1 Friday, 30 January 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. If I could remind you, General, of
7 the affirmation you took at the commencement of your evidence, which still
9 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
11 WITNESS: ANDREW ROBERT DOUGLAS PRINGLE [Resumed]
12 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. Good morning, Your Honours,
14 Examined by Ms. Somers: [Continued]
15 Q. General Pringle, in your view, is it likely that a battalion
16 commander, on his own initiative -- well, let me back up for a second. If
17 a favourable command climate is established, is it likely that a unit
18 commander, at the battalion level, would conduct, on his own initiative,
19 an operation, such as an attack, which is contrary to his commander's
20 intent? Now, before you engage in an answer, can you explain the concept
21 of commander's intent?
22 A. Well, the commander's intent refers to -- well, exactly what it
23 says, the intention of the commander, what the commander wants to achieve,
24 what the commander has set the mission as, and the why. The what and the
25 why make up the commander's intent.
1 Your question is: Is it likely that a unit commander would carry
2 out an action that was -- on his own initiative which was contrary to the
3 commander's intent? Well, if he did, he would be knowingly carrying out
4 an action that did not fit with his commander's intentions. That would
5 not be a wise thing to do, for a number of reasons. First of all, it may
6 throw the overall plan off course; secondly, he may not have the necessary
7 combat and logistic support necessary to support his actions or to assist
8 with, for example, ammunition resupply or casualty evacuation. So the
9 short answer to your question: Would a unit commander be likely to carry
10 out a deliberate attack which he knew would be contrary to his commander's
11 intent? My answer to that is: That is highly unlikely, unless there's
12 been an absolute breakdown in discipline.
13 Q. How does a commander communicate his intent?
14 A. A commander's intent is communicated through the order system, and
15 that is, through a combination of written orders and verbal orders and the
16 follow-up interaction between commanders at all levels that we were
17 talking about yesterday. The first paragraph in an operational order is
18 the situation, which would include the commander's -- different nations
19 call it different things, but concept of operations or scheme of
20 manoeuvre, which includes his intend, and that is where the commander lays
21 down what it is he's trying to achieve and why, so that everybody can
22 understand the part they have to play in it. The orders would then go on
23 to allocate the mission.
24 So that's the written and formal means of communicating intent.
25 That would then be backed up by verbal instructions.
1 Q. If, as you suggested, the need for support, such as ammunition and
2 the ability to take care of casualties were in place under the scenario
3 described, that is, a unit, a battalion-level unit commander undertaking
4 an operation supposedly at his own initiative. Are you able to indicate
5 what that might suggest about commander's intent, if they were available
6 and in fact used?
7 A. Well, let's differentiate a number of things here. First of all,
8 the hypothetical unit in question that we're discussing might have its own
9 integral combat support and logistics support. That combat and logistics
10 support would be under the command and available to the unit commander in
11 question. So the use of those assets is within the bailiwick of that
12 commander and would not really indicate any more than that commander has
13 decided to use them. But if assets outside the immediate command of that
14 unit commander have been allocated and/or used, such as, for example,
15 extra artillery or heavy mortars or helicopter support or logistics
16 support, then that would indicate to me that there is more to the action
17 described than simply a unit commander making his own decision in
18 isolation and doing something. It would mean that there has been
19 high-level coordination and assistance.
20 Q. General, by assets outside the immediate command, would that
21 include, then, other units in the area, the assistance from other units in
22 the area?
23 A. Yes, it would, if that assistance is pre-planned and those units
24 have been notified that the unit planning an attack is going to attack at
25 a certain time and other units have been put on standby to be ready to
1 assist. That would be a sure indicator that there is more to this attack
2 than simply the unit commander's personal decision.
3 Q. And if the assistance, for the sake of argument, were not
4 pre-planned but made available and continued to be made available, what,
5 then, is the implication?
6 A. That would mean -- that would indicate to me that the unit
7 commander was acting within the instructions and the intent that he had
8 previously received and that, in doing so, as would be normal, the rest of
9 the operational forces are available for assistance, and indeed would be
10 required to assist as necessary.
11 Q. General, in your view, under what circumstances would that
12 battalion commander risk undertaking an attack or an action which is
13 contrary to his commander's intent, given the philosophy of, let's say, an
14 army that is more orders-driven, centralist?
15 A. Well, a commander that decides to conduct a deliberate,
16 pre-planned attack which he knew was absolutely contrary to his
17 commander's intent would be operating way outside his own authority. He
18 would be operating in opposition to his commander's intent. He would be
19 putting at risk the mission passed down by the commander. He would, in
20 short, be seriously putting his neck on the line. And I say "deliberate
21 attack" because there might be circumstances where a commander saw an
22 opportunity to achieve the objective that he knew was within the
23 commander's intent, and the opportunity suddenly presented itself, and the
24 opportunity to use his initiative and achieve that objective suddenly
25 presented itself, then he might do it. But that's not what we're talking
1 about here, because your question is: If this was contrary to the
2 commander's intent. If it's contrary to the commander's intent, actually,
3 that commander -- well, in any disciplined army, would be liable for
4 court-martial and dismissal.
5 Q. What would be your view, General, of the command climate and of
6 the commander's intent where, in that commander's area of responsibility,
7 on multiple occasions in a relatively short period of time, say several
8 months, units under his control attacked sites which were protected both
9 under international law and by specific standing orders?
10 A. Well, here we're beginning to touch on what we were talking about
11 yesterday. If specific standing orders have been given that these sorts
12 of sites should be protected, not harmed, and not engaged, and yet they
13 are being engaged, well, that is contrary to the orders given and the
14 intent explained, and therefore, one would expect action to be taken to
15 prevent that. At the very least, one would take -- one would consider,
16 after it happened the first time, that an inquiry would be initiated as to
17 find out why, and unless there was very, very good reason, disciplinary
18 action at the appropriate level would follow. But if that's not
19 happening, what we're beginning to say about the command climate is that
20 these sorts of actions are acceptable, although we talked about window
21 dressing yesterday. Although orders have been passed down the chain that
22 these sorts of targets should not be engaged, the fact that nothing
23 happens when they are engaged indicates to those that have been engaging
24 them that this is perfectly acceptable and fair play.
25 So either the commander's authority has been completely eroded,
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13 English transcripts.
1 and you talked about over a fairly lengthy period of time, and that's
2 unlikely, in my opinion.
3 Q. Excuse me, General. I did say in a relatively short period of
5 A. Okay. I thought you said three months.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Excuse me.
7 Mr. Petrovic.
8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise for
9 interrupting, but I have to ask a question which seems of great importance
10 to me. I fail to understand the mimicry of the distinguished Madam
11 Prosecutor. It is obvious what she is talking about here, it is obvious
12 what she is driving at when she is asking the questions of the type that
13 she has been asking. I think that it would be a fair way to proceed in
14 this matter if she is already talking about these matters that you will be
15 deciding upon at the end of these proceedings, I think it would be very
16 fair to present to the distinguished witness what is it that she is
17 talking about to present to him documents, to present evidence on which
18 this is based, without any concealment, without any commonplace matters
19 about specific things that we're talking about. The witness could give
20 his opinion. He could look at the evidence. Namely, he could look at the
21 written documents, he could look at the other evidence which is before
22 him, and then render his opinion. Although I do believe that this is the
23 opinion to be rendered by the panel, by the Court.
24 I believe that madam Somers is presenting her case in detail
25 except for the actual name. Why doesn't she say the name, the commander
1 of the battalion, the commander whom she means, all the names that she
2 means, and then we can talk about it. Actually, she has been doing this
3 all the while, but in a disguised manner. Why? She wants to turn into --
4 a specific instance into a general situation before a gentleman who is a
5 witness and rendering his views from the standpoint of the military
6 profession. He has not been invited here to give his judgement on the
7 specific situation, specific events. But if that is the case, let's
8 present the evidence. Let Mr. Pringle say what he thinks happened on the
9 6th of December, what was Commander Kovacevic, Commander Strugar,
10 Commander Jokic like, what was the command like, and then we can go about
11 it and talk about it in this way. Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
13 Ms. Somers.
14 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I think that the line of questioning is
15 entirely appropriate. We are asking questions directed at issues
16 concerning command. It can be any scenario that would address the central
17 issues of command. If it is more focussed to give at least some guidance
18 for related types of circumstances, but I find it unnecessary to get into
19 the orders, facts, et cetera, et cetera. We are looking at how a
20 commander acts, behaves, communicates, and obligations, and that is the
21 subject of inquiry, through climate, and nothing more.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. As I understand the course being
23 pursued by Ms. Somers, Mr. Petrovic, she is putting to the witness
24 hypothetical situations. The witness is then giving his opinion of what
25 would be the cause and effects in an ordinary military situation, drawing
1 on his experience, set against the hypothetical position that is posed to
2 him by Ms. Somers. That evidence may or may not prove useful to the
3 Chamber when it comes to decide the case eventually. That will depend on
4 whether other evidence has shown that there existed the same or a similar
5 state of affairs as that which is being put hypothetically to the witness.
6 If the other evidence doesn't match up and demonstrate that that situation
7 actually existed, well, then the evidence of the witness may be of little
8 or no use to the Chamber. But Ms. Somers is proceeding on the basis that
9 she will, by other evidence, demonstrate that the hypothetical situation
10 upon which the witness is being asked to express an opinion did in fact
11 exist, and it's on that basis that I understand it that Ms. Somers is
12 proceeding and that the witness is expressing his views. He is certainly
13 not purporting to express an opinion on what was the situation in the JNA
14 on the 6th of December, 1991, and if he were purporting to do that, there
15 would be very serious issues about the admissibility and propriety of
16 expert opinion on that, because as you did indicate that is a matter for
17 this Chamber to decide, in light of all the evidence.
18 So I think Ms. Somers is very properly avoiding taking that step,
19 and we are merely being offered hypothetical evidence, the value of which
20 will depend upon the other evidence led from the factual witnesses who can
21 speak of the situation at the time.
22 On that basis, we would certainly allow the present line of
23 questioning to continue. Thank you.
24 Yes, Ms. Somers.
25 MS. SOMERS:
1 Q. General, if an attack on a protected site occurred during an
2 attack on a military objective, what emergency measures should the higher
3 command -- excuse me.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry. I'm reminded by my colleague that the
6 last answer was interrupted. If I could just return to the question. I'm
7 terribly sorry if this --
8 JUDGE PARKER: No. I think the poor witness will have lost the
9 thread of that anyway.
10 MS. SOMERS: Okay. I have to go back on the other computer.
11 Q. Oh, yes. General, you had said I think a longer period, and I
12 simply reminded you of the question, which indicated a relatively short
13 period of time. Several months was my reference.
14 JUDGE PARKER: And I say you might need to remind the Chamber of
15 the question, as well as the witness.
16 MS. SOMERS: Okay.
17 Q. The whole question was: What would your view, General, be of the
18 command climate and of the commander's intent where, in that commander's
19 area of responsibility, on multiple occasions, in a relatively short
20 period of time, say several months, units under his control attacked sites
21 which were protected both under international law and by specific standing
23 A. If, over several months, and contrary to standing orders, such
24 sites had been attacked, then it would indicate to me, if no action had
25 been taken about that, despite the fact that it was against standing
1 orders, it would indicate to me that the command climate in which the
2 units and formations are operating is one where, whilst orders are being
3 passed concerning the sensitivity of various forms of actions and indeed
4 the prohibition of various forms of actions, when those actions
5 willy-nilly occur and nothing -- no disciplinary action follows, then that
6 indicates -- that would indicate to the troops involved that those are
7 quite acceptable actions, and the more often it happens without
8 disciplinary action, the more that notion would be confirmed in their
9 mind. They might ask themselves the question: Well, why are we being
10 told that such actions are prohibited, and yet nothing is being done when
11 we take those actions? We can only assume that there is some other reason
12 for telling us, but actually, it's perfectly okay to do that.
13 Q. That was, I presume, as to command climate. And the second part
14 of the question is: What would be your view of commander's intent under
15 those circumstances?
16 A. Ah. Well, if no action is taken up the disciplinary chain of
17 command, one -- or I would draw the conclusion that, despite what is being
18 written and ordered formally, actually, these actions lie well within
19 commander's intent and what the commander finds acceptable, simply because
20 if he didn't find it acceptable, he'd do something about it.
21 Q. What additional measures, General, might you view as appropriate
22 if a strategic-level order is passed down, let's say concerning a
23 political meeting, a ceasefire. You can select the event, but one that
24 would have significant strategic implications in the area of
25 responsibility. What measures might be appropriate for the higher
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13 English transcripts.
1 commander to take concerning allowing escalation of hostilities
2 immediately prior to the implementation of that either ceasefire or
3 political action? But let's say for the sake of argument ceasefire.
4 A. Right. Let's take, for the sake of argument, a strategic event
5 like an upcoming ceasefire arranged at high level. Now, this would be of
6 particular significance to the higher-level commanders operating at that
7 operational level, at the operational strategic interface. It would be of
8 particular significance to that level of command. Therefore, I would
9 expect commanders at that level to start taking the necessary actions to
10 ensure that those that they command realise what is about to happen,
11 realise how that might change orders previously given. I mean, if we're
12 heading for a ceasefire and up until now we've been on the attack, that
13 requires a change of order and a change of intent, I would suggest. And
14 it puts a serious onus on the operational-level commander to make sure
15 that the appropriate orders are passed down the chain. His subordinate
16 commanders understand exactly what is going on, his subordinate commanders
17 understand what they've got to do, and in particular, what changes to
18 current procedures they should effect in order that nothing happens to
19 knock off course the, in this case, the upcoming ceasefire, because the
20 operational-level commander will realise that these are delicate
21 situations and a tactical-level action can have strategic consequences if
22 that tactical-level action is contrary to the direction in which he wants
23 his command to be going.
24 And so, in summary, an event like that would particularly focus
25 the mind of the operational high-level commander, particularly focus his
1 mind, because it will be his responsibility to make sure that it comes
3 Q. You just mentioned the phrase "so that nothing happens." Now,
4 what, in your view, would have to be in the mind of a higher-level
5 commander when you talk about "nothing happens"? What types of
6 eventualities and how would he determine the span of measures necessary so
7 that nothing happens? What would he take in mind to consider that and
8 implement that?
9 A. Well, the high-level commander who, by definition, has experience,
10 would realise that seeing conditions through to the successful
11 implementation of this ceasefire is not necessarily going to be easy,
12 because his troops are in contact -- well, let's assume his troops are in
13 contact with the enemy. Let's assume his troops have been fighting the
14 enemy for a period of months. Let's put it in the same context as the
15 last question. So for a period of months, there have been exchanges of
16 fire, there's been exchanges of artillery, exchanges of mortar fire, there
17 have been attacks and counter-attacks, there have been wounded taken,
18 there have been heavy resupply problems, there have been -- a lot of
19 action has been taken, even if the front line may not have moved that
21 Now, he will realise that if he is now tasked to move to effect a
22 ceasefire, he's somehow got to stabilise the front and disengage, in order
23 that neither side creates the conditions where a ceasefire simply can't
24 come about. I mean, nobody is going to agree to the ceasefire starting at
25 X-hundred hours when they're heavily engaged attacking each other and
1 artillery and mortar is falling on all these positions. And that's --
2 those are the conditions that he's got to avoid. So he's got to now start
3 taking positive action, issuing orders, and controlling the situation,
4 such that all the way down his command, everybody realises that the
5 situation has changed. The situation is now not about hammering the
6 daylights out of each other. It's about actually disengaging,
7 stabilising, and preparing for a ceasefire to come in, and therefore, we
8 should not take -- or he would be ordering his troops not to take any
9 offensive actions that could negate the movement towards a ceasefire, and
10 he would probably also be giving instructions as to: Do not be provoked.
11 My intention is that whatever happens, we must bring this ceasefire about.
12 On our side, we are not going to provoke the enemy, but we must also make
13 sure that we do not allow the enemy to provoke us.
14 And therefore, he may be saying things like: Even if you are
15 receiving incoming artillery fire, you are not to respond. Or: Even if
16 you are receiving sniper fire, you are not to respond.
17 In this instance, he would be saying, I suggest, something like:
18 It is more important at this stage to keep our heads down, keep our guard
19 up, and do our best to disengage, in order that the ceasefire can be
20 brought about.
21 Now, that is not easy. It's highly complex. It's a change of
22 intent. It's a change in orders amongst soldiers who are in combat. And
23 therefore, the onus on that commander and the whole of the chain of
24 command is absolutely clear. This very positive command and control has
25 now got to be exerted to bring this change of intent round. This is like
1 moving an oil tanker. This is not going to happen by automatic. Anything
2 can knock the ceasefire off line, and it's going to need very positive
3 control and a very tight grip all the way down the chain of command.
4 Q. Would there be an expectation that the commander, the higher
5 commander, review pre-existing concerns or problems in his area of
6 responsibility and factor those into what needs to be done to make sure
7 the ceasefire takes place?
8 A. Well, I think one of the things the commanders at all levels would
9 be doing would be asking themselves: What are the sort of things that
10 could go wrong? What are the sort of actions that might happen which I
11 should alert my troops to in order that they take the correct actions in
12 those events?
13 So, for example, whereas yesterday incoming artillery would be met
14 firmly with outgoing artillery, today my instructions will be: It's more
15 important to go firm, stay protected, and do nothing to upset events, in
16 order that we will be complying with everything that is required to bring
17 this ceasefire into effect.
18 So they will be asking themselves, at all levels -- I mean, down
19 at grass roots levels, the platoon commanders in the front-line trenches
20 who have been receiving sniper fire and returning it, and doing their best
21 to discover where these snipers are coming from, they will be giving their
22 troops instructions: Right. We're heading for a ceasefire. Much more
23 important now not to take any actions that might knock that off course. I
24 want you all to stay heads down, sentries out, on guard, no return fire
25 unless I authorise it. Is probably what he'd be saying, because he now
1 realises he has to take a firm grip because the events have changed. And
2 similar things will be happening at all levels.
3 Q. Would any particular attention be paid to problem units or
4 disciplinary problems from the past that would not be appropriate to be
5 repeated, that could derail?
6 A. Well, again, that comes down to commander's knowledge. If he is
7 aware, if he is aware that there's a problem brigade or a problem unit or
8 a problem company, you know, depending on what level we're talking about,
9 and they're a problem because they have very strong soldiers and a very
10 weak commander, and in the past they've tended to get out of control, or
11 in the past they've taken actions without authority, that sort of thing.
12 If he's got that sort of problem at any level in his command, he would
13 certainly be focussing on that and taking whatever actions he deemed
14 necessary to ensure that that problem unit did not create the conditions
15 where he could not achieve his operational strategic intent of bringing in
16 the ceasefire.
17 Q. Might that include removal of the unit or personnel therefrom?
18 A. It might. I mean, it could.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 A. But I would temper that by realism. I mean, if this problem
21 unit -- if I have not considered it to be so much of a problem that I
22 haven't removed the commander already, well, then, what I probably need
23 now is extra supervision and extra tight grip, because if I suddenly
24 decide I ought to remove that guy, well, I've probably left it a bit late.
25 I probably should have removed him before. But the answer to your
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13 English transcripts.
1 question is yes. If he thought that was necessary, if he had that little
2 confidence or that much concern about that commander or whatever, then he
3 is quite entitled and empowered, and indeed he may think he has an abject
4 requirement to remove him.
5 Q. I'm going to try to ask just a couple more questions and finish up
6 very quickly. But if an attack on a protected site did occur during
7 attack under these circumstances on a military objective, what emergency
8 measures should the higher commander take or have taken to terminate the
9 attack on the protected site?
10 A. Right. Well, assuming it is clear that the protected site is
11 being attacked, and one would assume that situation reports are flowing up
12 and down the chain of command and that commanders are becoming aware, even
13 if they're not aware right at the beginning, are becoming aware that a
14 protective site is coming under attack in the course of another attack, I
15 would expect the commanders immediately to start -- knowing or assuming
16 that this is against standing orders and outside the commander's intent, I
17 would expect commanders at all levels immediately to focus on that. The
18 first question they would ask is: Why is that happening? Because it's
19 not inconceivable that, you know, a rocket battery is engaging them and
20 causing heavy casualties from the protected site, in which case, those
21 that have sighted the rocket battery at the protected site are in the
22 wrong, and there's a very real issue there about what you do about it,
23 protected site or not.
24 So the first question you would ask is: Why is that protected
25 site being engaged? And if there is no satisfactory answer, or if the
1 answer is such that he does not think that the threat emerging from the
2 area of that protected site is worth the firepower being put on it, in
3 other words, there may be in the area of the protected site some fire
4 coming but it's not consequential. Then the commander would have an onus
5 to comply with the orders he's been given and check firing on that
6 protected site.
7 And that would be the immediate commander. The commander who
8 commands the assets that are engaging the protected site. And if he
9 doesn't do that, his superior commander has an onus to stop it. And if he
10 doesn't do that, his superior commander has an onus to stop it, on the
11 assumption that the information would be travelling up the chain of
12 command. Protected sites are sensitive. Protected sites have been the
13 subject of specific orders from on high. On high will want to know about
14 that. So, you know, there are checks at various levels. But that's the
15 process that will be gone through, which one could -- which one might
16 assume would lead to an order to check firing on the protected site,
17 regardless of the ongoing attack on another objective.
18 Q. General, if that protected site had been the subject of a standing
19 order which indicated that under no circumstances, under no circumstances,
20 should there be engagement of that site, would that alter your response at
21 all? Under no circumstances, for argument, could include even if attack
22 were forthcoming therefrom.
23 A. I mean, if the order is "under no circumstances," then commanders
24 would be unwise to engage that protected site. However, if the
25 hypothetical situation is such that there really is very serious fire
1 coming from that protected site, and by effective it means it is causing
2 casualties or negating his ability to achieve his objective, then he would
3 have a duty to go back up the chain of command and say: Look, I know the
4 orders are "under no circumstances, engage this site," but you should be
5 aware that I'm taking considerable casualties from fire coming from that
6 protected site, and unless I engage it, these will be the implications. I
7 will not achieve your objective or I will have to call off the attack or I
8 will take serious casualties.
9 It would then be for the superior commander to decide what he's
10 going to do about that. Does he say: These are very special
11 circumstances, and under these circumstances, and I am prepared to justify
12 my decision later, I would try and suppress that fire. Or does he say:
13 No. Under no circumstances means under no circumstances. It's just too
14 precious, that site. If the price of not engaging that site is we call
15 off the attack, then we call off the attack.
16 He will have to go through that thought process.
17 Q. Would this be consistent, General, with your previous view that
18 disengagement, given the strategic objective, may well be called for and
19 further -- any engagement of a protected site should not even be
20 considered, given the overall need to carry out the strategic objective?
21 A. Well, this is consistent with my view that the commander realises
22 that there are very serious actions he is now going to have to take to
23 ensure that he does not create the conditions where this sort of thing
24 could happen. So that's what will be in the commander's mind, and so he
25 will have issued instructions in order to ensure that the hornet's nest,
1 if I can put it like that, is not stirred up, such that he will not find
2 himself in this position. If he does find himself in this position, given
3 the fact that we're meant to be heading for a ceasefire, that's actually
4 the strategic intent, we're heading for a ceasefire. Somehow we've got
5 ourselves in a position where the hornet's nest has been stirred up.
6 Well, actually, his orders would almost certainly be, the strategic intent
7 is head for the ceasefire, disengage, stop, stop, stop, go back to where
8 you started. This is not easy. But, you know, in simple terms, that's
9 where he will be coming from. We seem -- this seems to have completely
10 run out of control, for whatever reason.
11 So yes, I believe under those circumstances he would be saying:
12 You know, stop firing. Disengage. Go back to where you started.
13 Q. General, if no meaningful inquiry or appropriate disciplinary
14 action were undertaken following an unlawful attack or action, would you
15 draw any conclusion as to the commander's actual intent?
16 A. If no disciplinary action is taken at any level following events
17 that are specifically forbidden, then at all levels that connive - and I
18 use that word deliberately - that connive in turning a blind eye to the
19 disobedience to standing orders, that would mean that up to and including
20 all levels of connivance, those sorts of actions lie well within what is
21 deemed acceptable and what is intent.
22 Q. General, what disciplinary action, then, having said what you just
23 said, would you expect to be taken if the unlawful action by the
24 subordinate units was in accordance with the commander's intent?
25 A. If the unlawful action was in accordance with the commander's
1 intent, then I would not be surprised if no action was taken.
2 Q. General, in this instance, does the existence of an unfavourable
3 command climate negate the responsibility of the commander for the acts of
4 his subordinates?
5 A. The responsibility of the commander for the acts of his
6 subordinates at all levels is vested in him by the authority of his
7 commander -- by his authority as the commander. So whatever command
8 climate is being created at whatever level, that does not negate his
9 responsibility. In fact, creating the climate where proper actions are
10 taken is very much part of his responsibility.
11 Q. Thank you very much, General Pringle. I have no further
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Somers.
14 Mr. Rodic.
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. If I may
16 borrow the stand from Ms. Somers for a moment, please.
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Rodic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Pringle. I am Goran Rodic, an
19 attorney at law from Podgorica, from the Defence team of General Strugar.
20 I shall be asking you questions concerning the findings that you have
21 expounded in this particular matter.
22 In connection with the last part of your testimony during the
23 examination-in-chief, which I suppose we shall agree mainly dealt with
24 hypothetical situations, can you please tell me whether everything that
25 you have talked about in the last part of your testimony, whether you have
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1 experience to illustrate this with -- from your personal experience or
2 from the practice of others on the basis of which you provided your
4 A. Good morning, Mr. Rodic.
5 Yes. I think I can say that I do have personal experience,
6 certainly in terms of dealing and thinking through those sorts of events
7 through a series of staff colleges and war colleges, through a whole
8 series of exercises and manoeuvres, and through active, live operations in
9 places like Northern Ireland and Bosnia. They may not have been
10 specifically the same as the hypothetical situation we were talking about,
11 but I would consider that my training experience has equipped me with the
12 knowledge to understand exactly what the implications are and what the
13 actions required of a commander under those circumstances would be.
14 Q. I suppose that these examples also refer to the professional army
15 that you belonged to.
16 A. No. I'm more talking about the aspects of command that would be
17 executed by the commanders, and in general terms, we've been talking about
18 relatively high-level commanders, which I would assume would be commanders
19 of some experience and probably professional themselves.
20 Q. Were you trained in how other armies are being organised,
21 conducted, outside the British army, that is?
22 A. Yes. That has been part of one's training, through staff colleges
23 and exercises. For example, for the first, what, two-thirds of my career,
24 we were focussed predominantly on two things. One was the IRA, republican
25 terrorism in Ireland. But more pertinent to your question is that of
1 course NATO was lined up against the Warsaw Pact, and therefore, all
2 exercises, manoeuvres, all staff colleges, all war colleges, would study,
3 in particular, Warsaw Pact armies, styles, doctrines, as part of military
5 Q. Thank you. While our memory is still fresh in connection with
6 this particular situation that you described during the last part of your
7 testimony, I will be asking you several questions in that particular
8 regard. In these hypotheses and theories, to the effect that a commander
9 has launched an attack without approval, of his own initiative, that is,
10 please respond to this question: What if, irrespective of a ceasefire,
11 which, for instance, has been violated over a lengthy period of time in 17
12 incidents, and on this 17th or 18th instance, the commander of the
13 battalion is suffering great consequences on that account, and heavy
14 casualties are being inflicted on his troops, how would you assist such a
15 situation? And if that commander is engaging a military target, wishing
16 to neutralise the enemy's artillery, the site which is inflicting these
17 losses on him, in other words?
18 A. You paint a very uncomfortable picture for the commander in
19 question. This commander will find himself in some dilemma. On the one
20 hand, he is, I assume, preparing for a ceasefire; and on the other hand,
21 he is having to deal with enemy actions that are going to make
22 disengagement, which is what I was talking about before, quite difficult.
23 Now, here I would say that it's very important for this commander
24 to have a very clear idea on his higher commander's intent. What is it
25 that is important? Is it more important to take the actions required to
1 bring the ceasefire about, or is it more important to launch some sort of
2 counter-attack, in the full knowledge that that will negate the ceasefire?
3 So you paint an uncomfortable picture, but that's the sort of picture that
4 commanders are paid to deal with.
5 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, may I object for a moment, in that, as I
6 have read the question, it appears that the discussion about taking hits,
7 and perhaps I'm wrong, refers to past actions and that an unauthorised
8 ceasefire results from past actions where losses, et cetera, are incurred.
9 And I wonder if counsel could clarify that, because, as I read it, I
10 don't see that that's the -- that the response matches the question.
11 JUDGE PARKER: I don't see the limitation that you do, I'm afraid,
12 Ms. Somers, because while there was reference to a 17 or 18 incidents over
13 a lengthy period, it then went on to say: "And is suffering great
14 consequences. Heavy casualties are being inflicted." It was speaking in
15 the question as it was posed about immediate casualties being inflicted of
16 a heavy nature, as I read it.
17 MS. SOMERS: Thank you for your clarification. I did not see it
18 that way, and I wasn't clear how it was intended.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I think it's in that context that the answers were
21 Is that right, General?
22 THE WITNESS: That is right. I mean, the picture I had in my mind
23 was a picture painted where I, as the commander in question, am receiving
24 considerable artillery fire and taking heavy casualties and am meant to be
25 heading for a ceasefire, and what am I going to do about it? I tried to
1 answer it in that context.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Well, perhaps to clarify the situation for you, to amplify on it a
4 bit: The commander -- or no. Not the commander. Larger strategic group
5 is situated on an area covering 30.000 square kilometres, which is
6 approximately the area for Northern Ireland. In this area, there are five
7 garrisons. The problems are different. All kinds of problems. So I'm
8 speaking about the situation where there is loss of life, where combat and
9 military operations are taking place. This large strategic group consists
10 of a number of corps. We have the commander of the strategic group, there
11 are the corps commanders, the brigade commanders, the battalion, company
12 commanders, and so on and so forth. The task of the strategic group is
13 not to conquer a certain portion of territory but to block, to impose a
14 blockade on that part of territory in order to protect from the military
15 aspect the back of this strategic group and to preclude the influx, the
16 supply of armaments and the arming of paramilitary formations in this part
17 of territory which is to be blockaded.
18 Also, the situation obtains where the strategic group in question
19 is in any case much superior to the paramilitary units which are situated,
20 which are deployed in the part of the blockade, the territory in question.
21 Let me also emphasise that the strategic group does not wish to
22 take that territory, nor to make any incursions, in-raids, into that
23 territory. Over a protracted period, from that territory, the units and
24 the corps which is holding this zone of responsibility and of operations,
25 by applying the tactic of negotiations and the striking of ostensible
1 ceasefires which are violated, which have been violated for 17 or so
2 times, this situation which I previously explained ensues, which is the
3 commander who suffered losses proceeds from that point to neutralise the
4 military point which has been inflicting losses on his troops.
5 Have I clarified my point, and can you please then give me your
6 reaction to it?
7 A. So that was a statement or a question, Mr. Rodic? But I'll try
8 and make what I can of that. What you're describing are the extensive
9 responsibilities of an operational-level commander. I would not pretend
10 that those responsibilities are not wide, various, and extremely
11 demanding. And his attention will be focussed on a large number of issues
12 for which he has a staff to assist him in controlling that. But he will
13 also have his main effort, and his main effort can change from time to
14 time, depending on events. His main effort might be focussed on a
15 particular corps area which is heavily engaged with the enemy, which is
16 needing considerable support, reinforcements, or whatever, and then that
17 situation may clarify itself and front stabilised, and something else
18 happens. And let's take, for example, now that he's faced with the
19 strategic requirement to bring in a ceasefire on another part of his
20 front. Well, now this is absolutely operational-level business, and his
21 focus, assuming the rest of his area is not calling for his attention at
22 higher priority, his focus will now turn, and his own personal main
23 effort, will now turn to this particular issue and his energies will be
24 devoted to that.
25 So what I'm trying to say is although the operational-level
1 commander has a wide span of command, that is, a large number of units
2 under command, a large geographical area of operational responsibility, he
3 also has a staff and he personally will be focussing his main effort on
4 what he considers to be the most important thing at the time.
5 Does that answer your question?
6 Q. Perhaps I painted too broad a picture. But let's move on.
7 The situation which you explained with the battalion commander, if
8 I told you hypothetically speaking, what if, for instance, we have a
9 battalion commander who is mentally unstable and an excess of this sort
10 occurs? Would this be of bearing on -- would this be of individual
11 influence on the specific situation, regardless of the command climate,
12 regardless of the orders, and so on and so forth?
13 A. If you have a battalion commander who is mentally unstable, his
14 brigade commander has a serious and immediate problem, and he should have
15 been removed already.
16 Q. What if such an immediate first or second superior commander who
17 is in the most frequent of contacts with this commander does not inform
18 the superior command on time of this particular situation?
19 A. The responsibility to remove a mentally unstable battalion
20 commander lies with the brigade commander. He doesn't need to receive
21 authority from elsewhere. He probably has to inform higher up the chain
22 of command, but he doesn't need to receive their authority to do that.
23 Q. And if, for instance, in connection with this incident that we
24 talked about, the excess on the part of the battalion commander, the corps
25 commander, within which is the brigade and the battalion that we are
1 talking about, what if, in connection with this incident, he submits a
2 report to the highest command within the armed forces, and then receives
3 specific instructions from that command, for instance, to undertake an
4 investigation, and if that commander, corps commander, does conduct an
5 investigation in connection with that incident and fails to take any
6 measures against the specific battalion commander in question? Will the
7 situation regarding that incident be a closed matter then?
8 A. Sorry. I'm just reading your question again.
9 As I understand it, you're saying to me that if this mentally
10 unstable battalion commander has been investigated up to -- or if the
11 matter that he is mentally unstable has been addressed up to corps level,
12 and at corps level, the fact that there is a mentally unstable battalion
13 commander is deemed to be acceptable, and therefore, no action is
14 required, is that the end of the matter?
15 Q. I apologise. Perhaps you did not understand me properly. I shall
16 try to explain my question to enable you to reply.
17 So I gave you a hypothetical thesis, to the effect that the
18 battalion commander is mentally unstable. You replied to my question,
19 saying that that commander should have been dealt with by the brigade
20 commander. Now I'm asking you, in connection with a situation -- or
21 rather, the incident caused by the mentally unstable battalion commander,
22 despite the fact that there was a ceasefire on, so he provoked this
23 incident by seeking to neutralise the enemy's fire point, which was
24 inflicting heavy losses on him, so if the corps commander, within the
25 composition of which is the battalion, reports on this incident to the
1 highest army leadership of the army in question and receives from that
2 leadership instructions to conduct an investigation into the incident, the
3 way it happened, what were the circumstances of the incident, and the
4 corps commander does undertake such an investigation but fails to
5 undertake any measures against the battalion commander, can the matter be
6 considered, the entire incident, can it be considered to be a finished
7 matter at the level of the corps commander?
8 A. Thank you. I understand your question now.
9 To have a commanding officer who is blatantly transgressing
10 orders, for whatever reason, mental instability or whatever, is a matter
11 that would come to the attention, I would suggest, to the highest levels
12 of command in that theatre. The fact that an investigation is ordered
13 into the conduct of that commanding officer is correct, would be correct,
14 and depending on the results of that investigation, the corps commander,
15 if that is the level of authority committed to deal with a commanding
16 officer, if the corps commander decides to dismiss the charges, and that
17 is within his powers, then that would be the end of the matter, depending
18 on whether the corps commander's superior was content that a proper
19 investigation had been conducted, the results of that investigation had
20 been properly assessed, and the appropriate -- and the matter had been
21 dealt with in the appropriate manner.
22 So what I'm saying is if, hypothetically, the corps commander
23 dismisses the charge as a whitewash, hypothetically speaking, then the
24 corps commander's superior commander has an onus to take action, not only
25 on the original transgression of the battalion commander, but on the corps
1 commander who has connived in a whitewash, hypothetically speaking, if
2 that's your question.
3 Q. I shall clarify the last part of this hypothesis. The brigade
4 commander, in any case, who is in charge of the battalion commander, has
5 the authority to replace him. The corps commander who is in charge of the
6 investigation in any case can always take any measures to replace or
7 discipline such a battalion commander. During this investigation, let us
8 say not the first superior command of the corps commander, but the highest
9 command has been informed. I ask you now whether, in this case, the corps
10 commander has closed the matter concerning the incident and the battalion
11 commander. He has found him to be not responsible. After the
12 investigation, the corps commander finds that he is not responsible for
13 the incident.
14 A. Assuming that the corps commander's superior is content with the
15 way the investigation has been conducted and that it has been investigated
16 rigorously and analysed properly and a reasonable judgement has been made,
17 then that would be the end of the matter, yes.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Mr. Rodic, or is there
19 something you want just to tidy up?
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Just one question connected to this
21 one, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Please do so.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. When you say the superior corps commander, can you make this more
25 specific, in relation to the hypothetical situation where the corps
1 commander is the commander of the army, and then there is the General
2 Staff, and finally, the highest military command in that army, the Federal
3 Secretary. The Federal Secretary, or the Minister of Defence, issued an
4 order to have the incident investigated, and in the General Staff, and the
5 Federal Secretary have been informed of the results of the investigation,
6 were you referring to them, that if they're satisfied there has been a
7 rigorous examination and that the battalion commander has been exonerated,
8 then that is then the end of the matter?
9 A. I was trying to answer your question in the context of the rather
10 lengthy question I previously had, which I've had a certain amount of
11 difficulty with, where there is an operational group in this chain of
12 command which has under command a number of corps, brigades, and
13 independent units. And what I was saying is that if the corps commander
14 has effectively dismissed the charge in question, then -- and let's be
15 more specific here, then. If the corps commander's superior, that is,
16 the -- in this instance, the operational group commander, is content with
17 the way the investigation has been conducted, then the matter would end
18 with the corps commander, information would go up to the operational group
19 and on up to the federal level, Ministry of Defence, and that's the end of
20 the matter. But there are quite a lot of assumptions in that.
21 Q. Let me clarify a bit. While the incident is still under way, it's
22 still going on, the Minister of Defence is informed about it. The
23 incident is still happening, and the corps commander has come to report to
24 the Minister of Defence in connection with the situation. It is then that
25 he is given instructions to conduct an investigation. After the
1 investigation, he reports directly to the Minister of Defence, who is at
2 the head of the army, about the results of the investigation. Is the
3 matter then closed? Is that the end of the matter?
4 A. I would assume -- well, you seem to have skipped out -- we've
5 skipped out the level between corps commander and Federal Ministry of
6 Defence. You're painting a situation where the corps commander is dealing
7 directly with the Federal Ministry of Defence bypassing the corps
8 commander's superior officer. Under those circumstances, I would expect
9 the corps commander's superior officer, the operational group commander,
10 to take an interest in what is going on, (a), inquire from the federal
11 Ministry of Defence why are they dealing with this issue over his head;
12 and (b), to demand of the corps commander the same question. So, from the
13 operational group commander's perspective, unless he's absolutely content
14 to just let it run and be bypassed, I would say that's not the end of the
15 issue, no.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's a convenient moment
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the 20-minute morning break.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 10.59 a.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Pringle, answering my questions before the break, I mentioned
25 a strategic group and the army. I used only those terms. In your
1 response, you mentioned an operative group. Can you tell me how you came
2 by this?
3 THE INTERPRETER: Operational group. Interpreter's correction.
4 A. Yes. Because in general terms, I have read a number of documents
5 relating to the case.
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Can you tell me what you read?
8 A. I have read a large number of documents about JNA doctrine, one of
9 which I was quoting yesterday. I have read outlined descriptions of the
10 events that are under discussion in this Court. So I'm generally aware of
11 the issues and the command chain, if I can put it like that, relating to
12 this case, yes.
13 Q. Can you tell me which documents in connection with JNA doctrine
14 have you read?
15 A. Yes. I mean, I've been involved as a military consultant to the
16 ICTY, assisting the military analysis team and the lawyers on a number of
17 cases. This is the first case where I've actually appeared as a witness
18 in Court. In the course of all that, over the last, oh, 18 months, I
19 suppose, I have read quite a lot of JNA doctrine documents, including, for
20 example, this one I quoted yesterday, the application of international law
21 of war. I've read the two references in my statement that I have written.
22 That's the command and control one and the other one, reference B was this
23 international law. I've also read the corps doctrine and SOPs and quite a
24 lot of other documents whose titles I can't give you at the moment, but no
25 doubt I could look them up if you really wanted to know.
1 Q. In which team did you -- which team did you work for as a
3 A. The -- my primary point of contact was the military analysis team.
4 Q. Is this a Prosecution team?
5 A. Not as far as I'm aware, no. That is a group of predominantly
6 ex-military who support military analysis in support of these cases.
7 Whether that is part of the Prosecution team, you'll have to ask somebody
8 else, I'm afraid, but that's what it does.
9 Q. This ex-military team, analysing cases, the cases before this
10 Tribunal, who do you send the results of your analysis to?
11 A. The head of the military analysis team has just changed, and --
12 very recently, and I was sort of tasked by and reporting to Peter
13 Nicholson, the head of the military analysis team.
14 Q. Does he work for the Prosecution of this Tribunal, the Office of
15 the Prosecutor?
16 A. Well, he's now moved to work for the International Criminal Court.
17 Previously, as the head of the military analysis team, he -- I'm afraid
18 I'm not -- I don't know whether formally he worked for the Office of the
19 Prosecutor or whether they are independent and advising as necessary.
20 You'll have for ask, I'm afraid, an expert on the organisation of the ICTY
21 to get the proper answer to your question.
22 Q. Did you ever receive any documents from him indicating his
23 position, who he worked for?
24 A. Yes, I've received a large number of documents from him, and I've
25 read a large number of documents on my various visitations to The Hague.
1 The military analysis team provides military analysis to the lawyers here
2 in ICTY, so that they - because so many of these cases are based on
3 military issues - so that they understand what the issues are.
4 Q. Does he work for the Office of the Prosecutor, or did he submit
5 these results to Defence counsel acting for the accused before this
7 A. Well, certainly the analysis and assistance is provided to the
8 lawyers who form part of the Prosecution, but I think that any evidence or
9 statements that are to be used in Court - correct me if I'm wrong - but I
10 think they are also supplied to the Defence counsel as well.
11 Q. Did you participate in making analyses in connection with the
12 Dubrovnik operation?
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. Thank you. Will you tell me why you did not put this into your
16 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. The detail in a CV. does not
17 have to extend anything other than what areas of expertise or where a
18 person has worked. It is irrelevant to putting it in a CV
19 JUDGE PARKER: That appears to be the position, Mr. Rodic.
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. You said you received a summary of the events that are being
22 examined in this case. Can you tell me what kind of document this was and
23 who you received it from?
24 A. Yes. This was a military analysis team outline of the events and
25 analysis of them on a number of cases, but you're talking about this
1 particular case, which I have read and have expressed opinions on,
2 particularly in terms of what I thought was reasonable and what I thought
3 was unreasonable, in order, I assume, to assist in the proper construction
4 of a case.
5 Q. This involves you, then, directly in the work of the office of the
6 Prosecution, if you worked on the proper construction of this case. Why
7 was this document not appended to your report?
8 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. That is a conclusion that
9 has no substance or support. It is clear that this witness is brought as
10 a Prosecution witness. It is clear that the consultations that go into
11 preparing any witness who is brought as the Prosecution's witness will
12 necessarily involve interaction, and I think that the question has no
13 purpose other than to confuse on a responsibility that does not lie with
14 this witness.
15 JUDGE PARKER: To some degree, I'm in sympathy with what you say,
16 Ms. Somers, but there remains unclear, because the Chamber has no
17 knowledge, the precise role of the group or team of which the witness is a
18 member and Mr. Rodic has been asking questions. At the moment, the
19 witness is unable to help him on the answer that he really wants, that is,
20 is this part of the Prosecution or otherwise? Now, you and I know that
21 this is quite separate from the question of the evidence given by the
22 witness here in this Court, but for reasons that are understandable, the
23 Defence would like to know the answer to that question. Are you able to
25 MS. SOMERS: May I just comment, though? Your Honour has just
1 made a -- in his discussion with me, a member of the Prosecution team, and
2 the witness has not indicated that he was a member of the Prosecution
3 team, but rather, that he was working with.
4 JUDGE PARKER: What have I said about Prosecution team?
5 MS. SOMERS: I believe it says -- the witness is -- the precise
6 role of the group or team of which the witness is a member.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. Well, that's not a Prosecution team; it's the
8 Defence analysis group or team, or whatever the precise name was.
9 I have not had an answer, Ms. Somers.
10 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry. I understood it to mean that there was --
11 that he was part of a Prosecution team and the link -- the MAT's role, he
12 indicated, or its relationship, was not -- perhaps -- Your Honour, perhaps
13 if I've misunderstood you, then I apologise. I thought it was the
14 suggestion of the Prosecution. I may have confused your question. My
16 JUDGE PARKER: But I was asking whether you can assist us with the
17 answer to the question that Mr. Rodic is pursuing and which the witness
18 cannot assist us with.
19 MS. SOMERS: And the question specifically is: Is the MAT part of
20 the Prosecution? The MAT is under the Office of the Prosecution. Yes, it
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
23 MS. SOMERS: And that he is not a member of it, I can also
25 JUDGE PARKER: Who is not a member of it?
1 MS. SOMERS: The witness.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Now, does that help, Mr. Rodic? I've tried to cut
3 through a number of things there to get you an answer.
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. It does
5 assist. And my question was in connection with something this witness
6 stated, and that is that he conducted broader military analysis in a
7 military team, broader military analysis of this case, which were
8 submitted to the Prosecutor. So it is obvious for which side he was
9 working and what he was doing. That is why we have already intervened,
10 because it was evident during the examination-in-chief. Why, then, was
11 the Prosecutor putting her questions in hypothetical terms, when it was
12 evident that, although the questions were hypothetical, the witness was
13 not talking off the top of his head?
14 JUDGE PARKER: I have attempted already, Mr. Rodic, to explain the
15 basis upon which the Chamber perceives this evidence. The witness has not
16 presumed to discuss the particular facts of this case. He was not a party
17 involved in them. He had no personal knowledge. He has come along to
18 speak only as a person familiar with matters military, to speak from that
19 experience, to say, as a matter of military practice and theory, the
20 questions you pose to me hypothetically suggest answer A or answer B.
21 Now, that is the limit to which the evidence of this witness has
22 gone, and he does not presume to tell us anything about what happened in
23 this particular case. From what little I know, I would think he knows
24 nothing of what happened in this particular case of his own knowledge. So
25 very rightly, he has not sought to suggest what may have happened from his
1 reading or what he may have learnt from other people.
2 We, as a Chamber, will rely upon what people can tell us in
3 evidence who have actual knowledge of what did happen, and they may or may
4 not include your client in due course. We don't learn from what other
5 people hear about it and then try to theorise about the actual events.
6 But we may be assisted by learning what is the general military
7 understanding or expectation in a certain hypothetical situation, and it's
8 in that area that this witness has given his opinion.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Yes. I take
10 note of this.
11 Q. In connection with your last reply concerning the hypothetical
12 incident and the battalion commander, I now put the following question to
13 you: If the commander, let us say of the operational group, since you
14 dealt with this, knows about a direct instruction from the Ministry of
15 Defence given to a corps commander, and is informed that, after conducting
16 an investigation, the corps commander has informed the Minister of Defence
17 of the results of the investigation, would you expect the operational
18 group commander to interfere and get involved and to examine the final
19 results, the final conclusions reached by the General Staff and the
20 Minister of Defence?
21 A. I think I would expect the operational group commander to wonder
22 why the Ministry of Defence is dealing direct to a corps commander
23 subordinate to the operational group commander. This may be standard
24 operational procedure in the JNA. I don't know. But in my experience, I
25 would find that rather irregular, and therefore, I would expect the
1 operational group commander, at the least, to ask questions as to why it
2 is happening like that. And assuming that the operational group
3 commander, as the higher-level commander has complete authority for -
4 responsibility - has complete responsibility for everything that happens
5 in his area, I would find the fact that he was being cut out and his
6 opinion was not being asked somewhat strange.
7 Q. What you are now saying seems as if you were speaking of your own
8 personal impressions. I'm asking you specifically: Would the commander
9 of an operational group be authorised to review a decision concerning an
10 incident which was done between the Minister of Defence and the corps
11 commander who submitted the report? Are you saying that the operational
12 group commander should review the final decision issued by the Minister of
14 A. I would expect the operational group commander who is in the chain
15 of command between the corps commander and the Minister of Defence, to be
16 involved in satisfying himself that the investigation in hand has been
17 properly conducted because ultimately he is responsible. I mean, I could
18 go on and pose some hypothetical considerations to you, but I say again:
19 I would expect the operational group commander at least to inquire from
20 the Ministry of Defence why they're dealing with one of his subordinate
21 corps, bypassing him. I find that irregular.
22 Q. Assuming that the commander of the operational group was bypassed
23 for a reason, would he then be authorised to review the final decision?
24 A. Well, I think you'd find the answer to that in the JNA's
25 disciplinary doctrine, which will lay down the role of those in the chain
1 of command in reviewing such incidents.
2 Q. In answer to my last question, would you please tell us
3 specifically yes or no. That is, reviewing a final decision issued by the
4 Minister of Defence, by the commander of an operational group in the
5 situation that has been described in detail, what would your answer be?
6 Yes or no?
7 A. If the investigation has been carried out in accordance with the
8 military law in place in the JNA and the regulations that back that up, if
9 that has been done, then the answer is yes. I cannot tell you whether
10 that was the case or not.
11 Q. We are now speaking in hypothetical terms. Would the superior
12 command of the operative group commander carry this out?
13 A. Carry what out?
14 Q. Reviewing the final decision of the Minister of Defence.
15 A. The final decision of the Minister of Defence, I assume, would be
16 common to all ministries of defence, and that would be final. What I have
17 been saying is whether the proper steps that are laid down, that should be
18 taken before it reaches the Ministry of Defence have all been taken. If
19 they have all been taken, then that's fine. If they haven't all been
20 taken, then the Ministry of Defence, I would suggest, is taking whatever
21 decisions it's taking based on irregular practice.
22 Q. The hypothesis that you're including in your reservation, I will
23 tell you the following: If the hypothetical corps commander has carried
24 out an investigation in accordance with directions from the Minister of
25 Defence and in accordance with military regulations, which he's certainly
1 familiar with, reported directly to the Minister of Defence about this and
2 then a final decision has been issued on the situation, does then the
3 commander of an operational group have the ability to interfere and to
4 review the decision made by the Minister of Defence? The question is
5 quite clear, and it can be answered with a yes or no.
6 A. The question is clear, but I don't think it can be answered with a
7 yes or a no, because in the hypothesis you're suggesting, the
8 highest-level operational commander has been bypassed, and yet that
9 highest-level operational commander has specific responsibilities,
10 including, in law, to ensure that everything that happens in his command
11 is happening within the law. So he should be, in my opinion, satisfied,
12 and therefore involved, that the investigation you are talking about has
13 been conducted properly and proper conclusions have been come to. On that
14 basis, it would go to the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Defence
15 ratifies it or not, as the case may be, but the operational group
16 commander is entirely satisfied that he has taken the proper actions.
17 Now, I cannot answer your question with a straight yes or no,
18 because that critical link in the chain you are leaving out.
19 Q. The critical link that you keep insisting upon is something I have
20 described hypothetically as follows: The commander of the operational
21 group knows about the incident. The commander of the operational group
22 knows about the direct instructions given by the Minister of Defence to
23 the corps commander. He is informed of the final decision made by the
24 Minister of Defence. And in this hypothetical situation, the Minister of
25 Defence has bypassed the commander of the operational group, but why he
1 has done this is the Minister of Defence's business. He has reasons of
2 his own. But this situation is very specific, concrete. And when I ask
3 you whether, after the Minister of Defence has issued a final decision,
4 you would expect the commander of the operational group to review his
5 decision; yes or no?
6 A. The hypothetical picture you have painted has now brought in the
7 added dimension that the operational group commander is fully aware of
8 what is going on, and the assumption is there that the operational group
9 commander is in agreement with the way that the affair is being conducted.
10 In other words, he has stepped to one side and, if you like, abrogated
11 his authority willingly, in which case he has, for whatever reason, ceased
12 to take an interest in the affair, and if he is content to do that and the
13 corps commander's decision is ratified by the Minister of Defence in
14 stepping aside willingly, that operational group commander agrees that
15 that is the end of the affair. So under those circumstances, I can give
16 you a yes.
17 Q. I must admit that I admire your persistence to adapt my
18 hypothetical situation to your hypothetical situation instead of
19 responding to the hypothetical situation that I'm painting for you,
20 without any additions. But I believe this was sufficiently clear so that
21 I will move on.
22 In the period from 1998 to 2001, you were chief of General Staff
23 of the joint staff of the army of Great Britain, were you not? I'm sorry.
24 A member of the General Staff.
25 A. I was about to say in response to your question: If only that had
1 been the case. Sadly, it was not. No. Between 1998 and 2001, I was the
2 chief of staff and director of operations of the permanent joint
3 headquarters, which is the joint staff of the armed forces, not just the
4 army; the armed forces of Great Britain.
5 Q. In your CV, I could read that you had a great deal of cooperation
6 conducted with civilian agencies and the NGOs, non-governmental sector,
7 that you had close cooperation with them. Does this refer only to Great
8 Britain? Is it only confined to Great Britain, or to other places where
9 you served?
10 A. I've had close contact with civilian agencies and NGOs,
11 predominantly in the Balkans, but in planning purposes, from the permanent
12 joint headquarters, that was an aspect of planning that we had to deal
13 with and be aware of, because in the sort of operations we were
14 conducting, civilian agencies and NGOs would be playing a key role.
15 Q. Can you tell me: In this extensive CV, why is it not included
16 that you cooperated with the military analyst team of the OTP of the
18 JUDGE PARKER: We've had that question, and we've dealt with it,
19 haven't we, Mr. Rodic? That came up very early.
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. I'll go on.
21 Q. In the period from 1992 to 1994, you were deputy head of
22 assessment staff, and as far as I can see, you reported to the joint
23 intelligence committee of the cabinet office and prepared analytical
24 assessments of the situation, inter alia, also in the Balkans; is this
1 A. That's correct. Or not in the Balkans; concerning the Balkans.
2 Q. Is it true that you gathered information from open and secret
4 A. Yes, that is the role of the assessment staff.
5 Q. Is it true that you reported, assessed, and analysed the rapidly
6 deteriorating situation concerning the Balkans?
7 A. Yes, that's true.
8 Q. In addition to this reporting, did you have any other role in
9 connection with the deteriorating situation in the Balkans?
10 A. Such -- I'm not sure what you have in mind. I mean, my
11 responsibility, as one of the deputy heads of the assessment staff, was to
12 provide intelligence analysis from open and secret sources to the joint
13 intelligence committee on a number of areas of responsibility, and in my
14 case, one of which was the Balkans.
15 Q. Specifically referring to the Balkans, these analyses have to do
16 with the former SFRY?
17 A. Those analyses had involved analysis on the complete situation in
18 the Balkans during the time period specified, which would have included
19 the SFRY, yes.
20 Q. At the time, were you involved in any way in any operations
21 concerning the SFRY?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Were these analyses of yours, and intelligence reports, were they
24 used against anyone at the time the situation in the SFRY deteriorated in
25 that period?
1 A. That was not the purpose of the reports. The reports were
2 produced to inform the highest levels of government about the assessment
3 of the situation. They were designed to inform ministers in the various
4 departments of state as to what the UK's assessment of the situation was.
5 They were not designed to be used against anyone or anything.
6 Q. Thank you. Did you engage in strategic and operational planning
7 of extensive, expensive, and potentially very risky operations, less and
8 more complex, and were you in charge of a team that was in charge of
9 organising the participation of the army and organising the campaign and
10 the possible operation in Montenegro with the participation of the three
11 arms of the armed forces?
12 A. Now you have moved out of my time in the cabinet office to my time
13 as chief of staff, director of operations in the permanent joint
14 headquarters, where, yes, I did involve -- I was involved in strategic and
15 operational planning in a wide variety of operations round the world,
16 which I touched on yesterday, including the Balkans. And, sorry, you've
17 asked me specifically about Montenegro. Yes, and contingency planning
18 that might have involved Montenegro or actions that might need to be taken
19 in the event of various events coming about.
20 Q. Where was this plan compiled? Where was it prepared, and for what
21 particular purpose?
22 A. The permanent joint headquarters was responsible for contingency
23 planning for a whole host of operations round the world. We were
24 obviously thinking about potential operations in the Balkans up until such
25 time, really, that NATO arrived in Kosovo, by which time I was beginning
1 to move on.
2 Q. What I'm specifically interested in is this part. So being in
3 charge of a team that had to plan and organise the campaign of possible
4 operations in Montenegro and Kosovo, with the participation, with the
5 contribution of the three arms of the armed forces. For what period was
6 this? Sorry. Was it in the 1980, 1990, 1999, the 1999 campaign that you
7 drew up these plans for? That is what I'm asking.
8 A. Yes. I was involved in the Balkans for so long, over so many
9 years, that these campaigns rather sort of merge into one. But we're
10 talking about the period -- we're talking about the period after Bosnia
11 and before NATO moved into Kosovo. Now, that was -- you can remind me.
12 That was when? 1999?
13 Q. Possibly, although I was not on that team, but I can assume. Can
14 you tell us what kind of an operation and campaign these were supposed to
15 be and what was the objective of it?
16 A. No, I don't think I can tell you that. All I can tell you is that
17 it was normal contingency planning that any nation would conduct under
18 those conditions.
19 Q. When you refer to a campaign, I assume that the forces of the
20 British army, as part of the NATO forces, should probably have come to the
21 area of Montenegro and Kosovo, with the three branches, the three arms of
22 the armed forces participating, as you state here. Is that correct?
23 A. Well, the British forces were a contributory part of the NATO
24 forces that did enter Kosovo, yes.
25 Q. Was an assessment made of the campaign for Montenegro as well?
1 Was the situation foreseen whereby the forces would also have to enter
3 A. Plainly, we were thinking about that, as we were thinking about
4 all options, depending on how events were going to evolve. But plainly,
5 our responsibilities included thinking about every operation, every
6 conceivable operation, that might be needed. That's a normal part of
7 contingency planning. If I told you that at the same time we were also
8 doing contingency planning on Sierra Leone, you would get the flavour of
9 the issue.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Could I intrude, Mr. Rodic? Are we talking about
11 1999 still in your questioning?
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I suppose that this
13 period is in question, associated with this particular campaign in
14 Montenegro that I'm asking about.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I'm trying to discern the relevance of that to the
16 issues in this case, which are eight years earlier. Can you help me
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] The relevance has to do with the
19 actual capacity in which this witness is participating in this particular
20 case. But if you say so, I can move on to another area.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Well, I think we've got a clear picture of the
22 various capacities in which the witness has acted over the years, so I'd
23 encourage you to move on at this point.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] All right, Your Honour.
25 Q. Can you tell me whether you were familiar with the situation in
1 the former SFRY in 1990, 1991, and 1992? Were you well acquainted with
2 the situation in connection with the duties that you were performing?
3 A. During my time in the cabinet office, as I said, one of the -- my
4 responsibilities was to provide the assessments on the Balkan area, and
5 therefore, during that period, I was -- I became pretty well acquainted
6 with the situation, yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Please tell me briefly: Have you ever heard of any
8 state in the world having three armies?
9 A. Any single state having three armies? No. Unless you're talking
10 about Bosnia.
11 Q. That is what I had in mind.
12 Tell me: Have you read the indictment in this case?
13 A. I'm pausing because I'm -- I don't think I have. I don't think I
14 have. Indeed, I only asked yesterday somebody: What is the charge in
15 this case? But I might have done. I don't think I have.
16 Q. As you say that you may have read it, I will take this opportunity
17 to remind you of Count 4 of this indictment, and if you can -- if you do
18 recall it, please tell me. As an officer in commanding duty in the JNA,
19 Pavle Strugar was duty-bound to abide by regulations, so Pavle Strugar was
20 obliged to respect the JNA regulations contained in the 1983 strategy of
21 armed struggle, the law on total National Defence from 1992, the law on
22 service in the armed forces from 1985, the rules of service from 1985, and
23 the regulations on the application of the international law of war in the
24 armed forces of the SFRY from 1998.
25 Are you familiar with this?
1 A. If you're asking me: Do I recall reading that? I don't. But
2 none of that surprises me.
3 Q. Did you, before coming to this Court to testify, did you study
4 these regulations which I have just enumerated?
5 A. Well, some of those we have been talking about already. I said I
6 had read, over a fairly considerable amount of time, in the course of my
7 duties as a consultant to the military analysis team, quite a lot of JNA
8 documentation; indeed, one of those documents you're quoting there is the
9 one I was holding up yesterday. So a number of those documents I will
10 have -- I will have read, yes.
11 Q. Were the documents that you just quoted the only reference
12 material that you used to get acquainted with the JNA?
13 A. No. I have been party to military analysis team reports as well,
14 on which I have commented in the past. So my becoming acquainted with the
15 JNA is not confined simply to reading JNA documentation, although that is
16 a critical part. And in reading JNA doctrine, I have to say, I was
17 extremely struck by how good and thorough it was.
18 Q. I must interrupt you. This was not my question.
19 In your report, you spoke about the reference material which you
20 drew upon when you were preparing your opinion, your finding. I'm asking
21 you whether this was the only material that you had read in connection
22 with the armed forces of the SFRY prior to stating your opinion and
23 rendering your testimony.
24 A. And I've answered that question in the negative.
25 Q. Do you not feel that that is insufficient for drawing up a
1 complete report about the armed forces and the regulations of the armed
3 A. I haven't drawn up a complete report about the armed forces and
4 the regulations of the armed forces. What I have done is -- and the only
5 bit of written documentation I was asked to provide was to answer some
6 questions specifically related to command, which we went through
8 Q. Do you feel that the documents you listed in your expert report
9 are sufficient for you to speak with precision on command and leadership
10 in the armed forces of the SFRY?
11 A. The document I wrote, although it draws on two documents in
12 particular concerning the doctrine of the SFRY, was written very much in
13 the abstract. And if you refer to the document, in the document is both
14 the question I was posed in italics by the military analyst team and the
15 answer I gave. So I wasn't trying to present a comprehensive view on the
16 working of the JNA; I was focussed much more tightly on command and what a
17 commander might reasonably be expected to do in certain circumstances.
18 Q. Do you know what the armed forces of the SFRY were, what were they
19 made up of?
20 A. I would not pretend to be, nor do I hold myself up to be, an
21 expert on the armed forces of the SFRY. But in general terms, they had an
22 army, navy, and an air force, and then they had an extensive territorial
23 or militia organisation as well.
24 Q. I am inclined to disagree with you, because the regulations I
25 asked you about, which you have not read, regulate this and say that the
1 armed forces are a single entity consisting of the JNA and the Territorial
2 Defence. Who commands and controls the armed forces? The SFRY, I mean.
3 A. You're grilling me on my detailed knowledge of the JNA, so don't
4 be surprised if I get your questions wrong. But I think it's the SNO.
5 Q. Unfortunately, this is not correct. The federal -- one of the
6 federal organs was in charge, but I will not tell you now which one.
7 Can you tell me who established the system of command and control
8 of the armed forces, the plans of development, the plans for the use of
9 the armed forces, and who ensured the unity of their action.
10 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. This witness has already
11 said he's not holding himself out to be any type of expert on the JNA or
12 its structures, and I think that the answer -- the question has been asked
13 and answered in a broader form earlier.
14 JUDGE PARKER: I don't think it would hurt, Ms. Somers, despite
15 what you accurately put, to know whether the witness is able to answer
16 that question. If he's not, he's not.
17 THE WITNESS: The question: Can you tell me who established the
18 system of command and control of the armed forces, the plans for
19 development, the plans for the use of the armed forces and who ensured the
20 unity of their action? Who established that system? No, I don't know.
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Thank you. Do you know who, pursuant to the basic plans, enacted
23 regulations on the plans for the use of the armed forces and the plans for
24 their development?
25 A. I mean, these strike me as very high-level Ministry of
1 Defence-type questions, and as I've said, I'm not holding myself up to be
2 an expert on that level of knowledge on the JNA in any shape or form.
3 What I have answered questions on is what, from my experience, a
4 reasonable commander might be expected to do under certain circumstances,
5 which is a different area of questioning. So please continue this line of
6 questioning, but I'm sure I won't be -- I won't be terribly good at the
8 Q. I appreciate your sincerity. I will continue my line of
9 questioning, and I will ask you to respond as briefly as possible.
10 Do you know who the highest command and control organ is in the
11 armed forces of the SFRY?
12 A. I believe that's the head of the JNA, who sits alongside the, in
13 English terms, Minister of Defence.
14 Q. I have to go back to my first question. As you keep mentioning
15 the JNA, do you draw a distinction between the armed forces of the SFRY
16 and the JNA?
17 A. No. I think the JNA, as you said earlier, encompasses maritime,
18 land, and air components, or army, navy, and air force, in that with a
19 joint staff.
20 Q. I will assist you. The armed forces of the SFRY are a unified
21 whole. They consist of the JNA and the Territorial Defence. What you
22 mentioned, that is, the navy, the land army, and the air force, this is
23 what the JNA consists of in organisational terms.
24 Do you know what the General Staff is in the JNA?
25 A. The General Staff is that organ of the staff at the highest level
1 that conducts business involving the three components that comprise the
3 Q. In your view, it has the main role?
4 A. I'm sorry. The main role of what?
5 Q. In command.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I have to ask you: Did you ever hear that the presidency of the
8 SFRY was the highest command and control organ of the armed forces? Do
9 you know this?
10 A. Well, this, I think, is what I referred to earlier as the SNO.
11 But this rather reflects the military being subservient to the political.
12 Q. The SNO that you mentioned stands for -- well, it's SSNO. It
13 means the Federal Secretariat for National Defence, and it is equivalent
14 to the Ministry of Defence.
15 Do you know what the JNA consisted of as a component part of the
16 armed forces of the JNA, the components that comprise any modern army in
17 the world?
18 A. I mean, I'm aware that there was a land element, an army, a naval
19 or maritime element, and an air element, a marine element, and you've
20 already mentioned previously the Territorial Defence. Those are the, I
21 believe, the component parts.
22 Q. I have to correct you once again. As I said, these are the
23 organisational arms of the JNA. The JNA as a component of the armed
24 forces consisted of the commands of the units and institutions. Were you
25 aware of this?
1 A. Are we not saying the same thing? The JNA, as a component of the
2 armed forces, consisted of the commands of the units -- are you telling me
3 that the JNA is comprised solely of headquarters? Is that what you're
4 suggesting? Or are you suggesting that it includes the units from the
5 components that I've mentioned?
6 Q. The navy, the land army, and the air force that you mentioned as
7 components of the armed forces of the SFRY, comprise the organisational
8 aspect of the JNA. What you mentioned just now, I have to tell you that
9 these three components have their own commands and units as basic elements
10 of the organisation and composition of the JNA. But let us move on.
11 A. I believe we're saying the same thing.
12 Q. I think that the regulations from the former SFRY regulate things
13 differently. I'm not a military expert, which is why I rely on the
14 regulations of the former SFRY and ask you whether you had read them.
15 Tell me, what do the combat arms consist of?
16 A. The combat arms of the army? If that's the question. Infantry,
17 armour, engineers, gunners.
18 Q. Yes, yes. Of the JNA. We are referring now to the army, the
19 navy, the air force, the territorial army. What do they consist of?
20 A. The -- I mean, if I'm understanding your question rightly, the
21 combat arms of the army, in terms that I would understand, are those
22 elements that I've just mentioned. The combat arms of the navy and the
23 air force and the territorial army, I assume, unless you're asking me
24 about the command -- detailed knowledge of the command structure, which I
25 don't have, in the air force consists of combat, air, and supporting air;
1 and in the navy, it consists of the maritime fleet. But I'm not exactly
2 sure what the point behind your question is.
3 Q. The reply to my question, according to the regulations, would be
4 that the navy, land army, and air force consist of services and combat
5 arms. You are now guessing based on your military experience from the
6 British army. Can you tell me how the armed forces of the SFRY are
7 brought up to manpower levels?
8 A. Mr. Rodic, I explained to you when we started this that I'm not an
9 expert on the detail of the JNA or on every aspect of their regulations,
10 and so my questions -- my answers will probably not satisfy you. But as
11 far as I'm aware, the SFRY brought up its manpower levels through a
12 combination of conscription, mobilisation, and - what's the right word? -
13 mobilising, I suppose, or bringing into full-time service the territorial
15 Q. Does this correspond to enlisting -- or rather, activating
17 A. Yes, I would assume that that is part of enhancing your manpower
18 in the move to war.
19 Q. Very well. Can you tell me whether volunteers can add to the
20 manpower of the SFRY?
21 A. I'm aware that volunteers did add to the manpower of the SFRY.
22 Whether that was regulated or not, I'm not sure. But by volunteers -- if
23 by "volunteers," you're referring to sort of organisations like what came
24 to be known as Arkan's Tigers and that sort of thing, it's common
25 knowledge that they did add to the manpower. But whether that was
1 regulated or not, I don't know. But if your question is: Can somebody
2 volunteer to join the armed forces? I assume the answer to that is a
3 categoric yes.
4 Q. Yes, I agree. I asked you about volunteers. I did not include
5 Arkan in that. He is something else. But from the moment that volunteers
6 are accepted by the commands of the units they join, they are an integral
7 component of the armed forces, and they are subordinated to the unified
8 command of the armed forces. This is also mentioned in the numerous
9 regulations I have mentioned, which apparently you have not come across
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, could I just interrupt you? I've let
12 you pursue this line of questioning at considerable length because I felt
13 you wanted to make very clear to the Chamber what the witness said at the
14 beginning, that is, that he had not a detailed knowledge of the legal and
15 organisational structure of the SFRY and/or the JNA. But I think not only
16 has the witness said that directly, but you have made it abundantly clear
17 by now, and I would have suggested that you don't need to keep labouring
18 the same point. We've got the message.
19 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I got carried
21 JUDGE PARKER: And I wonder whether, having broken into your train
22 of thought, this might be the convenient time, then, to have a further
23 break. And that might enable you, then, to focus more directly on where
24 you want to go in the final session.
25 Did I see you stand, Ms. Somers?
1 MS. SOMERS: I do have a question, Your Honour, if I might
2 inquire. General Pringle will be leaving today, presumably, and I
3 wondered if we might have an indication of how close we are to the
4 conclusion of cross-examination, as I would hope, have a very brief
5 redirect and finish today, if the Chamber is minded to allow that.
6 JUDGE PARKER: How is your timetable looking, Mr. Rodic?
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, quite certainly I have
8 material for cross-examination, and I'm afraid that I'm rather short of
9 time, so that I will have to shorten my cross-examination in order to meet
10 the deadline.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Good, I'm glad of that. Perhaps it's a good thing
12 I did interrupt you when I did just a moment ago, because that helped us
13 move on a little more quickly.
14 Well, we'll break for just 20 minutes and then get on with it, to
15 give you as much time as possible. Thank you.
16 --- Recess taken at 12.21 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic.
19 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Mr. Pringle, in your report which you submitted to us, you
21 consulted reference materials which were in use in the JNA, primarily the
22 military academy command and control textbook. As you indicated in your
23 report, it was signed by the head of the then-4th Department of the
24 General Staff of the JNA; is that correct?
25 A. I believe that's correct, yes.
1 Q. Do you know what the 4th Department of the General Staff was in
2 charge of?
3 A. Not entirely, but I imagine it was in charge of doctrine and
4 publications in -- to deal with doctrine.
5 Q. When you say "doctrine," can you clarify for us what is it that
6 you understand under the term "doctrine"?
7 A. Yes. Doctrine literally means that which is taught. I would
8 describe the sorts of publications that you have been talking about as
9 doctrinal publications, that is to say, publications that lay down the
10 procedures and actions of the armed forces and the sort of operations they
11 will conduct.
12 Q. I would not agree. This department was in charge of the basic
13 training and regulations for the training of soldiers. Do you know that
14 this department was not in charge of training command staff, nor was it in
15 charge of issuing any doctrines, command doctrines?
16 A. Well, I said earlier that doctrine is literally that which is
17 taught, so that makes perfect sense.
18 Q. Not fully. That is why I shall ask you whether you know that the
19 doctrine of command, according to which staff were trained to work in
20 peacetime and wartime, was the duty of the 1st and the 2nd operations
21 departments of the General Staff of the JNA?
22 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I'd have to object. This is becoming an
23 argumentative exercise, and I don't know if this is responding to any of
24 the matters raised on direct.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Your objection in the first part is to style, and I
1 agree, but I think, in the interests of speed, it's the quickest way to
3 I think you could move fairly quickly, Mr. Rodic. You don't need
4 to emphasise that the witness doesn't know these things. If you need to
5 get from him which department is responsible for which, you could put that
6 fairly directly, I'd suggest.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Do you know that for seven years after the reference material that
9 you referred to in your report, after that, instructions were issued for
10 the work of staffs in peacetime and wartime, and that was a textbook for
11 the training of command staffs?
12 A. That was not part of my remit. All I was doing was referring to
13 official JNA documentation that was relevant to the aspects of command
14 that I'd been asked to comment on.
15 Q. As I said, seven years after the reference material which you
16 quote in your report, instructions were issued for the work of staffs in
17 peacetime and wartime, and that was the textbook which was used for the
18 training of command staffs. Are you aware of this? Yes or no, please,
20 A. No, but I'm sure it drew on the substance of these earlier
21 documentations, because the -- for example, the application of
22 international laws of war in the armed forces, the SFRY, is as applicable
23 in year one as it is in year seven.
24 Q. Yes. We can concur in that view. But the application of the
25 international law of war is not fully what this instruction represented
1 and what it's regulated. But let's move on.
2 When you speak about the command climate in the first part of your
3 report, can you just briefly tell me: Who is it that creates the command
4 climate, graphically speaking? Is it the platoon or the military top
5 brass? Who creates the overall climate, the command climate?
6 A. In answering that, I'll repeat what I said yesterday, and that is:
7 Every commander exudes a command climate of his own, but the most senior
8 commander will set the tone in which all commanders operate. So the
9 overall command climate and tone would be set by the most senior
11 Q. That's just it exactly. Tell me: What is the command climate
12 like when half of the members of the superior command have deserted?
13 A. That's not a question about command climate. That's a question
14 about disciplinary problems.
15 Q. I'm asking you what kind of an influence on the command climate
16 does this fact have?
17 A. Well, assuming the most senior commander is still there, if half
18 his superior -- if half his staff, I suppose you're saying, has deserted,
19 he has a problem. But it's not an issue of command climate. It might be
20 as a result of the command climate that he set. Maybe everybody is so
21 dissatisfied with the way he is conducting his command and the manner in
22 which he's carrying it out that that has caused them to desert. I don't
23 know. I'm speaking hypothetically. But I'm trying to answer your
25 Q. I'll try to clarify this for you. This refers to the SFRY. And
1 then I'll ask you this: When the superior commanders of the JNA, for
2 instance, the anti-aircraft defence and the air force commanders, desert
3 and become the chief of the General Staff of the other side, is this or is
4 this not a fact which affects the command climate in the JNA and the
5 General Staff of the JNA? But briefly, please, because I will have a
6 number of questions along the same lines.
7 A. I don't think it affects the command climate of the high-level
8 operational commander that we're talking about in this instance, because
9 that is one of the factors that he will take into account, and it will
10 affect the manner in which he conducts himself and the way in which he
11 conducts his command. It might be a challenge to him, and it may affect
12 how he conducts himself, but it won't in itself affect the command
13 climate; indeed, it is his responsibility to ensure that it doesn't.
14 Q. What is the command climate like when the individual members of
15 the supreme command oppose the disarming of paramilitary units in a state?
16 A. I'm not sure I really understand your question, but the individual
17 members of the supreme command oppose the disarming of paramilitary units
18 in a state. Then that would create an air of uncertainty, I would have
19 thought, lower down the chain of command.
20 Q. Are you -- do you know what kind of a command climate we have in a
21 brigade whose commander deserts? And I'm speaking specifically about a
22 JNA brigade.
23 A. A brigade whose brigade commander has deserted would find itself
24 in a difficult position. Someone would have to assume command. I assume
25 that would be the deputy commander of the brigade - and create his own
1 command climate.
2 Q. And what is the command climate like in this brigade when the
3 commander who took them out of the barracks and has deserted, and then
4 knowing the positions and the locations of the soldiers of his own
5 brigade, shelled his former soldiers and, on the first day of hostilities
6 killed thus eight soldiers participating on the side of and commanding, of
7 course, the units of the enemy? Does this favourably or unfavourably
8 affect the overall command climate in the brigade?
9 A. Under those circumstances, I would assume that the new command
10 climate in the brigade that has been deserted by its brigade commander,
11 who is now shelling them, would be relatively easy to create by its new
12 commander. They've got a -- they've got something to get their teeth
13 stuck into and they've got a cause around which to -- around which he can
14 build cohesion. So I don't accept that the fact that the brigade
15 commander has deserted and is now on the other side and is now shelling
16 them affects the -- necessarily the new command climate of the brigade
17 which is now under a new commander.
18 Q. Do you know of any specific example of this kind, any specific
20 A. I have no experience of brigade commanders deserting their
21 brigade, no.
22 Q. Thank you. Are you aware of the fact that the operational group
23 is a provisional organisation which had never existed before in this form
24 and structure? I'm referring specifically to the 2nd JNA Operational
1 A. I'm aware that that is probably the case, in the same way that
2 ad hoc groupings were being put together to meet circumstances, to meet
3 very difficult circumstances at the time, yes. I mean, if I can amplify
4 that. By definition, an operational group is a grouping of formations
5 that have been brought together for some purpose, or an operational group
6 is a headquarters that has been provided to produce a cohesion in a
7 command structure over a number of formations. Either way, it is not
8 necessarily an extant and living part of the command chain, but it is a
9 part of the command chain that has been put together to meet
11 Q. Thank you. If the operational group changes its commanders over a
12 short period of time, or rather, if its commanders have changed over a
13 short period of time, twice, after the killing of one of the corps
14 commanders within this operational group, objectively speaking, is the new
15 commander encountering difficulties in his work and in his creation of a
16 command climate, of course, difficulties associated with this situation?
17 A. The commander is encountering exactly what he would expect to
18 command in war. Commanders get killed at all levels; soldiers get killed
19 at all levels. These are part of the challenges of command. If one of
20 his corps commanders has been killed, that's very sad, but a new corps
21 commander would be appointed, and it would be the new corps commander's
22 responsibility to ensure that the corps functioned properly. If the
23 operational group commanders have changed, it is for each operational
24 group commander, as he is appointed, to take up the mantle and the reins
25 and create an effective command, and this is what armies are all about,
1 particularly in war.
2 Q. Do you know how much time generally is required for a changeover
3 of duty between two commanders at such a high level as commanders of an
4 operational group are, which, in case you're not aware of this fact, was
5 at the rank of an army?
6 A. Well, this will depend on the practice of the army in question,
7 but let us not forget that every commander is supported by a staff, and
8 quite an extensive staff at that level. In some armies, the commanders
9 would change over without any time at all; indeed, the system to be
10 battle-worthy must allow for that to be able to happen because one of the
11 commanders might get killed.
12 I can tell you in armies that I have personal experience of, these
13 operational group commanders would probably make a point of not meeting at
14 all. One would leave before the other arrived. The king is dead. Long
15 live the king. And it is the function of the staff to ensure continuity.
16 But I don't know whether that was the practice in the JNA.
17 Q. Thank you. That is sufficient for me.
18 Is the changeover of duty unfavourably accepted and the creation
19 of command climate, is it unfavourably affected? Or, in other words, is
20 the work of the commander and the creation of a climate, of a command
21 climate, made more difficult by the fact that the commander of the
22 operational group did not know any of the commanders of units subordinated
23 to him within the 2nd Operational Group?
24 A. That is a challenge to the new commander, but it is not a
25 challenge that would be unexpected at that level. And as I said
1 yesterday, a commander, from the moment he first walks in through the door
2 on appointment, begins to create his command climate, and under these
3 conditions, a new commander would doubtless very quickly make it his
4 business to get to know his subordinate commanders as quickly as possible
5 and enable them to get to know him, in order that he can start to create
6 the command climate which he would like to operate within his command.
7 Q. Can you tell me how much time is required for the creation of a
8 favourable command climate, given the difficulties which I referred to in
9 the previous question?
10 A. Well, the more time you have, the more time everybody has in the
11 chain of command to get to know each other. But a commander can very
12 quickly stamp his authority on his command simply by issuing an order
13 which effectively says: I have arrived. I expect my command to carry out
14 their duties in exactly the same way as they've been taught and in
15 accordance with doctrine and in accordance with the rule of law, and I
16 will be coming around to amplify that forthwith. Now, that takes five
17 minutes. To actually get round and see all his commanders and make sure
18 that they understand that and the importance that he stresses on that sort
19 of thing will take longer. But he can start to impress his command
20 climate down through the chain of command very quickly, and in particular,
21 by using his staff.
22 Q. You are asserting now that the command climate amounts to the
23 issuance of communiques: I have arrived. The rules are as follows. And
24 so on and so forth. Or is the creation of a command climate a process, as
25 you explained in your report, which consists of a number of factors?
1 A. It's both. But it's got to start somewhere. The issue you were
2 posing me was: How does the commander start creating his command climate?
3 But both of those aspects come into it. It then grows on the personality
4 of the commander and the way he reacts and deals with issues, and as we
5 were saying yesterday, the actions he takes in the course of various
6 events, in particular, for example, events that go against the orders he's
7 given. Now, that -- now we're talking about a climate being built on and
8 reinforced over time as a result of actions taken.
9 Q. If the commander who is taking over, the new commander assuming
10 command over the operational group, did not know the units which made up
11 the operational group, nor the zone of responsibility of that group, nor
12 most of the commanding officers within the chain of command, and they only
13 started to get acquainted with the operational situation upon assumption
14 of that duty, are these aggravating factors for a new commander in the
15 process which he needs to initiate in order to create a favourable command
17 A. That is plainly a challenge to a commander, but it is a similar
18 sort of challenge that affects every commander on taking over command at
19 almost any level. A commander may know some of his subordinates; he may
20 not know any of them. He may be completely conversant with the
21 operational requirements; he may need extensive briefing. That is not
22 unusual. That is what commanders are trained to deal with. That is what
23 their staff are trained to deal with. That's what he's paid for.
24 Q. Is there a difference, in view of these factors which I listed for
25 you, is there a difference between the creation of a command climate in a
1 company and an operational group of the rank of an army, in view of the
2 territory, the disposition of units, the strength of the individual units?
3 Are there differences in terms of the time required as an objective
5 A. Yes. Plainly, the higher you are, the more complex it is. At the
6 lowest level in a company, a new company commander can impress his
7 personality on his company almost instantaneously. I mean, he can
8 actually call all 120 of them or so around him in a small group, give them
9 a five-minute talk, and he's pretty well made his mark, and he then builds
10 on that.
11 Obviously for an operational group commander it's not that simple.
12 He has much wider responsibilities and a much wider geographical area
13 and he's not dealing directly either; he's dealing through his subordinate
14 commanders, which is also a different issue. But that would not be
15 unknown to him, and he would know how to deal with that, and I suspect
16 very quickly he would call in to him, or go to them, depending on what he
17 thought was more appropriate and quicker, his immediate subordinate
18 commanders to at least begin to impress his personality directly on them
19 and to make sure that they understood what he thought was important so
20 that they could ensure that that was impressed on their subordinate
21 commanders, and so it goes down the chain. And then he would build on
22 that. But there is no doubt that the higher level you are at, the more
23 difficult -- the more difficult that becomes.
24 Q. Is a factor also making things more difficult the fact that the
25 operational group is predominantly manned by volunteers and reservists?
1 A. Yes. Again, that's touching on what we were talking about
2 yesterday, the difference between a fully professional army and an army
3 that is made up of conscripts, reservists, part-timers, and et cetera.
4 Yes, that does make his task more difficult.
5 Q. Is his task made additionally difficult also by the fact, if these
6 soldiers, reservists, were called up for a military exercise and not for
7 war, because, for instance, the state leadership had not declared a state
8 of war?
9 A. Well, again, that's a command challenge. That's a morale issue.
10 That's a moral and a morale issue, and the sort of challenge that
11 commanders are trained and brought up to deal with.
12 Q. As for morale, they responded in terms of morale when they
13 responded to a call-up. What I asked was whether reservists called up for
14 a military exercise, and not for war, because the state leadership had not
15 declared a state of war, is this an additional difficulty for the
16 commander in his effort to create a command climate? Because he also has
17 to deal with other matters pertaining to that particular fact.
18 A. Of course. He's got to deal with the --
19 Q. Thank you. Please be brief.
20 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. The witness has not been
21 given a chance to fully finish his sentence, and he's entitled to do so.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic. I think on this occasion I must
23 rule with Ms. Somers. If the General is in a position to finish what he
24 was saying.
25 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 I was going to say: Of course, he's got to deal with the issue as
2 he finds it, and he will take the measures necessary to deal with the
3 issue. Now, this is -- I don't pretend that this would not be a
4 challenge. This would be a challenge. And this would -- this would be
5 testing of his leadership. But that's what he's used to and that's what
6 he's been trained for.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Do you agree with me that the promotion of a firm military
9 discipline, which is important for proper command, is also more difficult
10 when units are formed from reservists and volunteers without sufficient
11 previous training? Please be as brief as you can.
12 A. I agree with that, which is why it puts an additional
13 responsibility on the commander in question.
14 Q. My question was: Would this make it more difficult to create a
15 favourable command climate or not?
16 A. It wouldn't necessarily make it easier or more difficult, but it
17 would focus an area of attention where the commander had to place personal
18 effort in order to create the command climate that he wanted to create.
19 Q. Do you agree with me that the implementation of the laws of war,
20 under the circumstances previously described, is more difficult and a
21 bigger problem than in the case of armies such as the British army, which
22 have professional soldiers and regular composition of soldiers?
23 A. I acknowledged that readily yesterday when I said that the
24 difficulties involved in taking a rapidly put-together mobilised conscript
25 force to war were difficult and that, therefore, the onus of
1 responsibility on the commander to focus his attention on those areas
2 which he thought most likely to go wrong was severe. In a perfect world,
3 one goes to war with a fully trained organisation. The circumstances
4 you're alluding to were the antithesis of that.
5 Q. I will now put a few questions to you that have to do with the
6 part of your report where you talk about the two up/two down command
7 principle. My first question would be: What command doctrine, in your
8 view, was preferred in the command system recommended in the reference
9 materials you used?
10 A. The command doctrine and two up/two down are not necessarily the
11 same thing. I think we've already said that -- or I have already given an
12 opinion that the command doctrine in place in the JNA was more the
13 orders-driven doctrine rather than the mission-command-type doctrine.
14 Q. Can we agree that command in the JNA was centralised and implied
15 an absence of initiative?
16 A. Mr. Rodic, I think we can agree on the first part, but I think the
17 second part would probably be a slur on the JNA. When I've been talking
18 about initiative, I've been talking about the use of initiative in order
19 to achieve the objective within the higher commander's intent, not
20 necessarily with orders at the time. I would not suggest that the JNA did
21 not have initiative, but what I would suggest is that where they were
22 using their initiative, it would be using it as a result of pretty
23 specific orders.
24 Q. Can we then agree that decentralised command implies broad
25 authority in the case of commanders and initiative at all levels of
2 A. We can agree that, Mr. Rodic.
3 Q. So with reference to initiative, there is a difference in degree
4 between centralised and decentralised command; is that correct?
5 A. In centralised command, subordinates will be expected to use their
6 initiative in carrying out the specific orders they have been given. In
7 decentralised command, the subordinate commanders will be expected to
8 understand fundamentally the part they play in achieving the higher
9 commander's intent and, where necessary, to act without orders if
10 appropriate. There's a difference there.
11 Q. Will you please explain your understanding of the possibility of
12 applying the two up/two down principle as a principle which is appropriate
13 to decentralised command, in a fully centralised command system, such as
14 that which existed in the former JNA. Please be brief, if you can.
15 A. I think two up/two down will apply to the thought processes of
16 most commanders in most armies. Two up is simply: Do I understand what
17 I'm meant to be doing and why? Two down is a reality check on whether the
18 tasks issued are within the resources available. I don't think they are
19 necessarily dependent on specific forms of doctrine. They are actually
20 applied common sense.
21 Q. On page 9, at the end of your report, you quote a paragraph from a
22 textbook on command and control from 1983, in order to support your thesis
23 that, in the JNA command doctrine, one can find evidence for a two up/two
24 down approach. Am I correct?
25 A. In general terms, that is correct and is not surprising, because,
1 as I said -- as I've just said, it is really applied common sense for what
2 commanders need to do to carry out their function.
3 Q. Very well. To go back to this quotation, would you be so kind as
4 to find the sentences which explicitly refer to a two up/two down
6 A. Well, in my -- in the piece that I wrote, I've, at footnotes 14
7 and 17, I've quoted in the former a quotation taken out of a British
8 command manual. And in the latter, a quotation taken out of rules for
9 land -- for corps land forces from the SFRY's doctrine. And I've
10 commented on the fact that, although they're not using the same words,
11 they have a striking similarity. I'll read them out if you want me to.
12 Q. No, thank you. I just wanted to hear what you've just said.
13 Did you personally have an opportunity to analyse any of the
14 command documents issued by the commander of the operational group?
15 A. Not in great detail, although I have seen a number of operational
16 orders issued by the JNA, not necessarily by this operational group, and
17 have been struck by the thoroughness of those orders.
18 Q. Without going into a detailed analysis of particular command
19 orders, is it not difficult to make conclusions about the two up/two down
21 A. Well, my conclusion is that JNA commanders were probably applying
22 that thought process, like their colleagues in other armies apply that
23 thought process, because it assists them in their planning and ordering
25 Q. That is your assumption, is it not?
1 A. Well, you asked me what conclusion I had drawn, and that is the
2 conclusion that I have drawn.
3 Q. Do you agree that even an implicit criticism of the commander for
4 an operational group would require an analysis of a number of orders that
5 he issued to his subordinates and reports that he submitted to his
7 A. If one was to criticise the commander of an operational group on
8 the basis of the orders that he had issued, then that would obviously
9 require analysis in detail of those orders. Yes, I agree that.
10 Q. Thank you. On page 10 of your report, you quoted a paragraph from
11 a textbook on the role of the organ for operative teaching affairs. Can
12 you tell me where in this paragraph you recognise the two up/two down
14 A. I'm sorry, Mr. Rodic. My report only goes to page 9. So what are
15 we actually talking about? Are you talking about footnote 17? "The work
16 of the corps command upon the receipt of an assignment comprises..."?
17 Q. Footnote 16, the quotation connected to footnote 16.
18 A. Okay. Footnote 16, I have quoted. The quote reads:
19 "The body for operative-educational affairs is responsible for the
20 planning of operations and other forms of combat operations...It
21 constantly monitors the situation, is familiar with the commander's
22 decision..." That's looking up. "...the status of units of the corps..."
23 That's looking down. "...the decisions of commanders of subordinated
24 units...." That's looking down. "...the assignment
25 of forces of other entities..."
1 JUDGE PARKER: I will need to ask you to wind up in five minutes,
2 Mr. Rodic.
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have very important
4 questions left. I had planned to cut short my cross-examination, but I
5 still have important questions in relation to this principle, and the
6 examination-in-chief went on for over three hours.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Well, that's why I was giving you early warning,
8 Mr. Rodic. Carry on quickly now, but we must allow some time to
9 Ms. Somers for redirect.
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Do you know that the operative educational affairs organ of the
12 staff -- excuse me. That according to the command doctrine of the JNA,
13 the operative educational organ was part of the staff in the narrow sense
14 of the command of the unit, and that this organ planned operations and did
15 not issue orders, and therefore, could not apply the two up/two down
16 principle? Please reply briefly.
17 A. Well, anybody who is involved in planning that does not apply the
18 two up/two down principle is planning in a vacuum.
19 Q. Do you know that the operative educational organ of the staff
20 plans operations exclusively on the basis of the commander's decisions?
21 The chief of staff, as his superior, tells him what those decisions are,
22 and within the scope of activity of that organ, it is not possible to
23 recognise the two up/two down principle.
24 A. The staff has a function in assisting the commander coming to his
25 decision, and in that process, they would be, I would suggest, applying
1 two up/two down, in order to be able to present to the commander various
2 options on which the commander would make his decision.
3 Q. Do you know about the principle that was in force in the command
4 doctrine of the JNA that tasks were assigned to immediately subordinated
5 units and commanders and down the entire chain of command, every commander
6 issued orders to commanding officers who were subordinated to him
8 A. That's no different, in my experience, to any chain of command.
9 Q. Can we agree, then, that in the command doctrine of the JNA, to
10 which the reference materials relate that you rely on, are more
11 appropriate to a one up/one down principle, rather than the one you
13 A. No, we can't agree that. I've explained two up/two down is more a
14 thought process and a resources check mechanism, or that's what two down
15 is. It's not an ordering mechanism. And two up is a mechanism to
16 understand the part you play in the overall scheme of events.
17 Q. I was asking you about the JNA and not the British army. From
18 materials that you may not have studied when drawing up your report.
19 A. No. You're implying that two up/two down is the same as giving
20 orders to the next level down. Everybody gives orders to the next level
21 down. If you give orders to two levels down and skipping out the
22 intermediate level, you're going to have a serious problem.
23 Q. In the paragraph before the last of your report, you quote from
24 the army rules. That's footnote number 17. The rule corps of ground
25 forces. On receipt of an assignment. Can you agree with me that this
1 paragraph relates to, one, the duty of the commander to understand the
2 goal of the operation or manoeuvre of his immediate superior, not
3 superiors in the plural, as one might conclude on the basis of the context
4 in which you quote this paragraph?
5 A. No, I don't think we can agree that, that specifically because it
6 says: "The work of the corps commander upon receipt of an assignment
7 comprises...studying and understanding the assignment..."
8 That's what we would describe as mission analysis of the process,
9 which I believe you also go through.
10 "Understanding the assignment means grasping the objective of the
11 action." That's in its widest context, I would suggest.
12 The quotation continues: "The superior commander's idea of
13 manoeuvre." This is your superior commander's idea of manoeuvre comes not
14 just out of his head, but understanding the context in which he is giving
15 his orders from what he is receiving from above.
16 It goes on to say: "The place and the role of the corps within
17 the framework of an assignment for several units, and the resulting tasks
18 of the corps."
19 That's -- and I have described it in terms of such. That, to me,
20 reads very similarly to what the concept of working within a context of an
21 understanding two up implies. That's the same thing.
22 Q. I would not agree with you, because this is in the singular. The
23 commander's idea of manoeuvre. You quote this rule, but now you are
24 speaking in the plural, going beyond this commander to an even higher
25 level. This is very precise. It's put very precisely. The idea of the
1 superior commander implies one up.
2 A. It doesn't say the idea of the superior commander. It says: "The
3 superior commander's idea of manoeuvre." His idea of manoeuvre is his
4 plan of manoeuvre within the context within which he, the superior
5 commander, is operating. So he's thinking above that. So to the guy
6 we're talking about here, that's at least two up.
7 Q. I disagree with you on this issue. The rule is very precise.
8 A. Perhaps we'll agree to disagree, Mr. Rodic.
9 Q. You're right.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Last couple of questions, Mr. Rodic, I think it
11 must be.
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. When referring to the regulations, or rather, the instructions on
14 the implementation of international laws of war in the SFRY, as one of the
15 reference materials you give, do you know that this instruction and these
16 regulations are implied -- are applied during an armed conflict in which
17 the SFRY is participating, when the supreme command so orders and declares
18 a state of war?
19 A. I am aware of that. That is in the introduction to the document.
20 The purpose of the rules of the international law of war is to prevent
21 unnecessary casualties and suffering which do not significantly affect the
22 military outcome of the war. It describes under what circumstances all
23 this is to be applied and it talks about the responsibilities of
24 commanders at all levels. If your question is a semantic one about was
25 war declared or not, so be it. The actuality was there was a war in
2 Q. On the basis of what rules and principles, what was the commander
3 of the operational group to adhere to, was he to abide by? I mean the
4 regulations then in force.
5 A. I would expect him to abide by regulations in force, the conduct
6 laid down by the JNA, standard operational procedures, international law,
7 all that. I would expect him to abide by all that.
8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, on your initiative, I
9 will now end my cross-examination, although I still have a lot of material
10 to go through. And may I suggest, because of this, the Defence tenders
11 into evidence the entire documents, not just pages from these documents.
12 Because tendering only pages is pulling out of context passages that are
13 favourable to only one side. As the Prosecutor has these materials
14 available, I suggest that they prepare them and hand them over. Thank
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, firstly, thank you for cooperating in
17 the matter of time. Some very important matters have been dealt with and
18 the Chamber has benefitted in particular from the early part of your
19 cross-examination today.
20 Ms. Somers, I think it would be appropriate, not necessarily now,
21 but when you've gathered the materials, if the whole document were to be
22 tendered, in the circumstances, and if you would like now to re-examine.
23 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, if I may in due course handle the
24 tendering issue.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
1 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
2 Re-examined by Ms. Somers:
3 Q. General Pringle, can you please clarify whether it is within a
4 commander's duty to act, one way or the other, when he becomes aware, and
5 this is for the sake of argument, that a mentally unstable battalion
6 commander who is in charge of weaponry and other human beings, and the
7 fate of civilians, is in his area of responsibility, and that in fact, a
8 negative consequence has resulted from his action, based perhaps on a
9 number of factors, but his action?
10 A. I would comment under those circumstances that it is the immediate
11 responsibility of the next level of commander to act, and it is the
12 responsibility of the levels of command above that to ensure that action
13 is taken. To have a mentally unstable battalion commander in charge of
14 weaponry left in place carries very obvious implications, and therefore,
15 there is a clear responsibility on the command chain to take the necessary
17 Q. You mentioned earlier, General, that the higher up, perhaps the
18 more difficult it is to deal with lower-level matters; however, you
19 indicated that it was still part of command, albeit difficult. If the
20 incidents or the difficulties that are associated with the actions by an
21 individual at the battalion commander level who is alleged, and I say only
22 alleged, to have mentally unstable -- to be mentally unstable, if these
23 incidents are of such notoriety as to invoke response from the
24 international community, as well as the other side bringing it to the
25 attention - and by "international community," I would say international
1 monitors and international media - then would this be sufficient notice,
2 or at least would the duty to act be triggered?
3 A. I would say under those circumstances that we're almost past the
4 stage where the duty to act has become apparent. Under the circumstances
5 you've painted, I would judge that it is plainly obvious that action
6 should have already been taken, let alone needs to be taken now.
7 Q. Would this be so even if at the top -- even if the top or the
8 formation involved is an ad hoc formation? Does that really matter?
9 A. Whether the top formation is ad hoc or not, it still has a
10 commander, and a commander has authority vested in him as the commander to
11 ensure that the necessary actions are being taken at the necessary level.
12 Q. You were asked on cross-examination as to what would be the --
13 whether or not the matter would be closed as to an investigation into the
14 behaviour we have just discussed in the hypothetical, if a corps commander
15 had been dealing with -- or had been dealt with directly by someone at the
16 level of Ministry of Defence, or in that very high federal level,
17 bypassing the operational group or the higher commander in the interim.
18 I want to understand your comment. Are you suggesting that - in
19 this instance, you referred to 2nd Operational Group commander, can
20 selectively, willing abrogate his authority as to certain issues and
21 invoke it as to others? What would happen if that were the case?
22 A. Mr. Rodic and I had a lengthy discussion on this, rather based
23 around that uncertainty. I do find the hypothesis suggested that the top
24 of the operational chain of command has been bypassed and that the
25 Ministry of Defence is dealing over the head of that commander down to the
1 corps commander. And in so doing, the hypothesis was that the operational
2 level group commander had declared himself satisfied with that and had
3 effectively, therefore, abrogated his responsibility. I said many times
4 over that I found that to be -- I think the word I used was irregular, and
5 I could only repeat it now.
6 Q. If, in fact, the commander at the 2nd Operational Group level was
7 unhappy --
8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, objection.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Ms. Somers is speaking of the
11 commander of the 2nd Operational Group. This is precisely what Your
12 Honour drew attention to several times. The witness is to explain general
13 principles. The last two questions are specific. They are not
14 hypothetical, as if Mr. Pringle could say something about them.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Mr. Petrovic, you misunderstand
16 Ms. Somers's reference to 2nd Operational Group. She was speaking in her
17 hypothesis of two distinct operational groups, the first and the second,
18 not a particular unit of the JNA army. That is the way I understood it.
19 Is that what you meant, Ms. Somers?
20 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I'm more than happy not even to put a
21 number there. My point was it was raised in cross-examination with that
22 very specific title, and I'm only taking from what was raised in
23 cross-examination. But I'm happy to say if the head of an operational
24 group --
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. If you'd do that.
1 MS. SOMERS: Please. No problem.
2 Q. If the head of an operational group that was over a corps
3 commander is unhappy with a -- either interference by or bypassing by or
4 the result of an order given by his superior commanders at the higher
5 level, discussed in our previous hypothetical, according to what you said
6 earlier, or yesterday, perhaps, then he would, rather than disobey it,
7 have to question that order, would he not; and if he did not agree, then
8 what would he do?
9 A. I agree with that. Indeed, I think I said pretty well that. I
10 said that the operational group commander in question would, at the very
11 least, query with the Ministry of Defence why he's being bypassed. And I
12 can envisage very little circumstances where a commander would agree to
13 him being bypassed in the chain of command.
14 Q. But if bypassed and finds out about a result with which he is not
15 happy because he perhaps, as you said, is responsible for everything in
16 his area of responsibility, including the retention of someone who has
17 been deemed mentally unstable, then if he's unhappy, what would he do
18 about that unhappiness?
19 A. Then he has a duty to say something about it, because the
20 retention of this mentally defective, or however we are describing him,
21 commander, in his operational area of responsibility is going to have
22 implications for him. This would not be a minor matter. If an
23 operational commander is being told, for whatever reasons, that the
24 Ministry of Defence is quite happy that he has a mentally defective
25 battalion commander in his command and he is not to remove him, then that
1 operational commander, I would suggest, would be vociferous in his
2 objection to that.
3 Q. If, for the sake of argument, the offending conduct, perhaps, in a
4 legal attack was directed by or ordered by a mentally unstable officer or
5 commander, but not necessarily the result of his mental instability, would
6 the fact of the breach of order nevertheless cause the superior commanders
7 to take action?
8 A. Yes. The superior commanders would be required to take action on
9 the breach of orders, at all levels.
10 Q. Would you be able to offer your view on whether or not a person, a
11 commander who has been heading a battalion, let's say during the time
12 period we were discussing, is permitted to remain in the military for
13 some -- more than five years afterward and is promoted, would there be any
14 inference drawn about, (a), his ability to perform in the military; and
15 (b), the general attitude toward orders being implemented?
16 A. If he's not only allowed to remain in the army but is also
17 promoted, then there is, in my opinion, a very direct inference that his
18 actions are condoned, indeed approved of, and worthy of promotion.
19 Q. If the operations group commander, operational group commander,
20 who may be very unhappy but is forced or is nevertheless left in a
21 position where he allows the offending or allegedly offending battalion
22 commander to remain in place, and this operational group commander remains
23 in the military for several years afterward and also is awarded a
24 promotion, does that suggest that either the unhappiness passed or that he
25 elected not to choose any other options to protest?
1 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers, may I say that suggests to me more a
2 study in personal behaviour than in military principles.
3 MS. SOMERS: I can cut right to the heart of the question.
4 Q. If the operations commander, operational commander, disagreed
5 strongly enough, would you expect a resignation or some action along that
6 line, rather than leaving a problem under his control?
7 A. If the operational commander felt sufficiently strongly enough
8 about being forced to retain in his chain of command somebody who was
9 mentally unstable, I would expect at least a very formal objection to the
10 appropriate level, the Ministry of Defence, possibly -- and leading to
11 possibly a resignation. I would also expect a clear explanation that he
12 would not be held responsible for the unstable commander if he was forced
13 to retain him. He would find himself in a horrendously difficult
14 position, and under many circumstances, many commanders would say, "I
15 cannot execute command and take responsibility that everything happens in
16 my command if this is what I'm being forced to deal with," and would take
17 the necessary actions, such as resignation, as a result.
18 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much. No further questions.
19 Thank you, Your Honours, for indulging me the time.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Somers. We're grateful to counsel
21 with their assistance with time today.
22 May I thank you for your attendance, General, and the assistance
23 that you've given us. And you are now free to go as you will.
24 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: The hearing will continue on Tuesday of next week.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.57 p.m.,
3 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 3rd day of
4 February, 2004.