1 Tuesday, 6 July 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. If I could remind you, Mr. Sikimic,
7 of the affirmation you took at the commencement of your evidence which
8 still applies.
9 Ms. Somers.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
12 WITNESS: VLADO SIKIMIC [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers: [Continued]
15 Q. Good morning, Mr. Sikimic.
16 A. Good morning.
17 Q. Mr. Sikimic, do you have in front of you, please, the war diary
18 that is marked for identification number -- Madam, if you could help me.
19 It's 96, I believe?
20 A. No.
21 MS. SOMERS: I would ask that it be placed in front of you,
22 please. Okay. 92, I beg your pardon. I'm so sorry, it's 92.
23 JUDGE PARKER: I have it marked as 96.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
25 MS. SOMERS: I have just been misinformed by my own side. I
1 apologise. 96. Yes. Sorry about that.
2 Q. I would ask you, please, to take a look on page 68 in your
3 Serbo-Croatian version, 68, please. At 9.50, there's an entry. It says:
4 "Jovanovic: Kovacevic is requesting, they are firing on the 3rd of the
5 472nd MTBR from the region of Libertas with mortars. Kovacevic is
6 requesting action. He is requesting action with 130 millimetres."
7 Do you know, which person Jovanovic is referred to there? Have
8 you been informed or do you know who is referred to there?
9 A. Jovanovic, there was a Jovanovic in the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd
10 Motorised Brigade, and I assume that this is the deputy commander of the
11 3rd Battalion. I assume, because there were several Jovanovics. However,
12 since this is about what it is --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters, please.
14 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry, what was the interpreter comment?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could we have the document on the ELMO, please.
16 MS. SOMERS: Okay. If the document -- I'm sorry, I think we have
17 to wait for it to be placed.
18 Mr. Usher, we were on page 68 of the document.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I think it won't be possible with the difficulties.
20 There will be no detailed reference to it. What was read
21 was: "Jovanovic: Kovacevic is requesting, they are firing on the 3/472
22 Motorised Brigade from the region of Libertas with mortars. Kovacevic is
23 requesting action. He is requesting action with 130 mm."
24 If you'd carry on, Ms. Somers.
25 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Sikimic, your answer about there was a Kovacevic in the 3rd
2 Battalion of the 472nd -- Jovanovic in the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd, do
3 you know -- if you are referring us to a person you believe was involved
4 in the action of that day, would you know the first name of Mr. Jovanovic?
5 A. As I said a moment ago, one of the officers from the command of
6 the 3rd Battalion was a Jovanovic. I cannot remember. Perhaps he was
7 even the deputy commander. He was perhaps one of Kovacevic's deputies.
8 Now, whether it is this Jovanovic is something that I don't know. I
9 assume it was, but I was not there on that day so I cannot say anything
10 with any degree of certainty. I assume that this is Captain Kovacevic's
12 Q. Moving on to the next entry of -- did you know -- are you aware
13 that Captain Kovacevic's deputy was a man named Zeljko Soldo?
14 A. Yes. I don't know whether he was the deputy, but he was one of
15 Kovacevic's closest people.
16 Q. Looking at --
17 A. I'm sorry. May I add something. When I say I don't know with any
18 degree of certainty, then I have to repeat what I said yesterday. I was
19 involved in other matters. My line of work was logistics. I've forgotten
20 some people. I've forgotten their names, perhaps. I could try to
21 remember them, but these people and these logistics units were five,
22 seven, or eight kilometres away behind the combat deployment, the combat
23 order. So as for the actual deployment of these units of ours, on that
24 line of combat, I am not aware of it in any great detail.
25 Q. Okay. At the entry for 10.07 on your page 68, the entry for time
1 10.07, "Zec called, our men are on Srdj but they are being fired upon from
2 the town. We will now solve this and stop the fire."
3 Do you know who "we" refers to when it says "we will now solve
4 this and stop the fire"?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Moving on to 11.00 o'clock: "Transmitted to the ships for
7 Lieutenant Vukmanovic, that Minister Rudolf will set sail with a ship from
8 Gruz for the purpose of arriving for the talks. Transmitted for he 3rd of
9 the 5th PMTBR," and then it says: "Member of the signal corps unit,
11 Who was Lieutenant Vukmanovic?
12 A. Vukmanovic was a commander, but I don't know the name of the unit
13 that he commanded. I think it was the border unit, the 16th detachment of
14 ships. Anyway, it was some ship-related unit. But I'm not a sailor
15 myself, so I would not know the category of that particular unit.
16 Q. Was Minister Rudolf representing the Yugoslav side or the Croatian
17 side? Do you know?
18 A. As far as negotiations are concerned and everything else, I have
19 no idea about that, and I was not involved in that so I really cannot say.
20 Q. Do you know, though, that he is associated with negotiations,
21 Minister Rudolf? He is associated with negotiations?
22 A. No. You see, negotiations were conducted by a certain team which
23 I assume was under the direct control of Admiral Jokic. So we who were
24 engaged in other types of work did not take part in this kind of thing at
25 all, especially I, at the time, an ordinary captain, had no contact with
1 all of this. So I really have nothing to say in this regard.
2 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, and I wondered if maybe overnight you had a
3 chance to think about the meaning of the abbreviations, at 11.07 we
4 discussed the entry which said: "Stop the activities of POC"; at 11.15
5 stop all further actions, absolutely cease all action against the town.
6 Transmitted to Kovacevic personally." Did you have a chance to reflect on
7 the abbreviation POC? If not, it's okay. I just wondered if you might
9 A. I didn't think about it at all. I can only repeat that in
10 military terminology, Protivoklopna Ceta, logistics company, is
11 abbreviated as PC, PC with a diacritic, so perhaps somebody just made a
12 mistake of that kind, but I haven't really thought about it since.
13 Q. If you look, please, on page 69, at the entry for 12.25: "To the
14 command of the VPS Boka from the European mission. At 0550 hours with the
15 fire from tanks and cannons from the positions of Strincjera, Bosanka, and
16 Zarkovica, a machine-gun attack of the enforced infantry company has begun
17 against the positions of the Defence Forces of the Republic of Croatia on
18 Srdj. Along with a simultaneous opening of mortar and machine-gun fire on
19 all parts of the town. The Defence Forces of the Republic of Croatia have
20 responded only when the infantry and tanks have emerged 200 metres from
21 Srdj. At the same time, we denounce any provocative acts from Srdj and
22 Lapad which would be a cause to breach the permanent cease-fire.
23 "We take responsibility in claiming that the allegations of our
24 forces' actions have been constructed so as to provide an excuse for the
25 attempt to conquer Srdj. We have also accordingly stopped further action
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 via radiogram. We expect a sincere adherence to the cease-fire and the
2 pulling out of your forces to their initial positions. Now your forces
3 are still acting against the Dubrovnik Crisis Staff, against Srdj, and the
4 town of Dubrovnik." And then it says: "CS Dubrovnik." Do you know what
5 the CS stood for, or perhaps KS in your language?
6 A. Perhaps it is KS, Crisis Staff.
7 Q. Are you able to determine who had made that entry? Is that in any
8 way evident to you from anything in the column on page 69 to the right?
9 A. No. No. I really cannot say anything.
10 Q. Okay. On page 70 at the very top, there's a comment at 1305: "At
11 1400 Vice Admiral Jokic shall be at Cilipi." Do you know how far or where
12 Cilipi is in relation to your particular command post?
13 A. I think about 15 or 16 or 17 kilometres. I'm not sure.
14 Q. How far is it from Cavtat?
15 A. About the same distance, but you go in the other direction.
16 Q. And Kumbor?
17 A. I don't know exactly.
18 Q. Kumbor?
19 A. About 40 kilometres. But I'm not sure about all of that.
20 Q. The second entry which I believe we discussed yesterday at 1305,
21 but perhaps -- and you were not able to --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You helped us yesterday. We'll go on, on that one.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Would you look down, please, to 1415 on page 70.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The entry at 1415 says: "The helicopter with the commander has
3 taken off from the Cilipi airport to Belgrade." Now, does that link up in
4 any way in your view to what was said at 1305 above? Was the commander --
5 that's Vice Admiral Jokic?
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. Could you please turn to page 71. And before I ask you about
8 page 71, if I were to suggest to you that POC refers to -- now, forgive my
9 pronunciation perhaps, Protivoklopna Ceta, does that make sense to you?
10 Anti-tank company? Does that sound like it might be what the abbreviation
11 could be?
12 A. Possibly.
13 Q. Okay, thank you. Looking at page 71, the entry for
14 1538: "Dubrovnik Crisis Staff; at 6.12 at 1515 hours, at 1515 the Old
15 Town centre of Dubrovnik is in flames. We are requesting an urgent
16 cease-fire so that we could locate the fires." Then there is a name
17 Zeljko Sikic. Do you know or had you ever heard of a person Zeljko Sikic
18 before in any of the communications you may have been involved in?
19 A. No.
20 Q. At 1540 on page 71: "For the Crisis Staff, our forces have ceased
21 fire on all parts of Dubrovnik at 1245. We absolutely reject the
22 possibility that our forces are acting during the alleged time, and
23 especially on the Old Town. According to our information, the positions
24 on Petka are fired upon from Kolocep," and it shows "VPS Boka." Do we
25 interpret this as the sender, the originator of the message is, someone at
1 VPS Boka?
2 A. No. We can interpret it in the following way: That this
3 information was sent with this content by the party that could send a
4 telegram of this nature. And in principle, one knows who can communicate
5 with the other side, the other party.
6 Q. And in principle, who would that be in your view?
7 A. It could have been only three men, three officers: Admiral Jokic,
8 his deputy, and the chief of the operations centre, Kozaric.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 If you could look at 1600 -- the entry for 1600 on page 71,
11 says: "Dubrovnik Crisis Staff: VPS Boka Lieutenant General Strugar from
12 Minister Rudolf.
13 "Comrade general from 0545 of the morning hours until present
14 1530, the firing on Dubrovnik continues as I write this. The town has
15 suffered fierce attacks from various directions and is greatly damaged,
16 and especially the sacral objects. The Orthodox church is presently on
17 fire as well as houses on five locations. Dubrovnik is faced with the
18 danger of being engulfed in a wider fire. Bearing in mind that there is
19 no water, it is impossible to put out the flames. Two are killed, 17
20 people wounded. We request that you momentarily cease fire on Dubrovnik."
21 I'm not sure if "momentarily" is the correct translation. But:
22 "Momentarily cease fire on Dubrovnik because the consequences are
23 incomprehensible and our interventions minimal. We emphasise that the hit
24 Franciscan monastery is an object which is clearly identified by the C or
25 SK. We expect your intervention and primarily your response."
1 Is there any indication who received that message or made that
2 entry? You don't see any indication, do you? There's nothing there that
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. This is a message, is it not, this is clearly a message from
6 Mr. Rudolf to General Strugar, is it not?
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour. Objection,
8 Your Honour. Because that is not what it says here. When the document is
9 shown, the document should be read out. It says: "Crisis Staff
10 Dubrovnik -- for VPS Boka, and then Lieutenant Colonel Strugar." That is
11 what it says here, so that is how it has to be put to the witness. So VPS
12 Boka, General Strugar. That is what is written here, and that is the only
13 way the question can be phrased by quoting accurately what the document
14 actually says.
15 MS. SOMERS:
16 Q. VPS Boka, was that not the recipient of messages for General
18 A. All messages went through the VPS. The operations centre of the
19 VPS Boka. So whoever called from anywhere had to go through the
20 operations centre of Boka, not through the forward command post. There
21 was no direct communication between the forward command post and General
23 Q. And so this message --
24 A. As far as I know.
25 Q. So a message for General Strugar would end up in this format?
1 This is a normal way to send a message to General Strugar?
2 A. This message arrived in this document, I assume, because the
3 commander or his deputy, that is to say, Admiral Jokic, or warship Captain
4 Zec were probably in this zone. And that is why the message arrived in
5 Kupari because it is customary for the message to come where the commander
6 is, or rather where his deputy is. And this is a message from the Crisis
7 Staff which was conveyed to one of our commanders. What the answer was,
8 how the answer was given, who gave the answer, that is something that I
9 cannot say.
10 Q. The indication is that it is addressed to General Strugar. Do you
11 see his name there?
12 A. Yes. That is what it says here, that this message should be
13 conveyed to General Strugar, exactly.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 If you would look at page 72, please, the entry there -- under
16 1627, there are two parts to it, if you can see it. In the top part, and
17 then there's a second part which starts: "Crisis Staff Dubrovnik, for
18 KVPS Boka." And that's the part I'm going to ask you about. "In your
19 radiogram from 1440 hours in which you erroneously claim that you have
20 ceased fire on all parts of Dubrovnik since 1115 hours, not only have we
21 convinced ourselves in this untruthfulness but also the representatives of
22 UNICEF, UNESCO, and the EM. We once more ask for your guarantee that you
23 will cease the cannon and MB fire, so that we could commence putting out
24 the flames in the old part of town he. We also expect that you will stop
25 the action against Srdj." And then it says: "Op Dubrovnik Crisis Staff."
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 What does the Op, the O-p Dubrovnik Crisis Staff mean, if you know?
2 A. No. KS Dubrovnik, that stands for Crisis Staff Dubrovnik. As for
3 your O-p, I don't know what that stands for. I really don't know. For
4 the reasons I gave a moment ago, I absolutely had no part in this, so that
5 the normal wording KS Dubrovnik must stand for the Crisis Staff, but I
6 don't know about the rest.
7 Q. If you look at the entry for 1835, at the very bottom, it
8 says: "The team of the 2nd Operational Group, captain of warship
9 Milanovic, Colonel Andzic, and Dr. Antic." Then it says: "Team of 9th
10 VPS, Captain Kozaric, Zarkovic, Jeremic, for the inspection of the
11 situation in the 3/472 MTBR." What are these various persons listed next
12 to team of the 2nd Operational Group? Do you know Milanovic, Andzic, and
13 Dr. Antic?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Do you know -- you've mentioned Captain Kozaric before, so you
16 know him.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Who was Zarkovic, do you know? Zarkovic?
19 A. He was one of the assistant commanders of the naval sector. I
20 think he was responsible for morale, but I'm not sure. As for Jeremic,
21 I'm not sure at all. There were two or three persons with that surname.
22 I think that one of the Jeremics did take part in the negotiations, but I
23 cannot tell you for certain.
24 Q. If you look at --
25 A. However, I do know Captain Kozaric, battleship commander Zarkovic.
1 Him I know as well. The two of them I know personally.
2 Q. If you would look at -- if you would turn the page to page 73,
3 please, the entry for 1840: "According to the report of the captain of
4 the battleship or warship Celebic, there are five dead and eight wounded."
5 Did you come to learn who the five dead and eight wounded were? Or are
6 they referring to who's dead, who's wounded? Do you know? Were you ever
7 made aware?
8 A. I know -- may I give a slightly lengthier explanation. When I
9 handed over duty at 0630, I went to carry out another assignment. And I
10 wasn't at the operations centre. Throughout that day, I am aware that
11 there were some reconnoitering, that there was a lot of problems, to put
12 it that way. But all I can say is that I did hear from colleagues, from
13 comrades that day that on our side there were five or six dead, a couple
14 wounded, and that everything is being looked into, investigated, and
15 addressed in a certain manner. I'm not even sure of the actual numbers.
16 But I did hear, since I was thereabouts, although I was doing something
17 else, that there were five or six dead and some wounded.
18 Q. When you say "on that day," which day are you referring to? Could
19 you give us the date of the day you're referring to?
20 A. The 6th of December, 1991.
21 Q. Were you ever asked to discuss anything that you might have known
22 about any of the events that occurred between the 5th and the 6th of
23 December? Were you ever asked formally by any commanding officer?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Can we look back at page 73, at the entry for 1922, a message for
1 Lieutenant General Strugar from Dubrovnik. "Rudolf: Because the fire is
2 burning in the old centre of Dubrovnik and threatening with horrible
3 consequences due to the lack of water, we ask that you enable the entry of
4 ships with water cannons whose purpose is to extinguish the fires from
5 Korcula, Ploce, into the old harbour of Dubrovnik. It is an urgent and
6 necessary intervention. We expect your initial consent after which we
7 would precisely inform you of the type of ships and their time of
8 arrival." And there appears the name: "Minister Davorin Rudolf."
9 Do you find on page 73 any indication as to who may have made that
11 A. On page 73 towards the bottom, the time is indicated, 2010. And
12 on the right-hand side, there's initial. Let me say again that I assume
13 that it is of Frigate Captain Kozaric. There are no other notes as
14 regards any earlier entries.
15 Q. Looking at the entry for 1930 for the Dubrovnik Crisis
16 Staff: "Lieutenant-General Pavle Strugar gives his initial consent for
17 the arrival of the ships, tugboats with water cannons into the old harbour
18 of Dubrovnik in order to extinguish the fires. Please inform us timely of
19 the ship's number so as to ensure their unimpeded passage." And then it
20 says at the bottom of the message: "Lieutenant General Pavle Strugar."
21 THE INTERPRETER: Can the document be adjusted on the ELMO for the
22 interpreters. Thank you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. I am afraid I don't
24 understand the question.
25 MS. SOMERS:
1 Q. I hadn't finished it yet. There was an intervention by the
3 When it says at the bottom of the message Lieutenant General Pavle
4 Strugar, that indicates that message is sent by Lieutenant General Pavle
5 Strugar, does it not?
6 A. I can't claim that. I do know that someone from the forward
7 command post or rather the basic command post returned that message for
8 the Crisis Staff of Dubrovnik. Now, whether prior to that there was an
9 approval received from General Strugar or not, I can't claim. But that
10 such a message was sent, that is what is indicated here.
11 Q. And does it appear to you -- it does appear to you, doesn't it,
12 that this message at 1930 is a response to a message at 1922 from Minister
13 Rudolf to General Strugar?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 Would you please take a look at page 74. The entry at
17 2210: "Dubrovnik Crisis Staff. As a consequence of today's shelling,
18 there are fires over the entire city and on the island of Lokrum. For the
19 purpose of locating the places caught by fire on the island of Lokrum, we
20 ask that you enable the unimpeded and safe passage both to and from Lokrum
21 which will be organised during this night, the night of 6th and 7th of
22 December. We ask your consent and urgent response." And then it
23 says: "Asked Celebic. He told me to decide for myself."
24 Are you able to determine from the entries there who asked Celebic
25 and who ended up having to decide for himself?
1 A. It's quite certain that whoever wrote this or received this
2 message from the Crisis Staff could not -- actually he noted this down,
3 that he had asked this Celebic. So I'm afraid I can't know who Celebic is
4 and where he was because I really don't know that. I'm not familiar with
5 the name at all.
6 Q. Okay. Would you look at page 75, please. The entry for
7 1002: "Urgent telegram for Admiral Jokic (in person). According to
8 confidential information, ones who do not want peace in this region are
9 planning to jeopardise the negotiations and thus the lives of the
10 negotiators are endangered. We therefore suggest that the negotiations
11 should take place at sea near Cavtat on a ship either yours or ours. We
12 will arrive with a ship Arka who belongs to the Dubrovnik company Atlas.
13 We will thus arrive from the Gruz harbour via the south side of the Lokrum
14 island and we will arrive at Cavtat or rather at your ship. We ask that
15 you assure the safety of the ship Arka's voyage to the rendezvous location
16 and back. The ship will set sail under the flag of the EC." And under
17 the message is the name Davorin Rudolf.
18 Are you able to determine who made that particular entry? Is it
19 at all clear to you from anything?
20 A. No, no really not. No.
21 Q. If you look down at the entry for 1035 on that same
22 page: "KVPS Boka to be delivered to Admiral Jokic in person. In relation
23 to our radiogram from this morning due to the damage to the ship Arka
24 which was discovered just now, we are forced to substitute the same with
25 the ship called Krila Dubrovnika, wings of Dubrovnik. We ask you to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 ensure its safe and free voyage under the flag of UNICEF from the Gruz
2 harbour via the south side of Lokrum island until Cavtat, i.e., until we
3 arrive at your ship and back. I ask for your urgent response. Davorin
5 Is it evident at all who may have been responsible for that
6 particular message being entered there?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Okay. If you could look at page 76, please, at the entry for
9 1052: "For the Crisis Staff Dubrovnik, Davorin Rudolf. We accept your
10 suggestion to arrive with the motorboat Krila Dubrovnika. Since there as
11 a storm in the region of Cavtat, it would be difficult to hold the talks
12 on the ship. We recommend that you dock at the Cavtat harbour, i.e.,
13 Srebrno where we will greet you and hold the talks. We will ensure the
14 safety of the ship from the Srebrno harbour and back as well as your own
15 personal safety. Command VPS Boka." Is there any indication from
16 anything that you see on that page who took that message in?
17 A. No, really.
18 Q. And the indication of the command of VPS Boka, to whom do you
19 believe that would be referring?
20 A. Personally, to the commander.
21 Q. Whose name was?
22 A. Admiral Jokic. It couldn't imply anyone else but the commander.
23 Q. Looking at 1135: "Dubrovnik Crisis Staff, in relation to your
24 radiogram received at 1110 hours we hereby confirm the arrival to
25 Srebreno." It bears the name -- that message has Davorin Rudolf. Any
1 indication of who would have taken that one down from anything you see on
2 that page?
3 A. No. No, I'd rather not engage in any guesswork.
4 Q. Looking at 1535: "Colonel Panic was informed that based upon the
5 statement of Captain Kovacevic, there is no fire in Dubrovnik." Who was
6 Colonel Panic, if you know?
7 A. No, he was not at the forward command post in Kupari so that I
8 can't tell you.
9 Q. Can we go -- sorry.
10 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me a minute.
11 Q. I'll just have a look at an earlier page and ask you a quick
12 question, couple of questions. On page 63, please, do you have that in
13 front of you? Page 63.
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. Would you please look at the entry for 1220, and it looks like --
16 the English says: "K1 K1 Knezevic, message from the Dubrovnik Crisis
17 Staff: We protest against the action of your units from the region of old
18 Bosanka who are shooting with snipers at the Old Town where two civilians
19 were wounded at 1100 hours. We expect that you will prevent the arbitrary
20 acts of some of your units whereby you would solve the breach of the
21 cease-fire, signed unconditionally, and thus save the lives of the
22 civilians of Dubrovnik." And then it bears the words "Dubrovnik Crisis
24 Now, is it -- do you see -- what date is that referring to, if we
25 go back a little bit? Are you able to take a look and identify the date?
1 A. The 5th of December, 1991.
2 Q. Can you help us, please, understand what this -- it looks like
3 K1 K1 Knezevic. What does that mean? Is that a name?
4 A. A customary abbreviation for Captain First Class is this,
6 Q. Was there a person you knew of Captain First Class Knezevic
7 associated with either the op centre or the headquarters or...
8 A. In the operations centre of the forward command post in Kupari,
9 there was no such person of that name with that rank. My interpretation
10 would be that this is a message that was received in Kumbor because I
11 mentioned a moment ago that everything went through the Kumbor operations
12 centre where the communications were. So someone, as there's no initial
13 or signature on the right-hand side, someone at 1220 noted down a message
14 from Captain First Class Knezevic which reads as follows. So Captain
15 First Class Knezevic conveyed this message, and that is why it was entered
17 Q. Would you please look at page 66. At the entry for 2355, that is
18 referring to 2355 on the 5th of December. Now, your shift started at --
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. Your shift began at midnight, did it not?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What time did you actually physically find yourself in the
23 operations centre? Were you there before midnight?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you remember how much --
1 A. If necessary, I can give a more detailed answer. I said yesterday
2 that most of the activities took place at the operations centre so that a
3 lot of time was spent there. It was known who was on duty when that
4 person would take over. However, the rest of the time we were also at the
5 operations centre or nearby. So I can claim with certainty that I had
6 been there much earlier than that as well.
7 Q. Were you there when this message at 2355 was taken in, where it
8 says: "Captain Kovacevic, we have cast light towards Srdj, and they are
9 opening fire on us. What shall I do? We have responded to him that he
10 should withhold fire unless their action endangers the lives of the
11 soldiers. He has recommended that a protest should be filed and thereby
12 to direct their attention not to act from Srdj."
13 Were you there when that message came in?
14 A. I assume I was. And I must have been as I would take over my
15 shift at 2400 hours.
16 Q. Were you -- was it part of your role, or it was part of your role,
17 was it not, as duty officer taking on a shift to be briefed by the
18 outgoing duty officer to know what had happened or what events might have
19 been occurring in the previous shift?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Were you informed of anything that would have caused you
22 particular alarm or concern when you took over this shift from your
24 A. No, absolutely not.
25 Q. Do you happen to know or was it explained to you what is said in
1 this message? "We have responded to him that he should hold -- sorry,
2 "that he should withhold fire." Do you know who the "we" is in that
3 message? Are you able to help us with that? Do you know?
4 A. The operations centre of the forward command post at Kupari.
5 Q. So they are able to make certain decisions on the spot based on
6 the circumstances, the situation? They're able to -- I'm sorry, go ahead.
7 A. Yes. Absolutely yes, because this was a customary measure that
8 would be applied for some time. There are certain instructions that
9 everyone at the operations centre is guided by and no special permission
10 is required from a superior to say not to jeopardise Dubrovnik, not to
11 open fire on Dubrovnik. So the established instructions were not to open
12 fire and to protect the civilians.
13 Q. Okay. Can I ask you, please, to turn the page to something that's
14 called -- it looks like an overview of events. At least, that's the
15 translation that we have in English. And I'm trying to see where it would
16 be -- yeah, overview in English. It doesn't have a page number, but it
17 follows page 66. Who makes -- I mean, isn't it the responsibility of the
18 duty officer as you have indicated to make entries? Who would make
19 overviews of events? Why would you be doing that? Or rather, who does
21 A. A recapitulation or overview of events of the previous day is done
22 by the chief of the operations centre, Kozaric or his deputy.
23 Q. So in this overview of events that is there, if you look at the
24 entry, for example -- the comment, it says, from 745 to 830: "Kovacevic
25 has requested support from the 3rd of the 5th PMTBR. They are not
1 informing us, rather the commander of the 3 of the 5th PMTBR pursuant to
2 the earlier decisions is opening fire on," and then it lists various
3 locations including Lazaret, Hotel Neptune, Nuncijata, Sustjepan. Are you
4 able to tell us anything you're aware of from your shift the night before,
5 anything that you know that would have seemed to lead - at least from your
6 shift - to lead to this type of activity? Anything that you were
7 personally aware of from what happened on your shift that would have led
8 to this type of opening of fire on various areas, just from your shift?
9 A. No. No, because everything was peaceful.
10 Q. Can I ask you, please, there were two exhibits yesterday that my
11 learned friends opposite asked you about. One was D97, if I could just
12 ask for a recap of that. Just to save you steps, I'm asking about D97 and
13 D98, if it would make the walk shorter.
14 The two documents, let's take a look first just in order, D97,
15 which is dated the 4th of December, 1991. I think it was described as
16 just a logistics order, something in the normal course. It says: "To the
17 command of the 2nd Operational Group and the command of the VPO IKM."
18 That indicates, does it not, that that was addressed to both formations,
19 to the 2nd Operational Group command and the command of the 9th VPS. Is
20 that right? Yes -- could you --
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. If you look at D98, please, D98, which is a document from the 5th
23 of December. Do you have that in front of you, sir?
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. That also does it not indicate that it is addressed to the
1 command of the VPO, which the military sector -- I'm sorry, district. And
2 the command of the 2nd Operational Group. Correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. One last question I wanted to inquire of relating to
5 something you commented on earlier.
6 Oh, I'm so sorry. Those two -- I think perhaps you may have
7 helped us, and I don't want to repeat. Petar Dragicevic signed off on
8 both of those orders. Now, you indicated he was an assistant commander
9 for logistics. Is that right?
10 A. Petar Dragicevic, yes. A colonel.
11 Q. Thank you very much. I just want to look at one other entry. You
12 had indicated from page 68 of the document that's called a war diary,
13 there's an entry at page 68 at 9.00 o'clock. We discussed it yesterday.
14 If you could take a quick look?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, it says: "Precisely determine who and when opened fire.
17 Captain Kovacevic is to write a statement to the commander." Did you ever
18 see a statement by Captain Kovacevic to the commander?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Now, which command --
21 A. No, no. I didn't see it.
22 Q. Based on the way this message is written, is it clear to you or
23 evident to you which commander is referred to here? Do you know?
24 A. Yes. The immediately subordinate person was Captain Kovacevic.
25 So the reference is to Admiral Jokic.
1 Q. Thank you very much.
2 A. Thank you.
3 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, thank you very much. At the time, we
4 have finished our cross-examination.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Somers.
6 Mr. Petrovic.
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Re-examined by Mr. Petrovic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Just a few questions, sir. Can you please look
10 at the document that we call the war diary, and can you please look at the
11 entry for 1400 hours.
12 A. And what date are we talking about?
13 Q. The 6th, page 70.
14 A. And the time?
15 Q. The time is 1400 hours.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. It says here: "Captain Kovacevic is thinking about withdrawing
18 his men because they're exhausted. It is cold. He has been ordered to
19 make a decision as to what he is supposed to do." Can you please look at
20 this signature. Do you recognise it, the signature on the right-hand
22 A. I believe that this is the signature of Captain Kozaric.
23 Q. Is this a message that Captain Kozaric --
24 MS. SOMERS: I don't know how given that there are discrete
25 entries, but if redirect happens to touch on areas specifically from
1 cross, this particular entry was not asked about in cross-examination.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. I think that's correct. The question has
3 been asked and answered. I hope you'll ensure that your re-examination
4 deals with matters raised during cross-examination, Mr. Petrovic.
5 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with all due respect,
6 I believe that my learned friend was asking questions about a document and
7 about the entry relative to the 6th of December and the entries which are
8 relative to the person whose name is Kozaric. On several occasions, she
9 put a question about the entries for which the witness believed that they
10 were entries signed by Captain Kozaric. And I'm doing the same thing.
11 I'm asking him questions about the entry which was supposed to be entered
12 by Captain Kozaric, and that's why, Your Honours, I would like you to give
13 me the permission to proceed.
14 JUDGE PARKER: No, Mr. Petrovic. You're going to different
15 entries. There was no apparent connection in the purpose or the entry.
16 So that's going beyond the proper realm of re-examination. Thank you.
17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Mr. Sikimic, can you please look at page 68, and the entry was
19 made at 950.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Yesterday, you mentioned in answering my questions the
22 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade, the unit led by Zdravkovic, is this
23 Jovanovic who is a member of the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade?
24 A. It is possible. I told you that I didn't know any such person. I
25 know that there were men called Jovanovic in the 3rd and in the 2nd unit.
1 Now, who is this referring to? I don't know. I told you already that I
2 couldn't be sure of that.
3 Q. Can you please look at -- and let's limit ourselves to the entries
4 made on the 6th of December between pages 67 and 75. I'm going to put
5 several questions to you now. Can you please look at page 69 first. The
6 entry made at 1255 -- 1225. And it was sent to the command of the
7 Military Naval District Boka by the European Monitoring Mission. Can you
8 please look immediately after that entry which was made at 1225. Is there
9 anywhere, an entry showing that this message sent by the European
10 Monitoring Mission was indeed forwarded to the command of the
11 2nd Operations Group after this entry which was made at 1225? Please look
12 if there is an entry showing that the operations centre of the military
13 naval district indeed forwarded this message to the operations group?
14 A. I can't find that.
15 Q. Thank you. And now, can you please look at page 71, the entry
16 which was made at 1600 hours.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. This is a message of the Crisis Staff from Dubrovnik to the
19 Military Naval District of Boka. And after this entry at 1600 hours, is
20 there another entry showing that the message which was obviously received
21 by the military naval district was forwarded to the command of the
22 2nd Operations Group?
23 A. No. I can't see that.
24 Q. Are you saying that you can't see it or there's no entry? Please
25 look at the page carefully. You have enough time. Can you please find
1 such an entry.
2 A. No, there is no such an indication.
3 Q. And now can you please look at page 72. This is an entry made at
4 1627 hours, actually beneath that entry the Crisis Staff of Dubrovnik, and
5 the message was sent to the KVPS Boka. Can you see that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So this is the command of the Military Naval District of Boka.
8 After that, can you look at the other entries, is there an
9 indication that this command was ever forwarded to the command of the
10 2nd Operations Group? Can you please look at the page carefully.
11 A. No. I can't find it.
12 Q. Can you please look at page 73. The entry made at 1922, for
13 Lieutenant General Strugar from Mr. Rudolf; we assume it is from
14 Mr. Rudolf. Can you please look at the entries that follow the entry at
15 1922. Do you see an indication that this message was indeed forwarded to
16 the command of the 2nd Operations Group?
17 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. The message is addressed to
18 the 2nd OG. There's no indication that you have to have proof of
20 JUDGE PARKER: I don't think the intervention is appropriate at
21 the present time.
22 Carry on, Mr. Petrovic. But you might inquire whether this is a
23 record of all signals sent or merely a record of important issues. To
24 illustrate my point, Mr. Petrovic, the very message you're looking at
25 1922, there is no indication of that being forwarded. Yet, at 1930, there
1 is a reply.
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will
3 bear that in mind.
4 Q. The entry that was made at 1922, is there an indication that it
5 was forwarded to the 2nd Operations Group? Is there an entry showing
7 A. There is no entry. Whether it was or whether it wasn't, I can't
8 say in view of what I can see beneath this.
9 Q. Just a moment, please. Is this an important message? Because it
10 was a message that was sent by a minister in the government of the
11 Republic of Croatia. Would such a message have to be forwarded to the
12 person that it was addressed to?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And can we see here that this was done? Is there a trace of this
15 being done?
16 A. No, there isn't, and I don't know why as in principle, it should
17 have been forwarded.
18 Q. Since all the communications are entered in the war diary, if this
19 message had been forwarded to the 2nd Operations Group, would this have
20 been recorded in the war diary?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you please look at the entry made at 1930 hours. If an answer
23 had arrived from General Strugar or a comment made on his part to the
24 forward command post of the 9th VPS, would that message be recorded?
25 A. Mr. Petrovic, I just give you comments on what I can see here. At
1 1930, the person who made the entry wrote that this was a message for the
2 Crisis Staff. Who was it who delivered the message? Was this a written
3 message, an oral message, I really wouldn't be able to say.
4 Q. I'm asking you the following: If General Pavle Strugar as the
5 commander of the 2nd Operations Group had sent a message or some sort of
6 communication to the operations centre or to the forward command post of
7 the 9th VPS, would such a message be recorded in this war log?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Before this entry at 1930 hours, is there another entry relative
10 to communication between the VPS and the command of the 2nd Operations
11 Group relative to the letter that was sent at 1922?
12 A. There is nothing.
13 Q. Before this entry at 1930, is there any indication that General
14 Strugar or the 2nd Operations Group had communication with the forward
15 command post of the 9th VPS and ordered for the message with this content
16 to be forwarded to the Crisis Staff of Dubrovnik?
17 A. I don't have any document to that effect.
18 Q. If General Strugar had indeed sent any message --
19 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. This is going well beyond
20 the scope of cross-examination. This is a new re-examination -- a new
21 direct examination. Excuse me.
22 JUDGE PARKER: I think it is a reaction to my intervention at this
23 point. I could observe, Mr. Petrovic, that looking through the whole of
24 this, it seems to me that it is clearly not a record of all messages
25 received and sent. So I let you know that. You'll see no end of inward
1 messages; you'll see responses at a later time, and clearly there has been
2 communication, decision in between. All that is recorded is the original
3 request and the ultimate answer.
4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with all due respect,
5 the Defence believes that there was no communication at all, that
6 everything that happened, happened at the level of the forward command
7 post of the 9th VPS without anything being forwarded to --
8 MS. SOMERS: [Previous interpretation continues] ... this is
9 argument made in front of a witness. It can colour the response. It's
11 JUDGE PARKER: It's my fault. I think you're quite right,
12 Ms. Somers. But I felt it better to let Mr. Petrovic my reaction to this
13 document. It's merely my present reaction, and it's only my personal one.
14 So that he can be aware of that in his further re-examination because the
15 matter does appear to be of some significance to the Defence.
16 Now, you may, of course, now continue with your re-examination,
17 Mr. Petrovic.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: And you observe the normal rules as to
20 re-examination. And it may be that you'll be able to deal with the matter
21 that I've raised in some way. I don't know.
22 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Mr. Sikimic, my question -- my general question with regard to all
24 of these entries is as follows: If there had been communication between
25 the forward command post of the 9th VPS and the command of the
1 2nd Operations Group, bearing in mind the significance of such
2 communication, would any such message have to be entered in the war log of
3 the 9th VPS?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I don't
6 have any further questions.
7 Questioned by the Court:
8 JUDGE PARKER: Do you still have in front of you the MFI D96, the
9 original document?
10 I think the witness may have it.
11 A. If you're talking about the war log, yes.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. Could you turn to page 67. Not on the ELMO,
13 thank you.
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I just wonder if you would help me by reading the
16 entry at 0715, 0-7-1-5.
17 A. Yes. 0705? I apologise. Did you say 0705?
18 JUDGE PARKER: 0-7-1-5.
19 A. 15. The entry reads: "Zoljas and 82-millimetre shells around
20 0600 from Srdj. The positions on Strincjera were shelled."
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. What are Zoljas?
22 A. Zolja is a weapon used to destroy armoured vehicles and other
23 equipment and troops. But mostly, it is used to destroy armoured
25 JUDGE PARKER: Normally armour-piercing shells. Is that it?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Now, at 0745, could you read the entry
3 there, please.
4 A. I can't. The first word is: "Order the company to get ready to
5 intervene." To the medical company, I suppose.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
7 A. I apologise. I apologise, SNC would be the proper way of putting
8 it, but it is just SN company. So I suppose that is that.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. That's the way it has been translated in
10 English, and it didn't make any sense to me. But you think it's the
11 medical company?
12 A. I suppose so.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 JUDGE THELIN: I have a small question for you. On the same page
15 at 050, there is an entry saying that the 3rd Battalion of the 5th is not
16 responding. And my question is, did any action -- was any action taken in
17 regard of this? Or was it just assumed that their communication
18 facilities didn't work?
19 A. No action was taken in this regard. At that moment, they did not
20 respond, and they did not send their report. There must have been
21 subsequent communication because there were no problems at the time.
22 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you.
23 A. You're welcome.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.
25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Are you switched on? Sorry, we don't get a red
2 light on that, and it appears you're not.
3 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] It seems, Your Honour, that the red
4 light it off for the Defence at the moment.
5 My request --
6 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous interpretation continues] ... if you're
7 not getting a red signal.
8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I'm afraid, Your Honour, to come to
9 any optimistic conclusions. I'm never prone to jump to any optimistic
11 Your Honour, with regard to the scope of the cross-examination by
12 my learned friend with regard to this document which is marked as D96, can
13 this document be admitted as a Defence exhibit? If, Your Honour, you
14 still believe there are things to be clarified with regard to this
15 document, I would kindly ask for your concrete instructions as to what is
16 being expected from the Defence in terms of laying foundations for this
17 document to be admitted as per Rule 79(C). Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
19 MS. SOMERS: May I ask the Chamber to focus its attention on
20 page 72 of the document, please. There's an entry at 1605 that says: "KK
21 Stojadinovic has reported that Rodos II could not enter," et cetera,
22 et cetera. If the Chamber at its earliest opportunity could take a look
23 in the transcript of 19th April 2004 at page 4925, line 14,
24 cross-examination by Mr. Rodic, the question: "Do you know that at 1605,
25 Captain Stojadinovic informed the forward command post that because of the
1 crossfire at the Croatian forces Petka, Lapad, Kolocep, the ship Rodos" --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Please slow down.
3 MS. SOMERS: I apologise. Let me start again for the
5 "Do you know that at 1605 Captain Stojadinovic informed the
6 forward command post that because of the crossfire of the Croatian forces
7 Petka, Lapad, Kolocep, the ship Rodos II could not sail into Dubrovnik.
8 Is it an officer of the 9th VPS who was reporting about this what is
9 called internal conflict among the Croatian forces?"
10 This is a very specific reference which happens to appear in the
11 document called war diary, MFI 96. If the Chamber for a moment could
12 direct its attention to page 66 of MFI 96, and where the entry for 25 --
13 I'm sorry, 2355 goes, the reference is to: "We have responded to him that
14 he should withhold fire unless their action," et cetera, et cetera.
15 If at its convenience the Chamber may look at the transcript
16 for -- yes, in the cross-examination of Admiral Jokic by Mr. -- I'm sorry.
17 No, I don't have a correct cite for that. I'm terribly sorry. What I
18 just referred to you, I strike that. I apologise, I had the wrong
19 citation. But what I refer to you earlier was the cross-examination of
20 Admiral Jokic. And the specificity of the question suggests strongly that
21 a document was in the possession of the Defence, at least at that time, or
22 at least the information sufficiently detailed in such a way as to have
23 put whatever questions may have been appropriate to Admiral Jokic, the
24 commander of the 9th VPS, and obviously a very highly relevant person with
25 regard to the incidents there.
1 I'm confident with more time, I would be able to comb the record
2 and find more. But accordingly, our objection from yesterday as to the
3 90(H) (ii) violation stands.
4 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber will consider over the break the
5 question of the admissibility of MFI D96.
6 In the meantime, Mr. Sikimic, may we thank you for your
7 assistance. You'll be pleased to know your evidence is at an end, and
8 you're now free to return to your duties. Thank you very much.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the first break now.
12 --- Recess taken at 11.29 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 11.55 a.m.
14 JUDGE PARKER: The next witness could be brought in while we note
15 our decision in respect of MFI D96.
16 We have noted the objections and the explanation that during
17 cross-examination, in particular, of Admiral Jokic, the Defence counsel
18 had only notes made from an examination of the war diary, a request to be
19 provided with a copy of it not having at that time been complied with, and
20 that now they do have relevant copies from the war diary.
21 From a quick overview of the cross-examination where it is clear
22 that an attempt was made to deal with material differences between the
23 case for the Defence and the evidence of the admiral insofar as these were
24 drawn from the war diary, the Chamber is of the view that MFI D96 should
25 become an exhibit. We hardly need say that the question of what weight
1 will be attached to individual parts of it remains very much to be
2 determined in the light of all the evidence which in the end will tell
3 upon the war diary and the matters that are recorded in it so that it
4 remains as with other evidence subject to the eventual assessment of
5 weight by the Trial Chamber.
6 So that document may now be recorded as an exhibit.
7 THE REGISTRAR: The Exhibit Number is D96.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
9 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 [The witness entered court]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. If you will take the card given to
12 you now and read aloud the affirmation, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 WITNESS: ZORAN LEMAL
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Examined by Mr. Rodic:
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Even the signal lamp on the microphone
23 works now.
24 Q. Sir, could you kindly introduce yourself to us with your full name
25 and surname.
1 A. I am Zoran Lemal, born on the 5th of August, 1966 in Sremska
2 Mitrovica. My father's name is Janika, and my mother's name is Nevenka.
3 Q. Thank you. Before we start the examination-in-chief, I will like
4 to draw your attention to the following: We speak the same language, so
5 after my question, could you pause briefly, and then start your answer so
6 that we would not speak at the same time because all of this has to be
8 Could you please tell me where you live now and what you do.
9 A. I live in Sremska Mitrovica, and I work as an active-duty officer
10 in the garrison in Sremska Mitrovica.
11 Q. Tell me, please, what is your ethnic background?
12 A. I am an ethnic Hungarian.
13 Q. Tell me, please, in 1991 where were you -- or rather, were you in
14 active military service?
15 A. In 1991, I was in active service at the school centre of the
16 infantry in Bileca.
17 Q. What was your duty there? What did you do?
18 A. I was commanding officer of a platoon in the battalion for
19 training cadets at the reserve officers' school.
20 Q. Tell me, please, what is your education? What schools have you
22 A. I completed the military high school called Brotherhood and Unity
23 in Belgrade, and the military academy, the land forces department, the
24 infantry division.
25 Q. Did you serve in Bileca throughout 1991 or were there any changes
2 A. I did not serve in Bileca all the time. Sometime in
3 mid-September, the infantry administration ordered me to work temporarily
4 in the 472nd Brigade of the marine infantry in Trebinje.
5 Q. Did you indeed report at the 472nd Motorised Brigade?
6 A. Yes, I did. I reported sometime between the 23rd and the 25th of
7 September to the commander of the brigade, Colonel Obrad Vicic, who
8 assigned me further to the 3rd Battalion to work for Captain First Class
9 Ekrem Devlic. I was commander of the 2nd Company within that battalion.
10 Q. Tell me, do you know who the commander of that brigade was before
11 Obrad Vicic?
12 A. I know who the commander of that brigade was. It was Colonel
13 Nojko Marinovic who had left that unit and went to Dubrovnik. It was
14 after that that Colonel Vicic took over the command of that brigade.
15 Q. Were there any comments within your brigade in relation to the
16 fact that the former commander, Nojko Marinovic, left the brigade?
17 A. Upon arriving in that unit and assuming my duties, most of the
18 reserve personnel who were supposed to be mobilised in that unit did not
19 respond to call-up because they were from the area of Dubrovnik. And that
20 is why it was from Trebinje, Bileca, Gacko that the brigade was manned by
21 reserve personnel. And there were quite a few protests because the
22 commander Nojko Marinovic had left the unit.
23 Q. Tell me, please, at that time, what was the attitude of those
24 people towards you?
25 A. Since Colonel Nojko Marinovic left the unit, since he was an
1 ethnic Croat, and I came as a company leader to that battalion and I'm an
2 ethnic Hungarian, at first, there was some skepticism as far as I was
3 concerned. I was suspected. And anyway, everybody in that unit was very
4 cautious as far as I was concerned.
5 Q. You've already mentioned this problem with manning the brigade due
6 to the fact that reservists from Dubrovnik did not answer the call-up.
7 Were there any problems regarding the manning of the unit in terms of the
8 military specialties that were required, the VES?
9 A. There were even more problems in that respect because people were
10 not trained, they did not have the appropriate VES. Quite simply, units
11 were manned in order to meet certain numeric levels, but not much
12 attention was paid to VES selection. It was not possible anyway because
13 most of the people who were trained for particular activities did not
14 respond to the call-up because, as we already said, they were from the
15 Dubrovnik area. So we had to focus on training the personnel as much as
16 we could so that they could use the weapons that they were assigned.
17 Q. Tell me, please, when you reported at the Trebinje Brigade and
18 when you were assigned to the 2nd Company of the 3rd Battalion, were you
19 sent to a particular position or place?
20 A. I reported to brigade headquarters in Trebinje, and that's where
21 Colonel Vicic was and Major Radovan Komar, Chief of Staff. They provided
22 transportation for me so that I could go to the command post of the
23 commander of the battalion that was within the area of the village of Hum.
24 I established contact with Captain First Class Ekrem Devlic there, and he
25 told me where my unit was. And from there, together with me, he went to
1 the deployment area of the 2nd Company where I established contact with
2 Reserve Captain Gasic, who was commander of the company until then, and I
3 took over the unit.
4 Q. Tell me, do you know when combat activities started in 1991, the
5 ones that your unit took part in?
6 A. Well, I would not call that combat activity that we took part in
7 because we were given the assignment to move from the then position to the
8 positions in the area of Ivanica where weekend cottages were. And on the
9 1st of October, we were shelled by Croat forces from the area of Kupari.
10 This was at Gornji Ivanica. This was on the 1st of October. Eight
11 soldiers were killed in that attack. These soldiers were from the
12 anti-tank company. They belonged to Captain Nesic. I did not sustain any
13 losses in my own unit.
14 Q. Tell me, please, do you know how these men were killed?
15 A. It happened in the following way: When we came to Ivanica where
16 weekend cottages were, we took up positions for the units, and the
17 anti-tank unit was put on the very outskirts of Ivanica whereas the others
18 were deployed -- the other units were deployed in the interior. So that
19 unit was visible from the area of Konavle, from the Dubrovnik area down
20 there from Kupari. Most probably this was the reason why these positions
21 were targeted.
22 Q. Do you know perhaps what kind of fire was opened at that unit?
23 A. Mortar fire was opened at the positions of our battalion.
24 Q. After this incident, did these units remain at the same positions?
25 Or were they redeployed elsewhere? Specifically, your battalion.
1 A. After these events, there was a dispersion of units from that
2 area. In fact, withdrawal in order to rest in a different area. I
3 specifically went to the Golubov Kamen position and the ridge above Rijeka
4 Dubrovacka. The other units were also deployed elsewhere because the
5 entire battalion was concentrated there in Ivanica where the weekend
6 cottages were.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to ask the usher for his
8 assistance. Could the witness please be given P134. This is a map dated
9 the 2nd of December, 1991. I'm sorry, P132.
10 Q. Mr. Lemal, can you see Trebinje on this map?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the map please be moved a bit to
13 the left. Fine, thank you.
14 Q. Could you please point Trebinje out for us.
15 A. [Indicates]
16 Q. Where were you? Could you indicate where you were on the 1st of
17 October when these soldiers were killed.
18 A. [Indicates]
19 Q. What is the area?
20 A. This is the area of the weekend cottages, Ivanica. And it is
21 close to the Trebinje-Dubrovnik Road.
22 Q. Can you indicate now what positions you took up after the 1st of
24 A. I left the area of Ivanica on orders, and I took up the positions
25 of Golubov Kamen above the source of Dubrovacka Rijeka [as interpreted]
1 and the ridge itself, above Rijeka Dubrovacka, together with my unit.
2 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, during the month of October, did your
3 unit take part in any combat activity?
4 A. During the month of October, our unit did not take part in any
5 other combat activity.
6 Q. During the month of October 1991, did you take part in any
7 military action?
8 A. Yes, I did. This happened on the 23rd of October in an area that
9 can be seen here on this map. That is to say, from Ivanica towards
10 Gornji Brgat, the ridge there.
11 Q. Can you tell us what happened.
12 A. The commander of the battalion together with his reconnaissance
13 squad went out to reconnoiter there. He was ambushed there, together with
14 his command, and five soldiers were killed. And the commander of the
15 battalion himself was wounded. They remained sealed off there near a wall
16 closer to Gornji Brgat rather than to Ivanica.
17 Q. Tell me, please, who opened fire at them and from where?
18 A. Fire was opened at them from the area of the village of
19 Gornji Brgat, from the area of the village of Donji Brgat, and the village
20 of Martinovici.
21 Q. And where were you to be able to see all that?
22 A. I was given an assignment by the deputy battalion commander,
23 Captain Vladimir Kovacevic, together with a platoon to head in the
24 direction that the battalion commander had been reconnoitering and to pull
25 him out and the men who were with him from that position.
1 Q. What did that look like? Did you find the dead and wounded?
2 A. As we moved, I was also shot at from the same positions that they
3 were fired at as I have indicated. There were quite a number of
4 anti-infantry mines on the ridge, on the left- and right-hand side. To
5 the left was the highway, and to the right was the old railway line
6 leading to Dubrovnik so that our movement was rather slow because we had
7 to remove the mines that we came across. I found them, and I got in touch
8 with Captain Devlic, who was on the other side of the wall, and I asked
9 him whether he could see where the fire was coming from because the
10 shooting continued at the wall which prevented us from crossing it. He
11 answered that they were shooting from the tower [as interpreted] in the
12 village in Brgat because he was the only one who was at the level of the
13 ridge where we were.
14 Then I led the soldiers down the ridge to the left and the right,
15 and then we managed to pass through an opening in the wall to the other
17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in connection with the
18 transcript, on page 42, line 3, it says: "From the tower in the village
19 in Brgat." The word "church" is missing. It should be church tower in
20 the village of Brgat. That is what the witness said, and this can be
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. When the battalion commander who was wounded informed you where
24 the fire was coming from, were you able to see that position?
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, may I just beg your pardon for
2 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Mahindaratne.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May that -- Could that be clarified from the
4 witness, whether the witness in fact said "church."
5 JUDGE PARKER: Is there more than one tower in the village of
6 Brgat? Perhaps you could clarify it.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Lemal, you have described the situation that fire was opened
9 at you and that you couldn't cross the wall. What exactly did you ask the
10 battalion commander and what exactly did he tell you?
11 A. As I was on the side of the wall that was closer to the holiday
12 village Ivanica whereas the commander and the killed soldiers were on the
13 side that was closer to the village of Brgat, I asked him whether he could
14 see the positions from which fire was being opened by the enemy forces
15 because it was very risky to peep over the wall for us.
16 Q. And what did the commander tell you?
17 A. He answered that they were shooting from houses in the village of
18 Donji Brgat, the lateral side of that ridge. And along the way that we
19 were going, they were opening fire from the church tower because he had
20 noticed fire coming from that same position directed at them.
21 Q. After receiving that information from the battalion commander, did
22 you, too, look in the direction of that church?
23 A. I was saying that we were going slightly downhill to the left so
24 that we couldn't be seen from the church tower. And we passed through the
25 wall without further problems, and we headed forward toward the commander
1 and the soldiers. But we were very cautious regarding the church tower.
2 Having reached the ridge where they were, I separated the
3 machine-gun operator and a sniper who covered the church tower so that we
4 were able to pull out the commander and the wounded soldiers to the other
5 side of the wall.
6 Q. Tell me, during this pull-out operation, were there any other
7 casualties on your side?
8 A. There were. When we had crossed to the other side of the wall,
9 they started shelling us with hand-held launchers and machine-gun fire was
10 intensified from the area of Donji Brgat so that as a result of all this,
11 a soldier of mine was shot, and he died, Miroslav Anusic who came from
12 Backa Palanka. I, too, was hit by a hand-held rocket launcher, and I had
13 minor injuries in the spine area and the head.
14 Q. Did you manage to complete your operation of evacuating the
16 A. Yes. The operation was completed. We pulled out all the dead and
17 all the wounded who were there. And we managed to get back to the Ivanica
18 holiday home settlement.
19 Q. Tell me, please, in connection with this operation, was any --
20 were any of the participants in the operation praised or rewarded or
22 A. Yes. In connection with this operation, soldier Anusic, Miroslav
23 Anusic, was posthumously awarded a medal of courage, and I also received a
24 medal of courage, as did soldier Pantic, Saka, who removed the mines.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I would like the usher to assist me in
2 distributing a document, please.
3 Q. Mr. Lemal, are you familiar with this document?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Could you please tell us what kind of document it is?
6 A. It is a decree of the Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic
7 of Yugoslavia number 53 dated the 25th of November, 1991 whereby for
8 demonstrating personal courage and the dedication in the saving of human
9 lives and supplies, I was decorated.
10 Q. Is this -- did this decoration come as a result of the operation
11 you took part in?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would ask to tender
15 this document into evidence as a Defence exhibit.
16 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
17 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D99.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Tell me, Mr. Lemal, please, after you were wounded in this
20 operation, did you undergo treatment?
21 A. Yes, I did. I spent seven days in the hospital in Trebinje. I
22 was hospitalised there. And after that, for another 15 days, I was
23 treated at home in my apartment in Bileca.
24 Q. So about 20 or 21 days, you were absent from your unit. Is that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. While you were recovering, did you know where your unit was
3 located and what they were doing?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Could you tell us how it was that you knew?
6 A. In the unit itself, I had a large number of reserve -- reservists
7 from Bileca and Gacko. One of them was Sergeant Sreten Nikolic from Gacko
8 who would pass through Bileca on his way home and he would drop in to see
9 me. And he would inform of me about the position of our company and our
10 battalion, so that at all times I knew where my unit was located while I
11 was absent.
12 Q. You say that you returned to the unit in mid-November. Is that
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Tell me, please, from Sreten Nikolic or any other member of your
16 unit, did you hear that your unit had taken part in any combat during
18 A. After these events of the 23rd of October, the unit was withdrawn
19 to rest in Hum. And afterwards, after this period of rest, I learned that
20 they were involved in combat operations to capture Donji Brgat, Zarkovica,
21 and the village of Bosanka, and the entire plateau overlooking the town of
22 Dubrovnik. And that in those battles, the unit behaved well and that they
23 were praised by the superior command for the courage and initiative they
24 had shown in combat operations to capture these territories.
25 Q. I didn't ask you which the superior command was to your unit.
1 A. The superior command to that unit was the naval sector or region.
2 Q. Did you hear what positions your battalion took up, if any, in
3 November 1991?
4 A. Yes, I did hear about it. All that I have mentioned was taken
5 control of. First, the village of Donji Brgat, then the attack continued
6 in the direction of the village of Bosanka, Zarkovica, the Kula Graci and
7 Kula Strincjera. These were the facilities that were captured. The only
8 facility that was not captured in that attack was the Srdj relay station.
9 Q. Were there any casualties? Did you hear whether there were any
10 casualties in your unit during these combat operations?
11 A. As far as I know, there weren't any losses in my company. As for
12 the other companies, I'm not sure about that. But I think that they
13 didn't have any losses either.
14 Q. When you pulled out the wounded battalion commander Devlic on the
15 23rd of October, did he continue to be the commander of 3rd Battalion of
16 the 472nd Motorised Brigade, or were there any changes made?
17 A. I returned around the middle of November to the battalion. And at
18 the command post in the village of Gornji Brgat, which had been captured
19 by then, I found Captain Vladimir Kovacevic who had already taken over the
20 position of battalion commander. And he told me that when I arrived. So
21 probably after Devlic was wounded, Captain Kovacevic probably took over
22 his position immediately.
23 Q. Thank you. Until Captain Devlic was wounded, who was the former
24 battalion commander, did Captain Kovacevic have any position in that
1 A. Yes. He was the deputy battalion commander by establishment. He
2 was there, too.
3 Q. Tell me, please, when you returned in mid-November and reported to
4 Captain Kovacevic, the new battalion commander, did he give you any
5 assignment? Did he send you anywhere?
6 A. He offered me the possibility of choosing the duties I would like
7 to take in the battalion, with the exception of his position, of course.
8 And I told him that I wanted nothing more than to take up my former
9 duties; that is, to return to my company which was then positioned in the
10 village of Cajkovici, the tower of Gradci, and the tower of Strincjera.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher show the witness
12 Exhibit P10, please, Prosecution Exhibit P10.
13 Q. Mr. Lemal, can you please look at the map and show us the
14 deployment of your company when you returned to it in mid-November.
15 A. My company was deployed along the Dubrovacka Rijeka and in
16 Cajkovici village. It was also in the tower of Gradci and the tower of
18 Q. Did you know where the other companies from your battalion were at
19 the time?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Can you please show us their positions.
22 A. When I returned to my unit, together with the commander I made the
23 rounds of the entire battalion in order to familiarise myself with the
24 positions of the companies in the battalion. The village of Bosanka --
25 Q. Can the map be moved a little.
1 A. The village of Bosanka, Captain Stojanovic with the 1st Company
2 was there. The village of Zarkovica, the anti-armour company with Captain
3 Nesic. And here, I can't see any further. But there was the command in
4 Gornji Brgat village at the railway station of Uskoplje. There was the
5 mortar company. And in the Vlastica sector, there was, as you could see
6 in the old map, the one that I can see on the desk next to me, if you gave
7 me that map I could show it to you.
8 Q. Just a moment, Mr. Lemal. Can you please repeat where the command
9 of the 3rd Battalion was, and can you please go slowly and tell us where
10 all the companies were.
11 A. Can you please give me a different map.
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be given map P132.
13 Q. First of all, please tell me where the command of the
14 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Motorised Brigade was.
15 A. Here, in the Gornji Brgat village above the road leading to
16 Bosanka village at the far end of Gornji Brgat village towards Bosanka
18 Q. And now, you have already showed us your company in Strincjera.
19 A. Here, we have Cajkovici, the tower of Gradci, and the tower of
20 Strincjera with my company there. The village of Bosanka, the 1st Company
21 belonging to Captain Stojanovic. Zarkovica, Captain Jovica Nesic, the
22 anti-armour division. Uskoplje, the railway station, the mortar company.
23 It's captain was Zlatan Jeremic.
24 Q. Can you please show us all those places on the map if you can.
25 A. Here it is.
1 Q. This is Uskoplje, isn't it?
2 A. Yes. And the rear company remained in Ivanica. It was a part of
3 our battalion. In the Vlastica sector, there were ZIZ cannons.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 In other words, this is -- this was the deployment of your
6 battalion when you rejoined it in mid-November 1991 upon your return from
7 the medical treatment?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you please tell me how long did your unit stay in these
10 positions, up to what time?
11 A. We stayed in those positions -- I couldn't say precisely, but it
12 was after the 6th of December when we received an order to withdraw from
13 those positions back to the holiday settlement. I couldn't give you the
14 exact date, but it was already in 1992.
15 Q. Can we then say with certainty that you were in those same
16 positions at the beginning of 1992 without any changes?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Since you were abreast of the combat operations of your unit
19 during the month of November, were there any incentives for unit members
20 with regard to those combat operations?
21 A. Yes. There were incentives following those combat operations. On
22 my return to the unit in consultation with Momcilo Bodiroga, Lieutenant
23 Milan Stojanovic, and Lieutenant Sreten Nikolic who had been there, I
24 personally proposed some of the soldiers and officers from my company for
25 citations and commendations.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can I please have the usher's
2 assistance in giving the witness the next document.
3 Q. Let me just ask you your recommendations for incentives [as
4 interpreted] and commendations. Did you send them to the commander of
5 your battalion?
6 A. Yes, I did. I did it in writing with the explanation for every
7 individual who was proposed for an award because that was the common
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is my duty to explain
10 in view of the volume of the document and the time that we received this
11 document. The Defence has had the opportunity to translate only the title
12 page and the second part of the document which is in handwriting. And
13 this is going to be clarified with this witness.
14 Q. Mr. Lemal, can you please look at the first page of this document.
15 Can you please tell us whose document it is.
16 A. This document was produced by the command of the 9th Military
17 Naval Sector and it was sent to the units on the 26th of November, 1991 at
18 1800 hours from the forward command post in Kupari.
19 Q. Who signed it?
20 A. It was the Chief of Staff of the military naval sector, Milan Zec,
21 the frigate captain.
22 Q. Can you see who the addressee on the document is?
23 A. It was sent to the 3rd Infantry Brigade and the 3rd Battalion of
24 the 472nd Motorised Brigade.
25 Q. Mr. Lemal, no, no. It says here: "Here enclosed please find the
1 recommendations for simulation measures for the 3rd Light Infantry
2 Brigade." And who is the addressee? Who was this document sent to?
3 A. To the command of the military naval sector.
4 Q. Do you recognise this name?
5 A. Yes, I do. Assistant commander for moral guidance, Zarkovic,
7 Q. Can you please look at the next page, or behind that page there is
8 also a recommendation for the light infantry brigade. This document is in
9 B/C/S only. We haven't had it translated.
10 Can you please look at the second part of the document which is in
11 handwriting. Can you please tell us whose document is this?
12 A. This is a document which originates from the 3rd Battalion, from
13 our battalion. And this is the handwriting of the commander, Kovacevic.
14 Q. You recognise his handwriting?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. And who signed the document?
17 A. He signed it himself, Vladimir Kovacevic. And here, there are my
18 soldiers on the list.
19 Q. The list is rather long. Are there members of your unit that had
20 been recommended by yourself for incentive measures?
21 A. Yes, there are.
22 Q. Can you please tell us, are there any names on the first page, and
23 can you give us the number under which you find those names, if there are
25 A. Under 4, a soldier Arpad Sabo.
1 Q. That is under II, isn't it?
2 A. Yes, it is. He is recommended for a 10-day leave.
3 Q. Was he from your company, Arpad Sabo?
4 A. Yes, he was.
5 Q. On the second page, are there any soldiers from your company?
6 A. There must be, but these are mostly soldiers whose names I may
7 have forgotten.
8 Q. On the third page, can you remember any of the names?
9 A. Yes. Under 8, Roman I, Captain First Class Milan Gasic, my
11 Q. This is Roman VIII under 1? You recommended him?
12 A. Yes. He was captain, and he was recommended for promotion into
13 the rank of the captain first class.
14 Q. Can you see any other names?
15 A. I don't recognise any here. Yes. Under VII. VII, under 5.
16 Lieutenant Nikolic.
17 Q. It's on page 3?
18 A. Yes, it is on page 3. Second Lieutenant Nikolic is being promoted
19 into the rank of lieutenant.
20 Q. And on page 4, is there a name that you recognise?
21 A. Yes, there is. Soldier under X, under number 4, soldier Marko
22 Komarica, awarded a medal for courage. X, under number 9, Milan
24 Q. Are they from your company?
25 A. Yes, they are. And then under number XI, Todor Kecovic,
2 Q. Thank you very much.
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to tender
4 this document into evidence as a Defence exhibit.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Mahindaratne.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, the Prosecution objects again on
7 the same basis that this is again a document which has connection to the
8 9th VPS and was not put to Admiral Jokic when he was being cross-examined.
9 On that basis, the Prosecution objects.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received as an exhibit.
11 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D100.
12 JUDGE PARKER: The document is headed "Command of the 3rd
13 Motorised Brigade." Should it be battalion, Mr. Rodic, in the translation
14 in English?
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. In B/C/S version,
16 it says, "Command of the 3rd MTB," which stands for the 3rd Motorised
17 Battalion. In the English translation, it says, "Command of the motorised
18 brigade." So there is a mistake in the translation. We're talking about
19 the 3rd Battalion here. I apologise for the error in translation.
20 Q. Mr. Lemal, these incentives or awards which were proposed for
21 those individuals, were they in respect of the previous combat operations,
22 in respect of the previous period during which these individuals did
23 something good?
24 A. Yes. It was in respect of the period starting with the 23rd
25 October until mid-November when Gornji Brgat, Zarkovica, Bosanka and those
1 parts of the plateau were taken up. Those areas were taken up while I was
2 absent from the unit. And during that period, these individuals were --
3 deserved those awards.
4 Q. Did any of the company commanders or other officers receive
5 recommendation for promotion?
6 A. No, none of the company commanders. But the battalion commander,
7 Captain Kovacevic, was recommended for promotion by the command of the
8 472nd Brigade from Trebinje. And that's when he was promoted into captain
9 first class, upon the recommendation of that command.
10 Q. Were you aware of the reason for this recommendation for
12 A. Yes. In the explanation, it said that he was recommended for
13 promotion for his successful command and leadership of his units during
14 the taking up of the aforementioned areas, Gornji Brgat, Zarkovica,
15 Bosanka, during those combat operations, there were no casualties. And
16 this was considered a successful combat operation. That is why he was
17 recommended for promotion.
18 Q. Tell me, please, your positions at Strincjera, that is to say, the
19 positions of your units, did you have a view of the situation from up
20 there? I'm speaking in visual terms now. Could you see the other side,
21 the enemy side, their military positions, their activities?
22 A. From Strincjera, because this is trig point 412, I had a rather
23 good view of Dubrovnik, from the Medarevo hospital towards the right,
24 towards Babin Kuk, the Port of Gruz. The Srdj repeater did not allow me
25 to see the entire town. It stood in between.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please put the map on
2 the ELMO once again.
3 Could it please be enlarged a bit so that we can see the left-hand
4 side as well, Babin Kuk.
5 Q. Can you indicate to us now from Strincjera how far could you see
6 and what was it that you could keep under your control as far as the town
7 of Dubrovnik is concerned?
8 A. From the town -- from the tower of Strincjera, I could not see
9 everything because of Srdj there. But then I could see Boninovo, the bay.
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the map please be lifted a bit
11 so we could see its entirety. Yes, thank you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Towards Babin Kuk, the Port of Gruz,
13 and this entire area, from here. I could see all of this.
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, on map P10, at this
15 moment, the witness is showing the view that he had from Strincjera and
16 which parts of the town of Dubrovnik he could see from the positions of
17 his company. It is Lapad, Babin Kuk, and the border --
18 Q. And what about the border towards the Old Town to the east? What
19 was the last thing you could see?
20 A. It is the bay, here, in the area of Boninovo where it says.
21 Q. Boninovo?
22 A. Yes, Boninovo. I couldn't see any further than that.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 Can you tell me in terms of the area that you indicated whether
25 you noticed any firing positions of the enemy within that area? Were
1 there any, and if so, where were they?
2 A. There were stationery and mobile ones. When I say mobile ones
3 firing points, I am referring to the so-called Charlie. I am referring to
4 various improvised vehicles on which various types of weapons were
5 mounted. It is the so-called Croatian armoured carrier which was added on
6 to a truck, and then there was the Charlie vehicle with the mortars. And
7 that's the one we could see most often along this road. From here, this
8 is where the Libertas Hotel was.
9 Q. All right.
10 A. And now this road that goes from here all the way up to Babin Kuk,
11 that's where it moved most often. Then here in Lapad, if necessary, it's
12 this street called Iva Vojnovica.
13 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] May the record reflect that the
14 witness is indicating the road from the Libertas Hotel, the street called
15 Put Iva Vojnovica.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To Lenin's Bulevar.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. So going from the stadium to Lenin Bulevar. So can we just
19 reiterate whether this road that you showed now, does this have to do with
20 where this vehicle moved along?
21 A. Charlie most often.
22 Q. Can you explain what "Charlie" was.
23 A. This is a light transportation vehicle. It is a TAM light truck,
24 up to two and a half tonnes. And a mortar was mounted on it of different
25 calibres. And from there, it was possible to shoot successfully. Usually
1 on roads -- I mean, people would come out with sighting devices. The
2 elements would be established vis-a-vis the desired targets and then an X
3 would be put there. And then when the vehicle comes to that particular
4 point, it is possible to open fire very successfully and very quickly, and
5 to move further on from that position.
6 Q. Did you ever observe such action?
7 A. I did observe such action from the area of the stadium. I was not
8 the target, but the adjacent unit at Osojnik was.
9 Q. And who was firing?
10 A. It was the Croatian side from the area of the stadium. They were
11 firing from such a vehicle.
12 Q. This Charlie vehicle?
13 A. Yes, this Charlie vehicle.
14 Q. Tell me, please, you mentioned stationary firing positions. Where
15 did you notice them?
16 A. Stationary firing points were observed in the Lapad area. It
17 cannot be seen here, but there were some tennis grounds here. And there
18 was a small thicket or a park perhaps.
19 Q. So what are you showing here? Velika Petka, where it says
20 Velika Petka?
21 A. Yes, below trig point 197. The road itself is called Ispod Petka.
22 Q. And the previous position you mentioned? You mentioned Lapad?
23 A. Yes. It says Put Ispod Petka Lapad. That is what is written
24 here, and it is in that area that mortars were observed.
25 Q. Tell me, please, did you notice any such thing in other parts of
2 A. Near the Libertas Hotel.
3 Q. What do you have on the map here in addition to the text that you
4 are showing? Can we indicate it for the transcript.
5 A. The very corner where it says Kotorska Ulica. By the letter K,
6 there is a numeral, 20.
7 Q. What was it that you noticed there?
8 A. I cannot say with any degree of precision whether it was a mortar
9 or a cannon. But it certainly was an artillery piece that was firing from
11 Q. All right. Did you have a view of the Port of Gruz and Babin Kuk?
12 A. Yes, I did. I had a view of Babin Kuk. I had a view of part of
13 the Port of Gruz, although we controlled it by way of reconnaissance,
14 moving to this other area from where one could observe it. So as far as
15 Gruz is concerned, we cannot see this because this is black and white.
16 But then on the other map, we can see this, the house right next door to
17 the church, in the yard, there is a concrete garage underneath some vines.
18 And every day at 2.00 exactly, they gathered there for lunch. We saw
19 that. We observed that. But we did not do anything. But this is where
20 they did collect. And they gathered there and probably they came down
21 from Srdj to there.
22 Q. Were there any positions that you could see in Rijeka Dubrovacka,
23 in that area?
24 A. Well, in principle, Rijeka Dubrovacka could not be seen from this
25 position up here, from Strincjera, or from Gradci, and I did keep under
1 control Rijeka Dubrovacka and Sustjepan and the Cajkovici Stara Pruga
2 [phoen] area.
3 Q. Who held this side, Sustjepan? Were your units on that side?
4 A. No, no. Sustjepan was held by Croatian forces.
5 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the map please be moved a bit.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They held Sustjepan. The Croatian
8 Q. Did you have any direct contact with Croatian units in Sustjepan
9 because of the proximity?
10 A. Well, there were provocations by their forces, especially from
11 Sustjepan. It was very hard for me to control the area because there is a
12 slope going down towards the coastline, and it's rather inaccessible as
13 can be seen from the configuration of the terrain. Often there were
14 provocations from the direction of Sustjepan because, in fact, they were
15 up to here. These underground tanks for fuel. This is practically up to
16 where their control went, in this area above the railroad. So there were
17 provocations. Two soldiers were wounded at Gradci. They were wounded in
18 the legs or feet by fire coming from Sustjepan. They could mostly open
19 fire towards Gradci because they did not have a good view of Strincjera
21 Q. All right. When you refer to provocations, I'm interested in this
22 period, the middle of November when you returned to the unit and, say, up
23 to the 6th of December, 1991. How could you describe this for us?
24 My question has to do with intensity, the intensity of these
1 A. Due to the configuration of the terrain, I could not deploy the
2 units in the kind of combat order that is required from a tactical point
3 of view. The platoon that was in Cajkovici, I had to supply around the
4 surrounding road via Gornji Brgat.
5 Q. Just a moment, please.
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could I ask the usher for his
7 assistance. Could he move the map or can it be zoomed in.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It has to be a different map because
9 it is not on this map anyway.
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
11 map P132, then.
12 Q. Can we please have this particular position zoomed in. Thank you.
13 Mr. Lemal, can you point this out now.
14 A. Here, from Cajkovici itself, I had to supply the unit all the way
15 around Rijeka Dubrovacka, all the way up to Gornji Brgat, and then through
16 the village of Bosanka, through this bay to Strincjera and Gradci. There
17 is a part of the road here below Gradci, Gradci, to Strincjera which was
18 not covered in bush, but there was an open road. This is where the
19 Croatian Army targeted me the most, from Srdj.
20 Q. Tell me, Srdj, and this uncovered part.
21 A. Srdj is here, and the uncovered part is here. Between Strincjera
22 and Gradci. There is a road here which led to Strincjera itself, and
23 then from Strincjera to Srdj.
24 Q. On that part of the road, is that where the provocations took
1 A. Well, here, it was not possible to prepare food or to have any
2 water supplies, so I had to supply the units every day from the area of
3 the village of Bosanka. These trucks for bringing food and water were
4 targeted most often from Strincjera.
5 Q. I'm sorry. Just a moment.
6 A. I'm sorry. I made a mistake. From Srdj.
7 Q. Could you please say where the trucks were targeted from?
8 A. From the side where the Srdj repeater is.
9 Q. Trucks through which you supplied your company were targeted.
11 A. Yes. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Most often we would bring in
12 lunch, and dinner and breakfast, too. So we usually had this
13 transportation once a day.
14 Q. Just a moment, please. So these were provocations coming from
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You mentioned Sustjepan also.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please be asked not to speak
19 at the same time.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We had provocations from Strincjera.
21 But I responded with fire, and then it stopped, in that area.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. All right. Tell me, did you lodge any protests in relation to
24 these provocations and this fire against your units?
25 A. As for my positions up there at Strincjera, I really don't know
1 what rank he held, but this man's name is Sofronija. I'm an infantry man,
2 and these are navy men. And who else came? Was this a representative of
3 the European Community. His name was Ramirez; he was a Spaniard. He wore
4 white. And they came when those two soldiers of mine were wounded at
5 Gradci. And that's when I cautioned against this, when I said what kind
6 of things they did, they opened fire, et cetera, and of course I reported
7 all of this to my commander as well.
8 Q. Tell me, the man named Sofronija wearing a navy uniform, from
9 which command did he come?
10 A. He came from the command in Kupari, from the forward command post
11 in Kupari. That is the VPS.
12 Q. The 9th Military Naval Sector?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did he come to see you only once?
15 A. No, he came frequently. And not just him. Others, too, would
17 Q. And as for this Spaniard, Ramirez, from the observer mission, did
18 he come to your position only once?
19 A. No, he also came several times. He also came to Gradci, to
20 Strincjera, and to Cajkovici. In fact, in Cajkovici, he attended certain
21 negotiations that we had with the Croatian side to take over the dead from
22 the Strincjera tower. That is, their soldiers who had been killed.
23 Q. Tell me, do you have any memories linked to those contacts?
24 A. Yes. I have some photographs from that event as a memento showing
25 Sofronija, myself, and the Spaniard, Ramirez. Those photographs are at
2 Q. Would you be willing to show us those photographs and to provide
3 the Court with that particular photograph showing Sofronija, Ramirez and
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Tell me, please, while you were at those positions held by your
7 company - and again, we're talking about the period mid-November to the
8 6th of December, 1991 - were you visited by any other senior officer from
9 the naval sector?
10 A. Yes. Others would come, too, battleship captain Milan Zec.
11 Q. What was he?
12 A. He was the Chief of Staff in the VPS. Then another visitor was
13 Zarkovic. He was in charge of moral guidance, deputy commander for moral
14 guidance. Then Kozaric, who was head of operations in the VPS. Then
15 Gavro Kovacevic, a colonel, who was in charge of us, the infantry. He was
16 assistant commander for the infantry. And Sofronija. I don't know
17 exactly what his position was, but he would always come accompanied by
18 foreigners coming either from the European Community or a delegation that
19 would come with him.
20 Q. Very well. Now, tell me, please, during these visits by the
21 senior officers from the 9th Naval Sector and its command and their tours,
22 did you have any discussions with them? Did they ask you anything?
23 A. We did have talks with them. Mostly the story referred to the
24 position of the units, whether the men were satisfied in view of the very
25 poor conditions for life and accommodations. Then we would draw their
1 attention to the provocations coming from Srdj when we were supplying my
2 unit. And initially, there was fire on Strincjera as well until we
3 returned the fire. But the provocations continued in the area of the
4 village of Bosanka. So we mainly complained to them about these
5 provocations coming from Srdj.
6 Q. Since you have already explained in detail the positions of the
7 companies of the 3rd Battalion, my question is, was there a logistics
8 battalion in the -- a logistics platoon in the 3rd Battalion?
9 A. Yes, there was. It was part of the 3rd Battalion. And it was
10 accommodated at Ivanica.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, perhaps I've gone a bit
12 longer with the time for the break. So I don't know whether this would be
13 a convenient moment.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It is a convenient moment. Could I point out that
15 the time spent with this witness so far has been quite lengthy. And it's
16 going to be difficult to finish him today, which I think ought to be done.
17 So would you be very mindful of time when we resume.
18 I propose that we break until 2.00 to enable a quick bite of food
19 to be had. And we'll continue then at 2.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 1.26 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 2.05 p.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Before I move on, Mr. Lemal, can you please look at the map that
25 you have in front of you and the positions of the 3rd Battalion of the
1 472nd Brigade. Can you please look at the place where it
2 says "Strincjera" and the red sign showing that position. What number can
3 you read here?
4 A. The number is for the 3rd Company.
5 Q. What company were you?
6 A. I was the 2nd Company.
7 Q. So this is a wrong entry?
8 A. Yes, it is wrong.
9 Q. Let's move on. Within the battalion, did you have regular
11 A. Yes. We had regular briefings with the battalion commanders.
12 Q. Let's speed up a little. And can you tell me where the briefings
14 A. Those were most often in his command post, and sometimes the
15 commander would make rounds of all of us after the meetings to convey the
16 messages from the meetings. And sometimes it was in Ivanica with the
17 commander of the mortar company because he had electricity there. If
18 those briefings were in the evenings, it was most often that they took
19 place there because there was light.
20 Q. And tell me, please, do you know if your commander, Kovacevic,
21 attended those briefings; and if he did, where did these briefings take
23 A. Yes. He did go for briefings to Kupari, to the forward command
24 post of the military naval sector.
25 Q. Did you ever go to Kupari to the forward command post?
1 A. Yes, a couple of times. Because my colleague from school provided
2 security there as a member of the military police company. I would go
3 there to meet with him. I would take a ride together with Kovacevic, but
4 just to see my colleague.
5 Q. Did you participate in the attack on Srdj on the 6th of December,
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. Can you tell us how did it happen that you participated in this
10 A. On the 5th of December, in the evening I was called from the
11 command post.
12 Q. Let me interrupt you. When you say "the command post," can you
13 be more precise?
14 A. I got a call from Captain Kovacevic who was in Gornji Brgat. I'm
15 referring to that command post. I received an order to report to the
16 command post of Captain Jeremic in Ivanica. And we were to wait there
17 for the arrival of our commander from a briefing. This order was
18 conveyed by telephone. We were to wait for him there for our briefing.
19 Q. At that moment - I apologise - where was the battalion commander
20 at that moment?
21 A. He was at a briefing in Kupari.
22 Q. Did you see him before you started your meeting?
23 A. No, I didn't see him before we started our meeting. He arrived
24 after us.
25 Q. Which road did he take to get there?
1 A. Since at that moment I was in Cajkovici, I took my car from
2 Cajkovici, and at the crossroads in Gornji Brgat, I took a road to the
3 left towards Ivanica, and I saw a vehicle driving after me from the
4 direction of Dubac. As I pull over at Jeremic's command post, the car
5 pulled over after me and Kovacevic was in it.
6 Q. Which direction are we talking about?
7 A. It is Kupari-Dubac-Gornji Brgat-Ivanica. That's the direction
8 from which he came.
9 Q. Can you tell us briefly what was said during that briefing when
10 the commander came?
11 A. The commander told us that the attack on repeater station on Srdj
12 had been approved by the superior command. And together with him, we
13 started discussing the way the mission would be accomplished and how the
14 troops would be moved and from where in order to attack Srdj.
15 Q. Which is the superior command?
16 A. I suppose that since he had come from Kupari, that it would be the
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, the witness is being asked to
19 speculate. In fact, his response, "I suppose" indicates that he is in
20 fact speculating.
21 JUDGE PARKER: I think his evidence will go as far as that he came
22 from Kupari. The rest appears to be speculation.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour, although even
24 during the first session I had questions relative to that command.
25 Q. I'm going to ask the witness who or what was the superior command
1 of the 3rd Battalion whose member you were.
2 A. The VPS, the military naval sector.
3 Q. During that briefing, were you assigned specific duties or
4 missions for your units in respect of the attack on Srdj?
5 A. Yes. Every unit and every commander received a specific task and
6 assignment as to what they're supposed to do and at what time.
7 Q. Was there any support planned for the attack on Srdj?
8 A. Within the assignment of missions, the battalion commander
9 informed us that during the attack we would have support from the units
10 stationed in the Cilipi sector and that we would also be supported by
11 Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic's unit from Mount Ostojnik [phoen]. In
12 addition to our support units on the strength of the battalion.
13 Q. What are the units from your battalion that were supposed to give
14 you support?
15 A. It was the mortar company, 120-millimetre mortar company, and ZIZ
16 cannons on Vlastica mountain as I've already said.
17 Q. You mentioned the artillery from Cilipi as your support?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What kind of artillery are we talking about? Do you know that?
20 A. It was long-range artillery, 130-millimetre cannons.
21 Q. What did you do after the end of this briefing?
22 A. After the end of this briefing, I went to Strincjera tower. I
23 gathered my squad commanders. I informed them about the assignment that
24 we had received from the battalion commander. One of my tasks was to
25 select volunteers from my company and establish an assault group which
1 would carry out an attack from Strincjera on the Srdj repetition
2 station -- repeater station.
3 Q. How many people from your company were supposed to take place in
4 that attack, in that assault group?
5 A. During the briefing with the commander, I suggested that the group
6 should not consist of more than 20 to 25 people, bearing in mind the
7 configuration of the terrain. The commander accepted my proposal and
8 that's why I selected 20 people from my company. I was also with a group
9 together with my escort and the tank group. So altogether, there were 26
10 of us on that axis including the tank crew.
11 Q. On your return from the briefing, did anybody else come to the
12 positions of your company on Strincjera tower?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Who was it?
15 A. It was Milan Zec, the warship captain.
16 Q. What was his position?
17 A. He was the Chief of Staff in the VPS in Admiral Jokic's staff.
18 Q. What did he do at your company's positions? Why did he come?
19 A. I had asked for support for my mission. And since our target was
20 a very inaccessible, fortified position, I asked for some equipment, for
21 some flak jackets, for some plastic explosive, and a certain number of
22 grenades for temporary destruction.
23 Q. Who did you ask this support from?
24 A. I asked this from my battalion commander during the briefing.
25 Q. Did you receive the equipment that you had requested?
1 A. Yes. I received them between 2230 hours and midnight. I received
2 all that from Captain Zec who had brought that to the Strincjera fortress.
3 Q. Do you remember what Captain Zec brought to you to Strincjera?
4 A. He brought ten flak jackets. I don't know exactly how many kilos
5 of explosives. And he also brought the AG and AGF grenades which are used
6 for the temporary destruction of troops. He brought four or five pieces
7 of those grenades. He did not bring as many as I requested.
8 Q. Did he talk to you? Did he say anything to you? I'm referring to
9 Captain Zec.
10 A. Yes. He always referred to me as "kiddo," and he asked me,
11 "kiddo, are you prepared to carry out your mission? Did you select your
12 men? Do you have any problems?" I told him I didn't have any. And then
13 he went to have a quick word with the volunteers that had been selected
14 from my unit, so he talked to them as well. He explained the importance
15 of the facility that was being attacked. He said it would be good that if
16 the mission could be accomplished and if the whole plateau could be taken
18 Q. Did you actually distribute this equipment that you received to
19 the volunteers who were supposed to take part in this?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Were there any comments related to the distributed equipment?
22 A. There were. Since warship Captain Zec is a shortish man, and
23 there was a volunteer who was also rather short, when he put on a flak
24 jacket it went all the way down to his knees. So he was practically
25 completely protected. And then Captain Zec laughed at that, and we
1 commented upon it at that moment.
2 Q. Tell me, please, the 6th of December, 1991, when did you set out?
3 What time was agreed for starting the attack? Was there any
5 A. There was synchronisation. The agreement was that I and
6 Lieutenant Pesic - I from Strincjera and Pesic from the village of
7 Bosanka - at 5.00 in the morning while it was still dark, we should take
8 our units out and get them as close as possible to the repeater at Srdj
9 while it was still dark, which is what I did. And that's what he most
10 probably did, too.
11 Q. What unit did this Officer Pesic come from?
12 A. The 1st Company, Captain Stojanovic's company.
13 Q. All right. Tell me, did you have any attack preparations?
14 A. We did prepare the attack. Around 6.00 in the morning, around
15 6.00 in the morning, our ZIZ cannons opened fire at the lower area of
16 fortification at Srdj where firing points were noticed. Machine-guns,
17 snipers that were dug in, and it would be difficult to overcome them
18 otherwise, and mortar fire started at the Srdj repeater itself which was a
19 sign for me to continue my advance with the infantry.
20 Q. This fire preparation of the attack, did it go on all the time or
21 were there intermissions?
22 A. Well, there were intermissions because these weapons have a
23 certain safety limit for their own forces, too; that is the so-called
24 wider angle and narrow angle. When I came 400 to 600 metres away from the
25 repeater itself, I fired a signal rocket which was the -- a signal to stop
1 our artillery fire for the sake of our own forces.
2 Q. Tell me, please, as you -- I withdraw this question.
3 So, fire preparation was stopped at the moment when you got closer
4 to the Srdj repeater.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Where did you proceed from there, you with your troops?
7 A. At that moment, on this main part of the road linking Strincjera
8 and Srdj, this assault group was divided into two subgroups. One group
9 went to the right consisting of ten men, and it was led by Lieutenant
10 Nikolic. To the left of the road, there was another group of ten soldiers
11 led by Momcilo Bodiroga. I together with my escort went along the road,
12 and there was this tank that was supporting our group that went along the
13 road as well.
14 Q. Did anything happen to the tank as you advanced?
15 A. From that moment on, since the artillery stopped firing at the
16 repeater itself, they most probably took their positions. And in this
17 further advance, this tank was hit, the tank that was escorting our group.
18 It was hit through the external fuel tanks.
19 Q. Did you return the tank, then?
20 A. For the sake of safety and security, and since the tank crew had
21 not been hurt, I issued an order for the tank to go back 500 or 600 metres
22 to the back slope of that hill so that they could not fire at it any
23 longer and that it could go on supporting us.
24 Q. Tell me, do you know Marko Komarica?
25 A. Yes, I do. He was a soldier of mine.
1 Q. Dakovic Svetislav?
2 A. I know him.
3 Q. Mesaros?
4 A. I know him.
5 Q. Are these people who took part in that action?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Tell me, these groups of yours, that is to say, your group and the
8 one you mentioned, Pesic's, from the direction of Bosanka, did they meet
9 up at some point at Srdj?
10 A. Yes. This happened as we entered the fort itself, through the
11 gate. Or rather, these facilities that are up there. As we entered them,
12 the left wing group that was led by Bodiroga and where Dakovic was and
13 where Komarica was, met up with the left flank, that is to say, the
14 right-hand group let by Lieutenant Pesic.
15 Q. Did these groups reach the plateau of Srdj?
16 A. Yes, they did.
17 Q. Where were enemy soldiers then, those who were at the positions of
18 fort Srdj?
19 A. They retreated from these positions that were around the repeater
20 itself and that were visible. They went into the underground premises
21 that are underneath the repeater. Two or three storeys below the ground.
22 Q. Was there any fire opened on the JNA assault groups that were
23 advancing on the Srdj plateau?
24 A. At that moment when we practically took the repeater, on the
25 surface, on the ground there weren't any Croatian soldiers. At that
1 moment, strong artillery, or rather mortar fire started on the Srdj
2 plateau, and this fire was opened by the Croatian forces. There are rocky
3 surfaces and concrete surfaces there, so for quite a while, we were
4 subjected to strong fire by the Croat forces on that plateau.
5 Q. Tell me, were there any consequences due to that fire?
6 A. There were consequences.
7 Q. What were the consequences?
8 A. In my assault group, Miroslav Tasovac got killed, Bozo Divljan got
9 killed, Selajdin got killed. Three of my men were killed. Selajdin was
10 an active-duty soldier. In Pesic's group, he himself as wounded .
11 Soldier Mesaros got killed, and we had quite a few wounded and injured men
12 as well.
13 Q. This fire from Dubrovnik that was opened at you while you were at
14 the Srdj plateau, how long did it last?
15 JUDGE PARKER: There has been no evidence in the English language
16 as to the source of the fire, Mr. Rodic.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I'll try to resolve
18 that by rephrasing my question.
19 Q. You said while you were at the Srdj plateau, that mortars were
20 firing at you. And I asked you, and you told me that you had sustained
21 losses by that -- due to that fire. Do you know who it was that was
22 firing at you and from where?
23 A. The fire came from the Croat side, from the area -- from the area
24 of Lapad. Mortar fire was opened at the repeater Srdj itself. That is
25 where we were at the time.
1 Q. Can you describe to us what kind of fire was opened at you and how
2 long it all lasted?
3 A. At the very outset, it was to a lesser degree probably until they
4 adjusted their sighting equipment so as to target the repeater itself.
5 Later on, it was synchronised fire, non-stop, constant fire, at the
7 Q. Tell me, please, during the attack, did you have some kind of
8 radio communication with the commander?
9 A. I did have radio communication with the commander. I was at the
10 receiving end all the time. We were coordinating everything whenever
11 necessary. There was very little need to communicate with me, but we
12 could hear communication with the other leaders of groups who took part in
13 the attack.
14 Q. Did you receive orders to retreat at any point?
15 A. I did.
16 Q. Who issued that order to you?
17 A. The commander of the battalion, Captain Kovacevic, issued an order
18 for us to retreat to our starting positions.
19 Q. Was this the first time that this order to retreat was issued,
20 when you heard it?
21 A. Well, I contacted him in that period when we observed where we
22 were being fired from. And since this was outside the range of my own
23 equipment, I asked him to intervene so that that firing point at Lapad
24 could be neutralised because we were suffering heavy gunfire, and we also
25 started incurring losses. After a while, he issued an order to me to
1 withdraw my men to the starting position and to bear in mind that gunfire
2 as we were retreating to the starting positions. He issued me an order to
3 retreat only once.
4 Q. It has been a long time. But do you happen to remember
5 approximately what time this was? So you don't have to be very accurate.
6 Do you remember approximately the time when you retreated?
7 A. At any rate, it was in the afternoon. At any rate, it was in the
8 afternoon. It was after midday because as we returned to Strincjera, it
9 got dark very soon. So at any rate, it was in the afternoon.
10 Q. So your unit withdrew to its starting position at Strincjera?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. When you arrived in Strincjera, was medical aid provided to
13 anyone? What did you do with your dead and wounded?
14 A. First of all, as far as the dead are concerned, with the
15 assistance of the tank I managed to pull them out towards the Strincjera
16 tower. Also, the wounded, whereas those who were only lightly wounded
17 withdrew on their own.
18 It took quite a while, this retreat. We were withdrawing in
19 groups. And Dr. Vukas came with medical vehicles. He took over the dead
20 and wounded and took them in the direction of Kupari so that the wounded
21 could be taken care of. The dead were immediately transferred to the
22 Trebinje hospital.
23 Q. Tell me, please, on the 6th of December 1991 when you returned to
24 Strincjera, to your starting position, where were you until the end of
25 that day?
1 A. I was at the tower of Strincjera itself. I talked to all my men
2 and told them to be cautious and alert during the night. I was there all
3 the time.
4 Q. Tell me, did anybody come to see you?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Who was it?
7 A. The commander of the battalion came, and I cannot say exactly but
8 either Sofronija or Zarkovic came for sure. One of the two came for
10 Q. Sofronija is the officer who you mentioned earlier on.
11 A. Yes, the one who came with the foreigners. And Zarkovic is the
12 one from moral guidance.
13 Q. What did they ask you?
14 A. They asked me in general what the morale of the men was like,
15 whether there was any dissatisfaction, how they received what had
16 happened. That's what it boiled down to.
17 Q. Was there any protest among your fighters?
18 A. Yes, there was. Primarily because this artillery support was not
19 carried out at the firing point which had directly caused the death of
20 three of our comrades and others from the other company. So that is what
21 was said to them directly when they came, but nobody knew the answer why
22 there was not any support, especially the commander said that he did not
23 know why artillery support was not granted in respect of that firing
25 Q. The previous day during the briefing with the commander, you were
1 promised such support?
2 A. Yes, we were. Because we knew that they were firing positions on
3 Lokrum and on Babin Kuk which were out of the range of our equipment.
4 Q. On the 7th of December, the day after, where were you?
5 A. On the 7th of December, I was still with my unit. I was on
6 Strincjera all the time up to midday.
7 Q. Did you leave Strincjera at any time?
8 A. Yes. I wanted to make rounds of my unit that was in Cajkovici. I
9 descended to the command post in Gornji Brgat. I pulled over, and I asked
10 if the commander was there. Then they told me that the commander was not
11 at the command post, and I only asked them to convey the message that I
12 was in Cajkovici. And then I continued driving to Cajkovici.
13 Q. On the 8th of December, were you with your unit?
14 A. Around 10.00 I left my unit together with a group of men, and I
15 went to Kravarevo [phoen], village of Baba Gacko [phoen] to attend the
16 burial of Bozo Divljan. Another group went to Trebinje to attend another
17 funeral, the funeral of Tasovac.
18 Q. Did somebody question you about the events, that is, the attack on
19 Srdj on the 6th of December 1991?
20 A. No, nobody did.
21 Q. Did you write any reports and send it to anybody about that
23 A. No, I didn't.
24 Q. During your regular briefings in the -- in your battalion's
25 command, were you informed about the positions and the strength and the
1 activities of the enemy side, of the other side?
2 A. Yes, I was. During the briefings, the commander would inform us
3 about the incidents and the activities of the enemy targeted at our
4 neighbouring units. Company commanders Stojanovic and Nesic who were
5 deployed on Zarkovica and in Bosanka voiced their protests with the
6 commander against the fire opened from Stari Grad on their units that were
7 located there.
8 Q. These provocations against their units, were they very frequent
9 from the Old Town?
10 A. Captain Nesic who was on Mount Zarkovica complained about that
11 very often.
12 Q. Were any arms, any types of arms mentioned when there were
13 discussions about the fire being opened from Stari Grad on Zarkovica and
14 in Bosanka?
15 A. During those briefings, he mentioned the anti-aircraft,
16 20-millimetre cannon. He also mentioned heavy machine-guns and a mortar
17 in the sector of the entry into Stari Grad. I don't exactly remember the
18 name of that place that he mentioned. He also mentioned the snipers that
19 are active from the houses around those hotels.
20 Q. Tell me, please, since you were also a teacher in the school for
21 reserve officers in Bileca, is a mortar an infantry weapon?
22 A. Yes, it is. The 60, the 82-millimetre, and the 120-millimetre
23 mortars are all infantry weapons.
24 Q. Can a mortar be used to open fire from a hard surface?
25 A. Yes, it can with adequate preparation. It can be used to open
1 fire from a hard surface. And this is very well explained in the rules
2 for the use of mortar fire. The hard surface can be sacks with sand or a
3 soft wood or any other hard surface that is prepared for the fire to be
4 opened by a mortar.
5 Q. This type of training for opening mortar fire, was that something
6 that you taught your students in Bileca?
7 A. Yes, it was.
8 Q. After the 6th of December during the following seven to ten days,
9 did any high officer, a general or admiral, visit the positions of your
10 company or your battalion?
11 A. No. I never saw a general or an admiral coming to the position of
12 my units.
13 Q. Were you aware of any higher or superior command in the Dubrovnik
14 and Herzegovina theatre of war in addition to the 9th Military Naval
16 A. The first time I learned of the existence of the 2nd Operations
17 Group in Trebinje was when I addressed -- approached the command in Bileca
18 for them to approve a vehicle that I would use to move my stuff. Then I
19 was told that I should talk to the command of the 2nd Operations Group in
20 Trebinje. That was in February 1992. I moved my family from Bileca in
21 May 1992.
22 Q. Only briefly, were you ever visited by the officers from the
23 9th VPS after the 6th of December? Did they come to the positions of the
24 3rd Battalion and your company?
25 A. Yes, they did. All those officers whose names I've mentioned
2 Q. Did they control the situation? Did they inquire about the
3 situation in the unit after the battle on Srdj on the 6th of December?
4 A. Yes, they did. That was very soon after the incident on the 6th
5 of December. They still wanted to know if there was any dissatisfaction,
6 what was the situation like, what we were going to do next. In any case,
7 the 6th of December continued to be a topic of discussion in our unit for
8 a long time.
9 Q. Tell me if anybody was awarded or decorated as a result of what
10 happened on the 6th of December?
11 A. No.
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm not sure about the
13 time. I don't know when we're supposed to adjourn today. I have two very
14 brief questions to put to the witness, and I would also like to show him
15 two very short documents, and then I'll be able to complete my
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can I have the usher's assistance,
19 please. Can the witness be shown Exhibit D98.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Defence counsel, please.
21 Microphone, please.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.
23 Q. Mr. Lemal, in this document, can you please look at the part where
24 it says that the unit has been replenished and the plastic explosives are
25 being mentioned, AG1 Zolja, and 7- and 9-millimetre bullets for the
1 sniper. Can you please explain to us what re AGs and AFs.
2 A. Those are special grenades based on the chemicals for the
3 momentaneous [as interpreted] destruction of troops without long-term
4 consequences for the troops. Momentaneous, temporary. So it is a grenade
5 similar used by the police during demonstrations. This is the type of
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have P24. Can this be
8 put before the witness, please.
9 Q. Mr. Lemal, in this photo, do you recognise something? Does
10 something look familiar to you in these photos?
11 A. The lower photo depicts the so-called HOD [phoen], the Croatian
12 armoured vehicle which used a lorry as its base. I opened fire on it. I
13 didn't hit it, though. It was in Rijeka Dubrovacka near the gas station.
14 This is the first time I saw it before we took those positions. And later
15 on, I saw it in the part of the Gruz harbour and Lapad.
16 Q. Mr. Lemal, thank you very much.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this completes my
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Rodic.
20 Ms. Mahindaratne.
21 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Cross-examined by Ms. Mahindaratne:
23 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Lemal. My name is Prashanthi Mahindaratne,
24 and I will ask you some questions on behalf of the Prosecution.
25 Mr. Lemal, you indicated in examination-in-chief that you attended
1 the school centre of the infantry in Bileca and the school for unity and
2 brotherhood. Can you perhaps just indicate what type of --
3 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, our learned friend is
4 not quoting the evidence properly. The witness didn't say that he
5 attended that school in Bileca. He said that he was a teacher in that
6 school. Could more attention be paid to the testimony of the witness,
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I beg your pardon. I will rephrase perhaps.
9 Q. Let me correct myself, Mr. Lemal. Your evidence was that you
10 attended the school for brotherhood and unity in Belgrade, and the
11 military academy for land forces, specifically the department of infantry
12 division. Now, could you perhaps give us some idea as to what type of
13 training did you receive at these institutions?
14 A. In the military grammar school, which is a secondary school that
15 takes four years, I acquired general knowledge and general education. In
16 addition to that, every year we would be sent for practical training. We
17 would learn how to ski. We would have tactical training on Manjaca. And
18 this was what was done during the secondary military school.
19 At the military academy, however, since this was a school of
20 higher education, we studied all of the existing weapons with the focus
21 being put on those weapons that belonged to the branch of the military
22 that we would later on belong to. After two years spent in Belgrade, I
23 was transferred for specialisation in Sarajevo. That was also a military
24 academy. I completed my education there. And I was able to have more
25 practical education in the natural surroundings and in the situations very
1 similar to the war situations.
2 Q. Thank you for that. Now, you said that in mid-September you were
3 temporarily transferred to the 472nd Motorised Brigade. And you reported
4 to its command post which was located in Trebinje. Were you also aware at
5 that time that the command post of the 2nd Operational Group was also
6 located in Trebinje?
7 A. No. I've said that the first time I learned of the existence of
8 command of the 2nd Operations Group was towards the end of February 1992.
9 Q. So right through the period mid-September until 1992, although you
10 kept reporting to your brigade command in Trebinje, you did not know that
11 there was another command post in Trebinje; namely, the command post of
12 the 2nd Operational Group? That's your testimony?
13 A. I never said I reported to the command of the brigade in Trebinje.
14 I reported to my battalion command, Captain Kovacevic, who was at the
15 command post in Gornji Brgat. Not for a single moment did I mention
16 reporting to the command of the 472nd Brigade in Trebinje, save for the
17 moment when I first reported to that unit.
18 Q. Did you visit Trebinje perhaps to visit the brigade, not in a
19 formal sense of reporting. But did you visit Trebinje?
20 A. The only time I was in Trebinje was the seven days that I spent in
21 the hospital there, and on those occasions when I travelled home to
22 Bileca. That is when I would pass through Trebinje.
23 Q. Mr. Lemal, you said that when you reported, because of your ethnic
24 background, you were treated with some degree of suspicion or people were
25 cautious when dealing with you. In that, did you mean that perhaps people
1 did not inform you of what was going on around you because of this certain
2 degree of cautiousness with which they treated you?
3 A. No. They didn't trust me to the extent one was supposed to trust
4 their commander. And this lasted until the moment of our first combat
5 activities when they saw my behaviour in combat. From that moment on, I
6 did not have any problems with my people trusting me.
7 Q. You were not trusted because of your ethnic background or because
8 you were transferred temporarily to the 472nd Motorised Brigade? Or what
9 was the reason that you were not trusted by your units?
10 A. The commander of that brigade, Nojko Marinovic, had abandoned that
11 unit and defected to Croatia. And this was not the only case of Croatian
12 officers or even Hungarian officers or actually of any of those who were
13 not members of the Serbian or Montenegrin nations that abandoned their
14 troops, and that's why people were cautious. And I did not think of this
15 situation as being tragic. I knew that it would take time, but that
16 finally everything would come in its own place.
17 Q. Mr. Lemal, just one question I should have asked you before:
18 Where exactly is Sremska Mitrovica - I beg your pardon for the
19 mispronunciation - the place you live at?
20 A. Sremska Mitrovica is in Vojvodina in the Republic of Serbia. It
21 is 70 kilometres away from Belgrade in the direction of Zagreb.
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May the witness be shown map P132.
23 Q. Mr. Lemal, with regard to this particular map, you indicated
24 certain positions that the units of the 3rd Battalion had after November
25 right through December. Now, could you please place your pointer on
1 Strincjera where your unit was positioned.
2 A. [Indicates]
3 Q. That along with the positions to the north of Strincjera were
4 taken by your units or were held by your units?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Then you indicated that the 1st Company held the position at
7 Bosanka. Am I correct, or did I misunderstand your testimony?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What is the name of the company commander of the 1st Company of
10 the 3rd Battalion?
11 A. Captain Slavoljub Stojanovic.
12 Q. The anti-tank weapons company which was commanded by Captain Nesic
13 was positioned on Zarkovica. Correct?
14 A. Anti-armour company.
15 Q. Anti-armour.
16 A. Yes, yes. Captain Jovica Nesic.
17 Q. Can you please place your pointer on that location, Zarkovica,
18 where his unit was deployed at. You have to push the map up a little
19 upwards, Mr. Lemal.
20 A. [Indicates]
21 Q. Which company was that? What was the number given to that
22 company? Was it the 1st Company, the 2nd Company, the 3rd Company, or the
23 4th Company of the battalion?
24 A. No. Only infantry companies within a battalion have numbers.
25 Companies like the mortar company, since it's the only one within the
1 battalion, is only called the mortar company and the calibre of the
2 mortar. So 120-millimetre company. And the anti-armour company, since
3 there's only one of them, is called that anti-armour company.
4 However, since infantry companies come in a multitude, then they
5 are called he 1st, 2nd, 3rd, et cetera. And, for example, the logistics
6 platoon, there is only one of them, so then there is no need for a
8 Q. In the 3rd Battalion, in addition to the anti-armour company,
9 there were three other infantry companies. Correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You indicated the position at which your company, the 1st
12 Company -- I beg your pardon, the 2nd Company was deployed at.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You indicated the position where the 1st Company was deployed at.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Wasn't the 3rd Company deployed in between your company and the
17 company of -- that is, the 1st Company? That is, in between Bosanka and
18 Strincjera. Correct?
19 A. It was not deployed there.
20 Q. Can you please place your pointer, Mr. Lemal, on the position
21 between Strincjera and Bosanka. That would be just behind Srdj.
22 A. [Indicates]
23 Q. Which unit was deployed there?
24 A. Not a single unit was deployed there. This is the tactical way of
25 depicting units at positions. It is a dotted red line that is used for
1 that. And it does not mean that everywhere where the red line was there
2 was a unit too. I pointed out the facilities that were taken.
3 The area between and among units was secured in different ways, as
4 prescribed by our tactical rules, either through patrols or ambushes or in
5 any other way. But in this area that I indicated to you just now, there
6 was never a permanently positioned unit.
7 Q. Could you place your pointer and indicate as to where the 3rd
8 Company was deployed at. I'm just referring to the 3rd Company of the
9 3rd Battalion.
10 A. On this map, I've pointed that out. From the moment when we
11 opened fire at Ivanica when the action there took place. The 3rd Company
12 remained in the reserve because this area from a geographical point of
13 view made it impossible to place all units in combat order.
14 Q. Could you please place your pointer at the position where the
15 3rd Company was so we could all see.
16 A. They were in the area behind the village of Bosanka deployed
17 without a combat order.
18 Q. Could you please specifically place your pointer, and keep it
19 there so we could see, Mr. Lemal, without moving it, and could the cameras
20 focus on that particular position. What is that place you indicate it to
21 be? What is that position? Can you identify that location with a name?
22 A. I could not identify the location with a name. There was a group
23 of houses there. It was probably a hamlet near the village of Bosanka. I
24 don't know exactly what its name is. It's not on the map, and it was not
25 shown either.
1 Q. How did you then identify that particular location as the place at
2 which the 3rd Company was deployed if you cannot really identify it on
3 this map?
4 A. On the basis of the village of Bosanka. The road that leads to
5 Gradci and Strincjera. This is a group of houses around which the
6 3rd Infantry Company was stationed.
7 Q. So what you're saying, as I understand it, is that the 3rd Company
8 of the 3rd Battalion was deployed behind Bosanka. Is that what you're
9 saying? Did I understand you correctly?
10 A. Behind the village of Bosanka towards the village of Brgat. There
11 is a group of houses, a hamlet. Perhaps that's what we could call it.
12 Q. And that company was not being used in combat activity or were
13 they resting there? What was their task at this place?
14 A. That company, after this area was taken, existed on paper still
15 because its commander, Sikimic, was transferred. So part of the soldiers
16 from that company, a group of one platoon strength, went to join my unit,
17 and the other one went to join Captain Stojanovic's unit. Basically, this
18 company was reduced to some 30-odd men and was used as a reserve of the
19 battalion. It did not take part in any further activities. Practically
20 it was dissolved.
21 Q. Could you indicate -- you mentioned the commander of that company
22 as Sikimic. What was his first name?
23 A. Slavisa.
24 Q. And so in fact, according to what you are saying, sir, that the
25 3rd Company has joined your company and the 1st Company?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Just leaving now 30 men at this particular location that you just
3 pointed out?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So then it would be correct to say that the units, the former
6 units of that company were, in fact, deployed on that elevation indicated
7 on this particular map, between Bosanka and Strincjera? The men attached
8 to that company were now deployed on those red lines, the positions
9 between -- including Strincjera and Bosanka. Is that correct?
10 A. No. That is not correct. Because outside the village of Bosanka
11 and outside Strincjera and outside Gradci, then the village of Brgat and
12 this group of houses that is much further away, behind this zone here,
13 that is the --
14 Q. I'm referring not to those 30 men who were left behind. I'm
15 saying those other men who were taken out of the 3rd Company and attached
16 to your company and the 1st Company were deployed along with your other
17 units, isn't it, at Strincjera and Bosanka?
18 A. Yes. At Strincjera and Bosanka. Because these are much smaller
19 areas than taking up all these red lines. This was an uncontrolled
20 area -- rather, a controlled area among the units, but soldiers were not
21 stationed there due to the configuration of the terrain, the bushes, it's
22 impossible to negotiate the area. So I'm just trying to say that we were
23 at Gradci, at Strincjera, at the village of Bosanka, yes.
24 Q. What happened to the weapons of the 3rd Company? Which company
25 took them over? Your company or the 1st Company?
1 A. Every man brought his rifle along with him. That is -- those are
2 the weapons that belonged to that company. So as everyone went to join up
3 with certain units, they took their own equipment along.
4 Q. What about the mortars and the other artillery equipment that were
5 attached to that company? What happened to them?
6 A. Not a single mortar company according to establishment has any
7 artillery pieces or mortars that belonged to it.
8 Q. Are you saying that infantry companies don't have mortars? Is
9 that what you just said?
10 A. Yes. Infantry companies, according to establishment, do not have
11 any mortars. They can only be added to them. But according to
12 establishment, they do not have them.
13 Q. Why is that? Is it because mortars are not considered to be
14 infantry weapons?
15 A. No. They are. But within an infantry battalion, there is a
16 mortar company, 120 millimetres, that is supposed to provide support to
17 all these infantry companies.
18 Q. What about 82-millimetre mortars? All these companies, all four
19 companies of the 3rd Battalion had 82-millimetre mortars. Correct?
20 A. That is not correct. All four companies did not have them. I
21 don't know where the fourth company came from now.
22 Q. You said that one company was dissolved. All three companies of
23 the 3rd Battalion, each company had 82-millimetre mortars. That is my
25 A. They did not. All three companies did not have 82-millimetre
2 Q. Did you in your company have a battery which had 82-millimetre
4 A. I did have four 82-millimetre mortars, but these were weapons that
5 were attached to me for support because I was independent, and I was far
6 away from the other units.
7 Q. The company at Bosanka, the 1st Company, they had --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. -- millimetre mortars?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Are you saying that Captain -- I beg your pardon, I do not
12 remember his name. Who was the commander of the 1st Company?
13 A. Slavoljub Stojanovic.
14 Q. Didn't his company have a support of 82-millimetre mortars?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Sir, you just said that 82-millimetre mortars were in fact
17 considered as infantry weapons. If that's the case, shouldn't infantry
18 companies be provided with 82-millimetre mortars necessarily?
19 A. No. That was not the case. It is not necessary. According to
20 the establishment of the units, the situation is clear, and it is very
21 well explained who is entitled to having mortars. These companies may
22 have mortars added to them. But mortars are not part of the infantry
23 companies according to the establishment. They don't have to have
24 82-millimetre mortars on their strength. Those pieces may be added to the
25 infantry companies.
1 Q. According to establishment, under which formation would
2 82-millimetre mortars come?
3 A. According to establishment, they belonged to the light infantry
4 battalions and brigades. Light infantry brigades are mobilised only
5 during the war. And those mortars, the 82-millimetre mortars, are
6 attached to them. As for the peacetime formations, they are entitled to
7 120-millimetre mortars.
8 Q. Since your unit belonged to an infantry battalion and this was
9 wartime, weren't the infantry companies of the 3rd Battalion entitled to
10 have their 82-millimetre mortars?
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
13 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would kindly ask my
14 learned friend since this has been mentioned on a number of occasions, the
15 name of the unit is 472nd Motorised Brigade. And the name of the unit in
16 which the witness served is the 3rd MTB, the 3rd Motorised Battalion,
17 which is not the same as the 3rd Infantry Battalion. Can my learned
18 friend please pay attention to those names.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I think this may be a convenient time in any case,
20 Ms. Mahindaratne.
21 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume tomorrow at 9.00. I must ask you,
23 Mr. Lemal, to return tomorrow at 9.00 to continue your evidence.
24 Thank you.
25 [The witness stands down]
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.24 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 7th day of July,
3 2004, at 9.00 a.m.