Page 8710

1 Thursday, 9 September 2004

2 [Defence Closing Statement]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.

6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. We commence the final submissions

7 for the Defence. Mr. Rodic.

8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good

9 morning to all. Right at the outset, we are facing a minor technical

10 problem. The interpreters from the booths have asked me to provide my

11 notes for this closing argument so that they could better follow the

12 argument. Therefore, may these please be distributed to the booths so I

13 could commence.

14 JUDGE PARKER: Certainly, Mr. Rodic. Anything to help. Can I say

15 as an old counsel, I'm impressed that your notes are in such an order that

16 the booth might be able to follow them.

17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as for the Defence's

18 arguments and conclusions in relation to the counts that our client has

19 been charged with, as well as in relation to all the evidence that has

20 been presented throughout the trial, we have drafted a detailed final

21 brief or closing argument. Therefore, my colleague, Mr. Petrovic, and I

22 will try today as briefly as possible to put the Defence team's final

23 arguments before the Trial Chamber and the OTP.

24 The former Yugoslav state was established along federative lines

25 with six republics. The territory of the SFRY was single and unified

Page 8711

1 consisting of the respective territories of the socialist republics.

2 Under its constitution, it was established that territories could not be

3 changed without the consent of the republics, nor could the state border

4 of the SFRY be altered without the consent of all its republics and

5 autonomous provinces. The supreme law and act of the SFRY was its

6 constitution, and the republican constitutions had to comply with that

7 overall constitution as well as all of their legal enactments and

8 documents. Contrary to the constitution of the SFRY that was then in

9 force, the leadership of the Republic of Croatia throughout 1991 adopted a

10 number of measures for the unconstitutional secession of the Republic of

11 Croatia from the SFRY.

12 Throughout that period, they were preparing to secede; namely, the

13 party in power in Croatia which was Tudjman's Croatian Democratic

14 Community at the time, their assessment was that in order to reach that

15 objective, it was necessary to first clash with the Yugoslav People's

16 Army. The former SFRY had a defence doctrine that was based on all

17 people's defence, meaning a large number of citizens of military age who

18 had received military training. This represented a large military force

19 comprising mostly the various units.

20 Under the constitution, the armed forces of the SFRY were to

21 protect the independent sovereignty and territorial integrity of the SFRY

22 as well as its social and political structure. The armed forces comprised

23 the JNA, Yugoslav People's Army, and Territorial Defence units, the TO.

24 The supreme command of the armed forces of the SFRY was the Presidency of

25 the SFRY, which -- the body represented a collective president of state in

Page 8712

1 a manner of speaking. The president of this Presidency of the SFRY on

2 behalf of the Presidency exercised command over the armed forces of the

3 SFRY, all in compliance with the constitution and the federal laws. It is

4 noteworthy that in the second half of 1992, the president of the

5 Presidency was Stjepan Mesic, who was a representative of the Republic of

6 Croatia in this collective -- my apologies, the transcript says 1992, and

7 I said in the second half of 1991, the president was Stjepan Mesic who was

8 a representative of the Republic of Croatia.

9 The Defence wishes to point out how notorious it was that

10 Mr. Mesic at the time as well as later boasted about his role in the

11 breakdown of the SFRY, acting in his official capacity at the time. The

12 General Staff of the JNA was the staff of the supreme command, or rather

13 of the Presidency of the SFRY. The chief of the General Staff throughout

14 1991 was General Blagoje Adzic. Control and command over the armed forces

15 were exercised by the federal secretary for National Defence. Back in

16 1991, Veljko Kadijevic held this position, General Veljko Kadijevic.

17 Throughout 1991, the armed forces of the SFRY comprised two

18 components or elements: The Yugoslav People's Army and the TO units,

19 Territorial Defence units. The Yugoslav People's Army at the time was

20 composed of military or army districts, land army corps, air force, and

21 anti-aircraft defence, military naval sectors, which belonged to the navy,

22 and joint tactical units composed of vessels and the different services,

23 such as brigades and squads.

24 The JNA had its bases throughout the territory of the former SFRY,

25 as well as the Territorial Defence was also based throughout the republics

Page 8713

1 and provinces. It is also noteworthy that the republics had no authority

2 to make autonomous decisions to use the TO units for combat purposes.

3 This was under the exclusive jurisdiction of the supreme command of the

4 armed forces of the SFRY. Operationally and geographically, the entire

5 territory of the SFRY as a possible theatre of war was divided roughly

6 into four territorial units, three theatres of war for the use of land

7 forces and one for the navy. Each of these potential theatres of war

8 contained forces of one strategic group. These groups were referred to as

9 military districts or army districts or armies.

10 Back in 1991, those were the 5th Military District based in

11 Zagreb, which covered the following territory and units: The units of the

12 JNA and the TO in Slovenia and Croatia with the exception of the northern

13 coastal district. The next one was the 1st Military District with

14 headquarters in Belgrade. Territorially speaking it covered part of

15 Croatia, it covered Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, excluding the coastal

16 area, of course. The 3rd Military District with headquarters in Skopje

17 covered JNA and TO units in Macedonia and the Republic of Serbia as far as

18 the border to the 1st Military District. The territory of the Republic of

19 Montenegro was also included there as well as the coastal area along the

20 Adriatic coast. This comprised JNA and TO units based on the islands and

21 on parts of the territory that conditionally could be termed the coastal

22 area or Primorje, which is a geographical term.

23 The whole of the navy was grouped under that heading as well as

24 the coastal forces. The military naval districts broke down into three

25 military naval sectors, that of Sibenik, that of Pula, and that of Boka,

Page 8714

1 also known as the 9th VPS which is how we often referred to it throughout

2 the trial and in our documents. Speaking about the 9th VPS, the Defence

3 wishes to point out that it covered the stretch between the town of Neum

4 and the Albanian border to the south as well as the coastal area between 5

5 and 25 kilometres deep inland from the coast. The area of responsibility

6 of this military naval sector also covered the town and garrison of

7 Trebinje. Across the territory of the SFRY, before the breakout of the

8 war there, existed military courts. These military courts were based in

9 Ljubljana, Zagreb, Split, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Nis, and Skopje. The

10 military court in Split had jurisdiction over the entire military naval

11 district; however, the court was evacuated and transferred to Tivat

12 because they were too short-staffed to go on functioning and operating as

13 usual since Croatian personnel had left the military court and the

14 military naval district.

15 Also, in the spring of 1991, the command of the military naval

16 district was moved from Split to the forward command post on the island of

17 Vis. The republican leadership of Croatia throughout 1991 banned their

18 citizens from responding to mobilisation call-ups issued by the JNA. The

19 same leadership ordered those officers and soldiers who were in the JNA to

20 leave their units and their institutions. Many officers from the command

21 staff of the JNA back in 1991 were Croats and Slovenes. Back in 1991, in

22 the territory of the SFRY, there existed a number of paramilitary units

23 representing the armed formations attached to certain political parties.

24 Those paramilitary units were not part of the armed forces of the SFRY.

25 The Croatian National Guards Corps was one such paramilitary

Page 8715

1 formation, or rather, an army attached to a political party, the Croatian

2 Democratic Community which was then in power and was the leading political

3 force in Croatia at the time. Franjo Tudjman, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, at the

4 time the president of Croatia, took a decision to officialise the status

5 of the National Guard Corps as a military formation, military unit, which

6 was sanctioned in late May back in Zagreb in 1991. At the same time, in

7 1991, the republican police forces also grew. Prior to that, in November

8 1990, massive amounts of illegal weapons and military equipment had been

9 imported into Croatia from Hungary.

10 On the 9th of January 1991, the Presidency of the SFRY issued a

11 decree to disarm paramilitary units. However, some members of the

12 Presidency opposed the disarmament and banning of these paramilitaries

13 formations or units. The very fact that certain members of the

14 Presidency, which was the supreme command of the armed forces, opposed the

15 disarmament of paramilitary units adversely affected members of the JNA

16 and brought about a lack of trust. The Croatian leadership in August

17 1991, following several rounds of fruitless negotiations, decided to block

18 all JNA bodies and institutions that were based throughout Croatian

19 territory. For the most part of 1991, many attacks were carried out

20 against units and JNA units and JNA institutions. Many of the JNA

21 soldiers and officers were killed and slaughtered throughout 1991 in a

22 number of different Croatian towns and cities. The transcript page that

23 I'm referring to is 4.371.

24 The units and garrisons of the JNA that were under blockade at the

25 time had their electricity supplies cut as well as their food supplies,

Page 8716

1 their phone lines were down as well. The Presidency of the SFRY, being

2 the supreme command, as well as the JNA demanded that the Croatian

3 authorities lift the blockade on a number of different occasions. The

4 Croatian side promised several times to lift the blockade; however, this

5 never materialised. Some of the units were evacuated throughout 1991, but

6 throughout the year, attacks against members of the JNA, their property

7 and families continued. Under those conditions, the supreme command staff

8 decided that certain units should be used to carry out activities which

9 would exert pressure on the Republic of Croatia and cause them to lift the

10 blockade of garrisons and barracks in the Republic of Croatia in which JNA

11 were still stationed. The military leadership had several things to deal

12 with at the same time. They had to create and put together in an

13 operational way armed forces that were to carry out operations against

14 paramilitary units.

15 In late summer 1991, the military leadership saw itself compelled

16 to start adapting the concept of strategical grouping to a newly arisen

17 set of circumstances. That is why they began to set up so-called

18 temporary units such as operational and tactical groups. One such

19 temporary military formation was the 2nd Operational Group. It was

20 established in late September 1991 and was meant to unify or unite command

21 over elements of the 37th Corps from Uzice, elements of the 2nd Corps

22 based in Podgorica, elements of the 4th Corps based in Sarajevo, and the

23 9th Military Naval Sector of Boka, or rather, the 9th VPS.

24 Speaking in general terms about operational groups as such, we

25 must say that these are established when extraordinary circumstances arise

Page 8717












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Page 8718

1 and new operational needs must be met. These are one-off formations for

2 special operational missions. Operational groups are usually established

3 in special and isolated zones of operation where it is necessary to unite

4 all combat activity carried out by a number of different units.

5 Operational groups are mainly established in order to act along auxiliary

6 axes and directions. Speaking of their provisional nature, that means

7 that operational groups, after completing a task, are disbanded, but they

8 remain active until completion of their task subject to the decision of

9 their superior command.

10 During the trial, we had opportunity to hear Prosecution Witness

11 General Zorc who explained the possibilities allowing for the existence of

12 an operational group. He explained there are several possibilities, but

13 we are interested in only one of them; namely, the situation wherein the

14 General Staff sets up an operational group drawing units from different

15 military districts. An operational group can include one or several corps

16 from different arms of service or logistical sectors of different military

17 districts. In that case, the operational group would be led and commanded

18 by the corresponding general and the personnel of the units combined to

19 make up the group. Witness Zorc says that such a group would be under the

20 direct command of the General Staff whereas the units in its composition

21 would only be under the provisional command of its commander.

22 Witness Zorc emphasises that the order of the superior command to

23 set up such an operational group must include command competencies and

24 authorisations. If command authorities were to be restricted in any way,

25 for instance, if they were to be restricted only to operational control

Page 8719

1 and decision on the engagement of units, that would have to be clearly

2 stated in the order to set up the operational group. That is Prosecution

3 Exhibit P204, page 7.

4 Witness Zorc underlined during his testimony that there is no

5 evidence before this Trial Chamber on the purview or scope of the command

6 authority of the commander of the 2nd Operational Group. In other words,

7 he was unable to establish whether his command competencies were unlimited

8 or restricted, and that we can find in the transcript of his testimony on

9 page 6.569 and 6.570.

10 The establishment of the 2nd Operational Group in 1991 did not

11 imply that the command would be established first and come out on the

12 location where command was supposed to emanate from with a defined zone

13 responsibility, and only after that, bring in the units that were

14 subordinated to it. In this case, precisely the opposite happened. The

15 units were either already in the zone of responsibility or on their way,

16 or alternatively, it was envisaged that they arrive there following a

17 march. The command of the operational group arrived, and the commander of

18 the General Staff only made public the decision to include certain units

19 in it. The operational group did not include the entire naval forces and

20 the land forces of the 9th VPS. Part of the forces of the 9th VPS still

21 remained within the zone of the VPS, and the operational group included

22 only those forces that were indispensable to reinforce the operational

23 group in its task to impose a blockade on Dubrovnik.

24 It strikes us immediately that only the forces of the 9th VPS were

25 located in their native area, whereas all the other units included in the

Page 8720

1 2nd Operational Group were brought in from their original zones of

2 responsibility and deployed in a totally unfamiliar zone of

3 responsibility, foreign to them. The zone of responsibility of the

4 2nd Operational Group was in the area of eastern Herzegovina up to the

5 border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia on the one hand and

6 Serbia-Montenegro on the other hand, up to the Neretva River on one side,

7 and the coastal area on the other side, including the islands as well as

8 the peninsula of Peljesac.

9 The 2nd Operational Group was a formation on the level of an army.

10 A command of the 2nd Operational Group at the time consisted of personnel

11 from Belgrade and Podgorica as well as from Bileca. General Strugar by

12 virtue of the order of the chief of General Staff dated the 12th of

13 October 1991 was directed to work in the 2nd Operational Group for three

14 months. While he headed the 2nd Operational Group, General Strugar

15 received his assignments directly from the General Staff, and it is

16 noteworthy that he was the third commander to head that operational group

17 within a very short time. There were many problems in the combat

18 constitution of the units of this operational group. It must be said that

19 the mobilisation took place under the auspices of a military exercise

20 because the country was not in a state of war at the time. Under those

21 circumstances, mobilisation was carried out almost on a voluntary

22 principle. Not a single unit with the exception of the 9th Military Naval

23 Sector was familiar with the zone of responsibility, in other words, the

24 territory where it would be engaged in combat.

25 Most of these units from the 2nd Operational Group found the

Page 8721

1 territory completely alien, and that included the area where they had to

2 move within combat operations. The mobilisation of units took place in

3 their original zones of responsibility, the places where they came from.

4 Reinforcement was made from areas located elsewhere in the country, and

5 the personnel brought in was totally unfamiliar with the environment. It

6 is important to note that the degree of training and the degree of

7 solidarity and familiarity between troops and commanding staff as well as

8 between commands and units was almost nil. And that, together with all

9 the negative implications of such a state of affairs on the overall combat

10 readiness of units, was extremely adverse. These were hastily put

11 together units and commands, lacking training, that had never been trained

12 for the tasks they would be carrying out and never familiarised with the

13 territory where the combat operations would be taking place.

14 Therefore, the 2nd Operational Group never existed before, not

15 even in the similar let alone the same composition, which means that the

16 personnel did not know each other at all, and the commands were unfamiliar

17 with the units. The units placed under the command of the 2nd Operational

18 Group had never carried out similar tasks before. Those were officers

19 from the main inspectorate, from the centre of high military schools in

20 Belgrade, and the reserve officers school from Bileca. All this was

21 happening only ten days before the combat operations were to begin. It is

22 almost mission impossible to retrain people within such a short time from

23 teaching, command staff, or other duties to operations duties or command

24 duties, without appropriate psychological preparation and retraining or

25 requalification.

Page 8722

1 This state of flux and the fact that the 2nd Operational Group was

2 totally unfamiliar with the circumstances led to frequent changes in

3 organisation and composition. We could see during the trial that

4 resubordination and attachment or detachment of units took place almost on

5 a daily basis. All this could not but cause the units of the

6 2nd Operational Group to carry out almost every operation in a different

7 composition of units. We can only imagine the number and the size of

8 problems caused by such a frequent turnover of personnel and change of the

9 composition of units. These facts had an extremely adverse effect on any

10 attempt to establish a favourable climate of command, which requires,

11 first of all, great familiarity with the tasks and the zone of

12 responsibility of individuals and units as well as commands; second,

13 mutual familiarity, respect between personnel units, commands and staffs,

14 as well as different levels of command; and third, it requires a high

15 degree of qualification and training of units and commands for the

16 implementation of forthcoming tasks.

17 Speaking of the objectives and assignments of the 2nd Operational

18 Group, they were best illustrated by the draft directive to attack,

19 Defence Exhibit 44. According to that draft directive, the strategic role

20 of the 2nd Operational Group was to establish operational control over the

21 territory of eastern Herzegovina and southern Dalmatia from the

22 Neretva River to the north up to the Adriatic Sea in the west, and up to

23 the border between Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the east and

24 southeast, to make it impossible to annex Dubrovnik with its environs,

25 with its broader area to the military forces that were preparing for armed

Page 8723

1 insurgents aimed at secession of the Republic of Croatia from Yugoslavia.

2 Also, the 2nd Operational Group was established in order to

3 establish complete military control over the Neretva River valley; that

4 is, downstream from Mostar. And in that connection, the assignment, the

5 task was also to defend the area in Mostar and all the resources of the

6 JNA in the Neretva River valley downstream from Mostar; namely, depots of

7 military equipment in Dretelj and Gabela, and the large training centre in

8 Caplinja. The task of the 2nd Operational Group was to disable a

9 remilitarisation of the town of Dubrovnik and to prevent this town from

10 becoming the focus of new combat activities of the warring parties, to

11 disable new militant groups from being brought in and deployed in the town

12 that had been demilitarised earlier or in its vicinity. According to the

13 assignment issued by the supreme command and the General Staff, the

14 operational group needed to disarm paramilitary units and military

15 detachments and prevent a town that had been peaceful and demilitarised

16 for decades from being used for military purposes.

17 It is important to emphasise that Dubrovnik had never, in a single

18 plan, been marked as an objective, nor did anyone plan to occupy it. The

19 only plan was to prevent the city from being used for military purposes.

20 However, the Croatian political strategy was perfectly well aware of the

21 strategic importance of Dubrovnik, and its "international importance" was

22 used very skillfully for propaganda purposes. I will refer you to

23 evidence that points to the fact that every initiative aimed at finding a

24 peaceful solution for Dubrovnik was cut off. The Croatian authorities

25 undermined every effort to demilitarise the town and establish normal

Page 8724

1 communications in the area.

2 Speaking of the composition of the 2nd Operational Group, it is

3 also important to note that albeit it formally included corps, namely the

4 37th and the 2nd corps, as well as the military naval sector in the

5 2nd Operational Group, only parts of these corps and the military naval

6 sector were actually engaged in the theatre of war. Operational levels of

7 command in the corps and in the 9th VPS had forces engaged in combat

8 activities at the same time as they kept other parts in the areas where

9 these units were located in peacetime.

10 Furthermore, it is important to emphasise that warfare and

11 military skill in the former doctrine of the former JNA were divided into

12 three levels: The strategic, operational, and tactical levels. According

13 to that criterion, the commands of the land forces and the command of the

14 naval district belonged to the strategic level of command as Witness Zorc

15 pointed out as well. One step down was the operational level of command.

16 The operational level of command included all corps commands, as well as

17 military naval sectors. At the tactical level, there were commands of

18 joint tactical units such as brigades, regiments, and battalions.

19 A provisional, temporary formation such as the 2nd Operational

20 Group can be categorised and must be categorised applying the principle of

21 analogy; namely, if we take that the level of command is determined by the

22 level of units and commands in question, we can see that the command of

23 the 2nd Operational Group unified command over at least three operational

24 commands and several commands of independent tactical units joined by a

25 high degree of unity such as the 2nd Tactical Group and the 472nd

Page 8725












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Page 8726

1 Motorised Brigade. In other words, these three operative commands would

2 be parts of the 37th Corps, 2nd Corps, and the 9th VPS. In keeping with

3 these indisputable facts, the command of the 2nd Operational Group belongs

4 to the strategic level, not the operational level which was at the end of

5 the day confirmed by the Prosecution expert Milovan Zorc.

6 It was important to emphasise this. Why is it important to

7 establish to which level of command the 2nd Operational Group command

8 belonged to? It is important because the commands of the operational and

9 tactical levels have the duty to follow the chain of command and the

10 conduct of their subordinate commanders and their units on a daily basis.

11 This is particularly true of the units and commands in combat activities

12 when front lines are fluid, borders are undefined, and there are similar

13 circumstances. As opposed to these operational commands, the command on

14 the strategic level, such as the 2nd Operational Group, is not only unable

15 to follow from close quarters the functioning of the chain of

16 decision-making and the conduct of subordinate commands; it is not even

17 supposed to. Why? Because another level of command interfering in the

18 daily functioning of command would certainly be too much. That is why the

19 strategic level of command, such as the 2nd Operational Group, opts for

20 the so-called "guiding, directing" role in issuing orders, and a totally

21 different way of gaining insight into the conduct of units and individuals

22 by carrying out team inspections of subordinates and interim reports and

23 analysis.

24 In our case, the case being tried here, we have one example that

25 best illustrates this. It's Prosecution Exhibit P107 and Prosecution

Page 8727

1 Exhibit P109. In order to gain an insight into how the system of command

2 down the chain of command and lower down actually worked, the command at

3 the strategic level, such the 2nd Operational Group, must rely on the

4 official operational communications system alongside with its subordinate

5 commands. Therefore, the 2nd Operational Group, as the strategic level of

6 command, mostly bases its insights into the conduct and actions of its

7 subordinates on intelligence gathered by its bodies, on data provided by

8 its subordinates as part of their regular combat reports, and other

9 aspects of operational communications such as briefings, reports, and the

10 like. We shall see as we go through the evidence how these reports came

11 from subordinate bodies, most of all from the 9th VPS to the

12 2nd Operational Group. It is entirely untrue that the commander of the

13 2nd OG was duty-bound to report on the conduct of battalion commanders,

14 the forces that were in contact with enemy forces in the Dubrovnik area as

15 has been suggested by some witnesses.

16 The only thing the commander of the 2nd OG was able to do is use

17 operational documents and combat reports sent to him by the commander of

18 the 9th VPS down the chain of command and familiarise himself with the

19 situation, to use the proposals of that commander to base his decisions

20 on. Anything else he chose to do would not have been in compliance with

21 the doctrine of command. It is obvious that it did indeed work that way,

22 and we can see that clearly in the document where General Strugar requests

23 proposals from his subordinate commanders as well as in other documents in

24 which it is clear that his subordinates did, in fact, provide such

25 proposals. Documents have been admitted that show precisely this sort of

Page 8728

1 communication between the 2nd Operational Group and the 9th VPS and its

2 commander.

3 In relation to command and control in the 2nd Operational Group as

4 a temporary formation, there were certain other peculiarities that were

5 unusual for the doctrine of command in the JNA. Was it on account of the

6 problematic and difficult circumstances that made the situation throughout

7 the country very complex that they came about? There was a peculiar

8 relationship between the 9th VPS and the military naval district, between

9 the 9th VPS and the VPO. It ran counter to the established military

10 doctrine which has been confirmed by Prosecution Witness Zorc; namely, the

11 9th VPS had been temporarily resubordinated to the 2nd Operational Group.

12 However, between October and December 1991, it received and carried out

13 orders from the command of the military naval district, such as order

14 D105, Defence Exhibit 105. The commander of the 9th VPS, Jokic, pursuant

15 to an order from the command of the military naval district ordered the

16 lifting of the naval blockade of Dubrovnik, although at the time this ran

17 counter to orders that he had received from the General Staff and orders

18 he had received from the 2nd Operational Group.

19 Besides, there are numerous other orders throughout the period

20 relevant to this indictment that Jokic testified to. He particularly

21 underlined the numerous tasks of the 9th VPS, arduous tasks carried out by

22 the 9th VPS, in relation to the evacuation of units and garrisons of the

23 military naval district and moving them to Boka; the entire manpower,

24 equipment, weapons, materiel, under war circumstances or circumstances

25 that were nearly war circumstances. Those orders, however, had never been

Page 8729

1 issued to him by Strugar or by the 2nd Operational Group; they had been

2 issued by the command of the military naval district, as Witness Jokic

3 pointed out a number of times during his testimony and in the interviews

4 that he provided to the OTP. You can also see that the information centre

5 of the 9th VPS sent information on to the military naval district and the

6 General Staff. They filed and submitted regular combat reports to the

7 command of the 2nd Operational Group, but also to the military naval

8 district. They sent information reports to the military naval district,

9 intelligence reports. Daily logistics reports were forwarded to the

10 2nd Operational Group and the military naval district. Interim reports

11 were submitted to the military naval district. The operations centre of

12 the 9th VPS forwarded relevant information to the VPO, and information on

13 activities and reconnaissance were obtained by the VPO from the 9th VPS.

14 There are documents showing this that have been admitted.

15 It is important to note this because dual responsibility and

16 subordination were a hindrance to control and command within the

17 2nd Operational Group. In this context, there was a special problem

18 because the commander of the 9th VPS failed to report to the command of

19 the 2nd Operational Group on events of particular significance within his

20 own area of responsibility. For example, in relation to informing his

21 superior command about the attack on Srdj on the 6th of December 1991,

22 Jokic stated as follows. He says that informing the commander of the

23 2nd Operational Group of that particular event for him would have

24 constituted a pure waste of time. The transcript reference is 4.047. The

25 commander of the 9th VPS did not inform the 2nd Operational Group about

Page 8730

1 the attack on Srdj, about how the operation was carried out, or what the

2 consequences were. No reports were ever sent, even just for notification

3 or to the attention of a certain unit which other documents have shown,

4 when, for example, the commander of the 9th VPS informs the federal

5 secretariat for national defence or the naval district and sends a

6 document on also to the 2nd Operational Group, or rather, to the attention

7 of the 2nd Operational Group. Now, these -- for their information only.

8 Now, these events on the 6th of December were crucial. Yet, the 9th VPS

9 never informed the 2nd OG about them.

10 We have also seen much evidence to the effect that the VPS had

11 direct communication, that they sent reports and received orders from the

12 General Staff and the federal secretariat for national defence, bypassing

13 the 2nd Operational Group in the process. Witness Zorc assumes that the

14 command of the 2nd Operational Group was in a much more unfavourable

15 position in relation to the command of the VPO in terms of how stable the

16 system of command and control was. He says this based on his personal

17 acquaintance with command personnel of the 9th VPS, the 2nd OG, and also

18 in terms of the degree of trust it had enjoyed among its subordinate

19 units. Witness Zorc believes this affected how effectively the system of

20 command and control worked in the 2nd OG, how effectively it could

21 exercise command and control over the 9th VPS, which was subordinate to

22 it. Parallel lines of command and dual command will always provoke this

23 kind of problem.

24 It must be pointed out that commanders of the 2nd Operational

25 Group, having toured the units that were part of the 2nd Operational

Page 8731

1 Group, did issue the relevant orders and instructions to remedy the

2 weaknesses that had been noticed and to remove those weaknesses. P107 and

3 P109 clearly show this. Also, in their decisions on further activities

4 and operations, the 2nd Operational Group ordered the prevention and

5 suppression of all undesirable occurrences. The commander of the

6 2nd Operational Group on several different occasions explicitly banned

7 operations against Dubrovnik and the Old Town. Those were orders to

8 subordinate units that were crystal clear. Furthermore, in contrast to

9 that, it's important to point out another indisputable fact. If you look

10 at the combat reports of the commander of the 9th VPS that he sent to the

11 2nd Operational Group and to other superior levels of command, as in the

12 case of Admiral Brovet, the federal secretary for national defence or the

13 chief of the General Staff, there was never any reference to units of the

14 9th VPS targeting the Old Town. Witness Jokic provided testimony here

15 that was awkward, to say the least. He even went as far as to say that in

16 the period between October and November 1991 he was not aware of that, but

17 that in the course of his private investigation in 2002 and 2003, he was

18 able to find out about that, and he decided to testify to that before this

19 Honourable Trial Chamber; namely, that in October or November 1991, one of

20 the units under his command had done that.

21 For as long as he remained in his position as commander, there

22 were never any reports to indicate damage to the Old Town. He never

23 produced a single report indicating that while he was still commander.

24 Furthermore, there is not a shred of evidence indicating that the

25 commander of the 9th VPS requested a removal or made proposals for

Page 8732

1 measures to be taken against anyone, any member of the 472nd Motorised

2 Brigade, including, of course, the 3rd Battalion of the brigade.

3 Likewise, in 2004, we heard testimony about alleged requests that were

4 made for removal or dismissal. However, not a shred of hard evidence was

5 given; only stories and people's accounts. Prosecution Witness Zorc found

6 it necessary to agree with this. He studied this case, and he provided

7 his findings. There is not a single written document making a request or

8 proposal for anyone's removal with the addition of the report dated the

9 7th of December containing a reference to the removal of

10 Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic who had arrived as stand-in for

11 Commander Zdravkovic from the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade who was

12 temporarily absent.

13 Your Honours, I have now rounded off the first part of my closing

14 argument. And now, I would like to pass the floor to my colleague,

15 Mr. Petrovic, to cover some other areas. But maybe this would be a good

16 time for a break.

17 JUDGE PARKER: That's correct, Mr. Rodic. It's just about spot on

18 the correct time for the break. So we will now adjourn and resume at a

19 quarter past 11.00.

20 --- Recess taken at 10.49 a.m.

21 --- On resuming at 11.22 a.m.

22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.

23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

24 First of all, Your Honours, by your leave, I would like to speak

25 about something that the OTP referred to in their own final brief, and

Page 8733












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Page 8734

1 that was referred to yesterday in the Prosecutor's closing argument,

2 something that concerns discrepancies in the Defence theory in relation to

3 what was said in the pre-trial brief and in the Defence's opening argument

4 prior to the start of the Defence case. On two occasions, the Defence put

5 forward our position and how we viewed the essence of our case. The first

6 time was in October 2003, and the other time was on the 28th of June this

7 year as part of the Defence's opening statement.

8 I would like to briefly remind the Trial Chamber of what can be

9 found in the pre-trial brief, the Defence pre-trial brief that was

10 provided on the 1st of October 2003 where we pointed out a whole string of

11 circumstances surrounding the creation and preparation of the pre-trial

12 brief as well as how those circumstances affected the substance of our

13 pre-trial brief. What I am speaking about and what is essential in that

14 respect are paragraphs 4.7, point 8, point 9, and point 10 of the

15 pre-trial brief dated the 1st of October 2003. One of these paragraphs,

16 for example, says that the pre-trial brief cannot be considered as

17 complete and entire because it does not include the necessary elements of

18 analysis, such elements as it should include due to the way in which the

19 pre-trial stage was conducted. In addition to which the Defence would

20 like to point out that the pre-trial brief has been submitted without

21 looking at the documents disclosed by the OTP, without going through key

22 Defence witnesses' statements, and without studying the circumstances that

23 OTP witnesses had invoked.

24 Furthermore, on the 1st of October 2003, the Defence pointed out

25 that it was highly likely that following the studying of the disclosed

Page 8735

1 material, the Defence might take a different position, a position

2 different to such allegations as were made in the pre-trial brief at the

3 time. Also, when the time comes, the Defence would announce our position

4 on the pre-trial brief. Therefore, for reasons that I will not go into

5 now but that should be familiar by now, the pre-trial brief was just a

6 mere indication of what the Defence case really was. And what was the

7 Defence case? The Defence case is what this Trial Chamber has heard since

8 the day our case was opened. That's what the Defence's case is. It is

9 not in the least inconsistent, but rather it is perfectly clear what our

10 submissions are, and we have furnished relevant and adequate proof for

11 that. We believe those should be sufficient for the Trial Chamber to base

12 their decision on.

13 I would now like to go back to what the essence of our final brief

14 will be. Above all, I'm about to focus on one of the units that was

15 referred to many times and invoked many times throughout this trial;

16 namely, the 472nd Motorised Brigade. This brigade was always part of the

17 9th VPS or part of the VPO. A lot of evidence has been produced to

18 confirm that. Key aspects of the functioning of this unit were in all

19 situations closely related to the military naval sector and district,

20 regardless of the way in which this operational unit may have been used.

21 I will use this opportunity to remind you of one aspect of the operational

22 use of this unit, and this aspect has caused a certain amount of doubt

23 during this trial. And this is an aspect that the OTP used through their

24 key witness. It is the issue of promotion for members of the

25 472nd Motorised Brigade; more specifically, the 3rd Battalion of the

Page 8736

1 472nd Motorised Brigade.

2 Regardless of the operational way in which this unit was used and

3 the composition in which they carried out their combat activities, the

4 procedures related to promotion, commendation and decoration were always

5 linked to the 9th Military Naval Sector. So for example,

6 Captain Kovacevic files a proposal to the command of the 9th VPS for

7 promotion and incentives. The promotion and incentives proposed by

8 Kovacevic include a commendation for the commander of the 9th VPS, the

9 granting of special leave, and other incentives. All these incentives are

10 supposed to be reward for combat activities carried out by the

11 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade in November 1991. The chief of staff

12 of the 9th VPS, Zec, Warship Captain Milan Zec, receives these proposals

13 from Kovacevic, analyses the proposals, and forwards them to the assistant

14 commander of the 9th VPS, Mihajlo Zarkovic for further consideration.

15 D100 shows this very clearly, and this has been confirmed by what Defence

16 witnesses testified to before this Trial Chamber.

17 In his testimony before this Trial Chamber, the former commander

18 of the naval military sector of Boka, Jokic, in as far as concerned

19 promotion for members of the 472nd Motorised Brigade, he never missed a

20 single opportunity to point out that General Strugar was the one who was

21 in charge of those promotions and incentives and who awarded decorations

22 and promotions. Documents that had been admitted as part of this trial,

23 however, are in clear contradiction to that. D100 clearly shows how

24 promotions were awarded in the 9th VPS and what sort of incentives were

25 provided.

Page 8737

1 Chief of Jokic's staff forwarded, for final decision-making, a

2 list of members of the 3rd Battalion counting several dozens of names. He

3 did so on the 6th of November 1991. Jokic was then not horrified by the

4 fact that 100 members of that hateful brigade were being promoted. Only

5 later when he found himself in prison does he begin to feel aghast at the

6 fact that 100 of these members were commended, rewarded, and promoted.

7 Jokic later describes the message that he sent to the 3rd Battalion of the

8 472nd Motorised Brigade only ten days before the 6th of December when his

9 command was doing all in their power to stimulate and commend members of

10 that battalion for the results achieved so far. Only later when he found

11 himself in prison does Jokic begin to distance himself from the members of

12 this brigade, does he start telling stories about how he tried to expel

13 them and replace them. But then, at the time, in 1994 -- sorry, in 1991,

14 he was promoting them. Nowadays, however, he is ascribing all his deeds

15 to Strugar. Strugar in his words was the one who was commending and

16 promoting them, and the only thing that he can offer is his own story to

17 corroborate this. As opposed to that, we have written documents and

18 eyewitnesses speaking to the contrary.

19 The 472nd Motorised Brigade did experience problems in its

20 functioning. These problems that aggravated the functioning of this unit

21 at the time, in autumn 1991, were shared by the entire Yugoslav People's

22 Army and the entire Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. There were

23 problems in reinforcing units by mobilisation. The unit had to be

24 reinforced by personnel from Dubrovnik, from the area of Dubrovnik. In

25 view of the large number of reserve personnel from the area of Dubrovnik

Page 8738

1 used to reinforce the unit, the unit was initially staffed largely short

2 of establishment. There were many other problems in the functioning of

3 that brigade because of the shortage of adequate military-recorded

4 specialties. Those who were properly trained for certain activities had

5 not responded to the call-up. And it was, therefore, impossible to

6 reinforce and staff the units properly. Additional personnel had to be

7 found from other areas, including young soldiers who were only in the

8 process of training and without having completed the training had to be

9 engaged in view of the situation as we've heard many times here.

10 Also, in the period of September and October 1991, this unit was

11 reinforced by a large number of officers who had never before been members

12 of that unit. In end September, only 40 per cent of active-duty officers,

13 or rather the unit had only 40 per cent of the establishment in terms of

14 active-duty officers. The officers that were engaged came from the

15 reserve officers school in Bileca who were attached to the unit on a

16 temporary basis. And as we know from the evidence before this

17 Trial Chamber, these officers enjoyed respect among the troops.

18 Although these facts are not to be neglected, the witnesses we

19 heard testified that despite all the problems, these officers managed to

20 bring discipline up to an adequate level. Those were witnesses

21 Lemal, Stojanovic and others whose testimony is especially noteworthy and

22 valuable because their units were directly engaged in the blockade of

23 Dubrovnik, and therefore of special interest to us.

24 Another fact that should not be neglected is very important

25 because it has been mentioned before this Trial Chamber so frequently.

Page 8739

1 The command climate. Only several days before the beginning of combat

2 operations, Commander Nojko Marinovic deserted his unit, and not only

3 that, he goes on to become the commander of the units that the

4 472nd Motorised Brigade had to meet in combat. That fact was particularly

5 defeating for the members of the 472nd Motorised Brigade, the fact that

6 their commander became the commander of the opposing side with all the

7 knowledge that he possessed about the deployment, combat disposition, and

8 strength of their forces. Speaking of the command climate, the

9 Prosecution witness Pringle spoke at length about it, but he spoke about

10 what he knew and what his experience was from the British Army and other

11 armies. I don't believe that he had ever, in considering command climate

12 of a unit, to imagine the effect the desertion of a commander can have on

13 a unit and the later becoming by that commander of -- and the later

14 assumption by that commander of commanding position over the warring

15 party's unit. I don't think that he had ever had such experience in

16 another foreign army. That, however, is precisely the situation that

17 Pavle Strugar had to face.

18 But generally speaking, it was a totally abnormal situation

19 overall, when the whole state was in the process of disappearing, together

20 with its army, to be replaced by five different armies. That is the

21 situation in which Pavle Strugar was supposed to create an appropriate

22 command climate in which to execute the tasks given him by the superior

23 command. In addition to that, Witness Pringle, when cross-examined,

24 confirmed that he had not even studied the regulations prevailing in the

25 former JNA; that is, the armed forces of the SFRY. He said instead that

Page 8740

1 his observations about the way in which a new commander should create a

2 command climate in a new unit were based on his experience in the British

3 Army, which makes his allegations made here completely pointless and

4 deprived of sense.

5 Coming back to the issue of the 472nd Brigade, I should like to

6 add that the commander of the 9th VPS stipulated in his orders not only

7 the execution of combat activities, but also other aspects that affected

8 the life and operation of the units of this brigade or the landing and

9 assault brigade or whatever else we called it before this Trial Chamber.

10 That includes the establishment of the communications network and system,

11 and in this context I should like to refer to a document which is in

12 evidence. It shows that the command of the 9th VPS stipulates in its

13 decisions also the composition and the equipment of units within the

14 472nd Motorised Brigade. Everybody in this courtroom will certainly

15 remember how many times Admiral Jokic sitting in the witness box cried how

16 much he had done to remove heavy artillery away from Dubrovnik, to replace

17 the 3rd Battalion because its equipment was too heavy, all because of his

18 concerns, his overwhelming concerns for the Old Town of Dubrovnik. But

19 he's saying all this in year 2004, Your Honours.

20 Leaving the 9th VPS, the 472nd Brigade is asking to be given back

21 the battery of ZIS cannons that had been detached and became a separate

22 unit within the composition of the 9th VPS. The command of the brigade

23 leaving the 9th VPS asked back the ZIS cannons that were -- that had been

24 given to the 3rd Battalion because they were under Kovacevic's command

25 outside Dubrovnik. They're asking for them because they needed them for

Page 8741












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Page 8742

1 combat activities elsewhere within their zone of responsibility. However,

2 although the brigade asked for this in writing from Jokic, what does Jokic

3 answer? He says: "Look into possibilities." And that's all. In year

4 2004, Jokic testifies before you, Your Honours, and he says that he had

5 invested superhuman efforts to remove the artillery, being aware of the

6 possibility of hitting of the Old Town. And again, he blames Strugar for

7 the failure to remove the artillery.

8 Those, Your Honours, are only empty words of Miodrag Jokic, a man

9 who is desperate to minimise his criminal liability and to satisfy the

10 expectations of the Office of the Prosecutor. What Jokic actually said

11 was "look into possibilities." However, his chief of staff Milan Zec was

12 much more specific. Zec ordered ZIS cannons then on the 23rd of November

13 1991 that they cannot be removed from the 3rd Battalion. Why? Because

14 they had to stay there until the problem of Mount Srdj is solved because

15 two weeks prior to the 6th December, Zec would not give away the cannons

16 until the problem is solved. I refer you to the document where all this

17 is written. It is D106. He recognised his own handwriting there as well

18 as the handwriting of the then-Warship Commander Captain Zec. However,

19 the only thing that he fails to remember in 2004 was the contents of that

20 document; namely, the problem of Mount Srdj.

21 In 1991, as we can see from this document, Jokic and his command

22 were facing the problem of Srdj. Nowadays, in 2004, Jokic's problem seems

23 to be the Old Town. Then, like now, Jokic is not hesitant, neither in

24 1991 when he was solving the problem of Srdj, nor today when Jokic was

25 faced with a problem of blaming and shifting all the responsibility, all

Page 8743

1 the criminal liability to General Strugar.

2 In 1991, that battalion, as we heard many times, was part of the

3 472nd Brigade up until the 20th November 1991 when the brigade

4 subordinated to the 2nd Corps -- when the brigade was subordinated to the

5 2nd Corps, whereas the 3rd Battalion remained under the command of the

6 9th VPS. What does matter and what the Defence should like the

7 Trial Chamber to consider especially carefully is the combat engagement of

8 the 3rd Battalion. The theory of our Defence is that on the 6th of

9 December, there was no possibility whatsoever to consider that, on the

10 basis of what happened in October and November, there was a substantial

11 risk regarding the way the unit was used on the positions involved in the

12 immediate blockade of the town of Dubrovnik. Why am I saying this,

13 Your Honours? In October, that battalion did not take part in any combat

14 operations in the immediate vicinity of Dubrovnik. It didn't take part in

15 November either. More precisely, it didn't take part in any way that

16 could create the fear that it could be deployed on the said positions.

17 And I will clarify this now.

18 In November 1991, as we know, Bosanka, Kula, and Strincijera were

19 taken. And the 3rd Battalion remains there up until the beginning of

20 1992; that is, the time relevant for our indictment. From the 20th

21 November onwards, the battalion was detached from the brigade and

22 subordinated directly to the command of the 9th VPS to block the town from

23 the south and southeast side. I will remind you that Witness Lemal stated

24 before this Court that in October, this unit had not taken part in combat

25 operations. Witness A, as we know, is one of company commanders. Another

Page 8744

1 company commander in that battalion also confirms that beginning with

2 mid-October, the 3rd Battalion had been withdrawn, pulled back, and given

3 leave in the area of Talezi village. There was the commander of the

4 3rd Company of the 3rd Battalion. Captain Stojanovic speaks of the fact

5 that beginning with the 1st October 1991 in operations in which ten men

6 from his unit had been killed, confirms that the unit had been withdrawn

7 and given leave in the Talez village already in mid-October. These are

8 facts that were mentioned here several times referring to the events of

9 the 23rd, 24th, 25th October, whichever date is correct. The

10 3rd Battalion, however, does not take part in these operations. It is on

11 leave in the area of Talez village, which is clear from the testimony of

12 Witnesses Lemal and Stojanovic, and it is also clear from the documents in

13 evidence relating to this period.

14 In combat to the east of Dubrovnik in October, the 4th Battalion

15 of the 472nd Brigade did take place. On a map, P120, you can clearly see

16 how the positions of the 4th Battalion were moved from positions at

17 Celopeci, Bujici village towards Donji Brgat, Gornji Brgat, and so on. If

18 you look at that document, the fact comes across with great clarity. In

19 November, starting with the 10th of November, pursuant to a direct order

20 from Jokic, the 3rd Battalion was involved in combat. However, the manner

21 of their involvement was particularly significant, what the role of the

22 3rd Battalion was in events which started on 10th of November 1991. If

23 you look at all the orders that we have in evidence in relation to the

24 events on the 10th, 11th, and 12th, and the operations that were to follow

25 in those days, this battalion was used only as an infantry unit, and their

Page 8745

1 task was to seize a certain axis, including Mount Srdj. The issue of

2 artillery, the issue of mortars, the issue of potential sources of fire

3 allegedly damaging the Old Town in November 1991 has nothing whatsoever to

4 do with the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade. The brigade was then used

5 merely as an infantry unit to take a line. Of course, they were enjoying

6 fire support; however, it is clear, and I will confirm this, that this

7 fire support was provided by other units from the 9th VPS and not this

8 one.

9 Not at any point in time was there infantry attacks supported by

10 any of the integral parts of the 3rd Battalion. The attack was supported

11 by units from outside the 3rd Battalion, units under the 9th VPS pursuant

12 to clear and detailed instructions from Jokic about the use of artillery

13 support during the 3rd Battalion's attack on the 10th, 11th, and 12th

14 against such lines as were designated, and this is confirmed by the

15 evidence before this Trial Chamber. The Defence would also like to point

16 out that there is a great deal of discrepancy between combat orders of the

17 commander of the 9th VPS for the 10 -- for the 9th and the 10th of

18 November respectively. In relation to the attack on the 9th of November,

19 there are no orders specifying the use of mortars and artillery. However,

20 if you look at the regular combat report of the 9th VPS on the 10th of

21 November, you can see that units of the 9th VPS involved in fighting on

22 that day could not break through to the lines that the commander of the

23 9th VPS had ordered them to reach, including reaching Srdj.

24 In his next combat order, he orders the use of artillery and

25 mortars on the 11th of November to provide support for his units carrying

Page 8746

1 out the attack. The focus of artillery fire as ordered by Jokic was in

2 the area of Srdj, Strincijera, Gradac and Dubrave. Further, the next day,

3 the 12th of November 1991, Jokic orders the stepping up of artillery and

4 mortar fire. In none of those situations did the artillery or the mortars

5 whose activity was being requested were the mortars or the artillery that

6 were actually attached to the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade. For the

7 473rd Battalion was the battalion that was used for infantry operations,

8 for support, and was the potential source of damage to the Old Town. And

9 they draw on the sector units beginning with the TOC, the 1070 AG, the

10 Howitzer battery, 120-millimetre Howitzers, and so on and so forth. I

11 will not go any further into this, Your Honours. This is all in D57, D58,

12 and D126, in one word, documents that were written and produced by Jokic

13 stipulating how units of the 9th VPS should be used on the 10th, 11th, and

14 12th of November 1991.

15 If we look at the three combat orders that I have referred to, the

16 commander of the 9th VPS clearly orders the taking of Srdj. He orders his

17 troops to reach the Srdj elevation. It comes across with great clarity on

18 the basis of these documents. This is no matter of interpretation. There

19 are no different interpretations. And it's not about how Jokic remembers

20 this to be 13 years since. It is clearly shown by these documents. Today

21 Jokic claims that, for example, if you take the Srdj-Strincijera line it

22 doesn't necessarily mean that you need to take Srdj, but rather that you

23 need to take an area which is at a distance of about several hundred

24 metres from Srdj itself. But that's where the original position is from

25 which these units are starting out because that's where the village of

Page 8747

1 Bosanka is, several hundred metres away from Srdj, several hundred metres

2 away from Srdj, about 700 metres away from Srdj, you have the fort of

3 Strincijera itself. All these distances between the topographical points

4 on this map are as a rule several hundred metres. Therefore, the mortars

5 and artillery that were used on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of November were

6 the mortars and the artillery from the 9th VPS, but not from the

7 composition of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade.

8 If indeed there was any damage that was caused to the Old Town in

9 November, then it was caused by Jokic's own artillery. It is clear based

10 on his orders what the role of the 3rd Battalion was, and it is quite

11 obvious what the role of the artillery units was. And again, we have a

12 discrepancy between what Jokic claims and what the documents tell us.

13 Jokic would have us believe that what he wrote and ordered back in 1991 is

14 not true. He would have us believe what he's telling us now in 2004. He

15 would like to have us believe what he's telling us in 2004 as he awaits

16 the outcome of his appeal to a sentence that was imposed on him and as he

17 awaits a decision by the OTP on the exact degree of his cooperation and as

18 he awaits a ruling from the Trial Chamber pursuant to his appeal in which

19 he claims that the exact degree of cooperation with the OTP was not

20 sufficiently appreciated during the trial of General Strugar. At this

21 point in time, it might be interesting to go through some allegations made

22 by the OTP in connection with Jokic related to a number of different

23 factors that might affect his sentence.

24 These factors go to the very essence of Jokic's testimony

25 nevertheless. You remember how yesterday the OTP, in a very moving way I

Page 8748

1 must say, portrayed Jokic as a moderate man, a measured man who has no

2 reason on earth to tell anything but the truth. They portrayed him as a

3 peace-loving person who is only here for the sake of the truth. However,

4 the OTP choose to overlook the following facts, that this same person had

5 concluded an agreement with the OTP that also stipulates what sort of

6 sentence would be handed out in return for which he is supposed to

7 cooperate, to give interviews whenever required to do so. Following his

8 testimony, the OTP provides an assessment of his testimony which in turn

9 affects the length of his sentence. And this assessment might be that he

10 failed to cooperate or that he cooperated insufficiently. The assessment

11 could have been that he cooperated fully in the Strugar trial. Jokic

12 waged his own war in his testimony. He struggled for his own sake. The

13 Trial Chamber should know that, and the OTP knows that very well. He

14 struggled to reduce his own sentence. Besides, General Strugar, due to

15 his own poor health, is not able to take the stand himself and testify to

16 refute what Jokic said.

17 All of the documents that were used in this case were disclosed to

18 Jokic, so Jokic is in possession of all this information. Jokic also

19 knows that all the elements that the OTP bases the responsibility of

20 General Strugar on were actually extracted from Jokic's own testimony.

21 All the allegations that are not in relation to the crime base stem from

22 Jokic's testimony. It is Jokic that is the OTP case because if you take

23 Jokic away from their case, they have nothing. And yesterday, they chose

24 to call him "disinterested." He's not a disinterested party because he is

25 awaiting a decision in a trial where he was one of the original indictees.

Page 8749












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Page 8750

1 Therefore, the claim made yesterday by the OTP is simply incredible.

2 Also, after Jokic's testimony on the 9th of August 2004, the OTP accepted

3 that the Chamber allegedly made a mistake in relation to certain facts

4 regarding Admiral Jokic and that his sentence was to be modified

5 accordingly. What I find significant is the time frame in which all of

6 this is happening. Had Jokic had a choice, had he been in a position to

7 choose, could he have testified differently, knowing that there was an

8 appeal underway and that the outcome of this appeal to a very high degree

9 hinged on the assessment of the OTP, the very same OTP pressing charges

10 against General Strugar.

11 The OTP and Jokic are on the same case in a manner of speaking.

12 They're pursuing the same goal in this case. Only their reasons are

13 different. The OTP wishes to win a case based on nothing. All the

14 documents that are in evidence clearly show that Witness Jokic's testimony

15 is completely untruthful in reference to Srdj, in reference to Jokic's

16 testimony before this Trial Chamber where allegedly all his efforts were

17 directed at removing the artillery and the mortars from the vicinity of

18 the Old Town, saying that he never authorised fire on Srdj because he was

19 aware, he claims, that every time Srdj was missed, the Old Town would have

20 been hit. He also claims that he never ordered the taking of the fortress

21 at Srdj.

22 Admiral Jokic's allegations today are in open and obvious

23 contradiction to his written orders produced at the time as well as other

24 authentic documents that have been tendered throughout this trial. They

25 merely represent an attempt to justify his own role in these events and to

Page 8751

1 dodge responsibility. As far as the evidence before this Trial Chamber is

2 concerned, there is not a single document that would link

3 General Pavle Strugar and the 2nd OG to anything going on round Srdj,

4 stepping up the blockade of Dubrovnik, or the activity of mortars around

5 Dubrovnik. There is nothing to indicate that he ordered fire to be opened

6 on Srdj or that he planned to have the fortress and the feature at Srdj

7 taken.

8 On the 13th of November 1991 a cease-fire came into effect. A

9 truce between the Croatian forces and the JNA forces along the line of the

10 town of Dubrovnik. Negotiations continued between the Croatian forces and

11 the JNA, with the mediation of Minister Bernard Kouchner. The objective

12 was to have a permanent cease-fire and for life for Dubrovnik to go back

13 to normal. Between the 13th of November and the 6th of December, there

14 were numerous acts of provocation by firing carried out by the Croatian

15 forces against JNA forces in the area around Dubrovnik. There are

16 documents showing that, and this issue has been addressed fully in our

17 final brief. I am not going into details now since details can be found

18 in these documents and in our brief.

19 The only thing I would like to say now in connection with the

20 3rd Battalion, without going into what happened on the 6th of December and

21 the full impact of what happened, I would like to say something about the

22 use of mortars by that battalion on the 6th of December 1991 from the

23 perspective of what Jokic stated in one of his interviews. Witness Jokic

24 stated that once he had been informed on the 6th of December that the

25 3rd Battalion was under fire by the Croatian side, he decided the

Page 8752

1 battalion had its own artillery and that their artillery should be used to

2 neutralise the fire that was putting them at risk. That's what Jokic

3 stated in an interview to the OTP in July 2002 on page 204 of that

4 interview. When asked by the Defence whether Kovacevic had received

5 instructions to use his own artillery if no support had been forthcoming,

6 Jokic answered, "Of course." Further, Witness Jokic also stated in the

7 interview: "I told him that he had his own artillery, I mean Kovacevic,

8 and that he should neutralise those firing positions," and the reference

9 is to the firing positions of the Croatian side. Jokic stated that to the

10 OTP in July 2002 on page 205. Having no choice, he confirmed these words

11 when asked by the Defence before this Honourable Trial Chamber.

12 Therefore, it was Admiral Jokic who ordered that the artillery of the

13 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade be used to neutralise the firing

14 positions.

15 Before he set out for Belgrade, Jokic had sent a message to Zec

16 that he should complete the withdrawal, that he should prevent any further

17 losses to the battalion and that he should neutralise any danger to the

18 battalion. That is what Witness Jokic stated to the OTP in July 2002 on

19 page 207, and he confirmed these allegations before the Trial Chamber.

20 Therefore, we submit that on the 6th of December, the Old Town of

21 Dubrovnik could have been targeted from two possible sources, the

22 artillery of the 9th VPS or the mortars of the 3rd Battalion.

23 Admiral Jokic personally ordered that any fire coming from the town of

24 Dubrovnik, and he mentioned nothing about the Old Town itself, should be

25 neutralised by the artillery of the 3rd Battalion.

Page 8753

1 Therefore, the Defence concludes unequivocally that all the

2 alleged damage that could have been incurred to the Old Town of Dubrovnik

3 or Dubrovnik as a whole could have been caused only by the use of

4 artillery and mortars. And in any situation, no matter what the situation

5 is, be it the sector artillery or the mortars of the 3rd Battalion, their

6 use was authorised by Miodrag Jokic.

7 By your leave, Your Honours, I would like to turn briefly to the

8 problem on the opposing side, the Croatian side; namely, the

9 militarisation of the town of Dubrovnik, the town which in the times of

10 the SFRY was freed from all the garrisons that were moved to the

11 hinterland in order to enable the development of tourism. I will remind

12 you of a witness who said that the demilitarisation of Dubrovnik was one

13 of the prerequisites for the town's acquisition of the UNESCO protection

14 and the World Heritage status.

15 In our submissions from July and August, we noted that members of

16 the ZNG, the National Guard Corps, had occupied back in July, according to

17 the establishment scheme, the town of Dubrovnik. Prosecution Exhibit 116,

18 including a map indicating the strength of forces occupying the town of

19 Dubrovnik. The 116th Brigade consisted of two battalions; seven

20 battalions had 12 offices, 11 commanding offices.

21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker please slow down.

22 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] In total, the Croatian forces had

23 1.146 members, including 80 officers and NCOs. In the events surrounding

24 Dubrovnik, what mattered a lot to the Croatian propaganda effort was

25 Dubrovnik in its attempts to effect secession from the SFRY. We have

Page 8754

1 documents in evidence to show that in certain periods Croatian forces were

2 deployed in Bogosica Park. Witness Negodic, looking at photographs from

3 that period, recognised Zoran Primic opening fire from a mortar dressed in

4 civilian clothing. Witness Negodic incorrectly interprets the activity of

5 this mortar. But that is elaborated in our final brief. On P160, mortar

6 positions of the Croatian forces are marked east of the gate to the

7 Old Town as well as the anti-aircraft weapon on the northern wall on the

8 Old Town. On map P159, we see the position of the mortar in the vicinity

9 of the eastern gate to the Old Town. From the same position in the

10 immediate vicinity of the eastern gate to the Old Town, there are

11 indications of the axes and directions of fires towards Bosanka, Brgat,

12 and Zarkovica.

13 Witness Negodic also stated that he didn't have enough sighting

14 devices for the artillery used which caused disbelief, disbelief that such

15 weapons could have been used at all. We heard that from Colonel Poje.

16 The Croatian forces also had vehicle-mounted mortars which moved quickly

17 and silently. They would fire and rapidly disappear. We had a number of

18 witnesses who testified about this. They changed the positions from which

19 they fired so quickly that even an experienced journalist like Davis,

20 journalist Davis, could not observe them. Witnesses described firing

21 positions near Belvedere and Argentina Hotels. Witness Davis mentioned

22 firing from the vicinity of the Argentina Hotel. The target was the JNA

23 unit on the hill above them. Witness Davis also testified that he had

24 noticed an anti-aircraft gun mounted on top of a truck frequently changing

25 position. He saw it in the new harbour of Dubrovnik near the police

Page 8755

1 station, although other witnesses testified that they had seen it in other

2 places in Dubrovnik.

3 The tactic of the Croatian forces was to fire and move away

4 immediately. The Croatian side did this in order to avoid returned fire

5 by the JNA. Quick shots and rapid changes of position that were so quick

6 that Davis did not manage to film them could lead us to the incorrect

7 conclusion that the returned fire directed at the Croatian mortar actually

8 targeted a civilian position because when the returned fire would arrive,

9 the Croatian mortar had already moved to a different firing position.

10 Thus, we could be led to believe that the JNA units had acted without

11 provocation, which was not the case as we can see clearly from the

12 evidence. In the video footage given this Court by Witness Grbic, we see

13 artillery weapons in Gradac. Gradac is in the immediate vicinity of the

14 Old Town. It is right next to the Lovrinac fort which is part of the

15 cultural heritage of Dubrovnik. We see fire being opened from a mortar in

16 Bogosica Park. What is especially noteworthy in this video which we

17 called Grbic's video, that is P66, we see a member of the Croatian forces,

18 part of the crew of a three-barrel gun, and a witness says, describing

19 these events, "on the 6th of December, it seemed like we had five or six

20 such guns precisely because we changed locations so rapidly. The mortar

21 would look for us and damage the town, but they couldn't find us." And

22 that confirms the statements made by Defence witnesses who said that the

23 Croatian forces opened fire, moved quickly, and thus provoked return fire

24 by the JNA.

25 Very briefly, I would now like to turn to firing activity from the

Page 8756

1 Old Town because I believe we made our submissions in detail in our final

2 brief. Witness Nesic, Witness Drljan, and Witness Pepic spoke about this.

3 What is especially interesting as the Trial Chamber certainly knows is the

4 number of targets in the Old Town marked by Witness Nesic. However, what

5 I would like to say at this moment regarding Witness Nesic, and you will

6 find the details in evidence, of course, I would like to emphasise that

7 all that Witness Nesic observed in 1991 he described to members of the OTP

8 in 2003 in the interview he gave them in Belgrade. That interview was led

9 by the trial team leader in this case. Obviously satisfied with what they

10 heard from Nesic in that interview, they put Jovica Nesic on the

11 Prosecution's list of witnesses as a Prosecution witness in this case.

12 Jovica Nesic's testimony as the Trial Chamber certainly knows was expected

13 and planned by the Prosecution. Through the state authorities of Serbia

14 and Montenegro, the Prosecution made considerable efforts to force Nesic

15 to testify. They summoned him, and only when he refused to testify as a

16 Prosecution witness did they remove him from the Prosecution's witness

17 list, and the Trial Chamber was informed of this, if I'm not mistaken, in

18 March or April this year.

19 All that Nesic told the Prosecution in November 2003 and based on

20 which the Prosecution had been looking forward for so long to his

21 testimony, we did not hear. Nowadays, they say that they regret the fact

22 he didn't testify. We know today that there are significant discrepancies

23 in what he said in 2003 about the activity of Croatian forces. Speaking

24 to the investigators in 2003 in Belgrade, Nesic even drew a layout of the

25 Croatian forces in 1991. And as we know, that little map, that sketch,

Page 8757












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Page 8758

1 was disclosed to us only last year. You will find all the relevant facts

2 in our final brief. I would only like to take up something that was said

3 yesterday about what can and cannot be seen from Zarkovica. We heard a

4 lot about whether the Old Town can be seen from Zarkovica, whether a human

5 silhouette can be made out, whether a mortar can be noticed, seen, with

6 the naked eye or with binoculars. Witnesses were shown video footage with

7 the worst possible definition in order to challenge statements that

8 mortars can be indeed seen from Zarkovica, and the Prosecutor referred to

9 superhuman sight. However, the Defence had resolved this dilemma long

10 ago.

11 The Prosecutor also tried to challenge the evidence of Pepic and

12 Drljan that they had seen what they had seen because allegedly they

13 couldn't have seen it because of the great distance. However, Pepic said

14 that he not only had military binoculars, but at Zarkovica, he had a

15 special periscope which as required could be used for observing targets in

16 the town of Dubrovnik and its immediate vicinity.

17 As regards negotiations that were conducted constantly with the

18 Croatian side, this has been clarified in detail in our final brief. I

19 would only like to say a few words about the so-called 11-point proposal.

20 That proposal was made by the 2nd Operative Group in concurrence with the

21 staff of the superior command and the proposal refers to the surrender of

22 artillery weapons and other weapons, demilitarisation, and it constitutes

23 an attempt to resolve all the problems that stand in the way of restoring

24 the supply of electricity and other necessities to the town. However, we

25 heard yesterday and we read in the Prosecutor's final brief that in their

Page 8759

1 understanding, this document is actually a mimicry by General Strugar to

2 conceal his "real nature," as the Prosecutor puts it, the real nature of a

3 man who only wants war and destruction. However, the Prosecution

4 overlooks certain facts. That is a document not made by General Strugar.

5 That document was drafted with the closest cooperation of the

6 General Staff of the armed forces of the SFRY. This also begs the

7 question, was Bernard Kouchner also a warmonger? The key propositions of

8 that agreement that was signed between the JNA and the representatives of

9 Dubrovnik on the 5th of December with the support and at the initiative

10 even of Bernard Kouchner include identical items as the 11-point proposal,

11 points referring to the withdrawal of forces, disarming of Croatian

12 forces, and departure of all military elements coming from outside.

13 The 11-point proposal in many ways reflects the agreement that had

14 been reached earlier between the JNA and the citizens of Dubrovnik with

15 the support of Kouchner that had been, however, blocked by the Croatian

16 authorities. The Prosecution tries to portray General Strugar as a man

17 who can never get enough of war as opposed to what he really is, a general

18 who is trying to achieve peace, whose forces are under attack. Jokic was

19 a different man, according to the Prosecutor. His only concern was to

20 negotiate peace. This is a totally artificial creation of the Prosecutor.

21 The conduct of Jokic in the zone of Dubrovnik was not led by his own

22 propensities and inclinations. Combat operations were conducted only when

23 the supreme command ordered them. Jokic did not participate in

24 negotiations with ambassadors in October or Minister Rudolf in November,

25 December, because he loved peace. He went to those negotiations because

Page 8760

1 he was ordered by telegram by the General Staff, as we can see from the

2 record. He went to the negotiations in December under orders given him by

3 General Kandic.

4 Very briefly, perhaps for just one minute, I would like to speak

5 about the implementation of the December negotiations and the way in which

6 Jokic was engaged in these negotiations. He said -- in fact, I would say

7 that Jokic's claim that such a high representative of the 9th naval sector

8 was in that situation a mere messenger because as Jokic puts it, coming

9 from Belgrade to Podgorica, he was passing through Vis and Kumbor, and

10 since he was in Kumbor, Strugar asked him to pass on the information from

11 the meeting in Belgrade. I would call that claim absolutely incorrect.

12 It is unimaginable that messages would be passed in this way to the

13 commander on such -- in such a high position, in such a complex situation

14 with the presence of all the complex and sophisticated communications

15 systems. It is also unimaginable that Pavle Strugar if indeed he had been

16 given orders in Belgrade to forward orders to Commander Jokic, that

17 Strugar would do so in passing through Kumbor. In addition to that, we

18 have to bear in mind the fact that on the 5th of December 1991, Jokic was

19 negotiating on behalf of the supreme command of the armed forces. On the

20 7th of December in that capacity, he signed the agreement. In neither of

21 these situations did he act as commander of the 2nd Operational Group or

22 the 9th VPS. From the available evidence, the Defence draws the

23 conclusion that at the meeting of the General Staff, it was decided that

24 Jokic should represent the armed forces and through the uninterrupted

25 channels of communications Jokic was so informed.

Page 8761

1 I believe, Your Honour, this is a convenient moment for the lunch

2 break. With your leave, of course.

3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. We will now adjourn,

4 resuming at 1.45.

5 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.31 p.m.

6 --- On resuming at 1.52 p.m.

7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic. Mr. Rodic.

8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

9 In this part of our closing argument, the Defence will try as

10 briefly as possible to put to the Trial Chamber facts in connection with

11 the 4th, 5th, and 6th of December 1991 which we addressed in some detail

12 in our brief. Therefore, our summary now will be as brief as possible.

13 As early as the 4th of December, there is a reference in the war

14 log of the 9th VPS in Kupari, the Defence Exhibit Number is D96, and we

15 see that the 9th VPS was informed that on that day, three ministers of the

16 Croatian government and five envoys of the European Commission would be

17 leaving Split and sailing to Dubrovnik. Furthermore, it was ascertained

18 that the Croatian ministers came to their negotiations with the JNA on the

19 5th of December sailing on the Argosy ship, and they left Split at 8.15 in

20 the morning. They arrived in Cavtat at 8.15 in the morning. The

21 negotiations lasted until just after 12.00 on the 5th of December. And if

22 we look at P162, which is the logbook of the Port Authority, the local

23 port authority, you can see that the ship carrying the Croatian ministers

24 and the members of the mission reached the Old Town harbour in Dubrovnik

25 at 1248 hours. At these negotiations on the 5th of December, it was

Page 8762

1 agreed that the negotiations should continue on the 6th, and that a

2 cease-fire agreement should be signed. What remained unresolved on the

3 5th, which we heard in Minister's Rudolf's testimony as well as Jokic's

4 testimony was the issue of how the ships sailing into Dubrovnik should be

5 checked on the way.

6 Admiral Jokic stated a reason that the agreement was not signed on

7 the 5th. He said the reason was that he demanded ships be checked at open

8 sea before they reached port, while the Croatian representatives demanded

9 this be done as soon as they reached port at Gruz. Admiral Jokic,

10 according to his testimony, told Minister Rudolf that he had to confer

11 with the supreme command on this contentious issue. If we look at the

12 regular combat report of the command of the 9th Military Naval Sector

13 dated the 5th of December which was produced at 1700 hours at the Kupari

14 forward command post, the commander of the 2nd Operational Group was sent

15 there, and we see that the command of the 9th VPS never informed their

16 superior command about an event as momentous as the negotiations that were

17 afoot in Cavtat, negotiations which the commander of the 9th VPS took part

18 himself. Neither does the combat report contain a single reference to

19 anything that went on during those negotiations or to the cease-fire

20 agreement and the start of a complete cease-fire that was supposed to take

21 place on the 6th of December 1991 at 1200 hours.

22 The Defence team wishes to draw particular attention to that part

23 of Minister Rudolf's testimony, the part namely where Jokic tells him that

24 he has to confer with the supreme command. This was is entirely in

25 constanance [as interpreted] with the fact that it was precisely the

Page 8763

1 supreme command of the armed force that had conferred upon him the

2 authority to negotiate on their behalf with the highest representatives of

3 the Croatian government and sign the agreement on their behalf eventually.

4 This would seem to imply that Jokic was not truthful when he said that he

5 had to confer with General Strugar regarding the checking of the ships.

6 General Strugar never took part in those negotiations. He was never

7 consulted, nor was he instructed on anything to do with those

8 negotiations. There would have been no reason on earth to confer with

9 Strugar on one issue only; namely, how the ships were to be checked. This

10 would have been an issue outside his purview anyway.

11 In addition to this, the Defence team wishes to point out that

12 this issue of checking the ships throughout all the rounds of negotiations

13 that had been conducted had never been posed or presented as a problem

14 before, nor had it been included in the 11 points that were proposed by

15 the OG in order to help life in Dubrovnik to go back to normal. The

16 Defence team believes that Jokic's statement about negotiations between

17 the highest possible Croatian government level and the armed forces of the

18 SFRY pursuant to the agreement that had previously been signed in Geneva

19 on the 23rd of November by President Tudjman, Croatian President Tudjman,

20 and the general secretary for national defence, Kadijevic, and facing a

21 situation where there had already been many casualties as a result of the

22 hostilities, Jokic proposed that an agreement be signed just because, as

23 he said, he was concerned about the safety of one or two of his officers

24 who were supposed to be part of the team checking the ships.

25 He raises the issue of the safety of JNA officers in the Gruz

Page 8764

1 harbour, but this cannot be viewed as the key issue or the key issue that

2 stopped the agreement from being signed. That agreement envisaged a total

3 cease-fire and the setting up of mixed commissions as well as other

4 measures to be adopted in order to restore the trust between the warring

5 parties, all under the auspices of the European Community.

6 We would also like to point out the supreme command of the armed

7 forces in connection with these negotiations had given up some of their

8 most crucial demands, demands that had been made in relation to Dubrovnik

9 previously; above all, those concerning weapons, those concerning armed

10 units leaving Dubrovnik. Therefore, the only reason that the agreement

11 was actually not signed on the 5th of December was Jokic's desire to

12 resolve the search problem prior to the signing of the agreement. And

13 here is why: On the very same day, the 5th of December, in the morning

14 hours at 915 hours, an order arrived from the General Staff at the forward

15 command post in Kupari, an order issued by the chief, Blagoje Adzic

16 himself, saying that an African ship called Cape Africa should be allowed

17 to sail into the Dubrovnik harbour on the 5th of December. As the

18 negotiations between Rudolf and Jokic were concluded just past 1200 hours

19 on the 5th, the logbook of the 9th VPS shows an entry at 1330 hours the

20 same day, after the negotiations were concluded. The entry shows Jokic

21 ordering that the ship Cape Africa not be allowed into Dubrovnik before

22 the 6th of December, thus directly opposing an order which had arrived

23 from the chief of the General Staff.

24 It is very typical that Jokic should in this way refuse to carry

25 out an order that had been received from the chief of the General Staff.

Page 8765












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Page 8766

1 This decision was adopted immediately after the conclusion of the

2 negotiations in Cavtat. There are other facts that provide indications

3 about his preparations for the 6th of December. If you look at the war

4 log at 855 hours in the morning of the 5th of December, the head of the

5 European Mission to Dubrovnik sent a message to the VPS in Boka requesting

6 authorisation for himself and a team of experts to use the regular boat

7 line running between Dubrovnik and Mokosica on the 6th of December. It

8 was a local, regular boat line that had already been restored by then, to

9 be allowed to come to Komolac to inspect and carry out reparations on a

10 water station that was there. This had been discussed earlier. This

11 request was received at Kupari. Again, on the 5th of December at 1105

12 hours, Boka received a request from the commissioner for the Red Cross in

13 Dubrovnik, Stanko Kozeli, who asked to be granted safe passage on the

14 Argosy ship to Cavtat and back on the 6th of December in order to

15 transport humanitarian assistance that was supposed to be taken over by

16 the Herceg Novi Red Cross. Also on the same day, the 5th of December at

17 1715 hours, the Dubrovnik Crisis Staff sends a request to the Boka VPS in

18 reference to the agreement that had been achieved earlier in the day by

19 the representatives of the Croatian government and proposes that the ship

20 called Arka should leave the Gruz harbour the next day carrying

21 humanitarian aid to the island of Sipan. So all these are local traffic

22 lines, and all these were to be used for the Red Cross to travel.

23 What exactly is going on here? In the coastal radio log in

24 reference to the 5th of December, the Dubrovnik Port Authority, P162, as

25 early as 1905 hours, a answer from the VPS in Boka was received. The

Page 8767

1 reply stated that these requests for these three ships to sail on the 6th

2 of December could not be met, nor could the safety of the ships and

3 persons be guaranteed. It was underlined that the VPS command was

4 prepared to deal on these issues very soon, which would above all depend

5 on the outcome of the negotiations in Cavtat on the 6th of December.

6 If we go back to the talks and the contentious issue there, the

7 problem seemed to be ships coming from outside Dubrovnik and not the local

8 lines. Also, if we go back to the message by the Boka VPS, the message

9 they sent to Dubrovnik, the logbook at Kupari reflects it as being made at

10 2012 hours. That means 11 hours after the people in Dubrovnik had

11 received the message. This begs the following question: Why in

12 contradiction to the agreement that had been reached on the 5th are these

13 local lines banned in relation to the 6th? Why should the Cape Africa

14 ship not be allowed to enter Dubrovnik when this had been approved by the

15 chief of the General Staff? What is the reasoning behind this decision by

16 the VPS? Perhaps they needed to resolve the search problem first of all.

17 That certainly is the position of the Defence team.

18 There is another thing that must be taken into account. If

19 Dubrovnik had received the message at 1905 hours and it was received and

20 recorded in Kupari at 2020 hours, that means the message must have come

21 from the basic command post at Kumbor. Who was there at the time? The

22 commander of the 9th VPS, Jokic.

23 Some of the Defence witnesses commented at length on the briefings

24 that were held at Kupari, when the briefings took place, who chaired the

25 briefings, and who was present. The briefings were used by units to

Page 8768

1 inform their superior command about what was going on after which interim

2 combat reports -- regular combat reports were produced and sent on to the

3 superior command. On the 5th of December, Witness Jovanovic attended a

4 briefing at the Kupari forward command post, which he testified to in

5 detail. The briefing was attended by the commanders of subordinate units,

6 the commander of the 9th VPS, the chief of staff of the 9th VPS, as well

7 as Captain Kovacevic. Witness Jovanovic spoke at length before this

8 Chamber about the substance of that meeting and about the plan according

9 to which everything unfolded, how the attack on Srdj on the 6th of

10 December was planned and approved.

11 Witness Jovanovic, on the 6th of December, after his unit had

12 engaged in combat operations, after he had previously informed orally on

13 the activities of his unit drew up a written report on the 6th of December

14 at 1400 hours, and this was delivered to the command of the 9th VPS. From

15 this report, we can see under item 2 that on the previous day, the 5th of

16 December, he was present when Kovacevic outlined in detail the plans for

17 the operations of the 6th of December, that the commander of the 9th VPS

18 was present at the time, and that Chief of Staff Zec intervened to have

19 combat activities completed by 1200 hours on the 6th of December. This is

20 all contained in a document drawn up in 1991.

21 On the 23rd of July 2004, Witness Jokic said that there had been

22 no briefing at the Kupari forward command post on the 5th of December. In

23 September 2003, on page 113 of his interview, Jokic said that on the 5th

24 of December 1991, there had been a briefing at the Kupari forward command

25 post. Witness Jokic said that he personally chaired the briefing. Jokic

Page 8769

1 said in his interview in July 2002 that after the negotiations in Cavtat,

2 he went directly to Kumbor. This is on page 185. At his

3 examination-in-chief on the 23rd of July 2004, Jokic said that he went to

4 Trebinje after the negotiations in Cavtat. Then he said that he went from

5 Trebinje to Kupari, and then from Kupari to Kumbor. The discrepancies in

6 his description of his movements after the negotiations in Cavtat are

7 explained by Jokic by saying that he consulted officers from the 9th VPS

8 after the 1st of July 2001, and they told him what his movements had been

9 on that day.

10 In 2002, Witness Jokic said that he went to Kumbor from Cavtat.

11 In 2004, he says that from Cavtat, he went to Trebinje. In 2003 he said

12 that he personally chaired the briefing on the 5th of December in Kupari,

13 and in 2004, he said that there had been no briefing at all whatsoever in

14 Kupari on the 5th of December. Jokic is giving a false description of

15 events in order to conceal his own role in them.

16 Also, in connection with the 5th of December, Witness Hvalkof in

17 his report noted down the results of the negotiations of which he had been

18 informed by Minister Rudolf. There is mention here that a cease-fire was

19 considered which was to take effect 24 hours after the signing of the

20 agreement. When Witness Rudolf was shown this document, P61, item 29, he

21 confirmed that the document faithfully reflects the substance of the

22 meeting held in Cavtat on the 5th of December. Witness Rudolf did not

23 mention anywhere in his testimony that on the 5th of December an absolute

24 cease-fire had been agreed on for the following day at 1200 hours. From

25 the war log of the 9th VPS, it is evident that the Dubrovnik Crisis Staff

Page 8770

1 demanded that the vessel Argosy be allowed to pass through for the

2 negotiations in Cavtat and that passage was granted to this vessel

3 carrying the negotiators. The Prosecution pointed out that this showed

4 that Jokic had nothing to do with planning the attack on Srdj because he

5 had sent a message granting leave for the negotiators to travel, but it is

6 obvious that he would not have informed them of the forthcoming attack.

7 He did not, however, grant permission for local line boats to sail, nor

8 did he allow the French vessel to sail into the port.

9 I have already stated that the regular combat report of the 9th

10 VPS does not contain anything about the negotiations in Cavtat or anything

11 about the absolute cease-fire on the 6th of December. I would like to

12 draw your attention to the fact that the command of the 9th VPS in its

13 regular combat report of the 7th states under item 2 that negotiations

14 were continued with represent --

15 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous interpretation continues] ...

16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry.

17 JUDGE PARKER: I think we're ready again, Mr. Rodic.

18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] So it reports that these negotiations

19 were attended personally by the commander and the negotiations were

20 carried out in Cavtat. Under item 3 of that report, the column which says

21 "I decided," I quote "strictly comply with the agreed cease-fire, inform

22 the staff of all units about the cease-fire which has to be abided by

23 strictly." No similarity between the ways in which the ordered cease-fire

24 is notified, between the cease-fire for the 5th of December, D111, and

25 between D61, the routine manner in which such cease-fires are ordered. No

Page 8771

1 similarity whatsoever. By reviewing the evidence, we can see that no

2 cease-fire was agreed for the 6th of December, and that Jokic was

3 allegedly -- correction, that Jokic did not inform the superior command

4 about the alleged cease-fire, nor did he inform his own units.

5 Designating the cease-fire for the 6th of December at 1200 hours

6 was to have been a deadline for the command of the 9th VPS to carry out

7 the planned attack on Srdj. Your Honours have heard from witnesses Nesic

8 and Stojanovic that on the 5th of December, a briefing was held at the

9 forward command post, or rather, at Ivanica, and this was chaired by the

10 commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade. All the witnesses

11 say that at that meeting, they were informed by the commander that the

12 attack -- an attack on Srdj on the 6th of December had been ordered and

13 approved, and that the unit would receive artillery support from Cilipi,

14 from 130-millimetre guns, as well as support from the 3rd Battalion of the

15 5th Brigade which was at Osojnik.

16 At that meeting, a detailed plan of attack was established.

17 Assault groups were designated, directions of attack, preparations for the

18 attack were outlined. Witness Lemal asked for the necessary materiel for

19 the attack on the 6th of December. Explosives, flak jackets, stun

20 grenades, and it was the chief of staff of the 9th VPS personally who

21 brought this materiel to him. This was Captain Zec who, on that occasion,

22 spoke to the men who were to take part in the attack. These preparations

23 were testified to by witnesses Stojanovic, Pesic, and Jovica Nesic. And

24 we have dealt with -- in detail with this in our closing brief. The

25 commander of the 130-millimetre gun battery said that on the 5th of

Page 8772

1 December, his commander had given him the task of being at Zarkovica at

2 6.00 on the following day in order to provide support to the 3rd Battalion

3 and that he was to be resubordinated to Captain Kovacevic.

4 He pointed out that the observation post at Zarkovica was manned

5 only when an operation was planned and when it was necessary to guide the

6 fire. From the report on the logistics of the 9th VPS command of the 5th

7 December, it is evident that on that day Kupari was replenished with 10

8 kilograms of plastic explosives, stun grenades, and so on. Another report

9 of the 4th of December shows that the 3rd Battalion was replenished with

10 mortar shells, Maljutkas, and gun ammunition, as well as tank grenades.

11 It is evident from these reports that immediately before the attack, the

12 3rd Battalion was replenished with materiel and equipment which can only

13 be used to carry out the task of taking a fortified facility.

14 The attack on Srdj began on the morning of the 6th of December

15 after preparation of fire was carried out, or rather preparation of the

16 attack. Fire was opened from ZIS guns and mortars, and these are guns

17 which were retained by the command of the 9th VPS until the problem of

18 Srdj was solved. During the infantry attack on Srdj, there were soldiers

19 from the 3rd Battalion who were killed. The Croatian forces opened fire

20 from all parts of Dubrovnik on Srdj defending that facility, and Defence

21 witnesses testified to this in detail. Minister Rudolf said that on the

22 6th of December 1991, he was awakened by gunfire. He tried to get through

23 to Jokic. First he got his secretary, then Jokic himself. And he told

24 him that fire had been opened on Dubrovnik. He says that Jokic proposed a

25 cease-fire over the telephone starting at 1100 hours and said that he was

Page 8773












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Page 8774

1 investigating what was going on. However, from the log of

2 Witness Hvalkof, we can see that the shelling began from land and sea in

3 the direction of the Srdj fortress at 6.00 in the morning, and a similar

4 message was sent by the crisis staff to the 9th VPS saying that fire was

5 being opened from tanks, mortars, and naval artillery on Dubrovnik.

6 In the war log at 06.50, there is an entry whereby Kovacevic says

7 that mortar fire has been opened on Srdj. Witness Drljan said that at

8 about 07.15, he had received an order from Commander Jokic which was

9 transmitted to him by Zec that he should go to Zarkovica and transmit the

10 order to Kovacevic that he was not to fire on the Old Town. From the

11 radio log of the Dubrovnik Port Authority of the 6th of December, a

12 message was received in the morning for Minister Rudolf at 805 hours from

13 the VPS Boka. It is said that VPS is making efforts to stop the clash

14 because fire had been opened from Srdj and Lapad. And he asked -- or

15 rather, the VPS asked that Minister Rudolf intervene at once, that the

16 hostilities be -- that the hostilities end at 11.15. Why should the

17 hostilities end two hours after the message had been sent? Because the

18 plan was that Srdj should be taken through a fast operation, and it was

19 assumed that this would be sufficient time, regardless of the Croatian

20 resistance, to complete the operation successfully, especially bearing in

21 mind that Defence witnesses said, and this is confirmed by the war log of

22 the 9th VPS, that there is no order, not a single order of the 6th of

23 December that the attack on Srdj should be halted and that the units

24 should withdraw to their starting positions.

25 The war log contains, among other things, detailed communication

Page 8775

1 that carried on during the attack on Srdj between the superior command and

2 the subordinated units taking part in the attack. From the war log, we

3 see that Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic from Osojnik as early as 8.36 had

4 given a specification of targets and the expenditure of ammunition in the

5 action against Dubrovnik targets. We can also see that readiness of

6 130-millimetre cannons had been ordered. Not only did Kovacevic receive

7 no orders from anybody to withdraw, but the operative centre was following

8 the situation very closely. He was receiving messages from Zec,

9 Jovanovic, and other protagonists in the action against Srdj. At 2.00,

10 Kovacevic messages that he had another two bunkers to deal with, that fire

11 was being opened against them from the town. That's at 12.00. At 11.50,

12 the operative centre was informed that Srdj had not fallen yet, that the

13 National Guards Corps members were resisting strongly from houses and that

14 they would open fire from tanks, rocket launchers, and use hand grenades.

15 At 13.15 on the 6th of December, the operations centre transmits the order

16 of the commander of the 9th VPS to open fire only against Srdj, to refrain

17 from shooting at the city. That message was issued, or rather transmitted

18 to Kovacevic, issued originally by Jokic, by Zec.

19 Around 1400 hours that day, Captain Kovacevic informs the

20 operations centre that he was thinking about pulling back his people from

21 Mount Srdj because they were exhausted and they were cold. At that

22 moment, also nobody from the command of the 9th VPS ordered them to stop

23 the attack. At 14.45, Kovacevic again informs the forward command post at

24 Kupari that his situation at Srdj was becoming untenable and that he was

25 seeking approval to withdraw his men. Only then did the command of the

Page 8776

1 9th VPS give Kovacevic approval to pull back his men. That means that

2 until that time, 14.45, he hadn't been given that approval, and that

3 coincides with our submissions because in the war log we find no orders

4 about discontinuing the attack and withdrawing the troops from Mount Srdj.

5 Again, at 15.20, Kovacevic informs the command that he had

6 withdrawn and that they were at that time firing on Mount Srdj from

7 mortars. Witness Jokic claimed that he was unable to contact Kovacevic,

8 that allegedly the lines were down, that there was no connection. But it

9 is an obvious untruth because all communications of the 9th VPS and the

10 3rd Battalion were in perfect working order on that day. That was

11 confirmed by the witnesses and that is confirmed by the war log of the 9th

12 VPS itself.

13 The chief of staff of the 9th VPS, all the way until the end of

14 the operation, continues to be in Zarkovica next to Captain Kovacevic.

15 And even at Kovacevic's request, he demanded explosives from the

16 engineering unit to be delivered to them. Such a message was sent at

17 12.30. In that war log for the entry -- Your Honours, maybe I am speaking

18 too fast. But my colleague is telling me that a number of dates and times

19 were recorded incorrectly, and we should pay attention to that in the

20 transcript.

21 In the war log for the 6th of December, there is an entry in the

22 afternoon hours that the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade was firing from

23 15.45 to 16.15 from 120-millimetre mortars against Sustjepan. That means

24 that Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic, just like earlier that morning, was

25 informing the superior command of the actions underway. In that same war

Page 8777

1 log, we see that Admiral Jokic, at 14.15, took off from Cilipi airfield

2 towards Belgrade. He was going to report to the federal secretary for

3 national defence, Kadijevic.

4 I will now turn to the investigation related to the events of the

5 6th of December. After that meeting where he reported to Kadijevic, Jokic

6 made a report on the 7th of December about the action against Mount Srdj

7 launched by the 3rd Battalion and submitted it to General Simonovic. That

8 day, in that report he designated Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic and

9 Kovacevic as very capable officers. That's D65. In point 1(b), he

10 described the situation around Mount Srdj, the deployment of forces of the

11 3rd Battalion, the strength of MUP forces and the ZNG, and he described

12 also the firing provocations against the 3rd Battalion. He wrote that as

13 of the 6th of December at midnight, the 2nd and 3rd Companies of the 3rd

14 Battalion were under constant machine-gun, sniper, and occasionally

15 anti-aircraft gunfire from Mount Srdj which killed one soldier and wounded

16 another. However, from the war log of the 9th VPS, we do not see any

17 reference to anything of the kind.

18 Jokic testified that on the 6th of December at 0445 hours, he was

19 awakened by Kozaric who informed him that there was one soldier killed.

20 Transcript --

21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter missed the number.

22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] He also testified that at 4.45 on that

23 same day, he was informed - only informed by Kozaric - that fire had been

24 opened against the 3rd Battalion. Page 4.880.

25 After that, Jokic testified that he had been informed that morning

Page 8778

1 at 6.00 about the losses, again, by Kozaric. In the report to the General

2 Staff, D65 of 7 December, Jokic wrote that until the start of the attack,

3 one soldier of the 3rd Battalion was killed, another was wounded. In

4 cross-examination on the 16th April of this year, he stated that none of

5 this was true and that nobody had been killed or wounded either before

6 06.45 or later on the 6th of December. The Defence wishes to emphasise

7 here that until the 16th of April, in five earlier interviews in the past

8 two years and in cross-examination as well -- examination-in-chief and

9 even at the beginning of cross-examination, he always kept saying that the

10 3rd Battalion on that morning, at 06.45, had one soldier killed and one

11 wounded. He could not tell anyone why he was changing his testimony.

12 Furthermore, in his report to the General Staff, Jokic writes that

13 the commander of the 3rd Battalion, after assessing that the fire was

14 lethal to the unit, as part of improving their tactical position, he made

15 the decision to attack Mount Srdj. It is an obviously untruthful report

16 to the General Staff about the events of the 6th of December. In this

17 way, Jokic wishes to evade his own responsibility for the events.

18 Numerous witnesses, Miroslav Jovanovic, Lemal, Stojanovic, Nesic, Sikimic,

19 as well as a series of documents exhibited in this case, primarily D108,

20 Jovanovic's report, as well as the war log are evidence directly

21 indicating that the attack on Srdj had been planned and approved by the

22 command of the 9th VPS. There is a vast quantity of other evidence

23 pointing to the same conclusion.

24 Further on in the report to the General Staff, he says that nobody

25 had approved the action against Srdj, that he was acting according to the

Page 8779

1 general plan of action which included an attack on Srdj. Witness Jokic

2 himself stated before the Court that there was never an aspiration or an

3 assignment to capture Srdj. However, we had witnesses who confirmed that

4 the attack had been approved. We can see that the ZIS cannons could not

5 be taken away from the 3rd Battalion before the Srdj problem was resolved,

6 and that capturing Srdj was Jokic's objective. In November 1991, we see

7 from Exhibits P118, P126, and D57, from these exhibits we see that it was

8 precisely the 3rd Battalion which was tasked with taking Mount Srdj.

9 But we see no evidence that the 2nd Operational Group had ever

10 issued an order to take Mount Srdj. This is the subject of an order of

11 the military naval district of the 20th December 1991. It's Exhibit P199.

12 Furthermore, in his report to the General Staff of the 7th of December,

13 Jokic incorrectly describes the activities undertaken by the 3rd Battalion

14 of the 5th Brigade under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic where

15 he says that --

16 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please repeat this part.

17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I have to repeat something that did

18 not enter the transcript. Witness Jokic wrote in that report that

19 Jovanovic had discontinued fire at 1115 hours. Jokic made an untruthful

20 report to the General Staff because he continues in that report to state

21 that units of the 9th VPS had complied with the agreed cease-fire at 1115

22 hours on the 6th of December. In the same report to the General Staff,

23 Jokic states that the 3rd Battalion had remained at Srdj until 14.35 when

24 it was decided to pull out the unit from Srdj and take it back to its

25 point of departure. However, he fails to report to the General Staff who

Page 8780

1 it was who decided to pull back the 3rd Battalion. In the same report,

2 Jokic says -- states at 1600 hours, five hours after a cease-fire

3 according to the statement of Minister Rudolf, the Orthodox church in the

4 Old Town and a number of other houses were on fire.

5 First of all, it was untrue that for five hours, the units of the

6 9th VPS did not open fire. We can see that from the war log and other

7 evidence. Second, Jokic untruthfully reported the damage in the Old Town

8 to the General Staff because in that time, Minister Rudolf had sent

9 several messages describing specific damage and specific damaged

10 facilities in the Old Town. In addition to that, his own chief of staff

11 Zec spent the entire day at Zarkovica. In that same report to the General

12 Staff, Jokic says that Miroslav Jovanovic was removed, stating no reasons

13 for his removal, which shows that he had full authority to remove a

14 battalion commander and initiate an investigation. Jokic would not have

15 needed anyone's approval or consent in order to remove Miroslav Jovanovic

16 which he did immediately. In addition to which, Jokic informed the

17 General Staff that he had initiated an investigation and that he would

18 soon be taking further measures.

19 From that moment on, no one could restrict his right and powers to

20 conduct that investigation or hamper that investigation because he

21 received his tasks in Belgrade. Witness Jokic said that as soon as the

22 6th of December in the evening, he interviewed and took a written

23 statement from Zec, from Colonel Kovacevic, and from Kozaric, whereas he

24 did not interview Captain Kovacevic. Witness Jovica Nesic confirmed that

25 on the 8th of December, together with Battalion Commander Kovacevic, he

Page 8781












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Page 8782

1 was at the Kupari forward command post. The company commander Jeremic was

2 also with him, and Nesic and Jeremic together drew up a written report on

3 the operations of the 6th of December. Having learned that

4 Lieutenant Colonel Kovacevic had already submitted his report to the

5 operations centre by 1400 hours, it is quite obvious that Jokic was in a

6 position to view the war log, and it is quite obvious that he did, in

7 fact, use it while drafting his report to the General Staff.

8 What happened later on the 8th of December? Officers Boskovic and

9 Pesic were dispatched to Dubrovnik with a cameraman to record what had

10 happened in the Old Town. They brought back a report and some footage

11 that they recorded in Dubrovnik. Jokic viewed these back at his command

12 post in Kumbor. Therefore, all of these previous activities that I have

13 just enumerated indicate that Jokic did, in fact, carry out an alleged

14 investigation into the events on the 6th of December, and this

15 investigation was done between the 6th and the 9th of December.

16 On the 9th of December, Jokic forwards his conclusions to the

17 deputy federal secretary for national defence, Admiral Brovet. Here I

18 wish to point out that this was an interim report which he submitted

19 directly to the federal secretary. Damage was described that had been

20 ascertained when touring the Old Town. Further, it was underlined that

21 the damage to cultural and historical monuments was not significant. It

22 was also stated that it could not be ascertained where the damage had come

23 from or who it was caused by. And what is more indicative, that the

24 perpetrators could not be named since it was obvious that much of the

25 damage did not stem from attacks that had come from outside the Old Town,

Page 8783

1 which means that the damage that came about was probably as a result of

2 fighting that went on inside the Old Town, in Jokic's understanding, or at

3 least that was the way he reported to the supreme command.

4 While doing this, he has certain knowledge of how damage in the

5 Old Town came about. If nothing else, it was only in the previous day

6 that Jovica Nesic had submitted a written report where among other things

7 he discussed targets that were, in fact, targeted, that were inside the

8 Old Town. Based on these allegations that he made in the report, it is

9 quite obvious that Jokic then ended the investigation. This report was

10 signed by him personally, and it was dispatched to Belgrade. This is an

11 unambiguous document which unequivocally stems from the commander of the

12 9th VPS as confirmed before this Trial Chamber by General Zorc, an OTP

13 expert witness.

14 The Defence wishes to point out that the investigation that Jokic

15 brought to an end was done and carried out unbeknownst to General Strugar,

16 and General Strugar was kept in the dark about its progress and results.

17 The outcome of that alleged investigation was certainly influenced by

18 Jokic's attempt to conceal what happened on the 6th of December as well as

19 his own role and the extent of his involvement in what happened. It was

20 entirely cynical of Jokic to say, when he viewed the footage that was

21 marked P145, the inspection of the Old Town, that the impression he had

22 now was much clearer and much stronger than when he originally viewed this

23 footage back at his command in Kumbor in 1991. The report dated the 9th

24 of December was not submitted to the 2nd Operational Group, nor was the

25 report dated the 7th of December, the one that was sent to the General

Page 8784

1 Staff. Those two reports are in reference to the 6th of December 1991.

2 It was on account of that that Jokic was called to see the general

3 secretary personally. It was quite obvious that he was tasked with

4 reporting personally to the military leadership and to shed light on the

5 causes, progress, and consequences of the operation on Srdj. It is clear

6 simply because these reports were not sent to the 2nd Operational Group.

7 It is also quite obvious that Jokic received a special task to draw up

8 those reports. Those would have been regular and perfectly usual reports

9 that would have had to go through the normal and usual channels of command

10 and reporting. However, the reports were not submitted to the 2nd

11 Operational Group, not even as simply for their information.

12 As for the causes, progress, and results of the operation, there

13 was direct communication between Jokic, the SSNO, and the General Staff

14 which was the supreme level of command in the JNA. The command of the 2nd

15 Operational Group was entirely left out. Jokic acted on orders that he

16 had received from the supreme command of the JNA. He had no duty to

17 inform the command of the 2nd Operational Group, and he took advantage of

18 not being duty-bound to inform them. However, not even their regular

19 combat reports that were dated the 7th of December contain even a shred of

20 information on what his command actually did about what transpired on the

21 6th of December, nor do these contain any indication whatsoever that he

22 had informed the General Staff about that. The Defence would like to

23 underline the fact that the General Staff has every right to communicate

24 directly and hand out tasks and missions directly bypassing the directly

25 superior commands which this example very clearly illustrates.

Page 8785

1 The Defence would like to point out that in our brief, we

2 commented at length on the communication between federal secretary

3 Kadijevic, his deputy Brovet, and international diplomats who asked

4 questions about what happened on the 6th of December.

5 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Mr. Rodic? I thought

6 you were coming near to the end of one section, so I have been letting you

7 run on.

8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] That would be fine, Your Honour. We

9 may as well take a break.

10 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We'll resume at 3.25.

11 --- Recess taken at 3.02 p.m.

12 --- On resuming at 3.32 p.m.

13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic.

14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

15 Your Honours, the Defence would now like to briefly comment on

16 persons that were referred to as victims on the 6th of December 1991 as

17 stated in this third amended indictment. First of all, a person that was

18 allegedly wounded as a civilian on the 6th of December 1991, Mato Valjalo.

19 In our brief, we provided numerous arguments, forensic and medical

20 arguments, as well as formal and legal arguments in relation to this

21 witness and the facts surrounding his injury. Now, I would only like to

22 say that Mato Valjalo, as he stated himself, drove members of the crisis

23 staff, municipal officials, and Croatian leaders to their war tasks.

24 Therefore, he was not a driver. He was a person who was actively involved

25 in every way in the general war effort by driving other persons to their

Page 8786

1 war assignments. What is important here is that these facts were

2 established by bodies working for the Dubrovnik and Neretva county, or

3 more specifically their defence administration. It's the local defence

4 administration that informs us of his role and his status at times

5 relevant to the indictment. Bearing in mind this written evidence and

6 other documents that I will not go into now, the Defence believes if

7 indeed this person was wounded in the Old Town on the 6th of December, it

8 was certainly not as a civilian. He was going about his usual daily tasks

9 at the time. And based on this, we see that his tasks were related to the

10 war effort. This comes across with great clarity based on the documents

11 that he himself produced before this Trial Chamber.

12 In relation to Witness Vlasica, there are various inconsistencies

13 in his testimony of which I would like to point out the following,

14 Your Honours, because I believe it can easily be commented now. Witness

15 Vlasica, first of all, Your Honours, tells us that he was hit in the foot.

16 And after that, he tells us that it was, in fact, the right upper leg and

17 not the foot. All the other medical documents issued by the hospital, as

18 well as the case history in relation to his injury, indicate that a person

19 name Ivo Vlasica was, in fact, wounded in the left upper leg, which is

20 very noteworthy. Your Honours, I am talking about D71, evidence before

21 the Trial Chamber. There was a ruling by the Dubrovnik municipal court

22 against Zeljko Soldo in relation to events of the 6th of December. The

23 ruling says that based on information provided by the emergency service of

24 the St. Blaise hospital in Dubrovnik, the information used to ascertain

25 which persons exactly were wounded or killed in Dubrovnik on that day, the

Page 8787

1 injured person was indeed Ivo Vlasica. However, this is not a middle-aged

2 man. This is, in fact, a child that was born in 1987. You can see that

3 in the ruling, and you can also see it on page 16 of the sentence that I

4 have referred to.

5 As for persons that were referred to as persons who were killed on

6 the 6th of December, I would like to point out that based on P70, it is

7 impossible to ascertain the cause and time of their deaths. These two

8 elements are indispensable for the Trial Chamber to be established beyond

9 reasonable doubt in order to be able to take these persons into account as

10 persons who were really killed as stated in the indictment. Exhibit P70

11 is a record of the external examination drawn up by Dr. Ciganovic who

12 appeared as a witness before the Trial Chamber.

13 As for the much-debated damage and in relation to positions put

14 forward by OTP witnesses testifying to that damage and its extent, the

15 Defence would like to point out a severe discrepancy between their

16 positions and their recollection in relation to what happened in

17 Dubrovnik. Those are really witnesses, the so-called crime-base

18 witnesses. And what strikes us as important in relation to those

19 witnesses is that these people in their description of events paint a

20 picture for us that does not seem to be consistent with what was going on

21 at the time. There is a certain pattern that emerges. All these

22 witnesses were not aware of Croatian military presence in or around the

23 town of Dubrovnik. They never heard of anything like that. On the other

24 hand, we have crime-base witnesses, and those witnesses refer to damage

25 inside the Old Town and testify to it in a way that, to say the least, was

Page 8788

1 exaggerated, overblown, and inaccurate.

2 Your Honours, you heard the testimony of Mr. Jusic, the person who

3 was a member of the crisis staff. But he appears to be unaware of

4 something that the entire town knew; namely, that there were Croatian

5 positions on Mount Srdj. The only thing that Witness Jusic knows about

6 the Croatian forces is what he heard on Radio Montenegro. What's more,

7 Mr. Jusic only seemed to find out that his brother actually lived in

8 Dubrovnik here in The Hague and that he actually was a member of the

9 Croatian forces in late 1991. He appears not to have been familiar with

10 that at the time. The same goes for Lucianja Peko in her statement dated

11 2000 for the OTP, she mentioned nothing. But here before the Trial

12 Chamber, she referred to guns, Croatian guns, although suddenly she said

13 there were no guns and although she lived in Dubrovnik she never saw a

14 single Croatian soldier or a single Croatian position inside the Old Town.

15 The defence line ran adjacent to her house. For some reason,

16 however, and I'm only naming a couple of very striking examples, but the

17 same applies to a number of other witnesses from the same OTP witness

18 group, she seems to have seen nothing at all; none of that at least.

19 Witness Grubasic likewise claims to have seen nothing. Now, those facts,

20 all this conscious disregard of what appeared to be well-known facts sheds

21 a different light on their testimonies in their entirety. It makes them

22 appear unreliable and not trustworthy and certainly as constituting no

23 basis for the Trial Chamber to ascertain the extent of damage to the Old

24 Town.

25 If you will please merely remember Witness Vukovic, Your Honours,

Page 8789












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Page 8790

1 who spoke before this Trial Chamber about something that shocked him,

2 mainly when he saw his mother's house after the 6th of December 1991. The

3 next day, he personally carried out an inspection in that area and in the

4 area where his mother's house was. However, the damage that he was

5 stunned by, the damage that shocked him and which part in that damage was

6 actually due to his own activity was passed over in silence. He was asked

7 to specify where exactly his mother's house was, but he couldn't. The

8 facts, however, in that case are undeniable. Of the six buildings which

9 allegedly were gutted due to the activities of the JNA on the 6th of

10 December, as many as five were owned or had been owned by persons from

11 Serbia or Montenegro. This is not a spurious claim. It is something that

12 is grounded in video footage and in what the witness who helped us analyse

13 the video footage testified before the Trial Chamber.

14 The ground floor of the Grbic house is where a shop owned by the

15 Beko [phoen] Company of Belgrade was gutted. In another one was a shop

16 belonging to Titex from Titograd. A third one belonged to Kluz [phoen].

17 The fourth one was across the road from the Serbian Orthodox church, and

18 it was a shop belonging to a Serb, as Djelo Jusic said. Witness Ogresta

19 testifying about the fifth building in question said that on the ground

20 floor, there was a shop belonging to a company from Belgrade. Out of the

21 six buildings that were gutted, five were either owned by or had

22 connections with persons from Serbia and Montenegro. The Defence sees

23 more than pure coincidence in this fact.

24 Finally, in connection with the evidence following from the

25 preliminary report on war damage in Dubrovnik and the persons who compiled

Page 8791

1 that report, the Defence wishes to point out that these persons were not

2 trained to do this job, that no photographs were taken or sketches made,

3 that nothing was established about the way the damage was inflicted,

4 nothing was established about the direction from which the shell arrived,

5 nothing was done by way of an on-the-spot investigation by the police.

6 These persons simply looked at these houses for a few minutes and then

7 noted down both the time of the damage, the origin of the damage, and so

8 on. Witness Peko looked at 11 buildings in the space of four hours. The

9 Defence believes that this evidence on damage which was introduced through

10 the testimony of Witnesses Peko, Kaiser, and Vukovic cannot be viewed as

11 credible, and there are abundant facts both in our filing and in our

12 cross-examination, our extensive cross-examination which prove this.

13 Your Honours, bearing in mind my time limitations, I will simply

14 make a few points about some topics. An artillery expert called by the

15 Defence, Janko Vilicic, based on precise and thorough research and

16 investigation mentioned the following in his report, among other things:

17 First of all, the Old Town was never the primary target of the JNA units

18 in any situation or at any time. If some projectiles did land in the Old

19 Town, it was as a result of the deployment of the Croatian forces and

20 their firing on the units of the JNA. It is especially noteworthy that

21 Vilicic says that the minimum distance of Croatian positions which would

22 not have imperilled the Old Town would have been 500 metres from the walls

23 of the Old Town. The Defence also asks Your Honours to take into

24 consideration a fact that we find indisputable, and that is what

25 Dr. Vilicic said here about a shell falling in front of the church of

Page 8792

1 St. Blaise and the Sponza Palace. Dr. Vilicic conducted an analysis of

2 the traces and of footage made immediately in the aftermath of the event,

3 and he concluded that the shell arrived from a direction where there were

4 no JNA positions.

5 Your Honours, the Defence of General Strugar submits that the

6 accused Strugar is not guilty on any of the counts of the amended

7 indictment. For the sake of caution, the Defence of General Strugar

8 wishes to point to significant mitigating factors should the Trial Chamber

9 find General Strugar guilty of any of the counts of the third amended

10 indictment that he is charged with. First of all, Your Honours, what must

11 be taken into account is the degree of participation of General Strugar in

12 the events that he is charged with. Strugar did not participate actively

13 in this event in any way. The events took place without his knowledge and

14 contrary to his orders. During the course of the operation itself, Jokic

15 did not inform Strugar about it because he felt that would have been a

16 waste of time. And this has already been mentioned today.

17 The Defence wishes to point out that any human victim is much to

18 be regretted by all, as is any material damage. However, the Defence must

19 stress on this occasion that the victims and consequences General Strugar

20 is charged with as well as the damage that has been spoken of here cannot

21 be compared in any way with the other cases before this International

22 Tribunal. This is something that must certainly be taken into account

23 should this case come to the sentencing stage.

24 It is especially important to note that immediately after the

25 events on the 7th of December 1991, he -- General Strugar expressed his

Page 8793

1 regrets and apologies to Minister Rudolf occasioned by the event of 6th of

2 December 1991. The regret was expressed immediately following the event

3 which is the subject of the indictment, and this fact must have great

4 significance in any possible sentencing of the accused, General Strugar.

5 It is especially significant that General Strugar surrendered

6 voluntarily to this Tribunal, and he announced his intention the day after

7 the publication of his indictment in early October 2001. The Defence also

8 requests that the Trial Chamber, should it find that General Strugar is

9 guilty under any of the counts, should take into account the family

10 situation of General Strugar, which is described in greater detail in our

11 final brief. This also relates to the good character of the accused.

12 In the view of the Defence, in this case, the Trial Chamber should

13 create a precedent with regard to the weight to be attached to the health,

14 age, and family situation of the accused. In no other case before the

15 Tribunal where this kind of argument has been put forward were there such

16 strong arguments for a possible sentence to be mitigated to the greatest

17 possible extent. General Strugar has very serious health problems to

18 which special attention should be paid during sentencing. There are many

19 indisputable diagnoses of General Strugar ranging from dementia, kidney

20 problems, and orthopedic problems. Prosecution experts, when

21 General Strugar's ability to stand trial was being evaluated, never

22 questioned the existence of these conditions, but only their effect on his

23 fitness to stand trial. Also, the psychological problems related to

24 dementia should be taken into account as well as his serious kidney

25 condition on which an expert's report shall be submitted, drawn up by

Page 8794

1 Dr. Savo Micic. Another point to be taken into account are the problems

2 General Strugar has with his neck vertebrae and his hips, and these have

3 been dealt with in the expert report of Dr. Vuckovic [phoen]. When

4 evaluating all these facts, Your Honours, one must bear in mind the

5 purpose of sentencing. One must bear in mind that the purpose of

6 sentencing should not be pure retribution, which would be the case were a

7 long sentence to be imposed.

8 Should General Strugar be sentenced, the purpose of prevention has

9 already been achieved. As for general prevention, a person who is 71

10 years of age, this can be achieved by a minimum sentence should the

11 Chamber find that any sentence at all should be imposed on

12 General Strugar.

13 Your Honours, my colleague Rodic will now address you on the final

14 points to be put forward by the Defence.

15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.

16 Yes, Mr. Rodic.

17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. We have

18 limited time available, and therefore I would only briefly like to draw

19 Your Honours' attention to Witness Colm Doyle, a Prosecution witness who,

20 in the view of the Defence, said only one true thing in relation to the

21 meeting of the 6th of December and the attack of the paramilitary

22 formations in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the units of the 2nd Operational

23 Group around the area of Neum, not those around Dubrovnik. This has been

24 recorded in the logbook of Witness Svicevic, which is also a

25 contemporaneous document and a reliable one where no mention is made at

Page 8795

1 all of any orders to shell Dubrovnik. I also wish to draw Your Honours'

2 attention in connection with this witness to the extensive

3 cross-examination of Witness Doyle who was unable to provide satisfactory

4 replies and was contradictory in his statements.

5 I also wish to point out to Your Honours what the Prosecution

6 witness Zorc said, as well as Svicevic and Colm Doyle, Witness Zorc and

7 his testimony has been dealt with in detail in the Defence brief, and I

8 only wish briefly to point out that Witness Zorc during his

9 cross-examination confirmed the Defence case and everything put forward by

10 the Defence in connection with the military documents and the behaviour of

11 the command of the 9th VPS in the critical situation on the eve of the 6th

12 of December and on the 6th of December 1991, which he characterised as

13 "contrary to the then-valid doctrine of command in the JNA". Also, in

14 view of what was said by my colleague, I wish to draw your attention to a

15 general characteristic of this trial in relation to the Prosecution case.

16 Everything my colleague said about the witnesses should be taken into

17 consideration. It was quite unrealistic that these witnesses should say

18 they knew nothing and had no information about the existence of Croatian

19 military forces in Dubrovnik. It was also obvious that the Prosecution

20 insisted that their witnesses should, as far as weapons, soldiers, and

21 positions of the Croatian side in or near the Old Town, that they should

22 dislocate these, and this went so far that the commander of the defence of

23 Dubrovnik, looking at document P160 on which positions were marked, and

24 probably they did not know that this map would ever reach the Tribunal,

25 the positions of Croatian artillery pieces were marked there in 1991, and

Page 8796

1 then Witness Negodic moved all the positions that were near the Old Town.

2 He said that they were not operational on the 6th of December. Bogosica

3 Park, Gradac, Lovrijenac, Lazareti, a hundred metres from the Old Town

4 near the Ploce gate, that is, everything that could imperil the Old Town.

5 The most characteristic point was when a mark designating anti-aircraft

6 weapons north of the Old Town, in its immediate vicinity, was pointed out,

7 and Witness Negodic invented a statement saying that it was the top of the

8 arrow that showed where this weapon was, only so that he could represent

9 it as being outside the Old Town.

10 The Prosecution expert, Lieutenant Colonel Poje who is an

11 artillery man by his military profession in the same way tried to move

12 this position, to dislocate it, but he moved it to a distance of 300

13 metres from the Old Town. During the cross-examination, he brought it

14 closer. He brought it to a distance of a hundred metres. And as for the

15 position of the cable car, we know what the distance was even if it was a

16 position. However, Prosecution Witness Zorc, who is also a professional,

17 a graduate of the top military schools, the command staff academy, and the

18 academy of the air defence, said according to the instructions on the

19 drawing of military maps, the centre of a symbol designates the position

20 of a piece or a weapon, and he was very surprised when told about the

21 testimony according to which allegedly only the tip of the symbol

22 designated the position of artillery pieces rather than the centre of the

23 symbol.

24 I would try, Your Honours, in conclusion, to present to you the

25 conclusions and submissions of our Defence; namely, Witness Jokic very

Page 8797












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Page 8798

1 suddenly in early December received instructions and the task to conclude

2 a cease-fire agreement urgently with the highest representatives of the

3 Croatian side. However, Witness Jokic had not resolved the problem of

4 Mount Srdj which was obviously a thorn in his side, as we could see from

5 the previous parts of our final trial brief. The time needed for

6 negotiations was long, and the problem of Srdj needed to be resolved.

7 That is why the Witness Jokic delayed negotiations with the

8 representatives of Croatia on the 5th of December, justifying it with an

9 insignificant pretext. The difference in strength between the units

10 blocking Dubrovnik and those attacking from Mount Srdj was obvious.

11 Witness Jokic believed that in a very short time, he would be able to

12 resolve the problem of Srdj before the comprehensive cease-fire scheduled

13 for 6th December.

14 Witness testimony and other evidence indicate and confirm that

15 without the knowledge of the superior command of the 2nd Operational

16 Group, the action of attack on Srdj organised in a textbook manner was

17 planned and mounted. The units had the task to neutralise the firing

18 position of Croatian forces in Dubrovnik that could possibly

19 counterattack. It is quite certain that in the context of the agreed

20 cease-fire and the expected signing of the agreement, the attack on Mount

21 Srdj would cause vehement reactions, primarily on the Croatian side.

22 However, Witness Jokic took it upon himself to deal with the problem

23 because in the military hierarchy, there is a huge difference between a

24 vice-admiral occupying the position of corps commander and lower ranks

25 such as battalion commanders who were designated to implement the action

Page 8799

1 of capturing Mount Srdj.

2 Why is Jokic's theory on a self-initiated attack on Srdj

3 unbelievable? First of all, because the instruction on the work of

4 command staff, a forward command post is organised only when the commander

5 is no longer able to perform his duties in relation to units from his

6 basic command post. In that case, the commander, together with some of

7 his command staff, goes to the forward command post from which he

8 discharges his duties of command and control. From the 9th VPS command,

9 Jokic chose himself, Zec, assistant for land forces Kovacevic, and head of

10 the operations -- head of operations Kozaric. The fundamental principle

11 of the command doctrine is as follows: From a forward command post or a

12 point from which direct control is exercised, there is staff able to take

13 decisions at every moment, which means that at any time there had to be

14 either the commander or the chief of staff at the forward command post.

15 In this case, on the 5th and 6th December, that had to be

16 Lieutenant Colonel Kovacevic. However, at that time, not only were Jokic,

17 Zec, and Kovacevic absent from that forward command post, but nobody, even

18 their own operations officer Kozaric, could even find them. Beginning

19 with 6.00 on the 6th of December, according to the war log, on the 6th of

20 December at 1349 hours, a search was going on in Bileca for Kovacevic. At

21 14.45, a message came notifying of one dead and one wounded, whereas the

22 commander of the corps continued allegedly to sleep.

23 On that day, on the same day when he was supposed to sign a

24 comprehensive cease-fire agreement, it is unbelievable that in the period

25 from 4.45 in the morning to 6.00 when he allegedly received a call from

Page 8800

1 the forward command post and the notification that the 3rd Battalion was

2 going to attack Srdj he did not receive either directly or through the

3 chief of staff or Kovacevic such information or tried to prevent that

4 self-willed attack. Furthermore, if it was indeed an attack initiated by

5 the 3rd Battalion itself, it is unbelievable that the war log for the 6th

6 of December does not contain a single entry from which it would be evident

7 that such an attack was banned and that a withdrawal of units was ordered.

8 Furthermore, it is incredible that among four colonels, including

9 the chief of staff, assistant commander for land forces, and others were

10 unable to stop that self-willed attack mounted by the battalion commander

11 for seven hours. I emphasise that those four do not include the two

12 designated by Jokic, Lieutenant Colonel Jovanovic or Gojko Djurasic. It

13 is even less believable that from 4.45 in the morning all the way up to

14 1400 hours in a situation where this self-willed attack was going on, the

15 commander of the 9th VPS did not appear at his own forward command post or

16 even at the location where the commander of the 3rd Battalion was in order

17 to stop that attack. It is incredible that from early morning hours until

18 late in the afternoon, the commander of the 9th VPS had no information

19 whatsoever and didn't know that in the combat activities on the 6th of

20 December the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade was involved as well. This

21 battalion in its own activities and fire actions did inform in detail the

22 operations centre of the 9th VPS in Kupari. All this is unbelievable

23 because Jokic himself says that he had unhindered communication with the

24 operations centre in Kupari.

25 It is incredible that Jokic and his command failed to inform the

Page 8801

1 superior command, that is, the 2nd Operational Group, of this self-willed

2 attack mounted by the commander of the 3rd Battalion. And we have to bear

3 in mind that Jokic qualifies any such suggestion as a pure waste of time.

4 It is incredible that Jokic stopped the attack by the 3rd Battalion while

5 allowing at the same time the battalion to fire from its artillery pieces

6 at 13.05 on the 6th of December. It is incredible that the commander

7 should stop this so-called self-willed attack while at 1330 hours, the

8 commander was requesting engineering staff with explosives for purposes of

9 the attack, whereas the chief of staff whom Jokic allegedly again sent to

10 stop the attack orders that these explosives be made available to the

11 battalion commander without delay.

12 It is incredible and inexplicable that due to this allegedly

13 self-initiated attack which had very heavy consequences, after submitting

14 a report to the General Staff, no measures were allowed in order to

15 replace the commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade. It is

16 also incredible and inexplicable bearing all this in mind that the system

17 of command of the 9th VPS could fail to such an extent to prohibit and put

18 an end to this self-willed attack mounted on Mount Srdj by the commander

19 of the 3rd Battalion on the 6th of December.

20 We see a completely different role played by the commander of the

21 9th VPS regarding the attack on Srdj on the 6th of December. On the 5th

22 of December, namely, after the negotiations in Cavtat were ended, he

23 ordered the chief of the General Staff to prohibit Cape Africa from

24 entering the harbour. On the same day, he prohibited that approval should

25 be given to three smaller vessels to enter the port in which prior

Page 8802

1 communication was completely normal, whereas these vessels were carrying

2 humanitarian aid. Furthermore, the command of the 9th VPS at the command

3 post in Kupari from 0650 to 1620 hours on the 6th of December contacted

4 the commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Motorised Brigade on at

5 least 11 occasions. That was Captain Kovacevic. In none of these

6 contacts do we find any orders to Kovacevic to withdraw his units and

7 return them to their initial position. Furthermore, the commander of the

8 9th VPS, and this is a fact, ordered and allowed the commander of the 3rd

9 Battalion to use mortars against Srdj.

10 The chief of staff of the 9th VPS visited the position of the 3rd

11 Battalion commander Kovacevic and did not give him orders to stop the

12 attack and withdraw his unit. How should he, if he participated himself

13 on the 5th of December in the planning and approval of this attack? The

14 chief of staff, precisely for this reason, ordered explosives to be made

15 available to this commander in order to attack Srdj. The commander of the

16 9th VPS, Jokic, for the duration of the attack on Srdj spoke early in the

17 morning at the command post in Cavtat with the chief of staff of the 9th

18 VPS, and they left the command post together. Communications in Cavtat

19 functioned well. The telephones in Cavtat worked. There were no radio or

20 radio relay problems as Jokic would have us believe. The command of the

21 9th VPS was informed on the 4th of December of the arrival of Croatian

22 negotiators. On the 4th of December, the command of the 9th VPS

23 reinforced the 3rd Battalion with ammunition for mortars, anti-tank

24 Maljutka grenades. The command of the 9th VPS replenished the forward

25 command post at Kupari with explosives that were completely unnecessary

Page 8803

1 for staff work at a forward command post. They gave them AGF or shock --

2 stun grenades.

3 On the 6th of December, the commander of the 9th VPS took off from

4 Cilipi going to Podgorica and Belgrade at 14.15, whereas at 14.45, the 9th

5 VPS only then approved the withdrawal of Kovacevic from Srdj. In their

6 regular combat report dated the 5th of December, the command of the VPS

7 did not report on the negotiations in Cavtat. On the 6th of December, the

8 operations centre at the Kupari forward command post did not inform the

9 2nd Operational Group about the attack against Srdj. The European Mission

10 and the Dubrovnik Crisis Staff at 0612 hours in the morning of the 6th of

11 December informed the VPS about the attack at Srdj and fire being opened.

12 On that same day at 0855 hours, the Boka VPS sends a message to

13 Minister Rudolf telling him that they're doing their best to stop the

14 attack. It is only two-and-a-half hours later that the cease-fire should

15 come into effect. At 10.27 on the 6th of December, Minister Rudolf

16 receives a message in which Witness Jokic invites him to a meeting as soon

17 as possible, he said, because later he would be busy, as indeed he was

18 because he was called over by General Kadijevic, as Witness Handzijev

19 testified.

20 At 11.05 the Crisis Staff issues a denial of any activity by the

21 Croatian forces based on Srdj or in Lapad. At 11.28, Minister Rudolf

22 informs Jokic that the units are still manoeuvring on Srdj despite the

23 cease-fire that had been agreed. At 11.45, Minister Rudolf receives a

24 message from Admiral Jokic telling him that General Kadijevic demanded a

25 serious investigation and informing Rudolf that he would soon be on his

Page 8804

1 way to Belgrade to see Kadijevic, proposing that they meet again for talks

2 on the 7th of December and that ships should be checked inside the Gruz

3 harbour. On the 7th of December, the commander of the 9th VPS drew up a

4 report on the progress of the operation against Srdj and forwarded this

5 report to the General Staff. This report contradicts all information

6 contained to the -- contained in the documents referred to and the war log

7 which the commander of the 9th VPS had access to. Likewise, the same

8 applies to the report that he sent to Admiral Brovet on the 9th of

9 December. Based on the documents that I have referred to, it is clear

10 that the commander of the 9th VPS was kept up to date and knew exactly

11 what was going on throughout the units under his command. It is also

12 clear that he had full communication with Minister Rudolf and the

13 Dubrovnik side.

14 When these facts are complemented by witness testimonies that I

15 have -- those witness testimonies that I have already referred to, then

16 all of Jokic's allegations concerning the attack on Srdj on the 6th of

17 December must be denied. He was merely trying to diminish his own

18 responsibility and accuse other people of those developments in an

19 unfounded way; that's shifting his own responsibility on to other people.

20 It is quite illogical that because of an alleged willful attack by the

21 commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade Jokic should not have

22 removed him or indeed do anything to have him removed. And yet, he sends

23 Colonel Kovacevic over directly to have the commander of the 3rd Battalion

24 of the 5th Brigade removed at the same time. Had it been the case,

25 namely, that a willful attack had taken place against Srdj there would

Page 8805












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Page 8806

1 have been a great difference in terms of the responsibility of the

2 respective commanders of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade and the

3 commander of the 5th Brigade. In that situation, in order to keep the

4 supreme command happy as long as the Croatian side, he decided to

5 sacrifice the commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade and had

6 him removed swiftly. This was an easier step for him to take because this

7 person was a fresh commander who had just arrived as replacement for the

8 temporarily absent Commander Zdravkovic prior to the attack on Srdj. It

9 would have been much more difficult if not actually impossible to remove

10 the commander of the 3rd Battalion of the Trebinje Brigade who had been

11 around for a while and was a familiar face to the soldiers. They knew

12 that an operation against Srdj had been approved, and people at the

13 command of the VPS were bitter about the fact that they were denied

14 support from 130-millimetre guns, and they believed this was the cause of

15 the casualties that they suffered.

16 When asked a logical question about why he did not remove the

17 commander of the 3rd Battalion, Kovacevic, if this man had launched a

18 willful attack, Jokic tried to justify this by saying that he never saw

19 him again after the 6th of December, that he was not in his unit, and that

20 he enjoyed the protection from high-ranking officers, the protection of

21 high-ranking officers. However, other witnesses have stated that

22 Captain Kovacevic was in his unit at the time.

23 Finally, we could say that it was only easy to understand that

24 Jokic would have been interested in being himself in charge of the

25 investigation and to the events on the 6th of December because this would

Page 8807

1 have positioned him well to manipulate information and evade his share in

2 the responsibility of what happened on the 6th. His manipulation of the

3 facts and information and the fact that he reported falsely to the supreme

4 command is clear when one considers the evidence in this case. It is

5 absolutely impossible to link General Strugar in any way to the attack

6 against Srdj on the 6th of December, nor has there been any evidence to

7 suggest any such links. Likewise, General Strugar was sidelined from the

8 investigation into the 6th of December as the supreme command had taken

9 over the investigation directly through the commander of the 9th VPS.

10 Finally, Your Honours, the Defence submits, based on the arguments

11 that have been presented in our final brief and closing arguments, that

12 the accused, General Strugar, is innocent of all the charges in the third

13 amended indictment. We propose, Your Honours, that you acquit the

14 accused, General Strugar.

15 Your Honours, I would like to thank you for your attention, and I

16 would like to thank all the participants in these proceedings, the

17 Registrar, the interpreters, the technicians.

18 Your Honours, I merely have one small request to make. This would

19 be for our client, the accused, to briefly address the Trial Chamber for

20 two minutes, if that can be allowed.

21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic.

22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.

23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, for 43 years and 9

24 months, I had been an officer of the JNA. Throughout those years of

25 service, I behaved in an honourable way. I performed to the best of my

Page 8808

1 abilities, and I only followed the dictate of my own conscience. I am a

2 soldier, but I have never been a man who would resort to the use of force

3 easily. As a soldier, I know better than most people what war means.

4 In 1991, I tried as hard as I could to use my decisions and my own

5 actions to reduce and minimise the horrors of war. I experienced war at

6 an early age back in 1941, World War II, when I was still a child. I had

7 taken an oath to my country as a military officer. I promised to defend

8 my country, and I promised to serve my army faithfully. I never broke my

9 word. I am genuinely sorry for all human casualties and for all the

10 damage that was caused. I am genuinely sorry for all the victims, all the

11 people who were killed in Dubrovnik, as well as for all those young

12 soldiers who were killed on Srdj as well as in other areas and positions.

13 I am sorry that I was unable to do anything to stop and prevent all that

14 suffering.

15 When the indictment against me was raised, the very next day I

16 stated publicly that I was not guilty, saying also that I would go

17 immediately and face the International Tribunal in order to prove my

18 innocence. Here I am today, standing before you, Your Honours. I am

19 still convinced that you will make a just and equitable ruling. I thank

20 you very much for your attention, Your Honours.

21 May I sit down.

22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. The Chamber will give consideration to

23 its --

24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the president, please.

25 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber will give consideration to its decision

Page 8809

1 in this case which will be announced when it is ready.

2 We would thank all those involved in the proceeding for their

3 assistance. That concludes the hearing.

4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.34 p.m.