1 Monday, 25 June 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. The Chamber understands there are
6 one or two matters that counsel wish to raise.
7 Mr. Saxon.
8 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour. Very briefly, before the next
9 witness enters the courtroom, I'd simply like to provide two more pieces
10 of information related to this witness, in case the Chamber deems it
11 necessary to discuss these matters with the witness. The Chamber is
12 aware, I believe, as is the Defence, that the Prosecution has had
13 discussions with the witness over the last few days about his "suspect
14 status" and the implications thereof. And I would like to simply point
15 out two facts from the last -- from these discussions.
16 The witness inquired at one point whether the affirmation provided
17 to the witness by the Prosecution, yesterday afternoon, would also --
18 would protect the witness from subsequent prosecutions in his home country
19 or in other countries. And the Prosecution has explained to the witness
20 twice in the last few days that the -- that the Office of the Prosecutor's
21 affirmation declaration cannot provide such a sweeping guarantee, if you
22 will, for the future.
23 However, the Prosecution also has explained to the witness the
24 text of Rule 90(E), about the witness's right not to incriminate himself;
25 and if he is compelled to answer certain questions, that the Chamber can
1 determine that such evidence would not be used in subsequent prosecutions.
2 And with that explanation, the witness was willing to go forward.
3 The Prosecution also --
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Saxon, in that, I sense an implication that the
5 effect of Rule 90(E) would be binding upon a court of a nation. It's
6 certainly binding on this Tribunal, but why would it bind a court in
7 another country? Would it not depend upon the law of that country,
8 whether evidence given under compulsion was admissible or not?
9 MR. SAXON: I take Your Honour's point. Yes, Your Honour. Yes,
10 Your Honour.
11 Also, yesterday -- the witness came to The Hague without an
12 attorney; and during discussions yesterday and further explanation of the
13 meaning of the suspect status here at the ICTY, the witness was also given
14 an opportunity to telephone legal counsel in Macedonia. And the witness
15 declined that opportunity and said, no, he was ready to go forward.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Well, once again, that would apply under Rule 42 to
17 questioning by the Prosecutor in your investigation role.
18 MR. SAXON: Yes, Your Honour. Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: But it has no direct application to evidence given
20 in this court.
21 MR. SAXON: I understand, Your Honour. It is simply the
22 Prosecution's policy now to continue, if you will, to treat someone who
23 was treated as a suspect during the investigation to continue to permit
24 that person to consult with an attorney, if they so wish. And so that
25 opportunity was given to the witness yesterday. I simply wanted to make
1 that fact.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Saxon.
3 Is there any other matter? If not, the witness should be brought
5 Oh, Mr. Mettraux.
6 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, I apologise. First of all, I'm
7 grateful to my colleague, Mr. Saxon, for raising the point. We had
8 discussed it with him this morning. So we are grateful that we did so.
9 There's one other matter, very briefly, Your Honour, which we wish to
10 raise this morning, and that concerns the appeal hearing in the Halilovic
11 case which will take place on the 10th and 11th of July of this year. I
12 myself will be involved in this appeal as co-counsel for Mr. Halilovic,
13 and I intended this morning to make an application for a short recess,
14 perhaps, in this trial on the 10th and 11th of July for reasons that I
15 will produce.
16 I will not be able to attend the hearing in both cases at the same
17 time. I have talked to Mr. Saxon this matter about this matter, and he
18 has indicated to me that he would have no objection to this matter. I
19 understand it may create some delays and, perhaps, some problems with this
20 Chamber, but I hope that Your Honour will be minded to grant this
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux, the -- in view of the position of the
25 Prosecution, and even though the matter will have, obviously, the effect
1 that two days of hearing might be lost, the circumstances persuade the
2 Chamber that there should not be sitting on the 10th and the 11th of July.
3 If there should be any adjustment to the Appeals Chamber sittings, you
4 could let us know; but at the moment, the Prosecution should plan on the
5 basis that there will be no hearing on the 10th and the 11th.
6 We realise that leaves the 9th as a single day, and we also
7 realise that that may produce problems with bringing a witness and
8 starting evidence and then waiting for two days. So that realisation
9 being identified, we leave it to you, Mr. Saxon, as you come nearer to the
10 9th, 10th, and 11th, to indicate whether there will be a particular
11 problem about the 9th.
12 MR. SAXON: Very well, Your Honour.
13 MR. METTRAUX: I'm grateful to the Chamber and to the Prosecution.
14 Thank you.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Well, I believe we're now ready for the witness.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Would you please read aloud the
18 affirmation that is on the card shown to you now.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Your Honours, and everyone
20 else present in the courtroom, I solemnly declare that I will speak the
21 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 JUDGE PARKER: The Judges understand that you have been formally
25 advised by the Office of the Prosecutor that you will not be charged by
1 this Tribunal with any offences in relation to the events at Ljuboten
2 during August 2001. We mention that in court so that you can be
3 re-assured that that is the position of the Prosecutor announced publicly.
4 This Tribunal cannot direct that there will not be proceedings in
5 your own country or in some other country, but we can assure you as far as
6 this Tribunal is concerned that there will not be any proceedings against
7 you in The Hague.
8 We would further mention to you that if you believe you are asked
9 to speak about a matter that could incriminate you, that is, that could
10 amount to some admission of your guilt of an offence or could provide
11 material evidence that you have committed an offence, then it is open to
12 you to say that you do not wish to answer that question. We understand
13 this has been explained to you by the people from the Office of the
14 Prosecutor that have been speaking to you, but we mention it specifically
15 in court so that you are aware of the matter.
16 So you may indicate during your evidence, if at any time you feel
17 that a question put to you would require you to incriminate yourself in
18 the way that I have indicated.
19 I believe now Ms. Motoike has some questions for you.
20 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you, Your Honour. Good morning.
21 Your Honour, for the record, the Prosecution at this time calls
22 Mitre Despodov.
23 WITNESS: MITRE DESPODOV
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Examination by Ms. Motoike:
1 Q. Good morning. Sir, is your name Mitre Despodov?
2 A. Yes, Your Honours.
3 Q. In August 2001, were you the major in command of the 3rd Guardist
4 Battalion of the 1st Guardist Brigade for the Army of the Republic of
6 A. Yes, Your Honours.
7 Q. And up to that date, that is, August 2001, how long had you been
8 in the military?
9 A. I apologise. Could you please repeat the question.
10 Q. Let me just ask you this: How many years up to August 2001 had
11 you been in the military?
12 A. Are you referring to the Army of the Republic of Macedonia or
13 combined with my service in the Yugoslav Army?
14 Q. I'm sorry. With respect to the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.
15 A. I was in the Army of the Republic of Macedonia since April 200 ...
16 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises: I'm not sure about
17 the year, if the witness could repeat the year.
18 MS. MOTOIKE:
19 Q. I'm sorry, Mr. Despodov, the interpreter didn't here the year.
20 What year did you -- what year did you say you were -- you had begun in
21 the Army of the Republic of Macedonia?
22 A. I was in the Army of the Republic of Macedonia since April 1992.
23 Q. Thank you. And drawing your attention to August of 2001.
24 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honours, with respect to this witness, because
25 of the exhibits that we intend to tender, I have prepared binders, if we
1 could distribute those with the assistance of the usher, please.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
3 MS. MOTOIKE:
4 Q. Mr. Despodov, drawing your attention to August 2001, I would like
5 to show you, if we could, please, 65 ter 794.
6 MS. MOTOIKE: It's at tab 1 of the binders. Its ERN is
7 N001-4698-N001-4698. Thank you. And could we turn it. Thank you. Thank
8 you. Yes.
9 Q. Mr. Despodov, do you see what's being displayed in front of you on
10 the computer screen?
11 A. Yes, Your Honours.
12 Q. And this appears to be a map with some markings on it. Do you
13 recognise this particular map?
14 A. Of course, Your Honours.
15 Q. And drawing your attention specifically to the right portion of
16 the map, towards the centre, maybe the third grid down, it says "Ljuboten"
17 there. Do you see that?
18 A. Yes, Your Honours.
19 Q. And there appear right above that appear to be some triangles with
20 some numbers in them going from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, I believe. Do you see
22 A. Of course, Your Honours.
23 Q. And can you tell us, please, what those specific markings, the
24 triangles with the numbers, do those indicate the positions of the Army of
25 the Republic of Macedonia at the time, in August 2001?
1 A. Your Honours, those are the positions of the 3rd Guardist
2 Battalion, of which I was the commander, and the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 denote
3 the points the positions of the 2nd Guardist Staff, which was in my
5 Q. And then right below that, following that train of thought, right
6 below that, there's also some positions marked with triangles. Is that
7 also a location of your battalion?
8 A. Are you referring to the positions in the village of Rastak? "3/3
9 Guardist Battalion," that writing?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. Those are the positions of the 3rd Staff which was deployed at the
12 village of Rastak.
13 Q. And drawing your attention up to -- above to the left and above
14 Ljuboten, there is a bigger triangle with some handwritten brackets around
15 it. Can you please indicate for us what that is.
16 A. Your Honours, I will ask you what specific triangle are you
17 referring to? I did not understand well.
18 Q. I apologise. It's my fault. There's a town, I think, marked on
19 here. On the map, it says "Ljubanci." Do you see that? It's right near
20 the "2" with the circle.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And immediately to the left of that is a big triangle with some
23 handwritten markings around it. Do you see that?
24 A. Yes, Your Honours.
25 Q. Okay. Could you please tell us what that triangle indicates.
1 A. Your Honours, the triangle in the village of Ljubanci with the
2 flag to the left of it, to the north of it, where "3" is written is the
3 topographic marking for the command location of my battalion.
4 Q. And was your command location located in a specific building
5 within Ljubanci?
6 A. Of course, Your Honours. In the primary school, in the village of
7 Ljubanci, in the building of the dorm. That dorm was intended for orphans
8 or children of impoverished parents who receive social welfare assistance
9 and they stay here, the children from the neighbouring villages, in the
10 Skopska Crna Gora mountain.
11 Q. Were there two locations for what I'll loosely term has your
12 headquarters for the 3rd Battalion? Was there one in Ljubanci and another
13 in I think you've described being in the hills or in the Skopska Crna Gora
14 mountain? Was there another location there as well?
15 A. Your Honours, at the command position of the battalion was located
16 in the village of Ljubanci, as I explained already. While the command
17 location for the 2nd Guardist Company, the unit that was deployed above
18 the village, as I explained before, that was positioned in the dorm.
19 There is -- in the children's resort, there is the children's summer
20 resort next to the St. Ilija church.
21 Q. Okay. So, if I'm looking at this map correctly, then, is the
22 companies within your battalion, their positions are then located in the
23 upper right area of this map, near the Rastak and Ljubanci/Ljuboten area.
24 Is that correct?
25 A. According to the deployment that is depicted here, the 2nd Company
1 up there, above the village of Ljubanci; the third in the village of
2 Rastak; well around Ljuboten, and above Ljuboten we had no positions, no
4 Q. Okay. And did you also have a 1st Company to your battalion?
5 A. There was another company there, but it is not depicted here in
6 the map. It was to the left of the 2nd Company near the village of
7 Brodec. It is a bit further away from these villages.
8 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honour, could we tender this, please?
9 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
10 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P297, Your Honours.
11 MS. MOTOIKE:
12 Q. And, Mr. Despodov, thinking -- keeping this map and the locations
13 in mind, I would like to show you another map which is tab 2 of today's
14 binders. It's 65 ter 117. And this map, Mr. Despodov, that you see
15 before you is somewhat colour-coded. A little bit clearer as far as the
16 locations of the villages. Do you see to the left of the map it says
17 "Ljubanci," and then right below that to the right it says "Ljuboten."
18 Do you see that?
19 A. Yes, Your Honour.
20 Q. And there are some markings, red dots with lines, that kind of --
21 they're in the centre portion of the map, and they go up from right above
22 Ljuboten and they follow in kind of an upward line to the right of the
23 map. Do you see those?
24 A. Yes, Your Honour.
25 Q. And, again, do those indicate the positions of the Army of the
1 Republic of Macedonia at that time, in August 2001?
2 A. Of course, Your Honour, with their titles, the names we had given
4 Q. And the names that -- these are the names in the squares above,
5 these red dots, these are the names of the particular companies?
6 A. Not of companies. No, I apologise, Your Honour. This is part of
7 a company, a group of five to six reservists who make that position, and
8 they have a title. For instance, the 1st Base, they were named.
9 Q. Okay. And you can see some -- there is a reference to a 3rd
10 Company in the -- it's in English. It's to the right -- right portion of
11 the diagram. So these red dots along the diagram then indicate the
12 position of the army, just so we're clear for the record. Is that true,
13 Mr. Despodov?
14 A. Exactly, Your Honour.
15 Q. And at that time, as the commander, were you familiar with the
16 positions of the National Liberation Army?
17 A. Not in detail, Your Honour, based only of -- on the information
18 that I had at the time. They were stationed in the village of Ljuboten,
19 in Strima, Matejce as well. And they were moving up and down the ridge of
20 Crna Gora mountain, from Nikustak, Aracinovo, down the road to so-called
21 Muratovo Djade road. And this is where they were maintaining the
22 connection between the units deployed in Bresta, Matejce, Tanusevci,
23 Strima, and Ljuboten, and inside the city of Skopje.
24 Q. And if I could draw your attention to the left portion of the map,
25 there are some dots that are -- they look like they're red, but I believe
1 they're a lighter colour red and maybe a magenta, to be more specific.
2 And those spots are marked Kuljm, Ecmeniste, Rastanski Bacila, and
3 Matejce. Do those positions sound familiar to you as positions that were
4 occupied or took by the National Liberation Army at the time?
5 A. Yes, Your Honour.
6 Q. And, as a commander, were you also familiar in the area with
7 respect to police positions that had been taken by the Ministry of the
8 Interior at that time?
9 A. Of course, Your Honour.
10 Q. And if I could draw your attention then to the light blue markings
11 on the left of the diagram, they indicate Stratiste; ambulance; and Braca
12 house, "Chinese wall." Do those three positions sound familiar to you as
13 the positions that the police had been at the time?
14 A. Yes, Your Honour.
15 Q. And if I can draw your attention, lastly, to the middle of the --
16 upper middle of the diagram, it has a big huge star with many points. Can
17 I ask you first, actually, whether you're familiar with a mine explosion
18 that occurred on 10 August 2001?
19 A. Of course, Your Honour.
20 Q. And if I could draw your attention then to this star with many
21 points in the middle of this map, where it says "Ljubotenski Bacila," is
22 that the location of where that mine explosion took place?
23 A. Yes, Your Honour.
24 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honour, could we please tender this.
25 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P298, Your Honours.
2 MS. MOTOIKE:
3 Q. Mr. Despodov, I would like to show you a few more photographs so
4 we could know where the Macedonian army was.
5 MS. MOTOIKE: Could we please show the witness N005-7991. With
6 the assistance of the usher, we have a bigger panorama to show. It is tab
7 3 in today's binder.
8 Could we please put it on the ELMO. Thank you.
9 Q. Mr. Despodov, looking at the photograph, you have the full
10 photograph displayed on the screen; and then to the left of you, with the
11 assistance of the usher, there's an actual hard copy of the photograph
12 there on the ELMO. Do you recognise what's depicted in this photograph?
13 A. Yes, Your Honour.
14 Q. And this is a photograph, actually, of Ljuboten village with the
15 Skopska Crna Gora mountain range in the background. Is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And could you please, if you're able to recall, mark on the hard
18 copy that's on the ELMO, with the assistance of the usher, locations that
19 are at least visible, and that is the locations of the Macedonian Army,
20 that are visible on the photograph. Are you able to do that for us today?
21 A. Your Honours, on this photograph, on the right-hand side, the
22 overall area of the village of Ljuboten, I could do that. However, on the
23 left-hand side, I am not too familiar with that particular area.
24 Q. Okay. If you could please mark for us then the positions that you
25 can at least note from the right, I guess, part of the photograph. The
1 hard copy might be easier because it's bigger, if you could do that,
3 A. On this photograph, I am not really able to do so. On the
4 right-hand side, where the location of the 3rd Company, however, much away
5 to the right-hand side, and those positions are not really visible on this
6 photograph, either on the hard copy, on the one that I can see in front on
7 the monitor. This is the part on the right-hand side viewing from the
8 mosque. The positions of the 3rd Company were further to the right, and
9 this is not visible on the photograph.
10 Q. Are any positions that your battalion had at that time, in August
11 2001, are any positions visible to you on this map or this photograph?
12 A. Your Honours, I can do that for the 2nd Company on the photograph
13 on the right-hand side, on the monitor.
14 Q. If you could, please, do that then. Perhaps using the hard copy,
15 so that we have a bigger scale, could you do that using the hard copy of
16 the photograph?
17 A. Yes. I can do that, but not the -- currently the part that is
18 presented now, but the photograph on the left-hand side. These are a
19 couple of locations. The other ones are not visible because they are
20 behind this ridge, this hill, and then it goes along the line between the
21 two positions.
22 Q. Okay. Just for the record, you've marked two red lines on this
23 particular photograph, and those would indicate the positions, then, that
24 are visible on this photograph that were taken by the 2nd Company of your
25 battalion. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes, Your Honour.
2 Q. And then slight -- right before -- right as you did that, you also
3 indicated with your finger that there were other positions above this
4 bottom red line on the photograph that you've marked, that go along the
5 mountain range, that are not visible because they're beyond the hills.
6 Would that be accurate?
7 A. Yes, Your Honour.
8 Q. And are those the only positions then that are visible to you on
9 this particular photograph?
10 A. On this photograph, yes.
11 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honours, could we please tender this.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
13 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P299, Your Honours.
14 MS. MOTOIKE:
15 Q. Mr. Despodov, if I could show you one more photograph, it's
16 located at tab 4 of today's binder. It's 65 ter 199.28.
17 MS. MOTOIKE: Actually, the photograph that's displayed is the
18 same one. Could we have 65 ter 199.28. Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Despodov, in August of 2001, you mentioned the 2nd Company of
20 your battalion. Was that commanded by Captain Mario Djurasic?
21 A. Your Honours, not under command of the name of the person you
22 mentioned, but his name is Mario Jurisic.
23 Q. Thank you. I'm sorry. I mispronounced it. And could we take a
24 look, please, at this photograph that's before you. Do you recognise
25 what's depicted in this particular photograph?
1 A. Yes, Your Honour. It is a panorama of the village of Ljuboten
2 from the positions somewhere around the position of the 2nd Company, where
3 it was deployed.
4 Q. And so this 2nd Company, again, this would be where the captain
5 was Mario Jurisic?
6 A. His company was deployed there, precisely.
7 Q. Okay. And just so that we're clear, is Ljuboten village then just
8 beyond this -- towards the centre of the photograph, just beyond these
9 trees here, downward into that valley that's depicted in the photograph?
10 A. Yes. The village that is visible is Ljuboten.
11 Q. And perhaps, just so we're all clear, could you maybe use the
12 Stylus with the assistance of the usher, and mark the area that we're
13 talking about which would indicate the village of Ljuboten.
14 A. The village that is visible down there is the village of Ljuboten.
15 The road here is the so-called Ljuboten road leading to Radisani and
16 Skopje, and the road to the left leads to the village of Rastak.
17 Q. And, so, for the record, you've indicated a road which would lead
18 to Skopje, I believe -- Radisani, which is the line that goes upwards on
19 the right side of this circle that you've indicated, and then you've also
20 indicated a line that goes out of the middle of the circle to the left,
21 which would indicate the road to Rastak. So this circle that you've drawn
22 -- I'm sorry. The photograph then does not depict the entire village of
23 Ljuboten. Is that true?
24 A. No, just a larger part of the village.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. MOTOIKE: Could we tender this, please.
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P300, Your Honours.
4 MS. MOTOIKE:
5 Q. And, Mr. Despodov, with respect to the mine incident that we
6 talked about a little while ago, did you prepare a report with respect to
7 the events that occurred on that particular day, which would be 10 August
9 A. Yes, Your Honour, and it was handwritten and I submitted it to my
11 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could please show the witness 65 ter 60.2,
12 which is tab 8 of today's binders.
13 Q. Mr. Despodov, there are two documents displayed in front of you;
14 one in English and one in Macedonian. If I could have you look at the
15 upper left corner of the Macedonian, it indicates, "Commander of the 3rd
16 Guardist B, Ljubanci village," and it's dated 10 August 2001. It says
17 it's a report on executed terrorist attack submitted, and then it
18 indicates to the right, "2 VP 2454."
19 And the first photograph, it says: "On 10/8/2001, around 800
20 hours, the vehicle m/v IVEKO 21102, driven by soldier Simic Dejan from VP
21 3560/19, living in the village Tromegja (Kumanovo) returning the shift
22 from the position Zdravec, with the rear right wheel ran over an explosive
24 Do you see that?
25 A. Of course, Your Honour.
1 MS. MOTOIKE: And if we could turn to the second page, please, in
2 both documents.
3 Q. At the very bottom, Mr. Despodov, of this page, it says:
4 "Commander Major Mitre Despodov," with a signature. Is that your name
5 and signature there?
6 A. Yes, Your Honour.
7 Q. And if I could draw your attention to the last paragraph on both
8 pages, it says: "The measures of combat security were strengthened in the
9 entire region of the battalion, and especially monitored is the region of
10 the village of Ljuboten and the village itself, in cooperation with
11 members of MOI," which is Ministry of the Interior, "who arrived in the
12 afternoon hours."
13 Do you see that?
14 A. Yes, Your Honour.
15 MS. MOTOIKE: Could we tender this, please?
16 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
17 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P301, Your Honours.
18 MS. MOTOIKE:
19 Q. Mr. Despodov, drawing your attention to this last sentence of this
20 particular document, you indicate that members of the Ministry of Interior
21 arrived in the afternoon hours, which would be 10 August 2001. Could you
22 describe for us or tell us, please, if you can recall, who were these
23 persons who arrived.
24 A. Your Honours, in this sentence, I was thinking about a patrol that
25 was used additionally besides the check-point that was located in the
1 village of Ljubanci; however, they stayed for some time and then they
3 Q. Were there other persons who came from the Ministry of Interior on
4 the 10th of August, 2001, to see you?
5 A. In the evening hours, yes.
6 Q. Could you tell us, please, who were these persons, if you can
8 A. Of course, although in my previous statement, I have provided this
9 information. That evening, at the command post, a representative from the
10 Ministry of Interior arrived who introduced himself with his name;
11 however, to -- even today I cannot remember who the person was and his
12 name. I provided his detail description in my previous statement.
13 Mr. Johan Tarculovski was there; Mr. Ljube, the commander of the police
14 station in Butel or Cair, I believe; and Mr. Slavco, the commander of the
15 police station in Mirkovci.
16 Q. And did you know Johan Tarculovski at that time, when you saw him?
17 A. That was the first time I've met him.
18 Q. Did you know where Mr. Tarculovski worked at that time?
19 A. He introduced himself, and he told me that he's in the personal
20 security of the president, Boris Trajkovski, now deceased.
21 Q. For the person whose name you cannot remember at this time, can
22 you please tell us -- do you recall what that person's occupation was?
23 A. I couldn't, really, Your Honour.
24 Q. Did this person tell you, this person that you can't recall whose
25 name it was, did this person tell you -- well, let me ask you this: Did
1 this person say anything to you at that time?
2 A. Of course, Your Honour. He told me that the police undertakes an
3 operation in order to take over the village of Ljuboten, and he came to
4 inform himself whether I, through my superiors, along the command line
5 have received orders or instructions or precise tasks in this respect.
6 Q. Can we go back a second and you've described -- you said it was --
7 they came to see you at the command post. Would that be the command post
8 that you've described to us as being at Ljubanci, at the school?
9 A. Of course, Your Honour.
10 Q. And did Mr. Tarculovski tell you anything at that time, during
11 that meeting with him?
12 A. During this meeting, Your Honour, Mr. Tarculovski was acting
13 nervous because he could not understand that somebody somewhere along the
14 line of distribution of orders and tasks can -- can fail or he did not
15 believe the lack of responsibility of certain officers at certain levels.
16 Q. Do you recall specifically what these persons asked of you at the
17 time when you met them?
18 A. This person that I explained earlier, that I cannot remember - and
19 I really don't remember his name - he just wanted to know that whether I
20 received some kind of order or task written in relation to that
21 forthcoming action.
22 Q. And the person you said -- you've described as Ljube and the other
23 person as Slavco, did they indicate anything to you at that time during
24 that meeting?
25 A. No, Your Honour. I got the impression that they only showed them
1 the road. They brought the people, the people that I mentioned earlier,
2 to the command post in order -- in order to show them around. Throughout
3 the meeting, they did not say anything in relation to that.
4 Q. Do you recall what these persons were wearing at the time of this
6 A. They were wearing camouflage or terrain field police uniforms with
7 the insignia of the police of the Republic of Macedonia.
8 Q. And what did you say in response to their inquiries?
9 A. Your Honour, I just informed them that I still have not received
10 any order, task, written or orally, by my command post, and I didn't know
11 what was all about.
12 Q. And do you recall what Mr. Tarculovski's response was, if
13 anything, was to this -- your statement to them?
14 A. It -- he was a bit undecent with lack of culture; however, this is
15 understandable in such a situation.
16 Q. Can you tell us, did he say anything to you with respect to your
17 response and that you did not receive an order?
18 A. Literally?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. He told me, if I remember it well, "Nobody gives a fuck if the
21 police does their job, then they can do their job; if not, nobody really
22 cares." So this was more or less.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's apologies for the foul language.
24 MS. MOTOIKE:
25 Q. Did Mr. Tarculovski at that time indicate to you what he would do,
1 after you gave him this response?
2 A. No, Your Honour.
3 Q. Can you recall if you saw these persons after this particular
5 A. Which people? Who are you referring to?
6 Q. Well, you've described to us as having a meeting or having a visit
7 with Mr. Tarculovski, a person named Slavco, a person named Ljube, and
8 another person who you can't recall. And you've described this meeting as
9 occurring on Friday, 10 August 2001. I'm asking you whether or not these
10 same persons came to see you at a time subsequent to 10 August 2001.
11 A. Of course, Your Honour. Mr. Johan Tarculovski also came on
12 Saturday afternoon, late. Mr. Ljube -- pardon, Slavco from the police
13 station in Mirkovci, I have seen him on several occasions; however, as
14 part of the fulfilment of the additional task during the period while I
15 was a commander. And the person whose name I could not remember, I have
16 never seen him again.
17 Q. So you saw Mr. Tarculovski on Saturday afternoon, that would be 11
18 August 2001. Is that what you're saying?
19 A. Yes, Your Honour.
20 Q. But with respect to the person named Ljube and Slavco, were those
21 two people present at the time you saw Mr. Tarculovski on Saturday?
22 A. Your Honours, in my previous statement, I said that they might
23 have been present; but now after certain time in discussion with the
24 people from my personal security, which were regular conscripts, I cannot
25 claim, that is, I would rather say that these people were not really
1 present on the 11th of August when Mr. Johan visited me.
2 Q. Okay. Just so that we understand. You said that after a certain
3 time in discussion with people from your personal security, did these
4 people in your personal security inform you about whether or not Ljube and
5 Slavco were present? Is that why you've changed your recollection?
6 A. Your Honour, since I was not sure even then when I gave this
7 statement, I had to, in a certain way, to check whether this claim or
8 statement of mine is correct in order to avoid any misunderstanding and
9 wrong conclusions. And that is why I contacted these people, and they are
10 still my friends. We meet each other, we discuss, we talk.
11 And according to their recollections and what they said, I came to
12 the conclusion that most probably these people were not presented.
13 Because when they, three or four, claimed that Ljube and Slavco was --
14 were not there on the 11th, this is more believable than my recollection.
15 Q. So the meeting that you had on Saturday, 11 August 2001, with
16 Mr. Tarculovski, was anyone else presented at that meeting?
17 A. As far as I remember, apart from the dilemma whether Ljube and
18 Slavco were there at the meeting, there was no other person.
19 Q. And could you tell us around what time this meeting was?
20 A. I think that it was sometime around -- or after 1700, 1800 hours,
21 at dusk. I could not be more specific than this.
22 Q. Okay. Could you tell us where this meeting occurred?
23 A. That meeting took place also at the command post, Your Honour, as
24 well as the previous one, where I was at the command post.
25 Q. Can you recall what happened during that meeting?
1 A. The purpose of Mr. Johan at that meeting was to check whether I
2 had received the order or not, to receive how far things have advanced.
3 This was my impression, nothing more than that.
4 Q. At that time, did Mr. Tarculovski ask anything of you besides with
5 respect to the receipt of the order?
6 A. Nothing more, Your Honour. Just whether I had received the order,
7 whether in the meantime there were any changes or not regarding this
9 Q. And do you recall what this order was -- what this order pertained
11 A. Well, then and until recently, I did not know. But after I had
12 given my recent statement with superior officers who were working then at
13 the city command for the city of Skopje, which was the command established
14 then for this purpose, and I was seconded to this command, in 2004,
15 sometime around September or October, they told me that the president of
16 the Republic of Macedonia, as a supreme commander, had issued an order.
17 But I couldn't say anything about the contents of that order because I
18 have never seen it, not until the present day.
19 Q. And this conversation that you had with Mr. Tarculovski at that
20 time, was the conversation focused about the same things that you
21 discussed the day before with Mr. Tarculovski?
22 A. Only about the order, and let's not repeat from what I stated:
23 How is it possible that someone failed? Where was the interruption in the
24 distribution of that order? And things of that sort.
25 Q. What was your response to Mr. Tarculovski during this meeting with
1 respect to the order?
2 A. Your Honour, my response was always the same. Without an order,
3 without specific tasks given by my superior command, I myself must not
4 undertake any activities --
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. -- apart activities pertaining to or tasks or orders to defend the
7 positions of my unit in a case where it is directly attacked.
8 Q. Now, you mention that you told Mr. Tarculovski that you could not
9 undertake any activities without authority -- without an order from your
10 superiors. What specific activities were you referring to?
11 A. Well, Your Honour, if any action, military, combat action, is
12 planned, in order to act upon the order, then police and their army units
13 are involved; then there must be an order or a decision who will be the
14 commander of that unit, who will participate, who will be the logistics
15 support, how it will be put into action, and all the other issues that are
16 necessary for the -- that are necessary to be resolved.
17 Q. I think I understand that, but what I'm asking you is: You
18 referenced that you could not undertake any activities. What I'm asking
19 you is: With respect to the conversation you had with Mr. Tarculovski,
20 what activities were you saying you could not undertake, specific
22 A. I apologise. I'm not understanding what you're trying to ask me.
23 Would you be so kind as to repeat your question. I'm kindly asking you.
24 Q. I'm sorry. It was probably confusing. I apologise. What I'm
25 asking you is that you say that there were specific activities that you
1 could not undertake specific activities, and you told this to
2 Mr. Tarculovski at that time. Is that right?
3 A. Of course.
4 Q. And I'm asking you, were these activities related to your
5 battalion and providing any kind of support with respect to what
6 Mr. Tarculovski was asking?
7 A. Your Honour, I had already mentioned that in the previous meeting
8 with the -- that the representative of the Ministry of the Interior, I was
9 informed that the police is preparing an action to search the grounds
10 because there were information and facts from the field that in the
11 village of Ljuboten a group of terrorists were stationed. And within that
12 planned action of theirs, I could not accommodate them in relation to any
13 issue, any request they would make of me.
14 In this sense, in this context, I tried to explain this to the
15 gentleman, but it was not necessary correct or - I don't know how to say -
16 since he came just to ask me whether I had received the order or not.
17 Q. And this gentleman you refer to, that would still be
18 Mr. Tarculovski?
19 A. I am again unable to understand you. Would you be so kind as to
20 repeat your question.
21 Q. I apologise. I was just seeking some clarification. You
22 indicated in your last answer that you tried to explain this to the
23 gentleman, with respect to the fact that you could -- you could not
24 accommodate them in relation to their issues or the requests that they
25 made. I'm asking you who this gentleman is that you're referring to.
1 A. It is now clear to me, Your Honour. The request, or rather,
2 asking for information from me, whether I had received an order or whether
3 I had been given a task by the person who was there on the Friday, the
4 representative of the Ministry of the Interior, the explanations I had
5 given to Mr. Johan were personal.
6 I aimed to clarify the situation for him because he did not ask
7 support or participation of my battalion in this action from me
8 personally, because at that time I was aware that he is within the
9 personal security of the supreme commander.
10 Q. At any time during these meetings, did they indicate to you what
11 they wanted you to do as commander of the battalion?
12 A. Of course. When the units of the Ministry of the Interior and the
13 units of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia are performing a joint
14 combat action, the procedures and standards are well-known, who does what,
15 who supports what. This is agreed and regulated in detail in advance.
16 Q. Maybe it was my question, but I was asking you what -- if you can
17 recall, what did they want you to do as the commander of the battalion?
18 A. Your Honour, obviously, we can't understand one another. In the
19 meeting on Friday, they only asked -- they only informed me, this
20 gentleman who was the representative of the MOI who introduced himself,
21 that the police is planning to undertake an action in the village of
22 Ljuboten due to reasons that I mentioned before.
23 And they asked me whether I had received an order, whether I had
24 been given a task or any guide-lines from my superior and -- in a case.
25 And I suppose that this was the purpose of their visit. In a case I had
1 received an order or if I was informed about the task, we would then go
2 into details of about my obligations and their obligations.
3 But since I had received no order or task or any guide-lines in
4 relation to this, I then informed them, and the rest of the conversation
5 was simply additional clarification and explanation what needs to be done
6 in such situations; but not regarding the specific actions, but in
7 general, in relation to any action in any field. I don't know whether my
8 clarification is sufficient.
9 Q. Okay. I believe that your answer was with respect to Friday. On
10 Saturday, or perhaps even on Friday, did these persons ask for fire
11 support from your battalion?
12 A. Mr. Tarculovski, Johan, Your Honour, did not ask. On Saturday he
13 just came again to see whether I had received an order or a task.
14 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could please show 65 ter 164, which is tab 10
15 of today's binders.
16 Q. Actually, before we go to this document, Mr. Despodov, I'd like to
17 ask you: On Saturday, what is your response to these particular -- to
18 Mr. Tarculovski's indications on Saturday?
19 A. I apologise. I can't understand you. What indications?
20 Q. You talked about a meeting on Saturday, and you indicated that
21 Mr. Tarculovski asked again about an order. What was your response to
22 Mr. Tarculovski at that time?
23 A. Your Honour, I informed him, again, that I still hadn't received
24 any order or a task in relation to any other thing, to any other task,
25 that I had received nothing.
1 Q. And do you recall at that time what his reaction was to you
2 informing him of that?
3 A. I can tell you his reaction was adequate to my response. He was
4 nervous. He was tense, and maybe it made me even more angry or mad, why
5 something failed. How could there be a disruption in the distribution of
6 orders and tasks.
7 Q. And do you recall if he told you what he would do after you --
8 after he got the information from you, that you had received no order?
9 A. I couldn't remember, Your Honour, what he said and how he said it.
10 MS. MOTOIKE: I apologise, Your Honour. If I could just have a
12 Q. Mr. Despodov, if I may ask you -- if I may ask you, could -- would
13 reviewing your statement that you provided during the interview that was
14 conducted July of 2004, would that refresh your memory as to what
15 Mr. Tarculovski told you he was intending on doing?
16 A. I don't know, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Ms. Motoike, what we might do is have our
18 first break now - it's a little early - and you can assist the position
19 during that break, and we will resume at five minutes to 11.00.
20 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.22 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Motoike.
24 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Mr. Despodov, before the recess, I had asked you whether or not
1 reviewing your statement that you had provided to the Office of the
2 Prosecutor in July of 2004 would refresh your recollection as to
3 Mr. Tarculovski's statement and reaction to you after you told him that
4 you did not receive the order. Do you remember that?
5 A. Your Honour, if I may look at the statement, then we'll see.
6 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could please pull up on e-court the transcript
7 of this statement, which is T000-2869-T000-2872. And, specifically, if we
8 could please pull up in the English pages 1 -- page 102; in the Macedonian
9 page 60.
10 Q. And, Mr. Despodov, I'll read for you, if you could look towards
11 the bottom of the Macedonian version on the page that's being displayed.
12 You're asked -- or actually there's a statement by Thomas Kuehnel. It
13 says: "Yeah, okay. So go on, please, with Saturday. Saturday is the
14 second meeting."
15 Do you see that?
16 A. Of course, Your Honour.
17 Q. Okay.
18 MS. MOTOIKE: And then if we could please turn the page in both
20 Q. And drawing your attention to the upper part of this particular
21 page in Macedonian, there's a statement by you, Mr. Despodov, that says in
22 the bottom of the English: "The subject of the discussion was the same as
23 on Friday, and -- but Johan had the main word again. Okay. If I had an
24 order again," and there's something that's indiscernible, "phone calls,
25 not to repeat myself."
1 And then Thomas Kuehnel says: "No. It's just to conjure
3 MS. MOTOIKE: And if we could turn the page in the English.
4 Q. The top says, it's indiscernible, "you need to be precise on
6 Then there's a statement by you, Mr. Despodov: "In a nutshell,
7 the demands were the same. Were: Did I receive an order? Am I willing
8 to give them support? Will I participate in the action? He was obviously
9 very nervous why I behaved like that, and he was nervous why the people in
10 the higher -- hierarchy didn't actually accomplish their task or something
11 broken in the chain of command."
12 Then Thomas Kuehnel says: "Okay.
13 And then you say: "When I told him again that there was no chance
14 that me or my units would participate in this action without an order from
15 my superiors, his reaction was pretty angry. He even used obscene
16 language, 'With or without you the police will conducted this operation.'
17 And he swore in the end."
18 Do you see that?
19 A. Your Honour, if you're referring to the paragraph these words,
20 literally, yes. And I apologise, but I will read it literally, as I said
21 it then: "Well, fuck you, with or without you, the action will take
22 place, and tomorrow or few days afterwards, if a vehicle is blown again,
23 then don't cry," if that is what you were referring at.
24 Q. And does this refresh your recollection as to what Johan
25 Tarculovski told you in response to you saying you had no order yet?
1 A. Essentially, this is it, but I do not interpret this as him saying
2 that he will then implement the action. It is the police. He says: "The
3 action will take place with or without you," but it will be the police who
4 will implement the action, and not him himself. This is how I understood
5 it, and this is the context in which I said it. If I was misunderstood in
6 this, then I apologise.
7 Q. If we could then move on to a document, Mr. Despodov.
8 MS. MOTOIKE: Could we please - I apologise - show 65 ter 164,
9 which is tab 10 of today's binder.
10 Q. And, Mr. Despodov, it might be easier for you to use the hard copy
11 under tab 10 in the binder that's in front of you, because I don't know
12 whether we will be able to manipulate the Macedonian version to display
13 both pages.
14 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you.
15 Q. And, Mr. Despodov, this particular document, let me first ask you,
16 in the bottom there in the middle on the right side of the Macedonian
17 version, there's a name, "Kostadinov, Ljupco." Do you see that?
18 A. Of course, Your Honour.
19 Q. And do you know who this particular person is, Ljupco Kostadinov?
20 A. I know of him, Your Honour. He was assistant to the commander for
21 security in the 1st Guardist Brigade at that time.
22 Q. And do you recognise the handwriting of this particular document?
23 A. I couldn't say whose handwriting it is.
24 Q. May I direct your attention to the left side of the Macedonian
25 version, which is actually the top portion of the English. It says: "I
1 claim that this copy is made from my work notebook of 2001, and it is
2 copied on my presence by the investigator. The notes had been written in
3 the period between 2 August 2001 and 15 August 2001. The information in
4 the notebook is true and no information was added additionally.
5 "I am giving the information from the notebook to the
6 investigator so that he could use it to clear up the events of Ljubotenski
7 Bacila and Ljuboten village in 2001. He cannot use the information for
8 other purposes."
9 And right below that, there's a date, 15 August 2001 [sic]. Do
10 you see the signature there? Do you recognise the signature there as
11 being Ljupco Kostadinov's?
12 A. I couldn't say. I don't know what his handwriting looks like.
13 Q. Well, if we could look at the Macedonian version to the right --
14 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Residovic.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Line 8 on page 33, I think there
16 is a mistake in the date read out by my colleague. On the document, it
17 says the 15th of August, 2004; and in the transcript, it says 2001.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you. I apologise. I might have misspoke.
20 Q. If we could look at the Macedonian version towards -- on the right
21 side. Right below Kostadinov Ljupco, there's also the first-class
22 captain, VP 2993, Skopje; and then it indicates that 2788, 0100 hours, and
23 there's a signature there as well. Do you see that, Mr. Despodov?
24 A. Yes, Your Honour.
25 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could please turn to page 13 of the English,
1 which is page 14 of the Macedonian.
2 Q. And do you see on the Macedonian version, on the left side,
3 there's a number 27. In the middle, it says 12 August 2001, 1200 hours.
4 A. I see it, Your Honour.
5 Q. And then in bolder pen marking, there's another -- the same date:
6 "12 August 2001," towards the bottom of the English. And it says: "On
7 Friday evening at 2100 hours, a group of," and it's blank, "persons had
9 "They had come to the house of Johan Tarculovski from Kometa,
10 colleagues - 40 for the beginning.
11 "There are 60 to 70 of them in police uniforms. A truck of MVR,"
12 which is Ministry of Interior, "had come and had distributed bombs,
13 weapons, and ammunition. They had told to Despodov that they had been
14 ordered to," and it's the next page of the English.
15 A. I apologise, Your Honour. I don't see it. I can't read it in the
16 Macedonian version.
17 Q. Towards the bottom on the left side, there is bold pen markings,
18 12.08.2001, do you see the references made to --
19 A. Yes, I see that.
20 Q. Do you see the references that I just made with respect to your
22 A. I can't really read it, Your Honour.
23 Q. Well, let me read then what the English translation is with
24 respect to this portion. It makes reference to Despodov that: "They had
25 been ordered to overnight in Ljubanci in the rest house and to clean-up
1 Ljuboten from terrorists and bunker."
2 And it goes on to say - and perhaps it's on the right side of the
3 Macedonian - "the President knows that and no one else should know the
5 "The Major had approved the accommodation, and they had asked him
6 for an opinion of an expert on how to perform that.
7 "The aim of the task, how much forces he has, manner of action,
8 et cetera.
9 "On Friday, together with them, also Ljube Krstevski, head of PS
10 Butel; commander of PS Mirkovci Slavco and Iliaj - the referent for
11 military matters from Butel.
12 "The inspectors had told them - you have weapons, ammunition, and
13 our logistical support."
14 Do you see that?
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski.
16 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise for
17 interrupting my colleague in her examining, but I would like to object the
18 question asked in this manner because the witness replied that he could
19 not recognise the handwriting. He only knows the name indicated; it is
20 Ljupco Kostadinov. Ljupco Kostadinov as the author of this diary is one
21 of the next witnesses. He would be the one to authenticate this
22 handwriting; and I think that by displaying this document, the memory of
23 this witness is not refreshed because this is not a statement of his.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I thank you, Mr. Apostolski. I think the position
25 is complicated because of the difficulties of displaying the Macedonian
1 original on e-court. It is very difficult to read it. I'm sure that
2 Ms. Motoike will shortly be asking the Macedonian document in the relevant
3 area to be enlarged, to give the witness an opportunity to view what is
4 written more closely, and the witness an opportunity to see whether the
5 English translation assists him to read the Macedonian words. If it does
6 not, well, I agree with you, we would then have reached the end of what
7 could usefully be done at this point with this document. But until that's
8 completed, I think what Ms. Motoike is doing should continue.
9 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you.
10 Q. My last question to you, actually, Mr. Despodov, was with respect
11 to the references made in the right side of the Macedonian version. I
12 read references that were made with respect to the president and approval
13 by the major, and my question to you after reading that passage was: Do
14 you see that on page 28, which is the right side of the Macedonian
16 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Motoike, can I suggest that if the witness's
17 display is the same as the Bench is receiving, that it would not be
18 possible for him to assist with anything, that we go to display the screen
19 only in Macedonian, and you then ensure that it is enlarged in the right
20 area. And those of us who have hard copies in English can follow the
21 English that way.
22 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 If we could please -- yes. Thank you. If we could perhaps focus
24 in on the right side of the Macedonian version. I don't know if this can
25 be enlarged any bigger.
1 Q. Mr. Despodov, are you able to see now the references that I've
2 read out in English here in the Macedonian version on page 28?
3 A. I can see, Your Honour; however, I don't have a comment on this.
4 I couldn't say where this information comes from and how this person
5 reached this information. I will repeat it again, that what we discussed
6 at the meeting, who was there, who was present, both on Friday and
7 Saturday, and I already said that.
8 And Ljupco Kostadinov, I know him just as a person, what position
9 he had, and what he did. This is a statement that I see for the first
10 time. This information within it, I hear them for the first time; and
11 where, from who, and why provided this kind of information to him, I could
12 not really comment on that.
13 Q. Well, can I direct your attention to another paragraph, which is
14 actually on page 29 of the Macedonian -- I'm sorry, page 15 of the
15 Macedonian version. It's on page 14 still of the English.
16 MS. MOTOIKE: And if we could, please, focus in only the left side
17 of this particular version in the Macedonian version, enlarging it to the
18 biggest scale possible, please. Thank you.
19 Q. Towards the bottom of this particular page on the left side, if I
20 could just read to you what's indicated, it says: "Johan had said
21 tomorrow at 430 hours, I am starting with the action. The MVR superiors
22 had dissociated themselves. They had asked written document from
23 somebody -- from someone."
24 JUDGE PARKER: You've run out of relevant vision on the screen.
25 MS. MOTOIKE: Ah.
1 JUDGE PARKER: We need to see more the bottom of the page.
2 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you.
3 Q. Then it goes on to say: "But Mitre had told him, 'You can start
4 but on your own. I have get an order from above.' But it has been
5 previously agreed to support them."
6 Do you see that, Mr. Despodov, towards the bottom of the page on
7 the left, the paragraph starts with: "Johan ..."
8 A. I can see that, Your Honour.
9 Q. And what I just read to you, does that accord with what you've
10 told us today, and that is you have told them: "You can start on your
11 own, but I have to get an order from above"?
12 A. But the I did not say to -- this to Mr. Johan, but I said it to
13 the gentleman who was there on Friday. And I stand behind this statement,
14 that the police can undertake any type of action, but I can only
15 participate with an order received from my superiors.
16 Q. In the very bottom of that page, it says: "Johan," and then it
17 continues to the top of the right side of the Macedonian version.
18 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could scroll up.
19 Q. And it goes on to say on this top part: "Johan had gone but M.
20 Mitre had said, 'I do not act without an order,' but they had started."
21 Do you see that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And, again, is that in accord with what you've told us today?
24 A. I apologise. In accord with what?
25 Q. Oh, I'm sorry. I was confusing. Does that -- is that the same as
1 what you've told us today about what happened?
2 A. I don't understand the question, Your Honour. Can you be more
3 specific, please.
4 Q. Is that consistent with what you've told us today with respect to
5 you not acting without an order? Does that statement reflect that?
6 A. Of course, Your Honour. To him and to my commander, on the 12th,
7 when they came to the location of my battalion, I told them the same, that
8 according to the conversation with the president, he's aware of the
9 action. The action was legally planned. However, whether I did not
10 receive an order, whether it was supposed to be an action together with
11 their army or not, and whether I -- why I did not receive any specific
12 tasks or orders at this particular location, I am not aware even today.
13 And what Ljupco is writing here in his notes, I apologise, but you
14 will have to ask him where this information comes from. And I personally
15 don't understand this other information, what he really wanted to say.
16 Q. Are you aware of Ljupco Kostadinov's duties within the battalion
17 or the brigade?
18 A. As I already mentioned previously, I know Ljupco Kostadinov.
19 While we were working together, he was assistant commander for security,
20 and his competencies and his scope of work is not known to me, especially
21 the manner and the principle of his work. Where this information comes
22 from and what kind of information it is, I couldn't even guess.
23 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honours, perhaps, at this time, could we please
24 mark this for identification.
25 JUDGE PARKER: It will be marked.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Has Exhibit P302, marked for identification, Your
3 MS. MOTOIKE:
4 Q. Mr. Despodov, if I could show you another document, which is at
5 tab 11 of today's binders, 65 ter 940.
6 The document displayed before you in the Macedonian language, if I
7 could just direct your attention, Mr. Despodov, to the upper left corner
8 of this document. It says: "Republic of Macedonia; Ministry of Defence;
9 ARM," and then it's dated below "12.08.2001, Skopje."
10 It then lists "1st Guard Brigade, Captain 1st class, Ljupco
11 Kostadinov, 12 August 2001." Do you see that?
12 A. Yes, Your Honour.
13 Q. And then in the middle there in bold, it says: "Official Note."
14 And right below that, it says: "Subject: Report on actions and
15 situation in 3rd Guard B, village of Ljuboten, submitted by ..."
16 Do you see that?
17 A. Yes, Your Honour.
18 MS. MOTOIKE: And if we could please turn to page 3 of the
19 English, which is also page 3 of the Macedonian.
20 Q. At the very bottom of this page in the Macedonian and English
21 versions, do you see, it says: "Assistant to the commander for security,
22 Captain 1st class, Ljupco Kostadinov." Do you see that, Mr. Despodov?
23 A. I can see that, Your Honour.
24 MS. MOTOIKE: And if we could, please, go back to the first page
25 on both documents.
1 Q. And directing your attention to the first paragraph in the
2 Macedonian version, towards the middle, it talks about persons who had
3 arrived who were wearing MVR uniforms. It goes on to state: "These
4 persons asked Major Mitre Despodov, who is commander of 3rd Guard B, to
5 provide them with a place to sleep in the mountain lodge in village
6 Ljubanci. Major Despodov asked them on whose orders they had come. They
7 said that this is known to the president and no one else should know about
8 their stay. Major Despodov asked them what their role is here. They
9 answered that they have the task to enter into village Ljuboten and to
10 conduct a search and cleaning of the terrain."
11 Do you see that at the very bottom of the first paragraph?
12 A. Yes, Your Honour.
13 Q. And this paragraph references you as the commander. Is that true?
14 A. And I was the commander of the 3rd Guardist Battalion. This is
15 something that I repeated several times, Your Honour. This is a fact, the
17 Q. And then it goes on in the second paragraph: "Soon after this
18 conversation, the head of PS," which is police station, "Cair, Ljube
19 Krstevski; the commander of PS Mirkovci, Slavco; and the person Ilija,
20 officer for military issues from PS Cair, arrived at the school in
22 Do you see that?
23 A. I can see that, Your Honour; however, again, I will repeat. They
24 did not arrive one after another. I already said, during this meeting,
25 the representative from the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Johan Tarculovski;
1 Mr. Ljube; and Mr. Slavco came at the same time, and this is the truth.
2 And this information by Mr. Ljupco, I don't know where it comes
3 from and what he wrote in the beginning. At that time, I know that
4 Mr. Johan Tarculovski was part of the security of the president of the
5 state. And what is being mentioned here, the chief from Kometa, 60, 70
6 people, this is something that I see and hear for the first time.
7 I do apologise. But where this information comes from, you will
8 have to ask him. I personally cannot comment on this.
9 Q. Well, I'm actually asking you about the portion that actually
10 refers to you as commander. And then going on, in the third paragraph, it
11 also mentions you. It says: "The MVR officers contacted Major Mitre
12 Despodov and told him that from them will be the armament and equipment
13 for the above-listed persons, only if he has a need to support the
14 action," we're going over to page 2 of the English, "and for this, he will
15 receive special orders from the president of the state, who will call him
16 by phone."
17 Do you recall that?
18 A. Something like this was not discussed amongst the two of us. I
19 still stand to what I said earlier, about the meeting, what time it was,
20 and who was present. Other conversations and what is being said here, I
21 will negate it, that I was asked as the commander of the 3rd Guardist
22 Battalion to provide sleeping place. So there is no mountain lodge
23 there. There is just this children's accommodation, and I have never seen
24 60 or 70 people, nor I heard about that. This is something that I hear
25 for the first time.
1 Q. With respect to the references that are made in this document as
2 to the arrival of these particular people at the school in Ljubanci, do
3 you agree with that?
4 A. At the school in Ljubanci, no. Such people in this kind of
5 numbers, I have never seen throughout the whole period when I was present
7 Q. I'm just asking -- I'm not talking about the persons referred to
8 in the beginning of the paragraph, Mr. Despodov. If we could just focus
9 our attention on the heads of the police stations that you have already
10 told us about. You indicated that they did arrive, but they all arrived
11 together with Johan. Is that correct? Okay.
12 A. I do apologise then. I understood it wrong. What I said, this is
13 it, they came together and we were discussing what I mentioned earlier,
14 nothing more than that.
15 Q. Okay. And in reference to the task, which is referred to in the
16 bottom of the paragraph 1 in the Macedonian, that last sentence that's --
17 where you asked them what their role is here, they answered that they had
18 the task to enter into village Ljuboten and to conduct a search and
19 cleaning of the terrain. Was that your information at some point, not
20 from these particular people; but at any time, was that your information
21 that was provided to you?
22 A. In the -- during the phone conversation that I had with the
23 president, he told me that the policemen know what to do, the police, the
24 representative that was sent over, that they know. But the question was
25 whether I received some tasks or orders. I answered that I have not
1 received any orders or tasks. He said that he's going to check this
2 through the general, Sokol Mitrevski, what is where and how, and I will be
4 And since I did not receive any response, I evaluated and I came
5 to the conclusion that the police on its own will organise the action; and
6 from the president, I got certain instructions that I have to undertake
7 measures and activities under my competence. If necessary, I am going to
8 clarify this further, Your Honour, what these measures and activities
9 actually mean.
10 Q. Well, actually, I wanted to refer you with respect to the
11 references you made to the president. I wanted to refer you to page 2 of
12 the Macedonian version of this document.
13 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could display that for him, please. It's also
14 page 2 of the English.
15 Q. The top paragraph on this -- actually, it's the second paragraph,
16 it starts with: "On Saturday, 11 August 2001, the above-listed persons,
17 headed by Johan Tarculovski, conducted reconnaissance in the village of
18 Ljuboten, and in the village they shot at dogs that barked at them.
19 "Around 1700 to 1730 hours, the person, Johan Tarculovski, asked
20 Major Mitre Despodov to shoot at target in the village of Ljuboten, which
21 they previously had determined precisely together with Major Mitre
22 Despodov. Major Despodov did not want to open fire upon the
23 above-mentioned targets without orders, requested approval from the
25 "Around 1800 to 1900 hours, first the person, Johan, talked with
1 the president of the state, and then Major Despodov personally talked with
2 the president. The president asked him whether he is under the command of
3 General Sokol. Major Despodov answered 'Yes.' The president told him,
4 'Good. I will talk to General Sokol and I will call you again.'" .
5 Do you recall that event happening?
6 A. I remember, and I confirm that this conversation that is mentioned
7 here with the president, as it is stated, is correct; and the rest of it,
9 Q. Did you ever receive a call from the president after this
10 conversation you reference in this paragraph?
11 A. I already mentioned during the meeting, while it lasted on Friday
12 with the people that I already mentioned, Mr. Johan talked to the
13 president; and during a moment while he was talking, he handed the phone
14 to me and he said, "Mr. Despodov, somebody wants to talk to you. The
15 president wants to talk to you." I cannot really recall the wording;
16 however, this was in essence. When I took over the phone, by the voice on
17 the other side of the line, I could recognise the voice of the president.
18 And not to repeat myself, he said what was already mentioned,
19 whether I was really, indeed, the commander; whether I was Mitre Despodov,
20 the commander of the battalion; whether I recognised the voice; whether
21 I'm sure who the person was; et cetera. I have to say that I have met the
22 president on several occasions before that. I was talking to him on the
23 phone because, besides my regular tasks and obligations in the brigade,
24 during the official welcoming parties and sending-off of the president, I
25 had the task of being the cameraman and to document these kind of events
1 at the airport, before the parliament building, et cetera.
2 Q. I guess what I was asking you is: Was this the only conversation
3 that you had then with the president, which is what you've referenced,
4 when Johan Tarculovski handed you the phone?
5 A. The only conversation.
6 Q. And if we could go to the next paragraph.
7 MS. MOTOIKE: Macedonian version same page, and English same page.
8 Q. It says: "On Sunday, 12.08.2001, at 0430 hours, the person, Johan
9 Tarculovski, with the other persons," and I believe it says in
10 parenthesis, "(MVR reservists) started the action. Immediately after the
11 start of the action, Captain Nikolce Grozdanovski," which is
12 G-r-o-z-d-a-n-o-v-s-k-i, "called up Major Despodov and informed him about
13 the start of the action, which had been organised by MVR."
14 Do you see that?
15 A. Yes, Your Honour, I can see that.
16 Q. Do you recall having a conversation with the captain about the
17 start of the action by the MVR?
18 A. A conversation or a report I received from all the superiors at
19 particular location about what they could hear during the night, during
20 the day, they would inform me. But that the action started exactly at
21 4.30 and it was Johan Tarculovski, about the action, I did not receive
22 information from the subordinates. I only know that the action started
23 around 6.00 a.m., plus or minus 15 minutes. But these shots could be
24 heard earlier. So, personally, to me they did not mean anything.
25 MS. MOTOIKE: Going to the bottom paragraph of the English, if we
1 could scroll down, and if we could scroll down on the Macedonian version
2 because I believe it's towards the bottom. Yes. Thank you.
3 Q. The paragraph that starts out, it's the second from the bottom on
4 the Macedonian version, Mr. Despodov, it says: "Around 0800 hours, Major
5 Despodov called the commander and asked him whether he had received any
6 orders from General Sokol Mitrevski for action against the village of
7 Ljuboten. The commander answered that for the present, he had not
8 received any orders; and after this, he called personally General Sokol
9 Mitrevski, who said that he had not issued any orders."
10 Do you see that?
11 A. Yes, Your Honour.
12 Q. And do you recall calling the commander and asking about orders?
13 A. Your Honours, in order to clarify, if you allow me to give you
14 more details. Every single morning to my commander, between 6.00, 6.30, I
15 give oral reports about the situation over the night regarding the
16 position of my battalion.
17 That day, on the 12th, around 8.00, give or take 15 minutes, the
18 positions of my unit were attacked with mortar fire, shelling; and for
19 this reason, I called to inform the commander that I will be undertaking
20 appropriate actions according to our military laws and regulations. And,
21 at that time, the shooting in the village have intensified; and on the
22 paces of this more intensive fire in the village, I came to the
23 conclusion, I guess, that the police started the action.
24 As I already said, I don't recall the exact time; however, at
25 8.00, the positions have been attacked. And as a response to this attack,
1 I ordered that people should start firing. The attack came from the side
2 of Matejce, Kuljm; that is to say, from the side of Skopska Crna Gora.
3 And all the reports I received at that time from my units at those
4 locations were talking about an attack of the positions of my units.
5 Q. Can I just ask you who was your commander at that time?
6 A. Mr. Colonel Kopacev Blazo, as direct superior officer.
7 Q. And to your knowledge, did Ljupco Kostadinov come to any of the
8 army positions that day, meaning the 10th or the 11th or 12th of August?
9 A. On the 12th of August, together with the commander Kopacev Blazo,
10 around half past 11.00, maybe 12.00, when the activities on the position
11 of my units and when my response was already over, but together with
12 Mr. Kopacev and his driver. Before that, on the 11th or 10th, only the
13 11th, I'm sure he did not come; on the 10th, maybe. I leave some room for
14 a doubt that he might have been there, but maybe in order to find out
15 something more, to get some more information about the mine when my
16 soldiers died, about that incident. For this reason, maybe he was there,
17 but I cannot really claim that.
18 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could please turn to page 3 of the English.
19 Q. I just wanted to show you one more paragraph, Mr. Despodov, which
20 is actually the bottom of the Macedonian, page 2. And this paragraph,
21 it's the very last paragraph, I believe, of the Macedonian version,
22 Mr. Despodov. It says: "Around 0830 hours, Major Despodov again called
23 the commander who was in the premises of the 1st," Guards Brigade, I
24 assume, "command and asked him whether the superiors know about the action
25 that is being organised and conducted by the MVR in the village of
2 Do you see that?
3 A. Yes, Your Honour, I see that.
4 Q. And do you recall having contact with your commander with respect
5 to this particular action?
6 A. I couldn't really confirm this. It is possible. I don't
8 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honours, may we tender this, please.
9 JUDGE PARKER: On what basis?
10 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honour, the witness is able to at least speak
11 to some of the events, at least with respect to references made by his
12 actions in the particular days in question. He's able to at least
13 recognise that Ljupco Kostadinov -- I'm sorry, Your Honours, maybe I'm
14 addressing the wrong issue. Is it an issue with respect to the content or
15 with respect to the reliability and authenticity of the document?
16 JUDGE PARKER: Well, the witness, having refreshed his memory - if
17 I can use that term in a rather extended way - has been able to remind --
18 be reminded of and to tell you about certain events. How do we get to the
19 position of admitting the document from which his memory was refreshed?
20 It's not his document. He's not said he's seen it or approved it or
21 authorised it.
22 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honours, it's with respect to not only this
23 witness's testimony. He has testified to certain aspects of the document
24 that refer to him and whether or not particular references are true,
25 albeit some of them that he referred to is -- don't jog his memory; but
1 some of it that he does refer to, he indicates, yes, these actions did
3 And with respect to future witnesses that the Prosecution intends
4 on calling, within -- specifically within the battalion, the company
5 battalion, other witnesses will also speak to the contents of the
6 document, and I believe it's relevant in that the information contained
7 also corroborates this witness's testimony as to the events in question.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Apostolski.
10 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise for
11 asking the floor, but I wish to object to this document being received
12 because it is written by a person who will be called to testify, and he
13 would be able to authenticate this document. So I think that this is when
14 the Prosecution would be able to seek to tender this written document in
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. The Chamber takes the position,
17 Ms. Motoike, that there is no established basis for the admission of this
18 document as evidence. It will, however, be marked for identification.
19 You have the evidence of this witness as to what his memory is related to
20 the events in this document. If it proves to be the case that other
21 witnesses are able to confirm some of the passages, the position may
23 But you will be aware that it's basically the evidence of the
24 witness from -- and each witness from their recollection of events that
25 will be material, and so far you have not been able to impress us that
1 this whole document will ever be a document that will be admissible. When
2 we come to the actual author, if we do, it may present a different
3 picture, as Mr. Apostolski has indicated. So it will be marked.
4 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P303, marked for identification, Your
6 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you.
7 Could we please display another document for Mr. Despodov, which
8 is 65 ter 213. It is at tab 12 of today's binders.
9 Q. Mr. Despodov, looking at this particular document, in Macedonian
10 version, if I could just draw your attention to the upper left corner. It
11 appears to be a stamp, and then it says: "Republic of Macedonia, Ministry
12 of Defence, General Staff, 1st Guardist Brigade."
13 And then it also says: "Addressed to Major-General Sokol
14 Mitrevski," and then above that is a date within the stamp, "12 August
15 2001." Do you see that?
16 A. I see it, Your Honour.
17 Q. Okay. And do you recognise that seal as one coming -- the stamp
18 as one coming from the Ministry of Defence?
19 A. That is the seal of the Guardist Brigade within which I was
21 Q. And if I could draw your attention to the -- actually, it says --
22 towards the bottom of the English, which is paragraph 3, paragraph 3 of
23 the Macedonian, it references a time. It says: "Between 1730 and 1800 on
24 11 August 2001, Johan Tarculovski engaged some of the houses by fire of
25 64-millimetre grenade-launchers, 'Zolja.' He then requested Major Mitre
1 Despodov to support him with 120-millimetre mortar fire, which the latter
3 Do you see that?
4 A. I see it, Your Honour. I see that paragraph.
5 Q. And do you recall having a conversation with Johan Tarculovski
6 about support for 120-millimetre mortar fire?
7 A. The allegations or the data presented in this quote do not
8 correspond to a conversation that Johan and I actually had, Your Honour.
9 I stated already what Johan and I discussed on the 11th.
10 MS. MOTOIKE: I'm sorry. Could we turn to page 3 of this
11 document, which is also page 3 of the Macedonian.
12 Q. Can I ask you, Mr. Despodov, if you could look at the bottom of
13 this document, it indicates "Blazo Kopacev, Commander Colonel." Do you
14 see that?
15 A. Yes, Your Honour, I see it. Commander Colonel Blazo Kopacev, his
16 signature there, but I could not guarantee whether the signature is his or
17 not. I cannot comment on this.
18 Q. Does it look like the signature of Colonel Kopacev?
19 A. It is a signature, but I haven't seen his signature since 2001, so
20 I could not really remember whether this signature is his or not.
21 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could turn to page 1 again of the document in
22 both versions.
23 Q. And drawing your attention to the last paragraph.
24 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could scroll down on the Macedonian version,
25 which is the last paragraph of the English.
1 Q. Again, Mr. Despodov, there is a reference to this call from the
2 president, if I could just read for you the paragraph.
3 "Between 1800 and 1900 on 11 August 2001, Johan Tarculovski
4 personally called the President from the command post of the 3rd Battalion
5 of the 1st Guardist Brigade; and after a brief discussion, the president
6 requested that Major Mitre Despodov speak to him in person. (As the
7 commander showed up), the President asked him: 'If you are under the
8 command of General Sokol?' The latter said: "'Yes.' And the President
9 told him: 'Good. I will speak to General Sokol and will call you back.'"
10 Do you see that?
11 A. Yes, Your Honour.
12 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could turn to page 2 in the English, staying
13 on page 1 of the Macedonian.
14 Q. The top part of page 2, the bottom part of page 1 in the
15 Macedonian, it says: "After 2200 hours on the same day, the
16 above-mentioned persons from the Ministry of the Interior, led by Johan
17 Tarculovski, came for the second time to Mitre Despodov regarding the
18 action. Johan Tarculovski told all of them that the action starts at 4.30
19 a.m., regardless whether or not there would be armed support. Major
20 Despodov, Mitre, told that he has no authority to support the action. But
21 despite that, Major Despodov undertook all measures in order to implement
22 the action successfully in case it was approved by our side."
23 Do you see that?
24 A. I see it, Your Honour.
25 Q. Is that an accurate reflection of what your -- what happened that
1 day at that time?
2 A. No, Your Honour.
3 Q. And what part is inaccurate?
4 A. The time of the meeting, I will repeat it once again. On
5 Saturday, the 11th, Johan and I had a conversation about the issues that
6 I've mentioned already. Where did this data come from, these things
7 alleged in his information, I do not know.
8 If I remember correctly, I did not tell the commander the things
9 written here precisely, that on the Friday, Saturday from the brigade
10 command police check-points, reconnaissance patrols, and the other bodies
11 that were working on collecting data about the deployment and the
12 activities of the terrorist groups in that region received a warning that
13 I should be ready, and I should take measures to increase the security as
14 well as the alertness of my units.
15 And, in this context, I informed him that I had taken measures,
16 not measures as indicated here. Why is his comment as it is, you will
17 need to ask the author of the report. I really regret that it is so, but
19 Q. So you're -- one of the points of clarification is that the action
20 that's referred to, you say -- it says here last sentence: "But despite
21 that, Major Despodov undertook all measures in order to implement the
22 action successfully in case it was approved by our side."
23 If I'm understanding you correctly, you mean to say that you did
24 not undertake any actions to implement this action that was referred to by
25 Johan Tarculovski?
1 A. Your Honour, I, as a battalion commander - I said this already -
2 I received information that there were terrorists -- serious threats, that
3 my units, my positions, would be attacked by the terrorist groups. If I
4 remember correctly, Xhavit Hasani was the commander of that unit there.
5 And I was literally told, especially by the defence of the city of Skopje
6 command - and I have indicated this in my previous statement - that he had
7 threatened to -- to raise or -- the ground.
8 And with no particular reference to the people I was working with,
9 they did not have any particular information about the subject matter of
10 your question. And it was in this context and towards this aim that I
11 undertook measures, and not in support to the bodies.
12 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honours, may we mark this for identification,
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be marked.
15 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P304, marked for identification, Your
17 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you.
18 Q. As commander of the 3rd Guardist Battalion, did your battalion
19 also keep a diary with respect to events that had occurred in your
20 battalion -- your battalion's area of responsibility?
21 A. Your Honour, it was supposed to be kept, but this task was not
22 completed with sufficient quality.
23 Q. Okay. Well, if I could show you 65 ter 652, please, which is tab
24 5 of the binder.
25 MS. MOTOIKE: Could we please turn the Macedonian version
1 clock-wise. Thank you.
2 Q. Mr. Despodov, looking at the documented before you - if we could,
3 thank you, scroll to the right - in the Macedonian version, there is --
4 under the coat of arms, there are words that say: "Ministry of Defence,
5 General Staff of ARM," and then below that it says: "Military diary of
6 the 3rd Guardist Battalion."
7 Do you see that?
8 A. Yes, Your Honour.
9 Q. Does this look like one of the diaries that you kept as part of
10 your battalion?
11 A. This is my personal handwriting. I have written this.
12 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could turn to page 3 of the English, which is
13 page 2 of the Macedonian.
14 Q. And, Mr. Despodov, if I could draw your attention --
15 MS. MOTOIKE: Perhaps if we could - thank you - enlarge the right
16 side of the Macedonian version.
17 Q. Mr. Despodov, can you see the handwriting on that screen?
18 A. I see it, Your Honour.
19 Q. And is -- do you recognise the handwriting that's displayed there?
20 A. In the right-hand column, the penultimate right-hand column, at
21 the beginning at the top, I think it is my signature.
22 Q. And referring to the top, it says -- there are columns there, and
23 it says: "Date, contents, source, and remarks." Do you see that?
24 A. Yes. In the column source, there, Your Honour, that part of the
25 handwriting is mine, my personal handwriting. While in the column
1 content, I could not recognise the handwriting.
2 Q. And then looking at the date, it says, "10 August," it refers to.
3 And just briefly looking at the contents, so we can get some perspective
4 on the year for this diary, it says: "In the area of Basinec, at about
5 0745 hours, a vehicle of the 2nd Company had hit two explosive devices
6 planted by terrorists in ambush, while bringing soldiers on a regular
7 shift at the check-point."
8 Do you see that?
9 A. Yes, Your Honour.
10 Q. And, again, just so that we get a context of the year of this
11 particular diary, would that be in 2001?
12 A. Precisely on the date, 10th of August, 2001, yes.
13 MS. MOTOIKE: And if we could turn the page, which would be page 2
14 in the Macedonian and page 4 in the English, and if we could enlarge the
15 Macedonian version, the left side. Thank you.
16 Q. Mr. Despodov, again, there are columns on this page. And as you
17 go down the date column, it appears to be in chronological order starting
18 with 12 August and then ending with 13 August. Do you see that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And, again, does this page contain any of your handwriting?
21 A. The words at the bottom, the date, "13th of August, 2001," that is
22 my handwriting.
23 Q. If I could draw your attention to the first entry on this
24 particular page, "12 August," it says in the contents column: "At the
25 period of time between 11.00 till 1700 hours, during the," and I believe
1 there's a portion that's illegible ineligible for translation, "of the
2 ministers of the MVR," Ministry of Interior, "in Ljuboten village, the
3 terrorists were firing from," and there's another illegible portion, "and
4 Jecmeniste," I apologise for my mispronunciation "towards our positions
5 with 82-millimetre mortars.
6 "At the area of the company, 12 mortar shells had fallen. We
7 fired back with 120-millimetre mortars and 76-millimetre cannon towards
8 the positions of the terrorists." And then to the right, it says the
9 source is the commander of the 2nd company.
10 Would this be Mario Jurisic, who you referred to earlier?
11 A. Yes, company commander Mario Jurisic. But what is written here is
12 something that I see for the first time or maybe I don't understand it
13 well. But the time is inaccurate, 1100 to 1700 hours, that time until
14 1700 on the 12th of August. I am not clear about this. I don't remember,
15 and I don't understand what he wanted to say with this.
16 Q. Okay.
17 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honours, may we tender this, please.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P305, Your Honours.
20 MS. MOTOIKE: Could we next move on to another document that I
21 could show, 65 ter 229, which is tab 9 of today's binders.
22 Q. And, Mr. Despodov, if I could just ask you first: Mario Jurisic
23 was under your command, is that right, as part of the company?
24 A. Yes, Your Honour.
25 Q. Do you recognise this particular document, the handwriting, in
1 Macedonian that's displayed before you?
2 A. I recognise the document. I was shown it at the interview before,
3 and it bears my signature.
4 Q. Okay. The handwriting, with respect to this document, though, is
5 this the handwriting of Mario Jurisic?
6 A. I suppose so. I don't know.
7 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could go to page 2 of the Macedonian, please.
8 Q. At the very bottom, there's a signature. Do you recognise the
9 signature there?
10 A. I couldn't affirm with certainty.
11 Q. The translation says -- it says: "Commander of VB, military unit,
12 2454," and it's signed by Lieutenant Jurisic.
13 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could go to the first page, please, of the
15 Q. At the very top of this document, it's handwritten, it says:
16 "Report." And then it says: "In relation to the military activities on
17 the 12th August 2001."
18 It goes on to say: "At 0800 hours, on the 12th August 2001, one
19 could hear shots in the area of Ljuboten village. The right wing of
20 defence of the company had informed me from the observation post 'Smok'
21 that they came under attack by machine-gun and sniper fire. I immediately
22 informed the commander of the battalion, who ordered me and my deputy to
23 climb up to the position and perceive the situation."
24 Do you see that paragraph?
25 A. Yes, Your Honour.
1 Q. And the commander that Mario Jurisic is referring to, is that you?
2 A. Yes, Your Honour.
3 Q. And then in the bottom of page 1, in Macedonian.
4 MS. MOTOIKE: If we could scroll down a little bit, please.
5 Q. It says: "From the old house under the mosque, with a sniper, and
6 from the last new houses close to the road, a machine-gun fire has been
7 opened against our positions."
8 MS. MOTOIKE: And then page 2 of the Macedonian if we could go
9 there, please.
10 Q. It goes on to say, after a sentence: "After the activation of the
11 cannons, DTG, terrorist groups, started to move in the front part of the
12 village and at the same time continued to shoot at our positions. I
13 immediately requested an approval from the commander of the battalion to
14 use 82-millimetre mortars; and after an approval, I fired five projectiles
15 of 82-millimetres against the DTG, terrorist groups, on the front parts of
16 the houses. The police had already entered the village, so we stopped the
18 Do you see that?
19 A. Yes, Your Honour.
20 Q. And then at the very bottom of the Macedonian version, bottom of
21 the English, it says: "Further on, our activities against Ljuboten
22 village had stopped. The police are undertaking the further activities."
23 Do you see that?
24 A. Yes, Your Honour.
25 Q. So is it correct to say that the army then, at some point, stopped
1 their involvement, and it was the police that entered the village?
2 A. No, Your Honour.
3 Q. Let me ask you this: Did the army ever enter Ljuboten village
4 that day?
5 A. No, Your Honour.
6 Q. And do you recall the events described that I've told you about,
7 with respect to this document, do you recall those events happening on 12
8 August 2001?
9 A. I apologise. Do you mean the events from this statement by
10 Mr. Jurisic? I completely, fully, recall they happened as they are
11 described here, with the exception of his remark at the very end.
12 Further, our activities in relation to the village of Ljuboten stopped. I
13 believe that he's talking about the locations that were firing at our
14 units. When this kind of activity stopped, then I ordered for the
15 response to be ended as well.
16 Q. And --
17 A. Because to my subordinates I was ordering, when I would receive a
18 report from them that a certain location has been attacked, they should
19 respond and they should be firing only in such case upon my order. And if
20 they cannot get me on line in order for me to approve it, then they should
21 exercise their assessment. Depending on the threats to the position, to
22 the men, then they can act independently on their own. These are our
23 rules, procedures.
24 MS. MOTOIKE: Your Honours, may this be tendered, please.
25 JUDGE PARKER: On what basis, Ms. Motoike?
1 MS. MOTOIKE: Again, Your Honours, this report speaks to the
2 military activities by the Republic of Macedonia Army on that day, and I
3 have to indicate, again, to the Chamber that there will be another witness
4 who will speak to the particular activities. And this report indicates
5 the reporting system with respect to the Macedonian Army and the fact that
6 these events did happen corroborates the witness's testimony.
7 JUDGE PARKER: It will not be admitted, Ms. Motoike. If you want
8 it marked for identification, it can be.
9 MS. MOTOIKE: Please, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be marked.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P306, marked for identification, Your
13 MS. MOTOIKE:
14 Q. Mr. Despodov, I'd like to show you another diary, which is 65 ter
15 670, and it's at tab 6 of today's binder. And my question to you, first,
16 is: Did the 1st Guardist Brigade also keep a diary with respect to events
17 that had occurred in the area of the brigade's responsibility?
18 A. Yes, Your Honour.
19 Q. And looking at this particular document, the right side of the
20 Macedonian version, it's written in -- it's handwritten. Does this look
21 familiar to you?
22 A. I think that, during the previous interview, this was a document
23 that was shown to me. If this is the same document, then it is familiar.
24 Q. Okay. Well, if I could just draw your attention to the top.
25 MS. MOTOIKE: Actually, the translation does not correspond.
1 Perhaps -- my apologies to the Chamber and all the parties. I believe
2 that the exhibit has the Macedonian version attached to the actual English
3 version. So with the assistance of the usher, maybe we could display the
4 translation and the original Macedonian version via the ELMO. It is tab
6 And to assist you would need the hard copy of page 1 and the hard
7 copy of page 5. Page 5 of the Macedonian actually bears the ERN
8 N001-4722. I believe that Mr. Despodov might have it in his hands.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
10 MS. MOTOIKE:
11 Q. Mr. Despodov, could you hand that to the usher to display. Yes.
12 Thank you.
13 MS. MOTOIKE: I don't suppose there's any way of making this a
14 little bit darker. I assume it's displaying it exactly as it's depicted.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is very difficult
16 for me to read it.
17 MS. MOTOIKE:
18 Q. Perhaps, Mr. Despodov, I could get you another hard copy to have
19 in your hands.
20 JUDGE PARKER: I think that would help. Would it assist if we had
21 the second break now, Ms. Motoike?
22 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you very much, Your Honours, it would.
23 JUDGE PARKER: We will do that, and we resume at five minutes to
25 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Motoike.
3 MS. MOTOIKE: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Your Honours, with respect to this particular document, actually,
5 the Prosecutor at this time will not inquire of this witness with respect
6 to this document. So I have no further questions. Thank you.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Motoike.
8 Ms. Residovic.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
10 Could we kindly ask the usher to lower the ELMO so that I can see
11 the witness.
12 Cross-examination by Ms. Residovic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Despodov.
14 A. [No interpretation]
15 Q. My name is Edina Residovic, and together with my colleague,
16 Mr. Mettraux, I represent Mr. Ljube Boskoski. Before I start putting
17 questions to you, I am going to caution you about something, or rather,
18 kindly request you to do something. I understand the language that you
19 speak, and I assume that you understand the language that I speak.
20 Therefore, you could answer every one of my questions very rapidly,
21 without waiting for the interpretation.
22 However, both my question and your answer have to be interpreted
23 so that the Honourable Trial Chamber and our colleagues in this courtroom
24 would know what it is that you are testifying about. Therefore, I kindly
25 ask you to pause slightly for the interpretation of my question to finish,
1 and then provide your answer.
2 Did you understand me?
3 A. Very well, Mrs. Edina.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 If I understood the answers you gave my colleague correctly, my
6 colleague the Prosecutor, practically you are a professional military man.
7 Is that right?
8 A. Up to 1st of October, 2005, I was a professional military
9 official; and from 1st of October, 2005, I am a civil servant.
10 Q. Thank you. You graduated from the military academy in Belgrade in
11 1982. Is that correct? 1982, right?
12 A. 1983.
13 Q. Thank you. After that, you went to serve in the Yugoslav People's
14 Army in Sarajevo; right?
15 A. Not in Sarajevo, but in Visoko. In Sarajevo, I came to service in
17 Q. At any rate, since Visoko is a small town, not far away from
18 Sarajevo, at that time, you were serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina; that is to
19 say, in the broader area of the town of Sarajevo, that is to say, the
20 small town of Visoko and metropolitan Sarajevo. Is that right?
21 A. That is correct.
22 Q. In 1989, you were transferred to Kosovo from Bosnia-Herzegovina,
23 and you remained in Kosovo until 1991. Is this information correct, that
24 information that we have available here?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Due to what happened in the former SFRY, you left the Yugoslav
2 People's Army in 1991, and you returned to the Republic of Macedonia that
3 you come from originally; right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And, for one year, you were not professionally engaged in the
6 army; rather, you had a business of your own. Is that right?
7 A. Not the whole year, but since November 2001 -- pardon, sorry, 1991
8 until April 1992. So this is more or less six or seven months.
9 Q. And, as you've already said to my learned friend, in April 1992,
10 you were engaged yet again, but this time in the Army of the Republic of
11 Macedonia. Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Despodov, that after the independence of the
14 Republic of Macedonia was declared, in the republic, various reforms were
15 carried out. Therefore, there were certain reforms in the armed forces of
16 the Republic of Macedonia, too?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. When you started working in the Army of the Republic of Macedonia,
19 for the most part, you were engaged in work in the staff of the brigade,
20 but most -- most of all in training?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In 2001, in the spring of 2001, you were transferred from the
23 centre for training to a commander -- to become commander of a tactical
24 unit in Tetovo. Is that information correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. This order regarding your transfer and your new appointment is one
2 that you received verbally from your superior officer. Is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. In mid-June 2001, you were appointed commander of the 3rd
5 Battalion of the 1st Guards Brigade that was deployed in the area of --
6 the area that is north of Skopje, notably the area of Skopska Crna Gora.
7 Is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Before you were appointed battalion commander, you personally did
10 not have any true combat experience. Is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The same could be said of the soldiers who, for the most part,
13 made up your battalion; right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Although you are a professional soldier, as a member of the Army
16 of the Republic of Macedonia, you did not have any special training for a
17 certain type of combat against terrorist and sabotage groups that would
18 carry out incursions in the territory of the Republic of Macedonia; right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. If I were to put it to you, Mr. Despodov, that not only for
21 ordinary people but also for you soldiers, it was quite unexpected that
22 after -- the Republic of Macedonia in 1999 made a maximum effort to help
23 the people of Kosovo who were seeking shelter in Macedonia at the time of
24 the NATO strikes. So after all these efforts, it was a big surprise to
25 you that now in the territory of Macedonia such terrorist and sabotage
1 attacks were taking place?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Since you are a professional soldier, I shall take the liberty of
4 putting a few brief questions to you in relation to the establishment of
5 the Army of the Republic of Macedonia and the chain of command in the
6 units that you served in. You said that there were certain reforms;
7 however, the basic principles pertaining to the work in command in a
8 modern army were retained in the Macedonian Army, too. Is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Although I do not have any military training, nevertheless, I
11 would like to ask you whether it is correct that these basic principles,
12 upon which the Army of the Republic of Macedonia were based, were the
13 principles of unity of command, when using troops and resources; then
14 singleness of command; and also the duty and obligation to carry out
15 orders issued by superior officers, because these are basic principles and
16 the Army of the Republic of Macedonia functioned on that basis, too. Is
17 that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The decisions that a subordinate person had to carry out, as well
20 as the orders of superior officers, could have been issued both in writing
21 and verbally. Is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And precisely, a few moments ago, you gave an answer to one of my
24 questions; namely, that your transfer to the unit until Tetovo was carried
25 out on the basis of an oral order. Is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Also, as a soldier, you probably know, and I believe that in this
3 way I am going to end this brief recollection of how the Army of the
4 Republic of Macedonia works, you know that a subordinate can refuse to
5 carry out the order issued by a superior officer only if its
6 implementation would constitute a crime. Is that one of the principles
7 upon which the Army of Macedonia is based?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. If I were to put it to you that not a single other state organ in
10 the Republic of Macedonia is not organised on the basis of such
11 principles, but that it is only the Army of the Republic of Macedonia that
12 is, you will agree with me, won't you, that these are the principles of
13 the organisation of the army, not of other state organs?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In response to questions put by my learned friend, you referred to
16 your conversation with the president of the Republic of Macedonia. Tell
17 me, is it correct that in accordance with the constitution of the Republic
18 of Macedonia - perhaps you know the exact article. If I were to jog your
19 memory, it is Article 79 of the constitution of the Republic of
20 Macedonia - the President of the Republic of Macedonia is the
21 Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Are you aware of that?
22 A. I don't recall the article; however, I know the content, that he
23 is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces in the republic, a chief
24 commander of the armed forces.
25 Q. And the armed forces of the Republic of Macedonia are primarily
1 made up of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia, while there are other
2 laws, like the Law on Defence, specify when it is that the police is part
3 of the armed forces, too. Do you know that from your own work in the Army
4 of the Republic of Macedonia?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In relation to these duties, as you mentioned your conversation
7 with the president of the republic, you certainly know that the president
8 of the republic within his own authority has the power to order
9 mobilisation, to order the use of the army, to establish the mode of
10 command, and to make other decisions and orders, as envisaged by the Law
11 on Defence and other laws of the Republic of Macedonia. Are these some of
12 his duties?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. As you said a few moments ago, in certain situations, the police
15 also becomes an integral part of the armed forces. And if I were to put
16 it to you that in actual fact the president of the republic, in accordance
17 with the Law on Defence, is authorised to order the use of the police for
18 carrying out combat tasks in war, then you can agree with me that that is
19 his right and responsibility?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Likewise, if I were to put it to you that according to the Law on
22 Defence of the Republic of Macedonia, it is established that police units
23 can be used for carrying out combat tasks, but only as an integral part of
24 the army, then you can agree with me, can you not, that when there are
25 joint operations involved, the police is within and under the command of
1 the army. Is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Although you spoke very briefly about the situation in the area
4 where your battalion was deployed, I would like to ask you to tell me a
5 bit more about the situation there in 2001. Can you agree with me that,
6 in 2001, the situation in the Republic of Macedonia was rather undefined
7 because the parliament had not declared a state of war?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. However, although a state of war had not been declared, public law
10 and order and the security of the country, in particular in the northern,
11 north-western parts of the country, was significantly endangered due to
12 the numerous terrorist attacks in those areas. Is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Mr. Despodov, can we say that these attacks actually endangered
15 the vital functions of the state in that period of time?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And can we say, Mr. Despodov, that those were the reasons why from
18 March 2001, the Army of the Republic of Macedonia also took part in
19 eliminating the terrorist and sabotage groups?
20 A. Yes.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as I continue
22 putting questions to the witness, I would like to use some other
23 documents, and we have, therefore, prepared binders for the Trial Chamber,
24 for our colleagues of the Prosecution, and for the witness himself.
25 I would now like to ask that the witness be shown 1D-49.
1 Q. And, Mr. Despodov, I would like to ask you to look at the document
2 that is after tab 1. This is a decision, as you can see in the upper
3 left-hand corner, issued by the president of the Republic of Macedonia,
4 dated the 5th of March, 2001. It pertains to the use of the units of the
5 Army of the Republic of Macedonia. Do you see that it is the president of
6 the Republic of Macedonia, Boris Trajkovski, that signed this document?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I would like to ask you to look at the text of this decision a
9 bit. It is under seal. And could you please look at paragraph 1 of this
10 decision, and then I would like to put a question to you.
11 In paragraph 1, does this decision not confirm your own knowledge
12 and the answers that you have just given me; namely, that already in
13 March, the Army of the Republic of Macedonia was engaged in eliminating
14 sabotage terrorist groups?
15 A. Please, can you repeat the question. I did not understand it
17 Q. All right.
18 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, these documents are
19 otherwise under seal, so I would not like to have them disclosed to the
21 Q. My question, Mr. Despodov, is whether it is correct that by this
22 decision the president establishes that units of the Army of Macedonia
23 should respond to attacks and provocations by diversion terrorist groups
24 against the units of the army?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The content of this decision corresponds to your own knowledge and
2 experience from that time because you, as a soldier, at that time also
3 knew that the army responded to diversion and terrorist attacks by
4 Albanian groups?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to ask you to have a look at the
7 document under tab 3.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] The 65 ter number is 641. The
9 Macedonian version is N00 --
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the number.
11 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] N002648 [as interpreted] -- [In
12 English] 6048. [Interpretation] N002648-ET is the English version.
13 Q. Mr. Despodov, yet again, you see a decision of the
14 Commander-in-Chief; that is to say, the president of the Republic of
15 Macedonia. Is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In the upper left-hand corner, you can see that it is dated the
18 19th of March, 2001, and it pertains to the use of the army for carrying
19 out operations.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. This decision was signed by the president of the Republic of
22 Macedonia. Is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. If you look at the text of the decision, you will see that this
25 decision also pertains to carrying out operations aimed at destroying
1 terrorists, this time in the area of Tetovo. Is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You will agree with me that this decision taken by the president
4 is actually the exercise of his rights and responsibilities as
5 Commander-in-Chief, giving him the power to make a decision on using the
6 army. Is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could this be
9 admitted as a Defence document, under seal.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As 1D-79, under seal, Your Honours.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Despodov, now I would like to ask you to take a look at the
14 document under tab 4.
15 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] And the 65 ter number is 643. The
16 Macedonian reference is N026055, and the English version is N002-6055-ET.
17 Q. This is also a document of the president of the Republic of
18 Macedonia, dated the 28th of March, 2001. You can see that on the basis
19 of what it says in the upper left-hand corner, too. It also pertains to
20 the use of the army for carrying out certain operations. Is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Again, it is signed by the president of the Republic of Macedonia,
23 Boris Trajkovski?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The content of this decision, namely, paragraph 1, shows - and I
1 hope that you can agree with me on this - that, yet again, the president
2 of the Republic of Macedonia is exercising his rights and responsibilities
3 as Commander-in-Chief, establishing what the duties are of the Army of the
4 Republic of Macedonia, and the territory where these tasks would be
5 carried out. Is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to ask
8 that this document also be admitted into evidence as a Defence exhibit,
9 under seal.
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 1D-80, under seal, Your Honours.
12 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. While answering my previous questions, you said that a superior
14 officer can issue an order in writing and orally. Is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The president, as the Commander-in-Chief of the army, can issue an
17 order, both in writing and orally. Is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I would now like to ask you to look at a document -- the document
20 under tab 2, 1D -- sorry, sorry. It is Exhibit 1D-51.
21 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] There is one page in Macedonian
22 and one page in English.
23 Q. In the upper left-hand corner, you can see that this is a document
24 of the president of the Republic of Macedonia, his office, that the date
25 of the document is the 18th of March, 2001, and that it constitutes a
1 record of the meeting between the president of the Republic of Macedonia
2 and the Chief of General Staff of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.
3 Can you see that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In paragraph 2, in the middle of paragraph 2, you can see that
6 what is stated is that after the situation was discussed in the area of
7 Tetovo that: "President Trajkovski issued an oral order to the Chief of
8 General Staff to do whatever is possible quickly, efficiently, and" --
9 that is to say: "Urgent, efficient, and decisive offensive action in
10 collaboration with MUP forces for the neutralisation of the terrorist
11 groups in the region of Tetovo."
12 Can you see that sentence?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. My first question, Mr. Despodov, is: This particular part of the
15 record that was compiled, and it was compiled by Nikola Dimitrov, national
16 security advisor to the president of the Republic of Macedonia. I beg
17 your pardon.
18 So is it correct that this portion that we read out now confirms
19 that President Trajkovski, like the other superior personnel in the
20 Republic of Macedonia, issued and could issue orders orally as well?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is it correct that from the second part of this record, we can see
23 that the president is ordering coordination with the forces of the
24 Ministry of the Interior; and, in this way, he is expressing his rights
25 and responsibilities vis-a-vis the police of the Republic of Macedonia,
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you very much. This document has already been admitted into
5 A few more questions that are perhaps of relevance in relation to
6 the position of your battalion in 2001 in the area of Skopska Crna Gora.
7 Tell me, Mr. Despodov, is it correct that one of the basic tasks of the
8 Army of the Republic of Macedonia is to guard the borders of the Republic
9 of Macedonia?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Is it correct that in peacetime, the border belt that is
12 controlled by the Army of the Republic of Macedonia extends ten kilometres
13 from the border of the respective neighbouring states?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Because of terrorist actions and incursion by terrorist groups in
16 the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, is it correct that in 2001 a
17 decision was that the border belt should be extended so as to include 20
18 kilometres, and that that area would be under the control of the Army of
19 the Republic of Macedonia as well?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. A few moments ago, we said that the situation in that period of
22 time in the Republic of Macedonia was rather undefined, because a state of
23 war had not been declared; and, in some parts of the country, the security
24 situation was so threatened that it endangered the security of the entire
25 country. Is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. At the same time, that was the reason why the president of the
3 Republic of Macedonia ordered partial mobilisation of the army in the
4 Republic of Macedonia. Is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In actual fact, let us just repeat this, the Army of the Republic
7 of Macedonia is a standing army, on the one hand, but it also has its
8 reservists; right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. The reserve force consists of citizens of the Republic of
11 Macedonia who are of age and who had completed their military service
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. According to the decision taken by the Commander-in-Chief, the
15 reserve force is mobilised either partially or there is general
16 mobilisation. Is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In 2001, in the Republic of Macedonia, there was only partial
19 mobilisation; right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And, in your own battalion, you had a significant number of
22 reservists; right?
23 A. Maybe 95 per cent. Only the superiors were from the regular
24 composition of the army.
25 Q. According to the regulations of the Republic of Macedonia, the
1 reserve force had to be changed every month. Is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. For you, the commanders, that was a significant problem because,
4 first of all, you had to train the reservists who had been called-up to
5 familiarise them with the area, carry out training in terms of the use of
6 weapons, and other forms of training that would turn them into a
7 disciplined army structure, as required. Is that right?
8 A. Yes, and this was a major problem.
9 Q. Therefore, if I were to remind you now, in mid-July, the General
10 Staff in response to this lack of discipline among the reserve force
11 indicated special tasks aimed at a much better training of reservists than
12 had been the case until then. Do you remember that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. All right. Now I would like to ask you to look at the document
15 under tab 5. There is one more decision here. This is Exhibit 1D-50.
16 And as you can see, Mr. Despodov, from the upper left-hand corner, yet
17 again, this is a decision made by the president of the Republic of
18 Macedonia, and it is signed by the president, Boris Trajkovski -- or
19 actually, it is somebody else who signed on behalf of the president, Boris
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. This is a decision dated the 3rd of May, 2001. If you look at the
23 first paragraph of this decision, yet again, it talks about the
24 coordinated action between the army units and the units of the Ministry of
25 the Interior, in carrying out operations in the areas of Vaksince and
1 Slupcane. And in paragraph 2, it says that it is a decision of the Chief
2 of General Staff of the army that will regulate this decision. Do you see
4 A. Yes, of course.
5 Q. Mr. Despodov, yet again, is this proof that already in the month
6 of May the president of the republic, as the Commander-in-Chief, is
7 drawing on his own authority vis-a-vis the Ministry of the Interior, and
8 at the same time establishing that command and decisions in that operation
9 are in the hands of the army commands?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. Could you now please look at the document under tab 6.
12 That is Exhibit 1D-58, dated the 14th [as interpeted] of June, 2004.
13 And as you can see, yet again, this is a decision of the president of the
14 Republic of Macedonia, who also signed this decision.
15 A. Just a moment, I can't --
16 Q. It is right after 6. You have tab 6, and it's the first document
17 right after that.
18 A. Dated 4th of June, you said?
19 Q. Yes. And in item 1 of the decision, you have, again, a decision
20 about the use of army units and the units of the Ministry of the Interior,
21 which would fall under the authority of the president as the
22 Commander-in-Chief, as you testified a while ago. Isn't it so?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And, in paragraph 3, it is, again, established as the Law on
25 Defence provides and the Law on Army of the Republic of Macedonia provides
1 that the commander of the operation will be a given officer from the army.
2 Is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And this decision, as you as a military officer know and as is
5 your practice, is in conformity with the decisions of the president of the
6 Republic of Macedonia and the authority he established during the crisis
7 in 2001. Is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. Answering the questions of my learned colleague, you
10 testified that you needed to receive a given order to use force and that
11 your subordinate officers, company commanders, could also receive one.
12 But you also stated that if they could not contact you through the
13 communications system, that they would need to make their own assessment
14 of the situation and decide about the specific situation on the field. Is
15 that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I would like to ask you now to look at the document under tab
18 34 -- I apologise. No, tab 7. I apologise. That is Exhibit 1D-52.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Dated 7th of August, 2001. And before I ask you something in
21 relation to this document, I will remind you of the answer you gave to my
22 learned colleague, when you stated that after these events in 2001, when
23 you were transferred to a post in the city command, you learned that the
24 president had made a certain decision about the actions or the conduct of
25 the army in a given situation.
1 If I understood you well, you never saw that decision, and
2 particularly you were not aware of it in August 2001. Is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. This decision is actually dated the 7th of August, 2001. Also, it
5 is, again, signed by Boris Trajkovski, the President of the Republic of
6 Macedonia. And it actually denotes the right to self-defence and the
7 right of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia to return fire against
8 those who are attacking the army positions. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. It is what you testified about before this Court, that you
11 yourself would issue an order to return fire at the moment when your
12 positions were under threat. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In the item 1, in paragraph 2, it is stated: "I underline that
15 the measure taken by the army also includes instances when the members of
16 the Ministry of Interior are in danger from the attacks."
17 I think you will agree with me that the president, as a supreme
18 commander, has an authority to issue such order to the army. Is that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. When you discussed -- when you spoke to the president on the 10th
22 or the 11th of August, when was it that you spoke to the president? Could
23 you remind me?
24 A. It was the 10th, in the evening.
25 Q. And when he, as far as I understood, asked you whether you had the
1 decision, and when you see now this decision, can you tell me, was the
2 president referring to a decision that he had issued previously, in
3 writing, to the army units?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And that if you were aware of this decision, then a question would
6 not be asked whether you needed to protect the units and ring the village
7 in case they were attacked. Is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 MS. RESIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this might be a
10 convenient time to -- for me to finish this part of the cross-examination.
11 Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Residovic.
13 We adjourn now, resuming tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 26th day of
16 June, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.