1 Tuesday, 13 April 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon to you all. We trust that the
6 accused is in better health at this stage.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE PARKER: The witness is now coming back into the court.
9 Good afternoon. If I could remind you of the affirmation you
10 took, which still applies.
11 WITNESS: MIODRAG JOKIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Good
16 Cross-examined by Mr. Rodic: [Continued]
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the overhead projector be
18 lowered, please. I'd like to ask the technical booth to do that so that I
19 have visual contact with the witness. Thank you. Thank you.
20 Q. Mr. Jokic, good afternoon. I shall carry on with my questions
21 from where we left off last time, and I should now like to ask you to tell
22 us what the role and tasks were of the 9th Military Naval Sector within
23 the frame work of the naval district as a whole and the Adriatic coastal
24 battlefront during the time of your first term of office as commander
25 there, the sector.
1 A. According to the concept of the day of total national defence, or
2 All People's Defence, which was in force and our general military
3 doctrine, the command of the 9th Military Naval Sector was designed for
4 defence purposes of the coast and an area in-depth within the littoral as
5 well as anti-air attack at sea and providing security for the fleet and
6 naval forces and acting in cohorts.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Tell me, please, the concept of total national defence and social
10 self-protection, as it was called, of the SFRY at the time, did it start
11 out from the premise that the state can be open to outside aggression, either
12 by the NATO pact or the Warsaw Pact at the time? Did it envisage an outside
13 enemy? Just briefly, please.
14 A. Well, the assessments were always that there existed one of the
15 possible scenarios, an aggression either from the east or from the west.Those
16 were the assumptions. And the danger was at the time of an internal
17 conflict breaking out, in actual fact. And to a lesser degree was there
18 the fear of a possible aggression from outside, an external aggression,
19 although we never forgot such a threat, either.
20 Q. Now, the concept of total national defence, All People's Defence,
21 was it based upon the premise of an external, outside aggression or was it
22 based on the possibility of an internal conflict? Which?
23 A. According to our concept, it was the external danger that was
24 paramount, and we based it on that. As far as an internal one was
25 concerned, we considered the situation in the country to be stable, and
1 this was true until the 1980s, or the end of the 1980s, in actual fact,
2 when there were signs already of certain instability within the country
3 and the possibility of the conflict coming to a head.
4 Q. The conception of total national defence, did it change at all?
5 Did it undergo changes, or in 1990 was it the same? Did 1990 see the army
6 with the same concept?
7 A. No. The concept didn't change. It remained the same, and it was
8 always focused on this external enemy or danger from outside.
9 Q. Thank you. So in line with these premises and this assumption of
10 an outside enemy and aggression, were the units and commands trained in
11 that direction, geared towards that objective?
12 A. Yes, of course.
13 Q. And was it also in keeping with the premise of defence from an
14 outside aggressor that the equipment and materiel was deployed and the
15 territory prepared for defence? Would that
16 be true?
17 A. Yes. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. Now, the SFRY, did it defend itself from the sea, thinking that it
19 would be open to a possible aggression by far superior naval and airborne
20 NATO forces? Was that the principal anxiety?
21 A. Yes. We always focused on anti-air defence from the coast and the
22 sea and especially individual sections which were the most -- most prone
23 to airborne attacks of that kind, taking the NATO variant.
24 Q. Tell me, did the organisation of the territory for defence against
25 a seaborne attack begin from the hinterland around Dubrovnik?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And was the main force geared towards defending that territory,
4 did it have its headquarters in Trebinje? Was it in fact the Trebinje
5 Brigade we discussed earlier on?
6 The 72nd Trebinje Brigade?
8 A. Yes, the 472nd Trebinje Brigade was the basic point of support for
9 a defence of the coastal belt.
10 Q. And what about the Konavle area? Yugoslav People's Army more than
11 20 years ago set this up as the first line of defence; is that right? Did
12 it build up underground channels, warehouses and storage in order to put
13 up a defence against forces that were far mightier, it was supposed would
14 be far mightier?
15 A. Yes, that's right. The whole zone of defence was prepared for
16 that eventuality, defence against an airborne attack along the coast and
17 into the hinterland which comprised the sector zone.
18 Q. So this hinterland region, it was also incorporated into this
19 general line of defence; for example, the Konavle area and the other
20 coastal belt areas; is that right?
21 A. Yes, it is.
22 Q. The central line of defence from a possible attack from that side,
23 from that axis, was it the Dalmatinska Ploča, the plateau bordering with
24 Mostar to the south and the Knin area to the north?
25 A. Yes, at the level of an army operation on the Adriatic coastal
1 battleground or theatre of operation we expected the main line of defence
2 to be at the Dalmatinska Ploča, or Dalmatian Plateau area in the central
3 Adriatic , and exercises and training was also -- always conducted along
4 those lines. Q. So in line with this general concept, was there a lot of
5 military materiel, weapons, and technical resources stationed in the area
6 beforehand, generally speaking?
7 A. Yes, of course.
8 Q. Would it be true to say that the weapons belonging to the JNA,
9 which were later used in the wars that took place on the territory of the
10 former Yugoslavia was not brought into the area of conflict but that the
11 bulk of those weapons were already located in those areas? They were
12 already there?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. And the first conflicts, did they arise with respect to the fact
15 that the JNA already had weapons and materiel in the area?
16 A. I didn't quite understand that question of yours. What do you
17 mean, who used the weapons or what?
18 Q. My question was this: The first conflicts that took place on the
19 territory of the SFRY, was the pretext, did they begin because the already
20 existing weapons wished to be seized, the weapons that already existed
22 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. There is no date placed
23 before the witness in which to frame any response. It is unclear how he
24 can direct an answer.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Are you able to place a date to your question, do
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13 English transcripts.
1 you think, Mr. Rodic?
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, Your Honour. We've
3 discussed this general area, and the dates we're discussing are 1990,
4 1991, and 1992, which was the well-known dates relating to the conflict in
5 the former SFRY.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Well, it would help me at least if you could say
7 what you saw or what you regard as the first conflicts on the territory of
8 the SFRY.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Well, let me be more specific, more
11 Q. For example, in the autumn of 1991, does the witness know whether
12 there were any attacks on military facilities, warehouses where weapons
13 were stored in the area that we were discussing a moment ago?
14 MS. SOMERS: No, Your Honour, it's not clear what area we're
15 discussing, and if I could ask just to have that so that we can, if need
16 be for redirect, frame a proper question.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm talking about the
18 area we -- we discussed in the previous few questions.
19 JUDGE PARKER: It's all very loose and general, Mr. Rodic.
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Well, let me put it this way, then:
21 Q. Do you know about the conflicts or attacks on military facilities
22 of this kind in the area of Southern Dalmatia during 1991, in the summer
23 or autumn of 1991?
24 A. At the time, I wasn't occupying the position I occupied later in
25 that area. I was partly in the Serbian government and partly I was in the
1 countryside for two and a half months. I was out of active service, away
2 from active service during that time. So all I can say was on the basis
3 of what I read in the papers, and it was general knowledge, common
4 knowledge that from time to time in certain regions of Croatia there were
5 conflicts that broke out around the barracks and certain garrisons were
6 blocked, weapons were seized. And weapons were also brought in over the
7 black market through underground channels into the country. The papers
8 wrote about that and there were drives to suppress that, to stop the
9 import of weapons.
10 I know that in Dalmatia the conflicts broke out in the Knin,
11 Krajina area from where -- which is where the events actually were
12 triggered, because the Serbs were opposed to accepting the new flag that
13 was being flown and the new police forces of the Republic of Croatia, et
14 cetera, et cetera.
15 Q. Let me be more specific. You were in the Ministry of Defence
16 yourself of the Republic of Serbia, were you not, until July 1991. So I
17 assume you were informed and aware of when the command post of the
18 military naval district was moved from Split, out of Split. Roughly
19 speaking. You don't have to give us an exact date.
20 A. Well, I don't -- can't say exactly, but I think it was towards the
21 end of July or in August, perhaps. I'm not quite sure. But I do know
22 what took place in front of the Military-Naval District Command when
23 the soldier in the tank was strangled, and I think that was in July.
24 Q. Could that have been May? May I jog your memory?
25 A. Yes, you're quite right; May.
1 Q. So that makes it May 1991; is that right?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. And the command post of the military naval sector moved because it
4 wasn't secure, it wasn't safe in Split?
5 A. Yes, that's right. That was the main reason. It wasn't safe and
6 secure to command from the town of Split.
7 Q. So the forward command post of the naval military district, was it
8 then located at Vis, the island of Vis?
9 A. Yes, that's right. The command of the military naval district,
10 the forward command post was sent to Vis and the stronghold there.
11 Q. And the wartime command post of the military naval district in
12 Zernovica, was it taken over by the paramilitaries?
13 A. Yes. The wartime command post in Zernovica was under a blockade
14 for about two months, I believe, and after an agreement had been reached
15 to -- about an exchange after some -- a lot of casualties and unrest, that
16 command post was -- they left that command post about two months after the
18 Q. Were all the naval communications attacked in the area
19 between the islands?
20 A. Yes, that's right. Certain coastal batteries were taken control
21 of on the islands, radar stations and other points
22 of support and facilities that were there to defend the islands. There
23 were also attacks on naval ships within the island belt.
24 Q. After the attacks on the warehouses, barracks, and JNA facilities
25 first in Slovenia and then in Croatia, did the leadership of the JNA
1 envisage moving the -- that this could spread to the BH territory?
2 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. There is no evidence about
3 Slovenia. The question has been Dalmatia right now. And further, if we
4 could get some idea again of time frame. The question is remaining very
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm sure my learned
7 colleague will remember that I started the cross-examination before the
8 Easter break and there were two rather lengthy interruptions, intervals,
9 and I think that already on the first day of the cross-examination we
10 discussed this point, and the witness spoke about the attacks on the
11 military facilities, the barracks, the family of the soldiers of the JNA
12 in Slovenia and Croatia, and he spoke about what he knew. He told us what
13 he knew about that and answered in the affirmative. So I'm just following
14 on from those first questions that I asked the witness some time ago now
15 and based on the answers he gave me then. I'm just following on from
17 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Rodic.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Jokic, could you just answer that last question of mine. It
20 is this: After those activities and what went on against the JNA on the
21 territory of Slovenia and Croatia, did you happen to know whether the
22 military leadership envisaged that these kinds of conflicts could be
23 continued and spill over into Bosnia-Herzegovina or, rather, did the
24 military leadership take any measures along those lines?
25 A. Yes, of course. The general military assessments and evaluations
1 indicated that the conflicts would certainly expand to Bosnia-Herzegovina,
2 and as far as what was known about what was going on in the Dubrovnik zone
3 and what we knew there, this was reflected in December 1991, towards the
4 end of the year, on the situation.
5 Q. Because of the overall situation as it was, did the JNA have to
6 carry out additional mobilisation? Because its peacetime manpower levels
7 had dropped due to divisions according to republican
8 and political affiliation.
9 A. Yes, mobilisation was carried out, and the response was rather
10 poor. So that caused problems. There was always a shortage of personnel.
11 Q. Was that personnel needed in order to keep the technical equipment
12 and the communication areas that the JNA was defending?
13 A. Yes, of course.
14 Q. Could you please give me your opinion, if possible. The tasks and
15 objectives of the JNA units that were on the move in the Dubrovnik area,
16 and was all of that supposed to be interpreted from the point of view of
17 the unity objectives and tasks of the JNA on the entire territory of the
18 SFRY? A. Yes. As far as this specific theatre is concerned, the Dubrovnik
19 part, then it should be said that the units that were mobilised and
20 prepared then and at such levels at that and involving such a number of
21 personnel could not only serve the purpose of defending facilities but,
22 rather, an operation with a certain operative objective.
23 Q. Movements of the JNA towards Mostar and reaching Slano on the
24 Adriatic coast as well as the naval blockade of Dubrovnik, were all of
25 these elements of an overall operation carried out by the JNA in
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13 English transcripts.
1 accordance with the SFRY constitution?
2 A. Well, yes. This operation, the Dubrovnik operation, was certainly
3 conceived within the context of a strategic operation for the entire
4 territory of Croatia by which the Supreme Command or, rather, the General
5 Staff intended to paralyse the Croatian paramilitary formations or defence
6 forces and to deblock all the imperiled garrisons and prevent the
7 organisation of the Croatian forces for any significant type of assault
9 This area was actually part of Southern Croatia, and it fitted
10 into this single strategic operation conceived.
11 Q. I would just like to clarify one more thing. You yourself said
12 the Dubrovnik operation, and this is an expression that is often used, the
13 "Dubrovnik operation," "the Dubrovnik campaign," or "the campaign against
14 Dubrovnik." Was that really the objective of that operation that we
15 discussed a few minutes ago? Was its objective the town of Dubrovnik
16 itself as a city or did it have to do with something different?
17 A. I think that this name, the Dubrovnik operation, is one that can
18 be used only conditionally. Sometimes it is referred to as "the so-called
19 Dubrovnik operation," but Dubrovnik was not its objective.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 A. The objective went all the way to Mostar and the Neretva River
23 Q. Tell me, in relation to the single operation of the JNA throughout
24 Yugoslavia, were all units commanded by the General Staff on the basis of
25 the orders of the Presidency of the SFRY?
1 A. Yes, of course.
2 Q. According to the SFRY constitution, was it the obligation and duty
3 of the JNA to protect the territorial integrity of the country and its
4 constitutional order?
5 A. Yes. That is the constitutional framework within which the JNA
7 Q. Bearing in mind what was said previously about the very concept of
8 general people's defence, what we discussed about awhile ago, as well as
9 the period that was close to the period of your first command in the 9th
10 Military Sector, can you tell me briefly what changed in this role and
11 task of the 9th Military Sector when you came for the second time on the
12 7th of October, 1991, to head this sector? What changed in relation to
13 the previous tasks?
14 A. Well, the situation had changed radically. Combat operations
15 started on the 1st of October. Certain elements within the zone of
16 defence were threatened, and also there was a conceived operative
17 objective from the level of the Supreme Command. A decision was reached
18 to organise an operation which would curb these threats, and that is what
19 was done.
20 Q. Were these changes varied then and quite radical as compared to
21 the previous period of your command in the 9th Military Naval Sector?
22 A. Certainly, yes. Of course. The first period was a period of
23 peace, it was in peacetime, and that is when preparations were carried out
24 for possible action in a stable state, a united state by all accounts,
25 whereas this was the beginning of an internal conflict which threatened to
1 turn into a larger-scale war.
2 Q. Was the command of the 9th VPS trained to carry out the tasks that
3 were given to the sector in the second half of 1991? And I'm primarily
4 referring to combat actions on land. That is what I primarily have in
6 A. The command of the 9th Sector was, I think, very well trained to
7 use all its formation forces in a possible war that could have been
9 Q. When I asked you this I meant the differences in relation to the
10 previous period when you were commander of the 9th VPS from 1983 to 1989.
11 According to that concept, the 9th VPS could have expected an attack from
12 sea, and the 9th VPS was trained to respond to that kind of attack. So
13 this response would be aimed at the sea, wouldn't it?
14 A. No. The 9th Sector was trained for all its specific tasks
15 involved in a possible war within its area of responsibility. So that
16 does not involve only defence from the sea but also carry out combat
17 operations on land.
18 Q. Tell me, at the command staff exercises, did you and your sector
19 train such land operations, that is to say the type of operations that
20 actually took place in October through December 1991?
21 A. We carried out exercises, command staff combat exercises, tactical
22 exercises on -- and operational exercises on land against an aggressor
23 attacking our country, and we were practising both offensive and defensive
24 types of action. However, we never trained and never had exercises for
25 any kind of operations within an internal conflict, as was the one that
1 took place towards the end of 1991.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. We were not prepared for that. Not only we, but all other
4 commands too.
5 Q. Do you know exactly when the 2nd Operational Group was established
6 and out of which operational and tactical units?
7 A. I know when the command of the 2nd Operational Group was
8 established, and that was sometime in mid-September 1991, a bit before the
9 15th of September. The units were being prepared, mobilised, and brought
10 into the zone of operations depending on their level of combat readiness,
11 and I can give the names of the units if necessary.
12 Q. This is the way I'm going to phrase my question: What about the
13 37th Corps? Do you know which unit it belonged to before it became part
14 of the organisational set-up of the 2nd Operational Group?
15 A. I think it was within the military district, either the Belgrade
16 or the Skopje military district. I don't know exactly.
17 Q. Was it perhaps the 1st Military District, with its headquarters in
19 A. Yes, yes, the 1st Military District, with its headquarters in
21 Q. What about the 2nd Corps? Before it became part of the 2nd
22 Operational Group was it within the Skopje military district in Macedonia,
23 with its headquarters in Skopje?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The command and the staff of the 2nd Operational Group, were they
1 established from among the officers of the inspectorate and the centre of
2 higher military schools?
3 A. Yes. Most of the officers came from the main inspectorate of the
4 JNA, then also the centre of higher military schools in Belgrade, and some
5 came from Podgorica too, from the Territorial Defence.
6 Q. Tell me, as a commander of the military district of Boka for many
7 years, did you ever hear of, learn of, or personally take part in a single
8 exercise in the General Staff or anywhere else where the establishment of
9 the 2nd Operational Group was practised, taught, and the deployment of its
10 command units and -- the operational deployment of its units and the general
11 conduct of such an operation?
12 A. Of course not, specifically speaking of the 2nd Operational Group,
13 but the exercises that take place cannot be identical to any possible
14 situation. However, there are always some assumptions, concepts,
15 schematics that are envisaged, and we did have some exercises involving
16 the establishment of operational groups.
17 Q. I meant specifically the 2nd Operational Group and the type of
18 operations -- the type of tasks that it carried out.
19 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No, not that.
21 MS. SOMERS: The objection would have gone to time frame and the
22 fact that the witness gave a time for when the operational group he
23 believed was formed. The question was not phrased in such a way that it
24 could have been answered according to his previous answers.
25 JUDGE PARKER: I think the witness was coping fairly well,
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13 English transcripts.
1 Ms. Somers.
2 I think you can carry on, Mr. Rodic.
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I proceed so I don't forget what
5 I wanted to say?
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Please go ahead, but when I asked you about your personal
8 participation and knowledge regarding any kind of exercises, I meant
9 specifically training the establishment of the 2nd Operational Group, the
10 deployment of the commands and units of this group, operational activities
11 and general activities related to that operational group and with specific
12 reference to what it actually did in the autumn of 1991.
13 A. All exercises that were carried out by the Yugoslav People's Army,
14 staff exercises, joint exercises at all levels, were carried out on the
15 basis of certain variants of the war plan. So it's aggression coming
16 either from the east or from the west.
17 In our war plan, we never envisaged an internal conflict,
18 absolutely not, especially to the degree that we saw actually happen. So
19 we couldn't train the establishment of this kind of operational group at
20 all, like the 2nd Operational Group, in fact, with the composition of the
21 units as was established in September 1991, and especially with the tasks
22 that that operational group was assigned at the beginning of October or,
23 rather, the 1st of October, 1991.
24 So quite definitely we did not train this variant for the formation of the
25 command of the 2nd Operational Group for the reasons that I have stipulated.
1 Thank you.
2 Q. The 2nd Operational Group, then, and its command, was it a
3 temporary strategic and operative establishment which had not existed
4 previously in that zone and area of responsibility or having that role at
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. While you were the Minister of Defence in the Republic of Serbia,
8 did you ever hear of the preparations of an operational group of this kind
9 at all?
10 A. No. Well, something was formed at the time. Whether it was
11 September or -- but it was the first operational group that was
12 established in Croatia, Lika, Banja, Kordun, that general region. The
13 first operational group was formed there.
14 Q. Can you tell me, please, in general frameworks how much time would
15 be needed for the successful planning and equipping of a strategic
16 operation, an operation of a strategic level and strategic importance?
17 A. Well, you need certain assumptions, of course, because all this is
18 hypothetical. Q. Well, my question is a hypothetical. I'm asking you
19 hypothetically speaking.
20 A. If we have an enemy on an equal footing, if I can put it that way,
21 and not an internal conflict, then far more time would be needed. At
22 least a month. Between one and two months would be needed for a strategic
23 operation at the level of an operational group numbering three to four
24 corps within it. In a classical conflict.
25 Q. Could you tell me in principle, please, what the preparation of a
1 relatively major military operation would entail.
2 A.Well, it would be composed of several strategic actions, first the planning
3 of the operation itself, then planning the forces necessary, bringing
4 in the forces and troops and organising them. Of course, this would mean
5 mobilisation, first of all, bringing in the men and organising them
6 according to the branches, services, objectives, goals, et cetera. The
7 introduction of those forces, those troops into the regions and areas of
8 operation depending on where they were being brought in from.
9 Preparations would entail training for operations and training for
10 expected attacks, organising joint action of the branches and services to
11 be deployed and to take part in the operation. Support and
12 reinforcements must be provided for as well, and preparation of the
13 command posts and command staffs themselves, the formation of new
14 commands, the re-subordination of units. And
15 hand-in-hand with that, of course, would be preparations for the staffs
16 and the commands given the operation itself. Combat documents would be
17 required, and the compiling of directives, orders, combat orders, and so
18 on and so forth with the individual stages of the operation.
19 Q. Could you tell me, please, who would be in charge of preparing
20 operations of this kind, roughly speaking? Whose role would that be?
21 A. Well, if we're talking about the strategic level operation, then
22 it is the General Staff that does that for the portion which it is
23 responsible for, that is to say the highest ranking documents, the orders
24 for the establishment, structuring of the command to lead the operation,
25 the compiling of directives, et cetera. All the other things would be
1 done lower down, the command which was entrusted with the operation
2 itself, which means the command of the operational group, in actual fact.
3 Q. Can you tell me, please, whether the command of the 2nd
4 Operational Group in this instance, bearing in mind your knowledge,
5 experience, and so on from the material period, October, November,
6 December 1991, had the time, the staff, the technology necessary to plan
7 such an operation successfully, the one that began on the 1st of October,
9 A. As the operation was envisaged and the troops set up for it to
10 become operational, it did not have the objective prerequisites for it
11 being a success, for successfully preparing and organising such an
12 operation and putting it into practice.
13 Q. And what about the 9th VPS, the 9th Military Naval Sector? That's
14 something you know about perhaps best during that period of time. The
15 ground forces that your sector had within its composition when you arrived
16 to head it on the 7th of October, 1991. You don't have to give me precise
17 dates, but I'm interested in learning of the changes that took place in
18 that respect. What was the dynamics of those changes, that is to say
19 which units belonging to the ground forces did you encounter? Where were
20 they deployed to? When did they go and return to your own establishments,
21 and so on and so forth? So I don't need the exact dates, but can you just
22 briefly explain the dynamics of all this, how it happened.
23 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. Somers.
25 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, this is beyond a compound question.
1 There are five or six subquestions in there. If counsel is trying to
2 elicit answers, if he could break it down I think it would probably be
3 easier to follow.
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
5 JUDGE PARKER: It is a very complex line that you're posing this
6 question along, Mr. Rodic. I think I can see generally what you're
7 getting at, but it would be more manageable, as Ms. Somers suggests, if
8 you were able to break it up.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I'll try, Your Honour. I'll do my
11 Q. But then please be brief in your answers. Mr. Jokic, tell me
12 please, when you arrived on the 7th of October, 1991, what ground forces
13 were within the 9th Military Naval Sector, the 9th VPS? Which land forces
14 or ground forces did you encounter within the composition of the 9th VPS?
15 A. Apart from what the sector actually had establishment-wise under
16 it, as far as the infantry sections are concerned, the sector just had the
17 4th Battalion within it, which was already pulled out of the combat and
18 prepared to go back to within the brigade.
19 Q. After that were there any changes in these infantry units within
20 the composition of the 9th VPS?
21 A. The 9th Sector received some peripheral companies for control and
22 clearing up of the territory and providing guards and security, and it
23 worked together with them until the 21st of October. After that, on the
24 21st of October, it received the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade until
25 the 25th of October.
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13 English transcripts.
1 Q. And what happened afterwards?
2 A. On the 25th of October, the 472nd Brigade was re-subordinated. It
3 was to have been pulled out on the 6th of November. However, this was
4 prolonged until the 21st of November.
5 Q. And tell me, please, just to interrupt you there for a moment,
6 when the 472nd Motorised Brigade once again came under the command of the
7 9th VPS during this period of time, the period you're mentioning, the 25th
8 of October and the 21st of November, 1991, what happened to the 3rd
9 Battalion of the 5th Brigade? Did it step outside your composition, your
10 troops, or not?
11 A. No. The 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade on the 25th of October
12 went on leave, following a regulation that was in force at the time, and
13 on the 6th of November it replaced the 2nd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade
14 in the region across the Dubrovacka Rijeka, and from that time on it was
15 within the composition permanently of the 9th Sector as a temporarily
16 attached subordinated unit.
17 Q. Very well. Now, on the 21st of November, the 472nd Motorised
18 Brigade entered within the composition of the 2nd Corps, become part and
19 parcel of the 2nd Corps without the 3rd Battalion which remained within
20 the 9th VPS; is that right?
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. In the meantime, was a mixed detachment of the TO established at
23 any point?
24 A. Yes. At the request of the command of the 2nd Operational Group,
25 the need to have a battalion go to Slano. And for that reason and also
1 because of certain incidents that had taken place in the region, I
2 established a mixed detachment of the Territorial Defence which was
3 replaced [as interpreted] by the 4th Battalion of the 472nd Brigade.
4 Q. Tell me, please --
5 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I apologise. To
6 clarify, the admiral said that he formed the mixed detachment which
7 replaced, not "was replaced" but "replaced," which replaced the 4th
8 Battalion. It said in the transcript that -- "which was replaced." It
9 should say which replaced the battalion of the 472nd Brigade.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Tell me, please, something about the 3rd Light Brigade. What
13 happened to that? Did it come within the composition of the 9th VPS? Did
14 it step down from the 9th VPS?
15 Q. Yes, the 3rd Light Brigade became part of the [Realtime transcript
16 read in error "6th"] 9th Military Naval Sector on the 6th of November,
17 1991, and it was to have replaced in part the 472nd Brigade in its area of
19 MS. SOMERS: I believe there is a transcript error. It says the
20 3rd Light Brigade became part of the 6th Naval Sector. I believe it was
21 9th. If we could just get that clarified, please.
22 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sure what was intended was 9th. We will treat
23 it as such.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Is it true that some of the territorial units which you mentioned,
1 that they also left the 9th VPS?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And that they went to join up with other formations. Some perhaps
4 went home, others were disbanded. Can you tell us a bit about that?
5 A. Yes. The 2nd Tactical Group was not under my command, for
6 example, if you had that in mind. And it was disbanded. It had two
7 brigades and two companies of transporters and a tank company. They were
8 disbanded and returned to their original formation. And then they were --
9 two units of the Territorial Defence of Trebinje were added to the 9th
10 Military Naval Sector on the 6th of November, and they were the TO
11 battalion and the TO detachment of Trebinje. And they had the task
12 to replace the units of the 472nd Brigade in their own regions as of the 6th
13 of November onwards.
14 Q. Changes in organisation that took place so frequently and in the
15 establishment of the sector, especially of units belonging to the army, to
16 the ground forces that we have just been talking about, did all of this
17 have an adverse effect on the system of command that you had?
18 A. Absolutely. Temporary subordination, being under certain commands
19 for a while and then leaving one's own establishment, disbanding as such.
20 All of that had a very negative effect on the combat use, commanding,
21 control over combat operations, combat readiness, and generally speaking,
22 on overall conduct and the effect of actions taken within the area of
24 Q. Would you agree that this was only one of the problems related to
25 command and control if one bears in mind mobilisation, the fact that a
1 state of war was not proclaimed, that there is not enough trained
2 personnel, that most of the troops consist of reservists and so on?
3 A. Yes. That is a set of problems that did have a negative effect on
4 the overall situation regarding command and control.
5 Q. Do you know whether the late commander, Admiral Djurovic, who
6 headed the 9th VPS before you did, issued any kind of directives for
7 attack, for assault operations to his units that would involve the 1st of
8 October and that would spell out the objectives of the operation that
9 actually faced the 9th Military Naval Sector, that is to say tasks and
10 objectives that are to be carried out by the 9th Military Naval Sector as
12 A. Yes. When I came after he was killed, when I came to the zone, to
13 the command in Kumbor, I found his order to carry out an attack, to have
14 the 9th Sector carry out an attack. In that order, the tasks of the
15 sector were referred to. They were rather minor ones in relation to the
16 overall tasks of the 2nd Operational Group in view of the fact that he had
17 one battalion only.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Rodic, please.
19 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. This order of his, was it in line with the directive that we saw
21 here a few days ago that was written by the commander of the 2nd
22 Operational Group and sent on to the chief of General Staff?
23 A. In this order of his which, of course, elaborated the task that he
24 had received from the commander of the 2nd Operational Group, and that
25 task is specified there and it reads more or less as follows: Deblock the
1 Prevlaka barracks, act in concert with the forces of the 2nd Tactical
2 Group, act along the Debeli Brijeg-Plocice line, and take the region of
3 Molunat and the region of Vitaljina all the way up to Prevlaka.
4 That was it, roughly speaking, without giving an exact quotation.
5 Q. Was that the ultimate task of the 9th VPS?
6 A. No. This was the initial task. You asked what the task was that
7 he had given, Admiral Djurovic. Well, that's the one. Later on, of
8 course, after he got killed, other tasks followed.
9 Q. Can you tell me how you understood this task of a blockade of
11 A. I did not receive this task to carry out a blockade of Dubrovnik.
12 The task of blockading Dubrovnik was received by the command of the 2nd
13 Operational Group.
14 Q. All right. That's not being challenged. The command of the 2nd
15 Operational Group did get this task, but the units of the 9th VPS, did
16 they take part in carrying out this task of a blockade of Dubrovnik?
17 A. Combat operations within the operations that are commanded by the
18 2nd Operational Group command were carried out every day in accordance
19 with combat documents. I received every day since my arrival on the 8th
20 of October, every day within this operation I received orders as to what
21 the task of my units was on that particular day. If I need to go into
22 that --
23 Q. Well, let me simplify it, then. In the period when you came to
24 command the 9th VPS from the 7th of October until of 31st of December,
25 1991, was the blockade of Dubrovnik an ongoing, permanent task, if I can
1 put it that way?
2 A. Yes, but I'm saying once again that this task of the blockade of
3 Dubrovnik is one that the 9th Sector never received. Its task was to take
4 Cavtat, to take Kupari, to take Zupa, to take the fortresses, Rijeka
5 Dubrovacka, and that entire sequence. But this kind of task, carry out a
6 blockade of Dubrovnik, that is not a task that the sector ever received,
7 nor was it one that it carried out.
8 Q. According to the directive, there was this task of a blockade of
9 the town of Dubrovnik from land and sea in order to prevent having weapons
10 brought in, and so on and so forth.
11 A. Well, yes. That is undeniable. But again, I'm saying that this
12 is the task that was received by the 2nd Operational Group, according to
13 the directive, not the sector. Not in a single one of its documents did
14 the sector receive this task of blocking Dubrovnik. Never. But from the
15 sea, yes. Let me correct myself on that score. It was what Admiral
16 Djurovic was told on the 1st of October. He was supposed to block the
17 ports within the zone of Dubrovnik from the sea, and this task remained
18 valid from when I came too.
19 Q. And how was the blockade of Dubrovnik from land carried out?
20 A. When Rijeka Dubrovacka was taken along with the neighbourhoods in
21 the Rijeka area, and when we entered Mokosica, Zaton Veli, Zaton Mali, it
22 can be considered as the carrying out of a blockade of the town from land.
23 That was towards the end of November. But I'm saying this yet again:
24 This was the task of the 2nd Operational Group within which the 9th Sector
25 was, along with its units. And it carried out its task within that
1 context and covered with its units this zone that I referred to just now.
2 Q. I agree that the task of the 2nd Operational Group was that, but
3 not one man can carry out a task, it has to be the units that are within
4 that group; isn't that right?
5 A. Well, yes. That is why the command does have its units. And then
6 these tasks are carried down the line, so to speak, so that they could
7 carry them out.
8 Q. Was town blockade envisaged in the military doctrine of the JNA
9 within the area of fighting for a specific town?
10 A. Well, yes, of course. In the doctrine, in our strategy of armed
11 struggle there is town blockade as such, and then also the encirclement of
12 towns, and so on and so forth. We never referred to actions against towns
13 and operating against civilians in towns, but a blockade is referred to,
14 fighting within an encirclement.
15 Q. Tell me, from a military point of view, bearing in mind all the
16 circumstances involved at that time in the autumn of 1991, from a military
17 point of view could Dubrovnik have been taken if that had been the
19 A. Absolutely. According to the forces we had in November 1991, from
20 the 6th of November onwards, around Dubrovnik including the brigade, the
21 472nd Brigade and the units that came to replace it, there were about
22 10.000 men there altogether with very strong artillery.
23 Q. Tell me, in Dubrovnik and in its immediate vicinity, had there not
24 been any armed formations there that were firing at the 2nd Operational
25 Group would you and your units have taken any action against the town and,
1 generally speaking, the municipality of Dubrovnik in the broadest sense?
2 Would it have been necessary at all to take any kind of action?
3 A. Absolutely. There would have been no tactical or operative need
4 or military necessity to carry out any kind of action against a town from
5 which there was no threat for us. That would not have made any sense.
6 Q. Could Dubrovnik have been an open city?
7 A. Yes. Yes. There is this institute, so to speak, of an open city
8 in classic warfare until then. When a city is declared an open city, then
9 there is no action taken against that city. But then there should be no
10 action taken from that city either. There were such cases in the history of
11 warfare, yes.
12 Q. This term, an "open city," does it mean a demilitarised city as
13 well? Is that what that term denotes as well, the absence of any military
15 A. Yes. That is the core of the issue, yes.
16 Q. In your opinion, then, who wanted to have a war around Dubrovnik?
17 Was it the JNA or the Croatian military and political authorities?
18 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, this is a speculative question, and it
19 would be something for the Chamber --
20 JUDGE PARKER: I was just about to make the very same point,
21 Ms. Somers. Thank you. The admiral's opinion about that is not going to
22 help the Chamber, Mr. Rodic.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time?
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the first break.
2 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 4.14 p.m.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic.
5 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Jokic, do you agree with me when I say that it was possible to
7 avoid all military operations around Dubrovnik had Dubrovnik been
8 proclaimed an open city as provided for by international law?
10 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. That is a speculative
11 question calling for an opinion well beyond the abilities of the witness.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It is a question that I find fully difficult to
13 comprehend myself, Mr. Rodic, and I think the substance of it is
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I'll restate my question, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Jokic, could military action have been avoided around
19 Dubrovnik if the town had been proclaimed an open city?
20 MS. SOMERS: I think there's --
21 JUDGE PARKER: That doesn't cure it. Military operations around
22 Dubrovnik could have been avoided by no end of possible matters,
23 Mr. Rodic, such as the JNA withdrawing from the area as one example, just
24 to show you how difficult your question is for any sort of firm base of
25 answer. It's a highly speculative question. I think what you're trying
1 to get at is something that will have to be left for address rather than
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I understand, Your Honour. Very
4 well. I'll try another road to the same end.
5 Q. Tell me, please, in the spring and summer of 1991, was Dubrovnik
6 demilitarised, a demilitarised town?
7 A. No, it wasn't demilitarised, or, rather, a certain increase in the
8 number of police forces began or, rather, the MUP and ZNG forces began to
9 be on the increase in the Dubrovnik municipality.
10 Q. When you say the formation of the ZNG, can you tell us what those
11 forces were, in fact, what it was?
12 A. Well, it was the establishment of smaller units of the Croatian
13 National Guards Corps and the volunteers who, from Western Herzegovina and
14 the Neretva River valley and the broader Dalmatian region, came into
15 Dubrovnik, as well as the weapons themselves.
16 Q. These newly established military forces which were created in
17 Dubrovnik, were they a legitimate military force in the still recognised
18 -- internationally recognised SFRY or was it an illegal army or, rather, a
19 paramilitary organisation?
20 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. There was no reference to
21 newly established forces or military.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Your question is full of assumptions that are not
23 presently the -- established by the evidence and are in fact the subject
24 of quite disputed evidence, I think, Mr. Rodic.
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I'll reformulate my question,
1 Your Honour.
2 Q. I asked you about the spring and summer of 1991, and the area is
3 Dubrovnik. Now, was Dubrovnik, during that period, a demilitarised town?
4 A. I've already said that it was not and that weapons were coming in
5 and that more forces were coming in to the units, to the existing units in
6 Dubrovnik. They were being reinforced. And these units were MUP. The number
7 of men was increased, including the volunteers, as well as the Croatian
8 National Guards Corps, the ZNG.
9 Q. Do you know when the ZNG was established in Croatia?
10 A. Well, I can't tell you exactly. I think it was sometime in the
11 spring at the level of Croatia. And then there was a ban, it was
12 prohibited, and then it was accepted that those units should be
13 incorporated into MUP, but I don't know when that was exactly.
14 Q. Are you talking about 1991, that year?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And when the Croatian National Guards Corps was being set up, was
17 it a legitimate, lawful military force in the SFRY?
18 MS. SOMERS: Objection. No reference to "military force" has been
19 in evidence.
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Croatian National
21 Guards Corps has not been designated by anyone as being a non-governmental
22 organisation. They were armed units and referred to as such in the
23 documents we have had so far, and in the Croatian constitution as well
24 mention is made. Now, we can ask the witness what the Croatian National
25 Guards Corps actually was, if that will be of assistance.
1 JUDGE PARKER: It may help you overcome the problem, Mr. Rodic.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Jokic, could you tell us please what the Croatian National
4 Guards Corps, the ZNG, is, what it represented at that time.
5 A. Since the Republic of Croatia did not have its own armed forces
6 and there was no Territorial Defence which could be used or, rather, it
7 existed within the SFRY, within the frameworks of the then armed forces,
8 the armed forces of Yugoslavia, in actual fact. However, Croatia
9 established the Croatian National Guards Corps but within the frameworks
10 of MUP, the MUP of Croatia, as an embryo for future armed forces, for a
11 future armed force. I think that that's how it was.
12 Q. According to the constitution of the SFRY, the Croatian National
13 Guards Corps, was it legitimate as an armed formation?
14 A. The constitution of the SFRY, of course did not recognise any
15 forces of that kind. All it recognised was the JNA
16 and the Territorial Defence as well as volunteer units.
17 Q. At that point in time, the ZNG, was it a paramilitary formation, a
18 paramilitary organisation, in fact?
19 A. Yes. That was how it was treated at the level of the Supreme
20 Command of the JNA.
21 Q. Do you know which unit of the ZNG was engaged in Dubrovnik, when
22 it arrived there and where it came from?
23 A. As far as I remember, the 116th Brigade was established of the ZNG
24 at that time, and later on it became the 163rd Brigade, and it came in
25 from the region of Metkovici and Ston, Metkovic and Ston.
1 Q. Do you happen to know which men were part of the brigade and where
2 they had come from?
3 A. Well, I can't tell you exactly. On the basis of the scant
4 information I had at the time, I wasn't able to draw any conclusions as to
5 exactly which parts of the troops they were and from which area. However,
6 I think that apart from the local population which was included into the
7 brigade, there were also companies from the Metkovic-Ston region, and one
8 company, I think, had come in from Ploce. At least, that was the
9 information we had, intelligence we had.
10 Q. Tell me, please, what was the JNA -- what was the JNA's position?
11 What was it to do if a paramilitary organisation had been set up parallel
12 to it? Just briefly, please.
13 A. Well, what do you mean what the JNA should have done?
14 Q. I mean the state and the JNA.
15 A. Yes, absolutely. According to the constitution, there would have
16 been no tolerance for other armed units except those prescribed and
17 stipulated by the constitution, which means that they would have had
18 to have been disarmed.
19 Q. And was that the object of the operation carried out by the 2nd
20 Operational Group? A. One of the goals was that, yes.
21 Q. Was it a legitimate goal, a legitimate operation?
22 A. Yes, of course. Yes, it was. At the time, yes.
23 Q. Do you know roughly - did you have any information about this -
24 how many men bore arms in and around Dubrovnik? How men were there under
25 arms? So I'm not talking about the JNA, I'm talking about the Croatian
2 A. The assessments were this: In the 9th Sector - that is to say I
3 and my associates - were told that at the time when Dubrovnik was blocked
4 from land and sea, our assessments were that there were between
5 two-and-a-half and 3.000 armed men in total in Dubrovnik. The assessments
6 by the 2nd Operational Group were that there were more or, rather, they
7 thought that there were between three-and-a-half and 5.000 men, up to
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Do you happen to know where the command post was of this 116th
12 Brigade of the ZNG?
13 A. I'm not quite sure. It was in Metkovic, and then it was moved to
14 Dubrovnik, I assume, and then it was sent back to Metkovic when Colonel
15 Nojko Marinovic reformed these parts which defended the town. Commander
16 Dajdza was there too. He's mentioned as the nominal commander of those
18 Q. Everything you're talking about, does that refer to October -
19 December 1991?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. Tell me, please, do you happen to know how many battalions the
22 116th ZNG formation had?
23 A. I'm not quite sure. The normal thing would be for it to have
24 three to four battalions, but I don't know how they were organised.
25 Q. What about the men of that 116th Brigade of the ZNG? Were they
1 deployed in and around Dubrovnik and turned to face your forces?
2 A. Yes, but I think that that particular brigade did not appear as a
3 unit which operated as a brigade. To all intents and purposes, it was
4 never operational as a brigade, or its battalions. As far as I know, it
5 was disbanded and only certain companies were operational.
6 Q. And when was it disbanded?
7 A. I think when the Commander Dajdza was replaced. Then it was
8 reorganised to become the 163rd, once again in Metkovic, but that is just
9 a guess on my part. I don't have any reliable information.
10 Q. Is that 1992 when this became the 163rd, when it was reorganised?
11 Is that it?
12 A. Yes, that's right.
13 Q. Do you know, roughly speaking, how many police forces there were
14 in and around Dubrovnik, including the permanent police force and the
15 reserve police force?
16 A. We thought that those police forces were quite considerable and
17 that they made up more than a third of the overall forces, which would
18 make it up to 1.000 men for the whole Dubrovnik area, all the settlements,
19 neighbourhoods, districts from Ston to Debeli Brijeg.
20 Q. If we bear in mind all the forces you have just enumerated, in
21 October, November, December 1991, was Dubrovnik militarily active?
22 A. Well, we thought that they did have that number of forces, and of
23 course they would be active and operational in the extent to which our
24 forces were. So they were active as were ours.
25 Q. Do you know about those 11 points that are considered the JNA
1 proposal for the demilitarisation of Dubrovnik and for the normal
2 functioning of the town itself as well as its population?
3 A. Yes. This was in the document that was entitled "A Request to
4 Normalise Life in the town of Dubrovnik and for its Demilitarisation",
5 and it was formulated in 11 points.
6 Q. Was this basically the task of the 2nd Operational Group, to
7 demilitarise Dubrovnik, to disarm the paramilitary formations and prevent
8 continued illegal armament?
9 A. Yes, those were the requests put forth in relation to the town of
10 Dubrovnik. Actually, they had not been planned at the outset as such, but
11 during the operations it turned out that this was necessary in order to
12 resolve the crisis around Dubrovnik, namely to stop further combat
14 This is what I wanted to say: The Dubrovnik operation itself and
15 its directive did not envisage such operations from town or at the town
16 itself. So no one gave this any thought. No one thought that that kind
17 of thing would actually happen. At least, that's what I believe.
18 Q. In the JNA directive, did it say, inter alia, the disarming of
19 paramilitary formations?
20 A. I don't know whether that's what it said in the directive quite
21 explicitly, but implicitly, yes. However, in an order, I think, it does
22 say "disarm paramilitary formations".
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please assist us and
24 give D44 to the witness for a moment, please.
25 Q. Item 1 on page 1 of this directive, is that where the objectives
1 and the tasks of the 2nd Operational Group can be seen?
2 A. Yes. Q. In the introduction under item 1 - this is the very end of the
3 first paragraph - does it say, inter alia, "Start destroying and disarming
4 the surrounded enemy forces and be on the ready to carry on offensive
5 operations to Western Herzegovina."
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note that they do not have the
7 document. Could it please be placed on the ELMO. Thank you.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes. I think that if it says "destroy,"
9 then disarming the surrounded forces is -- I mean, it's not only disarming
10 that is the objective, then. It is the destroying and disarming. That's
11 why I said it.
12 Q. Let's see what it says. The operation is to be conducted in two
13 phases. I would kindly ask you to read out what was meant by the second
14 phase. THE INTERPRETER: Could the interpreters please ask for the
15 appropriate part to be shown.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "To engage in destroying and
17 disarming the surrounded enemy forces and to be in a state of readiness
18 for further offensive operations in Western Herzegovina."
19 JUDGE PARKER: Could I interrupt. The interpreters are not able
20 to see the relevant part of the document, it seems. They do not have a
21 copy and are dependent upon the ELMO.
22 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, on page 1, Your
23 Honour, with your permission, paragraph 1, the last sentence in that first
24 paragraph and then phase 1 and phase 2. So the end of paragraph 1 on page
25 1 and then the entire paragraphs entitled the first phase and the second
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. Let's hope we've been
3 able to help.
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Could you please tell me, Mr. Jokic, whether the task of the 2nd
6 Operational Group described in the second phase of the directive pertained
7 to the disarming of paramilitaries in Dubrovnik.
8 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. There is no mention of the
9 term "paramilitary" as far as we can see.
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the answers we got to the
11 previous questions refer to the legitimacy of these forces in Dubrovnik,
12 but never mind, let him tell us again wether the complete destruction,
13 forcing to surrender and disarming also pertained to the forces in
14 Dubrovnik, the enemy forces or wathever.
15 A. Well, I think that the directive itself pertained to all the
16 forces in the zone of operations from Debeli Brijeg onwards, that is to
17 say from the border with Croatia all the way to the Neretva River,
18 including the entire zone. There is no special reference to the actual
19 place where the forces are.
20 Q. This zone that you refer to, does it include the town of Dubrovnik
22 A. Yes, it does. However, we did not intend to take Dubrovnik and
23 then disarm it by entering town. We just wanted to have a blockade. That
24 was the objective, I mean.
25 Q. Can an enemy be forced to surrender by way of a blockade?
1 A. Of course, yes.
2 Q. Tell me now, let us be quite accurate. In your view were there
3 any paramilitary formations in Dubrovnik?
4 A. Yes. I have said that the initial forces of the MUP and the ZNG
5 had been increased by volunteers and other units, and they came up to the
6 number that I already presented as my own estimate. That was the
7 generally prevalent estimate at the time, or, rather, it was the official
9 Q. Tell me, then, the disarming of these paramilitary formations in
10 Dubrovnik, how could it have been carried out then? In which way? What
11 are all the ways that would be acceptable?
12 A. I know what we wanted to do and what we thought of, but there are
13 different ways. Now, what we thought and how we intended to carry this
14 out, I can tell you that if you wish.
15 Q. Please go ahead. Tell us.
16 A. Well, the command of the 2nd Operational Group formulated those 11
17 points according to which three items were key ones. In them, it was
18 required that on that day, the 28th of October, the MUP levels
19 be reduced to the number that was there on the 1st of October, 1991.
20 Further on, that volunteers who had come from different regions
21 should leave town, that weapons should be surrendered, weapons that had
22 been brought into town in the first place, and that units of the police
23 should be at the level at which they were before the operation had
24 started. Those were the requirements. The guarantees were the
25 representatives of the European Community /sic!/ because they were
1 supposed to monitor this entire effort.
2 Q. When we talk about this JNA proposal consisting of 11 points, did
3 that mean that this problem would be resolved by peaceful means or,
4 rather, that this task that the 2nd Operational Group had would be carried
5 out by peaceful means?
6 A. Yes, of course, by peaceful means. That was the way to resolve
7 that problem.
8 Q. If the other side does not accept those 11 points or, rather, that
9 proposal on a peaceful settlement by way of disarmament, how was it
10 possible, then, to compel them? In which way was it possible to compel
11 them to agree to this?
12 A. We did not have a plan to compel them to accept these proposals.
13 Another way would have been to take the town, and that was never in our
14 plan, or, rather, as far as I know not in the plan of the Supreme Command
15 or of the 2nd Operational Group, and certainly not of the sector.
16 Q. Could this blockade from land and sea be a vehicle for carrying
17 out this disarmament?
18 A. Well, the blockade was conceived as an initial objective of the
19 operation. However, the broader objective was not only to disarm these
20 forces. That came up only later. The first objective was to bring
21 pressure to bear through this blockade and to deblock the garrisons and
22 barracks on the Adriatic military naval theatre of war all the way from
23 Pula to Dubrovnik.
24 Q. Tell me, was it possible to force the paramilitaries in Dubrovnik
25 to surrender their weapons without previously sealing off all entrances
1 and exits to and from town by using appropriate arms?
2 A. Of course it wasn't possible to carry out disarmament without a
3 full blockade from land and sea. A blockade was a precondition for that.
4 Q. By enforcing a blockade from land and sea, did you then operate
5 exactly within the context of the objectives that were given to you
6 through the JNA directive?
7 A. Yes, I think so. Yes.
8 Q. Were these legitimate objectives and tasks?
9 A. Yes. My objections, if I may say so, only pertain to the
10 structure and number of units and the weapons they had, and this was not
11 adequate or appropriate to the task involved.
12 Q. By accepting JNA proposals aimed at disarmament, could further
13 consequences have been avoided, those that occurred in the area due to
14 combat action taken by both sides?
15 A. I think the answer would be yes.
16 Q. And who did not accept this plan on the demilitarisation of
18 A. The Crisis Staff of Dubrovnik. That was the negotiator from their
20 Q. Did anybody else have any influence, apart from the Crisis Staff
21 of Dubrovnik, regarding the acceptance or non-acceptance of these
22 proposals that were given by the JNA?
23 A. Well, of course the republican authorities. The authorities of
24 the Republic of Croatia that finally had the last say in this.
25 Q. In the period from October to December 1991 while you were there,
1 did you have any signals from Dubrovnik itself in terms of a positive
2 assessment of JNA proposals or accepting the 11 points of the JNA that
3 refer to disarmament?
4 A. Yes. There were some indications and certain reports sometime
5 between the 28th or 26th of October and the 30th of October or later. But
6 especially this period, the end of October, there were signs that there
7 was a possibility for having this agreement made with the Crisis Staff of
8 Dubrovnik. The assessment then was that the major hindrance to that peace
9 agreement were the extremist forces of the HOS Croatian forces, Paraga's
10 forces, as they were called, which did not accept the surrender of weapons
11 at all.
12 Q. Do you know, perhaps, in this respect regarding acceptance or
13 non-acceptance of an agreement with the JNA, were there perhaps some
14 conflicts within the town of Dubrovnik itself between Paraga's forces, the
15 HOS forces, and somebody else?
16 A. Yes, there was an internal clash. We actually received reports
17 that there had been armed showdowns between these opposing forces.
18 Q. Between the representatives of the JNA and the Crisis Staff on
19 several occasions during the period October - December 1991, was there a
20 mention made and propositions made for the situation of Dubrovnik's
21 disarmament of the paramilitaries to be negotiated in this way, in a peaceful
22 manner? A. Well, yes, there were negotiations. At the beginning, there were
23 contacts and talks, before the operation itself while Admiral Djurovic was
24 still alive. He had talks with the mayor, Poljanic, Mr. Poljanic. And
25 later on, there were negotiations. When I arrived there General
1 Ruzinovski led the negotiations twice. I attended those negotiations, and
2 later on it was General Strugar who led the negotiations, and he set up a
3 group, a team led by Colonel Svicevic who had -- who conducted continuous
4 negotiations in the course of October and November and into December with
5 the Crisis Staff of Dubrovnik, all with the aim of having a peaceful
6 solution to the problem, the problem of weapons and to bring about a
7 demilitarisation for the region and the town itself.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. In that period October, November, and December 1991, were there
11 several cease-fires put in place precisely to enable negotiations to take
12 place for a peaceful settlement and for the disarmament of the
14 A. Yes, that's right. As far as I remember, there were 16
15 cease-fires in all, including the 7th of December. Sixteen cease-fires.
17 Q. Is it true and correct that not once during those cease-fires and
18 the negotiations with the Dubrovnik side that the JNA proposal was not
19 accepted to disarm the paramilitaries peacefully?
20 A. That's right. That did not come about. It didn't happen.
21 Q. In order to block Dubrovnik from the land, did you have to take
22 control of all the smaller settlements and neighbourhoods in the Dubrovnik
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Was it possible to fulfil the goal from the directive, that is to
1 say to disarm the paramilitaries without freeing communications through
2 Konavle, without taking control of Kupari and all the smaller places in
3 the Dubrovnik -- along the Dubrovnik Riviera?
4 A. Of course not. That was not possible unless you had control of
5 the accesses into town and the surrounding areas; access roads and so on.
6 Q. Tell me, please, would you agree with me that the paramilitaries
7 in Dubrovnik were not ready to disarm and leave Dubrovnik at all?
8 A. That's right. There was no intention on their part of doing that.
9 Q. Can you tell me, please, how that paramilitary demonstrated their
10 intentions, and how did that army let it be known that they did not wish
11 to be deactivated? How did they manifest that?
12 A. Well, that army or, rather, those forces that had collected
13 together in Dubrovnik had already been in armed combat beforehand, from
14 the 1st of October up until the 25th of October, in the fighting around
15 town. The members the paramilitary formations of Croatia or, rather, the
16 MUP and the ZNG, they launched combat operations, engaged in combat.
17 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I would ask that when the term "town" or
18 when there's a question about Dubrovnik that there be specificity. There
19 is Dubrovnik municipality, there is municipal city Dubrovnik, and then
20 there is the core, the Old Town, and the record is far from clear what is
21 being referred to in counsel's questions.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Can I say I've understood all of this to be
23 referring to the broader area of Dubrovnik municipality, not dealing with
24 the Old Town, because as I understood it, when Mr. Rodic intends to refer
25 to the Old Town, he will do so specifically.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have not asked any
2 questions related to the Old Town as yet, but I will, of course, emphasise
3 that when I do come to ask questions of that type. And we've already
4 clarified the fact that the Dubrovnik municipality covers an area from the
5 borders -- or, rather, the witness can help us there. Let's repeat it
6 once again.
7 Q. Mr. Jokic, could you tell us, roughly speaking, the area
8 incorporated by the Dubrovnik municipality.
9 A. Well, it's an area from the border of the Republic of Croatia and
10 its borders with Montenegro. So we have Prevlaka, Debeli Brijeg on the
11 one side, and Ston, the Dubrovnik littoral, and Ston as the last point on
12 that side. It stretches for an area of approximately 100 kilometres.
13 Q. And when you say the town of Dubrovnik, can you tell us what area
14 you're referring to, in fact.
15 A. I am thinking of the urban area of town, from the Belvedere Hotel
16 on the south right down to the Sustjepan peninsula in the Dubrovnik Rijeka
17 and in-depth – Komolac. That is the urban area of the town.
18 Q. Is that urban area several kilometres long?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. Can you tell us roughly its length?
21 A. Well, width-wise between the Belvedere and the Sustjepan peninsula
22 it might be about four to five kilometres, that axis, the horizontal axis.
23 And the vertical axis from the Petak peninsula to Komolac is about six
24 kilometres, five to six.
25 Q. Although we haven't mentioned this but we'll come to that in due
1 course, but since we're explaining all this, when you say "Stari Grad,"
2 "Old Town," what do you mean by that?
3 A. Well, when I say "Stari Grad," "Old Town," it is an enclave within
4 Dubrovnik proper, and it is surrounded by a wall, ramparts that are three
5 to four metres high with turrets or towers at each corner of this
6 quadrangle, the dimensions being approximately 700 metres horizontally and
7 one kilometre vertically, roughly speaking.
8 Q. Thank you. Is it true and correct that your units, on the 15th of
9 October, entered Cavtat without any combat? And I'm talking about the
10 15th of October, 1991.
11 A. Yes, that's true.
12 Q. This entry into Cavtat, was it made possible through negotiations
13 and communication with the inhabitants of Cavtat themselves?
14 A. I think that we appealed to the citizens. We told them that the
15 non-combat units would enter town, but I'm not quite sure how it actually
16 took place. All I do know is this: That there was no fighting. We did
17 not open fire on the town from any weapons or artillery pieces.
18 Q. Can you tell me why, then, you took control of Kupari, why you
19 landed and took control of Kupari by a seaborne assault and not in the
20 peaceful way you did in Cavtat?
21 A. Because we bore in mind the fact that Kupari was a military
22 recreational centre which was -- had been usurped. It had been taken over
23 by Croatian forces, and they defended it with guns, with cannons that
24 inflicted harm on us.
25 Q. Could you tell us which Croatian forces you mean?
1 A. They were forces we mentioned a moment ago, the ZNG forces
2 specifically, and over there were parts of a company and a whole command
3 of a lower order.
4 Q. These Croatian forces in Kupari, did they have heavy weapons at
6 A. Yes, they did. They had two cannons, one that we seized, one
7 85-millimetre cannon, and another one which was 76-millimetres.
8 Q. Was this -- these -- were these artillery pieces used by the
9 Croatian forces from Kupari to target JNA forces?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were there any casualties on the side of the JNA through this
13 A. Yes. We did have casualties in the battles before the landing
14 operation itself, several casualties. Several men were wounded, and I
15 think two were killed.
16 Q. Do you consider the attack on Kupari to be a legitimate military
18 A. Well, yes, and I was given the assignment of taking control of
20 Q. Can you tell me, please, after having taken control of Kupari, why
21 did you take control of the Dubac-Zarkovica-Brgat line afterwards?
22 A. I was given the assignment to proceed and take the line, the
23 ridge, and to gain control of the Dubrovnik- Trebinje communication line.
25 Q. Do you know what you wrote in your combat report and proposed to
1 the commander of the 2nd Operational Group immediately after the 24th of
2 October when you took control of Kupari? Do you know why you proposed
3 what you proposed?
4 A. I don't know what you mean, what you have in mind.
5 Q. Well, I mean what I asked you a moment ago, the proposal to reach
6 the Dubac-Zarkovica-Brgat line, because that was after Kupari, right?
7 A. In taking control of Zupa after Kupari, I think that we suffered
8 the heaviest losses from the artillery in the Dubac region, Belvedere, and
9 a stone quarry above a small church called St. Anne's church. And there
10 was strong artillery fire coming from there.
11 Q. Does that then mean that by taking control of Kupari you were not
12 able to complete your combat operation around Dubrovnik for the reasons
13 you've just given us?
14 A. Yes, of course. We were not able to persevere there because it
15 was a hole. Zupa with its settlements and Kupari are found in a
16 depression dominated by elevations at the ridge along the line Gornji
17 Brgat-Dubac-Zarkovica, that axis, and the quarry that I mentioned.
18 Q. Is it true then that you had to take control there because of the
19 enemy activities – further enemy activities at the accesses to Dubrovnik,
20 that that's why you had to undertake that?
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. Can you tell me why you were forced from the Dubac-Zarkovica-Brgat
23 line or access to come closer to Dubrovnik or, rather, to take control of
24 the fortress at Bosanka Strincijera?
25 A. On the 26th of October, there was a cease-fire which came into
1 force, and that cease-fire lasted until the 8th of November. There was no
2 combat, no fighting during that truce. Otherwise, if I might be allowed
3 to add, the entire Dubrovnik operation, as far as active combat is
4 concerned and active operations, was ten days active operations and all
5 the rest was a cease-fire or, rather, inactivity. Ten active days, and
6 the rest was non-active.
7 Q. All right. Tell me, the Croatian forces from Bosanka and
8 Strincijera, did they open fire at the JNA?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you know what weapons they had there?
11 A. When Bosanka was taken, as far as I can remember, two recoilless
12 guns were captured, two rocket launchers of the Fagot type, and one
13 20-millimetre gun. And I don't know. I think one or two machine-guns,
14 heavy machine-guns.
15 Q. Were any mortars captured?
16 A. I think two 82-millimetre mortars, yes.
17 Q. Were there any hand-held launchers that were taken?
18 A. Hand-held launchers? That is light weaponry, so it is not
19 included in artillery. I cannot remember.
20 Q. All right. Do you remember that before that, from Bosanka and
21 Strincijera, the Croat forces attacked the JNA and caused losses among
23 A. Yes.
24 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Your Honour. Could we get a time frame on
25 this, please, a time frame for the action.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. It's not very clear, is it, Mr. Rodic. Is it
2 before the 26th of October or later?
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] After the 26th of October, Your
4 Honour. Through these questions --
5 JUDGE PARKER: Then the witness might tell us....
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Please go ahead, sir.
8 A. Yes. Between the 26th of October and the 8th of November, that is
9 to say before the attack on Bosanka, that period is considered to be one
10 of a cease-fire, that is to say when a cease-fire was in force. However,
11 there were -- there was such a lot of provocative action taken on both
12 sides that there were losses on our side and on their side.
13 On these fortresses that have just been referred to, Bosanka,
14 Strincijera, Gradci and Srdj, which constituted the key to the defence of
15 this ridge, there were choice forces of the defence of Dubrovnik. They
16 were heavily fortified and sheltered in the fortresses, and therefore, they
17 were in a position to successfully defend all approaches to town.
18 Due to these provocations, often there were losses, and even
19 strong artillery fire was used from both sides. The Defence of Dubrovnik
20 believed that there would be an attack launched against the town, bearing in
21 mind the fact that there were strong forces around the town, our forces,
22 four to five battalions in total. These forces reacted rather nervously
23 by firing projectiles at our parts, and our forces, in turn, responded
24 with the same kind of fire or even stronger fire.
25 Then on the 8th of November, the order came from the 2nd
1 Operational Group command to take Bosanka, because the defenders of
2 Bosanka hindered communication between Brgat and Zarkovica, the only
3 communication there was for bringing supplies to Zarkovica. That was the
4 only communication route.
5 Then our action continued when Bosanka was taken.
6 Q. I have to interrupt you, because your answer is an expanded one,
7 and my question was the following: Before Bosanka was taken and before
8 Strincijera was taken by the JNA, did the JNA suffer any losses due to the
9 action taken by Croat forces from those positions? And I still have not
10 received an answer to that question.
11 A. Yes, of course. I've said that already, that there were losses
12 due to these provocations. There were losses.
13 Q. Were any members of the JNA killed?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you remember how many?
16 A. Before the attack on Bosanka, there were perhaps two dead and a
17 few wounded, but the greatest losses were sustained after the attack on
18 Bosanka, between the 8th and the 10th.
19 JUDGE PARKER: That perhaps is a convenient time, Mr. Rodic.
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
21 --- Recess taken at 5.28 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 5.51 p.m.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 May I ask the usher's assistance, please. Could we have a
1 document distributed.
2 Q. Can you tell us, Mr. Jokic, whether you recognise this document.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Is it correct that through this document you are proposing to the
5 commander of the 2nd Operational Group that you receive within the 9th VPS
6 a motorised battalion to be resubordinated to you from Bar?
7 A. Yes, that's what it says in this document.
8 Q. As the document is addressed to the commander of the 2nd
9 Operational Group and the commander of the 2nd Corps, to his attention as
10 well, does that mean that the -- no. I apologise. That the motorised
11 battalion from Bar, is it within the composition of the 2nd Corps? Was it
12 under them first and you are requesting that it be placed under your
13 command, or is there something else, is this something else?
14 A. Well, I don't know. I haven't seen this document. I'm not quite
15 clear, because this was never actually realised. The 3rd Battalion of the
16 5th Brigade, at that time it was on leave, but it returned several days
17 later. So this was never put into practice, it was never executed. So I
18 don't remember this document at all in actual fact.
19 Q. But do you remember whether operations were planned in the region
20 of the villages of Orasec, Brsine and Gromaca?
21 A. No. It was outside my area. Had nothing to do with me. At the
22 time, on the 30th of October, we had not assumed control of Dubrovacka
23 Rijeka or Komolac or Mokosica at all, and my units were not there at
24 all, so it's got nothing to do with this. And the 133rd Motorised Brigade
25 that's mentioned here is a brigade from Bar which did not take part in the
1 operation. So I don't really know what this is about. This document is
2 one I do not recognise at all.
3 Q. At the time, did you have units in the Uskoplje region at all?
4 A. No. Uskoplje is in the area of responsibility of the brigade --
5 of the 472nd Brigade, which was not subordinated to me or, rather, it was
6 subordinated but on the 30th of October, we had no operations outside this
7 zone. I mean, Gromaca is in the area of the 2nd Corps, in their zone.
8 Orasec as well.
9 Q. Do you mean the villages mentioned here, Gromaca, Orasec, and
10 Brsine, that that was in the area of responsibility of the 2nd Corps? Is
11 that is it? Is that what you're saying?
12 A. Yes, absolutely correct.
13 Q. So the beginning of the sentence refers to that, does it, and that
14 is why this document is being sent to the 2nd Corps for their information
15 when it says for planned activities in the region, bearing in mind that
16 returned the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade? That you are then informing
17 the command of the 2nd Op Group and the commander of the 2nd Corps and that
18 that is why you are suggesting that the motorised brigade from Bar be
19 attached to you, be resubordinated to you.
20 A. What I'm saying is that the document is quite illogical. There's
21 no logic to it. And it was never implemented. My units were not
22 active in this area, and this never came into being. This battalion
23 never came under me within the composition of my unit. This brigade
24 disembarked in Bar, and I think it was a brigade from Pula.
25 Q. Tell me, please, I don't suppose you challenge that this is a
1 document from the command of the 9th VPS.
2 A. Well, we can see that judging by what it says at the top, but I
3 don't think it is a logical document, and none of what it says here was
4 ever put into practice. It was absolutely impossible for my unit to be
5 operational in the region of Brsatine, Orasac, and Gromaca, which is 30 or
6 40 kilometres away from my first units, so it was the zone of the 2nd
8 Q. All right. But just tell me if this document is authentic. Would
9 you say it's authentic?
10 A. Well, it would appear to be authentic, but as I say, none of this
11 was of implemented and it does not reflect the state of affairs, the
12 actual state of affairs, how things stood.
13 Q. Very well. Thank you.
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may we have a number, a
15 Defence number for this document?
16 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
17 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, excuse me. The witness has not
18 accepted that the document actually represents something that his own
19 units were responsible for, and we would object to its admission in
21 JUDGE PARKER: I agree with what you've put, but he does accept on
22 its face the document itself as something emanating from his command,
23 although he can't understand it. So it will be received.
24 THE REGISTRAR: This document will be marked D48.
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please distribute the
1 next document.
2 Q. Would you please tell me whether this document is familiar to you,
3 and is it an authentic document?
4 A. Yes, I remember this document. It is an authentic document.
5 Q. The document is from the command of the 9th VPS. It is dated the
6 6th of November, 1991. Tell me, please, is that the time that you
7 mentioned before the break, between the 26th of October and the 8th of
8 November when there was supposed to be a cease-fire in force?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Since the 472nd Motorised Brigade at this period was within the
11 composition of the 9th VPS Military Naval Sector, through this order are
12 you prohibiting any opening fire by the artillery with the aim of creating
13 conditions for negotiations between the representatives of the 2nd
14 Operational Group and the European mission in Dubrovnik?
15 A. Yes. That's what it says in this document.
16 Q. In this order, you say that the artillery can be used only from
17 orders from the command post and forward command post of the 9th VPS; is
18 that right?
19 A. Well, there was a reason why this was written. Before this event
20 -- if I might be allowed to explain, Your Honour. Before this particular
21 event --
22 Q. We'll come to that.
23 A. There were provocations, and that led to the writing of this
25 Q. Very well. But what I'm interested in is this: I'm interested in
1 the last sentence, where it says: "This order does not exclude the
2 obligations of the units and command of the 472nd Motorised Brigade to
3 suggest the use of artillery if they evaluate it as necessary."
4 Could you explain that sentence to us, please.
5 A. Well, if the use of the artillery is forbidden and if the unit is
6 threatened because of the activity of the other side, then the unit can
7 come into action, it can react or, rather, propose that a reaction follow
8 but not to resort to the use of arms. So a proposal isn't the same thing
9 as an order to use weapons. So the superior officer will decide whether
10 he is going to accept the proposal or not. That's the sense of this, the
11 gist of the document.
12 Q. I have understood the explanation you have just given, but within
13 the context of all this, your order does not exclude the obligation on the
14 part of the units and the command of this brigade to propose the use of
15 weapons should they deem necessary. That means that they are duty-bound
16 to propose the deployment of the artillery if they think the situation
17 merits that. So can you explain to us what kind of situation that would
18 be to merit its use?
19 A. Well, I don't know if I've been clear enough. If they feel that
20 they are threatened, that their positions are threatened, that the
21 positions of the unit are threatened that they are supporting or that
22 their own positions have come under threat, then they can propose to the
23 superior command that they be deployed. They can make a proposal
25 Q. What you say, they can propose, is that the gist of it or do they
1 have the obligation to propose if they are threatened and if they assess
2 that this is necessary, as it says here?
3 A. Certainly. Each unit is duty-bound if it comes under threat and
4 if it deems necessary that it should react, has the obligation to propose
5 to its superior commander the way in which they are to open fire. That's
6 a general principle in every operation.
7 Q. All right. Thank you.
8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may we have a number for
9 this document, marked for identification?
10 JUDGE PARKER: Before that, perhaps you could tell me, Admiral, to
11 whom would the command of the 472nd Brigade suggest the use of artillery?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, to the superior
13 command. The superior command would be the 9th Sector.
14 JUDGE PARKER: That is your own command.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right, my own command, with
16 the proviso that this unit, on this particular date, was to have left
17 subordination to my command and left the zone pursuant to orders by the
18 commander of the 2nd Operational Group. So that is the only point that
19 can be contested, the fact that the order was never carried out.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. This document will be received.
21 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D49.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. In respect of this period, the beginning of the month of November,
24 1991, you mentioned that there were provocations then in that part of the
25 territory, around Dubrovnik, that is. Can you tell me, in relation to
1 these provocations, did you write any reports to anyone? Did you brief
2 anyone about this?
3 A. At the beginning of November, there were two reports regarding
4 provocations in the area where the approaches to the town of Dubrovnik
5 and the outlying settlements were, as well as the town itself, outside the
6 Old Town. One report, I think, is from the 1st or 2nd of November and was
7 written by the command of the 2nd Operational Group. The second one was
8 addressed to me by General Brovet. I think I wrote it on the 3rd or 4th of
9 November. I wrote it to Admiral Brovet, and it had to do with provocations
10 related to the 472nd Brigade or its battalions or, rather, its battalions
11 facing the town of Dubrovnik and the neighbourhoods on the approaches to
12 town. THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Rodic's microphone please be turned
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the usher to have
15 the following document distributed, please.
16 Q. Are you familiar with this document?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. If you're reading the handwritten part, I'll help you. It says:
19 "Colonel S. Lukic, Lieutenant Colonel Svicevic, familiarise the general;
20 and act on his decision." Do you know whose signature this is underneath
21 the handwritten text? The handwritten text.
22 A. No, I don't know.
23 Q. Is it perhaps Colonel Filipovic?
24 A. Possibly, yes.
25 Q. Does the Deputy Federal Secretary, Admiral Brovet, through this
1 document, ask urgently for information regarding the allegations from the
2 protest of the International Monitoring Mission of the European Community
3 from the 3rd of November, 1991?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is it stated that this document should be sent, number one, to the
6 commander of the 9th VPS - to you - and secondly, to the commander of the
7 2nd OG?
8 A. Yes. That is what it written here.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could this document
10 please be admitted into evidence as a Defence exhibit?
11 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
12 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D50.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps you could help me, Admiral. It's not clear
14 from these documents. Are you speaking of provocations given to units under
15 your command, in particular the 472nd Brigade, or are you speaking of
16 provocations by them?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this pertains to the
18 request of the representatives of the European Community addressed to
19 General Brovet to establish responsibility for provocations of the units
20 of the 472nd Brigade vis-a-vis the defenders of Dubrovnik.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. In this document that Brovet is sending you and the commander of
24 the 2nd OG, is there a single reference to the 472nd Motorised Brigade?
25 A. There is no reference there, but there is in the response.
1 Q. Yes, but did you receive the text of the protest of the Monitoring
2 Mission of the European Community addressed to the Federal Secretary?
3 A. I probably did receive it. I don't know why that protest is not
4 there in addition to that document which is just an accompanying letter.
5 Q. Do you remember whether you received it or not or are you just
6 making this assumption?
7 A. I had to have received it. Since I gave a reply, I had to have
8 received it. And I see from the text that this group of officers are the
9 ones who were engaged in negotiations, and they were entrusted by the
10 commander of the 2nd Operational Group to carry out these negotiations
11 with the Crisis Staff, and this probably went through them.
12 Q. Tell me, did you act in accordance with this request put forth by
13 Admiral Brovet?
14 A. Of course I did.
15 Q. And who was it that you informed about this?
16 A. Those who asked for this, that is to say the -- Admiral Brovet and
17 the command of the 2nd Operational Group.
18 Q. All right.
19 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask the usher to give
20 the witness document P104. That is a Prosecution exhibit. It is under
21 tab 37.
22 Q. You said that you had not seen this document before when my
23 learned friend of the Prosecution asked you about it during the
24 examination-in-chief, but you also said that you were aware of the events
25 referred to in this document; is that right?
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. This document, is it one that is sent by the command of the 2nd
3 Operational Group to the operational centre of the General Staff, to
4 Admiral Stane Brovet in person, precisely in response the request of
5 Admiral Brovet's that we saw a few minutes ago?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did General Strugar receive a report from you in relation to the
8 allegations made by the Croatian side or, rather, the Monitoring Mission
9 of the European Community? As regards paragraph 5. I'm sorry.
10 A. Probably. I don't know whether it exists in the archives, but he
11 must have received one. We must have provided him with an answer.
12 Q. And did you report to him about the chemical warfare agents
13 referred to in the protest of the European Monitoring Mission?
14 A. Certainly, yes.
15 Q. Is it correct that you characterised such claims of the other side
16 as deceit, and General Strugar, in his report, said that it was obvious
17 that this was not true, that --
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Is it true that when the 2nd Operational Group is sending such
20 information to Admiral Brovet, does that mean that they
21 believe your report?
22 A. Certainly.
23 Q. Tell me, did the Croatian forces use hotels in Dubrovnik as
24 shelter for their own action?
25 A. Yes, they did. They had artillery pieces and weapons near
2 Q. Did you have information to the effect that Croatian paramilitary
3 forces were staying at hotels, that they were stationed there?
4 A. Yes, they were stationed in hotels, of course. It is a well-known
5 thing, which hotels and which forces. And the commander of the defence of
6 Dubrovnik did not deny that either.
7 Q. In addition to the statement made by the commander of the Defence
8 of the town of Dubrovnik, did you read any other statements while
9 preparing your defence? Did you have statements made by other persons?
10 Did you read intelligence reports? Did you have any made available to
12 A. Yes, we did, of course.
13 Q. Can you please take a look at paragraph 2 where the 31st of
14 October is referred to, that the monitors accused the JNA of wounding five
15 civilians from a light machine-gun. They presented a list of names with a
16 description of the injuries. However, a shrapnel that remained in a body
17 is referred to there as well.
18 Are you aware of this?
19 A. I can see it from the text, but I don't know. I cannot recall
20 this event, because I did not give any interpretations of that. I don't
21 know. Or at least, I don't remember that it was my own men. I know that
22 there were complaints referring to Lopud, that -- that mortars fired from
23 there on certain positions of the Second Battalion in the area of Petrovo
24 Selo , et cetera. However, I cannot say whether it was maladjustment of the
25 artillery pieces and that the shell exploded near Gruz and that is why it
1 wounded these citizens. Q. However, the basic point of this explanation is
2 that the complaint referred to civilians injured by light machine-guns, and
3 also reference is made to shrapnel, but it's not machine-guns that use any
4 kind of ammunition that would result in shrapnel; is that right?
5 A. Yes. That's the way it should be.
6 Q. In the second sentence of
7 paragraph 2, it says: "It was reliably known that on that day the JNA did
8 not in any way violate the cease-fire."
9 Was this assertion based on a report obtained beforehand from the
10 units involved as was the case with you under item 5 in reference to
11 chemical warfare agents?
12 A. Well, that's what the procedure would have to be in order to
13 establish things in an objective manner and in order to give an answer
14 that would be based on facts.
15 Q. Could you please look at paragraph 4 and tell me whether on the
16 basis of the reports of subordinates the response sent to Admiral Brovet
17 was compiled on that basis? In paragraph 4, there is no denying that the
18 JNA did open fire, but an explanation is provided as to when, where, and
19 under what circumstances; is that right?
20 A. Yes. It is hard for me to give an explanation because this
21 information had been collected. It's probably the organs of the 2nd
22 Operational Group that collected information in specific units, that is to
23 say battalions of the brigade. And it is hard for me now -- well, I can
24 give an explanation, but if that is what is written here, if that is
25 objective and based on facts, then it absolutely sounds logical.
1 Q. And how and in what way was it explained why the JNA opened fire
2 on the 2nd of November?
3 A. Well, we can see from this that a caution was issued, a warning,
4 that fire was opened at these units and their positions, and in order to
5 prevent further threats to the lives of the soldiers, fire was met with
6 fire. There was response. That's the sense of it. So the use of fire
7 under the given circumstances is not challenged.
8 Q. But is it mentioned that the JNA had sent a radiograph to the
9 European -- EC Mission? A radiograph was sent that said, among other
10 things, that they warned that their positions were being fired at.
11 A. Yes, that's right. That's what it says here.
12 Q. Would you take a look at paragraph 7 of this document now, please,
13 and tell us what that is about.
14 A. Well, this paragraph says that during talks on the 4th of November
15 with representatives of the EC Mission, the JNA representative received a
16 message at 1210 hours that fire was being opened at JNA positions from the
17 old part of Dubrovnik town, and this was brought to the attention of the
18 EC representatives. It was also pointed out that the Croatian side was
19 trying, at all costs, to provoke the JNA in order to discredit it.
20 Q. Judging by what it says in paragraph 7, does that mean that the
21 JNA representative, in negotiations with the representatives of the EEC
22 Mission received this piece of information and told them that by way of
24 A. Yes, that's what it says.
25 Q. When it says that JNA positions were fired at from the old part of
1 Dubrovnik town, does that mean the Old Town, the Old Town of Dubrovnik?
2 A. Yes. That's precisely what it means, the Old Town, yes.
3 Q. Do you know whether the EC representatives responded to this
4 protest from the JNA?
5 A. I don't remember. I don't remember that.
6 Q. Do you remember any response from the EC representatives once they
7 had received protests from the JNA? Did they react in any way?
8 A. No. I think that just on one occasion. I don't know exactly
9 when, but I seem to remember that once they did accept one of our protests
10 as well-founded, but whether it was this particular protest or another
11 protest that we lodged, I really can't remember which they acted upon.
12 Q. Now, October to December 1991, was there just one justified
13 protest from the JNA or more?
14 A. There were probably several. I don't really know, but the fact is
15 that the Croatian side or, rather, the Defence of Dubrovnik daily lodged
16 protests. We did this very rarely, although I wasn't well-versed in all
17 this, because if you wanted to lodge a protest, this was done by the team,
18 the negotiating team, for the most part. And those negotiators were
19 subordinated to the commander of the 2nd Operational Group, so that I know
20 about some but probably not about most of them.
21 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, there is one objection I wanted to raise
22 without interrupting the Admiral. Line 11, "one justified protest," that
23 is a value judgement put on by counsel and it's not defined. So I'd
24 either ask to strike or have it explained.
25 JUDGE PARKER: It's merely in a question. The answer of the
1 witness is that he knows of only one protest that was ever acted on, but
2 he says he doesn't know what other protests were made. So I think the
3 matter's satisfactorily left at that point.
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. In the area of your responsibility, the 9th Naval Military Sector,
6 the 9th VPS, in the period from October to December 1991, did you have
7 reason to protest to the other side or, rather, to the Crisis Staff of
8 Dubrovnik or to the Monitoring Mission of the European Community? Did you
9 have reason to lodge a protest? Was there reason for you to do that?
10 Regardless of whether you did that or not, did you have reason to
11 protest? And if so, why?
12 A. Yes, there was reason. Of course there was, on several
13 occasions. But as I've already said --
14 Q. Now, these reasons for which you would lodge a protest --
15 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. The witness has not finished
16 his answer.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I felt he had. It was no doubt an innocent
19 Yes. Were you wanting to say more?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I wanted to
21 finish by adding this: I said that there was just one protest, as far as
22 I remember, that was accepted by the representatives of the European
23 Community but that there were more protests on our part. I don't know how
24 many more, because these protests were lodged by negotiators at their
25 meetings with the Crisis Staff. And that is why it is not for me to state
1 how many protests were actually lodged and how many should have been lodged
2 and weren't lodged. I think that the people in the command of the 2nd
3 Operational Group would know about that better than me, as would the
4 negotiating team of Colonel Svicevic. They would be better versed in
5 these matters. And that's my answer.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Rodic.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Mr. Jokic, I didn't ask you how many protests there were or what
9 the dates were. And my question was a simple one: You were the commander
10 of the 9th VPS. You had your area of responsibility and area for your
11 units to operate in; is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So as the commander of the 9th VPS, you yourself in the area of
14 responsibility of your units, were there any soldiers killed, wounded
15 during the proclaimed cease-fire or truce which was caused by the actions
16 of the other side? Do you know anything about that?
17 A. Of course I know something about that. And there were individual
18 cases on the hand-over of duty of General Strugar, hand-over and take-over
19 of duty of General Strugar. On that day there was a killing in an ambush
20 by a sniper, by sniper fire, of my soldier. He was killed by sniper fire
21 in the region around the village of Gruda. And that took place on the
22 13th of October.
23 Q. Was that a reason to lodge a protest? So I'm not asking you
24 whether a protest was lodged or not; was that good reason to lodge a
25 protest to the other side and to lodge it with the European
2 A. Absolutely correct, yes.
3 Q. So I'm asking you once again, without asking you to enumerate the
4 dates and specific instances and cases in the period of October, November,
5 and December 1991, was there good reason, were there justifiable reasons
6 because of the actions of the opposite side during a truce or cease-fire
7 for the JNA to protest, lodge a protest with the Crisis Staff or with the
8 EC Monitoring Mission?
9 A. Yes, of course there was. There was reason for protests and
10 because of the provocations that came from the other side, but all I said
11 was that I don't know whether such protests were actually lodged. We
12 didn't understand each other.
13 Q. From October to December 1991, did you have a number of killed and
14 casualties, wounded, during the cease-fire or truce?
15 A. Yes, we did. There were several instances. I can list some of
16 them for you.
17 Q. Tell us, please, briefly, if you remember who they were.
18 A. In addition to what I've already stated, the other example was --
19 took place in Cavtat around the Mlini area where a soldier called Barac
20 was killed, and that was during a cease-fire or truce. I think it was on
21 the 16th or 17th of October.
22 Q. Were there examples such as that after that date as well?
23 A. At Greben or the ridge area where the firing came from Mount Srdj
24 and Strincijera, in the firing from those points and provocations from
1 Q. Whose provocations? Provocations by whom?
2 A. Well, it's difficult to assess. You don't always know who started
3 first, who opened fire first.
4 Q. As the commander of the VPS at the time, were you informed that a
5 fighters of yours, a soldier of yours had been killed or wounded as a
6 result of the fire that was opened by the other side as provocation during
7 the cease-fire or truce?
8 A. The two cases in point, they are clear-cut cases, and I have
9 stated them. As to the situation at Greben or the ridge, it was always
10 very fluid because the fortresses up there were manned by extremists who
11 opened fire with reason or without reason, with cause or without cause.
12 And there were, of course, provocations on our part, too, because the
13 distance between the towers and positions were so small that it was
14 difficult to establish who actually opened fire first. That's what I
15 wanted to say.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Mr. Rodic?
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, it is, Your Honour, but I thought
18 we were working until 7.00 this evening. But if this is the right time,
19 fine, no problem with that. We haven't had afternoon sittings for a long
20 time, so I'm not sure whether the working -- the hours of business are
21 until 7.00 p.m. or quarter to 7.00.
22 JUDGE PARKER: My mistake, Mr. Rodic. You have quarter of an
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 Q. Would you please tell me, now, linked to the last paragraph, the
1 following: Complaints -- a complaint lodged to the head of the EC
2 Mission, Mr. Lucas, who --in handwriting, let me note-- was the ambassador
3 for human rights. So what did he state with respect to a JNA soldier
4 captured in Dubrovnik?
5 A. Mr. Lucas gave a comment on this. He said that while a delegation of the
6 EC was in Dubrovnik, a dog was killed.
7 Q. Did he say that when a representative of the JNA told him that he
8 had received information that during the EC delegation's stay in Dubrovnik,
9 that one of their members was killed in prison?
10 A. Yes, that's what it says here. I didn't attend those
12 Q. But are you familiar with this case?
13 A. Yes, I am familiar with it. There were comments. There was --
14 there were comments about it, so that's how I came to hear about it.
15 Q. And how do you assess this comment by Mr. Lucas with respect to
16 the JNA?
17 A. It is very insulting. It's impossible to make a comment on
18 something like this.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] We don't need this document any more,
21 so would the usher distribute the next document for us, please.
22 Q. Would you take a look at this document, please, Mr. Jokic, and
23 tell me whether this is your own report or, rather, your response sent to
24 Admiral Brovet, addressed to Admiral Brovet with respect to his request of
25 the 3rd of November that we saw a moment ago.
1 A. Yes, it is. That's right, that is the response.
2 Q. Except for Admiral Brovet, you sent this report to the command of
3 the 2nd Operational Group, to their attention so that they should be kept
4 abreast and informed; is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. Under point 1 of your report, you are informing them about the 2nd of
7 November, in the period from 1300 to 1420 hours, that on the positions of the
8 2nd Motorised Battalion in the region of Pobrezje and the 1st Motorised
9 Battalion in the region of Golubov Kamen, that the enemy opened machine-gun
10 and sniper fire from the positions of Babin Kuk, Mala Petka elevation
11 145, and Lapad elevation 36, and the Nuncijat fortress; is that right?
12 A. Yes, that's right. That's what it says.
13 Q. For that same day, you go on to inform them about their operations
14 from 1550 to 1620 hours, again on positions of the 2nd Motorised Battalion
15 where the enemy fired 120 mm mortars from the position of Lapad and elevation
16 36, and 85-millimetre cannons or 40-millimetre cannons from the position of
17 Mala Petka and from the Nuncijata fortress with MB
18 82-millimetres; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You also say that a group of ZNG members was inserted in the
21 combat deployment of the 2nd Motorised Battalion and that after combat, five
22 ZNG members were killed and one of your men, it would appear, was wounded.
23 We can't see the exact number, but that would be it.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In your report, you also state when the units of the 472nd
1 Motorised Brigade opened fire; is that right?
2 A. Yes, that's what it says, between 1730 and 1810 hours.
3 Q. In paragraph 2 on the second page of the document, you also
4 mention to Admiral Brovet that a strict cease-fire had been ordered in
5 respect of all units because the Komolac transformer station was being
6 worked on; is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In the second passage of paragraph 2, you also say: "At the same
9 time, we guarantee that our units at the front end were not the first ones
10 to open fire, thus there is a possibility of an improvisation of fire on
11 the part of the MUP and ZNG on their own hotels so as to make the
12 representatives of the EC believe that it is in fact the JNA which is
13 breaking the cease-fire." Is that right?
14 A. Yes, that is what is written there.
15 Q. And in support of this assertion, you also refer to enemy
16 operations taking place on the 3rd of November, 1991, namely that the
17 enemy had on numerous occasions manifested activity from the region of
18 Mokosica, Nuncijat, Srdj, and Bosanka?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And that JNA forces responded with equal fire.
21 A. Yes, that is what happened most often.
22 Q. You also report about enemy activity on the 9th --
23 INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 4th of November.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- of November, 1991, from the
25 positions of Mala Petka, Babin Kuk, Nuncijata, against a JNA unit;
1 is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. It is stated there that the enemy opened fire with 120-millimetre
4 mortars and probably from an 85-millimetre cannon against the positions of
5 the 2nd Motorised Battalion; is that right?
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. And, "From the fortress in the Old Town mortar fire was opened
8 from 120-millimetre mortars on the positions of Dubac, Cibaca, Barbarela,
9 and Brgat. One of our soldiers was wounded in the back." Is that
11 A. Yes. Yes.
12 Q. When you say here "from the fortress in the Old Town," is that a
13 reference to the Old Town, the protected part of Dubrovnik?
14 A. Yes. There were suspicions that from those forts of Bokari,
15 St. John, outside the ramparts there were one or two mortars.
16 Q. In spite of the opening of enemy fire from the Old Town of
17 Dubrovnik, in the next paragraph do you not say that the JNA did not
18 target the Old Town?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you say further on that on the 4th of November, Patrol Boat 137
21 was fired on with a gun of 85-millimetres from the position of Mala Petka
22 and from a 10-millimetre cannon from Cape Brsine, that is the island of
24 A. Yes, I remember that.
25 Q. At the end of this document, do you reiterate yet again what the
1 enemy is doing, that they abuse large hotels which they describe as
2 refugee shelters, and that is where they stationed members of the MUP and
3 ZNG, and next to these hotels weaponry, cannons are deployed for opening
4 intensive fire?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Is that the kind of information that you received?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. You inform Admiral Brovet that the Croatia hotel in Cavtat was
9 full of refugees while the Crisis Staff was operating in the basement of
10 that hotel; is that right?
11 A. Well, that is a fact.
12 Q. You inform Admiral Brovet that next to the hotel a 76-millimetre
13 cannon was captured and that from the Astarea Hotel in Srebrno, your
14 armoured unit was held back for four hours. Was it held back by firing
15 coming from the other side?
16 A. Yes. These were operations during which a tank was set on fire at
17 Zvekovica, in front of that hotel.
18 Q. In the report, do you assert that the hotels of Kupari, Goricina,
19 and Pelegrin were strongholds of the members of the MUP and the ZNG and
20 that now the strongholds are the hotels at Babin Kuk, Lazaret, and Lapad?
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. Do you emphasise to Admiral Brovet that you asked on several
23 occasions that members of the European Community come to your forward line,
24 that is to say the forward line of your units, and to personally see for
25 themselves who is breaching the cease-fire that had been ordered, and that
1 the Monitoring Mission had refused to do that?
2 A. Yes, this was discussed, and they had accepted to come, namely
3 that a few of them would come to see us as well. A representative came, I
4 think he was an Italian, but later on this was given up on altogether.
5 Q. Tell me, on the basis of such a report, including your own, was
6 this -- so this report of yours was sent to the commander of the 2nd OG,
7 and then did the 2nd OG command write a report to Admiral Brovet and send
8 it on the 4th of November?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to ask that
12 this document be admitted into evidence as a Defence exhibit, please.
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D51.
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] If I managed to fit into regular
16 working hours, then this would be a convenient time.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Very well done, Mr. Rodic.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will adjourn until tomorrow morning.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 14th day of
22 April, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.