1 Tuesday, 30 October 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
7 Mr. Bezruchenko, the affirmation you made still applies --
8 [French on English channel]
9 WITNESS: VIKTOR BEZRUCHENKO [Resumed]
10 Cross-examination by Mr. Mettraux: [Continued]
11 THE WITNESS: [French on English channel]... for some reason.
12 MR. METTRAUX: I have the same problem, Mr. Bezruchenko.
13 JUDGE PARKER: We have French on channel 4; English I found on
14 channel [Realtime transcript read in error "incompetent"] 3, if it helps.
15 Hopefully, we will resolve ourselves very shortly.
16 MR. METTRAUX:
17 Q. Are you receiving the English translation Mr. Bezruchenko?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. And I would start, Mr. Bezruchenko, by passing on to you a warning
20 I have received yesterday from the interpreters. They have asked both of
21 us to try to pause between questions and answers as it makes their work
22 more difficult if we don't.
23 A. Yes, I understand that. Perhaps, I would suggest, I think what
24 could resolve the problem somehow is that some parallel interpretation
25 could be made so somebody could appropriately advise us on the pauses to
1 be made.
2 Q. Well, thank you for that. We will try, for the time being, to
3 police ourselves, if we can.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Can I observe as an outsider, you each have a
5 tendency to become involved in the subject and to become excited even, and
6 the more involved and the more excited each of you become, the quicker you
7 come in your speech and the quicker you're ready to speak at the end of
8 the other's conversation, and that reaches a point where it is beyond the
9 capacity of the interpreters to keep up with you.
10 And while that is happening, could I merely observe that at line
11 13, I wasn't speaking and I did not use the word "incompetent," speaking
12 of the English translation.
13 MR. METTRAUX: We'll try to keep the excitement under control,
14 Your Honour.
15 Could the witness please be is shown what is exhibit P481, please.
16 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, as you will see, this is the same document that
17 we finished with last night. There are simply two more matters which I
18 would like to draw your attention upon.
19 The first one is in the first paragraph of that document, and you
20 will recall that I had asked you whether the president in a number of
21 documents referred to the NLA as a terrorist group or as terrorists.
22 I would simply draw your attention to paragraph 1, and can you
23 agree that the NLA in that paragraph is referred to as terrorist groups?
24 Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. And drawing your attention to paragraph 4 of that particular
2 document, do you agree, Mr. Bezruchenko, that one of the instructions or
3 order that the president gave in relation to this matter was for the Chief
4 of Staff of the army to report directly to him in relation to the matters
5 mentioned in the previous paragraphs?
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be shown what is Exhibit
8 1D99, please. And, for the record, the document is to be found under tab
9 21 of the OTP binder of documents for Mr. Bezruchenko.
10 Q. Briefly, Mr. Bezruchenko, two matters in relation to this order.
11 Do you agree that the order is addressed to the Defence Command of the
12 City of Skopje? Do you agree with that? It's on the top left-hand
13 corner, I believe.
14 A. Not really. I don't think it is addressed formally to the Command
15 for the Defence of the City of Skopje. What it really says is that the
16 subject of the document is formation of the command for the defence of the
17 city of Skopje. This is the left upper corner.
18 Q. And do you agree that this particular decision, as it is called,
19 is then submitted to the Cabinet of the President of the Republic, and to
20 the General Staff of the army?
21 MR. METTRAUX: and perhaps the registry could scroll down for
22 Mr. Bezruchenko, to the very bottom the document, please?
23 THE WITNESS: I can see that.
24 MR. METTRAUX:
25 Q. And do you agree that, again, this document is not submitted to
1 the Ministry of Defence. Is that correct?
2 A. I can see that the document is actually delivered to the Cabinet
3 of the President of the Republic of Macedonia and to the Chief of the
4 General Staff -- or to the General Staff of the army.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. METTRAUX: And if the witness may now be shown Exhibit 1D58,
7 please, this is tab 17 of the OTP binder. It's under seal.
8 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, this is, again, a document that you were shown by
9 the Office of the Prosecutor in your examination-in-chief, and you've made
10 already a number of comments upon it. But what I would like you to
11 confirm is it's, again, a decision of the President of the Republic of
12 Macedonia, Mr. Trajkovski, dated the 4th of June of 2001, and the subject
13 heading is "The use of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia to carry out
14 an operation." Is that correct?
15 A. Exactly, sir. The appropriate word in Macedonian is use of the
16 army for the getting out one operation. Yes, that's right.
17 Q. And, as with the previous document, this particular decision of
18 the president is, again, submitted to the Cabinet of the President, to the
19 General Staff of the army of the Republic, but not to the Ministry of
20 Defence. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes, I can say that.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, simply for the record, and to speed
23 things up, we also draw your attention to Exhibit 1D50 and 1D52.
24 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that the president, as Commander
25 in Chief of the army, could exercise his authority at any and every level
1 of the hierarchy?
2 A. The Macedonian Law on Defence adopted in 2001, to the best of my
3 recollection, does not really specify this particular point; but I would
4 imagine that in his capacity, as the Commander in Chief of the army, the
5 president had the decisive and final authority as how the army should be
7 Q. And that would be true, for instance, of mobilisation orders. Is
8 that correct?
9 A. Yes. If I recall correctly, Article 18 of the New Law adopted in
10 June 2001 specified that one of the powers of the president, in his
11 capacity of the Commander in Chief, was, in fact, to call up mobilisation.
12 Q. And simply to conclude with this particular point, the president
13 also had the power to decide what sort of army units -- what category of
14 army unit should be mobilised in any particular circumstances. Is that
16 A. I could not really give a definite "yes" or "no" answer to this
17 question because, apparently, such issues would be decided on the expert
18 level in General Staff, or on Ministry of Defence for that matter; but I
19 would imagine that, again, in his capacity of the Commander in Chief,
20 president would be closely involved there such matters.
21 Q. Well, perhaps I can show you a document, in that case, that may be
23 MR. METTRAUX: It is Exhibit P479, please. It's at tab 23 of the
24 Prosecution binder of documents.
25 Q. Again, Mr. Bezruchenko, this is a document that you are familiar
1 with. You have been shown the document in your evidence-in-chief.
2 Do you agree that this is one of the order of the president of the
3 Republic of Macedonia, this one dated the 13th of June of 2001, and it
4 orders, in paragraph 1, the mobilisation of certain army formations? Is
5 that correct?
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. And the president orders that the mobilisation of this army
8 structures or formations included, for instance, a platoon, a company, a
9 battalion, a brigade, and a division of various categories. Is that
11 A. That's correct, Mr. Mettraux, with the exception of division. I
12 believe this is not a [indiscernible] battalion.
13 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, I think the transcript missed one word that you
14 have said before battalion.
15 A. An artillery battalion.
16 Q. I'm grateful. Is it correct that in a number of orders and
17 decisions, which the president issued in relation to what he called
18 anti-terrorists operation, he exercised, in effect, what you called the
19 operational aspects of the operations, whilst attributing to the Ministry
20 of Defence solely logistical or financial obligations. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that would appear so.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, simply for the record, this would
23 Exhibit P476, P477, P478, Exhibit 1D100, Exhibit P479. They are all part
24 of the Prosecution binder of documents.
25 Q. Is it correct that in a number of orders that the president -- or
1 decisions that the president issued, he, in fact, went into quite a great
2 detail regarding operational matters, including by selecting the type of
3 weapons or armaments to be used in some operations? Is that correct?
4 A. Yes. I think there is documentary evidence to this point.
5 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, there would be, for instance, Exhibit
6 P477, which is -- I apologise, P478, exhibit, which is at tab 20 of the
7 Prosecution binder, and Exhibit P479, which is at tab 23 of the
8 Prosecution binder.
9 Q. Is it also correct that in a number of orders or decisions issued
10 by the president, the president himself decided on what troops should be
11 deployed, as well as the timing of this deployment? Is that correct?
12 A. I could answer this question, Mr. Mettraux, provided you
13 substantiate it with a document related to these issues.
14 Q. Well, perhaps we can stay with the document that's on your screen,
15 to facilitate an expedite things, Mr. Bezruchenko.
16 Is it correct that, in this particular occasion, the president
17 identified the specific units, or army formations as we've called them,
18 that should be mobilised, and he also indicated the time at which
19 mobilisation should be taking place? Is that correct?
20 A. Yes, sir. But you will probably note the difference between the
21 formulation of your previous question and this current question. In the
22 previous question, you mentioned deployment of troops. In this current
23 question, you speak about mobilisation. Obviously, these are two
24 different things.
25 If I may offer my detailed comments on this document, I would
1 rather suggest that this document deals with mobilisation of the units and
2 these units are precisely specified. This decision does not speak about
3 deployment of these specific units anywhere in any region of Macedonia.
4 Q. I'm grateful for the specification, Mr. Bezruchenko. Is it
5 correct also that earlier on in your evidence-in-chief, you have indicated
6 that, in your view, the mobilisation of troops would be relevant to what
7 you termed operational control? Is that correct?
8 A. It would be relevant, yes, that's right.
9 Q. Thank you. Is it correct that the president of the Republic of
10 Macedonia issued orders regarding anti-terrorists operations, as he termed
11 them, all through the crisis, up to the time before the Ohrid Framework
12 Agreement? Are you aware of that?
13 A. I think that the decisions of the president regarding what was
14 termed as "anti-terrorist operations" were actually interspaced in time
15 between January, February, and August 2001, whereas, in fact, mobilisation
16 continued well beyond this point.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Bezruchenko. At this stage, I'm more interested
18 in the first category of orders and decisions which you have identified.
19 For instance, do you recall the, I think it's termed, resolution
20 or decision of the 5th of August 2001, signed by the president which I
21 showed a moment ago? Do you recall that document?
22 A. I think I do.
23 Q. And do you recall that the resolution or decision concerned a
24 necessary structure and force to enter the town of Tetovo with the aim of
25 preventing its fall into the hands of the terrorist group, the self-styled
1 NLA? Do you recall that?
2 A. Can I please take a look at the document again.
3 Q. Certainly.
4 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be shown exhibit P481,
6 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, this is the document with which started this
8 A. Yes, I can see this document.
9 Q. And the passage I was reading to you a moment ago,
10 Mr. Bezruchenko, is to be found in paragraph 1 of this document.
11 A. Yes, I can see that.
12 Q. And you can confirm also that the date of this particular
13 resolution or decision is the 5th of August, 2001. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness also be shown what is Exhibit
16 1D52, which is under seal.
17 Q. Do you have that decision in front of you, Mr. Bezruchenko?
18 A. [No verbal response]
19 Q. Can you see a decision dated the 7th of August of 2001, signed by
20 the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Trajkovski?
21 A. Is it possible to magnify this document a little bit on the
23 Q. Perhaps, starting with the bottom left-hand corner of this
24 document, Mr. Bezruchenko, can you see that this particular decision, as
25 it's called, comes from the President of the Republic of Macedonia, that
1 it is dated the 7th of August of 2001, and that it's a decision based on
2 Article 79(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia.
3 Do you agree?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. And if I can draw your attention to paragraph 1 of that particular
6 decision, I will read it out to you.
7 It says this: "In order to the army to respond accordingly and in
8 due course with fire to the terrorist positions, every time when there is
9 an attack on the security forces of the Republic of Macedonia and when
10 that action is of danger to their lives. I underline that the measure
11 taken by the army also includes instances when the members of the Ministry
12 of Interior are in danger from the attacks."
13 Can you see that?
14 A. Yes, I can.
15 Q. And do you agree that, once again, the president of the republic
16 refers to the NLA, or at least to their positions, as terrorist
17 positions? Is that correct?
18 A. Yes, he does.
19 Q. And what in effect the president order in this particular instance
20 is to provide or to order the army to provide fire support or at least
21 fire cover for the members of the Ministry of Interior, should they come
22 in -- should they become in danger from attack. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. And if I can draw you're attention to the last sentence of the
25 second paragraph, it says this: "The army headquarters will report to me
1 for every response with fire no later than three hours after the completed
3 So you agree that, once again, the president is ordering the army
4 to report to him directly about this particular decision of his? Is that
6 A. If I may offer my comments on this document, the second paragraph
7 is not in -- is not translated correctly. It speaks of ARM national
8 headquarters. In fact, there was no such thing as ARM national
10 This document, in its Macedonian version, clearly speaks about the
11 army General Staff and, in fact, specifically about the Chief of the
12 General Staff.
13 Q. Well, I'm grateful for that, Mr. Bezruchenko. Concerning my
14 question, do you agree that, as with previous documents and decisions and
15 order of the president, the president request that reporting from the army
16 be made directly to him in relation to this particular decision? Is that
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. And, if you look perhaps at the bottom of the document,
20 Mr. Bezruchenko.
21 MR. METTRAUX: If it could be scrolled down somewhat.
22 Q. Do you agree that this particular decision was dispatched to the
23 Cabinet of the President, as well as the army headquarters, but not the
24 Ministry of Defence. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. I'd now like to turn to a different part of your report, and we're
2 going come back perhaps to some of those documents if necessary, and that
3 would be chapter 4 of your report, Mr. Bezruchenko, which is devoted to
4 what you call the attack on Ljuboten, 10, 12 August, 2001.
5 It may be found in your report, which is Exhibit P466 at paragraph
6 481 and following.
7 Is it correct that -- Mr. Bezruchenko, in that part of your
8 report, one may found your -- one may find your views about what you
9 believe happened in or around or in relation to Ljuboten in the days
10 mentioned, 10 to 12 August of 2001? Is that correct?
11 A. Yes, as based on the available documents.
12 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that in that particular part of
13 your report, apart from one paragraph, paragraph 506 of the report, you
14 have been careful not to mention the role of the president in relation to
15 those events?
16 A. Well, in fact, it was not really my intention to deal with this
17 issue, since I was describing the events in Ljuboten.
18 Q. Is it correct, however, Mr. Bezruchenko, that you were aware of
19 the role played by the president in relation to these matters, and that
20 you have carefully set aside the references to the president's role and
21 actions in relation to these matters?
22 A. As I mentioned, sir, this particular section of my report was
23 based on the available documents which described the situation in and
24 around Ljuboten on these three specific days.
25 Q. Well, let's look at the material then.
1 You are aware that, on the 8th and 10th of August of 2001, the NLA
2 organised two mine attacks in, respectively, Karpalak and Ljubotenski
3 Bacila, to which you refer to in your report. Is that correct?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, for the record, the matters are dealt
6 with in particular in paragraphs 485 of the report, in particular
7 concerning Ljubotenski Bacila and also, inter alia, at paragraph 134 of
8 part five of Mr. Bezruchenko's report. It's at page 41 of part 5.
9 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Bezruchenko, being asked a number of questions
10 by the Office of the Prosecutor concerning the incident in Karpalak on the
11 8th of August, 2001, in relation to a particular document that was shown
12 to you? Do you recall that?
13 A. Which specific document do you mean, Mr. Mettraux?
14 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be shown what is Exhibit
15 2D40, please. This is tab 25 of the Prosecution's binder of documents for
16 Mr. Bezruchenko.
17 Q. Do you recall being shown this document, Mr. Bezruchenko?
18 A. Yes, I think I do.
19 Q. And do you recall being asked a number of questions specifically
20 in relation to the Karpalak attack, which is mentioned at paragraph 1 of
21 this document?
22 A. If you're referring to the attack in the location in Karpalak,
23 yes, that's right.
24 Q. And do you recall that when asked by the Office of the Prosecutor
25 what you believed had been the reason for that attack, you said the
1 following: That, in your view, it had been apparently been aimed at
2 cutting the communication road between Skopje and Tetovo and deny the army
3 the ability to bring re-supply. That is page 6116. Do you recall saying
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. But, in fact, from the review of the material which you had made,
7 Mr. Bezruchenko, you knew that the reason for this attack was quite
8 different. Do you agree?
9 A. Well, strictly speaking in military sense, from the military point
10 of view, I do not really see any other reason for this attack rather than
11 cutting the communication between Tetovo and Skopje.
12 If you mean there were any other reason, perhaps of political
13 nature, this is a entirely different matter, and I really didn't deal with
15 Q. But isn't the situation, Mr. Bezruchenko, that by giving such a
16 military-like explanation for what happened, you are, in fact, trying to
17 give a sort of military legitimacy to what, in fact, was a purely criminal
18 undertaking. Do you agree with that?
19 A. Mr. Mettraux, my report deals with military issues and such. As
20 I mentioned to you previously, I think on the very first day of the
21 testimony, the criminal aspects, the crimes and all related issues, have
22 not been the subject of my report.
23 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be shown what is Rule 65
24 ter 353.18, please.
25 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, do you recall reviewing that document in the
1 course of the preparation of your report?
2 A. I'm not sure.
3 Q. Well, do you recall relying, inter alia, on the statement of
4 Mr. Peter Matthiesen to prepare your original report?
5 A. Yes, I think so.
6 Q. And do you recall this particular document being one of the annex
7 to Mr. Matthiesen's statement?
8 A. Perhaps, I'm not sure, really.
9 Q. Well, we'll just go through it slowly.
10 This is a document which, as indicated, comes from the German
11 authority through Mr. Matthiesen, and it's dated the 8th of August of
12 2001. Can you see that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And if you go further down the document, you will see that the
15 author of that document is, in fact, identified as Lieutenant-Colonel
16 Matthiesen. Can you see that?
17 A. [No verbal response]
18 Q. Can you see that, Mr. Bezruchenko?
19 A. Can you please scroll the document down a little bit.
20 Q. This would be just above the subject heading, if that assists you.
21 There is a --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And there's a subject heading saying: "Internal security here,
24 Macedonia reference running report." Do you see that?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 Q. And in his general comment, Mr. Matthiesen says the
2 following: "The country's security situation is deteriorating. An army
3 convoy run into an ambush near Grupcin," which is the incident we have
4 just seen. "The National Liberation Army marches into Tetovo. At least
5 nine soldiers have been killed so far."
6 Can you see that?
7 A. Yes, I can.
8 Q. And if you can go to the next paragraph -- or the next section
9 which is entitled "Particulars of the situation," Mr. Matthiesen says
10 this: "As a act of revenge for the emptying of an arms catch in Skopje,
11 which left five NLA fighters dead, including the NLA brigadier responsible
12 for Skopje, the Skopje NLA brigade ambushed an army convoy near Grupcin,
13 (route Skopje-Tetovo), at around 0945. Nine soldiers died on the spot."
14 Do you recall reading that particular part of the document,
15 Mr. Bezruchenko?
16 A. Well, no, I'm not sure.
17 Q. But, in fact, what it makes clear is that the criminal attack in
18 Grupcin-Karpalak was an act of revenge for the killing of five NLA members
19 in Skopje, including Mr. Teli? Is that correct that's what the document
21 A. Well, that's right. This is what the document suggests.
22 MR. METTRAUX: And if can we turn briefly to the next page,
24 MR. SAXON: Your Honours.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
1 MR. SAXON: Just trying to understand, in the last question, the
2 reference to a "criminal attack," does that come from the evidence or is
3 that Mr. Mettraux's conclusion.
4 MR. METTRAUX: Would you wish me to respond, Your Honour?
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
6 MR. METTRAUX: It was indeed from my question, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE PARKER: That doesn't answer the question. Are you saying
8 it's your interpretation.
9 MR. METTRAUX: Well, Your Honour, if the question or IF the
10 clarification of Mr. Saxon is to the effect that it is our position, we
11 can say, yes. And if the further question of Mr. Saxon is that the
12 evidence will support this, we believe it will be the case and we would
13 present a number of documents to that effect to Mr. Bezruchenko.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Saxon.
15 MR. SAXON: Sorry, Your Honour, but I just don't think the matter
16 ends there. It is also a question of fairness to the witness and to the
17 record. That question makes a presumption to the witness that this was a
18 criminal attack, as opposed to another kind of event, and I just think
19 that, in fairness to the witness, he needs to be able to know that he can
20 respond to that, or not.
21 JUDGE PARKER: I suspect, Mr. Saxon, that the witness is well
22 aware that this is a question based upon a view expressed by one person
23 who was a observer, a military attache of another nation, in which that
24 attache has expressed a view. Neither the Chamber nor the witness are in
25 a position to know the basis for that view, simply from this document, .
1 The witness. I'm sure, from all that he has illustrated over the
2 past several days, is well capable of making that sort of point where he
3 see it is relevant and necessary. So I don't think there's need for any
4 special caution.
5 Please continue, Mr. Mettraux.
6 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Sorry, Mr. Bezruchenko.
8 MR. METTRAUX: Could the registry please turn to the next page.
9 Q. I will ask to you focus your attention on what is paragraph 4 of
10 that document. It is called "measures." Can you see that?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And the advice that Mr. Matthiesen is giving to his government is
13 as follows: "Our urgent vision is to condemn NLA attacks in the press and
14 in the media, most severely."
15 Do you agree that is his advice?
16 A. Yes, that is his advice.
17 Q. And do you agree that from the material, which you have reviewed
18 in the course of the preparation of your report and the course of your
19 work, the Macedonian authorities and the Macedonian population generally
20 were shocked by these -- this attack in Karpalak, in which nine soldiers
22 A. Yes, it received a wide media coverage.
23 Q. Is that correct also that in your evidence in-chief, you told the
24 Chamber that this incident in Karpalak was the main reason behind what you
25 called the -- or was the main reason -- immediate reason for the
1 resignation of the Chief of the General Staff? That's page 6117. Do you
2 recall saying that?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 Q. And that person would be General Petrovski. Is that correct?
5 A. I think so.
6 Q. But, in fact, Mr. Petrovski did not resign from his position but,
7 as you know -- or I'm putting to you that you know that he was, in fact,
8 relieved of his duties. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And, in fact, you also knew that he had been relieved of his
11 duties by the president of the republic as a result of the incident in
12 Karpalak. Is that correct?
13 A. I think there are various interpretations of this fact. The media
14 reported about these things, at least some media, I think, as resignation.
15 Documents, in fact, suggested that this was indeed dismissal by the
17 Q. Well, I'm putting it to you, Mr. Bezruchenko, that not only were
18 you fully aware that this was a matter of relief of duty and not
19 resignation, but that for the reason for to you suggest that it was
20 resignation was to hide the direct involvement of the president in the
21 matter of Karpalak and Ljubotenski Bacila. Do you agree with that?
22 A. I don't see any reason why should I hide something like direct
23 involvement of the president, as you put it.
24 Q. Do you recall being present during the interview of Mr. Buckovski.
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. Do you recall Mr. Buckovski saying, and I quote: "The reason for
2 his dismissal," that's General Petrovski, "was the NLA attack at Karpalak
3 where ten armed members were killed."
4 Do you recall him telling you that?
5 A. It's a long timing that I reviewed that particular document or I
6 had this meeting, but I think it was also discussed.
7 Q. And do you recall Mr. Buckovski making that particular point to
8 you? Do you recall that?
9 A. I'm not sure, but I think it was discussed.
10 MR. METTRAUX: Well, then, could the witness please be shown Rule
11 65 ter 1D856.
12 Q. Do you recognise the record of interview of Mr. Buckovski?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could please turn to paragraph
15 15 of that particular document, please, that would be on the third page,
17 Q. And if you can look at the sentence which starts on the fifth line
18 of that particular paragraph, it says that: "The reason for his dismissal
19 was the NLA attack at Karpalak where ten ARM members were killed."
20 Does that help refresh your memory?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness also be shown what is Rule 65 ter
23 256, please.
24 Q. Do you recall reviewing that statement of General Stambolski?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 Q. And if I can ask to you focus on the first paragraph of that
2 document, it says the following: "On 12 August 2001, at around 0830
3 hours, in the capacity of deputy chief of the army, General Staff, and at
4 the same time as the acting Chief of the ARM General Staff," and then a
5 parenthesis which is the point of me showing you this document.
6 It says this: "Pursuant to the decree dated 10 August 2001 and
7 issued by the president of the Republic of Macedonia, General Pande
8 Petrovski was relieved of his duties and no replacement was point the,
9 and, therefore, he continued to be present in the Cabinet of the Chief of
10 General Staff."
11 Does that also help refresh your memory about the fact that
12 Mr. Petrovski had been relieved of his duties?
13 A. Yes. The point is that, of course, he was no longer the Chief of
14 General Staff, at least formally.
15 Q. And isn't that correct that you yourself asked specific questions
16 about the circumstances in which Mr. Petrovski had been relieved of his
17 duties from Mr. Mitrovski during your interview of that person?
18 A. I think I did.
19 Q. Is it correct that in addition to relieving Mr. -- or General
20 Petrovski of his duties, the president of the Republic of Macedonia,
21 Mr. Trajkovski, took other steps to respond to what happened in Karpalak
22 and Ljubotenski Bacila?
23 A. This is a very general question, Mr. Mettraux.
24 Q. Well, are you aware of any other steps taken by the president to
25 respond to what had happened in Karpalak and Ljubotenski Bacila, anything
1 he did?
2 A. Any specific steps taken?
3 Q. That's correct.
4 A. Well, to the best of my recollection, I don't.
5 Q. Do you recall being told or do you recall reviewing material which
6 suggested that the president considered these two incidents as humiliating
7 for him as president?
8 A. Perhaps, but I'm not sure.
9 Q. Do you recall reviewing documents or being told by interviewees
10 that the president felt he could not sign the Ohrid Framework Agreement
11 without a response to what happened in Karpalak and Ljubotenski Bacila?
12 A. I believe this whole situation about these two incidents was
13 indeed a matter of discussion with Mr. Buckovski. I don't really recall
14 the exact expression that he used, but I think what transpired from this
15 meeting, among other things, was that, indeed, this was kind of
16 humiliating situation for Macedonian army, and, in fact, this is also the
17 view which is expressed, I think, in the book, "The War in Macedonia," by
18 three Macedonian authors.
19 Q. And do you recall also that in the material that you reviewed, or
20 during the interviews of people that you had, that the president felt he
21 had to react before the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, that he
22 had to take steps to respond to those attacks?
23 A. As I mentioned, Mr. Mettraux, this matter was a discussion -- this
24 matter was discussed during our interview with Mr. Buckovski; but if your
25 question is specifically referring to any other interviews in which this
1 issue was discussed, I just cannot tell you.
2 Q. Well, let's take it one step at a time then.
3 Do you recall that on the 8th of August, shortly after the first
4 of the two attacks, the attacks in Karpalak, the Macedonian Security
5 Council, also sometimes called the Defence Council, issued a communique
6 condemning the attack in Karpalak? Do you recall that?
7 A. Yes, I think such communique was issued.
8 MR. METTRAUX: And perhaps, for assistance, I would like the
9 registry to bring up Rule 65 ter 1D932, please.
10 Q. There is a press report provided to us by the Office of the
11 Prosecutor, which relates to that particular communique. The title
12 is "FYROM Security Council convenes 10 August, support, firm action."
13 I would like to read out to you what it says. "The Security
14 Council of the Republic of Macedonia held a meeting which focussed on the
15 country's current security and political situation and which resulted in
16 the adoption of a number of specific conclusions. The Security Council
17 paid tribute to the Macedonian security forces's servicemen who were
18 killed near the Skopje village of Ljubanci and expressed deep regret and
19 sympathy to their families.
20 "At last night's meeting, the council concluded that the firm
21 action should resume to eliminate any threat to the security forces and to
22 the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia."
23 Do you recall seeing this document, Mr. Bezruchenko.
24 A. I think have I seen this document, yes.
25 Q. Is it correct, furthermore, that in the course of the interviews,
1 the various interviews to which you participated, you came to know that
2 the Security Council, or Defence Counsel as we've seen in it occasion, was
3 a body that did not have the power to take any decisions or issue orders?
4 Do you recall being told that?
5 A. My impression is the Security Council did not really have any
6 executive authorities, but, of course, this fact did not really prevent
7 the Security Council from making recommendations and issuing communiques.
8 Q. Is this correct, Mr. Bezruchenko -- I'm grateful for your answer,
9 Mr. Bezruchenko. Is it correct that you were told both by Mr. Mitrovski
10 and Mr. Buckovski that the council did not have, as you put, executive
11 powers. Is that correct?
12 A. Well, I don't remember exactly how they put it, but I think this
13 was discussed and this is the impression that I picked up.
14 Q. And perhaps I will read to you a passage, again, from the
15 interview of Mr. Buckovski, if that helps refresh your memory.
16 He said the following: "Key decisions were not made at the
17 Security Council sessions. These sessions were used only for political
18 bickerings. There were no records of the Security Council session made.
19 It is pointless to look for them. There were only statements for the
21 Do you recall him telling you that?
22 A. Yes, I remember that.
23 Q. And do you remember that in the course of that same interview,
24 Mr. Buckovski, the former Minister of Defence, was asked specifically
25 about the communique which we have just discussed, and he specified or he
1 made it clear to you that there had been no decision taken in relation to
2 these actions which are mentioned in the communique? Do you recall that?
3 A. I think this is right.
4 Q. And perhaps to help refresh your memory, I will read the passage
5 from the statement. It says this: "Being shown a media report dated 10
6 August 2001, and saying that the Security Council session promised'tough
7 action against terrorists,' I say that it was an empty threat. No
8 specific decision related to 'tough action' was made by this session."
9 Do you recall Mr. Buckovski telling you this?
10 A. Well, now that you are reading this, yes, I remember this.
11 Q. And there's another document, Mr. Bezruchenko, that I would like
12 to show you at this moment, and this is Rule 65 ter 1D929.
13 MR. METTRAUX: And, Your Honour, perhaps if we can go for a few
14 seconds in private session.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
16 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
17 JUDGE PARKER: There is a technical delay in going into private
18 session, Mr. Mettraux. We will be informed the moment that is offer.
19 MR. METTRAUX: It can be done later, Your Honour, the private
20 session part.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
22 MR. METTRAUX: If the document, Rule 65 ter 1D929 could be shown
23 to the witness, please.
24 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, this is a document dated the 14th -- sorry, the
25 10th of August of 2001. Its subject matter is "Macedonia." And if you
1 look at the very bottom of the page, please, the summary is: "Farewell
2 call on Trajkovski. He intends to go on with signature of Framework
3 Agreement on 134 August."
4 Can you see that?
5 A. I can see this specific sentence, but it is not entirely clear
6 what kind of document it is, since most of it has been blackened out.
7 Q. Well, Mr. Bezruchenko, we will do that in a private session when
8 techniques is with us.
9 MR. METTRAUX: Can we please turn to the next page.
10 Q. I'd like to draw your attention, Mr. Bezruchenko, to paragraph 3
11 of that particular document.
12 It records the following: "I paid a farewell call on president
13 who was in somber mood. He said that he fully intended to continue with
14 signature of the Framework Agreement on 13 August. That and NATO
15 deployment were the only hope. He ascribed the present fighting to a NLA
16 desire to establish new lines of control and an effective partition line
17 before NATO arrived.
18 "I asked him about the phrase 'energetic defensive action' in the
19 national Security Council communique of 8 August. Had this been wise?
20 "He said that the only intent was to get the NLA out of positions
21 which were new since the cease-fire of 6 July. The Macedonians would
22 respect the cease-fire, but it would be impossible to sell the Framework
23 Agreement to parliament while the NLA were continuing to push forward
24 without any response from the army or police."
25 First, let me ask you this, Mr. Bezruchenko: Had you seen this
1 document before?
2 A. I don't think so.
3 Q. Would you agree, however, that the passage that I've read to you,
4 aside from the farewell visit is some of the material which you have
5 reviewed in the course of your preparation?
6 A. Well, I think some points in paragraph 3, in fact, reflect on the
7 situation as was described in various documents that I have reviewed and
8 would be consistent can such description; for example, the point regarding
9 the NLA pushing hard, I think, is certainly a valid one. The NLA was
10 indeed pushing forward.
11 Q. Is also correct that another matter which is consistent with the
12 material that you reviewed is the fact that the president thought that a
13 response from the army or the police was necessary? Do you agree with
15 A. I remember seeing a document which suggested that the army and the
16 police should respond. That's right.
17 MR. METTRAUX: And perhaps we can go into private session for a
19 JUDGE PARKER: Private.
20 [Private session]
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're in open session.
6 MR. METTRAUX:
7 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, do you recall being told that the attack in
8 Ljubotenski Bacila by the NLA was a convenient occasion for the president
9 to demonstrate his authority before the signing of the Ohrid Framework
11 A. I think this was the point which was made by Mr. Buckovski, but
12 I'm not entirely certain if he put it exactly this way.
13 Q. Well, let me read the relevant three sentences from the statement
14 which may assist you.
15 Mr. Buckovski told you that: "There was a sense of humiliation
16 after Karpalak attack. Even president's advisors advised him that signing
17 of the Ohrid Framework Agreement should coincide in time with some sort of
18 military victory. Ljubotenski Bacila was a convenient occasion to
19 demonstrate force."
20 Do you remember Mr. Buckovski telling you this?
21 A. If this is the exact quotation from his statement, I think this is
22 exactly the fact.
23 Q. And, perhaps, you've made that point already; but you will agree
24 that based on the material that you have reviewed in particular, this
25 interview and others, that it was quite clear to you that the president
1 felt, after Karpalak and Ljubotenski Bacila, that he had to respond to the
2 NLA attacks before the signing of the agreement on the 13th of August. Is
3 that correct?
4 A. I'm afraid such an assumption would carry quite a speculative
5 undertones, Mr. Mettraux, because at least for one reason, I have not
6 really seen any documents signed by the president or on his behalf related
7 to any military action, well, in the wake of Karpalak and directly related
8 to Ljuboten.
9 Q. Well, I'm putting it to you, Mr. Bezruchenko, that this is it not
10 quite right, and I'm asking this: Do you remember reviewing the statement
11 of Mr. Zlatko Keskovski for the purpose of preparing your report?
12 A. I reviewed many statements for the purpose of preparing my report.
13 But if I can bring you back to the point which I've repeatedly made
14 several times, in my final version, in the final version of my report, I
15 was trying hard to rely on firsthand documentary evidence.
16 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that in footnote 492, 493, 494,
17 495, 518, 519, 520, 521, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27 of your original
18 report, you, in fact, made references to the statement of Mr. Keskovski?
19 I'm talking of your original report.
20 A. Well, it would probably give me some time to give you the precise
21 answer, Mr. Mettraux, since I simply have to refer to each and every
22 footnote that I mentioned.
23 Q. Well, perhaps, I will assist you. If you can take -- I can see
24 that you have the version of your report that contains the amendments, and
25 I will ask you to turn to page 100 of your report.
1 MR. METTRAUX: It's exhibit P466.
2 Q. And if you can look also at page 101 of your statement which
3 contain the amendments, can you see that?
4 A. [No verbal response]
5 Q. And you agree that there were four references in those footnotes
6 to the statement of Mr. Zlatko Keskovski of 7 February 2005. Is that
8 A. Yes, that appears so.
9 Q. And if you can go now to what is page 106 of the report, do you
10 agree there that there are, again, a number of references to the
11 statements of -- the ICTY statement of 7 February of 2005 of Mr. Zlatko
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. So, do you recall now relying in your original report on the
15 statement of that person?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. And do you recall Mr. Keskovski, who, at the time was the chief of
18 security of the president of the Republic of Macedonia, telling you that
19 the president was under great pressure to do something, do you recall
20 that, under pressure from the public?
21 A. I think I reviewed his statement, that's right, and I indeed used
22 his statement to substantiate various points in my report, at least in its
23 initial original form. But if the implication of your question is whether
24 I was reflecting the specific role of the president and his feelings and
25 his, well, views, it is not really the purposes of my report.
1 If I could kindly refer, Mr. Mettraux, to the very first page of
2 my report, which clearly states what was the scope and what was -- or
3 rather, what were the original objectives of the report.
4 Q. But do you agree, Mr. Bezruchenko, that the whole purpose of this
5 section of your report is to provide relevant information to the Chamber
6 about what you say happened in the village during those three days and the
7 circumstances in which these matters evolved and for what reason? Do you
8 agree that was the purpose of part 4?
9 A. The purpose of part 4, by and large and primarily, Mr. Mettraux,
10 was to describe the events exactly as they happened on the ground, and as
11 based in various documents. And while reviewing these documents, I did
12 not really see any direct strong evidence indicating that the president
13 was directly involved in the events of Ljuboten.
14 Q. Well, we're going to --
15 A. In fact, there was some circumstantial evidence suggesting that
16 perhaps he was consulted by one of the military officers of the Macedonian
17 army, regarding the support to be provided for the police forces in the
18 area of Ljuboten, but this is only circumstantial evidence which was
19 reflected in a statement.
20 Q. Well, I'm putting to you, Mr. Bezruchenko, that what you in fact
21 did in your report is to positively hide the fact of the involvement of
22 the president in those events. Do you agree with that?
23 A. Well, in order for me to hide this fact, Mr. Mettraux, I should
24 have known well in advance what kind of direct involvement it was, which
25 particular fact it had been manifested in, and what kind of documents this
1 evidence would have been supported.
2 Q. For instance, Mr. Bezruchenko, and contrary to the evidence you
3 gave a moment ago, you had material indicating to you that the sense of
4 humiliation, which you acknowledge was felt, inter alia, by the president,
5 and the actions, which he was advised and felt he had to take, directly
6 related to the events of Ljuboten. Do you agree with that?
7 A. I'm afraid what we are missing in this statement of yours,
8 Mr. Mettraux, is a link between the mental state and the actual act. I do
9 not see any documents suggesting that this feeling was reflected in any
10 particular order by the document -- or by the president.
11 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown what is Rule 65 ter
12 1D526, please.
13 Q. Perhaps before I ask you this, I will ask you a general question
14 Mr. Bezruchenko. Is it correct that the president of the Republic of
15 Macedonia is dead.
16 A. Unfortunately, yes.
17 Q. Is it correct also that the president of the Republic of Macedonia
18 died sometime in February of 2004?
19 A. If I recall correctly, yes, this unfortunate air crash took place
20 in February 2004.
21 Q. And is it correct also that the death of the president occurred
22 prior to most of the interviews of suspects and witnesses which you've
23 conducted in this case?
24 A. That would be the fair assumption perhaps, but I don't really
25 understand what it has to do with and what the president's death has to do
1 with my report.
2 Q. Well, just staying with the question for a second, do you agree
3 that most of the Prosecution's statements and interviews took place after
4 the early death of the president? Do you agree with that?
5 A. The analysis as to the timings and locations of the interview was
6 not really my undertaking, Mr. Mettraux. So I can honestly tell you that
7 I was not thinking whether these interviews were taking after the
8 president's death or before that and how it really reflected on my
9 presentation of the material confined in my report.
10 Q. Well, let's look at this document then. This is the record of
11 interview or the statement of Mr. Keskovski, Zlatko taken by the Office of
12 the Prosecutor. It is dated the 7th of February of 2005. Do you agree?
13 MR. METTRAUX: And if it could be scrolled down a bit for
14 Mr. Bezruchenko.
15 Q. Do you agree, Mr. Bezruchenko?
16 A. I see that the date of this specific statement. This is a
17 statement, Mr. Mettraux, not a document.
18 Q. I'm grateful for that.
19 A. Yes, this is dated 7 February 2005.
20 Q. I'm grateful, Mr. Bezruchenko.
21 MR. METTRAUX: Could the registry please turn to page 9 of this
22 document. That would be 1D00-4780. And if the registry to please focus
23 on the last paragraph on that page, that would be paragraph 40.
24 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, I'll ask you to locate a sentence which is five
25 lines from the bottom of that paragraph, paragraph 40, which starts with
1 the word: "The major replied."
2 Can you see that?
3 A. Yes, I can see that.
4 Q. And Mr. Keskovski is talking, as is evident from the previous
5 paragraph in the content of his statement, from a phone call between a
6 major, Major Despodov, and the president; and Mr. Keskovski recounts the
7 following: "The major replied that the president was his supreme
8 superior, and he would have to obey the order from the president. In that
9 period of time, the president was under pressure from the public because
10 he was thought to have failed to use the army appropriately in dealing
11 with the terrorists; therefore, he wanted to speak to the major."
12 Do you agree, Mr. Bezruchenko, that at least as far as the
13 statement of Mr. Keskovski is concerned, there is a pretty clear link, and
14 a pretty direct one with that, between the pressure which the president
15 was under from the public at the time to do something and his actions
16 vis-a-vis the events of Ljuboten? Do you agree with that?
17 A. My interpretation of this statement would be somewhat different,
18 Mr. Mettraux. But before actually I provide my interpretation, I would
19 like to -- I would like to you refer to section 4 of my report,
20 specifically to the paragraph in which I mention, in fact, that Major
21 Despodov, indeed, apparently had a phone conversation with the president.
22 So this fact, the fact of this conversation, was, indeed,
23 reflected in my report.
24 Now let me comment on this particular paragraph.
25 What I see here is, indeed, a reflection on the mental state of
1 the president; and, apparently, he shared the widespread sense of
2 humiliation which actually hit the Macedonian public and society in the
3 following -- in the wake of the Karpalak attack, which is obvious for many
4 media sources.
5 Well, whether there was a actual order given in relation to
6 Ljuboten by the president, I cannot really tell, because, first of all,
7 this paragraph doesn't really specify it, it doesn't say so; and, second,
8 I really have not seen any documents, any order signed by the president in
9 relation to Ljuboten which would support the opinion expressed in this
11 Q. Well, let me ask you this, Mr. Bezruchenko: Is it correct that
12 you have seen other documents which, in fact, make it clear to you that
13 the operation in Ljuboten was ordered by the president? Isn't that
15 A. If you show me such a document, I would be grateful, Mr. Mettraux.
16 Q. I'm going to show documents in a second, Mr. Bezruchenko, but do
17 you recall seeing any such documents?
18 A. Documents signed by the president directly mentioning Ljuboten?
19 Q. No, Mr. Bezruchenko. I'm referring to a document that refer to
20 the fact that the operation in Ljuboten had been ordered by the president.
21 A. Mr. Mettraux, with all my due respect, may I indicate to you that
22 we are apparently talking about different things. I already mentioned to
23 you a number of times that I have not seen any documents signed by the
24 president dealing with the operation, as you term it, in Ljuboten. You
25 seem to suggest, in fact, that I have seen such documents.
1 Q. No, I apologise, Mr. Bezruchenko, if my questions came across as a
2 suggestion of a document signed by the president.
3 What I'm asking you is whether you saw documents which were not
4 signed by the president, which were authored by other people, which made
5 it clear to you that the operation in Ljuboten had been ordered by the
6 president. Have you seen any such documents?
7 A. I certainly have seen some witness statements; but documents
8 specifically mentioning in direct terms that this operation was ordered by
9 the president, no, I don't think so.
10 Q. Do you recall --
11 MR. METTRAUX: Would it be a convenient time, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: I thought you were about to move into a treatment
13 of specific documents, in which event it would be more convenient to break
15 MR. METTRAUX: That's correct, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at 11.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
20 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Could Mr. Bezruchenko please be shown what is Exhibit P304,
23 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, do you recall seeing this document in the course
24 of your preparation?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 Q. And this is a report prepared by Mr. Blazo Kopacev, and it is
2 dated the 12th of August, 2001. Is that correct?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. And looking at this first page, there is a first paragraph; and at
5 the end of the paragraph, it says that Mr. Despodov was informed about the
6 mission which no one should know of except the above mentioned persons.
7 Can you see that?
8 A. Yes, I can.
9 Q. And if I can draw your attention to the next paragraph, it says
10 this: "The action about which none was supposed to know on the order of
11 the president was supposed to begin on 11 August 2001 at 4.30. For a
12 unknown reason, the action did not begin."
13 Do you agree that this document suggests that the president had
14 given orders in relation to this particular operation -- action?
15 A. Well, obviously, this is your interpretation of this document,
16 Mr. Mettraux. But with all my due respect, I don't really see any hard
17 facts here suggesting that the president ordered this operation.
18 Q. Do you recall --
19 A. As you see, this sentence is actually from a linguistic point
20 even, if I may say so, written in subjunctive mood, which suggests a
21 supposition rather than an actual fact.
22 Q. Do you recall reading also, Mr. Bezruchenko, so that Mr. Despodov
23 at the time was given a guarantee that he would be personally protected by
24 the president? Do you recall that?
25 A. Guarantee by whom?
1 Q. By --
2 MR. METTRAUX: Well, we can turn to the third page of the document
4 Q. And if I can draw your attention to the last paragraph, and in
5 particular the last seven or eight words of that paragraph, can you see
6 that there's a reference to the fact that he would be protected personally
7 by the president. Can you see that?
8 A. Mr. Mettraux, I'm afraid you did not answer my question.
9 Q. Well, Mr. Bezruchenko, I'm not here to answer your questions. I
10 think you can look at that paragraph for yourself.
11 Do you agree that what this paragraph suggests, in effect, is that
12 the -- Mr. Despodov, the commander to whom reference is made, is being
13 told that he would be protected personally by the president? Is that
14 correct? It's the last sentence.
15 A. Mr. Mettraux, in order for me to understand the full implication
16 of your questions, I would kindly ask you to answer my previous question.
17 Q. Well, Mr. Bezruchenko, can you see the last paragraph on that
18 document which starts with the word: "Finally"?
19 A. I can see this paragraph, yes.
20 Q. And are you able to read it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And are you able to understand the content of that paragraph?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. And do you agree that in the last few words of that particular
25 paragraph, there's a indication to the effect that Mr. Despodov would be
1 protected personally by the president. Is that correct?
2 A. What it says here - may I read to you out, loud Mr. Mettraux: For
3 that, he received guarantees from Johan Tarculovski that he would not bear
4 any responsibility for the action, and he would be protected personally by
5 the president."
6 Q. And what this means in practice, Mr. Bezruchenko, I hope you can
7 agree with that, is that the authority which was being exercised was the
8 authority of the president. Do you agree with that?
9 A. It's really difficult for me to understand what you mean,
10 Mr. Mettraux.
11 Q. Well, do you agree that the guarantee that was given to
12 Mr. Despodov was to the effect that the president would protect him in
13 case there would be any problems?
14 A. This is what the document says.
15 Q. And the authority, therefore, on which this guarantee is based is
16 that of the president, is that correct, based on this document again?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And do you recall also that you asked General Mitrovski about this
19 particular document? Do you recall that?
20 A. I think so.
21 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could please bring up what I
22 believe is Rule 65 ter 2D310.
23 I apologise, this is just a summary of the interview. I'd like
24 the interview itself, which would be Rule 65 ter 1D936.
25 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, that is, again, the record of interview of
1 Mr. Sokol Mitrovski, and it is dated the 1st of August of 2004.
2 MR. METTRAUX: And I will ask the registry, please, to go to page
3 56 of that interview. This is page 1D00-7964, and if we can scroll down a
4 little bit to the bottom of the page, please.
5 Q. I'd like to read out to you, Mr. Bezruchenko, a question that you
6 asked of Mr. Mitrovski. You said this: "One last question in connection
7 with," missing word, "when the investigation is completed and when the
8 report is received," and there's a part missing.
9 "When you received the report from Colonel Kopacek," it should be
10 Kopacev," what was your analysis of this report and what action did you
11 take on it?"
12 MR. METTRAUX: If we can turn to the next page.
13 Q. And there is the answer of General Sokol Mitrovski: "I was -- I
14 only wanted to know if the Chief of the General Staff and the Minister
15 were familiar with this. When they said they were, for me that was a done
16 job. They were supposed to see, analyse this, and decide whether they
17 should speak with the president. I didn't have such competencies."
18 Do you agree that what Mr. Mitrovski told you, and what is clear
19 from his answer, is that the military hierarchy was aware that the person
20 to whom they should turn, if they should turn to anyone to obtain a
21 explanation about what happened, was to the president? Do you agree with
23 A. My interpretation of this paragraph would be somewhat different,
24 Mr. Mettraux.
25 May I read this paragraph to you again: "I only wanted to know if
1 the Chief of the General Staff and the Minister were familiar with this.
2 When they said they were, for me it was a done job. They were supposed to
3 see, analysis this, and decide whether they should speak with the
4 president. I did not have such competencies."
5 What is very clear from this paragraph is apparently that
6 Mr. Mitrovski's actions stopped at the level of the General Staff, and he
7 was not aware of what was going to happen and if it was going to happen at
9 Q. But do you agree that what it also refers to and acknowledged is
10 that the fact, as you point out, if there was something to talk further up
11 the chain of command, ultimately that would be the president that he
12 pointed to? Is that correct?
13 A. That is very logical to assume.
14 Q. But the reason for that is even more logical, Mr. Bezruchenko,
15 because Mr. Mitrovski himself had talked to the president directly during
16 that weekend. Is that correct?
17 A. They may have had an exchange, if I recall, yes, that's right.
18 Q. And, in fact, that is what Mr. Mitrovski explained to you during
19 the interview. Is that correct?
20 A. If you can show me this portion of the interview, I can probably
21 confirm it.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Well, if we can turn to the next page, and if we
23 can --
24 Q. If you can start at line 7, Mr. Bezruchenko, it starts with the
25 word: I contacted."
1 Can you see that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And it says: "I contacted, I had contacts with the president very
4 rarely. I think there was one phone call from the president but nothing
5 concrete was discussed. As far as I remember, he asked me about my
6 position. I said, 'I'm the commander.' I don't remember that there was
7 no order, no request for me to go to him. I think he only showed interest
8 in the general situation after the events, nothing more."
9 Then there's a discussion that follows between Mr. Kuehnel and the
10 general, in particular as to the date of this conversation, which
11 Mitrovski is not sure about; and then on the next page, he indicates that
12 the discussion also had to do with Ljuboten.
13 Do you recall him telling you that?
14 A. Well, Ljuboten was discussed of course, yes.
15 Q. But there's another matter which you knew, Mr. Bezruchenko, at the
16 time of preparing your report, and that's the report of Mr. Kostadinov.
17 MR. METTRAUX: And if the witness could now be shown what is now
18 Exhibit P303, please.
19 A. If I may suggest, Mr. Mettraux, before we actually come over to
20 this specific document, I would like to finish my comment about the
21 previous interview; and perhaps for this reason, you can kindly go to the
22 previous page of the interview, line 11.
23 MR. METTRAUX: Can the record of interview be shown once again.
24 THE WITNESS: May I kindly draw your attention, Mr. Mettraux, to
25 line 11 of this particular document, which clearly says: "I don't
1 remember that there was no order, no request for me to go to him."
2 MR. METTRAUX:
3 Q. Yes. There was no order for Mr. Mitrovski to go to the president.
4 Is that correct?
5 A. There was no order. Whether there was an order to go to him or to
6 do anything else in relation to the situation, there was simply no order.
7 Q. But that's your interpretation, isn't it, Mr. Bezruchenko, the
8 interpretation which you've tried to put all over your report.
9 This sentence, Mr. Bezruchenko, says this: "I don't remember that
10 there was no order, no request for me to go to him." Is that correct
11 that's what the sentence says?
12 A. Well, my reading of this, Mr. Mettraux, is that there was no
14 Q. Well, let me put it to you, Mr. Bezruchenko, that this reading of
15 the sentence reflects your reading of the entire material which you have
16 reviewed and which you have interpreted, I'm putting it to you, with a
17 view to hide the involvement of the president. Do you agree with that?
18 A. I'm afraid I cannot really agree with you, Mr. Mettraux, for one
19 simple reason. As I mentioned previously, I think I mentioned the fact of
20 discussion of the situation in Ljuboten between Major Despodov and the
21 president in my report.
22 However, I don't really think that this particular fact, the fact
23 of the discussion, would deserve more attention in my report and should be
24 mentioned in more than one paragraph.
25 Q. And is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that at the time when you
1 interviewed Mr. Mitrovski, in August of 2004, the president was dead
2 already? Is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. METTRAUX: And if we can now move to Exhibit P303, please.
5 Q. This, again, Mr. Bezruchenko, is a report with which you would be
6 quite familiar. This is a report prepared by Mr. Kostadinov. It is dated
7 the 12th of August of 2001, and its subject is "Report on actions and
8 situation in the 3rd Guardist Brigade, village Ljuboten." Do you agree?
9 A. Yes, I have seen this report.
10 Q. And if I can draw your attention to the first paragraph which
11 starts with the words: "On 10 August."
12 Can you see that?
13 A. That's right.
14 Q. And I will ask to you locate a sentence.
15 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry can assist a little bit by
16 scrolling down in the document.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreters kindly ask
18 the witness to pause before answering questions.
19 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
20 MR. METTRAUX:
21 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, I would like to ask to locate a sentence, which
22 is five or so lines from the bottom of the first paragraph, starting
23 started with the word "Major Despodov." Can you see that [check].
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And the report says the following: "Major Despodov asked them on
1 whose order they had come. They said that this is known to the president,
2 and no one else should know about their stay. Major Despodov asked them
3 what their role is here. They answered that they had the task to enter in
4 the village Ljuboten and to conduct a search and cleaning of the terrain."
5 Can you see that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And, first, let me ask you this: Did you refer to this particular
8 passage of the report anywhere in your report, Mr. Bezruchenko?
9 A. I think this document is widely quoted in my report.
10 Q. And can I ask you about this particular statement contained in the
11 report. Do you recall putting it anywhere in this report -- in your
13 A. Which statement?
14 Q. The last two sentences which I have just read out to you.
15 A. You're referring to the sentence regarding the search and cleaning
16 of the terrain?
17 Q. Well, let me put that to you: Do you agree that this document,
18 Mr. Bezruchenko, suggests, again, that the people present in the village
19 had come pursuant to the order or with the authority of the president?
20 Do you agree with that?
21 A. Yes, it does.
22 Q. And do you also agree that the document suggests that no one else
23 should know about the presence of the people?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is it also correct that in the course of your investigation, or
1 the investigation of the Office of the Prosecutor, you had interviewed
2 Mr. -- or Major Mitre Despodov. Is that correct?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. And in the course of this interview, he also gave you information
5 about the telephone conversation which he had with the president. Is that
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. And he indicated to you, inter alia, that he had been asked by the
9 president who he was and asked about what was happening in the village or
10 around the village at that time. Is that correct?
11 A. That's correct, Mr. Mettraux.
12 Q. Is it also correct that in the course of a further interview, this
13 time with Mr. Buckovski, former Minister of Defence, Mr. Buckovski had
14 indicated to you that the people who had come in the village were, for
15 some of them, members of the -- or at least one of them a member of the
16 security of the president. Is that correct?
17 A. I think so.
18 Q. And is it correct that in the course of your interviews with
19 various members of the army at the time, you were informed that the
20 various level of the military chain of command had not been informed that
21 the operation was to be started? Do you agree with that, that you had
22 interviewed a number of people who indicated to you that they had not been
23 informed about the preparations of the operation?
24 A. As has transpired from these interviews, and by and large these
25 statements supported by the available documents, Major Despodov, in fact,
1 did not receive any definitive order by the president or by General
2 Mitrovski to carry out any action in Ljuboten.
3 Q. But do you agree that Mr. Despodov provided the fire support that
4 was necessary for the operation?
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. And you know also from your interviews that General Stambolski and
7 also Colonel Kopacev, who were in the chain of command, had not been
8 informed about the preparations for the operation. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes, that would appear from the documents.
10 Q. And do you recall also that when I asked about the question of the
11 president's involvement in the operation, Mr. Mitrovski, General
12 Mitrovksi, indicated to you the following: "The 12 August, I didn't issue
13 any order, and I didn't need to establish a commission which would
14 investigate whether the president was involved or not. The Chief of the
15 General Staff and the Ministry of Defence were informed the ball was in
16 their court. I wasn't asked about it, nor anybody called me to ask for a
18 Do you recall that statement, Mr. Bezruchenko?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. And, again, what Mr. Mitrovski indicates in his statement is that
21 the responsibility to talk to the president about this particular matter
22 was with his superior in the General Staff and the Ministry of Defence.
23 Is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And there's another piece of information which you had in your
1 possession about the involvement or the authority responsible for the
2 events in Ljuboten, and you knew that the matter of Ljuboten was dealt
3 with not in the Ministry of Interior or in the Ministry of Defence, but at
4 the presidential and command level. Is that right?
5 A. Not really, Mr. Mettraux. As I explained previously, there are no
6 clear indications that Major Despodov received any orders either from the
7 president or from General Mitrovksi as regards Ljuboten. This is a fact.
8 Now, if there is any information to suggest that the authority
9 responsible for the events of Ljuboten is some appropriate level, if your
10 implication is in fact is that it is the president who is responsible,
11 well, I don't really have any hard evidence suggesting that he gave any
12 specific orders relating to Ljuboten. All that is just hearsay which is
13 reflected in various documents.
14 Q. Well, let's look, for instance, at what is now Exhibit 1D246,
16 This document, Mr. Bezruchenko, is part of a bigger document which
17 is on your Rule 65 ter list as Rule 65 ter 216, and it's a daily log
18 sheet. It comes from the archives of the OSCE, and it relates to the 12th
19 of August of 2001.
20 MR. METTRAUX: And if I could ask the registry to turn to the
21 third page after that document, please, and if we could have the English
22 version as well, please. Thank you.
23 Q. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, I will draw your attention to entry number
24 15 in that particular document.
25 It says that: "Two meetings are ongoing on presidential and
1 command level in order to find a solution for the Ljuboten problem." Can
2 you see that?
3 A. Yes I can.
4 Q. And do you agree that this is pretty hard evidence to the effect
5 that the matter of Ljuboten on the 12th of August was dealt with at the
6 presidential and command level? Do you agree with that?
7 A. Well, this is it the evidence of the fact that meetings were,
8 indeed, being held with the involvement of president and, perhaps, at the
9 command level, but this is the only thing that I can say about there
10 particular entry.
11 Q. But do you agree, Mr. Bezruchenko -- perhaps I should ask you this
12 first: Do you agree that in the course of preparing your report, you've
13 reviewed a vast number of media reports and media material?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. And you also relied on a large quantity of such material for the
16 purpose of preparing your original report.
17 A. Yes. It was a significant amount of the material, and, of course,
18 not all of it could be reflected in the report.
19 Q. And you would know also from reviewing that material that the fact
20 that the president had ordered the operation in Ljuboten had been aired in
21 the press as well. Do you agree with that?
22 A. Well, this particular fact, I don't think so. I don't think I saw
23 any specific media report suggesting that president directly ordered
24 operation in Ljuboten. But if even that were the case, well, I don't
25 think that this media report would carry any more significance and value
1 in terms of credibility than a report by the Ministry of Defence or the
2 General Staff for that matter.
3 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be shown what is Rule 65
4 ter 1D531.
5 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, this is it a media report which comes from your
6 collections, so I'll ask you first: Do you recall reviewing that
7 particular document?
8 A. Could you please kindly -- yes. Let me see.
9 Actually, I don't remember, but could we go perhaps through the
10 entire document.
11 Q. Yes.
12 MR. METTRAUX: If the registry could please turn to the next page,
13 or perhaps scroll it to the bottom for Mr. Bezruchenko and then turn to
14 the next page.
15 Q. Do you recall seeing that document, Mr. Bezruchenko?
16 A. No.
17 MR. METTRAUX: Can we turn to the next page, please.
18 Q. Does that help refresh your memory? Do you recall seeing that
20 A. I know the book by Ms. Biljana Plavsic. I read it, but I don't
21 really recall this document.
22 MR. METTRAUX: Well, if we could turn to the next page, please.
23 Q. And I'll ask you to focus on the second paragraph of that
24 particular document.
25 It says the following: "The then-state leadership claimed that
1 there was an armed group in the village which planted a pressure-activated
2 mine which killed eight Macedonian soldiers the day before the village was
4 "The order for Macedonian soldiers to engage the Albanian group
5 came from the then-supreme commander of the Macedonian army, President
6 Boris Trajkovski."
7 Do you recall seeing that statement, Mr. Bezruchenko?
8 A. I don't think so.
9 Q. So you would agree that this is nowhere to be found in your
10 report. Is that correct?
11 A. It is perhaps mentioned in my report, particularly in the
12 chronology because I widely used various media reports; but mentioning
13 this particular statement in the section related to Ljuboten, there was no
14 point, really, because essentially this is a issue of serious
16 It would be extremely irresponsible on my part to plant anything
17 in the -- anything like this in the section on developments in Ljuboten,
18 based on this source only.
19 Q. Well I'm grateful for that, Mr. Bezruchenko.
20 MR. METTRAUX: We can remove the document from the screen at this
22 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, I'd like to turn now to something quite
23 different, and that is the issue of what you say was an armed conflict in
24 Macedonia in the year of 2001.
25 There's a few general matters which I would like to go through
1 with you.
2 First, you have indicated in your evidence-in-chief, though not in
3 your report, that the definition of what constitutes an armed conflict for
4 the purpose of your report is based on your understanding of that concept
5 as defined in military doctrine. Is that correct?
6 A. Well, my understanding is actually based on a number of sources,
7 including various military manuals, various scholarly works, books on
8 military history, and these kind of things. But one of those sources
9 which I used and which I mentioned to you previously was this particular
11 Q. And the particular one you are referring to, Mr. Bezruchenko,
12 would be the definition that is provided for in the DoD Military
13 Dictionary. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's right.
15 Q. And you would agree that on the basis of this definition, which
16 we've read already, an armed conflict with oppose two or more side that
17 are fighting each other. Do you agree with that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And do you agree that those sides would generally be known or
20 referred to as being parties to an armed conflict. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And in your report, you suggest that the parties to the armed
23 conflict were, on the one hand, the National Liberation Army, and, on the
24 other, the Macedonian security forces, comprising the army and the
25 security forces of the MOI. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And in your report at paragraph 14, you suggest that the
3 Macedonian conflict, and I quote: "Had certain common features with other
4 similar conflicts in the world."
5 Do you recall saying that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And could you indicate what armed conflict or armed conflict you
8 suggest shared common features with this particular conflict which you say
9 would render them comparable?
10 A. Well, I could name perhaps a number of them. This could be the
11 conflict in Kosovo; this could be the conflict in Algeria between the
12 French army and the Algerian insurgents in, I think, 1954 and 1960s; and a
13 number of conflicts of similar nature in Latin America.
14 Q. And it is your expert evidence, Mr. Bezruchenko, that those
15 conflict would be comparable to the conflict in the Republic of Macedonia
16 in 2001. Is that correct?
17 A. In their major features, yes.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreters kindly ask
19 the witness to pause before answering questions.
20 THE WITNESS: Sorry. Thank you.
21 MR. METTRAUX:
22 Q. Is it also correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that you had a general
23 understanding of what the concept of armed conflict means in legal terms?
24 A. Mr. Mettraux, the purpose of my report was not the legal analysis
25 of the conflict. This is an entirely different matter. I was not trying
1 to provide legal analysis of what was happening in Macedonia in 2001. I
2 think it is pretty clear from my report.
3 Q. I'm grateful for that, Mr. Bezruchenko. My question was more
4 general in kind.
5 Do you agree that you had a general understanding of what the
6 concept of armed conflict meant in legal terms and in particular what it
7 meant before this Tribunal? Do you agree with that?
8 A. Well, as I have mentioned previously, I have studied various books
9 and various sources related to military history and the theory of the
10 conflict in general. So, if you are implying that I had any knowledge of
11 various legal theories, yes, I did. If your question is whether I
12 actually applied these theories to my report, the question [sic] is no.
13 Q. Well, let me take it in two steps.
14 Is it correct that colleagues, members of your team of the Office
15 of the Prosecutor, explained to you what the concept of armed conflict
16 meant in legal terms and what the relevant factors or facts to establish
17 such a matter were in relation to the law of this Tribunal?
18 A. We had various discussions related to the report; and whether this
19 explanations actually were made in the course of these discussions, well,
20 I don't remember. Perhaps, it was the case.
21 Q. And you were also made aware, weren't you, about the most
22 important, perhaps, decisions and judgments of this Tribunal about what an
23 armed conflict meant, in legal terms. Do you agree with that?
24 A. Not really. It was not really the focus of my attention.
25 Q. But is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that it was brought to your
1 attention that a number of factors or facts were relative to establishing
2 an armed conflict, and that those criterias had been identified in various
3 judgments of the ICTY? Is that correct?
4 A. Well, this is correct, Mr. Mettraux, but I would like to
5 emphasise, again, that it was not really the focus of my attention. I
6 don't remember, well, really studying these judgments for the purpose of
7 writing my reports. Actually, I did not really study these judgments. I
8 was simply not interested. It was not my interest at all.
9 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that your colleagues of the Office
10 of the Prosecutor, in particular, identified for you the criteria -- or
11 criterias which had been taken into account in the Limaj trial judgment to
12 establish what, under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, is it an armed
13 conflict? Is that correct?
14 A. I don't think so.
15 Q. But you knew and understood that the two main criteria relevant to
16 this matter, that of an armed conflict in law, were requirement of
17 sufficient organisation and a requirement of sufficient intensity in
18 military exchanges. Do you agree with that?
19 A. Mr. Mettraux, as I mentioned previously , and you seem to be
20 bringing it back to the point which I have to repeat again - I did not
21 write my report with any legal analysis in mind.
22 Q. But, Mr. Bezruchenko, the question is slightly different. The
23 question or my question, if it wasn't clear, is whether this fact and
24 criterias were brought to your attention.
25 A. No.
1 Q. Were you aware, Mr. Bezruchenko, that one of the factor relevant
2 to the legal definition of an armed conflict is the ability of the parties
3 to carry out certain types of military operations? Were you aware of that
5 A. Mr. Mettraux, with all my due respect again, let me repeat, that
6 the legal definition of the armed conflict was not really a matter of my
7 concern. I hope that sufficiently answers my question.
8 Q. So your answer is "no."
9 A. My answer is "no."
10 Q. Is it correct that prior to preparing your report which we are now
11 discussing, you had never been asked to make a study of whether an armed
12 conflict had existed in a particular place? Is that correct that was your
13 first such report.
14 A. Except for my Ph.D., no.
15 Q. And had you been asked by the Office of the Prosecutor to prepare
16 any such report in the context of your work?
17 A. May I kindly ask to you qualify your question, Mr. Mettraux. What
18 do you mean by "such report"?
19 Q. Had you been asked, prior to preparing this report by the Office
20 of the Prosecutor, to prepare a report as to whether or not there had been
21 an armed conflict in a particular location or country?
22 A. No. This is the first report of this kind which I produced.
23 Q. Have you published any academic paper in relation to the subject
24 matter; namely, the concept of armed conflict in military doctrine?
25 A. I have published a number of articles which are related to the
1 subject of the conflict in Bosnia, but papers, as you term them academic
2 papers, no.
3 Q. And those papers, the ones that are referred to in your curriculum
4 vitae, as you indicated, were not papers discussing the definition of the
5 concept of armed conflict in military doctrine. Is that correct?
6 A. No, they were not.
7 Q. And in your report and in evidence, you have stated your belief
8 that the conflict started in January of 2001. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And perhaps for the sake of clarity, would you be able to indicate
11 on what date, if any particular date in January, you say the conflict
13 A. May I kindly refer you to page 1 of the section 5 of my report.
14 Paragraph 2 on this page says the following: "The armed conflict in 2001
15 commenced with the first attack by the NLA on January 22nd against the
16 police station in the village of Tearce near Tetovo. Assailants used
17 rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons.
18 "One police officer was killed and three others wounded. The NLA
19 claimed the responsibility for the attack in communique number 4 on
20 January 23rd, 2001."
21 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Bezruchenko, and we will come back in a
22 minute to that particular paragraph.
23 Is it correct -- or rather, let me ask you this: In your report,
24 you suggested that the armed conflict had lasted at least between January
25 and September 2001. There was an internal armed conflict in the Republic
1 of Macedonia..." -- sorry, "at least between January and September of
2 2001." The rest is not from paragraph 10.
3 Is that correct, that's the duration which you have identified as
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. And your evidence, Mr. Bezruchenko, is that all through that time,
7 that is, between January and September of 2001, there was, in fact, an
8 armed conflict on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia. Is that
10 A. To be more precise, as you are aware, Mr. Mettraux, the conflict,
11 by and large, was terminated, at least on paper, on 13 August 2001. On
12 this day, the Ohrid Agreement was signed which, among other things,
13 stipulated the end of the hostilities. But, in reality, the cease-fire
14 violations continued for a long time after this agreement was signed.
15 The reason why I specifically selected September for the
16 conceptual end of the conflict was that on the 26th of September, one of
17 the warring parties, namely, the NLA, made a statement about its
18 disbandment following the end of the operation Essential Harvest which,
19 again, as you were aware, was meant to collect the NLA weapons in return
20 for certain political concessions.
21 Q. Well, I'm grateful for this explanation, Mr. Bezruchenko, and I
22 would like to go back to the incidents which you said was the opening of
23 the armed conflict.
24 MR. METTRAUX: And I will ask the registry to please go to Exhibit
1 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, that's, again, your report.
2 MR. METTRAUX: And I would like the registry to turn to page 45 of
3 this report.
4 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, what I would wish do to with you is to go
5 chronologically with you through a particular part of your report, where
6 you have listed what you called "NLA operations." That's the part 2.11 of
7 your report, and it would be at the bottom of the page, please.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And if we can turn to the next page, please, that's page 46 of the
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. I would like to go, as I said, chronologically with you in
13 relation to these matters.
14 Under the heading "January 2001," and as far as concerns "NLA
15 operations," you list the following incident, and I will read it out to
16 you: "The first incident attributed to the NLA was a mortar attack on a
17 remote police station at Tearce on 22 January 2001. Unknown assailants
18 attacked the police station, killing one policeman and wounding three."
19 Can you see that?
20 A. Yes, I can.
21 Q. And that's the same attack, isn't it, or operation, as you name
22 it, that you read later in your report. Is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that's right.
24 Q. Is it correct that this incident in Tearce occurred sometime
25 during the night between the 21st and 22nd of January of 2001? Are you
1 aware of that fact?
2 A. I remember reading various accounts, including those in media, and
3 I think it probably occurred during night.
4 Q. And do you know how many members of the NLA took part in this
5 particular operation?
6 A. No, I don't.
7 Q. Do you know of any approximation, or is it information that is
8 totally unknown to you?
9 A. No, I don't. I wouldn't make any guess.
10 Q. Do you know how long the attack lasted, this attack on the police
12 A. As far as I know, the attack resulted in at least one person
13 killed and several persons wounded. In fact, it doesn't really matter how
14 long this attack lasted, as long as actually it achieved its primary goal,
15 delivering casualties on the opposing side.
16 Q. Sir, I will just ask to you answer the question if you can; if you
17 can't, please say so.
18 Do you know how long the attack lasted?
19 A. No, I don't.
20 Q. And do you agree that, as far as the reports are concerned, it
21 only involved the firing of one mortar, which I think -- or one shell, in
22 any case, on to the police station in Tearce. Is that correct?
23 A. The accounts which I have seen, sir, seem to suggest that there
24 was a mortar as well as grenade launchers used.
25 Q. And you've indicated already that there was one casualty and three
1 injured persons. Is that correct?
2 A. As was clear from the media reports, yes.
3 Q. And you agree that on that occasion, the NLA did not capture any
4 territory as a result of that attack. Is that correct?
5 A. Well, I don't know. I simply was not looking into this aspect.
6 Q. Do you know where this men or man who had been carrying out the
7 attack had been coming from?
8 A. I have read various materials and lots of various materials, of
9 course, and it would be difficult to keep in mind all the names of
10 possible suspects which were speculated in with media materials.
11 Q. Do you know how and where they retreated to?
12 A. I remember seeing various reports suggesting that, in fact, the
13 assailants withdrew to the territory of Kosovo.
14 Q. And do you know whether they had used any communication facilities
15 during that incident?
16 A. I was not really investigating this particular attack, sir, but I
17 would imagine that they probably did.
18 Q. Did you see any documentary evidence of any plan to carry out this
20 A. I don't remember seeing anything like this.
21 Q. Did you see any documentary evidence of an order to carry out this
23 A. I don't think so.
24 Q. Is it correct, and, again, as far as you can recall,
25 Mr. Bezruchenko, that this particular incident, this particular attack on
1 the police station, was regarded and called a terrorist act or a terrorist
2 action by the Macedonian authorities? Is that correct?
3 A. Well, the Macedonian authorities, by and large, as I can see from
4 various Macedonian documents, regarded the NLA as terrorists; and, in
5 fact, this is how the NLA was treated in various Macedonian documents.
6 They mentioned as enemy and terrorists.
7 Q. And do you have any memory of this particular -- well, let me
8 perhaps show what you what is Rule 65 ter 1D873.
9 Mr. Bezruchenko, we'll come back on a few occasions on this
10 document, but are you familiar, first, with this document, which is in
11 front of you?
12 A. Yes, I am.
13 Q. And you will agree that this is a information on the NLA
14 activities in the territory of Macedonia, that it's dated the 25th of July
15 of 2001, and it comes from the Department of Security and
16 Counter-Intelligence, also known as the UBK? Is that correct?
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could turn to page 7 of this
19 document, that would be 1D00-7639.
20 Q. And do you see, Mr. Bezruchenko, that this document contains what
21 is termed, "A chronology ever terrorist attacks." Can you see that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And if you go to the fifth incident mentioned in this document, it
24 starts with the word: "In the night."
25 Can you see that?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. It says this: "In the night between January 21 and 22, 2001, the
3 Tearce police station in -- came under an automatic gun-fire and
4 hand-rocket launcher attack. Stojanovski Momir was killed, while
5 Evrosimovski Davor, Lika Jahi, and Gjurovski Borce were seriously
7 "In its communique number 4, dated January 23rd, NLA assumed
8 responsibility for this attack."
9 First, do you agree that this is the same incident as we discussed
11 A. Yes, it appears so.
12 Q. And do you agree that it is being listed by the UBK as a terrorist
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please now be shown what is
16 Exhibit P45, please.
17 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, first, I think you will be quite familiar with
18 this document. Is that correct?
19 A. Yes, I am familiar with this document.
20 Q. And this is known as the "White Book" prepared by the Ministry of
21 Interior of the Republic of Macedonia. Is that correct?
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. And you also made use of that particular document in various parts
24 of your original report. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 MR. METTRAUX: And I ask the registry to turn to page 109 of that
2 document, please. Thank you. That be would be the next page, please.
3 Thank you.
4 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, do you agree that this particular section of
5 the "White Book" refers to terrorist attacks and provocation carried out
6 by the so-called NLA. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And if I can ask you to go down to the third incident listed as
9 activity attack, there is a date of the 22nd of January of 2001. Is that
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And prior to that you have two incidents, one dated the 11th of
13 January of 2000 and the 19th of January of 2000. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And the incident listed under 22nd of January of 2001 reads as
16 follows: "The police station Tearce, Tetovo was attacked with a
17 hand-grenade mortar and an automatic weapon and hit with two projectiles.
18 The police officer, Momir Stojanovski, was killed and three other police
19 officers suffered severe body injuries. Material damages were caused,
21 "By a communique number 4 presented on January 23, 2001, NLA took
22 the responsibility for this terrorist attack. According to the
23 communique, a special unit of the NLA committed the attack against the
24 police station Tearce."
25 Do you agree that, again, this is the same incident which we have
1 been discussing? Is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is it correct, also, that according to the Ministry of Interior of
4 Macedonia, this particular incident constituted a terrorist attack, as
5 it's termed?
6 A. Well, this is what the document says. Indeed, the Ministry of
7 Interior of Macedonia apparently considered all these attacks terrorist
9 Q. Is it correct that for yourself, Mr. Bezruchenko, when you
10 identified references to terrorist attacks or terrorists to describe the
11 NLA, you suggested quite a different explanation? Is that correct?
12 A. Are you referring to my specific use of the word "operations,"
13 Mr. Mettraux?
14 Q. No, I apologise. Perhaps I should, in fairness, show you the
15 passage that I'm referring to in your report.
16 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could bring back P466, please,
17 and if I may ask the registry, please, to turn to page 87 of the report.
18 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, this will be paragraph 299 of the report, page
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And if I can ask to you look at paragraph 299 of the report,
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. In your report you said the following: "It should be noted that
25 operational documents of the Macedonian Ministry of Defence and General
1 Staff, especially operational orders, refer to the NLA as 'terrorists' and
2 the 'enemy.'
3 "From this, one can infer that despite the fact that no formal
4 state of war was declared, the army was in effect at a heightened state of
5 readiness and that orders and instructions were generated according to the
6 threat posed by activity enemy forces."
7 Do you recall saying that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you ever consider the possibility, Mr. Bezruchenko, anywhere
10 in your report, that the reason why the NLA was called "terrorists" was
11 because that's what they were?
12 A. If I may offer the following comment, Mr. Mettraux: The
13 phenomenon of terrorism is not an easy one to understand, and there are
14 various definitions of terrorism which have been a subject of debate, both
15 in the academic community around the world and in various international
16 bodies including the United Nations.
17 You may wish to recall that attempts to somehow bring these
18 definitions to one common denominator, so to speak, have, to this point in
19 time, not really yielded any results. There are various explanations and
20 various definitions of the phenomenon of terrorism. There are some which
21 are apparently more acceptable than others, but one common feature or as
22 one common point about all these definitions is that terrorism, as such,
23 as phenomenon, is essentially an action aimed at civilians, rather than
24 military or government structures.
25 In this sense, a typical example of terrorism, perhaps, would be
1 an attack on a school in Beslam [Realtime transcript read in error
2 "Islam"], as well as the 9/11. But in my report, I was not really
3 dealing with the issue of terrorism.
4 Q. So, I'm grateful for your explanation, Mr. Bezruchenko. The
5 answer to the question is that, in fact, and I believe that's what you
6 said in your last sentence, you did not consider the possibility in your
7 report that the NLA was, in fact, a terrorist organisation and that its
8 actions, in fact, were terrorist attacks. Is that correct?
9 A. As is evident from the chronology, which is section 5 of my
10 report, Mr. Mettraux, I have been dealing with mostly attacks by the NLA
11 against the army and police.
12 In the course of preparation of my report, I did not really find
13 any overwhelming evidence to suggest that, say, the major part of such
14 attacks, or rather, the most of these attacks were specifically aimed at
15 civilian population. In fact, if this were the case, the number of
16 casualties resulting in the conflict would probably be much, much higher.
17 Q. Well, let me ask you this then, Mr. Bezruchenko: As part of your
18 review and identification of documents relevant to the preparation of your
19 report, did you become aware of any and perhaps numerous statements from
20 various state and state bodies to the effect that the NLA was a terrorist
21 organisation or that its actions were terrorist acts? Did you become
22 aware of any such material?
23 A. Before we come over to this question, Mr. Mettraux, if I may
24 correct a mistake, apparently, which is on the transcript. I said, on the
25 attack on the school in "Beslam," not "Islam."
1 Q. It is B-E-S-L-A-M.
2 A. Exactly, and this is line 14.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 Would you wish me to repeat the question, Mr. Bezruchenko?
5 A. Yes, please, sir.
6 Q. The question was this: As part of your review of the documents
7 relevant to the preparation of your report, did you become aware of any
8 and perhaps numerous statements from various states and state bodies to
9 the effect that the NLA was a terrorist organisation or that its actions
10 were terrorist acts.
11 A. Yes. There were numerous statements which suggested that, in
12 fact, terrorist acts were being committed in Macedonia.
13 Q. And is it correct that you made no reference in your report to any
14 such material? Is that correct?
15 A. Not necessarily. In fact, the numerous documents which I'm
16 quoting, including the documents of the General Staff for instance,
17 directly name the NLA as terrorists and the enemy. I think there are
18 other documents as well, especially in the media, which essentially say
19 the same thing.
20 Q. Well, perhaps I should have specified my question better,
21 Mr. Bezruchenko.
22 Did you make any reference in your report to statements or report
23 of statement made by other state or other state organs, setting aside, for
24 a second, statements made by the Macedonian authorities?
25 A. You mean the statements of international mediators, politicians,
1 heads of states regarding the situation in Macedonia.
2 Q. That's correct?
3 A. Not really. I was not concentrating on this because apparently
4 this would represent the political aspect of the conflict and political
5 interpretation of it, which was not really my interest.
6 MR. METTRAUX: Would that be a convenient time, Your Honour? It's
7 only half past, I'm sorry. I was ahead of myself.
8 Could the witness please be shown what is Rule 65 ter 1D928.1,
10 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, this is, again, the same document, the DoD
11 Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.
12 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, simply for the record, we have
13 uploaded a slightly different document with a ".1" because we have added
14 one page that is relevant to the document. So we have re-uploaded the
15 entire document.
16 And if I could ask the registry, please, to go to page 1D00-8274
17 of that document.
18 Q. Sir, I'll ask you, first, to look at the definition that is given
19 of the concept of terrorism in this particular document, and I will read
20 it out to you: "Terrorism - the calculated use of unlawful violence or
21 threat of unlawful violence to instill fear, intended to coerce or to
22 intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are
23 generally political, religious, or ideological."
24 Can you see that?
25 A. Yes, I can.
1 Q. And do you agree that there is no reference to any targeting of
2 civilians. Do you agree with that?
3 A. Yes, I see there is no such reference.
4 Q. And if you look at the next definition, that of terrorist, it says
5 this: "An individual who commits an act or acts of violence or threatens
6 violence in pursuit of political, religious, or ideological objectives."
7 Can you see that?
8 A. I can see that.
9 Q. And then there's a definition of what constitutes a terrorist
10 group, and it is defined as follows: "Any number of terrorists who
11 assemble together have a unifying relationship or are organised for the
12 purpose of committing an act or acts of violence or threatened violence in
13 pursuant of their political, religious, or ideological objective."
14 Can you see that?
15 A. Yes, I can.
16 Q. And, again, you agree that this particular military definition of
17 the concept of terrorist group does not contain any reference or any
18 limitation to attacks on civilians. Do you agree with that?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. So, in effect, Mr. Bezruchenko, you did not apply this particular
21 set of definition as were provided in the DoD Military Dictionary of
22 military terms. Is that correct?
23 A. I don't really find this particular definition particularly
24 explanatory. Well, in fact, the pursuit of political, religious, or
25 ideological goals is not necessarily exercised through terrorism only.
1 The war remains the major vehicle for pursuit of such goals.
2 Secondly, this particular definition does not seem to be intended
3 to making a distinction between war and terrorism; and, thirdly, in fact,
4 this definition does notice really preclude the use of force against
5 civilians, as it speaks of the societies.
6 Q. And it also speaks of the governments. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes, since societies are run by governments.
8 Q. And, in fact, Mr. Bezruchenko, what you are saying then is, whilst
9 you rely on the definition of what constitutes an armed conflict on this
10 document, you decided that other definitions in that document were not
11 appropriate for your own purposes and did not apply this particular
12 definitions. Is that correct?
13 A. As I mentioned, Mr. Mettraux, first and foremost, in the first
14 place, the phenomenon of terrorism was not really the subject of my
15 report. I was researching in my report the matters which were directly
16 related to the conflict, such as organisation of the opposing sides,
17 strategy, tactics, and all the other issues.
18 Terrorism is a special phenomenon. It does not necessarily mean
19 that the war in Macedonia in 2001 was not a war in which terrorist acts
20 were not involved; perhaps they were. But the overwhelming fact remains
21 that essentially, by and large, this was the clash between the organised
22 forces of the government, on the one hand, and the organised forces of the
23 of the NLA, on the other hand.
24 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, you knew much more than what you are now
25 claiming. You knew about the relevance of terrorism to what you were
1 asked to prepare.
2 Isn't that correct that you knew full well that acts of terrorism
3 would be excluded from the definition of armed conflict?
4 A. I'm sorry, I don't understand your question, Mr. Mettraux.
5 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that at the time when you prepared
6 your report, it was made clear to you, by your colleagues who are lawyers,
7 that acts of terrorism are excluded from the definition of what
8 constitutes an armed conflict, and that such acts cannot serve as evidence
9 of the existence of an armed conflict? Do you agree that was made clear
10 to you?
11 A. No, I don't agree with you, Mr. Mettraux. And, on the other hand,
12 does it actually mean that you are suggesting that there was no armed
13 conflict in Macedonia?
14 Q. Well, for the time being, I would like to stay with the question,
15 Mr. Bezruchenko, if we may.
16 Is it your evidence that you were not informed by the Office of
17 the Prosecutor, by your colleagues, that terrorist actions would be
18 excluded from the definition of what constitutes an armed conflict in law?
19 A. Yes. It is my evidence, Mr. Mettraux, because I don't think that
20 we discussed specifically the relationship between the phenomenon of
21 terrorism and the armed conflict; and, secondly, as I mentioned
22 previously, I did not really have in my mind any legal concept of the
23 conflict when I was writing my report.
24 What I was guided by, specific request which was indeed provided
25 to me by my colleagues and which covered such issues as organisation of
1 the parties, religious tactics, and all these things which I have already
3 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, did you watch the opening statement of the
4 Prosecution in this case?
5 A. I think I did.
6 Q. I'd like to read a passage to you from that opening statement
7 delivered by Mr. Saxon. It's at page 327 of the transcript on the 16th of
8 April of 2007.
9 Mr. Saxon was discussing the particular issue of the existence or
10 otherwise of an armed conflict in Macedonia at the time, and these are the
11 words of Mr. Saxon:
12 "First of all, the Prosecution must prove that there was
13 sufficient organisation and structure of the belligerent armed forces, so
14 that each participating force had the ability to carry out military
16 "Second, the Prosecution must demonstrate that the intensity of
17 the armed violence or combat, if you will, rose to a certain level; that
18 is, that the level of armed violence was something greater than mere
19 banditry, common crime, or disorganised or short-lived insurrection, or
20 terrorist activities which are not the subject to the international
21 humanitarian law," and Mr. Saxon goes on to discuss other elements of that
23 Mr. Bezruchenko, are you suggesting, or is that your evidence,
24 that you were not aware at the time of preparing your statement of the
25 definition and the elements and in particular the relevance of terrorist
1 activities to that definition. Is that your evidence?
2 A. Mr. Mettraux, of course, I was watching the statement, the opening
3 statement which was made by Mr. Saxon. But, as I mentioned previously
4 already, by the time this statement was actually made, my report had been,
5 by and large, completed. So I don't really think there is any direct
6 connection between this statement and my report. This is the first point
7 I would like to make.
8 Now, coming to the second point of your question is regarding the
9 terrorist activities. I have got an impression throughout getting ready
10 with my report, and actually in the process of writing my report, that
11 there was, indeed, a lot of crime committed during the conflict in
12 Macedonia. But, again, coming back, if you wish, to the qualification
13 provided by Mr. Saxon, I would concur with the view that it was not really
14 banditry or short-lived insurrection.
15 NLA was a organised entity which was manifested, inter alia, in
16 the fact they had military hierarchy, as well as very solid political
17 goals, which in fact are also a reflection of an armed conflict, and these
18 goals were, in fact, solidified and expressed in the Ohrid Agreement.
19 Q. Well, I'm grateful for that, Mr. Bezruchenko. The Chamber would
20 be quite aware of your evidence in relation to there matter, but I'd like
21 to come back dot issue of terrorism, if I may.
22 Is it your evidence that the Prosecutor, who asked you to prepare
23 a report on the issue of the existence of an armed conflict in Macedonia
24 in the year of 2001, did not bring to your attention this definition,
25 which goes back to the Tadic judgment of, I believe, 1997 and onwards,
1 that the Prosecutor did not bring that definition, in particular as regard
2 terrorist activities, to your attention. Is that your evidence?
3 A. I did not read Tadic's judgment.
4 Q. Well, I'm grateful for that, Mr. Bezruchenko, but my question is
5 broader than that.
6 Is it your evidence that the content, the substance of what I read
7 to you a moment ago, was not brought to your attention at the time when
8 you prepared your report?
9 A. As I mentioned previously, we were discussing my report, of
10 course, but I was given complete freedom as how I was supposed to
11 structure it and carry on with it. We only discussed the plan, but the
12 substantive matters, such as organisation of the parties, as well as the
13 operations and the main events, were not really the subject of these
15 So if your specific question is whether I was specifically
16 instructed to avoid anything in relation to terrorism in my report, this
17 is -- my answer to this question is no, I was not instructed so.
18 Q. Well, perhaps we have one minute, Mr. Bezruchenko.
19 I was not suggesting and I was not asking whether you had been
20 instructed to avoid making any such reference. My question was: Is it
21 your evidence that the content or substance of what I read to you a moment
22 ago was not brought to your attention at the time when you prepared your
24 A. No, it wasn't.
25 MR. METTRAUX: Would it be a convenient time, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 We resume at 1.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
6 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, just a last point on the discussion which we had
8 before the break. It is more a matter of methodology to understand how
9 you proceeded and if my understanding of your methodology is correct.
10 Is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that you did not seek to determine
11 for each or any particular incident whether that particular incident was
12 or wasn't a terrorism act? Is that correct?
13 A. I was not looking into the aspect of terrorism at all.
14 Q. Thank you. I have some more general questions about the NLA and
15 the NLA structure in relation to the month of January of 2001,
16 Mr. Bezruchenko.
17 Did you see any documentary evidence about the numbers of members
18 of the NLA in January of 2001?
19 A. It is extremely difficult to make any assessment as to the actual
20 numbers of the NLA. In fact, to this date, there have been very few
21 statements suggesting that the size of the NLA amounted to a certain
22 number of men.
23 I think I have seen documents suggesting that there were various
24 groups, mostly coming from Kosovo, but also supported by some local
25 population which amounted perhaps to a few hundred men in January.
1 Q. Is it correct or is it within your knowledge that the number 30
2 persons, 100 and 200 were sometimes mentioned? Is it within your
4 A. Yes. These numbers were mentioned, that's right; but as I say, it
5 is very difficult to make any accurate assessment.
6 Q. Have you seen any documentary evidence concerning, again,
7 Mr. Bezruchenko, the month of January of 2001, suggesting that any of the
8 so-called NLA brigade had been set up at that time and was operating in
9 January of 2001?
10 A. Specifically related to any NLA brigade set up in January 2001,
11 no, I don't think so.
12 Q. Did you see any order with the stamp or any other identification
13 from any of those so-called brigades as far as concerned the month of
14 January of 2001?
15 A. No, I didn't.
16 Q. Did you see any map -- did you see any map of operation that were
17 used for the purpose of the NLA in January of 2001?
18 A. No, I didn't.
19 Q. There's a issue, Mr. Bezruchenko, which I would like to touch with
20 you again in relation to the NLA. Is it correct that - and as far as I
21 could tell from the report - one of the issue which is not discussed in
22 your report is the NLA's deployment or transport facilities and
23 abilities? Is that correct that you do not discuss that particular aspect
24 of the NLA structure?
25 A. I was not really pursuing this specific subject in detail, but I
1 think I refer to a number of documents which relate to transportation
2 routes across the border from Kosovo and various transport facilities. At
3 least under the subtitle of "Logistics," I think I speak about transport
5 Q. Well, I'm grateful for that. At this stage, I'm more interested
6 in the vehicles themselves, to say that. Are you aware of the NLA having
7 had any means -- well, let me put it differently.
8 Are you aware that the NLA had any vehicle or trucks, for
9 instance, to be used in the month of January of 2001?
10 A. I do not really recall seeing any document suggesting that any
11 vehicles were used in the month of January 2001, but I certainly recall a
12 number of documents which suggest that, generally speaking, NLA was using
13 mainly tractors, but perhaps also some vehicles. But I'm not sure if this
14 was limited exclusively to January 2001.
15 Q. Would you agree, Mr. Bezruchenko, that the deployment ability of
16 any army formation would be relevant, for instance, to the type of
17 operation which this formation would be capable of carrying out?
18 A. Yes, of course.
19 Q. And it would also be directly relevant to determining the kind of
20 forces or the number of forces that such a formation would be capable of
21 transporting from one location to the other. Is that correct?
22 A. Yes, in a way.
23 Q. And it would also be relevant to determining the sort of armament
24 that this formation would be capable of transporting from one site to the
25 other. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes. In conventional warfare, mostly, yes.
2 Q. And it would be also be relevant to establishing the ability of
3 that formation to carry out more than short-lived attacks. Is that
5 A. I don't quite understand what is your definition of "short-lived
6 attacks," sir.
7 Q. Well, is it correct that should any such formation wish to carry
8 out an attack that could last for, let's say, more than a few days, it
9 would be important to ensure the means of re-supply? Is that correct?
10 A. Well, in fact, attack is only a form of combat activities. Other
11 forms of combat activity also include defence and, among other things ,
12 actions as ways of implementing them.
13 But if your specific question is whether re-supply would determine
14 the duration of a particular operation, yes, of course, it would be one of
15 the major factors.
16 Q. And, in turn, the ability to re-supply troops would be determined,
17 in part, at least, by the ability of the formation in question to
18 transport that re-supply. Is that correct?
19 A. Well, there are various ways, of course, of carrying out re-supply
20 activities. I mean, it really depends on what you mean.
21 In conventional warfare, yes. Normally, a unit would be
22 responsible for its re-supplies up to a certain level.
23 Q. And I believe, if can you recall, you were shown one document
24 during your examination-in-chief which suggested that at the end of the
25 crisis, the NLA was in possession of four vehicles which were armoured
1 vehicles and tanks.
2 Do you recall that those vehicles were taken from or off the
3 Macedonian forces during the crisis?
4 A. Yes. I think they were taken from the Macedonian forces.
5 Q. Do you know of any other vehicle which the NLA possessed in
6 January of 2001 and during the rest of the crisis which they used for the
7 purpose of transporting troops?
8 A. As I mentioned previously, there are some reports which suggest
9 that they were using tractors, especially carrying weapons across the
10 border, as well as perhaps trucks. But if you are specifically referring
11 to any combat vehicles, except those which had been captured by the NLA,
12 no, I don't think I came across any references to such vehicles.
13 Q. And did you see any evidence of the NLA possessing any trucks, not
14 just combat vehicles, but trucks; and if so, did you refer to that
15 particular information in your report?
16 A. I don't think I refer to this particular information in my report,
17 but I remember seeing some report suggesting that perhaps they had
18 trucks. But I'm not really sure. It wasn't really the focus of my
20 Q. Is it correct that a great deal of transportation or movement by
21 the NLA was done on foot and the carrying of loads on mules or donkeys?
22 Is that correct?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. And this would mean that the movement of the troops would be
25 extremely slow. Is that correct?
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. And, in turn, this would limit the type of operations that the NLA
3 would be capable of carrying out. Is that correct?
4 A. Yes and no. It really depends. Apparently, there could be some
5 situations whereby the NLA did not really have to deploy large amount of
6 forces in certain areas, since the personnel were already there, just
7 infiltrated over a number of years -- sorry, number of days, perhaps weeks
8 or months. The weapons could be just hid there, waiting for them.
9 Q. Well, I hope you can agree with the proposition that this means of
10 transportation, foot and mules, would greatly restrain the scope of
11 possible operations that could be carried out by this body. Do you agree
12 with that?
13 A. Yes, of course. This would be very logical to assume, but, as I
14 say, it really applies mainly to conventional warfare. That not be
15 necessarily the same situation in asymmetrical warfare.
16 Q. Would you agree that it would also restrict the number of troops
17 that could be deployed at any one time in relation to any one particular
18 operation? Is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And one of the reason for that would be that they would easily
21 become identifiable, or otherwise. Is that correct?
22 A. This could be the case.
23 Q. Are you aware of the NLA having had any common vehicles with
24 communication facilities in the month of January of 2001?
25 A. No.
1 Q. And is it correct that the vehicles which were used in Aracinovo
2 to evacuate NLA fighters from the village were those of NATO? Is that
3 correct? Is it within your knowledge?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. And in the absence of such vehicles and assistance to evacuate,
6 the only way for the NLA people to get out of the village would have been
7 on foot. Is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Is it correct that in January of 2001, the attacks which you've
10 described in your report, the attacks of the NLA against the Macedonian
11 forces, were regarded as a low-level affair? Is that correct?
12 A. You really have to specify your question, Mr. Mettraux. I would
13 rather prefer if you could explain who are you attributing these reports
14 to and where they would be coming from.
15 Q. Well, first, let me ask you this then: Do you agree that the
16 situation in Macedonia at the time, and in particular the one attack that
17 you described in your report, was a low intensity affair?
18 A. Yes. In fact, in a way, the entire conflict could perhaps be
19 described as a conflict of medium intensity, I would say. But at the
20 beginning of the conflict, I think, there certainly was a tendency for -
21 this is what would appear, in fact, from various media reports - for the
22 Macedonian authorises to regard this conflict as not really significant,
23 something which probably could be dealt with very quickly.
24 Q. Do you know, Mr. Bezruchenko, of a magazine called "Jane's
25 Intelligence Digest"?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. And is it correct that you relied upon various publication from
3 Jane's in preparation of your report?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. And I'd like to show you one particular piece from Jane's
6 Intelligence Digest.
7 MR. METTRAUX: It is Exhibit 1D227, and if it could be scrolled
8 down a little bit more, please, to the beginning of the article.
9 Q. Do you recall seeing that article, Mr. Bezruchenko?
10 A. I'm not sure if I have seen this article, but I probably -- I
11 probably did; at least I have seen some similar articles.
12 Q. Well, let's look at the first paragraph of this article first.
13 It says this: "Current events in the Balkans indicate that Jane's
14 Intelligence Digest oft repeated warnings of an escalating series of
15 regional conflicts are proving accurate. In the space of a week, ethnic
16 Albanian terrorists have launched an attack on a Macedonian police
17 station," and then it goes on to speak about Kosovo.
18 First, let me ask you this: Is it correct that the NLA is
19 described also by Jane's as ethnic Albanian terrorists? Is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And it refers specifically to an attack on a Macedonian police
22 station. Is that correct?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. And then in the next paragraph, Jane's say this is: "All of these
25 incidents have a common root: Radical Albanian nationalism."
1 Is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. METTRAUX: And if we can turn to the next page, please.
4 Q. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, I'll ask you to locate a paragraph which
5 starts with the word: "The low-level."
6 Can you see that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And this is what Jane's says: "The low-level attacks against the
9 Macedonian police, which began last year, are supposedly the work of the
10 so-called Liberation Army, four of whom have been arrested."
11 Do you agree that at this stage, at the time of the article which
12 is 2nd of February but posted on the 1st of February, the Jane's
13 Intelligence Digest regarded what was happening in Macedonia as low-level
14 attacks. Is that correct?
15 A. Well, if this article is dated to January 2001 --
16 Q. February, I'm sorry, Mr. Bezruchenko.
17 A. February, okay. Indeed, in January and February 2001, there was a
18 number of clashes. There was some fighting going on, but it didn't really
19 spread out towards the territory which later came under NLA control.
20 Basically, the fighting was limited to certain areas on the border.
21 Q. Is it correct also that what Jane's refers to is that there were
22 in fact other similar attacks in the year -- the previous year? That
23 would be the year of 2000. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And is it correct that, in fact, attacks by members of various
1 groups with various names, Albanian armed groups of various sorts, had
2 been going on since at least 1992 onwards? Is that correct?
3 A. Well, attacks, in a sense of attacks against military and police,
4 well, I don't think so. I know that there were various incidents here and
5 there. There were some bombings as well, but there were indeed various
6 groups involved in these attacks.
7 But my concept of the conflict was that in earnest the fighting
8 between the NLA and the Macedonian security forces began, in fact, in
9 January and February, and one of the reasons for this concept is that this
10 particular attack, on the 28th of January, was confirmed by the NLA
11 statement. They actually assumed responsibility for this attack.
12 Q. Isn't that correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that, in fact, the only thing
13 that changed between 2001 and the year 2000, or the year of 1999, is
14 simply the number of and frequency of those attacks? Isn't that correct?
15 A. It would be fair to say perhaps that the amount of the attacks
16 increased significantly in February 2001.
17 Q. And just wrapping it up for the month of January of 2001,
18 Mr. Bezruchenko, is it your expert evidence that the incidents which we've
19 discussed, the incident of Tearce that may have lasted only a few minutes,
20 that might have involved a unknown number of people, perhaps two, three,
21 without any apparent plan of order for it, and with one casualty would be
22 enough in your experience to amount to an armed conflict in military
24 A. I would be grateful, Mr. Mettraux, if you would indicate in a
25 specific location in my report where I made this assumption.
1 Q. Well, your evidence, Mr. Bezruchenko, as far as I understand it,
2 is that this incident, and you indicated earlier today, marked the
3 beginning of what you called an armed conflict.
4 Now, I understand from that evidence that it is your position that
5 this incident was in and of itself sufficient to amount or to give rise to
6 an armed conflict in Macedonia. Is that correct?
7 A. I'm afraid, Mr. Mettraux, you are simply misrepresenting what I
8 said. I said that this incident was the first one in the series of
9 attacks which later amounted to what turned out to be a full-fledged
10 conflict of serious intensity.
11 I said that the first incident, but I didn't really say, as you
12 are putting to me now, that this incident amount to an armed conflict.
13 This is entirely wrong, and this is gross misrepresentation.
14 Q. Well, your evidence, Mr. Bezruchenko, that you gave to this
15 Chamber is that the beginning of the armed conflict, which you said lasted
16 from January 2001 until September 2001, started on the 22nd of January
17 2001 with this incident. Do you recall that evidence?
18 A. I'm saying that the conflict actually started in January, that's
19 right, specifically because it is in January that the reports about the
20 NLA existence came to the attention of the media, and the NLA assumed the
21 responsibility for some incidents. But I don't really think that I that I
22 say that this specific incident amounted to the armed conflict.
23 Q. Well, the record will speak for itself.
24 I will turn to the month of February of 2001, Mr. Bezruchenko.
25 MR. METTRAUX: And I will ask the registry to bring back what is
1 Exhibit P466, please.
2 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, that will be your report, once again, and I will
3 ask you now to turn to page 46, please.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And I would ask you, please, to turn to paragraph 169 of that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And that is the operations which -- NLA operations which you list
9 as being relevant for the month of February 2001, and I will read them out
10 to you: "On 21 February 2001, Macedonian border security reported
11 movement of about 40 persons in black and camouflage uniforms crossing the
12 border from FRY into Macedonia.
13 "The border agreement signed by Macedonia and the Federal Republic
14 of Yugoslavia on 23 February prompted the army to move its unit up to the
15 newly proclaimed border line. That move led to clashes in the area of
16 Tanusevci on the border between Macedonia and Kosovo in February 2001, as
17 NLA attempted to hold and expand the bridgehead which would enable them to
18 control the difficult to access Skopska-Crna Gora area as a base for
19 further operations."
20 Can you see that?
21 A. Yes, I can.
22 Q. And, focussing on those clashes which you refer in the fifth line
23 of that particular paragraph, do you know how long that particular
24 incident lasted?
25 A. You mean the clashes in the area of Tanusevci.
1 Q. That's correct?
2 A. Well, this was a recurrent affair. I think initially it lasted
3 for about a day, but then the area was confronted again, and the incident
4 reoccurred sometime in March. I don't think this area was really quiet
5 until the very end of the conflict.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Bezruchenko.
7 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, simply for the transcript -- well, I
8 will do that later.
9 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, do you know how many members of the so-called NLA
10 were involved in what you described as clashes in the area of Tanusevci on
11 border between Macedonia and Kosovo in February 2001?
12 A. I think it be would difficult to give you the precise figure,
13 Mr. Mettraux.
14 Q. And so that the Chamber has an idea of the scale of things in this
15 matter and the sort of event we are talking about, is that correct that
16 the village of Tanusevci is about or the area around the village of
17 Tanusevci is about six square kilometre? Is that correct?
18 A. This is indeed a small village, but I don't know what is the exact
19 surface of this village.
20 Q. Well, perhaps I can assist you, since I haven't measured it
21 myself, Mr. Bezruchenko.
22 MR. METTRAUX: And I will ask that the registry bring up Exhibit
23 P45, and if the registry could please turn to page 65 of that document,
24 please. That would be N000-9317. That would not be the right page.
25 Could we move two page forward, please. Yes, thank you very much.
1 And if we can go down to the last paragraph of that document, please, and
2 if we can focus on the last paragraph of the document.
3 Q. Can you see that? It starts with the word: "Allow me to remind
5 A. Yes, I can see that.
6 Q. Is it correct that the area which is referred to as having been
7 occupied in relation to these activities is said to be six square
8 kilometres of the village Tanusevci? Is that correct?
9 A. Tanusevci, sir. Yes, indeed, this is the case.
10 Q. I'm grateful, and I apologise for the pronunciation.
11 Are aware, Mr. Bezruchenko, of any combat casualties which
12 occurred during the event in the village or in or around the village,
14 A. I think there were some casualties.
15 Q. Do you recall seeing it in any document; and if so, did you it
16 anywhere in your report?
17 A. If you perhaps could give the exact date, I could find the
18 appropriate sentence, paragraph in my report.
19 MR. METTRAUX: If we could back to Mr. Bezruchenko's report at
20 page 46, please, this is Exhibit P466.
21 Q. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, this would be page 46 of your report,
22 paragraph 169, please.
23 Is it correct that in your report, Mr. Bezruchenko, and unlike
24 what is the case in other circumstances where there were casualties, you
25 do not suggest that any casualties occurred during those clashes? Is it
2 A. Well, I may not have suggested this in this particular paragraph,
3 and, in fact, it is not really -- it was not really my intention, but I
4 think the issue of casualties was covered in greater detail in the section
5 5 of my report, where I speak about the chronology.
6 Q. Do you know what sort of weapons or weaponry the NLA was using at
7 the time in February of 2001 in the course of the clashes which were
8 taking place in the area of Tanusevci?
9 A. According to various reports, these were mostly small arms
10 weapons, like automatic rifles, but apparently also various machine-guns,
11 grenade launchers, and mortars.
12 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Bezruchenko, that at the time these activities,
13 these attacks of the NLA in the area around or near Tanusevci, were
14 characterised again as criminal or in some cases extremist or terrorist
15 attacks? Is it correct?
16 A. I think the Macedonian authorities were consistent in describing
17 these attack as terrorist acts throughout the conflict.
18 Q. And do you agree there was never any suggestions on the part of
19 the Macedonian authorities, less stay with February at that stage, that
20 there was no suggestion by the Macedonian authorities in February 2001
21 that what they were involved was an armed conflict? Do you agree with
23 A. Not really. Macedonian authorities perhaps did not really admit
24 this fact, but it does not necessarily mean that the conflict was not
25 going on. And, again, if you refer to the Macedonian military experts,
1 specifically, the book which you have already mentioned several times,
2 they share the view that the conflict actually began in February.
3 So, essentially, my views and the views of these experts concur
4 with minor differences.
5 Q. And the experts to whom you refer are these experts to whom you
6 did not talk to. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be shown Rule 65 ter
9 1D879, please.
10 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, this is a address of the president of the
11 government of the Republic of Macedonia, his Excellency Mr. Ljubco
12 Georgievski, and it relates to a summit that took place in Skopje on
13 February 22nd and 23rd of 2001.
14 I would like to draw your attention in particular to a paragraph
15 which starts with the word, "In the recent few weeks." Can you locate
16 that? This is the second paragraph.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And I will read it out to you: "In the recent few weeks, the
19 Republic of Macedonia has, unfortunately, been facing an aggression on the
20 part of Albanian extremist groups, seriously endangering its sovereignty
21 and territorial integrity, but also the peace stability and security of
22 the Balkans and Europe."
23 Can you see that?
24 A. Yes, I can.
25 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could turn, please, to the next
1 page, and if the registry could focus on the middle of the page which
2 starts with the words, "Ladies and Gentlemen," please.
3 Q. This is still the address of the prime minister, Mr. Bezruchenko,
4 and I will read it out for you. It says this: "At the current moment,
5 when south-eastern Europe is again facing another crisis being a
6 consequence of recent actions on the part of Albanian extremist terrorist
7 groups, bringing again to the surface the greater state projects in the
8 Balkans, even greater is the importance of all forms of regional
9 interlinkage and cooperation.
10 "I would like to stress that the Republic of Macedonia will
11 decisively deal with all forms of terrorism violence and extremism, and
12 will not allow the endangering of the basic values and principles upon
13 which our state lies."
14 Do you agree, Mr. Bezruchenko, that this statement of the prime
15 minister of the time, Mr. Ljubco Georgievski, pretty much reflects the
16 position of the Macedonian authorities at the time, that what they were
17 involved in is a fight against terrorism, violence, and extremism?
18 A. Exactly, sir. I don't really see any reason not to disagree with
20 Q. And as of the month of February of 2001, is it also correct that
21 you did not identify -- or I should put it differently to you.
22 Did you identify any statement made by any one state or state
23 authorities as of February 2001 that suggested that the events in
24 Macedonia amounted to an armed conflict?
25 A. "Amounted to an armed conflict," just for the record.
1 As of February 2001, no, not really.
2 Q. And let me ask you a few general questions about the state of the
3 so-called NLA at that point, in February 2001.
4 Are you aware of any documentary evidence that would suggest that
5 in February of 2001, NLA brigades had been set up and were operating in
6 February of 2001?
7 A. Not really. I think that perhaps the first NLA brigade to set up
8 was the NLA 113th Brigade -- sorry, 112th Brigade which was operating in
9 the area of Tetovo.
10 Q. And do you recall perhaps when that brigade was set up,
11 Mr. Bezruchenko?
12 A. I did not see any specific documents which would suggest any
13 specific date.
14 MR. METTRAUX: Would that be a convenient time, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE PARKER: We will adjourn now for the day and resume tomorrow
16 at 9.00.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
18 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 31st day of
19 October, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.