1 Thursday, 13 September 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: You will see that we're again without
6 Judge Chowhan. He is again unwell. He hopes to be back tomorrow. I have
7 just spoken to him and he doesn't sound to me as though he will be back
8 tomorrow; however, we have discussed the position before coming in and
9 decided to continue on the same basis as we did yesterday. If anyone were
10 to feel that they might be in any way prejudiced by that, we would expect
11 them to draw it to our attention.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Simic.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: In a moment the cross-examination by Mr. Ackerman
16 will continue. Please bear in mind that the solemn declaration to speak
17 the truth which you made at the beginning of your evidence will continue
18 to apply to your evidence today.
19 Mr. Ackerman.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely understand, Your Honour,
21 but can we just pull the monitor closer to me in order to avoid further
22 problems with my eyesight. My apologies, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 WITNESS: MIODRAG SIMIC [Resumed]
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Ackerman: [Continued]
3 Q. Thank you, Your Honour, and good afternoon, General. Yesterday we
4 talked a bit about where you were and what you were doing at various times
5 in 1998 and I was looking at the transcript today, and I don't think that
6 was very clear. So I would like to clarify that because it's important
7 before we begin. I'd like you to just very methodically tell us between
8 May and October of 1998, did you -- did you hold the same position between
9 May and October of 1998?
10 A. Throughout 1998 I held the same position, Chief of Staff and also
11 deputy commander of the 3rd Army.
12 Q. And during that period between May and October, could you tell us
13 the times that you were actually in Kosovo and for how long each time?
14 A. I said yesterday that I made several visits to Kosovo and Metohija
15 throughout that time, but the only periods, I underlined for Your Honours'
16 benefit, were the three that were lengthier, one between the 29th of May
17 and the 8th of June. I spent part of this period at the forward command
18 post of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica and another part at the Pec
19 barracks. The other lengthier stay was between the 27th of July and the
20 28th of August that same year, when I established a forward command post
21 for the 3rd Army in the Pristina barracks. The third period was between
22 the 1st and the 10th of December, 1998, I spent this time at the Pristina
23 Corps command.
24 Q. All right. Thank you very much. I think that makes it very clear
25 now. I'd like you to look at a document, it's 4D129, please. This is a
1 regular combat report of the 3rd Army command dated 20 June 1998. The
2 main reason I want you to look at this is more for form rather than
3 substance, I guess. First of all, could you just tell the Judges what is
4 a regular combat report and how often is it submitted and by whom and what
5 kind of information should it contain?
6 A. I said yesterday that among other documents there were also combat
7 reports being submitted by subordinate commands to the Supreme Command
8 Staff. These combat reports by subordinate units were submitted up the
9 chain of command to the highest level. These contained any activity taken
10 during a particular day in the area of responsibility of whichever unit
11 was submitting the combat report. In this case it was submitted by the
12 3rd Army command to the Supreme Command Staff. This is a combat report,
13 and what this means is that there were combat operations afoot. In
14 peacetime this would normally be termed an operations report. It is quite
15 a formal document. It has a certain content, item by item. You can see
16 it all for yourself.
17 Q. All right. I'd like you to look at paragraph 5 of this document
18 now --
19 MR. ACKERMAN: That's page 2 in the English and I think the same
20 page in the B/C/S. We're just at paragraph 3 on the B/C/S. There we go.
21 Q. There it is.
22 A. Yes, I see that now.
23 Q. That paragraph is headed: "I have decided." Now, this is a
24 report that is going from the 3rd Army up to the General Staff rather than
25 an order going down from the 3rd Army to the Pristina Corps, I take it.
1 Why does it contain this language: "I have decided"? Why is he telling
2 the General Staff that he has decided something?
3 A. A report implies that a subordinate officer informs a superior
4 officer. If you look at item 5 of this report, this reports on any
5 activities taken that day in a formal way. It talks about the places of
6 combat operations and who was conducting them. A subordinate commander
7 informs his superior about his decision or - to put it in a different
8 way - his intention in terms of what he would be doing the next day and
9 how he would be using his own subordinate units. In the VJ we refer to
10 that sort of document as decision, and that is why he is here using the
11 term "I have decided."
12 If I may just add something. When a superior officer receives
13 such a report, if he agrees with the kind of decision that is taken and
14 the way in which the units are to be used, the subordinate units, he may
15 grant his approval. If he disagrees, he can challenge the decision,
16 cancel the decision altogether, or abolish it, refute it.
17 Q. So then in the normal course of business the General Staff and
18 General Perisic would have -- would have seen this document and would have
19 made a decision as to whether or not to -- to approve that language "I
20 have decided" language under paragraph 5; is that what you're telling us?
21 A. Certainly. He doesn't need to write this up, his approval I mean.
22 But if he disapproves, he must explain this in writing, what exactly he
23 does not approve of, what exactly his orders now are, and what is to be
25 Q. Now, if you look at the next paragraph, 5.1, which -- yeah, you
1 can see it. Up above you have "I have decided." In this one it's called
2 a "proposal of decision." What is the difference between "I have decided"
3 and "proposal of decision"?
4 A. There is a part of the decision where he puts forward exactly what
5 he means. In this part he proposes a specific deployment for the units,
6 and then he gives the reasoning behind this decision. He also describes
7 how he intends to go about implementing this, and that's why it is termed
8 a proposal.
9 Q. All right. Thank you. I want to look at another document now --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you do.
11 Does that mean that it's the same as the previous one and he can
12 act without approval and the only role that his superior, the Chief of the
13 General Staff, has is if he disapproves of any of the action proposed?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Ackerman.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: All right. The document I want to look at now is
18 4D297, please.
19 Q. 4D297 is an order issued by General Pavkovic on 6 June of 1998,
20 and he describes it as an order to prevent the illegal crossing from
21 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Republic of Albania. He points out
22 there in the preamble that according to available information mass
23 crossing of inhabitants of the Albanian ethnic minority from territories
24 of Decani, Djakovica, and Prizren municipalities to the Republic of
25 Albania is expected. And then he says that that act is aimed at showing
1 the international community and the world public the exodus that is
2 allegedly being done to them, so as provide a reaction of the
3 international community. He says: "In order to prevent the mass crossing
4 of citizens from the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to
5 the Republic of Albania, I hereby order," and then you see his order in
6 paragraph 1. And paragraph 1 is not completely showing on the screen in
7 front of you, I realise that. Maybe we can scroll down and pick it up.
8 It appears that what General Pavkovic is trying to do is prevent
9 the exodus of Albanian civilians from Kosovo into the Republic of Albania;
10 is that correct?
11 A. I believe I don't quite understand your question. Exodus, who
12 exactly do you mean?
13 Q. Well, he's talking about the Albanian civilians, the -- going into
14 the Republic of Albania, and it looks to me like in paragraph 1 he's
15 trying to set up a system that will keep that from happening. I just
16 wonder if you agree with that?
17 A. If I may put it that way, yes, I entirely agree; but if I may, I
18 would like to explain.
19 Q. You may explain.
20 A. We had information that the terrorist army of Kosovo in addition
21 to certain terror actions against the army and non-Albanians in general
22 were carrying out this sort of operation also against their own ethnic
23 fellows who weren't in favour of their ideas as well as against the rest
24 of the population. And this was part of their media campaign that was
25 supposed to benefit them. In order to prevent this, the corps commander
1 here orders that should that be the case our units should do this or that,
2 with a view to preventing this. If this fails he says how this should be
3 secured, since in the previous period of time we had almost entirely
4 blocked the border belt leaving open only certain parts that could still
5 be taken; however, only our own men were aware of those that were still
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Do I rightly understand you to be saying,
8 therefore, that these were genuine refugees driven out by their own
9 countrymen who were terrorists?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a combination
11 of a number of different factors. It is natural that the population
12 residing in an area where combat activities are afoot should try and flee
13 to a safer area, that's one thing. On the other hand, there was pressure
14 being exerted by the terror groups on these people, pressure on them to
15 move out of the area so that this might then be used for propaganda
16 purposes. And if I may, ...
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm satisfied with the answer you've given.
18 Mr. Ackerman.
19 MR. ACKERMAN:
20 Q. I'd finally like you to look down at the bottom of this document
21 now, paragraph 5 and the paragraph immediately above it --
22 MR. ACKERMAN: That would be the next page in B/C/S and in
24 Q. Here General Pavkovic is talking about how this order is to be
25 carried out. You'll see right above paragraph 5 he says: "Use force only
1 in self-defence and to protect troops and combat equipment. The whole
2 operation must be taped on video."
3 And then in paragraph 5 he talks about: "If fire is opened on
4 Yugoslav Army soldiers that they are to return fire, taking care not to
5 fire at women, children, elderly, or other persons who are not shooting,
6 but only on identified attackers. If this is not possible and would
7 threaten the safety of civilians, find a way to disarm the attacker
8 without using fire-arms."
9 It appears here that General Pavkovic is going maybe almost above
10 and beyond to try to protect those people from any kind of harm. Do you
11 agree with that?
12 A. I would use the phrase trying too hard. Even he's sacrificing his
13 own people at the altar of the terrorists. What was he even saying here,
14 if we cannot be certain by opening fire we will be successful in
15 eliminating terrorists, in that case we should not fire at all. We should
16 use other methods in order to stand in their way. Meanwhile his own units
17 might sustain more than a handful of casualties. That is why I'm saying
18 he even tried too hard, he invested too much into this particular effort.
19 Q. Okay. Thank you. I have another document for you to look at it's
20 4D134. This is a 3rd Army command order of 6 July 1998 to take up a
21 forward command post for the 3rd Army in Pristina. And when we're talking
22 about your time in Kosovo a few moments ago, you talked about being in
23 this forward command post and being in Pristina for an extended period of
24 time right around this time. I assume by that that you were actually part
25 of the group that set up and occupied this forward command post for the
1 3rd Army at that point?
2 A. I will now use military language. I was commander of a forward
3 command post, I headed this group, having received authorisation from the
4 army commander. And there is a written document to this effect where he
5 bestows upon me the power to exercise command over the Pristina Corps, the
6 command of the Pristina Military District, the 202nd military base, and
7 the 211th Tactical Group. I had the power to make decisions, but my
8 decisions were subject to verification by the army commander.
9 Q. Why would General Samardzic -- well, we're going to have an answer
10 to that. He indicates that it's based on his assessment of the security
11 situation there, but can you give us more detail. Why would he want to
12 set up a 3rd Army forward command post within the zone of responsibility
13 of the Pristina Corps?
14 A. Yesterday I testified that the forward command post was set up
15 wherever the focus of combat operations lay, the objective being to take
16 in the situation in the area as quickly as possible, also bearing in mind
17 the degree of my own authority. This made it possible for me to take
18 decisions more swiftly and to react to certain situations that were
19 arising. So that is why he set this up and that is why he endowed me with
20 these powers. He wanted to curtail the time that the communication
21 between the Pristina Corps on the one hand, the army, and feedback would
22 take before measures were taken and such-like. In this way everything
23 could be done on the spot in direct contact with the corps commander.
24 Measures could be taken in keeping with any powers that we or they had.
25 Q. This -- this I take it then basically has the effect of speeding
1 up the normal chain of command so that -- that from the field all the way
2 up to General Perisic one could keep closer touch of what was happening in
3 the field in Kosovo; is that true?
4 A. Yes, except I wouldn't say to speed up the chain. I would say to
5 speed up the information flow within the chain of command.
6 Q. If I'd said it right, that's what I would have said, General.
7 That's certainly what I meant. Now I want to look --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, why did it take until the 27th of July
9 to establish -- to implement this order?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is the first order
11 that we're looking at this. This is a preparatory order. You see that I
12 used my group and put them at combat-readiness by a certain deadline and
13 then the orders specifies a certain deadline for combat-readiness and for
14 me to organise this command post and the deadline says within a seven-hour
16 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't follow that. The forward command post
17 was --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when the army commander
19 decided to set up the command post, he issued an order for the command
20 post group to prepare and he set a certain deadline, in this case the
21 deadline was within seven hours, for them to turn up at their forward
22 command post and be ready to continue their work. And that is why this
23 amount of time elapsed between the order that constituted a preparation
24 and the execution of the order itself.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
1 MR. ACKERMAN:
2 Q. When did the command post actually begin to function, the 3rd Army
3 forward command post?
4 A. The command post began to function on the 27th at 1500 hours.
5 Q. That was the Judge's question. Why did it take from the 6th of
6 July until the 27th, 21 days, for that command post to get set up and
8 A. Perhaps I'm not being sufficiently clear. An order to start
9 preparations can be issued a month or two ahead of the order to execute.
10 When this order will eventually be executed depends on what the situation
11 in a certain area in which a commander is setting up a forward command
12 post and getting it up and running. At one point in time, he believed
13 that it was a good time to start this, so he did and he was perfectly
14 within his right.
15 Q. All right. Thank you. I want to go now to another document, it's
16 4D91, and we're going to spend a bit of time with this document, I think
17 it's a particularly interesting document. This document is dated 30 July
18 1998, and this is after that forward command post had started to function
19 and it's an order from General Samardzic. And if you look at the preamble
20 to that, does that indicate that this order is issued pursuant to an order
21 that he had received from the commanding general, the Chief of the General
23 A. A forward command post can be established pursuant to an order
24 from the commander or the superior. At -- in this case both orders
1 Q. But he seems to be saying in that preamble that the order he's
2 issuing here is pursuant to an order from the Chief of the General Staff.
3 Is that what that's saying there or am I misreading it?
4 A. No, you're reading it correctly. And if the interpretation was
5 correct, I think my answer was correct too.
6 Q. All right. The first paragraph of that order speaks about you.
7 It says: "The Chief of Staff shall control the work and organisation of
8 work of [sic] the Army forward command post in Pristina," correct?
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there a problem with the interpretation?
10 MR. ACKERMAN: Apparently.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Did you not hear that question.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm having a problem with the
13 question because that's not what it says here. It says here that I will
14 organise the work of the command post not of the army in Pristina.
15 Organise work and work at the forward command post in the Kosovski Junaci
16 barracks in Pristina, so that's only the work of the forward command post.
17 It doesn't refer to the barracks or the soldiers in the barracks. They
18 have their own commander, although he was subordinate to me but in a
19 different way, under a different paragraph in this order, as you'll see.
20 MR. ACKERMAN:
21 Q. Now, paragraph 2 seems to provide that: "Decisions concerning the
22 engagement of army forces and reinforcement in the territory of Kosovo and
23 Metohija shall be made by" you in line with decisions issued by
24 General Samardzic, correct?
25 A. Yes, as I explained previously.
1 Q. Now, in paragraph 3 he talks about meetings of the Joint Command
2 for Kosovo and Metohija. He says that: "The commander of the Pristina
3 Corps," which is General Pavkovic, before he goes to one of those meetings
4 needs to meet with you or acquaint you in some way with any requests that
5 he's aware of. He's supposedly explained to you the proposals for the
6 engagement of forces with reinforcements, and then after your consent he
7 goes to the meeting. Then after the meeting, he comes back to you and
8 reports to you on proposals that had been accepted or any other requests
9 which diverge from the proposal that he told you about earlier and
10 requests permission relating to those requests. If he gets that
11 permission from you or he takes your decision at least and then informs
12 the Joint Command of what decisions you have made.
13 Is that a fair reading of that paragraph?
14 A. Yes, yes, fully. But it would be necessary to explain the
15 methodology of work, if you will allow me and if there is enough time.
16 Q. There is enough time, and I think that it's important that there
17 be some explanation about this. It appears that clearly the army through
18 General Samardzic and you, are keeping complete control of their own
19 forces and not being directed in any way by the Joint Command but simply
20 deciding on whether or not to accept proposals from that group. Is that a
21 fair analysis of what this paragraph is talking about?
22 A. I asked you if I can explain the methodology, and in your question
23 that's partly so. Will you allow me to explain the methodology and it
24 will be much clearer? The corps commander, my subordinate whose
25 competency of commander was transferred to the Chief of Staff were
1 duty-bound according to the plan of work of the forward command post to be
2 at the command post, forward command post, at 1830 in the operations room,
3 where they would report on the activities of their subordinate units in
4 the course of the day, explain their ideas for the engagement of the units
5 on the following day, and once they had done that I would approve or alter
6 or challenge, deny. And with such an approved, amended, or denied
7 decisions, the corps commander as a member of the Joint Command would go
8 to the meeting. And there they would analyse these things, and if they
9 had any requests which were considerably different from the decision I had
10 approved, they would have to ask for approval for it. If not, then he
11 would act upon the decision that had been approved. If he asked for an
12 amendment, I would have to say either yes or no and then he would have to
13 refer back to the Joint Command and he would have to inform them of what I
14 had said.
15 Q. So is it fair to say that that Joint Command nor anybody in that
16 Joint Command could direct General Pavkovic or you to engage VJ forces in
17 any way, that that was up to you to decide that along with General
19 A. Absolutely. The commander of the army and I through the normal
20 chain of command.
21 Q. All right. Thank you. I want to look now at a document 4D378.
22 This is a very small and simple document. It's signed I think by you
23 dated 31 July 1998. And in paragraph 1 of that document which is called
24 an order, you order that: "On 3 August 1998 use some of the Pristina Corps
25 troops to rout and destroy terrorist forces in the Smonica village sector,
1 establishing full control of the sector, and ensuring safe use of the
2 Djakovica-Batusa road."
3 Now, that I think comports with what you've been telling us, that
4 when you took over as Chief of Staff there at the 3rd Army forward command
5 post you basically became the commander in Pristina Corps at that point
6 and could issue orders like this that would then be carried out by General
7 Pavkovic and the Pristina Corps, correct?
8 A. That is partly correct if the interpretation is correct, you said
9 that I practically became the commander of the Pristina Corps. No. I was
10 only the superior of the commander of the Pristina Corps. I issued a task
11 to him, not to his units which would execute the task, and that is a major
12 and significant difference. Because in that case if it were so, the
13 commander of the Pristina Corps would have been replaced in the chain of
14 command. If your question was correctly interpreted, then that would have
15 meant -- been what you said.
16 Q. Now, that paragraph that we're referring to there refers to
17 terrorist forces in the Smonica village sector. Is that area inside the
18 border belt or outside the border belt?
19 A. This is dated the 31st of July. Extending the border belt to 5
20 kilometres, that was done on the 21st of July if I remember correctly.
21 And Smonica was not within the border belt but it was on the road and it
22 was threatening supplies to the units at the border posts, which is why in
23 order to make sure the road was passable, we had to break up and rout to
24 this terrorist group which was preventing the supply columns going to
25 Morina and Kosare border posts. This is on the Djakovica-Ponosevac road,
1 some 10 kilometres away from Djakovica.
2 Q. Was General Perisic or the General Staff regularly informed
3 regarding the engagement of VJ units in Kosovo? Were there daily combat
4 reports going up to them regarding these activities?
5 A. Absolutely yes.
6 Q. Do you recall ever receiving any orders from General Perisic or
7 communications from him expressing disagreement with activities like the
8 one we're -- that's showing here on the screen? Did he ever express his
9 concerns that you might have been acting illegally or something?
10 A. Not to me personally, but I have to distance myself from this. I
11 don't know what the relations were between my commander and the Chief of
12 the General Staff. I know what the relations were between my commander
13 and myself as the Chief of Staff. My commander never denied any decisions
14 that I approved or challenge any decisions that I approved during the time
15 that I was there. He never concluded that the army was used beyond the
16 scope of the orders of the competent superior officers.
17 Q. All right. To continue this concept let's look at 4D141, please.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Petrovic.
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] By your leave, on page 16, lines
21 14, or rather, 15 and 16, the witness said: "I know what the relations
22 were like between myself and my commander." This might refer to the Chief
23 of Staff. He said he did not know about the relations between the
24 commander and the Chief of Staff and that he did know about the relations
25 between himself and his commander.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: I think the sense of that is quite clear as it
2 stands, but thank you anyway for endeavouring to clarify it.
3 Please continue, Mr. Ackerman.
4 MR. ACKERMAN:
5 Q. 4D141 is another regular combat report coming from the 3rd Army
6 forward command post, actually, up to the General Staff of the Yugoslav
7 Army. And this is the kind of report we were just referring to where the
8 activities going on there in Kosovo were being reported up through the
9 chain to the General Staff and presumably to General Perisic. I'd like
10 you to look at section 3 of this document "situation in army units in
11 Kosovo and Metohija."
12 MR. ACKERMAN: And I think that can be found on page 2 of both
14 Q. Now, what's being reported there in paragraph 3 is this: "Part of
15 the army forces supported MUP forces around 1000 hours they were engaged
16 in routing terrorist forces in the sector of the villages of Gramocelj,
17 Prilep, and Glodjane" and reached the line Gornji Bites village and
18 fighting is going on in Prilep village. And it talks about an axis
19 Porobica village, Krst Rokoc and Rastovica village axis. These areas are
20 they -- they're also outside the border belt, aren't they?
21 A. Not completely. Some of the villages are within the 5-kilometre
22 border belt and some are outside it, beyond it, but along the roads. For
23 example, Prilep is on the Djakovica-Decani road.
24 Q. After this document was submitted to the General Staff, was there
25 any negative reaction that you were aware of from General Perisic
1 regarding the portion of these operations that were outside the border
3 A. To the best of my recollection, no.
4 Q. I take it if General Perisic had wanted to, he could have very
5 easily issued an order to the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps not to
6 conduct any operations outside the border belt, couldn't he?
7 A. Yes, you're right. Each one of our commands to the army command,
8 through the operations centres had protected channels where by pressing a
9 certain button you could get through to every command and convey an order,
10 yes, no, do this, stop that, and so on, so he could have done that
11 momentarily as soon as he read the report.
12 Q. I take it you never saw or heard of an order from General Perisic
13 to the army not to operate outside the border belt during this period?
14 A. He ordered that the border be secured, that the units in the area
15 be secured, and that supplies to the units be enabled. That was enough
16 for us soldiers to understand what this means. If the road has been cut
17 off in the Smonica area and my supply convoy cannot take supplies to the
18 border posts, I have to take certain combat action in order to carry out
19 the task. And he was aware when he issued this order what it meant. He
20 knew what the content of the order was.
21 Q. And with this report that we saw just now in paragraph 3 he also
22 was aware that the army was involved in supporting the MUP forces in some
23 of these kind of engagements, correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: I want to look now at 4D229.
2 Q. Yesterday I use the term "inspection" to describe something the
3 General Staff was doing in Kosovo and there was a -- an error in
4 translation so that it was a tour or a visit not an inspection. The
5 English here says that what this is ordering is an investigation team to
6 come to Pristina. This is an order from General Perisic ordering this
7 investigation team to come to Pristina and carry out certain tasks which
8 are set out there in paragraph 2. Were you familiar with this order and
9 what happened with regard to it?
10 A. Yes, of course. Of course I'm familiar with it. The Chief of the
11 General Staff by this order is sending an investigation team - I apologise
12 to the lawyers - not to carry out investigations of crimes but an
13 investigation team which was supposed to study the method of working, see
14 the positive and negative experiences, because these are for all teachers
15 in a high military schools, people who teach tactics, strategy, and so on,
16 so that later on we could transform this into textbooks for our schools.
17 That's why he set up an investigation team.
18 Q. All right. If you look at -- this is 30 July of 1998 where --
19 right there near the end of July right after your forward command post
20 began to operate. If you look at paragraph 2 one of the tasks he assigns
21 to this group is to propose an engagement of Yugoslav Army commands and
22 units in anti-terrorist actions in the Pristina Corps zone of
23 responsibility, correct?
24 A. I can't answer because I don't see this document on the monitor.
25 Q. It's paragraph 2, the second part of paragraph 2 right there, it's
1 being highlighted for you.
2 A. This same document?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. Well, I think that in my previous response I've already said that
5 this investigation team was supposed to look at the way units were used
6 and how they were operating in an anti-terrorist operation, in fighting
7 the terrorist army of Kosovo, and to extract all the positive and negative
9 Q. Well, is there --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman, I think you should get the witness to
11 read the second paragraph.
12 MR. ACKERMAN:
13 Q. I think you need to read the second paragraph. I think there may
14 be a translation problem. So just read it very carefully and let the
15 people in the booth translate it and let's see what it actually says.
16 A. "Task of the team: Analysis of the state of organisation,
17 functioning, and prospects of development of terrorist actions and
18 proposal of the engagement of the commands and units of the Army of
19 Yugoslavia in anti-terrorist activities in the area of responsibility of
20 the Pristina Corps."
21 Q. Yeah, so what I'm asking you is: Was he asking them to propose to
22 him some plan for engagement of the army against the terrorists, or is
23 that a misreading of this paragraph?
24 A. I don't think that is so. This investigating team had no
25 competence to propose how the corps should be used in anti-terrorist
1 operations. That was the exclusive right of the corps commander and the
2 army commander, to propose how the forces would be used. This team was
3 established for scholarly purposes, simply to work out a methodology for
4 arriving at results which might later on be used to establish standards
5 and normative documents. They were to study the use, but they had nothing
6 to do with the current use of the Pristina Corps.
7 Q. All right. Thank you very much. I think you've made that very
8 clear now and I appreciate you clarifying it. I want to go now to the
9 document 4D375, and this is another General Pavkovic order of 18 August
10 1998. And it's characterised as an order for the prevention of theft and
11 procedure with stolen equipment.
12 And I'm primarily interested, in general, in that first paragraph.
13 General Pavkovic says: "Despite a number of written orders which have
14 been issued in the strictest terms, the looting of houses and places where
15 Albanian terrorists stayed or in the zones and sectors where the Pristina
16 Corps units were deployed has apparently gone on, recently been observed.
17 He says this discredits the army and its role in society in the greatest
18 of fashions, hampering efforts to calm the situation, and initiating
19 attempts by certain structures and organisations to accuse the army of
20 organised looting.
21 And then he enters some orders regarding the prevention of
22 looting. My question really is this: It seems that General Pavkovic was
23 having some difficulty controlling the looting among the lower echelons of
24 the Pristina Corps. Do you have any idea why that would have been a
25 difficult thing to control and why he was having this problem?
1 A. I think the explanation is quite simple. There was a large number
2 of men in a certain area. Each person reacts differently to various
3 stressful situations. In this case activity by the terrorist army of
4 Kosovo. There are people who are prone to theft, getting drunk, looting,
5 and so on, and he says in the preamble that such things had happened. And
6 now he wants, based on this information, to acquaint the entire corps once
7 again that all measures should be taken to prevent such phenomena and that
8 criminal proceedings should be instituted against the perpetrators.
9 Q. And apparently this was going on in spite of orders that he had
10 issued previously, saying that it would be heavily prosecuted and it's
11 illegal to loot, it still continued to go on. So I guess it was difficult
12 to control, wasn't it?
13 A. Well, let me tell you one thing. We commanders are in charge of
14 exercising control, and he was showing his concern from the point of view
15 of his responsibility for this kind of thing and that's why he's issuing
16 this order. Even today in peacetime we have normatively regulated
17 relations, and still there is excessive behaviour, looting, murder, and so
18 on. That happens everywhere, let alone in a war situation. That's why
19 because of this high degree of responsibility he thought it was necessary
20 once again to point out that problem.
21 Q. Okay. The next document and almost the last one is 3D697. This
22 is a document dated 2nd October 1998 from the 3rd Army forward command
23 post titled: "Analysis of the tasks executed on the territory of Kosovo
24 and Metohija." First of all, do you know who prepared this document?
25 A. I know who drafted it, and if you scroll this up you will see that
1 it was done by an officer from the command post, from the group that is at
2 the command post.
3 Q. And to whom was this directed? Who was this supposed to be sent
4 to? Who was this for?
5 A. At a forward command post we always have an operations centre that
6 functions, and there is work there round the clock 24 hours a day, in
7 shifts. When this analysis was carried out, since from the operations
8 centre where all this information is later entered into the war diary, no
9 one could be present because one shift was resting, the other one was
10 working. Then an officer was engaged from the command post, if I'm not
11 mistaken it was Colonel Vasovic, I think; and on my orders, since I
12 attended that meeting, too, or rather, this analysis, he kept the minutes.
13 Q. What I'm having trouble understanding is: For whose eyes was this
14 written? I mean, who was supposed to receive this analysis?
15 A. This analysis is used within the command post and it is entered
16 into the war diary. This is a temporary document. I was supposed to
17 verify it, but I verified it through the war diary because the person
18 signing the war diary was not at the meeting concerned. Had that person
19 been there, then on the basis of this temporary document, this analysis,
20 this person would have entered this into the war diary and signed the war
21 diary for that day. It was only used by him as an auxiliary thing.
22 Q. All right. If we look then at paragraph 1.1 where it talks about
23 definition of tasks, the last bullet point I guess we call it there
24 is: "Provide support to the MUP forces in dispersing and destroying KLA
25 forces in accordance with your requirements and abilities, making sure not
1 to disrupt the level of combat-readiness required by the commands and the
2 units for the execution of basic tasks."
3 I don't quite understand that. It says: "In accordance with your
4 requirements and abilities." Whose requirements and abilities are being
5 talked about there?
6 A. Maybe I wasn't clear a few moments ago when I explained. This is
7 an analysis of a certain period at the forward command post --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, you just need to tell us whose
9 requirements and abilities you understand to be being referred to there.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Requirements and needs of the MUP
11 and our abilities, our possibilities, whether we can help in terms of
12 these requirements of the MUP so that we do not endanger the
13 implementation of our main task securing the state border, and of course
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Ackerman.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you.
18 Q. And these tasks that are defined here, it says these are pursuant
19 to the order of the Chief of the General Staff and then a number of other
20 orders. I assume that sets out the source for the definition of these
21 tasks; is that true?
22 A. Yes, fully.
23 Q. All right.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you know where the war diary is?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The war diary is in the archives of
1 every unit, in the archives of the Army of Serbia.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Where is that?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The archives of the Army of Serbia
4 are in Belgrade. That is where all these documents were obtained from,
5 through the National Council.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Where in Belgrade are the war diaries kept?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I cannot give you the
8 exact street and number because I really don't know, but there are these
9 military archives where all documentation from that wartime period is
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Your explanation for the analysis being done by
12 Vasovic seemed rather odd to me. If there is a person who is responsible
13 for keeping the war diary, why on earth did you not get him to do the
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I tried to explain.
16 Our duty shifts in the operation centre --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Your explanation meant that the exercise had to be
18 done twice. Vasovic had to do it and then you had to go through the war
19 diary and check it. Why did you not just wait until who --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: -- The -- why did you not just wait until whoever
22 did the -- kept the diary came back on duty?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not understand your question.
24 At the operations centre there are persons who are on duty non-stop at the
25 communications centre and also entering certain information on the map.
1 Part of the personnel are resting, that would be the next shift, that is
2 why no one was there. And I as the most responsible person in addition to
3 the commander attended that meeting. This Vasovic was engaged to do that,
4 whereas later I was supposed to check the accuracy of this information,
5 whether it was correctly entered and whether it was correctly entered in
6 the war diary.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, sorry, I remain completely puzzled on this.
8 Mr. Ackerman.
9 MR. ACKERMAN:
10 Q. General, we're going to leave this document. We're going to look
11 now at a document -- well, I have some questions to ask you before we look
12 at another document. When did General Samardzic leave the command of the
13 3rd Army?
14 A. I cannot tell you the exact date. I think it was right after the
15 new year, in the month of January 2000.
16 Q. Do you know what his next assignment was?
17 A. Because -- his next assignment was precisely what we did not
18 understand each other about yesterday, that was the head of the
19 inspectorate of the Army of Yugoslavia.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, the transcript line 19 says January
21 2000. I think the witness said January 1999.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness said 2000.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said 2000.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, there you are, Mr. Ackerman, another one to
1 clear up.
2 MR. ACKERMAN:
3 Q. Well, if General Pavkovic took over the 3rd Army in December of
4 1999, General Samardzic must have left about that time.
5 A. I'm telling you that I left before Commander Samardzic left. The
6 exact date and when the handover exactly took place, on which date, I
7 cannot say, but as far as I remember it was the beginning of January 2000.
8 I cannot define this specifically because I had already gone to the
9 Federal Ministry of Defence.
10 Q. When was the war, the NATO bombing, when was that, what year was
11 that? That was 1999, wasn't it?
12 A. 1999, that's right.
13 Q. And the commander of the 3rd Army during that period of time was
14 General Pavkovic, wasn't it?
15 A. Oh, I'm a bit confused, am I not. I do apologise to the Trial
16 Chamber. It was a slip of the tongue.
17 Q. All right. I'm glad we got that cleared up.
18 A. During the war, General --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Were you in the Ministry of Defence for the whole
20 period from October until the 3rd of April?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not from October. In accordance
22 with the ordinance I left my duty on the 31st of December, 1998.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was in the ministry --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. You've -- well, I take it you were in
1 the ministry from then until you became the assistant Chief of General
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely, and changing two duties
4 at that.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
6 MR. ACKERMAN:
7 Q. The new assignment for General Samardzic, was that a demotion or a
9 A. In military hierarchy, that was promotion because it is customary
10 that the chief inspector -- I mean before when we had the Yugoslav
11 People's Army, this organ was called the Main Inspectorate of National
12 Defence, Main Inspectorate of National Defence of the Army of Yugoslavia.
13 Now it's the Main Inspectorate of the Army of Yugoslavia, so it is a
14 higher rank than army commander because he can, with his team, come and
15 exercise control over the commander of the army.
16 Q. All right. After he left, General Pavkovic took over. Did you
17 know General Pavkovic well enough to give us your opinion regarding his
18 capabilities as an officer in the Army of Yugoslavia?
19 A. With your leave, I'd like to say I know him quite well. When I
20 became Chief of Staff in 1996, he was in the operative organ of the
21 Pristina Corps. Later on he left and then he came -- well, this is a very
22 capable, educated, responsible officer.
23 Q. I'd like you to look at one final document, it's 4D136. Can you
24 tell the Chamber what this is?
25 A. Every officer in our army has an official assessment after a
1 certain period of time or one that is done along fast tracks if he is
2 being reassigned and so on. This is a official assessment of
3 General Pavkovic. According to our methodology an official assessment is
4 provided by the army commander, having consulted his closest associates.
5 In terms of official assessment, this is the personnel department and the
6 Chief of Staff.
7 Q. [Microphone not activated]
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Ackerman, please --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] However, the draft assessment is
10 discussed by the commander's collegium where all members of the collegium
11 can exercise their influence and then it is for the commander to decide.
12 MR. ACKERMAN:
13 Q. If we look at the last page of this document, apparently there's a
14 sort of final assessment by General Samardzic of General Pavkovic. In
15 English it says -- his assessment is positive with the mark exceptional.
16 Is that a high assessment, medium, low? What is it?
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Some question --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the very top. Excellent,
19 "odlican," is the very top. For a student, a 10 is a top mark.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: All right. That's all I have. Thank you.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman, can you help us from your own point
22 of view with one matter. Can you indicate the number of witnesses led by
23 other parties that you envisage cross-examining in this way?
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Probably not more than one or two more in my mind
25 right now. This is a witness that it was kind of touch and go between the
1 two of us whether he'd be my witness or Mr. Visnjic's witness.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: And are the others in Mr. Visnjic's case?
3 MR. ACKERMAN: Maybe one more, probably none more.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: And --
5 MR. ACKERMAN: It depends a little bit on the motion that I have
6 pending that we discussed a little bit earlier.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: And later than that?
8 MR. ACKERMAN: I don't know. Nothing that's in my mind right now.
9 Can I get some sense of what --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it must be obvious to you that there's a
11 difference between cross-examination in the sense of defending yourself
12 against what's coming from your co-accused and making your own case when
13 it comes to our assessment of how you're using the time.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Well --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: And the division of that time.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I think it's -- I think that in this
17 Tribunal what we try to do is minimise inconvenience for witnesses; that's
18 why we have joint trials so we don't have to bring a witness four times.
19 The other choice I had of course would be to call this witness back in my
20 own case. I think that's highly inefficient. And there are witnesses who
21 can give evidence for more than one party here. I think this is a
22 efficient way to go about it, but if you disagree I'll go the other way.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: There's no disputing from that point of view it's
24 efficient. But when you look at what we are trying to do in balancing the
25 interests of everyone, including the Prosecution here and when you bear in
1 mind the order we made about the time available to present the Defence
2 case, we have to decide whether this is part of that time or whether this
3 is ancillary cross-examination time for which further allowance has to be
4 made because the parties are not necessarily the individual accused are
5 not at one in relation to a particular witness.
6 MR. ACKERMAN: I think it makes huge sense for you to see this as
7 part of my time and presenting my case. That's a fairly obvious view to
9 JUDGE BONOMY: You've answered the point for me and thank you very
10 much for doing it.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: All right.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, first of all I would
14 like to add something to what you've been discussing with Mr. Ackerman.
15 Until now I fully support his point of view. I have about 15 questions
16 and the question pertain specifically to some findings from the 98 bis
17 ruling specifically related to my client, and I believe that the answers
18 to these questions are going to resolve at least one witness from my list,
19 he won't even have to come. So perhaps it looks like a waste of time now,
20 but you will see ultimately we are saving a lot of time, the fact that we
21 are cross-examining witnesses that could be called by us, too.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Indeed. But that also simply confirms the point
23 that Mr. Ackerman made at the end, that that really is effectively part of
24 the time for the presentation of your case. And I'm grateful to you all
25 for clarifying that because it makes our task in assessing the situation
1 easier. So please continue, Mr. --
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] But, Your Honour, then I have to know
3 how much time I'm permitted for cross and how much time will be taken away
4 from my own time.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: You will be able to distinguish between questions
6 that are dealing with challenges that witnesses led by other accused are
7 making against you, which I suspect may be a bit later in the case, and
8 the evidence you are leading which is clearly supporting a positive case.
9 Now, I think the whole of Mr. Ackerman's cross-examination fell under the
10 latter category. I appreciate the difficulty when it's mixed, and we may
11 have to come to you and have a look at that and we'll do it informally and
12 give you an opportunity to respond, and you know that you do get a record
13 of the use of time that you can have a look at and come and speak to the
14 legal staff or court staff and check on it.
15 But I'm extremely grateful for the clarification because that
16 enables us just to get our heads down and get on with it, subject to one
17 other issue which I raised the other day with Mr. Visnjic. And we may
18 have to address that one if there is no significant change in his line-up.
19 So please continue, Mr. Bakrac.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, just one more
21 instruction before I start. Are we working in accordance with the same
22 schedule that we had yesterday, until 4.00? When's the break? Are we
23 working as we did yesterday?
24 JUDGE BONOMY: No, the break will be as able at quarter to, and if
25 you want it now we'll come back at ten past.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, I don't want to
2 disturb it in any way. I just needed to know when to break off. Please
3 don't take that off my time, too.
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Bakrac:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Simic, or rather,
6 General Simic. I am Mihajlo Bakrac and I represent General Lazarevic, who
7 you probably know. So I'm going to start with my first question now in
8 this respect. General, if I understood things correctly, towards the end
9 of 1997/the beginning of 1998 you were Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army.
10 A. You didn't understand it right. As for that duty I assumed it on
11 the 7th of July, 1996, and I remained there until the end of 1998.
12 Q. That is to say the end of 1997/beginning of 1998 you held that
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Perhaps we didn't understand each other. Do you know perhaps that
16 at the end of 1997, or rather, at the beginning of 1998 General Lazarevic
17 was Chief of Staff of the Nis Corps, also within the 3rd Army?
18 A. Yes, yes, precisely he was my subordinate because I was Chief of
19 Staff, and the 319th Regiment was the communications link for the Chief of
21 Q. Do you know and is it correct that by an order of the Chief of
22 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, General Perisic,
23 Vladimir Lazarevic in the beginning of 1998 was transferred to be -- from
24 the -- to be the Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps after having been in
25 the Nis Corps?
1 A. But he couldn't have gone through any other order. There was just
2 one other possibility; that is to say that if the president were to
3 appoint him general through an ordinance, otherwise colonels fall within
4 the remit of the General Staff.
5 Q. Thank you. General, you explained about the formation of the
6 forward command post of the 3rd Army in Pristina. Can you explain to me -
7 and we have seen a document that says on the 20th an order was passed, and
8 then if I understood things correctly, on the 21st --
9 A. The 21st of April.
10 Q. Yes. The forward command post of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Your Honour, in the
13 transcript there is a mistake. My question was: Is it correct that on
14 the 21st of the forward command post of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica
15 was taken up.
16 Q. We have your answer but I'm just repeating my question for the
17 purposes of the transcript. You explained to us that when the situation
18 becomes more complex it becomes necessary to establish a forward command
19 post. Can you explain to us why this forward command post in Djakovica
20 was established or, perhaps even better, perhaps I can ask for 3D697, an
21 analysis of the implementation of tasks in the territory of Kosovo and
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have page 2 shown on
24 our screens, paragraph 1, item 4, command of the forces.
25 Q. General, you see it on your screen on the right-hand side. 1.4,
1 commanding the forces. Would you please be so kind as to read out loud
2 the first sentence.
3 A. You mean 1.4, commanding the forces?
4 Q. Yes, that's what I mean, the first sentence alone.
5 A. "For commanding the forces of the corps deployed along the state
6 border and in the area a forward command post of the Pristina Corps in
7 Djakovica was set up on the 21st of April, 1998."
8 Q. Thank you. Now that we see what the task was and when you say the
9 situation was becoming more and more complex, can you tell us why the need
10 to set up a forward command post for the Pristina Corps in Djakovica?
11 A. I think I provided a very comprehensive answer already when I
12 spoke about the forward command post of the 3rd Army in this case. The
13 need arose for the unit to be in closer proximity to where all this was
14 going on, and this was the state border, the border belt where the
15 terrorist forces were more and more and in more and more brazen way were
16 bringing in weapons from Albania, thereby posing a threat to the local
17 population. That is why the commander decided that he should have on the
18 spot a commander who was in a position to take swift decisions.
19 Q. Thank you very much, General.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I think it's time for our break, Your
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, we have to break at this stage for half
23 an hour. Would you please leave the courtroom with the usher, and we
24 shall resume at --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: And we shall resume at 4.15.
2 [The witness stands down]
3 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry for confusing the length of the two breaks,
6 but you're still only getting 20 minutes at the next one.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I've been trying to
8 save time. I'm up on my feet, as you can see, waiting for the witness.
9 [The witness takes the stand]
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard the interpretation, so you
11 can chock this down to my expense, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
14 Q. General, sir, let us not repeat what I've asked you already and
15 you've answered before the break. For the reasons that you mentioned in
16 your answer, are you aware of the fact that General Lazarevic, then
17 Colonel Lazarevic, all the time from the time he took up the forward
18 command post in Djakovica and until the end of that year, 1998, stayed
19 right there at the Djakovica forward command post?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. General, when you answer "yes," a short answer and then I make a
22 pause, that's for the purposes of the interpretation, not because I'm
23 expecting you to go on with your answer. Just to be clear on that.
24 General, speaking of the forward command post, would you be so
25 kind as to tell me what other kinds, what other types of command posts are
1 envisaged in military doctrine?
2 A. In military theory there are several different types of command
3 post: Basic command post, reserve command post, rear command post, false
4 command post, forward command post, and joint command post.
5 Q. General, I want to know about the latter. What exactly does this
6 mean, joint command post?
7 A. It is often the case that in a certain area where combat
8 operations are afoot, actions are being carried out by a number of
9 different bodies that do not share a single chain of command. In order to
10 unify all these different strands and in order to bring about some degree
11 of coordination between these units to prevent conflict in the area, what
12 one does is one sets up a joint command post.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, page 37, 17, the
14 witness said different units and we see the interpretation here different
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said units belonging to different
17 bodies or structures in terms of the chain of command, which means they do
18 not share a single chain of command.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you for clarifying that.
20 Mr. Bakrac.
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Thank you very much, General. Sir, the Djakovica forward command
23 post, it had a direct contact with the Pristina Corps command, didn't it?
24 It also had an encrypted telephone line connecting it to the command of
25 the 3rd Army and a direct line to the operations centre of the main staff
1 of the VJ; is that correct, sir?
2 A. I wouldn't say that it had a contact. It was in terms of its
3 chain of command that there was certain communication lines between this
4 unit and its superior command. There was a possibility for them to get in
5 touch directly with the General Staff of the VJ. In military terminology
6 we don't use the word "contact"; we use the term chain of command,
8 Q. Thank you. And excuse my lay language when it comes to military
9 doctrine. I will try not to blunder like that again, sir, in order to
10 speed things along.
11 General, sir, you did tell us about that, I believe. Is it true
12 that as Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army late in 1998 you headed an expert
13 team of the VJ that produced a study concerning problems of securing the
14 state border facing Macedonia and Albania, the then-Chief of Staff of the
15 Pristina Corps, Lazarevic, was also a member of that group, right?
16 A. Yes. As far as I remember I think that was in December when I
17 said that between the 1st and the 10th of December I was there. So the
18 answer to your question is yes.
19 Q. Is it true that the finding of the expert team indicated that one
20 of the chief problems in terms of securing the state border was a lack of
21 manpower or forces to actually get the state border secured, right?
22 A. Yes, that was the overall conclusion. But if I may elaborate on
23 this, when you have a border like that you never have enough power to
24 fully secure it. We could have drafted as many men as we liked. We would
25 never have been successful given the lie of the land and the depth of the
1 border belt in that area.
2 Q. As a consequence, nearly throughout 1998 there were many terrorist
3 strikes from Albania against those securing the state border, and this
4 resulted in -- frequently resulted in deaths, right?
5 A. Yes, and I have to correct you on this. The security organs
6 working along the state border because the interpretation I got was
7 different. The security organs, but these are the border belt security
8 organs and we distinguish between these two.
9 Q. Is it true that every time an incident like this occurred an
10 attack being carried out against organs securing the state border the
11 following measures were taken, informing by the border battalion to the
12 Pristina Corps the 3rd Army and then all the way to the General Staff of
13 the VJ?
14 A. Yes. That is a perfectly normal line of information or
15 information flow, if you like.
16 Q. Is it true that an on-site investigation was carried out by the
17 relevant bodies of the military police?
18 A. Yes. If there were casualties or deaths on either side, that was
19 exactly what would normally be done.
20 Q. Is it true that in these cases an investigation would be carried
21 out on the spot by a military investigative judge from Nis?
22 A. Yes, and the forensic team.
23 Q. Is it true that in these cases a report would be submitted to a
24 mixed interstate commission in order for an on-site investigation to be
25 carried out to see what exactly had happened?
1 A. Yes, this was the methodology used along all state borders.
2 Q. What about after the OSCE mission arrived, were such incidents
3 regularly reported to the OSCE mission for verification?
4 A. Yes. In addition to pointing out the thing about the reporting in
5 terms of the chain of command and the mixed state border commission, they
6 too were informed so that they might be involved in the on-site
7 investigation. And this information was forwarded to them through the
8 appropriate bodies.
9 Q. And then charges would be pressed by the relevant bodies of the
10 judiciary, right?
11 A. Yes, if there was any misuse of somebody's official or
12 professional capacity - and I mean those working along the state border
13 and securing it.
14 Q. Thank you very much, General. Is it also true that the command of
15 the 3rd Army back in 1998 issued a number of orders regulating the use of
16 units in combat assignments in keeping with the rules of combat?
17 A. Yes. Nearly -- there were several such orders. There were
18 several such orders, although on the other hand theatrically speaking in
19 terms of military theory, that would not have been required. That's what
20 they teach at military schools. This is a superfluous statement to make
21 in an order, but commanders felt responsible and they saw fit to repeat
22 this likewise many times if necessary.
23 Q. What about the command of the 3rd Army, did it not in certain
24 situations restrict the use of units even in keeping with the rules of
25 combat; and if so, why?
1 A. By all means. Initially when I was at the forward command post of
2 the army there was the restriction that I would only allow large-calibre
3 weapons to be used, the reason being I wanted to prevent the lower-ranked
4 commanders from misusing their position, not so much that I wanted to keep
5 them from using certain weapons inappropriate and not what a situation
6 called for. For example, you have a terrorist and you target them with an
7 artillery weapon which is just a very common place example of a possible
8 mistake. So that is why we placed under control the weapons of
9 large-calibre, and then later when the commander came and stepped in, when
10 he took over the command post, he took over dealing with this sort of
11 problem, too.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we please now call up 5D106.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: You're content that the transcript reflects that
14 answer, Mr. Bakrac?
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm just about to
16 check. My colleague, Mr. Cepic, is also checking.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, did you say that when you were at the
18 forward command post you would only allow large-calibre weapons to be
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to be a
21 little more accurate. When I was at the forward command post only
22 large-calibre weapons were weapons that I was in charge of, and that was
23 one of the tasks that I had and the reasons that I was at the forward
24 command post of the Pristina Corps. Later on as the intensity of
25 operations in the area increased, a decision was approved and a proposal
1 was made by the corps commander in terms of what he wished to use. And by
2 the same token, I allowed for these weapons to be used.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 Mr. Bakrac.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Can we please call up 5D106.
6 Q. General, sir --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry, just before you do that, I still am
8 confused. Did you also say that you have a terrorist and you target them
9 with an artillery weapon which is a commonplace example of a common
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think there is
12 something wrong with the interpretation. I merely vulgarized a possible
13 proposal, a possible example of something happening, but I said that when
14 I was - and I repeat - at the forward command post of the Pristina Corps
15 approved weapons of large calibres to be used. Later on when I was at the
16 forward command post of the 3rd Army, through a proposal of a decision of
17 the commander of the Pristina Corps, where you can see his notion and the
18 engagement of forces with this -- his own equipment, then by approving the
19 decision itself I approved the use of those weapons that he defined in his
20 decision. There was no need - and let me emphasise this - you cannot use
21 this mortar, this artillery weapon, and so on and so forth. He proposed
22 whatever his idea was. If I approved a decision, then by default I also
23 approved the use of those weapons. I'm not sure how clear I'm making this
24 for you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: It may be the question -- I perhaps am having
1 difficulty because I don't understand why the question was asked. But I
2 understand you to be saying that large-calibre weapons were used against
3 terrorists; is that correct?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand the question.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may clarify this.
6 My question was this: Was this used restrictively and only when a need
7 arose? Maybe it's my question that originally led to this slight
8 confusion. And who gave the order.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, restrictively, and I was the
10 one who was given the right to make an assessment, in the belief that I
11 was placed sufficiently high up in the army to decide what weapon would be
12 used. And this reflects the restrictive nature of this and not some lack
13 of trust on the part of the subordinates.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Now we've got this clarified, General. Now we have 5D106 before
17 us, and if you look at paragraph 2 of the order, this is an order by the
18 army commander, Dusan Samardzic. It reads, first of all, that the army
19 units based on his orders would be required to provide assistance to the
20 MUP forces, and then paragraph 2, artillery of large calibre may only be
21 used based on his approval. Does this prove what you just said?
22 A. Yes, this confirms what I just said a while ago. But let's try to
23 avoid any misunderstanding. The date here is the 7th of August and the
24 command post has already been set up, and I was the one who called the
25 shots. However, when the commander was around, by his very presence he
1 would annul anything that he had transferred to me previously and then he
2 would take decisions. So that was the principle used.
3 Q. Thank you, General. Were there situations when limiting the use
4 of weapons was done when the KLA were using civilians as a human shield or
5 diplomatic representatives or foreign journalists if they were present?
6 A. There was an express prohibition for opening fire if there were
7 civilians, children, women, elderly in front and the civilians were
8 shooting from the crowd. I've already stated that.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we see in e-court Exhibit P969.
10 Q. General, you will see before you an order from the command of the
11 Pristina Corps signed by the Chief of Staff, Colonel Lazarevic. If you
12 can take a look at it, please, I think there's on error in the document.
13 It's P969?
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, yes, that's the
16 Q. Where it says: "I order," the first passage under that.
17 "Before opening fire, unit commanders are to assess whether
18 international observers are in the sector of combat disposition of Siptar
19 terrorists, and if they are there do not open fire."
20 Is this order in compliance with the order of the higher command,
21 saying that fire must not be opened in the cases we have just mentioned?
22 A. Yes, precisely so. Our main aim was to rout and destroy the
23 terrorist army of Kosovo, not any civilians who may be around or any
24 diplomatic representatives, as mentioned here. And I've already mentioned
25 the population.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Again, I'm not fully understanding this,
2 Mr. Bakrac. Where's the reference to assessing whether civilians are
3 involved or in the line?
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in the first paragraph
5 above the order it says: "With the aim of preventing units from the corps
6 of opening uncontrolled and unnecessary fire at Siptar terrorists, I
7 hereby order ..."
8 And then below it says: "Before opening fire unit commanders are
9 to assess whether international observers are in the sector of combat
10 disposition of Siptar terrorists and if they are thought to be there, do
11 not open fire."
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Where is the mistake you say there is in this
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's not form of a
15 telegram, and when it showed up on the screen I thought it wasn't the
16 correct document; but later I established that it was. I think that it is
17 in the transcript what I said that it is after all the document I asked
19 JUDGE BONOMY: But you do accept there's no reference to civilians
20 here, other than international observers?
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I was asking the
22 General to explain the various cases in which there were restrictions to
23 opening fire, and this is just one of the examples. And to save time, we
24 weren't looking for other examples as well, we thought that one would
1 Q. General --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Perhaps I should ask the question at this stage
4 Why not open fire when there are international observers present?
5 That would suggest a different approach if they weren't present.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, this can be interpreted in two
7 different ways. As a soldier and as someone who is familiar with such
8 document, the way I understand it is that regardless of the presence of
9 the terrorists whom we wish to destroy, we should not open fire so that
10 innocent people, and in the previous document the civilian population was
11 mentioned, we should not open fire, regardless of the presence or the
12 shooting of the terrorists.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, is that what the previous document said?
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, I think the General
15 was thinking of the documents shown to him by Mr. Ackerman previously. I
16 didn't want to --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were similar questions before.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Did the other document say if there were civilians
19 present, do not open fire? That's not my recollection of it.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I said. We saw an order
21 here and I even said that the commander sacrificed his own units. If
22 there were terrorists among a crowd of civilians and they were opening
23 fire, they should be liquidated if possible; but if not possible, then
24 other ways must be found to do it. I said that yesterday when asked about
25 a document by counsel for General Pavkovic.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] That's document 4D297, paragraph 5.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Can we have that on the screen, please.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Paragraph 5.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 Please continue, Mr. Bakrac.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. General, do you remember and do you agree with me that in August
8 1998 one of the strongest strongholds of the KLA armed rebellion was the
9 area of Junik and the surrounding villages and do you know what villages
10 these are?
11 A. Absolutely yes, starting from Djakovica, Smonica, Jasic, Junik,
12 Slup, Decani, Voksa, Prilep. I can't enumerate all the villages now, but
13 it's on the stretch from Djakovica to Decani. There's a main road and
14 then there's another road going over Junik which is closer to the border.
15 Q. Is it also correct that there was an assessment that the KLA
16 forces numbered over a thousand terrorists in that area?
17 A. Yes, that was the approximate number. No one can confirm whether
18 that's the precise number or not.
19 Q. The command of the 3rd Army, General, in daily combat reports
20 always included a special point concerning the engagement of the Pristina
21 Corps units at the forward command post up to the level of combat group,
22 and it reported on this to the staff. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes, yes, certainly, that was their duty.
24 [Defence counsel confer]
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we have on e-court Exhibit
2 Your Honour, this is one of two documents, and I have only four or
3 five more, which I would like to have the witness comment on. But they
4 have not been translated yet, so I move that they be marked for
5 identification and I will comment only on a few brief sentences with the
7 MR. HANNIS: Well, Your Honour, this is a continuing problem. I
8 have no objection proceeding this way and I'll deal with it as necessary.
9 I may make a request further on depending on what it shows.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
11 They will be marked for identification.
12 Please continue, Mr. Bakrac.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I apologise
14 to my learned friend, Mr. Hannis. We uploaded it into the system and sent
15 it for translation.
16 Q. General, you have before you on the screen a regular combat
17 report. I apologise, but to clarify to you and the Court, simply for the
18 sake of speeding up the proceedings and saving time, I will read and you
19 will only confirm whether what I read is correct or not. So this is sent
20 from the forward command post of the 3rd Army, regular combat report, to
21 the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, dated the 14th of August,
22 1998. Is this correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Would you please look at page 2 where there is a report on the
25 previous day, the 13th of August, 1998, and if you see the last line, the
1 last bullet point above, the situation in units of the army, it
2 says: "About 2350 hours a terrorist attack was carried out on members of
3 the police in the village of Bobrdja [phoen], Decani municipality from the
4 direction of the village of Voksa."
5 Is this correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And then on page 3 --
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have page 3 shown.
9 It's at the bottom of the page.
10 Q. Under 5 it says: "I have decided," and in paragraph 2 of point 5
11 where it says "I have decided," it says: "With Combat Group 15-3 support
12 the MUP forces in routing the DTS strongholds in the areas of the villages
13 of Grabovac, Lodja, Rausic, Voksa."
14 Is this correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] For the needs of the translation the
17 last village was Voksa. It's on page 49, line 25.
18 Q. General, if you look at the last page, it seems that you as the
19 Chief of Staff signed on behalf of the commander of the 3rd Army, Dusan
20 Samardzic, you signed this combat report?
21 A. Yes, because the commander was in Pristina, but at that point in
22 time he was not at the forward command post. That's why I signed on his
23 behalf so that the telegram could be sent off, in compliance with the
24 authorities he had given me previously.
25 Q. General, just a second, please. Just one sentence, please, page 2
1 of this same document where it says point 3: "The situation in units of
2 the army." It says: "Control and touring of the visits of the Army of
3 Yugoslavia continues on the territory of the -- of Kosovo and Metohija by
4 a team from the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia headed by the
5 Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia."
6 A. Yes, that's what it says here, and you can see part of the reason
7 why I was the one to sign this because he was touring the units with the
8 Chief of the General Staff or visiting certain structures and organs of
9 government in Pristina.
10 Q. So when the decision was made to give support to the MUP units,
11 the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia was in Kosovo and
12 Metohija, he was out on the ground?
13 A. Yes, yes, he was touring the units.
14 Q. General, could you please look at 5D1175. That's a map and we've
15 scanned it in colour, it's under the same number. I don't know how that
16 can be brought up technically, but we won't waste time on that.
17 General --
18 A. Yes, I see the map and it's quite clear to me. The writing is
19 very tiny, but it's clear. I lived there, I spent a long time in the
21 Q. And in the left upper corner there is the signature of
22 Colonel-General Dusan Samardzic, who approved the execution of this
24 A. Yes, he approved it, not to me, as was interpreted.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we now have Prosecution Exhibit
2 Q. General, you have before you a decision on breaking up DTS forces
3 in the village of Slup and Voksa dated the 14th of August, 1998, signed by
4 the Chief of Staff Colonel Vladimir Lazarevic. Is this decision in line
5 with all the previous decisions we have commented on, as regards support
6 to MUP forces in breaking up terrorist forces and the order of the
7 superior command?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did the Chief of Staff have the right to sign this decision, which
10 follows from the decision of the superior command and the corps commander?
11 A. Please, let's clarify one thing. This decision did not stem from
12 the decision of the superior command. You are alluding to the army. This
13 is a decision of the corps commander that the army commander approved.
14 Q. Approved.
15 A. Let's be precise.
16 Q. Thank you for this clarification. That is quite all right. My
18 A. The corps commander, or rather, Chief of Staff, did he have the
19 right to sign -- is that what you asked me? Well, that is up to his
20 commander and his Chief of Staff to the extent to which he authorised him
21 because the commander can authorise in certain situations the chief of his
22 staff to sign certain documents.
23 Q. Thank you, General. Now I would like to draw your attention to
24 one particular sentence from this document if you are in a position to
25 explain it.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please have the last page of
2 this document, paragraph 6.
3 Q. I see it on the screen now, paragraph 6 is in front of you. It is
4 entitled command and communications. Could you please carefully read the
5 sentence that follows and pay attention to this.
6 "Commanding of combat operations," so not units, "shall be
7 carried out by the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija with a forward
8 command post in Djakovica."
9 Can you give us your comment on this sentence.
10 A. Of course I can, but in relation to the previous question, had
11 General Lazarevic signed as Chief of Staff, the document would not have
12 been valid because then it would not be legally founded. He signed it as
13 Chief of Staff and that shows the validity of that document. As for my
14 response to this second question of yours --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a moment, there's a problem with the
16 translation there. Could you give us that answer again, please.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. General, you are probably as tense as I am because of time
19 constraints, but we really have to speak at a slower pace. Please speak
20 at a slower pace because the interpreters have a problem. It's already
21 afternoon --
22 A. I accept what you say, but I'm not tense at all and I'll give you
23 my answer slowly.
24 So let me add on to what I responded in terms of your previous
25 question, you asked me whether the Chief of Staff had the right to sign.
1 He signed it the right way. Had it said in the
2 signature "Commander General Lazarevic," then the document would not have
3 been valid from a legal aspect, and you are all lawyers so I don't have to
4 explain it to you. In relation to the second question, commanding combat
5 activities shall be carried out --
6 Q. Sorry. May I just interrupt you at this point because later on
7 it's not going to be clear. Thank you for the legal explanation, but the
8 point of adducing evidence here is for you to give us military
9 explanations. So my question is: From a military point of view, from the
10 point of view of military doctrine, is this order correct, proper, and in
11 line with the order of the army command and the superior command? That
12 was my question. As for legal matters --
13 A. It is quite valid but just with a small observation that in the
14 letterhead it should have said "command of the Pristina Corps forward
15 command post."
16 Q. But that's just a formal problem, right?
17 A. I'm not going into the legal aspect. You ordered me not to go
18 into that.
19 Q. Now I would like to ask you to respond to the second part of my
20 question. I am going to repeat it once again because we were dealing with
21 a different subject. Number 6 says: "Commanding combat activities," so
22 not units, "will be carried out for the Joint Command for Kosovo and
23 Metohija from the forward command post of the PRK in Djakovica."
24 Can you explain?
25 A. I can explain. All units that were engaged in carrying out this
1 task - and we can see here that different structures were engaged - that
2 are in different chains of command from one place. Now, to add on to the
3 answer I've already given when I said that there is a so-called unity of
4 command or from where the commanding officer of a particular unit, each
5 and every one actually commands his own units in his own chain of command,
6 not that one commands all units. However, that is why it is called unity
7 of command. We followed the situation together, we reach agreements, we
8 see how the realisation develops, where the problems are. We harmonize
9 together who is supposed to do what. As for executive orders, every
10 commander conveys to his subordinate units --
11 Q. General, essentially you've explained what it is, but for the
12 purposes of the transcript there is a mistake -- I mean the essence of
13 your answer shows that there is a mistake in the transcript. But page 54,
14 line 18 it says "so-called unity of command," and you said "unity of
15 command,"objedinjeno komandno"?
16 A. I said "objedinjeno komandno mesto," that is to say a single
17 command post.
18 MR. BAKRAC: Not single, joint command post.
19 [Interpretation] Your Honour, again -- well, the tape can be
20 heard, the witness said "joint command post, "objedinjeno komandno mesto,"
21 also earlier on when he answered my question from the point of view of
22 different command posts, on page 37, line 12, that is where it is
23 interpreted correctly, so it is Joint Command post. If there were to be a
24 different interpretation now -- well, we see what the essence is, but
25 there may be confusion in the transcript due to that.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: I would like to know what the witness means
2 by "Joint Command post."
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when explaining command
4 posts, the types that exist in our military theory, I said that there is
5 the so-called Joint Command post --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I've got -- just a moment. I understand the
7 categories that you gave us earlier, but in this case where was the Joint
8 Command post?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In this case the Joint Command post
10 was at the forward command post of the Pristina Corps.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: And who were -- who formed the Joint Command?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do apologise. I never mentioned
13 this term "Joint Command." I am referring to the following term: Joint
14 Command post, that is an area, a building, a facility, a dug-out, a tent
15 where commanders of different structures of units that are engaged in a
16 certain area - and it's indispensable to have commanders who make
17 decisions on combat activities be in one place, nearby, so that through
18 immediate contacts they could resolve the problems observed.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, look, please, at paragraph 6 that you're
20 dealing with, does it mention Joint Command post?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It does not mention Joint Command
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Who signed this document?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Chief of Staff, Colonel
25 Lazarevic, then.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: In your view, should the reference have been to
2 Joint Command post?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It can, but it need not be either.
4 It is important for the chain of command down to the subordinates is not
5 infringed upon in any way.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, could you now read slowly for us the
7 beginning of paragraph 6, the first two lines of paragraph 6.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is what it says
10 "Commanding combat activities shall be carried out by the Joint
11 Command for Kosovo and Metohija from the forward command post of the
12 Pristina Corps in Djakovica. Communication should be organised" --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, that's enough. Thank you.
14 Now, that seems to indicate a body that will command called the
15 Joint Command.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We soldiers do not understand it
17 that way and that is not the way it was in essence.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, we must try to interpret the language
19 that's there, and you have very helpfully read it to us. Are you saying
20 that that language does not simply say that operations will be commanded
21 by the Joint Command?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This means that from a single place
23 we commanders of different structures --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, no. Can you answer my question? Are you
25 saying that that language does not simply say that operations will be
1 commanded by the Joint Command?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that is what I assert.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: You wish to tell us that's not what it says? I
4 mean, you may wish to say that's not what it means, I understand that; but
5 are you telling us that the simple language there is not that operations
6 are to be commanded by the Joint Command? And if you're saying that,
7 would you read it again just to be absolutely sure that there is no
8 mistake in the translation.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the witness did confirm
10 that that is what is written there. The witness confirmed that. He read
11 it out to you, and that is absolutely what is written there, but he tried
12 to explain. Perhaps there is a mistake in the interpretation and there is
13 a lack of understanding, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, let me complete this part of the
16 If you look at line 14, you'll see I asked him whether the
17 language doesn't simply say what he's already read to us, and he says that
18 that's what he asserts, it doesn't say that. And I'm asking him just to
19 be absolutely clear about it that he's saying that this language doesn't
20 say what he read to us. That's what he -- that's what you're actually
21 claiming, is it?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I did not claim that
23 that is not written there. I read it out as written, but in my further
24 explanation I said that --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: In fact, Mr. Simic, you did say that and that's one
1 thing. But I entirely understand that you may wish to tell us it doesn't
2 mean what it says, and that's the explanation you wish to give us. And I
3 think you've already given that explanation. And I just wanted to be
4 clear that no one here is in any doubt about what that passage actually
6 Let's proceed, Mr. Bakrac.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Microphone not activated]
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. General, we talked at length, and in this case for one year now
11 this has been discussed. If you know and if you can give me an answer,
12 answer this question; but if not, never mind. A simple question: What is
13 referred to here is that there was a Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija
14 that infringed upon the chain of command. My question is: Had there been
15 a Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija, would it be necessary for the
16 Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia in April 1999 make an
17 order to resubordinate the MUP to the army, would there have been a need
18 for that had there been a Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija?
19 A. No.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Was an order made to resubordinate the MUP to the
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, an order was made by
23 the president on the resubordination of MUP units to the Army of
24 Yugoslavia, on the basis of which General Ojdanic issued his order. I
25 cannot quote the date for you, but I think it was the second half of April
1 when -- well, please don't take my word for it. It is approximately the
2 18th of April, if I remember correctly, but --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Was that order complied with?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 Mr. Bakrac.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. General, do you know why this order was not complied with?
9 A. Because of an obstruction on the part of the highest-ranking
10 control, or rather, command organs in Serbia's MUP and not just in
11 Serbia's MUP, I apologise, also in Montenegro's MUP because Yugoslavia
12 still existed.
13 Q. Therefore you will agree with me that this was not fictitious
14 order. This was not something that was feigned to suit a different goal,
15 a different purpose; that was in all honesty an order to attempt to carry
16 out resubordination?
17 A. This was by no means a fictitious order.
18 Q. Now that we're at it, I do have one last question about this.
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please call up 3D692, item
20 11, I believe the page number is 4. Can we have a look, please.
21 Q. I'll be asking you to read the first sentence of the first
22 paragraph of item 11. The report is dated the 29th of May, 1999, item 11,
23 please. You have it in B/C/S. Would you please be so kind, first
24 paragraph, first sentence, read it out for us.
25 A. Although I did not see the first pages of this document, I do
1 recognise it. This is a report in which I was involved. Item 11
2 reads: "In the area of responsibility there is no singleness of command
3 over all units, but rather relations with the units of the MUP are
4 implemented by agreement which very often, especially at lower levels, is
5 not something that is complied."
6 Q. General, sir, does this of all things not prove exactly what we
7 have been talking about?
8 A. Indeed it does.
9 Q. There was no Joint Command, in other words, right?
10 A. Yes, precisely --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Don't answer that question. That's a matter for
12 the Trial Chamber.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. General, sir, I only have two or three questions for you and they
15 are about the control that you conducted between the 23rd and the 26th of
16 May 1999, at the Pristina Corps command. What was your assessment of the
17 functioning of the Pristina Corps and among the subordinate units, who
18 commanded the corps and the brigades?
19 A. I explained this extensively yesterday about this particular
20 inspection or control. We ascertained that work was organised at the
21 corps level, that combat documents were detailed, and that any orders
22 received were being carried out in keeping with the original orders that
23 were received and in keeping with certain problems and situations. And we
24 also found a couple of weaknesses.
25 Q. General, sir, thank you very much for your answers and for your
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Bakrac.
5 Mr. Ivetic.
6 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
8 Q. Good day, General Simic, sir. My name is Dan Ivetic and I will
9 have only a few questions for you so you can relax they will only be four
10 to five questions so we will go quickly through them.
11 Now, first of all -- and they're going to be specifically related
12 to your statement, but I'd like to since we have the document up on the
13 screen, this 3D692 that my learned colleague, Mr. Bakrac, just asked you
14 to read paragraph 11 of. I'd like to ask you if you have any knowledge
15 that the staff of the high command ever in written form advised Minister
16 of the Interior, Vlajko Stojiljkovic, of the matters set forth in
17 paragraph 11 of this document; and if so, when and where that document can
18 be found?
19 A. My answer is a very simple one. Chief of Staff of the Supreme
20 Command, in this case General Ojdanic, is not superior to the minister of
21 the interior and he was in no position to send him that order. In that
22 case, he would have commanded him. The order should have come from
23 whoever was the minister of the interior's superior, which in this case
24 was the president or the prime minister.
25 Q. Now, just to be clear, I'm talking about not any order, I'm
1 talking about this -- the matters set forth in 11 of this document that's
2 in front of you, 3D692, the report from April - I don't have the English
3 up in front of me to be able to go to the first page quickly - from April
4 the 20 -- or May the 29th, 1999, the staff of the high command -- of the
5 Supreme Command. Was that information ever communicated to
6 Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic by the chief of the supreme -- Chief of Staff
7 of the Supreme Command?
8 A. I think you're asking me to give you an answer that I'm not best
9 placed to provide. If you go through this entire document, in addition to
10 all the weaknesses that we noted we ordered the subordinates to deal with
11 these weaknesses. Likewise, we made proposals to General Ojdanic to take
12 certain measures through his own superior, and that was the state
13 president, for him to deal with this problem to resolve it. This is
14 explicitly stated in our reports, among other things, but we couldn't
15 order General Ojdanic to do that for the president for that matter.
16 Q. Okay, sir, and again I apologise for pausing, although I can
17 understand you in Serbian, I have to wait for the transcript to catch up
18 with us so we don't have a problem for the translators. Now I'd like to
19 move to your written statement, it's going to be 3D1089, although I don't
20 believe it will be necessary --
21 MR. IVETIC: But if the witness does need to refer to it perhaps
22 it should be on -- ready in e-court.
23 Q. General, sir, I just want like to ask you about two particular
24 portions of your statement, first I'd like to focus on paragraph 24 of the
25 same wherein you state that: "At the level of the staff of the Supreme
1 Command as well as the General Staff there existed no plan for ethnic
2 cleansing in Kosovo-Metohija as regards that organ."
3 Now, am I correct that you as a member of the General Staff, and
4 later the staff of the Supreme Command, did not have any evidence proving
5 that such a plan existed with respect to any organ of the FRY or the
6 Republic of Serbia?
7 A. Again, I must be very circumspect in my answer because I find the
8 question to be less specific than desirable. In paragraph 24 I'm talking
9 about the General Staff of the VJ, and you're asking me about the other
10 organs as well. I assert and I guarantee, because I spent ten years
11 working on wartime planning, that no such plan ever existed. Nowhere at
12 no time was anything like this ever discussed.
13 Q. [Interpretation] I understand that bit, General, but I asked you a
14 different question. As a member of the General Staff of the VJ and as a
15 member of the Supreme Command, is it true that you never had any files,
16 any knowledge, that any other organ of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
17 or the Republic of Serbia had any plan whatsoever, a plan like this,
18 against the Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija?
19 A. No.
20 Q. [In English] For the sake of clarity I'll have to revert back to
21 English since my questions are phrased that way. Now, General, I'd like
22 to direct your attention to paragraph 19 of your statement which you've
23 already started to discuss here where you state that: "An order was
24 issued for units of the MUP on the territory of Kosovo-Metohija to be
25 resubordinated to the command of the Pristina Corps," and you indicated
1 just prior to my questions that this was -- that this order was issued by
2 the president of Yugoslavia. The question I have for you is: Did you
3 personally have occasion to see any such written order issued by the
4 president of Yugoslavia regarding resubordination of the MUP in this
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Okay. Do you know where such a document could be located?
8 A. Such a document is in the archives of the General Staff.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Do you have personal
10 knowledge of the fact that such a document was ever forwarded to Minister
11 of the Interior, Vlajko Stojiljkovic?
12 A. Please, you're asking me a question that I cannot answer.
13 Q. [Interpretation] If you don't know, please state so.
14 A. It's not that I don't know, but it's not within the competence of
15 General Ojdanic, the Chief of the General Staff, to issue that order to
16 a -- to an organ of the federal government. That's what I'm talking
17 about. I believe we're talking at cross-purposes. It is within his
18 competence to command the army on behalf of the president and not to issue
19 orders to bodies or organs of the government.
20 Q. [In English] Can we take -- sorry, I had to wait for the
21 transcript. Can we take it from your answer then that there was never any
22 written order or directive issued by the Chief of Staff of the Supreme
23 Command and addressed to the Minister of the Interior, Vlajko Stojiljkovic
24 regarding resubordination of the MUP?
25 A. Yes. I can't assert this with 100 per cent certainty, but knowing
1 General Ojdanic I know that he would never exceed his authority because he
2 never did. There would be no foundation for him to give orders to the
3 minister of the interior.
4 Q. The last question I have for you, sir, is: Do you have knowledge
5 of any written response or decree received by the staff of the high
6 command of the army -- the Supreme Command, excuse me, from
7 Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic of the MUP refusing to implement
9 A. Again, this is linked to the previous answer. I never saw a
10 document like that from the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of
11 Serbia at the Supreme Command Staff in terms of them refusing to
12 subordinate themselves.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Question and that is all the
14 questions I have for you --
15 A. But we do have a written document from the Ministry of the
16 Interior of Montenegro --
17 Q. That much I know and we've had that discussed -- I've already
18 asked questions about that and I don't wish to take up more court time on
19 that, General. I wanted to save you some additional questioning. Thank
20 you for your answers, General.
21 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, I have no further cross-examination for
22 this witness.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
24 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer].
25 JUDGE BONOMY: It might be best if we were to break now,
1 Mr. Hannis, and then you would have an uninterrupted run to the end of the
3 MR. HANNIS: That would be great, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, we will break for 20 minutes now. If
5 you could again please leave the courtroom with the usher, and we will
6 resume as close as we can to ten minutes to 6.00.
7 [The witness stands down]
8 --- Recess taken at 5.32 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 5.52 p.m.
10 [The witness takes the stand]
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, you will now be cross-examined by the
12 Prosecutor, Mr. Hannis.
13 Mr. Hannis.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, by your leave, I don't
15 know what the practice is in court but I wish to present a request to you.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, what is your request?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In connection with the question of
18 General Lukic's counsel why the MUP was not resubordinated, I explicitly
19 answered because of obstruction by high-ranking leading people. As I
20 don't have any knowledge as to whether they received such an order or not,
21 may I withdraw this statement of mine and instead have my answer recorded
22 as: I don't know. Because I don't wish to speculate and it's not in line
23 with my solemn declaration, and I truly don't know.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, we note what you say, but we'll not be
1 deleting anything from the record, the evidence. We'll look at everything
2 that has been said in due course and draw appropriate conclusions on all
3 the evidence that we have heard in the case.
4 Mr. Hannis.
5 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
7 Q. General, I'm going to start out by sort of going in the order of
8 questions that were asked you first by Mr. Visnjic and then by the other
9 Defence counsel. And I will start when you were working at the Supreme
10 Command Staff in April of 1999. Mr. Visnjic showed you a couple of
11 documents that are -- appear to be briefing notes from those evening
12 meetings you had at the Supreme Command Staff. Do you recall those? I
13 just have a general --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I have a general question about how those were taken. Do you know
16 who took those notes of the briefings?
17 A. Those briefings were held in the hall of the operations centre,
18 and there were persons on duty in that operations centre and they did
20 Q. And what was the practice, were the notes that were taken then
21 later circulated to you all to review and make any corrections or did
22 you -- did you ever see them?
23 A. Minutes were taken at the meeting or, conditionally speaking,
24 collegium because there were the members of the collegium of the Chief of
25 Staff, General Ojdanic, there.
1 Q. Okay. I think we're talking about two different things now. I'm
2 aware of the collegium meetings which I understand were tape recorded, and
3 often those meetings seemed to last for hours and the documents run to 40
4 or 50 pages. But now I'm talking about during the war and these sort of
5 end-of-the-day briefings around 7.00 or 8.00 at night, that was something
6 different, correct?
7 A. Yes. But the collegium minutes composition, it was like a
8 collegium. So that's what determines whether it's a collegium, who was
9 there not how long it lasted.
10 Q. Okay. But these meetings in the evening were not called collegium
11 meetings, were they, even though you all are part of the collegium?
12 A. Yes, you're right, they were called daily briefings.
13 Q. Okay. And the minutes or the notes that were taken of those daily
14 meetings, were they tape recorded or were they simply written down by
16 A. Minutes were taken by persons from the operations administration
17 in whose competence the operative centre was, they were in charge of it.
18 Q. Okay. So they were not tape recorded as far as you know?
19 A. I can't be explicit.
20 Q. Okay. And did you ever see the notes that were taken at these
21 meetings, were they ever passed around to you or other members to review
22 and make corrections?
23 A. Of course. Based on these minutes or these notes, we looked at
24 the tasks that had been set and each participant, if he had not had time
25 to note something down during the meeting or found something unclear, he
1 could look at those minutes and extract what he needed from the meeting.
2 Q. Okay. And were the ones -- were the notes that were circulated to
3 you all after the meetings, were they typed up or were they just simply
4 xeroxed copies of the handwritten notes?
5 A. These notes were not distributed to us. They were kept in the
6 operations centre in a certain place, and anyone who was interested could
7 go and inspect the entire record.
8 Q. Okay. Thank you. You told us about the big map --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you move from that --
10 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Can we just look very quickly at 3D724. Thank you
12 very much. Yes. That can go from the screen.
13 Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
15 Well, can we leave it there while it's up. I'll ask a question
16 about that one. I'll skip ahead.
17 Q. General, if we could go -- I guess it is page 3 of the English and
18 page 3 of the B/C/S, it's item number 12 I have a question about. In your
19 testimony yesterday you mentioned the Vinca Institute and you told us it's
20 a well-known nuclear institute and there's a lot of radioactive matter
21 being stored there. What exactly was the Vinca Institute?
22 A. The Vinca institute, as you yourself have said, was a nuclear
23 institute where nuclear research was carried out with nuclear material,
24 radioactive material, dangerous to the environment and to humans.
25 Q. And in item number 12 of Exhibit 3D724, Major-General Petkovic is
1 noted as speaking and he mentions it's possible the Vinca Institute may be
2 damaged and it's thought that a nuclear bomb cannot be created.
3 Were there discussions or plans at that time to create a nuclear
4 bomb at the Vinca Institute?
5 A. To the best of my knowledge, in the leadership of the Federal
6 Republic of Yugoslavia there was never any idea of creating a nuclear
7 bomb. The Vinca Institute did scientific research.
8 Q. Do you know why Major-General would then feel it necessary to make
9 that comment?
10 A. I can't say why he said that.
11 Q. Thank you. Now I want to return -- I started to ask you a
12 question about the map. You mentioned this large map about I think 1 and
13 a half by 1 and a half metres that at one time you were tasked to help
14 make some markings on. How did this work, was the map changed every day
15 to reflect changes on the ground?
16 A. The map was not changed every day, but rather, as I said
17 yesterday, various subcolours were used to mark the activities of
18 individual units in the course of the day. General Ojdanic, in view of
19 the fact that it was quite small and then became very hard to read over
20 time, ordered that we should find a better method of keeping that map.
21 Q. Okay. And did you find a better method?
22 A. Yes. After the first attempt to which General Ojdanic had some
23 comments to make, we developed the method and I explained what we did
24 yesterday, how we solved the problem.
25 Q. You have to be patient with me. I'm trying to visualise what this
1 looked like. Is this a topographic map of Kosovo or is this all of
3 A. As it was war, the entire territory of the FRY was called the
4 theatre of war by our soldiers. It was a map of the FRY with all the
5 units where they were deployed.
6 Q. And is this a paper map or is there a plastic cover or a plate of
7 glass over it? How do you -- how were you marking on the map?
8 A. In the beginning it had a plastic cover and felt-tip pens were
9 used, following the methods in the instructions for work were made on the
11 Q. And so at the end of each day then it got erased and changed to
12 show the new locations of units, correct?
13 A. No. By your leave, if -- to vulgarize it. There was a unit in a
14 certain area, and on that day they had no activities, it remained that
15 way. If it did engage in some activity, then this would be shown with a
16 felt-tip pen with a subcolour, and in the legend the date would be entered
17 when the change was made.
18 Q. But were those changes then stored somehow, did you take a
19 photograph of the map at the end of each day to show how things had
20 progressed from day one to day 50, for example?
21 A. No, no photograph was made of the map. It was always on the wall
22 in the operations centre, and apart from what I've already said that
23 certain subcolours were used and marked with a date in the legend, changes
24 were also introduced in the war diary, they were entered in the war diary.
25 And after a certain period of time had elapsed, a prolonged period of
1 time, the map would become difficult to read, it would be saturated. And
2 then on that day a new map would be introduced with the situation as of
3 that day, and then the markings would continue to be made on this second
4 map and the first map would be registered and kept in the archives.
5 Q. Okay. That -- thank you. That's very helpful. So you marked on
6 the map until it got to the point that it was so covered with markings
7 that you needed to start over with a new map, correct, and --
8 A. Excuse me, not a new, clean map. The initial map would reflect
9 the day on which it starts. So it would not be a clean map, it would have
10 on it the situation as it was on that day. The old map would still be in
11 the operations centre, but it would simply be kept as a document.
12 Q. Okay. And that -- those maps that you used during the war should
13 still be available in the VJ archives, correct?
14 A. Absolutely.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. What was the smallest level unit that was shown
16 on those maps -- I see you're indicating your headphones there. Are you
17 not hearing me?
18 A. Yes, yes, I didn't hear you before, but now I hear. According to
19 our rules, the working map is always kept for two degrees below, which
20 means that as it was the Supreme Command Staff, apart from the army zone
21 and the zone of the corps, it would be up to corps level because of the
22 specific circumstances in which combat activities were carried out in
23 Kosovo, brigades were also entered but with only one line and the number
24 would be shown.
25 Q. Okay. So not battalions, but brigades would be shown on the map
1 in Kosovo?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What about -- was there anything to indicate MUP units because
4 they were engaged in combat operations with the Pristina Corps, or was it
5 only VJ units that were shown on the map?
6 A. Only VJ units.
7 Q. And military territorial detachments, are they too small to be
8 reflected on the map?
9 A. Military territorial detachments were part of the command of the
10 army, they were subordinated to the command of the army. But the Pristina
11 Military District was then subordinate -- or resubordinated, excuse me, to
12 the commander of the Pristina Corps because of their specific nature, and
13 they are shown in the areas where they were.
14 Q. What about civil defence?
15 A. Units of the civil defence did not come within the purview of the
16 Chief of Staff, and they are not shown but they were entered in the war
17 diary from the combat reports, as reported by the subordinate commander.
18 And from that you can see where they were and what they were doing.
19 That's only for purposes of monitoring or following, not for purposes of
21 Q. And would the same be true for MUP units that were engaged in
22 operations, would they be reflected in the -- in the war diary?
23 A. Yes, if -- if they were mentioned in the report submitted by the
25 Q. Okay. Thank you. In one of those briefing notes Mr. Visnjic
1 asked you about a reference to training of volunteers, I think it was 126
2 volunteers; do you recall that?
3 A. Yes. I don't recall the precise number, but I accept what you
4 say, yes. Not just 126, there was a cycle of training. When I referred
5 to General Ojdanic, I said that that cycle had been completed and that as
6 far as I can recall those 126 had been sent on to the subordinate command.
7 Q. Do you recall, were those volunteers taken in as a unit or are you
8 talking about 126 different individuals that went different places, if you
9 understand my question?
10 A. There was a centre for the training of volunteers in Bubanj Potok.
11 There they were trained to individually carry out their tasks.
12 General Ojdanic issued an order that the volunteers should be distributed
13 among the subordinate units and that they should not make up a separate
14 unit by themselves, but that according to their military specialty they
15 should fill the empty places, the vacancies, in various units depending on
16 what they were specially trained to do. So they were not a special
17 volunteer unit. That was ordered by him explicitly, he prohibited the
18 creation of such a unit.
19 Q. And that is right. One of the reasons for that, sir, is that the
20 VJ and the JNA before it had had some bad experience with volunteer units;
21 isn't that correct?
22 A. I don't know how to answer that question because you asked me
23 about the Army of Yugoslavia. If you meant that members of the Army of
24 Yugoslavia as those who inherited the JNA and continued it, then yes; if
25 you're asking me as the Army of Yugoslavia, the answer is no.
1 Q. Okay. And is it your testimony that there was no problem for the
2 VJ with volunteers in 1999?
3 A. In general, yes; individually, no -- no, no, generally no;
4 individually, yes. Excuse me, I made an error.
5 Q. I think I understand. Now, I want to ask you about Exhibit 3D725.
6 MR. HANNIS: And if we could go to page 5 of the English and page
7 5 of the B/C/S at the very last bit of text on that page.
8 Q. General, this is -- these are the briefing notes for a meeting on
9 the 8th of April, 1999, and if you could look at the next-to-the-last
10 bullet point on your page. And I can tell you that from the previous page
11 this appears to be General Ojdanic speaking, and that next-to-the-last
12 item says: "The position on volunteers, resolve it. The patriot must be
13 given the opportunity of going into battle rather than looters of various
15 Do you recall that being discussed at that meeting on your first
16 week at the Supreme Command Staff?
17 A. Well, I've partially answered that in my previous answer. There
18 was a brief order issued by General Ojdanic as to how volunteers were to
19 be dealt with, how they were to be received, how they were to be trained,
20 what was to be done with them apart from the medical and psychological
21 processing, monitoring the training after a certain period of training,
22 according to the assessment of the officers carrying out the training --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, all you were asked was do you recall
24 this being discussed at that particular meeting, yes or no.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
2 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
3 Q. And, General -- so it looks like on April 8th the issue of
4 volunteers is still not resolved because General Ojdanic is saying:
5 Resolve it, correct?
6 A. By your leave, there is a letter from the command of the 3rd Army
7 where he draws attention to problems with the volunteers, but as I can't
8 make a link between this date and that document, I assume that
9 General Ojdanic had in mind that when receiving, processing, and training
10 volunteers, evidently some mistakes had been made which were now showing
11 up in practice in the way he explained here. He said looters of various
12 types and so on. I assume that that's what this refers to, but it's hard
13 to make the link because I don't know when that letter from the command of
14 the 3rd Army arrived.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. Next I want to ask you about Exhibit P929.
16 These are the minutes of a VJ collegium meeting on the 9th of April, 1999.
17 Mr. Visnjic asked you about this I think at page 15482. And I think you
18 told us you recalled this meeting.
19 MR. HANNIS: And if we could go to page 13 of the English, and I
20 believe that is the bottom of page 13 and the top of page 14 of the B/C/S.
21 Q. Do you recall speaking at that meeting and talking about the
22 ground forces in Kosovo and their situation and what they had been doing?
23 A. Yes, I remember.
24 Q. And so during the first two weeks or two weeks and a couple of
25 days of the war, the ground forces in Kosovo, the forces of the 3rd Army,
1 the Pristina Corps, you say these units have been engaged on protecting
2 the state border, crushing the Siptar terrorist forces, and closing the
3 routes which lead from Macedonia and Albania, correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And in the course of crushing the Siptar terrorist forces, isn't
6 it correct that the VJ in coordination with the MUP in those operations
7 were also driving out the Kosovar Albanian civilians who lived in those
8 areas where the Siptar terrorists were operating?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Well, what was happening with those civilians who lived in those
11 areas where those combat operations were carried out in the first two
12 weeks of the war?
13 A. I have partly given an answer to that question. It's natural
14 where combat operations are being carried out and people are being killed
15 that the population from such areas tries to take shelter, tries to flee,
16 that's one reason. A second reason is that the terrorist army of Kosovo,
17 in order to achieve their propaganda goals and stage humanitarian
18 disaster, exerted pressure on their compatriots to move out of their
19 villages, on the one hand to achieve their propaganda goal and on the
20 other hand to have a clear field in order to facilitate the air-strikes by
21 the aggressor on the units of the Army of Yugoslavia.
22 Q. There weren't any combat operations in Pristina town itself, were
23 there, in the first two weeks?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You mean yes there were not?
1 A. Yes, just one thing, please. I came, I came on the 2nd of April
2 to the staff of the Supreme Command. Prior to that for two months, or
3 rather, three months I had been involved in other issues at the defence
4 ministry. So please, if possible, can you keep the questions restricted
5 to the time during which I was responsible to the Chief of Staff.
6 Q. I understand about your change in positions, but I'm just asking
7 if even though you were not working at the Supreme Command Staff, do you
8 have any information that there were combat operations in Pristina town in
9 the first two weeks of the war?
10 A. Not as far as I remember.
11 Q. And are you -- are you aware that there were thousands of Kosovo
12 Albanians who were taken to the train station and taken out of the country
13 or taken to the last train stop in Kosovo where they were ordered off the
14 train and marched across the railroad tracks into Macedonia, were you
15 aware of that?
16 A. I heard of that.
17 Q. In one of your answers to Mr. Visnjic about the situation of the
18 ground forces on April 8th, 1999, at page 15842, line 24, you said one of
19 the things you were trying to do was "to build fortifications, to
20 reinforce, to try to improve on some of our weaknesses in terms of
21 discipline and such-like."
22 What specifically were you referring to when you said "weaknesses
23 in terms of discipline and such-like"?
24 A. I believe that you've been following my testimony about the
25 controls, and it's all there for everyone to see. We established that
1 certain units had not built the shelters and fortifications that could
2 have protected them from air-strikes. That's one thing. And the other
3 thing is they were not complying with camouflage discipline which was
4 exposing our positions, leaving them open. Thirdly, there were random
5 cases of drunkenness and desertion, and such-like, unauthorised entry into
6 villages and such-like. It was in that context that I said it that we had
7 sufficient time and there was to be no ground attack. And we had
8 sufficient time to deal with this, to repair this, and to reinforce our
9 positions for soldiers to be able to hide under the ground, if you like,
10 in order to avoid unnecessary casualties as a result of air-strikes.
11 Q. Okay. And also in that April 9th meeting you talked about that
12 there was a concern that there was going to be a NATO ground operation; do
13 you recall that?
14 A. Yes. I said that at the Supreme Command Staff there was always
15 the concern that sooner or later there would be is a ground operation, and
16 I also explained about the two different possible scenarios.
17 Q. Right. And you did mention those two scenarios, one with a large
18 group of the terrorist army in Kosovo with support from the Albanian army,
19 and I think the second one was if NATO itself brought in some of its
20 soldiers to set up a bridge head [Realtime transcript read in error
21 "hit"]. Those were the two options. Okay --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Were both of those options something that you and the VJ expected
24 from the very start of the war? I know you didn't come to the Supreme
25 Command Staff until April 3rd, but do you know if that was something that
1 was anticipated from day one of the war?
2 A. If you remember, I spoke yesterday about the initial operations
3 planned and how the directive was produced which was a consequence of this
4 collegium meeting. This was a directive on Thunder 3, Grom 3, and this
5 was elaborated by the General Staff on the 16th of January. This
6 directive comprised the possibility that the aggression would start by the
7 bringing in of a multi-national NATO brigade from the north of Macedonia,
8 partly air-borne, by helicopter and partly across the line through the
9 Kacanicka ravine and in cooperation with the forces in Kosovo in order to
10 create this bridge head, as you say.
11 Q. Okay.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me a moment, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Page 80, line 14, says bridge hit and what
15 Mr. Hannis asked was bridge head and I think there's enough difference
16 there that it might not be caught and it's an important difference.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
18 Mr. Hannis.
19 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
20 Q. While we're on this issue I want to ask you about the Supreme
21 Command. You were part of the Supreme Command Staff. What was your
22 understanding about who made up the Supreme Command during the state of
24 A. I don't understand your question.
25 Q. Okay. Well, would you agree with me that everyone understood that
1 Slobodan Milosevic was the supreme commander during the state of war?
2 A. Absolutely.
3 Q. And my understanding is that the VJ General Staff, as it was
4 called during peacetime, once the state of war declared became the Supreme
5 Command Staff, correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. Now, in my language in English if I were talking about a Supreme
8 Command Staff, I would understand that to be the staff, the people, that
9 worked for the Supreme Command, whoever or whatever that was. My question
10 is: What was the Supreme Command? Who was the Supreme Command? Was it
11 only Mr. Milosevic or was it some larger group of persons, if you know?
12 A. Of course I do know. How wouldn't I? Each command has a
13 structure and so does the Supreme Command. At the head you find the
14 commander, and then there is a staff which analyses, or rather, transforms
15 orders of the commander in a technical sense into a certain document and
16 then sends this document down to those subordinated to him to carry out in
17 the simplest of terms. Therefore, if you ask me whether the president,
18 too, was part of the Supreme Command, in that case the answer is a
19 categorical yes.
20 Q. Okay. But is he the only one in the Supreme Command or are there
21 other persons along with Mr. Milosevic who are part of the Supreme Command
22 which is served by the Supreme Command Staff?
23 A. Supreme Command Staff works for the commanders alone. If I
24 understand this correctly and if I may I suppose you're allusion to is to
25 the Supreme Defence Council.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Zecevic --
2 MR. ZECEVIC: I don't want to. I was just having a comment on the
3 transcript and the witness has says the Supreme Command Staff works for
4 the commander alone, for the commander alone.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 MR. ZECEVIC: Commander --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
8 MR. HANNIS:
9 Q. You heard that, General. Was that your answer, that the Supreme
10 Command Staff works for the commander alone, was that your answer?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And that means just Slobodan Milosevic because he's the commander,
14 A. Again, I don't understand your question. It doesn't work for him;
15 it works for the VJ. It does for the VJ what he orders to his Chief of
17 Q. The Supreme Command Staff doesn't work for Mr. Milosevic as
18 supreme commander, is that what you're saying?
19 A. No, no, no. It wouldn't be right. If I were Chief of Staff, as I
20 was, and I would not be working for my army commander. That is the same
21 kind of relationship. The staff is in charge of all combat documents in
22 the spirit of the commander's decision. The same principle applies at all
23 levels, including that of the Supreme Command.
24 Q. Let me try to approach this from a different direction. You
25 mentioned the Supreme Defence Council. What was your understanding about
1 what that was and who was on it?
2 A. The Supreme Defence Council comprises president of the Federal
3 Republic of Yugoslavia, the president of the Republic of Serbia, and the
4 president of the Republic of Montenegro.
5 Q. Okay --
6 A. It is based on their decisions that the supreme commander over the
7 army grows out of this body and the Supreme Defence Council in a more
8 liberal sense deals with the country's defence, because the armed struggle
9 waged by the army is the basic implementing agent of the country's
10 defence. But it's not the only subject of defence, there are other
11 subjects of defence. So the Supreme Defence Council deals with all the
12 subjects of the country's defence because the means to wage this struggle
13 is the economy, traffic, agriculture, and so on and so forth.
14 Q. It's -- we've had evidence in this case and it's been my
15 understanding that during peacetime the Supreme Defence Council, which as
16 you said was made up of the president of the Republic of Yugoslavia,
17 Mr. Milosevic; the president of the Republic of Serbia, who we know was
18 Mr. Milutinovic; and the president of Montenegro, who we know at that time
19 was Mr. Djukanovic, correct?
20 A. Certainly.
21 Q. And it's my understanding that according to the constitution of
22 Yugoslavia and the Law on Defence and the Law on the Army all provide that
23 the Supreme Defence Council -- that the president of the Republic of
24 Yugoslavia commands the army during peacetime in accordance with decisions
25 of the Supreme Defence Council; that's correct, isn't it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What happens to the Supreme Defence Council when a state of war is
4 A. I said a while ago from the aspect of the country's defence which
5 subjects were involved in this defence. It wasn't just the army. The
6 supreme commander exercises command over the army, and then through
7 reporting every morning of the supreme commander the same information that
8 the supreme commander had was also received by the next member of the
9 Supreme Defence Council. And it was based on this that they could survey
10 the problems in the army from their own standpoints, the standpoint of the
11 economy, the railways, traffic in general, and so on and so forth.
12 Q. My understanding of your answer to be then that Mr. Milutinovic
13 and Mr. Djukanovic continued to serve, but they only dealt with problems
14 like the economy and the railway and traffic and nothing to do with the
15 army; is that what you're saying?
16 A. No, no -- maybe I misunderstood. Maybe it was misinterpreted. I
17 allow for both possibilities. Maybe I misexpressed myself. The Supreme
18 Defence Council, when it took the decision for the army to engage in the
19 country's defence, and that was when the government declared a state of
20 war, President Milosevic commands the army and this doesn't mean that the
21 remaining members of the Supreme Defence Council are entirely passive. He
22 commands with their conveyed decisions, the decisions that they took or
23 agreed on, but the report sent by the chief of the Supreme Command Staff
24 to his own commander also are submitted to the members of the Supreme
25 Defence Council, but also to the president of the federal government, the
1 president of the Republic of Serbia, and let me not get into any further
2 into that. I think there are 15 or 16 addresses that this report is
3 submitted to and then they use this to see what their duties and
4 responsibilities are from the point of view of the functional duty that
5 the army and other subjects of defence must carry out. My apologies, if I
6 may. We, for example, if you looked at the report you know that they were
7 saying they were short on certain types of ammunition or this or that or
8 maybe this. There is no industry because it's a special-purpose industry
9 because it's destroyed, so this had to be important this can't be done by
10 the army or by the Chief of Staff. This must be done by one of the
11 federal bodies. It was in this sense that they had a commitment.
12 Q. Okay. Now, we've heard some evidence to suggest that once the
13 state of war was declared the Supreme Defence Council did not meet during
14 the war, but we've heard people refer to the Supreme Command. Now, my
15 question to you: Is the body that's referred to as the Supreme Command
16 during the state of war what used to be called the Supreme Defence Council
17 during peacetime and they just changed the name because you're in a
18 different state when the war is on.?
19 A. There's one thing I'd like to ask you and it's this. In my
20 opinion the Supreme Defence Council once it transfers its powers under the
21 constitution to the president and he becomes the supreme commander, they
22 are not within the composition of the Supreme Command in order to exercise
23 direct command over the army, because this would disrupt the fundamental
24 elementary principle of subordination and singleness of command. You
25 can't have the one, the other, and somebody else on top of that issuing
1 orders to the army. It was in this sense that the principle of singleness
2 of command was complied with and vice versa.
3 Q. Okay. But wouldn't it be possible for the supreme commander to
4 have advisors or associates that he consulted with in taking the decisions
5 about how to employ the army?
6 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Your Honour, I have to object. The question's
7 been asked at least three different ways and answered each way the same --
8 in the same manner by the witness. And this last question now is just
9 asking for speculation based on a very concrete and direct answers given
10 by the witness to these questions.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: I have to say speaking for myself, Mr. O'Sullivan,
12 I don't understand the last answer. And I -- once Mr. Hannis is finished,
13 I'll certainly be exploring this further myself on behalf of the Chamber.
14 It's -- these answers are not clear.
15 Mr. Hannis.
16 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
17 Q. Let me move to something --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Please do not invite the witness to engage in
19 speculation, but the last question probably didn't do that, however you're
20 departing from it.
21 MR. HANNIS: Well, Your Honour, I'm going to stick to the topic
22 but I'm going to move to another question.
23 Could we go to this P929, the exhibit that we've got. I need to
24 move to page 38 and 39 of the English and I think that is page 45 in the
25 B/C/S, yeah, 45 carrying over to 46.
1 Q. General, I don't know if you can see that on your screen.
2 MR. HANNIS: I need to start at the bottom, the last -- I think
3 the last six lines on that page.
4 Q. Let me read in the English and then you tell me if this is what it
5 says in the B/C/S, and I'm starting on page 38 of the English five lines
6 up from the bottom. This is General Ojdanic speaking and he says:
7 "I mentioned that a conclusion should be given which will confirm
8 how that will affect the possibility of continuing the arm struggle,
9 particularly from the perspective of time. To conduct an armed struggle
10 in conditions of the predicted further course of the war. As for me, as
11 early as tomorrow I will ask the Supreme Command to thoroughly acquaint
12 itself with this material, regardless of how extensive it is and I think
13 that it will not be very extensive."
14 And at some point in time we're going to have to turn the page in
15 both English and B/C/S.
16 "I will suggest that after that in a group determined by the
17 Supreme Command, the president, briefed that group to a lesser extent on
18 the stands, assessments, conclusions and proposals of the staff of the
19 Supreme Command as regards what should be done at this time."
20 Did I read it correctly? Is that translation correct? Is there
21 anything in the B/C/S that is different?
22 A. Well, quite frankly, I was not able to follow in the Serbian. I
23 didn't have the portion that you were reading.
24 MR. HANNIS: Well, could we go back one page in the B/C/S.
25 Q. And, General, if you could start reading -- actually, I have a
1 hard copy and maybe if I could have the usher hand you this. I've
2 highlighted part of it in pink here. If you could start from that first
3 little half circle of the pink and read until you run out of pink.
4 A. Yes, I see this.
5 Q. Can you read from that part.
6 A. Should I read it?
7 Q. Please.
8 A. "As for me, as early as tomorrow I will ask the Supreme Command,
9 regardless of their extent and I don't think they will be very extensive
10 to thoroughly familiarise themselves with it. I will also propose that
11 based on this in the composition determined by the supreme commander, to a
12 lesser degree, the president, familiarises this composition with the
14 Q. Is that it?
15 A. Yes, and then the next page.
16 "Familiarises this composition with the positions, assessments,
17 conclusions and proposals of the staff of the Supreme Command as to what
18 needs doing right now at this time."
19 Q. Okay. Thank you.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, I think we should have read again the
21 sentence: "I will also propose that ..."
22 MR. HANNIS: You mean before "as for me"?
23 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, the next sentence.
24 MR. HANNIS: "I will suggest that ..." -- Oh, okay.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
1 Mr. Simic, will you read again the sentence that begins: "I will
2 also propose that based on this in the composition ..."
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it reads literally:
4 "As for me, as early as tomorrow I will ask the Supreme Command,
5 regardless of their extent and I don't think they will be very extensive,
6 to thoroughly familiarise themselves with these documents. I will also
7 propose that after this in a composition determined by the supreme
8 commander, to a lesser degree, the president, familiarises this
9 composition with the positions, assessments, conclusions, and proposals
10 made by the Supreme Command Staff as to what needs doing or what must be
11 done right now at this time."
12 JUDGE BONOMY: In the first sentence you read there you read the
13 words "Supreme Command." And in the second sentence you read the
14 words "Supreme commander." Are these -- are the words in these two
15 sentences different?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It says: "I will ask the Supreme
17 Command to familiarise themselves with this material." And it also makes
18 a reference in the last sentence to the supreme commander, the president,
19 to a lesser degree familiarise the composition with the positions," so
20 both terms are used.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 MR. HANNIS: Did I clear it up for you, Your Honour, I'm not sure
23 it cleared it up for me.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: It doesn't clear it. It has confirmed that the
25 witness read two different terms.
1 MR. HANNIS: Um --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: And he says that there are different terms in the
3 Serb --
4 MR. HANNIS: I wonder, Your Honour, if we can inquire of the booth
5 if we can have the document on the screen for them. I think it's an
6 important point to clear up.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it's a very important point.
8 MR. HANNIS: The trouble is we have to start on the previous page
9 and continue over to the second page, but I think it would be worth the
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Can we not just put the copy that the witness has
12 on the ELMO.
13 MR. HANNIS: We could.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: And that could be read -- the highlighted portion
15 could be read to us.
16 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask the English interpreter first of all if
18 it is possible to do what we have considered, that is, invite you to read
19 the highlighted portion of the document in English.
20 THE INTERPRETER: We can do our best, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please proceed.
22 THE INTERPRETER: "As for me as early as tomorrow I will ask the
23 Supreme Command to, regardless of their extent, and I do not believe that
24 they will be very extensive, to thoroughly familiarise themselves with
25 these materials. I will also propose after this in the composition
1 determined -- in a composition determined by the supreme commander, the
2 president, to a lesser degree or extent to familiarise this composition
3 with the positions."
4 Now we need to turn the page.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: We don't need to turn the page. Just leave it,
6 please, where it is.
7 Thank you, that does seem to resolve the matter, Mr. Hannis.
8 MR. HANNIS: I think it does, Your Honour, although now I have
9 themselves instead of itself, but that may be better.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we had themselves in an earlier version as
12 MR. HANNIS:
13 Q. General, I understand that to mean that the Supreme Command is
14 something separate and distinct from the supreme commander himself,
15 Mr. Milosevic, and that it was more than one individual and it is not the
16 Supreme Command Staff, because the Supreme Command Staff -- this is a
17 meeting of the Supreme Command Staff or of the collegium and they're
18 discussing proposals to be put forward that General Ojdanic is going to
19 ask the Supreme Command to review or acquaint itself with. So who were
20 those persons on the Supreme Command, wasn't that Mr. Milutinovic and
21 Mr. Djukanovic, and perhaps some others?
22 A. If you look at the name itself, the Supreme Defence Council, what
23 this means is the country's defence, that's what it implies. I explained
24 a while ago that the country 's --
25 Q. General, let me stop you. There's no reference to Supreme Defence
1 Council here. I'm asking you about Supreme Command.
2 A. The Supreme Command of the army comprises the president, based on
3 the powers of the Supreme Defence Council, with his General Staff, or
4 rather, the Supreme Command Staff.
5 Q. General, that doesn't make any sense, does it, that's like the
6 Supreme Command Staff is going to furnish materials to itself and then
7 meet with the supreme commander. That doesn't make sense in the context
8 of what we just read here, does it?
9 A. I'm not sure if you understood me. If I may just explain. There
10 were evening briefings, and these were chaired by the Chief of Staff. The
11 supreme commander did not attend these briefings. Based on conclusions
12 from those briefings a report is drafted which is then submitted to the
13 president the next morning, or rather, the Chief of Staff in the evening
14 hours if the president is there familiarises him with it, and in addition
15 to this submits to him in writing a document from that meeting underlining
16 problems that he as the Chief of Staff cannot resolve. At the same time,
17 this report is submitted to other members of the Supreme Defence Council.
18 I talked about the federal prime minister, I talked about the president of
19 the Republic of Serbia, and I think there are about 15 or 16 different
20 addresses that this report is then submitted to. It is for this reason
21 that he put it this way here, that he would ask the president or the
22 supreme commander, whether in a smaller or a larger circle of people to
23 familiarise themselves with these problems that the army was now facing in
24 this continuing war.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, this would be a convenient time to
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I would like to be clear about the first
4 sentence of the passage you read where you twice read: "I will ask the
5 Supreme Command to thoroughly familiarise themselves with these
7 Does that mean the group of 15 or 16 people you've just referred
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's not the Supreme
10 Command, but these are the most responsible people in the country who are
11 responsible for the defence of the country. It is not only --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Simic, the sentence quite simply talks about
13 the Supreme Command and asking them to thoroughly familiarise themselves
14 with these materials; it doesn't refer to 15 or 16 other people, it
15 doesn't refer to the Supreme Defence Council. So what is it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I've already said the
17 Supreme Command consists of the supreme commander with his staff; that is
18 the Supreme Command. As for the rest, this being said, these are the most
19 responsible people for the defence of the country who have their own
20 degree of responsibility in accordance with the offices they hold. That
21 is why he says here in a bigger or narrower composition depending on what
22 the president decides. By your leave ...
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You do allow me to proceed?
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We had enormous problems in terms of
2 war technical equipment. We were under sanctions, so the equipment was
3 obsolete, inefficient. The Chief of Staff could not resolve it on his
4 own. Government intervention was required of one and the other. Also,
5 higher levels were required. If he were commander, then the units of the
6 civil defence and the units of civilian protection would be subordinated
7 to the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command, which is not regulated that
8 way in the Law on Defence of the country. These units are subordinated to
9 the minister of defence, and he is linked to the prime minister. It is
10 from that point of view that he believed that it was necessary to have a
11 broader meeting with the highest levels available to have these problems
12 resolved, those problems that were tormenting him.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 Suitable time to interrupt, Mr. Hannis?
15 MR. HANNIS: It is, Your Honour. Thank you.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we have to complete our sitting at this
17 stage, Mr. Simic, and that means that you have to return tomorrow.
18 Tomorrow we will be sitting from 11.00, so you have to be back ready to
19 resume your evidence at 11.00. I particularly emphasise before you leave
20 the importance of having no discussion of the evidence in this case with
21 anyone between now and then. So please leave the courtroom with the usher
22 and we'll see you at 11.00 tomorrow.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.07 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Friday, the 14th day of
1 September, 2007, at 11.00 a.m.