It's a
6 request from Slavko Aleksic.
7 Q. So, Brigadier, on the screen in front of you is a document from
8 Slavko Aleksic's anti-tank company dated September 16, 1993, to you
9 personally, asking for, among other things, 7.62 automatic rifles; ten
10 crates; 7.62 Brownings; incendiary bullets; a 7.9 sniper rifle; an
11 82-millimetre mortar; slow-burning fuses; TNT, and so forth. Do you see
12 the document?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So why did you say Aleksic's unit had no mortars?
15 A. Well, he's requesting them. He didn't have a mortar. That
16 doesn't mean that the request was approved.
17 Q. Well, it's directed to you. Did you approve it or not?
18 A. Let me tell you this, I had a constant problem because they were
19 not a permanent unit, not a permanent force. They were just mobilised
20 and their military knowledge was not very good. These people were
21 megalomaniacs. They were afraid. They wanted to have all sorts of
22 things in reserve. But I was a man who knew these things and I never
23 approved this. And this went on all the time. I never approved any of
24 this. They asked for planes. This is a regular thing. None of this was
25 approved because I couldn't approve that they get something that I didn't
1 have. I told you a moment ago that the supply to our units was very
2 professional in the way it was done and it's in all our reports. It's
3 standard practice. Nobody could by-pass the standard procedure.
4 Q. Brigadier, do you expect us to take seriously that they asked for
6 A. What I'm saying is they also wanted air support. I'm telling you
7 this seriously. He's thinking: We'll be captured, killed. They panic.
8 And of course sometimes they were in danger but not that kind. You have
9 no idea about this, but I've lived through a lot of things. These were
10 not professionally trained troops for warfare. These were local
11 residents who were fearful. The basic issue is: Who will help me on the
12 line when I am in danger? And I give them everything.
13 Q. Now you also said in that same paragraph that these volunteers --
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Again there is an error in the
15 transcript. The witness didn't say "I provided it all." It was their
16 question and indeed the interpreter didn't understand this because it was
17 not clear from the witness.
18 THE INTERPRETER: But Mr. Karadzic is saying the witness said
19 actually they said in their requests: Give us everything.
20 JUDGE KWON: There is a phonetic mark there which will be
21 clarified by the court reporters later on.
22 Thank you. Let's move on.
23 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you. Could I have this document
24 65 ter 23874 as an exhibit, please.
25 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P5931, Your Honours.
2 MS. EDGERTON:
3 Q. I want to go on to another topic and it's about something you
4 said at paragraph 24 of your statement. You said:
5 "It was only in the Muslim mass media that I saw that the
6 possible victims of combat between our units and adversary units of the
7 1st BiH army corps had been civilians. On our side we had such cases,
8 notably on 6 January 1994 when the Muslims executed an attack on the
9 Jewish cemetery and the Vrbanja bridge."
10 So just one more clarification, these civilian victims you're
11 mentioning here in this paragraph, you mean to refer to victims in
12 Bosnian-held territory; right?
13 A. No. In the first part when I said that I got information from
14 the media about losses on the Muslim side - and I'm saying the same thing
15 now - I didn't know what was going on in Sarajevo and whether it was
16 really so. I watched that on television. But since I know how a media
17 war is conducted - and this time the enemy side did not hide it, they
18 openly announced it - I knew that many incidents were rigged but that was
19 all I knew. I didn't know anything else. The only other way was to find
20 out from people who crossed over to our side from defectors and they
21 would tell us what had happened there. How truthful that was only they
22 know; I myself wasn't there. And this case on the 6th of June
23 [as interpreted], 1994, that I mentioned on our side was just to
24 illustrate. Whenever there are combat operations in a populated area,
25 considering that the civilians lived practically along the lines, not far
1 behind the lines, civilians suffer much more than troops. Civilians find
2 it harder to get under cover and they suffer disproportionally. That was
3 just one case and there were many of them during the war.
4 Q. I actually just want to make a transcript correction or a
5 clarification. You referred to a case on 6 June 1994. Did you mean to
6 refer to the case on 6 January 1994 that you mentioned in your statement?
7 A. January.
8 Q. Thank you. Now you just said you didn't know what was going on
9 in Sarajevo and whether it was really so. And I wonder if by saying
10 that, do you mean to say that you had no forward observation of anything
11 that was going on in the city?
12 A. In Sarajevo, an urban area, that is impossible. There is no room
13 to organise any such thing ahead of the lines.
14 Q. So you had no forward observation of any targets you might be
15 seeking to engage?
16 A. Only what can be seen from the line at a distance of 20 metres.
17 Q. But, Brigadier, you've said in your statement that you took
18 measures to avoid collateral damage when determining whether or not to
19 engage a target. How does -- how can you say you do that when you have
20 no forward observation of your targets?
21 A. Quite simply. My unit which is in contact cannot put anything
22 ahead of them, nothing forward, because 20 metres ahead they would be
23 already in Muslim territory. That's impossible. Considering that it's a
24 city, you see the street, you cannot see through buildings. A rifle
25 cannot shoot through a building. It can shoot through passages, along
1 the street, and that's it. A hand-grenade can be thrown outside a
2 building. You can set a mine in front of a trench, and that's it.
3 Q. So if you fired your weapons with no forward observation, I'm
4 actually really curious about what measures you did take to avoid
5 collateral damage.
6 A. You are asking an impossible answer. The separation line, I
7 repeat, is on average 20 to 50 metres. The interval, the space in
8 between in urban areas are houses. You cannot see through houses. You
9 can only see through streets leading to some area. You can only see if
10 one house is much taller than the others, but not far ahead. And to
11 claim that somebody could see from Grbavica what was going on in
12 Bascarsija, that person is crazy; or even 100 metres ahead across the
13 Miljacka river, that's impossible. It can't be seen. You can't see that
14 sort of thing in a city. Get out of this building into the street and
15 look around, you can only see the street. You can't see behind the next
16 building. And what need is there to guide infantry shooters? They can
17 see for themselves. Not every bullet hits the target. There are also
18 ricochets, there are misses, et cetera.
19 Q. I actually think I'm not asking for an impossible answer because
20 you said in your statement at paragraph 32, and I'll read it to you:
21 "When executing combat actions and opening fire at military
22 targets located at civilian zones, we took measures to reduce collateral
23 civilian damage."
24 And then you gave one example, one example. So I'm actually
25 asking you for some other examples.
1 A. Quite simply - and that's true - the order not to open fire
2 without need avoids unnecessary casualties, that's one; two, to shoot at
3 a target which is a threat, not to shoot any-old-how, that's another
4 measure; refraining from senselessly open fire when there is no reason.
5 Those are the measures. Those are simple things, nothing spectacular,
6 nothing special. Those are normal things. We were not philosophers
7 there to create some odd conditions. Those are the things you are able
8 to do in a situation like that. It's more like appealing to the
9 conscience of the soldier in the trench, to be composed, to be smart, to
10 protect himself without endangering unnecessarily others.
11 Q. So can we understand from that that it was up to the soldier
12 himself to judge the threat and whatever danger he might be facing in
13 determining whether he was going to respond and how he was going to
14 respond? Is that what you're saying?
15 A. Please. The soldier in the trench, if he were to wait for
16 somebody else to make the decision whether he's going to defend himself
17 or not would have never been able to defend himself. It is natural that
18 the enemy will catch you out in any moment of inattention to incur
19 losses, to inflict losses. Everything else is a lie and an illusion.
20 Nobody else but the person in the trench who is in danger has to make
21 that decision. But he doesn't decide whether there will be combat or
22 not. That's why there is a command. He only decides about himself. The
23 squad commander decides about the squad, the platoon commander decides
24 about the platoon, and so on. That's why we have hierarchy. That's why
25 we have organisation. We must admit that this works better where we have
1 professional trained units. Where the men are not so well trained, it
2 works less well, there are more mistakes, and we can talk about the
3 quality of units. That's what makes a difference between them, whether
4 they're trained or not, whether the personnel in the trenches is able as
5 a unit or as a group to execute a mission or not. That's how we have to
6 evaluate them.
7 Q. How about -- you talked about the soldier in the trench. How
8 about the soldier who fires the 60- or 82-millimetre mortar, is it up to
9 him to decide when he should fire and what might be the appropriate
10 response to the threat?
11 A. That's not the same thing. A mortar is a collective weapon. In
12 the army there are weapons handled by individuals and weapons operated by
13 crews including artillery weapons. Artillery weapons cannot be used
14 without the order of the commander, such are mortars and artillery
15 weapons. That's how they are different from a personal weapon. A
16 personal weapon is issued to a soldier and he decides on how to use it.
17 Collective weapons are issued to a unit and the commander decides how
18 they are used. An individual cannot decide without the commander how to
19 use a mortar.
20 Q. So -- but in your statement at paragraphs 23 and 28 you said,
21 effectively, it had been ordered from the SRK command that fire was to be
22 opened only if lives were directly threatened.
23 So did that apply only to the soldier in the trenches or the
24 soldier with the infantry weapon, or did it also apply to the soldiers
25 handling the mortars?
1 A. If a corps commander issues such an order - because you mentioned
2 the corps commander - then he obviously has information that it is a
3 larger operation and the area of responsibility of the corps is under
4 threat; then all resources are put into operation. Any commander who
5 makes the decision probably has information about what's going on ahead
6 of him, so all people are put at readiness. But placing them at
7 readiness does not mean that they go into action. Action starts only
8 when the order comes from the command.
9 Q. I'll read to you what you said in paragraph 23. You said:
10 "It had been ordered many times from all SRK command levels that
11 fire was to be opened only if lives were directly threatened and then
12 only at targets endangering the security of the unit."
13 So then if I was to read that I would think that whoever fired
14 the weapon was left to decide when they should fire and what might be the
15 appropriate response; isn't that correct?
16 A. This is about placing a unit at readiness in expectation of some
17 action. They are placed at readiness. I said a moment ago, a soldier
18 looks around him. It's a narrow belt, 20 to 50 metres, not more, as far
19 as a soldier can see and he doesn't have to see much farther. And in
20 that narrow area he will certainly be able to make a decision if he is in
21 danger. He will report if he has time; if he doesn't have time to
22 report, he will of course defend himself. But collective weapons act
23 only upon an observed target upon orders. If that soldier in the trench
24 sees a group ahead of him, he reports it and then the command decides how
25 to take action, whether to open fire, and how to open fire.
1 Q. But you've just said, and I've pressed you on that point --
2 JUDGE KWON: Ms. Edgerton, shall we move on?
3 MS. EDGERTON: Yes, thank you.
4 Q. In your statement you said at paragraph 44:
5 "It was frequently the case that fire would be opened from mobile
6 mortars located near civilian buildings like the hospital compound, the
7 Presidency, and the TV building to provoke a reaction from the Serbian
9 About these mobile mortars, what routinely were the size of those
11 A. I worked in the school centre Marsal Tito before the war. In the
12 school centre Marsal Tito there were collective weapons for the training
13 of recruits, among them a large number of 60-millimetre mortars,
14 82-millimetres, and 120-millimetres. There were also other weapons,
15 tanks, T55 armoured personnel carriers, recoilless guns and other guns --
16 Q. Brigadier, Brigadier, I asked you about the size of the mobile
17 mortars you spoke about in paragraph 44. I didn't ask you anything about
18 the Marsal Tito stocks.
19 A. Part of the assets were taken from the Marsal Tito and mounted on
20 trucks. On each truck you can place a platform for a mortar that can
21 then fire successfully. You fire one or two shells and then the truck
22 moves. Those are the tactics of creating an image that there is a large
23 number of mortars, sowing panic and confusion. But most often fire is
24 opened suddenly and the first projectiles kill the most people before the
25 others flee. Since in Sarajevo, especially in the neighbourhood of
1 Grbavica, there was a tunnel --
2 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Kovacevic, that was a sufficient answer. She
3 asked about the size of the mobile mortar.
4 Shall we take a break now, Ms. Edgerton?
5 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
6 JUDGE KWON: How much long longer would you need for your
8 MS. EDGERTON: No more than one session and possibly less.
9 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
10 We'll break for 30 minutes.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
13 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Ms. Edgerton, please continue.
14 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
15 Q. Brigadier, we left on the subject of mobile mortars and I just
16 want to stay with that subject for a little while more because in your
17 evidence today you said that collective weapons acted only on an observed
18 target or orders. So from this can we take that any response to a report
19 that a mobile mortar had fired would be ordered by a command level?
20 A. When it comes to the fire opened on such targets, there has to be
21 information as to where from such fire was opened. Secondly, there were
22 duty crews on the weaponry in all of our units and they could easily
23 observe. If fire was not returned immediately, then any further attempt
24 to that effect became pointless because the target, being a mobile
25 mortar, the main objective was to damage such a target, move the area --
1 move from the area rapidly, and provoke the enemy's side response.
2 Things were done so that fire was opened and targeted the area in front
3 of such facilities that had to be protected.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have to intervene. From line 17
5 onwards the message of the witness's answer has not been conveyed
6 properly. Line 17 [In English] "... the target, being a mobile ..."
7 [Interpretation] It was not target but [In English] mobile mortar to
8 damage the other side and the sense to respond was while it was there.
9 So, please, from 17 to 21. It is not catched what the witness meant.
10 JUDGE KWON: It's difficult to follow what you said at the moment
11 and it's also distracting. If you have some translation issue, you could
12 intervene later on.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The meaning is completely lost, the
14 entire passage consisting of four or five lines. And as we read the
15 transcript the meaning of the witness's answer is completely wrong.
16 JUDGE KWON: Instead of me intervening, could you repeat your
17 question, having heard Mr. Karadzic's intervention?
18 MS. EDGERTON: Perhaps I could try it in a different way.
19 Q. Did you or your superiors sign-off on the engagement of every
20 response to mobile mortar fire?
21 A. You don't respond by signing anything off. I said that all
22 units, including artillery units, had some of the weaponry and hardware
23 on standby which can react almost immediately. In professional terms,
24 this is called permanent measures of combat-readiness and those measures
25 are in place in every unit. When you observe a mobile mortar and when
1 you observe fire being launched from a mobile mortar, as soon as the
2 report is sent that a mobile mortar opened fire, a duty officer who
3 doesn't necessarily have to be the commander -- so the duty officer can
4 order the use of an appropriate piece of weaponry that can adequately
5 react to that mobile mortar fire.
6 I have to tell you when it come to Zlatiste, my zone of
7 responsibility, and when it comes to Osmice, the view of Sarajevo from
8 those two areas is fantastic and we did not even need any optical sights
9 to observe any such movements or activities. And why did I mention the
10 military hospital? Because it was in Marin Dvor, immediately behind the
11 front line, behind the military hospital through the tunnel, through
12 Gorice, is where traffic used to run before the war. And during the war
13 that was exclusively used as shelter for such hardware for the tank that
14 was there all the time and opened fire on our positions, for example, in
16 Q. Now, Brigadier, that's interesting --
17 THE ACCUSED: May I just -- lines 8 [Interpretation] On line 8
18 "Grbavica" is missing as an urban part and the witness mentioned both
19 Trebevic and Grbavica.
20 MS. EDGERTON:
21 Q. Now, Brigadier, that additional information is interesting, but
22 to go back to the question I asked you it was about whether this process
23 you've described for approval of engagement of a target had to be
24 followed in the case of every response to a mobile mortar, and I take
25 from your answer that the answer is sometimes but not always; is that
2 A. Always. However, you failed to notice that I'm talking about the
3 chain of command and I said that there were officers on duty as well as
4 hardware on duty. It doesn't have to be the commander who approves that.
5 It can be the duty officer who is always there, always on duty.
6 Q. And how -- what kind of measures would you take, since these
7 mobile mortars you've described would be located near civilian buildings,
8 what kind of measures would you take in your response to protect against
9 collateral damage?
10 A. I have to tell you that wherever the mortar is, wherever it is
11 it's a legitimate target according to the international rule of war.
12 Whoever opens fire from a building, irrespective of who the inhabitants
13 are, whether they are civilians or not, this is a legitimate military
14 target. They mustn't do that; still, they did it, in order to provoke a
15 response and then the deaths of civilians would be represented as
16 torturising the civilians of Sarajevo.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the last part
18 of his answer.
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Kovacevic, could you repeat your last part of
20 your answer.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I repeat. The weaponry would be
22 placed near facilities such as hospitals and buildings inhabited by
23 civilians. Fire would be opened from there in order to provoke a
24 response by the VRS. When such a response was provoked, there were
25 indeed collateral casualties and damage. And then in reports the deaths
1 of civilians would be represented as purposeful sniping, terrorising, and
2 shelling of the citizens of Sarajevo. And I repeat, according to the
3 rules of war every target from which fire is opened is a legitimate
4 military target, irrespective of what it contains; what's in that
5 building, for example. If fire is opened from that building, it becomes
6 a legitimate military target.
7 JUDGE KWON: Now, Mr. Kovacevic, could you kindly and carefully
8 listen to the question and try to answer that question. The question was
9 not whether mobile mortars were legitimate targets or not. In your
10 statement, para 32, you stated that when executing combat actions and
11 opening fire at military targets located in civilian zones, you said:
12 "We took measures to reduce collateral civilian damages."
13 So Ms. Edgerton's question was whether -- what kind of measures
14 did you take when responding to such mobile mortars? It sounds as if you
15 didn't take any measures. What is your answer?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said it a while ago. Measures
17 were as follows: Nobody could open fire without an order issued either
18 by the duty officer or the unit commander, and that's a full measure
19 because the unit commander did not fire blindly. First elements had to
20 be calculated. Everything had to be put in order for a specific target
21 to be hit and not the entire area, and that's the most important measure
22 that protects from collateral damage. Second of all, it was up to the
23 commander to decide whether to respond because fire was not always
24 returned, it was returned only when the lives of the people were at risk,
25 either on the positions or the civilians in the area of Grbavica. It
1 could happen or it could be construed that after a mortar fire was opened
2 there was a prolonged fire on the area. If the effect was not immediate,
3 there were no measures taken, these were the only measures that could be
4 taken. There were no other measures that could be put in place.
5 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Ms. Edgerton.
6 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
7 Q. Now, you've kind of referred to targets and you just said
8 everything had to be put in order for a specific target to be hit and not
9 the entire area. So maybe you could explain, did you actually -- did you
10 have target lists or was the identification of targets kind of an ad hoc
12 A. No. Every unit in front of it had the list of targets as those
13 targets from which they could expect threats, and then it was recorded on
14 maps very precisely. All the elements were identified in order to allow
15 those units to open fire on those targets in a fast and effective manner.
16 Q. So you just said "all the elements were identified," so maybe you
17 could tell us what the target lists looked like. What information did
18 you have about the targets?
19 A. Let me put it simply: Our targets were units in front of us.
20 The basic principle was for the artillery to target artillery, and
21 infantry would target infantry, and anti-tank units engaged the enemy's
22 anti-tank units. That was the rule for the engagement and for the
23 selection of targets.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In lines 6 through 9 the witness
25 said the elements were measured before fire was opened, before an
1 operation was launched, which probably means or wanted to say much in
2 advance. Maybe Madam Edgerton could verify with the witness whether he
3 indeed said that the elements were identified without action.
4 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Kovacevic, do you confirm what Mr. Karadzic
5 just said?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's what is known as the
7 preparation of the battle-field. Everything is calculated in advance.
8 JUDGE KWON: Very well. That might have been interpreted as "in
9 a fast and effective manner."
10 Yes. Please continue, Ms. Edgerton.
11 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
12 Q. Now, just talking about targets and the information you had about
13 the targets, you talk in your statement about the presence of civilians
14 in ABiH-held territory. Does that factor onto your target lists at all?
15 A. Yes, absolutely.
16 Q. How? Do you put that information on your target list?
17 A. Very simply. If this was simply a manoeuvre ground, not an urban
18 area, one infantry platoon would be a legitimate target for an artillery
19 battery, for example. Since that platoon was in a settled area, it was
20 not a legitimate target for artillery fire because if it had been it
21 would have resulted in a massacre of civilians.
22 Q. I don't quite see that you answered my question at all. Do you
23 put information about civilians and the presence of civilians on your
24 target lists? How do people know whether there are civilians located in
25 the area of a military target?
1 A. You could see to a large extent from the position. You could see
2 which buildings were inhabited by civilians. You could observe that.
3 You could see that. Second of all, on our side we had a lot of displaced
4 Serbs who were engaged as a labour force in the BiH units. They were
5 used to dig trenches, and then after that they would sometimes defect,
6 they would escape to our side. And when they reached us, they would
7 provide us with the exact information as to what was where because they
8 had been employed as labour force in those exact areas. Based on such
9 information, we corrected our own elements, the elements that we had
10 previously identified.
11 Q. But you had nothing more up-to-date than that? Because the
12 information from people who cross over to your side gets pretty stale
13 pretty quickly. In fact, it's stale as soon as they across over to your
15 A. That's correct. However, the number of those who crossed over to
16 our side was continuous. They kept on coming.
17 Q. Did you put the information from those people about civilians in
18 your target lists?
19 A. I have to tell you that we faired with caution when it came to
20 that information. We did not take all of that information at its face
21 value. We did not dare blindly trust such statements and information
22 because some of that could have been a trap.
23 Q. How often did you update your target lists?
24 A. It was a continuous process.
25 Q. Now, that must have been very difficult without forward
1 observation because you'd given evidence earlier that you actually had no
2 forward observation.
3 A. No, we did not have forward observation. However, I repeat, from
4 Trebevic, for those who know the area and the city, without any optical
5 sights one could determine what the situation in Sarajevo was pretty
6 accurately. And not only from Trebevic, but from all the elevations
7 around Sarajevo and within Sarajevo itself. Sarajevo is a relatively
8 small city, but truth be told it was rather densely inhabited. And in
9 certain areas of Sarajevo the front line could be reached with a simple
10 infantry weapons.
11 Q. Now, if Sarajevo was densely inhabited, as you've just said,
12 maybe I could ask this: Did you have any no-fire zones? Was there any
13 area -- any area of the city not to be targeted?
14 A. There were such areas.
15 Q. Well, what were they?
16 A. For example, Cengic Vila, it never came under fire. It was well
17 sheltered from all sides.
18 Q. So that was a no-fire zone for you. Were there any others or was
19 that the only one?
20 A. It was not the only one, but only from Cengic Vila fire was never
21 opened against us. There was no front line in Cengic Vila.
22 Q. Oh, so this wasn't actually a no-fire zone; it was a zone in
23 which you hadn't identified any military objects?
24 A. Cengic Vila was mostly inhabited by civilians, there were no
25 institutions, there was no military, and there was no need to open fire
1 on Cengic Vila. Nobody really felt the need to open fire on Cengic Vila
2 or any such areas.
3 Q. All right. Thank you. I'd like to go on to another area in your
4 statement. You indicated at paragraph 34 that:
5 "There had been instances of individuals opening fire without us
6 knowing whether that fire had caused any consequences. In any case, we
7 punished such breaches of discipline."
8 Now, that was from paragraph 34 of your statement. What kind of
9 breaches of discipline and cases of individuals opening fire without you
10 knowing whether that had caused any consequences are you actually talking
12 A. I can give you some very specific examples. When a soldier, for
13 example, gets drunk and then, irrespective of his position, he opens fire
14 from a weapon that he had been issued with, he can provoke a reaction
15 from the other side. And that reaction may have consequences. This
16 would be the most common example of a breach of discipline. There are
17 also cases when a soldier on the front line of his own will for reasons
18 known to nobody else but him opens random fire and causes damage on the
19 enemy side and provokes reaction against either our unit or the city
21 The following example of the lack of -- of the breach of
22 discipline is the wilful abandonment of one's unit or the front line. Of
23 course there is also theft or similar breaches of discipline. I don't
24 want to go any further, but according to all our rules that were obeyed
25 in peacetime and in war time, such people would be processed according to
1 the disciplinary rules and the rules of engagement during the war. It
2 depended on the gravity of the crime what the punishment would be.
3 Q. So did any one of those incidents, those breaches, deal with the
4 killing by gun-fire or injury by gun-fire or sniper fire or -- of the
5 civilians by your forces, civilians in Bosnian-held territory?
6 A. I cannot say precisely - and that's what I said in my
7 statement - what exactly happened over there because I was unable to go
8 there. However, there is one thing that I know because I saw it most
9 often on television because I was able to watch BH TV channel, I can
10 believe that but I don't have, necessarily, to believe it because I know
11 that many things were staged. There were such instances, however, I
12 don't know to what extent those were truthful ones and it's not up to me
13 to judge.
14 Q. How about shelling? Did you ever investigate a case of shelling
15 civilians in Bosnian-held territory, shelling by your forces?
16 A. I did not investigate any shelling because I didn't have --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak a little bit
18 more slowly.
19 MS. EDGERTON:
20 Q. Could you repeat your answer a little bit more slowly, please,
22 A. I did not conduct such investigations because I didn't have any
23 artillery pieces in my unit, and I am an infantry officer and I wouldn't
24 be competent to carry out any expert investigation relating to artillery
1 Q. So when you say "unit," right now you're talking about your
2 battalion. Does the same apply from your time when you served in brigade
4 A. Yes. When I was serving on the brigade command, I also couldn't
5 be involved in the artillery matters because that was the duty of the
6 chief of artillery. He was a professional who proposes a decision for
7 engagement to the commander with respect to artillery. So he was chief
8 of artillery and part of the staff.
9 Q. So in neither your battalion nor in your brigade were you aware
10 of any investigations whatsoever conducted in cases of shelling and
11 sniping civilians by VRS forces in Bosnian-held territory?
12 A. While I was in the brigade I know, definitely know, that the
13 chief of artillery was maintaining constant contact with UNPROFOR
14 observation team --
15 Q. That's not my question.
16 A. Let me finish, please -- which was deployed at the command post
17 of the artillery unit, and everything they did was something that the
18 commander of artillery unit was aware of, the chief of artillery was
19 aware of, and the brigade commander was aware of. As an infantry
20 officer, I myself wasn't involved in these processes because I don't have
21 the necessary skills relating to the use of artillery. As for the
22 battalion, I didn't have any artillery pieces and therefore I couldn't
23 have done any such thing.
24 Q. Thank you. I take it from your answer that that's a no and we'll
25 move on. We've talked about or you've talked about in your statement
1 that Bosnian attack on the 6th of January, 1994 - and that's at
2 paragraph 24 of your statement - and just to refresh your memory, I'll
3 read you that sentence. You talk -- you say:
4 "On our side we had such cases, notably on 6 January 1994, when
5 Muslims executed an attack on the Jewish cemetery and the
6 Vrbanja bridge."
7 So I'd like to read you something about this attack on
8 6 January 1994 and that's from 65 ter 23902.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I really have to intervene.
10 Madam Edgerton, with all due respect, gave an answer instead of the
11 witness. The witness didn't say that there were no investigations at the
12 level of the brigade, but, rather, that that was done by professional
13 people in co-operation with UNPROFOR. Your conclusion when you said the
14 answer is no refers not -- only to the battalion and not to the brigade.
15 I'm talking about line 18.
16 JUDGE KWON: He answered that:
17 "... everything they did was something that the command of
18 artillery unit was aware of, the chief of artillery was aware of, and the
19 brigade commander was aware of."
20 He didn't refer to any specific example, so that's why
21 Ms. Edgerton said "no" and the witness didn't respond to that comment,
22 but it's a comment.
23 We can move on.
24 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
25 65 ter 23902, please. We should have an English original as
2 Q. Brigadier, this is a UN military observer because you've just
3 been talking about a UN military observers, this is a UN military
4 observer sitrep for Sector Sarajevo for 5 and 6 January 1994. And over
5 on paragraph 7 of that document, page 2, in English, and I'm not sure
6 quite which paragraph in B/C/S, the bottom of page 2 in B/C/S and it will
7 go over on to page 3. Could we go to page 2 in English. Thank you.
8 I'll read you what paragraph 7(a) of this document says on the situation
9 in Sarajevo for the day of this attack you referred to. It says:
10 "The UNPROFOR units reported that the BiH launched an offensive
11 into the Serb-held areas of Grbavica today. It is as yet unclear as to
12 what if any ground has been gained by the BiH. This action led" --
13 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. Next page for the B/C/S.
14 MS. EDGERTON: Oh, pardon me.
15 JUDGE KWON: Probably now.
16 MS. EDGERTON: I'll just wait until the next page comes up before
17 I continue.
18 Q. "... this action led to the Serb forces issuing an ultimatum on
19 the local radio station, stating that unless Bosnian forces ceased the
20 attack then a massive retaliation would take place in the form of an
21 artillery attack. The whole town of Sarajevo was put on alert of the
22 impending attack ..."
23 So your forces' response to this attack on 6 January that you
24 talk about in your statement was to threaten the massive retaliation
25 against the city as a whole; correct?
1 A. That was not my response. I don't know -- this came from. I was
2 not in charge of the radio, so therefore I couldn't dictate what the
3 radio would broadcast. I cannot comment on everything that was happening
4 all around Sarajevo. I can only speak about Grbavica and what was
5 happening there.
6 Q. So if that's the case, when you say at paragraph 27 of your
7 evidence "we did not fire at civilians ...," you're only referring to the
8 situation with your battalion in Grbavica; is that correct?
9 A. I told you a while ago, when you asked me about the brigade I'm
10 answering about the brigade and also when you asked me about the
11 battalion I'm talking about the battalion. Nothing beyond that.
12 Sarajevo is a rather wide area and I'm reluctant to comment on what other
13 people did.
14 Q. Paragraph --
15 MS. EDGERTON: We can remove that document. Thank you.
16 Q. At paragraph 27 of your statement, you said:
17 "The members of my unit were perfectly aware of what consequences
18 might befall the Serb army if indiscriminate fire was opened at civilian
20 I'm thinking of showing you some documents in that regard but
21 before I do that, what do you understand "indiscriminate fire" means?
22 A. Indiscriminate fire on Sarajevo meant uncontrolled firing of
23 artillery projectiles randomly without any specific target in mind or
24 without any need for that. Indiscriminate fire would also involve any
25 senseless firing upon people just for the purpose of terrorising them.
1 At some periods, anything that would disrupt everyday life and work would
2 also be senseless unless it posed a threat to a unit in question.
3 Q. All right. Now let's go to P15 -- pardon me, P01587, a UN
4 military observer daily sitrep for Sector Sarajevo for 7 and
5 8 January 1994. I'm going to read you what this document says at page 2,
6 paragraph 2 -- sorry. Could you go back to the first page. It
7 appeared -- thank you. If you could go down to paragraph 2 it refers to
8 175 outgoing mixed rounds from Serb-held territory causing 35 wounded,
9 including seven women and one child, and ten killed, including two women
10 and one child, and says that:
11 "Approximately 50 per cent of impacts recorded were on the front
12 line. The remainder were directed at residential areas or areas of
13 regular civilian usage."
14 Now could you please go over to paragraph 9 which I think is on
15 the second page.
16 Paragraph 9 says:
17 "It appears that the reason for the high level of casualties
18 inside Sarajevo is due to the shelling by the BSA," Bosnian Serb army,
19 "of guns of an area used extensively by civilians as a means of avoiding
20 sniper areas. This area is always very busy with civilian foot track
22 So what you've just heard from me now as reported in this
23 document, does that fit within your definition of indiscriminate fire?
24 A. I have to tell you that I can't see from this document where this
1 Q. Does that make any difference to your being able to answer my
3 A. Looking at this I can conclude that this happened on the front
4 line of the 1st Corps of the ABH and the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps of the
5 VRS. This is a very large area. This does not show where these
6 casualties happened and how, and since I wasn't there I can hardly
7 comment on it. I can only offer you my opinion. This is a report that
8 doesn't say much to me as an officer. Why is that? Because we said a
9 while ago that the separation lines in urban areas, that close to them or
10 on the very lines themselves, civilians live. It doesn't say that
11 civilian targets were engaged here but only that there were some
12 civilians killed as well. And I just said a minute ago that any action
13 can result in civilian casualties in urban areas, any action whatsoever.
14 Secondly, I noticed that the term "sniper fire" is being used out
15 of the context and meaning of any proper military definition of "sniper
16 fire." It seems that every short fire is ascribed to snipers, and that
17 is not the case. The snipers constitute the fewest number of members of
18 a unit. However, every action is described as being sniper fire. I have
19 no doubts that this is the correct number of casualties, but we need more
20 specific descriptions and more details saying whether the civilians were
21 really the target or whether this was a result of a mistake. So it's
22 difficult to conclude what exactly happened here. So this speaks about
23 casualties on one side only. I think that there was fire coming from
24 both sides, so if there are no casualties from the other side, in my mind
25 this is a one-sided report.
1 Q. What would you do if there was a mistake and civilians in
2 Bosnian-held territory were killed or injured when - as you've said
3 earlier - you had no logs or reports back on what happened with the
4 target -- when the target was engaged?
5 A. All I can tell you is that if we are talking about something that
6 I didn't do, I would say from where I'm sitting now that I would act
7 according to the rules, which means obeying disciplinary rules and
8 criminal code, nothing else. That was an obligation.
9 Q. Thank you. We'll move on to another area. It's related to
10 paragraph 16 of your statement where you said:
11 "Later in the war all 80-millimetre and higher-calibre weapons
12 were removed to a distance 20 kilometres away from Sarajevo and were
13 controlled by UNPROFOR."
14 Do you still stand by that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Maybe we could have a look at the map that's P1593, please. And
17 it's a map from -- obtained from the VRS archives in Banja Luka in 2006
18 reflecting the 20-kilometre exclusion zone around Sarajevo. And could my
19 colleague please go to the very centre of the city where there's a T
20 marked and enlarge the two red boxes below that T that appear on the
21 right and immediately below it.
22 Brigadier, this map depicts with legends and keys the weapons
23 held at weapons collection points inside the 20-kilometre zone and
24 outside the 20-kilometre zone. And could you just enlarge further those
25 two red boxes so that the brigadier can read it, and probably one more.
1 Now, you see that in the area of Lukavica Tilava there's a
2 weapons collection point or area where ten 120-millimetre mortars are
3 housed or maintained, two 105-millimetre howitzers, two VBR Plamen
4 128-millimetre multiple rocket-launchers, 15 T55 tanks. Do you see that?
5 A. Yes, yes, I do.
6 MS. EDGERTON: And could my colleague just go up to the red
7 square just above this.
8 Q. A weapons collection point in Grbavica this red square shows that
9 four 82-millimetre mortars; five 60 -- sorry, I correct my own mistake,
10 82-millimetre BaT is the acronym; five 60-millimetre mortars; four
11 82-millimetre mortars; one Top 76-millimetre B1 gun; and one T55 tank,
12 among other things, are maintained at a weapons collection point in
13 Grbavica, both locations far inside the 20-kilometre exclusion zone. So
14 now having seen this map, do you still stand by what you said in your
16 A. Everything is correct. The pieces of artillery that were pulled
17 out to the area 20 kilometre of Sarajevo remained in the hands of the
18 Army of Republika Srpska. These assets referred to here were those that
19 were collected really and at specific locations, and they were no longer
20 in our hands. We could only gain access to them with the permission of
21 UNPROFOR. Because this implies the weapons that were collected under the
22 auspices of UNPROFOR and there is a major distinction between those
23 weapons and the other weapons that one has in one's hands.
24 Q. But actually, Brigadier, the establishment of the total exclusion
25 zone didn't decrease the combat-readiness of your artillery at all, did
2 A. Yes, considerably.
3 Q. Well, let's have a look at 65 ter 23926, please. Brigadier, this
4 is a document dated May 1995 which lists the artillery assets ready to
5 provide fire support for planned SRK actions that month, and it shows
6 clearly where your brigade assets were located. In item 1 --
7 JUDGE KWON: I find it very strange I can't find the English
8 translation for this.
9 MS. EDGERTON: I do as well. Just a moment, please,
10 Your Honours -- your indulgence, please.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we see the date, please, and
12 all the other necessary elements of the document, such as who the author
13 is and who the signatory is --
14 MS. EDGERTON: The date's on the second page.
15 JUDGE KWON: It may come. If we see the next page there is a
16 signature, but I'm not sure about the date.
17 MS. EDGERTON: And the translation just now been released. My
18 apologies, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
20 Yes, some dates on second page, 2. Yes, please go on.
21 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
22 If we could go back over to the first page and I'll wait for my
23 colleagues to get the English translation called up.
24 JUDGE KWON: Now it's uploaded, yes.
25 MS. EDGERTON: Wonderful.
1 Q. So it shows in your brigade's area of responsibility the location
2 of artillery and other assets. The fire support for the
3 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade is four 120-millimetre -- or it includes
4 four 120-millimetre mortars from the region of Palez; 76-millimetre B1
5 gun from the area of the barracks at Zlatiste; and two T55 tanks from the
6 areas of Zlatiste and Vrace. So this shows, Brigadier, pretty clearly
7 that your brigade's combat-readiness wasn't affected at all, was it?
8 A. Please, this is a prediction. This is not what is actually
9 happening. In order for these assets to arrive in the area specified
10 here, they first have to be taken out and that cannot happen without that
11 being recorded. If force were used to get hold of those weapons, I'm not
12 sure whether this would pass in Sarajevo unnoticed. This is something
13 that is anticipated. This hasn't been done in actual fact and it's --
14 just indicates the necessity for these assets to be located there. Those
15 assets had not been at these positions prior to this.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we see the second page in
17 Serbian to see what's written there?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From which date, 14 May 1995, I see
19 that this is a preparation for defence from the announced offensive when
20 the Muslim forces were going to try to break out of Sarajevo. That's
21 when the offensive started and lasted until the end of the war. This is
22 the objective for the defence and the task to cut off the road towards
23 Trebevic. I see the date is 14 May 1995. In the middle of this month,
24 the offensive of Muslim forces from Sarajevo started on all fronts and
25 lasted until the end of August when a cease-fire occurred, and that was
1 the end.
2 MS. EDGERTON:
3 Q. Let's go on now to 65 ter 23921, please, a document from the VRS
4 Main Staff signed by General Mladic on the regrouping of fire support in
5 and outside the 20-kilometre zone. Now, at the paragraph entitled
6 "positive solutions," which is on page 2 of the English and in B/C/S at
7 the bottom of the first page, we see that within the perimeter of the
8 20-kilometre zone the fire support equipment was grouped with the
9 possibility of artillery support for companies in the first line of
10 defence and sectors for the regrouping of equipment outside the
11 20-kilometre zone were chosen with the possibility of use and speedy
12 transfer of the focus of fire support to another axis. The armoured
13 mechanised units of your brigade, the 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade,
14 are trained and drilled for operating the available equipment and can
15 start it up or use it on the given or chosen axes within one and a half
16 hours. So it seems clear here that General Mladic himself finds the
17 establishment of the total exclusion zone does not decrease the
18 combat-readiness of your artillery at all.
19 A. I can suppose that at the highest level talks were held that
20 weapons be returned to units because of the obvious danger from the
21 announced offensive of the Muslim forces for the final show-down with the
22 forces of the VRS in the area of Sarajevo. To be quite honest, I don't
23 know the outcome of those talks, but according to this order which I see
24 for the first time I see that those weapons were still where they
25 were - under supervision - and the plan envisages their use which is
1 quite logical and legitimate. At a certain point when there is a danger,
2 the time is reduced, these weapons should be recovered as soon as
3 possible. Certain positions should be occupied. That's how I understand
4 this document. I see it for the first time, but this is my understanding
5 of it.
6 MS. EDGERTON: Could I have that as a Prosecution exhibit,
7 please, Your Honours?
8 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P5932, Your Honours.
10 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you. And just one more document --
11 Just your indulgence for a moment, Your Honours.
12 Q. To go on to another area. You gave evidence, paragraph 15 of
13 your statement, that you had no knowledge to the effect that the final
14 objective for Sarajevo of the Serbian authorities was a division of the
15 city. And I'd like to show you another document by General Mladic, P3052
16 dated 14 December 1993. It's called supplement to directive 6.
17 Now, this document issued on the basis of a decision dated
18 14 December 1993, by the highest officials of the Serbian people orders
19 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps along with other forces to undertake a number
20 of actions. And at the very last line of this first paragraph, we see
21 the objective behind the operation is to provide conditions for the
22 division of Sarajevo into two parts.
23 Seeing this, General, do you stand by your statement in
24 paragraph -- or paragraph 15 of your statement?
25 A. I do. This is a military exit to the dominant features of Hum
1 which was held by the VRS until 17 May 1992, and Hum as we all know is in
2 the central part of Sarajevo. And from there you can have a significant
3 influence on the front line in Sarajevo, a military objective, perfectly
4 realistic, to take control of that area which is - because that is a
5 dominant feature - a hill on which there stands a TV repeater, and with
6 this success the units of the VRS that were in contact with Muslim forces
7 would have a significant burden taken off their shoulders. Putnik and
8 Hrasnica are in the south-west of Sarajevo separated by the airport.
9 They have practically no influence on Sarajevo, but communication between
10 Ilidza would be ensured and the eastern part of Sarajevo which was
11 non-existent at the time because it had turned over the airport in June
12 1992 and it had no physical contact with the eastern part of Sarajevo
13 anymore. I don't understand this order as a political division of
14 Sarajevo between Serbs and Bosniaks. I understand it as in the first
15 part of the operation taking control of important features and in the
16 second part the integration of two territories in a narrow
17 space - because this is a narrow space - the integration of Putnik and
18 Hrasnica with the eastern part of Sarajevo. That's how I understand this
19 order. I don't understand it as having the objective to separate the
20 Serb and Bosniak parts of Sarajevo.
21 Q. That's an interesting interpretation --
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I just add, it was not recorded
23 that the witness said speaking of Hum and that area that it was
25 JUDGE KWON: Did you say that, Mr. Kovacevic? Hum area --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did say it.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness is speaking
3 much too fast.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Hum, Zuc, and Orlic alike were
5 uninhabited then and still are uninhabited.
6 JUDGE KWON: It is my observation, Mr. Kovacevic, you are
7 speaking a bit too fast for the interpreters to follow. Could you speak
8 a bit slower.
9 Yes, Ms. Edgerton.
10 MS. EDGERTON: Thank you.
11 Q. And we'll go on to one final area and it's an area you mentioned
12 at the early part of your statement, paragraph 8, where you said:
13 "At all the positions where I had been not a single offensive
14 action had been executed but exclusively defensive ones. These positions
15 were established at the beginning of the war and they remained as such
16 until the end of the war."
17 And so I'd like you in that regard to have a look at another
18 document, 65 ter 09139. It's a letter from Dragomir Milosevic to
19 Ratko Mladic on 19 May 1996.
20 MS. EDGERTON: We need to go over to B/C/S page 4, I think the
21 fifth full paragraph on page 4, and English page 2, the last full
22 paragraph on the page. My page numbering is off, Your Honours. If you
23 could just give me a moment's indulgence, I may move on in the interest
24 of speed.
25 The English page I see in front of me is page 4 and in the
1 English I needed page 2, and in the B/C/S that's page 3 and I need page 2
2 in the B/C/S. Wonderful. Thank you.
3 Q. So at the fifth full paragraph on the page on the left-hand side
4 of the screen and in the last full paragraph, the English page on the
5 right-hand side of the screen, Dragomir Milosevic writes to
6 General Mladic: When engaging in combat, I spared myself from nothing.
7 I fought with ... commitment and was involved, personally involved, in,
8 among other things, liberating Soping at Grbavica II and he personally
9 stormed and, together with the police and a platoon of soldiers,
10 liberated the Zlatiste facility, liberated the Bistrik tower and the Mala
11 tower at Mrkovici. He did everything to foil incursions from Sarajevo
12 along any axis. And it was thanks to him that Ozrenska Street was
14 Now, this language of liberating, does that sound like an
15 offensive or a defensive action to you, Brigadier?
16 A. If you read this - and I believe you have - at this time when
17 this was going on that was 1992. At that time, I was in Pazarici and
18 after that in Blazuj. So I wasn't at these positions. And, if you look
19 at what is offensive and what is defensive, all these features are taken
20 by one squad, Bankovici Kula [phoen] can hold ten people, not more.
21 Zlatiste Kula can hold 15 people. The facility of Osmice is a small
22 restaurant. All these things are along roads. I can understand and I
23 know that the objective was to keep primarily the road from Lukavica
24 towards Pale across Trebevic and that's why these small features were
25 taken. If that's an offensive, then so be it, but I don't see it that
1 way. An offensive is a broader term. The same about Mrkovici, that's on
2 the road from Pretis, Radana -- Radane towards Pale. I've never seen any
3 of these features enumerated here larger than could be taken by a
4 platoon. You cannot call them offensives. It doesn't qualify as an
6 And, finally, let me say, this line remained identical at the end
7 of the war, almost identical.
8 Q. Well, if that's -- if you think we can't call that an offensive,
9 maybe we'll have another look at another document from Dragomir
10 Milosevic. It's D568, and it's a speech that he gave on the ceremony of
11 presenting the war flags in 1996. And the page that we need to see is
12 page 3 in both languages. Now here General Milosevic says:
13 "We carried out -- furthermore, we carried out operations in
14 order to improve our tactical positions and extend free Serb territories
15 in the areas of Otes, Mojmilo, Zlatiste, Kijev, and then towards Praca
16 and Gosinje."
17 Now, does that characterise offensive or defensive action,
18 extending free Serb territories?
19 A. I don't want to sound as a teacher. The term "operation" is used
20 here. Operations are carried out by the largest units and there is no
21 reference here to "combat, battle," as the main terms. None of these
22 features listed here does have a size that cannot be occupied by one
23 company, one infantry company. These are small features, the occupying
24 of which gives a small tactical advantage, but the person who wrote this
25 does not understand terms like "battle, combat" especially "operation."
1 Armies conduct operations. Which forces carried this out? Spreca and
2 Gosinje? I really don't know. I wasn't there so I don't know.
3 Q. Okay. How about we look at one last document. It's
4 65 ter 23939, and it's an order to attack dated 30 November 1992 to the
5 1st Rajlovac Brigade, which you should be familiar with, Brigadier,
6 because for a period of time in 1992 you commanded the
7 1st Rajlovac Brigade.
8 JUDGE KWON: I was informed that it hasn't been released yet.
9 MS. EDGERTON: Your indulgence for a moment, please,
10 Your Honours.
11 [Prosecution counsel confer]
12 MS. EDGERTON: I take this on my shoulders completely,
13 Your Honours. It's 23839, and my apologies to my colleagues.
14 Q. Do you recognise this document, Brigadier?
15 A. I do.
16 Q. This document in paragraph 1, when it talks about information of
17 the enemy -- about the enemy says:
18 "There are no civilians in the neighbourhood next to the Sokolje
19 mosque but there are in the area from the mosque towards Brijesce."
20 And over this paragraph 3 of the English and still at the bottom
21 of page 1 on the B/C/S, we see the tasks -- can we go back to page 1 of
22 the B/C/S. We see the tasks of the brigade. And there it says:
23 "Our brigade has been instructed to launch an attack from its
24 starting positions to the right of Lemezovo Brdo - Zabrdje - Smiljevici
25 towards Svabino Brdo and Brijesko Brdo, cut off the village, surround the
1 enemy forces in the village of Sokolje, thoroughly mop up the villages of
2 Sokolje, Brijesce, and Brijesko Brdo, reach the Zuc-Skravnik refuse
3 dump-Brijesko Brdo line and link up with our forces in the village of
4 Vecici where it will switch till defence, regroup its forces, built
5 fortifications," et cetera.
6 Now, is this an offensive or a defensive action?
7 A. This is an offensive action of limited nature. I should like you
8 to show a map for us to see what this area looks like.
9 Q. I think you've actually answered my question perfectly clearly.
10 Thank you very much, Brigadier.
11 MS. EDGERTON: I have no further questions, Your Honours.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, can I understand that as
13 saying that I answered in the affirmative, that it's an offensive? I
14 said in fact it was an offensive action of limited nature. It refers to
15 taking control of one feature and that's why I wanted the map.
16 JUDGE KWON: I think the Chamber understood your answer. We can
17 move on.
18 If necessary, Mr. Karadzic may take up that issue further in his
19 re-examination. I take it you are not tendering this document?
20 MS. EDGERTON: No, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Karadzic, do you have any re-examination?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Excellency. I
23 should only like to give the opportunity to General Kovacevic to finish
24 what he was saying.
25 Re-examination by Mr. Karadzic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] What are these features: Zuc, Brijesko Brdo,
2 Smetliste [phoen]?
3 A. It's a sharp point, a wedge, that was going into a populated area
4 of Rajlovac. That's where from the factory Orlovo and the transformer
5 station were exposed to constant fire and we wanted to stop this
6 terrorising. And this sharp point called Sokolje which is about
7 300 metres wide on the average, we wanted to cut it off and to straighten
8 this line. This is very precise and we can see on the map clearly what
9 is achieved by that. This is a very limited objective. When the entire
10 operation is done, it involves only one platoon. So it can't even be
11 called an operation. It's called improving one's tactical position.
12 That's why I insisted earlier on distinctions between terms such as
13 "combat, action, battle, and operation" and "tactical correction of the
15 Q. Thank you, sir, for your answer. Thank you for coming here to
17 A. Thank you, too.
18 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Kovacevic, I'm asking this purely out of my
19 personal curiosity. In paragraph 43 of your statement you stated that
20 among the volunteers in your unit were included the persons from Korea.
21 Do you remember them? Were they from North Korea or South Korea?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From Kobe.
23 JUDGE KWON: From Kobe?
24 THE WITNESS: Yes.
25 JUDGE KWON: Japan?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Then "Korea" was written by
2 mistake. I'm sure I said they were from Kobe.
3 THE ACCUSED: Kobe/Korea is probably the reason why.
4 JUDGE KWON: You overlapped with the translation. Your comment
5 was not noted.
6 THE ACCUSED: In our pronunciation, Kobe -- from Kobe or from
7 Korea is only one letter, one sound.
8 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
9 That concludes your evidence, Mr. Kovacevic. On behalf of the
10 Chamber -- before letting the witness go, do you have any comments,
11 Mr. Robinson?
12 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, excuse me, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
14 MR. ROBINSON: Going back to the associated exhibit that you
15 called our attention to, it may require an explanation from the witness
16 so I just wanted to let the Chamber know this is 1D2337 which is now
17 Exhibit 2332. In fact, the numbers were mixed up and so the number that
18 was referred to in paragraph 49 of his statement reflects a different
19 number, but it's the same document. If you want us to have him confirm
20 that, we can do that, but that's the situation.
21 [Defence counsel confer]
22 JUDGE KWON: So both documents refer to the same document?
23 MR. ROBINSON: They're both the same document, yes. I'm informed
24 now that we've uploaded 1D845 -- we've uploaded that same document as
25 1D8452, but if you would like to have the witness confirm it, we can do
1 that. If it's not necessary --
2 JUDGE KWON: I take your word, Mr. Robinson.
3 So I'd like to thank you on behalf of this Chamber,
4 Mr. Kovacevic, for your coming to The Hague to give your evidence. Now
5 you're free to go, but we will rise all together.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
7 JUDGE KWON: We'll resume at 1.00 -- oh, I'm sorry, quarter past
9 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 [The witness entered court]
12 --- On resuming at 1.17 p.m.
13 JUDGE KWON: Would the witness take the solemn declaration,
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
16 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 WITNESS: DUSAN SKRBA
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, sir. Please take your seat and make
20 yourself comfortable.
21 Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
22 THE ACCUSED: Thank you.
23 Examination by Mr. Karadzic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Skrba. Shall I address you
25 "colonel" or "general"?
1 A. "Skrba" will be fine.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please have in e-court
4 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Have you reviewed the statement that you gave to the Defence team
6 and is this a statement that you see in front of you?
7 A. Not in the Serbian language.
8 Q. Has anyone read this statement to you in English and does it
9 accurately reflect what you said?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. If I were --
12 MS. WEST: My apologies for interrupting Mr. Karadzic. I think
13 this witness, Your Honour, Mr. President, will need a 90(E) warning and
14 perhaps it should be given now before he starts giving testimony.
15 JUDGE KWON: Do you have any objections?
16 MR. ROBINSON: No, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Skrba, before you go further I would like
18 to draw your attention to a particular rule here at the Tribunal. Under
19 this rule, which is Rule 90(E), you may object to answering a question
20 from the Prosecution or the accused or from the Chamber if you believe
21 that your answer will incriminate you. I mean by "incriminate" that
22 something you say may amount to an admission of your guilt for a criminal
23 offence or could provide evidence that you have committed an offence.
24 However, even if you think your answer will incriminate you and you do
25 not wish to answer the question, the Tribunal has the discretion to
1 oblige you to answer the question. But in such a case, the Tribunal will
2 make sure that your testimony compelled in such a way shall not be used
3 as evidence in other case against you for any offence other than false
4 testimony. Do you understand that, sir?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first I hear of this,
6 and I will abide by it.
7 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
8 Yes, please continue, Mr. Karadzic.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Instead of this statement, if I were to put the same questions to
12 you today, would you give me the same answers as contained in your
14 A. Yes.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Excellencies, can I ask for
16 1D6030 be admitted into evidence along with other documents, that is to
17 say the totality of 92 ter package.
18 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Witness's Rule 92 ter statement will be
20 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D2341, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE KWON: And I take it you are tendering two documents as
22 associated exhibits?
23 Any objection, Ms. West?
24 MS. WEST: No.
25 JUDGE KWON: Yes, they will be also admitted. Shall we give the
2 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour 65 ter 1D8567 will be
3 Exhibit D2342 and 65 ter 1D8568 will be Exhibit D2343.
4 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
5 Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 I would like now to read the summary of Mr. Skrba's statement in
9 [In English] Dusan Skrba was born on 24 of February 1949 in
10 Kasindol, Ilidza municipality, Sarajevo. Before the war he worked in the
11 Sarajevo work unit of Univerzalpromet Prokuplje. He served the army in
12 1970/1971 in Zadar in the school for reserve officers, combat arms
14 Dusan Skrba saw a line-up of the Green Berets before the war
15 started in October or November 1991 outside of Sarajka department store
16 in the centre of Sarajevo. He also had knowledge that the
17 Patriotic League had had a line-up in Hrasnica in October 1991.
18 On March the 15th, 1992, he was called by the JNA to report to
19 Slavisa Vajner-Cica barracks in Lukavica where he was charged with
20 manning establishment units.
21 Starting on April the 4th, 1992, infantry attacks by Muslim units
22 on the barracks took place on a daily basis. All types of infantry
23 weapons including rifle, grenades, and hand-held rocket-launchers and
24 hand-grenades were used.
25 During the crisis in May 1992 connected to the pull-out of JNA
1 members from barracks in the city of Sarajevo and cadets from the
2 Marsal Tito barracks, Dusan Skrba was ordered to prepare in the event of
3 an attack on the units and the pull-out routes. When Muslim forces
4 attacked the Marsal Tito barracks he was ordered to open fire on those
5 units at Marin Dvor.
6 On 27th of May, 1992, the 1st Sarajevo Mechanised Brigade was
7 formed. This brigade consisted mostly of hardware and was insufficiently
8 manned. Dusan Skrba became the commander of the mixed artillery
9 battalion. The zone of responsibility of the 1st Sarajevo Mechanised
10 Brigade was from Kozja Cuprija bridge and Bembasa to the old airport and
11 the Zeljeznica river as it is marked on the associated exhibit 1D08567.
12 On 1st of July, 1992, UN observers were deployed to his command
13 post and remained there until the end of the war. Every time before
14 opening fire Dusan Skrba would inform the UN observers and show the
15 points from which Muslim forces had attacked. He would submit a report
16 on the spot to the UN members in each instance fire was opened. The UN
17 observers never complained to him about his reports, his work or the work
18 of his units.
19 The Sarajevo-Romanija Corps' objectives were to protect its front
20 lines which were in Serbian ethnic areas and to prevent the breakthrough
21 of the 1st Corps for Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina outside of the city
22 section of Sarajevo under Muslim control. This would have made available
23 a large number of enemy personnel in other fronts. During the war,
24 according to his knowledge, the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps conducted
25 exclusively defensive actions, with the sole exception of
1 Operation Lukavica 93, the goal of which was to join the Herzegovina and
2 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps towards the mountains.
3 Dusan Skrba had information and data that units of the 1st Corps
4 of BH army were deployed in the depth of the territory of the city and
5 that they also encompassed civilian zones of the section of the city
6 under the control of the Muslim authorities, such as Velesici, Ciglane,
7 Bjelave, City Hall, Dobrinja IIIB and Bistrik.
8 His unit and he personally always took every measure not to open
9 fire on civilian targets in the city. Fire was to be opened exclusively
10 at observed firing positions and military targets for the purpose of
11 self-defence all on the order of the superior command in respect of
12 specific military targets. Neither he nor any other members of his unit
13 or their subordinate or superior commands ever intended to cause civilian
14 casualties or terrorise civilians in the territory under Muslim control
15 or attack means of public transportation. They never received or issued
16 any verbal or written orders to that effect.
17 Although the brigade has a number of aerial bombs in stock, they
18 were never used in the zone of responsibility of this unit.
19 Regarding incidents in which three mortar shells landed in the
20 area of Alipasino Polje on January the 22nd, 1994, Dusan Skrba identifies
21 as the Butmir agricultural state what the Defence considers to be the
22 most probable place of firing. He also states that fire could be opened
23 from that direction at Nedzarici and Alipasino Polje.
24 Regarding incident in which a salvo of three 120-millimetre
25 mortar shells hit the Dobrinja residential area on the
1 4th of February, 1994, Dusan Skrba claims that no fire was opened that
2 day and could not have been opened without his command which he did not
3 issue and without it being reported to the UNPROFOR observers.
4 Regarding incidents on Safeta Zajke Street and Majdanska Street
5 on 24th of May, 1995, Dusan Skrba claims that no aerial bomb was ever
6 fired from Prljevo or Lukavica.
7 Regarding Markale II incident, Dusan Skrba claims that fire could
8 not have been opened that day from 120-mortars since all of 120-mortars
9 and the higher-calibre weapons were not in the hands of
10 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps but are either out of the 20-kilometres zone or
11 in the UNPROFOR control.
12 I don't have questions, additional questions for that witness.
13 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Ms. West.
14 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President. During the
15 cross-examination I'm going to be using a number of maps, and for -- of
16 course they're all uploaded in e-court. But for the ease of the
17 participants, I have hard copies and I would ask the usher's assistance
18 to deliver these, please.
19 JUDGE KWON: For planning purposes, can I know how long you would
20 take, Ms. West?
21 MS. WEST: Mr. President, I would believe that at least two full
23 MR. ROBINSON: We apologise for taking our copies of the maps
24 before Your Honours. It's like eating before the guests, but anyway
1 MS. WEST: May we have D2342, please, in e-court.
2 Mr. President, may I proceed?
3 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
4 Cross-examination by Ms. West:
5 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Skrba.
6 A. Good afternoon.
7 Q. My name is Kim West. I'm one of the attorneys with the
8 Office of the Prosecution. I'm going to ask you a series of questions
9 today and very likely it will go to Monday as well.
10 A. I understand.
11 Q. Thank you. In front of you on the screen is a map I know you've
12 seen before. And if we could zoom into the area right in the middle.
13 This is a map that was provided to us noting your area of responsibility.
14 Do you recognise this?
15 A. Marked in colour red?
16 Q. That's correct.
17 MS. WEST: And if we could zoom into that area in colour red.
18 Q. Is this an area that you marked noting your area of
20 A. Roughly speaking, that would be it. That's our area of
22 Q. All right. And this is quite small, so may I have 65 ter 09390E,
23 and what I've done is I've just taken a more detailed map so we can go
24 through it a bit easier.
25 MR. ROBINSON: Excuse me, Mr. President, I know Mr. Reid is busy
1 multi-tasking there but we would like to receive the list of exhibits
2 that they're going to use during the cross-examination.
3 MS. WEST: And, Your Honour, for the record, yesterday I
4 introduced the larger map. This is based off of that same map.
5 Q. So, sir, now looking at this, this is just a blow-up or what we
6 just saw, and you on the screen in front of you have the ability to
7 circle spots that I direct you to. And if we could ensure that the
8 witness can do that. First place I want you to circle is your command
10 Sir, you see the location right in the middle? It's Uzdojnice.
11 I've mutilated that word, but it's right in the middle. Can you tell us
12 what's there?
13 A. Uzdojnice was a command post of the mixed artillery battalion and
14 also of the units that were deployed in that area. Shall I mark it as
16 Q. Please.
17 A. So that's the command post. Do I need to mark where other units
18 were deployed?
19 Q. So tell me -- can you mark the area of Lukavica and tell us what
20 was in Lukavica.
21 A. Well, Lukavica was in front of our forward line, and this area
22 here is in front of the Slavisa Vajner-Cica and Slobodan Princip Seljo
23 barracks. This is Energoinvest. And further on you have the Cica
24 barracks, but you can't see it on this map.
25 Q. Okay. So put a circle around Lukavica.
1 A. I can only circle the industrial part of Energoinvest and also
2 the electrical engineering faculty, and what you see here is part of the
3 industrial complex of Energoinvest.
4 Q. Now, on this map as well towards the right-hand lower corner we
5 see a place called Tilava. Do you see that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What was located there?
8 A. An infirmary was in Tilava and the local commune centre. Shall I
9 mark it?
10 Q. Please.
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. Sir, if you can sign your name on this and put the date as well.
13 A. Today is the 18th.
14 JUDGE KWON: This will be next Prosecution exhibit.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P5933 , Your Honours.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I make a suggestion while we
17 still have it here. The witness said that only the faculty and
18 Energoinvest company can be seen here. Can we then mark these areas with
19 letters F and E in order to make sure that these were not barracks but
20 rather other types of facilities. So can we put a rectangle instead of a
22 JUDGE KWON: Fair enough.
23 Could you put E and F.
24 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
25 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
1 That will be saved.
2 MS. WEST: Thank you.
3 Q. Now, Mr. Skrba, was any particular headquarters located at
5 A. What do you mean at Lukavica?
6 Q. Well, in regard to -- well, let me back up. In regard to the
7 place where you were located the most, is that one of the circles you put
8 on the screen?
9 A. Well, yes, Uzdojnice and Palovac, the subordinate command.
10 Q. And how often --
11 A. And there was also the corps command post, but it cannot be seen
12 in this map.
13 Q. That's fine. Thank you. Mr. Skrba, we know that you were
14 involved in artillery matters for the 1st Sarajevo Militarised Brigade
15 command, but can you tell us from whom you took your orders?
16 A. We were receiving orders from the artillery chief from the
17 brigade command.
18 Q. Did you also receive orders from the artillery corps command?
19 A. No, not directly. Everything went through the artillery chief of
20 the brigade.
21 Q. And starting in 1992, can you tell us the name of that person,
22 the person from whom you took those orders?
23 A. Captain, or rather, on the 27th of May, when I became the
24 commander of the MAD Savo Simic was my superior commander.
25 Q. And at some point did your superior commander change?
1 A. The brigade commander remained the same person and Savo Simic
2 took a new position towards the end of 1994 so I took over both duties.
3 Q. Now, the orders that you received, they were both in writing and
4 verbal; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And in --
7 A. Only in writing.
8 Q. Only in writing. Thank you for that clarification. In
9 paragraph 14 of your report you speak about the order of the superior
10 command in respect of specific military targets. In that regard can you
11 tell us -- describe for us how specific, how detailed, military targets
12 would be in these orders?
13 A. Well, it depends. Every target had to be marked and described in
14 terms of its size, location, and what kind of enemy assets were there,
15 whether there was manpower or equipment and everything else.
16 Q. And so when you received orders to target something, this is the
17 type of specific information you would expect to receive?
18 A. We always expected specific information, the location, the place,
19 and the size of the target.
20 Q. Why was that detail important to you?
21 A. Those details were important so that we should be able to plan
22 what kind of artillery fire we should open, individual fire with one
23 weapon or group fire with a whole unit using weapons of a specific
25 MS. WEST: May we have P1511, please.
1 Q. I want to look at an example of not an actual order but an
2 example of some language, and this is not a -- you will not have seen
3 this before, but I want to know if this is consistent with your
4 experience. This is an intercept dated the 29th of May, 1992, and the
5 Trial Chamber has heard some evidence on this. It's a discussion -- it's
6 a conversation between General Mladic and a person named Potpara. That
7 name, Potpara - excuse my pronunciation - do you recognise it?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Okay. In the course of this conversation Mladic is asking the
10 other individual:
11 "Mladic: Is he shooting at you?"
12 Potpara says:
13 "No, not at the moment.
14 "Mladic: Are you shooting?
15 "Potpara: We returned fire.
16 "Mladic: Returned fire! Excellent! Where?"
17 And then Potpara says:
18 "Up there, towards the museum and towards the hospital up there
19 and Crni Vrh.
20 "Mladic: Yes. What weapons did you use?
21 "Potpara: 82.
22 "Mladic: 82. Did you shoot at the target?
23 "Potpara: Those who were observing ...
24 "Mladic: Pardon?
25 "Potpara: These observers told us it was good.
1 "Mladic: Fire at ... at a good target.
2 "Potpara: Okay.
3 "Mladic: Don't let them well ... disturb you.
4 "Potpara: Good.
5 "Mladic: As soon as the mother fuckers attack you, fire at them.
6 Can you hit the railway station?
7 "Potpara: Yes, we can.
8 "Mladic: Hit them with something. And scatter them around.
9 "Potpara: Okay.
10 "Mladic: Bye."
11 Sir, my question for you regards this language "scatter them
12 around." Would you consider that language to be detailed enough in
13 describing a target?
14 A. I'm sorry, this does not relate to me because I did not have
15 command over this 82. That weapon was not at the disposal of my unit.
16 Q. Indeed. And as I said earlier, this si not a conversation that I
17 expected you to recognise. I am using it only as an example to talk
18 about what you mentioned as detailed targeting language. So, for
19 example, the language "scatter them around," if you had received an order
20 like that, would you consider that to have been detailed enough for you
21 to pick a target?
22 A. I never got an order of that kind and I don't think it's precise.
23 Q. What was the process by which you challenged an order?
24 A. I asked for a written approval.
25 Q. I mean what --
1 A. With the proviso that if I asked for an explanation or approval
2 in writing for taking a target, I always made sure through my observers
3 and artillery observers, our people on our forward lines on higher ground
4 who did reconnaissance and scouting, if they gave me a report and
5 assurance of what kind of target that was, only then could an order be
6 issued to prepare fire and open fire.
7 Q. And did you do that on every occasion?
8 A. I could say 99 per cent of cases.
9 Q. Can you tell us about the process by which you deployed the
10 people underneath you, your men. For example, did you have fixed firing
11 locations and did you deploy them out to those locations?
12 A. Artillery's an idiosyncratic unit with special training and of
13 course at every position we had to have trained people able to operate
14 that weapon and people who were able to observe targets, prepare
15 co-ordinates, so that we could prepare fire and only then proceed to open
16 fire and aim at a certain target because there are several ways of
17 opening fire: There's simple preparation, abbreviated preparation, and
18 full preparation.
19 Q. Thank you. And we'll get there. But just tell me, how many
20 different firing locations did you have in your area of responsibility?
21 A. In this place I had four units and four firing positions, and I
22 didn't change them throughout the war until we relocated 20 kilometres
24 MS. WEST: May we have again 65 ter 09390E, please.
25 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you to locate your firing positions, but,
1 first, tell me, is this map too small an area for you to do that?
2 A. All right. I'll show this within smaller lines. It can fit in.
3 Q. So I see four lines. Do those represent your four firing
4 positions until they were relocated?
5 A. Yes, yes. Those four, yes.
6 Q. Okay. And for how long did they remain in those four places?
7 A. Until we moved 20 kilometres further behind, further from the
8 circle around Sarajevo.
9 Q. Tell me when you did that.
10 A. That was sometime in August 1995.
11 Q. So up until August of 1995, those were your four permanent firing
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And during -- from 1992 until August of 1995, were there any
15 other firing positions anywhere else in your area of responsibility over
16 which you had command?
17 A. In my area of firing responsibility, there were no other
18 artillery units but those four.
19 Q. Can you sign this and again put the date on it.
20 A. Yes, I can. Just a little correction.
21 JUDGE KWON: Or we can delete it with the assistance of the
23 MS. WEST: Thank you.
24 And may this have an exhibit number, please.
25 JUDGE KWON: This will be saved and given the next Prosecution
1 exhibit number.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P5934, Your Honours.
3 MS. WEST:
4 Q. Mr. Skrba, in paragraph 10 of your report you talk about the
5 1st ABiH Corps and the type of weapons that they had. But I now would
6 like to talk about the type of weapons that you had. Can you tell us
7 whether you had any mortars?
8 A. Yes, 120.
9 Q. How many?
10 A. Twelve pieces.
11 Q. What else did you have?
12 A. MD30 howitzers, 120-millimetres.
13 Q. How many?
14 THE INTERPRETER: 122-millimetres, interpreter's correction.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Six pieces.
16 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
17 MS. WEST:
18 Q. What else?
19 A. And Weber 128-millimetres, four pieces, four.
20 Q. What else did you have?
21 A. That's it.
22 Q. Did you have any multiple-barrelled rocket-launchers?
23 A. That is it VBR, the last thing I mentioned, 128-millimetres, four
24 pieces of them.
25 Q. Sorry, it says something different. Thank you.
1 JUDGE KWON: Ms. West, if you don't mind could we take a short
2 break of five minutes.
3 --- Break taken at 1.58 p.m.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 --- On resuming at 2.05 p.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: For the remainder of today's session, the Chamber
7 will be sitting pursuant to Rule 15 bis, with Judge Morrison being away
8 due to his urgent personal business.
9 By the way, could the Chamber move into private session briefly.
10 [Private session]
10 [Open session]
11 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Robinson.
12 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President. We received some responses to
13 our motions for protective measures for witnesses that are coming up in
14 the month of November, and we would like to advise the Chamber that it's
15 going to be our practice to contact the witness after we receive the
16 response of the Prosecution to see if there's any further information
17 they wish us to provide to the Chamber; and if so, to seek leave to reply
18 so that you have that information. So I would appreciate it if you would
19 give us a few days. We expect we would file on Monday any replies, but
20 if you would hold off on making your decisions until we have had some
21 opportunity to reply and that would generally be our practice throughout
22 the case.
23 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. That's been noted.
24 Let's bring in the witness.
25 [The witness takes the stand]
1 JUDGE KWON: Yes, please continue, Ms. West.
2 MS. WEST: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Mr. Skrba, when we stopped we were speaking about
4 rocket-launchers, and you indicated that your unit had four. Can you
5 tell us what was their purpose? In what type of situation did you use a
7 A. They are rarely used and for them you need a lot of ammunition so
8 that during the war we didn't use them much, perhaps once or twice, and
9 that's all. They're used solely to neutralise enemy personnel on attack,
10 infantry attack of course.
11 Q. But nonetheless you had four; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you said you've used them once or twice. Please tell us
14 about the two occasions when you used them.
15 A. Once it was used by the JNA while they were still in Lukavica
16 before they left for Serbia. I believe it was on the 3rd or 4th of May.
17 I didn't command or decide there. And once or twice in 1993 we used them
18 in the direction of Mount Igman when we performed the operation
19 Lukavac 93.
20 Q. And so in your memory you've now spoken about three situations
21 where they were used. Is that the extent of your memory?
22 A. Well, there were those three situations, otherwise during the
23 whole war they were used in only three situations regarding my positions
24 and my weapons.
25 Q. And so we say regarding your positions. Are we talking about
1 those four firing positions you spoke about earlier?
2 A. Yes, yes.
3 Q. And did you have one at each of those firing positions or did you
4 have -- or how were they spread out?
5 A. All the four were in one place as I marked on that last document.
6 They were grouped in one place.
7 Q. In your statement at paragraph 24 you said:
8 "On August 28th there were no 120-millimetre mortars and those
9 mortars and those of larger calibre which were in my zone of
10 responsibility had already been relocated outside the city of Sarajevo."
11 In August of 1995 I understand your testimony is that
12 120-millimetre was located outside, but what about the smaller mortars?
13 Were they still within your area of responsibility?
14 A. They were not in my area of responsibility. They belonged to the
16 Q. But nonetheless there were smaller mortars within the area south
17 of Sarajevo?
18 A. Battalion commanders deployed them and positioned them in their
19 area of responsibility. I did not have insight either in their
20 deployment or their number.
21 Q. Can you tell us generally what you used 120-millimetre mortars
22 for? What was their best purpose?
23 A. 120-millimetres are mainly used to destroy personnel on slopes,
24 be it forward or back slants because it can land a shell from up high.
25 Q. And can you tell us typically when you fired from 120-millimetre
1 mortar, how many times did you fire?
2 A. It depended on the target and on the type of attack. It also
3 depended on the trajectory of the shell from the place it was fired to
4 the target. It could be one minute, two minute, five-minute distance.
5 You could adjust that.
6 Q. But it would be -- would it be normal to fire only once?
7 A. What do you mean when you say "only once"? You mean only one
9 Q. Correct.
10 A. Only rarely would it be one shell. It would be one or two or
11 more. Only if you had previously fired at the same target would you fire
12 just one shell in the second go, but normally before that you would have
13 to check all the firing elements.
14 Q. Now, you said that they were mainly used to destroy personnel.
15 What type of ordnance did you mainly use to destroy buildings?
16 A. Well, you would need tanks or Maljutkas for that or other
17 ordnance and other hardware, cannons.
18 Q. Now, in paragraph 12 of your statement you said that:
19 "According to my knowledge, the SRK conducted exclusively
20 defensive actions."
21 So in other words, does this mean that you only fired in
22 retaliation to ABiH fire?
23 A. Exclusively in response to the BiH army fire.
24 Q. And so let's talk about that response time. Can you tell us --
25 can you walk us through the process of your response. When you're first
1 fired upon, what was the first thing that you did?
2 A. The first thing was -- I received report from the observation
3 post that fire was open on the forward line. My observers would inform
4 me about that. And then directly from the brigade command, I would
5 receive a report that in a certain sector an attack was either expected
6 or was underway. It would have been either an artillery or an infantry
7 attack. And when those two reports corresponded, then we determined the
8 location of the target, the co-ordinates of the target, we calculated the
9 elements, and the time that lapsed would be five, ten, or ten minutes.
10 And then if the shelling continued, then we would respond in order to
11 calm the situation down. It would be one shell first, and then the
12 observers would observe and see whether that first shell fell where we
13 wanted it to fall. If not, then we corrected our firing elements in
14 order to proceed. In 90 per cent of the situations, we used only one
15 piece to fire our shell.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The intervention on the transcript.
17 The witness said: We fired one shell in order to calm the situation
18 down, not only to correct the firing elements, but also to calm the
19 situation down and that was not recorded.
20 MS. WEST: I believe it was, but we can go on.
21 Q. So let's back up. You said before you fired your first -- the
22 first response, about five or ten -- it would take about five or ten
23 minutes. So there would be a short period of time before you retaliated;
24 is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And the first thing you'd hear about it would be from your
2 observers; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And then you'd hear from the brigade command that there was an
5 attack expected or underway?
6 A. Or I would inform them. I would inform the duty officer in the
7 command, because I had my observers so I knew what was going on, I would
8 inform them and I would await instructions as to what to do next.
9 Q. So in other words, you would confirm that there had been a firing
10 and then you would determine the location of the target and then you
11 would retaliate?
12 A. And I requested their approval. I expected them to tell me what
13 to do, whether to respond with fire or to wait.
14 Q. If we go to paragraph 14 of your statement, you talk a little bit
15 more about this, and there you say you took measures to not open fire on
16 civilians. And then down in paragraph 16 -- and maybe we can have both
17 the B/C/S and English of paragraph 16, please. You continue to talk
18 about that.
19 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
20 JUDGE KWON: I'm told there's no B/C/S version, Ms. West.
21 MS. WEST: May I have a moment, please.
22 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President, there's a draft statement that
23 has a B/C/S translation of this paragraph, but it's under a different
24 65 ter number.
25 MS. WEST: And perhaps that 65 ter number might be 1D05641 for
1 the B/C/S version. I think it would be helpful if we could have the
2 B/C/S version of this paragraph, please.
3 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
4 MS. WEST: Thank you.
5 Q. Sir, you see this in front of you as well. On the left is your
6 version and on the right is the English. This paragraph begins:
7 "We had standing orders to the effect that fire must not be
8 opened on civilian targets in the city. I, personally, and my unit
9 during combat actions and when opening fire on military targets which
10 were in civilian zones took measures to reduce collateral civilian
12 And then the next sentence is:
13 "For instance, if tank fire from the sector Velesici or Ciglane
14 was opened at us we would respond with proportionate fire at the place
15 from which the fire on our unit was opened."
16 Mr. Skrba, is this proportionate fire that you speak about in
17 that sentence, is that what you meant by measures, when you spoke about
18 the measures you would take?
19 A. Well, yes, if they fired two or three shells we retaliated with
20 one or two shells in our turn, in order to stop them from proceeding with
21 their activities.
22 Q. So if they -- and if they fired from a tank, you would return
23 with a tank fire?
24 A. Well, our tank could not reach those places from which they
25 opened tank fire. That's why I tended to use 122-millimetre howitzer
2 Q. Okay. I say "tank" because that's the example you use in this
3 sentence, but if you -- if they fired with 122-millimetre how -- go
5 A. Well, they opened fire from Velesici and Ciglane from tank and
6 from howitzers and they fired on our forward positions, and then if we
7 did not return fire immediately they would just go on.
8 Q. Okay. But let's go back to what we were talking about which is
9 proportionate fire. For example, if they fired from a 130-millimetre
10 cannon, would you fire proportionately with the same type of weapon and
11 the same number of shells?
12 A. Madam, they didn't have 130-millimetre cannons down there in the
13 city. It has to be told that they didn't, so we didn't retaliate with
14 that. We didn't retaliate with that kind of hardware.
15 Q. Thank you. That's just an example, but the point I'm
16 making - and I want to make sure I understand what you're saying in your
17 statement - when you say proportionate fire, and you gave me an example
18 of them firing two or three shells and you firing back I think you said
19 first one shell and then you would follow-up, when you say
20 "proportionate," are you talking about the number of shells or the type
21 of weapon or both?
22 A. One or perhaps two in order to stop them, in order to stop their
23 fire. That's what I meant when I said "proportionate." It was our way
24 of preventing them. We would fire one or two shells to that location,
25 either to drive them away or simply to stop their fire.
1 Q. And when you speak about this in paragraph 16 and you indicate
2 just before this you took measures to reduce collateral civilian
3 casualties, it is this proportionate analysis you're talking about that
4 you applied, isn't it?
5 A. Usually we would retaliate with one or two shells; however, there
6 were also cases that, for example, from the military barracks, from the
7 military hospital, or from the Kosevo Hospital that they opened fire from
8 120-millimetre hardware. We did not retaliate in those cases because we
9 knew what kind of facilities those were and that also includes the
10 military hospitals in Marin Dvor and Kosevo. We did not retaliate
11 against those because we were always afraid of inflicting major civilian
12 casualties if we had done that.
13 Q. So is it your testimony that you have never fired at a hospital
14 in Sarajevo, that your -- the 1st Sarajevo Militarised Brigade never
15 fired at a hospital?
16 A. That's correct and the answer is no.
17 Q. And were there other targets -- or, excuse me, locations in this
18 city that you would consider completely off limits?
19 A. I don't know how familiar you are with Sarajevo. 99 per cent of
20 the population around Sarajevo were Serbs and there were five UNPROFOR
21 teams who supervised every firing position, the positions where the
22 hardware was grouped and they monitored whether fire was opened from
23 there. I can't tell you what was in Hrsaj [phoen], Brajlovici [phoen] or
24 Ilidza. I can also talk about my area of responsibility.
25 Q. So if we can go to paragraph 18 of your statement which talks
1 about specific areas. In paragraph 18 you said:
2 "Of the military targets in the city under Muslim control I will
3 list the following military targets in civilian areas ..."
4 And then you list several places, Velesici, Ciglane, Bjelave,
5 City Hall, Dobrinja, and Bistrik, and I want to now speak about those in
7 JUDGE KWON: Ms. West, could you leave five minutes at the end of
8 today's session. Thank you.
9 MS. WEST: May we have P5926, please.
10 Q. So this is a map of Sarajevo that contains all six of those
11 locations. And, sir, in front of you, you have a booklet, as everyone
12 does which for the record is 65 ter 23918 and if we can turn to that,
13 it's on the desk in front of you. You'll also see it on the screen. And
14 we'll have page 1 of this. Sir, directly in front of you on the desk
15 underneath that map, take that off, there's a binder and I want you to --
16 yes, I want you to look directly at that. This reflects five of the
17 areas that you spoke about in paragraph 18. We see Velesici, Ciglane,
18 Bjelave, the down-town area and Bistrik. And then if you turn to page 2
19 you mentioned a sixth place, and that will be Dobrinja. Do these all
20 look accurately placed for you? Does this look like an accurate
21 representation of where they were located?
22 A. I don't see any of their firing positions anywhere here.
23 Q. And you won't. This is solely a map. So we're going to go to
24 page 3 of this map, and this is a blow-up of Velesici. And then if you
25 go to -- and so what we're on is 65 ter 23918 and we're on page 3, but I
1 think everybody in the courtroom probably has it.
2 Page 3 is Velesici and, actually, if you can just turn quickly to
3 page 4, it's a satellite image of Velesici.
4 Mr. Skrba, could you describe the general nature of the area of
5 Velesici? Was it industrial? Was it residential?
6 A. Velesici is a residential area with family houses and apartments.
7 In the northern part there is a small industrial area in the direction of
8 the railway station.
9 Q. And were there also schools in the area as well to support the
11 A. Most probably. I can't remember there were, but I believe that
12 there were elementary schools there. I can't remember where they were,
13 whether there were any and where they were.
14 Q. Now, in your statement you mentioned a tank from Velesici. I
15 think you now have it up on the screen in front of us. Can you mark on
16 the screen where the tank was located.
17 A. It's very difficult for me to get my bearings, although I'm a
18 good topographer. It was somewhere above the tobacco factory, somewhere
19 in that region, but I can't see the tobacco factory marked here.
20 Q. So, Mr. Skrba, as we continue I'm going to ask you for the
21 locations of all the things that you mentioned in paragraph 18.
22 MS. WEST: And, Mr. President, may I make the suggestion that we
23 pause here, Mr. Skrba can take this with him, he can take a look at it,
24 and we can continue tomorrow.
25 JUDGE KWON: I see no problem. Thank you, Ms. West.
1 Very well. Mr. Skrba, we'll continue tomorrow and can I remind
2 you that during the course of your testimony you are not supposed to
3 discuss with anybody else about your testimony. Do you understand that,
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, yes, I do.
6 JUDGE KWON: The witness can be excused. Have a nice evening.
7 MR. ROBINSON: Mr. President, we're continuing on Monday;
9 JUDGE KWON: Yes, on Monday, yes.
10 MR. ROBINSON: Just, I didn't want the witness to think he was
11 needed tomorrow.
12 JUDGE KWON: Oh, yes, that's very kind.
13 Mr. Skrba -- okay. Did I say "tomorrow"?
14 MS. WEST: My apologies, I said "tomorrow."
15 JUDGE KWON: We'll not be sitting tomorrow. We'll continue on
16 Monday morning. I hope you have a nice weekend.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 [The witness stands down]
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Robinson, going back to your statement about
20 your potential reply to the Prosecution's response in respect to
21 protective measures, although I just said I noted your response -- your
22 statement, there are a couple of points that I find it difficult to
23 follow. First, take -- please don't take it for granted that the Chamber
24 will allow your reply every time, but at the time when I heard your
25 statement I thought that there are -- there were new information in the
1 Prosecution's responses, but I'm not sure that was the situation. The --
2 first of all, you should obtain all the information you -- when you filed
3 the motion firsthand, and then unless there's new information that
4 warrants your further reply then you can contact the witnesses and file
5 further information. But that should not be the practice, model
6 practice, every time.
7 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President. We understand that and we
8 will endeavour and have endeavoured to get all the information from the
9 witness at the beginning, but the Prosecution's responses have generally
10 been that more information is required and the motion should be denied
11 because inadequate information has been provided. And so we want to give
12 the witness the opportunity to see if there's anything that they -- now
13 hearing from the Prosecution that they would like us to tell the Chamber.
14 We think that this is an important part of the process for witnesses,
15 because if you do deny the protective measures, as you've done every time
16 so far, we want them to have the opportunity or at least the feeling that
17 they got to say everything that they wanted to say before such a decision
18 was taken. And particularly in some cases where we don't support the
19 protective measures, we think it's important that the witness's situation
20 be fully conveyed to the Chamber. So that's -- you see we filed very,
21 very infrequent replies before this Chamber, but in this particular case,
22 while we will endeavour to get all the information in advance, we feel
23 it's important that the witness be given a full opportunity to bring
24 anything that they think is important to the Chamber's attention.
25 JUDGE KWON: That's exactly the situation I was concerned about.
1 You can expect the Prosecution's response to the effect that your motion
2 was not supported with sufficient material, or et cetera. You should
3 prepare everything at the beginning -- in the beginning. Please bear
4 that in mind.
5 Very well. The hearing will be adjourned for the week and will
6 resume next week on Monday. Thank you.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.42 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Monday, the 22nd day of
9 October, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.