1 Tuesday, 1 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- On commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, you may continue.
7 WITNESS: VLATKO VUKOVIC [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice: [Continued]
10 Q. May we have a cite, please, from the book you were reading from
11 yesterday when you were reciting what the book said about a conversation
12 between the NATO pilot and a controller. Open it, please, at the page of
13 the conversation and hand it to me. Page 86.
14 A. Just a second.
15 Q. Can you also hand me, please -- I don't know if it's been made to
16 produce it, but I'd like to see the leaflet that you've produced that I
17 think you were suggesting was dropped by a plane. It was in a plastic
19 A. I have even more than that, Mr. Nice. I have lots of things. I
20 don't know which one you're interested in. I think it was this strategic
21 bomber B52.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues]... produced yesterday, please.
23 So if you just hand me the one you showed.
24 A. Well, I wanted to show them all to you, but I haven't been
1 Q. As to the conversation allegedly recorded and set out in the book,
2 have you ever heard that audiotape yourself, if it exists?
3 A. First of all, it's not "allegedly recorded." It's been recorded.
4 I even heard the audiotape. And by the way, it was broadcasted on various
5 media, including, I believe, by your radio stations. And only after that
6 Jamie Shea was forced to admit that it was NATO planes who targeted the
8 Q. [Previous translation continues]... have you brought a recording
9 with you?
10 A. No, I haven't brought the recording with me, but I can get hold of
11 it and make it available subsequently, if you want me to.
12 Q. [Previous translation continues]... check what you've read out
13 from the book, please. Where can we --
14 A. Well, I told you. You can get hold of it, in addition to official
15 documents that are certainly available in the military archives, you can
16 get it from Radio Television Belgrade, from CNN, BBC. Any serious
17 broadcasting agency. Your contact will be able to give you the recording.
18 Q. Very well.
19 A. And by the way, you can get it from the command of the NATO
20 forces, if they are willing to give it to you.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues]... return to this topic if I
22 think it justifies the time later.
23 As to records, contemporaneous records, this: When you responded
24 to the Commission for Cooperation, what contemporaneous, what originally
25 contemporaneous records did you have to refer to, if any?
1 A. If I understand you correctly, you're asking me about the
2 occasions when I gave statements to the commission, what relevant
3 documents I had available to me. Well, that depends on the activity the
4 statement concentrated on. When I gave a statement about the activity of
5 my unit and its involvement in the anti-terrorist action in the broader
6 area of Orahovac, which in principle includes Celine, by that time I had a
7 couple of documents from that period; namely, the order of the brigade
8 commander --
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
10 A. Well, I am telling you. I had the order of the brigade commander
11 for the anti-terrorist action. I had his original decision map, and I had
12 his subsequent analysis that he prepared after the anti-terrorist action.
13 I believe some of these documents have been introduced here, and I have
14 all three of them; the order, the map - or, rather, the decision - and the
15 analysis. They are numbers 3, 4 and 5 in my set.
16 Q. Apart from the map and the order, what other documents did you
17 have available to you to refer to when preparing the statements for the VJ
19 A. It was not a commission of the army of Yugoslavia. It was a
20 Commission for Cooperation with the International Tribunal for the former
21 Yugoslavia. As for that period, I only had these three documents, as I've
22 said. And of course I had what every man has, my own memories.
23 Q. Very well. [Previous translation continues]...
24 A. And even before I received this task, I spoke to my superiors.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nice perhaps you can assist on this. My
1 understanding was that it was a commission established by the VJ.
2 MR. NICE: Yes, it was.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Albeit the membership wasn't military but much
4 wider than that.
5 MR. KAY: The evidence we've had was that it was set up by one of
6 the ministers who organised the particular Commission for Cooperation with
7 the Tribunal.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: But this particular commission, you say, wasn't
9 confined to military evidence?
10 MR. KAY: No.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. The documents we have --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. The documents we have, to some of which reference has been made,
17 that it was established, indeed, by the Ministry of the Defence in April
18 of 2001, and insofar as I can find the first original document from our
19 file on this, it's been translated --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: It's not necessary to resolve this just now,
21 Mr. Nice.
22 MR. NICE: No, no. I'll find the earliest title, but there's
23 never really been any doubt that it's a VJ body - I'll deal with it as
24 necessary with this witness - which came between the National Council for
25 Cooperation and the army for the purpose of the provision of material by
1 those in the army or by the army itself, but I'll get the original
2 documents for the best description that we can in the most economic way.
3 Q. Mr. Vukovic, I'm only concerned to know what documents you had
4 available to you when you made your statements to the -- or for the
5 commission. You've referred to the two documents from Delic and the one
6 map. Do I take it that you did not have access to your daily records,
7 subsequently called -- or daily reports, subsequently called combat
9 A. I did not say that I had two documents. I said I had had three;
10 namely, the order, the decision on the map, and third, the analysis, the
11 estimate of the anti-terrorist action. Furthermore, what you're talking
12 about are not my notes. Those were documents prepared by the unit, but I
13 don't have them because they stayed in the archives.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
15 A. I received them about month --
16 Q. [Previous translation continues]... listen to the questions. Just
17 give you an example. Take your time because we want to save your time. I
18 asked you if, apart from two documents and one map, you had access to your
19 daily combat reports or daily reports. The answer is no, you didn't have
20 access to them; correct? That's all you needed to say.
21 A. Mr. Nice, if you ask me such a specific question, you have
22 received a specific answer. Look at the transcript. You just said that I
23 had said that I had two documents, Delic's documents. It's the document
24 of the brigade commander. It's not Delic's document. And my answer would
25 be that at that time I certainly did not have --
1 Q. [Previous translation continues]... I'm going to make them much
2 simpler for you, because I suspect you're wasting time, or suggest you're
3 wasting time, but if you find them difficult ... Now, listen to this
4 question: When you made your statements to the VJ commission, did you
5 have the war diary of your unit?
6 A. I did not have the war diary of my unit.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 A. But I don't think you understand my answer.
9 Q. Did you have the war diary of your commander, Delic's, brigade?
10 A. Well, you're obviously not listening to me. The only three
11 documents that I had I enumerated for you. If I tell you that they were
12 the only three documents, that means I didn't have any more.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: You are to answer the question that has been
14 asked. The question is did you have the war diary of your commander,
15 Delic's, brigade? What's the answer; yes or no?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The answer is no.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. How many statements did you make in the course of your dealings
20 with the commission?
21 A. Well, I cannot be precise about that, but it was from ten to 15
22 statements, with a proviso that two statements were given for -- or,
23 rather, concerning the area of Korenica, and the other statements --
24 Q. [Previous translation continues]... of eight, I think. Do you
25 have all the ten to 15 with you so that we can discover what are the other
1 statements you've made that haven't been provided to us?
2 A. I think the only thing that's missing is my statement concerning
3 Brestovac, Randubrava, and the other statements are here.
4 Q. Do you have those other statements in your possession today so
5 that I can read them or have them read?
6 A. I do, Mr. Nice. I do have my statements. And I also have the
7 statements of my subordinates whom you did not allow me to mention. They
8 are some of the --
9 Q. Pausing there.
10 A. -- officers who were --
11 Q. Mr. Vukovic, you're making a lot of commentary in the course of
12 your answers. Can you explain why you say I didn't allow you to refer to
13 the statements of your subordinates? We haven't reached that yet. Why
14 did you say I didn't allow you to refer to the statements your
16 A. I didn't say that you did not allow me. I said that I had not
17 been allowed to do that. It all depends on the interpretation you're
18 getting, Mr. Nice.
19 Q. I'm told that your language was quite specific. You sought to lay
20 the blame at me, at my door, and this characterises your evidence. You're
21 an extremely partial witness, Mr. Vukovic, aren't you?
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, Mr. Nice, the witness explains that he did
23 not say that you prevented him. He said that he was prevented.
24 MR. NICE: I have the advantage of --
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: It may have been a matter of translation. Let's
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. Tell me, please, are you aware of an operation known as Grabez?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Were you aware of an operation, whatever it may have been named,
6 organised by Farkas to deal with army officers who it was thought were out
7 of line, acting out of line?
8 A. I don't know. If you mean Geza Farkas, I know him personally, but
9 I have never had any professional contact with him during my entire
10 service. As for the action you are referring to, I never heard of it.
11 Q. Very well.
12 A. But I know about the order issued by my immediate superior
13 concerning discipline and concerning all incidents of violation of that
14 discipline --
15 Q. Pause, please.
16 A. -- by the units. I have some of those orders here.
17 Q. Is there any other Colonel Dragan Vukovic who was serving in
18 Kosovo, to your knowledge, in 1999, or are you the only one by that name?
19 JUDGE BONOMY: This witness, I believe, is Vlatko.
20 MR. NICE: Vlatko.
21 Q. Are you the only one?
22 A. I'm not quite sure what you're asking me now. Are you asking me
23 about 1999, 1992, Dragan Vukovic or Vlatko Vukovic? Could you be precise?
24 Q. Vlatko. Are you the only one?
25 A. Probably not, Mr. Nice. This surname is rather common in my
1 country. I cannot answer you with either a yes or a no.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: And the first name as well? The first name
3 Vlatko, is that also common?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, there is another
5 officer with the same name and surname in the army of Yugoslavia, but as
6 far as I know, he is a traffic officer.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues]...
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He is also a colonel, even older
9 than I am, and I believe he got his rank of colonel earlier than I did.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: You see, that was a simple answer to the question,
11 and but for Judge Robinson's intervention, that answer would not have been
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. I want you to look, please, at a visual aid that we've used
15 before. I'll just distribute this, please.
16 Copies, again, available for the overhead projector.
17 Now, I'll explain what this is. Take your time to look at it. Of
18 course it's in English, but since it's nearly just names, this is a visual
19 aid that shows for various locations where there is material suggesting
20 that on particular days the VJ was involved in committing offences. So
21 just to explain it to you, if we take one example and then I'll ask you
22 the question I want to ask you. Can you see at the top -- Djakovica will
23 do. You see Djakovica, top left-hand side, and there's a big square box
24 pointing down towards Djakovica. Do you see that?
25 JUDGE KWON: I wonder whether the witness can follow this one.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I see, I see. I can see well,
2 Your Honour.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. And what the box suggests is that for this particular town there
5 are various sources of information; Paddy Ashdown, a witness called K32, a
6 book under "Under Orders," a number of witnesses, the book called "As
7 Seen, As Told," further witnesses, a further passage from the book, and so
8 on. So that that box suggests that for Djakovica there are various
9 sources of information about the VJ. That's what the visual aid is about.
10 Now, I want you to tell us the following: For which of the
11 various named places - and we'll go through them in a minute - for which
12 of the various named places are you actually able to give us direct
13 evidence of what happened? Not evidence that you'd heard from other
14 people but direct evidence.
15 So if we start in the middle of the map and we look at Velika
16 Krusa, just yes or no, are you able to tell us what happened from your own
17 knowledge, what happened at Velika Krusa between the 24th and 27th of
18 March? Yes or no.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you tell us directly what happened at Perane [phoen], 25th to
21 the 30th of March, from your own knowledge?
22 A. Do you mean -- do you mean Pirane?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Going round, we see in the same general area Nogavac between March
1 and April. Do you have direct knowledge of Nogavac?
2 A. Only from the 25th to the 28th.
3 Q. Thank you. Trnje, on the 25th of March. Do you have direct
4 knowledge of Trnje?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Do you have direct knowledge of Mamusa on either the 25th of March
7 or the 27th of March?
8 A. As far as Mamusa's concerned, I have direct knowledge about the
9 27th, 28th of March --
10 Q. In the same general --
11 A. -- because I was there.
12 Q. -- area, Lesane, on the 28th of March. Do you have direct
13 knowledge of that area at that time?
14 A. I cannot find that place. I don't think that place exists in
15 Kosovo and Metohija.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues]... but if you don't know about
17 it, then the answer is obviously that you don't have direct knowledge.
18 A. If it's east of Trnje, I don't know for certain --
19 Q. Thank you.
20 A. -- because I haven't been east of Trnje.
21 Q. On the 25th of March, do you have direct knowledge of that?
22 A. I do, I was there myself.
23 Q. Bela Crkva on the 25th of March. Do you have direct knowledge of
25 A. I do.
1 Q. Moving north, do you claim to have direct knowledge of events in
2 Djakovica itself at any time between June 1998 and April 1999? Do you
3 have direct knowledge of what happened in Djakovica within those periods?
4 A. As for the town of Djakovica itself, I have direct knowledge only
5 about the night of the 24th of March, which is when my barracks was
6 targeted as well as the residential civilian part of Djakovica.
7 Q. Thank you. Meja. Do you have direct knowledge of what happened
8 in Meja on the 27th and 28th of April?
9 A. I have knowledge about Meja for the 27th and the 28th of April but
10 also the 14th of April.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 A. Direct knowledge.
13 Q. Thank you. Then if we look a little further afield to -- and this
14 is simply to discover the limits of your asserted knowledge. If we look,
15 for example, to places like Studencani or Rastani to the north-east of the
16 area we've been looking at, is that too far away for you to have direct
17 knowledge, or do you claim direct knowledge of what happened in those
19 A. I do not have any direct knowledge. I only know of what I heard
20 through communications.
21 Q. Pusto Selo or Orahovac. Do you have any direct knowledge of what
22 happened in those places in March of 1999 for Pusto Selo or in April -- or
23 in 1998 or March of 1999 for Orahovac? Do you have direct knowledge of
24 either of those places?
25 A. In Pusto Selo, that's where part of my unit was in September 1998.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Later on, I was not there.
2 Q. Thank you. And Orahovac?
3 A. I was in Orahovac when the anti-terrorist action was taking place
4 in Senovac, Drenovac, Pusto Selo. That's where I was, in Orahovac.
5 That's where we set out from. And I passed through Orahovac a few other
6 times when we were carrying out anti-terrorist actions, but I don't have
7 any concrete knowledge about the town itself.
8 Q. And then finally, looking at the places slightly further to the
9 south. For example, Landovica. Do you know anything about that?
10 A. Not in Landovica, no. I wasn't in Landovica.
11 Q. Korisa?
12 A. The only thing I know about Korisa is what I heard and what I read
13 in books.
14 MR. NICE: Your Honours, I think we've identified the limits. I
15 shan't necessarily ask about all those towns but we now know the
16 geographical limits of the witness's understanding.
17 Q. Mr. Vukovic, the best records, written records of what happened at
18 the time are which records? That's what I want to know the answer to. Is
19 it the daily reports or combat reports and the war diaries? Are those the
20 best records to tell us what happened at the time?
21 A. Well, it's not the best way, it's the only way to record what
22 happened. So these are all kinds of written documents.
23 With your permission, I would like to say that you've given me a
24 map that I don't know how to read, but I see what your sources of
25 information are. I know a lot of these people. Well, not a lot. I know
1 one man, and I can tell you that your sources are extremely good. I even
2 see here a colleague of mine. If I'm reading this correctly, it's Nik
3 Peraj. I know him personally and I can say quite a few things about him.
4 I also see here that --
5 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, have you asked a question?
7 MR. NICE: No, I haven't.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just refrain from these comments, and listen to
9 the questions and answer them and we'll get along much more quickly.
10 MR. NICE: Can the witness now please have not the extracted
11 version of his daily reports, which are tab 2 in the binder, but the full
12 version that was subsequently provided.
13 Now, this is a document that it's been almost impossible to read.
14 Of course, one makes no complaint about difficulties with handwriting but
15 that's just a reality.
16 If we can lay a copy on the overhead projector as well. We'll
17 have to then, I'm afraid, do our best with the one copy on the overhead
19 Does the Court have copies of the full volume?
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Apparently not.
21 MR. NICE: It's been provided by the Defence but apparently not in
22 adequate numbers. I hadn't appreciated that. And it's a very substantial
24 Mr. Nort, you'll see on the top right-hand corner of these pages,
25 numbers, and, and if we go, please, to -- one minute. Page -- I think
1 it's page 99 or thereabouts on the top right-hand corner. No, it's later
2 than that. Sorry. No. Could you go to page 126 in the top right-hand
4 Your Honours, we do have some translations of this limited portion
5 and I'll make those available when Mr. Nort has found page 126 and the
6 witness can start looking at that to refresh his memory.
7 Q. Right. Now, if you can look at those pages, please, Mr. Vukovic.
8 And if Mr. Nort or someone could kindly distribute the
9 translations we have.
10 What we can see on the screen at the moment is the 24th of March,
11 apparently. It's just about visible on the screen, middle of the
12 right-hand side. And the translations coming to the Court show, and
13 perhaps you'd be good enough to confirm, that under item number 1, if
14 you'd follow it, please, it says as follows: "In the zone of
15 responsibility of the -- of 2/549th Motorised Brigade, the activities and
16 movements of Siptar terrorist forces were not noticed."
17 Now, this is a record from your unit, so no alleged terrorist
18 force activity noticed; correct?
19 A. That is what is written in paragraph 1, but you have to read the
20 entire report so that it would be clear to you. You cannot take things
21 out of context.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
23 A. Please read paragraph 3 as well, and then it will be clear to you.
24 Q. Mr. Vukovic, would you now please go to the bottom of the page and
25 read paragraph 3.
1 A. "Armed aggression carried out by NATO --" just a moment, please.
2 Q. Well, let me read it for you because we've had it translated.
3 "Armed aggression has been carried out by NATO forces through synchronised
4 attacks on the border of the Republic of Albania which they have marked
5 the Republic of Albania border lengthwise throughout the mountains."
6 Something like that.
7 A. Yes, yes. On the border of the Republic of Albania, the rim of
8 the border.
9 Q. Does that have anything to do, please, with the topic I was asking
10 you about, which was the movement of Siptar alleged terrorist forces in
11 your immediate area of activity? It doesn't, does it?
12 A. Well, in the zone of responsibility of my battalion, no armed
13 terrorists were observed.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 A. Mr. Nice, these fires were in Albania or, rather, these lights
16 were in Albania.
17 Q. Next page, please, Mr. Nort, and the top entry, number 5 reads:
18 "Civilian people in the surrounding areas and in the zone of operation of
19 --" your unit -- "of the 549th Motorised Brigade, behaved
21 Item 4?
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's item 4.
23 MR. NICE: I read it out and I asked the witness to agree. He
24 hasn't replied.
25 Q. Is that what item 4 says: Civilian people in the surrounding
1 areas of your zone behaved satisfactorily?
2 A. That's what it says in item 4, yes.
3 Q. Now, trying to make sense of this document for the very, very
4 important period, we must spend a minute or so, because the next relevant
5 entry at 5.3 is a little curious because it reads, does it not: Day 26th
6 of March - so we were on the 24th and it's now an entry for day 26th of
7 March - "The 2nd unit of the 549th Motorised Brigade in terms of
8 lengthwise security of the DG was engaged in a way as follows ..." and
9 then it says: "Drina Patrol ... Ambush ... Ambush ... Ambush."
10 So my first inquiry is can you explain how we move straight from
11 the 24th of March in a contemporaneous document at sequential paragraph
12 number 5.3 to an entry for the 26th of March?
13 A. Well, Mr. Nice, if you look at paragraph 5, it says: "Activities
14 and the situation within the unit." And then in subparagraphs 5.1 and
15 5.2, reference is made to what will be done on that day. According to the
16 orders from 1998, we were duty-bound to submit a day or two in advance a
17 proposal to our superior command in order to engage a unit.
18 Could you please let me finish.
19 Q. Is this going to explain why we've got an entry for the 26th of
20 March, and let me just complete the problem because it's one that you may
21 be able to answer to us: If you go down to 5.5, you'll see we come back
22 to the 25th of March, and then if you go to the right-hand side of the
23 page, if Mr. Nort will be good enough to display it for us, we see that
24 there's another entry there on the right-hand side, just underneath the
25 stamp for 25th of March. So that the sequence of dates appears to be, but
1 you may be able to explain it for us and I just want your help: 24, 26,
2 25, 25. Can you explain how this sequence of dates comes about?
3 A. Page 127 is the 26th of March.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
5 A. As for the mention of the 26th of March on the previous page, I've
6 already told you the reason during my testimony. Any engagement of a unit
7 has to be proposed beforehand, and that is what it says in point 5.3: "On
8 the 26th of March, 1999, the 2nd battalion of the 549th Motorised Brigade
9 in terms of lengthwise --" or, rather, "in-depth security of the state
10 border will be engaged in the following way ..." or "as follows..." So
11 that is what we envisage, how we are going to engage it. If the command
12 of the brigade does not allow it, then they will say, "No, don't do it
13 that way, engage them this way," and that has to be done two days in
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Why does the entry for the 25th come after the
16 entry for the 26th?
17 JUDGE BONOMY: That's been explained. It's a mistranslation on
18 the face of it, because the translation we have in English is "was
19 engaged," and the witness has quite plainly said "will be engaged," and
20 before doing that, said that this is a plan that had to be submitted two
21 days in advance of being carried out.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Exactly.
23 JUDGE KWON: Why don't you let the witness read the B/C/S and --
24 MR. NICE: I'm quite happy because I want to save time.
25 Q. That explains the 26th, which I hope might well be the case. Then
1 we come, at 5.5, to the 25th, the entry for the 25th.
2 A. Mr. Nice, this previous report, I assume, was sent out at 1600
3 hours, because we were still sending -- rather, I'm sorry, 1700 hours,
4 concerning the situation as it was at 1600 hours. Later on that was
5 changed and the brigade command had given us orders to send a report at
6 1300 hours concerning the situation as it was at 1200 hours so that they
7 could observe what they had to do vis-a-vis the corps command. However,
8 since the 25th of March, after the report was sent about the 24th, it had
9 to be written this way. You see what it says here. At 0225 hours, the
10 last unit left the premises. He has to send information as to what was
11 done between one situation as it was described in one telegram and the
12 other situation as described in the other telegram.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Vukovic, let me explain my position here. I
14 can follow this evidence very clearly if you answer the questions that are
15 asked. As soon as you go off on a frolic of your own, deciding what you
16 will and will not tell us about, then you simply cause confusion. You do
17 no good to anyone's case. Please, for my benefit, listen to the questions
18 you've been asked and answer them. And the question you were asked was
19 about the 25th of March.
20 JUDGE KWON: How about letting the witness just read the 5.5.
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. Yes. If you'd just read 5.5 for us, please, or the first part of
24 A. 5 is activities in the unit, and 5.5 is: "On the 25th of March at
25 0225 hours, in the region of the village of Brekovac on the road between
1 Logas Poprastori [phoen] Djakovica, a motor vehicle TAM 130, T10 was
2 overturned, Deutz, registration number K 6061, from the anti-armour rocket
3 platoon. The driver was Milosavljevic Slobodan. The assistant driver was
4 soldier Dimic Goran, who was at that place instead of --"
5 Q. [Previous translation continues]... thank you very much. Now, if
6 we just acquaint the Judges with the format of the next two pages.
7 Mr. Nort, we can see that there's on the left-hand side -- that's
8 it, then on the right-hand side we've looked at once before but the
9 witness says it's the 26th of March. I'm quite prepared to accept that it
10 may be the 26th of March. It looks a bit like it.
11 And then if you'd take us to the next page, please, we see the
12 continuation of an entry on the left, and then on the right we see the
13 27th of March. There's not very much writing but it's -- And then the
14 next page, we come to the 28th of March on the left-hand side. We've got
15 the 28th of March on the left-hand side of page 129. It's a bit -- I
16 think it's a bit further up than that, probably. Just to see it. That's
17 it, thank you for finding it.
18 And then on the right, perhaps you noticed this, and just help us
19 with this, Mr. Vukovic: We can see on this page the 28th of March, and
20 then on the right-hand side you can see we come directly to the 3rd of
21 April, so that there would appear to be some days missing between the 28th
22 of March and the 3rd of April.
23 So a first and simple question is: Can you explain why there are
24 no entries in the daily reports for the 28th of March to the 3rd of April?
25 A. Well, I've already explained that in part, that quite a bit of
1 documentation, and there were quite a few of such reports for 1998 and
2 1999, were destroyed either when my barracks were hit or the command post.
3 Q. Mr. --
4 A. In all fairness, at that time I was not at the command post.
5 Q. Mr. Vukovic, this document has been presented to us as a
6 continuous record with sequential page numbers written in in the top
7 right-hand corner; 128, 129. The entries on the page that we're concerned
8 with, 129, would appear to be continuous because the last entry on the
9 left-hand side, if Mr. Nort could show it to us, is numbered 8 under the
10 date of the 28th of March, and at the top right-hand part of page 129, the
11 number is 9. So this would appear to be a continuous record. Can you
12 explain to us, please, how this record does not contain entries for the
13 days 29th, 30th, 31st of March and 1st and 2nd of April?
14 A. The only explanation that I have, and which seems quite plausible
15 to me, and after all that's what I said to the lawyer because he put the
16 same question to me when he showed me this document, was that my command
17 post had been hit, that there was relocation, that I personally was not at
18 the command post. I joined up with my unit only on the 3rd in the
19 afternoon. Communications were not functioning because the communications
20 centre in Djakovica had been hit, and probably for those reason the report
21 did not go through communications. It is possible, and I'm sure of that,
22 that the report was sent through a messenger, that a messenger took a
23 motor vehicle and took it to the brigade command, took the report to the
24 brigade command.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues]... promised His Honour Judge
1 Bonomy we wouldn't ask you to go through evidence. It's simply for
2 reasons of legibility. For these pages, I want you to do something for
3 us, please. It shouldn't take long.
4 MR. NICE: Mr. Nort, you could go back to page 127, and if the
5 witness could have that. And then we'll do the same for the other two
6 pages. That's all.
7 Q. Can you look through these entries - take your time and go through
8 them - and draw to our attention anything on any of these entries that
9 gives an account of the actions of your unit or of any other unit in Bela
10 Crkva, Celine, Velika Krusa, or any of those other places in that area
11 that you've been telling us about. Do you understand my request? That
12 you should read through it yourself, silently, don't read it all out loud,
13 but draw to our attention anything that amounts to information of what
14 happened at Bela Crkva, Celine, Velika Krusa, and so on. So start on page
15 127, start on the 25th or the 26th, and tell us what you find.
16 A. What can be seen here are two pieces of information. One is
17 precisely 5.5, because as the unit went out to complete its task, one
18 motor vehicle was overturned.
19 And then please find item 8, the last bullet. It says: "The
20 execution of the task according to document number 1278-2, dated the 23rd
21 of March, 1999."
22 Mr. Nice, that is precisely the order of the brigade for this
23 anti-terrorist operation.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Colonel, if I understand the question correctly,
25 you are being asked to go through the documents and see whether there is
1 anything, any information that happened at Bela Crkva, Celine, Velika
2 Krusa, and so on. So you are simply to go through the document and tell
3 us whether you see any reference to any of these names.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No. Nowhere in these
5 documents, I'm sure of that, is there any mention of that except for the
6 war diary. There is an addition for the 26th -- for the 25th and the
7 26th, rather, because that was the activity of the unit. And this is a
8 document that is written at the command post. Part of the unit that was
9 engaged in Bela Crkva and Celine was not at Zub where this was being
10 written, so my deputy could not write things off-the-cuff what we did 25
11 or 30 kilometres away from him. There was no need to write it down here,
12 because the commander of the brigade was in the field all the time. So
13 what was the point of writing a report when he can see what is going on?
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you for the explanation.
15 Mr. Nice.
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. If you're saying that you're quite sure that neither of these
18 pages, none of these pages, will have anything to do with the topic in
19 which we're interested then we'll move on to something else but I
20 certainly want you to have the chance -- I don't want to have to suddenly
21 face in re-examination some suggestion that some part of these documents
22 that we can't, I'm afraid, read relate to these topics.
23 Are you quite sure that Bela Crkva, Celine, Velika Krusa, and so
24 on are not referred to in any way on pages 127, 128, and 129? Are you
25 quite sure about that?
1 A. I'm sure.
2 Q. Very well. That leaves --
3 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice. Mr. Nice. Sorry to interrupt.
4 MR. NICE: Yes.
5 JUDGE KWON: Did we get the answer from the witness when the item
6 5.5 had been written? I'm still confused.
7 MR. NICE: I'm not sure that we did.
8 Q. Can you help His Honour Judge Kwon, please. The item 5.5, was it
9 written on the 25th or was it written in advance of the 25th?
10 JUDGE KWON: Why is it under 24th of March?
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. It is not under the 24th. It is under the 25th. At least, in my
15 Q. No.
16 A. I don't know.
17 Q. I think what His Honour has in mind, and I'll be corrected if I'm
18 wrong, if you go to the previous page --
19 JUDGE KWON: Yes, let us see the previous page.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. -- sequential numbering for the 24th starts with whatever it is,
22 number 1, and runs through a sequence of numbers, and lo and behold, 5.5
23 is part of that same sequence of numbers which would seem to be connected
24 with the entries for the 24th, but it refers to the 25th. The entry for
25 the 25th doesn't look like the start of a new day's entry, you see? I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 think that's His Honour's concern.
2 A. I see that the date is the 24th, but let me just remind you that
3 this is a report from the 24th. That does not mean that it was sent on
4 the 24th, because I said that during the night of the 24th the first thing
5 that was hit was the stationary communications centre in the barracks of
6 Devet Jugovica, and it is certain that this report was sent later and
7 written later, but indeed it was registered under this date.
8 MR. NICE: I don't know if that satisfies Your Honour, but I wasn't
9 going to take any more --
10 JUDGE KWON: And if you could read 5.3 again for clarity. 5.3 on
11 the day of 24th of March.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. On the 26th of March,
13 actually. "On the 26th of March, 1999, the 2nd Battalion of the 549th
14 Motorised Brigade providing security in-depth of the state border, we
15 shall be engaged or will be engaged in the following way: Drina --" that
16 is a coded name on the map, and then --
17 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. That's sufficient. Thank you.
18 MR. NICE: Very well.
19 Q. That, therefore, leaves us as -- because there's nothing in this
20 document about what happened at the places in which we are interested,
21 Bela Crkva and so on, it leaves us with the war diaries as the only
22 available contemporaneous written records; is that correct?
23 A. The only document of mine, with the exception of the three
24 documents from the brigade command.
25 Q. Very well.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, you'll recall that in light of the
2 witness's health problems, we're going to sit at one-hour intervals and
3 take 15-minute breaks. So we will adjourn now for 15 minutes.
4 --- Recess taken at 10.01 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 10.18 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
7 MR. NICE:
8 Q. In what year or years did you make your statements to the
9 commission, please?
10 A. The statements to the commission I made in January 2003.
11 Q. All on the same occasion, roughly? I mean, I'm not suggesting you
12 made them all on the same day, but you just had one visit to the
13 commission and you made them all in January 2003, did you?
14 A. Colonel Djurovic told me what dates I was to address, or I wrote
15 the statements at home and I needed three or four days, I can't say
16 exactly now.
17 Q. That's fine. They were all made at one session, effectively one
19 Tell us, please, about the role that the book --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. -- "As Seen, As Told" played in Colonel Djurovic's inquiries and
22 your responses.
23 A. The questions by Colonel Djurovic, well, they -- it did not play
24 any role because I saw the book for the first time sometime at the end of
25 2001, beginning of 2002. I took it and photocopied the portions related
1 to the areas and zones where my unit spent time. And once again, it
2 played no role in my answers because I have my own opinions about the
3 book. If you would like to hear them, I shall be happy to give them to
5 Q. We'll turn to that book in a second.
6 MR. NICE: Your Honours, just give me one minute.
7 Q. You explained to us that the expert body of the commission served
8 the function of sorting out problems of interpretation where there were
9 different interpretations of events. Do you remember telling us about
11 A. Yes, I do. I remember that that was raised. So certain events
12 had to be explained for which we can say that there were different
14 Q. So tell us then, please, how did the commission and its expert
15 report deal with different interpretations of events? What did it do?
16 A. Well, the expert -- it wasn't up to the expert team to deal with
17 the problem of different interpretations. As far as I understood it, it
18 was supposed to take the statements of the actors, the people involved,
19 and to send them to the commission. And as far as I know, the commission,
20 through the ministries -- now I can't be quite certain whether it was the
21 Ministry of Foreign Affairs or whether that's the ministry -- whether that
22 ministry sent it on to the International Tribunal. I think the commission
23 didn't process the statements at all of the people that provided them.
24 Q. It was your answer, you see. You volunteered it to the accused.
25 What conceivable function could a commission of -- a committee of experts,
1 part of this commission, have in resolving differences in interpretation?
2 That's why I wanted you to help us. What did they do?
3 A. Well, I can't tell you what they did exactly because I wasn't a
4 member of that expert team. All I can do is guess or speculate, and that
5 wouldn't be in order for this time or this place. I know that they asked
6 me to provide a statement. I provided them with a statement. What they
7 did with that statement I really didn't ask them nor was I interested in
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]... would be that the commission's
10 concern was that everybody should give the same account and in that way
11 resolve what you described as differences of interpretation. Is that what
13 A. That is what you say. I don't agree with that position of yours.
14 I think quite the reverse was true and that it was exclusively the goal
15 and object of this exercise was to arrive at the truth, and there can only
16 be one truth.
17 Q. Can you help me, then, please, with this: If that's the object,
18 getting the evidence before the Tribunal, why not simply provide all the
19 raw material, like the diaries, the daily records, the daily combat
20 reports? Wouldn't that be the best material to provide to a court trying
21 to inquire into these matters?
22 A. Probably, Mr. Nice. However, I know that you have a problem with
23 translation, even of the excerpts that we send in of the most
24 characteristic reports. But you keep on asking me about the work of the
25 Commission for Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal, and I
1 can't help you there because I never attended the work of that commission.
2 I never took part in its work. And I personally think that you have very
3 many documents at your disposal.
4 Q. Yes. I'll turn to one of the documents that we've been looking
5 at. It's in the Delic file. It's 356.
6 While it is coming to you, as a soldier in the course of combat --
7 as a soldier in conflict, you would -- in a conflict, you would recognise,
8 would you not, that there has to be a civilian control for military
9 activities. Were you aware at your level what was the civilian control,
10 political control, of military activities?
11 A. I tried to say something about that yesterday, but I was not
12 allowed to do so. In war and peace, it is the president of the republic
13 who commands the army, once again pursuant to decisions made by the
14 Supreme Defence Council, which is a civilian structure, conditionally
15 speaking, of course. It is a constitutional category, and this went down
16 to the law on the army, the law on the rules of service and the direct
17 documents on the basis of which commanding officers function.
18 Q. Did -- did you understand that in the Kosovo conflict the
19 president of the republic was operating, for military purposes, through
20 sittings of the Supreme Defence Council?
21 A. I don't understand what you're asking me.
22 Q. During the conflict in Kosovo, from March 1999 until June, did you
23 understand that the process you've just described was in effect, that the
24 president was operating through the Supreme Defence Council in instructing
25 the military what to do?
1 A. Well, it is quite normal that at the Supreme Defence Council the
2 most important questions linked to the army are discussed and that
3 instructions are given, directives given, guidelines given for the
4 deployment of the units. Later on, the General Staff of the army of
5 Yugoslavia elaborates on the orders given and sends them down the chain of
6 command to the units in the field.
7 Q. Did anybody suggest to you at any stage or did it ever get talked
8 about at any stage that there was a different form of political control
9 other than the political control that tracks back to the president?
10 A. Once again I don't understand what you're asking me. I never
11 dealt in politics, so it's all alien to me as a soldier, so alien that I
12 can't answer it. I don't actually understand what you're asking me.
13 Q. Look, please --
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I have to agree with the witness. That
15 question was not precise.
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. Look, please, at this document, which is tab 356 from Delic.
18 You'll be given the Serbian original.
19 A. I have that.
20 Q. And if Mr. Nort would display it on the overhead projector.
21 You'll see that this is a document coming from something called the Joint
22 Command. Were you aware of the existence of the Joint Command?
23 A. As to the existence of this term "the Joint Command," I heard that
24 for the first time during the preparatory phase here when I was handed
25 this document, which is here and is number 2 in my files.
1 Q. So if we go to paragraph 5 of this document, we see an order not
2 coming directly to your unit, of course, but going to Delic, which says
3 under paragraph 5 -- and if you've got that on the overhead projector,
4 please. Couple of pages on, paragraph 5.
5 We see that amongst the instructions being given by the Joint
6 Command at the time was -- paragraph 5, please, Mr. Nort. Page 3.
7 We see an instruction being given in the clearest terms to break
8 up and destroy the STS in the following areas: Celine, Velika Krusa, Mala
9 Krusa, et cetera, continue the attack, destroy the remaining STS in the
10 axes of attack, and the next task is to break through along the following
11 lines, and then it gives the villages of Mala Krusa, Nogavac, and so on.
12 If you go to the previous paragraph - I should have taken to you
13 the previous paragraph - under "Task," it sets out that in a joint action
14 with the MUP, to carry out an attack from the all-round support point on
15 the following axes, and then it mentions the villages of Bela Crkva, Mala
16 Hoca, Velika Krusa, and so on.
17 So this order is consistent, is it not, with the order that you
18 received, you say, from General Delic. Yes?
19 A. That is consistent, but here it doesn't say together with the MUP
20 forces here. It says decision. This is a classical order by the corps
21 commander, and he says, "I have hereby decided that the MUP forces should
22 be supported in executing their attack." So he's just supporting the
23 forces of the Ministry of the Interior and not issuing tasks to the units
24 of MUP themselves. And if you read this in detail, but you will have to
25 read it in detail, the entire document in detail, in fact, for it to be
1 clear to you. Don't extract portions from the whole and out of context.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
3 A. In --
4 Q. Mr. Vukovic, just answer the questions, please. You have --
5 A. Well, I have to give you advice.
6 MR. NICE: I'd ask the Court --
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's not for you to give advice to the
9 MR. NICE: -- to observe the dignity of this Court and not to let
10 the witness run away with himself.
11 Could we have Exhibit tab 357, which is another of the documents
12 that the witness has referred to. This is the order coming from Delic.
13 And just to remind the Court, although I think it will be in
14 everybody's mind, if we go to paragraph 4 of this order, which is on page
15 2 and over on page 3, Mr. Nort, actually. We see a reference to cut off
16 and destroy the STS in the general sector of the village of Retimlje. And
17 then over the page, with axes identified as Bela Crkva and Nogavac.
18 Then if we go -- and reference to routing and destroying the STS
19 along that axis.
20 And if, Mr. Nort, if you'd take us, please, to paragraph 5.5, and
21 I know this is in everybody's mind, but we'll just remind ourselves of it.
22 At 5.5, the assignment given to your unit was to carry out an energetic
23 attack and search the village of Bela Crkva.
24 Q. Now, that was the order you originally received; is that correct?
25 A. Yes. That is the order by the commander that I -- brigade
1 commander that I received.
2 Q. Remind the Chamber and yourself of the nature of the allegations
3 about Bela Crkva. It's an admitted exhibit.
4 MR. NICE: If you'd just take this photograph, please, Mr. Nort.
5 It's from - thank you very much - Exhibit 157, tab 2.
6 Q. This is the railway bridge covering the stream that leads from
7 Bela Crkva in the direction of Rogovo. Are you familiar with this
9 A. I don't recognise this photograph because I never went in a train
10 that way. I just went along the road.
11 Q. Very well.
12 A. So I can't be of assistance to you and tell you whether it is
13 indeed the bridge that you're talking about.
14 Q. Well, let's look at another photograph from the same exhibit,
15 again just to remind the Chamber. And if Mr. Nort would -- that point
16 there. Thank you very much.
17 If you look at this, the evidence is that this is indeed Bela
18 Crkva, that Mr. Nort's going to point out where the stream which we can
19 see running away with trees or bushes beside it transects the railway
20 bridge. If you'd just point that out for us, please, Mr. Nort, where I
21 indicated, with your finger. There it is. That's the bridge.
22 Now, the allegation that you will know is that large numbers of
23 villagers, escaping from the attack on their village, went along that
24 streambed. First there was an attack on a large -- on a number of family
25 members where people were killed. Second, there was an incident where
1 women and men were separated from each other, the men were made to strip,
2 were robbed of their property, and then were shot in large numbers.
3 Were you present in the area of Bela Crkva at the time early on
4 the morning that it is said this happened or not? It's March the 25th,
5 early in the morning.
6 A. I was present early in the morning in the area of Bela Crkva, but
7 everything that you've just said never happened.
8 Q. How do you say that, do you see? That's what I want you to help
9 us with and that's why I gave you an opportunity to look at the map
10 earlier -- not the map, the visual aid earlier, and tell us, how do you
11 say that none of this happened, please? Hmm?
12 A. Well, quite simply because my unit was there in the area, and I
13 know that I passed through Bela Crkva and that there was no action.
14 Q. You have --
15 A. And that there is quite a lot of illogical things that you state.
16 In the indictment, at least where I saw it, they said they fled along the
17 stream of Belaja, which means that they could not have fled to the south
18 and towards the bridge that you just mentioned, but if they're going along
19 the stream, then they're moving north towards Milanovac mountain, and
20 that's why I can say that that did not happen, because they would be
21 moving upstream.
22 Q. If you'd just have a look at some of the next photographs that I'd
23 like you to have a look at, please. You see -- I'll hand you a
24 photograph. This boy, aged 14, is one of those whose body was found.
25 Put it on the overhead projector.
1 Can you explain for us, please, from contemporaneous records or
2 accounts given to you by your colleagues how a 14-year-old boy got shot in
3 Bela Crkva on the morning when you were so near that you tell us you know
4 exactly what happened. How did he get shot?
5 A. How can I be of assistance to you when my assertions basically and
6 fundamentally differ from your question and what you're saying. My
7 experience is quite different, so how do you expect me to know that, and I
8 claim that that never happened?
9 Q. You see, from the family group that it is said by eyewitnesses --
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic has a point. Let's hear it.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There will be some misunderstanding
12 later on because in the transcript it says the witness has been speaking
13 of them moving towards Milanovac mountain, and here it says "land
14 mountain." The name of the mountain isn't recorded in the transcript. It
15 says "Milan vac mountain" but he said "Milanovac mountain." That's the
16 name of the mountain; Milanovac.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you for that clarification.
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. Look at these photographs, please --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: On the point that's just been made, I didn't
21 understand the answer.
22 Mr. Vukovic, you gave some answer about the movement of the
23 villagers being illogical. You say that it was claimed in the indictment
24 they fled along the stream of Belaja, which means they could not have fled
25 to the south and towards the bridge. Why do you say that?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Bonomy --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- because the Belaja stream flows
4 from the village of Bela Crkva in the direction of north-south, and south
5 of the village of Bela Crkva, running one kilometre or one and a half
6 kilometres, where it flows into the river called Beli Drim. So if they
7 were fleeing from the village along the stream, they were not able to go
8 to the south. If they were going upstream they couldn't have gone to the
9 south towards the railway bridge but to the north towards Milanovac
10 mountain, which is north of Bela Crkva.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: That depends on the expression "upstream," is that
12 what you're saying?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that term.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: And I take it you accept that the railway bridge is
15 a bridge over the Belaja?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I assume there's an old bridge
17 there. I didn't cross the bridge, but across that stream there must be a
18 bridge because there's a railway line.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. And indeed, Mr. Vukovic, there's one railway bridge -- one railway
22 line. There's the one stream that runs from Bela Crkva, and the evidence
23 before this Court and the material provided to independent gatherers of
24 information about Bela Crkva comes from eyewitnesses who are describing
25 their own village. Do you not accept that people describing their own
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 village will know that the stream is crossed by a bridge at a unique place
2 when they describe it?
3 A. Well, I didn't comment on their statements. I said that if you
4 went along the stream you wouldn't come that way. You wouldn't come
5 across a bridge. I know what I said very well. Possibly there's also an
6 error in the interpretation.
7 Q. Can we have a look at -- and it's necessary, because this is what
8 this case is about. And I'm going to suggest to you this is one of the
9 reasons that you're so anxious to hide from Bela Crkva.
10 You see these pictures? First, a girl. It's a girl aged 9. Next
11 picture, please. Two children. I'm afraid I can't identify which of the
12 two of the three. One 6 and one 7. Their bodies, shot dead, were found,
13 and the evidence is that they were killed on this day.
14 You were in the area. Can you give us any explanation for how or
15 why they died?
16 A. First of all, I'm not hiding anything. I think that's what you
18 Secondly, I cannot give you any proof or evidence of how they died
19 because I keep telling you that there was no action on that day in the
20 village of Bela Crkva. And as far as I know, and I do know for certain,
21 right up until the 28th of March there was no action.
22 Q. You're lying, Mr. Vukovic, and I'm going to prove you're lying to
24 MR. NICE: Can we have those documents back, please.
25 Q. You have told --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I would like to ask
2 you something, with your permission.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's not a right which you have.
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. You tell us that the orders that you should attack Bela Crkva came
7 to nothing because you received intelligence that there was no KLA there.
8 Can you now please point us to any contemporaneous report that shows that
9 you received any such intelligence?
10 A. First of all, I did not say that an order meant nothing to me, the
11 order that you quoted meant nothing to me. But had you read the rules of
12 service carefully, you would be able to see the procedure and conduct of
13 each and every soldier, including the commanding officer, what they're
14 supposed to do when in a concrete situation --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Maybe there's a translation difficulty. It wasn't
16 said in English to you that the order meant nothing to you. The point
17 that was made was that the order, the attack -- the order that you should
18 attack Bela Crkva came to nothing - in other words, was not implemented -
19 because you received intelligence that there was no KLA there. So you
20 were not insulted by the Prosecutor.
21 MR. NICE: I'm grateful to Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Vukovic, would you now please answer --
23 A. Ah, yes, that's quite a different matter, then, and I can explain
24 why the village of Bela Crkva was not searched, with the Court's
1 JUDGE BONOMY: The question's much more specific than that. The
2 question is what contemporaneous document is there you can point to that
3 says there was an intelligence report to the effect that there were no KLA
4 there? So where is the documents that confirm that?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, in a -- in battle, in
6 every combat operation, you don't keep notes. My courier cannot carry a
7 laptop with him and write out orders during a combat operation. You
8 command in combat directly and through your communication devices, and my
9 subordinate informed me that he had passed through Bela Crkva, that he had
10 taken up positions east of the village of Bela Crkva, and that he had come
11 into contact with the police unit there, he had established contact, and
12 that there was no action in the village. So those are relevant facts on
13 the basis of which I made my decision to pass through the village of Bela
14 Crkva in a column for only one reason; not to tire my men and have to walk
15 through. So that was the only reason.
16 And my commander that very morning had passed through Bela Crkva
17 himself, and he personally saw what I had done and the measures I had
19 So there is no space or time there to write out documents. You
20 don't write documents. There are no such documents. No army in the world
21 writes out documents in combat situations. Before an action takes place
22 -- this is done before and after an action take place.
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. [Previous translation continues]..."As Seen, As Told." Apart
25 from witnesses who have come and given evidence here themselves directly,
1 I'd like you to consider, please, extract from the book "As Seen, As
2 Told." We have it for you in B/C/S, or Serbian, if you prefer.
3 And if Mr. Nort could place -- point that to the witness and place
4 that on the overhead projector. I'm grateful.
5 Now, you tell us that you looked at extracts from this book
6 preparatory to providing your statements, and if we look at what was
7 reported by "As Seen, As Told" about Bela Crkva, we can see, and I shan't
8 go through all of it, but if you follow the paragraphs as I read them out.
9 The first paragraph deals with the location. The second paragraph
10 says: "Only a few hours after the search of -- after the start of bombing
11 ... Serb forces occupied the village. Much of the population --"
12 A. I don't know where you're reading from. I can't follow. And
13 generally speaking, I don't know what you've given me. I have the book
14 that I had in my hands, and I have no idea what it is that you have. It's
15 some typewritten text that means nothing to me.
16 Q. You have the "As Seen, As Told" Serbian edition with you in your
17 hands. Would you be good enough to make it available to me just for a
18 minute. We've been hoping to find a copy --
19 A. All right. Just please do not mix up the pages that I've marked.
20 I need them.
21 Q. I'll have a look at that, please. You're now reading from a
22 passage that starts off with: "Bela Crkva lies 7 miles south-east ..."
23 Next paragraph: "Only a few hours after the start of NATO bombing
24 Serb forces occupied the village."
25 Then it says, next sentence: "In the early hours of the 25 of
1 March, VJ and police arrived ... with tanks, positioned them on a hill,
2 began shelling ... the homes and burning the village. Villagers fled in
3 different directions, but many failed to escape. Rounded up money,
4 extorted in exchange for lives."
5 Next paragraph: One group fled to a valley half a kilometre away
6 where police and VJ surrounded them. Women and children allowed to leave,
7 men placed in a yard, money demanded.
8 Next paragraph: Another group of 2 to 300 were trying to escape
9 the shelling of Bela Crkva --
10 A. I cannot follow. You read much too fast.
11 Q. I'm sorry. I'll read more slowly. We're now on the fourth
12 paragraph. "Meanwhile, another group of 200-300 villagers who were trying
13 to escape the shelling of Bela Crkva fled towards the Beli Drim river
14 which flows southwards from Bela Crkva towards Rogovo. The UCK arrived
15 and advised the people to move on as paramilitaries were advancing. The
16 police were all around. One group made their way along the stream and hid
17 under the railway bridge."
18 Now, just pause there. This is a very detailed account. You'll
19 see it's got what are called footnotes which identify the number of
20 witnesses who provided -- or sources of material who provided information
21 to those who prepared this particular document. The footnotes from this
22 go from number 32 to 44 and are a very large number of different sources.
23 Are you saying, please, from your knowledge that each and every word of
24 this is false, made up?
25 A. Well, with your leave let's take it one by one. It says: "Just a
1 few hours later ..." That's not true. The bombing started exactly at
2 19.59. My unit was in the area of the village around 5.30, so around 11
3 hours later.
4 Let's go on. It says, "Serb forces occupied the village." They
5 probably mean both the army and police. What kind of Serb forces I had I
6 already proved to you by describing the ethnic structure of my unit.
7 Furthermore, Serb forces cannot occupy a village which is located
8 on the sovereign territory of that country. That's a lie. Since you are
9 using at that expression, I will be using it too.
10 It says, "Entered Bela Crkva --" first entered and then shelled.
11 Who would be mad enough, Mr. Nice, to get in their own forces? And no
12 matter which page of this book you turn I'll prove to you on the basis of
13 facts that it's a lie.
14 Then references to arson and torching. Bring back that picture
15 and you will see how narrow the streets are in Bela Crkva. If only one
16 house had been set on fire there, my tank and soldiers would have burnt as
18 It says: "The people were later released and directed to Zrze
19 village." Zrze village is to the south-west the Bela Crkva. And then it
20 says they fled to the mountains. Give me that image that you showed a
21 moment ago, that visual aid, and show me where that mountain is they fled
23 Then it goes on to say they fled into the mountains and then we
24 found them, we robbed them a little, raped them a little, burned them a
25 little, et cetera --
1 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
2 A. -- and so on and so forth. I can contest each and every one of
3 these allegations.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues]... of some of these details. If
5 we'd just look at the one little paragraph, on the right-hand side of the
6 page, Mr. Nort. A little bit further up. That's it there, the one on the
7 right there now.
8 "Fifty-five men were separated from the women and children. The
9 women and children were ordered to leave. The 55 men were forced to strip
10 to the waist and stand with their hands behind their head while they were
11 searched. A bullet was found in the pocket of a 13-year-old boy." That's
12 the boy we've already looked at in the photographs. "Police were told the
13 boy had picked it up on the road. The men were asked if anybody supported
14 the boy's statement and the boy's uncle stepped forward. He was taken to
15 one side -" and he was the local doctor, I think - " ... and a burst of
16 gunfire was heard and the uncle fell."
17 Now, there's a direct description of events. Do you say this is
18 all being made up or, and I want you to think about this before you
19 answer, may it be that the police or reservists or even people being or
20 resembling paramilitaries did this and you didn't see it or don't choose
21 to remember that you heard about it. May these things have been done by
22 other people?
23 A. Was that a question?
24 Q. Yes, I'm giving you a chance, Mr. Vukovic. You see, you're the
25 army. Let me just explain: So far as this part of Kosovo is concerned,
1 the army gets a number of adverse mentions from witnesses and other
2 sources but often it's the police who are identified, or reservists who
3 are identified, or Serbs, local Serbs who are identified as the killers.
4 Now, just think back. Take your time. Is it possible that these things
5 actually happened and you didn't see them, or are you saying for sure that
6 they didn't happen?
7 A. In this question you put forward a lot of propositions. You
8 mentioned some armed civilians and paramilitaries, if I understood you
9 correctly. There was certainly no paramilitaries. There were no
10 paramilitaries. I can guarantee that, because I know my commander well
11 and I know myself, and I know the orders that I had received.
12 First of all, when we're talking about this anti-terrorist action,
13 I don't need time to think. I know what I know, and I am telling you that
14 straight away.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Are you saying --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And you are asking me whether I
17 allow the possibility that it was done by somebody --
18 JUDGE KWON: The answer is coming.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Are you saying that those things did not actually
20 happen or that they might have happened and you didn't see them?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am sorry to be putting it this
22 way, but you're asking me a very ambiguous question. I am telling you
23 that the army certainly did no such thing. And who else could have done
24 it, if you look at these maps, apart from my soldiers?
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. If we look at this --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask: How long in the course of the day were
3 you in Bela Crkva?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On that day, I spent about 30
5 minutes in Bela Crkva. When I say "I spent," I mean my entire unit.
6 That's the time we needed to pass through the village.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: And while you were there, did you see any of the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have already told you that the MUP
10 unit also passed through the village of Bela Crkva on the way to their
11 line of blockade to the village of Velika Krusa. All this, including this
12 bridge, was behind the blockade line. There was simply no forces there,
13 either of the army or the police.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: How long was your unit in the company of a MUP
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Throughout this anti-terrorist
17 action, we were together because the action is named "Provision of support
18 to MUP units."
19 MR. NICE:
20 Q. On this occasion and probably only on this occasion I'm going to
21 ask you to look at another source. Again not our witnesses. They may
22 have been the same witnesses, they may not, but differently collected by
23 Human Rights Watch in their book "Under Orders." It's the same passage,
24 it's on page 348 of this document which is Exhibit 145, and I'm afraid it
25 doesn't come in B/C/S but I'll just read the passage to you in English,
1 and it will be interpreted for you.
2 This deals with the passage on the bridge, and it's something that
3 we have indeed had in evidence ourselves here.
4 A bit further up, please. A tiny bit further.
5 And it reads as follows: "According to the witnesses, an Albanian
6 doctor from Bela Crkva named Nesim Popaj, aged thirty-six, tried to
7 negotiate with the Serbian commander, pleading with him to spare the lives
8 of the villagers. Popaj allegedly explained that they were not members of
9 the KLA but just villagers who wanted to work in peace. The commander
10 responded by saying: 'You're terrorists, bring out your guns.'"
11 "During this discussion, witnesses said the commander was stepping
12 down on the neck of Shendet Popaj, the doctor's seventeen-year-old nephew,
13 who was lying prone on the ground. Abruptly ending the discussion, the
14 commander - described by one witness as a medium-height man, around
15 thirty-five ... in a green camouflage uniform with three stars on his
16 shoulder - shot Dr. Popaj with three bullets in front of his wife and
17 three children, after which he killed Shendet."
18 And then this: "The witness noted specifically that the
19 commander, believed by the witness to be a captain, had a distinguishing
20 feature: A recognisably deformed mouth."
21 And there are other witness statements, I must tell you,
22 Mr. Vukovic, which deal with the -- or there are witness statements that
23 deal with this captain's unusual mouth.
24 Two things: As to Human Rights Watch Report, have you read it
25 yourself or had parts of it read or interpreted to you before?
1 A. No. I have not read that. I had -- the first volume was quite
2 sufficient to me to understand what it was all about.
3 Q. Second, do you say that the account given here is necessarily and
4 on the basis of your personal experience wholly untrue?
5 A. I don't want to comment at all nor am I in a position to comment
6 on the statements of people whom I don't know. I suppose that this book,
7 too, was created in June 1999 and that statements were taken from Siptars
8 who had crossed over to Albania or to Macedonia.
9 Q. Do you --
10 A. You must tell me when the book was written. Otherwise, the names
11 of these people mean nothing to me and their statements either. I don't
12 know whether they existed at all.
13 Q. I'm not under obligation to do anything, but I'll tell you that
14 its publication of this version is 2001. Its methodology has been gone
15 into extensively before this Court, and I now come to my last question:
16 Does a captain in a green camouflage uniform with a distinguishingly
17 unusual mouth bring anyone to your mind? Does it remind you of anyone?
18 A. First of all, in the unit or in the army, there were no deformed
19 people. And second, it is well known that usual procedure is to send into
20 disability retirement anyone who is not fit for military service. I
21 myself have a disability pension.
22 There were no deformed people, so how could I think of anyone?
23 Second -- third, a captain cannot be a commander. It's a
24 lower-ranking officer. He can command a platoon or a company at best.
25 JUDGE KWON: Does a captain have three stars on his shoulder?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A captain has three stars on his
2 shoulder. So does a colonel, except that the colonel has, in addition, a
3 gold line here and laurel leaves embroidered and things like that. So
4 that's also a distinguishing characteristic of a colonel's uniform.
5 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. Can we look at the statement you made for the commission about
8 this topic. It's originally Delic tab 362.
9 Now, as I understand it, the reason you didn't search the -- or
10 that there was no search of Bela Crkva was that you had intelligence that
11 there was no terrorist activity there; is that right? All quiet.
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And that came from whom?
14 A. I have already told you: From the commander of my forward
15 security detail. Generally speaking, when a unit is marching, it has
16 forward security at the head that secures the march until the point of
18 Q. Now, if we look at this document, this is the document made on the
19 10th of January, 2003, and then at the bottom of the page on display we
20 see this for the -- well, better pick it up in the middle. You set out
21 the assignment of Combat Group 2 was to search the village of Bela Crkva,
22 break through to trig 432, to destroy the STS in Celine-Nogavac. And then
23 in the last paragraph, it says: "On the 25th of March ... carried
24 out the march ... took up positions along the lines of the blockade by
25 0630. The task of forward security was to establish whether STS were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 present along the march route to search the village of Bela Crkva. And
2 then together with 4/27 special police detachment and enable Combat Group
3 2 to take up positions --"
4 A. I don't know where you're reading from, I'm sorry. I don't have
6 Q. Fifth paragraph of your statement, please.
7 A. Well, in that case read the entire paragraph, because what you're
8 reading makes no sense. It is in no way linked with the paragraph I have
9 in front of me.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues]... paragraph beginning on the
11 25th of March, 1999.
12 A. Correct. That's the fifth paragraph in the statement.
13 Q. About six lines down, it says this: "Upon leaving the village of
14 Zrze we waited by the silo for our unit from Prizren to pass and that is
15 where the forward support commander contacted me and informed me he had
16 not --" over the page, please, Mr. Nort -- "searched the village of Bela
17 Crkva because parts of the 23rd Special Police Unit detachment were
18 already in the village."
19 So what were they doing?
20 A. You have read it, but it's obviously not a good translation. But
21 -- because in my version, it says, "He informed me that he had not
22 performed a search of Bela Crkva village," whereas the interpretation I'm
23 getting is that he had performed a search.
24 Q. Whether I didn't read the word not out, I'm not sure
25 JUDGE BONOMY: No, you did.
1 MR. NICE: I did. I'm grateful.
2 Q. He hadn't searched the village because parts of the 23rd Special
3 Police Unit detachment were already in the village. So what were they
4 doing, the 23rd Special Police Unit?
5 A. That is a company of that detachment, and they were doing exactly
6 the same thing as I: They were on their way to take up positions on the
7 blockade line from which they were to start executing the assignment, and
8 they were passing through the village. Because in the village itself
9 there was a bridge across this Belaja stream, and they had to go over it.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues]... I asked you was -- just have a
11 look. What were they doing? You give us an account. The next question
12 is this: How do you know what they were doing? Did they report to you?
13 Did you hear it over the radio? Did you have a meeting afterwards? Did
14 they send you a written report? What?
15 A. We did not report to each other, either the army to the police or
16 the police to the army. I'm telling you what I saw. It's a little hard
17 to explain to you military activities because you're not a soldier.
18 For instance, I come to an intersection in the village. I stop my
19 vehicle. I stand on the intersection, and I direct various parts of my
20 units, showing them where to go, because I know the map a little better, I
21 know topography a little better. I went into commander's reconnaissance
22 before this assignment, and I saw that the police were going along their
23 axis. And generally speaking, I would have heard if there had been any
24 activities. It was 5.30 in the morning.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Vukovic, when you were passing through the
1 village, were you with the whole of the 23rd Special Police Unit?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. In this action, it was not the
3 whole unit that took part, only the 4th Company of that police detachment.
4 They were not complete and my unit was not complete either.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: But were the whole group that were intended to
6 participate in the blockade with you, were they all with you when you went
7 through Bela Crkva?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They could not have been all with me
9 because there were certainly 150, 200 people there. I have in the
10 analysis document the exact number of people in that company. And I'm
11 telling you again even my whole unit was not there at the moment because
12 one part of the unit had continued on the way to Brinje village and then
13 turned east to assume their axis of movement.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, my question then is the reference to the
15 activity of your officer who advised you about the circumstances in Bela
16 Crkva simply says part of the 23rd Special Police Unit detachment were
17 already in the village, and that's ahead of you. So how is it that you
18 know what they were doing from your own personal knowledge, which is what
19 you founded your answer on?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it says here "because parts of
21 the 23rd Special Police detachment were already in the village." And I'm
22 basing my statement precisely on what I -- what I heard and what I saw,
23 because it is from 5.00, 5.30 until 6.00 max. It is still dark, and you
24 can hear extremely well any kind of activity. You can see any kind of
25 activity, the sort of activity Mr. Nice refers to, like the burning of
1 houses. I'm telling you those things didn't happen.
2 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Vukovic, your answer is not satisfactory at all.
3 Do you know at all what they were doing at the time? And if you knew
4 anything, how -- how do you know what they were doing? All I have heard
5 from you is that have there been anything you have heard something from
6 the -- but which is not satisfactory to me.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I could know about their
8 activities is what I saw myself or heard myself or what was reported to me
9 by one of my platoon commanders in that area, if anything. Otherwise, we
10 didn't submit reports to each other, the army to the police or vice versa.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: You see, you have been specific. You've said that
12 the only thing they did was pass through on their way to take up positions
13 on the blockade line, and what we want to know is what was the advance
14 group, the group that was there before you were there, what were they
15 doing. And it seems very difficult at the moment to understand how you
16 would know what they were doing.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: On that note, I think we have to take the break.
18 Do you want to answer that? If you wish to answer that, then --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Certainly I would like to answer. I
20 don't want to stop here.
21 How a commander knows what his unit is doing: He knows on the
22 basis of the report filed. I had radio communication during the march.
23 We call it, by the way, radio silence. The radio equipment is on, and we
24 hear from each other only if there is a specific need.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Let me read one of your answers. On this very
1 point, Mr. Nice asked you, "What were they doing? You give us an
2 account." The next question is this: "How did you know what they were
3 doing? Did they report to you? Did you hear it over the radio? Did you
4 have a meeting afterwards? Did they send you a report? What?" And your
5 answer: "We did not report to each other, either the army to the police
6 or the police to the army. I'm telling you what I saw. It's a little
7 hard to explain to you military activities because you're not a soldier,"
8 and then you go away on a frolic of your own about military activities
9 being things that we and the Prosecutor can't understand.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With all due respect, you confused
11 my answers. This answer that you're reading now was in response to
12 whether I knew what the police units were doing, and a few moments ago we
13 were talking about what my own organ did, those who were providing
14 security for me during the march, part of my own unit.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Just listen to the part that leads up to the answer
16 I've just quoted to you. The question was, and this is about your
17 advanced officer who reported back to you: "He hadn't searched the
18 village because parts of the 23rd Police Special detachment were already
19 in the village. So what were they doing, the 23rd Police Special Unit?"
20 And your answer: "This is a company of that detachment, and they were
21 doing exactly the same thing as I: They were on their way to take up
22 positions ..."
23 You were answering exactly the same question.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's right, but I don't see
25 what it is that troubles you here. I received reports from my subordinate
1 officers. I quite simply don't understand what kind of answer you want
2 from me.
3 I get reports only from my own junior officers, or soldiers, if
4 it's easier for you to follow that way what I'm saying. And he reported
5 to me that there had been no activity in the village, that policemen were
6 in the village, that they were moving towards the blockade line. I don't
7 know what --
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: I believe what Judge Bonomy is saying is that
9 that, what you have just said, contradicts what you said earlier that
10 there were no reports, that you received no reports.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I'm saying that there
12 were no reports between the police and the army, whereas this officer of
13 mine is a soldier just like I am, and he comes from my very own unit. And
14 it is only natural that he should report to me orally when we see each
15 other as to what he did, what he had done. So this is reporting the
16 combat security going through Bela Crkva.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: If I understand it, your previous answer, you're
18 saying, was that there were no reports between the police and the army.
19 Your present answer relates to reports inter se, reports between your own
20 soldiers and yourself.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely. Between the leader of
22 that head security and myself.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, we have gone past the one-hour break, so
24 we'll take the 15-minute break now.
25 --- Recess taken at 11.25 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.42 a.m.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. Can we just have a look at the last part of your statement to the
5 VJ commission on this, please. It's still on the overhead projector, I
6 think. Yes.
7 You ended your account of this event to the VJ commission by
8 saying that you first heard in late 2001 about the crimes allegedly
9 committed in the Bela Crkva sector, but where did you learn about it in
10 late 2001?
11 A. Well, I don't know the exact date, but the indictment was issued
12 against Mr. Milosevic. It was in the newspapers, on television. It was
13 discussed rather extensively. I heard from my colleagues, too, who had
14 also heard about it in one of those ways, and we talked about that quite a
15 bit, at least with the people who were accessible to me at the time. I
16 don't know exactly when the indictment was issued against Mr. Milosevic,
17 but I think it was already at that time.
18 Q. So it came from the Milosevic indictment. Incidentally, was the
19 work of the --
20 A. No.
21 Q. Well, if you didn't hear about it from the Milosevic indictment,
22 where did you hear about these allegations from?
23 A. Well, I'm telling you. I'm telling you where I heard about it
24 from. I never read the indictment as a whole, but parts of those -- of
25 that indictment were carried by the newspapers, television. So in that
1 way I and my colleagues learned about it.
2 Q. Incidentally, it's right, isn't it, that the VJ commission, or the
3 Commission for Cooperation - we'll come to the title in detail later - was
4 trying to respond to allegations in the Milosevic indictment. That was
5 the focus of its work, wasn't it?
6 A. That's what you're saying. That's not what I concluded.
7 Q. Well, then, if not, what was the focus of its work? Because this
8 was a commission with very senior people, with people who have been
9 indicted before this Tribunal now for complicity in events like Srebrenica
10 at a very high level. What was the work of this commission?
11 A. Well, you're putting a question that I can certainly not give an
12 answer to. It's as if you asked me what's the basic task of your office,
13 the Office of the Prosecutor, is. Also, I cannot give an answer to that
14 because I have no idea what you do. So I cannot tell you about such
16 Also about this commission, I absolutely do not know what they
17 dealt with because I didn't take part in its work.
18 Q. Your statement concludes -- if you can't help further, I'll move
19 to your statement. Your statement says: "I read something about them in
20 the book 'As Seen, As Told' published by the Humanitarian Law Centre.
21 Since I am disgusted by the author and the fabrications she sets out in
22 the book, I didn't finish reading it."
23 Is that really your position as a serious soldier, that you didn't
24 finish reading the allegations about the place where you were said to be
25 an officer in charge?
1 A. You have completely misinterpreted what I wrote. I read it, and I
2 even made photocopies from this book of excerpts that have to do with my
3 unit and areas where my unit was. But I didn't read it to the end,
4 because when I see all the lies that are put forth in cases where I was
5 personally, then why would I read about Pristina?
6 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
7 A. I simply don't see why I would read that.
8 Q. [Previous translation continues]... just for the cite, please, the
9 original book that you've got there. If Mr. Nort would bring it to us.
10 We just want to have a look at how it appears in that version. We've been
11 seeking such a copy. But -- thank you very much.
12 Were you under the impression that Natasa Kandic was the author of
13 this book?
14 A. If you look at the front page and the back page, it says the Fund
15 for Humanitarian Law, translated by them, I guess, and then -- for the
16 publisher Natasa Kandic. I think that is what is written there, but then
17 if you give me the book, I'll show you where it is written.
18 Q. When you wrote this passage in your statement, did you actually
19 read anything about the methodology of this book, the way in which its
20 sources had been identified and the way in which the research had been
21 carried out? Did you?
22 A. Yes. That's written in the foreword, and on that basis I came to
23 the conclusion I came to as to what the value of this book could be. I
24 saw whose statements were taken from and where these statements were
25 taken. It couldn't have been any better than what it actually is. If you
1 want to us talk about the Fund for Humanitarian Law, I can discuss that as
3 Q. I don't think we have time for that at the moment. Now, nothing
4 of any kind happened in Bela Crkva on the 25th, 26th of March, 1999, yes?
5 A. That's what I wrote in my statement, too, and I say -- I claim
6 that my unit did not --
7 Q. Was there any subsequent fighting in Bela Crkva; and if so, on
8 what days?
9 A. I'm certain, because the last time I went round the outskirts of
10 Bela Crkva was on the 2nd of April when I was returning from completing my
11 combat task. Until then, I can guarantee that I saw absolutely no effects
12 in terms of destruction, et cetera. Now, later on, whether --
13 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Mr. Vukovic. Look at this,
15 A. No, I'm not lying. You are lying, Mr. Nice.
16 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am not lying. You are lying.
18 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice, are you going to leave from this statement?
19 MR. NICE: I was going to leave the statement, yes, but I'm quite
20 happy to stay with it.
21 JUDGE KWON: Could you put it on the ELMO again, please.
22 Mr. Vukovic, the last sentence of this statement I think is a bit
23 different from the answer you just gave to us now.
24 Here you said, "I also do not know anything about whether another
25 unit committed the alleged crime." This is different from what you stated
1 earlier today. You said had there been anything, you would have known
2 that, which means that --
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Kwon. Mr. Kwon.
4 JUDGE KWON: Please don't interrupt. Let me finish my answer --
5 question, and after having heard the answer, I'll hear from you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's what I'm saying.
7 That's what I said today too. In the statement it says so as well. "I
8 also do not know anything about whether another unit committed the alleged
9 crime." That's what I've been saying all along. I absolutely have no
10 knowledge of any other unit having done it, my unit or a police unit.
11 For my own unit, I claim that because they were with me all the
12 time and they could not have been elsewhere at that point in time. So I
13 don't think it differs from what I've been saying.
14 JUDGE KWON: So you do not exclude the possibility of this crime
15 having happened that -- by another unit or by those who you do not know?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Kwon, that would be as if you
17 asked me about the region of Pristina, Subotica, Cacak. How can I talk
18 about things that I did not see and places that I did not go to?
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Vukovic, we are dealing with the alleged crime
20 which happened in Bela Crkva.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's right. And I'm saying
22 to you that while I was in the village of Bela Crkva, there was no action
23 because I would have had to see it and I would have had to hear it. Since
24 I did not hear it or see it, that means that it didn't happen.
25 I cannot talk hypothetically about whether in three days or five
1 days or in a month somebody committed a crime. War in itself is a crime,
2 and if it was committed, it certainly was not committed on anybody's
4 JUDGE KWON: Confine your answer. Be very simple.
5 Mr. Milosevic.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Kwon, this last sentence as you
7 quoted it is incorrectly translated. Incorrectly translated when Colonel
8 Vukovic read it, too, because there is no question mark.
9 It also says: "I do not know that another unit committed an
10 alleged crime." It doesn't say about "whether." It says: "I also do not
11 know that another unit committed the alleged crime." There is no
13 JUDGE KWON: I'm not sure that there is a difference, but thanks
14 for the correction.
15 MR. NICE: With Your Honour's leave.
16 Q. Mr. Vukovic, what colour uniform were you wearing on this day?
17 A. The colour of the uniform of all members of my unit was
18 camouflage. It was a camouflage uniform, and the basic colour was green.
19 There's also brown, and there's also lighter.
20 Q. Let's look at these photographs, please. These photographs taken
21 in June of 1999 show, do they not, destruction on an enormous scale of
22 this village. Look at the one you're looking at now. Houses with their
23 roofs off.
24 The next one, please, Mr. Nort.
25 More of the same. Houses destroyed.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Next one, please.
2 Can you explain for us, as the person who had local knowledge and
3 local -- a local role to play, can you explain, please, how those
4 buildings got damaged in that way? This is Exhibit 167 -- 157, tab 2,
5 part of.
6 Can you explain, please, how these got damaged in this way?
7 A. I cannot explain or comment on these pictures that you're showing
8 me now. I can testify to you only about the period in which my unit was
9 in that area. That's what I keep telling you all the time, and you keep
10 asking me different things. How can I explain --
11 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
12 A. How can I explain a destroyed house? Please.
13 Q. You and maybe the police, but since you don't wish to assert it
14 was somebody else, maybe it was you on your own, I don't know, you were
15 engaged in cleansing this area, weren't you? It's quite simple.
16 A. Those were not my men, certainly, but I and my men took part in
17 this anti-terrorist action, but Bela Crkva was not involved at all. There
18 was no action by my unit in Bela Crkva. And as far as I know, of no other
19 unit either in this period.
20 MR. NICE: Mr. Nort, could you just put the other two quick
21 pictures on in succession in case one of them shows what I want it to
22 show. Next one, please. No. In which case, can you just take this one
24 Q. Help us, please, from your local knowledge: The village in the
25 distance -- the village in the distance there - it's not very far away -
1 what village is that?
2 A. That should be the village of Rogovo. Yes, it is the village of
3 Rogovo --
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. -- because it -- the bridge can be seen on the Beli Drim River.
6 Q. Very well. Before I move on to the next point in relation to Bela
7 Crkva - if I can have the photographs back, please - so that we've now
8 seen how near Rogovo is, a couple of points: Would you accept the
9 following proposition that at the time with which we are dealing, March of
10 1999, KLA strongholds were to be found at the following villages or towns:
11 Drenovac, Medari, Dragobilje, Malisevo, and Nisa. Would you accept those
12 are the places where the KLA was at its strongest?
13 A. That is partly true.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 A. But Pirane, Randubrava, and Donje Retimlje and Retimlje were other
16 strongholds too. There was even the headquarters of a Siptar brigade in
17 Retimlje. And Pagarusa is referred to and Dobrodeljane, et cetera. You
18 have that in the order of the brigade commander.
19 Q. Certainly none of the villages with which we are concerned, Bela
20 Crkva, Celine, Velika Krusa, none of those place was a KLA stronghold?
21 A. But of course it was. I talked about it all of last week. The
22 Podrinje-Pastrik operative zone was established. The mainstay was
23 precisely this 124th Terrorist Brigade. But if you look at item 1
24 carefully and read it carefully - this is document number 3 among my
25 documents - this is the order of the brigade commander, and you will see
1 that -- I'm trying to find the exact section. Here it is. Local staffs.
2 That is in the first paragraph, the second bullet.
3 So the 124th Brigade of the KLA, about 300 terrorists. Retimlje
4 is its command post. The command post of the operative zone Podrinje
5 Pastrik and of the KLA is in the village of Malaria. That is to the north
6 of this place but on Milanovac mountain. Also it says local staffs, and
7 in brackets, 500 [as interpreted] to 100 terrorists in Gornja/Donja
8 Potocari, the village of Nespelje [phoen], Velika Krusa, Basik ---
9 Q. Now --
10 A. -- armed settlements.
11 Q. 50 to 100 terrorists is a slip of the tongue, I think. The only
12 named place is Velika Krusa and then only as 50 to 100 terrorists. The
13 strongholds, I suggest, were the places to the north that I've identified;
14 Drenovac, Medari, Dragobilje, Malisevo, and Nisa.
15 A. The major strongholds were always in the area of Drenica and the
16 area of Mount Milanovac. But read the entire paragraph and you will see
17 that there are these local guards, consisting of 50 to 100 terrorists, in
18 all villages at that.
19 Q. Totally unconnected question: The 72nd Special Police Unit --
20 sorry, Special VJ Unit, tell us about that. What do you know about that?
21 A. I don't understand. What do you mean what do I know about that?
22 Are you interested in that period or where they are now or --
23 Q. The 72nd Special VJ Unit was what, commanded from Belgrade? Was
24 crack troops, expensively trained and armed, and only to be used for
25 special operations. Would that be about right?
1 A. The 72nd Special Brigade, that is its name, such a unit did exist.
2 If you're asking me whether part of that unit was in Kosovo and Metohija,
3 I know it was. A small part of it was there, perhaps one or two
4 companies, I cannot tell you exactly, because I encountered them in 1998.
5 A few times we even participated together in some anti-terrorist actions.
6 But I cannot give you any more specific information about this unit; I
7 never worked in that unit.
8 Q. They were only used for very special events, weren't they, because
9 they were such a prized and valued unit.
10 A. Well, fighting against terrorists is a special task. All
11 countries use special units first and foremost in combatting terrorism, as
12 we currently witness elsewhere in the world. It is quite natural that
13 this unit should be used for anti-terrorist action.
14 Q. What were they doing in Rogovo?
15 A. It's just as if you were asking me about an SAS unit, what it was
16 doing in Iraq. How could I know what they were doing in Rogovo? And you
17 didn't tell me the date or the time or anything.
18 Q. 25th of March, 1999, what they were doing in Rogovo? 25th, 26th,
19 27th, 30th, what were they doing there?
20 A. I don't know at all. I have no information that in that period
21 that unit was in Rogovo.
22 Q. Rogovo would be easily connected via that streambed to the railway
23 bridge, wouldn't it? Just go along the streambed beyond the railway
24 bridge and you land up on the road to Rogovo. We saw it on the map.
25 A. Well, if you take that stream you'll get exactly to the river of
1 Beli Drim. Not to Rogovo but to Beli Drim. And the Belaja stream or
2 brook flows into the Beli Drim. I can show you that on the map where it
3 can be seen very well.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues]... I want to check before I move
5 to my next topic that you stand by, as I think you have in various answers
6 to me and also to the Court, answers that you gave yesterday about Bela
7 Crkva. At 10.29 -- not necessarily yesterday; on day 431. You said:
8 "The search of Bela Crkva was not carried out, because I said that my lead
9 security, my forward security, whose assignment is to ensure unhindered
10 march for my combat group on their axis of movement, established through
11 reconnaissance that there was no activity from Bela Crkva village against
12 our troops. Since there was no activity against us, there was no reason
13 for us to counteract."
14 Do you stand by that answer?
15 A. Yes, yes, I stand by that answer.
16 Q. And on the same day at 11.00, no minutes and six seconds, you
17 said: "Bela Crkva village is completely outside the area of conduct of
18 military operations. So this is absolutely incorrect. We never
19 surrounded Bela Crkva village, and we never performed any operations in it
20 because there was no attack."
21 Do you stand by that answer?
22 A. Exactly.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, may we turn, please, to your diary, which needs
24 again interpretation and reading problems. Can we place -- just at the
25 moment can we just place a full version of the diary on the overhead
1 projector so that we can understand its format.
2 MR. NICE: And, Mr. Nort, if you'd be good enough simply to
3 display the first page when you get it.
4 Q. If we look at the very first page of this diary, we see it starts
5 off with entries for the 24th of March, but I think - help me if I'm
6 wrong - not in your hand.
7 A. No. This handwriting is the handwriting of one of my assistants.
8 I judge that by his signature.
9 Q. We do have some translations for this part of the diary. If they
10 could now be distributed. I'll go through the first half dozen pages so
11 that we can understand what was written.
12 By the way, remember yesterday -- while this is being distributed,
13 remember yesterday, Mr. Vukovic, I asked you in simple, short sentences to
14 describe what it was you were doing in the operations at Bela Crkva and
15 elsewhere? Do you remember my asking you those questions?
16 A. I remember that I did answer some questions put to me, such
18 Q. And just let me find my notes. Yesterday, in describing in your
19 own terms what happened at this time and in this area, you spoke of an
20 anti-terrorist operation. You used the word "blockade," "search," and
21 then there was a discussion about the word "destruction," and about the
22 use of the word "destruction" or "uncover." You used the word "blocking
23 off," "breaking up the enemy," and you also used the word "neutralise."
24 Do you remember using all those words yesterday?
25 A. Yes, they are my terms. Well, not my terms but military terms
1 and, yes, did I use them.
2 Q. All right. Now, on the 24th of March of 1999, your colleague or
3 subordinate set out an entry: "NATO forces committed aggression on the
4 territory of FRY, against military targets in Belgrade..." and so on. I'm
5 not going to read all of these, we don't have time.
6 2120: All systems in full readiness ...
7 2300: Declaration of state of war.
8 0200: BG2 went to perform the task 1278 from the 23rd of March
9 order, 186 people engaged.
10 0230: From the direction of the Republic of Albania intensive
11 reconnaissance of the NATO Air Force.
12 And then we turn to the next day, the 25th of March. So that's
13 the entries for the 24th of March.
14 25th of March: "Commander 3A and Commander PRK praised all units
15 for extremely brave attitude and professionalism in performing their tasks
16 in the beginning of NATO armed aggression."
17 And then it says this: "On LP Zub arrived something brigade of
18 anti-aircraft defence," and then some more --
19 A. Self-propelled battery PVO.
20 Q. The 26th of March: "Urgent measures undertaken for illegible
21 taking out of materiel and equipment from the dump in the barracks in
23 A. For fortification and pulling out materiel and technical resources
24 from the warehouse in the Djakovica barracks.
25 Q. And then on the same day at 2005, a reference to the dump with
1 ammunition being hit.
2 On the 27th, a reference to a part of the road, commander of an
3 engineering platoon, and other entries. There's one, for example, at
4 2100, action with the --
5 A. Mining a certain direction towards Albania. Axis towards Albania.
6 Concretely our territory at the Cafa Prusit border crossing.
7 Q. Then we come to 2100, action with a Praga anti-aircraft gun. 1800
8 to 2100, strength of one detachment destroyed in the region. Doesn't make
9 -- can't be read. Assignment successfully completed by the unit which is
10 in charge. What does that mean, by the way, the 1800 to 2100 passage?
11 A. It says or, rather, a terrorist group appeared there numbering
12 about 12 men in the Prisak [phoen] area of the -- Prisak village, which is
13 away from the village of Zub, to the east of my command post, actually,
14 some ten kilometres away.
15 Q. All right. We then go on to the 28th of March.
16 MR. NICE: Mr. Nort, if you've got that on the overhead projector,
17 bottom of the left-hand page. Yes, there it is.
18 Q. 28th of March, Zub and wider area directly attacked by rockets,
19 two of which were aimed for systems. After rockets appeared, and so on,
20 in reference to Djakovica and so on.
21 So that takes us until the 28th of March --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. -- in the evening. Then the handwriting changes. Is it your
25 A. No --
1 Q. Whose handwriting is it?
2 A. -- it's still the handwriting of probably some soldier.
3 Q. Probably some soldier?
4 A. If you take a look, you'll find the same handwriting in some of
5 the previous documents, reports.
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. And an officer or, rather, if a soldier makes the entries, the
8 officer dictates the entry to be made. And my handwriting is to be found
9 from the third -- let me see. Let me just check that. No, that's not my
10 handwriting either, none of it here either. For the 2nd, I see that I did
11 make some entries personally. Part of the entries were made by me
12 personally because I state that the unit was just completed on the 3rd
13 again because it was an in different positions along different axes
15 Q. [Previous translation continues]... let's go back to where we were
16 on the document. It says, "Amendment of the war record," doesn't it?
17 A. Yes, yes --
18 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
19 A. -- that's what it says on page 4, "Amendment to the war record."
20 Q. Did you authorise that amendment? Pretty important document, a
21 war diary. Did you authorise that amendment?
22 A. Authorisation for that amendment could have been issued either by
23 me or by my deputy.
24 Q. We have no reason to doubt what follows, do we? What follows is
25 an official record and the only contemporaneous record we have of anything
1 that happened in this area between the 25th and the 30th of March. Am I
3 A. I've already said this is the only document in which mention is
4 made of the activities of the unit for that particular date.
5 Q. Right. Then let's explain how the 25th of March has been amended.
6 0130, that's the time you set off. March was done in the direction
7 Zub-Djakovica-Zrze-Bela Crkva in order to accomplish assignment. In the
8 course of marching, and then there's something that hasn't been
9 deciphered, vehicles TAM 130, T10 number plates, two soldiers injured,
10 Dragan Milanovic and Boban Velkovic [phoen]. And then this: Villages
11 Bela Crkva were blocked and cleaned, or cleansed. There were no losses.
12 A. Uh-huh. Yes, that's what it says.
13 Q. Will you explain to us, please, how at a date no earlier than the
14 28th of March, and notwithstanding everything you've told us about Bela
15 Crkva being left untouched, your war diary reflects the fact that it was
17 A. Well, this is an addition, Mr. Nice, and you can see that it was
18 written, at the earliest, on the 28th of March, because what follows after
19 that -- it follows on after that date. I was not at my command post on
20 the 28th either, and most probably a device was used to inform my deputy
21 where the unit was for a very short space of time, because you can't use
22 the device for any length of time because you're located by the enemy and
23 targeted. So it's just a brief piece of information, saying where the
24 unit was and what part of the assignment had been carried out.
25 On the 25th, the closer assignment was carried out and
1 automatically, pursuant to the brigade commander's instructions, he
2 recorded the previous points. And if you look, you will see that it
3 coincides exactly with what I said.
4 Q. Sorry, I don't understand you. This entry makes it clear that far
5 from being free of attack, Bela Crkva was cleansed, and I'd like you,
6 please, to tell the Judges how come your war diary contains that entry.
7 A. Well, I've just answered that. Well, I can't even remember, but
8 with my deputy, I heard him over the radio communication device regularly,
9 and in the evening of the 25th I know that I informed him that in the unit
10 there were no losses for the first day, that we were at that such-and-such
11 line, and that we had carried out our task, our assignment. I didn't go
12 on mentioning any villages because the message would have been too long;
13 the radio station and communication line would have been detected and
14 targeted. And then following an automatic process, he recorded this.
15 Now, I've already explained to you why there was nothing in Bela
16 Crkva. I explained that to you today and yesterday and the day before. I
17 can repeat.
18 Q. At most on your account, which I don't for one second accept, if
19 there had been misunderstanding, you would have been saying we searched
20 Bela Crkva and there was nothing there.
21 Your scribe has recorded a word "cleansed" or "cleaned," and
22 that's because that's exactly what you were engaged in.
23 A. No, that is precisely not what we were engaged in, and it was how
24 I said. This -- I did not dictate this text. This text was dictated by
25 my deputy at the command post, and I just informed the deputy where my
1 location was.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the word used for cleansing?
3 MR. NICE: "Ciscenje."
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: "Ciscenje."
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. Shall we look at the entry for the 26th of March to see how your
7 deputy, if this is your explanation, recorded events. But before we go
8 on, did your deputy have problems with the use of language? Was he in
9 some way illiterate? Was he hard of hearing? Tell us. Or was he a
10 competent military officer?
11 A. Mr. Nice, I've already told you that in the Yugoslav army, either
12 then or now, there were not people that were in -- with disabilities, and
13 you were able to see that during the aggression as well. When I say
14 "you," I mean your country, because it took part in the aggression.
15 Q. 26th of March: "We are continuing cleaning -" or cleansing - "in
16 cooperation with the MUP until 12.00. In the skilled manoeuvre group, we
17 entered the village of Donja Retimlje," as it reads. "First group Donja
18 Retimlje, second group --" we can't read the word -- "Velika Krusa MBN --"
19 an abbreviation that we don't understand but you may help us -- "Velika
20 Krusa, soldier Dalibor Misic was wounded in his right foot. Soldier was
21 brought into the Prizren hospital and soldier Desimir Todorovic was put in
22 the hospital. The whole day the soldiers endured the strain excellently.
23 Albanians are leaving their weapons down, changing clothes, and they run
25 Any reason to doubt any part of that entry, including in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 particular the opening phrase, "We are continuing cleaning -" or cleansing
2 "- in cooperation with the MUP"?
3 A. It doesn't say in cooperation with or coordinate action. It says
4 "coordinated action with MUP, weak, poor." Which means that we had
5 certain problems along that line, precisely because the army was -- the
6 military commander was in command of the army, the MUP unit was commanded
7 by the MUP commander, and we did not have radio communication devices that
8 were compatible.
9 Now, as far as the continuation is concerned, on the 25th as well,
10 if you want to -- me to use the word, we cleaned, or cleansed, the village
11 of Celine, and Nogavac and Bela Crkva of terrorists. Of terrorists. So
12 this refers to "ciscenje," the cleaning or cleansing exclusively as part
13 of an operation against the terrorists, just as you use the word
14 "cleaning" in everyday life where you're separating --
15 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
16 A. -- something good from something bad.
17 Q. Let's pause there for a minute, shall we? I asked you questions
18 very carefully yesterday afternoon, not least so that it could be done
19 before you had any chance to speak to anyone else, and I asked you what
20 language you would use to describe what you did, and on no occasion did
21 you use the word "cleansing." You used all sorts of other words.
22 Now, are you now saying, and you said it, interestingly enough, in
23 respect of Bela Crkva, that you were cleansing Celine, Nogavac, and Bela
24 Crkva of terrorists? I thought there were no terrorists in Bela Crkva.
25 What are you saying?
1 A. Well, once again you're distorting my words. I didn't say that
2 these are my -- what I said. But when I use the word "ciscenje,"
3 cleaning, myself, anyway, this is what my deputy said and wrote, who was
4 20 kilometres away from me, at the battalion post. I didn't use these
6 So it's just a question of terminology, Mr. Nice.
7 Q. Is it?
8 A. As for the 25th, I state that he just copied it out automatically
9 or, rather, copied out automatically what was said in the order.
10 Q. I see. Just a minute. This is a -- you have to accept,
11 Mr. Vukovic, this is a new explanation, therefore we must focus our
12 attention on it.
13 This, the only contemporaneous record of events, is simply not a
14 contemporaneous record of things that actually happened because your
15 deputy simply dictated something from an order without checking whether it
16 actually happened. Is that what you're now suggesting?
17 A. No. That is absolutely not what I'm saying. And that's not the
18 only entry. You have an analysis of the brigade command, Mr. Nice. I
19 have it under number -- just a moment, let me find what number -- number
20 5. And that is an authentic document, a contemporaneous document where
21 or, rather, which clearly states according to the dates and times what was
22 done in the area. And now you're saying that in my war diary something
23 has been entered and recorded which --
24 Q. Are you saying that that document, Delic's post facto analysis of
25 events, describes Bela Crkva being cleansed? Have we missed something?
1 Is it there?
2 A. Well, if we read it together, we'll see whether it is there or
4 Q. This is your explanation, Mr. Vukovic. Take the time to do it.
5 Thank you. It's tab 359A. And you just take us to the passage where it's
6 acknowledged that Bela Crkva was indeed cleansed.
7 A. Well, probably there is no mention of Bela Crkva because there was
8 no action there, but, yes, I will skim through the document to see if I
9 can find anywhere in it the village of Bela Crkva mentioned. It exists in
10 the order because it was stated as an access -- axis, but it's not in the
11 analysis because there was no action. But let me read out this entire
12 document, or skim through it.
13 Q. Go to the second page and I think you'll find a reference to Bela
14 Crkva on the -- right in the middle of the second page, and you'll find it
15 on the second line.
16 A. That's right. I've made a note of that too. I highlighted that
17 same paragraph. It is the first, second, third, fourth, fifth. It says
18 this: "During the first day one of the close assignments was realised and
19 a strong breakthrough was effected of the 23rd PJP from the direction of
20 Bela Crkva and Brnjaca towards Celine and Mala Hoca." If we look at the
21 map, you'll be able to see that axis, that direction.
22 Q. Pause. Pause. It says nothing about cleansing Bela Crkva because
23 your evidence has been consistent from first to last that nothing happened
24 at Bela Crkva, and you've relied on these documents to support it. You're
25 now suggesting that your deputy for some reason quoted from this document
1 when he wrote the war diary. The entry you've just taken us to, or I've
2 just taken you to to identify the word "Bela Crkva" doesn't support that.
3 Do you want to find another entry that does?
4 A. I did not repeat this document anywhere. I repeated the order by
5 the brigade commander for this anti-terrorist action, and in my files it
6 is under number 3, and that is something that the deputy at the command
7 post could have had. He could not have had an analysis at that time,
8 which was compiled only on the 30th of March. So since -- how could he
9 use an analysis compiled on the 30th on the 28th, for example? He
11 And, Mr. Nice, I did not receive this analysis myself. It is
12 titled and addressed to the command of the Pristina Corps. That's who
13 it's addressed to. And I said that my reports were incorporated in this
15 Q. Very well. Let's go now to the 27th of March. There are many
16 more of these entries that we have to look at to get a complete picture of
17 what you were up to.
18 The 27th of March, all groups were merged until 0700. At 9.30
19 cleaning began in three directions. The first group, and then the
20 direction is illegible, TT 356. The second group, and to us it's
21 illegible but help us if you can for the 27th of March. The third group,
22 Lieutenant Radojevic in the blockade --
23 A. One group took the direction of Retimlje and Neprebiste, and the
24 other group took the direction of Retimlje-Mamusa, but I have to read it
25 in order. The first group of Nedje Sela [phoen] from Donja Retimlje
1 direction 350, trig 356. If we put the map up I'll be able to show you
2 that point, the village of Neprebiste.
3 The second group was by Lieutenant Jesi [phoen]. He was sent
4 early in the morning pursuant to orders by the brigade commander. I sent
5 him to quite a different -- in quite a different direction and axis to
6 help Combat Group 1 which had been stopped in front of the village of
7 Mahadzi because there was heavy firing coming from the terrorists.
8 And the third group of Lieutenant Radojevic, his group, was in a
9 blockade, which means he didn't move at all. About 600 hours -- 1600
10 hours a tank turned over, and when the operation was completed on the
11 27th, there was an order for the units to reconvene in the area of Mamusa,
12 Neprebiste, Retimlje, Donja Retimlje, and for the units to return to their
13 own area of deployment.
14 In my unit, not in combat, a tank turned over, so I stayed
15 there --
16 Q. [Previous translation continues]... evidence of that, writing
17 about it, the tank turning over. Let's go to the next entry. 28th of
18 March. I'll just read it out to you. Follow it, please: "Body of killed
19 soldier Bojan Jovanovic was taken out, unit was transferred in groups to
20 village - can't read the name of it - units were engaged in securing the
21 state border according to the plan. In the course of the day around 2.000
22 people went in the direction of the border crossing Cafa."
23 Cleansing had achieved its results, hadn't it? You were kicking
24 out the Albanians.
25 A. If you're asking me, well, I'm not -- I don't understand the
1 interpretation I'm getting so I can't say whether you're commenting or
2 asking me a question. Now, if you were asking me a question, then that is
3 not true, it's not correct. And I can help you with something you asked
4 me a moment ago from the 28th. This second paragraph is my writing, my
5 handwriting in the war diary, because I had returned to my command post
6 and to the end of the war I was a person -- I personally kept entries into
7 this -- in this document. But as I say, what you just said a moment ago
8 is not true.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]... is your writing the writing in
10 capital Cyrillic letters?
11 A. For the 28th, I used capital letters, Cyrillic capital letters,
12 and from the 29th I used the Latin script, because I use both scripts in
13 actual fact. I was taught both scripts at school so I use them
15 Q. So this is your handwriting from now on, is it?
16 A. Yes, that is my handwriting, at least the portion that I have
17 before me. Now, if you provide me with the whole war diary, I can leaf
18 through it and give you a complete answer to your question.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, we are going to take the 15-minute
21 MR. NICE: Thank you.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: We are adjourned.
23 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
25 MR. NICE: With --
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
2 MR. NICE: With Mr. Nort's assistance, we'll carry on with the
3 diary entries so far as relevant. There are only a few more. We're on
4 the 28th, which ends with 2.000 people going in the direction of the
5 border crossing at Cafa. We then come to the 29th in Mr. Vukovic's hand.
6 That reads as follow: "By order of the command of the 549th
7 Motorised Brigade, confidential number 1304-1 --" Funnily enough, I can't
8 -- yes, I can see that -- "platoon MB 120-millimetre was sent to Velika
9 Hoca area - commander is Lieutenant Feta and he is subordinated to BG6 of
10 the 519th Motorised Brigade. Remaining forces are ready for intervention
11 in the direction Orahovac- village Ostrozub. The rest of the unit is
12 undertaking assignments in depth security of the state border according to
13 the plan."
14 Then this: "In the course of the day around a thousand people
15 went in the direction of the border crossing Cafa Prusit."
16 Q. Why are all these people on the move, please, Mr. Vukovic?
17 A. As for the reason why civilians were moving out, I spoke about
18 that at length but I'll repeat what I said. The basic reason why the
19 civilians were moving out or, rather, were leaving and going to Albania,
20 Macedonia, Montenegro or other parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
21 was fear from the bombing which started on the 24th of April.
22 Q. You say that. Can we find any contemporaneous recording by you?
23 Have you recorded that contemporaneously anywhere?
24 A. I don't think that any such thing can be found, especially not in
25 the war diary, because what is entered into the war diary is only the most
1 important activities of the unit, the most important events, not detailed
3 At any rate, I reported about these reasons. I reported to my
4 brigade commander, and he compiled a piece of information that he sent on
5 to the corps command. I have that piece of information here with me, and
6 I can show it to you.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues]... if you're saying it's somehow
8 important and significant. You mean it's in this diary? Because we're
9 coming to the diary. We're going through the diary entries. We'll do
10 them sequentially.
11 Tell me, you saw the -- remember the pictures of Bela Crkva, of
12 the houses with all the roofs off and burnt out, and there are -- we can
13 see some more of Celine and probably of Velika Krusa and so on. What
14 efforts were made to re-house the people who couldn't live in those
16 A. If you mean Bela Crkva specifically, the task of the army was not
17 at all to put people up. This is done by the civilian authorities.
18 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
19 A. To protect. It's not the military units that --
20 Q. You drive by an area like Bela Crkva and you see that, good
21 gracious me, all the houses have been burnt down, presumably you tell
22 someone, and tell us what the civilian authorities did. Did they spring
23 into action to suggest that these people go and live somewhere else, or
24 did they bring them tents, or did they bring them prefabs, or did they
25 kick them out and send them to Albania?
1 A. First of all, I did not say that I saw destroyed houses. That's
2 what you're saying. I claim that while I was passing through Bela Crkva,
3 I did not see anything unusual. Now, what the civilian organisations did
4 is something that you have to ask them, because I was not on that terrain,
5 and I cannot give you an answer.
6 Q. Before we return to the diary, do you remember you had an exchange
7 with His Honour Judge Bonomy and His Honour Judge Bonomy pressed you as to
8 whether you yourself had seen property being destroyed by your armaments,
9 and eventually, after about two or three questions that you didn't answer,
10 you acknowledged yes, you had seen property damaged and destroyed.
12 A. As far as I can remember, the question was related either to
13 Celine or Randubrava. I cannot recall now. If you give me the
14 transcript, I can talk about it. But I insisted that it was only places
15 from which fire was opened at police units or military units, and in that
16 case --
17 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
18 A. -- anything is a legitimate --
19 Q. His Honour pressed you and tested your memory. You confirmed
20 eventually that you'd seen property damaged and I'd like you to tell us
21 which village. All right?
22 A. Well, I've said. In the village of -- of Celine I saw that for
23 sure because even my command post was shot at as it was being relocated.
24 I also saw action in Randubrava, and I saw action in Donje Retimlje. I
25 saw the effects of the action in Pirane. Because I was passing there, I
1 saw the effects of the action in Velika Krusa and Mala Krusa in part. I
2 saw the effects of the action in village of Medvjedce and partly in the
3 village of Neprebiste because I got that far. I did not see anything in
4 Mamusa because there was no action there, and in Bela Crkva I did not see
5 anything because there had not been action. I cannot talk about
6 Dobrodeljane, Noptarusa [phoen], and Suva Reka because I was not there.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues]... also of damaged property.
8 Forget the fact that it's not the army's responsibility, because the army
9 has to work with the police. Tell us, from your knowledge, were any
10 efforts made to deal with those whose property you'd seen destroyed and
11 who were now without house? Any efforts made to help them? Apart from
12 sending them to Albania or Macedonia?
13 A. Well, they were not sent to Albania and Macedonia. They went
14 there on their own. Now, whether any efforts were made, to tell you the
15 truth, I don't know because I was not involved --
16 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
17 A. -- in resolving problems like that. The task of my unit after
18 this was to organise defence.
19 Q. 29th of March, then. By order of the command of the 549th
20 Motorised Brigade - this is of course still in your handwriting -
21 confidential number 13041, platoon sent -- no, I've done this already.
23 30th of March: "Following the order of the brigade command,
24 around 0800 unit sent to blockade the village of -- to blockade of village
25 Rogovo and in --" and perhaps you'd just like to check that I've got this
1 right, in co-action or cooperation - I don't know what it is -- "with
2 Brigade 3 and part of the 72nd Special Brigade, it --" let's just check on
3 the word, as we can see it there. Oh, yes, is it "ciscenje" there, or
4 "ciscenla" cleaned Rogovo?
5 A. It says "ocistila," and I'll tell you what it's about if you put a
6 question to me.
7 Q. Well, first of all let's see if we can see what it actually says.
8 So there you were with the 72nd Special Brigade, cleansing or cleaning the
9 village of Rogovo, mahala Postra, mahala Ramahmat, and Mahadri mahala.
10 And then it says there were no losses, and it goes on to say the
11 following: "The rest of the unit is undertaking assignments in depth
12 security of the state border according to the plan." I'll read the last
13 bit, which in fact you touched on with the accused later, but let's just
14 deal with the first number of lines. You tell us what you meant by
15 cleaning the village of Rogovo, mahala Postra, et cetera, with the 72nd
16 Special Brigade.
17 A. That was just part of the 72nd Special Brigade, and that's what
18 written here, and part of my unit and part of Combat Group 3, not Brigade
19 3. But these were very small units. I think, and I have it written down
20 somewhere, that only two rifle platoons took part because I could not
21 allocate more resources for that.
22 As for "ciscenje," it means separating something good from
23 something bad. If you're asking about this particular case --
24 Q. Separating something good from something bad? Is that its
25 dictionary definition? We can always find a dictionary definition for it,
1 but separating something good from something bad. It's very familiar to
2 us. Is that really what the word means or have you been discussing
3 evidence with someone else? Hmm?
4 A. I, Mr. Nice, am trying to explain to you in the simplest possible
5 way the meaning of a particular word in the Serbian language. And I think
6 that in the English language also this word is used when you're cleaning
7 something. Basically -- well, I don't know how else I can explain this to
9 In military terminology, we used this expression only in the sense
10 of fighting against armed terrorists, if that's what you're asking me.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, the witness did offer that meaning,
12 that explanation, earlier today, separating something good from something
13 bad. This is not the first time.
14 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Vukovic, are you referring to "ciscenje" or
15 "ocistila"? Do they have the same meaning?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Over here "ocistila," cleaned,
17 that's what it means, that the terrain was searched, the broader area of
18 the village of Rogovo. You will notice that on the 24th the terrorists
19 appeared in the area of Pnis, and that is this entire area on the right
20 bank of the Beli Drim river where the terrorists were quite active, and
21 also further on --
22 JUDGE KWON: Just please answer the question put to you. I was
23 asking you whether "ocistila" have the same meaning as "ciscenje," and you
24 answered the question. Thank you.
25 MR. NICE:
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. "Ocistila" is a noun from the verb "ciscenje," isn't it?
2 "Ciscenje" is a verbal noun, apparently, but they're all the same root, I
3 think. So, look --
4 A. It's the other way around, Mr. Nice.
5 Q. Very well.
6 A. You got your Serbian grammar all wrong.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that's because you haven't answered the
8 question. If you would just answer the question, then we'd all be wiser
9 instead of leaving it to Mr. Nice to try and clarify the difficulty.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Ciscenje" and "ocistili" and
11 "ocistilo" and "ocistijo," all of that are verbs. Some are finite and
12 others infinite. Serbian grammar is terribly complicated. I cannot begin
13 to explain this to you over such a short period of time. So this is
14 precisely --
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues]...
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- one of the most complicated
17 grammars, the Serbian grammars. Also Croatian grammar and --
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. [Previous translation continues]... what we want you to do is try
20 to tell us the truth, if you wouldn't mind. And what it comes to is this:
21 That in your own hand you use a word from the same root, cleanse,
22 cleaning, that you said your deputy used effectively in error not so many
23 minutes or half hours ago, and yet we find you using the same word
24 yourself. Because cleansing means cleansing, doesn't it? It means taking
25 people out, killing them, and booting them out of the country, and it's a
1 nasty word and that's what you wrote down.
2 A. No, that's not what it means. That is your interpretation. And
3 now why is this unusual for you that two persons from the same country,
4 from the same state, who went to the same schools, use the same word? I
5 mean, it's the same kind of word, like "good day," "good-bye," whatever.
6 Now what is so unusual about that?
7 This term pertains exclusively to fighting against terrorists.
8 I'm repeating that to you yet again.
9 Q. The number of times you repeat something may or may not add to its
10 validity and strength, but just cast your mind back, Mr. Vukovic, to the
11 opening questions I asked you yesterday, which I intentionally and
12 expressly asked you to use your own terminology to describe what you were
13 doing in this area. Do you remember? Do you remember that passage of
14 questioning? You tried to give a long answer and I brought you back and I
15 fed you back your own words and asked you for any other words that were
16 relevant. I was giving you every opportunity, quite intentionally, to use
17 the word "ciscenje" or one of its family derivatives, and you never did so
18 because you'd forgotten what you'd written down in your own hand.
19 You are a liar, Mr. Vukovic, and this book reveals it, doesn't it?
20 A. No. You're a liar, Mr. Nice, and I know exactly what I said. If
21 I were to use all the words from military terminology, I would take at
22 least ten days of the Trial Chamber's time.
23 I did not talk about anti-aircraft defence and fighting against
24 landing forces and many --
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Vukovic.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Oh, please.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's not permissible to describe the Prosecutor
3 as a liar. When he says you are a liar, he does so on the basis of the
4 evidence and his instructions. But you're not permitted to describe him
5 as a liar. You may say that he has wrong information, but don't call him
6 a liar.
7 MR. NICE: I'm grateful to Your Honour.
8 Q. Mr. Vukovic, would we now read on, because we're going to come to
9 the one passage of this diary that was led through you by the accused.
10 Can we go to the immediately following passage, "ostatak jedinice ..."
11 there, that bit there. Can you start it off and can you read it to us.
12 A. "The remainder of the unit carried out tasks as planned on the
13 in-depth security of the state border."
14 Next bullet: "During the course of the day, in the direction of
15 the border crossing Cafa Prusit, about 2.000 people crossed over. The
16 transport of children and elderly people was organised."
17 That is what it says in this section.
18 Q. And on. Let's go on. Next page.
19 A. Would you like me to read on?
20 Q. Please read on to the end of this entry.
21 A. "The Djakovica-Prizren road was crowded with columns of refugees.
22 There is nothing sadder than watching a column of poor people who are
23 moving from their homes on someone's instructions. Soldiers are the way
24 they are; they give juice and cookies to children in passing."
25 Q. Two questions arise from that passage. First, transport was
1 organised to take some of these people not to Mother Serbia, not to a safe
2 and secure part of Kosovo which would be under Serbian control, such as,
3 for example, the village of Hoca - yes, Hoca was a village under Serbian
4 control - but to take them to Albania. Why?
5 A. First of all, all villages were, if that's the word you use, under
6 Serb control where there were no terrorists. Secondly, they could have
7 gone wherever they wanted to go. And I'm going to give you specific
8 examples by name of persons who went to Mother Serbia, as you put it.
9 Those who wanted to go there, went there. Those who wanted to go to
10 Montenegro, went to Montenegro; and those who didn't want to go to either
11 place went to Albania. And I have spoken extensively about why most of
12 them went to Albania and Macedonia. In order to portray an alleged
13 humanitarian catastrophe to the world and to justify the NATO aggression
14 against my country.
15 Q. I see. Let's see if I understand this. I mean, these people who
16 have had their houses burnt out, who have seen their family members
17 killed, are now engaged in a conspiracy of some kind, is it, because they
18 want to portray a humanitarian catastrophe. Who orchestrated this
19 wonderful conspiracy, Mr. Vukovic? Who was there on the ground, saying do
20 this, do that, and we'll make it look as though we're suffering. Who did
22 A. As for the first, it wasn't people from the area that you are
23 alluding to, to Bela Crkva, Celine, whatever. These people who were
24 passing through the area of defence of my battalion and who were going to
25 the Cafa Prusit border crossing were from Pec, as far as I can remember.
1 Further on, no transport was organised. It was transportation.
2 It was moving people from one place to the other. It's a completely
3 different word. It means a completely different thing. Elderly, children
4 being --
5 Q. We're doing what you accepted is the best way of reconstructing
6 events, because you agreed with me that contemporaneous documents are the
7 best source. This is not only contemporaneous, it's in your hand. You
8 wrote down transport and/or transportation was organised. Please tell the
9 learned Judges what you meant. You wrote it. You tell us. And where was
10 the destination?
11 A. Just a moment. You have managed to confuse even me. What it says
12 is not "transport was organised" but "transportation was organised."
13 Vehicles were organised. Only from the command post in Zub until the Cafa
14 Prusit border crossing. That's one or two kilometres. And it was
15 organised exclusively for old and infirm persons who were left behind by
16 their own families at my command post because they couldn't continue to
18 Cafa Prusit border crossing could only be crossed on foot. I have
19 already explained that it was ready for demolition, that there were
20 minefields on the left- and right-hand sides of the road and that the road
21 itself on the border crossing itself had obstacles put up, anti-armour
22 obstacles, and only one vehicle was able to pass through at a time. And
23 it was done on the 29th and maybe on the 2nd or the 4th perhaps. Right.
24 The 4th of April. Transportation of children and elderly people was
1 Q. The destination was Albania, as that's the Cafa Prusit crossing.
2 Next question, very simple question: Who organised it?
3 A. I organised the transportation for elderly people and children.
4 The groups were not larger than 30. Even if they had been 300, I would
5 have done the same, because they simply didn't have any strength left in
6 them to go on, and they were also unwilling to accept any of the options
7 that I had offered them, and I talked about that yesterday.
8 Q. [Previous translation continues]... trucks or buses?
9 A. One single truck. I did not have buses in my unit. Where would I
10 take buses from? Not a single unit except for the transportation unit has
12 Q. Tell me, because we've got your words to go on, the children and
13 the elderly seems to exclude the parents. What were you doing
14 transporting children on their own without their parents, making sure they
15 moved that much faster?
16 A. No.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
18 A. And I didn't say -- I didn't say they were children without
19 parents. It goes without saying, Mr. Nice, that when you have a year-old
20 baby, it is carried by the mother. But if you know what Siptar families
21 are like and their lifestyle, you would know that they have many children
22 in one family. So there were perhaps a number of women with children and
23 old, infirm persons who couldn't walk.
24 Q. [Previous translation continues]... in your transportation plans,
25 Mr. Vukovic, is there?
1 A. Mr. Nice, this is not a detailed report about that activity. I
2 keep trying to tell you that only the most important events of the day I
3 recorded in the war diary. It would have been 10.000 pages long if I had
4 entered details about those people and all the rest. We never did that.
5 Q. Go now, please, to the second part of this entry. You're telling
6 us, aren't you, that people were leaving voluntarily on account of NATO,
7 and we then have this passage that the accused relied on to show some
8 human sympathy, I suspect, where you wrote this - you wrote this:
9 "There's nothing sadder than to watch a convoy of poor people who are
10 leaving their houses according to someone's order."
11 Whose order?
12 A. I have already told you.
13 Q. The police's order? Whose order?
14 A. No, not the police's order. Orders of the terrorists --
15 Q. Ah.
16 A. -- only. There were examples when Siptars themselves stated that
17 the terrorists had forced them out of their homes, and they even punished
18 those who didn't want to leave their villages. I can tell you about the
19 entire village of Jakoc [phoen] that was threatened and told to leave. So
20 I had to send part of my platoon to protect the civilian population who
21 managed to persuade the villagers not to move out. After that, we
22 reinforced patrols in that area, although it was not my unit's area of
23 activity. And the villagers stayed on in that village until
24 the very end.
25 I also told you that at my command post in Zub village there were
1 a lot of people.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues]... very first entry of your daily
3 reports, one of the only ones we've been able to, as it were, find any
4 relevance for because there were so few entries, but the one that says in
5 the zone of your part of the 549th Brigade the activities and movements of
6 the terrorists were not noticed. And you do remember, don't you, that you
7 have time and time again said that there were no terrorists in Bela Crkva.
8 The order to move people came from the police and/or from you, and
9 what you're writing here is a giveaway reflection of what even to you is a
10 sad truth. Hmm?
11 A. No. That is not true at all. It's your interpretation of my
12 words --
13 Q. [Previous translation continues]... still in your hand.
14 A. -- distorted as it is.
15 Q. In your hand, the 31st of March, and the Court can see the wording
16 in which we're interested on the fourth line, so I'll get the witness to
17 read out the first two sentences.
18 Will you please read out the first two sentences of this entry.
19 A. "Pursuant to the orders of the brigade command, at 10.30 part of
20 the unit was sent to carry an intervention on the axis of
21 Orahovac-Ostrozub village. By 1800 hours search and cleaning of Ostrozub
22 village and Madjare village were carried out. Especially strong
23 resistance was offered by Siptars from Madjare village, but the commander
24 of the 2nd SV, Staff Sergeant Srdjan Stojiljkovic, used a skilful
25 manoeuvre and strike in the flank to come into a favourable position -- to
1 arrive at a favourable position. A group of seven terrorists was blocked
2 in one house and destroyed by tank fire. The unit spent the night outside
3 Janciste village."
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter missed a bit because the witness
5 was reading a bit too fast. And the last sentence was: "An inventory of
6 materiel and vehicles was made." The missing part was --
7 Q. Here we have a reference to conflict. I think it's probably the
8 first reference to conflict that we've found. Seven terrorists were
9 blocked, and I think destroyed by tank fire. But this was in the course
10 of a cleansing operation or cleaning operation of Ostrozub and Madjare,
12 A. Yes. That was part of a broader operation that continued
13 immediately upon completion of that anti-terrorist action in the area of
14 Orahovac, Velika Krusa, Bela Crkva. It was in the framework of that
15 anti-terrorist operation that part of my unit was engaged.
16 Q. This entry ends again, does it not, with a record of a
17 satisfactory result, and then it says this -- I must suggest to you it's a
18 record of a satisfactory result: "In the course of the day, around a
19 thousand people went in the direction of the border crossings. Around 70
20 tractors were left in the village Zub. Vehicles and technical goods were
22 So you got rid of another thousand people.
23 A. That is not true that I was getting rid of them. They were
24 leaving on their own accord. Tractors and technical goods remained only
25 when people insisted on crossing at Cafa Prusit and didn't want to Vrbnica
1 border crossing, for reasons known only to them because Vrbnica would have
2 allowed them to cross in vehicles. And if I had any say in it, I would
3 have prohibited them from crossing there mainly for the reason that it
4 created an additional problem for me, because I had to issue an order to
5 create a passage through the minefields so that these people could pass
7 Q. Finally, in your own hand, 1st of April -- or finally on this
8 point in your own hand and nearly finally for the diary. 1st of April:
9 "Unit continued its assignment until 1500 hours, completed search and
10 cleaning or cleansing of the village Janciste, and co-acted with MUP
11 forces in cleaning village Pagarusa and Milanovic."
12 It's more ethnic cleansing, isn't it, and it's as simple as can
13 be, and it's in your own hand.
14 A. That is not ethnic cleansing at all, Mr. Nice. At the beginning,
15 in my set it's number 2, an order from the corps commander related to the
16 deployment of forces, and during the -- your examination you mentioned
17 yourself Malisevo and Dragobilje as the greatest terrorist strongholds,
18 and you were right about that. All we did was to continue the
19 anti-terrorist action on that axis. There was no ethnic cleansing nor did
20 anyone receive such an assignment, nor will you be able to find that in a
21 single document of mine.
22 Q. This day's entry is very successful, isn't it, because in the
23 course of the day 2.000 people went in the direction of the border
24 crossing. That's how the entry ends.
25 A. An entry cannot be either successful or unsuccessful. My entry
1 reflects the actual state of affairs. I only noted that on that day a
2 certain number of people crossed. And let me remind you that these
3 figures are approximate, because nobody did a head count or checked
4 exactly how many of them passed.
5 Q. On the 2nd of April -- please look at the 2nd of April and please
6 confirm that there is no entry on the 2nd of April of any bombing of
7 Nogavac by NATO.
8 A. Well, there could be no such entry because I can't talk about
9 Nogavac, which is not in my defence --
10 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
11 A. -- area. I didn't mention Belgrade or Pristina either. No sense
12 in it.
13 Q. Fourth entry: On this day 4.000 civilians went in the direction
14 of the border crossing Cafa Prusit, transport was organised for the
15 elderly -- for the children and the elderly, no reference to the
16 children's parents, and then a reference to overflights in the night. So
17 again, this was an organisation by you of transport for some elderly
18 people and some children, was it?
19 A. Well, that's the way you interpret it, although I have explained
20 to you in detail what that implies. I explained to you also that one
21 vehicle only was engaged to bring elderly people up to the border
22 crossing. And even --
23 Q. Mr. Nort.
24 A. -- my soldiers helped them pass along that path which was a
25 passage through the minefield.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues]... on the board if you possibly
2 -- oh. All right. This is a map that we've just made available. Would
3 you take the pointer, please. If the -- it's a little distance for the
4 Court, and if the audiovisual could focus on the centre of the map, where
5 there are coloured marks, please.
6 There are only two colours of significance. I don't know if we
7 can get any closer than that. Thank you very much. Coming on nicely.
8 Blue. Will you confirm that the blue marks, which we can see on
9 this map and I'll try and get it better copied for tomorrow, are the
10 places Drenovac, Madjare, Dragobilje, Malisevo and --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Nice, we can't hear you any more.
12 MR. NICE: Sorry. I'll say it again.
13 Q. Can you confirm, please, that the blue marks at the top are the
14 villages of Drenovac, Madjare, Dragobilje, Malisevo and Nisa?
15 A. I will have to stand up. Just a second. We can see Malisevo,
16 Dragobilje, Madjare, Drenovac, and Nisa village, if I'm reading correctly,
17 because this is a photocopy of the map.
18 Q. Djakovica --
19 A. I'm surprised you don't have the original.
20 Q. -- we can see -- yes.
21 A. Djakovica is right here, right.
22 Q. When you started your march, you started your march from just
23 south-west of Djakovica; is that correct?
24 A. Which period are you referring to? You must be precise.
25 Q. On the 25th of March.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. No. I set off in a completely opposite direction --
2 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
3 A. -- from Zub village --
4 Q. You came through Djakovica and then you came to this area. Thank
5 you very much, just point it out. That's fine. Now, meanwhile were you
6 aware, and we can look at this in more detail tomorrow, that General Delic
7 had set up border protection lines to the south-east and north-west of the
8 area that you were going into? That he'd set up blockades along Retimlje
9 and Dobrodeljane and Pagarusa? Were you aware of that?
10 A. It's not exactly the way you read it. You'd better read from the
11 assignment. What was blocked was a broader area south-east and north-west
12 of Orahovac. That's the area I'm showing now. And it's precisely
13 indicated in the order of the brigade commander and the corps commander as
14 well. I can find it, read it, and show you the blockade line --
15 Q. [Previous translation continues]... minute.
16 A. -- precisely. It was --
17 Q. I want your help so we can understand in simple terms what was
18 going on, if we can look at the map again, and I'll get the map better
19 copied for tomorrow for use on the overhead projector.
20 The road that we can see in the bottom left-hand segment of this
21 map, running north-west/south-east, is the only route that takes people
22 out of Kosovo into Albania. It goes directly south-east through Prizren
23 and then it turns south-west and it goes to the Cafa Prusit border
24 crossing that we've heard; correct?
25 A. No, it's not correct. This first road, if that's what you mean,
1 goes from Prizren to Vrbnica border crossing. And the road that I was
2 referring to, where my unit was, goes from Djakovica through Brekovac
3 village via Zub village to the border crossing of Cafa Prusit. And they
4 are in no way related, these two roads.
5 And incidentally, in every normal state, civilians, citizens, can
6 cross the border only at border crossings. I don't see what's odd about
8 Q. [Previous translation continues]... this morning or this
9 afternoon. You see, what happened, and I'll get it drawn better for you
10 for tomorrow, is that Delic had the area guarded so that people couldn't
11 escape save down one road. None of you went to attack the blue villages,
12 which were the KLA strongholds. All you did was focus on and cleanse the
13 villages that lay within the area from which they could not escape. The
14 KLA to the north, Delic to the north-west or the south-east, and they were
15 driven out on that road, and that's what happened.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, we have to stop at 1.43.
17 MR. NICE: I understand. I have guessed as much and I have
18 focused my last question on that with that in mind.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please answer the question.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was just going to ask you that
21 because I couldn't remember the -- this entire question until tomorrow.
22 What you just said is not correct. I only wrote in my war diary
23 the direction of movement and action of part of my unit. And the number
24 engaged was 50 to 70 men, I can't remember precisely, and one firing
25 platoon of mortars, 120-millimetres.
1 And if you look at the statements concerning this anti-terrorist
2 operation, you will see that the objective was to lift the blockade off
3 this very important road that goes through Orahovac, Milanovic towards
4 Pristina. So there was no expulsion of population at all. There was no
5 mention of that. The only objective was to prevent and fight terrorist
6 action, because this road is very important. It is the shortest route
7 from Pristina to the Beli Drim river valley, and it opens possibilities of
8 action towards Prizren, Djakovica, and Pec. That's the only thing our
9 unit was doing there. It was not driving the population away, as you seem
10 to say.
11 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues]... tomorrow, and I
12 shall probably restrict myself to dealing with one, or at the most I have
13 two other locations tomorrow, and I shall be finished with this witness as
14 soon as I can.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you Mr. Nice. We will adjourn until
16 tomorrow at 9.00 a.m.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
18 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 2nd day
19 of November, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.