1 Thursday, 31 January 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, everyone. We are a bit late
6 because the other case overran a little. We'll maybe buy five minutes at
7 the end of the day, but let's see where we stand at that stage.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE BONOMY: We are getting close to the end of your evidence,
10 Mr. Vukovic. Please remember that the solemn declaration to speak the
11 truth continues to apply today and your cross-examination by Mr. Hannis
12 will now continue.
13 Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 WITNESS: VLATKO VUKOVIC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis: [Continued]
18 Q. Colonel, the first thing I wanted to ask you about is a document
19 from your battalion which is a log-book of outgoing telegrams and this is
20 Exhibit P2010. And you were asked about this when you testified in the
21 Milosevic case; at page 46038 Mr. Nice pointed out to you that that
22 outgoing telegram book has a single entry for the 19th of February, 1999,
23 and then there are no further entries until the 20th of April. And he
24 asked you where were the missing documents. Your answer at the bottom of
25 that page was:
1 "You can notice that there are some pages missing. I've already
2 said that my office at the barracks was directly hit and that most of or
3 the largest portion of the documents for 1998 were destroyed. As a result
4 of those NATO strikes that a large number of documents were destroyed.
5 Truth to tell, I'm surprised that this has remained."
6 Is it still your position and your explanation for those missing
7 pages in your outgoing telegram log that they were destroyed by the
9 A. It's not a telegram log that we're talking about. It's probably a
10 different kind of document. As far as I remember, this register, telegram
11 log, was an internal one, the one that I had, because a combined log was
12 kept by the brigade, it was preserved and filed away. I'm trying to
13 remember exactly what Mr. Nice asked me at the time, and I think it was in
14 reference to combat reports -- operations reports actually and there were
15 internal notes --
16 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ... shown one
17 because otherwise we're going to have 15 minutes of an explanation.
18 MR. HANNIS: Yes, if we could go to the next page in both the
19 English and the B/C/S. We'll have a rotate 90 degrees.
20 Q. This is the first entry in that outgoing telegram log, it's from
21 the 19th of February. Seeing that document, does that help you understand
22 what I'm asking you about?
23 A. Yes, I understand now.
24 MR. HANNIS: And if we could go one more page.
25 Q. You'll see the next entry in the log is for the 20th of April.
1 Mr. Nice asked you about the missing pages, and your explanation was as I
2 said, you suggested that it was because of the NATO strikes and that
3 documents were destroyed. Is that still your explanation for why there
4 are no telegrams in this log between 19 February 1999 and 20 April?
5 A. I think your understanding of my answer is entirely erroneous, the
6 answer that I provided to Mr. Nice at the time. I said that as a result
7 of the air-strikes the majority of the documents had been destroyed, but
8 this is not a log, this is not a combat document. This is a notebook that
9 was kept internally at my signal centre --
10 Q. Let me stop you there. That was your answer when you testified
11 under oath in Milosevic. My question is: Is that still your answer or do
12 you want to change it and tell us that you were mistaken when you gave
13 that answer in Milosevic?
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
15 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have an accurate quote
16 from the Milosevic trial. My impression is the witness is persistently
17 trying to explain but Mr. Hannis will not grant him a chance to do that.
18 Thank you.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis quoted word for word as I understand it
20 from page 46038. Are you saying that that's inaccurate?
21 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I don't have that page
22 in front of me. I'm listening to the answers, I'm listening to the
23 questions, and I feel there's some sort of a discrepancy at work here
24 or -- of course it might always be an interpretation problem.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: It doesn't seem to be either. The quotation was
1 word for word, so please proceed, Mr. Hannis.
2 MR. HANNIS:
3 Q. Do you need me to read your answer from Milosevic again or do you
4 recall what I read?
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila, what is it?
6 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I'd just like to make myself useful.
7 Perhaps Mr. Nice's question should be read out as well not just the
8 answer, and then perhaps we'll be in the picture, as it were. Thank you.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: If Mr. Cepic wants to add to what happens here, he
10 can do it in re-examination. There's nothing wrong with the approach
11 Mr. Hannis is taking.
12 Please continue, Mr. Hannis.
13 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I hope all this is not coming out of my
14 15 minutes.
15 Q. Can you tell me whether you need me to read your answer again?
16 A. Well, I abide fully by the answer that I provided at the time;
17 however, I talked with Mr. Nice about the insufficiencies of this document
18 for at least 20 minutes. I think, to the extent that I can now remember,
19 he asked a minimum of ten questions about this very document. Your quote,
20 I don't know what the specific question was for that quote, and if I may
21 just be given a chance to explain.
22 Q. Now --
23 A. Somebody here appears to be thinking that --
24 Q. Now --
25 A. Not everything was copied here, but then again I have to say that
1 this was an internal document --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Vukovic, this document has an entry on the 19th
3 of February and the next entry is not until the 20th of April. It's
4 described as a log-book of outgoing telegrams. Why is there nothing in it
5 between the 19th of February and the 20th of April?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, one of the explanations is
7 precisely this: Some of the documents were destroyed.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
9 MR. HANNIS:
10 Q. It's your testimony that the missing pages between the 19th of
11 February and the 20th of April were destroyed in the NATO bombing but the
12 other pages were left intact; is that what you're telling us?
13 A. Well, there's no -- but please again you're twisting my words --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ... unless it's
15 something to do with interpretation or something, but I get the impression
16 that there's an effort being made here to spoil the cross-examination,
17 which seems perfectly legitimate on the basis of the material being used,
18 and this is the fourth intervention in this cross-examination in about
19 five minutes of time.
20 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] If I may, Your Honour, just, just the
21 interpretation. Mr. Hannis is reading this log-book and the Serbian
22 translation should be a notebook, whereas it's being translated as a log
23 or register, that's the interpretation that I'm receiving in the B/C/S and
24 that is one thing that I was trying to draw your attention to, no more
25 than that. Thank you.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: It's also what is said in the written document
2 itself, to which no one has so far taken exception.
3 So please continue, Mr. Hannis.
4 MR. HANNIS: All right.
5 Q. Let me address that. I'm going to go to page 46038, I'll start
6 with your answer at line 15: "There were many log-books of incoming and
7 outgoing telegrams. They were kept in 1998 as well."
8 So you're the one using the term "log-books."
9 Mr. Nice's question at line 17 was: "Where's the one that covers
10 the period the 25th of March and until the beginning of April because all
11 we have for outgoing -- I beg your pardon, for incoming is something that
12 starts on the 26th of April, and all we have for outgoing is a single
13 entry for the 19th of February and then entries for the 20th of April. So
14 where are the ones that cover the period in which we are particularly
15 interested, the 25th of March to the end of March, where are they?"
16 Your answer: "Well, had you let me finish I would have told you
17 that too. If you look you can notice that there is some pages missing,
18 and I've already said that my office at the barracks was directly hit and
19 that most of -- or the largest portion of the documents for 1998 were
20 destroyed. The command post was hit with a direct hit three times, and
21 among other things it was during that action, NATO strikes to be precise,
22 it was during that, as a result of those NATO strikes, that a large number
23 of documents were destroyed."
24 Mr. Nice says: "Finally" --
25 And you say: "To tell you the truth to tell, I'm surprised that
1 this has remained."
2 Now, that was your answer and you told me earlier that you stick
3 by that answer, right? That's still your answer today about why those
4 pages are missing? Can you say yes or no to that?
5 A. Yes. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. Major Mancic, was he in your -- under your command?
7 A. No. Major Mancic was not under my command.
8 Q. Okay. You know about his prosecution for crimes -- for war crimes
9 against civilians?
10 A. I know that he was prosecuted. I know that he was convicted for
11 war crimes.
12 Q. And you testified in some of those proceedings, didn't you?
13 A. There was just that once before the Nis military court, and the
14 other time was before the district court in Nis.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. In 1998 do you recall what the radio code-name
16 or call-sign that you used for your 2nd Battalion or for Battle Group 2,
17 was it Koritnik?
18 A. Well, you see, the communications work-plan contained all the
19 call-signs for all participants, but this changed very often.
20 Q. Do you remember --
21 A. Koritnik, I can't remember. I used to be Vihor for a time. Most
22 frequently we were, when I say "we," I mean members of the 549th Motorised
23 Brigade --
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. Poljanica, but we did have another number, so it's possible yes.
1 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I'd like to go into private session for
2 a couple of questions, if I may.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, we shall go into private session.
4 [Private session].
12 [Open session]
13 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
14 MR. HANNIS: Oh. Sorry, Mr. Haider.
15 Q. The first thing I wanted to ask you about was your conviction that
16 Mr. Cepic asked you about when you first started testifying. Do you
17 recall that?
18 A. Yes, I recall that question.
19 Q. And before you came into court that day, that evening, to begin
20 testifying in this case, did anyone tell you that your conviction had been
21 mentioned or discussed in open court with the earlier witness?
22 A. No one's ever told me that.
23 Q. Okay. So you weren't surprised when it first was brought up?
24 A. To be honest, yes, I was, because this is not something that I had
25 previous discussed, at least as far as I remember, with Counsel Cepic.
1 Anyway, it's been over three or four years since I was convicted. It
2 should have been expunged a long time ago, but this never materialized.
3 That's why I never mentioned that because I believe that --
4 Q. Okay. Could we look at Exhibit P3083.
5 Colonel, I tell you this is your personnel file that we received
6 pursuant to a request, and I think it's at page 97 of the B/C/S, but I
7 think maybe it will be easiest if I have the usher assist me in handing
8 you a hard copy of the pages I'm most interested in. This is a document
9 from the military court in Nis dated the 21st of November, 2003, and it's
10 the judgement in your case. Do you recognise that? Did you ever see it
12 A. Yes, that's it, that's the conviction. Let me just see if it's
13 there in its entirety. This was delivered to me at my home address
14 because I had already retired by this time.
15 Q. Okay. When you were asked about this at page 21329, beginning at
16 line 18, in part of your answer you said that: "Now, as to how a criminal
17 complaint came to be written, I don't know. I have no information
18 concerning that."
19 You didn't mean to say that you didn't understand what you were
20 accused of; you understood that, didn't you?
21 A. Of course I understood that.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. I understood what I was accused of. I just don't know how this
24 first started.
25 Q. Okay. If you could go to page 2 of the B/C/S and it's also on
1 page 2 of the English. I'll read a portion of that, Colonel. It says:
2 "The accused, Vlatko Vukovic, as an official, commander of a
3 battalion on undetermined day in February 2000 incited Radisa Vukadinovic
4 to originate a false official document and use it as true by ordering
5 Vukadinovic after he complained he had a deficit of 300 litres of diesel
6 fuel to enter false data in the vehicle log sheets for the vehicles from
7 this unit showing that the said had consumed around 30 litres of fuel
8 each, thus justifying a deficit, and Vukadinovic did that."
9 That's what happened, isn't it? You admitted that, right?
10 A. That's what the indictment says; however, one must read the
11 statement of reasons for this to become clear, the accusations as well as
12 the eventual conviction.
13 Q. I'm going to that. If you could go to page 3 in the B/C/S, and in
14 the English it begins at the bottom of page 3. Let me read this and ask
15 you another question.
16 "Speaking their mind at the hearing about the indictment, both
17 accused confessed. Vukovic pointed out that it was a clear case of
18 discrepancy between the bookkeeping records and actual status of the
19 received and consumed fuel in the unit at the time he was
20 Commander-in-Chief. Otherwise, he's not questioning his behaviour
21 described in this judgement."
22 We're on to page 4 of the English now.
23 "Confessing that he ordered the accused Vukadinovic, his
24 subordinate, and the clerk in the unit to adjust this discrepancy and
25 virtual dissipation by entering the subject amount of fuel into the
1 vehicle log sheet for few vehicles."
2 That's correct, isn't it? You admitted that you did do that, yes
3 or no?
4 MR. IVETIC: He has to wait for the translation, I'm afraid.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you talked about this but you
6 didn't actually read it. But for the most part it's what I told the
7 judge, the trial judge. And this sentence clearly states that.
8 MR. HANNIS:
9 Q. Okay. And if you could go to the bottom of your page 3 and in
10 English I'm reading from about six lines down on page 5. Colonel, you'll
11 see a couple lines up from the bottom of page 3 in B/C/S:
12 "Therefore, the accused were undoubtedly aware of their doing and
13 they did what they did on purpose. First the accused Vukovic being the
14 commander knows, regardless of his assertion that such a practice existed
15 elsewhere, that the subordinates must not be incited to commit a crime,
16 that is, to concoct false documents" --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Can you please move the B/C/S. Thank you.
18 MR. HANNIS: -- "or to enter untrue information into existing
19 official documents."
20 That's right, isn't it?
21 A. Are you asking me that, whether it's correct or not or are you
22 making a statement? I didn't understand. What is your question,
24 Q. Well, that's what it says. Do you disagree that you were aware
25 what you were doing and that you did it on purpose?
1 A. Well, I knew full well what was going on in my unit. However, my
2 superior commander knew it full well too and he ordered me to do that. I
3 can tell you the story once again, the one that I told the judge, but I'm
4 afraid that it's a bit lengthy.
5 Q. Yes, maybe your --
6 A. It is only natural, sir, for you to understand why I did this,
7 1.800 soldiers needed to take a bath after three month --
8 Q. That's --
9 A. -- of war. I did not have--
10 Q. Stop. You've answered my question. Mr. Cepic can follow-up if he
11 wants to. You answered my question. Now, the point of this is you have
12 said in this case that K89, a protected witness, is a liar; that K90, a
13 protected witness, is a liar; that Merita Deda and Lizane Malaj from
14 Korenica are liars; and in the Milosevic case you called Mr. Nice a liar
15 at page 46133. And my suggestion to you, sir, is that you're the liar --
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Please. Please.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the objection, Mr. Cepic?
18 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I did not hear this witness say that
19 Merita Deda and other witnesses are liars. I did not hear him use those
20 words. I think that these are grave statements, insults, and the response
21 to Nice and the mode of communication in the Milosevic trial, that's a
22 different story altogether and the questions that were put by Mr. Nice,
23 the standard of trial in the Milosevic case. Of course I'm not authorised
24 to comment on that. Thank you.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: What were you going to say about the standard of
1 trial in the Milosevic case?
2 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Well, their way in which the
3 Prosecutor, Mr. Nice, examined some Defence witnesses, cross-examined
4 them, and the words that were addressed to them. That is the only thing
5 that I wanted to point out, thank you, not the way in which the
6 proceedings were conducted, but I was speaking in terms of the way in
7 which counsel for the Prosecution addressed witnesses.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: If the Bench had been unhappy about that, the Bench
9 would have taken action about it, Mr. Cepic, so your criticism is of the
10 Bench and that may be something that you are entitled to express if it
11 leads to any particular conclusion. Now, we're only interested at this
12 stage in one thing that was said by Mr. Nice, so what is your point in
13 relation to the question that Mr. Hannis is asking rather than your
14 widespread criticism of the Milosevic trial?
15 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is not criticism of
16 what the Trial Chamber did, not at all. As a matter of fact, I have full
17 respect, great respect, of everything that the Trial Chamber did.
18 However, as a professional I have certain objections vis-a-vis some of the
19 cross-examinations conducted by counsel for the Prosecution, Mr. Nice, in
20 the proceedings --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm not asking you to repeat your general criticism
22 of Mr. Nice or the proceedings. I am asking you: What is your objection
23 to the point that Mr. Hannis is making about Mr. Nice's question in the
24 trial? That's all. The rest of it we can live with, cope with, debate
25 forever, and it will not make any difference to my approach to this that
1 you appear to be critical of the part played by the Bench in the Milosevic
2 trial; it's irrelevant to this case. But your particular criticism of
3 what Mr. Nice is quoted as saying on that occasion is what I'm concerned
4 about. What is your criticism?
5 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, these words that the
6 Prosecutor used when speaking to the witness, saying that everybody was
7 lying, I think that such words and such terms were not used.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, I am at the moment, unless you can show
9 me a quotation to the contrary or a misrepresentation, am prepared to
10 accept what Mr. Hannis has said, that Mr. Vukovic in the Milosevic trial
11 called Geoffrey Nice a liar. Now, what is your objection to the fact that
12 he's putting that to the witness in the context of this trial?
13 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, Your
14 Honour - and of course there is the transcript, so if I'm making a
15 mistake, it's my mistake and I apologise for it - I think that previously
16 during the course of this testimony Prosecutor Geoffrey Nice called the
17 witness a liar.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: That may be so. What's wrong with that in the
19 system we're operating? I appreciate that in your own jurisdiction that
20 may not be an appropriate way of proceeding, but you know very well that
21 it's an acceptable way of proceeding here. I have my reservations about
22 it too, but there's no basis for objecting because people use these
23 expressions. They're simply putting their case and inviting the person to
24 whom the point is made to comment, giving him an opportunity to answer the
25 allegation in fairness to him. Now, what's happened here effectively is
1 that there is no point in Mr. Hannis proceeding with that question. The
2 witness -- we couldn't now have any regard to any answer the witness
3 gives. He's going to have to think about whether he wants to formulate
4 another question, but you should be very cautious about intervening in the
5 way in which you have without, I would suggest, solid foundation in
6 respect of any part of it. I quite concede that Mr. Vukovic has not said
7 that Merita Deda was a liar. All that Mr. Hannis is saying the effect of
8 his evidence is to suggest that she must be lying, and that's all that is
9 being put to him, and he had or would have had every opportunity of
10 dealing with that.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there anything else you want to say on this,
13 Mr. Cepic?
14 MR. CEPIC: No, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Hannis, do you want to ask a different question to --
17 MR. HANNIS: No, Your Honour, but I would like to put in some
18 additional information about what's in the transcript on this, if I may.
19 In the Milosevic transcript about what transpired because I think it
20 pertains to some of the complaint that was made by the --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. Let's hear you.
22 MR. HANNIS:
23 Q. The first reference is at page 46133 and there's been a discussion
24 between you, Colonel, and Mr. Nice about I think the war diary. At line
25 19 Mr. Nice said: "You are a liar, Mr. Vukovic, and this book reveals it,
1 doesn't it?"
2 Your answer, line 20: "No, you're a liar, Mr. Nice."
3 And then on the next page at line 2 Judge Robinson admonished you
4 and said line 2:
5 "It's not permissible to describe the Prosecutor as a liar. When
6 he says you are a liar he does so on the basis of the evidence and its
7 instructions, but you're not permitted to describe him as a liar. You may
8 say he has wrong information, but don't call him a liar."
9 And this came up again at page 46212 and Mr. Nice suggested that
10 you were coming to court -- that you were implicated in these terrible
11 crimes and that's why you're having to come and lie, and lie again to this
13 At line 11 you said:
14 "This is just not true and you've insulted me again, Mr. Nice, and
15 told me that I'm lying as I've been forbidden to say that you're lying, to
16 tell you that you're lying, then all I'm going to say is you're not
17 telling the truth and telling untruths."
18 MR. HANNIS: That's the background for this, and, Your Honour, my
19 question regarding Mr. Nice and I think Witnesses K89 and K90 is fully
20 supported by what he says in his statement about them. I think he's
21 calling them liars and with regard to Merita Deda and Lizane Malaj when he
22 denies that the crimes happened and the other things that they testified
23 to, I think it's fair to characterize that as calling them liars as
24 well --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: In the end of the day, Mr. Hannis, before this
1 Tribunal is grand-standing and you have an obligation to put your case, I
2 understand that, but it's not going to take us very far --
3 MR. HANNIS: All right. Then let me ask --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: -- to try to ask the same thing again.
5 MR. HANNIS: Let me ask one further question then.
6 Q. Colonel, between you and those other people I named, you're the
7 only one that has any kind of criminal conviction involving false
8 statements, correct? Mr. Nice doesn't and none of those other people I
9 named have ever been convicted in court for some kind of crime involving
10 making any false statements or causing a person to make a false statement,
12 A. Finally I can answer. I hardly ever use the word "liar." Among
13 my people, that is considered to be an exceptional insult --
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
15 A. -- whoever uses that is considered to be --
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
17 A. -- a very uncourteous person.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, the witness will be allowed to answer.
19 Please continue, Mr. Vukovic.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will be very brief.
21 As I said, to say to someone that he or she is a liar or that he or she is
22 lying is considered to be the worst insult among my people. Also, people
23 who use that expression frequently are considered to be rather uncouth.
24 Secondly, the assertions quoted by the honourable Prosecutor are correct,
25 that I responded to an insult by an insult when I was reprimanded by
1 Judge Robinson, as far as I can remember, it became clear to me that one
2 was not allowed to do that in a court.
3 Further on, I did not make false statements at my trial as I'm
4 being told here by the Prosecutor. The Judge here says that I admitted to
5 what I had done, that is to say that I did not admit to being a liar.
6 Now, sir, since you called me a liar and I'm not allowed to call
7 you one, I'm just going to say that what you said is not correct. And
8 actually you know what I think.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: I think I've already made it clear how the Bench
10 here view this particular difficulty, which is one of legal culture, and
11 we will have regard to that difference obviously when we assess what is to
12 be drawn from these exchanges.
13 Questioned by the Court:
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Vukovic, could you tell us, please, who was the
15 commander that you say ordered you to do this?
16 A. It was then-Colonel Stojiljkovic, as far as I can remember. Yes,
17 it was Colonel Stojiljkovic then. I made him aware of the problem. This
18 shortage was there for two or three months, and then it was resolved in
19 that way. However, in the judgement it is clearly stated that there was
20 no crime involved in the sense of theft of fuel; rather, the fuel was used
21 for military purposes, military needs, but it was not in accordance with
22 the existing regulations that the documentation was done. If necessary, I
23 can deal with this at greater length. If the entire judgement were to be
24 read out as well as the statement of reasons, the disposition, it would be
25 much clearer. Of course the statements too that I gave before the court
1 that were attached to this judgement, then the matter would be perfectly
2 clear. However, it is totally incorrect that I made false statements
3 before a court of law.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: That's not being suggested to you. What was it
5 that Stojiljkovic told you to do?
6 A. Well, as far as I can remember now, I informed him that there were
7 these buses that the municipality had provided and we took our soldiers on
8 these buses in order to take a bath at the common bathroom at the
9 Lece Mine and that the military fuel that I gave to meet these needs had
10 to be accounted for. He told me that I should divide that up in about ten
11 travel authorisations for establishment vehicles. These were transport
12 trucks. Actually, some of them were over 25 years old. So it is for the
13 sake of safety of the personnel I did not use these trucks. Most of them
14 barely made it from Djakovica to Meda [as interpreted].
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Vukovic, why didn't you tell the judge all this
16 at the court? There's not a word of it in the judgement. I've read every
17 word of this, not a word of it.
18 A. Well, that's exactly what I said at the trial too, but I'm the one
19 who issued the order to enter this incorrect information in the official
20 documentation --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand that, but you told the judge that and
22 you're saying he didn't reflect any of that, which would have been a
23 mitigating factor in the judgement. Is that what you're telling us?
24 A. Well, I can state that with certainty only if you allow me to read
25 the entire judgement, but I think there is some reference to that
1 somewhere, and I think that my commander, after all, was aware of this
2 too. But could I just have a look through the entire judgement because I
3 don't know it off by heart.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you can be sure Mr. Cepic will draw your
5 attention to anything that he thinks contains the explanation that you're
7 Re-examination, Mr. Cepic?
8 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Just before he does that I have one other thing I
10 wanted to ask you.
11 Are you a member of a political party?
12 A. No, sir.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 A. No, sir. I still considered myself to be an officer.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Cepic.
17 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 [Defence counsel confer]
19 Re-examination by Mr. Cepic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, here I go again. Yesterday in response
21 to Mr. Ivetic's questions pertaining to a border post, or rather, the
22 border crossing of Cafa Prusit you gave some answers, and I need some
23 clarifications. Could you tell me what the status of this border crossing
25 A. As far as I can remember, it's an official state border crossing.
1 Q. Thank you. Do you remember perhaps for which categories this was
2 a border crossing?
3 A. Well, I said yesterday that when I came to the area it had been
4 closed. As far as I can remember from my conversations with the commander
5 of the police unit at the border, he told me that it was only pedestrians
6 who were crossing the border there from the beginning of 1998 if I
7 remember correctly, but I don't have any reliable information about this.
8 Q. Why was the road de-mined from Zub to Cafa Prusit?
9 A. It's not the entire road. The entire road had not been mined in
10 the first place, mines had not been laid along it. I think I explained
11 that the other day. There was just this passageway that was made at the
12 border crossing itself through an anti-personnel minefield solely in order
13 to protect the safety of civilians who insisted to leave at this point and
14 go to Albania.
15 Q. Thank you. We heard some testimony here by Prosecution witnesses
16 about them crossing at that particular border crossing post. We heard
17 that assistance was rendered in terms of food and water and that some
18 people were provided transportation on tractors and trucks. Whose units
19 were there in that area?
20 A. It was only units belonging to my unit, and at the border crossing
21 itself there was a smallish unit, perhaps consisting of ten policemen, of
22 the border police.
23 Q. Thank you. Several questions were put to you in relation to the
24 war diary. Is the war diary subjected to some verification by the
25 superior command?
1 A. No. A war diary is kept in every unit and it is not been -- it is
2 not taken for verification to the superior command.
3 Q. Is it sent on to a higher instance?
4 A. No. That is not obligatory and it is not prescribed by the
5 instructions or regulations.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Down to what level of command is it necessary to
8 keep a war diary?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The lowest-ranking level that keeps
10 one is the battalion.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 Mr. Cepic.
13 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. My learned friend Mr. Hannis quoted portions of the war diary in
15 relation to Colonel Kotur, that he had seized some tools from some
16 vehicle. What I want to know is that if Colonel Kotur as an officer was
17 authorised to get that tool-box from that vehicle?
18 A. Of course he was authorised. I recorded that, as you know. I'm
19 not sure why I entered this information into the war diary, of all
20 documents, but just to prevent any misunderstanding. Colonel Kotur didn't
21 take that tool-box for personal use. He passed it along to his driver
22 immediately so that he could fix that military vehicle. The tool-box was
23 under the establishment, not part and parcel of that vehicle. It was
24 redundant, it was surplus.
25 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Well, I'm sorry to intervene. Then why was there
1 a fuss about the tool-box when he was using it to fix his vehicle, he was
2 there a senior person? I mean, you mentioned about it, that he took away
3 tools, and you were cross with him. Why was this fuss?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't make a fuss about the
5 tool-box. I wasn't cross with him about the tool-box. It's because there
6 was this review, the quartermaster's check under the conditions that
7 prevailed at the time. It was difficult to understand. It wasn't about
8 the tools or about the tool-box. Truth to tell, I have no idea why I
9 wrote that down, but as far as I remember the tool-box was surplus to
10 requirements and it was even when it first got there because we had
11 previously stumbled across a vehicle but we couldn't get it from Djakovica
12 because it was out of working order. We had to leave it behind.
13 As for these little details, I really can't tell you right now why
14 I found that to be of importance at the time.
15 MR. CEPIC: Thank you.
16 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you. What sort of an officer was
17 Colonel Kotur?
18 A. It is not appropriate for a senior officer to pronounce
19 assessments on -- for a junior officer to pronounce assessments on a
20 senior officer. In one word he was a highly professional and hard-working
21 officer who went about his job in a very conscientious manner.
22 Q. Mr. Hannis used P95 yesterday and he showed you a photograph which
23 we -- which he claimed was a photograph of Bela Crkva. You said you
24 couldn't be sure, so you requested another photograph with a broader view
25 of the area. I think I could probably help with that.
1 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have P95 and let's try
2 to work with the photograph that can be found at page 11 in e-court.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: It can't be P95, Mr. Cepic, which is a map. Is it
5 MR. HANNIS: Probably P93.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: P93.
7 MR. CEPIC: Maybe it's my mistake. So if I can call P93, page 11.
8 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, perhaps I could help with this and I
9 hope I'm not leading you. I have an impression that this photograph was
10 taken from the north facing in a southerly direction. However, I've never
11 been to Bela Crkva myself, just to be perfectly clear about that. There,
12 there's some sort of a river that we can see on the far end of the
13 photograph. Perhaps you could use that to identify this location.
14 A. Well, I still can't really see that clearly, but if you assume
15 that there's a bridge over that river, at the top of the photograph, and
16 if you assume that all the way at the top of the photograph what we can
17 see is the village of Rogovo, well in that case this might as well be
18 Bela Crkva but I simply can't be positive about it. I crossed a section
19 of that village. I practically skirted the village once during day-time
20 and once during night-time.
21 Q. I want to know about the morning of the 25th, the 25th of March,
22 and you passing through Bela Crkva. Could you please mark the route
23 through the village that you took on that day on this photograph, if you
24 can remember, sir.
25 A. Again, I'm not sure this is the village. I'm trying to find the
1 reference point. The Zrze-Orahovac main road should be around here.
2 Q. Put a number 1 there, please.
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. Thank you.
5 A. And then I took a turn here and this turn-off is just as you enter
6 the village, there's a small bridge, and there's a slope leading up to
7 trig point 460, but I have to point this out again, I'm just not certain
8 that this is Bijela Crkva so this is all an assumption.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have an IC number for
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Needless to say, I took the road,
13 but the drawing that I made is quite poor in fact. I was still driving in
14 a vehicle.
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be IC181, Your Honours.
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may, I don't know
17 what the final explanation was, but I noticed yesterday that the witness
18 was shown a map yesterday that had a note on it in English saying "the
19 massacre site." As far as we've been able to gather, based on the
20 witness's evidence, his position on that is perfectly clear. As far as I
21 know, the witness does not, in fact, speak English; however, those
22 markings on the map might perhaps be misleading at a later stage during
23 the submissions by both parties.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: There's no suggestion that he wrote any words on
25 any of the maps if that's what you're anxious about.
1 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] No, no, no, no, Your Honour. The
2 reason being I got from the Prosecution a map that was exactly the same.
3 Mr. Sachdeva had given it to me. The P number was different but it didn't
4 have those markings on it. I have a hard copy right in front of me. Just
5 for that reason that I'm saying this, just to avoid any confusion, and
6 what I'm saying, I was reluctant to disrupt the examination yesterday.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: The markings are obviously things that will have
8 been artificially put onto the map.
9 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
10 Q. Colonel, what about this action crushing the Siptar terrorist
11 forces in the Retimlje sector? Do you know who furnished the relevant
12 information to the command of the 549th Brigade on the way the MUP forces
13 were deployed?
14 A. I can only assume that colleagues from the MUP did that. In this
15 case, units were involved I think from the Djakovica MUP and the Prizren
16 MUP. There may have been another MUP unit that was involved without me
17 knowing about it.
18 Q. Thank you. Mr. Ivetic asked you a number of questions about that.
19 What I want to know is this: Did you submit any sort of a map to your
20 colleagues from the MUP?
21 A. No, and this cuts both ways: They provided none to me and I
22 provided none to them.
23 Q. You taught tactics, didn't you? Is it -- what is the established
24 practice, do you mark the positions of your neighbours on a map?
25 A. We soldiers use decision we call decision maps and the
1 neighbouring units are always marked, especially those that might in some
2 way affect the execution of one's own unit's task.
3 Q. Do you have any influence over the planning and organization of
4 these neighbouring forces?
5 A. No, no, certainly not.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have EC166 -- IC166.
8 Q. And before it comes up let me ask you this: Were you subjected to
9 any attacks from Albania in the defence sector of your battalion.
10 A. The attacks were practically on a daily basis.
11 Q. Were you subjected to any attacks from behind?
12 A. There were frequent attacks from behind by the Siptar terrorist
13 groups, especially along the left wing of my unit. I know that this was
14 also the case on several occasions with my neighbour, the 2nd Battalion of
15 125th Motorised Brigade.
16 Q. Colonel, we have a map in front of us. What it should be about is
17 the Reka sector south of Djakovica. Could you please draw the defence
18 sector of your battalion on this map?
19 A. I'm afraid it's not possible by using this map. One cannot see
20 the defence sector of my battalion at all. We should move it eastwards so
21 we could see Djakovica. If we do that, it just might be possible.
22 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps Mr. Hannis can assist me with
23 this and give me the P number of that map that he was using yesterday.
24 MR. HANNIS: I believe it was P3084.
25 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we perhaps have that
2 Q. Is this any help, Colonel?
3 A. Yes, this one's much better.
4 Q. Mr. Hannis asked you to make markings on this map. What I want
5 you to do is use a red pen if possible.
6 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Could we please zoom in a little more.
7 [In English] Could we have zoom in, please. One more time, please. Okay.
8 Thank you.
9 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, how about now?
10 A. Well, now we should move it further to the west.
11 Q. Colonel, we don't have that much time.
12 A. Yes, well, I can have a go.
13 Q. Red, please.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: That can't possibly assist because the border's
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. What is this, what you just marked?
18 A. As far as I remember, this is the 2nd Motorised Company. I'm
19 sorry, it's not very neat.
20 Q. This is Cafa Prusit?
21 A. The border crossing.
22 Q. Can you please draw a circle around that?
23 A. Just a circle, all right. Here we find the 2nd Border Company,
24 and then this sector over here, the Goden border post, the general sector
25 I mean, the 3rd Motorised Company. Over here to the east, we can't see it
1 on this map, my 1st Company near Pastrik, Mount Pastrik. There was a tank
2 company over here minus a platoon, as far as I remember, but with a
3 mechanised platoon.
4 Q. Could you use the letter T to mark that.
5 A. A capital?
6 Q. No, small.
7 A. This was my command post. In the Zuba sector there was --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: One speaker at a time,
9 please. Thank you.
10 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Can you please put the letter K, or rather, the letter C next to
12 your command post. Thank you.
13 A. I started using the Latin script just to be clearer.
14 Q. Thank you. Where is the command post itself, its very location?
15 A. I've drawn the rocket platoon there, so it was here, around here,
16 although it was moved at a later time, but when we say --
17 Q. The sector for the entire battalion --
18 A. And then Djakovica outside the line and then as far as
19 Mount Pastrik.
20 Q. Get the blue pen now, please, and mark the terrorist signs --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ...
22 Cross-examination, Mr. Cepic? What's the issue that arose in
23 cross-examination that you're dealing with at the moment?
24 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may, this is about
25 Korenica and Meja, and the OTP spent quite some time on it and the witness
1 was asked to use this map to mark the positions of those units. I think
2 if we draw this, it might explain a number of things for the benefit of
3 the Chamber, at least from where I stand.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
5 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Colonel, blue for the terrorist forces.
7 A. As I said, they would most frequently emerge in these sectors,
8 although this is not the right sector. Along the right wing there is
9 Ljubizda where we were subjected to some attacks from and then from Brnis
10 [phoen] but then this village should be closer to the river and then Beli
11 Drim; it's over here, but we can't see it, from this sector here. In the
12 Rogovo sector they would turn up on a regular basis and they were
13 firing --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, you're going to have to be far more
15 focused if there's an issue here. Korenica is miles away from what you're
16 having drawn at the moment. This is -- I have no idea what the link of
17 these blue marks is to the events at Korenica and Meja.
18 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
19 Q. Colonel, let's just focus on Reka-Korenica-Meja, were you
20 subjected to any attacks from there; and if so, please mark them?
21 A. No, I for one was not subjected to any attacks, but I know that my
22 right-hand neighbour was subjected to attacks from there, they even got as
23 far as Babaj Boks. They crossed the river from the Reka area. They even
24 got as far as Babaj Boks, and they were striking primarily the rear
25 elements of the 2nd Motorised Battalion of the 125th Brigade.
1 Q. Thank you. There's some sort of a MUP check-point that was there
2 near Korenica, right?
3 A. Can I get green for that, please.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: There's only red, black, or blue, Mr. Cepic, like
5 it or not --
6 MR. CEPIC: Black, if it's possible, Your Honour.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, there was an
8 intersection here and I think it was there, but there was a permanent
9 check-point over there.
10 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Thank you. Can you please draw your own blockade line, use a
12 dotted line, sir.
13 A. You want black?
14 Q. No, red.
15 A. Can I have red in that case, please. Dotted line you said?
16 Q. Yeah, yeah.
17 A. I'm not sure how accurate I can make this. Like this, and then,
18 as I said, over here Cabrat, perhaps like this.
19 Q. Mark the blockade line, please.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we know it's the dotted line, unless you're
21 going to have another dotted line, and it includes also the part at Cabrat
22 with which we are familiar.
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. [In English]
24 Could we have an IC number for this document, please?
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
1 THE REGISTRAR: That will be IC182, Your Honours.
2 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Colonel, the President of the Chamber asked you how you addressed
4 those citizens that you were speaking to and whether you used the term of
5 address "Siptar." You answered that you did. What I want to know now is:
6 When you address people do you normally address them by their ethnicity:
7 Hey you, Siptar; hey you, Turk; hey you, Serb.
8 A. Most certainly not. I'm afraid I was misunderstood when I said
9 that. I was speaking to a person I didn't know and when doing that I
10 address them as sir, madam. If it's someone I know, I use their name. I
11 don't know. It was certainly not my intention for my reply to be used for
12 this purpose and for this conclusion to be reached. I have to say this
13 again. When I say "Siptar," I don't imply anything bad.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: We understand that. But you could perhaps help us
15 by telling us in what circumstances you would address them as "Siptar"?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you'll never say -- well, I
17 don't understand what it is you're asking me. I can't approach a group of
18 people and tell them, Hi there, Siptars. You approach them you say, Good
19 afternoon. Those people are scared. There is absolutely no need for you
20 to go scaring them even more, is there. I never approached --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: And why would calling them "Siptars" scare them?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not saying that that would scare
23 them. I'm saying they were already considerably scared, and then the
24 first thing you do when you talk to those people you ask them, How are
25 you? Where are you from? Where you off to? That sort of thing. Why are
1 you on your way there? Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? That would be
2 my answer. I'm not sure how else to phrase this.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
4 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. What was the ethnic make-up of your subordinates, it's related to
6 this so ...
7 A. Well, in my unit all ethnicities and national minorities from the
8 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were represented. As for my officers, I
9 could perhaps name one for you.
10 Q. No, no, no, please don't go naming any of them. I'm just trying
11 to speed things up a little bit.
12 A. Deputy Croat commander of the 1st Company, Bulgarian; commander of
13 the 2nd Company, a Hungarian; commander of the 3rd Company, a Siptar;
14 commander of the mortar company, a Gorani; commander of the anti-tank
15 rocket platoon, a Macedonian by ethnicity. This may have been a simple
16 coincidence in my unit, but I'm telling you what it was like. I am from
17 Montenegro myself, come to think of it, but I don't want to be misleading
18 the Chamber in order for someone to be a Montenegrin he must first be a
20 Q. Colonel, about this judgement --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Just before you get on to that, you don't intend to
22 try to elicit an explanation of the end of the last answer, which I for
23 one don't understand. But if it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.
24 MR. CEPIC: If -- with your leave it is not so important for this
1 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
2 Are you going to finish before we break? Is this your objective?
3 MR. CEPIC: I just have couple questions.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Let's try and do that then.
5 MR. CEPIC: Thank you.
6 [Interpretation] Could we have P3083, please. Page 100 in the
7 B/C/S, please.
8 Q. Paragraph 2, please, could you have a look on the last page, this
9 gives the reasons for the conviction. Could you please read out the
10 first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth line, the sentence starts with
11 the following words: "Bearing in mind ..."
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you going to claim a fault in the translation?
13 MR. CEPIC: No.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, there's no need for it to be read out. We've
15 got it in front of us. Some of us have hard copies. Please proceed to
16 your question.
17 MR. CEPIC: Thank you.
18 Q. [Interpretation] What was this fuel used for, Colonel?
19 A. This fuel was used for the soldiers of my unit to take a bath --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: We know the answer, that it was to use buses to get
21 them to the baths.
22 Let's ask something we don't know.
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 Q. Colonel what were your official marks or grades?
25 A. The first official one was good, later on very good, and all the
1 rest were excellent, including outstanding.
2 Q. Did you receive any decorations while in active duty?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How many times and what for?
5 A. Several times, although I personally recognise only the last order
6 that was bestowed upon me because it was given in wartime.
7 MR. HANNIS: I'm not sure how this arises out of
9 JUDGE BONOMY: It could go to credibility bearing in mind your
10 accusation, Mr. Hannis, then it's clearly a possible --
11 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, many a brave man can be a liar.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Indeed, but many a man could be convicted on the
13 basis of an explanation he gave himself rather than on the basis of
14 misleading a court. So what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
15 Please continue, Mr. Cepic.
16 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Colonel, just very quickly, what was it that this decoration was
18 bestowed on you for?
19 A. For merit in defending the fatherland.
20 Q. Before that?
21 A. Previously the explanation provided was for conscientiously
22 carrying out my military duties.
23 Q. Thank you. And my last question --
24 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Sorry, before you proceed, Mr. Cepic, could I
25 find out when he got decorated for merit in defending the fatherland and
1 also the following one, when it was. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The last decoration which I said
3 that I found dearest to my heart was the month of August or September
4 1999. Earlier on this took place several times. The previous one I got
5 in the military academy sometime in 1993/1994, as far as I can remember.
6 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Cepic.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Was the decoration that you've referred to in
8 August or September 1999 one that was issued to large numbers of the VJ
9 who participated in the war?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot give you a definite answer
11 because I was not the one handing out the decorations, but it is called a
12 decoration for merit in defending the fatherland and it is of the first
13 degree, either the fatherland or the country, please don't take my word
14 for it, but I assume that there weren't very many such decorations.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Cepic.
17 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. And my last question: Colonel, were you ever promoted along the
19 fast track during your career?
20 A. Twice, from major to lieutenant-colonel and from
21 lieutenant-colonel to colonel.
22 Q. Thank you very much, Colonel. That was my last question.
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Cepic.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, this is a question that perhaps you can
2 assist us with, bearing in mind the legal culture issue that we were
3 looking at earlier. Is there a Serb expression that's equivalent
4 to "liar" in English where someone is obviously misleading in an important
5 area, giving untrue evidence in an important matter, what word would you
6 use in Serb to describe such a person?
7 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, one would say one does
8 not speak the truth. From my experience in the judiciary - and I did not
9 appear only before Serbian courts but also in courts in the neighbouring
10 countries - the word "liar" was never used. From the point of view of
11 culture --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: On you go.
13 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] From the point of view of culture, the
14 word "liar" is extremely offensive in ordinary communication, everyday
15 communication; and in judicial practice it is not used.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there a word that liar translates into in Serb?
17 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] "Lazov."
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
19 [Trial Chamber confers].
20 JUDGE BONOMY: So do we take from that, Mr. Cepic, that there's no
21 polite word for a liar that you would use in a formal context, either in
22 the court or some other formal environment?
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I have the impression that my
24 colleague Mr. Fila wants to give an explanation for this.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
1 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the question is of a
2 verbal nature. In our language if you say to someone that he or she lied
3 before a court of law, that has to be read out in your judgement; and then
4 you can speak of false testimony, as in perjury. Until then you can just
5 say to this person, You are not saying the truth, but you cannot tell a
6 person, You're lying. This whole story with Mr. Hannis, who's upset for
7 nothing and we're all upset for nothing and it's all on account of this
8 one single word. In our system you're not allowed to say to anyone that
9 he or she is a liar until you have a judgement from a court of law
10 corroborating that. Until then you say that they do not speak the truth.
11 Now, if you convict me of having spoken falsely before this court
12 of law, then you can call me a liar if there's a judgement saying that,
13 whereas this way I can just say to someone, You're not telling the truth.
14 You never tell the truth, I can even say that, but I can't say you're
15 lying. Now, I don't know what the difference is. I have no idea, but I
16 guess it has to do with sensitivity of a people, of a nation, especially
17 when we're talking about a small people, a small nation. I think that
18 would be the explanation. I'm sorry, I just wanted to help you. That's
19 the whole story, that's it.
20 JUDGE CHOWHAN: So that's the Serbian history of sophisticated
22 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No, we're small and oversensitive.
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just one sentence in
24 addition to what Mr. Fila said. Most of the cases before courts in
25 Belgrade have to do with people charging other people that they were not
1 telling the truth, so it's about libel and things like that.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: I have to say that I hadn't noted in particular
3 that anything had upset Mr. Hannis or anyone else in particular. I
4 thought that we were simply clearing the air.
5 MR. HANNIS: May I inquire, Your Honour, in the future should I
6 then say, You're an unconvicted liar? Would that perhaps work?
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I think you can reflect on how to deal with this
8 should it arise again.
9 Mr. Vukovic, that completes your evidence. Thank you for coming
10 again to the Tribunal to give evidence. I know that you've been anxious
11 to say a lot more than perhaps you feel you've been given an opportunity
12 to say. The way this system operates, as you know from your last visit
13 and this one, is that the counsel on both sides have every opportunity to
14 ask the questions they feel it is appropriate to ask and to give you an
15 opportunity to explain what they think is relevant and what you ought to
16 be given an opportunity to explain. As far as I'm concerned and the rest
17 of the Bench, that is what has happened here. You have been given every
18 opportunity to explain all that the parties considered it was appropriate
19 for you to deal with, so thank you for that. You are now free to leave
20 the courtroom.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE BONOMY: I take it the next witness is Mihajlo Gergar?
24 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Precisely, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: I think he should be in place when we resume at 20
2 --- Recess taken at 4.00 p.m.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- On resuming at 4.22 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Gergar.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
8 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
11 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
13 You'll now be examined by Mr. Cepic on behalf of Mr. Lazarevic.
14 Mr. Cepic.
15 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
16 WITNESS: MIHAJLO GERGAR
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 Examination by Mr. Cepic:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, good afternoon.
20 A. Good afternoon.
21 Q. Did you give a statement to the Defence team of
22 General Vladimir Lazarevic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. For the transcript would you give me your name and surname.
25 A. I am Mihajlo Gergar.
1 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Let us now go back to this statement. If I
2 were to put the same questions to you today that were put at the time when
3 this statement was given, would you give the stadium answers?
4 A. Yes, I would.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have a copy of the
7 statement given to the witness.
8 Q. Colonel, is that the statement?
9 A. Yes, that's the statement.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could it please be
12 admitted into evidence, Gergar Mihajlo's witness statement, number 5D1400.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 Q. Colonel, you have a lot of military experience. I would be
16 interested in the following: Can the population, the unarmed population,
17 be used in the defence of the country?
18 A. Yes, on the basis of the Law on Defence, non-mobilised population
19 during a war situation can be assigned patrol duty, guard duty, or they
20 can be assigned to civil defence units.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have a look at P985,
23 which is the Law on Defence.
24 MR. STAMP: While the document is coming up, if I may, I'm
25 wondering if the record at 42, 11 -- 42, 15, is correct. The question
1 seems -- I don't know if the question in Serbian and what the witness
2 heard in Serbian is what is translated there. Can the unarmed population
3 be used in the defence of the country. I'm just asking.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: I assume the question has been properly translated.
5 No one's suggested otherwise.
6 MR. CEPIC: Correct, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE BONOMY:
8 One thing that's not clear to me is what position Mr. Gergar held
9 during 1999. I don't think that the statement tells us that, does it?
10 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] May I be allowed to explain?
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, please.
12 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Colonel, in 1999, what position were you in?
14 A. In 1999 I was commander of the 211th Armoured Brigade.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see Article 61 on our
19 screens of this particular law. In Serbian it should be the second or
20 third page.
21 Q. Does this legal provision confirm what was stated previously,
23 A. Yes. Article 61 says that in a state of war, and if necessary, in
24 case of an imminent threat of war the local population may organize
25 guards, patrols, and civil defence units to protect the civilian
1 population and property from attacks."
2 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me who takes the decision to set
3 up such units and who commands such units?
4 A. Such units are established in accordance with the decision made by
5 state organs. Such units are commanded by state organs. In certain
6 situations battalion commanders and artillery battalion commanders can
7 issue assignments to such units.
8 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Articles 62 and 63
10 Q. Actually, let's just have a look at this last sentence here. You
11 said state organs on the basis of decisions made by state organs, can you
12 see it spelled out precisely here, can you see it, or can you tell us
13 without looking at the document what state organ establishes such units?
14 A. The Ministry of Defence.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have a look at the next
17 page, Articles 62 and 63.
18 Q. Tell me, we see what is written here. Were such units
19 resubordinated to you or to the Army of Yugoslavia?
20 A. Such units were not resubordinated to me.
21 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Now I would be interested in a theoretical
22 question. If enemy forces, terrorist forces, are fortified in a built-up
23 area, in accordance with the rules of the Army of Yugoslavia, is the use
24 of tanks allowed?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. How is that regulated, Colonel?
2 A. This is regulated in our combat and tactical rules.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I would like to call up 5D1255.
5 Q. While we're waiting for the other page in English, could you
6 please tell us what kind of rule this is.
7 A. This is a rule of infantry mountain alpine company platoon.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see item 253. In
10 B/C/S it is -- in e-court it should be page 47, actually; and in English I
11 think it's the next page.
12 Q. Colonel, item 253 from the mentioned rules, or rather, the last
13 paragraph, does that corroborate what you just said?
14 A. Yes. Item 253 confirms my words.
15 Q. Can you just tell us in the briefest possible terms, you're an
16 experienced tank man, what is the use of these tanks imply, the use of one
17 or two tanks - guns or cannons?
18 A. The combat order of a company for attacking a built-up area
19 involves the establishment or one or two assault groups, and usually along
20 with the pioneers and marksmen there are one or two tanks or cannons that
21 are given to such a unit for support to the subgroup that is to attack.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: There may be something wrong with this translation,
23 Mr. Cepic, but I don't see the bit in English that you're referring to,
24 and I see that different paragraphs have been translated -- or at least
25 different paragraphs appear on the left and on the right.
1 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, by your leave, yes, my
2 colleagues are telling me too that in the Serbian language 253 ends and
3 continues -- and continues on the next page; and we, in order not to
4 translate the entire book, translated only those parts that we thought
5 were relevant for our defence case.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you tell me where in the English in 253 I see
7 the corroboration for the use of tanks against fortifications in built-up
9 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Well, it's like this. If you look at
10 the second paragraph of 253, the use of two tanks, one or two tanks or
11 guns is allowed. Before that it states that a combat group taking bunkers
12 and fortified buildings in the company can set up one to two assault
13 groups for clearing up -- one to two assault groups and one group for the
14 purpose of clearing up. If necessary, perhaps can witness -- perhaps the
15 witness can read this for the sake of --
16 JUDGE BONOMY: No, I see what you're referring to now. It's the
17 translation of the question said it was the last paragraph of 253, but I
18 see where it is now.
19 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Q. Colonel, we've now looked at the rule. Let us move on to a
21 different topic. When was the brigade resubordinated to the corps?
22 A. The brigade itself was resubordinated to the Pristina Corps 29th
23 of March, 1999.
24 Q. Thank you. We looked a while ago at that rule allowing the use of
25 armoured vehicles and tanks. Did you actually do that? Did you use
2 A. No, we did not use tanks to attack any populated areas.
3 Q. Why not?
4 A. We didn't use tanks to attack populated areas primarily in order
5 to avoid inflicting major losses on the population and material goods.
6 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
7 Colonel, the brigade or you as its commander, did you ever issue
8 an order to defend?
9 A. Yes, I issued an order to defend to the brigade.
10 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Can we please on our screens see
11 Defence Exhibit 5D587.
12 Q. Is this the document, sir?
13 A. Yes, this is the order to defend.
14 Q. What is the principal mission of the 211th Brigade in the
15 Malo Kosovo area?
16 A. The principal mission of the 211th Brigade in the Malo Kosovo area
17 was to defend the state territory and to prepare to conduct combat
18 operations against possible landing operations.
19 Q. Why against possible landing operations?
20 A. The area of Malo Kosovo is an area where a landing could easily
21 take place. This is a good area for an enemy to stage a landing.
22 Q. Thank you. Can you just please clarify one thing for me. This is
23 a dilemma that we encountered in a given testimony. Is there any
24 distinction between parachute units and air-borne landing units?
25 A. Yes, there is an important distinction between the two. The
1 parachute units on the one hand and the air-borne landing units on the
2 other. A parachute unit only has small arms. These units use parachutes
3 to land. An air-borne landing unit is something that only major armies in
4 the world have, such as NATO and Russia. Their one salient feature is
5 this: In terms of weaponry these normally have heavy weapons and they use
6 aeroplanes to get to an airport. Small parts of these units may use
7 parachutes as well.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Was the expression not used in a VJ document?
9 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I'm just about to clarify the notion
10 and the distinction between the two in relation to the 63rd Parachute
11 Brigade. That would be my next question. [In English] Thank you.
12 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, the 63rd Parachute Brigade, what sort of
13 brigade was that?
14 A. It was a parachute brigade.
15 Q. Did the VJ have an air-borne landing brigade?
16 A. No, no.
17 Q. What about the 63rd, did it have any armoured vehicles or anything
18 like that?
19 A. No. The 63rd Parachute Brigade had all the distinctive features
20 of a parachute brigade, they only had small arms and light vehicles.
21 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Now we're about to move on to a different
22 topic. Who was your nearest neighbour, speaking of VJ forces, obviously,
23 which brigade?
24 A. My nearest neighbour was the 354th Infantry Brigade.
25 Q. Let's see a document they produced.
1 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] 5D499, please.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Your question, Mr. Cepic?
3 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm afraid there is a
4 mistranslation in this document. Item 3 in the English, it appears that a
5 portion is simply not there, a portion of the Serbian original.
6 Therefore, we could read it out and then we could mark it for
7 retranslation, by your leave.
8 Q. Colonel, it seems that we have a translation problem there.
9 Please, the last paragraph under item 3, it starts with the following
10 words: "In Podujevo municipal territory ..."
11 If you see that, item 3, the last paragraph.
12 A. "In Podujevo municipal territory by 1800 hours about 15.000
13 refugees (returnees) of Albanian ethnicity had arrived who were put up in
14 Ladovac village and Sajkovac village."
15 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] We shall duly be submitted this
16 document for retranslation in order to deal with this error.
17 Q. Colonel, were you aware of this situation?
18 A. Yes, we were neighbouring units and I was aware of this situation.
19 Q. Were some of these villages in or near your own sector, Ladovac,
21 A. Yes, near my sector, Sajkovac.
22 Q. Thank you. Did you put up these refugees? Did you assist them?
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: It's in the statement, Mr. Cepic.
25 MR. CEPIC: That is correct, Your Honour.
1 [Interpretation] There is a document that I would like to see that
2 is not in the statement, 5D615.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you direct us to the paragraph of the statement
4 that deals with this, please. If it's not there then proceed with your
6 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Colonel, I'm afraid the document before us is not the right one.
8 I asked for 5D615.
9 Colonel, do you recognise this document?
10 A. I do. This is a combat report by the command of the 211th
11 Armoured Brigade. The date is the 26th of April, 1999.
12 Q. At item 5.2(B) you talk about the behaviour of the police and you
13 say they seem not to have been clear about the fact that they have been
14 resubordinated to the brigade commander. Why did you state that and what
15 was this about really?
16 A. There had been an order by the Pristina Corps command pursuant to
17 which it was necessary by the 25th of April to have MUP units
18 resubordinated to the Pristina Corps, or rather, to the VJ. Given the
19 fact that this had in fact not been done by the 25th, I believed it was
20 necessary to inform the commander of the Pristina Corps about this. MUP
21 officers got in touch with me to tell me that they had received no such
22 order to be resubordinated to the brigade commander.
23 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Did this resubordination occur later on?
24 A. No, it didn't.
25 Q. Thank you. Just for the sake of time I have one or two more
1 questions left and a document that I will be tendering later on. This is
2 5D1070 --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ...
4 circumstances. You ought to be exercising greater discretion by this
5 stage in -- if you want to present any other witnesses to us.
6 MR. CEPIC: With your leave just last and final question.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
8 MR. CEPIC: Same document, second page I need.
9 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, item 9, requests. We see what it says,
10 a request for humanitarian aid in terms of food primarily. Can you tell
11 me what this is about?
12 A. Yes. Given the fact that food had run out for the Siptar
13 population, I deemed it necessary to inform my superior in order for him
14 to get in touch with the district -- provincial Executive Council to put
15 in an intervention so that assistance might be provided to those people in
16 terms of food supplies.
17 Q. And the last thing, paragraph 21 of your statement you describe
18 that members of your unit assisted a sick Albanian whom they drove to
19 Pristina under difficult conditions, difficult circumstances. What was
20 the name of the medical officer, the doctor, who assisted this person?
21 A. It was a doctor from my own unit, Lazarov.
22 Q. Thank you so much, Colonel.
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Aleksic.
1 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Just a
2 couple of questions.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Aleksic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Colonel.
5 A. Good afternoon.
6 Q. I have several questions for you.
7 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Can we have P626 brought up.
8 Q. Colonel, are you familiar with this document? If you would like
9 that, I have a hard copy to show you.
10 A. No, no, I am familiar with this document. This is a reminder for
11 Yugoslav Army members engaged in areas affected by sabotage and terrorist
12 activities. It was issued by the VJ General Staff.
13 Q. Throughout 1999 were you, your unit, and members of your unit
14 acting in accordance with this reminder?
15 A. This was one of the responsibilities for every member of the 211th
16 Armoured Brigade, a responsibility of being familiar with this reminder
17 for VJ members and another responsibility was to act in compliance with
19 Q. Just in order to save time, let me put it this way. Let's not
20 take this paragraph by paragraph. Would I be right in saying that this
21 reminder contains specific instructions on how to treat captured
22 terrorists, how to treat those sick and wounded, terrorists as well as
23 civilians, how to approach issues regarding property, that sort of thing;
24 am I right?
25 A. Yes, you're entirely right.
1 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
2 I have no further questions.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Aleksic.
4 Mr. Ivetic.
5 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
7 Q. Good afternoon, sir. My name is Dan Ivetic, counsel for
8 Sreten Lukic, and I will also have some questions to put to you today.
9 MR. IVETIC: First of all I would request Exhibit 5D1329 in
10 e-court, and I believe once this comes up, we will see this is the map
11 that was prepared for the legitimate anti-terrorist action Bajgora.
12 Q. There we have it. And, sir, looking at this document, first of
13 all, do you recognise it as a map that either you drew or that you
14 authorised to be drawn insofar as the -- as far as your name is in the
15 bottom right-hand corner of the same?
16 A. Yes. This is a decision map produced by the commander of the
17 211th Armoured Brigade to block, crush, and destroy the Siptar terrorist
18 forces in the Bajgora area or sector.
19 Q. And, sir, when you say it was produced by the commander of the
20 211th Armoured Brigade, did you personally draft this map or did someone
21 else do it at your behest?
22 A. This was done by the command of the 211th Armoured Brigade.
23 Q. Okay. And do you know when precisely this map was drafted?
24 A. This map was drafted sometime in the second half of April 1999.
25 Q. And do you have an explanation for the fact that this map in front
1 of us is not signed?
2 A. I assume that this is the second copy of the original map, and the
3 original map is probably still kept in the archives of the brigade. Could
4 we just lower the map slightly, pull it down.
5 Q. Absolutely.
6 MR. IVETIC: If we could move the map slightly down.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The other way around, please.
8 Right. You see where it says: "I hereby approve, Commander
9 Vladimir Lazarevic," and above that it says: "Keep permanently."
10 MR. IVETIC:
11 Q. Would you expect that the copy number would be filled in on the
12 right-hand side where it says, I believe "prilog" or it -- where it has
13 the space that says [B/C/S spoken] and then it has a space that has not
14 been filled in. If this was the copy for the archives would you expect
15 there to be a notation there?
16 A. There should be one, yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, upon what basis were you able to draw the
18 positions and tasks of the various PJP that are depicted on this map?
19 A. I had received an order from the Pristina Corps commander and a
20 decision map from the Pristina Corps commander with the axes of operations
21 of the PJP drawn in. I copied those axes onto my own map.
22 Q. Okay. And I see on this map from your command the
23 abbreviation "SAJ," what does that mean on this map and where did you get
24 that information from?
25 A. As I said a while ago, I copied the PJP axes from the decision map
1 of the Pristina Corps commander. "SAJ" means special anti-terrorist
3 Q. Okay. I'd like to show you Exhibit P1975, and if I could have the
4 usher's assistance I'd like to hand you a hard copy, since I don't intend
5 to go through every step of this document; but I do want you to have the
6 opportunity to do so if required. And once you receive this document the
7 first question I wanted to ask you: Is this the order that you mentioned
8 that you received from the Pristina Corps's commander along with a
9 decision map?
10 A. Yes, that is the order to crush and destroy Siptar terrorist
11 forces in the Bajgora-Bare area and I received this from the Pristina
12 Corps command.
13 Q. Okay. Now you can feel free to look through the document and in
14 particular the section entitled: "Assignments," but my question for you
15 is: Would you agree with me that this document, the written order for
16 this action, does not explicitly name either the SAJ or the PJP units to
17 be involved in this action?
18 A. No. That was shown on the map and that is why I included that in
19 my decision.
20 Q. Thank you. And am I correct that this action was undertaken by
21 all the units depicted on the map in the manner depicted on the map?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Okay. Now, sir, generally speaking would you agree with me that
24 forces engaged in a line of blockade must maintain either visual line of
25 sight or line of fire coverage with themselves in order to successfully
1 prevent spillover of enemy forces?
2 A. I don't understand what you mean by visual line of sight or by
3 line of fire coverage for that matter.
4 Q. Okay. Let me ask it a different way. Would you agree with me
5 that the distance or separation between units engaged in a blockade has to
6 be such so as to permit them to have visual line of sight with one another
7 or to be able to cover that gap between the forces with fire, if need be,
8 to prevent the spillover of enemy forces?
9 A. I don't understand. Who is it that's supposed to be able to see
10 one another?
11 Q. With -- well, let's return to 5D1329 the map for a second maybe I
12 could short-circuit this by showing on the map what I'm referring to, and
13 if we can look at the bottom section of the map, it's around the area of
14 Vucitrn; but I don't know if it could be visible with this type of map,
15 it's the area of deployment of the 15th Armoured Brigade, as depicted
16 here. You'll bear with me, sir, while we wait for the map to come up.
17 MR. IVETIC: If it can help I could put up a copy on the ELMO
18 since the point I'm making is very -- there we are. Now we have it up.
19 Q. Sir, we see in the area -- in the line of deployment of the 15th
20 Armoured Brigade several sets of -- of red lines indicating the line of
21 blockade. Would you agree with me that the distance between the red lines
22 denoting position of forces had to be such so that they could visually see
23 that area in between and be able to cover it with fire, if need be, if
24 enemy forces tried to pass through that gap? And I'm talking about that
25 area where there's a sizeable gap just above 15 OKBR that exists on this
1 version of the map.
2 A. I think I understand. You mean there should be a line of sight
3 between the two red lines that are marked here and there is some distance
4 between the two. Not necessarily. Not necessarily at all times. They
5 can use signals equipment to communicate, the two units.
6 Q. Okay. Now would you agree with me that in order to successfully
7 blockade and prevent spillover of terrorists or enemy forces, those units
8 would have to see anyone trying to breakthrough that gap and be able to
9 cover that area with fire, if need be?
10 A. Yes, fire and movement.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, having that in mind, does this depiction of the
12 line of blockade comport with that principle and does it comport with your
13 recollections of the position of forces for this action? That is to say:
14 Is the gap here too big?
15 A. I wasn't in the area myself, and I'm not familiar with the area.
16 I know the area that is to the south-east [as interpreted] of these lines,
17 where the 211th Armoured Brigade actually was.
18 Q. Well, sir, do you recall if the map --
19 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, a correction for the
20 transcript. When the witness was explaining about what he knew and what
21 he saw, page 57, line 16, he said north-east not south-east.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MR. IVETIC:
25 Q. Having in mind the question that was raised of whether this is
1 actually the map from the archive or not, do you recall if the map that
2 you drafted had this large gap in the line of blockade, the map that you
3 drafted at the time of the action?
4 A. This is the map. At the outset I said that these lines to the
5 south-west, the lines of the armoured brigade, were crossed out, or
6 rather, were copied from the decision of the Pristina Corps commander
7 because I didn't know exactly where the positions were.
8 Q. Okay. Now if we can move on to another action, 5D1070 is the next
9 exhibit I wish to have you look at. And when this comes up can you first,
10 sir, confirm for me whether, in fact, this is a document originating from
11 your brigade signed by you on the second page, which we could have shown
12 to you if need be.
13 A. Yes, yes. This is a combat report of the 211th Armoured Brigade
14 dated the 25th of May, 1999.
15 Q. Thank you. Now if we could stay on the first page of this
16 document we see section 2.1 of this combat report, and could you for us --
17 I don't know whether we have a translation. Could we have you, for the
18 sake of time, read out the first sentence of 2.1 and tell me if you recall
19 this particular anti-terrorist action. Again, sir, can we have you read
20 it out loud and tell us if you recall this action, as I ought not to be
21 translating the document for the Court.
22 A. "The units of the brigade were focusing on supporting forces of
23 the MUP and the SAJ in crushing and destroying the Siptar terrorist forces
24 in the broader area of the village of Palatna and with part of their
25 forces, they were carrying out a blockade of the Siptar terrorist forces
1 and preventing withdrawals in the territory of Bajgora and Malo Kosovo.
2 The construction of the road between the village of Rekalija and the
3 village of Kodralija, combat control of the territory and taking measures
4 of anti-aircraft -- of air defence and anti-aircraft defence."
5 Should I go on reading?
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... you recall what action this
7 is referring to, what anti-terrorist action this is referring to?
8 A. Yes. Units of the brigade were engaged in crushing and destroying
9 the Siptar terrorist forces in the broader area of the village of Palatna
10 to -- with a smaller part of the forces that were carrying out a blockade
11 and preventing withdrawal of the Siptar terrorist forces from the
12 territory of Bajgora towards Malo Kosovo."
13 Q. And for clarity there's a second sentence. Could you read that
14 aloud for us and let me know whether that, in fact, refers to the same
15 combat action or is it a different combat action?
16 A. "Part of the command organs headed by the commander and the Chief
17 of Staff participate in carrying out combat operations and the rest are
18 engaged in providing assistance to units in the sectors of deployment."
19 Yes. That pertains to that action.
20 Q. Thank you. And lastly on this document if you look at item number
21 4, subsection (A). Can you read for us the subsection (A) and tell us
22 whether, in fact, this is still the same combat action, and then I will
23 move on to another document relating to the same.
24 A. "Positive effect on morale. Properly carried out scientific,
25 technical, and moral psychological preparations for carrying out the task
1 of cleaning up the Siptar terrorist forces in the area of Palatna. Direct
2 command over the action by the commander and the Chief of Staff."
3 Yes, that pertains to that action.
4 Q. Now I would like to refer to Exhibit 6D709 in e-court, and for
5 your purposes if I could again give you a hard copy, it might be easier
6 since it's a multi-page document to move through this quicker since I have
7 very few questions about this document. This appears to be an order of
8 the command of the Pristina Corps dated May 22nd, 1999, strictly
9 confidential 455-253 for crushing and eliminating the STS in the region of
10 Palatna. Can you confirm whether, in fact, this order is for the action
11 that we just saw the last document reporting the undertaking of in the
12 region of Palatna village. And if you need to find the assignments for
13 your brigade, I believe it's section 5.1, the bottom of the second page in
14 Serbian, the top of the third page in English, if that assists you.
15 A. No, these are not the same actions. This action is carried out a
16 month after the one that you showed me a few minutes ago.
17 Q. Sir, how do you account for the date being the 22nd of May of this
18 document and the document we just looked at being the 25th of May? How
19 can there be a -- how can this action be occurring a month after the
20 combat report that's dated three days later?
21 A. The first action was being carried out at the same time when the
22 blockade was being carried out in relation to Bajgora, exception that it
23 went in a different direction. Not all forces were engaged in the
24 blockade. A part of the 2nd Mechanised Battalion was acting towards
25 Palatna simultaneously with the blockade, that is to say towards Bajgora,
1 whereas this is a completely different action a month later.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: So you're saying that the report that we've just
3 seen was a report relating to events a month before it was written?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The report was the 25th of April.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: No, it's the 25th of May, unless it's a misprint.
6 MR. IVETIC: If I could assist, I could hand a hard copy of that
7 document since we can't have two documents up in e-court, I think.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
9 MR. IVETIC: That way we can clear that up. I apologise, my copy
10 is marked with the sections he's just read. I hope that doesn't cause any
11 problems for Mr. Stamp. He's able to look at it, if need be.
12 Q. Looking at the prior document, 5D, I believe it was, 170 [sic],
13 does that refresh your recollection that that document was dated the 25th
14 of May, 1999?
15 JUDGE BONOMY: 1070, yeah.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, this is the 25th of May, 1999.
17 That is to say that this is a report pertaining to the action towards
19 MR. IVETIC:
20 Q. And does this combat report cover the action that is described in
21 Exhibit 6D709 which you also have in front of you, the "zapovest," order,
22 for Palatna -- the region of Palatna I should say?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. Now if we could turn to item number 14 of the "zapovest,"
25 order, 6D709, that's the -- item 14 is on the last page just before the
1 signature, and you will see here it is referenced that the command of the
2 211th Brigade is to lead the planning, organization, and implementation of
3 the combat operations. Would you agree that this was the case in this
5 A. Yes. It pertained to the 211th Armoured Brigade and the 354th
6 Infantry Brigade.
7 Q. And had there been any problems encountered in fulfilling this or
8 any other direct order contained in this document in the implementation of
9 the combat operation that would be reported in your combat report; is that
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. And now while I agree that the VJ and MUP officers each
13 commanded their own contingents during the course of the action, isn't it
14 correct that for this anti-terrorist action your command led, organized,
15 and took charge of the planning and organization for this action?
16 A. I've already said that I was in charge of planning and leading the
17 action of the 211th Armoured Brigade and the 354th Infantry Brigade.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, would you find a suitable place to
20 MR. IVETIC: Yes, Your Honour, I think we should probably do it
21 now since the next paragraph I want to go to would require some time and I
22 could -- if I can find the B/C/S I can cut that down because I think
23 there's a translation issue.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: These matters we've dealt with so far are all
25 matters that were not dealt with in the statement; is that correct?
1 MR. IVETIC: I believe, apart from the -- the part about Bajgora,
2 that might have been mentioned in one of the paragraphs, but I could be
3 mistaken since with the pace we've been working at I had to prepare most
4 of these questions before having this statement -- the final statement to
5 deal with.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Gergar, we require to have a break at this
7 stage. While we have that break could you leave the courtroom, please,
8 with the usher and we will see you again at 6.00.
9 [The witness stands down]
10 --- Recess taken at 5.31 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.
12 [The witness takes the stand]
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
14 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, sir.
15 Q. Thank you again, Colonel Gergar. If I could ask you -- well, I
16 think I can clear up this question that I was asking you with respect to
17 the Palatna action by looking at another action in the Malo Kosovo region
18 that you discuss at paragraph 32 of your written statement. Now, I'm
19 going to have to ask for a certain portion of that paragraph to be
20 written -- to be read into the record, as the official English translation
21 on the face of it gives -- has an imprecise translation exactly on the
22 part that I want to ask. So I'm going to ask once this comes up, sir,
23 you'll see in the middle of paragraph 32 the part -- I guess I better wait
24 for it to come up on the screen otherwise it will be more difficult.
25 That's 5D1400, I believe. It should be approximately page 7 of the
1 English, and in the -- in the B/C/S something just happened --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: It's already on the screen so you could proceed
3 with your question.
4 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
5 Q. Sir, in the middle of paragraph 32 of your statement there is a
6 section that begins: "The action lasted one day and took place in
7 cooperation with MUP forces on 24 March 1999."
8 Are you able to find that section of paragraph 32?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Could you then for the record read for us the remainder of
11 paragraph 32 as it is written in the Serbian.
12 A. I can.
13 "During the action, a group of officers from the command of the
14 Pristina Corps commanded the action from the Laus feature where their
15 command post was located, namely, at the command post of the 354th
16 Brigade. As far as I can recall, it was Colonel Nikolic,
17 Major Djordjevic, and two other officers whose names I cannot remember,
18 and they led the action of the VJ forces while MUP officers commanded
19 their contingents."
20 Q. Now, with respect to this action --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, before you move on let the record reflect
22 that that's exactly the translation which is in the statement.
23 MR. IVETIC: That's correct. In the English translation of the
24 statement, and we have the same word being translated -- we have two
25 different words being translated into the same word in English. I think
1 I'm going to have to address that to CLSS. I don't know how else to --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: What are you talking about, Mr. Ivetic?
3 MR. IVETIC: "Komandovati" and "rukovoditi" is being translated as
4 "commanded" in both instances in the English and in the Serbian.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: What's wrong with that?
6 MR. IVETIC: They are two entirely different terms with different
7 meanings attached. They are very precise terms that have meanings in both
8 the police and in the military terminology, Your Honours; and it makes a
9 difference as to who commanded -- well let me ask the question to the
10 witness because by talking about it this way I might actually --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Where are the words used or where are the different
12 words set out in that passage?
13 MR. IVETIC: In that passage it says that in -- when it talks
14 about the command group from the Pristina Corps "rukovodjenje aksija"
15 [Interpretation] Exercised control over the action. [In English] And then
16 the bottom the last part of it the word "komandovanje" is being translated
17 the same as "rukovodjenje."
18 JUDGE BONOMY: And you want it to be different, do you, because
19 the other meaning that has just been given suggested I would have thought
20 suggested that the VJ had some superior position, whereas the translation
21 as it is makes it clear that the VJ and MUP forces were separately
22 commanded. Now, do you want it to be different from that?
23 MR. IVETIC: I want it to be what the document is, Your Honour. I
24 don't want it to be anything apart from what the document says and does in
25 the Serbian language.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: So you want instead of commanded the action from
2 the Laus feature were in control of the action. That's what you want.
3 MR. IVETIC: Manage would be better or led, I think is the -- is
4 the -- except the term for "rukovodjenje" that we had even just prior to
5 the break in one of the other answers by the witness use the term
6 "rukovodjenje"; and it was translated as led. So I really don't know what
7 the status is of that word is as far as the translation is concerned. I
8 don't know how to ask questions when the words are translated differently
9 every chance. They're terms of art that have a specific meaning and
10 that's where we get confused as counsel and where witnesses get confused
11 where these words get interpreted as being either the same or being
12 different when in Serbian they have a certain meaning.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: I have to say I'm finding it difficult to see what
14 the point of your position is but please continue now.
15 MR. IVETIC:
16 Q. Now, sir, would you agree with me that while the formation
17 commanders or formation superior officers of both the MUP and the VJ units
18 that were involved in this particular action passed orders down to their
19 forces and therefore commanded their forces in the course of the action,
20 that this action was being led by the VJ officers that you name here from
21 the Pristina Corps command, that they, if I can turn to Serbian [B/C/S
23 A. Yes. At the Laus feature there was a group of officers from the
24 command of the Pristina Corps.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry, there was no question picked up there
3 because he was speaking over the witness.
4 MR. STAMP: Can I just say, I am not sure what exactly the witness
5 could be saying yes to in the --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Don't worry, Mr. Stamp, that's exactly my problem,
7 so I have no idea what this means at the moment. The idea of leading
8 seems to be something different from commanding, and perhaps the witness
9 is going to explain that in a moment.
10 MR. IVETIC: All right.
11 Q. Colonel, can you in your own mind as a professional VJ officer
12 differentiate between commanders commanding their units and commanders
13 leading or "rukovodjenje aksija"?
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Well can we have that in English.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Lead, exercise control.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: But the next word was important as well, there was
17 more than one word there, and the other one, I think, was action.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We did not understand it
19 properly either. I think it was action too.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, in English, please, either that or all
21 in Serb and we'll get it translated, but this does not work speaking in
22 two languages at once.
23 MR. IVETIC: I don't know how else to do it apart from going all
24 Serbian then I guess for this particular question if that's all right
25 with, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Gergar, Mr. Ivetic doesn't seem to be able to
2 do this. What's the difference between what is said at the beginning of
3 the passage you read that's what the group of officers were doing and
4 commanding? What's the difference between these two things?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge, sir, in our terminology
6 commanders command. That is to say higher organs can lead or effect
7 control, exercise control. Immediate command is carried out by
8 commanders. In this case, the group of officers that had come from the
9 command of the Pristina Corps led this action, whereas the commander,
10 Lazarevic, would command me in that action.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you see, I have great difficulty with that
12 because the first sentence says that the group of officers led the action,
13 and then it identifies the same officers as commanding the VJ forces, not
14 a different officer called Lazarevic. So I don't understand your
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I receive commands from my superior,
17 and the group of officers had the role of coordinators. I sent reports to
18 them and they coordinated, coordinated action with the other units. Once
19 I report to General Lazarevic, then he issues a commanding order to me as
20 to what it is that I should do after that.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
22 MR. IVETIC:
23 Q. And -- I think we're -- that's all I'm going to get out of him for
24 that section. I think the paragraph does explain that the action was
25 undertaken so I don't have to ask questions about that.
1 If we can move on then to Exhibit 5D595, and again if first you
2 can confirm that this is a document originating from your command dated
3 the 9th of May, 1999.
4 A. Yes, this is an order by the command of the 211th Armoured
5 Brigade, the date is the 9th of May, 1999. This is about supplementing
6 the defence system or upgrading the defence system.
7 Q. And if we turn to the second page in the B/C/S or Serbian I should
8 say, item 10, and it's on the second page of the English also item 10, I
9 won't read this section, sir; but it seems here that you are giving
10 assignments to your subordinates to protect population and their property
11 from various bad things. Did you, in fact, during the entire course of
12 the war undertake measures to protect the civilian population and their
13 property from theft, looting, arson, et cetera? And if you know, did
14 other VJ formations in your or near your region undertake the same
15 responsibilities within their zones?
16 A. Yes. Throughout the war, in my zone of responsibility I was
17 responsibility for maintaining order and discipline. My order clearly
18 states that all my subordinate commands had the same responsibility as
19 well as any other commands that were near me in my immediate vicinity that
20 were supposed to take measures to prevent indiscipline, theft, and other
21 occurrences of that nature.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. That's all I have for that document. If we
23 could now move to 5D591, and if we look at -- that's a one-page document.
24 First off, do you recall in item 2 you mention that volunteers are to be
25 sent to the school Aca Marovic in Kosovo Polje. Do you recall that there
1 was a subcentre, a reception subcentre for volunteers in Kosovo Polje of
2 the Army of Yugoslavia?
3 A. Yes, it was based on an order from the Pristina Corps command that
4 I learned that volunteers were to be admitted and dispatched to Kosovo
5 Polje in order to perform further duties with them and assign them to
6 units of the Pristina Corps.
7 Q. Sir, these specific volunteers that you're talking about within
8 your zone, where did these volunteers come from? Could someone just show
9 up at the border and express an intention to volunteer?
10 A. Yes. Someone could simply show up and express an intention or a
11 desire to volunteer in the units of the Pristina Corps.
12 Q. Thank you. And now turning to another topic. Do you recall what
13 Ministry of the Interior forces were in the second half of April 1999
14 within your zone of responsibility and that of the 354th Infantry Brigade
15 that you have also testified about here today?
16 A. Yes. Within the zone of responsibility of the 211th Armoured
17 Brigade, there were MUP forces, meaning PJP forces, and the Podujevo
19 Q. Which PJP forces were in your zone and within the zone of the
20 354th Brigade, infantry brigade, if you remember?
21 A. I think it was the 122nd Detachment of the PJP or possibly the
23 Q. Okay. Now, my colleague Mr. Cepic showed you one of your reports
24 where you talked about the MUP units not knowing that they were supposed
25 to be resubordinated to you. I'd like to show you a document, 6D1023,
1 which is attachment number 2 to a plan -- or, excuse me, an order of the
2 Pristina Corps dated the 25th of April, 1999, that we've had in evidence
3 prior regarding engagement of MUP forces. First of all, sir, do you
4 recall receiving such a plan for engagement of combined forces as an
5 attachment to an order from the Pristina Corps? And perhaps if we can
6 turn to the second page. I believe that the second page in both versions
7 covers your unit in item 10.
8 A. I don't remember this plan.
9 Q. Prior to asking you the following question let me just call up
10 briefly P2809, a Prosecution exhibit that is the first part of this
11 document. Do you recall receiving this order from your superior command
12 on or about the 25th of April, 1999? And if need be, we can go to the
13 last page of the document if it would help you, sir, if this doesn't
14 refresh your memory.
15 A. No, I don't recall this.
16 Q. Fair enough. Do you see in item number 2 of this document that
17 attachment or appendix to, as it's translated in the English, is said to
18 be a plan of engagement of combined contingents?
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
20 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] First of all, the witness said he
21 doesn't recall this document. Secondly, I find it very difficult for the
22 witness to be expected to identify the relevant portion in English since
23 Mr. Gergar does not, in fact, understand or speak English.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
25 MR. IVETIC: Well, I'm -- I thought that in asking questions in
1 English I have to use the official English translation of the Serbian
2 document which is side by side with the official English translation. If
3 the official translation is wrong, Mr. Cepic can say it's wrong, I
4 actually don't believe it is in this instance but --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: The real point here is the witness says he doesn't
6 know anything about this. What is it you're now trying to do?
7 MR. IVETIC: Well, if we can go to the last page, I think we'll
8 see that it was directed to his brigade, if that helps.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: All right, go to the last page then.
10 MR. IVETIC:
11 Q. If we can look at the bottom left, it is the customary and
12 procedure of the Army of Yugoslavia to list recipients on the bottom left
13 of every document sent from a superior command to subordinates?
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there an answer to the question?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I please hear the question
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I wonder if we need the question, in fact,
18 Mr. Ivetic. We've had it from umpteen people already.
19 MR. IVETIC: I agree.
20 Q. Do you see here, sir, where the document says it was sent to all
21 subordinate commands?
22 A. Yes, I see that.
23 Q. As of the 25th of April, 1999, weren't you, in fact, a subordinate
24 command of the Pristina Corps that would have received this order from
25 your superior officer?
1 A. I was a subordinate command, but I don't remember receiving a
2 document like this. It has been nine years, after all.
3 Q. That part I understand. Now, if we can turn back to the first
4 page of this document, I will continue with a line of questioning I had
5 about appendix 2. Having in regard what is stated in paragraph 2 of this
6 order from the Pristina Corps command - and let me know when you've --
7 when you've -- when you've read that section to yourself, just paragraph 2
8 now ...
9 A. Yes, I've read that.
10 Q. Keeping that in mind if we can turn to 6D1023 and look at the
11 title of this document, do you accept the very strong likelihood that this
12 document is, in fact, the appendix to -- that was referenced in the prior
13 order, indeed having the same title, date, and source of origin?
14 A. It's possible that this plan of engagement was an appendix to the
15 document that you referred to.
16 Q. Thank you. Now if we could turn to the second page of this
17 document in both the Serbian and the English, and if I can direct your
18 attention to paragraph 10 of this plan of engagement. And if I can direct
19 your attention to the -- well, I guess it would be the fourth -- the
20 fourth column, if we include the one column that has the numbers. Does
21 that reflect the actual forces of the MUP that were within your zone of
22 responsibility as you recollect them? The -- I should say the PJP units
23 of the MUP?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. And now if you look at line 12 of this plan, I believe it
1 relates to the 354th Infantry Brigade that you identified as a
2 neighbouring force, and if you look at that same column under the 354th
3 will you agree with me that the exact same MUP PJP units are slated to be
4 resubordinated to the 354th Brigade that were supposed to be
5 resubordinated to you?
6 A. Yes, they're the same, the same forces.
7 Q. Having in mind that you do not recall this --
8 MR. IVETIC: I see my colleague's on my [sic] feet.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
10 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I think the witness clearly said he
11 didn't remember this, and now he's being pushed to speculate. We're
12 wasting precious time. My other witnesses are waiting. Thank you.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, he's simply being asked to confirm on
14 the face of the document the same units appear in two separate parts
15 associated with two separate VJ units, and that's -- he's done no more
16 than that. He's not confirmed a personal recollection that that was so.
17 So please continue, Mr. Ivetic.
18 MR. IVETIC:
19 Q. Having in mind, sir, that you do not recall this particular plan
20 of engagement and having in mind your combat report complaining about
21 confusion of the PJP in terms of who they were supposed to be
22 resubordinated to, do you accept now the possibility that, in fact, some
23 of the confusion was caused by the fact that they were receiving requests
24 for resubordination from two brigades in the same area?
25 A. No. I was told by officers from the PJP that they had received no
1 order to resubordinate themselves to the VJ.
2 Q. With respect to resubordination, is your understanding of the word
3 include the fact that they were supposed to become an essential part of
4 your brigade even outside of combat actions?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. I think I can move on now.
7 If we can -- if we can focus on your brigade for a second, am I
8 correct that the numerical strength of your brigade in April -- strike
10 Just, can you tell us what the numerical strength of your brigade
11 is, including the breakdown between active servicemen and reservists?
12 A. At what time?
13 Q. Well, did it change from when the bombing started to the end of
14 the war? Did it fluctuate much? I mean, I want the time-period of the
15 war with NATO and the STS from March 24th, 1999, onwards.
16 A. From the beginning of the war the numerical strength of the
17 brigade was about 2.200 up to 2.300 men. There were about 1.000
18 reservists among those men.
19 Q. And did the strength of your brigade increase during the war; and
20 if so, what was the largest -- the most that it attained and again what
21 portion of that was reservists and what portion were active servicemen?
22 A. I said the strength was about 2.200 to 2.300 men, and it didn't
23 change to any significant extent.
24 Q. Okay. And what about the numerical strength of the 94th Military
25 Territorial Detachment that was supposed to have been resubordinated to
1 your brigade on the 24th of April, 1999, what was its strength?
2 A. The 94th Military Territorial Detachment, I'm not familiar with
3 that unit.
4 Q. If we can -- one moment, please.
5 Now, let me move on and I'll see if I need that. You mentioned
6 the 354th Infantry Brigade. Am I correct or am I close in stating that
7 they had approximately 5.795 members, of whom 5.600 were reservists in the
8 time-period between the beginning of the war through April the 18th, 1999?
9 A. I don't know what their strength was precisely.
10 Q. Does the figure I've quoted seem reasonable based upon your
11 knowledge and recollections or if not -- if you have another figure, I
12 would be more than happy to hear it.
13 A. Well, I said I really don't know what its numerical strength was,
14 didn't I?
15 Q. Fair enough. Can you concede that they were almost entirely
17 A. Yes. The majority of that brigade was reservists.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. IVETIC: I don't have any further questions for this witness.
20 Q. Thank you, Colonel, for your time, and I apologise for any
21 confusion relating from translation issues.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Gergar, you'll now be cross-examined by the
25 Prosecutor, Mr. Stamp.
1 Mr. Stamp.
2 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
4 Q. Good day, Colonel.
5 A. Good day.
6 Q. Just by way of background, can you tell me were you in 19 -- or in
7 2001 indicted for negligence in respect to the death of one of your
9 A. Yes, a criminal complaint was filed.
10 Q. What happened to that case? What was the result?
11 A. It was thrown out as unfounded.
12 Q. To move on, is it correct that your unit --
13 MR. STAMP: Mr. --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
15 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] My apologies. I would like the exact
16 interpretation of what the witness said to be entered, if I may quote what
17 I repeat he says: "The criminal complaint was thrown out as unfounded,"
18 so what was thrown out. We need to know that, don't we. Thank you.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: It's already clear from the transcript that that's
20 what was thrown out, and you've taken it beyond any doubt.
21 Mr. Stamp.
22 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. You told us today that the brigade -- the 211th Brigade was
24 resubordinated to the Pristina Corps on the 29th of March, 1999. Now,
25 prior to that were units from that brigade not brought into the area of
1 responsibility of the Pristina Corps?
2 A. Yes, the units had been brought earlier to the zone of
3 responsibility of the Pristina Corps.
4 Q. That is -- and when these units were brought there, were they not
5 resubordinated to the Pristina Corps?
6 A. Yes, but the name was different, not the 211th Armoured Brigade,
7 but rather Tactical Group 211.
8 Q. And that was comprised of -- among other units, it was comprised
9 of a mechanised battalion?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know if the transfer, relocation, of that unit into Kosovo
12 into the area of responsibility of the Pristina Corps was reported to the
13 KVM monitors who were there at the time?
14 A. I don't know about that.
15 Q. Did you have any sort of association or correspondence with any of
16 the KVM monitors?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Were you aware --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that answer refer to the whole period up until
20 June? Oh, in fact -- sorry, my mistake. Does it apply to the whole
21 period up until March the 23rd?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Yeah, thank you.
24 Mr. Stamp.
25 MR. STAMP:
1 Q. Weren't these -- well, were you aware that bringing in these units
2 would be in breach of the undertakings made by the FRY in October of 1998
3 in regard to movement of VJ units?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Was the movement of the units of the brigade into Kosovo in early
6 March or on the 15th of March, 1999, done in secret, that is, in a manner
7 to avoid observation by the OSCE observers?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Very well. But you were aware, sir, that the movement of that
10 unit into Kosovo constituted a build-up of VJ forces from outside Kosovo
11 into Kosovo in early May -- sorry, early March 1999?
12 A. No, I didn't know about that.
13 Q. Were you aware of other units that had been brought into Kosovo
14 from outside of Kosovo before the NATO intervention?
15 A. No.
16 Q. When you arrived in Kosovo, I think your statement says that you
17 were mostly involved combat training. Apart from combat training were you
18 involved in any other activity like combat?
19 A. You mean up until the war?
20 Q. Yes, sorry. Between the time you arrived up until when the war
22 A. The unit was staying at the training-grounds Batlava, and it was
23 not engaged in any other combat activity.
24 Q. I think in your statement you said that -- or tell me, when you
25 arrived in March 1999 were there not KLA positions near to where you
1 became based?
2 A. They were not in the immediate vicinity.
3 Q. Well, how far were the nearest KLA units?
4 A. Over 10 kilometres.
5 Q. Now, did you engage any of those units or have any contact with
6 any of those units before the 24th of March?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Could we move on to the action of the -- that began on the 25th or
9 26th of April. But first I'd like to ask you some questions about the map
10 that you --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
12 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise, but I see here in the
13 transcript that it says "April"; however, what we heard in the B/C/S
14 interpretation was "October." So I would kindly ask my colleague
15 Mr. Stamp to repeat the question. I think that would be best because we
16 got a completely wrong interpretation into B/C/S.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: He's going off to deal with something else, and no
18 doubt we'll deal with the date when he comes back to this.
19 Mr. Stamp.
20 MR. STAMP:
21 Q. You said in respect to the map that you drew that perhaps the
22 reason it was not signed is because it was a second copy. How many maps
23 were prepared by you or by your command? And when I say "maps," how many
24 of these maps.
25 MR. STAMP: Could we put the map before him, 5D1329.
1 Q. The thing is I just want to know how many of these maps are
2 prepared by your brigade command. I shouldn't say "these." This
3 particular map. How many of this particular map you see before you was
4 prepared by your brigade command?
5 A. This decision map was done in two copies.
6 Q. Now, was any of those two copies signed?
7 A. Yes, the original was signed.
8 Q. Can you recall if you actually saw that signed copy?
9 A. I certainly saw it.
10 Q. And that would have been -- tell me if this procedure is right.
11 That would have been signed by you, sent off to General Lazarevic, who
12 also signed it, so it would be signed twice?
13 A. Yes, that is to say my decision map is signed by myself, that is
14 obligatory, and then I take that decision map to the corps commander for
15 his approval and he signs it too.
16 Q. And is it dated at any of those signings?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Now, what -- it is a signed original that is archived?
19 A. The original should be arrived.
20 Q. And the other copy, where is that kept?
21 A. One copy is given to the corps command, and we keep the other one.
22 Q. So I take it that your understanding is that this map you see in
23 front of you is a copy that was kept by your brigade?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: It's not clear now, Mr. Stamp, whether there is an
1 original and two copies; or whether there are two maps, one of which is an
3 MR. STAMP:
4 Q. Sir, I -- well, I'm going to ask you this. This map that you see
5 in front of you, there were two copies prepared, an original and a copy;
6 is that what you're saying?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you know where your brigade records were stored after the war?
9 A. I think in the archives.
10 Q. Which archives?
11 A. [Microphone not activated]
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the witness.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were kept in the archives of
14 the superior command.
15 MR. STAMP:
16 Q. [Microphone not activated]
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Stamp, please.
18 MR. STAMP:
19 Q. Is that the Pristina Corps?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Very well. Just to get my bearings on this -- or all bearings on
22 this map. Is -- or does this map cover the area that includes the town of
24 A. I really cannot see because it's rather illegible, it's pretty
25 small, fine print. Could it please be enlarged a bit?
1 It is very hard to read what is written here.
2 Q. But would you be able to identify where major population centres
3 are like Vucitrn and Podujevo just by looking at the deployment of forces
4 on these maps? Don't you know where the forces were deployed in relation
5 to these population centres?
6 A. No, I was never in Vucitrn.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: What do the green arrows represent?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These are the axes of activity of
9 the MUP.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
11 MR. STAMP:
12 Q. Well, now, and what do the blue markings represent?
13 A. The blue markings are the enemy forces, the terrorists in this
15 Q. Now you -- I think you said that you had -- there was a support
16 artillery unit -- sorry, there was mortar, you had mortar units that were
17 engaged. Where were your mortar units located?
18 A. In this period the mortar company was in the area of Bajcina.
19 Q. Can you see that area on the map as it is there now?
20 A. I can really barely see.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp, would you find a suitable point to
22 interrupt. If you need a few more questions to deal finally with the map,
23 that's fine; but if you're going to be some time, we should just break off
25 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour, I think this might be a convenient
1 moment because I might ask him to mark something and that might take some
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
4 Mr. Gergar, we must conclude our proceedings for the day at this
5 stage; that means you need to return to complete your evidence.
6 Meanwhile, overnight it is a strict rule that you have no communication
7 with anybody at all, anybody at all, about the evidence. You can talk to
8 whoever you like about other things, but to no one at all about any part
9 of the evidence.
10 Now could you leave the courtroom with the usher and we'll see you
11 tomorrow morning at 9.00 in Courtroom I.
12 [The witness stands down]
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.03 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Friday, the 1st day of
15 February, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.