1 Tuesday, 6 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, I understand you intend to open the
6 case for the Defence of Mr. Lazarevic with a short opening statement.
7 Please proceed with that statement.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Good morning to everyone.
10 Your Honours, General Lazarevic's Defence, in its oral arguments
11 presented in accordance with Rule 98 bis, argued and provided evidence in
12 support of the position that the Prosecution had failed to prove that
13 General Lazarevic was criminally responsible for the perpetration of the
14 alleged crimes listed in paragraphs 1 through 5 of the indictment, either
15 under Article 7(1) or under Article 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
16 As opposed to the standard that was applied by the Trial Chamber
17 in giving weight to the evidence submitted under Rule 98 bis, which is
18 lower than the standard "beyond reasonable doubt," General Lazarevic's
19 Defence is convinced that the documents and witnesses it intends to call
20 in this case will convince the Trial Chamber that there is more than
21 reasonable doubt about General Lazarevic's criminal responsibility for the
22 crimes he's charged with under the indictment.
23 The Defence -- the Prosecution claims that General Lazarevic
24 participated in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at changing the ethnic
25 balance in Kosovo in an effort to ensure permanent Serbian control over
1 the province. The Defence will prove that there was no plan to change the
2 ethnic balance in Kosovo, and ipso facto there was no joint criminal
3 enterprise in which the accused Lazarevic was supposed to have
5 The Prosecution wants to suggest that the accused Lazarevic, as a
6 member of the so-called "Joint Command," commanded, controlled, directed
7 or had effective control in other ways over the Pristina Corps and the
8 forces subordinate to it, and these forces took part in the commission of
9 the crimes that the accused are charged with in this indictment. The
10 Defence will present a number of documents and call a number of witnesses
11 to prove that the single chain of command in the Army of Yugoslavia was
12 not disrupted at any point by the existence of any parallel or any other
13 kind of command in which the accused Lazarevic purportedly participated
14 outside of the chain of command that was envisaged and established in
15 accordance with the law.
16 The Defence will further prove that General Lazarevic exerted
17 command exclusively over the forces of the Pristina Corps that was
18 replenished by the troops from the Army of Yugoslavia that were
19 resubordinated to it in a legitimate and lawful way pursuant to the orders
20 issued by the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia or, rather, the
21 Supreme Command Staff and the 3rd Army Command.
22 General Lazarevic never commanded or had effective control over
23 the units of the Ministry of the Interior or the units of the civilian
24 defence and the civilian protection that were subordinated directly to the
25 Ministry of Defence. There is ample evidence and there are numerous
1 witnesses to show that the MUP units were never resubordinated to the
2 Pristina Corps.
3 Furthermore, volunteers joined the Pristina Corps units or they
4 were received in the Pristina Corps units at a higher level of command in
5 a manner that was strictly stipulated by the law. There is ample
6 documentary evidence and word-of-mouth testimony that will confirm that
7 the accused Lazarevic, as the corps commander, ordered additional measures
8 to check the volunteers that were sent to the corps by the superior
10 In the indictment, General Lazarevic is charged with planning,
11 instigating and ordering operations and activities of the Pristina Corps
12 and the forces subordinated to it that took part in the commission of the
13 crimes that the accused are charged with in this indictment. Lazarevic is
14 further charged with having personally directed those operations.
15 The Trial Chamber will see ample evidence to support the claim
16 that General Lazarevic never took part in the planning and instigation of
17 actions or operations targeting the civilian population. In fact, he
18 never issued any written or oral orders to that purpose or to that effect.
19 Quite the contrary. There is ample evidence to show that General
20 Lazarevic issued orders, took measures, and even set up special task
21 forces to receive, assist and take care of the civilian population that
22 happened to be in the combat zone or who were endangered by NATO air
23 strikes. We will tender a lot of documents, call a lot of evidence, to
24 show that the accused Lazarevic, as the corps commander, demanded from his
25 subordinate units to comply with the Laws and Customs of War the Geneva
1 Conventions, and the Rules of International Humanitarian Law.
2 General Lazarevic was not in control of operations in which crimes
3 were allegedly committed, and the Defence will particularly seek to prove
4 the untruthfulness of the testimony of witness Nike Peraj to the effect
5 that the accused Lazarevic personally was in control of the operation in
6 Meja and Korenica, as he put it, on the 27th, 28th and 29th of April,
8 There are numerous written proofs and witnesses who will
9 corroborate that on the stated dates, General Lazarevic simply was not in
10 Djakovica. Neither can the accused Lazarevic shoulder responsibility --
11 criminal responsibility on the basis of aiding and abetting any possible
12 crimes, because he was not aware of the existence of any criminal plan
13 targeting the civilian Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija in the
14 period relevant for this indictment.
15 There is also ample evidence that shows without any doubt that the
16 accused Lazarevic was not aware of the existence of any criminal plan
17 targeting ethnic Albanians. After all, that can be clearly and
18 unambiguously concluded from his orders and other documents which we will
19 be presenting to the Trial Chamber.
20 Equally ungrounded are the allegations in the indictment to the
21 effect that the accused Lazarevic tolerated the commission of crimes and
22 participated in the planning, instigation and ordering of concealment of
23 crimes. On the contrary, the accused Lazarevic insisted, within the
24 bounds of his powers, that the corps organs within whose competence this
25 was undertake every preventative measure, as well as for the perpetrators
1 of all types of criminal offences to be investigated, detected and put on
3 At this point, the claim that the accused Lazarevic was not aware
4 of the existence of a criminal plan may sound contradictory, seeing that
5 on the other side he undertook prevention measures to prevent the
6 commission of criminal offences and measures for the detection and trying
7 of the perpetrators.
8 We should like to mention before this august Trial Chamber that in
9 the period relevant for this indictment, there was a war raging in Kosovo
10 and Metohija, and that in every war there exist individuals who are
11 prepared to take advantage of the chaotic situation which war entails as
12 such, to commit criminal offences. It is, hence, clear that these were
13 isolated incidents perpetrated by individuals and not willful and
14 systematic action within the commission of a criminal enterprise, as
15 claimed by the Prosecution.
16 Finally, the Defence will offer to the Trial Chamber ample
17 evidence to prove that General Lazarevic took the necessary and reasonable
18 measures to prevent the commission of criminal offences and punish the
19 perpetrators, ample evidence about the return of volunteers, the filing of
20 criminal charges both against officers as well as men, perpetrators of
21 criminal offences, and the preventative informing and warning of
22 subordinated units that in conditions of the war conflict which was
23 obtaining in the period which is relevant for this indictment, they had to
24 strictly abide by the provisions of International Humanitarian Law and the
25 Laws and Customs of War shall indubitably demonstrate that the accused
1 Lazarevic is not criminally responsible either under Article 7(1) or
2 Article 7(3) of the Statute for the offences which he is charged with in
3 the indictment.
4 One of the Defence witnesses of General Ojdanic, General Kosovac,
5 stated before the Trial Chamber that General Lazarevic, after the Kumanovo
6 Agreement had been reached, left the province only after his last soldier
7 had left Kosovo. It is in that spirit that he has decided to take the
8 stand before this august Trial Chamber as the first witness before his
9 subordinated commanders and soldiers.
10 Your Honours, the Defence of General Lazarevic calls its first
11 witness, General Lazarevic.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
13 Mr. Lazarevic, could you make your way, please, to the witness
15 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, while he's coming down, I'd just like
16 to introduce a new face on our Prosecution team. This is
17 Mr. Manoj Sachdeva who will be appearing in the future. Thank you.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, will you please make the solemn
19 declaration to speak the truth.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
21 the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
22 WITNESS: VLADIMIR LAZAREVIC
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
25 Mr. Bakrac.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Examination by Mr. Bakrac:
3 Q. General, good morning.
4 A. Good morning.
5 Q. I will now tell you something you have heard here many times
6 before, but I would like you to bear in mind that we speak the same
7 language and to wait for the interpretation in order not to have to
8 intervene because of errors in the transcript.
9 May we start?
10 General, in the indictment there is some information -- there are
11 some details, but for the record please tell us where and when you were
13 A. My name is Vladimir Lazarevic. I was born on the 23rd of March,
14 1949, in the municipality of Babusnica in Serbia.
15 Q. General, how long was your military career?
16 A. Thirty-two years of effective professional military service.
17 Q. Throughout these 32 years of an effective military career, what
18 duties did you perform in the army?
19 A. Numerous duties, primarily command duties, from the lowest
20 tactical level, from platoon commander, up to the strategic commander,
21 army commander, and deputy chief of the General Staff of the Army of
22 Yugoslavia for the ground forces.
23 Q. We will now focus on the period relevant for the indictment in
24 order not to waste time speaking about the start of your military career.
25 How and in what manner were you appointed to your duty in the
1 Pristina Corps?
2 A. I wish to say that in 1996 and 1997, I held the duty of chief of
3 Staff of the Nis Corps of the 3rd Army with its headquarters in Nis. On
4 the 31st of December, 1997, I received an oral order from the commander of
5 the Nis Corps that on the same day, on New Year's Eve, I should go to
6 Pristina and take up a new duty. When I asked him why this was so sudden,
7 because he told me about this at 6.30 in the morning, he explained to me
8 that this was a decision by the chief of the General Staff of the Army of
9 Yugoslavia, General Perisic.
10 Let me add, I went to the Pristina garrison within a few days to
11 take up my new duties.
12 Q. General, we will now document what you have just said, and I need
13 an explanation concerning two exhibits.
14 Could we have on e-court Exhibit 5D1323.
15 Your Honours, while we are waiting for this exhibit, these are
16 documents from the personnel file. They are on the mandated list, and I
17 can say that at the very outset, many documents have not been translated
19 THE INTERPRETER: It's on the amended list, interpret's
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] 90 per cent of these documents have
22 not yet been translated, the ones we will use initially, and I hope this
23 will not discourage the Court.
24 I see my learned friend on his feet, and I would like to know why.
25 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I don't know if you want to address the
1 question first, but it does discourage the Prosecution that we don't have
2 English translations of a number of documents. By my rough count, there
3 were approximately 700 exhibits listed to be tendered through this
4 witness, and I'm only about three quarters of the way through reviewing
5 those. Up to this point, I've noted some 138 for which there are no
6 translations. It makes it very difficult for me to know how to prepare
7 and how to deal with this.
8 I just want to put that objection on the record.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
10 Mr. Bakrac, has anything changed since immediately following the
11 meeting that took place about translation difficulties? My impression was
12 that most translation would be resolved before your defence started.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have -- or rather as
14 my learned friend said, the exhibits we wish to tender through this
15 witness are on our priority list, and what I can say is that we have
16 received translations of almost 90 per cent of the documents we wish to
17 open in e-court. As for the remaining documents we wish to tender, there
18 may be a larger proportion of untranslated ones, but we can mark these
19 with an IC number and when the translation arrives the Prosecution will
20 have an opportunity to object to the admission of the documents.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm somewhat confused. You told us a little while
22 ago that 90 per cent of the documents had not yet -- I thought you
23 said "translated," "been translated", but the transcript says "used
24 initially." You did say "translated"?
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: And now you say 90 per cent have been translated,
2 and I'm somewhat confused by that.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there may be a
4 misunderstanding concerning the interpretation. I said 90 per cent of the
5 documents we intend to open in e-court with this witness have already been
6 translated, and I said I thought there would be no difficulty concerning
7 these. We will tender the remaining documents, and they can be marked
8 with an IC number until the Prosecution sees the translation and has an
9 opportunity to object, to object to the admission of these documents.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: That's clarified the translation issue and the
12 Mr. Hannis, it looks as though it's a question of specific relief
13 as and when required, rather than any other measure at this stage. Is
14 that correct?
15 MR. HANNIS: Well, it may be, Your Honour. May I add some
16 additional information explaining my position?
17 The original notification I got for this witness, by my rough
18 count, there were 697 exhibits. I have not been able to go through the
19 entire list, but among the first 486 exhibits, there were 138 for which
20 there were no translations. There were an additional 53 which appeared in
21 e-court that there were translations, but when I tried to access them, I
22 had the red letter notification "denied." Now, I hope those have been
23 released to the Prosecution at this point, but as of Monday, I think that
24 was the case. So there were some 191 out of 486.
25 Now, Mr. Bakrac says 90 per cent of the ones he's going to use
1 have been translated, so maybe he's using some significantly smaller
2 number than 697, but as you say, maybe it's -- I'm going to have to raise
3 it as they come.
4 And this first one, I see I don't have a translation for. It
5 appears to be just an appointment, and that's not such a difficulty for
6 me. But once we get into 1998 and 1999 and combat orders and other
7 things, it will be a bigger problem.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I think, Mr. Bakrac, we'll deal with these
9 problems when they arise, so please proceed with this one, which will be,
10 as in the case of all untranslated documents, marked for identification.
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 This first document has not been translated. General -- may it be
13 marked for identification, please.
14 Q. General, in e-court before you is an order. It's order number
15 10-196, dated the 30th of December, 1997. What sort of order is this?
16 A. This is an order issued by the chief of the General Staff of the
17 Army of Yugoslavia. At that time, that was General Perisic, concerning my
18 transfer from the Nis garrison to the Pristina garrison. I wish to point
19 out that the first time I saw this order was a few months ago. I repeat,
20 I acted on oral orders when I carried out this task and went to take up my
21 new duty.
22 A few months ago, my Defence asked my personnel -- asked for my
23 personnel file from the army of Yugoslavia --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Serbia, interpreter's correction.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have on e-court Exhibit
2 MR. HANNIS: I note, Your Honour, this is another one for which
3 we have no translation.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I was just about
5 to say that we have no translation for this document. May it please be
6 marked for identification.
7 Q. General, this is an order dated the 12th of January, issued also
8 by General Perisic. It appears to be identical to the previous one. Can
9 you explain what the difference is?
10 A. Yes. The two orders are different. The first one concerns my
11 transfer from one garrison to another, from one unit to another. This is
12 a specific order issued by the chief of the General Staff, appointing me
13 to the establishment duty of chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps. That is
14 a duty with the establishment element of colonel-general, and the chief of
15 the General Staff, by this order, appointed me to the duty of colonel.
16 According to the establishment elements, that is the same duty I had held
17 for the previous two years in the Nis Corps of the 3rd Army.
18 Q. And when did you take up your duty as chief of the Staff of the
19 Pristina Corps?
20 A. I took up that duty on the 9th of January, 1998, as is evident
21 from this order, although it's dated the 12th of January. In the last
22 sentence, it says that the appointment holds good from the date the 9th of
23 January, 1998.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: It may be a bit early in the day to make this
25 intervention, but I think I should before we get bogged down.
1 At first glance, this looks like a complete and utter waste of
2 time, Mr. Bakrac. I don't think there's any issue over the fact, which is
3 in the indictment, that Mr. Lazarevic was appointed in 1998, and we're now
4 learning at the beginning of 1998, to the position of chief of Staff of
5 the Pristina Corps. Now, it may be that it's important, personally, to
6 get it absolutely cut and dried, "I"s dotted and the "T"s crossed, but
7 this is a battle that doesn't exist in this case. Let's make progress
8 rapidly to things that matter that are in issue, and let's not get bogged
9 down in documents that we really don't need to see, which have caused a
10 debate that probably took five minutes of our time and was pointless.
11 Can we just get straight into the case? Otherwise, you'll be --
12 you'll run out of time on things that don't matter.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, please hear me out.
14 There is an explanation for this.
15 The Prosecutor, I can't recall precisely whether in his opening
16 statement or in his 98 bis submission, said that General Lazarevic was
17 Milosevic's choice. We feel this is important in order to demonstrate who
18 brought General Lazarevic to the post of chief of Staff of the Pristina
19 Corps, so this is not mere information to the Chamber as to how he arrived
20 there, but we wish to show that it was six months after that that he was
21 appointed by an ordinance at the proposal of General Perisic. So those
22 were the reasons why we presented these documents and this evidence.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the existing evidence, Mr. Bakrac, that
24 General Lazarevic was Milosevic's personal choice?
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] My learned friend, Mr. Hannis, I
1 assume deducted this from the fact that General Lazarevic was appointed in
2 December by an ordinance of President Milosevic, as commander of the
3 Pristina Corps, so we wanted to present evidence challenging this
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there evidence of such an ordinance or are you
6 telling me that you're relying for this on Mr. Hannis' say so, which is
7 not evidence in the case, as you know. Sorry, maybe I'm misunderstanding
8 the significance of something, but it doesn't look like an issue to me, so
9 please move on to something that may be important.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour. Thank you.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Even if he was Milosevic's personal choice, I'm
12 absolutely certain you'd find a document through the normal command
13 structure that appointed him anyway, Mr. Bakrac. That's not going to help
14 us very much.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We'll move
17 Q. General, we have heard before this Tribunal and the indictment
18 also mentions that you were promoted twice in Mr. Milosevic's time. Had
19 you been promoted before that and after that period, the period that is
20 when Mr. Kostunica was president?
21 A. In my 32 years of effective military career, I was promoted before
22 the usual time, five times. In the time of the former Yugoslavia, in
23 Tito's time, under the presidency of the then Yugoslavia, I was promoted
24 twice under Mr. Milosevic's [as interpreted] President of the Federal
25 Republic of Yugoslavia I was also promoted to the rank of colonel by an
1 ordinance of -- and then I was also promoted by an ordinance of President
3 Q. Thank you. I have to put another question to you, and for the
4 sake of the Trial Chamber I will say it refers to paragraph 5 of the
5 indictment, which says that you were commended officially on two occasions
6 for your role, and we have also heard the testimony of Nike Peraj, who
7 said that after the action in Korenica, in Meja, you were commended. Is
8 this correct?
9 A. That is absolutely not correct, and this can all be checked in my
10 personnel file, because incentives for professional members of the army
11 are always entered into the personnel file.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wish to correct the
13 interpretation on page 15, line 7, where it says that he was promoted to
14 his highest rank by President Milosevic, whereas the witness said he had
15 been promoted by President Kostunica.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand your point, Mr. Bakrac. I was also
17 thinking just now of the evidence of Mr. Radinovic, who spoke of the role
18 of the chief of the General Staff as simply the person who executed
19 decisions that were made by the supreme commander, so I suppose there was
20 evidence on which Mr. Hannis may be able to rely to suggest that there is
21 personal choice of Lazarevic by the president. So I was probably wrong to
22 intervene in that way, and indeed the very fact that Perisic does execute
23 the order of appointment would, on that basis, rather support the view
24 that he was the personal choice of Milosevic. And what's just been said
25 about appointment or promotion by Kostunica would tend to confirm that,
1 that the president is the person who actually makes the appointments at
2 that level, although that's something we would need to look at all the
3 evidence on, including what was said by Radinovic.
4 So please continue.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me just ask one more
6 additional question.
7 Q. On whose proposal are such decisions on appointment made by the
9 A. The chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia is
10 authorised to propose to the president of the state such things for the
11 army personnel, and as far as I know this was always done at the sessions
12 of the Supreme Defence Council. And if the Trial Chamber allows, I would
13 like to add that in my capacity as the accused, I was able to see the
14 evidence -- the fifth session of the Supreme Defence Council from the
15 month of June in 1998, when General Perisic, the chief of the General
16 Staff, proposed in June that the president of the state should issue an
17 ordinance appointing me to this post that under the establishment was
18 supposed to be held by a general, and I had already performed that duty
19 for six months, and on the 25th of December, 1998, again at the session of
20 the Supreme Defence Council, the then chief of the General Staff, General
21 Ojdanic, proposed to President Milosevic and to the entire Supreme Defence
22 Council that I be appointed to the duty of the commander of the Pristina
24 Q. So the proposal is made by the chief of the General Staff, and
25 then it goes up?
1 A. That is the procedure that could be seen both from the evidence
2 and it could be also observed in practice, as far as I know.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, your reference to the month of June
4 1998 and the proposal of Perisic, what post were you referring to there?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, this is the post of
6 the chief of Staff of the Nis Corps that I had been in for six months by
7 that time, but that was on the order of the chief of the General Staff,
8 not according to the ordinance of the president, and this was something
9 that had -- was supposed to be done as early as at the beginning of the
10 year. So, in fact, that was the chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would just like to
13 complete with this. This will be my last-but-one question on this issue.
14 Q. You said that the commendations are entered into the personnel
16 A. Yes, that's how it is.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the personnel file is a
18 Defence exhibit. It bears the number 5D1326. And we don't have to open
19 it because it does not have a translation, but we would like to mark it
20 for identification, and all these things that the general noted regarding
21 the commendations and awards can be seen in the file.
22 Q. General, when did your professional military service cease?
23 A. My professional military career ended on the 5th of October, 2004,
24 at my personal request.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I go back to the personnel file, please. How
1 big is this file?
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the personnel file has
3 nine pages. At least that's what it says in the forms here. And the
4 written commendations are entered in paragraph 15, which is
5 entitled "Commendations and Awards."
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac. That's fine.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. General, sir, let us move in chronological order, but quite
9 quickly, through the year 1998. Right at the beginning, I would like to
10 know whether the military doctrine, the military rules and the Rules of
11 Service, envisaged the use of the military against a kind of terrorism,
12 armed rebellion, or against terrorist and rebel actions.
13 A. I'm not quite sure about some rules that dated from the 1970s or
14 mid-1980s, from that earlier period, but from the 1990 onwards, as you
15 said, the military doctrine and the Rules of Combat, in particular the
16 Rules of Service in the Army of Yugoslavia, envisage and demand the
17 involvement of the military in the fight against sabotage, terrorist,
18 renegade, rebel, revolutionary forces. There is a number of terms that
19 are used in the Rules of Combat and Rules of Service.
20 Q. To your knowledge, based on your experience in the field, how were
21 the terrorist forces organised, the rebel forces in Kosovo and Metohija in
22 1998, what were their goals?
23 A. The terrorist forces in Kosovo and Metohija in 1998 are a classic
24 example of an illegal paramilitary force whose goal was to subvert the
25 constitutional order and to perpetrate systematic violence against
1 individuals and the authority of the state. And we should not delve too
2 deep into history, but the secessionist goals had been proclaimed a lot
3 earlier. Their goal was to establish an ethnically-pure, independent
4 state in that area.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have in e-court
6 Prosecution Exhibit P2453, and I would like you to comment on it, to
7 comment on the situation that the Pristina Corps faced as early as 1998.
8 Q. General, this is a working meeting of the staffs of Glogan,
9 Duskaja, Baran Valley and Drin Valley. The date is the 23rd of June,
11 Could we please zoom in.
12 And could you please read, on the first page, the last paragraph
13 from where it says the linking of the strategic axes in the Junik area.
14 A. He went on to talk about the geo-strategic significance of the
15 zone of Dukadjin for us and for the enemy, the fact that our supply lines
16 go through this zone where the border is and the enemy supply lines are,
17 linking up the strategic operations axis in the Junicko Polje, and the
18 other parts of Dukadjin is a precondition for the expansion of the war,
19 for supplying the parts that cannot yet be supplied, and this leads to the
20 ultimate liberation of Kosovo.
21 Q. General, can you comment on this? What is this area? This will
22 be important for us. It will help us understand better some of the
23 testimony regarding Meja.
24 A. Well, this is a document from the so-called General Staff of the
25 KLA. It was presented to the Trial Chamber and to all of us through Mr.
1 Zyrapi, a Prosecution witness. What I've just read pertains to the
2 territory of Metohija between Djakovica and Decani. This is a
3 strategically important part of the border area where the armed rebellion
4 in 1998 assumed frightening proportions, I would say, and members and
5 leaders of the terrorist forces in this area are discussing this. The
6 first person has been identified, that's Ramush Haradinaj, as Mr. Zyrapi
8 Q. We will go into that, General, afterwards, who testified to what,
9 but in order to move forwards a bit quicker, could you please just comment
10 about what area it is? Or, rather, now I would like us to move on to the
11 next page.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, you asked about a doctrine and rules
13 which envisaged the use of the military in anti-terrorist activity. Are
14 you going to be directing our attention to any of these?
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we will move on to that
16 a little bit later. What we want to do now is -- in fact, we started with
17 the first topic, the personnel file, and now what we want to do is we want
18 to paint a picture for the Trial Chamber of what the Pristina Corps faced
19 in 1998, and then we want to move on specifically to the way it was used,
20 legitimate, unlegitimate, and so on.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. General -- in fact, I would like to scroll down this page a little
24 bit. The last sentence at the end of this page, where it says "Smajl,"
25 could you please read it and comment on it, just this one sentence?
1 A. Yes, "Smajl":
2 "To assist one another in the future, we have to supply weapons to
3 the whole population from the age of 16 up."
4 My comment -- or rather this is something that I was personally
5 aware of, because I was at the forward command post in Djakovica at that
6 time and I was able to monitor all those developments. I experienced this
7 on my own skin. I survived it.
8 In June, the armed rebellion in Kosovo and Metohija spread to the
9 Djakovica and Decani municipalities, in particularly the Reka e Keqe area,
10 the Caragoj valley, Junicko Polje because this was the shortest corridor
11 that the terrorist forces could use to ship in huge amounts of personnel
12 and weapons from Albania, and this sentence shows that there was a
13 mobilisation, and I know that for a fact. It was a forced mobilisation
14 carried out by the organisers of the armed rebellion. They mobilised
15 children aged 16. And if the Trial Chamber allows me to explain why I
16 know that, I know that because those villages were, for the most part,
17 Catholic villages, and they applied to the military and to the Minister of
18 Interior. They wanted us to protect them. They didn't want to take up
19 those weapons, and they didn't want to side with the armed rebellion
20 against the authorities and the state.
21 Q. According to your operational intelligence, what strength were the
22 forces of the KLA or the armed rebel forces in 1998?
23 A. The armed rebellion escalated in July 1998. At that time, what
24 you say is correct, the operational intelligence, but it turned out that
25 these were actual facts. They speak about between 20.000 and 25.000 armed
1 rebels in the so-called operational component. This is the rapid reaction
2 force, so to speak. They had tactical units and all the way up to
3 operational zones. And as for the strength of the local -- the
4 territorial component in the villages, it is difficult to speak of it. To
5 my knowledge, there were several tens of thousands of people who were
6 involved in the armed rebellion.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we now please move to Exhibit
8 5D1307. This is an operations report -- this is a report of the security
9 sector of the Pristina Corps of the 24th of July, 1998. You can see here
10 in the first paragraph an assessment of the numerical strength, and I
11 should like to ask you to just briefly comment on the actual nuclei and
12 the places where this armed rebellion was the most massive, which will be
13 of relevance for us to assist the crime base from the indictment. I'm
14 saying this in order to draw the attention of the Trial Chamber to the
15 importance of this comment.
16 A. This is a report of the security organ of the Pristina Corps,
17 addressed to the Security Administration of the General Staff of the
18 Yugoslav Army to the Security Department of the 3rd Army and to the organ
19 of security of the 14th Counter-Intelligence Group.
20 Q. General, as we do not have the translation, please just read the
21 first paragraph and let us end it there.
22 A. All right.
23 Q. So finish this sentence. You said the Counter-Intelligence
24 Group --
25 A. The Counter-Intelligence Group, and this speaks about the
1 numerical strength and the concentration of the terrorist forces of the
2 armed rebellion in Kosovo and Metohija. I'm going to read a few sentences
3 which describe this:
4 "The available intelligence indicates that currently in the area
5 of Kosovo and Metohija, there are 25.000 armed terrorists involved in
6 terrorist groupations. The corps of the terrorist groups are located in
7 the general area of the Drenica, Malisevo, Glodjan, Jablanica and Junik.
8 Currently, the terrorists are controlling around 50 per cent of the
9 territory of Kosovo and Metohija."
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I should like to stop you
12 I see Mr. Hannis is on his feet.
13 MR. HANNIS: I just want to know, Your Honour -- this is another
14 one for which we do not have a translation, and this one is more
15 problematic for me. I hope I'll have a translation before I have to start
16 cross-examination of General Lazarevic.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, it's a question of seeking relief as
18 required. We know that this one is not translated, from looking at the
19 screen. You don't need to intervene each time. We'll allow you,
20 obviously, to have whatever relief you require to deal adequately with
21 these when it comes to cross-examination.
22 MR. HANNIS: Well, with that advice, Your Honour, then I won't
23 pop up every time, but I felt it was necessary to point out on the record.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I've prepared myself to
1 give just two short indications and then move on to the end of the text,
2 which shows the stamp, which can confirm the authenticity of this
3 document. There is no signature, but the stamp corroborates its
4 authenticity. Perhaps that can be of assistance to colleague Hannis.
5 Q. General, can we move on to the second page. And in order to
6 progress as fast as possible, just tell me, General, in paragraph 4, what
7 place is referred to as a terrorist place in Kosovo, as a terrorist
8 stronghold, in fact?
9 A. In paragraph 4, there is reference to the village of Junik, and it
10 gives the actual specific names of the people in question, as well as the
11 villages of Smonica and Nivokaz. This is towards Djakovica and the
12 Caragoj Valley.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] We're waiting for the interpretation.
14 Your Honour, there is an important mistake in the interpretation,
15 because -- and it is important because of the crime base and the incidents
16 that we have been dealing with for a year and a half. What it should read,
17 it should read the village of Smonica and the valley of Caragoj.
18 Q. General, in the penultimate paragraph on this same page, is there
19 any reference to the existence of reliable data to the effect that in the
20 village of Ramoc, there are 63 armed terrorists?
21 A. Yes, you are quite right. In the village of Ramoc, which is in
22 Caragoj valley, there was detected a group numbering 63 armed terrorists
23 headed by a man from the Niki [phoen] Family. You didn't ask me about the
24 rest of it, but what it says, with leave from the Trial Chamber, is also
25 confirmation of what I've already said, which is that the villages -- the
1 locals from that part of Metohija, from the village of Korenica, refused
2 to take up arms and asked the MUP and the army to help them not be
3 forcibly armed by the insurgent forces.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is important for us
5 to stress the reference to the village of Ramoc because it is also
6 referred to in the testimony of Nike Peraj and in the Prosecution witness
7 K73's testimony, and so that's why we feel we need to put particular
8 stress on this.
9 I should now like us to see the last page.
10 Q. And please comment on the stamp on the last page, in terms of its
12 A. This document was sent as a telegram, by what are
13 called "cryptographic protected communication links." That is why there
14 is no signature, and this stamp is the stamp which is used at the
15 cryptographic processing station, indicating when it was received and when
16 it had been sent. We saw in the heading to whom it had been sent, and
17 this here is proof that that telegram was indeed received at that
18 particular hour, minute, and on that particular date, or actually sent to
19 the addresses which are indicated in the heading.
20 Q. Thank you, General. We went through some pieces of evidence. I
21 should like to hear your operational assessment and assessment from what
22 your experience on the ground, what was the tactic applied by the KLA in
23 order to achieve their aims in 1998?
24 A. That was a classical terrorist and paramilitary tactic, which is
25 also familiar, unfortunately, in other countries. In Kosovo and Metohija,
1 there were two elaborated components of that tactic. The first one was
2 widespread action throughout the province, predominantly targeting rural
3 areas, the so-called "1.000 fires" tactics, and the second tactic, which
4 is quite inhumane but is classical and is associated with terrorism, is
5 the "two villages" tactic. And with permission from the Trial Chamber, I
6 should like to clarify the second tactic.
7 What that means is that one village is evacuated of civilians, and
8 it then constitutes a fortified military territory stronghold from which
9 attacks are launched on the forces and authorities of the state and
10 civilians and citizens and individuals, whereas in the second village is
11 concentrated the civilian population which extends logistical and other
12 support, but which is extremely inhumane, is also a live shield, a human
13 shield for the terrorist forces when they clash with the security forces
14 and it serves the civilian population that is, and is used and abused to
15 simulate different humanitarian and other crises, and projecting an
16 impression to the effect that the security forces are attacking peaceful
17 Albanian villages and Albanians.
18 Q. Did the command of the 3rd Army, or, rather, first of all the
19 Pristina Corps and then the Command of the 3rd Army to the General Staff
20 of the Army of Yugoslavia send such reports about such an assessment of
21 the situation, I mean, in 1998?
22 A. Reports were sent daily, not only assessments. I should say
23 factual figures, data about all these things, including the forward
24 command post in Djakovica, to the Pristina Corps, to the 3rd Army Command
25 and to the General Staff.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, what is the "thousand fires"
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Distinguished Presiding Judge, I
4 have abridged my answer in order not to invoke the ideological programmes
5 of the KLA which actually define this tactic, and it presupposes -- it
6 implies that throughout the area of Kosovo and Metohija, there must be an
7 armed insurgency, an armed rebellion as they put it, against Serbia. "A
8 thousand fires," this is Mao Zedong's theory, in fact. That is, that
9 every cell, every village, every settlement, should have a cell of a
10 paramilitary, or even a paramilitary unit which would undertake operations
11 measures against the state of Serbia and its institutions.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. My last
14 question had to do with the reports, and in order for us to move on
15 quickly, I should like to draw the Chamber's attention to Exhibits number
16 5D56 and 5D55.
17 Q. General, did there exist orders to evacuate -- to move out
18 civilians at that time by the KLA?
19 A. We, in the Pristina Corps, had concrete information and facts to
20 the effect that within this overall tactic, and I should state "strategy,"
21 the leadership of the armed rebellion was actually provoking the
22 re-settlement and migration of the civilian population from areas where
23 they planned to later attack security forces or they moved them out in
24 order to simulate a humanitarian crisis. Such reports were submitted
25 practically daily, and they were numerous.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we have in e-court Exhibit
2 5D1298, and this, Your Honours, is also an exhibit that we don't have a
3 translation of, and I should like it to be marked for identification. This
4 is a telegram by Mr. Lazarevic which he can briefly comment on, by your
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, any document which has not been translated
7 will automatically be marked for identification.
8 You referred a moment ago to 5D56 and 5D55. What are they?
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, these are combat
10 reports, and I should just like to refer the Court to them because we do
11 not want Mr. Lazarevic to amplify on the subject. These are 5D55 -- this
12 is a combat report of the 3rd Army of the 26 -- of the 12 of July, 1998,
13 and the second one is a report of the 11th of May, 1998, also a regular
14 combat report.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: What you are required to do is include these in
16 motions for admission of documents from the Bar table and explain how they
17 were put in context in the evidence. And as long as we know that that's
18 going to happen, then we don't need to take up time exploring them in the
19 oral evidence.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that was precisely my
21 intention, but of course I await instructions from you. All the exhibits
22 that we do not open and do not comment with the general shall be put on
23 the list, and we shall ask for them to be tendered as you have instructed.
24 But perhaps -- I thought it was perhaps convenient to refer the Trial
25 Chamber to the exhibit in question in the transcript in order to establish
1 the appropriate link, but if you do not feel that that is appropriate, I
2 shall refrain from doing so.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: No, it is very helpful to do that and just add a
4 word to explain that these are both combat reports. That would have
5 completed the picture. Thank you.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. It is my mistake.
7 Mr. Hannis referred to 600 exhibits, and how that sounded
8 discouraging, and if we were to have all of those, the trial would
9 actually last until the December recess. That is why we want to move
10 through some of the exhibits in this way.
11 Q. General, please comment on this, what I believe to be a telegram,
12 and it indicates it is by you. Do you recognise this, or, rather, do you
13 know what this is? It is dated the 15th of July, 1998.
14 A. I certainly know what this is. The Command of the Pristina Corps,
15 the forward command post at which I was for most of 1998, and the
16 signature indicates my name and surname and my duty. Of course, there is
17 no signature because it is a telegram. I am submitting information to a
18 part of the units in Metohija. And as far as I understood you, you want
19 me to comment on the last paragraph, namely, that terrorists ordered -- or
20 should I read it, perhaps.
21 "In Djakovica, two women and children from Djakovica --"
23 "Women and children from Djakovica were ordered to move out
24 because in the forthcoming several days an attack on Djakovica is
1 And the moving out is in Kos. In the last sentence, I asked a
2 number of units to assess the situation and to undertake the necessary
3 measures in order -- given the announced attacks.
4 If I need to say anything more in connection with this, I will do
6 Q. No, thank you. We shall move on.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: The absence of translation may be a problem here.
8 It's not clear to me who's being ordered by whom, from what you've said so
9 far, Mr. Lazarevic.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the first sentence
11 it says that I, as regards this information on the intentions and actions
12 of the forces of the armed rebellion in the area of Djakovica, that I
13 received this information from the intelligence subcentre in Pristina.
14 That is an intelligence structure which is part of the army, and it's
15 subordinated to the 3rd Army. They said that there would be an attack on
16 the town of Djakovica, that civilians were being moved out of Djakovica,
17 and I am warning the Military Police Battalion, the 52nd Artillery
18 Brigade, the 53rd mortar Battalion and Combat Group 52 which were in the
19 general area of Djakovica, that they should take a note of the situation
20 and that they should take measures to prevent any surprises, they should
21 take protection measures in case there was a terrorist attack on the
22 forces of the army.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: But who was expected to attack Djakovica?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Terrorist forces would attack the
25 Djakovica garrison. They would also attack the MUP forces, the forces of
1 the Secretariat of the Interior, and other institutions also. But in this
2 document, I'm referring primarily to the army and warning the units which
3 are in Djakovica and its general area.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Mr. Bakrac.
5 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, if I may, this points out the problem
6 that I'm having with the untranslated documents, because in his earlier
7 answer, at page 30, line 12, he said, and it's in quotes -- I'm sorry,
8 line 14:
9 "Women and children from Djakovica were ordered to move out."
10 It doesn't say by whom. In his later answer at page 31, line 5 or
11 6, he says:
12 "They said that there would be an attack on a town Djakovica,
13 that the civilians were being moved out."
14 It's important to know whether they were ordered and by whom, and
15 I can't tell from this what it says, and that's why the translation is
16 important. And if there's going to be a motion to admit several of the
17 documents on the list in a written filing after the General's done, and
18 those are documents that weren't translated while he was still here for me
19 to cross-examine, I have a problem and I may be requesting to recall him
20 to cross-examine him about those documents that I didn't have translations
21 for when he was on the stand.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the difficulty is noted. You'll appreciate
23 we're also having difficulty with this, Mr. Hannis, but again I can only
24 repeat we'll deal with the problem as and when it materialises.
25 I think you make a good point, however, about the need for all
1 documents to be available in translated form before the evidence of Mr.
2 Lazarevic is completed.
3 Mr. Bakrac, please continue.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will ask the members
5 of my team to contact CLSS and ask them to translate these documents that
6 we have used so far as soon as possible in order to make them available to
7 Mr. Hannis and the Trial Chamber.
8 Well, here is a document which has been translated for you to
9 comment on. It's 3D1001. Could it be brought up on e-court, please.
10 Q. General, please read the third paragraph, where it says: "The
11 women and children have fled from Junik ..."
12 A. This is a telegram sent by the security organ of the Pristina
13 Corps, dated the 1st of August, 1998, addressed to the Security
14 Administration of the General Staff, and I quote:
15 "The women and children have fled from Junik, as have a number of
16 terrorists, a large number of terrorists, who have abandoned their weapons
17 and gone to the Republic of Albania or into the interior. There are now
18 about 700 terrorists in Junik."
19 Q. General, the date is the 1st of August, 1998. We will come to
20 this very quickly. Is this within the scope of the Voksa-Slup Operation
21 in Junik?
22 A. Well, it was taking place at the time, but it was not an
23 operation, just some actions to neutralise the nuclei of the armed
24 rebellion in that area.
25 Q. General, from the evidence presented here, we may conclude that
1 the border villages in the municipalities of Djakovica and Decani were,
2 for the most part, the centres of armed rebellion, can you tell us whether
3 you know what the reason for that was?
4 A. What I know about it is the following: This was a strategic
5 area, the border area. From the military viewpoint, these were major
6 strategic axes from Albania which might be used to infiltrate terrorist
7 forces from Albania. And later on, as was shown in 1999, they could be
8 also used for a ground force aggression.
9 Secondly, the ethnic composition in that part of Metohija was
10 practically 100 per cent Albanian.
11 And, thirdly, in that area there were large numbers of people who
12 had moved in from Albania, and these were Albanians who had never received
13 Serbian citizenship or applied for Serbian citizenship, and they
14 strengthened the rebellion in that area.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Your Honours, this may be a convenient time for a break.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 We'll adjourn now for 20 minutes and resume at 10 minutes to
20 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Q. General, sir, you explained to us, before the break, about the
25 reason why the villages in the border area were the nuclei of the
1 rebellion. Would it be fair to say that by mid-1998 already, the security
2 of the state border in fact turned into the defence of the state border,
3 and what would be the difference between the two?
4 A. Well, I would say that securing the state border facing Albania on
5 a front that is longer than 150 kilometres had been difficult even in the
6 earlier period in April, as early as April. In fact, we were defending
7 the state border. The difference between securing and defending the state
8 border is the following, in brief: Securing the state border, in all
9 countries of the world, is something that is done by the border units, the
10 police and the military units, in accordance with the procedure that is
11 envisaged, the peacetime procedure, and here we're talking about the
12 classical defence against daily attacks launched from Albania. In 1998,
13 those attacks numbered 500. The attacks would be in groups ranging in
14 size from eight to ten people up to 800 armed terrorists from Albania, so
15 that would be a classical form of an attempt to penetrate the state
16 border. And the exhibit that we saw a little while ago spoke about that.
17 Q. General, now that we're talking about this topic, could we please
18 comment on 5D1306, Exhibit 5D1306. It is one of the last exhibits that we
19 intend to use that has not been translated yet, so could we please have
20 5D1306 in e-court, please.
21 Because we don't have the translation, could you please tell the
22 Trial Chamber what kind of a document is this and what is the date?
23 A. This is a report in the form of a telegram from the Security
24 Department in the Pristina Corps Command, sent to the Security
25 Administration in the General Staff and the Security Section of the 3rd
1 Army, and the date is the 20th of July, 1998.
2 Q. Now I would like us to move on to the next page, and I would like
3 you to read and comment very briefly on the first paragraph on page 2.
4 A. I quote:
5 "During the day, the security organs of the Pristina Corps
6 captured Femu Kokici [phoen], father's name Zek [phoen]" we have the
7 personal details here. Together with 700 terrorists, he participated in
8 an attempted to violently penetrate our territory in the Djerevica border
9 post area in the night of the 17th and 18th of July, 1998.
10 If the Trial Chamber allows, I can say that I was personally in
11 that area at that time, and I experienced firsthand this classical act of
12 aggression launched in peacetime from a neighbouring country involving
13 this number of armed individuals.
14 In the course of 1998, 9.000 people tried to penetrate the state
15 border, and that would be the strength equivalent to a division.
16 Q. Thank you, General. Let us move on now.
17 I would like to know, after the agreement of the 13th of October,
18 1998, the Yugoslav Army troops withdrew to the barracks. What was the KLA
19 response to this fact? Did it exploit it in any way, and if "yes," in
20 what way, the fact that the VJ had withdrawn?
21 A. The Army of Yugoslavia in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija
22 disengaged in a single day. It was brought back into the barracks, with
23 the exception of the units securing and defending the state border under
25 On the very same day, the terrorist forces throughout Kosovo and
1 Metohija took the positions that had been held by the security forces. By
2 that, I mean the forces of the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of
3 Serbia and the forces of the 3rd Army predominantly of the Pristina Corps,
4 and the OSCE mission had not yet been established at that time. There was
5 just a KDOM mission, the Kosovo Diplomatic Monitoring Mission.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Finally we have an exhibit that has a
7 translation, so could we please comment on 5D95. Could we please have it
8 brought up.
9 Q. Sir, we're waiting for the English translation, but while we do
10 that, perhaps you could just confirm, to speed things up, this is a
11 regular combat report of the 3rd Army Command, dated the 15th of October,
12 1998; is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that is correct. This is a combat report sent to the General
14 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia.
15 Q. Could you please look at page 2, paragraph 4, the last passage,
16 and could you please comment on it. It continues on to the third page.
17 Could you just read it and comment on it, please?
18 A. The last paragraph on this page?
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Could I have paragraph
20 1 -- paragraph 4.
21 Q. Could you please just read the first sentence in the second
23 A. What I see here on the screen?
24 Q. No, you can't see it.
25 A. Yes, I can't see the beginning of the fourth paragraph.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could you please zoom out- we don't
2 need to have it so big- so we can see the beginning of the paragraph?
3 Could you scroll down a little bit?
4 Q. Okay, here you see it, paragraph 4, the first sentence therein.
5 A. The commander of the 3rd Army, General Samardzic reports to the
6 chief of the General Staff, General Perisic, that on the 15th of October,
7 1998, there was a huge concentration of the terrorist forces, about 3.000
8 of them, in the municipality of Podujevo, along the Pristina-Podujevo-Nis
9 main road.
10 Q. We're talking -- while we're on the topic of this road, was this
11 the main route leading to the rest of Serbia?
12 A. Yes, leading to Serbia from -- linking the province with Serbia,
13 yes, definitely.
14 Q. In the second passage, it says here in this report that the
15 terrorists have fortified their positions?
16 A. Well, this sentence contains my explanation of the tactics
17 employed in two villages. Villages would be fortified as classical
18 strongholds, and attacks were launched from those strongholds against the
19 institutions of the state. The Mijanca [phoen] village is in the
20 immediate vicinity of Podujevo.
21 Q. General, finally, the last passage in here -- I apologise. I
22 warned you not to talk too fast, and now I'm doing that mistake.
23 Sir, could you please look at the last passage on the same page,
24 and could you please just comment on it? It begins with the words: "On
25 the 15th of October at 1715 hours ...," right at the very bottom.
1 A. Yes, yes, I can see it.
2 In this report, the 3rd Army commander states that there was a
3 terrorist attack against a group of vehicles from the 125th Motorised
4 Brigade in the Volujak-Klina-Mitrovica Axis, and Volujak is the place that
5 was stipulated in the agreement, that there could be a mixed company
6 stationed there in accordance with the agreement that envisaged the
7 disengagement of all the forces.
8 Q. So the agreement was signed on the 13th, and this group of the
9 125th Brigade was in a location where it was supposed to be under the
10 agreement, yet an attack was launched a bare two days later; is that
12 A. Yes, that is correct, and in the previous passage we read that an
13 attack was launched on the Stari Trg road. Well, I don't want to go into
14 all that question.
15 Q. Thank you, General. Let us now move on. After the agreement and
16 after the arrival of the foreign observers and verifiers, did the Army of
17 Yugoslavia carry out any preparations for a so-called "spring offensive"
18 or anything of the sort? So I'm talking -- I'm asking you about the Army
19 of Yugoslavia, because you were at the time the chief of Staff in the
20 Corps, you were in the field. Do you have any knowledge of that?
21 A. Well, I would like to state the following: This is contained in
22 a report signed by me, sent from a forward command post to the Corps
23 Command in Pristina, stating that the members of the corps units that
24 secured and defended the state border welcomed this agreement with a great
25 deal of good faith, hoping that it would end the armed rebellion in Kosovo
1 and Metohija and in a -- within the space of a sigle day, and this is
2 quite a military feat. I participated in it myself. All the units
3 disengaged, including the units that had fortified -- that had reinforced
4 the Pristina Corps, they left -- these units left the province, and 60 per
5 cent of all the corps units went back to their peacetime garrisons,
6 carrying out their regular duties. Even if any such desire existed, this
7 kind of operation could not be taken as any preparation for an offensive,
8 but preparation for a peacetime functioning in a situation where we have
9 the verification mission coming in.
10 So to my knowledge, there were no activities, no plans, at least
11 as far as the Pristina Corps is concerned, existed, and I think this holds
12 true for the entire army.
13 Q. General, did you have any information that the KLA, following the
14 withdrawal of the army and the arrival of the foreign verifiers, was in
15 fact preparing for a spring offensive?
16 A. Unfortunately, not only did we have operational intelligence, as
17 you call it, but the situation in the overall territory of Kosovo and
18 Metohija escalated, in terms of posing a risk to the lives of the
19 civilians, the military, the MUP and the state institutions. We did have
20 some dates -- some operational intelligence about the dates when the armed
21 rebellion would be relaunched, but in new conditions in Kosovo and
22 Metohija. I'm talking about the facts. From day to day, the number of
23 attacks in Kosovo and Metohija grew.
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have 3D1035 brought
25 up in e-court.
1 Q. General, could you please tell us what this is? Who issued this
2 document, what is the date?
3 A. This is a telegram from the Pristina Corps Command, the Security
4 Department. It is sent to the Security Administration and General Staff,
5 the 3rd Army Security Section, the 14th Counter-Intelligence Group.
6 Q. Could you please comment on it and read just the second paragraph?
7 Or, rather, we have paragraph 1: "Situation at the border," and then the
8 last sentence in the second paragraph, beginning with the words: "In
9 Tropoja" do you find that: "In Tropoja the KLA members ..."?
10 A. Yes, I can see that.
11 Members of the KLA were told that they were to be trained for a
12 broader -- for broader combat operations that were to take place in the
13 spring of 1999 in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. If it's
14 necessary --
15 Q. No, I wanted you just to finish. The commander of the staff in
17 A. The commander of the Staff in Tropoja was Agram Rahman [phoen]
18 from a village --
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the name.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- near Djakovica. This is what we
21 were talking about.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. General, did you have any other information other intelligence
24 that a spring offensive was in the making, apart from such reports to the
25 Security Administration?
1 A. With the permission of the Trial Chamber, I would like to stress
2 that this information was obtained from the members of those paramilitary
3 forces. This man had been in Albania. He had been trained there, and he
4 had been given this task. But quite naturally, we had other reports to
5 rely on.
6 Q. Perhaps I should stop you here, and we will bring this topic to a
8 Could we please have 3D1038 brought up in e-court, please.
9 We're waiting for the translation. Could you please read the
10 first sentence, or, rather, the first sentence in 2(1), paragraph 2(1) on
11 page 1, and could you explain to us what it means, "electronic
13 A. This is a document again from the Security Section of the Pristina
14 Corps Command. The date is the 29th of December. It is five days later
15 than the previous one. And I quote:
16 "Information was obtained through the application of electronic
17 reconnaissance indicating that there were intensive preparations of
18 terrorists for a spring offensive in the entire territory of Kosovo and
19 Metohija. Fleeing from forced mobilisation, Siptars are increasingly
20 moving out of Kosovo and Metohija via Montenegro to the Republic of
21 Albania and then to EU countries."
22 Should I go on?
23 Q. No, this is enough.
24 A. You asked me to explain what electronic reconnaissance measures
1 In 1998, in the Pristina Corps, there were establishment units
2 that were tasked with electronic reconnaissance, and the focus of their
3 activities was to monitor the armed rebellion forces in Kosovo and
4 Metohija and the area around it, and the corps was reinforced by a special
5 unit from the 3rd Army. That was the Electronic Reconnaissance Unit that
6 was used to monitor the so-called Sabotage Unit communications. So this
7 was a respectable force that was able to carry out audio surveillance and
8 to intercept the flow of information among the terrorist forces.
9 Q. Thank you, General. And let us now close with this topic of the
10 spring offensive.
11 I will now show you a short video clip, about a minute and a half,
12 and maybe you can confirm whether you did have this kind of information.
13 This is a BBC video clip that's Exhibit 5D1241.
14 Could we please have it played.
15 [Videotape played]
16 "[Indiscernible] If a peace deal is going to be so, this is going
17 to be one of the hardest places to sell it. [Indiscernible] They say they
18 trust nothing but their guns, and they will surrender them only to the
19 government of an independent Kosovo. [Indiscernible] BBC News,
20 [indiscernible] in Kosovo."
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my team has an
22 intervention. It was a poor -- what is missing in the transcript is that
23 they were preparing themselves for war and not for peace. Perhaps someone
24 could listen to the tape and rectify it in the transcript. Rather, it
25 would be more expedient than have us go through the film again.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: I certainly heard that on the --
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, but it is not recorded.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you've dealt with it adequately.
4 What it didn't tell us is where it was, and who they were, and --
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we heard this from the
6 reporter, that it was in Kosovo. I was just about to ask the General
7 whether he recognised, by their uniforms, who these people were, and
8 perhaps he also recognised the place. So I'm going to ask the General.
9 Q. General, can you recognise, on the basis of the uniforms, who
10 these men were?
11 A. I can recognise the location. I do recognise the location quite
12 reliably. That is the Mountain Drenica, or "Berisa" as they called it in
13 Kosovo and Metohija, and a notorious place called "Klecka," a crematorium
14 in the 20th century that I know of for civilians used by the terrorist
16 On the 29th of January, 1999, in that village -- this was recorded
17 in that village, and one can see that it is empty. This is the "two
18 villages" tactic. This is a completely evacuated village which is a
19 terrorist stronghold, and there is no doubt at all that this is a
20 paramilitary unit of a company rank in this village. Unfortunately, they
21 are wearing Yugoslav Army uniforms, but they have the UCK or the KLA
22 patches. But I know about events and from events in that period, where
23 they were, and there is no doubt whatsoever that this was the location
24 where a terrorist group was located on this Berisa Mountain.
25 Q. General, we also saw a woman in civilian clothes with a heavy
1 machine-gun -- with a machine-gun. Was this a frequent occurrence? Did
2 you see men and women, civilians, wearing uniform -- bearing arms and
3 belonging to such units?
4 A. Well, there is a large amount of information corroborating that
5 there were men and women and children that were given weapons or had taken
6 up arms, and we had information to that effect.
7 Q. General, can we conclude that despite the presence of the OSCE
8 mission, Albanian villages kept being transformed into bases, and the KLA
9 prepare there for a spring offensive? Was there a large number of such
10 places where they -- was this practice widespread?
11 A. In the Corps Command and the 3rd Army Command, we had verified
12 data on villages in which there were located large groups of terrorist
13 forces and of the armed rebellion forces. There were between 400 and 600
14 such villages where there were at all times the terrorist forces and the
15 insurgent forces throughout Kosovo and Metohija.
16 So to directly answer your question, I would say, yes, Albanian
17 villages, after September and October, were again in large numbers
18 converted into terrorist strongholds and classical military bases.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, I think the date may have been the
20 22nd of January, rather than the 29th. This was a television broadcast,
21 it would appear. Were you aware of it at the time?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we had ample evidence,
23 actually our own recordings, but we did not mount any attacks on such
24 strongholds during the OSCE mission. We did have video materials that we
25 were given by journalists or that we obtained by way of intelligence
1 cooperation with certain structures on the ground. What I said in relation
2 to this was that I recognised the location, the surroundings. I know the
4 JUDGE BONOMY: You're trying to anticipate what I want to know,
5 and it would be better if you just answered my question.
6 Were you aware of this television broadcast at the time?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I was not, Your Honour, no.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: My reason for asking was if this sort of conduct,
9 which you say is contrary to the agreement, was being so blatantly
10 undertaken by terrorists, what were you, as by then the head of the
11 Pristina Corps, doing about it? You were taking no action, as you say.
12 Were you not communicating with the KVM about it?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By your leave, Your Honour, what I
14 said was we did not attack these strongholds, and I offered no further
15 explanation, but now I'm going to respond to your question.
16 The daily meetings of teams of the 3rd Army and of the Pristina
17 Corps with the OSCE mission in Pristina were, inter alia, used to draw
18 attention to these occurrences, and I can also add that the OSCE mission
19 itself very often informed us with concern about what was happening on the
20 ground, what was being done by KLA members, in other words, where they
21 were fortifying themselves and what they were preparing for the spring of
23 JUDGE BONOMY: I take it that somebody in the VJ would be
24 monitoring television broadcasts of this nature.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree with you that it was
1 probably so, and with your permission I should like to add the following:
2 In order to be precise, from Ms. or Mrs. Sally Baker, who was accused for
3 illegally crossing the state border from Albania, we had obtained
4 voluminous material which was recorded in this way in Smonica and
5 Djakovica, and we sent it to the Security Administration, and this is a
6 specific example that I should like to draw your attention to. This was
7 voluminous material.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I believe part of the answer
9 is not recorded. I believe the witness said it was shown to the OSCE as
10 well. It was sent to the Security Administration of the Command Staff of
11 the VJ Army and at the same time was shown to the OSCE mission.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Is that what you said, Mr. Lazarevic?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I said that we sent the
14 video materials and the documentation on the activities of the forces of
15 the armed rebellion by regular channels to the 3rd Army, the Security
16 Administration and the 3rd Army, and that we also sent it to the OSCE,
17 that we actually familiarised the mission, the OSCE mission, with
18 activities on the ground being carried out by the KLA.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] General, let us wrap up this topic.
20 And in order for us to do so, please be so kind as to comment.
21 Exhibit 5D1334.
22 I might have misspoken. 5D1334. We're waiting for the
24 Q. But will you read this out so we won't need the translation? What
25 is this?
1 A. This is a survey of armed Albanian villages in Kosovo and
2 Metohija- terrorist basis- in 1998 and 1999. This a so-called "survey
3 map" which shows not all the terrorist bases but basically the main
4 groupings of the armed rebellion forces in 1998 and 1999.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Will counsel please not overlap with the
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] .
8 Q. If I understand correctly, these blue points mark that.
9 A. Yes, and the rectangles mark in yellow and green colour the
10 settlements in the different municipalities, their number, and how many of
11 those settlements have been converted into terrorist strongholds, but it
12 is not quite clear.
13 Q. Of course, this can be analysed subsequently. Thank you, General.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, on this map, at the top, there is a
15 heading and a subheading. Do you know who prepared this map and whose
16 handwriting that is?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a map which was made in the
18 operations organ together with the security organ of the Pristina Corps,
19 that is. On the basis of this overview layout map, there were working
20 maps that were made daily and which showed in detail the terrorist forces
21 in their different concentrations and locations.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: When was this particular one made?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To the best of my recollection at
24 this point, it was sometime around February 1999.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you know if we're looking at some sort of
1 photographic representation of the original map or is this a map that has
2 been subsequently reconstructed from material that was earlier available?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a photographic
4 map -- realistic photographic representation from that particular period,
5 and this was something that was regularly done in the Corps Command, such
6 a way of representing the locations of the terrorist forces, namely.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm not sure that answers the question. Was this
8 map constructed later, after these events were all over, from material
9 that was available or is this a map which was actually in use in 1999,
10 this particular one?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This map, to the best of my
12 recollection, was created in February 1999 in order to monitor the growth
13 of the forces of the armed rebellion and their preparation for what they
14 termed "the spring offensive." To the best of my recollection, it was
15 created and used in February 1999.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] .
18 Q. General, thank you. We have attempted to provide Their Honours
19 with a picture of 1999 and what the Pristina Corps was facing at the time.
20 I would now like to move on to deal with the Pristina Corps, the orders it
21 issued and its activities in 1998.
22 Please, first of all, explain to us the organisational structure,
23 purposes and tasks of the Pristina Corps in 1998.
24 A. The Pristina Corps was the operative part of the 3rd Army of the
25 Army of Yugoslavia, deployed in seven garrisons on the territory of Kosovo
1 and Metohija, plus one garrison outside Kosovo and Metohija. There were
2 nine units of regiment or brigade rank, seven units of independent
3 battalion rank, two company-level units, one installation. In peacetime,
4 according to the establishment, it numbered 12.000, and in wartime, about
6 Q. What were the tasks of the Pristina Corps in 1998?
7 A. The priority operative tasks were the following: To secure and
8 defend the state border with Albania and Macedonia on a front that was 261
9 kilometres long; reinforced security of military facilities in Kosovo and
10 Metohija, of which there were over 60; regular combat training of soldiers
11 in the command units, and the fundamental tasks of any army in the world
12 and of the Pristina Corps in peace was that. The fourth task was to
13 secure the main roads, to make them passable in the corps area, especially
14 towards the state border, and in one part of the year 1998, over a period
15 of two to two and a half months, to provide support with some of our
16 forces to the MUP forces in putting down rebellion and terrorism and armed
17 rebellion on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. Those were the tasks of
18 the Pristina Corps.
19 Q. General Perisic reported on that to the president of Yugoslavia.
20 That's Exhibit 3D757; is that correct? Are you aware of this in relation
21 to these tasks of the Pristina Corps in 1998?
22 A. I know that from the evidence, but these were practically the
23 tasks of the corps in 1998.
24 Q. The tasks that were carried out?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. According to the Rules of Service of the Army of Yugoslavia from
2 1994, was the use of units and facilities of the Army of Yugoslavia in
3 peacetime envisaged and prescribed for?
4 A. Yes, through three or four paragraphs in the Rules of Service.
5 Q. Let me assist you, General. We will now look at Exhibit -- excuse
6 me -- P1085.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have in e-court K0367406.
8 That's paragraph 2: "Use of units or facilities or installations in
9 peacetime," and the paragraph is 447. In e-court, that's page 214. It's
10 214 in e-court, in B/C/S.
11 Q. Now that we have it on the screen now, General, can you comment on
12 paragraph 47? Apart from its regular tasks, the regular tasks of the
13 units and facilities, it says that the army can be used in peacetime for
14 the following purposes. Can you please read out to us for what purposes?
15 A. "The protection and rescue of people and the salvaging of property
16 from natural disasters and other accidents; securing public roads and
17 buildings of special significance for the defence of the country."
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, here it is in English,
19 for the sake of the interpreters.
20 Q. General, could you please read a little more slowly?
21 A. "Securing public roads and installations of special significance
22 for the defence of the country; maintaining order at large celebrations,
23 ceremonies and parades; combatting insurgent, sabotage, terrorist and
24 other hostile armed groups."
25 Q. Can you pause here? We need not go on. According to the Rules of
1 Service of the Army of Yugoslavia, in peacetime the Army of Yugoslavia may
2 be used for the combat you just referred to.
3 A. Well, there's no doubt about that in the mind of any member of the
4 army. This was how it was then, and it still is now.
5 Q. Well, we've heard a lot of discussion here about whether the army
6 can be used in this way or not, but let's proceed and comment on two more
8 Can you look at paragraph 448, please.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. General, please look at paragraph 448.
12 A. Do I need to read it or should I comment on it?
13 Q. Well, we can read it for ourselves, so please just comment.
14 A. This paragraph regulates the following: To secure public roads
15 and installations of special significance for the defence of the country,
16 the decision and order for the use of army units is made by the army
17 commander, not the chief of the General Staff; rather, it's the army
18 commander in his own area of responsibility.
19 Q. Let's see if the interpretation has finished. Could you now
20 comment on paragraph 450? Could you please read it first.
21 A. Should I read it or explain it?
22 Q. Well, it's important and there's been quite a lot of discussion of
23 it, so please first read it and then comment on it briefly.
24 A. "Army units may be used to fight insurgent, sabotage, terrorist
25 and other hostile armed groups or to prevent and eliminate a state of
1 emergency in accordance with a decision of the president of the Federal
2 Republic of Yugoslavia ..."
3 And then it goes on to the following page.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we turn to the next page, please.
5 Q. And can you finish reading --
6 A. " ... Or the Defence Council."
7 Q. Now the next paragraph. It's important to analyse all this, so
8 will you read the next paragraph as well.
9 A. "The decision on the use of army units for carrying out tasks
10 shall be issued by the chief of the General Staff."
11 Q. And now, General, this last paragraph, can you read it slowly and
12 then comment on it?
13 A. "On the occasion of an attack by an insurgent, terrorist, sabotage
14 or other hostile armed group on a unit or institution, the commanding
15 officer of the attacked unit, institution or military installation, or the
16 duty officer, shall immediately take the appropriate measures for defence
17 and for repelling the attack and notify his superior."
18 My comment, in brief, is as follows: There is no separate order
19 to be issued for the defence of a unit from an attack on the unit or the
20 facility. The immediate commanding officer immediately repels the attack
21 and then informs his superior of what's going on.
22 Q. And all this obtains in peacetime, and as we saw in the previous
23 paragraph, before any kind of state of emergency or similar situation is
25 A. This whole chapter, Chapter 6 and 7, refer to the use of the army
1 in peacetime.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, the first part of paragraph 450
4 refers to a decision of the president of the Supreme Defence Council. Now,
5 in what circumstances do you envisage that the right of the army units to
6 act depends on a decision of the president of the Supreme Defence Council?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my understanding of
8 this paragraph is as follows: It refers to the use of army units of the
9 Army of Yugoslavia to suppress terrorism on certain territory belonging to
10 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and in my assessment this would entail
11 a serious threat to security, the security of the state, that is. In that
12 case, the president of the FRY, based on a decision of the Supreme Defence
13 Council, issues a decision with the chief of the General Staff, makes
14 operational through his orders.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: And is that not what Perisic was concerned about?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my answer is, yes,
17 Perisic, but as for the rest, I don't know how to respond as to what he
18 was concerned about, actually.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. General, let me just check whether I understand you correctly,
21 whether I read you correctly. It says that army units may be used in
22 combat against insurgent, sabotage, terrorist and other hostile groups or
23 to prevent and eliminate a state of emergency. If it is envisaged that
24 they should be used in a fight against terrorism in order to prevent a
25 state of emergency, does that mean they may be used without declaring a
1 state of emergency?
2 A. As a citizen of the country, not to mention as a soldier, when I
3 know that 50 per cent of the territory of the Province of Kosovo and
4 Metohija is blocked by armed rebel forces, that is the most severe state
5 of emergency that can exist in a country. And the fact that the state has
6 not decided to declare a state of emergency is up to the state organs, but
7 it doesn't affect the need to use army units to eliminate the threat.
8 You asked me whether it can be used without having a state of war
9 declared previously, but certainly, yes, the answer is "yes," because this
10 paragraph says that no state of emergency is needed for the army to be
11 used under the Rules of Service to carry out these tasks as defined here
12 in the Rules of Service.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: I think I understand that clearly, but this would
14 suggest that two things are required before the army can be used to fight
15 insurgent, sabotage or terrorist groups. First of all, the president of
16 the Supreme Defence Council has to make a decision, and, secondly, the
17 chief of the General Staff has to issue an order. Now, is it not that the
18 authority for the action at all that concerned Perisic; in other words, he
19 was concerned that this activity was being undertaken without an order
20 from him or a decision of the president?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, please don't take it
22 amiss if some things that are at that level I cannot substantiate with
23 facts. But my knowledge -- to my knowledge, the Supreme Defence Council
24 did make a decision, but as a chief of staff in a corps in 1998, I did
25 have the decision of my corps commander, and I want to tell you that for
1 every day in 1998, the commander of the 3rd Army, General Samardzic, made
2 the decision that concerned four levels of command downwards which was not
3 in accordance with the doctrine, to use the corps units to this purpose,
4 but I did not have any specific information and I was not in a position to
5 see a decision up there in Belgrade or to have some other information down
6 there in Djakovica, but I was able to see some of that in the evidence
7 that was presented here.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] If, Your Honour, if you don't have
9 any further questions.
10 Q. General, Mr. President now asked you whether a decision had to be
11 made by the chief of the General Staff. Did the chief of the General
12 Staff issue any directive or any decision as to the use of forces in
14 A. Yes, definitely. We had it here. I know that -- I knew that at
15 the time, and I know that from this courtroom. That was Grom-98, 1 and 2,
16 that was a directive issued by General Perisic about the use of the army
17 in Kosovo and Metohija. In Chapter 1, he confirms the engagement or the
18 use of the army up until that time, if that's what you're referring to.
19 Q. Yes, but let me just stop you here for an additional question.
20 After this directive in July and August, you were at the forward
21 command post at Djakovica. Did General Perisic, chief of the General
22 Staff, spend any time at this focal point, the area where there were such
23 strong -- those terrorist strongholds, did he have any direct insight into
24 the situation?
25 A. With the permission of the Honourable Trial Chamber, I would like
1 to say that I have reliable information that there were more than 20
2 visits, inspections, carried out by large teams sent from the General
3 Staff in 1998, and their focus was in Metohija. I know that the chief of
4 the General Staff visited the areas at risk five times. I know that I
5 personally reported to him in Djakovica about the threat to the state
6 territory, and I know that dozens of times I, as the chief of Staff of the
7 Corps, was called on a direct line from the General Staff by him. He asked
8 me questions about the security situation in Kosovo.
9 Q. Let me just clarify one more thing that stems from a question
10 asked by Judge Bonomy.
11 Units of the Army of Yugoslavia may be used to fight renegade,
12 rebel and terrorist and other hostile forces. There is a comma there, and
13 then it says: "... Or to prevent and eliminate the state of emergency
14 according to the decision of the Supreme Defence Council or the president
15 of the state."
16 Is there an "or," or, rather, how am I supposed to read it? Is my
17 reading wrong?
18 A. Well, in legal terms, I can't really tell you. There is some kind
19 of a correlation there, but I think that I gave you an answer.
20 Q. Fine. Let us move on.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, there may be significance in your
22 point. The comma doesn't appear in the English version. Are you saying
23 that there's a comma between "armed groups" and "or to prevent"? They're
24 both on the screen, I think. You can tell.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] There is, there is a comma in the
1 Serbian version. It's the last sentence.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Riaz, could you go back also to paragraph 447,
3 please, in the English. Thank you very much.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I continue? I
5 believe that this paragraph 447 --
6 Q. General, in the documents that we saw before the Court, the term
7 "joint combat actions" was used quite often?
8 A. This term is used in the Rules of Combat of the Army of
9 Yugoslavia, and manuals, such as the manual for the work of the Command
10 and Staff, joint "objedinjena," combat operations, this means the
11 direction -- directing and coordinating of a number of agents in the
12 defence system within the framework of a single task. So it is a term
13 that is broader than "coordination." Directing and coordinating the work
14 of various agents within the framework of a certain task which can be a
15 combat task or a non-combat task. So I'm talking about the way this term
16 is used in manuals and Rules of Service.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the term used in the
18 answer is "joint," and General Lazarevic used the term "objedinjena,"
19 which means "combined," and he also used the term "zajednicka," which can
20 be translated as "joint," because as the transcript stands now, the
21 term "joint" is used to cover both of these.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there a difference?
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Well, precisely. In order to clarify
24 things for the transcript, I would like to ask General Lazarevic.
25 Q. The term "combined command" or, rather, "combined operations" and
1 "joint operations," is there a difference?
2 A. Yes, there is a difference. When we're talking about combined
3 operations, combat or other operations, this refers to the coordination of
4 the actions between forces which are not subordinate to each other, which
5 are not in the same chain of command, as is the term that we've been using
6 in this trial, so there's no subordination. There is discussion, there is
7 coordination, there is direction, or there is an effort to reach a
8 consensus within the participants -- among the participants in the same
9 task in a NATO parlance.
10 Q. General, perhaps --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that mean, for the avoidance of any doubt,
12 that the word in B/C/S used for the Joint Command is the same word as you
13 have been using here to describe joint operations? Is that right?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the combat rules of
15 the Army of Yugoslavia, quite specifically in the manual for the commands
16 and staffs, this is one of the fundamental manuals for -- used in the work
17 of the Army of Yugoslavia, defines the combined command quite
18 specifically, or rather the combined command post, not joint command post
19 but combined command post, where --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: The simple question I'm asking, the word used
21 is "zajednicka" now, does that word appear in the expression "joint
22 command," Mr. Bakrac?
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we're talking
24 about "objedinjena" not "zajednicka." "Objedinjena" is
25 combined, "zajednicka" is joint. Let me give you an example. For
1 instance, we are all combined here --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: In the expression "the Joint Command" that we've
3 been using throughout this trial, what is the B/C/S word for "joint"?
4 MR. BAKRAC: "Zajednicka."
5 JUDGE BONOMY: The reason I'm asking you that and so that you can
6 have an opportunity to explain it, if there is this distinction between
7 combined and joint operations, and the word "joint" means that there is
8 only one line of command because of resubordination, it's a very important
9 point in the definition of what "Joint Command" means, and that's what I
10 was trying to clarify. It's not a combined command, it's a joint command.
11 Anyway, please proceed with your own examination.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I understand.
13 Perhaps the best way to see the difference is if we use an example.
14 Could we please have Exhibit 5D264. It's a very brief document,
15 and perhaps you can just comment on it in light of this difference that
16 we're trying to draw here.
17 Q. Could you please comment on this document?
18 A. This is a document from the 3rd Army Command that speaks about
19 combining the operations of the ground forces, or to be quite specific the
20 3rd Army, and the Air Force in the area of responsibility of the 3rd Army
21 by setting up special cooperation organs. So every structure in the 3rd
22 Army and the Air Force Command have their executive command -- retain the
23 executive command over their own units. This is a typical example of
24 combining combat operations over a broader area. Area, in this case within
25 the army.
1 Q. Is it possible to combine the operations outside of the army? We
2 saw that two different structures that have their own chains of command
3 are combined. Is it possible to achieve this kind of combining outside of
4 -- to involve structures other than the army?
5 A. Well, the Law on Defence deals with the issue of combining not
6 only combat operations but other forms of armed and non-armed resistance,
7 in terms of directing and coordinating the activities within the framework
8 of a task, and I would like to ask the Presiding Judge to give me a minute
9 to explain the difference between the -- to explain the difference when it
10 comes to the Joint Command, because we did not go into that.
11 Q. Please do so, because I think that we have the permission of the
12 Trial Chamber. I was going to come to that with other documents, but
13 perhaps now is the good time.
14 A. Your Honour, I am using the official terms here, the terms that
15 are used in the combat rules, in the manuals of the army and in the Law on
16 Defence, but in military parlance, in 1998 and even in 1999, there were
17 commands -- commanding offices and officers who would use the term
18 "combined" joint command of the military and the MUP. What I want to say
19 is the term "zajednicka komandant" the "Joint Command," is not defined
20 anywhere in the Rules, but they used this term for the combined command.
21 This was done by some commands, by some officers. And there is
22 evidence -- I don't know whether my Defence team will be able to locate
23 that and to present it to the court.
24 Q. Well, we were going to come to that. I didn't want to interrupt
1 Your Honours, we will deal with that topic when the appropriate
2 documents come up.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: I simply wanted to ask Mr. Lazarevic at this
4 point: What are the official terms that he is referring to? In your
5 answer there, Mr. Lazarevic, you said you were using the official terms
6 here from the combat rules and manuals. Can you tell me which are the
7 official terms that you were referring to?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The official terms, Your Honour,
9 are "objedinjena komandno mesto," combined command post, combining combat
10 operations, combining other forms of armed or non-armed resistance, so
11 these are the official terms that are used, "objedinjena" and "objedinjena
12 komandno mesto," combined command post, which for all intents and purposes
13 is the "objedinjena komanda," or combined command.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Bakrac.
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I have a suggestion for my colleagues
17 who have a much better mastery of both the English and Serbian language.
18 The suggestion is to use the term -- but perhaps the best idea would be
19 for Mr. Ivetic to assist us.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: No, I don't think that is going to be of
21 assistance, Mr. Bakrac. Just please continue with the questions.
22 Submissions are something which can be made at a later stage.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, well, perhaps through
24 this document we might -- we might look at this issue through 5D424. There
25 may be even some mistakes in translation. I would just like to invite
1 General Lazarevic to read one sentence and for us to see how it was
2 translated. So 5D424.
3 Q. General, now we have the English, too. Could you please tell us,
4 just very briefly, what is this document, what is this all about? And then
5 I will ask you to read just one sentence from it.
6 A. This is a document from the Supreme Command staff, from the Air
7 Force and Air Defence Administration. It is the wartime period, the 15th
8 of May, 1999. It is sent to the 3rd Army.
9 Q. And what is the gist of this document, just very briefly? And
10 then we will go on to read the part.
11 A. Well, the essence of this document is that a suggestion is made --
12 a proposal is made, how to coordinate and combine all the operations of
13 the Army of Yugoslavia, in terms of anti-aircraft defence in Kosovo and
14 Metohija during the war, that were placed under the command of two
15 strategic groups, the 3rd Army and the Air Force and Air Defence Command.
16 Q. And could you please read in the first sentence in paragraph two?
17 A. "Your idea of the need to coordinate-combine the forces and the
18 assets of the anti-aircraft defence according to task is indispensable."
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not quite
20 sure whether the sentence has been translated properly. "Your idea about
21 the coordination-combination" --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, there is already a translation, as you know,
23 and this is effectively the same, although the precise wording is
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I hope that the essence has been
1 conveyed as it should have been, but perhaps now would be the best time to
2 take a break so that we may resolve any translation and interpretation
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
5 Mr. Hannis, I've caused an investigation to be made into the
6 translation issue, because my understanding, as of ten days ago or so, was
7 that everything was to be translated in time for the commencement of the
8 Defence case. Apparently there's been a misunderstanding about when that
9 date was, and CLS were under the impression that the Defence would not
10 commence until next Monday.
11 As a result, a special effort is being made today and tomorrow to
12 deal with the outstanding translations, so hopefully the matter will be
13 resolved before the end of the examination-in-chief.
14 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: We'll have a break now and resume at 10 minutes to
17 --- Recess taken at 12.20 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.50 p.m.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Q. General, before we proceed, we looked at the transcript and we
22 believe a thing needs clarification. Namely, here we gave two examples of
23 the combining of forces of the Air Force and the anti-aircraft defence and
24 of the forces of the 3rd Army. When there is a combined command post or a
25 combined combat operations, when we are talking about combining, does each
1 one of these entities retain its own chain of command?
2 A. It absolutely does retain such a chain. And with permission from
3 the Trial Chamber, I should like to explain.
4 Throughout the war, at the forward command post of the 3rd Army,
5 the general area of Pristina, which was at the command post of the
6 Pristina Corps, there was simultaneously, contemporaneously, the forward
7 command post of the Air Force, corps of the Air Force and the
8 anti-aircraft defence. The commander of the army could not order that
9 forward command post of the Air Force Corps to support him, to support the
10 army forces. He could only ask, he could only require, he could only
11 propose, and it was on the Air Force to decide whether to use its air
12 forces in Kosovo and Metohija.
13 And just another sentence. Also throughout the war, at the corps
14 command post, there was a group of Air Force liaison officers to whom I
15 could personally only submit a request for any kind of support, medical or
16 transportation support, but could not order them to do anything. In fact,
17 a squadron of medical corps helicopters for the evacuation of wounded --
18 of the wounded from the Pristina Corps could not be used at my orders, but
19 this was done by the group of Air Force liaison officers. This is
20 combining activities in war, in armed struggle.
21 Q. Thank you, General. Tell us now, on the basis of what were
22 activities coordinated of the Army of Yugoslavia, i.e., the Pristina Corps
23 and the MUP forces on tasks of suppressing terrorism and the armed
24 rebellion in the second half of 1998.
25 A. This coordination of activities was defined by special plans from
1 the group of the Grom-98 plan as well as by special orders which were
2 issued by the General Staff, i.e., the 3rd Army Command, pursuant to a
3 decision taken at the highest state level, the highest political and
4 military state level.
5 Q. For these tasks of the Pristina Corps, how much of its effectives
6 did the Pristina Corps engage?
7 A. In the period from the end of July to the end of September, the
8 Pristina Corps engaged between 2 to a maximum of 10 per cent of its
9 effectives to support MUP forces in suppressing terrorism and the armed
10 rebellion. The other forces were engaged on those tasks that we discussed
11 at the previous session.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Your question, Mr. Bakrac, related to the second
13 half of 1998. Did you mean by that to confine it to the period July until
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, I probably misspoke, Your
16 Honours. In 1998, from June, when the -- rather July, when the command
17 post was set up, and -- from June, when the command post was set up, i.e.,
18 from July, when the decision on the Grom plan was adopted.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Should I comment on this and give a
20 new response?
21 JUDGE BONOMY: No. The answer relates to the period of July to
22 September. My question is whether you meant to confine the matter to that
23 period, and you may have done, but can you clarify that for me?
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: You did.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. General, we spoke about this combined command post a while ago.
3 Are you familiar with the American rule FM3? It speaks about the lack of
4 command powers and what is to be done in such situation. Are you familiar
5 with it and can you comment on it?
6 A. Yes, I'm certainly familiar with it. This is a doctrinary rule
7 for the use of the ground forces of the United States of America and,
8 thereby, also of the NATO alliance, and to the best of my recollection, at
9 this time it is item 445, I believe. I didn't delve deep into the rule.
10 It is written in conditions when there is no command subordination, i.e.,
11 chain of command, the commanders of different units, of different
12 formations, harmonise their activities, coordinate their activities, and
13 negotiate it, and as it is put, arrive at a consensus how best to conduct
14 their general task whereby each command and each unit retains the command
15 function over its own forces.
16 Q. General, in which way was this combining of combat operations of
17 the Army of Yugoslavia, of the Yugoslav Army and the units of the Ministry
18 of the Interior, carried out in 1998?
19 A. The entire set of activities falls within this combining and
20 coordination of the activities of the army and the police during 1998, and
21 that is, first and foremost, exchange of intelligence data, exchange of
22 information on the engagement and tasks of units in a certain specific
23 area; thirdly, exchange of information on communications and
24 communications equipment in order to be compatible, and then the assigning
25 of representatives, or as is army parlance, liaison officers, to a certain
1 MUP unit and vice versa, from the army and vice versa. And then during an
2 action, there is set up, conditionally speaking, a combined command post,
3 and plans are elaborated of combined operations and concerted action.
4 Q. Did the Command of the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps prepare
5 plans of concerted action and cooperation to support forces of the MUP?
6 A. Neither did the 3rd Army prepare, and I do know that the Pristina
7 Corps certainly did not prepare any such plans.
8 Q. In view of the absence of the fact that there did not exist any
9 general concerted action plans, how was the issue addressed of
11 A. Well, I know that the Corps Command, in its combat documents, in
12 its orders, in its commands, in its decisions and other documents, in a
13 certain item which is envisaged according to the rules for that particular
14 purpose, regulated concerted action with MUP forces. And in a certain
15 specific document, the Corps Command, in that particular item, which often
16 as a rule was the 13th item in combat documents, inserted a clause to the
17 effect that the commanding forces of the army and of the MUP shall be
18 conducted and combined by the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija.
19 Q. General, while we are on this subject, can we move on to
20 Prosecution document 5D --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please repeat the number of the
22 document for the interpreter. Thank you.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you repeat the number, please, Mr. Bakrac.
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours. P1428.
25 Yes, perhaps I spoke too fast. Because it has been opened so many times,
1 that's why I did so.
2 Q. I expect that you recognise this document. The heading states --
3 can you comment on it? It says: "The Command of the Pristina Corps." It
4 has a strictly confidential number. The date is the 14th of August, 1998,
5 and it is a decision on breaking up DTS forces in the sector of the Slup
6 and Voksa villages. Are you familiar with this document?
7 A. Yes, I am familiar with this document. I signed it on behalf of
8 the corps commander who on that date was with the chief of the General
9 Staff, General Perisic inspecting the units, and this is an abridged order
10 or command, or rather, as it is written here, a decision on breaking up
11 sabotage and terrorist forces in the Slup and Voksa sector. It states
12 that part of the forces, specifically the 15th-3 Combat Groups, should
13 support the MUP forces in breaking up terrorist forces in the area of the
14 Slup and Voksa villages, as evident in item 2.1.
15 Q. General, who brought this decision and who approved this decision?
16 A. The decision for the execution of this task was adopted by, first,
17 the commander of the 3rd Army, General Samardzic, in his combat report,
18 and he informed the chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army,
19 General Perisic, of his decision. Following that decision, the commander
20 of the Pristina Corps, General Pavkovic, adopted -- issued a decision on a
21 map which was signed and verified by the commander of the 3rd Army,
22 Samardzic. That map is an attachment to this decision or abridged command
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, let us not open
25 Exhibit 5D1174. That is a regular combat report of the -- from the
1 forward command post of the 3rd Army of the 14th of August, 1998, which
2 contains the decision of General Samardzic, and this is something which
3 has already been opened in respect to General Simic. But if you feel that
4 it should be brought up on the screen, then we will do so.
5 Should we open it or not?
6 JUDGE BONOMY: It's a matter for you, Mr. Bakrac. I don't see the
7 need for it, but you have to decide how you present your case.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Your Honours. I
9 actually meant what I said for the sake of Your Honours, but the exhibit
10 number of the map with this decision is 5D1175.
11 Can we please have this map brought up on the monitor.
12 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, while we are waiting for the map on the
13 e-court, there is an intervention on the transcript, page 70, lines 5 and
14 6. I believe the witness says:
15 "I signed it on behalf of the corps commander who on that date
16 was accompanying General Perisic inspecting the units."
17 JUDGE BONOMY: That makes sense. Thank you, Mr. Zecevic.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, colleague Zecevic. We
19 wanted to intervene ourselves.
20 Could we see the map, please.
21 Q. General, is this the map decision for Voksa, and does it refer to
22 this document that you signed?
23 A. Yes, this is the map decision prepared by the corps commander,
24 General Pavkovic, and endorsed by the commander of the 3rd Army,
25 General Samardzic, approved for the specific action. We saw the decision
1 for that particular action a while ago in written form.
2 Q. And this map was attached to that decision, if I got it right.
3 A. Yes, you understood it properly. That was the procedure.
4 Q. But I have nevertheless decided that we see, in order to clarify
5 matters, Exhibit 5D1174 on our screens.
6 General, you have before you the daily combat report of the
7 forward command post of the 3rd Army, addressed to the General Staff of
8 the Army of Yugoslavia; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Please look at point 5 or item 5. It's on the third page. Item
12 Could you please read item 5 and explain what it means?
13 A. Item 5 is a decision by the Command of the 3rd Army, and in the
14 executive sense it says:
15 "I have decided to continue providing increased security on the
16 state border, with focus on the axes leading over the Junik mountains in
17 order to prevent raids by terrorist forces, and the bringing in of weapons
18 and military equipment to the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, with
19 Combat Group 15-3, support MUP forces in crushing sabotage terrorist
20 strong holds in the following sectors, Grabovac, Loja, Raui and Voksa."
21 I think the rest is immaterial.
22 Q. General, I think there's no need to go to e-court. What I'd like
23 to know is the following: This method of planning and issuing decisions
24 concerning an action, is it a legitimate, lawful manner of doing so within
25 the chain of command of the army, what we have just seen, that is?
1 A. Absolutely, yes. And by Their Honours' leave, I would like to say
2 that at the strategic level, it is unusual for an army commander to issue
3 a decision for a combat group which numbered 197 men at the time to be
4 included in the carrying out of a combat task.
5 Q. General, why does it say, in item 6, that the Joint Command for
6 KiM will be in command of this action from the forward command post?
7 A. I started explaining the documents of the Corps Command of 1998 in
8 which cooperation and coordinated action with MUP forces was described.
9 As there was a lack of concrete, specific plans for cooperation and
10 coordination, which should have been done according to the Rules of
11 Combat, the Corps Command decided, in the last item which is dedicated to
12 cooperation and coordination, to use this expression in order to indicate
13 that the action would be of common interest, of joint interest, and that
14 cooperation and coordination would be in place between the army and the
15 MUP and their forces. So my explanation to you and Their Honours is that
16 because there was a lack of cooperation and coordination plans, the Corps
17 Command decided to use this clause; and I have to explain to Their Honours
18 that this is a bit unusual and it's been confusing all of us for a year
19 and a half. But that's what I know from that period of time, and that is
20 the explanation I can give at present.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: We don't seem to have item 6 in English on the
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise. It may
24 have been my error. I went back to document P14. That's the one I'm
25 referring to now, yes.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Can we see it and, please, item 6 on the screen.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. General, let's simplify matters even further. You say here:
4 "Combat operations will be commanded by the Joint Command for KiM
5 from the forward command post in Djakovica."
6 Is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. At that time, were you at the forward command post in Djakovica?
9 A. Yes, I was. I was at the forward command post in Djakovica, and
10 at that time, in the office in which I spent several months, there was a
11 team from the General Staff, headed by General Obradovic, who testified
12 here on that day and thereabouts, in that period.
13 Q. And it says here that combat operations will be commanded by the
14 Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija from that office; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In that office, in the course of these combat operations, were any
17 of the following people present: Minic, Andjelkovic, Sainovic, Matkovic,
18 or any other civilian?
19 A. No, not a single one of those mentioned. There was a forward
20 command post. That was a group of some ten officers. And on the ground,
21 there was a command. I can't remember of what police detachment, which,
22 in coordinated action with Group 15-3, that's a combat group from the 15th
23 Armoured Brigade, carried out this task.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I just clarify one thing with you.
25 You've explained to us why this expression "commanded by the Joint
1 Command for Kosovo" was used. Am I correct in understanding that it's a
2 pure coincidence that that expression occurs in this document, used by
3 you, and occurs in so many other documents? The two are not in any way
4 related to each other; is that your position?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not sure I
6 understood your question properly, but I'll attempt to answer. This is
7 not --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't want you to misunderstand.
9 You have said that your explanation to us, as you called us "Their
10 Honours," for the use of this word, this expression, was that because
11 there was a lack of cooperation and coordination plans, the Corps Command
12 decided to use this clause. Now, have I wrongly understood that you were
13 talking about using it only in this document?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not only in this document, no. There
15 were several such documents issued in the course of 1998, but this
16 expression was used only and exclusively when there was a need to have
17 cooperation, a coordinated action, and mutual support between the army and
18 the police. It was used only in such cases where these forces had to be
19 combined, and that's where the term "joint command" was used.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: That would suggest that you can tell us who
21 originally decided to use that expression and when that was.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with the best will in
23 the world, I really don't know who, in the Corps Command, issued such a
24 decision for the use of this term, because as of April, I was at the
25 forward command post. I did, however, receive a number of documents
1 containing this clause or expression, and as you can see, the operative
2 organs of the Corps Command prepared these documents, and I prepared them
3 on behalf of the Corps Command. But I cannot say with certainty when this
4 term began to be used. All I know is that it refers to activities where
5 there was a need for cooperation, coordinated action and support between
6 the army and the police.
7 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I also have a question, General, kindly.
8 In regard to your statement, when you said that for one and a half
9 years there was a confusion about the different clauses of the documents,
10 and then you thought or somebody thought in the court to use -- to invoke
11 the words "cooperation for purposes of carrying forward the thing," please
12 tell me, why didn't you seek a clarification about this?
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE BONOMY: We've obviously understood you differently, I
15 think. You better explain to Judge Chowhan.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may assist --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]... The period of
18 the trial to date and not a previous period.
19 JUDGE CHOWHAN: But even if we don't -- I apologise bothering you,
20 but even if we don't talk one and a half and it was based on my confusion,
21 but yet a clarification could have been sought.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you are right to put
23 such a question to me from the Bench, but I confess that this term is not
24 present in the combat documents and the Rules of Combat. However, when at
25 the forward command post, as the chief of Staff, I received a document
1 from my commander, the commander of the Pristina Corps Command, and when I
2 knew that the state top leadership had issued a decision that the army,
3 with part of its forces, should support the MUP forces in suppressing an
4 armed rebellion, and with all the knowledge I had as an officer, what I
5 understood by this was that the army and the police were carrying out a
6 task together to defend the integrity of the state. I had no doubts about
7 that, no dilemmas.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Now that we are dealing with this topic, please take a look at
11 Exhibit 6D731.
12 General, do you recognise this document, and can you comment first
13 on item 2, the first and second paragraphs of item 2, and then we'll
14 proceed further.
15 A. Based -- or rather pursuant to the previous decision of the
16 Command of the Pristina Corps for this action, which I signed, the
17 commander of the 15th Armoured Brigade issued his own order for the
18 engagement of Combat Group 3 to support MUP forces in a coordinated
19 action, I'm explaining now, to carry out that task in Voksa on the 14th of
21 Q. Very well, thank you. Could you comment on the last page, item
22 7, "Command and Communications." That's on the last page, the last two
24 A. The commander of the 15th Armoured Brigade received a decision
25 from the Corps in which, in item 6, it says that all forces would be
1 commanded by the Joint Command from the forward command post in Djakovica,
2 and he understood this properly, of course, and ordered that all forces
3 carrying out the combat actions should be under the command and control of
4 the Pristina Corps Command from the forward command post. Therefore, in
5 the view of the brigade commander, there is no joint command. He
6 understands quite properly that he is to be commanded by the Command of
7 the Corps which is located in Djakovica from the forward command post.
8 Q. Can you comment on the previous paragraph as well, "Coordinated
9 Action with Organs"?
10 A. Yes. That is a response to the questions put previously as to how
11 coordinated action between the army and the MUP is organised. So he's
12 ordering Combat Group 3 concerning preparing and executing combat
13 activities, to maintain coordination before and in the course of carrying
14 out the combat task.
15 Q. If I understand correctly, that's an organisation of a coordinated
16 action at a lower level.
17 A. Yes, at a lower tactical level. The group numbered 197 men, this
18 combat group, and the police detachment was not much bigger, so that
19 amounted to about four [as interpreted] battalions in size.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Between a company and a battalion, interpreter's
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we now see 5D99.
23 MR. ZECEVIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Your Honours. 78.23, I
24 believe the witness said it was somewhere between -- between company and
25 battalion in size. It says -- the transcript says "four battalions in
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you clarify that, please, Mr. Lazarevic? What
3 was the reference you made to battalion?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I said that the Combat
5 Group 15-3 numbered about 200 men at the time. That was a
6 company-strength unit. And the police detachment was a battalion-strength
7 unit. I don't know their exact strength. But what I wanted to say is
8 that the coordination at the lower tactical level, at the level between a
9 company and a battalion, and that's what I said. So now I'm just providing
10 some further explanation.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: It had actually been clarified. Mr. Bakrac.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. General, we see how this was taken at the lower tactical level.
14 Now have you in front of you document 5D99. This is a document, minutes
15 of a meeting between the army command organs at the forward command post
16 and commanders of subordinated units. The date is the 17th of August,
18 Could we please move to page 2 now.
19 Could you please read the paragraph right in the middle which
20 begins with the words: "The PRK commander reports ..."?
21 A. "The commander of the Pristina Corps reports on the daily
22 activities of the units in which the MUP was supported by the 15-3 combat
23 group, taking the villages of Jasic and Djocaj, where no casualties were
24 sustained on our side."
25 Q. Sir, does this refer to those actions, the actions that we were
1 talking about?
2 A. This completed the circle in the execution of this task. From the
3 army commander to the General Staff, down to the combat group, and now
4 again the Pristina Corps commander informs the 3rd Army commander, General
5 Samardzic, that the task had been carried out.
6 Q. Thank you, General. I just want to know -- I don't know if you
7 know that. If you don't, just tell me so. Did the 3rd Army commander use
8 the term "joint command"? Were you in a position to hear it on any
9 occasion? But, please, do tell us if you didn't.
10 A. I did not attend a single meeting at the forward command post of
11 the 3rd Army in Pristina. The 3rd Army commander did visit the Pristina
12 Corps forward command post, where I was several times, but I never heard
13 him use this term. I was in a position to see some documents here at this
14 trial where he used this term.
15 Q. But you don't know that he used them at that time?
16 A. No, I don't know.
17 Q. General, units of the Pristina Corps, were they able to provide
18 support to the Minister of Interior units in the field of their own
19 volition without an order of their superior command?
20 A. No. The use of a unit -- a unit may be used without approval only
21 if that unit or the facility it is securing come under an attack. In any
22 other circumstances, permission should be sought from the superior
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have 4D377 up on the
25 screen, Exhibit 4D377. It's a short document, and it does have a
2 Q. Could you please just read paragraph 4 and comment on it.
3 A. This is an order from the 3rd Army commander, General Samardzic,
4 dated the 29th of May, 1998. In paragraph 4, he orders, quite
5 specifically in no uncertain terms, that the support for the MUP forces
6 should be done from the deployment sector of the units, using combat
7 equipment from a distance, in line with its specifications; provide
8 support only following a specific request from the commander of all the
9 MUP forces at the Kosovo and Metohija pursuant to a decision from the
10 chief of Staff of the 3rd Army Command and the Command of the Pristina
12 And if you allow me, I would just like to say that there was no
13 overall commander, but I understand this. This is what I was telling you.
14 The 3rd Army commander quite resolutely stated that no element of the army
15 could be used without his permission.
16 Q. And we were able to see, in previous examples, Prosecution
17 exhibits, that such orders were carried out very strictly and only on the
18 orders and permission of the superior command within a legal chain of
20 A. Every day, for every action, with the approval of the General
21 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia.
22 Q. Thank you, sir. We were talking about the tasks of the Pristina
23 Corps. I want to know the following: You were at the Djakovica forward
24 command post. What was the purpose -- what were the tasks of the forward
25 command post at Djakovica in 1998 at the time when you were there at that
1 command post?
2 A. The setting up of the Pristina Corps forward command post in
3 Djakovica, in April 1998, was ordered personally by the 3rd Army
4 commander. He personally ordered that I, as the chief of Staff, should be
5 there at the forward command post. The purpose was to coordinate the
6 actions of the forces of the Pristina Corps and the 3rd Army in securing
7 and defending the state border primarily facing Albania, and preventing
8 the spill-over of terrorist activities from Albania into Kosovo and
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please look at Exhibit
11 4D380. And, just very briefly, could we see who issued the order for your
12 appointment, who signed it.
13 Q. And is this, in fact, the order for your appointment?
14 A. This is an order from the 3rd Army commander. The date is the
15 20th of April. In paragraph 2, he orders that the chief of Staff of the
16 Corps should lead the forward command post, and the next day, I and a
17 group of officers from the Corps Command, we took up the forward command
18 post, and I remained there throughout 1998. So I was in Djakovica.
19 Q. So if I understand you correctly, the 3rd Army commander,
20 General Samardzic, sent you there and he, indeed, signed this order?
21 A. Yes, he ordered this, but I was sent there by the corps commander.
22 Q. Yes, thank you. Could you tell us, very briefly, something about
23 the scope of your activities? We saw this action where support was
24 provided to the MUP. We saw when you manned the forward command post.
25 What was the focus of your activities in 1998 in the carrying out of your
1 duties at the forward command post?
2 A. The forward command post of the Pristina Corps had a priority
3 function, which was the following: From a distance of about 10 to 15
4 kilometres from the state border which was at risk, to monitor the
5 security situation at the state border and the integrity of the state in
6 this area, on a daily basis to visit and control the units, to coordinate
7 their activities, to report to the Corps Command about any measures taken,
8 to report, if necessary, directly to the army commander and the Chief of
9 General Staff, and I would like to stress this because this was not in
10 line with the usual military procedure, but I have to say that I was quite
11 happy to receive a direct call from the chief of the General Staff or the
12 army commander, inquiring about the security at the state border. So these
13 were our priority tasks.
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, General.
15 Your Honour, I see that I have two more minutes, and I would like
16 to move on to a very interesting topic about some meetings in Pristina, so
17 perhaps it would be a good idea to leave that for the morning, when we are
18 all fresh.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Bakrac, a suitable time to interrupt.
20 Mr. Lazarevic, you're well aware now of the routine for witnesses.
21 That's the category you now fall into, and therefore any discussion of
22 the evidence in this case with anybody is absolutely off limits for you.
23 And it may be harder for you than others because you can't necessarily
24 distance yourself so easily from people who have an interest in the case,
25 but the rule is just as strict for you as anyone else. You must discuss
1 things other than the evidence in this case.
2 We shall resume tomorrow at 9.00. Sorry, yes, in Courtroom number
3 III and not in this courtroom.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 7th day of
7 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.