1 Friday, 5 October 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Judge Nosworthy is absent for urgent personal
6 reasons, and we have decided we ought to continue in her absence and
7 interest of justice, so we shall do that.
8 Your next witness, Mr. Visnjic?
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Our next witness, Your Honour, is
10 Djordje Curcin. He will testify under Rule 92 ter and live, and his
11 statement is Exhibit 3D1121.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Curcin.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemnly declaration to
16 speak the truth, by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
19 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
21 WITNESS: DJORDJE CURCIN
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE BONOMY: You will now be examined by Mr. Visnjic on behalf
24 of Mr. Ojdanic.
25 Mr. Visnjic.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness.
4 A. Good morning.
5 Q. General, did you on 24 August 2007 give a statement to the
6 investigators of the Defence team of General Ojdanic?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Upon your arrival in The Hague, did you review this statement and
9 if you testified before a court of law would you again repeat all that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I tender this
13 statement as Defence Exhibit 3D1121.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, if I may, I have a question concerning
16 the statement.
17 In paragraph 43, there's -- there's a word missing and it appears
18 to be -- it should be the name of a person or something. It says: "While
19 the aggression was still underway /word omitted/ personally proposed."
20 I think we need to know that name. I don't know if it's in the
21 original, but it's not in the English.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, maybe we could find
24 that out from the witness, because I believe that it is some sort of
25 abbreviated expression.
1 Q. General, maybe it would be a good idea if you looked at paragraph
2 43 of this exhibit, 3D1121. In Serbian, it's page 10.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you read paragraph 43 out loud to us, please,
4 Mr. Curcin.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It says: "Personally back during
6 the aggression proposed -- and the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command
7 accepted and ordered that the gathering of documentation drafted during
8 the aggression be organised at all levels of command."
9 What is missing is that I proposed.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. Thank you. That's now clear.
11 Please continue, Mr. Visnjic.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. General, your statement details your military career. Is it
14 correct that you mainly spent your career at command and operations
16 A. Yes. Almost for 30 years I spent my military career in command
17 and operational duties.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we have 3D690, please.
20 Q. While this exhibit is being prepared, General, you were retired
21 from which position?
22 A. From the position of the chief of the first or operations
23 administration of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia.
24 Q. You were in that position in 1999 as well.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When did you assume that position?
2 A. I received that position -- I took up those duties from the 8th to
3 the 13th January 1999, that is, the transition of duties was completed on
4 the 13th of January.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we now have 3D690.
7 Q. We will soon have on the screen a directive known under the
8 name "Grom 3" dated 16 January, 1999. I will kindly ask you to tell us
9 first: Did you participate in the drafting of this document?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you now please look at page 5. On page 5, we see the use of
12 the Army of Yugoslavia as it was envisaged and the assignments stipulated.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I don't have page 5 on my screen. [In
14 English] And both in English and Serbian.
15 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: There's apparently a technical difficulty,
17 Mr. Visnjic, about --
18 MR. VISNJIC: Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: -- Exhibiting the English, so you will have to
20 proceed at the moment with the B/C/S alone.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 Q. General, we see the tasks or assignments envisaged for the Army of
23 Yugoslavia. I'm interested in para 3.1.3, that is, para 3.1, which
24 specifies the task of the 3rd Army. Can you describe the nature of these
25 tasks for the 3rd Army as envisaged by the plan.
1 A. Yes. From this description, we see the sequence and the urgency
2 of these actions.
3 First of all, measures to be taken for defence against attack from
4 the air.
5 I now see only very small lettering.
6 So the first and the basic thing is to organise protection and
7 defence against attack from air space. That is a defensive task.
8 Further, to prevent the insertion of a NATO brigade from the area
9 of Skopje, Kumanovo and Tetovo into Kosovo and Metohija, and prevent them
10 from taking the area or installation which that brigade is supposed to
11 take up, and then to close the possible axes of introduction of sabotage
12 and terrorist forces from the Republic of Albania, to protect forces and
13 installations and facilities from attacks by Siptar terrorist forces, to
14 secure the passabilty of routes for bringing in forces from behind the
15 lines and in coordinated action with the MUP of Serbia, blocking sabotage
16 terrorist forces in closer areas of possible airborne assault and disable
17 them from coordinated action with NATO forces. Those were the immediate
18 and following tasks.
19 Q. Can you describe their nature.
20 A. All of them are defensive.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown 3D671.
22 Q. General, at the collegium meeting of the 21st January 1999, a
23 debate was conducted after which General Ojdanic asked that it be checked
24 whether the Army of Yugoslavia had participated in the action in Racak
25 village. Could you please look at the document before you dated the same
1 day, 21st January 1999, and tell us more about who drafted this document
2 and why it was drawn up.
3 A. This is a telegram that I drafted personally on the orders of the
4 chief of General Staff after that collegium meeting. What happened is
5 that media carried reports about a massacre that allegedly happened in
6 Racak in Kosovo. Several days after those first reports, the chief of
7 General Staff ordered that it be verified. Based on his instructions and
8 instructions from the deputy chief of General Staff, I drew up this
9 telegram asking the commander of the 3rd Army to answer four questions and
10 under point 5 to submit a report ASAP, that is, not later than the next
11 morning as to what happened exactly in Racak village.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we now see 3D672.
13 Q. General, did you receive that report?
14 A. Yes, we received it that night, even before the deadline given,
15 with detailed answers to the questions that we had put to the command of
16 the 3rd Army.
17 Q. We won't go into too much detail, because the Judges can read the
18 document, but what is the gist of this document? I believe it's in para
20 A. It was the unequivocal position of the command of the 3rd Army
21 that the units of the Pristina Corps, as they had previously reported in
22 their daily report, had not participated in the MUP action in Racak
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness have in e-court
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, did we not see something the other day
2 that indicated some involvement of the Pristina Corps with an explanation
3 of why that was the case?
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I remember that we
5 discussed it and that it was mentioned during the testimony of another
6 witness, General Obradovic, but I am not sure that these two documents
7 were shown.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand --
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] We just saw the discussion that took
10 place at the collegium meeting.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't think this will be resolved just now, but I
12 recollect something in the last few days, I think, suggesting a reason why
13 the VJ got drawn into the periphery of Racak, and this report would be
14 inconsistent with that. That's the only reason I mention it. But we can
15 have -- we'll have a look at the -- the evidence to see how the two
17 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Does it mean that this is a denial of the first
18 position, the position which was referred to just now?
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is a detailed
20 report explaining where the units of the Army of Yugoslavia were deployed,
21 and even in the last paragraph they even list the consumption of
22 ammunition in the area where the units were. I cannot now interpret
23 that -- their final position, but our job is to provide you with the
24 documents we have in relation to this event.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Let's have this document back on the screen,
2 Mr. Hannis.
3 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, if it was this week, the only thing that
4 I recall, because I've been here all week, was yesterday with General Krga
5 I directed him to a comment he made, I think, in the collegium on the 21st
6 of January where he had said he had heard from a military attache that the
7 VJ had been engaged or had fired in connection with Racak. But that's the
8 only one I remember.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Okay.
10 MR. HANNIS: Now, there may have been something earlier when
11 Mr. Stamp was here.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: No, that may be it. But can I -- can we see this
13 just briefly, please.
14 Yes. Thank you, Mr. Visnjic. Please continue.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 So I'd asked for Exhibit 3D685. It's an evaluation of the
17 intelligence and security situation from February 1999.
18 Could the witness be shown page 21 in B/C/S and page 23 in
20 Q. General, you took part in drafting this assessment, did you not?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. Could you please tell us various scenarios were considered here
23 what might follow after the negotiations, the scenario with the failed
24 negotiations and the success of the negotiations and possible further
25 developments. And one of the items was the so-called proposed measures.
1 That was one of the headings. What would that include?
2 A. If I were to explain to you briefly what it is, that would be the
3 response to any challenges that might face us if the negotiations failed
4 and if the negotiations succeed -- succeeded. At the level of the Army of
5 Yugoslavia, the measures to be taken if the negotiations failed were all
6 defensive in character.
7 Q. This is what we see in front of us here on the page.
8 A. Yes, that's item 5, "Proposed measures." Based on the entire
9 assessment, the assessment was done in order to come up with those
10 proposed measures. And under 5.1, we can see "Proposed measures to be
11 taken by the VJ if negotiations fail."
12 And then on the next page, you have 5.2 "Proposed measures to be
13 taken if negotiations succeed." And then there is the conclusion.
14 Q. Thank you. If I understand you correctly, those measures listed
15 under 5.1, there is a total of 11 measures.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And these are all defensive in character.
18 A. Yes, absolutely.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 Could we now look at page 26 in English and page 24 in B/C/S.
21 We can see here the signatures of the working team.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Who were members of this working team?
24 A. The assistant chief of the Yugoslav Army General Staff for
25 operations and staff affairs, General Obradovic; I, as the chief of the
1 first administration; the chief of security administration, General
2 Aleksandar Dimitrijevic; the assistant to the chief of General Staff for
3 ground forces, General Miodrag Panic; assistant to the chief of the
4 General Staff for logistics, General Vidoje Pantelic; the chief of the
5 intelligence administration, General Krga; and the chief of the
6 information and moral administration, General Gradimir Zivanovic.
7 Q. Those are, I assume, the most important administrations in the
8 General Staff, if I may say so.
9 A. Yes. As far as this task is concerned, yes.
10 Q. Could we now look at Exhibit P931. This is the collegium of the
11 22nd of February, 1999.
12 Could we have page 19, paragraph 5 in the English version; and in
13 B/C/S, that would be page 17, paragraph 5.
14 General, this is your presentation, and I'm interested in the
15 section where you propose that the commanders of the strategic groups and
16 the corps and the special units to -- to be ordered, to verify the
17 readiness of their units to respond to the air raid alerts by the 6th of
18 February and so on, and we have further tasks listed here: Planned
19 exercise for the departure of the commands or parts of units,
20 replenishment of units with the smokescreen-generating devices and so on.
21 Could you just tell us briefly what is it that you are speaking of
23 A. At that time, the situation was very complex, very tense, very
24 uncertain. We, as the military, wanted to take measures to prevent
25 surprise. We didn't want to have the situation where the NATO would
1 launch airstrikes, and we in the commands and installations in the
2 facilities would be caught unprepared. That is why I proposed that
3 exercises, drills, should be carried out at all levels so that the troops
4 could exercise leaving the facilities in a calm manner, protecting
5 themselves, and also for creation of smokescreens using the devices that
6 are prepared in advance in order to camouflage the disposition area,
7 deployment area.
8 We considered that if there would be any sudden airstrikes, the
9 commands and institutions should be prepared for such a task lest they
10 should sustain any casualties.
11 Q. Thank you, General. At the end of your presentation - that's at
12 the next page. In English, that's page 20; and in B/C/S, that's page 18,
13 paragraph 3 - at the very end, you make a proposal. You say: "My personal
14 proposal is that if a Supreme Defence Council session is going to be held
15 soon, the commanders of strategic units should attend at least a part of
16 that session and let the comrades and gentlemen who monitor that ask
17 themselves why the commanders are present."
18 Could you please tell us, what does this refer to and why did you
19 make this proposal?
20 A. Yes, of course I can do that. I made two proposals. This is the
21 second one. This is my personal proposal. Because we soldiers knew best
22 what war is all about. We expected that there would be war, and we were
23 afraid of sudden airstrikes launched by NATO.
24 I assessed that we were not prepared for that, that we had
25 insufficient resources and assets and we -- and that we would sustain
1 great casualties and that there would be a great deal of destruction in
2 the case of such a war.
3 What I wanted to do is to apprise the leadership, those who were
4 most responsible, those who were making the decisions, to let them hear
5 from the chiefs of various administrations from the strategic units what
6 might be expected in the forthcoming period.
7 Q. General, thank you. And was there a meeting where the situation
8 the army faced was presented in this manner?
9 A. Yes. Some ten days later a meeting was held. It was attended by
10 the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Mr. Milosevic, the
11 collegium of the chief of General Staff, and some of the commanders of
12 strategic units. The situation was presented there and certain proposals
13 were made.
14 Q. Thank you. I would now like us to see 3D704.
15 General, we have in front of us the aide-memoire for reporting to
16 the President of the FRY. This is dated the 12th of February, 1999. Are
17 you familiar with this document?
18 A. Yes. Because the first administration participated in drafting
19 this document, and it was submitted to the chief of General Staff.
20 Q. Could we please turn to page 2 of this document in B/C/S. We're
21 still on page 1 in the English version.
22 General, three plans were presented at this briefing -- or rather,
23 three plans are mentioned here, but just one of them was actually
24 presented at this briefing. Could you explain to us why and which one of
25 those three plans was actually presented.
1 A. The third one listed here was presented. That's Grom 3. This was
2 the plan that was drafted in the second half of January. And it deals
3 with the deployment of the Army of Yugoslavia in an effort to prevent the
4 multinational NATO Brigade and its deployment in the territory of Kosovo
5 and Metohija.
6 Q. There's a comment here that some of the plans have already become
7 obsolete in the time -- in just a few months.
8 A. This is a comment made by the chief of General Staff regarding the
9 Grom-1 plan, and in particular, Grom-2 plan, which, as indicated here, had
10 mostly become obsolete over the past few months.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: This is the -- the meeting you mentioned earlier
12 with Milosevic, the collegium, and some of the commanders of the strategic
13 units, is it? The same meeting?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, that's the meeting on the
15 12th of February.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Apart from Milosevic -- apart from Milosevic, was
17 there any other civilian in attendance at that meeting?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I can recall, no.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Could the witness please be shown Exhibit P937. We need page 13
22 in B/C/S -- in English, I'm sorry.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: While we're waiting for that, Mr. Curcin, can you
24 help at all on whether the collegium has a particular definition or -- or
25 meaning, or is it flexible or fluid organisation or body? What was its
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In accordance with the instruction
3 for the internal organisation and work of the General Staff, one of the
4 forms and methods of work is the collegium of the chief of the General
5 Staff, comprising the chief of the General Staff with his deputy, his
6 assistants -- or rather, sector heads, and the chiefs of independent
7 administration. So it is quite clearly defined who the members of the
8 collegium are.
9 From time to time, or as needed, other persons may attend. For
10 instance, I was not a permanent member of the collegium, but I attended
11 all the meetings of the collegium because the first administration was
12 indispensable for proper work. It would have been much more difficult to
13 work without our input. You could see that we had lots of tasks.
14 I remember that General Ojdanic had made that request at the time
15 when he was the deputy, and General Smiljanic, my predecessor at the post
16 of the chief of the first administration, he attended the collegium
17 meetings. And when I took up the post, I regularly attended the meetings
18 of the collegium.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that mean that there was a head or chief of
20 the sector for operations and staff affairs who was a permanent member of
21 the collegium?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, there was the chief of the
23 sector for operations and staff affairs, General Obradovic, as the chief
24 of the sector at that time. He was succeeded by General Kovacevic. And
25 he regularly attended the meetings. I was his deputy, and I attended the
1 meetings regularly in order to improve the efficiency of the work and to
2 give the General Staff a better insight into the current situation.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 Mr. Visnjic.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Could we please have P933, page 13 in B/C/S and --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you departing from 937? Which is what I
8 thought you asked for. Is that wrong?
9 MR. VISNJIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour. P937, page 12 on B/C/S.
10 [Interpretation] And can we have the same document in English. And
11 we need page 13.
12 Q. General, this is the very end of your presentation at the
13 collegium of the 18th of February, 1999. And a very brief question
14 regarding the three paragraphs that we see here at the beginning of the
15 page, both in English and in B/C/S: Could you please tell me, to what do
16 those measures refer, the measures taken in the previous -- the preceding
17 period? We see combat readiness measures that made it possible to secure
18 the state border, et cetera.
19 And secondly, we have this measure regarding the mobilisation.
20 A. Yes, the most important thing is the second item, in keeping with
21 the increasing the threat of NATO airstrikes, mobilisation is underway of
22 nonactive parts of units, the artillery and rocket units of the air
23 defence and air surveillance and alerting, as well as of people possessing
24 critical specialties and people classified as type A in air force and air
25 defence. That would be gunners, anti-aircraft guns, radar operators, and
1 some other operators of critical equipment. That would make it possible
2 for us to face any sudden NATO airstrikes.
3 Q. General, could we please look at P933. That's the collegium of
4 the 4th of March, 1999. Page 13 in the B/C/S; page 14 in English. The
5 bottom of the page, please, in both versions.
6 This is another presentation of yours where you proposed measures,
7 and this is from early March 1999. With relation to your second proposed
8 measure, what does it refer to?
9 A. In those days, from the command of the 3rd Army and from the
10 intelligence administration, we received verified information that the
11 international UNPREDEP forces, which had been on the border between
12 Yugoslavia and Macedonia, had withdrawn and been replaced by NATO forces.
13 In our view, this indicated that something was being prepared and
14 that there were plans to infiltrate terrorist sabotage forces from Albania
15 through Macedonia, and that's why the command of the 3rd Army had to
16 receive a telegram containing an order that the newly arisen situation
17 should be assessed as regards securing the state border with Macedonia and
18 that additional measured of the in-depth securing of the state border
19 should be proposed.
20 Q. Thank you, General. There are some measures concerning bringing
21 the Pristina Corps up to manpower level that are proposed here. Can you
22 comment on that?
23 A. Yes. The first of these measures is my proposal and request that
24 the order on bringing the Pristina Corps up to manpower level with trained
25 soldiers from the December generation be carried out, because the chief of
1 the General Staff in the course of 1998 issued an order that untrained
2 soldiers could not be sent to the Pristina Corps and that they could not
3 be trained on the territory of Kosovo. For that reason, their training
4 was organised on the territories of the 1st and 2nd Army and also in the
5 air force and the anti-aircraft defence. And once their training was
6 over, several trains would be sent to the territory of Kosovo and Metohija
7 bearing these soldiers. And this was in line with the OSCE mission. It
8 was announced, rather, to the OSCE mission.
9 Q. It is stated here that some persons from the reserve forces should
10 be released. What is this about?
11 A. Whenever the conditions were in place to downsize the army,
12 especially the reserves, this was done. And we proposed this to the chief
13 of the General Staff, who would then accept the proposal and order that
14 the numbers be reduced to the necessary level. Only the necessary level.
15 Q. General, in the first half of 1999, there were several changes in
16 the combat readiness measures that were in place.
17 First of all, can you explain what combat readiness measures are.
18 What does this mean?
19 A. Well, I can say the following: These are measures and activities
20 undertaken in the army to ensure the necessary level of readiness of the
21 army to respond at any moment, within 3, 6, 12, or 24 hours. These are
22 the forces and means needed in all branches and arms of service which can
23 eliminate unwanted situations and the time needed to prepare other forces
24 that can be used for a certain purpose. And this was regulated in the
25 permanent combat readiness measures, which were updated once a year. I
1 believe that every army in the world has this but maybe under a different
3 Q. And when you say that they have to be ready to respond at any
4 moment within 3, 6, 12, or 24 hours, if I understand you correctly, this
5 means that if there is a threat, an immediate threat, then the time in
6 which the unit would have to be used is shorter.
7 A. Yes, the greater the threat, the greater the uncertainty. For
8 example, airstrikes, the shorter the time.
9 When these measures are no longer needed, then the time of combat
10 readiness is increased. For example, from 3 hours to 6 hours and from 6
11 to another time period or the regular time period.
12 Q. Thank you. When you say "full combat readiness," what does that
14 A. Well, it may not be the best to describe it, but it means that
15 units should be ready to respond immediately. And these are defence
17 Q. P935, the collegium of the 11th of March, 1999, B/C/S page 11,
18 English page 7. This is another presentation of yours and it has to do
19 with the relocation of units in Kosovo and Metohija. And this refers to
20 the 37th Brigade, which is being relocated and group 21 of the Nis Corps.
21 English 11, page 11, please, paragraph 7.
22 In this text, you say that the relocation of the 37th Motorised
23 Brigade has been carried out from the Raska region to Kosovska Mitrovica.
24 Can you tell us what unit this was and why it was relocated. The date is
25 the 11th of March, 1999.
1 A. Yes. This is the collegium of that date, the 11th, but I am
2 reporting to the chief and informing the other members of the collegium,
3 saying that the peacetime part of the 37th Motorised Brigade has been
4 relocated from the Raska garrison to Kosovska Mitrovica. I think this was
5 375 or 385 men. And also, that combat group 21 from the Nis Corps has
6 been moved to the Urosevac area and that it has been re-subordinated to
7 the 243rd Brigade -- Motorised Brigade of the Pristina Corps.
8 The reason was that the axis was quite open, there were no
9 adequate forces from the Macedonian border to Kosovska Mitrovica, and
10 there was a threat that at one point if NATO ground forces were deployed
11 jointly with Siptar terrorist forces on that axis, the entire axis would
12 come under threat and part of our territory would be cut off.
13 For this reason, we carried out that task at that time and sent
14 those two combat groups to the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
15 Q. General, this relocation, was it done in secret?
16 A. No. No. You can't move two units of 100 or more men. This
17 combat group 21, it had about 100 men.
18 A. And the other one, the peacetime part of the 37th Motorised
19 Brigade had 375 or 385 men. So it would not have been possible to take
20 that number of men secretly to a territory covered by the OSCE mission.
21 Q. Thank you. Please let's take a look at page 19 in B/C/S and page
22 21 in English. [No interpretation]?
23 MR. VISNJIC: [No interpretation]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: We seem to have lost the interpretation,
25 Mr. Visnjic.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] If we could scroll down to the
2 bottom of the page, please. [In English] Could we scroll down the B/C/S
3 page. [Interpretation] And could we scroll the English version up. Thank
5 Q. General Ojdanic also spoke at this collegium and informed you
6 about talks he had had with General Clark. Can you tell us briefly how
7 you understood General Ojdanic's presentation.
8 A. I remember that at that point General Ojdanic commented on the
9 situation. He mentioned the talks he had had on the 2nd with
10 General Clark and that he informed him that he couldn't just twiddle his
11 thumbs and keep his units in Raska while this axis was wide open and the
12 multinational brigade forces had been increased to about 9 and a half
13 thousand, I think, in a very brief period of time. So, of course, after
14 this explanation as to why we had proposed and the chief of the General
15 Staff accepted to bring that number of men, 300 to 400, to that area to
16 avoid any surprises.
17 Q. Thank you, General. Could the witness please be shown Exhibit
19 General, we have before us an order of the 16th of March. It was
20 issued by the first administration. The title is "Measures for further
21 strengthening of combat readiness order." Can you tell us what sort of
22 document this is?
23 A. Yes, I can. I've already mentioned that in the preceding period
24 at the border of Macedonia and Yugoslavia NATO had replaced the
25 international UNPREDEP forces. For this reason and because of the
1 increasingly complex situation and the bringing in of fresh forces on the
2 territory of Macedonia, the chief of the General Staff ordered that the
3 main task of the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps had to continue to be
4 securing the state border of Yugoslavia with Albania and Macedonia. That
5 is the gist of this order, and it's quite clear from point 1. That's why
6 he is giving the order that the -- that equipment, ammunitions, food and
7 so on had to be brought in. They had to be resupplied and be prepared to
8 carry out the task independently over a prolonged period of time, even
9 under conditions where supplies might be cut off. And defensive
10 measures -- other defensive measures are being ordered by the General
11 Staff at this point in time.
12 Q. Can we please have 3D682.
13 This is another document issued by the General Staff, again by the
14 first administration, signed by the chief of the General Staff, and the
15 title is "Warning on taking measures to avoid incidents." "Warning to
16 take measures to avoid incidents."
17 General, under the title, where it says "warn," there are very
18 specific warnings and orders. Could you please comment on the one under
19 number 1.
20 A. Yes. Very briefly, the command of the 3rd Army is being warned to
21 take measures of special caution immediately along the Yugoslav-Macedonian
22 border to avoid any armed incidents and fire and provocation involving
23 NATO forces.
24 We were afraid that someone, whether soldiers of ours or members
25 of the general population, perhaps in Macedonia or Siptar terrorist
1 groups, might provoke an incident in order to create a pretext for NATO
2 forces to act.
3 Q. Could we please turn to page 2 in English, and scroll the B/C/S
4 down to the bottom of the page.
5 I'm also interested in your comment on point 3 of the order, which
6 says: "Movement of activity of individual, small groups and units are to
7 be reduced to a minimum in order to avoid provocative actions by Siptar
8 sabotage and terrorist forces which would provoke a response from our
9 forces, which might be used as justification or cause for airstrikes."
10 A. It's quite clear from this that we did not want any kind of
11 conflict. We did not want a conflict with NATO. But we did not want to
12 provoke the sabotage terrorist forces in Kosovo and Metohija because if we
13 were to respond and fire back, NATO might use that as cause for
14 airstrikes. That's why he warns the command of the 3rd Army that
15 movements of individuals, small groups and units should be reduced to a
16 minimum to avoid any chance of provocations occurring.
17 Q. General, this order issued on the 20th of March, 1999, two days
18 before that a collegium meeting was held - that was the 18th of March,
19 1999 - and the minutes are P938 - at which General Dimitrijevic - and we
20 can see that on page 19 in B/C/S and page 21 in English - entered into a
21 dialog with you; that is, General Dimitrijevic stated that certain
22 activities of the Army of Yugoslavia are being carried out in order to
23 provoke the KLA. And the question has arisen in the course of these
24 proceedings as to what after these remarks by General Dimitrijevic the
25 General Staff or General Ojdanic did.
1 Could you please look at page 19, which is before us. Can we now
2 turn to the next page. In both versions.
3 Could you tell us, in fact, how this dialogue or debate between
4 you and General Dimitrijevic ended and what the General Staff did
6 A. I have great respect for General Dimitrijevic. He's an
7 experienced officer who had worked for a long time on the General Staff.
8 But he had comments not only on my actions but many other people's. But I
9 don't think this was a dispute. It was a discussion and the chief of
10 General Staff asked for specific proposals. If you don't, let's move on.
11 If people keep criticising without giving a specific suggestion what
12 should be done instead, I don't think that's a good idea.
13 He did not have specific proposals, though, and neither did anyone
14 else at the collegium, but we did something after this conversation.
15 Q. What exactly?
16 A. First of all, I held a meeting with my assistants, chiefs and
17 officers for the 3rd Army. In my administration, we analysed the
18 situation and I issued specific assignments as to what should be done
20 And we prepared a specific order to be signed by the chief of
21 General Staff after this discussion in my administration.
22 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Sorry to interrupt. Now, what -- what was his
23 criticism, basically, General Dimitrijevic? What type of criticism he
24 had? I mean, was it professional or was it based on any ill will or what?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No, I don't think there was any
1 ill will involved. I believe that perhaps he had a different opinion at
2 that moment or maybe he had some other information that was not available
3 to me. So on that occasion and on a few other occasions, he presented
4 that. But it is to be expected that before or after the meeting he could
5 address a person -- a young person like me who was less experienced than
6 he was, but we had known each other for 15 years and we had served on the
7 same commands. I thought it would have been professional and friendly on
8 his part to invite me for a coffee and tell me exactly what I could do to
9 improve my work, rather than present it for the first time at the
10 collegium meeting. That's what I would do for a younger colleague.
11 That's how I would help both the colleague and the chief of the General
13 I hope that answers your question.
14 JUDGE CHOWHAN: General Dimitrijevic is a person who has figured
15 even earlier, because he was then -- he had to part company at some stage.
16 Could you please tell us, what -- could you please elucidate, what was
17 he -- what was he aiming at? I mean, what you are stating is a general
18 statement, but can you be more specific, please, so that we understand
19 General Dimitrijevic.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like you to have a better
21 understanding of me too.
22 I don't know exactly what he was driving at. I know what he said
23 at the collegium meeting. It's recorded here. He disagreed with some
24 things that I said, and the information I presented was based solely on
25 official reports, operative reports from the subordinated commands, so
1 that I was in no position to make things up to -- to please anyone.
2 After this meeting, I told the officer for the 3rd Army and the
3 officer in charge of the border belt that reports like that should always
4 be verified so that I wouldn't be in the same position ever again. I took
5 specific measures, and I cannot list all of them now, because we -- it
6 would take too much time, but they did give -- yield results.
7 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Thank you.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Curcin, on this page we also see reference to
9 comments by General Pantelic about the absence of combat reports and
10 records of the use of ammunition. That doesn't give the impression of a
11 well-organised system of combat reporting.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right. I'm glad to be of
14 In peacetime, we write operative daily reports, and only in
15 wartime are combat reports written. General Pantelic must be confused on
16 this point, since he's asking for combat reports.
17 In the instructions on the work of staffs and in the rules of
18 organisation of General Staff, no such reports are envisaged in peacetime,
19 nor do you write about expenditure of ammunition in daily reports in
21 JUDGE BONOMY: So --
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That can be listed only in combat
23 reports and such things are mentioned under "logistical support."
24 JUDGE BONOMY: So this is just drivel that we're reading in -- in
25 this collegium minute. This is just rubbish, is it? A man that doesn't
1 know his head from his toe.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean me?
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. I -- I mean, Pantelic, according to you, is a
4 man that just doesn't know what he's doing or what he's talking about.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't say that. I said that
6 he probably made a slip of the tongue. He wanted combat reports listing
7 expenditure of ammunition.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: If he did, he made the slip of the tongue several
9 times and he was concerned that the replenishment level for ammunition at
10 the 3rd Army is above other units' level, which would suggest that they're
11 using ammunition before combat operations begin. Was that a matter of
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Maybe that happened too sometime,
14 but that's not my reading of this passage and his concern. His concern
15 was that the 3rd Army should have more ammunition than others because an
16 aggression is expected from Albania, a ground invasion is expected, and
17 it's natural that they should have more ammunition than units in Belgrade
18 and -- and Vojvodina.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: So the word "replenishment" and the other
20 word,"resupply," don't suggest that ammunition has been used and has to be
21 replaced. Is that what you're saying?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Ammunition was probably used
23 and a certain amount needed to be resupplied. But "resupply" does not
24 mean that the same amount that was used needs to be replenished.
25 Ammunition supplies have to be made in advance, because supply cannot take
1 place when the action starts and when NATO has complete control of the air
2 space. That, I believe, is what worried General Pantelic when he speaks
3 about replenishment and resupply.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 Mr. Visnjic.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] If I may be of assistance, Your
7 Honour, and I can ask General Curcin directly about this contribution by
8 General Pantelic.
9 Q. General, this is the 18th of March. Did the Army of Yugoslavia
10 use rockets, Plamen, Oganj, Osa, Zolja, or other rockets on the 18th of
11 March before the airstrikes started?
12 A. No. This is -- these are assets for anti-armour action, for
13 combat support, and there was none of that at the time. That had to be
14 supplied in preparation, and indeed the aggression started within seven
15 days of this discussion.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one final question on this. Are you saying
17 that there was no obligation at that stage, prior to the conflict
18 beginning, for reports to be made when -- when ammunition was used?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, that's not what I'm saying. It
20 was necessary, but not on a daily basis, because our instructions did not
21 provide for that. And as you can see in his proposal, he says: "I
22 propose that we move on to start drafting combat reports from units of the
23 3rd Army that are engaged, including, of course, elements of logistical
24 support that we would define."
25 We used to have that earlier. We just needed to re-activate it.
1 So automatically when something is used up during the day or during the
2 night, it is resupplied. He is -- that's his thinking as a -- as a good
3 logistical officer. That's his proposal.
4 So in answer to your question, yes, there were reports made once a
5 week, but they were drawn up technical service by technical service.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 Q. Let us go back to this. You said an order was prepared, and I
8 want to ask you now whether that is the order of the 23rd March 1999,
9 3D682 that I just showed you, the one that says that movements should be
10 minimised. That's the order of the 20th of March asking that movements be
11 minimised in order not to provoke the KLA.
12 A. Yes, we discussed it a moment ago.
13 Q. Could you now look at another document and tell me if some other
14 measures were also taken trying to establish accurate information
15 emanating from units of the 3rd Army. Could you please look at P1469.
16 Tell me, General, what is the nature of this document? It's also
17 from the Supreme Command Staff, 25th of March, 1999. The heading
18 is "Accurate and verified reports, caution or warning."
19 A. Yes. This is one of the first orders that came from the command
20 post of the Supreme Command Staff. A lot of things happened in the seven
21 days that preceded. And it underlines the need for accurate and verified
23 Q. We can see the contents. You need not read it.
24 A. This is only one in a series of measures emphasising the need to
25 get accurate reports from subordinate commands. It was sent to all
1 subordinate commands.
2 Q. During that war, General, were there any other orders specifying
3 in what way and in what volume reporting should be take place?
4 A. Yes, there were some other orders and cautions that the system of
5 reporting should improve.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 Can the witness now be shown, please, Exhibit 3D808.
8 General, can you tell me -- this is a combat report dated the 3rd
9 of April, 1999. Can you tell us briefly what this document is about and
10 how it was compiled.
11 A. The operative duty team headed by a general, and often his
12 assistant was also a general, and there were officers from all the
13 administrations involved, they studied the combat reports of the
14 subordinate commands, and following certain guidelines, they compiled a
15 combat report for the Supreme Command.
16 Here we have certain points, certain content, and only correct and
17 verified information received in writing from the subordinate commands
18 were entered into this combat report.
19 Q. General, we are especially interested in how reports from the 3rd
20 Army, their daily combat reports, were dealt with, the ones that arrived
21 in the General Staff.
22 A. They were all studied carefully, especially those coming from the
23 3rd Army, because that's where most events took place. And from these
24 reports, most often we took the most important information if they arrived
25 in the General Staff or at the command post in time.
1 Q. Thank you. If they arrived late, what was done with them then?
2 A. Well, they were often late due to problems in the communication
3 system. If they were late, in order to fulfil our obligation to the
4 Supreme Command, we would include the complete report from the 3rd Army as
5 we had received it.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 Could we now look at 3D808. That's page 3 of this document.
8 General, we can see here that the report from the 3rd Army is
9 attached as attachment number 1. What does that mean?
10 A. Yes. That means that the other strategic units had sent their
11 reports on time and we processed them and the report from the 3rd Army had
12 not arrived on time. It arrived after we've already complete our report.
13 And that is why the full report from the 3rd Army is attached to this
15 Q. Thank you. And now could you please tell me, the text of those
16 combat reports, they will all be exhibits in this trial, show that
17 attachments were always provided with the combat reports. Could you
18 please tell me briefly, what were those attachments? How many of them
19 were there? And what did they contain?
20 A. There would be several attachments. Because of the situation,
21 they had to be elaborated further during the NATO airstrikes. Attachment
22 number 1 was always an overview of the activities and situation in the 3rd
23 Army. Attachment number 2 would always be manpower levels, replenishment,
24 replacements, officer, non-commissioned officers, soldiers and so on.
25 Then -- and also casualties.
1 The next attachment was NATO airstrikes against various facilities
2 in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by 6.00 a.m.
3 There was another attachment, logistics report. That was drafted
4 by the assistant commander for logistics.
5 And a financial report.
6 So these would be the reports that were attached as a matter of
7 course in most cases, and these were -- they were submitted to the
8 general -- to the Supreme Command Staff.
9 And I also have to note that all the requests of the subordinates
10 are also noted here.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me. Just a moment, Your Honour. I think
12 there's a potential - at least for confusion - when the witness talks
13 about attachments to the combat reports, I think we -- really he's talking
14 about sections of the combat reports. This might lead you to believe when
15 you see a combat report that there are a lot of missing attachments. And
16 I think that's not the case. This can be confirmed with Mr. Visnjic and
17 the witness, I think, but he -- what he just testified to is the way the
18 combat reports are normally arranged and the paragraphs of them.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you help in that, Mr. Visnjic?
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that the
21 witness said exactly what I wanted him to say, what I thought he should
22 say. But let me ask him.
23 Q. General, were there attachments to every combat report?
24 A. Yes. In addition to the paragraphs or sections in the combat
25 report, there would always be the attachments. The attachment number 1
1 would be the combat report, the combat situation. The second one would be
2 staffing levels and casualties. The third one would be the logistics, and
3 so on.
4 Q. General, let me ask you --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ... Can we see one
6 and -- to resolve this, or are they missing, as Mr. Ackerman fears might
7 be the case?
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I can only show what I
9 received from the Serbian government. When I asked for combat reports,
10 they gave me combat reports. Unfortunately, now I can -- the only thing I
11 can do is to ask for the attachments. But sometimes the -- it is
12 indicated in the report what the attachments are.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you have a hard copy of 3D808.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I do. I have it here.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you give that to the witness, and we'll ask
16 him whether the attachments are missing.
17 Now, Mr. Curcin, you now have a copy of that combat report of the
18 3rd of April. Is it complete?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The report is full, but the
20 attachments are missing.
21 On page 4 in the Serbian version, paragraph 3.1 lists lists of
22 casualties as -- in accordance with the attachment 2(a).
23 On page 2, we have item 2.4, regarding the 3rd Army. We have the
24 overview of the activities and status in the 3rd Army in accordance with
25 the attachment number 1.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But the attachments are not here.
3 They're not attached to this combat report, but that's how we described
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 Well, I think this is a suitable time for us to break,
7 Mr. Visnjic.
8 Mr. Curcin, we have to have a break at this stage for various
9 reasons. That will be for 20 minutes. Could you please leave the
10 courtroom with the usher. He'll show you where to go. And we'll see you
11 again at ten minutes to 11.00.
12 [The witness stands down]
13 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one moment with the -- the witness.
16 The delay in returning was -- was caused by the Chamber
17 considering the position on Radinovic, and we shall excise from the report
18 the section on the Kosovo Liberation Army. That's Chapter 1 at 3.1. We
19 do not think it's necessary even as background to the matters on which the
20 expert is to report, and it would not be admissible evidence of the truth
21 of the facts, in any event, being based on -- on remote sources when we
22 already, of course, have evidence about the Kosovo Liberation Army and
23 parties may yet lead more.
24 We shall also excise the material relating to the migrations of
25 the civilian population. That's simply a catalogue of possibilities that
1 are matters for counsel to make submissions on based on actual evidence.
2 So that's Chapter 2 at 5.
3 We will not excise the parts relating to the internationalisation
4 of the conflict, the escalation of the conflict, or the forces of the MUP,
5 since we think all of these are necessary background. And we also think
6 they are presented in a -- a way which is consistent with an expert's
7 approach to matters, which is not really the situation particularly in
8 relation to the passage on the Kosovo Liberation Army and its relationship
9 with NATO.
10 Now, obviously if any of the material we excise turns out to be
11 necessary to enable the witness to express his opinions accurately, then
12 counsel will address these in the course of his oral evidence so that any
13 material that has to be presented from these areas which we exclude is
14 presented in a focused and clearly relevant way.
15 If, having digested that decision, you have any questions to
16 clarify it, don't hesitate to ask them later in the day.
17 We can now continue with the witness.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, while the witness is
20 being brought in, I just want to make a correction for the transcript.
21 Page 33, line 8, the reference should be to 3D808 and not to
22 3D828. The witness was shown Exhibit 3D808.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And just one thing by way of
25 explanation, if I may. The document that was shown to the witness, I
1 think that there was a slight confusion there among my colleagues, and I
2 just want to clarify that now.
3 The document was prepared by the Supreme Command Staff, and it was
4 meant for the use of other parties. And that's the document that has
5 attachments, not the combat report from the 3rd Army. Those combat
6 reports from the 3rd Army do not contain any attachments. When we were
7 talking about attachments that pertained to the reports that were put
8 together by the Supreme Command Staff, not the reports that had come in
9 from the 3rd Army.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: That is certainly my clear understanding, in any
11 event. I -- I understood these were compilations from other reports
12 submitted by --
13 MR. VISNJIC: Yes.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: -- By individual units. And what I think you're
15 saying is that Mr. Ackerman was referring to the individual reports that
16 come in from which the combat report for the Supreme Command Staff is
18 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, during the break, I reread the
19 transcript and I was confused. And I'll chuck that up to either my age or
20 the fact that it's Friday.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. A combination of both, no doubt.
22 Please continue, Mr. Visnjic.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. General, how did the reports from judicial organs come to be
25 included in combat reports? I'm talking about the combat reports from
1 strategic units.
2 A. Could you please repeat your question. I didn't really understand
3 you all that well.
4 Q. How did the reports from judicial organs come to be included in
5 the combat reports of the strategic units, reports on the work of the
6 judicial organs?
7 A. Well, as early as in late March 1999, the Chief of Staff of the
8 Supreme Command ordered that the subordinates should submit in their
9 combat reports information about the work of the judicial organs, and they
10 complied with this regularly. So this was part of the combat reports.
11 Q. Thank you, General.
12 Could we please have Exhibit 3D688 up on the screen.
13 General, during the war the Supreme Command Staff drafted
14 instructions for the combat reports of the Supreme Command. So this is
15 some kind of an internal instruction. Could you tell us something more
16 about that?
17 A. Yes. The Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command was not always
18 satisfied with the reports, and on several occasions he ordered - and this
19 is just one such example - where he ordered in writing that an instruction
20 be drafted as to how the reports of the Supreme Command should be drafted,
21 because we didn't know how long the war would last, how long the
22 aggression against our country would last. This was done so that we all
23 deal with drafting the combat reports of the Supreme Command in the same
25 Q. When you say "we, all of us," you mean the operations teams, the
1 operational teams of the Supreme Command?
2 A. Yes, that's what I mean. I mean -- I am referring to all the
3 organs that participated in the drafting of the combat reports. Primarily
4 the duty operational team that was rotated every 24 hours lest every team
5 should address this in his -- its own way.
6 Q. Thank you, General.
7 Could we now look at page 5 in this document in both versions.,
8 B/C/S and English.
9 General, could you please tell me, if we were now to look at the
10 elements that are relevant for this trial in the contents of the combat
11 report, which elements would you single out? Elements that are contained
12 in this outline.
13 A. Although all the elements are important, I would single out item
14 2.8, "The situation in the territory"; 3.3, "Addressing the work of the
15 judicial organs."
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
17 A. And paragraph 5, "Security."
18 Of course, item number 4, "morale," it's also important. But ones
19 that I mentioned before are particularly relevant for this case.
20 Q. Thank you. Now, let us move on to a different topic. Could I
21 please have 4D135 up on the screen.
22 General, this is a document entitled "Analysis of the
23 implementation of the requests sent by the 3rd Army to the Supreme Command
24 Staff," issued by your sector, operations and staff affairs sector, on the
25 6th of June, 1999.
1 First of all, could you tell me who was this report addressed to?
2 A. This report was drafted in the first administration of the
3 operations and staff affairs sector, and it was sent to the 3rd Army
5 Q. Thank you. And could you tell me why was this analysis made?
6 A. A few days earlier, in late May, at an evening briefing, the Chief
7 of Staff of the Supreme Command ordered that we make an analysis of all
8 the requests that were put in from our subordinates, in particular from
9 the 3rd Army command, and to draft a report and to prepare it for his
10 signature and then it would be sent to the 3rd Army. That's what we did,
11 and these are the results.
12 If it is necessary, I can comment on it and I can say that only 2
13 per cent --
14 Q. General. General, I have another question. When you say "we did
15 it," did you personally take part in drafting this document?
16 A. Yes, I did. So did the representatives of the administration and
17 some other administration did that and tactical mainstays dealt with the
18 issues within their purview and we, in the first administration, put all
19 that together and prepared the document for the signature.
20 Q. Thank you. And now if we can look at page 5, both in the English
21 and the B/C/S version. I apologise. It's page 6 in the English version.
22 General, could you please comment on the first two items -- or the
23 first three items in this conclusion.
24 A. Yes. The first conclusion is that the Supreme Command Staff
25 focused on monitoring and assessing the situation and promptly dealing
1 with the requests made by the 3rd Army units, requests sent to the Supreme
2 Command Staff.
3 The second conclusion is that the request sent in by the 3rd Army
4 command were comprehensively reviewed and assessed and they were dealt
5 with as soon as possible by the organs of the Supreme Command Staff and
6 that in the majority of cases those requests were approved by the Supreme
7 Command Staff.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 Could the witness please be shown Exhibit P1459.
10 General, this is a document dated the 25th of May, 1999. It was
11 sent by the 3rd Army commander to the General Staff -- or rather, the
12 Supreme Command Staff. And now I would like you to look at page 2 of this
13 document. I'm interested in the "Measures Proposed."
14 The 3rd Army is requesting that the Supreme Command take certain
15 measures within its purview. General, was this request included in the
16 analysis that you did on the 6th of June, 1999? That's Exhibit 4D135 that
17 you were talking about a little while earlier.
18 A. No.
19 Q. General, were you aware of this document? Are you familiar with
20 this document? I am talking now about P1459 that you have in front of you
21 on the screen.
22 A. Yes, I know about this document, but that was from the proofing
23 session before my testimony here. Anything that looked like a request
24 and "Proposed Measures" certainly is in this category -- should have been
25 included in our analysis of the 6th of June.
1 Q. General, did you see that -- this document in 1999?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 Could we please have document P1480. We're moving on to a
5 different topic.
6 General, who drafted this document? It is a memo -- or rather, a
7 preparatory order dated the 9th of April, 1999.
8 A. I drafted this document and I took it up for signature.
9 Q. Could you please tell us when this document was drafted and what
10 was its purpose.
11 A. This document was drafted on the 9th of April, 1999 on the basis
12 of the discussion that was held the previous day, the decision was made to
13 start drafting a directive for the defence against the aggression. It was
14 to be distributed to the subordinate units, in particular to the 3rd Army
16 This is the preparatory order. The purpose is for the army
17 command to get ready and to make -- take measures to prepare for the
18 aggression that may take two forms and to prepare for the briefing that
19 was to be held the next day.
20 Q. Could you please comment on the variations or topics, as I would
21 call them, that are listed here, topics that should be dealt with in the
22 decision that was to be drafted or prepared by the 3rd Army commander.
23 A. The most important thing was to analyse in detail and to assess in
24 detail the possible scenarios for the aggression against our country.
25 The first one, listed under (a), is the aggression by the Siptar
1 terrorist forces currently in neighbouring countries, primarily in
2 Macedonia and Albania, with the use of refugees and the support of NATO
3 forces in collaboration with the terrorist forces in Kosovo and Metohija.
4 So in the opinion of the Supreme Command Staff, that was the first
5 scenario, the most probable form that the aggression would take.
6 And the second one was the aggression by NATO forces with the
7 activation of an armed uprising by the remaining and infiltrated Siptar
8 terrorist forces and also making use of the refugees.
9 The 3rd Army was to make an assessment and to prepare a
10 directive -- or rather, to prepare its order.
11 Q. And, General, did the commander of the 3rd Army report this
12 proposal of the decision and when?
13 A. Yes. The commander of the 3rd Army briefed on the proposal of his
14 decision on the 3rd of April in the staff of the Supreme Commander, where
15 the Supreme Commander was present.
16 Q. Thank you, General. Let's move on.
17 Could the witness be shown P1487.
18 General, can you tell us -- this document has been discussed quite
19 a lot in these proceedings. These are the so-called suggestions dated the
20 17th of April, 1999. What do you know about the way this document came
21 into being?
22 A. I know how this document came into being. One evening - and here
23 the date is mentioned, the 17th of April - I was called up by
24 General Ojdanic while I was at the command post, and he showed me an -- a
25 segment of a map. The map represented the situation in the broader Rugovo
1 area, and he asked me what I thought of it. I studied the map for two or
2 three minutes, and at first sight, as an experienced operations officer
3 and former commander, I gave him my opinion. I said that there was a
4 broad basis for antiterrorist fighting, that there were no links among the
5 units ensured, that the area was very wide, and that there were no links
6 with the neighbouring units either, the 2nd Army and others, and that it
7 was possible for the terrorists to pull out in -- through valleys, creeks,
8 and so on, and I said that I doubted that an action planned in this way
9 could be successful.
10 It was only then that General Ojdanic told me what this was. It
11 did say there "Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija, number 455-148 of
12 the 15th of April, 1999 for operations in Rugova." He explained to me
13 that several minutes before that he had met General Pavkovic who had told
14 him he was coming from President Milosevic's office and he was carrying
15 this map under his arm. And then it was -- it was rolled up.
16 And after a brief conversation, he asked him what it was, and he
17 explained that he had been to see the President and that that was the plan
18 for the operation in the Rugovo area. He asked if he could take a look,
19 and the other man said "yes," gave him the map and left.
20 Immediately after that, General Ojdanic called me, and you --
21 you've already heard what happened.
22 Then General Ojdanic wrote this text in his own handwriting and
23 handed it to me to take it to the typing pool to have it typed out. I
24 took it there. And when it was typed out, I brought it back to him.
25 He signed it. And then I took him to the registry office at the
1 command post to have it registered and encrypted and sent off, because it
2 was urgent.
3 And you can see the content for yourself. I can comment on any
4 points, if need be.
5 Q. [Microphone not activated]
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Can you just tell me: If you look at the bottom part of the
9 document, can you tell me what this stamp represents and when and where
10 this document was sent off and to whom.
11 A. This is an original copy. I didn't read the telegram in detail
12 after it was typed out, which was my mistake. And when I brought it to
13 General Ojdanic for his signature, he read it carefully and he noticed
14 that there was a word missing in the line before last, so he personally
15 wrote it in with a black felt-tip pen.
16 I apologised. I wanted to take the telegram back to the typing
17 pool to be re-typed, but he said, no, it was too urgent.
18 The stamp shows that this was verified, that the command post -
19 that's the one on the left; whereas, the one on the right shows when it
20 was sent from the command post to the command of the 3rd Army.
21 It was addressed only to the command of the 3rd Army, to the
22 commander in person.
23 Q. Thank you, General. Could you please look at Exhibit P1746.
24 This is a document of the sector -- operations administration.
25 Could you please comment on this document briefly. It's dated the 20th of
1 May, 1999, and it's from the staff of the Supreme Command, sector for
2 operative -- operations and staff affairs.
3 A. This was drawn up later than -- after the document we have just
4 been talking about.
5 The command of the 2nd Army had sent a request for joint
6 operations -- or rather, for coordinated action - interpreter's
7 correction - because when two units are neighbouring units and have a
8 similar task, coordinated action is required. So he's asking for an order
9 to be issued to the command of the 2nd and 3rd Armies to organise
10 coordinated action.
11 These were two neighbouring corps. And this is the gist of the
12 telegram, and I can see that it refers to the same area. It refers to the
13 2nd Army and the Pristina Corps.
14 Q. And in this document, as far as I can see, reference is made to
15 the suggestions of the 17th of April, which is the document we have just
16 seen, number P1746.
17 A. Yes, two documents are being referred to, and one of them is the
18 one you've just mentioned.
19 Q. General, to the best of your knowledge -- or rather, from what you
20 can conclude based on these documents, is it one and the same operation or
21 are these two separate events?
22 A. According to what I know, it was all on the same territory, in the
23 same area, and most probably it was the same action, because I don't
24 remember that the first action or operation that we talked about was ever
25 carried out.
1 Q. Thank you, General. There's been quite a lot of discussion here
2 about why and whether a document should be called "Suggestion." I wish to
3 show you 6D1130.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is an archival
5 list. It hasn't been translated, but I only need one line from it.
6 Could we look at page 54.
7 Q. General, can you read to us the text in column 112.
8 A. 112?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. "Suggestion to the command of the 3rd -- commander of the 3rd Army
11 to take measures for the consolidation of the 7th Infantry Brigade (a
12 total of 6 specific proposals)."
13 Q. Thank you. And in column 2, also in line 112, what should be
14 entered into that column?
15 A. Well, I don't know what should be entered into that column, but it
16 says "suggestion." It doesn't say "order" or "warning," it simply
17 says "suggestion."
18 Q. Is that the column where the type of document is entered?
19 A. Yes. Yes. Whether it's an order, a warning, a brief, a report,
20 or as it says here, "suggestion."
21 Q. Thank you very much. And column 3?
22 A. Column 3 contains the address of the sender.
23 Q. And column 4?
24 A. Column 4? The degree of confidentiality. This was a strictly
25 confidential document.
1 Q. Column 5?
2 A. 5 is the registration number from the registry book. And judging
3 by this number, I can confirm that this is a document of the staff of the
4 Supreme Command registered in the operations administration in our
5 registry office. And then there follows the date, the 20th of May, 1999.
6 Q. Thank you. General --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you leave this topic, Mr. Visnjic.
8 Mr. Curcin, the suggestions document you say was handwritten by
9 General Ojdanic, and that would include writing on the page, the reference
10 to the Joint Command?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are you referring to the document we
12 have just ... Yes. If you are asking about the document we've just looked
13 at a little while ago, yes. The answer is "yes."
14 JUDGE BONOMY: The one which followed on the delivery of the map
15 by General Pavkovic, was there any discussion -- was there any discussion
16 between you and -- and General Ojdanic about this expression "Joint
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. As we, or at least I, was
19 focusing on the tactical situation on the map, and he told me the telegram
20 was urgent, we did not discuss it. I was in a hurry to get the telegram
21 typed out, signed and sent off as soon as possible.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: We've heard evidence from a very large number of
23 generals of the Army of Yugoslavia, none of whom seems to be particularly
24 concerned about the use of this expression in the command structure of the
25 army. It didn't concern you at all that you were looking at a document
1 with the words "Joint Command" on it, a body that you had never heard of
3 Or perhaps I do you an injustice. Perhaps you had heard of it.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Perhaps once at a collegium meeting
5 at the beginning of the year. I had only arrived in the General Staff. I
6 wasn't concerned about this because it was not addressed to the Joint
7 Command. It was addressed to the commander of the 3rd Army and he was
8 being given a precise task. So I didn't feel I ought to discuss this.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: In your understanding of -- of the command
10 structure of the army, who was giving him his task?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To the commander of the 3rd Army?
12 Excuse me? It was always the chief of the staff of the Supreme Command or
13 the President of the FRY who issued orders to the commander of the 3rd
14 Army. To the best of my knowledge, nobody apart from those two issued
15 orders to the commander of the 3rd Army.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Who in this case was giving orders to the 3rd Army
17 about which suggestions were being made?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand your question
19 very well. I don't know who issued the task. But I know that
20 General Ojdanic commanded the commander of the 3rd Army.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Can we have, please, P1487 on the screen.
22 You will see the reference in that document to: "Link: Kosovo
23 and Metohija Joint Command order, number 455-148 of the 15th of April,
25 Are we to assume that that was an order made to the commander of
1 the 3rd Army?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not -- yes, but not necessarily. Let
3 me explain. There was no text accompanying the map, so the order was not
4 attached to the map; whereas, this text written in red felt-tip pen was
5 written on the map itself. This may have been agreed or coordinated with
6 the commander of the Pristina Corps or the 3rd Army somewhere. I don't
7 know. But I just know that he brought along this map to explain it to
8 President Milosevic.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: So basically you did not know what was going on
10 here. Is that your position? You didn't know who the -- who the order
11 had been made to and you didn't know who had made the order.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 Mr. Visnjic.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Q. General, we've just seen 6D1130. That was that table listing
17 various documents, and one of them was entitled "Suggestion."
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Bearing in mind the contents of that document - and it refers to
20 certain measures concerning the 7th Infantry Brigade - can you tell us, if
21 you know, because we still don't see the document - and I hope it will be
22 put up soon - can you tell us -- we're talking about the 25th. What could
23 this document be about and what was the situation in the 7th Infantry
24 Brigade at that time?
25 A. Yes, I know, it was a very complex situation on the ground, in
1 some units of the Pristina Corps, and especially the 7th Infantry Brigade.
2 The troops were scattering, deserting, carrying their weapons with them.
3 It was a very complex situation indeed that could -- had the potential of
4 causing problems elsewhere in Kosovo and Metohija.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 Can we now have 3D670.
7 General, at the beginning of the war, various interpretations
8 circulated as to how and whether to re-subordinate the MUP to the army. Do
9 you know anything about that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can you tell us, what was the debate about? What were the
12 dilemmas? And how was it resolved?
13 A. More than ten days before this order was signed --
14 Q. Which order?
15 A. I'm talking about the order before me, dated the 18th April 1999.
16 The current dilemma was whether units of the Ministry of the
17 Interior could or could not be re-subordinated to the army.
18 In order to solve this dilemma, communications were sent to the
19 Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defence, asking them to give their
20 opinion on the issue. This procedure took several days. And I don't
21 remember who provided this response. I think one ministry said they were
22 not competent and the Ministry of Defence was the one that was qualified,
23 if I understood your question correctly.
24 Q. So this is an order signed by President Milosevic on the 18th of
25 April. Do you know anything about further orders on re-subordination?
1 A. I know that on the basis of this document the Chief of Staff --
2 the Chief of Supreme Staff immediately wrote an order to subordinates. And
3 I must say that our order was not as clear as this one. It left something
4 to be desired. But I can say that the resulting orders of subordinated
5 units, such as the command of the 3rd Army, that understood the superior
6 order well and designed their own order, as did the command of the
7 Pristina Corps. They had the best order. And I believe the Chief of the
8 Supreme Command -- the Chief of the Supreme Command Staff said that that
9 was a paragon, to emulate the order of the Pristina Corps.
10 Q. So was eventually the MUP subordinated to the Army of Yugoslavia?
11 A. No, that never happened.
12 Q. Do you know whether the Army of Yugoslavia had ever prepared or
13 participated in a plan to expel ethnic Albanians from Kosovo?
14 A. No. No, the army never prepared any such plans. I would have had
15 to know about that. They never prepared or trained to expel anyone,
16 including ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
19 questions of this witness.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
21 Mr. Fila.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Fila:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General. I do have some questions
24 for you.
25 I would like to clear up a situation that resulted from the
1 question of Judge Bonomy regarding document 1447.
2 Could we call it up on the screen, P1487.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it's 1487.
4 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
5 Q. While we are waiting for this document, General, I would like to
6 know what General Ojdanic actually showed to you as having received from
7 General Pavkovic.
8 A. General Ojdanic showed me an excerpt of the map, a section of the
9 map, without any text.
10 Q. So when it says here "Link: Kosovo and Metohija Joint Command
11 order, strictly confidential," et cetera, et cetera, have you ever seen
13 A. No.
14 Q. What about General Ojdanic?
15 A. I don't know. I don't think so. Because it was not attached to
16 these documents.
17 Q. So let us conclude. All that you and General Ojdanic had in your
18 hands when General Ojdanic wrote in hand the text of a future telegram was
19 this section of a map.
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you tell us where the order number was derived
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It was written in black pen on
24 the map: "Decision for operation. Order of the Joint Command," with a
25 number. It was some sort of heading.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: So far I've had the impression there was no text at
2 all. You said "a section of the map without any text." It now appears
3 that there was text. Could you make sure you've told us everything about
4 what was written on the map before any more questions are asked.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was, conditionally speaking,
6 the title of the map.
7 In the left-hand top corner, there was no signature of approval.
8 In the bottom corner, there was no signature or stamp of the person who
9 made the map. Except the lines in red and blue depicting our forces and
10 terrorist groups in the area, they -- there were only the names of units
11 in black pen. There was no accompanying text, no accompanying table, and
12 there was no order, just the title of the map. And the map was not
13 verified. It was obviously some sort of working material.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: What was the title of the map, then?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot recall exactly the word
16 order, but it was "Decision for operation." And below that: "Order of
17 the Joint Command." And as it says here: "strictly confidential," number
19 JUDGE BONOMY: And are you saying that as far as you're aware,
20 without having the order, General Ojdanic was able to think up and write
21 down suggestions?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely. I could have done that
24 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
25 Q. General, in order to specify, to define how a proper map should
1 look - you were in that chain of command - what is the proper appearance
2 of a map that a commander provides together with an order? What are the
3 necessary components of a map that was done legitimately according to
4 military regulations?
5 A. First of all, in the left top corner there should be an indication
6 of the rank and title of the person approving the decision.
7 In the left bottom corner, there should be the full name, rank,
8 and the position of the person who made the map, together with a stamp
9 over that signature.
10 Once the decision is approved, in the spot below the signature of
11 the approving officer a stamp should be affixed.
12 Those are the basic parameters that make the map legitimate and
13 according to our rules.
14 In addition, there should be a legend, a key explaining the signs
15 used. Although, on this map there were very few tactical signs.
16 Everything was quite clear.
17 Q. All the components that you just enumerated, were they there on
18 that map that General Ojdanic showed you?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Therefore, what could you conclude about the validity of that
21 document from the viewpoint of the military doctrine prevailing in the
22 Army of Yugoslavia?
23 A. My conclusion then and now is that it was some sort of background
24 material, working map that helped explain a certain situation.
25 Q. General, sir, as Judge Bonomy said, we have heard a great number
1 of generals here, and they all spoke about the chain of command in the
2 Army of Yugoslavia in 1998 and 1999. Could you tell us, was the chain of
3 command in the army intact and how did it work? What was the principle of
4 command in our army?
5 A. The chain was intact. At the level of the Supreme Command Staff
6 or the General Staff, it was the chief of the General Staff that issued
7 orders to commanders of armies. Commanders of armies issued orders to
8 corps commanders. Corps commanders issued orders to brigade commanders,
9 and so on.
10 Q. You started the chain of command with the chief of General Staff.
11 Later it was the chief of the Supreme Command Staff. But who gave him his
13 A. He received his orders from the President of the Federal Republic
14 of Yugoslavia.
15 Q. Since you were present at all collegium meetings during the war -
16 I'm now talking only about the war - do you know in which way those orders
17 were passed by President Milosevic on to General Ojdanic? Was it in direct
18 contact? Was it verbal? Written?
19 A. I recall only this one written order that we've just seen. I
20 don't know if there were any others. But we received no other written
21 order in the operations administration. They were in daily contact. They
22 met the -- the chief of the General Staff reported to the President every
23 day and received his assignments. We learned about it every day,
24 particularly at evening briefings, through the assignments that we
1 Q. Perhaps you know, but perhaps you don't, that I represented
2 Mr. Sainovic. In one part of the indictment, it says that
3 Slobodan Milosevic conveyed his suggestions to General Ojdanic through
4 Mr. Sainovic during the war, and it was in this way that he exercised his
5 power over the army. What would you say about this claim?
6 A. It makes no sense. There's no logic to it. And that's not the
7 way it was.
8 Q. General, thank you.
9 To conclude with this document before you, both the map and this
10 document and what General Ojdanic dictated into it, is it a military
11 operation or some sort of mixed operation? Is there a mention of any
12 civilians or the MUP?
13 A. This is a purely military operation.
14 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have completed my
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Fila.
17 Questioned by the Court:
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Curcin, let me have something clarified from
19 what I asked you earlier. You said that you would be able to write these
20 suggestions without knowing what was in the order, on the basis of the map
21 and nothing else. Is that correct?
22 A. Absolutely. Maybe not in so many words, but that's the gist.
23 That's the essence.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Look at paragraph 3 of the suggestions which are
25 still on the screen.
1 A. Yes, I can see it.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: How would you have been able to determine how long
3 to delay?
4 A. I've already said that there was quite a lot of space between
5 units. They had to come closer to each other. That's a very rugged, very
6 difficult terrain in Kosovo.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Curcin, before you can make a suggestion about
8 delay, you have to know what date is envisaged for implementation of the
9 order. How did you know or how would you know that it wasn't already
10 ordered for implementation on the 19th of April?
11 A. I can only infer that in their discussions they reached the
12 conclusion that the readiness is the next day, on the 18th in the morning.
13 And from everything that happened later, in view of this telegram -- do
14 you want me to continue or shall I stop here?
15 JUDGE BONOMY: No, you're now indicating -- you're now indicating
16 that to make that suggestion, you have have to have more information. You
17 would have to know what the original plan was.
18 A. There are two possibilities: One is that it was written on the
19 map "readiness," such-and-such hour, such-and-such a day. That's a real
20 possibility. I can't remember.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry. You don't know whether it was written on
22 the map.
23 A. I can't recall.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
25 A. Another possibility is that General Pavkovic told him verbally
1 when he was giving him the map.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, could you look at paragraph 2, please, which
3 says that the main objective should be destruction. How would you know to
4 make that suggestion?
5 A. The objective of all our operations against the terrorists was to
6 destroy them; in particular, given the ruggedness of the terrain, it was
7 impossible to have as our objective to block them --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Just --
9 A. -- Or anything of that, so sort, but just to inflict casualties.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Just stop there. Why on earth then would it be put
11 in as a suggestion if that was the objective of every operation?
12 A. Well, we have several items among the suggestions. First of all,
13 that preparations should continue; secondly, that deficiencies in the
14 tactical disposition should be corrected and that gaps should be closed
15 between units. And that is why in paragraph 3 it is suggested that the
16 task be delayed and that coordination be set up with the 3rd Army, which
17 had not been the case before, so there would be no blocking and
18 destruction unless there were coordination with the 2nd Army. And that
19 was what I myself understood.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one final question on this. It -- how often
21 have you seen suggestions documents? You've -- your attention has been
22 drawn to one from the archive. Were they a frequent occurrence in the
23 command structure?
24 A. No, this did not happen often. I don't recall seeing any other
25 such documents, but that was up to the commander to decide whether he
1 would write an order, a warning, information, or a suggestion.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 Mr. Ackerman.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I -- I'm not able to determine right
5 now if I have cross-examination for this witness until I have a chance to
6 consult with my client. I suggest that I do that at the normal break and
7 defer my cross until I'm able to do that, rather than interrupt the
8 proceedings. But I have some notes from him that I need to discuss with
9 him before I make that determination.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. We shall proceed with any other
12 Mr. Bakrac.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I am not opposed to
14 Mr. Ackerman's suggestion. I have just one very brief question.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Bakrac:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Curcin, good day. My name is Mihajlo Bakrac.
17 I'm one of the lawyers representing General Lazarevic. I have just one
18 question for you.
19 You -- in your examination-in-chief, you speak about the
20 reinforcements for the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps. You spoke about
21 the 37th Motorised Brigade or elements from the 37th Motorised Brigade and
22 the Nis Corps group 21.
23 Could we please have on our screens document 5D248.
24 And I would just like to ask you whether the plan order -- or
25 rather, the directive Grom-3 - and I assume that this was also present in
1 the previous directive during the tenure of General Perisic - that it was
2 anticipated that the 3rd Army should be reinforced with the combat group 3
3 and combat group 252 from the 252nd Armoured Brigade.
4 A. Yes, the Grom-3 directive and the previous directives envisaged
5 that the Pristina Corps or the 3rd Army should be reinforced, as indicated
6 here, by combat group 3 from 63rd parachute Brigade. A combat group from
7 the 37th Brigade, and a combat group from the 252nd Brigade, which was
8 part of the 1st Army. The overall strength was about 300 people. And we
9 have the exact figure in this overview, which is 309.
10 Q. Thank you, General. Thank you very much. I hope that I really
11 was very brief and that I didn't tax you too much.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
13 further questions.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Ivetic.
16 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... As you know, I am one of the
19 attorneys for General Lukic. I will just briefly have some questions for
21 You have testified regarding Exhibit 3D670, the order for
22 re-subordination of the MUP by President Milosevic. Now, I'd like to clear
23 up something. At paragraph 36 of your statement you say that:
24 "The VJ General Staff did not have effective control of the MUP.
25 It did not forward orders to the MUP. It did not even -- it did not
1 receive reports and there was no exchange of representatives."
2 Now, the question I have for you, General, is: Do you mean to
3 say that the staff of the Supreme Command did not send any order or
4 communication to Minister Stojiljkovic [Realtime transcript read in
5 error "Stojkovic"] of the Serbian MUP as foreseen by directive 2 of 3D670,
6 President Milosevic's directive on re-subordination?
7 A. I saw this order by President Milosevic, and it came to my
8 administration, this order regarding the re-subordination of the MUP
9 forces to the Army of Yugoslavia.
10 Q. My question, sir, is: When you say that the General Staff of the
11 VJ did not send any orders to the MUP, are you confirming that the staff
12 of the High Command, the staff of the Supreme Command, did not send this
13 order or any order meant to effectuate this order of President Milosevic
14 to Minister Stojiljkovic or any other superior official within the Serbian
16 A. The General Staff or, rather, the Supreme Command Staff did not
17 send this or any other to Minister Stojiljkovic, not Stojkovic. So no
18 orders were sent. He was not part of our chain of command, and it was
19 impossible. There was no need for us to send any orders to him.
20 Q. Now, we have heard evidence here that the MUP of Montenegro
21 officially sent a -- officially refused to implement re-subordination. Do
22 you have personal knowledge of any written act or communication sent by
23 Minister Stojiljkovic of the Serbian MUP or any other high official of the
24 Serbian MUP to the staff of the Supreme Command refusing to implement
1 A. No. The Supreme Command Staff did not receive any written order
2 from Minister Stojiljkovic or from any high-ranking official of the
3 Ministry of the Interior.
4 Q. Thank you, sir. I apologise. I was waiting for the transcript to
5 catch up with us.
6 Just a few more questions. Now, in your statement and in your
7 testimony, you have referenced your familiarity with the combat reports,
8 the "borbena izvestaja", of all VJ units during the war. Am I correct
9 that not a single combat report ever reported of problems undertaking any
10 combat action arising out of any refusal of the MUP to obey or undertake
11 VJ orders for that operation?
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please slow down for
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you're right.
15 MR. IVETIC:
16 Q. And am I correct -- or strike that.
17 Tell me if this is correct, General: As I understand it, the Law
18 of Defence and President Milosevic's order relates only to subordination
19 for combat activities, actions, "borbane dejstva." It does not
20 re-subordinate Minister Stojiljkovic to the Army of Yugoslavia, nor does
21 it subordinate the assistant ministers and the remainder of the MUP to the
22 staff of the Supreme Command. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. Thank you, General. Thank you for your time. I have no further
25 questions for you.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: General, you will now be cross-examined by
2 Mr. Hannis.
3 Mr. Hannis.
4 MR. HANNIS: Well, Your Honour, I would like to wait for
5 Mr. Ackerman to make his decision before I begin.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Does it really matter?
7 MR. HANNIS: It does mo me, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Are there areas you cannot explore that don't
9 concern him?
10 MR. HANNIS: Well, there are areas --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you interested in one principal area?
12 MR. HANNIS: I am interested in a number of areas, Your Honour.
13 However, I don't know how many of those will overlap over with
14 Mr. Ackerman or if any.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Curcin, we have to have another break now for
17 about half an hour. If you could again please leave the courtroom with
18 the usher, and we will resume at twenty minutes to 1.00.
19 [The witness stands down]
20 --- Recess taken at 12.12 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.43 p.m.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you have questions, Mr. Ackerman? Yes.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Ackerman:
1 Q. General Curcin, I want to show you a document. It's P1725, and it
2 will be up on your screen pretty soon.
3 You'll recall speaking earlier about the the -- the study of
4 requests from the 3rd Army and what was done with them. And I want to
5 show you this request from the 3rd Army and ask you if you saw it; and if
6 you did, was it dealt with in your report on dealing with 3rd Army
8 A. May I see the whole document, the second page included.
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. And the third, if there is a third page.
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... You can read the entire
12 document, because I think it's important that you do.
13 MR. HANNIS: Judge, I have a hard copy, if that will help the
15 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sure it would, Mr. Hannis.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Hannis. I appreciate that.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You recall seeing that before?
19 A. No. In the proofing session for my testimony, I saw this
20 document, this telegram. It is unsigned. It does not bear a stamp. There
21 is not the log indication, and there is no indication that it was ever
22 received at the Supreme Command. And we can see that it was actually
23 addressed to the sector for the ground forces.
24 Q. What is the stamp in the upper right-hand corner on the first
1 A. The stamp just below the indication "Keep permanently" is probably
2 from the archive of the Yugoslav Army, but it's not all that legible, so I
3 can't be completely certain.
4 Q. Maybe if we can blow it up a little bit, maybe you can see it
6 It clearly says "Vojska Jugoslavija" on it.
7 A. Yes, we can see that it says here: "Military archives, Belgrade."
8 Q. So the document was in the archives, wasn't it?
9 A. Probably, given that it bears the stamp of the military archives.
10 Q. And General Krga told us yesterday that it was in the archives,
11 that means that it's genuine. Do you agree with that?
12 A. Well, I was in the archive. I don't know what importance can we
13 attach to the fact that General Krga was in the archives and confirmed
14 this was authentic. It is apparent that this document was certified by a
15 stamp of the military archives. That's on page 1 of the document.
16 Q. There was a translation error and you didn't get the question that
17 I asked. You got something else. The question that I asked was this:
18 General Krga told us yesterday that if a document had an archive stamp
19 like this on it, that meant that it was an authentic document. You agree
20 with General Krga in that regard?
21 A. In principle, yes.
22 Q. Now, you'll notice in the first paragraph of that document it
23 first talks about an SVK team. What would that be?
24 A. Well, that would be the Supreme Command Staff and the team that
25 had analysed the situation in the Pristina Corps a few days before.
1 Q. And you'll notice that he refers to a document of the SVK of 29
2 May 1999, doesn't he?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And then what he says in paragraph 1, numbered "1", is that one of
5 the things that was brought out by that visit from the Supreme Command was
6 that the MUP forces are not re-subordinated to appropriate VJ commands
7 because they did not receive orders from their superior commands. Do you
8 see that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. To your knowledge, was anything done at the General Staff level to
11 solve this problem either as pointed out by General Pavkovic in this
12 communication or as pointed out by the team that conducted this visit?
13 A. As far as I know, yes, the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command
14 discussed this with President Milosevic, even before this telegram and
15 probably after this telegram.
16 Q. Well, a discussion with Milosevic doesn't solve the problem. What
17 was done to solve the problem? Was anything done to solve the problem?
18 A. I know that things were done, but now as to whether the problem
19 was solved or -- or not, I think it is quite clear that the MUP was never
20 re-subordinated to the army, which means that it wasn't solved, in other
22 Q. All right. That's all I have. Thank you.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, have you some estimate of how long you
24 might be?
25 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I -- I had estimated that I would --
1 yesterday I told Mr. Visnjic I would probably be about two hours.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
3 MR. HANNIS: I think that's still correct or maybe a little more,
4 because there were some things that came up in cross-examination by other
5 individuals as well as questions asked by the Court. You asked some of
6 the questions I would have asked, but some of those answers you got raised
7 additional questions. So I -- I think I'm still at that two-hour time,
8 Your Honour.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: We would be able to -- at least two of us would be
10 able to sit a little longer, but not long enough to solve -- we can't
11 obtain the necessary court time to sit long enough to complete it.
12 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: So it looks as though you'll just need to do what
14 you can. And if that's the case, there's no point in us going beyond 1.45
16 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: So I think you should proceed on that basis.
18 MR. HANNIS: I will. I appreciate that, Your Honour. I would try
19 to go faster if I thought we could get him done, but I appreciate -- I
20 appreciate that. Okay.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
22 Q. Good afternoon, General. You told us -- you told Mr. Visnjic with
23 regard to the 16 January 1999 directive that referred to Grom-3 that it
24 set out the specific task for the 3rd Army. And you mentioned that by
25 looking at the sequence and the urgency of these actions, you could --
1 well, you described the nature of these tasks based on sequence and the
3 I have a question for you about: What was the urgency those
4 tasks related to potential NATO bombing on the 16th of January? I mean,
5 you -- the October agreements had been reached. This is even before the
6 Rambouillet negotiations. What was so urgent in the middle of January?
7 A. First of all, good afternoon to you too.
8 I don't recall whether I actually spoke about urgency or
9 importance, but I was referring to the importance and, hence, the urgency
10 of events, because on the basis of that element, you assigned them their
11 position in the sequence of the tasks in the directive. So it's the
13 Q. And this -- this plan was -- it was a contingency plan; correct?
14 It was what you were going to do if certain other events took place first.
15 If NATO did something, then this is what you were going to do to counter
16 it. Right? This is not an operational plan. This is a contingency plan.
17 A. I don't know the difference between the operational plan and the
18 contingency plan. I don't know what you mean by that. But in any case,
19 if somebody wants to bring in thousands of troops into our territory by
20 force, that is an emergency situation and we had to prepare for that.
21 There were about two and a half thousand troops there at one point. This
22 figure increased. There was this danger that they might move into our
23 territory without our approval.
24 Q. I understand. And maybe it's a matter of -- of language.
25 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Zecevic on his feet, Your Honour.
1 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honours, I believe the witness said
2 9.500 people, not 2.500.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that would be consistent with previous
4 answers, yes. Thank you.
5 Please continue.
6 MR. HANNIS: .
7 Q. General, I think that there may be a language problem. I'm
8 talking about a contingency plan as being something that you are preparing
9 for a situation that may arise in the future. And what I referred to as
10 an operational plan would be where you are directing troops to do
11 something in terms of going to locations and taking actions. And this
12 Grom-3 on the 16th of January is called a directive.
13 Now, if the troops had been ordered to go such -- such-and-such a
14 location and set up a blockade at such-and-such a time, I would expect to
15 see a document entitled "Order."
16 Am I correct about that distinction between a directive and an
18 A. There is a huge difference between a directive and an order, but
19 I'm not sure whether you are doing it properly.
20 An order is for a specific action in a specific area. A directive
21 is a much more complex document. It deals with a situation in a much more
22 complex manner and it deals with a longer period of time, several week,
23 several months.
24 Q. But an order usually has a starting time, such as a certain date
25 and a certain hour; and a directive, from what I've seen, has -- has a
1 provisional time. It doesn't have a date and an hour, but it's connected
2 to or triggered by some future event, which may or may not take place.
3 Is that a fair distinction?
4 A. Absolutely, yes.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 You were asked about the -- the Racak event and what the Supreme
7 Command did to check into what had happened. You -- we saw the -- the
8 document that you drafted requesting information from the 3rd Army and the
9 response you got back.
10 Your answer today at page 6 was that it was the unequivocal
11 position of the command of the 3rd Army that the units of the Pristina
12 Corps had not participated in the MUP action in Racak.
13 Now, let me ask you this question, because we have had some
14 evidence that some of the -- one or more of the international observers
15 believed that the VJ was supporting that MUP operation in Racak and had
16 observed fire by, I think, tanks.
17 I note in the Exhibit 3D672, which is the 3rd Army's response to
18 you, that, I think, six 100-millimetre tank shells were used, 30 -- 30
19 anti-aircraft rounds, and ten 120 mortar shells.
20 Now, if that ammunition had been fired by VJ units in the nearby
21 vicinity, is it possible that the international observers may have viewed
22 that as VJ supporting the MUP operation in Racak by firing on KLA who
23 might try to come to the support of their colleagues, neighbours, family,
24 friends in Racak village proper?
25 A. I didn't understand the question, because there were so many other
1 things. What do you want me to tell you, in briefest possible terms?
2 Whether the observers were right or something else?
3 Q. No, whether -- whether they could have reached that conclusion,
4 whether it was right or wrong, that seeing tanks in the nearby vicinity
5 firing in the general direction of Racak or at neighbouring villages where
6 there were believed to be other KLA forces could that have been
7 interpreted by the international observers as VJ acting in support of the
8 MUP operation that was going on in Racak the same day.
9 A. Yes, the army had its presence in the vicinity. And if you look
10 at the telegrams closely - and I was interrupted, so I couldn't complete
11 it - 3rd Army units from the combat group that was in the vicinity came
12 under an attack and fire was opened from anti-armour rockets were launched
13 at them, anti-aircraft guns and rifles. And they organised themselves and
14 they opened fire on those attacking them on the hills around this area and
15 Ranci [phoen]. And it is quite specifically noted here that they did not
16 open fire on the inhabited area, the area of Racak. And if the objection
17 OSCE observers interpreted that as support, yes, you could interpret it
18 that way but only as indirect support because fire was opened outside of
19 the Racak sector.
20 Q. I understand. Thank you.
21 I want to go now to the 2nd of February. There was a VJ collegium
22 meeting on that day. And this is from Exhibit P931.
23 And I think you told us that the VJ collegium wanted to apprise
24 the state leadership, the ones who were making the decisions, about what
25 you thought the situation was and what the strategic units might be doing
1 in the forthcoming period.
2 You told us that the -- some ten days later there was a meeting
3 held attended by President Milosevic. And the document we talked about in
4 conjunction with that was 3D704.
5 If we could put that up on the screen for you, General.
6 Actually, I -- I have a hard copy here. I can hand that to you.
7 That may make it easier. Thank you.
8 And I understand that is an aide-memoire, I guess, prepared to
9 insist General Ojdanic in presenting the points to the President. Is that
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. Did you yourself attend this meeting?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. Were there any minutes or any kind of record kept of the
15 meeting on the 12th of February?
16 A. I don't know that. If there were, that would be the job of the
17 chief's office.
18 Q. And in that context, when you say "chief," are you referring to
19 Mr. Milosevic's office or General Ojdanic's office?
20 A. I was referring to the chief of the General Staff, General
22 Q. And -- and who in his office would have kept minutes of this kind
23 of meeting with President Milosevic in attendance? If you know.
24 A. A person designated by him. If it's not recorded, it would be his
25 chef de cabinet.
1 Q. Based on your close personal experience working with
2 General Ojdanic, would you agree with me that it seems likely this is a
3 kind of meeting that he would have had some record made of? That would
4 seem to be consistent with his practice from the documents we've seen and
5 the evidence we've heard so far?
6 A. I agree, yes.
7 Q. Was there any kind of a attendance list at this meeting or -- or
8 do you recall now, can you tell us approximately how many people attended
9 and who they were? Besides Mr. Milosevic, yourself, and General Ojdanic.
10 A. Some of the officers. There was the deputy of the chief of the
11 General Staff, General Marijanovic, and there was General Obradovic, who
12 was the -- who was in staff affairs. General Marijanovic, as the chief's
13 deputy. General Obradovic, as the chief of sector. The chiefs of the
14 independent administrations. Probably the assistant for the rear. And I
15 remember very vividly that the meeting was also attended by the commander
16 of the 3rd Army, General Pavkovic, and the air force and anti-aircraft
17 defence commander, General Smiljanic, and some people from the Cabinet
18 were there, I think.
19 Q. And when you say "the Cabinet," what are you referring to? Are
20 you talking about the -- the government?
21 A. I'm referring to the office of the chief of the General Staff.
22 Q. Okay. And where was this meeting held?
23 A. One of the rooms in the General Staff, but I can't say whether it
24 was in the room where we regularly held collegium meetings or some other
25 office. The conditions were not really very good for recording there.
1 Q. Well, I'm -- I'm not sure what you mean there. "The conditions
2 were not really very good for recording"? You mean in the room where you
3 usually held collegium meetings? The conditions were not good for
4 recording? You mean tape recording?
5 A. That's what I mean, yes. In that room, microphones had been
6 prepared and everything else. Recordings were made on a regular basis.
7 But I don't remember in which room that particular meeting was held,
8 because we would switch rooms depending on the purpose of the meeting and
9 the presence of guests, for example, or who was present, and so on.
10 Q. Okay. But the room where you regularly had collegium meetings was
11 okay for recordings, apparently, because we've got lots of minutes of
12 collegium meetings that were tape recorded. And it seems that it worked
13 fine. Would you agree with that?
14 A. Yes. Yes, I agree. But it was very difficult to reach that
15 office. It was two floors below ground and there was a very steep
16 spiraling staircase. You would have to go through certain corridors and
17 go all the way down. So maybe that's why it wasn't held there.
18 Q. But I took it from your earlier answer you weren't sure whether it
19 was in the regular collegium meeting room or some other office. That's
20 right you don't remember, isn't it?
21 A. I don't remember. I think it was not in the room where regular
22 collegium meetings were held. That office was damaged in NATO airstrikes,
23 so at a later date meetings could not be held there.
24 Q. But it was still okay on the 12th of February, 1999; right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. This -- this document, the aide-memoire, it mentions the three
2 plans that had been drawn up, Grom 1, Grom 2, and Grom 3. What did you
3 personally know about Grom 1 and Grom 2? Did you participate in writing
4 either one of those?
5 A. No. At that time, I didn't know anything, because I arrived in
6 the General Staff only in January 1999. Later on I learnt that these
7 plans had been drawn up considerably earlier.
8 Q. Okay. And with regard to Grom 2, this aide-memoire says
9 that "Grom 2 is the option of engaging the Yugoslav Army in case of an
10 armed rebellion, but only if there is insignificant involvement by the
11 International Community."
12 Now, I'm not sure I understand what that means. Can -- can you
13 explain for me: If there was an armed rebellion but there was significant
14 involvement by the International Community, then the Yugoslav Army would
15 participate? It's not clear to me what that means.
16 A. If we read this carefully through to the end, it says
17 there: "Insignificant involvement of the International Community,
18 interference by the International Community" So it -- it is to be
19 expected. There will be no major interference by the International
21 Q. Interference with what? Interference with the army's involvement
22 in dealing with the armed rebellion?
23 A. No. First I said "the police and the army in the fight against
24 the terrorists."
25 Q. Well, I -- I'm sorry, I didn't see that translated in your answer
1 earlier and I didn't see it here on aide-memoire talking about Grom 2,
2 where it says: "Grom 2 is the option of engaging the Yugoslav Army in the
3 case of an armed rebellion."
4 Okay. Let me move on. You say -- the document says: "This plan
5 became outdated within only a few months."
6 Do you know -- well, first of all, do you know when Grom 2 was
7 first created? I know it's probably before your time on the collegium.
8 A. I know now that that plan was drawn up in the summer of 1998.
9 Q. Do you know when it became outdated and -- and why? What happened
10 that made it outdated?
11 A. Well, it says it became obsolete, which means that a lot of things
12 happened from the summer of 1998 until January 1999. The
13 Holbrooke-Milosevic Agreement was signed with Keramik [phoen] and
14 Ivanovic. The missions arrived in Kosovo and Metohija. A number of other
15 activities had taken place. And because of that, it was felt that this
16 plan was now irrelevant.
17 Another important reason is that new forces had been brought to
18 the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, to Albania and Greece. From Greece,
19 into Macedonia. And we had a buildup of forces on our border. So all
20 these were new circumstances. And because of that, the plan was no longer
22 Of course, we could not say that there would be only minor
23 interference by the International Community as somebody who drew up this
24 plan before my arrival had thought.
25 Q. And another thing that happened between the summer of 1998 and
1 January 1999 was that there had been dozens of combat operations, joint
2 operations, with the MUP being supported by the VJ in trying to drive out
3 the KLA in Kosovo; correct?
4 A. As far as I know, the army gave support to the Ministry of the
5 Interior to destroy terrorist groups, not to expel them from the territory
6 of Kosovo and Metohija. That's how I see it. That's the way I view this
8 Q. Okay. The third plan, Grom 3, is mentioned here. And it says it
9 was drawn up after your interview in Der Spiegel -- and this means
10 President Milosevic's interview in Der Spiegel, where you clearly stated
11 our position.
12 Now, does this mean that the army drew up a plan based on
13 Mr. Milosevic's interview with the German publication Der Spiegel? That
14 seems a strange way for the army to make its plans.
15 A. Absolutely not. No, not only because of that, but the
16 circumstances had changed. New forces had been brought in. And there was
17 concern that they might come in by force to save verifiers, to -- that
18 they might be invited in to save the verifiers. I didn't read the
19 interview. I don't know what it said. But I assume that
20 President Milosevic said quite clear to them that he would oppose the
21 forcible bringing of forces onto our territory without our agreement.
22 Q. That was my next question, would be whether you read it --
23 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Zecevic.
24 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry. I believe the -- the witness used the
25 word "inscenirana akcija," which would mean sort of a framed -- framed
1 action, which would basically be the -- the triggering event for the --
2 for these forces to come in. I think this should be clarified. I am sure
3 I heard that the witness said "inscenirana akcija."
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Curcin, can you help us on -- on what's just
5 been said?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, absolutely certainly. We were
7 afraid that NATO or the terrorists or a third party might stage-manage an
8 action so that individual verifiers or the entire mission would appear to
9 be under threat. And in order to rescue them, members of the
10 multinational brigade might enter Kosovo allegedly to rescue them. That
11 was the gist of what I said.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
13 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
14 Q. All right. Now, you -- you told us you didn't read it, but I seem
15 to recall from one of the collegium minutes that General Ojdanic read it
16 and encouraged others -- or mentioned that others might want to read it as
18 Do you recall that being discussed in a collegium session?
19 A. I don't recall that. I don't know when that interview took place.
20 If you'd help me. I can only assume that it was before the new year,
21 before the Christmas holidays, when I was not present at the collegium.
22 Q. That's -- that's all right. I just wondered if you remembered,
23 because I don't remember what date it was.
24 Now, I'd like to go to page 3 of the English. And I'm not sure
25 what page in B/C/S it is. It's item number 2, about what's been done by
1 the General Staff.
2 Do you see that? "What's been done by the General Staff in
3 relation to the current situation"?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay. And -- I want to ask you about the paragraph two paragraphs
6 above. It says: "Based on the task received, commanders of the 3rd Army
7 and of the RV and the PVO made their decisions, which were approved at a
8 specially organised briefing at the General Staff."
9 And that -- that's a reference to General Pavkovic and General
10 Smiljanic; correct? The -- the commanders of the 3rd Army and of the the
11 -- the RV PVO. That's who those guys are.
12 A. [No audible response]
13 Q. I'll need you to answer out loud.
14 A. For the record, yes.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, do you recall when that specially organised
16 briefing of the General Staff was held?
17 A. No, I don't recall the date. I know that they came one by one,
18 the commanders, according to our plan and invitation, to hold a briefing
19 on the plan of use and their comments or their objections were removed,
20 were dealt with. So that -- I assume it was in late January, but I can't
21 recall the exact date.
22 Q. Thank you. Judge Bonomy asked you a question earlier about what
23 the collegium was, if it had a particular definition or meaning or is it a
24 flexible or fluid organisation. And I have a follow-up question to that:
25 In -- once -- shortly after the war started, we know there were daily
1 evening briefings where General Ojdanic usually attended and -- and most
2 of the generals attended, discussing the events of the day. Was there a
3 name for those evening briefings other than "evening briefings"? Was that
4 the collegium or was that some different group that attended the evening
5 briefings during the wartime?
6 A. I understand your question. It wasn't another group. Officially,
7 we called it "analysis of the situation in the war theatre with focus on
8 the situation in the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps." Because in the
9 vast majority of those evening meetings, the situation in the 3rd Army was
10 discussed and especially in the Pristina Corps, and mostly the same
11 persons who attended the collegium also attended these meetings. The
12 collegium, however, was held from time to time, most often on a weekly
13 basis, more often if needed. But in this case, we had briefings on the
14 situation every evening.
15 Q. Okay. I'm not sure that I'm clear yet. We have a briefing
16 session on the evening of the 29th of March, 1999, and the meeting is --
17 is opened by General Obradovic.
18 And -- I can give you a hard copy. I think that will help. This
19 is actually 3D582.
20 And General Obradovic says: "I suggest that you put your
21 questions in accordance with the agenda. The collegium did not meet
23 And then later on - I'm not sure what page it will be for you.
24 It's page 5 of the English - it's General Ojdanic speaking. And he speaks
25 for about the last three and a half pages. So if you can find the point
1 where General Ojdanic starts talking, I have another sentence to read and
2 then I have a question.
3 Did you find that?
4 A. [No audible response]
5 Q. And General Ojdanic says: "The collegium did not meet because I
6 was otherwise engaged."
7 And he goes on a couple sentences later and says: "I will not be
8 here all the time, being a member of the Supreme Command Staff."
9 So if this is the evening briefing, and he and Obradovic are
10 saying the collegium did not meet today, that sounds to me like the
11 collegium is a different group that meets at a -- a different time.
12 Now, it may be some of the same people or a lot of the same people
13 at the evening session, but I'm trying to figure out exactly who's in the
14 collegium and when they were meeting during the wartime. Can you help us
15 with that?
16 A. Do you wish me to list them by name?
17 Q. I -- I don't think you need to do that, because we have -- we have
18 one collegium session from the 9th of April, 1999 during the war which
19 lists everybody and we have collegium sessions -- we have several in late
20 1998 and early 1999 which list all the participants in the collegium. So
21 I'm assuming that's the same people.
22 But if I read this right - and you tell me if I'm wrong - if I
23 read this right, it sounds like the collegium is meeting at a different
24 time than these evening briefings.
25 I see you smiling and shaking your head "no" at me. Can you
1 explain -- can you explain what you mean?
2 A. Excuse me. You were the first to smile and you have such a
3 winning smile, I couldn't resist smiling back.
4 Q. Well, golly. Thanks, General.
5 A. No, you're not correct. It's not the same. It's not the same
6 method of working. You cannot compare the collegium of the 9th of April,
7 where we have the list of participants, and some other collegia held in
8 1998. You cannot compare those with these evening briefings. These were
9 some of the officers who were at the command post of the Supreme Command
10 Staff. They were there all the time. They would arrive for the meetings
11 where the situation was analysed and proposals were made to the Chief of
12 Staff as to what should be done. And this was done every evening.
13 It's hard for me to comment on this because there are only
14 excerpts here. There are some sentences which are not linked together. It
15 doesn't really make sense, because whoever was drawing up these minutes
16 did not manage to put things down very well. So I think it creates
18 Q. Okay. Your answer you gave me just now may have helped a little
19 bit. Could it be then when he says "the collegium didn't meet today" and
20 he was not able to attend, there -- does that mean that there had been a
21 scheduled meeting of the collegium on March the 29th, but it wasn't held
22 and there wasn't another collegium meeting until the 9th of April? Would
23 that be a fair assessment? Because that's the only other collegium
24 meeting that we have minutes for during the war.
25 A. No.
1 Q. Can you elaborate?
2 A. Perhaps we should have met at 8.00. There was a time when we met
3 at 6.00. If you noticed on the first two days, we met in the morning. So
4 probably the Chief of Staff - most probably - had other obligations,
5 either towards the President or somebody else, and didn't arrive on time
6 for the beginning. He arrived later and explained that he had been away
7 because he had other duties. But I was there, and I'm telling you that it
8 happened the way I'm describing it. And I think it's here in the list of
9 participants at the beginning.
10 If you just give me another minute of your time. From the list of
11 participants, you can see that they are not all assistants or not all the
12 assistants are there. You can see that Colonel Ilic is there on behalf of
13 the rear, that there are some other colonels here but not all were first
14 assistants. They probably had other duties and tasks to perform. Some
15 other officers are missing who usually regularly -- regularly attended.
16 That's at the very beginning.
17 A part of the General Staff remained in the General Staff
18 building, a part went to the reserve command post, and some went to the
19 rear command post. This was a time when the Supreme Command Staff was
20 still being constituted.
21 That's my explanation of this.
22 Q. Okay. Well, I'm not clear yet, but let me ask another question.
23 General Ojdanic says: I will not be here all the time being a member of
24 the Supreme Command Staff." So where was here that he's talking about in
25 that context? Where was the evening briefing on the 29th of March, 1999,
1 beginning at 20.30 hours? What building were you in for this meeting?
2 A. This evening meeting was held at the command post of the Supreme
3 Command Staff, 124 metres below ground. Every evening there was a regular
5 Q. Okay. So are the members of the collegium also members of the
6 Supreme Command Staff, or is the Supreme Command Staff a different group
7 of people?
8 A. The General Staff was in peacetime, and it was the Supreme Command
9 Staff in wartime. Unfortunately, there is no provision in legislation
10 governing this, but that's how we acted. That's the practice. Members of
11 the staff who were designated as being on the command post formed the
12 Supreme Command Staff as the most qualified staff organ to determine the
13 use of the army.
14 Q. And did the Supreme Command Staff meet in the same building as the
15 collegium and where the evening briefings were held? Did all those take
16 place in the same building?
17 A. That took place at the command post of the Supreme Command Staff,
18 not in the building, and it was always held there for the entire duration
19 of the war.
20 Q. So all these meetings took place 124 metres below ground at the
21 command post. Is that -- is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Okay. Thank you.
24 Now, I want to ask you about a collegium meeting on the 11th of
25 March, 1999, and this -- I think I need to take you to page 20. We're
1 at page 21 of the English, and it's page 19 of the B/C/S.
2 Well -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Let me start at page 11 of the
3 English. And for you, General, I think it would be -- oh, I'm sorry. This
4 is P935. And I -- I have a hard copy, if that's easier for you, General.
5 It will be at the bottom of what's numbered page 9 in that
6 document you have, and in the English it's near the bottom of page 11,
7 which has you speaking.
8 Have you found that, General?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you're talking about some new 673 troops deployed in the
11 territory of Kosovo and Metohija, referred to the 37th Motorised Brigade
12 relocated from the Raska garrison to Kosovska Mitrovica, and the 21st Nis
13 Corps relocated to Urosevac.
14 You spoke to Mr. Visnjic about that. Wasn't that in violation of
15 the October agreements to bring those new troops into Kosovo?
16 A. First of all, regarding the page 9 at the bottom, 600-something --
17 673 troops were from the reserve force, from the reserves. And you could
18 say that it was from the peacetime composition of this brigade.
19 I have said already that the chief of the General Staff briefly
20 told us at that meeting of the collegium about his discussion with the
21 general -- with General Clark and the fact that he had told him that we
22 cannot just sit on our hands when new forces are being brought into the
23 area. UNPREDEP had left. New forces were being brought in to replace
24 them. And the mission was informed of this.
25 Of course you can look at it as a violation of the agreement if
1 you disregard the buildup of NATO forces around our borders. In my view,
2 this cannot be viewed in isolation of everything that was going on around
3 and that deserved our response. This is a defensive measure.
4 Q. But General Ojdanic himself considered it a violation, didn't he?
5 Let's look at page 21 in the English. And for you I think it
6 begins on page number 18. And it's in the middle of a long -- a long
7 speech by General Ojdanic. And it's -- yeah, it's the paragraph for you
8 that has the number 9500.
9 Do you find that?
10 A. Yes. Just let me remind myself.
11 Q. Oh. When you're ready.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. General Ojdanic says --
14 A. Go ahead.
15 Q. General Ojdanic says: "You know quite well why we had to violate.
16 After all, what was agreed about the number of forces on the boundary and
17 especially those that were brought in as a reinforcement to Kosovo, that
18 has been harmonised with decisions of the President of the FRY."
19 So General Ojdanic is acknowledging that this was a violation;
21 A. Yes. If you disregard the end of that sentence, because they are
22 building up their strength to nine and a half thousand people while we are
23 waiting here in Belgrade for them to come in. Well, we can't do that.
24 Q. If we could go down the -- about seven or eight lines.
25 General Ojdanic is talking about what Clark asked him. And he said he had
1 two main questions. "He asked me to explain to him why a 25.000-strong
2 brigade was on the perimeter and on the Kosovo boundary."
3 That's referring to VJ troops on the perimeters of Kosovo;
4 correct? Isn't that what it says?
5 A. Yes, but that's something Clark was saying. We didn't have 25.000
6 in the whole territory from Kosovo to Belgrade, let alone on the boundary.
7 That's one thing.
8 And second, I don't think the agreement envisaged that in the
9 vicinity of the administrative line dividing Kosovo from Serbia there
10 should not be any forces. The closest garrison was in Raska and some
11 other ones further in depth, like Kraljevo.
12 Q. All right. But General Ojdanic goes on to say: "I said, General,
13 because we're being threatened and we have to be able to respond
15 So he's not saying, Wait, you're mistaken. We don't have 25.000
16 troops on the perimeters of Kosovo. He's saying, We have to do it because
17 it's necessary. Isn't that -- isn't that correct?
18 A. Well, you can read it that way. He probably didn't want to debate
19 with General Clark. He said what he said. But Clark knew very well that
20 we don't have 25.000 troops in that area. No way. But General Ojdanic
21 was probably taken aback and he didn't respond. He didn't take that up.
22 MR. HANNIS: Is this an appropriate time, Your Honour?
23 I'm sorry, General, we'll have to finish for today.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: The problem that creates, Mr. Curcin, is that you
25 will have to return here, and that will be on the 16th of October. And on
1 that day, the court will be sitting at 2.15.
2 Between now and then, it's extremely important that you do not
3 have any discussion with anyone at all about the evidence in this case.
4 That's the evidence we've heard or the evidence we might yet hear. You
5 can talk about whatever you like with whoever you like as long as you keep
6 off the subject of the evidence in this case.
7 Now, can you please leave the courtroom with the usher and we will
8 see you again on the 16th at 2.15.
9 THE WITNESS: [No audible response]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: What is --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, nobody had asked me if I was
12 able to come on that day.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I'm afraid you will have to be here that day.
14 I'm sorry about that. We've done our best to complete your evidence
15 today. But obviously counsel weren't able to fit you in, so -- into the
16 schedule and thought that your evidence merited longer. And there's
17 nothing I -- we can do about that except require you to come back on the
19 JUDGE CHOWHAN: General, you also developed a liking for the
20 Prosecutor. I mean, that also brings you back.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will be happy to assist you.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
24 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 16th day of
25 October 2007, at 2.15 p.m.