1 Thursday, 15 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: Your cross-examination by Mr. Hannis will now
9 Mr. Hannis.
10 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 WITNESS: VLADIMIR LAZAREVIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis: [Continued]
14 Q. Good morning, General.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. Yesterday we were still talking about Exhibit 1428, if we could
17 have that on the screen. I don't know if you still have the hard copy,
19 A. Yes, yes, I have it with me.
20 Q. One of the things you mentioned regarding that exhibit was that
21 there was a map attached to it. Was the map attached at the time you
22 signed 1428?
23 A. That map is an integral part of the orders pertaining to this
24 action, that is to say, it has to do with this action. It was signed by
25 the corps commander and it was approved by the army commander.
1 Q. I understand that, but my question was: Was it attached to 1428
2 at the time you signed it?
3 A. In principle, a map is made after the written part of the decision
4 and it becomes an attachment. At the moment when I signed this, probably
5 not, but what later the commander came by, signed it, and the units that
6 were supposed to get this got it, primarily the 15th Motorised Brigade,
7 that is to say both the textual part and the excerpt from the map.
8 Q. Well, I'm a little unclear on how this worked out. I understood
9 from your answers yesterday that you signed this because the corps
10 commander, General Pavkovic, was not available; is that right?
11 A. That's what I said, and in most cases that's the only possibility,
12 otherwise the commander signs this. And when the commander cannot do it,
13 then it is the Chief of Staff, his deputy who does that.
14 Q. Well, the order is dated the 14th and it contemplates action the
15 next day, on the 15th of August, correct?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. So where was the map then between the time you signed this
18 document and the time the action took place the next day? Was it in your
19 forward command post or was it in Pristina or do you know?
20 A. Well, I cannot recall that detail, but if the Trial Chamber will
21 permit me to explain how this functions, I am prepared to do so. You are
22 asking me about where this map was. When the corps commander prepares his
23 decision on a map, then it is taken to the army commander or somebody from
24 the corps commander takes it or the corps commander personally. The
25 commander of the army reviews it, approves it, signs it, and then it is
1 returned to the corps command and is probably sent to the forward command
2 post. I really do not recall. In principle, if it is a more voluminous
3 map, then excerpts are made for units; if it is a small-scale action, then
4 that entire map can be given to these units that are to carry out this
5 assignment along with this written order for the decision.
6 Q. And I understood from our discussion yesterday that this was a
7 relatively small-scale action, correct?
8 A. I explained that active -- activities were carried out by 15/3,
9 that combat group that had less than 300 men. All the other ones had
10 already been in those positions over the past several days on the basis of
11 other decisions.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, just as you had authority to sign
13 the order in the commander's absence, did you have similar authority to
14 sign the map?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would sign the map, too, had the
16 corps commander not been at the forward command post at that moment, the
17 army commander would have accepted my signature, too, that is quite
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you recall who actually signed this map?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do recall, Your Honour,
21 Mr. President, we showed it here as an exhibit, too, the map was signed by
22 the corps commander, General Pavkovic, and he received approval for that
23 by General Samardzic -- from General Samardzic.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: I thought you were in doubt, Mr. Hannis, about the
25 map, but you're clear that the map has been an exhibit?
1 MR. HANNIS: I'm not sure, Your Honour. I have a note here to
2 check something to see if that's what it refers to.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
4 MR. HANNIS: Could we see Exhibit 5D1175 in e-court, please.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if my colleague,
6 Mr. Hannis, is looking for the map, it is 1174. I don't know whether it's
7 a matter of confusion or whether Mr. Hannis is looking at something else.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
9 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Do we -- are we now to look at 1175 or 1174?
11 MR. HANNIS: This is 1175 on the screen? Okay.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: That's the one you want, is it?
13 Is that the one you want, Mr. Hannis?
14 MR. HANNIS: That's --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: It's your examination.
16 MR. HANNIS: That's the one I thought was the map, but Mr. Bakrac
18 JUDGE BONOMY: So it's 1174 you want?
19 MR. HANNIS: No, it's 1175 I want. I want the map to start with.
20 Q. General, is this the map that you were talking about that relates
21 to this order?
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Let him do it his way, Mr. Bakrac. Thank you.
23 MR. HANNIS:
24 Q. General, is this the map that relates to the decision in P1428?
25 A. Yes, that's the map.
1 Q. And I see in the upper left a signature of General Samardzic, in
2 the lower right corner the signature of General Pavkovic. Is there a date
3 reflected anywhere on this map to indicate when it was signed or when the
4 action was to take place? I don't see one, but ...
5 A. With the leave of the Trial Chamber I wish to recall that we heard
6 from one or two witnesses that decisions, or rather, map decisions the
7 time is written. However, my experience is that in the decision there is
8 no designation of time because the decision comes with the map. So the
9 time has to do with the previously printed document that is called
10 decision that has the exhibit number that you referred to a few minutes
11 ago, but on the decision there is no time entry because it goes with the
12 written part of the decision.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, Mr. Bakrac, why do you say the map is 1174?
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have a typo in my
15 document. I created the confusion, so that is why I was on my feet, to
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] It has to do with the direct
20 MR. HANNIS:
21 Q. All right, General, then my understanding had been that typically
22 the map and the written text of the decision relating to the action
23 depicted on the map typically would be together, is that correct, so that
24 whoever's dealing with it can look at the map and see if it accurately
25 reflects what's in the text and vice versa?
1 A. You are right, yes.
2 Q. So it seems to me that at the time that you signed the decision in
3 1428, under normal, standard procedure you should have had the map along
4 with it, correct?
5 A. First this document is signed, the decision, because it is the
6 subordinate commander that drafts that; then the subordinate commander
7 works on the map, but the map has to be verified by his superior, that is
8 to say, there is a delay between the map and the written document. It is
9 possible that the superior officer does not accept the map, does not
10 approve the map, and then the written part of the decision will not be
11 carried through either. That's the procedure of verifying decisions from
12 the superior vis-a-vis the subordinate.
13 Q. Well, General, I'm not intentionally trying to be thick here, but
14 you said first the document is signed because it's the subordinate
15 commander that drafts that, and then the subordinate commander works on
16 the map, which has to be verified by his superior. So then the superior
17 confirms the map by signing it in the upper left-hand corner; is that
19 A. That's right, in the left upper corner.
20 Q. And he signs -- in this case Samardzic signs after Pavkovic has
21 signed the map?
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. But I understood from your previous answer that the document, the
24 text, was drafted first before the map, and the text we have relating to
25 this action is the one that's signed by you. Was that signed before the
1 map was done?
2 A. Yes, that text is prepared at the moment the corps commander was
3 not there, and then I signed it. The map was prepared, the corps
4 commander came by, he signed it, it was taken to the army commander, he
5 verified it, and all of it is in keeping with the procedure, to use that
6 part of the unit for executing the combat task.
7 Q. Okay. So was the map then prepared at your forward command post,
8 the same place at which I take it you signed 1428, they were both done at
9 the forward command post?
10 A. That was probably the case, but not necessarily. I have to say
11 that to you, that's not necessarily the way it has to be done. Perhaps
12 this map was done at the command post in Pristina, where the operations
13 officer took it to the commander of the forward command post and then
14 brought it to Djakovica to my forward command post, or rather, the command
15 post where I was.
16 Q. Well, I guess I'm having confusion, because if the map is prepared
17 and taken to Pavkovic, why couldn't the order have been prepared and taken
18 to him at the same time? Why is he signing one and you're signing the
19 other, unless the reason is is because you have been designated to be the
20 one commanding this action, which is what Pavkovic told the Joint Command
21 on the 13th of August. Isn't that what happened?
22 A. Then there would be no need for General Pavkovic to sign this map,
23 then I would have signed it, according to what you've suggested just now.
24 And I assure the Trial Chamber that that has nothing to do with the actual
25 use, with the army. I probably do not have the ability to explain command
1 in this kind of action, so I'm refraining from speaking at too great a
2 length. But I assure the Trial Chamber that this really has nothing to do
3 with it, and it is not true that I was designated and that's not what that
4 paper says, that I was designated to have this action under me, no.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, who could be better placed than you
6 to have the ability to explain command in this kind of action?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm prepared too, Your Honour,
8 Mr. President; however, that's not the question that was put to me and I
9 did not get your permission. But with your leave, I am going to explain
10 this specifically. We have three levels of command here. If we look at
11 this map, it has to do with small units, combat groups, up to 200 men
12 respectively. This combat group is commanded by the commander of the
13 combat group, with the rank of major or lieutenant commander [as
14 interpreted]. He commands the action directly, and then he reports to the
15 brigade commander, specifically the commander of the 15th Armoured
16 Brigade, his immediate superior, and that command is in Pristina. And the
17 command of the 15th Brigade in Pristina reports at a third level, the
18 corps -- to the corps command in Pristina, or to the forward command post
19 in Djakovica, if there are some problems in the realization of this action
20 from the point of view of coordinated action or the execution of the task
21 in general. That is how the system of command functions in terms of the
22 combat use of units.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: My only concern was your claim that you did not
24 have the -- well, according to the English translation, that you do not
25 have the ability to explain command in this kind of action. Did you
1 actually say that?
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what the interpretation
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I just told you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- But -- absolutely that does not
7 correspond to what I had said.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sorry to have taken up so much time with
9 something that doesn't matter as it turns out.
10 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me just -- as long as we're dealing with the
12 transcript, Your Honour, page 8, line - just to avoid confusion - it is
13 line 16, he said with the rank of major or lieutenant colonel, not
14 lieutenant commander. I think lieutenant commander is a naval rank.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
16 Mr. Hannis.
17 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
18 Q. So, General, you don't recall if you saw the map at the time you
19 signed the decision for the action reflected on this map, correct?
20 A. Well, I don't recall that detail of having seen it at that time,
22 Q. But that doesn't sound like the way that you personally would
23 work, because wouldn't it be important for you to be able to see if the
24 map and the text matched up with each other before the action was carried
1 A. Well, I repeat this for the fourth time now. A written document
2 is drafted, and then on the basis of that document - let me be quite
3 clear - we make a sketch, so to speak, of that order on the map. It is
4 plotted on to the map. And the map shows in a simplified manner what is
5 explained in detail in the order, in the written order. The map is not
6 the basic document. The basic document is an order, and the map maybe may
7 contain more or less details. It is then used by the person actually
8 carrying out the task, so to speak, symbolically.
9 Q. So is the final decision that you signed, is that 1428, that's the
10 final decision after you learned that the map had been approved?
11 A. I'm afraid -- well, either I lack concentration to such an extent
12 or interpretation is not good. The order is drafted, the decision is
13 drafted, and then on the basis of this decision, the operations officers
14 plot these elements on to the map. And then the map is signed by the
15 commander and verified by his superior.
16 Q. Okay. And if there are no corrections -- if the commander, in
17 this case Samardzic, approves the map without requesting any changes or
18 making any suggestions, then the draft decision ends up being the final
19 decision, is that right, because you don't have to make any changes, what
20 you drafted was shown on the map, there's no changes, so ...
21 A. That's right, that's right. But I want to remind the honourable
22 Trial Chamber that we've seen evidence here, exhibits, that even before
23 that General Samardzic had made the decision with the basic contours as to
24 who and how would carry out this action. He himself ordered that the 15/3
25 combat group would carry out this task, which is a little bit unusual for
1 the army commander to designate a unit that has 300 men or less to carry
2 out a task that is three levels below his level of command.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, does that help you to understand the
4 situation, Mr. Hannis, because I don't see that as an answer to the
6 MR. HANNIS: Well, I don't think that is an answer to my question.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: No, and it's become very confusing, this, and I
8 would like again - I'm sorry to be clear in my own mind before we move on.
9 Why have you referred to General Samardzic making or giving direct
10 commands to the 15/3 combat group?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, throughout 1998, for
12 every day and for every use of any of the Pristina Corps units, the 3rd
13 Army commander, General Samardzic, issued a task --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Let me stop you there before we get further
15 sidetracked. The question you were asked was a general question, which
16 was whether if a draft is approved by the superior it effectively becomes
17 the final order. That was the question, and you answered that by
18 referring to Samardzic giving direct orders to the 15/3 combat group, and
19 I don't understand the link between the general point and what may have
20 happened on some other occasion between Samardzic and the 15/3 combat
21 group. Is there a link?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With all due respect, I gave a very
23 specific answer to the first part of the question. I said that it is
24 correct. What the Prosecutor termed "draft" becomes -- that it then
25 becomes a final version. I gave a very specific answer to that question,
1 but I wanted to explain to the Trial Chamber that even before that this
2 very same army commander did order all of that in quite specific terms.
3 So I gave two answers, one that was asked of me and then I clarified. I
4 don't know whether any of this is recorded in the transcript.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may assist you,
6 perhaps you may want to look at 5D1174, Exhibit 5D1174, and everything
7 will become much clearer.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't think it will.
9 I want to stress again to Mr. Lazarevic the importance of
10 listening to the particular question asked and answering that particular
11 question. And counsel, if they feel the need for more information to be
12 produced either in cross-examination or in re-examination will raise the
14 Mr. Ackerman.
15 MR. ACKERMAN: I rise with trepidation and at some risk I suppose.
16 The matter is confused, Your Honour, simply because there's a lack of
17 understanding. I can clarify it very quickly if you'd like me to; and if
18 not, I'll sit down.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: If you're talking about a lack of understanding of
20 the general system, then I don't think it's for you to try to explain that
21 at this stage.
22 MR. ACKERMAN: I think it's lack of understanding of what the
23 witness has said.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: In relation to that general question, to which the
25 answer was yes?
1 MR. ACKERMAN: The progression was from an order by
2 General Samardzic to then the preparation of the action documents for
3 carrying out this order. All the witness was trying to say was Samardzic
4 had already ordered this action way before he got around to signing the
5 map; that's the point that he was trying to make, and I think that got
6 confused somewhere along the line.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: So your evidence on this, Mr. Lazarevic, is that
8 there were two orders, one by Samardzic and a later one that you signed?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: And was Samardzic's order in writing?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Do we have it as an exhibit here?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's been exhibited and my counsel
14 just referred to the exhibit number?
15 JUDGE BONOMY: 1174?
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours, and we had a
17 witness, General Simic, who testified about this.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
19 MR. HANNIS: I was actually trying just to get the mechanics of
20 the process --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Of course you're right and I don't depart from the
22 instruction I've given Mr. Lazarevic, that he should answer the question
23 that's asked. That's the way this system works, and he knows that very
24 well from the time he's spent here.
25 MR. HANNIS:
1 Q. I'm going to persist a little bit, General. First of all, I just
2 want to talk about in general the normal way that this works and then
3 we'll talk specifically about this one a little more. And maybe it will
4 help. Just imagine that you're the instructor at the military academy,
5 I'm a brand new recruit coming in for training and you're explaining to me
6 how these orders or decisions about actions are done. As I understand it,
7 there's a decision made at some level, perhaps your commander, to carry
8 out this action in Voksa. There's a draft made, it's written up, a draft
9 about what elements are going to participate and what their tasks are, et
10 cetera. Is that the first step?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. And then a map is drawn up based on that draft text,
14 A. No.
15 Q. Okay. Tell me the next step.
16 A. The next step is to draft the written part, the realization of the
17 decision of the superior in the form of an order or a decision.
18 Q. Well, I thought that's what I had said. There's a draft made,
19 it's written up -- okay. So once you've done that, what's the next step?
20 A. The decision map is drafted, and it then has to be verified by the
21 superior who had made the initial decision.
22 Q. And who's the person that does those first two steps? Who drafts
23 the text, first of all, is that the subordinate?
24 A. From the subordinate command, that would be the operations
1 Q. And who draws up the map, the same?
2 A. The same.
3 Q. And when that map is first drawn up, is it signed in the lower
4 right-hand corner by the person who has drafted the map and is proposing
5 it to the superior?
6 A. It is signed by the subordinate commander, not the drafter, not
7 the person who actually made the map.
8 Q. Okay. Then the map is presented to the superior commander?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Along with the text or only the map?
11 A. Mostly just the map.
12 Q. And if the commander approves the map as is, what happens next?
13 A. Then the task is carried out in accordance with the deadline for
14 the readiness that had been determined.
15 Q. And the original first draft of the text from which the map was
16 created, what happens to it? Does it -- is there any change made to it to
17 show that it is now final, or does it look just the same as it did the
18 moment it was written before the map was created?
19 A. The decision or the order remains the same as far as the written
20 portion is concerned, except if any interventions or amendments were made
21 by the superior commander on the decision map.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, that means that the superior commander does
23 not see the draft order?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
1 MR. HANNIS:
2 Q. And the draft order, when it was first prepared before the map was
3 drawn up, is it signed by the person who created it, or is a signature
4 only put on it after the map has been approved?
5 A. It is signed once it is drafted. You don't wait for the map.
6 Q. It seems to me that in that process there's some inherent danger
7 that a first draft could go out as an original even though some changes
8 may have been made by the commander after seeing the map. Isn't that --
9 isn't that a risk if you sign the original first draft?
10 A. The written part is then made, an amendment to the decision or an
11 amendment to the order, dealing with those specific issues.
12 Q. Okay. Let me ask you one more question. We talked yesterday
13 about this, item number 6 talks about the Joint Command. And I think on
14 the 6th of November when Mr. Bakrac was asking you about this he
15 said: "Why does it" -- this is at page 17799, line 5.
16 "General, why does it say in item 6 that the Joint Command for
17 KiM will be in command of this action from the forward command post?"
18 And your answer at line 9 was: "As there was a lack of concrete
19 specific plans for cooperation and coordination which should have been
20 done according to the Rules of Combat, the corps command decided in the
21 last item which is dedicated to cooperation and coordination to use this
22 expression in order to indicate that the action would be of common
23 interest, of joint interest, and that cooperation and coordination would
24 be in place between the army and the MUP and their forces."
25 My first question is: Who in the corps decided to use that
1 term "Joint Command" to express that this was going to be an action of
2 common interest, of joint interest? Who was the person who decided that?
3 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: This is now the third time that's been asked; every
6 time the witness has said he doesn't know. I don't know how many times
7 Mr. Hannis can ask this question over and over and over.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: This is a very specific question, Mr. Ackerman, and
9 I for one would very much like to hear the answer. It's not in terms
10 exactly as posed before.
11 Please answer the question, Mr. Lazarevic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my evidence so far I said that I
13 didn't know who had made that decision, but that there were such documents
14 originating from the corps command; and I explained what they meant for
15 me, and I explained and showed on the document what they meant for the
16 commander who actually implemented this task.
17 MR. HANNIS: Did you have more, Your Honour, or are you waiting
18 for me?
19 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm waiting for you.
20 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
21 Q. Well, if you didn't know who made the decision, how did you know
22 the decision to use that term was by someone in the corps command, as
23 opposed to some higher level or some outside level?
24 A. If we look at the first page of this document, and it's the same
25 for the Ratis action, that was a couple of days before, on the 8th of
1 August, you will see that it says the corps command. That's what I'm
2 talking about. I was physically away from the corps command, but this
3 document, just as the one before it, is a document of the corps command.
4 That's what it says in the letterhead of this document.
5 Q. So you assume the decision to use the term "Joint Command" came
6 from the corps command because it's in a document with the letterhead of
7 the corps command; is that right?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. Okay. Let's look at 5D1174 because it relates to this specific
10 action. And as I recall from your testimony on the 6th of November, this
11 was -- this is a daily combat report or a regular combat report, I'm
12 sorry, dated the 14th of August, 1998. And in talking about this you
13 mention that it was unusual for the army commander to issue a decision for
14 a combat group which numbered 197 men.
15 Do you know why this unusual step was taken by General Samardzic
16 on the 14th?
17 A. I tried to explain that a few moments ago, too, that it was all
18 the time the commander of the army who was making the decisions, that is
19 his inalienable right. I said that it was unusual that the commander of
20 the strategic group issues direct orders to lower-ranking tactical groups.
21 He was in Kosovo at the forward command post, he decided, and that is how
22 he commanded throughout. However, I cannot explain the reasons why that
23 is so. That is his decision.
24 Q. Okay.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Where is the reference to it in this document,
1 Mr. Hannis?
2 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I'm not sure. We'll have to -- I
3 think --
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] May I be of assistance, Your Honours.
5 That is item 5 entitled "I have decided" and in paragraph 2 you can see
7 MR. HANNIS:
8 Q. General, we'll ask if we can go to the appropriate pages in the
9 B/C/S and the English which show item 5. Is it on that page for you,
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Back one -- well -- we need to go back one in the
12 English --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I see --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: -- I think to see the beginning. Thank you.
15 MR. HANNIS: In the English we can now see the beginning on page
16 3, and I think we need, when you're ready, Your Honour, to go over to the
17 next page?
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, please go over.
19 MR. HANNIS:
20 Q. General, is that the reference to with BG-15-3, support MUP forces
21 in crushing the DTS strongholds in the following sectors ..."
22 That is what you're talking about?
23 A. That is what I talked about, that is the decision of the commander
24 of the 3rd Army.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Is this the only place it is in writing or is there
1 an actual formal order by him to the battle group?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was no formal order within the
3 daily combat report sent to the General Staff. The army commander made
4 the decision, and at the evening briefings with the corps commander he
5 defined this further, but I was not in attendance and am not aware of the
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
8 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
9 Q. So then was -- who drafted then 1428 with the specific details of
10 how this was going to be done?
11 A. The operations organ of the corps command, one of the operations
12 men, or a group of operations officers.
13 Q. In the forward command post or in the main command post in
15 A. According to the log number in this memorandum, it is my
16 conclusion that it's the command post in Pristina and that this was
17 brought to the forward command post. It's not the log number from the
18 forward command post to the extent to which I can recognise it now, that
20 Q. So if it was drafted in Pristina, why wasn't it presented to
21 General Pavkovic for signature? Why was it brought to you in Djakovica?
22 Isn't that because you were the one who was designated to command that
24 A. General Pavkovic at that time was somewhere in the area of
25 Djakovica with the Chief of General Staff. I was in the office
1 preoccupied with the tasks I had because of this big team from the General
2 Staff. And General Pavkovic went with the Chief of General Staff
3 somewhere to the border. They were looking for him, they couldn't find
4 him; I signed this.
5 Q. And I take it then the map must have already been signed by him
6 somewhere else before he went out and about with General Perisic. Is that
7 what you're telling us?
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] The General explained at least five
11 times that the map comes later. I think that this is intentional
12 confusion of the witness. I did not react, but in response to three or
13 four questions he says that the map follows after that. And now
14 Mr. Hannis is saying that the map had already been made.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
16 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I'm sorry, it's not intentional. I am
17 genuinely confused about this, and if it was signed on the 13th or signed
18 on the 14th, I'm not sure when the map would have been done in time for
19 the operations that were happening the next morning at 0700.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: So your point is the order is signed on the 14th?
21 MR. HANNIS: That's my understanding.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: And the operation was on the -- the action was on
23 the 14th?
24 MR. HANNIS: 15th in the morning, I believe.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: 5th.
1 MR. HANNIS: It's what 1428 says.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE BONOMY: We consider that the narrowness of the time-scale
4 here warrants further pursuit of the detail of the order in which these
5 events occurred, and we do not consider that Mr. Hannis has in any way
6 deliberately tried to mislead the witness. The witness is able to deal
7 with this issue, and we would find it of assistance for him to do so.
8 So, Mr. Lazarevic, can you please clarify for us the position. Is
9 there a possibility that the map was actually signed before the order
10 itself was signed?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is not the way combat documents
12 are made. If you insist, whether that is possible at all, on some
13 occasion perhaps yes; but I'm telling you that that is not the principle
14 of creating combat documents.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: That's a helpful answer to me certainly. The
16 question is whether in this particular case, in view of the measure of
17 uncertainty in your mind about the exact detail of all that happened, is
18 it possible that the map was actually signed before the order was, also
19 bearing in mind the fact that Samardzic had ordered the action in the
20 first place?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, Mr. President, but
22 the person drawing the map must at least have on paper a sketch of the
23 information where he's going to send which unit. It's only the commander
24 who makes that decision. He knows what he is going to write in the text,
25 so he first draws the map and then writes the text. So he has the text
1 and some elements from that text so that person who is technically drawing
2 the map can include that in the map. That's why that is the order taken.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sorry that that has actually further confused
4 me. My understanding is that it's an operations officer who draws -- who
5 drafts the order, and that the commander was not available. So how are
6 you saying the operations officer would get his instructions on what he
7 was draft up?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honour, that is
9 the part that's been missing for this past hour, that I tried clumsily to
10 explain. The preparatory part, the preparatory part for an action that is
11 to ensue is a day or two or three days long, meetings, preparations,
12 pre-planning as it is called, and then the operations man gets the idea of
13 the commander, the concept of the commander, how and what should be done,
14 and only then starts preparing this document. That is how an operations
15 man functions, he has to get the basis from the commander or that is
16 called the concept, the idea, of the commander in an outlined form.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 Mr. Hannis.
19 MR. HANNIS:
20 Q. General, we know from Exhibit P1468 regarding the meetings of the
21 Joint Command at page 54 in the English, we looked at this yesterday, and
22 that meeting started at 2000 hours, 8.00 in the evening, on the 13th.
23 General Pavkovic is telling the group, the Joint Command, that the -- that
24 this action in Voksa would be under the Chief of Staff, that's you, that's
25 the 13th at 8.00 or later that night. On the 14th of August, we see
1 5D1174, the regular combat report of the 3rd Army where Samardzic says
2 with BG-15-3 support the MUP forces in crushing DTS strongholds. So when
3 does 1428 get written up, also on the 14th, I assume because that's the
4 date it appears on that document, correct? The 14th of --
5 A. You are right, yes, that is what is written on the document,
7 Q. That's the one that's signed by you, correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now you told us before that that was prepared by the operations
10 people in Pristina, correct?
11 A. I infer that on the basis of the log number in the memorandum, in
12 the letterhead of this document.
13 Q. But when you were explaining the general process to me earlier,
14 you said the draft, unless there were changes made after the map was
15 prepared, the draft becomes the final decision or the final order. It has
16 a signature on it when it's prepared. So how did your signature get on it
17 if it was prepared in Pristina? How did your signature get on it before
18 the map was prepared, because you were in Djakovica, right?
19 A. Please let us be precise on this. Nowhere in military terminology
20 does a draft order exist, a draft decision from a textual point of view.
21 I accepted the Prosecutor's approach in order not to complicate the
22 situation. So an order is prepared and signed; if there is a change, then
23 an amendment to the order is made. A specific answer to this question,
24 how. During those days since the team from the General Staff was there at
25 the time, we were on the move all the time and probably somebody came to
1 Djakovica and brought this so that the commander would sign it.
2 General Samardzic was somewhere around too, probably; General Perisic was,
3 I know that, they didn't find him. I signed it, and later on the
4 commander signed the map.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: A technical point, Mr. Lazarevic. Does that mean
6 that if -- your answer about a draft, does that mean that if the superior
7 makes a large number of changes, you don't tear up the order, you simply
8 combine it with an amendment so that there are then two orders, the order
9 and its amendment? Is that what you're saying?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Given the supposition, as we call it
11 in the army, the initial order would have to be revoked, it would not be
12 torn up because it is already -- it has already been logged, and a new
13 order would have to be drafted. But if that is not the case, then we only
14 get an amendment to the order.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Hannis.
17 MR. HANNIS:
18 Q. General, a couple of points. I am trying to be precise here. You
19 said just now, page 25, line 4, that: "I accepted the Prosecutor's
20 approach in order not to complicate the situation."
21 I ask you, sir: Don't accept my approach if you think it's wrong
22 just to avoid complicating the situation because you're only going to
23 complicate it more when you do that. I'm assuming that you understand my
24 questions; and if you don't, you'll say so. And you said earlier that the
25 draft was prepared and it was signed when it was prepared, and that was
1 before the map was made. Isn't that what you said before, yes or no?
2 A. No.
3 Q. That's not what you said before? Do we have to go back to the
4 transcript and find it? You really don't remember saying that?
5 A. A little while ago, Your Honour, I explained that this was not a
6 draft. The term "draft" does not exist. It's a decision, it's an order,
7 but it is not a draft order. And this is what I meant when I
8 said "approach." And I was merely trying to be accurate, precise.
9 Q. So that decision in the circumstance whereupon seeing the map the
10 superior commander disapproves or makes amendments, I think Judge Bonomy
11 was inquiring into this, what happens to it, because it's no longer valid,
12 right? The superior has disapproved, made changes.
13 A. First you asked me if the decision is not approved, then there is
14 no implementation. The unit is told that the execution of the task is
15 postponed. If there are major amendments, I just explained to His Honour,
16 a new decision is made and the previous one is revoked. If there are
17 minor amendments, an amendment to the previous decision or order is
19 Q. Well, let's see how you did it when there was an amendment to be
21 MR. HANNIS: Can we look at Exhibit P1967.
22 Q. Now, General, this will come up on the screen in a minute, but I
23 know you're familiar with this one. This is dated the 22nd of March,
24 1999, and it's signed by you. I think the number from the Pristina Corps
25 is 455-56/1. And in English the translation is "amendment to the decision
1 on supporting the MUP forces in breaking up and destroying the Siptar
2 terrorist forces in the area of Malo Kosovo."
3 So is this the normal way an amendment would be done?
4 A. It is one of the examples.
5 Q. Well, do you know of any other examples in documents we have in
6 this case so far?
7 A. Well, I can't recall at this point. I remember that instances
8 when such tasks were revoked, when the army commander did not approve
9 those tasks, this is in relation to what His Honour asked me.
10 Q. And in that amendment, you don't go through all the items that
11 normally appear in that kind of decision, do you, because you start out
12 with item number 4. You don't have 1 through 3, right?
13 A. That's right.
14 Q. And you don't have some of the other numbers that normally appear
15 at the end, including about who's going to command the operation, right?
16 A. Well, we should look through all the documents. I see that item 1
17 is missing, items 1 through 3 are missing, and they're contained in the
18 previous document. And I can't see now what items are contained in this
19 amendment to the decision. I assume that there would be 11, because in
20 the previous -- or to 13 because in the previous document we have 11 to 13
22 Q. Could we go through the items of each in fairness.
23 MR. HANNIS: And, I'm sorry, can we go back one page to see if
24 there's another number.
25 Q. See the last number we have apparently is 5.4. So we don't have
1 the usual numbers that we have 6 through 11 or 6 through 13 that we've
2 seen on many of the other decisions of this type, right?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. And is that because as a matter of efficiency your amendment is
5 only addressing those portions of the original decision that needed to be
6 changed, right?
7 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I'm sorry to intervene. I think there's a
8 confusion and it's getting compounded. What is a decision? Do things
9 move in a biplane, go to the apex, and then there's a decision after all
10 the corrections and amendments and curative actions, which according to a
11 policy are to be taken or would you also like to call things which do not
12 reach the apex as yet remain in the pipeline through the -- through
13 suggestions and through proposals, will they be also a decision? I mean,
14 we have to really think what is a decision, and I think that would clarify
15 things to a large degree. That's my humble submission.
16 MR. HANNIS: Well, I see you looking at me, Judge, I don't think I
17 can answer that question, and I will address it with him. But if I may
18 continue on this one a little bit and I'll try to follow-up to address
19 your concern.
20 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Thank you.
21 MR. HANNIS:
22 Q. General, I don't think you were able to answer my last question or
23 didn't have the opportunity, but isn't that correct? You've only included
24 basically items 4 and 5 because those were the only ones that you felt
25 were necessary to change from the original 455-56, which by our numbering
1 system is Exhibit P1966, dated also the 22nd of March? Isn't that right?
2 There's no sense in writing over the entire thing 1 through 11 or 1
3 through 13? You're only making changes to items 4 and 5, right?
4 A. That's how it is presented in the amendment to the decision, but I
5 did put in a but. The previous document could not have been implemented
6 because it did not contain the deadline for when the tasks would have to
7 be carried out, so it was impossible to comply with it, to obey it. And
8 that is the essence of this document.
9 Q. And that's something that you put in your amendment, right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And the combat units that were going to carry out this action
12 would need to have that first decision or order, 455-56; plus your
13 amendment, 455-56/1; plus the map in order to be able to carry out the
14 task, right?
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. And you didn't make any change to the original order, 455-56,
17 which indicated that the actions would be under the command of the Joint
18 Command? You didn't change that, did you?
19 A. I would kindly ask you to look at the last page in the amendment
20 to the decision, if we could look at it again.
21 MR. HANNIS: If we could go to the last page.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not of this document, but the
23 amendment to the decision. I don't know what ...
24 MR. HANNIS:
25 Q. Okay. Now, what we have on the screen is 1966, the original; you
1 want to look at 1967, your amendment, and the last page, right?
2 JUDGE BONOMY: I thought this was --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: We've changed the order, I'm sorry.
5 MR. HANNIS: Now we're going back to 1967, Your Honour, the
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the last line of this document,
8 the amendment to the decision, the command post is designated in the Lausa
9 village sector. The signature is that of the corps commander, and the
10 commanders of the units that received this document have enough elements
11 to be able to discern who the commander was and where the command post was
12 where somebody from that command would be, would -- could be found.
13 MR. HANNIS:
14 Q. I see that, but you still haven't answered my question. You did
15 not make any change to the provision in 1966, P1966, which indicated that
16 the Joint Command was going to be commanding this action. You didn't do
17 that, did you?
18 A. I am explaining to you in military terms what this brief sentence
19 means which has replaced the long one about who would be in command. As
20 soon as you have this stipulation in a document, this constitutes an
21 amendment to what was contained in the previous document.
22 Q. Can you not answer my question or are you just refusing to answer
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the witness is answering
25 the question; that's exactly what he's doing.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: I agree, Mr. Bakrac --
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I really don't understand this view
3 of Mr. Hannis's. I would like to ask --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]... not enough for
5 you, Mr. Bakrac.
6 MR. HANNIS: All right.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, the witness has explained the position
8 as he sees it.
9 MR. HANNIS: All right. Okay.
10 Q. Let's then go back. I had a couple more questions about 1428 and
11 the sequence of events --
12 JUDGE CHOWHAN: But I seek forgiveness in interrupting.
13 MR. HANNIS: Oh, sorry.
14 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I would request that some clarification is made in
15 respect to the comment which I have made because in common workings there
16 are inter-file notes, there are other things which just move from one desk
17 to the other. Now, how could those be called decisions until they go to
18 the apex and I think that is a bit of problem we are facing here because
19 many things were being suggested, proposals were being made. Now, how
20 could those be kept as something permanent? They may remain on the file
21 but what value do they have. The ultimate thing would be a decision. And
22 I think, I would request the witness to kindly just clarify this because a
23 decision -- when is a decision? When a document will be taken as a
24 decision? I mean that is important because then we know what is a
25 decision. What is below that is not a decision, it's just a formulation
1 of ideas which come from the bottom, go to the top, the hand-off, the
2 department or the commander here or anybody could disagree with those, but
3 what is ultimately decided is that at that stage not at the lower stage
4 and we are discussing everything, even the inter-office norms, and that is
5 why I think the whole thing is prolonging.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE BONOMY: We can deal with this in two ways, Mr. Hannis, you
8 can ask further questions if you can assist or -- yes. Is that something
9 you could do?
10 MR. HANNIS: I think I can do, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
12 MR. HANNIS: But if --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: See --
14 MR. HANNIS: There's one other item I want to do with regard to
15 1966 and 1967 before I leave that.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: And it may be the way to do it is to encapsulate
17 what your understanding is of the process at the end of this exercise.
18 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: And see if you can do it in a way that the witness
20 will confirm.
21 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
22 Q. General, before we leave --
23 MR. HANNIS: I will do that, Your Honour, thank you.
24 Q. General, before we leave these two exhibits, P1967 and 1966, I put
25 it to you, sir, that you are trying to mislead me and this Court. You
1 just now said that you made this change and the reference to command post
2 in the village of Lausa is replacing what is said before about the Joint
3 Command. If we can go back one page in this document, that command post
4 in the village of Lausa, that refers to the command post for the 354th
5 Infantry Brigade which has a task assigned to it under item 5.4. Isn't
6 that right?
7 A. Yes, but --
8 Q. No, no, wait, you said remember --
9 A. -- if the Prosecutor remembers --
10 Q. -- Yes. Let me ask you the next question.
11 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
12 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the Prosecutor is not
14 allowing the witness to give a full answer. He said "yes, but," and the
15 Prosecutor prevents him from answering in order to get a simple yes, and I
16 don't think that this manner of cross-examination is fair. When the
17 Prosecutor does not allow the witness to complete his sentence, which is
18 very important.
19 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] There are two questions in what the
20 Prosecutor asked, the first question is: Are you trying to mislead me?
21 And then the answer: Yes, would mean that the witness admitted that he
22 was misleading the Prosecutor in this courtroom, and that is not proper,
23 Your Honours.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: That's probably a linguistic point, because I
25 certainly don't read the question and answer as amounting to that. So you
1 need not concern yourself on that score, Mr. Fila.
2 On the other question, though, Mr. Hannis, I think the witness
3 should be allowed to explain. If it appears that the explanation is not
4 addressing the point, then it will be stopped.
5 Now, your answer to the question that the command post refers to
6 the command for the 354th Infantry Brigade, you said yes and went on --
7 wanted to add an explanation. What is that explanation?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But at that command post of the
9 subordinate brigade, parts of the corps command would be located. This is
10 the usual manner of doing things. The superior command sends it command
11 group to one of the command posts of the brigades.
12 MR. HANNIS:
13 Q. Okay. Can you then look at item 5.3, which has the task for the
14 15th Armoured Brigade. At the end of that you see "command post in the
15 area of the village of Banjska," so there's a separate command post for
16 the 15th Armoured Brigade. Were parts of the corps command also located
18 A. No. The corps command selects a post from which it would monitor
19 the situation and control the action. It cannot be in five places. The
20 army commander was at my command post as his forward command post not at
21 the Nis corps command post.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues]... There was a command post --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, you were overlapping there. Please
24 start that question again.
25 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry.
1 Q. In item 5.2 regarding the tasks for the 125th Motorised Brigade
2 you'll see command post in the area of the village of Stari Trg. Were
3 there any elements of the corps command at that command post?
4 A. Your Honour, Mr. President, the essence of this action -- the
5 brunt of this action is in Malo Kosovo. This is where the 354th Infantry
6 Brigade is deployed. The corps command sends its command group there, not
7 150 kilometres away to the west where the 152nd Brigade is engaged in a
8 task which is part of a larger task. So, Mr. Prosecutor, let me reply.
9 Nobody from the corps command was at the command post of that brigade;
10 they were there where the focus of the action was.
11 Q. And one more. Item 5.1, the tactical group 211, command post in
12 the area Batlava. I take it from your earlier answers that no one from
13 the corps command was at that command post?
14 A. No.
15 Q. So can you explain to me how reading this document one would know
16 that elements of the Pristina Corps command are with the 354th Brigade in
17 their command post at Lausa? It doesn't say that. How would you know
19 A. The command post is in the village of Lausa. This is what is
20 written here, and the command post of the 354th Brigade is in the village
21 of Lausa, this is also what is written here. It's the same village, the
22 same location.
23 Q. Yes, what's written here is the command post for the 354th Brigade
24 is in Lausa, but where in here is there any indication that the Pristina
25 Corps command has elements there? There's no reason to think that they
1 would be in Lausa instead of Banjska, Batlava, or Stari Trg, or Djakovica.
2 How do you get that from this document?
3 A. The last page, the last sentence.
4 Q. Okay, General, I guess we'll just have to leave that for now.
5 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, I know it's a minute early, but I'm
6 going to move to try and address Judge Chowhan's point after the break.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Hopefully re-examination may assist on this because
8 there is a separate command post referred to for each of these groups and
9 the task they undertake in both orders.
10 We shall break now and resume at ten minutes to 11.00.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. General, based on a comment that Judge Bonomy made just before we
16 broke, I took another look at P1966 and 1967. One additional difference I
17 saw is that in your amendment you have a task for the 354th Brigade which
18 did not appear to be in Exhibit P1966. Is that correct?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. And the portion of the 354th that you were tasking in your
21 amendment relates to a part of the forces specifically it appears to be
22 the 120-millimetre Mortar Company and the 105-millimetre Howitzer
23 Battalion, right?
24 A. It is not quite right what you said just now. By your leave, it
25 says the 2nd Infantry Battalion in parenthesis, that that is the mainstay
1 of this task. If you see 5.4 and then parenthesis, 2nd Infantry
2 Battalion, without the mortar company and the 1st battery of the howitzer
4 Q. Okay. And their task is to support the MUP forces and in
5 coordination with Tactical Group 211 prevent terrorist forces from pulling
6 out. So why weren't elements of the Pristina Corps command also located
7 with the Tactical Group 211 in their command post in Batlava?
8 A. The hill of Laus and the Merdare and Prepolac passes that were
9 supposed to be taken by the 354th Brigade with part of its forces dominate
10 all of Malo Kosovo. From there, one can command and control and lead all
11 units from the aspect of the possibility of maintaining communications and
12 in visual terms too, if I can put it that way. That is where the
13 observation post was too, where everything could be seen clearly how
14 combat was developing.
15 Q. You told us before that the elements carrying out this action
16 would have with them the map, the original order, and the amended order.
17 Reading the original order and the amended order together, how would those
18 elements know that they weren't supposed to be under the command of the
19 Joint Command, because that's what the original order said and there is no
20 specific direction in your amendment to indicate that that was no longer
21 the case.
22 A. With all due respect, as far as subordinate commanders are
23 concerned, there was no dilemma on their part there. In response to your
24 second question, page 2 of this document specifies the command post in
25 Lausa and for every commander that was unequivocal, unequivocal for
1 everyone who was in that line of work, that is.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, you said that 5.4 was the mainstay
3 of this task. Do you mean that was the main part of the action?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From this area where this unit was,
5 practically one could control all forces. These are dominant features and
6 Malo Kosovo spreads all the way from there.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: There is no 5.4 in the original order. Does that
8 mean that this was a very significant change that was being made by the
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, that's right. They're
11 different units, but Your Honour, Mr. President, that order, that first
12 order is without readiness. It does not say when the action would take
13 place, and the question is whether it had left before that because
14 readiness is not specified there.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one moment, Mr. Hannis.
17 Now, it's difficult, I hope you appreciate, for a layperson to
18 understand how this second document, the amendment, makes it clear that
19 part of the Pristina Corps command will be in that particular command
20 post. That's what's causing the problem here. Maybe it's something that
21 is intuitive for a soldier, but somehow or other can you get over to us
22 why that would be the case?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As you say, I duly appreciate that a
24 layperson cannot fully understand, but, Your Honour, Mr. President, I
25 direct you to the last sentence on page 2 where the command post is
1 specified, the command post in the region of the village of Lausa.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: But, Mr. Lazarevic, every section of that order has
3 a command post. If you go to the end of 5.3, it's got a command post; if
4 you go to 5.2, it's got a command post.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but for subordinate units.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, perhaps, as I said earlier, re-examination
7 will clarify the point.
8 Please continue, Mr. Hannis.
9 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. But the command post in Lausa is a command post for the
11 subordinate unit of the 354th, right?
12 A. Right, and at the same time -- at the same time of the command
13 group of the Pristina Corps. Twice, the command post is repeated twice
14 for the brigade and in the final part before the signature of the
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I'm not seeing that so --
17 MR. HANNIS:
18 Q. Neither am I, general --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: This is the problem. Perhaps there's something in
20 translation that's causing the difficulty. It's only referred to once on
21 the copy I've been looking at.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, in the
23 preceding point that refers to the 354th Brigade, its command post is
24 stated, in the village of Lausa. When all the units were taken care of
25 and when their command posts were set, at the very end of the decision the
1 command post in the region of the village of Lausa is set for that part of
2 the corps that is going to follow the action as it evolves. It is on the
3 very last page on the document.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: I have it on the very last page and it is in
5 exactly the same position in relation to 5.4 as a similar statement in
6 relation to 5.3 and 5.2. Now, where's the additional reference to the
7 command post in the village of Lausa?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This last sentence, before the
9 signature on the second page, the last page, it's probably page 2,
10 pertains to the command post of the group from the command of the Pristina
11 Corps because the command post for the subordinate units had already been
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you show me where it's set, please, for the
14 354th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Battalion?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could the first page be called up
16 again, please. Item 5.4, it says "task," and then the next page, please.
17 In this part, no. Please, with your leave, could it be called up
18 again. After the task is carried out -- but could I have a look at the
19 previous page once again, please. The second subparagraph of 5.4,
20 taking -- "the taking up of the zone should be carried out once our forces
21 take over the broader region of village of Lausa, the hill of Lausa, trig
22 point 630." That's the location, that's the elevation, below the pass
23 where the command post of the brigade was.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: That's not answering the question. Where is the
25 reference -- the other reference to the command post in the village of
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There isn't one in the sense of the
3 village -- the command post village of Lausa, command post village of
4 Lausa. In the first variant it is the village of Lausa and in the second
5 variant it's the village of Lausa.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, can I try one last time to ask you to explain
7 how anyone reading this, be a soldier or anyone else, would know that part
8 of the Pristina Corps command would be at that particular command post?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, because
10 in the last point the command post where part of the corps command will be
11 is determined.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: You have me defeated me moment, I'm afraid, but
13 we'll need to move on, Mr. Hannis. We can't spend our whole lives on
15 MR. HANNIS: I understand, Your Honour. I do want to ask one more
17 Q. In 1966, the original order to which your amendment pertains, item
18 number 11 is command and communication and it says: "The Pristina Corps
19 command post shall be in the building of its peacetime location."
20 There's nothing in 1967 to say that that was changed, correct?
21 A. That is what is written there, but with the leave of the Trial
22 Chamber, there's this but. In every such document, order, and so within,
23 that's the same thing that is written. We dealt with that yesterday, its
24 peacetime location, et cetera, in all of those 14 locations, which is
25 certainly not correct.
1 Q. Okay. And so elements of the 125th or the 15th Brigades who were
2 involved in this operation, how would they know, for example, if they had
3 a communications failure and they needed to use a courier, how would they
4 know that the corps command elements were co-located with the 354th in
5 Lausa? They wouldn't, would they?
6 A. According to the last simple sentence, to my mind they'd know on
7 the basis of that; if not, they would look for another location. But I am
8 saying that they would know.
9 Q. All right. Thank you. I want to try and address the question
10 that Judge Chowhan raised about the process. And this was the reason that
11 I had used the term "draft" when I was talking about a first writing of an
12 order or a decision relating to an action that's going to be written up in
13 a map and then carried out. And if I understood the honourable Judge
14 Chowhan correctly, the question is: When does that become effective as
15 the decision or the order? Is it effective from the very moment it's
16 written or does it only become effective after the map has been written
17 and it's been approved by the commander? Can you answer that question?
18 A. After a decision was verified on the map.
19 Q. Okay. And since there's nothing written on the map as far as the
20 date or the time that that approval has been made, how would we know
21 whether that first writing of the document has been approved? Do you
22 follow that question?
23 A. I don't understand.
24 Q. If it becomes official once it's -- once the map has been
25 approved, how do you know when that point of time is? We can't look at
1 the map and see there's no time or date saying "approved" November 15th at
2 4.00 p.m. How do you know? Is that reflected in a separate document
3 somewhere or does the subordinate commander just know because he's seen
4 the superior sign it? How do we know when it becomes effective?
5 A. Your Honours, the subordinate commander, when he brings the map to
6 his superior he provides a clarification, he explains it using textual
7 documents, overviews, and data from the decision that had been written,
8 decision or order. So he provides explanations. He doesn't just put it
9 on the desk and says, Please sign that; he has to explain, justify, it for
10 half an hour, for an hour using the data from the order or decision that
11 had been written, using all kinds of overviews. And once the superior
12 commander has heard him he says, Fine, I'm going to sign it. There is no
13 special document. There may be a cover letter of some sort. That happens
14 when somebody else, not the commander, brought the map for the
15 verification, then there could be a cover letter saying, I approve your
16 map and please proceed with the execution of the task. This is attached
17 to the map that is sent back to the subordinate command, and with this
18 cover letter which is very, very short, just a couple of sentences.
19 When the subordinate command receives the map with or without the
20 cover letter, it starts to work on the implementation of its decision
21 vis-a-vis its subordinate units.
22 Q. So until that time when the map is approved, what is the status of
23 the written document? Is it just -- I used the term "draft," but you said
24 that doesn't exist. Is it just a proposed decision? What is its status?
25 A. This is the decision of the subordinate commander which is there
1 in a room. It is used by the organs of the command to draft their own
2 orders and plans. They use elements from this order. They plot their own
3 maps. They wait for the final verification from the superior command, if
4 there is any need for them to add anything. So these processes go on in
5 parallel. This order is there in this room, it is being read by the
6 organs of the command who go on to draft their own orders; and the moment
7 they approve, the map comes back, a comparison is made. And as soon as
8 possible, the subordinate units start making their own supplementary
10 MR. HANNIS: I don't know if that's assisted Your Honour or not.
11 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I'm very thankful for your addressing this, but
12 there's another confusion and the confusion is because of the answer which
13 doesn't elaborate another fact and which is that while the subordinate
14 echelons are working with their own parallel maps on the basis of what the
15 learned Prosecutor has called as a draft decision and then the maps get
16 signed and the approval comes and that's the decision, but imagine if
17 there are certain amendments made during the discussions which take place
18 between the signing authority and the one who's explaining and he wants
19 things to be done in a different way. Then what happens to the parallel
20 actions of the lower command? Because they must be assuming that this
21 will be approved, supposing that model is not approved and something
22 happens, then what happens in that case? I mean, this I think the learned
23 Prosecutor, this has not been clarified and I would request the witness to
24 kindly throw some light on it because this can go on.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm afraid that the
1 interpretation of what I have said is not adequate. The organs of the
2 command, not of the subordinate units, plan at the same time in the very
3 same command that made the decision and took the map to the commander for
4 verification. The other organs of that very same command have the
5 obligation to make their own maps that are branch and service specific,
6 and they have to enter certain documents, or rather, elements. And once
7 the map that was signed comes in, the process of planning for that command
8 is completed, unless there are any amendments. If there are any
9 amendments, then all the plans will be corrected, amended, and if
10 necessary will be drafted from scratch; and only then will subordinate
11 units be involved.
12 JUDGE CHOWHAN: [Microphone not activated]
13 MR. HANNIS:
14 Q. Well, your description of that, General, reminds me of a situation
15 that we've had some evidence about regarding Exhibit P1487, which were the
16 suggestions from General Ojdanic regarding a Joint Command order that's in
17 Exhibit P1868 or 1878. Do you recall when General Curcin testified here
18 about that event and how the suggestions came to be created? Do you
19 remember his testimony about that?
20 A. I do remember basically.
21 Q. Okay. And let me know if your recollection is generally the same
22 as mine regarding that event. I don't have the specific page reference in
23 front of me but I think he said he was called in by General Ojdanic, who
24 had a map, and told General Curcin this is something he received from
25 General Pavkovic, who brought it in after having met with the supreme
1 commander Mr. Milosevic. And that from looking at that map General Curcin
2 and General Ojdanic, even though they didn't have the decision, the text
3 decision, they were able to write up some suggestions which then were sent
4 down the line. Do you agree with me so far, that that was his explanation
5 of how the suggestions were created?
6 A. That's the way I understood his testimony.
7 Q. And I believe Mr. Ackerman introduced an exhibit, 4D420, which is
8 from General Pavkovic after the event, advising General Ojdanic that had
9 not been able to carry out the suggestions, partly because there was a
10 delay in receiving the information and I think also because it was -- he
11 described it as a MUP operation rather than a VJ operation. But doesn't
12 that incident reflect a flaw in the system if the original text can be
13 treated as a valid order even while you're awaiting approval from the
14 superior commander in the form of his signing off on the map? Because
15 Ojdanic wanted to suggest some changes, but the operation went ahead
16 without his approval. Isn't that right?
17 A. By your leave, Your Honours, I would like to be able to say -- not
18 to say yes or no but to explain the way I understand it. To my
19 understanding, the chief of the Supreme Command Staff did not approve this
20 decision. This was not his level. This was not something that he
21 planned. This was planned at a lower, tactical level, at the level of the
22 corps command and partially at the level of the army command the way I
23 understand it. He was not involved, or rather, the Supreme Command Staff
24 was not involved in the planning of this, and this is why my answer to you
25 is no, this is not so. But on the other hand it is quite legitimate for
1 the Chief of the General Staff, or rather, the Supreme Command Staff when
2 he sees a situation and when he feels that amendments can be made may
3 intervene, even though he did not take part in the planning process and in
4 the decision-making process in this regard.
5 Q. And do you recall, did not General Curcin tell us on that map in
6 the upper left-hand corner were the words "Joint Command" and no
7 signature, right?
8 A. I heard his testimony this way.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: The suggestion I think, Mr. Lazarevic, is that
10 while the Supreme Command Staff may not have had a role in the authorising
11 of that operation, that perhaps the supreme commander did. But you're
12 telling us that it was an action planned at a lower level but was also
13 authorised at a lower level?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was planned and authorised.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Who authorised it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was authorised by the 3rd Army
17 commander. The corps planned it; the 3rd Army commander authorised it.
18 MR. HANNIS:
19 Q. And your basis for saying that the 3rd Army commander authorised
20 it is because he's the one who brought the map to Ojdanic, or is there
21 some other basis for that?
22 A. My basis is my personal involvement, experience with the -- with
23 using the corps during the war, and the 3rd Army command with its forward
24 command post was at the corps command post. And the corps did not carry
25 out a single action without the knowledge of the army command, and the
1 army command always reported to the Supreme Command Staff on all those
3 MR. HANNIS: Well, could we look at exhibit --
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise. I don't
5 know what action Mr. Hannis is actually referring to.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
7 MR. HANNIS: Well, I was just asking if we could look at Exhibit
9 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
10 MR. HANNIS:
11 Q. And, General, I have been referring to the action that is
12 described in the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija order which bears
13 that number 455-148. And you'll recall from the testimony that that is
14 the number that is referred to or linked to in General Ojdanic's
15 suggestions in Exhibit P1487. Will you accept my word for that or do I
16 need to show you 1487?
17 A. Well, in answer to my previous questions -- actually, I understood
18 you to be asking me about that, that that's what you were referring to,
19 and that's the way I took it.
20 Q. Thank you. And you see now on the screen P1878, which is that
21 order, to break-up and destroy Siptar terrorist forces in the Rugovo
22 sector. And this is another one of those unsigned and it just has at the
23 end Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija. So based on your earlier
24 answer that this came from the army command, what's the relationship
25 between General Pavkovic, as 3rd Army commander, and the Joint Command?
1 A. I did not say, as far as I can recall, that this originated from
2 the 3rd Army. This log-book number is the log-book number from the corps
3 command. I merely said that everything that was done in the corps was
4 verified right there on the spot and was reviewed and then implemented.
5 And I really don't recall having said that this originated from the 3rd
6 Army, which does not mean that the operations officers from the 3rd Army
7 who were at the forward command post did not work on this document
8 together with the operations officers from the corps. It would have been
9 wrong not to have done so, but I explained that this log number 455 ...
10 Q. Excuse me, General, I was looking at page 48, line 6, in your
11 answer to Judge Bonomy's question about who authorised it, you just told
12 us: "It was authorised by the 3rd Army commander. The corps planned it;
13 the 3rd Army commander authorised it." Correct?
14 A. Correct, yes, that's correct.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: That makes it a Pristina Corps action, Mr. Hannis.
16 MR. HANNIS:
17 Q. And then what is the connection between the Pristina Corps and the
18 Joint Command if this was planned by your command and approved by your
19 superior, General Pavkovic?
20 A. In factual terms, there was none. There could not have been one.
21 In technical terms, what does this title have to do in this document? Let
22 me repeat, Your Honours, by your leave. This is an indication of the form
23 of the coordinated action and combined command in the execution of a
24 general task between two structures, the army and the police, which have
25 the same task, but where each structure retains its own chain of command.
1 Q. And looking at the description of the task in this order, would
2 you characterize this as a MUP operation or MUP action?
3 A. In this document you can see the specific tasks for a small, small
4 part of the Pristina Corps, it's a small force that is supposed to support
5 the MUP in the action to deblock the Rugovska Klisura area from the
6 terrorist forces. This is the essence of this document.
7 Q. And do you have any idea why a small action like this is something
8 that would be brought to the attention of apparently the supreme commander
9 and the chief of the Supreme Command Staff?
10 A. I really don't know. I really don't have the information that the
11 supreme commander was involved in it. He may have received some
12 information about what was going on, but that's not something that I know
13 of. As -- and now as to why the chief of the Supreme Command was
14 involved, well the Supreme Command Staff was interested in the overall
15 situation in the 3rd Army, and in particular in the Pristina Corps. They
16 followed the events in -- on the map. We heard people from the operations
17 centre who testified here. It is quite logical for me for the Supreme
18 Command Staff to be interested in knowing that a light infantry battalion
19 was trying to carry out some task in some gorge somewhere or other. For
20 me, this is absolutely acceptable.
21 Q. And in the Pristina Corps command, can you give us the names of
22 the individuals who prepared this order?
23 A. Since there are no initials here, I can only say with a
24 considerable degree of certainty that these would be the operations organ,
25 Colonel Stefanovic, as he was at the time; Colonel Tesevic; sometimes
1 Colonel Paprica. So that was the group of people at the corps command who
2 were involved in the planning process.
3 Q. So is it fair to say it would have been at least one of those
4 three that was involved? You may not be able to tell us precisely which
5 one, but those were the guys who did that kind of work and it would have
6 been one of them. Is that what you're saying?
7 A. Well, I'm trying to say that Colonel Stefanovic was responsible,
8 he was at the head of this organ; but whether he did this or some of his
9 subordinates, I really can't tell. But he was responsible for drafting
10 this, that was Colonel Radojko Stefanovic.
11 Q. All right. Let's move away from that for now and take you back to
12 your first day of testimony. You were shown a video by Mr. Bakrac at page
13 17773. This was a video I think you told us was from January or February
14 1999, showing what appeared to be what you described as the terrorist
15 forces in uniform with weapons Marching through the snow and apparently
16 doing some training or exercising. Do you recall that?
17 A. I recall that.
18 Q. Okay. And you mentioned this was an example of what you were
19 aware of about the severe problem of large groups of terrorist forces and
20 armed rebellion forces and insurgent forces throughout Kosovo. Did you
21 advise the -- well, first of all, when did you see this video? I don't
22 recall if you told us when you first saw it.
23 A. As for this video recording, I saw it after the war.
24 Q. Okay. Thank you. But you told us you did have other data about
25 large groups of terrorists between 400 and 600 villages, where there were
1 at all times terrorist forces and insurgent forces. Did you inform - and
2 when I say "you," I mean you in the army - did you inform the MUP about
3 this intelligence? Did you share that information with them?
4 A. That information were exchanged through regular intelligence
5 security channels, but they were also transmitted to the international
6 representatives of the OSCE mission, which to my mind is also important.
7 As for the MUP, yes, as well, with public and state security.
8 Q. And I think your testimony was that after the OSCE KVM mission
9 arrived, that you - you, the army - weren't attacking any of these
10 terrorist strongholds, right?
11 A. That's right, unless there was a direct attack from those
12 locations against the army; then there would be a response to the attack.
13 Q. Okay. And what about the MUP, weren't the MUP doing operations
14 against some of these strongholds during this time-period, after the KVM
16 A. As far as I remember, the MUP had strictly defined locations where
17 they could be. These were the so-called points, 20 or 27, where they
18 secured the area and communications. I really do not have information
19 about the MUP carrying out some active activities vis-a-vis the rebels,
20 such as actions.
21 Q. Okay. Well, you were aware of the action at Racak in the middle
22 of January 1999, right, that was a MUP action?
23 A. That, yes. That was an action, an attempt to arrest persons who
24 had previously killed a few policemen. This action assumed wider
25 proportions practically.
1 Q. What about the 549th Brigade under I think it was Colonel Delic at
2 the time, were you aware of actions that they took part in in conjunction
3 with MUP personnel in the middle of March, say the 12th of March and the
4 18th of March, before the war started?
5 A. In the border belt, as far as I can remember, towards Albania two
6 anti-terrorist actions were taken, Jeskovo and Kabas. This was previously
7 announced to the OSCE mission, that there were terrorist forces there who
8 were jeopardizing accessibility in the border belt.
9 Q. And accessibility in the border belt, in what way do you mean they
10 were jeopardizing?
11 A. To be quite specific, the village of Jeskovo that was vacated,
12 there were no civilians there, it was turned into a classical terrorist
13 stronghold of the FARK type. They cut off the road to Dragas, and at the
14 Dragas plateau there were five border posts of the Army of Yugoslavia, or
15 rather, the Pristina Corps, and they became inaccessible. As for Kabas,
16 directly above the barracks they also moved out the civilian population
17 and they prepared an attack on the very barracks of Prizren.
18 Q. And was Prizren in the Prizren barracks within the border belt?
19 A. Not Prizren, but the village of Kabas and Korisaje [phoen], that
20 area where the concentration was, yes.
21 Q. You showed us a map, Exhibit 5D1334 --
22 MR. HANNIS: And if we could have that up in e-court, please.
23 Q. -- Page 17775 you told us that this was made in the operations
24 organ, together with the security organ of the Pristina Corps. And I
25 think you described this as a survey map of the armed Albanian villages
1 or -- yes, the armed Albanian villages in Kosovo and Metohija from 1998
2 and 1999. Do you recall that?
3 A. Yes, I recall that.
4 Q. You said that you thought it was created in February 1999. I have
5 a question about exactly what time-period does this cover. If it was
6 created in February 1999, how far back in 1998 does it go, as far as
7 reflecting the location of armed Albanian villages?
8 A. From the month of April 1998 up until the end of the war, this
9 part pertains to the month of February when there was an escalation.
10 There were other maps, too, in terms of the broader regions without this
11 micro-regionisation according to information on what village had received
12 weapons or where these forces had come. Then these locations were marked,
13 information was updated, and this is the so-called review map. That is
14 what it is called, or rather, the overview map, as it is called in
15 military regulations.
16 Q. General, the thing I'm trying to understand is that one of these
17 blue dots I take it may have been put on the map because of information
18 you had that that village was armed in May of 1998, for example, correct?
19 A. Well, starting from April onwards. Some later some earlier. This
20 is what the situation was in the month of February, 1999, but a very large
21 number, over 400, that is the information from the other side if I may
22 say, 406 is KLA information. Of course not all of that was portrayed, it
23 cannot be portrayed on a map this big.
24 Q. Well, I guess I'm confused because it says 1998/1999. Is it your
25 evidence that every blue dot on this map reflected an armed Albanian
1 village that was armed in February of 1999?
2 A. That in February 1999 constituted a terrorist stronghold.
3 Q. Well, then why doesn't it just say "February 1999"? Why the
4 reference to 1998?
5 A. Because this overview map was kept from April 1998 and it was
6 added upon once additional information was received in terms of attacks
7 against the security forces or civilians.
8 Q. Okay. I understand that. It was added on. But were any of the
9 dots removed, because you know in -- starting in July 1998 through the end
10 of September 1998, it was a big operation, part of the five-phase plan for
11 combatting terrorism, in which a number of villages were the subject of
12 joint actions by the MUP and the VJ, and including a number of actions
13 or - for lack of a better word - operations in which villagers were
14 surrendering their weapons to the army and the MUP. You knew about that,
16 A. Yes, I know about that. Some villages practically became passive,
17 voluntarily surrendered arms, but already from the month of October
18 onwards when the OSCE mission came. Regrettably, yet again there was this
19 forced mobilisation of an even larger number of Albanian villages. It is
20 possible that some of the villages from April or May 1999 were not shown
21 here because they evaded forced mobilisation, if that is what your
22 question was at the beginning.
23 Q. No, my question is that I would suggest to you that a number of
24 these blue dots as of February 1999 were no longer armed Albanian
25 villages, either because the villagers had been driven out or they had
1 surrendered their weapons, et cetera. Isn't that true?
2 A. That is not true for a simple reason. Because the number of
3 terrorist acts from October, especially from January and February, was
4 doubled in Kosovo and Metohija, attacks against civilians, the army, and
5 the police. I am talking to you about what in fact happened in Kosovo and
6 Metohija. This was carried out by those forces relying on these
7 strongholds and these villages.
8 Q. In that connection we've seen a document, I think it's Exhibit
10 MR. HANNIS: If we could put that up.
11 Q. And, General, you'll recognise this. I think it's from the 16th
12 of February, 1999, and it's signed by you. And the English translation
13 title is: "Order to break-up and destroy the Siptar terrorist forces in
14 the sector of Malo Kosovo, Drenica, and Malisevo."
15 You're familiar with this, yes?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In preparing this document, did you rely on information in that
18 map that we were just looking at?
19 A. Well, this is an overview map this is a more lasting one, that
20 lasts longer. Specifically for this action the most recent verified data
21 from the operative zones of brigade were used, or rather, the operative
22 zones of the armed rebellion forces.
23 Q. So --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Did you say there that one was an overview map and
25 the other was more lasting, because there seems to be a mistake in the
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The map that was on the screen a few
3 moments ago is an overview map which lasts longer, which is used for a
4 general picture and for following the situation; and when embarking on a
5 specific action, then one verifies and collects concrete data from the
6 ground, from subordinate commanders.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I thought, Mr. Lazarevic, you had told us that the
8 operation up until end of September into October 1998 was very successful
9 and largely overcame the terrorist threat at that stage. Is my
10 recollection correct?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You are right, Your Honour,
12 Mr. President.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: So it seems odd that we should have a map with the
14 location of villages with significant terrorist presence that covers the
15 period April until February. I mean, it can't have an accurate picture,
16 surely, as at February unless it's been amended to reflect the changes in
17 circumstances during that period?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a map from the month of
19 February that contains numerous locations from 1998 as well and new
20 locations, too, in terms of focal points of rebellion. Because from
21 October to February - and we've also heard testimony of those who led this
22 armed rebellion - they achieved more than during the summer offensive of
23 the Serb forces, as they had said, in terms of territory control.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand that, but it doesn't automatically
25 follow as a matter of logic that the same villages are occupied by
1 terrorist forces. And the period in time that really matters for us is
2 what the situation was in February. And really, this map doesn't tell us,
3 does it?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, this is
5 the situation in the month of February, but I'm telling you specifically
6 as well Junik, may I give an example, one example only. Junik in 1998 was
7 a centre of the armed rebellion. It was Junik with the surrounding area
8 that was a centre in 1999 as well, not to go into other examples.
9 Jablanica and so on. I don't want to take up your time.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Was this map prepared for the purposes of the
11 trial, since you hadn't seen it before?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't say, Your Honour, that I
13 had not seen it. I said ...
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- that this map, as far as I can
16 recall, was made in the corps command, the overview map I mean, on the
17 basis of the maps that were kept by the operations organs and the security
18 organs. And they cover larger areas of the deployment of the forces.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: So when did you first see this map?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I first saw this map in February and
21 March, until the beginning of the war, and I looked at it several times in
22 that period.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sorry, I was confusing your answer about the
24 video with your answer about this. Thank you.
25 Mr. Hannis.
1 MR. HANNIS:
2 Q. General, the question that I have from that previous discussion
3 was: But as of February 1999, that map is not entirely an accurate
4 picture regarding location of armed Albanian villages because by that time
5 some of those villages that may have been armed in April or May or June of
6 1999 were no longer armed villages. Isn't that correct?
7 A. This is my answer. Unfortunately, it was not correct - but not
8 from that aspect - because the terrorist forces were much larger than what
9 we had assessed and that we had forecast as to the developments that would
10 follow. We assessed that there were 17 brigades and there were over 22,
11 25 brigades, in fact.
12 Q. And because it wasn't accurate, you did not rely on it in
13 preparing Exhibit 2808, your 16th February 1999 order, correct?
14 A. I have explained that as far as this particular order is
15 concerned, that the data had been verified, the security data at the corps
16 command and also the data from the subordinate commands because this is a
17 specific order, and certain anti-terrorist action was to be carried -- a
18 quite specific counter-terrorist action was to be carried out on the basis
19 of this order.
20 Q. And my question is: You did not rely on that map, did you, in
21 preparing your order?
22 A. I did and we [as interpreted] did not. This is an overview map.
23 This is a document that is there to assist us, it's an aid, and this is
24 something that you monitor every day. You plot things on it. But if you
25 want to launch an action, you have to check. If a terrorist unit enters a
1 village, takes it, and is there for three days and then leaves, this is
2 something that you have to monitor. You have to follow these
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Your answer has been recorded as: I did and we did
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: I did and I did not.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Did you say "I did and I did not"?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that we did use this map in
9 part, but we did not, but from the point of view of preparing for a
10 specific action.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 Mr. Hannis.
13 MR. HANNIS:
14 Q. Well, I can understand it would make sense to use the map if you
15 were updating it on a regular basis and if you got information about now
16 on February 10th, there's another armed village over here; and on February
17 15th, there's another one here, and you put another dot on the map. But
18 from what I can see from the map is that all the dots are the same colour
19 and there's no way to know whether that dot was put on in April 1998, or
20 last week, in February 1999. So how does that help you plan your
21 operation when you don't have a time-line or anything to indicate to you
22 what the status is today, in February 1999?
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour, the witness has
24 just replied and you took him back. You were not clear what he meant when
25 he said yes and no. It's an overview map, but if a specific task is
1 given, then further checks are made to verify its accuracy and the witness
2 said that loud and clear. I don't know why my learned colleague
3 Mr. Hannis is now bringing him back to it, and the question was whether he
4 used that map, and I think he explained that.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: The question is related to the usefulness and
6 the -- of the exercise and the accuracy as at February 1999 of the map;
7 and therefore, we shall repel the objection and allow the witness to
8 answer the question.
9 The question was: So how does that help you plan your operation
10 when you don't have a time-line or anything to indicate to you what the
11 status was of these villages at February 1999?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a map from
13 February. It was not made in a single day. It was based on the
14 intelligence gathered in the previous period, and it shows where the main
15 force and where the flash-points of the armed rebellion were as of
16 February 1999. Those flash-points tally for the most part with the ones
17 in 1998. So this map shows that in general terms.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Again, that's creating more uncertainty in my mind,
19 Mr. Lazarevic. If this was compiled in 1999 and the purpose of it was to
20 show the position as at February 1999, what's the point in looking at the
21 situation in April 1998?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there is a confusion here in
23 this whole question and answer thing, because the Prosecutor asked me:
24 When did such overview map came into being, when did it start to be
25 plotted. I said it was in April. But this map depicts the situation as
1 of February 1999, and let me just give you one more sentence. This map
2 was accompanied by a textual overview with the names of the villages and
3 municipalities and there were indications next to the villages whether
4 they were armed, whether they were terrorist strongholds, and this was
5 updated, this textual overview.
6 MR. HANNIS: Are you waiting on me, Your Honour?
7 JUDGE BONOMY: [Microphone not activated]
8 Please continue, Mr. Hannis.
9 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. General, let me move on to something else. Your exhibit 5D1370
11 was shown to you by Mr. Bakrac on the 6th of November to help explain to
12 us the organizational structure of the Pristina Corps. I have another
13 document I want to show you that's similar, this is Exhibit P2556. This
14 is something that was prepared by the OTP and it purports to show some or
15 most of the units that were under the Pristina Corps at the time. Now, I
16 realize it doesn't match up identically with yours and certainly defer to
17 your document. But what I wanted to ask you in connection with this one
18 is if you can identify for us the commanders of some of these brigades or
19 subordinate units. We did not have a name for a commander for the 252nd
20 Armoured Brigade. Can you tell us who that was?
21 A. Colonel Milos Mandic.
22 Q. And for the 72nd Special Forces Brigade?
23 A. Your Honours, if I may be allowed at this point to say that 72nd
24 Special Forces Brigade was not in Kosovo and it was not subordinated to
25 the corps. There were two smaller elements, a hundred men each, and I
1 perhaps would not be very accurate in my answer because I would be just
2 guessing. That man was not in Kosovo, whether this was Colonel Cvetkovic
3 or somebody else, and that's why I can't give you an answer. It says here
4 the 72nd Brigade and that brigade was not in Kosovo and Metohija as a
5 brigade and its brigade commander was not in Kosovo. That's why I don't
6 know that.
7 Q. Do you know who the commander was for those elements of the 72nd
8 Brigade that were in Kosovo in 1999? Do you know who their commander was?
9 A. For this combat group that we call the Anti-terrorist Battalion,
10 it was Major Markovic, he was the commander and as for the combat group of
11 the reconnaissance battalion, I believe it was Major Dunjic. When I
12 say "I believe," I mean to say that I'm not quite certain as to the
13 accuracy of my answer.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you, General. How about the 52nd Military Police
16 A. Major Stevo Kopanja.
17 Q. And the 52nd Reconnaissance and Diversionary Company?
18 A. I'm sorry, I can't remember who was the company commander. I
19 really can't tell you that now.
20 Q. Okay. And just two more, the 53rd Border Guards Battalion?
21 A. Major Dusko Sljivancanin.
22 Q. And the 57th Border Guards Battalion?
23 A. Major Sveta Antanasijevic.
24 Q. Thank you, General. Now I want to go to Exhibit P1085. I think I
25 need e-court page number 145 in the English and 144 in the B/C/S. I'm
1 looking for paragraph 450.
2 General, this should be -- if my notes are correct, this should be
3 the VJ Rules of Service. I appear to have the right page in English, but
4 I may need some help on the B/C/S. I don't know if Mr. Bakrac can assist.
5 I'm looking for Article 450. I see --
6 A. We have it.
7 Q. At least we have the beginning of it.
8 General, you recall testifying about this earlier? This is a
9 section that talks about the use of the units and facilities or
10 installations in peacetime.
11 A. Yes, I do remember.
12 Q. Okay. And Article 450 talks about: "Army units may be used to
13 fight insurgent, sabotage, terrorist, or other hostile armed groups or to
14 prevent and eliminate a state of emergency in accordance with a decision
15 of the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or the Supreme
16 Defence Council."
17 Now, am I correct in reading that where it says "to prevent or --
18 prevent and eliminate a state of emergency"? I'm thinking hypothetically,
19 but it seems to me that if I were the supreme commander of the army I
20 could argue that any use of the army at all was to prevent a state of
21 emergency. If there were ten students demonstrating on the corner, I
22 might say, Bring in the army and arrest those students because I want to
23 prevent a state of emergency. Isn't that right?
24 A. That's not the way I understand this paragraph, 450, of the Rules
25 of Service of the Army of Yugoslavia in peacetime because some other tasks
1 are listed here before this. And as far as I understand a state of
2 emergency, the way I understand it as a citizen of that country, I
3 understand it in completely different terms. I see it as a state that
4 endangers the overall security in the broader region or the -- it is
5 something that poses a severe threat to the country and to the
6 constitutional order. And I would not agree that a dozen students would
7 pose such a threat to the security of the country.
8 Q. I would agree with you, that that in my mind wouldn't pose a
9 threat to the country. But you see how that wording leaves it to the
10 discretion of those, that is, the president of the Federal Republic, or
11 those members of the Supreme Defence Council who are making the decision;
12 it leaves the discretion to them, right?
13 A. I'm afraid that I really can't give you an answer to this question
14 because it is an issue of constitutional law, and I'm sorry that I can't
15 give you an answer that you're expecting from me. I've just told you what
16 I take the state of emergency to mean as a citizen and as a military
17 officer. Now, as to who decides on it, this is not a discretionary right.
18 It is quite clearly stipulated, but this is not really my field and I
19 really can't assist the Trial Chamber about an interpretation of a state
20 of emergency in the country.
21 Q. Well, you told us on the 6th of November at page 17782, line 2:
22 "As a citizen of the country, not to mention as a soldier, when I
23 know that 50 per cent of the territory of the province of Kosovo and
24 Metohija is blocked by armed rebel forces, that is the most severe state
25 of emergency that can exist in a country. And the fact that the state has
1 not decided to declare a state of emergency is up to the state organs, but
2 it doesn't affect the need to use army units to eliminate the threat."
3 So it was your position in early 1999, wasn't it, that a state of
4 emergency actually existed in Kosovo, even though it had not officially
5 been declared by the state authorities, right?
6 A. In the State of Serbia, or rather, the Federal Republic of
7 Yugoslavia, the constitution and some other laws, I will not be
8 enumerating them, define what the state of emergency is and who declares
9 it, and I gave you my view. And I think to this day that it was a
10 disaster for Serbia and for the state as a whole, but I merely gave you my
11 view as a military officer. It is not up to me to say why somebody did or
12 did not declare a state of emergency. For me, it is a state of emergency
13 when you -- when people are getting killed every day.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, is this a good time to break?
16 JUDGE BONOMY: It is.
17 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: We shall break now and resume at ten to 1.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.21 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
22 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. General, just before we broke we were talking about your answer
24 the other day in which you described the extreme situation in the country
25 and how in your view that was the most severe state of emergency that can
1 exist. It sounds to me like you would have agreed with General Perisic,
2 that a state of emergency should have been declared back in the late
3 spring or early summer of 1998, wouldn't you?
4 A. Now I can say that I agree or disagree with my second or third
5 superior that time, but at that time, as an officer, I was saying what I
6 thought. And I think -- well, now with your leave and with the leave of
7 the Trial Chamber, actually, I think you want to hear what it is that I
8 think, whether indeed a state of emergency should have been imposed or
9 not. As a soldier, on the one hand I thought that should have been done.
10 But I truly was aware, since I was in Kosovo and Metohija, that the state
11 had not decided on that because there was a real danger of this internal
12 conflict escalating very, very fast into an international conflict.
13 Secondly, the imposition of a state of emergency in Kosovo and
14 Metohija would have wider implications in terms of inter-ethnic relations
15 because practically the democratic rights of citizens are suspended, and
16 this has to do with a vast majority of the population. So I think that
17 it's these two reasons, not to go into any others, at that time did not
18 allow - well, this is my assessment - the state leadership to take that
19 kind of decision, but rather, to try to prevent a further escalation of
20 the conflict and an even worse state of emergency by engaging security
21 forces at a given point in time to eliminate these major dangers. This is
22 my assessment, this is my view. I didn't particularly discuss it with
23 anyone -- well, I don't know if that is what General Perisic thought.
24 That's what you asked me, whether he did or he did not.
25 Q. Well, in that regard, we have seen earlier in the trial Exhibit
1 P717, which is the letter from Perisic to Mr. Milosevic. You recall
2 having seen that, where he's complaining about -- well, several things,
3 but one of them is the failure to declare a state of emergency. Do you
4 remember that letter from July of 1998 by General Perisic -- I mean, do
5 you remember having seen it here in court?
6 A. In court, yes; but before that, I hadn't even heard of it.
7 Q. Okay. And in 1998 or early 1999 were you aware of it? Had you
8 heard anybody in the army talking about it, that General Perisic had that
9 disagreement with Mr. Milosevic about whether a state of emergency should
10 or should not be declared?
11 A. Really and truly, I did not even hear from anyone that there was a
12 dispute between the Chief of General Staff and the president with regard
13 to this matter. I didn't hear about that from anyone.
14 Q. Thank you. All right. And in the Rules of Service it talks about
15 how on the occasion of an attack by an insurgent terrorist, sabotage, or
16 other hostile armed group, basically the commanding officer can
17 immediately take the appropriate measures for defence and for repelling
18 the attack. And that makes perfect sense to me, that you've got to have
19 the right to self-defence when you're under attack. But my question for
20 you, General, is: The operations or the actions in the summer of 1998 to
21 the end of September 1998, what is referred to in some places as the
22 five-phase plan to combat terrorism, those weren't immediate responses to
23 attacks. Those were planned aggressive operations by the army against the
24 terrorists, correct?
25 A. These were anti-insurgency actions of the police and Army of
1 Yugoslavia on the basis of a decision made by the state leadership.
2 Q. And some of those joint operations took place outside the border
3 belt, that is, within the interior of Kosovo, correct?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. The decision of the state leadership that you referred to in your
6 prior answer, can you tell us specifically what document you're referring
7 to. Is that one that we've seen here in court?
8 A. As far as I can remember, we saw here a document from the session
9 of the Supreme Command -- Supreme Defence Council where the decision was
10 taken to use the army to prevent the armed rebellion and terrorism in
11 Kosovo and Metohija in case there is an escalation of terrorism. Then we
12 saw special plans for combatting terrorism from the General Staff of the
13 Army of Yugoslavia, and we saw many, many orders from the 3rd Army, the
14 command of the 3rd Army, for day-to-day engagement of the army in carrying
15 out tasks.
16 Q. Okay. So if I understand right then, you were referring to the
17 Supreme Defence Council minutes of the meeting in June of 1998 - I don't
18 recall the specific date now - I think that was the 5th Session and --
19 where there was a decision that in the event terrorism escalated in
20 Kosovo, the army should take appropriate measures or some language like
21 that. That's the one you're talking about, right?
22 A. That's what I mean and I mean also what followed by way of the
23 directive of General Perisic, Grom 98, 1 and 2. Those are the documents I
24 meant initially and the document of the 3rd Army.
25 Q. Okay. Thank you. We will come back to Grom 98 and some of the
1 Grom 99 materials a little later, but let me continue on to something else
2 at the moment. You mentioned that General Perisic called you I guess
3 dozens of times when you were the Chief of Staff at the forward command
4 post in 1998. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. And the standard protocol in such a situation would be you would
7 advise General Pavkovic about those communications from the Chief of
8 Staff, right?
9 A. That's right, and as for the entire composition of the forward
10 command post during the usual meetings in the morning and the evening, I
11 informed them that the Chief of General Staff called and inquired about
12 such and such a thing, and of course it is only natural that I report to
13 the corps commander.
14 Q. And you've heard evidence in this trial earlier from some
15 witnesses who have told us that on one or more occasions General Pavkovic
16 may have skipped a step in the chain of command and gone to directly
17 contact Mr. Milosevic. Were you aware of that in 1998 or 1999?
18 A. Absolutely not, indeed, not in a single -- not on a single
19 occasion did I have any information about that.
20 Q. Is this trial the first time you ever heard that suggestion made?
21 A. Well, I heard statements, not assertions exactly, I have to admit.
22 I heard that some people said that they either heard from someone else or
23 saw for themselves -- well, I remember that sort of, but I do not remember
24 any assertions.
25 Q. Okay. You talked early on about the distinction between joint
1 operations and combined operations. At page 17788 you mentioned that the
2 Law on Defence deals with the issue of combining not only combat
3 operations but other forms of armed and non-armed resistance, that's
4 Exhibit P985. Do you know where specifically where in the Law on Defence
5 that subject is referred to and talked about?
6 A. Article 16 I think, if I remember correctly at this moment.
7 Q. And you also mention in relation to that topic of combined command
8 post I think in a discussion with Judge Bonomy you said you were using the
9 official terms from the combat rules and manuals. Are those something
10 separate and distinct from the VJ Rules of Service?
11 A. Yes, the Rules of Service of the Army of Yugoslavia do not contain
12 provisions pertaining to command posts, command. What I talked about is
13 most directly contained in the instructions for the work of commands and
14 staffs, what a command post is, how it is established, types of command
15 posts, the way in which tasks are carried out, all of that is contained in
16 those instructions.
17 Q. I don't recall, General, is that a document, is that an exhibit in
18 this case?
19 A. It is a Prosecution exhibit, Mr. Prosecutor, it is a red manual --
20 it's two books, actually. I have information that that is a Prosecution
21 exhibit, but I really don't know what the number is.
22 Q. Thank you. Sometimes, General, I have difficulty finding some
23 things because the -- the translation may not always be precise or
24 consistent. I'll visit that later perhaps. But you were aware of
25 those -- that terminology in 1998 and 1999, correct?
1 A. I kindly ask you, I don't understand what you mean. What
2 terminology of 1998 and 1999? Or perhaps the interpretation is wrong.
3 What did you mean?
4 Q. I was referring to your testimony at page 17789 where you said:
5 "The official terms, Your Honour, are" - and you'll have to
6 forgive my pronunciation are "objedinjena," combined command post,
7 combining combat operations, combining other forms of armed or non-armed
8 resistance, so these are the official terms that are used: "Objedinjena"
9 and "objedinjena komando mesto," combined command post, which for all
10 intents and purposes is the"objedinjena komanda," or combined command."
11 That is the terminology I was referring to and you were aware of
12 that and familiar with it in 1998 and 1999, right?
13 A. Now I understand what the question relates to. Yes.
14 Q. Okay.
15 MR. HANNIS: Could we have a look at Exhibit 5D424.
16 Q. This is a document we looked at last week when you were on direct
17 examination from the Supreme Command Staff from the air force and air
18 defence administration, and it's dated the 15th of May, 1999. And you
19 told us about this and you explained that this was a proposal on how to
20 coordinate and combine the operations of the army in terms of
21 anti-aircraft defence in Kosovo that were placed under the command of two
22 strategic groups, the 3rd Army and the air force and air command. Do you
23 recall your evidence about that?
24 A. I remember.
25 Q. And I think you explained that, for example, at the forward
1 command post of the 3rd Army, which was also your command post for the
2 Pristina Corps, contemporaneously the forward command post of the air
3 force and the anti-air defence, they were located there as well; is that
5 A. May I be allowed to say more specifically that it's the forward
6 command post of the air force corps of the command of the anti-air
7 defence. It is not the forward command post of that particular branch.
8 Q. All right. You explained --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that help you, Mr. Hannis? There's -- I think
10 there's a problem in that answer.
11 MR. HANNIS: Yeah, I'm trying to sort that out, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: It depends how important it is to you and what it
13 is you're trying to achieve.
14 MR. HANNIS: Yeah, and I'm --
15 Q. I'm trying to make the point, General, that you said the commander
16 of the army couldn't order that forward command post of the air force
17 corps to support him. He could only ask or propose. Is that correct?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Can you explain for me how -- what the relationship was between
20 the air force and the anti-aircraft defence with the VJ. Are not both of
21 those under the General Staff and the Chief of General Staff or not?
22 A. Yes, the 3rd Army is a strategic group within the army, the land
23 forces, the air force is a strategic group under the General Staff, as a
24 separate branch. Relations are on the basis of laws and regulations, but
25 in terms of execution of tasks, such specific ones, what was ordered was
1 to combine the activities, whereas everyone commands their own forces,
2 which is quite understandable.
3 Q. Okay. So in Pristina during the war, neither you nor
4 General Pavkovic could request the air force to support you, but rather,
5 that had to come from a higher -- well, you couldn't order them to support
6 you. Is that correct?
7 A. Absolutely correct. We could not order them. We are not their
8 superiors. We could only request, ask, propose.
9 Q. And if you had information or you saw a NATO bomber coming towards
10 your headquarters, you couldn't order the anti-aircraft defence unit there
11 with you to do something about it? You could only request or, what, go up
12 to General Ojdanic and ask him to order the anti-aircraft defence to take
13 some action? That seems a rather cumbersome way to operate, doesn't it?
14 A. With the leave of the honourable Trial Chamber, this is way to
15 simplified, and that's not the way it is. It's not the way it works. I
16 say no, and if the Trial Chamber allows me to explain -- well, I don't
17 want to be reprimanded, but that is not the case.
18 Q. Please explain.
19 A. The forces of the air force and anti-air defence that are in the
20 area of Kosovo and Metohija within the general tasks of the defence of the
21 country have their own defined tasks and they carry out these tasks from
22 the point of view of air defence according to the tasks that they have
23 from their superior command. As you can see, the Chief of Staff of the
24 Supreme Command Staff is turning our attention to this that the activities
25 should be more combined at the lower level of troops in the Pristina Corps
1 and the 3rd Army with this other component of air defence, but only from
2 the point of view of this coordination, not that someone would command
3 somebody else. That is the essence of this combining without
4 resubordination, although it's all the military.
5 Q. Well, this is dated the 15th of May, 1999. We know that, oh,
6 about a month before this date that General Ojdanic was aware of the
7 existence of the Supreme Command -- or of the Joint Command by virtue of
8 his suggestions in P1487. Do you know why there wasn't a suggestion that
9 there be some sort of Joint Command between the army and the air force or
10 the air defence for this particular situation? Wouldn't it have worked?
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, speculation is called
13 for here on the basis of Mr. Hannis's assumption that General Ojdanic was
14 aware of the existence of some kind of a Joint Command and
15 General Lazarevic is asked to speculate here based on the information that
16 is not reliable.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. HANNIS: Well, Your Honour, I don't have the precise citation
19 right now, but I know that we have General Ojdanic referring to the Joint
20 Command in at least one of the VJ collegium meetings --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: That's not the contention. The contention is that
22 Mr. Lazarevic isn't in a position to answer this question. It's something
23 for higher up the ladder.
24 MR. HANNIS: Well, I understood his objection, Your Honour, is
25 that I was asking the general to speculate that General Ojdanic was aware
1 of the existence of the Joint Command, and I think we do have evidence in
2 this case --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Is that your objection, Mr. Bakrac, that -- I now
4 do understand what it is if it was based on the reference what General
5 Ojdanic was aware of.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, on the basis of this
7 speculation, General Lazarevic is asked to speculate even further as to
8 why General Ojdanic did not figure out that a Joint Command should be set
9 up between the Pristina Corps and the air force corps. He doesn't know
10 what General Ojdanic knew, and I think that this is mere speculation on
11 the part of the Prosecution themselves on the basis of a single document.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: There's no substance in the objection based on the
13 lack of evidence of General Ojdanic having knowledge of Joint Command.
14 There is evidence from which that might be inferred. On the other hand,
15 there may be substance in the suggestion that Mr. Lazarevic is in no
16 position to tell us why the Chief of the General Staff didn't make this
17 suggestion. It wasn't how I read the question, but if that's what you're
18 asking then it's beyond his knowledge, Mr. Hannis.
19 MR. HANNIS: Okay. I take your point, Your Honour. Let me
20 rephrase the question and see if this is something General Lazarevic might
22 Q. Your explanations about combined command and combined command post
23 versus a Joint Command or a Joint Command post, in this situation where
24 you have the air force and the army, which are both under the same
25 superior, that is, the General Staff and General Ojdanic as the Chief of
1 General Staff, couldn't a Joint Command function for coordinating those
2 two separate bodies?
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
4 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] There is a statement contained in this
5 question, and that General Lazarevic confirmed that there was a Joint
6 Command with a Joint Command post; and then a distinction is made whether
7 this is possible is asked at all. General Lazarevic said, and we heard it
8 dozens of times, that there was no Joint Command and that there was no
9 Joint Command post. And now it is stated here that the Joint Command post
10 and the Joint Command actually existed. I really fail to understand how
11 many times does he have to say that in 1999 such a thing did not exist,
12 how many times?
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour --
15 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I was talking in a generic sense about
17 his description of what a Joint Command would be.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, but you know that his description of what a
19 Joint Command would be involves separate commands of the MUP and the VJ,
20 in spite of the way you would seek to have it interpreted. You're
21 wallowing here because you're introducing factors you don't need to, to
22 ask the question which you want to ask, and your simple question seems to
23 me to be: Because they both fall under the umbrella of the VJ, could a
24 Joint Command not have been established to command the two together?
25 MR. HANNIS: That is the question.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: So all the other stuff really isn't necessary I
2 don't think.
3 MR. HANNIS:
4 Q. General, you've heard what Judge Bonomy just said. Can you answer
5 that question?
6 A. In my view, the chief of the Supreme Command Staff in this
7 document, in no uncertain terms and in accordance with the Rules of
8 Service, ordered that the operations for the troop anti-aircraft defence
9 which was part of the air force and air defence should be combined. This
10 is what the combat rules envisage. They do not envisage any joint of
11 command, and this is the proper measure. This is the proper way and a
12 fine example of how combat operations are to be combined, and this is what
13 he ordered and this is the way we understood it during the war, how we
14 should proceed.
15 Q. Okay. And General Ojdanic had the authority to order both the VJ
16 and the air force, correct?
17 A. I apologise, but this is all the army. Could I be more specific?
18 So he can command both the 3rd Army, that's the land forces, the army; and
19 the air force. We are now -- we have a technical problem. It is much
20 broader, and it would take us too much time to explain that in this
21 courtroom. The air force is commanded from an operations centre where the
22 situation in the entire air-space, not just above the country but even in
23 the broader region, is controlled; and the commander does not have a this
24 picture which would enable him to use the force of the air force. He has
25 the forward command post of the air force corps. He is monitoring things,
1 and he tells the general: This can be done, this cannot be done. And in
2 the brigades there are air force officers who monitor also surveil the
3 situation, they spot, and this goes down to the tactical level and this
4 actually is functioning.
5 Q. And in that regard it was my understanding that there were some
6 anti-aircraft air defence elements or assets that were integral parts of
7 the units like the brigades; isn't that true?
8 A. That's right. Every unit has its anti-aircraft unit, which is the
9 artillery battalion size, and it provides anti-aircraft defence for that
10 unit. The corps has its anti-aircraft brigade, and the air force has its
11 rocket anti-aircraft regiment, it has an air force regiment, and other
12 units that provide anti-aircraft cover in Kosovo and Metohija.
13 Q. And those elements, those anti-aircraft elements that were part of
14 the Pristina Corps and the subordinate brigades, were army units that were
15 part of your chain of command, correct? They weren't under the air force?
16 A. That's right. Those were units of the Pristina Corps which were
17 part of the subordinate brigades.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now I want to move to Exhibit 5D99. These are
19 the minutes of the 17th August meeting of the subordinate commanders with
20 the forward command post. Do you recall this document when you testified
21 earlier, General?
22 A. I'm looking at it, and I think I do, yes.
23 Q. And if we can scroll down, I think there's a reference where it
24 refers to the Pristina Corps commander reporting on the daily activities
25 of the units in which the MUP was supported by the 15-3 combat group
1 taking the village of Jasic and Djocaj. That may be on the next page. I
2 don't know if it's on your B/C/S page.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is not the right
4 page and that is why the witness is unable to follow. Could we please ask
5 for the next page to be displayed.
6 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can see it.
8 MR. HANNIS:
9 Q. Okay. And in relation to that you explained to us that this
10 completed -- I'm at page 17806- this completed the circle in the execution
11 of this task from the army commander to the General Staff down to the
12 combat group, and now again the Pristina Corps commander informs the 3rd
13 Army commander, General Samardzic, that the task had been carried out.
14 And, General, are you aware that this was a matter that was
15 discussed or advised about in the Joint Command meeting on the 18th of
17 A. No, I commented only on this event here, and I confirmed that the
18 corps commander had informed the army commander about the completed
19 actions to Voksa, Jasic, Djocaj, that's all one next to another.
20 Q. You told us before that you recalled attending I think one meeting
21 in August and a couple of meetings in September of 1998 of the group that
22 we've been calling -- I've been called the Joint Command for Kosovo and
23 Metohija. Do you recall that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you recall the date of the meeting you attended in August?
1 A. I really don't remember.
2 Q. Well, we'll show you all those meetings I think tomorrow because
3 it's late in the day today. I want to move on to something else before I
4 do that.
5 MR. HANNIS: Could we look at Exhibit 4D377.
6 Q. And, General, this is an order from General Samardzic dated the
7 29th of May, 1998, and you pointed out to us as an example of how
8 General Samardzic had issued an order that no element of the army could be
9 used without his permission. Do you recall that?
10 A. I recall that, but can I please have it in Serbian -- oh, yes, I
11 can see it now.
12 Q. And I note the date on that is the 29th of May, 1998, that was --
13 that was prior to the arrival of Mr. Sainovic, Mr. Minic, Mr. Andjelkovic,
14 Mr. Matkovic, and any record of meetings of the Joint Command for Kosovo
15 and Metohija, correct?
16 A. I don't know all the details that you just listed here, who
17 arrived when. I heard evidence from witnesses here, but I don't remember
18 what the people said. But I can confirm this: I do know this time and I
19 know where MUP actions were conducted in late May.
20 MR. HANNIS: Could we go next to Exhibit 4D091.
21 Q. And this relates to the question that you were asked last week by
22 Mr. Bakrac about whether the 3rd Army commander used the term "Joint
23 Command," whether you had ever heard him use that term. I think your
24 answer was you didn't hear him use that term.
25 A. In 1998 I saw General Samardzic dozens of times, and I never heard
1 him say that. And in the documents that are shown here, I saw that he, or
2 rather, those documents from the army command used this term. I think
3 that even General Perisic as the Chief of the General Staff mentions this
5 Q. And you see in this document, 4D091, in item 3 it says:
6 "The commander of the Pristina Corps as a member of the Joint
7 Command for Kosovo and Metohija shall attend all meetings."
8 And as the Chief of Staff for General Pavkovic, you were not aware
9 in late July 1998 that he was attending meetings of the Joint Command?
10 A. As the Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps, I knew that the corps
11 commander has -- had meetings, coordination meetings, with the MUP staff
12 in Pristina. I had information that those meetings of theirs between the
13 army and the police were attended by some state officials, that those
14 meetings were attended by somebody from the army command. And I knew that
15 the corps commander would sometimes go to Belgrade to attend some meetings
16 with the army commander. So this is the kind of information that I did
18 Q. And you say you had information that -- or you said you know that
19 he had meetings, coordination meetings. Who told you those were
20 coordination meetings?
21 A. The corps commander, when he came to the forward command post to
22 tour the units, told me that they had had meetings with the MUP members to
23 exchange information particularly about the border area, to exchange
24 experiences. And once the order had come from the General Staff and from
25 the 3rd Army, to coordinate combat activities that had been ordered by the
1 superior command.
2 Q. Did he not also tell you that there were civilians attending those
3 meetings, in particular Mr. Sainovic, Mr. Minic, Mr. Matkovic,
4 Mr. Andjelkovic, did he not mention that to you as well?
5 A. The corps commander did not explain to me who was involved later
6 at these meetings, who attended them individually. When I came to
7 Pristina on two occasions, I, myself, was in a situation to see some of
8 these persons, talk to them, exchange information. He never told me that
9 he was going to a meeting where such and such a person would be because
10 that changed too, I mean as far as I know. It wasn't the same people all
11 the time, it wasn't always the same people from the previous period, too,
12 it changed as far as I know.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis you will see at line 11 the witness has
14 already said that the meetings were attended by some state officials.
15 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I missed that.
16 Q. Did you hear him -- did you hear General Pavkovic use the
17 term "Joint Command" in 1998?
18 A. I really never heard him use that term, except that in some
19 documents I saw this expression, the sentences, the letterhead. I
20 explained what it was that I thought, but I never talked about it and he
21 never said to me what this was all about.
22 Q. The first meeting you attended in August of 1998, how did it come
23 about that you attended that meeting? You told us you went to Pristina.
24 Were you asked to come there specifically for the purpose of attending
25 such a meeting or were you in town for some other reason?
1 A. Well, there is no other reason. I reported to the corps
2 commander. I cannot remember what the specific task was, why I came for
3 one day from the forward command post. We worked during the course of the
4 day. In the evening he said -- well, I think it was the provisional
5 Executive Council, that building, to see these colleagues from the police,
6 to talk, and that's where I saw this group of people that I described,
7 without remembering exactly who was there individually.
8 Q. And what did he tell you when he -- I gather he asked you to come
9 along to the meeting with him. What did he say about where you were
10 going, who was meeting? He didn't mention a name of this group; is that
12 A. Oh, no, never. Quite simply, he said, We're going - he'd use my
13 nickname to address me - he said we're going to such and such a place.
14 And I would say, Yes, sir, and that was it. It's not that official, but
15 when I saw, I saw those people there. I was glad to see these people, to
16 hear something, and to go back to Djakovica then.
17 MR. HANNIS: Could we next look at Exhibit P1419.
18 Q. While that's coming up, when he asked you to come along, you
19 didn't inquire as to where you were being taken?
20 A. Well, from our soldierly point of view, it's a bit improper, if
21 the commander says, We're going, we go. I don't ask him where it is we're
23 Q. In Exhibit P1419, this is the 1st of August, 1998, from
24 General Pavkovic to the 3rd Army forward command post requesting approval
25 to launch the third stage of the plan to curb terrorism in Kosovo, and he
1 makes reference to a decision at a meeting of the Joint Command on the
2 31st of July. As of the 1st of August, were you aware of the existence of
3 something called the plan to curb or combat terrorism in Kosovo and
4 Metohija? As Chief of Staff, this seems like something that you would
5 have known about.
6 A. I knew that the plan for combatting terrorism in Kosovo and
7 Metohija was made and approved, but I kindly ask the Trial Chamber, as for
8 this constant emphasis on Chief of Staff, that I was really in a bit of a
9 special situation. At a separate -- on a separate assignment, if I was in
10 Pristina, I certainly would have known more about it. But really, I did
11 have this separate task that I was working on, but I confirm this that I
12 did know that at the level of the state, at the level of the General
13 Staff, of the 3rd Army, of the corps, there was a plan for curbing
15 Q. And next can we see Exhibit P1423.
16 General, this next one is dated the 7th of August, 1998,
17 apparently from the commander of the 15th Armoured Brigade. It's a report
18 on combat tasks carried out to the command of the Pristina Corps, and it's
19 talking about:
20 "Between the 25th of July and the 6th of August, 1998, MUP units
21 were engaged by decision of the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija."
22 Were you not aware by the 7th of August about joint operations
23 being conducted pursuant to a decision of the Joint Command? Is this not
24 a kind of document or a kind of information that would have been shared
25 with you in the forward command post?
1 A. It is written on this document who it is submitted to. With the
2 leave of the Trial Chamber, I really wouldn't make any comments on this
3 last point. Furthermore, this is an answer of the brigade commander to
4 the request and order of the corps commander from the first sentence.
5 That is to say that the brigade commander is reporting to the corps
6 commander. As for this mention here in the text of the decision of this
7 Joint Command, this order, those are the unsigned documents that have the
8 function of coordinating activities between the army and the police,
9 instead of having a plan of coordinated action or a plan of combining.
10 That is the essence. We see here quite decidedly that the brigade
11 commander is not reporting to some Joint Command whose tasks he had
12 carried out; rather, he is reporting to his corps commander. That is the
13 essence of my own understanding of this document and of the facts.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, we should break.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: We do have to stop, I'm afraid, at this stage and
17 adjourn until tomorrow. As you now know, we shall add half an hour to
18 tomorrow's hearing. The purpose of tomorrow's half an hour is to deal
19 with a couple of administrative matters. We will conclude the evidence as
20 usual around this time. So that's at 9.00 tomorrow morning.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Friday, the 16th day of
23 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.