1 29 January 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court] [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Mr. Mustac. If I could remind you
6 that you are under affirmation to tell the truth.
7 Mr. Petrovic.
8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 WITNESS: IVAN MUSTAC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Petrovic: [Continued]
12 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Mustac.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. Can you please tell me when you joined the Croatian Democratic
16 A. On the 11th of November, 1989.
17 Q. And when was the party established?
18 A. It was established in the same year, on the 17th of June, if
19 memory serves me.
20 Q. Can we then agree that you were a member right from the beginning?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is it true that your name was put forward by the party for the
23 parliamentary elections in 1990?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. Is it true that you were then elected member of parliament on
1 behalf of the HDZ in the same year?
2 A. Yes, that's true also.
3 Q. Is it true that the Croatian Democratic Union, the HDZ, won a
4 landslide victory in 1990 and took over power in the Republic of Croatia?
5 A. Yes, that's true.
6 Q. Can you please tell me: How many members of parliament were there
7 who came originally from Dubrovnik in the first Croatian parliament?
8 A. Four of us all together.
9 Q. How many of the four of you were members of the HDZ?
10 A. Three.
11 Q. Can you please tell me: What was your official position in the
12 HDZ of the town of Dubrovnik?
13 A. I was the vice-president of the party.
14 Q. The HDZ, was it also in power at the local level in the town of
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You, as a deputy to the Croatian parliament, did you speak on
18 behalf of the citizens of Dubrovnik while you were a deputy to the
20 A. I tried to protect their interests as best as I could.
21 Q. Did you protect the interests of the town of Dubrovnik as best as
22 you could also in the period under discussion, in the second half of 1991?
23 A. I did my best.
24 Q. While working as an MP, did you follow all the important
25 developments in the town of Dubrovnik that could have been of significance
1 for your work as an MP?
2 A. I did my best to follow everything that was going on that was
3 important for my own work.
4 Q. In addition to your position at the Sponza Palace in the months of
5 September, October, November, and December 1991, did you have any other
6 official position in the town?
7 A. I was the head of the state archives and a member of the Croatian
8 parliament. I did not hold any other posts in the town.
9 Q. Will you then agree with me that at the time you had a widespread
10 network of contacts with important people in the town of Dubrovnik, people
11 in important positions?
12 A. Yes. Since I was an MP, I had a lot to do with people in
13 important positions.
14 Q. Was it important for your work, as an MP, that you were well
15 informed on all developments in the town of Dubrovnik?
16 A. Yes, by all means, that was very important.
17 Q. Did you work in order to obtain information so that you could tell
18 the other MPs in the Croatian parliament and at the republican level
19 exactly what was going on in Dubrovnik?
20 A. Again, I did my best.
21 Q. How many times did you leave Dubrovnik between October and
22 December 1991?
23 A. Twice, I believe.
24 Q. Can you remember when specifically the first time was, and the
1 A. The first was on the 8th of October, and the next time was between
2 the 1st and the 2nd of November.
3 Q. Did I understand you correctly yesterday when you said that the
4 second time you left Dubrovnik had to do with a parliament session at
5 which the independence of the Republic of Croatia was declared?
6 A. Yes, you understood that correctly.
7 Q. And did I understand you correctly that when you left Dubrovnik on
8 that occasion, before you left, you had talked to Mr. Marinovic?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. Your conversation with Marinovic preceded the session of the
11 parliament at which Croatia declared its independence?
12 A. Yes. The same day, just before I travelled, I talked to General,
13 then Colonel, Marinovic.
14 Q. Will you then agree with me that this conversation of yours with
15 Colonel Marinovic was not in November but rather in October 1991?
16 A. My departure took place between the 1st and the 2nd of November,
17 and the conversation took place just before I had set out. Before I left,
18 I talked to Colonel Marinovic. It was on the same day.
19 Q. Will it be of any assistance to you if I tell you that the session
20 of parliament you're talking about was not held on the 8th of November but
21 on the 8th of October, 1991?
22 A. On the 7th of November, or on the 8th of November, that's when
23 Croatia's independence was declared.
24 Q. How often were you in touch with people from Dubrovnik's Crisis
1 A. Those were not regular contacts, but very sporadic and quite
2 accidental, I should say.
3 Q. But you did tell us yesterday, didn't you, that the Crisis Staff
4 dealt with all the important issues, issues that affected the life of
5 Dubrovnik's citizens?
6 A. That's correct. Whenever there was something I had to know, I
7 would go to them to ask questions about supply, about water supply, if
8 they were facing any problems, that sort of thing.
9 Q. Did you have any other source of information of what was going on
10 in the town of Dubrovnik?
11 A. Those were official conversations, but I did have unofficial
12 contact with other citizens too, where I got information.
13 Q. Did you, and how often, if so, contact with the president of the
15 A. Yes. Those were frequent contacts.
16 Q. How often were you in touch with the commander of the town's
18 A. Less often, because I was in the Old Town, and they were outside
19 the Old Town. I'm talking about the Old Town.
20 Q. Were there, at the time, two main concerns for every citizen of
21 Dubrovnik: Firstly, the defence of Dubrovnik, and secondly, the supplies?
22 Was there anything that prevented you at the time from establishing
23 frequent contact with the commander of the defence and the Crisis Staff,
24 or perhaps my reading of events at the time is not quite correct.
25 A. I had more frequent contacts with the Crisis Staff, and I had very
1 little contact with the command of the town's defence.
2 Q. Does that mean that you weren't interested in how the defence was
4 A. No. This was simply not my duty.
5 Q. Does that mean that in the town's defence, there were no problems
6 to be conveyed to the Croatian parliament?
7 A. Oh, yes, there were. As I said before, I talked to --
8 Q. Yes, yes. I know about that. But what I'm asking you is how you
9 can explain this little, rather little interest that you had in these
11 A. I didn't say that. I didn't say that there was only little
12 interest on my part. I said that I did not have many opportunities to
13 talk to key people in the town's defence.
14 Q. You said that you knew Mr. Nojko Marinovic rather well.
15 A. Yes, that is the case.
16 Q. Since when have you known him?
17 A. I've known him since the time he left his position as commander
18 back at Trebinje and arrived in Dubrovnik.
19 Q. You had not known him prior to that?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you take part in negotiations regarding his transfer from
22 Trebinje to Dubrovnik?
23 A. No, I didn't.
24 Q. Do you know who did?
25 A. I heard that the mayor of Dubrovnik was involved.
1 Q. What do you know about those negotiations?
2 A. Once when we talked, he told me that he had had a talk with
3 Colonel Marinovic, following which Colonel Marinovic arrived in Dubrovnik.
4 I don't know specifically where and when.
5 Q. Did he also tell you what he had promised Colonel Marinovic?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Did he tell you what Colonel Marinovic had asked of him?
8 A. No, he didn't.
9 Q. How many times, roughly speaking, did you see Nojko Marinovic
10 between the time he arrived in Dubrovnik and the end of 1991?
11 A. About four times, three or four times. Four, I think, is on the
12 safe side.
13 Q. Where did you see him?
14 A. I saw him in his office, which at the time was at the Zagreb Hotel
15 in Lapad. I also saw him once when I was strolling about town. We had a
16 brief conversation. And twice, again in the town itself. One of these
17 times was just before I left Dubrovnik to attend the parliament session in
18 Zagreb. That's as far as I remember.
19 Q. Where did you see him strolling about?
20 A. That was in the Old Town also.
21 Q. Where did you see him on the last two occasions you saw him?
22 A. The last time I saw him was between the 1st and the 2nd of
23 November, before I left Dubrovnik to attend the parliament session I
24 talked about in Zagreb. I never saw him again after that. He had been
25 wounded and we never met again.
1 Q. Were you concerned about the town's defence?
2 A. Yes, I did care a great deal about what was going on in that
3 respect, but those were not my competencies.
4 Q. That's not what I'm asking you about. Were you concerned?
5 A. Yes, I was.
6 Q. Did you try to get as much information as possible on how things
7 were going regarding the defence of Dubrovnik?
8 A. Whenever I could.
9 Q. Do you know which specific units of the National Guard Corps were
10 stationed in the town of Dubrovnik?
11 A. I really don't know what the names of those units were.
12 Q. Do you know how many units there were?
13 A. No, I don't know that either.
14 Q. When you travelled to Zagreb to inform the Croatian parliament on
15 the developments, was there no need for you to obtain exact information as
16 to how many soldiers there were, what sort of weapons they had, what their
17 needs were, where exactly they were positioned? Weren't those crucial
18 questions at the time?
19 A. Yes, yes, by all means they were. I knew all of that. I knew
20 that they had a very small amount of weapons, not very powerful weapons,
21 to boot. I don't know exactly how many there were. I think it would be
22 ridiculous for me to venture a guess when I don't really know how many
23 there were.
24 Q. Just a very bald figure.
25 A. I really don't know. I'd say about 30, but that's only my
1 impression. Perhaps there were more, perhaps less.
2 Q. Did you perhaps think to ask Mr. Marinovic about the exact number
3 of soldiers?
4 A. No, I didn't.
5 Q. Did you ever ask him what sort of weapons he needed?
6 A. I didn't ask him; rather, he told me.
7 Q. What was it he told you? What sort of weapons was he after?
8 A. Just before I left, by boat, for Rijeka, as I said, this was
9 between the 1st and the 2nd --
10 Q. Please, just to keep things brief: What sort of weapons did he
11 say he needed?
12 A. He said, quite literally: "Please, tell General Tus on my behalf
13 that the town of Dubrovnik lacks all weapons and ammunition. We only have
14 one recoilless gun, very little ammunition, and it's impossible for us to
15 defend ourselves with what we have. Please tell him that we need urgent
16 help in terms of weapons."
17 Q. How long was this conversation between the two of you?
18 A. It was an extremely brief conversation. I was just about to board
19 the ship. Three minutes, four minutes, certainly less than five.
20 Q. So Mr. Marinovic asked you to go to Zagreb and to ask for weapons
21 to defend the town of Dubrovnik?
22 A. He asked me specifically to convey his message about the lack of
23 weapons to General Tus.
24 Q. Does that mean that Colonel Marinovic did not have direct contact
25 with the headquarters in Zagreb, the army headquarters?
1 A. I don't know that specifically. He must have had some sort of
2 contact. What sort of contact exactly, I didn't know, but he must have
3 had good reason to tell me, because I was a member of parliament, and
4 there must have been a reason for him to tell me this.
5 Q. Did he perhaps tell you, once given weapons, how he was going to
6 bring these weapons into town?
7 A. No, he told me nothing about that.
8 Q. So he was asking for weapons. Does that probably mean he believed
9 there was a way to bring these weapons into town, otherwise he wouldn't
10 have been asking for weapons?
11 A. That sounds logical, but I have no idea how exactly he was going
12 to bring weapons into town.
13 Q. Will you agree with me if I say that since he was asking for
14 weapons, he probably assumed that he could bring weapons into town?
15 A. That was probably his view, his take on the situation.
16 Q. Do you know where the Croatian army was positioned around the town
17 of Dubrovnik?
18 A. I do not know. I do know that some of them were at the Zagreb
19 Hotel, but where exactly they were positioned, I don't know and I never
20 thought to ask. It's a very small town. Whether it's a hundred metres in
21 this or that direction. It's really immaterial, and I'm not even sure
22 those positions changed over time.
23 Q. Are you familiar specifically with any single position of the
24 Croatian army within the town of Dubrovnik?
25 A. I know that some troops were stationed at Lapad, but as for the
1 rest, I really don't know.
2 Q. What did you see at Lapad?
3 A. I didn't see anything. I merely said that I knew about their
4 headquarters having been established there. I said that I met
5 Mr. Marinovic there once, and that's all I can tell you about their
7 Q. Which route did you take when you went from the Old Town, where
8 you stayed, to Lapad? Which streets specifically?
9 A. I took the street that takes you there, Iva Vojnovica Street. You
10 take a left turn at one point, that's the Lapad promenade, which is a road
11 that takes you straight to the hotel.
12 Q. When you leave the Old Town, which gate do you take?
13 A. When I went to Lapad, I took the Pile gate.
14 Q. So what's the next street after the Pile gate when you head for
16 A. Now it bears a different name, I believe, than it did at the time.
17 Then there's a traffic light. You take a left turn and that's Iva
18 Vojnovica Street.
19 Q. What's the name of this street that was called differently at the
21 A. I think now it's Starcevica Street, but believe me, I can't be
22 sure. We just go there, but we never think about the name.
23 Q. Is this the street leading from the Pile gate to the old hospital
24 at Boninovo?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. When you take that street -- past the traffic light?
2 A. Yes, past the traffic light to the left, that's Vojnovica Street.
3 Q. But that's not what I'm asking. Between the old hospital at
4 Boninovo and the Pile gate, to the left is the Gradac park; isn't that
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. Did you perhaps see what was there in the park?
8 A. No, I didn't.
9 Q. Did you look at all -- were you looking while you were walking?
10 You did go on foot, didn't you?
11 A. Yes, for the most part.
12 Q. And you never looked left or right on your way there, having taken
13 Starcevica Street past the hospital at Boninovo?
14 A. Yes, I did look both left and right, but if you've ever past there
15 yourself, the same road, you know that there are rows and houses both
16 sides and that all you can see are walls.
17 Q. Do you know how many long-barrel weapons were stationed in
18 Dubrovnik at the time? When I say "long-barrel weapons," I mean all kinds
19 of weapons that aren't just pistols. How many, roughly speaking?
20 A. I really don't know about this. I only know what I was told by
21 Colonel Marinovic, and I've already told you.
22 Q. How many? A rough estimate.
23 A. I really can't venture a guess there. It would be pointless for
24 me to talk about a rough estimate, when it would be totally unfounded.
25 Q. Let's say that there were about 30 defenders in town, and I assume
1 that the number of long barrels was about the same.
2 A. It may well have been.
3 Q. Would you be surprised if I told you that already in March 1991,
4 the police station in Dubrovnik, there were over 500 pieces of long
5 barrels, according to the report of that police station itself.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Re -- could you pause, please, Mr. --
7 Yes, Mr. Re.
8 MR. RE: The Prosecution objects to this evidence. It's
9 irrelevant, and it's purely speculative. The witness has clearly answered
10 a number of times he just does not know anything about the defences of
11 Dubrovnik. And my learned friend keeps putting things to him, and the
12 witness keeps saying: "I don't know." It's just wasting the Tribunal's
13 time, in my submission.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Re. You can put the question you're
15 in the process of putting, Mr. Petrovic, but you are just persistently
16 putting matters that the witness does say he knows no answer to.
17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you'll allow me to
18 reply. This is a person that we're talking about who is a deputy to the
19 parliament, who is familiar with all the details of the goings-on in the
20 city of Dubrovnik, who is going to Zagreb to seek weapons for Dubrovnik
21 and who knows nothing about it. This is not an ordinary citizen of
22 Dubrovnik that we're talking about. This is a person who, in the line of
23 his duty, had to be familiar in detail with the situation of the defence
24 of the city of Dubrovnik, whereas he is denying any such knowledge. And
25 this is why I'm pursuing this particular line of questioning and asking
1 this particular question. If you find it superfluous, I shall refrain
2 from any such questions. Thank you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: That's why I indicated to you, Mr. Petrovic, that
4 you may put the question that you had been asking. I appreciate fully
5 what you're doing, but I also point out, as Mr. Re has pointed out, that
6 there's little point in you continuing to put questions to be told the
7 witness knows no answer.
8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. So what is your reply to my last question?
10 A. What question?
11 Q. The question whether you knew that already in March 1991, 534
12 pieces of long-barrels were in the possession of the police station in the
13 town of Dubrovnik.
14 A. I regret the fact that you believe that I do not wish to answer.
15 I do wish to tell you what I do know. This is -- this police never
16 reported to me what the number of weapons in their possession was, nor was
17 it my duty to ask them about it. Probably they had the number of weapons
18 that you say that they said they had. I'm not denying that they had it,
19 but I never asked them, nor did they ask me. That is the problem. So
20 please do not say that I do not wish to reply. I have taken a solemn oath
21 before this Court to the effect that I will be saying the truth, and I
22 have said the truth, and the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and
23 that is in the interests of my own people and all the other peoples on
24 this planet, for the truth to be told here.
25 Q. Did you ever see soldiers of the Croatian army?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. How many of them did you see?
3 A. The city of Dubrovnik was a centre where people came. They came
4 to have a coffee, to have an ice-cream cone. How many did I see? Now
5 you're asking me some 12 years later, after the fact, about particular
6 numbers. People moved about. They were not prisoners. They moved about
7 freely. But I did not see armed soldiers in the town of Dubrovnik. That
8 is the question. I saw policemen, yes, I did, but not soldiers. I saw
9 soldiers, but not with arms, that is.
10 Q. Thank you. Did you give a statement to the investigators of the
11 International Tribunal?
12 A. Yes, I did.
13 Q. In the month of September nineteen-ninety --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry. The interpreter is lost about the year
15 because of the overlapping.
16 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Did you give this statement to be Mr. Arshad?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you say on that occasion everything that you knew and
20 everything which was the truth?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. Did you sign that statement?
23 A. Yes, I did, in the English version.
24 Q. Was the statement read out to you before you signed it?
25 A. Yes, it was.
1 Q. Did it reflect what you said about the events that you were asked
3 A. Yes, it did.
4 Q. Did you see in the Old Town of Dubrovnik any armed soldiers of the
5 Croatian army when they came to have this ice cream or have some coffee?
6 A. No, I did not see soldiers with weapons.
7 Q. Tell me, then: Why did you say to investigator Arshad the
8 following: "Several times I saw people in civilian clothes with weapons
9 walking about the old city? I believe I'm sure that they came to see
10 their relatives and their friends"? Why did you say this to Mr. Arshad if
11 you had never seen any soldiers with arms?
12 A. I'm not sure that's exactly what I said. What I did say was that
13 I had seen soldiers. They were not in uniform. You can say that those
14 were uniforms that they were wearing. I'll allow the possibility I may
15 have said this. I may have expressed myself in this way. And I may have
16 seen them. I may have seen some of them. But these were people from the
17 town itself.
18 Q. So let us note: You saw soldiers with weapons in the old city.
19 Whatever they were wearing, you saw them.
20 A. Well, we could put it that way. I saw some. Well, we can say
21 something to that effect. Now, what weapons, what exactly was perhaps a
22 pistol or something. I don't know.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Re.
24 MR. RE: The Prosecution objects. The witness didn't say soldiers
25 he said civilians. My learned friend is going to put an extract from the
1 witness's statement to him. In fairness to the witness, and so the
2 Tribunal knows what the witness said in his statement, if he's trying to
3 say that he -- impeach him with a prior inconsistent statement, he should
4 read the extract in its entirety to the witness and ask him if he said it
5 and stands by it. It's the proper way of doing this.
6 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I read exactly -- you
7 can see here in the transcript what I read: "Several times I saw people
8 in civilian clothes with weapons strolling about the old city." This is
9 what I read, and I hope this is the way it has been translated for you. So
10 I did not quote mistakenly what has been put down in the statement.
11 Tell me, colleague, what was it that I omitted to read or read
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Re.
14 MR. RE: Your Honours, the English version I have in my hand
15 said: "On two occasions, I encountered with armed men in the Old Town,
16 once on the Pile gate and the second time on the Ploca gate. On both
17 occasions they were civilian patrols. However, I did see a couple of
18 times some people in plain clothes, carrying rifles, roaming around in the
19 Old Town."
20 The next sentence says: "But I am sure that they came to see
21 their relatives or friends and had no military designs in the Old Town."
22 Now, that proposition is quite different to the one my learned
23 friend is putting to the witness, that is, that they were soldiers. In
24 fairness, he should put the entire paragraph to the witness.
25 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber, of course, is at the disadvantage that
1 it has neither version, so it cannot know fully what you are saying. But,
2 Mr. Petrovic, if the B/C/S version is similar to that which has just been
3 read by Mr. Re, what you have been putting to the witness is quite
4 incomplete and is misleading when you just pull out one sentence from it.
5 So that it may be useful if you put to him the full passage and then ask
6 him your questions again.
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you. I will do
8 so hereafter. In fact, I was given from the witness a reply which
9 confirms what I said, the respect of whether I read the paragraph in
10 extents [as interpreted] or not. The witness said that he had seen armed
11 people who were soldiers in the old city.
12 Q. What kind of weapons did these people that you saw in the old city
14 A. I've already said that these were ridiculous weapons, as weapons
15 go. These are some trophy rifles. Well, I'm not very versed in the
16 weapons field, but it was something quite outdated.
17 Q. Did any of them have automatic rifles?
18 A. No.
19 Q. What was the weapon -- what kind of weapons did you see?
20 A. Well, I was a soldier. I had been a soldier myself. So these
21 were rifles that were very old, ancient. I cannot really describe them
22 very well.
23 Q. But how, then, do you know that these are not modern rifles?
24 A. Because I know what modern rifles look like. I'm quite capable,
25 I'm quite mature, and I'm quite capable to distinguish between rifles and
1 between other things, between sophisticated and outdated things generally.
2 Q. Did you ever see these modern rifles in Dubrovnik at the time?
3 A. Did I see them. I don't know. I simply don't know. Maybe I did,
4 maybe I did not. I don't know why you're asking me this.
5 Q. Please try harder. Yesterday you were quite sure about details
6 and days that had taken place 13 days [as interpreted] ago. Just tell me:
7 Did you see people with modern weapons in the city of Dubrovnik at the
9 A. No. In the city of Dubrovnik at the time, I did not see any such
10 persons with such modern weapons, as you put it.
11 Q. Where did you see them?
12 A. Where? I saw them both outside the city -- perhaps you're asking
13 me about things, wanting me to tell you that I saw things that I don't
14 know at this time when I saw these things, because I'm not quite sure
15 about these weapons. You're asking about automatic weapons, and I can
16 tell you, as I say, that I haven't seen any such weapons in the centre of
17 the town.
18 Q. Did you see any such weapons outside the centre of the town? I'm
19 not asking when; just did you see.
20 A. No, I don't remember.
21 Q. Did you see any policemen in the Old Town?
22 A. Yes, I did. I saw policemen.
23 Q. And how were these policemen armed?
24 A. The policemen had pistols. They were armed with pistols. They
25 had their batons. They -- whether they had any other arms, I cannot
1 recall at this point, although I do allow for the possibility that they
2 could have had some, but I do not remember.
3 Q. What do you allow that they could have had?
4 A. The usual weapons that a policeman carries, and that is, of
5 course, up to the particular police.
6 Q. Did the police perhaps have automatic rifles?
7 A. I didn't see any, but I'm not denying that they might have had
8 them, but I didn't see any.
9 Q. How were the Dubrovnik defence units organised before Nojko
10 Marinovic arrived in town?
11 A. These were amateurish, amateur units, as it were, which had been
12 set up according to the -- on a voluntary basis, on a voluntary criteria,
13 and for the most part poorly organised.
14 Q. When were these amateur units established?
15 A. I know that they existed at the end of September, certainly. They
16 were in existence then, at the end of September 1991.
17 Q. When did Nojko Marinovic arrive in Dubrovnik?
18 A. Nojko Marinovic arrived in 1991, around September also, I believe.
19 But I do not know the exact date.
20 Q. So were these units in existence prior to his arrival?
21 A. Yes, they were.
22 Q. Since when was it?
23 A. As I said, I know that the National Guard Corps had been
24 established at the end of September 1991.
25 Q. Well, I fail to understand this. Nojko Marinovic came in
1 September, these units were formed in September. When was this situation
2 of disarray, poor organisation, and amateur units, when was this?
3 A. When he came, Nojko Marinovic did not assume this command. What I
4 said was that I knew that at the end of September, there existed the
5 National Guard Corps. I did not say that it was established then. I said
6 that I knew that at that time they were in existence already. They may
7 have been formed before, but in the month of September --
8 Q. Did you, in the month of September, inform the parliament about
9 the situation of the National Guard Corps units in Dubrovnik?
10 A. It was not my duty to inform, as you put it, in detail. My
11 reports were of a general character, about the situation in the town
12 itself. You are asking me now about the beginning, and I've told you I
13 don't know when the National Guard Corps was set up in Dubrovnik. But I
14 did say that it was in September. As far as I can recall -- that is as
15 far as I can recall. But it could have been earlier, but I don't know.
16 Q. What did you tell the parliament about the National Guard Corps in
18 A. I didn't go to the parliament in September.
19 Q. Prior to September, did you submit any reports or talk to anyone
20 about the situation concerning the National Guard Corps and the town's
22 A. Allow me to make this clear: The town's defence was not my job,
23 was not my concern. It was the concern of the mayor and his people.
24 Those were his contacts. The organisation was up to him. That was part
25 of his job. My duty was when I spoke in the parliament, to briefly review
1 those matters too, but that was not the only thing I was supposed to talk
2 about. We had great responsibilities and great duties. This was not the
3 only thing, because the situation in Croatia back at the time was like
4 that. Whenever the parliament met, it didn't meet to deal with these
5 matters only.
6 Q. So help me out with this, please. As a member of parliament, from
7 the party in power, at the time of all these developments that you told us
8 about yesterday, did you sort of refer to it in passing during the
9 sessions of the parliament, only in passing? What, then, was the main
10 subject of your discussion? What was the key issue for you, in view of
11 everything that was happening in Dubrovnik at the time?
12 A. Those were not my words. That was your understanding of what I
13 said. When I spoke, I closely followed the agenda of the meeting. It was
14 about the various laws that were being passed at the time. There was
15 little opportunity to speak about what was happening in Dubrovnik. You
16 had, for example, the item usually referred to as miscellaneous. It
17 should be easy to verify what the specific agenda was on any of the dates
18 that parliament met. It should be equally easy to verify what individual
19 MPs were saying.
20 Q. How did the situation in Dubrovnik change after Nojko Marinovic's
22 A. It changed a great deal. He was a professional soldier. He knew
23 his job.
24 Q. What exactly did he do to improve the town's defence?
25 A. There was more safety. People felt safer and felt that they were
1 being looked after by someone. Up to that point, it had been a bit
2 laughable, as I said, and I stand by that characterisation. Now the whole
3 thing took on an entirely different character, and everyone trusted the
4 man who was in charge. Everyone trusted that he would do the best for the
5 town's defence and that he would not allow the town to fall into the
6 enemy's hands, that he would stand up and defend the town. That's all I
7 can say.
8 Q. So Nojko Marinovic came along and organised those 30 defenders in
9 such a way as to prevent the town from being taken by the JNA; is that a
10 correct rendering of what you said?
11 A. No. I think that's a mischaracterisation. You keep referring to
12 a specific figure. I said right at the beginning when you asked me how
13 many people there were in the National Guard Corps. I said I don't know.
14 If I say 30, that's just a very bald figure I'm giving you there. It
15 could be more, it could be less. That's what I said when you asked me.
16 Upon Colonel Marinovic's arrival, the whole thing changed. Now, how many
17 troops there were then, the National Guard Corps or whatever they call
18 themselves, certainly more. As for the specific figure, I never asked
19 him, nor was it my responsibility to ask him, nor did it seem becoming to
20 inquire about that. I trusted him fully and believed that he knew what he
21 was doing.
22 Q. How was this change felt among the people of Dubrovnik, this
23 change? How did it affect life in Dubrovnik, Nojko Marinovic coming over,
24 bringing with him his reputation of a good professional soldier?
25 A. People were much happier about things.
1 Q. What was it that suddenly made you happier?
2 A. I keep repeating the same thing ad nauseam. I wonder where we are
3 getting at. As I said, up to that point it had all been rather laughable.
4 Those were just petty amateurs. Suddenly, there was a man who knew what
5 he was doing, and we all trusted him.
6 Q. But specifically, what did it look like after his arrival? What
7 changed? I want a specific change, an example of a specific change,
8 something that you observed.
9 A. I'm afraid I don't understand your question.
10 Q. Prior to Nojko Marinovic's arrival, the defence was organised in
11 an amateurish and laughable way?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. After his arrival, things began to change. What exactly was this
14 change reflected in after his arrival?
15 A. He was a man who knew his job. He organised the town's defence
16 the way he thought it best, and we trusted him. I'm not familiar with any
17 details regarding this, nor did I ask questions. Contact between Colonel
18 Nojko Marinovic and the town's defence was the responsibility of the
19 mayor. It wasn't my duty or my responsibility, nor did I have any
20 detailed knowledge of what exactly went on.
21 Q. Throughout those months we're talking about, did you ever see the
22 Croatian army fire from inside the Old Town?
23 A. No, never.
24 Q. Did you ever hear of any activities by the Croatian army from
25 within the Old Town?
1 A. No, never, with the exception of the 6th of December. That's when
2 I heard. But I did not see anything.
3 Q. What exactly did you hear on the 6th of December?
4 A. I heard that -- I mean when I say, "I heard," it was common
5 knowledge. Everyone knew that a decisive clash was being fought out at
6 the Imperijal fort. I can't say that it was a proper battle, because the
7 odds were not even. And on the part of the town's defence, there was a
8 mortar that was being used by the town's defence, one or several, in the
9 direction of the Imperijal fortress, and the attackers who were attacking
10 the fort.
11 Q. Did you hear where this mortar was positioned and where it was
12 firing from?
13 A. I can't say exactly. I know that the general location was at
14 Lapad. You keep telling me it was at Gradac. Now, whether it was Gradac
15 specifically, I really can't say. I can't, however, rule out the
16 possibility that there was something at Gradac also; it's just that I
17 didn't know. I had no personal knowledge of this. You must keep in mind
18 one thing that I said yesterday. I was commuting between Dubrovnik,
19 Zagreb, and Rijeka this whole time. On the 27th I arrived in the
20 hospital. I had taken ill with salmonella. I left hospital on the 4th of
21 December still feeling very ill, and it was hardly possible for me to
22 monitor movements by the Croatian units. Because you seem to expect me to
23 come up with specific bits of information, whereas I really can't. I'm
24 only telling you what I did know.
25 Q. Therefore, we can say with certainty that before the 6th of
1 December, you never heard any mortars firing, any rifles firing from
2 within the Old Town on the JNA positions; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. That will be sufficient. Thank you.
5 Is the name Milivoj Minica [phoen] familiar to you?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Do you know who Djuro Korda is?
8 A. Yes, I do. Djuro Korda was the chief of police at that time.
9 Q. When?
10 A. Back in 1991.
11 Q. Did you meet him in 1991?
12 A. Yes, several times. We are from the same town. We are
13 acquaintances. We've known each other even before 1991.
14 Q. He was -- you were an MP. You were a citizen of Dubrovnik, and
15 you had known the man for a long time. Did you ever talk to him and ask
16 him what the needs of the town's defence were, what they needed in order
17 to defend the town?
18 A. I may have asked him, it's just that I can't remember specifically
19 what I asked him or whether I asked him anything specific.
20 Q. Did you discuss the developments in Dubrovnik and around Dubrovnik
21 at all?
22 A. No. We did not discuss that. I didn't talk to him about that.
23 Q. If you're certain that you didn't talk about that, then what did
24 you talk about?
25 A. Well, you know how it is when old acquaintances meet: How have
1 you been? How's life's been treating you? Just exchanging pleasantries.
2 I didn't address him as the chief of police.
3 Q. You are an MP, the town is under siege. Your town is under
4 siege. You meet the chief of police and your only exchange -- you only
5 exchanged pleasantries. Am I correct in assuming that?
6 A. Not quite. It was only very rarely in those difficult times, in
7 that time of crisis that I came across him, because that's how the
8 situation was. He spent most of his time outside the town walls, because
9 the police headquarters were at Lapad, what we called the Lapad police
10 station, near the water polo club. And I was stationed within the Old
11 Town walls. Therefore, there wasn't much communication between us.
12 Q. How did you know his location? How did you know that he was
13 outside the Old Town?
14 A. Well, Dubrovnik is where I come from. Of course, everyone knows
15 where the police station is. I'm not sure if you're familiar with its
16 whereabouts, but I am very well aware of the respective locations of the
17 police station, the kindergarten, the elementary school.
18 Q. I didn't ask you about the police station as such. I asked you
19 about a specific person, and you said you knew where that person was
20 based. How did you know where this person was based? I'm not talking
21 about the police station.
22 A. Well, that's simple. He was the chief of police. I was the chief
23 archivist and he was the chief of police.
24 Q. Do you know who Colonel Katanic was?
25 A. No, I don't.
1 Q. And what about Captain Cengija?
2 A. Yes, I'm familiar with that person. I know the person. I never
3 met the person but I know who he is.
4 Q. What do you know about him?
5 A. I know that he was also a police officer. That's what he did.
6 That was his job. But I never personally talked to him; not then, not
8 Q. Was there anything you heard about that man?
9 A. Yes. I heard that he was with the police.
10 Q. In addition to that?
11 A. No, nothing else.
12 Q. Do you know who Aziz Suljevic is?
13 A. He's another police officer. I met this man. I didn't exactly
14 talk to him. We did perhaps say hello. But I know that he was in active
15 service when the ships were coming and going, something like that.
16 Q. Do you know anything about him in the months of October, November,
17 and December 1991?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Do you know where the SDK building at the Pile gate is?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Do you know what was there inside the building at the period of
22 time we're talking about?
23 A. No, I don't.
24 Q. Do you know where the INA oil company building is in Dubrovnik?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 Q. Do you know what was in that building at the relevant period of
3 A. No, I don't.
4 Q. Can you tell us whether the SDK building and the INA building,
5 where are these two buildings in relation to the Old Town centre?
6 A. The SDK building is between the Pile gate and the old hospital, to
7 the left of the road. And the INA oil company building, they had several
8 buildings in Dubrovnik. I'm not sure which one you mean. There are
9 several buildings that are at least related to the company.
10 Q. When you say "the INA building in Dubrovnik," that sounds
11 ambiguous to you. You don't know where that building happens to be?
12 A. That's not quite what I'm saying, but the oil company, the INA, I
13 believe their headquarters were at the Lapad station.
14 Q. In Dubrovnik, people usually refer to that as the INA building,
15 the headquarters; isn't that correct?
16 A. Well, believe me, I'm not trying to lead you a merry dance there.
17 I'm not trying to hide anything from you. To be quite honest, at this
18 moment, I believe that the INA building -- well, yes. I think that's near
19 the court building, or thereabouts.
20 Q. Where is that in relation to the Old Town?
21 A. You leave the Old Town. There's a crossroads to the left, there's
22 Vojnovica Street, and if you go straight, that's Starcevica Street, and
23 you soon reach the INA headquarters. You walk past the national health
24 centre and then that should be the second or third building to the left.
25 Q. In terms of specific distance in metres, for example, what do you
1 think the distance would be?
2 A. That's the second or third bus stop.
3 Q. How did you reach General Tus?
4 A. There was a request for information in the parliament. I was told
5 where he was based at the time, and he was based at Dubravkin Put. Once I
6 arrived, they told me that the headquarters were shelled where General Tus
7 was stationed, that it had been hit by a rocket, by a missile, and that
8 General Tus had moved headquarters. But I wasn't told specifically where
9 they had gone to. I remained adamant, but they refused to tell me. I
10 went back to them. I told them -- I made clear that I needed to speak to
11 him, and then they said that it was somewhere on Tkalciceva Street in
13 Q. Did anyone tell General Tus that you would be coming to see him to
14 speak to him?
15 A. No. My visit was not announced, because they had no idea where he
16 was. His headquarters had just been hit by a missile.
17 Q. What was his official position at the time?
18 A. He was the commander of the HQ of what was then referred to as the
19 National Guard Corps.
20 Q. The period of time you're talking about now, were there any
21 organised units of the Croatian army led by Antun Tus or not?
22 A. There were no such organised units.
23 Q. Was there a law governing the establishment and structure of the
24 Croatian army at the time?
25 A. I couldn't say specifically off the top of my head right now. I
1 must have known at the time, but right now I can't remember whether there
2 was in fact a specific law governing that.
3 Q. If I understand you correctly, you went to the headquarters of the
4 National Guard Corps. You knocked on a door and you were received by the
5 chief. Am I right?
6 A. No, that's not what I said. I asked whether I could see him. I
7 inquired, and at his former headquarters, which he had since abandoned,
8 they told me he was no longer around. I needed to ask several times
9 before I was told that he was now based in Tkalciceva Street.
10 Q. Did they want to know why you were looking for him?
11 A. No. They asked no questions.
12 Q. Did you say who you were?
13 A. Yes, of course I did.
14 Q. Did you also say why you wanted to see him?
15 A. No. I didn't tell those soldiers that I spoke to.
16 Q. Who attended the meeting you're talking about?
17 A. General Tus and myself. Only the two of us.
18 Q. How long was the meeting?
19 A. It was very short. I'm telling you, and please do your best to
20 believe me, I walked up and down Tkalciceva Street, and at one point I saw
21 a tall man who approached me. I told the driver to pull over. I'd only
22 seen photographs of this before, but I'd never met him in person. So I
23 approached this tall man and asked him whether he was General Tus. He
24 smiled and he said: "Yes, I am." And he ushered me into the house in
25 Tkalciceva Street. It was just a plain room with a map on the wall, a
1 table, and a set of chairs.
2 We sat down. I told him what I had been told myself by Colonel
3 Marinovic. He placed a hand on my shoulder and told me --
4 Q. There's no need to go into that now. You've already told us about
5 this. So General Tus was just casually strolling about town, you were
6 driving by, you saw him from inside the car, you approached him, and he
7 took you to his office; is that correct?
8 A. No. Unfortunately, that's not a correct reading. But I could
9 tell you something else.
10 Q. Please do.
11 A. You shouldn't be saying things like this, he was casually
12 strolling about town. His location was secret at the time. No one knew
13 where he was based. Because his headquarters had just been shelled. I
14 was going up and down Tkalciceva Street just been accident, because I had
15 been given his rough location. And I saw a man wearing a uniform outside
16 a house, so I approached him, and that's how we met. You keep
17 saying "strolling about casually." What is that supposed to mean exactly?
18 Q. In addition to that, in addition to this one sentence, is it your
19 submission to us that there was nothing else you told him about the town's
20 defence, about the situation in Dubrovnik, if the JNA was attacking, where
21 and when, what the forces being deployed were, or anything of that nature?
22 A. Yes, of course I did tell him that the town was in grave danger.
23 I conveyed Colonel Marinovic's words to him exactly. And my final
24 question was: What were the prospects that we were facing? What can we
25 do without weapons? And he said: I really don't know. And he looked
1 very concerned.
2 Q. Did he seem surprised when he heard what you said?
3 A. He seemed greatly concerned.
4 Q. Did you find it possible to believe that he didn't know what was
5 going on in Dubrovnik?
6 A. I believe he did know. He must have known.
7 Q. Did you say anything specific to him about the specific defence
8 problems, apart from the general fact that there were no arms?
9 A. I was not in charge of the defence. I really didn't know. The
10 only thing -- what I knew, I knew from what Colonel Marinovic had told me,
11 and that was official information that the city was faced with a grave
12 danger because it had nothing to defend itself with.
13 Q. You referred to a recoilless gun. What is it?
14 A. This is what Colonel Marinovic told me. He said: "Tell them that
15 we have a -- one recoilless gun in a state of proper repair." Don't ask
16 me. I have no way to know.
17 Q. From this time distance, do you know that Colonel Marinovic told
18 you the truth, or perhaps not?
19 MR. RE: I object to this. My learned friend has asked a series
20 of purely speculative questions of this witness over the course of the
21 last 45 minutes. The difficulty with trying to object at the time is the
22 answer is given and a new question is being asked which is why we haven't
23 objected before, but we do ask Your Honours to please ask my learned
24 friend not to ask these sorts of speculative questions. The witness can't
25 possibly answer these.
1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I withdraw this
3 JUDGE PARKER: Well, I hope you take heed of the point being made
4 as well, Mr. Petrovic. Thank you. Move on.
5 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Were there any initiatives from the city of Dubrovnik itself to
7 deal with the existing problems?
8 A. The city of Dubrovnik had its mayor, with his associates,
9 representatives of the Executive Council and other councils; and on the
10 other hand, we had Colonel Marinovic with the defence structure. I was a
11 deputy, and my predominant duty - I want everybody to know - was official
12 work in the parliament, according to the agenda determined for each
13 particular session.
14 Q. Did you at every parliamentary session have the situation in the
15 Republic of Croatia on the agenda, as an item on the agenda, because of
16 the aggression, as they put it at that time, from Serbia?
17 A. No.
18 Q. And did the majority of sessions have this item on the agenda?
19 A. No, they didn't, because this could be placed on the agenda only
20 under the miscellaneous, other business agenda, and we had to follow the
21 agenda, as it was fixed in advance. You cannot change it during the
23 Q. Are you submitting that in the autumn of 1991, the parliament of
24 the Republic of Croatia talked about the situation in the Republic of
25 Croatia under the other business item?
1 A. No, this is not what I'm saying. But I did say it was not the
2 first item on our agenda of our sessions. I said it was discussed, but
3 not at every session as the major item.
4 Q. What was the -- in the fall of 1991, during the Vukovar and
5 Dubrovnik events, what was the main theme on the agenda of the parliament?
6 A. The items of the agenda follow the agenda as established.
7 Q. Thank you. Was there any initiative from the city of Dubrovnik to
8 deal with the problems that existed at the time?
9 A. Not that I'm aware of.
10 Q. Were any negotiations being conducted at the time, to your
12 A. In the city of Dubrovnik, there existed a standing commission for
13 relations with the Yugoslav army, or a group of people, or a commission,
14 we can call it.
15 Q. Who were the people in this commission?
16 A. Members of this commission were Mr. Niksa Obuljen, Mr. Kolic,
17 Mr. Macan, and perhaps some other persons as well.
18 Q. Did you know anything about their work?
19 A. I would ask them if I came across them, but in December, in
20 November, I simply did not have sufficient time to establish -- to -- for
21 any such contacts with them, because I already had a busy schedule, as I
22 have already described.
23 Q. Did you, as a representative of the town of Dubrovnik, of the
24 citizens of Dubrovnik in the Croatian parliament, at all show an interest
25 in the negotiations being conducted between the JNA and the authorities,
1 except for these accidental meetings?
2 A. Of course. I was very concerned and interested in these, but I
3 did not inform parliament about these because they got first-hand
4 information about the negotiations being conducted from the head of the
5 commission, I presume.
6 Q. And you only happened to find out about what was going on in a
7 chance meeting too, did you not?
8 A. No, not at all. If I could, if I did have the opportunity, I
9 would certainly have shown an interest in what was going on and the actual
10 state of the negotiations, but my concern, my interest, could in no way
11 influence their actual course.
12 Q. I'm not saying that it could have influenced the course, but it
13 was -- what I'm asking is whether you were bent on having precise
14 information about it or not.
15 A. I did have information. I knew that they went to Cavtat for
16 negotiations on several occasions. I also knew that they had been told
17 some things which they had conveyed to me, things that have not been
18 respected by the other side.
19 Q. What was the content of these negotiations?
20 A. It was the [indiscernible]. At the end of it all, the bottom line
21 was to cease bombing and stop the attacks.
22 Q. Who did they negotiate with?
23 A. I don't know the actual names.
24 Q. Did you perhaps hear about -- do you at all know what the supreme
25 state council of the Republic of Croatia is?
1 A. The supreme...?
2 Q. The Supreme Defence Council of the Republic of Croatia.
3 A. I believe this was a party which existed in the beginning. Now,
4 whether it was in 1991, well, I cannot say anything on that subject
5 competently. I don't know.
6 Q. Do you know that this is a body which was composed of the highest
7 officials of the Republic of Croatia, headed by the president of the
8 republic, the Prime Minister, the key ministers?
9 A. I'll allow that possibility, yes. It could have been.
10 Q. So do you know anything about this?
11 A. As I said, I cannot speak competently on that subject.
12 Q. Was the Supreme Defence Council ever addressed by the assembly of
13 the municipality of Dubrovnik, the Executive Council, or other
15 A. I don't know. I can't say that they didn't. I simply don't know.
16 But by the nature of things, I'll allow that it really could have
18 Q. Did you ever hear that on the 11th of November, 1991, these bodies
19 which I mentioned, the assembly of the municipality, the Executive
20 Council, and the Crisis Staff, that they proposed to the Supreme Defence
21 Council for the Republic of Croatia to propose to the United Nations to
22 the European Union for a demilitarised zone to be established in the city
23 of Dubrovnik with weapons being handed over to the international forces,
24 or that everybody who is incapable of combat be evacuated from the area of
25 Dubrovnik, and so on and so forth? Did you ever hear about that?
1 A. Look here: I cannot talk competently about some things here on a
2 hearsay basis.
3 Q. I'm just asking you whether you ever heard about it.
4 A. I have. I did hear about these things, but I'm telling you that I
5 cannot speak about these things competently, because I was not officially
6 informed by people who should have known about these things, obviously.
7 Q. So what did you hear about this particular thing?
8 A. What you just said, that the city was to be evacuated and in this
9 way preserved, because it was better to save the city than to remain there
10 and have the people suffer and the city suffer consequences.
11 Q. Did you hear about the proposal about demilitarised zone set by
12 the city of Dubrovnik to the supreme state council?
13 A. I said, and I repeat: I cannot speak about this competently
14 because I was not officially informed about these things, nor did I seek
15 any information on this via official channels.
16 Q. The proposal coming from Dubrovnik for the demilitarisation to the
17 supreme state council is something that you did not hear about?
18 A. No, not officially.
19 Q. But privately you did?
20 A. Yes, privately there was word about this. But as I said, I cannot
21 competently speak about this.
22 Q. What was being said privately about this?
23 A. Precisely what you said, that the city should be evacuated, that
24 the people should leave the city to save it from bombing.
25 Q. What did you hear privately about the proposal coming from
1 Dubrovnik for the city to be demilitarised?
2 A. I have no knowledge of that, apart from what I heard, apart from
3 having heard that there was a proposal to that effect as well. But I did
4 not get any such information from qualified people. But I repeat: Seeing
5 where I was in the period under review, you can also conclude for yourself
6 whether I was in a position to hear this from competent people and
7 officially. If I was on the road all the time, and also in hospital
8 during that month, I was in no position to receive such information in the
9 way that you want me to tell it to you.
10 Q. Would you have supported at the time a proposal by the Executive
11 Council, the Crisis Staff, and the mayor on demilitarisation?
12 JUDGE PARKER: You don't have to answer that question, Mr. Mustac.
13 MR. RE: Same objection.
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] All right, Your Honour.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To this last question --
16 JUDGE PARKER: No, don't answer it, Mr. Mustac.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- I should reply to it now?
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Did you hear from your private contacts what was the fate of this
20 initiative that I just talked about?
21 A. It was rejected.
22 Q. Do you know who dismissed this initiative?
23 A. As far as I know, this was also -- this was the mayor himself,
24 with his team. The mayor and his team also dismissed this initiative, and
25 it was not brought up again after the 6th of December.
1 Q. So do you know from private sources that the mayor dismissed his
2 own initiative, basically?
3 A. I don't know that. That is to say, I don't know about this
4 initiative officially, meaning I was not directly informed, nor did I ask
5 about it. At the time, I was absent from Dubrovnik most of the time. But
6 after the accomplished fact, the 6th of December events, I know that this
7 initiative which was being discussed in the corridors was dismissed,
8 namely, that no one supported it any longer.
9 Q. Do you know what the position of the citizens of Dubrovnik was in
10 regard of this initiative?
11 A. I know that many people protested against it, that in fact a
12 concert, a concert was held in the open, in front of the church of
13 St. Basel, St. Vlac [phoen]. But I wasn't there at the time, but I was
14 told that in protest against such an initiative, this concert was held to
15 protest such a solution which would ostensibly help preserve, save the
17 Q. Did anyone ever open fire from the walls, from the ramparts of the
18 Old Town towards JNA positions?
19 A. As a citizen, as a deputy, I sincerely state here that I simply do
20 not know.
21 Q. Did you hear anything said about that?
22 A. Yes, I did. I heard a story, how some persons -- one man had
23 opened fire from his rifle, to which I said that that was ridiculous and
24 stupid for anyone to air one's human misery, one's distress, one's
25 dejection, to express it in this way, because this led nowhere. That was
1 on one hand. On the other hand, it was wholly ineffectual because it was
2 stupid to open fire from a air rifle towards any target. And whether it
3 was precisely from the ramparts, I really don't know. I have no
4 information whatsoever. That is to say, I personally did not see
6 Q. You said someone fired from an air rifle. How do you know exactly
7 what the weapon being used was?
8 A. Well, that was under quotations marks. I was talking about
9 laughable weapons, as I said. So that's how the air rifle came to mind.
10 You could perhaps imagine that it was a hunting rifle or something like
11 that, a rifle which did not exactly have a five-kilometre range.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would propose a
13 break now, if this is a convenient time. I only have two or three
14 questions left for this witness. Therefore, I think ten minutes will be
15 enough to -- for me to conclude my cross-examination, after the break, of
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
21 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Mustac, please tell me: From whom did you hear these stories
23 about fire being opened on the JNA positions from the old ramparts?
24 A. I didn't hear this from anyone, in the sense of your question.
25 There was no fire being opened. I said it a hundred times. I said that
1 there were from time to time some laughable people - that's what I heard -
2 who used their own weapons to fire, to open fire. What they were aiming
3 at, I didn't know. I said this a number of times, that I thought it was
4 laughable. So that's my answer to your question.
5 Q. My question was: Who did you hear this from, since you didn't
6 personally witness this?
7 A. At this time, I really can't remember.
8 Q. How would you qualify those people who did that, if they did it
9 from the ramparts?
10 A. If they did it, yes. You said that quite correctly. That's
11 precisely what I'm telling you. I would characterise that, being an
12 historian and knowing what it means that a town is a UNESCO World Heritage
13 site. So that would be my answer. The town was a UNESCO World Heritage
14 site, and in that town, there was no army. Anyway, the UNESCO observers
15 and European monitors were in town at the time, and I am sure that they
16 could confirm what I'm telling you.
17 Q. I will read out to you a paragraph from your statement, and you
18 will then please tell me whether the statement is correct. Answer: "I
19 heard stories from some people who fired from the town walls on the JNA
20 positions at Zarkovica. I personally did not see anyone do anything like
22 A. I was given this statement to look at only when I arrived here on
23 the 20th of this month, and the first thing I said was that I didn't say
24 that. It was probably a mistranslation. But I did say what I said now
25 during my testimony.
1 Q. So if those were no scoundrels, as you said, how would you
2 characterise those people?
3 A. I would characterise them as laughable and irresponsible. They
4 were in a town that is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and they were using
5 this location to express their rage or their helplessness. I didn't think
6 that was right.
7 Q. Were you concerned by the fact that in a town where there had been
8 no military units up until 1991, Nojko Marinovic came around and organised
9 military units. It used to be a demilitarised town and now suddenly you
10 had a town where a unit of the National Guard Corps or the Croatian army
11 was stationed. Did this bother you?
12 A. Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It became a world
13 heritage site in 1979. But I'm talking about the town as defined
14 intra murus. That's within the old walls. Everything that remained
15 outside the old city walls was not a world heritage site.
16 Q. Can you please answer my question, or should I repeat my question?
17 Were you concerned by the fact that in a town where there had been no
18 military units before 1991, suddenly a military unit was set up, led by
19 Nojko Marinovic? Were you concerned by this?
20 A. No. This didn't worry me. Quite the contrary; this meant that a
21 defence was being set up, because the town had already come under attack.
22 This was some form of precaution, a form of defence, something that made
23 it possible for us to defend ourselves.
24 Q. At the time, did you see any mortars mounted on small lorries
25 being moved from one location to another within the town itself?
1 A. No, I didn't.
2 Q. Did you hear about this?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Did you see any cannon or guns mounted on small lorries or vans
5 moving through the town, firing on JNA positions?
6 A. No. I did not personally see anything like that.
7 Q. Did you hear anything about that?
8 A. No, I didn't.
9 Q. Did you ever see an APC inside the Old Town at the time?
10 A. Yes, I did see an APC, but as far as I know, this APC was a tool
11 of communication between one section of the town of Dubrovnik and the
12 occupied suburb of Mokosica. This APC, as you call it, was used to
13 transport bread and other necessities.
14 Q. Let me get this right. The suburb of Mokosica that was under
15 occupation was being supplied with bread by an APC from Dubrovnik?
16 A. Yes. They were carrying bread -- well, you say that it was an
17 APC. Well, that's what I was told too. That was the only possible means
18 of communication at the time, under the circumstances.
19 Q. So this APC passed the defence lines, passed the JNA lines,
20 reached Mokosica, and then drove back to Dubrovnik. Am I right in
21 assuming this?
22 A. There was communication between the two ends. Whether it was an
23 APC or not, I can't be quite sure. I'm not stating either. That's what
24 I've heard. If you want, I can tell you the whole story about how I came
25 to know about this.
1 Q. Thank you very much. I don't think that is necessary.
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this concludes my
3 cross-examination of the witness. Thank you.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
5 Ms. Butler.
6 MS. BUTLER: Thank you, Your Honours.
7 Re-examined by Ms. Butler:
8 Q. Good morning, Mr. Mustac.
9 MS. BUTLER: Usher, can I ask that the Prosecution Exhibit P39, as
10 well as Prosecution Exhibit P10, be shown to the witness. I'm sorry.
11 That's a correction. P12.
12 Q. Sir, today in cross-examination, you said that you heard mortar
13 fired from the Imperijal fort on the 6th of December, 1991; is that
15 A. Yes. That's what people said. I heard that from other people. I
16 did not personally witness this.
17 Q. Thank you, sir. Looking at the colour map to your left, can you
18 see the Imperijal fort on that map? That's Prosecution Exhibit P39.
19 MS. BUTLER: Can that be placed on the ELMO maybe?
20 Q. Sir, I draw your attention to the map on your right-hand side.
21 [Prosecution counsel confer]
22 MS. BUTLER: Excuse me, Your Honours. One second. I need to
23 confer with my colleagues.
24 [Prosecution counsel confer]
25 MS. BUTLER:
1 Q. Sir, can you see the Imperijal fort on this map?
2 A. No, not on this map. It's not on the map.
3 Q. Okay. I'm sorry.
4 MS. BUTLER: Can he be shown -- it's Prosecution Exhibit P10.
5 It's a different map.
6 Q. Sir, can you identify the Imperijal fort on that map, Prosecution
7 Exhibit P10?
8 A. Yes, I can see it. It's on the other side of the main road, the
9 coastal road. There's a hill there called Srdj. And this is the
10 Imperijal fort that was built by the French.
11 Q. Sir, would it be correct to say, then, that the Imperijal fort is
13 A. Yes, you could say that.
14 Q. Okay.
15 MS. BUTLER: I would ask the usher to fold that map in the area in
16 which he's identified the Imperijal fort and place it on the ELMO so that
17 we can all see.
18 Q. Sir, using the pointer, can you point again to identify the
19 Imperijal fort.
20 A. [Indicates]
21 MS. BUTLER: May the record reflect that the witness has pointed
22 to Srdj on the map.
23 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
24 MS. BUTLER:
25 Q. Thank you, sir.
1 MS. BUTLER: Thank you, usher.
2 Q. Sir, when did you first hear the sound of mortar fire? Thank you.
3 I'll conclude my redirect. Thank you. Thank you for your testimony.
4 MS. BUTLER: Your Honours, that concludes my re-examination.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mustac, thank you very much. That concludes
8 the evidence you are asked to give. You are now free to leave the
9 Tribunal. Thank you
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE PARKER: The next witness, Ms. Somers?
12 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Your Honour. And I thank the
13 Chamber for its understanding in my need to be out of the courtroom
14 because of scheduling matters.
15 The next witness is General Andrew Pringle.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. I wonder if you'd be kind enough to
18 take the affirmation. If you would read the affirmation, please.
19 WITNESS: ANDREW ROBERT DOUGLAS PRINGLE
20 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
21 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Would you please be seated.
23 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
25 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
1 Examined by Ms. Somers:
2 Q. General Pringle, I will, in the interests of time, try to go not
3 too quickly, but quickly enough so that the Chamber has an idea of your
4 background through your career. But first, would you give us, please,
5 your complete name.
6 A. Andrew Robert Douglas Pringle.
7 Q. And General Pringle you remember born on 9 October 1946 in
8 Avington, England?
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. And you have retired from military service in 2001?
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. In what branch of the military, General, did you serve, and with
13 what rank did you retire?
14 A. I was commissioned into The Royal Green Jackets which is a British
15 army infantry regiment, and I retired in the rank of major general.
16 Q. In your retirement, have you undertaken a different occupation?
17 A. Yes. Since leaving the army I have become a defence consultant.
18 Q. What type of consultancy, if you are in a position to tell us?
19 A. I assist small and medium-sized companies in -- and high tech
20 companies in dealing with the Ministry of Defence.
21 Q. General, just looking at your military background, from 1964 until
22 1966, you studied and completed your studies at the Royal Military Academy
23 at Sandhurst; is that correct?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. Between 1969 and 1971, you completed studies at the Royal Military
1 College of Science, with a bachelor of science degree, honours, in applied
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. 1978 to 1979, the Army Command and Staff College?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Where is that, General?
7 A. That was the army staff college at Campbell in Surrey, England.
8 Q. 1990, the higher command and staff course, which -- could you
9 describe what that type of course entails and for whom it is generally
11 A. Yes. That was a course for -- at that stage, especially selected
12 officers in the army who were deemed to be destined for the highest
13 positions, and its focus was particularly on strategy and campaign
15 Q. 1991, the Royal College of Defence Studies. Again, is that a
16 particular course of study, and is it geared for -- toward any type of
18 A. Yes. That is a course for UK nationals drawn from the three armed
19 services, from the Ministry of Defence, and in some instances, from
20 British industry and the diplomatic corps, where they all get together for
21 a year and concentrate on top leadership and managerial issues with a
22 defence bias.
23 Q. Looking at your -- breaking down, or breaking your military
24 experience into command and staff, looking at your command experience, in
25 your 35 years or so in the military, is it correct that you have commanded
1 at every level from platoon to division?
2 A. That's correct. I've commanded from platoon, which is about 30
3 men, through company, which is about 100 to 120 men, through battalion
4 battle group, which is up to 1.500 men, to brigade, five and a half
5 thousand, to division, about 12 or 15.000.
6 Q. And that this long command career culminated in 1997 and 1998 when
7 you served as commander of the multinational division, which I believe was
8 also known as SFOR NATO, is that correct, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, at the
9 rank of major general?
10 A. Yes. It was multinational division south-west, which was part of
11 SFOR based in Bosnia. I was actually based in Banja Luka.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly pause between question
13 and answer.
14 MS. SOMERS: Yes. I'm sorry to the interpreters.
15 Q. Banja Luka is in what part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, under the Dayton
17 A. Banja Luka is in Republika Srpska.
18 Q. In 1995, I see that the reference to sector south-west Bosnia.
19 Are we referring again to the same area, Banja Luka?
20 A. No, we're not. We're -- in 1995 I commanded UN sector south-west,
21 part of UNPROFOR force. My headquarters was based in Gornji Vakuf.
22 Q. Now, with what rank did you carry out that task?
23 A. In the rank of brigadier.
24 Q. UNPROFOR, could you very briefly describe what UNPROFOR is and
25 what your particular mandate was.
1 A. UNPROFOR was the UN protection force, mandated to supply
2 humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of -- in my instance,
3 Bosnia, during the Bosnian war.
4 Q. Were you in any way affiliated with any party to the conflict?
5 Perhaps more --
6 A. Affiliated. I was not affiliated to any party to the conflict. I
7 was part of the United Nations force which was entirely separate from the
8 three parties to the conflict.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 A. If that's the question.
11 Q. It is. In other words, there was no affiliation with any warring
12 party, so to speak?
13 A. No. There was a lot of dealings with, but there was no
14 affiliation with.
15 Q. Dealing with all parties to the conflict?
16 A. Dealing predominantly with the Bosnian Croats and the Bosniaks,
17 because we were based in the federation area of Bosnia. Very little
18 contact with Republika Srpska, because at that stage Republika Srpska
19 wouldn't have UNPROFOR based on its territory. The only dealings I had at
20 that stage with the Bosnian Serbs was in relation to the element of the
21 British force that was in the enclave of Gorazde.
22 Q. When you use the term "Bosniaks," are you able to perhaps clarify
23 with what group you may be referring or to what group?
24 A. The Bosniaks. By the term Bosniaks, I'm talking about the Bosnian
1 Q. Looking at your staff positions, General Pringle, they have
2 included assistant director for military operations in the United
3 Kingdom's Ministry of Defence, 1988 through 1991. What was your rank at
4 that time?
5 A. Full colonel.
6 Q. 1996 to 1997, director of land warfare, Ministry of Defence. What
7 was your rank at that time?
8 A. Brigadier.
9 Q. And in this capacity, you indicated you headed what might be
10 referred to as the British army's "think-tank." Could you perhaps explain
11 what that was and what duties were entailed in that function.
12 A. Yes. It was predominantly a branch dealing with concepts and
13 doctrine looking forwards, charged specifically with thinking through the
14 implications design of what we then called British army 2015.
15 Q. Which means?
16 A. Which means the size and shape and equipment and doctrine that
17 would be applicable to the British army when we arrived at 2015.
18 Q. And as I understand it, then, development of doctrine and concepts
19 was part and parcel of this task?
20 A. Development of concepts and doctrine was part of the
21 responsibility, yes.
22 Q. Between 1998 and 2001, you were chief of staff, permanent joint
23 headquarters in the United Kingdom and what was your rank?
24 A. Major general.
25 Q. And what types of responsibilities were folded into this --
1 A. I was the chief of staff director of operations to the chief of
2 joint operations, a three-star admiral at that stage. I was responsible
3 for the planning and preparation of the UK's joint operations worldwide,
4 and for heading up the permanent joint headquarters, a contribution to
5 what was known as the defence crisis management organisation, which in
6 simple terms is the permanent joint headquarters in the Ministry of
7 Defence working together at the strategic operational interface, which
8 effectively was formulating operational policy, and it would then fall to
9 the permanent joint headquarters and myself, as the chief of staff,
10 director of operations, in particular, to turn that policy into a plan and
11 execution. And we did that during my time, from as far afield as East
12 Timor, Sierra Leone, Middle East, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, wherever
13 we were operating at the time.
14 Q. General, when you refer to joint operations, could you perhaps
15 explain a little bit about what that concept is or what the term means?
16 A. Joint operations from the UK perspective is the integration of
17 maritime, the land, and the air component into one harmonised force, in
18 order to achieve the best objective. In other words, it's the execution
19 using army, navy, and air force.
20 Q. General, in the course of your preparing to come to give your
21 testimony at the Tribunal, you have prepared a report which has been filed
22 and distributed, which you have entitled "Aspects of Command." And I
23 would ask, if I could, that this report and its materials which are
24 footnoted therein be provided now to the parties. Now, what I will inform
25 the Chamber of is that we have a complete set of the materials. If the
1 Chamber wishes the full set for footnotes. Otherwise, we have taken the
2 parts which are actually referred to, because it would be very voluminous.
3 Should the Chamber need it, it is certainly available.
4 JUDGE PARKER: It's very hard to have a final view without any
5 knowledge of the contents, Ms. Somers. But at the moment, that which is
6 shorter has an attraction.
7 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. And I assure you that we
8 will happily turn in the entire package for -- but it is voluminous. I am
9 asked to just transmit to the witness, if the Chamber permits me, that the
10 interpreters need to catch up. So if the general could monitor a little
11 bit where the cursor is on the screen, it assists. I think it's a problem
12 we always -- we take for granted here. Thank you.
13 Q. General, you -- the document which, and its supporting materials,
14 which the Chamber and counsel have, was prepared along a line of tasking,
15 is that correct, for this particular appearance?
16 A. Yes. I was posed a number of questions and asked to provide a
17 document enunciating my view on the answers.
18 Q. And does this document also include what we might call generic
19 principles that would be applicable to any organised military, as opposed
20 to just the JNA or just the British?
21 A. I answered the questions predominantly generically and linked it,
22 where appropriate, to the JNA. But in my view, I touch on command climate
23 and what we've called two up/two down. They are generic aspects of
24 command that would be applicable to any structured army.
25 MS. SOMERS: At this time I would seek to move into evidence these
1 documents and be able to refer to them by the exhibit numbers, if I may.
2 JUDGE PARKER: You put that in the plural at that point,
3 Ms. Somers. Are you indicating a document beyond that which is 03495248?
4 MS. SOMERS: The "Aspects of Command" report is the document, and
5 its supporting -- if it would be prudent to do it as a composite, we can
6 do that. Otherwise -- however the Registry finds it more suitable.
7 JUDGE PARKER: They're distinct documents. I think they should
8 each be separately identified as an exhibit. Thank you.
9 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
10 THE REGISTRAR: The report will be Prosecution Exhibit number P40.
11 The document, "Mission Analysis" will be Prosecution Exhibit number P41.
12 That is bearing ERN number 03466653. The document bearing ERN number
13 00136805, Federal Secretariat for National Defence regulations, will be
14 Prosecution Exhibit number P42. And document bearing ERN number 00797125
15 will be Prosecution Exhibit number P43.
16 JUDGE PARKER: I have a further document, 02148126 in the B/C/S
17 language, with a translation.
18 THE REGISTRAR: That document will be Prosecution Exhibit
19 number P44.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 MS. SOMERS: Has the Chamber -- has the Chamber declared them
22 admitted? I'm sorry. Thank you very much. I apologise.
23 Q. General Pringle, you had indicated that there were, before we even
24 refer to the report, you had asked that I communicate to the Chamber that
25 there is a typographical error that all who read should be aware of. On
1 page 9 of your report, there are some footnotes at the top, and it quotes,
2 at footnote 4, I'm told that should be footnote 14, and where it says
3 footnote 7, it should read 17. And footnote 16 bears a correction in the
4 translation of a title, to read "Rules for Land Forces Corps Provisional
5 1990." Rules for Land Forces Corps, c-o-r-p-s, Provisional 1990.
6 Dealing with two distinct aspects of the report, let us start
7 first with a concept which you have referred to as two up/two down. Can
8 you please tell us what you actually mean by it, understanding that, of
9 course, we have the report to work from, but that to clarify it and orient
10 us a bit more directly.
11 A. Yes. I'll refer to my report and amplify it, if that's useful.
12 Every commander has to understand the part he has to play in the wider
13 course of events. That's what we refer to as two up. That is to say --
14 JUDGE PARKER: Could I ask you to pause, please, General.
15 Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
16 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my apologies for
17 interrupting the witness and Ms. Somers. The document that has been
18 marked as P44, the last two pages of the translated text, L006347, as far
19 as I am able to see, these pages are completely unrelated to the document
20 under discussion. Even the page numbering does not correspond.
21 Therefore, this must be an oversight, I assume. I just wanted to bring
22 this to the attention of the Trial Chamber.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: There appears to have been a compilation error,
1 Ms. Somers. Could that be attended to?
2 MS. SOMERS: Yes, Your Honour. We'll examine it. But I'm told
3 that -- if I can just --
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MS. SOMERS: The explanation is that it is a longer range, or a
6 larger range for the document, and we have taken those relevant parts --
7 that the footnotes have referred to. The entire document would be
8 significantly longer, and I will certainly check it again. My
9 recollection was that it was just those portions referred to. If it is
10 not -- if we were wrong, we'll clean it up. We apologise for any
11 inconvenience. We thought we had it.
12 JUDGE PARKER: All right. So at the moment you put it on the
13 basis that these are relevant extracts?
14 MS. SOMERS: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 Mr. Petrovic, we'll receive it on that basis for the moment,
17 unless some correction is brought forward later.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, of course I am
19 entirely certain that this was just an oversight, nothing more.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 Now, I'm sorry, General. We did interrupt your answer.
22 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I'll start again. Two up and two down
23 is the subject and the question, and it really refers to a generic thought
24 process that all commanders would have to go through in exercising their
25 command. Two up is shorthand for thinking two up, which is a requirement
1 that a commander will have to go through in order to fully understand the
2 part he has to play and his command has to play in achieving the objective
3 in the wider aspect of what is required. So he has to think about what
4 his higher commander is trying to achieve and what part he has to play in
5 that. That's thinking two up.
6 Two down is slightly different. This is a thought process that a
7 commander would go through, particularly when allocating tasks, because he
8 has to be satisfied that the task he is allocating to subordinates is
9 within their capabilities and resources. And he would do that by a mental
10 check process of thinking two down.
11 Now, if I give of example of what I'm talking about: If a brigade
12 commander, for example, is tasking two separate battalions, that's one
13 down, but those two battalions are composed of different elements. Let's
14 say one is a full-strength battalion that has not been committed so far
15 and has full companies and all its constituent parts, and let's say the
16 other battalion has been committed, has taken heavy casualties, only has
17 two companies and has taken a bit of a hammering. Well, in allocating
18 tasks to those two battalions, by thinking two down to company level, the
19 commander will have in his mind it would be unreasonable to give the
20 full-strength battalion -- or let's put it around the other way. It would
21 be unreasonable to give the half-strength battalion the same sort of tasks
22 that I'm giving the full-strength battalion, because they don't have the
23 same resources. And so the task that he would give them would be tempered
24 to their resources and capability. And he's gone through a mental check
25 to come to that analysis by thinking two down. So that's what we mean by
1 two up and two down. And in my view, that's generic to any commander in
2 any army.
3 MS. SOMERS:
4 Q. General Pringle, the example that you gave about understanding the
5 reality of resource allocation, are you suggesting that the commander then
6 must know, really, what is happening on the ground to know what can
7 realistically be tasked? And if you are suggesting that, how does the
8 commander keep abreast of or learn in the first instance of what's
9 happening on the ground at these levels?
10 A. Well, yes, I am suggesting that. And every commander, if he is to
11 exercise his command effectively, must have a very good understanding and
12 knowledge of what all parts of his command are doing and what state
13 they're in, from morale through to equipment, through to personnel states.
14 Now, all armies will have a system of reporting such that different levels
15 of command will report up the chain of command to a specific laid-down
16 programme and format on specific issues. What is my personnel state, what
17 is my ammunition state, what is my -- what significant logistic problems
18 do I have, or whatever. And that would be passed up from headquarters to
19 headquarters, with each headquarters receiving it, required to take the
20 necessary action at their level.
21 So commanders would, through that system of reporting, be
22 appraised of what is happening. That is a sort of slightly more --
23 slightly formal process.
24 There's then the constant radio communications and passage of
25 reports, minute by minute, which a high-level commander won't necessarily
1 be sitting there listening to a radio, but his headquarters, his staff who
2 are exercising control in his name, will be assimilating all that and
3 keeping the commander up to date and appraised, as required, of
4 significant events.
5 And last but not least, a commander will keep himself abreast of
6 the state of his command, if I can put it like that, by visiting his units
7 and troops and looking the commanders in the eye and talking to the
8 soldiers and actually sniffing the battlefield, if I can put it like that,
9 and that's a very important aspect where he can get his own view, his own
10 personal view of what is happening, what the problems are, what the issues
11 are, and add that or compare that with what he's being told by his staff.
12 So all of that comes together in a way designed to ensure that the
13 commander knows what's going on.
14 Q. General, when you talk about commanders visiting, or sniffing, as
15 it were, are you referring to all levels of command, from the highest,
16 let's say, general to whatever the lowest level of command would be?
17 A. Yes. But how far forward you can visit rather depends on how high
18 up the chain of command you are. A divisional commander would spend a lot
19 of time talking to his brigade commanders, for example, and he might on
20 occasion go forward and talk to the battalion commanding officers. But he
21 would spend a lot of time talking to his brigade commanders. A commanding
22 officer of a battalion would be in constant touch with his company
23 commanders and would be -- would visit them a lot. And because a company
24 is a much smaller element in a much smaller space, he would probably rub
25 shoulders with the soldiers as well, constantly. So it rather depends on
1 what level in the chain of command you are, how far forward you get. I
2 mean, for a divisional commander to visit a front-line trench, which I
3 have to say is something that most divisional commanders would constantly
4 like to do, but there's not enough time, really, to go forward in that
5 detail. What is really important is that he is -- he and his subordinate
6 commander are absolutely at one mentally on what the issues are.
7 Q. And so if, let us say, the highest level was unable to physically
8 visit the front, there should still be no qualitative difference in what
9 he knows about what is happening on the front because of the doctrinal
11 A. Yes. Because when the divisional commander is, say, visiting his
12 brigade commander, the brigade commander will be talking to him about what
13 he has learned from his last visit forward to his battalions or companies.
14 So the fact that the divisional commander is not actually been right
15 forward to the forward trench himself does not mean that he's not aware of
16 what is going on. All this reporting and visiting and looking people in
17 the eye that I'm talking about is all designed to ensure that the
18 commander is fully aware of what's going on right down to the front line.
19 Q. So an army level or army-size level or corps-size level commander
20 who may not visit the front line would, under doctrine, have the same
21 information relayed up?
22 A. Yes. And that is why the system of reporting is laid down in
23 doctrine, in order that the commander and his headquarters are kept fully
24 informed of what they need to know.
25 Q. So if going two down would be exceeding, perhaps, the level at the
1 very lowest on the ground level, it would seem under your explanation to
2 be irrelevant, that the explanation would nonetheless, through doctrine,
3 be passed up?
4 THE INTERPRETER: Could all the speakers kindly slow down and
5 remember to pause between question and answer. Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: Can you put your question again?
7 MS. SOMERS: Yes, of course.
8 Q. So if going two down might exceed perhaps the level of the lowest
9 level on the ground, the actual guy in the trenches, it would make no
10 difference according to what you're saying because doctrine picks up where
11 the actual physical two down might be exceeded?
12 A. Well, first of all, when I was talking about two down, I was
13 talking about a mental process of thinking two down. You're putting the
14 question in -- I think what you're saying is if a commander can't visit
15 two down, or further down than that, does that mean that he cannot be
16 aware of what's going on at those levels? Is that the question?
17 Q. On those lines, yes.
18 A. If that's the question, the answer to that is: Of course he is
19 aware of what's going on at those levels. Whether he is able to visit it
20 or not. Because of the reporting mechanisms that we've just discussed.
21 Q. As a British army general, had you had an opportunity to do any
22 investigation or research into how this particular concept finds its way,
23 if it does specifically or by analogy, in JNA doctrine?
24 A. Well, I had a look at JNA doctrine, and if I refer you to the two
25 up/two down part of the report I wrote, on page 8, and it's footnote 17,
1 and there, for example, is an extract that comes straight out of rules for
2 land forces corps provisional, where it says: "The work of the corps
3 command upon receipt of an assignment comprises...", amongst other things,
4 "...studying and understanding the assignment. Understanding the
5 assignment means grasping the objectives of the action; the superior
6 commander's idea of manoeuvre; the place and role of the corps within the
7 framework of an assignment for several units, and the resulting tasks of
8 the corps..."
9 Now, that's a mixture of two up and two down, if you like, but
10 it's remarkably similar. It's remarkably similar to the extract I've
11 quoted, which is straight out of a British army manual, which is at
12 footnote 14, which puts the same sort of notion but in different words.
13 Q. Looking now, perhaps, to the second aspect of your report, which
14 you have called "command climate." I'd like to get a little bit of
15 preliminary understanding before we deal in detail about your
16 explanations. Are there similarities, General, between principles of
17 command and control in the British army and most armies, including the JNA
18 during the time of the indictment?
19 A. I would say the principles are very similar. Command and control
20 is about commanders executing their command and their staff controlling,
21 taking the controlling measures in order that the commander's wishes are
22 executed. Now, the notions are described using different words in
23 different armies, but the principles and the functions, when you look at
24 them, are very similar. I mean, the execution of command, whether you are
25 in the JNA or the British army or the French army or the American army,
1 carries the same sort of constituent parts.
2 Q. What principles, if you are able to distil them down, would you
3 view as perhaps the most essential to the functioning of any army?
4 A. Well, I think the first sort of principle I would put my finger on
5 is that -- is the role of the commander himself and the function he plays,
6 and this sort of brings us into sort of command climate. Because any
7 commander at any level, in any army, through dint of the authority
8 invested in him as a commander, has a responsibility to give orders,
9 execute his mission, and see it through to fruition. But it's more than
10 that, because all commanders will do that, perhaps in different ways
11 personally. And the way they command may differ considerably. Some may
12 command predominantly from their headquarters, some may command from very
13 far forward, some may command from very far in the rear. Depending on a
14 whole host of things. But predominantly, personal style and also
15 communications, because a commander has to place himself where he is best
16 able to influence events. So if he's best able to influence his events at
17 the nodal point of communications and intelligence, where he is best
18 informed, then that's probably where he will spend a lot of his time. And
19 I would, in that instance, quote, for example, I believe General Franks
20 commanding the American forces in the Gulf did not leave Qatar from start
21 to finish. That didn't mean he didn't know what was going on. He didn't
22 leave Qatar as I understand because that's the best place for him to be to
23 know exactly what was going on.
24 Q. And why is that?
25 A. Because that's where all the communications, intelligence, and
1 information, that was the hub, if you like. If he divorced himself from
2 that headquarters, then there might have been aspects of that totality of
3 information that would have dropped away because the communications
4 weren't there. Now, I'm just using that generically. Have I answered
5 your question?
6 Q. You have in part. I have a bit more of an inquiry. Perhaps when
7 you discuss the term "orders," are you able to tell us what the superior
8 commander's obligation as to orders is and what the subordinate obligation
9 is as to orders? How would you, in a few words, explain that?
10 A. Yes. I mean, a superior commander would, if he's right at the top
11 of the chain of command, he will initiate the orders. If he's further
12 down, he will receive orders, analyse those orders he has received, work
13 out what he has to do, and then issue orders based on that to the
14 constituent parts of his command. And that will go on right down the
15 chain of command, with each level analysing what they have got to do at
16 their level and giving orders to their subordinates.
17 Q. Now, will the subordinates have an obligation toward somehow
18 informing about the results of actions?
19 A. The subordinates have an obligation, A, to carry out the order;
20 and B, to do everything that is required to execute those orders properly
21 and professionally, which includes keeping their commanders fully informed
22 as to what they are doing so that the appropriate coordination measures or
23 reactions or whatever is required can be taken. I mean, once you've
24 received an order, you do not execute it in isolation, without telling
25 anybody. The military objectives in general terms are achieved by the
1 effective coordination of all the moving parts, in such a way that they
2 are harmonised to best effect. Now, that requires an all-informed
3 network, if I can put it like that, so that everybody knows what everybody
4 else is doing. So that the commanders can make the right decisions on
5 actions that need to be taken.
6 Q. You have used a phrase on page 7 of your report, where you say:
7 "Some armies operate to methodical planning and detailed orders and tight
8 control." Can you perhaps indicate why you said this? Is there a
9 distinction to be made between philosophies of command?
10 A. Yes. I mean, in general terms, an army will either operate to
11 that form of doctrine, which I think in German is described as
12 Behweldtaktik or it will operate to what in English we describe as mission
13 command, what was taken from German World War II experience really known
14 as Auftragstaktik, which is a form of command where subordinates are
15 expected to and have much more latitude to use their initiative, providing
16 they truly understand the higher commander's intent. The former, more
17 detailed orders type of doctrine really requires subordinates to carry out
18 the orders they have been given, and once they have achieved that
19 objective, they await new orders.
20 Q. Is there -- are there any sets of circumstances, perhaps in the
21 staffing of armies, that would mandate or suggest the wisdom of relying on
22 one philosophy over another?
23 A. The Auftragstaktik, mission command type of philosophy requires a
24 specific doctrine, detailed training, a fundamental understanding at all
25 levels of what part everybody has to play, a culture where the use of
1 initiative, and therefore, by implication, an acceptance of the occasional
2 mistake, if you like, is all part and parcel of it. Now, that really
3 means that -- that's more appropriate to a professional army, where the
4 officers and soldiers are long-serving, where they are experienced, and
5 where their knowledge base is quite extensive.
6 Q. How does that come about, to have the extensive knowledge base?
7 What would have to occur to have that set of conditions dominate?
8 A. Well, the knowledge base will come from the training they receive.
9 The operations they conduct and the experience they gain, and the
10 successive courses that they would receive through their career.
11 So I didn't quite finish. Can I -- that's the -- your question
12 was what type of doctrine suits what sort of army. And what I've said so
13 far is that the sort of mission command, use of a lot of initiative, is
14 more appropriate to a professional army with long-serving officers and
15 soldiers and a lot of experience. The much more detailed form of
16 Behweldtaktik doctrine is more appropriate to a conscript army, perhaps,
17 where there is enormous through put, where soldiers are serving for a
18 lesser time, albeit there may be a corps of regular officers and NCOs, but
19 where the same detailed knowledge base and experience cannot be taken for
20 granted because it doesn't exist. And therefore, the soldiers, in order
21 to execute their orders, will need much more detailed orders and much more
22 detailed supervision.
23 Q. And why would they need that? What would happen if the detail
24 were not there, or the supervision were not there?
25 A. Well, they probably wouldn't have the experience to be able to
1 judge what they should do next or what they should do, or they may decide
2 because they don't have the experience, decide to take a course of action
3 which, had they had greater experience, they would not have chosen. And
4 therefore, the onus lies on the commanders to execute a tighter form of
5 command with constant supervision, direction, and redirection, as
7 Q. Returning to the concept of command climate: What is it? I mean,
8 is it some mysterious force that hovers over a commander? What really is
10 A. Well, it's not rocket science, that's for sure. Command climate,
11 I mean, is a term that the British have coined, and I think the Americans
12 use it as well, to describe the climate that is created by a commander.
13 Now, any commander in any army will create a climate. Genghis Khan and
14 Attila the Hun had a certain command climate I would suggest in their
15 force of marauders. Guderian or whoever, any general, creates a command
16 climate. And from the moment he walks into his office on first
17 appointment he is beginning to set that climate, and it reflects the way
18 he is, the way he acts, what he says, what his views are, how he executes
19 command, how he deals with problems. All of that goes to create a
20 climate. What he does when something goes right, what he SDS when
21 something goes wrong, what actions he takes. Does he take a blind eye to
22 certain events or does he -- is he a rigorous disciplinarian? All of that
23 encapsulates what we call the command climate.
24 Q. What types of factors would impact upon the, first of all, the
25 creation of the climate, and then perhaps the alteration of the climate of
1 command over time?
2 A. Command is a very personal thing and all commanders command in
3 their own personal way. And therefore, the key factor in creating a
4 command climate is the personality of the commander himself. You know,
5 some might be very authoritarian. Some might not tolerate the slightest
6 mistake. Some might metaphorically have a reputation for shooting the
7 messenger and bad news is just not acceptable. Now, the sort of climate
8 that that sort of commander creates is one where, you know, if bad news is
9 not acceptable, then you won't be told bad news. If he is a hectoring and
10 bullying type of commander, he cannot expect a free discussion from his
11 subordinates. He's much more likely to be told what they think he wants
12 to hear.
13 On the other hand, a commander at the other end of the spectrum,
14 who is easy to communicate with, you know, congratulates good acts, is
15 tolerant of mistakes, providing they don't occur twice and providing
16 people learn from them, but doesn't jump down people's throats when
17 they're required to use initiative just because they got it wrong, he
18 makes sure that they realise why they got it wrong so that they can get it
19 right next time, a guy that wants to be told -- he wants to be kept
20 informed as to the realities of the situation without people thinking
21 about whether this is going to be popular news or not. If that's the sort
22 of climate he creates, then that's the sort of command he will execute and
23 that's the sort of response he will get from those he's commanding.
24 So it's a very personal thing and it comes -- it exudes directly
25 from the commander and he starts exuding that from the -- from day one
1 that he takes up command.
2 Q. You've made reference to a certain tolerance for mistakes made the
3 first time. Now, by "mistakes," you are not saying, or are you, breaches
4 of order?
5 A. No. Breaches of order is not a mistake. By mistakes, I'm talking
6 about perhaps somebody taking a course of action with the best of intents,
7 which, had he thought about it more deeply or taken other factors into
8 account, he might have done it another way. That's a mistake. You know,
9 we all learn from experience, and perhaps, you know, somebody who is, you
10 know, of lesser experience, as we've all seen it, we've all done it
11 ourselves, has done something which on reflection you might have done it
12 another way had you known one or two or factors to put into the pot. But
13 that's not breaches of orders. Breaches of orders are breaches of orders
14 and that is serious to a commander because if a commander gives an order
15 because he wants that order executed, that's not a basis for discussion.
16 A breach of order in any army is serious.
17 Q. If a commander gives an order or passes on an order, now, you've
18 said which he wants executed, what if he doesn't really want it executed
19 but he has to pass it on? How does command climate perhaps come into the
20 picture there, where in the chain an order is passed on, and yet there is
21 perhaps less than enthusiasm about the content of the order? Where does
22 climate come into play there?
23 A. Well, I think we come back to the personality of the commander. I
24 mean, if a commander is passing on an order with which he has
25 reservations, then before he passes that on, he will have discussed that
1 with his superior, who has given him that order, which he has a duty to
2 do. Because he may have been given an order which doesn't actually take
3 all factors into account, and therefore, the commander, when he goes back
4 to his superior who has given him the order and they discuss that, his
5 superior will either say: Yup, I'm aware of that, but I've decided to do
6 it this way regardless. Or he will say: That's a good point. Thank you
7 for that. Well, let's amend that and let's do it this way.
8 But there comes a point when a decision is made and when that
9 decision is made, that order is the order. Now, the commander faced, if
10 we've reached that point, if he's now faced with executing an order with
11 which he is still unhappy, now we come straight to command climate, back
12 to command climate and the personality of the commander. A wise commander
13 would now realise that it is his duty to execute that command, and he
14 would give orders and supervise its execution as if it was his own order.
15 An unwise commander will give the order with a lot of back-chat
16 and asides about I don't really like this, I think this is a stupid order,
17 I disagree with this, I don't know why we've been told to do this. He's
18 going to be unwise because he will find that his subordinates will be left
19 confused. They will be left confused as to whether they're really meant to
20 carry out this order or not. And his command will begin to fracture, and
21 his authority will suffer as a result.
22 Q. Are you saying, General, then, that mixed signals have a negative
23 impact upon the command climate and upon command?
24 A. Mixed signals will affect the execution of command considerably.
25 Mixed signals will come from a certain sort of -- could come from a
1 certain sort of command climate. You know, in generic terms, you know,
2 maybe this is a, you know, rather let's say generically self-satisfied and
3 rather disloyal command climate, where the commander is only happy to pass
4 on things that he's in absolute agreement with, but if he doesn't like
5 what he's being told to do by his superior then he thinks there's latitude
6 to be disloyal and disagree and do it another way or not do at all. That
7 sort of command climate will create complete confusion down the chain of
8 command. And that sort of commander should not be surprised if his orders
9 aren't carried out. Or if somebody decides to carry out an order in
10 another way, assuming that that's really what the commander wants him to
11 do, even though he hasn't actually said that.
12 Q. What would your view be as to the impact on the obligation to
13 discipline and the disciplinary process where command -- where orders are
14 transmitted in such a way where there are either mixed signals or perhaps
15 some form of connivance or perhaps some nuance that suggests that the
16 order is not really a problem if it's not carried out? What happens to
17 the entire process?
18 A. Well, under those circumstances, what you begin to get is the
19 commander begins to lose authority. Those he is commanding begin to get
20 extremely confused about what's a real order and what isn't. If he's --
21 if orders are being passed caveated with they don't really matter, and
22 then other things are done instead which might be contrary to discipline
23 and other orders and no action is taken, all of that begins to create a
24 command climate where, you know, we're heading for a command climate of
25 anarchy and anything goes under those circumstances. This is not a
1 concept of command.
2 Q. General, just returning for one minute to your distinction
3 between -- I guess you'd call them centralised, order detailed,
4 order-driven armies and mission-command armies. Based on your
5 understanding from experience and perhaps from further investigation as to
6 the JNA of the period of this indictment, let's say 1991, in which camp
7 would you be more likely to place the JNA: The initiative-driven or the
8 more detailed order-driven?
9 A. From my reading of their doctrine and from limited experience, I
10 would put them in the orders-driven camp rather than the mission-command
11 camp. And that's not a derogatory comment in any way. That would simply
12 reflect their requirements. I mean, they were a conscript army. At this
13 stage we're talking about a conscript army, albeit with a regular corps of
14 extremely well-trained officers and NCOs, but a huge number of recently
15 mobilised conscripts and territorial-force soldiers and officers, without
16 the same standard of training and knowledge and experience as their
17 regular counterparts in the JNA. And therefore, as I said earlier,
18 whatever army you're in, if that's the raw material you have to play with,
19 then you're going to have to have a very tight command and control system
20 and very tight supervision in order to make sure that your orders are
21 being carried out in the way you want them and in a militarily sensible
22 way. I mean, it was General Patton who once said that giving the orders
23 is the easy part. Actually seeing that it happens is the difficult part.
24 So that's not unknown.
25 Q. General, you referred a few moments ago to what could happen if
1 orders which are passed, and let's say this is an active process, a
2 recently passed order, is either not implemented or is breached, and the
3 effect of perhaps absence of discipline on that process. I'd ask you now
4 about orders that are standing orders, an order is in place for a period
5 of time and is transmitted through doctrine to all persons. What would
6 your view be of a command in which a violation of the order occurs, with
7 no inquiry, no -- call it investigation, no reaction from command?
8 A. My immediate reaction would be that command is broken down, for
9 whatever reason; that the authority of the commander is undermined, for
10 whatever reason. I mean, if there is standing operational instructions on
11 whatever subject that are being flagrantly disobeyed, then all those in
12 the chain of command have a responsibility to do something about it. And
13 if they fail to do something about it, their superior has a responsibility
14 to do something about the original transgression of orders and the failure
15 of the immediate superior commander to fail to do something about it.
16 So if you're postulating what is the effect on command if orders
17 are given, disobeyed, and nothing happens about it, the real effect of
18 that is that it will begin to create a view at grass roots level that some
19 orders seem to matter and others don't, and these ones which are
20 flagrantly transgressed and nobody does anything about it must therefore
21 be acceptable.
22 Q. General, what you're suggesting is that it becomes someone who is
23 receiving the order who decides whether an order should be obeyed or not.
24 Is that my understanding of what you just said?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Under those circumstances that you just described, if some are
2 adhered to and implemented but some are not, then where is the -- does
3 discretion figure in?
4 A. There is no discretion in the carrying out of orders, unless --
5 well, I'm talking very generically. Let's try and be a bit more specific.
6 Let's say that the rules of armed conflict require that prisoners will be
7 treated humanely and prisoners will, for example, not be shot. But the
8 commander is slightly concerned that the blood is up and, you know, some
9 of his more hot-blooded subordinates may take a different view. Now, he
10 would immediately, if he was concerned about that, impress on his chain of
11 command. Now, watch this: "We've taken a hammering. The blood is up.
12 It's under these sort of circumstances where there can be a breakdown of
13 discipline and bad things can happen. Now, impress on all your commanders
14 to the lowest level that this is not to happen."
15 Now, if it then does happen and nothing is done about it, well,
16 then those that perpetrated the crime will begin to think that: Well,
17 they're only telling us these orders because they think they have to,
18 because it's, you know, that's what doctrine says. But actually the way
19 we're going about business now is shooting prisoners and that seems to be
20 acceptable, and the next time we catch prisoners, we'll shoot them too.
21 I'm using that as a generic answer rather than just talk in very
22 general terms. So if there is a specific order which is disobeyed and
23 nothing is done about it, that creates the impression at all levels that
24 that order is not serious.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers, I'm sorry to intrude, but is this a
1 convenient time?
2 MS. SOMERS: Yes, Your Honour, fine. Thank you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: We will have a 20-minute break at this point.
4 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 12.49 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
7 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Before we
8 proceed, may I offer to the Chamber, through the Registry, the corrected
9 pages in translation. Our sincerest apologies. It apparently was a
10 printing -- literally off-the-printer error, and we do apologise for any
11 inconvenience to all parties.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 MS. SOMERS:
14 Q. General Pringle, just to help you refresh where we left off, we
15 were discussing the example of -- I think you called it hot-bloodedness
16 and what might happen if there were no anticipated action by a commander,
17 and in fact, the concern over which the commander -- or which the
18 commander had materialised.
19 Can I ask you if I've understood correctly that a commander has a
20 duty to anticipate the various types of reactions, problems, possibilities
21 of distress that might arise in his subordinates? Is this part of his
22 duty and is it reflected in the command climate?
23 A. Yes. A commander is expected to know his command. He's meant to
24 know the strong points, the weak points. He's meant to know where
25 problems might appear and where problems won't appear. He will know who
1 he can rely on absolutely ultimately, and he'll know who he has to pay
2 rather more attention to. He will know who has to be kicked on, in a
3 equestrian terms, and he will know who has to be reined in, in equestrian
5 Now, your question was about anticipation. So in giving an order,
6 all these things will be in his mind, and having given the order, and we
7 return to General Patton, making it happen is the difficult part, he would
8 then take whatever actions he thought necessary to ensure that that order
9 was properly understood and was properly executed.
10 Q. How much does a commander have to know about his subordinates?
11 And when I say subordinates, not just in the chain of command, but about
12 those who are commanded by those in the chain of command, the troops. How
13 much does he have to know about problems, issues, and how would he learn
15 A. I think I'd answer that, in the first instance, by
16 differentiating between levels of command. I mean, a company commander
17 with 100, 120 men, providing they've been together for a certain amount of
18 time, will know all those men. He might even know their wives and
19 children's names in some instances. He will have spent a lot of time with
20 them and he will know them, and he will have a detailed knowledge of who
21 are the really reliable ones, who are the less reliable ones, who needs
22 close supervision, who can be relied upon to use their initiative. And
23 that's relatively easy at that level.
24 Now, as you go up the chain of command, you can't -- you obviously
25 cannot have that intimate a knowledge down to that level. But what is
1 important is that at whatever level you are, you know your subordinate
2 commanders extremely well and you probably know quite a lot about their
3 subordinate commanders. So that's two levels down. It may be that,
4 through conversation between commanders, a commander will become aware
5 that there is a particular problem person in one element of a command,
6 fairly low level down. So his attention will have been drawn to it, which
7 he then, depending on how seriously he views that, may concentrate on.
8 Q. Are you suggesting, then, that it's driven more by
9 circumstances -- that the principle remains in place, that one way or
10 another, the commander will know what's going on down there, maybe not on
11 a "intimate" level?
12 A. He will -- yes. That's a slightly different issue. He will know
13 what's going on because of all the reporting mechanisms that we've
14 previously discussed. I've answered your previous question rather in
15 terms of knowing the personalities involved.
16 Q. If disciplinary issues arise as a result, perhaps, of
17 personality -- of personalities, is this a matter that through doctrine or
18 reporting would come to the attention of the commander?
19 A. Yes. And in most armies, including the JNA, the duties of the
20 commander are laid down in doctrine in respect to breaches of discipline.
21 And in short order, if there is a serious breach of discipline, or a
22 breach of discipline, the immediate commander has a duty to deal with it
23 if he's empowered to deal with it, or refer it to the next level up if
24 he's not empowered to deal with it. The receiving level of command then
25 has the responsibility to deal with it if they are empowered to deal with
1 it, but refer it to the next level up if they are not empowered to deal
2 with it.
3 And so on. So a serious breach of discipline will be passed up
4 the chain of command in accordance with the standing operational
5 procedures in place and in accordance with the doctrine laid down.
6 Q. A serious breach of discipline may or may not involve criminal
7 behaviour; is that correct? Can it be violation or breach of an order?
8 A. Well, breaches of discipline will come in all shapes and forms,
9 and if a soldier fails to salute his officer, that is a local level
10 breach, minor, petty breach of discipline that can be dealt with at local
11 level. If, on the other hand, a breach of discipline entails something,
12 you know, truly serious, like a breach of international law, or a breach
13 of the Geneva Conventions, then that is a serious breach of discipline
14 that would have to be referred up to the appropriate level of command that
15 is empowered to deal with that. And since that is a criminal matter, that
16 would be, you know, the top level of command.
17 Q. You just alluded to breaches of conventions, and I wanted to ask
18 you about the obligation of a commander to ensure that his subordinates
19 know and understand their obligations with regard to the laws of conflict
20 or any term you wish to use, but laws of war, laws of conflict,
21 international humanitarian law, the principles that govern conduct on the
22 battlefield. How is that accomplished?
23 A. That's accomplished through training. Part of the preparing of
24 formations, units for operations involves the training of them in all
25 aspects that they need to be aware of. And that's not just tactical
1 aspects and the use of weapons and coordinating fire support and all of
2 that; it also includes awareness training of the duties of every
3 individual in terms of the laws of armed conflict that that state has
4 signed up to or are internationally appropriate. And in general terms,
5 we're talking about the laws of armed conflict which fall from the Geneva
6 Convention. And in general terms, every soldier should be briefed on the
7 circumstances which he's likely to find himself in when, for example, he
8 takes a prisoner, or when, for example, he finds himself coming into
9 contact with the civilian population, or when, for example, he comes
10 across an enemy wounded soldier. The way he's expected to conduct himself
11 is laid down in international law, and more importantly, what he is not
12 expected to do is also implied there.
13 Now, part of preparation for combat will be training in all those
14 aspects, assuming, of course, one has the time to do that. If you don't
15 have the time to do that, and you have an army that is not experienced,
16 then there is an additional onus on the commander, because now he's faced
17 with the prospect where things could go wrong in this respect, and he has
18 an additional responsibility to take whatever measures he deems necessary
19 to ensure that these potential pitfalls are overcome. And if you like, he
20 would -- this would be on-the-job training and briefing and drawing this
21 to the attention of his subordinate commanders, saying, you know: "I'm
22 worried about these aspects. We've received a large number of new
23 recruits. Perhaps they haven't been fully trained. I don't believe
24 they've been exposed to the laws of armed conflict. Make sure that they
25 are briefed on how to conduct themselves when, for example, they come
1 across wounded soldiers, they come across civilians, they come -- they
2 take prisoners. And make sure that they understand and, in particular,
3 make sure that the chain of command, the non-commissioned officers and the
4 officers, in particular, make sure that they understand and make sure that
5 they impress that on their soldiers." There's an added, additional onus
6 on the commanders, the less experienced, the less well trained the
7 soldiers are.
8 Q. The obligations that you have referred to in the conventions, and
9 I would submit the protocols as well, would you view that a commander
10 would have an obligation to be sure that his subordinates knew not only
11 about the civilian population but perhaps about sensitive sites or other
12 categories enumerated in those documents you referred to? Let's say even
13 special, cultural, or what -- that type, religious, particularly if
14 indigenous to an area.
15 A. Yes. A commander -- a high-level commander will be fully aware of
16 the doctrine and the rules and regulations under which his army operates.
17 He will also be aware, if they are now entering war or a combat situation,
18 that some of these things are very rapidly going to pass from theory and
19 classroom teaching to reality. And he will also be aware of the situation
20 in which his troops are likely to find themselves and will concentrate, I
21 would suggest, in priority on the specific aspects that are pertinent to
22 that area of operations. Now, in committing his soldiers to combat, they
23 are all going to need to know about dealing with prisoners of war. They
24 are all going to need to know about dealing with civilians. They are all
25 going to need to know about what actions to take when they come across a
1 wounded enemy.
2 If he is operating in an area where the constraints surrounding
3 cultural heritage sites also enter into his bailiwick, knowing that that
4 is in his doctrinal pamphlet, the application of international laws of war
5 and the armed forces of the SFRY, he will also, or should, I suggest, also
6 take action to impress down the chain of command that in this particular
7 instance, make sure that your actions are conversant with this law, our
8 doctrine, our policy.
9 Q. I note that you made reference to what is marked as Prosecution
10 Exhibit 42. Are there -- are you able, very briefly, to just direct us to
11 some of the provisions or sections which may deal with the matters you've
12 just discussed that are required to be passed on by a commander to his
13 subordinates, or at least required to be learned by those subordinates?
14 In the interests of time, if I can turn your attention, perhaps, to
15 page 35.
16 A. Yes. I mean, this is a very detailed document, and the detail of
17 this document, you can get a flavour from from the contents on page 3.
18 And it includes everything, from violation of international laws of war,
19 means and methods of combat, general restrictions and prohibitions, the
20 wounded and the sick, prisoners of war. And that page that you have
21 highlighted, page 35, actually deals with the concept of cultural
22 property. Cultural property should be understood to mean ... And there it
23 goes down. The provisions -- and that comes after prisoners of war and
24 interment camps. So how soldiers are expected to act and react and what
25 care they're meant to take in certain circumstances is all laid down in
1 this SFRY document, as is -- and if I could refer you to page 15,
2 paragraph 21: The responsibility for the actions of subordinates. And I
3 think probably that's worth just reading.
4 "An officer shall be personally liable for violation of the laws
5 of war if he knew or could have known that units subordinate to him or
6 other units or individuals were planning the commission of such violations
7 and at a time when it was still possible to prevent their commission,
8 failed to take measures to prevent such violations. That officer shall
9 also be held personally liable who, aware that violations of the laws of
10 war have been committed, fails to institute disciplinary or criminal
11 proceedings against the offender, or if the instituting of proceedings
12 does not fall within his jurisdiction, fails to report the violation of
13 [sic] his superior officer."
14 Q. Excuse me, General. Could you read perhaps a bit further? It
15 doesn't end there.
16 A. It goes on to say:
17 "An officer shall be answerable as an accomplice or instigator
18 if, by failure to take action against his subordinates who violates the
19 laws of war, he contributes to the repeated commission of such acts by
20 units or individuals subordinated to him."
21 So when I read this document, I mean, my overall impression was,
22 you know, that's a brilliant document. That is a document that lays down
23 exactly how any army should act, which is not surprising, because it's
24 based on all the treaties that the various nations have signed up to. And
25 the fact that it had been taken into the doctrine of the JNA I viewed as
1 highly pertinent.
2 Q. The role of enforcing discipline. Is discipline a significant
3 factor in maintaining a favourable command climate?
4 A. When we talk about a favourable command climate, I think we're
5 talking about a climate of command where the expectation that the right
6 things will be done at the right time, to the right standards, and that
7 disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate and when necessary, when
8 breaches of discipline occur, that is, in a nutshell, what I think you
9 would be referring to as a favourable command climate. If, therefore,
10 when breaches of discipline occur, there is a failure to take the
11 necessary action, then that will start to impinge on the authority of the
12 commander and the climate, in that if it becomes common knowledge or
13 accepted practice that, although, in theory, some acts are debarred, if I
14 can put it like that, but when those orders are transgressed, nothing
15 happens and no disciplinary action is taken, then there will be a growing
16 assumption amongst the troops that those actions are acceptable, and
17 therefore, the command climate that is now being created is one where a
18 blind eye will be turned when certain actions are taken which have now
19 become, in theory, laid down in doctrine, and orders, but not in actuality
20 practiced or put into effect.
21 Q. Are you suggesting that they may be something like window
22 dressing? Is that a term that would be appropriate to view that type of
23 order that exists but is not adhered to?
24 A. I think that would be quite a suitable description of an order
25 that is given but nobody cares less whether it's carried out or not. You
1 know, window dressing, wallpaper. You can use whatever description you
2 like, really, but it's not an order.
3 Q. You are suggesting, then, just so I'm sure I understand you, that
4 the evidence that no one cares if it's carried out or not is the absence
5 of disciplinary undertakings in the event of the breach? Is that what
6 you're telling us?
7 A. Yes. When a breach of discipline occurs, and certain actions are
8 laid down as necessary to follow up and deal with that breach of
9 discipline, if those actions do not occur, then it will very quickly
10 become common knowledge and accepted modus operandi that whatever the
11 breach of discipline concerns is in fact accepted practice.
12 Q. General, you have just gone through the regulations of the SFRY,
13 which you described as the binding regulations on the troops. And my
14 question is: Is the fact that an obligation is indicated in that document
15 sufficient to bind the lowest soldier?
16 A. Yes. But unless he is trained accordingly, he may not -- the
17 lowest soldier may not even know about it, and therefore, there is an onus
18 on his commander to make sure that he receives the right training and
19 awareness training so he understands that there is an onus on him. The
20 fact that, you know -- I believe it's no defence in law when I shoot a
21 prisoner to say: Well, I really didn't know that that was a breach of
22 discipline. There is an onus on the commander to make sure that the
23 soldiers know what their responsibilities are, and that is part of the
24 responsibility of the commanders in training their troops.
25 Q. As a follow-up to your response: In a conscript army, or a
1 rapidly mobilised army, would you view any need for a commander, or any
2 requirement - let us make it a duty of a commander - to reinforce by
3 supplementary order that which is contained in volumes that may or may not
4 have made their way to the individual knowledge of every soldier?
5 A. Well, I think we have to acknowledge that there's a practical
6 problem. I mean, let's try and put ourselves into the mind of. We have
7 fairly rapidly gone to war. We have rapidly mobilised. We've got a lot
8 of -- some very well-trained soldiers and officers, some not very
9 well-trained soldiers and officers, some hardly trained at all, and some
10 irregulars; a mixed bag. But we're now entering war. War is a very
11 serious issue. War is about killing people. And war is subject to a
12 number of rules and regulations in its conduct.
13 I would suggest that any responsible commander, under those
14 circumstances, would realise that he had a serious responsibility to
15 ensure that his soldiers, whatever their state of training, were now
16 trained or alerted to those issues that the commander regarded as
17 particularly important, and in particular, those issues which he regarded,
18 because of the state of training, as most likely to go wrong.
19 Q. You just said issues that a commander views as particularly
20 important. There seems to be some subjectivity in there. If,
21 objectively, the law says that an issue is important - protection of an
22 area, a sensitive area, a protected area - and that is deemed important at
23 law, does the commander's subjective opinion of its importance have any
24 real bearing on his obligation to make sure his troops are trained?
25 A. No. What I was -- the picture I was trying to paint was not the
1 fact that the commander can pick and choose what orders he deems important
2 and which he doesn't. What I was trying to paint was a picture of a
3 rapidly mobilised army made up of a large amount of people of varying
4 degrees of training. The fact of life that they were never going to be as
5 well trained as he would have liked them in the perfect world, and he had
6 to -- he has to compare the issues at hand and the requirements at hand
7 with the scenario in which he is operating. And therefore, I think he
8 would be asking himself: Now, what are the most likely -- what are the
9 most -- I cannot train every soldier in all the details of this document
10 now. You know, that would be the subject of extensive training over
11 extensive courses, reinforced regularly so that it becomes second nature.
12 That's not the circumstances we're in. But, he would say, in the
13 circumstances that I now find myself in, the most likely things that my
14 soldiers are likely to face are ... And I've enumerated some. And if
15 he's operating in an area which includes a cultural heritage site, how to
16 treat it quoted in that pamphlet, then he would be alert to that and he
17 would say: And by the way, you know, in this specific area of operations,
18 there are one, two, three, seven cultural sites that we must not harm in
19 any way, and they are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. So please mark them all on
20 your map and be aware of that.
21 Q. General Pringle, does the existence of an unfavourable command
22 climate, for whatever reason, does the existence of such a climate negate
23 or abrogate the command responsibility?
24 A. No. The commander's responsibility stems from his authority as
25 the commander. The command climate is the climate he creates by the way
1 he carries out his command.
2 MS. SOMERS: I would ask, please, if the usher could assist us in
3 distributing an exhibit of the Prosecution. The Prosecution has just
4 presented a document which, in its English -- well, actually, the date of
5 it is 29 September 1991, from the SSNO, the General Staff, military
6 secret, highly confidential, purporting to bear a signature, or at least
7 an endorsement by Chief of General Staff of the SFRY, Lieutenant General
8 Blagoje Adzic. And it is addressed to commands of the 1st, 2nd, 5th VO,
9 or Military District; VPO, Military Naval District; and RV and PVO, Air
10 Force and Air Defence; OG-2, 2nd Operational Group; 5th Corps and 9th
11 Corps. I hope I've read the "K" correctly.
12 Q. And I'd ask you to turn your attention to paragraph 1, which
13 indicates that -- which orders that: "Commands of VO and RV and PVO are
14 to submit regular combat reports. Reports are to be submitted on the
15 basis of the regular combat reports of the brigades and the corps, from
16 three levels down (brigade-regiment, independent battalion-division) for
17 all units and detached formations."
18 Now, I am not suggesting for one minute that we are linking this
19 to the other numbered concept of two up/two down. I'm moving away from
20 that. But I'm asking you: What does this tell you about the information
21 passage within the units that are addressed by General Adzic?
22 A. Well, the first line plainly indicates that there is concern and
23 they are seeking a more efficient command and control and the execution of
24 combat tasks. And I would glean from this that there has been concern
25 about the detail and level of reporting going on, such that instructions
1 are now being given to submit regular combat reports, and they're actually
2 told in what detail to submit them, to three levels down. They're then
3 instructed to submit these regular combat reports in line with the
4 attached, I assume, doctrinal instructions, and then reminded that, in
5 addition to regular combat reports, extraordinary reports on matters of
6 importance should be passed up the chain of command without waiting, with
7 an immediacy. There's then a reminder that regular combat reports are to
8 be submitted by 2100 hours each day, to include the situation up to 1900
9 hours that day.
10 This is all about information flowing up the chain of command,
11 such that those at the highest levels of command are completely conversant
12 as to what the issues are that might need their attention, and it is
13 specifying in some detail the level down to which they should be
15 Q. General, if in fact there were a concern about information flow,
16 and perhaps a problem, an issue arose, would that problem or concern on
17 information flow absolve or abrogate the responsibility of the commander
18 for what took place in his area of responsibility, or AOR?
19 A. No. I think it's important perhaps to reflect on the fact that
20 the commander is responsible for everything that happens in his command,
21 everything: the conduct of his troops, their state of training, the way
22 they execute tasks, the efficiency of his command, the passage of orders.
23 All of that is the commander's responsibility. If the commander becomes
24 aware that information is not flowing up the chain of command in the level
25 of detail or with the immediacy that he would wish it, then he has a duty,
1 probably executed through his staff, to correct that.
2 If the commander -- well, if sufficient information is not flowing
3 up the chain of command, or if certain information is deliberately being
4 hidden from the higher levels of the chain of command, that is the
5 commander's responsibility. That is his fault. That reflects the way he
6 has executed his command. One of the joys of command is that you're
7 responsible for everything. To him the credit, him the blame.
8 MS. SOMERS: I would at this time ask to admit into evidence the
9 exhibit that has just been presented and discussed.
10 JUDGE PARKER: That will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: This document will be Prosecution Exhibit
12 number P45.
13 MS. SOMERS:
14 Q. General Pringle, I would like to ask you a little bit about
15 command climate and how it may be influenced or how its erosion, or in
16 reinforcement, influences the conduct of soldiers on the ground. Let's
17 say at the front. You've alluded to it. You've given examples of the
18 shooting of a civilian or of a prisoner. But can you give examples where
19 the climate has a direct and immediate impact on what happens on the
21 A. Okay. Well, the overall command climate, if I can put it like
22 that, stemming from the top to the bottom, let's imagine that is made up
23 of lots of constituent command climates, because every commander, as I
24 said earlier, exudes a command climate of his own. It reflects the manner
25 in which he conducts his command. So the way the soldiers conduct
1 themselves will reflect the way they are commanded and the manner in which
2 they are commanded by their superiors. So whatever doctrine and law says,
3 the soldiers will actually take their lead from their commanders. They
4 will very rapidly understand what is acceptable to their commanders and
5 what is not, irrespective of what, if you like, doctrine and law has
6 espoused as the laid-down way of doing things.
7 So let's take some trivial examples. And I don't have a fetish
8 about saluting, but let's take that. It has become acceptable in unit A
9 that the soldiers call the officers by their Christian names and there are
10 no compliments paid between ranks. Now, that would be against accepted
11 code and conduct and it would begin to reflect on the way that unit is
12 being run. But if that is the climate which is evolved, well, that's the
13 way the soldiers will conduct themselves.
14 If -- let's take a more serious example. If I belong to a certain
15 unit which prides itself in its aggressive and courageous exploits but
16 where prisoners are never taken and nothing is said about that, well, that
17 will become the way that unit conducts itself, because that's the
18 atmosphere, the climate of command that has grown up there.
19 So at all levels, the climate of command reflects the manner in
20 which the commanders execute their responsibilities, and it also reflects
21 the manner in which their superiors take a view on the way those
22 subordinates are executing their responsibilities.
23 Q. Accepting the premise that in hostilities, emotions may run high,
24 what, nonetheless, could be the effect of the use or the encouragement of
25 the use of terminology with regard to the other side, of course, call it
1 the enemy, but the other side, what message is sent down when, from up on
2 high, certain types of expression, phraseology is used in official
3 communication? I could perhaps ask you to refine it more. Is there an
4 element of dehumanisation that is at all encouraged in such a process?
5 A. Well, I said when we started this discussion that a commander
6 begins to create his own climate from the moment he first arrives, through
7 his every action. All eyes, always, are on the commander. What the
8 commander thinks, what the commander says, what the commander's views are,
9 what the commander thinks is serious, what he thinks is not serious, how
10 he conducts himself, all begins to create that climate. Now, if,
11 hypothetically speaking, a commander referred to enemy forces in a
12 particularly derogatory way that might indicate that they were really
13 worthless and not worth worrying about, well, that message will be picked
14 up down the chain of command and that commander should expect his
15 subordinates' actions to reflect what they -- the message they are
16 receiving from their superior commander, in the climate that he is
17 setting. I mean, you'll remember that -- and I think the Americans in
18 Vietnam were sometimes belaboured for, you know, referring to all the
19 Vietnamese as -- whatever they referred to them as, gooks or something
20 like that. Now, that started to create a climate where Vietnamese just
21 didn't matter, and not an inconsiderable number of dreadful things
22 happened, perhaps in part as a result of that.
23 Q. Dreadful things would include, perhaps, violations of laws of war,
24 international humanitarian law?
25 A. Yes. And the one I had in mind when I was thinking about that
1 straight off the top of my head was the My Lai massacre. That sort of
2 action cannot happen if people have been brought up, (a), to comply with
3 the international laws of war; and (b), to have a respect for humanity,
4 even if it is enemy humanity.
5 Q. Accepting that strategic decisions are not necessarily made on the
6 battlefield or perhaps not embellished upon on the battlefield, what is
7 your view of the command obligation to carry out a strategic order from
8 above that may change in some way the initial plan for an operation?
9 Example: Proceeding to a territory for certain objectives, change of plan
10 is signaled from above, ceasefire to come into effect, no further
11 operations. If unpopular with the commander, what is his obligation with
12 regard to that order from above?
13 A. Whether that order or above is popular with a commander is
14 irrelevant. He has a duty now to carry that out. If that is the orders
15 he is being given, to move in this instance to a ceasefire, which may very
16 well require amendment to orders already given, because orders already
17 given were based on some other objective, like seize area alpha. The fact
18 that we're now moving to a ceasefire would put a considerable onus on the
19 commander to reflect on what changes in mission there now was and what
20 actions his subordinate commanders were required to carry out in order to
21 effect this change in direction.
22 Q. And how would the change in direction be communicated by the
24 A. He would communicate that in a variety of ways: Written orders,
25 radio communications, data communications. Probably in this respect, a
1 commander would deem there was a responsibility on him now to get round
2 and visit his subordinate commanders and make sure they absolutely
3 understood what the change in direction was, why it was coming about, and
4 what part they had to play in it. So in this event, you could -- all
5 channels of communication now would go to red hot. Change in mission,
6 stop doing this, start preparing for that, implications for you are this,
7 disengage, do not take any actions that might throw the ceasefire off
8 course, do not be antagonised by the enemy. Hold firm where you are.
9 Mission now is to bring this ceasefire into effect properly, without
10 creating any conditions or the excuse that we threw it off course
12 Q. If in fact there is a disagreement or unhappiness by a commander
13 in implementing the order, particularly from the strategic level, what
14 would be the recourse of that commander before implementing, if there was
15 such disagreement?
16 A. Well, I return to an answer to a similar question. If the
17 high-level commander has received an order from a strategic sort of
18 Ministry of Defence Belgrade type level, or whatever level, his higher
19 level anyway, which he has really severe reservations about, then he has
20 the right, indeed he probably has the responsibility, to return to, either
21 physically or in communication terms, high level, and make his concerns
22 known so that they are understood, whereupon he will either be told to --
23 the reason for it and to get on with it regardless, or his views will be
24 taken into account. But once he is told: This is what we're now getting
25 on with. Execute. Whatever his private view is, he has a responsibility
1 to execute it, in exactly the same way that his subordinates have a
2 responsibility to execute the orders he gives them.
3 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, I would anticipate the need for a bit
4 of time tomorrow morning, not a lot. And if this would be an acceptable
5 time to break, I will tailor my examination and trim it so that counsel
6 opposite would have an opportunity to complete its examination and cross
8 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We'll adjourn, then, a few minutes
9 early, and we'll resume tomorrow at 9.00. I must ask you to return, then,
10 if you would. Thank you.
11 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER:
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.43 p.m.
14 to be reconvened on Friday, the 30th day of January
15 2004, at 9.00 a.m.