1 Tuesday, 13 July 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Colonel. If I could remind you of
7 the affirmation which you took at the beginning of your evidence, it still
9 WITNESS: SLAVOLJUB STOJANOVIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Examined by Mr. Petrovic: [Continued]
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Stojanovic. I'd like to pick up again where we
15 left off yesterday. Yesterday, you told us that you had been assigned to
16 the 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade. You told us
17 that your unit was already in position by the time you took over command
18 over the company. Can you please tell us where exactly was the unit
19 positioned by the time you took over the 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion?
20 A. The 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion, at the time when I took over
21 command, was in the general area of Ivanica, which is a small town near
22 the administrative border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
23 Q. When did you arrive at Ivanica? When did you reach the place that
24 your company was assigned to?
25 A. The 21st of September, 1991, the same date that I reported to the
1 brigade commander.
2 Q. If you remember, please tell us, what sort of tasks was your
3 company carrying out in the month of October 1991?
4 A. Well, first of all, the period between the time I took up my duty
5 there on the 21st of September, 1991, and the beginning of October, this
6 period was used to maintain manpower levels in the unit. And as I said
7 yesterday, the unit did not have the manpower levels and did not have the
8 men with adequate military occupational speciality. This situation
9 continued until about the 1st of October, 1991, and then the 3rd Motorised
10 Battalion, as soon as on the 1st of October started carrying out combat
11 activities and engaged some Croatian units. I think it was some sort of a
12 Military Police Battalion.
13 Q. What about your company? Did they, too, take part in those combat
15 A. No. In the combat disposition of the battalion, my company was on
16 the left flank. Among other things, our task was to exercise control over
17 the communication that runs between Bileca, Trebinje, and Dubrovnik.
18 Therefore I was on the left flank of the battalion. I was providing
19 security for the flank, and I did not directly take part in combat
20 activities on that particular day.
21 Q. Who was the battalion commander, the commander of the 3rd
22 Battalion of the 472nd Motorised Brigade in October?
23 A. Between the 21st of September, which was when I came, and the 1st
24 of October, it was Captain First Class Ekrem Devlic.
25 Q. Can you please tell us, was there a change at any point in time at
1 the head of the 3rd Battalion?
2 A. Yes. On the 21st of October, this person that I referred to,
3 Captain First Class Ekrem Devlic, was wounded and it was then that Captain
4 -- Captain at the time Vladimir Kovacevic took over command of the 3rd
6 Q. Can you please tell us, sometime in October was your battalion
7 pulled out and sent for leave?
8 A. Yes. That was in the first part of the month of October. We were
9 pulled out to rest. I think the village was called Talez or Talezi. It
10 was there. That's where the battalion was assigned, and we started our
11 rest period.
12 Q. Thank you. In the month of November -- did you all this time in
13 October and November 1991 stay -- keep your duty as the commander of the
14 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion throughout this time?
15 A. No. From the time the battalion was pulled out and relocated to
16 the village of Talezi for rest, I had some health problems. I had
17 pneumonia, and in addition to the shots I was prescribed, the jabs, the
18 doctor also sent me home for recovery. My family lived in Bileca at the
19 time, and I was undergoing therapy there at the time. Therefore, I was
20 not there.
21 Q. When did you return to your position as commander of the 3rd
22 Company of the 3rd Battalion?
23 A. If I remember well, I came back sometime early November.
24 Q. Do you perhaps know if in the meantime your battalion or your
25 company took part in any combat operations?
1 A. The battalion did take part in combat operations, and so did my
2 company. On about the 15th, I found the unit in the Bosanka area. Combat
3 operations were being carried out along the Brgat-Bosanka axis.
4 Q. When you returned from sick leave, which specific positions was
5 the 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion holding at the time?
6 A. In that period of time when I came back from sick leave, when I
7 came back from home, I told you I found the company in the Bosanka area
8 with two platoons that were deployed to the left, facing the sea, and
9 there was another reinforced platoon and the remaining elements of the
10 company with the command where the houses were in the village of Bosanka.
11 MR. PETROVIC: Can we show the witness P124, please. It's a map,
12 a map of the unit's deployment on the 14th of November.
13 Can we just please move the map so that we can see the area that
14 we want to be looking at, that is the town of Dubrovnik itself and the
15 immediate surroundings. If you can just move the map up a little. All
17 I think we can see it clearly now. We can just zoom in a little,
18 if possible, please. That's fine. Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Stojanovic, if you look at this map can you see the
20 disposition of the units of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade? If
21 so, please take the pointer and show us on the ELMO how the units were
22 positioned. Above all, we're interested in the disposition of your unit,
23 your company.
24 A. This is a relatively small scale map. It's a small scale map and
25 I don't see it very clearly. However, these are the positions of the 3rd
1 Battalion of the 472nd Brigade. Well, now here we have an alteration.
2 Q. Tell me, can you see the positions of your company here on this
4 A. Yes. I see the positions of my unit.
5 Q. Can you -- can you point exactly where.
6 A. Here you have Bosanka, but I would like to make a remark here.
7 Behind the unit you can see a sign, number 2, whereas in fact it should be
8 3, not 2, because it was the 3rd Motorised Company of the 3rd Motorised
9 Battalion of the 472nd Brigade and not the 2nd. Therefore, where you see
10 the number 2 there should in fact be number 3.
11 Q. So we have seen the disposition of the units of the 3rd Battalion
12 on the map, units of the 472nd Brigade, as in November, that's after you
13 returned from sick leave. Tell us, sir, please, which units did the 3rd
14 Battalion of the 472nd Brigade comprise?
15 A. The 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Motorised Brigade
16 establishment-wise comprised the following units: The battalion command,
17 three motorised companies; the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. It had a mortar
18 company. Those were 120-millimetre mortars. It had an anti-armour
19 company. It had the Signals Unit, and it had a logistics platoon.
20 Q. You referred to three motorised companies. In the period of time
21 between your return from sick leave were all three motorised companies
22 within the composition of the unit?
23 A. No, not all three were there.
24 Q. Could you tell us which one wasn't and why?
25 A. The 1st Motorised Company was not within the composition at the
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13 English transcripts.
1 time, and there was a reason. The reason was that the men we had who were
2 part of the 1st Motorised Company, according to their military
3 occupational speciality, were used to reinforce the 3rd Motorised Company
4 at the time.
5 Q. Thank you. Can you just tell us again, please, you used those men
6 to reinforce which motorised companies?
7 A. The 2nd and 3rd. That's what I said.
8 Q. Thank you. Mr. Stojanovic, in terms of weapons, what did your 3rd
9 Motorised Company have?
10 A. My company, the 3rd Motorised Company, had automatic rifles, 7.62
11 millimetres; machine guns, 7.62 millimetres, and sniper rifles.
12 Q. Can you please tell us whether any other weapons were added to
13 your company, such as mortars or anything like that.
14 A. No, no mortars. We had two T-55 tanks.
15 Q. Sir, when were these two T-55 tanks added to your company?
16 A. Those two tanks were added in the month of November. I can't
17 specify the date.
18 Q. Do you know which command those two tanks came from?
19 A. Yes. They came from our directly superior command, which is the
20 command of the 9th VPS.
21 Q. Tell us, was your battalion at any point in time reinforced with
22 other weapons?
23 A. The battalion also had guns, so-called ZIS guns, 57 millimetres,
24 so reinforcements came from our more superior command, the command of the
25 9th VPS.
1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Could the following document please
2 be shown to the witness.
3 Q. Mr. Stojanovic, could you please tell us which command issued this
5 A. It says so here in the heading that it's the command of the 472nd
6 Motorised Brigade. That is their request for delaying a deadline and for
7 resubordinating units.
8 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us who this document is addressed to and
9 can we see from this document whether the addressee received the document?
10 A. Yes. This document was sent to the command of the 9th Military
11 Naval Sector.
12 Q. In the original of this document, can you see anywhere a stamp
13 showing that the 9th VPS received this document?
14 A. Yes. It says the 22nd of November, 1991, the command of the 9th
15 VPS. That's what it says on the stamp.
16 Q. Please look at the text in the middle of the B/C/S version. Under
17 number 1 in the text itself. The rest is not relevant for what we are
18 saying. Could you please take a look at number 1 and tell us what it is
19 that the command of the 472nd Brigade is asking the commander of the 9th
20 VPS do.
21 A. One, to send us a ZIS platoon urgently to join our unit.
22 Q. So what is being requested from the brigade command?
23 A. To have this platoon returned within the brigade.
24 Q. Is this the ZIS platoon that you referred to a few minutes ago,
25 the one that was attached to the 3rd Battalion?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Please look at the upper right-hand corner. What does it say in
3 handwriting, and could you please read this out to us.
4 A. Upper right-hand corner. First of all, I see: "To chief of
5 staff. See/view possibilities" [as interpreted] if I can read that well.
6 Q. What does it say further on?
7 A. Then in handwriting: "Resolve, approve not sending ZIS to Zaton,
8 but do not approve taking ZIS platoon from the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd
9 Brigade --" 472 period, that is "-- as long as the Srdj problem persists.
10 Approve taking weapons from the SKL." That is probably warehouse
11 Skladiste. Captain -- warship captain, Naval Captain Milan Zec signed.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could I please tender
13 this into evidence as a Defence exhibit.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: This document will be D106.
16 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. You said to us that your unit, your company, was deployed in the
18 area of the village of Bosanka, and you explained to us a few minutes ago
19 how it was deployed there. Tell us, please -- or, rather, could you
20 describe the following to us: From the place where you commanded your
21 company, that is to say from your observation post, what could you see?
22 What are the features that you could see?
23 A. From my observation post I could see Srdj, and if I were to look
24 behind me, I could see Zarkovica as well. On the right I could see a bit
25 of my neighbour towards Strincijera. That's it.
1 Q. From your position, from your observation post, can the town of
2 Dubrovnik be seen?
3 A. No. The terrain has such geographic characteristics that I, from
4 my position, would have to move about 250 or 300 metres minimum towards
5 the sea in order to see the town. So that is what the terrain is like.
6 So I could not notice.
7 Q. Could you please tell me briefly first, do you know who Miodrag
8 Jokic is?
9 A. Miodrag Jokic, Admiral, is the commander of the 9th Military Naval
11 Q. Do you know who Gavro Kovacevic is?
12 A. Colonel Gavro Kovacevic was Admiral Jokic's assistant commander
13 for land forces.
14 Q. Do you know what kind of relationship existed between Admiral
15 Jokic and Colonel Kovacevic on the one hand and Captain Kovacevic
16 commander of one of your battalions on the other hand?
17 A. I would say the following: Captain Vladimir Kovacevic before
18 that, in peacetime, worked in the 472nd Motorised Brigade which was within
19 the 9th Military Naval Sector. He knew these officers, especially Colonel
20 Gavro Kovacevic, who was assistant commander for land forces. We had the
21 impression, personal impression, as it were, that they highly trusted him
22 as a soldier. They perhaps even looked up to him because of his qualities
23 as a person and a soldier. So he did enjoy their trust.
24 Q. Thank you. Do you know Budimir Pesic?
25 A. Yes, I do know Budimir Pesic.
1 Q. Tell us, please, who is this? Do you know where he was assigned,
2 to which unit in the period from the 2nd of -- half of November to
3 December 1991?
4 A. Lieutenant Budimir Pesic in that period, that is to say when he
5 came after having accomplished certain tasks, he was within -- he was
6 deployed in my company, but I do know the lieutenant from earlier on.
7 Q. What was his duty within your company?
8 A. He was a platoon commander.
9 Q. In the period that we are talking about, the second half of
10 November and December, the beginning of December 1991, were there any
11 provocations launched against your company coming from the other side, the
12 Croatian side?
13 A. Yes. This was customary. They would fire from Srdj. So this
14 called for additional efforts on the part of our personnel because it
15 happened at different periods of time.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: Could the witness please be
17 asked to speak into the microphone, to come closer to the microphone.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. From the observation post where you were -- sir, the interpreters
20 are asking you to come closer to the microphone so that they could hear
21 you better. Thank you.
22 A. I'm sorry. I took this position because I had spine surgery, so I
23 have problems with my back. That's why I'm sitting this way.
24 Q. I'll repeat my question. So from the position from where you
25 commanded your company, what communications equipment did you have?
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13 English transcripts.
1 A. As for communications equipment in the company, I had an RUP3,
2 then an RUP12. And also there was a wire connection with the battalion
3 command. That is to say the -- by using an M63 field telephone.
4 Q. Tell us, please, an RUP3, what is it used for?
5 A. This is a piece of communications equipment. RUP is radio
6 receiver 3. It goes up to three kilometres, so it is for communication
7 within a company. It's the company commander who communicates with
8 platoon commanders within the company.
9 Q. What about RUP12?
10 A. It has a longer range, and it is used for communication between
11 the company and the battalion. From the place where my observation post
12 was, I could communicate with the battalion command.
13 Q. Tell us, please, the telephone, the wire connection that you
14 referred to, what is that used for?
15 A. Also for communication between the company and the battalion.
16 This wire connection is established by the communications platoon which,
17 according to establishment, belongs to the battalion itself.
18 Q. What kind of communications equipment did the battalion have, or,
19 rather, what kind of communications equipment existed, if you know, at the
20 command post of the battalion itself?
21 A. At the command post of the battalion itself, there was an RUP12,
22 and the battalion commander communicated through it with his units within
23 the battalion. So that is one type of communication. This is radio
25 Further on, we had a telephone switchboard, TCL10. That is to say
1 that there can be ten participants involved in this switchboard. It is
2 linked to the PTT cable and this field telephone, and that is how this
3 kind of communication is established. Then a single -- a signalsman
4 worked at that switchboard and that was used for communication between the
5 battalion command and its -- and its subordinate unit.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please pause before putting his
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] PTT is for civilian communications.
9 PTK, PTK is for civilian communication.
10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Please, it is not clear now from what we can see. It is not clear
12 in the transcript. So you said PTK cable. What is a PTK cable?
13 A. This is a two-prong capable with two different ends. One end goes
14 into the switchboard and the other end goes into the field telephone. It
15 is very simple to organise that kind of telephone communication, and it's
16 a rather secure communication.
17 Q. Is it only a military line of communication?
18 A. Yes. This is a line that cannot be eavesdropped on.
19 Q. You mentioned this communication at battalion command level and
20 between the battalion command and the companies. Who else did the command
21 of the 3rd Battalion communicate with through this equipment?
22 A. There's one more thing I wish to add. There was a messenger
23 service that was organised too. So that was highly reliable.
24 As for the battalion command, the battalion commander, in addition
25 to other types of communication, in addition to the units that are within
1 his own establishment, not to enumerate them all now, he had communication
2 with his superior command, that is to say with the forward command post of
3 the 9th Military Naval Sector in Kupari, down there.
4 Q. In this period in the second half of November and the beginning of
5 December, were there any problems with the functioning of the
6 communications system within your battalion and also between your
7 battalion and the immediate superior command?
8 A. No, there weren't any.
9 Q. Tell us, please, within your battalion how did command and
10 reporting take place? Commanding, of course, on the part of the
11 commander, and reporting, of course, from his subordinates.
12 A. Of course the battalion is headed by a battalion commander, and he
13 is responsible for the general situation in the battalion. We commanders
14 of companies, that is to say motorised companies and the anti-armour
15 company and the 120-millimetre mortars company and the commander of the
16 logistics platoon and of the signals platoon, we would report every day to
17 the battalion commander. At this briefing at the battalion commander's,
18 we would present the overall situation over the past 24 hours, and we
19 would familiarise the commander with problems that may exist and seek
20 assistance for carrying out certain tasks, if necessary, depending on the
21 situation involved.
22 So the commander within those 24 hours, every day through that
23 briefing, he could receive information about the situation in his own
24 unit, and in addition to that, by touring the units himself, he would
25 obtain information as to what the situation was like and what the level of
1 combat readiness was in each and every one of his subordinate units within
2 the battalion, because he would have to --
3 Q. Mr. Stojanovic --
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic, you came in in the middle of an
5 interpretation there.
6 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I just wanted to ask
7 the witness to slow down because I have received a message that nothing is
8 recorded in the transcript. So that is the only thing I wanted to ask the
9 witness to do, to slow down a bit so that we could have a proper
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. We have a common purpose there.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Stojanovic, I'm just asking you to speak a bit slower, if
14 possible, and to focus, please, on my questions so that we could finish as
15 soon as possible in view of the time constraints that we have.
16 A. I do apologise for this.
17 I said that every day we reported to the commander of the
18 battalion about the overall situation in the unit.
19 Q. When were these briefings held at the commander of the 3rd
21 A. The briefings took place in the afternoon hours when the battalion
22 commander would return from the briefing he would have at the forward
23 command post in Kupari.
24 Q. Did your commander, the commander of the 3rd Battalion, inform you
25 about the content of the briefings in Kupari and the tasks that he
1 received in Kupari?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did he convey to you and inform you who it was who conducted the
4 briefings at the forward command post in Kupari?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Do you know who it was who conducted these briefings in Kupari?
7 A. The briefings in Kupari were conducted by the commander of the
8 VPS, Admiral Jokic, or his deputy -- or, rather, the chief of staff, Milan
9 Zec, Warship Captain Milan Zec.
10 Q. Did your commander convey to you the content of the orders that he
11 received at these briefings in Kupari?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did he familiarise you with all the details that were presented at
14 these briefings in Kupari that had something to do with your unit?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did your commander ever mention that he received certain
17 assignments from the command of the 2nd Operational Group?
18 A. No, did he not mention any such thing because we were not within
19 the 2nd Operational Group. We were within the 9th Military Naval Sector.
20 Q. Did your commander mention that he had ever received a task in
22 A. No.
23 Q. Mr. Stojanovic, did you ever go for briefings to the forward
24 command post in Kupari?
25 A. Yes. I went there twice for the briefings in Kupari.
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13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Can you tell us upon whose orders you went for the briefings
3 A. Under the battalion commander's orders of Mr. Kovacevic, Captain
5 Q. Can you tell us, these briefings in Kupari, where were they
6 carried out?
7 A. They were carried out in Kupari at the forward command post in the
8 operations room.
9 Q. Can you describe to us, please, if you can, what the operations
10 room was like at the time of the briefings and who attended these
11 briefings at the time when you were there.
12 A. The operations room is a regular room. Apart from the furniture
13 there, you have certain maps, indications, and on one side of the table
14 there was a commander's seat, and around the table the commanders of
15 subordinate units would be seated and those who were there from other
16 commands and who were present at the forward command post.
17 Q. If I'm not mistaken, you told us that you were twice present at
18 these briefings. Could you tell us, please, the first time you were
19 there, if you remember, who ran the briefings.
20 A. The first time, it was the Warship Captain Zec.
21 Q. Where was he seated? Where was the person who chaired the
22 briefing seated in relation to the others present there?
23 A. Well, they would be seated at the head of the table.
24 Q. You mentioned having gone there one other time. Who ran the
25 briefing the second time you were there at the IKM in Kupari?
1 A. The second time the briefing was run by Admiral Jokic.
2 Q. Would you please be so kind as to explain to us how these
3 briefings would take place; what they would start with, what their course
4 would be, and how they would be ended.
5 A. I'll try to be brief. Us commanders of subordinate units would
6 report to the person running the briefing, whether the sector commander or
7 his deputy chief of staff, we would report to him the general situation,
8 order of the discipline in the units, provocations by the enemy. And this
9 is what all commanders of subordinate units would speak about. Then the
10 commanders of the organs of the sector; and then, depending on whether it
11 was chief of staff or Admiral Jokic running the briefing, they would issue
12 tasks to be carried out until the next briefing would take place. That
13 would be the course of it, briefly.
14 Q. Do you remember those two times when you were in Kupari what it
15 was that you stated about the situation in the unit? Briefly, please.
16 A. First of all, I would say where it was, along which axis that the
17 Croats would be breaking the armistice, when and their disposition of the
18 units, and I would also speak whether there was any need for us to engage
19 any additional units from the command. So anything relating to
20 realisation of our tasks and anything related to the day-to-day running of
21 the unit.
22 Q. Tell us if you know whether the commander of your battalion or
23 whoever he ordered to, whether he would be the one to go to Kupari
25 A. Well, it is related to what you asked me earlier on. I told you
1 that I went there twice on behalf of the battalion commander. He would
2 otherwise go there regularly except for these few cases when he was
3 prevented from doing so.
4 Q. Did any of the officers of the Military Naval Sector tour your
5 units? And when I say "your units," I mean your company.
6 A. Yes. The deputy commander of the sector for land forces, Colonel
7 Gavro Kovacevic, did. Then there were also those coming from the organs
8 for political activity, for morale and moral guidance.
9 Q. What would this visit by Colonel Kovacevic to your company look
11 A. I, as a company commander, would first of all report to Colonel
12 Kovacevic and then I would briefly inform him about the general situation
13 in the unit, primarily placing emphasis on the enemy situation, and then,
14 according to his plan, we would be touring the units, and I'm speaking of
15 my company.
16 Q. You've mentioned the command organ for morale. Could you just
17 tell us in one sentence what this organ was about.
18 A. As its title says, it was an organ for political activity, for
19 information and morale, for the information about the entire strength of
20 the unit, of the unit and the general area, the measures undertaken by the
21 unit to improve the situation, and so on.
22 Q. Could you remember what this senior officer who was there before
23 -- in front of the command -- on behalf of the command and who was in
24 charge of political affairs and morale, what his name was?
25 A. I think it was frigate captain. I don't know his name because I
1 came from a different background and I didn't know the names of these
2 different senior officers.
3 Q. Can you remember what this particular senior officer told you?
4 What were the information that he conveyed to you?
5 A. He told us what the general situation was in the then Socialist
6 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, what the position of the army - that is
7 of the Yugoslav People's Army - in that context was, the attack against
8 Yugoslav People's Army, the impossibility to solve the political crisis in
9 the state, the general situation in the area of responsibility of the 9th
10 Military Naval Sector, and other such questions related to -- of relevance
11 to the unit.
12 Q. Did this senior officer of the 9th VPS mention the events in the
13 town of Dubrovnik?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you remember which ones?
16 A. To I as a soldier and other colleagues of mine, we were interested
17 in the strength of the enemy, their head count, and where their firing
18 points were in order for us to undertake adequate tactical measures and
19 protect our unit.
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
21 the document D53.
22 Q. Mr. Stojanovic, I would kindly ask you to take a look at the first
23 paragraph of the document and to tell us whether the contents of this
24 document tally with what the 9th VPS representative for political affairs
25 and morale had conveyed to you during his visit to Bosanka.
1 A. Yes, they do.
2 Q. We're talking about the first paragraph of the document before us,
4 A. Yes. This is one day, the 3rd of November, 1991, where the
5 members of the Croatian paramilitary formations, and that they opened fire
6 and from which region at the JNA units, then the information that the
7 sector command has at its disposal concerning the strength, that is the
8 number of Croatian troops it has, it says here around 800 mercenaries in
9 black shirts.
10 Q. Thank you. I will not need this document any more.
11 Mr. Stojanovic, were you ever at Zarkovica?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can one see clearly the Old Town of Dubrovnik from Zarkovica?
14 A. Well, that was the very reason why I went to Zarkovica, to look at
15 Dubrovnik, because one can see Dubrovnik from Zarkovica very well.
16 Q. What is approximately the distance between Zarkovica and the Old
17 Town of Dubrovnik?
18 A. Well, around two kilometres or thereabouts.
19 Q. From such a distance can one distinguish a human figure, a
20 vehicle, or any other facility as watching by naked eye?
21 A. Yes. You can see it very well with the naked eye.
22 Q. While being at that position, were you able to see any Croatian
23 presence in the Old Town?
24 A. Yes, I could, and I did from Zarkovica. I could see Croatian
25 soldiers on the move with long barrels.
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13 English transcripts.
1 Q. In what part of the town of Dubrovnik did you see Croatian
2 soldiers with long barrels?
3 A. Well, among other places, also in the old part of it.
4 Q. During these briefings that were carried out at the command of
5 your battalion, were you informed about any other forms of Croatian -- of
6 Croatian military presence in the Old Town?
7 A. Yes. There -- there was information to that effect.
8 Q. Can you tell us about these pieces of information about the
9 Croatian military presence in the Old Town.
10 A. Well, the type of information that contained in the document --
11 MR. RE: I object. This is clearly outside the summary with which
12 we were provided, inadequate as it was, as was indeed the information the
13 witness provided a moment ago about Croatian soldiers. That wasn't in the
14 summary. The Prosecution objects to this evidence being led without
15 proper notice to the Prosecution.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.
17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just a moment, please.
18 In the summary provided by us to the OTP on the 11th of July, it says that
19 in the period of November and December he had seen persons armed with long
20 barrels in the Old Town of Dubrovnik. That's what's stated in the summary
21 on the 11th of July, 2004, and I hope that my learned colleague has
22 received it.
23 First of all, in -- when I look at your instructions, Your Honour,
24 I cannot see that this goes beyond the scope.
25 JUDGE PARKER: You're now asking not about anything seen by this
1 witness but what he might have been told about Croatian forces, and the
2 objection is that that is quite outside anything of which there was
4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, they have been
5 informed about him having to testify about the contents of the briefings,
6 and if we're talking about the contents of the briefings, well, then this
7 forms part of it. But such an approach taken by my learned colleagues
8 would require us to really take the witness's statement and to deliver
9 every single sentence of what he's going to testify about here, and this
10 is something that we cannot provide. We believe that the information we
11 provided was sufficient, and what the witness is saying now is something
12 that he heard. It's not something that he saw but that he heard from
13 others. And I do not really see that there is any difficulty in this, but
14 of course I will abide by Your Honour's instructions.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Re.
16 MR. RE: There is nothing in the "summary" that we received at
17 7.30 on Sunday night about Croatian soldiers. It was about persons with
18 long-barrelled -- there is nothing about information about Croatian
19 weaponry in the Old Town or near the Old Town. There is nothing about
20 briefings. There is nothing about this witness meeting Admiral Jokic.
21 There is nothing about him meeting Captain Zec. It is in the vaguest and
22 most general terms. The Prosecution is unable to prepare for
23 cross-examination if we don't know a basic summary of the facts. A fact
24 would be "attended briefings with Jokic." We don't even have that much
25 less the content of those briefings. This is going way beyond the
1 two-paragraph vague generalised summary that this witness was -- well,
2 apparently in Zarkovica because it doesn't really say that either.
3 That's another point, that the summary -- none of the three -- the
4 three different paragraphs we have got even mentions the witness was at
5 Zarkovica. Again it's way outside. I didn't object, but --
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Re.
7 Mr. Petrovic, I think the point now is reaching too far from the
8 summary, but in any event, it's going to be evidence of very little weight
9 to the Chamber to hear what this witness might have been told by some
10 people, unspecified, at different times about troop movements. So we'll
11 leave that subject and move on to something else. Thank you.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I've understood you
13 correctly, you are instructing me to simply leave out whatever it was that
14 the witness had heard from others concerning the Old Town and what he had
15 heard during the briefings of the battalion.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Well, I'd thought we'd covered the briefings in
17 some detail, and that's happened without objection. But you're now asking
18 him specifically about troops, Croatian forces, what he might have been
19 told about those. That's the subject that is too far. Okay.
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour. Thank you.
21 Q. Mr. Stojanovic, we'll move on to our last subject. Tell us, sir
22 -- we'll move on to events in December 1991, more specifically the 5th of
23 December, 1991. On that day did you hear anything about negotiations that
24 were afoot or about a peace agreement that had been signed?
25 A. No. I heard no such thing.
1 Q. Until the briefing that was held on the 5th of December, 1991, at
2 the positions of your company and your battalion, was there anything
3 unusual or out of the ordinary going on?
4 A. No, nothing usual.
5 Q. Were you called in for a briefing on that day in the battalion?
6 A. Yes, I was.
7 Q. Can you please tell us who it was that called you, and what
8 exactly were you told?
9 A. I was called by the duty officer who was manning the switchboard.
10 The assignment I was given was to see the battalion commander for a
11 briefing, and the company commanders would then go there and wait for the
12 commander who was elsewhere on a different mission, and then there would
13 be a briefing once he returned from Kupari.
14 Q. I'm really not sure what the transcript says. I didn't hear that
15 in B/C/S. Therefore, I must ask you again, and can you please carefully
16 and slowly repeat your answer, because there's simply something you didn't
17 say in Serbian.
18 Who called you and what did they tell you? So can this section of
19 the tape please be checked later.
20 Who was it who called you to come to the briefing and what exactly
21 were you told?
22 A. First of all, I was called by the duty communications officer who
23 was at the battalion command. Secondly, he conveyed to me an order saying
24 that my task was to report to the Ivanica area, to a house in that area
25 where we would then wait for the battalion commander who was on his way
1 from a briefing that had been held at Kupari.
2 Q. Thank you very much. Who was present at the briefing at the
3 battalion commander that day?
4 A. All the unit commanders from the 3rd Battalion were there.
5 Q. When did the battalion commander arrive?
6 A. We, the company commanders, were already there at the place that
7 was assigned, and the battalion commander, the Commander Lemal was among
8 the last to arrive because he was the most distant, and then after him
9 Captain Kovacevic, the battalion commander, arrived.
10 Q. Where did Captain Kovacevic come from?
11 A. On that day, as usual, Captain Kovacevic had gone to the forward
12 command post in Kupari for a briefing.
13 Q. Did Captain Kovacevic tell you that he had been assigned a task
15 A. Yes, he did.
16 Q. What did he say? What did Captain Kovacevic say? What sort of a
17 mission was he assigned or, rather, his battalion?
18 A. He said that Admiral Jokic, the commander, had given him the task
19 to move on to Srdj and attack Srdj.
20 Q. Did he speak about any details concerning this attack on Srdj that
21 had been ordered?
22 A. Yes. He had his working notebook, and he used it to remind
23 himself so he could give us unit commanders the details about that
24 particular mission.
25 Q. Did he use that notebook to read out specific tasks in respect of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 each single unit that was within the battalion?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you ask him any questions? I mean Captain Kovacevic.
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Can you tell us what exactly you asked.
6 A. I was familiar with the area, and I knew what the task was that he
7 had given me, so I wanted him to explain the issue of fire support. It's
8 an open area, Srdj was above the defence of my unit, and that's why I
9 needed a lot of preparation in terms of fire support. I asked who would
10 be providing that support for the units later on.
11 Q. So what did Captain Kovacevic tell you? Who would be providing
12 fire support for the battalion during the attack?
13 A. Vlado said at the time that 130-millimetre battery would do that
14 because they were in the area.
15 Q. What was the objective of this attack that was explained to you by
16 Vladimir Kovacevic?
17 A. The objective was to take Srdj quickly, to hold onto that position
18 and continue to exercise control over that territory.
19 Q. In addition to the taking of Srdj, did Vladimir Kovacevic mention
20 any other objective, perhaps an attack on Dubrovnik or something like
22 A. No, never.
23 Q. Were specific tasks divvied up to other units that were part of
24 the company?
25 A. Yes. Specific tasks were given to all the units.
1 Q. So which task was your unit assigned?
2 A. My company, the 3rd Motorised Company, got the task to take one
3 assault group and to carry out an assault and attack along the Bosanka
4 Srdj access.
5 Q. In order to carry out this task that you'd been given, did you
6 request any equipment?
7 A. Yes, we did.
8 Q. What specifically did you request?
9 A. I requested some equipment that we needed, bulletproof vests in
10 order to protect my men who were about to launch the attack.
11 Q. After this briefing with the battalion commander, where did you go
12 next? What did you do?
13 A. It was already dark and we were in a hurry to get back to the
14 unit. I went back to Bosanka, and I set about organising that particular
16 Q. During the evening or at any other point in time were you in fact
17 given the equipment that you had requested from the battalion commander?
18 A. Yes. After organising the attack once I had assigned my men to
19 the task, I had a rest. We needed to get some rest, so we laid down.
20 There was an arduous task awaiting the next day.
21 During the night, I received a call from Zarkovica to report there
22 in order to take over the equipment that I had requested. So I did report
23 and I did in fact take over the equipment.
24 Q. Did you in fact start implementing the task that you had been
25 given the evening before by the battalion commander, Vladimir Kovacevic?
1 A. Yes. We received this task on the 5th of December, and we started
2 implementing the task in the morning hours on the 6th of December.
3 Q. Roughly speaking, when did this group from your company start
4 carrying out the task?
5 A. That was after the fire preparation of the attack which just
6 started at about 5.00 in the morning. So the group set out eventually at
7 about 6.00 in the morning.
8 Sir, Mr. Petrovic, if I can please request a short break since my
9 back is starting to hurt.
10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, do you think we could
11 possibly have a short break now, because the witness appears to be
12 suffering some health problems.
13 JUDGE PARKER: We will break for 20 minutes now.
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.40 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.06 a.m.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Stojanovic, can we now proceed with this examination? You
20 feel fine, I hope?
21 A. Yes, we can proceed.
22 Q. So the last thing we mentioned was that the attack began at around
23 6.00 in the morning. Do you know, roughly speaking, how the attack was
24 organised, bearing in mind all the groups that were to take part in the
25 attack? Do you know along which axes these groups were supposed to launch
1 this attack on Srdj?
2 A. Yes. My task was to use the assault group, that is for my unit to
3 attack along the axis of a group of houses in the Bosanka village, a
4 quarry at the foot of Srdj, and the feature of Srdj itself. On the right
5 flank of the battalion Captain Lemal had a company there with two assault
6 groups along that axis, the Strincijera-Srdj axis, and to attack along the
7 flank and to coordinate with me as soon as Srdj was reached.
8 Q. Who led this group, the group from your company?
9 A. That group was led by Lieutenant Budimir Pesic.
10 Q. From your observation post did you follow the operation of Budimir
11 Pesic's assault group?
12 A. Yes. We were watching from the observation post. My messenger
13 was there as well as my signals officer.
14 Q. How did Pesic's group proceed?
15 A. Once they carried out the fire preparations for the attack,
16 Lieutenant Pesic headed out with his group. He started the attack, and
17 the attack progressed as we had envisaged it. So as they were moving
18 towards the target, from the Dubrovnik area fire was opened from
19 anti-aircraft guns. So he had to use the dead angles in order to avoid
20 suffering any casualties. And I was watching this from my observation
21 post. I had already reached my observation post by 5.00 in the morning.
22 Q. Did Pesic's group succeed in approaching the Srdj feature?
23 A. Yes, they did, and they reached the Srdj feature and then close
24 range fighting began from artillery weapons.
25 Q. You say --
1 THE INTERPRETER: From infantry weapons, correction.
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] You say --
3 Your Honours, we have a problem. The interpretation says on page
4 30, line 7, from artillery weapons whereas the witness said from infantry
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. So, Mr. Stojanovic, you said that as soon as Pesic reached Srdj,
9 fighting began using infantry weapons. Who engaged whom?
10 A. We engaged Croatian soldiers who were deployed along the plateau
11 on top of Srdj.
12 Q. Can you tell us, roughly speaking, at what time Pesic's group
13 reached the Srdj feature?
14 A. He had started out at about 6.00, so it was past 8 that he reached
16 Q. Throughout this attack, were you in contact with the battalion
18 A. Yes, I was.
19 Q. At one point in time did you receive any information from the
20 battalion command in connection with Officer Pesic?
21 A. Yes. That was about half past eight that I received information
22 that Lieutenant Pesic had been wounded, seriously wounded in fact, to the
24 Q. What did you do once you had received that information?
25 A. When I received that information I took a group of about ten
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 soldiers, we got onto a Pinzgauer vehicle and took the path to the Srdj
2 feature to pull Lieutenant Pesic out to try to have him evacuated. So the
3 assault group was without their commander that time, and I went there to
4 take over command of the unit at Srdj because I was the company commander.
5 Q. How much time elapsed before you were able to reach Srdj itself?
6 A. I drove in that vehicle, and I also had to take advantage of the
7 dead angles, in military lingo. I had to move along that axis so as to
8 avoid casualties inflicted by anti-aircraft fire from Dubrovnik itself.
9 After I left the vehicle, I took over an hour to actually reach
10 the feature of Srdj itself.
11 Q. Once there, what did you find there at the Srdj feature itself?
12 A. First of all, I had to literally crawl on all fours with that
13 group, the people who were with me, to reach Srdj. There were -- there
14 was a metal staircase there, and with the support of my forces that were
15 there at Srdj, I came out and I took shelter, which is where Sergeant Tuka
16 Miralem briefly familiarised me with the situation. There was a lot of
17 hand-to-hand combat going on using infantry weapons, hand grenades,
19 I took over command and naturally, as any soldier would do, I
20 tried to inflict as many losses on the enemy in terms of human lives as I
21 could, and I tried to calm the confusion that was raging within the ranks.
22 You know the sort of thing that can happen once a unit commander is
23 wounded and out of the fighting.
24 Q. Do you know how exactly Officer Pesic was wounded?
25 A. Lieutenant Pesic had taken shelter at Srdj. It was a kind of
1 shelter. It was actually a fridge used to store ice cream. So he took
2 shelter behind that fridge, and he was hit by shrapnel in his helmet, and
3 then he had a head wound that was very serious.
4 Q. What about Sergeant Miralem? Did he tell you anything about the
5 progress of fighting, how far they got fighting the Croatian crew that was
6 stationed at Srdj?
7 A. He told us that on account of the heavy firing from the infantry
8 weapons by the group that was there, the Croatian soldiers were trying to
10 Q. While you were at the feature, were you under fire?
11 A. Yes, we did come under fire.
12 Q. Can you please tell us what sort of fire it was that you came
14 A. It was mortar fire.
15 Q. Do you know where this mortar fire was coming from?
16 A. From the left flank, from the direction of Dubrovnik, but I can't
17 give you the exact position of the weapon because I couldn't see it from
18 the Srdj feature.
19 Q. What about the members of the assault group from your company?
20 Was there anyone else except for Pesic who was wounded?
21 A. Yes. During the attack on Srdj, an active-duty soldier from Pirat
22 was killed and three of the reserve privates were also seriously wounded.
23 Q. As at one point you came under mortar fire, did you request
24 artillery support for your unit that was at the Srdj feature by that time?
25 A. Yes. I requested, of course, that they step up the firing and
1 that they use 130-millimetre guns. That was, after all, part of our
2 assignment. It said that we would be receiving support from guns, guns
3 that would be firing at those features or targets in Dubrovnik that were
4 firing at us and that were inflicting losses on our troops.
5 Q. How long did you stay at the Srdj feature for?
6 A. For over an hour.
7 Q. Did you receive the artillery support that had been promised?
8 A. Unfortunately, we didn't.
9 Q. Can you tell us whether your unit could have held out at Srdj
10 without this artillery support?
11 A. No. Had I known there would be no artillery support, I certainly
12 would not have accepted any such thing.
13 Q. What did you decide after you realised there was no artillery
14 support and after your unit sustained these losses at Srdj itself?
15 A. Well, you see, as there was this strong mortar fire, after Pesic
16 was wounded and after this active-duty soldier was killed and others
17 wounded, and since there was no support, I as commanding officer decided
18 to leave that position and to get my personnel out. I was simply
19 compelled to do so.
20 Q. Did you consult anyone regarding this decision to withdraw from
22 A. I did not consult anyone. This was my own estimate and my own
24 Q. After how much time did you manage to get back to your basic
1 A. Well, you see, from 9.00 on I was at Srdj for a bit over an hour,
2 and then of course I had to take measures because retreating from that
3 position is not mere flight. One group gets out, another group gives its
4 support. So it took me about two hours to withdraw from there. So it was
5 past midday. It was 1300 or 1400 hours by then.
6 Q. So you and your soldiers, did you withdraw from Srdj at your own
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. On that day, the 6th of December, were you ordered at any point to
10 stop the attack at Srdj, the one that your company was carrying out?
11 A. No.
12 Q. To the best of your knowledge, the order to attack Srdj that was
13 issued the previous day, was it revoked at any point while you and your
14 soldiers were at Srdj?
15 A. To the best of my knowledge, it had not been revoked.
16 Q. On the previous day, were you and your colleagues given some other
17 task except for the task to take Srdj?
18 A. No, only the task of taking Srdj.
19 Q. The evening before, at the briefing on the 5th of December, was
20 any activity planned in terms of firing at the Old Town of Dubrovnik?
21 A. Not a specific objective, only if there would be an objective that
22 would be lethal for the unit itself, as was proved to be true in the case
23 of the unit that was at Srdj.
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions, Your
25 Honour. Thank you.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
2 Is it Mr. Re?
3 MR. RE: It is indeed, thank you, Your Honour.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Re:
5 Q. Just on that last point, Mr. Stojanovic, in which you said there
6 was a briefing the day before, that was the briefing conducted by
7 Mr. Kovacevic, wasn't it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And he was the -- to be quite clear on this, you as the company
10 commander received your orders only from Kovacevic; is that right?
11 A. Yes, from Kovacevic.
12 Q. No one else issued orders to you directly.
13 A. Could you please repeat your question.
14 Q. What you're saying, that no one else issued orders directly to
16 A. According to this military hierarchy, it's only the battalion
17 commander that can issue orders to me because I was a company commander.
18 Q. In terms of military hierarchy, that of course goes up, Kovacevic
19 to his superior, and that person's superior, and so on to the very top?
20 A. Yes. At that point I'm only interested in the line between the
21 company and the battalion. That is to say I myself and Vladimir
22 Kovacevic. I as a company commander am not interested in the chain of
23 command any further. I'm not interested in what anybody superior to
24 Vladimir Kovacevic thinks at that point in time.
25 Q. When you're saying you're not interested, are you saying you're
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 unaware or you took no interest in who Kovacevic's superiors were?
2 A. I'm interested in the unit that is under my command, and I'm
3 interested in carrying out tasks that are given to me by the battalion
4 commander. In this specific case, Captain Kovacevic.
5 Q. Just to go back to what I was asking you and that was the state of
6 your knowledge. Was it the fact that you were uninterested in who
7 Kovacevic's superiors were or you were unaware of who his superiors were,
8 that is who he took orders from?
9 A. Sir, I did know who Vladimir Kovacevic's superior officer was.
10 That was Admiral Jokic. As for the relationship between Captain Kovacevic
11 and Admiral Jokic, in military terms it is not for me to look into that.
12 Q. Are you telling this Tribunal you were unaware of who Jokic's
13 superior was in November and December 1991?
14 A. If I understand you correctly, you asked me who Jokic's superior
15 officer was, or are you asking me who Kovacevic's superior officer was?
16 Q. You've just told us that as far as you were concerned, Kovacevic
17 -- sorry, Jokic was Kovacevic's superior, but then you said as to who was
18 Jokic's -- I'm sorry. What I'm asking you -- I withdraw that last point.
19 What I'm asking you is were you aware in October -- sorry, in
20 November and December 1991 of who Jokic's superior was.
21 A. Jokic, Admiral Jokic, was commander of the 9th Military Naval
22 Sector. I was not interested in the rest.
23 Q. You attended, you told us yesterday, the elite military training
24 academy at Bileca, didn't you?
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 Q. One of the things they teach you there is subordination from
2 bottom to top, don't they?
3 A. Well, yes. The chain of command in this specific case goes from
4 me, commander of the 3rd Motorised Company. My immediate superior is
5 Captain Vladimir Kovacevic. As we go further up the chain of command, his
6 superior officer and mine is Admiral Jokic as the commander of the 9th
7 Military Naval Sector. As for Commander Jokic, his superior is the
8 commander of the Military Naval District, and all the way up to the
9 General Staff of the Yugoslav People's Army. I believe that you have
10 understood my answer.
11 Q. When a commander of any rank issues an order, in that order they
12 can name a superior who has given that order, can't they?
13 A. You will have to repeat your question. The interpretation is
14 coming very fast, and these are questions that have to be dealt with
16 Q. In issuing an order, a commander can and will, in that order, say
17 who has given him that order.
18 A. Not in this specific case. I told you that this order was
19 received by Captain Vladimir Kovacevic, who was battalion commander. I --
20 his superior, Admiral Jokic, gave him his orders according to this
21 hierarchy, if you are referring to this specific case, that is.
22 Q. I'm talking only in general terms from what you learnt in your
23 military training and putting it into practice, and that is, in general
24 terms, when a commander issues an order, the commander can refer to who
25 has given him that order. What I'm saying is, in an order, a commander
1 can refer to an order from above, can't he. Such as "pursuant to an order
2 from the general secretary of defence," or "pursuant to an order from
3 another general, I am issuing you this order."
4 A. In part -- well, let me tell you. In that period, I was a
5 lower-ranking commander. Companies, platoons, I was not interested in
6 these higher levels of command at all.
7 Q. So if Admiral Jokic issues orders saying that he has received
8 orders from General Strugar, because you're not interested in that level
9 of the functioning of hierarchy, you wouldn't be able to disagree with it,
10 would you?
11 A. I don't quite understand your question. I am sorry.
12 Q. You've said you weren't interested in the hierarchy. Who was
13 above Jokic in the hierarchy? So if Jokic has issued orders in which he
14 has said he has received those orders from General Strugar or his
15 predecessor as the head of the 2nd Operational Group, you wouldn't be able
16 to disagree -- you couldn't disagree with Jokic saying that he was issuing
17 those orders pursuant to higher orders from General Strugar, would you?
18 A. No. Jokic could not receive orders from General Strugar in any
19 event because he was not subordinated to General Strugar. He was
20 subordinated to the then commander of the Military Naval District.
21 General Strugar had a completely different duty.
22 Q. You would accept, sir, that General -- sorry, Admiral Jokic would
23 be in a much better position to say who he was receiving his orders from
24 than you, wouldn't he?
25 A. Well, I don't know about that. You'll have to ask Admiral Jokic
2 Q. Are you suggesting you would be in a better position than Admiral
3 Jokic to say who he was receiving orders from, sir?
4 A. I'm not suggesting anything.
5 Q. If Jokic says he was receiving orders from Strugar in orders
6 issued to the 472nd, you couldn't disagree with that, could you?
7 A. I don't know in which context you are mentioning this link between
8 Admiral Jokic and General Strugar to me here. For a then company
9 commander, that was not the kind of thing that a person like that would
10 think about. Everybody knows what a company commander is.
11 Q. Sir, you've made a statement to the Tribunal earlier that your
12 company was not within the 2nd Operational Group. Do you remember giving
13 that evidence earlier?
14 A. I don't know which period you're referring to when you say
16 Q. Earlier today and yesterday, you told the Tribunal that your
17 company and your battalion was not within the 2nd Operational Group, if I
18 understand your evidence correctly.
19 A. Sir, I said yesterday that I was commander of the 3rd Company of
20 the 3rd Motorised Battalion, which was under the command of the 9th
21 Military Naval Sector. The sector was headed by Admiral Jokic. I don't
22 know what other statement you may be referring to.
23 In my testimony, I did not mention the 2nd Operational Group at
25 MR. RE: Would Your Honour excuse me for just one moment.
1 [Prosecution counsel confer]
2 MR. RE:
3 Q. The note we have - I don't have the transcript directly in front
4 of me at the moment - is your saying earlier today that the commander
5 never said he received orders from the 2nd Operational Group, in response
6 to a question from Mr. Petrovic, "because we were not part of the 2nd
7 Operational Group." I'm just reminding you that's what you said earlier
9 Does that jog your memory as to what you said maybe an hour ago to
10 Mr. Petrovic?
11 A. Sir, what you said just now, I mean, I don't see where we differ.
12 Q. General Strugar was the commander of the 2nd Operational Group in
13 November and December 1991. Can we agree on that? Also October 1991.
14 A. I know that General Strugar was the commander of the 2nd
15 Operational Group.
16 Q. Is your evidence that your company was within the 2nd Operational
17 Group or not within the 2nd Operational Group? Which one is it?
18 A. No, my company was within the 3rd Motorised Battalion.
19 Q. I'm trying to find out whether you're saying the ultimate
20 subordination was to the 2nd Operational Group or to somewhere else. What
21 do you say? If you don't know, just -- just say you don't know.
22 A. Sir, if you are familiar with our military hierarchy, then you
23 know what the command situation was in the then Yugoslav People's Army.
24 Then you know that that was the upward chain of command. I'm a company
25 commander. My unit is within a battalion. The battalion operated under
1 the command of the 9th Military Naval Sector. So that is the chain that I
2 was interested in as company commander and that was of relevance to my
4 This level of command, that is to say a company commander, fully
5 relies on the command of the battalion and receives orders from the
6 commander of the battalion. In this case, I received orders from my
7 colleague, my superior officer, Captain Vladimir Kovacevic.
8 Q. If you don't know, please just tell the Trial Chamber you don't
9 know. Do you know whether General Strugar -- sorry, whether Admiral Jokic
10 was subordinated to General Strugar or not, that is to the 2nd Operational
11 Group. If you don't know, just please tell the Trial Chamber you don't
13 A. Admiral Jokic was not subordinated to General Strugar.
14 Q. You would accept, wouldn't you, that if General Strugar is issuing
15 orders to Admiral Jokic and Admiral Jokic is obeying those orders, that
16 would suggest he was subordinated, Jokic was subordinated to Strugar,
17 wouldn't it?
18 A. This is a twofold issue and is of no significance to me. This
19 was, after all, a higher level of command that I could not possibly be
20 interested in, if you understand me correctly.
21 Q. You've given some evidence about subordination, and you've just
22 told the Trial Chamber that Jokic was not subordinated to Strugar. You
23 are a serving senior officer in the army, in the military. Now, if
24 Strugar was issuing orders to Jokic and Jokic was obeying them and passing
25 them on, that can only mean that Jokic was subordinated to Strugar, can't
2 A. I don't know who was issuing orders to Jokic at the time. What
3 you're asking me is something that is the subject matter of the theory of
4 command that is being taught at military academies.
5 Q. Well, it's actually a very practical matter in this Tribunal and
6 that there are a number of orders in evidence which General Strugar issued
7 to Admiral Jokic and to the 472nd. Have you ever seen any such order?
8 A. No.
9 Q. So when you say that Jokic was not subordinated to Strugar, that
10 is based upon an assumption, not on anything you have actually seen in
11 writing; is that correct?
12 A. Well, that is your suggestion, sir, not mine. I was unable to see
13 anything of the sort at the time.
14 Q. Do you have any basis to say Jokic was not subordinated to Strugar
15 other than your own assumption?
16 A. I would not like to make any theories about it.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Can I indicate, Mr. Re, that the Tribunal -- the
18 Chamber is happy for you to move on.
19 MR. RE:
20 Q. Were you aware whether or not the 472nd Battalion belonged to the
21 2nd Operational Group?
22 A. Probably, yes, without the 3rd Motorised Battalion.
23 Q. Did you ever see any orders in writing in relation to the attack
24 on Srdj on the morning of the 6th of December, 1991?
25 A. I didn't see any, nor would an officer of my rank at the time be
1 the person who -- to whom such things would be shown to.
2 Q. You have been involved, haven't you, in putting into effect
3 cease-fires by implementing orders and ordering your own troops to come
4 back to base or not to fire after a certain time.
5 A. Well, we did honour the cease-fire, and I as a company commander
6 had the obligation to implement my task related to the cease-fire in my
7 unit. This task was assigned to me by the battalion commander.
8 When you are talking about a cease-fire, I'm not sure what you're
9 referring to.
10 Q. The implementation of a cease-fire, in practical terms, can take
11 many hours from the time the agreement is made to the time it is
12 communicated down to the last person on the ground.
13 A. Indeed so.
14 Q. Were you made aware --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Maybe yes, maybe no.
16 MR. RE:
17 Q. Were you made aware when you attended the briefing on the 5th of
18 December that cease-fire negotiations at the highest level were taking
19 place or had taken place on that very day in Dubrovnik, in the Dubrovnik
21 A. No. No, I didn't.
22 Q. You weren't aware that a cease-fire was supposed to take effect as
23 from midday on the 6th of December? No one told you that at the briefing
24 on the 5th of December?
25 A. No.
1 Q. If there was an attack on Srdj a mere six hours before a
2 cease-fire were to be implemented would in all probability destroy the
3 cease-fire, wouldn't it?
4 A. I'm sorry that things turned out the way they did. I was not
5 aware of this cease-fire at such a high level.
6 Q. An assault upon Srdj a mere six hours before a cease-fire was due
7 to be implemented would destroy the chance of a cease-fire coming into
8 effect, wouldn't it? Because both sides would start fighting again.
9 A. Probably so.
10 Q. I think you said a moment ago that it was Kovacevic who informed
11 you about the cease-fire. When was that?
12 A. I didn't mention any cease-fire, nor that I was told anything by
13 Vladimir Kovacevic. You were asking me about a possibility. A
14 possibility can exist but needn't necessarily exist. In reality, this was
15 not so.
16 Q. A cease-fire came into effect, I think on the 7th of December.
17 You were involved in implementing the cease-fire as a company commander,
18 weren't you?
19 A. I would kindly ask you to repeat the date. I think you said the
20 7th of December.
21 Q. That's right. The agreement was signed on the 7th. You were a
22 company commander in charge of a number of troops. When did you find out
23 about the cease-fire or the implementation of the cease-fire?
24 A. I cannot tell you exactly the date, but probably after this
25 unfortunate attack on Srdj and probably following the talks at this high
1 state level.
2 Q. Who informed you that a cease-fire was coming into effect and that
3 you were to take all appropriate measures to implement and honour the
5 A. After the attack it was probably the battalion command, because I
6 received orders slowly by the -- by the battalion commander. One would
7 not be able to circumvent any military level.
8 Q. Do you remember whether you received those orders at a briefing or
9 whether it was communicated to you by some other means such as radio or
11 A. We were unable to have a radio at the time as there was no
12 electricity. Therefore, whatever you could hear over the radio was one
13 thing, and a soldier acts differently. I cannot take my decisions based
14 on what I hear over the radio.
15 Q. Have you then, sir -- by that are you saying that Kovacevic gave
16 you those orders directly, either by coming to see you or by you going to
17 see him?
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object because my
19 colleague is deliberately creating confusion here because when he asked
20 the witness about a radio, he did not specify what sort of a radio he had
21 in mind, and could this please be cleared up. I don't want to say
22 anything else because I wish to abide by the instruction you gave me the
23 other day, but he should specify the radio he has in mind.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I didn't find the question confusing, but it may be
25 worthwhile, Mr. Re, clarifying.
1 MR. RE:
2 Q. Sorry, Mr. Stojanovic. All I'm just trying to find out is where
3 were you or how were you told about the cease-fire? Was it Mr. Kovacevic
4 who told you? Was it in his forward command post? Did he come and see
5 you? Did you come and see him? Did you communicate by radio of any sort
6 or telephone or by written order? How was it done? That's all I want to
8 A. For this sort of thing one wouldn't use a radio or a telephone
9 line or anything of the sort, but what was required was the immediate
10 contact with the battalion commander.
11 Q. Do you --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Direct contact, interpreter's correction.
13 MR. RE:
14 Q. Do you now remember how you received the orders in relation to the
15 cease-fire? If you don't remember, it's fine.
16 A. I don't remember. A lot of time has elapsed since.
17 Q. You spoke earlier about the briefing on the 5th of December IN
18 which Captain Kovacevic told you about the attack on Srdj, planned the
19 attack on Srdj the next day. Did he tell you it would be permissible to
20 fire on the Old Town in some circumstances?
21 A. I've told you a moment ago that there were never any plans of
22 engaging any targets in Dubrovnik. I told you that we were told that we
23 would receive fire support and that 130-millimetre cannons would be
24 engaged solely against those targets that proved to be devastating, fatal
25 for our troops. And when I say "fatal," I mean that constitute direct
1 threat to the lives of our troops.
2 Q. Just before I started asking you questions, the very last answer
3 you gave to Mr. Petrovic you referred to Captain Kovacevic's briefing, and
4 you said something that sounded like it may be permissible to fire upon
5 targets in the Old Town. In case we misunderstood what you said, what did
6 Captain Kovacevic tell you about when it would be permissible to fire upon
7 the Old Town or targets within the Old Town?
8 A. I've told you, only in case there was a target which was firing
9 upon our troops to such an extent that we would sustain casualties.
10 Q. What weapons did Captain Kovacevic tell you you could use in those
12 A. Sir, he wasn't required to tell us what arms to use. The
13 battalion within its establishment, and speaking specifically of my
14 company, I said I had 7.62 rifles, sniper rifles, machine-guns. So the
15 weaponry that I disposed of within my unit would not permit me to really
16 threaten or endanger anyone in Dubrovnik. Those were infantry weapons.
17 Q. The briefing was attended by all the units under his command,
18 wasn't it, including the anti-armour unit and the mortar unit as well?
19 A. Yes. The commander of the anti-armour company and the commander
20 of the 120-millimetre mortar company.
21 Q. What instructions did Captain Kovacevic issue to those commanders
22 about when they could fire on the Old Town and what sort of weapons they
23 could use to fire on the Old Town?
24 A. What is certainly interesting to you is, first of all, that the
25 120-millimetre mortar company provides support by firing upon the Srdj
1 feature. The same task was the one had by the other company, by the
2 anti-armour company, that should fire at those targets endangering the
3 action, whereas the action itself is carried out by 130-millimetre guns.
4 And this is something that our unit didn't have. These were the -- these
5 were the weapons that our superior command disposed of. The task itself
6 was very clear: The task was only to capture the Srdj feature, which was
7 above the positions where my unit was deployed. And in capturing the Srdj
8 feature, we were supposed to prevent the constant provocations by the
9 Croatian army that was deployed in the Dubrovnik area.
10 Q. Where was the 120-millimetre mortar company located on the morning
11 of the 6th of December?
12 A. Well, at the rear I think it was in the Uskoplje area, but I can't
13 quite put my finger on the specific feature or its name. At any rate, as
14 for the firing position, it could have fired on the Srdj feature.
15 Q. It was firing on that day, wasn't it?
16 A. It had to provide firing support for our attack on the Srdj
18 Q. It was subordinated directly to Kovacevic, wasn't it?
19 A. Yes, in terms of its establishment, it was within the battalion.
20 Q. And what orders did you hear him issuing to the mortar company on
21 the morning of the 6th of December?
22 A. As far as I remember, to fire on the Srdj feature, to carry out
23 firing preparation for the attack, and later to provide support for the
24 taking of the Srdj feature by different kinds of firing. For a unit like
25 that, that should be a simple enough task.
1 Q. Were you aware, sir, of the Old Town of Dubrovnik being shelled in
2 October and November 1991?
3 A. Which month are we talking about?
4 Q. October and November 1991. Were you aware of the Old Town being
5 shelled by the JNA in either of those two months?
6 A. No. And there was no shelling. In October I was there the whole
7 time, as I said. For some time in November I was at home for sick leave,
8 but I certainly would have seen operations like that.
9 Q. You would have been aware had the Old Town been shelled in either
10 October or November 1991. Is that what you're saying?
11 A. What do you mean I would have been aware? Well, the positions are
12 in fact so close that you can see it. It wasn't anyone's objective to use
13 higher calibre weapons to fire on Dubrovnik.
14 Q. On the 6th of December, you told the Trial Chamber earlier that
15 you had two T-55 tanks within your company. Were those two tanks directly
16 under your control on the 6th of December?
17 A. Yes, under my command.
18 Q. Did you order them to fire on the 6th of December?
19 A. One of the tanks, the way it was deployed, was in no position to
20 open fire since it was positioned on the left flank. And the other tank
21 was used for support to the assault group led by Lieutenant Pesic. It
22 could only have fired on the Srdj feature, because in order to prepare all
23 the elements for tank firing and targeting by tank, I had no conditions in
24 place to fire on Dubrovnik, if that's what you have in mind.
25 Q. Where was this tank, the one that could fire? Where was it?
1 A. As I said -- you mentioned the one that could fire. Well, I'm not
2 sure what fire you have in mind. What I said was that one tank was in the
3 area of the houses at Bosanka, and according to some principles of use,
4 that tank could not be used to target Dubrovnik. The other tank was
5 moving along the asphalt road towards the Srdj feature, and it could have
6 fired on the Srdj feature. Still, in order to use a tank to fire, you
7 need to prepare all the necessary elements. The lay of the land, the sort
8 of terrain that was there, did not allow for this. There was no even
9 theoretical possibility to target Dubrovnik.
10 Q. Did you order the tank to fire?
11 A. The Srdj feature?
12 Q. Anywhere.
13 A. Well, I can't order the tank to fire just anywhere. My assessment
14 of the situation is that one tank could open fire on the Srdj feature, and
15 that wasn't just anywhere.
16 Q. The question I'm asking you is did you actually order the tank to
17 fire. Did you or not?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. How many times?
20 A. That's difficult to remember now.
21 Q. What time did you order the tank to fire?
22 A. Well, at the time when I was under fire and when I was sustaining
24 Q. Approximately what time was that? I mean, how long after the
25 attack began? Half an hour, hour, 15 minutes, two hours, three hours,
1 four hours?
2 A. Before the attack began, not after. What do you mean how long
3 before the attack? The tank never fired before the attack began.
4 Q. You actually said after, but how long after the attack did you
5 order the tank to fire? Just approximately.
6 A. That particular tank was providing support for the assault group
7 coming in. Therefore, as the assault group was coming in, but later there
8 are no conditions any longer for firing, because you can't fire a tank
10 Q. I'm just asking you for a time. Approximately what time in the
11 morning did you order the tank to fire? Was it 6.00 a.m., 6.15, 6.30,
12 7.00, earlier or later? That's all I want to know.
13 A. I really can't answer the question, not even roughly speaking.
14 It's been 13 or 14 hours.
15 Q. Is a record kept of how many times a tank fires, how many rounds
16 it uses? Is that recorded anywhere?
17 A. I don't know about that.
18 Q. That tank which you've just described was, of course, capable of
19 firing on Dubrovnik and the Old Town, wasn't it?
20 A. No.
21 Q. The Old Town of Dubrovnik was within firing range of that tank,
22 wasn't it?
23 A. No. As I said, it's about the sort of terrain that was there.
24 From my position, I couldn't see Dubrovnik with the naked eye. Therefore,
25 I was in no position to plan any firing using that tank against Dubrovnik
1 or the Old Town.
2 Q. The tank was in a position where it could have been moved to fire
3 on Dubrovnik, wasn't it, by moving through the terrain?
4 A. No. It could not be moved, and no firing on Dubrovnik had been
5 envisaged. What was said is that there should be support by
6 130-millimetre guns. For that sort of assignment, that would have been
7 quite sufficient.
8 Q. You're saying it was the 130-millimetre gun which was supposed to
9 fire on the Old Town of Dubrovnik, if needed.
10 A. Sir, what I said is that the 130-millimetre guns were supposed to
11 neutralise such targets as were firing at our men with fatal consequences.
12 As for the targets, I think you need to go and ask the commanders of those
13 specific units.
14 Q. Was your tank, the tank under your command, firing at a time when
15 Croatian forces in the Dubrovnik area were firing at the JNA in the Srdj
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And can you say now how long the firing between your tank, on the
19 one hand, and the firing from the Croatian forces went on for?
20 A. I can't say.
21 Q. Did you order your tank to fire against any Croatian forces that
22 were firing from the Dubrovnik region at the JNA troops on Srdj?
23 A. No. I was being fired at by mortars from Dubrovnik. I was in no
24 position to neutralise such targets because the terrain would not have
25 allowed it. That is the lay of the land. I would not have been able to
1 do that.
2 MR. RE: Could the witness please be shown Exhibit P16.
3 Q. While that's coming, Mr. Stojanovic, the Old Town of Dubrovnik is
4 two and a half -- sorry, about 2.3 kilometres in a direct line from
5 Zarkovica, isn't it?
6 A. Thereabouts.
7 Q. And from that distance, with the naked eye you could make out
8 vehicles and possibly the shapes of people, couldn't you?
9 A. Well, you're asking me now -- I said before that from Zarkovica I
10 could see and I did indeed see movements by Croatian soldiers carrying
11 long barrels. So I'm not sure what this question is about. I'm not sure
12 I understand you fully.
13 Q. Just have a look at Exhibit P16, which is the photograph which is
14 on the screen to your right. It should also be on the computer. Now,
15 that's a photograph taken from Zarkovica. That is the very edge of
16 Zarkovica looking directly towards the Old Town, isn't it?
17 A. Well, I suppose, yes.
18 Q. And that photograph represents the view, a person standing on the
19 very edge of Zarkovica where the gravel is of the Old Town, doesn't it?
20 A. From Zarkovica.
21 Q. And looking at that photograph, even though it's slightly unclear,
22 even if it were clearer, you would not be able to make out people carrying
23 long-barrelled weapons with the naked eye, would you?
24 A. No. No. That's not how it was, sir. From Zarkovica you could
25 see people moving about in the Old Town, in addition to which we soldiers
1 had certain tools that we could use, and we could see very clearly and be
2 certain exactly who it was.
3 Q. Zarkovica is even further back from where that photograph is
4 taken, isn't it? This photograph is at the very edge, the edge of the
5 cliff, isn't it?
6 A. I don't know where this photograph was taken from, sir. What I'm
7 telling you is what I can see from Zarkovica, what one can see from
8 Zarkovica and what I could indeed see from Zarkovica at the time. Now to
9 theorise where a certain photograph has been taken from, I don't think
10 that's in order.
11 Q. You certainly don't have photographs of these troops moving around
12 the Old Town, do you? No one took any photographs of them, did they?
13 A. I did not have the requisite equipment in my company to pursue
14 those photographic activities, sir. Being a soldier, it would have been
15 sufficient for me to have a look in order for me to see what I saw, and
16 what I saw is what I've already told you. I mean, who in their right
17 state of mind would pursue photographic matters in the middle of a war,
19 Q. Was your understanding of Captain Kovacevic's orders about
20 military activity within the Old Town that you could fire upon, use the
21 weapons on the 6th of December to fire upon people or soldiers with
22 long-barrelled weapons, rifles, in the Old Town?
23 A. No. I was given the task to take the Srdj feature.
24 Q. I'm sorry, maybe it's the way I asked it. When I said "you," I
25 meant the group that he was briefing, that is all his subordinate company
1 commanders. Was it your understanding of his orders that he was
2 permitting fire upon soldiers with long-barrelled arms in the Old Town on
3 the 6th of December, 1991?
4 A. You see, those people carrying long-barrelled weapons could not
5 attack us, but they did eventually use a mortar to attack us.
6 Q. Sir, I was asking you about Captain Kovacevic's orders on the 5th
7 of December. Was it your understanding that his orders to the group, all
8 the subordinate commanders, allowed or permitted firing by whatever means
9 upon people with long-barrelled weapons in the Old Town on the 6th of
11 A. Sir, my understanding was what the task was in relation to my own
12 unit, and that was the main thing for me. From my position, I could not
13 possibly target anyone like you suggest.
14 Q. When were you first contacted by the Defence of General Strugar,
15 that is to give a statement to them or to speak to them about what
16 happened? Was it this year, last year, the year before?
17 A. This year.
18 Q. How long ago; this month, last month, months ago?
19 A. About a month ago.
20 Q. And did you give a statement, that is did you put something in
21 writing to the Defence, that is Mr. Petrovic or Mr. Rodic, or a legal
22 assistant or an investigator?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Did they take notes when you spoke to them? Sorry, who did you
25 speak to; was it Mr. Petrovic or Mr. Rodic?
1 A. Mr. Petrovic.
2 Q. And did he take notes of what you said to him?
3 A. Everybody has a notepad in front of him. It's not for me to look
4 at that kind of thing. It is for me to give answers to the best of my
5 knowledge and to the degree to which I can assist. You'll have to ask him
6 about that.
7 Q. You said it was about a month ago. Did he come and see you
8 wherever you live in that area, or did you go to his office?
9 A. I have approval of the General Staff to the effect that I can make
10 statements. So these preparations take place for participation in this
12 Q. Are you saying he saw you in the army barracks, in Belgrade or
13 somewhere like that?
14 A. No, I don't work in Belgrade. He didn't come to the barracks.
15 Q. Did you tell Mr. Petrovic when he saw you, you saw him about a
16 month ago, about you seeing Croatian soldiers with long-barrelled weapons
17 in Zarkovica? Did you tell him that then?
18 A. Did I say what?
19 Q. Did you tell Mr. Petrovic, when you spoke to him about a month ago
20 at some unnamed destination -- or location, about your seeing from
21 Zarkovica, with the naked eye, Croatian soldiers moving around the Old
22 Town carrying long-barrelled weapons? Did you tell him that when you saw
23 him about a month ago?
24 A. Well, questions were put to me, and as for what I saw, I said that
25 I saw this from Zarkovica.
1 Q. Sir, to be quite clear, you told Mr. Petrovic a month ago, did
2 you, that you saw those soldiers, with your naked eye, in Zarkovica?
3 A. And with an artillery compass, if you know what that is. That is
4 used for looking through it, and you can see exactly what movements are
6 Q. So you told Mr. Petrovic something different to what you've told
7 the Trial Chamber today, and that is that you saw it with your naked eye.
8 Is that what you're saying now?
9 A. No, no. I didn't say anything different today or then. I said
10 that it could be seen with the naked eye.
11 Q. Did you ever make any reports to anyone, that is put in writing
12 what you claim you saw in the Old Town, that is the soldiers moving
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you ever tell anyone?
16 A. Everybody could see that, sir.
17 Q. That's not my question. Did you yourself, Mr. Stojanovic, ever
18 tell anyone about it, tell a commander, a superior officer about what
19 you'd seen?
20 A. What I saw was the same thing that my battalion commander, Vlado
21 Kovacevic, saw from Zarkovica too.
22 MR. RE: That completes my cross-examination.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Re.
24 Mr. Petrovic.
25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just two questions.
1 Re-examined by Mr. Petrovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] When you were asked about this tank, tell us,
3 please, what was the function of this tank within the planned action of
4 attacking Srdj?
5 A. The function of this tank was to support the attack group.
6 Q. Could this tank open fire at the feature of Srdj at the time when
7 your assault group was there?
8 A. No, no way. A mortar couldn't let alone a tank when the unit was
9 at that feature.
10 Q. You said that the tank that was within your unit could not open
11 fire at the positions in the town of Dubrovnik because of the
12 characteristics of the terrain. What are these characteristics of the
13 terrain which make it impossible to open fire from that tank at targets in
14 the town of Dubrovnik?
15 A. I've said, Mr. Petrovic, that these geographic characteristics of
16 the terrain are such that if I were to prepare any kind of firing, I would
17 have to go at least 300 metres further down in order to be able to prepare
18 any kind of fire. So that would not be tactically justified and I could
19 not do that. So my units, my company could not open fire due to the
21 Q. At which altitude was the tank, and at which altitude is the town
22 of Dubrovnik, approximately?
23 A. Well, we can have a look. The tank was at the altitude of the
24 village of Bosanka, and Dubrovnik is further down, as far as altitude is
25 concerned. I cannot tell you anything off-the-cuff now because I don't
1 have a map in front of me.
2 Q. On the 5th of December, did Kovacevic issue any kind of orders
3 regarding an attack on the Old Town or opening fire at the Old Town?
4 A. No, sir.
5 Q. Was the only objective of your action on the 6th of December to
6 take the feature of Srdj?
7 A. The only objective was to take the feature of Srdj.
8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. No further
10 MR. RE: My objection was on the basis of leading, but the
11 question has been answered.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Colonel Stojanovic, thank you very much for your
13 attendance. You are free to go now. I'm sure you will be pleased to get
14 away and ease your back again. So thank you for your assistance.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, sir.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Because of the slightly shorter period due to the
18 last witness's back condition, we are a little out of anticipated time.
19 We had planned to have a break for approximately an hour for lunch today.
20 Would it be convenient to have that break now rather than much later?
21 I think that would suit everybody and even up the day. So we will
22 resume at 1.30 and have the new witness then.
23 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 1.35 p.m.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Could you please stand and read
2 the affirmation on the card.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
4 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
6 WITNESS: NEMANJA KURDULIJA
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Examined by Mr. Rodic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, I would kindly ask you to give us your full
13 A. My name is Nemanja Kurdulija.
14 Q. Mr. Kurdulija, could you please tell us where and when you were
16 A. I was born on the 7th of January, 1957, in the village of Korita,
17 Bileca municipality, Republika Srpska.
18 Q. What is your profession?
19 A. I am an officer in the army of Serbia and Montenegro.
20 Q. What is your rank?
21 A. Colonel.
22 Q. What school did you finish?
23 A. Secondary maritime school in Kotor, naval technical military
24 academy in Split.
25 Q. Do you have any speciality?
1 A. Nothing in particular.
2 Q. Since when have you been in the army service?
3 A. Since 10th September, 1981.
4 Q. Where were you with your service in 1991?
5 A. I was a member of the 9th Naval Sector, and my unit was the 69th
6 naval and technical rocket base, headquartered on Prevlaka.
7 Q. In 1991 were any combat operations taking place while you were at
9 A. Not at Prevlaka.
10 Q. Do you know when combat operations commenced in 1991?
11 A. I don't remember the exact date.
12 Q. Do you know perhaps in which month?
13 A. It was in late September of that year.
14 Q. Did you stay the whole time with the 69th naval technical rocket
15 base at Prevlaka?
16 A. No, I didn't.
17 Q. Were you transferred from that position?
18 A. Yes, I was.
19 Q. Where were you transferred?
20 A. I was transferred to the post of the commander, town commander of
21 Cavtat upon orders from the command of the 9th VPS.
22 Q. Did anyone issue this kind of order to you personally?
23 A. Yes. The then commander of the 69th unit, Lieutenant Colonel
25 Q. Do you remember when you came to the town command of Cavtat?
1 A. It was on the 19th of October, 1991.
2 Q. Can you tell us, please, what was the situation in the town of
3 Cavtat when you arrived there? Were there local residents in the place?
4 A. Yes, there were local residents, and I estimate there were about
5 6.000 of them. The local residents were not only from Cavtat itself but
6 from the villages in Konavle. They were accommodated in hotels and some
7 of them in private houses.
8 Q. What was the situation concerning water and energy supply at the
10 A. The electric power supply was cut off due to combat operations
11 between JNA units and paramilitary Croatian units. The same situation was
12 concerning water supply. Therefore, there was neither electric power nor
14 Q. Did you manage later to provide energy and water for Cavtat?
15 A. Yes, I did. Very soon thereafter, within seven or eight days,
16 with the assistance of the superior command and professionals from Herceg
17 Novi and Trebinje municipalities, we managed to fully restore the power
18 and water supplies for Cavtat.
19 Q. Was your task, among other things, to provide food for the local
21 A. Yes, but not only that. Everything that was conducive and in the
22 interests of normalisation of life in the town. In all these areas, the
23 command took initiatives and helped bring the life to normal. Within that
24 context, some of the most needed staples, products just like flour or gas
25 for home cooking were provided from Herceg Novi and people were able to be
1 provided with these bare necessities.
2 Q. Did you have any manpower subordinated to you and that you were in
3 charge of?
4 A. Yes, I did. I had a platoon of soldiers and three or four
5 officers and junior officers who were in my command.
6 Q. Did you have military police in Cavtat?
7 A. Yes, we did.
8 Q. Were the military policemen under your command as well?
9 A. No, they weren't.
10 Q. Who was in charge of them?
11 A. They had their officers who commanded them, platoon and company
12 commanders, and they were directly subordinated to the command of the
13 military police battalion and the security organs from the command of the
14 9th VPS.
15 Q. Was there a local council in Cavtat?
16 A. I'd rather say that we established a local council there, if you
17 allow me to explain, because before our command was established, they had
18 had a Crisis Staff which we naturally could not accept as such. In other
19 words, the local council was established and made up of people who had
20 held certain positions in Cavtat and who were familiar with the town
21 itself and the area in general.
22 Q. Did you cooperate with this local council in organising life in
24 A. Yes, we did.
25 Q. Tell us, please, was the local population allowed to leave Cavtat?
1 A. Yes, they were. It was made possible for them to do so
2 immediately after our command was set up. That primarily referred to
3 those who wanted to go and see their houses, their estates in the villages
4 in Konavle wherefrom their forces had evacuated them and brought them to
6 In addition to that, everyone who wished to do so, for instance to
7 visit their relatives or to procure food and similar goods, were allowed
8 to leave to the neighbouring municipalities of Herceg Novi, Kotor, Tivat,
9 Trebinje, and others.
10 Q. Where was your command post headquartered?
11 A. In the Tiha Bay offices of Atlas.
12 Q. Was that a tourist or travel agency?
13 A. Yes, it was.
14 Q. Until when your command was housed on the premises of the Atlas
15 travel agency?
16 A. Approximately until mid December 1991.
17 Q. In those offices where the town command was, what facilities,
18 communications facilities you had?
19 A. I had only one wire telephone which was connected with our line
20 according to the scheme of lines that were applicable at the time.
21 Q. Does that mean that that was an army telephone?
22 A. Yes, exclusively for the use by the army.
23 Q. On the premises of the command in Cavtat, did you have radio relay
25 A. No, we didn't have any radio or radio relay devices.
1 Q. Did you perhaps have portable radio stations?
2 A. No, we didn't have portable radio stations either.
3 Q. Tell me, please, by this telephone, this wire connection as you
4 explained, were you able to establish communications with units of the
5 naval military sector in that area?
6 A. We were able to do so, that means to establish telephone
7 communications, but indirectly, with basic units that were at the time
8 part of the sector.
9 Q. Do you know where the forward command post was of the 9th VPS?
10 A. Yes, I do. It was, for a certain period of time, within the
11 compound of the Cilipi airport and later in the area of Kupari.
12 Q. Did you -- could you establish telephone communication with the
13 forward command post in Kupari from Cavtat?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. From your command post in Cavtat, could you use this army
16 telephone to establish communications with Belgrade?
17 A. Yes, but through the exchange in Kumbor, which means indirectly.
18 Q. Can you please be more specific and explain, how do you establish
19 a connection with Belgrade in an indirect manner?
20 A. I would use my telephone to give a code, my code, and I requested
21 to be connected to a certain number. For instance, in the Belgrade
23 Q. Does that mean that the same procedure was applied vice versa?
24 A. The communication existed with our exchange in Kumbor. So my
25 answer to your question is yes, regardless of the fact that the men from
1 Kumbor could maybe convey a message or an order or anything that related
2 to us and that was coming from Belgrade.
3 Q. Mr. Kurdulija, I would like to hear from you, was it possible for
4 someone from Belgrade to use this military line and contact you in the
5 town command of Cavtat?
6 A. Yes, it was possible.
7 Q. On the 6th of December, 1991, were you at the town command of
9 A. Yes, I was.
10 Q. Did anyone come to your command on that day?
11 A. Yes. Admiral Jokic came to see me on that day in my command
13 Q. Was that an announced visit?
14 A. No, it wasn't.
15 Q. Do you recall at what time Admiral Jokic came to see you in
17 A. As far as I can remember, it was between 9.30 [Realtime transcript
18 read in error "9.10"] and 10.00.
19 Q. Do you remember, for how long did the admiral stay at your command
20 post in Cavtat?
21 A. Please, before I answer let me correct a mistake. I said between
22 9.30 and 10.00, and I see on the screen that it says 9.10 and 10.00. So I
23 would like this to be corrected. And could you please now repeat the
25 Q. My question was: Do you remember, for how long did Admiral Jokic
1 stay at the command post in Cavtat?
2 A. Regardless of the fact that it all happened 13 years ago, as far
3 as I can remember now, according to my estimate, he stayed between one and
4 a half and two hours at the command post in Cavtat.
5 Q. When Admiral Jokic came to your command, did he ask you anything?
6 A. Yes, he did. He asked me the usual questions relating to the
7 operation of my command, and he was generally interested in the situation
8 in Cavtat.
9 Q. Did you report to him on the situation at your command?
10 A. Yes, I did. I presented the details to him concerning our work
11 and the general -- the situation in general.
12 Q. Apart from that, did Admiral Jokic request anything else from you?
13 A. On that day, after some time, he requested me to get in touch with
14 the forward command post that was at the time in Kupari.
15 Q. Why did he do that?
16 A. He requested that because he wanted some officers to report to him
17 who had been his closest associates at the time.
18 Q. Who did he refer specifically to?
19 A. I remember that he wanted to talk to Colonel Gavro Kovacevic and
20 that he wanted the Warship Captain Milan Zec to come to Cavtat, where he
21 was, in order to have a conversation.
22 Q. What did you do about these requests of Admiral Jokic?
23 A. In fact, on that occasion I only got in touch with the forward
24 command post. I can't remember who was the duty operations officer at the
25 forward command post, and Admiral Jokic issued these tasks over the phone
1 to the officer who answered the call at the forward command post.
2 Q. While Admiral Jokic was at the command post in Cavtat, apart from
3 this conversation, did he talk to anyone else over your phone?
4 A. He made one or two more telephone calls.
5 Q. Do you remember how long these telephone conversations lasted?
6 A. Those were not long telephone conversations as far as I can
7 remember. They each lasted a couple of minutes.
8 Q. Do you know, who did he talk to?
9 A. I don't remember who he talked with, nor can I remember which
10 particular orders he gave during those conversations, because those
11 conversations were short, and while he was there and with his approval I
12 discharged my regular daily duties from the purview of the
13 responsibilities of the town command.
14 Q. While Admiral Jokic was there in the offices of the town command
15 of Cavtat, did you ever leave the office?
16 A. No, I never left the office.
17 Q. Did you receive any calls over this phone while Admiral Jokic was
18 there with you in the office?
19 A. I don't remember receiving any calls at that time. The officers
20 who were with me at the command and the platoon that I mentioned earlier,
21 I assigned tasks to them directly, not over the phone. So I don't think
22 it was necessary that any of my colleagues from the command or soldiers
23 called me on the phone during that period.
24 Q. Did you know at all the subject and the content of the
25 conversations that Admiral Jokic conducted over your phone?
1 A. No, I didn't know the content because I believed those to be the
2 usual methods of communications between the commander of the 9th VPS and
3 his officers.
4 Q. In this one and a half to two hours that you said that Admiral
5 Jokic had spent at your command, apart from these telephone conversations
6 that you've -- that you mentioned that he had made, was your telephone
7 line free?
8 A. The telephone line was free, yes. I don't recall there having
9 been any discontinuations in the line that day.
10 Q. While Admiral Jokic was at the command post in Cavtat in your
11 office, did you know what the purpose was of his visit that wasn't
13 A. I didn't know because it was customary for him to simply show up
15 Q. Up until that day, the 6th of December, and keeping in mind the
16 time -- the date when you entered your duty as the head of the Cavtat town
17 command, did he ever show up earlier on?
18 A. Yes. He was there two times.
19 Q. Could you hear any combat activities on that day from Cavtat from
20 the offices you were in? Could you hear any military activities?
21 A. Yes, you could, but we didn't know what was going on that day
22 because it was quite normal for sporadic activities to take place from the
23 time I entered my post up until the 6th of December, the date you
25 Q. Can you tell me, from your command post could one see Zarkovica,
1 Mokosica, and other places where the 9th VPS units were deployed?
2 A. You mean whether you could reach them by telephone?
3 Q. Yes, normal wire telephone line.
4 A. Yes. Over the telephone line that we talked about, one could
5 convey orders to them through their basic units. One could also receive a
6 message as well.
7 Q. Tell me, please, while Admiral Jokic was in the command of the
8 town of Cavtat, was there anyone else coming to the command?
9 A. The admiral arrived alone with, naturally, the driver who did not
10 accompany him to the command headquarters but remained in the car. Later
11 on, while he was still there, the Warship Captain Milan Zec also arrived.
12 Q. Do you remember approximately when it was during his stay in your
13 command post that Warship Captain Milan Zec came?
14 A. As far as I remember, it was within the last half hour of his stay
15 there, and I'm talking about the admiral.
16 Q. What did the two of them do at that time?
17 A. They talked, and they, however, asked me to leave the room while
18 they were talking.
19 Q. Therefore you are not aware of the subject matter of their
21 A. I'm not aware.
22 Q. What course did the visit of Admiral Jokic and Captain Milan Zec
23 take at your command post following their talks?
24 A. Upon the completion of their talks, they left the command post
25 individually, at different times, and I was not able to see where they
1 went since the position of the agency premises was such as would not allow
2 us to see which direction they took.
3 Q. As you had stayed in Cavtat for a while and the 9th VPS units were
4 deployed there, can you tell us what the distance is between Cavtat and
5 Kupari, and how long does it take for you if you're driving in a vehicle
6 to reach Kupari from Cavtat?
7 A. In my estimate, ten to 15 minutes.
8 Q. Likewise, could you tell me what the distance between Cavtat and
9 Cilipi is? How long does it take you to drive there in a car?
10 A. Fifteen to 20 minutes.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
12 finished my examination.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Rodic.
14 We are asked to observe a period of silence in memory of Sir
15 Richard May, whose funeral is taking place at this time. We will do that
17 Thank you very much.
18 Ms. Mahindaratne.
19 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Cross-examined by Ms. Mahindaratne:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Kurdulija.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Are you still serving in the army of Serbia and Montenegro?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And your rank is colonel?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. As such I will refer to you as "Colonel." Colonel Kurdulija, now,
3 in examination-in-chief you referred to taking certain steps in Cavtat
4 with the assistance of the superior command. Which formation or which
5 command did you mean when you referred to the words "superior command"?
6 Was it the 2nd Operational Group that you referred to?
7 A. I primarily referred to the command of the 9th Naval Military
8 Sector and also then the 2nd Operational Strategic Group.
9 Q. Do you know who Colonel Pipovic is?
10 A. Yes, Colonel Pipovic, if it's him you're referring to --
11 Q. That's correct. I'm referring to Colonel Pipovic. And wasn't he
12 an officer directly subordinated to General Strugar who was also assigned
13 to Cavtat?
14 Q. Colonel Pipovic was the assistant to General Strugar for civilian
15 affairs, that is for the civilian sector, and he was stationed in
16 Sutorina, near Igalo. So your information is not correct. Furthermore,
17 Colonel Pipovic was my superior but only until mid-December 1991 when he,
18 together with his command, arrived in the area and started his operation.
19 He was second in my command, and I'm referring to the area around
21 Q. So at some stage he did act as your superior?
22 A. Yes, but as my second superior, because he had two subordinated
23 commands. One was in Cavtat and was in charge of the area from Debeli
24 Brijeg-Sutorina to Mokosica. And this command was in Cavtat, whereas
25 Colonel Radojevic was in charge of the command and they were my immediate
1 superiors until mid-December 1991.
2 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, you mentioned that on 6th December Admiral
3 Jokic arrived at Cavtat, and could you not exactly remember the time, but
4 you thought it was sometime between - correct me if I'm wrong - I think
5 you said 9.30 and 10.00. Is that correct?
6 A. That's what I said.
7 Q. And you said he probably remained for about -- till about
8 approximately 1.30 -- or I'm sorry, one and a half hours to two hours. So
9 that would place him in Cavtat till about 12.00, approximately. Is that
11 A. The first part you mentioned, 1.30, that's not correct. In -- as
12 far as I remember, he stayed there for about one and a half hours to two
13 hours, which could make it then up to midday, but this first part that I
14 can read from my -- on my screen, until about approximately 1.30, that's
15 not correct. It should be deleted.
16 Q. Mr. Kurdulija, I made a mistake there and you will see in the
17 transcript that I apologise and go on to correct myself by saying one and
18 a half hours to two hours. It was a mistake I made when I said 1.30.
19 So you do agree that would place Admiral Jokic in Cavtat around
21 A. That's what I said. Now, whether he remained there until noon,
22 12.00 noon or a minute earlier, a minute later, I can't state with
23 precision, but I did say that he stayed there for about one and a half to
24 two hours.
25 Q. And he left Cavtat and went to Cilipi to take a helicopter to
1 Podgorica. Do you know that?
2 A. I don't know that. I never asked my superiors where they were
3 headed. He left Cavtat. Now, where he went, I really don't know.
4 Q. While Admiral Jokic was at Cavtat, did he assign you any tasks?
5 Did he dictate any faxes to be sent off or did he hand over any messages
6 to be given to Captain Zec or any messages to be conveyed to Captain Zec?
7 A. No. Whatever tasks he issued were issued there on the spot. I've
8 already said so. He asked me to get in touch with the forward command
9 post at Kupari, and he himself issued the tasks. So I did not receive any
10 tasks, not even with regard to the organisation of life and work in the
11 town, which used to be the practice of him issuing such tasks earlier on
12 when he would come.
13 Q. Did he dictate any letters or telegrams to you to be handed over
14 to Captain Zec?
15 A. No. There was no need for him to because he personally talked to
16 Captain Zec in my command.
17 Q. And you said that he used the telephone. Now, where exactly is
18 the telephone located in your command post?
19 A. It was located in the office where I would stay. Yes, there in
20 the office where I would stay.
21 Q. You said that while Admiral Jokic was present at Cavtat, you, with
22 his permission, attended to your other general tasks. Now, what are your
23 general or daily general tasks that you attended to on that day? You
24 don't have to go into detail, but a general description would do.
25 A. First of all, the officers and the platoon commander who was
1 subordinated to me reported to me and provided me with the proposal for
2 the plan of what had to be done in the course of that day. And we're
3 talking about the afternoon hours. And he allowed me to receive the
4 commander in this particular room. And while I was approving the plan to
5 this commander, and now it's not important whether the plan concerned the
6 touring of these civilians who were there in Konavle, who were trying to
7 visit there homes, because not all of them had vehicles, or whether it
8 concerned something else, meanwhile the admiral had his own documents he
9 had to attend to, and I was there on the spot giving my approval to this
10 commander, and the same was done with my duty officer at the command, the
11 same was done with my associate administrator who was in charge of my
12 office correspondence.
13 To put it briefly, whatever contacts I had to make, I made them in
14 the same room where the -- where he was up until he left, that is up until
15 he actually started talking to Captain Zec when I left the room.
16 If you're interested in any other details concerning my work, I
17 would kindly ask you to be more specific.
18 Q. Why are you stressing the fact that you were present in the room
19 right through when I asked you that? Were you instructed to testify to
20 such effect by anybody? Because I never asked you where you were right
21 through. I only asked you what your general tasks were. Why are you
22 stressing that fact?
23 A. Nobody instructed me to that effect. I've emphasised this fact
24 because I'm kind of expecting the logical drift of your questions, future
25 questions. How would you have known if you had not been there? And it
1 was from this logic that I started from. And this room where we were, the
2 premises where we were were quite small. There were two rooms; one duty
3 officer's room and my room. This was simply for the civilians to come to
4 ask, put forward the different requests to my officers. There was a desk
5 there to that purpose.
6 Q. Very well. So what you're saying is that you spoke to your other
7 officers, gave them instructions, did everything in the presence of their
8 commander who was also there taking telephone calls. That is your
10 A. No. Please do not put the words in my mouth, because during his
11 stay there he made these one or two telephone calls, and he did not talk
12 all the while. He was there. He had certain documents that he had to
13 attend to - I don't wish to repeat myself - and he allowed me to do
14 whatever I needed to do with my officers there.
15 Q. Now, were you aware on the 6th that there was a cease-fire
16 agreement that was to be signed in Cavtat that day at 12.00?
17 A. No, I was not aware of that. May I just note that any
18 negotiations that were conducted were beyond my purview, and I did not
19 know when they were taking place.
20 Q. Did you know that there were negotiations conducted on the 5th in
21 Cavtat, between Admiral Jokic, your commander, and three ministers of the
22 Croatian side? Were you aware of that?
23 A. No, I was not aware of that.
24 Q. So being the commander of Cavtat, you did not know that there were
25 negotiations being conducted between your commander and the Croatian party
1 on a comprehensive cease-fire agreement?
2 A. You should not be surprised at that, at the fact that I did not
3 know. My command was a low-level command. My task was primarily a
4 humanitarian one, to take care of people there in that area, and that once
5 our command arrived there that they could continue living a normal life.
6 The high-level negotiations that were conducted by Admiral Jokic is
7 something I was not supposed to be aware of. I was not interested in
8 that, and therefore I was not informed about it.
9 Admiral Jokic commanded all the units in the sector, and he could
10 enter any area where any unit of ours was in charge and that I or any
11 other unit commander did not even have to know that he was there.
12 Q. Now, you said that you had heard that there was -- or heard the
13 sound of combat activity from Cavtat. At what time -- I beg your pardon.
14 I withdraw that.
15 When Admiral Jokic came to Cavtat, did you inquire from him what
16 the combat activity was all about or did you or Admiral Jokic ever discuss
17 this? Was it natural for you to ask Admiral Jokic what is going on?
18 A. Please. You gave a few questions now -- or, rather, you put a few
19 questions now. If it's all right with you, can we move from one question
20 to another?
21 I understand a bit of English myself, and I see these dashes on
22 the transcript, so can we deal with the questions one at a time so that I
23 could give a better answer?
24 Q. Mr. Kurdulija, it's just one question. My question is: Did you
25 discuss with Admiral Jokic when you arrived what was going on, the combat
1 activity? That's just one question.
2 A. No, because my unit was not an operative unit. It was there
3 purely for logistical reasons, and there was no need for me to be afraid
4 for my own officers or NCOs or soldiers because there was no combat
5 activity in Cavtat. I did not ask the admiral out of respect for my
6 superior officer. It is not for me to put questions to him. I was not
7 supposed to ask him questions that did not belong to my own line of work.
8 MS. MAHINDARATNE: Your Honours, that concludes cross-examination.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much.
10 MS. MAHINDARATNE: I beg your pardon, Your Honour. Just a moment.
11 [Prosecution counsel confer]
12 MS. MAHINDARATNE: That concludes cross-examination, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Rodic.
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Re-examined by Mr. Rodic:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kurdulija, when you mentioned that you had
17 heard some combat activity, can you give us a more detailed description in
18 terms of what you actually meant?
19 A. What I meant was that artillery mortar shells could be heard and
20 sporadic infantry gunfire, gunfire coming from infantry weapons.
21 Q. Apart from that day, the 6th of December, did you have the
22 opportunity of hearing such activities earlier on?
23 A. Yes. This kind of fire, regardless of whether it's just infantry
24 fire or mortar or artillery fire or both, such fire was heard over the
25 past few days, too, but we were not supposed to receive such reports in
1 Cavtat, so we did not really know whether somebody was shooting for the
2 fun of it or whether it was an exchange of gunfire between JNA units and
3 the Croatian paramilitaries.
4 Q. Tell me, in that period when you mentioned that Admiral Jokic,
5 before the 6th of December, came two or three other times to your command
6 post, did you ever discuss combat activities?
7 A. Never. That was never the subject of our conversations.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have concluded my
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Captain. That's all that your
12 evidence involves. We are grateful for your attendance and your
13 assistance, and you are now free to return to your home. Thank you.
14 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
15 [The witness withdrew]
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, your next witness.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, unfortunately at this
18 moment the Defence does not have a witness who is ready to enter the
19 courtroom. We did not think that the examination of Mr. Stojanovic, the
20 company commander who took part in the Srdj activities, would be so short,
21 so we only had this witness prepared for today.
22 However, it is for this reason that my colleague, Mr. Petrovic,
23 left the courtroom earlier, so that the Defence would have three witnesses
24 who would be ready to enter the courtroom tomorrow.
25 JUDGE PARKER: You have witnesses here in The Hague, though?
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Well, can the next one be ready at 3.00?
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I could not answer that
4 question before contacting my colleague Mr. Petrovic, because I know that
5 he went to conduct the proofing of that witness with whom he intends to
6 start first thing in the morning tomorrow. The second witness who will be
7 testifying tomorrow in court is due to arrive this afternoon.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Well, I don't think we can simply afford to wait
9 until tomorrow. Clearly the witness is coming here with an appreciation
10 on the part of the Defence of the evidence that witness will give and the
11 point the witness is to be called for. Detailed proofing may make the
12 evidence a little quicker, but that is all.
13 Is the proofing taking place in the building here?
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. Unfortunately, we do
15 not have the facilities for that. Our witnesses are in two different
16 hotels in completely different parts of town, so we have quite a few
17 technical difficulties in our work too.
18 JUDGE PARKER: When will -- where is this witness and
19 Mr. Petrovic?
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] They are at the Sofitel Hotel, near
21 the central railway station in The Hague.
22 JUDGE PARKER: And that witness's name is?
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] That witness's name is Budimir Pesic.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It's thought he'll be a relatively short witness, I
25 take it.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Well, perhaps not relatively short,
2 but our estimate is that his effective time, including examination in
3 chief and cross-examination, would be between two and two and a half
4 hours. It is for that reason that we have planned to have two more
5 witnesses ready for tomorrow after him.
6 JUDGE PARKER: He was noted on the 65 ter as one hour, which is,
7 by the scale of things, a short witness.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber is of the view, Mr. Rodic, that we
10 would adjourn now with a view to resuming at quarter past 3.00. If you
11 could be good enough to arrange for the witness and Mr. Petrovic to be
12 here at that time, we'll continue with the evidence then. That will give
13 35 minutes, which is more than enough to get in.
14 [The Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
15 JUDGE PARKER: We can make it half past three, Mr. Rodic.
16 Mr. Re.
17 MR. RE: Your Honour, before Your Honours adjourn, there's an
18 application I wish to make in respect of the witness before, and I'm sorry
19 I haven't notified my learned friend and all the Chambers --
20 JUDGE PARKER: Well, I don't want to delay Mr. Rodic at this
21 moment as he has to get word --
22 MR. RE: No. But it could impact on that. It's an application in
23 relation to the previous witness, Mr. Stojanovic.
24 JUDGE PARKER: All right.
25 MR. RE: There will be an application by the Prosecution to recall
1 him to cross-examine on one specific point. During my cross-examination
2 I, unfortunately, neglected to ask him in relation to the matter of
3 discipline which he raised in his examination-in-chief. His evidence was
4 that discipline was not a problem.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, I remember that.
6 MR. RE: And I just neglected, and there was a specific document,
7 which is P108, in which the Prosecution case is contained in relation to
8 discipline which I neglected to put to him, as the Prosecution is, of
9 course, required to do under Rule 90 (H) of the Rules. Now, the fact that
10 I haven't done it, put the Trial Chamber and the Defence on notice doesn't
11 mean we abandon in any way that part of the case, but I have an
12 application. The witness is still in The Hague - we've spoken to VMS
13 [sic], and is at one of these hotels - and is potentially recallable if
14 the Trial Chamber is minded to allow me to recall for cross-examination on
15 that point, either today or first thing tomorrow morning. I anticipate if
16 I was given the leave, I wouldn't be more than between five or ten minutes
17 on that specific point. Again, I apologise for what happened.
18 JUDGE PARKER: On the application to recall the witness,
19 Mr. Rodic, do you have any submission?
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] The Defence opposes this request put
21 forth by the Prosecution, but at any rate, the Defence leaves the ultimate
22 decision in the hands of the Trial Chamber.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We will sit again at 3.30. If the
24 previous witness can be here at that time, we will allow him to be
25 recalled. That may take five or ten minutes, all of which will give
1 Mr. Petrovic a little longer in his proofing, but the further witness will
2 follow immediately on the completion of the cross-examination and any
4 Mr. Weiner.
5 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, just one brief point. We have not
6 received any sort of proofing notes, any summary, any changes in this
7 witness, the upcoming witness's testimony, because we were going to get it
8 tonight for tomorrow. Does that mean we're going to go right into
9 cross-examination or ...
10 JUDGE PARKER: There would seem to be no hope of that. The time
11 will run out before you're reached. So you will have all the small hours
12 of the night to prepare for cross-examination, Mr. Weiner.
13 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
14 JUDGE PARKER: We're always thinking of you. I'm sorry.
15 MR. WEINER: I appreciate that.
16 JUDGE PARKER: We will adjourn now and resume at 3.30.
17 --- Recess taken at 2.46 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 3.35 p.m.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I gather before we resume with evidence that there
20 is some matter that is to be raised. Ms. Somers.
21 MS. SOMERS: Good afternoon, Your Honours. We had requested, if
22 possible, some idea, if the Chamber is in a position to perhaps let us
23 know, of what the final submissions schedule would ultimately be. I know
24 there have been informal discussions among the Defence and us and the
25 legal officers, but we were trying to map out the balance of this month
1 and how August would look, if the Chamber is in a position, and I would
2 have to leave it entirely, of course, in your hands.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Well, the immediate expectation is that we will
4 finish the evidence on Friday the 23rd, I think it is, of this month. We
5 will then have a break which will in part coincide with the normal
6 vacation of the Tribunal with an expectation for the parties to have
7 prepared and have filed their final submissions. The initial thought of
8 the Tribunal was that that would take a month. I don't have a diary with
9 me at the moment to pinpoint that date, but it would be somewhere in the
10 vicinity of 23rd of August.
11 There would then be need for a provision for final submissions.
12 Again I'm without a diary, not having anticipated that this was the issue
13 to be raised, but we were thinking the first Monday and Tuesday of
14 September for final oral submissions.
15 MS. SOMERS: May I ask a question of the Chamber? Issues of
16 rebuttal are being looked at. The situation for the Prosecution has been,
17 as the Chamber is aware, that what we believe a witness may say and what
18 may ultimately come up during examination has not necessarily been the
19 same. Does the 23rd reflect any possible rebuttal or is that a conclusion
20 of the Defence evidence? Was there a contemplation for a day or so after
21 that for any possible rebuttal, the need for which is still up in the air
22 depending on how things materialise with the way the case has been going.
23 JUDGE PARKER: The following Monday and Tuesday are spare days.
24 The Wednesday is not because the Tribunal has Plenary sittings on
25 Wednesday and Thursday, but not the Monday and Tuesday. So if there was
1 need for further evidence, it could be accommodated then.
2 MS. SOMERS: Do I understand with two days allotted for closing
3 arguments that it is a day per side? Is that the contemplated --
4 JUDGE PARKER: Unless you are to finish very quickly and allow
5 the --
6 MS. SOMERS: As I was saying, a day per side, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Well, you see, it is in addition to detailed
8 written submissions.
9 MS. SOMERS: Of course.
10 JUDGE PARKER: And it wouldn't be a matter of rereading those but
11 of dealing with highlights, high points, and perhaps some observations on
12 the written submissions of the other party.
13 MS. SOMERS: Okay. Thank you very much.
14 [Prosecution counsel confer]
15 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, I -- I'm so sorry.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Sorry. Yes, Ms. Somers.
17 MS. SOMERS: I apologise. My colleagues have informed me that we
18 have been informed by the Defence of their expectation to call the experts
19 the 23rd through the 30th, so I think with the Chamber's having just made
20 this announcement, the Defence, I guess, will have to reallocate its time
21 a little bit differently. We didn't realise the -- I -- when I asked you
22 I --
23 JUDGE PARKER: We have heard nothing other than that the Defence
24 case will take no longer than four weeks, and that is Friday the 23rd.
25 MS. SOMERS: Okay.
1 JUDGE PARKER: We've actually now been allocating extra sitting
2 hours this week and next week to try and ensure that there is every
3 opportunity to the Defence to deal with their evidence.
4 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
5 JUDGE PARKER: And certainly the Chamber is not available after
6 Tuesday of the week following because of the Plenaries.
7 Yes, Ms. Somers.
8 MS. SOMERS: One last question: It is not known whether or not
9 the Chamber is contemplating a site visit of any kind. If the Chamber is
10 so contemplating, we would be grateful to -- thank you.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Well, as the evidence has progressed, I've got to
12 say our expectation has grown that if not the Prosecution, certainly the
13 Defence would be of the view that there needs to be a site visit to
14 understand some of this evidence, and if that were the case, it would
15 probably be preferable for the site visit to be interposed between the
16 written submissions and the final oral submissions so that the final oral
17 submissions could take account of the site inspection. That would mean
18 probably deferring for some few days, at least, the oral submissions.
19 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour, for the indication.
20 JUDGE PARKER: But we've just been conscious of how much the
21 evidence now seems to depend on capacities to see, distances and times of
22 movement from various locations, and I think the way things are going, the
23 Chamber would not be at all surprised if either or both parties were of
24 the view that an inspection is necessary.
25 MS. SOMERS: Thank you. It had been contemplated indeed earlier
1 and there have been some informal discussions, but it had not arrived at
2 the level you just mentioned. Thank you, sir.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. Is there anything, Mr. Rodic, that you would
4 like to raise?
5 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as my learned friend said
6 just now, we have discussed this between the parties, that is to say the
7 final submissions and when this could take place. The date of the 23rd or
8 around the 23rd of August was mentioned. Of course both parties, as far
9 as I could understand, addressed the registrar in terms of whether we
10 could move the date forward seven days. The parties agreed it would be
11 good if it could be postponed for seven days because it is holiday season,
12 there is lots of work, and then there are family problems and obligations
13 involved on the part of certain individuals.
14 At any rate, we would appreciate it if the deadline could be
15 postponed by seven days, but of course this is ultimately in the hands of
16 the Honourable Trial Chamber.
17 As for this particular piece of information relating to the 28th
18 and 29th of July, as you said just now, the Trial Chamber will be busy
19 then on account of the Plenaries, and we know that this is an important
20 annual commitment, although the Defence was not aware of the actual dates.
21 We were talking about four weeks, and we hope -- or, rather, we shall make
22 every effort to conclude the Defence case within that period of time, with
23 a possible reservation that it could certainly be completed by Wednesday,
24 the 28th of July when you say that the Trial Chamber is busy with the
25 Plenary Session here at the Tribunal.
1 The Defence is going to call its expert witnesses next week. They
2 will arrive in The Hague. In order to fit into the schedule, if so need
3 be, we may give up on one witness or two. I cannot say anything more
4 specific now, but taking into account the actual schedule, perhaps we
5 could resort to that.
6 There is another question that our client raised with us as a
7 problem, and that is precisely the new schedule according to which we
8 work, starting at 9.30 until 4.30 p.m. That means that he is in the
9 Tribunal for seven hours and at least one hour before that and one hour
10 after that. The general has complained to us that, in view of his health
11 condition, he cannot really take this. This is a major difficulty for him
12 spending such a long period of time here in the Tribunal.
13 That is what the Defence wished to say in relation to the subjects
14 that have been raised. Thank you, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Rodic. Dealing with those different
16 matters, first, one overall concern of the Chamber is to prevent this
17 trial dragging out unnecessarily, precisely out of concern for your client
18 and his health and to try to reach the point where there can be a final
19 decision as soon as possible, because I think we can all appreciate that
20 nothing will be more draining on him than the ongoing anxiety of not
21 knowing where this trial will get to.
22 We remain in the expectation that it should be possible to
23 conclude the evidence for the Defence by the end of sitting on Friday, the
24 23rd of July, and we will proceed on that basis. If there is some
25 rearrangement of sitting hours that would be more convenient but which
1 would still enable us to get about an extra hour a day, we would certainly
2 be prepared to hear from you on that once you've had a chance to consider
3 it, but we're trying to find this extra time to try to give you more time
4 for dealing with your evidence than you had indicated you needed, because
5 clearly we were slipping behind your schedule.
6 So we'll leave that as it is at the present time, but you may
7 raise it again if you see some way of improving the position.
8 The Chamber will look at your submission that we might defer the
9 written submissions by perhaps a week. In part that would fit in with the
10 question whether or not there should be a site inspection, but again we
11 make the point that will simply prolong the trial from your client's point
12 of view.
13 So there are perhaps some things now for counsel on each side to
14 think about to see where we are, but I hope at the moment the present
15 understanding and intentions of the Chamber are clear, and their objective
16 is to try to ensure that as quickly as is possible, consistently with
17 fairness, we can bring the trial to its proper conclusion in the interests
18 of your client.
19 We should now hear the witness who is waiting.
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence calls
21 Budimir Pesic.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] However, I have to point out, Your
25 Honour, that the preparation of this witness has not been completed, and
1 we have not concluded our proofing. At the moment when the witness was
2 summoned to appear before the Honourable Trial Chamber, the witness was
3 having lunch. So he cut his lunch short, but we did not conclude the
4 proofing session that would certainly have been important in terms of
5 preparing this witness properly for his evidence before this Honourable
6 Trial Chamber.
7 Of course the Defence never questions the decisions of the
8 Honourable Trial Chamber, and this particular time is no exception to
10 Allow me to start, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
12 Good afternoon, Mr. Pesic. Would you be kind enough to stand and
13 read the affirmation that will be given to you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
17 WITNESS: BUDIMIR PESIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Examined by Mr. Petrovic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Pesic, please tell us for the transcript your
23 full name and surname.
24 A. My name is Budimir Pesic.
25 Q. Can you tell us what your profession is.
1 A. I'm a professional military man.
2 Q. Can you tell us where you were born.
3 A. I was born in Kosovska Vitina, the municipality of Kosovska Vitina
4 in Kosovo, Serbia.
5 Q. Please tell us what schools you completed, sir.
6 A. I completed the military academy, the land forces department
7 infantry in Sarajevo.
8 Q. How long did your schooling at the academy last?
9 A. For four years.
10 Q. Since when have you been in professional military service in the
11 Yugoslav People's Army or now the army of Serbia and Montenegro?
12 A. In the then Yugoslav People's Army, I started my professional
13 service in the month of August 1987.
14 Q. Tell us, please, at this point in time, where are you serving?
15 A. At this point in time I'm at the Presevo garrison.
16 Q. What rank do you hold, Mr. Pesic?
17 A. I'm a major.
18 Q. Could you please be so kind as to wait a few moments for the
19 interpretation to be recorded in the transcript. So let us pause between
20 my question and your answer so that everything would be reflected in the
22 A. Very well.
23 Q. Upon completing the military academy, where was your first post?
24 A. Upon completing the military academy in 1987, my first post was in
25 the school of reserve officers in Bileca.
1 Q. What were your duties at the reserve officers school in Bileca?
2 A. I was commanding officer of the cadets platoon.
3 Q. Where did you serve in the course of 1991?
4 A. From the month of July 1991, I served in the Naval Landing Brigade
5 in Trebinje.
6 Q. How did this come about? How were you transferred from the
7 reserve officers school in Bileca to the Naval Landing Brigade in
9 A. I received orders for this transfer.
10 Q. Can you tell us when this order was issued, approximately?
11 A. I've already mentioned that I was transferred to Trebinje sometime
12 in mid-July 1999, and I received this order towards the end of September
13 the same year.
14 Q. Upon arriving in Trebinje, were you assigned to a specific unit?
15 A. Upon arriving in Trebinje, I started taking over the duties of
16 company commander in the 3rd Battalion, but the following day, with a
17 unit, I received orders to go to Split to provide security for the Kozjak
18 feature, which was five kilometres away from Split.
19 Q. For how long did you secure this feature in the surroundings of
21 A. I remained there until the 30th of October, 1991, at which time I
22 returned to my home unit in Trebinje.
23 Q. Who gave you the assignment and upon whose orders were you sent to
24 secure this feature near Split?
25 A. I was sent by oral orders of the commander of the brigade of the
1 naval landing marines. I think that he was a colonel, and his name was
2 Nojko Marinovic.
3 Q. What was the specific order given by Nojko Marinovic?
4 A. My orders were to be prepared with my men for a certain task. I
5 didn't know what the task specifically was to be. We were told that we
6 would be transported in helicopters to the location where we would receive
7 more specific orders.
8 Q. Did Colonel Marinovic explain to you the purpose of your
9 assignment in the context of the general situation in the country at the
11 A. No.
12 Q. Did Colonel -- was Colonel Marinovic at the head of the Naval
13 Landing Brigade after you returned from your task?
14 A. No, he wasn't at the head of this brigade. I received information
15 that he had fled the army and moved to Dubrovnik. And at that time when I
16 returned, he was the commander of the defence of Dubrovnik or, rather, the
17 forces who were at the time in Dubrovnik.
18 Q. Were you surprised by the fact that the officer who had sent you
19 to a certain assignment was not any longer with the unit at the time when
20 you returned from your mission?
21 A. Not especially.
22 Q. Upon your return from Split or, rather, from the surroundings of
23 Split, where did you go? To which unit did you go to?
24 A. Upon my return from Split on the 30th of October, 1991, I was
25 granted a seven-day leave, which I spent at home in Kosovo, and after that
1 I was assigned to the 1st Platoon of the 3rd Company of the 3nd Battalion
2 of the naval landing forces.
3 Q. When you say the 1st Platoon of the 3rd Company of the
4 3rd Battalion of the Naval Landing Brigade, do you know -- can you give us
5 any more specific assignment? Designation of this unit, any numbers.
6 A. That is its official name; the 1st Platoon of the 3rd Company of
7 the 3rd Battalion.
8 Q. Do you know the numerical designation of the brigade?
9 A. I cannot remember that. At the moment I cannot remember.
10 Q. Where was your unit stationed at the moment when you were
11 assigned, or appointed, rather, the commander of the 1st Platoon of the
12 3rd Company?
13 A. It was in the area of Brgat.
14 Q. Who sent you there to the unit upon your return from Split?
15 A. I was assigned there by the personnel organ of the brigade of the
16 Naval Marine Brigade. I think it was on the 8th of November, 1991, but
17 I'm not sure about the date.
18 Q. Was this unit subsequently involved in combat operations after
19 your arrival?
20 A. After my arrival, my unit was involved on the night between 9th
21 and 10th - and I'm talking about the time when I came to the unit - in the
22 area around the villages Bosanka and Srdj, and it was also involved on --
23 in combat on Srdj on the 6th of December.
24 Q. Do you know who was the commander of the battalion that you were
25 assigned to?
1 A. The commander of the battalion was Captain Vladimir Kovacevic.
2 Q. Do you know who was the commander of the company that you were
3 assigned to?
4 A. The company commander was Captain Slavoljub Stojanovic.
5 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the witness to
6 be shown Exhibit P124, please.
7 Q. Mr. Pesic, do you recognise this area which is shown in the map?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Please let me finish the question first. What is this area?
10 A. This is the Dubrovnik hinterland. It's the territory in and
11 around Dubrovnik.
12 Q. Can you see on this map the positions of the 3rd Battalion of the
13 -- of your brigade?
14 A. Yes. I see the positions of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd
15 Brigade of the naval marines.
16 Q. This designation 472 is a numerical designation of the brigade
17 that you were part of or a member of at the time?
18 A. Yes, that's right. I couldn't remember at the beginning.
19 Q. Can you please take a pointer and show on this map, but not on the
20 monitor but on the ELMO itself. So can you see on this map the positions
21 of the firing group of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade?
22 A. I see the firing positions in the area of Uskoplje of the 3rd
23 Battalion of the Motorised Brigade.
24 Q. Do you know which firing pieces were part of the firing group?
25 A. They had 120- and 82-millimetre mortars.
1 Q. Within the deployment of the unit of the 3rd Battalion, can you
2 see motorised companies as well?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. Can you tell us, the 3rd Company that you were a member of, was
5 its position of deployment correctly displayed on this map?
6 A. It is not correctly marked on the map. The 3rd Company was in the
7 area of Bosanka village, whereas in the map it says that this was the
8 position of the 2nd Company.
9 Q. Do you see on the map the positions of anti-armour company?
10 A. Yes, I do. The anti-armour company was on the Zarkovica feature.
11 Q. Can you see, as marked on this map, the enemy positions? If you
12 can, can you show them to us.
13 A. I see the enemy unit positions, and according to my information
14 and observation, they were deployed from the Belvedere Hotel at the
15 entrance point to Dubrovnik all the way down to Mokosica, Babin Kuk, and
16 Dubrovnik itself.
17 Q. Can you show us on the map the position of the units on Srdj?
18 A. There were ZNG units on Srdj. That's the Croatian National Guard.
19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. We don't need this map
20 any more. Thank you very much.
21 Q. You just mentioned that you were involved in the operations on the
22 6th of December, 1991. Where were you positioned on the 5th of December,
24 A. On the 5th December 1991, I was stationed in the village of
1 Q. One moment, please. Was the whole company that you were a member
2 of stationed in Bosanka village?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Were you personally on that day given any kind of an assignment?
5 A. From my company commander, Captain Stojanovic, on the night
6 between the 5th and the 6th, I was given an assignment to take part of my
7 platoon and become involved in the taking hold of the Srdj feature.
8 Q. Where did you receive this assignment from your company commander?
9 A. I received the assignment in the area of Bosanka.
10 Q. Can you describe for us the idea underpinning this operation of
11 taking hold of the Srdj feature?
12 A. I can explain what my mission and what my role was to be within
13 the forces that were engaged in this operation since only my men from my
14 company were engaged for this operation of taking hold of this specific
16 Q. Can you tell us, please, what was your specific assignment?
17 A. My assignment was to -- in dawn of the 6th of December, 1991, with
18 some elements of my company and with the support of the mortars from the
19 battalion firing group, 130-millimetre guns and a T-55 tank as support, to
20 take hold of one section of the Srdj feature along the axis Bosanka
21 village, along the road -- asphalt road, and the repeater which was
22 positioned on the very feature.
23 Q. The attack that you received an order for the evening before, was
24 it actually carried out the following day?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When did the attack commence and how?
2 A. The attack commenced at around 0600 hours with the activity of the
3 battalion fire group from the area of Uskoplje firing upon Srdj. That is,
4 it started with the preparation of the attack.
5 Q. Following the preparation of fire, what happened next?
6 A. The units that were designated to take part in the attack launched
7 the attack in a successive manner, depending on how far their starting
8 position was away from the feature, so that not all the units set out at
9 the same time.
10 Q. Where were you personally at the time when the attack commenced?
11 A. I was at my starting position some 700 metres away from Srdj in
12 the direction of the village of Bosanka. That is the axis of the village
13 of Bosanka-Srdj along the asphalt road.
14 Q. Did you head out toward the Srdj feature at some point during the
16 A. With my unit, I set out toward the Srdj feature at 6.20 a.m.
17 Q. Can you remember, that morning, what was the agreed sign for the
18 commencement of the activities against the Srdj feature? What was the
20 A. I cannot remember. I received the order to start the attack from
21 my commander of the company, and I don't know at the level of the
22 battalion what the signal, what the agreed signal was for the start of the
23 preparation of the attack.
24 Q. You've told us that you set out towards the Srdj feature after
25 having completed the firing preparation. What was your advance towards
1 Srdj like?
2 A. At the time I started advancing towards Srdj the preparation was
3 still in course because we were at such a distance from the feature that
4 it permitted the activity of the mortars. I set out with a tank and some
5 of my men with some 12 to 14 troops, and after having passed some 200 to
6 300 metres in the direction of the feature, we were fired upon from an
7 82-millimetre mortar, that is precisely two 82-millimetre mortars, who
8 were firing from the area of Babin Kuk, that is, more precisely, from the
9 area of the tennis fields -- tennis courts. In my estimate, fire was
10 opened also from the Old Town and from an anti-aircraft machine-gun
11 because I noticed the bullets --
12 MR. WEINER: Objection. Objection.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
14 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, we're outside of any notice that's been
15 provided to us.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. In what respects?
17 MR. WEINER: Just as he -- just as he's starting to talk about "In
18 my estimate fire was also opened" - so it looks like an assumption - "from
19 the Old Town and from an anti-aircraft gun because I noticed bullets." So
20 as soon as we start getting to -- Actually, all of the discussion here,
21 the Babin Kuk, from the tennis fields, from the tennis courts, the
22 estimate the fire was also opened from the Old Town in his estimate, the
23 anti-aircraft, that's outside the 65 ter summary.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I would suggest that you continue with your
25 examination Mr. Petrovic. The evidence will be heard subject to the
1 objection, and we'll see where it leads.
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wish to note that my
3 learned colleague would have received a supplement to all the information
4 as we used to do it so far had it not been for the present circumstances
5 where we were unable to deliver such a document.
6 Thank you, Your Honours. I will continue with my examination.
7 Q. Mr. Pesic, you mentioned that in your estimate you were fired upon
8 from the direction of the Old Town. Can you tell us, what was it exactly
9 that you noticed?
10 A. I notice tracer bullets flying over us from that direction. I'm
11 not claiming that fire was opened from the Old Town, I'm just saying that
12 it came from that direction. And the mortars in the -- and the mortar in
13 the area of the tennis court was seen by my observer and by myself.
14 Q. You, therefore, observed the fire that was opened against your
15 unit, and that was, in your estimate at the time, coming from the Old
17 A. It was hitting behind and to the left of us.
18 MR. WEINER: I object.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic, the specific evidence of the witness
20 was it was from the direction of the Old Town. He specifically said he
21 did not claim it came from the Old Town. Your question put it from the
22 Old Town.
23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the interpretation is
24 not precise. I'm talking about the direction of the Old Town. My
25 question referred to the direction from the Old Town, and this can be
1 checked from the tape that this is being recorded to, and I'm sorry for
2 any possible unclarities that might arise from it.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that, Mr. Petrovic. Carry on.
4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Mr. Pesic, which weapons were held by your assault group to --
6 which was given the assignment to seize this feature of Srdj?
7 A. We had automatic rifles, hand grenades, hand-held rocket launchers
8 of 64 millimetres, Zoljas, and I had the AGF grenades which were intended
9 for repelling riots which had agents affecting physiologies.
10 Q. Which purposes would these AGF grenades be used for?
11 A. Well, when the tasks are being carried out in certain premises,
12 because we were told at the Srdj feature there were tunnels and the like,
13 and these grenades were primarily intended for hitting these targets in
14 tunnels and closed areas.
15 Q. Can you tell us which direction you took from the village of
16 Bosanka. You personally, not your unit.
17 A. I was taking the left side of the asphalt road going from Bosanka,
18 that is sumarak [phoen], pine wood, towards the Srdj feature.
19 Q. In your action did you use any armour weapons?
20 A. We had the support of a T-55 tank that was within my group's
22 Q. In which direction did the tank T-55 advance?
23 A. For a while it took the asphalt road, and then some 200 to 300
24 metres in front of the Srdj feature it would -- it turned because there
25 the feature overheaded the town. And then as it turned it came under
1 lateral fire from the direction of Dubrovnik.
2 Q. Could you please tell us, the terrain from your starting point in
3 the direction of the Srdj feature, what are the topographical
4 characteristics of the terrain?
5 A. The terrain is open, rocky. There are no natural shelters, no
6 possibilities of camouflage, and it is on an elevated position in respect
7 to the position we were starting out from.
8 Q. Does that mean that you and your group went upwards, up the hill?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did the tank also move up the hill up to the point you mentioned?
11 A. Yes, the tank kept going up the hill throughout the attack.
12 Q. How many troops were there in your group that headed out towards
14 A. Some 12 to 14 troops, including myself.
15 Q. A minute ago you said that you came under fire as you were on the
16 move. What did you do when you came under fire from the positions in
18 A. When I came under fire from the direction of Dubrovnik, I asked my
19 superior over the radio for the provision of support, that is to open fire
20 at the mortar positions that were most -- that constituted the greatest
21 threat for me.
22 Q. The fire that you requested, was it then opened on the positions
23 that were endangering you?
24 A. The fire was not opened. I received a message from my commander,
25 battalion commander Vladimir Kovacevic, that the fire group from the
1 Uskoplje feature cannot open fire on the area of Babin Kuk, that is the
2 area thereabouts, because they were out of range.
3 Q. Mr. Pesic, what happened next? You were proceeding towards Srdj.
4 A. The moment I received the information that the battalion firing
5 group cannot give us support by firing at the observed firing positions,
6 and once I received information that it was not allowed for 130-millimetre
7 guns to fire at these firing positions, I ordered my troops to accelerate
8 our pace towards Srdj, because I calculated that as soon as we reach the
9 feature, the mortars would stop firing.
10 Q. Did you perhaps receive an order to suspend and abort your attack
11 and return to your initial positions?
12 A. No, we didn't.
13 Q. Did you at any point in time during that day receive an order to
14 abort the attack and another order instructing you to go back to your
15 initial positions?
16 A. No.
17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I -- by your leave,
18 because we have another 20 minutes of examination, I would like to
19 continue the examination of this witness tomorrow morning.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. We will adjourn now to resume at 9.30
21 in the morning.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.30 p.m.
23 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 14th day of
24 July, 2004, at 9.30 a.m.