1 Tuesday, 4 September 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Cucak.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: In a moment your examination by Mr. Visnjic will
9 continue. What I want to stress to you before it does is that the solemn
10 declaration to speak the truth which you gave at the beginning of your
11 evidence on Friday continues to apply to that evidence today.
12 Mr. Visnjic.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
14 WITNESS: RADE CUCAK [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examination by Mr. Visnjic: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Colonel.
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. Colonel, I believe there is a certain degree of vagueness about
20 your testimony last week in terms of the role of the VJ in controlling the
21 state border, the reason being different kinds of systems are used by
22 different countries, therefore I'll be asking you different questions
23 about that just in order to specify. Throughout 1998 and 1999, were the
24 activities of the VJ in relation to the state border implemented in
25 keeping with the laws and regulations that applied?
1 A. Yes, not just throughout that period. Anything that the VJ did in
2 terms of securing the state border was envisaged by certain laws and
3 regulations and enshrined in those.
4 Q. Thank you. What about paragraph 5 and 6 of your statement 3D083,
5 did you quote the laws and regulations governing everything to do with the
6 state border for the VJ?
7 A. Yes, the Law on Crossing the State Border and the Border Belt I
8 specified those documents as the two fundamental documents based on which
9 all other laws are based.
10 Q. What about Article 48 on the Law on Crossing the State Border and
11 Moving Inside the Border Belt, does that say something of what the powers
12 are of the VJ's border units?
13 A. Yes, Article 48 of that law says that the border units must secure
14 the state border outside border crossings and settled areas.
15 Q. All right, Colonel. I think it is sufficiently clear why this
16 article refers to controlling the movement of persons outside settled
17 areas. What about inside settled areas? Who exercises control over that?
18 A. You see the movement of persons, for example, when there is a
19 settlement, a settled area, that lies at the border itself, this is
20 something that is within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior.
21 Q. What is the role of the Ministry of the Interior in terms of
22 securing the state border and how is their role different from that of the
24 A. The Ministry of the Interior secures the state border and controls
25 people crossing at border crossings, crossing into one of the neighbouring
1 countries. It is also in charge of implementing certain laws that are the
2 result of international treaties; for example, violations of the border
3 regime. It is their remit to deal with those violations, as it is of
4 course also of the other units involved in securing state borders.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, in paragraph 6 where you refer to the
6 rule of the border service and then (item 142), is that a sort of
7 paragraph or section of that rule?
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is
9 actually an article, but Colonel referred to it as item or paragraph, but
10 it's actually an article. Perhaps we should ask the witness.
11 Q. Witness, in paragraph 6 of your statement you quote this rule of
12 the border service, item 142?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. When you say "item 142," what does that mean? Is that an article
15 or a paragraph?
16 A. In military terminology it's called item. There is a chapter,
17 which might contain anything up to 100 items. If you use the other
18 terminology, this would be an article, yes.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: And is that document an exhibit?
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: And is the same the case with the next one referred
22 to, the directive on documents and reporting, it's not an exhibit? It's
23 just two lines later in the same paragraph.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour, that is
25 not an exhibit either.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please continue.
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Colonel, on page 8 of your statement you speak of the border belt
4 and extending the border belt. In which regulation is this possibility
6 A. The matter of crossing the state border is regulated by the Law on
7 Crossing the State Border and Moving Within the Border Belt. These are
8 the laws that tell us about the border belt. It's supposed to be 100
9 metres of the border itself of the former SFRY, the Socialist Republic of
10 Yugoslavia. However, if the services in charge make a special plea to
11 extend it, it can be extended, it's extended but it still remains a border
12 belt. In very conditional terms we then referred to it as an extended
13 border belt. Of course this applied to the area of Kosovo and Metohija
14 and the border to Albania and Macedonia. Earlier on this used to be the
15 case with some other state borders, and that was back at the time of the
16 former SFRY.
17 Q. In your statement you say that the VJ made a proposal to the
18 federal government for an urgent extension of the border belt in order to
19 decrease the intensity or reduce the intensity of the terrorists. There
20 should be more involvement in securing the state border in order to put a
21 stop to persons staying in the border belt who do not have appropriate
22 authorisation to be there. Can you please explain briefly to the Trial
23 Chamber how extending the border belt would help bring about a solution to
24 these problems.
25 A. What I'm trying to say is that at the outset the border units were
1 only under threat by attacks from Albania and by attacks being carried out
2 by sabotage and terrorist groups that were being infiltrated on a large
3 scale into Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia for the most part, of the
4 Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, as it was called at the time. These
5 were being infiltrated from Albanian territory in order to bring in
6 weapons and other types of military equipment. At a later stage, when the
7 conditions were in place for the border units to keep these activities at
8 bay, and even more so once the border belt was extended, the sabotage and
9 terrorist forces in Kosovo and Metohija got closer and closer to the
10 border belt and into the border area itself in order to carry out attacks
11 on bodies in charge of monitoring the situation at the state border and
12 along the state border. I'm talking about the border units of the VJ. In
13 order to keep such activities at bay, firing from Albania and inside their
14 territory, the competent body, having reviewed these problems, made a
15 proposal for a further extension of the border belt, the sole reason being
16 to secure that the border units might get on with their work safely within
17 the border belt.
18 Q. Let me clarify -- let us clarify this. In addition to attacks and
19 infiltrations from Albanian territory, you also say that there were
20 attacks on the border units from inside, from SFR -- Socialist Republic of
21 Yugoslavia territory -- Kosovo and Metohija, rather; is that right?
22 A. [No interpretation]
23 Q. Thank you. Let us now return to your testimony.
24 MR. VISNJIC: Your Honour, I don't have -- I don't see the answer.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Let me ask you again. In addition, to attacks
1 coming from Albanian territory, the territory of Albania, which included
2 infiltration of groups from Albania into Kosovo, at a later stage there
3 appeared the problem of groups from Kosovo, so from inside, attacking the
4 border units. Is that a fair summary of what you were saying, sir?
5 A. Yes, precisely.
6 Q. Thank you. On Friday you testified about this. Heading towards
7 units of the Pristina Corps in November 1998, General Perisic changed his
8 position that he put forward at the 3rd of November collegium.
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we now please have 3D485 brought
10 up on our screens, page 22, paragraphs 1 and 2.
11 Q. What about the collegium that took place on the 14th of December,
12 1998 --
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And could we have page 22,
14 paragraphs 1 and 2. Page 19 of the Serbian, paragraphs 3 and 4.
15 [In English] No, it's not good page, page 19. [Interpretation]
16 It's fine now. [In English] Yes, thank you.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, please comment. Paragraph 1 of
18 Mr. -- General Smiljanic's contribution, there's a reference being made
19 there to an order by the Chief of the General Staff of the 16th of
20 November, 1998. What is that in reference to?
21 A. In order to link this up with something that I have said already,
22 following the collegium that occurred on the 3rd and the differences in
23 terms of ordering the stepping up of the security system, General Perisic
24 on the 4th, 5th, and 6th went to Kosovo himself in order to see for
25 himself how the security regime along the state border was working. Upon
1 his return from Kosovo, the situation was confirmed that we had already
2 established at the collegium he ordered that appropriate preparations be
3 carried out. He adjusted his previous decision and ordered that a
4 proposal be made in order to step-up the state security regime in the
5 area. It says here that --
6 Q. You don't need to read that, sir, the Judges can see for
7 themselves what it says.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we now please show the witness
9 the same page, paragraph 3, the last sentence.
10 Q. Colonel, before this comes up on your screen, at this particular
11 collegium meeting border-related matters were discussed, right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You regularly attended collegiums or collegia of the General
14 Staff, right?
15 A. No. Only when the functioning of the system securing the border
16 state of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was concerned; therefore,
17 something from my area.
18 Q. And you attended this collegium at the 14th of --
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't hear the month or the
20 year for that matter.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Can you please look at paragraph 3, the last sentence --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, just to complete that, your question
25 was, I think the 14th of December, 1998. It was missed in the
2 MR. VISNJIC: Oh, I'm sorry.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Please continue.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Colonel, can you please look at the last sentence, paragraph 3.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please lower the page
7 slightly, pull it down, the Serbian. Further down, please. [In English]
8 Thank you.
9 Q. [Interpretation] There's an assessment there by General Smiljanic
10 about the number of terrorists in Albania. Let's not go into any details.
11 I want to know about the last sentence under this assessment where there
12 is talk of infiltration, can you comment on that?
13 A. Well, this assessment proved to be correct later on. Those
14 terrorist groups that were armed with various weapons, and they also had
15 some weapons they carried with them or on horseback, they infiltrated on
16 rugged terrain where only -- you can only go on foot. And it was our
17 assessment that there were about 250 such places where you could cross
18 from Albania into our territory.
19 Q. Thank you. On page 26, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the same exhibit,
20 3D485, Colonel, this is an intervention by General Marjanovic, where he
21 speaks about the number of troops needed to secure the state border per
22 kilometre, per 1 kilometre. Could you please comment on it.
23 A. Please, let me just have a look at it because it's been a long
24 time since I prepared for my evidence. Yes. General Marjanovic presented
25 correct data at that time. At that time a part of our border facing
1 Albania and also parts of our border facing Macedonia were under threat.
2 It was a different situation on the borders with Romania and Bulgaria
3 where we had no problems with the functioning of the security system and
4 there were no incidents there at all. And on this basis he spoke about
5 the number of people needed to -- for the security system at the state
6 border to function properly.
7 Q. According to you, how many soldiers were needed to secure the
8 state border, if you remember the figure?
9 A. Well, I do remember our analysis and assessments. The analysis
10 and assessments were made -- at the time when they were made and on the
11 basis of the situation that existed. According to our assessment between
12 5.500 and 6.000 people were needed for the system to function at the
13 border between Albania and Kosovo and Metohija.
14 Q. [Microphone not activated]
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
17 page 31 of the English version, that's again the same exhibit, 3D485.
18 Q. Colonel - well, we'll find it in a minute - could you please look
19 at the first paragraph here right at the top in the Serbian version. This
20 is your intervention, and you are saying that there was a serious incident
21 at the state border. Could you please tell us something about it but very
23 A. Yes. It happened at the border post Liken. A serious incident
24 happened there. There was a clash between the terrorist forces and the
25 border people of the VJ, and at the time when the collegium met, I had to
1 report to them to inform them once again about what was happening at the
2 state border. That was at the time when we wanted to save, to protect,
3 the personnel guarding the state border against the terrorist attacks from
4 Albania. There were massive attacks in -- at that time in that area.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
6 the English [as interpreted] text at page 31, the last paragraph, and the
7 first paragraph on the next page, page 32.
8 Q. Colonel, you will have the Serbian version in front of you. This
9 is an intervention by General Ojdanic at this collegium meeting, but
10 before this text appears in front of you could you please tell me what
11 kind of cooperation or what kind of a relationship was there between the
12 border guards and the people who lived in the border area permanently, who
13 were permanent residents there?
14 A. Well, before those events, the relationship between the border
15 guards of the VJ and the locals was extremely good, very correct, and
16 often they would come to the commander of the unit securing the border and
17 would inform him about certain events. That was in the period when the
18 situation was stable. As the situation deteriorated, there was a growing
19 resistance among the locals towards the border guards, but there were no
20 border incidents involving the population living in the border area. But
21 according to some rumours that circulated at the time when I visited at
22 the border area, some people told us that they were -- they received
23 threats if they got close with the border guards. So as the situation
24 deteriorated, the relationship between the border units and the locals
25 deteriorated too.
1 Q. Could you please comment on the first paragraph in the
2 intervention made by General Ojdanic.
3 A. Yes. General Ojdanic was the commander of the 549 Brigade at a
4 certain period of time, and the border relating to some issues was also
5 within his purview as regards the supplying of the border units,
6 replenishment, and so on. And he was familiar with those issues, and he
7 visited the border, state border, often. So he presented the situation in
8 the border units at the border at this collegium. The status of these
9 people, as General Ojdanic said, was really quite remarkable of the people
10 who secured the border and whose relationship with the locals was
11 extremely good, not only in the border belt but in the border area as
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
15 Exhibit P1000, page 3.
16 Q. Colonel, after this collegium meeting on the 14th of December,
17 some conclusions were made and some tasks issued. Could you please tell
18 us what the collegium concluded and what tasks were issued.
19 A. Well, I can't really read it because the letters are too small. I
20 can't remember really, but I know that there was a conclusion to establish
21 an expert team that would analyse the situation at the border
22 with Kosovo and Metohija -- okay, now I see it --
23 Q. No, no, no, it has nothing to do with my question.
24 A. That would analyse the situation at the border with Albania and
25 Macedonia in the Kosovo and Metohija area and propose appropriate
2 Q. This document that is now in front of you, this is an intervention
3 by General Ojdanic at a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council of the 25th
4 of December, 1998, and here General Ojdanic presents some problems and
5 some weaknesses related to the securing of the state border. Could you
6 please comment on it.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] In the English version that would be
8 on page 3.
9 Q. Seven features are presented here, or rather, seven salient
10 problems are presented here. Could you please look at them and comment on
11 them. My first question to you is: Did General Ojdanic say anything new
12 in relation to what was discussed at the collegia of the 3rd of November
13 and the 14th of December, 1998 or is it just a summary?
14 A. Well, to tell you the truth, this is a summary of everything that
15 had already been discussed at the collegia. In fact, most of the -- most
16 important issues had already been raised, issues that affected the
17 functioning of the state border security, and I will not be repeating them
18 because they are stated here.
19 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness now be shown
21 Exhibit 3D406.
22 Q. Colonel, you said that an expert team had been formed, and once
23 the expert team had concluded its work what were the proposals and what
24 happened with the conclusions of the expert team?
25 A. Yes. An expert team was established. It included the Chief of
1 Staff of the 3rd Army, the Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps, and
2 another group of experts who dealt with the functioning of the state
3 border security. They studied the overall situation and proposed
4 appropriate measures to improve the state security -- state border
5 security system, and this proposal was of course forwarded to the General
6 Staff of the Yugoslav Army.
7 Q. Do you know whether the federal government accepted those
8 proposals, when it was, and was anything actually done?
9 A. The proposals were accepted, and one of the documents that the
10 federal government did adopt was the extension of the border belt with --
11 at the border with Albania, that was on the 3rd of March, 1999.
12 Q. Could you please look at this document. Is this the decision of
13 the federal government that you just referred to?
14 A. Well, the letters are very small, but yes this is the Official
15 Gazette where this decision was published.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
18 Exhibit 3D739, that's the map that we have here in front of us.
19 Your Honours, I was told by my colleagues that the key to this map
20 has been translated and it is in e-court. If there are any problems, any
21 ambiguities, it is in e-court.
22 Q. Colonel, could you please look at the map and explain to us very
23 briefly why the belt is wider in some areas and less wide in other areas
24 at the border with Albania if you look at Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija,
25 and also the border with Macedonia. If you can just -- you don't have to
1 get up. Could you please do it as you sit.
2 A. Yes, I can. Let me tell you that the width of the border belt was
3 established in accordance with the assessments of threat. Where there
4 were -- where the threat was higher, where the number of illegal crossings
5 was higher, where there were more terrorists, the belt was wider because
6 this made it possible for the border guards to function in a more safe
7 environment and to operate in greater depth because there were more
8 illegal crossings in those areas, more people crossed illegally, and that
9 was why the belt was defined in those terms. If you look at this map, the
10 belt is wider at the Skadar Lake area at the border with Macedonia because
11 vessels were used to cross the border and to smuggle in all kinds of
12 materials, and if you compare the key to the map with the events that are
13 represented on the map at the border with Kosovo and Metohija, you can see
14 that there -- there is not a single scrap of territory where there had
15 been no incidents involving armed -- fire-arms and where illegal crossings
16 were not attempted. I do apologise, I tend to forget what I have to do.
17 Q. In other words, areas where there were more border incidents, the
18 belt was wider?
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
22 Exhibit P640, page 3.
23 Q. Colonel, I asked you a little while ago how many people were
24 needed to secure the state border with Albania from the territory of
25 Kosovo. Could you please look at this document. This is an assessment of
1 the Kosovo Verification Mission. In particular, could you please look at
2 paragraph 15, which states the total number of personnel needed to secure
3 the border.
4 Could you please tell me, is this a realistic assessment?
5 A. Well, it would depend on when it was made, but it was very
6 realistic in light of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija.
7 Q. Thank you. Colonel, do you know that at the Rambouillet talks one
8 of the items on the table was the offer to have 1.500 soldiers guarding
9 the border?
10 A. Yes, I know that this figure was mooted, 1.500 soldiers in -- as
11 far as -- I believe that those soldiers would have been sacrificed had
12 they been used to secure the border.
13 Q. Let us move on to another topic, Colonel. Did you tour the border
14 during the war in -- from March to June 1999?
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. Could you please tell me what did you see there, what was the
17 picture that you formed during your visits?
18 A. Well, I said last time that this had been an area that was at war,
19 it was a combat zone, and the lives of the people protecting the
20 sovereignty of their state against an outside aggression were at risk all
21 the time. I saw those people who were exhausted who really wanted to
22 protect their territory but who -- who would be on duty for 16 hours.
23 Those people were tired. If you ask them what they wanted, they wanted to
24 get some rest; that was their answer.
25 Q. Could you please tell me what areas did you visit?
1 A. It would be much better if you asked me which ones I did not
2 visit. I visited all of them. I was head of that particular service, and
3 we toured the border from one end to the other, I and my people.
4 Q. Colonel, can you please look at 3D741. We are now waiting for
5 that to come up on our screens. Can you please tell us whether during the
6 war there were reports of incidents near the border? How was that
7 procedure being implemented?
8 A. Yes. Let me just look at this, since I can't see it. Yes.
9 During the war it wasn't only in Kosovo and Metohija that also along all
10 other state borders the state border control regime was reinstated;
11 however, although there was a war on and a state of war had been declared,
12 this was a situation where the state borders were being defended from an
13 act of external aggression, specifically from Albania. I'm waiting.
14 Q. Can you please look at this exhibit and comment. This is a
15 document produced by the General Staff or the staff of the Supreme
16 Command, and this was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
17 A. Yes. Let me tell you straight away, not only did the terrorist
18 infiltrations, attacks, and threats continue, but there was aggression on
19 the territory of Yugoslavia itself. The General Staff was reporting to
20 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time about all these things
21 happening within the border belt and at the state border itself. It asked
22 that the domestic public to be informed and that bodies and institutions
23 set up by the General Staff be set up along the state borders. Many such
24 requests were made at the time to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
25 Q. You toured both Morina and Kosova?
1 A. Yes, both of those border posts.
2 Q. Paragraph 3 of the Serbian, an attack is described there. Who is
3 this carried out by and how?
4 A. The attack here is carried out by sabotage and terrorist forces,
5 an attack on the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This
6 was a combined frontal attack with incursions from the flanks and enjoying
7 throughout the support of terrorists from the territory of Albania. Their
8 territory was used for heavy firing on the forces and territory of the
9 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Most of these activities were receiving
10 air support from NATO, regrettably. These activities were interwoven with
11 air support by NATO.
12 Q. Did you ever see General Ojdanic throughout the war?
13 A. Yes, I did see him a number of times.
14 Q. Where?
15 A. At the command post. He often came. He toured the units. He
16 reviewed problems. He made suggestions. He gathered information on
17 anything of importance that was happening. He was a true commander.
18 Q. The translation says that he often toured the units, and you said
19 he toured the people. Whom did he tour?
20 A. Both units and people, let me tell you that. These two are
21 difficult to separate. He lived with the people, he toured both the
22 people and the units.
23 Q. And all of this was going on where exactly?
24 A. Throughout, everywhere. He didn't pick his places. He went to
25 all the most difficult areas.
1 Q. And throughout the war, where did you see him?
2 A. At the command post.
3 Q. Thank you. Another question for you, sir. Did you ever hear or
4 were you involved or were you carrying out a plan to expel the Albanian
5 population from Kosovo?
6 A. Frankly, I've never heard of the plan nor did I ever implement
7 this plan which follows I suppose. I don't know that any expulsion
8 occurred at all of the Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija.
9 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] This concludes my examination of the
12 JUDGE BONOMY: You're still on your feet, Mr. Visnjic. You're
13 worried that we might not see you.
14 I understand there is some Defence cross-examination.
15 Mr. Cepic.
16 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Cepic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Colonel. I'm Djuro Cepic. I will
19 ask you questions on behalf of General Lazarevic. I do have a number of
20 questions for you.
21 A. Good morning to you, too.
22 Q. Colonel, today you mentioned on page 15 of today's transcript that
23 you toured the entire border or nearly throughout the war in 1999. What I
24 want to know is who welcomed you on behalf of the Pristina Corps when you
25 were off to tour the state border?
1 A. Excluding the commanders of border battalions, I would often meet
2 and control the state border security regime with General Lazarevic.
3 Q. Were you in touch with Colonel Zivkovic as well about the border?
4 A. Yes. At the time he became the Chief of Staff of the Pristina
6 Q. Thank you. I will now ask you something about 1998. Did you tour
7 the border units of the Pristina Corps, specifically the 53rd Border
8 Battalion based in Djakovica. Did you go and see them in 1998
10 A. I saw all the border units, not just a single border battalion;
11 and when I say "all," that definitely includes the one based in Djakovica.
12 Q. As of April 1998 and onwards, do you know who unified the
13 involvement of the units of the Pristina Corps in terms of securing the
14 state border to Albania and Macedonia?
15 A. Yes, I do know that the Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps,
16 General Lazarevic, he was at the forward command post in Djakovica and I
17 met him there.
18 Q. Thank you. Friday's transcript, 14837, this is something you said
19 then and I think you mentioned it today again on page 6 and 7, that the
20 then-Chief of the General Staff, General Perisic, on the 4th, 5th, and 6th
21 of November visited Kosovo, went to the forward command post in Djakovica,
22 where he met with the authorities and they told him about the situation
23 and the problems occurring along the state border. My question: Do you
24 know who at the time was in charge of the border forward command post in
25 November 1998? Who reported to the Chief of the General Staff, General
1 Perisic, and convinced him that reinforcements were needed along the state
3 A. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do happen to know that. This was
4 General Lazarevic at the forward command post in Prizren at the command of
5 the 53rd Border Battalion.
6 Q. But the headquarters of the 53rd Border Battalion is in Djakovica,
8 A. Djakovica, yes, yes, I'm sorry, I've got it all mixed up. The
9 other one was in Pristina.
10 Q. Thank you very much, Colonel.
11 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Speaking about the security regime
12 along the state border and shortage of forces, could I please have Defence
13 Exhibit 5D1229.
14 Your Honours, this was a document on the 65 ter list, but because
15 of the well-known problems with the CLSS we have not yet received a
16 translation of this document. If I could please ask a single, brief
17 question and for one single sentence to be read from that document, with
18 your leave, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
20 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 [Interpretation] Could we please have 5D1229. [In English]
23 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel --
24 MR. CEPIC: Up, up -- no down. Thank you.
25 Q. [Interpretation] -- You see the heading, you see the stamp. Are
1 you familiar with the stamp?
2 A. Yes, yes, that's the command of the 53rd Border Battalion.
3 MR. CEPIC: Can you show us the third page, please.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Can you briefly read this paragraph, Colonel.
5 A. "In order to ensure that there is a possibility of intervention
6 along this axis under threat and assistance to a body under threat, in
7 order to bring up the manpower levels because of those absent, sick, and
8 for replacements to come in, this would require another one-fourth of
9 manpower, which amounts to 300 soldiers and 25 officers. This means that
10 only these axes would be secured over a 24-hour period with no
11 interruption. 1.500 soldiers and 130 officers would be required, which
12 totals 1.630 men. As we speak, the line is being secured by 580 soldiers
13 and 68 officers, which means that another 960 soldiers and 62 officers are
14 missing or we are short of that number of men."
15 Q. You see the signature?
16 A. Yes, Major Goran Sorak.
17 Q. He was the commander of the 53rd Battalion?
18 A. Indeed he was.
19 Q. This assessment tallied with your own assessments and the problems
20 were reviewed based on this?
21 A. The technical services of the General Staff of the VJ never
22 conducted a single activity on its own along the state border without
23 consulting the border units because they were privy to everything that was
24 going on there and they were always best placed to tell anybody else what
25 the situation was.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: One moment. Major Goran Sorak was in charge of
2 only a part of the border; is that the position?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, he was.
4 MR. CEPIC: Your Honour, if you need clarification of units in the
5 border belt, I can --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: No, I --
7 MR. CEPIC: -- Can direct the witness in that direction.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: No, that explains why the numbers are what they
9 are, they are a proportion of the necessary increase in the staff and I
10 just wanted to be clear on that.
11 Does this document now require to be translated?
12 MR. CEPIC: If it is necessary for system, I would like to
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Sometimes it's sufficient if the relevant passage
15 is translated in court, but it may be that it's a document -- it's a
16 fairly brief document and the whole of it should be translated. So we
17 will mark it for identification.
18 Please continue, Mr. Cepic.
19 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 I would like to ask Mr. Registrar to show us Exhibit 5D1227,
21 please. Could you scroll down, please. Thank you.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, do you recognise the name and the
24 A. Yes, Sveta Antanasijevic.
25 Q. Who was he?
1 A. He was the commander of the 57th Border Battalion.
2 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Can you look at 8.5, read that paragraph for
3 us, please?
4 A. Yes, I see that.
5 "On the 14th of March, 1999, at 1000 hours, in the Globocica
6 border area, three members of the OSCE travelling in a vehicle with the
7 following registration plate number OS 238 MK, the crew comprising
8 Halijev Blajs, Johan Aspont, and Fatmir Iljazi requested authorisation to
9 visit the following visits: Gorance, Globocica, Kotlina, Dragomance.
10 They were allowed to visit."
11 Q. Thank you. Throughout the OSCE mission throughout October 1998 to
12 just before the war, what were the conditions that were necessary for the
13 OSCE verifiers to be able to access the border belt?
14 A. The OSCE verifiers under laws could always access the border belt
15 whenever they announced their arrival. They were enjoying an unrestricted
16 freedom of movement as long as they announced their intentions and this
17 document shows just that.
18 Q. Would I be right if I said that an announcement was required as
19 well as someone to get in touch with a liaison officer?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, has this document been translated?
22 MR. CEPIC: Unfortunately, not. It is the same problem as the
23 previous one.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. It also will be marked for
1 MR. CEPIC: Could I ask Mr. Registrar, would you be so kind as to
2 show us 5D1226, please.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, if you look at the header, do you
4 recognise the unit referred to there?
5 A. Yes, this is the 57th Border Battalion.
6 MR. CEPIC: Would you scroll down just for two sentence. Okay,
7 okay, that's fine.
8 Q. [Interpretation] Will you please read this paragraph after the
9 word "translator," this should be the second paragraph. It
11 A. "Representatives of the OSCE expressed their satisfaction at the
12 cooperation and changes in the approach to the mission by bodies and units
13 of the VJ. They underlined the fact that the problem of access to the
14 border belt was now resolved and that communication was now established
15 between the mission and the liaison officer. This should guarantee future
16 cooperation. They asked for a map showing the border belt, the
17 5-kilometre border belt, so that they might be able to get their bearings
18 and announce their arrival."
19 Q. I think you made a mistake in the last sentence.
20 A. Yes, indeed, "map," I should have said "map," showing the border
21 belt. My eyesight's not what it used to be; I'm getting on a bit.
22 Q. My question to you, Colonel, is: Do you know that the OSCE
23 liaison officers expressed their satisfaction at the sort of cooperation
24 they had with the VJ? Is this something you knew about at the time?
25 A. Yes, I do know about that. My information suggested that they
1 were very pleased with the way the border units were treating them. We
2 were adamant that they should always announce their visits, lest any
3 accidents occurred. If you don't know who is in the border belt, certain
4 clashes might escalate without you knowing, that's why an announcement was
5 required. It was never a problem of them actually being free to move
6 about within the border belt.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. CEPIC: Could we have Exhibit Number 5D1209, please.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: I take it the last document's also untranslated?
10 MR. CEPIC: Exactly, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: So that also will be marked for identification.
12 MR. CEPIC: And also this is my last document for tendering.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: And is it translated?
14 MR. CEPIC: No, no.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the same will be the position.
16 MR. CEPIC: Thank you.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, would you please tell us what the header
19 A. "The command of the 55th Border Battalion." My eyesight is really
20 poor, and the document's a bit blurred.
21 MR. CEPIC: Could we scroll down just to see the signature and the
22 name of -- thank you.
23 Q. [Interpretation] Do you recognise this?
24 A. Yes, Major Radomir Jovic.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. CEPIC: Could we scroll up, please. That's fine. Thank you.
2 Q. [Interpretation] It says here: "A report on a border incident."
3 Could you please tell us who are the addressees of this document, command
4 an so on?
5 A. Well, I can't see what it says here.
6 Q. The second passage on this document in front of you: "Command,"
7 and then the letters that follow.
8 A. Well, the command and the local minister of interior, MUP organs,
9 where this battalion was operating, and the local Joint Commission --
10 Q. No, no, Colonel. I didn't ask you about the last passage. Could
11 you please look at the top of the screen, the first and the second
12 paragraph, that's what I'm interested, the upper left-hand corner of the
13 screen --
14 A. Well, I can't --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please not overlap.
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. I will read it and you comment, please.
18 "Report of the border incident addressed to the command of the
19 PRK (OC and KG) and then OC 3.A and OC ES VJ," could you please tell us
20 what do these acronyms stand for.
21 A. Well, it's important to stress in those situations where there
22 were serious border incidents the battalion commander addresses this to
23 the Pristina Corps to the operations organ that was to inform the other
24 elements in the system to the operations centre of the 3rd Army that again
25 had to forward this report to other bodies that were supposed to deal with
1 the incident and to the operations centre of the General Staff of the VJ.
2 Q. Thank you. Could you please read the first few paragraphs of this
3 report so we can see what this is all about.
4 A. "Tonight at 0015 hours from the territory of Albania from," I
5 can't really make it out, probably sector of their border post Pogaj,"fire
6 was opened on infantry arms at the guard at the Gorozub border post, our
7 organs did not return fire," well I can't really see it,"observed the
8 exact place and took up positions to defend the border post."
9 Just to tell you that this was not the single incident. There
10 were incidents when the facilities around the border post were targeted.
11 We suggested that fire should not be returned but that the whole incident
12 should first be investigated to see what this is all about.
13 Q. Ask you please slow down for interpretation. Yes, you can
14 continue, please.
15 A. In some situations there would be attacks on one axis and then on
16 another axis it would become possible for terrorist teams to be
17 infiltrated and to bring in weapons.
18 Q. Could you please continue reading the text.
19 A. "Our organs" -- well, I can't really see what it says here, "to
20 this attack" -- yeah, yeah, okay. "At 0045 hours fire was again opened
21 from the Albanian side to the security detail at Gorozub border post from
22 the same place where the previous attack had occurred.
23 "Our organs returned fire from their infantry weapons, after which
24 the attack ceased" -- well, I can't really see what it says here,"opening
25 fire on our organs. There were no consequences for our organs. This
1 incident we will announce during the day to the MUP organs in Prizren and
2 the local Joint Commission for sector 5."
3 Let me just tell you, for all the border incidents as defined by
4 proper regulations, were always notified to the Ministry of the Interior
5 organs so that the local Joint Commission could then report the incident
6 to the Albanian side and go to the site where the incident occurred. The
7 Yugoslav part of the Joint Commission indicated this to the Albanian side
8 and then they would go to the site. Unfortunately, the Albanian organs
9 very seldom went to the sites of such incidents.
10 Q. That would be all, Colonel. Thank you very much.
11 MR. CEPIC: I haven't got any further questions, Your Honour,
12 thank you.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Cepic --
14 MR. CEPIC: Excuse me, probably I have one more if you allow me.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Colonel, just one more question. Throughout the time in 1998 and
18 in 1999, was the chain of command within the Yugoslav Army preserved at
19 all times?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. CEPIC: No further questions.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Cepic.
24 Mr. Ivetic.
25 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
2 Q. Good morning, Colonel, my name is Dan Ivetic and I am the attorney
3 for Sreten Lukic and I would have some questions for you, sir. First of
4 all, I would like to ask you some questions about your 92 ter statement.
5 I think the questions will be easily answered without looking at the
6 document but if anyone needs to follow along that would be 3D1083 and the
7 first question I have deals with page 5, paragraph 9 of that statement.
8 Am I correct in understanding the situation that armed incursions by armed
9 ethnic Albanian terrorists was already underway before 1995 on the border
10 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
11 A. Yes, there were events that were recorded before 1995, and the
12 events escalated in 1995. There was a lull in 1996, and then in 1997,
13 1998, and culminating with 1999 that was already a large-scale aggression.
14 Q. Thank you, sir. I apologise. I'm pausing to allow the transcript
15 to catch up with us, even though I am able to follow your answer as you
16 give it.
17 Now, with respect to these escalations, as you described them, am
18 I correct that at a certain point in time there was actually artillery
19 fire being directed into Yugoslavia from the Albanian territory?
20 A. Yes. From the Albanian territory, it happened many times. I
21 couldn't give you the exact figure. Artillery and recoilless guns and
22 mortars of all calibres were fired from that territory.
23 Q. Thank you. And again, I'm just waiting for the translation to
24 come through on the -- pardon me, the transcript, I should say. Now, if I
25 can ask you to clarify another section, page 9, paragraph 2 of your 92 ter
1 statement, wherein you state that the border units registered people
2 illegally crossing the border and handed them over to competent MUP
3 authorities for processing.
4 Did this include those that were attempting to illegally cross the
5 border from Yugoslavia to Albania or to Macedonia?
6 A. Well, let me tell you right away, those who were caught illegally
7 crossing the border towards the other state outside of the border
8 crossings, they crossed. That cannot refer to the local population that
9 worked and lived in the border belt, because they had full freedom of
10 movement within their place of residence. We couldn't control those
11 locals if they went to their field. So these were not the locals, only
12 those who were outside of their place of residence and locals who were
13 outside of their place of residence who would approach the border or
14 attempt to cross it, but the local population was allowed to work their
15 fields and tend to their cattle and stuff like that.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, at page 8 of your statement, it's the last
17 paragraph in the English, you state that the General Staff of the VJ did
18 not receive reports from the MUP during the course of the NATO war
19 regarding numbers of persons who had crossed the border. First of all, I
20 presume you are talking of the MUP in Belgrade and the General Staff of
21 the Army of Yugoslavia; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, we received reports from the Ministry of the Interior because
23 it was a federal institution and we were the General Staff. I don't know
24 whether at lower levels they sent reports, for instance, to the Pristina
25 Corps command at the lower level. The General Staff of the Army of
1 Yugoslavia at the level of the federal Ministry of the Interior did get
2 information about the crossings or -- rather, no such reports were
3 received in war or in peacetime, that was just not practice for such
4 reports to be sent.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues]... To clear something up. I
6 believe -- we're talking about the -- with regards to the border crossings
7 in the territory of the Republic of Serbia and its integral parts,
8 including the province of Kosovo and Metohija, it would be the republican
9 Ministry of the Interior of Serbia and not the federal Ministry of the
10 Interior that would be in charge of the border posts. Is that correct?
11 In the relevant time-period --
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. -- 1998 and onwards.
14 A. Yes, by that time there was the subordination within the Ministry
15 of the Interior, within their purview. They would report to the federal
16 ministry supplying the relevant information.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, just a moment.
19 MR. IVETIC: Sorry.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you not find all of the answer at line 4 to be
22 MR. IVETIC: I do. That's what I was about to go back to, but I
23 want to clear up that issue first to make sure that we're talking about
24 the same things.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: When you talk about the republican Ministry of the
1 Interior being in charge of border crossings, you mean the border between
2 Kosovo and the rest of Serbia, do you?
3 MR. IVETIC: Is that a question for me or --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: No, it's for you.
5 MR. IVETIC: --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: What's your question about -- where are we --
7 MR. IVETIC: The witness has indicated -- talking about the
8 federal Ministry of the Interior and I wanted him to clarify --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, but before you do that if you look at the
10 question at line 12: "I believe we're talking about with regards to the
11 border crossings in the territory of the Republic of Serbia and its
12 integral parts, including Kosovo, it would be the republican Ministry of
13 the Interior" -- I mean, what border are you referring to?
14 MR. IVETIC: All the borders between the Republic of Serbia and
15 its integral parts with other countries because Montenegro would have its
16 own MUP at the border crossings in that republic at that time.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that's what I assumed, but it was just it was
18 indicating something else I thought. But please continue.
19 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
20 [Defence counsel confer]
21 MR. IVETIC:
22 Q. Well, before I can clear up the first answer, I have to clear up
23 one more item on this last answer that you gave, sir. Just for purposes
24 of the transcript. The transcript records that you said that there was
25 subordination within the Ministry of the Interior, but I thought that in
1 Serbian you said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Could you please
2 clarify with respect to the reporting that you received, was it from
3 the -- was it through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the federal MUP
4 that the General Staff received information.
5 A. No, I apologise if I said the "Ministry of Foreign Affairs," then
6 it really was a slip of the tongue because I served in the Ministry of
7 Foreign Affairs. Let me say again, the republican ministry had to report
8 to the federal ministry on the information and the events within their
9 purview. I did not work in that ministry and I don't know anything about
11 Q. And so when you said in response to the question at line -- the
12 answer in line 4 through 11 of page 31 of the transcript, when you said:
13 "That was just not practice for that to be sent," am I correct that the
14 laws and regulations did not envision the Republic of Serbia MUP sending
15 reports directly to the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia?
16 A. That's correct, that was not envisaged, although this possibility
17 was not ruled out.
18 Q. Upon request of the General Staff?
19 A. I don't know whether the law actually stipulated that.
20 Q. Now, if we can turn to a portion of the testimony you gave today,
21 you talked about the -- and also in your statement at -- in the statement
22 it appears at page 3, paragraph 5 of the English, where you talk about
23 other parts of the border being secured by the responsible forces of the
24 Ministry of the Interior. Now, you have already told us that that would
25 be the border crossings. I would like to ask you if you recall how the
1 laws, the applicable laws, specifically defined the border crossing posts
2 and what activities were to be performed at such posts, if you know?
3 A. Well, I didn't concern myself with the regulations and laws
4 regarding the border posts, but I know that the border crossing is the
5 place where the state border is crossed and only persons in possession of
6 proper documents were allowed to be there, and that would be the travel
7 documents allowing one to exit or enter the country. In other words, that
8 place and the border belt were within the purview of the Ministry of the
9 Interior, and they worked on -- they covered the persons who stay there in
10 the border belt and they controlled the cross -- the people crossing, the
11 border at the border crossings.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, could you describe for us the dimensions or area
13 of the border crossings, any of them if you have any knowledge of Vrbnica,
14 Cafa Prusit, and Djeneral Jankovic, which you say were controlled by the
15 MUP, how large of a space did these border crossings cover?
16 A. Well, I really don't know the size to the left and to the right of
17 the road, but the dimensions of border crossings may various from 2 to 300
18 metres up to 800 metres. That would depend on the kind of border crossing
19 and the terrain where it is located. It is not the same for any border
20 crossing, but this is defined.
21 Q. Okay. Now, if I can ask you, am I correct that surrounding this
22 limited area of 500 metres or less the VJ had its own units and posts that
23 were in visual sight of the crossings.
24 A. Well, sometimes it would happen for the VJ to have a line of sight
25 or visual contact. It is not ruled out that they could have been in
1 contact, but it is quite natural for two structures staying in that,
2 securing the border, to contact each other and to agree on the execution
3 of certain tasks in the joint interest that pertain to the state border
5 Q. You say -- one moment, please. You had said that the persons
6 crossing had to have the appropriate travel documents. At this time I
7 would like to review Exhibit 5D1221, which is a short document. And as we
8 do not have a translation of it as of yet, I will ask you to comment after
9 I read the portion I wanted to direct your attention to so that the
10 American-speaking persons here can know what we're talking about. This is
11 first of all -- I believe it's up on the screen now.
12 Sir, this is a report of the 57th Border Battalion of the Army of
13 Yugoslavia dated the 30th of March, 1999; is that correct?
14 A. 30th of March, 1999, yes.
15 Q. And I'm going to direct your attention to part 4 of this report,
16 and which again I will try to read so that the translators can provide an
17 English translation of the same, and I would ask you just to bear with me
18 and then will have a question after I finish.
19 [Interpretation] "For situation in the territory.
20 "On the 29th of March at 1300 hours, large column of civilian m/vs
21 was noticed moving from Kacanik towards the Djeneral Jankovic border
22 crossing. Some of the vehicles crossed the DG and some which did not have
23 the appropriate travel documents were returned."
24 [In English] Now, first of all, sir, for those of us who are not
25 that versed in military acronyms and terminology, what do the
1 abbreviations m/v and DG stand for in this document?
2 A. In this document, m/v stands for motor vehicles and DG stands for
3 state border.
4 Q. Thank you. Now, based on your duties at the -- at the relevant
5 time, in 1999, with the VJ, was it the ordinary course of your duties for
6 you to review such reports from the various border units of the Army of
8 A. Let me tell you right away. The General Staff of the VJ received
9 reports directly from its subordinate commands. Sometimes it would happen
10 if the matter of a particular importance or if we had agreed for a report
11 to be sent directly from the border battalion because of its urgency to be
12 copied to the General Staff directly. So most of the reports from the
13 border battalions did not get to the General Staff.
14 Q. Based upon the documentation and reports that you did review, is
15 this situation illustrated in this report indicative of the typical state
16 of affairs witnessed at the border crossings that persons without travel
17 documentation were not permitted across the state border?
18 A. Let me tell you right away that the law stipulates that and I
19 believe this is how it was to be done. The border battalion command
20 observed this activity. It did not participate. It observed and it
21 reported. That's quite logical, that's what it was supposed to do, and
22 that's what it did.
23 Q. Thank you, Colonel. [No interpretation]
24 MR. IVETIC: No more questions.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: That last document was not used by Mr. Cepic, was
1 it Cepic?
2 MR. IVETIC: It was not. It was one of their documents that they
3 have submitted for --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Does it require to be translated?
5 MR. IVETIC: For my purposes it does not. I think the section
6 that I was interested in has been translated in the transcript now it's at
7 Your Honour's leisure --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: No, but to get the full sense of this report should
9 it be translated?
10 MR. IVETIC: The other parts of the report do not deal at all with
11 the same -- with the border crossing. So in terms of my questioning, it
12 does not, but I don't know whether the Lazarevic Defence would require to
13 use the document for some other purpose in which case it would need to be
14 translated. So I defer to my colleague for that.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
16 MR. CEPIC: If you allow me to be useful if we have translation of
17 complete document. Thank you.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that one will be marked for identification.
19 Mr. Stamp.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
21 Q. Good morning, Colonel.
22 A. Good morning.
23 Q. When was the border extended to 5 miles from 100 metres?
24 A. Let me tell you straight off that we use kilometres as a unit --
25 Q. Sorry. To 5 kilometres from 100 metres.
1 A. Let me tell you straight off, the border was extended many times,
2 the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia and then all the way to
3 the last extension in March 1999. There were several extensions,
4 extensions. We use the term in a very conditional sense. This is
5 extending the border belt along certain portions of the state border. It
6 can be up to a hundred, but the law says it can be an even greater
7 extension if there is a real need for a greater extension.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you now answer the question, please? When was
9 it extended to 5 kilometres?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Look, the first time the border was
11 extended was in April. I think there's a document about that, but it was
12 in April, April 1998. That was one extension of the border belt that was
13 ordered by the government I think on the 23rd of April, but the border was
14 extended only facing Albania and not facing Macedonia. Along some
15 sections of the border it wasn't 5 kilometres, but rather less, under 5
17 MR. STAMP:
18 Q. So I take it there was another extension of the border on the 21st
19 of July, 1998?
20 A. No, not the 21st of July. The 21st -- of 1998, well yes. I have
21 the Official Gazette in my brief-case somewhere, the extension of the
22 border belt, yes.
23 Q. Well, let's look at the documents. If we look at 3D406, let's
24 look at page 2 of that document, did this document -- did this decision
25 extend the state border of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the area
1 of Albania?
2 A. Yes. This is the last decision taken by the federal government to
3 extend the border belt and to establish the border belt more than the
4 previous one, deeper than the previous one. The reason for an extension
5 like this -- all right.
6 Q. So -- I'm just trying to understand your evidence because I
7 thought from your statement you said there was only one extension of the
8 border belt in 1998, and that was on the 21st of July. So we have one on
9 the 5th of March, 1999 --
10 A. No --
11 Q. -- Correct?
12 A. Yes, yes, yes.
13 Q. Before that, there was an extension on the 21st of July, 1998,
14 that's correct?
15 A. The 21st, 21st of July, I think so. I would like to see the
16 transcript. I think the 21st of July 1998, yes.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues]... 3D740 -- well, we don't even
18 to look at it. It says the 21st of July - I hope you could accept that
19 from me - 1998 it was extended.
20 A. It must be the 21st of July. I have it in my brief-case, if
21 necessary I can refer to it.
22 Q. So was the decision of the 23rd of April, 1998, published?
23 A. Yes, published in the Official Gazette. For any decision to take
24 effect, it must be published in the Official Gazette. You have the
25 conclusions on the last page of the Official Gazette, and then it takes
1 effect and then units can actually use it for practical purposes.
2 Q. I see. Now, that decision to extend the border in April 1998, did
3 it -- is that indicated there on the map that you brought, the April 1998
5 A. No, it's not indicated, the reason being we only showed the last
6 two extensions. The April extension made it into this bit of the border
7 that is marked yellow. There was no need to make any further indications.
8 Q. When --
9 MR. STAMP: Sorry.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you understand that answer?
11 Are you saying that the yellow extension on the map is the 23rd of
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. The second-last extension of
14 the 21st of July was marked yellow; the 5th of March one was marked in -
15 what should I call it? - orange. The last two extensions were indicated,
16 but the April extension tallied with the July one. If you look at the
17 April decision, it is quite similar to the July decision. The section of
18 the border was adjusted facing Kosovo and Metohija because that's where
19 the threat was, and in Montenegro it remained virtually the same --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We couldn't hear the last
21 part of the witness's question because of the large amount of background
22 noise caused by the shuffling of papers.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: The map that we're looking at shows a yellow
24 extension on the border with Macedonia.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. In July when we extended the
1 border belt, it was extended both facing Albania and facing Macedonia.
2 The reason we extended it towards Macedonia was because there were a
3 larger number now of illegal crossings there. At the same time, there
4 were groups that emerged trying to bring weapons into Kosovo and Metohija
5 through Macedonia. They were clocked leaving Macedonia and entering
6 Kosovo and Metohija, bringing in weapons, and that caused us to broaden
7 the border belt so that we might be able in our turn to bring in a greater
8 amount of forces and to exercise more control.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Try to confine yourself to what you're being asked.
10 You gave the impression that these two extensions only applied to the
11 border with Albania, and now it seems that the second one also extended to
13 Mr. Stamp.
14 MR. STAMP:
15 Q. Are you saying that the extension of February -- sorry, of April,
16 the 23rd of April, 1998, was an extension of the border facing Albania?
17 A. Yes, just facing Albania because that border was the border that
18 was at the greatest risk at the time.
19 Q. And when the extension was done in July 1998, that extension was
20 for the border facing both Albania and Macedonia?
21 A. That's right, facing both Albania and Macedonia, which is marked
22 in yellow on the map.
23 Q. Now, what procedures were put in place, if you know, for KVM
24 personnel to visit that extended border area after April of 1998?
25 JUDGE BONOMY: The KVM were not --
1 MR. STAMP: Sorry.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: -- Were not there in April 1998.
3 MR. STAMP: They were there much later.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
5 MR. STAMP: But they were there after April.
6 Q. I'm referring to the border belt that was extended in --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: But, Mr. Stamp --
8 MR. STAMP: Yeah.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: -- They weren't there in July either --
10 MR. STAMP: Yeah the --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: So what's the relevance to the --
12 MR. STAMP: The date I referred to -- I referred to because the
13 border belt was extended.
14 Q. When the KVM were working in Kosovo, what procedure was there in
15 place for them to be able to visit the border belt, as it was extended in
16 July and April?
17 A. I've already told you about the procedures used by the authorities
18 as far as movement or any stays within the border belt were concerned for
19 any reason whatsoever. I was talking about UNPROFOR at the time. They
20 made regular announcements saying that they would be entering the border
21 belt. They enjoyed unrestricted movement, and you saw the document where
22 they thanked us for it. This was the procedure applied to all those who
23 were granted access to the border belt. They all enjoyed unrestricted
24 freedom of movement whenever appropriate announcements were submitted and
25 appropriate authorisation granted by the relevant bodies.
1 Q. That is what I'm asking about. Did the KVM -- are you saying that
2 the KVM had to follow a procedure of asking for authorisation to enter
3 that border belt that is shaded on the map and they would have to await
4 authorisation before they could enter that area?
5 A. Let me tell you. This could be regulated in a variety of ways. I
6 don't know how they did it. I wasn't monitoring them, but you could
7 obtain authorisation for a longer stay in the border belt or for a shorter
8 one. They must have specified the duration of their time within the
9 border belt. They would have been able to obtain permission, they would
10 have been able to move about. If they hadn't applied for authorisation,
11 then they only had the choice of moving about within the border belt in
12 keeping with all the laws and regulations.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that doesn't really answer the question. Did
14 they have to ask for permission to enter the border belt?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I don't know what their
16 position was at the time, but all those moving within the border belt
17 needed authorisation, with the exception of those permanently residing
18 within the border belt. A permit can be a single-entry permit, it can
19 cover varying periods of time, three months, six months, up to a year.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 MR. STAMP: I don't know if this is a convenient time.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: It would be convenient, yes.
23 Mr. Cucak, we have to break at this stage for half an hour. The
24 usher will take you from the court and we'll see you again at quarter past
1 [The witness stands down]
2 --- Recess taken at 10.46 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.16 a.m.
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Please be seated.
6 Mr. Stamp.
7 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Colonel, inquiring about the system, if any, in place to enable
9 KVM members to enter into the border area. Now, I'm asking for what you
10 know; and if you don't know and you have to guess or surmise, just tell us
11 that you don't know and that you're surmising.
12 You spoke about permits. The question is this: If KVM members
13 wanted to enter the border area that you have shaded to make observations,
14 would they have to apply for permits to enter and remain in that area for
15 a fixed period? Do you know of that being a system in place?
16 A. I don't know if they needed a permit or not. I know that under
17 the law any person moving within the border belt must have a permit.
18 Q. So you're speaking, therefore, not from your personal knowledge of
19 what was required of the KVM if they wanted to enter the border area, but
20 from your view as to what the law provided for?
21 A. I'm telling you what the law provided for. I'm not talking about
22 my views.
23 Q. Very well.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cucak, if the border belt was 5 kilometres wide
25 and a person was travelling from Kosovo towards Albania, would that person
1 come to is a check-point at the start of the border belt and then have to
2 go through another one on the border?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me say straight away that it was
4 the Ministry of the Interior that was in charge of border crossings. The
5 roads leading to border crossings were not under control. There was no
6 need to exercise special control there. They would go straight to a
7 border crossing and do whatever they -- their responsibilities were under
8 the law.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
10 Mr. Stamp.
11 MR. STAMP:
12 Q. However, the military or the VJ border units had the power to stop
13 and detain people that they found within the border unit -- the border
14 area to see if they had permits to be within that area; is that correct?
15 A. The border units had the right to stop people and to check their
16 ID. If anything was irregular, they had the power to detain them and hand
17 them over to the Ministry of the Interior. Any person moving within the
18 border belt would have an ID on them and they would be able to move about
19 freely. All those permanently residing within the border belt were free
20 to move about unhindered anyway, but they too were supposed to carry ID on
22 Q. Did any KVM member express to you satisfaction with any system for
23 entering and monitoring what is happening in the border area?
24 A. There was another sector in the General Staff that was in touch
25 with them, it was the -- it was not the state border security sector.
1 Q. Can I take it that your answer is no, you did not personally
2 receive from any KVM member any expression of satisfaction with the system
3 for them to enter and monitor the border area?
4 A. I was not in touch with them; therefore, I am not in possession of
5 this particular piece of information.
6 Q. What were the powers that the army could exercise within Kosovo
7 but outside of the border area in 1998?
8 A. I can't answer the question. I was dealing with the border
9 service. Ask me something that has to do with the state border, please.
10 Q. Very well. So you -- I take it you don't know if and what powers
11 the army could exercise within Kosovo if it was outside of the border
13 A. I don't know. I didn't follow that.
14 Q. You stated at -- more than one time -- well, at least one time in
15 your statement that many of the, what you refer to as, terrorist incidents
16 in 1998 constituted an act of aggression against the FRY. In those
17 circumstances of these acts of aggression in 1998, do you, sir, as someone
18 who occasionally attended meetings of the collegium, know if ever it was
19 recommended that a state of emergency be declared in Kosovo in 1998?
20 A. Well, you see, I attended collegium meetings only when they had to
21 do with the state border; other than that, I did not attend any meetings.
22 As soon as discussion was over on this specific subject, I would leave the
24 Q. So was it ever suggested or proposed that these border incidents
25 which you said were acts of aggression against the FRY in 1998 were good
1 reason for a state of emergency to be declared in that area? Was that
2 discussion ever raised while you were at any meeting?
3 A. No. This wasn't what I was there to discuss, although there were
4 a great many acts of aggression and I think there are documents to show
5 just that.
6 Q. You said you went through item by item I believe but you went
7 through the various incidents that were referred to in the White Book that
8 was published by the Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Did that --
9 did the White Book cover incidents and events in which the Yugoslav Army
10 attacked KLA positions and caused casualties among members of the KLA?
11 A. What I found to be of interest in the White Book were the
12 incidents mentioned in it; however, only selected incidents based on
13 the -- a selection made by the author were included. A lot more than just
14 those had occurred, and you can find that in the records of the Ministry
15 of Foreign Affairs.
16 Q. For example, we heard evidence that during the summer to autumn of
17 1998 in the course of a VJ offensive in that period, thousands of KLA
18 members were killed, that is not represented or that is not covered in the
19 White Book, is it?
20 A. Believe me, I just looked at the incidents. When I saw an
21 incident involving border posts and the border area, I looked at that.
22 But believe me, I didn't go through the whole book --
23 Q. Very well --
24 A. -- As a professional dealing with that sort of thing, I knew what
25 those incidents were about.
1 Q. What do you mean when you said that General Ojdanic toured the
2 people? Maybe the translation I have or had is not precise, but that is
3 the translation I have.
4 A. Yes. General Ojdanic was acting as a man who was there to go and
5 see the people, see his subordinates, to see what problems they were
6 encountering, what their problems were both in personal and professional
7 terms, and he was one of the high-ranking officers who saw every human
8 being in a larger overall context and attached appropriate importance to
9 each and every human being.
10 Q. Okay. So when you said he toured the people, you mean he toured
11 the VJ -- he went and visited the VJ personnel in the various units?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. While -- well, do you know if in 1999 during the time of the
14 conflict, that's from March 24 or thereabouts to mid-June, he toured
16 A. Believe me, I don't know. I don't know when General Ojdanic was
17 in Kosovo because that was not within my domain, following him.
18 Q. I just asked you because you said that he went everywhere.
19 A. He went everywhere to various units, I'm speaking about him in
20 general terms. He went to units when he felt the need to go somewhere
21 earlier on and as Chief of General Staff. The example with the border,
22 that speaks in itself, while he was still brigade commander.
23 Q. Do you know which command posts he went to? Your evidence is
24 earlier that he went to the command post a number of times or he went
25 there often. Which command post or posts were you speaking of?
1 A. I said that the Chief of General Staff, it wasn't only
2 General Ojdanic, other chiefs of General Staff, too, went to the command
3 post of the 3rd Army, the command post of the Pristina Corps, to the
4 forward command post of the Pristina Corps that existed in Djakovica.
5 That is the command posts that I mean.
6 Q. So General Ojdanic during the conflict toured a command post in
8 A. I don't know whether he was at that command post. General Ojdanic
9 should be asked that. I know that I was in charge of the border, and when
10 it was a question of the border I personally went there. Whether he was
11 in Djakovica during the conflict, I really don't know.
12 MR. STAMP: I have no further questions, Your Honour. Thank you
13 very much.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Stamp.
15 Mr. Visnjic.
16 MR. SEPENUK: Yes, Your Honour.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have one question for
18 the witness.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: At least it's friendly conflict.
20 Re-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, during the course of your testimony
22 today, when I asked you where it was that you saw General Ojdanic during
23 the course of the war, you said at the command post. Can you say where
24 this command post was, where you saw General Ojdanic during the war in
1 A. I saw him at the command post of the staff of the Supreme Command
2 in Belgrade.
3 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, no further questions
5 for this witness.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cucak, that completes your evidence; thank you
9 for coming here to give it. You're now free to leave the courtroom.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 [The witness withdrew]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Sepenuk, the next witness?
13 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you, Your Honour. It's Negovan Jovanovic.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Jovanovic.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
19 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be placed
20 before you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
22 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: You will now be examined by Mr. Sepenuk on behalf
1 of General Ojdanic.
2 Mr. Sepenuk.
3 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 WITNESS: NEGOVAN JOVANOVIC
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Examination by Mr. Sepenuk:
7 Q. Colonel Jovanovic, good morning, sir.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. In 1998 and 1999 you were a colonel in the Yugoslav Army --
10 A. [In English] Excuse me, sir, I have a problem with this.
11 Q. I think you'll be helped.
12 A. [Interpretation] I don't hear every now and then, there seems to
13 be something wrong with the wiring. [In English] Okay.
14 Q. Is it okay now?
15 A. [Interpretation] Yes.
16 Q. You were a colonel in the Yugoslav Army in 1998 and 1999; is that
17 correct, sir?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. By the way there's a full colonel and a lesser colonel, you were a
20 full colonel, I take it?
21 A. A colonel.
22 Q. And you retired from the army in 2003; is that correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And what's your current occupation?
25 A. Pensioner.
1 Q. You retired?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And -- okay. And what do you do in your retirement, just very
5 A. Enjoy life in the country, rest.
6 Q. Far away from military service?
7 A. Far away.
8 Q. Okay. And you own a couple of horses, correct, and that takes a
9 lot of your time? You have to say yes or no?
10 A. [In English] Yes. [Interpretation] Correct.
11 Q. And you retired in 2003, correct? And I want to summarize --
12 A. -- Correct.
13 Q. -- Your army service, I want to summarize your army service from
14 the time you graduated from the military academy. And when did you
15 graduate from the military academy?
16 A. 1973.
17 Q. 1973.
18 MR. SEPENUK: And, Your Honour, with your permission and I take it
19 no objection from the Prosecutor may I just do some brief leading
20 questions to get his background in the record?
21 MR. STAMP: No objection, it's been leading already.
22 MR. SEPENUK: We're in an early stage of the case, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Please continue, Mr. Sepenuk.
24 MR. SEPENUK:
25 Q. And I take it in 1973 following graduation from the academy you
1 joined the army security service - and stop me if I'm incorrect on any of
2 this - you joined the army security service, you took a break for three
3 months in 1976 to attend language school in London, and spent one year in
4 1977 in London at the staff military college school of command and
5 control. Is that correct? You have to say yes or no. Is that correct to
6 this point, Colonel?
7 A. That is correct.
8 Q. Okay. And I want to just pause here for one moment because to me,
9 Colonel - and we've met obviously before you testified - you speak and
10 understand English fairly well, but I understand that you are more
11 comfortable in responding to my questions in your native Serbian language.
12 Is that true?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. And getting back to your background, you became a liaison officer
15 in Belgrade with the Foreign Liaison Service, and then from 1983 to 1989
16 you were an intelligence desk officer in Belgrade. You spent 1989/1990 in
17 Angola as a member of the verification mission there and then four years
18 in Ankara, Turkey in the Yugoslav Army as an attache to the ambassador,
19 correct, military attache?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And you became the deputy chief of the Foreign Liaison Service as
22 I understand it in 1994, correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And then you became the chief of that service in 1997?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. And just to complete the picture now on your history, as I
2 understand it that you also spent some time with the OSCE right before you
3 retired; is that correct?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. And what was your position at that time?
6 A. I was military advisor to the ambassador, who was representative
7 to the mission of the country to the OSCE.
8 Q. Now, getting back to 1994, Colonel, when you were the deputy chief
9 of the Foreign Liaison Service, I want to direct my questions to this area
10 now. It will be a little more tradition in our questioning now. What is
11 the Foreign Liaison Service? Please tell the Trial Chamber what it is,
12 what it does, what are its duties?
13 A. The Foreign Liaison Service with -- for cooperation with
14 international organisations is set up by the General Staff and its task is
15 to communicate on a daily basis with foreign military representatives and
16 to look into possibilities of promoting inter-army cooperation with
17 representatives of the countries represented. Among others, the task --
18 one of the tasks of that office was to take care of all the needs of
19 foreign representatives in the country in terms of resolving all problems
20 related to their accreditation, functioning, accommodation, up to their
21 very private problems, like their children's education, medical care, and
22 so on. As I said, it's a day-to-day job and through this communication
23 the task was to provide information about the life and activity of the
24 members of the Army of Yugoslavia, or rather, Serbia now, and in this way
25 to make it possible for all foreign military representatives to obtain the
1 best possible information in order for them to adjust and to communicate
2 with the representatives of the army in terms of carrying out the tasks
3 put before them by their own armed forces, or rather, ministries of
4 defence, that would be it in the briefest possible terms.
5 Q. So you dealt with the military attaches of the various countries?
6 You have to say yes or no. You have to answer audibly.
7 A. Yes, yes.
8 Q. And do you recall the number of countries involved just offhand,
9 20, 25 countries, thereabouts? Just tell us what your rough estimate was
10 of the number of country military attaches you dealt with.
11 A. As far as I can remember now, I think it was 23 or 25 countries,
12 I'm not sure.
13 Q. And how many employees did you have in the Foreign Liaison Service
14 that you supervised?
15 A. The number varied, but as a rule between 15 to 20 persons.
16 Q. And did your duties change at all when you became chief of the
17 Foreign Liaison Service in December 1997?
18 A. In principle, no, but I took over full responsibility for the work
19 of the office now, thereby extending my work, that is to say financial in
20 other duties that were indispensable for the normal functioning of an
21 independent agency such as the Foreign Liaison Service is.
22 Q. Colonel, when did you first meet General Ojdanic?
23 A. I think it was when he became Deputy Chief of General Staff.
24 Q. And the record shows that that was in June of 1996. Does that
25 jibe roughly with your recollection?
1 A. Yes, in principle -- well, I do not recall the exact date, but ...
2 Q. In any event, you met him when he became the Deputy Chief of
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. And what were your contacts with General Ojdanic after he became
6 the Deputy Chief of Staff, just summarize them for the Trial Chamber,
8 A. In the initial period while I was still deputy head of the office,
9 these contacts were rare, only when the head of office was absent, because
10 communication with superiors always went through the head of the office.
11 From the moment when I became head of the office, that communication was
12 practically on a daily basis. I directly reported to the deputy chief
13 about all matters of interest to the General Staff of the Army of
14 Yugoslavia, or rather, the Army of Serbia.
15 Q. So after General Ojdanic became the Chief of Staff - and that was
16 in November of 1998 - you had frequent contacts with him, more frequent
17 contacts; is that correct?
18 A. After General Ojdanic became the Chief of General Staff, these
19 relations continued, but not as frequently, only at his request. Since
20 subordination regulates that the head of office directly carries out his
21 communication with the General Staff with the deputy Chief of General
22 Staff. So that continued in this particular case as well.
23 Q. Okay. And -- so while he was Deputy Chief of Staff you had
24 frequent contact with him, almost daily. Is that a fair statement?
25 A. Correct, correct.
1 Q. Would you call him in the mornings? Would you talk to him in the
2 mornings when the day first started; and if so, tell the Chamber about it,
4 A. Well, whenever there was a reason for that, the Deputy Chief of
5 General Staff had to be informed about possible requests of foreign
6 military representatives that were addressed to the General Staff and that
7 pertains to possible meetings, requests for meetings, receiving certain
8 information about the activities of the Army of Yugoslavia, and similar
9 matters that were of interest for the foreign military representatives.
10 Q. So is it fair to say that you had numerous contacts with
11 General Ojdanic, both when he was the deputy chief and the Chief of the
12 General Staff?
13 A. Almost on a daily basis.
14 Q. And from your frequent interactions with General Ojdanic, Colonel,
15 could you tell the Trial Chamber, give them some sense of
16 General Ojdanic's qualities as both a military commander and as a human
18 A. As a soldier, General Ojdanic is an exceptional professional,
19 open, direct, tolerant. As a person, sociable, a sense of humour, again
20 direct in his communication. If he likes you, he'll tell you straight
21 away; if he doesn't, he'll say that too.
22 Q. An open, direct man?
23 A. Absolutely.
24 Q. And there's an expression: What you see is what you get. Did
25 that or did that not apply to General Ojdanic?
1 A. Possibly, yes.
2 Q. Do you have any doubt about that?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Now, Colonel, after you became head of the Foreign Liaison Service
5 in December 1997, would you attend meetings of the collegiums of the
6 General Staff?
7 A. Whenever I was invited to attend, yes.
8 Q. And you attended those meetings not all the time, but as I
9 understand it quite frequently - is that a fair statement - quite
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And generally what happened at these meetings and who attended
14 A. As you can see from the very name of this body, the collegium
15 consists of all the assistants to the Chief of General Staff according to
16 all the arms and services. The direct associates who are indispensable
17 for daily assessments of the situation in terms of what was going on in
18 the army and making decisions pertaining to life in the army.
19 Q. And how would you describe the atmosphere, the mood, of these
21 A. Like any other meeting, meetings of the collegium have a certain
22 agenda envisaged for a particular day. Therefore, the atmosphere, in a
23 way, varied from one meeting to another. In principle, the atmosphere was
24 a working atmosphere, open, correct, and tolerant. There were open
25 debates about all the issues that were on the agenda for that particular
2 Q. And I take it differing viewpoints were expressed by the various
3 persons attending the collegiums?
4 A. Certainly there were such cases.
5 Q. And in your opinion, was there a free and fair and frank exchange
6 of information on even the most controversial of issues?
7 A. Certainly.
8 Q. And did General Ojdanic in your recollection ever impose
9 restrictions of the debate, try to cut people off and that kind of thing?
10 A. In principle, no; however, it could happen if somebody would
11 expand on a particular topic or present without arguments some information
12 or if one diverged from the topic in an inappropriate way, there certainly
13 were such cases when the floor would be taken away from someone during the
14 course of a meeting.
15 Q. So if somebody talked too much, General Ojdanic would sometimes
16 say, That's enough; is that a fair way of putting it?
17 A. In principle, yes.
18 Q. Now, at any of these collegium meetings, Colonel, did you ever
19 hear any talk whatever of a plan to expel the Kosovar Albanians from
21 A. No. No.
22 Q. Aside from these meetings, Colonel, did you ever hear General
23 Ojdanic at any time talk about expelling the Kosovar Albanians from
25 A. No.
1 Q. Did General Ojdanic ever do anything or say anything that
2 indicated that he was prejudiced against the Albanian people?
3 A. Not that I know of.
4 Q. And that's all I'm asking you. Not that you know of, correct?
5 And Colonel, when -- I say "not that you know of." Did you ever consider
6 him prejudice in any way against the Albanian people?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Colonel, do you recall the agreements in October of 1998 setting
9 up the OSCE verification mission?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. We've had extensive testimony in this trial about that, but I
12 wanted to know what was your role, if any, in this verification process?
13 A. Since this commission was at the level of the government and the
14 agreement was signed at the level of the government, the office for
15 relations with foreign military representatives only offered some
16 assistance to our authorities in terms of preparing people, providing
17 translation/interpretation services, and sending so-called liaison
18 officers that facilitated contacts, prepared contacts, and helped with
19 interpreting. That is all that the office did from that point of view in
20 relation to fulfilling those tasks of the Federal Commission for
21 Cooperation with the OSCE Mission.
22 Q. And directing your attention to November 27, 1998, Colonel, did
23 you and General Ojdanic and others meet with General Drewienkiewicz - by
24 the way we call him General DZ, you know who I'm talking about, correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you meet with General Ojdanic and others, did you meet on that
2 day with General DZ and others?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And do you recall that that was pretty much the first day that
5 General Ojdanic was on the job and a day he also attended the November
6 27th, 1998, collegium? He did both that day, he attended the collegium
7 and he went to this meeting. Do you have any recollection of that; if you
8 don't, that's fine, but I'm asking you now whether you do?
9 A. I remember that it was right at the beginning of his time as Chief
10 of the General Staff.
11 Q. Thank you. And you -- as I understand, you helped to prepare the
12 agenda for this meeting; is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And the meeting was called by General DZ, correct?
15 A. Yes, it was at their request that the meeting was organised.
16 MR. STAMP: I think, with respect, we could proceed without
17 leading --
18 MR. SEPENUK: There's also been extensive testimony on this by
19 General DZ who said he called the meeting, but that's fine, Your Honour,
20 I'll make an effort to be more direct-like in my questions.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Sepenuk.
22 MR. SEPENUK:
23 Q. Now, by the way, had you met General DZ before?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. When did you meet him?
1 A. In 1978, we went to the staff officer's school together in the UK.
2 Q. So that was -- that was a -- how long was that staff officer's
3 school? How long did that last?
4 A. A year.
5 Q. And what was your rank at that time?
6 A. Captain.
7 Q. And what was General DZ's rank?
8 A. He was a major.
9 Q. So you saw him frequently during that one-year period, correct?
10 A. Every day.
11 Q. Were you surprised to see him 20 years later, at this is November
12 28th, 1997, meeting?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And what was his reaction and your reaction when you first laid
15 eyes on one another?
16 A. Well, we recognised each other although it had been 20 years. We
17 exchanged greetings in a quite cordial manner. We hugged each other, if
18 that means anything.
19 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, did you take notes at this meeting?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And are your notes reflected in Defence Exhibit 3D438?
22 MR. SEPENUK: If we could put that up, please.
23 Q. You can look, Colonel, at either the Serbian or the English
24 version, whichever you're most comfortable with, probably the Serbian
25 version. And are those -- is that a copy of -- a summary of your notes,
1 that exhibit?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And is it, in your opinion, an accurate summary of what happened
4 at that meeting?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And who were the people -- if you'll look in footnote 1, don't
7 name everybody. I just trying to give the Trial Chamber a sense of who
8 was there. Just look at footnote 1. Who were one or two of the people
9 who attended the meeting -- along with General Drewienkiewicz --
10 MR. SEPENUK: As a matter of fact, Your Honour, again with your
11 indulgence and Mr. Stamp's, just to save a little time here.
12 Q. Was one of the persons attending the chief of the OSCE office in
13 Belgrade Major General Pellnas, right? Did he attend?
14 A. Yes, it's clear if you look at this footnote. We always took down
15 the composition of both delegations, all the relevant OSCE representatives
16 in Kosovo and Belgrade were there.
17 Q. And General Obradovic was there for the VJ and others, correct?
18 We'll leave it at that.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And, again the Trial Chamber can read this document, so just tell
21 us briefly, Colonel, what happened at this meeting in one or two
23 A. As we set at the outset, the meeting was first requested by the
24 representatives of the verification mission, the objective being to review
25 all the possibilities as to how the task of the verification mission in
1 Kosovo would run as smoothly as possible. It was also important to deal
2 with any problems that might have emerged up to that point. Overall, the
3 objective of the meeting was to ensure that the OSCE mission would not
4 encounter any hindrances in its work, and that is what the meeting came
5 down to.
6 Q. And there was an exchange of views on various subjects, correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And during the discussions, was there some disagreement about the
9 interpretation of the October agreements; and if so, can you recall an
11 A. I think the only disagreement or potential disagreement was about
12 interpreting the methods of the OSCE verification mission, the methods
13 that it would use in its work. According to the agreement, they were
14 supposed to conduct verification pursuant to provision 4 of the Dayton
15 Accords on weapons control, on subregional weapons control. And according
16 to one interpretation, there was no need to verify the army as such, but
17 the OSCE requested unconditional access to all military facilities and
18 units in Kosovo. I think this was the only stumbling block, as it were,
19 in the interpretation of the agreement itself.
20 Q. So one difference was the OSCE wanted to go into the military
21 barracks; is that fair?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And if you would look at just one paragraph in 3D438, and it's on
24 page 3 of the English version and just in the interests of clarification,
25 Colonel, if you wouldn't mind looking at the English. It's the third
1 paragraph -- third page, I'm sorry, third page, third paragraph, 3D438.
2 MR. SEPENUK: If the usher would put that up, please. That's the
3 Serbian. Can we have the English, please. That's right. If you blow up
4 the -- that's right. Very good. Thank you.
5 Q. So that paragraph -- it's -- it says: "In response to Colonel
6 Marjanovic's" -- who's Colonel Marjanovic?
7 A. Based on what I remember, he was a representative of the
8 subregional arms control committee, which was the body within our army
9 which was in charge of implementing provision 4 of the Dayton Accords.
10 Q. So to go on --
11 MR. SEPENUK: By the way, Your Honours, this is the only paragraph
12 I'm going to read from this exhibit.
13 Q. It says:
14 "In response to Colonel Marjanovic's observation that the
15 Agreement does not define the admittance of OSCE Mission members into
16 barracks, General Drewienkiewicz pointed out that the Agreement clearly
17 states unlimited freedom of movement and access without exception. He
18 would carry out the verification where and when he wishes, according to
19 his own decision and possible prior notification by telephone about his
20 arrival at a specific barracks."
21 That's the paragraph. And I ask you, Colonel, do you have a
22 comment about that?
23 A. No, nothing special. This is typical of Drewienkiewicz, to put it
24 like that.
25 Q. And what do you mean by that "typical of Drewienkiewicz"?
1 A. Based on my experience of socialising with him for a year, we have
2 an expression in our language for that, he always needs to have the say.
3 Whatever he decides will eventually be done; that's his attitude.
4 Q. Okay. A bit abrasive; is that a fair statement?
5 General Drewienkiewicz, a bit of an abrasive man sometimes?
6 A. I would say abrasive, yes.
7 Q. Okay. Now, in any event, despite this disagreement or some
8 disagreements in interpretation, how would you characterise the tone and
9 the mood of that meeting?
10 A. The mood was that of achieving an agreement and avoiding any
11 misunderstanding in terms of making it possible for the mission to go
12 about their duties in a smooth and unhindered manner. This means that our
13 side took every step to reduce any problem to a minimum or to remove it
14 altogether so that the mission might continue its work. It did happen
15 that we had to harmonize our positions on certain matters, which in turn
16 made it possible for us to avoid any further misunderstandings in the
18 Q. But by and large, a friendly, cordial meeting; is that fair?
19 A. Yes, an open one, even creative I would say.
20 Q. All right. And at the end of that meeting in your notes here --
21 MR. SEPENUK: Forgive me, Your Honours, I have to break my
22 promise, two more lines -- four more lines.
23 Q. -- At the end of your notes you say that a public statement was
24 issued after the meeting and this appears, I'll just read it. There's no
25 dispute about it.
1 "Both parties emphasised the significance of the verification
2 process as a condition for resolving the problems in Kosovo and Metohija
3 by political means. The Chief of the General Staff expressed the
4 determination and willingness of the Yugoslav Army to realise its
5 obligations within the process of verification consistent."
6 Do you remember that being in there? We've gone over this before.
7 Am I quoting correctly?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. And subsequent to this meeting of November 27, 1998, from your
10 association with General Ojdanic, Colonel, what was his position from then
11 on out on cooperation with the Kosovo Verification Mission?
12 A. I think the minutes clearly show that we and General Ojdanic,
13 above all, as Chief of General Staff, as well as the entire team, had the
14 firmest resolve not to do the least thing that would stand in the way of
15 the OSCE inspection's work. If that had not been the case, we would have
16 caused ourselves a lot of harm. We did everything within our power for
17 the mission to continue its work in a smooth and unimpeded manner. There
18 was no question about that.
19 MR. SEPENUK: By the way, Your Honours, I had marked as an exhibit
20 a letter from General Drewienkiewicz to General Ojdanic of 2 December
21 1998, thanking him for being at the meeting and thanking him again for
22 cooperation, that kind of thing. And I found out in preparing for the
23 witness that this exhibit has already been admitted, it's Prosecution
24 Exhibit 2543, and so there's really no need to introduce 3D437.
25 Q. And this letter I'm talking about, Colonel, is December 2nd, 1998,
1 letter from General DZ to General Ojdanic thanking him for his
2 cooperation. As I understand it, you heard about this letter but never
3 saw it because you were in the hospital recovering from surgery, correct?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. All right. Now, turning to probably our last subject, when did
6 you first meet Colonel John Crosland?
7 A. First of all, I have to say that I can't remember the exact date,
8 but it was since his first arrival in Belgrade as a representative of
9 Great Britain that we were working together. So I could say that we were
10 working together from the very first time he arrived as an envoy.
11 Q. And we've had testimony from Colonel Crosland and his statement,
12 which is P2645, and he got here -- he got to Belgrade August of 1996. So
13 I take it then you had frequent contact with him from August 1996 to 23
14 March 1999; is that correct, sir?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. And under what circumstances would you see Colonel Crosland?
17 A. What condition our meetings were instructions on the protocol in
18 dealing with foreign military envoys. The sector itself was in charge of
19 regulating the life and work of military envoys. They spoke to our
20 administration every time they had a problem with their life or work in
21 Belgrade. Starting from day one, that is, introductions being made to the
22 administration. Unlike ambassadors, envoys don't -- do not present
23 credentials. They present themselves to the appropriate administration,
24 and that is what they do on day one of their stay in the country, and from
25 there on, depending on their requests and how frequent they are,
1 communication can be more or less intense. Sometimes it can be daily. It
2 really all depends on the kind of problem being encountered by a military
3 envoy. It can also depend on the interest of our army in relation to a
4 particular foreign military envoy. This communication was not as intense
5 with everyone; it varied.
6 Q. But you had pretty frequent interactions with Colonel Crosland
7 during a long period of time, correct, sir?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And did you have a good relationship with Colonel Crosland?
10 A. Yes, full respect.
11 Q. And you met with him not only professionally, but as I understand
12 it socially, correct?
13 A. Correct, but it wasn't just he. This applied to everyone.
14 Q. Okay. When I questioned Colonel Crosland at this trial on
15 February 8th, 2007, I'm mistakenly referred to you as General Jovanovic,
16 that's on page 9908 of the record. Colonel Crosland corrected me at that
17 time and he said: "I wish they had made him a general. He was a very
18 good friend."
19 Do you agree with Colonel Crosland, were you in fact good friends,
20 very good friends?
21 A. We understood each other quite well. In our line of work, you
22 have to be able to make a distinction between your life as an officer and
23 private issues. If you can abide by that distinction, then you have no
24 problem in dealing with people regardless of how different or opposed your
25 official positions might be. Our role was to keep the door open all the
1 time to communication with these people. Therefore, if someone says we
2 were friends, I would be rather prone to accept that.
3 Q. And -- but I take it then even though you became friends or good
4 friends, I take it you would occasionally have your disagreements with
5 Colonel Crosland?
6 A. By all means, yes.
7 Q. Now, when you met with Colonel Crosland, did you sometimes make a
8 memorandum of the meeting, take notes and then reduce it to a memorandum;
9 did that sometimes happen?
10 A. That's true. Whenever something of interest to the army was being
11 discussed, a note was drawn up and submitted to the relevant offices.
12 Q. And is 3D511 --
13 MR. SEPENUK: That's already in evidence, Your Honours.
14 Q. -- 3D511 your summary of the notes that you made of a meeting with
15 Colonel Crosland on June 25th, 1998?
16 MR. SEPENUK: If we could just put that up on the screen in
18 Q. I think all you'll have to do is look at the first page. It's in
19 Serbian, that's fine. It's in B/C/S. Is that the meeting I'm referring
20 to and did you take notes at that meeting and did you summarize your notes
21 which are in a document now called 3D511?
22 A. Notes are always drawn up. I'm not sure if I drew these up myself
23 or one of my assistants, but I'm sure that this is the thing.
24 Q. But I take it, it was based on notes that you made at the meeting,
25 correct, sir?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. And at my request, you've looked at this exhibit prior to trial
3 and are you satisfied that this is an accurate summary of what took place
4 at that meeting with Colonel Crosland?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And Colonel Crosland at the trial at page 9909 has already
7 testified to the accuracy of portions of this summary and there's been
8 testimony about it, so I'm not going to ask you any more questions other
9 than one, Colonel, and that is: Does this exhibit, 3D511, generally
10 contain Colonel Crosland's comments about the dangers posed by the KLA and
11 how the Yugoslav Army should react to those sets of dangers in a nutshell?
12 A. I think that is the essence of the note.
13 Q. Now, directing your attention to 27 August 1998, did you attend a
14 briefing of the foreign military attaches in Belgrade?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And by the way, how frequently did such briefings occur in your
17 experience, as both the deputy chief of the FLS and the chief of the FLS,
18 how frequently over a several-year period would these meetings occur?
19 A. In principle, once or twice a year, but if more than that was
20 required there could have been more.
21 Q. And who would usually be the lead briefer? Who would brief the
22 foreign military attaches on behalf of the VJ?
23 A. It very much depended on the subject matter being discussed with
24 military attaches. Those doing the informing were the relevant persons,
25 assistant Chief of the General Staff, heads of the security
1 administration, and sometimes the deputy Chief of the General Staff, if
2 that is what the Chief of the General Staff wanted. It could have been
3 any of the assistants. It all depended on the subject matter under
5 Q. And Colonel Crosland has testified at this trial that, like you,
6 he also attended this August 27th, 1998, briefing. And he also testified
7 that following this briefing he gave you a video of the VJ which showed
8 the shelling of Suva Reka and other areas. And I ask you now, Colonel:
9 Did Colonel Crosland ever give that video to you, sir?
10 A. No.
11 Q. To your knowledge, did he give it to anyone on your staff?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Did you make an effort to learn whether Colonel Crosland may have
14 given it, if not to you, then to some member of your staff; and if so,
15 tell us about those efforts.
16 A. Yes. Early that year when a request was submitted to us --
17 Q. I'm going to stop you there. When you say "early that year," do
18 you mean this year, early in 2007?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. And you said a request was submitted to you?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And who made that request?
23 A. I think someone on the behalf of Mr. Visnjic's office.
24 Q. All right. Continue, please.
25 A. I personally couldn't remember. It was only natural that I tried
1 to go back to the administration, we used to be the administration, and
2 search in their files for this document. This document would have been
3 recorded if this document was ever received, a note would have been drawn
4 up on it, but we couldn't track it down. We found no paper trail, no
5 trace of that document ever having been received by anyone in the
7 Secondly, I tried to get in touch with the people who were in my
8 office at the time, including the translator. I tried to ask them if
9 they remembered coming across anything like that, and no one could say.
10 We simply couldn't track it down. We couldn't find anyone who in any way
11 laid eyes on that kind of document.
12 Q. Thank you, Colonel Jovanovic. I have no further questions.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Sepenuk.
14 Any Defence cross-examination?
15 Mr. Jovanovic, you'll now be cross-examined by the Prosecutor,
16 Mr. Stamp.
17 Mr. Stamp.
18 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
20 Q. You were shown a document, 2D438 [sic], which is your record of a
21 meeting involving General Ojdanic, General DZ, and others. And it says
22 here, sir, that General Ojdanic - and this is at page 2 --
23 MR. VISNJIC: Your Honour, excuse me.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
25 MR. VISNJIC: I think it should be 3D438.
1 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic, I think that's correct, 3D.
2 Q. General Ojdanic promised that the VJ would implement the
3 provisions of the agreement and Security Council Resolution 1199 and that
4 it would deliver reports on the arrival and departure of units and troops
5 in Kosovo and Metohija for the purpose of the exchange. Do you know, sir,
6 of troops from outside of Kosovo being mobilised and brought into Kosovo
7 in January, February, March of 1999?
8 A. No, I don't know about that. That was never within my line of
9 work. My line of work had to do with a different area.
10 Q. Well, we have evidence that there were various units and
11 formations brought into Kosovo in that period of time and that no reports
12 were made by the VJ. Would you be able to comment on that?
13 A. I could not.
14 Q. In respect to your meeting with General -- with Mr. Crosland - and
15 that's August 27, 1998 - Mr. Crosland said that he handed over the video
16 across the table perhaps to you or one of your staff. Can I ask you this:
17 Did you try to contact your staff members and ask each of them if they had
18 received this tape because you recognised the possibility that it might
19 have been received by one of them but was not recorded?
20 A. No. I said that it was possible that someone had received --
21 actually, I'm saying that it is not possible for someone to have received
22 some material without there having been a written record of that.
23 Secondly, Mr. Crosland could not have given anything to anyone across the
24 table because at this table where a person sits during the briefing or
25 during the meeting or whatever, there's only three or four people sitting
1 there, including the interpreter, so everything can be seen. And thirdly,
2 it was not customary for any of the military representatives or military
3 attaches in front of all the other envoys that were in the same room to
4 carry out any kind of exchange of information in writing or in any other
5 way. This, quite simply, is not in accordance with the principles
6 governing the work of military representatives.
7 Q. Why is it in 2007, this year, that you asked as many staff members
8 as you could find whether or not they had received the video? Why was it
9 necessary to go and ask them?
10 A. It was necessary because when you advocate a certain position
11 after so many years, quite simply, you have to check out all the
12 possibilities because it is impossible for someone to remember such
13 details from communication with foreign military representatives that was
14 practically on a daily basis with all. You have lots and lots of meetings
15 with other people, too, not only with one man.
16 [Prosecution counsel confer]
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp, your question was: Why is it in 2007
18 you asked as many staff members as you could find? Did the witness say
20 MR. STAMP: I'm paraphrasing the witness. I think the witness
21 said that he made inquiries of staff members or interpreters, et cetera,
22 in 2007.
23 Q. Is that correct, you made inquiries of your staff members,
24 including your interpreters, this year, in 2007?
25 A. Correct.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours. I have nothing
3 further for this witness.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Sepenuk.
5 MR. SEPENUK: No questions, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
7 [Trial Chamber confers].
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Jovanovic, that completes your evidence; thank
9 you very much for coming to give it. You can now leave.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 JUDGE BONOMY: We shall adjourn now and resume at 20 minutes to
15 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.39 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 1.41 p.m.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Your next witness, Mr. Visnjic.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, our third witness is
19 General Milorad Obradovic.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] This is going to be a live witness,
22 and we will try to stick to the four hours envisaged.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Obradovic.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Judge.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you please make the solemn declaration to
2 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be placed
3 before you.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
5 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
7 You will now be examined by Mr. Visnjic on behalf of General
9 Mr. Visnjic.
10 WITNESS: MILORAD OBRADOVIC
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General.
14 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Visnjic.
15 Q. General, for the transcript, can you give us your name and
17 A. I am Milorad Obradovic, born in 1942 in Montenegro. Now I am a
19 Q. What rank did you have when you were pensioned off?
20 A. My professional service in the Army of Yugoslavia ceased when I
21 was a colonel-general.
22 Q. General, can you describe your military career to the Trial
23 Chamber, the posts you held?
24 A. After completing the national defence school, I had the following
25 duties: Brigade commander, chief organ in the corps command, Chief of
1 Staff and corps commander, Chief of Staff of the 2nd Army, assistant Chief
2 of General Staff for the operation staff sector, commander of an army, and
3 my last duty was the assistant Chief of General Staff for ground forces
4 and that is when I retired.
5 Q. When were you retired, General?
6 A. I was retired in 2001, towards the end of 2001.
7 Q. Thank you. What post did you hold in 1998 and 1999?
8 A. In the first half of 1998 I was sector chief of the 2nd Army, and
9 from the end of July I came to the General Staff as assistant for the
10 operations and staff sector, and I remained there until the end of March
11 1999. Then I became commander of the 2nd Army until the end of 2001.
12 Q. Thank you, General. We're going to start with when you became
13 assistant head of sector for the operations and staff activities. You
14 said that that was in the first, or rather, the end of July 1998.
15 A. Yes, the second half of July 1998.
16 Q. Tell me, as for this post you were directly subordinated to the
17 Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, right?
18 A. I was one of the assistants to the Chief of General Staff, who was
19 directly subordinated to the Chief of General Staff.
20 Q. Who was Chief of General Staff at that time, General Perisic,
22 A. General Perisic was then Chief of General Staff of the Army of
24 Q. When you say the sector for operations and staff activities, can
25 you explain to the Trial Chamber what the main functions were of that
2 A. The sector for operations and staff activities was an entity
3 within the General Staff. Its structure was the following: It had its
4 first administration, the fifth administration or the financial one and an
5 arms control division in accordance with the Vienna Agreement on Arms
6 Control. The basic function of the sector was, or rather, the primary
7 function of the sector was that of planning. Furthermore, finance which
8 regulated the overall financing of the Army of Yugoslavia and, as I said a
9 few moments ago, there were the tasks stemming from the Vienna Agreement
10 on Subregional Arms Control in the area of the former Yugoslavia.
11 Q. Thank you, General. We are now going to dwell on the function of
12 planning. What did it contain?
13 A. It contained primarily the elaboration of certain plans at the
14 level of the General Staff, directives, and orders regulating the way in
15 which assignments were being carried out in the army as a whole.
16 Q. General, which plans were elaborated in your department in the
17 General Staff?
18 A. The General Staff as a whole elaborated the more important plans.
19 The sector for operations and staff activities particularly elaborated
20 special-purpose plans, that is how we defined them. These plans include
21 the following: The plan of use or, as somebody calls it, the war plan;
22 then the plan of developing the army, the plan of equipping the army.
23 Various orders and directives were drafted regulating the mode of
24 implementation of various tasks. There were also other plans that
25 accompanied the realisation of these major plans; however, as far as our
1 sector was concerned these were the more important plans.
2 Q. Thank you, General. General, who approved these plans after your
3 sector elaborated them?
4 A. The sector as a whole was not working on these plans alone, it was
5 the General Staff as a whole; however, the sector participated at the
6 level of the domain of its own work. These plans were approved by the
7 Chief of General Staff, the more important plans, that is, those resolving
8 system-based issues, like the plan of using the troops, mobilisation,
9 equipping the army, financial plans, et cetera.
10 Q. Who approved what you called the war plan?
11 A. The plan of use, or the war plan, was drafted and then sent to the
12 Supreme Defence Council; that is to say, the top echelons of the state.
13 And when approved, it was approved by the president of the republic.
14 Q. Thank you. When you came to the General Staff, in the second half
15 of July 1998, I assume that you were made aware of the existing plans?
16 A. One of the principal obligations that I had, since this was the
17 first time I came to work for the General Staff, to familiarise myself -
18 how should I put this? - with the overall situation within the sector,
19 what the important tasks were that were topical then, what orders and
20 plans were being elaborated, and what the sector and its organs focused on
21 at the time. These plans, or rather, tasks were indicated to me by my
22 associates, the chief of the first administration. As for the planning
23 function, then the head of the fifth administration in terms of financing
24 the army, and the head of the head of the department for control focused
25 on the tasks in that area.
1 Q. Who was head of the first administration at the time?
2 A. When I came, General Smiljanic was head of the first
3 administration, and he remained there throughout while I was chief of
5 Q. General, what plans existed then in the first army, or rather, in
6 the first administration?
7 A. The first administration, as I said, focused on planning, the
8 planning function. In addition to the war plan, or the plan for use, and
9 the development plan, the plan of equipping the army, the operations plan,
10 then operative masking, then the annual plan. Those were the basic plans,
11 also tours envisaged from our own line of work and the rest that
12 accompanied these more important plans.
13 Q. Special-purpose plan, what does that mean?
14 A. Special-purpose plans -- excuse me. Special-purpose plans are
15 these unique plans. That was the so-called plan for use or the war plan.
16 Then mobilisation development plans, because it wasn't that they -- there
17 were several of them; that is why they're called special-purpose plans.
18 There was also an order that regulated everyday life in the troops that
19 was called the order on special measures related to constant
21 Q. This order on measures related to constant combat-readiness, from
22 when had that been in existence?
23 A. That order had been in existence from earlier on, considerably
24 earlier on. It was drafted by the General Staff but it was also worked on
25 in subordinate commands. It was updated from time to time when necessary,
1 but as a rule annually, the beginning of the year or when necessary. I
2 said that it was done at the level of the General Staff, and it was sent
3 to subordinate commands and units; and all the commands down to brigade
4 level worked on that order.
5 Q. Can you tell us, General, what it actually represents, what are
6 these measures related to constant combat-readiness?
7 A. This order regulated everyday life; that is to say, the
8 implementation of everyday tasks in a planned fashion in wartime and in
9 peacetime and carrying out tasks that were everyday tasks, namely,
10 training, securing facilities, borders, combat-readiness measures. In a
11 way, if I can put it that way, this is day-to-day activity in units and
12 commands that were carried out.
13 Q. General, what does this mean, "measures of combat-readiness"?
14 A. It depends on the overall situation that existed in zones of
15 responsibility. There were measures that were envisaged, and then in
16 accordance with the previously mentioned order units had certain levels of
17 combat-readiness within a certain duration. Some had three-hour
18 combat-readiness, some had six-hour combat-readiness, and some even longer
19 than that; that is to say, depending on the situation and the
20 circumstances that they would find themselves in so that they could
21 successfully carry out their tasks within the period of time that was set
22 for the implementation of their tasks.
23 Q. General, let me try to simplify matters. Does that mean that if a
24 unit has an order for the six-hour combat-readiness measure, does that
25 mean that it has six hours from the time that an order for a task to be
1 carried out is issued to get to such a level of readiness to actually
2 carry out the task?
3 A. Yes, in principle that's what it is. If a unit is in a peacetime
4 status and it has the three-hour or six-hour combat-readiness time, so if
5 a task is received or if a situation occurs, this unit has to be ready
6 within six hours to carry out the task. Now, maybe a facility is at risk
7 or a situation occurs at the border, something of that nature.
8 Q. General, are those plans done in all units, or rather, orders, the
9 orders for constant combat-readiness, are they done at all levels in the
10 chain of command in the Army of Yugoslavia?
11 A. I've already said this order was issued by the General Staff. It
12 was further elaborated at army commands, at corps commands, brigade
13 commands, and further down the chain of command, where it was regulated
14 down to the smallest detail the tasks for each and every unit. I'm sorry.
15 It pertained to the use of peacetime formations.
16 Q. Thank you. While you were the sector chief, that was from the
17 second half of July until the 2nd of April, or rather --
18 A. The end of March.
19 Q. The end of March, in addition to the existing plans that you just
20 described to us, what other plans were drafted at the General Staff of the
21 Army of Yugoslavia?
22 A. I've already said that when I got to the General Staff, I
23 acquainted myself with the overall situation and the purview of activities
24 of the sector and partially also with the other tasks that the other
25 sectors dealt with. This situation was analysed often at the level of the
1 collegium of the Chief of General Staff on the basis of monitoring the
2 overall situation, the tasks that the army or some of its units had,
3 assessments of the situation were made and the Chief of General Staff
4 ordered that the tasks be carried out in accordance with his orders. And
5 this was all elaborated in various orders that were in force at that time
6 at the lower levels of the chain of command.
7 Q. General, could you please tell us, my question was: What other
8 plans were made? Could you please tell me what plans were made at the
9 time when you were in this post at the level of the General Staff?
10 A. Well, in 1998 in late July, the Chief of General Staff ordered
11 inter alia that a plan be drafted that we use the code-name Grom 98,
12 Thunder 98. It doesn't mean a thing, it's just a code-name. And pursuant
13 to this order a directive was drafted that had this title for further
14 action and the execution of tasks in the military as a whole with the
15 focus on tasks to be carried out by the 3rd Army. That plan had two
16 stages --
17 Q. General, sir, I apologise. Could you please tell me, in addition
18 to this plan, Thunder 98, in the course of 1998 and 1999, did you draft
19 any other plans?
20 A. In 1999, in late January, another plan was made, its name was Grom
21 3, Thunder 3, at the level of the General Staff and the tasks were
22 regulated by a directive issued by the Chief of General Staff.
23 Q. Thank you. Could we now go back to Thunder 98, that plan. How
24 was this directive drafted, the directive called Thunder 98? Who issued
25 the order to do so?
1 A. Well, according to the way that the General Staff operated at the
2 time, at the collegium of the Chief of General Staff the overall situation
3 was analysed, I mean the situation in the country, in the Army of
4 Yugoslavia. On the basis of the proposals and some thoughts expressed by
5 the assistants, Chief of General Staff, the Chief of General Staff usually
6 ordered the General Staff as a whole to draft such a directive which would
7 then regulate a further performance of the tasks in accordance with the
8 prevailing situation. The sectors in the General Staff and the
9 independent administrations also gave their proposals, their
10 contributions, and the sector for operations and staff activities headed
11 by me was the main agent that did that. And the first operations
12 administration was the part of the sector that actually did this.
13 Q. How long did it take for this directive to be done?
14 A. Well, it's a substantial document, a directive from the Chief of
15 General Staff is an important, substantial document. I'm not trying to
16 diminish the importance of other documents, but this document had to be
17 done in a systematic matter. It was done in five or six days at the end
18 of July, and the Chief of General Staff approved it on the 28th of July,
19 1998. And it was drafted -- well, some of the parts that pertained to
20 some other sectors were drafted over a longer period of time.
21 Q. That was one of your first major tasks, am I correct?
22 A. Well, yes; in essence, yes. I saw this plan, I took part in
23 making it, and I think it was an experience that made it possible for me
24 to carry out this planning function in a proper way.
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we have 4D137 brought up on
1 e-court, please.
2 Q. General, do you recognise this document?
3 A. Yes. That is this directive dated the 28th of July that was done
4 at the level of the General Staff. At the top you can see the General
5 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, sector for operations and staff affairs,
6 first administration, that's the hierarchy, that's how it was.
7 Q. Thank you. In order to make it easier for the Chamber to
8 understand, could you please tell us what are the constituent parts of a
9 directive as a rule, what does it consist of? We can see here item 1, the
10 enemy. Could you please tell us what are the elements of the directive?
11 A. As a rule, a directive contains several elements. As you can see
12 here under I you have the assessment of the enemy; II would be tasks of
13 the units; then we have the decision of the commander, the chief, the
14 tasks of the units. And the remaining elements are -- have to do with
15 support. And lastly the logistics support necessary for the execution of
16 the tasks, then command and control, and communications that -- those
17 elements that pertained to the execution of this particular task.
18 Q. Thank you, General. Other witnesses will be talking about this
19 directive, so very briefly, you told us that this directive had two
20 stages. Could you please tell us something more about that?
21 A. The name of this plan was Thunder 98. It had two stages. The
22 first stage was called Thunder 1 and the second one was called Thunder 2.
23 As a rule, the execution of the tasks -- well, tasks -- a task is, as a
24 rule, divided into several parts which means that this directive contained
25 this task that tasks should be executed in stages and then following an
1 analysis the -- you should proceed to the next stage of the execution of
2 the task in accordance with the order issued by the Chief of General
4 Q. Who signed this directive?
5 A. It was approved by the Chief of General Staff and that he was the
6 only one who had the power to use the army at this level, so he signed it,
7 he approved it.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
10 Q. General, this document that you see in front of you, what is it?
11 A. That was the first document that was submitted to the 3rd Army
12 command on the basis of the directive that was issued. The 3rd Army
13 received its task, and that was to assess and to draft a plan of the use
14 of forces in accordance with the directive in stages and to submit its
15 decision for the justification and approval of the Chief of General Staff
16 in accordance with the decision on the 3rd of August, 1998, at 1100 hours,
17 and that's how it was done.
18 Q. And so this here where it says: "The approval of the plan of use
19 of forces will be -- I will do this on the 3rd of August," and so on.
20 A. On the basis of an order that the 3rd Army command received, the
21 command assessed the situation and the commander issued his decision on
22 how to use the forces. And his superior officer then verified this plan,
23 and in this case it was the Chief of General Staff. This is very
24 important because it indicates whether the subordinate officer, the
25 subordinate command, actually grasped, understood --
1 MR. VISNJIC: Your Honour, I think we have problems with
2 translation. Now it's okay.
3 Q. [Microphone not activated]
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I continue?
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Yes, you can.
8 A. This is of great importance because the officer issuing the order
9 can then assess whether the subordinate officer properly understood the
10 order that was issued and whether he is actually following the spirit of
11 the order at different levels of the chain of command. And if this plan
12 for the use of forces is verified in accordance with the chain of command,
13 then this decision of the commander enters into force and it can then be
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
17 Q. General, could you please tell me, what is this document?
18 A. This document is again drafted on the basis of the directive. It
19 is issued to the commands of the 1st and the 3rd Army, the command of the
20 navy, command of the air force and anti-aircraft defence, and the special
21 units command. It was their task again to assess the situation, to
22 elaborate plans for the use of forces in accordance with this directive,
23 and to submit the plan to the General Staff by the 3rd of August at 1000
24 hours. Since the priority for the execution of this task in accordance
25 with the directive was in the hands of the 3rd Army, the plans of these
1 commands at the General Staff would be studied, analysed, and in
2 accordance with the order of the Chief of General Staff, once the
3 commanders came to defend or to justify their decision in accordance with
4 how they envisaged the use of their forces.
5 Q. General, if we look at the previous document, 3D702, in paragraph
6 2 it says: "The approval -- I will carry out the approval of the plan of
7 use of forces on the 3rd of August, 1998, at 1100 hours."
8 According to this document that is now in front of you, 3D703, it
9 says the plan of the use of forces is to be submitted by the 3rd of
10 August, 1998, at 1000 hours. Does that mean that the commander of the 3rd
11 Army got his approval for the use -- for the use of forces by the 3rd of
12 August, 1998, at 1100 hours, unlike the commanders of these other
13 formations that are listed here in 3D703?
14 A. Yes. The commander of the 3rd Army came to the General Staff, and
15 he faced the people designated by the Chief of General Staff and went on
16 to justify his decision. Members of the collegium had previously analysed
17 some documents, some attachments to the plan, gave their suggestions,
18 opinions, before the Chief of General Staff actually approved the
19 decision. When the army commander justified, explained, his decision,
20 then it was signed and approved by the Chief of General Staff, which meant
21 that the decision was approved and it could then be implemented.
22 Q. Thank you, General.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we now look at Exhibit 3D757,
24 page 1 of this document.
25 Q. General, are you familiar with this document that is
1 called: "Threat to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and ability of the
2 Yugoslav Army to offer resistance," report of the Chief of General Staff
3 of the Yugoslav Army?
4 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this document.
5 Q. What were the circumstances in which this document was drafted?
6 A. Let me now go back a little bit before I comment on this document.
7 In early August, you saw that on the 3rd the directive was already at the
8 3rd Army command and the plan of use was already approved for them. In
9 mid-August, the Chief of General Staff with a team of people, his
10 associates, assistant chiefs, went to visit the 3rd Army, paying special
11 attention to the Pristina Corps, in order to analyse the overall situation
12 in the units, to see what assistance should be given, to solve some
13 problems, to see the requests submitted by the subordinate commands, and
14 on the basis of the overall situation and the reports that we in the
15 General Staff received from the subordinate army commands, this analysis
16 was drafted at the level of the General Staff. The purpose was for the
17 Chief of General Staff to inform the Supreme Defence Council and the
18 country leaders with the situation in the army with the special emphasis
19 on the tasks that were carried out at this time.
20 Q. Who took part in the elaboration of this document?
21 A. As for the elaboration of this document, in the overall
22 assessments -- well, I would say that all sectors and administrations in
23 the General Staff participated because this was a complex analysis that
24 was used to assess the overall situation and to present it to the top
25 authority of the country, what the situation was like and what it was
1 dealing with, what the army was dealing with, and also what should be done
2 in the future period.
3 Q. General, that was at the time when NATO was threatening to
4 intervene militarily, am I right?
5 A. I said that in the General Staff as a whole situations were
6 followed on a daily basis, in the country and outside the country. The
7 situation in the army was also assessed and there were reliable indicators
8 to the effect that there could be an aggression in that period of time,
9 that is to say the autumn of 1998. Therefore, the objective was to carry
10 out this analysis, to make this assessment in order to take timely
11 measures for tasks to be implemented in the newly created situation that
12 could be imposed on us.
13 Q. Thank you, General.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we see the English text, page 5
15 of this same document, and of course the appropriate text in the B/C/S
17 Q. General, I would like to draw your attention to a paragraph that
18 is the third one in the English version that says:
19 "The army of Yugoslavia completed all its tasks fully and
20 professionally and played the main role in operations against sabotage
21 groups, thus having a decisive influence on the positive outcome of those
23 This is a document that was signed by the Chief of General Staff
24 of the Army of Yugoslavia and that was presented by the Chief of General
25 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia. Did he really believe that at that
1 period of time the Army of Yugoslavia completed all its tasks fully and
3 A. What is presented here --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Stamp.
5 MR. STAMP: I don't know where the question is going, but the way
6 it's formulated asks the witness to engage in some sort of reading of the
7 mind of the Chief of General Staff. He could probably speak about what
8 indications there were or something else.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: There's a lack of any foundation at the moment for
10 asking beyond the question you already had answered: What does the
11 document say?
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Microphone not activated]
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. General Perisic was Chief of General Staff at that time, am I
17 A. Yes, General Perisic was Chief of General Staff at the time.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
20 this same document page 7 in B/C/S, paragraph 6 on that page.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I see it.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. You see it. Now, tell me the following, General. In this
24 document -- it's just disappeared, hasn't it, but I'm going to read it.
25 Paragraph 6 says:
1 "The General Staff of the VJ mainly focused on performing tasks of
2 the Pristina Corps and took measures of full and good-quality
3 replenishment of the corps with manpower and materiel. The command was
4 guided in its work by regular and interim controls, and we assisted the
5 Pristina Corps in performing the received tasks."
6 Can you give us your comment on this paragraph?
7 A. As for the function of command in addition to issuing orders there
8 is another element and that is control, checks. And the objective of that
9 is to check how a task is being implemented and to see what the actual
10 situation was within units, also to give help to subordinate commands, and
11 to help resolve problems that the said unit has.
12 Q. General, sorry. Could you tell us in this particular case, what
13 could this conclusion really apply to?
14 A. The Chief of General Staff directly took a team to check the
15 Pristina Corps in mid-August 1998, and that that was one of the principle
16 tasks for the organs from the General Staff. As you can see, the Chief of
17 General Staff assessed that it was indispensable for him to be on the spot
18 with his associates on the basis of information, briefings, and concrete
19 insight into the situation. On the basis of all of that, he would be able
20 to take further measures down the chain of command.
21 Q. General, were you together with General Perisic when he went out
22 to check what the situation is?
23 A. Yes, I was there for that check, or rather, for that team that was
24 headed by the Chief of General Staff, among others from other sectors and
25 organs, that is.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, because of the time
3 that we have available, we don't want to go into detail, but as for this
4 document 3D757, we would like to have it examined in its entirety.
5 Q. General, now we're going to move on to what happened somewhat
6 later after the date of this document, that is, and these were the talks
7 between General Perisic and General Clark. You were a participant in the
8 delegation that took part in the negotiations?
9 A. Yes, I was one of the members of the collegium of the Chief of
10 General Staff who attended the talks between General Perisic, Chief of
11 General Staff; and General Clark.
12 Q. Where were these negotiations held?
13 A. These negotiations or talks were held on the premises of the
14 General Staff where the General Staff had been deployed before that.
15 Q. Who attended, General?
16 A. Do you mean totally or only from the General Staff?
17 Q. I mean only from the General Staff, and then you can tell us about
18 everybody else.
19 A. I remember the meeting very well. As for the state organs, the
20 president of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Milutinovic, attended; as well as
21 Mr. Sainovic; then the minister, the then-foreign minister, Mr. Jovanovic;
22 from the General Staff in addition to General Perisic, the Chief of the
23 General Staff; the head of the security administration, General
24 Dimitrijevic was there; then I was there as assistant chief; then General
25 Panic as the KLV assistant; and then the chef de cabinet,
1 Colonel Vlajkovic; and also in attendance were representatives of the
2 Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia, as far as I remember,
3 General Djordjevic, General Lukic, and General Obrad Stevanovic.
4 Q. How long did the negotiations last?
5 A. These negotiations started sometime in the evening. There were a
6 few breaks and they went on until the morning hours if I remember
8 Q. Actually, I didn't ask you when it was that the talks were held.
9 A. The negotiations were held on the 25th of October, 1998.
10 Q. Thank you. Were these negotiations brought to a successful
12 A. If I can put it this way, it was a rather complex discussion, and
13 I think that ultimately with the participation of all on both sides, they
14 were concluded successfully.
15 Q. Briefly, what was the result of these negotiations?
16 A. Well, that was the time when the agreement on the missions, on the
17 OSCE and NATO missions in Kosovo and Metohija, had already been signed.
18 After the well-known negotiations between President Milosevic and
19 Holbrooke, the focus was on what the tasks were, if I can put it that way,
20 of the state and of the army that were derived from these negotiations, or
21 rather, this agreement on the establishment of OSCE and NATO missions in
22 Kosovo and Metohija.
23 Q. In relation to the army, tell me what was the result of these
25 A. We were most interested in the part of the agreement that
1 pertained to the army. I'm saying that because I was present there. That
2 is to say, if I can put it this way, as for the overall volume of work
3 there, what was it that applied to the army, what were the tasks of the
4 army as a whole, what were the tasks of the General Staff, and what should
5 be done in order to embark on the realisation of the attained agreement
6 and to take upon obligations.
7 Q. What were the obligations taken upon by the Army of Yugoslavia?
8 A. The Chief of General Staff before this meeting when the agreement
9 was signed -- there were actually discussions at the collegium --
10 Q. General, General, let's not go into all that detail. What was the
11 result of the negotiations? What were the obligations of the Army of
12 Yugoslavia on the basis of these negotiations?
13 A. One of the tasks was for the units primarily of the Pristina Corps
14 to be returned to barracks. It was agreed that they would remain within
15 the territory, a few company-rank units would remain, as we called it
16 then; also to fully honour the obligations we had vis-a-vis the
17 verification mission, and also what the state took upon itself as a whole.
18 Q. Thank you. With relation to the withdrawal of the army, or
19 rather, these units that stayed behind in the territory, did General
20 Perisic have any comments in this regard and did he tell the other side
21 what that was?
22 A. In a way, I was in favour of looking at what the essence was of
23 leaving such units within the territory.
24 Q. General, General, sorry, I asked you whether General Perisic
25 had --
1 A. I understood your question. I'll answer. General Perisic
2 accepted what had been discussed until then, but noting that if the other
3 side does not observe the agreement and if the external factor does not
4 exercise its influence over the other side, that he would be compelled to
5 return units within the territory from which they had withdrawn.
6 Q. What was the reaction of the other side, the representative of --
7 representatives of NATO, General Clark and General Naumann?
8 A. They promised that that would be carried through; however, time
9 quickly showed that that was not fully the case.
10 Q. General, let's go back to a document from a few days before that,
11 before these negotiations started, that is, 3D645.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we see the English text, page
13 5 -- [In English] I'm sorry. [Interpretation] Page 2 of the English text.
14 Q. General, this is what General Perisic said. Would you please
15 focus on this, on the part -- actually, this is the collegium from the
16 23rd of October, that is to say, three days before the negotiations.
17 Could you give us your comments as to these remarks of General Perisic's.
18 A. These were the three units that had remained in the area. I don't
19 have to go into all of that. One at Dulje, one at Lapusnik, and one at
20 Klina near Pec.
21 Q. [Microphone not activated]
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please zoom in on paragraph
24 3 in English and in B/C/S.
25 Q. General, could you please concentrate on this unit that stayed
1 behind that was in the area, in the area of Podujevo. Can you give us
2 your comments on this part?
3 A. I can, I can. In addition to these three units that I referred
4 to, there was one company-strength unit in the area of Podujevo. In the
5 talks that General Perisic had at that time there were some objections as
6 to whether the time was right for that unit to be there; however, quite a
7 few circumstances showed that this unit was there for training. At that
8 time, we had these young soldiers who had come --
9 Q. General, sorry for interrupting but could you please look at
10 paragraph 3, the 23rd of October, 1998.
11 A. Four units in the area.
12 Q. That's right, and now this part that pertains to the unit in
13 Podujevo, that -- that's the next segment.
14 A. Well, the terrorist forces were trying to cut this road in order
15 to make it impossible for our units to manoeuvre along this axis because
16 there were quite a few indicators to that effect.
17 Q. Thank you. In this text General Perisic notes that a concession
18 might be made by pulling this unit out. Can you comment on that?
19 A. Well, people were thinking along those lines, that this unit might
20 be pulled out in order for them purportedly to exert pressure on the other
21 side, to cease and desist on some activities that they were engaged in at
22 that time.
23 Q. Thank you. Now -- [Microphone not activated]
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I would now like page 4 of the
1 English version to be brought up on the screen. Could we now please focus
2 or zoom in on General Ojdanic's intervention.
3 Q. General, you will see the Serbian version momentarily. Could you
4 please look at this document, in particular paragraph 2 in General
5 Ojdanic's remarks, and I would like you to comment on them.
6 MR. VISNJIC: B/C/S text page 7.
7 Q. [Interpretation] So could you please look -- could you please
8 comment on the entire intervention of General Ojdanic at this meeting of
9 the collegium two days before the negotiations.
10 A. General Ojdanic was the assistant Chief of General Staff at that
11 time, and in this capacity he expressed a certain dilemma that actually
12 was at odds with the current decision --
13 Q. What was the dilemma faced by General Ojdanic?
14 A. Well, in essence he wanted the remaining units, if I may call them
15 that, the combat groups, to be withdrawn back to the barracks or to be
16 deployed closer to the border in order to be able to intervene if -- if
17 any serious problems at the border occurred.
18 Q. Thank you, General.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please now be
20 shown Exhibit 3D646, page 9 in the English version paragraphs 3 and 4.
21 That's the collegium of the 26th of October. It should be the collegium
22 of the 26th of October, 1998.
23 3D646, I don't think that we have the right document on the
24 screen. It's okay now. Page 9 of the English version, paragraphs 3 and
25 4. [In English] Page 9 English version, B/C/S version page 13. English
1 version is okay now and the B/C/S ...
2 Q. [Interpretation] General, we're waiting for the English version to
3 come up, but this is the collegium of the 26th --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: The English is there, Mr. --
5 MR. VISNJIC: Yes, yes, Your Honour, it's my mistake.
6 [Interpretation] We're waiting for the Serbian version to come up on the
8 Q. General, you will see in front of you the intervention by General
9 Dimitrijevic at the collegium of the 26th of October, 1998, and I would
10 like to ask you in the context of this debate at the collegium of the 23rd
11 of October and debate at the negotiations on the 25th of October, could
12 you please comment --
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Previous translation continues]... Page in B/C/S,
14 I'm sorry.
15 Q. -- [Interpretation] To comment on what General Dimitrijevic said.
16 MR. VISNJIC: Now it's okay.
17 Q. [Interpretation] General, you can't see his name, but the first
18 two passages are, in fact, what he said, what General Dimitrijevic said.
19 It is quite clear. So the first two passages on the page that you see in
20 front of you, could you please comment on them.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And I apologise.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He supported what General Smiljanic,
23 the head of the first administration, said. He took part at the meetings
24 of the collegium from time to time when some important issues were
25 debated. And his question was: What was the alternative to that, to
1 withdraw, or whether this should be discussed at all.
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Could you please tell us who is he addressing when he says in the
4 last three lines of the first passage with --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could the interpreters please have the English
6 version on the screen.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to comment --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Just hold on a second. For some reason the
9 interpreters don't have the English although we do. Can that be
11 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm told we need to occupy the whole screen with
13 the Serb version, so I'm afraid the interpreters will just have to make
14 the most of this.
15 Please continue, Mr. Obradovic.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He suggested, he asked the Chief of
17 General Staff whether he reserved the right to bring the unit back to this
18 area should the KLA use this territory. And I think it was quite clear
19 what this was all about, because at the negotiations General Clark was
20 told that it should not happen that if and when the army withdraws that
21 after certain time the terrorist forces should take up the positions held
22 by the army previously. General Perisic had stated that quite clearly,
23 and he said that he would reserve this right; and if that should happen,
24 that parts of the military would go back to that area.
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation].
1 Q. When General Dimitrijevic says this, in addition to what you told
2 everyone that you reserved the right to bring this unit back, does that
3 refer to the negotiations a few days earlier?
4 A. Yes, yes, that refers to the negotiations that took place a few
5 days earlier.
6 Q. Thank you, General.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like us to stick with
8 the same document. The English version is on page 10 and B/C/S version is
9 on page 14.
10 Q. Again, this is the intervention by General Ojdanic, is it not,
11 General? And I would like you to tell me, here General Ojdanic expresses
12 a certain dilemma about the concessions made to the army by dint of
13 retaining those three units in the area. What does this refer to?
14 A. Well, the gist of it is as follows: These were minimised
15 formations that remained in the area, and it was accepted that these units
16 may remain in the area. This was taken to be some kind of a concession
17 over a certain period of time, to buy some time, and that one point due to
18 some pressure those units would have to be withdrawn. That is why in the
19 debate he advocated the solution for those units to be withdrawn
20 immediately, withdrawn to the barracks immediately.
21 Q. Thank you. Could you please comment on what General Perisic had
22 to say at page 11 of the English version. First of all -- at first it
23 seems that General Perisic agrees with General Ojdanic, but then he states
24 certain reasons why those units remained in the area. Could you please
25 tell us something about this.
1 A. Well, the then-Chief of General Staff agreed fully with the
2 opinion expressed by General Ojdanic that these units should be withdrawn
3 to the barracks. But he made some comments, expressed his views as to
4 what might follow. Because the units in the area were a certain guarantee
5 of safety for the population and he was afraid that there would be exodus
6 of the Serb population in particular out of fear of terrorist attacks. He
7 gave the example of Dulje where other structures that were deployed there,
8 the MUP units and the population would start to withdraw because they
9 would conclude that the army left them in the lurch, fled, leaving them
10 behind unprotected. So this was a comment that he made. He was afraid of
11 all that, and that is why he insisted that those units should remain
12 deployed in the area.
13 Q. Thank you. General, now let me ask you, I can see here that
14 the -- that General Perisic ordered that certain degree of
15 combat-readiness should remain, that the units that were there should be
16 at a certain level of combat-readiness.
17 A. The units that withdrew to the barracks should be at the certain
18 level of combat-readiness in case what had been indicated in negotiations
19 with General Clark should occur, that they should be at a certain stand-by
20 for combat-readiness, 24-hour stand-by so that if any new developments
21 occurred that they could be deployed, get out into the area, and carry out
22 tasks, whatever they may be.
23 Q. General, let me ask you something. In 1998 at the time when
24 General Ojdanic was the deputy Chief of General Staff, do you know that he
25 was present or that he was invited to meetings where the situation in
1 Kosovo was discussed, apart from the collegia that you all attended?
2 A. As far as I can remember, General Ojdanic, the deputy Chief of
3 General Staff, attended the collegia meetings. It is perhaps interesting
4 to note that when the plan Thunder 98 was approved and when those
5 documents were drafted and when the commander of the 3rd Army justified
6 the plan, General Ojdanic, the then-deputy, was absent. I don't know why
7 he didn't attend. It is not up to me to tell you why because I don't know
9 Q. He was not a member of the delegation that took part in the
11 A. No. General Dimitrijevic, General Panic, myself, and another
12 general was present there; General Ojdanic was not there.
13 Q. Thank you, General. Do you know if he attended any other
14 meetings? Was he there with you in this control visit in August?
15 A. No. The Chief of General Staff led this team, that was quite a
16 respectable team, and General Ojdanic was not in this team that checked
17 and visited the units in Kosovo and Metohija in the area of responsibility
18 of the 3rd Corps.
19 Q. Let us now go back to the unit that was withdrawn from the
20 Podujevo area, that's document 3D785. We now go back to December 1998,
21 that's the time when the Kosovo Verification Mission is already there in
22 the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And I would now like us to look at
24 3D785, page 1.
25 Q. General, can you tell us what document you have in front of you?
1 A. The General Staff, this is a regular, weekly report for the period
2 between the 18th and 24th December, 1998, addressed to the General Staff
3 and also to the liaison team for NATO and OSCE missions.
4 Q. Is this what you received regularly, from the 3rd Army, from the
5 command of the 3rd Army?
6 A. In addition to the team that was on the General Staff, there was
7 the team in the 3rd Army that had to do with liaising with NATO and OSCE
8 teams in Kosovo.
9 Q. All right.
10 A. And we received regular reports from the team that was in the 3rd
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can you please show the witness, or
14 rather, we can see it already.
15 Q. General, the first paragraph that says: "On the 19th of December
16 at 0800 hours ..."
17 To cut things short, it describes what happened on the 19th of
18 December. Can you just tell us what units took part in that as far as you
19 were informed?
20 A. This company-strength unit that went out to the training grounds,
21 it was their training grounds where they trained before, Batlava near
22 Podujevo. This was an activity that had to do with training because young
23 soldiers had arrived and they were supposed to carry out certain
24 activities in accordance with the plan and programme so that they could
25 successfully take part in the implementation of tasks. That units went
1 there for a specific purpose, they went out there before, too, it's their
2 training grounds. I know those training grounds, I was there.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like the witness to be
5 shown, or rather, he can already see it on the same page, paragraph 3 in
6 Serbian, paragraph 4 in English that explains that on the 21st of December
7 there was a particular incident in the same area, in the area of Podujevo.
8 Q. Can you tell us how you understood this information of the General
10 A. We got these -- this information in accordance with the reports
11 that came from subordinate commands every day. The General Staff received
12 the report of the command of the 3rd Army. The unit went to the area in
13 order to train; however, terrorist forces opened fire and, therefore,
14 constituted a threat to safety and security. There is also information to
15 the effect that some persons were wounded and also that the unit partly
16 responded in fire in the area and there were a few such incidents during
17 those several days.
18 Q. Thank you, General.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] In English, page 2, paragraphs 8 and
20 9. I think that we were able to see that. In the B/C/S version, page 2,
21 paragraphs 2 and 3. There is a description of an incident that occurred
22 on the 24th of December at 9.30 when a soldier from the 15th armour
23 brigade was wounded, and later on yet another incident on the same day
24 when a second lieutenant and a soldier were wounded.
25 Q. Now I would like to take you back to the basic document. So tell
1 me the following. I see that in this document after a description of
2 these incidents that under 2 we see incidents where military units were
3 involved and there is a reference to measures that were taken against
4 members of the Army of Yugoslavia who took part in these incidents. What
5 does this refer to, General?
6 A. I forgot to mention a few moments ago that the activities of these
7 units -- of this unit was, or rather, the verifiers, the OSCE verifiers
8 were notified of that before. However, what is displayed here that this
9 guard fired two bursts of gun-fire -- is that what you're referring to?
10 Q. No, I'm referring to this type of document, these documents that
11 arrived from the missions, these incidents were dealt with specifically,
13 A. Yes, specifically, especially because they were verified.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like the witness to be
16 shown the B/C/S text on page 3, and in English also page 3, paragraphs 3
17 and 4.
18 Q. I see that the next item in this report is: "Comments on
19 activities of the Diplomatic Observation Mission ..."
20 MR. VISNJIC: No, I'm waiting for -- no, English version is okay.
21 I'm waiting for just last two paragraphs in Serbian page. And the next
22 page on Serbian also.
23 Q. [Interpretation] General, it is stated here that the Pristina
24 Corps liaison team informed the mission, and then it says the unit going
25 to the Batlava sector with the objective of carrying out planned exercises
1 envisaged in the unit BO plan and programme. General, is this information
2 that you had in the General Staff in relation to what happened in Podujevo
3 rather the series of incidents that we discussed a few moments ago?
4 A. We had the obligation, or rather, the army had the obligation of
5 reporting to the verifiers company-strength unit movements and above in
6 Kosovo. So the fact that this unit went into the area was reported in
7 detail, including the number of personnel and the equipment used, as well
8 as the direction in which the unit went in order to train. This was an
9 obligation, and as you can see in the report and the notification this was
10 indeed done. The unit from the subordinate command informed the General
11 Staff about this as a whole.
12 Q. If I read this correctly, two paragraphs down in English it is
13 paragraph 6 on the same page, an explanation was provided as well to the
14 members of the verification mission as to what this was all about.
15 A. An explanation was provided to them. Well, on our part perhaps
16 there was a bit of a misunderstanding, or rather, they asked for something
17 that was not envisaged by the agreement, an elaboration on the actual
18 contents, the targeting plans, and the names of the officers involved. So
19 the officer who was the liaison officer, when he established contact with
20 the members of the mission, in a way he expressed his, well, apologies
21 because there were some minor omissions within the context of that
23 Q. General, further on page 3, the last paragraph, and page 4, the
24 first paragraph in English. It is stated that as regards to this incident
25 a meeting was held between Generals Loncar and Drewienkiewicz. You
1 received this information, that is to say, information about this meeting?
2 A. Yes. We received this information on contacts between the
3 representatives of the army and the members of the mission in Kosovo.
4 Q. I would like to ask you to look once again at page 4, paragraph 4
5 in English; and in Serbian paragraph 3 on page 5. General, the leader of
6 the team of the Pristina Corps tried to explain to the members of the
7 mission the problems, or rather, the situation out in the field. However,
8 at the end of this paragraph it says that what was also said to them was
9 that it was decided that the mentioned units, usually the situation on the
10 ground, would remain in the area of the Batlava airfield even after the
11 22nd of December.
12 Now, General, tell me, in relation to the previous discussion that
13 General Perisic had during the course of the negotiations or at meetings
14 of the collegium, what was this all about? Why was this unit kept in the
15 area, if you can tell us briefly because we'll be going back to that yet
17 A. I think that this was one of the indicators to the effect that
18 General Perisic was right when he expressed his doubts as to whether the
19 other side - I'm saying this conditionally, the other side, it was the
20 terrorist forces - whether they would abide by what had been promised;
21 that did not happen. This terrorist activity happened every day. Their
22 objective was to interrupt the road between Podujevo and Pristina, and
23 also various other activities were going on there. And General Perisic
24 said what he said, and the decision made was that this unit should proceed
25 and remain in the area after the 22nd of December, 1998.
1 Q. Thank you, General. We'd be going back to that particular detail
2 yet again. Now I'd like to show you, in the English text pages 5 and 6
3 and in the B/C/S text it's 7, the very same document.
4 General, until then weekly notifications were provided to the OSCE
5 mission about troop movement and other activities of the Army of
6 Yugoslavia. We saw previously during the course of this trial from
7 various documents that the tendency of the General Staff when headed by
8 General Ojdanic was to have this notification, or rather, this
9 communication with the mission become a daily affair. Can you give us
10 your comments on these proposals that came from the 3rd Army, or rather,
11 their opposition to this proposal not to have daily reporting but to keep
12 weekly reporting?
13 A. The agreement defined that reports or notifications should be
14 submitted weekly in terms of the activities that had taken place during
15 the previous week; however, quite a few elements changed. The requests of
16 the members of the mission varied from day-to-day, if I can put it that
17 way. If there were to be daily notification, well this was just the
18 beginning of the formation of the mission and the liaison's officers had
19 just started working on this, this would have really been an encumbrance
20 for the officers of these units because they were officers of particular
21 units at the same time.
22 Also, there could be abuse of such notification because the teams
23 that were out with the verifiers involved Albanians, too, so there was the
24 possibility of -- well, if the situation were to be presented as to what
25 would happen further on, then there was the danger of this information
1 becoming accessible to the terrorist forces that certainly would have
2 taken certain action vis-a-vis them. However, later on it was noted that
3 this was indispensable and later on an order was issued to have these
4 reports provided on a daily basis.
5 Q. Thank you, General.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please move on to P928, the
7 collegium of the 30th of December, 1998.
8 Q. General, let's go back in time now. The document that you looked
9 at previously was dated the 25th of December, and now we're dealing with a
10 collegium taking place five days after that, on the 30th of December.
11 General, at collegium meetings you often presented information about the
12 situation on the ground and relations with the Kosovo Verification
13 Mission. What were the sources of your information?
14 A. I was appointed leader of the team in the General Staff for
15 relations with the missions on orders issued by the Chief of General
16 Staff. On behalf of the Chief of General Staff I attended sessions of the
17 Federal Commission for relations with the mission; that is to say, in
18 addition to the information that we received on a daily basis on the basis
19 of reports sent by our subordinate commands and the teams for liaising
20 with the missions on the ground and the information that we received at
21 meetings of the Federal Commission as well as other sources. The overall
22 situation was reviewed in that period in the area of Kosovo and Metohija
23 as a whole.
24 Q. Thank you, General. At this collegium you also spoke.
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we go to pages 10 and 11
1 B/C/S, or rather, 9 and 10 in English.
2 Q. You take the floor after General Dimitrijevic, who stated that
3 there were some efforts or attempts by the terrorist units to spread into
4 urban areas, and he says that this is particularly present in the Podujevo
5 area where the Serbian villages are already abandoned. You take the floor
6 after General Dimitrijevic and could you please tell me what data did you
7 have at that time regarding the situation there?
8 A. Well, in addition to the detailed analysis presented by General
9 Dimitrijevic at the Federal Commission there was a decision to the effect
10 that under the pressure of the terrorists, not only did the ethnic Serbs
11 leave their homes but that some institutions had to stop functioning. I
12 remember that General [as interpreted] Sainovic chaired the meeting where
13 the justice minister said that some Judges -- that the courts had stopped
14 working, that the judges had left the area saving their families. The
15 institutions of the system were unable to do their job, not to go into
16 anything else that happened. And requests and proposals were made,
17 measures were taken, and at the commission level it was decided that
18 measures should be taken to ensure that the system continues to function
19 for as long as possible.
20 Q. General -- well, the Judges will have an opportunity to read the
21 whole text of the collegium meeting, but I wanted to ask you, General
22 Bojovic who also made a presentation at the meeting, he is also originally
23 from that area. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes, General Bojovic is from a village near Podujevo. He was the
25 advisor of the Chief of General Staff at the General Staff.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And now if we look at page 11 -- 12,
2 could we look at the English and the Serbian version both pages.
3 Q. General Bojovic has some first-hand information about the
4 situation there. He goes into quite some detail.
5 MR. VISNJIC: Serbian I think we have to problem and English.
6 B/C/S page 12, English page -- should be 11. Yes. Thank you.
7 Q. General, I don't think you can see it. What did General Bojovic
8 report at the collegium, very briefly?
9 A. Since he's quite familiar with the terrain and in those days he
10 actually went to Kosovo, probably on a mission he received from the Chief
11 of General Staff and he went back through this area along this axis
12 Pristina-Podujevo and further on. He said that he had seen from his car
13 on his way back the trenches next to the very roads that were dug by the
14 terrorist forces. He also said that the -- all the population had left
15 the area, that the population were forcibly gathered, not only ethnic
16 Serbs but also ethnic Albanians who were loyal citizens. And as I noted
17 earlier, there was a threat that very few should stay there and that's
18 what happened. He gave an example. There was a village that had a number
19 of houses, and now only a few people still remain there. So he wanted --
20 in fact, his opinion was that this unit should remain in that area, but
21 I'm making this comment because there were some opinions that the military
22 should protect the population. But the Chief of General Staff, and I
23 think in particular General Ojdanic based on some experience -- earlier
24 experience, the conclusion was made that the army should not get involved,
25 that this was up to other organs and authorities, primarily the Ministry
1 of the Interior.
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please look at page 13 in
3 the Serbian version and page 12 I guess in the English version, if we
4 could see it on e-court.
5 Q. That's the last part of General Bojovic's presentation where he
6 says in the last sentence: "We would have this situation and the
7 political plan or we want to be able to fight terrorism in a legal manner.
8 This is the most severe measures like in any other country," that's the
9 last sentence in General Bojovic's intervention and then we have a comment
10 made by General Dimitrijevic: "This has not been impossible, it is
11 allowed." And then General Bojovic again asks to be allowed to protect
12 the population: "If the army could be there only in a passive role at
13 least to protect villages and the population there."
14 And then we have General Ojdanic's comment. Could you please tell
15 us, how did you understand General Ojdanic's words? We have the
16 experience from Croatia in 1991 when we became embroiled. What does this
17 refer to?
18 A. General Ojdanic in his overall analysis proposed, I think, that
19 the verifiers should get a -- should be asked to secure some
20 communications. This demand that he made for part of the units to remain
21 in the area as a safety element to protect the population, General Ojdanic
22 on the basis of our previous experience and the overall situation was
23 quite categorical. This was not the army's job and the army should not
24 get involved and it did not get involved in those things. I think that he
25 was right.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I know that we have one
2 minute and a half, but I think that we can call it a day now.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
4 Mr. Obradovic, we have to conclude for the day at this stage,
5 which means that you have to come back tomorrow to continue to give
6 evidence, that will be at 9.00 tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, it is
7 extremely important that between now and then you have no discussion with
8 anybody at all about the evidence in this case. You can discuss other
9 things with whoever you wish, but one subject you must not discuss with
10 anyone is any of the evidence in the case.
11 Could you now please leave the courtroom with the usher and we'll
12 see you at 9.00 tomorrow.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand. Thank you.
14 [The witness stands down]
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.28 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 5th day of
17 September, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.