1 Wednesday, 2 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, you may continue.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone for Mr. Nice,
9 MR. NICE: There are a couple of preliminaries --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nice, please.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Your microphone is not activated.
12 MR. NICE: My apologies. A couple of preliminaries to save time.
13 First, just dealing with the two potential exhibits that the witness
14 produced. The leaflet I'm unable either to accept or reject or challenge
15 that that's a genuine document dropped by NATO. I have no position on
16 that one way or the other.
17 Second, the transcript of the alleged communication between the
18 pilot and base is something that's dealt with in Exhibit D323, which was
19 the report to the Prosecutor on the NATO bombing that the accused put in,
20 and it can be found there at paragraph 66, which I'll just lay on the
21 overhead projector, if Mr. Nort would be so good, and this will explain my
22 position on that.
23 It is claimed, it says, by one source, report on file with OTP.
24 The other passage, please, Mr. Nort. Further up. No, further up. The
25 paragraph 66. Can you push the page up, please.
1 "It is claimed --" Mr. Nort, that's it.
2 "It is claimed by one source (report on file with the OTP) that
3 the Yugoslav TV broadcast of the attack on the Djakovica convoy on the
4 15th of April recorded a conversation between one F-16 pilot involved in
5 the attack and the AWACS. This conversation is alleged to establish both
6 that the attack on the convoy was deliberate and that a UK Harrier pilot
7 had advised the F-16 pilot that the convoy was comprised solely of
8 tractors and civilians. The F-16 pilot was then allegedly told that the
9 convoy was nevertheless a legitimate military target and was instructed to
10 fire on it. This same report also suggests that the convoy was attacked
11 with cluster bombs, indicated by bomb remnants and craters left at the
12 site. However, these claims - both with regard to the foreknowledge of
13 the pilot as to the civilian nature of the convoy and of the weapons used
14 - are not confirmed by any other source."
15 I haven't yet been able to track down the report on file with the
16 OTP to identify the single source that is referred to there, but it is
17 sufficient to observe both that there appears to have been one source, it
18 may be this book, making this claim, and at the time of the preparation of
19 this report that no other sources had been identified. That remains our
20 position, and if it changes, I'll let the Court know.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the evidence has now identified a number of
22 sources. The witness has told us that this was widely broadcast on
23 television, and it may be that the matter is worth further inquiry now.
24 MR. NICE: We've started the process of inquiries, but so far we
25 haven't been able to confirm that it's been broadcast in any other source.
1 Third point that I mention, I'm not going to ask questions about
2 it in light of the absolutely emphatic position of this witness that Bela
3 Crkva was no -- no action and no KLA. He can't have been clearer on that.
4 The Chamber may possibly recall, and if it hasn't been told this
5 already I should just draw it to your attention, the book of the fallen
6 heroes of the KLA contains some ten names that match names of those killed
7 in Bela Crkva. There are seven Popajs, and three Zuniqis. There is no
8 explanation for why they're in the book and the Chamber will recall that
9 various possibilities have been advanced as to why names may be in that
10 book other than people being in any sense active members of the KLA or
11 supporters of it, but nevertheless I simply draw that to your attention so
12 that the point won't be missed but I'm not going to ask the witness
13 anything about it.
14 The final point, which brings me to my resumption of
15 cross-examination is this: The witness, yesterday, in using the word
16 "ciscenje" started to give an explanation that used the word "separate,"
17 and I intervened at that stage to suggest that on no occasion had he used
18 the phrase "separate" before when I'd given him a careful opportunity to
19 consider the position.
20 His Honour Judge Robinson observed that the witness had used that
21 definition earlier in the day. I have to say I thought that His Honour
22 may have been in error, but we've checked the transcript, and the position
23 appears to be that the only use of the word "separation" as an explanation
24 of or definition of the word "ciscenje" was given by Djosan in his
25 interposed cross-examination.
1 What happened was, and I'd like the witness to follow this because
2 I want to ask him two more questions about it, that in the absence of the
3 witness - and it was on day 433 but I don't have the time for it, I'm
4 afraid; it's page 45950 - he was asked by me, in respect of the way it had
5 been translated: "'Ciscenje' means -- it's been translated as 'mopping
6 up,' but does it also mean 'cleansing'?" Djosan said: "No. 'Ciscenje'
7 means separating the good from the bad." "If you take it --" I asked:
8 "Does it?" And he answered: "If you take it as a word. That meant
9 separating the terrorists from the rest of the population."
10 My recollection, confirmed by a search of LiveNote, is that there
11 was no further use of the word "separation" as synonymous with or defining
12 of the word in which we have an interest until at 12.24 and 59 seconds
13 yesterday this witness gave the answer that he did. And unless I'm shown
14 to be in error on that, unless I'm -- there's a part of the transcript
15 that has this witness --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: I thought I heard it yesterday earlier in the
17 evidence. Djosan didn't give evidence yesterday.
18 MR. NICE: No, he didn't, but we've checked the transcript against
19 the word "separation" or "separate," and it simply doesn't appear.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well.
21 WITNESS: VLATKO VUKOVIC [Resumed]
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice: [Continued]
24 Q. And with that preamble, Mr. Vukovic, when you used the words
25 yesterday as follows, you said this: "This refers to 'ciscenje,' the
1 cleaning or cleansing exclusively as part of an operation against
2 terrorists, just as you use the word 'cleaning' in everyday life where you
3 separate --" and then there was a reference to "good from bad."
4 I want to know why you suddenly decided to use that definition,
5 separate, for this particular word.
6 A. It's not that I suddenly decided to use that phrase. I was trying
7 but you didn't allow me. You interrupted me mid-sentence. I was just
8 trying to explain what is meant when that notion is used in military
10 In your long introduction, you said something that was wrong. I
11 never stated that there had been no action in Bela Crkva. How can I say
12 anything? Maybe there was some action there yesterday. I stated that
13 there wasn't any action on the 25th of October in Bela Crkva.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues]... which is about the use of the
15 word "ciscenje" and its definition by separation. My suggestion to you is
16 very simple: That between the very first day of your evidence when you
17 gave -- the first day of your cross-examination by me when I was only able
18 to ask you questions for about ten minutes, I must suggest to you you've
19 been in discussion with someone, either with Djosan himself or with
20 someone else who has explained to you how you're going to get round the
21 problem of this use of the word "ciscenje." Is that what happened?
22 A. First of all, I don't have a problem at all. It seems that you
23 have a problem. You know full well, as I do, that --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Colonel. Colonel. Colonel, just answer the
25 question. The suggestion is that you have been in discussion with
1 somebody who advised you how to get around the problem of the word
2 "ciscenje" by giving it the meaning separating good from bad. Have you
3 been in discussion with anybody? Were you in discussion with anybody?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not in discussion with anybody
5 in relation to this trial because that is forbidden for witnesses while
6 they give testimony. Even later, they're not allowed to talk to potential
7 witnesses, and I fully abide by that. I would not bring myself and my
8 family into a situation that would lead to you punishing me by a measure
9 which is fully justified if such a thing happened. So I never discussed
10 any such thing like what Mr. Nice just mentioned.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. Finally, did you see the evidence of Djosan or did you read a
13 review of it in any newspaper to allow yourself to be affected by what
14 he'd said?
15 A. Mr. Nice, I was not in a position to see the general's testimony,
16 General Djosan's evidence. On that note, I haven't been buying newspapers
17 since I got here because I have better things to do. I came on a
18 completely different assignment. Even what I do is too strenuous for me,
19 let alone reading newspapers.
20 MR. NICE: Your Honours, we have definitions from a Croatian or a
21 Serbian/English dictionary. I don't think I can usefully ask questions of
22 the witness about a definition because one goes through the words. I can
23 simply tell you that the word "separate" doesn't appear in any of them.
24 Q. Can we turn to one other matter of detail before I leave Bela
25 Crkva. I suggested to you yesterday that there was no evidence of the
1 buildings of Bela Crkva being damaged after the incidents of the 25th of
2 March. That needs correction. If we can lay on the overhead projector,
3 in order to correct it, "As Seen, As Told" first of all at page 278. Yes.
4 If we look at this, please, on the left-hand side. There is a
5 paragraph that reads as follows, and I'm reading this out for your
6 assistance, Mr. Vukovic. There's a paragraph that says of the Bela Crkva
7 event: "Surviving villagers who had either remained or --"
8 A. Just a moment. Let me find it, please. I haven't found it. You
9 could --
10 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Bela Crkva entry, two
11 paragraphs before the headline "Celine."
12 A. I've found it.
13 Q. "Surviving villagers who had either remained or failed to escape
14 Bela Crkva, were eventually expelled from the village on or around the
15 16th of April, when the police entered at approximately 15.00 hours and
16 told everyone to leave in 30 minutes under threat being killed by the VJ.
17 Later the same day, three large, heavily armed groups of soldiers with
18 paint on their faces entered the village. The police forced two young
19 brothers to undress, they fired their guns close to the boys, then
20 released them after forcing them to hand over 1.060 Deutschmarks."
21 And then this: "As everyone was leaving the village, the police
22 burned the houses after looting them, and cars were confiscated."
23 So you follow, Mr. Vukovic, that there is some evidence of some
24 houses, I would suggest the residue, being burnt on the 16th of April, but
25 otherwise the evidence is to the effect that the houses were burnt in the
1 initial attack on the 25th of March. And I'd like to now, just to tidy
2 this issue up, to look at two versions of Exhibit 320, tab 74. This is
3 aerial views of the damage to Bela Crkva, and what we've -- what the Court
4 will see first of all on the screen is the exhibit as it's presently
5 formed, and the disadvantage -- sorry, that's -- no, the other one first,
6 please. No, the other -- can you put the other document on, please,
7 Mr. Nort, so that I can explain it. Not that. That's it. No, not that
8 one. The other one. If you bring it back, I'll show you so that I can
9 explain what we've done.
10 Now, if you put that on, the original exhibit of two aerials dated
11 -- two aerial pictures of the 11th of March and the 2nd of April show the
12 same location but the one on the right is oriented opposite -- in an
13 opposite way from the one on the left. So now please put the other
14 document on the screen, and what we've done is turn the right-hand one
15 around so you can see. That's fine.
16 Now, if you look at this -- it's the original exhibit, we've just
17 tidied up the orientation. If you look at this from the aerial views,
18 this, you see, Mr. Vukovic, shows damage that could be seen from the air
19 of the same locations, not on a later date when the last people from Bela
20 Crkva were cleared out but on the 11th of March, and then the 2nd of
21 April. So there is a large amount of damage that is absolutely visible
22 there. Can you explain, please, how that happened?
23 A. First of all, in the introduction, which was again very long, you
24 said that it was clear. I think that you are assuming that that's clear.
25 But I'm telling you that on the 25th of March, not a single house in Bela
1 Crkva was destroyed or torched. That's what you've been trying to say all
2 the time, as if I had stated that.
3 On the 16th of April I was not at this locality because it was
4 outside the zone of action of my battalion. I cannot talk about the 16th
5 because I do not have relevant information.
6 Further on, as for these photographs, you've been showing me some
7 photographs, black and white, of dubious provenance, to put it mildly.
8 First of all, I don't understand English so could you please tell me who
9 took those photographs and where from so that I know that that is exactly
10 when they were taken, when you say they were taken. Tell me the source.
11 Who took these photographs? Was it NATO perhaps?
12 Q. First of all, it's not for you to make demands or requests of that
13 kind. These are aerial photographs of the dates given, produced in
14 evidence before this Court. My question to you is a simple one. It will
15 be, of course, for the learned Judges to decide whether to accept these
16 photographs as what they have been produced as, but please tell us, if it
17 is found that these photographs reliably show what was to be seen on the
18 2nd of April at Bela Crkva and on the 11th of March, can you explain for
19 us - yes or no - how the damage was caused?
20 A. Well, I cannot explain it. All of yesterday I've been -- I was
21 explaining that there was no action in Bela Crkva. How can I explain the
22 difference between those two photographs?
23 I'm telling you, I am expressing my suspicion with regard to the
24 provenance of the photographs, and you convince me otherwise. You want me
25 to give an answer to a question related to something that I claim never
1 happened. I cannot assist you on that note or the Trial Chamber, or could
2 I be of assistance to Mr. Milosevic had he put that kind of ambiguous
3 question to me.
4 Q. I want you to look at another map which picks up the proposition I
5 was putting to you yesterday, and by this I want to conclude dealing with
6 Bela Crkva, and I hope the Court will understand me if I don't -- I hope
7 the Court will understand if I don't deal with other sites in detail, but
8 there isn't time and the generality of my case has been advanced through
9 Bela Crkva and the issues that that raises.
10 Remember yesterday, Mr. Vukovic, we were looking at a map on an
11 easel which was hard to see, despite all the best efforts of the
12 audiovisual unit. I have tried -- or we have attempted to convert
13 material on that map into a different format and it's quite easy to
15 This is a map which is an exhibit in the case, schematic rather
16 than a detailed map, showing the relevant area, and you can confirm that
17 if we look at the red line of the road it goes from the crossing at Cafa
18 Prusit, which is on the left of the map, it goes through the location Zub,
19 from where you were to start your march, it then runs through Djakovica
20 and would run through Prizren and then back to the other potential
21 crossing at Vrbica.
22 Those matters of geography, am I accurate?
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
24 Just a minute, Mr. Milosevic has a point to make.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think that it would be fair to the
1 witness to translate what it says in the heading of the map. In the
2 heading, it says that this is a map that shows the activities from
3 Vukovic's diary of the 2nd Battalion of the 549th Motorised Brigade. That
4 is what Mr. Nice showed to the witness, but he did not tell him that this
5 map depicts activities from his diary, and he should know that.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now I can answer.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Activities of cleaning, as it says
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
10 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I wish the accused would not interrupt and
11 try and tell me how to run the questioning. I'm coming to matters in the
12 appropriate order.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, I think it's a fair point. Let the witness
14 have the full context.
15 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I was coming to that in due course, and
16 this is simply a map, and I'm now going to explain the use to which we've
17 made of the map. First of all, the witness has, I think, confirmed that
18 the road is as I've described it, which is the red line. We now come to
19 the entries.
20 Q. Mr. Vukovic, you've heard what the accused has read out and so I
21 needn't go into it again, but if you look at the left-hand side of this
22 map -- perhaps audiovisual would make the left-hand side, or Mr. Nort
23 could make the left-hand side -- left-hand side, thank you, available.
24 Starting at the top. Starting at the top. Marvelous.
25 What we have done here, Mr. Vukovic, is take the entries from the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 diary of your unit where they referred to cleaning or cleansing
2 activities, and we've coded them by colour where possible. So that if you
3 look at the map at the top box in red, that shows how on the 25th of March
4 in your diary, war diary, and on our reading of the diary - you can check
5 or otherwise - it marks Bela Crkva, Celine, Nogavac, and Velika Krusa as
6 blocked and cleaned.
7 If we then take the red colour and look on the map itself, we'll
8 see the position of those four villages.
9 The next box down reflects the entry in your diary for the 26th of
10 March, continue cleaning in cooperation with MUP. The villages are right
11 Randubrava, Retimlje, Donje Retimlje and Velika Krusa. They're green in
12 the code on the left; they're green on the map.
13 The third entry, in orange, for the 27th of March, a similar entry
14 dealing with Donje Retimlje, Neprebiste, Zojic, Medregovac, and Mamusa,
15 and we can see the orange marks on the map.
16 The next entry, which is in black, doesn't -- for the 28th of
17 March, doesn't refer to any cleaning or cleansing but refers to 2.000
18 people going through the crossing, which is the crossing on the westerly
19 part of the map.
20 I'll run through the whole of the map so that you can have the
21 context. Purple is next for the 29th of March, and those villages can be
22 seen at the top.
23 Slightly -- at the top of the map, near where the blue marks are,
24 the blue rectangles are marked. And you will recall that the blue
25 rectangles are the villages or towns that you accepted as being KLA
1 strongholds. And on the same day, the 29th of March, there was reference
2 to 1.000 people crossing the border at Cafa Prusit.
3 On the 30th of March, in yellow, there's reference to cleaning the
4 villages of Rogovo and mahala Postra, and yellow is marked, as we can see,
5 on the map.
6 The 31st of March, in dark blue, refers again to the villages of
7 Ostrozub and Madjare, which is up at the top in the area of the KLA
9 And finally, there is a pale green for the 1st of April, dealing
10 with Pagarusa and Milanovic, and those can be seen towards the north of
11 the map, just underneath the KLA strongholds.
12 So that this map reflects what your diary shows; namely, an
13 advance from the west going through the red villages, then the green
14 villages, then the orange villages. Only after that venturing up into the
15 area of the KLA strongholds on the 29th of March, dealing with Rogovo
16 where the special unit, the 72nd unit was involved in cooperation with you
17 on the 30th of March, dealing with the KLA stronghold areas again on the
18 31st of March, and then with two villages south of that on the 1st of
20 Do you accept that that map shows by colour coding the pattern of
21 cleaning operations done by your unit?
22 A. I do not accept that at all. First of all, I don't accept the map
23 at all, Mr. Nice, and we'll be able to see this best on the big map. I
24 have it here but I don't know why you are consistently avoiding that map.
25 You have provided a map here that is quite distorted and which
1 doesn't mean a thing to any soldier. A topographic map is the only thing
2 that a soldier can follow properly.
3 Q. Mr. Vukovic, will you please observe some manners and not
4 continually try to make adverse comments about the way I am asking you
6 This map is a map that has been used by this Court for three and a
7 half years and they have found it helpful. It is a schematic map. It
8 shows villages in their position relative one to the other.
9 Will you now please focus on my question and say why the simple
10 propositions I've advanced to you are inaccurate, given that they come
11 from your diary.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, bear in mind, Mr. Nice, he has said he
13 doesn't find the map helpful.
14 MR. NICE: That's what he says, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: He did say that, yes.
16 MR. NICE: He said that, Your Honour, but this witness, even more
17 than the others, has occupied the Court's time in an effort to be
18 combative with me in a way that, in my respectful submission, is quite
19 inappropriate and I would ask the Court to ensure that he answer the
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, he's entitled, in my view, to say that he
22 doesn't find the map helpful. You may ask him why.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, he didn't say that, as far as I can see. He
24 said he didn't accept the map. I don't think he's talking about
25 helpfulness or otherwise.
1 MR. KAY: He wanted a topographic map, which is the Delic-style
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can be of assistance if you
4 will allow me. Why don't I think it's helpful? Because there are a lot
5 of mistakes. And in the first instance I saw -- well, anybody who wants
6 to can try and find the village of Medikovac [phoen]. I know where it is
7 in Kosovo and Metohija, and I was personally in that village, and it is
8 quite to the north, far north, at the very administrative border, that is
9 to say between the province of Kosovo and Metohija and Serbia proper. And
10 it is in the Podujevo municipality.
11 So go ahead, then. Find the village of Medakovo on this map.
12 That is why I say that this is a very, very bad copy. I have the original
13 map here, the original map of that terrain dating back to those times, so
14 can we put that map up and see what happened, where, when? Otherwise,
15 these are not valid data from my diary, because as far as I was able to
16 understand the interpretation given of what Mr. Milosevic said, it would
17 appear that with my unit I went right up to Prizren and the Brunic pass,
18 whereas I never was there. I was in Prizren professionally in the brigade
19 command but never with my unit.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you give me again the name of the village
21 you're inviting us to locate on the map.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Medregovac, where it says
23 Medregovac. That village is in the Podujevo municipality. 200 metres
24 into the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. I can give you the names and
25 surnames of the people who live there: The Ibovic family - I was there
1 myself - the Bulatovics live there, several -- four or five families
2 living there, and some ten Serb houses.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because it is an exclusively Serb
5 village, in fact.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, is that a mistake --
7 MR. NICE: It may be a mistake of that particular word. It
8 doesn't affect --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nice, please.
10 MR. NICE: It may be a mistake of that particular word. It
11 doesn't affect the generality, and I'm going to press on because time is
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, can I ask the witness: Are there any other
14 villages wrongly identified on the map?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, I would need at least
16 half an hour to compare this map with the original topographical map,
17 because, as far as I can see, the names are given in the Siptar -- in the
18 Siptar and Serbian languages. I'd like to look at it in greater detail so
19 that I can give a proper response, and I just happened to glance at this
20 and make that remark, note that, because it says that my unit was there in
21 that village on the 27th of March, and I know that it was not.
22 MR. NICE:
23 Q. Mr. Vukovic -- sorry, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I was just going to say, Mr. Nice, if the
25 witness is not prepared to answer on the basis of the map, then no doubt
1 we can look at maps of the area in due course and note the point you're
2 making if he can't assist us on the basis of what is actually being
3 produced to him.
4 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm obliged and I'm going to take one more
5 opportunity to see if he will confirm.
6 Q. Just look at the map in general terms, Mr. Vukovic. Allow for the
7 possibility that Medregovac is an error perhaps of reading a handwritten
8 document. Am I right in suggesting to you that in general terms your
9 units moved from the area where the red villages are marked on the first
10 day to the green villages on the second day, to the orange villages on the
11 third day? Is that correct?
12 A. Generally speaking, that is correct --
13 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
14 A. -- that they were moving.
15 Q. Thank you very much. Now, if you would be so good as to look at
16 another document which is extracted from Delic's war diary entries, and
17 you may or may not be able to confirm it. Just have a look at this,
18 please. We've used the same colour coding to see where Delic's troops
19 were according to his diary which is, as the Court knows, late produced
20 and still in the process of translation. I've got some translations done
21 but I've got a feeling it take too long to put documents through this
22 witness, and I'll just see if he'll confirm it.
23 Do you accept that Delic, on the 25th of March -- and we used the
24 same colour coding on the left-hand side from his diary, and we've used
25 the same colour coding in the dots. Do you accept that on the 25th of
1 March his troops were in the area of Retimlje?
2 A. But please, would you first read out and translate for me the
3 title of the map, the heading.
4 Q. The map reflects, since you wish to have the title, the location
5 of actions from entries in Delic's diary of the 52nd Motorised Brigade.
6 Now, will you please answer my question. To your knowledge - it's
7 a very simple question - were Delic's troops in the area of Retimlje on
8 the 25th of March?
9 A. On the 25th and 26th and 27th they were part of the 549th
10 Motorised Brigade, or part of it was in Retimlje village.
11 Q. Thank you. And indeed you picked up the point. He gives in his
12 diary explanation of the troops being in Retimlje, Dobrodeljane and
13 Pagarusa on the 26th, marked in green; in the same three places on the
14 27th; and in Dobrodeljane, Pagarusa marked in pink on the 28th; and in
15 those same two places on the 29th. So that for the first five days of
16 operation, as your troops were moving west to east, his troops were in a
17 blockade position on the north-south axis running from Pagarusa down to
18 Retimlje. Do you accept that?
19 A. No, I do not accept that. If you take a look at the order of the
20 brigade commander for this anti-terrorist operation - and I'll provide it
21 for you, it is in my binder, tab number 2, unless I'm mistaken -- no,
22 number 3, map number 3 - and if you take a look at his decision, which I
23 have as number 4, you will be able to see that what you're saying is quite
25 So the line was taken up, the blockade line was taken up first
1 over a large area. The Orahovac, Suva Reka, Velika Krusa area is quoted,
2 so that means a broader region with three points, and that's how you
3 denote an area. You give three points. And then part of the unit
4 remained in the blockade, or at the blockade, along the road from Zrze
5 towards Prizren so as to prevent the Siptar terrorist forces pulling out
6 towards the Albanian border and linking up with those forces who were
7 active on the other side.
8 Let me remind you that the night between the 25th, 4th and 5th is
9 when the aggression started on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and we
10 expected that there would be action on the ground as well.
11 And the second part was in a blockade, but as I say, this -- it is
12 difficult to discern and interpret this map because I cannot differentiate
13 a stream from a road, for example. Everything has been entered in black.
14 But anyway, it was somewhere behind Suva Reka, in this area here.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice will put another question to you now.
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. The order in advance of the march and the action is only a
18 forecast of what is to come. You accepted to me yesterday that obviously
19 contemporaneous records of what actually happened are likely to be more
20 valuable than anything else.
21 The markings on this map reflect what is actually in Delic's war
22 diary. Do you see? This is where he says his troops were. And I'm just
23 going to finish the point because if you look at the same map, please, or
24 visual aid or whatever we call it, we see that on the 29th of March, and
25 according to his diary, he was in Dobrodeljane-Pagarusa; on the 30th of
1 March, in yellow, he was in Ljubiste, Vranic, Medakovo and Macitevo, which
2 is marked to the top and to the west. And on the 31st of March, according
3 to his diary, in Ljubiste, Vranic, Budakovo and Macitevo that's marked in
4 dark blue.
5 So that the position is as follows, and it may be you don't
6 actually dispute this, that as you were driving in from the west, Delic's
7 forces were available as a blockade on the east, and subsequently his
8 troops provided cover on the west. All of this, I must suggest to you,
9 having the effect of driving the people moved out of these villages onto
10 the main road and from the main road to Albania, and that's what this was
11 all about.
12 A. Well, that's what -- I have to say that you're not right on that
13 point again. There wasn't a blockade either on the west or on the north.
14 What was blocked was the broader region, a much wider area than the area
15 which we thought the terrorists were in. And we started searching the
16 terrain. I can see you're not listening to me, but never mind. That's my
17 answers aren't clear to you.
18 As I was saying, we started out from a circle -- we searched the
19 terrain in the form of a circle --
20 MR. NICE: Of course I'm listening to you, Mr. Vukovic. But, Your
21 Honours, I really must request the Chamber to preserve the dignity of the
22 Court by stopping this witness in his attempted insolence. It's been a
23 characteristic of many of the accused's witnesses. I've wondered whether
24 its rehearsed because it has a pattern about it. I'm a very tolerant man,
25 but there are limits, and the Court must, in my respectful submission,
1 stop witnesses doing this.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: The Chamber is monitoring the witnesses.
3 Mr. Vukovic, just answer the questions. I've warned you before:
4 Leave aside the comments, just answer the questions.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me be clear: What I was saying
6 is that your assertion is not correct, and if you would like to hear why,
7 I shall give you the reasons.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. Explain why, please.
10 A. I would like to have this map, if possible, placed on the easel so
11 that I can explain this to you.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, let it be placed on the easel.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: While that's being done, Mr. Nice, I take it that
14 the heading for this should actually be the 549th Motorised Brigade.
15 MR. NICE: Yes, the 549th. It was done overnight.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From this map you can see everything
17 very well, that what was blocked was the broader area from Orahovac,
18 Velika Krusa, and Suva Reka. I say broader region, which doesn't mean
19 that these places were blocked as well, the places themselves, villages.
20 And here we can see the deployment of my units along the blockade line.
21 Here on the asphalt road, as you can see, there was a unit there,
22 and that unit throughout the whole operation, from the 25th to the 27th,
23 that is, was located along the blockade line. It did not move away from
24 there. And its task was to prevent terrorist forces from passing towards
25 the south and going to the border with Albania. And I think you'll be
1 able to find in the diary what happened, that is that in the region of the
2 village at Pirane on the 26th, if I remember correctly, fewer terrorists
3 or, rather, the -- some of the forces had been routed but other remaining
4 terrorists tried to pull out through the positions of the forces setting
5 up the blockade and they were prevented in doing that.
6 There was another unit that was along the blockade line
7 throughout. It was at this line here from Donja Srbica, but Donja Srbica
8 once again was not blocked itself. You can see these positions quite
10 All the rest of the units, all the other units of the combat group
11 which had been established for this anti-terrorist operation had the
12 assignment and task by 6.00 on the 25th, take up the -- their positions at
13 the blockade line on a circular basis, in a circle, because only -- you
14 only do that in an anti-terrorist operation. And then to move from all
15 directions, from all axes simultaneously in uncovering and finding and
16 breaking up or destroying or taking prisoner, if you prefer, the
18 And you will not be able to find any such assignment whereby
19 action was taken towards the civilian population at all. That was never
20 done. There was no action against the civilian population.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. Nice.
22 MR. NICE: I don't know if the Chamber has heard enough about this
23 matter and whether it was helpful or not, because I want to move on to
24 another question.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please do.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Vukovic. You can sit down.
3 Since you refer to maps, this much is absolutely clear, isn't it:
4 The map that's produced of the plan is an advanced plan, an advanced -- a
5 plan showing -- a map showing an advanced plan of what was supposed to
6 happen. Yes?
7 A. Yes. That was a plan with all the forecasts.
8 Q. Commanders with maps sometimes mark their maps with what actually
10 A. No. On these maps, we do not mark what actually happened. This
11 map is compiled before an action starts. So it is a decision --
12 Q. Are you saying that there's no example that you know of a military
13 commander marking where his troops are and then rubbing it out and putting
14 them where they've gone and -- maps are never used like that in the
15 Yugoslav army; is that right?
16 A. No, that's not what I'm saying, but not this particular map. This
17 particular map represents a decision. It is a working map.
18 Q. So were there maps at the time which actually had people like you
19 and the other commanders marking on them what they actually did as opposed
20 to what they were supposed to do?
21 A. Well, it's like this, you see: As the commander of a combat
22 group, I had a map of this terrain where I personally recorded the
23 positions of my units, introduced the position of my units and the most
24 important axes.
25 Q. Where is that map, please?
1 A. Well, allow me to finish. It is a working map. Truth to tell, it
2 is kept in the units of the rank of a battalion, but once an analysis has
3 been performed, the map is destroyed by burning, and that is what is
4 stated in instructions and guidelines for the work of staff and
6 Q. [Previous translation continues]... the map?
7 A. Well, that's what the instructions tell us to do. For example,
8 this is a lasting document, a permanent document, Mr. Nice, that is stored
9 and kept together with the order and an analysis.
10 Q. I'm only too happy to see these instructions. Do you have them
11 with you, which say that maps have to be destroyed? It may be the case, I
12 don't know, I'm just interested to see it. Have you got the instruction
13 with you?
14 A. No. It's not "may be," it's certainly that way. I'm a trained,
15 educated officer, and I tell you that that is so, and I will be able to
16 procure a booklet telling you things like that. Working maps kept by
17 larger units are secret, confidential ones, but the company, battalion, or
18 platoon level doesn't. So I'm talking about this on the basis of my own
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The interpreter didn't understand
21 the witness properly because it says those maps, it says in the transcript
22 secret documents, and the witness said not "tajni" but "trajni," permanent
23 documents. The witness did not say "tajni" but "trajni," which means not
24 secret but permanent, lasting. You can ask him again, if you like. The
25 maps that are lasting documents, permanent documents, because he is -- was
1 explaining what, according to instructions, are permanent, lasting
2 documents and what aren't. Of course, documents that aren't permanent are
3 destroyed. You have shredders yourselves.
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. Mr. Vukovic, you said something about working maps of larger units
6 being kept, didn't you?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So did you say that they were in some way secret?
9 A. No, no.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues]... did you say that they were in
11 some way permanent?
12 A. Yes. I said that they were of a permanent character.
13 Q. When you say a larger unit keeps permanently its working maps,
14 what's your definition of a larger unit?
15 A. Well, a basic tactical unit is a battalion, and associated
16 tactical units are brigades, regiments, divisions which have a corps.
17 Q. [Previous translation continues]... will have got -- Delic's unit
18 and any group of battalion size, at least, on your evidence, should have
19 retained working maps on a permanent basis, showing where things were
20 actually -- where units were actually deployed, shouldn't it?
21 A. No. That's not what it means. You didn't understand me again.
22 A battalion, let me repeat for the third time: Once an assignment
23 has been carried out, an analysis has been carried out it, it destroys the
24 working map by burning it. A joint tactical unit, such as regiments,
25 brigades, and divisions store their documents on a permanent basis. I
1 apologise but my speech has become slurred. I'm swallowing my vowels so
2 maybe the interpreters found it difficult to understand what I was saying.
3 Q. As I understood your answer, at the very least a brigade will have
4 retain permanent working maps showing where people were deployed, and that
5 would be a contemporaneous document, won't it?
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, after this we are going to adjourn in
7 light of the witness's health problems.
8 Answer this question.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That does not mean that the brigade
10 will store it permanently. The brigade will hand over that map to the
11 archives to be archived. Of course if it survived the bombing. And then
12 the map will be permanently stored in the military archives.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. Thank you.
15 A. If it has been saved.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. We will adjourn for 15 minutes.
17 --- Recess taken at 9.59 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.19 a.m.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please continue, Mr. Nice.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. So maps handed over would have been archived, working maps;
23 A. Exactly.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. Those that were handed over must be in the archives.
1 Q. Did you see those maps before you responded to the commission's
2 request that you should provide statements?
3 A. No, I did not see those maps.
4 Q. Is there any reason why those maps should not have been made
5 available to the Office of the Prosecution by the commission, that you can
6 think of?
7 A. I can't think of any reason, because I don't know whether they
8 exist in the first place.
9 Q. You have no reason to believe they don't exist, do you,
10 Mr. Vukovic?
11 A. Again, you're asking me an ambiguous question. I don't know
12 whether they exist. They must have been done, but whether they were
13 destroyed or archived, I don't know.
14 Q. Mr. Vukovic, these little maps - I'm holding up one which is a
15 Delic exhibit, tab 367, and is of Bela Crkva - these little maps, drawn
16 for the commission, are inevitably second best. Even if honest, these
17 maps would be second best to the contemporaneously drawn working map held
18 in an archive. Do you accept that?
19 A. These two things cannot be compared.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let us have just a straight and direct answer to
21 the question.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, a direct answer to this
23 question about the maps would be that these maps were made in end 2002,
24 when the statements were given to the Commission for Cooperation with the
25 ICTY. But I don't understand what he's asking me --
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: He's asking --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- because this is not a combat --
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me just ask the question. He's asking
4 whether you accept that these maps are second best to the
5 contemporaneously drawn working maps that would be in the archives.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They are not second best in terms of
7 quality, but these maps are not a combat document. They were part of the
8 statements, whereas the contemporaneous maps are combat documents. And I
9 suppose contemporaneous documents are of greater value to the Court.
10 MR. NICE:
11 Q. It's an obvious answer, and when you were given no escape it was
12 one you had to give, wasn't it? You've been trying to avoid the obvious
13 answers throughout your testimony, Mr. Vukovic, haven't you, because
14 you're not telling us the truth.
15 A. That's not true at all. I'm telling the truth. But you cannot
16 compare any map with a combat document. They're not in the same league.
17 That's what I'm trying to say. They're absolutely not in the same league,
18 in the same category. And a map that was done as a combat document
19 contemporaneously has greater importance.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. NICE: If the Court would like to go to the further of the two
22 documents I've produced this morning to clear up the error, as I believe
23 it to be, on the 27th of March.
24 I've placed, or got Mr. Nort to place, on the overhead projector
25 highlighted, I think, in, curiously enough, orange, I think, actually, the
1 passage for the 27th of March from his diary, and it's been very difficult
2 to decipher.
3 Q. Would you please, Mr. Vukovic, read this entry and we will follow
4 the orange box, third from the top on the map I produced this morning to
5 see where the error occurs. Can you read the entry out, please.
6 A. That's for the 27th.
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. "Linkage effected among all groups, meaning combat groups, by 0700
9 hours. At 0930, cleaning began in three directions. First group Major
10 Sel, axis Donje Retimlje, trig point 356, Neprebiste village. Second
11 group, Staff Sergeant First Class Ilijevski, village Zojic, Medvedce,
12 Mamusa village. Third group, Lieutenant Radojevic in blockade in the
14 Q. That's fine.
15 MR. NICE: The error would appear to be Medvedce as opposed to
16 Medregovac, and subject to that correction, I would invite the Chamber to
17 find this document a useful document and to perhaps admit it into exhibit,
18 both of them.
19 I have one more question to ask the witness about them and it's
21 Q. You understood perfectly well, I must suggest to you, Mr. Vukovic,
22 when you started your long answer about inaccuracies of the map and
23 everything else, you understood perfectly well that what the Prosecution
24 had done on this map was to try to reflect in a visually comprehensible
25 way what is shown on your contemporaneous documentation. As a military
1 officer reaching the rank of colonel, you must have understood that that's
2 what we were trying to demonstrate. Yes?
3 A. I understand what you are trying to do, and I will answer why you
4 are not correct, if you allow me.
5 Q. You've given your answers on errors as you allege them to be
7 Likewise, in the other map which picks up from contemporaneous
8 Delic documents, the Prosecution has set out in a visually comprehensible
9 way the position of his troops according to his diary on the given dates.
10 You understand that, don't you?
11 A. I understand, if it's true, because I didn't read General Delic's
12 diary, who was a colonel then.
13 Q. These maps, these schematic maps, turned into visual aids as they
14 have been, seek to provide the information that should be available in one
15 format or another on the archived working maps that we have not been
16 provided with. Do you understand that?
17 A. I understand what you are saying. Most of those positions as
18 drawn in are correct. At that time, part of the units were also in those
19 places, although it's not completely precise. But for the most part. It
20 does coincide.
21 Q. And none of the maps, in particular these little maps produced for
22 the commission, but none of the maps produced show anything about
23 activity. At best, they purport to show static position of troops. They
24 don't actually show anything about what happened, do they?
25 A. That's not right. Maybe they don't show it to you, but they show
1 it to every soldier. If we put any of these maps on the overhead
2 projector, I'll demonstrate it.
3 Q. You take one and show me how it shows what was actually happening.
4 A. Will you choose or will you let me choose?
5 Q. Choose one. You offered. You make your choice.
6 A. Let's take this one, for instance. They're all the same, but
7 here's one. This is the map of Retimlje for the 26th of March, 1999.
8 Q. And?
9 A. Let me say first of all that this map was accompanied by a set of
10 statements of the greatest part of officers who on this date, the 26th of
11 March, 1999, were in the field here in this area, and it's an integral
12 part of the statements. To every soldier --
13 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
14 A. -- and this map was planned for the expert team, the following is
15 visible -- sorry, I didn't hear your question.
16 Q. Have you got all those statements? You said it was by the
17 greatest part of officers who were in the field area and you've gone on to
18 say something about the expert team. Have we got all the statements?
19 A. I don't know whether you received them. How can I know that? I
20 have a great number of statements of my subordinates, which I can give you
21 for your consideration. I received them during proofing, and I know that
22 all commanders of combat groups provided statements and that a great
23 number of platoon commanders and company commanders also gave statements,
24 because I see those men regularly, and among other things they told me
25 that they had given statements. But let me come back to the map.
1 Here you see static units in the blockade line. It says in the
2 left bottom corner, "blocking forces." And those forces do not move
3 throughout the duration of the action. All the other forces are shown as
4 they were in -- at 1600 hours.
5 Green is the police. You see -- you see the position at 600
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, 600 hours.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And then you see the position at
9 1200 hours. You see a double line, one of which is yellow, which tells
10 everyone that this unit here moved from 6 to 12 up to here. Everybody who
11 knows anything about it understands that if a unit moves less than one
12 kilometre from 6.00 to 12.00, it must have been exposed to strong fire, in
13 this case by terrorists, and then --
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. Just a minute. "Must have been exposed to strong fire." Is that
16 marked on the map? Is the fact of combat marked on the map?
17 A. Well, Mr. Nice, this is not a working map. This is an integral
18 part of the statements and --
19 Q. Sorry, I'm going to --
20 A. Please let me finish.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues]... question, because you're not
22 allowed just to go on indefinitely. It doesn't show it on this map.
23 Before we lose the point, is the fact that that unit was compelled to move
24 by, as you would say, force, is that shown in your diary? Is it going to
25 be shown in your combat records, your daily combat records? Or is this an
1 assertion of yours that has no support in a contemporaneous document? You
2 tell us, please.
3 A. Well, in my combat report you were able to read that by the end of
4 the day the unit had executed such-and-such a task and taken up
5 such-and-such a line. Do you really expect me to record from rock to rock
6 where every soldier went?
7 As for action and fire, you see the action of the Siptar unit
8 which, regrettably, managed to break through towards Dobrodeljane and
9 later Mount Milanovac. That's why the anti-terrorist action in this
10 terrain took place.
11 Q. A very simple question, to which a very simple answer is
12 possible: Is there any contemporaneous recording of your suggestion that
13 this unit moved as a result of, as you describe it, Siptar action? Yes or
14 no. We've got your entry for the 26th of March, if you want to look at
15 it, in the diary.
16 A. Yes. In my diary, it's not there, but it exists. It's part of
17 the analysis of this anti-terrorist action that has been executed. It was
18 introduced as number 4. Let me check. I'll tell you exactly which number
19 it is.
20 It's number 5, actually, in my set. And if you look carefully at
21 the analysis, you will see all parts of the action; the disposition of the
22 terrorists, our activities, all movements by axes, by hour, by day. And
23 you will see --
24 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
25 A. -- the action of NATO aviation for cluster bombs at 1302 --
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. One thing at a time. It may be there. I'm not challenging that
2 it's there, I just want to find it. Just read out the bit that deals with
3 the movement of this group.
4 A. I will find it for you. Give me just a second, because I'm not
5 very good at finding my way around through these papers. There are many
6 of them.
7 To make this understandable, I'll start from the beginning, from
8 point 1. Should I put it on the overhead projector?
9 Q. Just find us the bit that deals with the movement of this unit.
10 It may be there at Retimlje on the 26th of March, so that we can that
11 there's a, in this case it would be a near contemporaneous account, the
12 fact that they moved under Siptar terrorist force, if that's what the
13 position is. That's what I want you to help me with. You've told us it's
14 there. It may be. I don't know.
15 A. It's on page 2. In point 2. One, two, three, four, five, sixth
16 paragraph. Although this, Mr. Nice, is part of a whole that goes together
17 with point 1, which speaks of Siptar terrorist forces, but you can see it
18 also from here. Do you want me to read it?
19 Q. [Microphone not activated]
20 A. "In the course of the second day of combat operations, Siptar
21 terrorist forces were broken up, crushed. Village Randubrava was
22 captured, and the 23rd Detachment emerged in the wide area of Brestovac
23 slopes. Control was taken of Retimlje village, and in Retimlje village,
24 incidentally, there was a headquarters of Siptar terrorist forces.
25 Opterusa, Samodreza and Studencani village were also taken control of.
1 JUDGE KWON: What are you looking at? What's the tab number?
2 MR. NICE: 359, I think.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's number 5 in my set. It's the
4 analysis of operations by the 549th Motorised Brigade in the destruction
5 of Siptar terrorist forces in the broader area of Retimlje, and the
6 blocking of Suva Reka-Orahovac road, dated 30th March, 1999.
7 MR. NICE: It's Delic tab 359. 359 Delic.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I continue?
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. The characteristic of combat operations on day two was decisive
12 defence against the remnants of the Siptar terrorist forces, the pull-out
13 of forces into Neprebiste and Mamusa villages, and the linkage of our
14 forces, Combat Groups 5 and 6, along the road Orahovac-Suva Reka. You can
15 see that on the map. Which penned in the Siptar terrorist forces that
16 remained in valleys and the villages of Mamusa and Medvedce. At dusk our
17 forces linked up again to prevent the remaining Siptar terrorist forces
18 from withdrawing. And then it follows to describe day three of combat
20 Q. [Previous translation continues]... day two. So the detail isn't
21 there. It's a generalised account, there is no detail. The working map
22 might have shown the detail, mightn't it?
23 A. Yes. All these details were drawn into the working map.
24 MR. NICE: And, Your Honours, I'm not, obviously, in a position to
25 deal with a whole sheaf of other statements.
1 Q. How many statements do you say you got from your commanders to
2 deal with, for example, Retimlje? How many statements were made available
3 to you by the commission?
4 A. It's not the commission that made available any statements to me.
5 I stated that part of the statements by my subordinates were given to me
6 here during proofing.
7 Q. All right.
8 A. I was shown the statements of my subordinates. I have them here.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
10 A. I didn't count them, I can count them now.
11 Q. Well you better have a look. You better count them and give us
12 the names of them. I suppose it's going to take some time, but it's
13 necessary. So you came here, you were given the witness statements or
14 statements of other people, you read those, and in giving your evidence
15 you're telling us, in part, what they said. Is that the truth?
16 A. No, that's not the truth. I testified solely on the basis of my
18 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
19 A. And my statement --
20 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
21 A. -- was written on the basis of commanders from that time.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues]... do you? Why bother to look at
23 the other people's statements?
24 A. For the same reason for which I read this disgusting book that you
25 produced as a document, for the same reason that I read the rules of the
1 service, although I know it by heart, almost, because I taught it for nine
2 years --
3 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
4 A. -- in the military academy. But out of respect for this Court, I
5 took the trouble to prepare. For the same reason for which I looked at
6 every document on the basis of which I was supposed to testify; to check
7 once again whether my knowledge is correct. I will produce them for your
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]... names of the people whose
10 statements you've read. We'll see if they're statements we've seen
11 ourselves already.
12 A. Well, I'll be reading them order: Staff Sergeant First Class
13 Ilijevski Oliver. In this anti-terrorist action, he commanded a platoon.
14 Q. Just the names.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is it that you have asked for?
16 MR. NICE: I just want to know the names.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just the names, not the contents of the
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Milovan Zivkovic. I would not like
20 to read the next name because this man may have problems. His family is
21 in Kosovo and Metohija. If you really want to hear it, I would like to do
22 it in private session. Oliver Ilijevski again.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: We'll go briefly into private session.
24 [Private session]
10 [Open session]
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. Major Jan Sel, yes. Next?
13 A. Major Janos Sel. Then again Oliver Ilijevski. Let me see if
14 there's any other name. It's mainly the same officers who took part in
15 this anti-terrorist action together with me. Yes, it's their names.
16 Q. Very well.
17 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I don't think -- I can't remember all the
18 names of the commission statements that have been offered for
19 consideration. I don't think all of those names -- some of them are
20 familiar but I don't think all of them. My observations on the
21 unsatisfactory nature of witnesses coming to give evidence being provided
22 with the statements of others are all too obvious to make. I'm going to
23 press on.
24 Q. Can you look now, please, at one other map. To save you the time,
25 I'll give you my copy of it and put it on the overhead projector. It's
1 tab -- tab 361 of Delic.
2 JUDGE KWON: While it is being prepared, Mr. Nice, just for
3 clarification, did we not see some of the working maps when Delic was
4 here? I think several of them.
5 MR. NICE: We may have seen one or two but I'm not --
6 JUDGE KWON: And we heard the explanation from him.
7 MR. NICE: That I'm afraid I cannot remember now, but Your Honour
8 has probably got it in mind straight away.
9 JUDGE KWON: I have found it in LiveNote. Shall I cite it?
10 MR. NICE: Yes, please do.
11 JUDGE KWON: "Tab 204, General, the working map.
12 'This is also the commander's working map ..." et cetera.
13 "Yes. This is my working map. It is signed by me. And this was
14 also something that my security officer kept updated. ... And these are
15 activities of the army, of the MUP, and activities against civilians." Et
16 cetera. It's on day 391, page 37, from line 1.
17 MR. NICE: That's an earlier period, I think, because it was tab
19 JUDGE KWON: There are tabs 18, 128, 151, 204, 487 are working
20 maps, according to my research.
21 MR. NICE: Again, unless I'm mistaken, none of them cover this
22 period of time, they are all surrounding this period of time, but I may be
24 JUDGE KWON: The recent one, 487 is dated April sometime 1999.
25 MR. NICE: So, surprisingly, nothing for the period of March. Or
1 not surprisingly, perhaps explicably.
2 Q. Just look at this one, which is Bela Crkva. This again is a
3 produced map purporting to show the disposition of troops at a fixed
4 moment in time at 0600 hours, and according to this map nobody is in Bela
5 Crkva of any -- no troops, no police, nothing is in Bela Crkva; correct?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. There's no other map produced by you or by anyone else that shows
8 the disposition of police or the military in Bela Crkva, is there?
9 A. I know that I did not produce any such thing --
10 Q. Previous people --
11 A. -- but how can I know whether somebody else did?
12 Q. Of course the learned Trial Chamber Judges will have to decide
13 what happened in Bela Crkva, but it's clear that if things happened in
14 Bela Crkva at the hands of police and the military then there is no
15 document, no contemporaneous document that you've produced or to which you
16 can refer that reveals what it was they did, because this is the best
17 we've got. Is that right? This is the best we've got, and this isn't
18 contemporaneous. This was made years later and this purports to show the
19 disposition of troops at Bela Crkva. It doesn't show anything about what
20 people were doing in Bela Crkva, anything. Hmm? This is the best we've
22 A. Nothing can be seen on this map because there had been no action.
23 That's what I've kept telling you.
24 Q. And the only thing we've got --
25 A. As regards -- well, you've put another question to me. Please
1 wait for me to answer.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
3 A. Later on you're going say that I did not respond. You told me
4 that I did not bring a single contemporaneous document which confirms
5 action or non-action in a particular village, and I keep telling you here
6 are the documents that are contemporaneous. This is the most reliable of
7 all, the analysis of the action taken. Can you find a more reliable
8 document than this? And yet you're unwilling to accept it.
9 Here you can see that there was no action in Bela Crkva. Had
10 there been any action, it would have been recorded in this document.
11 Q. [Previous translation continues]... map back. The most, I must
12 suggest to you, Mr. Vukovic, that there is one and only one reliable
13 contemporaneous document that you've produced about Bela Crkva and it's
14 your own diary which sets out in clear and unequivocal terms that Bela
15 Crkva was cleansed, a document written on and for the 25th of March, and
16 that's exactly what you and your troops were doing, cleansing this area of
17 people. Yes?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Let's turn to Mala Krusa -- sorry, Velika Krusa. You made an
20 observation about how the evidence produced was unreliable. It's a little
21 ambiguous in the transcript because you say the man should have shown his
22 burns or we should have brought the man here who was burned in that awful
23 incident if it was true. Can you explain what you were saying? It may
24 not be your fault, it may be the translation or -- may be a possibility of
25 translation error. What was it you were saying about producing somebody
1 who was burned in the event at Krusa?
2 A. Obviously it was not interpreted to you properly. I remember that
3 question put by Mr. Milosevic. I can even find it in the questions. If
4 necessary, I can quote it verbatim, but at any rate, even without the
5 question --
6 Q. You can find it in the questions? What have you got there?
7 A. Well, I got a list of tentative questions that Mr. Milosevic is
8 going to examine me about, a list of topics and --
9 Q. Was that the notes that you had that you were referring to that we
10 didn't see you were looking at?
11 A. No. No. These are not notes. Notes are this, and they're still
12 on my desk. I know that I have to ask for permission if I wish to use
14 Q. What was this question that you recalled being prepared to answer
15 and what was the answer you intended to give and to convey? Hmm?
16 A. Well, I gave my answer. And these are the questions on the basis
17 of which I prepared myself in preparation for the testimony. First there
18 were the broader topics, and then within each topic there were certain
19 questions --
20 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
21 A. -- that I would be dealing with.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues]... please.
23 A. That's what I've been trying to tell you. I remember that
24 question during the examination-in-chief, and it is not said that he was
25 burned, but that a large group of civilians were allegedly brought into a
1 house which was then covered with gasoline and straw, and then, if I
2 remember correctly, they first shot at them and then torched them. And
3 this witness happens to be the only survivor. That's the way it's put in
4 the indictment. And later on, he stated to some witness who testified
5 here about how all of this had happened.
6 In my answer, I put a question, a logical question: Why didn't he
7 come, then, to testify if such a person exists? I expressed my doubts as
8 to whether such a person existed at all. I did not say that somebody who
9 got killed should come in and testify.
10 Q. Yes. You made an observation about a man, but just have a look at
11 this picture, please. In fact, there were several survivors of this
12 incident. We called one or two before the Trial Judges, but if you look
13 at this man. This is a man by the name of Selami Elshani, who was so
14 badly burned he could see parts of his flesh falling off him as he ran
15 away, and he gave an interview for and was recorded giving an account of
16 this event in the autumn of 1999 on a BBC Panorama programme.
17 Two points: Do you say there was no such incident of people being
18 shot and then burnt in Velika Krusa? Do you say it didn't happen at all?
20 A. I spoke properly when I said that it is certain that my soldiers
21 did not do this, and I don't have any knowledge of any other unit or
22 soldiers having done something like that. Whether something like that
23 happened or not is such a hypothetical question that I really cannot
24 answer it either by a yes or a no. I don't have any knowledge of any such
25 thing. If I had such knowledge, I'd tell you.
1 Q. Do you remember that you've been given many opportunities by the
2 Court and by me to say, "Well, I don't know about something happening but
3 it may have happened at the hands of someone else." Now, do you allow for
4 the possibility that this terrible, terrible massacre may have happened at
5 the hands of police officers?
6 A. Mr. Nice, I have not come here to guess. I can just testify and
7 tell the truth, because among other things, I am bound to do that by the
8 solemn declaration I made here. I really don't want to engage in
10 Q. Do you allow for the possibility that this event, which is laid
11 largely at the door of the police but with support, I think, from the Serb
12 military outside the village, the subject of many witnesses' evidence and
13 a great deal of public writings, do you accept that this incident may have
15 A. It is hard to answer this question, because you are not putting a
16 specific question. I am telling you that war itself is a crime. Now,
17 whether there were individual cases, probably there were. There are in
18 any war. If you're asking me if such a thing had been organised, I'm
19 saying no to you, because in order for something to be organised, there
20 has to be an order. I'd have to know, as commander of a unit, that such
21 an order had existed, had it existed.
22 If you read carefully the order of the brigade commander for this
23 action, you will see the procedure --
24 Q. Will you just answer my question. We've spent so much time with
25 your long answers. Do you accept that this may have happened? Yes or
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 A. It is possible that it may have happened and that individuals who
3 got out of control could have done it, but I don't have any knowledge as
4 to any such thing having happened, so I cannot say either yes or no to
6 Q. In light of that final concession, why is it when the accused
7 asked you about this at 12.46 on day 431 of this trial that you asserted
8 without equivocation that everything said about this appalling massacre
9 was -- none of it was true, you said, and there were untruths contained in
10 it, and then you gave your explanation and made reference to not seeing a
11 burnt man. Why did you give that evidence when it was simply not within
12 your knowledge or power to do so, Mr. Vukovic?
13 A. I had excellent knowledge. And in that case I was answering a
14 concrete question, whereas you are not putting a concrete question.
15 You're asking me whether I allow for a possibility or not. You're not
16 asking me whether my unit did it or whether I have knowledge about this
17 event. Mr. Milosevic asked me very specifically about this event, and I
18 gave a specific answer.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you tell us, Mr. Nice, what the question was?
20 MR. NICE: Indeed I can.
21 Q. What actually led to your answer, Mr. Vukovic, was a recitation by
22 the accused of some of the evidence of a witness called Ali Hoti. The
23 accused said to you on the 29th of March, Mehmet Krasniqi told him that on
24 a day in Mala Krusa the Serbian police and paramilitaries rounded up 109
25 men, including this Krasniqi, took them to a house, covered them with
1 straw, poured petrol on them and set fire to them. This Krasniqi survived
2 somehow, so Ali Hoti learnt this from this Krasniqi man.
3 You then, without being asked a question, volunteered by
4 interruption of the flow of words from the accused: "All I can say is
5 that none of this is true. There are several untruths in it." And you
6 then went on to give an answer about paramilitaries, and you said, "Why
7 didn't this Krasniqi come to show the burns?"
8 You weren't asked a direct question. You volunteered that this
9 information, recited as evidence by the accused, was false. Had the
10 accused given you a question, had you written down a question from him
11 that you were going to answer at this stage?
12 A. First of all, what you're saying is not right. You yourself said
13 that I was commenting on allegations contained in the question, and I
14 assume that these are allegations from the indictment, and I said why each
15 and every allegation was wrong. I talked about paramilitary formations,
16 which I never saw in my life.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Please listen to the question. What was put to you
18 was what a witness said in this court, not words of the indictment.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's right, and I commented
20 on the allegations made by that witness, and I said that they were not
21 truthful. As soon as he mentions paramilitary formations, I know that the
22 rest is not true because there couldn't have been any paramilitary
23 formations and there weren't any paramilitary formations in the zone of
24 responsibility of the 549th Brigade. I can guarantee that.
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. Where, of course, locally armed Serbs dressed in a range of
2 different uniforms which might well have appeared to be paramilitaries,
3 weren't there?
4 A. No. All of those who were armed had to have either a regular
5 police uniform or an army uniform and clear insignia on the sleeves of the
6 uniform and on the cap, beret, or helmet, depending on what they wore.
7 And they also had to have rank insignia if they held a rank, if they were
9 Q. Some of them had white ribbons on their arms, as the evidence
11 A. I don't know what kind of ribbons you're talking about. White
12 ones? As far as I can remember, no. Sometimes we wore red bands, but
13 they were worn on shoulders.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues]... as indeed appears in Delic's
15 instructions, locally armed Serbs were used in this operation, weren't
17 A. I don't know. I'm not aware of that information. Possibly, but
18 they were under the command of the military, of the army.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you seek an answer to the question about whether
20 this was one of a list of questions provided?
21 MR. NICE: Yes, I do, actually. I'm grateful to Your Honour.
22 Q. Was this question about the Mala Krusa incident subject of a
23 question -- was this question about the Mala Krusa incident prepared by
24 the accused for you to answer? Was it?
25 A. That was one of the questions. He showed me statements made by
1 Prosecution witnesses, and he asked me to answer that question during the
3 Q. And you were prepared to do so despite the fact that, as you
4 finally revealed to the Court, there is no way you can exclude the
5 possibility that this appalling event happened in the way survivors
6 described, is there?
7 A. No. Then and now I'm giving the same answer. I don't know how
8 you find a difference in my answer. After all, I am prepared to give you
9 all the other questions or, rather, give answers to all the questions
10 again if you put them to me. I have would have come here as a Prosecution
11 witness, too, had you called me, but you did not call me. Obviously, you
12 don't want to hear what I know.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Vukovic, just for the avoidance of any doubt in
14 your mind about whether or not your position has been consistent, you said
15 even today that you doubted the existence of such a burned person.
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. Do you still doubt the existence of such a burned person? You've
18 seen the picture of this one.
19 A. Well, I have to express my doubt because this picture doesn't mean
20 anything to me. It could have been taken anywhere or at any time.
21 Q. Absolutely. Perhaps we can just look at -- if Mr. Nort would be
22 good enough, just see what he actually said about it. It's in English but
23 I've actually got a B/C/S version for you, so you can have that as well.
24 He happened not to have been called, but since you asked about a burned
25 person, you shall have the chance to see what he said.
1 That can go on the overhead projector, and that for the witness to
2 follow, and I'll follow on the overhead projector. Thank you. I hope
3 I've got the right one. Handwritten version signed by the wife of the
4 person concerned.
5 See, this man, I'll take it swiftly because we -- top of the page,
6 please, thank you. His name is Selami Elshani. Do you follow it? He
7 went to Krushe e Mahdi, stayed with his mother's brother. There was small
8 KLA presence in the village. Then he describes how on the 25th of March
9 the shelling of Krushe e Madhi began with all sorts of military pieces, as
10 he describes it. He then describes how --
11 A. Could you please slow down. I cannot follow you.
12 Q. He then describes how first of all the VJ shelled the village to
13 open the way for the police infantry to carry out attacks. "These police
14 wore uniforms similar to those of the VJ; greenish camouflage combat
15 uniform with 'Policija' in large letters on the right epaulet. They wore
16 a white ribbon. They also wore body armour. They carried rocket
17 launchers, pistols and Kalashnikovs. The shelling lasted from 4.30 or
18 5.00 on Thursday the 25th of March ..."
19 Then further down the page, you'll have to skip just to save time,
20 he deals with a speech by Seselj which was inciting violence, and then he
21 comes to the 26th, and he says: "At about 300 hours on the 26th --" have
22 you found that point, please? "At about 300 hours on the 26th --"
23 A. Just a moment, please. I've found it.
24 Q. Thank you. "We were completely surrounded by tanks of the VJ
25 driven by people in police uniforms. I base this on earlier experience.
1 There were armoured cars from the VJ. The police walked to the gully
2 where they were and fired shots in the air."
3 Then the next sentence: "At 0500 we were forced to surrender.
4 None of us was armed."
5 He then deals with the circumstances of their search. He deals
6 with the sending of women and children to the mosque. He deals with the
7 burning of all personal identification papers.
8 Next page, please, Mr. Nort.
9 And I'll find you the relevant point, please. Top of the page,
10 please. Top of the page so I can read it. Thank you very much.
11 He deals with a particular couple of men who were photographed
12 with an Albanian flag. And then he says this -- see if you can find this
13 point: "The police spoke in Serbian and got more angry when the two men
14 couldn't answer them because they couldn't understand. These young men
15 were left there."
16 A. I cannot follow this any longer. I don't know which line you've
18 Q. If you can find the figure 200 men, in figures, you'll be at the
19 right place.
20 A. Yes, yes, I've found it.
21 Q. So the sentence or so before that it says: "These young men were
22 left there. The pictures were torn up. And in Serbian they said 'You
23 will pay for this later.' I don't know the names of these young men.
24 They then herded us to a yard in a village where we, the 200 men, were
25 made to lie face down with our fingers locked behind our heads. We were
1 left like that for five hours. They beat us with sticks from time to
3 Next sentence deals with how he was attacked, divided into three
4 groups, told all those not from this village to step forward. Fifteen of
5 them did.
6 And then the next sentence begins: "The remainder were divided
7 into two, the younger ones, under 60 and the older ones over 60 years
8 approximately. My group was herded to a derelict house 30 to 40 metres
10 Next sentence but one: "They said no, that allegedly we had asked
11 NATO to come and shell them and because of this, they were going to
12 execute us. They told us to ask Bill Clinton to help us. We realised
13 they really were going to execute us. We asked for a few drops of water
14 at the moment of our departure of life -- from life. This last request
15 was rejected."
16 He goes on in the next -- he describes the room and then he
17 explains how one of the five policemen said, "Let's begin with the
18 execution of them." "We were huddled together in a corner. I was nearest
19 to the policeman. After the first shot, I threw myself to the ground and
20 I acted as if I was dead. I was on my back. One by one the others began
21 to fall on top of me. They started with single shots and then with
22 automatic fire. They had Kalashnikovs. Their blood was dripping on my
23 face, and as I lay there, a bullet grazed my left shoulder and cut just
24 the skin. Everyone was dead. No one moved a single muscle. The shooting
25 lasted about 30 seconds but it felt like an hour. I was so scared. I
1 heard one of the policemen saying, 'While we cover them with cornstacks,
2 you go and get some benzine.' They soaked us with the benzine. I could
3 hear it pouring and could smell it. Then they set it alight. I wasn't
4 sure if they were still there but I had to do something. I pushed the
5 person on top of me aside and began to brush the flames aside with my bare
6 hands. Both hands and my face were burnt. I stood on my knees and
7 screamed with all my strength. I tried once more and managed to get away
8 from the flames. I was lucky to have so many clothes on, otherwise I
9 would have been completely burnt. I quickly began to undress. I had a
10 plastic jacket on, which began to melt. As I did this, the skin and flesh
11 began to fall off my hands." Then deals with his escape.
12 That's what the burned man you said we should have brought said.
13 Do you challenge that that account is true?
14 A. Well, at any rate, the first part is false. And as soon as
15 somebody starts lying, then he lies all the way through. Find the first
16 page, where it says witness statement. It's towards the end. It says
17 that on the 6th of March they were completely surrounded by tanks of the
18 army of Yugoslavia that were driven by men in police uniforms. Well, this
19 is a really bad lie, Mr. Nice.
20 In combat action, no one from the outside can see who is in a tank
21 because everybody is hidden and covered. So even if a person saw a tank,
22 he could not see the person in the tank.
23 What did he say here? Just a moment. Let me find this. They
24 were driven by men in police uniforms, and he bases that on some kind of
25 previous experience. This is a complete lie.
1 Further on, there were armoured vehicles of the VJ, et cetera.
2 And I'm telling you that in this area I was the only one who had tanks,
3 and I know that my tanks were not in Velika Krusa. This unit that you can
4 see, if we look at the map again, the one that you see on the asphalt road
5 Djakovica-Prizren, did not move on any one of those three days. After
6 all, that was the assignment it had received in the relevant order. It
7 did not move.
8 Now you have confirmed my belief that this witness is lying.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
10 A. Now, whether he is really on that photograph or not is something
11 that I cannot say.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, we are at the end of the one-hour
13 session. We will adjourn for 20 minutes -- for 15 minutes, rather.
14 --- Recess taken at 11.18 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 11.37 a.m.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. The -- you've now firmed up your position, have you, that this
19 burnt man is simply lying in his statement. Is that your position? Is
20 that what you're saying?
21 A. Yes, on the basis of the statement he made that he had seen the
22 men in the tank. And I tell you that that is impossible.
23 Q. We've all seen pictures of people in tanks, both with the hatch
24 where the driver sits being open and with people standing on the top of
25 the tank where their uniforms can be seen. Is there something different
1 about your tanks from the tanks we've all seen like that?
2 A. Well, the weaponry of the army of Yugoslavia has two types of
3 tanks or, rather, there is a third type, too, which is a modification of
4 the others. They're similar, but in every tank in a combat action the
5 crew of a tank, the men manning the tank, are inside the tank, and for
6 their protection everything is closed, the hatches are closed.
7 Q. Mr. Vukovic, when a tank is visiting an area of civilians that it
8 wishes to terrorise, it doesn't necessarily have to be in readiness for
9 combat action. These tanks were going to terrorise and drive out
10 civilians. So think back. It's possible, isn't it, that people can be
11 seen on the top of the tank or indeed with the hatch open? Hmm?
12 A. No, that's not so. And those tanks weren't going to terrorise the
13 population, because I kept them under my immediate control and command
14 throughout, and they were never given to the police. And find me one
15 policeman who was capable of driving a tank, as your witness said. And
16 find me any policeman or a single policeman who knows how to use a firing
17 gun and communication within a tank, the aiming device and communication
18 devices. You go to school for that, Mr. Nice.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues]... your attention -- I drew to
20 your attention the statement of the burned man because you raised it, but
21 there are two other witnesses, Lufti Ramadani and Mehmet Avdyli, both of
22 whom described to this Court Serb tanks coming to this village, firing on
23 the men, throwing hay on the bodies, putting gasoline on top and setting
24 fire to it. Is it your case that these people are all untrue or would you
25 like to go back to your earlier answer and allow for the possibility that
1 this event did happen? Hmm?
2 A. No, I don't allow for the possibility of tanks and armoured
3 vehicles being in the village of Velika Krusa from the 25th to the 28th of
4 March, 1999. I don't allow for that.
5 Q. Let's just finish in this way with a few general questions that
6 you may able to help us with. These people, the thousands of them that
7 left in those few days between the 26th and the 1st of April that we can
8 see summarised on this document, they wouldn't have left, would they, but
9 for the presence on this territory of your troops?
10 A. Please be more precise. Left where; to Albania or their homes?
11 Q. They wouldn't have left their homes, in some cases, I suppose, if
12 their homes hadn't been burnt, but for the generality of them, they
13 wouldn't have left for Albania but for the presence on their homeland of
14 your armed forces, would they?
15 A. That is not correct. Start from the beginning. The armed forces
16 -- it is normal for the armed forces to be present in everybody's
17 homeland, and the armed forces would not have arrived, specifically
18 speaking, in any of these villages had there not already been terrorists
19 in those villages.
20 And as far as the departure to Albania is concerned, the basic
21 course, as I've already said, was the NATO bombing. And specifically in
22 this particular village. Nogavac was shot at.
23 Q. Well, your documents don't show that. Your documents show that,
24 for the most part, like Bela Crkva, these villages didn't have KLA in
25 them. One or two were said to have some, but most of these villages on
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 which your tanks went according -- and cleansed didn't have KLA.
2 Let's go back to my question. These people wouldn't have moved
3 but for the presence of your troops, would they? It's very simple and
4 it's very obvious, I suggest to you.
5 A. Well, it is very simple, but you first of all made an observation
6 with which I do not agree. So you keep saying and -- you are persistent
7 in saying that the army was in villages where there were no terrorists,
8 and I say the opposite, that the army went into action only in those
9 villages from which the terrorists shot at the army or were present there.
10 Now, as far as the movement of civilians is concerned, it is quite
11 normal that before the beginning of an operation the civilian population
12 leaves the area where combat operations were taking place. Find me one
13 civilian, one man who is not afraid of losing his life and of having his
14 children lose their lives.
15 Q. [Previous translation continues]... you were only a -- I don't say
16 that offensively, but you were a colonel. Why launch this campaign on the
17 25th of March? Why not do it in February or January if it had something
18 to do with the KLA? Why wait for the cover of NATO? Hmm?
19 A. I don't understand that observation that I'm only a colonel.
20 Q. Let me make it simple for you.
21 A. But anyway, as far as the rest of the question goes, why we
22 launched it then, we launched it then because, according to the
23 assessments of the corps command, the Pristina Corps command and the
24 assessments of the brigade command, strong terrorist forces had appeared
25 in that area. And that's what it says in both orders, that they had cut
1 across the -- or cut off the communication line that was of vital
2 importance for supplies to the army coming in, in-depth, and that is why
3 we looked at both orders in order to deblock certain communication lines.
4 Q. It was purely --
5 A. And we also conducted operations in January and February, wherever
6 the terrorists appeared and jeopardised communication lines.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues]... pure coincidence that it
8 started at the time of the NATO bombing, is it? Pure coincidence?
9 A. Mr. Nice, if you take a look at the order issued and the documents
10 from the relevant period, they were compiled before the aggression
11 started. Don't call it a campaign, it was an aggression against a
12 sovereign country. So you will see that it says the brigade command, it
13 wrote its order on the 23rd of March, 1999, and let me remind you that the
14 aggression started at 1900 hours, or 1959, on the 24th of March.
15 So the decisions were made that this be done on the basis of valid
16 information and data and on the basis of experience gained on the terrain
17 prior to the aggression, before the aggression of the NATO countries
18 started. I don't want to mention them all: France, Albania, and all the
19 other countries that took part. And this can be seen from the documents.
20 Q. You say that the plan was dated the 23rd of March. That may be
21 dated that, but just as a matter of detail --
22 A. That's how it is. Not possible, but that's how it is, and that's
23 what it says.
24 Q. The plan, you see, as a matter of interest, you said it was
25 planned on the 23rd. Is this something you'd have expected to see
1 reflected in the Supreme Defence Council meetings, given the scale of the
2 plan? Hmm?
3 A. Well, this was an operation -- well, not an operation, an action,
4 an anti-terrorist action with a joint composition of men. If you look at
5 the forces, you will see that about 800 --
6 Q. You'd expect to this reflected in the Supreme Defence Council,
7 wouldn't you? Coming from the Commander-in-Chief and that sort of thing.
8 A. At all events I don't expect the Supreme Commander,
9 Commander-in-Chief to deal with individual anti-terrorist actions. He
10 probably issued some directive in 1998, as far back as 1998, that wherever
11 terrorist forces are found action should be taken against them. And this
12 was a combat disposition in the area of responsibility of a brigade
13 commander. So quite naturally, he acted within the spirit of previously
14 issued orders and assignments. I can't claim that, but it wasn't the
15 level that would go to the Supreme Defence Council to discuss.
16 MR. NICE: I don't think the witness can help us, Your Honour, but
17 the very last document we've been provided with is an SDC record of the
18 23rd of March, thereafter it being denied that such records exist in one
19 form or another, either as SDC records or as Joint Command records, and
20 there is no higher level document dealing with this plan at all.
21 Q. Isn't the position quite simply this, Mr. Vukovic, that this
22 campaign, which actually starts, as we see, on the 25th of March, was
23 built on the prospect that the bombing wouldn't last very long and there
24 was a short period of time in which you could kick out some Albanians, and
25 that's what you did?
1 A. No, that's not what we did.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
3 A. And that's not what was done. Allow me to finish, please. Allow
4 me to finish my answer to your question.
5 So this was not a campaign. Let me repeat for the hundredth time,
6 this was an anti-terrorist action. And quite naturally, it is quite
7 natural for the armed forces to fight against terrorists as they do in all
8 normal countries throughout the world, with all available resources. And
9 I don't know why this isn't clear to you.
10 Q. And you and all the other officers and so on who have been
11 providing statements to and through the VJ commission have been doing that
12 which you gave away by your observation where you said there was different
13 interpretation of events. You've been trying to put together a dishonest,
14 perjurious story to mislead this Court, haven't you?
15 A. I didn't remember all the things you said. You've uttered quite a
16 number of untruths, but I'll try and address each of the individual areas.
17 First of all, we did not reach any kind of agreement or pool our
18 forces. And you mentioned officers, but I'm going to speak in my own
19 name. I did not have any doubts, Mr. Nice. The doubts were on the part
20 of the commission, I assume, which was given the task of investigating and
21 studying -- well, I'm starting to assume now, make my own assumptions
22 because I don't know for sure what it did, but I was never in any doubt
23 myself because I know exactly what happened over there. I know exactly
24 what my army, my soldiers, did there, and you can feel free to bring in
25 all 186 of my soldiers if you like - I apologise, 185, because I was the
1 one 186th - and they will confirm what I've told you. And of course
2 everybody will be speaking from their own level because a soldier can see
3 20 to 30 metres to the left or right of him and in front of him, each
5 So I do not agree with what you said at all.
6 Q. However coarsened may have been sensitivities in the time of this
7 conflict, at the time coarsened, you've all realised since that in signing
8 your name, as you've done in your diary, to cleansing the area, you are
9 implicated in these terrible crimes and that's why you're having to come
10 and lie and lie again to this Court.
11 A. That is just not true, and you have insulted me again, Mr. Nice,
12 and told me that I'm lying. As I have been forbidden to say that you are
13 lying, to tell you that you're lying, then all I'm going to say is that
14 you're not telling the truth, that you're telling untruths. But in fact I
15 think that you're lying but I'm not allowed to say that publicly. And it
16 is not true that I committed any crime, that I am implicated in any way,
17 as you have said.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Colonel, I spoke to you about that. It's a
19 distinction between the professional and the personal. I explained to you
20 that Mr. Nice, when he says you are lying, is not speaking from a personal
21 point of view. He's putting his case. He does so on the basis of
22 instructions and the statements that he has, and that is why he can put to
23 you, and it is quite normal in the adversarial system for counsel to put
24 to a witness that he's lying, but it is wholly improper for you to say
25 that Mr. Nice is lying. You must refrain from that.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. Well, I didn't say he
2 was lying. I said he did not -- was not telling the truth. He was
3 telling an untruth.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, any re-examination?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I do, Mr. Robinson. I shall do
6 my best to --
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice -- I'm sorry, Mr. Milosevic. Let us
8 deal with the exhibits.
9 MR. NICE: Yes, I should have. I've only, I think, produced four
10 new documents, the two maps, the statement of the man of Elshani and his
11 photograph. Dealing with -- I haven't said I produced, the only things
12 I've shown that are new, I think, are those. Well, there's the visual aid
13 that I put right at the beginning but that's the same as the visual aid
14 that was used with Delic, and I don't know what state that occupies at the
15 moment, but I'm happy for it to be exhibited and indeed would urge that it
16 be exhibited because it's a very useful summary of material found
17 elsewhere, and if it's an exhibit then it's available for use in argument
18 without it being in any way proposed as a document that is itself
19 evidence; it simply summarises material elsewhere.
20 Likewise, these two maps we've produced overnight I would urge the
21 Trial Chamber to admit as exhibits. The witness has to an extent finally
22 acknowledged that they accurately reflect entries found elsewhere. First
23 the entries in his own documents and, secondly, entries if they are
24 established, and we can deal with that when the Delic diary is available
25 in translation, from the Delic diary.
1 They're valuable because, as we now know, documents of the same
2 generic kind as this apparently exist, or certainly existed but presumably
3 still exist, and have been denied to us, and these are more useful
4 documents than the confusing maps which have static positions placed on
5 them and don't actually reveal anything of the activity of the troops,
6 because these maps don't. So I'd urge these documents to be admitted.
7 As to the statement of the man Elshani and his photograph, I would
8 ask the Chamber on this occasion to accept it as evidence. Of course we
9 didn't, in the event, call that man. We called two or three others, but
10 it was this witness who chose to challenge the calling of people who were
11 burned. And although I think one of our witnesses himself had been
12 burned, this is a striking example of a person seriously burned and of his
13 accompanying statement, and I'd ask the Chamber to say that this can all
14 be admitted as useful in this case.
15 JUDGE KWON: What would be your position in relation to The Traces
16 of Inhumanity and the recorded conversation?
17 MR. NICE: I made my position clear this morning that I am no
18 position to accept or reject it. I hope that I will have the resources to
19 make some further inquiries into the tape or the recording of the tape.
20 The Court's point made by His Honour Judge Kwon is obviously a
21 valid one for argument; namely, that the witness could or should have
22 brought in the tape itself, but if he's right and if we find in answer to
23 perhaps His Honour Judge Bonomy's point this morning that there are other
24 sources that have given the same tape, we can deal with that matter maybe
25 by admission. If not, then it might be thought preferable not for that
1 document to be exhibited at the moment.
2 I suspect generally it falls within the category of material that
3 witnesses are allowed to produce subject to the exercise of discretion by
4 the Court, but this is such an extreme example, going to show particular
5 animus on the part of NATO that without better support it might be thought
6 lacking indicia of reliability sufficient to justify its inclusion as
7 evidence, but I will make the efforts that I've spoken of to try and see
8 if we can confirm its accuracy or otherwise.
9 JUDGE KWON: And one clarification in regard to this map this,
10 marked map. The strongholds here, are those places marked by -- indicated
11 the by this witness or it's --
12 MR. NICE: He accepted yesterday, if you remember, when I put the
13 names of these places to him as KLA strongholds, he accepted that I was
14 more or less right --
15 JUDGE KWON: He also mentioned, for example, Randubrava and
17 MR. NICE: That's right, he mentioned Retmilje and other places.
18 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
19 MR. NICE: Your Honour is quite right, there is nothing to stop
20 those being marked, in addition, or simply the subject of memory, but he
21 certainly accepted in general terms that the blue rectangles showed areas
22 of KLA strength.
23 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I hope you heard the witness
2 explaining that these maps, according to what they show, are rather
3 distorted. He commented the map you provided on the basis of General
4 Delic's diary, and he said that places are mentioned -- when places are
5 mentioned, it -- they were in fact regions, much broader areas, regions
6 around those places, whereas here, the points were the dots showed places
7 and every military document mentions axes like Bela Crkva-Retimlje, that
8 axis. It doesn't mean that the army is only in Bela Crkva or Retimlje,
9 but it refers to a direction, an axis.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Does that not go more to the weight than the
11 admissibility of the documents?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Yes, the weight of them.
13 And the witness agreed and testified that his units were in these places
14 that are marked. However, there too there was a certain amount of
15 distortion because the map showed, according to the legend provided, that
16 the blue squares were the KLA strongholds, as if they were not strongholds
17 where the red, yellow, and orange squares were, and it appears, according
18 to that, that the army attacked territory where there were no KLA
19 strongholds and just went to the strongholds later on, which is not
20 correct because the witness challenged that. So this map is incorrect,
21 too, and cannot be taken as an argument. It can be taken as a graphic
22 approach of where the army and soldiers were on any particular day. But
23 it's quite clear from the statement made by the witness and from his
24 testimony that most of these points, and as far as I remember at all of
25 these points except Bela Crkva, there were KLA strongholds. So the
1 yellow, orange, and red points, that there were KLA strongholds there and
2 not just in the ones designated in blue.
3 And then one more -- another comment that I'd like to make,
4 remark. For example, in this square here where we have these remarks on
5 the left-hand side, the vertical column, it says the forces ready to
6 intervene along the Orahovac-Ostrozub axis, and then underneath that it
7 says during the day 1.000 people left in the direction of Cafa Prusit. So
8 when you combine the two you gain the impression that they left because
9 the forces were moving along that axis, whereas these elements here were
10 taken from the diary about the events that had taken place on that
11 particular day, and the witness explained that in great detail, what --
12 how entries were made into a war diary. So these two events have nothing
13 to do with each other, whereas Mr. Nice intentionally tries to gain the
14 impression that they were linked up and that one followed on from the
15 other, which is quite incorrect. And the witness did say that those
16 citizens were from Pec and not from these areas at all where the action
17 had taken place, those that were going on that day and passed by on that
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, we note the arguments you have
21 made against the admission of the two maps, but these are arguments that
22 go more to the weight than the admissibility, and you can present those
23 arguments against later -- those arguments again, at a later stage.
24 We'll admit the two maps, one number.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be 930, tab 1, for the map reflecting
1 entries in Vukovic's diary. Tab 2 is the map reflecting the entries in
2 Delic's diary.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: We'll not admit the statements, nor will we admit
4 the photographs of the burned person.
5 MR. NICE: As Your Honour pleases. Ms. Dicklich reminds me that
6 there's the potential for problem over the expanded documents originally
7 coming in in a very limited form as tabs of this witness's exhibits, the
8 diaries and the daily records. In each case, for him as well as for
9 Djosan, we have obtained more complete versions of the originally selected
10 documents and provided some translations. I -- my recollection is that
11 with Djosan we substituted all the additional material for what was in the
12 original tab. That was, I think, the Chamber's decision. I'm in your
13 hands entirely as to what we should do with these other exhibits, but
14 obviously there should be some reflection of the fact that we've put in
15 the full documents and some parts in translation.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson. As far as I remember,
17 I produced these documents, not Mr. Nice, these full documents. I gave
18 them to you before Colonel Vukovic started to testify. They were
19 originals that were copied and then made available to Mr. Nice.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, the exercise of admission would be
22 facilitated if you were to identify those parts that were utilised during
24 MR. NICE: Very well.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kay --
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. NICE: It will take some time to deal with that as an
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
4 MR. NICE: And I understand the tension between putting in
5 everything, which then has to go off for translation at great burden to
6 the institution as a whole, and identifying the selected passages.
7 In relation to these documents, if we just look at them, it may be
8 on this occasion --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: This is such a waste of time. Can Mr. Kay and you
10 not between you identify them and if you agree they can be filed through
11 the -- or at least indicated to the Registry what's being substituted, and
12 we can be told, and if you can't agree, you can bring it back to us.
13 MR. NICE: My only suggestion was going to be that on this
14 occasion because the two additional diaries are comparatively slender, it
15 might have been worth just putting them all in and having the translation
16 of the parts we've got. So that's --
17 MR. KAY: As I understood it, it was to be the parts that were
18 used of the diary that were to be exhibited, and what I propose is that if
19 we track that through the transcripts and then merge it into a single
20 document that we file with a cover sheet to the Registry.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Yes.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well. Mr. Milosevic, re-examination.
23 Re-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, at the beginning of the examination, you
25 were asked which documents you had available to you when you were giving
1 your statement to the commission, which contemporaneous documents, and you
2 identified three. Now I'm asking you, did you in your statement that you
3 gave rely mainly on what was written in those documents or mainly on what
4 you saw and heard with your own eyes and ears while you were on the ground
5 and what you did with your unit?
6 A. At any rate, when I was giving the statements, I relied first and
7 foremost on my own personal experience, and I used the documents available
8 to me to confirm that, but during those four days, I was there in that
9 area all the time in the disposition of my units, and I gave statements
10 based on my experience, direct experience.
11 Q. Does your direct experience differ in any way from what you found
12 in those contemporaneous documents?
13 A. To be precise, my knowledge is best reflected in the analysis,
14 because the first two documents, the order and the decision, can be said
15 to be a plan for the anti-terrorist action, whereas the analysis followed
16 immediately after the completion of the anti-terrorist action, and it was
17 made, among other things, on the basis of the reports that I submitted to
18 the brigade command.
19 Q. Thank you, Colonel. You have been shown some other sources here,
20 including the book called "As Seen, As Told." You said that you read
21 those parts of the book that relate to the area where you personally spent
22 some time with your unit. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes. In my first contact I read only that and copied only that.
24 Later on, I read the rest of the book and I can comment on that as well.
25 Q. Please, tell us only this: Based on what you saw on the spot, and
1 you are the only one in this room who was there on the spot in the
2 critical days to which the book relates, what is correct about what you
3 read, from what you read?
4 A. Nothing. Nothing is correct except that the army was present on
5 the said dates in the said areas. Nothing of the rest is correct.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: If that question as it appears relates to the whole
7 book, you must see how ridiculous both the question and the answer are.
8 Absolutely pointless.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't understand, Mr. Bonomy, this
10 comment of yours.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: The witness would have had to have been everywhere
12 in Kosovo throughout the whole conflict to be able to answer that
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I said loud and clear, "Based
15 on what you saw on the spot, [in English] and you are the only one in this
16 room who was there on the spot in the critical days to which the book
17 relates, what is correct about what you read?"
18 [Interpretation] So I asked him about those places where he was.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: No, you didn't. He told you that he had read the
20 whole book, if you had been listening to his earlier answer.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I heard his previous answer, and I
22 asked very precisely a question that relates to the places where he had
23 been. He didn't ask a question of himself. I am asking the questions of
24 him. So the question makes perfect sense. He was there, unlike all the
25 rest of us, and he read sections of the book about the places where he had
1 been, and I asked him what is correct about that. I asked him if there is
2 a nucleus of truth in it, a grain of truth.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Put another question to the witness.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. You said that you can comment the book as a whole. What can you
7 A. Well, briefly; I don't know how much time we have.
8 Q. Only very briefly.
9 A. In the briefest possible terms, if you look at page 152, it speaks
10 of the position of religious leaders. I can put it on the overhead
11 projector if that would be of assistance to the Trial Chamber. And I have
12 to read a very, very short passage, if we have time.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: I have no -- I have no recollection of any question
14 in cross-examination about religious leaders.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there were questions about the
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Very briefly, Colonel. What is the point
19 you're making about religious leaders?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I only wish to compare the way this
21 book treats Orthodox priests with the way it treats Muslim and Catholic
22 priests, and then it will be clear to you. Let me just tell you that I am
23 a non-believer, an atheist.
24 What the book says is this: "Religion plays a big role in the
25 cultural identification of the Serbian nation and it was often used in the
1 nationalist campaign of Serbian politicians from end 1980. From the
2 viewpoint of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which appears on the public
3 scene from the end of the communist era of the 1980s, its religious
4 leaders suddenly found the means and the supporters necessary to
5 re-establish their positions in society. That was the reason why they
6 associated with forces --"
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter is not following at the same
8 pace and the witness has just covered this passage with his hand.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think you have to read a little more slowly,
10 and don't cover the page with your hand.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sorry. I'm trying to save time.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. Let the English version be put on the
14 JUDGE KWON: And if you repeat your reading where Velika Srbija
15 appears. We didn't hear that interpretation.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "For this reason, they started to
17 associate with ethnically divisive forces. The Serbian Orthodox Church
18 backed Milosevic in his campaign for Greater Serbia from the beginning of
19 the 1990s."
20 I can read on because they said something about a later split,
21 subsequent split. But in the next passage on the -- in the next column,
22 it says: "As for the -- on the part of the Kosovo Albanian nation,
23 religious identification was not particularly strong. Although most
24 Kosovo Albanians are Muslim, there are Catholic and Orthodox Christian
25 Kosovo Albanians." That's what it says here.
1 Now, let me say what I wanted to. Anyone who has a modicum of
2 knowledge about the events in the former Socialist Federal Republic of
3 Yugoslavia knows the nature of the churches. It was -- it is precisely
4 the Serbian Orthodox Church that was the most moderate, and it is the one
5 that always appeals for peace, cooperation, tolerance.
6 As for Islam, Islamic fundamentalism is known everywhere in the
7 world as the greatest source of evil and terrorism. It has proven to be
8 such in all other countries as well as in Kosovo and Metohija where units
9 of the Mujahedin acted together with the KLA. I believe it is documented,
10 although I myself haven't brought such a document, but I believe I can
11 make it available to this Court.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: That is the significance of the two passages for
13 you, and we have had.
14 Mr. Milosevic.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, before you go on, may I make it clear that I
16 would never subscribe to the view that this witness is trying to express,
17 if this is what he's saying, that all Muslims have to be feared because of
18 their affinity with terrorism.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I am sorry, I did not state
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Do we have any need, Colonel, to dwell on this book any more? You
1 told us what you knew, and you said that nothing in that book is correct
2 apart from what you identified.
3 A. I just want to be allowed to say that I was talking not about
4 Muslims but about Islamic fundamentalism. I had many Muslims in my unit.
5 We cooperated perfectly well, and I have absolutely no negative prejudice
6 against that people. I only have negative things to say about Islamic
7 fundamentalism and the jihad that supports terrorism.
8 As for your question, I believe there is no need, but I can
9 comment every single paragraph.
10 Q. There is no need to deal with the book any more.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Colonel, can I be clear on one other thing: Was
12 this a subject that was part of the prepared questions given to you?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, it was not, but
14 please --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- don't hold me to my word. But as
17 far as I remember, no.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. You were asked in cross-examination about one combat report. I
21 believe it would be of assistance if you explained the following -- that's
22 the big logbook of combat reports or, rather, daily reports that later
23 turn into combat reports as the war began.
24 Were they in fact recorded texts of messages that were sent as
25 reports by radio?
1 A. The texts of both messages sent over the radio, and when the radio
2 wasn't working the reports were sent via messenger. So these are the
3 texts of the messages that were sent to the brigade command.
4 Q. Very well. You were told during cross-examination that on the
5 24th of March, and you were also shown page 126 and you were asked to read
6 that page, to confirm that there was no action or activity by Siptar
7 terrorist forces on that day. That's on page 126 that was shown to you.
8 A. Let me find it. I have found it.
9 Q. And you were told there was no mention of Siptar terrorist
10 activities on that day. Please just read the last few lines of point 3.
11 A. It reads as follows: "Armed aggression carried out by NATO with
12 the synchronised lighting of fires along the border of the Republic of
13 Albania (which is how they marked the border of the Republic of Albania)
14 in-depth spotlights were positioned in order to show certain mountains, et
16 So there were no activities observed in my zone. Perenik [phoen]
17 and Beli Drim were the boundaries of my zone on the north, but then there
18 was Mount Milanovac, and on the other side there was the border in the
19 Republic of Albania.
20 Q. All right. So activity was obvious on that day and recorded in
21 this way in your diary.
22 A. Mr. Milosevic, activity was observed and noticed on all days from
23 the start of the aggression. There was synchronised, coordinated action
24 between NATO forces in the air, and on the ground between the forces of
25 Albania and the Siptar terrorists.
1 Q. Further on you were shown the recording of the 26th of March,
2 which is on page 127, and in 5.3, it says: "On the 27th ..." et cetera,
3 and you were asked whether there is any mention of the names of these
4 villages from Bela Crkva onwards, not to mention them all yet again.
5 Now, please read 5.3.
6 A. It reads as follows: "On the 26th of March --"
7 Q. It says the 27th of March here.
8 A. Then we're not talking about the same paragraph.
9 Q. On page 127, it is the 26th of March.
10 A. I am afraid we're not talking about the same document, then,
11 because I haven't got it here that way.
12 Q. The combat report?
13 A. I haven't got a complete one.
14 Q. The page was placed on the ELMO.
15 A. 5.3 says: "On the 26th of March, 1999, the 2nd Battalion of the
16 549th Motorised Brigade, on the in-depth security of the state border."
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: That is also what I have in my document.
18 But it's time for the break. We are going to adjourn for 15
19 minutes, and you can use the break to --
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: -- find the correct page you wish to refer to.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have found it. I have it right in
23 front of me and I just wish to say something to the witness.
24 Q. What you are reading out is correct, the 5.3 pertaining to the
25 26th of March, but please look on the right-hand side of that same page
1 and you will see that the further entry is there, the 26th of March. It
2 also has 5.3.
3 A. In every combat report --
4 Q. I'm just asking can you see it?
5 A. Yes, yes, I can see it. And 5.3 pertains to the proposal to
6 engage units for further days.
7 Q. All right. I'm going to ask you about that after the break. I
8 just wanted to direct your attention to where it was in the document.
9 A. I've found it.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will adjourn for 20 minutes -- for 15 minutes,
12 --- Recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I just wish to clarify the question that Mr. Nice had put to you.
17 For example, in this report for the 25th there is mention the 26th, why
18 the 27th is mentioned of the report of the 26th. Actually, he didn't ask
19 you about the next one, but you explained that it says on the 26th of
20 March, of the 25th, we shall engage. So it is in the future tense.
21 A. Exactly, the future tense. It is a proposal to the Superior
22 Command to engage forces for a task that was given in advance.
23 Q. I understand. Is that identical to what is on the right-hand side
24 when it says for the following date, again there is a reference to Drina
25 and these tasks.
1 So the previous day includes the tasks were already given
2 routinely in accordance with the previous order. Is that the gist of it?
3 A. That's the gist of it. A day or two earlier, in advance, this
4 order is given. And after all, if you look at the entire daily report,
5 there is always the proposal for the engagement of forces for the days
6 that will follow. That is in accordance with the orders of the command of
7 the brigade when Combat Group 2 was established as far as back as 1998,
8 and when we started carrying out tasks in the border area in terms of the
9 in-depth security of the state border.
10 Q. Thank you. We're not going to dwell on that any longer. Please,
11 Mr. Nice asked you about whether there was any civilian control or any
12 kind of interference. I don't want to go through the transcript now. I'm
13 putting a very specific question to you. Did you ever receive any orders
14 from anybody else except your superior commander?
15 A. Never, Mr. Milosevic. I always received orders from my immediate
16 superior. At that time it was Colonel Delic, commander of the 549th
17 Motorised Brigade. A few times I received a direct order from the Chief
18 of Staff of the Pristina Corps, who was in Djakovica, and that happened in
19 those cases where a very quick intervention was required and it was not
20 possible to have the regular kind of correspondence. However, that
21 possibility and that right is envisaged in the rules of service.
22 Q. I understand. Again, very briefly, with regard to these
23 questions, some of which were put by Mr. Bonomy, too, you said that there
24 had not been any activity in Bela Crkva.
25 A. Precisely.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. You explained that what is written is illogical, that the
2 villagers were running or trying to escape up the river, because that
3 would make it impossible for them to run down the river. But let us
4 disregard that, upstream or downstream. Were there any actions or
5 activities that the villagers were fleeing from? Or let me be even more
6 specific: Were the villagers from Bela Crkva fleeing anywhere?
7 A. I'm talking about the period from the 25th of March onwards, that
8 there were no activities, and I do not have any information to the effect
9 that villagers were fleeing. None of my units observed that. I did not
10 observe that or did I receive any reports about that.
11 Q. Was there anything that they were supposed to flee from?
12 A. Mr. Milosevic, that's as if you asked me whether people were
13 fleeing from Belgrade on that day. Absolutely, if there was no action,
14 what would they be fleeing from?
15 Q. On that day and on the following days you did not observe
16 villagers fleeing from Bela Crkva?
17 A. I did not observe a single civilian villager, as you call them,
18 leaving Bela Crkva, fleeing from Bela Crkva.
19 Q. Mr. Nice said several times that you received intelligence that
20 there was no activity in Bela Crkva. Is that intelligence or is that
21 information that you got from some of your junior officers?
22 A. I got it from one of my subordinate officers, the leader of combat
23 security. So this is a junior officer whose battalion commander I was.
24 So in a way all information can be called intelligence, because they
25 portray what the situation in a certain territory is.
1 Q. The -- is that the commander of your combat security that went
2 ahead of you through Bela Crkva?
3 A. Exactly. Ahead of my unit in Bela Crkva, went through Bela Crkva,
4 especially the positions east of the village of Bela Crkva towards the
5 village of Celine, and then he returned with his immediate security, with
6 a few soldiers and one vehicle to the village of Zrze, and he reported to
7 me by the silos.
8 Q. He reported that everything was peaceful and then you went through
9 Bela Crkva how?
10 A. Marching, on combat vehicles. There was no need for the unit to
11 be deployed for combat or do we ever do that unless there is information
12 that action against the unit is expected.
13 Q. All right. Were you the only unit that was in the area during
14 those days or was there another unit of the army of Yugoslavia there?
15 A. On the outskirts of Bela Crkva, that is to say the asphalt road,
16 which I can show - let me just find the map - from Zrze towards Hoca.
17 Sorry, towards Orahovac. Two more groups passed along that road, but they
18 just passed. They did not enter the village itself.
19 As for the village of Bela Crkva, on that morning only my unit
20 passed, as far as the military is concerned, and it was only part of my
21 unit because another part did not even enter Bela Crkva. And part of that
22 4th Company of the 23rd Detachment of the special units of the police. If
23 necessary, I can show that on the map.
24 Q. Were you in contact with that company of the special units of the
25 police that was in the same area?
1 A. I saw them directly moving through the village of Bela Crkva, also
2 in a column, but they left their motor vehicles, part of their vehicles
3 that was moving in that direction. They left in the area of the silos
4 because there's a big parking lot there. There's enough parking space
5 there, so it's for practical reasons. And then these vehicles were moving
6 along as the combat disposition was moving. So I personally saw them
7 moving, marching through the village in a column.
8 Q. All right. Did that unit have any activities in Bela Crkva then?
9 A. At that time it certainly did not have any activities if you are
10 referring to combat activities.
11 Q. Yes. Any kind of activities that could disturb the civilian
12 population or whatever.
13 A. They did not have any such activity. They didn't either.
14 Q. All right. Thank you. Mr. Nice quoted something to you from a
15 book where an officer in a green uniform with three stars was described.
16 Would that have to be a captain of the army of Yugoslavia?
17 A. On the basis of these three stars, I said it could be a captain, a
18 colonel, or a colonel general. But on the basis of the description, I
19 said that in the army there aren't any persons with visible disabilities.
20 Q. All right. What was the command -- was there any captain
21 commanding any one of your units? You were the only unit that went
22 through Bela Crkva.
23 A. There weren't any captains. There was one captain first class.
24 However, with part of the unit --
25 Q. Wait a moment, please. Was there an officer with three stars, an
1 officer of yours in that area through Bela Crkva?
2 A. I'm trying to remember. I had two lieutenants, one staff sergeant
3 -- or, rather, two staff sergeants. As far as I can remember, I did not
4 have a single captain.
5 Q. All right. You did not have a single captain in your unit in that
6 activity. When I said that, I'm not saying in your unit generally
7 speaking but at that time there, did you have any captain in that
9 A. As far as that activity is concerned, I cannot remember who the
10 leader of my anti-aircraft gun platoon was, but a captain could not have
11 commanded a platoon. It would have to have been a non-commissioned
13 Q. All right. Was there another military unit that went through Bela
14 Crkva at the time?
15 A. Through Bela Crkva? Not a single other military unit went through
16 Bela Crkva.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Vukovic, does the rank of captain exist in the
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that it does, but please
21 don't take my word for it. I don't know their ranks. I think it exists,
22 but I don't know what kind of insignia they have.
23 May I say something else? As far as these stars are concerned, we
24 did not wear stars on our uniforms. Stars are usually worn on the
25 official uniforms worn but not on wartime uniforms. So I really express
1 my doubts about that person who says he saw this could have seen stars,
2 you see, because on war uniforms you wear completely different insignia.
3 There's a badge and then a captain has three brass lines, perhaps four or
4 five centimetres long and a few millimetres wide, and they are put
5 together. But you cannot see that either, because in combat you wear
6 combat jackets, and the combat jacket covers the insignia. But not a
7 single officer or NCO had insignia on their war uniforms. That is the way
8 it is in the army of Yugoslavia.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. You're talking about a combat camouflage uniform with the basic
11 colour of green?
12 A. M83, M89, and so on. Those are the models. Green is the base
13 colour, but there are other camouflage colours, like black, brown, dark
14 green, light green, et cetera.
15 Q. All right, Colonel. What can be derived from all of this, that
16 there wasn't even a theoretical possibility for a captain of the army of
17 Yugoslavia to have three stars on his shoulder?
18 A. I completely exclude that possibility.
19 Q. And thank you for reminding me of these war uniforms or combat
20 uniforms, that there are no stars there but only these badges.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, if I can respond to the
22 question that you put: The police does have the rank of captain, but a
23 police captain does not wear a green uniform but a blue uniform.
24 JUDGE KWON: I have to note that Mr. Vukovic did not answer that
25 way when I asked the same question.
1 Proceed, Mr. Milosevic.
2 The witness said that a captain in the VJ would wear three stars
3 on his shoulders, and I did not qualify further.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Kwon, lest there be any
6 misunderstanding, all captains have three stars on their shoulders, but
7 that is on their regular uniforms, not on their camouflage combat
8 uniforms. On combat uniforms, there aren't any stars, there are three
10 JUDGE KWON: Yes, we have heard that. Please proceed.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. I'd like now to dwell for a moment on the war diary of yours and
13 the addition, the supplement that Mr. Nice spent time on. Would you turn
14 to page -- I don't see the page number here, but -- there's a hole
15 covering the page number on my copy, but it is the addition to the war
16 diary for the 25th of March, 1999.
17 A. Yes, I've found the page.
18 Q. Fine. The 26th comes after. And that's what Mr. Nice quoted, and
19 it says here -- what does it say here? As it was dealt with in the
20 cross-examination many times here, tell us what it says. Blocked -- what
21 does it say?
22 A. "A march along the Zub-Djakovica axis took place."
23 Q. Just where it says "Blocked and cleaned the villages of Bela
24 Crkva ..."
25 A. "... the villages of Bela Crkva, Celine, Nogavac, and part of
1 Velika Krusa. There were no casualties, no losses."
2 Q. All right. Now, you gave us an explanation which it was my
3 impression was not sufficient, so I'm going to ask you to give us a
4 broader explanation now. You explained to us that at the time at the
5 command post there was your deputy there?
6 A. Yes, that was precisely it.
7 Q. And that by using a radio you sent a brief message to him. How
8 long was the message, several seconds' duration?
9 A. Yes, ten to 15 seconds, not longer than that, otherwise our
10 positions would be found out.
11 Q. Anyway, you told us that you had told him where your location was
12 at the end of the day.
13 A. Yes, at the end of the day I informed him at what line I was, and
14 I used a coded map that he had, too, so he was able to pinpoint the place.
15 Q. So you just provided him information about where you were, where
16 your location was.
17 A. Yes, and that we had suffered no losses.
18 Q. Right. Your position, you used the radio to tell him, "I am at
19 such-and-such a position. I have no losses." Is that all you told him?
20 A. Yes, that was all, nothing more than that.
21 Q. Now, you explained to us that when it says blocked and cleaned --
22 blocked and -- the following villages were blocked and cleaned, you said
23 that was based on an order that he said.
24 A. Yes, on the brigade commander's order that he had with him too.
25 Q. Now, let's take a look at the order issued by the brigade
1 commander. You said, "I've reached such-and-such a position. I have no
2 losses," and then he introduced this record that the villages of Bela
3 Crkva, et cetera, were blocked and cleaned.
4 Now, what does it say in the actual order of the brigade commander
5 that he had with him? You both had the same copy. What does it say on
6 page 2? And that's tab 3.
7 A. May I just take a moment to find the document and open my binder?
8 The only copy of the order, to be quite precise, was the copy that he had
9 with him.
10 Q. All right. Fine.
11 A. Because that was the basic command post. Now, tell me what point
12 you wish me to address and read out.
13 Q. Read out what it says under point 4, "I have decided ..." Where
14 it says 4, decision, "I have decided ..."
15 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I continue, Mr. Kwon?
17 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Please, Colonel, pay attention now and read out that paragraph.
20 It's point 4, it's not a long one, where it says, "I have decided ..." It
21 is number 4, decision by the brigade commander.
22 A. "I have decided: In cooperation with the 37th Detachment of the
23 PJP Nis, the 5th Company of Prizren, the 4th Company of PJP Djakovica, to
24 execute a deblockade of the communication line Suva Reka-Orahovac and to
25 block and destroy the STS, the Siptar forces in the broader region of the
1 village of Retimlje and to establish control over the territory in that
2 area by grouping the main forces along the axes of Studencani-Samodreza
3 and Opterusa-Retimlje, and the auxiliary forces along the following axes:
4 Bela Crkva-Celine-Nogavac, Velika Hoca-Mala Hoca, and then the next axis,
5 the Wine Cellar-Pirane-Zojic, et cetera, Medvedce.
6 Q. All right, fine. Now, was one of the axes here, the main axis is
7 not one we're interested in at the moment but it says auxiliary forces
8 along the axis, the following axis, and then what does it say?
9 A. It says Bela Crkva --
10 Q. We're not interested in the first axis, we're interested in --
11 A. Bela Crkva-Celine-Nogavac, that is the axis along which my unit
13 Q. And after Nogavac there was Velika Hoca?
14 A. No, Velika Hoca is the next axis. It is to the north of the
15 previous axis.
16 Q. All right. Fine. Now, if you told him that you were at
17 such-and-such a position on the -- evening of the 25th, what position were
18 you at?
19 A. On the evening of the 24th, Mr. Milosevic, I had reached -- that
20 is to say we had gained control of the village of --
21 Q. Where were you on the 25th?
22 A. Let me find the map and I'll tell you, just a moment, please, for
23 that particular day. This is a map that is marked Retimlje, and I have it
24 under number 14, tab 14.
25 MR. NICE: I'm sure the Court will have this in mind, this is, of
1 course, not a contemporaneous document so he's simply relying on a map
2 that's been produced by or for the commission from other materials. So I
3 don't see, frankly, how it can assist him. Indeed, I might as well make
4 the point now: None of this commission documentation is probably such as
5 meets the standard requirements of documents that can refresh memory, and
6 I simply don't understand how he can do it.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's an objection then, Mr. Nice.
8 MR. NICE: Yes. I mean, the problem with the commission documents
9 is that they've been coming in over time and we've only been getting to
10 hear, over time, a little bit more about the way the commission worked and
11 what it was doing, but it is perfectly apparent that witnesses are coming
12 here being given all sorts of material. This witness was given statements
13 plans, maps of one kind or another, not prepared by him as far as we
14 know. We don't have the draftsmen, we don't know what raw material they
15 were relying on, we've suddenly discovered that there are indeed
16 contemporaneous working maps that have not been produced to us, and
17 apparently not to these people, and how this documentation can properly be
18 relied on to refresh memory I simply don't know.
19 Of course the standards and tests here are different from those in
20 the standard system but one could probably confidently assert that if
21 somebody sought to rely on a document like this to refresh memory under
22 the traditional rules of memory refreshing documents, he would not be
23 allowed to do so unless he could trace it as a document he himself built
24 on contemporaneous records of his own or the reliability of which he could
25 justify. So I do object, yes.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Colonel, please, we're not going to rely on the map.
3 A. Well, we can rely on this map here, Mr. Milosevic.
4 Q. That is a contemporaneous map?
5 A. Yes. That's a contemporaneous map. I didn't wish to refresh my
6 memory, what I wanted to do was to illustrate what I was saying, and I'll
7 indicate that and demonstrate it on this map.
8 Q. I'm interested in hearing your answer to the following question:
9 What position were you at from which you told your deputy that you were on
10 the evening of the 25th? Where did you tell him you were on the 25th in
11 the evening?
12 A. If you take a look at this here, it is to the east -- just a
13 moment. Let me find the village of Celine - there it is - and it is this
14 position here. It says Brinja, and then there's a trig point, trig 337,
15 towards the Blini [phoen] feature. So we -- and you have a point to the
16 east of -- or south-east of Blini 500 to -- metres to 1 kilometre, feature
17 450. Now why do I need map? Well, I cannot remember all the trig
18 points, can I? I can't be expected to remember them, but if need be I can
19 take everybody in the courtroom here today and take them on location and
20 show them where that was.
21 Q. Well, let's dwell on this for a moment. You -- you call it a
22 feature. It was in fact a hill, as far as I can see. You give it the
23 military term. And this trig 450 that you mentioned.
24 Now, did you come from the direction of the west -- from the west
25 towards the south-east or east?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. That's right. The general axis, the general direction was
3 Q. All right. Now, if we were to draw -- or, rather, if you say I
4 reached that point Brinja trig 450, it's several hundred metres away one
5 from another, all along this north/south line, now, if your deputy
6 received information for you to the effect that you were at Brinja and
7 trig 450, along that line there, that axis there, that you had reached
8 that point, can he, on the basis of that, see the passage, the route you
9 had to traverse before that?
10 A. Yes, certainly. And my deputy was fully cognisant of my
11 assignment and task, and he took part in the decision-making.
12 Q. All right. Now, on this map can we see all the places that he
13 introduced into the war diary, the entries he made in the war diary?
14 Among the places, the localities, which if we place our hand on Brinja and
15 trig 450, can we see that you traversed the following route: Bela Crkva,
16 Celine, Nogavac, and part of Velika Krusa? Is that visible? Can that be
18 A. Yes, that is exactly what can be seen, and that's the only thing
19 that he could have known on the basis of his map. That's what he could
20 have concluded on the basis of the order by the brigade commander and the
21 map provided.
22 Q. So when he heard you telling him that you were at a feature 450
23 and Brinja, he was able to conclude that you had passed through --
24 MR. NICE: No, no. This is leading and tendentious.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
1 MR. NICE: Maybe he should call the deputy if he wants to deal
2 with it, rather than dealing with it in this way.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues]... conclude
5 that. That's leading.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please.
7 Mr. Robinson, a moment ago the witness said that the order by the brigade
8 commander was at the command post of the brigade with his deputy, the
9 deputy had it. The witness said that -- he on the evening of the 25th, he
10 told him what location he was at. Those are material facts. I can't move
11 Brinja nor can I move feature 450. We can see that that axis, that
12 direction of Brinja and trig 450 is east of Bela Crkva and Celine and the
13 whole of that order -- area which, according to the order, they should
14 have passed by. Since that, too, is an officer of the army of Yugoslavia
15 who knows the order full well, he knows what his unit is doing, and if
16 he's told, "We're here," that means that he knows the route that they
17 would have had to traverse to reach that point and they are the places
18 that are contained in the additions to the war diary. So it's not a
19 leading question at all, it's just a fact.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: We already have the evidence from the witness as
21 to what could have been seen.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not what could have been seen,
23 Mr. Robinson. It's quite clear here that if it says in the order that
24 you're supposed to pass by features A, B, C, and D and you report that you
25 are at a feature E, then the person introducing the points knows that you
1 will have to have passed A, B, C, D in order to reach E. That's
2 elementary. Because he has the order and on his working map he has the
3 orders, contemporaneous ones, and recorded what the unit is doing. And he
4 has that same map at the command post of the brigade, at the headquarters
5 and staff there. So I assume --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Elementary or not, it's for him to tell us, not
7 you. A leading question is a question in which you give the witness the
8 answer, and you're not supposed to do that when you're re-examining, and
9 that's precisely what you were doing and precisely what was objected to.
10 MR. NICE: Your Honours, there's also this point, I think, that
11 the whole line of re-examination is premised on a mere possibility raised
12 by this witness as to how the entry for cleansing Bela Crkva arose.
13 There's absolutely no evidence that it was created by reference to the
14 original order. None whatsoever. It's mere supposition. So we're now
15 building on supposition.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic. Move on. And no leading
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, this is not an
19 assumption. This is an elementary fact which an educated officer must
20 know about. A person who is replacing a commander and is his deputy --
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let us move on.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Now, the Brinja feature and trig 450, is that east of all these
24 places that your deputy recorded in the additions to the diary?
25 A. Yes, precisely that. Easterly and south-easterly.
1 Q. And you, to all intents and purposes -- or, rather, did you pass
2 by all those places?
3 A. Well, Mr. Milosevic, if I said that the axis of action, although
4 -- the axis my unit moved was from west to east and I was more easterly
5 than the villages enumerated, then it is quite normal that I had to pass
6 through those villages. And everybody who can read and write must realise
7 that. It must be clear to one and all, let alone an officer, which is
8 what my deputy was. He was an excellent officer, to boot.
9 Q. Now, here it says, "I have decided," and then it says "Bela Crkva,
10 Celine, Nogavac, Velika Hoca," and then I place a line there because after
11 Velika Hoca, there's Brinja and trig 450. Velika Krusa I meant to say.
12 Not Velika Hoca, Velika Krusa.
13 A. No, I said Bela Crkva-Celine-Nogavac is one axis and the other
14 axis is Velika Hoca-Mala Hoca, which is located more westerly.
15 Q. No, I made the mistake. I made the mistake.
16 A. The axis is quite clear: It's the general axis of the action, and
17 I said that automatically from this document it was copied out. The
18 villages we passed through were copied out. Since I didn't inform him of
19 any of the consequences, there was no need for him to enter anything else,
20 nor did he have the possibility of checking this out in another way; where
21 we were, what village we were in, and so on.
22 Q. Right. We've clarified that point. Now, let's clarify the first
23 three words he used. He said, "Surrounded and cleaned," and then he
24 mentioned the villages you passed through. Read the first page of the
25 order by the commander. What does it say? Order --
1 A. Let me just find that. May I take a moment to find this? I've
2 lost my way in all this paperwork and documents. Just a moment, please.
3 I seem to have mislaid that first page somewhere. Could you help me out
4 here, please, and give me that first page, because I've mislaid it
6 Q. Yes, I will. It is tab 3, and I'll give you the page.
7 A. I never had to deal with such a lot of documents on one place, so
8 I'm not finding my way very well. But it's there somewhere.
9 Q. We'll hand it over to you in a moment.
10 A. Yes, you find it when you're not looking for it. Yes. It was
11 right here in front of me.
12 Q. Let me take you back to the question. I want you to explain the
13 first three words at the beginning of this. We've explained the
14 geographic points. Now it says, "Blocked and cleaned." That's what he
16 What does it say in the actual order by the brigade commander?
17 The title, the heading.
18 A. It says "Order on destroying Siptar terrorist forces in the
19 broader area of the village of Retimlje, lifting the blockade of the
20 communication line Suva Reka-Orahovac, and establishing control of the
22 Q. Therefore, what is defined in the order where all these places are
23 located in the decision on page 2, he wrote down that they had been
24 blocked and cleaned. That's the entry he made. So what activity is it?
25 What does the order say? The order is for?
1 A. Destroying Siptar terrorist forces in the general sector of the
2 village of Retimlje.
3 Q. So that blocked and cleaned, that phrase "blocked and cleaned,"
4 can that be explained in any other way than to refer to Siptar terrorist
6 A. Well, I said that long time ago --
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic. Mr. Milosevic, you very well know
8 that is a leading question.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honours, more than that: We're seeing the waste
10 of that most precious resource in this case, which is the time allocated
11 to the accused to bring his Defence, and he's the person who is wasting
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Very well. You said your deputy had this order.
15 A. Yes, he did. It was the only copy we had at the command post in
16 Zub village.
17 Q. So what did he imply under "blocked and cleaned"?
18 A. The same thing that I implied when I explained the term. It means
19 the area was blocked and cleaned from armed terrorists. But I would also
20 like to draw your attention to the third page, to paragraph 5.5, which
21 also gives a specific task for the battalion. And I explained why my unit
22 did not carry out a search of Bela Crkva village.
23 Q. Just wait. This needs to be clear for everyone. In paragraph
24 5.5, it says task for --
25 A. Combat Group 2. And then it says: "Carry out an energetic attack
1 to search the village of Bela Crkva, emerge on the Brnjaca line, Brod
2 elevation, trig point 432, trig point 440," and so on and so forth, "In
3 coordinated action ..."
4 Q. And it says: "In a coordinated action cut off and destroy
5 terrorist Siptar forces in the village of Celine," and et cetera, "seal
6 off Velika Krusa."
7 A. Exactly, that's what it says. I said already that I had relevant
8 information to the effect that there were no terrorists in Bela Crkva, and
9 that's why we didn't search it. And anyway, the brigade commander passed
10 along the fringes of Bela Crkva that very morning, along the asphalt road
11 that leads from to Zrze towards Orahovac because he was on his way to his
12 command post. And he even sent from Brnjaca elevation a part of my unit
13 towards Amovac because the man knew this area very well. He is a native
14 of Kosovo and Metohija and lived there for a long time.
15 Q. Here in the task that your deputy had in his hands at the command
16 post, it says: "Carry out an energetic attack to search the village of
17 Bela Crkva."
18 A. Yes. And he thought that that part of the task had been carried
19 out, logically.
20 Q. Whereas you explained why there was no energetic attack,
21 because --
22 A. Because there was no terrorist activity. And throughout 1998 and
23 1999 in Kosovo and Metohija, the practice was the same: Wherever there
24 was no terrorist activity, there was no action on our part because it
25 would not make sense.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry, you've now lost me completely. Why should
2 he assume blocked and cleaned from the word "search the village," when in
3 relation to other villages the words "destroy STS" is specifically used?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, you would have to read
5 the entire text of the task. And from the entire text of the task you
6 could understand what the answer is to this question. Because the point
7 of searching terrain -- the purpose of searching terrain is precisely to
8 detect terrorists.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: But, Mr. Vukovic, how can you assume that
10 terrorists will be found? Search presupposes that either you may or may
11 not find terrorists in that particular location. Your deputy seems to
12 have assumed, according to you, that terrorists were found, because he
13 used the word "cleaned."
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I've already said he just
15 automatically copied from the task that was in the document in front of
17 JUDGE BONOMY: If he did that, that raises the much wider question
18 of whether all the analyses that are placed before us are ultimately just
19 copies of what the original plan was. I mean, I'm simply explaining to
20 you that I, first of all, don't understand the explanation and, secondly,
21 insofar as I can make some sense of it, it doesn't seem to me to be
22 helpful to the case that's being presented.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can repeat from the
24 beginning, if you allow me. The analysis --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: You're failing to explain to me at all why the
1 deputy would use the word "cleaned" when all that was ordered was a
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the purpose of a search is
4 precisely to establish whether there are terrorists in a certain area, and
5 if there are, to eliminate them from that era. That is the purpose of the
6 entire action. And an action is executed by blocking and searching a
7 certain area or location. I don't know of any different way to explain
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. For the sake of a comprehensive explanation, read the previous
11 paragraph, 4. What does it say?
12 A. "In coordinated action --"
13 Q. Skip that. Say what follows in the first line.
14 A. Just a moment. "Lift the blockade off the Suva Reka-Orahovac
15 road. Cut off and destroy Siptar terrorist forces in the general sector
16 of the village of Retimlje."
17 Q. Very well. Very well. Does it go on to mention Bela Crkva,
18 Nogavac, Velika Hoca, and so on?
19 A. Yes, there was the general axis.
20 Q. Does the order of the brigade commander say cut off and destroy?
21 A. Exactly.
22 Q. And that's what your deputy saw, block and destroy?
23 A. Exactly.
24 Q. "Block and destroy Siptar terrorist forces." That's what is
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So we have that --
3 A. Yes. What his words refer to --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Show me where that is in relation to Bela Crkva.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, in the same paragraph that is
6 item 4, which begins, "I have decided ..." And then in line number 3 --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm not seeing it. Oh, yes, I have number 4 now.
8 I can see "I have decided ..."
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It says: "Block and destroy Siptar
10 terrorist forces in the broader area of Retimlje village and establish
11 control of the territory in this area."
12 Block and destroy. How? By grouping the main forces on the said
13 axes, naming both. One is Bela Crkva-Celine-Nogavac, and the other one is
14 Velika Hoca-Mala Hoca and so on.
15 So if you disregard what is not relevant to this question, it
16 says: "Block and destroy on the axes Bela Crkva-Nogavac, Velika Hoca-Mala
17 Hoca, the Siptar terrorist forces." It's all in one paragraph here.
18 Block and destroy.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nort, could you turn over to the other page,
20 please. Thank you.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Now, please, this is paragraph 4 where he communicates the purpose
23 of that activity, and then --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nort, just go back to the previous page.
25 Yes. Thanks. That's enough, just go back now to the other page.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now, paragraph 5 has this heading
2 "Unit assignments." Wherein the brigade commander within this mission
3 called blocking and is destruction of Siptar terrorist forces determines
4 the activities for each unit, what they are supposed to do. So within the
5 general task of blocking and destroying Siptar terrorist forces in point
6 5.5, it says: "Carry out an energetic attack to search the village of
7 Bela Crkva, to emerge on the Brnjaca line ..." et cetera, et cetera. So
8 this is a reference to an energetic attack whereas Colonel Vukovic
9 explained this would have happened, indeed, if there had been any
10 terrorists in Bela Crkva. Since there weren't any, they just passed
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But there were terrorists in the
14 following villages.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Nice, when he quoted from this passage of the 30th of March
17 where you say that around 2.000 people have passed by or crossed --
18 A. I don't have it with me. Could you give me a copy?
19 Q. To save time, I'll read it. I hope nobody will think that I will
20 intentionally misread. You say that around 2.000 people had passed,
21 whereupon Mr. Nice said you recorded that as a satisfactory result.
22 Please tell me, do you enter into your war diary satisfactory or
23 unsatisfactory results or do you enter facts?
24 A. I record facts. As far as satisfaction is concerned, if you think
25 that it is satisfactory to record your own losses, then so be it. As for
1 the Siptar civilian movements, I also recorded what I felt about that.
2 Nobody can watch other people suffering while remaining indifferent.
3 Q. In fact, you wrote in your diary: "There is nothing sadder than
4 to watch a couple of poor people who are leaving their homes on somebody's
6 A. Yes, that's what I wrote and that's what I continue to think to
7 this day.
8 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues]... in chief and in
9 cross-examination. We are simply spending time.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, Mr. Nice particularly
11 insisted on Bela Crkva and almost proclaimed that Colonel Vukovic had
12 admitted to ethnic cleansing based on his entries in the diary. His
13 entries in the diary are very clear because you have the order, which is a
14 strict one, and you have his testimony. Plus you have the map where you
15 can see where exactly he was.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic. Your position,
17 Mr. Milosevic, on the word "ciscenje" is that whenever it is used it is
18 used in relation to the KLA?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Absolutely. And I don't know of any
20 officer - you can bring any number of VJ officers - who can tell you any
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: How much longer do you have in re-examination?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, not much, I hope. I believe
25 if you give me a slight extension I can finish now, not to detain the
1 witness further.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: There is a case here this afternoon.
3 MR. NICE: I also have time problems as well. I'm not available.
4 I've got to leave very promptly.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see. We have to adjourn, and you'll have to
6 return, Colonel, next week, Wednesday, the 9th of November, at 9.00 a.m.
7 We will adjourn until that time.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 9th day
10 of November, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.