1 Wednesday, 30 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the witness make the declaration.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: You may sit. Mr. Milosevic, you may begin.
10 WITNESS: JANOS SEL
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examined by Mr. Milosevic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Lieutenant Colonel Sel.
14 A. Good morning, Mr. Milosevic.
15 Q. Could you please introduce yourself as briefly as possible.
16 A. Lieutenant Colonel Janos Sel, a professional soldier serving in
17 the army of Serbia and Montenegro. I was born on the 15th of December,
18 1960 --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to speak much,
20 much, much slower. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Lieutenant Colonel, you have to speak more
22 slowly. The interpreter has to interpret.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After completing elementary school
24 in my village, I continued school in Belgrade at the military secondary
1 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Sel, we've only heard that you're a professional
2 soldier. So could you begin -- could you start again your answer, please.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand. I was born on the
4 15th of December, 1960, in the village of Deliblato, municipality of
5 Kovin, autonomous province of Vojvodina. In my village I completed
6 elementary school. After elementary school, I continued secondary
7 military school in Belgrade, a four-year secondary school, and then I
8 attended the military academy in Belgrade. I graduated from the military
9 academy in 1983, after which I became a professional soldier. I served in
10 several garrisons in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, and I was
11 reassigned to the Djakovica garrison at the end of December 1997. In
12 Djakovica, I was company commander and I worked there until our units
13 withdrew from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
14 I held all posts in the military, from platoon commander to
15 battalion commander. Together with my unit, I was controlling the border
16 security in the area of Medvedce as at the time when the army was supposed
17 to withdraw from Kosovo and Metohija.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You said that you were in Kosovo and Metohija from 1997.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Tell me: What were you during the course of the war from Kosovo
22 and Metohija, that is to say, not from 1997 but from 1999? And please
23 indicate on the map that you have in front of you, I hope, in the
24 documents. Could you please show your area of responsibility.
25 A. In the period from 1999, in the Djakovica garrison, I was company
1 commander. The real responsibility of my unit was Maja Kraljica, Cafe
2 Vanos, and Guska in depth, that is to say, the protection of the state
3 border in accordance with the plan for unit use.
4 Q. What is your ethnic background?
5 A. I'm a Hungarian.
6 Q. We're going to move on to specific events straight away, that is
7 to say, in places that were in your area of responsibility. We are going
8 to start with the municipality of Orahovac. I introduced a document here
9 called Command --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the interpreters please have a reference.
11 The speaker is reading very fast.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, the interpreters are asking for a
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is document number 2. It is
15 D300, tab 356. It was introduced on the 30th of June this year, and it
16 was admitted on the 1st of July this year. That's the document I'm
17 referring to.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Does this order include the activities that you were involved in
20 at the time?
21 A. Mr. Milosevic, this is an order of the joint command for Kosovo
22 and Metohija. I received the command from Colonel Vlatko Vukovic, my
23 battalion commander, but this is the general order that was given to
24 subordinate units, to Colonel Delic, that is, and then Colonel Delic
25 further transferred this to his subordinate units. But it does include
1 anti-terrorist activities in the area of responsibility of our unit.
2 Q. On the basis of this order, in document number 3 -- gentlemen, for
3 you, this is tab 357, Exhibit 300. It was also presented here and
4 admitted on the 30th of June this year, that is, an order to destroy
5 Siptar terrorist forces in the wider area of -- in the general sector of
6 the village of Retimlje, lifting the blockade of the Suva Reka-Orahovac
7 road and establishing control of the territory. Does this order include
8 the activities that you were involved in?
9 A. Yes, yes, Mr. Milosevic. Of Combat Group 2, which does include my
10 unit, yes.
11 Q. Did you act in accordance with this order when you carried out
12 your duties?
13 A. Yes. Or rather, in accordance with the specific order issued to
14 us by our commander, Colonel Vlatko Vukovic. Because on the basis of the
15 order of the brigade command, he wrote his own order and he transmitted
16 his own orders orally.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to speak
18 slower. Thank you.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Lieutenant Colonel, the interpreters are asking
20 you to speak more slowly. Apparently you naturally speak fast, so you
21 have to make a specific effort to slow down.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. These orders are also displayed on the map which is the decision
24 to destroy Siptar terrorist forces in Orahovac, Suva Reka, and Velika
25 Krusa. That's what it's called. That is D300, tab 358. It should be
1 number 4, as far as you're concerned. Could you indicate the movements of
2 your unit on that map, please.
3 A. Specifically, my unit was on trig 432; Kosa Brod, in Brestovac,
4 Mala Hoca, Randubrava, Retimlje, Neprebiste, Mamusa. That was the line.
5 Q. In document number 5, there is an analysis made by your commander,
6 General Delic. I hope that you have it in front of you. That is D300,
7 tab 359.
8 My question is: Did you act as General Delic described in his
9 analysis of the activities of the 549th Brigade in the area of Retimlje,
10 unblocking the road between Suva Reka and Orahovac?
11 A. We fully acted in accordance with the spirit of the order and in
12 order to destroy the terrorists in our area and we fully carried out our
13 tasks. The terrorist groups that were along the line of our activity were
14 totally smashed.
15 Q. A few moments ago you mentioned very briefly the places where you
16 were; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. All right. Bela Crkva is in that area too?
19 A. Yes.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could the usher please place the map
21 of Bela Crkva on the ELMO. It was introduced during the testimony of
22 General Delic. It is TK25 and it was introduced on the 25th of March.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Do you have it?
25 A. No.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: It's tab 360, according to this.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, tab 360. D300, tab 360.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Lieutenant Colonel Sel, do you know that here, in paragraph 66(b)
5 of the Kosovska indictment, it says that on the day of the 25th of March,
6 1999, or around that date, the forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded and
7 attacked the village of Bela Crkva. What can you say about that?
8 A. Mr. Milosevic, that is not correct at all. We just passed through
9 Bela Crkva. There was no activity whatsoever in Bela Crkva. And around
10 6.00 in the morning, we set out along the line mentioned in Colonel
11 Delic's order. So there was no action in Bela Crkva. We just passed
12 through Bela Crkva, carrying our equipment too, because we had to go
13 through Bela Crkva as it led through the line of departure.
14 Q. In the same paragraph, it says that many villagers of Bela Crkva
15 were fleeing along the Belaja river outside the village and were forced to
16 seek shelter near a railroad bridge. As they approached the bridge, the
17 forces of FRY and Serbia, they -- the forces of the FRY and Serbia opened
18 fire on a number of villagers, killing 12 persons, including ten women and
19 children. I've just read out to you what it says here, what is written
20 here. Since you were there, could you tell us what happened?
21 A. Mr. Milosevic, while passing through Bela Crkva, I never saw a
22 single local person and I repeat once again: There was no action
23 whatsoever. This brook Belaja that is mentioned, this is a tiny little
24 stream, about two metres wide. It is impossible for 12 people to go by
25 without us noticing them. We were walking. We were on foot. Then I was
1 walking in front of my unit, and my soldiers would have noticed, I would
2 have noticed had there been any civilians. After all, I would not have
3 allowed any fire to be opened at civilians, because that was not our task
4 to search villagers or populated areas, built-up areas. We were only
5 engaged in fighting against the terrorists.
6 Q. In the same paragraph it is also alleged that the forces of the
7 FRY and Serbia ordered men and older boys to undress and then they took
8 away all their things, they systematically robbed them of all their
9 valuables. And the forces of the FRY and Serbia, as it says here, opened
10 fire on these men and older boys after they complied, killing
11 approximately 65 Kosovo Albanians.
12 What can you say about such allegations? Do you know anything
13 about this?
14 A. Mr. Milosevic, I don't know anything about that. First of all, I
15 did not train my soldiers to kill innocent civilians and to fight against
16 unarmed civilians. They were strictly trained to carry out their legal
17 obligations, and that is the defence of the territorial integrity,
18 sovereignty, and constitutional order of the country. Nowhere is it
19 prescribed by law that the army should kill unarmed civilians. During the
20 operations of my unit, I never came across any local people, any
21 civilians; no columns, nothing. And my unit also did not take any action
22 against civilians.
23 Q. All right. What you said, that this was not prescribed by law, it
24 was not prescribed by orders. Could something like that have happened
1 A. No, it couldn't have happened, because I'm responsible for the
2 work of my unit and the principle of singleness of command and
3 subordination is applied throughout the army. For every action that is
4 taken and everything that happens within the unit, I am responsible
5 personally. And the unit, according to establishment, was such that I was
6 able to follow and monitor its work completely, both the troops and the
7 equipment. If anything had happened, I would have ceased action
8 immediately and informed the superior command. My superior command and I
9 myself always had timely information from the ground, and my commanders
10 were always informed of the actions of the unit.
11 Q. All right. Would it have been possible for something to happen
12 without you noticing? The Prosecution witness Jusuf Zuniqi from Bela
13 Crkva testified that 16 policemen had opened fire on 13 Kosovo Albanian
14 civilians who were near Bela Crkva that day. Do you know about that?
15 A. I don't know. I know that parts of the 23rd special police unit
16 were on the right wing of my unit -- sorry; on the left wing of my unit.
17 I don't know what was happening on the right wing, but I don't think it's
18 possible that something like that had happened.
19 Q. Were you personally present in Brestovac and in Nogavac during the
21 A. After we took up positions on the line of departure at 6.00 in the
22 morning, our unit set out on the axis of Vis-Amovac-Brestovac-Mala Hoca.
23 With a part of our troops, I acted and coordinated action with my right
24 neighbour to destroy fire points in Celine. Around 11.00 I emerged on the
25 elevation of Amovac terrorists opened fire on us, fighting lasted for
1 about 30 minutes, only infantry weapons were involved, and after dealing
2 with them, we entered Brestovac. Brestovac had been prepared in
3 engineering terms, defences were put up there. We found scattered,
4 discarded uniforms and some weapons there. And when we joined the first
5 part of the unit, we found the command vehicle of the unit. Inside, we
6 found a list of terrorists, including about 150 names of people from that
7 area, with the weapons they carried, and the lists of residents from the
8 local -- from the vicinity of that area who financed the terrorists. The
9 contributions were 300 to 500 Deutschmark at the time.
10 We found lists of their weapons and plans for defence in
11 Brestovac, Retimlje, and Mala Hoca. All these documents were seized and
12 the weapons and uniforms seized were also handed over to the authorities
13 that were behind the units.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: You said you were on the left wing of your unit
15 and you don't know what was happening on the right wing. What was the
16 distance between the left wing and the right wing?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a relatively small distance,
18 Your Honour; about 200 to 300 metres. But at that time, the right
19 neighbour had been stopped by the fire of terrorists, whereas I
20 advanced --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down. He is
22 enumerating various troops that he had.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: The interpreters are again asking you to speak
24 more slowly.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So the distance from my right
1 neighbour was about 200, 250 metres. My unit fired and I was able to help
2 destroy those fire points that were in the area of Celine.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well.
4 Mr. Milosevic.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. What is the name of that map in front of you?
7 A. Bela Crkva, TK25.
8 Q. Could we now look at the map designated as Nogavac. It's D300,
9 tab 433, admitted on the 5th of July.
10 Do you have it before you? There it is on the ELMO. What is
11 shown on this map, and what was your task, your assignment, and under
12 whose orders?
13 A. This map shows the activity of the NATO aviation against Nogavac
14 village on the 2nd of April, 1999, around 1:00 a.m. My unit was no longer
15 in the area at the time.
16 Q. When did you move through that area?
17 A. From the 25th until the 28th March. On the 28th of March, after
18 completing its assignment, that is, to destroy terrorist strongholds on
19 its axis, the unit withdrew to the broader area of Bistrazin, and after
20 replenishment, we went on to carry out the further task, that is, to
21 secure the state border. After that time, our unit no longer returned to
22 that area.
23 Q. So after you passed through, your unit was the one that was in the
24 area, you were not replaced by any other unit when you finished with the
25 anti-terrorist action?
1 A. No.
2 Q. So that area was in your zone of responsibility, the zone of
3 responsibility of your brigade?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Very well. In 63(i), it says that on the 25th of March, 1999, a
6 large group of Kosovo Albanians went to a mountain near the village of
7 Nogavac village, also in Orahovac municipality, seeking safety from
8 attacks on nearby villages. Could you tell us, please: Do you know
9 anything about any attacks on nearby villages in the area of Nogavac,
10 Orahovac municipality, from which they sought safety, allegedly?
11 A. According to this topographic map, Mr. Milosevic, there are no
12 mountains. All we can see are small hills. This is more of a plain, and
13 the altitude of Nogavac is 337 metres. So it's impossible for such a
14 large group of people to gather there. Nogavac itself has only 20 to 25
15 houses. There were no actions by our unit in Nogavac itself, whereas
16 there was a terrorist stronghold in Celine that was destroyed. On the
17 25th, I passed through, because I was asked to report at trig point 450 to
18 a superior commander to receive an assignment. So I passed through
19 Nogavac and I didn't see any residents, any locals.
20 Q. But the indictment says that the forces of the FRY and Serbia
21 surrounded those people who had fled to the mountain near Nogavac, so they
22 surrounded those people, and on the next day, they ordered the 8.000
23 people who had sought shelter on the mountain to leave. And it goes on to
24 say that the Kosovo Albanians were forced to go to a nearby school and
25 then they were forcibly dispersed into nearby villages. Is that correct?
1 A. Mr. Milosevic, that is not correct. I repeat to you that Nogavac
2 is a small hamlet, counting 20, 25 houses. So for 8.000 people to gather
3 in that small area is impossible. Plus, there are no mountains there,
4 only hills.
5 Q. Were there any large groups of civilians who had sought shelter of
6 some sort and had been expelled by our army? Was there anything to
7 indicate that any of these allegations are true?
8 A. Not to my knowledge. I know that I passed through Nogavac on
9 foot, with my unit. I would have noticed people if I had seen any,
10 especially large groups. And on top of that, there were no combat
11 activities in Nogavac and there were no people. Sometime around 5.00 or
12 6.00 p.m., I passed through Nogavac with vehicles and equipment and it
13 would have been impossible for us not to notice any movements of people.
14 I had my reconnaissance units, my forward scouts.
15 Q. It says in the indictment that during these expulsions in the
16 entire territory of Orahovac, the forces of Yugoslavia and Serbia
17 systematically torched houses, shops, places of worship belonging to
18 Kosovo Albanians and cultural monuments. What can you say about that?
19 A. The unit that I commanded did not torch anything or destroy
20 religious sites. We only fired at firing points from which we were
22 Q. Was it possible for any other unit to do what is alleged here;
23 systematically burning houses, shops, cultural monuments and religious
24 sites? It's not such a big area. Was it possible that something like
25 that happened without you knowing?
1 A. I can talk only about the area of responsibility of my unit, and I
2 can say that it's not correct. Those must be some arbitrary statements by
3 some witnesses. All I know is that our unit did not do anything of the
4 kind, and if it had tried, it would have been stopped.
5 Q. Do you know anything at all to the effect that any unit could have
6 done something of the kind alleged by the opposite side?
7 A. No, because our unit was the only one in the area.
8 Q. Therefore, if your unit was the only one in the area, there was no
9 other unit, even theoretically speaking, that could have done it.
10 Another question: Village Celine is another place in the Orahovac
11 municipality. I will ask you what you can tell us about events there.
12 First of all, were you in Celine yourself?
13 A. As I said before, with part of my unit, with that anti-aircraft
14 gun platoon, I was involved in destroying three firing points, three
15 strongholds, three fortified houses that had been prepared for defence
16 from which fire was opened on our unit. After the destruction of these
17 firing points, I joined the rest of my unit, which was on Amovac
19 Q. We have to go through this very carefully, because you were there
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Among the documents, we have another map, which is number 9 in
23 your set, and it is Exhibit 300, tab 367, a map of Celine. Could you
24 please explain, first of all, what this map depicts, what we see on it.
25 A. This map depicts the disposition of our forces at 1800 hours,
1 after the destruction of the terrorist groups in that area was completed.
2 So that was at 1800 hours. We had already passed through Celine. I am
3 here, near Kodra, and I was about to go down to Nogavac and on to Velika
4 Krusa, to trig point 450.
5 Q. Very well. I will ask you to explain precisely what happened in
6 Celine, but before that, I want to ask: Do you know that in paragraph
7 63(a), concerning Orahovac, it reads that on the morning of the 25th of
8 March, 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded the village of Celine
9 with tanks and armoured vehicles. After shelling the village, forces of
10 the FRY and Serbia entered the village and systematically looted and
11 pillaged everything of value from the houses, set houses and shops on
12 fire, and destroyed the old mosque, causing most of the Kosovo Albanian
13 villagers to flee to a nearby forest before the army and police arrived.
14 So let us go through this in detail. On the 25th March, in the
15 morning, your unit was active in the area; correct?
16 A. Yes. I had a platoon of anti-aircraft cannons.
17 Q. Were there any other units there?
18 A. My right neighbour was Colonel Vlatko Vukovic. I was in
19 coordinated action with him to capture Celine.
20 Q. Was your unit the one who captured Celine?
21 A. No. I was only cooperating. It was the unit of Vlatko Vukovic
22 that entered Celine.
23 Q. Right. He spoke about that. But since it says here that the
24 forces of FRY in Serbia surrounded Celine, entered the village after
25 shelling it, was your unit the one that fired on the village?
1 A. The only unit that had tanks was mine. They were on the elevation
2 of Amovac. There were no other tanks in Combat Group 2. So the only
3 firing was done by anti-aircraft cannons on those three firing points in
4 Celine. As soon as they were destroyed, the platoon of anti-aircraft
5 cannons and myself returned to join the rest of the unit.
6 Q. So you destroyed those two firing points -- three firing points in
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. Then it goes on to say that you shelled the village. Did you
10 shell the village or did you destroy the firing points in Celine? Please
11 be precise.
12 A. I don't know anything about the notion of shelling. It is totally
13 alien to me. There were no other artillery fire or mortar fire actions
14 there. The only action was by the anti-aircraft platoon.
15 Q. It was your platoon?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And you used those cannons to destroy those firing points?
18 A. Correct. It didn't make sense to use tanks because of
19 replenishment problems, and anyway, they had other things to do.
20 Q. Did you see personally those firing points?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What did it look like? You said those were three houses.
23 A. Yes, three fortified houses. Three houses prepared to resist
24 attacks, surrounded by sandbags. There were machine-gun nests in the
25 walls and holes for rifles in the walls, and there was no other way to
1 deal with them, because they didn't want to surrender.
2 Q. And tell us: These firing points, what did they use to fire with?
3 You were saying that these were houses which were -- which had sandbags
4 and other things around them. Was there firing coming from those houses
5 at our forces?
6 A. Yes, from a machine-gun.
7 Q. From all three houses?
8 A. Yes, from all three houses. That's why I say that that's where we
9 seized them, because this was the command group for the region. We found
10 documents and lists and we were able to establish that that was their
11 command group there.
12 Q. Did you shoot at any house in Celine except at those three houses?
13 A. No.
14 Q. So only the houses, the firing points that they fired at you from?
15 A. Yes, that's right. And the terrorists who survived probably threw
16 down their arms and uniforms and fled towards Randubrava because we didn't
17 find a single dead or wounded terrorist although we did find traces of
18 blood. Bloody uniforms and the weapons I mentioned, but not a single
19 wounded or killed terrorist. And since their car, their vehicle was
20 destroyed, they couldn't have driven off. And that's what they did
21 everywhere: Whenever they felt immediate danger, that they would be
22 overcome, they threw down their arms and uniforms, put civilian clothes
23 on, and fled to other strongholds.
24 Q. Let's just be precise about this: You did not fire at a single
25 other house in Celine except at those three houses which were fortified
1 firing points; is that right? Let's get that clear.
2 A. Yes, that's right. We didn't fire at a single other house. There
3 was no need to.
4 Q. Explain to me, then, how was it possible for this destruction of
5 the old mosque to have taken place in Celine, as it says here? It says
6 houses burnt, shops, cultural monuments, the old mosque destroyed in
7 Celine. How could that have happened?
8 A. Mr. Milosevic, there is no mosque in Celine. It would have been
9 introduced on all the topographic maps of the region had it existed. So in
10 Celine there never was a mosque, or in Nogavac either or in Bela Crkva.
11 If that is the old mosque. So if an old mosque did exist, it would have
12 to have been marked on the topographical maps, as would all religious
13 sites and monuments, whether they are churches, mosques, cemeteries,
14 Catholic, Orthodox, or whatever, Muslim, cemetery, they would all be
15 marked on our maps.
16 Q. You have a map of Celine before you. Do you see that?
17 A. Yes. Yes, I do.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May we have it on the overhead
19 projector, please.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's here in front of me.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. All right, fine. Now, is there any place on that map with a
23 mosque on it?
24 A. Yes; Velika Krusa.
25 Q. Tell us what the mark for mosque is.
1 A. It's a yellow circle with a crescent moon and a line.
2 Q. All right. Indicate that on the map for us, please. I can't see
3 it myself. I see. And Velika Krusa, you said that there was this circle
4 with a vertical line and a crescent moon; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. So in Celine we see no markings of that kind, no feature of that
8 A. Nor in Nogavac, nor in Bela Crkva.
9 Q. The only mosque on that map is the map [as interpreted], then, in
10 Velika Krusa; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, please, since your forces fired at the three houses that were
13 fortified in Celine, did you personally see the village of Celine
15 A. Mr. Milosevic, Celine is a hamlet, just 20, 25 households. It's
16 not actually a village.
17 Q. Could you repeat what you said. You said it's not a village but a
18 hamlet; is that right?
19 A. Yes, it's a hamlet.
20 Q. How many houses?
21 A. Well, 20 to 25.
22 Q. Totally of 20 to 25?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. And of those 25, there were these three fortified houses?
25 A. Yes, the three houses housing the terrorists.
1 Q. All right. Fine. Now, would it then be possible to -- as you
2 say, you destroyed those three houses where the firing points were
3 located, and then it says here that the soldiers arrived and burnt houses,
4 shops, it says here the old mosque, which you say didn't exist, they say
5 that was destroyed. What shops are there in Celine, then, houses, shops,
6 and so on?
7 A. Mr. Milosevic, there might be a small shop of some kind, but no
8 shops to speak of. And anyway, there were officers there from the group
9 of the right wing and active soldiers doing their regular military service
10 who complied with orders issued. So they would not have been permitted to
11 set fire to a single house without the commanding officer's knowledge.
12 There was no need for this to be done. So the only thing we did was to
13 return fire on features that were firing at our units. No other ad hoc
14 action. So once again, let me underline that we only shot at the firing
15 points from which the shooting was coming at us from.
16 Q. Very well, Lieutenant Colonel. Now, before you destroyed those
17 three firing points in Celine, the shooting coming from the firing points,
18 did it manage to stop any of our units in their tracks, in their movement,
19 pursuant to the assignment given?
20 A. As I said a moment ago, Mr. Milosevic, my left -- right neighbour
21 was stopped. It was an infantry unit, a peasant battalion, and they
22 didn't have the strength to break those fortified firing points, so that I
23 joined up with that platoon in an action to destroy the firing points.
24 And to all intents and purposes, that unit was stopped through enemy
25 action and were not able to continue their movements.
1 Q. So the movement was ambulatory, it was moving, and it was stopped
2 by terrorist fire, firepower. You came to its assistance to reinforce the
3 unit and managed to destroy those three firing points; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And then the unit was able to continue its movements?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is that all that happened in the village?
8 A. Yes, that's all. There was no other action at all.
9 Q. Furthermore, it states that on the 28th of March, 1999, the forces
10 of the FRY and Serbia forced thousands of people who were hiding in the
11 woods to come out. Since they forced the civilians to go to the nearby
12 village on foot, the men were separated from the women, they were beaten
13 up, all their personal documents taken away from them, and then forced to
14 walk to Prizren, and finally forced to go to Albania. Can you comment on
15 that, please.
16 A. Mr. Milosevic, our units and the anti-terrorist operations were
17 concluded on the 27th of March. I stayed there until the 28th of March,
18 because in front of Mamusa one of my tanks turned over into a brook, and I
19 spent the night in the Mamusa area with my unit and was only able to
20 continue my movements on the 28th of March. So I was the last to leave
21 the region.
22 Q. So you were the last unit to leave the region; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Well, then, what people are we dealing with? It says thousands of
25 people here, thousands were forced to walk to Prizren and then cross over
1 into Albania. What's all that about?
2 A. I have no knowledge of this, Mr. Milosevic. I know that Mamusa
3 was inhabited. We had no problems with the inhabitants. Even on that
4 evening they came to my assistance and helped me to transfer the wounded
5 soldiers to the hospital in Prizren. And the next day, after we had
6 replenished our troops and fuel and managed to pull the tank out of the
7 stream, we continued from Mamusa to Pirane, to the Bistrazin where the
8 commanding officers of the unit were. All the other places were
9 inhabited. So there was no movement, no columns that I saw along the way.
10 Q. No, it says here that you forced them to leave the wooded area and
11 to go to the nearby village on foot, and that then the men were separated
12 from the women, beaten up, looted, robbed, and so on and so forth.
13 A. That's just not true, Mr. Milosevic. My unit did nothing of the
14 kind. It didn't receive an assignment like that, nor would I ever have
15 executed an assignment like that even if I had received one.
16 Q. All right. But there was no other unit there, you say?
17 A. No, there wasn't.
18 Q. Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel. Now, the Prosecution witness by
19 the name of Reshit Salihi, from Celine -- so now you've just described the
20 hamlet, numbering about 20 houses. You said there was no mosque. You
21 destroyed the three houses that were in fact firing points shooting at you
22 from. Reshit Salihi, from Celine, said here that on the 24th of March the
23 Serb army was wearing black uniforms. I'm reading what he said. That's
24 his testimony, a record of his testimony. Please bear that in mind.
25 Anyway, he says the Serbian army was wearing black uniforms and was
1 opening fire at houses and buildings, including the mosque in Celine, and
2 that on the occasion they set fire to houses, or rather, the units of the
3 army of Yugoslavia that day laid siege to the village of Celine, shelled
4 it, set fire to it, and then the army of Yugoslavia entered the village
5 and then opened fire on the houses and buildings there.
6 You've heard the description given. You were there.
7 A. Mr. Milosevic, that's just not true, not correct. The assignment
8 for anti-terrorist operation we received on the 24th in the evening and we
9 went to carry out our assignment on the 25th. We set out at 2.00 a.m.,
10 that is to say, two hours after midnight, and our unit arrived in the
11 region only on the 25th of March in the early morning hours, around 6.00
12 a.m., in fact. So the starting point, the starting line for
13 anti-terrorist action was established at around 8:00 a.m. Before that in
14 the area, I am not aware of any unit having been there. So our unit
15 arrived there at that time. On the 24th, there was not a single unit of
16 ours in that particular area. And I'm talking about the area of
17 responsibility of my unit.
18 Q. All right. Had any unit of ours been there, there probably would
19 not have been the shooting from Celine when you went into action, isn't
20 that right? That's quite logical. Now tell me this: Do you know
21 anything about those black uniforms mentioned?
22 A. No. All our soldiers wore the M88 camouflage uniform. No black
23 uniforms at all. Even the last police unit wore camouflage uniforms which
24 were similar to the ones we wore. So there were no black uniforms at all
25 in our units. Nor did I notice throughout the time I spent in the region
1 that anybody appeared wearing uniforms like that.
2 JUDGE KWON: How about the police? Did the police not wear black
3 uniforms at the time?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said a moment ago that the police
5 wore the classical type of camouflage war uniforms which were very similar
6 to our own uniforms. That means that I didn't notice anybody wearing any
7 kind of black uniform. The only people with black uniforms were the
8 terrorists. They were the only ones that wore that.
9 JUDGE KWON: If my memory is correct, I remember Mr. Salihi
10 described them wearing black uniforms as Serb policemen, but I'm not sure.
11 Proceed, Mr. Milosevic.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Well, this witness Salihi also says that you opened fire on houses
14 and buildings, including the mosque in Celine. Now, did you open fire on
15 any houses except those three firing points from which they were shooting
16 at you from?
17 A. I repeat once again, Mr. Milosevic: There was no other firing.
18 We only opened fire on the features that were shooting at us.
19 Q. And then he goes on to say you were in Celine, you had destroyed
20 those three firing points, as you say, you -- our forces continued their
21 movement. Now, the witness claims the following: That the Serbian forces
22 -- otherwise I omitted to state, because of you, Mr. Robinson, he
23 testified on the 19th to the 22nd of April, 2002, and it is transcript
24 page 3542.
25 This witness claims that the Serb forces ordered -- once they
1 entered Celine, that is, that they ordered the women and children to be
2 separated from the men, and that the men were robbed, that all their
3 identity documents were taken from them, as well as valuables, and set
4 fire to, and then the men formed a line and marched at gunpoint in the
5 direction of villages and Prizren and that they were standing at one of
6 the checkpoints with their hands raised above their heads for many hours.
7 That's what he says on page 3542 of the transcript.
8 A. Mr. Milosevic, I don't know what kind of statement that is. I'd
9 like to meet the witness myself. I'd like him to show me where he was,
10 because it is impossible not to notice the movement of locals. That would
11 mean a large number of locals, as he said, without us noticing it. We
12 would have interrupted our actions straight away had we noticed any
13 inhabitants, because our assignment was not to target civilians and
14 inhabitants and features from which fire was not coming at us from. Our
15 exclusive assignment was to go into action against the terrorists.
16 Q. All right. When our forces entered Celine, you said that they had
17 pulled out from those three fortified houses which were their firing
19 A. Yes, they did escape.
20 Q. Did you come across any locals?
21 A. No, I didn't come across a single local.
22 Q. But the man here says that when you entered, that the women and
23 children were separated from the men, that the men were robbed, their
24 valuables and identity documents taken away from them. So who did you
25 take identity documents away from them if you say in this hamlet there
1 were only some 20 houses and you destroyed those three firing points and
2 you said that there was not a single inhabitant left?
3 A. I didn't notice any inhabitants either in Bela Crkva or Brestovac
4 or Hoca or Nogavac, nor was there any movement there, no civilians at all.
5 So it was impossible for such a large number of people, the number that
6 they mention, that they were either hiding somewhere without having been
7 noticed or anything else.
8 Q. They don't say here that they were hidden. They say that they
9 were robbed by you, their personal documents taken away, burnt by you and
10 so on and so forth.
11 A. How can I rob someone and take their documents away when I did not
12 come across anybody there?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly slow down. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Again, Witness, the interpreters are asking you
15 to slow down.
16 And Mr. Milosevic, please observe the pause.
17 You must observe a pause after Mr. Milosevic asks a question. And
18 make a greater effort to slow down.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Please bear in mind, Lieutenant Colonel, when I ask a question,
21 that question has to be interpreted into English, and so make a pause and
22 answer after that process has been completed. A little time in between is
24 So there was nobody in Celine; is that right?
25 A. No, there was nobody in Celine.
1 Q. Except for those three firing points?
2 A. That's right.
3 Q. From which they had fled once you had destroyed those firing
4 points; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And what did you encounter, what did you come across when you
7 entered the houses, those three houses?
8 A. I passed by those houses. They were classically -- prepared in
9 the classical way. How can I explain this to you? It was a prepared
10 house in the engineer sense; that is, it was reinforced with sandbags and
11 wooden planks to prevent our weapons from hitting the house. So using
12 classical weapons, you weren't able to destroy a house fortified in that
13 manner. You would have to use stronger weapons.
14 Q. And what was the calibre of weapons you used?
15 A. 20 millimetres or, rather, 30 millimetres.
16 Q. So that is the lowest possible calibre for artillery weapons; is
17 that right?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: The witness to whom you're referring also said
20 that the mosque was destroyed.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, as you can see, Mr. Robinson,
22 in the village of Celine, or rather, the hamlet of Celine -- well, this is
23 a large-scale map. You can see every single feature and building on the
24 map, not only house. You can see every shed and barn and anything else.
25 It's all introduced on that map. It's a large-scale map and you can see
1 that for yourself and see what the area looks like. There is no mosque
2 there. And anyway, the lieutenant colonel said that there was no mosque
3 in the village. You have a red circle here in Velika Krusa, where you can
4 see the map, and if you read the map and its legend, you can see all the
5 different parts.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Can you point out to us which were those three houses, roughly
8 speaking, which three houses were the houses that were fortified?
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me finish. Generally, the position you are
10 taking is consistent with your defence in relation to all these
11 allegations of attacks on villages. It's really a flat contradiction.
12 This kind of issue as to whether there was a mosque or not, it seems to
13 me, must be amenable to independent verification. And I would hope that
14 we could get some evidence, Mr. Nice, on this issue. It must be capable
15 of verification whether there was a mosque or not.
16 MR. NICE: We'll deal with it in cross-examination, and it's in
17 Mr. Riedlmayer's report.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, if it is verified by
20 witnesses, then I have no doubt that Mr. Nice will find as many witnesses
21 as you want to testify that the cathedral of St. Peter's from Rome is
22 right there in that hamlet. But never mind. This is the map that was
23 made, the topographical map, and it includes all the features that appear
24 on topographical maps. So in its own right, it is evidence. Why would
25 somebody exclude a mosque that existed in Celine? From a professional
1 point of view, that is impossible.
2 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Please, can you recall exactly -- well, we can see here how many
4 buildings there are. If we looked at them carefully, we could count all
5 the buildings in Celine, but we're not going to do that. You said there
6 were about 20 houses. Obviously, there's even less than that. So could
7 you show on the map, in detail, where those three houses were that were
8 fortified and from where fire came.
9 A. Those were the last three houses. And I was at trig point 440.
10 Q. I couldn't follow what you were saying. Where were you?
11 A. I was somewhere near trig point 440.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please not speak at the same
13 time, notes the interpreter.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Again, please observe the pause between question
15 and answer, both Mr. Milosevic and Lieutenant Colonel.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Please keep the map on the ELMO. Where were they firing from, and
18 where were our units that they were opening fire at, you and other units;
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So tell me: Where were our units?
22 A. The unit that was stopped was on the road, on the left and on the
23 right-hand side of the Bela Crkva-Celine road. It was here, around trig
24 414, at the crossroads.
25 Q. So it was stopped from fire from those houses?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you destroyed these three fortified houses?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Nothing else?
5 A. There was no other action taken.
6 Q. All right. And what do you say about Mr. Salihi's statement that
7 these people, as you say, were not there at all, that they were marched at
8 gunpoint? Did you force someone to go anywhere that way during this
9 anti-terrorist action? Not only in Celine, but anywhere.
10 A. Mr. Milosevic, throughout this anti-terrorist action, that is to
11 say from the 25th through the 27th, until I got to the village of Mamusa
12 area, I never came across any of the residents, only terrorists who opened
13 fire at us. As soon as we crushed these terrorist groups, they left these
14 places and went to Neprebiste or Mamusa, most probably. The first
15 civilians I came across was in the village of Mamusa.
16 Q. Mamusa is a big village?
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Sel, could you point out the positions of those
19 three houses on the map again.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These three houses near the letter
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. That's where firing came from when the group of our soldiers was
24 stopped, the group that was moving along the road on the western side, and
25 you are more to the north-west; right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. I hope that you explained that in great detail, as an
3 eye-witness and as a participant.
4 Now -- well, I'm not going to ask you about what this witness
5 said, that they had to keep their hands above their heads for six hours at
6 some point, although I don't know whether there's a human being that's
7 physically capable of doing that for an even shorter period of time, but
8 I'm not even going to try to go into all of that.
9 This witness asserts, on this same page that I already quoted from
10 -- please bear in mind the dates; the 26th of March, around 7.00 or 8.00
11 in the morning, a group of over 40 policemen came to the Pisjak forest,
12 where about five to six thousand refugees were hiding, and after
13 threatening them with firearms, they robbed them of their valuables. So
14 thousands of people are there and a group of policemen come and seize
15 their documents, valuables. A group of 40 policemen. So that's in the
16 morning of the 27th --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Of the 26th, interpreter's correction.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Please, are these assertions correct?
20 A. I don't know what this is based on, Mr. Milosevic. As I said,
21 have I come across any such thing? No. And I would not have allowed any
22 such thing to happen. Had I come across these civilians, I would have
23 made it possible for them to get out of the combat area. But I repeat
24 once again: Throughout this time, during this anti-terrorist fighting, we
25 never came across any of the local people, the residents. At least, not
1 my unit.
2 Q. All right. Another witness, Agim Zeqiri, from Orahovac, says that
3 a convoy of refugees was made up of about 4.000 people and was escorted by
4 the army of Yugoslavia, moving towards Albania. Please, did any unit of
5 the army of Yugoslavia, or of the police, for that matter, escort a convoy
6 in the direction of Albania?
7 A. I'm not aware of that, Mr. Milosevic. In that period, my unit was
8 in this area carrying out its tasks, and after that we were providing
9 security at the border. So no order from my superior officer said that we
10 should escort any convoys. I'm not aware of this at all.
11 Q. Lieutenant Colonel, I understand, but please bear in mind the
12 following: It is not only important here what was written in orders, but
13 also what actually happened, because things can happen even in spite of
14 orders. So did the army force anyone to go to Albania?
15 A. No, Mr. Milosevic.
16 Q. Do you know of any particular case of this kind? You say that you
17 were at the state border, that you were guarding part of the state border.
18 Do you know of any case when our forces were expelling the population,
19 making them cross the border into Albania?
20 A. No. I'm not aware of any such case.
21 Q. In paragraph 66(c), which pertains to Mala and Velika Krusa, it is
22 stated that on or about the 25th of March, 1999 -- so that's right there
23 on that map, this same map. That's where Velika Krusa is. On this same
24 map where Celine is. That on the 25th of March, 1999, the forces of the
25 FRY and Serbia attacked the villages of Mala Krusa and Velika Krusa,
1 Orahovac municipality. Is that correct?
2 A. That's not correct. According to orders, after dealing with the
3 terrorist groups in Brestovac and Mala Hoca, in Mala Hoca I was given
4 another assignment, sometime in the afternoon, to report to the battalion
5 commander at trig point 450. Then I passed through Nogavac and I did not
6 notice any villagers in Nogavac. I reported to my commander, it was
7 already nightfall, at trig point 450, and I stayed there during the night
8 with my unit. And there were no activities vis-a-vis Velika Krusa or Mala
10 Q. All right. We're not going to dwell on this any longer. I'm
11 going to try to save time. I'm not even going to ask you about these
12 different testimonies. Now we're going to deal with Retimlje briefly.
13 Retimlje is in the municipality of Prizren. D300, tab 377, admitted on
14 the 5th of July, contains a map of Retimlje.
15 Lieutenant Colonel, I'm going to ask you to explain this map,
16 which is marked as Retimlje.
17 A. Mr. Milosevic, this is the deployment of our forces on the 26th of
18 March, 1999, in order to continue anti-terrorist fighting towards Donja
19 Retimlje, because the unit was moving in that direction. So this is the
20 deployment of our forces at 12.00. Before that, we crushed the terrorist
21 stronghold in Randubrava and then we proceeded towards Retimlje.
22 Q. Tell me, please, was Retimlje a terrorist stronghold? Were there
23 any fortifications in the village or in front of the village?
24 A. It was a very strong terrorist fortification stronghold. When we
25 took it, we found equipment, uniforms, all sorts of things, and there was
1 about 120 to 150 people there. Combat Group 1 that was moving from Pirane
2 also took action in Donje Retimlje and I managed to approach Retimlje from
3 the north-west, that was not secured. They started firing at me only when
4 they noticed me from the top of the mosque. So I managed to approach them
5 from the north-west with my equipment, 300 to 400 metres from this
6 stronghold, and that is when they noticed me from the mosque and they
7 opened machine-gun fire at me. And then I fired from my tank that I had.
8 Since they did not respect their own religious building, they were using
9 it as a firing point, then I fired back. And they used the same kind of
10 machine-gun that they were using against me. They were using a
11 machine-gun to fire at me and I used the machine-gun mounted on the tank.
12 That is the first time I used my tanks. With three shells I
13 destroyed three of their anti-armour weapons.
14 Q. What are these anti-armour weapons that they used to fire at your
16 A. Recoilless guns, 82 millimetres.
17 Q. Recoilless guns, 82 millimetres?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Where were these guns? Could you indicate it on the map.
20 A. On the western side, on the western entrance into the village of
21 Donje Retimlje. They were somewhere around here.
22 Q. Were they fortified in a particular shelter, or where were they?
23 Where were they firing from?
24 A. They were firing at me from fortification shelters. They --
25 Q. Please slow down. I see that it is impossible to follow you. I
1 see that even the transcript cannot follow you.
2 A. These firing points were not near any residential buildings or any
3 other buildings. They were at the very entrance into the village. That
4 is where they could fire at our armoured vehicles.
5 Q. This gun, these guns that were firing at you, are they efficient
6 weapons for destroying armoured vehicles?
7 A. Very efficient, and also people manning them are capable, if they
8 are properly trained, to use them well.
9 Q. All right. So they used these 82-millimetre guns to fire at your
11 A. Yes. And that is the first time I responded with tank fire, and I
12 destroyed their three guns. And I used the tank guns for this. Because
13 as soon as these firing points were destroyed, and they realised that we
14 hit them on the flanks, then they threw their weapons away and fled to
15 Neprebiste. And it was only around 1700 hours that I entered Donje
16 Retimlje with my unit and then I saw for myself that this was a highly
17 fortified stronghold. The road between Donje Retimlje and Pirane had
18 mines, anti-armour mines. I found over 30 anti-personnel mines along the
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, what is the paragraph in the
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'll have to find the indictment,
23 because I was asking about Retimlje.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: So Lieutenant Colonel, then, your forces were
25 fired at first, from the mosque, and then you returned fire; is that what
1 you said happened?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. Fire was opened from the
3 minaret. They had a gun up there and they used it to fire at me.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: When you fired back, do you know whether anyone
5 was killed or injured?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no one was, because we just
7 found empty casings there and ammunition for that gun of theirs. They got
8 the machine-gun down. We could not move very quickly, because of the
9 danger of mines, and we advanced quite slowly. So only around 1700 hours
10 did we enter Retimlje. That is to say that the survivors, the wounded,
11 had enough time to get the machine-gun down the minaret.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Tell us, please: You indicated on the map where Retimlje was.
15 Let's just get this clear: You responded with machine-gun fire that came
16 from -- to fire that came from the minaret?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And the 82-millimetre guns that were used to fire at your tanks,
19 you responded to that with tank fire?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And that's when you destroyed their three guns?
22 A. That was the first time that I used guns mounted on tanks.
23 Q. All right. As for the 25th of March, the 25th of March -- this is
24 the map of Retimlje; right, and we've just looked at it.
25 A. No. This is the 26th.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. I have -- or rather, we have a few maps of Retimlje. I have the
2 28th and the 27th. Let me just have a look. Yes, the 26th is the one
3 that you had. These maps have already been admitted and I'm not going to
4 dwell on them any further.
5 Tell us: In your statement that on the 24th of December, 2002 was
6 provided by you, dealing with the activities of your unit from the 25th
7 through the 28th of March, 1999, did you describe all these events --
8 MR. NICE: May we have a reference and have it on the ELMO,
9 because we can't deal with consideration of these statements.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: A reference, Mr. Milosevic.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In your set it's number 14.
12 Otherwise, it's D300, tab 383 -- 88, sorry. It was marked for
13 identification at the request of Mr. Nice, rather than being admitted. I
14 don't remember for what reason and I don't remember what his objection was
15 at the time, but we have the witness here now, the witness who provided
16 the statement.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's on the ELMO.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. We've placed it on the ELMO now. It says Major Janos Sel, your
20 military post box is indicated, and it's a statement on the activities of
21 your unit from the 25th through the 28th of March, 1999.
22 In this statement that is before you now, did you say the same
23 things that you stated right here, roughly?
24 A. Yes. This statement was provided at the request of my superior
25 command, and it deals specifically with our activities from the 25th
1 through the 28th of March.
2 Q. All right. Did you, in your statement dated the 24th of December,
3 2002, dealing with the activities of the unit on the 26th, describe the
4 events the same as you did today?
5 A. Yes, except that I didn't go into the details when I gave the
6 statement. I described things in broad terms, at the request of the
7 command. I gave an outline.
8 Q. This statement, which is under number 16 in your set of documents,
9 was admitted here as D300, tab 399, also marked for identification. Can I
10 place -- can I have this statement placed on the ELMO as well.
11 It says here: "Due to the strong resistance by Siptar terrorist
12 forces from the farm in Donje Retimlje -" you described already the
13 village - "I found a depression and managed to approach the village of
14 Donje Retimlje unnoticed to about 100 metres away from the north-west.
15 Then they spotted me, most likely from the mosque, and opened fire. The
16 firing lasted about an hour. And the Siptars probably fled towards the
17 village of Mamusa."
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Then you list the things you found there after they left: A large
20 amount of weapons, Chinese-manufactured automatic rifles, ammunition,
21 60-millimetre mortar shells, rifle grenades, and several kilos of
23 You say that the trenches and shields had been dug around the
24 village and there were firing slits in the walls around the houses.
25 Could you please describe what it looked like, the trenches,
1 shelters, open firing slits in the walls around the houses. You are
2 testifying viva voce now, so tell us: What exactly did you see there when
3 you came in? And before you approached, to what extent were you aware of
4 the fact that Donje Retimlje was fortified for combat action?
5 A. It was prepared and engineered for circular defence. It had
6 communications, shelters for cannons, shelters for machine-guns, mortars,
7 walls facing the road had slits in them for weapons, and there was
8 equipment for the activation of anti-personnel mines and directional
10 What is peculiar is that I saw manually manufactured directional
11 mines, each of them weighing two kilos. The charge was 200 grammes in
12 weight and the diameters were six to eight millimetres. It was actually
13 charged with screws and nails that were meant to explode when the mine was
14 activated. So my troops would have suffered a lot if I had not dealt with
15 these strongholds before they activated the mines. You could see that it
16 was a very well-organised defence. It must have been a former member of
17 our unit, or trained somewhere, because all the trenches and all the
18 shelters were built according to all regulations.
19 JUDGE KWON: I have to tell you that you start to answer while we
20 are hearing the question of Mr. Milosevic. Please bear in mind that you
21 have to put a pause.
22 Is the Retimlje, or Donje Retimlje, in the municipality of
23 Orahovac or in Prizren?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think Donje Retimlje is in
25 Orahovac municipality. I didn't pay attention whether it was Prizren or
1 Orahovac as municipality. I had my mission and I was focussing on it. I
2 wasn't interested in which municipality it was.
3 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
4 Proceed, Mr. Milosevic.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. You say in your statement here that on the tower of the mosque,
7 empty casings and some ammunition was found, what they didn't manage to
8 carry with them. And you say: "I did not find any people in the
10 A. There were no residents whatsoever. We found a lot of uniforms
11 scattered around, some of them with bloodstains. But what is strange is
12 that in all these actions, we didn't find a single dead body or a wounded
13 person, so they must have pulled out all their troops and moved them to a
14 safer place. The wounded had changed into civilian clothes and
15 transferred to the nearest populated area. The locals themselves told me
16 that there were some wounded among them.
17 Q. Did it look like a village was empty of civilian population even
18 before you moved in, because it was so completely fortified?
19 A. Quite right. We didn't see any traces of civilians.
20 Q. Did you see any civilians when you started action?
21 A. There is a forest nearby and a road, but we would have noticed
22 civilians, had they been there, anyway.
23 Q. As you were moving towards the village, you would have noticed
24 them. But when you entered, there was not a single local resident there?
25 A. Not a single one.
1 Q. How many houses were fortified in that way? You described
2 trenches around the village, you described fortifications for machine-gun
3 emplacements, mined roads with anti-personnel and directional mines.
4 A. All the roads [as interpreted], to the left and right of the road,
5 it could have been a total of ten houses, maybe more, were prepared for
6 immediate defence, and in front of them were trenches, and in case the
7 trenches fell, they would have withdrawn into those fortified houses and
8 opened fire at us.
9 Q. Was it only that side of the village, from the direction you were
10 moving in, was it the only side that was fortified or were there any other
12 A. On the other side there were fortifications as well. That was
13 their backup position.
14 Q. So you were moving in from the side from which they were expecting
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What was on the opposite side?
18 A. Fortified shelters and backup defence positions.
19 Q. Let me just see --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, it's time for the adjournment.
21 We'll break for 20 minutes.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please continue, Mr. Milosevic.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Lieutenant Colonel Sel, you were explaining a moment ago and
2 describing what you saw and what the action looked like in Retimlje and
3 around Retimlje. I will read to you from paragraph 63(b), just the part
4 that relates to the villages of Retimlje and Donje Retimlje, where it says
5 that the forces of the FRY and Serbia -- the paragraph itself begins, "On
6 25th of March," and so on. The forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded
7 Pirane village with tanks and various other vehicles. But let us now
8 concentrate on Retimlje.
9 Forces of the FRY and Serbia then launched an offensive in the
10 area of Srbica and shelled the villages of Donje Retimlje, Retimlje, and
11 Randubrava. Kosovo Albanian villagers were forced from their homes and
12 sent to the Albanian border. That is the reference to Retimlje.
13 You described a moment ago how this activity around Retimlje
14 unfolded. Did you or did you not expel any Kosovo Albanian village --
15 A. I'm saying again, we couldn't expel anybody because there was not
16 a single resident in those populated areas. I came across the first
17 residents on the 27th, in the afternoon, in Mamusa village. These
18 villages here were completely empty.
19 Q. Rather strong terrorist forces were inside them?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Under number 16, we have another statement of yours given on the
22 same date, relating to the 26th. That's D300, tab 399, also marked for
24 JUDGE KWON: I think that's the one we saw just before.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. It's the one we've gone
1 through. I will be asking you to admit these statements once we have gone
2 through all of Lieutenant Colonel Sel's statements. In his set of
3 documents, under number 18, there is another one. That is D300, tab 411,
4 also marked for identification. This one relates to the 27th. There is
5 also a map concerning the 27th. It is among the maps that were in front
6 of you. The map relating to the 27th was admitted as D300, tab 403.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Can you explain what we see on this map?
9 A. Mr. Milosevic, this is the initial deployment of our forces on the
10 27th of March, in the early morning hours, that is, at 6.00 a.m., in order
11 to continue the anti-terrorist action towards Neprebiste and Samodreza.
12 My unit specifically had the task to continue action towards Neprebiste
13 and to crush terrorist forces in that area. Further on on this map, we
14 see the deployment of our forces at 1800 hours on the 27th, when I stopped
15 with my unit just before Mamusa.
16 Q. In your statement, under number 18, that I referred to a moment
17 ago - it's D300, tab 411, it's a very short statement - you say: "Due to
18 rough terrain and the air protection measures against air strikes, we
19 proceeded very slowly. We found discarded pieces of uniform. As always,
20 the terrorists had probably changed into civilian clothes and mixed with
21 the population of Mamusa. In the afternoon I reached Mamusa village and
22 was ordered to stop there."
23 A. Yes
24 Q. "I reconnoitred the village and established that it was full of
25 civilians. I received orders to abort the operation, assemble my unit,
1 and proceed towards Bistrazin through Mamusa."
2 So Mamusa was full of civilians and you just passed through the
4 A. Yes. I was supposed to pass through the village, nothing else,
5 but during the assembly of troops, a tank overturned just outside Mamusa.
6 That's when I stopped my unit and spent the night there, outside the
7 village, and sent men to get help from the village.
8 Q. What do we see on this map relating to the 28th of March, also
9 concerning Retimlje? It's D300, tab 415, admitted on the 5th of July.
10 Explain that to us just briefly, please.
11 A. On this map of the 28th of March, 1999, upon completion of our
12 task, our units pulled out to the regions designated and continued to do
13 their work. So specifically speaking, at around 1400 hours, I was pulling
14 out the tank from the stream, continued towards Pirane and Bistrazin, left
15 Mamusa, where the -- Bistrazin, where the command unit was located. So
16 this shows that in detail. Upon completion of the task, we left the
17 region and departed to take up our duties according to the first
18 deployment plan.
19 Q. All right. That's what the map relating to the 28th shows. And
20 with respect to the 28th, you also made a statement which is in our files.
21 The document is marked 20, number 20. It is D30 [as interpreted] of tab
22 419, in actual fact, also marked for identification. And you say that:
23 "On the 28th of March, 1999, the fourth day of the operation, when the
24 tank was pulled out of the ravine and filled with fuel, my unit marched
25 along the Mamusa village, Pirane-Zrze-Bistrazin route. The village of
1 Bistrazin was inhabited. There were no problems or clashes -- no problems
2 or conflicts occurred between us."
3 Are those all the statements that you provided?
4 A. Yes, at the request of the expert team, or rather, the superior
6 Q. All right. Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now, Mr. Robinson, as these
8 statements were marked for identification, we've gone through them now
9 with the witness. As I say, they were marked for identification during
10 General Delic's testimony, and I'd like to tender them into evidence now,
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. They're admitted.
13 JUDGE KWON: I'd like to note that, Mr. Milosevic, you omitted
14 dealing with number 7. Of course, it is for you to do so.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let me just take a look, please.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Take a look, please, at your binder. You'll find number 7 there,
18 document number 7. It's your own statement, which also relates to the
19 effects of the unit on the 25th of March, 1999. It relates to Bela Crkva.
20 We passed -- we dealt with Bela Crkva rapidly, so I omitted to look into
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Kwon.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. But this is your statement as well. Do you recognise the
25 statement as being yours?
1 A. Yes. It is my statement, given for the period of the 25th of
2 March, when I received my assignment and went out to carry it out.
3 Q. You say because of problems with a vehicle - that's what you refer
4 to, I suppose that's what slowed you down - in the area of Bela Crkva, "I
5 arrived about 5.30 and passed by. I didn't notice any civilian population
6 or traces of combat." Then you say: "During the day, I searched the
7 terrain on the Brod-Brestovac axis and did not return to the village of
8 Bela Crkva."
9 You have testified about that, so I won't ask you any more about
10 the subject.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, once again I'd like to
12 tender this into evidence, this statement by Lieutenant Colonel Sel.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, it's admitted.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. I'm going to ask you a few questions now about the Djakovica area.
16 But let me first of all ask you this: The region of Djakovica, was it
17 important to the terrorist forces, significant for them?
18 A. The Djakovica region, while I was there, was extremely important
19 to the terrorists because it was the main communication line and along the
20 road which enabled the unhindered passage and control of the territory on
21 their part, from their side. And anybody in control of that road and the
22 communication lines was able to control the entire territory.
23 Q. How far were you aware of the situation in Djakovica during the
24 war and the surrounding parts?
25 A. Well, in the town of Djakovica itself, there were not that many
1 terrorist forces. However, in the surrounding places, such as Smonica,
2 Ponosevac, Nec, Kislavane [phoen], Sisman Baks, Popovac, those were their
3 strongholds. Smonica was one of their strongest strongholds, in actual
4 fact, at least in the area of responsibility covered by our unit.
5 Q. In paragraph 63(h), it says here that up until March, by March
6 1999, by March, the population of the town of Djakovica had increased
7 significantly due to the large number of internally displaced persons who
8 fled their villages to escape deliberate shelling by forces of the FRY and
9 Serbia during 1998 and to escape the armed conflict between these forces
10 and members of the KLA.
11 Were you personally present in Djakovica? Were you there yourself
12 during that period of time?
13 A. Yes, I was, Mr. Milosevic. I was in Djakovica with my unit at the
14 time, or rather, we were outside Djakovica proper. However, what is
15 stated, alleged there, it is true that the population was leaving those
16 places, but there was none of this shelling, and I don't understand the
17 term "shelling." I don't know what it means. They weren't fleeing from
18 pressure from us, but from pressure on the terrorists that would use them
19 to build fortification lines and do strenuous physical labour and ask them
20 to give money contributions and contributions in food. So the
21 inhabitants, due to all these pressures and threats from the terrorists,
22 pulled out of these places, not wishing to work for them. And anybody who
23 was able to reach Djakovica went, because in Smonica we didn't come across
24 a single inhabitant. At Ramoc we did find the inhabitants and the
25 inhabitants told me about this themselves. As I was in the village of
1 Ramoc for a time, the inhabitants themselves, in talking to me, told me
2 that the terrorists constantly issued threats and made them do strenuous
3 physical work, sent them to Albania to fetch weapons, and if they didn't
4 wish to go, they would take their sons and force them bring in weapons for
5 them. Or rather, they would pay a certain amount of money -- they had to
6 pay a certain amount of money if they didn't want to agree to the
8 Q. So those people who didn't want to have work of that kind to do
9 had to pay, and you're thinking about the inhabitants, are you?
10 A. Yes, the inhabitants of those surrounding parts.
11 Q. In that same paragraph, 63(h), it says that the continual movement
12 of these internally displaced persons increased after the 24th of March,
13 1999, when, following violent expulsions in the town of Djakovica, many
14 internally displaced persons returned from the town of Djakovica to the
15 outlying villages only to be expelled from these villages again by forces
16 of the FRY and Serbia. Do you know of any forceful expulsions?
17 A. No, I don't, because I passed through the town sometime around
18 2.00, with all my equipment, when I went to take up my assignment. I
19 didn't notice any movement on the part of the population, nor did I notice
20 anybody being expulsed, as it is alleged there.
21 Q. Then they fled to the village and it says that our forces once
22 again expelled them from those villages. Do you know anything about that?
23 A. Mr. Milosevic, it's quite natural that people will leave there
24 places to take safety because the NATO air strikes started at that time in
25 the town of Djakovica. And on the evening -- in the evening, at 8.00,
1 there were NATO air strikes against our barracks in Djakovica.
2 Q. Yes. That is a well-known fact. I won't dwell on that. Several
3 witnesses have already told us about that.
4 But let me just ask you this: In paragraph 63 again, (ii), it
5 says in the early hours of the 27th of April, 1999, the forces of FRY and
6 Serbia launched a large-scale offensive in the valley of Carragojs,
7 Erenik, Trava in the Djakovica municipality, aimed at expelling the
8 population from that area. Do you know anything about that? Were you in
9 the region? Do you know what was happening on the 27th of April, 1999, in
10 the valleys of Carragojs, Erenik and Trava?
11 A. Mr. Milosevic, my units were securing the frontier at Maja
12 Kraljica, Cafe Rance, in depth to Guska. So in the early hours of the
13 morning of the 27th of April, a group of terrorists, eight to ten of them,
14 tried to break through across the area of -- the line of defence of my
15 unit towards the state border and to flee to Albania. On that occasion,
16 two members of my own unit were wounded. The group was routed and it
17 returned to the region it had come from. And as to any action in the
18 area, I know nothing of that because my unit did not take part in any
19 combat action.
20 Q. Yes, that's quite clear. So when that action started, the group
21 tried to break through your area of defence and had to go back; is that
23 A. Yes. The group was broken up and it had to go back.
24 Q. Do you know anything about this concentration of terrorist forces
25 in the Carragojs, Erenik and Trava valleys?
1 A. I know nothing about that. I didn't go to the area.
2 Q. All right. Thank you. In paragraph 105 of the indictment, it
3 says that in addition to the forceful expulsion -- in addition to the
4 forced expulsion of Kosovo Albanians, forces of the FRY and Serbia also
5 engaged in a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians since the 24th of
6 March, 1999, at numerous locations, including Bela Crkva, Mala Krusa,
7 Djakovica. Here, Velika Krusa, Djakovica -- I don't want to read all the
8 names listed here. I'm just going to read out the names where you
9 yourself were, that is to say, Bela Crkva, Mala Krusa, Velika Krusa, and
11 Now, please, was our army taking part in, as it says here, a
12 number of killings of Kosovo Albanians at that time?
13 A. I am not aware of any of that, Mr. Milosevic. First of all, my
14 unit never received such an assignment and I would never carry out an
15 assignment of that kind, because it goes against the grain of all
16 regulations and rules.
17 Q. All right. Fine. Now, let me ask you a question from another
18 angle. Did the army use force or threats in any way to force Kosovo
19 Albanians to move out?
20 A. No.
21 Q. In view of your own position in the army, did you ever hear of any
22 such intention or plan, or any activity which could be linked up with any
23 forcible expulsion of Kosovo Albanians?
24 A. I never heard about that, nor did I ever see anything like that.
25 Q. You mentioned, on several occasions during your testimony, the
1 MUP. Now, what was the relationship between you and the police, on the
2 ground, in the area you were in, in the area you engaged in your
4 A. Mr. Milosevic, with the MUP, or with the units I cooperated with,
5 we had very good cooperation. We had -- engaged in joint anti-terrorist
6 operations and exchanged information and intelligence about the situation
7 on the ground in that area. I had no command responsibility vis-a-vis
8 them, but we worked on the same assignments.
9 Q. What about your superiors? Did they, like you, receive daily
10 information coming in from the field about what was going on?
11 A. It was my duty as commander, Mr. Milosevic, company commander, or
12 rather, commander of that unit, was that I should, at all times, report
13 back to the unit commander about the situation in the unit and on the
14 ground, in the aim of providing a proper picture of what was going on so
15 that steps and measures could be taken towards the realisation of future
16 tasks and assignments. We used couriers, we used communication lines or
17 personal contacts with my superiors, and they would be informed of what
18 was going on in my area of responsibility on a daily basis.
19 Q. So there were no exceptions. You didn't give timely,
20 comprehensive information on a daily basis about the situation in your
21 area [as interpreted]?
22 A. No, there were no exceptions to that. That was an ongoing task
23 and assignment of mine.
24 Q. Among the charges in the indictment, there is frequent mention --
25 for example, in paragraph 53, but that's not the only paragraph, so I'm
1 not going to quote all the paragraphs. But anyway, there's constant
2 mention of deliberate and widespread -- so deliberate and widespread
3 campaign of terror and violence directed at Kosovo Albanian civilians
4 living in Kosovo in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was imposed
5 through the forces of the FRY and Serbia, who took on operations aimed
6 against the Kosovo Albanian population, with the aim of expelling a large
7 portion of the population from Kosovo and to ensure Serb control over the
9 Now, were you aware of or knew about any kind of activity, let
10 alone operation, because the word here used, I believe, was "operations,"
11 any activities directed against Kosovo Albanians or Albanians in Kosovo
12 and Metohija except the operation against terrorists? So I'm asking you
13 now about the general Albanian Kosovo population.
14 A. Mr. Milosevic, I had no knowledge, nor was I aware of any
15 activities or intention on the basis of units to carry out such
16 assignments. Everything that we did was geared towards an anti-terrorist
17 struggle and safeguarding the border from a land aggression.
18 Q. In paragraph 55, it also says that the forces of the FRY and
19 Serbia, in a deliberate and widespread or systematic manner, forcibly
20 expelled and internally displaced hundreds of thousands of Kosovo
21 Albanians from their homes across the entire province of Kosovo, and that
22 they created an atmosphere of fear and oppression through the use of
23 force, threats of force, and acts of violence.
24 Now, your unit was there, your unit was carrying out assignments
25 in the area. Did your unit, at any point in time during the war, or
1 before the war, for that matter, create an atmosphere of fear, instilled
2 fear in the population, even if you didn't shoot? Did you try to
3 intimidate the population to instil fear in them to force them to move
4 out, et cetera?
5 A. No, Mr. Milosevic. There was nothing of that kind. We even
6 provided security in those areas, such as Ramoc and the places around
7 Smonica from onslaughts by the terrorists and mistreatment of the
8 population by the terrorists. So we did not engage in any of the
9 activities alleged here.
10 Q. In paragraph 56, it says throughout Kosovo, forces of the FRY and
11 Serbia engaged in destruction of property owned by Kosovo Albanian
12 civilians. This was accomplished by the widespread shelling of towns and
13 villages, the burning and destruction of property, including homes, farms,
14 businesses, cultural monuments, et cetera, et cetera. You, as an officer
15 of the army of Yugoslavia in your particular unit, did you at any point in
16 time shell towns and villages, burn and destroy property belonging to the
17 Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija?
18 A. Mr. Milosevic, action in towns was action by NATO aeroplanes. We
19 did not engage in any action except anti-terrorist combat and firing at
20 their own firing points. So even when we engaged in anti-terrorist
21 combat, we strictly targeted the terrorist strongholds and firing points.
22 And as to the shelling and everything else, that was done by NATO.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: I've had occasion previously to tell you that
24 this kind of evidence is practically meaningless. You have led useful
25 evidence from this witness in relation to matters in which he was
1 involved. Getting his general view on paragraph 46 [sic], which concerns
2 matters in which he wasn't involved, is not helpful in any way to your
3 case. And if the rest of your examination-in-chief relates to this kind
4 of evidence, then I would strongly advise that you stop and let Mr. Nice
5 begin his cross-examination.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'll stop very soon. But the
7 indictment presents things in general terms, that the forces of the army
8 did all these things that I quoted, so it is useful, when we have a
9 witness who is a member of these forces and who commanded a unit, to find
10 out whether he was engaged in any such thing. He is certainly not an
11 exception. I cannot bring everybody in, all the commanders and all the
12 squad leaders from Kosovo to testify here.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Colonel, you were at the border?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. How much time did you spend at the border during the course of the
18 A. According to the plan, after anti-terrorist fighting, we took up
19 the state border, and from the 5th of April, 1999, until the units
20 withdrew from Kosovo and Metohija, we were there.
21 Q. All right. Now let me not refer to all these paragraphs again
22 that have to do with expulsions of Albanians. But at this border that you
23 were at, did you manage to find out whether any forces of the Yugoslav
24 army escorted Albanians to the border, thus trying to exercise control
25 over their movement and so on and so forth? You were there. You were the
1 one who was at the border. You're watching civilians who are fleeing.
2 Was the army escorting them, keeping them under their control? Did they
3 insist that they should cross the border or was there any such thing
4 taking place?
5 A. In the area where my unit was, there were no columns, there were
6 no forcible expulsions of civilians. This is a hilly, mountainous area.
7 There are no paths there. And I did not see any such thing, either on the
8 left or on the right, where my neighbours were.
9 Q. Did you ever hear of the destruction of documents of Albanians?
10 A. No.
11 Q. As an officer, did you ever receive any orders to deport Albanians
12 from Kosovo and Metohija?
13 A. No, I never received such orders.
14 Q. Have you ever heard of any kind of plan of ethnic cleansing?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did you have information all the time about what was going on on
17 the terrain where you were?
18 A. I had information all the time, from my superior command and also
19 by way of personal contact with my left- and right-hand neighbours,
20 because every day we talked about the situation on the ground.
21 Q. Thank you, Colonel Sel.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I have no further
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
1 Q. Colonel Sel, what, if any, documents have you brought with you
2 that were prepared at the time of these events?
3 A. Mr. Nice, I, as company commander, do not have any written
4 documents. All reports, all documents that I had, I sent to my superior
5 command and they kept the war diary, and I did not do that kind of thing
6 in my unit. So all this information was transmitted orally to the
7 superior command.
8 Q. Are you saying that you kept, as a company commander, no written
9 record of anything that you did?
10 A. I made written notes. I wrote notes and I sent them to the
11 superior command. These are the regular daily reports while we were in
12 that area. However, when combat activity was taking place, then we
13 reported orally. And then, when, in accordance with the plan, we took our
14 positions at the state border, then written reports were sent in.
15 Q. And the written reports, the daily combat reports, they should all
16 still exist?
17 A. No. My reports do not exist. All these reports from subordinate
18 units are entered into the daily operative report of the battalion
19 command, because it brings all of that together, introduces some elements
20 in the war diary, or rather, sends it to the superior command in its own
22 Q. And what, they then destroy your documents, do they?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So the best contemporaneous record and the only existing
25 contemporaneous record in written form of what you did is to be found
1 where? Whose diary, and where?
2 A. All these reports, Mr. Nice, characteristic reports pertaining to
3 the area of responsibility of my unit, can be found in the war diary of
4 the command of the battalion of my unit, of Colonel Vlatko Vukovic, and in
5 the daily reports sent to his superior command.
6 Q. Vukovic's materials include an ingoing and -- incoming and
7 outgoing log of reports, including company reports. Did you, so far as
8 you can recall, contribute to that body of written material?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You made some statements - we've seen them, five in number - to
11 the expert committee of the VJ Commission on Cooperation. When you made
12 those statements, did you refer to any contemporaneous material?
13 A. Mr. Nice, I did not refer to any such thing. These statements
14 were written on the basis of my memory, on the basis of what I
15 experienced. I did not have any contact with the war diary or the reports
16 that were sent to the superior command.
17 Q. So everything in each of those five statements just comes from
18 memory, does it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Not from a piece of paper and not from any other individual; is
21 that right?
22 A. Yes. I didn't talk to anybody when I wrote those statements.
23 Because everybody wrote their statements on their own, so I do not know
24 what others wrote.
25 Q. Why were they written in five different statements as opposed to
1 one single one? What was the subject for each statement? Can you
3 A. I think that they sought the daily engagement of the units in
4 order to see what the daily activities in the area were, and that is why
5 individual statements were written for each and every day.
6 Q. If that was the instruction, who gave you the instruction as to
7 how to prepare these statements?
8 A. No one gave me instructions as to how I should write those
9 statements. I wrote the statements on the basis of my memory, for each
10 and every day, from the 25th through the 28th of March, to write about
11 what my unit did in terms of anti-terrorist combat during those days.
12 Q. Who told you to prepare a statement for the 25th, prepare a
13 statement for the 26th? Who told you that?
14 A. On the basis of the order of the superior command. I received
15 orders from the superior command at the request of the expert team; my
16 superior commander.
17 Q. Who?
18 A. My superior commander was Colonel Delic. However, at that time,
19 Colonel Delic, or rather, General Delic, was reassigned to the General
20 Staff. So I didn't have contact with him but, rather, with my superior
21 officer who came in then, Colonel Djurovic. Or, rather, at that time he
22 was not commander. It was Colonel Nikolic.
23 Q. These maps we've been looking at --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the answer to the question? The question
25 was: Who asked you to prepare the reports?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My superior command did, at the
2 request of the expert team. So a request arrived at my superior command
3 that officers who took part in combat activities in that area should write
4 reports, or rather, statements.
5 MR. NICE: In our own way, we've been trying to find, His Honour
6 and I, the name of the commander. Any reason why you shouldn't give it to
7 us? From Delic and via who?
8 A. No, Mr. Nice, it didn't come from General Delic. My superior
9 commander asked me -- told me that, at the request of the expert team, all
10 officers who took part in combat activities in the area should make
11 statements for each and every individual day and for the activities that
12 they were involved in on each one of these days.
13 Q. I've taken a long time to find out that I can't get the name of
14 the officer, but I'll just move on, I think, and spend my limited time in
15 some other way.
16 You made an observation about there being no mosque in Celine.
17 A. Yes, Mr. Nice.
18 Q. You're saying there was simply no mosque and never was a mosque in
19 Celine; is that it?
20 A. No, there wasn't.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... pictures, please. They come
22 from Exhibit 88, tab -- it's not a tab, it's just part of Exhibit 88.
23 Thank you. This is an expert who's given evidence, and he shows a picture
24 here --
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I'm not sure whether the witness
1 understood exactly what you were asking about the -- you were trying to
2 find out who his superior commander was.
3 MR. NICE: I was asking for his name, yes.
4 JUDGE KWON: I think he mentioned one name.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the name of your superior commander?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, sir, Mr. Robinson, my
7 commander was Stojan Konjikovac, Colonel Stojan Konjikovac. That's what I
8 said a few minutes ago. At the time when I wrote the report at the
9 request of the expert team and on orders from my superior command, it was
10 Stojan Konjikovac. It's not that I was trying to hide it or any such
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: I thought so, yes. Please go.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. The photograph here, according to the witness who has given
15 evidence before this Court, is a photograph of the damaged mosque, burnt
16 down and in ruins, bulldozed by the Serbs, according to the Islamic
17 community. And the next photograph shows it enlarged. Sorry, this is the
18 larger photograph, and it shows the round formation of a minaret.
19 Do you say there was simply no mosque in Celine, looking at this
21 A. Mr. Nice, I trust my eyes more, because I walked throughout the
22 area. I was there on foot. I therefore know more than others do. I did
23 not have a bulldozer to destroy a mosque that never existed.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, Mr. Nice says that
25 some minaret can be seen here. Where is this minaret? I cannot see it,
1 or perhaps I have something different on my monitor. Perhaps it's not the
2 photograph that Mr. Nice is showing. I guess he's not referring to this
3 chimney or whatever.
4 MR. NICE: I'm referring to the circular formation of brickwork
5 that we can see in the centre of the photograph, and perhaps other
6 material to the right.
7 Q. Now --
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Did you make reference to a minaret?
9 MR. NICE: I did. I said it's a photograph and I actually made
10 reference to the circular or semicircular formation of the material
11 there. The round formation of a minaret. Yes, it's the round formation
12 of the brickwork that we can see in the centre of the picture.
13 JUDGE KWON: Yes. What's the page number of this exhibit?
14 MR. NICE: This exhibit is --
15 JUDGE KWON: Page number.
16 MR. NICE: It's K0209346, and the enlargement is KO218743.
17 Q. Any explanation, for example, for this photograph at all, since it
18 is said to come from Celine, the photograph taken in 1999?
19 A. Mr. Nice, even if I had a tank or an anti-aircraft gun, I couldn't
20 have done something like this. That is one point. My other point is that
21 this looks like anything but a mosque, and it looks like the effects of an
22 air attack.
23 Q. So the information coming to the expert was that the site had been
24 subsequently -- the mosque having been burnt down, it was subsequently
25 bulldozed by Serbs. Can you help us at all with that?
1 A. Mr. Nice, I repeat once again: There were no bulldozers in that
2 area. Others were using bulldozers to destroy Orthodox churches. I have
3 no need to destroy places of worship. Places of worship were destroyed
4 only if they did not respect a place of worship and started firing from it
5 at us. And it is only then that we responded with fire. I had no
6 intention to destroy mosques or anything down there. I repeat once again:
7 There was no mosque in Celine. Had there been any such thing, it would
8 have been on the topographic map. And, as Mr. Milosevic said a few
9 moments ago, they -- he said that the reference was that it was an old
10 mosque, and our maps date back to 1985 and that period, so it would have
11 to be in those maps. And a hamlet of 20 houses building a mosque of its
12 own, I really doubt it.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Why do you say that this looks more like the
14 result of an air attack? It would help me if you could explain that.
15 What is it about the destruction that makes it resemble more like the
16 result of an air attack?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, on the basis of
18 everything I saw down there - the effects of our weapons, the effects of
19 NATO air force - our weapons opened direct fire and they could not destroy
20 such a strongly fortified building. If there had been a mosque, it was
21 built of sturdier material, not of straw, not of wood. And it is well
22 known what the effects of direct shooting are and what the effects of NATO
23 air force strikes are. This photograph looks more like --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: You see, there is an issue between the parties on
25 this matter. The Prosecution is saying that this was a result of
1 shelling, and you are saying it looks more like the result of an air
2 attack. Bulldozed. But I'm interested in finding out why you say this
3 looks more like the result of an air attack, as distinct from being
4 bulldozed, which is the Prosecution case.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, first and foremost,
6 I'm not sure this is a picture of Celine. I'm not familiar with this
7 picture or anything. Whoever wants to can say that this is Celine, but I
8 know that there was no mosque in Celine. And the only firing that took
9 place in Celine was at firing points. So had there been a mosque there,
10 nobody would have fired at it, nobody would have destroyed it.
11 Secondly, even if you have a bulldozer, you have to use it to
12 destroy a building. And what does this look like? It doesn't look like
13 the effect of an artillery weapon or any such thing. It's a different
14 kind of destruction. This is more like the effects of a bomb of larger
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. It's true, isn't it, that you used your tanks in the course of
18 this operation, didn't you?
19 A. Mr. Nice, an attack has to be distinguished between -- actually,
20 you have to know what an attack is and what other things are. We did not
21 attack inhabited areas. We attacked buildings where people fired at us
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... tanks were used.
24 A. Mr. Nice, I first used tanks in Donje Retimlje, when they used
25 anti-armour weapons against me. On the 25th of March, 1999, I was the
1 only one who had three tanks. So on that day, tanks were not being used
2 at all.
3 Q. Is there any written record made of such a serious operation as
4 the use of a tank and the firing of shells from tanks?
5 A. Mr. Nice, as for daily reports and oral communications with our
6 commander, we always had to say how much ammunition we had spent on that
7 day in order to possibly get new supplies. So it would not be proper for
8 me -- it would not pay off to use a tank. It is very hard to get new
9 ammunition when there are constant NATO air strikes and that has to be
10 taken account of. So we used tank guns only at a minimum, when we really
11 had to. And we only used them against firing points that we could not use
12 other weapons to fire at with.
13 Q. Artillery was also used in this overall operation, wasn't it?
14 A. No, Mr. Nice. Our unit had no artillery. It had a mortar group
15 for fire support, and this mortar group was behind me. It was 300 or 400
16 metres behind my unit, and it did not engage in any kind of activity at
17 all during the course of all of these days.
18 Q. Of the 21 tanks that Delic recorded being used, how many were in
19 your particular company?
20 A. Three tanks were in my company, so that is to say one tank
22 Q. I may come back to these details if time allows. I want to deal
23 with something else first.
24 When did you join the army?
25 MS. HIGGINS: Your Honour, I hesitate to interrupt the testimony.
1 Just before we move on from Celine, can I just try and assist the Court,
2 bring to the Court's attention, that the testimony of Mr. Riedlmayer, he
3 in fact did not visit this site, and where the bulldozing reference comes
4 from in his report, it comes from an unnamed source and in fact the
5 reliance is on secondary information which Mr. Riedlmayer, when he
6 testified on the 9th of the 4th,'02, conceded himself, and he in fact
7 described what can be seen in the picture as "either a fragment of an arch
8 or maybe the minaret's broken. It's hard to tell."
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. That's what I was trying to find out,
10 whether there is anything in the size and shape of the remnants, the
11 particles, which would lead to the conclusion that this was the result of
12 an air attack as distinct from being bulldozed or from artillery shelling.
13 MR. NICE: Hard to do on one photograph, and of course this is
14 information coming from sources at the time and at the scene.
15 Q. Mr. Sel, I want to turn now to your record generally. When did
16 you join the army?
17 A. I joined the army after I completed the military academy; on the
18 30th of July, 1983.
19 Q. Did you serve in Croatia in the course of the conflict there at
21 A. My place of service was always in the Republic of Serbia.
22 However, on one occasion, following the orders of the Ministry of National
23 Defence, I was transferred to Brekovac-Zadar to carry out a mission. That
24 was in October --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the year.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And I was mostly engaged in the --
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please repeat the year. We didn't hear that.
3 You said that was in October.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] October 1991. I went up there at
5 the request of the superior command.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. How long were you there?
8 A. From October to mid-March 1992. And my primary task was to secure
9 the civilian airport, together with my unit, which was not otherwise
10 engaged in any fighting.
11 Q. Were you thereafter deployed in Bosnia?
12 A. Upon our return, when that group of soldiers was disbanded, I
13 returned to my original unit in the Pirot garrison, and from there I took
14 another unit, sometime in the beginning of March, or maybe mid-March,
15 1992. I went -- or rather, was transferred to the area of Tuzla, where we
16 stayed until the 15th of May of the same year. And that unit of mine was
17 engaged to secure transport convoys that carried supplies to units which
18 were in positions on various axes. And again, we did not engage in
20 Q. You were paid throughout by the Serbian army; correct?
21 A. I was paid by the Yugoslav army.
22 Q. Now, when did you first find yourself serving in the area that we
23 are concerned with? You may have given the evidence, but it didn't appear
24 on the transcript and it came out too fast. At least, I think so.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The witness said he was paid by the
3 Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA. Because in March 1992, the Yugoslav
4 army, or rather, the army of Yugoslavia, still did not exist. It was
5 still the JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army, and he was an officer of the
6 Yugoslav People's Army. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was proclaimed
7 in end April 1992 and the army of Yugoslavia, under the constitution that
8 was --
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Are you saying the witness had already given this
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The witness said "Yugoslav People's
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm just correcting the transcript.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And the Yugoslav army is understood
17 to be the VJ, like the army of Yugoslavia, whereas the JNA is the armed
18 forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which, at the time
19 to which the witness is speaking --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thanks, Mr. Milosevic. Let's move on.
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. It's not quite clear from your evidence, Mr. Sel, when you first
23 came to work in this area, that is, the Djakovica area. You were in
24 Kosovo from 1997. When did you first find yourself in this immediate
25 area, or were you there at all times?
1 A. Mr. Nice, corresponding to the needs of the service and the orders
2 of the superior command, I was transferred from the Pirot garrison to
3 Djakovica in 1997, in December 1997. It was a regular transfer to cater
4 to the needs of the service.
5 Q. And you were the commander of the 2nd Motorised Company; is that
7 A. Yes. At that time, I was commander of the 2nd Motorised Company.
8 Q. Promoted to major when?
9 A. I was promoted to major by regular procedure. I think the order
10 was dated the 7th of May, 1998, and I was informed of it in October 1998.
11 Q. So within 1998 you were passing from being known as captain to
12 being known as major; yes?
13 A. Yes, because my establishment position was captain first class,
14 major, and after a certain number of years spent in that rank, the
15 following rank was my entitlement. So I was promoted by regular
17 Q. How many men were in your company, please?
18 A. My company numbered about 110 men, with the proviso that it was
19 located in different places. It was practically never in one and the same
21 Q. There was a rotation of troops into and out of a company like
22 yours; is that correct?
23 A. No, there was no rotation. Those soldiers were admitted for their
24 regular military service, and from training centres they were transferred
25 to our unit. So there was no rotation of soldiers from other units or
1 within our unit.
2 Q. Were soldiers in your unit introduced into the unit on the basis
3 that they might be leaving after a year, then being retained, particularly
4 because of the developing problems with the expected or possible NATO
6 A. Mr. Nice, those were soldiers who were serving their regular
7 military service, and at that time it was 12 months. So on the basis of
8 the situation in the country, which was immediate threat of war, their
9 regular military service was extended by three months. And the same was
10 done with the reserve force.
11 Q. They could have been expecting to leave, say, in March of 1999,
12 but they may be required to stay on a little longer; yes?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Included in the -- you might not remember all of a hundred names,
15 of course. It might be difficult to do that. But we can probably
16 identify some of the people who were in your company. One of them is
17 Lieutenant Rade Radojevic, isn't he?
18 A. Mr. Nice, Rade Radojevic, Lieutenant, used to be a former
19 commander of mine. In February I handed over my unit to another
20 commander, whereas I received a motorised company. So he was a platoon
21 commander. In February 1999, I took over another unit. Until that time,
22 he was my commander.
23 Q. Milan Markovic was a squad commander; is that right? Do you
24 remember him?
25 A. No. That name is not familiar to me.
1 Q. He had no rank, but he was nevertheless at the time in command of
2 a squad. Do you accept that that might be the position, that you have
3 someone with no rank but nevertheless in charge of a squad?
4 A. Mr. Nice, in our units that is not possible.
5 Q. Some other names that I can just jog your memory with. Do you
6 remember the name Branko Kozarski?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Slobodan Gavrilovie, Slobodan -- probably Gavrilovje, I should
10 A. In my unit, in the battalion where I worked, in the garrison in
11 Djakovica, there was no such man. Maybe he worked in the brigade command
12 in Prizren. But I had no contact with such a person.
13 Q. Nenad Milosavljevic?
14 A. No. I don't know that name.
15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... wasn't in your company and
16 that you can remember all the hundred or so names, or are you saying you
17 don't remember the name?
18 A. Mr. Nice, I never said I remembered all the names. That's
19 something you said. At the time, I knew everybody's name and I knew how
20 much everybody was worth.
21 Q. The uniforms that you were wearing, you've spoken of an M88. Was
22 there an M89?
23 A. That could be a mistake. Those were camouflage, green uniforms;
24 M89 or M93, they are the same.
25 Q. Did your unit have those uniforms?
1 A. Yes. Those were camouflage uniforms, of that type.
2 Q. Your unit used AP model 70 automatic rifles?
3 A. Yes. M70, 62 millimetres in calibre -- sorry; 7.62 millimetres.
4 Q. Shoulder patches with the two-headed eagle; is that correct?
5 A. No. We had patches only on our berets.
6 Q. Were gas masks occasionally provided and used?
7 A. As far as I know, Mr. Nice, we never used gas masks. Only when
8 there was a possibility of NATO air strike and when we suspected that they
9 were using chemical projectiles would we put on gas masks. Because those
10 were very peculiar explosions, producing a very peculiar particular cloud,
11 and when we passed through such an area that had suffered from the impact
12 of such an explosion, we would get orders to put on gas masks.
13 Q. Do you recall the assignment of any additional troops or
14 particular individuals in March of 1999 to your company?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, the witness said:
16 "And then I ordered my soldiers -- I would order my soldiers in such a
17 case to put on gas masks," whereas the transcript says "then we would get
18 orders to get masks."
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: If the witness spoke at a
20 normal rate of speech, this wouldn't happen. He's speaking on
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Did you hear that? The interpreter is saying
23 that you're still speaking too fast, and that is the explanation for some
24 of the misinterpretations.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice, as for your question, some
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 soldiers came to my unit from training centres. I wouldn't get any other
2 soldiers by transfer. They would come to me in batches as they arrived.
3 We had no other source of reinforcement. After call-up, in April, the
4 unit was reinforced to the level of wartime establishment.
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. Travel to Djakovica for newly engaged soldiers from Pristina would
7 be by bus, I think; yes?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Was there a particular officer, a captain, in your company charged
10 with security duties?
11 A. Depending on the direction in which the soldiers went, they were
12 accompanied by a physical security detail to prevent possible terrorist
13 attacks against the column. I don't know what other security you mean.
14 Q. Was there a particular officer, a captain, charged with security
15 duties, a man of quite strong personality - thinking back - in your
17 A. No. In my company, I did not have a security organ. It was the
18 battalion commander that had a security organ, and that duty was
19 discharged by Lieutenant Nesovic.
20 Q. I beg your pardon. Lieutenant --? So not a captain. Nesovic.
21 A. Yes. I think he was later promoted to captain.
22 Q. Is he a man of strong character, as you might recall?
23 A. I don't know in which sense you mean it; physical or mental.
24 Q. Mental.
25 A. He was responsible for security in our unit.
1 Q. He was responsible for security in your unit. Thank you. And
2 might he have been being called captain in the period 1998 or 1999?
3 A. Mr. Nice, I don't know. I think he was promoted by regular
4 procedure to the rank of captain. But since I had little contact with
5 him, because I didn't have that sort of problems in my unit, I don't know
6 exactly when he was promoted.
7 Q. Very well. Your barracks were where in Djakovica?
8 A. My barracks in Djakovica was close to the Renik River at the exit
9 from Djakovica town, facing Brekovac neighbourhood. Next to the barracks
10 there was a Catholic church, or rather, a convent, a Catholic school.
11 Q. Is there a barracks in Djakovica known, or known colloquially, as
12 the old barracks?
13 A. Yes. It is in the centre of the town. That's where this other
14 unit was located, Djosan's unit.
15 Q. Were the police located in the old barracks?
16 A. No. Police were not deployed in the old barracks. There was just
17 one unit from that composition. The police had their own building at the
18 exit from Djakovica town.
19 Q. There was one unit of the police in the old barracks; is that
21 A. One unit occasionally spent time in our barracks.
22 Q. In your barracks. Very well. But this is not to be -- this is
23 separate from the old barracks, is it?
24 A. No. There was no such thing in the old barracks.
25 Q. Was there also the use of something that might be described as a
1 field for location of some of your troops?
2 A. Mr. Nice, before all those events started there, according to the
3 regular plan of training of units, in April 1998 we went out to camp duty
4 in the area of Sulane, above Babaj Baks, and that's where our unit went on
5 encampment for regular training.
6 Q. Well, I'm grateful for that.
7 A. That was in April 1998.
8 Q. It was. And at a later stage in the period with which we are
9 concerned, 1998, your unit was deployed in the area of Radonjicko Jezero,
10 the lake to the north of Djakovica, wasn't it?
11 A. Yes. One of my platoons there was securing roads.
12 Q. If you just look at this map, which I have to tell you was
13 prepared on the basis not of any document provided by you as exhibits, we
14 have marked, and we've already acknowledged the accuracy of this in
15 general terms, places where your unit served. If we look at this map, we
16 can see, in the bottom left-hand corner, circled, the areas which I'm
17 going to suggest to you were areas where your units were camped and
18 engaged. Sulane is one place which has already been referred to by you,
19 as has Babaj Baks, Sisman Baks, and Sisman itself, and that was from April
20 1998; correct?
21 A. Mr. Nice, it's true that the camp premises was in Sulane. There
22 was no soldier in Babaj Baks. As for Suse Radni [phoen], those were
23 terrorist strongholds. I don't know who made those circles here. There
24 was not a single soldier of ours in either Sisman Radni [phoen] or Sisman
25 Baks. Those were terrorist strongholds.
1 Q. Let's look at the top part of the map, around the lake, Radonjicko
2 lake. And we can see to the left, to the west, Gornji and Donji Bites,
3 Rakoc, and then, is it just Don at the top, and then Raskoc or Rashkoc?
4 Yes? These are all places in which you and your unit was engaged later
6 A. No, Mr. Nice. The deployment of other units is something I have
7 no clue about. According to superior command orders, I provided only one
8 platoon for assistance up there. Radojevic was the commander of that
9 platoon to secure the dam. I don't know about the deployment of other
10 units. I don't know if any other units were present in that location.
11 Q. Were there any examples of any members of your company committing
12 offences that had to be dealt with as criminal offences?
13 A. Mr. Nice, there were no such incidents in my unit. I combated
14 that sort of thing and I did not allow my soldiers to engage in any such
15 thing. And if such a thing had happened, I immediately reported to the
16 superior command, which contacted, in their turn, the authorities and the
17 military police unit. If such a thing had happened, I would have done
18 that. It didn't.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, the transcript says "If such a
21 thing happened ..." or "If such a thing had happened ..." whereas the
22 witness says, "If anybody had attempted such a thing, I would have
23 immediately reported."
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] He didn't say it happened.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: If, yes; conditional.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not even an attempt.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. In all the time from April 1998 through to June 1999, the hundred
5 men under your command, or more, not one of them fell for reporting for a
6 criminal offence. Did any of them fall to be dealt with for a
7 disciplinary offence?
8 A. Mr. Nice, at that time, when I was in command of the unit, and in
9 February, when I took over another unit, there was not a single case of
10 either disciplinary proceedings against either a soldier or a commanding
11 officer, for any attempt of illegal action or lack of discipline or any
12 other sort of conduct that you are trying to allege.
13 Q. Or even desertion? Desertion?
14 A. What?
15 Q. Desertion. Was anybody pursued at all or recorded as meriting
16 pursuit on the ground of desertion?
17 A. No, not that I know of. There were cases in June when a group of
18 soldiers from the area of Sulane, a group of four soldiers, deserted the
19 unit, and after that they provided all sorts of statements about alleged
20 actions and that sort of thing. However, that unit was not engaged in any
21 actions or any combat activities.
22 Q. Let's break that down. Four soldiers. Can we have their names?
23 A. I cannot remember exactly. I know that they were from Montenegro,
24 of Muslim faith.
25 Q. And you say that they made all sorts of statements about alleged
1 actions and that sort of thing. First, when did they make these
2 statements; and second, to whom?
3 A. Mr. Nice, those soldiers came to my unit sometime in early June.
4 We were in a camp, and on day two they left the unit, left the camp, and
5 went nobody knew where. Later I found out the terrorists caught them and
6 they gave statements to terrorists, who organised their transfer to
7 Albania and later from Albania to Montenegro. So it is to them that they
8 gave these statements.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... only been with you briefly,
10 you obviously know the sort of statements and alleged actions and that
11 sort of thing that they were referring to, so perhaps you'd tell us what
12 they alleged.
13 A. Those allegations lead us to conclude that the soldiers had taken
14 part in some combat operations, combat operations which never took place.
15 So they were ready-made stories, ready-made statements.
16 Q. Be so good as to answer the questions and we'll move along that
17 much more quickly. "They provided all sorts of statements -" we've got
18 the routing of the statements - "about alleged actions and that sort of
19 thing." So what alleged action, what sort of thing were they making up in
20 their statements? Tell us.
21 A. Mr. Nice, they gave statements in the way that the terrorists had
22 prepared them. That's the kind of statements they gave. Because those
23 soldiers did not take part in any combat operations. They had only been
24 in the unit for two days and they were being regularly trained in camps.
25 Q. Please answer the question. You say the statements are made up.
1 We can deal with that more and later. But what did they allege as against
2 your group? Was it looting? Was it killing? Was it rape?
3 A. Mr. Nice, I'm not aware of any such statements. What I learnt
4 from the information media, according to them, allegedly they had said
5 they had taken part in some sort of combat operations, that they burnt
6 houses. However, that's just not true.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, we are about five minutes beyond the
8 time for the break, so we'll adjourn for 20 minutes.
9 --- Recess taken at 12.22 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. Have you remembered the name of any of the four deserters?
14 A. Mr. Nice, I can't remember. It was a long time ago. It was June
16 Q. What we can be sure of is that it can't be those deserters, making
17 the statements that they did, who provided the information on the map that
18 we've just looked at, the information that's broadly accurate, identifying
19 the two areas where you deployed, because those men were only present in
20 your unit for a couple of days; is that correct?
21 A. Mr. Nice, my unit, when it took in that generation of soldiers,
22 went to the Sulane camp area, so after the first day, those four soldiers
23 deserted. There were never any combat operations that that generation of
24 soldiers were engaged in, because they haven't even -- hadn't even
25 completed their training.
1 Q. Before the date you give for the desertion of those four soldiers,
2 in June of 1999, in May of 1999 there were two other men who deserted. Do
3 you remember the two Koljevic cousins? I think it's Koljevic, but it may
4 be Colovic.
5 A. No, Mr. Nice. I think you've mixed things up. You say 1999.
6 What I'm saying was in 1998.
7 Q. Well, I'm concerned with then two men who deserted much later. In
8 May of 1999, two men of Muslim ethnicity were still in your company, they
9 were cousins. Their names were Colovic, and they deserted. Do you
10 remember that?
11 A. Mr. Nice, I never had two such soldiers in my unit. The only four
12 soldiers in June 1998 who left the unit of their own accord and took off
13 in an unknown direction, but there were no other instances of that, apart
14 from those four soldiers, and this is the first time that I hear of these
15 two soldiers that you're mentioning.
16 Q. These two soldiers went to Macedonia and then to Bosnia, where
17 they were spoken to by investigators of this Tribunal. Their initial
18 explanations were recorded. They were invited to repeat them on tape, but
19 for fear of one kind or another, they declined to put them on tape. But
20 their original allegations exist, and I'm going to put those allegations
21 to you.
22 Think back. The man Ersad Colovic asserts that he explained to
23 investigators that he was due to be rotated out after his year of service
24 on the 18th of March of 1999, but that was cancelled, first of all for one
25 month and then totally. And you remember answering my questions about
1 people who might have been rotated out. Does my account -- or does the
2 account that Esad Colovic gave make sense?
3 A. Mr. Nice, that's not correct, and there's no sense to it. All
4 soldiers, pursuant to orders by the supreme command, had their military
5 service extended by three months, because when faced with the danger of
6 war and the start of the NATO aggression against our country, those
7 soldiers could not have been dismissed from the army because the units
8 would have been left empty. We wouldn't have had any soldiers to carry
9 out our operations with, and I hear about this soldier for the first time
10 now. So it's impossible that -- it is impossible that his military
11 service was extended for one month and then was rotated out. So despite
12 the fact that a three-month period was given, these soldiers went back to
13 the same unit, or rather, stayed in the same unit. And there was no
14 rotation at all.
15 MR. NICE: I'm happy to put these investigators' notes on the
16 overhead projector. Of course, I'm not expecting them to be admitted as
17 exhibits. If I put them on the overhead projector, then of course they
18 can be made available to the accused. Otherwise, I'll put them simply as
19 allegations, but it would probably be easier if we could put them on the
20 overhead projector so that we can see them, because of course they're
21 not --
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, let them be put --
23 MR. NICE: At page -- in which case we'll go through them
24 quickly. At page 5, please. These are not in English, Mr. Sel. If you
25 don't read English, I'm afraid you'll have to make do with the
2 The passage I've just read out is a little bit further down that
3 page, please, Mr. Prendergast. "Was due to be rotated out at the
4 conclusion of his year service."
5 We must go -- he deals with the 1st Motorised Platoon and
6 Radojevic on that page. Can we go to the next page, please. What's said
7 -- next page, please, Mr. Prendergast. Thank you. The bottom of the
8 page, Joint Operations.
9 Q. What is said against -- not against. What is said about conduct
10 of affairs generally, and this starts in 1998, is that there were joint
11 operations with the police. Is it right that there were, in 1998 and
12 1999, joint operations with the police?
13 A. Mr. Nice, we performed our assignments pursuant to orders from our
14 superior command. There were no joint operations. They did their job, we
15 did ours.
16 Q. Who did the clearing up of the battlefield, then?
17 A. I don't know in what sense, clearing up.
18 Q. We'll have to move forward a little bit, but I'll come back to
19 this document in a second. In the operation of the 24th to the 30th of
20 March, the VJ lost three soldiers, and how many KLA were killed?
21 A. Mr. Nice, as far as I know, my unit had just one casualty, one
22 soldier killed when the tank turned over just in front of the village of
23 Mamusa. I had no other casualties. I don't know what the situation was
24 like, of course, in other units. But what I said was that, as far as the
25 terrorists are concerned -- as far as the terrorists are concerned,
1 Mr. Nice, they had a very well elaborated system for pulling out their
2 dead and wounded, co-fighters, so that --
3 Q. You've explained this before and it has to be brief. You're
4 actually saying, are you, that in a time when the full force of the VJ
5 surrounds the KLA, they not only fire on the VJ from time to time, but
6 when they suffer casualties, they manage to physically remove the bodies;
7 is that what you're saying, and that's their priority? Nonsense, isn't
9 A. Mr. Nice, it's not nonsense. The object of it was to get the dead
10 and wounded terrorists away from the area because there were quite a lot
11 of mercenaries amongst their ranks. Foreign mercenaries.
12 Q. Foreign mercenaries. They had to get the dead away because, what,
13 this would implicate some foreign country, or why? Why is that so
14 important? A mercenary is a mercenary. He gets paid to run the risk of
15 dying. Why would they have to be moved?
16 A. Mr. Nice, I don't know about that. You'd have to ask them that.
17 So bring them in and ask them. I don't know why they were pulled out.
18 Q. Now, this page, the top deals with the accommodation at the old
19 barracks in Djakovica. It was suggested that the police didn't -- with
20 whom you worked - you're denying that there were any joint operations -
21 did not appear to be regular MUP, and indeed took pills. Do you remember
22 any incident of the MUP that you had contact with taking pills for
24 A. Mr. Nice, what you've just been saying are just ad hoc facts that
25 you are trying to place. They were regular police units, carrying out
1 their assignments. Some of them were in their -- our building because
2 there wasn't enough space in their own SUP building, because that's where
3 the offices were and their accommodation was in our barracks. So they
4 used our barracks just for accommodation, that is, to spend the night.
5 And the pills, who took what pills, I really don't know. I can't say. I
6 don't know where you get that from. We don't need pills.
7 MR. NICE: Mr. Usher, bottom of the page, please.
8 JUDGE KWON: The condition of the monitor is not good. It's
9 difficult to follow.
10 MR. NICE: I can see that.
11 JUDGE KWON: The contrast should be adjusted.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. You see, the source of this information says, as against you and
14 the way you operated things, that his platoon worked with two others, and
15 there was a systematic method of working with a mortar platoon, a
16 hand-held rocket platoon who would conduct initial bombardments of
17 villages being attacked, and then his platoon would be responsible for the
18 actual cleansing.
19 Now, first of all, did your units work in coordinated groups of
20 three platoons, in the way he suggests?
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I assume that the
23 witness isn't receiving any interpretation, because since Mr. Nice started
24 I haven't heard a single word of the interpretation. I'm not sure if the
25 witness is receiving any interpretation.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me ask him.
2 Have you been receiving interpretation?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, Mr. Nice, let's -- could you ask the
5 question again.
6 MR. NICE: Certainly.
7 Q. Can you hear me now, Mr. Sel? Is it right that your troops worked
8 in coordinated deployments of three platoons?
9 A. I don't know what you mean. My company had three rifle platoons,
10 so I don't know which deployments you are referring to.
11 Q. Was there a mortar platoon?
12 A. Yes, there was a rifle support unit.
13 Q. Was there a hand-held rocket platoon?
14 A. Yes. That is based on establishment in a rifle platoon.
15 Q. And what is being suggested by this person to the investigators
16 was that cleansing of villages was done in a coordinated way, with the
17 mortar platoon and the hand-held rocket platoon bombarding the village
18 first, and the other, the third platoon, going in and cleansing the
19 village. Is that what happened? 1998 and 1999.
20 A. Mr. Nice, that is just not correct.
21 Q. And if we look at the next passage, he goes on to explain --
22 A. Allow me to explain. Hand-held rocket launchers that the soldiers
23 had have a range of 200 metres. You have to come up close to the
24 fortified place, up to 150 metres away from it, to be able to target it.
25 Second, we didn't use any mortars in those operations. I said that a
1 moment ago in my statement.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... have been destroyed, haven't
3 they? All your records, including the records of the ammunition you've
4 used, they've all been destroyed.
5 A. Mr. Nice, in the daily combat reports to the superior command that
6 the units sent up to the brigade, you could see how much ammunition we
7 used and how much ammunition we needed to replenish our supplies. So if
8 you apply the term "shelling," if you're going to apply the term
9 "shelling," within my composition I had 120 mines for mortars. What can
10 you destroy with those 120 mines? You can't destroy an inhabited or
11 built-up area of 25 houses. That's just an illusion.
12 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... read on because we're very
13 pressed for time. He explained that your method of conduct of operations
14 was this: That before leaving camp, they wouldn't be briefed, the
15 soldiers, as to what they were doing. They would be told they were going
16 to be attacking a KLA stronghold. But that in reality, in the period of
17 time he was there, no KLA strongholds were found.
18 A. Mr. Nice, KLA strongholds -- you're mixing that up with terrorist
19 strongholds. There was no KLA, Kosovo Liberation Army, down there. What
20 was there were terrorists, and we destroyed the terrorist strongholds. I
21 explained that to you a moment ago, with the materiel evidence we found,
22 the list of terrorists, the number of weapons, the plans of defence. And
23 all the soldiers, before going out on assignment, were informed in detail
24 with the security measures, with the international war law and conduct
25 vis-a-vis prisoners of war, and so on and so forth. So they always knew
1 which assignment they were going on and where. And otherwise, I was at
2 the head of those soldiers, so I know.
3 Q. Exactly. And he makes it plain -- shall we turn over the page,
4 please, Mr. Prendergast -- that it was you, in nearly all occasions, who
5 was the person who gave instructions to kill civilians. I'll just explain
6 to you what he says, and I'm going to read from the paragraph just above
7 where we are, Mr. Prendergast.
8 "The infantry would approach the village and get to the tall walls
9 that surround the yards -" that's the yards of Kosovo Albanians' houses -
10 "throw tear gas over the wall and enter wearing gas masks. Entry would be
11 made into both yards and houses. The witness states they would be looking
12 for wounded persons or persons that needed assistance. [And] states that
13 depending on the mood of the Company Commander sometimes they would get
14 the order to kill people or certain people other times no one would be
16 He's basically saying that the decision to kill was made at the
17 site and it was made by you. Is he right in that?
18 A. Mr. Nice, first of all, I don't know who that soldier is at all.
19 I'd like you to bring him in here so that we can -- I could confront him,
20 tete-a-tete, and to see before the Judges what is true and what is not.
21 What you have just read is just not right. It's -- the question is who he
22 made the statement to. I'd like to know that. Because I never issued any
23 such orders to my soldiers. First of all, I didn't train them to kill
24 innocent civilians or to burn and destroy and do things that they weren't
25 supposed to do. Soldiers were trained, we all know for what purpose.
1 Q. You see, he goes on to explain in more detail how, when they first
2 arrived, you told them they were not to kill civilians, only the KLA. He
3 says that during the first days of his deployment, there was only one
4 ambush. They were expecting the KLA from Albania, but no one came.
5 Is it right that there was a time when you did give express orders
6 that civilians were not to be killed?
7 A. Mr. Nice, when any assignment was to be carried out, all the
8 soldiers received strict orders as to what assignments or orders they
9 should execute and what not. Anything outside the orders issued would go
10 against the grain of regulations and be opposed to regulations. So they
11 never received orders to destroy civilians or cultural monuments or set
12 fire to houses or anything like that.
13 Now, as far as the ambush is concerned, yes, the unit was engaged
14 in keeping the frontier secure in depth, with patrols and ambushes, which
15 was the only way we could stop the infiltration of weapons from Albania
16 into the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. But we never opened fire
18 Q. The source of this information is clearly right in the next
19 paragraph. He says you appeared to be friendly, appeared to be pleasant.
20 "We had the same --" later on it wasn't the same, is the way the
21 investigators recorded it, he said: "We had the same company commander
22 the entire time. He did get promoted from captain first class to major.
23 The major never issued orders directly to a single soldier. He would
24 issue them to the whole squad. That way, everyone would shoot."
25 Now, you've heard the suggestion from this source, and I'm going
1 to suggest to you that this is exactly how killing and ethnic cleansing
2 occurs, because, as you will know from your experience, it's people at
3 your level who were given the power over life and death, knowing that
4 you'd never be sanctioned for killing civilians. Is that what happened,
5 that you gave instructions to your platoons to kill everyone?
6 A. Mr. Nice, first of all, what you've just said is just not true.
7 Those are arbitrary conclusions on your part. And I never was in command
8 of a squad. I was in command of a company. So the conclusions you draw
9 are just not right. My soldiers were never given orders to kill innocent
10 civilians or to fire on features that were not used to fire at us. And
11 you are referring to some witness statements that I have never heard of.
12 Q. You see, the same source suggests that you also had women brought
13 to your troops, and that this was one of your preferred activities. Just
14 tell us: Were there occasions of women coming to your troops at camps and
16 A. Mr. Nice, that is absolute nonsense, quite incorrect.
17 Q. Is it?
18 A. That never happened, nor did I do anything like that.
19 Q. Didn't you? Because before we come to that --
20 A. Never.
21 Q. -- one matter of detail. Remember I asked you about the security
22 officer who you said was promoted to captain, a person of strong
23 personality? Do you remember an incident at a lake, when you were so
24 cross with a soldier who had gone in the lake that you put a gun to his
25 head and were deterred from going further by a security officer, captain?
1 Do you remember that incident?
2 A. Mr. Nice, first of all, I was never at that lake. There was just
3 one platoon sent to that lake, Radonjicko lake. And second, I never
4 carried a rifle; I carried an automatic.
5 Q. It's not clear from the notes whether it's that particular lake,
6 it's only described here as "a lake." But where the detail given by this
7 source is of a captain, a security officer, who had the courage to
8 confront his commanding officer, that fits with the description of the
9 captain you confirmed to me, doesn't it? Lieutenant, later Captain,
11 A. I never had that kind of confrontation with my superior or, for
12 that matter, with my subordinate.
13 Q. Bottom of the page, please. You know, don't you, that -- well,
14 for all women, reporting rape is a difficult business. For Kosovo
15 Albanian women, it is almost impossible because of the consequences for
16 the rest of their lives of being someone who has been raped. You know
17 that. It's a cultural fact. Am I right?
18 A. Mr. Nice, I don't know what you're getting at. But let me repeat:
19 There were no women in my area of defence that were brought in or taken
20 away or anything like that. Those are arbitrary statements. Let me
21 repeat again: I don't know where you got those statements from or who
22 gave them to you, because it's just not true.
23 Q. Next page, please. He says that a large number of women, 35 or
24 36 --
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I be provided with a copy of the
4 indictment that Mr. Nice is quoting from.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice, please let the accused have a
7 MR. KAY: Is it in B/C/S, which might assist the witness? Because
8 we're looking at a document that's been written in English by someone and
9 the witness doesn't apparently know that person. But if it was in the
10 original state, the witness could check content of the material.
11 MR. NICE: It's been written by investigators, in English.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Nice.
13 MR. NICE: Written by investigators, in English.
14 Q. If we look at this page, the suggestion is a large number of
15 women, 35 or 36, were brought to Sulane. You were at Sulane, weren't you?
16 A. Mr. Nice, the system of organisation in the army implies that
17 where the army is stationed, there is no access to civilians, women, or
18 anybody else. Even my own mother wouldn't be able to enter camp. Now,
19 what you've been saying, that never happened. Things like that never
21 Q. Go to -- let's go to the bottom of this page, please. He
22 identifies -- I've read the names out. I'm not going to reread them. You
23 can see them on the screen. Kozarski and three others, included in the
24 soldiers who raped women. Thinking back, is there some truth in this or
25 is it all entirely made up, do you say?
1 A. Mr. Nice, this has been made up entirely. None of my soldiers
2 left the area of defence at all. That was strictly forbidden. So any
3 attempt at doing so, at leaving the area, would entail reporting to the
4 military police and steps taken afterwards to sanction the perpetrator.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Is there any point to all this?
7 This isn't even a witness statement. And just like everything else that
8 Mr. Nice is trying to launch, it's all science fiction. I don't know how
9 anyone can take it seriously.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Milosevic's microphone be adjusted,
12 MR. NICE: Not substantive objections. Can I move on, because I'm
13 anxious to finish.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think you should answer the point.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is not serious.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm asking Mr. Nice to answer the point that
17 you've made.
18 MR. NICE: I'm certainly prepared to answer the point. This is
19 indeed important. These are allegations that I make about this witness.
20 They go absolutely to the heart of his credibility. I'm putting the
21 allegations that I'm in a position to put to him and explaining exactly
22 how they come to be available to us. I've made it plain that they come in
23 the form of investigators' notes from an interview with this person, who
24 declined to put the matter on to tape. I've provided in advance, as Rule
25 68 material, to the accused and to the assigned counsel, copies of the
1 tapes showing the interviews where the person concerned declined to put
2 the material on to a tape and his explanations given for that. These are
3 allegations -- the reason it's on the overhead projector in front of you
4 is for convenience, as I explained, and these are allegations that it's
5 both my right and, in a sense, my duty to put to him. They're very
7 JUDGE BONOMY: This isn't evidence in the case at the moment, is
9 MR. NICE: It's not evidence in the case at the moment.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: And so how could it ever be of any value?
11 MR. NICE: Well, first of all, the Court has, of course, on
12 earlier occasions, I think, been in a position to decide -- to say that it
13 will evaluate witnesses from their answers. It's also in a position in
14 this case to see these allegations strengthened by the factors to which
15 the witness has already agreed, and I'm still hopeful that I may be
16 capable of calling these witnesses to prove the contradiction of what this
17 witness is saying.
18 Now, this witness, on our allegations, is himself a serious
19 offender, and on the basis of these allegations has killed and engaged in
20 and caused others to rape. I put those allegations to him, and if I can
21 prove them, I will. It would be quite wrong for me to seek to call this
22 evidence, if it becomes available to me, at a later stage without putting
23 the allegations to him.
24 MR. KAY: In the Defence phase of the case, the accused, when
25 embarking on cross-examination in a very similar form to that by Mr. Nice
1 was told frequently: Well, that's denied. You call your evidence if
2 you've got it. And any elaborate and long time spent on such an issue was
3 curtailed. Now, we've been on this issue now for about 15 minutes. It's
4 gradually emerged that there isn't a B/C/S translation. It seems that the
5 interview at one stage was of both men together. It doesn't seem to have
6 been an independent interview. The monitor is being used for publicity
7 purposes rather than to assist us, and allegations are frequently made
8 against the accused using these proceedings for publicity purposes.
9 In my submission, this matter has gone far enough already. The
10 witness has denied it. And Mr. Nice should call evidence if he's got
11 evidence about it. That's how it was put to the accused during the
12 Prosecution phase of the case.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, you certainly have a right to put it,
14 but it is being said that you have reached the stage where denial after
15 denial makes it pointless to continue.
16 MR. NICE: Can we then conclude with looking at the facts that the
17 witness may agree to, and one fact that is favourable, on this provider of
18 information. And I must, in fairness, make a few points about the other
19 one, which is shorter, he being there for a shorter period of time.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. If you'd be good enough, please, Mr. Prendergast, to take us to
23 page 10 at the bottom. Amongst the things that is said about this
24 soldier's operation is that he operated in the Radonjicko -- in fact,
25 that's incorrectly noted. Radonjicko Jezero area, first operating around
1 Silman-Baka, Babaj Baks areas, and then heading north-east towards
2 Radonjicko Jezero. That is an accurate account of the movement of some of
3 your soldiers in the period 1998, isn't it?
4 A. Mr. Nice, my unit was on the premises all the time. If this
5 soldier came to my unit in June, he could not have gone to Radonjicko
6 Jezero. It was the soldiers who came in in December who went there. So
7 they were trained soldiers. Untrained soldiers did not go into combat
9 And secondly, Sisman Baks, that's a terrorist stronghold. Babaj
10 Baks, there was no such thing there. So at Radonjicko Jezero there was
11 another unit, commanded by Radojevic Rade, and he went up there to
12 Radonjicko Jezero to provide security for the road or for the waterworks
13 or whatever task he had.
14 Q. Next page, please, Mr. Prendergast. He says, at the top of the
15 page, that they moved to Radonjicko lake, and at the lake area he says a
16 number of villages were attacked; Raskoc, Donji Brits it's recorded as but
17 it's clearly Donji Bites, as you confirmed, I think, and Gornji Bites, and
18 places Don and Netic, which we've also marked. At least, we've marked
19 Don. Haven't found Netic, I think.
20 Is it right that those villages were indeed attacked?
21 A. Mr. Nice, I'm not aware of the activities that took place around
22 Radonjicko Jezero. And again I'm telling you that on the 2nd of August,
23 1998, a de-blockade of the road between Djakovica and Junik was carried
24 out and terrorist strongholds were crushed in Smonica, Don and Netic. So
25 the strongholds that were along the road Sisman Dama [phoen], Sisman Baks,
2 Q. On the next page, please, this point -- next page, please,
3 Mr. Prendergast.
4 A third of the way down, having dealt with OSCE, he says this:
5 "After the NATO bombing started, we didn't do any more cleansing." That's
6 so far as he and his group is concerned. "As far as my job, it was to get
7 dug in and we were in fighting positions within the mountains."
8 Now, does that description of the deployment of some of your
9 troops make sense? So that's -- at the time of the start of the NATO
10 bombing he says of himself that his job was to get dug in.
11 A. Mr. Nice, on the 24th of March - I don't know how many times I've
12 told you this already - we were given the assignment to carry out an
13 anti-terrorist action, that is to say, to crush terrorist strongholds at
14 Brod, Brestovac, Mala Hoca, Randubrava, Donje Retimlje, Neprebiste. Part
15 of our unit was engaged on carrying out that assignment and the other part
16 of the unit, according to plan, was guarding the state border. And I know
17 what "digging in" means. That is an engineering activity. So it's not
18 just digging for the sake of digging. This is preparing defence
19 capacities before firing.
20 Q. Finally on this topic -- thank you very much. His cousin, who
21 only joined your company in March of 1999 and was therefore only there for
22 a short period of time, makes similar allegations against you. Do you
23 remember his cousin, whose name was Semso Colovic?
24 A. Mr. Nice, fortunately, I kept all the lists of all the soldiers I
25 had in my unit. So I'll have to check in these lists about the names of
1 these five soldiers. But I do not remember them. They do not sound
2 familiar. As for the lists, I have them at home.
3 Q. Because I thought that all your contemporaneous documents had
4 gone, and you were asked about names earlier, you said nothing about lists
5 then. What other documents do you have at home?
6 A. These are lists that I still have because when I filled out a work
7 notebook, then I'd have to hand it in and then I'd get a new one. So
8 these work notebooks still exist, with the lists of the soldiers' names,
9 and that is where I entered the tasks for that day, the orders received.
10 And I have the list of these soldiers too. They --
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the word "notebook" sounds
12 like a document that may record what you did at work on a day-by-day
13 basis. Is it?
14 A. Mr. Nice, this is a classical work notebook, a notebook, a regular
15 sort of notebook, and once it is filled out, then it is handed back in.
16 It is archived and kept. And I'll make an effort --
17 Q. Am I right in thinking that it records what you did on a
18 day-by-day basis?
19 A. Mr. Nice, all the orders I received orally I entered in there, and
20 later I would receive orders in writing. So in this notebook I would have
21 that -- for example, if I did something wrong, a court of law would only
22 admit the kind of evidence that is contained in a work notebook. That is
23 the regulation -- that's the way regulations are in our country. And I'll
24 make an effort to find these work notebooks containing the lists that
25 you're interested in.
1 Q. You said slightly contradictory things, Mr. Sel, but no doubt you
2 can tidy it up. On the one hand, you said the books are at home, and on
3 the other you said they're archived.
4 MR. NICE: Did he not? Did I misunderstand that?
5 JUDGE BONOMY: My understanding was that he still has the last
6 one, which has these lists in it and the others have been handed in, but
7 perhaps I'm reading too much into it.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. The ones that cover the period of the end of March 1999, where are
11 A. They are in the unit. That's what I meant. At home, in my own
12 unit. That's what I meant. I didn't mean literally at my home, as in my
13 basement. It's kept in my unit.
14 Q. I see. So you -- what period -- so you've got notebooks at your
15 unit where you're based as a serving soldier that cover the whole period
16 beginning of 1998 to June 1999 and you haven't brought them with you? Is
17 that right?
18 A. Yes. I have them, or rather, they have them at the unit.
19 Q. And does it amount to this -- we're going to see these notebooks,
20 of course -- but there will be an entry for each day of your work?
21 A. Well, go ahead, Mr. Nice, because I made entries according to
22 dates. And we're going to find a list of the soldiers in my unit. So
23 we'll compare the names.
24 MR. NICE: Your Honours, obviously it is, if I may say so,
25 extraordinary and something that would not happen if there was a
1 professional lawyer representing this accused, for us to find out, despite
2 my first questions, at the end of the time I'm frankly allotted to
3 cross-examine this witness, that there is apparently a contemporaneous
4 record on a daily basis. It is extraordinary and unhelpful in the extreme
5 for this Tribunal. I would ask that this witness make those documents
7 Q. Are you based in Belgrade now? Are you based in Belgrade?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, please.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There's a total misunderstanding in
11 communication. Mr. Nice doesn't have proper communication with the
12 witness. Even now he said the word "document." When he asks the witness
13 about documents, it is an official document that is considered to be a
14 document, whereas his workbook is something he never considered to be a
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me hear what Mr. Milosevic is saying, then
17 I'll come to you, Mr. Nice.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm trying to say that there is a
19 total misunderstanding, because at the very outset he asked and now again
20 he is using the word "document." In our normal communications, military
21 and civilian, a personal notebook, a work notebook, is not considered to
22 be a document. A document is something that has a stamp, a seal, a
23 signature, and so on and so forth. So he is confusing the witness. He
24 didn't ask him: Do you have some notes? Do you have any recordings? He
25 asked whether he had a document.
1 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I must protest. To allow the accused to
2 make observations like this, as he's done on many occasions throughout
3 this trial, is simply to allow him to rehearse the witness. Let's see if
4 the witness actually accepts what Mr. Milosevic says.
5 Q. Do you accept what Mr. Milosevic says?
6 A. I fully accept it. I fully accept it, Mr. Nice, because that is
7 my personal document. But after I fill it out, I hand it in to be
8 archived and kept. So it's not an official kind of document like we have
9 these orders here, diagrams, schematics.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask the interpreter a question. The witness
11 has himself just used the word "document," according to your English
13 THE INTERPRETER: Yes.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Was that the same word as Mr. Milosevic used when
15 he used the word "document"?
16 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, it is the same; "dokument," "document."
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you very much.
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. And what you said in the answers to the very first questions from
20 me, when I used the word "document" was -- I'll just take them in order,
21 Mr. Sel, you see: "I don't have written documents." You said: "All
22 reports that I had, I sent -- all reports that I had, I sent to my
23 superior command and they kept the war diary."
24 Do you remember saying that?
25 A. Mr. Nice, that is correct. But a work notebook is not an official
1 document. You have to distinguish between a notebook and an official
2 document. A work notebook is used for keeping records, lists, not for
3 keeping documents.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... rest of your answers on this
5 particular topic. I asked you the next question: "Are you saying that
6 you kept, as a company commander, no written record of anything that you
7 did?" So I didn't use the word "document," and you said: "I made written
8 notes. I wrote notes and I sent them to the superior command. These are
9 the daily reports, regular daily reports, while we were in the area."
10 You went on to say about oral reporting in combat activity, and
11 then you returned to writing written reports.
12 I asked you: "The written reports, the daily combat reports, they
13 should still exist?" And you said: "They don't exist. All these reports
14 from subordinate units are entered into the daily operative report of the
15 battalion commander." And I said: "What, did they destroy the other
16 documents?" And you said: "Yes."
17 Do you remember saying that?
18 A. Well, that's correct, Mr. Nice. A work notebook is not an
19 official document. I'm telling you yet again. Please distinguish between
20 a work notebook and official documents. I can write anything I want in a
21 work notebook.
22 Q. You see, my next question was to ask you, in light of having asked
23 a general question about records, so I said: "The best contemporaneous
24 records and the only existing contemporaneous record in written form of
25 what you did is to be found where? The diary? Whose diary?" And then
1 you confirmed it was Vukovic's diary. You gave all these answers, knowing
2 that there's a daily record in your own hand of what you did. Really?
3 A. Mr. Nice, obviously you and I do not understand each other, or you
4 want me to confirm what you'd like me to confirm. A work notebook is my
5 own personal document where I write some things about the work of the
6 unit. It's not a report or any such thing. It's a work notebook, where I
7 kept lists of soldiers. All official documents, all official reports,
8 were handed over to the supreme command. The work notebook is my personal
9 document, and they are archived, the old ones, and you can find lists of
10 soldiers there.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... lists of
12 soldiers that you would include in your work notebook?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not only lists of soldiers,
14 Mr. Robinson; also the normal assignments that we carried out, what my
15 unit did on that day. It's not any kind of document. It's not any kind
16 of official document. It's everyday activities of the unit, bringing in
17 ammunition supplies, food supplies, fuel supplies; everyday work in the
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: And also how you carried out an assignment?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, Mr. Robinson. That is not
21 entered into work notebooks. So if I see that something is against the
22 law and regulations, I would certainly enter that into the work notebook.
23 So carrying out orders that I received officially, I briefly jot that down
24 in my notebook, until I get orders in writing.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Sel, you were asked a question: "Are you
2 saying that you kept, as a company commander, no written record of
3 anything that you did?" And you then answered it by saying: "I made
4 written notes. I wrote notes and I sent them to the superior command."
5 Now, why didn't you explain at that time that you also made notes
6 in a workbook which was archived in your own force's premises?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, nobody asked me anything
8 about that. It goes without saying that there is a work notebook, where
9 briefly assignments are noted down and everything that the unit does. So
10 I had to have something which would show what I did.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: I have to say, I do not understand your answer.
12 The question could not have been clearer. You were asked whether you kept
13 no written record of anything that you did, and you answered by saying you
14 made written notes, but then confined that answer to notes that were
15 ultimately sent to your superior command. So I do not understand the
16 distinction you're making.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, before working out a
18 daily operative report that I sent to the battalion command, from my
19 subordinates I received information and I recorded that, and then I sent
20 it on to the battalion command. I had to write it down somewhere. I
21 wouldn't write it down on a newspaper or whatever. So that's where I
22 collected information, assignments, and I sent that further on to the
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. The address of the unit where the book is currently held, please.
2 A. Military postcode 4445, Leskovac.
3 Q. And that's a unique camp, is it, a unique unit, building, whatever
4 you like, in Leskovac; yes? 4445. Who's its commanding officer?
5 A. That's the barracks.
6 Q. Who's its commanding officer?
7 A. Right now, the commander of that unit is Colonel Djurovic.
8 Q. If we communicate with Colonel Djurovic this afternoon,
9 immediately court rises, will he know where to find your book?
10 A. He should know. However, that's not the kind of work he does. He
11 commands a unit. He has subordinates who do that kind of thing.
12 Q. Will he or his subordinates, then, on his instruction, be able to
13 find that document?
14 A. They should be able to.
15 Q. Can you tell us what room it's in, so that we can't have any
16 confusion, or is it in the basement or the safe? Where is it?
17 A. Mr. Nice, I'm no longer in that unit. I'm in a different unit
18 now. And according to the new establishment, I don't know about that
20 Q. What colour is the book?
21 A. Small work notebooks. The colour is black. An ordinary notebook.
22 Q. How many notebooks, approximately - or precisely, if you can - to
23 cover the period March 1998 to June 1999?
24 A. Two notebooks, I think.
25 Q. Of how many pages altogether?
1 A. Mr. Nice, it's a small notebook; about 200 pages.
2 Q. In each book?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Very well. Is there a fax machine at unit 4445?
5 A. I don't know. I'm not aware of that.
6 Q. Is there any reason you can think of why, if I made the request or
7 if this Court made the order, those books should not be either faxed, if
8 we can find the labour to receive it into this building this afternoon, or
9 alternatively, provided to our Belgrade office today? Is there any reason
10 you think of why those books shouldn't be made available in either of
11 those two ways?
12 A. I think there's no reason.
13 MR. NICE: Your Honours, I would ask for assistance in getting
14 hold of those books. Of course, I had expected to finish with this
15 witness some time ago, almost, but this is the problem that arises when
16 elementary forensic preparation is not conducted by this accused, and it
17 is a grave shortcoming in this witness, as in all the previous ones; Delic
18 Popovic, Djosan, and all the others, from whom we've had to extract
19 contemporaneous documents. This document is likely to be or may be
20 extremely valuable. If the Chamber feels it could make a ruling --
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. The Chamber will order that the witness's
23 notebook be produced by tomorrow.
24 MR. NICE: And Your Honour, we will explain to the authorities
25 that that means both by hard copy somewhere else and fax, if at all
1 possible, to this office. If the authorities wish to take any point on
2 the document not having been cleared, for whatever process of clearing
3 they say it may qualify, then can I invite them to be required to attend
5 There is -- it is simply laughable that we are presented by the VJ
6 Commission with second-hand material, allegedly prepared from memory, when
7 there is this welter of contemporaneous material that we're extracting at
8 the last minute in this way. Do that's the way I'll explain it to the
9 authorities, if it's necessary to do so.
10 And can I ask that the Court, in no doubt explaining to the
11 witness that he shouldn't communicate about his evidence, should be
12 allowed to communicate, but I'm not sure through whom, for safety, so far
13 as is necessary to identify the books, if there's any problem with
14 identifying them. I'm not sure who's the best communicating source. It
15 should really be the accused's lawyers, if they were in court, because
16 they could then be relied upon to conduct the communication in a safe and
17 proper way.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: They're officers of the Court.
19 MR. NICE: In which case, then through them and under the terms of
20 their engagement, may they be permitted to communicate with him if it's
21 necessary for the authorities, to find where the book is?
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. We'll allow that. We're going to
23 adjourn --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Your expectations may not be fulfilled, of course,
25 Mr. Nice, because the witness has made it clear that -- or has said that
1 this book doesn't record the operations that were carried out.
2 MR. NICE: It may come to nothing, but we need to see them. He
3 said a number of things, and Your Honour may be quite right about that.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Lieutenant Colonel, we are going to adjourn.
5 During the adjournment, you are not to discuss your evidence with anybody.
6 However, we'll allow the accused's associates to communicate with you for
7 the purpose of identifying your notebook, so that the notebook may be
8 produced here tomorrow, but only for that purpose. Do you understand?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: We'll adjourn until tomorrow, 9.00 a.m.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 1st day of
13 December, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.