1 Wednesday, 24 March 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Are we ready now to proceed with the
6 witness? Thank you. Mr. --
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yesterday the Defence
8 worked on intensively going through the documents, and all we can say is
9 that we've managed to go through most of the documents that were given to
10 us, not all of them. In order to avoid wasting your precious time, we
11 think we should just proceed. The Defence has no problem continuing the
12 -- or rather, starting the examination-in-chief of Witness Jokic now. We
13 do, however, have to point out the following: If we consider the material
14 we received in terms of its content, we will certainly be using the CDs
15 during our cross-examination because they contain everything that we've
16 been trying to underline about the nature of those materials over the last
17 couple of days, even without the transcripts, even without video material.
18 The Defence will be in no position to conduct its cross-examination in a
19 proper way. Therefore, I would like to ask the Honourable Chamber to
20 assist the Defence in this respect, to help us to obtain copies of the
21 transcripts of this video material and to have the cross-examination
22 postponed until these further materials are served on the Defence.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, inquiries that have been made by the
24 Chamber indicate first, of course, that it is not simply a matter of
25 obtaining copies of the transcripts. There are no transcripts. It is a
1 matter of effecting a transcription of the material you have. That
2 involves two stages; first a change of the electronic form in which it is
3 held to a form suitable for transcribing and then the process of
4 transcribing. That, we are told, involves in the order of double the
5 length of time of the total running length of the tapes that you have.
6 Not only is it a lengthy process, but there are no people available at the
7 present to do that work. They are already committed with other work that
8 has been previously allocated and is needed. Therefore, there would seem
9 to be no realistic prospect of having a transcript of all of that material
10 available to you at the time for cross-examination. So that the Chamber
11 must ask you to prepare your cross-examination as best you can, knowing of
12 that material but not being in a position of having a transcript as you do
14 Now, you may well be able to find some way, in discussion with
15 Ms. Somers, of making that a reasonably speedy and practical process. I
16 do not know. But the alternative would seem to involve a very
17 considerable delay in the trial. Given the nature of this material, the
18 Chamber therefore must ask you to press on with what we appreciate will be
19 a difficult and inconvenient process, but one which I hope with your
20 cooperation and, if necessary, that of the Prosecution, will prove to be
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. But what I
23 wanted to say is: May the Defence please be helped, assisted, in a timely
24 manner. Possibly after Witness Jokic there will be another witness, and
25 even if these transcripts cannot be made, we would still be needing quite
1 a lot of time to go through these documents, CDs, again and take out
2 whatever we need from them. It will be very difficult for us to handle
3 these during our cross-examination. For example, if the question is
4 asked: Where specifically did the witness state this? All I can say in
5 terms of a reference is the third CD dated, for example, the 17th of
6 February. That's the best reference I would be able to give. In order
7 for me to provide even that sort of a reference, the Defence should have
8 to keep notes in terms of something resembling a transcript, which is a
9 very time-consuming activity, in addition to which there is plenty of
10 other material related to Witness Jokic. We will have great difficulty in
11 this effort. Therefore, if we may just be given another bit of time
12 between the two examinations when a new witness comes along, or rather,
13 before a new witness comes along, to give additional time to the Defence
14 team to go through the material for our cross-examination, we are able to
15 make a great effort to master this material and be able to conduct our
16 cross-examination in a proper manner.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. -- I see Ms. Somers on her feet. She may be in
18 a position to offer some help, so I will listen to what it is she wishes
19 to say.
20 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, thank you, but it was not in respect of
21 the cassettes or the tapes. Yesterday the Prosecution indicated that if
22 at the end of the planned cross-examination the Defence were to make an
23 application for additional time, that we don't know what the substance of
24 it would be, but certainly we would not oppose the making of an
25 application and we would seek a request to respond. In terms of the
1 scheduling of witnesses, we have planned the order of witnesses so that
2 immediately after the cross-examination of Admiral Jokic, we have another
3 witness scheduled. But reworking the witness schedule would probably be
4 somewhat difficult and we think that the Chamber has been very fair in its
5 apportionment of time to review items that may or may not have been
6 helpful but -- and we appreciate it and would ask simply that we proceed
7 as planned, and should, at the end of the initial cross-examination, there
8 be an indication of a need, then again we would not oppose the making of
9 an application, and depending on the grounds.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for your comments, Ms. Somers. There are
11 some disadvantages in what you propose. In particular, it means that the
12 first cross-examination by the Defence may be less effective than they
13 would wish because they have only part of the material ready that may be
14 relevant to a point of cross-examination. And another obvious difficulty
15 is that it really requires, to some extent at least, a second going over
16 of the same ground, so that it is an undesirable and inefficient approach.
17 The Chamber, while not absolutely closing the door on it if it proves to
18 be the only possible way forward, would prefer that there be a serious
19 exploration of alternatives to try and overcome this difficulty that has
20 arisen. At the end of the examination-in-chief, I take it from what you
21 say the Prosecution will not be in a position to have another witness that
22 could be interpolated at that point.
23 MS. SOMERS: We think it would be difficult to get this witness.
24 We can certainly make the inquiry. If the Chamber will allow us the
25 opportunity, we would be very happy to try to do that but otherwise
1 proceeding as the Chamber indicated, and that would be as much as I could
2 interpose at this time.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Well, if you could do that and explore
4 the possibility, we'll, I think, need to leave the question open at least
5 until the end of cross-examination -- end of examination-in-chief. But if
6 you could explore the possibility of there being another witness
7 available. If that is not possible, it may be necessary to have yet
8 another day or two's break to enable the Defence to be in a position to
9 adequately cross-examination on the whole case.
10 MS. SOMERS: As the Chamber sees fit. We will -- I'm sorry.
11 JUDGE PARKER: That, we think, would be in the long run more
12 efficient than twice cross-examining over the ground.
13 Could we also invite both counsel to explore constructively the
14 best way of enabling some ready reference. One thought that occurs to me
15 as I speak is the possibility that if the Defence were able to provide a
16 note informally to the Prosecution of the passages that they can see they
17 will be referring to, it will enable the Prosecution at least to have
18 identified those passages in advance and so speed up the process of
19 reference and cross-examination. But there may be other means, and we
20 leave that to your constructive discussion.
21 So, Mr. Rodic, at the moment, as I have indicated, the Chamber
22 would prefer and will expect that you will proceed to cross-examine the
23 witness. It may be necessary for there to be a short delay after the end
24 of the witness's evidence in chief before you commence. The possibility
25 of another witness being interposed before your cross-examination will be
1 explored. If that is possible, it may help. But I think at the moment
2 you must prepare as best you can to cross-examine not only with the
3 original two statements of the witness available to you, but with the
4 record -- the tapes of these new discussions of the witness in the form
5 that they are. And anything you and Ms. Somers can work out to make that
6 process speedier and more practical I think will help us all.
7 Thank you very much.
8 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, if I can -- pursuant to your directive,
9 if I can ask the Defence if there are specific numbers on any particular
10 CD. In other words, give us a number reference and we'll see if we can
11 assist. With that degree of specificity, we're happy to try to do that.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 All right. Well, if we could now have the witness. Thank you.
14 MS. SOMERS: Prosecution calls Admiral Miodrag Jokic.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Would you be kind enough to take the
17 card that is to be placed in front of you, and if you would take the
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: MIODRAG JOKIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. If you could please be
25 Yes, Ms. Somers.
1 Examined by Ms. Somers:
2 Q. Good morning, Admiral Jokic.
3 A. Good morning.
4 Q. Would you please state your full name.
5 A. My name is Miodrag Jokic.
6 Q. And your date and place of birth, sir.
7 A. I was born on the 25th of February, 1935, in Mionica near Valjevo
8 in Serbia.
9 Q. And by ethnicity, what are you, sir?
10 A. I am a Serb.
11 Q. I'd like to ask you to give us an overview of your educational
12 background, and if you could start, for example, as far back as 1954 and
13 take us forward to your -- all the way through your military academic
15 A. I completed my secondary education in Valjevo in 1954, after which
16 I joined the naval academy in Divulje near Split. I graduated three years
17 later in 1957, after which I started boarding patrol ships and torpedo
18 ships, rocket-carrying ships. I completed two specialised courses,
19 artillery, rocket, and torpedo specialisation courses, specialised
20 courses, between 1964 and 1966 I completed the higher naval academy. In
21 1976 I graduated from the School of National Defence --
22 Q. Admiral, in what year -- have we gone up to 1966, is that where
23 you're at now? If you could just take us back to the year. 1966, which
25 A. Between 1964 and 1966 I attended and completed -- graduated from
1 the higher naval academy.
2 Q. And after your graduation, Admiral, did you start having
4 A. Yes. After the academy I was assigned to the Split destroyer,
5 where I stayed until the year of 1970, after which I spent three years on
6 new torpedo boats. I was the division commander on those boats, after
7 which I became the commander of a rocket brigade.
8 In 1975 I was sent for further schooling at the School for
9 National Defence in Belgrade. Having graduated in 1976, I was assigned to
10 the Boka Naval Sector. At the command, where I was first the chief of
11 operations and then the chief of staff, in 1980 I was sent back to
12 Belgrade to the general staff to work as the chief of the naval
13 development section.
14 In 1983, I was returned to the Boka Naval Sector to work there as
15 sector commander. I stayed there for five years, until 1988. In 1988, I
16 was again sent back to Belgrade to pursue a course in All People's
17 Defence. I remained, however, in my previous position, but I was sent for
18 further education.
19 In 1989, having completed that course, I was back in my sector.
20 In December I was sent back to Belgrade --
21 Q. When you say "sent back to my sector," which sector are you
22 referring to, sir?
23 A. The 9th Boka Sector. In 1989, in December, I was again sent to
24 Belgrade, to the Secretariat for National Defence of Serbia to work there
25 as secretary, which was to all practical intents an appointment with the
1 Serbian government. I stayed there for one and a half years. Towards the
2 end of July 1991, after the government had been restructured, I was left
3 out of the government and I was sent back. I remained unassigned.
4 Q. Admiral, quick question about a position that you indicated you
5 held that you referred to as Secretariat for National Defence of Serbia,
6 serving as secretary. Is that also a title which might be called Minister
7 of Defence at the republican level?
8 A. Yes. The first five months the government was working under
9 President Stanko Radmilovic. It was a transitional government. And the
10 name of the ministry was the Secretariat for Defence, the Defence
11 Secretariat, which was a republican ministry which all the republics in
12 the former Yugoslavia had. Six months later, following the elections, a
13 new government was formed, and the sector was renamed as the Defence
14 Ministry and I became Defence Minister in the Zelenovic government.
15 Q. Admiral Jokic, I have a question about whether or not you had any
16 specialised courses in artillery. If you did, could you describe them.
17 A. I had completed a specialised course for artillery and rockets in
18 Pula, 1961 and 1962. Before I started boarding torpedo ships, I had
19 attended a specialised course like that.
20 Q. Admiral Jokic, when did you complete your service as Minister of
21 Defence for the Republic of Serbia?
22 A. I was left out of the government on the 31st of July, once the
23 government had been restructured, the Zelenovic government, and I was
24 replaced by General Simovic.
25 Q. Was there a period of time after you left your position as
1 Minister of Defence when you were not working in either the government or
2 actively in the military?
3 A. Yes. Once I was out of the government, I was left without an
4 assignment. I no longer worked with the army, so I went back to the
5 village in which I had been born. I was greatly dissatisfied with my
6 current status, so I looked after my father's garden on his farm.
7 Q. At the time of your retirement, what rank had you achieved?
8 A. Vice-admiral. I had been promoted to the rank of vice-admiral in
9 1990, on the 22nd of December. That was Army Day.
10 Q. When did you retire from the forces we refer to as the JNA? When
11 did you retire?
12 A. I left the JNA in May 1992. I believe it was on the 8th of May
13 specifically, that's when I retired.
14 Q. Did you actually leave your service, or was that a paper date?
15 A. That's when I was relieved of my duties as commander of the 9th
16 Naval Sector. In practical terms, I think I left service altogether in
17 August, several months later. But the decision on retirement and for me
18 to be relieved of all my duties occurred on the 8th of May, 1992.
19 Q. Was there any significance to the date 21st of May, 1992?
20 A. Not that I know of.
21 Q. After your break from being Minister of Defence of Serbia, did you
22 find yourself reassigned to another military position?
23 A. No. I was not reassigned. I lost my position. I had the status
24 of an officer without assignment, but I was not assigned another position
25 or duty. I was dissatisfied by the sort of treatment I was meted out and
1 therefore I left Belgrade and went back to my native village. I had no
2 other duties to the army.
3 Q. Were you reassigned at some point to the 9th Naval Sector in 1991?
4 A. Yes, on the 6th. On the 5th in the evening, I received a
5 telephone call while I was in my village --
6 Q. Sorry, 5th of what month, Admiral?
7 A. The 5th of October in the evening, I received a phone call from
8 Belgrade to report to the general staff and see General Adzic. It must
9 have been the secretary, personal assistant, calling. I was supposed to
10 report by 12.00 the following day, on the 6th. I went to Belgrade --
11 Q. Did you know why you were supposed to report?
12 A. To report to duty. That's what I was told. And that as soon as I
13 got there, he and General Kadijevic would inform me about the details.
14 This happened in the evening, I think it was at about 11.00. Speaking to
15 me on the phone was a personal assistant who either was not aware of
16 exactly why I had to go or was reluctant to tell me. The next day, I
17 travelled to Belgrade and reported to General Adzic at about 12.00. He
18 asked me if I had my equipment with me, if I was able to start right off.
19 He said I would leave with General Kadijevic at 5.00 in the afternoon,
20 that I should go and speak to him --
21 Q. What did he tell you to do? Leave for where?
22 A. He told me that I would leave for Boka to take up my duties as the
23 commander of the 9th Naval Sector. Admiral Djurevic, he said, had been
24 killed. His helicopter had been taken down and he said that I would now
25 become the commander of that sector.
1 Q. Do you know when Admiral Djurevic was killed? Do you have an
2 approximate date?
3 A. He was killed on the 5th in the afternoon, around 1500 hours. I
4 learned this later, of course, how and why, and so on and so forth, once I
5 had arrived in Boka.
6 Q. Did you know Admiral Djurevic?
7 A. Yes, I did know him from the navy. He was a submarine officer.
8 He was a signalsman. He was on submarines all the time, whereas I was on
9 ships for 18 years. And I think that he spent quite a few years in
10 submarines, and later on he was transferred to the headquarters of the
11 navy -- or rather, of the naval sector in Split.
12 Q. Admiral, do you -- if you know, do you know what ethnicity Admiral
13 Djurevic was?
14 A. He was Montenegrin from Danilovgrad.
15 Q. At what point, Admiral, did you take over his, that is Admiral
16 Djurevic's, post at commander of the 9th Naval Sector? What date?
17 A. I came during the night between the 6th and the 7th -- or rather,
18 the 7th around 10.00 a.m.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Or rather, 2.00 a.m., interpreter's correction.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I came to Kumbor, Herceg-Novi. I
21 came to the command on the morning of the 7th. The then acting chief of
22 staff, Captain Zec, welcomed me and familiarised me with the situation,
23 briefed me. Then I met Ruzinovski, who was commander of the 2nd
24 Operations Group and who came to the command at Kumbor when I was assuming
25 my duty. Then the situation was totally unknown to me: The troops, how
1 they were grouped, the actual situation in the theatre of war, because in
2 Serbia, as I stayed in the country, I could only read about the beginning
3 of the Dubrovnik operation in the newspapers and hear about it over the
4 radio and on television. On the 8th, I think that I was practically
5 appointed. This was this order that I didn't even have at the time. The
6 date was the 8th of October.
7 On the 8th of October, in the afternoon, Admiral Djurevic was
8 buried in the town of Kotor. I delivered a speech at his funeral, and
9 many others did, too. In the meantime, I toured the battlefield, and if
10 you ask me when in effect I took over the command, perhaps it can be put
11 this way: As of the 9th, there are orders bearing my signature. Although
12 everything was calm on the front line, there was no need for combat orders
13 in terms of the operation itself, because on the 8th, the 8th of October,
14 there had been a cease-fire.
15 Q. Thank you, Admiral. I'm going to try to ask you to perhaps
16 respond a bit more briefly, and we appreciate the completeness of your
17 answers. A question about your -- the -- you said: "I only could read
18 about the beginning of the Dubrovnik operation." Was it your
19 understanding that you were coming to the 9th VPS, or naval sector, in
20 relation to the Dubrovnik operation?
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. Admiral, you mentioned a commander named Ruzinovski. Can you tell
23 us, please, his ethnic background, if you know it.
24 A. Milad Ruzinovski was a Macedonian.
25 Q. You mentioned Commander Ruzinovski in connection with the 2nd
1 Operational Group. Did you report to General Ruzinovski?
2 A. Yes. When I assumed my duty and when I started commanding my
3 units, I was subordinated to him. I did report to him, and I also did
4 everything else that he required.
5 Q. And what was his command -- what did he command, what formation?
6 A. He was commander of the 2nd Operations Group.
7 Q. What is an operational group, Admiral Jokic?
8 A. An operational group is a formation, a command formation, at the
9 level of an army. That is to say corps are underneath it. Specifically,
10 this was a new command, a newly established command, the 2nd Operational
11 Group. It did not exist before. It became necessary to carry out such a
12 broad operation like the Dubrovnik operation, and therefore it became
13 necessary to establish this kind of group. It consisted of three corps,
14 because this is the 9th Naval Sector and the 2nd Tactical Group. In the
15 beginning, that is.
16 Q. Are you able to indicate the purpose behind this type of
17 formation, an operational group?
18 A. Well, the purpose is to carry out a certain operation. If an army
19 -- if a corps from the point of view of formation is not in a position to
20 carry out successfully a certain operation within a part of the front line
21 or the entire front line, then for the purpose of that kind of operation a
22 new command is established, like the 2nd Operational Group. Units are
23 subordinated to it, and these are the units that are to carry out the
24 mentioned operation. At that time in the area of Yugoslavia, we had the
25 1st Operational Group and the 2nd Operational Group, as far as I can
1 remember now.
2 Q. If you know, do you know when the 2nd Operational Group was
3 formed, if you are able to articulate it?
4 A. The 2nd Operational Group was formed sometime in September,
5 mid-September, in Eastern Herzegovina near the town of Nevesinje. Kifimo
6 Selo was the first place where the headquarters were. It was formed from
7 the manpower of the main inspectorate of the Yugoslav People's Army and
8 partly personnel from Belgrade, or rather Podgorica, I think.
9 Q. In the 2nd Operational Group were there forces from only land or
10 forces from only naval -- or were there naval forces, land forces; both?
11 Can you describe the composition of the forces.
12 A. In the 2nd Operational Group, there were mainly land forces, JNA
13 units, Territorial Defence units. And within the 9th Sector, which is a
14 mixed command anyway, there were naval forces, too. The 2nd Operational
15 Group did not have any air force of its own, but it did have the support
16 of the 97th Air Force Brigade. And parts of this brigade did act on
17 orders of the commander of the 2nd Operational Group.
18 Q. Admiral Jokic, at the time you assumed your duties in October of
19 1991, was a naval blockade of Dubrovnik already in effect or in place?
20 Is there perhaps a translation problem?
21 A. Yes, it's all right now. Yes. Yes. Before the 1st of October,
22 the 30th of September it was, that's when a naval blockade of Dubrovnik
23 was ordered in order to prevent the arming of Dubrovnik. It was carried
24 out on the basis of a UN resolution, I think, in order to stop arms
25 smuggling into the Yugoslav republics.
1 Q. Admiral Jokic, how long did you serve under Commander Ruzinovski?
2 What period of time?
3 A. I served until the 13th of October; from the 8th until the 13th of
5 Q. And then what happened to Commander Ruzinovski?
6 A. Ruzinovski was withdrawn to Belgrade. He was appointed to a
7 different position, and General Strugar was appointed to his position.
8 Q. When you say "General Strugar," the first name of General
9 Strugar, if you know it, please.
10 A. General Pavle Strugar. I'm sorry.
11 Q. Admiral, you mentioned that the chief of staff of the operation
12 group was a Captain Zec. Had you had occasion to work with Captain Zec
13 before being reassigned in October of 1991?
14 A. No. Captain Zec was acting chief of staff in my sector, not in
15 the 2nd Operational Group.
16 Q. Did you know Captain Zec from prior times?
17 A. Yes, yes. Yes, I knew Captain Zec at the time -- from the time
18 when I commanded the sector. When I commanded the sector, he was chief of
19 operations and he also held some other duties. After the death of Admiral
20 Djurevic, he was appointed acting commander. For a few days, he was
21 acting commander until I arrived.
22 Q. Can you describe some of the functions and duties that constituted
23 General Strugar's role as commander of the 2nd Operational Group.
24 A. Well, these duties are prescribed in our combat rules, the rules
25 and regulations of service in the JNA, and other combat rules regulating
1 the duties of the commander at such a level. An army commander,
2 practically. He was given tasks from the general staff, and he carried
3 out these tasks through his subordinate units, those that were within the
4 forces he commanded.
5 Q. And what was his authority to direct and command operations?
6 A. He had full authority in relation to the objective that the
7 operation had. And these objectives of the operation he carried out on
8 the basis of the tasks that he was given every day by the general staff.
9 The initial document by which the Dubrovnik operation started was the
10 directive that was written just before the operation started, just before
11 the 1st of October. It regulated all the objectives of that operation and
12 the tasks of the units.
13 Q. What was your understanding of who in the 2nd Operational Group's
14 zone of operations, what was your understanding of who had the highest
15 level of military authority?
16 A. Its commander, the commander of the 2nd Operational Group, General
17 Pavle Strugar, was the man who had the greatest authority. He commanded
18 all the units within this 2nd Operational Group.
19 Q. When you refer to General Pavle Strugar, are you referring to the
20 individual who is the accused in these proceedings?
21 A. Yes, of course.
22 Q. I'd like to ask you, Admiral, to look at a document which is --
23 MS. SOMERS: Tab 1, Your Honours and counsel, in the binder that
24 has been provided.
25 Q. Admiral, do you recognise this document?
1 A. Yes, I do. This document refers to -- this is the document which
2 shows the structure of the units of the 2nd Operational Group from the 7th
3 of October, 1991, when I assumed the duty of commander of the 9th Sector.
4 Q. Did you have anything to do with the preparation of this document?
5 A. Yes. I made this document. And it exactly corresponds to the
6 truth -- or rather, it fully coincides with the structure that was
7 established at the beginning of the Dubrovnik operations, the structure of
8 the command.
9 Q. Admiral, if you can take a look at it. First of all, did you give
10 this document to representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor?
11 A. Yes, I did. Yes, I did.
12 Q. Looking at the top of the document, you have the date of 7
13 October, 1991. Then in sort of an organigramme, it's 2OG, 2nd Operational
14 Group. And who is listed at the 7th of October as the -- at the top or
15 the head of the 2nd Operational Group?
16 A. General Ruzinovski, General Mile Ruzinovski.
17 Q. Now, immediately below the 2nd Operational Group box, you have
18 five boxes. Can you explain, please, what the relationship of the units
19 in those five boxes is -- was as of that date to the 2nd Operational Group
20 and what are the units.
21 A. Yes. These are the subordinate units of the 2nd Operational
22 Group. I can read them out from the left going to the right. The first
23 one is the 37th Corps; then the 2nd Corps; then the 9th Military Naval
24 Sector, my command, my unit; then the 472nd Motorised Brigade; and
25 finally, the 2nd Tactical Group. Those are the first commands that are
1 subordinate to the command of the 2nd Operational Group.
2 Q. As you see them, Admiral, are they directly subordinated at that
3 time to the 2nd Operational Group?
4 A. Yes, directly.
5 Q. Can I ask you, please, Admiral, the commands of the corps -- the
6 commands of the various formations are listed underneath. If you could be
7 good enough to read 37th Corps, et cetera, so that we know who was
8 commanding at the time.
9 A. Yes. The commander of the 37th Corps or the Uzice Corps as it was
10 called because that's where its headquarters were before, was General
11 Milan Torbica.
12 The commander of the 2nd Corps or the Podgorica Corps was General
13 Dragutin Eremija.
14 The commander -- or rather, the acting commander of the 9th
15 Military Naval Sector Boka was, at that time on the 7th of October,
16 Captain Milan Zec, and I took over from him.
17 Then the 472nd Motorised Brigade, or the Trebinje Brigade because
18 its headquarters were in the town of Trebinje in Herzegovina, the
19 commander was Colonel Obrad Vicic.
20 And the 2nd Tactical Group, which was a newly established unit
21 which carried out duties in Konavle, and the commander was General
22 Stankovic, General Branko Stankovic.
23 Q. Admiral, when you indicated Captain Zec as the, I believe you said
24 acting -- I'm sorry, that you took over from him. Was he there in between
25 Djurevic and yourself?
1 A. Yes, yes. During those two or three days.
2 Q. And as chief of staff, what is his relationship to the formation
3 for which he is chief of staff if the commander becomes unavailable
4 through death or substantial absence in the JNA?
5 A. The chief of staff is the deputy commander. He stands in for the
6 commander in any situation when the commander cannot carry out his duties
7 or when he is not present. He is also in charge of the command staff.
8 That is his specific duty.
9 Q. Admiral, I note that among various formations, including corps and
10 the VPS tactical groups, there is a brigade that is directly subordinated
11 to the command or the commander of the 2nd Operational Group. What -- can
12 you tell us something about the 472nd Motorised Brigade. Did it have any
13 other name? Was it known by any other name?
14 A. Yes. The 472nd Motorised Brigade was also referred to as the
15 Trebinje Brigade. It used to be part of the 9th Military Naval Sector of
16 Boka before. Several years earlier, when I was still the commander, it
17 was part of its composition, however, prior to the commencement of the
18 Dubrovnik operation, four or five days earlier, the general staff singled
19 this unit out from the Boka sector and resubordinated it to be part of the
20 2nd Operational Group, directly resubordinated.
21 Q. Admiral Jokic, what is your understanding of why a brigade was
22 subordinated on par or the same level, as it were, with corps, this
23 particular brigade?
24 A. I can't know for certain what the reasons were, but as commander
25 of that level I can speculate about the reasons that the general staff may
1 have had. The unit had about 6.000 people. It was a strong unit. It was
2 a strike force that was to be focused on the main objective of the
3 Dubrovnik operation, which was the blockade of the town of Dubrovnik.
4 The way it was first conceived - I saw documents testifying to
5 this - was that the 9th naval district should not take part in Dubrovnik
6 operation, but rather only the brigade. However, this was later changed,
7 probably because the sea was involved and that there would be tasks on the
8 sea. This was the sort of environment that the operation was being
9 carried out in and commanders of land forces were probably less
10 well-equipped to carry out tasks in that sort of environment.
11 Q. Excuse me, Admiral, when you say: "It was a strong unit," which
12 unit are you referring to? You said: "It was a strong unit."
13 A. I'm referring to the Trebinje Brigade, the motorised brigade.
14 Q. The 472nd?
15 A. Yes, precisely, 472nd.
16 Q. Admiral, what is a strike force, or your understanding of a strike
18 A. Yes. A strike force is the force which is the agent of a certain
19 objective, of a certain task, focusing on defence or offensive operations
20 in a particular operation, in a particular assignment. So this is the key
21 unit, in other words, for the success of a mission, the mainstay of a
22 mission. And this unit is usually referred to as a strike force.
23 Q. Admiral Jokic, within the 2nd Operational Group, was there an
24 intact chain of command?
25 A. Yes. The command of the 2nd Operational Group was structured
1 according to the rules governing the structuring of a command staff. It
2 had the fundamental organs that enabled it to control combat operations
3 for units of this size. It was a newly established unit, but it did have
4 chiefs of branches and services who prepared the unit for combat
5 operations, who drafted the unit's documents. And it was on the basis of
6 these documents that they monitored and ran the combat operations of their
7 subordinated units.
8 Q. Within "documents," Admiral, do you include orders?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Admiral, I'd like to ask you to take a look now at an exhibit.
11 MS. SOMERS: In tab 2, Your Honours, in the binder.
12 Your Honours, I'm sorry. My colleague reminds me, as to the
13 document at tab 1, the Prosecution would ask that it be tendered into
15 JUDGE PARKER: What is the practical course that you foresee with
16 this binder? Should that be treated as one exhibit in the end or --
17 MS. SOMERS: No, sir. We put it together for your convenience so
18 you have them easily tabbed, but we will go document by document. And
19 some have already been, in fact, in evidence.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Well, then the document at tab 1 will
21 be received as an exhibit.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Prosecution Exhibit
24 MS. SOMERS:
25 Q. Admiral, if you have in front of you now a document which bears
1 the number -- our number in the corner of 03520418, that's the evidence
2 number. The date on this document is the 6th of December, 1991. Do you
3 recognise this document?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. And how do you recognise it? Why do you recognise it?
6 A. I wrote this document myself. This document is about the
7 structure of the units subordinated to the 2nd Operational Group on the
8 6th of December, 1991.
9 Q. And did you turn this document over to representatives of the
10 Office of the Prosecutor?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. Admiral, now looking at your chart organigramme giving the
13 structure of the 2nd Operational Group as of the 6th of December, 1991, at
14 the top where it says 2nd Operational Group, or 2OG, whose name is now in
15 the command position?
16 A. The commander of the operational group was General Pavle Strugar.
17 Q. Can you take us through, please, the formations which were at that
18 time directly subordinated to the 2nd Operational Group.
19 A. At that time there was the 37th Corps, the 2nd Corps, and the 9th
20 Military Naval Sector.
21 Q. Now, looking at the 9th Military Naval Sector, or VPS which is how
22 we will refer to it during the course of your testimony, are there now
23 subordinate units; and if so, can you please identify them for us?
24 A. Yes. On the 6th of December, under the 9th Sector, there were the
25 following units: The 3rd Battalion of the 5th Motorised Brigade, the 3rd
1 Battalion of the 472nd Motorised Brigade, the 3rd Light Brigade, the
2 Trebinje Territorial Defence branch and the corresponding battalion, as
3 well as some territorial units.
4 Q. I'm asking my colleague Ms. McCreath if it's possible to put the
5 first chart you had next to this one on your computerised evidence. If it
6 is possible, it might take a second.
7 Admiral, do you have both of your charts in front of you on the
8 screen now?
9 A. Yes, I can see that.
10 Q. Will you please summarise then the differences, the changes, in
11 the formations that are shown; what units may have remained or what units
12 may have left.
13 A. Well, the difference between these two charts consists in the
14 following: The 472nd Motorised Brigade became part of the 2nd Corps. It
15 was no longer directly subordinated to the 2nd Operational Group. The 2nd
16 Tactical Group had been disbanded and no longer existed as an operational
17 unit. The units that were under the 2nd Tactical Group, those two
18 brigades, had been resubordinated to other establishments. As of the 2nd
19 of October, it ceased to exist as a command.
20 Q. Admiral, you have indicated that the 472nd or Trebinje Brigade
21 became part of the 2nd Corps. However, it appears from your chart that a
22 battalion from the 472nd Brigade has remained and is subordinated to the
23 9th VPS. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes. The 3rd Battalion was separated from the brigade and
25 resubordinated directly to the command of the 9th Sector. Without it, the
1 brigade left the Dubrovnik area and was resubordinated to the 2nd Corps in
2 order to carry out other tasks.
3 Q. What type of battalion was the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd? What
4 was your understanding of its value to have it remain in the 9th VPS and
5 not go with the rest of the battalions of the brigade?
6 A. All the battalions of the Trebinje Brigade, establishment-wise,
7 were the same. This battalion was assigned to become part of the 9th
8 Sector because there was a need for a unit like that to be deployed around
9 Dubrovnik in order to block Dubrovnik from the south and the south-east
10 from the direction of Trebinje.
11 Q. The commander, the commanding officer, as of the date of the 6th
12 of December of the 3rd Battalion, the 472nd Brigade, was who?
13 A. Colonel Obrad Vicic was the commander.
14 Q. I'm sorry, of the 3rd Battalion, Admiral, of the 472nd.
15 A. The commander of the 3rd Battalion of the Trebinje Brigade was
16 Captain Vladimir Kovacevic, who had taken up his duty after the previous
17 commander of that battalion had been seriously wounded. That was Major
18 Ekrem Devlic.
19 Q. Did Captain Kovacevic go under any other name or nickname?
20 A. Yes. The nickname was Rambo.
21 Q. A question about the 472nd Motorised Brigade staff officer or
22 chief of staff: Who was that individual, the chief of staff of the 472nd
24 A. Komar. I think his name was Major Miroslav Komar. He was the
25 chief of staff.
1 Q. Mr. Komar. And was he the chief of staff from the time you
2 re-entered the 9th VPS until at least through the 6th of December?
3 A. Yes, yes. For the whole time. He was deputy brigade commander,
4 in that position.
5 MS. SOMERS: I will move on to another document, but I would ask
6 that the document from tab 2 be admitted into evidence.
7 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P100.
9 MS. SOMERS: Turning your attention now, Your Honours, to the
10 document which is in tab number 3.
11 Q. Admiral Jokic, do you have the document in front of you or are you
12 able to take a look at it, please?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you recognise this document, Admiral?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
16 MS. SOMERS: I'm terribly sorry.
17 Q. Do you recognise this document?
18 A. Yes, I do. This is a combat order, number 6, of the command of
19 the 9th VPS. This order was written at my command.
20 Q. And does it bear your name?
21 A. Yes, it does.
22 Q. What is the date of the order?
23 A. The date is the 20th of November, 1991, 1700 hours.
24 Q. To whom is it addressed?
25 A. This is an order addressed to the -- to my subordinate units.
1 Q. And is there a reference to the 2nd Operational Group there,
2 Admiral Jokic?
3 A. Yes. This document, being a combat order, was delivered to my
4 subordinate units and to the 2nd Operational Group, to the attention of
5 the 2nd Operational Group since the 2nd Operational Group was my superior
6 command in this case.
7 Q. The first paragraph, Admiral, addresses itself to the 472nd
8 Motorised Brigade, but it says without the 3rd Battalion. Can you
9 indicate why --
10 A. Without the 3rd Battalion.
11 Q. Now, how many battalions were there in the 472nd Motorised
13 A. Four.
14 Q. So for 1, 2, and 4, why is the 3rd Battalion exempted from this
15 particular command? And perhaps you might be good enough to tell us what
16 the order is designed to do.
17 A. The purpose of this order, first of all, under 1 it says:
18 "Pursuant to the decision of the Commander of the 2nd OG strictly
19 confidential number," and so on and so forth, "to further action, leave
20 the complement of the 9th VPS and work on orders from the 2nd OG," and the
21 3rd Battalion will be left with the 9th VPS.
22 I think that's the overall meaning of the order, for the brigade
23 to leave, the 9th VPS, the composition of the 9th VPS, and for the 3rd
24 Battalion to be temporarily resubordinated to the 9th VPS.
25 Q. Well, does it then go into specifics about the -- about various
1 aspects of obligations of various subunits and various formations within
2 the 9th VPS?
3 A. Yes, yes, it does.
4 Q. Admiral, what was the purpose of leaving the 3rd Battalion within
5 the 9th VPS and moving out the other three battalions to another
7 A. Well, the main purpose was that a decision had been made at the
8 level of the 2nd Operational Group for the 472nd Brigade, which was no
9 longer needed in the blockade of Dubrovnik because the main objectives had
10 been reached, and this brigade was needed elsewhere in Popovo Polje and
11 even further afield. As for the needs of the 9th Sector, it only took one
12 battalion, the kind of the 3rd Battalion, in order to be deployed in
13 positions around Dubrovnik and to secure that the blockade of the town
15 Q. Do you know the approximate number of units of strength of the 3rd
16 Battalion of the 472nd at that time?
17 A. Establishment-wise, the battalion numbered about 700 people. I'm
18 talking about these motorised units. There were four companies. Its
19 composition, three were motorised, or rather, infantry companies, and one
20 was anti-tank company. And it also had a mortar battery. It numbered a
21 total of about 700 men.
22 Q. Can you tell us, please, the history of the decision to move the
23 other battalions out of the 9th VPS and -- I'm sorry, the other battalions
24 of the 472nd out of the command of the 9th VPS, and were they removed from
25 the immediate area?
1 A. Once the objectives had been achieved to set up a blockade of
2 Dubrovnik in late October, the commander of the operational group ordered
3 a meeting to be held on the 2nd of November in Trebinje at his command
4 post. At this meeting, decisions had to be reached regarding further
5 deployment of forces and further operations. Having in mind the fact that
6 the Trebinje Brigade was a very large and strong unit with a great
7 manpower and that it was no longer necessary to keep it in the
8 surroundings of the town, especially on account of the frequent
9 provocations, frequent firing, there were a large number of men there who
10 had nothing to do. So my proposal was, as on a previous occasion, for
11 this brigade to be moved out of the area surrounding Dubrovnik, and the
12 group commander accepted this proposal, the tactical group command -- the
13 operational group commander accepted this proposal. This was to be done
14 on the 6th of November
15 Q. Excuse me, Admiral. It was a bit of a choppy sentence: The
16 operational group commander accepted this proposal. Who are you referring
17 to when you say operational group commander?
18 A. I mean General Strugar.
19 Q. Admiral, let me ask you, please, from what period of time did you
20 have the entire brigade as part of the 9th VPS?
21 A. This brigade was part of the sector as of the 26th of October and
22 was to remain there until the 6th of November. That's according to all
23 the combat documents that we had. However, due to a change in the
24 circumstances, it stayed there until as long as the 21st of November.
25 Q. Admiral, you were -- you were telling us when I asked you an
1 additional question. You said: "So my proposal was, as on a previous
2 occasion, for this brigade to be moved out of the area surrounding
3 Dubrovnik, and the group commander, tactical group -- operational group
4 commander accepted this proposal." And you began to say: "It was to be
5 done," and then you didn't finish, and I apologise. If you could finish
6 what you were going to say.
7 A. It was to be carried out on the 6th of November. And all the
8 units that had to replace this brigade had reached their destinations.
9 The 3rd Battalion of the 5th Motorised Brigade, the Territorial Defence
10 Battalion from Trebinje, and the Territorial Defence detachment from
11 Trebinje were to replace this brigade. However, this order to relieve the
12 brigade, to withdraw the brigade and send it to Popovo Polje and further
13 afield, this order was never carried out. Therefore at that time I had
14 twice as many units as had originally been there in my operational zone;
15 those who were there to replace the brigade and the brigade itself which
16 never left.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Ms. Somers?
18 MS. SOMERS: Yes, it is, Your Honour. Thank you.
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will now have a 20-minute break.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. Somers.
23 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. I would like to ask --
24 excuse me. I would like to ask that the last document from tab 3 be moved
25 into evidence.
1 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
2 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P101, Your
4 MS. SOMERS:
5 Q. Admiral, I would like to go back for a moment to something you
6 said on page 28, line 13, of the transcript, which was: "Having in mind
7 the fact that the Trebinje Brigade was a very large and strong unit with a
8 great manpower and that it was no longer necessary to keep it in the
9 surroundings of the town, especially on account of the frequent
10 provocations, frequent firing."
11 I want to ask you: What was your principal concern about the
12 Trebinje Brigade? You mentioned that on previous occasions you had
13 discussed or you had indicated it should be removed. What was your
15 A. What I bore in mind was the following: There was no longer any
16 military necessity for such a strong unit to remain in the surroundings of
17 the town. Because it was rather difficult to keep so many troops there
18 under control, especially if the units are not active, if they do not
19 receive tasks, then it is only natural for the troops to create problems.
20 Q. Now, when you say, Admiral: "For such a strong unit to remain in
21 the surroundings of the town," which town are you referring to?
22 A. I mean the town of Dubrovnik.
23 Q. You have just indicated that if they do not receive tasks, it is
24 only natural for the troops to create problems. What kind of problems are
25 you referring to?
1 A. I was referring to unnecessary opening of fire, because it was a
2 fact that discipline was not at the required level. Units consisted, for
3 the most part, of reservists, in most places even over 50 per cent. Also,
4 on the other hand, Croatian paramilitary formations were also carrying out
5 provocations. Because in their smaller units there were personnel who
6 were extremists, too, and then they were involved in provocations as well.
7 So these provocations coming from both sides create a situation that is
8 hard for commanders to keep under control.
9 Q. Admiral Jokic, when you use the term "Croatian paramilitary
10 formation," are you using it to mean the defence forces of the Croatian
11 side or your opponents?
12 A. Yes, yes.
13 Q. The brigade, I believe you indicated, was a strong brigade heavy
14 with manpower. Can you please describe the type of weaponry that the
15 various battalions of the brigade had.
16 A. The composition was the same. They had three infantry companies,
17 or rather, motorised companies; they had one anti-armour company that had
18 82-millimetre mortars; it had recoilless guns, hand-held launchers, rocket
19 launchers, too, Maljutkas. In order to give artillery support, or rather,
20 to have artillery support, each battalion had mortar support of
21 120-millimetre mortars.
22 Q. Perhaps at a later point, Admiral, we'll ask you to discuss in
23 detail the numbers of weapons, but at this point in time the types of
24 weapons are helpful for us to know. You have indicated that discipline
25 was not at the required level in the brigade. Can you please elaborate on
2 A. This brigade previously had been one of the best trained units in
3 the entire Yugoslav People's Army. It was the brigade of the navy
4 infantry that had been mobilised from that area, Herzegovina, Montenegro,
5 the Croatian coast, and Dubrovnik. However, after the situation that came
6 to be due to the internal conflict between the Croatian paramilitaries and
7 JNA units, the brigade was rather quickly mobilised, and it was only
8 personnel from Herzegovina and partly from Montenegro who were mobilised.
9 So it was not the regular type of mobilisation. It wasn't the kind of
10 soldiers like the brigade used to consist of before. Many of them were
11 not properly trained, and some of them were even volunteers, people who
12 had volunteered into this brigade. So part of the personnel was
13 undisciplined and insufficiently trained for use in such combat
15 Q. And was this a situation you found with the brigade when you first
16 returned to the Dubrovnik theatre -- I'm sorry, when you first returned to
17 the command of the 9th VPS, was this the situation you found or learned of
18 with the brigade?
19 A. Yes, yes, precisely.
20 Q. You had indicated that on a previous occasion you had proposed the
21 withdrawal of the brigade. Can you discuss the occasion and what the
22 underlying reasons for your proposal for withdrawing it were.
23 A. No. I bore in mind another unit. When I came to the Dubrovnik
24 front line on the 7th of October and as I was touring Konavle between
25 Dubravka, Cilipi, all the way up to Cavtat, the units that were there, I
1 saw many troops belonging to another unit of the 2nd Tactical Group that
2 had major forces in a narrow area like in this brigade. There weren't any
3 real objectives. There was no military necessity, no military need
4 involved, and especially there was no need for such strong artillery. I
5 suggested to the commander of the 2nd Operational Group, General Strugar,
6 that a brigade be taken out of this 2nd Operational Group because it was
7 not required for further action. This unit was commanded by General
8 Branko Stankovic. That's when the first brigade was drawn out, the
9 Partisan Brigade of the Territorial Defence, as its official name was,
10 because there was problems with discipline, with unauthorised shooting,
11 and also some looting and arson.
12 Q. Admiral, which Territorial Defence are you referring to, which
14 A. I was referring to the newly established 2nd Tactical Group that
15 operated in Konavle from the outset of the Dubrovnik operation. It
16 consisted of two brigades of the Territorial Defence.
17 Q. The Territorial Defence of which republic are you referring to,
18 Admiral Jokic?
19 A. The Republic of Montenegro.
20 Q. I believe you referred to: "There was no need for such strong
22 Can you please indicate what you mean by "strong artillery." How
23 did you see the composition of the artillery in the units you're referring
24 to, and did you view it perhaps as excessive?
25 A. Yes. I think -- or rather, I should say first and foremost that
1 the general assessment was that our units of the Yugoslav People's Army,
2 according to their establishment, were organised in such a way and trained
3 in such a way in order to be in a position to act against an aggressor, a
4 strong enemy. So that is why they had this strong artillery. However,
5 bearing in mind the fact that our opponent was not a strong army against
6 whom one needed to use such strong artillery and such equipment, in this
7 situation when we were acting against poorly armed paramilitary forces,
8 such artillery often got in the way, especially in Konavle, especially in
9 built-up areas where there were no proper targets. These were
10 130-millimetre guns, and also guns and Howitzers of 122 millimetres, and
11 mortars and so on.
12 Q. Admiral, who had the 130-millimetre guns et cetera? Which units
13 are you saying had them? In other words, are you referring to the JNA
15 A. Yes, yes. These are units -- there were two batteries, one of 130
16 millimetres, the other one of 85 millimetres. And these two batteries
17 were resubordinated at first, and also there were Howitzers of 120
18 millimetres. And the 472nd Brigade had the strongest artillery; it had
19 two such divisions.
20 Q. Just to clarify, Admiral, when you said: "In this situation when
21 we were acting against poorly armed paramilitary forces," are you
22 referring to the Croatian forces?
23 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm sorry. Admiral
25 Jokic, in his response to the previous question, said exactly where each
1 artillery unit was. However, unfortunately, I cannot see it reflected in
2 the transcript. So could Admiral Jokic please clarify exactly where which
3 unit was. All of us heard it here, all of us who are present here heard
4 him say that. Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Do you wish to clear up the matter, Ms. Somers?
6 MS. SOMERS: I would just ask if I can get the point I was asking
7 for clarification on first and then return to my learned friend's
9 Q. When you said or referred to "against poorly armed paramilitary
10 forces," are these forces -- again, are you referring to the Croatian
12 A. Yes, that's what I was referring to.
13 Q. Admiral, perhaps we can assist Mr. Petrovic in understanding your
14 response that he suggested is not in the transcript. And if the question
15 is -- let's see. Clarify exactly where each unit was when you referred
16 to: "These are our units, there were two batteries of 130s."
17 If you're able to do that at this point.
18 A. The 9th Sector had two artillery units, one battery of 130
19 millimetres and one battery of 85 millimetres, both of them mobile. At
20 the beginning of the Dubrovnik operation, these units were outside the
21 operational zone, across the Bay of Boka at the peninsula of Ljustica. As
22 the operation developed, these batteries were transferred across the bay,
23 and I think between the 3rd and 5th of October, they were resubordinated
24 to the 2nd Tactical Group, which was the protagonist of all the main
25 activities in the field of Konavle.
1 In addition to that, this 2nd Tactical Group had artillery of its
2 own, that is a battery of 122-millimetre [as interpreted] equipment, and
3 it had mortars. Every brigade had 120-millimetre mortars. This was a
4 respectable artillery force. I mean, all of this was happening before
5 General Strugar assumed his duties in the 2nd Operational Group.
6 Q. Thank you for the clarification. The organisational chart that
7 you had looked at, Admiral, for the 6th of December -- rather, the one you
8 had discussed with us, also discusses a subordination of other battalions;
9 the 3rd of the 5th. Can you indicate, please, who is the commander of the
10 3rd of the 5th and describe that particular formation. First of all, what
11 is the 5th, and talk about that particular battalion.
12 A. It's not the 5th Battalion; it's the 3rd Battalion of the 5th
13 Brigade. That's probably what you meant.
14 Q. Yes. Thank you for correcting me, Admiral.
15 A. The 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade was at the beginning of the
16 combat operations within the 2nd Tactical Group. It was a battalion that
17 was from the 5th Motorised Brigade from Podgorica. So it was taken out of
18 this 5th Motorised Brigade in Podgorica and resubordinated to the 2nd
19 Tactical Group. When the 2nd Tactical Group was disbanded on the 21st of
20 October, this battalion was directly resubordinated to me. And it
21 operated all the way up to the end of December within the 9th Sector as a
22 temporarily resubordinated unit.
23 Q. Admiral, who was its commander?
24 A. I'm sorry. Its commander was Major Srboljub Zdravkovic.
25 Q. Continue, please. You were telling us more.
1 A. The 5th -- that battalion of the 5th Brigade had the same kind of
2 composition like the 3rd Battalion of the Trebinje Brigade. However, in
3 the beginning when the operations started in Konavle, it had within it a
4 company of obsolete tanks from the Second World War and it also had a
5 company of armoured carriers. Later on, when it was resubordinated to me,
6 these APCs were taken out of this unit and were sent to another unit, I
7 don't know exactly which one, but outside of my area of responsibility
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Ms. Somers, please.
10 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry.
11 Q. We have put back on the screen, if it might be of assistance to
12 you, the formations you indicated for the 6th of December. It should be
13 in the Sanction screen, I believe it's up, your computer screen. And if
14 you could briefly describe the other units by their abbreviations. It
15 would be helpful to know what the abbreviations stand for and a little bit
16 about the units, please.
17 A. I've already said that the 3rd Battalion of the Trebinje Brigade,
18 which was commanded by Captain Vladimir Kovacevic, I've already spoken
19 about the composition of that battalion.
20 Q. Yes, I'm sorry. There are other abbreviations: "Tc," "3rd," "3rd
22 A. Yes, the 3rd Light Brigade is a weak unit. It was established in
23 haste. It consisted of five companies, altogether 12 to 1300 men, partly
24 volunteers, and their artillery was weak. Therefore, this unit did not
25 have any particular combat value. It was primarily used for tasks in
1 auxiliary directions and in control of territories.
2 As for the Territorial Defence of Trebinje and the battalions of
3 the Territorial Defence of Trebinje, these were classical territorial
4 units that did not participate in combat operations. They only controlled
5 the territory, had guard duty, and so on. These territorial companies
6 were small units, infantry units. They had small arms, primarily from
7 these municipalities along the coast of Montenegro, Herceg-Novi, Kotor,
8 Tivat, Budrat [phoen], Bar, and some other municipalities from Montenegro,
9 like Mojkevac and Bijelo Polje and so on. These are units that did not
10 take part in the attack either. They were used for controlling the
11 territory, for guarding facilities, and so on.
12 Q. In which republic is Trebinje, Admiral?
13 A. Trebinje is in Bosnia-Herzegovina, actually in the part of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina which is called Herzegovina.
15 Q. Until what point in time was the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd
16 Brigade under the 9th VPS?
17 A. This battalion became part of the 9th VPS on the 10th of November,
18 1991, and it remained within the sector all the way up to the end, the
19 31st of December, and perhaps even a bit later. While I was commander,
20 that is.
21 Q. If -- perhaps you could clarify, was it equally part of the
22 Trebinje Brigade of the 472nd which you indicated came under your command
23 sometime at the end of October? Just a yes or no would help.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Admiral, the changes you just spoke about -- let me just cite for
1 a moment. Excuse me.
2 The changes in subordination of units or formations that you have
3 discussed, between the 7th of October on your one document and the 6th of
4 December, who effected or who brought about those changes which you have
5 described? Upon whose order?
6 A. This is the order of the commander of the 2nd Operational Group.
7 In his system of command, he asked his subordinate commands and his
8 subordinate commanders to give their own proposals, proposals on how the
9 units could be used in the most rational way. On the basis of these
10 proposals as to how the units could be used in the best possible way, he
11 reached decisions on resubordination, re-establishment, and so on.
12 Q. Then after the 12th or 13th of October, when you refer to the
13 commander of the 2nd Operational Group, you are referring to whom?
14 A. General Strugar.
15 Q. I'd like to ask that you turn your attention to the document under
16 tab 4.
17 MS. SOMERS: The Prosecution acknowledges that the date of the
18 document is in early 1992, and the purpose of reference is not necessarily
19 of the substance, but rather of the person whose order it is.
20 Q. Admiral, this document is dated the 5th of February, 1992, a
21 period outside of this indictment, but who is the person whose name is
22 appearing at the bottom of this document?
23 A. That's the commander of the 2nd Operational Group, General Pavle
25 Q. To whom is this particular document addressed?
1 A. This particular document is addressed to the first administration
2 of the general staff.
3 Q. And what is the nature of the document? What type of information
4 or what is the content of this document?
5 MS. SOMERS: We apologise that we have not been able to provide
6 yet a translation. We have requested it and we will submit it as soon as
7 is possible; therefore, I have to ask the Admiral to discuss the document.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In this document, at the request of
9 the first administration of the general staff, the composition of the
10 units of the 2nd Operational Group is submitted in relation to the JNA
11 units, the TO units, and the volunteer units.
12 MS. SOMERS:
13 Q. And in the paragraph which would be -- if you don't mind for a
14 moment, in order to assist the Judges who do not have an English
15 translation, if you would be helpful and perhaps read it through. A quick
16 exercise, but if you could do it, it would be helpful.
17 Where it says -- I'm sorry, Admiral, I mean if you could read it
18 to us out loud.
19 A. In the document reference is made to the units that comprise the
20 structure of the 2nd Operational Group. The first reference is made to
21 the 2nd Corps, and then it says: "The units of the JNA," within this 2nd
22 Corps, that is, and then they are listed.
23 Since this is the 5th of February, 1992, this is the Trebinje
24 Brigade, the 472nd Brigade, and then artillery units. The Howitzer
25 division, 122 millimetres, a battery of multi-barrelled rocket launchers,
1 326, and then the TO units are listed. These were first the JNA units
2 then come the TO units. That's the Partisan Brigade of the TO, Sava
3 Kovacevic, then the volunteer units, the 1st Light Brigade and the 2nd
4 Light Brigade.
5 Q. On the second page of the document there's a reference to VPS
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. These are your units?
9 A. Yes. These are my units. And this is where the composition is
10 referred to, which JNA units these are. And all establishment units of
11 the 9th Sector are listed here. Practically, they did not take part in
12 the Dubrovnik operation; they did not take active part in it. As for
13 those that were attached, those that were resubordinated to me
14 temporarily, reference is made to the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade.
15 And then there is a mistake. It is not the 1st Battalion of the 5th
16 Brigade but it is the 3rd Battalion of the Motorised Brigade. Those are
17 units of the JNA. So these two battalions are within my composition; they
18 were resubordinated to me.
19 As for the TO units, reference is made to the TO Trebinje
21 As for the volunteer units, reference is made to the 3rd Light
22 Brigade that I spoke of awhile ago.
23 Q. Admiral, did you continue to remain subordinated to the command of
24 the 2nd Operational Group at this time?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did all -- were all the units mentioned in this document
2 subordinated to the 2nd Operational Group at this time?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And the commander of the 2nd Operational Group at that time
5 continued to be General Strugar?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MS. SOMERS: I'm going to ask to move this document into evidence,
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P102.
12 MS. SOMERS:
13 Q. Going back, Admiral, to the issues of indiscipline or lack of
14 discipline within the 472nd Motorised Brigade, what was the nature of the
15 indiscipline and was it apparent when you came into your command?
16 A. It was obvious. It would have been obvious for any commander, any
17 professional commander, who exercised command over any troops. This lack
18 of discipline was manifested in noncompliance with orders or a poor level
19 of compliance with orders, mutual grudge between individuals, extreme
20 forms of behaviour, uncontrolled use of weapons, mutual firing and
21 wounding, the consumption of alcohol by certain individuals, individual
22 instances of looting, arson. There were also instances of acts of
23 provocations being carried out by firearms, by artillery provocation
24 against the other side or fire being returned.
25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have an
1 interpretation problem. I'm sorry. The interpretation says that acts of
2 provocation by artillery were carried out. I believe the general said
3 infantry fire provocation.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Petrovic. That will be
7 MS. SOMERS:
8 Q. In response to what you've described as apparent indiscipline,
9 what, if any, suggestions or proposals did you make to the commander of
10 the 2nd Operational Group?
11 A. The commander of the 2nd Operational Group in his orders, on a
12 daily basis usually, as is apparent, that most energetic measures be taken
13 to prevent lack of discipline. The subordinated commands did so; some
14 more and some less successfully. However, it was very difficult to
15 altogether put a stop to these incidents. Problems were considerable and
16 the conditions under which operations were being carried out were not
17 favourable for the exercise of any form of command. For example, it was
18 considered that the units were taking part in a military drill, and then a
19 decision was made that 45 days later all units should be sent home for
20 leave, as this decision also comprised units throughout the entire state.
21 And then the units requested leave 45 days later to go home and get some
22 rest. However, the commands were not able to ensure this. Moreover,
23 since the state of war had not been declared, there was difficulty in
24 applying war regulations sanctioning these instances where lack of
25 discipline was manifested. There were very few military police and it was
1 also for this reason that it was difficult to punish each individual act
2 of indiscipline. So this is a pattern that was repeated over time.
3 Q. And were attempts or orders to implement discipline adhered to by
4 those to whom the orders were issued or did there continue to be
5 disciplinary problems?
6 A. The commands made a great effort to deal with these problems. We
7 had one or two seminars, we had daily meetings, we had military collective
8 meetings. All these efforts led to half measures at best, because the
9 systemic causes proved very difficult to do away with and the units
10 themselves had been set up in such haste that they were not strong enough
11 in terms of combat morale and discipline in terms of men knowing each
12 other well enough, in terms of them being familiar with their commanders.
13 Therefore, it was impossible to expect that all these problems could be
14 dealt with efficiently.
15 Q. However, are you indicating, Admiral, though, that even with these
16 problems, these men were left in theatre of war or conflict with weapons?
17 They remained with weapons?
18 A. Perhaps I have not explained this clearly enough. We had numerous
19 instances of criminal reports being filed against people who infringed on
20 the rules of discipline. Members of the military police kept carrying out
21 arrests. There were several hundreds of cases that were later dealt with
22 before courts. Most of those referred to acts of looting and arson, but
23 obviously in some cases the unauthorised use of weapons was also involved.
24 Q. We'll come back to this point, Admiral. But can I ask you,
25 please, to clarify something you said in the record. Just -- I'll read it
1 back to you. You said: "There were --" This is in response to my
2 question to you about indiscipline in the 472nd Brigade. "There were also
3 instances of acts of provocation being carried out by firearms, by
4 artillery provocation against the other side, or fire being returned."
5 Can you please elaborate on these types of problems or instances.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers, that passage you read out was the one
7 that was subject to correction --
8 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry. I apologise. Replacing the word - if Mr.
9 Petrovic could assist me - the word that was replaced was -- infantry.
10 JUDGE PARKER: "Artillery" was replaced by "infantry."
11 MS. SOMERS: I apologise, I had written it and not paid attention
12 to it.
13 Q. Can you discuss in more detail these particular acts you were
14 referring to.
15 A. Well, if you consider acts of provocation, the facts are as
16 follows: There are certain individuals who display lack of discipline.
17 At the front end of an attack, very often these men were using infantry
18 weapons without authorisation and without any order being issued. They
19 would be the first to open fire or would fire back vehemently, return
20 enemy fire in cases where enemy had opened fire first.
21 Q. When you say "individuals," which side? Which forces are you
22 referring to when you say there are certain individuals who display lack
23 of discipline? JNA forces? Croat forces? Which forces are you referring
24 to, please?
25 A. Well, first and foremost, I'm talking about our forces, but this
1 was coming from both sides, these acts of provocation. More often than
2 not it was impossible to ascertain who was the first to open fire. This
3 went as far as the surroundings of the town itself. And then commanders
4 and superior commanders would investigate. The result was usually that no
5 real proper investigation was possible and it was impossible to find out
6 who the culprits were. We kept protesting with the opposite side and
7 complained about these acts of provocation. I do remember several
8 specific examples. If you want me to, I can give you the specific
9 examples now.
10 Q. I would actually like to ask you about the 3rd Battalion of the
11 472nd. Are there any particular examples of indiscipline as of -- just
12 let me check my notes. It would span the period 8 October to 6th
13 December, but if you can recall acts of lack of discipline or breach of
14 discipline in the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd, I would ask you to turn your
15 attention there.
16 A. I remember -- that is, I believe there is a document which talks
17 about acts of indiscipline in terms of fire being opened on the 23rd and
18 24th of October specifically. This document was sent by the 2nd
19 Operational Group to be taken into account and to be read by all the
20 subordinated units. Several soldiers had been wounded and killed,
21 soldiers who were members of that unit. It was on that occasion that the
22 commander of the 3rd Battalion was also seriously wounded. However, this
23 unit at that time was not subordinated to me. I do not know exactly what
24 the causes were or if an investigation followed later on.
25 Q. If we can move on, perhaps --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
2 MS. SOMERS:
3 Q. If we can move on to other topics, perhaps, about any other
4 incidents that you may recall. You have given us an example and we will
5 return to the 3rd Battalion a little bit later in your testimony, but one
6 question I would pose to you is: Was there -- was it your view that the
7 3rd Battalion of the 472nd was a problematic battalion?
8 A. I couldn't go as far as to say that it was a problematic unit, but
9 I can say that it was peculiar in terms of command. That's how it turned
10 out in the end, but back at the beginning there was no way for us to know.
11 Because when the previous commander, Major Ekrem Devlic, was still there,
12 there must have been instances like this, even under his command.
13 However, when Captain Kovacevic took over, these incidents, the number of
14 these incidents, increased. The battalion was always in the thick of the
15 attack, in very difficult combat situations. Therefore, these single acts
16 of discipline were all the more apparent, as well as all the other
17 phenomena that every commander no doubt would like to avoid. All these
18 were apparent after Captain Kovacevic took over.
19 Q. Are you suggesting, Admiral, then, perhaps there was a changing
20 nature, but that problems began to appear?
21 A. Yes.
22 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me for a minute, I just want to cross off.
23 Q. Who issued orders to you, Admiral, and to whom did you report?
24 A. My superior commander issued my orders, the commander of the 2nd
25 Operational Group, General Pavle Strugar. I issued orders to my
1 subordinates, to my subordinate units, specifically the two battalions,
2 the 3rd Trebinje Battalion and the 3rd Podgorica Brigade Battalion.
3 Q. Turning your attention to a time period that's a little remote
4 from the October issues you were discussing, the 7th of November, do you
5 recall an order from the chief of staff of the forces of the Socialist
6 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Colonel Adzic -- Colonel General Adzic,
7 excuse me, concerning a total blockade, a total blockade, of Dubrovnik and
8 other harbours? Do you recall that?
9 A. Yes, yes, there are documents like that. I do remember.
10 Q. Are you able to indicate what the circumstances were that underlay
11 this particular order by General Adzic?
12 A. I can't know for sure what the circumstances were, but I know that
13 this order dated the 7th of November said to carry out the most severe
14 blockade of Dubrovnik. There must have been circumstances even outside
15 our operation zone. Maybe there were heavy losses that had been suffered
16 by the JNA in other areas, in Croatia, for example. This may have
17 happened in the area under our control also. Because in this period
18 between the 7th and the 12th of November, there were a number of things
19 going on in our area that may have affected this position by the general,
20 this rather tough position taken by the general. But I can't be sure
21 right now as to what influenced his position.
22 Q. Following up on your indication about issuance of orders, I would
23 ask to turn your attention to tab 5 of the binder.
24 Before we look at the document, Admiral, I would like to ask you
25 something. You indicated, in response to my question who issued orders,
1 that it was the commander of the 2nd Operational Group, and you named
2 particularly General Strugar. To whom did you report? Admiral, are you
3 able to break away for one moment from the document. To whom did you
5 A. To my superior officer, General Strugar.
6 Q. Now, returning to the document you have in front of you, it is a
7 handwritten document in your language. But if you could please indicate,
8 first of all, that it is dated 16 October, 1991, and what is --
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. To whom is the document addressed?
11 A. This document is addressed to the 2nd Operational Group. This is
12 a report on the death of a military police officer who was a member of one
13 of my units in Cavtat. This document was also sent to the security
14 administration in Belgrade because this was the rule; you had to report to
15 the security administration about the death of a policeman.
16 Q. Now, you are indicating then that even the death of a single
17 soldier or a single member of your forces is reported to the commander of
18 the 2nd Operational Group?
19 A. Yes, of course.
20 Q. And this document, Admiral, is a document that bears your name?
21 A. Yes, yes. This is a document that belongs to my command.
22 MS. SOMERS: I would ask to move this document into evidence,
24 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P103.
1 MS. SOMERS:
2 Q. Admiral, where was the headquarters of the 9th VPS when you first
3 came into command in October of 1991?
4 A. The headquarters were in Kumbor. This command post had been set
5 up in peacetime and we did not need to change it.
6 Q. So what republic was that? What republic is Kumbor?
7 A. In Montenegro.
8 Q. Did the location of the headquarters change in time?
9 A. Yes. That was when we entered Kupari, the military resort of
10 Kupari near Dubrovnik, the military holiday resort, and then we set up a
11 forward command post at Kupari in order to shorten the distance between
12 our units and our forward command post. We set up a command post outside
13 Kumbor at Kupari and continued to exercise command from there.
14 Q. When you say, Admiral, "near Dubrovnik," are you indicating that
15 Kupari is in the territory of Croatia and that it was territory taken by
16 forces of the JNA, particular forces of the 2nd Operational Group?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Admiral, I may have overlooked a question on the document
19 reporting the death of a soldier. And if I can ask for my colleague
20 Ms. McCreath just to put that document up before you on the screen. Yes,
21 okay, it's still there, your handwritten document. There also -- I asked
22 you to whom it was addressed. There is also an addressee, the command of
23 the Vis VPO Naval District. What is that command?
24 A. This is about the command of the military naval district. The
25 command had been evacuated from Split and transferred to the island of
1 Vis. This used to be my superior command, the navy command, if I may put
2 it that way. Although this command was no longer in command of the 9th
3 Sector, in order to keep them posted, we used to send reports to that
4 command also.
5 Q. Is it a common practice to have a former or, as it were, a parent,
6 unit kept informed?
7 A. It was a common practice, not necessarily prescribed. This was
8 the usual thing to do. Because I couldn't know at the time whether and
9 when I would return to my previous unit, so in order to keep my former
10 commander posted, I did these things. However, this specific commander
11 had no authority over me; he could not exercise command over me. All he
12 could do was monitor the situation.
13 Q. Admiral, the command post of the 2nd Operational Group was located
15 A. This command post was in the town of Trebinje.
16 Q. And that is in Trebinje municipality in Bosnia-Herzegovina, you
17 were referring to earlier?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. I'm going to ask you a little bit about the staff officers of the
20 2nd Operational Group under General Strugar. Are you able to -- can you
21 tell us, please, the name or names of the chief or chiefs of staff --
22 there was a period where there might have been a change, but the names of
23 the persons who might have been occupying the position of chief of staff
24 of the 2nd Operational Group.
25 A. The chief of staff of the 2nd Operational Group was General Branko
1 Stankovic. That was when the Dubrovnik operation first began. However,
2 the 2nd Tactical Group was set up immediately, and he was appointed
3 commander of the 2nd Tactical Group.
4 As for the chief of staff and deputy commander of the 2nd
5 Operational Group, General Radovan Damjanovic was appointed to that
6 position. When the 2nd Tactical Group was disbanded on the 21st of
7 October, for a while General Stankovic again took over as the chief of
8 staff of the 2nd Operational Group. Later on he got a transfer to the
9 13th Corps -- or rather, the newly established Bileca Corps. He became
10 commander there. General Damjanovic then became chief of staff. So the
11 two of them, in a manner of speaking, took turns in that position.
12 Q. On the 5th and 6th of December, 1991, who was the chief of staff
13 of the 2nd Operational Group?
14 A. I believe General Stankovic was at the time.
15 Q. Who was the operations officer?
16 A. Colonel Filipovic was the operations officer, Miroslav Filipovic,
17 who was later promoted to the rank of general but I don't know exactly
19 Q. Bearing in mind the change between the personalities of chief of
20 staff, I won't ask any more questions on that right now. But I would like
21 to ask you about your own staff. Who was your operations officer?
22 A. My operations officer was the brigade captain Slobodan Kozaric.
23 Q. And where was he located?
24 A. He was always at the command post in Kumbor at the operations
25 centre. When the command post was transferred to Kupari, he was always at
2 Q. And your chief of staff?
3 A. Captain Milan Zec was chief of staff.
4 Q. And your assistant for ground forces or your perhaps chief of
5 ground forces?
6 A. My assistant for ground forces was Colonel Gravilo Kovacevic.
7 Q. Are you able to perhaps give a couple of other names of your staff
8 officers? And then we will move on.
9 A. As for these assistants, I had an assistant commander for morale,
10 Frigate Captain Mihajlo Zarkovic. Then assistant for logistics, Colonel
11 Petar Dragicevic. Then the intelligence officer Sofronije Jeremic and
12 other staff officers.
13 Q. Can you indicate your zone of responsibility, perhaps in
14 geographic terms.
15 A. The area of responsibility varied in terms of how the operations
16 developed within the Dubrovnik operation. First when I came to that
17 theatre, this zone was minimal and it encompassed a very small area from
18 the Croatia/Montenegrin border along the sea 2 to 4 kilometres from the
19 peninsula of Krivaja up to Cavtat. Because the units of the 2nd Tactical
20 Group were in that zone and they were the protagonists of operations in
21 that area. However, when it was disbanded on the 21st of October, then my
22 zone included the area from Kupari all the way up to Ivanica on the border
23 between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Later on when I had the 472nd
24 Brigade attached to me, then my area of responsibility encompassed this
25 entire operational zone around Dubrovnik all the way to Zaton. So Zaton
1 was the border, Veli Zaton and Mali Zaton. And then Dubrovnik encircled on
2 the south and south-east side.
3 Q. From the description of your zone of responsibility and the
4 various territories accompanying it, is it accurate to say that there was
5 a land blockade as well as a sea blockade around Dubrovnik?
6 A. Absolutely, absolutely, yes.
7 Q. I'm going to return for a moment -- actually, I'm going to return
8 for a few moments to the structure of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd
9 Brigade. You indicated earlier, I think - correct me if I'm wrong - of an
10 approximation of 700 -- I'm terribly sorry. I beg your pardon. I was
11 referring to another number you gave.
12 What, if you know, was the strength of the 3rd Battalion?
13 A. About 700 men.
14 Q. Of these persons, were -- would you describe the majority as
15 professional soldiers, reservists, or can you give us an indication of the
16 type of troops that were in that particular battalion.
17 A. Well, about 50 per cent or perhaps a bit less than 50 per cent
18 were soldiers who were doing their military service. As for the rest,
19 they were reservists who had been mobilised. Lower-ranking officers in
20 companies were squad leaders, and they were reserve officers, too. Only
21 company commanders were active duty officers, and also the command of the
22 battalion were active duty officers.
23 Q. How many units were in the 3rd Battalion and what -- can you
24 describe the units.
25 A. The battalion had three motorised companies, the 1st, 2nd, and the
1 3rd. The 4th one was the anti-armour company, and also there was a mortar
2 battery, 120 millimetres. And the battalion command was this small
3 service of signals, communication, logistics, et cetera.
4 Q. Can you indicate the level of training of the soldiers or
5 reservists -- of the soldiers and reservists, but the level of training of
6 the component troops of the 3rd Battalion.
7 A. As for this part of the soldiers who were doing their military
8 service, there were no problems with them regarding the level of training
9 and discipline in particular. And also, the degree up to which they had
10 been trained. However, the others, the reservists who had been mobilised
11 rather hastily and who were not part of the battalion before, according to
12 the mobilisation plan, they are the ones that created most of the
13 problems. Also, there were volunteers -- or rather, some people abandoned
14 their units. Some soldiers or groups of soldiers would leave their units
15 and escape, go home. Then of course, they had to be replaced by others,
16 including even volunteers, which was not allowed, actually. So they were
17 the greatest problem of all. And of course, part of the reserve officers,
18 too. There were about ten of them.
19 Q. Are you indicating then that the level of training among -- can
20 you tell us what your view was of the level of training among volunteers
21 or some of the reservists. And training can be on both military
22 manoeuvres and in handling of weaponry.
23 A. Well, it was not at the level that was required, the level of
24 training required for combat situations in which they were used. There
25 was not enough time. Perhaps there was not enough will to do this. The
1 right people had not been selected. There were several reasons why the
2 situation was as it was.
3 Q. You used the term "selected." Can you explain, please. You said:
4 "The right people had not been selected." Selected by whom or what was
5 your reference?
6 A. Well, objectively speaking, I said that the composition, not only
7 of that battalion but we're talking about that battalion now, it did not
8 reflect the establishment that that battalion had consisted of previously.
9 New people were brought in, people who were not on the establishment of
10 that unit beforehand. I said that before Dubrovnik gave about 30 to 40
11 per cent of the personnel for that unit. And that personnel was no longer
12 there, so new people had to be brought in and there wasn't enough time to
13 train these new people so their combat use was therefore highly deficient.
14 Q. When you indicated "new people were brought in," do you know by
15 whom they were brought in for that particular battalion? And looking at a
16 period, let's say -- well, for that battalion, through the whole period.
17 A. I don't know the details. I was not at that front line then.
18 This brigade had been mobilised before that, a few months before that.
19 This mobilisation period, this organisational reinforcement, training, and
20 so on, I wasn't there; I was far away from that area and everything that
21 was going on. But I think that it was insufficient and I think it was not
22 good. And it is well-known who did this, the organs who were in charge of
23 that. Mobilisation was carried out by the 9th Sector and the commander of
24 the brigade.
25 Q. I'm sorry, by the 9th Sector and the commander, I'm not sure that
1 that's clear.
2 A. Well, the commander of the 9th Sector. That brigade was under the
3 9th Sector. The 9th Sector had organisation -- a mobilisation
4 organisation organ that carries out mobilisation, that maintains contact
5 with the municipalities that provide personnel. They tour these
6 municipalities, and these municipalities were in Herzegovina and in
7 Montenegro. The commander -- the command of the brigade gives the
8 personnel who are to carry the mobilisation out. So then they establish
9 contacts, they keep these contacts going, and of course they bring the new
10 personnel into the brigade. This is a process that went on for about a
11 month. I don't know exactly when this mobilisation took place, but there
12 were quite a few deficiencies and shortcomings involved. Of course in
13 addition to the commander of the brigade, the commander himself did have
14 influence over the mobilisation of the brigade, the level of training and
15 so on.
16 Q. Which commander are you referring to when you say "in addition to
17 the commander of the brigade"? You then said "the commander himself did
18 have influence over the mobilisation."
19 A. I meant the commander of the battalion. The commander of the
20 battalion, of course. That is the commander who is in charge of training,
21 reinforcing his units from a combat point of view, the level of training.
22 So that is his basic task prior to use in combat.
23 Q. Did General Strugar allow the volunteers you referred to to stay
24 in theatre?
25 A. No. At that time General Strugar was not in that position. He
1 was then the commander of the Territorial Defence of Montenegro. He was
2 not involved in these matters, if I can put it that way.
3 Q. So we're referring to a period before the 12th of October.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay. Now, when you -- when the battalion was actually in place
6 and the level of training that you described as being inadequate became
7 apparent, did those persons nevertheless remain as units -- or, I'm sorry,
8 as troops in units under the overall command of the 2nd Operational Group?
9 A. Well, of course they stayed on within this composition. There
10 weren't any other units. That was more or less the situation in the case
11 of other units as well. Perhaps there were differences in terms of the
12 commanders themselves and the top commands but the personnel was brought
13 together more or less along similar lines.
14 Q. Earlier you mentioned that after the battalion commander Devlic
15 was injured end of October, Captain Kovacevic became commander. Can you
16 give a description, as it were, of the man, the type of person, as you saw
17 him then. I don't mean necessarily physical description, but your
18 observations of the man as a person or commander.
19 A. Of course at that time I didn't know that. What I'm about to say
20 now is something that I learned later during command and control, when I
21 actually got to meet him. I had not known him before. I had heard of him
22 as Rambo while he was in Bileca, while he was a teacher there at the
23 training centre for reserve officers. I think that he taught
24 marksmanship. He was a trained officer, a capable officer, very brave -
25 too brave, as a matter of fact - skillful, ambitious. As for the nickname
1 "Rambo" in international terms one knows what this means; however, at
2 that time, of course, we could not have known how this would come to
3 expression in certain difficult situations, delicate situations. I think
4 that he did not have the experience required in commanding such a big
5 unit. He was a commander --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's mistake.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was a captain, an ordinary
8 captain, about 29 or 30 years of age. And that is when he assumed command
9 of this strong unit.
10 MS. SOMERS:
11 Q. Where was Captain Kovacevic's command post?
12 A. His command post was at Gornji Brgat throughout this period that
13 we are talking about. But from time to time -- I mean, this battalion
14 only had some rest after these woundings sometime between the 24th of
15 October and the 10th of November. As for the forward observation post, it
16 was at an elevation called Zarkovica above Dubrovnik.
17 Q. When Captain Kovacevic became the commander of the 3rd Battalion
18 following the injury of Commander Devlic, was he subsequently confirmed to
19 that position? In other words, did he become commander through an
20 appointment and a confirmation?
21 A. I cannot know that. But it must have been that way, because he
22 was deputy commander according to the establishment. So if the commander
23 could not function, then it was the deputy who would stand in, unless the
24 higher commander would order otherwise. In this case he did not order
25 otherwise, so Kovacevic assumed duties straight away and the confirmed
1 appointment certainly followed later on the part of the brigade commander.
2 And this was certainly confirmed by the commander of the 2nd Operational
3 Group. I don't know that now, but it must have been that way; that is
4 regular procedure.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Ms. Somers?
6 MS. SOMERS: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE PARKER: We will have a 20-minute break.
8 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. Somers.
11 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Admiral Jokic, discussing the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade,
13 in the context of discipline, how would you describe the usage of weapons
14 by the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd?
15 A. Well, if I were to provide an assessment about a number of
16 difficult situations where the whole battalion was being used, I would say
17 that the use of weapons was often outside of what was strictly a military
18 necessity, outside of combat situations, especially as concerns individual
19 minor elements of the battalion. But this also goes for the battalion as
20 a whole. There were three -- or rather, two individual situations that I
21 was aware of.
22 Q. Would you describe them, please.
23 A. As for operations that took place between the 10th and the 12th of
24 November and those on the 6th of December, those were the days -- the
25 dates that I had in mind. But there were minor occurrences like that
1 outside those two situations, some minor infringements regarding the use
2 of weapons, regarding the discipline of certain individual soldiers or
3 groups of soldiers.
4 Q. You are then distinguishing the November and December incidents
5 from what you're calling minor then, as I understand you.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I would like to inquire about General Strugar's awareness of some
8 of the problems relating to units in the 2nd Operational Group. And I
9 would initially turn your attention to tab 37 of your binders.
10 Admiral Jokic, this document dated 4 November, 1991, addressed
11 from the command of the 2nd Operational Group to -- can you explain to
12 whom it is addressed and who is Admiral Stane Brovet, if you would be so
14 A. This document was made by the command of the 2nd Operational
15 Group. It is dated the 4th of November, 1991, and it is addressed to
16 Admiral Stane Brovet personally, the general staff of the armed forces of
17 the SFRY. Admiral Brovet was assistant federal minister for national
18 defence. He was the assistant to the Minister Veljko Kadijevic.
19 Q. A number of points are addressed in this particular document. And
20 whose name is at the end of the document?
21 A. There is the name of the commander of the 2nd Operational Group,
22 General Pavle Strugar.
23 Q. The document deals with a number of, as it were, complaints or
24 issues raised either with or in the presence of representatives of the
25 European Community. And I'd like to turn your attention to paragraph 5 on
1 page 2 -- it's on the second page of the English translation.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That particular paragraph deals with information passed on that
4 the army, meaning the federal army, was using 120-millimetre calibre
5 weapons and firing at hotels in Babin Kuk in which refugees were located.
6 Where is Babin Kuk, please, Admiral?
7 A. Babin Kuk is near the sea, facing the open sea. It's 3 or 4
8 kilometres outside the Old Town.
9 Q. Is it part then of Dubrovnik municipality or the town of
11 A. The town itself. The touristic section of the town near the sea,
12 opposite the Old Town.
13 Q. The paragraph continues to discuss protests, strongest protests
14 being lodged over the use of chemical agents and claiming that they were
15 released from a submarine and could be felt in the general area of the
17 The next line: "The absurdity of this claim is obvious, however
18 at a meeting held on 4 November, the ECMM representatives said they
19 conveyed this to their superiors."
20 Can you indicate -- for example, there are two parts to the
21 protest; one is about Babin Kuk and the other is about the allegation of
22 chemical agents and warfare agents. Do you know, in arriving at a
23 conclusion about the absurdity of the claim, upon what was that conclusion
24 of the absurdity based?
25 A. I have never seen this document, but I am familiar with its
1 content -- or rather, what it speaks about, especially as concerns the
2 so-called Fozgen and Difozgen chemical weapons as well as the use of
3 submarines. I was asked by the commander whether any submarines could be
4 used that would take part in operations outside -- just off the Dubrovnik
5 coast. I would say that this is a deliberate piece of trickery. There
6 were no submarines being used ever because no submarines could get that
7 far. All of this about chemical agents is simply inaccurate. This merely
8 goes to show that the opposite side, the Dubrovnik side, never referred to
9 this incident again. This is corroborated by the fact that they never
10 talked about this again; they simply gave up the claim and any pretense of
11 truthfulness that it may have contained.
12 As for the targeting of hotels at Babin Kuk, it is a fact that
13 120-millimetre mortars were used and fired at firing points that were
14 located at Babin Kuk. That much is true. But those weapons were often
15 positioned adjacent to the hotels in which refugees were staying at the
16 time. That much is true.
17 Q. Admiral, if we can turn to paragraph 2 on the first page of the --
18 MS. SOMERS: In the English translation, Your Honours.
19 Q. Representations are made that in the presence of EC
20 representatives, representatives of Dubrovnik town accuse the JNA of
21 wounding five civilians from a light machine-gun. They supplied the
22 representative with some names, a description of injuries, which it was
23 obvious they had been caused by the explosion of a shell because it was
24 said that shrapnel remained in the body. It is reliably known that on
25 that day the JNA did not in any way violate the cease-fire. It could
1 therefore not be accepted that civilians had been wounded from its side."
2 The question I pose to you is that: Are these rapid-fire
3 responses sent to Admiral Brovet, or is there some actual inquiry, if you
5 A. I am in no position to know that, because I did not take part. I
6 can only talk about the submarine, this allegation.
7 Q. But you are familiar then with the fact that the -- the incidents
8 are brought to the attention of the higher command in Belgrade through
9 General Strugar?
10 A. Yes.
11 MS. SOMERS: I will move on, but I would ask that this be admitted
12 into evidence, please.
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P104.
15 MS. SOMERS:
16 Q. I would like to ask you, please, to look at tab 6 of your binder.
17 It's a document, Admiral, dated 8th of October --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 MS. SOMERS: I believe it's on.
20 Q. This is a document dated 8th of October --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry. I have my microphone on, or so it is
23 indicating. Is there a problem technically? It is on.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on and we'll see.
25 MS. SOMERS: Okay.
1 Q. Admiral, this document deals -- I'm sorry, it is dated the 8th of
2 October, 1991. Can you hear me, Admiral?
3 A. Yes, I can hear you.
4 Q. And can you indicate, please, whose name is on the document. From
5 whom is the document?
6 A. This document was produced by my command, the 9th VPS, and it was
7 signed by Milan Zec, who was chief of staff.
8 Q. Now, the document deals with -- it is addressed to the commands of
9 Prevlaka, Trebinje, Radovici army barracks. And discusses: "Our units
10 are carrying out the assigned tasks very successfully, and the soldiers
11 are showing commendable bravery and soldierly conduct. However, there has
12 also been some impermissible conduct about which we were told by the 2nd
13 Operational Group command in a strictly confidential letter number 149-1,
14 dated 7 October 1991, as follows: wanton arson and destruction of
15 facilities, plundering, violent vengeful behaviour, drunkenness, and
16 refusal to carry out orders. With the aim to prevent the aforementioned,
17 I hereby order the commands of all units are obliged to regularly report
18 any such conduct and undertake vigorous measures against the perpetrators,
19 including criminal prosecution."
20 Are you familiar with this order and the contents or the incident
21 or the type of activity described in the order, Admiral?
22 A. Yes, I am familiar with that. This was written on the very day
23 that I took up my duty, but I think there were cases like these before as
24 well as later during my period in command. This is along the same lines
25 as what we discussed earlier, the lack of discipline and how this was
1 displayed across our unit. Just one example, the commander of the 2nd
2 Operational Group required the subordinated commands to take vigorous
3 measures to punish these acts of indiscipline, including criminal
5 Q. Thank you, Admiral.
6 MS. SOMERS: I would like to move this document into evidence.
7 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P105.
9 MS. SOMERS:
10 Q. Could I ask you, please, to turn your attention to tab 7 of your
11 binders. Admiral, are you familiar with this document?
12 A. Yes. This document was drafted at my command. It is dated the
13 15th of October, 1991, and there is my signature at the bottom of the
14 document, my signature in my capacity as the commander of the 9th VPS.
15 Q. This document refers, Admiral, to -- it says A -- it's unclear,
16 a/a/files/command. Could you perhaps elaborate on the distribution of the
17 addressee of this particular document, if you can.
18 A. This is the usual form of address when a document is being sent to
19 all the subordinate commands, and then this is what you put there. There
20 are files and then the names of all the subordinate units, to the
21 attention of all the subordinate units, and to be carried out. The
22 document itself talks about a state of exhaustion and discontent felt by
23 the soldiers in relation to their families and their need to be allowed
24 leave, to leave their units, and go back home and see their families.
25 This is hereby approved, but it also says that it must be done in an
1 organised manner to avoid looting and robbery or the use of weapons and so
2 on. The departure and return of soldiers is to be carried out in an
3 organised manner through the use of motor vehicles and not individually,
4 as individual soldiers may see fit.
5 Q. I also note that it says: "Inform the relevant garrison and the
6 2nd Operational Group commands about each passage through the Trebinje,
7 Bileca and Kumbor sectors."
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So they are on notice of the contents of this document and the
10 reasons for such passage?
11 A. Yes. This clearly shows that those were organised departures of
12 soldiers by using motor vehicles in the possession of the army. These
13 garrisons were informed. This was not desertion and these were not
14 soldiers who were just leaving their units of their own accord randomly.
15 This was followed through by using the appropriate military steps.
16 Q. You indicate in the order -- in the document, restlessness. Can
17 you please elaborate on why the soldiers would be experiencing
19 A. Well, this restlessness was caused by the fact that they had been
20 mobilised to take part in a war the objective of which was not
21 sufficiently apparent. The soldiers were restless and tired. Their
22 families had not been provided for, especially those who had low salaries
23 and no salaries at all. Winter was on its way, and they didn't even have
24 enough wood to warm themselves on. This was the sort of social situation
25 that we were facing in the country at that time. And this very much
1 effected the army as well.
2 Q. Did it affect discipline or morale within the units?
3 A. By all means.
4 MS. SOMERS: I'd ask to move this document into evidence, please.
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P106.
7 MS. SOMERS:
8 Q. If you could turn your attention to the document that is in tab 8.
9 MS. SOMERS: I have to apologise to anyone reading the B/C/S
10 version; it is a bit difficult. This is the best copy we were able to
12 Q. Admiral, despite the difficulty in the print, are you familiar
13 with this particular document, which is dated the 31st of October, 1991?
14 A. Yes, I am familiar with it.
15 Q. And can you indicate, please -- excuse me, let me just get the
16 English version. To whom is the document addressed? From whom, to whom?
17 A. The document was produced by my command, and again it was sent to
18 all the subordinate units and all the command bodies, the different bodies
19 in my command.
20 Q. That includes the command -- I'm sorry. Yes, go ahead.
21 A. This includes all the organs, bodies, in my command that were in
22 charge of this problem. The document talks about these specific problems,
23 problems of indiscipline, how to prevent wanton behaviour in the units,
24 the consumption of alcohol, looting, and all other acts of indiscipline.
25 The document specifies the measures to be taken on a daily basis. The
1 names should be called out and units reviewed every day in the morning and
2 in the evening. All the weapons and ammunition should be checked every
3 day. Opening fire from infantry weapons in the units should be prevented,
4 opening fire on the opposite side, and so on and so forth. Cooperation is
5 to be ensured with garrison commands, district commands, and local
6 commands. This is a comprehensive order which comprises a number of
7 measures to improve discipline to strengthen combat morale, and combat
8 readiness of the units.
9 Q. I note that you have on the first page of the order an indication
10 of a problem with failure to follow and carry out orders. Now, in the
11 issuance of this particular order by yourself, did you include a method of
12 verifying whether orders were in fact followed?
13 A. Superior officers would carry out the verification. They would do
14 the rounds of units, also unannounced, and they would verify whether this
15 was being carried out. These were the methods used mainly to verify
16 whether the units were complying with this order or not.
17 Q. You refer to a need to improve the general order. Were you
18 concerned about the overall status and welfare of the command when you say
19 "the general order"?
20 A. Well, yes. The general order. This is a reference to the
21 behaviour of all the units, overall behaviour. This does not only imply
22 soldiers but also superior officers. General order, disciplined
23 behaviour, the way orders were being carried out; it included all of this.
24 Q. I'm going to ask you about what may be a typographical error in
25 just a moment. I want to draw your attention to something. Excuse me for
1 one second, I need to find it.
2 Point 3, English translation page 2, point 3 refer to: "All
3 organs, commands, chiefs of branches and services shall make detailed
4 reports on expenditure of materiel ammunition, the effects of actions and
5 experience from the action."
6 Was there a concern -- what underlies this particular paragraph,
7 Admiral? What concern is expressed there, if you are able to help us?
8 A. Well, the main concern was about uncontrolled or excessive use of
9 ammunition with no records being kept, as prescribed. This was meant to
10 ensure that the soldiers didn't use more ammunition than had been assigned
11 to them, to prevent excessive use of ammunition, ammunition being used
12 beyond military necessity. There was supposed to be verification and
13 records kept as to the amount of ammunition being handed out to the
14 soldiers. Also, this was meant to ensure that combat objectives were
15 being reached with the use of such ammunition as was allocated to a
16 certain unit.
17 Q. Was this paragraph based on experience indicating that there was
18 not such verification and that ammunition was unaccounted for?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Is this type of regulation or verification of expenditures and the
21 making of such reports a function of command?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. If I can ask you just to assist us. I realise the typing -- or
24 the copy is very poor. But on the very first page, the English
25 translation says: "Chiefs of services of the command of the 2nd VPS."
1 And I would ask you if you're able to indicate, should that be 2nd
2 or what is the VPS number that should be correctly indicated there? At
3 the very top.
4 A. No, the 9th VPS. That's how it should read. This is a
5 typographical error; the 9th VPS.
6 Q. Thank you very much.
7 MS. SOMERS: If I could ask Your Honours to reflect that the
8 English should also be corrected. It is clearly a typographical error
9 that has been carried out.
10 I also ask that this document be moved into evidence.
11 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
12 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P107.
13 MS. SOMERS:
14 Q. Turn to tab 9, please.
15 Are you familiar with this document, Admiral?
16 A. Yes. This document was also produced by my command. The date is
17 the 31st of October, 1991, signed by chief of staff, Zec.
18 Q. And it addresses?
19 A. This document is about these very occurrences, lack of discipline
20 and wanton behaviour in the 472nd Motorised Brigade. It talks about
21 unnecessary machine-gun fire from the position of Golubov Kamen, which is
22 just above Rijeka Dubrovacka, the departure of a soldier to Bosanka in
23 order to take down a Croatian flag. The looting of houses in two
24 villages, Osojnik and Ivanica. And at the end you have a conclusion that
25 this is a result of serious omissions in control and command. Measures
1 are being ordered to prevent these occurrences.
2 Q. And the nature of the measures that are included, would that -- it
3 indicates: "Investigate the above events and immediately report in
4 writing to this command about the measures you have undertaken."
5 Are you aware of any efforts to implement this particular order?
6 A. As far as I remember -- well, of course the written order probably
7 arrived, but the only thing I remember about this is this case of this
8 soldier who mounted a motorbike - excuse me - and he left an elevation and
9 headed for Srdj at full speed. He was drunk by the time he got there. He
10 wasn't killed; he was later exchanged. He came under fire, but somehow he
11 survived. I remember that specific section of the brigade's report, but I
12 don't remember any other parts of the report as to what exactly was done
13 and which specific measures were taken, whether anyone was prosecuted.
14 Q. You indicate -- it is indicated that in the paragraph above the
15 place where a signature would go: "The need to elevate the military order
16 and discipline to the required level in the units of the 472nd as soon as
18 Was it your position that the military level fell short of the
19 required level; and if so, was there some way to consistently check on the
20 military level of discipline?
21 A. Yes, I agree with you. When you're in combat and in contact with
22 the opposite side, the Croatian side, it is very difficult to find radical
23 solutions to a problem like this in a very short time. The command did
24 whatever it could with the units that it had at its disposal. Certainly
25 in order to deal with the problem fully, this would have required a lot
1 more being done.
2 MS. SOMERS: I'd like to ask that this document be moved into
3 evidence, please.
4 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
5 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P108.
6 MS. SOMERS:
7 Q. Admiral, by your comment, your last comment, about requiring a lot
8 more being done, are you then indicating that whatever measures were
9 undertaken fell short of what needed to be done?
10 A. Yes, precisely.
11 Q. [Microphone not activated] I'm sorry, tab 9(A), please.
12 Admiral, are you familiar with this order, this document dated 1
13 November, 1991?
14 A. Yes. This document was done in my command on the 1st of November,
15 and it bears my signature. It was sent to all the subordinate units, to
16 the commanders personally.
17 Q. And can you please indicate what the concerns addressed are in
18 this order. What are you commanding, what are you ordering, and what is
19 the underlying reason for this particular order?
20 A. In this order, on the basis of a particular experience, an
21 incident that was described in the area of Slavonia, that a large number
22 of group -- a large number of Ustashas was put amongst our troops, dressed
23 in our uniforms, and major losses were sustained. 13 people were killed
24 and 17 were wounded because certain measures of combat security had not
25 been taken in that particular unit.
1 Now, on the basis of this example, instructions and orders are
2 being issued by the 2nd Operational Group in terms of taking efficient and
3 concrete measures in all units. That is to say, combat security, in terms
4 of how it should be organised, in order to make it impossible to plant
5 sabotage groups, hostile elements being planted amongst us, and all the
6 measures that should be taken are listed.
7 Q. Admiral, you've indicated on the very first page that: "It is
8 increasingly common for soldiers and officers in the 9th VPS to move
9 around the territory out of control and without the knowledge and
10 permission of superior officers."
11 Now, how much of a problem did -- was this deemed to be? Was it
12 in light of any particular incident or was it as an observation across the
14 A. It was a major problem. It was a major problem. Certain groups
15 of soldiers in the combat -- in the lines of combat moved about without
16 permission, without any need. And very often the opposite side thought
17 that this was preparation for attack, not that these people were moving
18 about arbitrarily, of their own free will. Also, if there was a
19 cease-fire, the duty unit would not function. So there was no proper
20 safety. Those parts that were in contact with Croatian paramilitary
22 Q. Admiral, when you discuss a problem with certain groups of
23 soldiers, does that include officers?
24 A. Well, yes. Lower-ranking officers, yes. Squad leaders, platoon
1 Q. On page 3 of the English translation, paragraph 3, you are
2 ordering that they "ensure full execution of tasks and safe protection of
3 troops, materiel, and technical equipment and units, primarily through a
4 high level of order and discipline. The unconditional execution of orders
5 and responsible execution of duties."
6 Had you found that there was a lack of the foregoing aspects of
7 military discipline?
8 A. Yes, that is why the order was written, because it was not at the
9 required level. That is why the order had been written.
10 MS. SOMERS: I'd like to move this document into evidence, please.
11 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
12 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P109.
13 MS. SOMERS:
14 Q. Can I ask you, please, to look at tab 10.
15 Admiral, this is a document part of which is a bit dark in its
16 copy - apologies - dated 4 December, 1991. And it -- are you familiar
17 with the document?
18 A. Yes, I am. This document was made in my command, and I as
19 commander approved of a plan. The document is called "Plan of measures
20 and activities aimed at developing and maintaining order, discipline, and
21 morale of units in the next period."
22 And then in this document, specific reference is made to the
23 contents and activities involved, how these activities are to be carried
24 out. I'm referring to the way in which this will be carried out, who is
25 responsible for each and every activity and for particular subject matter,
1 and who works on the realisation of a particular subject, also the
2 deadline by which something should be completed. So this primarily refers
3 to everything that the units were encumbered with at that particular point
4 in time. It primarily has to do with all the things that we have been
5 discussing so far, except that now it is spelled out in more specific
6 terms for each and every one of these activities, for each and every
7 particular subject matter involved.
8 Q. I would like to actually discuss some of the points, some of the
9 activities that are referred to in this plan of measures and activities.
10 First, looking at "analyse order, discipline and relations among workers,
11 warn of oversights and propose concrete steps."
12 Now, you have several columns for your table and you indicate by
13 whom the order is to be carried out and in cooperation with whom. And if
14 you could indicate, please, on that one, to whom is it addressed and --
15 I'm sorry, by whom shall it be carried out. And when you say "superior
16 command," what are you referring to, please?
17 A. Well, when orders are issued to my subordinate units, then for
18 each and every one of these activities for the most part is the commanders
19 who are responsible, the commanders of those units. And then the superior
20 organs in my command cooperate with them. When I say "my command," I'm
21 referring to the arms and services, that is to say the assistant commander
22 for morale, the mobilisation organs, and so on and so forth, command
23 posts, et cetera. However, as regards some major problems as regards
24 assistance to my command, then it is the command of the 2nd Operational
25 Group. However, these are activities that subordinate units are ordered
1 to do. So it's my command and its organs that are duty-bound to give
2 assistance to these units. That is the core of the matter.
3 Q. If you look to the seventh point: "Discuss essential information
4 received from 9th VPS, 2nd Operational Group, and SSNO, and police
5 administration commands on the place, role, tasks and objective of war,"
6 et cetera, et cetera.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Who -- how was it proposed that the information would be received?
9 How -- what was the normal means by which it was disseminated?
10 A. Specifically this is problem was a major problem, a large-scale
11 problem that could not be resolved by the subordinate units. This has to
12 do with dissatisfaction of the units in view of the duration of combat
13 activities and the fact that no objectives can be seen. So that was the
14 point, to discuss information received from the superior command, from the
15 2nd tactical -- from the 2nd Operational Group. But mainly what is
16 referred to is information received from the general staff, from the
17 Federal Secretariat for National Defence, that is to say the objective of
18 the war that was imposed upon us, why this war is being waged, for
19 maintaining Yugoslavia, for peacefully resolving the crisis around
20 Dubrovnik, for everything that is being done by the commands involved in
21 view of attaining this objective. It is well-known that at that time
22 there were negotiations underway -- I'm sorry, I went on at length about
24 Q. Thank you. You indicate -- you were indicating it was well-known
25 there were negotiations underway?
1 A. Yes. I meant negotiations that went beyond Yugoslavia, Brussels,
2 The Hague, Geneva, about the crisis in Yugoslavia. But also there were
3 local negotiations between the Dubrovnik authorities in the presence of
4 the representatives of the European community in terms of the peaceful
5 settlement of the crisis around Dubrovnik and bringing the Dubrovnik
6 operation to an end. That is what I meant.
7 Q. This type of information was to be disseminated all the way down
8 to the lowest units, as I understand it. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. Admiral, was it the perhaps poor level of discipline in the 2nd
11 Operational Group or -- in the 2nd Operational Group that led you to
12 prepare the plan, or what underlay the preparation of such a detailed
14 A. Well, the reason were the negative things that we talked about now
15 and all the partial, individual measures that were taken beforehand did
16 not yield result. We wanted to embark upon an all-embracing plan that
17 would include everything, and we wanted to move on this wide front and to
18 redress the situation fundamentally. We were not satisfied. The general
19 assessment was that the situation was not satisfactory.
20 Q. Do you know if a similar plan was put forth or advocated or
21 proposed by the command of the 2nd Operational Group?
22 A. I assume that it was. We probably did this on their orders. I
23 assume that this was done by all other units, too. Because the units of
24 the 9th Sector were not an exception in relation to others -- or rather,
25 others were not an exception. I think that this was a general phenomenon,
1 that the situation was approximately the same.
2 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you. You are assuming but you do not know
3 for sure? You are assuming --
4 A. Yes, yes. I don't know for sure.
5 Q. The dissatisfaction that had been referred to generally in the
6 subordinate units, how would you -- how did you see the subordinate units
7 perceiving the command climate, the tone of command, in the superior
8 units? How did the lower -- the subordinate units view their superior
9 command? What was the climate?
10 A. Well, viewed as a whole, the subordinate units, especially the
11 reserve force, the reserve officers, were not satisfied with the way in
12 which command and control were carried out or with the effectiveness and
13 combat results attained. They thought that the pattern that was used -
14 set out, stop, set out, stop - was not a good one, that war should be
15 waged more energetically, that the superior commands were even incapable.
16 So there were some individual cases that attempts were made for active
17 duty officers of active commands to be replaced by commands where reserve
18 officers would be in charge. These were extremists for the most part who
19 got carried away by nationalistic euphoria, and they wanted to have the
20 problem of Dubrovnik resolved by force at all costs and as soon as
21 possible, not peacefully and through negotiations, which was the objective
22 of the commands.
23 Q. Admiral, you're referring as a whole to subordinate units and
24 giving a fairly broad spectrum of units when you say they were
25 dissatisfied. Was General Strugar in a position to do something about
1 this indiscipline, this lack of discipline, and the dissatisfaction?
2 A. Well, as the highest commander in the Dubrovnik zone, he took the
3 measures that we have been talking about all the time now. He was aware,
4 as the highest officer there, what kind of troops he had and what kind of
5 commands he had. He was informed about all of these things regularly.
6 And of course, on the basis of all of this that was happening, he decided
7 on measures and tasks that should be carried out in order to eradicate
8 such phenomenon. I think that we were in full agreement there as far as
9 the subordinate and superior commands were concerned.
10 Q. However, you indicated earlier that the measures were not
11 sufficient. Was that also on a level of General Strugar?
12 A. I cannot make any claims in his name now, but I can say that I
13 know that he was not satisfied with the situation in the subordinate
14 commands either and that this dissatisfaction of his was then spelled out
15 through efforts to improve the situation.
16 Q. But the problems continued?
17 A. Yes, they did. Yes. Absolutely, yes.
18 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, I have another line of questioning I
19 want to start. Would this be a convenient time or shall I go on another
20 five minutes?
21 JUDGE PARKER: I take it from your indication that the new line of
22 questioning will be quite an extensive one. That being so, we will
23 adjourn now.
24 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry. Before we adjourn, I beg your pardon, I'm
25 reminded, I need to move the document into evidence.
1 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
2 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P110.
4 JUDGE PARKER: I must ask you, Admiral, to return tomorrow
5 morning. We will be breaking for the day now, and we will continue with
6 your evidence in the morning -- I was quite wrong there. Tomorrow
7 afternoon we're continuing, not the morning. It will be commencing at
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.42 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 25th day of
11 March, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.