1 Thursday, 27 September 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 8.30 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, your next witness is?
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, our next witness is
7 Branko Fezer.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Fezer. Would you please make the
10 solemn declaration to speak the truth by reading aloud the document which
11 will now be shown to you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
15 You'll now be examined by Mr. Visnjic on behalf of Mr. Ojdanic.
16 Mr. Visnjic.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 WITNESS: BRANKO FEZER
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General.
22 A. Good morning.
23 Q. General, before we start our examination-in-chief, is it true that
24 you made a statement to the Ojdanic Defence team on the 3rd of September,
25 1997 [as interpreted], this statement was recorded and you signed it, did
1 you not?
2 A. Indeed.
3 Q. Upon your arrival in The Hague, did you look at that statement?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Were you to testify before this Trial Chamber, would you answer
6 all the questions from the statement in the same way?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we would like to
9 tender the witness's statement under Rule 92 ter, the statement bears the
10 following number: 3D1118.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. In your statement you provided a detail account of your background
14 and your duties. Can you just tell the Trial Chamber in 1998 and 1999
15 what post did you hold?
16 A. Throughout that time, I held the post of deputy head of the
17 personnel administration. I was also in charge of the general cadre in
18 the VJ.
19 Q. In the second half of November 1998 there was a change in the
20 position of the Chief of the General Staff?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know anything more about that?
23 A. As for that particular replacement at the very top of the General
24 Staff, I can tell you this, sometime in mid-November 1998 a
25 non-commissioned officer came over from the military cabinet of the
1 president himself, he was authorised to request information on certain
2 generals and admirals, about a dozen of them, who were then on duty. I
3 prepared those, I gave them to the officer, and he took this back. I'm
4 not sure when he did this. Several days later in the press, in the media,
5 it was published that a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council had been
6 held, that at this meeting the decision was taken to appoint
7 General Ojdanic new deputy of the General Staff and that General Perisic
8 who had been Chief of the General Staff up to that point would now become
9 advisor to the president -- deputy prime minister, and then the handover
10 took place between General Ojdanic and Perisic.
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
12 Exhibit P796.
13 Q. General, can you see the document?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you briefly tell the Trial Chamber what this document is about
16 and where is it kept?
17 A. This is exactly what normally happens when there is a handover at
18 any level of command. It comprises the fundamental procedure. You see
19 the signatures of both the person taking over and the person handing over.
20 The handover took place pursuant to a decision of the president of the
21 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, according to his decree. This is kept in
22 the files of both the person taking over and the person handing over, and
23 each of them kept a copy.
24 Q. Following the appointment of General Ojdanic as Chief of the
25 General Staff, there were certain personnel reshuffles in the General
1 Staff, weren't there? Can you tell us about the most important changes
2 that took place and what the reasons were?
3 A. The most important changes occurred at the very top of the General
4 Staff. Ojdanic was appointed Chief of the General Staff and this left the
5 position of the deputy chief vacant. This position had been held by
6 General Ojdanic previously, of course. Certain possibilities, certain
7 options were considered, certain officers were considered who might be
8 appointed. The proposal was made for General Marjanovic to be appointed,
9 his name was put forward; he had been the chief of inspection of the VJ
10 and the army's chief inspector at the same time. In the course of this
11 reshuffle, the position left vacant was the position of the chief
12 inspector, which was a very important position. And then possibility was
13 considered that another officer should be appointed, and then
14 General Samardzic's name came up, who was then commander of the 3rd Army.
15 If the president and the Supreme Council accepted this proposal, this
16 would have left vacant the position of commander of the 3rd Army. So the
17 proposal was made that General Pavkovic should be appointed to that
18 position, and he had previously been commander of the Pristina Corps.
19 So what happened is that the position of the Pristina Corps
20 commander was left vacant and the previous Chief of Staff,
21 General Lazarevic, was proposed as the new commander. This was all
22 phrased as a proposal. As soon as it was put together and as soon as all
23 the arguments were put forward, this was submitted to the Supreme Defence
24 Council for review [as interpreted].
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please now look at 3D731,
1 it's a Defence exhibit.
2 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour, there is an addition to the
3 transcript on page 4, line 24, the witness said: It was submitted to the
4 Supreme Defence Council for review, in fact to the president, I mean maybe
5 it can be established by hearing the tape, but it doesn't --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: That's helpful clarification.
7 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
9 Mr. Visnjic.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, what we have before us
11 is not the original document. This was -- this is a diagram that is based
12 on General Fezer's statement. We'll use it for what it is, it is a
13 diagram. It is just meant to illustrate what General Fezer is saying.
14 Q. General, can you please explain what this is about --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: I think we've got the picture, Mr. Visnjic, unless
16 there's some twist along the way, then I don't know that you need to go
17 into this in any more detail.
18 MR. VISNJIC: No, Your Honour.
19 Q. [Interpretation] General, in paragraph 6 of your statement you
20 describe a number of personnel changes that were made in the VJ, and based
21 on the documents that we have I will be asking you a number of questions.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have P797.
23 Q. General, you're about to see a note on the handover between
24 General Velickovic and General Grahovac. Can you tell us what you know
25 about this particular change, when it occurred and what you believe were
1 the reasons for it were.
2 A. This came about at a later stage, sometime in March I think or
3 perhaps later than that. As to the reasons, I don't know the reasons,
4 because the personnel administration, the body of which I was in charge,
5 is a technical body. We transformed decisions into appropriate documents.
6 I did not know the reasons for these changes. I knew that a decision had
7 been taken, and we were to draft the appropriate document for review by
8 the relevant officer, in this case the president.
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Another document, P804.
10 Q. General, what is this document?
11 A. Another note or report on the handover between General Panic,
12 assistant Chief of the General Staff for the ground forces; and
13 General Simic, I believe. This is another change that came about at a
14 later point, not in December as most of the changes that took place. This
15 was done sometimes -- this was done sometime in April, late March or early
16 April possibly. This is another usual document.
17 Q. You had a chance to inspect individual files, personnel files, in
18 relation to persons who were appointed between December and these last
19 changes that were introduced in April 1999. Were there any
20 appointments -- were any candidates appointed who failed to meet the
21 criteria? Were there any significant discrepancies in terms of the
22 candidates' experience, previous command functions, I mean between those
23 who were being replaced and those who were being appointed?
24 A. As for all these new appointments, each appointee met all the
25 criteria that were required for his respective post. All the newly
1 appointed officers who were now being appointed -- or at least 99 per cent
2 of them enjoyed certain comparative advantages in relation to those who
3 preceded them in terms of experience, in terms of the different posts that
4 they had previously held, in terms of their success rates, in terms of
5 their level of training and military background. There is not the
6 slightest doubt about this. I even have documents showing this, copies of
7 their records which can be cross-referenced. There is no doubt about this
9 Q. Thank you. General, my last question: The Prosecutor has a
10 theory in this trial which goes as follows: Once General Ojdanic had been
11 appointed Chief of the General Staff, many changes were made to the
12 officers' ranks in the VJ. Certain people were eliminated who opposed the
13 use of the VJ in Kosovo. General, I should assume that you at least
14 attended certain meetings at which these personnel changes were discussed.
15 In your opinion, was this actually an element that was considered when the
16 personnel changes were made that you, yourself, witnessed between December
17 1998 and March 1999?
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
19 MR. STAMP: I rise to object to foundation on this question is
20 based upon. He's asking for an opinion. Now, I agree in certain
21 circumstances one can give an opinion, but the previous statement that
22 counsel made is about an assumption which he, counsel, makes, which he
23 asks him to make to express an opinion on the basis of that assumption. I
24 think perhaps a proper foundation could be laid or the question --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: What would be wrong with the question: As far as
1 you could tell was any of this done to eliminate opposition to the use of
2 the VJ in Kosovo? Which is the same question in different language. Is
3 there anything wrong with that question?
4 MR. STAMP: The question as put there is, on the face of it, an
5 unobjectionable question; but to ask the question in the form that I see
6 to be asked by counsel here, which is asking the witness to assume what
7 counsel knows or believes is an improper way to go about it.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
9 Are you prepared to rephrase your question, Mr. Visnjic?
10 MR. VISNJIC: Yes.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Please do so.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. General, in a way, you took part in these personnel changes, you
14 were present, I assume, at least at part of these meetings where these
15 personnel changes were being discussed; am I right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Was it pointed out at any time that these personnel changes were
18 taking place because some of the persons who were being replaced opposed
19 the use of the army in Kosovo?
20 A. Not in that form.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour --
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If it had been a question of
23 disobedience, as stated here, in that case other measures would be taken
24 vis-a-vis these officers or generals, rather. They wouldn't have been
25 given any new appointments, they would have been dismissed from their
1 duties and other legal measures would have been taken if that had been the
2 case. That's not the kind of discussion that took place with regard to
3 these officers. The new Chief of General Staff exercised his right to
4 choose the people he would work with in the future; that is his right. So
5 this kind of qualification was not stated, at least not when I was
6 present, and when the material was being prepared for the session of the
7 Supreme Defence Council.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. No further
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, it's probably because it's so early in
11 the morning, but can you remind me of the meaning of the letters VSO, is
12 that Supreme Defence Council?
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Zecevic.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: We have a couple of questions, Your Honour.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Zecevic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General. General, I have just a
19 few questions for you. In paragraph 5 of your statement you say, or
20 rather, you refer to the powers of the president of the FRY for
21 appointments, dismissals, personnel changes, establishment positions for
22 generals, and so on, and you say this falls exclusively within the
23 authority of the president as regulated by Article 136 of the constitution
24 and 151 of the Law on the Army of Yugoslavia?
25 A. That's right.
1 Q. Tell me Article 5.4, you explained the procedure, you explained
2 the procedure, how the -- how proposals were made to the military cabinet
3 of the president of the FRY, and after sessions of the Supreme Defence
4 Council a conclusion would be sent back to you -- to the General Staff,
5 rather. Could you just explain to me in which form of document this
6 conclusion was submitted to you?
7 A. After a session was held of the Supreme Defence Council, to give
8 one example, most often what was on the agenda were other issues as well.
9 I as the person who was supposed to prepare the realisation of the adopted
10 conclusions and adopted decisions, I received only an excerpt of the
11 minutes pertaining to personnel matters; that is to say that this document
12 was a list where the secretary of the Supreme Defence Council confirms
13 with his signature that he transmitted to me the tasks that were to be
14 carried out by way of implementing the conclusions of the Supreme Defence
15 Council. So it is not a decision, it is simply an excerpt from the
17 Q. General, on the basis of these minutes you prepare that formal
18 part of the decision, or rather, the president's decree itself. And then
19 you submit this decree for signature, or rather, you submit it to the --
20 A. Cabinet.
21 Q. -- So that the president would sign this decree on appointment,
22 dismissal, et cetera, of a particular person as for this particular post?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. In this very same paragraph you say that this decree means the
25 materialisation of the decision of the Supreme Defence Council. Could you
1 please explain to me what you meant -- just wait for a moment?
2 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry. Your Honour, we have the very same -- I
3 used the word "ukaz", and I believe we spent a lot of time explaining it
4 should be -- it is quite different from decree, which is "uredba", and I
5 know that the interpreters are accustom to using the decree, but I would
6 really insist that some other word is used, whether it is ordinance or --
7 because the distinction in our opinion is very important.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: In the English translation of the statement,
9 3D1118, the language used is "a document (order)" --
10 MR. ZECEVIC: In the -- I'm sorry, Your Honour. If we are talking
11 on -- that's a very -- that's paragraph 4 of --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Paragraph 5.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: 5.4 of his -- last sentence?
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
15 MR. ZECEVIC: In the Serbian it says: "Which prepares the act
16 (ukaz)" ordinance.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: And you say that's different from an order, do you?
18 MR. ZECEVIC: Oh yes, very much different, yes.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the difference?
20 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, the -- I believe the Professor Markovic
21 explained the --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: What did he say, remind us?
23 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, the difference between the decree -- the
24 difference which I had in mind is between the decree and the ordinance.
25 The decree is a specific act which is done by -- only by the government;
1 an ordinance, "ukaz," is a specific document which is only according to
2 our legal system and constitutional system, in the hands of the president.
3 So the president is the only person who can issue an ordinance. There is
4 no other body in the system that can do that.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Is that distinction the same as the distinction
6 between making legislation and promulgating legislation or is that a
7 different distinction?
8 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, I think it's a different distinction. I
9 wouldn't be able to answer your --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Well --
11 MR. ZECEVIC: -- Your question now. But in a sense of
12 promulgating the legislation is done by the very same kind of document,
13 which is "ukaz."
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Your point is adequately made now in the
15 transcript, Mr. Zecevic, and you've got the Serbian into the English
16 translation as well and you will have a chance to make submissions in due
17 course. If there's anything else on the factual situation you need to
18 ask --
19 MR. ZECEVIC: No, no, no --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: -- Please do so.
21 MR. ZECEVIC: No. Thank you very much. I just have one or two
22 more questions.
23 Q. [Interpretation] General, this procedure that you explained in
24 paragraph 5 pertains to the time before the state of war was declared,
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. General, during the state of war appointments were also made at
3 this level of establishment, right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In which form, or rather, let me ask you this way. Do you know
6 whether sessions of the Supreme Defence Council were held during the
7 course of the war and did you get such excerpts from the conclusions, or
8 rather, excerpts from the minutes containing conclusions on appointments
9 of specific individuals to specific positions?
10 A. During the war period, the entire composition, or rather, a
11 particular part of the composition of the General Staff, rather, officers
12 comprising the collegium of the General Staff were the command post where
13 the supreme commander was, or rather, the president. I did not attend
14 these meetings. I was not at that location ever. As for personnel
15 changes, as for changes that took place during the course of the war,
16 during the war period, discussions were held at the Supreme Command. In
17 terms of all the authority that was there with regard to this personnel,
18 it was the president who had that authority. And I as a technical organ
19 only spelled this out into a current document by way of realisation.
20 Q. If I understood you, if I understood you well, you would get an
21 order on the appointment of a particular individual to a particular post
22 during the course of the war?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is that right?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. If I understood you correctly, you do not know whether a session
2 was held of the Supreme Defence Council after the 23rd of March, 1999, I
3 mean I'm talking about the war period of 78 days?
4 A. Since I got tasks from this area, I never -- well, I could not
5 conclude that a meeting had been held of the Supreme Defence Council, but
6 practically of the Supreme Command.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I take you back -- can I take you back to the
9 question Mr. Zecevic asked there at the beginning of this chapter. He
10 asked if during the war you ever received excerpts from minutes containing
11 conclusions on appointments of specific individuals to specific positions.
12 Could you answer that yes or no, please?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Zecevic.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Just the last question. General, the procedure
18 of using abbreviations in the Army of Yugoslavia, is it prescribed in a
19 document of the Army of Yugoslavia?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. --
22 A. Abbreviations that are used in the army are regulated through
23 instructions, if I remember correctly now, on conducting a working file
24 and all the abbreviations are listed there and how they should be used.
25 That is the instructions on the work of staffs and the use of work maps.
1 I think that that is what it is called.
2 Q. Just one more thing. VK, that's an abbreviation that denotes the
3 supreme commander, right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. VK-DA, is that the Supreme Command, "Vrhovna Komanda"?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you, General.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: No further questions for this witness. Thank you.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: You'll now be cross-examined by Mr. Stamp on behalf
10 of the Prosecution.
11 Mr. Stamp.
12 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
14 Q. Good morning, sir.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. What is the peacetime complement of generals and admirals in the
17 VJ before the war in 1999?
18 A. If I understood your question correctly, generals and admirals in
19 the army were at the highest positions, high command positions or top
20 positions in the Army of Yugoslavia; that is to say duties which according
21 to establishment require the rank of general or admiral.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know what
24 Mr. Stamp asked. I see that part of his words are missing here in the
25 transcript and the interpretation the witness received is a bit illogical.
1 I mean, it's all the same to me if Mr. Stamp is happy with this answer,
2 but I'm not sure if that was the question.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: The question actually is complete in the English
4 transcript, but it obviously has been translated differently because it
5 wasn't that question that was answered.
6 MR. STAMP: Yes.
7 Q. General, how many generals and admirals were there in the VJ
8 shortly before the war started in 1999?
9 A. I do not recall the exact figure. It is around 70, the total
10 number of admirals and generals.
11 Q. Now, the appointments during peacetime were made by the president
12 in consultation with the SDC; is that your understanding?
13 A. The president, only in accordance with the constitution of -- and
14 the Law on the Army, he is the only one in charge of admirals and
15 generals, but in his decisions he can consult the Supreme Defence Council.
16 Q. Now, in making appointments he would have before him a number of
17 individuals' names from which he could choose; is that correct?
18 A. Is that a question?
19 Q. Yes. Is it correct that he would have before him, prepared by
20 your directorate, by your group, a number of names of individuals from
21 which he and those who advised him on the Supreme Defence Council selected
22 the person to be appointed?
23 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I'm sorry, Mr. Stamp, I would like to intervene
24 here to request you to tell me what you mean by appointments, is it
25 transfers or is it promotions? Because that is a bit of a confusing part
1 of the word. It can be used either way. What do you mean by that, first
2 of all, kindly?
3 MR. STAMP: Thank you.
4 Q. I should say appointment to a post, an establishment post, that a
5 general or an admiral should occupy. The president would have before him
6 a list of names from which he would make -- he and the Supreme Defence
7 Council make a selection; is that correct?
8 A. As for the complement was concerned and as far as any kind of
9 personnel changes in terms of admirals and generals were concerned, he
10 would receive a proposal from the General Staff, where the General Staff
11 would be proposing such and such a change, and it is the president who
12 makes the final decision as to whether he accepts the proposal or not.
13 After that, that decision is carried through.
14 Q. Mr. Fezer, you're not focusing on what I want to know. I want to
15 know if when he had to make the decision and when the Supreme Defence
16 Council met in making these decisions, if they had before them a list of
17 names of individuals that were proposed for any establishment post?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And they would make their selection from that list?
20 A. In principle, yes.
21 Q. Very well --
22 A. But -- yes.
23 Q. Now, what we're primarily concerned about here is dismissal from
24 posts, removal from posts. You were asked -- I note -- I noted that you
25 said that you were in charge of a technical body and you don't know the
1 reasons for the changes; however, you were asked by counsel to give your
2 opinion about what you heard and what you understood to be the reasons for
3 changes. So can I ask you about a few of them, and I want to focus on the
4 removal from office because that is what the main allegation in this case
5 is about.
6 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Mr. Stamp, I'm sorry to intervene again.
7 MR. STAMP: Yes.
8 JUDGE CHOWHAN: These are technical words, dismissal is a
9 technical word, removal is a technical word, transfer is a technical word.
10 MR. STAMP: Yes.
11 JUDGE CHOWHAN: So I think you will kindly be more specific on
12 this because it will lead to a lot of confusion. These are very technical
13 words in the services.
14 MR. STAMP: Indeed they are.
15 Q. Let's speak about the removal of the commander of the 2nd Army in
16 April and his replacement to General Grahovac -- sorry, with General
17 Obradovic. Do you recall that, that that occurred?
18 A. Not exactly.
19 MR. STAMP: Can we look at P721, please -- sorry, it's 3D721.
20 Q. This is -- these are the minutes of a meeting of the Supreme
21 Command, and we have Major -- I'm sorry, I'm afraid I have the wrong
22 document before me. Sorry, it is the correct document, I have the wrong
23 page reference.
24 MR. STAMP: Can we just go to page 5 of the English, and this is
25 page 4 in the B/C/S copy, top of page 5.
1 Q. You will see an item 4 there, and this is the Chief of General
2 Staff speaking and he is saying that: "There must be no talk about the
3 replacement of the commander of the 2nd Army." This is dated the 3rd --
4 A. I see it. Well, this document -- well, I'm not aware of this
5 document --
6 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
7 A. -- I did not attend -- this is a meeting of the Supreme Command, I
8 was not there, so -- well, I've never seen this kind of document.
9 Q. Well, did you know that the commander of the 2nd Army, and I ask
10 you again now, was replaced in early April 1999?
11 A. I said at the beginning that those were not dismissals -- or at
12 least that's not how those personnel changes were described --
13 Q. I'm asking you now --
14 A. -- The word "dismissal" was used in those cases where certain
15 persons failed to meet certain criteria or they failed to carry out their
16 tasks, so they were as a result dismissed --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: The question is: Did you know about this?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: And the problem we're looking at is here appears to
20 be a change in personnel that you don't know about; that's the point that
21 Mr. Stamp seems to be making. That could happen, could it?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I knew about changes
23 only insofar as I prepared certain documents, but I never learned the
24 reasons, nor were these reasons ever explained to me.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: So you knew about this change, did you?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I drafted the document which
2 enshrined this change.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
4 MR. STAMP:
5 Q. Well, was there an element of secrecy involved in this change, do
6 you know that?
7 A. No. There could have been no secrecy. It was carried through and
8 it was public.
9 Q. When it became public, wasn't it a matter of public debate and
10 public concern in Montenegro, where the 2nd Army was based; do you recall
12 A. No --
13 Q. Very well.
14 MR. STAMP: Let's look at P1352. This is a document on the list
15 of exhibits that was put up by learned counsel for Mr. Ojdanic.
16 Q. The document says in the middle there -- it's a news report, I
17 should tell you, of the 4th of February, and it says: "The pro-Milosevic
18 SMP (Socialist People's Party) in Montenegro sent official word, through
19 its paper, 'Dan,' that its relationship with the VJ were better than those
20 of any other part, and that as a result the VJ itself was more inclined
21 towards it."
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have to raise our
24 usual objection when documents like these are used. I don't think
25 Mr. Stamp can ask the witness anything based on this document, since -- we
1 can only raise all the usual objections that we have been raising in
2 relation to media articles being a translation of a document that had
3 already been translated. So the translation of a translation, plus it
4 contains additional comments.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fezer, I wonder if you could just briefly leave
6 the courtroom with the usher until we deal with this objection.
7 [The witness stands down]
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, that's not an accurate statement of
9 the position. We will not use documents of this nature as establishing
10 the truth of their contents, and one of the reasons is one that you've
11 given about translation. But if Mr. Stamp, by using it, gets answers from
12 the witness whereby he agrees with comments in this article, then the
13 position is completely different. So that's been our policy all along.
14 There's no reason why he can't pose the question this way. If he gets a
15 denial of any acceptance of this, then this is of no value; but if the
16 witness accepts it, then the position is quite different, he's confirming
17 the accuracy of it, it makes it authentic because he's got personal
19 So let's have the witness back and ask him to deal with this.
20 MR. STAMP: And while he's coming back I should add that this
21 document is on the list of counsel for Mr. Ojdanic.
22 [The witness takes the stand]
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I'm not even certain that I have
25 this document in my list, by the way. [In English] I'm sorry, I will
1 check my list.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fezer, listen again to the question and do your
3 best to answer it.
4 Mr. Stamp.
5 MR. STAMP:
6 Q. Yes, I was just referring you to a news report, and I'm going to
7 ask you a question shortly. The report continues: "The new commander of
8 the 2nd Army is Lieutenant-Colonel-General Milorad Obradovic and
9 Major-General Jago Stevanovic has been appointed Chief of Staff of this
10 army. Radosav Martinovic has been appointed an advisor in the Federal
11 Defence Ministry which cannot be interpreted other than as a demotion
12 within the VJ."
13 So first question is this: Wasn't the appointment of
14 Milorad Obradovic to be the head of the 2nd Army viewed by many persons in
15 military circles as the appointment of a Milosevic loyalist to a position
16 of control in the course of the war? From the meetings you attended, was
17 it resisted, the appointment resisted, on that basis?
18 A. I didn't attend this specific meeting and I can't comment, nor can
19 I provide my own opinion. Decisions were for the president to take, and
20 it wasn't highly surprising that General Obradovic should be appointed
21 commander of the 2nd Army. I don't see any reason for that to cause any
22 other kinds of different. I don't see for that to cause any other
23 comments --
24 Q. You say --
25 MR. ZECEVIC: It appears to be -- now it's corrected.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 Mr. Stamp.
3 MR. STAMP:
4 Q. Wasn't it a fact, though, that senior person in the army were
5 removed and appointed to -- or offered appointments to positions as
6 advisors in the federal government? And these appointments were generally
7 regarded as demotions?
8 A. Is there a question? I don't think there can be any talk of
9 demotion because --
10 Q. Very well --
11 A. -- All those who were transferred from their duties to political
12 bodies had all the same elements that attached to their previous
13 appointment --
14 Q. Okay. Let's move on then. Did it --
15 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, excuse me. I'm not sure the witness
16 was permitted to fully answer the question. I think he was interrupted in
17 the middle of his answer, and he should be entitled to answer it I would
19 MR. STAMP: Well, he did answer. He was going on to say -- to add
20 to his answer, which can be explored in re-examination.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: He's answered the question, Mr. Ackerman. I
22 appreciate that he had not completed what he intended to say, and if
23 that -- if Mr. Visnjic wants to follow that up, he's free to do so in due
25 Please proceed, Mr. Stamp.
1 MR. STAMP:
2 Q. Were you aware that General Perisic was removed in a manner that
3 was illegal or inappropriate?
4 A. Illegal it wasn't. As for the manner being appropriate or not, I
5 don't think there's any point in talking about that because the same
6 procedure was applied that was invariably applied every time someone
7 changed position.
8 Q. In the meetings that you attended and in the discussions that you
9 had, did you become aware that General Perisic said that his removal was
10 done in a manner which was illegal and inappropriate?
11 A. No.
12 MR. STAMP: Can we look at P935 and I believe, happily, I have the
13 right page. Could we go to page 27 of this document.
14 Q. You can see the cover of that document, it is the minutes of the
15 collegium meeting of the General Staff of the 11th of March, 1999.
16 MR. STAMP: Page 27 in English is page 25 in B/C/S. I'm sorry I
17 should have pointed that out earlier.
18 Q. I won't read it all to you, but General Risto Matkovic is making a
19 presentation for the discussions about what to do with General Perisic;
20 his situation had to be resolved. And he referred to the decree of the
21 president of the 24th of November, whereby General Perisic was appointed
22 an advisor to the federal government. And that General Perisic held
23 official talks with Federal Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic and said he
24 appreciated the offer but would not accept it, and handed over his duties
25 as Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army on the 27th of
1 November, 1998, and I will get to a part which I would like to read into
2 the record:
3 "On the 27th of November, 1998, General Perisic made and signed a
4 statement for the public of the following contents. The current regime
5 does not like leaders of high integrity and those who use their own heads
6 to think. I was removed from the position of Chief of General Staff of
7 the Yugoslav Army without consultations in an inappropriate and illegal
8 manner. I do not accept the invented position in the current federal
9 government that has been offered to me. I remain at the disposal of my
10 army -- I remain at the disposal to my army, state, and people."
11 I'll ask you again, weren't you aware, sir, as a person in charge
12 of the directorate for the cadre of generals of the public controversy
13 surrounding the removal of General Perisic in which he claimed it was done
14 in an inappropriate and illegal fashion? Weren't you aware of that?
15 A. I must say again that all these things that happened were not
16 things that I knew about. I was part of a technical body in the General
17 Staff. I would merely transform certain decisions and conclusions into
18 appropriate documents; therefore --
19 Q. But before we get into that, I'm asking you about one thing. It's
20 respect to an answer you gave to me earlier that you didn't hear about it
21 that he was complaining about the way he was removed. And the question is
22 simply this: Did you not become aware of the controversy surrounding the
23 removal of General Perisic?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Very well.
1 A. Because he was directly in touch with the highest level, the
2 president specifically; he never talked to the lower levels.
3 Q. Very well. That is your answer.
4 A. [In English] Yes.
5 Q. Were you aware, sir, based on the meetings you attended and in
6 your capacity as chief of the department that dealt with the cadre of
7 generals, that General Dimitrijevic claimed that illegal activities were
8 being carried out with the aim of replacing him and appointing a new chief
9 of the VJ security department? Did you in your capacity or in any
10 capacity become aware of that claim?
11 A. This was before the beginning of the aggression against the FRY.
12 As for any talks that he held, this is not something that I know anything
13 about; but same as before, I was tasked with preparing a document
14 appointing General Dimitrijevic to the federal defence ministry, the
15 position being advisor to the defence minister on security matters. That
16 is all I know about it.
17 Q. You are aware, sir, that he refused to accept that post or to take
18 up that post as well?
19 A. He did not like this, but he accepted this and he eventually took
20 up his position.
21 Q. When did he take up that position, do you remember?
22 A. Just after this state was regulated, after the ordinance was
23 adopted; I'm not sure when.
24 Q. Very well. We'll get back to that.
25 MR. STAMP: Could we have a look at P932.
1 Q. I'm going to ask you to comment on something which
2 General Dimitrijevic said, and if you could briefly look at the cover page
3 to identify what it is. You'll see, sir, that it is the collegium minutes
4 of the 4th of February, 1999.
5 MR. STAMP: And it's page 7 in English, which is the top of page 6
6 in the B/C/S.
7 Q. And I'll just read it. This is General Dimitrijevic addressing
8 General Ojdanic in this collegium meeting.
9 "For these reasons, as my room for work has been quite limited
10 lately and certain illegal activities, so to speak, are carried out with
11 the aim of replacing me and appointing a new chief of administration -
12 and, unfortunately, you too are either taking part in it or your name is
13 being manipulated - I am asking that an interview with the president of
14 the SRJ be scheduled for me."
15 You never, sir, became aware in your capacity of these
16 controversies or this controversy of surrounding the removal of
17 General Dimitrijevic, that he was claiming that there were illegal
18 activities being conducted in order to remove him? Is it your evidence
19 that you never knew about these things?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Very well. And you know what Generals Perisic and Dimitrijevic
22 were speaking of when they said "illegal activities"?
23 A. I don't know what activities these would be, but the procedure and
24 the way the document was adopted was perfectly legal in each of these
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fezer, over what period were you the person in
2 charge of drafting the ordinances that gave effect to these changes in the
3 positions held by members of the military?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, throughout this
5 period --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: When did it start? When did you first take up that
7 particular responsibility, was it in 1998?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Earlier on, a lot earlier, in fact.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: How often were you involved in an ordinance which
10 transferred a senior member of the VJ to become an advisor in the Federal
11 Ministry of Defence?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Every time there was an ordinance
13 like that throughout that period, General Perisic, General Dimitrijevic,
14 and General Martinovic.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Any more?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All these documents -- no --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm interested to know if there were any more such
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not apart from these.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: What is an advisor in the Federal Ministry of
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the duties of an advisor are
23 set out in the rules governing the work of the relevant ministry;
24 therefore, I'd be ill-advised trying to answer this question specifically,
25 but I know what his job was in the army and I can only assume that his job
1 would have been somewhat similar, the new one.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: I know you've said that these people would still
3 enjoy the same trappings of office as they had in the VJ, but an advisor
4 sounds like somebody who doesn't have direct command responsibilities, and
5 therefore might not be seen to be in such a prestigious position as when
6 he was a general before with executive responsibilities. Is that a fair
7 way of looking at it or not?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could agree with that statement.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
10 JUDGE CHOWHAN: So therefore, the Ministry of Defence -- in the
11 Ministry of Defence when they were appointed as advisor, this was like a
12 dumping-ground, isn't it, for these generals to go?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Is that a question?
14 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Yes, because obviously when they would be taken
15 away from the cadre position into an ex-cadre position like with the
16 federal government and they were appointed as advisors, well that is like
17 taking away people and dumping them into the Ministry of Defence. Was
18 that the position or were they really performing something very active
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were performing their
21 functions. It would definitely -- would be a bit too rough of a
22 formulation to say that the defence ministry was some sort of a
23 dumping-ground on to which these persons were tipped. I don't think I
24 could accept that.
25 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Thank you.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
2 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 Q. Before I move on, just to follow-up on that. What rank were you
4 in 1999?
5 A. Colonel.
6 Q. Did you know, sir, that there were occasions when the president or
7 the SDC disregarded proposals of the Chief of General Staff?
8 A. Not throughout this period, but the answer would be: Yes, in
9 relation to a period a lot earlier on. This was known to happen, that a
10 proposal of the General Staff was not accepted and that the president's
11 decision was actually different from the proposal itself.
12 Q. Well, let's focus on the period from mid-1998 to -- through to
13 mid-1999. Do you know of situations where the proposals of the Chief of
14 General Staff were disregarded by the SDC or by the president?
15 A. As far as I can remember, no.
16 Q. Do you know of assignments or promotions to positions established
17 for generals being made without any consultation with the Chief of the
18 General Staff?
19 A. No.
20 Q. We were looking at the minutes of the collegium session of 4th of
21 February, 1999, that's P932.
22 MR. STAMP: I'd like to look at another page, another part of that
23 record, that's page 12 in English, and which is page 10, the last
24 paragraph of page 10 in B/C/S.
25 Q. And I'd like to read that. General Ojdanic is here saying -- or
1 maybe I should start from the top to put everything in context.
2 General Dimitrijevic asks: "Doesn't the law say that generals are
3 appointed and promoted at the proposal of the Chief of General Staff?"
4 General Ojdanic says: "I believe, Aca, that it is much clearer to
5 you than to me both in the preceding and the current period."
6 To which General Dimitrijevic replies:" All right. I need to
7 know what to ask in the other place. So the law does not apply."
8 So which General Ojdanic says: "This is only a proposal, and it
9 is up to the president, and it is his constitutional right, but the
10 proposals are also not only disregarded ... No proposal needs to be made
11 at all, and the president of the FRY -- of the SRJ will decide as he sees
13 A. Yes, that is correct.
14 Q. That position which General Ojdanic takes at that meeting, is that
15 surprising to you then?
16 A. No.
17 Q. So you -- therefore you are aware that at that period proposals of
18 the Chief of General Staff are not only disregarded sometimes, but
19 sometimes no need to be made at all for the president to decide if he sees
21 JUDGE BONOMY: I doubt if your first statement is an accurate one
22 based on this alone, Mr. Stamp. All this is saying that the president's
23 entitled to do as he sees fit, but there is no statement there that that
24 has actually happened without consultation, is there?
25 MR. STAMP: The general says: "Proposals are also not only
1 disregarded. No proposal needs to be made at all."
2 And they are speaking in the context of a question asked by
3 General Dimitrijevic whether or not generals are appointed and promoted at
4 the proposal of the Chief of General Staff.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Your --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In most cases, yes. The proposal of
7 the General Staff was always there when decisions were made on
8 appointments or any other kind of regulating the situation in the service,
9 but it is the constitutional right for the president to decide as he sees
11 MR. STAMP:
12 Q. I agree with that, but -- let me ask you this simply then: Do you
13 agree with the statement of General Ojdanic made on that date that
14 proposals of the Chief of General Staff are also not only disregarded, do
15 you agree with that statement?
16 A. I think that here General Ojdanic said that it is possible that
17 something like that could happen in practice, but he did not take an
18 example and he did not confirm that any one of his proposals had not been
19 accepted. This is a possibility that he mentions as the president's
20 constitutional right, and that is what he says to General Dimitrijevic.
21 Q. Do you agree with his statement that in respect to exercising his
22 right to appoint and promote generals, the president, President Milosevic,
23 needed to have no proposals before him at all? You will agree with that
24 as well?
25 A. Yes, yes. It is possible -- or as a matter of fact, it is
1 regulated by the constitution that it is his right.
2 MR. STAMP: Could we move on quickly to P1298.
3 Q. Incidentally, do you know about the removal from office of
4 General Grahovac during the war?
5 A. To the extent to which I know about all others. I just got the
6 task to prepare an appropriate document that the decision would -- the
7 president would have to sign, but I would not be familiar with how the
8 decision was made.
9 Q. Okay. Do you know of public controversy against surrounding his
10 dismissal and removal -- well, his removal from his position?
11 A. Well, I do remember probably -- well, there were media that wrote
12 about that, but it's nothing specific that I remember.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Was he made an advisor in the federal ministry?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I have to ask one question. Somebody used the
17 word that the position in the Ministry of Defence were invented. It means
18 there weren't vacancies in the Ministry of Defence for generals, and they
19 were being sent against vacancies which were being created, is it? Or
20 were there existing vacancies to which they were transferred? Do you know
21 the situation, please?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There weren't any such positions in
23 the organization of the ministry, but the president, according to the
24 constitution, could set positions in the state where generals would be
25 appointed. So by virtue of passing the ordinance, he prescribed the
1 position in the ministry.
2 JUDGE CHOWHAN: And this position did not exist in the ministry
3 already, that's what you're saying? I mean, this was created, these
4 positions were created in the ministry?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE CHOWHAN: So ...
7 JUDGE BONOMY: It's being pointed out to me that, in fact,
8 Grahovac may have been appointed an advisor to the president of -- defence
9 advisor to the president of Montenegro rather than to the federal
10 ministry. Do you recollect?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, slip of the tongue. I know he
12 was removed.
13 MR. STAMP:
14 Q. Well --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp --
16 MR. STAMP:
17 Q. Do you recall --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: We're at the time for the break.
19 MR. STAMP: Yes. If it's convenient to the Court, I would have
20 just five minute left, but perhaps we could take --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, I'm happy if you've got five minutes, we'll
22 continue for these five minutes.
23 MR. STAMP:
24 Q. Can I ask you do you recall whether General Grahovac was appointed
25 as an advisor to the -- an advisor in the federal government for
2 JUDGE BONOMY: That's what we've just been dealing with. He was
3 appointed an advisor to the president of Montenegro.
4 MR. STAMP: Yes, I'm wondering if he would help us with whether or
5 not he later became an advisor.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I see. I'm sorry.
7 MR. STAMP:
8 Q. Do you know whether or not that's correct, he became an advisor in
9 the federal government or appointed an advisor in the federal government
10 and later on became an advisor to the president of Montenegro, do you know
11 that? If you do not, you could just say so.
12 A. By the decision made then, he was appointed advisor in the
13 Government of Montenegro, and he remained at that position until the end.
14 Q. Very well. Do you know of him making public statements to the
15 effect ...
16 A. Well, yes, there were things like that in the newspapers, yes.
17 Q. In fact, he said that there was a purge of people like himself,
18 General Perisic, General Dimitrijevic?
19 A. It is possible that he used that particular expression, but this
20 is, quite simply, a reaction of a man who perhaps was not satisfied with
21 his status and so on and so forth --
22 Q. Very well --
23 A. So he was kind of passionate about it.
24 Q. And he like the others were saying that it was because they were
25 not loyal to President Milosevic; do you recall that being the matter or
1 the issue of controversy?
2 A. I don't know. It is their relationships. That, quite simply, was
3 not accessible to me, except for what could sort of be heard on the
5 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours. I don't think I
6 have anything further.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
8 Mr. Visnjic, do you have re-examination?
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I do, Your Honour, but I think it's
10 perhaps better for us to take the break now because I need to reorganize
11 things as well.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
13 Mr. Fezer, we need to have a break at this stage for 20 minutes.
14 Please leave the courtroom with the usher, and we'll see you at 25 minutes
15 past 10.00.
16 [The witness stands down]
17 --- Recess taken at 10.05 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.25 a.m.
19 [The witness takes the stand]
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fezer, a few more questions from Mr. Visnjic.
21 Mr. Visnjic.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Could we please see 3D721, page 5 in the English text and page 4
24 in B/C/S. 3D721. Thank you.
25 Re-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] General, you remember when Mr. Stamp asked you
2 about this exhibit, and this is the briefing of the 3rd of April, 1999,
3 and when he drew your attention to paragraph 4 in General Ojdanic's
4 remarks, when General Ojdanic says that there should be no talk about the
5 replacement of the commander of the 2nd Army. And then Mr. Stamp
6 suggested to you that this had to do with a big secret, that there was
7 secrecy involved, as he said. Could you please look at the first page of
8 this document in both versions, please.
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please zoom in around the
10 middle of the page in English. We're just waiting for the first page in
12 Q. General, before you is General Branko Krga's statement. I would
13 like to draw your attention to -- well, it's around the middle of the page
14 in B/C/S as well, to what he says.
15 "In the west there are speculations about the change of commander
16 of the -- of the 2nd Army. I propose a statement be issued about that."
17 General, I know that you said that you were not present at that
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. But let me ask you, when you look at what General Krga said and
21 what General Ojdanic said, do you see any big secret involved, or rather,
22 that the replacement of the commander of the 2nd Army was carried out
23 secretly, without people knowing about it?
24 A. In my view, there is no secrecy involved here, particularly even
25 if one wanted to conceal that, people would find out and people did know
1 about it. It could be seen in the media, in the public, so it could not
2 have been a big secret on any account.
3 Q. Do you allow for the possibility that what General Ojdanic stated
4 has to do with General Krga's proposals, that an -- that the army issue a
5 press release in view of the replacement of General Martinovic?
6 A. Certainly.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] P1352, please, could we have that
9 displayed now.
10 Q. It's the news article that Mr. Stamp showed you, and he also
11 suggested to you that it was some kind of political replacement, the
12 replacement of General Martinovic. I would like to ask you to read the
13 last paragraph of this news article.
14 A. Towards the bottom?
15 Q. Yes, towards the bottom.
16 A. Should I read it out loud?
17 Q. Yes. "Those knowledgeable about events."
18 A. "Those knowledgeable about events in Montenegro and Yugoslavia say
19 that in his career today General Obradovic displayed no clear signs of a
20 readiness to see the army involved in the resolution of political
21 disputes, rather, he sticks to the army's professional character."
22 Q. General, as far as you know General Obradovic, does he look like a
23 yes-man to you, someone who blindly obeyed President Milosevic?
24 A. To the extent to which I can make an assessment, I think that
25 General Obradovic is a highly disciplined officer, a high-ranking general,
1 and as for the views he held he defended them and he fought for his views.
2 So I could not consider him to be a yes-man, as it were.
3 Q. Thank you. Could we now have a look at the next exhibit Mr. Stamp
4 showed you, that is P935, page 29 in B/C/S, page 31 in English.
5 General, before we see it on our monitors, you remember that
6 Mr. Stamp also suggested to you how General Perisic was replaced and let's
7 see what the collegium had to say about that at this meeting.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see the third
9 paragraph --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, please bear in mind that in
11 re-examination it's not proper to pose leading questions. Now, this may
12 not be a leading question, but it sounds as though it might be. And the
13 value is nil if -- in re-examination if matters are dealt with by leading
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's not going to be a
16 leading question. I just want to point out some parts of the text. It is
17 totally irrelevant what the witness's comment to all of this is going to
18 be. I just want the witness to --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: In that case there's no need to put it to the
20 witness. You can point it out to us in your submissions in due course.
21 The only point of putting any of this to the witness is to get his answer,
22 if he's got one that can be of assistance to the Trial Chamber. But you
23 don't need to go through an argumentation exercise at this stage -- in
24 fact, it's wrong to do it.
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, at the end I would like
1 the witness to confirm something for us about a fact that is not in -- is
2 not related to what Mr. Stamp had put to him, that is what I wanted to
3 say. So in order to do that, I have to go through this text.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: It's a matter for you how you conduct it, but if
5 you're going to show him a fact and then ask him about it, that sounds
6 like a leading question to me.
7 MR. STAMP: And if I could -- if it's not related to anything I
8 put before him, now I have concerns about whether it's appropriate for
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
11 Is it something arising out of cross-examination?
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, it is arising from
13 cross-examination, yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. So please, paragraph 3, General Dimitrijevic's remarks. General,
17 do you know that General Perisic sent a request to the General Staff,
18 asking to have his status resolved?
19 A. He submitted a request after the ordinance on his removal was
20 passed and he was transferred to the federal government. He was not
21 satisfied with that decision and he wanted to have his status resolved in
22 the Army of Yugoslavia.
23 Q. Thank you. Thank you. And over here in paragraph 3 of
24 General Dimitrijevic's remarks, or rather, what was it that
25 General Dimitrijevic proposed? How should the status be resolved?
1 A. Well, General Dimitrijevic proposed to have a talk with
2 General Perisic, and it only could have been the president or someone
3 appointed by the president. And then in this kind of talk, a decision
4 would be made how to proceed further, of course if he were not to accept
5 the position that he had been proposed for.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we have a look at the same
8 document, page 30 in the B/C/S, 32 in English.
9 Q. General, you see General Ojdanic's contribution down that page?
10 The 11th of March, 1999, General Ojdanic says: "We do not need any new
11 scandals and I will not make any further comments. I have my own view ...
12 overall behaviour and overall action ... but we really... the path covered
13 by General Perisic and the overall situation in the army and in the
14 country ... it would be inappropriate ... possibly counter-productive in
15 any way, but of course we know that this is within the competence of the
16 president of the FRY and he will take this decision."
17 General, my question about this: Do you know what the final
18 decision was, how the issue of General Perisic was eventually resolved
19 following this request by General Perisic?
20 A. Since it was accepted and it was impossible to reinstall him in
21 the ranks of the army which he requested, he was offered a position to him
22 in the federal government. A document was passed terminating his service,
23 and that was the final touch to this issue, if I may put it that way.
24 Q. So General Ojdanic's contribution is a result of what exactly the
25 discussion that preceded this at a collegium meeting or what?
1 A. Yes, there was a discussion about this at a collegium meeting,
2 this was the conclusion, and the conclusion was submitted to the
4 Q. Thank you very much. Let me ask you about the following officers.
5 Do you know General Simic spent some time in the defence ministry?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you tell us when he left and what became of him later, did he
8 ever return?
9 A. I don't remember the date he left, but he took up a post in the
10 ministry, after which he was back in the army.
11 Q. What about General Velickovic, did he follow a similar path?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What happened to him?
14 A. He was deputy defence minister, after which he was returned and
15 appointed assistant Chief of the General Staff for the air force and
16 anti-air defence.
17 Q. What about General Farkas, was he too first in the VJ and then in
18 the defence ministry and then back in the VJ?
19 A. Previously Farkas had been outside the army. He was a regional
20 secretary for All People's Defence in Vojvodina, he also worked for the
21 ministry for a while, after which he was appointed chief of the security
23 Q. And now something in relation to General Grahovac. You said that
24 General Grahovac ended up as an advisor in Montenegro's government or an
25 advisor to the president of Montenegro, I'm not certain?
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. In your opinion, this position that he held in Montenegro's
3 government, was this a position with no influence whatsoever? Did he have
4 any influence over the work of Montenegro's government, can you tell us
5 about that?
6 A. I can't tell you in any great detail what his responsibilities
7 were in the government, but I can tell you what the ordinance stated. He
8 became advisor of the president for defence issues. He retired from that
9 post, so all of this was outside the army.
10 Q. Thank you very much.
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fezer, that completes your evidence; thank you
14 for coming here to give it. You may now leave the courtroom with the
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, our next week is
20 Stanisa Ivkovic.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Another 92 ter witness. The
23 statement is 3D117.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you mean 3D1117?
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] 1117, yes, that's right.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Ivkovic.
4 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
6 speak the truth by reading aloud the document now being shown to you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
10 You'll now be examined by Mr. Visnjic on behalf of Mr. Ojdanic.
11 Mr. Visnjic.
12 WITNESS: STANISA IVKOVIC
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Colonel.
16 A. Good morning.
17 Q. Colonel, on the 20th of August, 2007, did you make a statement to
18 the Ojdanic Defence team, which you subsequently signed?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Upon your arrival in The Hague, did you look at that statement?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You say you have several amendments to make to this statement.
23 Can we please take this one step at a time.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Defence Exhibit
25 3D1117, can that be displayed, page 4 in the B/C/S, page 4 in the English,
1 paragraph 23.
2 Q. Colonel, what were your amendments to this paragraph?
3 A. It was only about this abbreviation, OC. It read OV originally.
4 Q. Thank you. As far as I remember, there's the second-last line,
5 OC, again did you have any remarks to make about that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. How should it read instead?
8 A. Can you please repeat.
9 Q. All right. It reads: "So they were not all accessible to OC
10 personnel or to him."
11 A. It says "or to him," and it should read "or to me."
12 Q. All right. What about the next line?
13 A. Again, the same thing "to me," as opposed to "to him"
14 or "himself."
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] The next page in the B/C/S, please,
16 paragraph 24.
17 Q. You had an amendment to make to the first line of that paragraph,
18 didn't you. Can you tell us what it's about?
19 A. Sure. It's about the word "provisions," the
20 word "provisions," "orders that I was informed about did not contain
21 provisions." Instead of "provisions," it should read "information."
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Next, paragraph 26, please.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First line of paragraph 26, it
25 reads: "ODI," it should be "DOI." This is the official abbreviation for
1 the so-called daily operations report, that's the first line and the same
2 applies to line 3 in English. Instead of "ODI" it should read "DOI."
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Thank you very much.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, so much for the
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Just a couple of questions, Colonel. You provided a very detailed
10 account in your statement of the functioning and work of the operations
11 centre. At the beginning of the war, before the beginning of the war --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one moment, please. You should ask the formal
13 questions, I think --
14 MR. VISNJIC: Oh, yes, I'm sorry.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: -- Mr. Visnjic, in case we omit that.
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Colonel, having made these amendments, were you to testify before
18 this Court would you provide all the same answers to all the same
19 questions as reflected in your statement, 3D1117?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. Before the beginning of the war, where was the
22 operations centre of the General Staff of the VJ physically located?
23 A. I don't hear the interpreters interpreting, therefore I'm not sure
24 when I'm supposed to start.
25 Q. You just go ahead and I'll tell you if there are any problems.
1 A. The operations centre was at building A of the General Staff of
2 the VJ. There was a special facility that was meant to be used for this
4 Q. Thank you. The 24th, that was when NATO attacked Yugoslavia.
5 Were there any changes in the work of the General Staff? Were there any
6 changes in the work of the operations centre?
7 A. Yes, there were changes. The VJ was put at full combat-readiness,
8 and this applied to the operations centre because it was part of the army;
9 it too was placed at full combat-readiness. This implies an increase in
10 the numbers and quality of the operations duty team, which was working
11 24-hour shifts, around-the-clock, at the operations centre. The
12 operations centre was working all year round, 365 days a year, and this
13 same principle applied during NATO's aggression against our country.
14 Q. Thank you very much. Did the General Staff at one point in time
15 move to a different location; if so, when did that occur?
16 A. Part of the General Staff, including its chief, left for the basic
17 command post as soon as on the 24th. The remaining part of the General
18 Staff stayed on until the 4th of April, if I'm not mistaken, because
19 threats had been made that the General Staff would be one of the targets.
20 Due to these threats, the remaining part of the General Staff left this
21 peacetime location as well, and they also moved to wartime command posts.
22 Q. Now, tell me, the operations centre remained for another ten days
23 or so?
24 A. Correct. The operations centre remained in that installation all
25 of the ten days and worked. If I may, one digression, on both command
1 posts -- that is, to both command posts I sent one or two persons to
2 prepare the ground for admitting the operations centre as a whole, if need
3 be, but the operations centre was there the whole time, until they left
4 the building.
5 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Now, in those ten days, how did the
6 information, the data that remained at the General Staff and that the
7 operations centre processed there, how was it submitted to the Chief of
8 the General Staff and the other part of the General Staff that was at the
9 command post?
10 A. Since combat activities had already started, the subordinate
11 commands and units sent to the General Staff daily, regular and interim
12 and combat reports. The team on duty at the General Staff processed this
13 information, wrote up a comprehensive report on the situation in the army,
14 and by 6.00 in the morning that report was submitted to the group that was
15 already at the command post headed by the Chief of the General Staff.
16 Q. And how long did that go on?
17 A. Until the 4th, if I remember correctly the date of departure from
18 the peacetime location.
19 Q. What about later, after the 4th?
20 A. After the 4th, the operations centre fully took up position at its
21 basic wartime location, at the basic and rear command posts. In view of
22 the existing technical possibilities and work organization, the centre was
23 outside the operations room is so that it did not -- not regularly receive
24 those written daily and operations reports any longer; it was done instead
25 by a special communications centre. And reports were submitted directly
1 to the operations team on duty at the command post. So the personnel of
2 the operations centre no longer had any direct contact with the reports of
3 the subordinate units and commands.
4 Q. If I understood you well, daily reports of subordinate units
5 arrived at the communications centre?
6 A. Via the communications centre they arrived directly to the
7 operations team on duty at the command post where the technical bodies of
8 the General Staff processed them, and on that basis a comprehensive daily
9 operations report was written up for the army. And it was forwarded to
10 users according to the instructions for the work of the operations team.
11 This was done by the operations administration, and all organizational
12 units of the General Staff were involved in writing the report.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I are no further
15 questions for this witness. He gave a detailed statement, so my
16 questioning is here complete.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I'm receiving some written
19 communications from my client that I'm having difficulty dealing with. I
20 may have questions for this witness, but I think I would need to have a
21 break to consult with my client before I could make that determination.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE BONOMY: How long will this take, Mr. Ackerman?
24 MR. ACKERMAN: No more than ten minutes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivkovic, we'll need to break for ten minutes
1 just now. Please leave the courtroom with the usher, and we'll see you
2 back here at 11.15.
3 [The witness stands down]
4 --- Break taken at 11.05 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 11.18 a.m.
6 [The witness takes the stand]
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour. I do have some questions
9 and I deeply appreciate the opportunity to consult with my client. I
10 thank you very much for that.
11 Cross-examination by Mr. Ackerman:
12 Q. Mr. Witness, I'd like you to look at a document, it's -- exhibit
13 number is 4D275, and the part of that -- this is a combat report from the
14 3rd Army to the General Staff and it's dated the 2nd of April, 1999. And
15 what I'm interested in is the first paragraph right above paragraph 3.2
16 which is on page 2 in English and probably the same page in B/C/S. Now,
17 in paragraph 11 of your statement you told us:
18 "The reports of the commands of the 3rd Army and the Pristina
19 Corps, the regular ones, and interim as needed enabled the General Staff
20 to be informed of events in Kosovo and Metohija and the activities of the
21 commands and units, that on the basis of this information the General
22 Staff took appropriate measures to stabilise the situation, protect the
23 endangered population, increase the protection of the state border, and
24 features of special importance, protection of transport convoys, and the
1 And then with regard to those reports in paragraph 13 you said:
2 "They make no mention of organized crimes, but only of possible
3 individual cases against which appropriate legal measures were promptly
4 taken in order to prevent," it says "this occurrence," but probably the
5 translation should be "reoccurrence."
6 Now, this document you have in front of you right above paragraph
7 3.2 there's a paragraph which reports on the military prosecutor's receipt
8 of criminal complaints, the filing of 17 investigation requests, and the
9 issuance of five indictments, that there were 15 on-site investigations, 9
10 individuals detained, 72 investigation requests, five individuals charged.
11 78 of those related to failure to respond to mobilisation and avoiding
12 military service, while the rest refer to other criminal offences.
13 Now, I take it that's the kind of report you were referring to in
14 paragraph 13 where you talked about individual cases that were reported by
15 these daily combat reports from the 3rd Army; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, that is correct. It was stated there that these were only
17 individual cases, those that were treated, because there weren't any cases
18 en masse.
19 Q. And there was a report, I take it a daily report, that went from
20 the General Staff to the supreme commander based upon the reports received
21 from the various units; is that true?
22 A. Yes, that is true.
23 Q. And do you know if that report was basically a process of cutting
24 and pasting, where everything, for instance, that General Pavkovic would
25 report was sent to the supreme commander or was it a selective process
1 where only certain things were included in the report to the supreme
3 A. I cannot assert that.
4 Q. Did you see those reports that went to the supreme commander?
5 A. Only those at the time when I was in the operations duty team
6 doing my shift.
7 Q. And during that time, did you notice that General Pavkovic's
8 reports regarding the activities of the courts and the prosecutor's
9 offices were rather routinely omitted from the report to the supreme
10 commander; did you notice that?
11 A. That was not in my line of work; therefore, I could not have
12 observed any such thing.
13 Q. Now, this document that you have in front of you, would you say --
14 would you agree that that was fairly typical of the kind of reports
15 contained in the daily combat reports coming up from General Pavkovic
16 regarding the activities of the courts and the Prosecutor's offices in the
17 3rd Army area of responsibility?
18 A. I repeat, the judiciary part was not in my line of work and I did
19 not take care of that. That was supposed to be done by other organs.
20 Q. I think there was a translation problem or something. I don't
21 think you -- I think you misunderstood. This report you're looking at, do
22 you know that there are a number of reports on a daily basis from the 3rd
23 Army that contain a paragraph similar to this, reporting activity with
24 regard to crimes? You've seen those and you know that they exist, don't
1 A. I saw the reports. It is possible that -- well, I admit, it's
2 been eight years, I don't recall the details.
3 Q. Do you recall if this was a typical part of those combat reports,
4 to report on activities of the prosecutor's office and the judicial
6 A. I cannot assert that that is typical, but there were such cases --
7 such reports.
8 Q. And do you know of any instance- and you may not have even had an
9 opportunity to know - but do you know of any instance where
10 General Pavkovic was asked by the General Staff or the supreme commander
11 to provide more detailed information regarding any of these reports about
12 the activity of the prosecutor's office and the judicial organs?
13 A. I repeat, I was not at the command post all the time, but only at
14 the time when I was doing my shift. I had other tasks, too. Therefore, I
15 can say even less, that this is typical. I'm saying that organs of the
16 legal department, or rather, judiciary organs were involved in this,
17 organs that are in charge of this, whose line of work this is. Quite
18 simply, this was not the work of the operations centre.
19 Q. Maybe I'm misunderstanding. Are you saying that the judiciary and
20 the prosecutor's offices had a separate duty to report to the General
21 Staff on their activities, in addition to these reports from
22 General Pavkovic?
23 A. I cannot assert that because I don't know that.
24 Q. All right. The question I asked you before again I think was
25 misunderstood. Are you aware of any request from the General Staff to
1 General Pavkovic to provide additional information regarding his reports
2 about the activities of the prosecutor's office, for instance.
3 A. I cannot assert that either. I'm not aware of that.
4 Q. All right. That's all I have. Thank you.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
6 You will now be cross-examined by the Prosecutor, Mr. Stamp.
7 Mr. Stamp.
8 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
10 Q. Sir, since we are looking at this document, 4D275, can we go back
11 to the part that you were shown, I think it's page 2 of the English, and I
12 don't know if that corresponds to the B/C/S, but we are talking about the
13 part of this report that begins at 3, so it would be the next page in
14 B/C/S, page 2 in English. Page 2 in B/C/S.
15 The part that you were referred to just now about complaints being
16 filed, can you see that it falls under the general heading of army
17 manpower levels according to wartime establishment? Do you see that?
18 A. Yes, I see that.
19 Q. Firstly deals with the amount of officers, non-commissioned
20 officers, privates, volunteers, and then it deals with complaints in that
21 context, which is what you were referred to, and it points out that there
22 were -- of all the investigation requests received 78 are relating to
23 criminal offences of failing to respond to mobilisation -- to a
24 mobilisation call and avoiding military service. You see that?
25 A. Yes, yes, I see that.
1 Q. And below that it goes on to talk about losses in personnel and it
2 gives figures for that as well, correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. STAMP: If we could turn to the next page in English, that's
5 page 3 in English, and it's the next page in B/C/S.
6 Q. You see a paragraph, 5, there deals with security in the army,
7 separate and distinct rubric from manpower issues.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Covered within two paragraphs, two paragraphs composed of three
10 sentences, the last sentence being: "Measures within the competence of
11 security organs and the military police, as well as some command measures
12 are being taken and isolated incidents of attempted robbery in the zone of
13 responsibility of the Pristina Corps are being successfully prevented."
14 Do you see that?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, is this a type of reporting on security issues, issues
17 involving crimes against civilians from the 3rd Army that you are
18 accustomed to?
19 A. This is a standard report; however, I wish to state point 5,
20 security in the army, that is exclusively in the domain of the security
21 administration. That's the institution that deals with that. As for
22 morale, that is in the morale administration. Then also the mobilisation
23 and system-based issues fall within the domain of that administration.
24 That has nothing to do with the operations centre and my own line of work.
25 Q. Very well. Let's briefly discuss your own line of work. If you
1 look at paragraph 23 of your statement, do I understand you correct to be
2 saying that during the war in 1999 Supreme Command orders were not
3 accessible to you in the operations centre, except when they were dealing
4 with issues involving the work of the operations centre? Do you have your
5 statement there before you or do you have paragraph 23 on the screen
6 before you?
7 A. I know that that's the way it is and the statement is correct --
8 Q. Very well --
9 A. -- The operations centre received only excerpts from orders that
10 had to do with it itself, orders to the operations centre arrived through
11 the superior administration, and that is the first administration.
12 Therefore, there was no need for all the reports and other documents to be
13 made available to the operations centre.
14 Q. Very well. And am I understanding what you said today -- what you
15 said earlier today to be correct that from the 4th -- I take it the 4th of
16 April the daily combat reports from the formations that were directly
17 subordinate to the Supreme Command did not go to the operations centre
18 because the operations duty team was in a separate location?
19 A. Correct; however, the duty operations team was not at a different
20 location. The centre was in a separate room, and the system of work did
21 not make it possible to work as one did in peacetime. All orders, all
22 reports from subordinate units, or rather, orders vis-a-vis units and
23 reports from subordinate units went through the telegraph centre directly
24 to the administration of the first administration. The first
25 administration was the mainstay for operations and staff activities within
1 the Supreme Command Staff and from this administration reports were sent
2 to the operations duty team. The operations duty team --
3 Q. What I was really interested in is what material had passed
4 through your hands or would have been seen by you as chief of the
5 operations centre. By April of 1999 the reports from the subordinate
6 formations to the Supreme Command would not pass through the -- at the
7 operations centre; that is correct, I take it?
8 A. That is correct. The operations centre at the time carried out
9 the handover of speech information about sorties by enemy air force,
10 received reports on the consequences of certain activities, and submitted
11 that information to the operations duty team in order to get more complete
12 daily operations reports on the situation in the army for that day. There
13 was a lot of information. On average, every half minute one speech
14 information came in, and all this information was recorded in the
15 operations log of the operations centre, and from there submitted to the
16 operations duty team in order to complete the daily combat report for that
18 Q. Now, the operations duty team would get the daily combat reports
19 from the 3rd Army, the Pristina Corps, and -- well, let me ask you this:
20 What military formations operational in Kosovo during the conflict were
21 directly subordinated to the Supreme Command, that is, reported directly
22 to the Supreme Command? I take it one was the 3rd Army, another was the
23 Pristina Corps, and I see that in your statement. Were there any other
24 military formations operational in Kosovo that reported directly to the
25 Supreme Command?
1 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor.
2 Q. The -- during the war then, the operations duty team would get the
3 reports, I take it from your evidence, from the 3rd Army and from the
4 Pristina Corps in respect to events in Kosovo. Were you a part of the
5 operations duty team? I know you were the head or the chief of the
6 operations centre which provided logistics, et cetera, for that team.
7 Were you during the war a member of the operations duty team?
8 A. From time to time, yes, save for four days and then there would be
9 a break of eight to ten days, depending on the obligations involved, and
10 then another four days, and so on.
11 Q. If you were not there or not in a position to receive these
12 reports for breaks of up to eight and ten days during the conflict, you
13 are not really in a position, are you, to say what you said in paragraph
14 27 of your statement - if it could be shown to you - that during the NATO
15 aggression the 3rd Army command did not report in combat or other kind of
16 report on deportations of civilians, mass killings of civilians, rapes,
17 destruction of civilian, religious buildings, or other crimes.
18 Now would not be in a position to say that categorically and
19 unequivocally, would you?
20 A. I assert on the basis of what I saw, and my statement is based on
21 what I had seen.
22 Q. Very well. Again in paragraph 31 - and maybe I'm asking you
23 something which is pretty much obvious from what you are saying - you say
24 that you have no information about the existence of the Joint Command and
25 the staff for the MUP. That is because you -- well, it is possible that
1 there was information in respect of these bodies, but you would not have
2 seen it?
3 A. I cannot make any assertions in that regard. What I can assert is
4 that had there been some other command, if it was a command, it certainly
5 would have been part of the military chain of command and I would have had
6 it on my table at the operations centre as a command that I'm duty-bound
7 to communicate with. I did not have any such thing, not at a single point
8 in time, during the course of the aggression or before or after.
9 MR. STAMP: Could we have a look quickly at P2930.
10 Q. And while it's coming up, could I ask you this, at paragraph 24 of
11 your statement you said that copies of the Geneva Convention were sent
12 to -- may I quote it directly.
13 "Copies of the Geneva Conventions and the instructions for
14 conduct of VJ members in combat actions were made. A copy of these
15 documents was given to each VJ member."
16 When were these copies distributed to each VJ member?
17 A. I cannot make any definite assertions in this regard, but these
18 brochures did exist. I had one in my pocket and I'm sure that every
19 soldier got something like that because I remember, I know, that we had
20 this major distribution of such material vis-a-vis the units. I don't
21 remember the time-period.
22 Q. Do you know how many soldiers there were in the VJ at the time of
23 this - what did you say? - this major distribution?
24 A. No. It was the sector for mobilisation that was in charge of
25 that. That was not the line of work of my centre.
1 Q. Very well.
2 MR. STAMP: Is 2930 --
3 Q. If you quickly browse the front page you will see that's a combat
4 report from the Pristina Corps of the 31st of March, 1999.
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. STAMP: And if we could move to paragraph -- to page 2 in the
7 English and remain on page 1 in B/C/S, focus on paragraph 4.
8 Q. Paragraph 4 indicates that: "Ministry of the Interior and
9 military territorial units are controlling the territory and channelling
10 the Siptar refugees to the Republic of Albania. There were no particular
12 Did you see reports of this nature of the MUP and the VJ
13 channelling people to a foreign country, to Albania?
14 A. Reports from the MUP I could not see because we did not have any
15 communication with the MUP.
16 Q. Well, did you see Pristina Corps reports that documented this type
17 of activity?
18 A. If this report went through the operations centre, yes.
19 Q. I'm not sure if I understand your answer. Did you or do you have
20 a recollection of seeing reports from the Pristina Corps documenting the
21 channelling of civilians across the border? Do you remember that?
22 A. Well, I see that here, in this document, and I repeat, I don't see
23 the last page of the report because that would confirm whether it went
24 through the operations centre. I don't know whether this is a document
25 that was in the operations centre. I really have no doubts, but it is a
1 stamp that verifies that on the last page. I see this information, and I
2 believe that this is activity that the commander of the 3rd Army -- of the
3 Pristina Corps reports about to his superior command as to what is going
4 on in his territory. I cannot into the core of the matter regarding
5 refugees, the need to re-channel, and so on, I really don't know.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivkovic -- sorry, Mr. Visnjic.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that the second
8 page should be shown to the witness because it seems to me that Mr. Stamp
9 is misleading him a bit, but I don't want to make any comments. Let him
10 have a look at the other page, please.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: You will have your chance to deal with that in
13 Mr. Ivkovic, one of the biggest issues in Kosovo in -- at the end
14 of March 1999 was refugees and the movement of Albanians towards the
15 Republic of Albania. And you're being asked what is a very important
16 question in this trial whether you, who was in receipt -- who were in
17 receipt of reports recollect receiving reports of the MUP and the military
18 territorial units channelling refugees proceeding to the border. Are you
19 saying you have no recollection of that?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I had no occasion to
21 see any MUP reports simply there were none to be had in the operations
22 centre. I saw the reports of the command of the 3rd Army and that of the
23 Pristina Corps.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivkovic, you know that we're not talking about
25 report of the MUP. What you have in front of you is a combat report of
1 the Pristina Corps. So the question you're being asked relates to your
2 experience of reporting by the army. Now, are you saying you have no
3 recollection of reports coming to you from other army units that
4 representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and military territorial
5 units were channelling Albanian refugees to the border?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not sure what my word counts for
7 here, but I didn't process these reports myself. These reports would
8 reach us and we would forward them immediately to the duty operations team
9 in peace and wartime alike. They were the ones who were processing these
10 reports, based on which they produced daily combat reports in wartime and
11 daily reports in peacetime. I personally was involved in the drafting of
12 a report only when I was on shift at the command post, on duty during the
13 actual combat operations. As for this report, I really can't say. I saw
14 the last page, I can't see the stamp, I can't see that it was
15 rubber-stamped by the operations centre, I can't see the incoming stamp.
16 It would have been impossible for it to reach the centre without being
17 recorded as an incoming document, and the fact is I can't see the stamp.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Now perhaps you would answer my question. I'm not
19 asking you about anything beyond your own personal experience. You've
20 already told us you were not always on duty and nobody can be 24 hours a
21 day, every day of the month. I simply want to know whether you're saying
22 you have no recollection at all of reports of this nature about the
23 channelling of refugees towards the border; is that your position, yes or
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't confirm this.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, do you have any recollection or not?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, none.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 Mr. Stamp.
5 MR. STAMP: Thank you.
6 Q. Do you - and this is a slightly different question - do you have
7 any recollection of any orders emanating from the Supreme Command to the
8 subordinate units in Kosovo about how to deal with refugees?
9 A. I can't remember. I can't remember a single one.
10 Q. I -- to save some time I won't, unless it's insisted upon, show
11 you the document. But we have evidence before us of briefing to the chief
12 of the Supreme Command of the 3rd of April, 1999, and for the record
13 that's 3D721, in which at page 1 of that briefing the chief of the Supreme
14 Command, Major-General Krga, refers to a claim that there are 500 refugees
15 and proposes that refugee check-point be set-up.
16 Are you aware, sir, of any orders or directives from the Supreme
17 Command during the war in respect to setting up check-points for refugees?
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Is the figure you've quoted accurate, 500 refugees?
19 MR. STAMP: 500.000.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Zecevic.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I believe -- I understand
24 where Mr. Stamp is citing from, but it says "punk" in Serbian, it is not a
1 MR. STAMP: I think we better have it on the screen.
2 MR. ZECEVIC: Sorry.
3 MR. STAMP: And it's there.
4 Q. Do you see the notes of the briefing before you. If you look at
5 item 2, six bullet points down, can you read that for us aloud, please.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you read it, please, Mr. Ivkovic, the sixth
7 bullet point, the one referring to the figure 500.000.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "They claim that there are about
9 500.000 refugees."
10 That's bullet six.
11 MR. STAMP:
12 Q. Continue, please. Continue reading, please.
13 A. Bullet seven: "I propose that refugee points be set up."
14 Q. Do you know what a refugee point is or was at the time?
15 A. No, I don't.
16 Q. Now, if we could move on quickly to another issue --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: We are going to have a break -- we will need to
18 have a break very soon --
19 MR. STAMP: Very well, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: -- Mr. Stamp, unless you're near the end of your
22 MR. STAMP: No, I think I would have perhaps 15 minutes remaining.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
24 Mr. Ivkovic, we have to have a break at this stage for various
25 reasons, and that will be for half an hour. Would you leave the
1 courtroom, please, with the usher, and we will see you again at 12.30.
2 [The witness stands down]
3 --- Recess taken at 12.00 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 12.30 p.m.
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
7 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
8 Q. We have evidence before the Court that on occasion very senior
9 generals in the VJ, for example, General Andjelkovic and
10 General Dimitrijevic, would complain at collegium meetings that sometimes
11 the reporting up to the Supreme Command and to the General Staff from the
12 formation in Kosovo was not accurate. Did you know of these complaints?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Can I take it, therefore, that you do not -- you are not aware of
15 any measures, any orders or measures sent down from the Supreme Command in
16 respect to rectifying the problem arising from accuracy -- or inaccuracy
17 of the reports from these units?
18 A. In that sense.
19 Q. That is -- you agree with what I said, that you don't --
20 A. I did not attend a single meeting of the collegium. That wasn't
21 my job --
22 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
23 A. I did not have any knowledge of such documents.
24 Q. Very well.
25 MR. STAMP: Can we look at 3D -- and I'm moving on to something
1 else. Can we look at 3D723.
2 Q. From the front page which is before you, you can see it is a
3 briefing to the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command of the 5th of April,
4 1999, and if we go to page 4 in the B/C/S, which is also page 4 in
5 English, we have there that the chief of the Supreme Command says, and
6 this is in the middle of the page, he says:
7 "Unusual incidents that occurred outside of combat, they should
8 undergo the same procedure as in peacetime. Measures against perpetrators
9 should be undertaken immediately. Colonel Ivkovic must immediately write
10 up a warning. All losses must be analysed from the perspective of command
12 Do you recall what he was referring to and what your
13 responsibility or what you were ordered to do?
14 A. I don't know what this specific case is about, but the operations
15 centre was reporting about unusual developments. Everything that happens
16 outside combat itself is termed an unusual development in this case.
17 Anything that happens in the course of combat is not unusual, for example,
18 people getting killed or wounded. But, for example, wilful abandonment of
19 positions, traffic accidents causing death or injury, outside combat, this
20 would constitute an unusual event. It was in this sense that I wrote
21 certain orders, warning about the need to take measures to prevent any
22 unusual events and developments like these occurring which might have
23 serious consequences. I don't know what specific order you're referring
24 to here. There was several such orders. Whenever there was something out
25 of the ordinary happening, we did our best to remind our units of their
1 responsibility to prevent these, and we also wanted to have these reported
2 on pursuant to the rules on unusual developments.
3 Q. I see. Your centre was an organizational unit of the first
4 operations administration, but I see from your statement in paragraph 5 so
5 let me move on to the question I want to ask you.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In that capacity or in any capacity, did you see any document
8 issued by the General Staff referring to the Joint Command for Kosovo and
10 A. I did not see such a document.
11 Q. I'd like to show you a document and ask you a couple questions
12 about it, it's P1487.
13 You have it before you there. It's the top left-hand section it
14 is written there "Supreme Command Staff, staff operations department,
15 operations administration." That is your department?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And this is a document signed by the chief of the Supreme Command,
18 General Ojdanic, and you can see it's sent to the 3rd Army command, to the
19 commander personally, dated the 17th of April, 1999. And he has there a
20 link to Kosovo and Metohija Joint Command order, strictly confidential
21 number 455-148 of 15th of April, 1999. And the general goes on to make
22 some suggestions. Having seen that, can you remember seeing any order
23 that referred to the Joint Command?
24 A. No.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I extend that question a little and ask if you
1 ever saw any document in which the words "Joint Command" were used?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not really.
3 MR. STAMP:
4 Q. And I take it from that answer, you would not know or you do not
5 know about this Joint Command order strictly confidential number
6 455-148 -- 455-148, you do not know about that, do you?
7 A. I don't know.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: The answer to your last -- to my last question was
9 perhaps not -- perhaps not clearly translated, perhaps it was. I'll ask
10 you the question again.
11 Did you ever see any document in which the words "Joint Command"
12 were used?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I did not, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Stamp.
16 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours. I have nothing further in
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivkovic, could you look, please, at your
19 statement. Do you actually have a hard copy of your statement there or do
20 we have to put it on the screen?
21 Questioned by the Court:
22 JUDGE BONOMY: On the screen then paragraph 13 which is on page 3
23 of the statement. In that paragraph you talk about reports of the
24 commands of the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps making no mention of
25 organized crimes. When you were answering questions put by Mr. Ackerman,
1 I got the impression that this is material which you say wasn't reported
2 to you anyway. Have I misunderstood that?
3 A. I must point one thing out. From the 4th of April onwards, not a
4 single report was submitted by the operations centre to the Supreme
5 Command Staff. This went straight from the communications centre to the
6 administration and then to the operations -- duty operations team, and
7 that is why my statement reflects just that.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: In paragraph 13, what reports of the commands of
9 the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps are you referring to?
10 A. Those that had reached the operations centre by that time, and
11 then the operations centre duly submitted them or forwarded them to the
12 Supreme Command Staff.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: And is that all prior to the 4th of April?
14 A. Prior to the 4th of April, that much is certain, but in part I
15 also read reports later on when I was on duty. And I couldn't find
16 anything about organized crime. All I found was about individual cases.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: But a number of times in answering Mr. Ackerman you
18 said that this was not your area of responsibility, and then you were
19 referring to the judicial and prosecutor's reports.
20 A. That is correct. Indeed, this wasn't my area of responsibility,
21 it wasn't my job to monitor that or do anything about it.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
23 Mr. Ackerman, was there something you wanted to ask?
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, it was raised by Mr. Stamp in
25 explaining to you what it is that I would like to go into would I think
1 unfairly telegraph to the witness what it is I would like him to answer in
2 response to a question I might ask, so I don't know quite how to handle
3 it. I think maybe the easiest way for me to handle it is simply -- if it
4 is appropriate for me to point out to you what I would have presented to
5 the witness because his answer is not going to be all that important to it
6 anyhow. It's just a matter of a couple of documents. And I think it's
7 important, however, to do that now so that a lingering misapprehension
8 doesn't carry forward for days and days until I can deal with it.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: On you go.
10 MR. ACKERMAN: Just go ahead and ask the question?
11 JUDGE BONOMY: No, just go ahead and tell us what you want to say.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, that one document I showed him,
13 the report that contained the criminal report, Mr. Stamp pointed out that
14 that was contained under the heading: "Army manpower levels."
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: And it was. And I suggest to you that they were a
17 clerical error, that it should have been under the previous heading, which
18 is: "Situation and activities in army units," and I have a number of
19 those reports where it in fact -- that's where it does appear, that would
20 be the appropriate place for it, and that was just an anomaly of the one I
21 chose to use today. Those have all been admitted in evidence so they're
22 available for Your Honours to look at. 4D --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you give us the number?
24 MR. ACKERMAN: I can give some, 4D276 and 4D280, both of those
25 show it under: "Situation and activities in army units."
1 JUDGE BONOMY: That's helpful.
2 Mr. Visnjic.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
4 Re-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ackerman showed you a document 4D275. This
6 is a combat report of the 3rd Army dated the 2nd of February, 1999. Later
7 on he asked you whether you had noticed -- the 2nd of April, 1999. And
8 later he asked you whether General Pavkovic's reports had anything to do
9 with the activities of the Tribunal and the OTP and were those almost
10 routinely dropped from the reports that were sent to the supreme
11 commander. Can you please look at 3D807.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me, Your Honour, there's something
13 tragically wrong with interpretation. I don't think Mr. Visnjic asked if
14 this had anything with activities of the Tribunal and the OTP. That's
15 what it says in the transcript.
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] It should be tribunal and the
17 prosecutor or the courts and the prosecutors.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The plural and the singular
19 are identical in the B/C/S, therefore it was impossible to tell.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: But you're talking about the military courts and
21 the military prosecutors?
22 MR. VISNJIC: Yes, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: -- In relation to events in Kosovo; you're not
24 talking about this Tribunal --
25 MR. VISNJIC: No, Your Honour --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: -- Or this OTP.
2 MR. VISNJIC: No.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. I don't know if you have the document in front of you.
6 MR. VISNJIC: Anyway, I think I have wrong document. I withdraw
8 [Interpretation] Can we please have P2930.
9 Q. Colonel, Mr. Stamp asked you some questions about this exhibit.
10 Can you please tell us who issued this document?
11 A. I can only assume, it was probably the forward command post or
12 some command group that the Pristina Corps sent out on a mission. They
13 are now reporting back to their own command about this. This is a corps
15 Q. And can you tell us who it was sent to?
16 A. As it reads, to the command of the Pristina Corps, operations
17 centre, Pristina Corps.
18 Q. Could you please look at the next page, page 2. Let's look at the
20 A. This is the leader of the command group Colonel Ljubomir Pesic.
21 Q. Thank you. Colonel, back at the operations centre did you receive
22 any reports from subordinate units, those subordinate to the Pristina
23 Corps, I mean?
24 A. No, none, only from the Pristina Corps command.
25 Q. Thank you. Now we finally tracked down the right number for the
1 document that I referred to earlier on, the one that Mr. Ackerman asked
2 you about, it's 4D275, dated the 2nd of February, 1999. After that there
3 was a question by Mr. Ackerman -- I'm sorry, another slip of the tongue on
4 my part. It's 4D275, dated the 2nd of April, 1999.
5 I will now go back to Mr. Ackerman's question about the substance
6 of the combat report of the Supreme Command Staff.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have 3D808.
8 Your Honours, we don't have a translation of this document. It
9 has not been translated yet. It belongs to an entire set of documents
10 that remain untranslated, but with the exception of the title I would like
11 to ask the interpreters to interpret just a single sentence.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, not having this in a language that I
14 can read, I think it's unfair for it to be brought up at this point when I
15 am not in any kind of position to deal with it in case I need to. So I
16 would object to it being brought up until there's a translation. We can't
17 keep going on without translations like this because it absolutely impairs
18 the ability of cross-examiners or the Judges to deal with these documents.
19 You can't read it, there might be something in there that you would like
20 to ask about. I just think it's unfair; they should be translated before
21 they're used.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: What's the reason for the problem in this case,
23 Mr. Visnjic?
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] The problem, you mean why the
25 document has not been translated yet? There's an entire set of documents,
1 Your Honour, combat reports from the Supreme Command Staff. The CLSS came
2 back to us: We were under a lot of pressure. They stopped the
3 translation process at one point, and now we are getting them translated
4 as we speak, but these documents were on our exhibit list.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: So you've had them for some considerable time and
6 we have asked you to prioritize the arrangements for translation and we
7 know you've done pretty well, but this does present a difficulty. It's a
8 re-examination. Is this an absolutely essential question that you have to
9 pose here or is it something that can be dealt with by submissions once
10 the document has been translated? Because a lot of your questions in
11 re-examination are not really matters that need to be presented through
12 evidence from a witness in re-examination.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't think that
14 should be a problem. We'll be hearing a witness next week who will be a
15 good witness for the introduction of that document. I hope that by such
16 time the document will have been translated. Thank you.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. We'll sustain the objection in light of
18 that and you should move to something else.
19 MR. VISNJIC: No, I don't have further question, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 MR. VISNJIC: Thank you very much.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivkovic, that brings your evidence to an end.
24 Thank you for coming to give evidence. You're now free to leave the
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Before we proceed I would like to deal with the
4 issue of the expert reports of Radinovic and Simunovic. This is perhaps
5 an example of the Trial Chamber's indulgence in generosity coming back to
6 haunt it. What we'll do, Mr. Hannis, in relation to Radinovic is allow
7 you until the 15th of October to take the steps you consider appropriate
8 under Rule 94 bis (B). We would then expect you to discuss with
9 Mr. Visnjic whether you have ongoing difficulties about dealing with
10 Radinovic the witness at that point and whether he should then be heard
11 after General Ojdanic. We recognise that one of the points you made to us
12 was that you needed to see this to prepare properly to cross-examine Mr.
13 Ojdanic, but I think there's a difference between that and being able to
14 deal with the report itself with the witness himself. So we would hope
15 that you could agree on how you're going to do it. If we have to resolve
16 the order of events, we will resolve it, but having heard Mr. Visnjic
17 yesterday, it's likely that you'll get your way on that. If you wish more
18 time to prepare for Radinovic, then he would have to lead Mr. Ojdanic
19 before he led that evidence. Now, we'll put this -- the bare bones of
20 this order in writing later today for the avoidance of any doubt.
21 So far as Simunovic is concerned, in the hope of assisting you to
22 concentrate on Radinovic and since Simunovic is so far down the line, what
23 we'll do there is extend the deadline for Rule 94 bis (B) to the 16th of
24 November, by which time we'll be beyond Radinovic and into other territory
25 in the case.
1 Now, Mr. Visnjic, in light of the possibility that there's going
2 to be some sort of gap it may be you don't fill next week, for example, in
3 light of all this and because Radinovic would not be giving evidence at
4 that stage, we need a little guidance from you on timing. How long is it
5 you envisage him giving evidence in chief for?
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] If you're asking me about
7 Radinovic --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
9 MR. VISNJIC: Only one hour I believe, not more than one hour,
10 Your Honour.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: It may be then - and obviously you may come to a
12 different arrangement with Mr. Hannis - but it may be that the most
13 helpful way of dealing with this is for Mr. Ojdanic to give evidence
14 before Radinovic, since we know that his evidence will be lengthy. And it
15 may be also that you would consider, please, trying to confine the
16 evidence of Mr. Ojdanic to the week beginning the 15th -- well, we won't
17 be actually sitting on the 15th, so that would be the four days from the
18 16th of October. All we can do is ask you to consider doing that,
19 consider tailoring his evidence to fit that time-scale in the interests of
20 every accused and the Prosecution involved in this case.
21 Now, we can proceed to your next witness.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, our next is Spasoje
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Mucibabic.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
4 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
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'll now be examined by Mr. Visnjic on behalf of Mr. Ojdanic.
10 Mr. Visnjic.
11 WITNESS: SPASOJE MUCIBABIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General.
15 A. Good afternoon.
16 Q. General, can you tell us briefly something about your military
17 career, what posts you held and what schools you completed?
18 A. I joined the army on the 1st of September, 1966. I came to the
19 military academy of the land forces the 23rd class, and I completed the
20 academy on the 20th of July, 1970, at the top of my class with straight A
21 stars, straight 10s. This is a generation that had several witnesses
22 here --
23 Q. General, we don't have much time. We really cannot go into this
24 entire history. Tell me, after you completed the academy, tell us what
25 your major posts were.
1 A. I focused on education in my career. In addition to that, I was
2 in command in the field of atomic, biological, chemical defence. At the
3 end of my career I was in the General Staff too, in the analysis organs.
4 I ended my career as a professor and head of the top military school, the
5 National Defence school.
6 Q. You were retired in what rank?
7 A. I was retired on the 12th of April, 2004, as major-general and as
8 a full professor.
9 Q. Thank you. What duties did you discharge during the bombing in
11 A. During the aggression in 1999 as a member of the operations
12 administration, I was chief of a department. I discharged that duty, or
13 rather, I shared that duty with Colonel Dragan Paskas.
14 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us where you were located physically,
15 this department of yours, or rather, this administration where you worked
16 during the course of the bombing, that is?
17 A. The operations administration, according to wartime establishment,
18 during the aggression was located at the command post, and that is where
19 we were invariably during the stage of our work. During the stage of our
20 rest, we would sometimes go outside.
21 Q. Thank you. At the command post where you were, can you tell us
22 how the work of your administration was organized?
23 A. It's a complicated question. An answer would be long. Principles
24 of command and control at strategic level guided us, and all of this
25 functioned flawlessly.
1 Q. Thank you. Tell me, where you were, the Chief of Staff of the
2 Supreme Command now, did he organize, or rather, did he have evening
4 A. Yes, these were not evening meetings. These were regular, daily
6 Q. We have heard a number of witnesses here testifying about various
7 meetings that were organized by the Supreme Command Staff and the General
8 Staff. How would you describe the difference between a collegium meeting
9 and these meetings that you referred to as briefings and was there any
10 difference at all?
11 A. I'm sorry, I didn't refer to these as briefings myself. This is a
12 matter of military doctrine. You call it a meeting, I call it a briefing.
13 This is military-speak. As for the differences, I did not attend any
14 collegium meetings because I was not a member of the collegium, not ever.
15 However, based on its responsibilities and duties, the collegium is
16 supposed to discuss all issues to do with command and control. Briefings,
17 on the other hand, normally serve a particular purpose, especially during
18 combat operations, the objective being to consider previous events,
19 overall developments, problems, and eventually proposals are made as to
20 how to deal with certain problems and continue combat operations.
21 Q. General, when were these briefings normally held?
22 A. As a rule, the briefings took place in the evening, normally
23 between 1800 hours and 1900 hours, depending on the operative situation.
24 Q. Where were these held physically, in which room?
25 A. In the operations room of the Supreme Command physically.
1 Q. What was your responsibility in relation to these briefings?
2 A. My responsibility as well as that of my colleague, Colonel Paskas,
3 and we were at the third level in terms of rank and responsibility under
4 the Chief of the General Staff, as we soldiers call it, our responsibility
5 was below the line. It was about making sure the conditions were as good
6 as possible for the briefing, and this also entailed keeping minutes.
7 Q. When you say making sure the conditions were as good as possible
8 for the briefing, what does that mean?
9 A. Given the type of the facility being used, the operations room had
10 a number of different uses. There were other daily activities occurring
11 there. This was about the work regimen in wartime. One needed to prepare
12 all these things, and this implied that the room needed to be set up, the
13 conditions, tickets, seats, making sure the room wasn't musty and the air
14 wasn't stale, and everything else that wartime conditions normally imply.
15 Q. You said you were one of the persons in charge of the minutes, of
16 taking minutes. What sort of document were you using for these minutes?
17 A. I was using a minutes notebook, a special notebook for minutes,
18 which was a combat report of the operative administration.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Combat document, not a
20 combat report, correction.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. General, who issued you the order to keep minutes?
23 A. This is envisaged in the description of the responsibilities of my
24 department, the department in which I was working with Colonel Paskas. It
25 was in the nature of things that we should be in charge. The specific
1 order came from our superior officer, and at the time this was
2 General Obradovic. I believe he appeared before this Trial Chamber in
3 this trial.
4 Q. Thank you. General, while you were working at the command post --
5 first of all, which rank did you hold at the time?
6 A. I was a colonel back then. I had been a professional soldier for
7 nine years. I had been a colonel for nine years.
8 Q. And what was Paskas's rank at the time?
9 A. He was a colonel as well.
10 Q. All right. You say that both you and Colonel Paskas at the time
11 were department heads. Is my understanding correct, sir?
12 A. Yes. In practical terms we were the heads of a single department.
13 We took turns, but I had spent a much longer time in the operative
14 administration, so I was chief and he was deputy chief technically
15 speaking, although we were on an equal footing.
16 Q. So how did you take turns, if you remember?
17 A. Of course I remember. We had shifts, and these shifts were based
18 on the operative situation that prevailed. There was a plan, normally
19 four- to six-day shifts, depending on the situation and sometimes the
20 shifts would be longer or shorter, as I said, depending on the situation.
21 Q. Let's leave aside the issue of taking minutes. What was your
22 principal responsibility there?
23 A. My principal responsibility was the operative function, preparing,
24 organizing, and carrying through the operative function at the command
25 post of the Supreme Command.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: What does that mean?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. In military-speak, in
4 military doctrine this is clearly defined. In order to explain this I
5 would require some more time. If you are prepared for this, I would be
6 happy to explain but it might take some time.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Tell us what that means. We don't need to know the
8 details, just tell us the general nature of what you did.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. The nature was this:
10 Preparation implied preparing manpower and equipment for optimal work;
11 organizing entailed the optimal deployment of manpower and equipment and
12 making sure that the functioning, too, was optimal. The execution itself
13 was a result of these two prerequisites and worked in keeping with the
14 rules, the rules that we had and also depending on the situation that
15 prevailed or any orders received from our superior officer.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Is this what I would understand as logistics?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Please, logistics for us is a
18 separate thing, it is exceptionally important. During the aggression
19 logistics was termed "rear security." This was an operative function of
20 the command.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, Mr. Visnjic, we will have to call it a day at
22 this point today and resume with a very brief and simple explanation of
23 the job tomorrow morning -- or tomorrow afternoon in fact; regrettably
24 that's still the case.
25 Mr. Mucibabic, we have to terminate the hearing today at this
1 point because there are other cases in this courtroom in the afternoon;
2 that means you have to return here tomorrow to continue your evidence,
3 that will be at 2.15 tomorrow afternoon. Between now and then it's vital
4 that you should have no discussion, no communication, with anyone at all
5 about the evidence in this case. You can communicate on any other
6 subject, but you must not with any person whatsoever discuss the evidence.
7 Now would you please leave the courtroom with the usher and return
8 here for 2.15 tomorrow.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I thank the Chamber for informing me
10 about this. This is the first time I find myself facing a situation such
11 as this, and I will try to do as you have told me to do. Thank you very
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Try -- trying's not enough, Mr. Mucibabic. Trying
14 is not good enough, you just have to do it, it's as simple as that. So --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Assistant implementation of orders,
16 that is what we do in the military.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
18 Please leave the courtroom now.
19 [The witness stands down]
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.20 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Friday, the 28th day of
22 September, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.