1 Tuesday, 24 January 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
7 WITNESS: MILAN KOTUR [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice: [Continued]
10 Q. Mr. Kotur, how did the information from this Court in closed
11 session reach you and your wife to explain what Mr. Ciaglinski had said in
12 private session?
13 A. In Belgrade, from my colleagues. Where they found out, I don't
15 Q. Which colleagues?
16 A. The colleagues who worked with me.
17 Q. Well, give me their names, please. Because to take information
18 from this Court and disseminate it when it's been given in private session
19 is an important matter and this Court is entitled to know how it happens.
20 Please tell me who told you what was said in private session.
21 A. Well, I couldn't say exactly who it was who said it now. It was a
22 couple of years ago. And I really am not going to name any names because
23 I'm not quite sure who said it so I don't really want to give anybody any
25 Q. Why aren't you going to -- exactly. Why aren't you going to give
1 a name? This is an important issue. If people give protected evidence or
2 if evidence is protected in this Court, it's for reasons of security.
3 Name the names, please.
4 A. I'm not sure who it was, that's why I said that I cannot say
6 Q. Oh, can't you. And what was the mechanism whereby they got this
7 information from a private session? Did it come from the accused?
8 A. I couldn't say. I don't know. Even books are being written in
9 our country. The Serb Radical Party writes books about what goes on here
10 at the trial every day.
11 As for this information in closed session, I don't know, but
12 everything that is not in closed session was written in books, day by day,
13 who said what to who from day one, ever since the trial started. So all
14 this information --
15 Q. Is that a party, Mr. Seselj's party, of which you're a supporter?
16 A. How did you get that idea that I am a supporter of Mr. Seselj?
17 Well, that's what you said. That's the claim you made. No, no. No, I'm
18 not. I'm not a member of any party and I'm not supporter either.
19 Q. Before we turn from Mrs. -- Mr. Ciaglinski and your wife, you
20 won't tell us, then, what if anything you know about the source of the
21 information. Let's go back, please. You told us yesterday your wife made
22 two efforts to contact Mr. Ciaglinski. He was in the -- he was in the
23 embassy in Sofia at the time, wasn't he? How did you manage to track him
24 down there?
25 A. Since Mr. Ciaglinski said that after his duties in Kosovo and
1 Metohija he would be military attache in Sofia.
2 Q. He told you that, did he?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So how many years ago was it that your wife made contact with him?
5 A. My wife knew him as far back as when he was in the Verification
6 Mission. I had an office in the Executive Council of Kosovo and Metohija,
7 and that's where my wife worked, too, and that's where we had contacts
8 every day. I mean Mr. Ciaglinski and I. So my wife and I have known him
9 since 1998, when the Verification Mission came to Kosovo and Metohija.
10 Q. Your wife was contacting him on your behalf to try and get him to
11 go and see you in Nis, wasn't she?
12 A. No.
13 Q. So the suggestion that he was invited to lunch or dinner
14 completely untrue, is it?
15 A. Untrue.
16 Q. So she simply rang this person to remonstrate with him, to
17 complain to him on your behalf about what he'd said in evidence in private
18 session. That's really your case, is it, your evidence?
19 A. No. This was an unimportant matter, what she said to him.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask you, Mr. Kotur, if it was unimportant,
21 can you think of any reason why Mr. Ciaglinski might be misrepresenting
22 what happened, and indeed misrepresenting his relationship with you?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't quite understand. You mean
24 if this question was unimportant, why my wife asked him in passing how he
25 testified? Is that what you're referring to, or is it something else?
1 JUDGE BONOMY: No. If -- if you think the matter is unimportant,
2 can you explain why he would be allegedly making a claim that it was an
3 invitation to go to Nis to see you? In other words, why would he be lying
4 about the situation?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My wife called him because of the
6 apartment in Nis, where we had some problems. So if Mr. Ciaglinski said
7 something to you, he should have been very truthful and honest about it,
8 not to make up some kind of story here. My wife has an apartment in
9 Pristina, and immediately after we left the area of Kosovo and Metohija, a
10 family from Podujevo moved into that apartment, and since we do not have a
11 home -- I lost my home twice in this state; the first time during the war
12 in Croatia in Vodice and the second apartment in Kosovo and Metohija, and
13 I am a temporarily displaced person living in the Republic of Serbia. My
14 official home address is in Kosovska Mitrovica, in Glavaseva Street number
15 1, apartment number 6.
16 This apartment that we had in Pristina, since we knew Ciaglinski,
17 Ciaglinski entered Kosovo and Metohija when NATO troops entered Kosovo and
18 Metohija. General Drewienkiewicz and Ciaglinski did. He got in touch
19 with our officers. He asked about me. He asked where I was. I was not
20 in Pristina then when their forces entered. They -- he asked whether I
21 was alive and well. He said hello to me, and this is Jackson the KFOR
22 commander in Kosovo and Metohija then, and Ciaglinski, when he talked to
23 him, he said that these forces that were stationed in -- or, rather, in
24 Kumanovo in Skopje in Macedonia, the British troops, he said that he was
25 training those troops and that he had quite a few people there, officers
1 whom he knew.
2 The basic reason for contacting Ciaglinski was to see what we can
3 do with our apartment in Pristina in Beogradska Street. That is the same
4 street where the headquarters of the Kosovo Verification Mission were,
5 about 50 or 100 metres away from that building in Beogradska Street. We
6 wanted to find out who was in that apartment and --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I mustn't take up the Prosecutor's time. You're
8 making no attempt to answer my question, so please bring it to an end and
9 the Prosecutor can ask his next question.
10 MR. NICE: Obliged, Your Honour.
11 Q. And the answer you're giving now is not an answer you gave
12 yesterday, Mr. Kotur, and let me just conclude this passage of my
13 questioning of you in this way: For someone to say that there was a plan
14 to kick out all the Albanians is extremely significant in this case where
15 that allegation is levelled against this accused. You understand that,
16 don't you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. For somebody to make up a piece of evidence of that kind and to
19 put it in your mouth when it lies at the very heart of this indictment
20 could hardly be more serious in terms of the interference that that would
21 have with the due course of justice. Do you agree?
22 A. I am trying to tell the truth. It's not only that I'm trying to
23 tell the truth, I am telling the truth, and there is no need for me to say
24 anything different.
25 I had wanted this session to be an open session as far as
1 Ciaglinski and his statement are concerned because I really have nothing
2 to hide. All the officers who were in the Pristina Corps know that there
3 never was any such plan ever. There was never such a plan, and things
4 like that were never done. And also when Mr. Ciaglinski testified in open
5 court and when he was using a marker to show where the forces were
6 supposed to be expelled and where they were supposed to go, and then when
7 we finished with the KLA, then we would expel the Siptars. If we were to
8 expel them, then we'd expel them together with the army and --
9 Q. Let's just deal with my question, if you wouldn't mind. You've
10 accepted how grave Ciaglinski's behaviour is on your account, and you're
11 now asking the Judges to accept, are you, that notwithstanding that, you
12 -- or, rather, your wife rang him in connection with your flat in
14 My suggestion to you, Mr. Kotur, is that that is absolute
15 nonsense. You would never do such a thing if the position was as grave
16 and as serious as you reveal it to be. Nonsense.
17 A. Mr. Nice, in relation to the apartment, Ciaglinski informed my
18 wife later that a young married couple from Pec is in that apartment. He
19 checked it out. I think that my wife only wished him a Merry Christmas
20 then. What I'm telling you now is the truth in relation to Ciaglinski and
21 my wife's contacts with him. I think that dragging my wife into this, and
22 Ciaglinski and whatever, is really pointless, because we are not going to
23 reach what you want to reach this way. The truth is what I am saying now.
24 I did not say anything to Ciaglinski about any plan of expulsion. No such
25 plan ever existed. I never knew anything of any such plan. And what
1 Ciaglinski explained on the map, that was in open session. That is
2 nonsense. To expel people --
3 Q. Mr. Kotur, if Ciaglinski, who, incidentally - I must tell you this
4 - notified the Serb authorities in Sofia about your invitation to lunch,
5 if he had gone to Serbia, which was about an hour away from Nis, almost
6 anything could have happened to him, couldn't it, for having told the
7 truth about this plan. It's a dangerous and violent country. Was he
8 being pulled there for that sort of reason?
9 A. What country is violent and dangerous? I didn't quite understand.
10 Q. Your country's violent. People get assassinated. People get
11 dealt with in violent ways. You know that. What were you doing trying to
12 get Ciaglinski into Serbia?
13 A. I do not know what would have been achieved if somebody had
14 assassinated Ciaglinski. What would have been achieved by that? What
15 would have been gained? I really don't understand this thesis.
16 Q. Now, you and Ciaglinski actually got on very well together, didn't
17 you? You spent a lot of time travelling around together in the same car;
19 A. No. We never travelled in the same car. He travelled in his car
20 and I travelled in my car.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please be
22 asked to speak into the microphone. Thank you.
23 MR. NICE: You certainly spent a lot --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just a minute, Mr. Nice.
25 Colonel, you're being asked to move closer to the microphone.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. You spent a lot of time in each other's company.
3 A. Not in each other's company, in a working environment, at work
4 meetings. Not private meetings or anything like that.
5 Q. You got on well together.
6 A. I don't know what that means, "well," but I tried to have a proper
7 relationship. I tried to be true to my word. I tried -- well, I think
8 that he was also very fair, at least in terms of what he exhibited in his
9 contacts with me. And we can also quote some things from the transcript
10 here, the things he said to me and how he said them to me.
11 Q. And you never bragged to him, didn't you -- or you told him
12 truthfully things. You didn't brag about yourself, did you?
13 A. There's no need for me to brag. Why would I brag?
14 Q. So just so that we can understand a little bit more about you,
15 Mr. Kotur, explain, please, what you told Mr. Ciaglinski when you took him
16 to the place where Holbrooke had been filmed on comparatively intimate
17 terms with Kosovo Albanians. Do you remember that visit to the house --
18 or, rather, the place where Holbrooke had been familiar with Kosovo
19 Albanians, going inside and taking his shoes off and all that sort of
20 thing? Do you remember?
21 A. I remember that.
22 Q. Yes. Because I used the word the place where that house had been
23 for good reason, don't I? Because the house had been destroyed, hadn't
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. It had been destroyed simply because it had been the location
2 where Holbrooke had been familiar with Albanians. That's the reason it
3 had been blown up; correct?
4 A. No. Or, rather, I cannot confirm your claim. It was set on fire,
5 it wasn't blown up, and it was not the only house that was set on fire so
6 I cannot really corroborate a claim like this.
7 Q. And you explained to Ciaglinski that it was you who'd done or had
8 that destruction of the house done, and it was done simply for that
9 reason, Holbrooke's association with Albanians; correct?
10 A. No. That is a pure lie. Let me just explain this to you. Let's
11 just -- let me just explain what happened. Don't just take into account
12 some kind of excerpts that are wrong.
13 He asked to tour the units in Junik. Mr. Ciaglinski and I toured
14 the units that were in the town of Junik. We talked to the local people,
15 and we asked about the relationship between the military and the
16 population. It was him and me, and we were in civilian clothes, and there
17 were some UNHCR people or whatever. And when we talked to the residents,
18 we asked where this house was where Holbrooke had his meeting with the
19 Siptar terrorist forces in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija when he
20 toured the area. I didn't know where this house was or what it looked
22 We went there. They showed it to us, the local people, and that's
23 the first time I saw that it had been burned down. It wasn't blown up.
24 Ciaglinski took a few pictures there and he said, "Let's take a picture
25 here," and okay, let's take a picture.
1 So that is the whole truth. This has nothing to do with it, that
2 I organised the torching of that house and that it was burned down only
3 because Mr. Holbrooke was there or that I knew where this house was.
4 Beforehand we had to ask the local people where it was, and I told you why
5 we came to Junik; not because of that house but to see the units that were
6 located in Junik. That is the truth, the real truth.
7 Q. You can think of nothing, can you, that you would have said to
8 Mr. Ciaglinski that would lead him to believe that you were acknowledging
9 blowing up or burning down the house or having that done yourself.
10 Nothing at all?
11 A. No.
12 Q. This is the last point on this little topic: The Office of the
13 Prosecutor has been seeking an interview with you since 2002, hasn't it?
14 A. Yes, I have been informed about that.
15 Q. Yes. So you knew the Office of the Prosecutor wanted to speak to
16 you. When you discovered, by whatever channel you did discover, that
17 something false had been placed in your mouth by Ciaglinski, did it occur
18 to you to contact the Office of the Prosecutor and accept their invitation
19 to speak to them?
20 A. I had first accepted to be a witness for the Defence, and we
21 notified the office in The Hague in writing about that. And this
22 commission, or whatever it was called, attached to the federal government,
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the truth.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: I don't understand how it would have been in his
2 interest to have acknowledged to Ciaglinski, who works with the OSCE, that
3 he was responsible for burning down this house.
4 MR. NICE: This is a measure of their trust that existed at the
5 time. It's not a measure of anything else. If you remember, I prefaced
6 it by saying that they got on well together. And we'll be looking at
7 Ciaglinski's statement a little later for other things that it said that
8 this man did.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well. It seems a little strange to me, but
10 please move on, yes.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. And one other thing, if you're able to help us: When Ciaglinski's
13 evidence was given about his being told by an official of a plan to expel
14 all Albanians after the KLA had been kicked out, it was done in neutral
15 terms. You say that there was, of course, no such plan, so that whatever
16 he said couldn't have been attached to anybody. Can you explain, if at
17 all, how that piece of evidence might have been connected by anyone to you
18 so as to lead people to believe that it was about you that Kotur was
19 speaking in private session -- that Ciaglinski was speaking in private
20 session? How was it attached to you? Do you know?
21 A. As for a plan of expulsion, I don't know that he talked about
22 that, but what he showed on the map, that this high official told him
23 about the expulsion of the Kosovo Liberation Army from Kosovo and
24 Metohija, what he used a marker to denote on the map, that's what people
25 linked up to me. And it's not that difficult to link up to me, because
1 Ciaglinski was in contact with me every day. That's how the Kosovo
2 Verification team and the Pristina Corps team for cooperation with the KVM
3 worked. And this was in open session. It was on television.
4 Q. Three phases of the history. First 1998 up and until the October
5 agreements. What you were doing in that period of time?
6 A. I was in the command in Djakovica at the forward command post, as
7 a member of the command, from the month of April 1998.
8 Q. A member of the command. We've had evidence dealing with the
9 excessive use of force by Serb forces throughout that period of time from
10 a range of people: Crosland, Ashdown, Mustafa Draga in relation to
11 Padaliste, that was the MUP, Beqaj in relation to Racaj, Lirij Imeraj in
12 relation to, for example, Dubrava prison and a helicopter, matters of that
13 sort. The allegations of excessive use of force, do you say they're all
14 totally false?
15 A. I don't know about this evidence of yours. I did not follow it,
16 and I am not au courant, but what I know from 1998 onwards when I worked
17 with the Kosovo Verification team as a member of the Pristina Corps team,
18 I'm trying to tell you that not in a single report of ours will you find
19 that the military used excessive force in any action. That's what I've
20 already said.
21 I did not testify for all of Kosovo in 1998 and for 1999, the
22 police, Dubrava, whatever, all these places that you referred to here just
24 Q. I'm dealing very briefly with the period of 1998 before the
25 October agreements. We know there were human rights reports, there were
1 Contact Group reports, all sorts of reports alleging abuse of human rights
2 in Kosovo and excessive use of force by the VJ. Do you say all those
3 reports were false or do you accept -- by the VJ and the MUP -- or do you
4 accept that there were human rights violations in Kosovo at the hands of
5 the MUP and the VJ?
6 A. I testified yesterday to the period from October 1998 until the
7 end of the war in 1999, or more precisely, until the 10th of March, until
8 when I was heading that liaison team on behalf of the Pristina Corps.
9 That was my testimony.
10 And in 1998, at the forward post in Djakovica, they dealt
11 exclusively with securing the state border and preventing incursions from
12 Siptar terrorist forces from Albania and Macedonia. That command had only
13 that role.
14 Q. You were a colonel in 1998, yes?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Are you telling us you simply can't help us one way or another
17 with whether the use of tanks on houses, as Lord Ashdown told us, or Suva
18 Reka being an area of widespread destruction with domestic property on
19 fire, or the destruction of crops as spoken of by Crosland, you can't help
20 us one way or another with whether that is true?
21 A. No, because the command in Djakovica did not conduct a single
22 operation in that area. It dealt exclusively with the border area towards
23 Albania and part of the border area that was later extended up to ten
24 kilometres maximum. That was their assignment.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the October agreements which
1 followed reports of what was happening in Kosovo, as you know, just to
2 remind the Court of this, as you understand it, this is the first time the
3 Kosovo incident had ever become internationalised, isn't it? First time
4 the accused had ever let Kosovo be the subject of international oversight,
5 intervention, or whatever you like. Is that right?
6 A. Well, I as a soldier did not get involved in politics. We did not
7 influence the charting of policies, we only executed tasks given to the
9 There was the first time that we had to deal with the Verification
10 Mission that arrived in order to verify certain things in Kosovo and
11 Metohija. So whether it was the first time or the second time, I really
12 don't know. I wasn't involved in that.
13 Q. From that moment on, then, either with the Verification Mission -
14 and you know nothing about what went before - but from that moment on you
15 know what was happening with the Verification Mission, and then from March
16 onwards, you were on the territory, and just remind us again, what was
17 your function? You were a colonel, and what were you doing?
18 A. I was only a member of a command that executed its missions. They
19 had to do mostly with inspecting units, checking the condition of those
20 units, planning, et cetera, and the commander was Colonel Lazarevic.
21 Q. And --
22 A. I was not -- I was never in such a place in the chain of command
23 that I -- that would give me an opportunity to command. My basic function
24 in the Pristina Corps was chief of infantry. And the Pristina Corps has
25 60 per cent of its troops in infantry, so my role was to take care of the
1 status of those troops, possibilities for command and control, et cetera.
2 As for deciding how the units would be used, that was never my role.
3 Q. You appreciate, don't you, that a large number of the allegations
4 made here against the accused are said to reflect the activities of the
5 Pristina Corps, amongst others. You understand that, don't you?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
8 A. The Pristina Corps --
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
10 A. -- had --
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... about Drewienkiewicz or about
12 Walker, but you come with no single document, no single account that deals
13 with any of the allegations of criminal offences made against this
14 accused; correct?
15 A. No, I don't have any documents. I never had them, and I don't
16 have them now. I was not in a position to obtain any documents.
17 Q. Well --
18 A. I never had my own private archive. I never sought to have any,
19 because that was not my job. I told you what my job was about.
20 Q. I'm not going to spend more than a couple of minutes, if I can
21 avoid it, on the matters upon which you spent a lot of time involving
22 Loncar and his appointment.
23 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice, in the meantime, can I ask one thing to
24 clarify some issues? The -- when we go back to the dialogue, the
25 conversation that took place between this witness and Colonel Ciaglinski,
1 according to Ciaglinski's evidence, when this witness allegedly told him
2 about the plan, was there the presence of an interpreter?
3 MR. NICE: There was.
4 JUDGE KWON: Interpreter for Mr. Ciaglinski?
5 MR. NICE: There was.
6 JUDGE KWON: So -- Witness, you do not speak English at all?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
8 MR. NICE: I'm coming back to the conversation in its
9 chronological point when I deal with the other matters.
10 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. So far as Mr. Loncar is concerned, the history as you gave it
13 yesterday is that he and Walker had got on well in the United Nations
14 operation in Slavonia, UNTAES, and they respected each other as
15 professionals; correct?
16 A. That's something I observed at the first meeting that was attended
17 by Colonel Loncar, Mr. Walker, and Colonel Mijatovic in Pristina.
18 Q. One way or another, and it really doesn't matter, it was because
19 of this relationship that the accused appointed Loncar to the coordination
20 function that he had. Do you accept that?
21 A. Who appointed who?
22 Q. The accused, this accused, appointed Loncar to his job.
23 A. Yes, Mr. Milosevic. In fact, as I said yesterday, Mr. Walker
24 apologised to General Loncar for depriving him of his leisure in
25 retirement and getting him to that job, saying that he was there due to
1 the request he, Mr. Walker, made. That's what Mr. Walker said at the
2 first meeting. And the entire 90-minute meeting was led by Mr. Walker and
3 Mr. Loncar. And as I said before, despite the original plan, neither
4 Colonel Mijatovic nor I had an opportunity to speak because he was taking
5 the chair, and from that we observed that their relationship dates back to
6 some previous period, and that's what I could see and witness for myself.
7 Q. As to who asked who to be the person in Loncar's position, do you
8 accept that it may have been the accused who, discovering the history,
9 said to Walker, "Would you like to work with Loncar again?" rather than
10 Walker asking for that to happen? Do you accept that that might be
12 A. I only repeated what I had heard. I only told you what I heard.
13 Q. Well, I'm putting to you what Loncar has told us, because unlike
14 you, Loncar responded and spoke to us, and I'll make his statement
15 available to the accused. I've got a couple of things I want to put to
16 you from what Loncar told us, and I can lay it on the overhead projector
17 for speed.
18 Loncar was actually too senior for the job he had, wasn't he?
19 A. He was qualified. I don't know whether he was too senior, but he
20 was certainly qualified for that job. He was a lieutenant general, a very
21 experienced commander, experienced officer who had graduated from all the
22 military schools, and he was qualified for what he was doing.
23 Q. You see, again I don't want to take a lot of time, but the reality
24 was that you, for the MUP -- for the VJ, were the person with authority;
25 your colleague for the MUP had authority; and that Loncar actually had no
1 authority. He was really a conduit. Isn't that about right?
2 A. Just as Loncar did not have any authority, I did not have any
3 authority either in terms of command and control. But as for contacts
4 with the Verification Mission, Loncar did have authority because he was
5 head of the liaison team with the Verification Mission on the federal
6 level that was headed by Sainovic, whereas the General Staff had its own
7 liaison team. You saw the schematic of communication that we presented
8 yesterday. I was at the corps level, not the 3rd Army or the General
9 Staff of the army. General Loncar was in the federal commission headed by
10 Mr. Sainovic. And from those positions we had our parallel relationships.
11 At my level was Mr. Ciaglinski, at General Loncar's level was Mr. Walker
12 and Mr. Drewienkiewicz. In his absence, I contacted with Mr. Walker and
13 Mr. Drewienkiewicz. At joint meetings I assisted him in his work. Those
14 were our authorities.
15 Q. And authorisation for inspection of any premises wasn't dealt with
16 by Loncar, it was dealt with by Sainovic or above; correct?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Are you saying Loncar --
19 A. Localities were requested by verifiers, and we approved them in
20 the spirit of the agreement.
21 Q. Can you tell me, please, why unannounced inspections, which would
22 seem perhaps to the outside observer to be the most reliable form of
23 inspection, were so completely resisted by the VJ?
24 A. They were resisted because, according to our interpretation of the
25 agreement, it was not within the competence of the Kosovo Verification
1 Mission to inspect within barracks, and that's what they wanted, to
2 inspect within barracks and within installations, and to precisely locate
3 and position various types of installations and get precise data. The
4 army interpreted the agreement as meaning that that was not their mandate
5 and that it did not have authority for that. On the ground, they could do
6 that, but on the ground there were only three companies, and they were
7 only company-level units, whereas units that were located in the border
8 belt --
9 Q. What is there to hide, what is there to obscure by denying this
10 Verification Mission, which you accepted certainly at the beginning was
11 there in good faith, what was there to obscure by denying them unannounced
12 visit access?
13 A. We had nothing to obscure that would violate the agreement, but as
14 for precise positioning of depots and what is contained in each and every
15 depot, we thought they did not have authority for that, and they insisted
16 on it.
17 Q. Because, of course, they were there to verify that equipment and
18 troops weren't being brought in in excess of the permitted levels, and
19 that's something they could do by unannounced visits, but they were always
20 denied the advantage of making them. Correct?
21 A. I have told you about the position of the army and the federal
22 commission. Their explanation was requested regarding the interpretation
23 of that agreement, and that interpretation was that the KVM did not have
24 authority to inspect within barracks. Not a single unit was brought to
25 Kosovo without notification to the KVM. There was not a single movement,
1 not a single entry or exit from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
2 Nothing was done without notifying the KVM. All arrivals of new
3 conscripts and departures of those who had already served --
4 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... that. Can you tell us,
5 please, when, where, by whom there was advance warning given to the KVM of
6 the Racak incident?
7 A. I told you yesterday that my first contact concerning Racak with
8 the KVM was between General Drewienkiewicz and myself, took place on the
9 15th, at around 11.30 p.m. when he called me at my home.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... maybe. Are you going to
11 suggest, or are you going to be able to give evidence to the effect that
12 KVM was given advance notice of the incident at Racak so as to be able to
13 observe it?
14 A. I cannot testify about that because, like Ciaglinski had liaison
15 with me, the KVM had a man who contacted the MUP, and MUP operations were
16 notified to them by Colonel Mijatovic, and Mr. Ciaglinski was a
17 coordinator. And in the transcript, in the record that we read yesterday,
18 you saw that General Drewienkiewicz was notified. He was informed, and he
19 didn't tell you that. He did not -- they could not learn about that from
20 me because I was liaison from the army, and they had their own liaison man
21 from the MUP, and General Drewienkiewicz spoke about it at the meeting of
22 the 16th.
23 MR. NICE: The accused wants to say something?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I just want to ask the witness to
25 speak a little more slowly because I can see in the transcript that the
1 interpretation does not cover all he is saying. There are certain
2 omissions, and I suppose that's because he's speaking so fast.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm much indebted to you, Mr. Milosevic, for
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. As to whether this was an operation of the MUP or a joint
7 operation, what's your summary position?
8 A. It was a MUP operation.
9 Q. Presumably the VJ would have to be notified about it in advance,
10 wouldn't they?
11 A. I don't know that.
12 Q. Well, if you've got a big operation like the one on a whole
13 village said to be a nest of KLA, the VJ would need to know about it in
14 order not to get involved or not to be troublesome or something of that
15 sort; not, for example, to have training exercises happening immediately
16 adjacent to the scene of the event. They would need to know, wouldn't
18 A. Well, if the VJ was notified, the corps commander would have known
19 about it, the Chief of Staff of MUP forces in Pristina, brigade commanders
20 whose units would be located there. So along the chain of command, they
21 would know. I could not have known because I was not included in the
22 chain of command and decision-making at such a level. And I really can't
23 tell you anything about it, because I was not in a position that would
24 allow me to know that. All that was decided in the Pristina Corps in
25 concert with the MUP would -- would bypass me because I was not on that
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could only guess.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nice, is it your contention that the agreement
5 required that an anti-terrorist operation should be notified in
7 MR. NICE: As a matter of -- if it was an independent operation by
8 the MUP, it would be a matter of common sense in military terms that it
9 would be notified, yes.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, no, no. Sorry. You misunderstand me. I
11 don't mean notified by the MUP to the VJ or vice versa. I mean is it your
12 contention that it was part of the agreement that brought the mission --
13 MR. NICE: It's been said before that they were notified, yes.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: -- that there was an obligation to notify them of
15 an anti-terrorist operation?
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour is right to remind me of that separate
17 issue, and my first answer -- approach would be to see what the witness
18 would say of that, and then I'll come back to --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: You've actually asked him that question.
20 MR. NICE: Yes, I have.
21 Q. Do you accept that an operation of this kind, the one that we know
22 about at Racak, should be notified under the agreement to the authorities?
23 A. I would certainly inform them, as far as the army is concerned,
24 because it is in the interest -- it was in the interest of the army and
25 the MUP for the operations to be monitored. It would be in our interest
1 and to our benefit.
2 Q. That's interesting common sense, but His Honour is concerned to
3 know from me and from you whether, first of all, it is being suggested
4 that the agreement required notification of such events to the KVM. Do
5 you say the agreement, the October agreement itself, required that KVM be
6 notified of something like the Racak event?
7 A. I think it was a requirement.
8 Q. Thank you. Well, did you ever sign orders -- no.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'll come back to Your Honour's question
10 about the interpretation of the agreement, if I may, a little later.
11 There's been a great deal --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm content with what's been explored so far.
13 MR. NICE: Thank you. Can you just look at this clip, please,
14 which is a Sanction clip.
15 Your Honour, I'm afraid we have to move on the clip a little bit.
16 I can't hear anything at the moment. We're seeing the English.
17 Q. Can you hear anything, Mr. Kotur? Can you hear anything?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 [Audiotape played]
20 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] And another part of the police
21 forces moved out from another side of the village to push the terrorists
23 JUDGE KWON: Is the video being played?
24 [Videotape played]
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: We are not having the video, Mr. Nice.
1 MR. NICE: No, I'm sorry. Well, there are technical problems.
2 Time is at a premium. We may come back to that. Perhaps if we can just
3 look at this physical document first and then we'll come back to it.
4 Q. I'm not quite sure whether your last answer was different from an
5 earlier answer. Are you allowing, by reason of your simply not knowing
6 the position, are you allowing that this Racak exercise was a joint
7 operation of the police and the army?
8 A. I don't know that. I only know what I heard and what I was
9 informed about. I wasn't there when the operation took place. I wasn't
10 there when it was planned. I only had communication with the verifiers in
11 the Urosevac garrison that notified me about it. And if any forces were
12 involved anywhere, I was informed by officers on observation duty and
13 officers who were on the ground, through Ciaglinski.
14 Q. Well, if the usher would be good enough to place page 4 of the
15 English -- well, first of all the front page of this document on the
16 overhead projector.
17 I believe this has been seen before -- this has been seen before
18 but hasn't yet, I think, been produced as an exhibit. It's a daily
19 operations report from the Yugoslav Army General Staff, and it's dated the
20 16th of January of 1999.
21 And if you'd go, please, to paragraph 8, and if Mr. Nort would lay
22 page 4 of 6 on the overhead projector. What we see in this document --
23 A. Point 8.
24 Q. Paragraph 8. In fact, it's 8.4, I think. Incidents and changes
25 of significance.
1 And then under 3rd Army, which you'll see as a subheading, and in
2 the second paragraph it says this: "Some of the forces of BG-242-1 were
3 deployed to seal off the village of Racak, Stimlje ... where MUP members
4 conducted an operation against Siptar terrorists who had killed a MUP
6 Now, you say you don't have personal knowledge. You accept that
7 joint operations occurred. This report reflects - and it's as plain as
8 daylight - this report reflects that Racak was a joint operation; correct?
9 A. It says here that part of the units made a blockade of Racak, but
10 I told you, and I'm going to tell you again, I was not in the chain of
11 command, I was not in the chain of planning. I only received reports
12 through the liaison officer located in the garrisons, and I have reports
13 that I sent on to the General Staff but along another line from the
14 liaison team with the Verification Mission and the liaison team with the
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
17 A. So I did not have this information --
18 Q. You've come here. You've been prepared to give interpretation of
19 what Loncar did, what Drewienkiewicz did, what Walker did on secondhand
20 information. This is something within your expertise, and it's a very,
21 very simple question, and I'd like you to look at the document, as the
22 military man with decades of experience that you have, and to tell us,
23 with forces of the army deployed to seal off the village where the MUP are
24 conducting an operation is described, what is being described is a joint
25 operation, and it's very, very simple, isn't it?
1 A. Yes. That is not in dispute. I did not contest that. But what I
2 said about Drewienkiewicz and Loncar, they were the men I worked with, and
3 I was able to talk about that. I cannot talk about things that I didn't
4 work on.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... this document, unless of
6 course the document was typed in error or something like that, we may take
7 it, may we, that Racak was a joint operation, from this document.
8 A. It emerges from this that the forces of the 243rd Brigade were
9 engaged in the blockade of Racak, and a blockade can mean taking up
10 certain positions in the area, but it doesn't mean that the forces were
11 reinforcements during an operation. Its very location here at Canovic
12 hill and the surrounding parts can imply that that was, from that side, a
13 sort of security measure, because that side of Racak had been blocked.
14 And I don't want to enter into the details of it now.
15 These forces were not reinforced, they were blocked. But it
16 wasn't the word "reinforcement" that was used. The word "blocked" was
17 used. Now, whether you took an active part or not, that is something else
18 again, if you follow along the lines of logic and reason. So I don't
19 think this is to be challenged. It says it was in blockade.
20 If you say that a place was blockaded or sealed off, that's one
21 thing, and it's quite another thing whether you were actively engaged and
22 involved in an operation. So that is my explanation of this term
23 "blockade," or the word "blockade."
24 Q. The last answer seems to be an effort to say that perhaps it
25 wasn't a joint exercise. Are you trying to get out of a difficulty you
1 think that this document may create for this accused?
2 A. No. I'm not trying to get anybody out of any difficulty or any
3 acts. If they perpetrated those acts, they must be held responsible. You
4 asked me for an interpretation and understanding. I said that all that it
5 said here was sealed off, or blockade, and I said that when the word
6 "blockade" is used it means that a terrain was blocked and doesn't mean
7 that it actively participated as reinforcements to other forces, and so
8 you can't see that from this report by the General Staff.
9 Now, my knowledge was not that there were --
10 Q. You never knew anything, did you, one way or the other? I think
11 -- I hope I've correctly summarised your evidence.
12 A. I didn't know what -- about what I didn't do myself.
13 Q. No, of course not. So you don't know now, you didn't know then.
15 A. Well, I couldn't have known.
16 Q. No, quite. Well, let's look, then --
17 A. I attended the meeting, as I said yesterday, between General
18 Maisonneuve and Mr. Jelic, and Jelic did not confirm that, that there was
19 participation on the part of the army.
20 Q. We're going to look at a record of that document, which is Exhibit
21 178, and it's tab 28 of the Racak documents, if Ms. Dicklich would be so
22 good. Because although you were asked comments about other meetings where
23 you weren't present, you weren't taken through this one in detail where
24 you were present.
25 Now, it's in English, but I can read the relevant parts of it to
1 you for your comment.
2 If we lay first of all the first page on the overhead projector.
3 It has you opening -- we can see the list of people.
4 A bit further down, please, Mr. Nort. A bit further up, whichever
5 way it is. Let us see a bit more of the document.
6 It says that the meeting started with you, K, with pleasantries,
7 dealing with the return of the 40 bodies from Racak to Stimlje. It deals
8 with reference to Sainovic meeting Keller, with autopsies allegedly saying
9 that all were dead due to distant fire, but that wasn't yet signed by the
10 Finns. And then you said this: "... this was mainly a police action, but
11 the military was present for one part. The VJ were several hundred metres
12 away when the attack started. They did not enter the village but acted
13 only on some specific points."
14 Now, that's what's recorded as being said by you. As it's in
15 English, I'll repeat the material lines. "... the military was present
16 for one part. The VJ was several hundred metres away when the attack
17 started. They didn't enter the village but acted only on some specific
19 Two questions arising from that. First of all, has the note-taker
20 correctly reflected what you said at the meeting?
21 A. I cannot remember now after so many years whether it's really
22 correct, but if the note-taker wrote the minutes correctly, then what
23 Mr. Jelic said at the meeting should not differ from what I said, because
24 everything I learnt about that action I learnt from Commander Jelic. He
25 carried out some training and exercises along the axis close to Racak, and
1 he said he had been attacked and opened fire on certain facilities. I
2 know that because that's what he said. So that is how I got involved in
3 the discussion not to remain completely passive and silent. But Jelic was
4 the person who was speaking. It was his area of responsibility, he was
5 the commander, and he was responding to the deployment of the forces. I
6 just took the floor to say what I had learnt from Jelic about the matter.
7 Q. I see. It was accidental proximity of his unit that was on
8 training and exercise in the area of a major operation by the MUP that led
9 to their firing back; is that what you're saying?
10 A. Not those words. I didn't use those words. You're giving it in
11 caricature form now. The unit was permanently located in the area
12 underneath Canovic hill, which is close to Racak, and according to a
13 separate plan and programme, he was conducting exercises and training of
14 units, and he had training and exercise of the units on that day near
15 Racak. Now, whether that was agreed upon or whether it just happened to
16 coincide with the other, I can't give you the details of that. You had
17 Jelic here, so he was able to tell you about that, but as I say, I was not
18 informed about that. I wasn't in that chain of command nor was I
19 commander of the brigade or the unit nor had I taken part in the planning
20 of the MUP action or the involvement of the training of the army or its
21 engagement along that axis. All I can say is about the information that I
22 had received, and the best information you'll be able to receive from the
23 brigade commander himself.
24 Q. The second page in English, to conclude this.
25 Towards the bottom of the page, Mr. Nort. There is a passage --
1 that's fine. A bit further up. A bit further down. That's perfect.
2 We'll get to the other side. Thank you.
3 Jelic is, having given his account - and we don't have time
4 through it all, the Judges have been through it before - says they weren't
5 attacked from the village but from the high ground between Racak and
6 Belince. They had a 2 to 300 metre higher elevation "This was not a
7 military operation nor was the VJ responsible for any destruction in the
8 town. Our operation happened at the same time and the MUP operation."
9 Maisonneuve said, "What -- on the 15th of January between 0800 and
10 0900 in the morning?" Jelic said, "Yes." "You were attacked from the
11 direction of Racak and Belince?" Jelic said "Yes," and then you made this
12 observation, according to the note-taker: "Let me simplify," you said.
13 "The unit did not move from camp, therefore they were not surrounding the
14 village. They fired on targets between Racak and Belince."
15 Did you say that?
16 A. Well, you could see that because there was tension between Jelic
17 and Maisonneuve, and Jelic -- Maisonneuve insisted whether the army had
18 taken part in Racak, whereas Jelic told his own story. I just stepped in
19 and said, "Let's make things simple," and I said that I had concluded from
20 what I had heard what I said. I know that I said something in that
21 connection, but I'm telling you why I reacted, because there was a sort of
22 tug between Maisonneuve and Jelic, Maisonneuve wanting to know one thing,
23 Jelic claiming that it was how he described it, and from this it would
24 emerge that the army did not enter the village or what you've just read
25 out, your version.
1 Q. What you said we now know to be untrue, because of course the army
2 blockaded or sealed off the village for the MUP. So of course it left
3 camp. Now, why would you, in a meeting like this, please, Mr. Kotur, say
4 something that you either had no knowledge about or, alternatively, knew
5 to be untrue?
6 A. No. I didn't even have any idea of it not being true. But
7 listening to what was said at the meeting, what Maisonneuve had said,
8 Mr. Maisonneuve and what Jelic said, I just commented on that. So if you
9 take the whole course of the meeting and everything that evolved, you'll
10 see that that was my comment. So let's make things simple and state how
11 things stand, nothing more than that. So that was my involvement at the
12 meeting. And I state again, if anybody knew about the situation, it was
13 Mr. Jelic and the verifiers who were there, and they could have given you
14 the best and most correct information.
15 As I say, I was just head of the team for liaising with the Kosovo
16 Verification Mission in Pristina, and all I know is what is stated at the
17 meeting through the chain of command. I said that as a member, although a
18 head of the team of the Pristina Corps for liaising with the Verification
19 Mission, by the same token became a member of the staff collegiate of the
20 corps. Otherwise, I wasn't a member of the collegiate corps by virtue of
21 my post and function, and the very fact that I wasn't --
22 Q. Forgive me. As a member of the corps, you must have known what
23 the corps was up to. You must have known if this was a joint operation.
24 A. No. I did not have to know --
25 Q. Well, help us with this --
1 A. -- nor did I know. Why would somebody have had to inform me about
2 that at all cost?
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... please. If the army was
4 deployed to seal off the village, and if the event lasted a day or so and
5 involved many people dying, either at the hands of the MUP or the army
6 being, for purposes of this question, immaterial, the army would have
7 prepared a report, wouldn't it? It would have contemporaneous documents,
8 and there would be a report prepared on what had happened.
9 A. Well, there would have had to have been a report. The army could
10 not have been involved somewhere, on assignment somewhere without any
11 record of that existing.
12 Q. Where is it?
13 A. Operative reports must be in the operative section.
14 Q. You see, the document we -- the document that I showed you which
15 revealed that the army sealed off Racak, Exhibit 934, is a document that
16 it's only taken us four years or five years to get hold of, but we got
17 hold of it eventually. Well, can you tell us, please, where we can find
18 the relevant report - because we've been trying to find it - from the army
19 about this joint operation? Once we know where we can look, perhaps
20 somebody will give it to us. Can you tell us, where can we find it?
21 A. All documents referring to units are archived at the end of each
22 year, and all the documents and material can be found in those same
23 archives. If something was written, then it should be there. But the
24 deadline for storing documents is always set and not all documents are
25 kept for the same length of time. I think that this particular document
1 was probably kept for a number of years.
2 MR. NICE: Your Honours, I should simply tell you we have been
3 trying to get this document, as the Court knows, for several years. It's
4 never been suggested that it's been destroyed in the course of routine
6 Q. Can I turn to something different. I haven't got time to go
7 through almost any of your exhibits, but I'll just look at one, if I can
8 find it. We will look at, just as a sample, really, of your exhibits, tab
9 14. We'll look at tab 14 of your exhibits.
10 This -- this is a report of a meeting held on the 10th of March
11 between yourself and Ciaglinski. You deal with resolution of problems in
12 talks that there have been, planning a visit of General Dizet, as
13 described. Concern about militaries training of VJ units in Nevoljani and
14 Bukos and the targets that were engaged, described there by Ciaglinski,
15 tanks firing live ammunition at the houses of Albanians, or
16 so it was claimed. You're saying that you didn't believe that the
17 buildings had been fired at.
18 Item 3, General DZ visiting Kacanik and Ivaja and establishing
19 that there had been fighting there and shooting, that some houses were
20 damaged. No plundering. DZ saying he was going to visit Vucitrn. And C
21 informing that 26 new liaison officers were coming.
22 Well, that's the report for the 10th of March. Let's look at
23 events of the same time as a single exercise recorded, please --
24 A. Ciaglinski was informed that he would be coming.
25 Q. Yes. Let me look at this document. There are three tabs, please,
1 three yellow markers. This is Exhibit number 321, part of 321, the blue
3 Mr. Kotur, if you would just look at it. This is part of the
4 routine reporting process of the KVM. You've made some observations about
5 its reliability as a reporting body, but you didn't give any specific
6 details. This is, I think, for the 10th of March -- sorry, this is the
7 8th of March. It runs through to the 10th of March. Again it's in
8 English, but I can deal with it sufficiently slowly, I hope, for you to
9 follow it.
10 What the KVM reported was that a "... MUP company size unit and a
11 VJ company, augmented by an AAA platoon ... had conducted an operation in
12 Djeneral Jankovic Salient. At that stage, no direct observation of the
13 objectives could be conducted by KVM due to the blockade of all secondary
14 roads. Part of the Serb contingent remained in the area for the night,
15 indicating a probable resumption of fighting on Tuesday the 9th."
16 Is there any reason, Mr. Kotur, to doubt the accuracy of that
17 piece of reporting by the KVM? "AAA" stands for anti-aircraft artillery;
18 for example, Pragas. Any reason to doubt the accuracy of this part of
19 their reporting?
20 A. No. I don't know.
21 Q. Next item, please. Well, it's you who were there and who you were
22 liaising and dealing with these things, amongst others, with
23 Mr. Ciaglinski.
24 On the 9th of March, it says this: "The VJ/MUP operation to clear
25 the KLA from ... Jankovic area continues. KVM patrols initially blocked
1 from proceeding to the affected villages. MUP and VJ forces then followed
2 their pattern of surrounding the local villages and forcing the
3 inhabitants to flee, through the use of direct and indirect fire. By
4 mid-afternoon, houses were burning in Gajre, Ivaja, Straza, Alil Mahala."
5 And it goes on to say: "The MUP units appeared intent on destroying these
7 Now, is there any reason to doubt the accuracy of this bit of KVM
8 reporting on a joint VJ/MUP operation?
9 A. Now when I see what Ciaglinski informed me about at the meeting of
10 the 10th of March and what has been written down, I have reason to doubt
11 the veracity of this, the truth of it, because I'd like to see what
12 Ciaglinski said, word-by-word, in point 3, if I may.
13 Q. Shall we come back to that. Just for convenience, we'll look at
14 the last entry, which is the 10th of March, and then we'll come back to
15 the document.
16 A. But it is related to the document you mentioned about Ivaja and
17 Kacanik and so on.
18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
19 A. So just for comparison purposes, because we spoke about the 9th,
20 and on the 10th you have Ciaglinski's report about it. With your
21 permission, may I read it out?
22 Q. Can we come back to that and can we just look at the 10th first so
23 that we've got the reporting from the KVM complete.
24 Here's the 10th reporting, and it says: "KVM escorted UNHCR
25 convoy in the heart of the salient. They were stopped by VJ and MUP but
1 authorised to proceed. Three bodies in civilian clothes were found in
2 Ivaja, which is totally deserted as is Gajre."
3 And the comment is that: "Although no significant activity was
4 reported... on the 10th of March, the VJ maintains a small garrison of
5 soldiers and equipment ... in Djeneral Jankovic."
6 Now, is that all likely to be accurate?
7 A. I wasn't in the area so I can't really say whether what the
8 Verification Mission is saying now is correct or not. As I say, I wasn't
9 in all the places to see for myself, but I have to judge on the basis of
10 the reports I receive and comments I hear. So any comment on my part
11 would be improper to say yes or no, because I don't know the details. But
12 I do have what Mr. Ciaglinski said at the meeting of the 10th, and with
13 your permission, I'd like to read it out to the Trial Chamber.
14 Q. If it relates to this, of course.
15 A. Ciaglinski said that General DZ was in Kacanik and in Ivaja and
16 established that there were conflicts and that there was firing, that
17 certain houses had been damaged, that there was no theft but that certain
18 houses had been searched from which the KLA had fired, which I consider to
19 be normal. Therefore, the situation is far from being as has been
20 described by the media, some media and the KLA, where it was claimed that
21 the villages were destroyed and burnt. He said that we did have witnesses
22 in the field who in their report will deny the allegations made by the
24 He also said that General DZ would visit Vucitrn to establish on
25 the spot what the problems are, that he would visit Vucitrn, as I said, to
1 establish what the problems are in the work of the KVM centre, and he said
2 that the command of the coordinating centre was replaced yesterday because
3 of supplying the KLA.
4 And then I informed him about the arrival of 26 new liaison
5 officers from the General Staff of the army of Yugoslavia whose exclusive
6 duty was to liaise with them, not to have to read on.
7 That was on the 10th, and that was the last meeting I had with
8 Ciaglinski while he stayed on in Pristina for another ten days.
9 Q. Now, what do you say arises from this, that the KVM were reporting
10 matters and being fair in giving a balanced view to everybody's opinions,
11 or what?
12 A. What I'm saying is this: I do believe in what Ciaglinski said,
13 whereas the report about the houses burnt and the destruction of the
14 villages is incorrect, to my mind.
15 Now, I know that the information that were received from the
16 regional centres at the staff level in Pristina of the Verification
17 Mission, that they had a separate body which reviewed all the documents
18 and made their assessment, because certain verifiers were inexperienced
19 and wouldn't be able to assess the situation on the ground properly, and
20 that is why a uniformed team was set up, providing information in
21 Pristina, not those coming from the regional centres, because they didn't
22 always believe their reports, the reports from the regional centres, at
23 face value. That's the information I have about the way in which they
24 came by their conclusions.
25 And then when Ciaglinski presents this at the Kosovo Verification
1 Mission, the head of staff, the assistant to General DZ in charge of the
2 army, I completely believe what Mr. Ciaglinski wrote and not rely on
3 certain documents that you're presenting which differ quite a bit from
4 what it says here. Now, I don't want to go into the details. All I am
5 saying is that I accept this, whereas I myself was not on the spot to be
6 able to give you my own value judgement taken from the spot, on the
7 ground, as I saw it.
8 Q. This document that we have been looking at, document 14, has been
9 prepared by Slana for production to whom?
10 A. That's the group for cooperating with the OSCE mission of the
11 Foreign Ministry. It is somebody from the Foreign Ministry pointed out,
12 and it says Soskic from the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And all
13 those who attended the meeting -- this was recorded by Soskic: All those
14 attending the meeting, Mr. Slana, as the head of that particular post and
15 office, signed the document. The document was sent out to the Pristina
16 Corps and to General Andjelkovic. Depending on the importance of the
17 documents. Not all documents were sent to Belgrade to Mr. Milosevic's
18 address or the foreign minister, for example. Depending on their
19 importance, on the importance of the meeting and what was said at the
20 meeting. So that's how they were distributed.
21 But anyway, this document is from the SMIP of Pristina, and a
22 member of theirs recorded it at the meeting that I attended with
23 Mr. Ciaglinski.
24 Q. Do you see Mr. Ciaglinski's signature on it?
25 A. No, there's no signature.
1 Q. Is there no suggestion --
2 A. Ciaglinski or I myself or anybody else signed it -- did not sign
3 any reports like this, records and minutes. May I tell you something
4 about the records and minutes now.
5 Q. I only asked you that because you said everybody signed the
6 record. This is a confidential document within the Serb authorities --
7 A. No, no, no.
8 Q. Does it show that it was copied to Mr. Ciaglinski?
9 A. No, it doesn't show that.
10 Q. Was it copied to him?
11 A. No, I don't think it was. I don't think that was the practice, to
12 send them out, to copy them out, just as they didn't reciprocate; they
13 didn't send any to us. And this is like the minutes from Urosevac that
14 you presented here. That wasn't signed either by the members who were
15 present at the meeting, either Mr. Jelic or myself or I don't know who
16 else. And this was incorporated as being one of Mr. Maisonneuve's
17 documents. So that was the standard practice. But there's no reason for
18 the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the note-taking clerks and
19 experienced persons working in embassies to sign a document that wasn't
20 true. We didn't write these documents for the purposes of The Hague or
21 anything like that. We never knew that they would come up anywhere like
22 this so that somebody could write something in a certain way so that you
23 could read between the lines.
24 These are valid documents which fully reflect the meeting and
25 conversation and discussions taking place at the meeting, and this -- you
1 can't take it with a pinch of salt and any reservations. You must accept
2 it as it stands on face value because, as I say, I was present at the
3 meeting and I do know that these records and minutes were very properly
4 conducted and presented later on.
5 JUDGE KWON: Before we break, Mr. Nort, could you put the blue
6 book on the ELMO again, starting from the 10th of March, and 9th of March,
7 and 8th of March. I don't remember whether we heard about this from
8 Mr. Coo.
9 Mr. Nice, it's about the comments of reliability of each report.
10 At the end of paragraph there appears a letter, B2, A2, something like
12 MR. NICE: No, I don't recall having an explanation of that code.
13 JUDGE KWON: Could you remind me of that?
14 MR. NICE: No, I don't recall having an explanation of it. But --
15 JUDGE KWON: See, here it says -- 8th of March, it says
16 "reliability assessed as B2." What does it mean?
17 MR. NICE: I don't recall that it's in evidence. If it is, I'll
18 find it. If it's available in some other way, I'll offer it to you as
19 soon as I can.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I think we'll take the break now. We
21 will adjourn for 20 minutes.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, please continue.
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. Mr. Kotur, there are probably in principle three periods of --
2 probably in principle three periods of time that it may be helpful to view
3 separately to a degree; 1998 until the October agreements, October
4 agreements until the withdrawal of the mission, and then the mission until
5 the end of the conflict. At all of those times you were a member of the
6 Pristina Corps; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. We've been looking at a divergence in reporting between what's
9 contained in your exhibit 14 and what's contained in the KVM, and I may
10 come back to that with the suggestion that what we see there is just
11 another reflection of the degree of autonomy, and perhaps criminal
12 autonomy, exercised by the Pristina Corps; autonomy to the extent of being
13 outside the normal chain of command. That's the topic. I'm going to deal
14 with it very briefly with the use of the overhead projector and Mr. Nort.
15 This is an exhibit, 769, tab 23. I'm afraid it's highlighted but
16 that makes it easier.
17 That one for the witness, please, and I'll follow it.
18 The first page, you will see is -- reveals this to be a letter
19 from Perisic to the accused. Top of the page, please. It's the date --
20 we want to see the date. It's the 23rd of July, 1998. Down the page,
21 please, Mr. Nort. Thank you very much.
22 He complains to his president of the constant tendency to use the
23 VJ outside the institutions of the system.
24 Can you go over two pages, please, Mr. Nort.
25 Just at the foot. Page before, please, so that we can just follow
1 it, and then turn straight over. So under "General proposition to how to
2 remedy the position," he says: "In practice, the commander of the
3 Pristina --" oh, next page, please. "... the commander of the Pristina
4 Corps plans what he has been ordered to do --" I'm so sorry. I didn't ...
5 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
6 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm so sorry. I didn't realise you were
7 occupied with something else.
8 Q. "... commander of the Pristina Corps plans what he has been
9 ordered to do, and this is at the request of Sainovic and Minic and the
10 MUP, and so turns into something like a service of theirs, for planning
11 and execution. Since it is his wish and that of all of us that the plan
12 be realised if others will not or cannot, he executes it with the Pristina
13 Corps units, which leads to an illegitimate, unsystematic and inadequate
14 utilisation of VJ units ..."
15 Now, the description here by General Perisic, the man in charge,
16 as he was until removed, is that Sainovic and Minic were running your
17 corps on their own account. Is he right about that?
18 A. Was that a question?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. I don't know about Sainovic and Minic running the corps. That's a
21 bit strange. I just know that the corps commander commanded the corps,
22 and his commander was the army commander. As for our forward command post
23 in Djakovica, our commander was the corps commander, and then there was
24 his deputy, his Chief of Staff. He was the commander of the forward
25 command post from April 1998 up until later.
1 Q. You were there negotiating with KVM in the middle. We'll see what
2 you were doing between the departure of KVM in June 1999 shortly, but you
3 were quite a senior officer. The suggestion here is, by Perisic himself,
4 that this was being run outside the chain of command by Sainovic. Do you
5 accept that that may be right?
6 A. No, I do not accept that, because I've never seen any such thing,
7 anybody else commanding the units except for the commanders of these
9 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice, could you give me the exhibit number again?
10 MR. NICE: I'm correcting the exhibit number, I gave the wrong
12 JUDGE KWON: Yes, you cited the wrong number.
13 MR. NICE: I misread it, actually, and the correct number is 469,
14 tab 23. I apologise for that.
15 Q. I want you to look, please, then, if that's what you say, at some
16 clips which come from a television programme. General Dimitrijevic, you
17 know who he was, don't you?
18 A. Yes, I know.
19 Q. He also went out of office at the same sort of time and maybe for
20 the same sorts of reasons, but he's one of the people we'll see, and I
21 want your comments very rapidly on the points that were made.
22 MR. NICE: Your Honours, we have a series of very short clips.
23 There are transcripts, to assist the comprehension, in both languages, and
24 it all relates to the Pristina Corps, really. So if we can play the first
25 -- when these pages have been distributed. Your Honour, in the format
1 you have it, each clip is sequential, one after the other. I'll probably,
2 if they don't take too long, go through all of them because they're not
3 very long.
4 We can play the first clip, please.
5 [Videotape played]
6 MR. NICE: No soundtrack. Can we -- in case there's a problem
7 with the -- here we go. Right. Sound, please. I have no sound.
8 Q. Mr. Kotur, do you have sound?
9 A. Yes, I have sound.
10 Q. I don't have sound, but it doesn't matter. Pause there. In the
11 course -- we can read it in the English. In the course of this, and
12 that's General Dimitrijevic, Aleksandar Dimitrijevic, head of the security
13 administration until 1999, saying: "Because of misuse of the Pristina
14 Corps, the situation got more and more complicated."
15 Now, do you accept that the -- there was criminal violence on the
16 territory and it was committed by the Pristina Corps? Do you accept that?
17 A. I'm not aware of any such thing being done by the Pristina Corps.
18 MR. NICE: Your Honours, I hope that that -- that the overall
19 soundtrack of that was "I still remember that in 1998 there was a meeting
20 with the president at that time, Milosevic." I hope that was correct,
21 because I just simply wasn't getting any sound. Was that clip number 1?
22 Can we try clip number 2 and we'll come back to clip number 1.
23 And if I could have some sound I'd be grateful. I don't know what I have
24 to do to make it work.
25 JUDGE KWON: What is the provenance of this film?
1 MR. NICE: It's a television documentary containing interviews
2 with a number of people, and in particular with Dimitrijevic, Pavkovic and
4 JUDGE KWON: What television?
5 MR. NICE: It was a video programme called Strictly Confidential,
6 and it was broadcast by B92. And I haven't got the broadcast date at the
7 moment, but I think it was last year.
8 Can we try the second clip and see if I can hear some sound.
9 [Videotape played]
10 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] And then because of the misuse of
11 parts of the Pristina Corps, the situation ..."
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot see it any longer.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. That clip ends with "... the situation got more and more
16 Can we try clip 3, please because it's still Dimitrijevic.
17 [Videotape played]
18 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] I think there was a situation when
19 General Perisic asked for reports as to whether the army was involved
20 somewhere in some action and that he received reports that it wasn't, but
21 then he remembered to demand from the operative organ of the General Staff
22 daily information about the use of large calibres. And of course when a
23 corps commander tells you that he did not engage anyone, but you can see
24 that during the course of the day a certain number of ammunition was used,
25 what -- or, rather, whom would you believe?"
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. Thank you. Now, taking these two clips and the first one that you
3 heard together, what's being said here is that the Pristina Corps, until
4 Perisic's departure or until some time in any event in 1998, was so out of
5 control that the chief general, the top general had to ask for an
6 accounting of ammunition in order to support claims being made by that
7 corps that they were not engaged in wrongdoing. What do you say to that?
8 A. I don't know what happened in the top echelons of the military and
9 what kind of relations prevailed there. I was at Djakovica at the forward
10 command post there, and I know that the use of the army in certain
11 operations was for the liberation of Orahovac. That's what I know. And
12 this was selective use of part of the units only. The use of the army,
13 since we were exclusively engaged in providing security for the state
14 border or, rather, defending the state border from terrorist groups that
15 were coming in from Albania, that was the main preoccupation of us in
16 Djakovica. Everything else that happened during those months we did not
17 even go to the corps command.
18 Q. When you say this was selective use of part of the units only, are
19 you acknowledging that there had indeed been misuse, as Dimitrijevic puts
20 it, of the Pristina Corps by Sainovic? Is that what you're acknowledging?
21 A. I don't know about that, so I cannot accept it or reject it. I
22 really don't know. I just know that the first time the army was used in
23 Kosovo, as far as I know, was for the liberation of Orahovac because that
24 is close to Djakovica, so I know that the army was engaged. And we were
25 not in charge of that action.
1 Q. Let's look at the next clip, clip 4, please. This is Perisic,
2 head of the General Staff, and the next --
3 [Videotape played]
4 MR. NICE: I have no sound again.
5 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] This team with Sainovic tried with
6 insufficient persistence on Pavkovic's part and the ever-growing
7 insistence of Milosevic --"
8 MR. NICE: That should have ended "... to misuse the army." It
9 got cut off. Can we look at the next clip as well, please.
10 [Videotape played]
11 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Comes August, and then Sajo, who in
12 the meantime was figuratively called General Patton, said that they would
13 certainly destroy terrorism by September and that observers who were in
14 Kosovo and Metohija at the time said that they only have to continue that
15 way and if they destroy it until September, that's good, and if they don't
16 destroy it, it would not be good."
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. So "Sajo" is an abbreviation for Sainovic. This is the Chief of
19 the General Staff saying that the army was being controlled by Sainovic at
20 the insistence of this accused, with an intention to destroy the terrorism
21 by October 1998 but acting outside the command. Do you accept that?
22 MR. KAY: Can I raise a matter here? The witness is being asked
23 to deal with statements made by others in a TV film, some of which doesn't
24 contain all the points being put by Mr. Nice, and he is adding the words
25 which aren't on the original transcript, or the original recording that
1 we're listening to. How can the witness possibly deal with the thoughts
2 or opinions of these others? This isn't evidence relating to him. He's
3 not a party to the discussions, he's not a party to the moment when the
4 particular general or politician is making a statement. And in my
5 submission it's unhelpful evidence to the Tribunal because it's actually
6 valueless. It's another form of trying to introduce the video statement
7 in his evidence as a part of the cross-examination.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: He is an army colonel, and these are matters that
9 one would expect him to know about and to have a view of, but I do take
10 your point that there isn't much utility in the evidence.
11 Mr. Nice, you might consider how much longer you will spend on
13 MR. NICE: Yes.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: What I had wanted to ask you, Mr. Nice, what is
15 the significance for the Prosecution case of the evidence that you're
16 seeking to lead that the Pristina Corps was a kind of renegade corps and
17 was out of control? Would it be your case that that then would tend to
18 confirm your position that they intervened in Racak? Would you then be
19 saying that that kind of corps was more likely to intervene in Racak, or
20 isn't it the case that if they did intervene they did so on the basis of
21 properly formed instructions and orders?
22 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm grateful for the opportunity to
23 explain our position. Our position is that it had become quite clear by
24 1998 that this accused was controlling parts of the army, the army in
25 Kosovo, directly through Sainovic, and that therefore he commanded and
1 would have known exactly what that army was doing, and that in that way he
2 was able to determine whether things were done unlawfully or not. And
3 when we see, as we saw, a divergence in reporting of what was being
4 recorded as having happened within the corps, in, for example, tab 14 of
5 this witness's exhibits, a divergence from what the Chamber may accept was
6 the reality on the ground, this is all part of the same overall endeavour
7 to have de facto what you want without letting it being apparent either de
8 jure, through the proper reporting system, or otherwise.
9 So that in relation to Racak, this is not, of course, the case of
10 a military unit out of control. It's under control, but it's under the
11 control of this accused, and that's where it's important to our case.
12 And the very disappearance of Dimitrijevic and Perisic in 1998
13 when Perisic seeks lawful operation of the army is consistent with that
14 part of our case, indeed indicative of it.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Nice.
16 MR. NICE: Your Honours, I'll look at the -- we've got clips 6, 7,
17 and 8. Let me just take a moment. I will just ask a question.
18 Q. Malisevo, what do you know about the incidents at Malisevo in
19 1998, please, Mr. Kotur?
20 A. Malisevo, 1998?
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. I cannot recall, no.
23 Q. Can we just look, then, at clip 8, which will be the last one in
24 your bundle, and then I'll move on to something else.
25 [Videotape played]
1 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] And then they say we destroyed the
2 terrorists. For example, Milosevic himself wrote with his own hand right
3 in front of me that the terrorists have been defeated. And I said, Come
4 on, President, let us not deceive the people. Well, it's not me who is
5 going to give that information. Rodjo will, that Djordjevic, whatever
6 they call the police general. He will pretend he wrote it. And then he
7 writes it for Rodjo and he gives the information to the public that we had
8 defeated the terrorists, and publicly he says that we defeated the
9 terrorists and then they say that publicly at a meeting. And then there
10 was Vlajko Stojiljkovic who was -- and then there was also Milosevic and
11 all that gang from the Joint Command, and there was Aco Dimitrijevic and
12 the military deputy. And I say that terrorism is not defeated."
13 Now, you heard there General Perisic talking about what he
14 describes as the plan to announce destruction of the terrorists when that
15 wasn't realistically possible, but most important, we see him referring to
16 something -- or more important for these purposes, we see him also
17 referring to "the gang from the Joint Command." And I'll move from this
18 video with this question: Perisic used the phrase "Joint Command." This
19 is in 1998. What did you understand "Joint Command" to mean?
20 A. I understood that term to mean a coordination body which from time
21 to time spent time in Kosovo and Metohija. I'm referring to political
22 organs that dealt with the question of terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija,
23 especially in June and July when a decision was made to make a plan to
24 strike at the terrorists in several stages and the army and the police had
25 to be coordinated. Then the arrival of General -- I mean Mr. Sainovic,
1 Minic, Andjelkovic. Andjelkovic was already there. He was the Prime
2 Minister of Kosovo, the provisional government of Kosovo, as it was
3 called. Lukic was, according to establishment, the commander of the MUP
4 forces in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. So their mutual
5 cooperation in terms of the realisation of these plans to break up
6 terrorist groups in stages, well, that's how all this was carried out.
7 Q. Very well.
8 A. But just -- just -- let me just say this.
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. However, in that entire period when these terrorist groups were
11 destroyed in these stages when it was decided to have all of this done by
12 September, the forward command post in Djakovica, where I was, and Colonel
13 Lazarevic all the time, even in these stages, and all the rest, we did not
14 have any other task but to prevent terrorist attacks and their
15 infiltration from the territory of Albania into the --
16 Q. Please don't run on. We only have limited time. You've made it
17 clear that your understanding was that the Joint Command was set up in
18 1998 with the decision to strike at several stages and the police and the
19 army had to be coordinated.
20 A. No, I did not say --
21 Q. Well, do you say that the Joint Command continued from 1998
22 through 1999?
23 A. No. Perhaps I wasn't -- perhaps I did not quite understand what
24 you were saying, or perhaps I was not clear enough. I did not claim that
25 a Joint Command had been established. You asked me about what Perisic was
1 saying, this so-called Joint Command, what I understood it to mean, and I
2 talked about a coordination body, not a Joint Command. So I really don't
3 know of any -- well, maybe I made a mistake in terms of interpretation,
4 but --
5 Q. Why is it so important to distinguish --
6 A. -- or --
7 Q. -- between a coordination body and a Joint Command? The Exhibit
8 number is 387, tab 46.
9 Why is it so important for you as a witness to distinguish between
10 a coordination body and a Joint Command?
11 A. Well, you see, when you have a command, then that command has the
12 right to issue orders and to use the forces, they issue direct orders, but
13 when something is coordinated, then these are different commands that
14 coordinate something amongst them. The command is not the one --
15 Q. Mr. Kotur, listen to me, please. You're a moderately senior or
16 senior military officer. You've denied knowing lots of things that I've
17 put to you, you know one or two other things, but you are now firmly of
18 the view that there is a difference between a coordination body and a
19 Joint Command.
20 In the time of the conflict, an army operating on the territory of
21 its people needs to be controlled by politicians. Who controlled you?
22 Who controlled your army?
23 A. Well, in Djakovica, General Pavkovic had the command. That's
24 where I was.
25 Q. And to whom did the generals respond?
1 A. General Pavkovic was answerable to General Samardzic, the army
3 Q. And to whom did he respond?
4 A. Samardzic to the General Staff, to the Chief of General Staff.
5 Q. And when you weren't in -- I see. So the joint -- look at the
6 document you're looking at. Can you just explain it to us? We'll look at
7 it. The first page, please, shows it's 25th of May, 1999, 3rd Army,
8 forward command post.
9 Last page, please, Mr. Nort. It's an order and it's signed by --
10 bottom of the page, please. It's one of the many -- several documents
11 we've got now. Pavkovic. And it comes from -- sorry, I should have
12 looked at the top. And it comes from the Joint Command, if you can see
14 Can you explain how he is signing something? Can we go back to
15 the top of the first page, please.
16 JUDGE KWON: I don't think it came from Joint Command.
17 MR. NICE: I'm so sorry.
18 JUDGE KWON: First page, Mr. Nort. It says Supreme Defence
20 MR. NICE: Yes, that's right. This is the last page. I'm
21 grateful to Your Honour.
22 Q. Just look at the last bit before the signature block, where it
23 says -- thank you -- "On the subordination and leave the command of the
24 forces of the MUP of the Republic of Serbia in the hands of the Ministry
25 of the Interior - staff of the MUP of the Republic of Serbia for Kosovo
1 and Metohija through the Joint Command as has been the case."
2 What function does the Joint Command have to be described in this
3 way? This came through Vasiljevic, I gather.
4 A. Well, you see here it says command of the 3rd Army on the document
5 itself, at the forward command post. The forward command post of the 3rd
6 Army was at the command post of the Pristina Corps. So General Pavkovic
7 spent 90 per cent of his time at the command post of the Pristina Corps
8 during the course of the war. This is the forward command post of the 3rd
9 Army. It pertains to the commander of the army and his command post.
10 What he wrote here, this document, the one that he signed, too, I see that
11 -- well, I didn't see the part that you read, though.
12 Q. The Joint Command is not a coordinating body, it's a commanding
13 body. That's what we are concerned with in part of this case and we want
14 your help with it.
15 Can you look at this document as well. It's another one. It's
16 earlier. It's 23rd of March. Have a look at this, please. This is the
17 Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija, and it's the 23rd of March, and
18 it's an order. And then if we look at the last page, Mr. Nort, we'll see
19 who it's signed by.
20 It's simply signed the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija, and
21 the previous line says: "The Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija from
22 the Pristina section shall command and control all forces during the
23 combat operation."
24 Now, can you unlock this puzzle for us? What is the Joint Command
25 that gives orders?
1 A. I really -- I want to be fair and cooperative. I'll just remind
2 you how it came about that this was called the Joint Command. I have to
3 tell you this. There's no stamp here, nothing. I will just tell you
4 briefly what I know.
5 I told you that I was at the forward command post at Djakovica. I
6 was not in the corps command and I was not at the place where what you
7 call Joint Command made its decisions, and I don't know how they did so
8 because I had no contact with them. I can tell you that in the first clip
9 that you showed when General Perisic was visiting Kosovo and Metohija the
10 army commander, General Pavkovic, was there. We met him, and we took him
11 to one feature from which you to see the area of Metohija, and we reported
12 to him on the situation in that area.
13 I just want to tell you this: General Perisic never in my
14 presence or the presence of the army commander - and I was there, I even
15 made my own report - he never expressed any suspicion or gave me reason to
16 believe that Perisic was not in the chain of command, because he toured
17 with us the forward command post in Djakovica, and that was what the first
18 clip refers to. I was there.
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
20 A. That's one thing.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... quite a long time, but you
22 haven't explained how the thing is called the Joint Command. We've been
23 wrestling with this problem for months and we still haven't got an answer.
24 A. I will do so now. I will tell you. When Mr. Sainovic arrived to
25 the area of Kosovo and Metohija to gain an insight into the situation that
1 prevailed, they had a meeting in the building of the MUP. There was
2 General Lukic, Sainovic, and the corps commander - what was it - Pavkovic.
3 The second time they went to a meeting in the corps, Colonel
4 Djakovic, who was an operative officer at the time, since we lived
5 together at the hotel, I heard the story from him secondhand but he was a
6 direct participant. He said Pavkovic invited him and told him, "We are
7 going to a meeting in the MUP to agree about actions, and you will keep
8 the record." So he did. Colonel Djakovic did keep a record. He asked
9 Pavkovic, "What shall we do with this record? Shall it be turned into an
10 order, some sort of enactment?" And Pavkovic told him, "Find a number in
11 the register and put it under a number." He took the main number and
12 added 1, 2, 3 or whatever, and then he asked, "What shall I put in the
13 heading?" And Pavkovic answered, "Put Joint Command and then our command,
14 Pristina Corps." And then the man asked, "Who shall sign it?" And
15 Pavkovic said, "Just write Joint Command."
16 That's what I know. That's how these documents came to be
17 recorded like that, and that was Pavkovic's sentence: "Write Joint
18 Command." There is really no signature here. There is no name of the
19 commander. There should be the name of the commander or the Chief of
20 Staff, because everybody has their own register for documents.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... explanation you've given us
22 that -- that Joint Command simply means Pristina Corps. Is that it?
23 A. In the Pristina Corps, these documents were filed and records were
24 kept of these meetings in the Pristina Corps. That's what I said.
25 Q. So any senior officer; Jelic, Delic, whatever you like, would
1 automatically know that, because this was Pavkovic's decision, that Joint
2 Command simply means Pristina Corps.
3 A. No. They could never obtain a document which would say Joint
4 Command. If Jelic or Delic received any documents, they needed to receive
5 documents signed by the corps commander, not like this, without any
6 signature at all or with just "Joint Command" at the bottom.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nice, can you help me with one thing? Is that
8 a reference to the document that the witness has been looking at, or is
9 his reference to the keeping of a record a reference to another document?
10 MR. NICE: I think it's another document.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: So is that one that we have, or does that suggest
12 that there are more Joint Command documents that we don't have?
13 MR. NICE: I'm grateful to Your Honour.
14 Q. Can you answer His Honour --
15 JUDGE KWON: What is the exhibit number first?
16 MR. NICE: First of all, this was 300, tab 356. My apologies. I
17 get carried away and should have mentioned it earlier.
18 Q. You heard His Honour's point. The Joint Command document where
19 Pavkovic said, "Say Joint Command," what was that document? When was that
20 document? What was it all about? So that we can try and find it.
21 A. All the documentation filed in the Pristina Corps is archived. It
22 is to be found in the archives.
23 Q. You've given an explanation of the -- it sounds from your
24 explanation as though this is the very origins of the word "Joint
25 Command." Pavkovic is presented with a nomenclature problem and he
1 resolves it by saying, "Use the word Joint Command." Now if you can take
2 us to that document, you see, we'll be able to solve all this problem
3 about Joint Command because we'll have the first document and then
4 everything else will follow. So what was the document?
5 A. I don't know that there exists a document about the establishment
6 of a Joint Command, not as a document, but if you want a particular
7 detail, I'll tell you what I talked about with Djakovic concerning how
8 Pavkovic came to say that this was a Joint Command, if that can be of
9 assistance, but that's only our speculation.
10 We saw this, and we realised it did not have any elements of the
11 Joint Command. When Djakovic and I talked, he said he thought this would
12 grow into a Joint Command, and Pavkovic had this expectation. So that was
13 our mutual discussion.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
15 A. And now when you insist, I wanted to tell you that as well.
16 Really, all I know is what I told you.
17 Q. I'm going to ask you --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I didn't quite understand the question
19 about the document, because the witness's evidence was that the term came
20 about as a result of a conversation. He didn't say that that was
22 MR. NICE: No, no, but it relates to a document. The first use
23 relates to the instruction of Pavkovic to apparently use the phrase. And
24 of course if we can track down that first document we can test the
25 consistency of this account against all other documents which bear the
1 same name.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: He actually said that he remembered Djakovic kept a
3 record at the meeting of the MUP. He asked Pavkovic, "What shall we do
4 with this record? Shall it be turned into an order, some sort of
5 enactment?" and Pavkovic told him, "Find a number in the register and put
6 it under a number." So there is a document according to that evidence.
7 MR. NICE: There is a document. And that's --
8 Q. Do you understand that, Mr. Kotur? His Honour's question, and I
9 probably didn't reflect it adequately, is for you to identify this very
10 document that you were describing or identifying in the register, by its
11 number as well as by its title under the Joint Command.
12 A. Maybe you did not quite understand what I just said. The record
13 that was made at that meeting, the minutes that were made, rather than
14 leave them in the notebook, were turned into a document reflecting what
15 was done at the meeting, what was discussed, what was agreed. And when
16 Colonel Djakovic asked Pavkovic, "What shall I do with this? Shall I turn
17 this into a document? Shall I file it, put it into a register? Will it
18 have some weight?" Pavkovic told him, "Find some number in the register,
19 file it under a number, and put on top the command of the Pristina Corps,"
20 and the first one asked, "What shall I put in the signature?" and Pavkovic
21 answered, "Put Joint Command." And that's how it started, this practice
22 of registering documents from coordination meetings. They would take a
23 main number, /1, 2, 3, et cetera. Those are documents from a series of
24 meetings of the same nature, coordination meetings where something would
25 be agreed and --
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Who would have that document, that first document
2 showing the words Joint Command? Where would it be?
3 MR. NICE: Those actual minutes we have. They were provided to us
4 indeed by Pavkovic, but they only cover a period of 1998. In fact, the
5 Joint Command minutes, because -- that's one more question I need to ask,
6 with your leave.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. You're not suggesting, are you, Mr. Kotur, that there is any
10 difference between the Joint Command as a concept, body, or idea from 1998
11 from that that existed in 1999; it's a continuum.
12 A. Well, especially in 1999 I didn't hear anything about the Joint
13 Command. I was not in the command of the Pristina Corps. At the place
14 where I was, I didn't hear anything about the Joint Command. We didn't
15 receive any documents from the Joint Command, us in Djakovica. I wasn't
16 there in 1999. There was Colonel --
17 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
18 A. -- Zivkovic, but I don't know that he received a single document
19 signed Joint Command. Not to my knowledge, although I was not the person
20 who received or read all the mail.
21 Q. Can we stay with this topic, but I'll approach it in a different
22 way. Can we look at Ciaglinski's witness statements, please, which is --
23 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice, could you check the exhibit number again of
24 last exhibit. You said 300, tab 356.
25 MR. NICE: It's D300. So sorry.
1 JUDGE KWON: And tab number?
2 MR. NICE: 356.
3 Can we have a look at Ciaglinski's witness statement, please.
4 Your Honours, Ms. Dicklich is quite right. This was under seal.
5 The same consideration as to protection probably arise as arose yesterday.
6 I would apply for the seal to be lifted so that the statement can be
7 viewed publicly. It's a matter for the Chamber.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, granted.
9 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. In which case we can hand out a
10 copy to the -- it's only in English. It's only in English this document.
11 It's blacked out as to certain details, but never mind. Just put that on
12 the overhead projector, please. And there are a -- this is Exhibit 98.
13 Yes, of course. Now, if we look at page 6 of this, Mr. Nort, that's
14 bottom right-hand corner 6.
15 Q. I'm going to read just a couple of passages of this to you. And
16 at the -- on the screen at the moment, Ciaglinski in a statement now as
17 long ago as March 2000, said this -- tiny bit further up, I think. No.
18 Page 6 it is. Let me have it. At least, it's page 6 where I've got it.
19 It's different pagination. I apologise. These documents print sometimes
21 JUDGE KWON: There should be 6 of 11.
22 MR. NICE: Yes. That's what I've got, but it doesn't work. Yes,
23 there it is. It's at the bottom of -- it's that bit there. There's a
24 slight slippage in the different printing format that I've been working
1 Q. You see, it says at the bottom here: "Kotur left the commission
2 about 10 days ... before our mission ended. He told me that he left
3 because he hated the politics of the whole thing and it wasn't getting
4 anywhere. Kotur and I both suspected that it was because he and I were
5 getting too close. My general impression of Kotur was that he was an
6 efficient, loyal, and patriotic Serb officer, but he was very open to us
7 and supplied us with material that he probably shouldn't have supplied.
8 In particular, he supplied us with the 1:100.000 mapping that was
9 subsequently used in the NATO offensive and with details of the Serb
10 strength and positions within the border regions. It was clear to me that
11 he was supplying this material without authority of his superiors."
12 Now, looking back across the years, Mr. Kotur, is the reality
13 perhaps this: That you didn't much like working in an army unit that was
14 subject to the sort of political control that's reflected by the things we
15 saw on the video clips, Perisic's letter, and the use of a vague political
16 Joint Command? Is that actually the truth?
17 A. No, that is not true.
18 Q. And is it true, whether those for reasons or others, that having
19 got close to Ciaglinski in a perfectly understandable professional way as
20 professional soldiers, you did land up telling him more than you should
21 have done and giving him, in the form of mapping, more than you should
22 have done?
23 A. Mr. Ciaglinski did not receive a single piece of information on
24 the map. What Ciaglinski asked for from me was a map of Kosovo and
25 Metohija, because -- he meant the kind of maps we have, because their maps
1 did not correspond to reality, and there was frequently -- there were
2 frequent cases of misunderstanding and confusion and mistakes. So we did
3 provide a map, 1:100.000 with the authority of the corps command. I had
4 informed the corps command of the request and that was the map that was
5 provided with its authority, without any information on it.
6 As for the rest, that he and I were getting close, I told you a
7 bit earlier that 20 or so officers, new officers arrived, professional
8 officers, who only dealt with that, and they remained the team headed by
9 Colonel Petkovic. I remained on that team. And I have here a document
10 wherein the embassy of France --
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... we have your answer and I
12 must press on with the next part of the same statement. If we look at the
13 next paragraph, please, because it's important to bear in mind that in
14 this statement Ciaglinski did not mention what you said about kicking out
15 the Kosovo Albanians. He explained that when he came to court, concerned,
16 as he expresses in this statement, to protect you. But the next part of
17 his statement says as follows: "Sometime during his last weeks, I was
18 surprised when Kotur told me confidentially what the proposed manoeuvre
19 plan would be for the operation to eliminate the KLA. This occurred when
20 we were sitting at a table in front of a Kosovo map. Kotur pointed how
21 the operation would commence in the Vucitrn area, with the aim being to
22 push the KLA west over the mountains towards the Glogovac area, then to
23 swing around with a cut-off force to Glogovac and eliminate whatever
24 stragglers managed to get across the hills, and once that operation was
25 complete, for another force to work west from Podujevo and force the KLA
1 back towards Mitrovica right into the arms of another group of Serb forces
2 waiting in Mitrovica." Then he goes on to deal with the operation
3 swinging towards Prizren via Malisevo and Suva Reka and then swinging
4 north through Djakovica and Pec.
5 Very detailed. It's true, isn't it? You gave him this account.
6 A. That is a complete lie. That's absolutely not true. First of
7 all, I don't know how somebody who doesn't know the territory of
8 Yugoslavia could memorise all those details no matter how clever they
9 were. Wouldn't it be logical for me to give him a map I would have drawn
10 myself. And third, if he was already aware of the plan, wouldn't he have
11 informed his superior immediately so that they would know what was going
12 to happen? Drewienkiewicz, if this were true, would have known the same
13 day. He would not have protected me nor would he have any reason to. It
14 was his objective to find that out. I knew that he was an intelligence
15 officer of the army. He told me that was his main occupation.
16 I never told him if that had been mine. If we had gotten as close
17 as it is claimed, wouldn't I have told him immediately what I was doing?
18 To an intelligence -- to an intelligence officer who is educated, trained,
19 and intelligent, it would have been enough to receive a map with all the
20 features, installations, movements, forces, positions drawn.
21 So this is completely untrue. Did his boss know about it? Did
22 General Drewienkiewicz know about these plans? He would have had to know.
23 That's sure. Did Walker know? That would have changed the entire conduct
24 of the verifiers. They would have had to do something.
25 I know that on the 20th I recorded that at a senior staff meeting
1 of the corps --
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
3 A. -- I have a note on the 23rd --
4 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
5 A. -- Talks in Pristina. Ciaglinski -- that's what I said. I can
6 tell you. I can give you that now. But that's not a notebook where I
7 kept records constantly. It was from February to March --
8 Q. Mr. Kotur --
9 A. -- to the 9th of March, and in fact I found it --
10 Q. Can you think of any reason why Ciaglinski should completely
11 fabricate a plan of this kind coming from your mouth?
12 A. That's something you should ask of him. I cannot know what he was
13 thinking, what he was expecting. Maybe he thought that he had achieved
14 much more than everybody else in that area. Maybe he was expecting some
15 awards. I cannot imagine why he would have fabricated that. But I know
16 he would have had to forward that information to his superiors if he had
17 found out some plan to cleanse Kosovo.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Would the witness please slow down.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Witness, you're speaking much too fast.
20 MR. NICE: Can we look at the next paragraph as well.
21 JUDGE KWON: I notice, Mr. Nice, the witness has brought a
23 MR. NICE: Yes, he has.
24 JUDGE KWON: Can you find out what it is about.
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. The notebook, you flicked it open and closed it again. I think
2 you said it has a note of the meeting with Ciaglinski. Can you lay it on
3 the overhead projector, the page that shows the meeting with Ciaglinski.
4 A. It's not a note. It's not a record. It's a very short note to
5 remind me that I should inform the next day. It includes the note and
6 what I said, and there's "- NATO - Ciaglinski," and I informed the
7 commander the same day.
8 Q. Can you just point with your finger to the --
9 A. Yes, this entry here. "Talks in Brussels - NATO - Ciaglinski."
10 On the top it says "22nd February, meeting with the commander," meaning
11 corps commander.
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. In the office of the corps commander in Pristina. And then,
14 "protest note delivered --"
15 Q. Where does it deal with the termination --
16 A. This is the 24th.
17 Q. Just go through them, because we haven't had a chance to look at
18 them in advance and I can't deal with them, but can you just take us to
19 the note that records the conclusion of your working in this particular
20 capacity. Can you find that for us?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What does that say? 9th of March, yes? What does that say?
23 A. "9th March, 1999. Two dead. One soldier and one staff sergeant
24 from the 53rd Battalion. Actions in Vukasin-Kacanik continuing."
25 JUDGE KWON: Read a little bit slower.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "37th group brought in."
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. Read more slowly, please, you were asked.
4 A. "37th group brought in -- or brought. Indirect reinforcement.
5 There are problems. 70 border soldiers -- border troops arrived."
6 Underlined. And then, "Sanitise --"
7 Q. Sanitise?
8 A. Not --
9 Q. Sanitise what?
10 A. "Dealing with -- dealing with the emergency or extraordinary
11 event." It was a unpleasant extraordinary event that happened --
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] To use this transcript it will be
13 necessary to hear the tape and then rewrite the transcript, because there
14 are many omissions, probably because the witness is speaking too fast.
15 For instance, here it says, "70 soldiers less than envisaged arrived," and
16 the transcript says "70." So there are many bits and pieces that are
17 omitted in the transcript. And I'm saying this to have it on record.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic.
19 Witness, you heard that. Please spoke more slowly.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. Now, this is dealing with the conclusion of your service. Can you
22 point us to and read slowly the entry that explains how your service has
23 come to an end.
24 A. I don't have that entry.
25 Q. So the last entry's on the 9th of March.
1 MR. NICE: Your Honours will remember that this is one of the
2 books that the Court made an informal -- not an informal, a request or
3 order to the authorities to find, and they said they couldn't find it.
4 Q. Where has this book been, Mr. Kotur, in the last few months; in
5 your possession or archived with the authorities?
6 A. Let me just tell you something about the archiving of official
7 notes and official diaries.
8 Q. You haven't answered my question. Where has the book been over
9 the past couple of months?
10 A. It was with me, in my possession.
11 Q. Was it ever archived?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Why not?
14 A. I wanted to explain that to you a moment ago. These are original
15 working notebooks. You can see the coat of arms of Yugoslavia, and it
16 says "Official Notebook." I'll leave it here on the ELMO for all to see.
17 You can see that.
18 Secondly, this notebook, on the last page, has this. This is what
19 it looks like. This is what the last page of the notebook looks like.
20 And this is what it says here: "This working notebook contains 100
21 (one hundred) pages. They are numbered from 1 to 200 and it has been
22 recorded in the list of notebooks issued out under a given number." There
23 is no number there and there is no signature by the clerk issuing this
24 notebook. So this is the notebook that I myself used. It has not been
25 recorded under a registry number and is not archived. That is one point.
1 That is where I kept very short entries from February to the 9th
2 of March. Otherwise, working notebooks that have been registered and
3 recorded must be handed back, either when they have been filled out or
4 when you are reassigned to take up another command.
5 Q. In the relevant period there will be an official notebook that has
6 been archived and should still be in the archive?
7 A. That's why I've explained what I have. Official notebooks that I
8 had and that were registered and recorded were handed over in the year
9 2000 to the Pristina Corps when I left to take up my new duties in the
10 command of the Novi Sad Corps. Those official notebooks, pursuant to
11 material regulating archive material says that official notebooks are
12 stored in an archive for one year after they have been handed in. Once
13 the year is expired, that material is destroyed, so that the official
14 notebooks which all officers in the army have and keep and are recorded
15 and registered in this way, these are the original notebooks, after one
16 year -- after having been archived for one year, they are subsequently
17 destroyed. So that during this period notebooks kept in 1998 and -- have
18 certainly been destroyed, but you have traces of them in the archives.
19 Before I came here, I was called up by the military security
20 organs to make a statement concerning the notebooks, and I gave them that
21 statement, the notebooks were handed over to the Pristina Corps once I
22 left to take up my duties elsewhere in the year 2000.
23 Now, leafing through - and this was three or four days before I
24 came here - leafing through the notebook since I moved house five times
25 and still don't have an apartment to my name, all my notebooks, exercise
1 books, private and otherwise, when I look to see what I had with me,
2 whether I had made entries and written down anything, I managed to unearth
3 this official notebook, and I found it because I hadn't been issued --
4 rather, I hadn't had a number registered and recorded and that's why I
5 happened to have found this notebook and why I didn't return it, because
6 it was never issued under a number to me. It wasn't recorded and
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask you how you got it, how you got it in the
9 first place if this is an official book that has to be registered when
10 it's issued?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, we are given those notebooks but
12 they are not registered until we begin using them. They don't have to be
13 registered and recorded until we begin using them.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: So that means there could be any number of official
15 Yugoslav notebooks that are never registered that are used and never
16 returned; is that right?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is right.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: What sort of -- do you think that's a satisfactory
19 system for official documentation?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is not, but not that much
21 attention was paid to that, because the notebooks were more to record
22 matters rather than them being confidential. And the fact that they were
23 only stored in the archives for just one year and then destroyed meant
24 that they weren't very important confidential documents, or not considered
25 as such. So not -- strict procedure was not applied.
1 You could record certain things and make entries in exercise books
2 or in other forms of notebooks, but some people, after filling them out,
3 destroy them themselves, other people keep them, but they're not of any
4 special significance, and we never knew that we'd have to produce them
5 here one day.
6 JUDGE KWON: I'm not clear about this. Mr. Kotur, my
7 understanding is that this notebook which is in front of you was not
8 registered officially, so that's the reason why you didn't return it to
9 the authorities. When -- during your service, you used it as a -- as if
10 it were -- it had been your private notebook. Am I correct in so
11 understanding? Because it was not registered.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you've understood it correctly.
13 JUDGE KWON: During that same period, were you keeping an official
14 record separately that was -- that had been registered by the authorities?
15 Other than this one.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] During that period of time, I did
17 not make entries in other notebooks, no.
18 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice.
20 MR. NICE: May we have sight of the notebook.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
22 MR. NICE: We won't, of course, be able to explore it in detail
23 but if we could have sight of it, please, we'll have a look at it.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please pass it to the Prosecutor.
25 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: So we can also look at it. Mr. Nice, I wanted to
2 find out: Do you intend to explore the circumstances that led to the
3 colonel being replaced as a liaison officer?
4 MR. NICE: Yes, I'm coming to that next. If we could go, please,
5 to, Mr. Nort, the witness statement that we were looking at, the immediate
6 follow passage in Ciaglinski's statement.
7 Q. What Ciaglinski said, and I'll read it out for you, it's 7
8 probably. Paragraph beginning: "Kotur was replaced as liaison officer by
9 Colonel Petrovic and General Ilija Brankovic replaced Loncar as head of
10 the FRY Cooperation Commission."
11 That was Ciaglinski's impression. And he went on to say this:
12 "My impression of Brankovic was that he had been sent by Belgrade to
13 toughen up the negotiations and relationship between ourselves and
14 Belgrade. It totally broke up the good working relationship we had with
15 Loncar and Kotur. Brankovic wouldn't make himself available to me and
16 insisted on advance notice of meetings ..." and then he goes on to deal
17 with Brankovic.
18 Is it right, as Ciaglinski says, that you ceased to operate and
19 that, overall, Petrovic and Brankovic took over from you and from Loncar?
20 A. No. General Loncar continued in the federal commission --
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There was not a proper
23 interpretation to the witness of what Ciaglinski said. He said that he
24 was sent from Belgrade to toughen up relationships, whereas the
25 translation the witness got was to strengthen relations, which was quite
1 the reverse. So the witness cannot understand and cannot comment on
2 something that has been explained to him and interpreted to him in quite
3 the opposite way. Here it says toughen up, "zaostri" relationship, and
4 that's the essence of what Ciaglinski said, not to strengthen the
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: That is actually in the English. So let the
7 witness answer the question. What was said was that Brankovic was sent to
8 toughen up the relationship, not to strengthen it. So what is the answer
9 you will now give?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My answer is this: That had General
11 Loncar remained in his post in the commission for liaising with the Kosovo
12 Verification Mission, Colonel Petrovic -- or rather, he remained there,
13 Colonel Petrovic came to head the new team that was established between
14 the Pristina and army team, we no longer had two, we just had one team,
15 and I remained in that other team but I wasn't -- in that team but I
16 wasn't the head of the team.
17 And the third situation is this: General Brankovic came from the
18 General Staff, from the General Staff team down there to be able to
19 coordinate action faster, not to have to write documents and send them
20 back to Belgrade, that you have this link between the army and Belgrade.
21 So he didn't replace Loncar and he didn't replace me. I wasn't replaced
22 from my duties, like Petrovic. This was a new organisation being set up
23 with new men, new people and different relationships established. So
24 Loncar remained in his position. Now his assistant for military matters
25 was Brankovic, to all intents and purposes, who was to contact with
1 Loncar, and Petrovic was supposed to contact all the officers, the liaison
2 officers in the garrisons and in the border battalions, something that I
3 used to do, and to send Brankovic feedback information.
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. So Brankovic did take over your job. It's quite simple.
6 A. Well, you -- you could say that Brankovic was something in
7 between, something that Loncar and I were, those positions. I as being
8 Loncar's assistant. Brankovic came to be his assistant because I was
9 Loncar's assistant and head of the team, and now this other man turned up
10 who had to do that job. So that was the relationship. It wasn't between
11 me and somebody else but it was a matter of the creation of a new novel
12 organisation to be able to conduct affairs of that kind.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... paragraph 75 of the Loncar
14 statement. It's not an exhibit, it's not evidence in the case, it's just
15 for your comment. This is the document provided to the accused this
16 morning. Paragraph 75, you've got it in the original, I'm reading it in
17 the English, says this, this comes from Loncar: "I do not believe that I
18 was replaced by VJ General Brankovic. I heard this from DZ during his
19 televised testimony in the Milosevic trial. I don't know if Sainovic made
20 some agreement with Brankovic, but nobody told me. I was told by Sainovic
21 that Brankovic was there to take over [Realtime transcript read in error
22 "observing"] Kotur's function. This was the end -- towards the end of
23 the mission. Specifically, Sainovic said he was coming to reinforce the
24 team and to be the chief officer in military issues. When Brankovic came,
25 Kotur remained for some time. I had one meeting with Brankovic. He spoke
1 fluent English. I knew Kotur for a long time. I knew that he was a good
2 officer and he did his job well for military issues."
3 What he said in this paragraph was that Sainovic was there to take
4 over your functions. Is that true?
5 MR. KAY: "Observing" was the word I have on my monitor rather
6 than taking over.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: What was that?
8 MR. KAY: I was just picking up on what Mr. Nice said, but what
9 I've got on my monitor here is "observing Kotur's function."
10 MR. NICE: "... take over Kotur's function" is what it reads on my
11 monitor. If I'm looking at the exhibit rather than whatever I said.
12 Paragraph 75, line 4.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, it's "take over" on the exhibit, line 4.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. It's true. He was there to take over your functions.
17 A. That's what I told you a moment ago. I was Loncar's assistant for
18 military matters, and at the same time head of the team of the Pristina
19 Corps for liaising with the mission. Now Brankovic came to be Loncar's
20 assistant. That's the difference. So it was no longer the leader of the
21 team. Brankovic arrived and Loncar led the team. Not the team, I don't
22 mean Loncar. No, I apologise, I don't mean Loncar led the team.
23 Q. One last question on this because I really must try and finish,
24 which I wanted, one but last topic. Ciaglinski makes it plain that you in
25 your special units uniform, which was unusual, were a man of great
1 authority in Kosovo, feared where you went, respected by people of your
2 rank and above. Now, do you accept that description of you, that when you
3 went to places, people knew you, they respected you, they even feared you.
4 Do you accept that?
5 A. That some people feared me, I don't know about that. I don't
6 believe so. That they knew me, well, I had spent a long time in Kosovo
7 and Metohija, so they did know me. That I was head of the largest branch
8 in the Pristina Corps, the infantry, that is, the service of the infantry,
9 whose head I was, that is true.
10 Q. And despite all this expertise, Mr. Kotur, the truth is that you
11 had to be replaced because the fear of the authorities, in particular
12 Sainovic, was that you'd got too close to Ciaglinski and you'd fed him too
13 much information.
14 A. I am not informed of that type of background. I have told you
15 what I know. Now, other background information, that can only be
16 conjecture and surmise. I don't believe that that could have been the
17 case, that it couldn't -- that it could be like that because I can't find
18 any evidence to bear that out. Let me just tell you one thing: There is
19 no reason why I would be saying things differently to what had happened.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Colonel, do you have any other explanation for
21 why you were replaced? I mean, if it is not that the authorities, your
22 superiors, had formed an unfavourable view of you because of your close
23 relationship with Ciaglinski, what other explanation would there be?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, probably, since it seems that
25 the interpretation is to be blamed here, I've heard that the
1 interpretation wasn't good, I heard that there had been some
2 reorganisation in our teams for liaising with the Verification Mission,
3 and according to the schematic and diagram that I showed you -- if it's
4 here, I can show you again and to tell you where the difference lies.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: But this was just the result of a reorganisation,
6 a structural reorganisation?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely. All 26 officers
8 arrived who could speak English, including Brankovic, and it says here
9 that he spoke English very well. So people arrived who could better
10 answer to their responsibilities or carry out their duties. That's a fact
11 and nothing more than that.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: In any new structure it would have been possible
13 to so reorganise it that you could have retained your old job.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remained in the team, and I helped
15 Petrovic, especially when he initially started up his duties. I helped
16 him in his job, in those first steps. But on the 13th of March, I saw off
17 an Albanian delegation to Rambouillet. That was my duty, it was my duty
18 to do that, and to ensure their safe passage in and boarding of a plane so
19 that there would not be any problems of Atachi's [phoen] arrest, because a
20 warrant had been issued for him. So on the 13th, I was still active and
21 taking part. And then several days later I helped Petrovic, and in the
22 space of seven days, that is say on the 20th of March, the mission
23 withdrew from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. So this entire
24 process went on for another five or six days without me at the head of the
25 team in charge of liaising with the mission.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I think we are at the time for the
2 break. We will break for 20 minutes.
3 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 12.42 p.m.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
6 MR. NICE: Alerted to one fact from the transcript.
7 Q. Mr. Kotur, you said that you turned over official notebooks to the
8 Pristina Corps that you kept in 2000, but later -- when you were
9 transferred to Novi Sad. Later, you answered a question from the Bench
10 that you kept no official notebook for the period. Which is the answer
11 for the period of February and March of -- February, March, April, May,
12 June of 1999? Did you or did you not keep official notebooks?
13 A. I think this was a misunderstanding or I did not understand His
14 Honour the Judge properly. He asked me about the time when I kept this
15 particular notebook, the one that was not registered, the one that was not
16 archived, whether I had another notebook at the time for the period of
17 February and March, and I said that in that period, no, I didn't.
18 Q. And why weren't you keeping an official notebook in such a
19 critical period?
20 A. In that period, the official notebook was the one I just handed
21 over to you now. Had I not recorded it in that notebook, I would have
22 recorded it in the other one. I did not have two parallel notebooks that
23 I kept and that I did keep one and not the other.
24 Q. So this is an official notebook, but because it hadn't been
25 formally log out to you and because it had been obtained by you in some
1 way without being logged out, you felt able to keep it. Is that it about?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 MR. NICE: Your Honour, the position on these notebooks is that
4 they were requested by the Court. We were initially told they couldn't be
5 found -- requested or ordered by the Court. We were initially told they
6 couldn't be found. We were subsequently told such notebooks might be
7 destroyed under the routine system of destruction. We drew to the
8 authority's attention that if notebooks are destroyed, by their own
9 regulations they have to record the destruction. We've been provided with
10 no evidence of a recorded destruction. The Chamber will also remember
11 that similar notebooks from Sel and Odak were provided.
12 I turn to another topic. Can the witness please have from Exhibit
13 143, and for the overhead projector, that to the witness, and that for the
14 overhead projector. There are only a couple of passages.
15 Q. A witness called Niki Peraj, a captain in the army, gave evidence
16 in this court. He gave two statements -- three statements, actually, all
17 of which have been exhibited. If we turn, please - and we'll deal with
18 this very rapidly - to paragraph 13 in both B/C/S and English because
19 they're conveniently numbered, in his first statement dated April 2000, at
20 paragraph 13, Niki Peraj said this: "I know that the big military
21 operation carried out at the beginning of May 1999 in Mullah e Isufi area
22 and at Cabrat hill in Gjakove was led by VJ Colonel Milan Kotur and by MUP
23 Colonel Kovacevic and by the reservist commander Major Nikola Micunovic
24 from Korenica. This was the biggest operation carried out in Gjakove.
25 Many civilians were massacred. I know about the involvement of these
1 three persons because they commanded all the military operations in the
3 True? Is that true, Mr. Kotur? It's a very simple proposition,
4 and it's a very memorable event. Is it true?
5 A. What Peraj said is not true, what he presented here in this
6 statement of his. As for an operation in Djakovica in May 1999, if the
7 MUP carried out or Major Nikola Micunovic, I certainly was not involved in
8 any way in that nor did I have anything to do with that operation.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... paragraph 30.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Nice is kindly requested to slow down.
11 Thank you.
12 MR. NICE: I certainly will, and I apologise.
13 Q. He gives this explanation for Meja -- should we just remind
14 ourselves, Mr. Kotur: Meja involved hundreds of people being killed,
15 butchered, and their bodies were found transformed into Serbia. Do you
16 remember that, Mr. Kotur? It's a matter of public record and knowledge.
17 Bodies from Meja went to Serbia. Do you remember that?
18 A. I don't know whether they're from Meja or wherever, but I know
19 that in the grave that --
20 Q. Not interested in where bodies that landed up in Batajnica and
21 Petrovo Selo came from? Not interested?
22 A. No, no. You didn't understand me. You didn't hear me out. I'm
23 saying that the bodies that were exhumed in Batajnica on the basis of the
24 documents that were found on the bodies say that these are people from the
25 area of Meja. That's what I wanted to say. That's what I know from the
1 newspapers and from --
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. -- from the newspapers that wrote about it quite a bit.
4 Q. Let's go to paragraph 30 with those two features of background in
6 "I recall that three or four days before the massacre in Meja
7 Nikola Micunovic, also known as Dragan, told me that the valley of
8 Carragojs was going to pay a very high price. I immediately thought about
9 the killing of Milutin Prascevic that had been committed on the 20th of
10 April in Meja. Prascevic used to be the chief of the state security in
11 Gjakove. Together with him, four other people were killed. One of them
12 was the brother of Sheqer, a local policeman from Ratis village. His
13 brother committed crimes in Meja on the 27th of April. Milutin Prascevic
14 was the godfather of Nikola Micunovic ..."
15 Then in this first statement, at paragraph 33, the witness said
17 "Nikola Micunovic, Dragan; Milan Kotur and Kovacevic are the men
18 responsible for the massacre of Meja and Korenica. They planned and led
19 the entire operation."
20 What part in the Meja operation did you take, please, Mr. Kotur?
21 A. I did not take part in any operation in Meja, in any part of it
22 except in the MUP two or three days later, when it was agreed to clean up
23 the area and the so-called Reka, that the MUP would do that in order to
24 secure our forces that were to the north -- or, rather, to the east and
25 west of the Reka area. To secure their positions, there was a blockade of
1 these areas and one of our units took part in the search of that terrain
2 because the MUP did not have sufficient forces to do it. That is what was
3 agreed upon. As for the agreement on the use of these forces for the
4 clean-up, that is to say for the forward command post to involve, and that
5 was -- the approval was received from Colonel Zivanovic.
6 Q. This is what, cleaning up the results of a massacre of 300 or so
7 men; is that right?
8 A. No.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... is it cleaning up the result
10 of a battle of 300 KLA, all of whom got killed with no fatalities on the
11 Serb side? Which is it?
12 A. That operation -- actually, the army never took part in any
13 impermissible action. When an attempt was made from Albania to get to the
14 area of Kosare and Junik in this broader area of Djakovica, then there
15 were terrorist forces there that were trying to support the forces from
16 Albania that were attacking in Junik and it was necessary to cleanse the
17 area from terrorist forces. That was done by the MUP. It was a MUP
18 operation and the army had its own forces in the vicinity.
19 Q. As we see what Peraj says in his first statement, and we'll look
20 at his second rapidly, but before we do, are you now allowing for the
21 possibility that there was a massacre of the innocent by the MUP or are
22 you saying that the whole operation was a justified anti-terrorist action?
23 Which is it?
24 A. The operation was justified from the point of view of what I was
25 saying a few minutes ago. If this massacre had happened, that was not the
1 objective of the operation of what the MUP -- of what the army did, and
2 the army never took part in any kind of massacre.
3 As for Peraj and his statement, as a whole what he said here has
4 nothing to do with what was actually going on. There are many things here
5 that he simply invented, many things that are quite contradictory about
6 this brigade coming from Republika Srpska with Serb insignia, and Colonel
7 Vukovic was the commander. He says the man who testified here --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to slow down.
9 MR. NICE: Pause for a minute.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just slow down, please.
11 MR. NICE: You've prepared yourself by considering Peraj's
12 evidence and his statement, although we heard nothing from you about it in
13 chief, because I haven't taken you to the passages you've just dealt with.
14 To save time, so we can have a look at all of it, can we go to the second
15 statement. One for the witness in B/C/S, one for the overhead projector.
16 And on this if we can go, please, straight away to paragraph 47.
17 Put that on the overhead projector. This is a statement made a little
18 later, in 2001. 12th to the 15th of February. A captain in your army
19 gives this explanation part way through paragraph 47. Deals with a
20 meeting of Stojanovic where Stojanovic addressed Micunovic and Kovacevic,
21 ordering them to carry out an operation in the Carragojs valley where at
22 least 100 heads had to be eliminated - and that meant human beings - and
23 all the houses burnt in retribution for the killing of Prascevic.
24 If you would be good enough to go over, please, to paragraph 52.
25 He makes the point at paragraph 52 that the commanding officer of his
1 unit, Djosan, did not agree with the operation and tried to arrest or did
2 arrest Micunovic, although he stayed in prison only for three days, I
4 And if we then go to paragraph 58, this is how this witness dealt
5 with these matters so far as they concerned you. He said: "Colonel Milan
6 Kotur was not at the informal meeting for the Meja incident but had
7 already arrived in Djakovica with Lazarevic's HQ." Is he right about
8 that, that by that time you had arrived with Lazarevic's HQ?
9 A. No.
10 Q. And he says: "... and deployed from there --"
11 A. Can I explain why it is not true?
12 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
13 A. First of all -- first of all, here in paragraph 52 - I think
14 that's what you said - it says General Lazarevic -- you did not read all
15 of it out and I would like to do it.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note that they do not have the
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Goran Stankovic, Novica Stankovic
19 and other low-ranking officers, a week after the operation in Korenica and
20 Meja, were commended because --"
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ...
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "... for the way in which they
23 carried it out. Novica Stankovic was deputy commander of the Artillery
24 Rocket Brigade of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica of Milos Djosan. Djosan
25 did not approve of the operation in Korenica and Meja so he arrested
1 Micunovic because of his participation in it. However, Micunovic stayed
2 in prison only three days. As for the arrest of Micunovic, I heard from
3 his brother Aco Micunovic, who was a sergeant in the army of Yugoslavia in
4 Djakovica. Micunovic was released because of the personal intervention of
5 Vojislav Seselj and Zeljko Raznjatovic, known as Arkan. I don't know at
6 what level, perhaps political. That is what Sergej Perovic said to me."
7 Mr. Nice, all of this here in paragraph 52 that you quoted from is
8 a pure lie and fabrication. I shall explain how come.
9 There is no mention of citations and commendations. General
10 Lazarevic was not in Djakovica at all. The arrest of Micunovic: No one
11 ever arrested Micunovic. I would have heard of it had it happened. And
12 then him being released from prison and then Seselj and Arkan intervening.
13 These are such fabrications and lies that it could not be corroborated
14 through any kind of check. And that is what Peraj said. And most of his
15 statement is along the same lines; guesswork and stories that have nothing
16 to do with the truth. Probably did -- let me just tell you this.
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. Mr. Kotur, I'm afraid you have given very long answers which is
19 why we have taken so long, much longer than I intended, and I'm going to
20 ask you to be brief and just listen to the questions.
21 Now, if you're saying that this is all untrue, nevertheless there
22 has to be an explanation for the large number of bodies found at Meja,
23 driven down into that position at the end of the valley, to explain how
24 they died. Can you tell us, please, where we can find an official report
25 that deals with that? Military, or MUP, or both.
1 A. I'm going to tell you what I know and as much as I know, but I
2 would just like to caution you about one thing or, rather, I'd just like
3 to say --
4 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I asked you a question and
5 I'd be grateful for an answer to it, please. Where, please, can we find
6 an official VJ record, official MUP record - come to think of it, since
7 you were on duty on those days in April - an official record of what you
8 were doing on those days in April when one of the gravest massacres of
9 individuals in Kosovo is said to have happened?
10 You see, while you're thinking about that, we have, of course,
11 sought from the authorities the Pristina Corps forward command war diary,
12 not a document that would be destroyed. It's never been provided to us.
13 Now, then, you tell us: Where's the records of what you and your
14 fellow soldiers were doing when these men died? Can you tell us?
15 A. You put it very well. An operative journal is kept in a unit, and
16 if there is something, then it exists in these operative logbooks or
17 journals. Every unit, battalion level upwards, has this kind of logbook,
18 and all important events during the course of the day are recorded there,
19 and also where army units were engaged and what they did therefore.
20 Since you've read out this paragraph to me, I just have to --
21 well, I will answer this question but I want to say something in
22 connection with what you said previously when you said that Stojanovic
23 ordered this. Let me just see in which paragraph this is, that 100 heads
24 should be blown.
25 Q. Moved on from that. It was paragraph 47 and I don't have infinity
1 of time. One comment only the 100 heads.
2 A. Well, I have to. That Stojanovic ordered Micunovic and Kovacevic
3 to carry out an operation near Carragojs and that in retaliation at least
4 100 heads should have been eliminated.
5 I have no idea who said what and who was where. I was not in
6 contact with them. But then Stojanovic, according to his position and
7 post, could not have ordered Micunovic or Kovacevic, because Stojanovic
8 was just chief of the security organ in our corps, and one of the people
9 working for him was Nik Peraj. Nik Peraj, probably to justify this
10 behaviour of his and to create some kind of legend for himself in order to
11 be able to survive among his own people, he is saying here what he knows
12 and what he doesn't know and whatever people said to him.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
14 A. I just want to say what you asked me about this operation. The
15 operation was planned for two days, the 27th and the 28th of April.
16 That's when it was supposed to be carried out. This operation was carried
17 out by the MUP of Djakovica with part of the army of Yugoslavia. Part of
18 the army took part in this action. Since you're asking me for a brief
19 answer, I'm not explaining why we did this, but that was to eliminate
20 terrorist forces among our own force. And since the MUP did not have
21 enough forces to search the terrain, they asked whether they could have
22 part of our forces that could take part in this.
23 As for our forces, only, I think -- I think that it was only the
24 63rd Parachute Brigade, 30 or 40 men. And I know that full well because,
25 since these were professional soldiers, that they should go through the
1 terrain that was the most complicated one, that is to say the one covered
2 by forest. This operation --
3 Q. Your part in all this? Your part in all this?
4 A. I did not have a role in this, a part in this. I just said that
5 the MUP carried this out but that the MUP was supposed to take part in it
6 in coordination. The MUP was not subordinated to us and we were not
7 subordinated to the MUP, so there was this coordination, and in the MUP
8 building on behalf of the forward command post in Djakovica -- well, the
9 commander of -- who -- it was Colonel Zivanovic -- rather, Zivkovic Veljo,
10 who was the only one who would be authorised to issue an order for this to
11 be done. No one knows -- so he doesn't know who was at the command post.
12 And he said that he was there and saw Lazarevic and Jeftovic [as
13 interpreted]. Well, Lazarevic and Zivkovic are not one and the same man,
14 and if Peraj knew this and if this were the truth, then he would have said
15 who was there at the forward command post in Djakovica.
16 Q. You see, you've now told us a lot of detail about this operation.
17 What were you doing on those days, the 27th and 28th? We know you weren't
18 involved. What were you doing?
19 A. My engagement was in the 125th Motorised Brigade, and that was the
20 brigade that was defending the area of Kosare down towards Junik. In that
21 brigade there were quite a few problems. There were also major losses,
22 and this is the brigade that sustained the greatest losses during the NATO
23 bombing --
24 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... doing? Is that what you were
25 doing on the --
1 A. Yes, that's where I was engaged.
2 Q. Why did you say you couldn't remember what you were doing on the
3 27th? It was about the first question I asked you.
4 A. I did not lie to the Court. Your first question was the 27th, and
5 I could not remember the 27th, and then later on, when I realised what
6 this --
7 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
8 A. No, no, there is no need for you to make this kind of comment
9 because what I'm saying here is what I know. I have no reason to say
10 anything different and I am telling you what I'm saying. If you want to
11 have any kind of benefit from my statement, then hear me out, and if not,
12 that is not really fair.
13 Q. We'll see what Mr. Peraj says about you at paragraph 58 and 60.
14 Paragraph 58, he says this: "Colonel Milan Kotur was not at the informal
15 meeting for the Meja incident but had already arrived in Gjakove with
16 Lazarevic's HQ --" I'm sorry, I've done that already.
17 At paragraph -- sorry, he then says you were at the command post
18 at the Catholic church north-west of Osek village. "From there he had a
19 clear view of the Carragojs valley to direct the Meja operation." He says
20 that the MUP were at the Dervish prayer house in Dusnje [phoen] village.
21 Is he right about your being in the Catholic church?
22 A. He is not right that I had a command post.
23 Q. Were you in the Catholic church? Were you in the Catholic church?
24 A. I don't even know where that Catholic church is near Osek Hilja.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
1 A. I don't even know of there being any.
2 Q. All these deployments will be revealed in the war diary and other
3 contemporaneous documents, won't they, Mr. Kotur?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. There is no conceivable reason, on your evidence, why that
6 material should not have been provided to us, is there?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Concluding what Mr. Peraj says, at paragraph 60, so far as it
9 concerns you in particular, he says that he saw the Carragojs valley after
10 the operation on the 28th, going to see if anything had happened to his
11 own house and his parents-in-law. He got authorisation to go to Ramoc
12 from Lazarevic and Jeftovic. They passed this authorisation on to you at
13 the command post in the north-west of Osek.
14 Now, are you really saying that all these details are just
15 completely made up? Are you?
16 A. First of all, this detail that Lazarevic was in Djakovica is
17 totally made up, and that's why I'm telling you. If he doesn't know who
18 General Lazarevic is, if Peraj doesn't know, then I don't see how he can
19 be trusted in terms of everything else that he was saying. And he said
20 that he was in Djakovica and that he got authorisation from General
21 Lazarevic to go to Ramoc. That's a pure lie. I'm telling you once again
22 that Lazarevic was maybe once or twice at the forward command post in
23 Djakovica, but his deputy, Colonel Zivanovic, Veljub -- Zivkovic Veljub,
24 sorry, was at the forward command post as commander of the forward command
25 post and no Lazarevic, no Jeftovic. Well, he was in the staff, but since
1 we're talking about that kind of person like the corps commander and he
2 says that he was there, I am asserting to you here with 100 per cent
3 certainty that that is a total lie. And it can be established where
4 Lazarevic was on the 27th or 28th or whatever date. In the operations
5 logbook of the corps command, in the absence of -- the absence of the
6 commander is always recorded. It has to be recorded. So that's why I'm
7 telling you that all the things that Peraj spoke of here are pure
9 MR. NICE: May we go into private session for a couple of minutes?
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, private session.
11 [Private session]
11 Pages 47560-47562 redacted. Private session.
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: The private session was for the purpose of
21 protecting the security of a witness.
22 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I don't think I'm going to place anything
23 on the overhead projector. I'm only go to read out, I think, three
24 paragraphs, or four, or parts of them. I can identify the paragraph
1 Q. Mr. Kotur, a former VJ soldier, expressing the position in neutral
2 terms, says two things on which I want your comment. First at paragraph
3 34. He says that there was an occasion when Pavkovic gave a speech in
4 Pristina, I suppose encouraging morale, but in the course of which he said
5 that, "As soon as the first NATO bombs fall on Kosovo, we will have to
6 'clean our back from the Albanians,'" which can be interpreted as meaning
7 get rid of the Albanians.
8 Do you know of any address by Pavkovic where such a thing was
10 A. I don't know about such a speech made by Pavkovic. Maybe it
11 happened at a police battalion when he was touring units. Maybe it's
12 something he said before them, policemen, but I was never present when
13 Pavkovic made that kind of speech.
14 Q. And then paragraphs 40 to 42, in summary as follows, the same
15 soldier says this: That after the conflict with NATO had begun, that's in
16 April of 1999, he was instructed - and I'm not going to identify the
17 commander in open session - to clean the area of Albanians and send them
18 all towards Korenica, because they were waited for by the MUP with a list
19 of names of terrorists. The witness explains that it was clear to him
20 that this was a cover-up story and that the purpose of the operation was
21 to cleanse the villages.
22 And then I'll read the next paragraph and give you a chance to
23 comment. He said that the following units participated in the operation:
24 The 63rd Parachute Brigade, part of the 52nd Battalion military police,
25 and the PJP, the Special Police Unit, and that the first village that was
1 sealed and where cleansing started was Dobros, that the operation started
2 at 6.00 in the morning, lasted for two days until the following daily at
3 1700 hours or 1800 hours, and the soldier explains they went through
4 several villages. "Hard to say how many villages we went through because
5 sometimes we would find 4 houses, sometimes 20, sometimes 40, and one
6 doesn't have to count villages to learn the names of villages." The area
7 was predominantly Catholic and they operated in a range of a 3 kilometres
8 frontage, PJP on the right, another group to the middle and left, and I
9 shan't name those in open session.
10 Is that account by this soldier of this operation that you now do
11 remember accurate? Is it?
12 A. Part of it is accurate, but as far as objectives are concerned and
13 why it was done, that part is not true.
14 Q. Which part of it is accurate, please?
15 A. The part that's correct is that army units were involved as well
16 as special units of the police; PJP. But as for the existence of lists
17 and that they were pushed somewhere, I don't know anything about that.
18 His own commander should have explained it to him.
19 I believe there was only one company-level unit from the 52nd
20 Police Battalion. It was with Pavkovic and Lazarevic, whom they were
21 securing, and there was only a small part of that unit left there.
22 Q. Are you conceding that there was, as described, an operation to
23 drive people down this valley from west to east, conducted by the police
24 and the army jointly?
25 A. No. No. There was no such concept or such assignment.
1 Q. In paragraph 42 of the same document, we hear: "During the
2 operation, we only encountered civilians, sometimes arriving in villages
3 already empty because the civilians probably see smoke and hear
4 machine-guns and flee." He describes how the mortar platoon was two or
5 three kilometres behind in case there was contact with the KLA, but
6 explains that hundreds of Albanian civilians were expelled on the first
7 day and that, after they were expelled, their houses were set on fire in
8 accordance with the order given.
9 Is it true that hundreds of houses were set on fire?
10 A. I have no such information or knowledge that hundreds of houses
11 were set on fire, as you say.
12 Q. Well, how about some houses set on fire?
13 A. Some probably were.
14 Q. Why? Why set people's houses on fire, Mr. Kotur?
15 A. When I say set on fire, I mean that they were burnt accidentally
16 during combat operations. I didn't mean that they were intentionally set
17 on fire. I was not involved in the operation. I don't know, but
18 definitely it's not true that hundreds of houses burned. Since the MUP
19 was involved, maybe MUP was doing something I don't know about. I don't
20 know that the army ever burned houses. I don't know it. I think it
21 definitely doesn't hold as far as the army is concerned.
22 Q. You see, Mr. Kotur, in relation to Meja, for which there is a mass
23 of evidence, as you know, from bodies like Human Rights Watch collecting
24 witness statements, witnesses we've called, the bodies at Batajnica, for
25 Meja there are two soldiers who have provided -- at least two, but two
1 soldiers who have provided accounts explaining that this was ethnic
2 cleansing with mass killing. And that's the truth, isn't it? That's what
3 Meja was all about, was a revenge attack, ethnic cleansing, and mass
5 A. I do not accept that for the simple reason that that operation did
6 not have such an objective. And if at the end of the operation something
7 happened, that had not been planned, one; and two, we were not informed of
8 any details.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honours, I'll ask a few questions about the
10 notebook we've been able to identify. I simply don't have time. I see
11 the Court may be concerned about that, but ...
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE KWON: But, Mr. Nice, the second statement of Nik Peraj --
14 MR. NICE: Yes.
15 JUDGE KWON: -- was that exhibited?
16 MR. NICE: Yes.
17 JUDGE KWON: In the same number, 143?
18 MR. NICE: According to our records, yes. In fact there were
19 three statements. The last statement's a correction statement, which
20 dealt with a few typographical errors.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I'm reminded that you're now using
22 almost 100 per cent of the time spent by the accused.
23 MR. NICE: I'm quite aware of that. The Chamber will have -- so
24 sorry. The Chamber will have in mind the way the answers have been given
25 and the topics that have been covered. And as to this particular
1 document, it's a document we wanted a long time ago. It's apparently the
2 only record we're going to get --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: You're getting to a stage where it's actually going
4 to be impossible for you to comply with the order that was made about
6 MR. NICE: It's going to be difficult. We have it in mind as a
8 JUDGE BONOMY: It's -- I find it very difficult to see how you are
9 if you continue to continue cross-examination at this length.
10 MR. NICE: Well, Your Honours, the Court's -- I'm in the Court's
11 hands, to a degree, and I ask the Court to be understanding of the
12 difficulties we face when we're not provided in advance with material and
13 statements that enable us to know what's coming.
14 This is a document that may be of interest to the Chamber, I don't
15 know. We've been able to look at it and there are a couple of entries in
16 it -- there are quite a number of entries, they probably boil down to a
17 few topics. What should we do? Leave it altogether? Ask for it to be
18 translated and made available post facto when the witness can't deal with
19 it, or simply abandon the prospect asking any questions on it altogether?
20 It seems to me, where there is such a dearth of contemporaneous
21 material evidence associated with this witness, that the Chamber might be
22 helped by hearing one or two things, but I'm not going to press it. If
23 the Chamber is against me, I'm quite happy to stop.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, no doubt that's right. The issue is a much
25 broader strategic issue. It's not an issue related to this one subject
1 about which you're about to cross-examine. You have to give thought to
2 how you approach cross-examination in general if you're going to assist
3 the Chamber to ensure that its order is implemented.
4 MR. NICE: Well, it's always been our desire to maintain the ratio
5 of time that the Court wanted, and indeed to better it, but there are real
6 practical problems where we are presented with the sort of evidence we are
7 presented, and it would have been wholly wrong not, for example, to have
8 taken this witness to the evidence about Meja which implicates him even
9 though he didn't deal with it in chief.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: How much longer will you be now?
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm actually prepared to abandon the
12 book. Just let me just take one moment.
13 [Prosecution counsel confer]
14 MR. NICE: Can I ask a few general -- just a couple of general
15 questions that I know arise from the book.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let a copy be provided to the accused.
17 MR. NICE: There is no copy, there's just one document.
18 Q. Just this: Your book shows, doesn't it, Mr. Kotur, throughout the
19 relevant period gathering up reservists 600 at a time. That's not
20 rotation, that's preparing for war ahead of the end of March and in
21 contravention of the agreement; correct?
22 A. As we interpreted the agreement that had been signed, it was not
23 contrary to it. It's true the reservists were coming in to be trained.
24 Yesterday, I started saying but I didn't finish there was an assessment
25 made in March by the corps command concerning the strength of the
1 so-called KLA under arms, and the number of villages affected by combat
2 operations, about our operative and tactical position of the corps itself
3 - it was assessed as very unfavourable - and on the basis of that
4 assessment and taking into account -- let me tell you which document it
5 is. It was signed --
6 MR. NICE: Can I cut the witness short. I have two questions I
7 want to ask him. I'd ask the document be made available for translation,
8 we have it translated and consider its potential as an exhibit later on if
9 that's acceptable. It's the only way we can get through things quickly.
10 But there are two entries. Can we just look at this entry. Mr. Nort,
11 that entry and that entry.
12 Q. Read them out and interpret them for us because they will need
13 your interpretation. That one and that one. First one, please.
14 A. "Search of the terrain south of Junik. Participation in the
15 blockade of a terrorist group. No changes in mobility."
16 Q. No, finish. That's enough.
17 A. "Plan of drills not received. You ask for it. Course for squad
18 commanders, method-wise it --"
19 Q. Stop, please.
20 A. "-- does not hold."
21 Q. Could you read the word "pretres of the terrain" out. And if so,
22 what -- just read "pretres" again. I'm not sure you read that.
23 A. "Search of the terrain."
24 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... interpretation. Next entry,
25 please. Just read the second entry I pointed to.
1 A. "Damjane village photographed. Combat Group 3."
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter doesn't know how to interpret
3 this. Something involving force.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Nikodin village near Urosevac,
5 explosion. Admission of reservists and their briefing. Plan of
6 disinformation and deceit."
7 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues] ... without more time
8 than I'm prepared to devote in light of the concern of the Court and
9 without parallel documents to go to work from in photocopy form, I'd ask
10 that the document be made available, we'll have it translated, and then we
11 will address the issue of its being an exhibit.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Thank you Mr. Nice.
13 Mr. Milosevic, any re-examination?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I do, Mr. Robinson.
15 Re-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel Kotur, would you please take this
17 document placed before you by Mr. Nice entitled "Daily operative report of
18 the 15th of January, 1991 [as interpreted], General Staff of the army of
19 Yugoslavia, department for operations." Do you have that document?
20 A. No, I don't have it. I returned it.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May it be given to the witness.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: 1999, not 1991, as is on the transcript.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I thought I said 1999. Maybe it was
24 a slip of the tongue. I don't know.
25 JUDGE KWON: For the record, it is Exhibit 934.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Have you received it now?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Look at page 2, item 8.4, because that's the only thing that
5 refers to the 3rd Army.
6 A. No, I received the wrong document, dated the 10th of March. I see
7 it only now.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Microphone not activated].
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I found it. What point did you want
10 me to take a look at?
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Point 8.4. Just the section referring to the 3rd Army. So it's
13 the paragraph, a very short one beginning with 3rd Army. The first thing
14 it says is -- or you can read it out.
15 A. "During tactical exercises on a mechanised company of the Urosevac
16 243rd Mechanised Brigade in the sector of Dulje, near the village of
17 Sefer, the Siptar terrorists opened fire with infantry weapons after which
18 they retreated towards the Dara Glava feature. Our forces were unharmed."
19 Q. So that, then, is a tactical exercise that was going on; is that
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. And it was being performed by part of the unit at Dulje; is that
23 right? Can you see that?
24 A. Yes, we can see that.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, just for my benefit, just say what
1 a tactical exercise is. No, no, not you.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, it's a regular --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A tactical exercise means training
4 the army.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's what they're doing with the
7 object of training the troops.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. It says that there were no consequences, and all this took place
11 near the village of Sefer. That's what it says. Now, was this an event
12 which was completely separate from the one in Racak?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. Or does it have anything to do with Racak?
15 A. This is at the Dulje pass, which means separate from Racak.
16 Q. All right. But we're talking about that same combat group that
17 was at Dulje near Stimlje and Canovic hill; is that right?
18 A. Yes, it was divided in two parts; one was at Stimlje, one was at
19 Canovic hill or, rather, Dulje.
20 Q. Now, this other part, this second part, does it refer to the
21 combat group that was at Canovic group, because it says some of the forces
22 the BG-243-1 were deployed to seal off or block the village of Racak.
23 A. Yes, that's part of the group, of that same group.
24 Q. Now, tell us, please, since when was that part of the group
25 located in the area stipulated?
1 A. It was at that location since 1998. That is to say, the month of
2 April 1998, in fact.
3 Q. Now, the deployment and disposition of that part of the Tactical
4 Group, did it have anything at all to do with the operation or, rather,
5 the anti-terrorist action in Racak?
6 A. It was there for several months. It went on for several months
7 and wasn't exclusively intended for Racak. It wasn't intended to be there
8 for Racak but to control and provide safety along the communication lines.
9 Q. All right. Fine. Now, if there is an anti-terrorist operation in
10 the close vicinity, it's very existence in that locality, could that be
11 considered blocking off an access or sealing off an access?
12 A. I've already explained that. Its very existence can be
13 interpreted as having blocked the region, blocked the area.
14 Q. Right. Now it goes on to say the village of Racak, the Stimlje
15 municipality, that's just an identification, Racak is the essential point,
16 and then what does it say?
17 A. "Where the MUP members conducted an operation against Siptar
18 terrorists who had killed a MUP member."
19 Q. Very well. Fine. Now, does it say quite literally here that the
20 operation was carried out by members of the MUP?
21 A. Yes, it does.
22 Q. Now, in an operative report of this department for operations, had
23 the army taken part would it have necessarily said members of the MUP and
24 units of the army of Yugoslavia, such-and-such a unit had a unit been
25 there and taken part in that action?
1 A. Yes, that would have been the normal way to formulate it in a
2 report. If they had taken part together, then it would have said the MUP
3 and the army, that they had taken part together.
4 Q. So you're saying that that would have had to have been recorded?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. And what does it say here?
7 A. It says that it was only the MUP members who launched this
8 operation against the Siptar terrorists.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, these questions are either tendentious or
10 leading in effect and form. We can see exactly where the accused is
11 going. He knows how he can ask questions neutrally if he wants to. The
12 last one is quite a good example of how he can get away with it, really.
13 He asks where something might have happened, and then the next question is
14 - what is it he said? - "It would have had to have been recorded in that
15 way." It's all pretty clear, but there it is.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, reformulate the question.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. If it says here "who launched and conducted the operation" can we
19 then imply that somebody had taken part in it who wasn't recorded here,
20 who hasn't been written down here?
21 A. I've already given an explanation about that in my previous
22 response, that the people conducting the operation are included here and
23 written down here. Anybody who wasn't included was not written down here.
24 Now, part of the blockade or support - and I explained earlier on that
25 those are two different things; support means one thing, blockade means
1 another, or to seal off means another - when I discussed paragraph 8 or,
2 rather, point 8.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: We must stop now and break until tomorrow morning
4 9.00 a.m. We are adjourned.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 25th day
7 of January, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.