1 Monday, 19 July 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. We continue with the evidence.
6 Mr. Rodic.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. The Defence
8 calls the next witness, Jovica Nesic.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Could you please take the card and
11 read the affirmation that is on it, please.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
15 Yes, Mr. Rodic.
16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 WITNESS: JOVICA NESIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 Examined by Mr. Rodic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, could you please state your full name.
21 A. My name is Jovica Nesic.
22 Q. When and where were you born?
23 A. On the 21st of September 1961 in Svilajnac.
24 Q. And what is your profession?
25 A. I'm a professional serviceman.
1 Q. What is your rank?
2 A. Lieutenant colonel at the moment.
3 Q. When did you join the army service?
4 A. Since 1986.
5 Q. At the beginning, I would kindly ask you for the sake of
6 interpreters and the transcript to wait a little before you give your
7 answer to my question.
8 Mr. Nesic, could you please tell us what education you have.
9 A. I finished elementary school, then high school. And after that,
10 the military academy for ground forces.
11 Q. Did you have any additional training or specialised training?
12 A. So far, I haven't.
13 Q. Mr. Nesic, in 1991, where were you serving?
14 A. In 1991 until almost late September, I served at the infantry
15 school centre in Bileca. And then from the end of September 1991, I was
16 stationed with the 472nd Motorised Brigade of the 9th VPS -- I apologise,
17 it's not the motorised brigade, it was naval landing brigade, in Trebinje.
18 Q. While you were stationed at the infantry reserve officers' school,
19 what duties did you discharge there?
20 A. While I was serving in Bileca from 1986 until August approximately
21 1990, I was a platoon commander. And after that, from August 1990 until
22 late September 1991, I was the instructor, firing instructor.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone, please.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. In addition to that, did you reside in Bileca as well?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. In September 1991, were you transferred to Trebinje?
3 A. Initially, that was not a transfer. I was, rather, seconded to
4 Trebinje. And after that, an order on transfer arrived for me to move to
6 Q. Since that was late September 1991, tell me, please, was any other
7 of your colleagues, officers from Bileca, transferred to Trebinje, if you
8 know that?
9 A. Yes, many of my colleagues were transferred. That is, practically
10 the majority of them from Bileca to the Trebinje Brigade. I can give you
11 some of the names of the people that I had most contacts while I was at
12 the theatre. That was Captain Stojanovic, Sergeant Lemal, Sergeant Pesic,
13 Captain Jeremic, Second-Lieutenant Hodza, Captain Denic. And many, many
14 others. Among them was my neighbour, Zeljko Soldo who lived in a flat
15 above me in the resident building.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 Did any of these men, your colleagues from Bileca that you have
18 just named, was with you in the same unit within the 472nd Brigade?
19 A. Yes. They were in the same battalion. I was there, so was
20 Stojanovic, so was Lemal, so was Jeremic, Soldo, although he did join us
21 later on sometime in November. But we were in the same unit, including
22 Hodza, Sikimic.
23 Q. Upon your arrival in Trebinje to the 472nd Brigade, which was your
24 position that you were assigned to?
25 A. I was assigned commander of an anti-armour company of the
1 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade.
2 Q. Who was at the head of the anti-armour company? Who was the
3 commander of that company before you came?
4 A. Before I came, the commander of the anti-armour company was
5 Reserve Captain Sutovic.
6 Q. What was the situation that you found upon your arrival at the
8 A. The situation was in a way good, but nonetheless it wasn't in
9 keeping with my standards and my understanding of how a situation and a
10 unit should be, that is, the standards that I acquired and applied while I
11 worked in Bileca.
12 Q. Can you tell us how this reflected, just briefly?
13 A. First of all, it was reflected in the inexperience of this reserve
14 officer to establish full order in the units to deploy the firing pieces
15 in proper way, to provide fortification of the unit in a proper manner,
16 which I, after I had joined them, corrected and rectified.
17 Q. What was the situation with the strength of the unit and the level
18 of strength?
19 A. The unit was manned as per establishment fully; however, that was
20 only in terms of numbers. One part of the unit was not properly trained
21 for their duties because there were certain problems in that area,
22 primarily for the reason of the 472nd Navy Landing Brigade was
23 predominantly manned by reserve forces from Dubrovnik and Trebinje
24 municipalities. And with the advent of this situation, this recruitment
25 from the territory of Dubrovnik Municipality was not carried out so that
1 all the planned military specialties that should have been there could not
2 have been met. It was done only partially, whereas in the remaining
3 problematic area, this was made up for by physical numbers of men. The
4 strength of the unit consisted of 40 per cent active-duty officers and
5 about 60 per cent of reserve forces.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 An anti-armour company has what kind of weapons? What did you
9 A. My unit had six anti-armour, recoilless, 82-millimetre guns, and
10 six anti-armour, 9K-11, self-guided missile launchers.
11 Q. Is that what is popularly known as Maljutka rockets?
12 A. Yes, yes, that's correct, although you cannot view it exactly in
13 that way because if we say Maljutka that implies, and that refers to the
14 rocket itself. Rocket is virtually only a charge, whereas the firing
15 piece has a guiding device, and I had this kind of six guiding devices for
16 this type of rocket.
17 Q. Sir, who was the commander of that rocket platoon?
18 A. At the time when I arrived in the unit in late September, I
19 believe it was the 25th or the 26th of September but I can't give you the
20 exact date, the platoon commander, the rocket platoon commander, was
21 Hodza Naser, Second Lieutenant Hodza Naser.
22 Q. Sir, at which position was your company in late September and
23 early October 1991?
24 A. At that time, my company was in the Ivanica area.
25 Q. Which republic was that in?
1 A. That is the former Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2 Q. Sir, do you know when combat operations commenced in that area?
3 A. I couldn't give you the exact date. It was early October.
4 Whether it was the 1st or the 2nd, I can't really say. It was the 1st or
5 the 2nd at any rate.
6 Q. Sir, how about your company? Did you suffer any casualties when
7 combat operations first began?
8 A. Yes. On the very first day of combat operations, there were ten
9 people who were killed and two men were wounded in my company. Eight
10 soldiers of the ten who were killed died on the spot while two succumbed
11 to the wounds they had received, at the Trebinje hospital.
12 Q. Can you tell us how it came about that those people were killed?
13 A. Yes. My unit's position came under fire by mortar projectiles,
14 82-millimetre and 120-millimetre projectiles. For the best part of the
15 day, those projectiles kept overshooting the shelter behind which our
16 soldiers were. But at one point, the mortar shell hit a gun crew
17 directly, and five people were killed there. Just after that, the crew
18 manning the adjacent gun realised what had happened to the first crew.
19 They left their shelter and came out to pull out those people from their
20 position. However, at that very moment, another 120-millimetre shell fell
21 between them, so the other crew who came out to help was also hit, the gun
22 crew. Alongside with them, the platoon commander at the time was also
23 hit, a reserve lieutenant colonel -- a reserve second lieutenant and also
24 the squad commander.
25 Q. Who was the commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade
1 right at the beginning?
2 A. When I came to the unit, the battalion commander was Captain First
3 Class Ekrem Devlic.
4 Q. And who was his deputy?
5 A. The deputy was Captain Vladimir Kovacevic.
6 Q. In relation to that situation, did any changes occur in terms of
7 the battalion command later on?
8 A. Yes, there were changes. Sometime in the second half of October,
9 I can't be more specific, the man who had been battalion commander up to
10 that point, Captain Devlic, was wounded. And since he had to leave in
11 order to receive proper treatments, Captain Kovacevic became battalion
13 Q. Mr. Nesic, where was your company staying throughout October 1991?
14 A. From the beginning of October up to just days before the end of
15 the month, the company was at Ivanica. As for the last few days before
16 the end of October, the 27th or 28th perhaps, but I can't be specific, the
17 company was pulled out to the rear to rest. And this was at Talezi
19 Q. From the Talez area, did at any point your battalion join in
20 combat operations?
21 A. Yes. In early November, the first half of November, again, I
22 can't give you the exact date, I'm sorry. It could have been the 7th or
23 the 8th or possibly the 10th of November, so it was the first third of the
24 month in a manner of speaking, we received the assignment to move out of
25 the area where we were resting and to engage in combat in order to take
1 the elevations surrounding the village and the village of Bosanka itself.
2 Q. What did your company do in that area?
3 A. From the moment we left the village of Talez until the moment we
4 reached the village of Brgat, we kept on working as an anti-armour
5 company. However, from the time we arrived in the village of Brgat, I
6 received orders -- at the time we arrived in the village of Brgat, I
7 received orders to leave our pieces behind and to keep on moving and to be
8 at the ready to engage in further combat operations, but also to be ready
9 to be used as a pure and simple infantry unit.
10 Q. Did your company take Zarkovica at any point in time?
11 A. Yes. When I arrived in the Zarkovica area, because I had been
12 going behind the remaining infantry units, I received orders to take
13 shelter behind the tower at Zarkovica and to be at the ready and be
14 prepared to join combat operations in the direction of the village of
16 Q. Mr. Nesic, by the time you reached Zarkovica at that time, did you
17 find anyone there? Were there any soldiers or troops there?
18 A. By the time I reached Zarkovica, there were soldiers there who
19 were members of other units, units that were not within the composition of
20 our 3rd Battalion; more specifically, at Zarkovica, I found observers and
21 the commander from the 130-millimetre gun battery that were stationed at
22 Cilipi. I found a 120/3-millimetre anti-aircraft gun, a T-55 tank, some
23 other soldiers, I didn't know which unit they were from. There was a
24 motor vehicle there also that had been destroyed. It was a freight
25 vehicle, T-70 -- 710.
1 Q. Sir, when you seized control of that feature at Zarkovica, was
2 your unit fired upon?
3 A. At the moment when we reached Zarkovica, we were under heavy fire
4 specifically. The tower at Zarkovica was targeted. And during that day,
5 within the close perimeter and around the tower, 59 shells fell. No one
6 really counted the shells in, those that fell around the tower. But as it
7 happened, soldiers knew roughly how many shells fell just around the
9 Q. How long did those combat operations go on for in November?
10 A. The fighting in November lasted for two days. That's from the
11 moment I arrived in the area.
12 Q. Which specific positions were taken up by your battalion once the
13 fighting was over?
14 A. Once the fight was over, the line that we had reached was the
15 Dubac/Zarkovica/Bosanka/Strincijera line, and also that other place in
16 Rijeka Dubrovacka straddling the road, Cajkovici. Yes, that's the name.
17 Q. From the position at Zarkovica, were you able to observe the
18 firing points of the enemy side?
19 A. Yes, I was able to observe their positions. First of all,
20 Zarkovica itself was a dominant feature. And from there, you had a very
21 clear view over at least half of Dubrovnik town, if not actually more.
22 Q. Did you have any reconnaissance or monitoring devices, equipment?
23 A. If you're referring to different optical devices, yes I did. I
24 had a binocular that I had signed for. I had optical sighting equipment
25 on each of the recoilless guns that we had. And we also used the
1 artillery compass that was there that belonged to the unit, to the battery
2 that I talked about. The commander was there before I came.
3 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Your Honour. May I ask the witness be
4 asked again. There was an omission in the record, and I'm not sure that
5 we can pick it up later. It's page 10, line 5. "We also used the
6 artillery" blank, and I'm not sure what the blank was.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Nesic, can you just repeat, or rather describe again what has
9 been asked.
10 A. Yes. It was a periscopic artillery binocular.
11 Q. Mr. Nesic, from Zarkovica, could you see the Old Town? Was it
12 within the area that you could see from Zarkovica?
13 A. Yes, very clearly.
14 Q. Did you notice anything out of the ordinary in relation to the
15 Old Town?
16 A. Out of the ordinary in the Old Town, well, it was empty. There
17 were no people moving about, as was usual. Other than that, there was
18 firing against our units from that area.
19 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. We have no time frame for
20 this question.
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I'll specify, Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Nesic, everything that we have been talking about is in
23 relation to which period of time, between the 1st of October and 31st of
24 December. But my specific question now, the last one, is from the time
25 you arrived at Zarkovica as you said in November and on. So what you've
1 just told us, is that in relation to the period of time between the time
2 you came to Zarkovica in November?
3 A. That was my understanding of your question, that you were
4 referring to the specific day when I reached Zarkovica. That was my
5 understanding. And that was the day that I was talking about, the day I
6 arrived at Zarkovica. I have already given you the date, at least I was
7 as specific as I could be. But I couldn't give you the exact date. It
8 was around the 10th of November. I'm not sure if it was the 6th, the 7th,
9 the 8th. I really can't remember.
10 Q. So if I understand you correctly, what you've said about firing
11 from the Old Town, that refers to those days when you came to Zarkovica?
12 A. Yes, the very first day I came.
13 Q. Sir, can you provide more detail about what exactly you noticed in
14 the Old Town?
15 A. Yes, gladly. Specifically, I saw a machine-gun fire from the
16 harbour. The exact location was just below the arch of the town's big
17 cafe, facing one of streets in the Old Town. Secondly, there was firing
18 also from the opposite side of the Old Town near one of the gates. The
19 gate is called Pile. Four mortars from firing from there. Specifically,
20 from where I was standing, I couldn't see the mortars themselves because
21 they had -- they were sheltered. They were behind something. But we did
22 see people moving about. And several days later, we received confirmation
23 that mortars had indeed been active there in that very area because
24 soldiers who led the front --
25 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour, the last piece of evidence is
1 not part of the 65 ter summary about any confirmation of anything later.
2 JUDGE PARKER: First of all, Mr. Rodic, you might get clear what
3 the witness could actually see in connection with this firing from the far
4 side of the town near the Pile gate. And then we'll see where we go from
5 there with this question of 65 ter.
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mr. Nesic, now that you're talking about mortars that are
8 positioned near the Pile gate, can you describe to us in greater detail
9 what it was that you specifically noticed. What did you observe there?
10 A. Specifically, I observed the movement of uniformed persons in that
12 Q. This movement of uniformed persons, how do you relate this to the
13 mortars that you could not see yourself?
14 A. I relate the two for two reasons: The first reason is that in
15 that area, we fired a projectile from a cannon into that area
16 specifically. After the projectile fell there in that area, the mortar
17 stopped firing.
18 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And secondly --
20 MS. SOMERS: The witness does not know there was a mortar. The
21 witness saw movement.
22 JUDGE PARKER: The position, Mr. Rodic, is not coming across in a
23 satisfactory way. The witness is assuming something. What we need to
24 know is what it is that he actually observed, if you could be more careful
25 in the questioning to get that clear.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour. I shall do
2 that. The witness just tried to explain this.
3 Q. Mr. Nesic, you described the movement of these persons and what
4 you did and the action taken there. But since you yourself did not see
5 what you mentioned just now, the four mortars, can you tell us how come
6 you know that this involved four mortars rather than one or two, for
8 A. I can explain. I've tried to explain a few times, but I was
9 interrupted in making my statement.
10 MS. SOMERS: I have to object again.
11 JUDGE PARKER: There are reasons why you are being interrupted,
12 Mr. Nesic, because we want to know only what you observed at this point
13 and not what you deduced. If you can confine your evidence at the moment
14 to what you yourself actually saw, thank you.
15 Now, at the moment in my understanding of the evidence,
16 Mr. Rodic, the witness has not seen any mortars or seen any firing of
17 mortars. I'll leave you to proceed with your questioning from there.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Nesic, apart from this movement of persons that you described
20 to us near the Pile gate, did you notice anything else specifically then?
21 A. Specifically at that place, I did not. However, infantry weapons
22 were fired from the Old Town walls, and that could be heard clearly.
23 Gunfire from infantry weapons.
24 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. I saw nothing in the 65 ter
25 summary about infantry weapons being fired from the Old Town walls.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I shall proceed then. I
3 shall --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise. But
5 Ms. Somers was not in Dubrovnik at the time, so she could not see this.
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Nesic, please do not make any comments. Just do your best to
8 answer my questions. Tell me, please, these persons that you observed
9 near the Pile gate at that position, did you manage to see what kind of
10 persons they were?
11 A. I could see. These were uniformed persons with weapons.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could I please have the usher's
14 assistance. I would like the witness to be given this map, please.
15 Q. Mr. Nesic, could you please take the magic marker and mark the
16 position of the machine-gun that you spoke of and the position relating to
17 the movement of these uniformed persons that you also spoke of.
18 A. I'll try to mark that because this position, the picture of the
19 Old Town, cannot be seen in the sense of the actual curve where it is. So
20 I will mark the tactical sign that pertains to a machine-gun.
21 Q. Please mark that particular place with the letter A.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. Now, please mark where these people in uniform that you observed
24 were moving.
25 A. Can this be marked by an arrow?
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. Could you please mark that particular position with the letter B.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. And finally, could you please put the date on this map and sign
7 A. The lower part or the upper part of the map?
8 Q. It doesn't matter. Wherever there is enough room.
9 A. I'm sorry. What's the date today?
10 Q. The 19th of July.
11 A. [Marks]
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could this map please be
13 assigned a number as a Defence exhibit.
14 JUDGE PARKER: The map will be received, marked with two markings.
15 One, the marking by the harbour of the machine-gun position the witness
16 observed. And the other marking with an arrow where uniformed men were
17 seen near the Pile gate. A third marking was placed near the arrow, but
18 that is not the subject of direct evidence. I know what it signifies
19 normally, and that is precisely the evidence to which objection is
20 presently taken.
21 THE REGISTRAR: This will be marked D109.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Nesic, tell me, please, after the fighting was over in
24 November, the fighting that you spoke of, you said that the fighting was
25 over once your battalion had taken these positions. In the period after
1 that, were there any fire provocations against your unit?
2 A. There were fire provocations. Fire provocations occurred every
3 day. It is infantry weapons that were fired. For the most part, these
4 weapons had silencers, so you could not really hear the shot. Only
5 bullets whizzing by you.
6 Q. Tell me, please, did you carry out any observing from your
7 positions in the course of the month of November 1991?
8 A. Yes. From these positions, we carried out observations every day.
9 Q. Tell me, please, what does the organisation of this observation
10 within your company look like?
11 A. Specifically in my company, at the front end of the wall of the
12 tower of Zarkovica, I had an observer on duty all the time. And they took
13 turns every hour. This soldier, observer, was charged with the duty of
14 observing the entire area in front of him, all the way to Dubrovnik, and
15 to inform us of anything that he might notice.
16 Q. When somebody else carried out these observations, when you did
17 not, did you receive information about targets, objectives, anything that
18 might have been observed?
19 A. Yes. I've already mentioned there was an observer there all the
20 time. And I would sometimes go out and carry out these observations
21 myself. But the observer would report on what he had observed.
22 Q. Tell me specifically, please, about things like what you described
23 to me, the firing of machine-gun coming from the Old Town. Did you report
24 to anyone about that? Did you let anyone know about it?
25 A. As for all more relevant information, more important information
1 that we received, I would send it further on to the superior command; that
2 is to say, to the battalion commander.
3 Q. Were you in a position to inform anybody else?
4 A. No, I was not. My link goes to the battalion commander.
5 Q. Tell me, please, in December 1991, did your battalion attack the
6 positions of the Srdj fortress?
7 A. The battalion that I served in did.
8 Q. Tell me, please, can you tell us how this actually happened.
9 A. In the briefest possible terms, sometime in the evening of the
10 5th, early evening - I cannot give you the exact time, what time it was
11 exactly - I was in my unit at Zarkovica, and I was informed that I should
12 go and report at the command, or rather that we would have a briefing held
13 at the command of the commander of the mortar company, Captain Jeremic at
14 Ivanica, to be very precise.
15 Q. Tell me, please, who informed you of this and what were you told?
16 A. A soldier, a communications soldier from the command informed me
17 of this, the man who worked on these communications. And what was
18 conveyed to me was what I already said, that I should go down to Ivanica
19 for a briefing because the battalion commander is still at the Kupari
20 briefing. And from Kupari, he would probably come there to Ivanica.
21 Q. Did you actually go to Ivanica?
22 A. Yes, I did.
23 Q. Did your commander arrive there?
24 A. At the moment when I arrived, he was not at Ivanica yet. But soon
25 after that, he did arrive.
1 Q. Tell me, please, what did the commander tell you during this
3 A. After he arrived, he told us that we were given the task of taking
4 Srdj the following day.
5 Q. Did he say who gave him this task?
6 A. The task was received at the forward command post in Kupari where
7 he had attended a briefing. I don't remember him mentioning any specific
8 names in terms of who charged him with this task. But when he came back
9 from the command post, from this briefing, he told us that we were given
10 the task of carrying out an attack on Srdj.
11 Q. Tell me, please, did he tell you whether you would have any
12 support, whether you would act in concert with someone when you carry out
13 that task?
14 A. Of course. He gave us an order to that effect. This is an order
15 that is issued to the company commanders. And he told us that due to
16 constant provocations from that area, the basing of units there, then
17 there was total control of the unit's movements, of our unit's movements
18 from up there. So because of all of that, we were supposed to take this
19 feature of Srdj. Also, he said that in addition to our own forces, we
20 would be supported with a 130-millimetre battery, that is to say, a
21 battery of 130-millimetre cannons from the area of Cilipi.
22 Q. Were you presented the plan of this action, of this attack, were
23 you all given specific tasks within the battalion?
24 A. Yes. The plan was presented, or rather, it was an order in
25 military terminology. It contained specific tasks of each unit, very
1 precise tasks for each company and what it was supposed to do as part of
2 the overall mission. And I can repeat which individual unit was given a
3 task, if necessary.
4 Q. Yes, please do.
5 A. The company of Captain Stojanovic and Sergeant -- were given the
6 task to form combat groups for the attack on Srdj. Under such
7 circumstances, it was tactically fully justified because it could not have
8 been done with a large-size unit because the people would be congested.
9 That is why smaller units were used. Both units, the one commanded by
10 Captain Stojanovic and the other commanded by Sergeant Lemal, were
11 supposed to be supported by one tank each. They were instructed to
12 advance behind the tank in order to hide from the fire coming from Srdj.
13 The tank was supposed to neutralise firing points that may be on the wall,
14 and they were to proceed in that manner until they reached the fortress
15 itself. So these two groups advanced from two directions. One was led by
16 Captain Stojanovic, and it was moving from the direction of Bosanka
17 towards Srdj. And the one led by Sergeant Lemal, from Strincijera,
18 Bosanka, and then to Srdj.
19 Then a mortar company was given a task to carry out firing
20 preparation for the attack which means that they were told to target the
21 fortress on Srdj itself and not to allow the men to leave the Srdj
22 fortress because we estimated there were quite a few men there. And to
23 fire in front of the fortress itself with a view to possibly opening a
24 passage through the mined field that had been planted there.
25 Q. If I may interrupt you here, tell me, do you know who was supposed
1 to lead the group from Bosanka towards Srdj?
2 A. Sergeant Pesic -- sorry, Lieutenant Pesic.
3 Q. In this order, what was the task of your anti-armour
4 company -- just a moment, please.
5 There is no answer that you gave to my question who was commanding
6 the company at Bosanka.
7 A. The company commander at Bosanka was Captain Stojanovic.
8 Q. Within the terms of this task, what was the anti-armour company
9 supposed to do?
10 A. The anti-armour company had the duty to secure the left flank on
11 the southern slopes of Srdj towards the town. So virtually to control
12 this area and to prevent the units moving forward to Srdj to come under
13 fire. Their duty was also to prevent bringing fresh forces from Dubrovnik
14 to Srdj.
15 Q. Were there any special requests for any special equipment required
16 for this mission?
17 A. I myself didn't have any specific requests, but the company
18 commanders did have requests. They requested to be issued bulletproof
19 vests, tear gas, bombs, explosives and things like that that we were not
20 issued as per establishment.
21 Q. Do you know if they had received all these required equipment for
22 this specific mission?
23 A. Yes, I do know. Captain Stojanovic received bulletproof vests.
24 They were, in fact, left with me in Zarkovica, and then he came from
25 Bosanka to Zarkovica and took them and took them to his unit.
1 Q. Do you perhaps know who had left these bulletproof vests with you?
2 A. I cannot say exactly because they were taken over by my sergeant
3 who was keeping the duty, and he said that a vehicle had come from Kupari,
4 that he had received this consignment, and that he had left it in my
5 so-called office there.
6 Q. Can you remember when the attack on Srdj began.
7 A. The attack began on the following day in the early morning hours.
8 I cannot say exactly at what hour. But it was at dawn.
9 Q. At the time, who was in Zarkovica at the positions of the
10 anti-armour company?
11 A. Are you referring to other units?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. Besides my unit was the commander of the battalion in Zarkovica.
14 He set up his observation post. There was also the company commander of
15 the 130-millimetre gun battery from Cilipi. And there was also one of the
16 officers - I cannot remember his name - from the forward command post in
18 Q. Tell us, please, when the operation conducted by the 3rd Battalion
19 commenced against Srdj, were there any counterfire coming from Dubrovnik?
20 A. Yes, there was.
21 Q. Which positions were targeted by the Croatian forces?
22 A. Immediately after the attack itself began, a few mortar shells
23 were fired towards Zarkovica. One of the shells -- none of the shells hit
24 the fortress, but rather landed near it. Immediately thereafter, they
25 engaged all the weapons that they had and targeted Srdj with them.
1 Q. From the Zarkovica position, what directions were you able to
2 observe on that particular day?
3 A. It's a very broad term, but if I take that my right limit of
4 vision was the road to Srdj and the fortress itself, and on the left-hand
5 side it was the sea, therefore I could view the whole area of the town
6 from where I was standing and beyond the whole area that I could observe
7 as far as the Petka cape.
8 Q. What kind of communications equipment did you have at Zarkovica?
9 A. My company had radio sets, RUP-12, that we used to communicate
10 with the battalion command. We had also a RUP-3 to serve as a
11 communication device between me and platoon commanders. And I also had a
12 field telephone which I used to communicate with the command at Brgat.
13 Q. Do you know, was this communication working?
14 A. Yes, it was, between me and the battalion commander and between me
15 and other platoon commanders. However, during the day, we did not use it
16 extensively, but we rather reduced our communication to using couriers or
17 direct contacts.
18 Q. Did you have -- this wire telephone, induction telephone that you
19 had on Zarkovica, was it operational?
20 A. During the night, it did. However, from the very early morning at
21 about 0400 hours or 0430 when I left this area onward, I cannot say for
22 sure because I stopped using it altogether.
23 Q. Did anyone inform you whether there were any problems with this
24 wire telephone?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Tell me, on that day, did you notice firing targets of the
2 Croatian forces following the commencement of the operation against Srdj?
3 A. On that day, I noticed several targets. I noticed them as well as
4 other soldiers who observed them and who reported on that. Specifically,
5 I personally noticed a mortar at the fortress, that is, the farthest
6 fortress in the south, which became immediately active in the morning.
7 Then later in the day, I also noticed that crates had been carried out
8 with some sort of ammunition from the area of fish market at the entrance
9 to the Old Town --
10 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. There's no evidence that
11 there was ammunition in any crates that may or may not have been seen. If
12 the witness is saying that he saw crates, that may be one thing.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Again, Mr. Rodic, we have this trouble between
14 assumption and what was actually observed. You'll have to be much more
15 careful with the witness.
16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, both in the summary, it
17 was mentioned what kind of crates were there. But he did not specifically
18 say what the contents on the crates were.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, the witness at the moment saw crates.
20 That is the evidence. He is adding something about their content. Now,
21 either from the physical description of the crate, he might base a
22 conclusion, or he is otherwise simply assuming. So understand at the
23 moment, the admissible evidence is that he saw crates.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we shall clarify this
1 Q. Mr. Nesic, when you were describing seeing crates being carried
2 out, could you tell us, please, what kind of crates those were? Was there
3 any characteristic feature on those crates? Did you notice anything in
5 A. The characteristic feature of these crates is that they were of
6 the characteristic olive-drab colour used by military, and secondly they
7 were large-sized crates so that two men had to carry one crate.
8 Q. When you say that the crates were rather large, painted in
9 olive-drab colour used by military, can you tell us what this SMB
10 abbreviation means?
11 A. That means olive-drab colour that mostly all military items are
12 painted in.
13 Q. In the JNA, tell me, what is the purpose of this type of crate?
14 A. These crates are normally used for packing large-calibre
16 Q. On that particular occasion, you saw men carrying in and out these
17 crates. Did you see what was inside the crates?
18 A. No, I didn't. I couldn't see that.
19 Q. If I understood you correctly, you described the position. Can
20 you tell us more specifically where you were while you observed these
21 crates being carried in and out?
22 A. They were carried out from the so-called fish market at the
23 entrance to the Old Town from the side of the port, and they were carried
24 to the entrance to the Old Town itself.
25 Q. Thank you. Did you see anything else?
1 A. Sometime around noon, fire was opened at us from an anti-aircraft
2 gun from the area to -- of the right-hand tower in the Old Town port.
3 Q. I forgot to ask you, when you mentioned the mortar at the south
4 tower facing the sea, was this mortar opening fire?
5 A. Yes, it was.
6 Q. Could you see where it was firing at?
7 A. Yes, I could, since vis-a-vis my position, it was positioned
8 laterally, and it was firing at Srdj.
9 Q. What about the anti-aircraft gun that you said you noticed firing?
10 Could you tell what it was firing at?
11 A. The anti-aircraft gun was firing in the general direction of my
12 unit, but a little to the left, seawards.
13 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can the usher please show the witness
14 a map that I have.
15 Q. Mr. Nesic, can you please first of all mark on the map the
16 position at which you noticed the mortar.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. Can you please mark that spot with the number 1.
19 A. [Marks]
20 Q. Next, can you please use arrows to indicate the exact position
21 where the crates that you referred to were carried to and from.
22 A. My apologies. I don't think this map is very accurate. Right
23 here, there is a breakwater in real life.
24 Q. Would that make it impossible for you to mark it on the map?
25 A. No, no, by no means.
1 Q. Next to that arrow, can you please put the number 2 to mark the
2 position where these crates were being moved in and out.
3 A. [Marks]
4 Q. Were they being moved into the Old Town, sir?
5 A. Yes, they were.
6 Q. Through that passage there?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Finally, can you please mark the position of the anti-aircraft gun
9 when you noticed it firing.
10 A. On this wall right here, there are three openings of windows. You
11 can't see them on the map. Therefore, there was firing from the tower
13 Q. Next to that mark, is that the mark you made for the anti-aircraft
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you put the number 3 there also, sir.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. Can you put today's date on this map, the 19th of July, and please
20 A. [Marks]
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, can this map please be
22 received as a Defence exhibit before we head for the break.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, it will be received.
24 THE REGISTRAR: This document --
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D110.
2 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the first break now.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mr. Nesic, before the break, you marked for us on the map the
8 firing positions that you noticed inside the Old Town on the day when the
9 attack on Srdj took place. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Sir, from your position at Zarkovica, in addition to the Old Town,
12 did you notice any other firing points outside the Old Town nucleus?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you please tell us which ones.
15 A. From the area around the Lovrinac tower, there is a tunnel there
16 and a small park. I saw artillery pieces firing from there. Further, in
17 about the same area, I was at an angle but it was somewhere behind the
18 Libertas Hotel, there was a clearing there from which four mortars were
19 firing. Also, there was firing from the lower road. This is a road
20 running parallel to the main road just above Dubrovnik. There was a
21 Flying Charlie-type of mortar moving about. Flying Charlie is a name we
22 used for that particular mortar; it was mounted on a vehicle, a small
24 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. Objection, Your Honour. A
25 Flying Charlie reference is not in the 65 ter summary.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may, it is stated
2 accurately in the summary that this witness would testify about such
3 firing positions as were observed and the activities of the Croatian
4 forces from inside the Old Town, and then the weapons and pieces were
5 enumerated that he had observed. And in the summary, it is clearly stated
6 that the witness would testify about the firing positions and the
7 activities of the Croatian forces outside the Old Town, that is, the Old
8 Town nucleus.
9 JUDGE PARKER: What is this you're referring to, Mr. Rodic? In
10 the summary?
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the summary that we
12 sent to our colleagues from the OTP in relation to this witness's
14 JUDGE PARKER: There is certainly nothing in the summary that the
15 Chamber has received from you from the 65 ter. There's something beyond
16 that, is there?
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] That is correct, Your Honour. This is
18 a summary of the proofing session with this witness before -- prior to his
19 appearance in court, and this has been submitted to our friends and
20 colleagues from the OTP. If the Trial Chamber so wishes, I can give you
21 this copy to look at which states precisely what I said in relation to
22 this witness's testimony concerning the firing positions and the firing by
23 Croatian units outside the Old Town.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Do you accept that all that was said in this
25 further summary is that he would testify about the activities and the
1 firing positions of Croatian forces outside the Old Town without any
3 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it is quite correct that
4 not all the firing targets outside the Old Town are specified for the
5 simple reason that there were quite a number of such targets. And my
6 learned friend only reacted once this mobile piece was mentioned or
7 referred to, which is also a fire target outside the Old Town. When the
8 witness spoke about mortars that were firing from outside the Old Town as
9 well, there was no reaction on their part simply because both falls under
10 the category of Croatian forces firing from outside the Old Town.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
12 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, if I may read to the Chamber what was
13 indicated: "He will further testify as to the cited fire positions and
14 activities of the Croatian forces on the 6th of December 1991 that had
15 been taken place outside the Old Town." The Charlie is a very specific
16 aspect of testimony, and I think it's perfectly expected that if that is
17 going to be included, that that be specified. Hardly a position.
18 JUDGE PARKER: I have difficulty with that distinction,
19 Ms. Somers. I think the evidence should proceed.
20 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Nesic, you have so far mentioned the Lovrinac tower area. So
23 right of that, the Libertas Hotel, a clearing with mortars, and then you
24 said the lower road running parallel to the main road above. And here,
25 you referred to the Flying Charlie. Were there any other targets that you
1 observed that were outside the Old Town nucleus on that day?
2 A. There were other targets, one of them being a mortar firing from
3 the park behind the Imperial Hotel. Also, there was a minefield
4 straddling the main Adriatic road just below the forest on Srdj. And
5 there was another mortar in the Excelsior Hotel area facing the Old Town
6 which I suppose is west.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can we have the usher's assistance,
9 MS. SOMERS: I have to express an objection, Your Honour. None of
10 these positions were put to the Witness Negodic, and if they were in fact
11 known they were not put to that witness.
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am sure you will
13 remember cross-examination of Witness Negodic. We raised issues precisely
14 in connection with the Bogosica Park or the Gradac Park with the Flying
15 Charlie, which was the name used for a mortar that was mounted on a truck,
16 also issues in relation to an anti-aircraft gun that was also mounted on a
17 vehicle. There was also another issue raised in relation to positions
18 near the Excelsior Hotel and that was marked on the map that was used
19 during his testimony and received in evidence. And he spoke about the 6th
20 of December specifically and the firing by that particular weapon at that
21 particular position. So I'm sure Witness Negodic was examined on these
22 points by the Defence team.
23 JUDGE PARKER: My recollection partly accords with yours,
24 Mr. Rodic. But as I recall it, a number of positions now being identified
25 were not specifically put to him. And it goes without saying he is the
1 most obvious witness to whom such matters ought properly to have been put.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
3 JUDGE PARKER: I take it you're saying you had a full briefing
4 from the present witness, and as I understand your submission, you are
5 saying that you put to the Witness Negodic the effect as you knew it of
6 this witness's evidence.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. Rather, during the
8 cross-examination of Witness Negodic, we asked questions about the
9 Croatian forces' targets in the Dubrovnik town area that we knew of and
10 that we were aware of. As for the witness currently in front of you, may
11 I remind you that this witness was originally on the OTP witness list.
12 And at one point in time, the Prosecution gave up the idea of calling this
13 witness. It was only once the Prosecution case was over that the Defence
14 had an opportunity to contact this witness and talk to him in relation to
15 his potential testimony in this case and his knowledge of events from that
16 period of time, specifically in the Dubrovnik and Herzegovina theatre of
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 Ms. Somers.
20 MS. SOMERS: I would submit, Your Honours, that even in the
21 information that was gathered by the Prosecution from this witness, a
22 number of these positions were not mentioned.
23 JUDGE PARKER: That, Ms. Somers, is not a proper submission to
25 MS. SOMERS: The fact that the witness Negodic was the correct
1 person to be there and that all possible targets could have been explored
2 has not yet, in my view, been explained by my learned counsel, my friend
3 opposite. There has been so much -- there were a number of hotels that
4 were in the area. There were a number of positions. And we do not see
5 that it should for the first time be raised now.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers, I think the evidence should proceed,
7 especially and principally because this was a Prosecution witness, and I
8 accept from what Mr. Rodic has said, the Defence for the first time spoke
9 to him after the close of the Prosecution case.
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Can I have the usher's assistance, please. I wish to show the
12 witness a map.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Is this a map already in evidence or a new map,
14 Mr. Rodic?
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a new map. And
16 it has not been admitted into evidence so far.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Although I would prefer to use the one
19 that has already been received.
20 Q. Mr. Nesic, can you please use this map to mark the Zarkovica
21 position which is where you were.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. Next to that position, can you put the letter A.
24 A. [Marks]
25 Q. Now, sir, can you please mark the location in the Lovrinac tower
1 area. You referred to a tunnel and to a small park.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. Can you please tell us what you marked there.
4 A. It's a tactical sign denoting an artillery piece.
5 Q. Can you please put the letter B there.
6 A. [Marks]
7 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, that can be zoomed in at all? Sorry to
8 interrupt, but it's very difficult to see anything from here. Thank you.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. To the right of that position, at the back, the Libertas Hotel and
11 a clearing where you said you saw a number of mortars, four mortars
12 specifically. That's what you said, didn't you?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you please mark that location.
15 A. [Marks]
16 Q. Next to that sign, can you please put the letter C.
17 A. [Marks]
18 Q. The following position that you referred to, you said it was the
19 lower road running parallel to the main road where you saw the Flying
20 Charlie moving about.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. So you used an arrow, and you drew an arrow towards that sign
23 there, didn't you?
24 A. Yes, halfway down the arrow I marked the mortar that was driving
25 back and forth.
1 Q. Next to that sign, can you please put the letter D.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. You also mentioned a park behind the Imperial Hotel. Can you
4 please mark that, too.
5 A. [Marks]
6 Q. Could you please place the letter E next to that mark.
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. The next was the minefield on the Adriatic road below the forest
9 on Srdj. Can you mark that locality, please.
10 A. [Marks]
11 Q. Could you please place the letter F there.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. You also mentioned a mortar near the Excelsior Hotel towards the
14 left in the direction of the Old Town. Could you please mark that
16 A. [Marks]
17 Q. Please put the letter G there.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. Mr. Nesic, since you used the Cyrillic alphabet when you wrote all
20 of this, could you please put the letter 1 next to the letter A, and then
21 could you go on putting number 2 next to the letter B, et cetera.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. Next to C, number 3. Next to the letter D, number 4. Next to F,
24 number 5. And next to the letter G, number 6.
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. You put number 7 somewhere.
2 A. By the letter E. The area behind the Imperial Hotel.
3 JUDGE PARKER: It should be number 5, Mr. Rodic.
4 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
5 Q. Mr. Nesic, tell me, please, did you mark Zarkovica with a
6 particular number?
7 A. Number 1.
8 Q. So then numbers start from Zarkovica, if it's that way, then it's
9 all right. All the letters have received appropriate numbers. Is that
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to tender
13 this map, and could it please be assigned a number as a Defence exhibit.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: This document is D111.
16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Nesic, tell me, please, on the 6th of December, to the best of
18 your knowledge, was the artillery firing, or rather 130-millimetre
20 A. 130-millimetre cannons were not firing.
21 Q. Were orders being issued to have those cannons fire?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can you explain this to us, how come?
24 A. The battery commander of the 130-millimetre gun battery from
25 Cilipi, on that day, as I've already mentioned, was at Zarkovica. He and
1 I were close to each other during combat. We were at a distance of about
2 20 metres. As the mortars fired from the area behind the Libertas Hotel,
3 certain observations were made. I personally came to Captain Pepic
4 [phoen], the commander of the battery, and I showed him the target from
5 where the fire was coming. I used an artillery compass, a periscope
6 artillery compass, and I guided it to the target. He read the elements
7 from the compass, and spoke to his assistant at the observation post. He
8 gave him the appropriate elements that he then conveyed to the firing
9 position in order to have all the firing elements there. After that, a
10 report came from the firing position that the elements were taken, and he
11 ordered the guns to be charged and fired.
12 We observed the area where the shells were supposed to fall, but
13 there weren't any. He then insisted. He called the firing position
14 again, and he asked what was going on, why they were running late. First,
15 they told him that they were waiting. And then, when he asked again what
16 was going on and why fire was not being opened and what the problem was,
17 he was given an answer, and I can't remember the name of the officer who
18 gave this answer, but anyway somebody, an officer, came from the forward
19 command post. He came in person, and he did not allow fire to be opened
20 from these cannons.
21 Q. Can you -- when you mentioned a firing position from where
22 130-millimetre guns were supposed to fire, what location are we talking
24 A. This is the location of the airport of Cilipi.
25 Q. Thank you. Did Captain Kovacevic give you any orders with regard
1 to opening fire?
2 A. On a few occasions, Captain Kovacevic ordered me to find these
3 pieces that were firing at our units and to neutralise them.
4 Q. Did you receive such orders only once during the day or --
5 A. Several times during the day. The more intensive fire came to the
6 area of Srdj, this was insisted upon more and more. "Find them, see where
7 they're firing from. Cover that position with our own fire," et cetera.
8 Q. Tell me: On that day, was Captain Kovacevic moving about in the
9 plateau of Zarkovica?
10 A. He was not moving about, at least not in the area where I was,
11 because he was in this office of mine, if we are going to call it that.
12 This is actually one of the towers at Zarkovica from where he was
13 observing and commanding combat action.
14 Q. Tell me, on that day, did Captain Kovacevic personally fire
15 rockets from Zarkovica?
16 A. No.
17 Q. That day on Zarkovica, while this attack against Srdj was
18 underway, did you see any other officers there?
19 A. First of all, I saw, of course, the commanders from my own unit.
20 Then in addition to Kovacevic, Battleship Captain Zec was there, too, and
21 another officer, a naval officer; I really cannot remember his name. From
22 the battalion command, there was Captain Soldo. And then this officer who
23 I already mentioned, Captain Pepic from the 130-millimetre battery.
24 Q. All right. Tell me, please, during the morning, say, until
25 midday, did anybody order you to stop firing?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Tell me, do you know how and when the Srdj action was completed?
3 A. The action at Srdj was completed after no support came from the
4 130-millimetre guns. There was no possibility for these mortars to be
5 neutralised. They were incessantly firing at the Srdj plateau, so units
6 were sustaining losses. After that, orders were issued for the units to
7 withdraw from Srdj to their own area.
8 Q. Do you know what kind of losses the 3rd Battalion had sustained?
9 A. There were seven dead and five wounded.
10 Q. Was anybody killed from your company?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Are you sure about that? Are you sure about what you said, what
13 you said just now, the figures you gave for the dead and wounded?
14 A. I think I am.
15 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour -- thank you.
16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Tell me, please, were there any reactions among the troops when
18 this action was completed, or rather when the withdrawal from Srdj took
20 A. Well, there were quite a few expressions of dissatisfaction
21 because the task was not completed successfully. People got killed, and
22 the task was not carried out. So for the most part, everybody was
23 dissatisfied, especially because we did not get support from the superior
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] For the transcript, Your Honour, the
1 witness said "promised support," but that is not reflected in the
3 Q. Mr. Nesic, did any higher ranking officers outside the
4 3rd Battalion, those who were not in the 3rd Battalion, did they come to
5 see the units of that battalion on that day or later on?
6 A. In the evening, that is to say, when it got dark, some officers
7 from the superior command did come, and they were focussed in Lemal's and
8 Stojanovic's units because that is where there were casualties.
9 Q. Did such activities take place in the days after that?
10 A. Well, yes. Yes. There were several visits, contacts.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please distribute this
13 Q. Mr. Nesic, could you please look at this document and could you
14 please tell us what kind of document this is.
15 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I'm sorry. Could we clarify whether
16 this is a resubmitted or a recalled document, or is this a new document?
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a Defence
18 document from the 65 ter list of documents that was submitted to the
19 Prosecution. Until now, it has not been tendered into evidence.
20 MS. SOMERS: Again, the Prosecution would like to register its
21 objection. This is a 9th VPS document that was not presented to
22 Admiral Jokic. Thank you.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Continue, Mr. Rodic.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Mr. Nesic, can you tell me what kind of document this is.
1 A. This is a combat document which is drafted every day by the
2 command in order to report to the superior command. Specifically here, it
3 is the command of the 9th Military Naval Sector from the forward command
4 post of Kupari reports to the command of the 2nd Operational Group about
5 what happened during the day of the 7th of December 1991.
6 Q. Could you please look at paragraph 4. "Morale" is the heading.
7 Is there any report of a visit to your battalion there?
8 A. Yes. Yes. Officers from the command of the 9th Military Naval
9 Sector visited the soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, the 472nd Naval Brigade
10 and spoke to them. "The losses which this unit has sustained have
11 unfavourably influenced its state of morale. The state of the situation
12 in the unit and its trust in the unit command have not deteriorated. The
13 unit feels fatigue due to the prolonged stay under very onerous
15 Q. You say that high-ranking officers from the 9th VPS visited you.
16 Were they trying to alleviate the feeling of loss in your unit?
17 A. In the battalion, yes. They were talking to officers, soldiers,
18 and I already said that they focussed on the company of Captain Stojanovic
19 and the company of Lieutenant Lemal.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could this document
22 please be admitted into evidence as a Defence exhibit.
23 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
24 THE REGISTRAR: This document is marked D112.
25 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Q. Mr. Nesic, tell me, please, after the 6th of December, were you
2 with your unit, your company, and your battalion on subsequent days?
3 A. Yes, I was.
4 Q. Concerning the action on Srdj, the attack on Srdj that took place
5 on the 6th of December, did anyone ask you to make any kind of statement,
6 submit a report, or researched anything about it?
7 A. Yes. On the 8th of December, I was informed by the battalion
8 commander, Captain Kovacevic, that I should come to the command post at
9 Brgat where, together with him, I would go for the debriefing at the
10 Kupari forward command post where we would be requested to give an
11 explanation for the firing at targets carried out on the previous day, or
12 rather on the 6th of December.
13 Q. Who else was supposed to go to the Kupari forward command post
14 with the commander?
15 A. Myself, Captain Jeremic, and he himself.
16 Q. Did you go to Kupari? And if you did, what happened there?
17 A. We went to Kupari. At first, we entered the operations room where
18 the debriefing session was to take place. All the officers were gathered
19 there that normally attend these kind of sessions. Those were the
20 officers from the forward command post at Kupari and commanders of
21 subordinate units as well. When the session began, the
22 Warship Captain Zec asked us to explain what had happened with Dubrovnik,
23 which targets had been engaged. And after about 1 minute or so of
24 discussion where each target was, I was ordered to leave the room and to
25 make a written report on the events that I had started to explain at the
1 meeting, including the expenditure of ammunition and the targets engaged
2 on that day. I left the room.
3 Q. Before that, tell me, please, who was chairing this meeting?
4 A. Warship Captain Zec.
5 Q. What was his position at the 9th VPS command?
6 A. He was chief of staff.
7 Q. When Captain Zec told you, ordered you to write this report, what
8 did you do?
9 A. I left the operations room and sat in the corridor and wrote the
10 report. Then one of the officers - I don't remember his name - exited
11 from the operations room, took my report, took it back to the operations
12 room, and I left outside waiting until the meeting was over. And after
13 that, I returned to my unit.
14 Q. Do you know, did Captain Jeremic write a report?
15 A. Yes, he did.
16 Q. While the two of you were writing your respective reports, where
17 was Captain Kovacevic?
18 A. Captain Kovacevic was in the operations room together with other
20 Q. Do you know if he had written any report?
21 A. I honestly don't know.
22 Q. After that, did you return to your unit?
23 A. Yes. We returned each to our unit.
24 Q. After 6th of December, was Captain Kovacevic with the battalion on
25 the subsequent days?
1 THE INTERPRETER: We didn't hear the reply the witness gave.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Did you hear my last question? On the subsequent days, was
4 Captain Kovacevic with the unit of the 3rd Battalion after 6th of
6 A. Yes, I heard your question. And I answered yes.
7 Q. We didn't -- it wasn't recorded in the transcript. That is why I
8 repeated the question.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher to show
10 the document to the witness.
11 Q. Mr. Nesic, can you tell us, please, what kind of document this is.
12 A. This is the report that I wrote at Kupari.
13 Q. So this is the report that you had just mentioned preparing on the
14 8th of December 1991 at the Kupari forward command post. Is that correct?
15 A. Yes, it is.
16 Q. Is this your handwriting?
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. Does this report contain information about the targets and the
19 expenditure of ammunition by your unit on the 6th of December 1991?
20 A. Yes, it does. Both about the information about the ammunition and
21 the targets.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would kindly ask that
23 this document be given a number as a Defence evidence.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: This document is marked as D113.
1 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Nesic, did you have regular reportings in your battalion?
3 A. Yes, we did.
4 Q. Where were these sessions held?
5 A. It depends. Sometimes these debriefing sessions were held at the
6 battalion command, or sometimes the battalion commander would visit each
7 unit and receive reports directly from them in which way he didn't have to
8 gather all the commanders at one place.
9 Q. Did your commander go someplace for debriefing?
10 A. The commander of the battalion went for debriefing to the forward
11 command post in Kupari.
12 Q. Tell me, please, on the 13th or the 14th of December, was your
13 battalion visited by General Strugar, Panic, and Admiral Jokic?
14 A. No.
15 Q. At any time in December 1991, did the three generals or two
16 generals and the admiral come to visit your positions?
17 A. No, they didn't.
18 Q. While you were at your position with your battalion, was it ever
19 visited by General Strugar, Panic, and Admiral Jokic together?
20 A. Yes, together. That took place in late March 1992.
21 Q. Can you tell us where they came to visit you.
22 A. They came to see me at Zarkovica. We sat in my office at
24 Q. Who else was present there from your battalion?
25 A. Captain Stojanovic was there. Lieutenant Pesic and Captain Soldo.
1 Q. Did any of the generals on that occasion propose or suggest that
2 any of company commanders of the 3rd Battalion should be decorated or
4 A. I don't remember that something like that happened.
5 Q. After the 6th of December and with respect to these events, were
6 you ever decorated or promoted?
7 A. No, no, I wasn't.
8 Q. During that visit of the three generals, what was the topic of
9 your discussion?
10 A. We discussed the situation in general, and then we, the officers,
11 complained about our unsolved status in the unit because despite a long
12 period of time that we had already been at the position, that is about six
13 months, we were still being registered at being stationed at our home unit
14 in Bileca and that we were temporarily transferred there. We complained
15 about this ambiguous status which precluded us from exercising our rights
16 that we would normally be entitled to in the normal transfer, and that is
17 what we complained about and pointed out that if anything should happen to
18 any of us, officially in the documents we were not there where we were
19 actually were, but rather we were in Bileca.
20 Q. Did you present this problem to General Panic?
21 A. Yes, we did. We reported this problem to him.
22 Q. Was this request of yours or this problem solved?
23 A. Yes, it was solved immediately the following day. First, it took
24 six months. And then after this discussion, everything was solved in one
25 day. We received all the necessary documents, duly signed on our
1 transfer, and all the rights entailing from that. So everything was
2 settled and resolved within 24 hours.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 Mr. Nesic, tell me, please, you are an experienced serviceman. In
5 daylight, is it possible to see fire at the muzzle of a mortar while
6 firing? Could that be seen with the naked eye?
7 A. Yes, it's very visible.
8 Q. Regardless of the calibre of the mortar?
9 A. Well, it does depend somewhat in terms that it affects the size of
10 the flash. But regardless of the calibre, it can be seen.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask my colleague
12 Petrovic to play for a few seconds from P66 evidence. And that's footage
13 tendered through the witness Grbic.
14 [Videoclip played]
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the technical service please
16 tell us how we can see this footage.
17 [Videoclip played]
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we can hear the sound,
19 but there is no picture on our screens.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Someone is apparently on their way to deal with the
21 technical problem.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. While we are
23 waiting for that, I would ask another question of the witness.
24 Q. Mr. Nesic, can a mortar fire from a solid surface?
25 A. Yes, it can.
1 Q. What kind of solid surfaces can serve for using mortars?
2 A. It can fire from an ice ground, from concrete or asphalt surface.
3 It first has to be prepared beforehand to fire from this kind of surface.
4 And if you have enough time to follow the whole procedure of placing sand
5 or earth, it can normally operate as from any other surface of normal
6 hardness. If you don't have enough time, it can be prepared by placing it
7 on the surface which has been reinforced with sandbags or earthbags. But
8 if you don't even have time for that, as a last resort, one of the crew
9 will stand on the surface, hold the barrel, and the assistants and the
10 sightman will operate the mortar.
11 Q. Can the surface be fixed in any way?
12 A. I said yes. If you make it more heavy depending on the type of
13 the terrain, you can use a wall or any other feature that you lean the
14 bipod on it because that is where all the pressure is when the shell is
15 fired, whereas other parts of the mortar does not sustain this kind of
17 Q. Sir, you worked as an instructor at the Bileca school for reserve
18 officers. These things that you've just told us about, these different
19 possibilities, are they described anywhere?
20 A. Yes, in the rules pertaining to 82-millimetre mortars.
21 Q. Did you teach your cadets about these possibilities of using
22 82-millimetre mortars?
23 A. Yes, we taught them about that, those who were trained in the
24 summer period were trained for using mortars on stone-ground because the
25 area around Bileca is mostly stone. And also in the winter period, we
1 trained them to use mortars on frozen ground.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may, I would like to
3 finish off by showing this short recording. And that would then conclude
4 our examination-in-chief.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in order to avoid wasting
7 valuable time, if I may make a proposal: We would like to show this short
8 recording in our redirect, if that is okay.
9 JUDGE PARKER: I would suggest, Mr. Rodic, that the problem be
10 dealt with over the next break and that at a convenient time to the
11 Prosecution, you might interrupt the Prosecution's cross-examination to
12 play it so that the Prosecution can then deal with this in the course of
13 their cross-examination.
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Does that conclude your examination?
16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, indeed it does.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I note, Mr. Rodic, it took almost double the
18 estimated time. You're going to have to do better than that during this
19 week if we are to finish.
20 Ms. Somers, is it?
21 MS. SOMERS: It is, Your Honour. Thank you very much.
22 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:
23 Q. Good afternoon, Colonel Nesic.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. I hope you're feeling better. We know you were not well last
1 week, and we hope you've recovered.
2 Colonel, exactly --
3 A. Thank you.
4 Q. -- exactly when was Zarkovica taken by the forces of the
5 2nd Operational Group? Exactly when?
6 A. The exact day when Zarkovica was taken, I can't give you the exact
7 date because I did not take part in the operations that led to the taking
8 of Zarkovica. I reached Zarkovica with my unit when it had already been
9 taken. Therefore, I merely came there and deployed my unit there.
10 Q. Can you at least assist us in telling us whether it was in October
11 or November or what operations that were undertaken by the forces of the
12 2nd Operational Group?
13 A. That was in early November, sometime around the 5th, 6th, 7th,
14 perhaps the 8th of November. But it was around that time. As for the
15 specific operations undertaken by the 2nd Operational Group in that period
16 of time, I really can't say anything about that because I simply don't
18 Q. Do you have a recollection of what units did take Zarkovica? Do
19 you know how it came to be taken?
20 A. I told you I don't know. I can't remember something I don't know.
21 That was before I reached Zarkovica. If you mean whether those were units
22 from our battalion, the answer is no, they weren't.
23 Q. Well, how -- you were -- if I understand your evidence correctly,
24 you were based on Zarkovica. That was your post. You were there. Were
25 you given to understand how long it had been in the hands of the forces of
1 the 2nd Operational Group before you arrived there? I mean, had the area
2 been recently taken? What was your understanding, if my question could be
3 refined a bit more, of the situation around Zarkovica? Was it a freshly
4 taken area?
5 A. The situation at Zarkovica before I reached Zarkovica is something
6 that I knew as good as nothing about. I told you that I had set out with
7 my units to be used as an infantry unit in the operations around the
8 village of Bosanka. As soon as I reached Zarkovica, my unit was held
9 there. I told my men to take shelter, and I was at the ready for the
10 continuing attack and for engaging towards the village of Bosanka and on
11 towards Srdj.
12 Q. If I put to you that Zarkovica was already in the hands of the
13 forces of the 2nd Operational Group by the end of October, would that help
14 jog your memory about the conditions or the situation around Zarkovica at
15 that time when you got there?
16 A. No, it wouldn't jog my memory. I told you about the situation I
17 found at that position at the time when I reached the position with my
19 Q. I'd like to ask you to take a look, please, at two Prosecution
20 exhibits and one Defence exhibit. P119, P121, and D112, please.
21 Colonel, if you have in front of you those three documents, do you
22 have them, all three? Do you have all three of them?
23 Okay, I'll wait just a second.
24 A. I have all three.
25 Q. Okay. Thanks very much.
1 Can you take a look at the one that has Exhibit P119, which is
2 dated the 24th of October 1991. It is an order that was issued by
3 General Strugar. It is in evidence, so I'm not going to ask you about
4 whether it should go into evidence. It's in evidence.
5 And it is addressed to the 2nd Corps, the 37th Corps, the 9th VPS,
6 and it says 472nd Mtbr. Do you see that? Under command, it says -- do
7 you see that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Would you take the Exhibit P121, which is a document also issued
10 by General Strugar, also in evidence, which is from the 23rd of October.
11 And it also -- it is addressed to the 9th VPS and it says the 472nd Mtbr.
12 Do you see that as well, Colonel?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, the document that Defence counsel put to you today which is
15 D112, it is a report from the 7th of December 1991. And it's -- it
16 purports to have Captain Zec's signoff on it.
17 Do you have that one in front of you?
18 A. I do.
19 Q. Okay. Actually, hang on. I may have to back off on that one. I
20 may have given you the wrong number. Let's look at the other two. Let's
21 look at the other two first. I'm sorry I may have confused you on that.
22 Now, on the first that I showed you from General Strugar, the reference to
23 472nd Mtbr, now is that the unit, the brigade, to which your company
24 belonged? Are we talking about the same brigade?
25 I'm sorry, Colonel, is that the same brigade?
1 A. Yes. It's the brigade within whose composition there was the
2 3rd Battalion.
3 Q. What does the abbreviation "Mtbr," what does that stand for?
4 A. It stands for navy brigade, infantry. Or rather...
5 Q. Would you actually give us for each letter what the abbreviation
6 means, what the M means, the T, the B, the R.
7 A. I apologise. MTBR, motorised brigade. The abbreviation stands
8 for motorised brigade.
9 Q. That's right. Now, is there a particular reason that you referred
10 when you first came during direct examination to a naval landing brigade?
11 Why are you using that terminology when you see that it is not the going
13 A. That was an expression that I used because the brigade at Trebinje
14 had always been a navy landing brigade. And naval infantry units were
15 always trained in that brigade.
16 Q. But that's not the name of the brigade to which you belonged, is
17 it? Or was it at the time?
18 A. At the time, the name of the unit was changed to motorised. I
19 really don't know. But I know from an earlier period, because Trebinje
20 was only 24 kilometres away from those two places, we were in contact with
21 those officers from Trebinje. And I know that they had always been a navy
22 landing brigade.
23 Q. Can I actually --
24 MS. SOMERS: May I ask to see D44, please.
25 Q. Colonel, I'm going to ask you in just a second a question about
2 Can you look, please, at a document which is in evidence which
3 comes from Jevrem Cokic. Do you know who Jevrem Cokic was, by any chance?
4 A. Yes, I do know who that person is.
5 Q. Who is that?
6 A. At the time, he was commander of the 2nd Operational Group. I'd
7 know this general back from a time when he was still colonel, and he
8 taught me back at the military academy.
9 Q. So this document is dated the 29th of September, which is - oh,
10 gosh - a month or so before the other documents. And if you take a look
11 on page - and I have the English only - but it's paragraph 2, item (b).
12 Do you see that, paragraph 2, item (b) where it says "the 472rd Mtbr"?
13 Now, even at that point in time it is referred to as -- right, as the
14 Mtbr. Now, when you -- are you suggesting that you did not know the name
15 of the formation to which you belonged?
16 A. The exact name, the 472nd or something-like-that brigade, I know
17 it was the 472nd brigade. In our lingo, that's how we called it. It's
18 only in official documents, then you state the full name. But
19 colloquially, when referring to brigade, company, and battalion names, we
20 used these. Therefore, it was customary for us to refer to it as a navy
21 landing brigade. And that's why I called it that. That's the only
23 Q. The Old Town was shelled between 10 and 13 November 1991, the Old
24 Town of Dubrovnik. Did you participate in the shelling of the Old Town?
25 A. No, Madam, not during the shelling. I did not take part in the
1 shelling. Not at the time you have just given.
2 Q. Where was your unit between the 10th and the 13th of November
4 A. The unit was at Zarkovica.
5 Q. And it was the only unit on Zarkovica at the time, wasn't it?
6 A. As a unit, yes. The only unit. And as I said before, there were
7 some other elements at Zarkovica at that time.
8 Q. You were the only unit that had the ability to fire Maljutkas
9 between 10 and 13 November 1991 from Zarkovica, were you not, your unit
10 that you commanded?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you -- strike that.
13 The cost of a Maljutka, can you give us approximately the cost of
14 both the launchers and the ammunition or the rockets that are used.
15 A. Well, I really can't give you a specific answer as to the cost.
16 In our lingo, whenever we talked, we used to say that it cost
17 approximately the same as a Jugo vehicle.
18 Q. It is an expensive bit of ammunition, isn't it? It's an expensive
19 rocket? It's not your average, run-of-the-mill projectile?
20 A. Well, it's not quite like that. The price is a lot lower than we
21 said. But we just tried to get the crews and the operators to do their
22 best during training so that they could properly guide rockets in combat.
23 The real price would have been lower.
24 Q. Now, in training, were the units that were being trained ever
25 permitted to fire a live Maljutka in training?
1 A. Can you please specify, which particular unit do you have in mind?
2 Q. Units which were being trained to use the Maljutka as a weapon,
3 was there live projectile training, or was it all through simulator?
4 A. Primarily, it's not a unit that fires as a unit. It's the
5 operator who fires. And also, there is the preparatory period during
6 which an operator is trained. For an operator to fire a missile, that is
7 to say, a war missile, he has to train doing it 10.000 times on a
8 simulator. And it is only then that he can actually fire a warhead or a
10 Q. How many operators in a class of persons trained on Maljutkas are
11 actually allowed to fire live projectiles?
12 A. Depends on the unit where the training took place. Some were
13 more; some were less. But usually from one unit, from one platoon, there
14 would be one operator who would be doing the firing, the one who was the
15 best during training.
16 Q. But that would not necessarily be the operator who ultimately in
17 real combat does the firing; one of the other persons who maybe doesn't
18 have live ammunition fires, isn't that correct? Persons who were not
19 trained with live munitions can actually fire, and do, don't they?
20 A. Of course. Because every one of them is trained for such action.
21 During the training itself, a selection of personnel takes place. For
22 example, 30 people train as operators. But out of these 30 trainees, 7 or
23 10 or 5 men actually get the title of operator, whereas the rest get a
24 VES, which is assistant operator.
25 Q. But of those 5 who actually get the title of operator, perhaps
1 only one has ever in the course of his training fired a live Maljutka
2 projectile. That is correct, isn't it?
3 A. That's right. Perhaps not even one.
4 Q. Colonel, there has been evidence put before this Chamber that the
5 Old Town was shelled or was hit by Maljutkas in November of 1991, between
6 10 and 13. You have indicated that your unit was the only unit up with
7 Maljutkas in position. Did you ever report to any of your persons in the
8 chain of command that you had fired upon the Old Town of Dubrovnik in
9 November of 1991?
10 A. Ms. Somers, when we discussed this in Belgrade, I told you and I'm
11 telling you now again that my people did not shell Dubrovnik. We targeted
12 firing objectives only.
13 Q. I put to you, Colonel Nesic, that you, of course, did shell
14 Dubrovnik. And I ask you again: Was any action -- was any report made to
15 any superiors about the activities of your unit with regard to the
16 Old Town of Dubrovnik between 10 and 13 November 1991?
17 A. Every day during briefings, I reported to my battalion commander
18 about what had taken place during the course of the day, which targets
19 were fired at during the day, what was observed, et cetera. So of course,
20 the quantity of ammunition used and against which objectives is something
21 that was brought up as well.
22 Q. And was the list of targets at which your weapons were aiming also
23 brought up to your superior command?
24 A. If you mean in writing, then no. Orally, yes.
25 Q. Were you ever held accountable for the shelling of the Old Town of
1 Dubrovnik between 10 and 13 November 1991? By "accountable," I mean
2 investigated, charged criminally, court-martialed, or any other form of
3 discipline for serious violations of the laws of war?
4 A. No, I was not.
5 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, may I inquire as to when the Chamber
6 plans to take the break.
7 JUDGE PARKER: A moment we set a convenient time, and that is now,
8 I think. We will resume at 6.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 5.38 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 6.06 p.m.
11 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I have been informed by counsel opposite
12 that they have been able to get the material ready. So they have asked
13 that now perhaps they can show the portion.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
15 Mr. Rodic, would you resume your examination-in-chief to deal with
16 that video, then.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I shall be brief.
18 Everything is fine technically speaking now. And could everybody please
19 switch on to "computer evidence" on their monitors.
20 Examined by Mr. Rodic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nesic, could you please look at the footage
22 that will be played now.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can we start now.
24 Q. Can you see the footage? Can you see it on the monitor?
25 A. Yes.
1 [Videoclip played]
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Q. Mr. Nesic, can you recognise the piece there?
4 A. Yes, I do. 82-millimetre mortar. That's what it is.
5 Q. In this footage, you saw the firing of this mortar?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. When the mortar was fired, could a flare be seen at the barrel?
8 A. I saw it clearly.
9 Q. Since this was taken close up, can this flare be seen better if
10 you're even further away from the mortar?
11 A. If you are further away and in the direction from where --
12 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. Objection. Objection. It
13 is leading, highly leading.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It is indeed.
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Can I rephrase, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Nesic, can you tell us about the flare that appears at the
17 barrel of the mortar when it fires in relation to the mortar itself. From
18 where can this flare be seen the best?
19 A. At the -- the flare from the muzzle can be seen the best if you
20 are in a position from where you can view the muzzle directly. You can
21 see it the best when it is nighttime, and also then further on if there is
22 less light. The closer you are to the mortar, you can see only this
23 momentary flare. But when there is less light generally speaking, then
24 the flare from the mortar goes about 1 and a half metres from the muzzle
25 of the mortar barrel.
1 Q. Thank you. Mr. Nesic, now we are going to play the same footage
2 for you, but from a distance. Now, please, look at these particular
3 videoclips and see whether you're going to see any flares or any such
4 thing. Please pay attention to this when the Minceta fortress is shown.
5 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] We can play it now.
6 [Videoclip played]
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] It was a brief videoclip.
8 Q. Did you manage to see it?
9 A. No, I saw your picture on the screen. So now again, I see the
10 mortar picture in Bogosica Park. It is pretty vague anyway.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] We'll try again. We'll try to correct
13 Q. Pay attention to the following footage now.
14 Can you tell us whether you saw something?
15 A. I saw over here from the shadow, from among the trees a flare
16 could be seen. It was about this big on the screen.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have concluded in
19 relation to this particular videoclip. Thank you. This is --
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. May I just perhaps point
22 out this is P66, the 20th minute and 40th second. So the last was a clip
23 where Minceta could be seen and where the witness recognised the firing of
24 a mortar and he indicated the flare that appeared in the footage. Thank
1 JUDGE PARKER: Are you saying that was at 20 minutes, 40 seconds?
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE PARKER: That's at the same position at what is presently to
4 be seen on the screen?
5 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] At this moment, it says 20.43. That's
6 when the mortar at Bogosica Park appears.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. I was getting that on to the record,
8 Mr. Rodic.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. And I would
10 like to thank my colleague, Ms. Somers, for giving me this time.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
12 MS. SOMERS: Now, Ms. Somers, if you would be able to resume your
13 cross-examination. Thank you for that.
14 MS. SOMERS: Pleasure, Your Honour. Thank you very much.
15 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:
16 Q. Colonel, you indicated that Ivanica was in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
17 Was I correct in my understanding?
18 A. Ivanica, yes, that's correct.
19 Q. And that was -- what is the importance of -- well, sorry, let me
20 rephrase it so I don't confuse you. Who among your company commanders was
21 at Ivanica? When I say "your company commanders," I mean the company
22 commanders of the 3rd Battalion?
23 A. I was at Ivanica specifically speaking with my unit. In the
24 broader area of Ivanica, of the settlement of Ivanica, were
25 Captain Stojanovic, Captain Jeremic, Lieutenant Lemal --
1 Q. Which Captain -- do you know Captain Jeremic's first name, his
2 first name?
3 A. Zlatan.
4 Q. From what period of time were you at Ivanica? From when to when?
5 A. Perhaps I'm not going to be very precise in terms of these dates.
6 But it's from the end of September, the 25th or the 26th of September,
7 until the end of October. The 27th or 28th of October.
8 Q. And the -- as of 6 of December, whose command post, if anyone's,
9 were at Ivanica? Let's put it 5th of December 1991.
10 A. We cannot say command post in a way. If we are talking about a
11 company, it's not a command post, it's an observation post. That's its
12 official name. At Ivanica, there was Captain Jeremic and the logistics
13 part of the battalion.
14 Q. Where is Brgat?
15 A. I don't know how to explain this to you. Maybe the best way would
16 be to use a map. Leaving from Ivanica --
17 Q. Let me start this way. In which republic was Brgat found or is it
18 found? Is it in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Is it in Montenegro? Where is it?
19 A. Brgat is in the Republic of Croatia.
20 Q. And how far is Brgat from Ivanica?
21 A. Depending from what point we measure the distance, and it is
22 approximately between 1 and a half and 2 kilometres, straight line.
23 Q. And on the 5th of December 1991, whose command was located at
25 A. I told you that it was Captain Jeremic's and the logistics part of
1 the battalion.
2 Q. At Brgat?
3 A. Oh, you're talking about Brgat.
4 Q. Right, I'm talking about Brgat.
5 A. The battalion's command post was at Brgat.
6 Q. Then that's the battalion that was commanded by
7 Captain Vladimir Kovacevic. Right?
8 A. That was specifically the 3rd Battalion's command post, and we
9 were part of the 3rd Battalion.
10 Q. Now, you have indicated today during your examination-in-chief on
11 page 14, roughly, lines 6 and 7 -- sorry, 6 through 9, you indicated that
12 you were informed that you should go and report at the command or to the
13 command. You would be having a briefing at the command of the commander
14 of the mortar company, Captain Jeremic at Ivanica, to be very precise. Do
15 you remember saying that today?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 Q. Now, you met with representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor
18 in a very official army building in Belgrade, September 2nd, 2003. Do you
19 remember the meeting at which you gave a statement that was recorded? Do
20 you remember that?
21 The question was asked you about where the meeting on the 5th was
22 held, and in the English, it's a bit difficult.
23 But you were asked: "Now, were these orders given at the battalion
25 You said: "We were in a different building. We were not in the
1 building where the battalion headquarters were actually located."
2 "And so this was not -- basically the battalion commander had
3 assembled his company commanders in a specific location just for this
4 briefing away from the headquarters?"
5 Your answer was: "Yes, we met in a different building and the
6 building belonged to one of the company commanders."
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down.
8 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry.
9 Q. "We met in a different building, and that building belonged to one
10 of the company commanders."
11 Question: "Was that within the area?"
12 Answer: "I believe it was Brgat. The Brgat region."
13 Now, was it Brgat or was it Ivanica?
14 A. That was at Ivanica.
15 Q. And you told the Office of the Prosecutor it was in the Brgat
17 A. Yes, I remember that. That is what I said. After I read the
18 transcript, I noticed this mistake because at the time when we discussed
19 this, how it came about, it could be that Ivanica and Brgat were
20 interchanged and that a mistake was made. Later, during the conversation,
21 it becomes evident that it was at the command of the mortar company
22 headquarters or command, that is Captain Zlatan Jeremic.
23 Q. [Previous interpretation continues] ... suggesting that the term
24 "battalion headquarters" was inappropriate; that it was always company
25 headquarters. Is that what you're suggesting?
1 A. No, I am not ascertaining that. In this specific situation, we
2 had debriefing session at the company commander's command. That is,
3 Captain Zlatan Jeremic was the commander of the mortar company.
4 Q. Before that question that I just asked you was asked, another
5 question was asked of you: "Was there a set of orders written for this
6 attack? Or the orders were given verbally at the battalion headquarters?"
7 Your answer -- and the question was "battalion
8 headquarters": "Verbal orders."
9 Now that's two times battalion headquarters was mentioned. Did
10 you not think it appropriate to correct at the time, after all twice it
11 was mentioned? What suddenly made you decide to say Ivanica instead of
12 Brgat today in court?
13 A. Because that is what is correct. And secondly, you'll remember
14 during that conversation the translation was incorrect most of the time
15 when it referred to the battalion headquarters, and that is what it says
16 in my transcript as well. Once I also had to intervene about the
17 translation and deny that that was not what I said, that my words were
18 incorrectly translated. And then the translator, Ms. Biljana, corrected
19 herself that it was not a document as she referred to, but that it was a
20 term as it was. Therefore, these mistakes could happen in such
22 Q. When you noticed this, did you ask Defence counsel who were
23 working with you before you came to court today to make the correction?
24 A. No, I didn't ask any corrections to be made because I didn't think
25 it was of any significance because we all understood what it was referred
1 to as headquarters of the battalion, that in fact it was the command
2 battalion -- battalion command during the conversation that we had in
3 Belgrade. And I never insisted that this should be literally translated
4 as command instead of headquarters or main staff or something like that.
5 Q. If someone addressed you as Corporal Nesic, would you correct it
6 to say, "no, that's Colonel Nesic." Would you insist on a correction of
8 A. It depends on the situation that I'm in. If somebody who is not
9 related to the military would address me in that way, I would only laugh.
10 However, if I were in a direct relationship with a superior officer, then
11 probably I would react, not in a heated fashion. I would probably also
12 laugh again and draw their attention to my correct rank. In my encounters
13 with various people, and I know many people, among them are my cadets, I
14 will still be addressed by them as second lieutenant because most of them
15 had known me at that time, and they would always refer to me in that way.
16 Q. When you use the term "early evening," what time of day are you
17 referring to? What does that mean to you, the term "early evening" which
18 you used today in evidence? Please give us a time of day.
19 A. "Early evening" means, for instance, now, today in The Hague
20 would be -- even 10.30 in the evening, and that is at the time when dark
21 fell. And that is my benchmark that I use, and that is the time when it
22 becomes dark. So early evening is immediately after dark falls.
23 Q. December 1991 or December pretty much any year in the Dubrovnik
24 area, when does it become dark? We're talking wintertime. When does it
25 become dark?
1 A. Well, basically at around 6.00 p.m. or 6.30, thereabouts.
2 Q. And did you make any kind of a note anywhere about the times you
3 were called and the locations to which you were called for any types of
4 meetings or briefings? Do you keep any type of record so that if you were
5 asked to explain, you're able to document it?
6 A. I made notes in my notebook that I used at the time where I
7 entered the dates, the reports, the tasks assigned to me, et cetera.
8 Q. Colonel Nesic, I put to you that in the winter in Dubrovnik that
9 darkness begins -- the sun begins to go down between 3.00 and 4.00 in the
10 afternoon, the sun begins to go down, and it becomes toward dark. That is
11 correct? You were there, weren't you? You know that is the case.
12 A. Whether it's at 3.00 or 4.00, I don't think it is that early. But
13 definitely after 4.00 in the afternoon because it's at the seaside, and it
14 becomes dark rather later than in the mountainous areas.
15 Q. So when you refer to "early evening," you're talking about a time
16 frame around 4.00, as it becomes dark?
17 A. No, I'm not talking about the period after 4.00 if we want to be
18 very specific about the time. I'm talking about early evening when it's
19 already become dark, but it was not in some late evening hours, for
20 instance, after 10.00 p.m. or 2100 hours. But rather in the early evening
22 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me.
23 Q. You indicated you received a call from a soldier about a meeting
24 or a briefing. Please tell us who was the soldier, from what unit, and
25 exactly, and I mean exactly what he told you.
1 A. First of all, I didn't say from a soldier. I said from the
2 communications operator. He's the one in charge of communications
3 equipment. And 13 years later, it is really impossible for me to repeat
4 verbatim what he told me. But basically, he said that I was to come to
5 Ivanica for debriefing and that the commander would be there after his
6 debriefing in Kupari.
7 Q. I want to know exactly what time, and your exact words were, "a
8 soldier, a communications soldier." I want to know exactly what time that
9 communications soldier told you to report to this meeting.
10 A. I really cannot say the exact time.
11 Q. Give us an approximation.
12 A. Well, approximately it was at about one hour or half an hour
13 before I was supposed to be there.
14 Q. So give an approximate time, please. You're a commander. You are
15 a responsible person. Tell us the time.
16 A. I really cannot remember what time it was on that day.
17 Q. What time were you supposed to report to Ivanica?
18 A. We had regular debriefing sessions normally between 1900 or 2000
19 hours. Sometimes earlier, from 6.00 p.m. until 7.00 p.m. But mainly in
20 that period, depending on how much time the battalion commander spent at
21 his debriefing session at the forward command post in Kupari and after he
22 returned to the unit.
23 Q. So if we put your estimate of one and a half hours before, that
24 would make it around 4.30 that you got your call?
25 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers, I made a note of half an hour, not one
1 and a half hours.
2 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry. You're absolutely right. I thought it
3 was "an hour and a half."
4 Q. If we take it the one-hour mark, does that make it around 5.00?
5 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 A. Possibly, yes. Within that time frame, because at 1700 hours the
7 debriefing would begin at the forward command post at Kupari.
8 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
9 Now, are you able to indicate what time it was when you actually
10 got there?
11 A. I cannot say exactly. I didn't pay attention. I know that I make
12 it in time and that I was there before the battalion command arrived.
13 Q. Did you wear a watch, Colonel, at the time? Was it your habit to
14 wear a watch or timepiece of some kind?
15 A. Of course. I always wear a watch.
16 Q. Have you yourself ever been to a briefing at the forward command
17 post at Kupari?
18 A. Yes. As I've already said, on the 8th, I went to the forward
19 command post at Kupari, and that's when I wrote my report concerning the
21 Q. I'm sorry. Right. Now, the daily or regular briefings at Kupari,
22 was that your habit? Were you invited to attend those? Were you at such
23 a level that you would attend the briefings at Kupari on a regular basis?
24 A. Madam, that was not the usual thing, nor did we go. I was the
25 company commander, and company commanders don't attend briefings or
1 meetings like that. The lowest level is battalion commander among the
2 people who are there, or perhaps the officer who stands in for him if he
3 happens to be absent from the unit.
4 Q. Tell us, please, how you know what time briefings at Kupari would
5 go, and particularly on the 5th of December?
6 A. Of course I knew. Every briefing that we held, even if it was
7 just a normal conversation, if during the day the commander, for example,
8 said, "I have to be at Kupari for the briefing by 5.00."
9 Q. Tell us, please, what, if any, unusual events from the standpoint
10 of negotiations or the overall fate of Dubrovnik was the subject of
11 various meetings on the 5th of December? What do you know about what was
12 happening in your area, by your area, I mean the area of the
13 2nd Operational Group, on the 5th of December? What do you know about
15 A. You're really asking me questions that I can't answer. Do you
16 know at all what the area was of the 2nd Operational Group? I was a
17 company commander, and my area was about 600 or 700 metres. How would I
18 have been in a position to know what was happening in the area of the
19 2nd Operational Group which was covering a vast area?
20 Q. Of which your company was part, Colonel. Now, what was -- I'm
21 sorry. Of which your company was a part, Colonel. Now, what events of
22 importance did you know about happening on the 5th of December? Do you
23 communicate with any of your colleagues? Do you read any of the briefing
24 reports? What was happening the 5th of December, Colonel?
25 A. On the 5th of December, nothing special was happening in my unit.
1 I did meet other company commanders at the briefing, and we exchanged the
2 usual kind of information. It was just the usual kind of conversation
3 that we would have, how each of us were feeling, whether there were any
4 particular problems, that sort of thing. There was nothing special for me
5 to put forward about anything happening, anything along these lines in
6 terms of operations being carried out, if that's what you had in mind, or
7 anything special, anything peculiar.
8 Q. Colonel, the hostilities, the fighting in the Dubrovnik area was
9 winding down and was to come to an end, wasn't it? And those negotiations
10 were taking place on the 5th of December. You were a company commander.
11 And although you may not have been the highest ranking officer, you knew
12 that there were negotiations pending, didn't you? You heard about that?
13 A. No, I hadn't heard anything about any negotiations being afoot.
14 Q. Now, there was a cease-fire in effect from November, was there
15 not, as of the 5th of December?
16 A. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. How long did the briefing last that you attended at Ivanica or
18 that you say was at Ivanica?
19 A. It took place at Ivanica, and it lasted about one and a half
20 hours. I can't really can't say specifically, but thereabouts, one and a
21 half hours. There were the usual things that were being said, but there
22 were also other things that were being said that were not related to the
23 regular situation in the units, but also there were other elements that
24 were being discussed.
25 Q. When did Zoran Lemal arrive at the briefing? You know him, do you
2 A. Yes, I know him. He was there in time. Before the battalion
3 commander arrived. Now, I can't give you the exact time. Really, I
4 can't. But he was there in time.
5 Q. When did the battalion commander arrive? Give a time frame,
6 please. When did he arrive?
7 A. Madam, if I give you a rough estimate, then it cannot be accurate.
8 I'm telling you again, I really can't remember what time it was exactly.
9 And anything I say may be an error, which is something that I wish to
11 Q. Well, now, regular briefings were held, were they not, involving
12 the battalion commander? He would appear at the regular briefings for
13 your company, wouldn't he?
14 A. The briefing in my company, no, the battalion commander didn't
15 come to those briefings.
16 Q. The person who did the most talking at this briefing was who?
17 A. Of course, the battalion commander, each of the company commanders
18 talked about the situation in their own respective units. And then the
19 battalion commander, having heard what the situation was across the units,
20 would ask certain questions if anything was still not clear, and then
21 finally he would issue tasks for further activities, the general kind of
22 activity that applied to all the units. And then specific tasks for
23 specific units or maybe talked to individual commanders and issue more
24 precise instructions for certain tasks or whatever else there was to be
25 done. This was a general situation, and this is the way it was usually
2 Q. Well, now, you seem to be switched on or in the loop on when
3 Captain Kovacevic reported to briefings at Kupari. Would you be good
4 enough to tell us when he reported to briefings at Kupari in the month of
5 October. Would it be around the same time as you have it now? What do
6 you think?
7 A. No. Throughout October, Captain Kovacevic never went to Kupari
8 for briefings.
9 Q. And what about November?
10 A. Yes, he did go for briefings in November at Kupari.
11 Q. Can you tell us what times did he go for briefings in early
12 November at Kupari?
13 A. Usually it would be at about 5.00 in the afternoon.
14 Q. And where was he going from that you would be aware of what time
15 he would be going to Kupari? What was he departing from?
16 A. If you want me to talk about specific dates, I didn't exactly
17 follow him. I wasn't shadowing him, which position he was leaving,
18 whether he was leaving from the command, from my company or a different
19 company. This is something that I can't answer. What I'm telling you is
20 when he -- whenever he was back from Kupari, he would tell us that he had
21 been to Kupari for a briefing or he would come and tell us, "I have to be
22 at Kupari today by 5.00."
23 Q. No, I want you to tell me, Colonel, when in early November he
24 reported to Kupari for briefings. I want you to give me a time in early
25 November. You said October no, but November yes. Tell me when in early
2 A. Madam, as for the exact time when he left for Kupari, this is
3 something that I can't tell you. Briefings were organised in such a way
4 that they would begin at 5.00 p.m. in Kupari so that the unit commanders
5 could go back to their units once the briefing was over. They could
6 inform their own officers, issue tasks, and explain tasks to company
7 commanders, and still have enough time to convey these tasks to their
8 companies during the same day.
9 Q. Okay. That's helpful. Now, that would be the same for the
10 briefings he would attend in early November, the first early days of
11 November. Is that correct? It would apply to those days as well?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 MS. SOMERS: May I ask, please, that you be shown P101. P101.
14 Q. Colonel, this document which is in evidence is dated 20th of
15 November 1991. And it indicates that from that date, the 3rd Battalion of
16 the 472nd Motorised Brigade would be directly subordinated to the 9th VPS,
17 and that has its headquarters at Kupari, does it not, its forward command
18 post? Right? Isn't that right?
19 A. Will you please just give me a moment to find that.
20 Q. Of course.
21 A. Could you please give me a hand. I'm not sure what line that's
23 Q. If you look at the first paragraph, it says: "The 472nd Motorised
24 Brigade without the 3rd Motorised Battalion," and then it goes on to
25 describe. It talks about "the brigade shall leave... "
1 Let me help you out.
2 Then right after it, says: "Pursuant to a decision of the
3 commander of the 2nd Operational Group," and it gives an order number of
4 19 November "shall leave the complement of the 9th VPS and work on orders
5 from the 2nd OG" and it shows parentheses, "2nd Corps." Do you see that?
6 Did you find it on the document? It's basically right under 1.
7 A. Yes, I see that.
8 Q. Okay. Now, the forward command post of the 9th VPS is at Kupari,
9 isn't it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So only from, let's say, 20th of November would the commander of
12 that battalion which has just been put under the immediate subordination
13 of the 9th VPS report to Kupari. Wouldn't that be logical? Wouldn't that
14 be according to military order?
15 A. No, in terms of military order, that wouldn't necessarily make
16 sense. First you have the -- up in the heading --
17 Q. Colonel, let me put to you that up until the 20th of November, the
18 battalion commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Motorised Brigade
19 was reporting to the brigade headquarters, which are not at Kupari, so I
20 have no idea in early November or up to the 20th when he would report to
21 Kupari because he wasn't reporting to Kupari. And that is borne out by
22 this document, is it not?
23 A. Madam, if you were standing right next to him and you watched him
24 going wherever it was that he was going, well, then, all right. I wasn't
25 exactly standing next to him, but I know what he told me.
1 Q. So if, in fact, the 3rd Battalion was still reporting to the
2 brigade up until the 20th of November, your comment about reporting to
3 Kupari in the early part of November is simply wrong, isn't it?
4 A. Madam, that's not right what you're saying. Once I had reached
5 Zarkovica, I never saw another officer from the battalion command [as
6 interpreted]. I only saw officers from the command of the 9th VPS. And
7 this went on until the end of May 1992, which is when I returned to
8 Ivanica which was where we had withdrawn with our unit. And then again,
9 officers from the command of the Trebinje Brigade started to arrive.
10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, page 75, line 20, it
11 says: "Battalion command," whereas the witness actually said "brigade
12 command." Thank you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 MS. SOMERS:
15 Q. Simply put, Colonel, you have no idea if or where or what he was
16 doing in the early days of November, and you don't know -- you know that
17 he couldn't have reported to Kupari. He wasn't directly subordinated. I
18 mean, isn't that right?
19 A. It's not right, Madam. Our battalion from the time it was
20 introduced into combat, from that very moment, it was subordinated to the
21 9th VPS in order to carry out tasks in the areas of Bosanka and Brgat.
22 Q. Did you ever attend a briefing at the brigade headquarters of the
23 472nd? Do you know where the brigade headquarters were?
24 A. I know that the brigade command was at Trebinje. Of course, I
25 didn't attend the briefings. It was for the same kind of rank as the
1 forward command post of the 9th VPS. I just didn't attend. Therefore, I
2 can't say anything about those. A while ago when I said by rote [Realtime
3 transcript read in error "by road"], I said Bosanka and Brgat. When I
4 meant is just Bosanka, without Brgat because Brgat had already been taken
5 by late October.
6 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, it should read "by rote,"
8 not "by road."
9 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I have more cross-examination tomorrow.
10 I don't know what point the Chamber wishes to break.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Well, we're a minute or two early. But is that
12 really a logical point, do you think?
13 MS. SOMERS: I think it would be good, yes.
14 JUDGE PARKER: We'll adjourn then for the evening, and we'll
15 resume at 9.30 tomorrow morning, and I believe we will be in Courtroom
16 Number I.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,
18 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 20th day of July,
19 2004, at 9.30 a.m.