1 Wednesday, 12 September 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: While the witness is coming in, I can deal with
6 certain matters. We will sit from now until 4.00 today. We'll have a
7 half-hour break at that stage, 4.00 till 4.30, and then we'll sit from
8 4.30 to 5.45 and break for 20 minutes at that stage.
9 Secondly, Judge Chowhan is unfortunately unwell, we've had to
10 consider the situation in light of that, but considering in view of the
11 stage we've reached with this witness and case in the case in general and
12 other developments this week and looking at the evidence that is likely to
13 be heard in his absence, we consider it is in the interests of justice to
14 continue in his absence.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thirdly, Mr. Zecevic, there is an application for
17 the admission of exhibits from the bar table filed on the 16th of August
18 and a supplementary application filed on the 23rd of August. We wish you
19 to try to provide further information in relation to certain of these
20 items, and rather than do it formally through a written order we'll extend
21 that request to you here and hope that you did can comply with it. There
22 are a number of press releases which are 1D598 and 599, 605, 607, 608, and
23 609. We would invite you to try to provide further information as to the
24 authenticity, including the source, of these documents. There is a BBC
25 press release which appears to have been obtained by them from Tanjug, and
1 therefore it's second-hand even on the face of it. It's 1D690 and we
2 would like you to provide further information, if possible, as to the
3 authenticity of that document, including its source.
4 MR. ZECEVIC: I understand, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: And finally, there are a number of documents -- I
6 think they're all decisions -- no, mostly decisions, but also enactments
7 which fall under 1D638. We would invite you to explain what issues in the
8 trial these documents are relevant to and their significance.
9 MR. ZECEVIC: I understand, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Hopefully you can do that by Monday.
11 MR. ZECEVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you very much.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you very much.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Gajic.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: I'll find out in a moment whether there is any more
17 cross-examination for you, but whatever is asked of you today, please bear
18 in mind that the solemn declaration you made at the beginning continues to
19 apply to your evidence right to the end.
20 Mr. Stamp.
21 MR. STAMP: Just briefly, Your Honour, a few more questions, with
22 your leave.
23 WITNESS: BRANKO GAJIC [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp: [Continued]
1 Q. Good afternoon, General.
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. I would like you to have a quick look at the document we have
4 labelled here P1459. Can you look at the first page of it you'll see that
5 it's a strictly confidential memo from the 3rd Corps forward command post
6 to the chief of the command staff of the 25th of May, 1999. Look at
7 paragraph 3 of the document. We'll get to the second page later, but I
8 can tell you that this is a document that is signed by the commander of
9 the 3rd Corps, General Pavkovic. But if you look at paragraph 3 for the
10 time being, he's saying that "MUP members condoned or openly permit
11 evident criminal activities and plunder committed by their fellow MUP
12 members as well as civilians resulting in the misappropriation of a vast
13 number of motor vehicles, technical goods, and other resources from the
14 territory of Kosovo."
15 MR. STAMP: And if we could turn over to paragraph 4.
16 Q. You see here accusing the MUP of committing serious crimes against
17 the Albanian civilian population the refugee shelters referred to as
18 murder, rape, et cetera. And I'd like you before I ask you a couple of
19 questions also to read the concluding paragraph, there's a paragraph below
20 paragraph 7?
21 A. The proposed measures, is that what you mean? "In light of the
22 above said," that's how it begins.
23 Q. Yes, please read it to yourself.
24 A. Fine.
25 Q. Were you aware, General, that the leadership of the 3rd Corps was
1 making these allegations about the MUP conducting Kosovo, that is they
2 were committing looting on a large scale as well as even more serious
3 crimes, like murder, rape, plunder, and aggravated robbery, were you aware
4 of these allegations against the MUP?
5 A. No, this is the first time that I see this document in fact.
6 Q. Well, you see in the measures proposed a recommendation that the
7 MUP be subordinated to the Joint Command?
8 A. Yes, I think that I did say yesterday. I did talk yesterday about
9 this so-called ...
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the question is not the
11 question, it's the interpretation. It doesn't say -- or translation. It
12 doesn't say anywhere in the text that the Ministry of the Interior should
13 be subordinated to the Joint Command. The word "subordinate" does not
14 read in the original --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila, if you feel that your position has been
16 prejudiced by this cross-examination, we will allow you to further
17 cross-examine the witness to clarify any point of that nature.
18 Mr. Stamp.
19 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that's not what I meant.
20 I said that there has been a misinterpretation from English into Serbian,
21 not the question. I'm not opposed to the question itself. What is
22 written here is not what we got in our earphones, so perhaps if my learned
23 friend could read it the way it is written. That's my objection.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Just give me a second until I see that.
25 There's no question, Mr. Fila, of the text being mistranslated.
1 What we have in English is what Mr. Stamp actually said.
2 Now, Mr. Stamp, do you think that this ought to be rephrased or do
3 you intend --
4 MR. STAMP: I could just save time if I --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Please do so.
6 MR. STAMP:
7 Q. Were you aware of recommendations from the 3rd command leadership
8 that the MUP should be placed under command of what is called the Joint
10 A. No.
11 Q. I think you said in your statement or in evidence yesterday that
12 you were privy to all if not most of the documents that were sent to the
13 Supreme Command Staff because you were a member of the staff. Had you
14 ever seen any document emanating from the 3rd command or the Pristina
15 Corps referring to the Joint Command in the course of the conflict?
16 A. No. If I may make a remark, this document is addressed to the
17 chief of the Supreme Command Staff, but it does not have a reference
18 number of any sort. It has not been entered into any records, which is an
19 obligation. This must be done in accordance with the protocol.
20 Q. Well, there are reference numbers it seems to me, and you probably
21 could tell me, on the first page. Strictly confidential number
23 MR. STAMP: If you could return to the first page.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, this is the reference number
25 from the place where the document originated from, but it was not entered
1 into any records or filed at the place where it was addressed to. And I
2 have never seen this document.
3 MR. STAMP: Could we move on quickly to P1996.
4 Q. And these are minutes of a meeting of the MUP staff for Kosovo and
5 Metohija of the 7th of May, 1999, that is just a few days before the date
6 of the last document you saw. And you see that this meeting that
7 Mr. Nikola Sainovic took part in the meeting, and it was chaired by
8 Major-General Lukic of the MUP. I'd like to take you to page 5 of that
9 document, and that's page 4 in B/C/S. The relevant part reading - and I'm
10 not sure if you're able to see all of the B/C/S, the left margin might
11 be --
12 A. Yes, I can see it quite well.
13 Q. On the previous page it is indicated that this is the chief of the
14 SUP in Pristina at the secretariat for internal affairs in Pristina,
15 Colonel Bogoljub Janicevic speaking. And he is saying "There are many
16 problems in connection active duty and reserve VJ soldiers. They drive
17 around in vehicles without license plates and have items whose origins are
18 unknown. A large number of vehicles have not been registered, and they
19 are marked with stickers. Every other VJ officer has been observed
20 driving a civilian vehicle with such markings. The military has not taken
21 sufficient measures and most crimes are being perpetrated by VJ members.
22 VJ volunteer units and VJ uniforms must be disbanded. VJ members and
23 vehicles refuse to stop at check-points, drive away from the police, and
24 when they do stop, threaten the police with their weapons to pass without
25 being checked."
1 This is the report of the chief of the MUP for Pristina. If we go
2 further on in this document to page 9 in English, which is page 7 in
3 B/C/S, and it's not indicated on the page that I've mentioned, so -- but I
4 will quote what is indicated on the previous page, that this is a report
5 of a chief of a SUP in Urosevac, Colonel Bozidar Filic, and he reported:
6 "Our relations with the VJ are the same as those of other SUPs. VJ
7 officers behave rather incomprehensibly, and when a soldier is handed over
8 to them for looting they set him free with the excuse that'these are our
10 Were you aware in May, that is, before the meetings with President
11 Milosevic, that the MUP or the leadership of the MUP in Kosovo were
12 claiming that the VJ officers were committing crimes in Kosovo with
13 impunity, that the VJ organisation was not doing anything or sufficient to
14 prevent them from committing these crimes?
15 A. It was not known to me, this is the first time I hear of this, and
16 at this meeting with Milosevic, this was not discussed, that's point
17 number one. Secondly, as far as I can see, this mostly deals with the
18 theft of cars and this was punished in a number of ways by military courts
19 quite vigorously. But this is not something that I knew of and this was
20 not discussed at the meeting with the then-President Milosevic.
21 Q. You said that after the meeting with President Milosevic one of
22 the decisions was that there would be a meeting with the leadership of the
23 DB --
24 A. You're right.
25 Q. -- what was that meeting intended to cover? What was supposed to
1 be the subject of that meeting?
2 A. Well, the subject was supposed to be the same subject that was
3 discussed at a meeting with the then-President Milosevic. The crimes and
4 other acts that are in contravention of the international law of war, and
5 agreement about joint efforts that would resolve all those problems as
6 soon as possible and within the legal framework and also some relations
7 between various people, how these could be improved and so on.
8 Q. And you said the DB avoided attending that meeting or did not
9 attend that meeting?
10 A. You mean at Milosevic's?
11 Q. The meeting that was arranged between the leadership of the army
12 and the DB, the DB failed to attend.
13 A. This was not to be a meeting between the military leadership and
14 the state security, but the state security and the security administration
15 leaders. And on the 18th, the day after the meeting with Mr. Milosevic,
16 we made all the preparations for this meeting, but it was not organised at
17 the end because the state security did not prove to be quite cooperative
18 in this respect.
19 Q. As head or as a senior member of the security administration in
20 the VJ with security organs in Kosovo, I wish to ask you again: Do you
21 know what the various units that were attached to the MUP in Kosovo, like
22 the Arkanovci and the Drina Wolves, were doing in Kosovo?
23 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, this has been asked and answered ad
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
1 MR. STAMP: I think I asked him once, and I admit that he did say
2 no. He did not know. But he has seen quite a few documents since then,
3 and I just wish, having regard to all of that, if he could be given
4 another opportunity to comment.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Let's see whether the lapse of time makes any
6 difference. Please ask the question again.
7 MR. STAMP:
8 Q. Do you still maintain, sir, to this Court, that you in your
9 capacity did not know what the Drina Wolves and the Arkanovci were doing
10 in Kosovo during the conflict?
11 A. I told you what I knew regarding Arkan and his men, that they had
12 killed two civilians. And two or three days later at a meeting, this was
13 confirmed by Rade Markovic that this information was accurate, that they
14 were arrested --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Gajic, we don't want to hear again what you've
16 told us. Mr. Stamp wants to know what additional information you can give
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, I can't.
19 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours. I have nothing
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 Questioned by the Court:
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Gajic, I'd like to ask you a number of
24 questions about one matter. What in March 1999 did you understand by the
25 term "Supreme Command"?
1 A. It was the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the
2 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Did the presidents of Serbia and Montenegro have
4 any part to play in the Supreme Command?
5 A. They were the Supreme Defence Council. It was a body that made
6 decisions related to the defence of the country and also the preparation
7 and the use of the Army of Yugoslavia as part of that; and pursuant to
8 their decisions, the Commander-in-Chief made his own decisions, issued his
9 orders, and so on. And on the basis of that, the chief of the Supreme
10 Command Staff, in accordance with Article 5 of the Law on the Army of
11 Yugoslavia, is the highest staff and expert organ for the use and
12 preparation of the Army of Yugoslavia; he then in turn issued appropriate
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that mean that you understand the Supreme
15 Command to have existed prior to March 1999 also?
16 A. Well, the Supreme Defence Council did exist, the president of the
17 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia existed, and the General Staff of the Army
18 of Yugoslavia; that's what existed.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: I ask that question because the translation of your
20 last answer said: "On the basis of that," that's the decisions of the
21 Supreme Defence Council, "the chief of the Supreme Command Staff in
22 accordance with Article 5 of the Law on the Army of ... is the highest
23 staff and expert organ for the use and preparation of the Army of
24 Yugoslavia ..."
25 A. The interpreter may have missed something. The Supreme Defence
1 Council makes decisions pursuant to those decisions, the
2 Commander-in-Chief makes his own decisions, issues orders related to the
3 preparation and use of the army, and the Chief of the General Staff or of
4 the Supreme Command Staff, and I don't want to repeat everything what I
6 JUDGE BONOMY: When the Commander-in-Chief was making decisions
7 during the war, that's from and after the 24th of March, did you
8 understand him to be acting pursuant to decisions of the Supreme Defence
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you able to identify what decisions of the
12 Supreme Defence Council he would be acting pursuant to in conducting the
14 A. State of war was declared and the state of war implies the
15 undertaking of all measures which -- well, it means that the army moves
16 into a state of war, mobilisation, certain decisions are made there, the
17 Supreme Defence Council and so on -- but I couldn't really say
18 specifically. I don't know what the Supreme Defence Council did; I didn't
19 attend their meetings.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: You were never at a meeting of the Supreme Defence
22 A. No, never.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: But you did attend meetings of the Supreme Command
25 A. As part of the security administration, I was a member of the
1 Supreme Command Staff, yes.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: And were you also in that position a member of the
3 General Staff of the VJ prior to the 24th of March?
4 A. Before the date that you mentioned, the chief of the security
5 administration, then General Aleksandar Dimitrijevic, was a member of the
6 VJ General Staff.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you aware that in addition to the president of
8 the federal republic, that the Supreme Command consisted of other people
9 connected with the army?
10 A. I'm sorry, but could you be a bit more specific, please.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Was your understanding that the chief of the staff
12 that would by then be the chief of the Supreme Command Staff was also a
13 member of the Supreme Command?
14 A. I think that I explained that when you asked me what the Supreme
15 Command consisted of.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Were you aware of any ministers of the government,
17 other than the president of the federal republic, being a member of the
18 Supreme Command?
19 A. No. From what I know, they could have been summoned to some
20 meetings if their department was involved and it was of interest for the
21 defence of the country, but they were not officially members of the
22 Supreme Defence Council.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: That's a different question. My question relates
24 to the presence of the involvement of ministers of the government in the
25 Supreme Command, that's when the war started and thereafter.
1 A. I don't know that.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: In the meetings that you attended when the war was
3 ongoing, were decisions made that involved the president as the supreme
4 commander and others there contributing to these decisions?
5 A. Reports were sent to the president, daily reports, relating to the
6 events in the area not only of Kosovo but in the area of Yugoslavia,
7 relating to the NATO bombing. As for the -- this is in relation to the
8 Supreme Command Staff. As for the rest, I don't know.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: I appreciate the nature of the meetings you were
10 holding on the 16th and 17th of May, and it's not these that I'm now going
11 to talk about. Between the 24th of March and the beginning of May, did
12 you attend any other meetings at which the president of the federal
13 republic was present?
14 A. No.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila, do you wish to ask anything further?
17 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I must put questions that arose from
18 the cross-examination of Mr. Stamp. I actually didn't have any questions
19 for the examination-in-chief.
20 Further cross-examination by Mr. Fila:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Gajic, we will be going fast if you answer
22 with a answer.
23 A. Okay.
24 Q. As regards the Joint Command I'm going to tell you something else.
25 Witnesses were heard by the Sainovic Defence here, first of all,
1 Momir Bulatovic, who in his testimony on page 13817 and on, stated that he
2 made the decision to send the vice-president of the federal government to
3 Kosovo, Nikola Sainovic, who was in charge of foreign policy, because at
4 the time there were many foreigners in Kosovo, which you confirmed, and so
5 on and so forth. The same thing was stated by Zivadin Jovanovic, foreign
6 minister, as well as the three persons you mentioned, Minic, Matkovic,
7 Andjelkovic, then Andreja Milosavljevic and all of those who were involved
8 in the defence confirmed that Momir Bulatovic and the government of
9 Yugoslavia sent Nikola Sainovic to Kosovo.
10 Yesterday you said that General Dimitrijevic told you that he was
11 sent by Slobodan Milosevic. Do you allow for the possibility that General
12 Dimitrijevic was mistaken and that Nikola Sainovic was actually sent by
13 the Government of Yugoslavia, just like the prime minister said and all of
14 those from the government?
15 A. I allow for that possibility.
16 Q. The next thing I would like to ask you is the following. You
17 explained the nature of the meetings of the Joint Command as the army
18 referred to it. In order to understand properly what we're talking about
19 here, the question is what the Joint Command means, not whether that that
20 name was used. I used -- I accept that it was used by the army, but what
21 I'm interested in is what it means. You explained the nature of the
22 meetings, and you said that this was more for the purposes of
24 Mr. Gajic, you as a senior officer, lower or higher ranking, in
25 your view, this Joint Command that included these four members, four
1 civilians, ordered the army, the use of troops, reactions, execution of
2 tasks, and so on, or was it more likely, as testified here before this
3 Tribunal by Minic, Matkovic, and Andjelkovic, that these were meetings
4 where information was exchanged about the military, police, politics, the
5 economy, and not that plans of action and attacks were reviewed?
6 A. Yes, I agree with you. In these meetings that you are talking
7 about it was demonstrated that there was no interference in command or in
8 relation to the command of the Pristina Corps or the MUP staff which was
9 headed by General Sreten Lukic.
10 Q. Thank you. In preparation for this testimony you looked at all of
11 the collegium minutes of the Main Staff of the VJ. Did you find anywhere
12 that anyone, Aca Dimitrijevic and others, mentioned a Joint Command that
13 was commanding the troops of the VJ in Kosovo, did you see anything like
14 that anywhere?
15 A. No, I did not and I explained that I think yesterday or the day
17 Q. Thank you. You toured the units and the security organs in Kosovo
18 and Metohija in 1999 in June together with General Aleksandar Vasiljevic.
19 Did any of the security staff at any level mention to you that in the
20 Pristina Corps or the 3rd Army anywhere civilian command was interfering
21 and deploying the troops?
22 A. They did not mention anything like that, and I did not meet any of
23 the civilians who were there. I went to Kosovo six times in the course of
25 Q. I'm speaking about 1999.
1 A. Yes, and I went there in 1999, too.
2 Q. Would you then accept that units of the Army of Yugoslavia as well
3 as the security organs in Kosovo and Metohija were used exclusively within
4 orders which they received by the superior commands in 1999 and on.
5 A. Yes, that command or chain of command was the one that was
7 Q. Thank you.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a moment, in case you want to ask anything as
9 the result of this.
10 Mr. Gajic, yesterday you told us the source of your information
11 about the Joint Command was Mr. Dimitrijevic; is that correct?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said specifically that the first
13 information, not about the Joint Command, but about sending Mr. Sainovic
14 and Mr. Minic to Kosovo for coordination, and I said that this was about
15 political and economic questions, as well as coordination in relation to
16 the army and the MUP. This is my information. At the time or later he
17 did not mention any Joint Command.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Am I wrong in thinking that he was the source of
19 your information, or did you have information about the Joint Command from
20 another source?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first information came from
22 him - I said that yesterday - this was in late June or early July. And
23 later the so-called Joint Command name appeared and started to circulate
24 and that I heard about later.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Perhaps my question could be more precise. Is he
1 the sole source of your information about what it was the Joint Command
2 were doing?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I explained that yesterday, that we
4 in the Supreme Command Staff, when the aggression of the 24th of March
5 began, that we did not receive a single document from the so-called Joint
6 Command, neither did the Supreme Command Staff send such a document -- any
7 document to the Joint Command. We did not discuss or mention the Joint
8 Command. The line was the Supreme Command Staff, the 3rd Army staff, and
9 the Pristina Corps staff.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I'm going to take that as a yes. You have to
11 bear in mind that we have seen other documents that you plainly haven't
12 seen in relation to the Joint Command. And I just wanted to know if there
13 was any other person or source of information had told you what it was the
14 Joint Command were actually doing, and I think you're saying there was no
15 such source; is that right?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you be a little more specific,
17 please, and since you're putting that question probably I allow for the
18 possibility that you do have some other sources in mind. I will answer,
19 but I just need more details, please.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm trying to understand what appears to me to be a
21 conflict between what you said yesterday and what you're saying today,
22 because yesterday you said that you were told that -- first of all, that
23 it was Milosevic that sent Sainovic; and secondly, that he was to
24 coordinate activities between the VJ and the MUP in the struggle against
25 terrorism. And now you're saying it might not have been Milosevic but
1 Bulatovic, without any basis for indicating to us you think it might be
2 Bulatovic. And you're also saying that coordination didn't mean
3 interfering in any way with the command of the VJ and the MUP.
4 Now, I want to know what other sources you have for giving these
5 further explanations, that's all, to understand the difference between
6 today and yesterday.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First, allow me to explain that
8 in response to Mr. Fila's question, I said that it was possible.
9 Mr. Sainovic was federal Deputy Prime minister, and Momir Bulatovic was
10 Prime minister. I said it was possible that federal prime-minister sent
11 his deputy prime-minister. And second, that does not rule out Mr.
12 Milosevic, because federal Prime minister definitely informed, and
13 received some consent from, the president of the Federal Republic of
14 Yugoslavia. So these two things are not in collision.
15 But what I said about coordination -- and I said this had to do
16 with political and economic problems, coordination on those issues, as
17 well as coordination between the MUP and the army in the fight against
18 terrorism, and I stand by my statement.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
20 Mr. Fila.
21 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Evidently there's a problem in -- Mr. Gajic, if I understood you
23 correctly today, General Dimitrijevic never mentioned the Joint Command to
25 A. No, never.
1 Q. I think that we understand each other. Yesterday, today, you
2 never said that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So Mr. Dimitrijevic, General Dimitrijevic, told you that -- he
5 informed you that Slobodan Milosevic sent Sainovic and Minic to Kosovo for
7 A. And he didn't even mention Matkovic.
8 Q. Minic?
9 A. He did not mention Matkovic or Andjelkovic.
10 Q. So Mr. Aleksandar Dimitrijevic never mentioned to you or to the
11 General Staff the words "Joint Command"?
12 A. No.
13 Q. All right. So that's done. Let's continue. When Minic,
14 Matkovic, and Andjelkovic testified here, an exhibit by the Prosecution
15 was read out at P1012, and if you can believe me - you know I'm not
16 lying - it's a decision of the Main Board of the SPS chaired by
17 Slobodan Milosevic - and I agree with you that it could not have been
18 without him - and the SPS on its Main Board decides that it was sending a
19 Working Group headed by Milomir Minic, an SPS Working Group, comprising
20 Milomir Minic, Bakija Andjelkovic, and Dusan Matkovic. This is what it
21 says in this document which you can see if you wish, now you will see it.
22 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Page 4 of this document, can we show
23 that to the witness, paragraph 4, please.
24 Q. From this document you can see that these three were sent by the
25 Main Board of the SPS, and if you look at that you will see it, paragraph
1 1. Can you please read that to yourself, item 1, and there you can see
2 who is sending them to Kosovo.
3 A. Yes, I wasn't aware of that.
4 Q. Thank you. So we can infer based on this that the SPS Main Board
5 sent this delegation of three, this Working Group, to Kosovo and not
6 Slobodan Milosevic?
7 A. That's what the document says.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: To be entirely fair to you and to Mr. Fila,
10 Mr. Gajic, let me read your answer yesterday on the Joint Command. The
11 question was: "What was the Joint Command, to your knowledge?"
12 And your answer then was: "That was a type of coordinating body.
13 My first information about that is some coordination, and the information
14 came at the end of June or beginning of July 1998. This information was
15 conveyed to me by General Dimitrijevic, the then-head of the security
17 Now, that's your answer to a question about what was the Joint
18 Command, and you tell us where you learned about it apparently. Now you
19 say that Dimitrijevic did not tell you about it.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Dimitrijevic did not mention
21 the Joint Command. He mentioned -- I mean --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Well --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He did not use the term "Joint
24 Command." He talked about sending people for the purposes of coordination
25 over there, and that is a different matter altogether.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: So --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- And --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: -- so where did you learn of the Joint Command?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] While preparing for this testimony,
5 I learned about something called the Joint Command.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: In what context did you learn of it?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Something to the effect that there
8 was something called a Joint Command which like -- had to do with the
9 involvement of the army's units and the MUP units in the struggle against
11 JUDGE BONOMY: And this is knowledge that you claim you have
12 acquired in preparation for giving evidence here?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: So when you've been asked questions throughout your
15 evidence about your knowledge, is it possible that you're speaking about
16 what you've known simply by reading the papers or hearing about them in
17 preparation to give evidence?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, yes.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: So we can't rely on your evidence as being your own
20 personal recollection of events; it may be something you've constructed
21 from the proofing process that you've gone through with counsel?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not accept that.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
24 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Just to wrap this up, in 1999 you were up there or down there in
1 Kosovo. Did you and General Aleksandar Vasiljevic at any point write any
2 sort of report or inform the Main Staff, the Supreme Command, whoever you
3 like, about disruption to the command system of units and interference by
4 a body called the Joint Command or whatever else we might yet come up with
5 by the end of this trial?
6 A. No, we wrote no report but there is something that happened that I
7 had completely forgotten to mention. General Vasiljevic was at a meeting
8 over there.
9 Q. [No interpretation] --
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the question.
11 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] This wraps up the issue of about the
12 Joint Command, as far as I'm concerned, Your Honours, and I'm about to
13 move on to something else.
14 Q. Mr. Gajic, General --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: One final question on this.
16 You say that you learned about Joint Command in preparation for
17 this trial. How did you learn it? Who did you learn it from or what did
18 you learn it from?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know specifically what the
20 circumstances were right now, but I probably looked at those documents and
21 there was probably some sort of a reference to the Joint Command somewhere
22 in those documents, but I really can't be more specific than that.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: So it wasn't a big enough surprise for you to
24 remember where you first found out about it?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I mean, the first information I
1 got was from General Dimitrijevic, and I think that was a realistic
2 explanation, too, and that's what I took it to be. I believe that this
3 was some sort of coordination because a command is something else and a
4 staff is something else. And I know that according to all the regulations
5 that applied and along any chain of command there was no such thing as
6 envisaged as a Joint Command.
7 Now, why was this termed Joint Command? I really don't know how
8 this came about. It was probably somebody -- I'm not sure who christened
9 it, as people say where I come from, but I don't know what the
10 circumstances were surrounding the name of this.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Would I be wrong in thinking that an army officer
12 in your position hearing of or reading the expression "Joint Command"
13 associated with the VJ and the MUP might have been extremely surprised to
14 have had no prior knowledge of it?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You know, I'll answer in a very
16 specific way. I'm a counter-intelligence officer. I was into
17 counter-intelligence business. The line down to my subordinate security
18 bodies was functioning in keeping with all the rules also as concerned
19 relations between me and as superior and them as subordinates. Therefore,
20 I think someone better placed than me to know this could probably answer
21 this question.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: You see, we've heard of a commission for
23 cooperation with the KVM, we've heard of an inter-departmental committee
24 dealing with counter-terrorism, but none of these bodies contained the
25 word "command" and yet they do coordination jobs. And that's what's
1 concerning us is that soldiers like you can read the word "command" and
2 not suddenly be alerted and caused to wonder and inquire what on earth was
3 this. But you just, when you saw it, passed it over as some sort of
4 coordination body.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, and we at the Supreme Command
6 Staff didn't, or rather, did have a prescribed line down to our
7 subordinates, specifically the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps command.
8 We had no communication and not a single document was exchanged between us
9 and this so-called Joint Command, nor did a single representative of this
10 so-called Joint Command ever turn up at the Supreme Command Staff, never
11 at all. We had no communication at all.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
13 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Yesterday in answer to a question by Mr. Stamp, page 18 of
15 yesterday's transcript, you said that once the meeting was over General
16 Ojdanic then spoke to the supreme commander Milosevic, and so on and so
17 forth. It was based on this that I wanted to ask you something. One of
18 the allegations that I read in the indictment, that I had the honour to
19 read in the indictment, is this: Nikola Sainovic commanded General
20 Ojdanic, General Ojdanic stood to attention and saluted him, practically
21 shaking with fear. That was as the war was still ongoing. You as a
22 general, try to imagine this situation. One of the five deputy prime
23 ministers exercising command over Ojdanic and other lower-ranking
24 officers. Do you find that to be an imaginable situation --
25 A. No.
1 MR. STAMP: [Indiscernible] --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Can we have a reference to the indictment passage,
4 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] The indictment claims that he was
5 General Ojdanic's superior --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a reference to commanding Ojdanic, Ojdanic
7 standing to attention, saluting him, and practically shaking with fear,
8 which is the basis -- which is the question you've just put to the
9 witness. And, you know, all counsel here are very anxious to ensure that
10 no misrepresentations are made to witnesses before they're invited to
11 answer a question. So we would like to see the basis for that question in
12 the indictment.
13 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Paragraph 48 of the indictment reads:
14 On a de facto basis, Nikola Sainovic also exercised authority over
15 Dragoljub Ojdanic and their subordinates on instruction from
16 Slobodan Milosevic. To exercise authority over someone who is not
17 mentally ill means to command someone and this includes his subordinates,
18 too, and one of them was Mr. Gajic, which would suggest that Nikola
19 Sainovic also had powers over Nikola [as interpreted] Gajic. And there's
20 another reference about it being saluted in the military way, receiving a
21 military salute, and that is the basis.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila, you've read a passage which talks about
23 command authority and/or effective control over VJ units deployed to
24 Kosovo, including the 3rd Army. Now, that does not state command over the
25 General Staff -- the Supreme Command General Staff that was headed by
1 Mr. Ojdanic. So where is the basis for saying that he was in command over
2 Ojdanic? Never mind all the other silly things about saluting. Let's get
3 the basics. Where is the --
4 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I'll read this for you. Would you
5 please allow me to reed this for you. It says: "Exercised authority over
6 Dragoljub Ojdanic and their subordinates." Dragoljub Ojdanic is the
7 highest-ranking officer of the VJ. Any of those below him are his
8 subordinates. To exercise authority over someone in Serbian means to be
9 that person's commanders, or if that person is mentally unfit, then you
10 take care of him. And that is the way in which we use the word. In the
11 other text there is an even stronger expression to the same effect in
12 terms of this military salute. So that was my foundation for asking this
13 question, and if I may, Your Honour, I can even rephrase the question, and
14 I'll ask him this. Did Mr. Sainovic --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a second. You will have to rephrase it. But
16 I accept your explanation now that that sentence is a foundation for your
17 question about commanding Ojdanic on a de facto basis. And you should put
18 these questions in accordance with the terminology of the indictment if
19 it's the indictment you're referring to.
20 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll do just that.
21 Q. You heard what I just read, Witness, didn't you? The Prosecutor
22 claims and it reads that Nikola Sainovic, a civilian, exercised authority,
23 exercised authority, over General Dragoljub Ojdanic and his subordinates.
24 That is what it says in no uncertain terms. Is this something that is
25 conceivable for you that anything like this might have happened?
1 A. No, by no means.
2 Q. All right. My next question. Why did I remind you of yesterday's
3 testimony? You say that the communication was normal between the supreme
4 commander and the Chief of the General Staff, as it should have been. All
5 the -- under the chain of command, right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is there any merit at all to the allegation that between the
8 supreme commander and the next man in the chain of command just under him,
9 Dragoljub Ojdanic, there should be interposed Nikola Sainovic and that it
10 was through Nikola Sainovic that Milosevic exercised authority or
11 exercised command --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: That's a matter -- don't answer that question.
13 That's a matter for the Tribunal to determine.
14 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Can we now please have 3D728, it's a
15 Defence exhibit.
16 Q. And you answered a number of questions from Mr. Stamp about that
17 exhibit yesterday. It's the last bit that you couldn't remember when
18 Mr. Ojdanic or whoever said something, or rather --
19 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Page 3 in the Serbian, the last
20 portion, where there's a reference to adjutant Sreten and
21 Lieutenant-Colonel --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Correction.
23 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Second lieutenant Sainovic.
24 Q. In order to avoid any misinterpretation of what you said
25 yesterday, first of all, the meeting at which this takes place - and you
1 don't remember that - you are at that meeting, aren't you? This is a
2 briefing, right?
3 A. Yes, this is a briefing.
4 Q. At this briefing -- at this briefing -- at this briefing do we see
5 second lieutenant Sainovic present at the --
6 A. No --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: That is not the translation -- or that's not the
8 language that the witness used yesterday for that passage. It is the
9 English translation --
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] There is something else that I'm trying
11 to establish, something entirely different. It is not clear who is
12 attending this briefing; that is what I'm trying to put across.
13 Nikola Sainovic is not there, he's not at the briefing, although there's a
14 reference here to an adjutant Sreten and this PPR, it's a simple second
15 lieutenant, but there was a mistranslation.
16 Q. And secondly, do you know anything at all about this meeting that
17 was allegedly supposed to take place the next day at 9.00 --
18 MR. STAMP: The evidence was that the witness in looking at the
19 Cyrillic document interpreted the abbreviations to be Vice-President
20 Sainovic. And I think --
21 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I don't dispute that --
22 MR. STAMP: [Previous translation continues]... very well.
23 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I don't dispute that. I'm just smiling
24 because "PPR" means lieutenant colonel, but it could be an abbreviation
25 used for deputy president, too, it would be illogical of you to claim that
1 those people there were generals because the abbreviation there implies a
2 much lower thank. That's all I'm trying to say. And what about the
3 adjutant, there is no such thing, right --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: The note I have of yesterday's evidence is that
5 this was a group to look at matters arising from this meeting; it wasn't a
6 reflection of the people present at the meeting.
7 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Well, I asked this just in case.
8 Q. My second question is whether you, General, know if this meeting
9 was held at all -- if this meeting was held at all and who attended it?
10 A. I have no knowledge of that.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] That's all I had, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 MR. STAMP: May I, with your leave just --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, do you have anything arising?
16 MR. IVETIC: No, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
18 MR. STAMP: Just a couple questions --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, in relation to matters arising from that
20 further cross-examination, yes.
21 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Further cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
23 Q. Mr. Fila said that you had read all of the Joint Command -- sorry,
24 all of the collegium minutes in preparation for your testimony, is that
25 true, that you read all of the collegium minutes?
1 A. Well, I -- I think that I looked at most of those things that were
2 of interest for me.
3 Q. But -- well, you are not really answering my question. The
4 question is: Did you read all of the collegium minutes -- do you know if
5 read all of the collegium minutes or you read what was given to you?
6 A. Could you please give me a time-frame. Minutes from what
7 time-period, if you can.
8 Q. Did you read the collegium minutes for the 18th of March, 1999?
9 A. I think I did.
10 Q. That's P938. You said that you never saw any reference to the
11 Joint Command in the collegium minutes. Is that your evidence?
12 A. My evidence is that I did not hear of that word.
13 Q. Well, to be precise, I think Mr. Fila said in a question to you or
14 put it to you that you did not see the reference, any reference, to the
15 Joint Command when you reviewed the collegium minutes, and you did not
16 answer him directly. So I'm asking you directly: When you reviewed the
17 joint -- not the Joint Command minutes, the collegium minutes, for the
18 18th of March in 1999, did you not see any reference to the Joint Command?
19 A. It is possible that it was mentioned in one or two places, but I
20 don't know whether it was on the 18th of March because I don't remember
21 that date. But I did get the information, and I had already formed my
22 opinion of that. I knew what it was all about, that it was some kind of a
23 coordination thing.
24 Q. Yes --
25 A. And as to why this term was used, why this name was coined, who
1 did it, why this term was used, the "Joint Command," I don't know.
2 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, two things. First of all,
3 I asked about General Dimitrijevic, whether General Dimitrijevic had ever
4 told him about the Joint Command and whether General Dimitrijevic used
5 that term, that was my question, and he said no. And I would like the
6 Prosecutor to have the document called up on the screen when a reference
7 is made to it because I would like to look at it.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp, can you tell me where I find the
9 question about reading all the collegium minutes?
10 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour. This is at -- question by Mr. Fila:
11 "In preparation for your testimony, you looked at all of the collegium" --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please speak in the
14 MR. STAMP: I'm so sorry.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you give me the page and line.
16 MR. STAMP: Page 15, line 6 following. Mr. Fila asked: "In
17 preparation for your testimony, you looked at all of the collegium minutes
18 of the Main Staff of the VJ. Did you find anywhere that anyone
19 Aca Dimitrijevic or others mentioned a Joint Command that was commanding
20 the troops of the VJ in Kosovo, did you see anything like that anywhere?"
21 And the witness said: "No, I did not, and I explained that" --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you've got that much now clear. Did you have
23 any further question?
24 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No, no, but I do have an objection.
25 Your Honour, General Aleksandar Dimitrijevic in this time-period was not a
1 member of the collegium on the 18th of March -- oh, I do apologise, he
3 JUDGE BONOMY: And the lack of dates is, of course, in your
4 question. It's a -- you were unspecific in the question, so Mr. Stamp is
5 perfectly entitled --
6 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No, no, no --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: -- to ask the question the way he did.
8 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No, no, I am not objecting, but I just
9 want him to show the page because he's saying that -- actually what it
10 says on this page is "collegium." I want him to pin-point where the word
11 "Joint Command" is actually mentioned, where the words "Joint Command" are
12 mentioned in P938. That's what I want him to do. I'm not saying that no
13 mention is made; I just want him to pin-point where it is.
14 MR. STAMP: Very well --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: You're not required to display it for that purpose,
16 Mr. Stamp.
17 MR. STAMP: Indeed.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Counsel have access to these documents if they want
19 to study them individually as we proceed.
20 MR. STAMP:
21 Q. Just -- you don't recall --
22 MR. STAMP: May I just ask one last question, Your Honour? Thank
24 Q. Do you recall seeing in any of these Joint Command -- any of those
25 collegium minutes that you reviewed, both General Dimitrijevic and also
1 General Ojdanic referring to the Joint Command?
2 A. It is possible. I cannot rule out that possibility. This
3 material is so voluminous that it may have slipped past me. I doubt it
4 but it's possible. But in light of the fact that I had received
5 information and that I had formed my opinion about that, I didn't really
6 pay much attention.
7 MR. STAMP: Just for the record, may I just indicate that I'm
8 referring to P939, page 45 -- sorry, P939, pages 26 to 27.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Well, I have to get up. The document
11 that you displayed is dated March 1999.
12 Q. General, do you still maintain --
13 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No, I have a question --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: You're not entitled just to jump in like that. I
15 didn't even realise --
16 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I'm asking you for your permission.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I didn't even realise that Mr. Stamp had finished.
18 I didn't realise that he had sat down because I was looking in your
20 You're now complete?
21 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: And, Mr. Fila, you want to bat the ball back again.
23 What is the basis for asking a further question?
24 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Very simple, Your Honour. When asked
25 by this very same gentleman, Mr. Stamp, General Gajic said yesterday what
1 had been called the Joint Command with the members, whoever they were,
2 that it ceased to exist in October 1998. And the document that Mr. Stamp
3 is showing him is dated 1999. If you're asking me to read the indictment
4 in order to find out, what basis is there for him to be showing the
5 documents from 1999? Because I asked questions about 1998. This is when
6 all of this was happening.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: The simple answer to your question to me is this:
8 You in a question to the witness told him that he had read all the
9 collegium minutes. Now, that covers 1997, 1998, and 1999. Mr. Stamp
10 then -- and you also led from of him that there was no reference by
11 Dimitrijevic or anyone else of the Joint Command. Mr. Stamp is simply
12 putting to the witness a document which falls within the compass of the
13 documents you asked questions about that he maintains contains that
14 reference. These are matters for argument in due course. Mr. Gajic gave
15 very clear evidence yesterday about when the Joint Command operation
16 ceased, but that's a separate question from whether at a later date the
17 Joint Command was being referred to by people in the know. Thank you.
18 Mr. Visnjic.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, before I start with my
20 re-examination I would just like to inform you that in the collegium
21 minutes of the 18th of March referenced by my colleague, Mr. Stamp, there
22 is no reference made to the Joint Command. And out of 1.000 pages of the
23 collegium minutes it is mentioned once or twice in just a couple of lines.
24 And I think that this second reference provided by Mr. Stamp is correct,
25 but on the 18th of March no mention is made of the Joint Command, I'm sure
1 of that. I didn't want to intervene, but you can take my word for it.
2 It's 100 per cent accurate, as Mr. Fila would say.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Well, please continue with your
5 Re-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] General, yesterday in the cross-examination when
7 Mr. Stamp asked you about the documenting of the meetings of the General
8 Staff, you said that as far as the briefings at the Supreme Command Staff,
9 all of those were recorded and there is the unabridged version of the
10 notes of all the members of the Supreme Command Staff. And then the next
11 question is where the tapes were, and your answer was that they were
12 probably somewhere in the army archives. We all know that the General
13 Staff collegium meetings were recorded and the transcripts were made, the
14 very same transcripts that were used by Mr. Stamp.
15 I want to ask you: During the war, could you think back to that
16 period and could you recall where the meetings of the Supreme Command
17 Staff were held. Do you remember that room?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you tell me whether in that room there was the equipment in
20 place to record the evening briefings that were held at the Supreme
21 Command Staff, if you can remember?
22 A. No, there was no equipment there.
23 Q. Do you allow then that yesterday when you were answering questions
24 asked of you by Mr. Stamp that you made a mistake when you said that all
25 the meetings of the Supreme Command Staff were recorded and that those
1 recordings were in the archives?
2 A. I was imprecise because this referred to the time before the war.
3 Q. Thank you. My second question has to do with a topic related to
4 the so-called arming of Serb civilians. Mr. Stamp asked you - I'll
5 paraphrase - we have information we got from General Samardzic, the 3rd
6 Army commander, or rather, the question was: "In 1998 did -- was the army
7 involved in arming over 40.000 Serb civilians in Kosovo?"
8 Your answer was: "We have information we got from General
9 Samardzic, who was the 3rd Army commander, that this figure was correct,
10 that this is the number of civilians who had weapons, but I will explain
12 And then Mr. Stamp asks another question, the figure now is
13 47.000 - I apologise to the interpreters - and you say: "I think that the
14 figure that you just mentioned," you're referring to Mr. Stamp, "is more
15 or less accurate."
16 Now, my question is not about the figure, who's accuracy you
17 confirmed to Mr. Stamp. What I'm asking you is: To your knowledge, to
18 whom were weapons distributed when we're talking about 40 to 47.000
19 people? Mr. Stamp put it to you that those were civilians. Could you
20 please explain to the Judges who were these people that the weapons were
21 distributed to?
22 A. These were civilians, but they were conscripts. They were part of
23 the civilian defence, civilian protection, they were under the
24 jurisdiction of the federal Ministry of Defence.
25 Q. Just go slow, General, because of the interpretation.
1 A. I apologise.
2 Q. Just one more question. These people you said they were members
3 of the civilian defence or civilian protection, were these people part of
4 the system, defence system, so those were not the people who were outside
5 of the system?
6 A. They were not outside of the system. They were under the
7 jurisdiction and authority of the federal defence ministry.
8 Q. My next question: Towards the end, again Mr. Stamp put it to
9 you - this is with regard to the orders that you called preventive
10 orders -- well, I'm not going to quote what he's saying, but he is putting
11 to you that all those orders were issued after the crimes against the
12 Kosovo Albanians and the expulsion of the Kosovo Albanians had already
13 been committed. He is putting this to you, and you -- your answer is: "I
14 know that."
15 What I'm asking you now, General: At the time when the orders on
16 the compliance with the humanitarian law or the prevention of crimes and
17 so on, any of those orders that you called preventive orders, did you have
18 any knowledge at that time that any of the crimes alleged in the
19 indictment had been committed?
20 A. No.
21 Q. What did you -- what was your opinion, General? Why were the
22 Kosovo Albanians leaving the country at the time?
23 A. That it was part of an organised system in order to create a
24 situation that was later on labelled a humanitarian catastrophe, and also
25 to facilitate the infiltration of the military factor from the outside.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't have any
3 questions for this witness.
4 Further questioned by the Court:
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Clarification again, Mr. Gajic, of what I've noted
6 from yesterday's evidence in relation to the weapons that were given to
7 Serb civilians. My understanding of what you said yesterday was that the
8 VJ opposed this. Is that an accurate understanding?
9 A. No, perhaps I was imprecise there, but I think that I just gave an
10 explanation now.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: So in fact the army actually provided the arms; is
12 that the position?
13 A. What I said about the forming of the civilian defence and the
14 civilian protection units is pursuant to Article 61 of the Law on Defence,
15 and that warehouse. Well, this is under the jurisdiction of the federal
16 defence ministry. And the weapons which were provided for those purposes
17 were in the warehouses of the Army of Yugoslavia, and that's where the
18 connection could be made between the army and the civilian defence, but
19 actually the weapons were just being stored there.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: And the army released them, 47.000 of them?
21 A. 47.000 or some other number, it's possible. I don't know that
22 specifically, but probably some of the more competent witnesses could
23 explain this. It's possible that other units were also armed from the
24 reserve composition which were under the jurisdiction of the 3rd Army
25 command. But probably a witness can speak about this that is more
1 competent to testify about that. This part I know for sure, the part that
2 is under the jurisdiction of the defence ministry.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Gajic, that completes your evidence here; thank
5 you for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You are now free to leave the
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, I know it's only ten minutes, but it
9 would be convenient to us if you were to start the witness now and still
10 have the break at 4.00. So who is the next witness?
11 [The witness withdrew]
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, our next witness is
13 General Simic. Your Honours --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] -- I don't know if it's
16 convenient -- oh, but the witness has already been called. I thought
17 perhaps that I could have five minutes relating to some procedural
18 questions that need to be dealt with in private session because the
19 documents that I wanted to discuss were subject to protective measures.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, Mr. Haider will just keep the witness at the
21 door then if you want to do that, and we'll go into private session to
22 hear you.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 15465-15467 redacted. Private session
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic, for explaining the
25 complications in relation to the exhibits to which you've referred, and we
1 note the action you propose to take.
2 We shall now have the break and shall resume at 4.30.
3 --- Recess taken at 4.00 p.m.
4 --- Upon resuming at 4.30 p.m.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Simic.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
9 speak the truth by reading aloud the document now before you.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
11 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, you will now be examined by Mr. Visnjic
15 on behalf of Mr. Ojdanic.
16 Mr. Visnjic.
17 WITNESS: MIODRAG SIMIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General. For the record, can you
21 please tell us your name.
22 A. Miodrag Simic.
23 Q. General, you are retired?
24 A. Yes, from the 31st of December, 2001. I retired from the duty of
25 1st Army commander.
1 Q. Thank you. Which rank did you retire on?
2 A. Lieutenant-general.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
4 Q. General Simic, you told an investigator of the General Ojdanic
5 Defence team, and you gave them a statement which you signed?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Before you testified, did you sign this statement?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And before you came to testify, do you think that there's anything
10 in this statement that you would like to correct?
11 A. No.
12 Q. If you were to testify now, would you still give the same answers
13 to the same questions as in the statement?
14 A. Yes, I would.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this statement has
16 been tendered as 3D1089.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, I'm not going to ask you about what you said in the
20 statement. I would just like you to explain some things in more detail
21 and I would like to deal with some facts that are not in your statement.
22 Please, can you tell me when you came to the Supreme Command Staff?
23 A. I came to the Supreme Command Staff on the 2nd of April, 1999,
24 that's when I took up my duties. I occupied or took up the command post
25 at 1500 hours on the 4th of April.
1 Q. And you were performing which duty before you came to the staff?
2 A. Before I came to the staff, I was the assistant defence minister
3 for sector chief for civilian defence of the MOD. I took over my duty
4 from General Geza Farkas.
5 Q. And which duty did you assume?
6 A. I assumed the duty of deputy Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command
7 Staff for the land forces.
8 Q. Thank you. In your statement you described in detail what your
9 duties involved in the Supreme Command Staff, so I don't need to go into
10 that again. I would just like to ask you about your first appearance at
11 the evening briefing - and this is 3D724.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can this be put on the screen,
14 Q. General, you attended these briefings regularly with the Chief of
15 Staff of the Supreme Command Staff?
16 A. Yes, if I was not absent.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we look at the bottom of the
18 page in B/C/S, please. Thank you.
19 Q. General, we have your contribution to this evening briefing of the
20 6th of April. Can you please tell me, what did the 3rd Army commander's
21 proposal relate to and how was this proposal resolved?
22 A. Well, it's a little bit larger now because I don't have the
23 correct glasses. Can you please just tell me the question and the place
25 Q. Can you look at the last item here which says: "Proposal of the
1 command -- commander."
2 A. Besides reporting on the situation in the theatre of war to the
3 Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command Staff, we were also duty-bound to
4 report on the requests of the commander to the Supreme Command Staff, and
5 in the spirit of that, to suggest to the chief a way to resolve a
6 particular request. Here it was requested that students of the fourth
7 year of the military academy and of the high school be -- that their
8 schooling be curtailed and that they be sent to the units of the Pristina
9 Corps, which was then replenished 87.7 per cent with officers and 87.8 per
10 cent with non-commissioned officers. They were lacking 1.116 --
11 Q. Can you just go a little bit slower. I know that you are very
12 thorough in your explanations, but can you be a little bit slower for the
13 sake of interpretation.
14 A. So they were lacking 1.116 officers and 836 non-commissioned
15 officers. These were all key posts that involved direct combat duties.
16 These were platoon and company commanders, and that is why he asked the
17 replenishment to be done in this way. In accordance with the request of
18 the Chief of Staff, I proposed that this request or proposal is not
20 Q. Can you please tell us why?
21 A. The final-year students are not capable of performing such
22 responsible tasks during wartime, and it would be the personal -- their
23 personal sacrifice. It would be sacrificing their lives and not only just
24 their lives, but the lives of the members of the units that they commanded
25 because they were not adequately trained to command in combat situations.
1 Q. General, still later you found a way to implement this request by
2 the chief of the 3rd Army, you found a different, more favourable way?
3 A. Yes, a more favourable way was found, but these units were never
4 100 per cent replenished in terms of these particular posts.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] This report, can we look at page 4
7 in B/C/S, please, and page 4 in English also?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. Can we have the same
9 size of letters both in the B/C/S and in the English so that I could use
10 the same pair of glasses for both.
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we zoom in on paragraph 3.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, you need be concerned --
13 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation] --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: You need be concerned with only the B/C/S version,
15 and Mr. Visnjic will ensure, I hope, as will those controlling the
16 technology, that it's clear enough for you to read.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation].
18 Q. General, in this text in paragraph 3 at the end there are the
19 tasks issued by the Chief of the General Staff. A map is mentioned. Can
20 you explain to us what this map is, and you were issued an assignment
21 here, you and General Cucin.
22 A. The command posts from the battalion commanders upwards up to the
23 Supreme Command Staff, there was a working map. In this case this was a
24 working map of the Supreme Command Staff chief where all of their
25 activities in a 24-hour period are shown. After certain amount of time,
1 if you're thinking of this assignment specifically, the Chief of Staff
2 noticed that it was not really that legible, and I was given the
3 assignment, together with General Cucin as the operations administration
4 person to find a way and to suggest how to keep the working map in a way
5 that it would be very clear.
6 Q. Let us just explain to the Trial Chamber, but let's not do it in
7 military language. So this is a map --
8 A. This is a map in the operations room of the centre where all the
9 connections were.
10 Q. Okay. All right. Thank you. I'm going to lead you now. So this
11 is a map which is on the wall --
12 A. It's on the wall in the operations centre --
13 Q. Can you tell us, please, what the size of this map is more or
15 A. Well, I don't remember the size of the map. It was perhaps 1.5 by
17 Q. And what is entered into this map?
18 A. The map is -- features the units in their engagements, also in the
19 war diary all their activities are registered. And then if there was a
20 movement of a specific unit, this is indicated in a special colour, and
21 then in the legend this -- it's explained which period this refers to.
22 And this is the working map of the Supreme Command Staff for the territory
23 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
24 Q. Thank you. And can you now tell me, all the strategic groups were
25 entered into the map, I'm thinking of the land army; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And which particulars were registered on the map in relation to
3 the strategic groups, which units were shown on the map?
4 A. According to our rules, the working map would include units that
5 are two levels down. In this case these would be the corps and their
6 dis -- disposition or deployment. We made an exception for the Pristina
7 Corps, and we also showed that as part of the corps or brigade.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we now please have the following
10 document, 3D639. This is the briefing for the next day.
11 Your Honours, I think there is a problem. This document, there
12 has been some confusion when the document was logged. I'll just go with
13 General Simic through three lines of this document, and then there will be
14 a translation at a later stage.
15 Q. General, I've been warned about page 50, line 9. Let me ask you
16 again about the Pristina Corps. You said that the units, too, were
17 registered, not just the corps?
18 A. Yes, and the brigades, too.
19 Q. And the brigades, too, all right.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] 3D639. This is the briefing that
21 took place on the next day, the 7th of April. Could we please show page 1
22 of that document in B/C/S, the bottom of page 1. Bottom of the page.
23 Q. General, if you look at paragraph 4 we see your contribution there
24 again. The second line says that the working map was already produced, it
25 was the one that you were talking about a while ago?
1 A. Yes, we made this proposal to the chief of the Supreme Command.
2 He raised certain objections and made certain suggestions. He sent us
3 back to the drawing board, in a manner of speaking, so the next day we
4 drew up the final version, and he was perfectly happy with that one.
5 Q. Based on what did you enter information into this working map?
6 A. Information centered into the working map based on combat reports
7 from subordinate units.
8 Q. Can you now comment on the first bullet or line in your
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the English is
11 entirely erroneous. This is not even the same document. Therefore, I
12 think it would be a good idea for us to use the Serbian version alone.
13 Could we please scroll down to the very bottom of this page in
14 Serbian. The same document, thank you --
15 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, if I may, that is presenting a problem
16 for me not having the English. Also this exhibit and the last one, I have
17 an authenticity objection to because there's no stamp, there's no
18 signature, there's no way to know when this document was created or by
19 whom, and we haven't had any evidence from this witness other than
20 commenting on what appears to be his contribution in these notes.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I ...
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, Mr. Stamp cross-examined the last
23 witness by reference to a number of briefing notes. Are these ones
24 exceptional or do they all follow the same form?
25 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I don't know. I didn't -- I didn't look
1 at the ones that Mr. Stamp was dealing with. I just know that at least
2 two or three with this witness are in that same form.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you should alert us to those which you object
4 to, and we note D724 and D639 are objected to --
5 MR. HANNIS: Also 3D725, I have an objection to because there's no
6 signature. I don't think it's the same form as this, and that's it.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, Mr. Visnjic, you're alerted to the
8 possibility of some contention over authenticity, and meanwhile you should
9 proceed and we will deal with that in due course.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Sir, General. You see this first line, right, where you refer to
12 a possible incident at Vinca, can you explain what this is about, please,
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can you please scroll down. I'm
15 talking about Mr. Simic's contribution paragraph 4.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Bearing in mind the operations that
17 had been conducted by the aggressor up to that point, they had been
18 destroying both the civilian and the military infrastructures, the Chief
19 of Staff of the Supreme Command expressed his concern as to what would
20 happen should there be any destruction of the Vinca institute, and that is
21 why he ordered me to enlist the assistance of my ABHO assistant to go
22 there to investigate the situation on the spot and to propose measures for
23 that eventuality.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, the authenticity of the English
25 version is a matter in your control. You're the person who uploads this
1 material, and we note that this is not the English version relevant to
2 3D639 but require you, if possible, by tomorrow to get this rectified so
3 that it can be dealt with properly in cross-examination.
4 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour, I had brought this to the attention
5 of the Defence team before today.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
7 Mr. Visnjic.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Rather, Your Honours,
9 there's something I must say, we have a problem with the CLSS because they
10 returned this translation. I hope we can go back to them, talk to them,
11 and track this down tomorrow morning at best.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, my impression is that you should already have
13 that in train --
14 MR. VISNJIC: Yes, I'm sorry.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation].
17 Q. General, page 52, line 23, what do you mean by assistant for ABHO
18 or NBC, nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare?
19 A. He's not an assistant, he's the chief for the NBC administration,
20 the nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare protection. He is one of my
21 subordinates. I had five administrations under me that were headed by
23 Q. And what is this facility at Vinca?
24 A. It's a well-known nuclear institute, and there is a lot of
25 radio-active matter being stored there.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we turn the page, please, go to
2 the next page. Top of the page.
3 Q. General, can you comment on what we see in the first two lines.
4 There's a reference to the engineering units at the Sava and Danube and
5 volunteers as well.
6 A. Unfortunately, I can't see that myself. I can't see it on the
7 screen, what you're asking me about.
8 Q. You should be able to see that, shouldn't you, it's at the top of
9 the page. You see what it says toured the chief of the engineering
10 units --
11 A. Oh, yes, I see that it was the established practice for the
12 administration heads to tour their units on a daily basis in the Belgrade
13 area and very often elsewhere. They would just go off on their own accord
14 to tour units in Kosovo as well, for example. There was a danger, not
15 just a danger, some bridges had actually an destroyed. I sent the
16 engineering chief to see what the combat-readiness of the units at the
17 Sava and the Danube was, I'm talking about the engineering units, bearing
18 in mind the possibility to establish ferry crossings.
19 Q. There is a reference to training 126 volunteers, General. What's
20 that about?
21 A. Some volunteers reported and expressed their wish to be involved
22 in the country's defence. The Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command saw
23 it fit, regardless of their patriotic sentiment and their duties, that we
24 should train these people in our training centres. One such centre was at
25 Bubanj Potok. Once their training was done, they were sent to Kosovo and
1 Metohija to join the Pristina Corps, be in the area covered by the
2 Pristina Corps.
3 Q. Thank you, General.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Let's move on to our next exhibit,
5 please, P929, page 13.
6 Q. General, this is a collegium meeting dated the 9th of April, 1999?
7 A. Yes, that's quite right.
8 Q. Based on your memory, why was this meeting particularly important?
9 A. I told you already that we had daily briefings in the evening at
10 which the daily situation all along the front line was analysed, and the
11 Chief of Staff would hand out assignments. After some time, it's D plus
12 17, if I remember well, it was after 17 days of war, there was a generally
13 held belief that it was necessary to conduct a thorough analysis of how
14 the country had been defended up to that point. It was necessary to
15 review the results of the aggression, and it was necessary to see what
16 could be done in terms of adjusting the operative deployment of units.
17 Q. In this document, on page 13 more specifically, that's the B/C/S
18 reference. The English reference is page 12, the bottom of the page as
19 well, you report to the Chief of the General Staff, and I will read you
20 the last three lines. They read: "Based on the decision of the commander
21 of the 3rd Army, the operative deployment of units was done in Kosovo and
22 Metohija. These same units are now involved in protecting the state
23 border, crushing the terrorist Siptar forces, and blocking their axes from
24 the Republic of Albania and Macedonia, along which they are conducting
25 operations into the territory of Kosovo and Metohija."
1 Let me ask you a question based on this, sir. Operative
2 deployment of the units, General, based on what sort of documents was this
4 A. I apologise. The operative deployment of units was done based on
5 the directive on the use of armed forces for defending the country.
6 Q. What are initial operative plans, General?
7 A. Initial operative plans are plans that are designed at the
8 operation -- by the operations administration of the General Staff. This
9 is normally done in peacetime. A threat to the country's security is
10 envisaged and the plan is based on this. This may never materialise, but
11 if it does the situation is monitored and then the plan is adjusted.
12 Q. In this specific case, the 9th of April, 1999, the war has now
13 been going on for nearly 15 days. What was the idea behind the deployment
14 of VJ units in Kosovo and Metohija in this particular case?
15 A. The operative deployment of units in Kosovo and Metohija basically
16 was done based on a directive called Thunder 3, Grom 3, which was passed
17 by the General Staff on the 16th of January.
18 Q. General --
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we have that same document
20 placed on e-court, please, page 15 in the B/C/S and page 14 in the
22 Your Honours, in order to save time I will not be quoting much
23 from this document, but let me refer you to page -- pages 12 through 15 in
24 English where General Simic's contribution is reproduced in detail about
25 the intentions of the VJ at the time.
1 The lower half of the page. Thank you.
2 Q. General, you see this paragraph that begins: "Up to now, the
3 enemy had not used their air power to any significant extent ..."
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. We see you there providing an assessment about a
6 possible attack by NATO's land forces. Can you provide more detail about
7 that, sir?
8 A. If you go through this entire thing, I also pointed out that the
9 ground forces up to that point in time had not suffered any substantial
10 losses, which didn't necessarily mean that the losses that had been
11 sustained can be underestimated. It's always a loss of human lives, isn't
12 it. There were many reasons for this, the first being that initially the
13 aggressor tried to destroy the civilian/military infrastructures in order
14 to prevent any manoeuvres by the VJ along the front line and deep into the
15 territory. Another objective was to destroy key facilities and
16 communications buildings in the VJ structure in order to destroy the
17 command system.
18 At a later stage they would start inflicting substantial losses on
19 manpower itself in the defence sectors. Up to this point in time they had
20 not been successful in achieving this objective. It was based on this
21 that I reckoned that they would not start inflicting losses over the next
22 10 to 15 days against our manpower, which made the situation favourable
23 for us in terms of continuing to fortify -- to build fortifications, to
24 reinforce, to try to improve on some of our weaknesses in terms of
25 discipline and such-like. And that was the context in which I used this
2 Q. General, I asked you about the basic idea, and you said the basic
3 idea for defence, you said this idea stemmed from some elements of the
4 plan that was known as Thunder 3 or Thunder-bolt 3?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Initially during the early stage of the aggression when the attack
7 first occurred, was there a change in the assignment given to units?
8 A. If you will allow me, I would just like to say in Thunder 3 it was
9 our assessment that the aggression would be launched simultaneously from
10 the air and with the air-borne assaults by a multi-national brigade, and
11 this is why we tasked some of our units with being ready to block and
12 destroy those air-borne units. Because the aggression was not launched in
13 this manner, it was considered that because air-borne assaults could no
14 longer be performed, that we should improve our operative disposition,
15 issue new taks and to prepare for the ground attack that we expected, and
16 this was something that the Supreme Command Staff always expected.
17 Q. Let us not go into details now --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you clarify for me what you mean when you say:
19 "Because the aggression was not launched in this manner, it was considered
20 that because air-borne assaults could no longer be performed, that we
21 should improve our operative decision ..."
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't want to make
23 any doubts about the interpretation. I didn't say that no air-borne
24 assault would be carried out. In our Grom 3 directive, we assessed that
25 the aggression would be launched by simultaneous air-borne assaults by a
1 multi-national brigade in Kosovo and air-strikes, because we thought that
2 they would then link-up with the ground forces. After 17 days of war, we
3 realised that no air-borne assault had taken place and that is why I
4 explained this in this manner. I didn't say that there would be no
6 JUDGE BONOMY: What is an air-borne assault then, because my
7 understanding is that there was bombing over these 17 days.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think we're talking
9 about air-borne assaults.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if you allow me, I
11 can explain.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Air-strikes are defined as attacks
14 from the air using all assets available, and at the beginning I indicated
15 that the enemy wanted to prevent our units from manoeuvring and to destroy
16 our chain of command, our commanding system, by attacking civilian and
17 military infrastructure. I said that we expected the enemy to continue
18 doing that even after this period in order to disable the infrastructure
19 and the command system and then to carry out strikes. But in Grom 3 --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: But what do you mean by an air-borne assault? Is
21 that the flying-in of personnel rather than the flying-in of weapons?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I say "air-strikes," I mean
23 attacks launched by the aircraft and cruising missiles -- cruise missiles
24 on all the infrastructure. Air-borne assaults, that refers partly to
25 operations from the air-space and bringing in of ground forces by land.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you -- well, when you say -- I'm still not
2 understanding you. Why would you call bringing in troops by land an
3 air-borne assault?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't say bringing the troops in
5 by land was part of an air-strike. The air-borne assaults, that's
6 bringing in the troops by air, and those troops can maintain -- hold an
7 area for a certain point -- period of time. But if you don't have a
8 ground attack, if you don't bring in ground troops by land, they cannot
9 hold on to that piece of territory that they had taken in an air-borne
10 assault. That's what happened to Russians, they lost an entire battalion
11 in a very short period of time in the Second World War.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
13 Mr. Visnjic.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: In Afghanistan.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I hope that you
16 understand it from the interpretation. It's still not clear to me.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand it now it thank you.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation].
19 Q. General, fine. Let us go back to this possibility that a ground
20 operation could be launched. At one point several options were under
21 consideration regarding this ground attack. Could you please tell us
22 something more about that.
23 A. I've already said that at the Supreme Command Staff there was
24 always this concern or this assessment that sooner or later there would be
25 a ground operation, provided that the air-strikes achieved the objectives
1 that I outlined in my previous answers. Now, as for the modalities of the
2 ground operation, there were several options there. If you need me to do
3 so, I can explain.
4 Q. Could you please explain to us some of the modalities that you
5 believed might actually occur and what needed to be done on our side, or
6 rather, what forces should have been brought to what positions in order to
7 counter some of those modalities, to stop them, but please go slow.
8 Everybody's tired and it's very important for this to be conveyed
10 A. We thought that there were two options for a ground operation.
11 Option one is that by involving the terrorist army in Kosovo with the
12 support from the Albanian army, a large bridge might be set up and which
13 could later involve NATO forces, too. Option two, a smaller-scale
14 operation, was for NATO ground forces to do so right away. Why did I say
15 that this was -- that this was not so -- that was not as likely as the
16 first one, it's because we figured that NATO was not so likely to
17 sacrifice its soldiers, and that's why we thought that they would use the
18 terrorists and the people from Albania to set up the bridge head. And the
19 bridge head is -- and the term "bridge head" is for us soldiers a piece of
20 territory, maybe 5 or 10 kilometres away from the Albanian border, in the
21 depth of the Kosovo territory which would be sufficient for NATO to get in
22 with its troops and then to expand this territory, finally gaining the
23 whole of territory -- the control of the whole of territory of Kosovo
24 without suffering any losses by linking up with the terrorist forces in
25 the Kosovo territory, thereby carrying out its task.
1 Q. General, this was the minutes from the collegium where you made
2 your presentation on the 9th of April, but on the 9th of April the General
3 Staff issued yet another document.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that's document P1481,
5 but I don't want it to be brought up on e-court. I would like 4D107 to be
6 brought up, it is the same document, in fact. The problem with P1481 lies
7 in the fact that only the first page in B/C/S has actually been uploaded
8 into the system.
9 Q. General, you are familiar with this document?
10 A. Yes, definitely.
11 Q. Could you please tell us, what is this document?
12 A. It's a directive.
13 Q. What is a directive in the hierarchy of military documents?
14 A. Only the Supreme Command Staff can issue directives. It's the
15 highest type of order that decides how the Army of Yugoslavia is to be
16 deployed in the whole theatre of war over a longer period of time.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown --
18 well, in this specific case, this is the directive.
19 Q. Could you please give us its exact title?
20 A. "Directive for the engagement of the Yugoslavia Army in the
21 defence against the NATO aggression."
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please look at page 5 in
24 B/C/S and page 5 in the English version.
25 Q. General, we have in front of us paragraph 2 which is entitled:
1 "The concept and the idea of strategic defence."
2 Could you please explain to the Judges those two terms, "concept"
3 and "idea," as used in military parlance.
4 A. Before giving you this specific answer, can I just say one
5 sentence. All of our documents are quite formalised, quite formal, and
6 the directive is not an exception. So you can always -- you always have
7 the same chapters there, enemy, and so on. So "concept" and "idea," it is
8 an integral part of such a document, it is the concept of the Supreme
9 Command in which it decides how it will lead its army in the defence of
10 the country.
11 Q. Let me rephrase it in simple terms. This is the concept about how
12 a war is to be waged, how a country is to be defended?
13 A. Yes, you could put it that way too.
14 Q. Thank you. Could you please ...
15 [Defence counsel confer]
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Could you please comment on this text that you see in front of
18 you, and to explain to us what was the concept of the Army of Yugoslavia,
19 or rather, the General Staff when this document was made.
20 A. In the first paragraph in the preamble of the second paragraph it
21 is stated that "The engagement and the use of" --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down when reading.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That "The engagement and the use of
24 the Army of Yugoslavia in the defence against the NATO should be carried
25 out in two stages with the full application of the provisions of the
1 Geneva Conventions and international law of war and humanitarian law."
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. I know -- I know that this may be difficult for you, but you don't
4 have to read slower, you just have to make pauses after you complete a
6 A. Yes, I will do that. When I said that those documents always
7 follow the same format, I want to note that there was no need for this
8 provision "with full application of the provisions of the Geneva
9 Conventions" and so on to be included here, because there is a place for
10 that word -- for those words to be included, and that's not the place.
11 But at the insistence of the chief of the Supreme Command Staff, he wanted
12 that to be included. And that was the first time in my military career
13 that I was faced with the situation in which in an essential part of a
14 document of this sort, this wording was included. By doing that, he
15 wanted all of his subordinates to become aware of the seriousness of this
16 demand as to how they should conduct themselves when carrying out the
17 tasks that they received in the defence of the country.
18 Q. General, could you please look at stage 2, paragraph 2.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we just scroll down a little
20 bit the B/C/S version of the text.
21 Q. Second stage, first phase. Could you please comment on this phase
22 and that was anticipated in the -- in the concept.
23 A. We knew that in the defence of the country so far, the Siptar, or
24 rather, the terrorist army of Kosovo had not been destroyed. It had been
25 routed, it was not a danger as a unified organisation. Some of its
1 elements had managed to pull out to the territory of Albania in order to
2 save themselves in the face of destruction. And we considered that at a
3 propitious moment in their assessment they would return to the territory
4 of Kosovo by one way or another. We also knew that some of the ethnic
5 Albanians, for one reason or another - I could discuss them if required to
6 do so by the honourable Trial Chamber - had fled to Albania and that at
7 one point in time they would be coming back one way or another.
8 Q. General, was there any concept of the Army of Yugoslavia or any
9 other document where the idea was elaborated to the effect that the
10 population should be expelled across the border in order to improve the
11 ethnic composition in Kosovo, the ethnic balance in Kosovo?
12 A. I did not understand the question.
13 Q. Are you aware of any VJ document or any meeting, briefing, or any
14 informal discussions where the idea was mooted that the population should
15 be expelled in order to improve the ethnic balance in Kosovo?
16 A. Well, a brief reply would be no, but if you allow me to
17 elaborate --
18 Q. No, a brief answer would suffice. Thank you.
19 A. But could I please comment on this? I would like to be allowed to
20 do so.
21 Q. Please do so.
22 A. Had there been such a plan, had we done that, the chief of the
23 Supreme Command Staff would not have ordered his subordinates how to treat
24 the refugees should they appear at the border. He is warning them there,
25 he is ordering them even, to cooperate with the authorities in taking care
1 of these people. And if terrorist forces are being infiltrated under the
2 guise of returning refugees, that should be prevented. So you can see
3 that the chief of the Supreme Command Staff is ordering his commanders how
4 to act. Had any such plan been in existence, the chief of the Supreme
5 Command Staff would not have issued an order of this nature to his
7 Q. Thank you, General. You said the Chief of Staff issues orders to
8 his subordinates. How could the Supreme Command Staff chief implement
9 this responsibility in practice? How did he have insight into what was
10 happening - in this case specifically on the territory of Kosovo and
12 A. Everything is regulated in our rules. The Supreme Command Staff
13 chief had several channels through which he could learn - and he did learn
14 about the situation on the front. One of the important ones was direct
15 telephone contact with commanders using a protected line; a second way was
16 a combat report that arrived daily from subordinate commands; the third
17 was personal presence or sending the most responsible officers for
18 inspection to see in the field what the situation was; and finally, via
19 intelligence and counter-intelligence organs, he could also find out what
20 the situation in the field was.
21 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to ask you something about this
22 control you mentioned, control or inspection. Can you tell me what this
23 inspection is. Is it a command function?
24 A. Inspection or control is a process function of command. Others
25 include planning of a certain activity, organising, implementation,
1 control, and analysis at the end. These are the process command
2 functions. Control or inspection is very important in that chain of
4 Q. General, do you know how the control function was organised during
5 the war? Who carried out this function and how frequently was it done?
6 A. The control function is organised by sending specific organs from
7 the Supreme Command Staff who would see for themselves by spending a
8 certain amount of time at the control facility, see what the
9 combat-readiness of the units was, or rather, in one sentence, they would
10 see if the unit was carrying out its assignments in the spirit of the
11 orders received, if there was any deviation or problem in that, and what
12 the manner of their resolution was.
13 Besides sending senior officers, the Supreme Command Staff - let
14 me say this as well - there was also an inspection of the Army of
15 Yugoslavia, headed at that time by General Samardzic, which also performed
16 this control duty. It also went into the field to control subordinate
17 units, or rather, not control but inspection.
18 Q. So we have control and inspection?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And now, can you please tell me if you ever went to this control
21 on the territory of Kosovo?
22 A. When I assumed the duty at the Supreme Command Staff, I went to
23 this control job three times. Once I headed a team, once I was a deputy
24 head of the team, and one time I was head of control at the facility that
25 was being controlled.
1 Q. When you went to this control task, can you please describe to the
2 Chamber what is done when you come to the unit or what you call the
3 control facility.
4 A. The facility that is controlled is at the rank of a brigade. When
5 you come to the unit, the Supreme Command Staff - and it was explicit in
6 this in view of the risk undertaken in the journey - he ordered that one
7 or two days would be spent to go or to come back using only daylight, and
8 then at the control facility two days had to be spent continuously for a
9 period of 24 hours in the work and life conditions that prevailed for the
10 soldiers and the senior officers of the facility that was undergoing
11 control. This means that if there was a dug-out, the person would have to
12 be in a dug-out; if they were in a tent, the person would be in a tent; if
13 they were in a building, they would have to be in a building.
14 Q. Can you tell us generally what you established? Just one moment,
15 please, what you established in these controls and later we will then deal
16 with this one particular control for which we have documents.
17 A. These three controls that I conducted, in general we established
18 that units essentially were carrying out assignments in the spirit of
19 orders received with minor deviations which did not significantly
20 influence the execution of the assignments. And if measures were not
21 taken to alleviate these deviations, they could put in question the
22 further execution of a particular assignment.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please look at 3D693.
25 Your Honours, we are going to see in a minute an order of the
1 Supreme Command Staff about control specifically in the way that General
2 Simic explained it to us.
3 I would like to look at paragraph 2.2. Can we zoom in on that
5 Q. General, this item 2.2 -- actually, what is contained in that
6 paragraph, 2.2?
7 A. In item 2.2, evidently we can see that it's an assignment set by
8 the Supreme Command Staff about what we needed to look at in the units
9 subject to control, but I have to say, you said that it was a control. I
10 didn't see the date here, but I think it's from the 22nd until the 26th.
11 If I remember correctly, and this control was conducted in the Pristina
12 Corps and for other units at the regiment brigade level. I can see the
13 date here, it's from the 23rd to the 26th - I apologise - at the bottom.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at page 3 of this
15 document. Can we look at the middle part of the page.
16 Q. General, I see here that you were in charge of control of the
17 Pristina Corps command; am I correct?
18 A. Partially, yes. You can see here that general -- the late
19 Colonel -- Lieutenant-General Ljubisa Velickovic was the head of the unit
20 controlling the Pristina Corps. I was his deputy, and together with him
21 controlled just the corps command.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at 3D692.
23 Q. General, soon we're going to see a report. Can you please tell us
24 now what this document is, how it came to be, and what was the procedure
25 after the control was carried out.
1 A. I must say that the control itself implied several documents, the
2 initial document, the order, then the next document, the report, and then
3 at the end the order of the superior - in this case the Supreme Command
4 Staff chief - to resolve the problems noted. In this case, this is a
5 written report submitted by the team leader to the Supreme Command Staff
6 chief on the 29th of May, as was ordered in the order. But if you permit
7 me --
8 Q. Just one moment, please. Go ahead, General.
9 A. I must say that each team - this was the usual practice - was
10 obliged to state its preliminary findings to the most responsible officer
11 in the field so that the Pristina Corps command the same day that we
12 completed the control was informed about the situation that we found to
13 avoid the situation of informing them about one situation and reporting on
14 it differently.
15 Q. So after two or three days in the field, you would practically
16 report your findings to the unit being controlled, and upon return, in
17 this case to the General Staff, you would draft the report which you would
18 send to the General Staff chief?
19 A. On the 26th in the morning we reported to the corps commander our
20 findings, and on the same day we left for Belgrade.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you explain why these -- the order was given in
23 relation to the 2nd Army and the Pristina Corps?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Supreme Command Staff chief
25 would decide where he would send his people, his subordinates, to carry
1 out controls. This control in the Pristina Corps, the one that we're
2 speaking about now, also had a particular problem because on the 17th or
3 the 18th, if I remember correctly, there was a considerable degree of
4 desertions, I would not term it mass desertion, but significant numbers
5 left their positions, and I'm thinking of a part in the 354th brigade --
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch all the units.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- and he wanted to see what the
8 situation was in as short time as possible. The 2nd Brigade [as
9 interpreted] was not so good in relation to the call-up response, and he
10 decided with his deputy to send someone to look at what the situation was
12 JUDGE BONOMY: So this didn't occur because there was some
13 marriage between the activities of the Pristina Corps and the 2nd Army;
14 it's coincidence, is it, that they're both referred to in the same order?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I understood the question
16 properly, these were not married cases, but the directive does speak about
17 acting in coordination. But the problem of desertion in these units was
18 pronounced as well as insufficient response to call-up in the navy. But
19 there was nothing else in terms of coordinated action with these units.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 Mr. Visnjic.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, page 71, line 16, it
23 should say the 2nd Army instead of the 2nd Brigade.
24 Q. And I have just been told, General, can you please repeat which
25 brigades had a problem in the Pristina Corps. You mentioned some of them,
1 but it was not recorded in the transcript.
2 A. These were characteristics, the 7th Infantry Brigade from
3 Krusevac; a battalion of the 125th Motorised Brigade from Kosovska
4 Mitrovica; and from what I can remember, I'm not sure, I think it was a
5 part of -- smaller part of a unit from the 354th Infantry Brigade from
7 Q. General, this document was logged in on the 29th of May, 1999?
8 A. Yes. If you are thinking about the report about the executed
10 Q. Yes. And on the 26th you completed the control; on the 27th you
11 were on the trip back. What happened from the 26th to the 29th?
12 A. Well, a small correction. I said that on the 26th we reported to
13 the Pristina Corps commander about the situation found, and on the same
14 day in the evening we arrived at Belgrade. Upon our arrival to Belgrade,
15 the team chief and myself as his deputy orally reported the same as we
16 reported to the corps commander at his command post. From the 26th in the
17 evening until the set deadline on the 29th, we processed the report, in
18 the technical sense, and we submitted it to the Supreme Command Staff
20 Q. [Microphone not activated]
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. On page 5 and 6 in B/C/S, and it's the same pages in the English,
24 you made a set of -- you proposed a set of measures in order to correct
25 the weaknesses. Is that the usual procedure upon completion of the
1 control --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you answer that, can I advise you that the
3 interpreters are having some difficulty keeping up with your pace of
4 speech. So could you try to speak more slowly so that we get the whole
5 context of what you're saying. There's the odd bit that may have been
6 missed as a result of speed. Thank you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, thank you. I will
8 try to give briefer answers.
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. General, it would be sufficient if you were slower.
11 A. Yes, all right. I accept that.
12 Q. So the measures proposed on pages 5 and 6 in the English, also
13 pages 5 and 6 in the B/C/S, is that the information that General
14 Velickovic conveyed to the Supreme Command Staff or to the Supreme Command
15 Staff chief?
16 A. Yes, that is it.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we prepare the next document,
18 please, and that is 3D694.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: It might be best if you postpone your question on
20 that until we return, or is this the last in a series of questions?
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is a
22 convenient time for a break.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, this is a time at which we must have a
24 break for 20 minutes, so could you please leave the courtroom with the
25 usher. And we'll see you again at five minutes past 6.00.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 [The witness stands down]
3 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 6.08 p.m.
5 [The witness takes the stand].
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
7 MR. VISNJIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. [Interpretation] I see the situation has improved. I hope the
9 sound will be a little slower, too, so the interpreters can follow.
10 A. Thank you, and I would certainly like to thank the President of
11 the Chamber for his offer for me to get a new pair of glasses. I'm still
12 intellectually fit, it was just the wrong set of glasses. I actually own
13 both sets, but I got the wrong one, and now I have both so it's fine.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: We'll find the mistranslation somewhere later.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] We were looking at 3D692 before the
16 break. This was a control report dated the 29th of May, 1999.
17 If I may just remind the Chamber - and I move this document be
18 looked at in its entirety - pages 5 and 6 contain proposed measures.
19 Q. All right, General. You inform us that the team leader, General
20 Velickovic informed the Chief of the General Staff about this control.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please look at Exhibit 3D694.
22 This is a one-page document and the title is: "Dealing with shortcomings
23 that had been noticed," and this is an order.
24 Q. General, can you please look at paragraph 3 of this document and
25 can you please explain what is being ordered here by the Chief of the
1 General Staff.
2 A. This document clearly shows that the Chief of the General Staff of
3 the Supreme Command entirely accepted reports of the team leader, and in
4 particular the measures proposed for dealing with any weaknesses that were
5 noted. In order to curtail the time needed for this correspondence to
6 take place between the army staff and the -- army command and the supreme
7 staff, he didn't see it fit that these measures, same measures, should be
8 made operational according to this same system and drafted as a separate
9 order. He therefore restricted himself to briefly ordering for this
10 proposal to be transformed into an order that he would then sign.
11 Q. General, could you please now look at 3D700. This is a 3rd Army
12 document. What is it exactly, General?
13 A. One can see here that the 3rd Army command received the order of
14 the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command and its own Chief of Staff
15 signed this, General Stojmirovic. He is sending to one of his subordinate
16 commands, in this case the command of the Pristina Corps, instructions to
17 start eliminating any weaknesses that were noted. This is something that
18 was attached to another document. It says that the elimination plan is
20 Q. General, who was this document sent to?
21 A. This document was sent to the Supreme Command Staff. I may have
22 misspoken a while ago because I was only relying on the wording and I
23 didn't look up at the header, but in the order we ordered for them to draw
24 up a plan to deal with any weaknesses and shortcomings. A copy of that
25 plan was to be forwarded to the Supreme Command Staff by them, and this is
1 the very document.
2 Q. Thank you. Could you now please look at the next document --
3 rather, my apologies. As for this plan, General, pages 2 through 4, what
4 we see listed there are measures to be taken, and they are divided
5 according to particular topics in terms of combat-readiness, elements of
6 combat-readiness. Can you explain this diagram that we see before us for
7 the benefit of the Chamber.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, you're spending an awful lot of time
9 on events at the end of May and the beginning of June. Do you really need
10 to spend your very valuable oral evidence time on this sort of thing
11 rather than give it to us to read for ourselves?
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this document is for
13 me an example of the work and competences of General Ojdanic. I'm using
14 it in the sense of functioning, and I want to show what it was that
15 General Ojdanic did, what was within his purview and within his
16 competences. I think the events addressed by this topic do not touch on
17 the very heart of the matter that we are about to deal with.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, I wonder if there aren't similar documents in
19 the period between December and April that would be more directly relevant
20 to the issues in the indictment. Still, I don't want to take up even more
21 of your valuable time. Please continue as quickly as you can.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Microphone not activated]
23 Q. [Interpretation] General, measures are divided by their respective
24 topics, right?
25 A. No, they're divided in terms of elements of combat-readiness. In
1 this specific case we're talking about command as the first principal
2 element of combat-readiness. There is command, there is preparedness and
3 level of training, mobilisation readiness, morale and information,
4 logistics, and logistics security.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And finally, 3D701.
6 Q. General, what is this document?
7 A. A plan to eliminate weaknesses observed during a visit to the
8 Pristina Corps units by the Supreme Command Staff. It was sent to the
9 Pristina Corps command. May I continue?
10 Q. Yes, by all means.
11 A. What this means is this. The army command informed us what they
12 had done in terms of our order, and then they ordered their subordinate
13 command, the Pristina Corps command, certain measures that they were to
15 Q. All right, General. For the last one and a half hours, or nearly,
16 you've been telling us about the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command.
17 Who are you actually talking about? Who was this?
18 A. My apologies. I wasn't cautioned explicitly whether I should use
19 title and rank or whether I should name people; therefore, I decided to go
20 for title and rank in terms of name it was General Ojdanic.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this completes my
22 examination of this witness. I have no further questions and could I
23 please be given credit for interpretation in time.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
25 Any Defence cross-examination?
1 Mr. Ackerman.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Ackerman:
3 Q. Good evening, General.
4 A. Good evening.
5 Q. My name is John Ackerman. I'm the attorney for General Pavkovic,
6 and I have a few questions I'd like to ask you. And basically we're going
7 to look at a few documents so that you can explain them, at least to some
8 extent, to this honourable Trial Chamber. I want to ask you first: Do
9 you remember approximately when it was that clashes began to occur between
10 the 3rd Army, Pristina Corps, and the KLA? In point of time, when did
11 those things first start happening?
12 A. If you're asking me about the specific date, then I can't say.
13 Generally in terms of the time-line, this is May and later, May, June,
14 July, that's when this became particularly prominent, and this was going
15 on in the border belt.
16 Q. That would have been 1998?
17 A. Yes. You asked me about 1998, didn't you?
18 Q. Who would have been -- who would have been responsible at that
19 point for engaging the VJ in those skirmishes and authorising the
20 engagement in those skirmishes at the border?
21 A. I, for one, find this to be an ambiguous question. Do you mean
22 who was authorised to authorise the use of the VJ in the border belt or
23 elsewhere? Well, that's one question. If you mean just the border belt,
24 in the border belt there were border units, they had certain powers under
25 the rules governing the work of the border service, and they had the power
1 to stop any attempts at illegal crossing. It wasn't required for anyone
2 to issue them specific tasks or to authorise their use.
3 Q. And that same thing would have been true if the VJ had been
4 attacked, they didn't need an order to allow them to respond to an attack.
5 They had full authority to respond to an attack at any time, correct?
6 A. Our rules of service which take fourth place in relation to the
7 laws - and I mean the constitution, the Law on Defence, the Law on the
8 Army, and then come the rules of service - and these rules state
9 unambiguously, unequivocally, that any unit under attack must use any
10 means available to protect itself, its manpower, its equipment, or any
11 facility that it might be securing. I apologise, I talked about this
12 being implicit, but it wasn't implicit. It was couched in entirely
13 explicit terms.
14 Q. All right. I'd like you to look now at a document, it's 4D377,
15 and it will appear on your screen here in a moment we hope. And what I'm
16 interested in is, once you see what the nature of that document is, is
17 paragraph 4.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: For some reason this document can't be accessed,
19 Mr. Ackerman. Do you have a hard copy of it?
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, yes, I do, actually. I'm baffled by why it
21 can't be accessed. I have a B/C/S version we can give to the witness.
22 MR. HANNIS: Does he have an English version for us or for Your
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there also an English version, Mr. Ackerman?
25 MR. ACKERMAN: There is. I guess we could put it on the ELMO.
1 Your Honour, I'm very sorry about this. That document has been in e-court
2 for a long time. I don't know why --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the usher will collect the English copy from
4 you, and then put it on the ELMO and give the witness the B/C/S copy in
5 his hand.
6 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: It's paragraph 4 we need to see -- no, you'll need
8 to come out a bit. That's it. Thanks.
9 MR. ACKERMAN:
10 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Witness, if you'll look at paragraph 4 of the
11 B/C/S version you have in front of you, what you have there is an order
12 from General Samardzic, and it's dated 29 May of 1998 to the Pristina
13 Corps command. And in that paragraph 4 he seems to order a number of
14 things and it's a bit -- it's a bit vague for those of us that were not
15 part of that organisation. Can you just explain what is meant by
16 paragraph 4. What is it that the recipient of that order is supposed to
18 A. Based on the paragraph mentioned, one can see that the army
19 commander orders to his subordinate, the corps commander, to support the
20 MUP forces in carrying out their combat operations by using combat
21 equipment in keeping with their current features. Support is to be
22 provided only at the request of the overall MUP commander and following
23 approval by the commander of the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, we're trying to figure out what's
25 going on, and we just got a message that there has been an access problem
1 with e-court going on all day. So this could get quite tedious if we
2 continue to have a problem, and I don't know quite how to deal with it. I
3 don't have one copy of each of these documents but we would take three
4 times as long to get through this as it would take me if we could access
5 the documents in e-court.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, let's see what happens when you call up
7 another one.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: All right.
9 Q. General, we've seen some documents in this case - and I don't
10 happen to have one in front of you right now, and I'm not going to take
11 the time to find one and get it in front of you - that contain a sort of
12 common phrase, saying that the VJ is to be used according to the rules of
13 combat use. Does that have a special meaning "according to the rules of
14 combat use"?
15 A. It has no special meaning except for the fact that he warns that
16 there should be no action that was taken outside of the regulations
17 governing our combat activities.
18 Q. Okay. The next document I'm going to ask you to look at if we can
19 is 4D379.
20 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I'm not sure how to address this or
21 whether it's my point to raise it, but I think we were provided a list of
22 the documents that Mr. Ackerman was going to use for cross-examination of
23 this witness, and this one and the previous one aren't on the list I was
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman, we've raised this matter before.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: It's been going like this since fairly early this
2 morning. Mr. Hannis is absolutely correct, they're not on the list. They
3 were supposed to be.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
5 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I don't object to him using it, but I
6 just need to have it or I want to have it --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: It's -- from time to time there are going to be
8 blips in this arrangement, and time will be given to anyone who turns out
9 to be prejudiced by a failure that can be excused. And I think in this
10 instance we should deal with it if it does cause actual prejudice. I
11 think Mr. Ackerman realises that it shouldn't have happened, but sometimes
12 these things just can't be avoided.
13 Mr. Ackerman.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, let me just very quickly put on the
15 record because it will just take a few seconds to do it, the documents I'm
16 going to use, 4D379, 4D380, 4D183, maybe 4D129, 4D138, 4D297, 4D134, 4D91,
17 4D378, 4D141, 4D229, 4D375, 3D697, 4D136.
18 Now, what we were trying to get is 4D379, and apparently that one
19 can't be brought up in e-court either.
20 So, Judge, I don't know what you want to do. This is going to
21 take two or three times as long as it would if e-court was working.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: I think the sensible thing is to use the assistance
23 you have beside you to marshal the hard copies so that we can do exactly
24 what we've done with 4D377 and to make allowances in looking at the time.
25 Let's say we'll not charge the next 25 minutes to anyone, Mr. Ackerman,
1 how's that?
2 MR. ACKERMAN: That's fine, Your Honour, I just hate to waste time
3 like this because it is precious; I understand that.
4 Q. The document you're seeing now is dated 7 April 1998, and it's an
5 order from General Perisic, commanding general of the VJ. And what I'm
6 interested in is paragraph 2, and can you interpret that for us and tell
7 us what that paragraph means when he says "to relocate part of the RMR
8 from certain places to other places." What is that about?
9 A. In light of the fact that in the Pristina Corps area the situation
10 was deteriorating rapidly, and given that in some sectors we had
11 ammunition depots and depots where other weapons were stored, and it was
12 quite difficult, given the complex situation, to relocate these safely.
13 The Chief of General Staff ordered that these two depots be relocated to
14 safer locations, for the most part outside of the territory of Kosovo or
15 in the north of the province, by that I mean the Leposavic site.
16 Q. What is RMR?
17 A. That's an acronym for wartime materiel reserves; to be quite
18 specific, those depots contained ammunition and explosives of virtually
19 all calibre.
20 Q. And do you know where these Bair and Lukare depots were located?
21 A. Bair and Lukare are located in areas which are 100 per cent
22 inhabited by Albanians. In 1981 we had problems when there were some
23 protests and rallies. In the Podujevo area there was the Territorial
24 Defence depot, and there was a danger that those protesters might actually
25 break into the depot and get weapons. This was quite inaccessible, narrow
1 streets, high walls, and it was really quite favourable --
2 Q. Where are these places that this is being moved to, Kursumlija,
3 Leposavic, and Mirnicka Reka, where are those?
4 A. I've already noted that those depots were relocated to sites in
5 the north of Kosovo, Leposavic, and the other two sites, one is on the
6 Prokuplje-Kursumlija road, and the other one is in the Kursumlija area;
7 that's outside of Kosovo.
8 Q. And does this indicate an awareness on 9 March of 1988 [sic] on
9 the part of General Perisic as to what specifically was going on in Kosovo
10 at that time?
11 A. I think that it was not the 9th of March. If you're asking me
12 about this document that you showed me, that would be the 7th of April.
13 And to be quite specific and to answer your question, my answer would be
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman, it's been drawn to my attention that
16 the problem here with the documents is caused by the failure to release
17 them into the court's e-court system and that that's now being done and
18 resolving the problem.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, that was the question I just had asked of my
20 associate, and I was told that that had happened. I have been standing
21 here worried that it hadn't, though.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: So you can take it that we'll be revoking what we
23 said about the 25 minutes and confine it to the five minutes of confusion.
24 Please continue.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour. I apologise for that.
1 Q. All right. Let's try to look at 4D380. Now, what you should see
2 in front of you is a 20 April 1998 order from the 3rd Army to the Pristina
3 Corps signed by General Samardzic. And what I'm interested in is the
4 preamble in paragraph 1. Just tell us basically what is it that General
5 Samardzic is ordering by this order.
6 A. The previous document, talking about the relocation of the wartime
7 materiel reserves, prompted me to say that the situation in Kosovo was
8 expected to deteriorate, and this document, in fact, confirms that. It is
9 dated only 13 days later. It confirms that indeed the situation had
10 deteriorated, in particular in the border area, in the areas of the 55th
11 and the 53th Border Battalions. To make it clearer, that would be
12 Djakovica-Decani area. The Chief of General Staff, or rather, the army
13 commander, orders the Pristina Corps commander to take up the forward
14 command post in Djakovica, to set it up.
15 Q. And what would be the purpose of that order? Why set up that
16 command post, do you know?
17 A. In accordance with our rules, a forward command post is set up
18 when it is necessary for the commander or his Chief of Staff pursuant to
19 an authorisation by the commander, to be as close as possible to the scene
20 where events are developing in order to be able to take appropriate
21 measures promptly.
22 Q. Okay. Let's go to another document, 4D183, please. This document
23 is a document of the Pristina Corps command, 16 May 1998, and if we went
24 to the end of it we would see that it is signed by General Pavkovic. The
25 first thing that I want to draw your attention to with regard to this, it
1 talks in the preamble about an inspection of the corps by the Chief of the
2 General Staff of the Yugoslav Army on 14 and 15 May 1998. Does that
3 indicate to you that General Perisic would be conducting an inspection of
4 the corps during that time?
5 A. Well, I wasn't able to see here on the screen this particular
6 reference that you just made, but the Chief of General Staff did not carry
7 out inspections. We in the General Staff have a special organ authorised
8 to carry out inspections. This officer, or rather, he toured the Pristina
9 Corps in order to see for himself what the combat-readiness status was in
10 the corps.
11 Q. If we could go to the first page of the B/C/S at the top where the
12 preamble is, then you will be able to see what it is I'm referring to.
13 And it seems to say there that the Chief of the General Staff was going to
14 inspect, doesn't it.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And that was General Perisic, was it not?
17 A. Yes, you are right. But this was not an inspection but a tour of
18 the unit. I have to note that at the General Staff there is an inspection
19 to determine the combat-readiness of the units of the Army of Yugoslavia,
20 but its composition is quite different than this team that was headed by
21 General Perisic. He led this group of people who went there to visit or
22 tour this unit. If I may clarify, he did not send his inspection. He
23 felt that it would be necessary for he himself to see the situation in the
25 Q. I'm a bit confused now. I don't know if there's a mistranslation
1 in the document or not. The English document uses the word "inspection,"
2 but I don't know if that inspection appears in the first line of the B/C/S
3 version, does it? It doesn't. I'm told that it does not so we have a
4 translation error.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, look at the very first line of the
6 introduction to the document after the address to the commander. Could
7 you read that first line, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, in the preamble it
9 says: "On the basis of the situation observed when the corps units were
10 toured by the Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia on the 14th
11 and the 15th of May, 1998, problems that were presented by the corps
12 commander and the observations" --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: That's fine. Thank you very much. That deals with
14 the issue.
15 MR. ACKERMAN:
16 Q. All right. I want you to look now at paragraph 4 of this
17 document. We've had testimony or evidence in this case before this point,
18 General, where it was suggested that training activities of the VJ in
19 Kosovo were primarily designed to provoke the Albanians into attacking
20 them --
21 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I'm not sure that's a correct statement
22 of the evidence. We talked about one specific training event, but not
23 training in general.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, I think that may be true. I know there was a
1 contention in that regard with regard to Podujevo, I believe it was.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: That's the one.
3 MR. ACKERMAN:
4 Q. But in any event, General, with regard to paragraph 4 there, it
5 appears that what is being ordered there is that the local Albanian
6 population is to be contacted and explained -- and there's -- to get an
7 explanation as to why training activities are being conducted in their
8 area. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes. The corps commander orders the commands of the combat groups
10 in the area to get in touch personally with the local Siptar population to
11 tell them why the army left the barracks, to tell them that the troops
12 were not there to cause them any harm or anything of the sort, but that
13 they were there to carry out their activities and to warn them that in
14 accordance with our rules, if they should come under an attack, the troops
15 would respond to any attacks using all combat assets at their disposal.
16 Q. Yes. Now, what I'd like you to do --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman --
18 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: -- the Podujevo incident is after the October
20 agreements. This is May 1998. Are you suggesting some connection?
21 MR. ACKERMAN: No, none whatsoever.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Okay.
23 MR. ACKERMAN: I just want to try to explain that these training
24 activities were normal and regular and were done carefully.
25 Q. I'd like you to look at --
1 MR. ACKERMAN: Back at that preamble paragraph again, so we could
2 move up just a little bit with the B/C/S so that he can see it.
3 Q. After it talks about this tour by the Chief of the General Staff,
4 it talks about problems reported and in order to eradicate failures and
5 weaknesses and improve the general state of combat-readiness, I hereby
6 order ...
7 Now, does that mean that General Pavkovic is basically making an
8 order at the suggestion or even at the order of General Perisic to take
9 care of a few of these things that General Perisic found that maybe were
11 A. I believe that from the answers I gave Mr. Visnjic, you were able
12 to grasp the methodology for our controls, the controls that we carried
13 out. So this is one such instance of a control where the Chief of General
14 Staff noted there was some weaknesses and ordered that those be
15 eliminated, nothing more than that. And this is nothing out of the
17 Q. All right. Please look at paragraph 8, then, as we scroll down
18 through this document, it's the second page of B/C/S. There it is.
19 In paragraph 8 General Pavkovic talks about operations being
20 undertaken, and he says, They should not involve themselves in unnecessary
21 clashes without the approval of the corps command. They must not impose
22 an exodus or inflict losses on the civilian population.
23 Do you see that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And then the next paragraph, 9, prohibits Pristina Corps units and
1 combat groups from entering populated areas to search, clear, arrest
2 individuals, bring persons in, or conduct other activities on any basis
3 whatsoever without a special order by the Pristina Corps command, correct?
4 A. Yes, completely.
5 Q. And finally in paragraph 11 talks about a situation where there
6 might be an attack by -- I guess that's the KLA on Pristina Corps units,
7 and General Pavkovic says that before responding to such an attack, warn
8 the attackers to halt operations and move away from the roads and
9 installations and also call upon the civilian population to move away from
10 that zone.
11 Now, would that have been the civilian population moving away in
12 anticipation that there might be a fight or a battle that could put them
13 in some kind of danger?
14 A. Yes, and if you allow me to comment on this whole paragraph, with
15 your permission of course, but if you want a brief answer the answer is
17 Q. Well, if you have something important to say about the paragraph,
18 please do.
19 A. I think that the corps commander in a certain sense sacrificed his
20 own personnel in order to prevent any provocations of his units, because
21 our rules indicate that if you come under attack you should not warn
22 anyone. You just have to defend yourself using all means available. This
23 speaks to the level of responsibility the corps commander evinced for
24 given the complex situation his unit was in.
25 Q. Now, let me ask you this: Where were you during this part of
1 1998, April, May, up through the Milosevic-Holbrooke Agreement, where were
2 you located?
3 A. If you're asking me for this entire period, I can say that I was
4 in Kosovo and at the army command in Nis I was in Kosovo three times from
5 the 29th of May until the 8th of June. I was at the forward command post
6 of the Pristina Corps and some of the time in Pec, where I was in a
7 different capacity. Then, from the 27th of May until the 28th of August,
8 I was at the forward command post of the 3rd Army in the Pristina
9 barracks, where I set up this forward command post, and I was in charge of
10 it. The third time that I was in the Pristina Corps area was in the first
11 ten days of December 1999 --
12 Q. I think you've gone far enough now --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: I wonder if we have the exact dates here.
14 You started off by saying that you were in Kosovo three times from
15 the 29th of May until the 8th of June; is that accurate?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, that's not what I
17 said, it must be a misinterpretation. I said that I went to the Pristina
18 Corps area for just one day, conduct -- carrying out tasks that lasted
19 only one day. I indicated just a three longer periods of time that I
20 spent in Kosovo. The first one is from the 29th of May [as interpreted]
21 until the 8th of June, where -- when I was at the forward command post of
22 the Pristina Corps. The second time I was there was from the 27th of July
23 until the 28th of August --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: You've now clarified it. There was a mistake in
25 the month, which is now clear.
1 Mr. Ackerman.
2 MR. ACKERMAN: That would be line 16, Your Honour. That's the
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: All right.
6 Q. And what were your duties at that -- during those periods, June
7 and July of 1998?
8 A. I was the Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army, that was my
9 establishment post, I was also the deputy commander of the army. During
10 my first stay in Kosovo at the forward command post, the army commander
11 tasked me to analyse the situation together with his Chief of Staff, and
12 he authorised me, saying that the corps commander need not go to him for
13 some assistance within the framework of the powers that he conveyed to me.
14 In the second time-period --
15 Q. I think you've answered my question as to what you were doing.
16 And I just have one more question I want to ask you, and then we'll break
17 for the evening. Between the beginning of those clashes along the border
18 until July, the end of July, did you ever have any indication that the
19 Pristina Corps was operating independently, without orders, and without
20 knowledge of the 3rd Army or the General Staff?
21 A. No, and that's not possible.
22 Q. All right.
23 MR. ACKERMAN: That's all I have right now, Your Honour. I think
24 it's time. I'll have more in the morning -- in the afternoon tomorrow.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
1 Mr. Simic, we have to stop there for the evening. We will resume
2 tomorrow at 2.15, when it's necessary for you to return and continue your
3 evidence. Meanwhile, it is important that you should have no discussion
4 with anyone about the evidence in this case. It's a rule that is crucial
5 to the establishment by the Trial Chamber of the truth so far as we are
6 able to establish it in this case. Any interference by anyone with any
7 witness's attempt to give a full, honest account would undermine the
8 interests of justice. So I cannot emphasise enough how important it is
9 that there should be no such communication.
10 So please leave the courtroom now with the usher, and we will see
11 you again tomorrow at 2.15.
12 [The witness stands down].
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.04 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 13th day of
15 September, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.