1 Monday, 5 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
7 The affirmation still applies.
8 Mr. Apostolski.
9 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Yes, I understand
11 MR. APOSTOLSKI: Thank you very much, Your Honours, good
13 WITNESS: VIKTOR BEZRUCHENKO [Resumed]
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Apostolski: [Continued]
15 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
16 A. [Previous translation continues]...
17 Q. You remember on Friday towards the end we discussed and reviewed
18 your report on the events in Ljuboten 10th to 12th August, 2001.
19 A. Yes, I remember that.
20 Q. In paragraph 511 of your report and until paragraph 538 you deal
21 with the events at Ljuboten on the 12th of August.
22 A. That's correct, sir.
23 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
24 his report, 5466 -- P466, page 146 in the English and 156 in the
25 Macedonian version, paragraph 522.
1 Q. You see it in front of you, Witness?
2 A. Yes, sir, I see that.
3 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we please zoom in on the
4 top of the page so that we see the paragraph 522, please.
5 Thank you.
6 Q. In paragraph 522, you say in the sentence begins in the third row,
7 the document states that the terrorists attacked Macedonian security
8 forces in the area of Ljubanci at 1540."
9 Namely, more than seven hours after Johan Tarculovski police unit
10 entered Ljuboten.
11 Could you tell me where did this information come from, that it
12 was a police unit of Johan Tarculovski?
13 A. There are numerous reports, specifically the reports of the army
14 of the Republic of Macedonia, which suggest that the units of men in
15 police uniforms under command of Mr. Tarculovski entered Ljuboten.
16 One of those reports is the report by Colonel Kopacev, I think,
17 and the other report like this is the report of Captain Kostadinov.
18 Q. However, is it correct that there is no document where it reads
19 that it was Johan Tarculovski's police unit and that they were under the
20 command of Johan Tarculovski, that is your conclusion?
21 A. Well, I think that a number of documents, mostly the Macedonian
22 army documents but also some documents of the Ministry of Interior,
23 indicate that this unit was indeed under command of Mr. Tarculovski, and
24 this unit arrived to the area of Ljuboten, at least in the evening of the
25 10th of August.
1 Q. But in your report, you mention the 12th of August.
2 A. This is the date where the unit actually entered Ljuboten and when
3 the fighting in the village and around the village occurred. But I think
4 the unit arrived in the area of Ljuboten and in fact overnighted in
5 Ljubanci, specifically in the rest house where a unit of the Macedonian
6 army was also located during the night between 10 and 11 August.
7 Q. But is it correct that the only document where it is mentioned
8 literally, and I quote, "Johan Tarculovski police unit" is the indictment
9 itself and your report?
10 A. Sir, I'm afraid I will have to refer you to specific documents.
11 If you just give me one minute.
12 Q. Just tell me which is the document and I will ask the registry to
13 display it.
14 A. Fine. Let's start with document P00303.
15 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
16 the Exhibit P00303.
17 Q. Do you see it in front of you?
18 A. Yes.
19 Can you scroll down the page little bit? Can you go to the next
20 page, please. Actually, let's start from this page first.
21 And let's read the very first sentence. "On 10 August 2001 at
22 2130 hours a group of around 40 persons came to the school in the village
23 of Ljubanci. The group was headed by the person Johan Tarculovski, head
24 of the agency Kometa."
25 Q. Could I stop you here.
1 A. Yes, please.
2 Q. Are you sure that Johan Tarculovski is the head of the Kometa
4 A. No, I'm not sure about that, and I don't think I mentioned this in
5 my report. But in fact --
6 Q. Where does it read here that it was a police unit of Johan
8 A. It says in the same paragraph in the middle it: "The persons were
9 wearing MVR uniforms."
10 MVR stands for Ministry of Internal Affairs, as you are probably
11 aware, sir.
12 Q. Where does it read in this section that it was a police unit of
13 Johan Tarculovski? Can you read that sentence?
14 A. Sir, I understand my analytical experience is sufficient enough to
15 link up certain things and make references to certain accents and facts
16 which are mentioned in one document. I don't really think that you really
17 have to refer to any direct sweeping statements like this. It is pretty
18 clear from this paragraph that, A, at this specific time, a group of
19 around 30 persons came to the school in Ljubanci; B, this group was under
20 command of Mr. Johan Tarculovski; C, these persons were wearing MVR
22 How would you interpret these three facts yourself?
23 Q. Could you tell me where did you see that it was a group under the
24 command of Johan Tarculovski? Could you quote this part of the report?
25 A. In the second line on this document clearly says the group was
1 headed by person Johan Tarculovski. If you go throughout this document in
2 its entirety you will see that it also contains a number of references to
3 Mr. Tarculovski. And these references, if analysed clearly, would suggest
4 that in fact he was the person who was in command of this group, as is
5 clear from the subsequent actions.
6 Q. Could you agree with me that in this document it is not mentioned,
7 I quote, that the group was under the command of Johan Tarculovski, and in
8 this document it is not mentioned that it was a police unit of Johan
10 A. Well, I'm afraid the difference here, or, rather, the implication
11 that are you make something purely semantic. In fact, if you read the
12 second sentence again in Macedonian language it says: "The group was led
13 by Johan Tarculovski."
14 I think perhaps if we really analyse the sentence in Macedonian,
15 it is even more clear to suggest that Mr. Johan Tarculovski was leading
16 this group. In other words, he was in command of this group.
17 Before we actually continue, could I kindly ask the usher to
18 adjust my chair, please.
19 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko --
20 A. [Previous translation continues] ... Sorry, I don't know how to do
22 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, I understand Macedonian language, so I would like
23 to follow up on this.
24 Being led in Macedonia can mean that one was at the front of the
25 group. Is that correct?
1 A. That's correct, sir, that could also mean this.
2 Q. So having led it does not necessarily mean that he was a commander
3 of the group.
4 A. My interpretation would be different. I think I have expressed my
5 view sufficiently enough, but if you would like to get some more
6 indications, we can just go through this document again.
7 In fact, in the same paragraph the following is mentioned.
8 Q. Is it correct that in this paragraph there is no word in the sense
9 of command?
10 MR. SAXON: Your Honour.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Saxon.
12 MR. SAXON: Can the witness please be permitted to finish his last
14 JUDGE PARKER: There's no problem about that. I'm sure
15 Mr. Apostolski was unaware the witness was continuing.
16 THE WITNESS: You will probably note that in the same paragraph
17 the following is stated: "These persons asked Major Mitre Despodov who is
18 commander of the 3rd Guardist Battalion to provide them with a place to
19 sleep in the mountain lodge in the village of Ljubanci. Major Despodov
20 asked them on whose orders they had come. They said that this is known to
21 the president and no one else should know about their stay. Major
22 Despodov asked them what their role is there, they answered that they have
23 the task to enter the village of Ljuboten and to conduct a search and
24 cleaning of the terrain."
25 As you can see, this paragraph doesn't really mention any other
1 person except Mr. Johan Tarculovski who might hypothetically be in the
2 command of this unit. But can you go to the next page.
3 Q. Can I just ask you here before we go on to the next page.
4 Is it correct that this paragraph you read does not mention that
5 Johan Tarculovski was the commander of his police unit, as you call it?
6 A. Well, as I mentioned, sir, my interpretation of this paragraph is
8 This is a military document and was written by a military person.
9 The more so, this person was in fact the officer for security and
10 counter-intelligence. I think when he was writing this document he meant
11 very well and he understood the precise science of command in the military
12 way, suggesting that "led" in Macedonian version of this document would
13 literally mean under command or commanded.
14 Q. But that is your conjecture. When I asked you about the
15 Macedonian language you answered that it was possible that he was at the
16 front of the group, that this could be the meaning of the word "led."
17 A. Well, I would rather say it is not my conjecture but, rather, my
18 analysis. But we are just discussing one page of this document only.
19 There are other pages as well.
20 Q. We could open the second page.
21 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we have the second page
22 opened, please.
23 Q. Maybe you could refer to the Sunday, 12th of August, because in
24 your report you speak about the 12th of August when the police units of
25 Johan Tarculovski was led by him.
1 If you could read the report that refers only about Sunday, so
2 that we can save time?
3 A. I would rather continue day by day, Mr. Apostolski, just for the
4 sake of completeness of the analysis.
5 I think in an exercise like this it is not really advisable to
6 drop anything which might actually otherwise be of importance.
7 Q. Very well.
8 A. May I draw your attention to the second paragraph of the document
9 in Macedonian, and the third paragraph of the same document in English.
10 The third paragraph in English says again: On Saturday, 11 August
11 2001, the above-listed persons headed by Johan Tarculovski conducted
12 reconnaissance in the village of Ljuboten and in the village they shot at
13 dogs that barked at them. Around 1700 hours to 1730 hours, the person
14 Johan Tarculovski asked Major Mitre Despodov to shoot at targets in the
15 village Ljuboten, which they previously had determined precisely together
16 with major Mitre Despodov. Major Despodov did not want to open fire upon
17 the above-mentioned targets without orders, requested approval from his
19 I think this is sufficiently clear from the paragraph which I have
20 just quoted though I have not really quoted it in full that, again, A --
21 Q. Could you just tell me -- okay, I apologise.
22 A. Thank you sir.
23 So it is sufficiently clear, I think, that, A, this group of
24 persons was headed by Mr. Tarculovski; B, his intention was to conduct
25 reconnaissance of the village of Ljuboten; and C, there was some kind of
1 arrangement or agreement to open fire at the targets in the village of
3 From the military point of view a reconnaissance presents an
4 important step towards carrying out a certain operation or an action. I
5 don't really think that such a reconnaissance could actually have been
6 conducted without a certain prearranged plan, which serves as an
7 indication that a certain action was supposed to take in the village of
8 Ljuboten in the next few hours.
9 Q. Is it correct that it is nowhere mentioned that it is a police
10 unit commanded by Johan Tarculovski. Here it is mentioned above-mentioned
11 persons led by Johan Tarculovski. "Led" in Macedonian language means to
12 be in front of everybody, not that somebody is the leader of the group.
13 A. I think this word has probably more than one meaning, sir, and it
14 is very easy in fact to establish just by looking up an appropriate
15 dictionary. But if we come again to the issue of who specifically was in
16 charge of this group, we can go to the next paragraph, which again
17 says: "On Sunday, 12 of August 2001, at 0430 hours, 0430 hours the person
18 Johan Tarculovski with the other persons (MVR reservists)," and we know
19 that MVR stands for Ministry of Interior, "started the action."
20 I don't know if this is a sufficient comment on my part, Your
22 Q. Could you please tell me where you see that it is stated that the
23 person Johan Tarculovski was leading or was commanding?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Would you please show me the place where?
1 A. Well, in this particular paragraph which I just quoted it
2 says, "the person Johan Tarculovski with the other persons." Well, I
3 think in this paragraph the special role of Mr. Tarculovski is clearly
4 visible by the mere fact that he is mentioned by person and no one else
6 Q. But this is your conclusion. We cannot see that in the document.
7 A. This is my analysis; this is not my conclusion.
8 Q. Very well. Thank you. It is your analysis.
9 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown 65 ter
10 2D404, page 2D05-0052, paragraph 68. That is the indictment against Mr.
11 Ljube Boskoski and Mr. Johan Tarculovski.
12 Q. The paragraph 68 says: "On Sunday, 11th of August 2001, the
13 presence of armed Albanian combatants was estimated to maximum 10 to 15
14 persons armed with automatic weaponry or at least one machine-gun. These
15 individuals were acting either alone or in some groups to oppose to the
16 advancing of the police units of Johan Tarculovski."
17 Is this the only place where you could read that this was a police
18 unit of Johan Tarculovski?
19 A. No, not really. I think the document which we have just discussed
20 sufficiently suggest that these men were dressed in police uniforms, which
21 is, for me, a sufficient basis to draw an assessment that they in fact
22 were the reserve policemen. In fact, this is what this document says.
23 Q. But did you check the facts that are written in this document we
24 just considered? For example, that Johan Tarculovski was the owner of the
25 agency Kometa. So as a start, I would ask that you question.
1 A. I remember a number of documents originating from the Ministry of
2 Interior of the Republic of Macedonia which seemed to clearly suggest that
3 there was an investigation at some point of time made in the ministry at
4 which Mr. Tarculovski was asked to answer a number of questions related to
5 the events in Ljuboten.
6 Q. Did you see a document, not a statement?
7 A. I have seen a document and I don't think it was a statement. I
8 think it was a document which was signed by Mr. Ramicevic, the liaison
9 officer of the Ministry of Interior of Republic of Macedonia to the
10 International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia.
11 This document clearly says that Mr. Johan Tarculovski was in
12 Ljuboten with a group of men whom he selected personally.
13 Q. And that is your conclusion in your report.
14 A. I'm sorry, sir, which conclusion you're referring to?
15 Q. From -- what you read from Mr. Besim Ramicevic, what you read in
16 the document.
17 A. I had no reasons to question the authenticity of the document nor
18 the facts mentioned in this document.
19 Q. Once again, I would like to ask you whether your report and the
20 indictment are the only two documents that I'm now quoting you where it is
21 mentioned a police unit commanded by Johan Tarculovski.
22 A. Not really.
23 Another document which seems to suggest exactly the same
24 information is document P00304.
25 Q. But not even in this document in any place it is said that we're
1 talking about the police unit commanded by Johan Tarculovski. Is this
3 A. Perhaps you may wish to take a look at this document, sir.
4 Q. I have seen this document, and I have not found anywhere in this
5 document that it is a police unit commanded by Johan Tarculovski.
6 Have you come across this? That's my question. And, once again,
7 I would like to quote, "police unit under the command of Johan
9 A. Speaking specifically of the document P00304, this document is
10 signed by Colonel Kapacov, the commander of the 1st Guardist Brigade.
11 This document seems to be based on numerous interviews of the military
12 officers of the Macedonian army, who were present in the area of Ljuboten
13 in the period between 10 and 12 August 2001.
14 This document is consistent with the document P00303, which we
15 have just discussed. And specifically answering your question, it, again,
16 speaks of a unit of men led by Mr. Johan Tarculovski and dressed in police
18 Q. And you suggest that this document states, I'm quoting, "police
19 unit under the command of Johan Tarculovski."
20 A. I'm saying that these two documents, at least these two documents,
21 not to mention the document I mentioned previously originating -- the one
22 originating from the Ministry of Interior, gives perhaps sufficient
23 grounds for any analyst to note certain consistencies as well as to draw
24 certain indications that seem to suggest that the group of men which
25 entered Ljuboten were indeed police reservists dressed in police uniforms.
1 I really doubt if anywhere else in the territory of Macedonia or
2 for that matter throughout the conflict there could develop a situation
3 where an unknown group of men dressed in police uniforms could take part
4 in any armed action. This could happen only in case this was a unit which
5 was somehow associated with the official bodies of state power. In this
6 sense, the Ministry of Interior.
7 Q. But this is also your conclusion. Is that correct?
8 A. My analysis, sir.
9 Q. Very well. Thank you. Now I would like to go to another topic
10 about the chronology of events which is an integral part of your report.
11 Mr. Bezruchenko, whether an attack on a passenger plane as a
12 terrorist attack.
13 A. Sir, I think we've had a sufficient discussion regarding the issue
14 of terrorism, and perhaps I would be repeating myself and I would say
15 again that the main distinction between terrorism and the war is that
16 terrorism essentially negates combat. Terrorism tends to attack targets
17 which cannot respond in kind; that is, they have no arms. In other words,
18 these are armed attacks against unarmed targets.
19 So if you're asking me whether an attack on a passenger plane is a
20 terrorist act or not, well, I would like to ask you a question first.
21 Which attack you are referring to and whether it is mentioned in my
23 Q. I'm asking you as a military expert to respond to my question
24 whether an attack on a passenger plane is a terrorist attack or not, in
1 A. In general that would be regarded as a terrorist attack.
2 Q. Whether -- could you tell me whether an attack on a passenger
3 train is a terrorist attack?
4 A. This would -- this could be the case, perhaps.
5 Q. Is a kidnapping of a journalist a terrorist attack or a terrorist
7 A. I don't know. It's very difficult to say. I would imagine it
8 would depend on the specific situation.
9 Q. In your opinion, Mr. Bezruchenko, the military conflict in
10 Macedonia in 2001 in January, you divide this conflict into two stages.
11 The first stage starts at January with an attack of NLA on the police
12 station in Tearce and ends on the 25th of March with the taking of the
13 Kale in Tetovo by the Macedonian security forces.
14 The second stage begins in May with the opening of the
15 Kumanovo-Lipkovo front and ends with the conclusion of the Ohrid Agreement
16 and the disarmament of the members of NLA. Is this correct?
17 A. Yes, this is my assessment.
18 Q. You identify the month of April as a relatively peaceful period.
19 A. I wouldn't say it was peaceful as such, because the armed attacks
20 in April continued. I think I indicated only that it was a period of
21 relative lull in the combat activities and general scope of the activities
22 was somewhat limited as compared to such months of heavy activities as
23 March, May, June, July, August, and February.
24 Q. I'm quoting your conclusion about the chronology of the armed
25 conflict in Macedonia.
1 A. Yes, this is my assessment.
2 Q. And here you say that -- that in April there was a relatively calm
3 period. So you identify this period as pretty calm. Is that correct?
4 A. As I just mentioned, sir, and perhaps I would have to repeat it
5 again just to make certain that there is no misunderstanding. The month
6 of April indeed saw a somewhat subsided activity as compared to the other
7 months when the war was going on in Macedonia. We should not really
8 forget the fact that one of the most bloody ambushes during the entire
9 conflict took place in April in which, if I recall correctly, about a
10 dozen of Macedonian soldiers and policemen were killed.
11 Q. Did you finish your answer?
12 A. But just to give you a detailed answer, in fact, I would probably
13 refer you to paragraphs 42 through 48 of my report, which speaks about the
14 activities in April 2001.
15 This ambush actually took place on the 28th of April.
16 Q. I would like us to review the chronology of events.
17 And if the witness can be shown his report, 566 [as interpreted],
18 page 104.
19 Could you please read aloud what you wrote about that month, about
20 the armed conflict, what was your conclusion.
21 A. You mean on this page in --
22 Q. Where it starts with: "The armed conflict."
23 A. Okay. "The armed conflict in Macedonia can be subdivided into two
24 phases. The first phase began in January 2001 with a NLA attack on the
25 police station in Tearce and ended in March with governments forces
1 occupation of Kale hill on the Tetovo front. There was a period of
2 relative lull in April. The second phase began in early May, with the
3 opening of the Kumanovo-Lipkovo front. The second phase ended with the
4 Ohrid Agreement and NLA disarmament and demobilisation."
5 Q. I said this because I mentioned previously about the month of
6 April. You concluded that the month was a relatively calm period.
7 Let us stick to January now. According to the chronology of the
8 armed conflict in January, you say that there was an armed conflict and
9 then you state, point 2: "As actions that held -- that happened on
10 January 22, one policeman was killed," and according to you it was a
11 military action.
12 Is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that's right.
14 Q. And under point 3, you say: "On January 26, there was a fire on a
15 passenger train that was travelling from Skopje to Kicevo in the area of
16 Zajas and Stragonmiste, north of Kicevo. The projectile of unidentified
17 calibre penetrated the windows of the train and nobody was injured."
18 Is this according to your opinion a military operation?
19 A. Apparently in this particular case this attack was not aimed at a
20 military target.
21 Q. But in the chronology you state this as a military operation as a
22 part of the chronology of the military armed conflict in Macedonia. Is
23 that correct?
24 A. This is indeed the chronology of the armed conflict in Macedonia.
25 Since it addresses the events of military nature, various actions combats,
1 operations, attacks, manoeuvres, deployments and so on. But compiling
2 this chronology of course I could not really avoid certain acts of
3 attendant violence, including the plight of the civilians and the issue of
4 the refugees and displaced persons. In fact, in this consideration I was
5 guided by similar chronologies which have been compiled by various
6 international agencies covering the wars in Croatia and Bosnia. This is
7 exactly the same analogy here.
8 Q. Is it correct that in this case it was a terrorist attack on a
10 A. Yes, it could be. If this was a civilian train, this could be a
11 terrorist attack.
12 Q. In your report, it is stated that it was a passenger train. So
13 now could you agree with me that regarding the month of January, you have
14 specified two events: One is a military attack in your opinion, and that
15 is the attack on the terrorist on --
16 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
18 Q. -- on the police station in Tearce and the second event is the
19 attack on the passenger train on the 26th of January, and you stated now
20 that it has been a terrorist act, considering that in January it was only
21 those two events that you had identified, how did you ascertain that the
22 NLA was a military force in January and it was not a terrorist
24 A. Answering your question, I would like to point out the following.
25 First of all, the military activities in January were not limited to
1 attacks by the NLA only, but also included the activities by the
2 Macedonian security forces. As you see, on January 30th, the spokesperson
3 of the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Trendafilov, stated that armed forces had
4 been increased at check-points and watch towers along the border with
5 Serbia and Kosovo. A number of other documents also suggest that there
6 was a considerable build-up of forces of the NLA on the border between
7 Kosovo and Macedonia. This is an important military activity which
8 suggests a period of preparation for major activities.
9 Of course, in my analysis I could not overlook these activities,
10 though this is not something which would -- could be regarded as a direct
11 military attack.
12 Secondly, as you rightly mentioned, in paragraph 2 I speak about
13 the NLA attack at the police station in the village of Tearce. This was
14 the first serious attack by the NLA at what can be described as a
15 legitimate target, since this was a police station. This means -- or,
16 rather, this leads me to believe that the armed conflict that is in terms
17 of direct military confrontation began in January 2001.
18 For this reason, it doesn't really matter how many other attacks
19 actually occurred during this month.
20 Q. But wouldn't your assertion be partial in January, considering
21 that there was one terrorist and one military action, as you say yourself,
22 to say that in January the uprising of the NLA took place in Macedonia?
23 A. I'm afraid I don't quite see what you mean, sir. For the reasons
24 which I have just explained, it is pretty clear that the beginning of the
25 conflict can actually be traced to January. There were numerous
1 indications that this conflict was about to break out. These indications
2 were provided by the Macedonian intelligence and security services,
3 clearly indicating that there were numerous groups crossing the border
4 from Kosovo into Macedonia. These groups were armed, these groups were
5 trained and they were equipped for not picking mushrooms, if I can say so,
6 but for actual fighting. This was pretty serious situation and this
7 indeed indicated the beginning on the conflict.
8 Coming back to the issue of terrorism which you have just raised
9 again, I would like to reiterate that throughout my report the methodology
10 which I was guided by was to separate the issue of terrorism from the
11 issue of combat.
12 Q. Witness, I will ask you to provide brief answers in the interest
13 of time, if that is possible for to you do it.
14 So could we please now look at the second page of the document.
15 This is your chronological overview of the month of February.
16 A. Yes, sir, I can see that.
17 Q. You say here regarding the month of February that the military
18 conflict was transferred to the northern part of the country to the border
19 with Tanusevci, border with Kosovo, SFRY and the increased presence of
20 forces was noted towards middle of February and severe battles with --
21 between the Macedonian force and the [indiscernible] started towards the
22 end of the month -- towards the middle of the month.
23 In paragraph 5 you say on February 16 an armed group belonging to
24 the NLA kidnapped a team of journalists from the A1 television and then
25 you say that the NLA searched journalists and their vehicles and seized
1 their equipment and then set them free.
2 In your opinion, was there a military operation of the NLA on the
3 16th of February and please provide a brief answer, if you can.
4 A. Well, the fact that the NLA actually captured the village of
5 Tanusevci was a military operation. I think I have already explained
6 previously that Tanusevci was regarded as a particularly important
7 location on the border because it served, apparently, for many years as a
8 major transit point for smuggling weapons and ammunition and --
9 Q. Witness, could you please answer my question directly. Was the
10 kidnapping of journalists of a TV station whereby their vehicles and
11 equipment were confiscated a military operation, in your opinion?
12 A. This is what I'm saying, sir. This particular operation, that is,
13 taking the journalists hostage as well as taking away their equipment, was
14 certainly not a military operation. More so, the Macedonian public
15 actually learned about the presence of the NLA in the Macedonian territory
16 precisely because of this very incident.
17 Q. So before that, the NLA existed but nobody was aware that it
18 existed because the public learned about this from the journalists?
19 A. I think this was the overriding perception, well, at least in the
20 broad Macedonian public.
21 Q. Further on you state, in paragraph 8 that armed clashes between
22 the NLA and Macedonian security forces occurred on February 26, 27 and 28
23 in and around Tanusevci.
24 In your opinion, were these two actions, one kidnapping of a team
25 of journalists and the other, armed clashes towards the end of the month
1 in Tanusevci, is this a sufficient proof of the existence of an uprising
2 in the Republic of Macedonia by the NLA? And the existence of an armed
3 conflict in Macedonia in February 2001.
4 A. I think that I will agree with you, in a sense, that February saw
5 the further escalation of the conflict which actually began in January.
6 You mentioned -- or, rather, you asked if the kidnapping of a team
7 of journalists and armed conflicts or armed clashes towards the end of the
8 month were sufficient proof of the existence of an uprising. Well, my
9 answer would be that in February there were sufficient indications to
10 suggest that there was a very serious danger of full-scale uprising as
11 well as the escalation of violence. Well, whether the fact of taking the
12 journalists is actually linked in any way to the armed fighting in the
13 village of Tanusevci is very difficult to say. They simply probably found
14 themselves there at the wrong time and in the wrong place.
15 Q. Is it correct that in Tanusevci, in February, 26, 27 and the 28th,
16 no member of the Macedonian security force was killed??
17 A. I'm not certain if anyone was killed on these three specific days
18 in Tanusevci. I think there were some casualties among the NLA, though.
19 And I think the first casualties that the Macedonian security forces
20 actually suffered were as early as January while the attack on Tearce.
21 Q. But in February no member of the Macedonian security forces was
23 A. As far as I can see from my chronology, apparently not.
24 Q. So your assertion that in February there were heavy battles
25 between the NLA and the Macedonian security forces would not be correct,
1 considering the fact that there were no killed members of the Macedonian
2 security forces.
3 A. Well, in fact, a list of the combat casualties of the Macedonian
4 army and police is provided by the "White Book", which was released by the
5 Macedonian Ministry of Interior. But I don't think that it provides the
6 full list, since, as I mentioned previously, the actual number of
7 casualties, as is clear from the report of the Ministry of Interior, is
8 almost 150 men higher than the official number. 150 men higher as the
9 official number provided by the "White Book".
10 So I would assume in fact that perhaps were there some casualties
11 suffered by the Macedonian security forces but they were simply not made
13 Q. And does it also hold true regarding the action in Ljuboten, in
14 August 2001, because you say that you haven't seen in any document that a
15 member of Macedonian security forces was killed or injured?
16 A. Well, of course that could be a possibility as well and this is
17 absolutely correct.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. [Previous translation continues] ... Seen any document suggesting
20 that someone was killed in Macedonia -- I mean in Ljuboten, among the
21 security forces.
22 Q. And could we look at the following page, dealing the month of
24 You say in your conclusion -- your conclusion regarding March, "At
25 the beginning of March the armed conflict continued and significantly
1 escalated in the area around the village of Tanusevci and the region of
2 Skopska Crna Gora with increased number of clashes between the NLA and the
3 Macedonian security forces. The KFOR increased the attempts to patrol the
4 Kosovo side of the border and detained several suspected members of the
6 Could you tell me why would KFOR detain NLA members, if that was a
7 legal, legitimate armed group and fighters for human rights, if they were
9 A. Mr. Apostolski, I think I never said in my report, and for that
10 matter elsewhere, throughout my testimony, that I considered the NLA a
11 legal armed group. If I did so, please let me know which particular
12 portion of the report I mentioned this.
13 Q. But why would the KFOR arrest them, in your opinion?
14 A. The government of Macedonia was cooperating with the NATO forces
15 in its territory which were in fact were a part of KFOR contingent and
16 there were a number of agreements made between the government and NATO to
17 the effect to insulate the border from various groups which were trying to
18 cross it from Kosovo into Macedonia and from Macedonia into Kosovo. This
19 was important activity aimed at curbing the armed violence in Macedonia.
20 Q. So the KFOR was not supporting the activities of the NLA in any
22 A. I don't think we can say that KFOR was supporting the activities
23 on the NLA. That would be entirely wrong.
24 Q. I would like to ask you now about some different issues. As a
25 military expert, particularly since you come from the former Soviet Union
1 and the Warsaw Pact, you are aware of the rocket launcher Strela, arrow 2?
2 A. Yes, of course I know this system.
3 Q. And within the Warsaw Pact, Strela, arrow, 2M were used?
4 A. Well, this is in fact a portable [Realtime transcript read in
5 error "potable"] shoulder-launched missile with an infrared seeker which
6 is homing on the nozzle of a flying aircraft. This model is pretty common
7 in many countries of the world, including former Yugoslavia, despite the
8 fact that Yugoslavia was never a member of the Warsaw Pact.
9 It is true that this missile was actually used in the conflict in
11 Q. And the rocket arrow 2M was moving towards the reflection from
12 the --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat his quote.
14 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
15 Q. It is not in the transcript.
16 Could you please confirm this?
17 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly ask the counsel to
18 repeat his question because the interpreters could not follow.
19 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Better results are attained in the fight against helicopters. Is
21 that correct?
22 A. Before we actually proceed further, I would like to correct the
23 script, specifically line 24/1. I think this particular paragraph should
24 read as follows: There is in fact a portable, p-o-r-t-a-b-l-e, not
25 potable, portable shoulder-launched missile with infrared seeker,
1 s-e-e-k-e-r, which is homing on the nozzle of flying aircraft.
2 Now coming back to your question, whether better results are
3 obtained in the fight against helicopters. Well, I wouldn't really say
4 so. Actually this depends on a specific situation and how this missile is
5 used. It depends on the flight of the -- direction of the flight of the
6 aircraft, the weather, whether it is day-time or night-time, the position
7 of the sun, and some other things. But generally speaking it is of course
8 easier to shoot down a slow flying helicopter than a fast jet.
9 Q. And a parallel to Strela 2 is the light portable rocket launcher
10 system, Stinger: Is that correct?
11 A. That's right. This is in fact --
12 Q. In page 6502 of the transcript, 5 and 6, you say that there were
13 similar in their design, if you recall that?
14 A. Not necessarily in design by in principle operation. I think both
15 of them are based on the principle of homing on the source of heat
16 radiation of a flying aircraft.
17 Q. I would say it was the reflection of the aircraft. Could you
18 agree with me?
19 A. Which reflection do you mean? If you mean the radar reflection,
20 this is something else. For this purpose there would be an entirely
21 different principle applied, the principle of radar guidance. This is the
22 self-guided home seeker equipped missile.
23 Q. No, no. Both rockets, Strela 2 and the Stinger, have the same
24 fire-power. Is that correct?
25 A. Essentially they belong to the same class. This is the class of
1 portable shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.
2 Q. Is it correct that they have the same firing power?
3 A. What do you actually mean by "firing power"? Do you mean --
4 Q. From a military aspect, the same firing power, do they have that?
5 A. If you mean the range, they probably would have about the same
6 range. If you mean the payload, that is the weight of the warhead, well,
7 I'm not sure about these details.
8 Q. Do they have the same payload of explosive or similar?
9 A. I think approximately the same. Perhaps Stinger would have a
10 little bit more.
11 Q. Very well. Thank you.
12 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, perhaps this is the
13 convenient time for the break? And I will then have -- I apologise, there
14 is still time. I apologise.
15 Q. Do you remember that you testified about the trainings inside the
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 Q. Do you recall that you suggested that such training was the
19 essential part of the efficient functioning of the army formation, the
20 page 6503 of the transcript?
21 A. Excuse me, sir, which army you are referring to?
22 Q. Generally speaking, any army formation and specifically about the
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you recall that you saw a document where the number of the
1 alleged training camps of the NLA was mentioned.
2 For the transcript exhibit P485, page 13.
3 A. It would be difficult for me, sir, at this point to recall which
4 specific document you meant.
5 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] If the witness could be shown
6 P485, page 13. Page 13 in English version. Very well.
7 Q. Do you recognise this document?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Okay. Thank you.
10 Have you seen a documented evidence about any of these alleged
11 camps for training?
12 A. You mean probably if I have seen any other document which would
13 suggest corroboration of the existence of these training camps?
14 Q. No. Have you seen any documented evidence about any of these
15 camps --
16 A. Apart --
17 Q. -- that would confirm the existence of these training camps in
18 Pescopeja in Albania, for example?
19 A. Well, in fact, apart from this document, I have seen other
20 documents originating from the directorate for security and
21 counter-intelligence of the Macedonian Ministry of Interior, which appears
22 to be broadly consistent with this document in addressing this issue. It
23 also mentions a number of localities both in Macedonia and out of
24 Macedonia which were apparently used by the NLA as training facilities.
25 Q. But have you seen any evidence that comes from these camps? Just
1 reply with yes or no.
2 A. Evidence coming from these camps?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. No.
5 Q. Thank you. Have you seen any record of trainees that attended
6 these camps or this kind of training?
7 A. No, I don't think I have seen any list of personnel which has
8 taken any training in these camps.
9 Q. Have you seen any evidence about instructors that should -- that
10 were leading this training?
11 A. I think I remember some documents coming from the Ministry of
12 Interior as well as from the Ministry of Defence suggesting some names of
13 instructors who were running training in some of those camps. But I don't
14 think I remember those names.
15 Q. Have you seen any manuals about this kind of training?
16 A. No.
17 Q. So the fact that somebody would assert that this training happened
18 was enough for you to believe that it was the case?
19 A. I think it was not just somebody who was asserting that. In this
20 specific case, I was dealing with one of the most fundamental documents on
21 the NLA and one of the most important ones which had been prepared by the
22 intelligence sector of the Ministry of Defence, and I had no reasons to
23 doubt this document, because I believe the Macedonian Ministry of Defence
24 sector of intelligence employs sufficiently qualified personnel in these
25 matters to make these kinds of analysis.
1 Q. The documents that come, as you say, from Albanian sources, you
2 have not seen. Is that correct?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Did I understand correctly your testimony, that -- that NLA has
5 established a disciplinary system on its level. Is that correct?
6 A. I don't really think that I said so.
7 Q. Let me rephrase the question.
8 Last week you said that there was a lot of crimes committed during
9 the crisis. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. So I assume this would imply crimes committed by NLA. Is that
13 A. Yes. But as I mentioned previously, the criminality was not
14 really specifically the subject of my report.
15 In any war, criminality is a significant and attendant factor,
16 suffice it to mention the history of the Second World War, for instance,
17 in many countries of occupied Europe.
18 Q. Do you know about any prison or detention unit that NLA had in
20 A. No. I didn't come across any information suggesting that there
21 could be a prison or a detention unit that the NLA had.
22 Q. From the materials that you reviewed before you prepared your
23 report, had you seen any document that refers about their military police
24 and whether they arrested anybody for violation of discipline or for
25 committing a crime?
1 A. I don't remember seeing any document suggesting that somebody was
2 arrested. I --
3 Q. Let me continue. Do you know about any court mechanism that had
4 the power to deal with crimes and breaching of discipline? Any judicial
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter's correction.
7 A. In the NLA? No, I don't.
8 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Do you know about any documented evidence that anybody was
10 appointed by NLA to be responsible for committed crimes by NLA?
11 A. I don't quite understand your question, sir. What do you exactly
12 mean by saying "appointed"?
13 Q. To be referred to a person as a perpetrator of a crime.
14 A. No, I don't think so.
15 Q. Have you seen any document that a person was designated to
16 prosecute perpetrators of crime in NLA?
17 A. Do you mean specifically a person within the NLA?
18 Q. Yes, person from NLA.
19 A. No, I don't. I didn't, I mean.
20 Q. Do you know about any procedures that have been initiated in
21 structures of NLA against any of their members for committing a crime?
22 A. I didn't come across any documents which would suggest these kind
23 of procedures.
24 Q. Have you seen an order or other document that was signed by Gzim
25 Ostreni before 2001. Before May 2001.
1 A. I don't think so. But if you are specifically referring to the
2 issue of discipline, I think I mentioned already in my previous testimony
3 that I saw at least one document which was actually dated June 2001 and
4 which was signed by --
5 Q. I apologise, I meant generally. I moved to another topic. I
6 meant whether generally you have seen a document signed by Gzim Ostreni
7 before May 2001.
8 One more question. Have you seen an order by which Gzim Ostreni
9 was appointed head of the -- or Chief of General Staff of the so-called
11 A. No, I haven't.
12 Q. Thank you very much, Witness.
13 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
14 questions. I think it is time for a break, so I fulfilled my promise.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Apostolski.
16 We will adjourn now and resume at a quarter past.
17 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 4.18 p.m.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
20 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Re-examination by Mr. Saxon:
22 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, on Friday, the 19th of October, starting at about
23 page 6556 of the transcript, my colleague Mr. Mettraux asked you about the
24 term operational control.
25 MR. SAXON: Could we please show the witness what is 65 ter 1D928,
2 Q. As page 6561 of the transcript, in response to Mr. Mettraux's
3 question whether -- well, I'll wait for the document to come up.
4 This is the Department of Defence of the United States Dictionary
5 of Military and Associated Terms and at page 6561 of the transcript my
6 colleague asked you whether you refer to this document in your amended
7 expert report and you said: "If you specifically mean, sir, whether I
8 quote this particular document in my report, whether it is mentioned in
9 any of the footnotes, the answer, to the best of my knowledge, is no."
10 Do you recall that exchange?
11 A. Yes, I do, sir.
12 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness what is the top of page
13 2 of Exhibit P00466, Mr. Bezruchenko's amended expert report. And can we
14 focus on the very top paragraph, please. And at the very top, there's a
15 sentence that says: "Insurgency is commonly defined as 'an organised
16 movement aimed at the overthrow of the constituted government through
17 subversion an armed conflict.'"
18 Do you see that sir?
19 A. Yes, I do, sir.
20 Q. And then we see a footnote 2 and if we could focus now on what is
21 footnote 2 towards the bottom of the page.
22 Mr. Bezruchenko, footnote 2 refers us to the Dictionary of
23 Military Terms, US Department of Defence, do you see that.
24 A. Yes, I do, sir.
25 Q. Is it still correct that you did not cite to 65 ter 1D928, the
1 document that was shown to you by my colleague?
2 A. No, it's not, sir. I apologise, I probably misspoke or
3 misunderstood the question or perhaps I was misguided by the fact that I
4 was shown the electronic version of the document, but of course said it in
5 my report.
6 Q. Okay.
7 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness -- can we please turn
8 to what is page 390 of this glossary. It has ERN number -- excuse me. I
9 am going much too quickly. If we could turn back, please, to what is 65
10 ter number 1D928 and if we could turn to what is -- that is the correct
11 page. Thank you very much. And at the bottom of that page we see the
12 word "operation." If we could focus on the bottom of the English page,
14 And you see, Mr. Bezruchenko, we see two definitions provided for
15 the term "operation" in a military sense. The first one is "a military
16 action or the carrying out of a strategic, operational, tactical, service,
17 training or administrative military mission."
18 Are you following me?
19 A. Yes, I am, sir.
20 Q. And the second definition says this: "The process of carrying on
21 combat, including movement, supply, attack, defence, and manoeuvres needed
22 to gain the objectives of any battle or campaign."
23 Have you been following me, please?
24 A. Yes, sir.
25 MR. SAXON: Could we turn, please, to the next page of this
1 document, it would be page 391 of this glossary. And we see here the
2 definition of operational control. Actually if we could focus on the
3 bottom of the page. Thank you so much.
4 Q. And this definition, this paragraph has been discussed with you
5 at length. I'm not going to read the entire paragraph to you. But in the
6 middle there's a sentence and it says: "Operational control includes
7 authoritative direction over all aspects of military operations and joint
8 training necessary to accomplish missions assigned to the command."
9 Do you see that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Can we please show the witness what is Exhibit 1D211, please.
12 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, I apologise, simply for the record,
13 the document that Mr. Saxon has shown to the witness is admitted as
14 Exhibit 1D252.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 MR. SAXON: I apologise for giving the wrong number.
17 Q. This is an investigator's note compiled by a witness in this case,
18 Mr. Howard Tucker. Can we turn to the last page, please. It's from a
19 meeting, 1300 hours in November, a Sunday in November, 2001, on the 10th
20 of November.
21 And you see there is a sentence in the middle of the page,
22 Mr. Bezruchenko, beginning with the word: "However."
23 Do you see that?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. It says this: "However, Mr. Boskoski added some comments
1 concerning the security issues involving Tetovo and stated that he would
2 send armoured vehicles and suitably protected police into Tetovo to
3 counter the violence (shooting incidents)."
4 Do you see that?
5 A. Yes, I can see that.
6 Q. Would the deployment of officers like this and vehicles fall
7 within the scope of operational control?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. At page 69 --
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
11 MR. METTRAUX: I'm grateful, Your Honour.
12 I have not objected so that the witness could give his evidence on
13 that point. But this is not a document and not an issue which we have
14 dealt with at all in relation to this particular document or the
15 particular matters which we're to deal with with the witness. I mean, the
16 witness is not a fact witness.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Saxon.
18 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I believe there were several sessions of
19 cross-examination devoted to the concept of operational control. I'm
20 simply trying to clarify this concept and how it applies to the parties
21 involved in this case.
22 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber sees to reason to interfere with the
23 course of questioning, Mr. Saxon.
24 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, at page 6945 of the transcript my colleague
1 Mr. Mettraux asked you whether the mobilisation of troops would be
2 relevant to the concept of operational control. Do you recall that?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I'd like to ask you: Would a superior's power to demobilise
5 troops also fall within the scope of operational control?
6 A. Yes, sir, definitely.
7 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness Exhibit 400 -- excuse
8 me, Exhibit P402, please. And this would be from the section ERN
9 N000-9607 to N000-9719 of the English translation, and would be page 36
10 within that range. This is the book published by Mr. Boskoski titled My
11 Battle for Macedonia. And if we could focus perhaps on the second -- the
12 lower half of this page, please.
13 Q. And the earlier paragraphs talk about the demonstrations after the
14 withdrawal of the NLA from the area of Aracinovo. And then we see a
15 paragraph near the bottom of the page, Mr. Bezruchenko, it begins with the
16 phrase: "Two days later."
17 Do you see that?
18 A. Yes, I see that.
19 Q. And Mr. Boskoski writes this: "Two days later on 29 June 2001, I
20 announced demobilisation of the police reserve unit and their withdrawal
21 from the areas around Skopje."
22 Do you see that?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Would the power to withdraw troops from an area also fall within
25 the concept of operational control?
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 Q. At pages 6574 to 6576 on the 19th of October, 2007, my colleague
3 asked you several questions about the role and the functions of the
4 headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior that was known as Ramno. Do
5 you remember that exchange?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, on page 6575, you explained that while you
8 did not review any orders specifically coming from the Ramno headquarters,
9 you said you believe that this headquarters had a role in planning and
10 carrying out operations. Do you recall that?
11 A. That's right, sir.
12 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness what is Exhibit
13 P00393. It is the annual report of the Ministry of Interior for 2001.
14 First if you can simply show the title page, please, in English.
15 Q. We see, Mr. Bezruchenko, it says "Republic of Macedonia, Ministry
16 of Interior," and below that it says "official secret, highly
18 Do you see that?
19 A. Yes, I can.
20 Q. And is that why you refer to this report I believe on Friday as a
21 secret report, may have been Thursday.
22 A. That's right. It has been classified as official secret.
23 Q. Okay.
24 MR. SAXON: Can we please turn to the ERN range N00-- for the
25 English translation N005-0691 to N005-0699 to the first page of that
1 range. And this will be page 73 of this report in the Macedonian version.
2 And I'd like to focus, please, if we can on the third full
4 Q. Do you see that paragraph, Mr. Bezruchenko, beginning with the
5 phrase: "Because of further deterioration," do you see that, "of the
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. And further down, we see on the 3rd of March, we see that the
9 active and reserve police force was mobilised and raised to the highest
10 level of combat mobility and readiness. And then we see in English a long
11 sentence that says the following: "At the same time, because organised
12 tactical and technical measures and actions had been undertaken for the
13 discovery and preventing of terrorist and other types of criminal
14 activities directed towards destabilizing the security situation in the
15 Republic of Macedonia, an operation was initiated and an operational
16 headquarters was established."
17 Do you see that, Mr. Bezruchenko?
18 A. Yes, I see that.
19 MR. SAXON: Could we turn, please, to what is Exhibit - and I hope
20 I give the right number this time - 1D12.
21 No, this is not the right number. I'm looking for the decision of
22 7 March 2001, the decision to form the headquarters of Operative Action
24 Thank you so much.
25 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, this was the decision dated just four days after
1 the large mobilisation of active and reserve police forces that we read
2 about a moment ago. It was issued by Mr. Boskoski's predecessor as the
3 minister of the interior and if we could focus, please on the word
4 "decision" in paragraph 1. It would be a bit easier to read if we could
5 highlight that.
6 It says: "Decision to form the headquarters of the operative
7 action Ramno."
8 And then paragraph 1 says the following: "In order to organise,
9 manage, coordinate and direct the measures and activities in connection
10 with the operative action Ramno, headquarters are formed in the following
11 composition," and then we see the members of that headquarters.
12 Have you been following me, Mr. Bezruchenko?
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. Can we now please show the witness what is exhibit P00381.
15 I see my colleague is on his feet.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
17 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, simply for the transcript we believe
18 that the previous document or the document that is still on the screen is
20 MR. SAXON: I'm grateful to Mr. Mettraux.
21 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, exhibit P00381 is a decision dated the 29th of
22 May, 2001, and it reads similarly to the decision that we just looked at.
23 But, again, if we could focus our minds on the word "decision" through the
24 first paragraph. It says this: "Decision to form the headquarters of
25 operative action Ramno". And paragraph one it says: "In order to
1 organise, manage, coordinate, and direct the measures and activities in
2 connection with the operative action Ramno, headquarters are formed in the
3 following composition," and we see that then Minister Boskoski has changed
4 the composition of the members of the headquarters a bit.
5 Mr. Bezruchenko, from a military perspective, what significance,
6 if anything, do you see in the use of the verb "direct" in these
8 A. This clearly serves as indication that the headquarters of the
9 operative action Ramno was actually giving powers to organise, deploy and
10 control the forces of the Ministry of Interior in operational sense.
11 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness what -- can we show the
12 witness Exhibit P34, please. And I'm just -- if we look at your last
13 response in the transcript, Mr. Bezruchenko, it says, "the headquarters of
14 operative action Ramno was actually giving powers to organise," et
15 cetera. Did you say giving or given?
16 A. Let me say what I said precisely again, please. This clearly
17 serves as an indication that the headquarters of the operative action
18 Ramno was actually given powers to organise, deploy and control the forces
19 of the Ministry of Interior in operational sense.
20 Q. All right. Mr. Bezruchenko, if you take a look at what is Exhibit
21 P34, this is an order for performing service. It's dated the 12th of
22 August, 2001, comes from the police station Mirkovci. Do you see that?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. It's an order given to several individuals and they're told in
25 part 1 to control certain road segments.
1 MR. SAXON: And -- I'm sorry, Your Honours. Please bear with me
2 for a moment.
3 This is not the document that I wish to show at this time. I will
4 move on.
5 I will move on, Your Honours.
6 Can we please show the witness what is Rule 65 ter, Prosecution's
7 Rule 65 ter 260, please.
8 Your Honours, this was a document that was seized during a suspect
9 interview from Goran Mitevski who, in 2001, was the head or the director
10 of the public security bureau of the Ministry of Interior. And it is
11 dated 14th August 2001, it's from the Cair department of internal affairs,
12 Skopje and it's entitled "Report on recorded events and measures
13 undertaken regarding the Ramno/operative action."
14 And if we can turn to the bottom of the second page, please,
15 there's one more page. There's a description of some events of that day
16 on the first page.
17 And after a further description about an attempt to make an
18 on-site investigation in the village of Ljuboten, the last paragraph, we
19 see the following: "On 14 August 2001 at 1530 hours, pursuant to the
20 Ramno operative action, four persons, citizens of the Republic of
21 Macedonia, were detained by the Stankovec check-point. They are the
22 following," and then some names are given.
23 Do you see that, Mr. Bezruchenko?
24 A. Yes, I see that.
25 Q. What significance, if anything, do you read from that
1 phrase "pursuant to the Ramno operative action"?
2 A. My reading of this paragraph would be that, A, the operative
3 action Ramno was going on as of 14 August 2001; and, B, that those
4 individuals detained at the Stankovec check-point were in fact detained in
5 the course of this operation.
6 Q. Would this paragraph indicate that the person -- at least the
7 person who wrote this -- wrote this document was aware of some kind of
8 instructions pursuant to the operative action?
9 A. Yes. I agree with your assumption, that would be indeed the case.
10 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would seek to tender this document.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
12 MR. METTRAUX: Well, Your Honour we object on a number of basis.
13 The main being that the truth or reliability of anything contained
14 in that document has not been established. The authenticity relies on
15 Mr. Saxon's statement to the effect that the document came from
16 Mr. Mitevski. We believe that to the extent that there was any comment
17 that could be obtained or any evidence that could be drawn from the
18 witness in relation to that document it's been properly put to the witness
19 and Mr. Bezruchenko has given his opinion in relation to this particular
21 We don't know what the author of that document meant by "pursuant
22 to Ramno operative action." Mr. Bezruchenko has given an opinion.
23 However, it is, I think, limited to that. Now the effort by the
24 Prosecution to tender this document would require a person capable of
25 giving evidence, as I mentioned, about the truth of the content, the
1 reliability of the document, for instance, and in particular in relation
2 it that sentence what was meant "pursuant to Ramno operative action."
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Saxon.
4 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, there have been many, many documents
5 admitted in this case through witnesses who did not write the document,
6 had never seen the particular document before but were able to comment on
7 some portion of the document. And so on its face, certainly, this
8 document is similar to other documents that have been admitted by this
9 Chamber, particularly in relation to the events of mid-August, around the
10 village of Ljuboten. And therefore we see that there has at least been a
11 sufficient level of authenticity and relevance for the admission of this
12 document. How much weight the Chamber would choose to give this document
13 at the end of the case, obviously that is another matter.
14 JUDGE PARKER: What is it that the Prosecution would seek to get
15 from the document?
16 MR. SAXON: That there -- that police officers in mid-August 2001
17 were working according to some kind of -- to use the phrase of the
18 document "operative action" or plan and were carrying out tasks pursuant
19 to that.
20 JUDGE PARKER: And you accept that the only witness who has spoken
21 about that is the present witness.
22 MR. SAXON: To the best of my knowledge, yes. I would have to do
23 a transcript search to find others.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE PARKER: The document will be received, Mr. Saxon.
1 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honours.
2 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P490, Your Honours.
3 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness, please, what is Exhibit
5 Q. Again, Mr. Bezruchenko, this document comes from the internal
6 affairs department of Cair. It's dated the 12th of August, 2001. And
7 it's titled "Report on incidents recorded and measures undertaken under OA
8 Ramno." Do you see that?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. And below that there's description of a couple of events.
11 From a military perspective, what significance, if anything, do
12 you draw from this phrase "measures undertaken under OA Ramno"?
13 A. This means for me a number of things. First of all it means that
14 the signatory of this document was aware of the general plan and actions
15 as stipulated by operation action Ramno which probably included a number
16 of tasks and missions which were harmonized and coordinated both in space
17 and in time.
18 This would also mean that the actions as described in this report
19 would fall into the category of tasks and missions pursuant to this
20 operational action. In other words, that would mean that the actions
21 undertaken were undertaken in agreement with the plan of operation Ramno.
22 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness what is Prosecution 65 ter
23 number 10 -- I see my colleague is on his feet.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I was waiting for you to finish your sentence.
25 Yes, Mr. Mettraux.
1 MR. METTRAUX: I apologise for interrupting the sentence.
2 Your Honour, we would likely like to note it for the record both
3 in relation to this document and the previous document that the
4 Prosecution failed to put that material and that theory, to call it that,
5 of an operation Ramno and the evidence that is now being led from any
6 witness, factual witness who would have been capable of giving this
7 evidence including from individuals who were related to this particular
8 so-called operative action Ramno.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
10 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness, please, 65 ter 1032.
11 Prosecution 65 ter 1032.
12 Q. This is a document from police station Cair, Mr. Bezruchenko. And
13 it describes time of -- it's an order to carry out a task on the 11th of
14 August, 2001 from 0800 hours to 2000 hours on the same day. And it's an
15 order to someone named Zoran Stojanovski and some other persons whose
16 names are illegible and the concrete tasks are this: Between space and
17 space "to be posted at the check-point and undertake full measures and
18 activities in relation to operative action Ramno, checking identities,
19 checking and searching individuals, vehicles and luggage."
20 Do you see that?
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. From a military perspective, what significance, if anything, do
23 you see in this language "and undertake full measures and activities in
24 relation to operative action Ramno," and the particular tasks that were
1 A. This document in fact represents an order which assigns specific
2 tasks within the broader concept of the operation Ramno.
3 Q. Okay.
4 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would seek to tender this document.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
6 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, I will make the same objection than
7 the previous one, namely the reliability of this document and in
8 particular if the document should be admitted we'd wish to indicate that
9 there has been at least four witnesses in this case who appeared on behalf
10 of the Prosecution who came from the police station which is now the
11 subject of this document. Not a single one of them, to our best
12 recollection, was shown this document or asked to comment about it. They
13 were also two witnesses Your Honour, who were members of operative action
14 Ramno who appeared before you and were not asked a single question in
15 relation to this document or the theory which is now being put forward by
16 the Prosecution. In our respectful submissions, the attempt by the
17 Prosecution to now lead or seek to lead evidence from an expert about his
18 interpretation of particular document should not be permitted and in any
19 case should the document be admitted, be given no weight.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ...
22 MR. APOSTOLSKI: It's not from me.
23 [Interpretation] Your Honours.
24 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues]... Mr. Apostolski,
25 you want to put a submission.
1 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
2 join the objection of my learned colleague Mr. Mettraux and I would like
3 to point out before this honourable bench before it makes a decision, the
4 chief -- could we maybe proceed in a closed session.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Closed.
6 [Closed session]
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
21 Mr. Saxon.
22 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, again, I believe the issue is much
23 simpler than the two raised by my colleagues. It is not a matter of
24 whether other Prosecution witnesses might have been able to speak to this
25 document or not. It's a matter of simply, on cross-examination, this was
1 a door opened by my colleagues on the Defence. And the purpose of
2 re-direct examination is to clarify issues that were raised during
3 cross-examination and that is what I'm trying to do with this document and
4 with others.
5 Nor is it relevant that a person still on the Prosecution's
6 witness list is still to -- who might be able to discuss this document is
7 still to come. The issue is whether this is appropriate material for
8 re-direct and whether this document is admissible right now and, in the
9 Prosecution's submission, the answer to both questions is yes.
10 JUDGE PARKER: You basically advance the proposition that this
11 issue was opened up and explored in depth in cross-examination.
12 MR. SAXON: The witness was asked repeatedly whether --
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes or no will do.
14 MR. SAXON: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE PARKER: The document will be received, Mr. Saxon.
18 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 THE REGISTRAR: As exhibit P491, Your Honours.
20 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness, please, what is Prosecution
21 65 ter 1033.
22 And I should add for the sake of authenticity of the last document
23 and the one that's being called up now, both of these documents were
24 received from the Macedonian Ministry of Interior.
25 Q. This is another document, it's now an order to carry out a task,
1 time of service, 12 of August, 2001 from 2000 hours to 0800 hours on the
2 13th of August 2001 and again it is from the police station Cair.
3 Do you see that, Mr. Bezruchenko?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. And we see that a group of persons are being given the task to
6 between 2000 hours and 0800 hours to be posted at the check-point and
7 undertake full measures and activities in relation to operative action
8 Ramno. And then we see a series of specific tasks.
9 And what significance, if any, again, Mr. Bezruchenko, do you see
10 from this language?
11 A. This document is of the same nature as the previous document that
12 I have seen, and the document is, again, an order which assigns specific
13 tasks within the concept of the operational action -- or, rather,
14 operation Ramno to pursue the goals as provided by this operation.
15 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would seek to tender this document.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
17 MR. METTRAUX: We are quite aware we may be unsuccessful yet
18 again, but we will put the objection for the record.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Don't be deterred. Mr. Mettraux.
20 MR. METTRAUX: I won't, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE PARKER: And you won't be surprised if we do not accede to
22 your objection.
23 It will be admitted.
24 THE REGISTRAR: As exhibit P492, Your Honours.
25 MR. SAXON:
1 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, I would like to move to a different topic,
2 please. On the 22nd of October from pages 6643 to 6644, there was a
3 discussion between yourself, my colleague Mr. Mettraux and then eventually
4 between you and Presiding Judge Parker, and on page 6643 you agreed with
5 Mr. Mettraux that a commander would not have disciplinary responsibility
6 in relation to breaches committed by individuals who are in a different
7 line or different chain of command. Do you recall that exchange?
8 A. Yes. There was an exchange to this point.
9 Q. And at page 6643 of the transcript, Judge Parker then asked you
10 the following question. He said: "Wouldn't that last answer, though,
11 Mr. Bezruchenko, be subject to the basis upon which a person is subjected
12 temporarily to the command of somebody? He may be fully subjected and
13 therefore fully subjected to disciplinary authority of the person."
14 And then, Mr. Bezruchenko, this is what you replied: "That is
15 right, sir. Well, in fact it is not an unusual development, especially in
16 a war situation. Whenever a unit is under a provisional command or
17 perhaps being attached on a temporary basis to another unit of which there
18 is an established commander, this commander would exercise disciplinary
19 powers over this unit, including these men, but having said that, as a
20 rule and as a matter of fact, the administrative and disciplinary
21 authorities would be retained by the commander of the unit to which these
22 men originally belonged to."
23 Do you recall that exchange?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, you've had a long military career. During your
1 military career, have you ever found yourself part of diverse chains of
2 command, that is, more than one chain of command?
3 A. Yes. There were some cases like that.
4 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, in 1991 and 1992, did you serve in Sarajevo?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. And what mission or group were you serving with at that time?
7 A. I was serving with the peacekeeping contingent of the United
8 Nations which was called UNPROFOR.
9 Q. And at that time were you still an officer of the army of the
10 Republic of Ukraine at that point?
11 A. Yes, that's right.
12 Q. Who was your superior in Sarajevo within the UNPROFOR mission?
13 A. There were several officers who were in possession of superiority
14 to me. My first sector commander was Colonel Devo [phoen], a French
15 officer, who was replaced by General Abdu Razik [phoen], an Egyptian
16 general, and then Colonel Valentine, a French colonel again.
17 Q. And did you follow the orders of these superiors in UNPROFOR?
18 A. Yes, of course.
19 Q. And at that time did you also follow orders from your superiors in
20 the army of the Republic of the Ukraine?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, what disciplinary authority, if anything, did
23 your superiors in the army of the Ukraine retain over you while you served
24 in Sarajevo?
25 A. They retained full disciplinary authority over me and my men.
1 Q. I'd like to turn to a different topic now.
2 At page 6664 of the transcript, Mr. Mettraux asked you about your
3 analysis of the book written by Mr. Boskoski called My Battle for
4 Macedonia, and that book is now Exhibit P402. And Mr. Mettraux asked you
5 about your comment that while minister, Mr. Boskoski displayed a
6 strong "hands-on approach," which was manifested, inter alia, in Minister
7 Boskoski's frequent visits to the front line police units.
8 Do you recall that exchange?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 MR. SAXON: Could we please show the witness exhibit P402, please,
11 which is the book authored by Mr. Boskoski. And if we could look at the
12 English translation range beginning with N000-9607 and go to page 22 in
13 that range of the English.
14 And if we could focus on the bottom of the page, please.
15 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, you see a subtitle, it's called the restoration
16 of peace. Do you see that?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 MR. SAXON: And by the way, Your Honours, for those following in
19 Macedonian this is page 24 of the original Macedonian version.
20 Q. We see in the penultimate paragraph it says that "Minister Dosta
21 Dimovska resigned and then at a parliament session I," that is
22 Mr. Boskoski, "I was appointed first man of the Ministry of Interior."
23 Do you see that?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 MR. SAXON: Can we turn to the next page, please, both in English
1 and Macedonian. It should be page 23 of the English version there. And
2 if we could scroll up just a little bit, please. I'm very grateful to
3 Miss Guduric for her patience with me.
4 Q. You see there's the second paragraph says, "On the 16th of May,
5 2001, shots echoed again from the Sar mountain." Do you see that?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. And then the deadly missiles of the Albanian terrorists were again
8 pointed to Tetovo. Are you with me?
9 A. Yes, I am.
10 Q. The very next paragraph starts like this: "I immediately set off
11 for Tetovo. I wanted to acquaint myself with the situation on the very
12 spot. This became a regular practice for me, because I am a man who wants
13 to observe the situation up close, and the security situation in the
14 Republic of Macedonia at that time demanded that I be always with the
15 Macedonian defenders in the field. That is, in the immediately focus of
17 Do you see that, Mr. Bezruchenko?
18 A. Yes, I see that.
19 MR. SAXON: Can we turn, please, to what is page 27 of the English
20 version here. And page 25 in the Macedonian version.
21 Q. And on this page, Mr. Boskoski is discussing the fighting around
22 the Vaksince-Lipkovo area in May. And you see there is a paragraph
23 beginning with "I was aware." Do you see that, Mr. Bezruchenko, in the
24 middle of the page?
25 A. Yes, sir, can I see that.
1 Q. And it says in the middle of that paragraph: "On 24 May 2001, when
2 the largest military activities of the Macedonian forces were performed in
3 the Lipkovo region, I met the most courageous Macedonian journalists in a
4 location near Vaksince village. I told team that we estimated that by the
5 end of the day, the Macedonian security forces would control the village
6 of Vaksince."
7 Can you see that?
8 A. Yes, sir, I can see that.
9 MR. SAXON: Can we please turn to the next page in the English
10 version and go to page 30 in the Macedonian version, please.
11 Q. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, do you see the subheading, responsibility
12 before the Macedonian court. Do you see that?
13 A. Yes, sir, I can see that.
14 Q. And the very next line says this: "On the 25th of May 2001, I was
15 in the vicinity of Tabanovce village where near the railroad a security
16 point was installed." And it says the following: "I myself wanted to
17 observe the evacuation process of the inhabitants from the crisis-stricken
18 places in Kumanovo and Lipkovo region."
19 Do you see that, Mr. Bezruchenko?
20 A. Yes, sir.
21 MR. SAXON: Can we please turn to pages 33 to 34 in the English
22 version, please, and page 36 in the Macedonian version.
23 So if we go to 33. And if we can focus on the bottom of page 33.
24 Q. You see a subheading called: The people's response. Do you see
25 that Mr. Bezruchenko?
1 A. Yes, I see that.
2 Q. And in this section Mr. Boskoski is talking about the events,
3 fighting around the village of Aracinovo. And in that paragraph, second
4 sentence begins like this: "Our elite units composed of specialists and
5 subspecial component entered the village with the decision to win victory
6 over the battle against the insurgents." Mr. Boskoski says the
7 following: "I saw this myself when I gave the flag to the crew of the
8 first transporter and told to plant it in the centre of Aracinovo."
9 Do you see that?
10 A. Yes, sir.
11 Q. And towards the bottom of that paragraph it continues this
12 way: "So they went ahead to defend Macedonia and its capital Skopje by
13 crying out 'everything for Macedonia.' When I was encouraging them and
14 seeing them off into the fire they were saluting with me with 'everything
15 for Macedonia.'"
16 We're now on the top of the next page in the English version,
17 please, and it says: "They did not salute me as the minister of the
18 interior since this function might have been performed by anyone who
19 governed the cabinet of the Ministry of Interior as a single 'screw' in
20 the state apparatus."
21 But the next paragraph says this: "The defenders of Macedonia
22 knew very well that I had been, was, and would always be the creator of
23 building the present and the future of Macedonia with my patriotism and in
24 the first battle lines where the highest price is life. There is how my
25 brother defenders of Macedonia were addressing me when entering
1 Aracinovo. They considered me as their brother and I was with them day
2 and night."
3 Have you been following me, Mr. Bezruchenko?
4 A. Yes, sir, I have.
5 MR. SAXON: Could we please turn to page 38 in the English
6 version, please.
7 Q. And here in the middle of the page, Mr. Bezruchenko, this is page
8 42, by the way, in the Macedonian version. Mr. Boskoski is describing
9 another attack, and you see in the middle of the page we see the
10 line: "This situation required estimates on the spot."
11 Do you see that?
12 A. Yes, I think so.
13 Q. And it says: "This time, while visiting several inhabited places
14 in Tetovo region, I was accompanied by police general Risto Galevski. My
15 aim was to see the situation at the Macedonian security forces stations as
16 well as the outcome of the meetings and talks of the local people."
17 Have you seen that?
18 A. Yes, sir.
19 MR. SAXON: And if we could turn and look at one more page,
20 please. This is page 48 in the English version, page 52 in the Macedonian
22 Q. And in this long paragraph, Mr. Bezruchenko, Mr. Boskoski
23 describes a misunderstanding that apparently took place in the media
24 between the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence and you
25 see that about eight or ten lines up from the bottom.
1 Do you see that?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. And then just a few lines up from the end of that paragraph,
4 Mr. Boskoski says this, it was in relation to the events around Radusa on
5 the 11th of August, 2001. Mr. Boskoski says: "I told the journalists
6 that as a minister of interior I always went to the spot in order to
7 clarify some of my dilemmas because no person was immune to errors."
8 Mr. Bezruchenko, why, if at all, in military terms is it important
9 for a commander to be present on the spot where his troops are?
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
11 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, I apologise for interrupting again,
12 but simply to seek clarification from Mr. Saxon whether the question now
13 asked of the witness is in any way related to the material which is shown
14 to the witness. If that's the case. I believe that Mr. Saxon has taken a
15 great leap in giving or making suggestion as to what was going on or what
16 was being recorded in the book of Mr. Boskoski. If the question is more
17 general in nature and limited to Mr. Bezruchenko's expertise in that
18 regard, we have no objection.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Saxon.
20 MR. SAXON: My question was limited to Mr. Bezruchenko's expertise
21 as a military analyst, based on what was read in this book.
22 Can I ask a preliminary question if it would help.
23 Q. These passages that I have read to you, Mr. Bezruchenko, were
24 they -- did they assist you in your analysis that Minister Boskoski was a
25 hands-on minister?
1 A. Absolutely, sir. I think my answer is yes, absolutely clear.
2 Q. Let me ask the question a little bit differently. Why in military
3 terms is it important for a commander to be hands-on or present where his
4 troops are, or both?
5 A. It is important for a number of reasons.
6 First of all, it is the commander who is, according to the
7 military regulations and laws, is personally responsible for the success
8 or the failure of his mission and the fate, life and death of his men.
9 The commander normally exercises the overall and complete
10 authority, especially operational authority, time of war over his unit.
11 His presence is absolutely essential to ascertain the situation, to make
12 the estimates of the forces required and methods required to perform the
13 mission, to give the correct orders and to redress the situation in case
14 something goes wrong.
15 Q. In addition to what you've just explained, Mr. Bezruchenko, what
16 effect, if any, can the presence of a commander have on his or her troops,
17 or the presence of a superior?
18 A. Well, in addition to that, it would also provide a boost of
20 Q. Thank you. Moving on to another topic, at page 7027 of the
21 transcript my colleague asked you whether you agreed with the proposition
22 that the authorities of Macedonia did not acknowledge the existence of an
23 armed conflict, at least in February of 2001. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, you
24 replied that you did not agree, that the authorities of Macedonia did not
25 want to admit this fact, or --or the reality that the Macedonian
1 authorities did not want to admit that an armed conflict was going on does
2 not necessarily mean that there was no armed conflict. Do you recall that
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. In fact, the government of Macedonia never formally declared a
6 state of war, did it?
7 A. No, it didn't.
8 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness what is Exhibit P00464,
9 please. This is the book War in Macedonia, and I would like to show the
10 witness from the portion that is translated into English beginning with
11 ERN number N006-3064. And this -- the page where I'm going to in the
12 Macedonian version would be page 143.
13 And if we can move, please, to the next page in the English
14 version, please. And if we can focus our attention on the middle of the
16 Q. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, do you see a paragraph in the middle of the
17 page beginning with the phrase: "We have to point out."
18 Do you see that?
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. And the authors say this: "We have to point out that during the
21 war there was a wise reticence of the president of parliament and
22 parliament did not declare whether Macedonia was in a state of war or
23 not. Only then does it become perfectly clear why there was such a
24 difference of views in the sphere of command and control in the army and
25 the police."
1 Mr. Bezruchenko, during the course of your research and writing of
2 your report, did you learn why a state of war was never declared by the
3 authorities of Macedonia?
4 A. Yes, sir. To give you a brief answer, it was never declared
5 because of political reasons.
6 Q. All right. Well, Mr. Bezruchenko, can the mobilisation of
7 large -- even if we don't have a recognised armed conflict or a declared
8 state of war, could the mobilisation of large numbers of men be an
9 indication of whether a war or an armed conflict exists?
10 A. Yes, sir, absolutely.
11 MR. SAXON: Could we show the witness, please, Prosecution Exhibit
12 P00393. And it's the English translation portion that has the ERN range
13 N005-0625 to 0626. This is the report of the -- annual report of the
14 Ministry of the Interior for the year 2001. And if we could focus,
15 please, on the second paragraph of this page.
16 Q. And you see, Mr. Bezruchenko, in the second paragraph, say: "Due
17 to the worsening security situation in February 2001, precipitated by the
18 armed attacks of the Albanian terrorists in the area of the village of
19 Tanusevci, given the continual spread of the crisis area along the Kosovo
20 section of state border with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, on the
21 4th of March, 2001, the Ministry of Interior ordered the mobilisation of
22 the police reserve of the Ministry of Interior. Of the 11.431 reservists
23 called up, 7.305 persons responded - 64 per cent of the total."
24 Are you following me?
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 Q. And then it says: "When armed attacks escalated in the
2 Tetovo-Skopje and Kumanovo-Lipkovo regions, several mobilisations were
3 carried out. Depending on the intensity of the clashes, the strength of
4 the police reserve here ranged from 5.101 to 10.211 persons."
5 Do you see that?
6 A. Yes, sir, I see that.
7 Q. Would it be fair to say that the mobilisation of such a large
8 number of personnel is a pretty extraordinary event?
9 A. Absolutely, sir. It would never happen without reason in
10 peacetime. As this paragraph clearly says, this mobilisation was
11 precipitated by armed attacks. That is, there was a war going on.
12 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, would the use of intensive training and extra
13 attention paid to arming and equipping units be an indication that an
14 armed conflict exists?
15 A. Yes, sir.
16 Q. Okay.
17 MR. SAXON: If we can scroll a little bit down the page.
18 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, there's a paragraph beginning with: "The
19 successful functioning."
20 Do you see that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. It says this: "The successful functioning of the Ministry of the
23 Interior in the complicated security situation allowed active measures to
24 be taken to conduct intensive training of the members of the police
25 reserve, with the active participation of Defence preparations, Inspectors
1 and leading figures from the sector of SVR, the department of the Ministry
2 of the Interior, OVR, the Defence preparations section, the police special
3 unit, PEP, and specialists from the Macedonian army."
4 Are you following me?
5 A. Yes, sir.
6 Q. And in the next paragraph on the second line we see: "In the
7 complicated security situation in 2001, particular attention was paid to
8 equipping of the ministry with the necessary means and weaponry
9 (camouflage uniforms, weapons and ammunition, explosives, means of
10 transport and other equipment)."
11 Do you see that, Mr. Bezruchenko?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, would the permanent engagement of large numbers
14 of members of the Ministry of Interior, in the struggle against so-called
15 Albanian terrorists and extremists, be an indication of whether a war or
16 an armed conflict exists?
17 A. Absolutely, sir. It was a clear indication of the war going on.
18 MR. SAXON: Can we go to the next page, please, in the English
19 version. It's page 9 in the Macedonian version. And if we could focus on
20 the paragraph at the top of that page. And that -- and if we could go to
21 the next page, please, in the English version.
22 Q. And we see at the top the first paragraph, Mr. Bezruchenko, it
23 says: "Even in the exceedingly complicated and unstable situation in
24 Macedonia when most members of the Ministry of the Interior were
25 permanently and directly engaged in the struggle against the Albanian
1 terrorists and separatists in defence of the sovereignty and territorial
2 integrity of the Republic of Macedonia, or involved in other security
4 Do you see that?
5 A. Yes, I can see that.
6 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, we normally take a break, I know, at
7 5.30, but we started at a quarter past 4.00. Would you like me to pause
8 now or shall I continue until a quarter to 6.00?
9 JUDGE PARKER: I was waiting for the question that concluded the
10 section of the report, Mr. Saxon. You've referred the witness to it;
11 you've not gone beyond that yet.
12 MR. SAXON:
13 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, would the activities and preparations of the
14 Ministry of Interior that you've just looked at be possible indications of
15 the existence of an armed conflict?
16 A. Yes, sir, that's right.
17 JUDGE PARKER: We adjourn and resume at 10 past.
18 --- Recess taken at 5.39 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 6.15 p.m.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Saxon.
21 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness, please, what is Prosecution's
22 Exhibit 402, please.
23 Again, this is the book, My Battle for Macedonia by the accused
24 Mr. Boskoski.
25 Can we turn to page 17 in the English translation, please.
1 And if we could focus our attention on the end of that first long
3 Q. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, you see at this point Mr. Boskoski is
4 describing a discussion that he had with some journalists in 2001 during
5 the crisis time.
6 And in the very last sentence he says the following: "In the
7 reply I also added that in the last operation, the members of the
8 Ministries of the Interior and Defense were using all the available means
9 of conventional warfare."
10 Do you see that?
11 A. Yes, sir I see that.
12 Q. From a military perspective, what, if anything, does that signify
13 to you?
14 A. This signifies that there was an operation going on which
15 apparently involved the units of the Ministry of Interior, and in the
16 course of this operation, these units apparently used the entire range of
17 weapons available for them, perhaps with the exception of air force.
18 Q. And would that normally happen in peacetime?
19 A. Certainly not, sir.
20 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness, please -- can we turn to page
21 22 of the same exhibit. And if we can scroll up, please. Thank you.
22 Q. And in about -- in that first long paragraph, Mr. Bezruchenko,
23 about five lines up from the end of the paragraph, we see a sentence
24 beginning with: "The mobility."
25 Do you see that sentence?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. And it says: "The mobility of the Macedonian security forces in a
3 complete combat readiness during the Easter holidays on the assigned
4 positions was checked by myself as the Ministry of Interior state
5 secretary and the chief of the army headquarters at the time, Jovan
7 The fact that the Macedonian security forces were placed in
8 complete combat readiness, what, if anything, do you draw from that?
9 A. Apparently the security situation in Macedonia at that point of
10 time deteriorated to such an extent that it required the national forces
11 to maintain a permanent level of combat readiness.
12 Q. Would that normally happen in peacetime?
13 A. No, not really.
14 MR. SAXON: Can we turn, please, to page 28 of the English
15 version, please.
16 And can we scroll down to the bottom, please.
17 I will leave this page because I'm not finding what I -- what I
18 had hoped to find there.
19 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, perhaps with the assistance of the court officer
20 can we turn to page 30 in the English version, please. You recall at the
21 start of this discussion we talked about whether the Macedonian
22 authorities had acknowledged that there was an armed conflict or whether a
23 formal declaration of war had been made. Do you recall that?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 MR. SAXON: Can we turn to page 30, please. Two more pages in the
1 English version. And that is not the page I was looking for.
2 Can we go one more page ahead in the English version, please.
4 Q. If you look at the top of that page, Mr. Bezruchenko, and we see
5 at the top of that page Mr. Boskoski writes that: "I was claiming then
6 and I'm claiming now that the opposition propaganda in Macedonia had no
7 sense at all."
8 Do you see that?
9 A. Yes, I see that.
10 Q. And then we see the following: "Moreover, because it lost the
11 ground after the proposals by prime minister Ljubco Georgievski (presented
12 to the public in a few occasions) for a rapid resolve" - should probably
13 be resolution - "of the crisis in Macedonia by declaring a state of war,
14 which was opposed by the community of ethnic Albanians in our country
15 because the leaders were under the pressure of the powerful Albanian lobby
17 Can we scroll to the bottom of the page and there we see some
18 comment from Mr. Boskoski where he is describing a statement he gave to
19 journalists on the 6th of June 2001. It says: "We must not allow for the
20 terrorists to lead us to the negotiation table and talk to them. To the
21 question whether the high state officials were seriously considering to
22 declare the state of war, I gave a moderate and decisive answer: 'These
23 mafia party crime entailing groups will be destroyed without a state of
24 war. We must respond to terrorists with the same manner and methods that
25 they bring into play. The terrorists enter Macedonia from Kosovo and the
1 Macedonian ...
2 If we could turn to the next page in the English, please, if we
3 could scroll to the top, please. "'And the Macedonian security forces will
4 act everywhere terrorist movement is noticed until they are completely
6 And then we see this statement: "After this statement the
7 analysts were convinced that the possible decision on declaring a state of
8 war had merely a formal significance."
9 Have you been following me?
10 A. Yes, sir.
11 Q. From what we've just looked at, does it appear, Mr. Bezruchenko,
12 that it mattered very much to Mr. Boskoski whether the Macedonian
13 government formally declared a state of war?
14 A. Not really. It would appear that he was of the view that the
15 formal declaration of war was not really necessary to deliver a defeat on
16 the NLA, and in fact the fact that the state of war was not declared, did
17 not really have any formal significance.
18 Q. I'd like to turn, Mr. Bezruchenko --
19 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.
20 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, we wanted to let again the witness
21 give his answer to the question. We'd simply indicate that, in our view,
22 this is a matter to be determined by the Chamber if it is at all relevant
23 to this case and that to the extent that the answer has been given, it
24 should be given no weight, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
1 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, I would like to turn to another subject.
2 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, the re-supply of NLA units. Mr. Bezruchenko, at
3 page 7016 of the transcript you discuss the importance of an army's
4 ability to re-supply its units and you mentioned that there are various
5 ways of carrying out re-supply. And my question for you is: In
6 asymmetrical warfare, what might be some ways that an insurgent force
7 obtains the supplies that it needs?
8 A. Normally in an asymmetrical warfare, each unit of a specific size
9 and level, such as a brigade, for example, would have its own dedicated
10 resources for provision of supplies. It would be difficult to envision
11 any centralised structure that would be responsible for centralised
12 procurement, planning, and delivery of supplies to the troops on the
14 Such rudimentary structures could exist in case of the war in
15 Macedonia, but I think that primarily the supplies for the NLA brigades
16 was done at the brigade's level and they were actually procuring whatever
17 they were in need of through their efforts.
18 Q. Well, while you were researching and writing your expert report,
19 did you see any documents indicating that the NLA received support from
20 the local population?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And in asymmetrical warfare, would that be an element that might
23 be seen?
24 A. Absolutely. This is the feature of paramount importance for
25 operation [indiscernible], guerilla-type force in an asymmetrical warfare.
1 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, would the fact that an army has a large quantity
2 of sophisticated weapons and ammunition be one indication of its ability
3 to supply its soldiers and carry out operations?
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness, please, what is Prosecution
6 65 ter 635.
7 Your Honours, this is a document and as you can see from the cover
8 page, it was provided to the ICTY by NATO. And it contains an extract
9 from a document called the NLA Handbook. And if we can turn, please --
10 Q. And, Mr. Bezruchenko, did you use this document or refer do it in
11 your report?
12 A. Yes, sir, I did.
13 MR. SAXON: And as an as a matter of fact, Your Honour, this
14 document is cited to multiple times in the footnotes of Mr. Bezruchenko's
15 amended expert report.
16 It was -- it doesn't have a particular specific date on it, Your
17 Honour. However, there are many references in the contents to September,
18 2001, and therefore to the best of the Prosecution's knowledge and belief
19 we believe this document was produced during the so-called Essential
20 Harvest operation.
21 Can we show the witness, please, page -- if we can go, please, to
22 page 37 in the English version.
23 Can we go forward one more page, because I was not expecting to
24 see this. Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, we see -- this is the first page of annex D to
1 this document. We see a date here, 12 September 2001. And it's -- we see
2 a heading: "Weapons," and we see "unidentified 12.7, possibly .50
3 calibre." And we see that these were handed in by the NLA. Do you see
5 A. Yes, sir.
6 Q. And that they were both in good condition?
7 A. That's right.
8 MR. SAXON: Can we please move to the next page, please.
9 Q. And can you describe the weapons that are portrayed - although the
10 quality of the photographs are not very good on this page - the other
11 weapons that were turned over by the NLA?
12 A. Black Arrow is a common name for a sniper rifle of 12.7 calibre.
13 SA-7 is a NATO name for Russian-made shoulder-launched portable missile,
14 which is Strela, Strela 2M, in fact. And AT-3 Sagger is in fact what is
15 called in the original language Maljutka, anti-tank wire-guided missile.
16 MR. SAXON: Can we scroll down to the bottom of the page, please.
17 Can we turn now to the next page, please, and perhaps start at the
18 top of the page.
19 Q. And we see here under part 5 we're told that a variety of mines
20 and rocket-propelled grenades were handed in and as well a number of
21 different kinds of anti-tank weapons. Do you see that?
22 A. Yes, sir.
23 Q. And it refers to several kinds of RPGs and then it says "were also
24 handed in with vast quantities of ordnance." Do you see that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Down below number 6 we see a photograph of -- I can't count them,
2 but it appears to be a large number of rifles and medium machine-guns. Do
3 you see that?
4 A. That's right. These are indeed -- in fact, they are light
6 Q. And in order to obtain and use all of this weaponry, what kind of
7 a supply or re-supply system would you need to have?
8 A. Well, would you need to have certainly quite a significant effort
9 to invest into obtaining this amount of weaponry which would require a
10 flexible and strong supply system capable of taking all these weapons
11 across the border and distributing them to the units.
12 Q. Okay.
13 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, at this time could this document be
14 marked for identification. I will come back to it later.
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be marked.
16 THE REGISTRAR: As exhibit P493, marked for identification, Your
18 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
19 Q. I'd like to turn to another topic, Mr. Bezruchenko, the numbers of
20 members of the NLA during the early months of the conflict in Macedonia.
21 Last Wednesday morning during cross-examination, you
22 described "how the build-up of forces started in February 2001 and
23 operations were authorised in March of 2001."
24 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness what is Exhibit
25 1D00163. And if we could focus a little bit - thank you - and, Your
1 Honours, this same document is referred to in Mr. Bezruchenko's amended
2 expert report as 65 ter 1012.
3 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, you see in the second paragraph that this is a
4 document, a cross-section of information, of information on illegal
5 channels for the entry of the members of the so-called NLA from Kosovo and
6 the transport of weapons. Do you see that?
7 A. Yes, I can see that.
8 Q. And it's dated the 23rd of March 2001.
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. And in the second paragraph it talks about in the very first line
11 of the second paragraph, two armed NLA groups of 60 to 70 members who
12 entered Macedonia from the direction of Kosovo via Strage. Do you see
14 A. Yes, I can.
15 Q. And in the very next paragraph we see there are unconfirmed
16 reports that on the 11th of March around 100 armed terrorists came to
17 Gosince from Kosovo. You see that?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. And then the next paragraph we see references to cases of citizens
20 of Albania entering Macedonia.
21 MR. SAXON: Can we turn to the next page, please.
22 Q. And, again, in the second paragraph we see a reference to, on the
23 14th of March, a group of around 20 members entering Macedonia from Kosovo
24 near the village of Vesala. Do you see that?
25 A. Yes I do.
1 Q. With pack horses. And two paragraphs down -- well, in the next
2 paragraph there's another group who entered on the 19th of March, 2001,
3 about 30 persons, and the following paragraphs talk about other groups of
4 persons arriving from Kosovo into Macedonian villages. Do you see that?
5 A. Yes, I do, sir.
6 Q. Now, this document only refers to persons who arrived from outside
7 the territory of Macedonia. Is that fair?
8 A. It is fair, sir.
9 Q. So this document provides no indication of how many native-born
10 ethnic Albanian men were joining the NLA from within Macedonia, does it?
11 A. No, it doesn't.
12 Q. Okay. We see small numbers mentioned here - groups of 30, groups
13 of 60, groups of 20 - according to your reading and research, did the
14 numbers of members of the NLA grow during the conflict?
15 A. Yes, sir.
16 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness, again, what is now marked for
17 identification as P00493, please. And if we could turn to the third page
18 in the English version.
19 Q. And we see this page has a subtitle: "NLA in the Tetovo area,
20 112th Brigade." And in the -- take a look, please, at the third
21 paragraph, please, Mr. Bezruchenko. It says, "Manpower figures and
22 weapons holdings for the brigade" - and it's talking about the 112th
23 Brigade - "are difficult to estimate. Current figures would suggest that
24 the Tetovo area of responsibility, AOR, are likely to have some 1.000 men
25 under arms. They probably have the capability to reinforce the area very
1 quickly with personnel across the borders, either in Kosovo or in
2 Albania." And then it says, "NLA fighting strength is likely only to be
3 some 2.000 to 5.000 -- 2.000 to 2500 under arms with perhaps non-military
4 support, food, lodging and transportation being provided by another
6 Are you with me?
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. Does this paragraph suggest that, indeed, at least in the Tetovo
9 area, the -- by September, the numbers of members of the NLA had grown
10 from March?
11 A. That's absolutely the case. That's right.
12 Q. Okay.
13 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would now seek to tender what is P493.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Under the same number, exhibit P493, Your Honours.
16 MR. SAXON:
17 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, my colleague asked you some questions related to
18 the fighting between Macedonian security forces and members of the NLA
19 around the village of Vaksince in May of 2001. And he -- and I believe
20 you actually acknowledged that the village of Vaksince was taken by
21 infiltration. Do you recall that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Okay. And this situation led to a decision of the president by
24 the -- of the 3rd of May, authorising joint operations of the army and the
25 Ministry of Interior.
1 Mr. Bezruchenko, what did the Macedonian security forces do to try
2 to dislodge the NLA from Vaksince and the surrounding area?
3 A. My understanding from the documents that I have picked up is that
4 the Macedonian government, rather, the Macedonian security forces deployed
5 mechanised and artillery units in the area which launched strong attacks
6 on the village.
7 Q. And what, then, if anything, did the NLA forces do to defend and
8 to hold their positions in and around Vaksince?
9 A. I think the NLA forces had some time to prepare at least some
10 hasty defences, and there was quite a long exchange of fire which lasted
11 at least for some days.
12 Q. Do you recall that my colleague also showed you some documents
13 with statements indicating that some villagers from Vaksince had been
14 prevented from leaving their homes by the NLA? Do you recall that?
15 A. Yes, I do, sir.
16 MR. SAXON: Can we show the witness what is or was 65 ter number
17 1D196. If this already has an exhibit number, I apologise, if I'm giving
18 the wrong number.
19 Well, that is not the document that I was looking for.
20 Q. Can you recall, Mr. Bezruchenko, you were shown a document during
21 cross-examination that indicated that civilians from the Vaksince area
22 were prevented from leaving their villages by terrorists who wore black
23 uniforms and patches. Do you recall that?
24 A. I think I do, yes.
25 Q. Okay. Okay. And can you recall that document gave any reasons
1 why persons were prevented from leaving the villages?
2 A. I think the indication was that this action actually was sought to
3 prevent the army from shelling the village.
4 Q. And could there be more than one reason why forces of the NLA did
5 not permit villagers or residents from leaving a particular village at a
6 particular time?
7 A. There could be several reasons.
8 Q. Can I perhaps review some with you and see if they make sense to
9 you or not?
10 Is it possible that the NLA prevented civilians from leaving their
11 homes because the NLA wanted to hold civilians as human shields in
12 violations of international law. Is that possible?
13 A. Yes, it is possible.
14 Q. Is it possible that the NLA prevented civilians from leaving their
15 homes because the area was mined and therefore it was dangerous to move
17 A. It is possible.
18 Q. Is it possible that the NLA prevented civilians from leaving their
19 homes because there was combat going on in the area and it was safer for
20 the civilians to remain inside their homes?
21 A. It is possible.
22 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness Exhibit 1D155, please.
23 Can I -- can we show the witness the next exhibit that was
24 tendered. It would probably be 1D156. It was an OSCE document.
25 No, well, I'm not finding the document that I was hoping to.
1 Q. Let me put my question a different way.
2 Did you, in your preparation for your report, did you come across
3 documents indicating that the Macedonian government authorities and the
4 security forces had called on civilians to leave their homes in the areas
5 where there was fighting?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. Okay. Is it possible that some civilians elected not to leave
8 their homes because they did not trust the authorities of the Macedonian
10 A. Yes, I think this is a possibility.
11 MR. SAXON: Can we turn, please, to Exhibit P00402, please.
12 Before we do that, I see this OSCE document. I'm wondering if I
13 can see the English translation.
14 No, this is not the document I was looking for.
15 Can we move on, please, to Exhibit P402.
16 And, Your Honours, once again, this is the book, My Battle for
17 Macedonia, authored by Mr. Boskoski. And if we could turn, please, to
18 page 27 in the English version. And if we can focus on the second half of
19 the page.
20 Q. Mr. Bezruchenko, in this part of his book, Mr. Boskoski is
21 describing the attempts to evacuate civilians from the village of Vaksince
22 and the areas around there. And there's a paragraph that says: "What the
23 Macedonian statement government had promised."
24 Do you see that? Begins with that phrase?
25 A. Yes, I can see that.
1 Q. "What the Macedonian state government had promised regarding the
2 evacuation of the peaceful inhabitants from the terrorist siege has been
4 And then in the last sentence of that paragraph it says: "The
5 inhabitants, though in a certain state of phobia, began to leave the
6 houses and join the Macedonian security forces which secured their
7 transfer to safe places."
8 Do you see that?
9 A. Yes, I see that, sir.
10 Q. So would you agree that at least in this discussion of the events
11 in and around Vaksince, there's no suggestion that persons were held as
12 human shields?
13 A. No, there is not.
14 Q. Okay.
15 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I see it is five minutes to 7.00. I'm
16 about to move on to a fairly large topic. Would that this be an
17 appropriate time to pause or would you like me to start?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, Mr. Saxon.
19 We will adjourn for the day. We resume tomorrow in the afternoon,
20 and we expect, in the course of day, to reach the next witness. Is that a
21 realistic expectation?
22 MR. SAXON: Yes, it is, Your Honour, and you will reach him.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.56 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of
1 November, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.