1 Monday, 5 September 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.19 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
6 everyone in and around the courtroom.
7 This is case IT-08-91-T, the Prosecutor versus Mico Stanisic and
8 Stojan Zupljanin.
9 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
10 Good morning to everyone. And welcome back after I think a
11 six-week break in this trial.
12 May we begin with taking the appearances, please.
13 MS. KORNER: Good morning, Your Honours. Joanna Korner and
14 Crispian Smith for the Prosecution. And welcome back to the peaceful
15 trial, to Judges Hall and Delvoie.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Slobodan Zecevic,
17 Slobodan Cvijetic, and Ms. Deirdre Montgomery appearing for Stanisic
18 Defence this morning. Thank you.
19 MR. KRGOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Dragan Krgovic,
20 Aleksandar Aleksic, Lennart Poulsen, and Miroslav Cuskic appearing for
21 Zupljanin Defence.
22 JUDGE HALL: Yes. Thank you.
23 We have been alerted that before we invite Mr. Krgovic to open,
24 that there are a number of housekeeping matters. I don't know who wishes
25 to go first.
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honours can I deal with the ones that we
2 notified Ms. Featherstone of, the one which was on our general e-mail
3 Your Honour, first of all, Your Honours ordered us to disclose
4 various documents in connection with the Zupljanin witness list under
5 Rule 66(B). Your Honours, we have disclosed in respect of all witnesses
6 except, and I don't believe protective measures were asked for -- no. I
7 see Mr. Krgovic shaking his head. Krnjajic. Your Honours, he's very low
8 on their list. There is a possibility, I understand, that he may not be
9 available. I spoke to Mr. Krgovic about that, and he's happy to wait
10 until he confirms that he will be called as a witness. The reason for
11 that is that it's a very large search. Or a large number of documents, I
12 should say. And Mr. Buhovac who is in fact the witness they wish to, or
13 are calling under the terms of Rule 92 quater. He's actually dead. We
14 just haven't had the opportunity to go through the search.
15 So, Your Honour, that's the first matter.
16 The second matter is -- relates to admission of documents.
17 Your Honour, there's a translation that's been floating around the place.
18 I wonder if Mr. Smith can bring it up. It is D89 -- 2D89, sorry. It's
19 on Sanction, I gather.
20 Now, Your Honour may recall this document. It was the one that
21 was -- said to be illegible, first of all. Then Mr. Krgovic sent it back
22 for CLSS who said it was illegible. We sent it back to CLSS who said,
23 no, they couldn't decipher more and produced this translation. And since
24 then we have applied once before to have this translation replace the
25 original. There's been an objection Mr. Krgovic, but there has to come a
1 time, particularly now we're on his case, where we say unless there's
2 anything further coming from them, this translation should now be
3 admitted and replace the one that is presently in e-court.
4 So Your Honours, can I leave -- hear what Mr. Krgovic has to say
5 before I move on to the second matter.
6 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Ms. Korner is right.
7 I had the document translated and even made a draft translation myself in
8 order to assist the translation service. But the translation was
9 returned when I wanted to use it and that's why this document was not
11 When the Prosecution had the document retranslated they received
12 a better translation than the Defence, and that was my objection. If I
13 remember correctly, when we discussed this document, the last thing was
14 that the Registry should apply for a retranslation. The translation
15 service was to verify the translation or retranslate it.
16 Since that time we've had no additional information. If we
17 should be informed by the translation service that no better translation
18 than that received by the Prosecution can be provided, I do not object to
19 the old translation by this new one being replaced. But I think that we
20 should wait for the reply of the translation service to the effect that
21 no better translation with be made.
22 MS. KORNER: I have no recollection of the Registry having
23 anything to do with this at all. This translation is, by the way, a CLSS
24 translation, not an OTP one. I don't know whether that -- the Registrar
25 can help at all on this. But I have no recollection of that.
1 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
2 JUDGE HALL: The Court Officer reports that because the parties
3 are usually responsible for this, it wasn't a matter that came through
4 her. But in terms of Mr. Korner's last point, about this being a CLSS
5 translation, does that suffice your -- in terms of your reservations,
6 Mr. Krgovic?
7 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as far as I remember,
8 the problem was the following: I requested the assistance of the
9 Registry in this matter for a retranslation to be made because I think
10 that it is possible to do. It is possible to get a better translation
11 than the one made by CLSS upon the request of the OTP.
12 I think that the quality of the translation is such that a higher
13 quality translation certainly must be possible. That was -- these are my
14 reservations. Because the Serbian version and the English version do not
16 MS. KORNER: [Previous translation continues] ... this is a
17 fuller translation than the original on any showing. I'm quite happy if
18 Mr. Krgovic can persuade CLSS to translate more of it and they come up
19 with an even better version than we should replace that. But, at the
20 moment I am anxious that this version which does contain more information
21 should be the one that if it is used comes up in e-court.
22 So may I ask that Your Honours order that the replacement take
24 JUDGE HALL: What I would suggest is that, rather than acceding
25 to that request immediately, that perhaps both sides speak out of court
1 over the next day or two and consult whomever else they need to over at
2 CLSS or others, and come back and one of could report later in the week,
3 say, the day after tomorrow.
4 MS. KORNER: Yes. Well, Your Honours, I'm very happy to -- this
5 has now dragged on for months.
6 JUDGE HALL: That's why I said the day after tomorrow. I'm not
7 suggesting an interminable discussion.
8 MS. KORNER: [Overlapping speakers] ...
9 JUDGE HALL: [Overlapping speakers] ... speak out of court and
10 come back and let us know where we are in two days.
11 MS. KORNER: Yes. Well, Your Honours I'm perfectly happy to see
12 if Mr. Krgovic or both of us together can persuade CLSS to have another
13 look at it.
14 The second matter relating to admission of exhibits is, over the
15 adjournment I noticed, when I was checking, that we seem to have admitted
16 some of the ethnic maps that are in the booklet but not all of them for
17 some unknown reason. My application is now can we simply make that the
18 whole book of ethnic maps a single exhibit? With the divisions therein.
19 In other words -- I've forgotten where we got up in Prosecution exhibits.
20 JUDGE HALL: It may be my imagination but I seem to recall about
21 three months ago this question coming up, and I being corrected by, I
22 think, both sides in my impression that the whole book had been in.
23 MS. KORNER: Well, that's what -- I must say I was under that
24 impression. It may well be that I said that. But when we checked the
25 list of exhibits, Mr. Smith discovered that some had been individually
1 admitted and others hadn't been. And there doesn't seem to be any rhyme
2 or reason, as I think all of them were shown to a particular witness and
3 I don't know -- sorry, not all of them were shown to a particular
4 witness. They were all shown to a different witness who came from
5 particular municipalities.
6 So can I ask: If we're right, and I'm sure the Registry will
7 correct us if we're wrong, that 65 ter 10236. -- from .02 to .15 be made
8 a court exhibit.
9 JUDGE HALL: I see that Mr. Zecevic had sprung to his feet when
10 you first lit on this --
11 MS. KORNER: Right.
12 JUDGE HALL: [Overlapping speakers] ... let me see what he has
13 so say.
14 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Your Honour, I seem to recall Ms. Korner protesting when she
16 wasn't put on notice about the issues that were raised by the Defence.
17 In this case, we were not put on notice that she is going to request the
18 admittance of these documents. Therefore I suggest that we postpone the
19 decision until we discuss that and get to know the matter because I --
20 from my recollection I cannot really, honestly say at this point what
21 is -- what was the position and what happened and why wasn't that
23 Therefore, I suggest that we discuss that over the break, and
24 then inform the Trial Chamber.
25 Thank you.
1 Basically, I'm objecting to this at this point.
2 Thank you.
3 MS. KORNER: Quite right, I'm sorry. It didn't occur to me that
4 there was going to be any problems so I'm perfectly happy to leave it
5 until after the break and talk to Mr. Zecevic and Mr. Krgovic about that.
6 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
7 MS. KORNER: There are just two other matters which may be
8 looking a little far ahead but not that far ahead, possibly.
9 Firstly, Your Honour, can I just raise for Your Honours to
10 consider, having been watching and listening to the Haradinaj trial last
11 Friday, I noted that there was some suggestion, certainly from the
12 Defence that there was insufficient evidence to fill the full two weeks
13 that had been allotted to them after we finished this three-week period n
14 which case, it was -- it was a question of whether there should be
15 evidence available for us to take up the extra week as, indeed, I heard
16 Mr. Emmerson suggesting. But I simple raise that for Your Honours to
18 Second --
19 JUDGE HALL: If I may respond briefly to a portion of that, I
20 don't know if you were able -- whether you got what the court said after
21 it took a brief break on Friday, but, as far as the Trial Chamber is
22 concerned, we -- as presently advised we see the whole next three-week
23 slot being fully utilized.
24 MS. KORNER: [Microphone not activated]
25 JUDGE HALL: Yes.
1 MS. KORNER: In the Haradinaj case. I think it's two weeks.
2 We're going from three weeks to two, alternating two weeks.
3 JUDGE HALL: Yes. Anyway, the next slotted period, yes.
4 MS. KORNER: All right. Thank you very much, Your Honours.
5 Then can I come to the question of the final trial brief.
6 I don't expect an answer at this stage, but to merely inquire of
7 Your Honours or to ask Your Honours to consider how long you would give
8 from the conclusion of the evidence to the filing, for the filing of
9 these briefs, and obviously we would be asking for more -- a larger page
10 allowance than is the standard one, given the length of trial, the amount
11 of evidence and two accused. So I'm just putting that out for
13 And finally, Your Honours, I know Your Honours Mr. Hannis has
14 mentioned this before and we're not asking for information, but obviously
15 if Your Honours were considering calling witnesses yourselves, then it
16 would be useful to know as soon as Your Honours felt able whether you
17 were, how many, and if I can point out, it's -- certain witnesses will
18 need or certain persons that Your Honours may be considering may need
19 considerable arrangements to be made, just so that we have that there.
20 And, Your Honour, those are the matters that I wish to raise this
22 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Ms. Korner.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE HALL: Are there any other matters before Mr. Krgovic
1 MR. ZECEVIC: Yes, Your Honours. Briefly, I informed
2 Ms. Featherstone about the three matters that I wished to raise.
3 One matter is, Your Honours will recall that one of the
4 witnesses, Mr. Dragan Andan, was required by the Trial Chamber to produce
5 a certain document which was in his collection, in his possession back
6 home. And after that, we didn't have any -- any information about it.
7 During the break, I contacted Mr. Andan, and he informed me that two days
8 after his return back home he contacted VWS and provided the document to
9 the VWS.
10 I informed him that we had no knowledge whatsoever, that we never
11 got any information from VWS about the arrival of that document, and then
12 he informed me that he personally contacted the persons in Sarajevo about
13 that document, and they confirmed that the document, which they received
14 from him, according to the -- to the Chamber's orders, was sent to
15 The Hague. And that is the information that I got.
16 Now, at this point, if Your Honours will -- would -- would
17 require from me to -- to investigate the matter with the VWS or approach
18 VWS about the document, I will gladly do so. I just didn't want to do
19 that on my own initiative.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE HALL: Thank you for your offer, Mr. Zecevic. The first
22 method would probably be to ask the Court Officer to see what
23 investigations, what her investigations will -- might reveal. And ...
24 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
25 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
1 So in the -- hopefully in the course of today we will have a
2 report as to where that errant document may be.
3 Thank you, Mr. Zecevic.
4 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 The second matter, I believe we would need to go to closed
7 JUDGE HALL: We move into private session.
8 MR. ZECEVIC: Private, I'm sorry, yes.
9 [Private session]
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Krgovic, are you ready to open?
23 MR. KRGOVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE HALL: Yes, please proceed.
25 [Zupljanin Defence Opening Statement]
1 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, according to the
2 indictment drafted by the Prosecution, my client, Stojan Zupljanin, is
3 being charged with serious crimes, punishable under the Statute of this
4 Tribunal. When we were considering how to put up our Defence, we decided
5 to call a limited number of witnesses. They were to testify about
6 certain events, as well as the conduct and the acts of Stojan Zupljanin.
7 During the OTP case, we were all faced with a great number of
8 facts. If they are looked upon from one side only, they will not assist
9 you in determining the truth. You will have to consider the wider
10 context of the genesis and development of a dramatic situation that led
11 to the breakup of a country, a tragic war, a lot of suffering, and,
12 unfortunately, many crimes. That is why, during the Defence case, the
13 Defence will insist on certain concepts, which, to our mind, will greatly
14 assist you in understanding the facts fully and drawing founded
16 One of these concepts the Defence will dwell upon during the
17 Defence case is context. Facts taken out of context can only give rise
18 to false conclusions and -- and lead the trier of fact to wrong
19 conclusions. We will call a number of witnesses who were immediate
20 participants in the events who have first-hand knowledge about the most
21 relevant facts from the indictment. But, at the same time, they are
22 witnesses who have knowledge about the overall context in which there
23 were very complicated relationships.
24 These relationships existed at various levels, and we mustn't
25 disregard them. They existed in the international community too, and are
1 reflected in its attitude toward the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 These relationships existed among the participants in the war in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina too. In order to understand the position and the
4 criminal liability of Stojan Zupljanin, it is imperative to consider this
5 context and assess his ability to act under these circumstances and take
6 such actions as he was empowered to do under the law.
7 At the moment, when the conflict in the Autonomous Region of
8 Krajina began, there were many armed people, there were armed groups of
9 various ethnicities. At that moment, the Banja Luka CSB had only 2.000
10 police officers, active police officers; and, by the end of 1992, some
11 5.000 reserve police officers. I'm talking about a territory inhabited
12 by about a million people. 80 per cent of all these police officers were
13 used in combat activities, where they were no longer under the control of
14 Mr. Zupljanin. That is the context that the witnesses will talk about
15 and give evidence.
16 What is characteristic and has been pointed out by Mr. Zupljanin
17 while the Prosecution witnesses were being examined is the following:
18 Throughout the period covered by the indictment, there were combat
19 activities in a part of the territory. There were organised extremist
20 groups and other armed groups, whose goal it was to undermine the
21 constitutional order and security. They were planning to carry out
22 sabotage and terrorist activities aimed at the population and facilities.
23 They planned and executed such actions. They were illegally armed. And
24 armed groups consisting of Muslim and Croatian extremists were active
25 there were disruptions of public law and order, there were armed attacks
1 on the members of the security forces, and what is most important,
2 Your Honour, from the aspect of policing, was a disregard for the law.
3 There was also wide-spread civil disobedience at that time. There was a
4 lower level of social tolerance, and there was a rise in the number of
5 the most serious crimes, such as banditism, causing general danger, and
6 there was general insecurity, as well as poverty that became ever more
7 wide-spread. All these are the elements that made up the context in
8 which Stojan Zupljanin had to act.
9 What I can point out as another problem in the territory of the
10 CSB is -- are the criminal activities of armed groups and individuals of
11 Serbian ethnicity. Such a way of operating by those groups created
12 mistrust in the work of the police and a feeling of lack of safety. On
13 top of that, many of the perpetrators bore the insignia of the police and
14 the army. On the other hand, a lack of efficiency and professionalism in
15 a number of public security stations, as well as their de facto
16 independence of the centre, led to such a situation in which the work of
17 the police was the way we could see.
18 Your Honours, this last topic I covered can be found in
19 Stojan Zupljanin's report, which he submitted at the end of every year to
20 the Ministry of Interior. This Defence will show, within that context,
21 that everything Mr. Stojan -- Stojan Zupljanin did was aimed at
22 preventing or at least alleviating the consequences of such a state of
23 affairs. Now to what extent he was successful in doing so is a different
24 matter. However, Stojan Zupljanin cannot be held responsible for perhaps
25 not being completely up to the task, although he need not necessarily
1 agree with me. It is not a war crime to be less than a good chief.
2 In order to corroborate its assertions I have just discussed,
3 this Defence will also lead a military expert. He will try to explain to
4 the Bench what the nature and circumstances of the work of the police was
5 in -- at the time of war; the war being the one in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in
6 1992. All this was part of the general background needed to view, to
7 discuss the role of the army and the mutual relationships between the
8 army and the police in the execution of combat activities, as well as
9 implementing military tasks by the police.
10 You will have before you a number of policemen from the
11 Banja Luka CSB who worked alongside Stojan Zupljanin in 1992. They were
12 also participants in a number of specific events. Among them, there will
13 be a number of Muslims and Croats. The Defence will also lead evidence
14 on the activities and establishment of special units in the area of the
15 Autonomous Region of the Krajina, as well as on the scope of their
16 authority, liability, and mutual relationships. These witnesses will try
17 to discuss some of the facts covered by the various OTP witnesses in more
18 detail. The Defence will also put forth as witnesses a number of
19 participants in the war-affected area, including Prijedor, Kotor Varos,
20 Kljuc, Sanski Most, and these people will speak from their point of view
21 about certain events which have been discussed here. We will also have a
22 number of employees of the CSB appear as witnesses who held different
23 positions in the CSB.
24 The testimony of such witnesses led by the Defence will, in a
25 way, serve as an addition to the evidence heard by the Court thus far, in
1 order to further shed light on the acts and conduct of Stojan Zupljanin.
2 To conclude, Your Honours, this Defence submitted a number of
3 statements aimed at drawing a picture of Stojan Zupljanin as a person,
4 provided by Stojan Zupljanin's co-citizens and people who used to work
5 with him. In keeping with your decision, you will also hear some of that
6 evidence led in the courtroom. Those people will talk about
7 Stojan Zupljanin's personality and his actions in 1992.
8 Having in mind all OTP evidence and the evidence provided by
9 Mico Stanisic's Defence, as I have explained already, we opted for a
10 limited number of witnesses, in order to address specific circumstances
11 and events in an attempt at drawing the context of these events in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. In this way, we hope to assist the Chamber in
13 finally reaching the fair -- a fair decision.
14 Thank you, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Mr. Krgovic.
16 Yes, Ms. Korner.
17 MS. KORNER: Could I just mention one matter and I think it was a
18 slip of the tongue by Mr. Krgovic page 13, line 7, he said, "What is
19 characteristic and has been pointed out by Mr. Zupljanin ..."
20 I'm assuming he meant Mr. Zupljanin' Defence.
21 I wonder if he could just correct that because --
22 MR. KRGOVIC: [Microphone not activated]
23 MS. KORNER: I'll say it again. I understand there was no
24 translation. Mr. Krgovic said at page 13, line 7: "What is
25 characteristic and has been pointed out by Mr. Zupljanin ..."
1 What he meant, and I see he agrees is the Defence of
2 Mr. Zupljanin, because of course Mr. Zupljanin hasn't pointed anything
3 out at all.
4 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
5 Mr. Krgovic, I assume your witness is available.
6 MR. KRGOVIC: Yes, Your Honour. Could we proceed now or maybe we
7 can have a short break.
8 JUDGE HALL: If this is an urgent need for a break of course we
9 would accommodate you. I just wondered why, because it is always better
10 to stick to the established pattern.
11 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours, there is no
12 problem. I simply wanted to be forthcoming and assist the Chamber and
13 the other participants in the proceedings.
14 In any case, I'm fully prepared to go ahead immediately, if need
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE HALL: Ms. Korner, while the witness is on his way in,
18 the -- we were wondering whether we were -- whether there was a misprint
19 in the communication that we received, that you expected that you would
20 spend 20 hours in cross-examination.
21 MS. KORNER: [Microphone not activated] No, Your Honours it is
22 not. Your Honours, this is the only military expert that the Defence are
23 calling. Your Honours, I have a large number of issues I wish to deal
24 with him, and a large number of documents which may not be covered by
25 him, but certainly -- or not covered by him in his report but which we
1 say are relevant.
2 Can I say it is an excessive caution. Normally, I underestimate
3 and end up having to ask Your Honours for more time, but nonetheless, as
4 Your Honours will understand, the fact that Mr. Krgovic says he is only
5 going to spend six hours is not the point. If you recall, we were given
6 three hours with Mr. Nilsson and the Defence spent 13 hours with him.
7 It's a difference of approach.
8 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. So we should alert the witness that he
9 will be with us well into next week. [Overlapping speakers] ...
10 MS. KORNER: Yes. It may well be, and I hope [Overlapping
11 speakers] ...
12 JUDGE HALL: As presently advised [Overlapping speakers] ...
13 MS. KORNER: As presently advised, yes.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE HALL: Good morning to you, sir. Would you please read the
16 solemn declaration on the card that the usher is now handing to you.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
18 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 JUDGE HALL: Thank you. You may be seated.
20 And from your responses so far, I gather that you are in fact
21 hearing me in a language that you understand?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I am.
23 JUDGE HALL: Well, first of all, we welcome you to the Tribunal
24 and thank you for you're agreeing to assist by providing relevant
25 evidence to us. I would, first of all, point out that the solemn
1 declaration that you have just taken imposes upon you an obligation to
2 give truthful testimony and this Tribunal is empowered by the Statute
3 that constituted it to impose penalties for perjury in terms of persons
4 who give false or misleading testimony.
5 You have been called by counsel representing the second accused
6 in this matter, Mr. Zupljanin, and there are a number of preliminary
7 questions the Bench would have of you before I invite Mr. Krgovic, who is
8 lead counsel, to begin.
9 Although we do have a copy of your report and annexed to it is
10 your biography, would you, for the record, tell us your name, and your
11 date of birth. The English translation that we have indicates your date
12 of birth as the 2nd of August, 1995 which is, of course, an arithmetical
13 impossibility. So perhaps you could also indicate to us your correct
14 date of birth.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Certainly. Mr. President, I was
16 born on 2nd of August, 1955 [Realtime transcript read in error "1952"].
17 JUDGE HALL: Your name, sir, is ...?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Vidosav Kovacevic.
19 JUDGE HALL: And what is your ethnicity?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a Serb.
21 JUDGE HALL: And what was your -- what is your present profession
22 and/or the profession that occupied most of your life?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Most of my life I was a
24 professional soldier. Now I am a retired general.
25 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
1 Mr. Krgovic.
2 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 WITNESS: VIDOSAV KOVACEVIC
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 Examination by Mr. Krgovic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General.
7 A. Good morning.
8 Q. I'd like to ask you to take your report out of the bag that you
9 have beside you.
10 General, just one small correction for the transcript. I believe
11 you said you were born on the 2nd of August, 1955. Whereas, in the
12 transcript, we have 1952. Can you tell me whether I heard what you said
14 A. You are correct. I said I was born on the 2nd of August, 1955.
15 JUDGE HALL: Sorry, Mr. Krgovic. If you would take your seat for
16 a moment.
17 Mr. Kovacevic, there are one or two things that I forgot to
18 mention before I invited Mr. Krgovic to begin.
19 One is to remind you of the procedure whereby the side calling
20 you begins. Counsel for the co-accused would have a right to also
21 cross-examine you. And then counsel for the Prosecution would have their
22 turn to cross-examination, and we return to Mr. Krgovic.
23 Now, counsel have indicated that, between the times that they
24 expect they would spend with you, that your testimony will extend
25 throughout this week and well into next week. It may very well be that
1 it doesn't take as long as that, and the times of sittings of the court
2 if it's the -- because courtroom space has to be shared, it means that
3 the morning sittings run from 9.00 to 1.45; afternoon sittings run from
4 2.15 to 7.00. But those sittings are not continuous. They are broken up
5 into intervals of not more than 90 minutes, because largely for technical
6 reasons in that the tapes that record these proceedings have to be
8 Now we -- our practice is a 20-minute break and that allows for
9 the convenience and comfort for yourself and everyone else involved. But
10 if at any point before a scheduled break, for instance it is 10.10 and
11 the next scheduled break would be at 10.25 in about 15 minutes, but if,
12 at any time, for whatever reason, you would require the Court to take a
13 break before the scheduled break, please let us know and we will
14 accommodate you.
15 Thank you Mr. Krgovic. Please continue.
16 MR. KRGOVIC:
17 Q. [Interpretation] General, in your CV, I see you stated you were
18 born in Liplje in the municipality of Kotor Varos in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 Did you ever reside in Kotor Varos itself?
20 A. Mr. Krgovic, it is true I was born in the village of Liplje in
21 the municipality of Kotor Varos. It is a village in wilderness but not
22 very good for modern-day life. That is why in 1965 my parents moved to a
23 town called Prnjavor, also in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In other words, I
24 never lived in Kotor Varos.
25 I can only add that in my native village -- rather, I returned to
1 my native village for the first time after 20 years when I brought my
2 wife and children to show them the place where I was born.
3 Q. A question about the area you live in, or, rather, because of the
4 area where you lived, did you ever meet Mr. Stojan Zupljanin?
5 A. I never met him personally, but I do know of his position.
6 Q. I have to ask you something, General. I am a fast talker, and it
7 takes time to interpret what you and I say, as we share the same
8 language. Could I ask you to pause briefly after my questions so as to
9 avoid any overlaps in interpretation.
10 A. I understand that.
11 Q. General, in your CV, I can see that you attended the military
12 high school and the air force academy and so on, following the completion
13 of your primary schooling.
14 I wanted to ask you this: Who was it that assigned you to serve
15 in the army? What particular body.
16 A. When I completed primary school in Prnjavor, which is something
17 I've already mentioned, I applied to -- I applied for education at the
18 Military Academy, which was announced publicly.
19 Following a medical exam in Belgrade, I was notified by the
20 then-Secretariat for All People's Defence and contacted by the defence
21 secretariat in Prnjavor, in order to have me enlisted into the military
22 schools in Belgrade.
23 Q. General, we can see what schools you completed. Could you
24 explain in more detail the education you gained at the air force academy
25 and the officers' course. What type of schools were these and what
1 qualifications you gained in those schools prior to the breakout of the
2 war in the former Yugoslavia?
3 A. The military air force academy -- or, rather, I should put it
4 this way. Having graduated from the air force academy in Belgrade, in
5 Serbia --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, having graduated from
7 the military secondary school in Belgrade --
8 A. I was assigned to the air force academy. When I completed the
9 air force academy, which included basic military studies, I was assigned
10 the first officer's rank which is of lieutenant. As such, one can
11 command a platoon as a basic military unit.
12 Upon completion of the Military Academy, I was transferred to
13 serve in the Pula garrison in the Republic of Croatia.
14 From there, I was sent to attend a course for air force officers
15 for guiding air-strikes. Having completed that course, I returned to my
16 unit as a fully qualified officer in that area. I was supposed to act as
17 part of the anti-aircraft defence system.
18 Having spent three years in the Pula garrison where I
19 successfully completed my duties, I was transferred to a battalion, which
20 is the next higher-ranking unit. I was also assigned to a more senior
21 position. I acted as assistant battalion commander in charge of
22 political affairs and education, as it was called at the time. It took
23 place in 1980.
24 In the Republic of Slovenia, which is where the battalion was
25 located, I spent three years. In 1983, I was again transferred to the
1 regiment command in charge of air force reconnaissance, which was in
2 Zagreb in Croatia.
3 Prior to that date, I had married, and we had our first child,
4 our daughter, in Pula. My next child, a son, was born in Slovenia. This
5 means that I arrived in Zagreb with my entire family.
6 In Zagreb, a few years later, having been a successful officer, I
7 was transferred to the political school of the Yugoslav People's Army,
8 which was a school at tactical level. And it was one of the conditions
9 to be further promoted to higher ranks and being placed in more senior
10 positions. Unfortunately, I did not complete that school. The duration
11 of that training was two years. The reason was the fact that, in 1991,
12 the civil war broke out. In other words, armed conflict began in the
13 Republic of Slovenia, and I think it was about the 25th of June, 1991
14 when all training, officers' training, was broken off, and we all had to
15 return to our respective units.
16 Now, to sum up and answer your question, until the beginning of
17 the war, I was mostly active in moral guidance of soldiers and officers.
18 I taught, I visited units to have briefings there and work with people.
19 At the time, there were no psychologists in the Yugoslav People's Army.
20 There weren't any priests or ministers either. Those who were active in
21 moral guidance were the only ones to work with people, to counsel them,
22 and educate them. Apart from that, my responsibility comprised
23 co-operation with the local population. That is, having contacts with
24 municipal leaderships, the MUP, the veterans' organisations, the church,
25 media, and the like.
1 On top of all that, any officer with a certain position and
2 status in a command was a member or a chief of the operative duty team,
3 the task of which was to be in charge of all matters during the absence
4 of the commander, because those units never ceased to operate.
5 This would be the briefest possible summary of my activities and
6 responsibilities until the war.
7 JUDGE HALL: Is this a convenient point, Mr. Krgovic?
8 So -- so we take our first break and return in 20 minutes.
9 [The witness stands down]
10 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 10.49 a.m.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 [The witness takes the stand]
14 MR. KRGOVIC:
15 Q. [Interpretation] General, you briefly described your activities
16 before the war, and you mentioned that you were chief of the operative
17 duty team.
18 Could you briefly explain what that is?
19 A. The command of the regiment where I worked had two air guidance
20 and surveillance battalions, which, in turn, comprised a number of
21 lower-ranking units; namely, air guidance and surveillance companies.
22 Their basic work tools were air surveillance radars.
23 The regiment command had its units in three of the
24 then-republics. That is, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Those radars enabled us to have an image of air-space in that zone of
1 responsibility covering the three republics I mentioned, as well as the
2 frontiers and all air traffic in Yugoslav air-space.
3 The information flow was toward the operation centres. They were
4 underground, and these facilities were of strategic importance for
5 national defence. The duty teams were located there. Every aircraft in
6 air-space had a certain designation. Civilian aircraft were marked C;
7 whereas, military aircraft were marked Y; whereas, unidentified or enemy
8 aircraft were marked X. When an unidentified or enemy aircraft appeared
9 unannounced and did not travel in the air traffic corridors for civilian
10 air traffic, we would alarm our units. There were fighter aircraft on
11 duty at our air strips, and there were also units on duty in our
12 anti-aircraft missile units. All these units would have their combat
13 readiness raised by one level, and the operative duty teams were the ones
14 who decided about the use of these units. Clearly, those teams were much
15 stronger in the army commands. The most important team was the operative
16 duty team of the General Staff of the army. It controlled all activities
17 of the units at any time.
18 Q. General, let me follow up on your last sentence.
19 You mentioned in your biography, or, rather, your CV that you're
20 also assistant commander for political guidance and the chief of the
21 morale section in the Army of Serbia and Montenegro. Were you -- were
22 you chief of that operative duty team at the level of the entire armed
24 A. Yes. That operative duty team is headed by a general who
25 completed the highest level army schools, such as the National Defence
1 School. Those were the conditions that had to be fulfilled.
2 I personally headed the operative duty team of the General Staff
3 of the then-army two or three times a month.
4 Q. With regard to your qualifications and training, were you
5 qualified to command the Army of Yugoslavia as the -- as chief of the
6 operative duty team?
7 A. That was our duty at all hours, when the chief of General Staff
8 was not at his workplace. That team consisted of about a dozen men who
9 were specialists for the branches. That is, the army, air force, navy,
10 or infantry, et cetera. It is a known fact that the one trained to
11 decide about the use of the air force as one of the most complex system
12 in any army can also make decisions about the use of other systems.
13 Q. To be able to do that, did you have to have a -- have an in-depth
14 knowledge of the army and any other branches of the armed forces of
15 Yugoslavia, in order to be chief of the operative duty team?
16 A. The schools I completed after the war included the Command Staff
17 Academy of the Land Army. That was a coincidence. I was unable to
18 continue to attend the political school of the JNA where I had enrolled
19 before the war, because that school was abolished.
20 In 2001 or 2002, I completed the highest school in the armed
21 forces, and that's the General Staff College, which is a school for all
22 branch services. All types of operations are dealt with there, all
23 the -- on land, in the air, and at sea. Certainly everybody focussed on
24 matters that were more closely linked to their actual activities. But
25 you also had to know about matters concerning other branches or combat
2 Q. General, you mentioned the Command Staff Academy of the Land Army
3 and you said that graduated from that school in 1994. Did I understand
4 you correctly?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I apologise, I skipped part of your CV because I wanted to
7 clarify what the operative duty team did, and its chief included.
8 What was your position, sir, when the conflict in Slovenia began?
9 That is the armed conflict in former Yugoslavia.
10 A. At the time, I was assistant regiment commander for political
12 Q. I see in your CV when you mention wartime service. Please give
13 us additional information about your responsibilities and positions
14 during the war, or your wartime experience, if you will?
15 A. I have already mentioned that the regiment command was
16 responsible for three republics, because that's where its units were,
17 these air surveillance and guidance companies and radar stations.
18 When the armed conflict in Slovenia broke out, it was very easy
19 to block these units. In peacetime, the food supply and fuel supply, as
20 well as the supply of ammunition and spare parts was on a weekly or
21 biweekly or monthly basis. All these units were located in mountainous
22 areas. There was only one access road to their positions so that, at the
23 beginning of the armed conflicts in Slovenia, all our units were soon
24 blocked by the Slovenian TO. They ran out of food, water, and other
1 Officers of Slovenian ethnicity, as well as the rank and file,
2 started deserting JNA units from day one, and they went over to the TO.
3 An unusual incident was recorded. The deputy battalion
4 commander, our battalion in Slovenia, that is, the number-two man,
5 deserted the JNA, joined the TO, and, only one day later, he led that TO
6 unit in the attack on his own unit that he had commanded until the
7 previous day. The unit was commanded by a young officer who was a Croat.
8 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, I apologise. I see the Prosecutor is on her feet.
9 I was asking you about your experience and wasn't trying to elicit such
10 detailed information. I was only interested in essential information
11 about any operations and whether you took part in any military operations
12 on the ground because we are focussed on the events in
14 So if you could just briefly tell us what your position was,
15 whether you were in the trenches, whether you took part in part in any
16 deblocking situations and so on and so forth.
17 A. I understand, sir.
18 To put it briefly, it was the regiment command's task - and when
19 I say "regiment command," that includes me - to try to assist those units
20 and those men who were -- were sealed off by supplying them with the
21 basic necessities.
22 Q. Did you personally take part in the unblocking of those units and
23 pulling them out to Croatia and then onto Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 A. Before the beginning of the war, the regiment command had about
25 35 staff. At the end, only four or five officers remained so that we did
1 everything that had to be done, irrespective of our original duties.
2 Since the Pleso air strip, where I was, was also blocked, we organised,
3 or we put up a circular defence where I commanded the first defence
4 section and I spent four to five hours in the trenches. Of course, I
5 took part in the pulling out of our units from Slovenia. It was a real
6 chaos, albeit small scale. Some people left their apartments behind;
7 some left their families behind. They had to be persuaded that it was
8 their first and foremost task to pull out our military materiel and
9 equipment and then move on.
10 I also personally took part in the operation when our units were
11 pulled out from Pleso air strip and relocated to Bihac, where we arrived
12 in late November 1991. I, and part of the command, stayed in Bihac until
13 the 10th of May, 1992, I believe. Pursuant to a decision of the state
14 leadership about the retreat or pullout of the units of the JNA from
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we were transferred to Belgrade garrison.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MR. KRGOVIC:
18 Q. [Interpretation] General, I can see from your CV that, in 1991
19 and in 1992, you served as the chief of the press centre of the 5th Corps
20 of the Air Defence, and you were also assistant commander for morale
21 guidance of the 5th Regiment.
22 Tell me, please, which of these two positions was in Zagreb; and
23 which one was in Bihac?
24 A. Until my arrival in Bihac, I was officially assistant commander
25 for morale, guidance and political affairs, as it was known at the time.
1 In addition to that, I was -- I discharged the duties of the personnel
2 organ and some other tasks. I told you that the regiment command was
3 down to four or five officers. In addition to these duties, I was also
4 the duty officer within the duty operations team which worked in the
5 well-known underground facility in Bihac.
6 Q. General, tell us, please, how many people did your unit have in
7 the period when the conflict broke out in Slovenia; and with how many men
8 did you arrive in Bihac?
9 A. I think that the regiment had some 600 to 700 people, and only
10 one-third of them arrived in Bihac. Because after some time, there was a
11 decision of the state leadership, stating that officers who were ethnic
12 Slovenes and ethnic Croats could leave the JNA units, were allowed to do
14 Q. What about when you arrived Bihac? What was the situation then?
15 Were you able to move about freely, communicate? You, members of the
16 JNA. Were you able to go and visit your family in Prnjavor? And also,
17 what was the situation like with the soldiers an officers who were ethnic
19 MS. KORNER: [Previous translation continues] ... before we deal
20 with the General's answer. I did ask that if he was going to give
21 evidence over and above what is contained in his report that I should be
22 given notice of it. I have had no notice that he was going to be giving
23 evidence about this.
24 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it wasn't my
25 intention to go into these facts. However, in part of his report, the
1 witness speaks about how the Army of Republika Srpska was established,
2 how some officers and soldiers left, and so on. And in that report, he
3 said that he wrote all that partially based on his personal experience
4 and partially based on documents and so on. And that is the only purpose
5 of this examination. I have no intention of going into details. I just
6 wanted to explore the personal experience of this witness, how he left
7 Slovenia, and how he arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour, firstly, can I be directed to the
9 part of the report that Mr. Krgovic says this arises from. And,
10 secondly, for the moment, I'll say nothing but it may mean that I need
11 time to explore the issues that are being raised, about what happened
12 when he arrived in Bihac.
13 But, perhaps, first of all, you could tell you which part of the
14 report this is.
15 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] It's item 12, where the witness
16 speaks about what he used, what part of his experience he relied on. And
17 then in items 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50, in all of these items or
18 paragraphs, the witness speaks about the following apart of JNA, the
19 creation of the VRS, and these are precisely the topics that I'm
20 exploring with the witness now.
21 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour, I say, I'm not, at the moment
22 going to take the matter further but it is not good enough, we would
23 submit, to say when all the the General says in paragraph 12: "I
24 included elements of my personal experience ..." for this to be
25 developed without notice of exactly what the personal experience is said
1 to be.
2 But, as I say, for the moment, I'll let this continue without
3 further objection.
4 MR. KRGOVIC:
5 Q. [Interpretation] General, we came to this point. Now tell us,
6 please, what was the situation? What was the situation like with the
7 ethnic Muslims serving in the JNA? And what was the role of the JNA,
8 what were the goals of the JNA that you were made aware of via orders,
9 instructions, and so on, that you received from the superior command?
10 A. What I was able to see concerning the situation in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina was very complex. Roads were under blockade. The
12 officers and soldiers who were Muslims had also started leaving the JNA.
13 There was great animosity towards members of the JNA.
14 As far as I'm aware, the then-task of the JNA, as far as we
15 informed the people, was to keep the warring sides apart, keep them
16 separate, to the greatest possible level. And also creating buffer
17 zones. I personally think that the JNA did not have a proper goal and
18 that this is precisely why it ended the way it did. Because the JNA did
19 not succeed in fulfilling its mandate, its task, because the army itself
20 was exposed to attacks by paramilitary and para-police forces in certain
22 Q. Before you left Bihac, did you try via your own Secretariat for
23 National Defence which had sent you to JNA originally to find some kind
24 of a position in Bosnia-Herzegovina, given that your unit was in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina and that its further fate was uncertain?
1 A. It was a proper wartime nightmare and chaos. People didn't know
2 what to do. The fate of the JNA was uncertain and unknown. Since I had
3 been sent by the military department in Prnjavor to various military
4 schools, I believed that I should go to my birth town while one was still
5 able to move about. I think that it was in early January of 1992. I
6 wanted to go there and to report, to sign up as an officer, because I
7 knew that the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina would eventually break out.
8 I wanted to present myself, to tell them what my credentials were, even
9 though they were fully aware of it. It was necessary for them to write a
10 request in order for me to be engaged. They were supposed to send the
11 request to my then-command within the JNA, where I served.
12 They didn't do that. The then-Serb leadership didn't really have
13 much confidence, didn't really trust me as an officer of the JNA. They
14 described all of us as Communist officers. That was the term they used
15 for us. Therefore, I never received call-up papers from them.
16 Q. General, when you were pulling out from Bihac on your way to
17 Belgrade in 1992, were you able to use regular roads or not? How did you
18 carry out the evacuation?
19 A. It was an air evacuation, for the most part. As far as I can
20 remember, the roads in Bosnia and Herzegovina were already cut off, and I
21 think that there was an order of the President of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
22 or of some minister, or perhaps the TO commander, from April, to that
23 effect, one could conduct a land evacuation, but with previous
24 notifications, permits, and similar type of paperwork which was quite
25 ridiculous because the JNA was still the federal army and the official
1 armed force. It was ridiculous, and it was humiliating. Whoever wanted,
2 could have stopped you at a check-point, could have harassed you,
3 questioned you, and the like.
4 Q. General, further on in your CV I can see that you served in
5 certain posts in Belgrade. And then I see here that, from November 1995
6 until December - I think it is a mistake here, it should be 1996 - you
7 served in the Army of Republika Srpska.
8 Can you tell us briefly what positions did you hold and how you
9 ended up going there?
10 MS. KORNER: Mr. Krgovic keeps saying this is an mistake in the
11 curriculum vitae. But the curriculum vitae I have a copy of says that,
12 1996. I'm just wondering what Mr. Krgovic is looking at and what I'm
13 looking at.
14 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I have the Serbian version. That's
15 where the problem is. Let me just look at the English version.
16 MS. KORNER: [Previous translation continues] ... upload the --
17 put onto the screen the two versions side by side. But -- in the English
18 version I have got of the CV and that's why I'm wondering if it's the
19 same one. It says that he served in the VRS between 1995 and 1996.
20 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] There's another page that speaks of
21 wartime service. It's page 3. There's a mistake there. From the 7th of
22 November, 1995 until 14th of December, 1995. That's the mistake that I
23 had in mind. Wartime service.
24 Q. Could you please answer my question, General.
25 A. Mr. Krgovic, I was sent to Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the
1 very end of the war, pursuant to an order of the General Staff of the
2 then-army. I think that I was instructed to report to the Main Staff.
3 That's what the order said, the Main Staff of the
4 Army of Republika Srpska. Since I served in the air force - that was my
5 speciality - I went to the command of air force and anti-aircraft
6 defence, which was located in Banja Luka, and reported to them. I
7 expected that they would issue further assignments for me. As far as I'm
8 aware, the air force command informed the Main Staff that I had arrived
9 at their command, and I remained there until the end of 1996.
10 As is well known, the war ended soon thereafter. It was in
11 November 1995. Dayton Accords were signed so that I spent most of the
12 time implementing the Dayton Agreement on the ground. As a liaison
13 officer, I cooperated with the then-command ^ of the Multinational
14 Division West, headed by General Jackson. In addition to that, since I
15 was -- I had a position in the moral guidance, religious and legal
16 affairs organ, I also had to solve all kinds of issues that were within
17 the jurisdiction of that organ. It mostly had to do with providing
18 information to the servicemen, assisting men in solving enormous post-war
19 problems. Also providing assistance to the families of fallen soldiers,
20 co-operation with the church authorities, the municipal authorities, and
21 so on. I think I also took part in organising the first post-war
22 elections in Banja Luka which were organised under the sponsorship of
23 international community.
24 Q. General, when you described your duties, you spoke of
25 co-operation with various parts of civilian authorities. Within the
1 organ for morale guidance, were you also tasked with co-operating with
2 civilian authorities? Could you tell us what civilian authorities those
3 were and based on what did you co-operate with them?
4 A. Correct. The co-operation with civilian authorities, civilian
5 organs on the ground, was part of my job description. However, it was
6 conducted pursuant to a decision or pursuant to the consent of my
7 commander, and also pursuant to the plan for co-operation which had its
8 elements. It had content, it had designated persons who were supposed to
9 carry it out, it defined the deadlines, it defined the territory and so
10 on. So depending on the various plans, we carried out this co-operation.
11 Sometimes we organised various ceremonies, celebrations. We cleared the
12 ground. We did work on the ground.
13 Q. To step back a bit, did you also co-operate with police organ
14 during this period of time; and, if so, how did that co-operation
16 A. I personally did not co-operate much with police organs on the
17 ground. That was the task of the security officer in the command. Given
18 that we had joint briefing every morning with the commander, I could hear
19 their reports, and, thus, I know that they cooperated with them, that
20 they exchanged the relevant information, and, as I have already told you,
21 our facilities were of particular significance for the state, so they had
22 special status. They were treated, they had special treatment, by the
23 organs of the interior during peacetime. This now refers to the security
24 and protection provided by them to these facilities.
25 Q. General, just another area of your biography.
1 You stated here that, in 1999, you also had wartime service
2 during the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia. What was the post you occupied
3 at the time?
4 A. I think that I served in the organ for moral guidance of the air
5 force and anti-air defence, and it was headquartered in Zemun, in Serbia.
6 The greatest part of my activities and those of the entire organ
7 focussed on informing the servicemen and undertaking measures to
8 strengthen the combat morale. A large part of my time was devoted to
9 gathering photo and video documentation about the destructive NATO
10 attacks on our positions, as well as documentation concerning combat
11 activities of our units.
12 Therefore, I was frequently in the immediate vicinity of our
13 rocket facilities, air force facilities, radar, and land army facilities,
14 including naval forces in Montenegro that were subject to air-strikes.
15 Also in situations where our forces engaged in counter-attacks.
16 The material thus collected was used by me after the war when,
17 together with several colleagues and experts from civilian establishment,
18 I made a documentary about the participation of the units of air force
19 during NATO aggression. This film is shown occasionally to the units to
20 this day on the anniversary of those tragic events.
21 MR. KRGOVIC: Sorry, can I have some usher's assistance? Thank
23 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
24 MR. KRGOVIC:
25 Q. [Interpretation] General, as part of your duties, did you spend
1 any time in Kosovo during the air campaign?
2 A. Well, yes, I was the head of the team I discussed, which was in
3 charge of collecting video and photographic material. Some 15 days prior
4 to the end of the war, I found myself in Kosovo during the time of the
5 aggression. This is where I awaited the withdrawal of our army from
7 MS. KORNER: [Previous translation continues] ... we're now so far
8 removed from anything to do with this case. I know Your Honours are, no
9 doubt, very interested in Kosovo in 1999 but I really do think we ought
10 to get back to the subject of his report.
11 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I merely tried to go through the
12 witness's wartime experience briefly and through this part of his work.
13 This was the last topic on his participation in the war.
14 Q. Sir, I see in your CV that you completed, in addition to the
15 Command Staff Academy of the army, also the National Defence School in
16 2002. Can you tell us what is that school? What were you qualified to
17 do, having completed that school? And what rank did you receive? Was
18 this one of the prerequisites to further advance your career?
19 A. In Serbia, that school is the highest, the most senior level of
20 military education. It is one of the preconditions in order to become a
21 general, as the most senior rank in the armed forces.
22 Military strategy is one of the subjects, operatics, tactics,
23 command and control, as well as the methodology of military science. The
24 courses taken as part of the curriculum enabled the officers to hold the
25 most senior positions in the army, starting with that of a brigade
1 commander, corps commander, to assistant commander of the General Staff,
2 and chief of the General Staff.
3 One can also hold certain positions within the Ministry of
4 Defence. In any given class, there are about 30 officers who complete
5 their studies, and only one, two, or three of the entire class make
6 generals subsequently, depending on the circumstances.
7 Q. Following that, I can see that you were appointed chief of the
8 National Defence School of the Army of Serbia and Montenegro. Is this
9 the same school you discussed a moment ago?
10 A. Yes. Following some organisational changes in the then-armed
11 force, the morale administration no longer existed, and I had headed that
12 administration within the General Staff.
13 Instead, I was appointed chief of the National Defence School,
14 the same school I had attended and completed in 2000, I think. Or 2002.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
16 MR. KRGOVIC:
17 Q. [Interpretation] General, as far as I can tell from your CV, you
18 also appear to have been chief of the Land Forces School in the Army of
19 Serbia. Is this what we, as laymen, refer to as the Military Academy?
20 And what was your role when you held that post?
21 A. Yes, that was my last professional position in the army. I held
22 that position for four years. As part of the Military Academy or, in
23 other words, under my command, there was also the military high school
24 which I had completed back in 1974, as well as the School of National
25 Defence, plus the basic military studies taught at the Military Academy.
1 Together with my team, I created the project of unifying the
2 entire military educational system under one roof. At first, some
3 foreign colleagues of mine were confused by this concept, which is what I
4 realized when I travelled abroad to Greece, Turkey, Italy, Russia.
5 Despite that, they recognised the effort, believing it to be a rational
6 approach for such a small country as Serbia. Together with my team, I
7 succeeded for the first time in the history of the Military Academy,
8 which is over 160 years old, to have the diplomas of the Military Academy
9 awarded to the cadets upon graduation recognised as part of the civilian
10 educational system in Serbia and, consequently, in all of Europe. We
11 used the system of accreditation, and we also relied on the
12 Bologna Declaration system in order to have the credits awarded and
13 conditions met that would be necessary for such recognition. For the
14 first time, girls were allowed to attend the Military Academy in Serbia,
15 creating an opportunity for them to become officers. As we speak, the
16 first female generation is graduating from the Military Academy, and they
17 enrolled at the time when I was at the head of the academy.
18 Q. General, as someone who was at the helm of the Military Academy
19 and someone who had graduated from the National Defence School, were you
20 fully qualified to teach at the Military Academy?
21 A. Yes. Any officer who had graduated from the National Defence
22 School, upon completing a specific didactic and methodology course which
23 is also part of the school curriculum aimed at those teaching can teach
24 the military subject in the curriculum such as military strategy,
25 operatics, tactics, and command and control.
1 Of course, in order to become a good lecturer, one needs to spend
2 at least several years within the military educational system, in
3 addition to having a very rich educational experience.
4 Q. General, in your report, you use a number of military terms, such
5 as co-operation, attachment, and a number of other command and control
6 military terms. Did you ever conduct or command exercises in practice
7 when all such terms were used from the system of command and control as
8 part of co-ordinated action?
9 A. Of course, I had such opportunity as part of the duty operations
10 teams, as well as the head of the Military Academy, because, at the end
11 of each year, the cadets graduating that year undergo a tactical exercise
12 comprising cadets of all arms and branches, and live ammunition is used.
13 Such exercises include over 1.000 participants, and there is
14 co-ordination between the units of the army and the air force.
15 Q. Did you command that exercise, or operation, whatever we call it?
16 A. The exercise is commanded by a team of specialists from various
17 branches, and at the helm of the entire operation is the person in charge
18 of the Military Academy, which is what I was for four years.
19 Q. During your service at the academy, did you, as students, have
20 cadets from other regions or of other ethnicities?
21 A. Not the cadets, but we did have such officers at higher instances
22 of education, such as the Command Staff School, and the General Staff
23 School. We had officers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they usually
24 came in teams, comprising one Serb and one Muslim. And it was less than
25 ten years after the Dayton Accords. We had an American officer, a
1 Chinese --
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Krgovic, I have lost track of where we are
3 going with all of this. I think it is -- I think it is pertinent that
4 you turn to the issues in the witness's report that are relevant to the
6 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was merely trying to
7 discuss the witness's experience. I am ready to close this topic. This
8 was actually the last question. I will move onto the report itself.
9 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Krgovic, if you're doing that now, we're so near
10 to the break we may as well -- [Overlapping speakers] ...
11 MR. KRGOVIC: Yes, Your Honours. It's a convenient time.
12 [The witness stands down]
13 --- Recess taken at 12.04 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 12.27 p.m.
15 [The witness takes the stand]
16 MR. KRGOVIC:
17 Q. [Interpretation] General, we discussed your war path and wartime
18 duties extensively. I'd like to focus on your report now.
19 When providing your arguments, you included them in your report,
20 and I'd briefly like to go through them, in order for you to clarify
22 In paragraph 2, you described the breakup of the former
23 Yugoslavia, and you said that the armed formations, that is, the army,
24 the TO, et cetera, at the beginning of the war, did not have full
25 concepts and doctrine for combat operations and did not have the
1 necessary legal framework and regulations in the area of defence.
2 What was the concept of armed struggle? How was it defined in
3 the former Yugoslavia, and was an attack expected to come from? What was
4 the concept of country defence based on?
5 A. Mr. Krgovic, the basic concept of All People's Defence, which was
6 in place in the then-state, was based on the idea, including theory and
7 practice, of having an armed population as a whole. I believe such a
8 concept, such a school of thought, missed the target basically, because
9 weapons were distributed in local communes, companies, and other entities
10 making part of the TO. Basically the whole idea and the doctrine was
11 aimed at opposing an external enemy, an enemy who would come from
12 outside. That is why all the textbooks were full of terms such as
13 co-operation, co-ordinated action, et cetera, because it was widely
14 believed that all forces in such circumstances ought to unite against a
15 single foreign enemy.
16 Q. General, let us go to your notes on methodology; namely,
17 paragraphs 12 and 13.
18 In paragraph 13, you provide your analysis about the documents
19 and regulations, about the JNA, the SFRY in general, and the armed forces
20 of the RS, its police and army.
21 According to the JNA concept and the concept of the RS, in 1992,
22 was the MUP, or -- that is to say, the police, part of the armed forces?
23 A. No. At that time the Ministry of Interior and its members were
24 not part and parcel of the armed forces of the RS or what, at the time,
25 was called the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 MR. KRGOVIC:
3 Q. [Interpretation] In paragraph 13, you state that when drafting
4 this report, you relied on some other expert reports used in certain
5 cases before this Tribunal. For the needs of the Popovic, et al.
6 Defence, you also provided a report about the role of the morale officer
7 in the Main Staff. When drafting this report, did you rely on the report
8 I just mentioned?
9 A. Yes. I used parts of that report, because it was my report,
10 after all. I used the introductory part, to be more specific, for
11 practical reasons. Because I believe you acquainted me with the core of
12 these proceedings at a rather late stage.
13 Q. I fully agree. Our decision to call you as an expert witness
14 came quite late in the proceedings.
15 Tell me this, General: In paragraph 14, which is under the
16 title: General Framework, you discuss the participants in the conflict.
17 And you refer to paramilitary and para-police units when you explained
18 your positions and the sides participating in the war in the former
19 Yugoslavia, you touched upon it briefly.
20 Can you tell us now in more detail what do you believe or how do
21 you define these paramilitary and para-police units?
22 A. As we all know, in the fist part of 1992, the Army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina had already been formed. I believe it was on the 15th
24 of April, 1992. The Croatian Defence Council had been created in late
25 1991, I believe. The Army of Republika Srpska, or the Army of the
1 Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was created on the 12th of May, 1992.
2 All those newly formed armed forces were accompanied by a number
3 of different paramilitary and para-police forces, and I could see that
4 for myself in Slovenia and in Croatia, because I was occasionally stopped
5 by members of such formations, asked for an ID, and they usually just
6 sported a hat or a military shirt; whereas, the rest would be running
7 shoes and ordinary civilian pants. These were not parts of standard
8 uniform, and I considered all of them to be members of such paramilitary
9 and para-police forces.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
11 MR. KRGOVIC:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Paragraph 17, General. There, you discuss the
13 area related to this case. Save for some specific documents pertaining
14 to the area, did you also rely on some documents which referred to
15 Republika Srpska in general?
16 A. I focussed on the area itself because of the nature of the
17 indictment. This is the area stipulated in the indictment. However, I
18 did rely on documents from the rest of Republika Srpska and
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina as I was drafting the report.
20 Q. General, let us now move to paragraph 18 in chapter 2.
21 [No interpretation]
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please repeat.
23 MR. KRGOVIC:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Paragraph 18 in chapter 2, you cite the Law on
25 All People's Defence, specifically Article 94. When we met earlier, you
1 said that there was a typo. Could you please explain now.
2 A. Yes. That's a mistake I made. Instead of Article 94, the proper
3 reference should have been Articles 91 and 92 of the same law.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. KRGOVIC:
6 Q. [Interpretation] In the introductory part you deal with the
7 organisation and the tasks of the armed forces of SFRY. You also
8 provided a rather broad reference with regard to the armed forces of the
9 SFRY. Can you explain your reason for doing so? The regulations, the
10 doctrine, and the practice of the SFRY, were they used in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or, more specifically, in the practice of the army of
12 the RS?
13 A. As I stated in the previous section, all warring parties lacked
14 authentic documents, legal documents above all, so they relied on what
15 was in existence in the JNA. Certainly they all chose what suited them.
16 Q. When you were drafting paragraph 22, did you have methodological
17 problems with drawing certain conclusions?
18 A. Yes, I did have major problems when I drafted this report.
19 The reasons are the following: I understood that the basic topic
20 is the use of the police, or the milicija, in combat activities. And
21 such a thing was not provided for; it wasn't elaborated. There was only
22 one article in the Law on All People's Defence, and that is Article 104,
23 which I cite here, which simply states that the police can be used for
24 combat activities. That is the only reference to the police. That is
25 why it was a major problem to explain this matter and shed more light on
1 it because in no country is the police meant to, or trained for, the
2 carrying out of combat activities. That is exactly why there is such a
3 thing as the Military Academy; whereas police officers are trained in
4 police academies. They are trained to do something else altogether.
5 However, in a war, there are situations that are absent from
6 theory. Even when such situations arise and police are used for combat
7 activities, they are always subordinated to the military officer in
8 charge of those combat activities.
9 Q. General, please go to paragraphs 41 and 42.
10 In the previous paragraphs, you included detailed, graphic
11 representations of the commands of various types; whereas, in
12 paragraphs 41 and 42, you deal with the setting up of temporary
14 You say there that they are tactical or operative groups of
15 varying strength that are set up for the carrying out of temporary tasks
16 in order to reinforce other units, or for tasks for which existing -- the
17 existing units in the establishment are not appropriate or suitable.
18 As for the doctrinal rules of the JNA, were such temporary
19 formations also present in the VRS?
20 A. Yes. And there are various reasons for that. Here, too, as in
21 other wars, some other wars, at the beginning, you have a standard
22 establishment, and during the war there's no time to set up a different
23 one. That is why in the former JNA it was possible - and much of that
24 was also the practice in the RS, as well as in other military
25 formations - to set up temporary formations. Even in some of their
1 documents, I think I found tactical groups at the level of brigade
2 commands which can be seen as a reflection in practice of what is
3 envisaged in theory.
4 Q. General, I'm about to show you a document now, 2D00133. That is
5 tab 97 in the Zupljanin Defence binder.
6 I apologise to the interpreters that I would speak more slowly
7 when I mention numbers.
8 So the reference is 2D00133.
9 I have a hard copy for you, General.
10 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please hand this to
11 the witness.
12 I see that it's upside down. It's the same in my version too.
13 We should rotate it.
14 Q. General, please take a look at this title, or, rather, the
15 letterhead. It says: Brigade Group Command, Skender Vakuf. And the
16 date is 16 July 1992.
17 Please take a look at the last page as well. You will see that,
18 in the signature block, there is a Lieutenant-Colonel Bosko Peulic,
20 What you spoke about --
21 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we just see the last page of
22 the original in e-court, please, for the parties to be able to see.
23 I apologise. I actually meant the last-but-one page. The last
24 one contains only a stamp. 00820704 is the ERN, as 15 -- as page 15 in
1 Now we have it.
2 Q. General, is this what you were explaining, a temporary formation?
3 A. Yes. It can be interpreted that way. For certain reasons,
4 probably a larger combat formation was to be set up because of the needs
5 on the ground.
6 Q. In this particular case, sir, who was able to issue the order to
7 set up this group of brigades and appoint its commander?
8 THE INTERPRETER: Please switch off the microphone when not in
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the superior commander,
11 always. I suppose that if Peulic is the commander, that he had the
12 approval or the order of the corps commander.
13 MR. KRGOVIC:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Please take at look at item 2.
15 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] ERN 00820692 is the page I would
16 like to see now. And that is page 3 of the Serbian version in e-court;
17 whereas, it's page 2 of the English version.
18 Q. Here, you can see of what that group of brigades consists. The
19 122nd Light Infantry Brigade, the Skender Vakuf Light Brigade, and the
20 Kotor Varos Light Brigade.
21 General, we see that the title is: Tasks of Subordinate Units.
22 Can we see who those units are and who their commander is?
23 A. I don't see that heading.
24 Q. Please go to 97 in your binder and then move to page 2.
25 Can you see item 2? That's the group of brigades.
1 A. And item 5 contains the tasks.
2 Q. But in item 2, we see the brigades that make up the group of
3 brigades. Do you agree?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And on the following page you will see the task of the
6 subordinate units. Then you will see which units these are.
7 Under 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3.
8 A. Please repeat the question.
9 Q. Which units are subordinate to the group of brigades and the
10 group commander, Peulic? Can you see?
11 A. It's the very units that are listed under item 2. These are the
12 units to which he issues orders.
13 Q. Does that mean that Lieutenant-Colonel Peulic didn't only command
14 his own unit but also all these?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And under 5.3, where the tasks of the
17 Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade are listed, and it's on page 4 in the
18 English version.
19 THE INTERPRETER: 5.3, interpreter's correction.
20 MR. KRGOVIC:
21 Q. [Interpretation] But on page 7 of the Serbian version in e-court,
22 Lieutenant-Colonel Peulic says that the command post of the
23 Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade should be at the public security
24 station of Kotor Varos.
25 Was it usual practice, sir, that the brigade headquarters should
1 be at -- or on the premises of the -- of a public security station? And
2 what does that mean for the functioning of the public security station?
3 A. Well, this, indeed, is very unusual practice. I don't believe
4 that no other suitable premises could be found to accommodate the command
5 post of this group of brigades. The functioning of the public security
6 station was made impossible by this decision.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MS. KORNER: Before Mr. Krgovic moves on, perhaps we could hear
9 from the General how he knows that the functioning of the public security
10 station was impossible.
11 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I didn't ask the
12 witness if he knows anything about the functioning but how that affects
13 the functioning. That was the essence of my question. Under the
14 circumstances, what was the position of the people there and what was
15 their relationship with the military command? That was the gist of my
16 question, rather than whether the police station functioned or not. And
17 I tried to elicit an answer based on this order and military doctrine.
18 MS. KORNER: Yes. I'm so sorry, but the actual question was -
19 and I perhaps should have objected at that stage: What does that mean
20 for the functioning of the public security station. That's page 51, line
21 8, and in fact the General answered it by saying: "The functioning of
22 the public security station was made impossible by this decision," or
23 "but this decision." And I'm asking the basis for which the General is
24 able to give this opinion.
25 MR. KRGOVIC:
1 Q. [Interpretation], General, can you please answer this question.
2 A. I know what a command post looks like, a command post of one
3 brigade. Here we're talking about a group of brigades. I know how much
4 space is required and what kind of working conditions. A small public
5 security station, such as this one, certainly didn't have enough space
6 for so many people. And it is also unusual for a command post to be at a
7 public security station. Because if you place it there, you subordinate
8 the station to yourself.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: But, General, by establishing the brigade's
10 headquarters in the public security station, that station would become a
11 lawful military target, would it not?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: Please proceed.
14 MR. KRGOVIC:
15 Q. [Interpretation] General, let's go back to your report.
16 Take another look at paragraphs 41 and 42. When you speak about
17 temporary formations, what about the rules of commanding, such as
18 singleness of command and unity of command? Would they also apply to
19 these temporary formations, as well as to establishment units?
20 A. Yes, certainly. Wherever an army is commanded, it is exclusively
21 founded on the principles of singleness of command and subordination. It
22 is very clear who the commander is and who the subordinates are.
23 Q. Even if the commanders of those brigades have the same rank and
24 the same kind of position as Mr. Peulic, so that the rules of rank and
25 position are disregarded?
1 A. The basic relationship in the army is that of superior officer
2 and subordinate. And there is a hierarchical relationship, talking about
4 In this case, though, the commander of a group of brigades,
5 irrespective of the ranks of the commanders of the individual brigades,
6 is the highest-ranking officer, and all commanders of the other brigades
7 are subordinate to him.
8 Q. Thank you, General. I just have another question. I forgot
9 about this aspect.
10 When the mission is accomplished or when there's no more need for
11 such a temporary formation, every brigade continues to execute its tasks
12 as part of the regular establishment; is that correct?
13 A. Yes. There is a decision about the -- setting-up of the group of
14 brigades, and it is set up to carry out certain tasks. Once they are
15 carried out and when there's no need for its further existence, a
16 decision about its dissolution should be taken, and the manpower, as well
17 as the materiel and equipment, are returned to their previous units.
18 Q. The reasons for setting up such a temporary formation can be to
19 take a town, say, or reach certain positions, et cetera.
20 A. Usually in the preamble of the decision the reasons for setting
21 it up are stated. It can be the defence of a town or another populated
22 place. Or reaching a certain line or carrying out certain stages of an
23 operation, and so on.
24 Q. The execution of this order and taking certain positions and so
25 on, can these be termed combat tasks?
1 A. Yes, absolutely. Such a temporary formation is exclusively set
2 up to carry out some combat operations. This is a substantial force;
3 three brigades, after all. They wouldn't have been set up to carry out
4 peacetime operations.
5 Q. General, please go to the part of your report which has to do
6 with formation, organisation, and tasks of the armed forces of
7 Republika Srpska, paragraphs 43 and onwards.
8 I'm looking specifically at the paragraphs 43 to 48 or 49. Save
9 for the constitutional law that you refer to, there are no other
10 footnotes or references. Did you base this specific part of your report
11 on your personal experience?
12 A. Well, yes.
13 MS. KORNER: This is an important part. Why there are no
14 footnotes for some of these assertions should not be led. It should be
15 asked in a non-leading form as to what this is based on, because that's
16 obviously important. And the same follows for any other questions along
17 those lines.
18 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] If you wish me to do so I can go
19 paragraph at a time. I was trying to cut the time short and I may have
20 been a bit clumsy in the way I formulated my question.
21 I simply wanted to ask the General about the footnotes on
22 page 14.
23 Q. What were your sources save for the constitutional law on the
24 proclamation? What else did you rely on as a source?
25 A. Should I begin?
1 Q. Please.
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Krgovic,
3 I take it that's page 14 in the Serbian version of the report?
4 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. In the English
5 version, please bear with me. Page 16.
6 Q. Please go ahead, General.
7 A. When drafting this part of the report, I relied on my own
8 experience. I occasionally presented similar arguments when I visited
9 the units in the field. I was a participant in those events. And I also
10 shot documentaries about this topic. That is why I believed no footnotes
11 were necessary, save for the one I did include.
12 Q. General, when you formulated these conclusions, were you aware
13 that there's a different view of the breakup of Yugoslavia and a
14 different interpretation of the events in question; namely, on the
15 Croatian and Muslim side.
16 To what extent could you be objective in presenting your
18 A. I didn't analyse their positions in my report. There was no
19 time, and I believe I said already what was the basis for my position.
20 What I knew was the information we were provided with. The JNA had these
21 as its official tasks, and it was engaged in preventing armed interethnic
22 conflict, as I said in para 46.
23 I do know that there was a hostile sentiment at the time in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina which was held not only by the Croatian and Muslim
25 population but also by certain individuals in the Serb -- Serbian public,
1 and I specified a few such examples, as you can see in paragraph 46.
2 I was familiar with the propaganda campaign underway at the time.
3 You mention in the first part of my presentation that I was in charge of
4 a press centre located in the town of Bihac in the army hall. One of my
5 tasks then was to collect all media reports, together with my team, and
6 to forward it to my superior command. I am very well acquainted with the
7 content of such media reports.
8 Q. In paragraph 45, at the beginning, you say that it was obvious
9 that the Muslim-Croat part of the BH leadership wanted to declare
10 independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina without the agreement of the
11 representatives of the Serbian people. Was it, indeed, done in that way?
12 A. Yes, it is a well-known fact.
13 Q. As regards paragraph 46, was there any propaganda put forth by
14 the Bosnian leadership, in terms of any recruits responding to military
16 A. I believe I discussed it a moment ago. I said that it was a
17 daily occurrence. I followed it when I was at the helm of the press
18 centre. I collated such information and forwarded it to my superior
20 Q. In your testimony, you also said that you, at a certain point in
21 time, were in charge of personnel affairs. When it comes to JNA officers
22 and soldiers, what was your role in that regard? Once they left the
23 force, did you issue them with certificates and were you in charge of the
24 administrative side of things?
25 A. Yes. In such cases when they left voluntarily. They first had
1 to submit an application, a request, following which the necessary
2 documentation was issued to them. I even went so far as to conduct -- or
3 have a conversation with each and every one, especially the officers, in
4 a friendly manner. Frequently, I saw people leave who were part of my
5 class at school.
6 There were some difficult situations in such circumstances as
7 well, and difficult cases, because people came from mixed marriages or
8 had spouses of different ethnicities, and they simply asked for my
9 support and advice. In such situations, I proposed individual solutions
10 to the best of my knowledge and ability. I thought such solutions were
11 the best option for the people involved.
12 Q. As you state in the last sentence of paragraph 46, were there any
13 cases in which military conscripts took their equipment and personal arms
14 with them?
15 A. Yes. Such instances existed across the territory of Yugoslavia
16 from Slovenia, to Bosnia, and further on. Once they deserted their
17 units, they usually take -- took their equipment and weapons. Many of
18 our warehouses, especially those storing live ammunition and weapons,
19 were blocked. Usually such warehouses were manned by only two or three
20 people, and, as such, were easily overrun by TO forces. In this way,
21 such TOs could gain access to those supplies. We know of the case of
22 Major Tepic who blew up not only his warehouse but himself too, rather
23 than to see it fall into the hands of the enemy. But these were
24 individual, isolated cases.
25 In such isolated warehouses, there was also personnel who came
1 from specific ethnic groups, such as Slovenes and Croats, and that made
2 things easier for their TOs. Our entire radar equipment remained in
3 Bjelovar, which is a garrison near Zagreb in Croatia. It is also
4 well-known that pilots deserted and took away their helicopters and jet
5 planes, although there weren't too many such cases.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: General, can I just kick in a question here,
7 because it wasn't quite clear to me who were blocking these warehouses.
8 Did you mean to say, if I understood you correctly, that whichever TO had
9 the upper hand in the vicinity of the TO -- of the warehouse, would seize
10 control of the warehouse? Or was the warehouse, or the warehouses, in
11 general, protected by the JNA or ...
12 What was the situation? Who actually blocked and guarded these
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, such warehouses were
15 the property of the JNA and were guarded by JNA members. Such facilities
16 were blocked by the paramilitary formations of Slovenia, Croatia, and
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, for as long as the JNA was the official armed force,
18 and until those republics declared their independence.
19 However, as JNA members, there were officers or soldiers in those
20 warehouses of different ethnicities, and if they were in the majority,
21 such facilities were handed over without any fight, without struggle.
22 Or, in other cases, they fled, abandoned their warehouse, leaving mostly
23 Serb soldiers behind.
24 I'm not saying that this was done by all officers and soldiers of
25 Croatian, Muslim, or Slovenian ethnicity. There were a few of them, who,
1 irrespective of the conflicts and calls from their respective republics,
2 chose to stay with the JNA. For the most part, such people remained in
3 the Republic of Serbia because they no longer dared return to their
4 republics because of that deed. In some cases, there -- even their civil
5 rights and rights as citizens were taken away.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: Well, I'm sure we will get to the bottom of this.
7 Please proceed, Mr. Krgovic.
8 MR. KRGOVIC:
9 Q. [Interpretation] General, in addition to your immediate and
10 direct experience in Bihac and the area, did you have occasion to
11 communicate with some other JNA formations, say, in Sarajevo or Tuzla?
12 Did they experience similar tendencies, or is this -- is what you
13 describe limited to Bihac?
14 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour, I'm sorry, I didn't understand
15 him to be talking about Bihac. I understand him to be talking about
16 Slovenia and Croatia. So I don't know where the Bihac business comes
18 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I began this line
19 of questioning with Bihac. The witness said that it all took place from
20 Slovenia, to Croatia, to Bosnia-Herzegovina, following the same scenario.
21 And that was my initial question.
22 The witness did expand and touch upon certain events in Slovenia
23 and Croatia, but the gist of my question was Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 Q. General, I believe we understand each other. Could you please
25 explain to the Chamber what it is that you were trying to explain about
1 the sieges and departure of soldiers. Does this pertain to Slovenia and
2 Croatia, as well as Bihac, or did you have something specific in mind?
3 A. I started off with Slovenia, but it also applies to Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina. As you said, the scenario was the same or similar. A civil
5 war, in theory, focuses on demolishing the existing state structure and
6 organisation, including the existing armed force, which, in this case,
7 was the JNA, and the state in question used to be called the
8 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. By destroying that state and
9 its armed forces, you, in parallel, create your own military
10 organisation. The process followed in parallel, following the same
11 scenario, with a lot of bloodshed.
12 Q. General, let me go back to my original question before Ms. Korner
14 Were you in contact with other military structures and JNA units
15 in Bosnia and Herzegovina? Did you exchange information with them and
16 did they encounter similar situations?
17 A. The focus of my work was to inform the servicemen about all
18 current events.
19 What was the basis of my focus? First of all, each unit, say, at
20 the level of regiment, discussed the news. That is to say, how many
21 people fled, how many people were killed, how many people took away
22 weapons, and you have it funneled through the system of command and
23 subordination to the superior command and this all went up to what, at
24 the time, was still called the Federal Secretariat for All People's
25 Defence. That was the central organ receiving all the information in the
1 evening, producing a summary or an overview of events which would then be
2 distributed to all the units in question the next day. Then I would take
3 that and inform others.
4 We knew for that reason what was happening in Tuzla, in Bihac, in
5 Mostar, Sarajevo, et cetera, when it comes to these topics.
6 [In English] Please, water. Thank you.
7 Q. General, let us now go back to your report.
8 In paragraph 48, well, paragraph 47 seems to include some general
9 facts. But in paragraph 48, you say that units and staffs of
10 Territorial Defence manned mostly by Muslims were incorporated into the
11 BH army. And those manned mostly by Croats into the Croatian Defence
13 Further on, you say that former JNA officers chose where to go
14 based on their ethnicity.
15 Were you able to see it for yourself through contacts with your
16 colleagues during and before the war? Did you stay in touch with any of
17 your Muslim, Croat, and other officers; and do you know what their fate
19 A. After the war, as the head of the Military Academy, I had a
20 chance to travel to Slovenia and to Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Sarajevo. Of
21 course, ten years after the war, we discussed all topics. It is in this
22 way that I gained an impression of what they went through.
23 There seems to be something that I may have omitted in the
24 report, and that is to include that the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 by virtue of its decision of the 8th of April, abolished the existing
1 republican TO staff which was mixed, in terms of ethnic composition, and
2 was still part of the old concept of the Yugoslav national TO. Instead,
3 they established their republican TO staff with predominantly Muslims.
4 Following that decision, later in April, I believe, they issued another,
5 declaring an immediate threat of war, and I believe that by the 15th of
6 April, the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was established.
7 When I was commander of the Military Academy, a military attaché
8 and the Embassy of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Belgrade invited me to their
9 receptions in order to celebrate that day when they formed their armed
10 forces. And I went, gladly.
11 Q. General, let us go to paragraph 50 of your report.
12 There, you say that when the SFRY Presidency adopted a decision
13 on the withdrawal of the JNA from Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbian
14 political leadership in Bosnia-Herzegovina set out to form its army in
15 the area where the Serbs were in the majority because Muslim and Croatian
16 armies had already been formed.
17 You are actually referring to the dates you mentioned a moment
18 ago. That is to say, the 15th of April, 1992, and the formation of the
19 HVO in 1991, if I am not mistaken?
20 A. Precisely.
21 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Apologies. I overheard
22 Ms. Korner's question. It was a leading question, but I'm trying to
23 speed things up. It was just a technical question, and it is not
24 anything new. I'm simply doing this in order to cut time short.
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, perhaps when the General's finished for
1 the day I can just mention why I'm taking these objections, in his
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: And just for -- for clarification, General, you
4 seem to indicate in paragraph 45 that the VRS - or am I wrong? - was
5 established sometime in January 1992. Is that correct?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I'm not saying that the army
7 was established but, rather, that the Republika Srpska was proclaimed,
8 and the army - that is, the VRS - was only established on 12 May 1992.
9 That's what my report says, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE HARHOFF: That's correct. I just saw that in paragraph 52.
11 Please forgive me.
12 And proceed, Mr. Krgovic.
13 MR. KRGOVIC:
14 Q. [Interpretation] General, in paragraph 51 of your report, you
15 mention the amendments to the constitution when you discuss the legal
16 foundation and the laws and regulations governing the establishment of
17 the VRS.
18 When you compared the decisions on this establishment, were they
19 in line with the decisions of the highest legislative body of the
20 Republika Srpska?
21 A. Yes. First, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was
22 established; that was its name at the time. I think that only in
23 August 1992 its name changed to Republika Srpska. First, the assembly
24 was constituted and then the Speaker of the assembly, then the president
25 of the republic. There was a cabinet, and only then were ministries set
1 up, and eventually the VRS, the army. That is first and foremost because
2 the RS, or the Serbian Republic of BiH, until the end, officially
3 supported the JNA and expressed its wish, and only as a -- its wish that,
4 even as a constituted entity, to remain part of Yugoslav. Even then they
5 didn't decide to establish their own army until the Federation decided to
6 withdraw the Yugoslav People's Army as the federal army from the
7 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And, as you see, the decision on the
8 withdrawal of the JNA was adopted on the 4th of May and it was to remain
9 in force until the 19th of May; whereas, the Army of the Serbian Republic
10 of Bosnia-Herzegovina was set up on the 12th of May.
11 Q. General, you said that, if I understood you correctly, on the
12 10th of May you left Bosnia-Herzegovina. What was the decision with
13 regard to officers who were born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who hailed from
14 there? What was the Presidency's decision with regard to their status?
15 A. I cannot exactly remember the decision, but I know that there was
16 the suggestion that all officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers
17 of the former JNA, who were born in Bosnia-Herzegovina or who hailed from
18 there, that they should remain in the VRS. But I believe that this was
19 not an order; that it was left to them to decide themselves.
20 MR. KRGOVIC: Your Honour, I think it is almost the time, so I'll
21 go to next topic, so I think we can finish today.
22 JUDGE HALL: General we're about to take the adjournment for the
23 day. You, having been sworn as a witness, you cannot have any
24 communication with counsel from either side until you're released by the
25 Trial Chamber, and, indeed, in such conversations as you have with
1 persons other than counsel, you can't discuss your testimony. That is
2 something that I would ask you to bear in mind each time we take a day's
3 adjournment and I would probably repeat it on -- on the weekend for
5 But we take the adjournment to reconvene in this courtroom
6 tomorrow morning at 9.00.
7 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, can I ask the General leave first and
8 can I just very briefly address Your Honours.
9 JUDGE HALL: Yes, the usher will please escort ...
10 [The witness stands down]
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, it's just this. There is an issue in
12 this case about the General's report, his sources and how he comes to the
13 conclusions that he does. And therefore I would ask that no leading
14 questions are asked about how he has come to the opinion or asserted the
15 fact that he has asserted in the various paragraphs. It's as simple as
16 that. It can be done in non-leading form: What did you mean, where did
17 you go this information from?
18 JUDGE HALL: So Mr. Krgovic will govern himself accordingly.
19 MR. KRGOVIC: Your Honour, I appreciate that. There is --
20 because I'm trying to formulate question in that way because of the
21 objection that Ms. Korner who said that where is the paragraph based on
22 his own experience and I quoted the paragraph and start reading the
23 paragraph, so that's why.
24 But I will take care about that, so ...
25 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of
3 September, 2011, at 9.00 a.m.