1 Monday, 25 August 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The Accused Pavkovic and Lazarevic not present]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, everyone.
7 I notice the absence -- the continued absence of Mr. Lazarevic,
8 first of all. Can you confirm, Mr. Bakrac, that he is content to proceed
9 in his absence?
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I can confirm that
11 for the record. We discussed it on Friday, and he said that he if he was
12 not able to come into court and follow the proceedings because of the
13 consequences of the operation, that he agrees for us to go ahead and that
14 he will follow the proceedings as well as best he can.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Aleksic, I note that Mr. Pavkovic is not present. I
17 understand that he is unwell. Is he content that we should proceed in
18 his absence?
19 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I can confirm
20 that. My client was feeling unwell on Friday, and he said that if he was
21 not in a position to come in on Monday that he agreed that we continue
22 without him. Thank you.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
24 Well, we can now continue to hear the submissions of the
25 Lazarevic Defence.
1 Mr. Bakrac.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good
3 morning to everybody.
4 On Friday, we left off presenting the closing arguments on the
5 topic of orders, the orders that were titled "Joint Command for KiM."
6 And I'm going to say a few more things in that regard and try to make our
7 position clear to the Trial Chamber.
8 In testifying before this Trial Chamber, the accused General
9 Lazarevic stressed that the operatives of the Pristina Corps and in view
10 of the experience gained in 1998 with respect to the planning,
11 coordinating actions for its units with MUP, and providing support to MUP
12 continued to use orders titled "Joint Command." The term was used in
13 situations in which the coordinated actions with MUP took place and not
14 in other situations.
15 General Lazarevic explained that after the actions which -- which
16 according to the orders had the joint order title, the Pristina Corps and
17 the command of the Pristina Corps was the one who demanded of its
18 subordinate units to report back and to analyse the actions. And I'd
19 like to point to 5D373, a Defence exhibit, which confirms that the corps
20 command was the one which demanded an analysis of the actions, multiple
21 actions. And I'd like to remind the Trial Chamber that we're talking
22 about eight actions that were carried out pursuant to orders with the
23 heading "Joint Command." So the Pristina Corps asked for an analysis of
24 those actions, and nobody else.
25 From a Defence exhibit, 5D84, which I'd like to point to for the
1 benefit of the Trial Chamber, is a combat report of the Pristina Corps
2 command sent to the command of the 3rd Army, and in that we can clearly
3 see that for the action to block and route the Siptar terrorists in the
4 region of Jablanica, that that's what it's about; and the heading there
5 is "Joint Command" and the number is -- exhibit number is P2003. The
6 decision was made by the command of the frequent and not by some Joint
7 Command. From Exhibit 5D85, we can also see that the action in the
8 region of Jablanica was undertaken on the basis of a decision made by the
9 command of the Pristina Corps. General Lazarevic confirmed all these
10 allegations during his testimony.
11 So those, then, are combat reports that are authentic of that
12 same day, of the same day when one could not even assume or could not
13 have known or didn't know that this trial would ever take place; and then
14 in that report what was written was this: On the basis of an order from
15 the command or we followed orders by the Pristina Corps, not orders by
16 some sort of Joint Command. It was always the Pristina Corps that was
18 The fact that the command of the 3rd Army with a forward command
19 post in Pristina where as we saw according to the testimony of General
20 Pavkovic himself, General Pavkovic spent almost 90 per cent of his time
21 there and reported to the Supreme Command Staff about the anti-terrorist
22 actions; and report P1446 testifies to that as actions which were
23 undertaken on the basis of an order issued by the Pristina Corps.
24 Now, the fact that the orders of -- headed the Joint Command
25 were, in fact, Pristina Corps command is confirmed by General Delic, who
1 in his testimony states that his command received these orders in
2 envelopes together with other documents from the Pristina Corps command
3 which had the stamp of the military post of the Pristina Corps. During
4 his testimony, he recognised the specific envelope for the specific
5 action in the Jablanica region; and that is the order P2003 titled "Joint
6 Command, "and the reference in the transcript is 19350. The specific
7 envelope that General Delic talked about is Exhibit PD 1365 [as
9 This witness furthermore in his testimony, in the transcript
10 19353, quite decisively stated that there was no dilemma as far as he was
11 concerned that we were dealing with documents from the corps and that he
12 knew that they were documents belonging to his -- of his command, or
13 rather, of the command of the Pristina Corps.
14 Before the Trial Chamber here, there were other commanders from
15 brigades that testified, and they also agreed that the orders with the
16 joint heading of "Joint Command" were, in fact, orders by the Pristina
17 Corps. Milos Mandic was one such witness who testified that they were
18 orders issued by the Pristina Corps, the superior command to him, and
19 that his brigade wrote all his -- all their combat reports and sent them
20 exclusively to the Pristina Corps which reacted to them and undertook the
21 corresponding measures commensurate to them. And that is to be found in
22 5D1331, paragraphs 27, 28, and 29.
23 And I'm going to mention another example, a Defence Witness
24 Mihajlo Gergar, also the commander of a brigade, who without any doubt
25 confirmed that the orders headed "Joint Command" were, in fact, orders by
1 the Pristina Corps that he received in envelopes with a map of the corps
2 command together with other orders. That is 5D1400, paragraph 31 and 32.
3 We had other testimony by an operative of the Pristina Corps,
4 General Radojko Stefanovic, testifying before this Trial Chamber; and in
5 his testimony, he says that the form of the documents the "Joint Command"
6 heading was recorded in the computer, on computer, and was used in 1999,
7 as well as 1998, only with the aim of denoting joint actions of the Army
8 of Yugoslavia
9 And a Court witness, General Djakovic, finally confirmed the
10 allegations and claims made by Witness Stefanovic and said that the
11 documents headed "Joint Command" were, in fact, recorded in the computer
12 and used exclusively to denote joint actions of the MUP and only as ones
13 in 1998 and 1999.
14 I'd also like to indicate to the Trial Chamber and to bear out
15 all the evidence and exhibits and claims to take a look at all the
16 orders; and once it has looked at the orders, it will be able to see that
17 the last order is dated the 16th of April, 1999. Now this date clearly
18 coincides with the order of the resubordination of the MUP to the Army of
20 Since the order for which the Defence claims never actually came into
21 being about resubordination was passed on the 18th of April, there was no
22 longer any need for the joint actions to be denoted in any other way, and
23 we can see this from all the exhibits and evidence presented.
24 The accused General Lazarevic until January 1998, and that has
25 been shown without doubt here, was Chief of Staff of the Nis Corps and
1 had nothing to do with Kosovo province. At the beginning of 1998, or
2 more exactly in January 1998, the then-Chief of the General Staff of the
3 Army of Yugoslavia
4 Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps, and they are Exhibits 5D1323 and
5 5D1324. Therefore, General Perisic was the man who promoted General
6 Lazarevic to -- and brought him to Kosovo. At the end of April 1998, he
7 was sent to the forward command post of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica
8 to deal with questions of defending the state borders, and he stayed
9 there until the end of that year. We saw that around -- as for the
10 actions and engagement to defend the state borders in this trial, nobody
11 challenged the fact of whether the units of the Yugoslav Army could be
12 deployed or not. That was accepted.
13 Now, if we look at Exhibit 1D760, and I'd like to emphasize
14 pages 15 and 16 for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, you'll see that at
15 a meeting of the supreme defence command, it was precisely General
16 Perisic the -- who proposed to President Milosevic the promotion of the
17 then-Colonel Lazarevic to the rank of general with the clear statement of
18 reasons that he was a very highly qualified and capable officer.
19 I'd like to remind you of the last piece of evidence -- or
20 rather -- no, the last witness who testified before this Court, Court
21 witness General Dimitrijevic, who said here that General Lazarevic -- it
22 was not the proposal of General Perisic, but the proposal of the entire
23 collegium of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia that appointed
24 him. And he said it was quite clearly that it was according to the
25 assessment of the entire collegium of the General Staff of the Army of
2 capable officer and that the collegium to a man proposed him for
3 promotion, and that is transcript page 26743.
4 When General Pavkovic took over the duties as -- his duties as
5 commander offer the 3rd Army, General Lazarevic as Chief of Staff of the
6 Pristina Corps was appointed commander of the Pristina Corps. In
7 addition to us having seen how General Dimitrijevic assessed and
8 testified about the position of the entire collegium of the General Staff
9 of the Army of Yugoslavia with respect to the accused Lazarevic, it was
10 also customary practice in the Army of Yugoslavia for the Chief of Staff
11 to be promoted to a commander when such a place became -- post became
13 From Prosecution exhibits, minutes from the 8th Session of the
14 Supreme Defence Council dated the 20th of December, 1998, we can without
15 any shadow of doubt conclude that the cadre solutions in the Army of
17 and that these decisions are discussed and opportunities are given for
18 any comments to be made.
19 From Exhibit P1000, we can see that the General Staff of the Army
20 of Yugoslavia
21 Lazarevic become commander of the Pristina Corps, having been Chief of
22 Staff previously. The meeting of the Supreme Defence Council was held
23 with everybody present; and nobody, not even President Djukanovic, had
24 any criticisms to make to that proposal. No objections were made with
25 respect to the manner of his appointment in the Army of Yugoslavia. We
1 see P1738 that governs this area.
2 So this is how the accused Vladimir Lazarevic became a general
3 and the way in which he became commander of the Pristina Corps. There
4 were no obscure games behind the scenes which resulted in this.
5 Everything -- all this is supported, in our opinion, by firm proof and
6 evidence, and we have drawn the Trial Chamber's attention to a number of
8 In the closing arguments -- in his closing arguments, my learned
9 colleague Mr. Hannis mentioned, and in the final brief too, he says that
10 General Lazarevic in 1998 attended five meetings of the so-called Joint
11 Command in Pristina and that in 1998, as Chief of Staff of the Pristina
12 Corps, he signed a decision to route the STS in the region of Slup and
13 Voksa, and that is exhibit -- Prosecution Exhibit P1428.
14 In our final brief, in paragraphs 522 to 541, we speak at length
15 about the exhibits and testimony on that subject to the effect that the
16 so-called Joint Command was no body whatsoever, no command at all, and
17 that the meetings of the police and military and later political
18 structures which were held during one period of time almost daily were
19 referred to by that name; whereas, it was, in fact, a place where they
20 exchanged information about the topical current security situation.
21 At the -- in Kosovo which was then already boiling, General
22 Lazarevic contributed to the implementation of the plan through his role
23 in the Joint Command, that this was so cannot be proved beyond reasonable
24 doubt based on his attendance at five of these meetings or one order
25 which General Lazarevic signed as the Chief of Staff.
1 General Lazarevic had no role whatsoever in the so-called Joint
2 Command which, as we have already said, was clearly not any sort of body
3 at all. Meetings of the police, military, and political structures at a
4 point in time when the KLA was in control of 50 per cent of the territory
5 of Kosovo, and there was an imminent threat of the secession of a part of
6 the sovereign state, were legitimate and quite normal.
7 At these meetings, no decisions were made and the evidence shows
8 this. General Simic, a witness here, explained who it was that made
9 decisions, the way in which decisions were made, and the procedure that
10 was followed; and every time that General Pavkovic attended one of these
11 meetings, he knew about it. General Djakovic also testified about this,
12 and we dealt with this in greater detail in our final brief. Here, I
13 will only mention Voksa and Stup because that is what my client is
14 charged with.
15 From the notes at the meeting of the so-called Joint Command,
16 starting from the 22nd of July until the 30th of October, 1998, we see
17 that there are notes from 70 meetings. An analysis leads to the
18 conclusion that General Lazarevic attended only five of these 70
19 meetings; and a linguistic and logical interpretation of the notes in
20 September 1998 --
21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the dates.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] -- it can be concluded that General
23 Lazarevic was not a member of the Joint Command.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, you gave dates there which the
25 interpreter did not catch I think probably because of the speed at which
1 you are speaking. If you could give us the dates again, please.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Your Honour. I'm
3 trying to finish today.
4 The dates are the 22nd of July, 1998 -- I do apologise, the
5 minutes of the 23rd of August, 1998, and the 21st of September, 1998
6 When you look at the heading of the minutes of the meeting of the
7 23rd of August, you will see that it says that absent were Mr. Minic,
8 Matkovic, Andjelkovic; and those present were Obrad Stevanovic and
9 Colonel Lazarevic. So, evidently, as there were other people present,
10 these were persons who did not generally attend these meetings. In the
11 notes of the 21st of September, 1998, apart from the usual heading where
12 it says "absent," there is also a note saying everyone present and
14 When one analyses these notes or these minutes, one can see that
15 General Lazarevic was at the forward command post in Djakovica on two
16 occasions practically. And why do I say two occasions? Because in
17 September, General Lazarevic attended two or three meetings which were
18 interconnected. He spoke about the current security situation at the
19 state border. He explained that together with the corps commander he
20 went to several of these meetings in order to give information on the
21 security situation at the state border. If you look at the minutes of
22 these meetings or the notes, General Lazarevic's defence is confirmed.
23 He spoke about the situation on the border and in the border belt, and
24 that was the full extent of his role and his participation.
25 The OTP suggested to the Trial Chamber that General Lazarevic, as
1 the Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps, personally signed a decision on
2 breaking up the forces of the sabotage -- of the Siptar terrorist forces
3 in the Stup and Voksa area dated the 14th of August, 1998, envisaging
4 support for the MUP forces; and in addition to this, this action took
5 place in the border belt. But the Defence would also like to mention
6 that the Chief of the General Staff, General Perisic, was then on the
7 ground when this action was being carried out and was informed about it
8 from the commander of the 3rd Army, Samardzic.
9 I draw your attention to transcript page 17796, 17797, and
10 Exhibit 5D1173, point 3.
11 This action was approved by the 3rd Army commander, General
12 Samardzic, who signed the approval on the map; and the idea for this
13 action was explained to General Pavkovic by General Djakovic orally at
14 the time. There is written evidence to this effect on record, and you
15 have the testimony of General Djakovic. The accused Lazarevic signed a
16 written decision which was previously approved by Generals Samardzic and
17 Perisic for the simple reason that the commander of the Pristina Corps,
18 General Pavkovic, was touring the border belt at the time together with
19 the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, General
20 Perisic; and we have seen evidence showing that if the commander was
21 physically absent, the Chief of Staff was the person authorised to sign a
23 Defence witnesses Goran Jevtovic and General Miodrag Simic in
24 connection with this order commented on the paragraph from point 6 of
25 this order, that command of combat actions would be carried out by the --
1 well, I mean, it will be commanded from the forward command post of the
2 Pristina Corps in Djakovica. Both witnesses agree that this referred to
3 the combined command post where the MUP forces were commanded by their
4 own commander and the army was commanded by the army commander.
5 And, finally, a Court witness, General Djakovic, testified before
6 Your Honours in this courtroom and confirmed that the idea for this
7 action, Stup and Voksa, as he said was something he took more than half
8 an hour to explain to General Samardzic and then General Samardzic signed
9 the map and the decision in his presence. So this was only a technical
10 matter, putting a signature to the decision. All this evidence is quite
11 clear and shows unambiguously that the OTP cannot rely on this document.
12 In his closing arguments, my learned friend Mr. Hannis said that
13 the accused Lazarevic testified that in 1998 and 1999, units of the Army
14 of Yugoslavia
15 it's not clear why this would be unusual and unlawful.
16 The Defence would like to remind the Trial Chamber of the
17 testimony of some Prosecution witnesses who were high-ranking officials
18 of the OSCE and KDOM. They established that coordination and cooperation
19 between the legitimate organs of a state, the MUP and the Army of
21 legitimate and normal but also necessary, especially in a situation where
22 weapons and force are being used in order to cut off a part of the
23 sovereign territory of an internationally recognised state. The MUP and
24 Army of Yugoslavia
25 constitutionally established obligation to protect the integrity and
1 sovereignty of the state. That's 1D134, Articles 54, 72; and 1D [as ,
2 Articles 63 and 77.
3 We wish to remind you that General Maisonneuve, Prosecution
4 witness, stated that coordination between the Army of Yugoslavia and the
5 MUP was very necessary and he evaluated this coordination as
6 professional. He also agreed that every operation implying the
7 participation of the Army of Yugoslavia and the MUP had to have close
8 cooperation so that each formation would know about the plans of the
9 other in order to avoid friendly fire. Also, this witness stressed the
10 need when joint actions were being carried out that coordination should
11 be carried out, so that each unit would have clear responsibility --
12 responsibilities. That's transcript page 11183.
13 Colonel Crosland, another OTP witness, confirmed that based on
14 his experience which he gained serving throughout the world, it's to be
15 expected that there should be coordination and cooperation between
16 various elements of the forces of the MUP and the Army of Yugoslavia in
17 Kosovo in order to avoid friendly fire inter alia. That's transcript
18 page 9815.
19 Another Prosecution witness, General Dusan Loncar, pointed out
20 especially the importance of coordination and coordinated action between
21 the MUP and the army and even the foreign ministry of foreign affairs.
22 He said it was not only necessary but indispensable. Bearing in mind the
23 KLA activities, he went on to say that full cooperation between the two
24 armed components of the state was necessary, the MUP and the Army of
1 The use of units of the Army of Yugoslavia in joint actions with
2 the Ministry of the Interior in the fight against renegade and terrorist
3 groups was completely legitimate and based on law. The Defence wishes to
4 remind the Trial Chamber of a Prosecution exhibit, the Rules of Service
5 of the Army of Yugoslavia, where in paragraph 447 - and that is Exhibit
6 P1085 - shows that it is permissible to use the units in peacetime,
7 especially to fight sabotage terrorist and other hostile armed groups.
8 It is also permitted, under paragraph 448 of this same exhibit, for
9 public roads and facilities of high significance for the defence of the
10 country can be guarded by the army if an attack or sabotage are expected
11 and on other occasions.
12 It's clear, then, that a simple enumeration of facts saying that
13 General Lazarevic was the one who approved or participated in coordinated
14 actions with the units of the MUP cannot constitute evidence of any kind
15 of criminal plan or criminal responsibility of General Lazarevic. To
16 show that, it would be necessary to provide evidence. We have, however,
17 shown by numerous exhibits that his actions were lawful and legitimate.
18 Finally, in his closing arguments, my learned friend Mr. Hannis
19 pointed out that the accused General Lazarevic contributed to the joint
20 criminal enterprise by incorporating volunteers into the Army of
22 of all, that receiving volunteers into the Army of Yugoslavia was a
23 lawful act regulated by the Law on the Army of Yugoslavia in Articles 8
24 and 15 of this law, and that's Prosecution Exhibit P984.
25 In Article 15 of this law, it's permitted if a state of war is
1 declared for the Army of Yugoslavia to receive volunteers into its ranks,
2 and Article 8 provides that it can also receive volunteers who are
3 foreign nationals. The Supreme Command Staff in an order it issued said
4 that volunteers were to be admitted while complying strictly with the
5 law. This referred to those who wanted to go to the areas of
6 responsibility of the Pristina Corps. Volunteers were to be received
7 after triage or selection was carried out. In this same order, it is
8 commanded that during their training, volunteers were to be told
9 especially that illegal and other impermissible acts would not be
10 tolerated and that legal measures would be enforced, those which are
11 provided for in case of war. Transportation to the place where they were
12 to be received into the 3rd Army was to be organized by the 1st and 2nd
13 Army for volunteers from their territories, and the command of the 3rd
14 Army was to provide transport up to the -- or rather, the command of the
15 3rd Army was to organize transport up to the Pristina Corps.
16 General Vasiljevic in his oral testimony confirmed that there
17 were two reception centres in Grocka near Belgrade and in Medja near Nis
18 where screening of the volunteers was carried out, and that on that
19 occasion about 50 per cent of the volunteers who applied failed to pass
20 the check and were not received into the Army of Yugoslavia. There is an
21 exhibit on record, P1938, which is actually information provided by the
22 command of the 3rd Army on the reception and deployment of volunteers in
23 the 3rd Army; and from this exhibit, it can clearly be seen that these
24 two collection centres existed near Belgrade and Nis where volunteers
25 were received and screened, and that this reception and screening were
1 never done at the level of the Pristina Corps.
2 Bearing in mind the stated facts and point 11 of the exhibit
3 mentioned, as well as the testimony by Witness Vasiljevic, it is clear
4 that the reception of the volunteers and taking them into the Army of
6 General Lazarevic. The volunteers who came -- arrived in the Pristina
7 Corps with their papers in order saying that they had passed their
8 screening tests had to, by law, be received into the Pristina Corps. And
9 we see no reason for General Lazarevic to refuse such orders. However,
10 in addition to this, to the fact that the screening of volunteers was
11 carried out at the level of the superior commands in Belgrade and Nis
12 the command of the Pristina Corps, General Lazarevic, although he was not
13 in charge of receiving the volunteers and selecting them, nonetheless
14 exercised firm control over those who were received into the Pristina
16 From Exhibits P1938 and P1943, we can see that straight away, in
17 a very short period of time, after they had been received part of the
18 volunteers were sent away from the corps at the insistence of General
19 Lazarevic. They were sent back, and another portion of the volunteers
20 were held in detention because they had been suspected of perpetrating
21 certain crimes.
22 General Lazarevic in his testimony before this Court confirms
23 these claims with respect to the procedure in which the volunteers were
24 received and stressed that the reception of the volunteers at the level
25 of the brigade -- or rather, was at the level of the brigade of the
1 Pristina Corps was at the -- under the authority of the superior command
2 and then was sent down to the subordinate units. The accused Lazarevic,
3 on page 17979 of his testimony, stressed that on the basis of an order
4 from the command of the 3rd Army, the Pristina Corps command issued its
5 own order to form a reception subcentre at the level of the Pristina
6 Military District for volunteers from Kosovo. The substance of that
7 order was that from the subcentre, all the volunteers from Kosovo were
8 sent out to the reception centre of the 3rd Army in Nis in order to
9 undergo the prescribed procedures. So there was no way, therefore, in
10 which the volunteers from Kosovo could be received straight away and join
11 up with the Pristina Corps straight away in Kosovo without having
12 previously been through the screening process in the reception or
13 collection centre in Nis
14 I am going to round up this topic by indicating PD 315 --
15 Exhibit 315 to -- 5D to the Trial Chamber, an order signed by General
16 Lazarevic, in which we can see that General Lazarevic took additional
17 steps to control the volunteers; and from this exhibit, we can clearly
18 see that once he noticed any abuse in the use of arms by recruits and
19 volunteers, he would issue orders to his subordinate officers that
20 whenever non-military conduct was observed, that those persons should be
21 sent to a medical commission straight away and after a decision that
22 these persons should be sent away from the army. And this can clearly be
23 seen from Exhibit 5D315.
24 The Prosecutor suggested to us that in the units of the Army of
1 Defence witness, Vlatko Vukovic, in his oral testimony claims that in his
2 battalion there was no permanent volunteer or platoon as a military unit;
3 and he goes on to explain that on one occasion after the beginning of a
4 large land offensive by the KLA across Mount Pastrik, he ordered the
5 command of the 1st Company to establish a volunteer platoon only for that
6 occasion. He also mentioned that that particular platoon was composed of
7 soldiers from units that were subordinate to him who were doing their
8 regular military service and not made up of volunteers who had signed up
9 as volunteers.
10 Those soldiers who signed up voluntarily for the action in the
11 combat diary or war diary were referred to as phantoms. Witness Vukovic
12 went on to explain that this name, "phantoms," was a code-name, a signals
13 code-name used just for that action for the 30th of May, 1999, and that
14 this encrypted name was -- came into being by the commander, who thought
15 it up.
16 Now, I'd like to indicate P2010, a Prosecution exhibit, and draw
17 your attention to that, which is the war diary of the 2nd Battalion,
18 Vukovic's battalion, and to take a look at the entry for the 28th of May
19 in that war diary. From this exhibit, you will clearly and unequivocally
20 find confirmation of the testimony given by Witness Vlatko Vukovic. This
21 Prosecution exhibit which represents a telegram sent out by Vukovic's
22 battalion fully corresponds to the exhibits and evidence; and from the
23 entry of the 28th of May, 1999, you can clearly see that Vukovic issued
24 the order for a volunteer platoon to be formed. During the 29th of May,
25 he issued them an assignment to take control of a certain defence line.
1 Therefore, the Prosecutor went on to suggest that volunteer detachments
2 existed which were called "phantoms"; whereas, I ask you to look at the
3 exhibits and to find an explanation of how those units were formed.
4 And with the Trial Chamber's permission, I would like now to move
5 on to another area and to deal with what the Prosecutor stated with
6 respect to the credibility of General Lazarevic's testimony. In the
7 closing arguments, the Prosecutor puts to the Trial Chamber that the
8 accused Lazarevic was not quite sincere and frank in testifying before
9 the Trial Chamber on all points.
10 First of all, with respect to what he said in his interview to
11 Mr. Philip Coo with respect to the Joint Command, the Prosecution allows
12 for the possibility that memories after six or seven years after the
13 event, that that is based on that memory, but that there is no
14 significant discrepancy between what the accused said in his interview
15 and in his testimony before the distinguished Trial Chamber.
16 Now I would like to remind the Trial Chamber that General
17 Lazarevic, several days after his Initial Appearance before this
18 Tribunal, demanded and requested that he give an interview to the
19 Prosecutor. We claim, we state, that someone who was ready to lie or not
20 to tell the truth would not ever ask to testify or to provide interviews
21 without previously having become acquainted either with the attending
22 material, the attachments. Any reasonable person would, first of all,
23 look at the supporting material and see what the Prosecution has against
24 him and then hold forth on the subject. The disclosure of evidence would
25 last until the autumn of 2005, and General Lazarevic gave his interview
1 in February, as I say, several days after his Initial Appearance before
2 this Tribunal.
3 General Lazarevic testified before this Trial Chamber; and he
4 testified, once again, in front of all his witnesses -- or rather, before
5 all his witnesses. Now, we claim again that somebody who had the
6 intention of not telling the truth would never do something like that.
7 My colleague Mr. Hannis especially emphasizes that the accused
8 Lazarevic did not testify sincerely and truthfully about P1966, exhibits,
9 and P1967, and they are ordered titled "Joint Command for KiM" and have
10 the following number, 455/56, strictly confidential, and a supplement,
11 455/56/1 of the 22nd of March, 1999. I'd like to remind the
12 Trial Chamber that it is a decision linked to the action to route the
13 Siptar terrorists in the region of Malo Kosovo.
14 The Prosecution goes on to claim that the accused was not sincere
15 and rank with respect to the supplement to this order when he suggested
16 that the command post of the Pristina Corps had been dislocated and that
17 it was in the village of Lausa
18 evidence which confirm the testimony of General Lazarevic in this area
19 and leave no doubt as to his sincerity. Witness Mihajlo Gergar, for
20 example, on page 21530 of the transcript, in response to a question put
21 to him by Mr. Stamp, said that the command post of the Pristina Corps was
22 in the Pristina sector, and that the commander informed him that for this
23 specific action a group of officers from the Pristina Corps would arrive
24 in the Lausa village sector to command the units of the army in that
25 particular action. These claims are borne-out by Witness Radojko
1 Stefanovic as well, the main operative in the Pristina Corps, who on page
2 21666 of the transcript to 21668, in testifying about this supplement to
3 the order, P1967, says, first of all, that it was signed because it was a
4 telegram, in fact, since the signature is on the left-hand side, and that
5 in the sector of Lausa village, the command post was of the 354th
6 Brigade, and that the corps commander sent to the -- a team through the
7 corps command which led the action from the command post at the village
8 Lausa sector. And this witness also goes on to record two concrete
9 names, the names of officers who were sent to this command post, and goes
10 on to explain that Lausa and the hill there was a suitable place for
11 leading the action.
12 The Prosecution also casts doubt on the testimony of General
13 Lazarevic and his sincerity with respect to the armed non-Siptar
14 population which is mentioned in certain directives, orders -- and orders
15 which we mentioned at the beginning of our presentation. General
16 Lazarevic testified and said that the term relates to the civilian
17 defensive protection and that the name was inherited from the times of
18 All People's Defence, the All People's Defence system. The Prosecutor
19 went on to suggest that the accused Lazarevic for executing certain tasks
20 used the armed non-Siptar population by relying on P2808, Exhibit P2808.
21 We agree that in the order to rout and destroy the Siptar
22 terrorist forces in Malisevo, Malo Kosovo, and that general area, P2808,
23 there is a clause stating that the armed non-Siptar population will be
24 engaged to secure military facilities and roads and for the defence of
25 built-up areas without a Siptar population.
1 Now, we'd like to draw the attention of the Trial Chamber to the
2 fact that that clause word by word was transcribed from an order of the
3 3rd Army, Grom 3, from the 27th of January, 1999, where under point 5.1,
4 a task was given for the Pristina Corps to engage the armed non-Siptar
5 population. In his testimony, the accused Lazarevic in addition to
6 explaining the fact that as corps commander, he had no authority under
7 the law to change the tasks set by the army command, nonetheless stressed
8 that he as corps commander never issued any specific order to his
9 subordinate units to deploy any element of the armed non-Siptar
11 Your Honours, in the corpus of -- in the body of the exhibits and
12 evidence shown, we have a large number of Pristina Corps orders, and I'd
13 like to call upon my learned friend of the Prosecution where -- any
14 instance where a specific task was given to any section of the armed
15 non-Siptar population. You have detailed orders with respect to the
16 deployment and tasks of the units, their movements, but nowhere will you
17 find a single task issued to the armed non-Siptar population. Therefore,
18 General Lazarevic was telling the truth.
19 The Prosecutor, nonetheless, spreads its doubt and suspicions on
20 this fact and deduces that the clause is to be found in Lazarevic's
21 version of Grom 3, which if you look at the date comes before Grom 4 by
22 the 3rd Army and Grom 4 of the staff of the Supreme Command. Given a
23 situation of war and chaos, the Defence can interpret this only as being
24 a technical error in the date when it was registered or some other
25 technical problem that might have happened, unless the Prosecutor claims
1 that at one point in time in the Army of Yugoslavia the chain of command
2 went from the Pristina Corps towards the Supreme Command Staff. So,
3 apart from a technical error, there can be no other logical conclusion.
4 And, finally, the Prosecution has suggested that the accused
5 Lazarevic was not truthful and sincere to the Trial Chamber when
6 testifying about Witness Peraj and Lazarevic's alleged presence at the
7 forward command post in Djakovica on the 28th of April, 1999. In order
8 to support its allegations, the Prosecution states that there is a combat
9 report of the 125th Motorised Brigade where it is stated that in that
10 brigade, Lazarevic was there between 9.00 and 12.00, and that the Defence
11 offered evidence -- offered up evidence which showed that Lazarevic on
12 that same day at 9.00 was several kilometres away and that is to -- the
13 document that speaks about the elements of the 37th Motorised Brigade
14 which were lodged in a stream which couldn't move out of a stream with
15 their motorised vehicle. They state that Lazarevic could not have been
16 in two places at the same time.
17 We wish to draw the Trial Chamber's attention to the fact that
18 combat reports are documents in which precise times are not entered to
19 the minute. In addition to this, the witness General Lazarevic -- or
20 rather, General Zivanovic, the commander of the 125th Motorised Brigade,
21 on transcript page 2608 to 2609 testified that from the place where
22 General Lazarevic allegedly saw elements of the 37th Brigade to Pec where
23 the command post of his brigade is, there is a 15- to 20-minute drive.
24 So if somebody entered into the combat report that from 9.00 to 12.00 the
25 general was in the brigade command, then it's quite logical and possible
1 that he arrived there at 20 past 9.00.
2 Finally, all this is not really important because the Prosecutor
3 made an error concerning the date because all of this refers to the 29th
4 of April, a day when the Reka operation was already over. In view of the
5 fact that the Defence also had evidence about the 29th showed nonetheless
6 where General Lazarevic was on the 29th. However, Witness Peraj claims
7 he saw him in Djakovica on the 28th, and there was certain -- there was a
8 certain amount of confusion in the cross-examination which can only show
9 that there might have been a mistake about the date, the 27th or the
10 28th. All the other evidence clearly shows that on the 28th of April in
11 the afternoon, the action in the Caragoj valley was already over. The
12 29th of April then, as regards this action, is of no importance
14 Let me remind you of the testimony of General Lazarevic
15 concerning the dates of the 27th and 28th of April. General Lazarevic
16 pointed out that on the 27th of April, he was in Pristina and that he
17 knew that because on that day there had been a modest celebration of
18 statehood day in Pristina in the presence of the commander of the
19 3rd Army and the commanders of the subordinate units. On the 28th of
20 April, General Lazarevic says that in the early morning hours, he moved
21 with the command from the Kisnica area and the area of Gracanicka Jezero
22 towards the urban part of Pristina, and that in the early morning hours,
23 he toured a group in Pristina which was commanded by Colonel Filipovic
24 and received a humanitarian organization, the Serb Sisters Circle, and
25 that he spent the whole day in Pristina. He also testified about the
1 29th of April and said that in the morning, he went from Pristina in the
2 direction of Pec in order to visit the 125th Motorised Brigade, and at
3 about 9.00 in the morning, he met these elements of the 37th Brigade.
4 But as we said, that date is actually of no importance.
5 The testimony of General Lazarevic about where he was on the 27th
6 and 28th of April is confirmed by numerous documents and by other
7 witnesses. Witness Milutin Filipovic confirmed before this Chamber the
8 statements of General Lazarevic that on the 27th of April, 1999
9 was a celebration of statehood day in Pristina and that there were many
10 members of the corps present there including General Lazarevic and
11 General Pavkovic. That's transcript page 19163.
12 This same witness went on to testify that on the following day,
13 the 28th of April in the morning, General Lazarevic visited his command
14 and that then they went to the Grand Hotel where they received a
15 humanitarian organization, the Circle of Serbian Sisters, which as this
16 witness remembers well was represented by Zaga Pavlovic. That's
17 transcript page 19164.
18 I wish to draw the Trial Chamber's attention to a Prosecution
19 exhibit, P2297, and the entry for the 28th of April. That is the war
20 diary of the 52nd Battalion of the military police which in part secured
21 the corps command. From the entry of the 28th of April, one can clearly
22 see and confirm General Lazarevic's statement that the command of the
23 Pristina Corps on that morning moved from Kisnica to the town of Pristina
24 itself. Exhibit P1086 and P159 which are the war diary of the 52nd
25 Artillery Rocket Brigade, PVO, it can be seen -- of the anti-aircraft
1 defence, that is, it can be seen that from the entry of the 10th of
2 April, 1999, under point 7 one can see that General Lazarevic spent a
3 brief time at the command and Djakovica and was briefed on the situation
4 at the state border in the area of Kosare and Morine.
5 Also P1086 and 5D170, the entry for the 26th of May, 1996 --
6 1999, under point 6 one can see that commanders of the 3rd Army and
7 Pristina Corps arrived on a visit.
8 Your Honours, why am I mentioning all these exhibits? The 52nd
9 Artillery Rocket Brigade of the anti-aircraft defence covered the
10 Djakovica garrison. General Lazarevic testified as did many other
11 witnesses that from the beginning of the war, he was in Djakovica on only
12 two occasions. From the exhibits I have shown you, it can clearly be
13 seen that the arrival of the corps commander was, in fact, entered into
14 the war diary. If the corps commander was in Djakovica on the 27th or
15 the 28th of April, had he been in Djakovica on those dates, it would have
16 to have been entered clearly in the war diary; however, the war diary
17 contains no entry showing that the commander visited, which is additional
18 evidence that he did not.
19 We have also shown you an exhibit which shows that General
20 Lazarevic on the 28th of April at the command post in Pristina signed a
21 combat report. He personally signed a combat report, and this is in our
22 closing brief, in our final brief. I wish to point the Trial Chamber to
23 parts of our final brief where in paragraphs 450 to 461, we dealt in
24 detail with testimony of Witness Nike Peraj as regards these facts which
25 we wish to present to you now briefly, as regards General Lazarevic's
1 presence at the forward command post in Djakovica.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, there's certainly no need to repeat
3 what's in your final brief. I may have misunderstood you earlier, but I
4 thought you said on Friday that a large part of your submission would be
5 made by Mr. Cepic and would be a detailed review of the final brief of
6 the Lukic Defence. Now, have I misunderstood you? I wouldn't like to
7 think that you're ruling out the possibility of dealing with that
8 adequately if that's your intention.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, that will be
10 shorter than my arguments, so I think that it will fall within the
11 time-frame, and we will be finished today in any case.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. It is important that you deal with the
13 credibility of Mr. Lazarevic; on the other hand, as I say, there's no
14 need to repeat things which are already in your final brief. So please
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree, Your Honour. We have
17 dealt with this in far greater detail in our final brief, and I have
18 completed that topic now.
19 I only wanted to say that as regards the action in the Djakovica
20 area and the Reka action, we have a detailed discussion of that in
21 paragraphs 359 to 466 of our closing brief, and we ask the Trial Chamber
22 to read what we say carefully.
23 Your Honours, my learned friend Mr. Hannis in his closing
24 arguments suggested that the military organs did not take sufficient
25 measures to punish those responsible for crimes, and he gave an example
1 of Markovic's book, P1011. We wish to remind Your Honours that Djuro
2 Blagojevic, a Defence witness, who at the relevant time was the military
3 prosecutor at the command of the Pristina Military District, explained
4 that two military prosecutor's offices in the Kosovo area in the course
5 of the war received 2.832 criminal reports, of which 492 were for
6 violations of international humanitarian law. These criminal reports
7 were submitted by the security organ of the Pristina Corps. Both
8 Prosecution and Defence witnesses confirmed that the submission of a
9 criminal report is where the obligation of the military commander stops.
10 General Vasiljevic explained that by submitting a criminal
11 report, filing criminal report, with the judicial organs meant that
12 General Lazarevic had fulfilled his duty. That's transcript page 8969.
13 We saw that there was even a military disciplinary court in Nis for
14 serious violations of military discipline, and General Lazarevic's remit
15 was only to punish less-serious violations of military discipline. A
16 Prosecution witness, General Vasiljevic, spoke about this.
17 The fact that filing a report fulfils the duty of the commander
18 can clearly be concluded and drawn from the main -- I apologise to the
20 In Article 138 of the FRY constitution, it says: "Military
21 courts are independent and proceed according to the law."
22 In Article 2 dealing with military courts, it says that: "The
23 military courts are independent and act on their own." No one can
24 influence them. Why am I saying this? We wish to ask the Trial Chamber
25 when analysing these allegations by the Prosecution to bear in mind that
1 in the 78, I think, days of the war, the organs of the Pristina Corps
2 filed 492 reports concerning serious violations of international
3 humanitarian law. If we bear in mind the constitutional provisions we
4 have shown you and the testimonies showing that from that point on the
5 courts were independent in carrying out their judicial functions and that
6 filing a report transfers all responsibility and all responsibility of
7 General ends there, and, then, although we claim that the results of the
8 final trials are not bad, this has no influence on the measures General
9 Lazarevic took for the perpetrators of crimes to be brought to justice
10 and tried.
11 Prosecution witness General Vasiljevic in his testimony before
12 this Tribunal as regards these issues pointed out unambiguously that
13 there was no intention on the part of the Army of Yugoslavia to cover up
14 crimes; and he stressed that General Farkas after touring the units of
15 the security organ of the corps gave a very good assessment and said that
16 the people in these units should be promoted. That's transcript page
17 8976 to 8977.
18 This same witness, General Vasiljevic, confirmed that the reports
19 of the security organ of the corps on the crimes committed were dealt
20 with by the judicial organs, all of them except for the Gornja Klina case
21 which could not be dealt with because there could be no on-site
22 investigation in that area because the KLA had control over it. However,
23 to the best of his knowledge, this case was tried ultimately before the
24 military court in Nis
25 Geza Farkas in his testimony pointed out that at a meeting of the staff
1 of the Supreme Command of the 8th of June, 1999, it was established that
2 over 95 per cent of investigations in Kosovo had actually been carried
3 out as regards the members of the Army of Yugoslavia.
4 I wish to draw the Trial Chamber's attention to an exhibit which
5 shows beyond doubt the contribution General Lazarevic made to discover
6 the perpetrators of crimes rather than covering up. On the 26th of
7 April, we saw an exhibit saying that on the 8th of May - and let me
8 repeat - the assistant chief of security of the Pristina Corps, Stevan
9 Djurovic, informed General Vasiljevic of the results of the
10 investigations carried out by the Pristina Corps. So, on the 8th of May,
11 General Lazarevic sent General Djurovic, the deputy of the security
12 organ, to see what the security organs were doing. However, 5D379 shows
13 that as early as on the 26th of April, 1999, General Lazarevic personally
14 requested that professional personnel of the military medical academy
15 forensic pathologists be sent to carry out sanitization of the terrain
16 because there were indicia that some crimes had been perpetrated by
17 members of the army. So where is the cover-up in that?
18 You can clearly see from this exhibit that General Lazarevic was
19 requesting from the General Staff that experts be sent from the military
20 medical academy in order to establish what happened and to investigate
21 indicia that some military personnel were involved in the commission of
22 some crimes.
23 I'd like to remind the Trial Chamber that we heard testimony from
24 Major Milosavljevic in this court, and a medical expert from the military
25 medical academy who pursuant to General Lazarevic's request went to
1 Kosovo on two occasions and conducted exhumations and dealt with the
2 bodies found in two localities, Slovinje and Mali Alas.
3 We'd also like to remind of the following, that the Defence
4 offered up Exhibit PD 1366 [as interpreted], from which we can see that
5 on the basis of expertise by Dr. Milosavljevic, for Slovinje in Lipljan
6 municipality, UNMIK, the police in Kosovo, launched proceedings against
7 some local Serbs. 5D1366 is the exhibit number, and we can see that
8 those proceedings are still underway today in 2008; and they are still
9 being conducted because General Lazarevic already on the 26th of April
10 asked for forensic pathologists to be brought in to review the matter,
11 draw up documentation, and on the basis of that documentation, UNMIK is
12 trying people in Kosovo but not members of the Army of Yugoslavia. And
13 General Lazarevic said that teams should be called in because there were
14 indications that someone from the army had committed crimes.
15 Now, Your Honours, I'm going to cede the floor to my colleague
16 Mr. Cepic for his portion, and if I might be allowed ten minutes at the
17 very end to speak about the state of mind of my client and pursuant to
18 your decision.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
20 Mr. Cepic.
21 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Mr. President, members of the Trial Chamber, it is a privilege for me to
23 be able to present part of the closing arguments for the Defence team of
24 General Lazarevic. As my colleague Mr. Bakrac said before me, I'm going
25 to deal with part of the Lukic final brief because there were certain
1 statements made during the closing arguments. So I'd like to start off
2 with General Lukic's brief, and that portion of it, or rather,
3 paragraph 353, in order to add something to a statement made in that
5 Mention is made of Pauk, the Pauk group, within the frameworks of
6 the Army of Yugoslavia, and I'd like to draw the attention of the
7 Trial Chamber to General Stojanovic's testimony, Momir Stojanovic, and a
8 reference in the transcript 1977 [as interpreted] to 19780, in which
9 General Stojanovic explained that it was individuals who were received in
10 regular fashion to become members of the Army of Yugoslavia through
11 regular reception centres or collection centres and who as such were
12 deployed to units along the very border and at Kosare where it was most
13 difficult to defend the border line, individuals who had committed no
14 crimes and were later arrested for -- on other suspicions.
15 I'd also like to focus on paragraph 358 of that same brief, and
16 add to that the mention of Milan Jolovic is mentioned, a.k.a. Legenda.
17 I'd like to stress that no evidence was shown that a person with that
18 name and surname had ever taken part in any activities on the territory
19 of Kosmet relevant to the indictment. In paragraph 465 and 466, the
20 Defence of General Lukic deals with reserve police units, or rather,
21 departments, and there was no precise answer under whose structure --
22 under whose authority they existed. I would like to say that it is clear
23 from the evidence that we're dealing with structures within the
24 frameworks of the Ministry of the Interior; and, furthermore, the Defence
25 of General Lazarevic did show evidence indicating that certain problems
1 did exist around the military recruits who were kept in reserve police
2 departments. And all this is explained in greater detail in paragraphs
3 752 to 759 of our final brief, so the problems in relation to military
4 recruits and how long this structure was in existence for, March, April,
5 May, June of 1999.
6 The next thing I'd like to point out is the following, civil
7 defence and civil protection. The Defence of General Lukic in 467,
8 paragraph 467 onwards, especially 470, addresses that structure and
9 quotes the words of General Gajic to the effect that the weapons were
10 stored in the Army of Yugoslavia depots. Now, I'd like to stress with
11 respect to those allegations and the testimony of General Pantelic and a
12 statement which was under 3D1113, paragraph 30 of that exhibit where
13 General Pantelic clearly states that the ownership of the weapons used by
14 the army is the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or the federal government
15 who owns the weapons, has ownership of the weapons. And these statements
16 are borne-out by document 3D744, where it is clearly stated that the
17 administration for supplying the federal ministry must pass a decision
18 for -- in any case where weapons are handed over to someone else.
19 Then we have both Prosecution and Defence witnesses who confirmed
20 that we were dealing with independent structures. I shall quote the
21 testimony of Prosecution witness Aleksandar Vasiljevic on page 8963 of
22 the transcript, General Farkas 16290 transcript page; and I'd just like
23 to mention that General Farkas before the security organs of the Army of
25 know about all these issues.
1 Then I'd like to point out paragraph 648 of that same material
2 where it speaks of the border belt and its authority. I think there was
3 an error in interpreting the authorisations in the border belt, who has
4 what authority and what right to control the border belt; and, also, I'd
5 like to point out provisions of the law in crossing state borders and
6 movement along the border belt. And they are Exhibit 3D1122.
7 In Article 48, we clearly see that border military units are
8 there to provide security for the state border and have control over the
9 passage and movement of individuals in the border belt outside
10 settlements and border crossings in order to prevent unauthorised border
11 crossing, the crossing of the state border, and violations of the border
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic, what is the error in interpreting or
14 where is the error in interpretation that you're referring to?
15 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] The error is in the interpretation of
16 this provision in paragraph 644, where it states that the overall border
17 belt is exclusively controlled by the forces of the Army of Yugoslavia;
18 however, by indicating --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. You mean it's an error in Mr. Lukic's
20 interpretation that you're criticising?
21 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: And is it paragraph 644 or 648?
23 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] In both paragraphs that is the
24 interpretation given.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, thank you. We could return to that I think
1 after the break, so we'll interrupt you at this point and resume at ten
2 minutes to 11.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
6 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Let me continue where I left off, authority within the border
8 belt, and I quoted Article 48 of the Law on Crossing Borders and Movement
9 in the Border Belt. And now I'd like to quote provisions for that same
10 law, which says that control of crossing borders and passage and residing
11 in the border belt is done by the organs of the interior. And it is
12 clearly concluded that outside built-up areas, it is the Army of
14 border belt along with border crossings and other tasks are performed by
15 the organs of the interior. In addition, we saw examples in this case of
16 Kotlina, Ivaja, Zegra, and some other localities where the organs of the
17 interior performed their duties under their remit and authorisations.
18 And as to the humane conduct of members of the Yugoslav Army in
19 the border belt, we deal with that in our final brief, and I'd just like
20 to make a differentiation that was stressed by the Lukic Defence in their
21 final brief that we have examples on the casualties of a MUP patrol that
22 reported to General Delic -- or rather, a family that fell casualty
23 because of mines set along the road.
24 The Defence of General Lukic, in paragraph 779 of its final
25 brief, quotes the words of General Lazarevic to the effect that the
1 command of the Pristina Corps had between 5 and 600 men, and I'd like to
2 point out that reference where my client states that this relates to the
3 main command post if you count the elements. Elements, yes. Now, what
4 remains unclear is that elements along with the corps command are, in
5 fact, the command -- company providing security, the reconnaissance
6 company, and the signals company, and all the other units. And all this
7 is set out in detail in the instructions for the work of the commands and
8 staff, and the exhibit was 5D1252 in points 43 to 76, where these
9 elements of the command post are mentioned and set out. Let me just add
10 not to 5 to 600 professional officers in a corps command. How many would
11 the higher units have to have then, if that were the case?
12 I'm now going to look at the crime base. My colleague Mr. Hannis
13 in his closing arguments, on pages 26920-26922, he spoke about Izbica and
14 said that the only forces in the field were the MUP forces and the forces
15 of the Army of Yugoslavia, and he showed us a diagram to that effect of
16 the movement of forces and all this in connection with the order of the
17 Pristina Corps which had the heading Joint Command and was in e-court as
19 Now, I'd like to deal in brief with this and stress in particular
20 that in the area, there was a vast concentration of forces of the KLA;
21 and during the testimony of General Zivanovic, we heard claims and saw an
22 excerpt which was 5D1241, the exhibit number, the third video-clip in
23 order, and it was the celebrations in the village of Prekaze
24 half of March 1999. While the negotiations were going on in France
25 pompous parade was held of KLA forces in that locality with several
1 hundred fighters marching past, parading past. In a word, you can
2 clearly see that the territory was under their control.
3 We heard testimony about the action in that area by General
4 Nikolic [as interpreted] and General Zivanovic as well as General Mandic.
5 The Prosecutor omitted to indicate on the map the movement of forces of
6 the Tactical Group 252 which went from the south to the north, probably
7 wishing to show that the intention of the legitimate forces was to go
8 from north to -- to expel from north to south the population, which does
9 not correspond to the truth and the evidence presented.
10 The Prosecutor omitted to state that General Nikolic -- or
11 rather, let me be more precise. He did say that we saw -- just a
12 correction on page 36, line 20. It is General Dikovic not Nikolic,
13 Dikovic, D-i-k-o-v-i-c.
14 And the Prosecutor quotes Dikovic's combat report of the 28th of
15 March, 1999, where he is asking for instructions because of a possible
16 movement of civilians and then states that there was no report for the
17 following day. And I'd like to indicate -- to show the Trial Chamber
18 evidence and exhibits which the Prosecutor tendered into evidence, P2047
19 and P2048, and they are combat reports of the following day from which we
20 can see quite clearly that General Dikovic in the region of Srbica was
21 there to take on a new assignment and that the forces were under his
22 command in another area, outside the area previously designated.
23 We explained all this in detail in our final brief, and I draw
24 Your Honours' attention to paragraphs 125 to 174 in our final brief. I
25 also draw attention to the testimonies of General Dikovic, General
1 Zivanovic, and the markings on the maps, C157 and C164. I draw attention
2 to the testimony of the members of the MUP, Sladjan Pantic, who in his
3 testimony fully corroborated the axis of movement of General Dikovic's
4 units and the fact that the forces of the Army of Yugoslavia returned
5 above the village of Vocnjak
7 Likewise, I wish to point out once more that the judicial organs
8 of the Army of Yugoslavia after the discovery of mass graves took all the
9 necessary action to illuminate what happened. Djuro Blagojevic testified
10 to this, a witness here. As to documents, P955 General Gojovic's report,
11 the report of army prosecutor General Pavkovic, Stanimir Radosavljevic,
12 4D171. He was General Pakovic's Defence witness, that is. And Djuro
13 Blagojevic's words to the effect that an investigation had been carried
14 out independently of the civilian judicial organs, and that it had been
15 established that there was no army participation in the alleged -- or
16 rather, in the incident in Izbica.
17 I now wish to speak about Orahovac, a location dealt with both by
18 the Prosecutor and General Lukic's Defence, the anti-terrorist action in
19 late March 1999. The Prosecutor said that on transcript pages 26855 to
20 26859, and they refer to the order of the Pristina Corps command, P2015,
21 and the order of Colonel Bozidar Delic which is marked P1981.
22 General Lukic's Defence wishes to put forward an erroneous
23 interpretation of the words in the command -- in this order, saying that
24 it is issuing an order to the MUP forces, which according to our firm
25 belief cannot hold water. If we look at that order carefully, we see
1 that -- so the word "support" is wrongly defined, and the word
2 "coordinated action." If we look at this order carefully, we see quite
3 clearly that tasks are issued exclusively to the forces of the Army of
5 together with the MUP forces. In this order, we see that support will be
6 given to the 37th Detachment of the PJP, the 4th and 5th Company of the
7 Djakovica and Prizren PJP.
8 And now we arrive at a situation which indicates clearly that the
9 army neither planned nor ordered -- issued orders to the members of the
10 MUP. We heard the testimony of a protected witness who was a member of
11 quite a different unit of the PJP, a member of the 23rd Detachment of the
12 PJP, and who was a direct participant in this action. He stated quite
13 explicitly that in that action only orders within the MUP chain of
14 command were obeyed. We saw diagrams showing the deployment of the
15 forces of the 23rd Detachment.
16 Could we move into private session for a moment so I can give you
17 the references?
18 JUDGE BONOMY: These are documents under seal, are they?
19 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I believe so, Your Honour, but just
20 in case. Yes, yes, they are.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. We shall go into private session.
22 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
19 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 In the final brief of General Lukic's Defence, General Kosovac's
21 words are misquoted; that's paragraph 532. He explained that there could
22 have been no resubordination because these were different structures,
23 both as regards command systems, recruitment systems, goals, and purpose,
24 different logistics, completely different, conditions of development; and
25 that's 15816 to 15817 in the transcript.
1 Likewise, Major Mladenovic, a Defence witness for General
2 Lazarevic, explained that as regards -- he was a judge, and he explains
3 that as regards disciplinary responsibility, there could have been no
4 resubordination because the documents governing sanctions and norms were
5 quite different in numerous aspects. I also wish to point to the
6 testimony of MUP witnesses who said that they regretted there had been no
7 resubordination. Let me mention Witness Bogunovic, transcript 25132,
8 25133; and Witness Damjanac, transcript 23763 and 23764; and where Judge
9 Mladenovic explains this is transcript page 21245.
10 The Ministry of the Interior had its own training system, and
11 this is seen clearly from 6D1328, 6D370; and then planning and other
12 activities also differed, as can be seen from the minutes from the MUP
14 What is also significant is that General Lazarevic's Defence and
15 other military defence teams, let me call them that, adduced a large
16 number of combat reports and interim reports of the units of the Army of
18 single MUP unit or a single member of the MUP was resubordinated at any
19 point in time throughout the relevant period and there were a large
20 number of these combat reports.
21 I now wish to draw attention to some technical points.
22 Paragraph 828, the Defence of General Lukic speaks about activities in
23 the Orahovac area, wishing to explain the movement of their forces
24 through a military port. Colonel Vukovic is misquoted here. He
25 allegedly said that the 4th Company of the 23rd Detachment had already
1 moved through the village; but if we look at Vukovic's statement
2 carefully, 5D1442, paragraph 22, this does not stand because Vukovic
3 explained in paragraph 21 that when the military forces were moving
4 through the village of Bela Crkva, there was a PJP unit there. And let
5 me remind Your Honours of (redacted)
6 (redacted) and paragraph 840 of the submission.
7 The witness was referring only to forces of the Army of
9 I also wish to draw the Trial Chamber's attention to the numerous
10 documents presented by the Defence and referred to in its closing brief
11 concerning the humane treatment of civilians in the Orahovac area by the
12 MUP forces [as interpreted]; also documents of the 252nd Brigade, 5D --
13 we have an error in the transcript.
14 I was referring to the humane treatment of civilians by the army.
15 Inter alia, there are documents of the 252nd Brigade, 5D963, 964, 965,
16 973, 974; and a (redacted)
18 transcript page 9721, lines 12 to 20, where in response to a question by
19 the Presiding Judge, he quite clearly stated that members of the army in
20 that area behaved humanely.
21 General Lukic's Defence in connection with Suva Reka, paragraphs
22 882 and 883, also put forward erroneous claims because there were no
23 orders to the 37th Detachment, and we heard a protected witness who was a
24 member of the MUP who explained quite clearly that members of the VJ had
25 no connection with any activities in the town of Suva Reka in late March
1 199 --
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the year.
3 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] And in Suva Reka in Belgrade
4 the war crimes chamber, there is a special trial now ongoing exclusively
5 against members of the MUP.
6 THE INTERPRETER: 1999 was the year.
7 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] I now wish to refer to a third
8 location, the village of Belanica
9 in that area. I wish to point out that the Defence of General Lukic
10 omitted to quote an order by the KLA leader, Colonel Bislim Zyrapi, he
11 was their chief, and the movement of their units.
12 What links three out of four orders with the heading "Joint
13 Command," joint command of the Pristina Corps, they had to do with the
14 crime base, and my colleague Mr. Bakrac spoke about this. I ask the
15 Trial Chamber to pay special attention to the transcript of the testimony
16 of Bislim Zyrapi, especially transcript pages 5990 to 6008.
17 And if possible, could we have in e-court Exhibit P2447. For the
18 sake of clarity, Colonel Zyrapi in his testimony clearly explains the
19 situation, the movement of the KLA forces, starting from the 24th or the
20 25th of March up to the 1st of April.
21 Can we zoom in on the map, please, and have it enlarged. A
22 little more, please. Thank you.
23 Colonel Zyrapi said that these zones that are marked here were
24 under the exclusive control of the KLA as well as other areas of the
25 territory. And according to his testimony, he was in this southern
1 portion marked here. But if we start from the north, we will clearly see
2 that this northern zone was under the control of the KLA and that the
3 action, according to the words of Colonel Zyrapi and according to what
4 the Defence witness said, was directed exclusively against those forces.
5 Colonel Zyrapi went on to explain that in the northern area -- well,
6 forces existed in the northern area. He mentioned the 112th Brigade of
7 the KLA, and this entire picture he substantiated through his testimony.
8 Therefore, it is diametrically opposed to what the Prosecutor claims in
9 his final brief.
10 As I was saying, diametrically opposed --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one moment, please, Mr. Cepic, there's a
12 matter I need to discuss with Mr. Haider.
13 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry about that, Mr. Cepic. Please continue.
15 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 We have the northern section that we discussed, which is where
17 the village of Izbica
18 that it was a matter of fighting between the KLA and the Serb forces, and
19 that the members of the KLA took with them the civilian population. And
20 that is linked to the order, P1968, of the 24th of March, 1999.
21 Let's now move southward and the sectors that Colonel Zyrapi
22 denoted with the letters A, B, C, and D. He clearly testified to the
23 action, the struggle between the Serb forces and the KLA and how it
24 evolved, starting with the most southerly part moving north and stresses
25 which villages were under KLA control, and says that throughout the time
1 they were moving the civilian population. They did that all the time.
2 According to his testimony, once again, the civilian population was moved
3 or moved at the village of Belanica
4 population was rallied. And Colonel Zyrapi issued an additional order
5 for the movement of civilians, and it is P2457. And in point 3 there, we
6 see that express order. All this coincides with the actions that were
7 undertaken pursuant to orders P2015, an order referring exclusively to
8 the forces of the Army of Yugoslavia, and P1969, in great detail and
9 fully argued.
10 And not to take up too much time, I'd just briefly like to deal
11 with the shelling that was raised by Kravetz, Ms. Kravetz. And the
12 Presiding Judge on 7959 of the transcript stressed in one of his
13 questions that we heard testimony about shelling in the courtroom but
14 that nobody could explain what the damages incurred were. It is logical
15 to conclude that even if there was shelling, therefore, it was directed
16 exclusively against the positions of the KLA who were outside built-up
17 areas and not in settlements. And closer reference is listed in our
18 final brief.
19 For Suva
20 given the signal from my colleague that I should speed up. So let me go
21 back to the map once again, Colonel Zyrapi's map, and all the actions and
22 all the movements here move from south to north, diametrically opposed to
23 what the Prosecution is claiming.
24 I'd now like to deal with Kacanik and Urosevac, and I'm going to
25 draw the Trial Chamber's attention to paragraphs 254 to 337 of the final
1 brief of our Defence team and state that what General Lukic's Defence
2 states in its brief that the villages of Slatina, Dubrava, and others
3 were in the area of Defence of the 243rd Brigade is erroneously
4 interpreted, that's not right. I believe that the city of The Hague
5 in the area of defence of some unit of the Dutch army, for instance. And
6 the city of Belgrade
7 unit or other. However, what is being mixed up here is the area of
8 deployment, the region of deployment, which are always outside inhabited
9 areas or built-up areas, and General Krsman Jelic explained this on 19147
10 and 48 of the transcript; whereas, the area of defence is of a much
11 broader concept, and General Krsman Jelic drew that for us in IC 141.
12 And, anyway, we heard the testimony from people that investigations in
13 Kotlina, for example, done by the members of the MUP, as I say we
14 explained that in greater detail previously.
15 Now just very briefly, both the Prosecutor and the Defence of
16 General Lukic referred to the relationship between Colonel Zivanovic and
17 Colonel Gergar. I'm just going to refer to an exhibit by Colonel Gergar
18 during the war. It is 5D1329, Exhibit 1329, from which we can clearly
19 see that Colonel Gergar himself marked in the forces of the Army of
21 other larger units. And this is clearly shown on the basis of this map.
22 And with regard to the fourth order linked to the crime base, P1975,
23 Bajgora, while that action was underway, Colonel Gergar had to see to
24 about 15.000 civilians, take care of about 15.000 civilians. And we deal
25 with this in our brief. I'd just like to indicate PD 601, 5.9, where
1 urgent food supplies are requested for the people, as well as the
2 testimony of Colonel Savic, and this was confirmed by Prosecution
3 witnesses about supplies and care in the village of Kicic
4 And just one more sentence -- a correction to the transcript, the
5 exhibit is 5D615. 5D615 was the previous exhibit number.
6 I shall briefly deal with Meja, and I draw the Trial Chamber's
7 attention to the extensive explanations provided by our team and what
8 Mr. Bakrac emphasized in the paragraphs of our brief. And I'd just like
9 to correct something said in paragraphs 1318 of the final brief of
10 General Lukic's Defence where they interpreted the words of Colonel
11 Jevtovic wrongly.
12 And, finally, to wind up, the legal basis for the activity and
13 actions of the forces was clearly stressed previously. I would just like
14 to challenge the claims made, or rather, put right the claims made in
15 General Lukic's defence brief, wherein paragraph 691 they claim that
16 during the war, that we have the basis for the work of the MUP. It is
17 the Law on Defence, 985, 5985 [as interpreted]; however, the
18 interpretation of that is wrong. It is not correct because it does not
19 derogate the basic law for action of the Ministry of the Interior, and it
20 is Exhibit P1737 that is relevant there.
21 And I'd like to draw your attention to provision 1 of that same
22 document which states that the internal affairs are determined by law and
23 the republican organs ensure the security of the republic through their
24 activities and the security of the citizens and ensure that the
25 constitution and laws establishing other citizens' rights are carried
1 through. The internal affairs of the state administration is conducted
2 by the MUP.
3 On the other hand, the constitution of the Federal Republic
5 we have 1D139 as being the relevant exhibit there which states that the
6 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has an army which defends the sovereignty
7 of its territory and the independence and constitutional order of the
9 Your Honours, thank you for listening to me with such great
10 attention. It was a privilege for me to be part of the General Lazarevic
11 Defence team. Thank you.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Cepic.
13 Mr. Bakrac.
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] With your permission, Your Honours,
15 I'd like to take up these ten minutes that are left to us to summarize
16 the mens rea of General Lazarevic as to whether he was conscious of the
17 existence of any plan and whether in a possible plan of that kind he took
18 part consciously. We maintain -- our position this: We maintain that in
19 view of the evidence that we drew the Trial Chamber's attention to, there
20 was no plan, no plan existed, and that General Lazarevic could not have
21 taken part in it therefore.
22 My learned friend Mr. Hannis, in his closing arguments of the
23 20th of this month, stressed that we heard numerous witnesses testifying
24 in court here and that they all deny the existence of the plan for three
25 reasons, one of the reasons being, as Mr. Hannis referred to Witness
1 Mijatovic, that a large number of witnesses, military officers, did not
2 know of the existence of a plan, they were not told of the existence of a
3 plan, and they were not in a position to be acquainted with any such
5 We'd like to draw the Trial Chamber's attention to the fact that
6 General Lazarevic's Defence witnesses for the most part were officers who
7 were occupying positions of brigade commanders immediately subordinate to
8 General Lazarevic. Now, had a plan of any kind existed and if General
9 Lazarevic took part consciously in any such plan, those witnesses are
10 precisely the sole individuals through which General Lazarevic would have
11 been in a position of putting that plan into effect. They were
12 immediately subordinated to him. If they knew about the plan and took
13 part in the plan, then it was through the brigade commanders that that
14 plan would necessarily have had to be implemented.
15 Now, since the Prosecutor himself puts through his case and his
16 thesis and assertions that many of them did not know of the existence of
17 a plan or were not in a position to learn of its existence, then there
18 was a greater burden of proof -- there is a greater burden of proof on
19 the Prosecutor himself to prove that General Lazarevic was part of a
20 plan, took part in the plan, knew about the plan, and put into effect the
21 plan. To have assertions is not enough. The assertion that General
22 Lazarevic at the relevant time for the indictment was commander of the
23 Pristina Corps is just not sufficient to do that.
24 As to the mens rea of General Lazarevic, his state of mind, his
25 participation in the plan, the Prosecution has not offered up a shred of
1 evidence to show that.
2 I call upon the Trial Chamber - and I'm going to skip over some
3 concrete examples here - I'd like to remind the Trial Chamber of the
4 testimony of General Lazarevic himself when Judge Bonomy noticed that at
5 one point we travelled through numerous which showed orders for seeing
6 and caring for the civilian population, orders issuing cautions to
7 subordinate units to behave humanely towards the civilians and to show
8 full respect for humanitarian law, and to do their utmost to take every
9 effort to ensure that the civilian population were properly treated in a
10 humane way and in a proper manner.
11 And I'd like here to indicate and draw your attention
12 to paragraphs 845 to 921, and I'd like to ask the Trial Chamber to look
13 into these exhibits in great detail; and from all of them, we can see
14 that care and attention paid by General Lazarevic to the civilian
15 population, his concerns for the civilian population. And the evidence
16 and exhibits are dated from mid-March, the second half of March, from the
17 very beginning of April; therefore, the exhibits show that from the very
18 outset of the war, General Lazarevic paid great care about conduct
19 towards the civilian population.
20 And I'd especially like to point out to the Trial Chamber the
21 fact that General Lazarevic insisted in Exhibit PD365 [as interpreted],
22 points 3, 4, and 5, that the subordinate units -- he demanded that the
23 subordinate units provide for the unimpeded engagement and work of the
24 military investigating organs and the judiciary, and that all members of
25 the corps should adhere strictly to international humanitarian law and
1 all the orders of the Pristina Corps to date. In the same order, it is
2 requested that help be provided for the return of displaced persons;
3 P2029, point 4 also indicates this.
4 It should also be stressed, and this can be seen from P1306, that
5 General Lazarevic issued a special order demanding that in all units of
6 the Pristina Corps, Special Forces be formed to look after the civilian
7 population, and they are ordered to find out the numbers of displaced
8 civilians in the areas where the units are deployed in order to provide
9 sufficient foodstuffs for the population and other necessities of life.
10 That's P1306.
11 And to avoid repetition, there are numerous exhibits showing that
12 General Lazarevic was careful to ensure that his units treated civilians
13 humanely, and that they returned them to the villages and towns from
14 which they had been displaced. And I wish to draw Your Honours'
15 attention to 5D372, where General Lazarevic orders his subordinate units,
16 and I quote that: "The return of the civilian population to their towns
17 and villages from which they had moved out should be speeded up." He
18 asks the brigade commanders not to allow the civilian population to be in
19 places where refugees gather, but that they should be returned to the
20 places from which they had fled. So he is not carrying out a plan to
21 expel them; on the contrary, he's demanding that civilians be returned to
22 the towns and villages from which they had fled due to the fighting.
23 There is numerous evidence also which this Defence has tried to
24 show were not just something on paper, that the subordinate units
25 actually did implement these orders, and that they reported to General
1 Lazarevic about the way in which his orders were being implemented.
2 And, finally, let me say that all the exhibits we have mentioned
3 indicate that the accused General Lazarevic legitimately believed and had
4 reason to believe that as the corps commander, he was fighting to
5 preserve the sovereignty and integrity of his country, and the most
6 impressive piece of evidence for this assertion for the Defence was
7 provided by the Prosecutor, in fact. The Prosecution office which
8 brought an insider witness from the VJ, K-73, who said that General
9 Lazarevic was someone all the officers thought highly of, that they
10 considered him a professional soldier, a good, honest, and honourable
11 man, and a strong commander. In the opinion of this witness, General
12 Lazarevic was never a politician or a careerist. He was a military
13 leader, a soldier who was defending his country.
14 Let me remind Your Honours that this witness asked the Chamber
15 for permission to address General Lazarevic directly; and on that
16 occasion, he said that it had been an honour for him to serve his country
17 under the command of General Lazarevic.
18 Your Honours, bearing in mind all the evidence to which the
19 Defence has pointed in its closing arguments and final brief, we propose
20 and we move that the Trial Chamber acquit General Lazarevic of all
21 responsibility in relation to all the counts of the indictment.
22 Thank you, Your Honours, for allowing me extra time for my
23 closing arguments.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, do you envisage asking to address us
3 MR. HANNIS: I do, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Have you any idea of the extent of that?
5 MR. HANNIS: I'll try to be very short because --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: No, I'm not asking you to be very short. I'm just
7 asking you if you can give me some guidance on what you envisage.
8 MR. HANNIS: Well, right now, in light of what's been said, maybe
9 an hour, and there may be some more after Mr. Lukic.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you very much.
11 And be clear that we do wish you to address anything that you
12 feel, in light of all that's been said, ought to be drawn to our
13 attention without having too close regard to the issue of timing at this
14 late stage in the proceedings.
15 We have to adjourn now and that will have to be until tomorrow,
16 I'm afraid, because I'm told all the courtrooms will be fully occupied
17 this afternoon. Tomorrow, the sitting time is 2.15. If at a reasonable
18 time we were to discover that the morning was available, then you would
19 be notified in the hope that we could re-arrange things; but as presently
20 advised, that is unlikely and therefore we adjourn now until 2.15
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.48 a.m.
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 26th day of
24 August, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.