1 Wednesday, 7 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Lazarevic.
7 As you've heard me say to so many people throughout this trial,
8 please bear in mind the solemn declaration to speak the truth continues to
9 apply to your evidence from start to finish.
10 Mr. Bakrac.
11 WITNESS: VLADIMIR LAZAREVIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you.
14 Good morning, all. Yesterday, I said we would move on to a
15 different topic this morning, but before that, I would like to ask the
16 Trial Chamber, and this is very important for the further presentation of
17 evidence by the Defence of General Lazarevic, the following:
18 We've mentioned that Caragoj Valley once. That's the valley where
19 the Meja action was carried out. And to provide the Chamber with a
20 clearer picture of events, I would like to ask Mr. Lazarevic to explain
21 where this is.
22 We have a map in relief which has no number. It can be marked for
23 identification. And from the Kosovo Atlas, P615, we have a document which
24 we would like to put on the ELMO, by your leave, Your Honours, if I could
25 ask this of General Lazarevic.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: There's a map beside the witness. Is that what he
2 is going to refer to?
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Well if he refers to it, it should be given an
5 in-court number, it wouldn't be marked for identification, so it would
6 become an exhibit in the order.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] My mistake, Your Honour.
8 My mistake. I do apologise. I said "marked for identification,"
9 but I meant to say "given a number."
10 Examination by Mr. Bakrac: [Continued]
11 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, General Lazarevic, yesterday we saw a number of
12 exhibits concerning the concentration of KLA terrorists in the Caragoj
13 Valley. Would you be so kind as to show us on this map where the Caragoj
14 Valley is, what large town it's closest to, and where the border with
15 Albania is?
16 A. The Caragoj Valley, in Serbian it means "Black river," it's a
17 river valley, it's the area between Djakovica and Decani. It belongs to
18 the border belt. It's 10 to 15 kilometers long and 3 to 5 kilometers
20 I will now show where it is [indicates]. Djakovica, Decani
21 [indicates]. This is right behind the border belt. It's actually in the
22 border belt or, rather, in the border area, not the border belt.
23 Q. Where is the border post there, and what is the terrain like?
24 A. From the Junik Mountains in the direction of the Kosare and Morina
25 border post, there is a very important tactical axes from Albania which
1 was the one most frequently used to infiltrate strong forces for the armed
2 rebellion and later the aggression in the direction of Djakovica, Junik
3 and Decani. From the mountain heights, one can come down and reach the
4 valley in a relatively short period of time.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, General Lazarevic.
6 Could the usher now put this map from the atlas on the ELMO.
7 Perhaps it might be clearer on this map than it is on the relief map.
8 Q. Indicate what you have just said, and then we will move on.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the page number in the Kosovo Atlas,
10 Mr. Bakrac?
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] 4D471 and 475. It's not clearly
12 visible, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: I have this book here that you've put on the
14 screen. Just give me the page number, if you can.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise. It's
16 4D471, 475. The map consists of two parts.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I take it you don't actually have the book and you
18 can't tell me what page in the book it's in that I can quickly refer to.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: We're finished with that map, anyway, so just leave
21 it on the floor and carry on with the next stage of the exercise.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, please indicate on the ELMO where the border belt
24 is, where Djakovica is, where the Caragoj Valley is, and where the border
25 posts you mentioned are.
1 A. [Indicates]
2 Q. Now you're indicating the river valley?
3 A. Yes, and the border post to the right is Kosare, and the one to
4 the left is Morina.
5 Q. Your Honour, could you put the letter "A" above the first arrow
6 and tell us what border post it is?
7 A. This is Kosare, and the other one is Morina.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, for the purposes of the
9 transcript, the arrow marked "A" leads to the valley through the Kosare
10 border post, and the arrow marked "B" indicates the direction leading to
11 the river valley via the Morina border post.
12 Could this exhibit now be given a number.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: First of all, we need to give a number to the large
14 map which was on the board. Can we have that, first of all?
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be IC139, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. And then a number for this one --
17 THE REGISTRAR: It will be IC140.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you move on, in an answer, Mr. Lazarevic, at
19 page 2, line 25, for those who are following the transcript, you talked
20 about from the Junik Mountains in the direction of Kosare and the Junik
21 border post, there is a very important tactical," and it's not clear what
22 the next words should be. You were describing a very important tactical
23 something from Albania which was the one most frequently used.
24 Can you clarify what you said there? Were you referring to as a
25 route, an access route, or was it something else?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the military sense,
2 it's an area, a valley, within the Junik Mountains, between two border
3 posts, which is suitable for the engagement of military forces, both
4 infantry and armoured and mechanised units, especially those carrying out
5 the attacks. There are no international roads there and no official
6 roads, but I know that right now a motorway is being built between Kosovo
7 and Albania there. But from the military and strategic aspect, it's one
8 of the very important tactical axes along which units, up to two or three
9 brigades, can be engaged for an attack from Albania on the area. And I
10 referred to it as the "Morina tactical axis."
11 JUDGE BONOMY: That's clarified it. Thank you.
12 Mr. Bakrac.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
14 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, we'll now move on to another topic.
15 Yesterday, you said that when the forward command post in
16 Djakovica was taken up on the 21st of April, if I'm correct, 1998, until
17 the end of that year, you were constantly at the forward command post in
18 Djakovica. Did you go to Pristina? When and on what occasion, if you
20 A. Very rarely, only on a few occasions did I leave the forward
21 command post. On orders from the corps commander, I went to the Corps
22 Command to brief him on the situation at the state border, although he
23 often visited the area personally, and to the best of my recollection
24 there was a day in August, I'm not sure exactly when it was, when I went
25 there, and I came back on the same day.
1 In September, I think I stayed away for a day or two because we
2 were preparing plans to defend the state border and an expat report on
3 that topic.
4 I think that in late October, I went there to take over some new
5 officers, and I don't recall going to Pristina on any other occasion.
6 Q. When you visited Pristina, as you described, did you attend any
7 other meetings, apart from going to the Corps Command? Did you meet any
8 other people there?
9 A. I remember that with the corps commander and a group of officers
10 and employees of the police and the state security, we went to a civilian
11 building. I'm not sure whether it's the Regional Executive Council, where
12 we exchanged information one evening on the situation in the territory,
13 and several state officials were there, officials of the FRY and of
14 Serbia. I'm not sure who the people from the state security were, what
15 their names were, because I don't know them. At that time, I didn't know
16 the people from the police either, but later on I found out they were
17 assistant Ministers of the Interior, and one of them was General
18 Djordjevic, the other one was Obrad Stefanovic. I don't know whether he's
19 an assistant minister also, but he did have a high-ranking post in the
20 Ministry. I think General Lukic was also there. There may have been some
21 other people as well. And from the state security, I really couldn't tell
22 you their names. And this was more than -- on more than one occasion. I
23 say "several occasions," because in September I stayed there for two or
24 three days.
25 I'm not sure what state officials were there, but in any case, on
1 at least one occasion Mr. Sainovic was there. I saw Andjelkovic,
2 Mr. Andjelkovic. I don't know, as I say, if they were there on both
3 occasions. There was Minic, Matkovic, and, well, that was it.
4 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, to clarify one point, you say on those two
5 occasions, and then you say once in August and the second time, if I
6 remember well, in September, but you say you stayed there for two or three
7 days. On that second occasion when you visited, did you attend only once
8 or did you go there to that meeting two times in the course of those two
9 or three days?
10 A. I think that in September, while I was there for two or three
11 days, I was with a commander on at least two occasions to see people, to
12 discuss the situation, to exchange information about the situation in
13 Belgrade, in the country, in Kosovo, from the security aspect, from the
14 military aspect, and the police aspect as well.
15 Q. At that meeting, did you speak? And if you did, what did you
16 speak about?
17 A. I think that all the participants were interested in hearing me
18 say firsthand what was happening at the border, and I remember that I did
19 speak, but I really cannot repeat what I said. It was about the situation
20 in the border area, the constant attacks, the extreme threat to the state
21 border. That was the topic I most often spoke about, but I couldn't
22 really paraphrase it right now.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: We have to be clear what events we're talking
24 about. You said that on two occasions -- on at least two occasions, you
25 went with the commander to see people to discuss their situation, to
1 exchange information. In that sentence, were you referring to the same
2 group, including police, state security and civil officials, or were you
3 talking about something else?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was referring to the
5 same group in general, but not the same composition, because I'm not sure
6 that all of those people - I've mentioned some of them by name - were
7 present on both occasions. I was with the corps commander. There may have
8 been someone else from the Corps Command there. This group of people from
9 the Ministry of the Interior, I'm not sure all of them were there at that
10 time. And also I'm not sure whether the state officials were there in
11 full number, whether they were all there in that time. I really couldn't
12 confirm that.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Were these meetings each in the same place?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, yes. It's
15 a room that is similar to this one but perhaps slightly smaller, and I was
16 there on those occasions.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]... They were in
18 the same place. Now, you've mentioned at least two in September. Were
19 there also similar meetings in August?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was there only once
21 in August, and then I went back. I didn't spend any time there. So we're
22 talking about one meeting in August, in the same place, dealing with the
23 same issues, with the same groups of people, but I cannot now state
24 whether all the same people were there.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, what about October, when you went to take over
1 some new officers, was there a similar meeting then?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President, I did not take
3 part. In fact, during the day, I took over the officers, the second
4 lieutenants. I flew to Pristina by helicopter. I took them over and I
5 just dispatched them to their units. I didn't spend any time in Pristina
6 at all.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac went on to ask you about what you may
8 have said. Did you speak at only one of these meetings or more than one?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not sure whether I took the
10 floor on both occasions, but I remember that I did. I remember that I
11 informed those people about the dramatic situation, whether it was in
12 August or in October, but I'm not sure, because the corps commander was
13 there at my side.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Perhaps it's translation, but let's try and not
15 further confuse it. I thought I had got the position clear, but at the
16 moment I'm under the impression there was one meeting in August, at least
17 two meetings in September, and none in October. Is that correct?
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's a mistake in
19 interpretation. You can listen to the tapes. The whole confusion is
20 caused by the interpretation. August, and two or three occasions in
21 September, when he spent there a couple of days, and then he was in
22 Pristina in October, when he did not attend any meetings but just took
23 over the officers, but the interpretation was that he attended the
24 meetings in August and October. And if you listen to the tapes, you will
25 hear that he said "in September."
1 JUDGE BONOMY: That's been clarified, but there's something else
2 you said which caused me some confusion, and that is: "I'm not sure
3 whether I took the floor on both occasions."
4 I thought we had established that there were at least three
5 meetings, and I don't know if that's an interpretation problem or not. Can
6 you remember on how many of these occasions you actually spoke?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when I say "occasions,"
8 I am referring to one occasion in August and another -- or the other in
9 September. But in September, I spent two or three days in Pristina, and
10 in August, I spent only one day -- in August, I attended one meeting. In
11 September, on those two or three days, I attended two meetings. Out of
12 those two meetings, I cannot confirm whether I took the floor every time,
13 but I do remember that I did. Now, whether it was in August or in
14 September, I can't tell you, but I spoke about my firsthand experience
15 from the state border. They wanted to hear what I had to say, because I
16 had come from the border, and this despite the fact that my corps
17 commander was there at my side.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
19 Mr. Bakrac.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, now you've explained everything in quite some
23 What I want to know is: At that meeting, did anyone ever issue
24 any orders to you at those two or three meetings that you spoke about? Did
25 anyone ever issue any orders to you?
1 A. With the Trial Chamber's permission, I have to say the following:
2 It would have been absurd for anyone to issue any orders to me in the
3 presence of the corps commander who was there by my side. So my answer
4 is, no, no one issued any orders to me at that meeting.
5 And now as to --
6 Q. And did anyone issue any orders to the corps commander?
7 A. The same answer, nobody was in a position to issue any orders to
8 the corps commander because at that time, as far as I can remember, there
9 were no people present from the Army Command when I was there on those
10 occasions to speak to the corps commander and to issue any tasks to him.
11 Q. Did the people from the political authorities -- you just
12 explained to us that there were no soldiers there, nobody from the
13 military, but did they issue any orders? You said that there were people
14 from the Ministry of the Interior?
15 A. My categorical answer is: No.
16 Q. Thank you, General.
17 Now we can move on, unless the Trial Chamber has nothing--
18 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]... the question. I
19 don't know if it's me or others see it the same way. There's a difference
20 between the political authorities in this context and the Ministry of the
21 Interior, is there not?
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's a
23 misinterpretation. I asked whether anyone from the political
24 structures -- we heard that -- not to the army, gave any orders to the
25 people from the MUP. And I can see now that there's a misinterpretation.
1 I don't know whether we should repeat the answer or whether now everything
2 is clear.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: I think you should ask -- whatever that question
4 was, you should ask it again, because it's very uncertain at the moment in
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, on the occasions when you attended those exchanges of
8 information and those briefings, did anyone from the political structure
9 present there issue any orders to anyone from the military structure or
10 the structure of the Ministry of the Interior?
11 A. I tried to be succinct, but it appears that I failed to explain
12 everything in sufficient detail.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: This question just requires a yes-or-no answer.
14 It's very simple. You'll only confuse the matter further if you try to do
15 more at this stage. If anyone wants more information, they'll ask you.
16 Did anyone from the political structure issue any order to either
17 someone in the Ministry of Interior or someone from the VJ?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me repeat what I said before.
19 I categorically state no one from the political structures did not
20 issue any orders either to the army or to the police at those meetings.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 Mr. Bakrac.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Q. General, let's move on.
25 Could we please have Exhibit 3D697 up in e-court.
1 General, in order to wrap this up, we spoke about the actions
2 yesterday and now you spoke about the meetings, do you recognise this
3 document? Could you tell us what is this document that we have in front
4 of us?
5 A. I recognise this document because it was used in the trial. This
6 is an analysis of the implementation of the tasks in the Kosovo and
7 Metohija area, which was drafted at the forward command post of the 3rd
8 Army in Pristina on the 2nd of October, 1998, and we have been able to
9 hear who actually drafted it.
10 Q. Fine, fine, yes, but let us now move to page 2. I would like you
11 to comment briefly on a paragraph in the context of what we've been
12 talking about. So this is the paragraph on page 2, 1.4, "Commanding the
13 Forces." Could you please read it and just comment on it, and tell us
14 whether this is indeed how it was in the field.
15 A. The assessment of the 3rd Army commander regarding the commanding
16 of the forces in this document reads as follows:
17 "For the purpose of commanding the forces of the corps engaged in
18 securing the state border and the border area, the Pristina Corps forward
19 command post was established in Djakovica on the 21st of April, 1998, for
20 the purpose of commanding the entire army in Kosovo and Metohija. The
21 Army forward command post was established in Pristina on the 27th of July,
23 Q. Let us just repeat, this is an analysis dated the 2nd of October,
24 1998, so that's for the previous period?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. And the actual state of affairs on the ground in Djakovica, did it
2 reflect this analysis or this assessment contained in this analysis?
3 A. Yes, absolutely.
4 Q. Thank you, General. Let us just discuss briefly 1998, and then we
5 will move on to 1999.
6 What I want to know is, first of all, how was the Pristina Corps
7 reinforced in 1998, if at all, for the purpose of execution of its tasks?
8 A. In 1998, there was a chronic shortage of troops in the Pristina
9 Corps for the execution of the tasks that we were talking about yesterday;
10 securing and defending the state border, securing and defending the
11 facilities and so on. I don't want to enumerate all of them. The 3rd
12 Army Command and the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Witness's microphones have been switched off.
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It's working.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]... Sorry about
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was afraid that you
18 switched off my microphone. I expect to do that at a later stage, but now
19 it's a little bit premature, perhaps?
20 A. The 3rd Army Command and the General Staff of the Army of
21 Yugoslavia took measures to resolve this issue of the shortage of troops,
22 and I'd say they had a three-pronged approach. They sent new soldiers to
23 the corps to reinforce it. They -- on the orders of the personnel
24 Administration in the General Staff, they sent a certain number of
25 officers down there. They seconded them there. And they also sent some
1 smaller units or elements of units and resubordinated them to the corps
2 for the purpose of the execution of tasks in particular to secure the
3 state border, primarily the border units, the scout units and the military
4 police units.
5 Q. Could you please tell us, who planned and who approved those
6 reinforcements for the Pristina Corps?
7 A. The General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia made a decision. As
8 far as I can remember, that was as early as in May or in early June that
9 the regular training of soldiers in the corps units should not be carried
10 out, because it was impossible to ensure the security, technical,
11 physical, and organisational aspects. They were to be trained in the
12 training centres outside of Kosovo and Metohija, and after the basic
13 training that was to be completed in the training centres - it lasted for
14 two months and 22 days - they were sent for further training in the corps
15 units. So this was a decision taken by the General Staff.
16 Furthermore, as for the officers, I said a little while ago it was
17 done on the order of the personnel Administration in the General Staff.
18 They were sent there, they were seconded there, for a period between three
19 months and a year.
20 Now, as for the sending of units from the 3rd Army to reinforce
21 the corps, this was done on the orders of the corps commander [as
22 interpreted]. As for the units that were not part of the 3rd Army, they
23 were sent there on the orders of General Perisic, chief of the General
25 Q. Since they were sent, we saw how the reinforcement was done, could
1 you please explain to us the system whereby units were resubordinated in
2 the Army of Yugoslavia?
3 A. Well, it's a complex procedure which is something that is present
4 in all the armies in the world. The Army of Yugoslavia is not an
5 exception. The essence of this process is that a unit is temporarily, for
6 a briefer or longer period of time, leaves its organisational units and
7 becomes part of a new unit. It is resubordinated to that unit, in the
8 sense of the Command, and further -- it's further use for the execution of
9 tasks. It has nothing to do with its original unit, and the original unit
10 has no way of commanding or controlling that unit. Some powers may be
11 retained in personnel, logistics aspects, but as for the use of that unit,
12 any ties between this unit that has been resubordinated and the original
13 unit are severed.
14 And if the Trial Chamber allows me, I will add one more sentence.
15 This process is carried out only in accordance with written orders that
16 regulate this issue in quite some detail; the manner in which the unit is
17 to be resubordinated, the command of that unit, the use of that unit, and
18 everything that has to do with that process. What I mean to say is it
19 cannot be done on an "ad hoc" basis, even when there is a previous plan in
20 place, that there should be resubordination of a unit for a certain task.
21 This is not done automatically before this plan enters into force.
22 Specific orders have to be issued for this resubordination.
23 Q. General, you have explained this to us in detail. I'm going to
24 call an exhibit, a document from your brigade that we would like you to
25 comment and show us on this a specific example.
1 Can we have 5D594 brought up in e-court, please.
2 Do you see this document? Can you comment on it for us?
3 A. This is an order of the Command of the 211th Armoured Brigade, and
4 from what I'm -- the 24th of April, 1999, namely, and it emanated on the
5 basis of my own order dated the 21st of April to the effect that a
6 military territory detachment was from the military district of Pristina
7 was to be resubordinated to that brigade. Upon receipt of my own order,
8 the commander of the brigade issued a precise order to his brigade and to
9 the detachment in question, in terms of how, when, where and in which way
10 it was to be resubordinated and what tasks would be assigned to that
11 military territorial detachment.
12 In item 2, very interestingly the task is described which actually
13 reflects the essence of resubordination. The commander of the military
14 territorial detachment had to report to the commander of the brigade, to
15 his new superior or, rather, to hand over to him a complete report broken
16 down by all combat readiness elements, to familiarise the commander of the
17 brigade with the, shall I say, identity card of the combat readiness of
18 the detachment, not only to report to him orally but also to hand to him
19 over documents about his units, reflecting the combat readiness of his
21 The following bullets -- the following items, define the tasks
22 that is in item 3 and 4, whereas item 5 states that the commander of the
23 Armoured Brigade -- it is to the commander of the Armoured Brigade, that
24 the commander of the detachment shall be responsible thereafter, as of the
25 resubordination date.
1 Q. You said "as of that day," General. I wanted to ask you
2 something. The 24th of April, 1999, is the date indicated. Am I right to
3 conclude that military territorial detachments were not all resubordinated
4 in an automatic way, according to a single order, but would be
5 resubordinated to brigade as needed and later during this period; am I
7 A. You are right. There were detachments until the end of the war
8 that were never resubordinated to brigades but remained subordinated to
9 their basic command, to the command of the military district. This was
10 done successively to correspond to the situation on the ground.
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we now see another exhibit,
12 please. With this, we wanted to draw a parallel or, rather, to provide an
13 example of resubordination, and now I should like to go back to a document
14 from 1998. This is Exhibit 5D106, and I should like to ask you to comment
15 on items 2 and 5 of it.
16 Q. General, in order to expedite matters, this is an order of the
17 forward command post of the 3rd Army of the 7th of August, 1998. Can you
18 comment on item 2?
19 A. As the commander of the army orders that units of the army which
20 are under his command, according to an approved decision, in accordance
21 with the approved decision, may be engaged in support of MUP forces from
22 their deployment areas which are behind the MUP forces formations, through
23 direct action against individual -- namely, selective targets, using
24 armoured/mechanised unit weaponry, artillery or other weapons, but up to a
25 specific calibre. So it is limited to -- the support to MUP forces is
1 limited up to a specific calibre of weaponry.
2 Q. Can we have page 2 now, and I should like to ask you to comment on
3 item 5.
4 A. The commander of the army, General Samardzic, ordered that in
5 combat operations, combat groups would be directly commanded by brigade
6 commanders or joint task forces, joint tactical units, to which those
7 brigades belong, commanding resubordinated combat groups, namely, those
8 which were assigned from the 3rd Army, outside the corps, or from the
9 entire army, according to the order of the Chief of General Staff, would
10 be regulated by the commander of the Corps by a written order.
11 Resubordination of such combat groups from joint tactical units of the
12 Corps, according to the approval of the army commander, shall be regulated
13 by the corps commander, by written order, meaning that there could be no
14 engagement or resubordination in an automatic fashion, but only in
15 compliance with a strictly-written order.
16 Q. General, can there be concerted combat action and coordination
17 with MUP forces without resubordination having been effected at the level
18 of brigade command, and at which level?
19 Your Honours, I heard this and I don't know whether it is in the
20 transcript, but my colleagues are suggesting that you should again explain
21 the "ZTJ" abbreviation.
22 What does this acronym stand for?
23 A. With permission from the Trial Chamber, the "ZTJ" abbreviation
24 means "joint tactical units." Translated to the unit level, this is
25 regiment/brigade-level units. They are joint because they comprise [as
1 interpreted] different arms of the army, different branches [as
3 Q. But they are all within the Yugoslav Army?
4 A. Absolutely.
5 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour. It's page 20, line 10. I
6 believe the witness said: "They are called 'joint' because they
7 compromise different branches of the army," and not "they are called
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
10 I think, Mr. Bakrac, your last question at page 20 has not been
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours, I haven't
13 forgotten it. I'm going to go back to it, but we just had an intervention
14 in order to clarify.
15 May we have Exhibit 4D377.
16 Q. The question was, while we are waiting for the exhibit to come up,
17 whether there can be coordination action and support for the MUP without
18 previous resubordination.
19 A. In item 2 of the previous document, we saw that the army commander
20 issued an order to the effect that support by the MUP can be carried out
21 only pursuant to a previous order by the commanding officer, because the
22 commander, unless his unit is directly attacked, cannot use the unit
23 without such an order. So the answer to your question is "no," and we
24 have seen the army commander's order to that effect.
25 And if I may, I would also like to say the following: I remember
1 very well an order by the commander of the 3rd Army, General Samardzic, in
2 which he ordered the following: If such an order of his was violated,
3 that he personally should immediately be informed by the brigade
4 commander, passing over the Corps Command, and this was not what was
5 usually done. This is to say that the army could not be used without a
6 previous decision.
7 Q. A decision by whom?
8 A. A decision of the corps commander, the army commander, because the
9 army commander retained the exclusive right to provide support by a
10 certain kind of combat technology, so -- so -- this equipment, that is.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, if we go back to page 21, line
12 4, "support," should that be "of the MUP" rather than "by the MUP"?
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right, Your Honour, and
14 my team was about to tell me to intervene. It's "to the MUP," not "by the
16 JUDGE BONOMY: The other question I have is -- again, it may be my
17 misunderstanding of this situation, but so that I'm entirely clear about
18 it, when you talk about resubordination in this context, you're not
19 talking about the MUP being resubordinated; is that correct?
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We are now
21 showing what is needed for someone to be resubordinated, and then we'll
22 come to 1999 and deal in greater detail with the issue of whether or not
23 there was resubordination. This is now laying the foundation for Your
24 Honours to see what is necessary for resubordination to be carried out.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I answer your question?
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Just a moment.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Your question has been about resubordination, "Can
3 there be concerted combat action and coordination with MUP forces without
4 resubordination having been effected at the level of brigade command?"
5 And that was in relation to the earlier exhibit. Which units are you
6 talking about being resubordinated?
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my question was the
8 following: "Is there any possibility of carrying out coordinated action
9 and support to the MUP without there being resubordination at any level?"
10 JUDGE BONOMY: The English version of the answer just doesn't
11 answer the question, as far as I can tell. It's one of these questions
12 that probably demands a yes-or-no answer, but instead of that we get
13 several paragraphs, and I'm afraid as it stands at the moment, I do not
14 understand the answer. I don't know about my colleagues, whether they ...
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: We're not being assisted by this, Mr. Bakrac. We're
17 all, I think, in a state of confusion about resubordination.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, please answer this question briefly. Can there be a
20 coordinated action in combat and support to the MUP without any formal
22 A. Your Honours, resubordination is a category, a process, whereas
23 coordinated action and support are something else. I said that
24 coordinated action, as Mr. Bakrac said, and support, without going into
25 whether or not there was resubordination, cannot be carried out without a
1 decision of the chief of Staff of the 3rd Army or the corps commander, as
2 can be seen from the document on the screen. It cannot be done, and
3 especially there can be no "ad hoc" resubordination. Someone cannot
4 simply take over a unit of the army or of the police from the brigade
5 commander and resubordinate it for the purposes of a certain task. They
6 cannot do it on their own.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I think I now understand this. What you appear to
8 be saying, and please correct me if my understanding does not appear to be
9 right, what you are saying is that they are two entirely separate
10 processes. And the question that Mr. Bakrac put tends to confuse the two
11 processes. Is that correct?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you understood this
13 correctly. We were talking about resubordination and touching on these
14 issues, and this will be important later on, when we go on to explain
15 certain things. But I have tried to draw a distinction between support
16 and coordinated action and resubordination, but none of this can be done
17 without numerous written orders.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. In both cases, specific orders are required,
19 but they are required -- they are orders which have entirely different
20 effects. Have I got that right?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely, yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: I think I now understand it.
23 Mr. Bakrac, please proceed.
24 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I apologise for interfering.
25 Actually, I wish to understand in a simple way what was the de
1 facto position, because a lot of emphasis are being laid on the legal
2 side, on the de jure position, that this cannot be done because until this
3 is done, but we find that there must have been a different de facto
4 position. And you are the best person, sir, to explain to us what really
5 was a reality, and that should not require too much of words or too much
6 of sentences. And I would like to, therefore, beg of you to kindly
7 clarify this position. That would make things more simpler.
8 Thank you very much.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the de facto situation
10 in 1998 which I'm referring to was the following: There was coordinated
11 action between the army and the police. There was support provided by --
12 to the police by the army in combat pursuant to decisions of the Command
13 of the 3rd Army and the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia. In 1998,
14 there were no attempts at resubordination, either de jure or de facto.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I have one further question on this topic before we move on. Can
17 the commander of a unit in the Army of Yugoslavia achieve effective
18 control over a unit which has not been resubordinated to him?
19 A. That is a legal term, often heard on these premises. From the
20 military point of view, what I'm trying to say is the following: The
21 process of command and the system of command has its process functions,
22 one of which is control. If the first functions are missing of
23 organising, planning, commanding, or as the NATO standards say, power over
24 a unit or authority over a unit, then there can be no control and no
25 effective control. It's absolutely impossible, therefore, to achieve
1 effective control over someone unless you have the right to command that
2 structure or to have authority or power, as the NATO standards say, over
3 that structure.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. General, let's move on now to a new topic, which we'll deal with
7 very briefly.
8 In your experience as chief of Staff in 1998, what was the
9 cooperation like between the OSCE and the Pristina Corps?
10 A. If we are referring only to 1998, the OSCE mission was completed
11 or brought up to full numbers only at the end of the year, but there was
12 another mission there, the Kosovo diplomatic mission, KDOM. And from my
13 point of view and from what I know, and from my activities in 1998, my
14 assessment of that cooperation is that it was in compliance with the
15 agreement between our country and the OSCE and KDOM.
16 If I have to put it in a nutshell: In my personal experience,
17 only on two occasions in 1998 did I have personal contacts with the OSCE
18 mission. That was in December, when I attended a meeting attended by Mr.
19 Dirankevic [phoen] and his team. I was present at the meeting, but I
20 didn't take the floor. A team from the Army Command was there. And on
21 the 13th of November, I remember well, when there had been a terrorist
22 attack on an army column in the Dulja area, I personally asked that the
23 British military attache arrive, Colonel Crosland, to verify the murder of
24 a soldier and the serious act of terrorism.
25 I hope Your Honours will not hold it against me if I say that, in
1 a way, I was pleasantly surprised when, after this massacre which took
2 place, Crosland and I signed a joint record establishing that this had
3 been a serious terrorist attack on an army unit.
4 Q. And was that army unit in a location that had been provided for in
5 the agreement?
6 A. Oh, no, that was a convoy. It was a bus full of soldiers on their
7 way from Nis to the Djakovica garrison. The soldiers had been on leave.
8 In front of that bus, there was a transport vehicle in which there were
9 soldiers who were providing security, and hand-held rocket-launchers were
10 loosed at close proximity to open fire on that column and kill those
12 Q. General, were there any weapons inspections at the Pristina Corps
13 in accordance with the agreement between NATO and the Federal Republic of
15 A. I remember quite clearly all those inspections, and I took part in
16 the drafting of the report and in preparing the units in Metohija for this
17 very important inspection. My personal knowledge is that there were some
18 30 such inspections and that on no occasion were there any objections on
19 the part of the NATO mission verifiers. These were primarily
20 verifications or inspections of the anti-aircraft rocket weapons that had
21 been immobilised. They were sealed, there were numbers affixed, and the
22 verifiers controlled all that.
23 Q. General, could you please look at 5D72. It's an exhibit. It
24 appears to be a document that you drafted. Is this a document that deals
25 with precisely this issue that you were talking about?
1 A. Yes, this is the telegram that I sent from the forward command
2 post in late October to the 3rd Army Command. I was authorised to do so
3 by the corps commander. In it, I report to the 3rd Army Command that all
4 the units of the Pristina Corps -- that the rocket units, as indicated
5 here, Strela 1M and Strela 2M, had been disengaged, and prepared for the
6 inspection to be carried out by the mission, and that special documents
7 had been put together that will be placed at their disposal for their
9 Q. General, let us move on now. Was the cooperation between the
10 Pristina Corps and the OSCE mission verified in any way by the General
11 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia?
12 A. I remember that in late 1998, a large team came, and they
13 controlled a large number of teams that were tasked to cooperate with the
14 OSCE mission within the Corps, but there were also some individual
15 controls carried out by smaller teams. But I remember this control quite
16 vividly, because some aspects of the agreement had been clarified. So
17 there were such controls from the army level and from the General Staff.
18 Q. And what was their assessment of the cooperation on the part of
19 the Pristina Corps?
20 A. In 1998 and in 1999, I never heard of any objections to any units
21 in the Corps, in the sense that they were failing to comply with the
22 instructions that were drafted at the level of each brigade, how they
23 should treat the mission, or with the provisions of the protocol. I don't
24 know of any major objections. There were, of course, some minor defects,
25 deficiencies, but nothing major, or at least I don't know about it.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in order to move
2 forward more quickly, I would just like to point the Trial Chamber's
3 attention to documents that have already been admitted into evidence,
4 3D787 and 408. They deal with those controls.
5 Q. General, sir, just one more question. I would like us to comment
6 on something that is already in 3D407.
7 Was a joint team of the Pristina Corps and the 3rd Army set up for
8 the cooperation with the OSCE mission? I'm asking you this because a
9 Prosecution witness, Witness Ciaglinski, told us something about the
10 replacement of Colonel Kotur, that he was removed from that position, so
11 now perhaps you could explain to us whether any such joint team had been
12 set up and whether Colonel Kotur had been replaced.
13 A. It is true that a single team was set up, the team of the 3rd Army
14 and the Pristina Corps, in early March on the orders of the chief of the
15 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, but it is not true -- it is
16 definitely not true that anyone removed Colonel Kotur from that team.
17 Q. Thank you, General. What relationship did the Pristina Corps have
18 with the International Community representatives, if there were any such
20 A. Well, there were -- there was plenty of contacts in the 150 days
21 of the mission, approximately 150 days that the mission was in existence.
22 I have this information in my head. It may not be completely accurate,
23 but I hope that the Trial Chamber will not hold it against me. There were
24 over 180 meetings of the liaison teams from the Corps with the
25 representatives of the OSCE mission and KDOM, 180 meetings where a number
1 of issues from the agreement were discussed.
2 Furthermore, there were dozens of inspections of the corps units
3 by the verifiers. I told you already about the number of weapons
4 inspections carried out by the KDOM mission. There were dozens, more than
5 30 or 40, occasions where terrorist attacks against the army were verified
6 to have occurred. The verifiers came, they verified those attacks. They
7 were present during the drills, the target practise. They were even
8 present at various feasts when new soldiers were brought in or soldiers
9 were -- farewell parties for soldiers, but I don't want to go into that.
10 Q. Yes. Perhaps we are now going into too much detail.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, did Colonel Kotur have command
12 responsibilities within the 3rd Army or was he exclusively tasked with
13 being a liaison with the KVM?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Colonel Kotur is the
15 chief of the infantry organ in the Pristina Corps. He is not a member of
16 the 3rd Army Command. And in addition to this function -- this is not a
17 command function within the Corps Command. It is a planning function. He
18 focused his activities on the liaison between the Pristina Corps and the
19 OSCE mission, and within that liaison organ he had two other officers that
20 carried out day-to-day duties of the infantry organ within the Pristina
21 Corps Command.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. General, did it ever happen that the KLA members would exploit the
25 presence of the foreign diplomats, foreign representatives, or journalists
1 to attack the Army of Yugoslavia units?
2 A. I'd say unfortunately, yes. Unfortunately, because there were
3 such occasions, and I remember that in February, in the vicinity of
4 Mitrovica, a foreign reporter was at risk because he was with the
5 terrorists and they carried out this exercise, this simulated attack, and
6 his life was in risk. So there were such cases.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It appears to me that the transcript
8 may lead one to an erroneous conclusion that the attacks were launched by
9 the reporters or the international representatives, but in fact it was --
10 they were carried out by the terrorists in the presence of those foreign
11 reporters and representatives.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I see what the transcript says, Mr. Bakrac. Thank
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. General, now I want -- we saw an exhibit here, and it was
16 analysed. Could we please put P969 up on the screen. Could you comment
17 on it? It appears to be an order issued by you in 1998. Could you please
18 look at it closely and comment on it? Tell us what it is and what the
19 purpose was behind the drafting of such an order.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Have you read it?
22 A. Well, I've seen it. I know what this is all about. This is an
23 order issued at the forward command post in mid-July 1998, where I warn
24 the units that a large number of diplomats and international
25 representatives will be present throughout Kosovo and that the terrorist
1 forces will exploit their presence and will try to cause incidents, to
2 attack the army units in order to provoke the units, the corps units, into
3 responding, and threatening the lives of the international
4 representatives. I ordered that before there was any response to such
5 attacks, that there should be additional reconnaissance of the area from
6 which the attack had come, and if the presence of any international
7 representatives is established in the vicinity of the terrorist forces,
8 that there should be no response to those attacks in order to save their
9 lives and to avoid any consequences that might endanger the lives of those
10 international representatives. I mean to say that we sincerely cared for
11 the security of the international representatives, even when our personal
12 safety was at stake. This is the essence of this order. I'd say this is a
13 warning of a sort as well.
14 Q. Were there any similar orders issued by the corps commander
15 regarding --
16 A. Well --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, could the speakers please not
19 A. We repeatedly issued such orders. I remember that there were
20 several such orders. This order was drafted within the Corps chain of
21 command, and quite naturally the corps commander personally issued orders
22 of this nature, and so did the subordinate units on the basis of those
24 Q. Also in order to prevent any danger to the civilian population and
25 international observers?
1 A. Here we're talking about the observer missions, but there are many
2 such orders that pertain to the civilian population.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you please read a part of this for us,
5 Mr. Lazarevic. Immediately before the word "Order 1 and 2", there is a
6 sentence which includes a reference to Siptar terrorists. Could you read
7 that sentence, please? Read it out loud.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "In order to prevent any
9 uncontrolled and unnecessary fire from being opened on the part of the
10 corps units against the Siptar terrorists, I hereby order: Order:"
11 JUDGE BONOMY: And could you now read number 2, please?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "If the situation demands that fire
13 must be returned to protect the lives of the members of the Corps, take
14 measures to open fire from the same kind of weapons in order to avoid
15 returning infantry fire with tank cannon fire and so on."
16 JUDGE BONOMY: What's the purpose of that last reference, because
17 in its context it suggests that if the KVM were not present, then it would
18 be okay to respond to infantry fire with tank cannon?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With all due respect, Your Honour,
20 on the basis of this document and what I wanted to say, because I drafted
21 this order, the essence is in the first item here:
22 Fire should not be opened at all if the presence of international
23 representatives is observed. And in item 2, it is indicated that if it
24 cannot be avoided, fire should be opened selectively and in a reduced --
25 at reduced level.
1 In answer to your question, whether fire would be opened from
2 tanks to respond to infantry fire in any other case, I have to tell you
3 that it is not economic, in military terms. It is financially not
4 expedient at all to respond with tank fire to infantry fire.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 Well, it's now an appropriate place, I hope, to interrupt,
7 Mr. Bakrac. It's certainly a suitable time.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: We'll adjourn for 30 minute 20 minutes until 10
10 minutes to 11.00.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.53 a.m.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Prior to proceeding, I should like to ask for a correction to be
16 entered in the transcript. That is page 16, lines 5 and 6. The
17 transcript says that as regards reinforcements from the 3rd Army, that is
18 ordered by the corps commander, and I believe what it should read: "It is
19 ordered by the commander of the 3rd Army."
20 A. Yes, absolutely.
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I'm going to say something, Your
22 Honours, which is not out of courtesy for the interpreters, whose job is
23 extremely difficult, and they also have to cope with the overlapping of
24 answers and questions and handle various military terminology. I fully
25 appreciate that, but I do request the Trial Chamber, given the importance
1 of this testimony for us, for special attention to be paid to the
2 re-listening of these tapes when that is being done. Thank you.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, I'm sure that the same attention is
4 given to the tapes of all witnesses. That's a vital aspect of the work of
5 the Tribunal. I understand your concern, but I have every confidence that
6 the tapes will be carefully reviewed, as they are on all occasions.
7 Please proceed.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Mr. Lazarevic had responded that there will be a number of orders
10 similar to this one, P169. I should like to refer the Court to the
11 Exhibit 5D1172, which is a similar order of the corps commander.
12 Q. General, did the Command of the Pristina Corps, as far back as
13 in -- as late April 1998, issue an order on the application of the Geneva
14 Conventions regulations and the provisions of the International Law of
15 War, and was the concept of civilian population interpreted in that
17 A. I remember this one special order. I would stress "special"
18 because it dealt with the application of the International Law of War and
19 the Geneva Conventions in peacetime during conflicts with terrorist
20 forces. Let me not go into legal categories, because these forces do not
21 fall within the categories dealt with in these conventions. But,
22 nevertheless, the Command of the Corps felt that it was necessary to issue
23 a specific order to its units to the effect that they should comply with
24 all those conventions and the provisions of International Humanitarian
1 THE INTERPRETER: Will counsel please not overlap with the answer.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, let's deal with the intervention of the
3 interpreter just now. There was no allowance made there for the
4 completion of the interpretation before you proceeded with the next
5 question, and you really must do that. In view of what you said earlier,
6 it's incumbent on you to assist the interpreters as far as possible.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I fully agree, and I
8 said a while ago that I appreciate the difficulties that I'm causing the
9 interpreters. But you must understand that I am between hammer and anvil.
10 I am always fearing that you might reproach me for wasting time, not
11 proceeding fast enough, but I will certainly seek to wait for the end of
12 the interpretation, whilst, on the other hand, seeking to expedite matters
13 and economize in this case.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: It's very important, Mr. Bakrac, that you ensure
15 that Mr. Lazarevic's case is fully presented to the Court, and a
16 particularly important aspect of that is his own evidence. So we all have
17 a responsibility here to ensure that he has adequate opportunity to do so,
18 and he will be given adequate opportunity.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. General, please look now at Prosecution Exhibit 51535.
21 Your Honours, the transcript does not contain the answer because
22 of the difficulties of the interpreter, so I'm going to open this
23 document. And I am going to ask you again, and we are going to overcome
24 that, thereby, and proceed.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It is Prosecution Exhibit P1535.
2 Q. Do you see this exhibit which is before you on the screen? Would
3 you be so kind as to tell us what kind of a document this is?
4 A. This is an order of the Pristina Corps Command, dated the 29th of
5 April, 1998, and it refers to regulating the question of the application
6 of the regulations of the International Law of War, the Geneva Conventions
7 and other regulations in the actions of members of the Corps in executing
8 their peacetime tasks. Unfortunately, it was peace, but practically it
9 was war because we had terrorism active in Kosovo and Metohija, and that
10 is why this order was issued.
11 When I say "war," I don't mean it in the literal sense of the war,
12 because the terrorist side was not a participant in the conflict according
13 to international conventions. That is why, in my introductory part, I
14 said this was a very important order of the Corps Command.
15 If you would like me to comment on the individual items, I can do
17 Q. Please look at page 2, item 3, to see whether it envisages the
18 treatment of the civilian population and procedures in connection with
19 monuments of culture and similar.
20 A. This order also invokes regulations on the application of the
21 Rules of International Law of War in the Yugoslav Army, and it is an
22 official document in the Yugoslav Army and, as such, regulates primarily
23 relations of the army members towards the civilian population, towards
24 captured enemies, towards property, in terms of forbidding entry into
25 inhabited places. And very importantly in item 3, there is an explanation
1 of what is meant under the concept of "civilian population."
2 With permission from the Trial Chamber, I could comment on some of
3 these elements. Shall I continue?
4 Q. I believe that no comment is required, because the document is
5 self-explanatory. We can read it all, in it, unless there's something
6 specific that you would like to add?
7 A. With permission from the Trial Chamber, I would like to say
8 something, because this involves international standards and norms, these
9 are copied international standards. A civilian person is not a civilian
10 person, according to international standards of the Geneva Convention, if
11 such a person should find him or herself with a military formation or unit
12 or beside a military unit, or if it is found in or by a military facility.
13 I should like to say that over and -- we acted over and above this
14 standard, which is evident from the previous orders; namely, we
15 practically did not abide by these international standards in that sense.
16 We never opened fire at civilians and at terrorists. In fact, when
17 civilians were with them and in such a situation, a civilian is actually
18 deprived of his status of civilian, loses his state of civilian, if he is
19 in the company of terrorist forces.
20 Q. Thank you, General. I have another question in this connection,
21 and then we will move on to 1999.
22 What was the attitude or, rather, the assessment of the General
23 Staff of the Yugoslav Army and the further state organ in respect of the
24 method, the way in which the Yugoslav Army was engaged in Kosovo and
25 Metohija, specifically in terms of compliance with International
1 Humanitarian Law in 1998?
2 A. Here we have two questions. What was the attitude of the General
3 Staff and that of the state organs? In my personal experience, in all my
4 inspection tours of units in Metohija, and in particular of the Djakovica
5 region, where I was, there were over 20 of such tours, and there were also
6 five tours by the chief of the General Staff. I never heard from any of
7 the team members of the General Staff or the chief of the General Staff
8 himself, General Perisic, that they had any objections in respect of the
9 conduct of the Corps members, and I did have occasion, in the previous
10 period, to see in the documents that he assessed that the Corps units in
11 Kosovo and Metohija, in 1998, behaved or comported themselves in a
12 professional manner.
13 As regards your second question, I know from the media, the
14 written media and electronic media, that in September or October, as far
15 as I can remember, both assemblies, the Assembly of Serbia and the
16 Assembly of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, issued special communiques
17 in which they expressed gratitude and honoured the army and the police for
18 having professionally discharged -- for professionally discharging their
19 tasks in Kosovo and Metohija in defending the integrity of the country in
20 Kosovo and Metohija in 1998.
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
22 In order to save time, I am going to refer to you some exhibits,
23 that is, 1D202, 2D67 and 3D757.
24 Q. General, we are now going to move on. At a certain point
25 yesterday, we referred to the KLA's preparations for what is known as
1 the "spring offensive." According to your information, what was the KLA's
2 strategy in early 1999?
3 A. Regrettably, in the presence of the international mission at
4 Kosovo and Metohija, already at the beginning of 1999, the armed rebellion
5 was gaining momentum and was escalating on the basis of the strategy -- of
6 their strategy, the strategy being to actually speed up the escalation of
7 terrorism and the armed rebellion throughout Kosovo and Metohija in order
8 to convince, persuade and compel, force, the Albanian population by the
9 KLA for a repeated -- a renewed armed conflict with their own state, and
10 to, by widespread violence throughout Kosovo and Metohija, impress it upon
11 different international factors that it was necessary for this internal
12 conflict to assume, as soon as possible, the proportions -- the
13 characteristics of an international one, and the ultimate objective of
14 that strategy was to achieve the long-ago-proclaimed objective of a
15 succession of a part of Serbia, that is to say Kosovo and Metohija, from
16 its parent country of Serbia, with the aid of international factors.
17 So this strategy was a further expansion of terrorism, escalation
18 of it, employing all these methods, targeting the security forces, but in
19 particular also the civilian population.
20 Q. Did you have any information that the KLA was mobilising
21 able-bodied young men?
22 A. As early as the beginning of February, 1999, there was a public
23 proclamation going around, and I asked that this not be held against me,
24 when I say "so-called," by the so-called General Staff, because they
25 declared themselves to be the General Staff of the KLA, calling for a
1 general mobilisation of Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija and in the
2 diaspora. A large number of verified facts were received by the Command
3 of the Corps and the Command of the 3rd Army about forced mobilisation,
4 especially in rural areas in Kosovo and Metohija.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have on e-court 3D1052.
6 Q. General, this is a report by the 3rd Army Command, the Security
7 Section, of the 13th of March, sent urgently to the Security
8 Administration of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army. Can you comment
9 on item 2.2? Does this refer to what you just said, that in early
10 February there was already a proclamation going around?
11 A. Yes, item 2.2 contains information about the forced mobilisation
12 of the Albanian population in the areas of Prizren, the villages around
13 Prizren, by the KLA, and the moving out -- the migration of the Albanian
14 population in order to avoid forced mobilisation. I'm drawing attention
15 to the fact that there is specific mention of the villages of Korisa and
16 Kabas overlooking the barracks in Prizren, where there was a danger that
17 the barracks of the 549th Motorised Brigade might be attacked. They
18 forcibly mobilised the population, and whenever they could, they fled, as
19 this information shows.
20 Q. General, were there attempts to place explosives in order to
21 create insecurity among the population, and were other similar methods
22 used? Did you have information about this, and how did you receive such
24 A. In the Corps Command and in the 3rd Army Command, we had, as we
25 say, operative information, our own information about the preparation of
1 armed rebellion forces for terrorism, and in February and especially
2 March, unfortunately this came about. We also received official -- when I
3 say "official information," I mean it came from the OSCE. It was specific
4 information from the OSCE in early March, saying that the terrorists were
5 preparing six large actions, using large explosive devices in urban areas,
6 and there was mention of Pristina, the markets in Pristina, and the
7 terrorists told the verifiers that they would do something big, something
8 like Racak and Markale. I'm trying to paraphrase what the OSCE members
9 told our liaison teams.
10 Q. General, we'll come back to this document and to page 2 of this
11 document to see what actually happened, but now could we have on e-court
12 Exhibit 5D636.
13 This -- well, I'm just waiting for the English translation to come
15 This is a document from the 3rd Army Command, from the liaison
16 team. The date is the 5th of March. Could you please take a look at page
17 2, item 3. Is this the information you were referring to that was
18 received from the OSCE?
19 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
21 MR. HANNIS: If I may, I know Mr. Bakrac has mentioned the English
22 translation, but --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: We understand that, Mr. Hannis. There's no English
24 translation of this, Mr. Bakrac.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, forgive me, it's my
1 mistake. I thought the translation had come up on the screen.
2 Q. Could you please read item 3 on page 2, just read the sentence up
3 to the end of the paragraph?
4 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry. If I may, Your Honour, when I checked on
5 e-court for this document, it seemed to indicate there was an English
6 translation, however I got the message "Denied," which I understand is
7 what happens when it hasn't been released by the Defence. So if there is
8 an English translation, I would ask that it be released so we can look at
9 it now.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my team members are now
11 telling me that there is a translation. It's been linked, it's been
12 disclosed in e-court. It may be a technical problem in opening it. I
13 don't know.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis tells us that it's not been released and
15 that it's you who have control over its release.
16 MR. HANNIS: My case manager tells me that now we have it.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: It's magic. Let's continue.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, now we can see it.
19 Q. Could you please read item 3 on page 2, up to the end.
20 A. "'KLA threats'," in quotation marks, "that they will carry out
21 large-scale actions, something large-scale, "(large-scale massive
22 operations)," in brackets, "in Racak and Markale, several sources have put
23 out information that the terrorists have six huge explosive devices that
24 they intend to use in an urban area, possibly in Pristina." Two markets
25 are being mentioned. "The OSCE mission representative said that
1 everything would be done to prevent this."
2 Q. Thank you, General.
3 Let's now go back to Exhibit 3D1052, page 2.
4 As we've already seen page 2, I wish to remind everyone that this
5 is a report by the 3rd Army Command, the Security Department, sent
6 urgently to the Security Administration of the Main Staff of the Army of
7 Yugoslavia, dated the 13th of March, 1999.
8 Could you please read item 2.7, item 2.8, and the first two
10 A. Excuse me, 2.7 or 2.8?
11 Q. First 2.7 and then 2.8.
12 A. "At around 14.20 hours on 13 March 1999, an unidentified explosive
13 device exploded at the Kosovska Mitrovica marketplace, killing two
14 individuals and wounding 34 others, some seriously, others slightly,
15 including two Serbs who were slightly wounded."
16 Item 2.8:
17 "At 13.05 hours on the 13th of March, 1999, in the neighbourhood
18 of Njegeseva Street near the Podujevo police station, an explosive device
19 with great destructive power exploded, wounding six people."
20 And then it says:
21 "At 13.20 hours on the 13th of March, 1999, an explosive device
22 exploded in the JNA Street, killing three people and wounding nine, some
23 seriously, others slightly. Among the wounded was a Serb, who sustained
24 slight injuries."
25 Q. General, were such situations and such escalation of terrorism
1 widespread, were they widespread occurrence, because here we've mentioned
2 Kosovska Mitrovica, Podujevo?
3 A. By Their Honours leave, I wish to say that the OSCE mission had
4 good intentions when, at a meeting with our team, they tried to say that
5 they would prevent such crimes. However, about ten days later, on a
6 single day, the 13th of March, in two towns on three locations, about 40
7 civilians were either killed or wounded. So my answer is affirmative.
8 There were such attacks and crimes a little before that in Orahovac, in
9 the center of town, then in Pristina and throughout Kosovo and Metohija,
10 focusing on urban areas. And as I have already said, we were informed by
11 the verifiers that the terrorists would transfer their activities to urban
12 areas, as they told them.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, can you explain to me why it is in
14 these reports that if there is a Serb involved as a victim, that that is
15 specifically noted?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, all I can say at this
17 point in time is what my opinion is, because I'm not the author of this
18 document. But one can see from this that the intention of the
19 perpetrators was against civilians.
20 In Podujevo at that time, Your Honour, there were barely a hundred
21 Serbs. Only one was left, and that one became a casualty. I can't really
22 say, with precision, what the author of this document meant.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. General, perhaps the author wanted to say that among the victims,
25 there were also Serbs, in order to avoid implications --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Don't answer that question. That's the most
2 blatant of leading questions in an area that we were trying to explore to
3 actually see if it might produce assistance for us, because what really
4 matters here is -- well, I suspect one of the things that matters here is
5 who's actually being targeted, and you've often made the point for the
6 Defence that the KLA targeted Albanians, but it doesn't seem to be the
7 explanation for the reference to the Serb who gets the cut finger when two
8 other people are killed and many others are seriously injured.
9 It's a not uncommon feature the world over for the press to be
10 concerned about their own population. There's a well-known story in
11 Scotland of the sinking of the Titanic, and the headline in the newspaper
12 was: "Man feared lost overboard in Atlantic," and we all know
13 subsequently of the numbers who died. Now, that's understandable in the
14 context of national reporting, but one of the points that is often made in
15 this case is that we are all the population of Serbia. But here we have
16 reports distinguishing Serbs who are slightly wounded, and I wondered why
17 that happened. But there doesn't seem to be a clear explanation at the
18 moment, so please continue.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
20 Q. General, tell me, did you have any information about the -- well,
21 first of all, did NATO bring some forces to Macedonia in 1999, and if it
22 did, how do you know this?
23 A. Well, if they had brought some forces, that would not have been a
24 problem, but they brought elite combat forces from several member states
25 of the NATO alliance as early as February to Macedonia in an area close to
1 the border with the FRY, towards the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, and
2 they had a mission. Very soon, that mission was changed and transformed
3 into an open threat to the security of the FRY.
4 So to answer your last sub-question, we had intelligence from the
5 General Staff and from the 3rd Army and from our border units, and we also
6 had operative information from the organs and services whose task it is to
7 obtain such information. We knew the number of tanks and we knew where
8 these forces were deployed.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, lest we should now open
10 a document that contains several pages, let me just give you a reference.
11 That's 5D105. That's for your reference, Your Honours. This is a document
12 from the Security Administration of the General Staff about the situation
13 in the region, the forecasts of the developments, and their influence on
14 the combat readiness of the Army of Yugoslavia in 1999.
15 Q. General, let us deal with this issue quickly. You started telling
16 us about the figures, so what was the strength of this force and what kind
17 of equipment did they have?
18 A. The forces deployed in Macedonia were part of a larger contingent,
19 so let me first answer regarding the strength of the ground forces in
20 Macedonia. That was over 12.000, 12.500 troops, 350 tanks and personnel
21 carriers, over 130 artillery pieces. They also had helicopters. But that
22 was just the ground forces.
23 A part of the overall mission included over -- the deployment of
24 over 40 warships. Several hundred cruise missiles were also assigned for
25 this mission, so let me not go into that. Over 400 warplanes in terms of
1 the Air Force. So this was all one mission.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: The English translation refers to something called
3 the 300 -- maybe a part of it is off the screen. Just give me a second.
4 No, the position is clear, in fact. Thank you.
5 Please continue.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, before these forces were deployed in Macedonia on the
8 same axis, the Djeneral Jankovic-Kacanik axis, had there been any
9 infiltrations of terrorist groups; do you know about that?
10 A. I would like to say, first of all, that NATO forces had already
11 been deployed in Kosovo or, rather, in Macedonia, when the attacks by
12 strong terrorist forces from Macedonia escalated along this axis, Djeneral
13 Jankovic-Kacanik and the Globocica-Kacanik crossing. That was in late
14 February and early March.
15 Q. General, since we have heard evidence from a protected witness in
16 this case, and we also heard evidence from other witnesses, I would like
17 you to comment.
18 Let us open Exhibit 3D1048, and could you please comment on
19 paragraph 1, the situation at the border.
20 A. Yes, this a report from the security department in the 3rd Army
21 sent to the security administration and the General Staff of the Army of
22 Yugoslavia on the 2nd of March, 1999. In paragraph 1, the description is
23 given of an event of an incident on the previous day. It was an incursion
24 of a strong terrorist force numbering 200 terrorists, the subsequent
25 conflict with our border control organs in the depth of the security belt,
1 and the killing of an officer from the 72nd Special Brigade, because an
2 element from that brigade had been engaged to secure the state border.
3 That was Mirjacic. He was a staff sergeant.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] You Honour, Witness K-73 testified
5 about this incident, for your reference.
6 Q. Would you be so kind as to look at paragraph 2.1 and 2.2 and to
7 comment on those two paragraphs.
8 A. Certainly. At that time, there was a large concentration of
9 terrorist forces who had come from other flashpoints, primarily from
10 Malisevo and Jezerska Mountain to the Kacanik area, and the villages in
11 the border belt and the border area, the villages that are mentioned in
12 the crime base, in the indictment, were effectively turned into terrorist
13 strongholds, and soon the civilian population would be expelled from those
14 villages and forced to go to Macedonia. This we will see from documents
15 that we will follow.
16 Paragraph 2.2 indicates that at that time period in early March,
17 but that also was the case in late February, in the center of the town of
18 Urosevac, which is on this axis, Macedonia-Kacanik-Urosevac-Jezerska
19 Mountain, that there were village watches, village guards, the security,
20 that the KLA was arming people in the town. And in our assessment, a
21 corridor was being set up from the Macedonian border, and the operational
22 and strategic objective, as far as we were concerned, was quite clear.
23 That was in order to be able to bring in the multinational forces from
24 Macedonia into this area using this axis.
25 Q. In paragraph 2.5, this report states that there is knowledge of
1 the location where the KLA members are, Retimlje, Orahovac, where their
2 headquarters is located. Is this intelligence correct?
3 A. This key corridor, this key axis leading from Macedonia, where
4 there was this large NATO force, leads from Kacanik to Urosevac to
5 Jezerska Mountains, to Orahovac, and then on to Drenica. In early March,
6 the terrorist activities and the activities of the armed rebels escalated
7 already, and these were facts that had been established.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, is there any actual tangible
9 evidence of NATO support or assistance to any of these rebel groups?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we at the Corps
11 Command, and I hope that we will be able to see evidence here in court,
12 really had at our disposal information about the direct collusion between
13 the multinational forces that were part of the NATO force in Macedonia
14 with the armed rebels. This took shape of instructions -- I don't want to
15 use the word "order," I'm saying "instructions," what areas to take, but
16 unfortunately some members of the OSCE mission formed a third point in
17 this triangle. So we did have the information.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: I was thinking more of the example of which we have
19 heard some evidence, that weapons of Chinese manufacture, which could have
20 made their way through Albania, may have been found at certain locations
21 where there was terrorist activity. Now, is there any evidence of that
22 kind that might -- or anything similar that might suggest direct
23 involvement of NATO in this idea here that there should be a corridor
24 created through which the land forces would occupy Kosovo, or are you
25 simply relying on intelligence about what they might have had in mind?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we did have, I'd say,
2 highly-reliable operational intelligence from sources in Macedonia about
3 the activities of NATO along this axis, but during the war we arrested or
4 captured, in fact, because it was in wartime, in an area close to the
5 Macedonian border, two terrorists who had been in direct communication
6 with NATO forces, providing them with the axes they could use to
7 infiltrate their forces.
8 In addition to Chinese weapons, the KLA had very modern
9 NATO-standard anti-armour weapons. They had long-range sniper rifles,
10 grenade launchers and so on and so forth.
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. General, let us wrap up as far as this document is concerned.
13 Could we please look at paragraph 2.6, and if we could hear your
14 comments on it?
15 A. Paragraph 2.6 deals with something that we've already discussed,
16 the tactics, two villages that was employed by the terrorists, where the
17 terrorists expelled the villagers from the village of Pirane, turning it
18 into a terrorist stronghold in late February. This village is at the
19 Prizren-Djakovica main road. This road goes on to Orahovac. And I know
20 that for a fact they launched attacks on anyone or anything that moved
21 along that road. And by your leave, Your Honours, just one more sentence.
22 During the war, both I and the army commander passed by that village, and
23 we were under crossfire from the terrorists. They opened fire at us from
24 that village.
25 Q. General, before the war started in 1999, did you have an
1 assessment as to the strength of the KLA immediately on the eve of the
2 aggression and the level of their organisation?
3 A. Before the aggression against our country started and before the
4 armed rebellion in Kosovo and Metohija escalated fully, we had quite
5 specific information both as to the strength and as to the concentration
6 of the armed rebel forces. The strength ranged, as it did in mid-1998,
7 between 20.000 and 25.000, and the operation -- that was the operational
8 component, and the flashpoints were the same as in 1998, Lab, Drenica,
9 Malisevo, Djakovica, Kacanik, Jezerska Mountains, the whole of Metohija,
10 in fact.
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have Exhibit 5D1335
12 in e-court.
13 Q. And perhaps you might comment, in this context, what that document
14 is all about.
15 Could we just zoom in a little bit, and perhaps zoom out a little
16 bit so that we can see what's here on the left-hand side. That's fine.
17 General, could you please tell us, what is this that we see in
18 front of us on the screen?
19 A. This is a map with an overview which was made at the Corps
20 Command. It was used during the war. The left-hand side, the table, was
21 actually done after the end of the war, after the military pulled out of
22 Kosovo and Metohija, and this is information obtained from KFOR. We
23 compared our information that we had during the war, and we realised that
24 the two sets of figures tallied to a great extent. KFOR produced their
25 own map, and their information indicates that the KLA had more brigades
1 and more people than we assessed.
2 Q. So this is an overview of the deployment?
3 A. Operative zones and brigades of the Siptar forces -- Siptar
4 terrorist forces in Kosovo and Metohija until the end of the war.
5 Q. General -- Your Honours, it is -- what is missing in the
6 transcript is "from the 23rd of March until the end of the war."
7 General, did the OSCE, and if it did, how did it assess the
8 situation, because we can see that their representatives were in Kosovo
9 and Metohija until the 20th of March?
10 A. In early March, especially after the attacks mounted in urban
11 milieus with explosive devices, the OSCE expressed concern for the general
12 security situation in Kosovo and Metohija, and I do feel that this was a
13 genuine concern for the overall situation, that of the OSCE, that is,
14 because they also conveyed this information to our teams and discussed
15 ways to prevent a wholesale escalation of the conflict. So they did have
16 such information, and it is my personal assessment, pursuant to the
17 reports submitted to me by the liaison team, that they were concerned for
18 the overall situation, security situation in Kosovo, on account of the
19 escalating terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija.
20 Q. Was it their assessment that ceasefire violations by the KLA and
21 their attacks could jeopardise the peace processes that were being
22 conducted in early 1999?
23 A. I have information that they communicated their assessments to our
24 teams. They demanded and occasionally kindly requested, despite the
25 extreme restraint of the army, but they actually did ask the army to find
1 the strength to refrain and to prevent the violence from spiraling
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in order for us not to
4 look into each of these documents individually, I will refer you to the
5 Prosecution exhibits, which are Prosecution Exhibit P638, P649 and P680.
6 These are OSCE reports which show that this was the kind of information
7 that obtained.
8 Q. While at the subject of the OSCE mission, which we shall shortly
9 wrap up and move on, to your engagement, the engagement of the Corps and
10 concrete orders, will you please just comment on this: There was -- there
11 were different comments, General Maisonneuve, inter alia, and this
12 concerns document P772 [as interpreted], and this is a map of the
13 deployment of combat groups in the area, which -- in association with the
14 deployment agreement. The number is 2772. That should be rectified in the
15 transcript, P2772. And MM-9, that is a map of the Yugoslav Army units.
16 Your Honours, perhaps it would be better if we put this map on the
17 ELMO, because we will expedite matters in that way. And if the usher
18 would be so kind as to place this on the ELMO, I think that would be the
19 more expedient way to proceed.
20 Colleague Hannis is familiar with this map. It is MM-9 in Exhibit
21 P2772, and I hope that he has no objection to us proceeding in this way.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Is P2772 the statement of Maisonneuve?
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours, and it is with a
24 statement attached to MM-9 and it is actually page 85 in e-court.
25 Colleague Petkovic has just helped me identify the right page in e-court.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can it be rotated, please.
3 Q. General, could we have your comment on this sketch or map which
4 represents -- which should represent the VJ -- the Yugoslav Army out of
6 A. The chief of the Regional Centre of the OSCE Mission number 5 for
7 Prizren, General Maisonneuve, showed this map with his statement where it
8 represents, in 14 locations, the deployment of the individual units of the
9 Yugoslav Army in the area of Kosovo and Metohija. I do not know what
10 period this refers to, but I presume that it concerns the period prior to
11 the aggression, January, February, and including March.
12 I have the following explanation, and I have to follow a certain
13 order in this.
14 On the bottom side or, as we say, on the southern side and the
15 western side, or southwest side, are shown the locations of units which
16 all are in the depth security belt of the state border. I should like to
17 underline that Maisonneuve showed the city of Djakovica with two lines
18 above the rectangle, which means that this is a unit of battalion rank,
19 whereas this is a barracks, and it is not only out of barracks, going --
20 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, I -- I'm sorry to interrupt you. It is hard for
21 the interpreters to follow. Please slow down a bit.
22 A. All right. Junik-Decani, in the sector of Junik there was a
23 combat group for the depth security of the state border -- in-depth
24 security, which Ciaglinski himself toured in January and that he confirmed
25 here during his testimony.
1 The next rectangle is Volujak. That is the disposition or the
2 deployment of a combat group, a mixed company, 145 men strong, according
3 to the agreement.
4 Then northward, there is Lapusnik and Komorane, the two rectangles
5 which are at the location of just one unit from the 15th Armoured Brigade,
6 which was composed of two elements of disperse, and that was also in
7 compliance with the agreement.
8 Q. Sorry, when you say "was comprised of two components," can you
10 A. Yes, I can explain. One of the elements of this company was on
11 the right-hand side of the road, in the region of the farm, and the second
12 element was on the left-hand side of the road, in the area which was a
13 forested -- a woody area. That is, under the agreement, one and the same
14 unit which was regularly inspected by the KVM mission verifiers.
15 On the extreme north, it is written "Bajgora." That is a facility
16 of significance for the defence of the country, as it is referred to in
17 the document. That is a stationary communications node or a
18 communications centre which is a military facility where a platoon is
19 securing the facility after the incident with a kidnapping of eight
20 soldiers or -- in the beginning of January 1999. And then we have
21 Vucitrn. In Vucitrn, I suppose this does not refer to the Vucitrn
22 barracks but to the exercise ground where, for some 10 or 15 days,
23 exercises were being carried out, and these exercises were regularly
24 monitored and seen by the mission -- OSCE mission from Djakovica.
25 Then we have Podujevo eastward, and that is the company which was
1 part of the Batlava Airport, where there were regular exercises, and this
2 unit was toured by Mr. Drewienkiewicz, himself, repeatedly.
3 And then further on eastward we have Stimlje, but I should also
4 like to draw your attention to Dulja down south. Maisonneuve showed two
5 circles and two rectangles for one and the same location, because that is
6 one combat group, according to the agreement. One part was at the
7 entrance to the Crnojevska Gorge and the other was at the Dulja Pass.
8 They were securing the Crna Klisura, the "black gorge" as we called it.
9 We called it "black" because tens of people had perished in that defile.
10 So this was one company -- these are not two locations, but one,
11 and there is written "Donja Somanja." That in fact is the location
12 Duganovic where there was deployed a combat group, the 243rd Mechanised
13 Brigade, for securing the state border.
14 And without any indication of Djeneral Jankovic, there is a
15 circle, and that is actually a border post.
16 Q. Just a second, General. At page 57, line 11 -- line 11, Your
17 Honours, when you were referring to the Dulja Pass, you said it is one
18 location, not two, because the transcript says it is two locations.
19 A. The map shows two units, whereas it is one unit which is
20 redeployed, and one can say, yes, two locations, but performing one
21 mission under the agreement. It is all one facility which is securing the
22 Crnojevska Gorge, it is one company, and that is how it is envisaged under
23 the agreement.
24 Q. But to avoid any confusion, when you say "two locations," it is
25 one location, but two places within this one location? Do I understand
1 you correctly?
2 A. Well, linguistically, this is perhaps more correct, but we are
3 talking about the same thing. This is about units which under the
4 agreement are there. I'm telling you that this representation here is
5 imprecise because this is just one unit. So I'm saying that all these
6 units shown on this map are in conformity with the agreement for securing
7 the state border, three locations as being assigned to units of company
8 strength, and this here shows a border post which should not have been
9 shown here. The Batlava Airport is also shown here, and that is not a
10 location, a site, according to the agreement, but it is something
11 according to the order for training and for securing the main road. And
12 we also have the exercising ground near Vucitrn, so these are not at all
13 the deployed parts of units beyond or in contravention of the agreement or
14 violating that agreement, no.
15 Q. Thank you, General. General, just take another look, because some
16 of my colleagues feel that perhaps you omitted a location. I see a flag
17 and the words -- the word "Zjum," Z-J-U-M. I don't know whether you
18 mentioned that one.
19 A. No, I did not mention that one. This is the, I should say,
20 well-known combat group between Zjum and Zub of Major Vukovic, which was
21 inspected daily by the verifiers and commended their conduct very much,
22 also in terms of their treatment of the civilian population, and their
23 assignment was the in-depth security of the state border.
24 Q. Thank you, General. Tell us at this point, in view of the fact
25 that you have given us all this information, how did the Pristina Corps
1 Command react to this jeopardy to the state border and units in the border
2 belt? We can start with the Kacanik area.
3 A. The Corps Command at that time, at the time when terrorism was
4 spilling over to that area, was not alone, because already in the
5 beginning of February, the forward -- a forward command post of the army
6 was set up in Pristina, so the Command from Nis moved a part of its forces
7 to Pristina.
8 To specifically reply to your question, I would say that the
9 Command of the Corps assessed the situation to be dramatic, extremely
10 dangerous, and reacted in accordance with its powers, with their
11 assessment -- and informed of its assessment in evaluation, the Command of
12 the 3rd Army saying that the state border was in extreme peril, and it
13 proposed specific measures. The Corps Command has no authority to do
14 anything else on its own.
15 Q. To be more specific, let's look at 5D253 on e-court.
16 General, this document, as we see, it says here: "Commander
17 Lazarevic." Do you recognise it, "Pristina Corps Command, the 28th of
18 February, 1999"?
19 A. I recognise both the document and what it says and the entire
21 Q. Can you explain to us, in brief, what this is about and what your
22 proposal was?
23 A. I personally drafted this document, and I addressed it to the
24 command post of the 3rd Army which was partly in Kursumlija, and the army
25 commander, well, he was currently in Kursumlija, but his forward command
1 post was in Pristina, which is why I addressed it to Kursumlija so that it
2 would reach the army commander personally. And I am informing him in this
3 document of the fact that there was a concentration of Siptar terrorists
4 in the border belt on the Kacanik-Djeneral Jankovic-Doganovic-Globocica
5 axis. These were strong terrorist forces, and in my assessment the task
6 of these forces was to set up a corridor for the infiltration of
7 terrorists from Macedonia and of weapons and military equipment.
8 When I mentioned NATO, I was referring to NATO forces and their
10 I further informed him of the fact that twice in February already
11 there had been clashes with those terrorist forces. I informed him that
12 there had been an attack by those terrorist forces on police forces and
13 that there had been losses. One policeman was killed and five were
15 Furthermore, what His Honour, the Presiding Judge asked me, I said
16 that we had established that those special and specific forces, in view of
17 their manner of action, their uniforms and NATO-supplied uniforms and
18 equipment, that we felt that they had the support of NATO forces in
19 Macedonia, and therefore, for the more efficient protection of the
20 integrity of the state in that area for which the Pristina Corps was
21 responsible, I proposed that in-depth security of the state border be
22 strengthened and reinforced by sending a combat group from the 3rd Army,
23 Combat Group 21, and resubordinating it to the Pristina Corps for the
24 purposes of that task.
25 Q. And was that combat group resubordinated, and if so, when?
1 A. I recall, if I haven't forgotten, but I hope I haven't, that I
2 sent this information to the chief of the General Staff of the Army of
3 Yugoslavia personally, also to General Ojdanic for his information, and
4 that very quickly an order followed from the General Staff to the Command
5 of the 3rd Army, and then from the Command of the 3rd Army onwards, that
6 this combat group should arrive as soon as possible in order to reinforce
7 the security of the state border.
8 Q. Thank you. General, tell us the following: We discussed this
9 axis and these events. What was the operational situation that the
10 Pristina Corps found itself in early 1999?
11 A. I beg Their Honours to bear with me and allow me to answer this
12 question in a few sentences, because it's very hard to reply in just one
14 The armed rebellion in Kosovo and Metohija was practically
15 underway on the entire territory. Urban terrorism, violence greater than
16 throughout 1998, 10 to 12 attacks a day, on the average, on the
17 institutions of the system, the security forces and civilians. Six to
18 seven persons lost their lives, on the average, due to terrorist attacks.
19 So that's all about that.
20 In the immediate vicinity of the Pristina Corps, around the
21 territory of Kosovo and Metohija in Albania and Macedonia, there was a
22 concentration of strong multinational forces from NATO, a concentration of
23 exceptionally strong terrorist forces from all of Europe in Macedonia and
24 Albania, and there were even entire brigades from America. These were US
25 citizens of Albanian origin and American citizens. There was the Pristina
1 Corps, which was mostly in its barracks. There were verifiers at every
2 step with the corps units. The numbers of the Corps were less than in
3 1998 because there had been disengagement of their reinforcements.
4 From the military aspect, my assessment was, and I'm telling you
5 now, that the Pristina Corps, in March, found itself in a strategic trap,
6 in military terms, because war and external aggression were imminent. It
7 was only a matter of days when the Corps, which had only 10.000 men and
8 which was in its barracks, would be destroyed within a few days, as had
9 been announced, by mid-March.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, General.
11 Your Honours, this might be a convenient moment for a break.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we'll break now and resume at 10 minutes to
14 --- Recess taken at 12.20 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. General, before the break we spoke about the operative position of
19 the Pristina Corps. Could you now please tell me -- and we have seen
20 before that one of the main tasks of the army was combat training of
21 soldiers and units. So please tell me, in this period from the beginning
22 of 1999 to the beginning of the war on the 23rd of May, 1999, how was
23 combat training carried out?
24 A. The Corps Command, in this operative situation, could do nothing
25 else but to intensify the combat training of its units. With all the
1 security limitations, organisational and technical and other limitations
2 that existed at the lowest tactical level. What I'm trying to say is that
3 in the period we are referring to, January to March 1999, over 25 per cent
4 of the peacetime composition of the Corps was not trained for the tasks it
5 was intended to perform, according to the training plan for the units,
6 because from so-called "indirect mobilisation" or, rather,
7 not "mobilisation" but "raising manpower levels," replenishment, they
8 would get a certain number of men every month -- every three months, and
9 these were trained only for basic tasks, how to behave in groups of
10 soldiers up to squad level, which means a group of ten men. Everything
11 higher up than that, how platoons, companies, battalions are engaged was
12 something they knew nothing about. They didn't know how to handle
13 collective weapons. They hadn't even seen those in the training centres
14 they were trained in.
15 So the brigades had to receive these men and conduct intensive
16 training with combat equipment, artillery, armoured and mechanised
17 equipment, anti-aircraft, infantry, and other equipment. They had to
18 train them at close range and at the lowest tactical level.
19 In a nutshell, the combat training plan envisaged the continuation
20 of the training for a further three months, up to five months and 20 days.
21 This was not just an order from the chief of the General Staff, although I
22 remember such orders came, but it was the duty of every unit in the Army
23 of Yugoslavia to continue intensive training for up to five months and 20
25 And to conclude, it was absolutely necessary, at the corps level
1 in the garrisons, to conduct 50 to 60 exercises a month at the
2 platoon-to-battalion levels.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the plan of combat
4 training is 5D1260, for your reference.
5 Q. This replenishment was -- with manpower was not against the
6 agreement, was it?
7 A. No. These were soldiers who were part of the establishment of the
8 Corps, but as recruits they did not go straight to the corps units.
9 Instead, they went to training centres. But these were our men, men
10 intended for the Corps. After the completion of the first part of their
11 training, they arrived in the brigades, where the second period of combat
12 training was to commence.
13 Q. We heard here from Prosecution witness, Mr. Ciaglinski, also
14 Mr. Crosland, that units of the Army of Yugoslavia carried out exercises
15 at the time, manoeuvre exercises. Can you explain the difference
16 between "manoeuvre" and "exercise"? These are two distinct terms.
17 A. By Their Honours leave, I'll try and explain it as briefly as
19 Exercising is a process repeating the same activities more than
20 once. The content is always the same. A training exercise is an activity
21 carried out according to a certain plan, certain dynamics, without
22 repetition. One starts at 8.00 a.m., and the exercise is completed in the
23 course of the day. If there are any errors, they are analysed, but they
24 cannot be repeated within the scope of that task.
25 Within the scope of exercises, there are exercises with a target
1 practice and with live ammunition, and that is the duty of every unit and
2 every brigade. With each new group of soldiers, a large number of live
3 ammunition exercises have to be carried out, and there must be no mistakes
4 because it's live ammunition.
5 Throughout 1998, up to the war, the Pristina Corps did not carry
6 out a single such exercise, and it should have carried out dozens of them.
7 And now I arrive at the question as to what is a manoeuvre.
8 Manoeuvres are large-scale exercises involving a number of branches of
9 service at the level of the whole army. In the course of my military
10 career, I never participated in a single manoeuvre carried out by the
11 Yugoslav People's Army or the Army of Yugoslavia. As far as I can
12 remember, in 1972, in Tito's time, there was a manoeuvre. It was
13 called "Freedom 72." Truly, the term that was used here in evidence does
14 not correspond to the truth. It is simply inconceivable, so that by
15 saying that, I will conclude my answer.
16 And I will also say that in relation to the plan and to what we
17 were supposed to do at the level of our corps, we did less than 20 per
18 cent of the basic training and basic exercises at the platoon and company
20 Q. I wanted to stop you there and to ask you a follow-up question,
21 the number of exercises that were carried out. At what level were they
22 carried out in 1998 and 1999 in the Pristina Corps?
23 A. These were exercised carried out at platoon level, 40 to 60 men,
24 and at the company level, 150 to 200 men. We didn't have any exercises at
25 the battalion level, so we're talking about the lowest tactical level.
1 Q. In the course of these exercises, was the Army of Yugoslavia
2 targeted by any attacks? And if "yes," by whom?
3 A. The exercises were carried out for the most part within the
4 garrison training areas, but some of the exercises that were more
5 peculiar, such as movements, had to be carried out along certain routes,
6 roads. In most cases, those units were then targeted by the terrorist
7 forces that were deployed in those areas, in the vicinity, or who had come
8 into this area in order to provoke, to attack, and to prevent further
9 training of the army.
10 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I just want to clarify one thing. General, kindly
11 excuse me for this.
12 Exercises, not military exercises, do not take place when the
13 situation is tumultuous. Normally, these take place in times which are a
14 little peaceful. So what was happening, and how do you describe this?
15 Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you're entirely right.
17 Exercises are part of peacetime training of soldiers, units and commands
18 for the performance of their basic tasks. There are no exercises. It is
19 difficult to carry out an exercise in a time of war. One exercises until
20 the war starts.
21 We're now talking about the exercises that were carried out in the
22 period that preceded the aggression against the country and throughout
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 Q. General, if I understand you correctly, the exercises -- now we're
1 talking about this period, and let me now complete my question. Up until
2 the time when the war was declared, that's when the exercises were carried
3 out at a certain place in the training area, enclosed area, but there was
4 also a necessity for the army to exercise movement. Did OSCE monitors or
5 verifiers monitor any of these exercises?
6 A. Every time a unit, a company-strength unit, would move out of the
7 barracks, or every time a motorised unit comprising six or more vehicles
8 would move, had to be reported to the OSCE mission. The OSCE mission then
9 decided whether it would monitor those movements or whether this would be
10 just for its information.
11 And let me just add, when we're talking about those exercises, we
12 had files with information about what we would be doing, how many people
13 would be involved, and we would hand over those files to the OSCE mission
14 in any given area. In most cases, the verifiers escorted those columns in
15 their own vehicles, and very, very often they were present during the
16 exercises, from the beginning to the end. I have reports from the units
17 dating from that time period, indicating that very often, in particular in
18 the Kosovska Mitrovica and Vucitrn areas, the verifiers expressed their
19 satisfaction with what they had seen, what they had experienced, and with
20 their presence at the exercises in general.
21 Q. At that time, did the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia take
22 any measures to preserve the combat readiness in Pristina Corps?
23 A. Yes, it did take measures, and I know that one of the main
24 concerns of the General Staff at that time was to monitor constantly the
25 situation in Kosovo and Metohija, in other words, the combat readiness of
1 the 3rd Army and of the Pristina Corps in particular.
2 In addition to monitoring the situation, if I may just mention
3 those measures in a couple of sentences, let me just say the following: I
4 remember that at the beginning of March -- this is my personal experience,
5 and we also heard evidence from participants in this activity -- that the
6 chief of the General Staff himself headed a large team and they toured
7 most of the Pristina Corps units. He was accompanied by the 3rd Army
8 commander. I welcomed them, I briefed them, I submitted reports to them,
9 and I was the person responsible for the combat readiness to the 3rd Army
10 commander, and my next superior at the next level, the chief of the
11 General Staff. So the chief of the General Staff and a large team
12 verified the state of combat readiness.
13 Some other activities on the part of the General Staff followed in
14 order to improve the manning level in the Pristina Corps, and also the
15 replenishment levels. I'm now talking about equipment.
16 Q. While we're dealing with this topic, could we please have Exhibit
17 3D750 up on the screen, please.
18 Do you recognise this document, or, rather, could you please
19 comment on this document? Is this one of the measures that were taken in
20 order to improve the combat readiness or, rather, to maintain it as a
21 certain level?
22 A. This is an order issued by the chief of the General Staff of the
23 Army of Yugoslavia, dated the 15th of March, to keep the soldiers who had
24 started serving their national service in March, 1999 -- 1998, after they
25 completed their national service in the ranks of the Pristina Corps for a
1 further 30 days, it followed after a decision of the president of the
2 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia who was authorised under the law to make
3 such a decision. So the March generation of soldiers, about 2.500 to
4 2.800 soldiers, were retained in the ranks of the Pristina Corps, and they
5 were there when the war started.
6 Q. General, since most of the people on the left-hand side of the
7 courtroom know that, but the others may not know, what do you mean when
8 you say "the March generation"? Could you please explain to the Judges,
9 how long did the national service last?
10 A. The national service lasted for 12 months, and this generation of
11 soldiers had come in March 1998 to do their national service. They were
12 supposed to be released --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: I've done the same thing. There must be a
15 different layout in this courtroom. I'm sorry for that.
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Well, with all due respect, Your
17 Honour, but I'm beginning to think it's intentional.
18 Q. General, I do apologise. Will you please repeat?
19 A. Yes. The March 1998 generation were supposed to be discharged in
20 March 1999, between the 15th and the 20th of March. They were kept on the
21 orders of the -- according to the decision of the president of the FRY.
22 Q. Yes, we heard that. I just wanted you to clarify. The reason is
23 because of the increased external pressure and the amassing of the foreign
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, could the counsel please
1 speak into the microphone.
2 A. The strategic situation was extremely unfavorable. I use the
3 term "strategic trap" for the Pristina Corps.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. General, on the basis of this document, can we conclude that by
6 the 15th of March, a week before NATO air strikes began, the soldiers were
7 discharged from the national service and they left the Pristina Corps; is
8 that correct?
9 A. Yes, that is correct. Even some of the March generation had been
10 discharged until this order was issued, those who had been entitled to
11 leave earlier because they had not used up all their leave. They had left
12 the ranks of the Corps.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there a translation problem here? What was the
14 point in keeping them within the Pristina Corps if they were allowed to
15 leave before the war started?
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No. This document shows that on the
17 15th of March, seven days before NATO air strikes began, the General Staff
18 of the Army of Yugoslavia issued a decision that the March intake that was
19 supposed to be discharged after one year of national service should be
20 kept in the army for another month because of an increased external
21 pressure on the country and the amassing of foreign troops on the borders.
22 And the General said that until the 15th, because the March intake had --
23 some of them had been already discharged, the remaining ones from that
24 generation or intake were kept in the ranks of the Corps.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: If you look at page 70, line 11, your question is
1 recorded as being:
2 "Can we conclude that by the 15th of March, a week before the air
3 strikes, the soldiers were discharged from national service and left the
4 Pristina Corps?"
5 In fact, just the opposite of that, is it?
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No. The point is, Your Honour, that
7 until the 15th of March, 1999, there was a regular, usual procedure to
8 discharge the soldiers who had completed their national service. They
9 were not kept in their units. And the other to the opposite came in only
10 on the 15th, to keep them there because of the increased danger for 30
11 more days. This concerned only a part of the March 1998 intake, because
12 some of them had joined the Army before the 15th of March, 1998, and they
13 had already been discharged.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. General, I have just one more question in this regard.
17 We heard evidence here, and the Prosecutor argues, that the Army
18 of Yugoslavia or the Pristina Corps had been preparing for a spring
19 offensive. This fact, that up until the 15th, up until the very eve of
20 the NATO air strikes, that the soldiers had been discharged from their
21 national service as usual, does that correspond to any preparations for
22 any kind of offensive?
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note, the counsel is kindly asked
24 to speak into the microphone. We cannot hear him.
25 A. I explained the operative position of the Corps before the break.
1 The Corps did not have the powers, the authority or the strength to
2 prepare for any kind of spring offensive. The 3rd Army didn't do anything
3 of the sort. The Army didn't do that, the General Staff didn't do that.
4 There were just some minimum measures in place, and I'm sure that we will
5 come to this topic soon.
6 My answer is, no, when the war broke out, we were in a peacetime
7 setup. We lived our daily lives in peace, as if there would not be a war
8 in a hundred years.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, do you have a microphone towards your
10 right-hand side, because the --
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No. I have my colleague's. Let me
12 try it that way. Perhaps that would be a bit better, because if I talk to
13 General Lazarevic, then of course this microphone doesn't really pick up
14 my voice.
15 Could we now have Exhibit 3D683 up in e-court. This is a document
16 of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army. It is also dated the 16th of
18 Q. Can you give us your comment on what -- on the substance of this
20 A. This is an order of the chief of the General Staff or, rather, his
21 deputy in this particular case, and it constitutes a response to my
22 request, or better to put it my proposal from the beginning of March to
23 the effect that we needed to reinforce the in-depth security of the state
24 border towards Macedonia. This order regulates resubordination to the 3rd
25 Army of the Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of the 72nd Specialists
1 Brigade for the discharge of tasks according to the decision of the
2 commander of the 3rd Army. And I'm duty-bound to say that even though
3 that is what is written in this first item, this was not a reconnaissance
4 and sabotage battalion, according to establishment numerical strength, but
5 this was an ad hoc temporary formation, a small combat group, between 100
6 and 120 men strong.
7 This order is in accordance or within the framework of our
8 earlier-discussed matter on resubordination, how it was the General
9 Staff -- the Chief of General Staff who would be the one to regulate
10 resubordination, which would then entail my own order, and so on, and this
11 is the entire process.
12 Q. General, at that time, sometime in that period when this build-up
13 of troops and this danger was perceived, was any decision taken by the
14 federal government in connection with the state border, and if so, what
15 was it about?
16 A. The federal state, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, followed
17 from its own aspect a very close danger to the security of the country,
18 and if I can remember, it was on the 5th of March that the federal
19 government adopted a decision on expanding the border belt towards
20 Macedonia and Albania approximately by 10 kilometres in order to make it
21 possible for that area, for that border zone, to enable the engagement of
22 units for the more efficient in-depth security and defence of the state
24 Q. In the framework of these measures that were imposed by the time,
25 I should like to ask you to comment on a Prosecution exhibit, P1129.
1 General, the exhibit is in front of you. Do you know what this
2 document is?
3 A. I know that having toured and inspected the corps units by the
4 chief of the General Staff, the chief of the General Staff and his team
5 having done this control, there was an order to the Pristina Corps from
6 the Army Command on the realisation of tasks which were issued by the
7 chief of the General Staff. And now I see his order for the taking of
8 additional measures, to build up and retain the combat readiness of the
9 Corps from the 16th of March on.
10 Q. When you say "additional measures," can you comment on items 2 and
12 A. Item 2 accentuates the measures to be taken to assess the
13 adequacy, the adequacy of the forces for securing the state border, that
14 is to say, it requires of us to see whether the engaged number is
15 sufficient. Then it calls for a very specific activity. It requires of
16 us to assess the adequacy of these separated units, in terms of sufficient
17 supplies of ammunition, because it would become evident in the war later
18 that we had problems with fire and with the adequacy of ammunition
19 supplies. They were also required to pay specific attention to erecting
20 barriers in the belt zone, in the areas which are defined in this item.
21 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry, you were. Could I have a clarification
22 from counsel as to the exhibit number? It's in the transcript as "1129",
23 but I don't have 1129 on my list. I don't know if it was misheard or
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It is a mistake, Your Honours. My
1 learned colleague, perhaps I misspoke, but I do have it in front of you.
2 It is P1921, Prosecution exhibit. That was the one that was announced.
3 MR. HANNIS: [Previous translation continues]... Thank you.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Shall I continue?
5 Q. Yes, please, what is in item 3?
6 A. In item 3, the chief of the General Staff demands intensified
7 combat habilitation of the commands and units of the Pristina Corps as
8 well as of other forces in the zone of responsibility of the Corps, and
9 that it is his responsibility for carrying out missions, and that training
10 should be adapted to specific conditions on the ground.
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at page 3, item 12,
13 Q. Just a brief comment on item 12, please.
14 A. In item 12, the chief of the General Staff demands that
15 intelligence and counter-intelligence measures be applied at all levels in
16 order to protect units against attacks from terrorist forces from the area
17 of Macedonia and Albania, but also in the area of Kosovo and Metohija, and
18 towards the end of this item, he requires the efficient detection and
19 frustration of terrorist activities, subversive and terrorist activities,
20 counter-intelligence, the reconnaissance and subversive terrorist
21 activities, towards the units of the Pristina Corps and the 3rd Army.
22 Q. Item 16 on the next page, please can we have a very brief comment
23 on that? What is being ordered there?
24 A. In item 16, the chief of the General Staff again returns to the
25 task of intensified combat training -- of intensifying combat training,
1 requiring that we intensify the training of specially set-up units and
2 resubordinated units, as well as a part of the various specialties of
3 reservists which were being trained at that time according to the annual
4 planning, the Corps and Army units, and naturally orders that in that
5 context, also through combat training, the morale of the members of our
6 units be boosted in the process.
7 Q. Were measures also taken at the level of the 3rd Army in order to
8 step up combat readiness in March, to step up the combat readiness of the
9 Pristina Corps in that month?
10 A. The 3rd Army Command monitored all these operative tasks from the
11 General Staff, operationalised on further in practice by its own orders
12 and commands and undertook additional measures within its ambit. Needless
13 to say, everything that is written here had to be translated by the
14 Command of the Army into its own orders, and later this was also done by
15 the Corps, as was the case with other measures.
16 Q. General, can you look at 5D259. Exhibit 5D259. This is an order
17 of the 3rd Army. I should like you to comment on item 1.
18 A. The commander of the 3rd Army, from the forward command post in
19 Pristina, where he was, ordered that due to the build-up of multinational
20 forces within NATO in Macedonia and the compromising of security coming
21 from that direction, that preparations be initiated for the execution of
22 mobilisation of certain commands and units to be engaged in closing off
23 axes and defending axes leading to the Republic of Macedonia or from the
24 Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Albania to the area of Kosovo
25 and Metohija, and also orders that a part of these commands which are
1 being engaged according to special plans, to reconnoiter these routes,
2 these axes. So this is a preparatory order focusing on preparations for
3 mobilising the forces that secure -- that protect the state border.
4 Q. General, would you now please take a look at 4D329 from the 20th
5 of March, 1999. We are still talking about the peril to state territory,
6 and in order to expedite matters can we now turn to page 2, item 6, and
7 can I elicit your comment on that item?
8 A. This is again an order from the 3rd Army commander. In the
9 previous paragraphs, if I'm allowed to say so, warns again about the
10 worsening of the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the general
11 region. In paragraph 6, the army commander orders that preparations be
12 made for a planned taking of defence positions once the signal or order
13 has been received to do so, and there should be readiness to break up or
14 route the terrorist forces and to defend against an aggression from
15 Albania and Macedonia.
16 So the army commander had all the relevant information at his
17 disposal, and this is a preparatory order three or four days before the
18 aggression, warning all the corps units to be ready to leave their
19 peacetime locations as soon as possible and to stand ready to defend the
21 Q. We saw all those measures that were taken by the superior
22 commands. How did the Pristina Corps Command implement all those measures
23 to improve combat readiness? We saw the orders, we saw when they had come
24 in. That was on the eve of the air strikes. What measures did you take?
25 A. The Corps Command had the task to implement everything that had
1 been ordered by the General Staff and by the 3rd Army Command through its
2 orders, its plans, its instructions, and its actions; preparations for the
3 mobilisation, preparations to man the sectors outside of the peacetime
4 locations, preparations to defend the axes leading from Albania and
5 Macedonia, to keep the soldiers from the March generation within its ranks
6 and to include them in any tasks, and all other measures and activities.
7 Q. Could you please look at P633. That's a Prosecution exhibit. It
8 is a telegram. It is your telegram, in fact. The date is not quite
9 clear, the 5th of March, 1999. It appears that in this document and in
10 this telegram, you refer to the visit of the chief of the General Staff
11 and part of the members of the General Staff.
12 Could you please be so kind as to comment on this document?
13 A. This order was issued by me to the corps units just one day after
14 the inspection and control by the chief of the General Staff and his team.
15 I didn't wait for the instructions or orders from the Army Command,
16 although these did follow and we did take some additional measures
17 afterwards. But on the basis of what I personally observed in the course
18 of that control visit, and on the basis of what the General Staff team
19 observed, I ordered to the units to take additional measures. And in
20 paragraph 1, I conveyed the assessment of the chief of the General Staff
21 and his team, indicating that they were happy with the level of combat
22 readiness observed in the Pristina Corps, in particular as to the level of
23 training, morale and the command function, but bearing in mind, in light
24 of the fact that the situation was deteriorating on a daily basis, I
25 ordered that some additional measures be taken to disseminate the
1 information about the deterioration of the situation to the entire Corps,
2 to take measures to safeguard the personnel against any dangers, primarily
3 terrorist attacks, and I can see it continues on to page 2.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, I was just about to ask if we
5 could move on to page 2 to complete the paragraph.
6 A. I insisted that in the execution of these tasks, all the corps
7 units should comply strictly with all the orders of the Corps Command and
8 the Army Command in order to improve the overall level of the combat
9 readiness, but at the same time I demanded that this order and all the
10 information be disseminated to every single soldier, in terms of the
11 forthcoming tasks.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. General, we have just enough time to deal with another document,
14 5D279. It's yet another order that you issued. It is dated the 23rd of
15 March, 1999, on the eve of the air strikes. And then we will be
17 Do you recognise this order?
18 A. Yes, I do. And as you can see, I drafted it myself.
19 Q. To make things clear for the Trial Chamber, you say, "as you can
20 see." Where can we see it?
21 A. You can see it at the lower left-hand corner, my initials, "VL"
22 that's the drafter, and "BV," that's the initials of the typist, and of
23 course you can see my signature. I issued a brief order. This is a
24 preparatory order to collate the recruitment plans, the mobilisation
25 plans, that the units should themselves submit their proposals to the
1 Corps Command. If an order for the mobilisation is issued for the
2 mobilisation to be carried out successively, I was sure that the
3 aggression would not take place so soon, but I was wrong, and my order was
4 that they should submit to me by the 25th of March, 1999, their
5 mobilisation plans.
6 So what I mean to say is that the -- that we -- when the war broke
7 out, we were in a peacetime formation.
8 Q. So this is the last sentence: "Submit proposals by the 25th of
9 March, 1999"?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And could you please now turn to paragraph 4. And paragraph 4,
12 you forbid something here. Could you please explain that?
13 A. I prohibited the call-up of the reserve force or any kind of
14 partial mobilisation of any personnel without my approval, because I did
15 not have that power. I didn't have the power to do so. So I prohibited
17 Let me just finish. This was not the preparation for a spring
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, General. We have to end
20 our work for today.
21 Your Honours, I believe that this is a convenient moment.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
23 Well, tomorrow we will be back in Court I, and that will be at
24 2.15, so we shall adjourn until then.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 8th day of
2 November, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.