1 Friday, 14 September 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 11.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: I have spoken again to Judge Chowhan. He's plainly
6 not well and, quite rightly, has decided that he shouldn't sit today. But
7 we will continue on the same basis as before, anticipating that he will be
8 back with us on Monday.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: And we shall sit in this session until 12.45.
11 Good morning, Mr. Simic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 WITNESS: MIODRAG SIMIC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis: [Continued]
18 Q. Good morning, General. Welcome back. We were talking about
19 the --
20 A. Thank you, Mr. Prosecutor. Good morning to you, too.
21 Q. We were talking yesterday about the 9th of April, 1999, VJ
22 collegium meeting. I want to ask you, in April and May and June of 1999
23 when you were part of the Supreme Command Staff, where -- where were
24 you -- where were you housed? Where were you having your meetings and
25 conducting your business? Were you always in the same location?
1 A. In 1999, from the time I started coming there, the Supreme Command
2 Staff was located at its place. As for specific meetings, which is what
3 you address, or the one on the 9th of April, well, that meeting was held
4 elsewhere in order to promote our chances of carrying out that task.
5 Q. Okay. Can you tell us where you -- where your usual place was
6 that the Supreme Command Staff was housed?
7 A. The Supreme Command Staff was in its building at its command post
8 in an underground facility in Dreiser Street.
9 Q. And on the 9th of April when you had this particular meeting,
10 where was that meeting held?
11 A. This meeting was not held at the command post. It was held in a
12 different room in an amphitheatre. It was a large conference hall of the
13 military medical academy.
14 Q. Okay. Do you know where Mr. Milosevic, as the supreme commander,
15 where was he generally working during April, May, and June of 1999, was it
16 near where the Supreme Command Staff was located, was it in the same
18 A. As far as I know, he was sometimes at the command post. Now,
19 where he located for any reason, I don't know.
20 Q. So did you attend any meetings at which Mr. Milosevic was present
21 in April, May, and June 1999?
22 A. No.
23 Q. All right. General, did you ever hear of a body called the
24 Inter-departmental Staff for Combatting Terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija?
25 Did you ever hear of that group?
1 A. I hadn't heard of that term until I was being prepped for this
2 mission that I am now carrying out.
3 Q. Okay.
4 A. I was familiarised with a different term, though.
5 Q. And what was the other term or the different term you were
6 familiarised with?
7 A. I told you yesterday that I made three lengthier visits to both
8 the command post of the Pristina Corps -- the forward command post of the
9 Pristina Corps, and the forward command post of the 3rd Army; likewise, I
10 said that I spent some time at the forward command post of the Pristina
11 Corps, whereas some of the time I spent in the Pec barracks, where I
12 attended meetings, as I had been ordered to do by the army commander. He
13 told me to attend meetings by the MUP staff. The MUP staff had previously
14 relocated to the Pec barracks military club.
15 Later on, based on documents that were shown me yesterday and
16 documents that were delivered to me, I realised that the commander used
17 the term "to the overall commander of the MUP" in one of the documents,
18 and in another document where he is issuing me orders to grant approval to
19 General Pavkovic to attend meetings, he uses the term "Joint Command." It
20 was then that I heard the term for the first time. In plain language I
21 had also heard of the MUP operations staff. These are the terms that I
22 came across at various points in time and terms that I gleaned from a
23 variety of sources.
24 Q. When you were being prepped for this mission - as you termed it -
25 you said you -- this was the first time you heard of this body called the
1 Inter-departmental Staff for Combatting Terrorism. Were you shown any
2 documents relating to that body in your preparation for testifying here?
3 A. I had access to all documents that were submitted to the law
4 office, through the National Council for Cooperation with The Hague
5 Tribunal. Based on my practice and my work, I know that this is the gist
6 of those documents.
7 Q. Okay. But before your preparation for this testimony, you had not
8 heard of that body. You weren't aware of its existence back in 1998 or
9 1999; is that correct?
10 A. I'm saying it's not correct, your comment, your question; it's
11 partly correct. As I said before, when I was at the Pristina Corps
12 forward command post he ordered me by phone to go to the Pec barracks and
13 attend meetings of the MUP staff. Later on, he ordered me, following a
14 request of the overall MUP commander, to issue an approval for the army
15 units to be used. When I was at the forward command post of the 3rd Army,
16 he ordered me to grant approval to General Pavkovic for him to go to
17 meetings of the Joint Command. And that's when I heard it.
18 As I was studying documents while preparing for this testimony, I
19 eventually learned what you have just asked me about.
20 Q. I'm sorry, I may have confused you with my earlier question. The
21 body I was talking about was one that apparently met in Belgrade. Were
22 you aware of such a body that met in Belgrade in 1998?
23 A. It's not that you confused me. I know that this body met in
24 Belgrade, based on these documents that I'm looking at now. But back then
25 I didn't know what this body was called. I just knew that these meetings
1 were taking place at President Milosevic's. On behalf of the army, what I
2 can say is that the Chief of the General Staff was there, the chief of the
3 security administration, the commander of the 3rd Army, and the commander
4 of the Pristina Corps, or rather, General Pavkovic, General Samardzic,
5 General Perisic. If you're asking me about 1998, those persons were
7 Q. Thank you.
8 A. Thank you, too.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that mean that you are saying that the
10 Inter-departmental Staff referred to by Mr. Hannis and the Joint Command
11 were one and the same body?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I answered when I heard
13 about this term. As for this lower term, "Joint Command," I had heard
14 this from a variety of sources back in 1998. I know where it was held, in
15 Pristina or in 1998 in Pec.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. But when you were being asked about the
17 Inter-departmental Staff, you answered that question by saying although
18 you hadn't heard that name, you were aware of the Joint Command because
19 you had been told to authorise General Pavkovic's attendance there. And
20 what I wanted to be clear about is whether you think of them as the same
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. Mr. Prosecutor asked
23 me about the operations inter-departmental staff, and it was in that sense
24 that I tried to provide an answer. This operations inter-departmental
25 staff as far as I know, based on my study of any literature that I had
1 access to following these events, this was the staff at
2 President Milosevic's level.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 MR. HANNIS:
5 Q. Thank you, General. And you mention attending meetings of I think
6 what you referred to as the MUP staff in Pec in 1998. Can you tell us how
7 many meetings you attended and when those were?
8 A. As I've already pointed out, these meetings were held in the
9 conference hall of the Pec barracks military club. I attended three or
10 four days because of certain disagreements, difference of opinion with
11 certain senior officers of the MUP. I asked my commander that I not
12 attend those meetings anymore and that I be sent back to Nis, which he
14 Q. Okay. Can you give us some approximate dates of those meetings?
15 A. I can't specify the dates. I said that I was there between the
16 29th and the 8th of June. If you take into account that I spent three or
17 four days at the Pristina Corps forward command post, then you can deduct
18 that from the total time I spent there and the remaining time is the time
19 I spent in Pec. It has been a very long time, which leaves me unable to
20 tell you the exact dates.
21 Q. No, that's very helpful. Then that would have been during your
22 first period in Kosovo in 1998 when you attended these meetings at the Pec
23 barracks, correct?
24 A. Precisely.
25 Q. Were you the only representative of the VJ that attended those
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And can you recall for us now who was there from the MUP?
4 A. Yes. I can name some persons, but I can't remember everybody's
5 name. Vlastimir Djordjevic, a general; General Obrad Stevanovic;
6 General Sreten Lukic; Mr. Frenki Simatovic I think; and Jovica Stanisic.
7 Q. And was there -- were you able to distinguish or was -- did anyone
8 present themselves to you as being the MUP person in charge?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Who was that?
11 A. Jovica Stanisic.
12 Q. And what did you talk about with them in these meetings in
13 general, General?
14 A. These meetings were used to discuss the current situation in
15 Kosovo and Metohija, the focus being on the general Djakovica-Decani area.
16 We discussed what measures the MUP people were taking, what the army
17 people were doing in terms of securing the state border and the border
18 belt, its own facilities and units included, what the MUP intended to do
19 the next day, where and how the army should provide them with support in
20 terms of their own deployment within the border belt or while securing the
21 state border.
22 Q. Okay. And was there anybody else at this meeting other than
23 yourself on behalf of the army and representatives of the MUP, including
24 those you named for us earlier, were there any civilians or politicians
25 present at this meeting -- or at these meetings?
1 A. There was just this one day that the army commander attended next
2 to me. He came for a particular purpose because it was on that day that
3 the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Sainovic, was supposed to arrive as well as
4 Mr. Lilic. It was just that one day.
5 Q. And so General Samardzic came with you on that day because
6 Mr. Sainovic and Mr. Lilic were supposed to come to Kosovo; is that right?
7 A. No, but given the fact that they were about to arrive in Kosovo,
8 the army commander, because this was his area of responsibility and there
9 were high-ranking officials arriving, the federal deputy prime minister,
10 the former president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, so he believed
11 that his assessment, his contribution, would be more important in any
12 which way than if, for example, his contribution was made by his own Chief
13 of Staff and also in order to be a good host to these people. So that's
14 why he did this.
15 Q. Did Mr. Sainovic and Mr. Lilic arrive or did you meet with them
16 that day?
17 A. Yes. Mr. Sainovic and Mr. Lilic arrived or landed at the heliport
18 there, they came by helicopter. I welcomed them at the heliport and took
19 them to a certain room.
20 Q. And this -- was this in Pec?
21 A. Yes, in Pec. That's what we're talking about, isn't it.
22 Q. And did you attend the meeting or whatever took place in the room
23 to where you took them?
24 A. Yes, absolutely. I was present alongside with the commander. It
25 was the commander who had arrived earlier on. He had heard me out, he
1 heard my opinion, my assessment, sometimes he agreed, sometimes he
2 disagreed, and he had the right to disagree. And he presented an
3 assessment. It was him who presented the assessment, not me.
4 Q. So General Samardzic presented an assessment to Mr. Sainovic and
5 General Lilic. Who else was present in the room during this presentation?
6 A. All of the above-mentioned MUP officials.
7 Q. And what transpired after the presentation by General Samardzic,
8 was it just an informational meeting for Mr. Sainovic and Mr. Lilic or
9 were any decisions taken?
10 A. No. We have to wait up for the interpretation. This was just
11 about sharing information on the situation in Kosovo and Metohija; it was
12 not a textbook briefing, if you like.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, General, I want to return now again to April 1999
14 and the VJ collegium meeting on the 9th. You told us that was held in an
15 amphitheatre at the -- was that at the army medical centre; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And this was -- this was a planning meeting or it turned into a
19 planning meeting, didn't it?
20 A. I wouldn't categorically confirm this by saying yes. Planning
21 normally follows conclusions and positions adopted. If the chief of the
22 Supreme Command Staff had decided differently based on those briefings, if
23 his conclusions had been different, maybe the directive would not have
24 been drafted to begin with; however, in this case this took place on a
25 regular basis in order to assess the entire complex situation that we were
1 facing after 17 days of war and to see where to go next. Could we still
2 keep the operative deployment that was carried out based on a previous
3 plan? Or maybe certain amendments needed to be made by perhaps additional
4 orders or by drafting a new directive altogether. In this particular case
5 he opted to go for a new directive.
6 Q. Thank you. Yes, I understand that that meeting started out as an
7 analysis of the situation up to that date regarding what had happened in
8 the first 16 or 17 days of the conflict. But at the end of the meeting
9 didn't General Ojdanic decide that you all on the Supreme Command Staff
10 should sit down and write up some conclusions and make some
11 recommendations that he would then present to the Supreme Command? That's
12 what happened on the 9th, isn't it?
13 A. You may have realised what all the participants talked about at
14 that briefing. They analysed the situation, they presented problems, and
15 they also made proposals, where, what, how, and when in terms of the
16 country's defence. In addition to making proposals that a new document be
17 drafted, we also proposed to the state leaders that measures be taken in
18 order to deal with our problems. It was in that sense that he handed out
19 an assignment to us, each in our own sector and department to further
20 corroborate any information presented at that meeting.
21 MR. HANNIS: Could we look at Exhibit P929 and at page 39 of the
22 Serbian and page 34 of the English.
23 Q. General, I want to show you a paragraph of what General Kovacevic
24 had to say and ask you a question about that. And General Kovacevic was,
25 as I understand, the assistant chief for operations and staff affairs; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Precisely.
3 Q. And he gave a fairly detailed summary of the situation regarding
4 what had happened during those first 16 or 17 days and what the situation
5 was in terms of resources. Could you look at the last paragraph on that
6 page you have before you. Could you read that out for us so I can be sure
7 that the translation is correct, and then I'll have a question for you.
8 A. If I understand you correctly, it's the last paragraph, right, and
9 it reads:
10 "And finally, I had skipped that, but there let me say it, I want
11 to confirm everything that I have heard and everything that happens to be
12 my own opinion. We must hold negotiations when we're on high ground. Over
13 the 16 days of war so far we have achieved - and I must say this -
14 enviable results. I will use that expression 'enviable results,' and we
15 said, or rather, I said we can press on for another seven to ten days.
16 This is the ideal time-frame for negotiations. When we start falling
17 down, the odds we shall be facing will be steeper and steeper. We might
18 end up facing a situation in which there will be nothing for us to
19 negotiate for but we'll have no choice but to accept any terms foisted on
21 "So much from me, General, sir."
22 Q. General Simic, would it be fair to say that there was some
23 consensus within the Supreme Command Staff that that was the position,
24 that you had done well up to that point, but things were only going to get
25 worse and that the best option would be to try and negotiate some sort of
1 settlement or some sort of peace. Would you agree with that?
2 A. Absolutely, but I must add this. This conviction held by the
3 Supreme Command Staff, starting with General Ojdanic and onwards, had
4 existed much earlier on already, bearing in mind the situation in our army
5 and the type of equipment that was available to us at the time and also
6 bearing in mind the kind of military power that we would soon be up
7 against. So that was everybody's conviction in the army, but the army is
8 only an instrument of the politics; and I do not wish to further elaborate
9 on that.
10 Q. And at the end of the meeting, as we talked about yesterday,
11 General Ojdanic said that he would take the results of your Supreme
12 Command Staff's work and present it to the Supreme Command, perhaps the
13 next day. And we talked a little bit about Supreme Command yesterday, but
14 I want to ask you about someone else's description of the Supreme Command.
15 You know General Milorad Obradovic, don't you, he was also a colleague of
16 yours on the Supreme Command Staff, correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. He testified earlier in this case and I want to read from the
19 transcript at page 151 --
20 A. Just a moment. I have to apologise here. Are you referring to
21 1999, that he was a colleague of mine in the Supreme Command Staff?
22 Milorad Obradovic in 1999, if I remember correctly, was the commander of
23 the 2nd Army.
24 Q. When did he take up that position?
25 A. I couldn't give you any details.
1 Q. Okay. Well, let me read from the transcript --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: The evidence is at the end of March 1999. He had
3 until then been on the General Staff in charge of the operations and staff
4 sector I think, and then he became commander of the 2nd Army.
5 MR. HANNIS:
6 Q. Would you agree with that, General, does that sound about right,
7 the end of March?
8 A. I said I can't confirm that. At the time when I arrived there on
9 the 2nd or the 4th of April to assume my duty at the Supreme Command
10 Staff, he was not there.
11 Q. Okay. Let me read from the transcript at page 15128.
12 Judge Bonomy is asking the question to General Obradovic, and the question
13 is: "Are you familiar with the expression 'Supreme Command'?"
14 General Obradovic's answer is: "That term was used when the state
15 of war was proclaimed. There was the president of the republic, he
16 commanded the army in war and peace, and then it went without saying that
17 the Supreme Defence Council, as the Supreme Command -- well, this member
18 of the Supreme Defence Council who was the head of state was the
19 Commander-in-Chief, but basically the Commander-in-Chief was the Supreme
20 Command, the Supreme Defence Council."
21 Judge Bonomy then said: "Obviously you're familiar then with the
22 expression. If the Supreme Defence Council was effectively the same body
23 if war and peace, can you explain why it had a different name in wartime?"
24 General Obradovic then said: "The Supreme Defence Council
25 functioned in war and peace. In peacetime it was called the Supreme
1 Defence Council and once a state of war was declared it grew into the
2 Supreme Command. That's what it was called. Otherwise, it is the Supreme
3 Defence Council that practically commanded and decided on how the army was
4 to be used in accordance with the constitution and law."
5 Now, would you disagree with General Obradovic that during the
6 state of war the Supreme Defence Council became the Supreme Command?
7 A. I disagree 50 per cent with the statement made by
8 General Obradovic, and I explained yesterday why that was so. Principally
9 that was because of the principle of singleness of command in the
10 decision-making process. If you allow me, Mr. Prosecutor, if this had
11 been the case that the Supreme Council becomes part of the Supreme
12 Command, the Supreme Defence Council, if it were to become the Supreme
13 Command and the Commander-in-Chief comes out of the Supreme Command, would
14 that mean that the supreme commander or the Commander-in-Chief was the
15 commander commanding over the other two members of the Supreme Defence
16 Council? That was not the case.
17 Q. So which 50 per cent of that do you agree with then?
18 A. I agree with the part of the statement where he said that the
19 president in accordance with the decisions of the Supreme Defence Council
20 commands the army.
21 Q. Now, as a result of that meeting on April 9th, the Supreme Command
22 Staff created a directive, did it not?
23 A. That's right, yes.
24 Q. And I think we may have looked at that the other day or you may
25 have seen that, that's Exhibit P1481.
1 MR. HANNIS: And if we could have that up on the screen. I would
2 like to go to page 5 of both the English and the B/C/S --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: While that's being organised.
4 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I just follow-up briefly on what you've been
7 MR. HANNIS: Certainly.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, did the Supreme Defence Council meet
9 after the war started?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot give you an
11 answer to your question because I don't know. It appears to me ...
12 JUDGE BONOMY: You're about to say something. It appears to
13 you ...
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It seems to me that in 1998 in
15 December, it met for the last time in its full composition, and in October
16 it would meet again in its full composition and a decision was made that
17 if the country should come under an attack it would defend itself using
18 all its forces, all its assets. That's what I know. I can't tell you
19 anything more specific about 1999 because I didn't see anything about that
20 in the documents.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 Mr. Hannis.
23 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
24 Q. Now, General, on page 5 of the directive of April 9th there was
25 in -- I guess it's about the middle of the page there you see there's a
1 reference to the 2nd Stage, Phase 1 and Phase 2. Do you see that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And it says: "On certain axes of the state border, organise
4 reception of refugees ..."
5 Now, can you tell me what "certain axes of the state border"
6 meant? Was that limited to certain locations or certain borders? Can you
7 explain that for me?
8 A. In this specific case, this was a reference to the official
9 interstate border crossings where it was possible to record the exit and
10 return of the refugees in order to be able to verify possible presence of
11 any terrorists in their ranks. Any crossings outside of the official
12 border crossings are considered illegal crossings.
13 Q. And would those -- do you know, would those refugees have been
14 allowed to return if they did not have the necessary identification
15 documents showing that they had been previously citizens or residents of
17 A. I don't know about that. This was not in the military
18 jurisdiction. The border crossings were under the jurisdiction of the
19 MUP, so I can't answer your question.
20 Q. And under Phase 2 of the 2nd Stage it says: "Use persistent
21 defence from the state frontier to prevent rapid breakthrough, create
22 conditions to complete mobilisation, regroup and bring in forces to smash
23 and eject the aggressor from the territory of the FRY."
24 Now, was Phase 2 intended to happen after Phase 1, is that why
25 they're listed in that order?
1 A. The aggression need not have been carried out in accordance with
2 this scenario in the stages that we anticipated. The aggressor could have
3 launched all its assets, ground forces, air force. If that had been the
4 case, Phase 2 would have been activated immediately, full mobilisation,
5 bringing in of all the forces, and fighting them. But we thought, based
6 on our assessments, our experience, that they would follow this pattern.
7 Q. But Phase 1, which talks about organising reception of refugees
8 also says that: "In the event the STS," and I understand that stands for
9 Siptar terrorist forces, in the event they "infiltrate under the guise of
10 returning refugees, prevent their infiltration."
11 As a practical matter, the best way to infiltrate that is not to
12 allow anybody to come back; isn't that true?
13 A. I've been saying for two days now that the objectives and the
14 policies of the Army of Yugoslavia were not to expel our own population,
15 people who lived for ages in this territory. Our objective was to destroy
16 the terrorist army of Kosovo, whose goal was to achieve its political
17 intentions by war.
18 Q. Okay. It just seems to me that as a practical matter when you are
19 in the midst of this aggression by NATO against your country and you've
20 already spent the first two weeks trying to crush the KLA and drive them
21 out, it doesn't make any sense to be opening the borders and letting
22 refugees and possibly infiltrated terrorists back in. That just wasn't
23 going to happen, was it?
24 A. This is precisely what we feared the most. You cannot open your
25 border, you cannot open it, and then have the people come to every ridge,
1 every ravine, because you cannot effect any kind of control. But if you
2 have a certain number of loyal citizens and thousands of terrorists coming
3 back infiltrated into their ranks, then this brings your own forces in an
4 inferior position in relation to the aggressor because now they have the
5 superiority in terms of the forces that they intend to deploy in Kosovo
6 and also the forces coming in from Albania. And it would be much more
7 difficult to defend the country. So our goal was to prevent precisely
9 Q. And it seems to make sense to me that given the nature of the
10 conflict in Kosovo leading up to the NATO aggression where you had KLA who
11 would, I think using a term of one of our earlier witnesses, gun-and-run,
12 they might be wearing their uniforms when they started shooting at the MUP
13 and the VJ, but oftentimes they would take off their uniforms, put on
14 civilian clothes, and mix in with the civilian population. And there was
15 no way for the army or the police to tell a loyal Kosovo Albanian citizen
16 from an infiltrated, now-wearing-civilian-clothes KLA fighter. That was
17 the problem, wasn't it?
18 A. Absolutely, that was one problem. But even if they're identified
19 because of the presence of the civilian population, the infirm, the
20 children, the women, you saw from what I said yesterday that the Pristina
21 Corps commander had risked his own troops in order to protect the
22 population, lest there should be any civilian casualties. What would we
23 have done in a situation where you have thousands of people dressed in
24 civilian clothes and then you open fire; could anyone have dealt with this
1 Q. And I suggest to you, General, that that was -- that was part of
2 the reason why hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians, civilians and
3 probably a fair number of KLA fighters, were removed, were directed out of
4 Kosovo by the MUP and by the army in the first two weeks or so of the war
5 after 24 March, because it was -- there was no way to separate them and
6 tell which ones are which. It's just easier to send them all out,
8 A. No, no, that's completely incorrect.
9 Q. Well, tell me how so. How is it not easier to do that than to try
10 to tell whether this one's loyal and that one's a KLA fighter when you're
11 being bombed by NATO at the same time. Isn't it just easier - my word
12 is "easier" - isn't it just easier to get them out?
13 A. No, sir. You're entirely wrong. You view this problem in a
14 completely wrong light. I don't want to any more severe words because
15 this is not my place to do so. Let me tell you once again, the objective
16 of my country, of the army where I served, where I was trained, where I
17 served for 40 years was not to expel a single citizen out of their
18 country, their homes. Our objective was to destroy the terrorist army of
19 Kosovo which used illegal terrorist means to achieve their political
20 goals. If I were to accept what you said, would that not be in
21 contradiction with everything that I said over the past two days,
22 corroborating that with the documents that indicate that commanders risked
23 their own troops in order to protect the civilians, the Albanians.
24 If you allow me to say a few more words. In the highest document,
25 the directive of the Supreme Command Staff, does it not indicate in
1 paragraph 2 a concept and idea of operation - we see it now in front of
2 us, you perhaps on purpose decided not to ask me anything about that, and
3 that's your right. But let me just read it. It says here:
4 "To engage and use the Army of Yugoslavia in the defence against
5 the NATO forces through all -- through those two stages with the full
6 application of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the
7 international law and -- law of war and humanitarian law."
8 General Ojdanic insisted on this in order to protect the entire
9 population, that all tasks must be carried out abiding by the spirit that
10 is presented here in this directive, in this part of the directive.
11 Q. I was going to ask you about that, General. And you would agree
12 with me that it's part of the Geneva Convention that no civilians should
13 be forcibly transferred within their country or deported outside the state
14 borders, correct?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. And I would agree with you that it's very nice that that provision
17 is in this directive, but this directive is dated the 9th of April, 1999.
18 By that time, hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians had already been
19 deported, so this doesn't do them much good, does it, on the 9th of April?
20 A. Sir, yesterday when asked questions by the Judges and by the
21 lawyers, I said that it was quite natural in all the wars all over the
22 world for the civilian population to flee the areas where combat
23 operations are carried out in order to protect their own lives, and it is
24 only natural that it happened here too. We had an additional element here
25 and that is the pressure on the part of the terrorist army of Kosovo,
1 because they wanted to achieve this goal, as I explained yesterday in
2 detail. I don't want to waste any more time here going through that
4 Q. I'm not sure that's an answer to my question, but I'll move on to
5 something else.
6 MR. HANNIS: In that directive I'd like to turn now to page 11 of
7 both the English and the B/C/S, and this is a section -- section 6 is
8 entitled or translated as: "Command and communications."
9 Q. And on April the 9th it is talking about deployment of the Supreme
10 Defence Council and the VJ General Staff, correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And it says: "KM in current sectors," I think KM here means
13 "command post" in current sectors, correct?
14 A. Yes, you're correct.
15 Q. Do you know where the command post for the Supreme Defence Council
16 was, was it co-located with the General Staff at that time or did it have
17 a separate location?
18 A. The Supreme Defence Council at that time, I saw not only
19 President Milosevic but also President Milutinovic at that site once. I
20 didn't see Mr. Djukanovic, the president of Montenegro, there; and I
21 assume -- but I don't actually assume, but I know that because it says it
22 here that it was also the command post of the Supreme Defence Council.
23 Q. And you say you saw Milosevic and Milutinovic at that site once.
24 Can you tell us where that site was and when you saw them there?
25 A. I've already said that the command post of the Supreme Command
1 Staff was in an underground facility in Dreiserova Street in Belgrade.
2 Q. Okay. And that's where you saw Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Milutinovic
3 one time?
4 A. Yes, precisely.
5 Q. And do you recall the approximate date?
6 A. No, I can't recall the date.
7 Q. But it was after you had become a member of the Supreme Command
8 Staff, correct?
9 A. Yes, definitely because had I not become a member of the Supreme
10 Command Staff I would not have been able to get into that facility at all.
11 Q. And then it would have been before the end of the conflict?
12 A. Well, I wouldn't say before the end of the conflict; I would say
13 during the war.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you. All right. Now, let me go back to one thing
15 regarding this directive. You had mentioned that directives -- I guess
16 this was at page 15487, Mr. Visnjic asked you about what a directive was
17 in the hierarchy of military documents. Your answer was: "Only the
18 Supreme Command Staff can issue directives. It's the highest type of
20 Now, weren't there directives issued in the VJ during peacetime
21 before there was a Supreme Command Staff in place? Are you aware of that?
22 A. The Supreme Command issues directives when it wants to use the
23 forces in a certain area. If you were referring to this directive and if
24 you were alluding to the Grom 98 directive when the state of war was not
25 declared, then my answer is yes. A directive is issued when the forces
1 are to be used on a larger or smaller scale.
2 Q. There may have been some confusion in prior questions, and your
3 answer here you said: "The Supreme Command issues directives ..." I
4 assume based on your previous answers you mean the Supreme Command Staff?
5 A. Please try and understand what I'm saying. I'm trying to speak
6 really clearly. When I say "the Supreme Command," I mean the commander
7 and his staff. The supreme commander cannot sit down on his own and do
8 everything that needed to be done with the documents technically, to
9 distribute it to all the addressees; his staff have to do that. And that
10 is why when I say "the Supreme Command," I'm not referring just to the
11 supreme commander but his entire staff, Stab.
12 Q. Okay. But would it also be fair to say that during peacetime
13 before the imposition or declaration of a state of war, that the
14 General Staff of the army could and did issue directives, like Grom 98?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And what's the difference between a directive and an order?
17 A. Sir, there is a huge difference between a directive and an order
18 issued to the commands of subordinate units. A directive is issued
19 seldom, more seldom. It defines the concept for the use of forces over a
20 longer period of time, perhaps a month, two, three days, until the end of
21 the war. It all depends on the actual assessment of the situation,
22 whether the developments are such that some corrections must be made to
23 this directive. Orders at a lower level are in force for a shorter period
24 of time, and they pertain to smaller-scale operations at tactical and
25 operational level, and they are issued more often. So that would be the
1 difference between a directive and an order.
2 Q. Now, we've in this trial had some discussion about a directive
3 that was issued by General Perisic in the summer of 1998, and we've had at
4 least one witness describe this as a -- what I would call a contingency
5 plan. It was something that was a plan with specific details about how
6 certain units would be deployed and what actions they should take if some
7 triggering event happened; would you agree with that?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Why not?
10 A. In the Army of Yugoslavia there were no reserve plans or
11 contingency plans. Yesterday I said that there are so-called initial
12 operational plans that are made in peacetime on the basis of certain
13 assessments and the expected modes of -- or security threats. As time
14 goes by and as certain indicators of those threats are monitored, those
15 initial operational plans are modified, amended, or, alternatively, new
16 plans are made. There was no contingency plan at all, ever.
17 Q. Well, we may just have a semantic problem here, General, because
18 your description about: "As time goes by and as certain indicators of
19 those threats are monitored, those initial operational plans are modified,
20 amended, or, alternatively, new plans are made," to me that's what I would
21 call a contingency plan. This is what I'm going to do if something
22 happens; if that thing doesn't happen, then I may do something else. And
23 I will wait and see what occurs between now and then. With my explanation
24 of what I call a contingency plan, aren't we talking about the same thing?
25 A. In my view and in essence, no.
1 Q. Okay. I'll accept that. Let me move on to something else. Let
2 me go --
3 MR. HANNIS: Well, before I leave 929, if we still have that
4 document, I'd like to go to page 12 of the B/C/S and of the English.
5 Q. I just need to ask you a couple of terms. It's the -- I think
6 it's the second line under the heading there, General, it says: "With
7 KM -- with command post at M + 10 hours most important communications, at
8 M + 20 hours for D, delta, all communications at full volume."
9 Can you tell me what M and D, delta, stand for in that phrase?
10 A. This directive was issued straight away and came into force
11 straight away. So here the Chief of Staff ordered that communications at
12 M hours, M hours, that is to say, after 10.00, that communications should
13 work; and D is the present day, today. D means day, "dan," meaning this
14 day, today, and "cas" means the hour when the directive was issued.
15 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, General, I want to go to another
16 topic now. You told us how you were part of a team assigned to inspect
17 the Pristina Corps in late May 1999.
18 MR. HANNIS: And I'd like to look now at Exhibit D -- 3D692.
19 Q. And after your team had conducted the inspection, I think you told
20 us that General Velickovic wrote a report to the chief of the Supreme
21 Command Staff about the results of your team's inspection of the
22 Pristina Corps. And that's what that document is on the screen in front
23 of you; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Now, I see in the original it says the inspection was carried out
1 between 23 and --
2 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Visnjic standing, Your Honour.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's just disappeared,
4 line 10, page 25, Mr. Hannis said that he will not be dealing with P929
5 any longer, or rather, I think that that is not what was shown to the
6 witness. So I would like to have that corrected, please. It was P1481.
7 MR. HANNIS: That's correct, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: So all the references to 929 are --
9 MR. HANNIS: No, no, I had been talking about 929, which is the
10 meeting of the VJ collegium, but the directive, when I was talking about
11 the directive, that is P1481.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
13 MR. HANNIS: And the directive arose from the VJ collegium
14 meeting, and that's part of the basis for my confusion.
15 Q. General, 3D692, I think there's a typo in that because it says the
16 inspection was carried out between 23 and 16 May, that doesn't seem
17 possible. Between the 23rd and the 26th of May, correct?
18 A. Yes, you're quite right.
19 Q. Okay.
20 A. That can be seen on the basis of the actual document, that it was
21 registered on the 29th of May.
22 Q. Correct. Now, you told us, I think, that you took part in two
23 other inspections, one I think where you were inspected and another one
24 where you were the team leader; is that right?
25 A. Again, I have to say -- well, I do apologise to you. It is
1 correct in part. I was no inspector. I was no inspection team. I've
2 been explaining for the past two days that the Army of Yugoslavia has a
3 separate organ that has far greater authorities. It is called the
4 inspectorate of the Army of Yugoslavia. General Samardzic headed it
5 during the course of the war, whereas these are checks that are carried
6 out through the authority exercised by General Ojdanic. In this way he
7 sees how the tasks that he set are being implemented. The inspection is
8 not subordinated to him.
9 Q. Okay. I see yesterday or the day before when you testified that
10 this was translated as a control that you carried out. If I use that
11 term, is that more correct?
12 A. You are right. Assistance and control or check.
13 Q. Okay.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm now confused. I thought control had been used
15 in the context of inspection, but you're saying, no, control is a proper
16 way to describe the report of the -- the visit between the 23rd and 26th
17 of May?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise for
19 having to explain this yet again. There are two organs in the Supreme
20 Command Staff, one is a permanent organ, a standing organ, that is
21 established --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it's enough if you just answer my question.
23 Are you saying that "control" is a proper word to use to describe the
24 visit between the 23rd and the 26th of May, because I understand that
25 that's not an inspection by the inspectorate?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're right. You are quite right.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 Mr. Hannis.
4 MR. HANNIS:
5 Q. So if our English document is translated as "inspection," your
6 position is that that -- that a different word should be used?
7 A. If you're asking me about this document, I claim to you that this
8 is "control," and that is the only way in which this term can be used.
9 Q. You understand, General, I only read the English, I don't read the
10 Serbian and I'm going on what I read in front of me. So we'll call it
11 "control" and this control that you carried out, you told us that you
12 were involved in two others, one --
13 MR. HANNIS: I see two people standing up now, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah. Mr. Visnjic.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Microphone not activated]
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] In order to deal with any further
18 misunderstanding that may come up, perhaps it would be proper if the
19 witness would read the heading and then the interpreters can interpret
20 what he read out from the booth, and that way we're going to deal with
21 this and have it clarified once and for all.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Does the Presiding Judge allow me to
23 do that?
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, please.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Tour and exercising insight in the
1 implementation of the tasks of the Pristina Corps report."
2 JUDGE BONOMY: There you go, Mr. Hannis, you've almost got a full
4 MR. HANNIS: I'm not sure we met the goal that Mr. Visnjic
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, unless I'm confused, this is the same
8 document we had this discussion on yesterday, and Mr. Zecevic pointed out
9 to us that that first paragraph doesn't deal with inspection, it deals
10 with a tour. I thought that was cleared up yesterday. It may have been a
11 different document, but I think it's the same document. And if he -- if
12 you want to, you know, he could read the entire first paragraph and
13 clarify that, but I'm told that that talks about a tour and not an
15 JUDGE BONOMY: I doubt if Mr. Hannis is too troubled about exactly
16 what we call it, are you, Mr. Hannis?
17 MR. HANNIS: No, not really, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: So I think we can proceed.
19 MR. HANNIS: Yes. And I'm not sure the same word -- well, I'll
20 move on to something else.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: I -- my recollection is the discussion about tour
22 was about a different document from this one, but that's not to say that
23 the two aren't similar.
24 MR. HANNIS: No, I thought that was about General Perisic's
25 expedition or whatever we call it.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
2 MR. HANNIS:
3 Q. General, I'll use the term "control" or "tour" for this activity
4 you were involved in, but I think you told us in your testimony that you
5 also were involved in similar activities on two other occasions, one where
6 you were the team leader and one where you were the person who was being
7 looked at; is that right?
8 A. 50/50 is the correctness level. Once I said that I led a team and
9 once I headed a team when a brigade was toured. Now, leading a team means
10 having underneath you five or six other leaders controlling five or six
11 other brigades. In this specific case it was General Velickovic, the
12 control that you're asking me about right now. That is to say that I was
13 never controlled, but you used the word "controlled," or at least that's
14 the interpretation that I received.
15 Q. All right. But one time you were a team leader, which I take it
16 to mean you did the same thing that General Velickovic did on this
17 occasion; is that correct or am I only batting 50/50 still?
18 A. I don't know in what sense you're saying 50/50, but let us clarify
19 this as well. 26 people were there, out of them nine generals as heads of
20 teams, so 30 per cent were generals. He alone with me commanded the corps
21 command; the other generals with four or five colonels controlled one, a
22 second, a third, or a fourth brigade. And then his responsibility was at
23 highest level in terms of the reports from the controlled brigades, to
24 summarize them and then explain them to the order issuing authority and
25 propose measures if that is necessary. That is the core of the matter.
1 Q. And the core of the question I'm trying to ask you, I'm trying to
2 find out about the occasion where you headed a team. Can you tell us when
3 that was and where that was?
4 A. It was the 37th Brigade, the 37th Motorised Brigade, the broader
5 region of Drenica, more narrower is Srbica.
6 Q. And approximately when was that done?
7 A. I cannot remember exactly whether it was in April from the 12th
8 until the 14th or whether it was from the 12th to the 14th of May. I
9 cannot say for sure. One of those two time-periods.
10 Q. In 1999?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And did you write a report about that?
13 A. Always. That's an elementary part of an order, General Ojdanic's
14 order, that once the insight is carried out, once one refers to the
15 command post and after the oral briefing that all of this is written up
16 and handed over to him so that it would become a document of lasting value
17 that is preserved in the archives.
18 Q. Who was the commander of the 37th Brigade at that time, if you
20 A. It's been a long time. I cannot recall each and every detail. I
21 cannot remember.
22 Q. That's all right. Let me then go to this control report, 3D --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one question before you do.
24 And I don't need a detailed explanation for this. Was that tour
25 of a different nature from the one referred to in the exhibits on the
1 screen? Just yes or no.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, just at lower level.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 Mr. Hannis.
5 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
6 Now, if we could go to page 2 of the English and the B/C/S of this
8 Q. Your -- the team that you were a part of on this occasion,
9 General, did find out or did discover some shortcomings which you advised
10 the commander of and wrote up in your report. I want to look at item
11 number 1 under "Shortcomings noticed," and I'll read part of it and ask
12 you a question. You found: "Daily and periodical analysis, briefings,
13 task setting on brigade level and lower are missing from the daily command
14 structure. Therefore, the commands are not familiar enough with the
15 situation in the units, which provides favourable grounds for possible
17 And then you say: "The 7th Infantry Brigade is a drastic
18 example ..."
19 To what extent was this a problem in the Pristina Corps? Did you
20 find this to be a problem throughout all the brigades, 50 per cent, some
21 number in between, can you recall?
22 A. What you've read out is correct, but I cannot express myself in
23 percentage terms, whether it was 50 or more, at any rate in a smaller
24 number of units. And you see here it says the 7th Infantry Brigade, that
25 was a brigade that was mobilised 100 per cent. That is why it was more
1 difficult there to establish order, military discipline, and so on. That
2 is why I'm saying that in part of the units there were such weaknesses.
3 Q. We've heard some other evidence earlier in this trial that the
4 7th Brigade in late May, I think the 18th or 19th, had deserted almost en
5 masse, is that correct, the whole brigade?
6 A. That is not fully correct. One or two battalions deserted as far
7 as I can remember, not the entire brigade.
8 Q. How many men would that be approximately?
9 A. Now you are bringing me into a situation where I have to express
10 myself in percentage terms, and that would be 40 per cent.
11 Q. 40 per cent of the entire brigade?
12 A. Yes, yes, that's what I meant.
13 Q. And what would be the full strength of a brigade, how many men
14 would that be?
15 A. Well, one battalion -- well, it depends. Don't take my word for
16 each and every number. I cannot say. Motorised or infantry battalion has
17 between 500 and 700 men, whereas a brigade has between three to five such
18 battalions. Again, it depends on the type of brigade, there are infantry
19 brigades, motorised brigades.
20 Q. I'm just trying to get a rough figure whether we're talking about
21 a hundred or a thousand.
22 A. I cannot give you a number.
23 Q. Okay. Later on in that paragraph you say: "So the fact that the
24 command staff was astonished by the desertion of about 2.000 men within
25 two days, 18 to 19 May, is not surprising."
1 So that 2.000 number, that's not just the 7th Brigade but that's
2 other Pristina Corps deserters as well? That's the total number for the
3 entire Pristina Corps?
4 A. Yes. If you take this, it is a summary report of the leader of
5 the team that was conducting the tour; that is what I am referring to.
6 MR. HANNIS: Could we go to page 3 of this document.
7 Q. General, I want to ask you now about paragraph 4. It
8 says: "There's a lack of discipline in a part of the units as regards
9 personal appearance, behaviour, and the application of instructions
10 regulating certain combat activities."
11 Can you explain for us what kind of instructions regarding combat
12 activities that there was a lack of discipline in connection with their
14 A. During the war, in addition to the peacetime composition, the
15 Pristina Corps had part of its reserve units, too, that, due to the
16 brevity of time and the fact that the aggression had begun, and also you
17 heard in my remarks, or rather, you saw what I said at the collegium on
18 the 9th of April when I claimed that it -- that we were not supposed to
19 expect an aggression in 10 or 15 days, which is favourable for us so that
20 we can do away with the noted weaknesses and that we are ready when a
21 possible land aggression takes place. This is exactly what it refers to
22 here. There was a lack of discipline on the part of reservists and some
23 volunteers, there were desertions from positions, they were leaving
24 positions arbitrarily. In the 37th unit, for example, they were playing a
25 game and they suffered an air-strike. And I don't know exactly -- please
1 don't take my word for -- as far as the number is concerned, but there
2 were seven to ten casualties. That means that the position was not
3 protected enough from air-strikes. There was not enough surveillance of
4 the facilities in terms of providing security for the unit as a whole.
5 This is the kind of lack of discipline that I was referring to.
6 Q. Did your -- did this team that you were a part of with regard to
7 lack of discipline and as regards behaviour and application of
8 instructions, did you find any instances by the reserves or by actual VJ
9 professional soldiers any instances of looting or of burning houses or
10 mistreatment of civilians? Any instances of that?
11 A. What we mentioned in the context of these witnesses is what we saw
12 through our own insight and in the reports of generals who headed the
13 mentioned units.
14 Q. Well, I don't think you've answered my question. Did you become
15 aware of any instances of looting or arson or mistreatment of civilians by
16 VJ or VJ reserve?
17 A. As far as I know in those two days while we were there, we did not
18 notice such things, but on the basis of combat reports I did have
19 knowledge to the effect that there were such occurrences, individual cases
20 of that nature.
21 Q. And that's not unusual, is it? I mean, an army during wartime,
22 you have thousands of men out in the field in stressful conditions, that
23 happens in all armies of the world, doesn't it?
24 A. Now you admitted to what I was telling you about the population
25 fleeing from endangered areas. No matter how hard you try to have this
1 conducted in an orderly fashion, it is not always possible. Even in
2 peacetime a state organises certain things, but then there are individual
3 cases of the opposite taking place. But it's not the system that
4 regulates it to be that way. The system, on the contrary, fought against
5 such phenomena that are not in line with soldierly conduct.
6 Q. I take it that you then agree with me. Let me ask you about
7 number 7 --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you do.
9 I'm struggling to understand what you say there, Mr. Simic, about
10 now Mr. Hannis has admitted to what I was telling you about the population
11 fleeing from endangered areas. Could you explain that more fully?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The gentleman, the Prosecutor, put a
13 leading question when he said: Is it not something that usually happens,
14 that it's not unusual, that in any army during war there is looting, lack
15 of discipline, and so on. My answer was that in an indirect way he went
16 back to the answer that I had given in relation to the fact that the
17 population was fleeing from zones of combat activity for the sake of their
18 personal safety and security, which is also usual in all wars throughout
19 the world.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: I still don't understand. My immediate reaction
21 was that you were suggesting that the conduct of soldiers was driving the
22 population from endangered areas, but that's not what you're saying?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: It just seemed an odd link for you to make.
25 But please continue, Mr. Hannis.
1 MR. HANNIS: All right.
2 Q. Number 7, still on the same document, says:
3 "A large number of reserve officers are untrained for certain
4 functional tasks. With certain reserve officers there's also the question
5 of intellectual ability as regards responsibility for commanding men in an
6 armed conflict."
7 So the team you were a part of found that there were certain
8 reserve officers who were not intellectually up to the job of commanding
9 men in war, correct?
10 A. I don't see that on my screen.
11 MR. HANNIS: I think we have to scroll up just a little bit for
12 you to see number 7. Sorry about that, General.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 MR. HANNIS:
15 Q. That is correct, right, you found that there was a large number of
16 reserve officers who didn't have the intellectual capability for the job?
17 A. If I were to give you a short answer, it would be yes, but if you
18 allow me to explain I can do that as well.
19 Q. Well, I'll allow you to explain if you'll keep it very short.
20 A. I can't be short because of the interpretation, but otherwise I
21 could keep my explanation down to a minute were it not for that. One must
22 bear in mind the fact that the reserve officers' school is normally
23 completed by secondary-school-age young men or university-educated young
24 men at an ideal age, and then they dedicate themselves to their civilian
25 callings. It is usual for us to take a three- to five-year period, and
1 then we use one-month conditionings in the Army of Yugoslavia based on
2 their functions. Since 1990 we were in a very difficult situation
3 financially and it had been a long time since they were trained and
4 schooled, there had been changes to their physical and mental set-up, and
5 we were not able to use conditioning to bring their ability up to the
6 desired level. The war was foisted on us and we ran out of time, the 10
7 to 15 days necessary to train these men or their units. And the decision
8 is a result of what I have just established.
9 Q. Okay. And that problem of a large number of men without that
10 ability creates problems with discipline of the combat troops, the men
11 under their supervision, right?
12 A. Certainly. If you have a leader who is not skilled or able, the
13 result you normally obtain is not the desired one, often quite the
14 opposite, in fact. But we did deal with that problem later on, and if you
15 look at the proposals made to the Supreme Command Staff, that soon becomes
16 clear. Just use this same document.
17 Q. But this is late May, so up until May this has been a problem,
18 correct, in the Pristina Corps? Just yes or no if you can.
19 A. No, not yes or no, part yes and part no. It wasn't a general
20 problem, it was a partial problem in some units that had been fully
22 Q. Okay. Let me turn to page 4 of this document.
23 MR. HANNIS: And if we could go to paragraph 11.
24 Q. Can you see paragraph 11, General, I want to read part of that.
25 One of the shortcomings you noted was: "There is no single command over
1 all the forces in the zone of responsibility. All contacts with the units
2 of the MUP are established by agreement, which is often disobeyed,
3 especially at the lower levels.
4 "Despite the fact that this cooperation is functioning for now,
5 in more difficult situations of crisis and when there is not enough time
6 available, this could have serious consequences both for members of the VJ
7 and the MUP."
8 Let me stop there. When you noted this problem you said, "This
9 cooperation is functioning for now." Did you find any evidence to suggest
10 that during the first -- the first two or three weeks of the war that
11 there had been a problem of cooperation between the MUP and the VJ that
12 caused any military disasters or failures to carry out combat task?
13 A. What you've just read out is entirely correct. We bore in mind
14 the order of the supreme commander President Milosevic, dated the 18th of
15 April on the resubordination of the MUP. It was along these lines that we
16 underlined this particular remark, that this never came to those levels.
17 It was observed at lower levels that brigade commanders, regiment
18 commanders, and commanders of certain lower-ranked MUP units facing the
19 same kind of problem in the field coordinated among themselves, and then
20 we had situations in certain units where they accepted this and
21 resubordinated themselves to a particular army commander only in relation
22 of that particular part of the implementation of a combat activity.
23 Q. Okay. Before that order was issued we have evidence that in the
24 first two and three weeks of the war there were joint operations between
25 the MUP and the VJ. Are you aware of that? That before the subordination
1 order was issued on the 18th of April, there had been joint operations
2 between the MUP and the VJ, right?
3 A. I wasn't at the Supreme Command Staff at the time. I can't
4 comment on this.
5 Q. Well, you were at the Supreme Command on the 3rd or 4th of April,
6 right, and the order was issued on the 18th?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What about between those dates, hadn't there been joint operations
9 between the MUP and the VJ?
10 A. Yes, in the spirit of certain orders by the superior command.
11 Q. Okay. Let me read on.
12 "There had been reactions at all levels to the 'privileged'
13 position of members of the MUP in relation to members of the VJ" regarding
14 "regular payment of daily allowances and salaries, supply of uniforms,
15 communications equipment, replacement every two months, et cetera)."
16 That was a problem for the army, wasn't it, that the average line
17 soldier felt that the average policeman was getting better treatment,
18 better pay, better equipment? That was the situation, wasn't it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And the next paragraph says that:
21 "Members of the VJ are particularly irritated by the behaviour of
22 special police units who are in the brigades' zone of responsibility (lack
23 of respect for agreements and looting)."
24 So you became aware that there were allegations that the special
25 police units were engaged in looting?
1 A. We would receive this earlier on as well, certain reports telling
2 us about unseemly behaviour on the part of certain members of the MUP, the
3 focus being on the fact that they were not observing agreements reached at
4 those evening meetings about carrying out combat operations. If you
5 allow - and I think we saw that yesterday - as far as I remember, the
6 Pristina Corps commander, or rather, the army commander, too, at the time
7 ordered and set up his own patrols and MUP patrols, the objective being
8 that whatever was looted by either side would be seized, recorded, sent
9 back to the 202nd logistics base. They would then take statements from
10 any perpetrators and send these stolen goods back to those that they had
11 been taken from.
12 Q. And do you know what the logistics base would have done in the
13 situation where the owners of the stolen goods were no longer living in
15 MR. IVETIC: Before we go on there's a translation error that
16 should get picked up otherwise we're going to miss it.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Ivetic.
18 MR. IVETIC: Line 14 of the previous page, 41, the witness in
19 Serbian said "pojedinci MUP," which I believe translates into individual
20 members of the MUP not members of the MUP as a general category.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 Mr. Hannis.
23 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
24 Q. Should I repeat my question, General, or do you recall?
25 A. There is no need for you to repeat. It is stated clearly and I
1 stand by what I said because I was one of the people involved in producing
2 this document.
3 Q. Okay. But I'm not sure I understand what happens to the recovered
4 stolen property that belonged to people, for example, Kosovo Albanians who
5 are now in Albania or Macedonia, did the army then convert that property
6 to its use?
7 A. I can't tell you what the 202nd logistics base eventually did with
8 those goods that were recorded and listed. I know that some goods,
9 especially vehicles, were inspected, technicians inspected them in cases
10 where repairs were needed, repairs were made, and the vehicles were placed
11 at the disposal of whoever was most in need of those.
12 Q. All right. Thank you.
13 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, is this an appropriate time?
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, we have to break again at this stage for
15 an hour. We'll resume at 1.45. Could you again please leave the
16 courtroom with the usher.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Mr. President.
18 [The witness stands down]
19 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.45 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 1.46 p.m.
21 [The witness takes the stand]
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
23 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. General, I just want to follow-up on your control of the
25 Pristina Corps with General Velickovic. You told us yesterday that when
1 you returned you and he went and reported -- well, before you left you
2 reported to the corps commander of the Pristina Corps. And then when you
3 returned to Belgrade you reported to General Ojdanic; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And that was just an oral report. Was he the only one besides you
6 and General Velickovic who were involved in that report?
7 A. No, I explained yesterday that -- I apologise. There were the
8 evening oral briefings after our arrival at the command post. In addition
9 to General Velickovic, I attended too in my capacity as his deputy.
10 Q. But back at Belgrade did you report to the entire Supreme Command
11 Staff or did you just report to General Ojdanic when you gave your oral
12 report before you prepared your written report?
13 A. Following oral briefings the next day and based on the date on
14 which a document was entered into the files, you can see that many dates
15 elapsed. This was the 29th and we technically processed whatever we found
16 at the object of our control and we wrote this in writing. This report is
17 something that each member of the Supreme Command Staff had access to.
18 There were certain weaknesses under the competence of members of the
19 Supreme Command Staff, and these weaknesses had a bearing on each and
20 every one of its members and these precisely were their tasks. So my
21 answer is each member of the Supreme Command Staff was informed.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: There's a reference to Velickovic being your
23 deputy; is that accurate -- sorry --
24 MR. HANNIS: No --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: A reference to you being his deputy; is that
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is precisely correct,
3 Your Honour.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was his deputy.
6 MR. HANNIS:
7 Q. I understand the point you make about the other members of the
8 Supreme Command Staff needing to be able to see the results of this
9 control as it might affect areas under their competency. But what I was
10 driving at, what I was trying to find out, General, was: As I understand
11 it you and General Velickovic upon your return to Belgrade gave an oral
12 briefing to General Ojdanic about what you had found. And you did that, I
13 take it, before you wrote up your final report; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And was it just the three of you in that meeting when you gave
16 General Ojdanic the briefing or was that done in front of the whole
17 Supreme Command Staff?
18 A. General Ojdanic and the two of us.
19 Q. And at that meeting did General Ojdanic give you any direction
20 about what you should or should not include in your written report?
21 A. No, quite the contrary. He accepted everything. The only task he
22 gave us was: Do this as soon as possible so that one could go to the
23 3rd Army command in order to deal with the tasks. He entirely accepted
24 the situation that we found and the problems that we noted.
25 Q. Thank you. Now I want to move to --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: What -- General Velickovic is a new name to me I
2 think, although I can't claim to know all the -- or remember all the names
4 MR. HANNIS: He was named in the document about the control as
5 being the team leader.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Indeed --
7 MR. HANNIS: And our General Simic here was the deputy team
9 JUDGE BONOMY: And remind me of the date of the control.
10 MR. HANNIS: 23rd to the 26th of May, and his name is the one who
11 appears on the report which is 3D692.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: What was General Velickovic's normal
13 responsibility, Mr. Simic?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you mean in terms of his
15 functional responsibility, the late General Velickovic was assistant chief
16 of the staff of the Supreme Command for the air force and anti-aircraft
17 defence. Therefore, he was one of the assistants for some aspects of the
18 country's defence.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
20 Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
22 Q. Now, General, I want to move on to some of the areas that
23 Mr. Ackerman, the lawyer for General Pavkovic, covered with you yesterday.
24 One of the first thing he asked you about was when the clashes between the
25 3rd Army, Pristina Corps, and the KLA began or first started happening and
1 your answer was: "May, later May, June, July, that's when this became
2 particularly prominent and this was going on in the border belt."
3 During May, June, and July 1998, weren't there also clashes
4 between the KLA and the army in areas outside the border belt or in the
5 interior of Kosovo? It wasn't just limited to the border belt, was it?
6 A. Yes. If memory serves me, I stated yesterday that within the
7 border belt and in terms of securing the border belt and opening fire, no
8 order was required, no special order was required. This was regulated by
9 the rules of service applying to the border area, and this is all the
10 authority that the units securing the border need. I also said that
11 certain places where operations were carried out were outside the border
12 belt, but near those roads, such as Smonica and the supply route to our
13 units at the border posts were cut and that is why clashes erupted on the
14 one hand. On the other, our units in the area were often being attacked;
15 as a response, clashes would break out.
16 Q. And some of those clashes in the summer of 1998 were in the
17 interior Kosovo and some of those, indeed, were not on the roads; isn't
18 that correct as well?
19 A. It may be, it may not be. Yes it is correct if your
20 interpretation is that this is the interior of Kosovo because it's quite
21 far from the border belt, but if you take into account the fact that this
22 was near the roads and that this posed a threat to supply routes, then,
23 yes, you might say that clashes broke out in the more central areas as
25 Q. Okay. Mr. Ackerman asked you about whether the VJ had full
1 authority to respond to an attack at any time, and you said that the VJ
2 rules of service provided unambiguously, unequivocally that any unit under
3 attack must use any means available to protect itself, and I understand
4 that. But I take it when you say there "under attack," that means right
5 at the moment. Your VJ unit is out there and it is being fired upon.
6 That's what you mean when you say "under attack," correct?
7 A. For me an attack is any form where weapons of any kind are being
8 used. You use the term "firing" this could also be interpreted as
9 artillery firing. Therefore I would be more in favour of saying this: An
10 attack during which weapons are used.
11 Q. Okay. But I don't understand that to mean if, for example, the VJ
12 had been attacked while travelling down the road between Pristina and Pec
13 on Tuesday, I don't take your answer to mean that a week later the VJ can
14 go to a village near the point on the road where they were attacked and
15 attempt to clean it out of any suspected terrorist that might have been
16 involved in the shooting the week before? That's not a response to the
17 attack, is it?
18 A. Probably if your information is correct, this was support lent to
19 the MUP units involved in the operation, the operation aimed at
20 liquidating the terrorists.
21 Q. That's right. It would be the MUP's job to deal with these
22 terrorists that might have been involved in an attack on the VJ a week
23 earlier, we agree about that, don't we?
24 A. Yes, the focal point for these operations, that's right, but the
25 army was lending a certain degree of support by its presence and in terms
1 of its equipment as well.
2 Q. And included in the equipment that the VJ was employing to support
3 the MUP in some of these anti-terrorist operations in the summer of 1998,
4 sometimes that included heavy weapons like artillery pieces, tanks, et
5 cetera, correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Thank you. Thank you. Now, you mentioned to Mr. Ackerman about
8 some weapons depots or ammunition depots where the materials were moved
9 in -- or relocated in 1998 and you mention -- it's spelled Bair, I don't
10 know how to pronounce that, and Lukare. Do I have those names right?
11 A. Yes, of course. I served 15 years in Pristina, so I went all over
12 Kosovo. Bair and Lukare, that's what these two places were called.
13 That's where we had our depots for wartime materiel reserves, or rather,
14 weapons of all calibres. That order stipulated that because the situation
15 was getting more complex and was, indeed, deteriorating and because of the
16 context. Is that enough? Okay, thank you.
17 Q. I'm just trying to verify the locations. Can you tell me where
18 Bair was located, I can't find it on my map of Kosovo and maybe it's
19 because I don't have the right spelling. Do you recall where it was?
20 A. That's, as far as I can recall, between Mitrovica further south in
21 the direction of Obilic. Perhaps you can't find it on this map because
22 it's a small place and this is a small-scale map, perhaps. And Lukare is
23 to the north-east on the Pristina-Leskovac road near Kacikol, 5 or 6
24 kilometres away from Pristina, to the north-east. You should have it
1 Q. Yes.
2 MR. HANNIS: If we could pull up Exhibit P615. I think it's page
4 Q. I did find a Lukare just north of Pristina, and I wanted to ask
5 you, General, if that's the right one?
6 A. Yes, yes, Lukare, not straight north, but more to the north-east,
7 but yes, I would agree with you if you said to the north, that's Lukare.
8 It's on the Pristina-Kacikol-Leskovac road.
9 MR. HANNIS: If we can zoom in on the quadrant showing Pristina.
10 Q. And, General, can you see that, can you see Lukare there?
11 A. Yes, yes, to the north-east, you can see it, Lukare, it's written
12 there. Sinji Dol, and there to the east of that, it says Lukare.
13 Q. By the scale of that map it appears to be -- it's about maybe 2
14 kilometres away from Pristina. You told us yesterday that this was an
15 area that was 100 per cent Albanian; is that correct?
16 A. Majority Albanian population, but in the closer area around it
17 that's 100 per cent, I think you could say that, but it's not merely
18 because the Albanians lived there but for other reasons, too, because of
19 this road and of the way -- because of the way in which the Siptars built
20 their villages, the streets are narrow, you have high, thick walls, 2 or
21 more metres high, and it is impossible for two vehicles to bypass each
22 other the streets are so narrow. And that is why we thought that if the
23 situation got any more complex we would be unable to relocate, to remove
24 those huge amounts of weaponry that was there in case of a war.
25 Q. I only ask because you indicate those two areas were 100 per cent
1 Albanian populated. I want to go now to the time when you were chief
2 of --
3 A. I may have -- that may have been a slip of the tongue, but I gave
4 you the right reason, the proper reason.
5 Q. Okay. You were Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army. When did you
6 start in that position? We know when you ended, but when did you begin?
7 A. I said yesterday that I took over on the 7th of April, 1996.
8 Q. Okay. I'm sorry, I must have missed that. And you mentioned that
9 you were deputy commander. Was it deputy commander for the same period of
10 time or did you hold both those positions at the same time?
11 A. No, that's not what I stated. Perhaps that was the translation
12 you received or whatever, but I stated that I had taken over the post of
13 the Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army on the 7th of July, 1996, in Nis. And
14 in accordance with the establishment, that post means that I am the deputy
15 commander of the 3rd Army. It does not mean that I discharged both duties
16 at the same time, although this is not out of the question, you cannot
17 rule that out.
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note: We didn't hear the last
19 part of the witness's answer because the counsel's microphone was not
20 switched off.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: You need to explain that again. It doesn't -- it's
22 difficult for me to understand.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the command of the
24 3rd Army has its commander; at that time it was General Dusan Samardzic.
25 And I was the chief of operations administration at the General Staff, and
1 by a decree of the president of the state I was appointed the Chief of
2 Staff of the 3rd Army and at the same time I was the deputy commander of
3 the 3rd Army in Nis.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: And that's really how Mr. Hannis put it to you and
5 for some reason you weren't able to say yes. His question was --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I couldn't say yes
7 because he -- the question he put to me is: Does it mean that you
8 discharged both duties, and that is why I couldn't give him a straight yes
10 JUDGE BONOMY: And I'm having difficulty with the concept of you
11 holding both positions or posts but not discharging the duties of both of
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, every system and
14 military in particular has a commander, and while a commander is alive and
15 able to exercise command, his deputy does not have the authority to
16 command. And that is why the legislator through this organisation
17 authorised me to be able to discharge those duties in the absence of the
18 commander without needing any special legal act or document to authorise
19 me to do so. I don't know whether I was clear now.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. General, I want to move next to Exhibit 3D690. This is -- this is
23 a directive regarding the plan Grom 3, which I understand translates to
24 Thunder 3. You've seen that document before, haven't you?
25 A. No. Until my arrival in the General Staff where I took up the
1 post of the assistant for ground forces, and the only reason why I did
2 that was in order to learn how the operational deployment of units was to
3 be carried out until that --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, there's a limit for how acceptable it is
5 for you to answer questions in the way you're answering them, when clearly
6 the simple answer is yes. You are using up a great deal of time here when
7 there isn't an issue. You were just asked if you have seen the document
8 before, and the answer you've given makes it clear that you have. And
9 there was no reason for you to do other than say yes. So please do your
10 best to answer as briefly as possible.
11 Mr. Hannis.
12 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
13 And if we could go to page 2 --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. I will be
15 guided by your instructions.
16 MR. HANNIS:
17 Q. General, under -- in the upper left corner under the name -- or
18 under the heading, there is a number that appears to be handwritten in, a
19 2-1 and some letters in front of that that are dilated in English as DT-R.
20 Can you tell us what DT-R stands for?
21 A. DT stands for state secret, and R means that this is a wartime
22 document; in other words, that it deals with combat operations.
23 Q. And can you tell us anything about the numbering 2-1, what does
24 that indicate?
25 A. That is the number under which it was recorded in the registry,
1 that is DT-R, state secret wartime, and then the number, 2-1, but it seems
2 to be typewritten.
3 Q. You're correct. I stand corrected. I think it is typewritten.
4 Now, we had some explanation about the numbering of orders from other
5 witnesses that indicated the first number was sometimes a subject matter
6 number and that the second number reflected chronologically where this
7 document appeared in the series of documents about that subject matter.
8 Do you understand that explanation and is that your understanding of how
9 the numbering was done?
10 A. I don't understand your question.
11 Q. What does the number 2 refer to in this 2-1? Is that a reference
12 to the organisation, the Supreme Command Staff -- the General Staff, or is
13 it a reference to some subject matter? Do you know what it refers to?
14 A. Number 2 designates that it was filed under number 2-1 in the
15 log-book, in the register book. And there could be 2-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, up to
16 10 documents that are related to this document, they could be filed under
17 those numbers.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. HANNIS: Could we go to page 5 of the document.
20 Q. I think in one of your answers the other day you indicated that
21 the 72nd Special Forces or Special Brigade was disbanded in 1999; is that
23 A. I can't recall the exactly date. I know that it was disbanded,
24 but I can't recall the exact date and I can't remember whether I stated
25 that yesterday or not, to be quite frank.
1 Q. Okay. Do you recall why it was disbanded?
2 A. No, I can't give you an answer.
3 Q. In this document --
4 MR. HANNIS: And we may have to scroll to the bottom of the page
5 in the B/C/S -- no, it's good where it is.
6 Q. Under item 3.1 -- 3.1 about the 3rd Army under the 1st Stage, the
7 last sentence says: "By your request, the following units shall be
8 resubordinated to you," and the last unit referred to is BG-3, which I
9 understand to be Battle Group 3, Tactical Group Vihor - which is
10 translated as Whirlwind in English - from the special units corps. Now,
11 the units I'm familiar with all bear number designators. Was it only in
12 the special unit that they had names like Vihor?
13 A. No, every unit had the number designation, had its full name, for
14 instance, 125th Motorised Brigade or infantry brigade. This Tactical
15 Group Whirlwind, Vihor, or Tactical Group 125-1, these are the names that
16 were used when smaller units are formed for special tasks, and also to
17 conceal the actual identity of the unit because everybody knew -- yeah,
19 Q. The reason I ask is because an issue for us in this case relates
20 to volunteers, and some volunteer units seem to refer to themselves by
21 names like Skorpions or Tigers, et cetera. Were you familiar with any VJ
22 unit that went by the name Phantoms?
23 A. No. In the Army of Yugoslavia there were no volunteer units;
24 there were volunteers.
25 Q. Next, I want to show you Exhibit 3D696, and this is an order from
1 General Ojdanic on behalf of the General Staff dated the 10th of March,
2 1999, and this is an order to the -- actually to the 2nd Army with a copy
3 going to the 3rd Army for their information. But my question relates to
4 item number 1 and it makes reference to the approved plan of the Yugoslav
5 Army DT number 8-1 of 3 February. Now, the last order we looked at had a
6 designator DT-R which you told us meant state secret and R was for Rat, I
7 think, for war. What's the difference here, we have DT with no R, is this
8 just a state secret but it's not war related? Is that what that means?
9 A. Could I please be given some time to read this order in its
10 entirety, if you allow me.
11 Q. Well, if you -- if you need to for purposes of answering that
12 question, certainly.
13 A. I can't give you an answer. I can see that I was not there at the
14 time so I couldn't give you a proper answer really.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. Then I'll move on to the next item.
16 MR. HANNIS: I want to show the witness Exhibit P1495.
17 Q. General Simic, this is a document from the Supreme Command Staff
18 from the sector for operations and staff affairs dated the 24th of May,
19 1999, and it will be up on your screen in a minute. And this appears to
20 be a communication from the Supreme Command Staff signed by
21 General Ojdanic - you can see that on the second page in a minute - to the
22 command, the commander or Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army. And it appears
23 to be a response to some earlier communication, and you'll see in item
24 number 1 it says: "An announcement has been prepared on the temporary
25 postponement of the implementation of the supreme commander's decision to
1 withdraw parts of the VJ and the MUP ..."
2 Were you aware of that proposed decision to withdraw parts of the
3 VJ and the MUP from Kosovo?
4 A. I was not aware of this decision, but I know what this is all
6 Q. Okay. How do you know what it was all about, from meetings of the
7 Supreme Command Staff?
8 A. Yes, precisely, my personal knowledge.
9 Q. And do you know when that decision was discussed or that proposal
10 was discussed?
11 A. The contents of this document have to do with the control that had
12 been carried out earlier, and as I said the desertion for the most part
13 from the 7th Brigade and the 354th and the 37th Motorised Brigade forced
14 this in some way; and this in part is a response to those events.
15 Q. Okay. Your control, though, was carried out between the 23rd and
16 the 26th of May, correct?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. And this document is dated the 24th, so it's going on at the same
19 time, even before you've completed your control?
20 A. If you allow me, we can establish a link. On the 18th, the degree
21 of desertion from the units was at its highest. A week or two before that
22 there was this very strong propaganda on the part of the families of the
23 reservists, the conscripts from the Krusevac area. They threatened that
24 they would mount protests, that they would block some roads, go on strike,
25 and so on. That is why it is indicated here that in order to mitigate
1 that because of the propaganda and in order to influence them, they had
2 heard previously that the police units would be relieved over a period of
3 two months. An order was being prepared indicating that there would be --
4 that the decision to rotate the police would be changed in order to help
5 stabilise the situation and because of the families of the conscripts,
6 because combat preparedness, combat-readiness in some of the units, I
7 think it's the three brigades, was really at a very low level, it was
8 really under threat, and we had to nip this in the bud.
9 Q. Let me ask you about item number 3.
10 MR. HANNIS: I think we might have to scroll down just a little
11 bit on the B/C/S version.
12 Q. It says: "The supreme commander will regulate the issue of
13 reinforcing MUP forces in Krusevac through the minister of the interior in
14 the Republic of Serbia."
15 Were you aware that this was being done at this time?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. That seemed to me to suggest that Mr. Milosevic as supreme
18 commander had some authority over the Ministry of Interior; would that be
20 A. I can't give you an answer.
21 Q. Okay. Let me go next then to Exhibit P1459. General, while
22 that's being put up on your screen I'll tell you this is a document dated
23 the 25th of May, 1999, from General Pavkovic to the Supreme Command Staff
24 for the Chief of Staff in person, and it has to do with the attachment of
25 units and organs of MUP.
1 MR. HANNIS: And if we could scroll down so that we can get --
2 yes, that's good. Thank you.
3 Q. And the first item I want to read -- the first part I want to read
4 to you is item number 1: "The resubordination of the MUP forces to the
5 forces of VJ has not been carried out in the spirit of the above order,"
6 and it's referring to the 18th of April order that you told us about
7 before, "for several reasons, the most important among them being: a) the
8 inherited peacetime autonomy of those units and the related conduct of
9 their command personnel in practice and b) the order of the Chief of Staff
10 of the Supreme Command was not accompanied by a corresponding order from
11 the minister of the interior ..."
12 And you've seen this document before today or before you came here
13 to testify?
14 A. You indicated where this document is from, but I can't see the
15 signature and I can't see the date. Could you please show that to me. It
16 is very relevant to my answer.
17 Q. Okay. We've scrolled up to the top where you can see the date.
18 A. And now the signature, please.
19 MR. HANNIS: If we can go to the next page for the general and
20 down to the bottom.
21 Q. Now are you able to answer, General?
22 A. I think this is the first time that I see this document.
23 Q. Okay.
24 MR. HANNIS: Can we go back to the first page, please.
25 Q. Do you recall this issue being discussed in the Supreme Command
1 Staff in late May 1999? I know on the 25th of May you were still on your
2 control of the Pristina Corps, but after you returned was this issue
4 A. I'm sorry, could you please specify, what issue.
5 Q. The issue of the MUP not following the spirit of the order for
6 resubordination to the VJ.
7 A. Yes, we saw that in the control and we indicated that in our
9 Q. And after you got back and gave your report, were there further
10 discussions about it in the Supreme Command Staff?
11 A. The same answer, one of the measures - I don't see it here - we
12 proposed to the Supreme Command Staff, the chief of the Supreme Command
13 Staff, to resolve the problems together with the president of the state
14 and all the others, all the problems that are not within the purview of
15 General Ojdanic.
16 Q. Okay. And do you know what measures, if any, were taken to solve
17 this problem? Here General Pavkovic suggests that there wasn't a
18 corresponding order from the minister of interior. Do you know whether
19 Mr. Milosevic took any steps to have such an order go to or issue from the
20 minister of interior about subordinating MUP units to VJ for combat
21 operations during wartime?
22 A. In order to save time, I will say no.
23 Q. Okay. I hope you're doing it to save time and because that's
24 really what happened too, correct?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Well, I hate to spend time, but I think it's important to know
2 what did happen, if you can tell us.
3 A. If you allow me to speak at greater length, I will.
4 Q. Well, I think I need to, please.
5 A. First of all, I as a subordinate do not have the right kind of
6 insight into the work of my superiors. Secondly, the Chief of Staff of
7 the Supreme Command informed us one evening that he had informed the
8 president with all the requests that we had come up with during the
9 control. Now, whether the president did something after that, he did not
10 say to us, and in terms of the developments that ensued I see that nothing
11 was done because we were not told anything. So that is why I wanted to
12 explain this in greater detail.
13 Q. I appreciate that. Can you recall for us now what General Ojdanic
14 told you about that, what he had said to the president, Mr. Milosevic, and
15 what Mr. Milosevic said back to him, if anything. What do you recall
16 about that?
17 A. He said that as for all the requests that the Chief of Staff
18 presented and that were the findings of the control, he familiarised the
19 president with that and that he had promised to take some measures,
20 nothing more.
21 MR. HANNIS: Could we go to the second page and scroll to the top
22 of the page for me.
23 Q. Item number 4, General. General Pavkovic is writing and says:
24 "It has been established beyond doubt, and we have already
25 reported on it in regular combat and other reports, that due to the
1 non-compliance with the resubordination orders, some MUP members and to a
2 considerable extent entire smaller units, which 'operate' independently on
3 the ground are committing serious crimes against the Siptar civilian
4 population in settlements or refugee shelters - murder, rape, plunder,
5 robbery, aggravated theft -- or robbery, aggravated theft, et cetera - and
6 then they purposefully attribute or plan to attribute those crimes to
7 units and individuals in the VJ."
8 Now, were you aware of that allegation as a result of your control
9 you carried out at the Pristina Corps, were you aware of all of that?
10 A. Am I duty-bound to respond to a document I have never seen until
12 JUDGE BONOMY: No, you are simply being asked whether you were
13 aware of this, that's the allegation that's contained in the document.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have been made
15 aware of part of his allegations, but they are described in our report of
16 the control, where there is no reference to war crimes, rapes in refugees
17 shelters and so on, and entire units at that. If you allow me, this
18 document was sent on the 25th. We were at the command post, or rather,
19 within the Pristina Corps, the command. The army command had its forward
20 command post there. Why were we not informed about all of that there and
21 then on the spot?
22 MR. HANNIS:
23 Q. Well, General Pavkovic here says we have already reported on it in
24 regular combat and other reports, those are the reports that you would be
25 seeing or that would filter up from General Pavkovic to the Supreme
1 Command Staff, no? You were looking at - you, I mean the Supreme Command
2 Staff - were looking at regular combat reports on a daily basis, right?
3 A. Absolutely. Not a single report refers to the kind of information
4 that is contained in this document, and I've read them all from the first
5 to the last one.
6 Q. You're confident of that, that there were no mention of crimes
7 like murder or rape, robbery, or theft being committed by MUP members or
8 entire smaller units. There was no reference to that in any of the combat
9 reports you read from the time that you started on April 3rd or 4th to
10 this date, the 24th of May?
11 A. No. I was aware of individual crimes concerning which the command
12 took certain measures against the perpetrators; that is what I stated then
13 too. But I do not agree that this was happening en masse by entire units.
14 It was only individuals who were doing that. That is what the report of
15 our control refers to, soldierly discipline.
16 Q. We may have a misunderstanding here. This report from
17 General Pavkovic, as I read it he's talking about crimes being committed
18 by MUP members, and your answer -- I'm not sure but your answer seemed to
19 be -- you're talking about VJ soldiers.
20 A. I am talking about both structures from the aspect of the content
21 of the reports that came to the staff of the Supreme Command. By this I
22 mean our individual members too.
23 Q. Okay. So I take it then you're saying that what General Pavkovic
24 has written here and reported here is not correct, where he says: "We've
25 already reported in regular combat and other reports ..."
1 You're saying that didn't appear in the regular combat reports and
2 other reports that the Supreme Command Staff got from General Pavkovic?
3 That's what you're saying, isn't it?
4 A. Not in terms of these contents.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: In the earlier answer that Mr. Hannis referred to a
6 moment ago you said: "I was aware of individual crimes concerning which
7 the command took certain measures against the perpetrators; that is what I
8 stated then too."
9 Q. So were you aware of the command of the MUP taking measures
10 against perpetrators?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, perhaps it was a slip
12 of the tongue. What I meant was that the Supreme Command Staff, or
13 rather, commands at all levels in terms of their powers took measures
14 against perpetrators of such crimes who were members of the military; as
15 for the MUP, I do not know what kind of action they took.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, that seems to give a different
17 complexion to what you asked about. But do you want to explore it any
19 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour, I think I do.
20 Q. So, General, to your knowledge did General Pavkovic or any of the
21 subordinate VJ commanders take or attempt to take any measures against the
22 MUP members or MUP smaller units that were allegedly committing serious
23 crimes against the civilian population?
24 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I'm going to object as to the foundation
25 for this question. I believe, as I've been listening to this witness he
1 has said that in fact the facts on the ground did not comport to what was
2 in this letter. So if he's asking about what the gentleman knows or if
3 he's asking about what's in the letter that the gentleman hasn't seen and
4 hasn't confirmed, I'm a little bit lost by this question and where it
5 comes out of the testimony.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, if you look at 62, 21, you'll see that the
7 question was related to whether there was mention of crimes being
8 committed by MUP members, and the answer was that he was aware of
9 individual crimes concerning which the command took certain measures.
10 MR. IVETIC: He said he was aware of individual crimes by
11 individuals not by entire units and the question Mr. Hannis now poses
12 relates to entire units --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: He then in answer to me made it clear he wasn't
14 talking about the MUP at all, and therefore it's entirely open to
15 Mr. Hannis to find out a little more.
16 MR. IVETIC: In his prior testimony when I stood up for the
17 correction in the translation, he was talking about MUP units in his
18 report, and that's the only basis that he would have for knowledge as he's
19 testified to here in the last exchange. And there he was very explicit
20 not -- that it was individual persons not an entire unit.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, there's sufficient doubt in my opinion for
22 this to be explored further.
23 Mr. Hannis.
24 MR. HANNIS:
25 Q. General, perhaps I should repeat the question. To your knowledge,
1 did General Pavkovic or any of his subordinate VJ commanders take or
2 attempt to take any measures against MUP members or against MUP smaller
3 units that were allegedly committing these serious crimes described in
4 this exhibit, P1459?
5 A. No. The MUP was not subordinated to General Pavkovic and he did
6 the only thing he could, he reported in his combat report to the superior
8 Q. And what steps -- well, maybe you answered this already. What
9 steps did the superior command take? You told us about General Ojdanic
10 telling the supreme commander. In your view, is that the only thing that
11 the army could do?
12 A. The only thing, in view of the fact that the Commander-in-Chief is
13 his superior not the minister of the interior. His powers end by him
14 informing the supreme commander and sending through the morning reports,
15 reports about what is going on and reporting to the federal prime
16 minister, to other top people in the government, the president of Serbia,
17 the president of Montenegro, and they could see everything that was
18 contained in the combat report.
19 Q. Let me ask you this as a practical matter. You're a professional
20 soldier and I gather you have commanded units in the field, correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And you -- you've emphasised the importance that General Ojdanic
23 placed on the Geneva Conventions and making sure that the subordinate
24 units understand those obligations. In wartime when the VJ is conducting
25 combat operations, a commander of a brigade or a battalion, he has a
1 certain area of responsibility, does he not, in the theatre where he's
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And isn't it part of his responsibility as the highest-ranking
5 soldier in that area of responsibility, isn't it his ultimate
6 responsibility to ensure the safety of any civilians who might be in that
8 A. In this situation, he could not have but there is that
10 Q. And why do you say he could not have?
11 A. He could not have because not all forces were subordinated to him,
12 those carrying out their functional tasks in that area of responsibility,
13 starting with policemen on the beat, civil defence units who are supposed
14 to rescue people, then civil protection units that are supposed to take
15 care of buildings, and so on.
16 Q. Are you saying that if, I don't know, Serb civilians, not in the
17 army, not reservist, not police, Serb civilians who lived in that area of
18 responsibility, if for revenge or some other reason started killing
19 Albanian civilians in your area of responsibility as a VJ commander, you
20 can't do anything - is that your position - because they're not under your
22 A. You can in the sense of persuading him, telling him, not to do
23 that or to wage war. Those are the two options.
24 Q. Well, General, you strike me as the kind of individual who if you
25 were in that situation and there were police killing civilians in your
1 area of responsibility, you would probably wage war, wouldn't you? You
2 would arrest those policemen, you'd stop them killing civilians, would
4 A. If I would see it personally and if these were individuals that I
5 could cope with, by all means; but if it were my assessment that I would
6 be on the losing end, then I would have to withdraw. Here you can see ...
7 Q. Okay. Thank you. Let me go next to 4D91, 4D091.
8 And, General, this is a document you saw before when Mr. Ackerman
9 was talking to you. This is dated the 30th of July, 1998, from the
10 command of the 3rd Army.
11 MR. HANNIS: And if we could have a look at that.
12 Q. Now this is -- item number 3 mentions that the commander of the
13 Pristina Corps, General Pavkovic, as a member of the Joint Command for
14 Kosovo and Metohija shall attend all meetings. In the top paragraph of
15 that order, the last two lines seem to indicate that this is being done in
16 particularly: " ... for more efficient command of the coordinated forces
17 and coordinated activity relating to the command in the territory of
18 Kosovo and Metohija."
19 So in July 1998 the VJ and the MUP were conducting joint
20 operations in Kosovo in combatting terrorism, correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And you explained yesterday that even though General Pavkovic was
23 a member of the Joint Command and attending those meetings, pursuant to
24 this order he was supposed to talk to you, you're the army Chief of Staff
25 referred to here, he was supposed to before going to meetings acquaint
1 you, the Chief of Staff, with any possible request and explain to him, to
2 you, the proposals for the engagement of forces and following your
3 consent, I take it, then Pavkovic can go to the meeting. Is that all
4 accurate? Did I interpret that correctly?
5 A. You read this right, what it says here, and that is what we did.
6 After the meeting he would come to me to finally verify what had already
7 been explained at 1830.
8 Q. Okay. So before these meetings he met with you and told you what
9 the proposals were going to be that he was going to present at the Joint
10 Command meeting, right?
11 A. Not from that point of view. He would discuss with me, well,
12 conditionally we can call this as -- call it his preliminary thinking as
13 to how he would act on the following day, and in this way how to make the
14 other members of the Supreme Command aware of that. And they may have
15 requests that may affect his preliminary thoughts. Well, then he would
16 have to go further, but may I tell you straight away that he saw he
17 beforehand. Later on meetings were held at the Supreme Command -- rather,
18 usually they were around 2100 hours, it was after 1830 --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yesterday, you said that before he went to the
20 meeting you had to give approval to the proposals he had, and that's all
21 Mr. Hannis asked you about and now you give us a different account.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think that I've
23 been telling the same story all along. At 1830 in terms of the work plan
24 of the forward command post it is regulated that the subordinates that I
25 was authorised to command come and report about their activities that they
1 had during the course of the day, and then they say what they're going to
2 do on the following day. Then I approve that decision. That is what the
3 army commander meant, or rather, that he would come to see me beforehand,
4 and then with that decision he goes to the joint staff, or rather, he says
5 what it is that he's going to do, what the MUP is going to do and the
6 other structures. And if there are important requests of theirs that
7 would jeopardize my decision, then he is duty-bound to come back to tell
8 me about it and to ask for subsequent approval. That is what I said
9 yesterday and that is what I confirm today.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: So we'll take that as a yes, Mr. Hannis.
11 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. A couple of times, General, you're translated as having said "the
13 Supreme Command," but I assume here you meant to say Joint Command, that's
14 what we're talking about, the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija?
15 A. I made a slip of the tongue. We are talking about the Joint
16 Command. I don't think, actually, there was a slip of the tongue on my
17 part. It must have been the interpretation. It was meetings of the Joint
19 Q. I thought that's what you meant. I just wanted to be sure we had
20 it down correctly. Item number 3 then goes on to say: "After the
21 meeting," of the Joint Command I assume, "the commander of the Pristina
22 Corps shall report to the army Chief of Staff on the proposals," and here
23 it's translated as, "on the proposals which have been accepted." And in
24 this context I take that to mean Pavkovic comes back to you and tells you
25 about the proposals which have been accepted by the Joint Command because
1 he's coming back to you after the meeting; is that what it means?
2 A. I was not properly understood or the interpretation was not good.
3 My decision with which General Pavkovic went to the meeting of the Joint
4 Command is unequivocal and clear. At the meetings of the Joint Command,
5 both sides say what it is that they're going to do on the following day.
6 He says what kind of decision he approved and the MUP says what they are
7 going to do. They coordinate activity in terms of their specific
8 activity. If these requests of the MUP for support that should come from
9 the military units significantly jeopardize the implementation of tasks
10 from my decision that I had approved, then he goes back and asks for
11 subsequent approval or disapproval of that.
12 Q. From you?
13 A. Absolutely.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: That's another yes, Mr. Hannis.
15 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
16 Q. All right. Now, when -- when was the first time you heard of this
17 Joint Command?
18 A. In the previous talks I said that I heard -- first heard of the
19 staff of the overall forces of the MUP from an order issued by an army
20 commander, and that from his oral order to attend meetings I found out
21 that this was a staff of the MUP and -- and when I went and organised work
22 at the command post I found out that -- well, he was ordering this over
23 here, that Pavkovic attend meetings of the Joint Command. That is when I
24 first found out about this term.
25 Q. You first found out about it when General Samardzic issued this
1 order that Pavkovic should go to these meetings of the Joint Command; is
2 that your answer?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And when you found out that Pavkovic was a member and that
5 Samardzic was ordering that he go to those meetings, did you make any
6 inquiries to find out what the Joint Command was exactly and who was on
8 A. I did not ask because I thought it was not necessary, and I
9 realised what the methodology was while I was a member of this MUP staff
10 in Pec.
11 Q. Did you not know in the summer of 1998 who the members of the
12 Joint Command were, other than General Pavkovic? Did you at least know
14 A. I never attended those meetings and I never knew who was present
16 Q. You weren't the least bit curious and you didn't ask
17 General Pavkovic about who's at the meetings and who's in charge, any of
18 that stuff?
19 A. No, because it did not affect my decision at all. My decision was
20 the law. It was respected, and from that point of view there was no need
21 for me to discuss that.
22 Q. And you weren't curious about why General Samardzic had ordered
23 you to let Pavkovic go to these meetings of some body called Joint
25 A. He ordered me because while I was at the forward command post he
1 had resubordinated the Pristina Corps to me, and then he conveyed his
2 authority to me that I make the decision. And that is why this order is
3 the way that it is.
4 Q. General, it just seems to me that you as a soldier and a
5 commander, the word "command" has special significance beyond what it
6 might have for me as a civilian. And your subordinate, General Pavkovic,
7 is going to meetings of a Joint Command and you weren't the least bit
8 curious about who was in this Joint Command? I know that's what you said
9 before, I just want to confirm, that's correct?
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
11 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. President, I don't
12 understand. How many times is he supposed to answer this question in
13 order to exhaust Tom Hannis's curiosity. He's answered it several times,
14 and since you're -- since you're allowing him to examine far longer than
15 what the chief took, then why do this so many times.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, first of all, I think you're right about the
17 first point, Mr. Hannis will be satisfied with the answer he got. Your
18 second point depends on how you define the chief. If you take the
19 examination by Mr. Visnjic plus Mr. Ackerman plus Mr. Bakrac, then
20 Mr. Hannis has not exhausted that time.
21 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] By the way, let me be quite precise. I
22 don't think that he is wasting time. I think he's doing his job very well
23 because there are different ways of spending time in Serbian, one can
24 imply that you're wasting time and the other one that you're using time
25 properly. Well, that is what I meant, so I don't want to be
2 JUDGE BONOMY: You were not misunderstood, Mr. Fila, but if he had
3 been going beyond the length of what one might fairly regard as
4 examination-in-chief on behalf of any of the accused plus the half-hour
5 that I think he's entitled to for the statement, then we would be drawing
6 that to his attention. He's not got all that long to go, but no doubt
7 he's aware of it.
8 MR. HANNIS: I am, Your Honour, thank you.
9 Q. General, do you know where the Joint Command meetings were held?
10 A. I can't confirm. If you're happy with a rough answer, I think at
11 the MUP building, I think.
12 Q. And your forward command post at this time was in Pristina?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And where in Pristina?
15 A. At the 15th Armoured Brigade barracks.
16 Q. All right.
17 MR. HANNIS: I want to now go to Exhibit P1966.
18 Q. General, this is a document dated the 22nd of March, 1999, and
19 it's coming from the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija. There's no
20 signature, there's just a typed block at the end that says "Joint Command
21 for Kosovo and Metohija." We'll look at that last page in a minute. This
22 purports to be an order to rout and destroy the Siptar terrorist forces in
23 the Malo Kosovo area. Have you seen this document before you came to
25 A. No. As I was being proofed, this took place before I was at the
1 Supreme Command Staff. Therefore, I do not believe that I'm competent to
2 comment on anything like this because at the time I was not responsible
3 for this sort of operation.
4 Q. Okay.
5 MR. HANNIS: Could we look at the last page of the document in
6 both languages, I think that's page 5 of the B/C/S and 8 of the English.
7 Q. And this order has many of the characteristics of what we've seen
8 in other regular VJ orders in terms of deploying units and giving them
9 directions. I just want to bring to your attention the last sentence
10 before the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija. It says: "The Joint
11 Command for Kosovo and Metohija shall command and direct all forces during
12 combat operations from the Pristina area."
13 You see that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And I think you've commented on that yesterday, but as I read
16 that, that seems like it contemplates VJ forces and MUP forces being
17 commanded by this Joint Command, whoever that is, isn't that how that
19 A. I said, if I may, that I'm not willing to comment on this because
20 I wasn't there then. But if I must, I discussed yesterday in the function
21 of the type of command post who was there and what their names were, and
22 then I linked the so-called Joint Command which was in a particular place
23 but the chains of command went down the established chain. Everybody
24 exercised command over those subordinate to them, and that was the
25 function that I explained yesterday.
1 Q. Okay.
2 MR. HANNIS: If we can go back to page 1 of this document just for
3 a moment.
4 Q. And, General, I want you to look at the number on this order in
5 the upper left corner. And you see that strictly confidential number
7 A. Yes, I see it.
8 MR. HANNIS: Can we go to the next exhibit, P1967.
9 Q. General, this is a document entitled: "Amendment to the decision
10 on supporting the MUP in breaking up and destroying Siptar terrorist
11 forces in the area of Malo Kosovo." And in the upper left-hand corner
12 you'll see a number that is 455-56/1. Now, wouldn't that suggest that
13 this document relates to the earlier one? It's got the same number
14 followed by a slash 1.
15 A. I can't say.
16 Q. You're not familiar with the numbering system in the VJ?
17 A. Yes. I explained by use the example of that directive. When you
18 asked me about 2/1 what it meant, the slash 1 bit, so that was the same
19 system that was applied here, except here they used three digits, so to
20 speak, in order to link this up with the other document. I apologise, I'm
21 not sure if I'm being too extensive, because if that was active, only that
22 number, and then that number had another number added to it just to link
23 that document up to it and the other document.
24 Q. And you'll see the title of this document is: "Amendment to the
1 MR. HANNIS: And if we could go to the last page of both the
2 English and the B/C/S and scroll to the bottom.
3 Q. You'll see this amendment comes from General Lazarevic, correct?
4 A. Right.
5 Q. And it does appear to be authentic with a signature and a stamp
6 and delivery information at the bottom?
7 A. All correct.
8 Q. So to me, General, that looks like General Lazarevic is making an
9 amendment to the order that came from the Joint Command, but I can tell
10 you, and my colleagues will point out if I'm wrong, there's nothing in the
11 amendment that changes what was in 455-56, Exhibit P1966, the portion
12 about the Joint Command commanding the forces engaged in the operations.
13 So it appears that General Lazarevic is accepting the order issued by the
14 Joint Command, with the exception of the amendments he made here. That's
15 correct, isn't it?
16 A. Sir, Mr. Prosecutor, you're taking me back to something and
17 expecting me to explain it when I, in fact, wasn't the responsible person
18 for that. The first document that you showed me, I didn't see any
19 signature by that Joint Command, I didn't see who the commander was
20 issuing the order in order to be able to answer this question for you and
21 you're asking me if Lazarevic had the right to mention this or not. If I
22 could see who the commander was of that Joint Command, then I could answer
23 whether he had the right to amend this or not. Things being what they
24 are, I really can't say.
25 Q. Let me show you another one from a time when you were in the
1 Supreme Command Staff.
2 MR. HANNIS: Exhibit P1878, please.
3 Q. And, General, I will tell you this is a document dated the 15th of
4 April, 1999, it has a number of 455-148, and it's from the Joint Command
5 for Kosovo and Metohija, again with that typewritten signature block. And
6 you'll see this is titled: "Order to break-up and destroy Siptar
7 terrorist forces in the Rugovo sector."
8 MR. HANNIS: And if we could just go to the page 5 of the English
9 and of the B/C/S.
10 Q. And again you'll see that the last line before the signature block
11 says: "The Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija shall command all forces
12 from the Pristina sector during the conduct of combat operations."
13 Now, unless you think I'm just being unnecessarily redundant, I
14 want to show you Exhibit P1487. And while we're waiting for that to come
15 up, General, I will remind you and the Judges that we were just looking at
16 P1878 which is dated the 15th of April, 1999, and its number was 455-148.
17 And the one I want you to look at now, General, is our Exhibit
18 P1487. It's a document dated the 17th of April, 1999, from the Supreme
19 Command Staff, the staff operations department, operations and
20 administration. And if we could look at that first half of that document.
21 You'll see this is to the 3rd Army command, to the commander personally,
22 and it says: "Link: Kosovo and Metohija Joint Command order, strictly
23 confidential number 455-148 of 15 April 1999."
24 That's the document we just looked at that said the combat
25 operations should be commanded by the Joint Command, and this is from
1 General Ojdanic. I don't know if we need to go to the bottom of the page
2 for you to see his signature or if we have to go to the next page --
3 there. You can see that, that's from General Ojdanic, correct? And this
4 is entitled: "Suggestions." Are you familiar with a military document
5 like "suggestions"? I'm used to seeing "directive" and "order" and
6 "decision," but is "suggestions" a common sort of document used in the
8 A. Suggestions come from a lower-ranking level and go up to a
9 higher-ranking level, but not the other way around. But this is not
10 something that is illegal. These are exceptions basically.
11 Q. Okay. So if I understand your answer correctly then, this --
12 these suggestions from General Ojdanic in the Supreme Command Staff of the
13 VJ, you say suggestions coming from -- come from a lower-ranking level, I
14 understand you to say then that the Supreme Command Staff is lower ranking
15 than the Joint Command, because they're making suggestions to
16 General Pavkovic, a subordinate of the Supreme Command Staff about what he
17 might do in relation to that Joint Command order of 15 April?
18 A. I don't know how to answer this question for you. I can't keep it
19 down to a yes or no. I would need to elaborate. You asked me when I
20 heard about the terms "Joint Command Staff" and that sort of thing and I
21 told you that, didn't I, and now I'm putting it to you, you didn't ask me
22 that. I do not permit this -- or rather, do you permit me to elaborate?
23 Q. Well, I think you've answered the question as best you can. I
24 don't want you to elaborate, but if the Judges do or Mr. Visnjic does,
25 they'll have a chance to let you talk about it later. I'd like to move on
1 to another question now. And at least you would agree that document shows
2 that the Supreme Command Staff is aware of the existence of a body called
3 the Joint Command and aware of the fact that they've issued at least one
4 order with a particular number on the 15th of April, 1999. You must agree
5 with me about that?
6 A. Quite the contrary and to a deepest regret, I do not agree.
7 Q. I guess I'm having a hard time understanding that. How can you
8 say that document doesn't show that the Supreme Command Staff is aware
9 that there's a body called the Joint Command and that they issued an order
10 with a particular number on the 15th of April, 1999, it says it right in
11 the document, doesn't it?
12 A. The Supreme Command Staff can only know what it receives in the
13 form of an operations combat report and nothing beyond that. You didn't
14 ask - and I've never seen this document before or I had never seen this
15 document before, before I was being proofed for these proceedings, and
16 that is why I required a while ago a lengthier explanation which again you
17 failed to provide.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, your job is to answer the questions, not
19 to set the agenda. And what you've been asked just now is whether this
20 document indicates, first of all, that the Supreme Command Staff were
21 aware of the existence of a body called the Joint Command. Do you agree
22 that that's what it indicates or not?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I can't put the second point to you in these
1 Mr. Hannis.
2 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour. I will move on.
3 Q. I have a couple questions, General, related to your statement
4 which is Exhibit 3D1089. I'm sorry, I guess I only have one question, you
5 answered one before. You explained how documents at the Supreme Command
6 Staff were handled, how orders were drafted, and in paragraph 29 you
7 said: "Having completed a draft document, the person responsible takes it
8 to be signed," in the case by the Chief of the General Staff. "Then it is
9 taken to the office where it is recorded in the register under a specific
10 number, a stamp with number and date, and the signature of the person
11 issuing the order is certified with a round stamp."
12 And where are -- where are the registers kept at the Supreme
13 Command Staff?
14 A. At the office of the Supreme Command Staff, or rather, in the
15 register, to put it briefly.
16 Q. All right. And do you know how the numbers were assigned to those
18 A. There's the so-called register, it's a book. This is entered into
19 the main register under that number, and then it has certain boxes,
20 ordinal numbers attaching to certain documents. And now the main document
21 that you asked me about, 2/1, there's the principal number and there is
22 the possibility of more secondary numbers. This is kept by a person who
23 is in charge of doing just that, he's in charge of keeping the register,
24 the register keeper. He's in an office and normally there are another two
25 or three persons there who deal with the stamps, and these are the only
1 people who are authorised to use certain kinds of stamps to accompany
2 certain signatures.
3 Q. Let me jump back to an earlier time-period. In the summer of 1998
4 when you were Chief of Staff for the 3rd Army, were you aware that
5 General Perisic had a disagreement with Mr. Milosevic about how the army
6 was being used in Kosovo? Were you aware of that dispute?
7 A. Explicitly, no; implicitly, yes. I myself felt the consequences
8 of this.
9 Q. Can you explain or elaborate a little bit about that?
10 A. It was usual at meetings that took place at President Milosevic's
11 for there to the Pristina Corps commander and the army commander, and they
12 went together to these meetings where certain problems were discussed.
13 Following their arrival, certain disagreements or differences of opinion
14 emerged between General Samardzic and the corps commander. While being
15 proofed I saw several documents which they exchanged, they had different
16 views on President Milosevic's decisions at that meeting, and that's why I
17 say that I felt the consequences of these disagreements too because I
18 myself was in situations where I had to challenge certain decisions made
19 by the corps commander because I had been ordered to do just that by my
20 commander. General Pavkovic said that at the meeting, at the president's,
21 the decision that had been taken was a different one.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: It may be a translation problem, but that's not the
23 answer to the question which you did ask which was about Perisic. And
24 there's been no reference in the answer to General Perisic.
25 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Did you misunderstand the question, Mr. Simic?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not contact General Perisic.
3 I cannot simply jump the chain of command.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, but the question was: Were you aware that
5 General Perisic had a disagreement with Milosevic about how the army was
6 being used in Kosovo?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: It's easy, this game, isn't it when you listen
9 carefully to the question and try to give a short answer --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 MR. HANNIS:
14 Q. And what did you know about that dispute between Perisic and
15 Milosevic in the summer of 1998?
16 A. General Perisic was adamant that the army should not be used to
17 crush the terrorist army of Kosovo without previously declaring a state of
18 emergency and imminent threat of war. President Milosevic, for reasons
19 known to him, did not wish to do this.
20 Q. Okay. Are you finished?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. Were you aware that in late July 1998
23 General Perisic apparently was upset with General Samardzic about some use
24 of General Samardzic's forces in Kosovo? Did you know about that?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Let me show you Exhibit P922. And, General, this is a -- these
2 are the minutes of a meeting of the VJ collegium on the 20th of July,
4 MR. HANNIS: And if we could go to page 2 of the English and I
5 think it's page -- I'm sorry. Page 3 of the English and page 3 of the
7 Q. And we'll have a break here in a minute.
8 MR. HANNIS: And on the B/C/S I need the middle paragraph, the
9 last six or seven lines.
10 Q. General, I'm going to be reading the English and you tell me if
11 this is correct. This is General Perisic speaking. He says: "I would
12 kindly ask those of you who are to give proposals for further use of the
13 army, make sure to give me your suggestions to fight this. I issued an
14 order - I ban the use of the army except in the defence of the border
15 area, where it is to act in full compliance with combat, to protect
16 military facilities, and defend army personnel. In any other situation,
17 the decision to use it must be made here - and let them propose why and
18 how. Just refer to that order, why was the army used despite my order,
19 specifically. Find out about the circumstances under which that happened,
20 who violated the order and the proposal, the deadline, and we'll see what
21 to do."
22 Do you see that?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And in the paragraph immediately above that you'll see there --
25 about six lines up there was a reference, talking about a problem of the
1 MUP at Orahovac: "... and Samardzic, he used a combat group, the closest
2 to take action towards Orahovac, that's why I'm against it, not because we
3 want the MUP people to get killed, they are Serbs ..."
4 And then I skip a bit: "But if the army is used like that, in an
5 unplanned manner, primarily, it slowly draws in. There's no chance that a
6 unit, whichever unit goes down there, to the border, you can never again
7 and then pull out another brigade, no chance."
8 Do you recall this incident and whether there was any
9 communication between Samardzic and Perisic about that?
10 A. This was a collegium of the General Staff. I suppose that
11 Samardzic, too, was at the meeting but I can only assume this. I don't
12 know this for a fact, and that's why I said that the conflict, what you
13 refer to as a conflict, was not familiar to me.
14 Q. And one more before the break, if I may.
15 MR. HANNIS: If we could go to page 22 of the English and it would
16 be page 21 of the B/C/S.
17 Q. General, this is still the same meeting and this is still
18 General Perisic talking. And -- I'm sorry -- yes. The B/C/S, if we could
19 go to the middle of the page and I'm going to read from the middle of that
20 middle paragraph, General. It says: "Paja" which I guess is somebody's
21 name or nickname. "Paja put in responsibility of the 3rd Army commander
22 when units of his army were used without my order."
23 As the Chief of Staff for General Samardzic at that time, did you
24 see any written communication from General Perisic about that complaint
25 from General Perisic?
1 A. No. Then I don't see any reason for any objections to be raised
2 or any complaints to be brought to me about the commander who is
3 exercising command.
4 Q. I just didn't know the relationship between you and
5 General Samardzic.
6 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, is this a good time for the break?
7 JUDGE BONOMY: It is, Mr. Hannis.
8 Mr. Simic, we will have to break now for half an hour. We will be
9 back at 4.00. Meanwhile, could you again please leave the courtroom with
10 the usher.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 [The witness stands down]
13 --- Recess taken at 3.32 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
15 [The witness takes the stand]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
17 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. General, I won't be much longer with you. Mr. Ackerman asked you
19 some questions about your opinion of General Pavkovic, and you told us he
20 was a very capable, educated, and responsible officer. And then you
21 indicated to us that his final assessment by General Samardzic was the
22 rank of exceptional, which I take is the high mark. I have a question for
23 you about evaluations or assessments in the VJ. Do you have any idea
24 what -- well, first of all, can you tell us what were the rankings, how
25 many categories were there? I'm in a system where we had five from
1 outstanding, excellent, fully satisfactory, below average, and not meeting
2 standards. Did you have some kind of equivalent system in the army or
3 were you ranked from 1 to 10? How was that?
4 A. We had two types of grade, one was favourable or unfavourable.
5 Unfavourable means what it says, unfavourable. Favourable could mean
6 good, very good, or excellent. Favourable, excellent, that is the wording
7 used if someone excels in their professional capacity and we saw that
8 yesterday in that document.
9 Q. I've been in some systems where there were set rules by personnel
10 that said a certain percentage of people had to be rated in this slot, in
11 the medium slot, in the high slot, but I've also been in agencies where
12 there was no rule. And sometimes over the years it developed that 90 per
13 cent of the people were rated as excellent. Do you -- can you tell us
14 what it was like in the VJ? Do you have any idea of, say, out of 100
15 officers what percentage of those 100 generals or 100 colonels and
16 generals would be rated exceptional or do you know?
17 A. I can't answer specifically, explicitly there is no rule. It is
18 normal and usual in a unit that not everyone can get the highest grade,
19 excellent, because then one could no longer motivate anyone to strive for
20 that sort of grade. But I can't say that 10 per cent of those rated as
21 excellent are so-and-so, 30 per cent of those rated very good, I can't say
23 Q. General, you yourself, did you get a rating from General Samardzic
24 before you left?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What ranking did you get?
2 A. Excellent.
3 Q. And I want to ask you about this. General Pavkovic, when he was
4 appointed commander of the 3rd Army by the Supreme Defence Council in late
5 1998, during a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council Mr. Djukanovic, the
6 president of Montenegro, raised an issue, he said that he had heard that
7 there had been problems with the Pristina Corps operating outside the
8 constitution in the orders of the Supreme Defence Council. And so he had
9 a reservation about General Pavkovic. Had you heard anything about that
10 in 1998 or after?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did you ever hear anything from your boss, General Samardzic, or
13 from General Perisic, or General Ojdanic in a way a complaint about
14 General Pavkovic sometimes going around his direct superior and going
15 directly to Mr. Milosevic, for example? Did you ever hear about that?
16 A. No.
17 Q. And would you or -- would you yourself or did you ever hear any of
18 your colleagues describe General Pavkovic as being ambitious, a climber,
19 if you will, within the hierarchy of the VJ?
20 A. It's in the nature of each soldier that they should strive to
21 reach a position as high as possible, but I suppose that applies to your
22 profession, too, doesn't it?
23 Q. It does, and I know some colleagues that I would describe as being
24 more ambitious than others, and I just wondered if you had a view or had
25 heard anyone express that perhaps General Pavkovic was more ambitious than
1 the average?
2 A. If you're asking me about gradation, you could say that he was
3 ambitious, rather ambitious even, but all within the boundaries of
4 positive human ambition and in a bid to achieve as much as possible in his
5 own profession.
6 Q. Okay. Thank you for that. Then I wanted to ask you about
7 something that Mr. Bakrac asked you. Do you know where in Djakovica the
8 forward command post of the Pristina Corps was located in 1998? Do you
9 know what part of town that was in or was it outside town?
10 A. It was in the town facing the border, the barracks of the border
12 Q. All right. Two more topics and then I'll be done. One, you were
13 talking to Mr. Bakrac about a Joint Command post, and in your answer at
14 page 37 yesterday, line 15, you said: "It's often the case that in a
15 certain area where combat operations are afoot actions are being carried
16 out by a number of different bodies that do not share a single chain of
17 command. And in order to unify all these different units belonging to
18 different bodies or structures -- and to bring about some degree of
19 coordination to prevent conflict in the area, what one does is set up a
20 joint command post."
21 In Kosovo in 1998 and 1999, indeed that's what was happening,
22 wasn't it, that there were joint combat operations by units belonging to
23 two different bodies or structures in terms of chain of command, that is,
24 the army, the VJ, and the MUP, correct? They did not share a single chain
25 of command?
1 A. Those two bodies did not share a single chain of command, but you
2 used two terms that I did not explain in that way yesterday. I'm not sure
3 if that's what the transcript stated; if so, may that please be corrected.
4 I talked not about a shared command post, but rather about a joint command
6 Q. Okay. So wouldn't it have made sense to have a joint command post
7 in Kosovo for the MUP and VJ when they were carrying out combat
9 A. Well, yes, in some cases.
10 Q. Okay. In which cases --
11 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Petrovic on his feet, Your Honour.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there is a
13 misunderstanding about the term "joint" and "shared command post" and the
14 witness is saying "joint," which is what we see on page 89, line 24. Line
15 90 -- or page 90, line 1, there is talk of a joint command post. To make
16 matters even more complicated the interpretation the witness got was
17 "objedinjeno komandno mesto". That's what the witness heard in Serbian
18 and his answer was in relation to "objedinjeno komandno mesto" because
19 that's what he heard.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sorry I'm not following this. In line 24 he
21 said that he talked not about a shared command post but rather about a
22 joint command post and then Mr. Hannis asked him about a joint command
23 post making sense in Kosovo. They seem to be using the same English
24 language at least.
25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that's how it struck
1 me, what I said. If I'm mistaken, please accept my apology.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 It's not clear to me, Mr. Hannis, that there is anything amiss in
4 the interpretation here, but if you wish to clarify it further --
5 MR. HANNIS: No, I'm comfortable, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
7 MR. HANNIS:
8 Q. And the last topic, General. Mr. Bakrac asked you about
9 Exhibit P969.
10 MR. HANNIS: And if we could have that on e-court.
11 Q. And you told us about how in that summer of 1998 you were placed
12 in charge of the use of heavy weapons, large-calibre weapons, that you
13 were designated to be the person in charge of deciding when and whether
14 those would be allowed to be used. Do you recall that?
15 A. Yes, but you used the term "heavy weapons," and the term we use is
17 Q. Okay. And when you use that term "large-calibre," can you tell us
18 specifically how big a calibre and what kind of weapons we're talking
20 A. I mean artillery weapons, 105-millimetre and up from there.
21 Q. Okay. And the fact that you as Chief of Staff --
22 A. My apologies, excluding 120-millimetre mortars.
23 Q. Oh, okay. And one of the reasons for that was because this was --
24 this was a sensitive issue at the time, was it not? The international
25 community -- some people in the international community had been alleging
1 that the army was inappropriately using large-calibre weapons in these
2 operations against the terrorists; isn't that correct?
3 A. If we're talking about April or May when I was at the forward
4 command post and I had the authority, this was in reference to weapons of
5 a large destructive power that could cause more damage and destruction.
6 That was what my decision-making power was. It wasn't about any
7 foreigners being in the area or not.
8 Q. If you could look at the exhibits on the screen now, this is P969,
9 and I think Mr. Bakrac talked to you about it yesterday under order number
10 2. And I don't know if it's possible for me to see the English on the
11 screen. My case manager will help me out. Okay.
12 It says before -- number 1 says: "Before opening fire, unit
13 commanders are to assess whether international observers are in the sector
14 of combat disposition of Siptar terrorists; and if they are, do not open
16 Now, if you would go up two paragraphs from that and read -- I'll
17 read the sentence there in English it says:
18 "The delegations comprise between five to ten members who have
19 unlimited access to villages, towns, and settlements. Siptar terrorists
20 are taking advantage of the circumstances and are trying to provoke units
21 of the VJ to open fire in their presence in order to show the world how
22 much they are threatened."
23 So, General isn't part of the reason that there was some -- this
24 order was issued and there was some control put on who could authorise the
25 use of those heavy weapons, it's because the VJ did not want these
1 international observers to see you using large-calibre weapons against the
2 terrorists; isn't that the reason?
3 A. No, and I think you are confusing two different time-periods that
4 you've already asked me about, and I provided answers. In May and in June
5 I was at the forward command post of the Pristina Corps, and that's when I
6 enjoyed this particular power. What you're talking about now is a later
8 Q. Okay. So in July 1998 you did not have that power?
9 A. No.
10 Q. But in July 1998 when General Lazarevic issues this order, isn't
11 one of the reasons for it being issued is because the VJ did not want the
12 international observers to see the army using large-calibre weapons in
13 anti-terrorist operations. Isn't that the reason for that or one of the
14 reasons for that?
15 A. No, no.
16 Q. Okay. Why do you say that?
17 A. For the simple reason that the use of a large-calibre weapon is
18 not something that you can conceal, regardless of an international
19 presence, the presence of diplomats or God knows who. I'm talking about
20 the safety of those people, to keep them from being harmed, and that was
21 the order. Let me remind you about previous documents. You saw for
22 yourself that the corps commander ordered the same thing. If there were
23 terrorists among civilians, for example, that there should be no firing,
24 that buildings should not be fired at if the assessment is that there are
25 still civilians in the buildings, regardless of the fact that there was
1 firing coming from those very buildings.
2 Q. I understand what you're saying, General, but if that were the
3 case then I don't understand why this order needs to include the language
4 about "the Siptars are trying to take advantage of the situation and
5 provoke units firing in their presence to show the world how much they're
6 threatened." If all you want to do is protect foreign civilians, why
7 don't you say: If there are foreign civilians in the area, don't fire
8 because we don't want them to be harmed? Wouldn't that have been the
9 plainest, most straightforward way to deal with that if that's the only
11 A. No.
12 Q. Okay. Let me ask you this then and I think I'll be done. In
13 answer to a question from Mr. Bakrac yesterday on this issue - and you're
14 talking about the time-period when you were in charge of some control over
15 large-calibre weapons, but I think the logic applies to the later period
16 as well - you said: "The reason being I wanted to prevent the
17 lower-ranked commanders from abusing their position, not so much that I
18 wanted to keep them from using certain weapons inappropriate and not what
19 the situation called for. You have a terrorist and you target them with
20 an artillery weapon which is a commonplace example of a common mistake."
21 And I think Judge Bonomy asked you about that. That was a
22 mistake, wasn't it, that was an inappropriate disproportionate use of
23 force to use an artillery weapon against a single terrorist, for example?
24 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I may have overreached, I vulgarized the
25 particular example and now you're pressing me on that particular example.
1 There were no such examples. But in certain cases in order to prevent
2 disproportionate use of force, we restricted that. Initially this went
3 through me, at a later stage through decisions being approved and
4 proposals being made to the commander as to which particular piece of
5 equipment would be used.
6 Q. Okay. General, thank you. I'm finished. I appreciate it.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you sit down, Mr. Hannis --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
9 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: You indicated a inquiry at least in respect of the
11 authenticity of three of the briefing notes and you have referred to at
12 least two of them, possibly all three in cross-examination.
13 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour, I'm relying on representations I've
14 had from Mr. Visnjic that we will have a witness later on who will explain
15 the provenance of these, and I'm satisfied that that's probably going to
16 pan out as he says. And then I will be satisfied with them. I think
17 we're going to have, actually, the note-taker from which the typewritten
18 documents were prepared.
19 Have I stated -- may I ask if I've stated that correctly.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Is that the position, Mr. Visnjic?
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] That's right, Your Honour. May I
22 just inform you that the full version of this document is inside the
23 system, it's 3D1094. That is the complete document. This is alongside
24 with other documents part and parcel of our motion number 5 to add further
25 exhibits, and this was filed today.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Since there is at least a question mark over these
2 and since there will be more elaboration of their provenance, we will mark
3 these for marked for identification, that's 3D639, 3D724, and 3D725.
4 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: That places no barrier in the way of them being
7 MR. HANNIS: I see that the entire set of briefing notes has been
8 uploaded in e-court and it appears as 361 pages, but it does not appear
9 that we have an English translation yet. So that's an issue that we'll
10 continue to deal with.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may explain.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] What we're dealing with here is a
15 full set of documents divided by days. If Mr. Hannis looks at our
16 individual documents, the ones that we file based on days when briefings
17 were held, these are in actual fact the typed-up version of the
18 handwritten set. I can name the numbers for him which number is in
19 reference to which day to facilitate this process for him, but we can deal
20 with that outside the courtroom. I don't think that should be a problem.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: So the 361 pages have been translated in individual
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I'm not sure whether all the days
24 had been translated, but certainly all up to the 10th of July. I'm not
25 sure about later, after the 10th of July, because there's about ten days
1 left, that leaves us with another ten days and I do have to check that.
2 So between the 24th of March and the 10th of July, all had been
3 translated. I'm certain of that.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] June, June, Your Honour, the 10th of
6 June, not July, my apologies, 1999.
7 Questioned by the Court:
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, you've been asked a number of questions
9 about the Supreme Command and the Supreme Defence Council. We have seen a
10 decision of the 23rd of March adopting rules of procedure of the
11 Supreme Defence Council, so that's more or less at the start of the
12 conflict with NATO. Were you aware of these rules of procedure?
13 A. No.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: It does say in Article 3 that: "The President
15 shall convene the Supreme Council sessions at his own initiative at the
16 proposal of the members of the Supreme Council or Federal Minister of
17 Defence and Chief of General Staff. Federal Minister of Defence and Chief
18 of General Staff or their representatives are obliged to participate at
19 the Supreme Council sessions, otherwise the session cannot be held."
20 Were you aware of that rule?
21 A. I'm not entirely familiar with the rules of procedure.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you tell us whether you have any recollection
23 of a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council taking place after the 4th of
25 A. I apologise, do you mean 1998 and 1999?
1 JUDGE BONOMY: 1999.
2 A. I'm not familiar with that.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: During the period from the 4th of April, 1999, when
4 you were part of the Supreme Command Staff, were any generals or admirals
5 appointed, promoted, or retired?
6 A. I do know about that, but I can't tell you exactly who, what rank,
7 what duty, or if someone perhaps retired. It has been quite a long time
8 and this time has taken its toll.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, I understand that. So are you saying that you
10 don't know if any were appointed, promoted, and retired during that
11 period, or are you saying that there certainly were some but you can't
12 remember who they were?
13 A. My answer was yes, but I can't tell you about specific cases.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: This -- these rules include Article 4 which says:
15 "The Supreme Council shall decide on appointments, promotions, and
16 retirements of generals and admirals with consensus pursuant to the
17 proposal of the Chief of the General Staff."
18 Can you recollect any meetings being held of the Supreme Defence
19 Council after the 4th of April, 1999, to deal with the appointments,
20 promotions, and retirements that you do remember were made?
21 A. Your Honour, I said that the rules of procedure are totally
22 unknown to me. I know that some people were forced into -- made to
23 retire, but whether the Supreme Defence Council actually met or not, that
24 I don't know.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Was your answer about appointments, promotions, and
1 retirements confined to people who were made to retire?
2 A. No, I was talking also about people who were promoted to a higher
3 rank; I was among them.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 And are you referring in that connection to your promotion to take
6 up the post on the 4th of April or to a different promotion?
7 A. I am saying that I was promoted not to take up that post because I
8 already had the appropriate rank to hold that post. But I said that I was
9 promoted in that year.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: On which date?
11 A. I'm sorry, I can't really give you the exact date.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Was it after the 4th of April?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Was it before the end of June?
15 A. I think it was after that.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 Now, Mr. Bakrac, you wish to cross-examine further, do you?
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I have just three
19 or four -- two or three questions that are related to some of the
20 documents exhibited by the Prosecution and they also stem from the
21 cross-examination where I believe there may have been some prejudice to my
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
24 MR. HANNIS: No objection, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Carry on then, Mr. Bakrac.
1 Further cross-examination by Mr. Bakrac:
2 Q. [Interpretation] To be expeditious and to be able to complete this
3 in five to ten minutes, could we please have Prosecution Exhibit P1966 up
4 on e-court.
5 Mr. Simic, while we're waiting for this document to come up on the
6 screen, in order to be completely fair towards you, I would like you to
7 look at this document in some detail, not just the first page and the last
8 page as the Prosecutor asked you to look at it, and then I will be asking
9 you some questions about it.
10 I don't have it on my screen, I don't know if you do.
11 A. No.
12 Q. Do you see it now, General?
13 A. Yes -- now it's gone. Okay, fine.
14 Q. Try and look as closely as possible. I would now like to ask you,
15 in your capacity of a high-ranking officer with many years of service,
16 could you please just skim through this document, go through paragraph 1,
17 and in particular paragraph 2 tasks, and then we will move on to page 2.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could I please ask for the page to be
19 scrolled up so that we can actually see paragraph 2.
20 Q. General, could we move on to the next page to look at paragraphs
21 3, 4, and 5, could you just skim through them as quickly as possible so as
22 to save time.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we move on to page 2 of this
25 Q. Could you pay particular attention to paragraph 5, tasks of units.
1 A. Yes, I've read it.
2 Q. General -- and could you please look at the next page because the
3 tasks ton on to that page so that we are sure that you really have read
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have the next page on the
6 screen, please.
7 Q. So can we comment on it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. General, my question to you is: You were shown this order that is
10 entitled or has a heading: "The Joint Command for KiM." Once you looked
11 at those tasks, what structures, what units are referred to in this order
12 or ...
13 A. Paragraph 5.5.1, 2, and so on refers to the units that are
14 subordinate to the corps commander.
15 Q. So we're talking about military units. Those tasks pertain only
16 to military units, am I right?
17 A. Yes, absolutely.
18 Q. And if this -- I'm sorry. If this now had been an order issued by
19 some kind of a Joint Command, should there not be some tasks for MUP, and
20 we can see here that we're talking about offering support to MUP?
21 A. The superior commander in paragraph 5 issues orders to every unit
22 within the chain of command subordinate to him in the chain of command,
23 and here we can see that he is issuing tasks to the units that belong to
24 him, that are communicating with him, the 125th Brigade and so on.
25 Q. General, could you please look at paragraph 4, that's on page 2,
1 the last line there, could you please read it, the first sentence above
2 paragraph 5, tasks for units.
3 A. Readiness?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. "Readiness for the routing and destruction of the Siptar terrorist
6 forces at hour, at date ..."
7 Q. There is no time or no date?
8 A. Yes, there is no time or no date.
9 Q. How would you then ...
10 [Defence counsel confer]
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. How would you then interpret this order that does not have any
13 indication of time, date, or it is not signed at all, but here there's no
14 time or date for the readiness?
15 A. I can't interpret it in any other way but that this order was not
16 the order for the implementation, was not actually issued. Preparations
17 were made, tasks were issued, but what we called "CH" hour has not been
18 defined when this action should begin.
19 Q. General, to be as fair as possible towards you, my learned
20 colleague Mr. Hannis, inadvertently I'm sure, read to you just one part of
21 paragraph 13, item two in this paragraph. Could you please read, slowly
22 and carefully, the last page, paragraph 13 --
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have the last page of
24 this document brought up.
25 Q. Could you please read the first and the second item there and
1 comment on it and that would be my last question.
2 A. Paragraph 13.
3 Q. Could you please read it very slowly but both items listed here
4 because my learned colleague from the Prosecution only read the second
6 A. Paragraph 13: "Organise coordinated action with MUP forces
7 concerning preparations for combat operations before the start and during
8 the combat operations."
9 Second item or passage: "The Joint Command for Kosovo and
10 Metohija shall command and direct all forces during combat operations from
11 the Pristina area."
12 Q. General, am I right when I say that according to this two
13 different commands have yet to meet and organise an operation and to
14 coordinate this operation in its course?
15 A. Yes. According to what we've just read about the time for
16 readiness which was not defined, it is to be expected that they actually
17 expect that a meeting would be held, yet another meeting, to determine the
19 Q. General, now let us move on to the last passage here that was
20 shown to you by Mr. Hannis. All forces during combat operations, am I
21 right when I say that we're talking about the command solely during combat
22 operations, is this what this last sentence is all about?
23 A. It unequivocally talks only about the exercise of command during
24 combat operations.
25 Q. Can we then ...
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, but I have to say, an
3 order is issued for the carrying out of combat operations, in fact.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. If we have this wording, does it not indicate that during the
6 combat operations there will be a joint or a combined command post of the
7 military and the MUP --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Don't answer that question. That's one too far,
9 Mr. Bakrac. Most of your questions have been unnecessary re-examination;
10 they're simply arguments that can be advanced on the strength of what's in
11 the document. I think there was one question that was merited in that
12 re-examination. Now, unless you have another subject to deal with, I
13 think we can move on.
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, that completes my
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
17 MR. IVETIC: I have just four questions relating to the topic
18 opened up by the Prosecution, Exhibit P1459, that was the May 25 letter
19 from General Pavkovic.
20 MR. HANNIS: No objection, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Please proceed.
22 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Further cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
24 Q. General, I'll brief. As I indicated I only have four questions,
25 so please bear with me. I want to clear up something the Prosecution
1 opened up and I think the easiest way to do it is have the exhibit on the
2 screen, the second page in both copies, item number 4. This is the
3 Pavkovic letter you stated that you had never seen before, and at the top
4 of the Serbian it's number 4 and I think in the top of the English it is
5 also number 4 on the second page. Thank you.
6 Now, sir, as with regards to the wholesale and serious allegations
7 of crimes in this paragraph alleged against the MUP and whole units of the
8 MUP in settlements and refugee shelters, including murder, rape, plunder,
9 such allegations were never contained in any combat reports received by
10 you or the staff of the Supreme Command prior to that date. Is that
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Don't answer that either. We've got that answer,
13 have we not, already, quite clearly, Mr. Ivetic. So there must be
14 something else that you're moving on to --
15 MR. IVETIC: I can move on, Your Honour. I thought it was quite
16 clear too, but then with the questioning of yourselves and Mr. Hannis, it
17 appeared to me it wasn't clear. That was the point I objected and thought
18 it was clear.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: The answer is clear that he had never seen any
20 combat report containing that material.
21 MR. IVETIC: With respect to the MUP, that's the clarification I
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Well --
24 MR. IVETIC: Okay. That's fine. If that's clear and it's clear
25 on the record and Your Honours are representing it's clear to you, then I
1 can move on.
2 Q. Now, with respect to the transcript at page 66, lines 2 through 8,
3 General, the Prosecution asked you about the allegations in this letter
4 and you said that General Ojdanic took all steps he could by reporting the
5 things going on to the president of Yugoslavia. When you refer to
6 General Ojdanic reporting the things going on, I presume you are referring
7 only to those things that you and General Velickovic had in your report
8 because those were the only things that had been reported to you and the
9 Supreme Command Staff at that time. Am I correct in that assumption?
10 A. I cannot confirm that. I don't know what document you're talking
11 about. You're talking about figures and I don't have those figures at my
12 disposal, so I don't know what the document that is. I don't have it up
13 on the screen.
14 Q. The -- it's the transcript of the -- the report that you authored
15 I believe is 3D692, General, so that would be the report that I'm
16 referring to and it should come up on your screen in just a second. I
17 could specifically cite to it -- I believe you had said that with respect
18 to the MUP there were -- there were complaints or frustration with a lack
19 of respect for agreements and I believe individual PJP MUP committing
20 looting. Does that refresh your recollection? I don't know exactly where
21 in the report. I believe it's on the third page on the -- paragraph 11, I
22 believe it was in that report. I only have the -- yes, it is, it's
23 paragraph 11, page 4 of 6 on the English and in the B/C/S -- and now --
24 now can you answer my question or do you need me to repeat it, General?
25 A. Could you please repeat it.
1 Q. Sure thing. When you stated that General Ojdanic took all steps
2 he could by reporting these things going on to the president of
3 Yugoslavia, were you referring -- you were referring to those things set
4 forth in your report authored together with General Velickovic, because
5 that is all that was known to yourselves and the Supreme Command Staff.
6 Is that correct?
7 A. That's correct, yes.
8 Q. Thank you. And with regards to this report, it's in the middle of
9 the -- it's actually the third paragraph in the English -- the third
10 subparagraph of paragraph 11 in the English, you mention that there had
11 been reactions to the levels of the "privileged" positions of the members
12 of the MUP. Was this a problem that the professional MUP police officers
13 were entitled to a salary and daily subsistence allowances under law,
14 whereas the conscripts and mobilised persons in the army were not paid.
15 Is that the problem that is here described as a "privilege" position?
16 A. This principle of replacements or rotation of units, rest, food,
17 accommodation for units, all this irritated our personnel and had an
18 adverse effect on their morale. And that is why there was this huge case
19 of desertion on the 17th of July because the reservists were not -- they
20 did not receive the benefits that they were entitled to in order to be
21 able to support themselves. That was the problem.
22 MR. CEPIC: Excuse me, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
24 MR. CEPIC: With your leave, I think we have an error in
25 transcript on page 107, I think that the witness mentioned MUP units.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Which line?
2 MR. CEPIC: 14, of MUP units, yes, 107 page, line 14.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Please continue, Mr. Ivetic.
6 MR. IVETIC: I think also accommodation for the MUP units is what
7 the general said, but I think it should be cleared up either way.
8 Q. General, just to finish up on this point, am I correct that the
9 problem wasn't that the MUP was getting paid on time and the MUP was
10 having its supplying -- logistics handled on time, the problem was that
11 the conscripts and foot soldiers in the army were not being paid and were
12 not being provided for within their structure. Is that correct?
13 A. You're asking me this piecemeal, but if we put the contents all
14 together you can see what this is all about. It -- the behaviour of the
15 MUP personnel was irritating wherever they were deployed. You can see
16 this where it says the members of the VJ are particularly irritated by the
17 behaviour of the special police units who are not in the brigade's zone of
18 responsibility, lack of respect for agreements, and looting. And that's
19 not how we trained our personnel, that's not how we taught our personnel.
20 We did not allow that.
21 Q. I understand that, sir, I am referring to the -- I am referring to
22 the part of that section that talks about privileges, so I'm dealing
23 exclusively with privileges at this point in time. These are not, in
24 fact, privileges. These were regular parts of employment in the MUP, and
25 the army had similar privileges, just that the army was unable to provide
1 those benefits, I should say, they're benefits rather than privileges, to
2 its members. Is that correct? This was not a malfeasance on the part of
3 the MUP.
4 A. You're partially right with your question, but if you allow me --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And, Your Honour, if you allow me to
6 elaborate a little bit. This is what hurt the chief of the Supreme
7 Command Staff. He was unable to pay his personnel what they were entitled
8 to, and you had these people who left their families, their jobs, and yet
9 you have this other person who serves -- who is engaged in combat
10 operations for one month and then is replaced, and our conscripts could
11 not leave the ranks until the end of the war. And this is what rankled.
12 I tried to present that but I was interrupted often. This is when
13 General Ojdanic raised the issue, to propose to the supreme commander to
14 put together persons at the highest levels of responsibility and that they
15 should try and solve those problems, lest there should be more serious
16 consequences. This is not what happened and then we had those desertions
17 on the 18th and the 19th.
18 MR. CEPIC: Your Honour, if you allow me.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
20 MR. CEPIC: Again error in transcript, line 7, we miss word MUP,
21 and in line 8, I found in the transcript word "conscript" but I think
22 witness said "member," "pripadnik". Thank you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you allow me, I apologise, but
24 during the war, after mobilisation, the term "recruit" and "reservists"
25 are not used. The only term that is used is soldier, member of the Army
1 of Yugoslavia. Even volunteers when they joined the army are regulated by
2 all the laws of the Army of Yugoslavia and are considered to be its
4 MR. IVETIC: Thank you --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that mean that your report relates to the
6 position of anyone who might be described as a soldier, member of the Army
7 of Yugoslavia?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time when we had the state
9 of war, every person in any unit, regardless of their status as a
10 reservist or a soldier doing the national service, they all had the same
11 rights and they were all members of the army.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
13 MR. IVETIC:
14 Q. Thank you, General, for your time. I hope that these are the last
15 questions that I have for you.
16 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
18 Re-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
19 Q. General, we're drawing closer to the end of this exercise. Just a
20 couple of questions for you, sir, more in the way of you helping me
21 enlighten Mr. Ivetic about some documents that he asked you questions
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have 3D670 brought up
24 on our screens.
25 Q. General, if you remember, Mr. Ivetic asked you a lot of questions
1 about the order on the resubordination which you said was signed by
2 President Milosevic, and then among other things there was a question
3 raised about where this order was, whether you have ever seen it or not,
4 what archives specifically, and so on and so forth. Could you please look
5 at 3D670.
6 MR. IVETIC: Just for the record, this is not the order that I was
7 asking about. I was asking about the one he testified to relating -- that
8 said that was the MUP was resubordinated to the Pristina Corps, as
9 identified in paragraph, I believe it was 19 of his statement. This one I
10 am aware of; the other one I was not and that was what I was asking about.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that help you, Mr. Visnjic?
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right, Your Honour.
13 It's what Mr. Ivetic asked. I will now be showing that document, the
14 order of President Milosevic. We have the document before us, it has the
15 file number and everything else. I hope that this under the condition
16 obviously that the witness recognises the document.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: You're now dealing with 3D670 in respect of
18 something Mr. Ivetic asked about 3D692; have I got the picture correct?
19 MR. IVETIC: I think he's referring to my questioning of the
20 witness yesterday, Your Honour, when I asked about the order that was
21 referenced at paragraph 19 of his written statement and where that was
22 located, the order on resubordination of the MUP units to the PRK, as is
23 in his -- in that paragraph of his statement. So it's not related to the
24 cross that I did today as of yet, it's related to the cross that I did
1 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand. But the first thing that you asked
2 about yesterday was 3D692, and that's what you've just told us is the
3 order you were concerned -- or the document you were concerned about, not
5 MR. VISNJIC: Your Honour --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: And I'm asking Mr. Visnjic just to indicate if the
7 two are related to each other.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Well, I don't know what you're doing so
10 just please carry on.
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 This is about Mr. Ivetic's question in relation to paragraph 19 of
13 the witness's statement, where the witness states that the order on the
14 resubordination of the units was issued and so on and so forth, and then
15 Mr. Ivetic asked him:
16 "Did you personally have an opportunity to see this order in
17 writing that was issued by the president of Yugoslavia on the
18 resubordination of the MUP in this way?"
19 And the witness's answer was: "Yes."
20 And then there was a series of questions that followed by
21 Mr. Ivetic about that document. All I'm trying to ask the witness now is
23 Q. General, is this the document you had in mind when answering
24 Mr. Ivetic's questions about the president's order?
25 A. Yes, this is the very same document and the substance reflects
1 what I say in paragraph 19 of my statement.
2 Q. Thank you very much.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
5 Q. Thank you, General.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, that completes your evidence. Thank you
9 for coming here to give it. You're now free to leave the courtroom.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Microphone not activated]
14 [In English] I said we have two options to stop or to proceed, it
15 depends on you.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it's always a good idea to get the
17 formalities resolved so that we have a nice clean start on Monday on the
18 essence of the witness's evidence. It usually takes a little while to
19 break them in.
20 We just need a name for the moment.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, our next witness is
22 General Spasoje Smiljanic. I hope they can use this much information to
23 track down the right witness in the corridors.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Smiljanic.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: -- make the solemn declaration to speak the truth
5 by reading aloud the document you've just been given.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
9 You will now be examined by Mr. Visnjic on behalf of
10 General Ojdanic.
11 Mr. Visnjic.
12 WITNESS: SPASOJE SMILJANIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
15 Q. [Microphone not activated]
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. [Interpretation] I know you spent the entire day waiting, but here
18 we go, we have 20 minutes left and then we'll start and then continue on
20 A. I have not been let down by my patience.
21 Q. Can you state your name for the record, General.
22 A. I'm Spasoje Smiljanic.
23 Q. What's your profession, sir?
24 A. I'm retired now.
25 Q. What was your rank at retirement?
1 A. Colonel-general.
2 Q. General, can you briefly take us through your military career and
3 the duties and posts which you held?
4 A. Of course I completed the military air force academy back in 1967
5 and I became an officer, second lieutenant, a pilot, in the ranks of the
6 JNA. Over the further course of my career as an officer, I held a number
7 of posts and I will point out those of particular importance to the army
8 as a whole, the VJ eventually. I was chief of the first administration, I
9 was commander of the air force and the air defence, and those were the two
10 key positions that I held in my career. I did hold a number of other
11 posts in the Yugoslav People's Army and later the VJ.
12 Q. Thank you. The two positions that you mentioned, chief of the
13 first administration and commander of the air force and air defence, these
14 were in actual fact positions that you held in 1998 and 1999; am I right?
15 A. Yes. In 1998 I was chief of the first administration and that had
16 been since 1996. I remained in that post between 1996 and 1999. It was
17 early in 1999 that I took up my duties as commander of the air force and
18 the air defence.
19 Q. Thank you. When you say chief of the first administration,
20 General, can you please explain briefly to the Chamber what this means,
21 the first administration, and part of which body is it, which larger body?
22 A. The first administration is an organic unit, an organic part of
23 this sector for operations and staff affairs, which is attached to the
24 army's General Staff.
25 Q. Thank you. In your capacity as chief of the first administration,
1 did you have the right or the responsibility to attend collegium meetings
2 called by Chief of the General Staff on a weekly basis?
3 A. No, until General Ojdanic was appointed Chief of the General Staff
4 the chief of the first administration was not a member of the General
5 Staff's collegium, but I did on an occasional basis attend these meetings
6 even before General Ojdanic's time, especially in situations where the
7 chief of the sector for operations and staff affairs for one reason or
8 another was unable to attend these collegium meetings at the General
9 Staff. On such occasions, I would stand in for him, I would stand in, as
10 I said, at some of those meetings.
11 Q. Thank you, General.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please go to 3D1074, it's a
13 Defence exhibit, the collegium meeting dated the 26th of September, 1997,
14 the B/C/S page is 10. Page 2 in the English, paragraph 3, and all the way
15 up to page 3.
16 Q. General, let me take you back to that time, I'm talking about
17 September 1997. At this collegium meeting the situation in Kosovo and
18 Metohija was discussed. Why was this particular time-period important?
19 What developments were particularly important in Kosovo and Metohija at
20 this point in time?
21 A. At this point in time or the period which followed, there were
22 demonstrations in the offing, rallies by students and their parents in
23 Kosovo and Metohija, the reason for this being the implementation of the
24 agreement to commence the academic year, to resume the education of
25 Albanian pupils and students.
1 Q. Can you tell me briefly what was discussed at this collegium
2 meeting. You as the General Staff, what did you discuss at this meeting?
3 A. The General Staff was reviewing the situation. We were trying to
4 see what could possibly be the consequence of those demonstrations and
5 rallies, would they be peaceful rallies, would they cause destruction,
6 would they attack the army, would there be any interethnic strife as a
7 result of these rallies, would this lead to clashes, would it not be the
8 case that from Albania, which at the time was in a state of disarray, both
9 in military terms and as a country, it was disintegrating. So these were
10 all the factors that the General Staff analysed in order to be able to
11 take measures to forestall if possible any destructive consequences that
12 might follow these rallies, if indeed these rallies were to prove
14 Q. Thank you very much.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please now zoom in on the
16 bottom half of the B/C/S page that we have on our screens right now.
17 The English reference is -- well, the next page. Upper half of
18 the page, please. Thank you.
19 Q. General, what we see before us is General Ojdanic's contribution.
20 Could you please focus closely on the last three paragraphs of his
21 contribution. Let me first draw your attention to this -- rather, I'll
22 read it for you. He says: "In addition to what I have said, I believe
23 that the order should strictly prohibit any actions and conduct of VJ
24 commands and units exceeding the constitutional role and tasks of the VJ
25 and which would irritate our public and particularly the international
2 General, you were at that meeting. You know what the discussion
3 was about. How did you interpret this contribution by General Ojdanic?
4 A. Yes, indeed. It's true that I was at the meeting, the meeting was
5 chaired by the then-Chief of the General Staff, Colonel-General Momcilo
6 Perisic. A comprehensive analysis was presented by General Aleksandar
7 Dimitrijevic, and General Ojdanic followed up in his professional capacity
8 as deputy Chief of the General Staff, so he started making proposals and
9 the proposal you've just read up was one of those. General Ojdanic is
10 here explicitly advocating the following approach: The army should act in
11 keeping with the constitution, the army must not do anything outside its
12 role under the constitution. Not a single task may be performed that
13 would lead to irritation among the population of Kosovo and Metohija, and
14 particularly no irritation to the international public. Therefore, my
15 interpretation of this is an attempt to peacefully approach this problem
16 and peacefully resolve the problem that might occur during those rallies.
17 Q. What about this other sentence: "We should request and emphasise
18 this in the order that the principle of proposing and approving the
19 decision on the use of the VJ forces must strictly be observed."
20 I assume that the VJ at the time was involved in its regular
21 activities as well, drills, manoeuvres, supplies, that sort of thing. How
22 do you see this order within the context of the VJ's regular activities
23 throughout that period?
24 A. Yes, the army is always busy doing something, performing some
25 tasks, training, taking care of its supplies, that sort of thing.
1 General Ojdanic at this collegium meeting requested that all movements by
2 units be abandoned in Kosovo and Metohija precisely because of this, what
3 we've been talking about, in order to not cause any irritation. Apart
4 from such things as medical services, food supplies, or other
5 extraordinary circumstances that might arise in which units might have to
6 get involved and take to the road, as it were. What is here underlined as
7 a request to strictly abide by the principles and proposals made on how
8 the army units should be used, well, this is a principle that we call the
9 principle of subordination and this is something that General Ojdanic
10 remained adamant about throughout his time as deputy and especially in his
11 capacity as Chief of the General Staff. The principle of subordination
12 states in no uncertain terms that a commander shall use his unit, he shall
13 make decisions on the use of his unit once he is in the possession of
14 decisions and appropriate authorisation from his superior command.
15 Q. Now that we're talking about the subordinate principle and the
16 relations between a superior and a subordinate, can you please explain the
17 following sentence: "I'm in favour -- I support the belief that every
18 level of command should be responsible for the implementation of tasks
19 stemming from their rank and the posts they're occupying. If anybody from
20 the General Staff were to jump in and assume a job that was the
21 responsibility of a lower level of command, it would mean interfering in
22 other people's business and assuming responsibility on behalf of another
24 A. Indeed.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: You think that needs explanation, do you --
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Well --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: If it does, perhaps the man who uttered it should
3 explain it, but it's very difficult to see what particular value there is,
4 Mr. Visnjic, in going through these documents and having this witness read
5 out or be referred to what we can read ourselves and which could have been
6 dealt with in writing without this -- it's much more important to get a
7 witness to speak personally about things he has personal knowledge of
8 rather than what we're hearing here. And this has been a feature of your
9 presentation so far.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] May I continue or should I stop now?
11 JUDGE BONOMY: No, you can continue, but I'm hoping you'll pay
12 attention to what I'm saying for next week's presentation. But please
13 continue for the moment.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. All right, General. Let's skip this comment then. Do you
16 remember or perhaps do you know this based on documents, how did
17 General Perisic see these proposals made by General Ojdanic?
18 A. Indeed, General Perisic accepted these proposals by
19 General Ojdanic, and he also requested that these be transformed into
20 orders and submitted to units and that they be made binding in terms of
21 implementation, plus the General Staff had the commitment to check how
22 this order was being implemented down the chain of command.
23 Q. Thank you very much.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I now have an October
25 collegium meeting, or rather, November 1998, but this is a little more
1 comprehensive, I'm afraid. I'm afraid five minutes or four minutes just
2 won't do.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: [Microphone not activated]
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: [Microphone not activated].
6 Let's open it up and see if it's really necessary to do what you
7 propose to do.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. 3D664, page 5.
9 Q. General, we have before us a collegium meeting dated the 6th of
10 November, 1998, and this is another collegium meeting that you attended.
11 We are about to see General Aleksandar Dimitrijevic's contribution or
12 assessment, security assessment, if you like. Let me take you back to
13 this meeting, and if you could please tell us what the situation on the
14 ground happened to be at the time and let me jog your mind. This was just
15 after the signing of the Milosevic-Holbrooke Agreement.
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] The English reference is page 4,
17 paragraph 4.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Indeed, this is early November, in
19 Kosovo and Metohija we already see the OSCE monitors arriving. Things
20 being what they were, the mission was on its way in and the VJ forces were
21 pushed back into boundaries defined by the agreement. The collegium
22 discussed what the arrival of the mission meant in actual terms and the
23 return of the VJ forces or the sending back of the VJ forces defined by
24 the agreement to barracks and outside Kosovo and Metohija. So that's more
25 or less what was discussed at this collegium meeting.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. General, General Dimitrijevic in his assessment on pages 4 through
3 6 of the English puts forward a prediction on what the KLA would do. Can
4 you tell us what this prediction was? How did he foresee future action on
5 the part of the KLA over the next period?
6 A. General Dimitrijevic conducts quite a comprehensive analysis here,
7 and this is reflected in the document. And I do, as a matter of fact,
8 remember that myself. He said that the overall situation in Kosovo was
9 still encumbered by terrorism. That is precisely what he said. He said
10 the terrorist forces were moving back into the area virtually enjoying
11 protection from the OSCE. The verification mission, he said, were not
12 doing enough to stop their return. They were still using military
13 strongholds, they were entering these military strongholds, they were
14 consolidating, they were collecting caches of weapons, they were getting
15 new weapons, and based on his assessment they were preparing for
16 large-scale operations in Kosovo and Metohija.
17 Q. Thank you very much, General.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't know if this
19 is a good time to break.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: That's fine, Mr. Visnjic. Thank you.
21 Mr. Smiljanic, we have to complete our hearing today at this time,
22 and we shall resume it on Monday at 9.00 in the morning. You require to
23 be back here in time to resume your evidence then. Meanwhile, it is very
24 important that you have no discussion with anyone, anyone at all, whether
25 involved in this case or not involved in it, about the evidence in the
1 case. You can meet with and discuss with anyone any other subject, but
2 definitely not the evidence in the case.
3 Would you now please leave the courtroom with the usher, and we
4 shall see you again on Monday at 9.00.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.30 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Monday, the 17th day of
9 September, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.