1 Wednesday, 23 January 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Zecevic. I notice the absence of
6 Mr. Milutinovic who is unwell but the proceedings will proceed in his
8 MR. ZECEVIC: I didn't hear your question.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: I note that Mr. Milutinovic is not with us, and I
10 gather he's unwell but content that we should continue with the trial in
11 his absence.
12 MR. ZECEVIC: That is right. Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you very much. I'm sorry.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 WITNESS: TOMISLAV MITIC [Resumed]
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Mitic.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: The cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic will continue
21 in a moment. Please bear in mind that the solemn declaration to speak the
22 truth which you made at the beginning continues to apply to your evidence
23 until it is completed.
24 Mr. Ivetic.
25 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic: [Continued]
2 Q. Good afternoon, Colonel. We left off yesterday just starting to
3 look at the document 6D140 which I would ask to be brought up on e-court
4 again. This was the order from the command of the military district in
5 Pristina, your superior, dated the 27th of March, 1999. And when we get
6 to that document, I will ask for the fourth page of the same to be brought
7 up, I believe both in the B/C/S and the English. That's item number 7,
8 specifically I take it it's going to be the -- the fifth page is the part
9 I want to -- to look at that and ask if indeed section 7.1, 7.2, and
10 7.3 -- it should be 6D1470. That's the document. If you could turn to --
11 A. Yes. Can we please zoom in a little.
12 Q. And, sir, if we --
13 A. That's fine now.
14 Q. If we look at 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 on this page can you confirm for me
15 that this document, this order, provides concrete assignments for the
16 military territorial detachment units in your zone, that is to say in
17 Prizren, Orahovac, and Suva Reka?
18 A. This is an order by the command of the Pristina military district.
19 It contains tasks, but as a plan and not as an order that must be
20 executed. It comprises all military districts -- or, rather, military
21 recruitment offices in the Pristina military district. We have the
22 Pristina one, the Kosovska Mitrovica one, the Pec one, the Gnjilane one,
23 and of course the Prizren military recruitment office, and the tasks are
24 listed for all of these detachments and for the command with all its
25 component units.
1 Q. And with respect to these tasks -- first of all, do you recall
2 receiving this -- this document from your superior officer around March
3 27th, 1999?
4 A. Yes. The order came, and it was filed. The portion that pertains
5 to me was, in practical terms, a task for my plan, my future plan, which
6 was then subsequently approved by the commander of the military district.
7 Q. Thank you, Colonel. And just so there's no confusion, do you
8 recall that the tasks that were included in this order from the military
9 district in Pristina specifically for your units at the military
10 department in Prizren included securing important locations, protecting
11 the civilian population in the cities and towns of Prizren, Suva Reka,
12 Orahovac, and some nearby villages, and combat control of terrain on the
13 line Prizren-Suva Reka, Suva Reka-Dulje, Orahovac-Zrze among others and
14 also securing of roadways? Do you recall receiving those tasks for your
15 units from your superior officers in the military territorial district in
17 A. Well, again these are general tasks that were planned for future
18 actions, but every time there is a combat operation a special order is
19 drafted for each and every one of those. Therefore some of these
20 detachments may be resubordinated to a different unit and then the
21 commander will shall issuing orders to that unit. These were the tasks
22 that were -- were being planned at the time. This is the planning stage.
23 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, if we move along to actual tasks undertaken,
24 would you agree with me that the military territorial detachment units in
25 your zone of Prizren, both on their own and in coordination with units of
1 the Pristina Corps and the Ministry of Interior carried out legitimate
2 anti-terrorist actions in 1999?
3 A. That depended on the military territorial detachment and on the
4 deployment of the 549th Brigade and the 242nd Armoured Brigade. The
5 commander issued me orders to attach certain units to those units. As for
6 all the other units, I exercised command depending on the situation and in
7 coordination with the commander of the 549th Motorised Brigade.
8 Occasionally, I was also informed about other forces that perhaps happened
9 to be somewhere nearby.
10 Q. All right. To just clarify that -- let me do it this way. This
11 might be easier for you: If we look very briefly at Exhibit 5D30. And,
12 sir, I'll draw your attention to paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of this document
13 once it comes up on the screen. First of all, it's -- it's a report of
14 the military territorial district in Pristina, and I believe that
15 paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of this document discuss coordinated combat
16 undertaken by your units or units from your zone alongside the MUP and the
17 Pristina Corps in the region of Lusta Klina, et cetera. Do you recall
18 that your forces did indeed participate alongside both the Ministry of
19 Interior and VJ forces in a legitimate anti-terrorist action, and the date
20 of the document if we can scroll up, I think it was around the 1st of June
21 is what my notes say. Do you recall the forces, units from your zone
22 participating in this action?
23 A. I see immediately under item 2 that these are not my units.
24 Therefore -- can we please move the page down a little to one of the next
25 items. 180, that detachment is not mine. From it's from
1 Kosovska Mitrovica. Move on, please.
2 Then we see Gnjilane. Not mine. Move on.
3 Pristina, not mine either. And there's nothing left, is there?
4 This document is not mine. It's not in reference to me. That's what I
6 Q. Are you familiar with either your units or other military
7 territorial detachments from other zones undertaking independent anti --
8 legitimate anti-terrorist actions during 1999?
9 A. Military recruitment offices were not set up for operations such
10 as these. If there is joint action with another unit he must receive
11 specific assignments from the commander of that unit, but the military
12 territorial detachment was mostly to be used to exercise control along the
13 depth of the territory to secure certain roads, to guard certain vital
14 facilities but not for anti-terrorist action.
15 Q. You say the military recruitment offices were not set up for
16 operations such as these. I'd like to turn your attention to 5D1074. And
17 as we wait for that document, we will see that it's also a combat report
18 from the command of the military district in Pristina, and if we look at
19 the first two paragraphs of this report from Colonel Pesic, your superior,
20 he seems to be talking about the 115th and the 174th military territorial
21 detachment units undertaking an action, doing their own blockade and doing
22 their own smashing of terrorist forces in Veliki, Belacevac, Gospodja
23 [phoen], Sisan, Donji Grabovac. Will this refresh your recollection as to
24 whether or not if perhaps not in your zone, in other zones the military
25 territorial recruitment offices did undertake legitimate anti-terrorist
1 actions on their own initiative, that they were in fact set up and
2 authorised or capable of doing so?
3 A. I'm not familiar with that. These are not my units. In my area
4 of responsibility there were no situations like these.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, let's move to something this witness
6 knows about.
7 MR. IVETIC: I am, Your Honour. That's my next section.
8 Q. Now, at page 7 of your statement, paragraph 36, you indicate that
9 you regularly coordinated activity with the SUP and OUPs organs in your
10 area. By this do you mean jointly patrolling the cities and the roadways
11 and check-points and the like, or are you talking about something else?
12 If it's something else, please give me details of what this activity with
13 the specific --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: That's a long enough question. Your questions are
15 much, much longer than anybody else's, and they contain so much verbage
16 it's unnecessary. Just have a look at the page that's on the transcript
17 at the moment.
18 Let's try and be sharp with these questions for the witness. It
19 doesn't help the witnesses either to understand when you go on for so
21 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, we've trying to get a lot of information
22 in a very short period of time with the --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: But you must --
24 MR. IVETIC: -- Short circuit these proceedings. So we have a lot
25 of information, there's a lot of information contained in the statement
1 that I need to set up for the witness.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: But you don't need to keep repeating yourself which
3 you do.
4 MR. IVETIC: Fair enough.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: So let's deal with that particular question,
6 Mr. Mitic.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was always coordination and it
8 could be implemented at one of the command posts or at an observation post
9 or elsewhere, whatever the two commanders involved happened to meet, or
10 anyone responsible for exercising command. It was most little the case
11 with the commander of the 549th Motorised Brigade, to some extent with the
12 sector organs from the defence ministry and to some extent with members of
13 the MUP if there was anything that was really important for any future
15 MR. IVETIC: [Previous translation continues] ... my question.
16 I'm specifically talking about the SUPs and the OUPs, sir. And I
17 apologise, it's difficulty in the translation; but the secretariats of the
18 interior and the "odvajanje," or detachments of the interior that you
19 mention specifically in paragraph 36. Surely you're not saying the OUPs
20 were engaged in the activity with the 549th Motorised Brigade the regular
21 police offices, the police stations.
22 A. Item 36 states this in no uncertain terms coordination was carried
23 out with the 549th Motorised Brigade with the command of the 55th Border
24 Battalion with the chief of the Prizren district. If it was necessary to
25 do this in relation to the authorities or anything. Municipality
1 presidents, organs of the Ministry of Interior, the Prizren SUP, Suva
2 Reka, Gora and Orahovac, as well as those of our units that were
3 lower-ranking units the MUP too had its secretariats and within these
4 secretariats it had detachments. And the same thing applied to the
5 district organs, that they also had their own detachments in the
6 districts, territorial districts, and they had departments or recruitment
7 offices in other municipalities.
8 Q. And now specifically with respect to your coordinated activity
9 with the SUP and OUPs organs, did this mean that you were jointly
10 patrolling the cities, jointly patrolling the roadways, and jointly
11 maintaining check-points?
12 A. Units belonging to military territorial detachments were never in
13 settled areas, populated areas. They were normally in one of the broader
14 areas guarding vital facilities or mountain passes. Sometimes that
15 important traffic intersection and wherever they had been assigned in
16 order to guard and secure some facilities.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... only left the populated areas
18 on about by the 25th of April 1999 --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: You overlapped there, Mr. Ivetic. You'll need to
20 start that question again.
21 MR. IVETIC:
22 Q. Wouldn't you agree with me, sir, that the military territorial
23 detachment units, specifically the ones from the Prizren zone, vacated or
24 withdrew from settled areas only by the 25th of April, 1999?
25 A. After the mobilisation, each of the military territorial districts
1 took up its positions according to a previously existing plan. It
2 remained at those positions until it was ordered to do something else.
3 Q. And now could you answer my question. Do you recall if that meant
4 that the last of these units left settled areas only by the 25th of April,
6 A. The 108th detachment, if it was attached to the 549th Brigade, it
7 went with that brigade to a different sector. It certainly didn't stay in
8 the town or in any of the populated areas.
9 Q. And again, did this occur around the 25th of April 1999?
10 A. It was throughout the war, up until the very end when certain
11 units returned to the fold of the military district.
12 Q. Now, am I correct that in fact the military territorial detachment
13 units, in fact the units from your zone in Prizren, did have authorisation
14 and indeed specific orders for protecting the civilian population,
15 particularly if they found themselves within your zone of combat?
16 A. The military department is not in charge of defending the civilian
17 population. There were other people who were in charge of that. Its only
18 responsibility was to secure and guard its territory, and this was the
19 main task for each of the military territorial units.
20 Q. I draw your attention to 5D1004, a one-page document dated the
21 20th of April, in Pristina, by the command of the military district in
22 Pristina, and Colonel Pesic.
23 If you look at item number 2 of this order, it talks about
24 military territorial detachment units being tasked with finding safest
25 locations for evacuating civilians, protect them from combat.
1 Do you recall now that, in fact, the military territorial
2 department in Pristina did authorise military territorial detachment units
3 to safeguard and protect civilians?
4 A. The order is clear given the fact that some refugee columns and
5 families were returning to certain populated areas. It says here that the
6 commanders should get in touch with the authorities in order to find room
7 where they would put up these people each in their own area, of course.
8 And once these people were put up, if a village, for example, was
9 abandoned and people returned to that village, of course this was
10 something that needed to be secured.
11 As for guarding the population, safeguarding the population, this
12 again was someone else's task, but the military territorial unit would
13 stay in the broader area of that particular village if this was in fact
14 its combat assignment, or perhaps a different unit.
15 Q. Now, regarding the members of the military territorial detachment
16 units, can you tell us if the conscripts composing these units came from
17 the territory of the whole municipality, that is to say, were they from
18 the urban areas?
19 A. As for keeping up the manpower levels in military territorial
20 detachments depending on their military speciality, if you had, for
21 example, a recruit who had a better level of training, he could have been
22 from any of the areas within the Prizren district, but as a matter of
23 principle, he would work for Gora, because all people from Gora were in
24 the Gora military territorial detachment which covered the whole Gora
25 area. The same applied to Suva Reka and Prizren. And it wasn't just from
1 the town. It was from all the villages in this municipality and possibly
2 also the neighbouring municipalities.
3 Q. And when these units were not engaged, when they had leave or time
4 off, did they sleep in a joint location or some sort of barracks, or did
5 they return to their own private homes?
6 A. All military conscripts that had their accommodation organised
7 based on their locations. There were no more barracks after the
8 mobilisation but room would be provided for their accommodation in each of
9 the areas covered by a certain military territorial detachment depending
10 on where the units were involved. These were individual units, small
11 units, that could be put up outside under tents or perhaps in buildings
12 that had been abandoned or in a company facility or something like that.
13 Q. And we heard earlier from Colonel Pesic that there were four
14 different types of VJ green uniforms. What particular uniform did your
15 military territorial detachment units have?
16 A. All members of the military department wore the M-83 camouflage
18 Q. Thank you. Do you recall if any of the units from your zone were
19 comprised, that is the military territorial detachment units, were
20 comprised of any conscripts from villages such as Mala Krusa in the
21 Orahovac municipality?
22 A. For the most part the components there of the 101st Military
23 Detachment in Velika Krusa, in Mala Krusa, in Orahovac, in Opterusa, in
24 Zutiste [phoen], Retimlje [phoen] outside those places in the broader
25 area, practically from Zrze to Malisevo and then down the depth all the
1 way to Suva Reka.
2 Q. You mentioned Suva Reka. Do you recall if in Suva Reka you had an
3 officer within the military territorial detachment by the name of
4 Dr. Boban Vuksanovic and if so can you recall what his duties or position
6 A. Boban Vuksanovic earlier served as president of Suva Reka
7 municipality. He was a physician. He was mostly in the military
8 territorial detachment where he was a doctor in the command, and he held a
9 certain rank.
10 Q. Now, I believe we still have 5D1004 on the screen, and I think --
11 we've already covered that. I'll move on to another one.
12 If we look at -- if we look at 5D372 for a moment. This is an
13 order dated the 22nd of April, 1999. And if we look at part 1 of the
14 document once it comes up on the screen. It's a one-page document.
15 Sir, does this refresh your recollection, in fact, that military
16 territorial detachments, prior to the end of April, 1999, were in fact in
17 part located within inhabited settlements?
18 A. I did not have such units in residential areas. All of my units
19 were outside of residential areas or settlements.
20 Q. Fair enough. If we look now to another topic. In your statement
21 at paragraph 23, which for those who are following is page 5 of the
22 English and the Serbian, sir, you state that MUP organs engaged conscripts
23 who were on wartime assignment to uphold order. Are you actually saying
24 the MUP engaged its reserve component which is made up of persons who are
25 conscripts assigned to the MUP in compliance with the laws?
1 A. In the course of 1998, there were military conscripts from war
2 units within the units belonging to the Ministry of the Interior. Those
3 were mostly people who joined the organisation voluntarily, without the
4 consent of military departments. We have a specific -- some specific
5 cases that -- where some conscripts were killed within the units of MUP,
6 whereas their wartime assignment was in the units of the army of
8 Q. And that -- sir, wouldn't you agree with me that your office would
9 have to handle all military conscripts for both the Ministry of Interior
10 and the Pristina Corps? How is it possible that you permitted conscripts
11 to, as you say - now, I don't want to misquote you - without the content
12 of your department?
13 A. The basis for joining MUP units was that members of the MUP units
14 had selected these people without a prior consent of the military
15 department. Later on there came an order that such military conscripts
16 should return to their units. I don't know what the reasons for that
17 were, but at the time they were under the MUP command. They wore their
18 clothes and their weapons, and upon returning them, they returned to their
19 wartime units. The military department was unable to exercise control
20 over that because they did not know who joined which unit. It wasn't
21 until later that they found this out about specific cases, or it wasn't
22 until these people returned the weapons that they were issued with that
23 they went back to their original units.
24 Q. You said that this was -- I believe in your statement you identify
25 when mobilisation occurred, so I will not going into that.
1 If -- strike that. At paragraph 33 of your statement, you state
2 that although cooperation with the Ministry of Interior was good
3 throughout the war, their units were not resubordinated to you.
4 First of all, Colonel, I would like to know if in fact you believe
5 that there were specific units of the MUP that were supposed to be
6 resubordinated to your department in Prizren under the applicable laws.
7 A. There is no need for somebody to be resubordinated to me. It's
8 more logical to have me resubordinated to somebody else, and for something
9 like that I needed the consent of the commander of the military department
10 in Pristina.
11 Q. And when you say it was more logical to have you resubordinated to
12 somebody else, you're not implying that you expected to be resubordinated
13 to the Ministry of Interior, are you?
14 A. I don't know why I would be resubordinated to them when I belonged
15 to the army and they are part of the Ministry of the Interior.
16 Q. I agree, sir. I was just clearing something up that came out
17 differently in English.
18 Now, if -- one moment, please. I might have just one or two more
19 questions for you if I can just -- for a moment.
20 Colonel, thank you for your time. I think we've covered all the
21 topics that I had planned to cover with you.
22 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
24 Mr. Mitic, you will now be cross-examined by the Prosecutor,
25 Mr. Stamp.
1 Mr. Stamp.
2 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
4 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Mitic.
5 MR. STAMP: If we could get P1415 up on e-court, I'd be grateful.
6 Q. Now, Mr. Mitic, you said in your statement that you received a
7 copy of that order. That's correct, is it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. The order -- and I just want to get the chain of command right.
10 From your standpoint the order -- the original order was made by the 3rd
11 Army command, and then the Pristina Corps command on the basis of that
12 order sent an order to the military territorial departments; is that
14 A. This is a document of the command of the Pristina Corps. It is
15 most likely that this document was received by the command of the military
16 district in Pristina, and then the command of the military district
17 further issued orders to their military departments.
18 Q. Well, if we look at the last page of the document, you'll see that
19 it was supposed to be delivered to the Prizren military department. That
20 is your military department.
21 A. This is most likely a case where the order of the Pristina Corps
22 was signed by Major-General Vladimir -- no, no. I apologise. By
23 Major Pavkovic, yes.
24 The order should have been written most likely -- not most likely,
25 but according to the law by the commander of the military district. I see
1 that this was added in pen. It wasn't typed. And most likely they had
2 some technical difficulties whereby the same order was forwarded to
3 military departments.
4 I remember well that as they started implementing this order I
5 received it verbally from my commander, and he said that a written order
6 would follow.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: The English translation has you referring to a
8 person as Major Pavkovic. Who is that?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Major-General signed.
10 Commander Major-General Pavkovic, and the first name Nebojsa is not
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
13 Mr. Stamp.
14 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. The order is for the mobilisation and training of military
16 conscripts in village units, and if you look at paragraph 3 on the first
17 page, you will see that it states that you should devote special attention
18 to security measures, secrecy and camouflage discipline in carrying out
19 this task.
20 In arming military conscripts ostensibly for the defence of
21 Serbian villages, do you know why it should be done in secret?
22 A. This order was aimed at carrying out organisational and technical
23 preparations for distribution of weapons, which means that the entire
24 weaponry had to be prepared in advance. It had to be prepped. It had to
25 be distributed to units, and lists had to be prepared for all conscripts
1 that were to be issued with weapons.
2 Further on, they had to ensure that all of it was done in
3 accordance with the legal provisions, that all the lists were drawn up
4 according to the rules about how weapons are to be issued to conscripts.
5 They had to take into account how many conscripts there were in the
6 territory because a large number of them were absent, and they were to be
7 informed in time that weapons were to be distributed.
8 Q. Yes, yes.
9 A. And did doesn't say here -- the order doesn't specify when this
10 issuing of weapons was to be conducted. This was something that the
11 commanders had to decide once they received orders from their superiors.
12 Q. Okay. You haven't really focused on what I'm asking. You have
13 discussed various items of the document.
14 I'm going to come back to the question I asked you, but just look
15 at the second page of the document, paragraph 10. It reads here: "The
16 deadline for distribution of weapons is until 1800 hours on the 1st of
17 July, 1998, and readiness for defence of settlements is by 1800 hours on
18 the 3rd of July, 1998."
19 So there was a deadline, but the question I'm asking you again is
20 do you know of any reason for the secrecy in carrying out what you say and
21 this order ostensibly say is a legal action? And I wanted to focus on the
22 reason for the secrecy. That's all I'm asking you about now.
23 A. All preparations have to be secret. That's the basic rule. In
24 order for weapons to be distributed, the deadline for preparations was the
25 1st of July, 1998, up until 1800 hours, and that's what I told you needed
1 to be done. And if the mobilisation is not carried out, then nothing else
2 can be done. Once the mobilisation is carried out, then a plan is made
3 for combat operations, and this must be secret because all preparations
4 have to be secret. We were expecting that there would be an escalation in
5 developments in Kosovo and Metohija involving Siptar terrorist forces.
6 Q. Do you know how many weapons were distributed in your area, in the
7 Prizren area of responsibility pursuant to this order?
8 A. Well, in that period of time, I did not distribute weapons except
9 to the individuals who were key persons for implementing certain tasks
10 such as, for example, the temporary group, the couriers who were armed.
11 There were perhaps 10 to 20 such people, such conscripts, in each
12 municipality, and later on they typically joined military territorial
13 detachment. The rest of the weapons were stored in the depot of 549th
14 Brigade, and it was distributed once the mobilisation was announced and
15 carried out.
16 Q. Well, I'm going to return to P14, to this document, but if we
17 could have a look at P931, and then we will get back to it.
18 We have evidence before the Court that 47.000, or thereabouts,
19 sets of these weapons were distributed at about that time.
20 If you look at page 23 of this document. Is it there?
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
22 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, by your leave I think
23 that the witness cannot give us relevant information concerning the
24 minutes from these sessions of the General Staff of the army of
25 Yugoslavia, because that's several levels above him. He can only
1 speculate about these matters. Thank you.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
3 MR. STAMP: I'm not going to ask him to speculate. I'm going to
4 ask him one or two specific questions, if he knew something. And I'm
5 going to -- well, first I'll ask him to link what is in the minutes to the
6 document 1415, and then I'll ask him what he knows.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, let's hear the question. If you really think
8 you need to refer to this document --
9 MR. STAMP: Perhaps I don't. Perhaps I do not.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't know why people don't here say, Look, one
11 the collegium minutes recorded 47.000 weapons being issued can you help us
12 on that matter or more specifically. Why we have to dig up the documents
13 knowing how long it takes to put them on the screen in this situation I do
14 not understand.
15 MR. STAMP: My purpose was, you know, in seeing the document. In
16 this case the witness might be a little bit more cooperative.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it's for you to decide on that, make that
19 MR. STAMP: I agree.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: But I haven't found it so far personally a
21 successful method of dealing with the situations in this court.
22 MR. STAMP:
23 Q. At a collegium meeting, and that is a meeting of the senior staff
24 of the VJ, in February 1999, General Samardzic, who was the 3rd Army
25 commander in July and June of 1998, said that 47.000 weapons had been
1 issued for the defence of the Serbian villages pursuant to his order and
2 that the role of these armed persons was to defend the villages and
3 participate with army units in any operations in the immediate vicinity.
4 Firstly, having regard to what General Samardzic said he ordered
5 and how many weapons he said were distributed, can you say how many
6 weapons were distributed in the Prizren zone of responsibility pursuant to
7 this order in 1998?
8 A. I have told you literally that only temporary units and key
9 persons who were very important in the course of mobilisation were issued
10 with weapons. As for arming the population, that was done by the Ministry
11 of Defence through their field departments and sections. I can't give you
12 any figure concerning the Prizren district which has four municipalities.
13 I can't tell you who issued weapons and how many weapons there were out on
14 the ground.
15 Q. Wasn't it your function under this order, and this order of the
16 26th of June, to prepare and organise these units for the defence of these
17 settlements? What is it a function of the military department to do so?
18 MR. STAMP: And while we're waiting for the answer, could we get
19 back to P1415.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could conduct training only with
21 my own units while the preparations were carried out until the
22 mobilisation. What we could do was take out a unit to shooting grounds to
23 train them on the capabilities of weapons, to carry out various
24 preparations. If we had ammunition, we could actually practice shooting,
25 and then later on weapons had to be cleaned and stored in depots. That's
1 the kind of training that I conducted with my units. And the same applied
2 to war units, except that there was no requirement to carry out
3 preparations concerning field or branch departments.
4 As for the Ministry of the Interior, sometimes they joined
5 trainings if they had some senior officers who needed training, and if we
6 were able to provide assistance to them, then we did.
7 MR. STAMP:
8 Q. If you look at paragraph 6 of this order, it says: "After
9 completing the distribution," and that is the distribution of the weapons,
10 automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles, light machine-guns, sniper
11 rifles, et cetera, noted in paragraph 2 so paragraph 6 to continue:
12 "After completing the distribution, prepare and organise inhabited
13 places for defence. The military departments commanders are responsible
14 for organising this in their zones of responsibility in cooperation of the
15 MUP and local self-government organs."
16 And it says: "Form units in each village according to the
17 military structure ... appoint a commander, deputy and assistant for each
19 And if you look at page 2 in the English, also page 2 in the
20 B/C/S, at paragraph 9 it states: "Responsibility for these tasks: Unit
21 commanders for the distribution of weapons and military department
22 commanders for forming and training of units in these settlements."
23 Now, from what you're saying, I take it that you -- let me ask
24 this question. What was this role, having regard to this order, what did
25 you do?
1 A. Once again, I repeat that this is an order for preparations. I
2 was unable to call up the entire military department. I neither had the
3 money nor time or the abilities to do that. All of this pertains to
4 organisation and preparations for what might occur later in the year. So
5 preparations were to be carried out without calling up reserve forces. We
6 had to designate commander and then other senior officers, staff, and so
7 on. All of this is called preparations, and that had to be carried out on
8 paper without actually calling up conscripts to attend a certain
10 Q. I've already showed you paragraph 10, the last paragraph where a
11 deadline is set out, deadline for you to complete your part. Are you
12 saying that as command of the Prizren district or Prizren military
13 district you did nothing pursuant to this order, notwithstanding the
15 A. I carried out all the preparations by the 1st of July, 1998, at
16 1800 hours. I reported to my commander that I had carried out the
17 preparations. This does not mean that I actually distributed the weapons.
18 I completed all the preparations by that deadline, and there were two days
19 left for combat readiness. And I would have to receive an order as to
20 what unit to call up, and I would have to issue that unit with their task
21 on the ground.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you please read aloud paragraph 10.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "The deadline for the distribution
24 of weapons is up to the 1st of July, 1998 at 1800 hours, and readiness for
25 defence of settlements is by 1800 hours on the 3rd of July, 1998.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, listen carefully to this question: Can I take
2 it from what you've said that the first part of that paragraph does not
3 mean what it says?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Maybe there was a unit that
5 was mobilised from the composition of the Pristina Corps or the military
6 district, but my units had not been mobilised by that date.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm talking about the first part of it, about the
8 deadline for the distribution of weapons.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but in the previous item -- or,
10 rather, in a previous item, two or three, it says that commanders will
11 decide on the readiness of units. This refers in general to units that
12 had already been mobilised as some probably had because --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Please address the issue, don't dance around the
14 subject. The words simply say in 10 that there's a deadline for
15 distributing weapons, and that deadline is 1800 hours on the 1st of July.
16 It's not a deadline for preparing or drawing up preparations for the
17 distribution of weapons. It's a deadline for distributing weapons.
18 Now, have we to understand that that does not mean what it says?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think it does, because then
20 it would say distribute weapons on the 1st of July up to 1800 hours.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: That's what it says. That is what it says.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President, it doesn't. It
23 says deadline for the distribution of weapons. So that's the deadline
24 before the distribution, and the distribution will take place when an
25 order was issued as to what unit and at what time.
1 When my commander tells me orally or by telegram, "Call up unit
2 108th Territorial Detachment and distribute weapons to them," that's an
3 order in my book, and I await such orders throughout the year.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: There must be a strange difference between English
5 and Serbian in this respect then.
6 Please continue, Mr. Stamp.
7 MR. STAMP:
8 Q. Mr. Mitic, I'm afraid I don't understand what you've been saying.
9 Firstly, the order, and I won't take you through the order, where the
10 order does not give unit commanders as you indicated earlier any
11 discretion in this, it states quite clearly in paragraph 2 to distribute
12 the weapons. It states in paragraph 3 to make lists before distributing
13 the weapons. And it states on the basis of the list call up military
14 conscripts in small groups to the army barracks or organise distribution
15 and issue of weapons in Serbian and Montenegrin villages.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mitic, if you got a letter saying the deadline
17 for paying your rent is the 1st of July, would that mean you don't have to
18 pay it until after the 1st of July in Serbia?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the 20th and the 29th also,
20 but the final deadline is the 1st, and after that, if you don't pay, your
21 electricity's cut off. But this is something else. I have to listen to
22 orders coming from my commander.
23 MR. STAMP: Thank you.
24 Mr. Stamp.
25 MR. STAMP:
1 Q. Okay. Let's -- before I move on, this is the last question, do
2 you know at all, whether any weapons at all were distributed in your zone
3 at any time as a result of this order?
4 A. I already said that we distributed some of the weapons, but all
5 the weapons --
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
7 A. To all the weapons, that is 2.200 barrels, were distributed after
8 a state of emergency was declared and after mobilisation was declared,
9 which was in March 1999.
10 Q. Sorry. You're saying as a result of this order -- or pursuant to
11 this order, June 1998, you distributed the weapons in March 1999? Is that
12 your evidence?
13 A. Yes. All the weapons for the entire military district, that is
14 2.200 barrels, were distributed only after the mobilisation on the 24th
15 and 25th of March, 1999.
16 Q. And --
17 A. Some weapons, the most necessary ones, were given to the temporary
18 units and units which had to immediately be attached to a brigade, but not
19 to everyone in the units, only the key people whose duty it was to carry
20 out mobilisation in order to secure the call-up posts, and the weapons
21 would be distributed either in the barracks or in the mobilisation points
22 but mostly in the barracks, in the 549th Motorised Brigade.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mitic, did you have any weapons to -- to give a
24 weapon to everyone who would answer the call-up?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had complete artillery weapons [as
1 interpreted] except for mortars and recoilless guns.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: But every -- every soldier who answered the call-up
3 was given a light weapon; is that correct?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: So what happened to the weapons for the 26.000
6 Albanians who didn't respond to the call-up?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They weren't in the reserves of any
8 unit of the army except for those who had a wartime assignment.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: But you tell us they would not be given weapons
10 until they were mobilised; is that right?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Some were armed, but most
12 were not.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: But if the 26.000 Albanians had turned up in
14 response to your call-up, you would have given each one a weapon.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not -- I could only give weapons
16 to those who were on my wartime assignment, and the command of 549th to
17 their people, and the MUP to their people. Everybody to their own men.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: But your statement says that 26.000 Albanians did
19 not respond to the call-up in the district of Prizren. By that you mean
20 the department of Prizren, I presume.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. The whole department, for
22 all four municipalities.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: So you -- you would not be responsible for issuing
24 the weapons to these 26.000 if they had arrived?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not responsible for that, nor
1 did I have the barrels. My formation was specific, and for each unit and
2 each person it was well known what weapons they were to be issued with.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: So paragraph 2 of this order which is on the screen
4 was not instructing you to issue light weapons to all conscripts in your
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The order was only for military
7 conscripts in my units. Beyond that, I was not authorised to arm anybody.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: What do you mean by your units?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My units numbered 2.200 men
10 according to the wartime establishment, and those were the units at my
11 disposal, and there were some who were not included in any establishment
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Can we see to whom this order is addressed, please?
14 MR. STAMP: That's the last page.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: The very end.
16 MR. STAMP: Yes, the very end.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Mr. Stamp.
18 MR. STAMP:
19 Q. Now, I take it from -- from your evidence so far that you are
20 basically saying that the order on the 26th of June wasn't implemented at
21 all before mobilisation in March 1999. Wasn't the military territorial
22 units responsible for resupplying these local defence units with
23 ammunition during 1998?
24 JUDGE BONOMY: That question doesn't sufficiently identify who
25 you're talking about.
1 MR. STAMP:
2 Q. Wasn't your military territorial department --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. Thank you.
4 MR. STAMP:
5 Q. Was your military territorial department responsible for replying
6 these local defence units with ammunition during 1998?
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sorry to interrupt again. I don't think the
8 expression is "military territorial department," Mr. Stamp. I think it's
9 military department.
10 MR. STAMP: Very well, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: And the "territorial" applies to the active
12 detachments, the units who actually carry out activities.
13 Mr. Cepic.
14 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may just a
15 correction that I feel should be made in the transcript. In the
16 transcript on page 26, in line 2, the witness said -- he didn't say
17 artillery weapons, he said "strejecko ranuzanje" [phoen].
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Which is? Unfortunately, the interpreter has given
19 us the word in B/C/S. So what do you say the translation should be?
20 Sorry, your microphone.
21 MR. CEPIC: Sorry, Your Honour. Maybe "infantry weapon,"
22 not "artillery weapon."
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
24 MR. CEPIC: Or "light weapon."
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
1 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
2 Q. Could we go to P1139 in e-court. And while it's coming up,
3 Mr. Mitic, the question is: Wasn't the Pristina military department
4 involved in resupplying these village defence units with ammunition during
5 the course of 1998?
6 A. The Pristina military district was not competent for that. It was
7 the administration of the Ministry of Defence from Pristina through their
8 departments. They had six departments on the territory of Kosovo and
9 Metohija, and in each one they had these departments depending on the
10 number of municipalities.
11 Q. The document there on e-court before you, P11139, is the -- is a
12 report of the Pristina military department command of the 26th of
13 September, 1998, and I represent to you, sir, that it is signed by the
14 commander, Lieutenant Colonel Djordjevic, Miodrag Djordjevic. I don't
15 think you can see that on your page, but that is the next page of the
16 document indicates that.
17 If you look at paragraph 9 -- sorry, paragraph 8.4, you will see
18 in the second to last paragraph it speaks about the activities of the
19 defence forces, the Serbian defence forces in the village. And if you
20 look further down at paragraph 12, you will see that the commander
21 requests, and I'll read it:
22 "Please issue a decision specifying the manner in which to
23 resupply ammunition that our conscripts engaged in the defence of Serbian
24 villages and population [sic] areas spent while fighting against the
25 Siptar terrorists."
1 Sir, I'll ask the question again and invite your answer having
2 regarding this document signed by the command of the Pristina military
3 department. Wasn't the Pristina military department involved in the
4 resupply of ammunition to these village defence units during 1998?
5 A. This in specific terms is the Pristina military department, not
6 the Prizren military department, but what they did I don't know.
7 Q. Did -- did your military -- or did your unit, the Prizren military
8 department, engage in resupply of ammunition to these village defence
9 units in 1998?
10 A. No.
11 Q. All right. Let's move on to something else. You said, at
12 paragraph 59 of your statement, the last paragraph, that your -- that no
13 mosques were destroyed in your zone, or there were over 30 mosques in
14 Prizren and not a single one was demolished.
15 Now, incidentally, when you say "in Prizren," do you mean your
16 area of responsibility, the area of responsibility of the Prizren military
18 A. No. There are over 30 mosques of various sorts in Prizren, and in
19 all the villages inhabited by Albanians or Muslims there are mosques.
20 Q. When you speak of "in Prizren," you're speaking about in the town
21 of Prizren, or are you speaking about --
22 A. The town of Prizren. The town itself has about 30 mosques. When
23 I had some free time, I stood on top of the hill and counted them, and
24 every village has a mosque except for the Catholic area where there are
25 Catholic churches and the Serb areas where there are Serbian Orthodox
2 Q. Could I have a look at P01803, and when it comes up, Mr. Mitic, do
3 you know the Prizren municipality mosque - that's the major mosque in
4 Prizren - at Landovica?
5 A. There probably was until the military operations. It is in the
6 area of the military department, but I saw that mosque when I went to
7 visit the monument of Boro and Ramiz. I know it was there.
8 Q. Well, I ask if you know that mosque. Before you is a photograph.
9 A. I was never inside a mosque, so I wouldn't know.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... mosque. In Prizren. This is
11 a major mosque in Prizren? Do you know it?
12 A. This is not the mosque in Prizren. The main mosque in Prizren I
13 know. I know which one it is. It was -- there was a church there,
14 Bogorodica Jevicka [phoen], Our Lady, which was then converted into a
15 mosque, and I know where the main church and the main mosque are in
16 Prizren. They're in the centre of town.
17 Q. Do you recognise this --
18 A. I don't know about this.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... in the photograph?
20 A. I don't know. All mosques look alike. This one is unfinished, I
21 think. I don't know which one this is. This is not the mosque from
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
24 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the previous sentence the
25 witness began answering the question but he was interrupted by Mr. Stamp.
1 It has, however, been clarified with the second question. Thank you.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 MR. STAMP:
4 Q. My question is you're not familiar, I take it, with the mosque at
5 Landovica in Prizren?
6 A. Landovica is, I think, about 10 or 15 kilometres away from
7 Prizren. That's not in Prizren. It's on the territory of Prizren.
8 Q. You're not familiar with that mosque?
9 A. No, I'm not.
10 Q. Are you familiar with the mosques in the other towns in the -- in
11 your area of responsibility? For example, Celine in Orahovac?
12 A. I've never been there.
13 Q. Are you familiar with the mosque --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp, I thought the witness had said that his
15 paragraph 59 was confined to the town of Prizren.
16 MR. STAMP: Prizren.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: So why are you asking questions about something
18 he's not given any -- do you need more positive evidence from him about --
19 about these? I can't stop you if that's why you're doing it, but if
20 you're challenging something, you're tilting at windmills.
21 MR. STAMP: Well, Your Honour, I'll -- I'll move on.
22 Q. You spoke -- or you were asked some questions earlier about the
23 reserve police squads. And while we're at it, could we bring up 5D985.
24 Your department was involved in the mobilisation of members of the
25 reserve police squads in 1999, were you not?
1 A. No.
2 Q. This document in front of you is an order of the Pristina military
3 district command.
4 A. This is a regular combat report.
5 Q. And if we have a look at the last -- well, it's -- firstly it's
6 dated 17th of April, 1999. And if we have a look at the last page, in
7 paragraph 8 you said one of the tasks that you were to focus on or your --
8 it was being reported up that you were to focus on was the call-up of
9 conscripts who are in the MUP reserve forces for the reserve police
10 squads. Are you saying again that this was something that the Pristina
11 military district command was involved in but for some reason your area,
12 Prizren, wasn't involved in it, or were you involved in the call-up of
13 conscripts for the MUP reserve police squads?
14 A. Members of the Ministry of the Interior have their own courier
15 system which they use to call up their own conscripts. This is not
16 something that the military department did.
17 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, if I can make a -- if I can make a
18 suggestion to have the witness perhaps reads the particular line that
19 Mr. Stamp is referring to, because I believe the English translation is
20 incorrect on the document.
21 MR. STAMP: Very well. Yes, I should probably have done that.
22 Q. Do you see paragraph 8 there? Before -- could you read the third
23 item of paragraph 8. Can you read it aloud, please. I'm sorry.
24 A. Are you talking about line three? It reads: "Calling up military
25 conscripts who are in the reserve forces of the MUP," which means they
1 went there without the military department knowing about this, and now
2 they're supposed to be called up to join a war unit.
3 Q. Can you just read, do not interpret, and read what you see written
4 there again for me please.
5 A. "Calling up military conscripts who are in the reserve forces of
6 the MUP as RPO," which means they already are serving.
7 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honour.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Zecevic.
9 MR. ZECEVIC: I believe the proper English translation would be
10 the members of the military conscripts who are already in the reserve
11 forces. That is what it means in Serbian.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: It's a great pity that the witness can't just read
13 the words that are there, and we will have them translated.
14 Would you now please just read the words that are in that line.
15 Don't try to interpret it. Just read it in Serbian, please, and read it
17 Please read, Mr. Mitic. Read it --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right. "Calling up military
19 conscripts who are in the reserve forces of the MUP (as RPO)."
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
22 JUDGE BONOMY: The last bit has not been translated and quite
23 rightly so because you weren't asked to give us any comment.
24 Mr. Stamp, we need to break, do we not?
25 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Is this a convenient time?
2 MR. STAMP: Yes, it is.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mitic, we need to have a break at this stage.
4 Please leave the courtroom with the usher while we do that. And we will
5 resume at 10 past 4.00.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 4.11 p.m.
9 [The witness takes the stand]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
11 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Mitic, do you know how many reserve police squads detachment
13 there were in your area of responsibility?
14 A. I don't know exactly how many such detachments there were. I do
15 know that each village was supposed to have one comprising two or three
16 men. Specifically in my area of responsibility, when I toured my units, I
17 observed between five and seven such detachments.
18 Q. Your area of responsibility included Orahovac, Suva Reka, and
19 Prizren, and Goran municipalities?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And you observed five to seven detachments in that area?
22 A. In my area there were few villages that were ethnically pure.
23 Therefore, maybe there was no need for more detachments such as those to
25 Q. Let's look at paragraph 49 of your statement, and while we're at
1 it, could we bring up 5D991.
2 Please look at the last paragraph of that document. You'll see
3 that a criminal report was filed by the military police organs of the
4 Kosovo Mitrovica military department. Was it the responsibility, and I'm
5 asking you generally, was it the responsibility of the military
6 departments to file criminal reports against civilians where they found
7 civilians committing criminal offences?
8 A. No. It wasn't the responsibility of the military department to
9 bring people in if they found someone committing a criminal offence. If
10 they did, this person to be temporarily detained and then reported to the
11 MUP, and then the MUP would take any further steps.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you very much.
13 MR. STAMP: I have nothing further, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Stamp.
15 Questioned by the Court:
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mitic, help me to be clear about certain
17 things. The expressions "military district" and "military department"
18 have been used by you. In Kosovo, how many military districts were there?
19 A. In Kosovo there was one military district.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 A. In peacetime --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry. Carry on if it's more complicated.
23 A. It was the Pristina military district. It was the military
24 district command in peacetime.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: And in wartime?
1 A. And in wartime it would take up its own wartime establishment, and
2 it had quite many units. And military departments were in --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Hold on. That's all I want in answer to that
5 My next question is: How many military departments were there in
7 A. Five.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Name them, please.
9 A. Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica, Pec, Gnjilane, and Prizren.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. When it came to mobilisation, was that
11 the responsibility of the military district or the responsibility of the
12 military departments?
13 A. The military district would have been the most responsible body.
14 They mobilised their own units, and military departments mobilised their
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, help me to understand the difference between a
17 unit in the military district and a unit in the military department.
18 A. The military district, in addition to the command, also had units
19 that were carrying out work on the ground, larger units. I won't know
20 what the establishment was for these units, but in addition to all these
21 units they also had a military court.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: In paragraph 21 of your statement --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: In paragraph 21 of your statement, in English it
25 says: "One of the main task of military --" there it says "military
1 territorial departments was to mobilise war units and bring them up to
3 Now, my understanding so far is that one of these bodies, military
4 district or military department, is responsible for mobilising men to
5 provide men for both the VJ and the MUP.
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, is that the -- is that the district or the
9 A. Both, departments and the military district command. This task
10 was performed through the keeping of military records, and these existed
11 in all military departments from entering a file into the military record
12 to actually deploying men to certain military units.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't need the details, Mr. Mitic. I just want
14 to get the system clear in my mind.
15 Take, for example, the 549th Motorised Brigade. Do you know which
16 department or district was responsible for mobilising troops that would be
17 sent to serve with the 549th once war was declared?
18 A. Yes.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Who was that?
20 A. Depending on the number of able-bodied conscripts up to the age of
21 35, I would select certain files from my record, and I would bring up to
22 strength some elements of the 549th Brigade. Given the fact that
23 throughout the territory they weren't sufficient military conscripts to
24 bring that unit up to strength, the 549th Motorised Brigade was brought up
25 to strength by applying the territorial principle from other district --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Let me interrupt you there. Was it your
2 responsibility as the Prizren department to deal with providing further
3 strength to the 549th Brigade?
4 A. Only to the extent that I could.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Give me an example of an organ -- rather, a unit of
6 the VJ that the Pristina military district was responsible for supplying
7 troops to.
8 A. They were facing the same problems.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Please --
10 A. Bringing all war units up to strength.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Just answer my question. Identify for me, please,
12 a unit of the VJ that it was their responsibility to try to strengthen.
13 A. I don't know if there was any such thing, because strength came
14 from other military district outside Kosovo and Metohija.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Bear in mind I'm trying to understand the
16 difference between the job done by the district and the job done by the
17 department. I think I'm beginning to understand better what the
18 department does. I'm at a total loss to understand what the district did
19 directly in relation to the mobilisation of men.
20 A. A military department had the responsibility to bring up to
21 strength war units in its own territory with as much manpower as was
22 available; and then at the level of the military districts, there would be
23 coordination. And if there were military conscripts in another
24 municipality, then one could use that manpower from that municipality to
25 bring the 549th Brigade up to strength. If there was none available then
1 one had to go to military districts outside Kosovo and Metohija.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: You have told us about the military territorial
3 detachments within your department. Were there any military territorial
4 detachments which were the direct responsibility of the Pristina military
6 A. I think during the war they had such detachments and units, that
7 they set them up.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Why were there military territorial detachments at
10 A. Military territorial detachments are a component of the military
11 department. The military department has its own command and independent
12 units, and depending on why --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: That's my question: Why. Is the army not
14 sufficient for the purpose, the regular army?
15 A. Well, it has its own role within the army. Military territorial
16 detachments are a component of the army.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, some re-examination?
18 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I do have a
19 number of questions.
20 Re-examination by Mr. Cepic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, it's me again. Good afternoon.
22 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have Exhibit P1415.
23 Q. Colonel, please look at item 2 at page 1 of this document. You
24 were shown this document by my learned friend from the OTP. In your
25 evidence you mentioned that you could not distribute weapons or ammunition
1 without an order by the commander. What about item 2? Does it not seem
2 to confirm what you said? If necessary, go through it. It's the latter
3 part of item 2 that really matters.
4 A. "According to the orders of unit commanders, distribute" and so on
5 and so forth.
6 Q. Let's not go any further than this.
7 A. As far as I understand what it says, according to the orders of
8 the commander, of course I can't do that immediately, but I can once the
9 conditions are in place and once I had received from order from my
10 commander because this is an order by the Pristina Corps.
11 Q. Thank you. Did you receive any such orders prior to March 1999?
12 A. Aside from this one I received no other orders, except I was told.
13 And then when the team from the military district toured us, I was
14 informed about this, but then again it says according to an order by the
15 commander, and my commander is the commander of the military district.
16 Q. Colonel, let us dwell on this a bit longer. In paragraph 8, if
17 I'm not mistaken, of your statement, you talked about territorial defence,
18 about the weapons and equipment left behind. Do you know that in 1994 the
19 Law on Defence was passed? Do you remember that?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Thank you. Do you perhaps remember whose responsibility it was
22 after the Territorial Defence, after the Territorial Defence was
23 abolished, to distribute weapons? Do you perhaps remember that, sir?
24 Which state body was now in charge of that?
25 A. I remember that military departments and districts were set up in
1 1991, and the Territorial Defence was abolished in 1992. From that point
2 on, there was no more Territorial Defence. Rather, there were now
3 military departments and local bodies of the MUP.
4 Q. Can you tell me whether the Ministry of Defence had any
5 responsibility in terms of distributing weapons?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I wonder if again you can help me to understand
9 this. Could you look, please, at P1115. I don't know how you would
10 characterise this document. It's a sort of memo, and it comes,
11 apparently, from General Lukic to SUP -- SUPs in -- or throughout Kosovo,
12 and it refers to "... extracts from the register of weapons issued by the
13 army to citizens engaged in reserve police stations to defend villages and
14 cities in the municipalities ..."
15 Now, you're aware of a register of weapons issued by the army to
16 citizens engaged in reserve police stations, are you?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for the records of military
18 conscripts in reserve forces, that's something that's kept by the Ministry
19 of the Interior in relation to all of their units, including reserve
20 police units. It seems that the lists were not updated here, so they were
21 asking for a new register of citizens who had been issued weapons by the
23 If they joined the ministry of the interior, they had to return
24 the weapons to the army if they had received it originally from the army.
25 And as for the army, we had records as well in military
1 departments. We had our records, and our military conscripts were
2 sometimes joined MUP, either on -- through a regular procedure or through
3 an extraordinary one.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Read the first sentence of the document, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Please find enclosed extracts from
6 the register of weapons issued by the army of Yugoslavia to citizens in
7 municipalities in the territory of your secretariat. This pertains to
8 citizens engaged in reserve police stations to defend villages and cities.
9 So far, the register was incomplete. The register has been compiled --"
10 JUDGE BONOMY: That's enough. Earlier we had the reference RPO,
11 and I think it was translated then reserve police units.
12 Now, can I have the assistant of the interpreters, please. What
13 is the correct translation of the expression that's in the first sentence
14 of this referring to reserve police something or rather?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, PO stands for "policijsko
16 odeljenje". It could be a police squad or a police station, depending on
17 the context.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: So you accept, do you, Mr. Mitic, that you would be
19 responsible for issuing -- sorry, that the army would be responsible for
20 issuing weapons to citizens engaged in reserve police squads?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not in relation to all. We sent to
22 the secretariats the lists of our conscripts who had wartime assignments
23 with us. What this involved now was that if these conscripts, if they had
24 been issued weapons by the army, they had to return those weapons to the
25 army. Those who received weapons from the MUP remained in the MUP.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, there's no suggestion in this document that
2 these weapons have to be returned.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All they're asking for here is for
4 the lists, for the register to be updated.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: But it's the list of the weapons issued by the
6 army, not those issued by the MUP.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. But issued to the
8 military conscripts who were members of the army and were also now in the
10 JUDGE BONOMY: That's not what it says, I'm afraid, Mr. Mitic, but
11 we have your comments.
12 Mr. Cepic, please continue.
13 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Thank you. We need to clarify something. Did your military
15 department have problems with the conscripts who were members of the
16 reserve police forces and who failed to return to the -- to your units, to
17 military units?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. These military conscripts, while they were in the military
20 department units, were they issued with the weapons by the military
22 A. Some, yes, and some, no.
23 Q. Were they duty-bound to return those weapons?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you have problems in enforcing this?
1 A. Up until the end of 1998 we did not, and then in the beginning of
2 the war, yes.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: This document, bear in mind, is July, I think,
4 1998, when there would be no problem. Is that what you're saying?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time the military department
6 did not need that military conscript.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Mr. Cepic.
8 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Colonel, my colleague Mr. Ivetic asked you several questions and
10 some things remained unclear, so I would like you to clarify them for me.
11 He asked you whether conscripts from Mala Krusa, Krusa, Orahovac, Celine,
12 whether you had people from those villages join your units. You answered
13 in the affirmative and you said they were members of 101st Territorial
14 Detachment in Orahovac.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Would you please tell me where the 101st Territorial Detachment
17 was deployed?
18 A. It was deployed in the village of Zrze and in Bela Crkva in
19 Orahovac, in an area near Malisevo, Vran Stena, Velika Hoca, Opterusa, and
20 Retimlje along the depth of the territory.
21 Q. Was it deployed in settlements or outside of settlements?
22 A. Only outside of settlements.
23 Q. These settlements that you mentioned, do they represent the
24 borders of the area of responsibility of the 101st Detachment?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you. Were there any reserve police squads in that area?
2 A. Yes, there were.
3 Q. My colleague Mr. Ivetic asked you about the physician whose name
4 was Boban.
5 A. Vuksanovic.
6 Q. Yes, Vuksanovic. Would you please tell me, do you know what
7 happened to that physician during the war?
8 A. Vuksanovic, son of Nadezda Bobek was a doctor before he was
9 mobilised and then he served as a doctor during combat operations during
10 the war. When there was no need for him to be present at the command
11 headquarters I would release him so that he could go and work in Suva Reka
12 at the medical centre there.
13 What happened once was that the residents in the village of
14 Musotiste were without medical assistance and without any food. In that
15 broader region there was a company of the 70th Territorial Detachment of
16 Suva Reka. They also ran out of food and water, and they needed medical
17 assistance. The commander of the 70th Military Territorial Detachment,
18 pursuant to my order, contacted authorities and established a convoy in
19 order to provide assistance and provide food, water, and medical
20 assistance. The doctor from the medical centre was asked to join this
21 column, this convoy.
22 This convoy set out in the morning hours towards Musotiste, and
23 they were ambushed by terrorist forces in the sector of Sopina and
24 Dubrava. In that convoy there was also Novica Djordjevic who was the
25 commander of the detachment. Then there was a man called Antic from
1 Lestane. He was a military conscript. And then there was another Antic
2 and two more soldiers, so a total of four persons plus two military
3 conscripts. Djordjevic, Vuksanovic, both Antics were killed in the
4 ambush, and the soldiers were wounded.
5 Ten minutes after that event, I set out by myself, went to the
6 location, provided assistance, and the assistance that was intended for
7 the village of Musotiste was not provided.
8 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Cepic?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember, it was on the
11 14th. I have the exact state in my statement. The 14th of June --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Which paragraph is that in the statement?
13 MR. STAMP: 53.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 17th of April, 1999.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Let me just follow up with a short question. Members of your
18 units, did they provide assistance to civilians on other occasions as
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. Colonel, questions were put to you about personnel in
22 your units. You said that you reinforced 509th Brigade as well as your
23 units by 200-something members. I would like to know this: Were only
24 Serbs mobilised or did only Serbs receive call-up papers?
25 A. No. The Gorani also received call-up papers and they established
1 68th Territorial Detachment in the territory of Gora. The Muslims from
2 Sredacka Zupa were also called up and then they joined that detachment and
3 108th Detachment. They became members of those units. And of course
4 Muslims from the other municipalities were called up as well. The Turks
5 were also called up. There was one unit whose members were Turks and they
6 defended the barracks of 549th Brigade. The Roma were also called up,
7 especially those from Suva Reka, as were Montenegrins. And there were
8 also Albanians, specifically in my command headquarters. I had three
9 Albanians on top positions -- in top positions.
10 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Who was your commander? Who was your
11 immediate superior?
12 A. My immediate superior was Colonel Zlatomir Pesic.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 A. And before that Vojkan Savic.
15 Q. Do you remember in -- during the war when was the command of the
16 military district Pristina resubordinated to the corps?
17 A. I think that it was in the latter part of May.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 Thank you, Your Honours. Thank you, Colonel. I have no further
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Cepic.
22 Mr. Mitic, that completes your evidence. Thank you for coming
23 here to give evidence. You're now free to leave the courtroom.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Greetings to everyone.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, your next witness.
2 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, our next witness is
3 General Milos Mandic. Thank you.
4 MR. STAMP: And he will be taken for the Prosecution by
5 Mr. Sachdeva. I mention that because I also have a sad responsibility to
6 mention that this will be the last appearance of Mr. Sachdeva in this
7 trial as he, like others before him, moves on to greener pastures, I hope.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we wish him well there. Thank you.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 WITNESS: MILOS MANDIC
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Mandic.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Please take the solemn declaration to take the
15 truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: You will now be examined by Mr. Cepic on behalf of
21 Mr. Lazarevic.
22 Mr. Cepic.
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 [Microphone not activated] ... documents to General.
25 Examination by Mr. Cepic:
1 Q. [Interpretation] General, good day.
2 A. Good day, Mr. Cepic.
3 Q. To begin with, did you make a statement to the Defence team of
4 General Lazarevic, which you signed on the 20th of January, 2008?
5 A. Yes, I did.
6 Q. Thank you. Do you have that statement before you now?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. General, did you ask me to make certain corrections in the
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. Did you ask me on the 21st of January, at a meeting
12 attended by you and I, to enter corrections into paragraphs 28, 29, 30 as
13 mentioned on the document dated the 21st of January, 2008?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. General, on the 22nd of January, did you ask me to enter
16 corrections into the statement? And please look at the piece of paper you
17 have before you. In paragraph 16, 20, 24, 28, 36, and 46.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. General, if I were to put to you today the same questions that
20 were put to you when your responses were entered into the statement, would
21 your answers be the same with the corrections you asked to be entered?
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one moment, Mr. Cepic.
24 MR. CEPIC: Your Honour, I would like to request admission of the
25 witness statement which exhibit number is 5D1391 with supplemental
1 information sheet from 21st and 22nd January, which will be under the same
3 JUDGE BONOMY: So far, has the witness looked at both of these
4 supplemental sheets?
5 MR. CEPIC: They're in front of him right now in hard copy. And
6 also during the conversation, actually interview which we had we together
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't need to know what you get up in your own
9 time, Mr. Cepic, but these two will have to be uploaded as supplements to
10 5D1391 if that's the way you choose to do it. All right?
11 MR. CEPIC: Yes, Your Honour, exactly. Thank you very much.
12 Thank you, Your Honour. May I continue, please?
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
14 MR. CEPIC: Thank you.
15 Q. [Interpretation] General, would you look at paragraph 31 of your
16 statement, please. You speak of independent actions in the areas of the
17 villages of Celine and Nogavac and Hoca. Are you aware that the forces of
18 the MUP and the VJ conducted their actions in that area in late March
20 A. No.
21 Q. Thank you. Would you tell me the following: The area I've
22 mentioned, was it a terrorist stronghold during the war?
23 A. Yes, especially in the second half of May. There was a situation
24 where we had an armoured brigade in that area armed with the most
25 up-to-date equipment that the VJ then had, and it was on a very shaky
1 footing. Why? All the roads leading to Pristina from Orahovac were
2 frequently mined at that time, and the vehicles with men on board ran into
3 ambushes. We had enormous losses.
4 I wish to point out that the terrorist forces were acting very
5 professionally. In that period of time, there was a farm or a cooperative
6 or whatever it was called --
7 Q. Can you please slow down for the transcript.
8 A. It was in that period in Orahovac, because of work being done in
9 the vineyards that the farmers' cooperative, or whatever the enterprise
10 was called, engaged eight tractor drivers to work in the vineyards. One
11 day, they went missing. Before this action, on the 26th of May --
12 Q. Well, we don't have to go into all this detail.
13 A. In the early morning hours from the direction of Celine, sniper
14 fire was opened and two policemen were killed who were in a vehicle
15 travelling on the Prizren-Djakovica road. In that period, the commander
16 of the 3rd Army, the corps commander and the chief of the armoured
17 mechanised unit branch of the VJ ran into an ambush and they themselves
18 had an opportunity to see for themselves what the situation was in the
20 Q. Thank you, General. Would you look at paragraph 48 of your
21 statement, please. The last page. I think you received an order from the
22 Pristina Corps command for the accommodation and security of the civilian
23 population and that the members of the VJ who were under your command
24 treated the civilians humanely.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you. Could we now look at 5D1072. General, do you
2 recognise this document?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What is this about?
5 A. It's a daily combat report to the Pristina Corps command, dated
6 the 20th of April, 1999.
7 Q. Thank you. Would you please look at item 11, paragraph 2, which
8 begins with the words "The reception of refugees." Read it, please.
9 A. "In the Mixed Artillery Battalion sector, the reception of
10 refugees began around 1900 hours. A mother with children and elderly
11 Albanians from Jovic village." Should I go on reading?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. They were transported in two vehicles and one bus in several
14 trips. They were also provided with food, soldiers' rations and part of
15 the packages of the conscripts from the mixed Artillery Battalion (food).
16 Police guarded them at the school and then they were escorted to
17 Dragobilje village from which they went to Jovic village."
18 Q. General, is this the only situation where you provided assistance
19 to civilians?
20 A. No. While in that area, I continuously -- or, rather, we
21 continuously, constantly, and within the limits of our ability provided
22 assistance to the civilian population.
23 Q. Thank you, General.
24 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see Exhibit 5D1071.
25 Q. Do you recognise this document, General?
1 A. Yes. It's a daily combat report to the command of the Pristina
2 Corps, dated the 24th of April, 1999.
3 Q. Would you please look at item 4, "Security."
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Please read the first sentence under the heading.
6 A. "Civilians in the brigade units' sectors are protected."
7 Q. I would like to know what this protection consisted in.
8 A. Well, this protection primarily consisted in ensuring necessities
9 such as food, drinking water, health care, and personal security and
10 security of property.
11 Q. Thank you. Would you please take a look at the fifth bullet point
12 of the same item.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. It begins with the words?
15 A. "Strenuous efforts are made to take and carry out measures to
16 protect the life and health of people as well as the implementation of
17 measures pertaining to the International Law of War and the provisions of
18 the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war and
20 Q. I'll put a general question to you now, General, concerning the
21 war period. Was special significance attached to the protection of
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. General, did the terrorist forces use civilians as human shields?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Could we now have Defence Exhibit
3 Q. While we are waiting for the English translation to come up, do
4 you recognise the document, General?
5 A. Yes. It's a daily combat report to the command of the Pristina
6 Corps. As I can't see the date, it's not legible, but it's approximately
7 the 30th day from the beginning of the war. I conclude that by the
9 Q. It says in the English translation 25th of April, 1999. Would
10 that correspond to the date?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Please look at item 1, 1.1 in the middle of that paragraph. It
13 says: "From contacts -- we learned in contact with a person --"
14 A. Yes. "We learned in contact with a person from the refugee group
15 that the Siptar terrorist forces are not allowing civilians to leave but
16 are using them as a human shield."
17 Q. Was there more than one situation of this kind where civilians
18 were misused by the terrorists?
19 A. Yes. These were always civilians who were in groups of refugees
20 outside populated areas.
21 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Could we have 5D974, please.
22 Q. General, sir, do you recognise this document?
23 A. I do. This is a daily combat report to the command of the
24 Pristina Corps. The date is the 27th of April, 1999.
25 Q. Can you please look at item 4, "Security."
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Again you say: "Civilians in the brigade's sectors are
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. Pursuant to the -- the order of the Pristina Corps command, were
6 you creating the right conditions for putting up this civilian population?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Defence Exhibit
10 Q. General, do you recognise this document?
11 A. I do.
12 Q. Just for the General to be able to see the B/C/S, could we please
13 focus on the header, just for the date. Thank you.
14 General, can you identify this document now, please?
15 A. Yes. This was produced by the brigade command, and the date is
16 the 4th of May, 1999, to the command of the Pristina Corps. This is a
17 document which constitutes a response to a document by the corps command.
18 Q. In your answer to item 2, specifically, I will not be reading it,
19 you name a number of sectors where it would be possible to take in new
20 temporarily displaced persons.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Why these villages for this purpose?
23 A. Simply because there were no terrorist forces in those villages.
24 Q. General, sir, when you arrived in the area what was the situation
1 A. In that area the villages had by and large been abandoned,
2 deserted, very few people remaining there. In a way you could tell who
3 they were because of their enormous fear of war. My officers would talk
4 to them, and what we were focusing on was to establish a climate of mutual
5 trust, because these were local civilians who were nationals of Serbia.
6 And of course, when we started speaking to them this bond of trust could
7 not be established immediately but gradually, but contact was establish;
8 and they realised that we were doing our best to help them get on with
9 their lives and work. In terms of food, necessities, medical supplies
10 were paramount, for example, and we knew, in the roughest of terms, that
11 they were in touch with people who were in refugee groups in the area, and
12 we asked them to speak to these people, and when they spoke to these
13 people to try to get them to return to their homes and get on with their
14 lives and go about their regular jobs and activities to the extent
15 possible. We also said that we would help them as much as we could.
16 Q. Did some people start returning?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you very much, General.
19 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you very much. I
20 have no further questions.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, the second supplemental information, who
22 actually translated that?
23 MR. CEPIC: My assistant, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you going to do something about an official
1 MR. CEPIC: Yes, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: It doesn't read well in English.
3 MR. CEPIC: Yes, I will try to do my best, and we will contact
4 translation service.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: The problem with that is that the witness is here
6 and should be confirming the accuracy of his statement while he's here.
7 MR. CEPIC: Your Honour, with your leave if I may --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I think, Mr. Cepic, that the best way to do it
9 this, regrettably, but we have time before we break again, is for you to
10 ask the witness to read each of the changes that you've made. The reason
11 I didn't do this earlier is I hadn't actually seen the second one until we
12 came into court.
13 MR. CEPIC: Yes, Your Honour. The first supplemental information
14 sheet from 21st of January, do I have to clarify something?
15 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm not concerned about that. I think it's okay.
16 It's the second one.
17 MR. CEPIC: Mm-hmm.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: So can you have him read the changes.
19 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: And confirm that he's satisfied that they are
21 accurately reflect what he wanted. It's very easy to ask him to read
23 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. [Interpretation] General, sir, would you please have a look at the
25 supplemental information sheet dated the 21st of January. I would like to
1 go through it. And please keep a copy of your statement open right next
2 to it. We'll start with paragraph 16.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. It's actually -- the one I have is dated the
4 23rd of January.
5 MR. CEPIC: Actually, General and I had a meeting on 22nd of
7 JUDGE BONOMY: The first one is the 21st of January. This one
8 starts with paragraph 16 and says: "The last sentence of the said
9 paragraph should have the following ..." In my copy that's dated the 23rd
10 of January.
11 MR. CEPIC: Yes, Your Honour. May I continue?
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, please. Is the witness reading from one dated
13 the 23rd or the 21st?
14 MR. CEPIC: Actually, 22nd of January is dated at the top of the
15 page, but it is probably filed on the -- in B/C/S version, but I will try
16 with -- just to read it.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: If you can see it, there is the English version
18 that we have, and it says 23rd on it.
19 MR. CEPIC: Yes, Your Honour. My assistant made corrections.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Well, now let's read the various
21 paragraphs, please. Ask the witness to do that.
22 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. General, sir, will you please look at paragraph 16.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you not ask me to add the following words to that
1 paragraph "According to sectors and defence positions"?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In paragraph 20 -- please open that paragraph. Did you not ask me
4 for the second sentence in that paragraph to read as follows:
5 "Cooperation with the civilian authorities was carried out with
6 the objective of taking care of the civilians and carrying out joint
7 control of any movement in unpopulated areas and along the main roads"?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. General, sir, did you not ask me to enter the following amendment
10 in relation to paragraph 24:
11 "The units were toured and controlled of the 252nd Armoured
12 Brigade by the superior command and chiefs of the mechanised and armoured
13 units of the land forces sector of the General Staff of the VJ,
14 Colonel-General Kovacevic"?
15 A. Right.
16 Q. The next one, paragraph 28, did you not say the following changes
17 were required in relation to the last sentence after the comma:
18 "However the forces of TG 252 stopped outside Dobra Voda village
19 and the other component of TG 252 in the valley of the following
20 villages: Bica, and Grabac, to the south-west of the villages of Brocna
21 and Vocnjak at about five kilometres"?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you not require that these sentences be added to that same
24 paragraph: "MUP forces that we were lending support to did not go any
25 further than those lines. The use of equipment in this action was
1 exceptionally small and hardly any ammunition was expended. That was the
2 very beginning of the NATO airstrikes, and for the most part the equipment
3 was camouflaged and concealed"?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. General, sir, did you not ask me to enter an amendment to
6 paragraph 36? Instead of the word "nine armoured vehicles," it should
7 read "nine combat vehicles"?
8 A. Indeed.
9 Q. The last amendment that you requested, paragraph 46 of your
10 statement, in addition to what was said another sentence which reads: "In
11 order to sanitize the terrain, the VJ was authorised to do this in the
12 border belt. Outside the border belt this was the responsibility and the
13 obligation of the civilian authorities."
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you very much, General.
16 Your Honours --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Cepic. That does clarify one or two
18 points that had been mistranslated. And it would be best if you did not
19 upload the English version of the second supplementary information. You
20 will have to upload the B/C/S version, obviously, but not the English.
21 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour. Is it a proper time for the
22 break now?
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. Mr. Mandic we have to have a break at this
24 stage for half an hour. While we have that break would you please leave
25 the courtroom with the usher.
1 We shall resume at 6.00.
2 [The witness stands down]
3 --- Recess taken at 5.30 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there any further Defence examination?
7 Mr. Ivetic.
8 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, with regard to the corrections made in
9 paragraph 28, I no longer have a cross-examination for this witness.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
11 Mr. Sachdeva.
12 MR. SACHDEVA: Yes, Mr. President.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mandic, you will now be cross-examined by the
14 Prosecutor, Mr. Sachdeva.
15 Mr. Sachdeva.
16 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, before I start can I just inquire, I
17 understand that the documents that are mentioned in this statement that
18 have not been shown to the witness are automatically admitted into
19 evidence and some of them as far as our records can tell do not have
20 translations. I take it they're not admitted up to the time translations
21 are provided.
22 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Your understanding is correct.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Sachdeva:
25 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. -- General Mandic.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. Let me start by asking you your -- your brigade, the 252nd
3 Brigade, came into Kosovo and Metohija at the end of March; is that right?
4 March 1999.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And upon that redeployment, you were responsible to the Pristina
7 corps commander, General Lazarevic; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And is it also right that the Tactical Group, the 252nd Tactical
10 Group was also under your command and also under the command of
11 General Lazarevic?
12 A. It was not under my command, but it was under the command of the
13 commander of the Pristina Corps.
14 Q. Who commanded the Tactical Group of the 252nd Brigade?
15 A. Up to the 5th of April I did. After the 5th of April it was
16 Colonel Miodrag Jovanovic.
17 Q. So let me just be clear. After the 5th of April you had no
18 responsibility whatsoever with respect to the Tactical Group of the 252nd
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. You were asked earlier on in examination-in-chief about the
22 villages in Orahovac, and you were asked whether you knew whether there
23 were terrorist strongholds in that area, and your response was, "Yes,
24 especially in May." Can I just ask you when you say yes, do you mean from
25 the onset of the war, in other words, from the 24th of March, 1999, or do
1 you simply restrict your knowledge to -- from May up until the end of the
3 A. From the second half of May until the end of the war when
4 operations began against the Defence forces of those villages.
5 Q. You were asked by counsel for the Defence as to whether you knew
6 if the VJ and the MUP had conducted operations in Orahovac, and you
7 answered no. I take it you're -- you maintain that evidence; is that
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. When you were redeployed to the area of Kosovo within the 252nd
11 Brigade, and as you've said your commander was General Lazarevic, did you
12 not have a briefing with General Lazarevic?
13 A. In the period from April to June, I think I had two meetings or
14 three meetings with General Lazarevic.
15 Q. Well, let's just stick to the time of your movement, your
16 deployment to -- to Kosovo and Metohija. When you moved there, did anyone
17 from the Pristina Corps command brief you as to the state of operations in
18 the area?
19 A. Only in the zone of responsibility or the area of deployment in
20 greater detail. In general, there was no time or opportunity to talk
21 about the overall situation.
22 Q. I take it that you do know, at least now you do know, that at the
23 end of March and the beginning of April there was a combat or several
24 combat operations in the area of Orahovac municipality by the VJ and by
25 the MUP. You know of that, don't you?
1 A. I learned about that after the war from the materials available to
2 me and also when preparing for defence.
3 Q. And you know that even in the villages that you have spoken about,
4 Celine, for example, and other villages in Orahovac there was -- well,
5 those were the areas where you were deployed in May 1999. Isn't that
7 A. In those villages which you mentioned, the brigade units were not
8 deployed there.
9 Q. I guess I'm finding it difficult to understand how you would not
10 have received a briefing by the Pristina Corps command that in the area
11 where you were to be deployed that there had -- you were not told that
12 there had been VJ and MUP operations in that area. Can you enlighten us a
13 bit further on that?
14 A. In general operations were conducted, but as to the details of
15 those combat operations, I did not have any special knowledge of that.
16 Q. You don't think it would have been important for -- for you to
17 have been told about those operations considering you were to be deployed
18 in that area, in the same municipality?
19 A. I received a task, and my task was to take up the areas I was
20 ordered to take up in that part of the municipality and to organise
21 defence. That was my main goal while I was in that area.
22 Q. You say in your statement the -- the date of deployment was the
23 29th of March. Is that -- is that right?
24 A. Can you please explain in greater detail what area you're
25 referring to?
1 Q. I'm speaking about the deployment from the 1st Army to the 3rd
2 Army. In other words, to Kosovo and Metohija. I understand the decision
3 was on the 29th of March.
4 A. The decision was that on the 29th of March, up to 2400 hours, the
5 brigade should be resubordinated to the command of the Pristina Corps.
6 Q. Wasn't there, however, a Mechanised Battalion from your brigade
7 already present in Kosovo from the 16th of March, 1999, onwards?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And I take it that this -- well, the Mechanised Battalion, what
10 did it comprise of? Tanks, other heavy artillery; is that right?
11 A. The Mechanised Battalion consisted of two weakened mechanised
12 companies and a weakened tank company.
13 Q. And how many tanks would there have been in that battalion?
14 A. Seven.
15 Q. And is my understanding -- understanding right that they were
16 deployed in the area of Srbica in Kosovo?
17 A. I can't reply to that question because I didn't know about that.
18 Q. Well, presumably the Mechanised Battalion of the 252nd Armoured
19 Brigade was your responsibility. It came under your brigade, didn't it?
20 A. That was a unit from my brigade, but I was responsible for it
21 until the date you mentioned in the previous paragraph.
22 Q. But you've already told the Court that the battalion was indeed in
23 Kosovo on the 16th of March, and so when that deployment took place, you
24 must have been informed firstly as to the purpose, and secondly, as to the
25 location. Am I right?
1 A. When units are resubordinated such information is not provided.
2 Q. General, and you are a general, are you seriously telling the
3 Court that when a unit that you have command of is to be redeployed you as
4 the brigade commander is not informed of that?
5 A. We should draw a distinction here between relocation and
6 resubordination. A unit is relocated and also resubordinated to another
7 unit. From that point on it is under the care of whoever it is
8 resubordinated to.
9 Q. Yes, but perhaps I'm not making myself clear. I'm not after which
10 units it was -- it became subordinated to. I'm talking about the timing
11 when there was a decision to relocate these units, and you as the
12 commander of those units must have been told, firstly, as to the purpose
13 of the relocation, and secondly, the actual location where these units
14 were to go. Am I right?
15 A. No.
16 Q. So your evidence is that seven tanks from your brigade that were
17 relocated, taken away from your arsenal, and you had no idea about that.
18 If that's your evidence, then I'll move on.
19 A. I knew they would be resubordinated to another unit. They were
20 separated out, and then the unit to which they were resubordinated would
21 take care of the men and their equipment from that point on.
22 Q. Well, why were they -- well, now you're saying resubordinated, so
23 I take it they were not relocated. Why were they being resubordinated to
25 A. Pursuant to the decision of my superior command. It was from them
1 that I received my orders.
2 Q. So you received an order from your superior command as to the
3 resubordination of these -- of this Mechanised Battalion. What did that
4 order say to you?
5 A. Well, I can't recall the details right now because of the lapse of
6 time, but in that order, as in any order that deals with resubordination,
7 it stated to whom, when, and where the unit would be resubordinated.
8 Q. And when you say you can't remember the details, you don't know to
9 whom, and you don't know where. That's right?
10 A. I know to whom and where.
11 Q. Sir, perhaps you can tell the Court.
12 A. The Mechanised Battalion was resubordinated to the command of the
13 125th Motorised Brigade in Kosovska Mitrovica.
14 Q. And it's your understanding as -- as a brigade commander and as a
15 general that at the time the -- let me suggest to you that the
16 resubordination was part of a wider plan to destroy Kosovo Albanian
17 terrorists in Kosovo. Isn't that right?
18 A. What I knew while I was performing that duty was not so
20 JUDGE BONOMY: I wonder if I might interrupt just for a moment.
21 The -- it's important that we establish whether the changes in the
22 position taken by this witness are the result of translation problems or
23 are, in fact, inherent in the evidence. So we shall require a formal
24 translation of this evidence from page 66, line 11, to page 68, line 19.
25 Please continue, Mr. Sachdeva.
1 [Prosecution counsel confer]
2 MR. SACHDEVA: I apologise, Mr. President.
3 Q. General, when you received that order from your commander, your
4 superior commander, and the resubordination took place, was there any
5 discussion about a possible violation of the so-called October agreement
6 whereby there was only a limited amount of military presence allowed in
7 Kosovo at that time?
8 A. My place and role at that time was such that I was never included
9 in such conversations, nor did I know what these conversations and
10 documents, if any, from October were about.
11 Q. So you're -- you're not aware of the so-called October agreement,
12 the agreement between the VJ and the Kosovo Verification Mission, OSCE?
13 You're not aware of this agreement or such agreement?
14 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, to the best of my
17 recollection there was another agreement signed in October. There were
18 other signatories who signed the October agreement, and it's even named
19 after the signatories. Thank you.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: The real question here, Mr. Sachdeva, is that there
21 was an agreement which had a particular provision that you may be
22 concerned about. The exact name is not terribly important. I think
23 Mr. Cepic may be suggesting we should call it by a particular name.
24 Perhaps he'll give us the name.
25 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that's the
1 Prosecutor's job to identify the document at this point.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you've told us it's named by the -- named
3 after the signatories.
4 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, I can -- I can just ask a very
5 simple question and move on.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
7 MR. SACHDEVA:
8 Q. General, from your earlier answers I take it that you were not
9 aware of agreement that had the effect of restricting the military
10 presence, the VJ military presence, in Kosovo at the time of the 16th of
11 March, 1999?
12 A. What I knew while I was brigade commander was not so extensive. I
13 didn't deal with that agreement, nor was it something I was concerned with
14 in my work. So you cannot expect me to answer that question. If someone
15 at a higher level signed the agreement, it was then up to him to make sure
16 it was implemented.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you suggesting, Mr. Mandic, that you did not
18 know that in October agreement had been reached that resulted in the
19 retreat of VJ units into barracks and a restriction on the number of VJ
20 personnel who could, at any given time, be out of barracks and active in
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My answer is that my knowledge
23 extends precisely to what you mentioned in your question to me. I did not
24 know any details. My information came mostly from the media and from
25 information sent along military lines, but I didn't know about the manner
1 of implementation because it did not concern my unit.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: It may be that I have misunderstood the evidence
3 and -- and I will check carefully to ensure that that does not persist,
4 but I thought it was common knowledge; and no doubt others will try to
5 assist in clarifying my understanding.
6 Mr. Sachdeva.
7 MR. SACHDEVA:
8 Q. General, when your brigade was in Kosovo and you carried out
9 military activities, am I right in understanding that Albanian men of
10 military age were of particular certain to yourself and to the army, to
11 your brigade, in terms that they -- they could be viewed as potential
13 A. No.
14 Q. I'd like to show you an order that you signed.
15 MR. SACHDEVA: If I could ask for P3074. Mr. President, there's
16 no translation at this time. However, it's a short document, and I would
17 like to ask the witness to read from the document. And of course a
18 request for translation has been made.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
20 MR. SACHDEVA:
21 Q. Now, General, this is from the 23rd of April, 1999, and you'll see
22 at the bottom that it is -- there should be another page. But you
23 recognise this document as your document, don't you?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And I want you to look at the -- you'll see at the top half the
1 page towards the middle there's a section which is -- which starts 1.2,
2 and there's a sentence just above that, and it starts "Upa civila." Do
3 you see that sentence there?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could I ask you to read that sentence out, please.
6 A. Let me just -- it says: "About one and a half kilometres from the
7 village of Masera [phoen] in the direction of Klina there is a large group
8 of civilians among whom are a large number of able-bodied men.
9 Q. Now, my question is why -- why did you see it as necessary to
10 report that there were able-bodied men amongst this group of civilians.
11 A. Because in the groups and columns appearing at the time in that
12 area there were many women, children, and elderly, but this time there
13 were also able-bodied civilians.
14 Q. And what you say about the groups and columns appearing where
15 there were women and children and elderly, that's what happened, wasn't
16 it? Typically the refugee columns would be comprised of women and
17 children and the elderly.
18 A. And able-bodied civilians. It's really difficult to make that
19 sort of assessment when you have a large group of people. It's very
20 difficult to be precise about how many elderly, how many women, how many
21 children. These columns, as a rule, comprised all different sorts of
22 people and individuals.
23 Q. Well, if they did, then why didn't you mention in this report that
24 there were women and children and elderly?
25 A. Because probably this was the first time that younger civilians
1 turned up.
2 Q. And you have included this in your report to the Pristina command,
3 the corps command, precisely because the presence of able-bodied men is
4 potentially a danger to -- to your military. Isn't that right?
5 A. No. As soon as they turned up in an open area with their fellow
6 citizens and they were visible, I could conclude that they had probably
7 run away in a bid to not be drafted into their own forces.
8 Q. I want to go back to what you said about the 252nd, the Tactical
9 Group, and if I recall correctly, you were no longer in command of that
10 group as of the -- as of early April; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And when you were removed from the command, how -- how did that
13 take place? Were you given an order? Were you told verbally?
14 A. Verbally.
15 Q. And who told you that?
16 A. The commander of the 3rd Army.
17 Q. And he told you this over the telephone or in person?
18 A. In person.
19 Q. And what was the reason he gave you as to why you were being
20 removed from the command?
21 A. The fundamental reason was the fact that my establishment post was
22 that of the commander of the 252nd Armoured Brigade.
23 Q. Well, I apologise. We are not military persons in this court.
24 Can you explain why then, still why would that mean that you would no
25 longer command a tactical group that you had been commanding.
1 A. The Tactical Group was a temporary unit, and I was its temporary
2 commander before it was established; but my basic duty was that of brigade
3 commander. I had documents to show that I was appointed to that position,
4 and I was receiving salary for that post.
5 Q. So are you saying that when you were taken off the command of the
6 Tactical Group, it ceased to exist? Is that what you're saying?
7 A. When I stopped being commander of the Tactical Group, this had
8 nothing to do with its further existence or future existence. It had
9 nothing to do with me.
10 Q. So if members of the Tactical Group, whenever they conducted
11 combat operations or if -- if members would have committed crimes, they
12 would have been outside of your responsibility. Is that a correct
14 A. At the beginning of your examination I said that the Tactical
15 Group was subordinated to the Pristina Corps command and not to the
16 command of the 252nd Mechanised -- Armoured Brigade.
17 Q. And your brigade, the Armoured Brigade, was subordinated to the
18 Pristina Corps command during the war, wasn't it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And I take it that -- and I appreciate what you say about the
21 252nd Tactical Group being part of the Pristina Corps, the corps that you
22 were part of, but you must have been aware of allocations that members of
23 the Tactical Group had committed serious war crimes during the time that
24 you were present in Kosovo.
25 A. The Tactical Group and the 252nd Armoured Brigade had different
1 tasks, and they were working along different axes. Therefore, as to what
2 was going on in the Tactical Group, this wasn't something that I could
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
5 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may. Can we have a
6 foundation for the submission made by my learned friend that members of
7 the Tactical Group, 2P2 -- 252, committed serious war crimes during their
8 time in Kosovo?
9 MR. SACHDEVA: Certainly.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Sachdeva.
11 MR. SACHDEVA: And actually I -- my question was actually not
12 quite like that. My question was of allegations that there was war crimes
13 were committed. It's actually been transcribed wrongly.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: It's close enough.
15 MR. SACHDEVA: In any event, I refer to Exhibit 3D1061. I refer
16 to the evidence of Mr. Vasiljevic. I understand his statement is P2594.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm satisfied you have adequate foundation for that
19 MR. SACHDEVA:
20 Q. General, I'm finding it difficult to understand, and again I
21 appreciate that as of the beginning of April the Tactical Group was no
22 longer under your command, however, within the Pristina Corps command,
23 that you were not aware of serious -- of allegations of serious crimes
24 committed by, if I put it this way, your former subordinates. You must
25 have been aware of that.
1 A. No, because I had no contact with officers belonging to the
2 Tactical Group.
3 Q. Now, you say on this issue, you talk in your statement in
4 paragraphs 48 and 50 at the end about the -- the fact that your soldiers
5 adhered to the norms of international humanitarian law and protected
6 civilians. That's the evidence you've given, isn't it?
7 A. Yes. In paragraph 48, the last sentence.
8 Q. Of course that's not totally correct, is it? In fact -- in fact,
9 members of your brigade did -- did indeed commit or were alleged to have
10 committed war crimes.
11 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may, another
12 objection. Foundation. I haven't seen a foundation for a question like
13 this. It is about the fifth time around that the question has been asked
14 and General Mandic has been providing the same answer five times in a row.
15 I think there is some sort of misunderstanding here.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: So far the question is related to the Tactical
17 Group, and there is evidence of allegations against members of the
18 Tactical Group. There's no doubt about that.
19 This question seems to deal with the brigade itself, the Armoured
20 Brigade members, and the suggestion is that there are allegations against
22 Now, you cannot claim that that's a repetition of an earlier
23 question. However, the issue of foundation may arise.
24 MR. SACHDEVA: There is -- in my submission there is foundation,
25 and I'm getting to it.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, please continue. We accept your assurance.
2 MR. SACHDEVA: For the benefit of the Defence and the Court it's
4 Q. General Mandic, I don't know if you answered the question. Do you
5 remember the question? My question was that despite what you say, members
6 of your brigade in Kosovo were alleged to have committed serious war
7 crimes. Isn't that right?
8 A. Members of the 252nd Armoured Brigade committed no crimes.
9 Q. Well, are you aware that there were allegations, reports that they
10 had committed crimes?
11 A. I didn't have that kind of information.
12 Q. Isn't that information that you would have received, members of
13 your brigade being alleged to have committed war crimes?
14 A. If members of the brigade had committed war crimes, and I'm
15 talking about 252nd Armoured Brigade, not the Tactical Group, I would have
16 learned through my organs from the brigade command.
17 Q. So if -- if the brigade -- if, for example, the corps command had
18 information that members of your brigade had committed crimes, you would
19 have been informed of that, wouldn't you?
20 A. If something like that happened, the corps command would probably
21 use the regular reporting system to inform everyone. I had no such
23 Q. And you don't -- you don't recall a time during your deployment in
24 Kosovo where military security, for example, from the corps command, from
25 the Pristina Corps command, or General Lazarevic himself ever questioning
1 you about possible war crimes committed by your subordinates?
2 A. I didn't have this sort of information.
3 Q. Perhaps -- I'm going to show you a document, and perhaps it may
4 refresh your memory.
5 MR. SACHDEVA: If I could ask for 3D1059 to be brought up, please.
6 Q. General, what we have here is a document from the 3rd Army
7 security department, and you'll see that it's been sent to the Pristina
8 Corps command, and I'll give you some time to read through; but it is
9 essentially a report on two soldiers from your brigade, the 252nd Armoured
10 Brigade, and I'm reading: "Having murdered with premeditation two
11 civilians for gain namely Ismailj Bekeri and Hidajet Cena in Orahovac
12 municipality, the municipality where, as you know, you were deployed.
13 Does this refresh your memory?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Do these names, the names of these soldiers, do they -- are they
16 familiar to you at all?
17 A. No.
18 Q. You would agree that this is -- given the fact that it's come from
19 the 3rd Army command and it's been sent to the Pristina Corps command, you
20 would agree that in terms of an investigation that you should have been
21 questioned at least. Would you agree with that?
22 A. I've never seen this before. As for the procedure in situations
23 such as these, I'm really not familiar with it.
24 Q. General, you were a brigade commander in Kosovo. You're a
25 general. If anybody is familiar or should be familiar with these
1 procedures, it should, I suggest, be you, and are you coming here to this
2 court and saying that you're not aware that members of your brigade were
3 alleged to have committed crimes and none of this means anything to you?
4 This is nothing that you know about?
5 A. What I can say is this: I knew nothing about this, because in my
6 brigade my security organs, battalion level, at the brigade command, and
7 as far as I can see, I didn't know about this.
8 Q. You see the problem with this, don't you, General, that you have
9 stated in your evidence, in your statement, that your soldiers and your
10 unit adhered to international humanitarian law and obeyed orders in
11 compliance with -- with the rules of international war -- law, and this
12 report calls into question your evidence, doesn't it?
13 A. I can't comment on this report.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Cepic.
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm afraid this document
17 has not been sufficiently clarified, because there is talk here of
18 allegations and --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: You will be able to deal with this in
21 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: The last question was argumentative, Mr. Sachdeva.
23 Let's keep to the evidence.
24 MR. SACHDEVA: Yes, Mr. President.
25 Q. Let me ask you this then: You -- upon seeing this document, you
1 must accept that members of your brigade -- I withdraw that question.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you recognise any of the names on the document,
3 including the witnesses?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Were you familiar with many of the names of the
6 people in your brigade?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but more the active-duty
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
10 Mr. Sachdeva.
11 MR. SACHDEVA:
12 Q. Incidentally, General, when -- when you were involved in -- in
13 combat activity in Orahovac, for example, and you were engaged with
14 members of the police, the MUP, if it came to your attention that members
15 of the MUP had committed crimes against civilians, I take it that it would
16 have been your duty to report that to your superiors; is that right?
17 A. If I had found out that violations of international law of war had
18 occurred, I probably would have informed my superiors.
19 Q. And let me just make that clear. If you had -- or you or your
20 fellow soldiers in the command of the brigade had learned of crimes
21 committed by the MUP in these joint operations, combined operations, you
22 would have reported that to your superiors. That's what you're saying,
23 isn't it?
24 A. Yes. If I had personally witnessed this, I would have reported
1 Q. And that's because in the area of combat in which your brigade was
2 deployed, you as a member of the VJ had a legal duty to report that. Is
3 that right?
4 A. Well, if that kind of information is obtained, it's only to be
5 expected that this information should be passed along the military chain
6 of command.
7 Q. And by the same token, if members of the VJ had learnt of crimes
8 committed by the MUP and had not reported this information up to their
9 superiors, that would have been illegal. That would have been a violation
10 of military duty. Isn't that right?
11 A. Probably.
12 Q. You said that -- you say in your statement that members of the
13 General Staff and the Supreme Staff and the Pristina Corps command visited
14 your units during the time of your deployment. I think it was twice in
15 May 1999. Is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And who from the Supreme Command Staff and the Pristina Corps came
18 to visit your units?
19 A. General Slobodan Kovacevic, chief of the armoured and mechanised
20 units branch administration of the land forces staff of the VJ with a team
21 of officers from the Pristina Corps. I think this occurred on or about
22 the 10th of May. And in the second half of May, General Banjac came with
23 an assistant.
24 Q. The officers of the Pristina Corps, do you remember who they were?
25 A. Colonel Zivinovic [phoen], Colonel Simic, Colonel Radovic, and I
1 can't remember who else.
2 Q. Now, in paragraph 27 of your statement you have given evidence
3 about the -- the term "Joint Command," and you say in your statement that
4 when you first received the document with the heading "Joint Command" you
5 demanded an explanation from the corps command. Do you recall that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And I want to ask you why. Why was it that you demanded an
9 A. Well, the simple reason was I was only aware of the corps command,
10 and then there was this document where the Joint Command appeared.
11 Command implies personal responsibility, and this term "Joint Command"
12 somehow didn't tally with my own knowledge of command. So I wanted to
13 know why Joint Command, because that term did not tally with my notion of
14 responsibility in relation to any tasks issued. When you say joint, that
15 means there is a group of people performing a certain task. If you have a
16 joint body, how can that body be made responsible for anything? There are
17 no regulations governing that kind of situation in the army.
18 Q. And who did you speak to in the Pristina Corps command about
19 clarification of this term?
20 A. Well, apart from the commander, I did not know any other officers
21 from the Pristina Corps command. However, I knew the Chief of Operations
22 and affairs the then-Colonel Stefanovic, Radojko quite well.
23 Q. And were you told why the term was indeed put on this document and
25 A. Well, he explained that this was a term used whenever military
1 units were lending support to MUP units. This was a phrase, he said. And
2 there was no Joint Command that existed, because you can't put an answer
3 to someone who is a Joint Commander. And the only command for me in every
4 sense was the Pristina Corps command.
5 Q. General, you -- you surely could -- surely you accept the
6 possibility that when, as you know, there were operations involving both
7 the MUP and the VJ that the presence of a -- of a body that was tasked in
8 controlling and commanding those operations could exist. You agree with
9 that? That's possible, isn't it?
10 A. As far as the operations performed by my units were concerned,
11 this body would have been too unwieldy, because all the operations,
12 individual cases of combat, were performed at a much lower level and the
13 involvement of the forces was very small.
14 Q. That's understood, but what I'm asking is that it's quite feasible
15 that you would have operations on the ground, reports of those operations
16 would be sent to the Pristina Corps commander, and from then on such
17 reports could be sent to a Joint Command body. That's possible, isn't it?
18 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I would like to hear a reference for
19 that. Whoever said that?
20 JUDGE BONOMY: No one. This is being put as a hypothetical
21 situation since --
22 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Well, let him say so then. This is a
23 hypothesis. This is purely hypothetical. The witness should be told
24 because this might mislead the witness and lead him to believe that
25 actually there has been evidence to that effect. Just to clarify that.
1 Thank you.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it's clear to him now from your intervention,
3 but also the question was put on the basis "it's quite feasible that you
4 would have operations on the ground." So that's the basis on which it's
5 being put.
6 Now, what's your answer to that?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My answer is that to all practical
8 intents I have no answer. I knew as far as the Pristina Corps command and
9 nothing beyond that level.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: The point that's being put to you, though, is that
11 you've dismissed the idea of a Joint Command because you say it's not
12 feasible. You say -- you asked the question "How can a body be
13 responsible for anything?" And it's being suggested to you that reporting
14 could be done to a Joint Command body, and it could equally issue
16 Now, why do you say that's not possible?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in order for a command to
18 exist, it must be organised in some way, and it must have an
19 establishment. At the head of that command there must be a person who is
21 JUDGE BONOMY: That's a different point. I understand that
22 entirely. But you're saying you just can't have a body that consists of a
23 number of people which receives reports and issues directions. Now, why
24 is that not possible? If it has its staff, why could it not be done that
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've never seen that body. I was
2 never aware of the existence of that body with the exception of --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: That's another matter as well. But you're
4 dismissing the possibility that any such body could ever exist. Have you
5 heard of the Supreme Defence Council?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Is it a body?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Is it able to issue directions?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Is it able to receive reports?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Sachdeva.
14 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, it's time to --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: You've exhausted your time, I suspect, have you
16 not? I thought you were going to finish tonight.
17 MR. SACHDEVA: Mr. President, I would thus have to seek leave to
18 continue some more tomorrow.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, on what issues?
20 MR. SACHDEVA: More on this issue. I need to get back to the
21 Tactical Group. I also want to discuss more on the cooperation with the
22 MUP and one or two other minor points.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: We doubt very much if further exploration of this
25 particular area is going to be productive for us. You give the impression
1 that you need a considerable amount of time. We will allow you a further
2 15 minutes tomorrow, and that leaves you this evening to decide how to
3 focus that 15 minutes. We ourselves have certain questions for the
4 witness that will have to be dealt with also, and that would be allowing
5 you more than probably something like 25 or 30 per cent more than would
6 normally be appropriate.
7 MR. SACHDEVA: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mandic, we have to terminate the proceedings
9 for today at this stage, but there are still more questions for you to
10 answer and they will be tomorrow. They will be in a different courtroom,
11 Courtroom number I, and that will be at 9.00 tomorrow morning. Between
12 now and then it's vital that you should have no communication whatsoever
13 with any other person about the evidence in this case, and that's
14 particularly important for you, because you're in the midst of a
15 cross-examination. You can talk to people about whatever you wish, but
16 you must discuss with no one any aspect of any of the evidence in this
18 Could you please now leave the courtroom with the usher, and we'll
19 see you again at 9.00 tomorrow morning.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.07 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 24th day
24 of January, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.