1 Wednesday, 7 July 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. If I could remind you, Mr. Lemal, of
7 the affirmation you took at the commencement of your evidence which still
9 WITNESS: ZORAN LEMAL [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Mahindaratne.
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Cross-examined by Ms. Mahindaratne [Continued]:
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Lemal.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. Now, Mr. Lemal, yesterday you testified that you were commended
17 for your role of the evacuation of casualties which took place in the
18 combat activities that were carried out on 23rd October; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And these combat activities in which your battalion commander
21 Captain Ekrem Delic and others were wounded were in fact planned -- a
22 planned operation of the 2nd Operational Group which was carried out with
23 units of the 2nd Operational Group including the 3rd Battalion with the
24 object of capturing territory. Isn't that the case?
25 A. No, it wasn't an operation. It was a planned reconnoitering which
1 is done on a regular basis in front of the front lines, and this happened
2 300 or 400 metres in front of our front lines. And this could not have
3 been planned because it was a group of four or five men, and none of us
4 subordinates was aware of this undertaking or, rather, this action by the
5 battalion commander.
6 Q. So your position is that -- let me withdraw that.
7 Are you aware that there was a planned combat operation carried
8 out by forces of the 2nd Operational Group including the 3rd Battalion in
9 the period 23rd to 25th October, 1991?
10 A. I'm not aware because I was wounded on the 23rd of October. So I
11 was hospitalised.
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May the witness be shown document P121, that is
13 tab 21 of Jokic binder, as well as P119, tab 19 of Jokic binder.
14 Q. Mr. Lemal, I'm going to show you two documents that have been
15 tendered in evidence before this Trial Chamber. Could you first examine
16 the document titled P121, which is dated 23 October 1991.
17 Now, doesn't that clearly reflect that on 23 October 1991 the
18 3rd Battalion was participating in fact in a combat operation, and in fact
19 your participation in the evacuation of the wounded on 23rd October was
20 pursuant to this particular order?
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Mahindaratne, this is an order dated the 23rd
23 of October for action on the 24th, if you read it.
24 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, if I may point out the particular
25 paragraph. In the English version under the subtitle 472nd Motorised
2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
3 MS. MAHINDARATNE: "The 3rd Motorised Battalion should before dawn
4 try to pull out the wounded soldiers whereas the forwarded part of the
5 unit should be extracted to the relevant front line positions Ivanica,
7 JUDGE PARKER: Why do you say that was before dawn on the 23rd?
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, my point is that this is before
9 dawn on the 24th; that is correct. But my point is that this document
10 indicates clearly that there was a planned combat operation going on in
11 the course of which the casualties were taken, which this --
12 JUDGE PARKER: That's your problem. In the course of which. Is
13 not this exercise carried out during the 23rd?
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Let me go on to -- perhaps if --
15 JUDGE PARKER: I may misunderstand the evidence, but I understood
16 that it was on the 23rd of October that the action occurred in which -- or
17 in respect of which Mr. Lemal was decorated.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Yes, Your Honour. But this document shows that
19 before dawn on 24th, the 3rd Battalion is to evacuate the soldiers and
20 that it is pursuant to this order that the 3rd -- units of the
21 3rd Battalion evacuated the soldiers, the casualties. That is my point,
22 Your Honour.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Well, if that's your point, be aware that I
24 understand the evidence a day differently from you.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Your Honour. I will move on.
1 Q. So perhaps moving on from there in view of the views expressed by
2 the Chamber, the Trial Chamber, could you please indicate as to who has
3 issued this order?
4 A. The order to pull out the wounded commander I received from the
5 then deputy captain Vladimir Kovacevic.
6 Q. My question to you, Mr. Lemal, is: Who has issued this order
7 which you are holding right now, this written order?
8 A. This written order was issued by the command of the
9 2nd Operational Group, but it was signed on behalf of General Strugar by
10 somebody whose signature I do not recognise.
11 Q. Mr. Lemal, I did not ask you all those details, but as to which
12 command has issued this order. Could you please examine document number
13 P119, the order dated 24 October 1991. Can you please look at the last
14 page of the order and indicate as to who has issued this particular combat
16 A. I would like to underline that as of the afternoon of the 23rd, I
17 was no longer in the unit. I was at the hospital in Trebinje.
18 Q. Mr. Lemal, my question was very straightforward. It was as to who
19 has issued this order which is now before you. It has nothing to do with
20 whether you were there or not. Do you find it difficult to respond to
21 that question?
22 A. No, I don't find it difficult. This order, without a signature,
23 was issued by the commander, Lieutenant Colonel Pavle Strugar, but there
24 is no signature on this document.
25 Q. And in his capacity as the commander of the 2nd Operational Group;
1 is that correct?
2 A. Yes, that is correct. But I don't know how valid this order is if
3 it's not signed. There is no signature by General Strugar here.
4 Q. Mr. Lemal, the validity of this order will be decided by the Trial
5 Chamber. Please respond to my questions.
6 Now, do you see that these two orders are in fact combat orders
7 issued by the command of the 2nd Operational Group which issues directions
8 to the 472nd Motorised Brigade to which your battalion, the 3rd Battalion,
9 belonged to at this time?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. In fact, by P -- document dated 23 October 1991, which is P121, it
12 specifically assigns tasks to the 3rd Battalion, and I'm referring to
13 paragraph which is titled under 472nd Motorised Brigade, the second
14 paragraph which states: "3rd Motorised Battalion should before dawn try
15 to pull out the wounded soldiers whereas the forwarded part of the unit
16 should be extracted to the relevant front line positions."
17 So specific tasks are assigned to the 3rd Battalion, your
18 battalion, by the 2nd Operational Group command; correct? By this order.
19 A. It doesn't say to pull out the wounded, because I pulled out the
20 wounded on the 23rd. Here it says to pull out the dead who were still
21 left at those positions, because those who survived I pulled out on
22 the 23rd, and some of the dead, but some of the dead stayed behind, and
23 that was what the unit was tasked on the 24th, to pull out the remaining
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... and I really appreciate if
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 you could confine your response to the question. My question is: Does
2 this order assign specific tasks to the 3rd Motorised Battalion? Yes or
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So you, being a company commander of the 3rd Battalion until 1992,
6 you did not -- you were not aware of a formation --
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, objection, because my
8 learned friend insists on leaving out what the document says, and it is a
9 document from the command of the 2nd Operational Group addressed to the
10 command of the 9th VPS and the 472nd Brigade. She seems to imply that
11 there is a direct relationship is simply not true, and it doesn't follow
12 from this document. It is not an order from the 2nd Operational Group to
13 the 3rd Battalion but an order from the 2nd Operational Group to the
14 command of the VPS. That is what it says clearly in the first row of this
15 document, and that should be reflected in the question.
16 JUDGE PARKER: And also to the command of the 472nd Motorised
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: And the 3rd Motorised, we understand that the
20 "brigade" should read "battalion" further down was to try to pull out a
21 wounded soldier, or the wounded soldier, if the English translation is
22 correct, rather than soldiers or dead, but nevertheless. Having got what
23 the document says a little more clearly, your question was whether this
24 was an order to the 472nd Motorised Brigade from the 2nd Operational Group
25 allocating tasks to battalions of the 472nd Motorised Brigade.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: That is so, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Your answer, Mr. Lemal?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. But in the order it clearly
4 says to pull out the killed soldier. That is what it says in the order,
5 and not the wounded, because I pulled out the wounded on the 23rd. Just
6 one dead soldier was left behind, Miroslav Anusic, who was to be pulled
7 out on that day, 24th.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. That appears as though it may be a problem
9 with the English translation.
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May I proceed, Your Honour?
11 JUDGE PARKER: You may indeed.
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
13 Q. Mr. Lemal, in view of these documents isn't it -- may I rephrase.
14 Your position is that until February 1992, you were not aware of
15 the formation named the 2nd Operational Group. Now, being a company
16 commander of the 3rd Battalion, it is clear from these documents that the
17 3rd Battalion has participated in combat operations based on orders issued
18 by the 2nd Operational Group, but notwithstanding that, until February
19 1992, you were not aware of the 2nd Operational Group. Isn't that --
20 isn't that unacceptable?
21 A. No. I don't know why. I was just a company commander. Then
22 there's battalion commander, then brigade commander, then the commander of
23 the VPS, then the commander of the 2nd Operational Group. That is five
24 steps up from me in the hierarchy. So I don't see why I should know and
25 be familiar with more than one to two steps up the chain of command, and
1 that is what the regulations say anyway.
2 Q. Mr. Lemal, you attended, you said, regular briefings with your
3 battalion commander, did you not? That was your testimony?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... regular briefings, didn't you
6 ever hear the term or the mention of the 2nd Operational Group? Such as
7 there is a combat order from the 2nd Operational Group which has been
8 passed down to us or something to that effect being mentioned?
9 A. No. The VPS was mentioned.
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May the witness be shown D98.
11 Q. Mr. Lemal, you were shown this document yesterday, and you asked
12 to respond to -- explain certain items listed there. Do you see that this
13 daily report is also forwarded to the 2nd Operational Group command in
14 addition to the 9th VPS forward command post in Kupari?
15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, again evidence is
16 interpreted in a way that is not correct. I appeal to my learned friend
17 to interpret the document correctly. It is addressed to the command of
18 the operational group. So could there be a little more attention paid to
19 the specifics of the document, please.
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
21 Q. The document is addressed to the command of the 2nd Operational
22 Group and the command of the military naval district, VP command post IKM.
23 That's what I just read. I don't know what the problem is.
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] On page 8, in line 13, you said it
25 was forwarded to the 2nd Operational Group and the 9th VPS forward command
1 post in Kupari. So please look at what you said on page 8, line 13.
2 JUDGE PARKER: I will remind counsel that they will stop
3 addressing each other directly. You will speak to the Bench. We've
4 fallen back into this unfortunate habit of direct address to each other
5 when there are objections. That will and can lead to unpleasant personal
6 relationships. You will put your submissions impartially to the Bench,
7 and we will deal with the matter.
8 It is correct, as Mr. Petrovic has said, that you did in one or
9 two matters misquote the document. Whether they are material is another
10 matter. But it is addressed to the command of the military naval district
11 at the command post, as you have indicated. It is also addressed to the
12 command of the 2nd Operational Group. I think we've got that clear, and
13 if you would carry on from there.
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, please accept my
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I apologise.
18 JUDGE PARKER: And Ms. Mahindaratne.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
20 Q. Mr. Lemal, going back to your testimony on 6th December. Now, you
21 testified that on 5th December you were ordered by Captain Kovacevic to
22 record to Ivanica. What time did you receive this -- these instructions
23 from Captain Kovacevic?
24 A. I didn't say that I received the instructions from
25 Captain Kovacevic but from the command post of the battalion. I received
1 an order to report to the command post held by Captain Jeremic at Ivanica
2 and that we should wait for him there, wait for Captain Kovacevic until he
3 comes back from reporting.
4 Q. Mr. Lemal, your testimony is that Captain Kovacevic instructed you
5 to report to Ivanica unless you want to correct it right now. My question
6 is: At what time did you receive these instructions?
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
9 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I think that the testimony of this
10 witness is being misquoted. Could we please be told where the witness
11 made this statement, that is, that he received the order directly from
12 Kovacevic to go to Captain Jeremic's command post. Could we be told where
13 the reference is in the transcript.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. Ms. Mahindaratne. Yes.
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May I? At 140908, the question goes: "Let me
16 interrupt you. When you say the command post can you be more precise.
17 Answer, at 1419: "I got a call from Captain Kovacevic who was in
18 Gornji Brgat." I'm referring to that command post. "I received an order
19 to report to the command post of Captain Jeremic in Ivanica, and we were
20 to wait there for the arrival of our commander from a briefing." So
21 clearly the witness has testified, "I got a call from Captain Kovacevic
22 who was in Gornji" --
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. I think that deals with that
24 concern. Now your question to the witness.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
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13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Mr. Lemal, my question is: At what time did you received these
2 instructions from Captain Kovacevic to report to Ivanica?
3 A. I have to repeat that Captain Kovacevic did not give me that
4 order. I received the order from his command post at Gornji Brgat that I
5 shouldn't go there but instead to the Ivanica village, and it was early
6 evening when the order arrived.
7 Q. All right. Then at what time did you say -- whoever you received
8 these instructions from, at what time did you receive these instructions?
9 That's my question. Can you give a time? You said early evening.
10 Approximate time?
11 A. Well, it was already dark, so I can't be precise, but shall we say
12 about 1800 hours approximately.
13 Q. And at what time were you to report to Ivanica?
14 A. I told you we were told to go there immediately, all of us, so no
15 time was given that we should go there straight away and wait for him
16 there, which means that we could wait for him up until midnight. So as I
17 was in Cajkovici, I got into my car and headed there, and by road it takes
18 about 20 or so minutes to get there.
19 Q. So you were in Cajkovici at the time you received that telephone
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And accordingly did you immediately go to Ivanica?
23 A. Almost immediately. Five to ten minutes later, which is the time
24 it took me to issue commander's -- orders to the commander of the platoon,
25 and then I set off for Ivanica.
1 Q. When you arrived there, was Captain Kovacevic there?
2 A. No, he was not there.
3 Q. When did he arrive?
4 A. He arrived straight after me, maybe five to ten minutes later.
5 Q. And when you arrived there, who else was present?
6 A. All the commanders were present.
7 Q. In examination in --
8 A. And they were closer than I was.
9 Q. In examination-in-chief, you testified that when you arrived there
10 Captain Kovacevic was not there and the meeting started in his absence.
12 A. It is correct that I arrived before him, but the meeting couldn't
13 start without him. How could we work without him? So I didn't say we
14 started the meeting. I just said that we were all there already.
15 Q. Let me read back to you what you said yesterday, Mr. Lemal. This
16 is at 141013. The question goes from Defence counsel: "Did you see him
17 before you started your meeting? No. I didn't see him before we started
18 our meeting. He arrived after us."
19 That is your response. So, according to your response, clearly
20 you started the meeting before you arrived. This is your testimony,
21 Mr. Lemal, which I have read back to you.
22 A. Well, I didn't say that we started the meeting at all. I just
23 said that we had all gathered there before him, before he arrived.
24 Q. Very well. You say that it took about five or ten minutes for him
25 to arrive. Now, in examination-in-chief, you stated that you met him at
1 the crossroad -- you saw his vehicle at the crossroad in Gornji Brgat
2 coming from the route Kupari, Dubac, Gornji Brgat, Ivanica. So clearly
3 his vehicle was right behind you then, wasn't it?
4 A. You can see the road right up to Kupari, but in terms of
5 kilometres I can't tell you exactly, but it would be certainly five or six
6 kilometres or more going uphill.
7 Q. Mr. Lemal, when you said that you saw Captain Kovacevic's vehicle
8 at the intersection in Gornji Brgat, how far down the road was it? How
9 did you -- was it close to you? Was it right behind you? Did you see
10 exactly at that intersection?
11 A. Well, it wasn't close. It was from the Dubac crossroads, that
12 area, and it was the only vehicle going behind me and that stopped at
13 Ivanica behind me.
14 Q. So clearly then he -- his vehicle came closely behind your
15 vehicle. Isn't that the case?
16 A. Well, you can't say it went straight behind me because if you look
17 at the map you can see the distance between the crossroads at Gornji Brgat
18 and the crossroads at Dubac.
19 Q. Now, if one were to travel to Ivanica from Gornji Brgat, the route
20 he would have to take is that route, isn't it, Gornji Brgat, Ivanica?
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. So, however, the fact that that road leads beyond Gornji Brgat to
23 Kupari leads you to conclude that he's coming from Kupari?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In fact, even if he were to travel to Ivanica from Gornji Brgat,
1 his command post, he would still have to take the same road as you just
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Gornji Brgat is in fact closer to Ivanica than Kupari. Kupari is
5 way beyond Gornji Brgat on that same road?
6 A. Gornji Brgat is closer.
7 Q. That's what I'm saying. Gornji Brgat is closer to Ivanica than
8 Kupari. So he could --
9 A. Yes, that's right.
10 Q. If he was travelling from Gornji Brgat to Ivanica, he would be
11 coming on that route. But nevertheless, based on the fact that he's on a
12 route that also leads to Kupari makes you arrive at the conclusion that
13 he's in fact coming from Kupari. You in fact -- you in fact have no basis
14 to conclude that he was coming from Kupari although you -- you testified
15 to such effect before this Trial Chamber. Isn't that the case?
16 A. I saw the vehicle, the only vehicle. It was night-time. It was
17 the only vehicle on the road from the Dubac crossroad, and I was at the
18 crossroads at Gornji Brgat. When I arrived to in front of the Jeremic
19 command post, I got out of my Pinzgauer vehicle. I looked around in the
20 direction downwards, and that vehicle was already passing the crossroads
21 at Gornji Brgat. I went inside with the other commanders and I said, "The
22 chief is just coming." And several minutes later, he entered.
23 Q. [Previous translation continues]... interrupt. My point is that
24 you have no basis to conclude that Captain Kovacevic was in fact at that
25 time travelling from Kupari, because it is the same route he would have to
1 take even if he was travelling from Gornji Brgat.
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, objection.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic, would you leave the objection. The
4 witness is dealing with the question. Thank you.
5 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I've already put the question to the witness,
6 Your Honour.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And I answered your question to the
8 best of my knowledge, like it was.
9 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
10 Q. I will move on. Now, was the deputy commander, Captain Soldo,
11 present at this meeting?
12 A. Yes, he was.
13 Q. And for how long did the meeting proceed?
14 A. I really can't say in terms of time, but roughly about one and a
15 half to two hours.
16 Q. Now, according to what was planned, when your assault group from
17 Strincjera was to approach the search facility, were you supposed to be
18 given mortar fire support?
19 A. Yes, I was.
20 Q. From where?
21 A. From Ivanica, from Captain Jeremic.
22 Q. And how about Captain Pesic's group? From where were they to
23 obtain their fire support?
24 A. Lieutenant Pesic, the same thing with him. It was the battery
25 that supported both, because the Srdj facility is a relatively small one.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. What time was it when the ZIS guns and the mortar fire on Srdj
2 from their support positions started firing on 6th December? And now I'm
3 going on to the attack itself.
4 A. About 6.00 in the morning.
5 Q. And what time was it when you got close to Srdj? That's the time
6 when you signalled for the artillery fire to stop for the sake of the
7 safety of your own troops.
8 A. That was already about 8.00 when I grew closer to the repeater
9 station, and at that point the mortar fire stopped from Isovo [phoen].
10 Q. So from 6.00 to 8.00 your mortar fire support positions had been
11 firing in the course of this attack.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And by 6.00 when your heavy weapons, the ZIS guns and the mortar
14 fire started, your infantry group or the assault groups would have reached
15 a particular point on Srdj. Isn't that the case?
16 A. Not at Srdj but the approach to Srdj.
17 Q. Were you halfway up the hill or were you at the base when they
18 started fire?
19 A. I left at 5.00 in the morning, and under the cover of darkness I
20 managed to traverse that area without any fire, but after the mortar fire
21 started at 6.00, I continued on my way. So when I was at a distance of
22 600 metres from the repeater, the firing stopped. And that was 8.00
24 Q. What time was it when you entered the fort, when your group and
25 Captain Pesic's group entered the fort on top of the Srdj hill?
1 A. Well, Lieutenant Pesic entered a little bit before me. I entered
2 roughly at about half past 8.00. I can't give you the exact time, but I
3 think it was thereabouts. It took me another half hour to enter the
4 repeater itself.
5 Q. And what time was it when the Croat guns from Lapad started firing
6 at Srdj?
7 A. Well, we were at the repeater station itself for another half
8 hour, and we were launching the fighting with the Croatian soldiers up
9 there with -- until they left into the underground channels. So it was
10 after that that the mortars started firing from Dubrovnik at the repeater
11 station at Srdj itself. I can't tell you exactly what time that was.
12 Q. Could you give an approximate time? Now you said you entered the
13 fort at 8.30. So about half hour after that, is that what you're saying,
14 around 9.00?
15 A. Well, yes, half an hour to one hour let's say.
16 Q. You stated that as a result of this fire from Lapad your units
17 took some casualties. Now, were these the first casualties taken in this
18 particular attack carried out on 6th December, 1991? First casualties
19 amongst your units, the JNA units.
20 A. No. I lost a soldier in the approach to the repeater station.
21 Q. What time was that when you -- when the soldier was killed?
22 A. Well, as I said, between 8.00 and half past 8.00 when we didn't
23 have mortar fire support from our side. When I started out towards the
24 repeater one soldier was hit by a sniper and he succumbed to his wounds.
25 He died.
1 Q. So that was the first loss in this particular attack?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And what time was it when you started taking in more casualties at
4 the top of Srdj as a result of the fire from Lapad?
5 A. Well, that would make it roughly from between 11.00 -- actually,
6 from 11.00 onwards. That general period was when the casualties fell at
7 the call-out cell, the fort at Srdj and the repeater station there. I
8 can't give you an exact time.
9 Q. How long did it take you to withdraw from Srdj to Strincjera when
10 Captain Kovacevic ordered you to withdraw?
11 A. Well, I withdrew -- it took me about an hour to an hour and a
12 half. We were moving slowly in groups and carrying the dead, and I had
13 some wounded soldiers too.
14 Q. In the course of this withdrawal or while you were up there, did
15 you hear that there had been an order to cease fire around 11.00 in the
16 morning or about that time?
17 A. No, I didn't hear that there was an order to that effect. I
18 wasn't informed that there was an order for a cease-fire.
19 Q. In the course of the day did you receive a single order to cease
20 fire, and if so, at what time was that?
21 A. I just received the order for withdrawal from Captain Kovacevic in
22 the afternoon hours, and I carried out that. That's what I did.
23 Q. So as far as you're concerned, there was no order for cease fire,
24 to cease fire entirely on 6 December 1991, which was --
25 A. Not to me, no. It wasn't transmitted to me, no. The only order I
1 received was the one I told you about, the order to withdrawal, and that
2 order implied a cease-fire too. So withdrawal to initial positions,
3 original positions, implies that, and I received no other order.
4 Q. Now, you stated that there was a protest among -- amongst your
5 units that -- on the basis that the men were killed because the promised
6 artillery fire was not provided. Is that a reference to the
7 130-millimetre cannons in Cilipi that was not provided in the course of
8 this attack?
9 A. Yes. Because that was what was promised at the meeting.
10 Q. And that promise was conveyed to you by Captain Kovacevic. He
11 said that these artillery would be provided in the course of the attack?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. After the 6th December events, did you hear in fact Captain
14 Kovacevic blame this fact - that is to say, the refusal to provide
15 artillery fire from Cilipi - being the reason for the failure to take Srdj
16 in the attack? Did you hear him blaming that, for instance?
17 A. Well, he told me that on the same day, the 6th of December in the
18 afternoon when he came to see me. And when I asked him, "What's all this,
19 why weren't we given fire support?" And he said that he didn't know and
20 that was the reason for everything that followed.
21 Q. Did you also, in speaking with Captain Kovacevic that evening or
22 perhaps the next day or the day thereafter, did you hear him telling
23 Captain Nesic, that is the commander of the anti-armour company, that he
24 all used his artillery fire which resulted in too much of damage to the
25 town for which Captain Kovacevic was concerned that they might be held
1 accountable? Did you hear Captain Kovacevic say anything to this effect?
2 A. No, I did not. I did not hear anything like that. And at
3 official meetings that was never brought up.
4 Q. Did you at any meeting thereafter hear Captain Nesic being
5 congratulated for what was considered as a very good shot at the Srdj
6 cross which destroyed the cross? Did you hear anything to such effect?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Did you meet Captain Kovacevic on the 7th December 1991?
9 A. I did not, no.
10 Q. How about other company commanders of the battalion? Did you meet
11 them on the 7th?
12 A. I didn't see anybody. I was at Strincjera up until noon, and in
13 the afternoon I was in Cajkovici. So it was just passing by the command
14 post that I informed that I -- them that I was going from Strincjera to
15 Cajkovici, and there is no command post there or any commander of a
16 company there. So I didn't see anybody on that particular day.
17 Q. How about the day after, the 7th or the 8th December?
18 A. On the 8th, I went to attend a funeral of a soldier Divljan who
19 had been killed near Gacko at the village of Kravjani [phoen]. Of course
20 having received permission from my commander.
21 Q. And there did you meet any of the other company commanders of the
22 3rd Battalion?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Was there ever a meeting held at the command post in Brgat,
25 command post of the 3rd Battalion, after the 6th of December, any time
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 after the 6th of December, where the 6th December events were analysed and
2 discussed between the 3rd Battalion command personnel as well as the
3 company commanders, including yourself?
4 A. A meeting was held, but I don't really know the time. And, yes,
5 there was an analysis, but I don't know exactly.
6 Q. When was that meeting?
7 A. I said I don't know exactly when it was. I can't remember the
8 exact time.
9 Q. Was it close to the 6th December? A month after, a week after?
10 A. It wasn't on the 6th certainly. As to the rest, I really can't
11 say. I don't know. I can't be specific.
12 Q. And who was present at this meeting?
13 A. Present were all the company commanders, the battalion commander,
14 and members of the command.
15 Q. And at this meeting, did you hear Captain Kovacevic blame Captain
16 Nesic for all using his artillery which caused too much of damage to the
17 town for which he expressed his concern that they would be held
19 A. There were some words, but I really can't remember now because I
20 was focussed on my unit. However, there were some words of criticism
21 addressed at Nesic, but what he was criticised for specifically I don't
22 know. But he was the person most criticised.
23 Q. And criticised by Captain Kovacevic?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. For the role he played in the 6th December attack?
1 A. I said that he was criticised most, but I didn't pay much
2 attention to the reasons why he was being criticised. Most probably
3 because of those.
4 Q. And in the course of the 6th December attack, Captain Nesic was
5 commanding his unit from Zarkovica, the anti-armour unit?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. On 6th December, did officers of the 9th VPS visit you after the
9 A. Yes, they did.
10 Q. And did they ask you what happened, and did you discuss the events
11 with them?
12 A. I did talk to them, but I don't remember who was there of them,
13 whether it was Zarkovic or Sofronije or which of them. One of the two was
14 there. They first asked what the situation was with respect to the
15 manpower, what the morale was, did -- were there any problems with the
16 men, and I informed them. I said there was no artillery fire support from
17 Cilipi, for instance.
18 Q. Sir, do you know the first name of the person you mentioned as
19 Sofronije? I beg your pardon. Just give me a moment.
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I beg your pardon, Your Honour.
21 [Prosecution counsel confer]
22 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
23 Q. Just going back to a point, Mr. Lemal, going back, in fact, to the
24 5th December. You said that you were asked to meet or report to Captain
25 Jeremic's post. Can you -- do you know what his first name is?
1 A. Zlatan.
2 Q. Now, you -- you were on the point of what you discussed with the
3 officers of the 9th VPS on 6th December when they visited your position
4 after the attack. Did you also give them a verbal report of what really
5 occurred? And I'm not talking about a written report. I'm talking about
6 a verbal report.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did they take down notes or did they write down your version
10 A. I don't think so. They didn't write down anything. At least not
11 then at the facility at Strincjera.
12 Q. Where did they write it down, or did you write down this report
13 and pass it on to them, or did they write it down at any other place?
14 A. I don't know whether they wrote anything down, but on the spot I
15 reported to them about what had happened and how it was.
16 Q. At any point of time after the 6th December did you submit a
17 written report of your combat activity either to Captain Kovacevic or his
18 superior command, or any officers of the 9th VPS?
19 A. No, except for that piece of reporting. Nobody ever asked me any
20 written report or written explanation about those events.
21 Q. Now, are you not required to submit daily combat reports after an
22 operation or, if it's not daily, regular combat reports?
23 A. This is not done at the company level. This is done at higher
25 Q. So for higher levels to submit combat reports to their higher
1 levels, would you not have to in fact - in writing or even verbally -
2 report to your battalion commander as to the combat activity that your
3 unit was responsible for the day?
4 A. I've told you that I did submit my report, that the commander
5 visited me on the 6th in the afternoon. I told him what had happened, how
6 many losses I had had, what ammunition I had used. I also asked him how
7 come there was no artillery support from Cilipi. And the case there
8 wasn't any was the direct cause of the death of two of my soldiers. He
9 told me he didn't know. And in my view this was my official report to him
10 regarding the combat activities that had taken place on that day.
11 Q. So you did submit a report to your -- to Captain Kovacevic.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, after the 6th December operation, did you recommend or
14 propose the names of any of your soldiers or officers for decoration for
15 their role in the attack, and did you, for instance, propose the names of
16 deceased soldiers for decoration posthumously?
17 A. Not for the 6th of December. I did not recommend anybody.
18 Q. But you did in fact do so with regard to the normal combat
19 activity where you were not even present to witness their bravery, but not
20 in this instance. Why not? Was there any particular difficulty attached
21 to this particular combat operations which did not allow you to, for
22 instance, propose anyone for decoration?
23 A. There is a difference between the two operations. In the first
24 one, we took the territory. There were no casualties. In the second, we
25 failed in our mission, and there were casualties. In my view, the second
1 mission was failed.
2 Q. And also in this particular instance the Old Town [Realtime
3 transcript read in error "whole town"] was shelled. That's correct, isn't
5 A. This is what I heard, and subsequently I also saw it.
6 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have a problem with
7 the interpretation. My learned friend said the whole town was shelled,
8 and in the B/C/S the interpretation was the Old Town was shelled. The
9 interpretation in B/C/S was the Old Town, whereas my learned friend did
10 not use the words "the Old Town" according to what I'm reading in the
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, I used the word "Old Town," not
13 "whole town." Stari Grad. That's what I meant.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. On page 25, line 1,
16 it says "the whole town." I was reading the transcript.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
19 Q. And so you did hear and you said you also saw it subsequently that
20 Stari Grad, the Old Town, was shelled.
21 A. Yes. I couldn't see it on that day because of the repeater
22 station and because of the combat activities that were under way. It was
23 only subsequently that I saw that some of the parts of the Old Town had
24 been hit.
25 Q. And you observed the damage?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes. I saw that some roofs were damaged and that there was other
2 damage on the houses in the Old Town that had been hit.
3 Q. Now, Mr. Lemal, you testified in examination-in-chief that you
4 heard in the course of briefings, the regular briefings that were
5 conducted at the battalion command, Captain Nesic and Stojanovic protest
6 to Captain Kovacevic about receiving fire from the Old Town. When was
7 this? When did you hear this? Can you give the time frames?
8 A. Between mid-November when I returned to my unit and the 6th of
9 December when we carried out the attack on Srdj.
10 Q. And can you -- how many times did you hear that between
11 mid-November and 6th December?
12 A. A few times. I heard it a few times.
13 Q. And do you know what Captain Kovacevic did about those protests?
14 A. He said that he would convey this to his superior command when he
15 went to the briefings in Kupari. He also said that he would insist with
16 them for these things to stop.
17 Q. You referred to Captain Nesic complaining of sniper fire from the
18 houses around hotels. Now, what are those hotels? Can you name them?
19 A. There is only one name I'm aware of and that is Argentina. I
20 don't know the names of the others. I know that there are two hotels, but
21 I don't know their names.
22 Q. And those are hotels which are outside the Old Town, to the east
23 of the Old Town, isn't it?
24 A. Yes. They are outside the Old Town.
25 Q. Now, you also said that you heard Captain Nesic complain of an
1 anti-aircraft 20-millimetre weapon in relation to the Old Town. Did he
2 mention where exactly it was located?
3 A. He mentioned a fort or a fortress in the Old Town but I wouldn't
4 be able to tell you exactly which one. He mentioned a fortress on top of
5 which an anti-aircraft 20-millimetre gun was.
6 Q. And when was this? Can you approximately give the time period?
7 Now, you said this was between November and the 6th December. Was it late
8 November, around the 20th, the last week of November, the first week of
9 December? What? Could you give some idea as to the time frame?
10 A. I believe that I can't be more precise than that. It was between
11 mid-November and the 6th of December. I can't be any more precise than
12 that, and I couldn't be any more specific about the dates.
13 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May the witness be shown D65.
14 Q. Mr. Lemal, the document that you're about to be shown is a
15 document tendered by the Defence on behalf of General Strugar and is in
16 evidence before the Trial Chamber. This document is titled "Action report
17 of the 3rd Battalion on Srdj, 6/12/1991"; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So this is the action report submitted by the 3rd Battalion which
20 is being forwarded by its superior command, the 9th VPS to the first
21 administration for General Simonovic?
22 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, objection, this is not
25 a report drafted by the 3rd Battalion. It is a report drafted by the
1 9th VPS. You can see that in the letterhead and in the signature. So
2 this is not a report drafted by the 3rd Battalion.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, my point was it is exactly what --
5 I just repeated the title. It is "action report of the 3rd Battalion
6 submitted by the" -- my question was being forwarded by its superior
7 command, the 9th VPS to the first administration for General Simonovic. I
8 read out the title as it was.
9 JUDGE PARKER: It does appear, Mr. Petrovic, to be an action
10 report of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Motorised Brigade, and it
11 appeared to be forwarded from the forward command post at Kupari.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can the witness read
13 the title. There may be a -- an ambiguity in the translation. Can the
14 witness please read the title. This is a report about the action of the
15 3rd Battalion rather than a report by the 3rd Battalion. Can the witness
16 please read the title in B/C/S, and if there are any ambiguities, I'm sure
17 they will be dispelled after the witness reads it in B/C/S.
18 JUDGE PARKER: You've heard the issue. You might try to clarify
19 it with the witness then.
20 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Very well, Your Honour.
21 Q. Mr. Lemal, could you please read the title of that report.
22 A. "Command of the 9th Military Naval Sector, 1300 hours on the 7th
23 of December, 1991, forward command post Kupari, action about the operation
24 of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Motorised Brigade on Srdj on the 6th of
25 December, 1991."
1 Q. Thank you. And it's dated when?
2 A. The date is the 7th of December, 1991.
3 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we are missing a word
4 interpretation on page 21, line 21. It says action about the operation,
5 the word that is missing is information about the action, or report about
6 the action. Can the witness please slowly read this line that is
7 contestable for the record.
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
9 Q. Mr. Lemal, you heard the Defence counsel's concern. Could you
10 please read the title slowly back so that it can be taken down by the
12 A. "Report about the action of the 3rd Battalion of the
13 472nd Motorised Brigade on Srdj on the 6th of December, 1991."
14 Q. And it's been forwarded by the command of the 9th VPS to the first
15 administration for General Simonovic? Is that correct?
16 A. Yes, based on what I see here.
17 Q. Would you please -- I draw your attention, Mr. Lemal, to the
18 paragraph titled B, description of the action on Srdj 6/12/1991, and there
19 that paragraph gives the oral tactical situation in the Srdj region is as
20 follows. The 2nd Company of the 3rd Battalion, that is your company, in
21 the region of Strincjera, and the topographical point is given, the
22 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion in the region of Bosanka, the anti-armour
23 company on Zarkovica, and the 1st Company in the region of Brgat and
24 Dubac. That is correct, isn't it? That's what the report states?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And do you agree with those positions?
2 A. Well, the 3rd Company did not exist during that period. It had
3 been disbanded and its personnel was attached to the 1st Company and to my
5 Q. So what you're saying is that the information in this document
6 tendered by the Defence is inaccurate. Is that what you're saying?
7 A. Only the names of the units are incorrect. As for the positions
8 and the names of the facilities, the report is correct.
9 Q. But, Mr. Lemal, doesn't that paragraph indicate that in addition
10 to the anti-armour company there were three other companies of the
11 3rd Battalion positioned at three different locations, which is not what
12 you said yesterday. You said, in fact, that the battalion did not have
13 four companies during the relevant period. So which of this is correct?
14 A. It is correct that during that period the battalion had the
15 1st Company in Bosanka village, the 2nd Company on Strincjera, Gradci,
16 Cajkovici. I'm talking about my company here. There was an anti-armoured
17 company which was in Zarkovica. There was a mortar company in the
18 Uskoplje sector. There was a logistics platoon on Ivanica, and there was
19 the battalion command in Gornji Brgat village.
20 Q. And this -- this paragraph, in fact, refers to the 3rd Company or
21 a particular company being questioned at Brgat-Dubac. Is that correct or
22 is that incorrect? Was there a company positioned at this location,
23 Brgat-Dubac, on 6th December, 1991?
24 A. As far as I know, no, there wasn't.
25 Q. Would you move on to the next page, and I don't know in the B/C/S
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 whether it follows in the same order. I'm referring you to the paragraph
2 which starts with: "Considering that the commander of the 3rd Battalion
3 assessed that the enemy has crossed the line of tolerance ..." Do you see
4 that paragraph?
5 A. I have it on the same page.
6 Q. And do you see in that paragraph there's a reference to this
7 effect: "He declared," referring to Captain Kovacevic, "that no one
8 authorised that action and that he received warning on 5th December 1991
9 from Chief of Staff 9th VPS regarding the absolute cease-fire but that he
10 was driven by the general action plan in the scope of which was the plan
11 to ambush Srdj if the cease-fire was breached and when such conditions
12 arised -- arise."
13 Do you see that paragraph? So, Mr. Lemal, according to this
14 document --
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... speaking before you did.
17 According to this document tendered by the Defence in evidence, contrary
18 to what you testified, the Chief of Staff of the 9th VPS has reminded
19 Captain Kovacevic of the cease-fire, and no one has authorised Captain
20 Kovacevic to proceed with the attack on 6th December according to this
22 A. I wouldn't know that. Nobody ever told me anything to that effect
23 on the 6th of December.
24 Q. Nobody told you to what effect? Who didn't -- what are you
25 referring to? What wasn't told to you?
1 A. I, as a company commander, was not informed about the battalion
2 commander that he had been informed by the Chief of Staff of the 9th VPS
3 about the absolute cease-fire that had to be put in place. I was not
4 informed about that.
5 Q. But what -- according to what you said in evidence, were you in
6 fact told that the attack on Srdj was authorised by Captain Kovacevic?
7 Did he tell you anything to such effect, that he had approval to proceed
8 with the attack on Srdj on 6th December?
9 A. Yes. That was said on the 5th in the evening at the meeting which
10 took place in Ivanica.
11 Q. So in fact this paragraph or the contents of this document
12 contradicts what had been told to you by Captain Kovacevic?
13 A. Absolutely.
14 Q. Yesterday in discussing the 3rd Company which you said was reduced
15 to 30 men, you mentioned that commander Slovisa Sikimic was transferred.
16 Where was he transferred and when was it?
17 A. He was transferred after I was wounded. I don't know where he was
18 transferred to. In any case, on my return to the battalion, I found two
19 infantry platoons and the rest that I've told you. I don't know where he
20 was transferred to and why.
21 Q. So approximately when do you say -- what was the time frame when
22 he was transferred? Was it in October or beginning November?
23 A. Between the 23rd October and the 15th of November. While I was
24 absent from my unit, he was transferred to another duty.
25 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May the witness be shown D100.
1 Q. Mr. Lemal, do you know note that under the paragraph number 1 that
2 is titled "Written praise from the commander of the 9th VPS." Under
3 number 15 there is a Captain Slavisa Sikimic. This is the same person you
4 were referring to, isn't it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So on 26th November, 1991, Captain Sikimic who had been
7 transferred in the period 23rd to 15th November is being proposed by
8 Captain Kovacevic to be praised to obtain a written praise from the
9 commander of the 9th VPS?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And this document, this proposal which is attached to D100, is a
12 proposal or a recommendation being sent by Captain Kovacevic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Mr. Lemal, do you know that Captain Kovacevic lived or hails from
15 Trebinje himself, having known him and you discussed about travelling with
16 him in the same vehicle, et cetera.
17 A. He resided in Trebinje. He had an apartment in Trebinje. As far
18 as I know, he hails from Niksic.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, I'm about to move into a new area.
20 Is this an appropriate time for a break?
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Thank you. Yes, we'll have the break
23 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Mahindaratne.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Your Honour. Your Honour, I do beg
2 your pardon. Previously I had indicated that I had finished the previous
3 topic I was dealing with, but I do have to go back to it just briefly.
4 May the witness be shown D100 again, please.
5 Q. Sir, while that's being done, would you indicate as to how many
6 men were attached to the 3rd Motorised Battalion altogether, of the 472nd
7 Motorised Brigade, Captain Kovacevic's battalion. How many men were
9 A. First of all, I'm unable to answer that question because I wasn't
10 a member of the battalion command nor was I involved in that. I can just
11 tell you how many people I had in my company.
12 Q. How many people did you have in your company?
13 A. I had, according to the establishment, 147 including myself, and
14 plus that I had 16 soldiers manning mortars. So a total of 163.
15 Q. So would you agree with me if I put it to you that there were
16 approximately 600 to 700 men attached to the battalion? Is that a figure
17 that be approximately respond -- approximately be the number, the correct
19 A. Probably.
20 Q. Now, do you notice that in D100, in the proposal submitted by
21 Captain Kovacevic for commendation and promotion of soldiers and officers
22 for their role in the normal combat activity, it lists 108 men altogether?
23 You may not have time to count, but I have counted the number. So there
24 are 108 officers and soldiers been proposed for commendation. Now, would
25 you agree that this is a quite large number of persons to be recommended
1 or proposed for commendation or promotion considering that the number of
2 men attached to the battalion itself was 700, and the battalion was
3 involved in the November combat operations only for three days, from 10th
4 November to 13th November?
5 A. The commander may propose as many as he wishes, but I assume the
6 command decides [as interpreted] what percentage of the manpower they will
7 encourage and reward depending on the results achieved. Therefore, the
8 number of men proposed doesn't mean anything. The final decision is with
9 the commander.
10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I intervene in
11 connection with the translation, please. Page 35, line 5. The witness
12 said the superior command, not, I assume, "the command decides." Thank
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
15 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
16 Q. So when you said the command decides, or the superior commander
17 decides - and in this case we are referring to the proposal made by
18 Captain Kovacevic - were you referring to Captain Kovacevic's decision as
19 to how many should be promoted or commended?
20 A. The proposals that I made to Captain Kovacevic do not agree,
21 coincide with this list. I suggested more men, and he made a selection of
22 my proposals and reduced my numbers and then sent this list to his
23 superior command and the VPS command. And most probably that command
24 revised this list, reduced it, and finally drew up a final list of those
25 commended and promoted. That is the practice applied.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. No, no. This document indicates that Captain Kovacevic has
2 proposed 108 names. Isn't that the case?
3 A. Yes, which doesn't mean that all the rewarded ones were also
4 commended -- or, rather, promoted.
5 Q. Now, you said that you yourself recommended the decoration or
6 promotion of some of the men attached to your unit. Now, since you were
7 absent and you were not privy to the combat operations carried out in this
8 period, how did you determine as to who should be commended or who should
9 be promoted?
10 A. I told you yesterday that I consulted 2nd Lieutenant Bodiroga,
11 Nikolic Sreten, Stojanovic, and Captain Gasic who were in the unit at the
12 time, and they presented their proposals to me which I adopted because I
13 had no reason to doubt them as they were present and I was absent.
14 Q. Now, you consulted Lieutenant Milan Stojanovic also when arriving
15 at this determination; is that correct?
16 A. No, no. He wasn't a lieutenant, but he was one of the most
17 prominent combatants, and he knew all those men. A lieutenant was
18 Bodiroga, then Captain Gasic. They were the senior officers whereas
19 Stojanovic was an ordinary soldier, a combatant.
20 Q. But your testimony yesterday was that you also consulted with
21 Milan Stojanovic in arriving at this determination. Isn't that the case?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And under -- in D100, under paragraph 9, number 10, if you would
24 please examine the document. The paragraph titled "Medals for military
25 accomplishment." Under IX, Milan Stojanovic is also proposed for a medal,
1 the very same person whom you consulted in arriving at the determination
2 as to who should be promoted or commended or rewarded.
3 A. Yes. Regarding metals for valor and promotion to higher ranks, I
4 consulted with Captain Kovacevic. Just commendations and reward leaves
5 for soldiers were things that I decided for my men. As for these more
6 important rewards, I had to consult Captain Kovacevic. So I didn't make
7 any decisions myself independently, because otherwise it would appear that
8 I had proposed myself, and that is not possible.
9 Q. You spoke about Captain Kovacevic being recommended for promotion
10 in his role in the combat activity in November yesterday in
11 examination-in-chief, but isn't it the case that he was in fact proposed
12 to captain first class only after 6th December, after the 6th December
13 incident? Do you know that?
14 A. That is not correct.
15 Q. When do you say he was promoted?
16 A. He was promoted in November.
17 Q. You're certain of that?
18 A. He carried the rank in November. I'm certain of that.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May the witness be shown document P133. That's
20 tab 41 of the Jokic binder.
21 Q. Can you please -- what I'm showing you, Mr. Lemal, is a document
22 which has already been tendered in evidence before the Trial Chamber, and
23 it is a personal file of Captain Kovacevic. Will you please turn to the
24 page where Captain Kovacevic is being promoted to captain first class.
25 Let me give you the ERN number.
1 A. Yes.
2 MS. MAHINDARATNE: If I may, Your Honour, take a few moments.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've found it.
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: It's the document -- the page bears ERN number
6 Q. Do you see the date there, Mr. Lemal, as 14th December 1991?
7 A. But the time is counted from the 11th of November, 1991. What it
8 says here, "Decree," that is when this promotion was covered by the
9 document, by paperwork, because the practice in our forces is as follows:
10 I was decorated on the 25th of November, 1991, for an action that I
11 carried out on the 20th of March, 1991, and I received the actual document
12 a month later.
13 Q. Mr. Lemal, my question to you was --
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the translation
15 there's a lot of confusion from line 6 to line 12. All the dates are
16 confused. So could my learned friend ask the witness to explain the
17 example he was giving more clearly.
18 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, I think the response is clear
19 enough to the Prosecution. Perhaps if a further clarification is required
20 it can be done in re-examination.
21 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] The translation is not correct,
22 Your Honour. I'd rather not repeat myself and indicate the errors. He
23 didn't have any action on the 20th of March, 1991, nor any action on the
24 25th of November, nor did he say that. I don't know why it appeared in
25 the interpretation.
1 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
2 Q. Mr. Lemal, just to take you back clearly as to what you said, what
3 you said was that you were promoted on 25th November 1991 for action
4 carried out in October 1991. Isn't that the case? Because in the
5 transcript it has been recorded as March 1991.
6 A. I wasn't promoted. I was decorated. I was received a medal for
7 courage, not a rank.
8 Q. I know. It is the date that I was --
9 A. The 23rd of October was when the action was carried out, and for
10 this I was decorated on the 25th of November, 1991.
11 Q. That's right. So your decoration or you were decorated on 25th
12 November, 1991. That would be your effective date of decoration.
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. Now, according -- according to this document, that is the personal
15 file of Captain Kovacevic, his promotion is effective on 14 December 1991,
16 in the same way. It is, of course, an extraordinary promotion given
17 retroactively for his -- for the role he played in combat activity in
18 November, but the promotion is given on 14 December 1991. Isn't that the
20 A. No. You can see with respect to all the ranks that the difference
21 between the decree or order and the date when a rank is worn differs by a
22 month or two. You can see when he was 2nd lieutenant and became
23 lieutenant --
24 Q. Mr. Lemal, please. Based on this record, wasn't he given a
25 promotion on 14 December 1991 retroactively, to take effect from November
2 A. That is what I just told you. On the 15th of November, when I
3 came to the unit, he was already captain first class. And that is what
4 I'm claiming, that when I saw him then he was captain first class wearing
5 the rank insignia.
6 Q. The promotion was given only on 14 December 1991 on record in
7 terms the formal promotion was given only on 14 December 1991; correct?
8 A. Yes. It was legalised on paper then.
9 Q. And with regard to the date 14 December 1991, wasn't it the date
10 that General Panic visited -- visited forces of the 2nd Operational Group,
11 including the 3rd Battalion units?
12 A. I don't know. I told you yesterday that I never saw a single
13 general or admiral in that period of time.
14 Q. So you were commended for your combat activities in November 1991.
15 Weren't you also -- or did you not also receive a decoration for your role
16 in the combat activities conducted on the 6th December [Realtime
17 transcript error read in error "November"] 1991? Isn't that correct?
18 A. No.
19 Q. I put it to you that General Panic -- I beg your pardon, Your
20 Honour the previous question has been recorded as 6th November 1991. It
21 should be 6th December 1991. It's page 40, line 16.
22 I put it to you, Mr. Lemal, that on 14 December 1991, General
23 Panic arrived with General Strugar and Admiral Jokic to visit the units of
24 the 2nd Operational Group, especially the 3rd Battalion, which had
25 participated in the 6th December 1991 to Zarkovica. How do you respond?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. I don't know anything about that, nor was I informed about it by
2 battalion commander, nor do I know at all that they went to the command
3 post or to our battalion. They did not come to see me.
4 Q. In fact, at that time, after Captain Kovacevic had narrated to
5 them the events of the 6th December 1991, General Strugar had ordered
6 Captain Kovacevic to propose your name along with Lieutenant Stojanovic
7 and Captain Nesic for decoration, which Captain Kovacevic had immediately
8 complied with? How do you respond to it?
9 A. I don't know who Misic is. That was what I heard.
10 Q. Nesic.
11 A. Nesic. That is not correct. I received my decoration prior to
12 that. And if such proposals were made, I have not aware of it.
13 Q. Mr. Lemal, yesterday when learned Defence counsel put a question
14 to you as to whether your units participated in the combat operations of
15 November, you went on to quite voluntarily add that in those battles the
16 unit behaved well and they were praised by the superior command for
17 courage. Now, what made you say that when in fact the issue put to you
18 was as to whether your unit in fact participated in the operations? Why
19 did you volunteer this information? Was there any particular reason why
20 you wanted to underscore that fact?
21 A. Because that is what I was told by Lieutenant Sreten Nikolic who
22 came to visit me in Bileca, in my apartment, and that is what he passed on
23 to me, that they are doing well, that they haven't shamed me, that they're
24 active, that they conducted themselves well and that they had been praised
25 for it.
1 Q. Why would he come and tell you that they hadn't shamed you in
2 relation to the November combat operations? Is this because the Old Town
3 was shelled in November that he found it necessary to let you know that
4 your unit was not involved in it? Is that why? Or is it a regular
5 statement that one would tell a commander, that the unit did not shame
7 A. I consider it to be a normal statement by a person who is not a
8 professional soldier but a reservist and who was proud of what he was
9 doing. So I didn't take it to mean anything other than that.
10 Q. Your statement -- or your response infers, Mr. Lemal, that it
11 could be considered as normal for a reservist to shame the commander. Is
12 that what you inferred? It was -- was it a normal occurrence that perhaps
13 a unit could in fact shame a commander and behave in such way in the
14 course of combat activity? Did that happen often with regard to
15 3rd Battalion?
16 A. I never thought about it, and it has nothing to do with this. I
17 consider it to be quite normal and natural for someone to say that if he
18 took part in combat operations and there were no casualties and no
19 material losses, it is quite normal for any commander to be proud of that,
20 to be proud of having managed to carry out an operation without suffering
21 any wounded or dead or without losing any equipment. I consider that to
22 be quite normal, at least in an army.
23 Q. Lieutenant Nikolic also informed you that the Old Town had been
24 shelled by perhaps other units of the 3rd Battalion and not your unit
25 during the course of the combat operations?
1 A. I don't understand about which period of time we're talking about.
2 Q. I'm referring to the combat operations conducted by the 3rd
3 Battalion from 10th November to 13th November. Did Lieutenant Nikolic
4 inform you that the Old Town had been shelled during this period?
5 A. No, he didn't.
6 Q. Did he learn afterwards that the Old Town had been shelled during
7 this period?
8 A. I told you about the 6th, and I saw it, but as for the other, no
9 one informed me about it, nor did I learn about it from anyone else later
11 Q. Did you see media reports or news reports that foreign observers
12 were visiting, journalists were visiting Dubrovnik and the Old Town
13 because it had been shelled in the period 10th November to 13th November?
14 Are you saying that you had not up to date heard of this?
15 A. I did hear that from the media.
16 Q. So you do know that the Old Town was shelled during these combat
18 A. I said that I heard from the media, just like anybody else. Now,
19 whether I know about it personally, I said I saw it on television. I was
20 at home in Belica. I heard about the arrival of the European Community
21 monitors and observers and that they went to the Old Town.
22 Q. Mr. Lemal, you testified yesterday in examination-in-chief that
23 the November operations -- that in the November operations Donji Brgat,
24 Bosanka, Zarkovica, Kula Grac [sic], and Kula Strincjera were captured; is
25 that correct? That's what you said in your examination-in-chief.
1 A. Could you please repeat that? I think you made a mistake in one
2 of the names of the places?
3 Q. I probably mispronounced and I beg your pardon for that.
4 Donji Brgat, Bosanka, Zarkovica, Kula Graci, and Kula Strincjera were
5 captured in November operations?
6 A. It is Gornji Brgat, not Donji Brgat. That's the correction. And
7 as to the others, not captured but taken control of. So if that's the
8 case my answer is yes. Gornji Brgat, the village of Bosanka, Zarkovica,
9 Kula Strincjera, Kula Graci, yes.
10 Q. Now, since you were not there, did you learn this also from
11 Lieutenant Nikolic? Whereas he the one who told you as to what had
12 transpired during the course of the November operations as to what
13 territory was captured?
14 A. Until his arrival in the unit, mostly him and afterwards the
15 others, the fellow fighters who were in the unit, fellow combatants, would
16 inform me about our unit, where it went and how it fared.
17 Q. Now, having captured Zarkovica, the observation post of the
18 battalion was established on Zarkovica. Isn't that correct?
19 A. Yes, the observation post.
20 Q. And once Brgat was captured, the 3rd Battalion command was
21 established in Brgat; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And what you say is that these areas, especially Zarkovica and
24 Gornji Brgat, were captured in November. The combat operations carried
25 out between 10th November and 13th November. That's your position or
1 that's how you were informed.
2 A. No. It was captured a little earlier on. Gornji Brgat was
3 captured earlier on, because it was a pass that was taken control of. I
4 don't know, according to what they said, that was all earlier on, 7th,
5 8th. 6th, 7th, or 8th. I can't be specific, I don't know, on the basis
6 of what they told me when Gornji Brgat was captured. And later on it went
7 further on towards Zarkovica and the village of Bosanka and all the rest.
8 Q. So even if you take as 6th, it was in the November operations that
9 these two places, Zarkovica and Brgat, were captured. That's your
11 A. I think that's what it was, around the 6th, and that Brgat was
12 previously captured and then they moved on.
13 Q. Isn't it the case that Zarkovica and Brgat were captured -- had
14 been captured by 25th October 1991? That is, October -- in the course of
15 the October combat operations and not November operation?
16 A. Possibly, yes. I don't know exactly. As I say, I did not take
17 part myself. But I do know that it was during this period of time, that
18 is to say, from the 23rd of October when I left until I returned, that the
19 places you mentioned were captured. That's true. Now, as to the dates of
20 the actual capture when, these places were captured, I'm not quite sure,
21 and I wouldn't venture or hazard a guess.
22 Q. Mr. Lemal, there was only one major combat operation carried out
23 by units of the 3rd Battalion together with other units of the
24 2nd Operational Group in October, isn't it? That was in the period 23rd,
25 24th, 25th October; is that correct?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. I repeat: I left on the 23rd. I left and went to hospital.
2 Q. In November there was only one combat operation carried out by the
3 3rd Battalion, which was in the period 8th November to 13th November.
4 Isn't that correct? I beg your pardon. 3rd Battalion was not involved.
5 Let me rephrase.
6 In the period 8th of November to 13th November, forces of the
7 2nd Operational Group carried out one combat operation; correct?
8 A. Probably that was it.
9 Q. And your testimony so far before this Trial Chamber was that
10 Zarkovica and Brgat were captured in the November combat operations; is
11 that correct?
12 A. I gave you the period which I'm sure of, and that's the one from
13 the 23rd of October, when I was wounded, up until the 15th. It is during
14 that period of time that those places, those features and villages were
15 captured, and that is as precise as I can be. Anything else would be
17 Q. Is now you're saying between the period 23rd October to November,
18 once I put it to you that these two places were captured in fact on the
19 25th October, but previously what you said was in the period 6th November
20 onwards; isn't that correct? You're including the date the 23rd October
21 once I put it to you that it was captured on 25th October?
22 A. And I say again, I don't know if it was captured exactly on
23 the 25th. I really can't say. I couldn't give you an exact date. The
24 period from till -- from the 23rd to the 15th of November. I was not in
25 the unit during that period of time, and that's when those features were
1 captured. That is true. Now, whether there was one operation or two
2 operations, whether it was done all in one go or not, I really can't say.
3 Q. So in fact what you're saying is that you really cannot say since
4 when the battalion observation post was established at Zarkovica or since
5 when the battalion command was established at Brgat. You cannot say with
7 A. All I can say is that it was there 100 per cent from the 15th of
8 November when I arrived. Now, when it was first established, I really
9 can't say.
10 Q. How many 82-millimetre mortar pieces did the entire 3rd Battalion
11 have in all of its units? Would you be able to give an approximate
13 A. I don't know. I myself had four.
14 Q. And obviously you would be aware that the battalion had other
15 82-millimetre mortars apart from your four pieces?
16 A. Well, I should know. Probably I should know, but I don't know
17 about the others. I know about myself for sure and for the establishment
18 units. Now, whether there was anything else anywhere else, I really can't
20 Q. So you don't know about what the other companies had or how many
21 other 82-millimetre mortars the battalion had? You cannot say?
22 A. No, I can't. I can only speak for myself. I know how many I had,
23 and those are the figures that I can give you.
24 Q. Do you -- did you have a direct line of site to the Libertas Hotel
25 and Iva Vojnovica Street from your position at Strincjera?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. And do you know if there was such a direct line of sight to those
3 two places from Zarkovica?
4 A. I don't know. I'm not sure. I was at Zarkovica just once or
5 twice perhaps throughout that time. I won't know.
6 Q. So that's how you said you could see that vehicle called Charlie
7 when it goes about on Iva Vojnovica Street? You had a clear line of site
8 to that street?
9 A. Yes, very clearly. You can see the whole street very clearly and
10 the whole area round about from the Strincjera fort.
11 Q. Now you stayed and observed that vehicle Charlie firing from close
12 to the stadium at an adjacent unit. I think you mentioned the place as
13 Osojnik. Osojnik. Pardon my pronunciation.
14 A. Yes. But that was before the 6th of December, not for that day.
15 It was before that they fired from there. And I conveyed this to my
16 commanding officer.
17 Q. I did not ask you about 6th, Mr. Lemal. Did you have a direct
18 line of sight from Strincjera to this stadium?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, when did you see this particular vehicle firing?
21 A. I don't know exactly, but I think it was the end of November.
22 Q. And did you see the vehicle travel down Iva Vojnovica Street up to
23 the stadium before firing or was it stationed by the stadium at the time
24 when you first saw the vehicle?
25 A. It fired from the crossroads at the stadium. We saw that point in
1 time when that happened, and it went off in the direction of the Libertas
3 Q. And did you -- before it fired, did you see it coming to that
4 position from somewhere?
5 A. No.
6 Q. How long did you observe this vehicle firing and then leaving?
7 About how long did it take for all that to take place?
8 A. Well, it fired two shells from there and then went off, and we
9 followed him until he went round the corner in a little forested area by
10 the Libertas Hotel, and that would be about ten minutes.
11 Q. So during that ten minute -- ten minutes, what was the difficulty
12 for you to fire one of your own weapons at this vehicle and destroy it?
13 Why did you just stand around and watch that vehicle firing for all that
14 ten minutes? Is that the kind of logical conduct one could expect in the
15 context of the situation prevalent around Dubrovnik?
16 A. Probably it would have fired had the people -- my people been up
17 at the mortar positions. There was a cease-fire on at that moment, and I
18 didn't keep my men by the artillery pieces, but they were further away at
19 Kula. Had it -- they been nearer, probably we would have fired.
20 Q. So you just stood around at your position in clear view of the
21 vehicle Charlie, because if you had direct line of sight to the vehicle,
22 they would see you, too, and watched this whole process for ten minutes
23 while the vehicle fired?
24 A. My Strincjera Kula, or tower, can be seen every day from
25 Dubrovnik, and all movement on the part of my men outside the walls can be
2 Q. You said that you observed Croat firing positions in Velika Petka.
3 Now, that is the hill to the east of Mala Petka, very close to it, isn't
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In fact, if you look at -- look towards Mala Petka from
7 Strincjera, it is the hill just in front of Mala Petka; correct?
8 A. That's how it should be, but if you provide me with a map, if
9 we're talking about locations like that and geographical positions, I
10 could perhaps take a look at it and tell you for certain.
11 Q. That's all right, Mr. Lemal, I'll move on.
12 Now, the location that you referred to as Ispod Petka Lapad is
13 very close to Iva Vojnovica Street, isn't it correct?
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when we talk about
15 toponyms, the witness asked for the map. So if my learned colleague is
16 going to continue along this line of questioning and refer to places,
17 could he be provided with a map, please. Thank you.
18 JUDGE PARKER: I don't think it's necessary, Mr. Petrovic. He
19 gave sufficient indication of acceptance of the proposition put to him
20 without the map.
21 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
22 Q. So your previous response to the question has not gone down, that
23 is that the location referred to as Ispod Petka Lapad is very close to
24 Iva Vojnovica Street and you nodded but that does not get taken down.
25 Could you respond with a yes or no without nodding because the transcript
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 has to take down your response.
2 A. I think it's where the street ends, Vojnovica street ends and
3 after that it's the Lenjin Bulevar. I think that's how it is
4 Q. It's --
5 A. Iva Vojnovica street becomes Lenjin Bulevar.
6 Q. So it's a yes?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now the place you indicated as Kotorska Ulica is just north to
9 Libertas Hotel, very near to it, isn't it? In fact you did say that it
10 was close to Libertas Hotel yesterday. But to the north [Realtime
11 transcript read in error "not north"], very close to the Libertas Hotel,
12 isn't it?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. Mr. Lemal, were you close to Captain Kovacevic and did you have
15 the opportunity to have conversations with him often? You said in fact
16 that you took lifts in his vehicle to Kupari yesterday.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I beg your pardon, Your Honour. There is a misprint in the
19 transcript. I said it was close to Libertas Hotel yesterday and it has
20 gone down as not north, but it should be to the north. Not north but to
21 the north.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, that certainly was what you were putting.
23 MS. MAHINDARATNE:
24 Q. Now, you also said that Captain Kovacevic reported to the forward
25 command post in Kupari and that you knew this because you travelled with
1 him to Kupari and that perhaps he told you about it. How did you know
2 that he was reporting to the forward command post in Kupari?
3 A. At that time in Kupari, to provide security for the command post,
4 there was my school friend, Sijeric Niko, who was a lieutenant. And he
5 was later transferred to Mokosica, and until he went to Mokosica on about
6 two occasions I went with Captain Kovacevic to Kupari to visit him so that
7 we could see each other because we hadn't seen each other for two or three
9 Q. And what -- what is the time frame in which Captain Kovacevic
10 reported to Kupari or when you got to know that he was reporting to
11 Kupari? Can you indicate approximately what the time frame was?
12 A. During that period from the 15th of November until the 6th of
13 December, in that time frame. That's when I went down there with him.
14 Q. So even the week between 15th to 20th he was reporting to Kupari.
15 That's your position?
16 A. I didn't understand the question. Would you please repeat it.
17 Q. Did he report to -- now, you gave the period between 15th November
18 to 6th December. Do you know if he reported to Kupari between the period
19 15th November to 20th November?
20 A. Possibly. I don't know. Possibly during that period.
21 Q. Do you remember going down with him to Kupari during that period?
22 A. I gave you the period of time for which I can guarantee. All the
23 rest would be impossible to say specifically.
24 Q. Do you know to which command the 3rd Battalion reported in
1 A. The command of the 472nd Brigade in Trebinje.
2 Q. And so as far as you know, the reporting to Kupari was only after
3 15th November?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Do you know up until 20 -- 20th of November the 3rd Battalion was
6 within the 472nd Motorised Brigade and therefore it would have to report
7 to the brigade command during the period 15th November to 20th November?
8 Did you know that?
9 A. No.
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: May the witness be shown P101. That's tab 3 of
11 the Jokic binder.
12 Q. This -- I appreciate that you may not have seen this document
13 before, Mr. Lemal. It's in evidence before the Trial Chamber. Do you see
14 from this document that on 20th November an order has been issued for the
15 472nd Motorised Brigade leaving the 3rd Battalion under the subordination
16 of the 9th VPS to move out of the 9th VPS and to report directly to the --
17 2nd OG Command and be attached to the 2nd Corps? Do you see that from
18 this document? Isn't that what this document says?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. So isn't it clear then -- then that the 3rd Battalion could have
21 reported directly to the 9th VPS only after this date, 20th November?
22 A. I wasn't aware of that.
23 Q. So is it then clear to you, Mr. Lemal, that you have not had
24 proper information or sufficient information about whom your battalion
25 commander was report -- reporting to or the relevant dates or time frames?
1 Is that clear to you now? Would you agree that that is the case?
2 A. I'm just saying what I knew about, what I knew happened. I didn't
3 consider it necessary for me to know.
4 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, I have finished cross-examination.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Mahindaratne.
6 Mr. Rodic.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Re-examined by Mr. Rodic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Lemal, I kindly ask you to tell us, the call
10 that took place on the 5th of December, 1991, by which you were invited to
11 go to the command post of Captain Jeremic in Ivanica, who was it who
12 called you?
13 A. I was called by the duty officer in the Gornji Brgat command post
14 of the battalion commander, Captain Kovacevic.
15 Q. If I understand you well, the call was communicated to you by the
16 duty officer at the command post in Gornji Brgat. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. The commander of the 3rd Battalion, Vladimir Kovacevic, at the
19 moment when you were called to come for briefing, was he at the command
20 post in Gornji Brgat?
21 A. He was not at the command post because it was emphasised to me not
22 to come to the command post but to go to the command post of Captain
23 Jeremic in Ivanica.
24 Q. Captain Kovacevic, commander of your battalion, immediately after
25 you -- very soon after you, did he arrive in Ivanica in -- at the command
1 post of Captain Zlatan Jeremic?
2 A. Yes, he did.
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown the map P132.
4 Can the map be placed on the ELMO to show Kupari, Dubrovnik, and that
5 general area. Can you put it up a bit. Thank you. Can this be zoomed in
6 a little, please. Thank you. It's okay now.
7 Q. Mr. Lemal, can you use your pointer and show us where you were
8 when you received the call from Gornji Brgat to come for this meeting?
9 Can you please show us where you were? What is the name of this place?
10 A. Cajkovici village is the name of this place.
11 Q. Is that place on the positions where your troops were deployed?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you please show us where Gornji Brgat is?
14 A. [Indicates]
15 Q. Can you also show us Dubac?
16 A. [Indicates]
17 Q. And also Kupari, please.
18 A. [Indicates]
19 Q. The road from Kupari towards Ivanica, the place where the meeting
20 took place, can you show the road, the way it leads from Kupari to
22 A. [Indicates]
23 Q. Can you please name the places on the road from Kupari to Ivanica?
24 A. Kupari, Dubac, then you go up to Gornji Brgat, and from there to
1 Q. When you described and said that you saw only one vehicle
2 negotiated -- negotiating the road uphill, the only vehicle that was
3 behind you, can you please show on the map where you were and where that
4 vehicle was?
5 A. I was at the crossroads in Gornji Brgat.
6 Q. Very well.
7 A. And there's a road forking off towards Ivanica, and I saw the
8 vehicle here in the direction of Dubac driving from Kupari towards the
9 Dubac crossroads.
10 Q. When you arrived in Ivanica?
11 A. From Gornji Brgat to Ivanica, this vehicle was some five minutes
12 behind me and arrived in Ivanica some five minutes after me.
13 Q. Who got out of the vehicle?
14 A. It was Captain Kovacevic, the battalion commander who got out of
15 the vehicle.
16 Q. Thank you. When you were asked by my learned friend about the
17 times when things happened on the 6th of December when you started moving
18 towards Srdj, when you arrived at Srdj, the times when some of your men
19 were killed, how long was the fire going on for, and the time when you
20 withdrew, today, 13 years after the events, can you be very specific in
21 determining the exact times of the events that took place on that day?
22 A. The only time that I'm absolutely sure about is that I left fort
23 Strincjera at 05. The artillery support started at 6.00. All the other
24 times I'm not sure about because I was in combat. I didn't have a
25 wristwatch that I could consult in order to check the times.
1 Q. Thank you. During your participation in combat on Srdj, how many
2 contacts did you have with battalion commander over the radio?
3 A. I had two contacts.
4 Q. In any of these contacts did you mention a cease-fire?
5 A. No. The cease-fire was not mentioned.
6 Q. During the cross-examination, you were asked about the reporting
7 and the meeting in the battalion headquarters after the 6th of December
8 when you were talking about the operation on Srdj, and you said that the
9 commander had criticised Captain Nesic with regard to Stari Grad; is that
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. Did Captain Nesic respond in any way to the commander's criticism
13 with regard to Stari Grad?
14 A. Yes, he did respond. He said that whenever he launched a shell it
15 was because he had noticed fire being opened from those places towards
16 Bosanka and repeater station on Srdj.
17 Q. Can you tell us where was it that he noticed the fire coming from?
18 A. He mentioned a fort or a fortress whose name I don't know. He
19 mentioned Stradun. He mentioned the open market and some other places
20 which I can't remember at the moment. They were all in the Old Town, and
21 from those places fire was being opened. He also mentioned a small
22 harbour whose name I don't know.
23 Q. Are you referring to the Old City harbour?
24 A. Yes, the one that you can see from Zarkovica.
25 Q. Is it correct that in responding to the battalion commander's
1 criticism Captain Nesic mentioned the fire points in the Old Town from
2 which fire was opened towards Bosanka and the other forts or the point
3 that you mentioned which I can't remember?
4 A. The repeater station.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Mahindaratne.
6 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, I wanted to point out that counsel
7 was leading the witness but it's a little too late.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. On that occasion, did Captain Nesic say or mention who was it who
11 was opening fire or from what weapons or arms?
12 A. Yes. He did mention the pieces of artillery and weapons starting
13 with sniper, the anti-aircraft gun, to mortars, and he also drew these
14 points on a map for the commander. I wasn't really interested in the
15 deployment of those fire points.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Mahindaratne.
17 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I object, Your Honour, because in
18 cross-examination this witness clearly said he couldn't quite remember
19 exactly what the criticism was, and his testimony was in fact that he
20 remembers some form of criticism levelled against Captain Nesic by Captain
21 Kovacevic, and now you have details of this criticism coming out.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It's not really a point of objection,
23 Ms. Mahindaratne, but a point that goes very much to the weight to be
24 attached to the evidence. Thank you.
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Lemal, in response to my learned friend's questions, you said
2 that the death of your two soldiers who were killed on Srdj was due to the
3 artillery which failed to open fire from Cilipi; is that correct? Is that
4 what you said?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. Were there any other fallen soldiers during the operation on Srdj?
7 A. Mesaros from the 1st Company belonging to Captain Stojanovic was
8 also killed, and this was also directly caused by the artillery failing to
9 open fire.
10 Q. Do you know how many soldiers were killed during that operation?
11 A. A total of five.
12 Q. Do you know how many were wounded?
13 A. I don't know exactly. I'd say a dozen or so were wounded.
14 Q. Do you blame the artillery from Cilipi for all these deaths and
16 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I object, Your Honour. The witness is being
17 asked to speculate.
18 JUDGE PARKER: No, I think not, Ms. Mahindaratne. The question is
19 what was this witness's view or opinion.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my view, save for the death of
21 one of my soldiers during the advance, all the other deaths and all the
22 other injuries are a direct consequence of the fact that the artillery
23 failed to open fire on the target which were beyond our reach. I'm
24 referring to the artillery in Cilipi. And this is what I said to my
25 commander during the debriefing.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. What are those targets that were beyond your range?
3 A. Those are the mortar targets or firing points on Petka, on
4 Babin Kuk, and in the tennis grounds sector on Petka. All of these were
5 beyond our range.
6 Q. Does that mean -- or in respect of those firing points, the only
7 efficient fire could only come from Cilipi and neutralise those firing
9 A. It's very clear from the position of -- of our fire support they
10 could not reach those targets, and the only ones that could open fire
11 successfully on all of those points is the artillery in Cilipi.
12 Q. On the 5th of December, were you promised there would be artillery
13 support from Cilipi during the operation on Srdj?
14 A. Yes. It was promised. Both the artillery from Cilipi and the
15 artillery from Osojnik were supposed to support us. However, the
16 artillery from Osojnik could not open fire on those targets.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown D65.
18 Q. Mr. Lemal, on your cross-examination were you shown this document?
19 A. Yes, and I read parts of it.
20 Q. Who is the author of this document? Who is it who drafted this
22 A. The command of the 9th Naval Military Sector in its forward
23 command post in Kupari. And this is a report about the action of the
24 3rd Battalion during the operation on Srdj.
25 Q. Under the first two items, can you see the information about the
1 officers who are indicated here? Who are those officers?
2 A. Captain Vladimir Kovacevic.
3 Q. And who else?
4 A. Lieutenant Miroslav Jovanovic.
5 Q. Can you please look at the end of the description. What does it
6 say about each of them?
7 A. Extremely skilled and brave officer.
8 Q. Does it also say about Lieutenant Jovanovic and Captain Kovacevic?
9 A. Yes. It does say that about both of them.
10 Q. Whose opinion is that?
11 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I object to that, Your Honour.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is the opinion of the commander
13 of the 9 Military Sector.
14 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I object to that, Your Honour. I don't think
15 the witness is in a position to respond to that as to whose opinion it is.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
19 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I apologise for the interruption. If
20 I may, I'd like to respond.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] The witness has before him a document
23 that was the subject of cross-examination. He was asked to interpret the
24 document or say what he knows about the document, and my question was
25 exactly to that same effect.
1 JUDGE PARKER: You're asking particularly who held a certain
2 opinion, and there seems to be some disputation as to who was the
3 particular author. The witness's answer can go no further than to say,
4 well, it's in a document that is under the authority, apparently, of the
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the document was signed
7 by the commander, and it is a document of the command of the 9th VPS. As
8 my learned friend, during the cross-examination, tried to give the
9 impression that the document was compiled as a report of the
10 3rd Battalion, I believe that certain things mentioned in this document
11 speak to the opposite regarding the characteristics that I referred to in
12 my question, indicate who is compiling the document and who is giving
13 those opinions.
14 JUDGE PARKER: The point of your question and the effect of the
15 answer, I think, have been sufficiently identified, Mr. Rodic. This is a
16 document which we know from evidence was drafted by others, was signed by
17 the commander. Now, when you are asking whose opinion was that, you have
18 the problem that the authorship was somebody other than the person who
19 eventually signed.
20 As I've put it to you, the document can be accepted because of the
21 signature as being a document which expressed views which had the apparent
22 authority of the commander.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understand that
24 perfectly, but I'm afraid that your comments and your opinion were already
25 stated once linked to the document dated the 9th of December. That is the
1 report of the commission on damage done to the Old Town.
2 As for this document, I really do not remember that it was ever
3 stated that it had been written by any other than the author indicated for
4 this command of the 9th VPS.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, I can only do my best when an issue like
6 this arises to recall evidence that stretches back over some months. When
7 we come to finally assess the evidence, not only myself but all members of
8 the Chamber, have to go over that evidence and be sure that we have it
9 accurately recalled.
10 At the moment, to ask this witness whose opinion appears in a
11 document, you can go really no more than the fact that there is an
12 apparent signature and that is the person who has -- either the original
13 source of the opinion or somebody who is prepared to put a signature to a
14 document in which that opinion has been expressed by somebody else. Now,
15 isn't that enough for your purposes?
16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
17 Q. Mr. Lemal, tell me, please, in that document that you have in
18 front of you, is there any mention of a mortar company led by Captain
19 Jeremic at Ivanica?
20 A. Yes, it is mentioned.
21 Q. In what context?
22 A. That he had started preparations for the attack, firing
23 exclusively at Srdj using 120-millimetre mortars at 6.00.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] We don't need that document any
25 longer. So could the witness now be shown Exhibit D100, Defence Exhibit
2 Q. Mr. Lemal, this is a document you are familiar with. Tell me,
3 what is the date on which it was compiled.
4 A. The 26th of September, 1991 -- I'm sorry, the 26th of November,
6 Q. These are proposals for incentives; is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. When are incentives granted or for what purpose are they given or
10 A. For results achieved in carrying out assignments on the part of
11 individuals or units as a whole.
12 Q. For what period?
13 A. For the past period in relation to the date when the proposals are
15 Q. Thank you. We don't need that document any longer either.
16 You mentioned that briefings in your battalion were held at the
17 command post at Brgat, sometimes at Ivanica, and sometimes the battalion
18 commander would go from one company to another and be reported to orally
19 from company commanders personally; is that right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. What form of briefing was more frequent, individual or at a
23 A. It was more frequent at a meeting at the command post which we
24 would all attend.
25 Q. At those briefings, would the commander mention any individual
1 officer outside your battalion with respect to the assignments given to
2 your battalion?
3 A. Yes. There was frequent mention of somebody coming from a
4 superior command. So he would say to me, for instance, "Lemal, take care.
5 Zec is coming on an inspection, or Nesic. Vlado Kovacevic will be coming
6 tomorrow to check things out." So he would mention the names of the
7 senior others. Or when Sofronije would come with the Spanish officer,
8 then a day earlier it would be announced, and it was in that context that
9 senior officers outside our battalion were mentioned.
10 Q. And where were those officers from? What command did they belong
12 A. They belonged to the 9th VPS, and they were accommodated in
14 Q. Mr. Lemal, just one more question. During the
15 examination-in-chief, I asked you about photographs. You had some
16 photographs from that period of time.
17 A. Yes. I still have those photographs. They are in my place.
18 Q. Can you tell us what is shown on those photographs?
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honour, I object. I did not question the
20 witness at all with regard to these photographs that were raised in the
21 course of examination-in-chief.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Isn't that correct, Mr. Rodic?
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] It is correct, Your Honour. I quite
24 agree with the objection. I just want to complete my re-examination with
25 the question whether the witness would state to Your Honours once again
1 whether he's willing to provide the Chamber with those photographs and to
2 explain when they were taken.
3 JUDGE PARKER: I think you can leave that. The matter has not
4 been taken up.
5 So that concludes your re-examination, does it, Mr. Rodic?
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
7 Thank you, Mr. Lemal.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Could I just ask, we didn't get your present rank
9 at any stage. Could you indicate your present rank.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My present rank is major for another
11 ten days.
12 JUDGE PARKER: What happens then?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Then I will acquire the rank of
14 lieutenant colonel. That is the plan at least.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. I'm -- I'm happy to say that that
16 concludes your evidence here. Thank you very much for your assistance,
17 and you may of course now return to your duties.
18 Could I indicate to counsel that the time taken with Major Lemal
19 was well in excess of estimates, and we would certainly be at great risk
20 of completing our evidence within the time available if that sort of time
21 is spent with all the witnesses to come. So will counsel keep that in
23 I think this is a convenient time now for the second break. Could
24 I indicate that we will resume at a quarter to. If people could be here.
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.48 p.m.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Would you please take the card and
5 read the affirmation, please.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. You could sit down, please.
9 WITNESS: VLADO PEPIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Examined by Mr. Petrovic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. For the record, will you
15 tell us your first and last name, please.
16 A. Vlado Pepic.
17 Q. Tell us, please, the date and place of birth.
18 A. The 24th of February, 1959, in Sarajevo.
19 Q. Mr. Pepic, tell us, please, what is your occupation?
20 A. I'm an officer in the army of Serbia and Montenegro.
21 Q. What is your present rank, please?
22 A. I am a frigate captain at present.
23 Q. Could you tell us what rank does that rank correspond to in the
24 ground forces.
25 A. It corresponds to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
1 Q. Mr. Pepic, would you please tell us what is your educational
3 A. I graduated from the naval academy. That lasts four years. And
4 before that, of course eight years of elementary school and four years of
5 grammar school.
6 Q. So you completed the naval academy. Can you tell us what is your
8 A. I graduated in the naval section, and my speciality was artillery
9 rocket speciality.
10 Q. Where was the naval military academy situated in?
11 A. In Split.
12 Q. Could you tell us where you served upon graduation from the naval
14 A. I graduated in 1982. From 1982 until 1985, I served in Split.
15 From 1985 up to the present, I have been serving in Kumbor.
16 Q. Tell us, please, from 1985 until 1992 - let us take that period of
17 time - in that period which unit were you serving in?
18 A. In the 9th Military Naval Sector, in the 107th artillery mobile
19 artillery battery of 130-millimetre calibre.
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown document
21 46, and could it be placed on the ELMO, please.
22 MR. WEINER: Excuse me, that D or P46?
23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] D.
24 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, colleague.
1 Q. Mr. Pepic, while we're looking for the document, could you tell us
2 what is the abbreviation for this unit?
3 A. 107th OAG, Coastal Artillery Group, OAG. G as Gacko -- as in
5 Q. Please look at the table that you have in front of you. It is a
6 structure of the units of the 9th VPS. And show us, please, if you see on
7 this table the unit you served in. Would you point to it, please.
8 A. [Indicates]
9 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] For the record, the witness is
10 pointing to the 107th OAG within the 9th VPS.
11 Thank you. We don't need the document any longer.
12 Q. Mr. Pepic, you told us that you were part of the 9th VPS, that is
13 the 107th OAG. Tell us, please, whether you were in that status also in
14 October, November, and December 1991, that is, a member of the 107th OAG
15 belonging to the VPS. Will you tell us, please, a little about the
16 composition of the 107th OAG?
17 A. The 107th OAG, to make things quite clear, was designed to defend
18 the coastal belt roughly from Dubrovnik to Bar. It consisted of active
19 and reserve artillery batteries. It had five batteries, one of which was
20 live, live meaning that it was manned by active duty personnel.
21 Q. In October 1991, the 107th OAG consisted of how many batteries and
22 what weapons were they provided with?
23 A. In October 1991, the 107th OAG had two live batteries of 85
24 millimetres, which was taken from the reserve, and my own of
25 130-millimetre calibre. The section manning cannon was active, whereas
1 the defensive section or battery consisted of reservists.
2 Q. In which of these two batteries were you serving in?
3 A. I was the commander of the 130-millimetre calibre battery.
4 Q. Tell us in a sentence what kind of a weapon a 130-millimetre
5 cannon is. Very, very briefly, please.
6 A. It is an extremely effective and highly precise weapon, with very
7 high precision.
8 Q. How many 130-millimetre cannon were there in your battery?
9 A. At that point in time there were four guns.
10 Q. Tell us, please, you told us you were the commander of the
11 130-millimetre calibre battery. Who was the commander of the 107th OAG?
12 A. It was Lieutenant Colonel Vinko Stamenov. Stamenov, yes.
13 Q. Mr. Pepic, would you please tell us with respect to October 1991,
14 again very briefly, where was your battery located or, rather, the
15 107th OAG?
16 A. In October there were two locations. At the beginning of
17 October -- or, rather, three locations. At the beginning of October, we
18 were advancing. The first position was in the village of Karasovici
19 close to Grude. After that we were at the Grude football stadium of the
20 Slavan [phoen] football club, and towards the end of the month we were at
21 Cilipi airport between two runways.
22 Q. When was the 130-millimetre battery deployed to Cilipi airport?
23 A. At the very end of October and up until the 4th of November, 1991.
24 The digging in took that amount of time. So the ground in between two
25 runways was used.
1 Q. Do you remember how long that 130-millimetre battery was located
2 at the airport in Cilipi?
3 A. Up until the 19th of May, 1992. Correction, please. I don't
4 remember with certainty. It was the beginning of 1992 where we were
5 transferred from the Cilipi airport to the village of Popovici, which was
6 quite close to Cilipi, and that is where we stayed until the 19th of May.
7 Q. Thank you. Where was the command post of the 107th OAG?
8 A. In October you mean?
9 Q. At the time you were at Cilipi airport where was the command post
10 of the 107th OAG?
11 A. In the airport building.
12 Q. If I understood you correctly, that means from the beginning of
13 November onwards, your 107th OAG was at the positions we mentioned a
14 moment ago.
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. It was there in November and December 1991; is that right?
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. What about an observation post? Did that exist for targeting the
19 firepower of the 107th OAG?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Where was that observation post during the material time,
22 November/December 1991?
23 A. At Zarkovica.
24 Q. In November, for instance, 1991, did your unit take part in any
25 combat operations?
1 A. Yes, it did.
2 Q. Can you tell us briefly to the best of your recollections what
3 kind of combat operations they were?
4 A. It was during the liberation of the village or, rather, taking
5 control of the village of Bosanka, and that began on the 8th of November,
6 and my unit was operational along the Lokrum -- the island of Lokrum.
7 Q. And where were you yourself during those combat operations of the
8 8th of November, 1991?
9 A. As the commander, I was at the observation post in the target
10 area, and I directed the fire, the targeting.
11 Q. When you say "observation post," which one do you mean?
12 A. The Zarkovica one.
13 Q. How long did you take part in those operations, the operations of
14 your battery in November 1991?
15 A. Until the afternoon of the 9th when I was wounded and when I went
16 to hospital.
17 Q. Tell us, please, when were you wounded and under what
19 A. I was wounded in the afternoon. Around 2.00 or 3.00 in the
20 afternoon of the 9th of May [as interpreted], and I was wounded because
21 throughout that entire day we were being fired at from the region of
22 Strincjera, mortar fire and shells. And one of those shells I wasn't able
23 to take cover on time and I was wounded in the head.
24 Q. For the purposes of the record, tell us what date that was.
25 A. The 9th of November, at around 1400 hours or 1500 hours, I'm not
1 quite sure.
2 Q. Can you show us where you were wounded and do you have any scars
3 from that wound today?
4 JUDGE PARKER: For the purposes of the record, 73, 2 I think
5 wrongly records 9th of May. It should be 9th of November.
6 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, of course, and I
7 repeated the question twice in the hope of it being corrected but I'm
8 going to have to do it a third time I see.
9 Q. So tell us the day, the date that you were wounded.
10 A. It was Mitrovdan, the 9th of November.
11 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] For the record, let the record
12 reflect that the witness indicated his wound on the head with his finger,
13 the place he was wounded. It was on the forehead on the left.
14 Your Honour, I have a document here now which I'd like to ask the
15 witness to look at very briefly, two documents in fact. The documents
16 have not been translated since the witness brought them in with him when
17 he arrived, and they just refer to his wounding and that is the sole
18 purpose that we're going to use the documents for and will be presented.
19 They will of course be translated as soon as possible.
20 Q. Mr. Pepic, would you please take a look at these two documents and
21 tell us what they are.
22 A. On the 9th of November, I was transported or, rather, I went -- I
23 was still able to move, so I went to the Meljine hospital, and I was
24 attended to there. My head was X-rayed. It was bleeding profusely. As
25 the hospital did not have the facilities to extract the shrapnel from my
1 head, I was transported to the neurosurgical department of the Lisan
2 [phoen] hospital which is where one shrapnel were extracted. The others
3 were smaller and were not extracted because they were not deemed to be
5 So this is a discharge letter.
6 Q. Now, with respect to this first document dated the 12th of
7 November, 1992, could you read the date out, please, and the title of the
8 document, 1991?
9 A. It says specialist hospital for orthopaedics, neurosurgery,
10 neurology, medical rehabilitation Lasa Cukic [phoen], the 12th of
11 November, 1991. It is a discharge letter with the epicrisis. And
12 epicrisis is of course the Latin term that they use.
13 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I'd like to tender this document as
14 a Defence exhibit, the document dated the 12th of November, 1991.
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D101.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Take a look at the second document, please, and just read out the
20 title, what it says in the heading.
21 A. It is a letter for specialist examination addressed to the medical
22 sanitary or medical corps.
23 Q. Would you please take a look at page 2 of the document.
24 A. So this is a letter of referral.
25 Q. Now read what page 2 says.
1 A. It says: "Sick leave until the 2nd of December, 1991." And
2 afterwards: "Treatment completed, patient healthy."
3 Q. Thank you. I'd like to tender this document as well as a Defence
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D102. Excuse me, D -- yes, D102.
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Pepic, from what direction did the party open fire which led
9 to your wounding?
10 A. It occurred the previous day, as soon as the attack on Bosanka was
11 launched. So they started firing at the observation post. And since the
12 observation post was from where they directed their operation, I was not
13 able to observe where this was coming from, where the shooting -- firing
14 was coming from. I assumed that it was to my right, which means from
15 where the fort of Strincjera lies roughly.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, tell us, please, whose forces were they that were
17 there and who fired at you, the firing that led to your wounding?
18 A. There were the paramilitary formations --
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
20 MR. WEINER: The witness just said in the previous answer he
21 didn't know where the fire was coming from. Now the new question
22 is, "What forces were firing -- what forces were firing upon you?" If he
23 doesn't know where the firing is coming from and he's only speculating, he
24 can't say who was firing upon him.
25 JUDGE PARKER: You better try and pin that down, Mr. Petrovic.
1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I thought
2 it said in the B/C/S -- I thought the answer in the B/C/S allowed my
3 question, but I assume it did not.
4 Q. You said you were wounded, Mr. Pepic, and that you were wounded at
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What wounded you?
8 A. May I be allowed to complete my previous answer? I didn't know at
9 the time, but afterwards when I returned to my unit, my officer told me
10 where I was wounded from and the weapon used. So I know exactly which
11 artillery piece was used and what wounded me, because as soon as I was
12 transported to hospital a mortar was found there and that mortar was
13 neutralised, put out of action. And a mortar was found, an 82-millimetre
14 one, and it was that weapon that wounded me.
15 Q. And to whom did that artillery piece belong to?
16 A. As I said, it belonged to the paramilitary formations which had
17 taken control between Strincjera and the north-west of them, several
18 hundred metres to the north-west.
19 Q. When you say paramilitaries, whose paramilitary formations?
20 A. Well, the HVO I think they were called at the time.
21 Q. The HVO. Which side did they belong to? What side was that?
22 A. Well, how shall I put it? How can I explain this? At that time
23 in my unit, I had recruits from --
24 Q. Would you please limit your answers to my questions. If you can
25 tell us, go ahead.
1 A. The Croatian forces.
2 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, how long you were absent for.
3 A. Until the 2nd of December of that same year.
4 Q. And where were you until the 2nd of December, 1991?
5 A. I was in hospital for seven days, I think, in Resanje [phoen] and
6 in Meljine, and after that I underwent treatment at home.
7 Q. So when did you return to your unit?
8 A. On the 2nd of December, 1991.
9 Q. And what duty did you take up?
10 A. My own. Battery commander.
11 Q. And who was the commander at that time of the 107th OAG?
12 A. The same, Lieutenant Colonel Stamenov.
13 Q. What about the 5th of December, 1991? Were you in your unit then
15 A. Yes, I was.
16 Q. On the 5th of December did you receive an order of any kind?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. Who did you receive an order from?
19 A. From my commander.
20 Q. Can you tell us the name and surname of your commander?
21 A. Vinko Stamenov.
22 Q. And what order did Stamenov issue to you on that 5th of December?
23 A. The order was that by 6.00 a.m. I should go to the observation
24 post and lend fire support to the battalion in taking control of the Srdj
1 Q. And what day did the order refer to?
2 A. The 6th of December.
3 Q. When, roughly speaking, what time of day did Stamenov give you
4 this order?
5 A. Towards evening.
6 Q. Did he say how you were to open fire on that day, the 6th of
7 December, what your -- what manner your operations should take?
8 A. I was resubordinated to the battalion commander, that is to say
9 Captain Kovacevic, and he indicated the targets that I was to fire at.
10 Q. Tell me, please, when did -- no. I withdraw that question.
11 In the answer to the previous question, you said that you were
12 ordered to go to the observation post?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. Tell us, please, which observation post and why was it necessary
15 to have your presence at that observation post?
16 A. To Zarkovica, and my presence was needed for the planned operation
17 and targeting the fire.
18 Q. The observation post concerned of your battery at Zarkovica, was
19 it constantly manned by members of your battery?
20 A. No. It was manned only when we expected an attack or when we
21 planned an operation of our own. Otherwise, there were fewer men. An
22 expected attack, an attack launched against us I mean.
23 Q. From the 2nd to, let's say, the 5th of December at the observation
24 post of your battery, were there members of your unit manning it there?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Did you, on the next day, start carrying out the orders you had
2 received from your unit commander?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you tell us what you actually did?
5 A. I took a vehicle and a soldier, a radio operator, I took the radio
6 device and started out for the observation post using the Cilipi, Brgat,
7 Zarkovica road.
8 Q. And what did you do when you reached Zarkovica?
9 A. I manned the observation point, checked the radio communications
10 lines and reported to the command or headquarters and Captain Kovacevic.
11 Q. What state was your battery in on that morning of the 6th of
12 December, 1991?
13 A. It was on the alert, in a state of readiness.
14 Q. Can you tell us what you mean by state of momentary readiness?
15 A. It means we were ready to open fire at any given moment. Once I
16 had given the command, of course.
17 Q. Tell us, please, when you reached Zarkovica, did you notice any
18 firing in the area you were in at that time?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. Tell us, please, what you saw, what you noticed.
21 A. There was artillery preparation -- there was preparation --
22 undergoing preparation for any artillery attack.
23 Q. Did you see what the targets that were being fired at were when
24 you arrived at Zarkovica?
25 A. Yes. The Srdj feature was being fired at.
1 Q. Can you tell us who -- or, rather, did you see -- or who did you
2 see at the Zarkovica plateau, which is where you were at that time at
3 around 6.00?
4 A. The commander of the anti-armoured company, Nesic. Then there was
5 the commander Vlado Kovacevic. And I'm not quite sure when I noticed this
6 first, but there was warship captain Milan Zec as well. But he came after
7 I arrived.
8 Q. When, approximately did Captain Zec arrive, and how long did he
9 stay in the Zarkovica plateau?
10 A. The first time I noticed him was after 8.00, and he was there
11 during the entire operation.
12 Q. At any point in time were you requested to open fire?
13 A. At 0800, Captain Nesic pointed the position of the mortar --
14 mortars on the tennis ground by the Libertas Hotel. He did it through
15 binoculars. They were opening fire on Mount Srdj. At that moment our
16 forces were already on Mount Srdj. And from the sector of Libertas Hotel
17 and the aforementioned mortars, fire was opened on our forces on
18 Mount Srdj. At that moment, Captain Nesic, that is Captain Kovacevic,
19 asked me to open fire on that target because I was the only one in whose
20 range those targets were.
21 Q. Did you open fire on those targets?
22 A. Yes, I did order the beginning of fire. However, the response was
23 that the fire was not approved.
24 Q. Who did you issue this order to, to open fire?
25 A. I -- I issued that to my officer and to my firing line. However,
1 the response that the fire was not approved was returned through the same
2 radio communication by Branimir Lukic, the deputy commander.
3 Q. In the course of that day, were you again requested to open fire?
4 A. Yes. It was requested on several occasions.
5 Q. Who requested that?
6 A. It was always Captain Kovacevic, because I noticed clearly one
7 mortar. The other one was hidden from me because they were both on the
8 border of the wood and the edge of the tennis grounds. Since they could
9 open fire on Srdj, there had been losses already by then. I remember that
10 soldier Mesoras Tasod [phoen] had been killed. It was requested from me
11 to neutralise these two pieces of weapon -- weapons because Captain
12 Kovacevic did not have any other weapons in whose range those two mortars
13 would be.
14 Q. Thank you. Did you, during that morning, have any communication,
15 the technical communication with your firing positions?
16 A. Absolutely I did.
17 Q. Did Captain Kovacevic have direct link with his superior command
18 during that morning?
19 A. Absolutely.
20 Q. Did Captain Kovacevic at one point complain about the possible
21 problems that he might have had with his superior command?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Can you please tell us which was Kovacevic's superior command, if
24 you know?
25 A. The command of the 9th VPS.
1 Q. What was your superior command, the superior command to the
2 107th OAG?
3 A. The same.
4 Q. You told us that you saw Captain Nesic on Zarkovica plateau. Can
5 you tell us who Captain Nesic is?
6 A. Captain Nesic was the commander of the anti-armour company of the
7 3rd Battalion.
8 Q. What equipment did he have at his disposal --
9 A. He had --
10 Q. Allow me to put my question and then you can start answering it.
11 What equipment did he have at his disposal?
12 A. He had the classical anti-armour pieces, Maljutkas, the recoilless
13 gun 82-millimetre, and he also had a 60-millimetre mortar as part of his
14 weaponry. And I believe that he also had a 76-millimetre ZIS weapons, but
15 I'm not sure about that.
16 Q. Can you please tell us --
17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Can the usher please ask the
18 witness to draw on a piece of paper the situation as it was on Zarkovica,
19 depicting the place where he was, also the place where Captain Nesic's
20 pieces were deployed.
21 Q. And if you can, just do a rough sketch.
22 A. Started using the Cyrillic script here.
23 Q. You don't have to give us any details, just basic things. Could
24 you please put your sketch on the ELMO.
25 Can you please point to us the place where you were.
1 A. This is where I was together with Nesic. This is where Nesic's
2 units -- unit was.
3 Q. Just a moment, please here where you were. Could you please put
4 number 1 next to --
5 JUDGE PARKER: Slow down. The interpreters are having a great
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour.
8 Q. Mr. Pepic, we have to be careful and make a pause between my
9 question and your answer. Can you please listen to my question and then
10 answer now, and I will also slow down.
11 Can you put a cross next to the place where you were and also mark
12 it with number 1.
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. Thank you. What else can we see in this sketch?
15 A. This is where my observation post was. Captain Nesic was also
16 here. This is where I noticed one recoilless gun, an 82-millimetre gun.
17 And here below me, this is a pine tree. And below that was a 9K 11
18 Lancer. The so-called Maljutka. This is the direction Dubrovnik, the
19 direction Bosanka, that is Srdj as we go further, and this is Brgat, and
20 this is the direction Cilipi or the in other words the place where my unit
22 Q. Thank you. Where the recoilless gun was, place number 2 next to
24 A. [Marks]
25 Q. The BSD stands for recoilless gun; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. Can you now mark the place where the Maljutka was, putting
3 number 3 next to it.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. Where was the command post of Captain Nesic? Was it in the same
6 place that is marked by number 1?
7 A. Here.
8 Q. Can you put number 4 next to Commander Nesic's commander --
9 command post.
10 A. [Marks]
11 Q. Where was Captain Kovacevic?
12 A. Captain Kovacevic was always in the sector behind us. He would
13 move around here. From Zarkovica he was leading the whole operation, and
14 he moved from one place to another in order to have a better view of the
15 advance of his two units towards Srdj on the slopes towards the peak
16 where new forces were expected to be brought in.
17 Q. Can you please mark the sector through which Captain Kovacevic
18 moved as far as you can remember.
19 A. It was approximately here.
20 Q. Can you please put number 5 next to this line.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. What is the surface of this Zarkovica plateau? How big is this
24 A. Maybe 50 by 50. It is at the peak of an observation point, and as
25 you can see here, it was surrounded by walls. It was a hunting facility
1 with some fixed facilities. One was here. The other was here. The third
2 was here, and one was behind my back, not on the very peak itself. It is
3 a peak with a very good view but lower than Srdj.
4 Q. Can you please indicate all these facilities that were there?
5 A. As far as I can remember, of course.
6 Q. Of course.
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. What could be found in these buildings?
9 A. Nothing. They were empty. These two here did not have roofs.
10 This here had already been hit by a mortar shell when I was injured, and
11 this here was also damaged because a lot of mortar shells fell in front of
12 it. They were all damaged.
13 Q. And now tell -- tell us your communication means. Where was your
14 radio set?
15 A. It was at my command post.
16 Q. Where was the radio set of Captain Nesic or Captain Kovacevic,
17 depending on the situation?
18 A. They had mobile communication means, and I don't know. I'm not
19 sure where those were.
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be admitted as a
21 Defence exhibit, please.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D103.
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Just briefly, let's go back to the 5th December, Mr. Pepic.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You told us that you had received an order from the commander of
3 the 107th OAG, Vinko Stamenov.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can we please clarify this? How did this order get to be issued?
6 Are you aware of that?
7 A. I don't understand your question. Are you say -- are you
8 trying -- are you asking me to say who ordered that to him?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. It was the command of the 9th VPS, his superior command.
11 Q. Did Colonel Stamenov go for some briefings?
12 A. Every day regularly.
13 Q. Where did these briefings took place?
14 A. At the forward command post in Kupari.
15 Q. What command was there?
16 A. It was the forward command post Kupari of the 9th VPS, the 9th
17 Military Naval Sector.
18 Q. On the 5th of December, did he go for a briefing at the forward
19 command post in Kupari?
20 A. I'm sure of that.
21 Q. Did he convey this order to you on his return?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. From the briefing -- let's us just clarify one thing. Did Colonel
24 Stamenov convey this order to you from his return from the briefing that
25 took place in Kupari?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE PARKER: At page 86, 17, I think the date 5 December 1991
3 has been omitted from your question.
4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I did say that,
5 but I can see that it hasn't been recorded in the transcript.
6 Q. Let's go back to the 6th December. You have told us that on
7 several occasions you were requested to open fire. On that day did your
8 unit open fire at all?
9 A. No, it did not.
10 Q. Tell us, please, was fire opened from Zarkovica?
11 A. Yes, it was.
12 Q. Did you observe from Zarkovica the fire points -- some of the fire
13 points on that day on the 6th of December, 1991?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. What firing points did you yourself observe from Zarkovica?
16 A. As I've already told you, Captain Nesic pointed me through his
17 sights. The mortar point by the Lokrum hotel on the border of the tennis
18 courts. Even without those sighting equipment I could notice an
19 anti-aircraft gun at the entrance to the Old Town by the old harbour, and
20 I also observed an 82-millimetre mortar. I also observed the fire being
21 opened from a mortar in one of the side streets next to Stradun.
22 Q. Let -- let us draw a line between the Old Town and --
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner.
24 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, we've been given specific discovery as
25 to what this witness would say. We've been given an initial note, a
1 second note, and information by telephone calls, and this information is
2 outside the information provided.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.
4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, on several occasions I
5 have informed my learned friend by telephone as to what the contents of
6 this testimony would be in addition to two written documents that I have
7 provided him with. That was yesterday afternoon around 5.00 or 6.00, and
8 I told him that as a result of the proofing of our witness the fact is
9 that he would be talking about him having observed fire from the Old Town.
10 My learned friend asked me specifically if that was the case. He asked me
11 that already the day before yesterday, and I answered that question
12 yesterday afternoon. I told him what would the testimony consist of and
13 that it would also involve the testimony about the fire being observed
14 from the -- from the points in Stari Grad, the fire opened by the Croatian
16 MR. WEINER: Your Honour.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
18 MR. WEINER: I've got my notes here. We were given two things, an
19 anti-aircraft gun. No problem what that. Anti-aircraft gun at the
20 entrance. We were told he saw a flash or flashes, and as a result of
21 seeing flashes this witness believed that there were -- that there was a
22 mortar, from seeing flashes. There was nothing about mortars. There was
23 nothing about mortars on -- a mortar on the Stari Grad -- I'm sorry, a
24 mortar on the Stradun. That's outside the scope of discovery that -- of
25 disclosure that we've been supplied with.
1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if my colleague had
2 allowed me to put my question fully to this witness, he would have
3 received the answers to the questions he's interested in. Unfortunately,
4 he wasn't patient enough. What I told him and what I was told by the
5 witness was that he observed flashes, but I think it's better not for me
6 to testify but, rather, that we ask the witness, for him to tell us what
7 he saw.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Weiner, I think the best course for the moment
9 is to allow the witness to detail what he says he saw, all this evidence
10 being heard at the moment subject to a ruling on your objection.
11 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Carry on, Mr. Petrovic.
13 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Mr. Pepic, first of all, slowly and carefully tell us what firing
15 positions did you observe outside the walls of the Old Town.
16 A. Outside the walls of the Old Town, as I have said, I saw a mortar,
17 an 82-millimetre mortar at the edge of the tennis courts to the left of
18 hotel Lokrum. That is outside the walls. And within the walls --
19 Q. Slowly, please. First tell us which hotel are you talking about.
20 You said hotel Lokrum?
21 A. No, I'm sorry. Hotel Libertas. Libertas. This is behind the Old
22 Town towards the Petka point.
23 Q. Did you notice any other firing position outside the Old Town?
24 A. I did not. You mean fire coming, firing?
25 Q. Yes. Now tell us, slowly, what did you observe in terms of fire
1 coming from within the Old Town walls.
2 A. I observed artillery pieces which I could see with my own eyes, a
3 mortar to the left of the entrance to the Old Town. To the right on the
4 fort -- just a moment, please. To the right I observed an anti-aircraft
5 gun. I didn't observe any fire coming from them, but I did see the
6 artillery piece. I also observed the fire of a mortar coming from a
7 side-street off the Stradun to the left. As the buildings are tall, they
8 were in shadow, so the flashes were clearly visible.
9 Q. When we're talking about this mortar, what exactly did you see?
10 A. I saw a flash. The flash was continuous throughout the period of
11 action, with interruptions, of course, when it was fired at.
12 Q. Can you tell us more specifically where you observed those flashes
13 that you're talking about?
14 A. As I already said, my view was exactly in the same direction as
15 the Stradun. It was parallel to the Stradun. Halfway along the Stradun,
16 in one of those side-streets to the left between two high buildings the
17 flashes could be seen on the walls of the building from where the fire was
19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have another 10 or
20 15 minutes of questions for this witness, so I am waiting your
21 instructions as to how we should proceed.
22 JUDGE PARKER: We can't finish today because of the time. That is
23 the extent of the evidence you would propose to be admitted from this
24 witness about firing from Dubrovnik on the Old Town, is it?
25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. That is the only
1 topic that remains to be covered, and that will end the testimony of this
2 witness, the examination-in-chief of this witness.
3 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry. I asked whether that was the extent of
4 the evidence you propose to lead on this topic of firing from Dubrovnik
5 and the Old Town.
6 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, these are positions
7 from which the fire came, and then through the questions I should like to
8 look into some other matters of relevance. We've now discussed the
9 positions, the locations, and now I would address certain other
10 circumstances connected to that fire.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Now, Mr. Weiner, your objection. Do
12 you say that this evidence went beyond that of which you had notice?
13 MR. WEINER: Yes, with regard to one mortar.
14 JUDGE PARKER: And that mortar was?
15 MR. WEINER: The mortar to the left of the entrance.
16 JUDGE PARKER: The one from which the witness did not see any
18 MR. WEINER: Correct.
19 JUDGE PARKER: All right. And the point of your objection is?
20 MR. WEINER: It's a disclosure violation.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. Thank you.
22 Now Mr. Petrovic.
23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your permission,
24 I would like to say that this is a mortar that was not in the Old Town.
25 It was at the entrance, and I think it is important to note that.
1 As for the rest, it had to do with the Old Town.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Of your questioning, it came out in response to a
3 question about what did you see firing from within the Old Town. So that
4 you're saying that was misleading, are you, and really it was a mortar at
5 the entrance but not within the Old Town.
6 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in answer to a
7 question from me about the Old Town, the witness said something that
8 doesn't really apply to the Old Town itself, but that is beyond my
9 control, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Would you clarify with the witness whether this
11 mortar which he observed but from which he did not see any firing, whether
12 it was within or without the Old Town as he saw it. We've got a couple of
13 minutes left on the tape if you could do that.
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Mr. Pepic, the mortar that you observed near to the entrance, was
16 it within the city walls or right next to the entrance to the town?
17 A. There's the regular entrance to the Old Town and to the left of it
18 right next to the wall of the Old Town. It is outside the walls, between
19 the sea and the wall of the Old Town. That is where the mortar was that I
20 observed. And it moved from that point where I observed it to an area
21 where it disappeared, which meant that it was within the wall, but it was
22 in shadow and I couldn't see it well after that.
23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's as much as I
24 can do to clarify the point and the testimony of this witness regarding
25 that particular point.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. A ruling will be given in respect of
2 the evidence about that one weapon in the morning. Thank you.
3 We will adjourn now.
4 Now I must ask you if you would, Captain, to return tomorrow, and
5 we'll continue at 9.00 in the morning. Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.51 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 8th day of July,
9 2004, at 9.00 a.m.