1 Monday, 12 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Lazarevic.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: The examination by Mr. Bakrac will now continue.
8 Mr. Bakrac.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. Good
10 morning to everyone.
11 Your Honours, now I would like to move on to a new topic, the
12 organization of the chain of command in the Pristina Corps. His Honour
13 Judge Chowhan during an examination of a previous witness proposed that it
14 would be good to have an organizational chart, that this would assist you,
15 and Mr. Lazarevic did produce a chart of the subordinate units. And as
16 soon as it was completed, we gave it a 5D number, but it -- we actually --
17 we moved for the list to be amended to include this exhibit. We haven't
18 got the decision yet, so now I will be guided by you whether we can use
19 it, whether it could be given an IC number now and Mr. Lazarevic would
20 confirm that this is a chart that he produced. It would be as if he had
21 done it here in front of us. But at any rate, I will be guided by you,
22 whatever you say is the best course of action.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the e-court number?
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] 5D1370.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, do you have a problem with using this
1 in e-court?
2 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, we don't have an objection to that one.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we shall allow you to amend the Rule 65 ter
4 list, and we shall use the version in e-court 5D1370.
5 MR. HANNIS: With regard to that particular motion to amend the
6 list, there were two exhibits we did have an objection to.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: So your motion is granted to that extent and the
8 other two matters will be determined separately.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 WITNESS: VLADIMIR LAZAREVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examination by Mr. Bakrac: [Continued]
13 Q. [Interpretation] General, let us call up on our screens in e-court
14 Exhibit 5D1370, and I would like you to comment on it and to explain to us
15 what was the structure, the organization of the chain of command, and how
16 it functioned in the Pristina Corps during the state of war.
17 A. The organization of the system of in Pristina Corps at the
18 operational level was highly complex, as indicated by this chart. This is
19 an organizational chart, and there's also the technical and security
20 aspect of it. With the permission of the honourable Trial Chamber, let me
21 explain this organizational chart. Right at the top of this chart, we
22 have the command post of the Pristina Corps, it is indicated by the
23 letters PrK, KM, that is the central, the core of the command, but this is
24 just main command post of the Pristina Corps. Above it you see a
25 rectangle, it is also light blue, this shows the forward command post of
1 the 3rd Army, indicating that throughout the war at the Pristina Corps
2 command post there was the command post -- the forward command post of the
3 3rd Army. It was set up and manned.
4 Now I would like to draw your attention to light blue rectangles
5 on this chart. These are all organizationally subordinate units to the
6 corps, according to the peacetime establishment, before the war. And as
7 you can see, there are four dark blue rectangles, these are the units that
8 came into being when the state of war was declared; in other words, the
9 peacetime establishment is not very different from the wartime
11 The blue colours indicate that the corps had nine regiment
12 brigade-level units. Their establishment designations are [Realtime
13 transcript read in error "rely"] indicated here it had seven battalions,
14 two companies, and one institution or installation.
15 Indicated in red are the 12 units that reinforced the corps during
16 the war pursuant to the decisions of the General Staff of the Army of
17 Yugoslavia and the 3rd Army commander. Now, as to what are those units
18 that the corps was successively reinforced, this is indicated in the
19 rectangles, their decisions are there, and if necessary I will give you
20 their names.
21 Now let me explain the green colour. The green colour indicates
22 the coordination with the units that are outside of the composition of the
23 corps, it's the Nis Corps, the Podgorica Corps, the defence administration
24 of the Ministry of Defence, air force and defence, Ministry of the
25 Interior, the units in Kosovo, a helicopter squadron, an army artillery
1 group, and a 52nd corps stationary communications centre. So these units
2 are not part of the chain of the command, they are not subordinated to the
3 corps command, but during the war there was coordination with those units.
4 Right at the top of this chart you have two violet, two purple
5 rectangles, indicating two commands. One is linked with the forward
6 command post of the 3rd Army, that's the forward command post of the air
7 force corps; and VoV indicates the air force liaison officers, they are
8 linked with the Pristina Corps command. This is what we were talking
9 about the combined combat operations in anti-aircraft defence, so there is
10 no subordination there in this relationship.
11 Let me conclude, the Pristina Corps had under its command in
12 direct link -- it was directly linked with it, as you can see if we
13 discount the purple rectangles and the green rectangles, it had about 30
14 units that were directly under the command of the Pristina Corps commander
15 and his organs.
16 Q. General, let me just make this clear. I made a mistake. We will
17 have a translation later on. This is the chain of command chart and the
18 coordination chart for the Pristina Corps in the war; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we now move on to exhibit --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm afraid I don't understand it at all, so I would
22 be needed to be guided a little.
23 The line which is L-shaped, if you had a bigger piece of paper
24 would that be a straight line?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, it could be drawn
1 that way, in a straight line, but the important part is that there is a
2 solid black line leading from the top going horizontally and then
3 downwards. This indicates the chain of command, that the units that are
4 along this line are subordinated to the corps command. The broken lines
5 leading to the purple rectangles and the green rectangles indicate that
6 there was no subordination. These units were not part of the Pristina
7 Corps chain of command, they were not subordinated to it.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sure the hope was that you could demonstrate
9 more than that by the diagram. The red rectangles, are they all at the
10 same level? Are they all effectively directly connected to this black
11 line which goes across and then becomes L-shaped? In other words, they
12 should all be side by side, should they, if you had a bigger piece of
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. These are all brigade-level
15 units, the Pristina Military District units, that were subordinated to the
16 Pristina Corps during the war.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: And if we go up one level, there's another black
18 line with two dark blue rectangles and six light blue rectangles. What
19 are they representing?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To the left, on the left-hand side
21 of this chart, we have the units that are linked to the Pristina Corps
22 command and the elements of command. Let me explain. The first light
23 blue rectangle is the temporary Pristina garrison command. It took care
24 of the smaller corps elements in the town of Pristina, we have the club
25 and the orchestra, and it also provided accommodation for the military
1 court and the military prosecutor's office.
2 To the right, we have the elements of the command post. In
3 addition to the main command post we established the logistics command
4 post, the next command post, the centre for automatic surveillance of
5 air-space, and other elements in the system of command, but we will be
6 discussing that in detail later on through some other exhibits because
7 this couldn't be depicted on this chart, all of it.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: And I had one final question, I've lost the part in
9 the transcript. Yes, you said the blue colours indicate the corps had
10 nine - let me see the exact wording - nine regiment brigade-level units,
11 their establishment designations rely --- English translation - rely
12 indicated here it had seven battalions, two companies, and one institution
13 installation, in English that is gobbledygook. You must have said
14 something different in B/C/S.
15 Can we have this clarified, Mr. Bakrac.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's remark: We said are all
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, you heard the question from His Honour, could you please
21 A. Yes, definitely. The first nine rectangles in light blue below
22 the thick horizontal line are establishment units at the brigade regiment
23 level in the corps. There were nine brigades in the establishment and
24 organization of the chart -- of the corps, from 125th Motorised Brigade
25 and then onwards. And to the left, you can see lower-level units,
1 battalion-level units, three border battalions are the first ones; then we
2 have the military police battalion; two new battalions that were added in
3 the war, additional battalion and the medical battalion; then we have the
4 communications battalion. As you can see, there are seven battalions in
5 the corps and nine brigades. Then there were also two companies, the 52nd
6 Reconnaissance and Sabotage Company and the 52nd Electronic Reconnaissance
7 Company, and there was also a unit from the military medical centre in
9 These are all the units that belonged to the Pristina Corps in
10 peace and in wartime.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 Mr. Bakrac.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Q. General, let us now move on to Exhibit 5D342. This is your order
15 dated the 29th of March and it pertains to an attempt to ensure that the
16 work and the commanding in the units of the corps should proceed in an
17 undisrupted manner. Could you please explain to us what this is all
19 A. This is an order that was drafted right at the beginning of the
20 war in which I defined the division of command of the corps into several
21 teams, groups, or elements, in accordance with the Rules of Combat and
22 also as demanded by the situation, the general objective being that the
23 chain of command should remain intact during the war because if the whole
24 of the command post were to be located in a single sight with all its
25 elements, it could be destroyed with a single strike. You can see here
1 that the corps command was divided into the first part, the main command
2 post which was manned by me and the part of the staff; then the second
3 part was the logistics; the third part was the operations centre, the
4 surveillance and warning centre; and the fourth part was the one that had
5 to do with the creation of the military court and the prosecutor's office
6 in the city of Pristina. As you can see here, the forward command post is
7 not listed here because it was located in Djakovica even before the war
8 but it was a command group until the Chief of Staff went there to man that
9 post. At least five parts of the Pristina Corps command were located all
10 over Kosovo and Metohija, which means that I -- my command was not located
11 in a single site but in at least five different sites.
12 Q. General, could you please look at 5D348, again this is a document
13 from the Pristina Corps command, the date is the 30th, a day after the one
14 that we just looked at, and could you please explain to us what is this
15 order all about.
16 A. This order also indicates that in the initial period during the
17 war exceptional efforts were made to make sure the chain of command
18 survived the initial strikes because the system of command was the first
19 to be targeted in the NATO air-strikes. I issued a decision that a group
20 from the corps command be formed to temporarily command the garrison in
21 Pristina and take care of those smaller non-combat units, the military
22 library, the military orchestra, the headquarters command, the centre for
23 information, the various employees on the ground, and to ensure there was
24 a military court and military prosecutor's office at the corps command.
25 This was an additional group which was in the Pristina garrison all the
1 time and certain people were designated.
2 Q. We'll come to that, General. Colonel Milutin Filipovic was the
3 group leader and he will testify, he is our second witness after you. Is
4 that right?
5 A. Yes, he was an assistant for personnel, affairs in the corps
6 command, and he was the group leader.
7 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, where was this group located in
9 A. It was located in several buildings, military or socially owned
10 facilities, in the Pristina area or, quite simply, in the town of Pristina
11 but on several locations.
12 Q. You mentioned the military prosecutor's office and the military
13 court. We'll come to that, but what were the powers of this group in
14 relation to the military court and prosecutor's office?
15 A. This command group was duty-bound to create the materiel,
16 logistical, and organizational prerequisites for the military court and
17 military prosecutor's office to be put in place and secured from any
18 possible attacks by terrorist forces in Pristina. They had to create the
19 necessary security conditions for them, the technical, materiel, and
20 logistical conditions.
21 Q. Thank you, General. In the course of the war, from the beginning
22 of the air-strikes onwards, were there any factors limiting the
23 functioning of the system of command?
24 A. As I've already said, the chain or system of command from the high
25 strategic level, the General Staff of the third level, especially down to
1 the corps command, was the first to be targeted, both by NATO air-strikes
2 and long-distance strikes, and this meant that the security conditions
3 were extremely complex and extremely limiting. In the chart we showed
4 here, I tried to show that the chain of command was very complex. There
5 were over 30 units which were resubordinated to the corps command in
6 wartime, and according to military doctrine we have heard Defence
7 witnesses testifying for General Ojdanic who said that the norm would be
8 six to eight or ten such links at the most. As regards telecommunications
9 and technical conditions, these posed a strategic problem for the command
11 Q. You said six to eight lines of communication or links. How many
12 lines of communication did you have, as we have just heard the norm would
13 be six to eight, how many lines of communication did you have?
14 A. Well, ten at the most would be the norm, but here we have seen
15 there were 30 or 35.
16 Q. And you had to do that in the war?
17 A. Yes, that was done in the way I have described.
18 Q. General, how was the system of combat reporting regulated in the
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have Exhibit 5D351 brought
21 up on the screen, please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The system of combat reporting in
23 the corps command was defined in accordance with the order issued by the
24 3rd Army command and the General Staff according to a single principle, a
25 single order. There was only one method according to which daily combat
1 reports were compiled. We see on the screen an order issued by the
2 Pristina Corps command dated the 31st of March, where I draw attention to
3 the fact that over the past few days a small number of units delivered
4 daily combat reports because of the intensity of the fighting. I refer to
5 the order issued by the army command and I demand that combat reports be
6 submitted every day as of 1500 hours on that day, and then interim reports
7 as needed.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Did you order that attempts be made to call by telephone -- to
10 call the command?
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] And can we have 5D362.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Regardless of this order - and there
13 were several orders dealing with the issue of combat reporting - the chain
14 of command was limited to a large extent. And very often combat reports
15 arrived late or did not arrive at all because of technical difficulties.
16 I decided on the 4th of April to attempt to order additional reporting by
17 telephone. The subordinate commanders were to call the corps command or
18 the operations centre and tell them briefly if the lines were not jammed,
19 to inform them about the situation in the units. This is the order in
20 which I first of all warned that daily combat reports are not arriving,
21 that there are numerous difficulties, I'm aware of the difficulties, but I
22 require if there is no written report that the commanders at least call
23 the corps operations centre and tell them the main points regarding the
24 situation in the units.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. General, how did this reporting by telephone function? Were there
2 difficulties in this respect?
3 A. Even in the brief periods of time when the communications system
4 was operating properly in technical terms, it was often jammed so that it
5 would happen that for days on end there were no telephone communications
6 with certain units. And this caused huge problems, including defeatism in
7 some brigades. They didn't know what was going on, and some commanders
8 used a roundabout telecommunications system, asking that they be permitted
9 to come to the command centre to meet me and to tell me what was happening
10 in the units.
11 Q. General, how was the duty service organized in the Pristina Corps
12 and its subordinate units?
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] And could we have 5D200 brought up on
14 the screen, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was the third attempt, the
16 third way in which an attempt was made for the system of command to the
17 greatest possible extent in those wartime conditions to have its basic
18 functions; and in accordance with the Rules of Service of the Army of
19 Yugoslavia and the situation on the ground, I ordered that continual duty
20 be organized, regardless of the situation with telephones, when they were
21 operating and when they were not operating. So if they started operating,
22 even if it was only for half an hour, there would be somebody there to
23 respond. And also whenever an air threat was announced, whenever there
24 was a warning, the commands had to leave the operative centres or the
25 places where the telephones and comm systems were in place and to take
1 shelter. So as long as there was an air-raid alert, these could not
2 function, communications could not function. I said that there had to be
3 someone next to the telephone, not a private but an officer, in spite of
4 the danger there had to be someone by the phone always ready to answer.
5 That's the gist of this order.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. General, this monitoring of the situation in the units and the
8 system of command and telecommunications, was this a strategic problem in
9 implementing the chain of command?
10 A. This was an insuperable strategic problem throughout the war, and
11 it gave rise to grave concerns, both on the part of the army commander who
12 was distraught, and he asked me how we were going to get through all of
13 that, how they were going to endure it. And because I dealt with these
14 issues on a daily basis I told him out of the 78 days of the war, 56 days
15 were days in which the system of command seen from the aspect of reporting
16 and monitoring the situation in the units was not [as interpreted]
17 functioning properly or was functioning 30 per cent. The rest of the time
18 it was not functioning, so we were reduced to the level of World War I and
19 we sent off couriers; that was our method of communication.
20 Q. General, was there any need for frequent changes of the location
21 of the command post, the command of the Pristina Corps where you were?
22 A. Yes, there was a need not only in the tactical sense, but it was a
23 matter of survival in order to avoid casualties and to survive the wartime
24 conditions. The corps command, I'm referring to the main command post and
25 all the others as well, moved every other day, at least every other day,
1 and changed its location.
2 Q. General, 5D349, it seems that this is indicated here in this
3 document, so these frequent relocations along with the technical problems
4 were giving rise to all the problems we have been discussing.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have this document brought
6 up, please, 5D349.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In this document, the 3rd Army
8 command on the 31st of March, 1999, is reporting to the Supreme Command
9 Staff, the operative administration, saying that there are intensified
10 combat operations, increasingly frequent ground and air attacks, that the
11 commands are constantly relocating, and that all this, especially in the
12 Pristina Corps, is making difficult secure communications and is causing
13 difficulties in gathering and processing in a reliable way information on
14 the situation in the units. The Supreme Command Staff is also being
15 informed that everything is being done to stabilize the system, but the
16 situation is such as it is and there are no -- there's no information from
17 the units, so that will be delivered later.
18 Q. General, let's look at two more documents very quickly and we'll
19 move on, 5D359, dated the 2nd of April, please, this seems to be a
20 document compiled by you. So can we please look at the last item on the
21 first page. You are complaining here, it seems, that measures are not
22 being taken to re-establish severed communication lines. Let's see what
23 this is about, it's dated the 2nd of April, and it's addressed to the
25 A. I sent this document to the subordinate commanders, not to
1 complain to them but to draw attention to the numerous problems regarding
2 the functioning of the system of command. Quite simply, I concluded and I
3 informed the commanders of this that all this is creating problems at the
4 level of the corps command when decisions have to be made. In this last
5 sentence I remind them, the last sentence of the first page, that
6 according to the Rules of Combat subordinate units are duty-bound to make
7 efforts to establish telecommunications with their superior units if these
8 have been disrupted. So the basic rule is that the superior had to
9 establish the system in relation to the subordinates, but it also applies
10 vice versa.
11 Q. Thank you, General. And let us now look at the last document
12 dealing with this topic, this is your combat report dated the 13th of
13 April, and could you please comment on item 6, command and communications.
14 That's the last page, page 3, or rather, it's page 3 of 4 -- I'm sorry,
15 it's -- it's a Prosecution exhibit, P2004, item 6, command and
16 communications. The number of the document is P2004. Okay we see it in
17 front of us, item 6, General, please. This is a document dated the 13th
18 of April. It appears that some kind of contact had been established by
19 some of the units only at that time, so therefore there had been no
20 contact, but could you please comment on item 6, please.
21 A. This is a combat report of the Pristina Corps command sent to the
22 Supreme Command Staff and the 3rd Army, and I just wanted to remind the
23 Court that last week we said that on the 11th and the 12th and onwards, in
24 fact, were the dates when the air-strikes and long-range strikes had
25 become very intensive. And on the 13th, communication lines with all the
1 units were down. And now I am reporting - let me read - "communications
2 have been accomplished with all the units," so on day three we were able
3 to establish the communications with the exception, and then I list four
4 brigades, that on the third day and onwards remained incommunicado. And
5 because of constant danger and missile strikes, the encryption of the data
6 has been disrupted and reporting -- reports come in late throughout the
7 corps. Encryption means that the reports are sent in an encrypted form
8 because this is the only way in which you can actually send data during
9 the war, and such combat reports were sent on every second or third day.
10 Q. Did the Pristina Corps establish any kind of information centre
11 and what were the possibilities actually to do so given the circumstances?
12 A. Since the public media, the press and the electronic media, in
13 Kosovo and Metohija were not available to the commands and the units
14 because they were not functioning, all the transmission systems were down
15 with the exception of the foreign satellite channels, a decision was made
16 at the level of the Supreme Command Staff and later on at the level of the
17 3rd Army to reinforce the Pristina Corps with a group of officers from the
18 General Staff who would become part of the composition of the corps and
19 would set up an information centre, so to speak, in the basement of the
20 Grand Hotel. Many witnesses referred to it as the corps command post, but
21 this was not so; this was the information centre of the Pristina Corps.
22 And their task, the task of this group of people, was to communicate with
23 the media centre in Pristina, to communicate with the hundreds of
24 relatives of the soldiers; and the information it gathered was then to be
25 relayed to the units. In those circumstances, the corps command asked for
1 battery-operated radio stations to be distributed to the units.
2 Q. Could you explain to us, what was the position of the Pristina
3 Corps in the chain of command?
4 A. Your Honours, I would just like to tell you that the chain of
5 command in the corps and with the corps from the 3rd Army and the Supreme
6 Command was intact and it was in line with all the Rules of Combat and the
7 principles of command in the Army of Yugoslavia. Let me remind you once
8 again, Your Honours, that as far as I know this was a rare occasion in
9 practice for a strategic command such as the army command to be located at
10 the command post of a corps throughout the war so close to the front line.
11 And let me conclude that not a single day, not a single day went by
12 without the presence of the army commander at the command post of the
13 Pristina Corps. All the orders, all the decisions, all the amendments to
14 the orders were sent from the army command to the corps command and then
15 further down the chain of command.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Your answer has been translated into English as
17 saying that: "The chain of command was intact both down through the corps
18 and up to the 3rd Army and the Supreme Command." Now, it's absolutely
19 clear what you're saying about the 3rd Army and the Supreme Command. Are
20 you also saying, following all the answers you've just given, that the
21 chain of command down through the corps was intact?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, that is what I
23 meant to say, and if there is any imprecision let me just say that the
24 brigade commanders were in command of their subordinate units and the
25 corps command commanded the brigades. And the 3rd Army command commanded
1 the corps and then further up, that's the whole chain of command. I
2 wanted to cut this long story short, but I wanted to say precisely what
3 you have just said.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 Mr. Bakrac.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. But if I understand His Honour the Presiding Judge correctly, in
8 light -- in spite of all the difficulties and problems that you just
10 A. Well, I spoke at length about those substantial strategic
11 problems, but in my last answer I just wanted to say that despite all that
12 the chain of command was in line with the rules. Whenever it was possible
13 to issue commands or orders, it was done. There were no departures from
14 this chain of command, as we have come to call it here, of the
15 subordination system.
16 Q. General, we have seen that in your orders you insist on the
17 compliance with the Geneva Conventions and humane treatment of the
18 civilian population. Now I want to know whether the lower units included
19 those provisions in their orders, including the reserve units.
20 A. Yes. All the subordinate commands strictly complied with the
21 orders issued from the corps command in terms of provisions and acting
22 upon those provisions. But before the war started, such measures were
23 already defined in case the war started.
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we now look at 5D477, that is
25 an order from the 354th Infantry Brigade, the date is the 4th of February.
1 Q. And the reference is to one of your orders dated the 2nd of
2 February. Could we please look at it and could you please comment on item
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please not overlap with the
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] 5D477. Could we look at item 8,
7 which is on page 2.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In February training of the reserve
9 force was done in the corps units. It lasted a couple of days. This was
10 in line with the yearly training plan for the reserve force. This brigade
11 was deployed in the Kursumlija garrison outside of Kosovo and Metohija, it
12 was subordinated to the corps command under the organizational chart. And
13 on the 2nd of February, 1999, I ordered that when the reserve elements in
14 this brigade are trained, that the whole of the brigade should be
15 familiarised with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the way in
16 which the captured and wounded members of the enemy forces are to be
17 treated. This is the last sentence in item 8. So the reserve force, if
18 it were ever to be used, should be informed as to what they should do in
19 terms of combat -- conduct in combat and the compliance with the Geneva
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. And on the 12th of March, that's 5D260, Exhibit 5D260, a document
23 that deals with the maintenance and improvement of combat-readiness, you
24 say that if there were any conflicts that you actually order some
25 preventive measures. Could you please look at item 5 in this document and
1 tell us if that is indeed so.
2 A. Last week I testified that in February and March the functioning
3 of the Pristina Corps was organized in this manner. Every week there were
4 briefings, and this is one such document. It pertains to the week of the
5 13th to the 19th of March, 1999, and I demand after this briefing by the
6 subordinate commanders that any enemy but also criminal and other
7 activities in all the units of the corps should be uncovered and prevented
8 promptly in a systematic matter and that all the perpetrators should be
9 punished either by disciplinary measures or should even be criminally
11 Q. General, was every soldier given some kind of a pocket edition of
12 the Rules of Conduct in Combat, and could we please have Exhibit 5D199 and
13 if you could confirm if this is what we are talking about?
14 A. As early as in June 1998 a form was sent down from the General
15 Staff, it was a pocket laminated brochure, it is called the Rules of
16 Conduct in Combat. It was designed for the troops, and as soon as a
17 soldier came to the corps or a brigade, we issued this to those soldiers
18 and we demanded that it be studied carefully. We can see the last pages
19 here on the screen. There are -- there's one or two more pages, and in an
20 appropriate manner they instruct the fighters, the soldiers, how to treat
21 the civilians, how to treat the enemy soldiers, how to treat property so
22 that really every soldier had it in his pocket.
23 Q. General, you say that this document contains some other pages. I
24 assume that they are on the back of these pages, and could you please tell
25 us does this fold up in some way, in three parts, so that it can be put in
1 the blouse pocket?
2 A. Well, yes, it folds up like an accordion, this is just one part of
3 it but that's the size of it. You can fit it into the blouse pocket.
4 Q. Did the Pristina Corps command issue any instructions as to the
5 disciplinary and criminal responsibility and the compliance with the Rules
6 of Service of the Army of Yugoslavia as soon as the war started?
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] And could we please have Exhibit
8 5D332 on our screens.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, on the
10 second or even first day of the war -- on the second day of the war the
11 corps command issued an order and an instruction on taking an application
12 of measures of disciplinary and criminal responsibility in compliance with
13 the Rules of Service of the Army of Yugoslavia in wartime. This is dated
14 the 25th of March. It is an order which I sent in a form of a telegram to
15 all the units demanding that in spite of the state of war disciplinary
16 responsibility in war should -- in wartime should be done in -- as it is
17 usually done, and criminal responsibility is to be dealt with by the
18 military prosecutor's office and the military court at the Pristina Corps
19 and the military district that was set up later. I also demanded all the
20 Rules of Service be complied with. I instruct the subordinate commanders
21 to refer to the Law on Defence, this is last couple of items, telling them
22 how to apply some of the provisions of the Law on Defence, the provisions
23 regarding the security regime in their areas of responsibility.
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. In this document did you give any instructions regarding the
1 restrictions of the freedom of movement and the conditions in which this
2 is to be imposed?
3 A. I did not specifically describe it, but as you can see in the
4 last-but-one passage, the last sentence reads that -- I demand from the
5 commanders to act in accordance with the Article 70, paragraph 2 of the
6 Law on Defence. As far as I am able to paraphrase this article without
7 having actually now to quote from it, it says that in wartime conditions,
8 officers at the level of the brigade commander have the right and the duty
9 in the combat zone to restrict temporarily the movement of all persons to
10 prevent them from entering the combat zone. This is the essence of this
11 last sentence in the penultimate paragraph, that's Article 70.
12 Q. And further on during the first days of the war, the command of
13 the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps, or rather, they issued specific
14 orders to their subordinate units on the specific application of
15 international humanitarian law; is that correct?
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] 5D1144, dated the 2nd of April.
17 Q. The command of the 52nd Artillery Brigade. And it seems that this
18 order is based on yet another order of yours dated the 29th of March,
20 A. I wish to say to the honourable Trial Chamber that every two or
21 three days there would be a special order in terms of observing Rules of
22 Conduct and international humanitarian law, and these were addressed to
23 subordinate commanders. Of course the corps command received numerous
24 orders of this nature and the corps command itself took initiatives in
25 this domain. What you are referring to is an order of the commander of
1 the 52nd Artillery Rocket Brigade of the PVO dated the 2nd of April, where
2 he refers to my order of the 29th of March, 1999, and he orders all his
3 subordinate units to fully comply with the instructions on the observance
4 of the rules of international humanitarian law and he says who was
5 responsible for this application. He defines the particular role of the
6 security organs in respect of these measures. He calls on the commanders
7 to report to him on the consistent implementation of that order.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I do apologise. In
9 order to move on faster I omitted one document along the same lines, the
10 23rd of March, I'm not going to open it, but I just wish to refer to it,
11 it's 5D1293. It doesn't have to be opened, I'm just referring to it. I
12 just want to draw the attention of the Trial Chamber to this.
13 Could we now have a look at 5D1000.
14 Q. Can we hear your comments as to whether the command of the
15 military district issued such orders.
16 A. I've already said that all subordinate units, and there's no doubt
17 about that, had to act in accordance with the orders of the corps command.
18 Here the military district was at that time subordinated to the command of
19 the 3rd Army and it acted in accordance with the orders of the command of
20 that army in terms of carrying out these measures, here specifically in
21 relation to the prohibition of criminal behaviour vis-a-vis the property
22 of citizens.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in this respect I wish
24 to refer to document 5D343, dated the 29th of March, 1999; and P2029 dated
25 the 1st of April, 1999.
1 Q. General, please, you said that practically every two or three
2 days -- well, let's have a look at this document dated the 5th of April.
3 We did not open all of them, we just invoked some of them. So 5D365. I
4 think this is your document and I think that you wrote it on the basis of
5 the initials there, so could we hear your brief comments.
6 A. Yes, I compiled this order as the corps commander, with a view to
7 decidedly for the umpteenth time, this was only ten days into the war or
8 12 days into the war, once again I wish to issue an order to the
9 commanders to strictly adhere to the security regiment; that is to say in
10 coordination with the MUP of the Republic of Serbia and the civilian
11 protection they should protect the units, the war materiel reserves, to
12 help in protecting law and order, and especially the civilian population.
13 Also, that they help the MUP forces in the return of displaced persons.
14 And in all of this, they should abide by all the orders pertaining to the
15 Rules of Service of the Army of Yugoslavia and observing international
16 humanitarian law.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we also wish to refer
18 to 5D803 dated the 16th of April, subordinate brigades, pertaining to the
19 order of the Pristina Corps to the same effect.
20 Q. General, we have already seen that in the general order for the
21 defence of the country, Grom 4, that is document 175, in the combat
22 orders, in the orders for controlling territory. And now in the last
23 orders you always cautioned that international laws of war should be
24 applied properly and that the civilian population should be treated
25 properly. We see that this pertains to the return of the population,
1 taking care of them, providing them with food. Were there any attempts
2 made by you in terms of efforts, measures to have part of the medical
3 battalion take part in providing assistance to the civilian population.
4 I would like to call-up 5D592, please.
5 A. Practically, there is not a single combat order. There is not any
6 order for stabilizing defence or any other order where emphasis is not
7 laid on the attitude of corps members towards observing humanitarian law
8 with a focus on the civilian population. I wish to say to the honourable
9 Trial Chamber that the corps as an operational unit that defends the
10 country in terms of the focus of its defence does not have special tasks
11 that it would be the protagonist of taking care of civilian population in
12 the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, but indeed we did everything we
13 possibly could to help wherever possible the civilian population to
14 survive or to return and stay as safe as possible. It is in that sense
15 that I order the medical battalion that is supposed to provide medical
16 support to the corps to use all their resources to aid the civilian
17 population in the broader area of Podujevo.
18 Q. On the screen we have an order of the commander of the 211th
19 Armoured Brigade. It pertains precisely to what you've been telling us
20 about now, but we see that he invokes the order of the Pristina Corps
21 dated the 16th of April and the number is there as well. Is that it?
22 A. This is just one part. This order of mine of the 16th of April,
23 well with the permission of the honourable Trial Chamber I explain that
24 this is a rather special order by which I ordered to practically establish
25 elements in every brigade that would take care. So this would not only be
1 on paper, these would be forces that would take care of the civilian
2 population, and the commander of the 211th Armoured Brigade established a
3 unit from the ranks of the engineering battalion, from the medical unit
4 too, to take care of the displaced population in the area of Lab and the
5 Podujevo municipality.
6 Q. General, we saw your orders. You saw that lower-ranking units
7 incorporated your orders into their own orders. Did you caution
8 lower-ranking units about that, that your orders should be carried out in
9 this way?
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] So let us have a look at 5D198.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Generally speaking, the method of
12 work of the corps command after the issuing of such orders and tasks was
13 to follow as much as possible whether this was indeed being implemented on
14 the ground. So what followed were these warnings, these reminders of
15 these orders, as well as personal inspection on my part and on the part of
16 the commander of the army. We were trying to look into the matter to see
17 how this was being carried out in the field.
18 MR. BAKRAC:
19 Q. General, we'll have a look at that quickly, too, but let us look
20 at this document now. It seems to be a document of yours dated the 18th
21 of April. It is sent to the commanders and it says that according to some
22 information there were individual cases of behaviour in combat operations
23 which were inappropriate. And is this a warning yet again?
24 A. Yes. The corps command received some information beforehand that
25 there had been individual cases of an improper attitude on the part of
1 individuals from the brigade vis-a-vis the civilian population in terms of
2 the property of these civilians, some of their property was stolen. After
3 the warning that came from the army command, I warn commanders that they
4 should fully, in all respects, abide by all the orders issued and the
5 instructions from the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, all the
6 orders of the corps command, and that there should be no deviation from
7 these orders in terms of their implementation.
8 Q. General, the date is the 18th of April. It seems that immediately
9 on the 19th the subordinate commands sent this further down, 5D805 is the
10 document, the command of the 7th Infantry Brigade. It seems that they are
11 also invoking your warning and issuing their order to lower-ranking units
12 and cautioning them to respect all of this. Is that correct?
13 A. These warnings from the corps command do not pertain to all units.
14 It's not that all units were affected, but whenever something would happen
15 anywhere, warnings would be issued to all units. And this brigade
16 commander is invoking my order of the 18th of April, and the number is
17 there too, and he is cautioning his subordinated that they should strictly
18 observe all the orders issues.
19 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I'm sorry, I just wish to intervene for -- I'm
20 sorry, General, to ask this, to raise this query. Now, there were
21 repeated orders, there were inspections, and there were cases. I mean,
22 because there was -- there were repeated cases of violation of your
23 orders, is that the reason that you kept on sending the orders again and
24 again? I mean, there must have been many cases which necessitated the
25 disposition of this order. What have you to say. And secondly, I wanted
1 to ask you what did you mean by improper attitude, because very vague
2 term. I shall be very grateful if you'll kindly answer this.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with all due respect, I
4 would not say that there were major phenomena of lack of observance of
5 orders, violations of rules, violations of international humanitarian law.
6 I wish to say, because I drafted these orders too and the army commander,
7 next to who I was all the time, quite simply in a preventive manner, every
8 day, consistently, that we should take preventive action vis-a-vis
9 subordinate units. And then there is specific -- a specific reference in
10 this order that specific things happened, that property was stolen, that
11 there was looting, property of civilians, and this is in violation of the
12 orders that had been issued.
13 JUDGE CHOWHAN: And, General, sorry, what did you mean by improper
14 attitude? Can you define it, where it looks a bit vague, I couldn't
15 understand it, you used the word in your answer.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For me as a commander, even the
17 mildest form of excessive behaviour, namely, that a soldier stops a
18 civilian or a group of civilians in an unauthorised manner, that is
19 improper, that is impermissible behaviour.
20 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Thank you.
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in terms of having
22 these measures taken, I would like to draw your attention to 5D201, dated
23 the 19th of April, it is a document of the corps command, with a view to
24 taking care of the civilian population that was on the move; and 5D372,
25 dated the 22nd of April, 1999, also issued by the command of the Pristina
1 Corps in which what is insisted upon is the accelerated return of the
2 civilian population that is returning to its villages and towns; also
3 Exhibit 5D374, dated the 23rd of April, 1999; also 5D1291, in which the
4 command of the 7th Infantry Brigade on the 23rd of April further orders
5 the subordinate units to secure and look after and accommodate the
6 civilian population.
7 Q. General, from the subordinate brigades did you receive reports as
8 to what was done in relation to the civilian population?
9 A. The order of the corps command and my order in a special item
10 required that the subordinate commands on a regular basis include in their
11 daily combat reports what they did and how pursuant to these orders. And
12 the brigades reported on all the measures undertaken to implement these
14 Q. Before we move on to show a few example, please look at 5D389 of
15 the 2nd of May, 1999, where it seems you again refer to orders already
16 issued and where you again insist that the civilian population be looked
17 after, accommodated in suitable buildings and not left out in the open.
18 A. Yes. I drafted this order personally. I issued a similar order
19 on the 19th of April where I required that all possible assistance be
20 given to the civilian population, the civilian authorities, and the
21 civilian protection which was dealing with these issues, also the MUP
22 forces involved in this humane work. And now after ten days and more, I'm
23 again requiring of the commanders that they continue with these activities
24 wherever they can to take in the civilian population, protect it, and
25 provide it with all possible assistance.
1 So this is not about deviations or failure to comply with orders,
2 but it's about the insistence of the corps command to assist the civilian
3 population wherever possible.
4 Q. General, let's briefly go through a few documents before the break
5 as regards what was done. Please look at 5D793, here the commander of the
6 7th Infantry Brigade is informing you on the 4th of May that measures have
7 been taken to assist the civilian population. Can we quickly comment on
8 this and two other documents, and then we'll simply list the remaining
10 A. Well, that's the gist of this response and the previous one. The
11 brigade commander is informing me about what was done in Istok
12 municipality or Istok town and Klina town where everything was done for
13 the civilian population, the unit provided assistance, and he is
14 responding to my query. He says that wherever possible, wherever there
15 are no terrorist forces attacking the unit, the newly arrived civilian
16 population returnees and displaced persons are being provided with
17 assistance and security. So this is an example of compliance with my
18 order on the part of a brigade.
19 Q. Please look at 5D1103, that is a combat report of the 52nd Brigade
20 dated the 4th of May, 1999, and please look at item 11, miscellaneous or
21 other. It seems that in this brigade's area of responsibility there were
22 no civilian refugees, although there were many civilians in Gnjilane?
23 A. Well, we see two different approaches here. One commander in a
24 special document reported to the corps command, saying that there was
25 several locations where the civilian population was located, and here the
1 commander of the 52nd Mixed Artillery Brigade is reporting to me within
2 his regular daily combat report, referring to my previous order of the 2nd
3 of May, and reporting that in his area of responsibility there are no
4 displaced persons out in the open and that the town of Gnjilane is full of
5 civilians and that these civilians have the basic necessities.
6 Q. General, can we now look at two more documents concern -- these
7 documents refer to the medical battalion. Please look at 5D1104, this is
8 a report from the command of the 52nd Medical Battalion.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the translation of this
10 document has not arrived yet.
11 Q. Can you please briefly comment, Witness, what you reported or what
12 you were informed of here?
13 A. The commander of the medical battalion of the Pristina Corps,
14 Dr. Disic is here informing me that in the surgical station of the medical
15 battalion assistance was provided to two persons, two civilians of
16 Albanian ethnicity, that their injuries were a consequence of NATO
17 air-strikes, also that a tour was made of, as it says here, a refugee camp
18 in the village of Metohija, where returnees had come back and that
19 measures had been proposed to the Podujevo Crisis Staff to improve
20 assistance to that civilian population in order to prevent epidemics. And
21 to the best of my recollection, he later reported that the medical
22 battalion also got involved by distributing medicines to the civilian
23 medical organs and helped accommodate women and children in the Podujevo
25 Q. PD1109 [as interpreted], please. This is dated the 22nd of May,
1 and it shows what the medical battalion did in item 9 under (a), it seems
2 that they also are reporting that refugees are returning to their houses.
3 A. Could we please have the Serbian version brought back. Dr. Disic,
4 the commander of the medical battalion, is reporting to me that seven
5 babies in the village of Metohija have been taken care of, that there have
6 been three interventions, one heart attack, and two sprained ankles, and
7 this was -- this assistance was provided to civilians. He is also
8 informing me that there is a danger of terrorist attacks against the
9 medical battalion, that it does not have enough security, that even though
10 the doctors are going out amongst the civilians, among the civilians there
11 are members of the terrorist forces. And he is asking for assistance,
12 asking how those medical teams providing assistance to the civilian
13 population out on the ground can be better protected.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, can we break now or is there something
15 in particular you want to --
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was just about, but
17 there are just two other documents I wish to refer to and then I would
18 suggest a break, 5D509 of the 1st of May, 1999; and 5D390 of the 4th of
19 May, 1999, are similar documents demonstrating the same point.
20 And now, Your Honour, it is a convenient moment for a break.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 Well, we'll break now and resume just after ten minutes to 11.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Before the break I mentioned -- I omitted to mention 5D236, a
3 combat report of the Pristina Corps command.
4 Q. General, last week we spoke about prisoners taken by the KLA
5 terrorist forces. Were there any and where were they located, and please
6 look at document 5D368 dated the 4th of April, 1999, it's a short
7 document, please comment on it.
8 A. Last week I answered the question put to me to the best of my
9 knowledge and based on the combat reports there were 215 members of the
10 terrorist forces who had been taken prisoner by the corps units, and these
11 prisoners of war, after a brief prescribed procedure, the so-called
12 security processing by the security service of the brigade and the corps
13 were handed over to the competent MUP organs and then to the civilian
14 judiciary. In the corps there was no collection centre or camp for
15 prisoners of war.
16 We have before us a document issued by the 3rd Army command,
17 signed by the army Chief of Staff, addressed to the staff of the Supreme
18 Command at the beginning of the war, reporting to the staff that in the
19 army and the corps, in this organizational structure, there is no
20 prisoner-of-war camp. So the proposal is made that prisoners of war
21 should be evacuated to the area of the 1st Army out of the area of Kosovo
22 and Metohija, where they would be safer and more secure.
23 Q. And what was done pursuant to this letter, do you have any
24 knowledge of that?
25 A. I know what I've already said, that prisoners of war taken by the
1 corps members were processed through this procedure and then handed over
2 to the MUP organs and the TO --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat what he said.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, the interpreter hasn't picked up
5 what you're saying. Could you repeat that. We've got that: "The
6 prisoners of war taken by corps members were processed through this
7 procedure and then handed over to the MUP organs ..."
8 We've already had all this evidence. I don't know if there's
9 something else that is going to be added by going over it again,
10 Mr. Bakrac. Is there some particular point that we haven't already dealt
11 with on this subject?
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. There will be a
13 witness and we've already heard a protected witness who testified about
14 the handover of some prisoners to the MUP. We feel that this question is
15 important to demonstrate that there were no conditions in place to
16 accommodate these prisoners, and we see a combat report here showing that
17 they were handed over to the police organs. We will not dwell on this any
19 JUDGE BONOMY: The real issue is why were there no facilities and
20 what's the point in telling your army to obey all the rules of war and
21 deal with everybody under the Geneva Convention properly and so on if you
22 don't actually have the facilities? What we're getting from this evidence
23 largely is a journey through the documentation without much evidence of
24 what was actually happening on the ground.
25 In any event, please proceed.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 These documents show -- well, we'll come to that later.
3 Q. General, please look at PD522 [as interpreted]?
4 JUDGE BONOMY: I assume -- the English translation is PD, does
5 that mean 5D or is it a Prosecution exhibit?
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] 5D522.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. This is a combat report of the 354th Infantry Brigade, showing
10 that KLA members who had been taken prisoner were handed over to the
11 police, this is the processing you mentioned, and then they were handed
12 over to the MUP.
13 A. This is concrete evidence of the manner of proceeding on the
14 ground in wartime of subordinate units in compliance with orders of the
15 corps command as to how international humanitarian law was to be respected
16 in relation to prisoners. There are dozens of such reports but commanders
17 will also come and testify here about this.
18 Q. Thank you, General. What was the procedure followed by the
19 Pristina Corps units with war booty. First explain what war booty is and
20 then tell us what the procedure was.
21 A. According to the Rules of Combat of the Army of Yugoslavia and of
22 other armed forces worldwide, war booty is a legitimate source of supply
23 for units engaged in war. War booty means material resources of different
24 kinds, which in the course of fighting has been taken from the enemy side.
25 The entire procedure as regards war booty is defined in wartime by a
1 number of orders from the General Staff to the army command, and then from
2 there to the subordinate units.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we look at 5D188.
4 Q. And if you could comment on it briefly. It seems to be an order
5 issued by you in connection with war booty and confiscated vehicles. This
6 order contains ten items, General. Could you just briefly tell us what
7 this refers to and what it regulates.
8 A. This is an order issued by the Pristina Corps command dated the
9 12th of April, 1999, in which the procedure as regards various resources
10 which are war booty is regulated. This refers to food, consumer products,
11 and other materials and weapons and ammunition and so on. It has to be
12 received by a commission, recorded according to the instructions on
13 material and financial proceedings and must not be misused by individuals.
14 It must not be, in other words, taken, abused, or stolen by individuals.
15 Q. So each item had to be marked by the commission, it had to be
17 A. If I can further clarify, it was important for the commission to
18 establish what the war booty was, for it to be safe-guarded and stored,
19 and part of the war booty could be used pursuant to a decision by the
20 military court if, or rather, it might be part of a criminal proceeding or
21 pursuant to a decision by the superior commander. So war booty had to be
22 treated according to all the relevant regulations of the army.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you explain the first paragraph, please.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the first paragraph
25 the procedure is defined regarding food products and consumer goods that
1 happened to be in the abandoned warehouses of the OSCE and the UNHCR in
2 Pristina. Colonel Pesic, a Prosecution witness, testified about this,
3 namely, that there was looting there, that these material resources were
4 stolen, and that with part of his unit he secured that warehouse so that
5 there would be no further theft. The corps command ordered --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: You have clarified one thing, which is that these
7 were all abandoned warehouses. What was intended to be done with the aid
8 and food that had been abandoned?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This order is preceded by a special
10 order regarding logistics security, precisely defining the inspection of
11 these food products. If they are in proper condition, then the corps
12 command allows, through its decision, to have such products be used by
13 lower-ranking units.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: So they would be diverted away from their original
15 destination of providing aid for refugees?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot be specific on this,
17 whether these resources were and what resources were exactly involved. It
18 wasn't only food products that were given to refugees, but I know for
19 sure, Mr. President, Your Honour, that soldiers gave some of their own
20 food to the civilian population in areas where that civilian population
21 happened to be. I hope that we will have occasion to hear the witnesses
22 who are yet to come talk about that.
23 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Well, I too have a question, and sorry for
24 interruption. If we read the history of wars, obviously booty implies
25 something which you take in other territory from the enemy. Here you were
1 within your own geographical plains, and the property belonged to those
2 people who were living there. I'm surprised how would you twist the
3 classical meaning of booty to the one which has been stated today. This
4 is one surprise which has come to me.
5 And secondly, how can you treat this as a war booty when it has
6 been taken from your own citizens or from warehouses where things were
7 stored for various purposes? And how could you appropriate to yourself or
8 to your soldiers things which belonged to the civilians? I mean, this is
9 very, very strange. I'm sorry for this long question, but I think kindly
10 elaborate, because I'm also astonished to see this order, Exhibit 5D188,
11 why was there a necessity of issuing such an order and legitimizing what
12 was happening, to take away this property and give it to the commanders?
13 I mean, why was this happening? That's something you will have to kindly
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With all due respect, Your Honour,
16 may I say that either I did not sufficiently explain how this was
17 interpreted or it is something else, but you did not understand me. War
18 booty is not the property of the civilian population, but of the rebel
19 terrorist forces that they used when fighting against their own state and
20 the legitimate force of that state, specifically vehicles, various
21 vehicles on which lethal weapons were mounted, then different medicines.
22 Let me tell you quite openly, there were even drugs there and all sorts of
23 things that were found and used by the terrorist forces. It's not that
24 civilian organs or the civilian population were using this. War booty
25 means that these resources were being used by the other side, the opposing
1 side, and that is in agreement with combat rules.
2 JUDGE CHOWHAN: But, General, if you kindly read paragraph 6 of
3 the order, this is something different than what you have kindly stated.
4 I quite appreciate what you are trying to interpret, but what happens to
5 paragraph 6 of your order, please?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I kindly ask you, Your Honour, that
7 you look at the following. There are two things in the heading of this
8 order: Procedure with seized and requisitioned goods. I focused here on
9 war booty, but you are right. When this order - it is true - defines
10 procedure with -- with other equipment, other resources that were either
11 illegally seized or were found in the area of combat activities. And on
12 page 2 of this document, procedure with such resources is defined, too,
13 basically that they cannot be abused, that they cannot be taken away.
14 Briefly, that is the procedure involved from paragraph 6.
15 With the permission of the Trial Chamber, please take a look at
16 paragraph 8. It says here that if some of the resources mentioned in this
17 order were found before this date, everyone should act in accordance with
18 this order. Under the control of commissions, nothing should be taken
19 away, that it's the military court that decides how these items are to be
20 used further. It is not for the commanders to decide on that.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: You specifically refer to war booty as food
22 products and consumer products. What do you mean by consumer products?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, as for
24 consumer goods, among them there were usual communication devices, too, of
25 a conventional nature, non-military, but they could be held -- used as
1 hand-held radios for military purposes, too. Then TV sets, radio sets
2 that were used by forces, terrorist forces, within their bases and
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 Mr. Bakrac.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. So, General, so that this be clear, you insisted here that all
8 these goods that were taken away, that were seized, that were the subject
9 of criminal behaviour, that they be recorded, stored, secured, and that
10 they cannot be taken away, cannot be taken anywhere, is that the core of
11 this order?
12 A. Yes, you understood it properly, and I explained to His Honour the
13 Presiding Judge. War booty is one thing, and equipment that was
14 illegitimately taken is a different matter, things that are the object of
15 criminal offences. A special order refers to that. I give an order as to
16 how one should act in accordance with the rules.
17 Q. Let us move on, General. Did you take measures with a view to
18 preventing a lack of discipline and did you do this by yourself, through
19 personal inspection?
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we have a look at 5D384.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One of the ways to ensure the strict
22 compliance with these orders is everyday insistence on military order and
23 discipline, because if there is combat discipline, then it is more certain
24 that these orders will be carried out. That is an answer to the first
25 part of your question. As for the second part, certainly, whenever
1 security conditions allowed for that, we tried to reach the units
2 concerned and to see what their specific behaviour was and whether they
3 were adhering to orders, the ones that we're discussing today, and others,
4 pertaining to the security regimen and the implementation of tasks in
6 Specifically, this is an order that I drafted on the 29th of
7 April, 1999, when I carried out an unannounced inspection in the area of
8 Drenica. And I saw that part of the unit of the 37th Motorised Brigade
9 was in a position that was impermissible from the point of view of combat.
10 They were exposed to NATO air-strikes. Soon a few of them would get
11 killed. So I ordered the commander of the brigade on the basis of this
12 personal insight of mine, that he urgently look into the responsibility of
13 commanders and commanding officers who allowed this kind of violation of
14 the security regimen during the course of the war.
15 Q. On the same day, did you write an order of warning to all other
16 brigades, 5D385?
17 A. In one of my previous answers I said that the system and method of
18 work was that we take advantage of every single case or example to
19 indicate this to other units so that other units would also act in
20 accordance with orders issued. On that same day -- well, this was an
21 order just for one brigade, but I personally on the same day drafted an
22 order on the 29th of April, 1999, that would go to all units.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] 5D385, that is what it is, Your
25 Could we please have a look at 5D1020 dated the 1st of May.
1 Q. It seems that the commander of the 37th Motorised Brigade is
2 reacting to your warning of the 29th.
3 A. The commanders of the 37th Motorised Brigade took this order of
4 mine seriously, the one that was based on my personal insight. And in the
5 last paragraph of the heading he recalls my order, my personal insight,
6 and he unequivocally asks subordinate commanders to fully comply with all
7 orders issues. So the brigade commanders is acting already on the next
8 day, on that order of mine.
9 Q. General, now that we're dealing with these documents, a few
10 moments ago we saw from document 5D384 that on the 29th of April at 9.00
11 you personally came across part of the 37th Brigade near the village of
12 Lozica. Can you tell us where the village of Lozica is and where it is in
13 relation to Djakovica, where it is in Kosovo and in relation to Djakovica.
14 I'm asking you this and I'm going to put two more questions to you in
15 relation to the testimony of Nike Peraj who says he saw you in Djakovica
16 when Meja took place on the 27th, 28th, and 29th, those were his words, he
17 said that the action took place on those days.
18 A. The village of Lozica is in the broader area of Klina, closer to
19 the Drenica region, where the units of the 37th Motorised Brigade were.
20 Around 9.00 I set out to tour and inspect in an unannounced manner, as I
21 said, the 125th Brigade and the 37th Brigade, Pristina-Klina is the road
22 towards Pec. And on that entire day, on the 29th of April, I was within
23 these two units. Lozica and Klina are -- well, let me give an estimate
24 now without a map, about a hundred kilometres away from Djakovica, perhaps
25 a bit less.
1 Q. Of course 100 kilometres in war conditions is a lot more than in
2 peacetime; isn't that right?
3 A. Well, that is right but there is no way that on the 29th I was in
4 the area that you referred to a few moments ago on the basis of the
5 statement of Witness Nike Peraj.
6 Q. Do you remember, General, where you were on the 28th of April, on
7 the previous day? Can you remember that?
8 A. On the 28th of April, I remember that because that was the day
9 after the day of statehood in Pristina where -- when I met with most of
10 the commanders. And on the 28th, the leader of the group that was in
11 Pristina, Colonel Filipovic, asked me to visit those smaller units in the
12 morning hours, there were 11 or 12 of them, and also to receive a
13 humanitarian organization Kolo Srpkih Sestara, so that on the 28th I spent
14 that day in Pristina.
15 Q. Did your command move on the 28th?
16 A. Yes, that's right. The corps command moved on the 28th from the
17 wider region of Kisnica and Gracanica Lake towards the urban part of the
18 town of Pristina.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we please have
20 P2227 --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: P2297.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] -- That's the war log of the Military
23 Police Battalion. And could we please first look at the date, the 28th of
25 Q. And could you tell us when the move took place, did you
1 participate in it, and did you go anywhere after that?
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It's page 11 in e-court, Your
3 Honours, that's in the English version and in B/C/S we need to see the
4 entry for the 28th of April and then it continues on to page 12. The 28th
5 I think -- what we need in English is on page 12.
6 Q. It says here, General, the Pristina Corps command moved from
7 Kisnica to the day care centre in Pristina, and Captain Stankovic was
8 pulled out and assigned to security. Could you explain to us when that
9 happened and whether you were present.
10 A. I would like to say that the 52nd Military Police Battalion was
11 designed to provide the personal security of the corps commander and the
12 command, and that is why this duty is listed here in the war log. The
13 move of the part of the command started in the early morning hours, it was
14 dark, and it was completed by around 6.00 p.m. To a building between the
15 law school and the day care centre, it's in a neighbourhood in Pristina.
16 Naturally, I was there and so was part of the operational units. And
17 after that I went out to visit those structures located in the broader
18 Pristina town region, in accordance with the request of Colonel Filipovic.
19 Q. When you say the 28th of April during the air-strikes, you say
20 between the day care centre and the law school. The day care centre was
21 not opened, there were no children there, right?
22 A. Well, the education system wasn't working at the time. The law
23 school wasn't open, but this was a building -- it was an outbuilding of
24 the law school.
25 Q. General, when we're talking about this document, before the first
1 break you told us that the command post would move about quite often.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have next page both in B/C/S
3 and in English.
4 Q. Could you look at the entry for the 1st of -- I'm sorry, I'm
5 sorry, I apologise. While we're on the 28th here in the Military Police
6 Battalion log-book, it is registered that a soldier was killed at Ramoc?
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] And I would like to draw Your
8 Honours' attention, this is an incident that a witness will be called here
9 to testify, Witness Antic, that is -- that was part of the Meja action.
10 Q. Please now look at the 1st of May, it appears that at that time
11 you were already reconnoitering a new command post in the Obilic area.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we please have the 1st of May.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is correct, a team from
14 the corps command and from the Military Police Battalion, on my orders,
15 had already started looking for a location for the next command post, and
16 as soon as they found it they checked it, there was another move. So this
17 is part of the answer that I gave at our previous session.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, we saw the 28th and the 29th of April. Now, what about
20 the 27th of April, do you know where you were and what was going on on
21 that day?
22 A. On the 27th of April, in Pristina, there was a modest celebration
23 of the day of the statehood of Yugoslavia in Pristina in the presence of
24 the 3rd Army commander and some of the subordinate commanders who had come
25 to attend this modest celebration.
1 Q. And where was that?
2 A. Well, I can't remember now, but it was one of the buildings now
3 the Temporary Executive Council.
4 Q. Yes, but where? In what town?
5 A. Well, in Pristina.
6 Q. General, having seen this document dated the 29th, we veered off
7 our original topic. Could you please tell me whether you ever removed any
8 brigade commander or any officer from his post because of any omissions,
9 any errors done in the process of command in terms of the performance of
10 their service, so not because of a crime but because of such omissions?
11 A. Well, as far as I personally am concerned as the corps commander,
12 I did do that. My subordinate commanders did that too at their level, the
13 3rd Army commander did that. I mentioned the 3rd Army commander because
14 he was the one to remove some of the officers that were in the Pristina
15 Corps, primarily in the units that did not belong to the Pristina Corps
16 according to the establishment, those units that had been attached or
17 resubordinated to the Pristina Corps. And to make myself completely clear
18 and accurate, as early as in the beginning of April, I removed from his
19 post a commander of the 58th Light Infantry Brigade which was stationed in
20 the wider region of the Zecani, Zubanj Potok [as interpreted]; and I
21 appointed a new commander and I removed from the post, the Chief of Staff
22 of one of the battalions several commanders and artillery battalion
24 Q. General, now I would like us to look at 5D531 --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 533.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Could you please tell us very briefly what this document is all
3 about, it is a document dated the 28th of April, and then we will move on
4 to another document but this one is related to the one. Could you please
5 explain to us what this is.
6 A. During the war from the military security department in the
7 Pristina Corps I received some raw data about some omissions or
8 deficiencies in the work of the commander of the 175th Infantry Brigade
9 from the Nis Corps that had been resubordinated to the Pristina Corps.
10 And I demanded from the commander of that brigade to send me a report in
11 writing, indicating which of these allegations were true and which were
12 not. In this report from the brigade commander, he claims that all the
13 reports that he is sending to the corps command, that these reports were
14 all accurate, that the information about his omissions in the performance
15 of his duties were -- is incorrect, and that he was prepared to be
16 controlled and checked in every way. That's the date is the 28th of
17 April, 1999.
18 Q. And what did you do after you received this memo?
19 A. I believed my subordinate brigade commander, not only in terms of
20 this written report, but as far as I can remember on the 1st of May in the
21 afternoon I went to inspect this unit, although I had already inspected
22 this unit several times, to verify on the spot the accuracy of the
23 allegations made by the military security organs and in this report. Let
24 me just mention that General Pavkovic, the army commander, headed out
25 together with me and we toured most of the units in this brigade together.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we now please have 5D388.
2 Q. And since you've already explained this thing to us, could you
3 just make a very brief comment indicating that this document concerns your
4 visit and the order to carry out immediately an analysis of the situation.
5 So that's 5D388.
6 A. Yes, this is a document that I drafted the next day, following the
7 visit to this brigade together with the 3rd Army commander, and I sent
8 it -- I addressed it to the brigade commander in question. And as the
9 corps commander, I was not happy with the situation that I encountered
10 there in terms of the organization of the life and work in the unit, I was
11 unhappy with some tactical measures, and I was particularly unhappy with
12 the personal appearance of the troops in the brigade. I ordered that
13 additional measures be taken immediately to eliminate those deficiencies,
14 to make a complex plan for the elimination of those deficiencies, and to
15 monitor the implementation of all the tasks that had been given during the
16 control. I sent a similar document to all the other commanders on the
17 very same day as a preventive measure, as a warning regarding what the
18 army commander and myself noticed on our visit to that brigade.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this warning is Exhibit
21 Q. Could you please tell me what happened to this brigade commander?
22 Did he send you a report? Did he keep his post? Or what happened?
23 A. Quite soon after the 1st and the 2nd of May, the 3rd Army
24 commander ordered the Nis Corps commander - this was the corps that was
25 superior to this unit in accordance with the establishment - to send a
1 team down there and to assist the Pristina Corps command to get a more
2 detailed picture of the situation in the brigade. As far as I remember, a
3 couple days later, the army commander and myself, we went to visit this
4 unit again. The situation had improved regarding some of the elements,
5 but we were still not happy with all the measures that had been taken.
6 The army commander then decided to remove from his post the commander of
7 that brigade. And 17 other officers from this brigade were removed from
8 their posts, the security organ, the Chief of Staff, and some of the
9 commanders of the battalions and artillery battalions. And other officers
10 were appointed to those posts from the Nis Corps of the 3rd Army.
11 Q. General, did you take other additional measures in order to
12 maintain the reputation of the Army of Yugoslavia and in order to prevent
13 any kind of non-military-like behaviour, unsoldier-like behaviour?
14 A. Well, when we're talking about measures, there is a whole set of
15 measures. Here we can see personnel measures, but by your leave, Your
16 Honours, I would like to say that the personnel measures were accompanied
17 by disciplinary measures and even criminal prosecution. Let me just make
18 a quick digression, Your Honours, when I said that I personally removed
19 the commander of the 58th Brigade, during the war he was prosecuted,
20 criminally prosecuted, and also disciplinary measures were taken against
21 him for the acts he committed during the war. But now let me be more
22 specific. Disciplinary measures were taken, military disciplinary
23 measures were taken before the military disciplinary tribunal and criminal
24 prosecutions were conducted in addition to personnel measures.
25 Q. We will come to who was in charge of that and how it was done
1 quite soon, but let me just ask you. In some situations where you
2 observed unsoldier-like behaviour, did you insist on further medical and
3 psychological vetting of those soldiers, additional exams?
4 A. That is a measure which is one of the command measures. These are
5 not measures of responsibility, but they are highly significant for the
6 prevention of deviant behaviour by individual members due to the stress of
7 war. And several of my orders were issued to send both privates and
8 officers for evaluation of their fitness at the level of the military
9 medical commission, at the level of the 3rd Army and the Nis Corps, and
10 the units and quite a few of their members to have their ability and
11 fitness to carry out these difficult tasks evaluated.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's 5D315.
13 Q. Did the subordinate units, pursuant to your warnings, take any
14 measures to secure order and discipline?
15 A. As I said, although this issue is not dealt with in the set of
16 questions dealing with the respect for humanitarian law, we made an
17 assessment that order and discipline are a prerequisite, we made that
18 assessment in the corps command. So several orders issued by the corps
19 command had to do with demands that combat discipline be ensured at any
20 cost, as I said in my orders; that is, using all available means and
22 Q. General, let's look at 5D554 dated the 2nd of May after your
23 inspection, and let's look at items 5 and 7, in view of your previous
24 order, and then we will just refer to other examples for the benefit of
25 the Chamber. We see here taking measures in the spirit of the order
1 issued, and then it seems in item 5 you are being informed that security
2 is improving with the establishment of control.
3 A. The brigade of this -- the commander of this brigade, 175th
4 Brigade, in which these inspections were carried out, as soon as on the
5 2nd of May, informed me that he was acting on the orders that had been
6 issued. And in item 5, he reports that the first measures have been
7 implemented, that there were disciplinary and criminal prosecutions, and
8 that this was having a positive effect on the behaviour of members of the
9 unit. And according to the brigade commander, measures would be taken to
10 persevere in the implementation of this task.
11 Q. On the following page, item 7, rear, paragraph 3, it seems that a
12 list of confiscating property and motor vehicles has been drawn up, and
13 you are being asked to send a commission for the take-over of the same.
14 A. Yes. This is an even more specific response to His Honour's
15 question. The units implemented each of these orders, complied with them,
16 and they're reporting to the corps command that a commission should arrive
17 to take over because the brigade commander is not authorised to proceed
18 further as regards war booty.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm doing my best to
20 complete my examination-in-chief before the break, so I will just give you
21 a reference, 5D1182, 5D798, and 5D550.
22 Q. General, in the units of the Pristina Corps who dealt with
23 detecting and prosecuting perpetrators of crimes and with crime
25 A. There was three structures, so to speak, at the corps level which
1 had this important task which was significant for the defence of the
2 country, that's in the system of command from the corps command to the
3 subordinate commands, both as regards normative regulation and as regards
4 instituting proceedings against perpetrators of criminal offences and
5 crimes. That's the first structure. The second structure is the organs
6 of the military security service and the units of the military police
7 within the scope of the corps and the brigades ex officio, because they
8 had special powers in this area. And thirdly, the military judiciary
9 organs established in the war, the military prosecutor's office, and the
10 military corps at the Pristina Military District and the Pristina Corps
12 Q. General, what was your attitude as the corps commander of the
13 Pristina Corps to military courts and the military prosecutor's offices at
14 the corps and at the military district and what were your powers over
16 A. The military prosecutor's office and the military courts at the
17 level of the corps, the army, and the Supreme Command Staff were an
18 integral part of the civilian judiciary and prosecutor's office at the
19 level of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. And starting from these
20 legal provisions, as the corps commander I had no powers whatsoever from
21 the viewpoint of subordination, issuing orders, or asking them to do
22 things they were not competent to do. It was my duty to create the
23 technical and material conditions for these military judiciary organs, to
24 perform their constitutional and legal duty, in compliance with their
25 powers and authority. They were not part of the system of subordination
1 in the Pristina Corps.
2 Q. As I understood it, detecting suspects or suspected perpetrators
3 of crimes and gathering evidence was done by the security organs and the
4 military police; is that correct?
5 A. Yes. They did this based on information received from the
6 subordinate commands, other information they acquired. What I want to say
7 is that if the subordinate commands observed something, they were
8 duty-bound to secure the traces, to secure the crime scene, and then the
9 military judiciary organs would become involved. And the military
10 security organs were autonomously and independently those who had to
11 detect, prosecute, and prevent perpetrators of crimes.
12 Q. General, in the war, were there individuals in the corps units who
13 failed to comply with the orders and instructions we have just seen or
14 those who committed crimes?
15 A. Unfortunately, in spite of numerous orders and warnings, numerous
16 measures taken by the organs of command in the course of the war, there
17 were individuals who committed certain crimes against the army and against
18 civilians from the standpoint of violations of international humanitarian
19 law. I'm referring primarily to thefts of property, looting, violating
20 dignity and morals, and all the way to murders of civilians.
21 Q. How were these crimes reported on in the units and were there
22 attempts to hush up these reports?
23 A. These three structures that I mentioned which took measures to
24 detect, prevent, and prosecute perpetrators of crimes also reported. So
25 the chain of command had its system of reporting through daily or interim
1 combat reports. Furthermore, the organs of the military security service
2 had their own chain of reporting to the superior service of military
3 security and the military judiciary organs and the judiciary organs, so
4 they had two lines of reporting. They had to report to the higher
5 military judiciary organs as well.
6 I think you asked me something else. There was another
7 subquestion. I'm not sure whether I have answered everything.
8 Q. We'll come back to that later. I'll put that question to you
9 again later on. But now tell us whether during the war when from your
10 assistant for legal affairs you received reports, did you send reports on
11 the crimes that had been perpetrated to your subordinate units for their
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we look at 5D1290, please.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I beg Your Honours' leave, I've just
15 remembered that question I forgot to answer, whether there were any
16 attempts to hush up crimes. I think that was your second question. I
17 assert categorically that to the best of my knowledge, according to what I
18 know personally and the reports arriving in the corps command, there was
19 no hushing up of crimes committed by members of the Pristina Corps. And
20 what you just asked me about, that was the system of command and
21 prevention. When we received specific information about certain criminal
22 offences or failure to comply with orders, the corps command would send --
23 would send a circular letter to all subordinate units, warning them and
24 ordering them and telling them what happened, which should not have
25 happened in certain units, and demanding that additional measures be
1 taken. So that in spite of the fact that the chaos of war prevailed
2 everywhere, actions should be reduced to the smallest possible measure,
3 actions which were not fit for a soldier.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Please look at the bottom of the page. This is a survey of the
6 information received up to the 14th of May which you received as far as I
7 can see.
8 A. From the military court at the corps command.
9 Q. Yes but it's Captain Surbatovic, who compiled this information, he
10 is the assistant to the commander for legal affairs. And as we can see,
11 in fact, crimes of murder, theft, and aggravated theft, there are about a
12 hundred -- well, criminal reports, I do apologise and reports for failure
13 to implement orders, refusal to implement orders, refusal to carry out
14 tasks in combat. There are some 20 such reports, and 14 criminal reports
15 for murder, one officer, one non-commissioned officer, 12 privates, 26
16 criminal reports for theft, and 71 for aggravated theft.
17 As we can read this for ourselves, just tell us what was the aim
18 of sending this as a circular letter to inform all the subordinate units.
19 A. Well, this is concrete information. No names are mentioned
20 because proceedings had not been finalised in the course of the war names
21 of perpetrators were also included in such information. And the general
22 aim was, by means of information of this kind, to additionally get the
23 units to undertake all possible measures, to prevent similar crimes in
24 their units.
25 Q. General, you just mentioned concrete. Well, let's look at 5D130.
1 Can we please take a look at this exhibit, and here on the 15th
2 information on crime among professional soldiers, from the corps command,
3 and let's look at the very end of this document signed by you, where it
4 says, unlike in the previous document, that perpetration of these and
5 similar crimes by officers and non-commissioned officers in wartime
6 conditions is deviant behaviour, threatening the morale and
7 combat-readiness of the units, and there is no need even to mention the
8 effect on the subordinates. And this also greatly diminishes the
9 reputation of the Yugoslav Army and the confidence it enjoys among the
11 And on the following page you say that you consider it
12 indispensable that all legally prescribed measures should be taken against
13 the perpetrators in order to prevent such behaviour, and that such
14 perpetrators -- that the organs of the military police and the military
15 prosecutor's offices should be immediately informed of the names of such
17 So was the purpose of this information to prevent future crimes
18 and to induce the units to comply with your orders?
19 A. This is a specific order, and information and also a warning as
20 you say, and it refers to 91 members of the corps. These are not
21 privates. These are professionals, officers and non-commissioned
22 officers, who committed various offences, unprofessional behaviour,
23 crimes, failure to comply with the regulations and with orders. And I say
24 that this is a disgrace, both for the perpetrators and those around them,
25 and I demand that stricter sanctions be implemented, especially as regards
1 officers because I always demanded that officers give -- set an example
2 personally. So this is for purposes of prevention, warning, to make sure
3 that there would be as few crimes and as few dishonourable actions
4 committed in that wartime as possible.
5 Q. General, the military judiciary organs during the course of the
6 war, did they take -- did they initiate proceedings against persons
7 unknown, even when there were no indications to the effect that any
8 members of the Army of Yugoslavia were involved in those crimes?
9 A. I know that both prosecution offices filed quite a few criminal
10 reports against perpetrators unknown with a general objective in mind,
11 that crimes do not go unpunished, do not remain outside the realm of
12 justice, regardless of who committed these crimes, and regardless of the
13 fact that there was no evidence in terms of the perpetrators being members
14 of the military. These measures were taken in order to prevent any crimes
15 from being concealed, crimes that were committed during the course of the
17 Q. Do you know approximately what the number of criminal reports
18 filed was in respect of those crimes that constitute violations of
19 international humanitarian law?
20 A. I know that during the state of war and during the period in the
21 immediate aftermath of the war, there were about 245 criminal reports that
22 deal with violations of international humanitarian law. 20 criminal
23 reports out of these had to do with murder, five for assaults against
24 integrity and morale, and the remainder, 200-something, had to do with
25 property-related issues, looting, theft, et cetera.
1 Q. General, tours of inspection from the security administration, we
2 saw that on the 4th and 5th of May, General Farkas in the beginning of
3 June, General Vasiljevic, did they familiarise the command of the Pristina
4 Corps that there were some omissions and failures in terms of the
5 reporting of crime? Did they tell you about that?
6 A. I want to respond in very concrete terms that as for the first
7 arrival of the chief of the security administration of the Supreme Command
8 Staff, General Geza Farkas, initially I did not know that he had come to
9 the 3rd Army within the Pristina Corps and I did not meet up with him, I
10 did not see a report on his tour and inspection, and I did not have
11 occasion to hear what you refer to just now, that in the corps command he
12 indicated some failures or omissions in reporting. I am not challenging.
13 Perhaps he said that to the late Colonel Antic or Colonel Stojanovic from
14 the command of the Pristina Corps. However, I repeat that as for failures
15 and omissions on the part of the corps command I was not informed about
16 that from this team. Maybe I shouldn't be referring to a team, maybe he
17 was there on his own, because I really do not know who it was who was
18 there with him.
19 As for the second part of your question, it pertained to the
20 arrival of the team in the beginning of June, the one that was headed by
21 General Vasiljevic. I did have information to the effect that this team
22 was touring the military police units and the military security organs,
23 and that all of this was evolving according to plan; but yet again I say
24 that I did not meet up with this team except in the basement of the Grand
25 Hotel for 20 minutes. From this team I did not receive any warnings in
1 terms of there indeed being some omissions or failures in the process of
2 reporting, and my assistant commander for security in the corps,
3 Colonel Stojanovic, did not inform me of any serious objections.
4 With the permission of the Trial Chamber, I wish to say that
5 Vasiljevic, who was a Prosecution witness here, confirmed that here. I'm
6 just speaking of my own personal experience in this regard.
7 Q. General, you say except for these 20 minutes in June, or rather,
8 did that happen on the 1st of June, 1999?
9 A. Yes, it would be around then.
10 Q. You heard that yourself here, but now I'm going to ask you whether
11 this was a meeting of some Joint Command or what was this occasion when
12 you saw General Vasiljevic?
13 A. I recall that sometime in the afternoon hours the army commander
14 said that we should go to town, to Pristina, to our information centre,
15 and that there we would meet some people, that we were supposed to hear
16 some information about the diplomatic initiative of our country that was
17 underway in terms of bringing the war to the end. To be quite frank, I
18 did not know that I would meet up with General Vasiljevic then. I
19 actually didn't even know him before that. So it was no Joint Command.
20 May I say it was the army commander and myself who were there; I was right
21 next to him in the same vehicle.
22 Q. And who else was present in that room, can you recall?
23 A. Well, in that room in the evening hours in one of the corners --
24 well, it was this information centre, the group of officers from the
25 General Staff, from the 3rd Army and the corps, the central part, there
1 was the army commander, there was I, the chief of security of the corps
2 from the military. I don't know whether anyone else was there. There was
3 this team of people who I did not know. Later on I found out that this
4 was General Vasiljevic and Gajic. Then two state officials came up,
5 Mr. Sainovic and Andjelkovic, briefly. They said hello, greeted everyone,
6 they said what was said. Some people went to dinner, other people went
7 back to their units.
8 Q. You say that you then saw Mr. Sainovic. When did you last see
9 him, if you can remember, before that day, the 1st of June, 1999?
10 A. Along with an apology to the Trial Chamber, I think -- no, I'm
11 sure that somebody from the MUP was present there as well, because we met
12 up, and we talked about these problems of ours; and it was only later that
13 these two gentlemen came up. Could you please remind me specifically what
14 it was that you asked me, this last bit.
15 Q. Let me ask you that at the end. Let me ask you before that, you
16 said there were some discussions about the agreement. Are you referring
17 to the Military Technical Agreement, and after that did you take part, and
18 how many days later, in the realization of the Kumanova Agreement, the
19 Military Technical Agreement, and when was that?
20 A. That was the introduction to the Military Technical Agreement. I
21 heard concrete information then from Mr. Sainovic that the Russian
22 representative, Chernomyrdin, was in Belgrade for a few days and that some
23 draft was being prepared of a broader international agreement on the
24 cessation of war activities. On the 5th of June already, I was in the
25 area of Djeneral Jankovic, on the opposite end, at the border towards
1 Macedonia. At that time I did not know that I was appointed member of the
2 negotiating team. I was there on my own, and I came back to carry out
3 this special operation of the withdrawal of the Pristina Corps from the
4 territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
5 Q. General, this question that you asked me to repeat was as
6 follows: Before the 1st of June, can you remember when it was that you
7 had last seen Mr. Sainovic? Did you ever see him in 1999?
8 A. As far as I can remember, I saw him perhaps on TV. I think there
9 was this information that he had come to Pristina, that he negotiated to
10 and talked to Rugova, but I did not have occasion to see him before this
11 date, as far as I can remember.
12 Q. Do you remember that you perhaps saw him before the war began,
13 before the bombing started?
14 A. Well, before the bombing started, he was head of the state
15 commission for cooperation with the OSCE mission, and until the 20th of
16 March I did see him a few times.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Is this a suitable time for us to interrupt you,
18 Mr. Bakrac?
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes, I
20 thought that ...
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we shall break for 30 minutes and resume at
22 ten to 1.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 12.20 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. General, in the war in 1999, were there any clear-up operations
3 carried out of the field, of the battle-field; and if yes, what did those
4 clear-up operations comprise?
5 A. The clear-up of the ground and of the battle-fields was done in
6 Kosovo and Metohija. It is a complex set of sanitary and hygienic
7 measures, sanitary technical measures, and other measures designed to
8 locate the wounded and dead, people who were wounded or killed in the war,
9 to locate any ordnance, and to remove this ordnance in a way that would
10 not endanger the population and the environment.
11 Q. Were any clear-up operations carried out to remove the threat of
12 radioactive ammunition and cluster bombs as part of those operations?
13 A. By your leave, Your Honours, I would like to say that clear-up
14 operations during the war in Kosovo and Metohija went beyond the
15 requirements as they're set out in the Rules of Logistic Support because
16 this activity is part of logistics. In light of the nature of the war,
17 this was one of the most asymmetrical wars ever fought. In light of the
18 fact that all kinds of ordnance, including state-of-the-art ordnance that
19 we were not familiar with, clear-up operations were very important,
20 extremely important, something that the corps command and the subordinate
21 really focused on, and it comprised the clear-up, the removal, of
22 radioactive ammunition. This meant that after every long-range strike or
23 any air-strike, special teams and units of the Pristina Corps, those that
24 dealt with atomic, chemical, and biological defence were dispatched
25 urgently to locate the target site, to control whether there were -- to
1 check whether there was any radiation, to put up signs around it, to warn
2 the civilian population, and to do other measures involving the units to
3 prevent any damage caused by radiation.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I would like to draw Your Honours'
5 attention to 5D311 and 5D182, these two documents deal with this issue.
6 Q. Were any clear-up operations carried out to remove any mines or
7 explosives that may have been planted by the KLA?
8 A. Yes, definitely. This was a particular problem for the military
9 personnel and for the civilian population, the mines that were laid by the
10 armed rebel forces. The situation was made even more complex by the use
11 of tens of thousands of special mines, the cluster mines or the cluster
12 bombs, that were dropped by NATO aeroplanes.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have 5D367.
14 Q. This is the 5th of April. You order that any such explosive
15 devices, mines should be located and destroyed.
16 A. This is a specific order from the Pristina Corps command to the
17 commander of the 15th Armoured Brigade, because some mines and explosives
18 had been found in the towns of Klina and Glogovac. The corps command then
19 ordered that the brigade should set up specialised groups to remove any
20 mines or explosives from those axes in order to avoid any casualties, both
21 in the corps and the police units, but also among the civilian population.
22 Q. Now I would like us to look at Exhibit 5D355. As early as on the
23 1st of April, did you order that signs should be put up visibly around
24 those locations where there were cluster bombs or bomblets or around the
25 areas where mines had been laid?
1 A. I have to tell you, Your Honours, that the corps command did not
2 have the military know-how about this -- these banned weapons, cluster
3 bombs. Some information had come from the General Staff, but this kind of
4 weapon caused great danger, great risk to everybody moving around Kosovo
5 and Metohija, and this was an effort on the part of the Pristina Corps
6 command to do everything whenever those weapons were found, this ordnance
7 was found, the so-called yellow killers, that those sites should be
8 marked, as indicated here, with plastic tape to protect the civilian
9 population and then to destroy this ordnance.
10 Q. General, who launched the initiative to engage forensic medicine
11 experts from the military medical academy in the clear-up operations?
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] And could we please look at Exhibit
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By your leave, Your Honours, I will
15 be speaking in the first-person singular because as an officer, I was
16 familiar with the basic provisions about the clear-up operations on the
17 ground and of the battle-fields. But when the war broke out in Kosovo, I
18 and the corps command and the army command, in fact, we realized that
19 there could be catastrophic consequences for all those who happened to be
20 in that area. And I personally made this decision, and I asked from the
21 army command and the Supreme Command Staff, I asked them to send
22 pathologists, forensic medicine experts to assist the corps units in this
23 complex effort to clear-up the terrain because there were such horrors to
24 be seen. It was impossible to identify some of the members of the
25 police -- of the corps that had been killed. Mistakes had been made when
1 identifying remains, and my idea was to use those experts while we're
2 under attack by NATO air-strikes and the terrorist forces to identify all
3 the remains that could be identified, to do everything to prevent any
4 cover-ups of any crimes committed by both sides.
5 Q. Here we see on the screen the chief of the medical service is
6 writing to the Pristina Corps command. It says here: "Pursuant to your
7 telegram of the 26th of April referring to the engagement of a forensic
8 pathologist so that ..."
9 A. I want to say that even before this date I had demanded from the
10 army command, and on the 20th of April a single military pathologist from
11 the military hospital in Nis had already been dispatched to the Pristina
12 Corps command to be a member of this special team for the clear-up of the
13 ground and battle-fields. And this is a new request to the 3rd Army
14 command and the Supreme Command Staff for further deployment of those
15 forensic medicine specialists.
16 Q. Yes, we've seen that one of the 26th of March [as interpreted]. I
17 think that in May you asked for some additional teams, just as you've just
18 explained to us -- well, I'm not going to -- I'm just going to ask you
19 whether this was in order to cover up any crimes or, rather, to discover
20 any crimes.
21 A. By your leave, Your Honours, I would like to say once again --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: You've already answered that question by telling us
23 it was to avoid cover-up by either party. I think for the avoidance of
24 any doubt, line 10 on page 66 should be the 26th of April.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, it should read the 26th of
1 April and not March. Let me give you a reference for the second request,
2 that's 5D421.
3 Q. General, in Kosovo and Metohija was there a plan, were you aware
4 of such a plan for the deportation and forcible transfer of Albanian
5 civilians from Kosovo and Metohija?
6 A. Before this Trial Chamber, speaking under an oath, as I have been
7 for several days now, I can categorically state that there was no plan
8 that the corps command or its subordinate units knew of or participated in
9 or got from their superiors, so absolutely not.
10 Q. Did you from your subordinate units in the field receive any
11 information about the local population feeling fear and being concerned
12 about the air-strikes and that this resulted in them fleeing their homes.
13 And could I please have 5D1210 up on the screen while we wait for your
15 A. The corps command did receive reports as part of the combat
16 reports. There were also some special reports in which the subordinate
17 commanders were noting the problem of the migrations of the civilian
18 population, the civilian population moving out, which was the result of
19 NATO attacks and large-scale destruction and large number of casualties.
20 Q. General, we have yet to receive a translation for this document.
21 Could you please read item 3.4, morale, this is Opolje Tactical Group
22 command, the date is the 8th of May, could you please read what it says
23 here in item 4, the state of morale.
24 A. This is a regular combat report from the Opolje Tactical Group it
25 was at the extreme left wing at Dragas plateau where the brigade commander
1 reports that among the local population there is concern and fear of the
2 air-strikes, and this is reflected in them fleeing their homes.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it appropriate to mention at this point,
4 Mr. Bakrac, that the Defence objected to the admission of similar evidence
5 at the hand of the Prosecution, the evidence in the form of reports by
6 Human Rights Watch and the OSCE; and therefore, you should be on notice
7 that this sort of material is unlikely to be given much, if any, weight as
8 indicative of the reaction of the population to NATO air-strikes.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a combat report
10 from the field, and let me ask the General.
11 Q. Do you know what is the basis for the inclusion of this
12 information in the combat reports on the part of your subordinate units,
13 if you know; if you don't know -- did they talk to the people in the -- on
14 the ground?
15 A. I visited this tactical group in May, and I personally met those
16 people, Goranis, Muslims, Turks in that area. I spoke to this commander
17 and to other commanders. He wrote this because he had spoken to people,
18 he had seen this. And I as a first-hand participant in the war, I myself
19 experienced this, I saw this, I heard this.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, I'm staggered that you should await my
21 intervention before you lead that evidence from the witness. And you
22 should have up until that point been relying on something which was
23 obviously on the face of it of no different value from the evidence of
24 what people said to OSCE and Human Rights Watch interviewers. Now, I'm
25 not clear still about the question whether any of these people were
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this document is
3 indicative of the state of mind of the accused and of the others as to
4 what actually was going on and what the cause may have been for the
5 movements of the population. This is what this document intends to show.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Please continue, Mr. Bakrac.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. General, did you have any information as to whether the KLA moved
10 civilians and sent them, or rather, sent to NATO information about their
11 whereabouts and guided NATO to targets of the VJ and MUP?
12 A. We had not only precise operative information about this tactic
13 and strategy by forces of the armed rebellion, but we also had numerous
14 events and occurrences and facts confirming that there were NATO
15 air-strikes after this information had been given to them and targets on
16 the ground marked for them.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's 5D1312.
18 Q. Did you have any information showing that in some cases there was
19 an inter-ethnic conflict on a local level which might have been the cause
20 for the movement of civilians?
21 A. There were reports arriving from parts of units where the
22 commanders reported that persons unknown in civilian clothes or wearing
23 parts of some sort of uniform were committing criminal offences against
24 property in the villages, that they were torching houses, looting. And if
25 I may draw a conclusion and make an assessment, this would certainly have
1 had an effect on the movement, migration, and displacement of the
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we now see 5D546 dated the 24th
4 of April, 1999.
5 Q. Can you comment on this document?
6 A. This is a combat report from the command of the 175th Infantry
7 Brigade, reporting to the corps command and informing them that there was
8 torching of houses and looting perpetrated by local people and that there
9 had been an intervention by the Military Police Company of the brigade in
10 the village of Cernica in order to discover the persons committing crimes
11 and arrest them. These were local inhabitants of the area.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Are we on the correct page for this?
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It's in item 2, Your Honours, the
14 second paragraph under item 2, and it begins with:
15 "After dismissing most of the volunteers and the establishment of
16 control over the territory, there has been more burning of houses and
17 thefts by the locals."
18 In the English version it's somewhere in the middle of item 2,
19 after "dismissing most of the volunteers ..."
20 JUDGE BONOMY: And do you know how many people were arrested?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in this combat report,
22 no, but there are combat reports from this same unit where on one occasion
23 they arrested six civilians who perpetrated such offences, handed them
24 over to the organs of the interior; and in another report it says that
25 together with organs of the MUP they were chasing such persons and that
1 the unit had arrested four persons with weapons. That's all I can say
2 with certainty at present.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Were these Serb civilians?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. With respect to this unit,
5 they were Serb civilians from the area, they were locals.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Were they part of the civil defence or civil
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. These were locals
9 who were not in the defence system and the structures of the defence
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Could they be described as armed non-Siptars?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those who did the torching and
13 looting in these reports, I didn't find that they were armed but that they
14 stole and looted, yes, and that they were --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: You've just said the unit had arrested four persons
16 with weapons. That was on a different occasion, was it?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On a different occasion, yes, and if
18 you wish that's in a different context. I can tell you if you wish.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: So these were civilians who unarmed were setting
20 fire to the homes of whom?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Albanian houses in the villages of
22 Cernica, Zegra, Koretiste, and I can't recall the names of the others.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: And were these occupied or unoccupied houses?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the reports it doesn't say. I
25 can only make assumptions I'm inclined to believe they were not occupied
1 at that point in time.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 Mr. Bakrac.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. General, were there a large number of civilian buildings damaged
6 by NATO air-strikes?
7 A. To the best of my knowledge, from what I know from my personal
8 inspection and my survey of the documentation, there were many buildings
9 in Kosovo and Metohija, some socially owned, some privately owned, which
10 were destroyed. Even entire villages on the Pastrik-Prizren axis were
11 razed to the ground.
12 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honours, 72 -- page 72, line 2, the
13 witness said: Many hundreds of buildings have been destroyed in Kosovo.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I'm coming to the end of my examination. Tell me, in 1998, as we
17 saw, you were the Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps and spent most of
18 your time at the forward command post in Djakovica. Did you ever attend
19 any meetings in Belgrade in 1998? Did you go to Belgrade at all?
20 A. I didn't even see Belgrade in 1998, nor did I attend any meeting
21 of any organs or institutions in the capital.
22 Q. And in 1999?
23 A. I didn't go there in 1999 either. When the war's practically
24 finished on the 16th of June, the day -- the Army Day of Yugoslavia, even
25 then I did not attend the central celebrations in Belgrade.
1 Q. General, I have just one more document, it dates from the year
2 2001, and we have heard many times and questions about it were put here,
3 there was certain doubts as to whether there was something called a Joint
4 Command in 1998 and 1999. First I will ask you and we'll put on the
5 screen 5D475. In March 2001 what was the position you held in the Army of
7 A. In March 2001 I was the commander of the 3rd Army of the Army of
9 Q. Were there attempts at the time to establish -- to establish
10 coordinated or joint forces of Yugoslavia?
11 A. Not only were there such attempts, but pursuant to a decision of
12 the president of the FRY a coordination body for the south of Serbia was
13 established, which is still in existence, and the so-called joint security
14 forces were established from the army and the Ministry of the Interior.
15 Q. And what was your response to the establishment or the attempt to
16 establish joint security forces, or rather, a temporary Joint Command?
17 A. In the decision of the president of the FRY dated the 8th of
18 March, 2001, it was envisaged that part of the forces of the 3rd Army and
19 part of the forces of the MUP should be subordinated to a coordinating
20 body for the south of Serbia in carrying out combat tasks for the defence
21 of the integrity of the country in the south of Serbia on the territory of
22 three municipalities where the terrorist forces numbering over 3 and a
23 half thousand were threatening the integrity of the state. I responded to
24 that fact. I reacted to the fact that forces of the army were being
25 subordinated to a civilian organ and that a civilian organ should be in
1 command of part of the units of the 3rd Army, which is contrary to Article
2 3 of the Law on the Army of Yugoslavia. I demanded from the Chief of the
3 General Staff that through the president of the FRY I should be replaced
4 from my duty because as an officer I did not wish to participate in the
5 setting of a precedent violating the system of command with reference to
6 the 3rd Army.
7 Q. And, General, to avoid reading the whole of paragraph 2, you have
8 just explained this now, but you also said that this would create a
9 precedent in the functioning of the system of command. In your letter you
10 wrote that this would constitute a precedent in the functioning of the
11 command system. What did you mean by that?
12 A. To be more precise, this is not a letter, it is an application to
13 be relieved of the duty of commander of the 3rd Army. And when I use the
14 term "precedent," what I meant to say was for the first time since I
15 became an officer, I was in a situation where someone not authorised by
16 the constitution and the laws should be in command of part of the 3rd Army
17 where there are casualties because --
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the numbers,
19 numbers of soldiers who had been killed and wounded.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you repeat the number of soldiers you
21 referred to there as having been killed or wounded?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, up to that point in
23 time, eight soldiers from the Pristina Corps of the 3rd Army had been
24 killed and 52 wounded.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. General, you said that this would constitute a precedent in the
3 system of command and that never before had any Joint Command existed,
4 which would include civilians.
5 A. If I may be allowed to say this, I addressed the Chief of the
6 General Staff and the president of the state to say that in my entire
7 military career this was the first time I had seen that someone who was
8 unauthorised - and that would be the coordinating body for the south of
9 Serbia - is put in a position to command my army. I did not agree to
10 this, even if it meant my being dismissed from my duty and taking off the
11 uniform I had on.
12 Q. And, General, my last question: How did President Kostunica
13 respond to this request of yours?
14 A. The president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Mr.
15 Kostunica, was informed by General Pavkovic, the Chief of the General
16 Staff and he received me and the commander of the Pristina Corps,
17 General Stevanovic saying he was not prepared to carry out such tasks and
18 allow a precedent to be set in the chain of command and the chief of the
19 General Staff. When he heard my oral explanation of what you see written
20 here on the screen, he said why did we do this. He wondered why he signed
21 that order. He did not accept my application to be relieved of my duty.
22 He gave me the task of returning to the army command, and very soon his
23 decision was changed. So the units of the Pristina Corps and the 3rd Army
24 were restored to the command of the 3rd Army.
25 Q. Thank you, General Lazarevic.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, these were all my
2 questions of this witness.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
4 Just one matter, Mr. Lazarevic. Why does the coordinating body
5 for the south of Serbia still exist?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in that part of area
7 which is called the south of Serbia there are three municipalities. The
8 situation there is still unstable politically and in terms of security,
9 and this is still affected by the situation in Kosovo and Metohija. There
10 are some political demands that this area which they refer to as eastern
11 Kosovo be annexed to Kosovo.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: But do you know whether the MUP are subordinated to
13 the coordinating body?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, I
15 attended a number of meetings of the coordinating body. I am not aware of
16 them being subordinated and I do not know whether they tried in this way
17 to resolve this problem. This is unconstitutional possible use, but I'm
18 saying this specifically in respect to the 3rd Army that was under my
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 Do Defence counsel -- Mr. Fila.
22 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I'll be very brief, believe me.
23 Cross-examination by Mr. Fila:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Lazarevic, General, you mentioned that in
25 1998, together with your commander - I assume that was General Pavkovic -
1 you were at at least three meetings that you participated in together with
2 your commander and four civilians Minic, Andjelkovic, Matkovic, and
3 Sainovic and some representatives of the MUP. First question that I would
4 like to put to you: Could you say approximately how many people attended
5 these meetings, roughly? It's not a question of one or two more or less.
6 A. As far as I can remember, it was 10 to 12, a biggish group I would
7 say when I was there.
8 Q. Please answer briefly. Was it always the same people or did they
10 A. No, and I want to correct something, please. I did not say that
11 the four persons you mentioned to me just now were present in each and
12 every one of these situations.
13 Q. So I may conclude that it wasn't always the same people who were
14 present, that the persons present changed.
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. Thank you. You are a special witness, General. You heard the
17 entire trial in an unpleasant position, that is to say that of the
18 accused. You were Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps and the commander
19 was General Pavkovic. You heard the testimony of General Simic, who was
20 the Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army. Now, I just want to remind you of a
21 few things. I don't think that is going to be a problem. He said that
22 General Pavkovic came to see him in the evening, to get commands, and then
23 with the command he would go to this meetings -- these meetings, and then
24 he would coordinate with the MUP. If the MUP had any special requirements
25 he would go back to General Simic and he would give him a definite
1 decision regardless of whether he accepted it or did not accept it. So
2 the conclusion is General Simic said: I am the one who issues orders,
3 Pavkovic, that's the law.
4 My question is as follows. You were the second-ranking person in
5 the Pristina Corps. Is that how things worked, as General Simic said?
6 A. My knowledge really and truly confirms an even more rigorous
7 approach by General Samardzic and Simic. Quite simply, they did not allow
8 the smallest unit of 200 or 250 men, the rank of a combat group, to be on
9 the move without their explicit written orders.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, this question you've just been asked
11 is very particular to circumstances about which we heard evidence. Are
12 you able to help us on this particular question? Because it presupposes
13 that you knew all about the activities of General Pavkovic.
14 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Well, I didn't ask him whether he knew
15 everything about General Pavkovic's activities. I'm talking about the
16 forward command post of the Pristina Corps. Did General Pavkovic receive
17 orders from General Simic? That's my question.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: But, Mr. Fila, your question was that
19 General Pavkovic would come to see Simic in the evening and get commands,
20 and then with the command he would go to these meetings. So this
21 presupposes that this witness, Mr. Lazarevic, knows that these meetings
22 were taking place and that General Pavkovic was going there as some
23 intermediate stage between implementing the instructions of Simic.
24 Now, do you know about these circumstances so that you can help us
25 precisely with what was -- about what was going on between Pavkovic and
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, I
3 personally did not attend a single meeting at the forward command post of
4 the 3rd Army in Pristina; however, I did have information and I did have
5 knowledge. The corps commander personally told me that he went there,
6 that there were evening briefings at the forward command post of the 3rd
7 Army to General Simic and to General Samardzic. And what I testified to a
8 few moments ago I'm saying through numerous orders that I saw even at the
9 forward command post in Djakovica, what was written by General Simic and
10 by General Samardzic.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, I understand that. But did you also know
12 that General Pavkovic was going to other meetings which may have involved
13 people who were jointly coordinating activity, whether commanding it or
14 not? Were you aware of him going to these meetings after he had spoken to
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, I did
17 have information that General Pavkovic with a group of officers from the
18 corps command, together with colleagues from the MUP, talked about
19 coordination and activities in concert. I also had information that he
20 went to Belgrade together with the commander of the 3rd Army to see
21 General Perisic. He personally told me that when he toured the forward
22 command post in Djakovica. I, on a few occasions attended, together with
23 him, these meetings.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
25 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] The foundation for this question that I
1 put is at the very outset that he was present at three such meetings and
2 that is why I asked him that, very simple.
3 Q. General, you described the content of these meetings as you did,
4 and you said just now that there was some information there, mutual
5 information, coordination with the MUP and the army. I'm interested in
6 the following. After these three meetings or perhaps four, never mind,
7 after October 1998 until the end of the war, did you ever attend a meeting
8 where some kind of coordination was made and where civilians were present,
9 regardless of whether it was called Joint Command or not? What matters to
10 me is whether civilians were there.
11 A. I personally did not attend a single of these later meetings, and
12 really and truly I do not have any knowledge of the corps commander having
13 this kind of coordinated activity with people from the MUP because the
14 focus was on activities of cooperation with the OSCE.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: We'll have to break there, Mr. Fila. I know it's
17 an unnatural way of doing things, but we have no option I'm afraid because
18 I think the court is occupied this afternoon.
19 So we shall adjourn until tomorrow at 9.00.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 13th day of
22 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.