1 Tuesday, 2 June 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone, and perhaps a special
6 welcome to Mr. Kuzmanovic, who's, well, to say on his feet again is right
7 and, same the time --
8 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
10 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-06-90-T, the
11 Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
13 Is the Gotovina Defence ready to call its first witness.
14 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, could I have your assistance.
16 Since we're waiting for the witness, I take it that at a later
17 stage we'll deal with the 92 ter statements. Page 28 of the witness
18 statement says: By 5th of August, 1991, Mrksic who had returned in
19 May 1995, may I take it that this is a typo and that most likely it will
20 be 1995?
21 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then the -- and a new Frenki apparently
23 arrives -- Stamatovic often where one would expect Simatovic.
24 MR. MISETIC: I think he addressed that in the Milosevic trial
25 testimony, Mr. President, he said that Frenki used both names, and he
1 knew him as both Stamatovic and Simatovic.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Then I have missed that. And you may understand
3 that the waiting the agreement between the parties, I had not read every
4 single page of the many, many pages at that time.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Lazarevic, I take it. Can you
7 hear me in a language you understand?
8 THE WITNESS: Very clearly. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lazarevic, before you give evidence in this
10 Court, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn
11 declaration. The text will be handed out to you by Madam Usher, and I
12 would like to invite you to make that solemn declaration.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
14 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Mr. Lazarevic, please be seated.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I see you express yourself in English. Does that
18 mean that you would like to give your testimony in the English language,
19 or would you rather use your native language?
20 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I would prefer to do it in English.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You will first be examined by Mr. Misetic.
22 Mr. Misetic, please proceed.
23 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 WITNESS: SLOBODAN LAZAREVIC
25 Examination by Mr. Misetic:
1 Q. Good morning Mr. Lazarevic.
2 A. Good morning, sir.
3 Q. Would you first please state your full name for the record.
4 A. Slobodan Lazarevic.
5 Q. And right at the outset because you have chosen to speak in
6 English, I need to advise you that we need to control the tempo at which
7 we speak for the benefit of the court reporters and the court
9 A. I will do my best.
10 Q. For example.
11 A. Right now.
12 Q. Right. So if you could pause at the end of the question, and I
13 will try to pause at the end of the answer. And I think that will
14 greatly assist the court staff.
15 Mr. Lazarevic, I think the court usher has handed you now a copy
16 of your 1999 statement; is that correct?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. And do you recall giving a statement to the Office of the
19 Prosecutor on or about the 1st of July, 1999?
20 A. I do.
21 Q. Taking a look through this statement, and looking at the
22 signatures on each page, is this in fact the statement that you provided
23 to the Office of the Prosecutor?
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. Looking through the statement, and if I may first take you to
1 several pages. If you could go to page 19 of your statement.
2 MR. MISETIC: For the record, the 1999 statement is 65 ter 1D399.
3 Q. During your proofing with us yesterday, you wanted to correct
4 something with respect to which intelligence service Mr. Karan worked
5 for. Do you wish to make that correction now?
6 A. Yes, I do. The part of the statement it states that Colonel
7 Karan was a part of the SDB, which is apparent mistake. Sluzba Drzavne
8 Bezbednosti -- he is a military personnel. So he is a part of the KOS
9 which deals with the internal security, vojna drzavne bezbednosti.
10 Q. Okay. So he worked for the SVB and not the SDB?
11 A. Correct. I think there is only one place that I do this.
12 Everything else is correct.
13 Q. Turning to page 22, please. On this page you wanted to make a
14 correction regarding the portion of the statement that says Mr. Sarac
15 ordered prisoners to be shot. You wish to add something to that?
16 A. No. This is not a statement that I made.
17 Q. What -- so that portion of the statement is incorrect?
18 A. Incorrect.
19 Q. Okay.
20 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn to 28 of your statement, please.
21 In the first paragraph, it says in the third sentence: "By
22 5 August 1991
23 RSK ..." that date 5 August 1991
24 A. Correct.
25 Q. On that same page, the statement, at the bottom, says: "I,
1 myself, concocted a story of civilians being massacred by the Muslims
2 which got reported on CNN." Did you wish to correct that?
3 A. I never made that statement assuming I was never in touch with
4 them. Somebody else from within the building did, But it was attributed
5 to me for some reason.
6 Q. Do you contend that what was told to CNN was concocted or not?
7 A. What I'm saying is I never made that statement, so whether it was
8 a made-up statement by somebody else or something, I don't really know.
9 Q. Okay. And if I could turn your attention to page 33.
10 At the very top of the page the statement says:
11 "In any event, people were so brainwashed and so terrorised by
12 their government's propaganda that few would have risked staying in
14 I believe you told us that you did not use the word "brainwashed"
15 but that you agree that the population was terrorised by its own
16 government's propaganda. Is that correct?
17 A. General statement is correct, apart from word used,
19 Q. Okay. Other than those corrections, is there anything else that
20 needs to be corrected in the statement?
21 A. Absolutely not.
22 Q. Okay. At the time you gave this statement to the Office of the
23 Prosecutor in July of 1999, were the statements that you gave in this
24 statement true at the time that you made them?
25 A. Absolutely.
1 Q. If I were to ask you the same questions that you were asked then,
2 if I were to ask them in Court today, would your answers be the same
3 subject --
4 A. Absolutely.
5 Q. -- subject to the corrections that you have made?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I ask that exhibit 65 ter 1D399 be
8 admitted into evidence.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
10 MR. HEDARALY: That's fine, I mean, we don't object to it. I
11 just don't know whether strictly speaking he said that it accurately
12 reflects what he said; that's minor. The other point is that he referred
13 to the hard copy, the one in e-court will be in evidence. We should
14 confirm that the one on the screen is the same. And barring those, we
15 have no objection.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Other Defence teams.
17 No objections.
18 Mr. Registrar, would you please assign a number.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1461.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lazarevic, I think it's more or less transpired
21 from your answers what is written down reflects what you said at the
22 time, apart from this portion where you said, This is not my statement.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, could you please repeat the number
25 which does not appear on the transcript, and I've forgotten it.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit 1461.
2 JUDGE ORIE: D1461 is admitted into evidence.
3 Please proceed, Mr. Misetic.
4 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 If I could call up 1D2703, please, on the screen.
6 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, you recall that you gave testimony in this
7 Tribunal in October 2002 in the case of the Prosecutor versus
8 Slobodan Milosevic.
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. You were asked a series of questions and provided a series of
11 answers to questions asked of you by the Prosecution, the Defence, and
12 the Trial Chamber in that case. Were the answers that you provided at
13 that time true?
14 A. Yes, sir.
15 Q. Okay. You've had a chance to review the trial transcript. Do
16 the statements -- does the transcript accurately reflect what you told
17 the Court in 2002?
18 A. Absolutely.
19 Q. If I asked you today in court the same questions that you were
20 asked in court in 2002, would your answers be the same?
21 A. Yes, sir.
22 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, we tender the excerpts which are in
23 1D -- sorry. 1D2703 into evidence.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly, I see this from your nodding that
25 there's no objection.
1 MR. HEDARALY: That's correct, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And same is true, I take it, for the Defence teams.
3 It is -- Mr. Registrar, could you please assign a number.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1462.
5 JUDGE ORIE: D1462 is admitted into evidence.
6 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I have a summary of the witness's
7 testimony. I have provided the summary to the booths and the court
9 JUDGE ORIE: And I take it that you have explained to
10 Mr. Lazarevic what the purpose of reading out the summary, so that the
11 public know what is in your written statement or in the transcript, what
12 is, as a matter of fact, a summary of the evidence you're providing to
13 this Chamber.
14 Please proceed.
15 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 [Defence counsel confer]
17 MR. MISETIC: Witness Slobodan Lazarevic was a former
18 intellegence officer who worked for Yugoslav army counter-intelligence
19 abroad from 1968 to approximately 1990. In 1991, Mr. Lazarevic became an
20 intelligence officer for the Republika Srpska Krajina.
21 The witness testifies that his job in RSK intelligence was,
22 amongst other things, to obstruct the work of the United Nations
23 peacekeepers and European Union monitors in order to keep them from
24 finding out the truth about Krajina Serb activities. According to the
25 witness "every interpreter working for the UN and the ECMM in the Krajina
1 was reporting back to Serbian intelligence organs." From early 1992
2 onwards the witness was instructed by his superior to recruit UN and ECMM
3 international personnel as cooperating agents the for the RSK. The
4 witness provided international personnel with money and women. The
5 witness was able to receive intelligence information from ECMM and
6 UN monitors.
7 The witness attended four international peace negotiations as a
8 delegate of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. The purpose of these peace
9 negotiations was to try to reach a peaceful settlement of the dispute
10 between Croatia
11 time a delegation from the RSK attended a conference abroad, the RSK
12 delegation would have to go to Belgrade
13 be briefed by representatives of the Serbian government. Belgrade
14 not want any settlement of issues that divided the RSK Serbs and the
15 Croatian government. The witness testifies that his delegation was
16 instructed in Belgrade
17 technical problem, just to delay an agreement being reached. Belgrade
18 had given very strict instructions to the delegation that the political
19 side of the delegation was not to reach any agreement on an autonomy
20 plan. Even when it became obvious near the end that the RSK could not
21 survive, Belgrade
22 in good faith. Instead the delegation was continuously instructed to
23 obstruct fruitful negotiations and to delay. The witness states that
24 there was a standing policy in the RSK to force Croats from the Krajina.
25 Each corps within the RSK army was expected to have units available to do
1 dirty jobs towards this end. It was tasked with targeting Croat
2 civilians and creating a climate of fear. According to the witness, the
3 existence of the RSK was dependant upon the Serb population believing
4 that they could never live with the Croats and anyone challenging this
5 proposition was seen as a threat to the RSK government.
6 By 1995, life in the Krajina had become even more difficult for
7 people living there. It seemed as if everyone had gone crazy. Every
8 dispute began being settled with guns. The problem was compounded by the
9 total militarization of the population. Every male between the ages of
10 18 and 65 was mobilized. Everyone was armed and everyone was required by
11 law to be in uniform all the time, whether they were on duty or not. The
12 total militarization and the climate of fear created by the RSK
13 government combined to oppress people, and violence became the norm. Of
14 all Serb losses in the Krajina between 1991 and 1995, the witness
15 estimates that 80 per cent were the result of Serb-on-Serb violence.
16 The night before Operation Storm, a European Union monitor named
17 Bent Jenssen had obtained the HV's plans for attack in Operation Storm
18 and passed those plans to the witness. The witness immediately forwarded
19 this information to the ARSK Main Staff in Knin.
20 During Operation Storm, the witness states that panic set in
21 among the civilian population in Sector North when they realized that
22 there was nothing that could stop Croatian troops. There was a universal
23 feeling that when the HV retook the area, they would be out for revenge
24 after what had happened to the Croats in 1991. The panic was fostered by
1 them in Kosovo and Serb-held areas of Bosnia and eastern Slovenia
2 was a well orchestrated plan, and the RSK government and military
3 contributed to the process by intentionally sowing panic among the
4 civilian population.
5 The witness states that the vast majority of Serbs had left well
6 before Croatian forces reached them. During Operation Storm, a number of
7 Serbs shot each other in disputes which arose over vehicles or property
8 as people prepared to flee. The witness says that people were so
9 terrorised by their own RSK government's propaganda that few would have
10 risked staying in Croatia
11 When the witness arrived Serbia
12 was directing RSK refugees to Kosovo. Men from the RSK aged 16 to 65
13 were arrested in Serbia
15 against the Croatian army.
16 Mr. President, that concludes my summary.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please, proceed.
18 MR. MISETIC:
19 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, just a few questions about your background. You
20 joined the Yugoslav army counterintelligence service in 1968?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. And can you tell us who Nicola Zimonja was to you, at that time?
23 A. Nicola Zimonja was the first contact I had with KOS, and we
24 stayed throughout my engagement with KOS as a point of contact.
25 Q. Was he your point of contact throughout your tenure working in
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. After 1990, when you joined the RSK, did you have any
4 relationship to Nick Zimonja?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What was Nikola Zimonja in the RSK?
7 A. I don't really believe that he any appointments as officer of RSK
8 army because he was JNA. But he would come to -- to the field quite
10 Q. Where would he come from?
11 A. Belgrade
12 Q. And was he still KOS
13 A. Absolutely.
14 Q. You were RSK, ARSK at that time; correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Working in the ARSK, how is it -- were you working for
17 Mr. Zimonja as well while you were in the ARSK?
18 A. I'd rather like to look at it and say I was working for the
19 Yugoslav government, instead of working for one individual person. But
20 he was my handler, so all the information that I had to supply went
21 through him.
22 Q. Let me make sure we're talking about the same time-period.
23 Between 1991 and 1995, were you working -- did you consider
24 yourself working for the Yugoslav government?
25 A. Well, the Yugoslav army.
1 Q. Okay. So -- but your official title was what?
2 A. A liaison officer of 21st Corps.
3 Q. Of the?
4 A. RSK.
5 Q. So can you tell us why were you presenting yourself publicly as
6 working for the ARSK but privately you considered yourself working for
7 the Yugoslav army?
8 A. It was not matter of presenting oneself. The official situation
9 that I was employed as an officer of RSK, it was the one that was
10 maintained so that my access to the international community was made even
11 easier or possible. I could not very well present myself as an officer
12 of JNA at that time, since the JNA officially already withdrew from the
14 Q. Okay. In your statement at page 7 you mention Toso Pajic. Can
15 you tell the Court what your relationship was to Toso Pajic, as well as
16 what he was during Operation Storm?
17 A. My work with Toso Pajic was on a daily base throughout my stay in
18 Krajina. He was named as a liaison officer for the police of the RSK.
19 He became the minister of interiors later on. He is a career police
20 officer, and yet he worked for the SDB of Serbia all of this time.
21 Q. Okay. In your statement you talk about -- actually in the
22 Milosevic trial at transcript page 12337 to 38, you talk about that
23 relationship between Toso Pajic and Jovica Stanisic who was the head of
24 the SDB in Serbia
25 know that Mr. Pajic was working for Mr. Stanisic as part of the SDB?
1 A. My understanding that it was a very close relationship because I
2 was present on several occasions in Mr. Pajic' office when Mr. Pajic made
3 the right calls to Mr. Stanisic informing him of certain things that were
4 happening on the day. So there was a constant traffic of information, if
5 you like, between Mr. Pajic and Mr. Stanisic at the time. And when I
6 eventually ended up back in Serbia
7 of SDB Serbia already which lead me to understand that he was working for
8 them much earlier than it was presented to us.
9 Q. You say when we got back to Serbia
10 Operation Storm?
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. So Mr. Pajic, after Operation Storm, went to work for
13 Mr. Stanisic?
14 A. Or the SDB Serbia, yes.
15 I'll make this clear. He worked for Mr. Stanisic before, but it
16 was made official after we returned to Belgrade.
17 Q. Okay.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel and witness pause between
19 questions and answers for the interpreters, please.
20 MR. MISETIC: I'm sorry.
21 THE WITNESS: Sorry.
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. Turning your attention to page 10 of your statement. This is the
24 subject of the obstruction of the work of the ECMM.
25 Now, you say in the statement:
1 "Our sole objective was to obstruct the work of the ECMM, and
2 later, of the UN. We did everything to keep them from finding out the
3 truth, and we repeatedly supplied them with misinformation. It was
4 amazing to us how often they believed what we were saying. But if you
5 keep repeating the same lies again and again, it seems as if anyone would
6 eventually conclude that it must be true, that no one could lie so often
7 and so consistently."
8 Can you give us an example of what type of misinformation, for
9 example, you might provide to the ECMM or the UN as part of your job.
10 A. The first one that comes to mind would be how the Croatian
11 nationals are living peacefully within the RSK; specifically in Sector
12 North. We kept one village intact. It was a Croatian village, not too
13 far from Topusko, maybe three or four kilometres away. And we have spent
14 considerable time making sure that nothing happens to those guys, for PR
15 reasons, obviously, not because we liked them extremely or -- yeah. It
16 was just a matter of if any international -- member of international
17 community would come in then we show this village and say, See. These
18 guys are living here; they don't mind. Nothing is happening to them.
19 That would be one of the instances.
20 The other instances would be if the ECMM because they would -- at
21 the time -- I need to explain this. At the time the members of the ECMM
22 were not allowed to stay overnight in RSK at the beginning. They would
23 return to Zagreb
24 And usually the night before, they would leave, they would give us the
25 plans for the next day. For example, visiting a certain area which gave
1 us all night to decide whether it is okay for them to see this or not.
2 If the decision was, no, we shouldn't take them there, then we would come
3 up with a reason why we can't take them the next morning. And that would
4 be very easy to organise because we just create an incident between the
5 forces of RSK and forces of Croatia
6 observers would be our witness if something did happen the previous
7 night, and since of the sensitivity of the area, we cannot take them
8 there. That would be one of the things.
9 Q. Would part of your job or part of this misinformation include
10 trying to conceal locations of your heavy weaponry?
11 A. Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, you had to consider that the roads
12 which the members of the ECMM motorcade would be taken through were
13 already fairly far away from the actual positions of the ARSK artillery.
14 And we had to make sure they stray away from the convoy itself, so it was
15 always escorted by the police and military police at the same time.
16 Q. Okay. Now on the same page, page 10, you say that "every
17 interpreter working with the UN and ECMM in the Krajina was reporting
18 back to the SDB and was on our payroll."
19 My question to you is: How is it that the RSK was able to
20 control who the interpreters would be for the UN and the ECMM?
21 A. It was matter of employment. It was very obvious that the
22 foreign nationals would need locals to work, whether it was a dishwasher
23 or cleaners or interpreters or whatever happens. We just applied a very
24 simple rule which is acceptable to the west, they would never question
25 it, and that's that we need to have a background check of every potential
1 employee of the UN, being a local. The UN themselves were not very
2 willing, but they accepted it as such. So we would get, for example, the
3 list of people who were applying for the jobs, and then we talk to them
4 first. First we would appeal to their patriotism, if you like, that is
5 their duty to any information they come across they should supply to us.
6 And I carried of those meetings and instructions and make absolutely sure
7 that they don't make decision what's important, what is not important.
8 Every information they would get across should be given to us; we will
9 analyse it and decide whether it was important or not. But I never
10 believed the unimportant informations, every information had its own
11 weight and importance.
12 So once we organised that part, it was easy selling from there on
13 because every employee was actually reporting to us.
14 We were mostly concerned with interpreters because I physically
15 could not be present at every meeting we had in my AOR, which is 70
16 kilometres long and about 20 kilometres wide. And there was always a
17 meeting going on somewhere, whether it's a Red Cross, or ECMM, or
18 military personnel of the UN, and they would use their own interpreters.
19 But I made it absolutely clear that the minutes of the meeting and
20 whatever resolutions had been made, end up on my desk the very same
22 Q. With respect to interpreters and local staff that didn't want to
23 provide information to Serbian intelligence, what methods would you use
24 to try to coerce them to working with you?
25 A. Well, honestly, I have to say it was unheard of that somebody
1 would refuse to work with the government -- not government, the military,
2 or whether the SDB or the KOS
3 cases where they say, oh, no don't lead me into it. I just don't want to
4 do it. They would pressurised, and if they still refused, they would not
5 get a job, as simple as that.
6 Q. How could you ensure that they wouldn't get a job?
7 A. I think the easiest way was to have them mobilised. If you have
8 enough free time to go and work for the UN, you have free time to be on
9 the front line.
10 Q. I would like to show you now trial Exhibit D701.
11 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar.
12 Q. Now, I showed this to you yesterday during our proofing. This is
13 a 1993 document about one RSK intelligence operation called Horizont.
14 Now, is the -- are the types of activities here, in terms of
15 background checks on the interpreters, drivers, liaison officers,
16 et cetera, attempts to liaise with UN members who demonstrate a certain
17 bias towards us, et cetera, was that part of your overall understanding
18 of what types of activity, Serbian intelligence was engaging in?
19 A. Yes. And I think I also mentioned that I never heard of action
20 Horizont. So I never seen the document before, but what it does
21 describe -- it describe what is I was doing, in my sector.
22 Q. Okay.
23 MR. MISETIC: And, Mr. Registrar, if we could Exhibit D702,
24 please. If we could go to page 3 in the English. Towards the bottom.
25 Q. Again, I showed this to you yesterday. These are some operative
1 actions directed against international organisations. If we look at the
2 bottom, Operative Action Geneva directed against the EU Regional Centre
3 in Knin.
4 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page, please.
5 Q. This is up in the 21st Corps Operative Action Rim, or Operative
6 Action Rome
7 international organisations in Sector South with headquarters in Topusko.
8 Now, these types of operative actions, was this consistent with
9 what types of activities you were doing, as part of your job in the RSK?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Okay.
12 MR. HEDARALY: I think that there may be a mistake in the
13 translation when it says "in Sector South with headquarters in Topusko,"
14 if we could just check the original, because obviously Topuska is in
15 Sector North; it's a little strange.
16 MR. MISETIC: We'll check that, Mr. President.
17 THE WITNESS: If I might interject. The original actually says
18 Sector North.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we see that. But, at the same time, it is ...
20 it's not just Sector South, but south between --
21 MR. MISETIC: North is in quotation marks, as well, in the
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yeah.
24 MR. MISETIC:
25 Q. Now can you tell us the reporting chain when you would get
1 information from interpreters or local staff, you would prepare a report
2 and send that report where?
3 A. At the end of the day let us assume there were seven meetings
4 spread across the Sector North and I would get those reports. I will
5 compile those reports, draw out which I consider to be of significant
6 importance to us and write another report based on the reports which I
7 have received, and I would hand them to Colonel Zimonja. Colonel Zimonja
8 would read them and make a final decision who else get them. Whether the
9 police would get them through Toso Pajic, and if some military concerns,
10 then Cedo Bulat, the commanding officer of the 21st Corps, would get as
11 copy as well. Or if he says, Nobody gets nothing, that was the end of
12 the story for me.
13 Q. Okay.
14 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could go back to D701 for just
15 one moment, please.
16 Q. Now, the second sentence of this operative action says:
17 "The action shall be conducted in the entire territory of the
18 Republic of Serb
19 activities that you were engaged in were the types of intelligence
20 activities that were being conducted throughout the Krajina?
21 A. My belief was, yes, it was exactly the same in every sector.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 Let's turn to intelligence or information gathering before
24 Operation Storm. Before I get to that was a copy of your report --
25 reports that you would gather from the field, would that also go to
2 A. I'm sorry.
3 Q. The reports that you would prepare on the basis of information
4 that you were getting from local staff, would a copy of those reports go
5 to Belgrade
6 A. Automatically because Colonel Zimonja was there. So he would
7 report it to his own [indiscernible]. But, again, we have to distinguish
8 what we considered to be information of vital importance for Belgrade
9 know or what was of a local character that really doesn't have to leave
10 the area.
11 Q. Now turning to the issue of Operation Storm, in the Milosevic
12 case, you testified at trial transcript page 12452 that an ECMM monitor
13 named Bent Jensen informed you prior to Operation Storm of the time,
14 strength of the attack, and direction of the attack that the Croatian
15 army was planning.
16 Can you tell us the circumstances around which Mr. Jensen
17 approached you. Where did it happen, when did it happen?
18 A. We provided Mr. Jensen with a house which is only about a
19 100 yards away from my own house. So it was very easy for him to just
20 walk down without being seen that he's coming to me, and vise versa, I
21 could go to him. I didn't have to hide, but sometimes we felt maybe it's
22 not a very good idea somebody else seen him coming to my home.
23 On that particular evening he walked in, and he was rather shaky,
24 and he said he has got some extremely informations for me. And then he
25 by word of the month he told me about the time of the attack, which
1 proves to be correct, the strength of the attack, direction of the
2 attack. I've wrote it all down. He didn't give any documents, he just
3 verbally informed me about it, but I did write it down. And then I
4 [indiscernible] myself, took my caravan straight to the HQ, and submitted
5 this report to the HQ of 21st Corps.
6 I had a commanding officer which was not up to his task, really,
7 so I took it upon myself to send a telex to Knin HQ. This is the last
8 what I heard from them because the following morning the attack did
10 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could have --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness come closer to the
12 microphone, please.
13 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if we could please have Exhibit D923
14 on the screen, please.
15 Q. This is General Mrksic's report after Operation Storm from the
16 26th of August.
17 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn to page 5 of 29 on the English.
18 Mr. Registrar, it's the first sentence under section 2 which would be
19 page 3 of the B/C/S.
20 Q. Now, in his report of the 26th of August, General Mrksic reports:
21 "At 1400 hours on 3 August 1995, the Main Staff learned that the
22 aggression would commence at 0500 hours on 4 August. All the commanders
23 and unit commanders were informed about the aggression's commencement
25 Does this time, 1400 hours on 3 August, is that possibly around
1 the time-period that you sent your telex from Sector North down to Knin
3 A. Quite possible.
4 Q. Okay.
5 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
6 Q. I'd like to show you an organigram that you used with the
7 Prosecution in the Milosevic case.
8 MR. MISETIC: And this is going to be 65 ter 1D2685, please.
9 Q. Now, Mr. Lazarevic, this is an organigram, I believe, which you
10 put together; correct?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. Now, this organigram attempts to portray the relationships
13 between RSK politicians, the SDB of Serbia, the Yugoslav army, and the
14 ARSK. And if you could just in your own words try to explain what the
15 relationships are between all these entities.
16 A. Well, if we look at the screen here, then I -- on the left-hand
17 side you have the RSK politician, below is RSK MUP, and above is SDB of
19 personally with. So you will see that they are all interconnected.
20 Below you see the Arkan's forces. Now both of these -- there is a line
21 going directly to the SDB of the Serbia
22 Colonel Bozovic, in the top square just below Frenki Simatovic and Jovica
23 Stanisic, are the commanding officers of the special units of police of
25 see in centre of the square, Pauk HQ Bosnia.
1 Q. Let's stop right there for one moment. Can you explain to the
2 Trial Chamber what was the Pauk HQ Bosnia?
3 A. Pauk HQ Bosnia was the HQ which combined the forces of Fikret
4 Abdic of the western Bosnia
5 Serbian police on the ground, the members of the 21st Corps on the
7 Q. 21st Corps of?
8 A. RSK.
9 Q. RSK, okay.
10 A. It was a joint operation.
11 Q. And now if you could continue -- let me ask you some questions
13 What is the relationship between the SDB of Serbia and the RSK
14 MUP, in your organigram?
15 A. Well, you had the representative of -- let's use the source word
16 [B/C/S spoken], DB, on which head is Milos Pajic, who is officer of the
17 RSK police. And you have Toso Pajic who later on became a minister of
18 interiors. Now both of these people were in direct connection or direct
19 line of communication with Jovica Stanisic in Belgrade. Or let us assume
20 Jovica Stanisic was visiting his troops in RSK, he would make a conduct
21 with these two people as well, on the ground. So directly connected.
22 Q. Okay. Now, let's look at the box that says "SDB Serbia."
23 Underneath them you have Arkan and his forces. But within the box you
24 have Frenki Simatovic and then Colonel Ulemek Legija, and then Colonel
25 Bozovic or --
1 A. Bozovic.
2 Q. Colonel Bozovic. Can you explain what the forces are commanded
3 by Simatovic, Legija, and Bozovic?
4 A. The forces under their commands are the members of the special
5 police of the DB of Serbia, which were deployed in Pauk and RSK at the
6 time. The commanding officers were Colonel Bozovic and Colonel Unik
8 Q. Okay.
9 A. Frenki Simatovic headed HQ in Petrova Gora, which is within the
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. The other two guys, they were on the other side in Bosnia with
13 their HQ, where they are directly responsible to Frenki Simatovic in
15 Q. Okay. Now page -- while we still have this on the screen, at
16 page 13 of your statement, you say in the third full paragraph:
17 "Surla and Karan sent all my reports to Zimonja in Belgrade
18 the tapes that I made of meetings were forwarded to a subordinate of
19 Stanisic who I only knew as Medo."
20 A. Actually I handed those tapes personally to a person who
21 introduced himself to me as a Medo, and that was within the building of
22 the SDB in Belgrade
23 Q. Now --
24 A. Specific tape, something to do with the German ambassador.
25 Q. But I'm interested in Medo.
1 A. This is only time I met this gentleman. I'm not aware of his
2 real name. He was introduced to me as Medo; hey, I'm Medo.
3 Q. Have you heard of an individual named Slobodan Medic?
4 A. I did hear of him, but I never saw him. Never saw him. Never
5 had any contact with him.
6 Q. Have you ever heard of a unit known as the Skorpions?
7 A. Only what was available through the media.
8 Q. Okay. Do you know that Slobodan Medic was commander of the
10 A. I did find out that later on.
11 Q. As someone familiar with nicknames, Medic Medo, and I understand
12 this is just trying to help us out, you don't know for as a fact, but
13 could someone named Medic have a nickname like Medo?
14 A. Quite possible. Any large person, his physical, huge in
15 appearance might as well called Medo. Medo is a kind of diminutive for a
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, could I have Exhibit D948, please.
18 Q. I'm going to take you some telephone intercepts during
19 Operation Storm, Mr. Lazarevic, and see if you can help us decipher who
20 is on the phone based on your knowledge that you have expressed in your
21 witness statement and in your testimony today.
22 These are conversations from the Knin HQ on the evening of the
23 4th of August.
24 Now this is a conversation between Medo and Zezelj, and then
25 later on with General Mrksic in Knin.
1 And if you look -- in the first part of the conversation is this
2 short conversation between Medo, identified and the end in the transcript
3 and Zezelj whose with the Z in the diacritic. And then at a few lines
4 down, approximately ten, G, who is General Mrksic appears on the line.
5 And he says, Hello, Medo. And It says, You alive, and goes on. A few
6 lines down, Mrksic says to Medo:
7 "The rest, considering the battles is fine, there was a little
8 bit something up there in Velebit. Your guys did it well. There is one
9 of your guys wounded up there?
10 Now, it seems that Medo is someone who has men under his command
11 based on this conversation.
12 A. Apparently reading from this, yes, I would say so.
13 Q. And based on your knowledge of Operation Storm, this battle near
14 the Velebit that's taking place between the RSK and forces under -- under
15 the HV special police. Would you know that?
16 A. No, I wouldn't really know. I would like to point out something
17 to the learned friend.
18 Q. Okay.
19 A. At the time that all this is happening, I had my hands full of
20 happenings in the Sector North. Not all the reports from the other
21 sectors would come to my desk at this particular time; I'm talking
22 August 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. So this what I'm looking at now, I
23 can only take it at face value.
24 Q. Okay.
25 A. And by analysing it, yes, I would say are you probably correct,
1 but I would not state my reputation on it.
2 Q. Based on your knowledge of all these different units, is it
3 possible that Medo here is a reference to --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
5 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, I think the witness has clearly
6 stated his lack of knowledge on the issue.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic had not yet finished his question, as a
8 matter of fact. But, Mr. Lazarevic, Could you please wait before you
9 answer the question.
10 THE WITNESS: I apologise.
11 JUDGE ORIE: No, no, I'm not -- it's not a reason for apology.
12 But Mr. Hedaraly objected to a question which had not been yet been fully
13 phrased yet.
14 So Mr. Misetic now formulates his question, you not answer it,
15 and then we'll first rule on the objection.
16 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I will ask a few more questions and
17 then get back to that question.
18 JUDGE ORIE: So you at this moment withdraw that question, and --
19 yes, well, that matter has then been resolved.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. MISETIC: If we go down a few lines on the same page,
22 General Mrksic says -- again, this is 2158 hours on the 4th of August:
23 "Well, we will defend Knin tomorrow and the day after tomorrow in
24 any way we can."
25 And if we can turn the page, please.
1 He says: "Knin is empty, but we will defend." Medo says:
2 "Okay, your friends are here at my place, and they want to say hello."
3 PS, a friend X and Mrksic participate in the further course of the
5 So Medo hands the phone to someone who is identified as X, and I
6 will ask you some questions. Maybe you can help us out with this.
7 But there's long conversation then about the strategy to employ
8 in defending Knin. X in the middle of the page says:
9 "Don't wait for him down there but above Knin. Don't wait for
10 him down there, Mrksa. Mind that you keep Gracac."
11 And then it goes on.
12 If we turn the page, see who X might be. On page 3, towards the
13 bottom, please.
14 Third line from the bottom. Now the transcript records it as
15 General Mrksic saying: "Okay, okay, Feki, we are hanging in."
16 Based on your knowledge of Mr. Simatovic, could that in fact be,
17 Okay, okay, Frenki, we are hanging in?
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
19 MR. HEDARALY: I'm sorry, Your Honour, there's a few things now.
20 First of all, he is leading the witness through this. If he wants the
21 witness to read the document and then see if he can identify the people,
22 that's one thing. To give his own interpretation of what it says and
23 then ask the witness.
24 Secondly, the witness has stated that he has no knowledge of this
25 conversation, anything that happened in that area on that day, so to that
1 extent, it calls for speculation as well.
2 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Not necessarily. But the question was not a bit
4 leading but was -- you more or less whispered a possible answer in the
5 ear of the witness which is not what you're supposed to do, Mr. Misetic.
6 MR. MISETIC: That's fine. We'll tie that up with the next
7 conversation, Mr. President.
8 Q. He goes on, Hey, Mrksa, we are packing the items for you down
9 there this evening." Then next line says: "Why didn't you do that two
10 days ago?"
11 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page, please.
12 Q. The first line X says: "Well, ask the one whom you had a meeting
13 with." And then there's a line in the middle: "Okay, then, Feki, see
15 Now that's at 2158, and let's go to the conversation that takes
16 place ten minutes later, which is 1D2706, please.
17 Now first to address Mr. Hedaraly's objection, if we could go to
18 the bottom of the first page in the English.
19 Now this -- in this conversation which is 12 minutes later,
20 Mrksic says: "I spoke to Frenki." Now how many Frenkis did you know in
21 your entire life, Mr. Lazarevic?
22 A. Only one.
23 Q. Who is that?
24 A. Frenki Simatovic.
25 Q. Okay. Had you ever heard of any other person named Frenki in any
1 political or military circles in Serbia, Bosnia, or the RSK?
2 A. Of Serbian origin, no.
3 Q. Okay. Now, this conversation is -- at the top, purports to be a
4 conversation between Milan Martic and Mile Mrksic with a certain Jole
5 from SRY. Now they refer to him as Jole throughout the conversation
6 except -- if we could turn the page, please. Scroll down to the bottom.
7 Above the 73, no sound. One, two, the third-speaking person
8 there. M-r-k. They call him Jole through the conversation, and then
9 towards the end Mrksic says: "Jovica, don't bother."
10 Now based on what you testified in your statement your knowledge
11 of the structures of the RSK, the relationships, how many Jovicas did you
12 know that were in positions of authority in Serbia, Bosnia
13 A. Only one.
14 Q. Who is that?
15 A. Jovica Stanisic.
16 Q. Okay.
17 MR. MISETIC: If we could go back, please.
18 Q. Now, this is the conversation between Martic, Mrksic, and a
19 certain Jole. And if -- there's a beginning part of that conversation,
20 I'm interested in the bottom. Mrksic says: "I spoke to Frenki, Meda.
21 They are coming; they are leaving tomorrow. It is 200 people, but the
22 important thing is to defend Knin tomorrow."
23 If we turn the page, please.
24 "Hang in there tomorrow. I'll be there the day after tomorrow."
25 And then towards the bottom above the line that says: "Jovica
1 don't bother," Jole says: "I will gather around who I have here, and
2 I'll be on my way there."
3 Now, based on what you've testified so far about the only person
4 you know named Frenki would be Frenki Simatovic, and the only person in
5 authority that you know named Jovica is Jovica Stanisic. They talk about
6 200 people coming. Who would they have at their disposal based on your
7 knowledge that would amount to 200 people coming to the area?
8 A. That would be the 200 people which were deployed in RSK in the HQ
9 of Frenki Simatovic.
10 Q. And those 200 people, based on your knowledge, who were they
11 under the direct command of?
12 A. Jovica Stanisic.
13 Q. But --
14 A. Direct command, Frenki Simatovic.
15 Q. And is this now -- in the organigram you said there were two
16 units under the SDB's control, one which -- one line which led to Arkan,
17 the other line which led to Milorad Ulemek Legija. Which of those two
18 would this refer to?
19 A. Ulemek units.
20 Q. Legija?
21 A. Yeah.
22 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I tender 1D2076 into evidence,
24 JUDGE ORIE: And that's all of the transcripts on the
25 [Overlapping speakers] ...
1 MR. MISETIC: [Overlapping speakers] ...
2 JUDGE ORIE: Two pages.
3 Mr. Hedaraly.
4 MR. HEDARALY: I think that is an extract from a larger 65 ter
5 number, so there is no objection.
6 JUDGE ORIE: No objection.
7 MR. MISETIC: Yes, it used to be 65 ter 2814, which is 150 pages
8 excerpt that we've taken these two out.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Other Defence counsel no objection either.
10 Mr. Registrar, that would be number?
11 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1463, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: D1463 is admitted into evidence.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Now, let's talk a little bit about your presence at peace
16 negotiations, and if we could have Exhibit D922 on the screen, please.
17 Now, this is at least one -- I don't want to call it, protocol of
18 the members of both parties that attended the delegation, indicating your
19 presence as an interpreter of the Serb delegation and Kosta Novakovic
20 being the head of the delegation.
21 Now can you explain why -- what your role was there attending
22 these conferences? It says officially your role is as an interpreter. I
23 believe you have clarified that in your statement, but perhaps you can
24 explain it a bit further.
25 A. If I remember correctly, this meeting, the limit of the numbers
1 of the delegates was very limited. To make me a part of the delegation
2 and yet to fulfill my role as a representative of KOS during the meeting,
3 I was named interpreter. So I became the part of official delegation
5 But if I look at it, all these four people here on the Serbian
6 delegation, they're all KOS
7 Q. How do you know Kosta Novakovic is a KOS member?
8 A. Colonel Zimonja told me.
9 Q. Okay.
10 A. You have to realize, I mean, none of the these people carries any
11 specific badge on their uniforms to identify them as being KOS or DB or
12 whatever. So you rely on information given to you by your superior. And
13 I had no reason to doubt Colonel Zimonja if he told that
14 Colonel Novakovic is a KOS
15 Q. Do you recall when Colonel Zimonja told you this?
16 A. When this list was formed.
17 Q. Okay. Actually, you jumped ahead of me a little bit, but let me
18 show you --
19 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, if I could have 1D2074 on the
20 screen, please.
21 If we could go to the --
22 Q. First of all, while this is on the screen, that is a picture of
23 you, obviously, and who is the person in camouflage there?
24 A. Toso Pajic.
25 Q. Could we go to the fifth picture, please.
1 Now, can you tell us, who is in this picture?
2 A. It is me there, with the red beret on the head and next to me is
3 Colonel Kosta Novakovic.
4 Q. How many times did you meet with Kosta Novakovic?
5 A. Over a period of five years, maybe half a dozen times.
6 Q. Who else was present when Colonel Zimonja told you that
7 Mr. Novakovic was a member of KOS
8 A. Nobody. Just me and Zimonja.
9 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I tender these pictures into
10 evidence at this time. And there are, I think, three others that we
11 will -- sorry. There are six in total we will come back to the four
12 during the direct.
13 JUDGE ORIE: I think you already want the whole series.
14 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. From practical purposes [Overlapping speakers]
17 MR. HEDARALY: We can have them MFI now, and then when they go
18 through it, we can have them tender them formally when the witness
19 confirms that they are his pictures. It seems --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Whole series to be --
21 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, the pictures have been authenticated
22 in the statement, so -- and they were produced to us by the Office of the
24 JUDGE ORIE: They are -- you would say yes, although he is asked
25 about who appears, although the photographs are not identified as such in
1 the statement itself. I think, at least at the end --
2 MR. MISETIC: They are, Mr. President. Because they are
3 numbered, and the numbers correspond to the numbers in the statements,
4 and the numbers, I believe --
5 JUDGE ORIE: And then still the numbers ...
6 [Defence counsel confer]
7 MR. MISETIC: I will get back to this and make sure that they are
8 numbered in a way that with tie them to the specific number that he has
9 used in the witness statement. We are only tendering six out of the 90
10 pictures that he references in the statement.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. These six selected pictures will receive a
12 number, but they will be MFIed until we have dealt with all of them and
13 that a decision on admission will be taken. It's --
14 MR. MISETIC: Why don't I go through them right now. That's
16 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, if we could take a look at picture 2, please.
17 Can you tell us where this picture was taken.
18 A. During one of the meetings in Norway.
19 Q. And was this while you were a member of a Serb delegation
20 attending a peace conference?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you tell us who some of the people are in the picture?
23 MR. MISETIC: If we could blow it up a little bit please.
24 A. There's me on the left. Next to me Emir Rakic [phoen] who was
25 the minister of defence of RSK at the time. Next to him, third from the
1 left, is the guy to do something with security. The lady in the middle
2 was a private secretary of president - then - Goran Hadzic, who is the
3 guy with the beard. Gentleman behind Hadzic, again something to do with
4 security, personal security of President Hadzic. And I have no
5 recollection of the gentleman on the last position there.
6 Q. Okay. If we could go to the next picture, please.
7 Now do you recall who these individuals are?
8 A. I don't remember them anymore by the name. But we found this to
9 be a rather laughing matter in my own HQ because it's so easy to actually
10 map the positions of the UNPROFOR. Just pretending to be nice to the
11 guys and let's have a shot together.
12 Q. A shot of what?
13 A. Well, three of us, but basically I wanted the map behind it, not
15 Q. If you could explain this a little bit --
16 A. This is taken notice UN HQ. This is their operational room. The
17 map which they have on the wall would have all the markings where the
18 units are placed on both sides of the border.
19 Q. Okay.
20 A. We wanted that picture. And I know these guys wanted their photo
21 taken with me. So I suggested -- this is a nice place, you know, we got
22 a map behind us, you know, and so you can see on the faces they are
23 thrilled. And these guys are colonels, too.
24 Q. Okay.
25 MR. MISETIC: If we could go to the next picture, please.
1 Q. Again now these -- the people in white, where are they from?
2 A. This is taken during the presidency of the EC by the Greeks. And
3 these guys, both Greeks, representatives of the Greek government within
4 the ECMM. And this is a kind of, I don't know, a picnic day between us
5 and Greeks.
6 Q. Okay. And I believe the next one we have seen, so if we could go
7 to picture 6, please.
8 Do you recall what picture this is?
9 A. Some kind of a banquet somewhere in RSK in the northern sector,
10 like, I don't know. Every month some of the battalions would have a
11 special day, is a day of the republic, and they have this, and they have
12 that, and they would invite officers from the RSK. Now I was always the
13 one to attend those.
14 So right here you see -- oh, yeah, I remember. Now I remember
15 because I see the both guys. The guy sitting next to me on my left is
16 outgoing commanding officer of the Jordanian battalion. And next to him
17 is the incoming commanding officer of the Jordanian battalion. And the
18 colonel; he's a polish colonel; he was a sector commander at the time.
19 MR. MISETIC: Now, Mr. President, I believe that is complete, and
20 we tender them.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Series of six photograph, Mr. Hedaraly.
22 MR. HEDARALY: No objections.
23 JUDGE ORIE: No objections from other Defence teams.
24 Mr. Registrar, that would be number ...
25 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D1464, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
2 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. At page 14 of your statement you say that the delegations and now
4 we have seen that you were in Geneva
5 reference in your statement.
6 At page 14 you discuss having -- that the delegation had to
7 travel to Belgrade
8 international peace conferences. Can you tell us a little bit about what
9 you were told during your briefings in Belgrade?
10 A. First we -- you have to know something, that these delegations
11 were split in two separate bodies.
12 Are we under attack?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Isn't it your job to know?
14 Please proceed.
15 THE WITNESS: It was a military part of delegation and a
16 political side of delegation. Now the military part is always the one
17 that I was a part of. We would meet with the Croatian military and
18 discuss purely military things. Either a -- DMZ zones or how far we
19 should pull the artillery back, how close should the units be close the
20 border itself, and things like that. And we always managed to get to
21 agreement very, very quickly because he are military guys; they have very
22 brief and concise, and they know what they are doing. The political side
23 of the delegation is one had to be instructed over and over again, what
24 they can agree and what they cannot not agree on. And it was maybe even
25 simpler for them to understand if they were told, Do not agree on
1 anything. So basically our preparations for the meeting, whether it is
2 in Geneva
3 instructions again, stressing the position that we cannot agree. And if
4 we are cornered during the meeting that we actually had to give an answer
5 yes or no, and yet not ready to give our open no to it, we will almost
6 have a little stipulation there. Yes, basically we agreed to it, but it
7 has to be submitted to the people's assembly to make a final decision on
8 it, meaning we have to go back to RSK, present it to the parliament, and
9 if parliament decide it is okay, that our signatures given in Vienna
10 example, are valid. But if the parliament decided no, it's no.
11 Q. Okay. You indicate at page 15 that two of these briefings were
12 conducted by Jovica Stanisic. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. Did you come to form an understanding as to what was the
15 purpose of -- of not agreeing to anything?
16 A. Well, none of the people who briefed us would actually tell us
17 openly why we are not to agree. But analysing the situation before,
18 after, during, it was very simple to figure out what is the real reason.
19 The real reason is to keep tension high in RSK and take the tension away,
20 or rather focus on things which were happening in Belgrade at the time.
21 And that is the time when Milosevic was fortifying his position, if you
23 Q. Okay. Did there ever come a time when -- that you were aware
24 that the position of Belgrade
25 had changed in any material way?
1 A. Not really. For all I knew, was pointless to go back and listen
2 to the same thing over again. Because I know the instructions is going
3 to be the same.
4 Q. Which was?
5 A. Don't agree on anything.
6 Q. Okay.
7 A. But sometimes the Croatian side made it easy not to agree. For
8 example, when they asked us to pull out artillery pieces 25 kilometres
9 from [indiscernible] Kupa river, they would place us in the vicinity of
10 Bihac, which is like another country.
11 Q. Right.
12 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I note that it's 10.30, and this is
13 a good time for a break.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It is time for a break. And perhaps in order
15 to avoid anyone at any later stage reading our transcripts, will be fully
16 flabbergasted by what was said, when the witness said, Are we under
17 attack, this was in response to some loud bangs which could be heard in
18 the courtroom, and that's what made him -- triggered him to say this.
19 And after my response, there was at least some laughter in the courtroom.
20 We will have a break and we will resume at five to 11.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue, two very small procedural
25 The Chamber has received a copy of the agreement on
1 confidentiality of 65 ter material. We are looking into the matter, but
2 most likely the parties will be invited to -- to file the agreement so
3 that it's on the record. But before doing this, we'd like to look at it
4 a second time.
5 The other issue is, witness AG61. The Chamber has received some
6 information, I take it, Mr. Misetic, that you have received it as well.
7 And the suggestion would be that it might be good to get relevant
8 documents in cooperation with VWS, so as to have a more solid basis for
9 whatever decision is to be taken on that.
10 MR. MISETIC: I have no problem with that, Mr. President. I
11 think when I spoke to the witness, the issue was coming here versus
12 videolink because of the health issue and not -- not testifying at all.
13 Yes. So I would agree that if VW could assist us in determining the
14 status of the health --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I take it that you will be then be in touch
16 with VWS because it was said that there would be documents, and let's now
17 have a look at it and see what these documents tell us and what the
18 consequence would be.
19 MR. MISETIC: I will look into that. Mr. President, my
20 understanding of the e-mail was that the witness said he cannot afford
21 health care, and therefore it may be an issue of financing a medical exam
22 which I don't know what the procedure is, but we will deal with VWU.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, waiting-lists well-known in the territory we
24 are on at this moment as far as medical care is concerned, but financing,
25 of course, is another problem.
1 Let's try to find out what actually the situation.
2 Finally the Chamber was informed about some -- an issue about
3 broadcasting the court proceedings. The Chamber is not in a position to
4 give it any follow-up at this moment but the Chamber is informed about
6 Please proceed.
7 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, picking up where we left off last, I'd like to
9 turn your attention to the Pauk command.
10 MR. MISETIC: And if we could first have D923 on the screen
11 again, please.
12 If we could have page 2, please, in the English. The middle
14 Actually, I'm sorry, Mr. Registrar. Could we go back to the
15 first page, please.
16 Q. Now, there are two issues that I'm going to cover with you on the
17 basis of these two pages, so let's just cover them both right now. This
18 is again General Mrksic's report of 26 August 1995. And at the bottom of
19 the first page, General Mrksic reports:
20 "In June there was a day and night work on reorganizing the
21 existing military organisation and establishing new units out of military
22 conscripts who were being brought from the territory of the SRY. At the
23 so-called saint Vitus day parade, there were exhibited the potential
24 possibilities of the new military organisation."
25 And a bit later on I will show you a video from that parade. So
1 it's to ask you to identify people on the video.
2 "Strengthening of the" - if we could turn the page please -
3 "established organisation and making it capable of carrying out combat
4 activities required a minimum time-period of 2 to 3 months (the
5 reorganisation of the SVK, which had already started, was planned to
6 conclude until the beginning of October, at the latest)."
7 And if we skip a paragraph and go to the next paragraph.
8 "The operation Mac, or Sword 95, on the territory of western
10 successfully only if our units had been prepared to carry out, at the
11 same time, an attack operation of the operative level in the area of
12 western Bosnia
13 borders Republic of Croatia
14 "After ten days, the Operation Sword was stopped because of the
15 attack on Grahovo and the endangerment of Knin from the direction of the
16 Dinara mountains. The moves carried out were those the SVK was forced to
17 make in order to stabilize the front towards Knin after the fall of
19 And I would like you to -- to go into you into some details that
20 in your statement because the Operation Mac is some background about what
21 took place in Operation Strom. And going back to the Pauk command --
22 sorry, if we could turn to the page and let me show you something that
23 General Mrksic said in this report.
24 "The initiation of the operations against the 5th Muslim
25 Corps" -- which is the corps in Bihac; correct?
1 A. That is correct.
2 Q. "Without the necessary readiness particularly damaged the SVK
3 which was always, as if according to some rule, being pushed into
4 fighting for the territories of western Bosnia."
5 And we'll get to this issue of the SVK being pushed into fighting
6 for the territories of western Bosnia
7 this issue of the SVK's operations on the Bihac pocket. You told us
8 about the Pauk command. Do you recall an operation to take the Bihac
10 A. Yes, I do. And it happened earlier on.
11 Q. Okay.
12 A. It was a combined operation of a 5 Corps, two from Bosnia
13 Bosnian Serbian republic, and from our own parts, from Krajina.
14 Q. Within the Pauk command was there any involvement of any other
16 A. The Pauk consisted of the units from the western Bosnian troops
17 belonging to Fikret Abdic. The special units of police from Serbia
18 proper and the Arkan's Tigers.
19 Q. Okay. In the Milosevic case at trial transcript page 12321, you
20 said the operations would require consultation with Belgrade.
21 Now, why would operations require consultation with Belgrade
22 A. The magnitude of the attack could not be organised on a corps
23 level. It has to be organised by the general HQ in Belgrade because it
24 involved the troops from the Republika Srpska and Republic of Serbian
1 Q. Okay. Well, if it also involved as you just said the troops of
2 the -- I'm sorry, the units of Serbia
3 -- let me rephrase the question.
4 The troops of Serbia
5 operating in the Pauk command, who do they belong to?
6 A. Serbia
7 Q. Okay. So when you say RSK and the VRS, do you mean --
8 A. I'm talking a military part of it. The police itself, it's
9 entirely different thing. They would get their instructions from
10 Stanisic anyway.
11 Q. Do you know whether this operation required consultation with
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. How do you know?
15 A. From discussion taken in the operation room of my own corps,
16 within the commanding officers, the visiting officers from Pauk,
17 telephone conversations with the Belgrade HQ of the police and the -- and
18 the military.
19 Q. Based on your knowledge being in the HQ, let me show you
20 something else, which is, Mr. Registrar, 1D2674. This has been provided
21 to the Defence by the Office of the Prosecutor, and these are the likely
22 handwritten notes of Ratko Mladic covering 27 January 1995 through
23 5 September 1995
24 MR. MISETIC: And we would like to go to English page 201; and
25 B/C/S page 206, please.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, before we continue, you just referred
2 to the Milosevic transcript, to a page which at least is not one of the
3 printed out pages for me as being the selection. Is that --
4 MR. MISETIC: Mistake by me, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Because if it is, of course, part of the transcript,
6 then referring to it is referring to what is in evidence. If not, then,
7 of course, it could be considered to be leading, and Mr. Hedaraly did not
8 complain. But I would like to -- I didn't have this one on -- it starts
9 at 12336, but it could be that I've got the wrong portion printed out.
10 MR. HEDARALY: No, Your Honour. It was not part of it. I -- I
11 did note it. I did not object because it didn't seem to be a critical
12 matter, but it is not what was in evidence.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But I always like to know whether we are
14 referring to something which is in evidence or something which is not in
16 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I will move later to add that page
17 then to --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Not necessarily if Mr. Hedaraly does not -- if that
19 is reflected in that page, If you out it to the witness. It's just a
20 kind of a general reminder that if reference is made that it's always
21 clear whether it's reference to something which is or something which is
22 not in evidence.
23 MR. MISETIC: Sorry, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
25 MR. MISETIC:
1 Q. These are Mr. Mladic's notes - if I could get the - it says
3 between President Milosevic, Bulatovic, Perisic, and Mrksic. And SM,
4 likely Slobodan Milosevic.
5 "Now have you stopped the Croatian Muslim offensive, we helped
6 you, but we are at our last gasp. Republika Srpska is ensured, we must
7 seal it and place emphasis on the RSK and defend it."
8 If we could turn the page, please, two pages to the third page,
9 page 203, please.
10 There's a discussion:
11 "We must install Republika Srpska and then defend Republika
12 Srpska Krajina. What would you give them, I ask him?"
13 "Slobodan Milosevic: I would give them Vogosca, and Ilijas.
14 They need a link with Sarajevo
15 account of Fikret, I would not touch the enclaves, they are islands which
16 will run out?"
17 Now, there a reference to Fikret there. Based on your
18 experience, who might Fikret be?
19 A. Fikret Abdic.
20 Q. Okay. And looking at this, "we would large on account of
21 Fikret," what would you interpret that to mean?
22 A. It looks to me like he was swapping territories really. On
23 the --
24 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... Excuse me.
25 Mr. Hedaraly.
1 MR. HEDARALY: I think that there needs to be a proper foundation
2 laid before about what happened. And if the witness has any knowledge of
3 that, rather than ask him to interpret something that is said on that
4 date. If he knows anything about these event, if he knows anything about
5 such a meeting before jumping straight to reading a portion and asking
6 him to interpret it.
7 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, perhaps the most -- the right way would
9 be to ask whether he has any factual knowledge of the matter, and if not,
10 this would not -- and at least I did not understand your objection to be,
11 Mr. Hedaraly, that with the knowledge of the witness of the context of
12 events that he might not have a clue of understanding on what it says.
13 But the first question, I tend to agree with, Mr. Hedaraly, should be, do
14 you have any factual knowledge of this conversation or direct knowledge
15 and on the second then to start interpreting what it might be.
16 MR. MISETIC: That's fine.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
18 MR. MISETIC:
19 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, were you present in this meeting?
20 A. No, I was not.
21 Q. Do you know about this meeting specifically?
22 A. No, I do not.
23 Q. Based on the fact that you lived in the Bihac area for many years
24 and participated or had knowledge of the attacks on the Bihac pocket, do
25 you think you could assist in understanding who Fikret might be and the
1 circumstances of this attack?
2 A. I have always been willing to -- to assist the Court in their
3 findings, but these things, you will require of me to read something
4 which I'm not familiar with and then to make an assessment. Is that
6 Q. Well, yes.
7 A. I'll try to.
8 Q. Okay. Well, let me ask about your knowledge, then, of what
9 transpired on the ground on the basis of -- and ask you whether it was
10 consistent with what is actually in these notes.
11 MR. MISETIC: And if we could go to numbered page 206, please,
12 and it's B/C/S page 211.
13 Q. Now, this is meeting the 30th of June, 1995, with
14 President Milosevic and -- at the Yugoslav army General Staff. Were you
15 present at this meeting?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Okay. The first line is:
18 "I called Fikret Abdic to tell us what is new in the Bihac
19 pocket, that is a very important point for us, we must do something so
20 can he can take Cazin, and then it will be easier later."
21 Now, subsequently, do you know whether the -- part of the ARSK
22 operations involving the VRS and the Serbian police unit -- was Cazin
23 part of the attack?
24 A. It would be at the time, yes.
25 Q. Okay.
1 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn the page, please.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
3 MR. HEDARALY: I'm sorry, Your Honour, to interject again. But I
4 don't know at which point now when this becomes leading, when the witness
5 says he doesn't know anything about it, to read him a portion of it and
6 then say, Is that -- do you know what happened after? Do you know what
7 happened before?
8 Mr. Misetic should first explore what is his knowledge about the
9 events and then show him the document. Otherwise, it's a -- akin to
10 leading the within on something he doesn't know.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Finally, of course, showing a witness something
12 which he hasn't seen before about a meeting which he has not attended,
13 finally leads to some kind of leading under all circumstances. I think,
14 Mr. Hedaraly, you're inviting Mr. Misetic to take it step by step and to
15 going from non-leading to, perhaps, the level of leading where you might
16 start objecting.
17 MR. HEDARALY: That is correct, Your Honour.
18 I just think that that's also what would assist the Chamber the
19 best in finding out this witness's evidence.
20 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I tried to call the author of the
21 notebook, but he wouldn't take my call. Mr. Mladic was unavailable.
22 Mr. Milosevic, is, as you know, unavailable. So to that extent, this
23 notebook is without foundation until Mr. Hedaraly contacts Mr. Mladic and
24 secures his arrival here.
25 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... well let's --
1 MR. HEDARALY: [Overlapping speakers] ...
2 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... let me stop you here. Of
3 course, the foundation Mr. Hedaraly is seeking is not perhaps, finally he
4 would, but is not to invite you at this moment to all the author. That
5 seems to not be the issue he is raising. I think you perfectly
6 understood the issue he is raising is to take it step by step. First of
7 all, were you present at the meeting? Have you any knowledge about what
8 apparently is referred to this in meeting? And then only at -- when you
9 have checked that all, only then it could well be that the witness has
10 some knowledge about the events described here, and then first to explore
11 what he knows about it, and if he has no knowledge of that, whether, in
12 reading it, in its context, it rings a bell to anything he has knowledge
13 of, either contextual knowledge or direct knowledge. I think that's what
14 Mr. Hedaraly is seeking, and not blaming you at this moment for not
15 having Mr. Mladic here as a witness.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. MISETIC: Okay.
18 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, do you know if units of under Jovica Stanisic's
19 command participated in the attacks on the Bihac area?
20 A. I'm not aware of that.
21 Q. Do you know if the police forces participated in the -- in the
22 Pauk command --
23 A. Again, I'm not aware of the attack on Bihac. I know both of
24 these that you mentioned were involved there attacks in Cazin section of
25 western Bosnia
1 Q. Yes. I'm sorry, my mistake. When I say Bihac, I'm referring to
2 the whole enclave, not just the city. So are you aware of the attacks --
3 of attacks by units under Jovica Stanisic's command on the Bihac enclave?
4 A. Yes, I am aware of that.
5 Q. Are you aware of forces under General Mrksic's command engaging
6 in attacks on the Bihac enclave?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Okay. Do you have any idea what the objective of attacking the
9 Bihac enclave was?
10 A. The understanding was to ensure the passage of the railway
11 between Belgrade
12 the pocket that the railway goes through. And to that extent, we needed
13 that section.
14 Q. Okay. And --
15 MR. HEDARALY: I'm sorry.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
17 MR. HEDARALY: I can do it on cross-examination, but if we can
18 get the source of the witness's understanding, it may be more efficient
19 to do that now.
20 MR. MISETIC:
21 Q. How do you know that that was an objective of the attack?
22 A. It was a matter of discussion of the HQ, my own HQ.
23 Q. Who was in the HQ at the time?
24 A. Colonel Bulat, myself, Toso Pajic. It was a subject of
25 discussion on a number of meetings that we had.
1 Q. Okay. Now, if we could first finish this. Based on your answers
2 now, let me take you to this conversation. I think you have already
3 stated you don't have personal knowledge of a meeting in Belgrade
4 30th of June, 1995, involving Mr. Milosevic, Mr. Mrksic, Mr. Stanisic,
5 and Fikret Abdic. Is that correct?
6 A. I had no knowledge of that.
7 Q. Okay. Looking at this page, then, based on what you've just said
8 in terms of the participation of the Serbian police units, it says:
9 "Legija and Bozovic had contact with Nanic through a Motorola."
10 Do you know who Bozovic is?
11 A. Bozovic is a colonel of the special police unit from Belgrade
12 And he had his headquarters in Velika Kladusa itself.
13 Q. "We can take Cazin in two weeks if we had 1500 men."
14 And then it says: "JS, expansion unknown." I guess we'll deal
15 with who JS might be later.
16 "But which forces can General Mrksic engage?" And then there's
18 If we turn the page, please.
19 SM, Slobodan Milosevic, says: "I think it's important to resolve
20 the 5th Corps," which again is the army of BiH in the Bihac --
21 A. Under the command of General Dudakovic.
22 Q. Yes.
23 "I think it is important to resolve the 5th Corps as soon as
24 possible and then later to try cutting off near Livno."
25 And then there's further discussions if we turn the page about
1 subordinating the Pauk command to General Mrksic, et cetera.
2 Based on your answers is this discussion about the different
3 elements that are to participate in the attack on Bihac consistent with
4 what actually took place on the ground in Bihac around the middle of
5 July in terms of units of participating in the attack?
6 A. Let me tell you first I have very limited knowledge of what was
7 going on over there. I had a sufficient trouble in my own area of
8 operation to know exactly what is happening around Bihac pocket.
9 It is consistent with the general idea of taking Bihac pocket
10 once, and that's it. And we attempted it on several occasion in a
11 previous four years.
12 Q. Okay.
13 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, the Mladic diary is extensive, and
14 we do intend to use it extensively during Defence case in chief or
15 various portions of it, mostly starting from 1 June 1995 through, I think
16 it ends September 5th 1995. I don't know how you wish to deal with it,
17 whether we move it all it now or portions of it.
18 MR. HEDARALY: Your Honour, I think that there would be some --
19 relevance-wise, it may make more sense to do it portion by portion. IT
20 can be added to the same exhibit number as they get tendered in court.
21 But I think to have the whole diary in now wholesale without what the
22 relevance is may be a little bit burdensome.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course, there are three options, I think.
24 The first is to take it part by part, which might create a risk that we
25 lose sight of what we're talking about. The other way would be to have
1 the whole of it marked for identification and then make later a selection
2 on the basis of what we've looked at and what apparently are the portions
3 which neither of the parties have given any attention to. And the other
4 way would be to build up rather than to scale down.
5 I think the portion by portion might not be the best idea.
6 Perhaps we start with the whole of it marked for identification and then
7 to finally make up our mind as what would be the relevant portions on the
8 basis of what we've looked at, which would mean that we would have all
9 the 334 pages e-court English and of course original marked for
11 MR. MISETIC: I whole-heatedly agree, Mr. President, specifically
12 for the benefit of our case managers in terms of up-loading and taking
13 out documents that we --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, of course, I was thinking about them first.
15 Mr. Registrar, could you assign a number to the Mladic diary
16 which would then be marked for identification.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1465, marked
18 for identification.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I think we have looked at this moment at
20 -- in the English e-court version, the meeting the 30th of June was
21 page 206 and --
22 MR. MISETIC: In the B/C/S 206. I will read it out.
23 JUDGE ORIE: I have in English 206.
24 MR. MISETIC: I'm sorry, we did the following, which I believe
25 English page 201, which is a meeting in Belgrade on the 29th of June, and
1 that is also B/C/S page 206. We then used English page 203, which is
2 B/C/S page 208. And then we used English pages 206 through 211, which is
3 B/C/S pages 211 through 216.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Just for my understanding, looking at page 206
5 in English - I'll just get it on my screen - it starts with, "I called
6 FA..." and then soon after that, FA is introduced as speaking, or not
7 speaking. How -- what's the interpretation of the parties? Of course,
8 I'm not yet analysed anything, but the meeting is between Yugoslav army
9 General Staff and Milosevic which does not necessarily --
10 No, it's at the Yugoslav army General Staff.
11 Oh, the -- yes, I see it now. But then it starts with: "I
12 called to tell us," et cetera, and then it continues with FA, as if he
13 were speaking.
14 MR. MISETIC: I believe he is speaking, Mr. President. I think
15 he is saying. The way I interpreted it, Mr. Milosevic introduces the
16 meeting by saying, in essence, I have called FA to come and tell us about
17 what is new in the Bihac pocket and then turns the floor over to FA.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's just for me to understand that he did not
19 only call him to invite him, but he apparently followed that invitation
20 then and was present.
21 Is that --
22 MR. MISETIC: I believe --
23 JUDGE ORIE: -- how you interpret? I'm also looking at the
24 Mr. Hedaraly.
25 MR. HEDARALY: I was trying to consult with a native B/C/S
1 speaker to see if there was any light that can be gained from the
2 original. I think there is an ambiguity whether he is referring to a
3 phone conversation that he had and that is what being reported, or
4 whether "I called" to mean I called him to attend this meeting. I don't
5 think from the face of this a page it is entirely clear which one it is.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, although on page 209, for example, in English,
7 FA is introduced as speaking again. The same on 210. So it -- just for
8 us to understand --
9 MR. HEDARALY: I'm sure we can look at carefully, and I'm sure we
10 can agree with --
11 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
12 MR. HEDARALY: -- Mr. Misetic on how to interpret it once we take
13 a closer look at it.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes that would be appreciated, because I do
15 understand that Mr. Lazarevic could not help us out on who was present
16 during that meeting on the 30th of June.
17 Please proceed.
18 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 [Defence counsel confer]
20 MR. MISETIC:
21 Q. Mr. Lazarevic --
22 MR. MISETIC: And, I believe, Mr. President, I have selected this
23 portion from the Milosevic trial; transcript page 12343.
24 MR. HEDARALY: Yes, that's correct. That's in evidence.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MR. MISETIC:
2 Q. You testified that my experience has shown that we are not
3 talking about three different armies - meaning Yugoslavia, Republika
4 Srpska, and RSK - we are talking about one and only one army, and that's
5 the JNA. Whether the name was VRS or RSK army was totally irrelevant in
6 real terms because all the supplies and the finances would come from
8 And I just wanted to ask you to explain that a little bit
9 further. Why do you say that they were all one army?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, would it not be correct to finish the
11 quote and say the supplies and the finances would come from Yugoslavia
13 MR. MISETIC: That's fine.
14 JUDGE ORIE: That's on it's next page.
15 MR. MISETIC: That's fine.
16 THE WITNESS: Oh, back to me?
17 For all the purposes we are talking one army. When the JNA
18 originally withdrew from Croatia
19 proper Serbia
20 remained -- they remained in their position how they were before. If
21 Colonel Bulat was a corps commander, he was not a corps commander before
22 the corps was formed and then he was made a corps commander of the
23 Kordun Corps, the 21st Corps. But he was still a JNA. Those supplies
24 that we get we would get through Bosanski Posavina, all the way to Knin.
25 For example, a large convoy would start from Belgrade, and then as it
1 comes to a certain destinations, it would leave behind, I don't know, 10
2 trucks, 15 trucks, and then and then continue. The rest of the convoy
3 will come to us, and we keep another five trucks assigned to us and the
4 convoy continue further down.
5 So it was a -- it was obvious that the original convoy, for
6 example, had 30 trucks in it. By the time it reached us, it was down to
7 15. The rest of was left behind in Bosnia under certain posts. A
8 paymaster would come every month from Belgrade to distribute the salaries
9 to the officers which were on the JNA payroll. So you had a paymaster
10 from Knin supplying the finances from Knin to those appointed by Knin.
11 And you have a paymaster from Belgrade
12 the money for the salaries for the officers appointed by Belgrade HQ.
13 MR. MISETIC:
14 Q. Concerning -- let me ask you, do you have knowledge as to command
15 or coordination of military activities between Belgrade, the VRS, and the
17 A. Not really.
18 Q. Okay.
19 A. The only thing I do possess, one which is actually relevant to
20 the Sector North.
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. And it is happening in Sector North, I would be informed about
23 it. Everything else was just I heard it by chance or I attended a
24 meeting that is discussing something.
25 Q. Well, let me ask you this. You've already provided testimony
1 that the Pauk command, for example, contained elements of police from
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. Now in that relationship, who has the overall command of those
6 A. In the Pauk?
7 Q. Correct?
8 A. Original operations, it would definitely be the police from
10 Q. Anyone in particular that you --
11 A. Frenki Simatovic would be the one who was in charge of that. And
12 his HQ was within the AOR
14 Q. You mentioned the railway. And I'd like to show you a map of the
16 MR. MISETIC: And if I could have on the screen, please, 65 ter
17 1D2705, please.
18 Q. Now, this map depicts the situation in July 1995 with the various
19 front lines in the area and the international borders.
20 Do you see the black line that leads from Knin and snakes to
21 Banja Luka. Do you know what that is?
22 A. That's existing railway from the days of former Yugoslavia
23 Q. Okay. And this rail -- we stopped it at Banja Luka. Do you know
24 if that existing rail goes anywhere east of Banja Luka?
25 A. In 1995?
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. No. No, I'm not aware any train traffic going through there.
3 Q. But in the former Yugoslavia
4 A. Oh, yes, it was quite frequent. It was used regularly.
5 Q. Where was that railway go east of Banja Luka?
6 A. It goes down to Knin.
7 Q. No, no. If you look at Banja Luka.
8 A. Okay.
9 Q. Does it go east anywhere?
10 A. It begins and finishes in Banja Luka. Goes all the way to
12 Q. All right. Is this the train that was one of the aims of -- this
13 railway line, was this one of the aims of the attack on the Bihac
15 A. I was led to believe that is the main purpose of it.
16 Q. Okay.
17 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, we tender this, as I just tell you
18 that we didn't draw to Belgrade
19 out further which would have made the picture in Bihac enclave very
21 MR. HEDARALY: I think --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
23 MR. HEDARALY: If we can get some clarification from the witness.
24 Initially, when he was asked whether there was a rail going anywhere
25 east, he said in 1995, he said no. Then later he said yes. Just see if
1 we can clarify that because we have now two conflicting answers. We
2 don't have any objection to the exhibit, but if we can clarify that with
3 the witness.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps we could also then clarify whether it begins
5 and finishes in Banja Luka, which was unclear as an answer to me.
6 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
7 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, I think it was unclear, when you were talking
8 about the fact that the line was not operational in 1995, which portions
9 of the line were you referring to?
10 A. Banja Luka to Bihac.
11 Q. Okay. And the reason for that being?
12 A. Ongoing conflict.
13 Q. Okay. Now, this line from Banja Luka east, and I'm sorry,
14 obviously you know that east of Banja Luka is Serbia
15 east was the line that you testified that line goes to Belgrade?
16 A. Right.
17 Q. Do you know if that line, that portion of the line,
18 Belgrade-Banja Luka was operational in 1995?
19 A. It wasn't operational.
20 Q. And do you know why?
21 A. I have no idea; I can only assume because of the things that were
22 happening in Bosnia
23 MR. MISETIC: Okay. Then, Mr. President, we tender the map.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you're invited to look at your screen.
25 MR. MISETIC: Sorry.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
2 MR. HEDARALY: I was going see if we could have the witness
3 repeat the answer because it didn't appear on the transcript, at least in
4 this draft stage, at line 8.
5 MR. MISETIC:
6 Q. Do you know if that line, the portion of the line from Belgrade
7 to Banja Luka was operational in 1995?
8 A. I'm pretty certain it was not.
9 Q. Okay.
10 MR. HEDARALY: There are no objections.
11 JUDGE ORIE: No objections. From the other Defence team, I
12 expect an active position if there are any objections, so in situation of
13 silence, I'll assume that there are no objections.
14 Mr. Registrar.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1466.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
17 MR. MISETIC:
18 Q. We've discussed the St. Vitus Day, or the Vidovdan, parade on
19 June 28, 1995
20 August. And can you tell us, first of all, in your own words what is was
21 the purpose of that parade?
22 A. Showing off the strength.
23 Q. The strength of what?
24 A. RSK army.
25 Q. Okay. And why, if you know, was the RSK army trying to show of
1 its strength?
2 A. Lifting up the morale of the personnel on the ground.
3 Q. Okay. Now you were asked in the -- by the Prosecution in the
4 Milosevic trial, you were shown a video and asked to identify people on
5 that video. Do you recall that?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. I would like to do the same thing with you for just a few
9 MR. MISETIC: And, Mr. Registrar, this video is 1D2677. We are
10 not using any audio here; we're just interested in the pictures.
11 Q. Can you identify any of the people in this picture. And this is
12 it -- sorry.
13 A. Person in the middle, that's Legija.
14 Q. That would be Milorad Ulemek?
15 A. Colonel Ulemek, Legija, yes.
16 Q. For the record, this is at 9 seconds in the video.
17 Do you recognise either of the gentlemen on the left or the
19 A. No, I don't.
20 Q. Looking in this screen, in the bottom right-hand corner, there's
21 a gentleman wearing a hat - I'm not talking about the man in the green
22 beret, but the man next to him in the row behind him wearing a hat. Do
23 you recognise that individual?
24 A. The old Serbian army hat.
25 Q. I believe so, yes.
1 A. Second row, last on the right.
2 Q. Yes. That gentleman where the arrow is now?
3 A. I can't make him out.
4 Q. Right there. Is that any better for you?
5 A. It is better, but I don't recognise him.
6 Q. Okay. The gentleman in the front row there with the red beret.
7 Do you recognise him?
8 A. That's General Mrksic.
9 Q. Okay. And obviously the man speaking is?
10 A. Mile Martic.
11 Q. Do you know who that is?
12 A. Captain Dragan. He wasn't called for this specific occasion from
14 Q. Can you tell the Court who Captain Dragan was?
15 A. First have you to learn something about the Serbian mentality.
16 We need heros, always did, and to my knowledge, always developed this
17 cartoon character heroes. Captain Dragan is one of them. Apparently
18 what I heard about him -- not a great deal, really, that he was operating
19 some training camps down around Knin; that's all I know.
20 Q. Okay.
21 A. That he was operating some installation in Belgrade to do with
22 helping the injured soldiers or something like that.
23 Q. Okay.
24 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I would tender the video into
25 evidence, please.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But let's first put on the record that when
2 you asked who this was that we were at 40 seconds into the video, where
3 we see a man with a Red Beret saluting.
4 Mr. Hedaraly, any objections?
5 MR. HEDARALY: Well, no. But at page 62, line 1, I think if we
6 can correct that the witness -- I think the -- perhaps the witness should
7 repeat what he had said about who Captain was and whether he was called
8 or not from Belgrade
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, our transcript is not complete. Could you when
10 you were asked whether you knew who it was, I think you said
11 Captain Dragan, he wasn't called for Belgrade for this.
12 THE WITNESS: He was.
13 JUDGE ORIE: He was called from Belgrade for --
14 THE WITNESS: For this particular occasion.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you very much. If you try to speak a
16 bit more slowly, then that might save time in -- at a later stage.
17 No objections.
18 Mr. Registrar.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that becomes Exhibit D1467.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
21 Please proceed.
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, I'm going to turn to page 20 of your 1999
24 statement, which is D1461. And this is where you talk about the
25 existence of a standing policy of the RSK to force Croats from the
1 Krajina and that each corps within the RSK army was expected to have
2 units available to do dirty jobs towards this end. "It was tasked with
3 targeting Croat civilians and creating a climate of fear."
4 Now how do you know of the existence of these units available to
5 do dirty jobs?
6 A. I met him single, every day. And they had their own little HQ on
7 the road between Vrginmost and Vojnic. And some of those guys, as I
8 said, I met every day.
9 Q. In that same page you described -- you say:
10 "The existence of the RSK was dependant on the Serb population
11 believing that they could never live with the Croats and anyone who
12 challenged this proposition, such as Obradovic, was seen as a threat to
13 the RSK government."
14 My first question is if can you explain why the existence of the
15 RSK was dependant on the Serb population believing that they could never
16 live with the Croats.
17 A. The general idea is to create a Serbian state within Croatia
18 That was the idea. Whether they call it a Greater Serbia or they call it
19 this and that, but the idea was to form a Serbian or pure Serbia state
20 within Croatian borders, and that was the RSK.
21 Q. But why -- why do you relate the creation of a pure Serbian state
22 within Croatia
23 they could never leave with Croats?
24 A. It would make easier to form a state like that, instead of having
25 a mixed population there. For example, we could not at the time agree on
1 any proposal of Croatian side to have their civilians come back. That
2 would prove the point that they can live together. Even at one of the
3 international meetings it was suggested to -- to form a model village
4 consisting of the Serbs and the Croats living together for a -- better
5 for international community, they could come and see it, yes, they can
6 live together. We were dead against it. And anybody who supported the
7 idea of living ever again together was not welcome.
8 Q. Can you explain a little bit. You talk about the mayor of
9 Vrginmost, Dmitar Obradovic. Can you explain in this context what
10 happened to Mr. Obradovic and why.
11 A. Mr. Obradovic was the mayor in Vrginmost. He was the person that
12 I met once the formation of 21st Corps was completed. And highly
13 intelligent person, a moderate Serb. He was married to a Croatian lady
14 and seems to be very happy in their union. And his general idea for
15 which he fought throughout his being there until his unfortunate demise
16 was that Serbs and Croats can live together and will live together
17 eventually, and we should accept that as a fact. The official Knin was
18 against it.
19 Since they could not remove him in my opinion now, could not
20 remove him by any political means, like having a sudden election for a
21 new mayor or something like that, he would win hands down any way. He
22 was assassinated in the end, and officially we blamed the Croatian side
23 for it. Which kind of -- it makes sense, but we did.
24 Q. Can you tell us who, if you know, assassinated Mayor Obradovic.
25 A. Colonel Ajdinovic was the one who organised the killing itself,
1 and it was done by this Diverzantska Grupa from RSK which were officially
2 part of the RSK army.
3 Q. On page 21, you say:
4 "The RSK government, under instructions from Belgrade
5 keep this idea alive of the constant Croatian threat in order to
7 Now, how do you know that it was the instructions from Belgrade
8 to keep this idea alive?
9 A. The first meeting we had in Belgrade
10 international negotiations was painfully obvious, that Belgrade doesn't
11 wanted us to reach any settlement. So throughout four to five years, the
12 attitude was the same.
13 Q. And what was the attitude?
14 A. We can't live together. Therefore, we cannot reach any agreement
15 on anything.
16 Q. Can you -- you talk in your statement about different tactics
17 that were employed to create what you referred to in the Milosevic case
18 at page 12411 as a psychosis of fear. And some of those tactics you talk
19 about in your statement, the placing of an anti-tank mine between
20 Vrginmost and Glina on the railroad track and placing of mines along the
21 water tower in the vicinity of Glina. Can you describe a little bit of
22 your personal knowledge --
23 A. [Overlapping speakers]... I thought I help.
24 Q. Let me just ask the question, just for the benefit of the
1 A. Sure.
2 Q. Can you describe a little bit about what you know about different
3 tactics that were employed to create the psychosis of fear?
4 A. If the situation in Sector North was too quiet, Belgrade didn't
5 like the idea, because being too quiet usually would lead eventually to
6 some sort of a negotiation and peaceful agreement. As long as we kept
7 tension very high and kept people afraid of supposedly breakthrough the
8 borders by the Croatian army every now and then, their own Diverzantska
9 Grupa would keep population in uniform and a weapon.
10 Q. And can you give us examples of these types of activities?
11 A. They would pick up an area where something is about to happen, a
12 public meeting of some description. In this instance, about the railway
13 there was a first time that actual train was to go from Vrginmost to
14 Glina since the beginning of the conflict. And they placed an anti-tank
15 line on the railway. So from then on they never attempted it again.
16 The situation about the water tower, again, if you limit people
17 of going anywhere, if you keep people from working field because there's
18 a possibility that somebody has placed mines over there, you are creating
19 a [indiscernible] of fear. People are suddenly very limited where they
20 can go and what they can do, in fear of being killed.
21 Q. Who was it that the psychoses of fear -- let me ask it a
22 different way.
23 Who did the RSK want the Serb civilians to be afraid of?
24 A. The Croatians.
25 Q. Now, are you familiar with events in Western Slavonia in May of
2 A. The aftermath of it, yes.
3 Q. Okay. I'm interested in the aftermath of it.
4 Are you familiar with whether Serbs stayed or left Western
6 A. I was told that no Serbs were left over there.
7 Q. Do you know or were you told why Serbs were not left there any
9 A. That the operation by the Croatian forces very swift and very
10 strong. The Serbs could not defend, they withdrew and with them left the
11 civilian population.
12 Q. Do you know why the civilian population left Western Slavonia?
13 A. For the same reason they left Knin originally. They were afraid.
14 And if you feed their fears, there is only one possibility and that is to
15 leave the area. Now some of the Croatian army actions helped us a great
16 deal in creating this fear, situation around Medak pocket which is highly
17 advertised throughout the RSK. This is what they are, this is what you
18 can expect as well.
19 Q. When you say if you feed their fears, who are you referring to
21 A. The Serb population, the civilian population. Not as much armies
22 as civilians.
23 Q. Who was feeding their fears?
24 A. Police.
25 Q. Which police?
1 A. The RSK police.
2 Q. You, at page 26 of your statement, discuss the life of people
3 living in the RSK in 1995. You say:
4 "It seemed as if everyone had gone crazy. People felt trapped in
5 this isolated backwater with no future. Every dispute began being
6 settled with guns."
7 Now, if I could show you a document first. This is --
8 MR. MISETIC: Mr. Registrar, 1D2602, please.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Could I meanwhile invite the parties to look at
10 page 67, line 7, where apparently the word "no" is missing.
11 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
13 MR. MISETIC: I trust that that is sufficient that you have
14 corrected the record, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think it is good for our understanding at
16 this moment. Everyone is aware that a lot of work is done on the
17 transcript after the hearing, but I just wanted to verify for myself as
18 well, whether I understood it correctly, because Mr. Lazarevic is telling
19 us a lot of things in a rather quick way, and that causes -- that
20 triggers sometimes the need to verify, and gives our transcriber
21 sometimes a hard time.
22 Please proceed.
23 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, this is an article from the Chicago Tribune on
25 January 9, 1995
1 talks about guns, violence are cruel rulers of the Krajina frontier,
2 deadly grudges entangle Serbs and Croats.
3 The third paragraph says:
4 "These days the Krajina is controlled by heavily militarised
5 Serbs who, after the ethnic cleansing of about 200.000 Croatians from the
6 area, declared themselves an independent state."
7 MR. MISETIC: If we can turn the page, please.
8 "Patrons at the UN bar are asked to check their weapons at the
9 door. But in the bar where the Serbs do their drinking, guns are always
10 close at hand.
11 Then it says:
12 "Whether tradition or genetics, it is true that guns always have
13 commanded more respect than governments or laws in the Krajina, in an
14 area that even its Serbian alleys in former Yugoslavia consider to be a
15 particularly violent and scary back water.
16 "Indeed the Krajina in its mountain fastness seems to
17 encapsulates all the darker impulses of the Balkan personality. People
18 are suspicious and clannish. They trust no one but their own. They
19 believe in revenge."
20 If we go towards the middle:
21 "The journalists think we are a bunch of ignorant back-watered
22 gangsters who like killing, said Slobodan Lazarevic, a colonel in the
23 Krajina Serb army who wears a good earring and speaks English with a
24 confidential evidently acquired abroad."
25 Let me ask you, Mr. Lazarevic, did you in fact wear a gold
1 earring in 1995?
2 A. Yes, I did. It was a little cross.
3 Q. Obviously, you speak English with confidence. Do you recall
4 making this statement to this journalist?
5 A. Absolutely not.
6 Q. Okay.
7 A. I really don't.
8 Now, at the beginning of article it is mentioning that it is
9 happening in a bar. So somebody passing asked me the question, and I
10 answered the question spontaneously might be it. But it is not the case
11 where I sat down and introduced himself, he said, Look, I produce --
12 reporter for the Chicago Tribune or whatever. I would like to have a
13 short interview with you. I would refuse it. I would not have it done.
14 So this is a view of the reporter of the things happening in Krajina who
15 has probably been once and never again.
16 Q. Now, some of the portions that I have read out there about the
17 culture in 1995, is that in your view consistent with what you said in
18 your statement about every dispute being settled with guns? And in the
19 next paragraph you say the problem was compounded by the total
20 militarization of the population.
21 A. I don't quite understand your question.
22 Q. The portions that I read out --
23 A. Okay.
24 Q. -- of the article, is that consistent with your view of life in
25 the Krajina in 1995?
1 A. Yes, it was. This is my view of it.
2 Q. Okay.
3 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that the article be tendered
4 into evidence.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hedaraly.
6 MR. HEDARALY: To the extent the witness is quoted, although he
7 can confirm it, on this one we would not have any objection.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1468.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Before I -- the Chamber decides to admit it into
11 evidence, it's a kind of a conditional non-objecting. Would then the
12 Chamber expect it to say, Well, under these and these conditions, it is
13 in evidence or not. That makes it a bit problematic because on the one
14 hand side the witness says, I did not give a statement, an interview to
15 this person; but the portions read to him, and that then apparently is
16 his evidence, that that reflects his own views on the matter.
17 MR. MISETIC: As I understood, and we can ask the witness, I
18 understood him to say that he doesn't recall giving the statement, but
19 that it's possible that he gave it, and that's why --
20 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... well, that somebody might
21 have informally have asked him some questions and let me --
22 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, in terms of the probative value, I
23 would also ask that you take into consideration the fact that the
24 reporter provided a description which the witness indicates was accurate
25 at the time.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then you are referring to the quotes,
2 because I'm not aware that the witness was given any time to review the
3 whole of the article.
4 I want to be sure about what is evidence, what's not. The
5 portions you put to him, although not formally being interviewed by a
6 journalist, but you may have answered questions that were put to someone,
7 the portions quoted by Mr. Misetic, I understand, reflect your views on
8 the situation at the time.
9 Is that how I have to understand your evidence?
10 THE WITNESS: That is correct, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then the -- then I think nothing opposes admission
12 into evidence of D1468 anymore, and that it's therefore admitted.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Now, again, going back to your 1999 witness statement, you say:
16 "This problem was compounded by the total militarization of the
17 population. Every male between 18 and 65 was mobilised, but there were
18 volunteers as young as 16 and as old as 75. Everyone was armed and
19 everyone was required by law to be in uniform all the time, whether they
20 were on duty or not."
21 Now, let me ask you first --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Could you guide us to the page, Mr. Misetic.
23 MR. MISETIC: Page 26.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Page 26, thank you.
25 MR. MISETIC: Bottom paragraph.
1 Q. Now, do you know in Serbia
2 person in Serbia
3 A. The recent article that came out, I read it maybe a week ago is
4 1.8 per head of population.
5 Q. Okay. So per head of population in Serbia according to an
6 article you read --
7 A. Today, yes. We are 4th in the world by the number of weapons in
8 private possession.
9 Q. Can you give us an estimate, and I know it is not precise and you
10 didn't do a -- a survey. First let me correct something. Line -- or
11 page 73, line 2. No, no, sorry, it's on your screen. You said today we
12 are something in the world. What was the number?
13 A. Fourth.
14 Q. Now, can you give us a rough estimate --
15 A. I'm sorry. Just to clarify, I think Texas is the first on the
17 Q. I'm not from Texas
18 A. Good.
19 Q. Can you tell us a rough estimate of how many guns per head were
20 in the Krajina in 1995?
21 A. At least two per head.
22 Q. Okay. Now, would that include civilians?
23 A. Two per head, includes everybody. Even the babies, when you take
24 the whole population, number of weapons divided by number of population
25 comes out two per head. So some guy might have five and a six-month-old
1 baby has none.
2 Q. Okay.
3 MR. HEDARALY: Perhaps get the source of this knowledge.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Of course, I'm interested as well, Mr. Hedaraly, but
5 Mr. Misetic either would ask for it, or you would have done it in
7 MR. MISETIC:
8 Q. Let me just ask you. You're give us that number on the basis of
10 A. On the basis by the evidence in writing about the weapons issued
11 to the population within the area of 21st Corps.
12 Q. Okay. Now, in terms of the militarization of the population, was
13 there any difference in terms of population's militarization in
14 Sector South vis-a-vis Sector North?
15 A. I can't be absolutely certain, but I would say there is no
17 Q. Okay. Were there just regular civilians in the Krajina at the
18 time, to your knowledge, that were not militarised?
19 A. No. There was absolutely no civilian who was really a civilian
20 because everybody -- the concept of defence was taken from the early
21 1960s in the former Yugoslavia
22 everybody in the army, everybody defending. I don't think that the
23 Croatians had any different laws at the time anyway. They didn't have to
24 go to the extent, but the rule of such of defending your own country
25 applied to us, at the time. Meaning that everybody who is capable of
1 carrying a weapon will be issued a weapon.
2 Q. What about people in civilian clothes?
3 A. I have seen guys with my own eyes with a pair of jeans and a
4 T-shirt and a AK-47 across the shoulder. There's nothing usual about it.
5 Q. Would the fact that someone was wearing civilian clothes in 1995
6 mean to you at that time that that person was unarmed?
7 A. Let me put it to you this way. On August 6th and 7th, there were
8 a lot of people in civilian carrying weapons, and those were they guys
9 who discarded the RSK uniform, but they kept the weapon with them. Prior
10 to that, there were no civilians, as simple as that, everybody are in the
11 army, excluding ladies.
12 Q. Yes, okay. On page 27 at the top, you say:
13 "I would estimate that all of the Serb losses sustained in the
14 Krajina from 1991 through 1995 over 80 per cent were self-inflicted."
15 What was taking place in the Krajina that that number comes out
16 to 80 percent?
17 A. Well, first we have to look at the one important factor to us.
18 Area of Bihac pocket was infused by cash from Arab countries to the tune
19 of 15 billion Deutschemarks and the time, and that was free for taking.
20 Whether it is by trade, whether it is by, I don't know, have a meeting
21 with somebody and have a disagreement and shooting them. But when I
22 refer to the being killed by our own forces or amongst themselves would
23 usually be either setting an old score, disagreement or how to split the
24 spoils from the black market, or somebody had amassed explosive amount of
25 money, so he -- killed him and robbed him, some of less important
1 killings, and two friends are joking around and fulling [sic] by the
2 barrel and the guy had a bullet in the barrel and pulled and it fired and
3 killed him. Instances where the little boy would run up to his father
4 who had an automatic rifle over his shoulder who was fully engaged so he
5 jumped on his father and pulls the trigger accidentally and kills his
6 father so all those are the losses as far as we are concerned military
7 losses, but they cannot be attributed to an enemy attack, so there are
8 losses that happened amongst ourselves. So those are to the height of
9 approximately 80 per cent.
10 Q. Okay. Do you have any knowledge of Serb-on-Serb crime taking
11 place during Operation Storm?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you describe what type of crime?
14 A. I think I mentioned it before, it is rather settling an old score
15 or getting somebody's stash from him. Because you didn't leave that kind
16 of money behind buried because you don't know when you are going to come
17 back; you carry the money with you. Now if two was involved in some
18 black trades over there, and I know you made a quarter of a million
19 Deutschemarks and you probably have it on you right now, the opportunity
20 arises for me to kill you, and I will kill you and take the money.
21 Q. But do you know of specific --
22 A. Only the reports. I didn't witness any of those things, but th
23 reports from Toso Pajic was getting quite worried about it.
24 Q. Now, Mr. President, I'm going to turn to Operation Storm now. I
25 don't know if you wish to take a break when I change topics.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Otherwise we would take the break in five minutes so
2 this is the best time to --
3 It was not only in your summary, but you asked the question about
4 the people were obliged by law always to wear a uniform, whereas the
5 evidence that we received until now is that not everyone was always
6 wearing a uniform. Is that piece of legislation something you are going
7 to ...
8 MR. MISETIC: Can I ask the witness, Mr. President?
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But you have not --
10 MR. MISETIC: I can get old Yugoslav legislation. I don't have
11 if I have RSK legislation.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You told us that it was even -- it was in your
13 statement that that there was an obligation that everyone was obliged by
14 law to wear a uniform. Could you guide us as to what specific piece of
15 legislation you were referring to.
16 THE WITNESS: No, I wouldn't have it. But what I do have is the
17 orders from my own command. If you conscripted into the army, from then
18 on you are in uniform. And since anybody who is between age of 16 and 60
19 becomes a part of a military organisation he does carry a uniform and
20 weapon which I say is absolutely everybody.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You would say, Everyone mobilised, everyone in
23 THE WITNESS: Yes. Yes, sir.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. We will have a break, and we will resume
25 at a quarter to 1.00.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
3 JUDGE ORIE: One matter has been resolved, Mr. Misetic, that is
4 the broadcast from Courtroom I.
5 Mr. Lazarevic, another matter has not yet been resolved and that
6 is your speed of speech. We'd like to have your testimony as good as can
7 be on our records. If you do not slow down your speed of speech a bit,
8 some of it might be lost, which neither you nor we, nor any of the
9 parties would wish to happen, apart from the hard time out transcriber
11 THE WITNESS: I do apologise again, and I will try to slow it
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I know, and then will try to give you a sign;
14 that is, when Mr. Misetic doesn't give you a sign.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. I was reminded during the break, Mr. Lazarevic, perhaps briefly
18 can you explain to us how the black market in Bihac worked. Where is the
19 money coming from, who is trading with whom?
20 A. I think I mentioned it earlier, that we estimated approximately
21 15 billion Deutschemarks floating in Bihac pocket which was the financial
22 aid received by Bosnians from different countries like Emirates, or
23 Saudi Arabia, or whatever, and -- but they were short on supplies of
24 everything else, cigarettes, coffee, fuel. So all of those things were
25 offered by Serbs to them, not in an official capacity. It was not the
1 stand of the government to do it, but individuals would get involved into
2 this black-marketing.
3 I will just give you an example of the existing prices at the
4 time. A packet of cigarettes was 100 Deutschemarks, which people
5 obtained at the airport for 12. A litre of diesel was approximately 15
6 to 20, depending on the market. I mean, absolutely any food item would
7 be sold there. And you have to consider the closeness of the border
8 between the Bosnia
9 involved in that.
10 Q. Turning to Operation Storm, and if we could -- if you look to
11 page 28 of your 1999 statement, you say in the middle of the first
13 "Panic set in among the people in Topusko as they realized that
14 there was nothing that could stop the Croatian troops. Everyone knew
15 what had happened to the Croats in the Krajina in 1991 that hundreds had
16 been killed, that all of their homes and businesses had been burned, and
17 that the entire population was forcibly expelled. So there was a
18 universal feeling that when the Croatian army retook the area they would
19 be out for revenge."
20 Now, can you tell us how do you know that this was the universal
21 feeling among the population?
22 A. By the beginning of the Croatian counterattack or attack,
23 whatever you want to call it, people started sending those who were of
24 the army age, they were sending their families straight to Bosnia
25 further to Serbia
1 area, very quickly. And those that didn't have anybody down south to go
2 to, when they saw these guys leaving, it triggered a chain reaction. So
3 very quickly it became large convoys.
4 Q. But my question is: How do you know that people were aware of
5 the crimes that had been committed against Croats and that there was this
6 universal feeling that when the Croatian army retook the area they would
7 be out for revenge?
8 A. Mostly we are dealing here with the local population who had been
9 there for, I don't know, tens of years. And some of the those guys were
10 involved in taking the expelled Croats' property, houses, land, tractors,
11 cars, whatever. So, I don't know. This is how I would feel. If I had
12 done something wrong and the people are coming in, I'm pretty much sure
13 they're going to take it out on me, so I better leave before they come.
14 So that is the feeling that existing among the local population. None of
15 the locals could say, Well, I have not done anything. Well, at least you
16 fired few rounds across the border. We saw this, so ...
17 Q. Let me follow up with that. When you say: None of the locals
18 could say, Well, I have not done anything. What do you mean by that, if
19 you could explain that?
20 A. In the conflict that happened in that part of Balkans, everybody
21 re-established that everybody a part of the army structure already. They
22 had been conscripted into the army. By wearing a uniform of the RSK, you
23 were already the enemy of the Croatian army. And so nobody is completely
24 innocent. Nobody could claim, Look, I never took any weapons, I never
25 fired on anybody, I never took anybody's property. I was on my own in my
1 house and I didn't care what was going on around, impossible to claim.
2 Q. What about women, elderly, why would they leave?
3 A. They're the family members of the people on the front line.
4 Safety reasons, probably.
5 Q. Okay. You've discuss at page 27 of your statement, that you had
6 a conversation shortly after the Operation Storm started with a HV
7 liaison officer, named Tihomir, Ticar, Brckan. "He encouraged me and
8 other Serbs in Topusko to stay."
9 Can you tell us first of all where did that conversation -- where
10 were you when that conversation took place?
11 A. At the UN HQ. I was informed there's a phone call for me there,
12 by the liaison officer from Karlovac which I knew he was -- I think he
13 was a major at the time.
14 Q. How is it that you wound up in the UN HQ during Operation Storm?
15 A. Well, I was still officially liaison officer, and one of the very
16 important parts of me working at the time was to really protect the UN
17 personnel from any retribution from the locals.
18 Q. Okay. But you say in your statement that:
19 "With our headquarters inside the UN base, we had uninterrupted
20 communications capabilities using UN satellite phones."
21 A. We did hire an office.
22 Q. You hired an office within the UN base?
23 A. Yes, from the UN.
24 Q. I'm sorry to remind you again, but we need to pause between my
25 question and your answer.
1 And you say that you paid a Ukrainian sector commander 5.000
2 Deutschmarks a day as rental for his office; is that correct?
3 A. His deputy.
4 Q. Okay. Now, what did Mr. Brckan --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please repeat your question because I
6 didn't hear it well. You say you paid a Ukrainian ...
7 MR. MISETIC: Yes, at page 27, bottom paragraph.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, you are quoting.
9 MR. MISETIC: Yes:
10 "You secured this office in the UN compound by paying the
11 Ukrainian sector commander 5.000 Deutschemarks a day as rental for his
13 A. That is correct. But not the Sector Commander; it was his
15 Q. And this is - you reference it in your statement - paid to his
16 Chief of Staff, a Polish colonel?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Now, in that UN office were you able to communicate with
20 A. Apparently they had a satellite connections in the office, so you
21 could call anybody.
22 Q. First let's talk about what the HV liaison officer told you.
23 What did he tell you in that conversation that you had?
24 A. Well, we had a personal contact in my sector on a number of
25 occasions, so we got to know each other quite well. And I believe that
1 he found it in his lack of animosity towards me personally to offer me a
2 save passage through Croatia
3 car with my wife, and he would make certain that nothing happens to me
4 along the way or upon arrival to Croatia. And I should make the same
5 offer to Colonel Bulat, or to anybody else who I meet along the way. It
6 was not the situation when he told me, you know, inform -- inform
7 everybody that this is a standing offer, lay down your weapons, and you
8 will have a safe passage. This an invitation given to me and Colonel
9 Bulat, which I refused.
10 Q. Well, Colonel Bulat is who, at that time?
11 A. Colonel Bulat was renamed a commanding officer of the 21st Corps
12 at the time. Colonel Bosanac was, up to that point, commanding officer
13 of the 21st Corps was removed.
14 Q. So when Mr. Brckan offers safe passage to Colonel Bulat, what did
15 you interpret that to mean? Let me --
16 A. It's all over. You know, save yourself basically.
17 Q. Let me ask it a different way. By offering safe passage to
18 Colonel Bulat, did you form an opinion as to whether he was offering safe
19 passage to forces under Colonel Bulat's command?
20 A. No, my personal interpretation of it was if you remove the
21 command, the rest will fall down anyway.
22 Q. Okay. Now, did you -- how many days did you hold put, you
23 meaning in the 21st, and Colonel Bulat hold out during Operation Storm?
24 A. Four to five days.
25 Q. So that would put us roughly at August 8th/August 9th?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. Had you all, in the command, heard that Knin had fallen into HV
4 A. First indication that Knin has fallen was given on Croatian TV.
5 That is the first that I have seen the actual Croatian flag fluttering in
6 the wind on the top -- there's castle in Knin.
7 There is a castle in Knin and on top of it was the Croatian flag.
8 And there were a bunch of officers sitting around the TV looking at it
9 and commenting. And I was the one who didn't believe it. I thought,
10 yeah, okay, this is typical Croatian propaganda; it did not happen. I
11 just couldn't accept the fact that Knin could have fallen so easily.
12 Q. At some point did you and others in the ARSK command accept the
13 information that, in fact, had fallen?
14 A. At the end, it was unavoidable conclusion.
15 Q. What impact, if any, on the morale of the ARSK did the fall of
16 Knin have?
17 A. I don't think that too many people knew about it. Those that
18 were informed about it, of course, their morale was an all-time low.
19 Those that didn't know repressed the importance of defending the sector
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, could I seek clarification.
22 Mr. Lazarevic, you said at the end it was an unavoidable
23 conclusion. When was that in time?
24 THE WITNESS: When the Croatian forces came to about 3 kilometres
25 from where we are. So they were deep inside the RSK.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And when was that?
2 THE WITNESS: That would be a third day of the attack. We have
3 moved our HQ from where it was, in the vicinity of Vojnic, all the way to
4 the parameter of the UN compound. We out back into the hotel in Topusko.
5 So as the crow flies, we were probably 150 hours [sic] away from
6 the UN compound. And in that circle, which I'd say is a perimeter of
7 approximately 5 kilometres, where there are 4.000 members of the
8 21st Corps, fully armed, and approximately 20.000 civilians who came in
9 from further south, from Titova Korenica and Slunj, places like that.
10 JUDGE ORIE: If you say on the third day, we all know that
11 Operation Storm started, or at least the military operation started at
12 the 4th of August. Now, was it the third day, then, would be the 6th of
13 August. Would that be in the morning hours? Would that be midday
14 Would that be later that day?
15 THE WITNESS: I will try to explain chronologically what happened
16 at the time.
17 First, you had the -- your main attack had happened early hours
18 of the morning on the 4th. By early afternoon, we are finding out that
19 Knin is no longer our capital city. The following day, we are finding
20 out that two corps, who are were on the left and the right, from the 21st
21 Corps had left the position. That's the Banja Corps and the Lika Corps.
22 On the third day, we had this huge influx ever civilians into
23 Topusko, and from then on it was simply negotiating the way out of this
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, I asked a clarification in relation to
1 your answers given to Mr. Misetic's question, when did you -- when were
2 you informed that Knin had fallen. Then you said, We first saw on
3 television, the flag flying from the castle. We thought this would be
4 propaganda. And, at the end you said, We had to conclude ...
5 So I'm talking about the fall of Knin. Today you also tell me
6 just a second ago, that already on the 4th, you -- I think you said Knin
7 was not our capital anymore. Did you mean to say that you were then
8 aware that Knin had fallen; or if it is not your capital anymore,
9 what ...
10 THE WITNESS: In our sector, in territory of the 21st Corps, we
11 are aware that there is something terribly wrong because we did not have
12 any communication with Sector South anymore.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But again, my question, I mean, I do
14 understand that if the troops are at a distance of just a few kilometres
15 from you and Topusko. But when did you learn that Knin had fallen?
16 That, militarily, Knin was not under ARSK control anymore but, instead,
17 under HV military control.
18 THE WITNESS: Either very late that night or very early in the
20 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
21 THE WITNESS: The night of the 4th.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Or early in the morning of the 5th.
23 THE WITNESS: 5th, yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed.
25 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Q. Let me just follow up on one of your answers to Judge Orie's
3 You said that you knew something was terribly wrong because you
4 didn't have communication anymore with Sector South.
5 Can you describe in a little more detail what happened?
6 A. All our calls are unanswered. The only communication we could
7 establish at the time would be by using a phone, and those lines were cut
8 off, or nobody answered it. And that same goes for the police when they
9 tried to get in touch with Knin to find out where Milan Martic is,
10 Toso Pajic, et cetera, they couldn't get through. The military side also
11 couldn't do it. And then we tried to get into touch with, as I said, the
12 Lika Corps or the Banja Corps, and we didn't have communication with them
13 either, and that was the very next day. Which led to us assume that they
14 had withdraw from position without informing us.
15 Q. Did you ever come to know why or what interrupted your
16 communications with Sector South?
17 A. Yeah.
18 Q. Leading up to Operation Storm, was there a concern among the
19 population about a pending Croatian attack?
20 A. I'm sorry, I didn't get a question.
21 Q. Okay. Leading up to Operation Storm, in the days immediately
22 prior to Operation Storm?
23 A. That is a like a week before, ten days before, six months before?
24 Q. One or two days.
25 A. Okay.
1 Q. Did you sense any increased concern about a pending Croatian
3 A. Nobody knew about the attack two days before it happened. I
4 found out two days before it happened.
5 Q. Are you aware of any preparations that were made by RSK
6 authorities about withdrawing the civilian population?
7 A. No. I'm not aware of that.
8 Q. Are you --
9 A. I'm sorry, that would mean that HQ Knin knew about the attack
10 three or four days before it happened.
11 Q. Are you aware of any concerns amongst the citizens themselves
12 that they would prefer to be withdrawn, if the RSK could not defend
14 A. No, I'm not aware of that either.
15 Q. Do you know who Colonel Rade Raseta was?
16 A. Rade?
17 Q. Raseta.
18 A. Raseta, I heard the name, but I can't place it right now in my
20 Q. Okay. Are you aware that he worked as an assistant commander for
21 security in the Knin HQ?
22 A. He might of, But I really can't be certain of that.
23 Q. Now in your statement, talking about the panic among the civilian
24 population, you say that the panic was also fostered - and this is on
25 page 28 of your statement - "the panic was also fostered by Belgrade
1 since they wanted the Serbs to leave the Krajina."
2 You go on to state that:
4 Kosovo and areas which they felt that they could sustain such as the
5 Serb-held areas in Bosnian and Eastern Slavonia."
6 A. Can you gave me the page where I made that statement?
7 Q. 28. Second full paragraph.
8 A. Okay. So what is the question?
9 Q. What facts led you to that conclusion, that Belgrade wanted the
10 Serbs to loaf the Krajina?
11 A. There was always rumour going around, which I have never
12 confirmed it from any official source, that the late President Tudjman
13 and late President Milosevic had made a deal as far as Krajina is
14 concerned. But in this position, I cannot clearly say, yes, that's what
15 happened. I don't know. But this is the general rumour that was going
16 on around.
17 Now development of situation after the attack pointed out that
18 nobody is going to assist us in this defence. And the units on the
19 ground were aware they cannot defend it by the virtual number of
20 attacking force, they cannot defend it, Unless they want to commit a
21 collective suicide. All you had to do is add a little bit of fuel to the
22 fire to make sure that nobody is staying behind because there will be no
23 military left behind to defend the civilian population, if there was any
24 civilian population.
25 Now, in my own mind when I look at a situation, the only
1 civilians would be women, children, and really, really, old people.
2 Everybody else, as far as I'm concerned, are of military age, are a part
3 of the military. That is my view of the situation.
4 Analysing the situation, it was painfully obvious that Belgrade
5 has decided, This the end of the road for you guys in Krajina. Do what
6 you can. That's about it.
7 Q. Okay. Well, let me ask you, you talk about on that same page, in
8 the next paragraph:
9 "It was a well orchestrated plan, and those of us in the RSK
10 military and government contracted to the process by intentionally sowing
11 panic among the civilian population."
12 And that paragraph ends:
13 "So a concerted effort was made to frighten people before they
14 had time to see if things would work out. Stories were spread that the
15 Ustashas would kill all the civilians. And I am aware of some
16 individuals actually being tasked with going around to spread stories
17 such as the Ustashas were cutting the throats of children."
18 Can you tell us who these individuals were that were tasked with
19 spreading these stories?
20 A. Personally I would place it down to the information ministry in
21 Knin originally. Later on we had a people in convoys coming from further
22 south than our own sector was, who came in with a horrific stories that
23 already happening in the field, on the ground. Stories which were not
24 confirmed, but nobody would like to stay and find out whether they were
25 true or not.
1 Panic is a fast-growing disease. It is very, very difficult to
2 calm masses of people and tell them, This is not what really is not going
3 to happen. All you had to mention certain instances, All right, think
4 what happened to you in 1941, 1945; think what happened to you recently
5 in Medak pocket, think about Maslenica, this about this and that. Does
6 that give you indication is going to finish nicely for you? Even if you
7 had a great deal of imagination working for you, I don't think you would
8 agree, okay, if I stay, nothing is going happen to me.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, have you dealt with this specific lines
10 or ...
11 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 Mr. Lazarevic, looking at your statement, you are talking about
14 people being tasked to spread these stories. Now, when Mr. Misetic asked
15 you who were tasked with that, you said, well, in the beginning of the
16 ministry of information. And then you told us a lot about rumours and
17 stories which were not verified and people would not take the risk that
18 they might be true.
19 Now, there is a, for me, a huge difference between tasking people
20 and say, You tell this story, you tell that story, you spread this --
21 intentionally, you spread this panic, compared to people telling each
22 other the worse things that had happened.
23 So what you told us after you talked about the Ministry of
24 Information was not tasking people to spread false rumours. Is there any
25 other example you could give us where people were specifically tasked -
1 so another from the ministry of Information. So I'm not talking about
2 how rumours spread but whether you are aware of persons specifically
3 tasked to promote spreading rumours.
4 THE WITNESS: To my knowledge, there was -- I can't remember the
5 name unfortunately. But there was a priest, so there couldn't be too
6 many of those in the Slunj area who was asked to explain to people why
7 they need to leave. So, to me, he is given a task to prepare for the
8 evacuation from Slunj area.
9 This is something I have found out later on, not during the
10 actual happenings. To anybody that I spoke to, it was always there's
11 nothing to wait for. We got to leave as quickly as possible. And that
12 was on the level of the command all the way down to the -- to political
13 structures in the Sector North. Nobody actually encouraged us to stay.
14 But everybody encouraged to us leave.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know --
16 THE WITNESS: I know, sir, that you are asking for a specific
17 question, if somebody is given a task, do I no who is giving the task and
18 by whom. That I don't know. I know there were people who are just going
19 around telling to leave, telling others to leave.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Now about the priest, do you know who asked him to
21 tell the people why they had to leave?
22 THE WITNESS: My understanding was he was asked directly by
23 Milan Martic to prepare civilian population to leave. Why they picked
24 Slunj, whether this was a directive given to the other priests in others
25 areas, I don't know. Specifically this instance, I know.
1 At the same time, there was this letter going around apparently,
2 supposedly signed by Milan Martic saying that all civilians should be
3 evacuated from the RSK. And I place down about 50 per cent of the people
4 say, No, no, no, no, it is fabricated, and another 50 percent say, Good
5 thing he told us.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now you said your understanding was that it
7 was Milan Martic --
8 THE WITNESS: Yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: -- who addressed this priest?
10 THE WITNESS: On what was this understanding based? Talking
11 about the people after we actually met in Belgrade.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Your answer is not perfectly clear.
13 Do you intend to say that you heard about this later, when you
14 were in Belgrade
15 priest ...
16 THE WITNESS: So-called government in exile from RSK was given by
17 the Serbian politicians, if you like, offices in the middle of Belgrade
18 So if anybody knows Belgrade
19 fourth floor, which consists of about 20 to 30 offices.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's leave the details apart.
21 THE WITNESS: Okay.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Who told you it was Mile Martic that asked this
24 THE WITNESS: People very close to the priest, whether it be Mile
25 Bosnic, who I know personally before the conflict, and he was in Slunj at
1 the time.
2 JUDGE ORIE: You said -- I didn't catch the name. You said
3 whether it would be ...
4 THE WITNESS: Mile Bosnic.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Bosnic, yes. So you heard it from circles close to
6 the priest?
7 THE WITNESS: Close to the priest or close to the government.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 Please proceed.
10 MR. MISETIC:
11 Q. For the record, Mr. Lazarevic, who was Mile Bosnic?
12 A. Appointments in RSK at the time were changed every so often. You
13 went to bed as ministry of energy, and you wake up as ministry of
14 information; this type of situation. Bosnic was politically involved on
15 the government level in Knin. He was a minister of something. But I'm
16 not quite sure right now, minister of what. Could it be a minister
17 without portfolio, I don't know.
18 Q. Do you have any knowledge of what happened in Petrova Gora during
19 Operation Storm? And first if you could tell us where Petrova Gora is.
20 A. Petrova Gora is approximately -- it is a national park. I don't
21 know what it is today. At the time it was a national park. There was a
22 military installation there which we had our own HQ at the time, the
23 21st Corps, and then appearance of the special units of police from
25 his HQ. And from then on it was off limits to us, the military part of
1 RSK or the 21st Corps. So it was their own HQ at the time of the attack
2 on the morning of the 4th.
3 Within day or two of the attack, we have sent a patrol to
4 Petrova Gora to see what is going on over there. The place was deserted
5 and set on fire. So no police presence whatsoever.
6 Q. Did you receive any information as to how it was set on fire?
7 A. Well, we believe they did it themselves. Upon withdrawal they
8 decided to destroy everything.
9 Q. Who is they?
10 A. The special police, Frenki and his men.
11 Q. Now you also in your statement talk about conversations that took
12 place from the UN facility between Colonel Bulat and Momcilo Perisic, and
13 then there was conversations with Jovica Stanisic, and Mr. Lilic from
14 your location in the UN HQ with them. What was the message they were
15 sending you?
16 A. They all repeated exactly the same thing, and it was one word
17 "persevere" without any further elaboration on it or promise of
18 assistance, or -- I have to say that at the time we still believed that
19 some sort of assistance would be offered by Serbia and by the Republika
20 Srpska in Bosnia
21 help us out, warranties are on the way on the busses, and things like
22 that, which are all unconfirmed. But we had this meeting in the UN HQ,
23 in the office that we used, when those people that you mentioned -
24 Colonel Bulat, Toso Pajic was the minister of interior at the time -
25 [indiscernible] was there, I was there, and they used the inter-phone
1 when they spoke to these people. So they would -- Toso Pajic, if he is
2 going to call Stanisic, we would hear from the bell to the conclusion of
3 conversation, everything. And basically what happened is a commanding
4 officer of the 21st Corps, Colonel Bulat, would report on the situation
5 to General Perisic and tell him, This is where we are. This is -- we are
6 encircled. This is what we are facing on our own, nothing much we can do
7 right now. What do you suggest, General? The answer was persevere, and
8 click. Exactly the same thing would be -- with Jovica Stanisic when
9 Toso Pajic spoke to him, again he would explain the situation more or
10 less the same way that Colonel Bulat just did five minutes before. Again
11 the answer we got is persevere, and click, meaning the other party has
12 cut off the line. And the political side of it, okay, let's see what
13 Lilic has to say about it. It was the same thing. We looked at each
14 other in the office, and we were under impression that these people are
15 sitting exactly in the same office somewhere and looked at each other and
16 said, Oh, just tell them persevere. Because it is uncanny how they use
17 the same word without any further explanation.
18 Q. Did you all, on the ARSK side, reach any conclusions on the basis
19 of what you were being told, that is, to persevere?
20 A. Well, the persevere could only be translated into one thing, is
21 keep fighting and something good will come out of it. All was sitting in
22 the office knew. This is a battle we cannot win. Obviously we're being
23 sacrificed. Why we think we are sacrificed? Because the movement of the
24 corps on the left flank and right flank withdrew from a position without
25 telling us meant we are left there with reason, and the reason was not
1 because the 21st Corps was the ultimate fighting force on Balkan. Oh, we
2 could take anybody now. They are simple people.
3 So there is -- tried to explain to each other why is this done?
4 And then the conclusion came by itself, that the Belgrade wants some
5 cheap points. Cheap points to the tune of 5.000 people, or 20.000
6 people. I never believed that the Croats would walk in and kill
7 everybody. I did not believe myself. I don't think Toso Pajic believed
8 it. I don't think Bulat believed it.
9 Q. I think we need to clarify what you mean by "cheap points." What
10 do you mean Belgrade
11 A. I will use expression which I did not use in the original
12 statement. They wanted to make Srebrenica out of Topusko. In this case,
13 it was Croatian side to be blamed for. So the idea was to present it to
14 the world, in this world nobody smelled roses. They are just as bad as
15 we are. Say they just killed bunch of civilians in Topusko.
16 Q. Mr. Lazarevic, at page 30 of your statement, you say in the first
17 full paragraph:
18 "With the climate of fear that had been maintained over the
19 preceding four years, and with all of the scare tactics used after the
20 Croatian offensive was launched, there were very few Serbs willing to
21 stay in Topusko?"
22 And then on page 33, at the top, you say: "In any event," -- and
23 you have made this correction, so I'll skip that word. But:
24 "In any event, people were so terrorised by their own
25 government's propaganda that few would have risked staying in Croatia
1 Explain to us what you mean by those two statements, in terms of
2 the propaganda over four years and few people being willing to stay in
4 A. I think we touched that before, about the maintaining the tension
5 within the RSK on purpose. At a later stages, if a commander of a
6 battalion would walk amongst these men and say, Folks, get your families
7 out of here, we will stay and fight, but get your family to safety,
8 situation like that, I don't think anybody is prepared to stay. And even
9 those who are in uniform would try to leave. They would be a lot of
10 desertion, people just throwing away the uniform and hopping in a car, or
11 whatever transport they have, and just walk away. At that particular
12 point in time, we didn't want that every person of military age would
13 just simply leave. Maybe at the back of our mind we hoped that will
14 somehow prevail. Obviously we were wrong. But maintaining this tension
15 throughout the existence of RSK was necessary.
16 Q. Let me ask you this specific question. You've testified that in
17 this pocket where you were encircled during Operation Storm, I believe
18 you said there were 5.000 ARSK troops and 20.000 civilians?
19 A. Approximately.
20 Q. Explain to us, why didn't the military - in other words, why
21 didn't the 5.000 soldiers - withdraw to Serbia but the 20.000 civilians
23 A. I don't -- I'm not sure I quite understand the question.
24 Q. Why didn't the 20.000 civilians -- let me take a step back.
25 Your situation up in Sector North with Colonel Bulat was
1 negotiated peacefully with the HV; correct?
2 A. More or less.
3 Q. Colonel Bulat surrendered to General Stipetic of the HV; correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And the HV allowed your forces passage to Belgrade.
6 A. With civilians.
7 Q. No, no, no. I'm asking first about the military.
8 A. Okay.
9 Q. Your -- ARSK military was allowed by Croatia to travel from
10 Sector North through Western Slavonia; correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. All the way to Eastern Slavonia and into Serbia; correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. Can you explain for us why the 20.000 civilians also went with
16 A. Most of them were not from Topusko. They would be left in the
17 middle of somewhere that didn't even live. The development of the
18 situation of what's going around it, didn't encourage them to say. It
19 was a way out.
20 Specifically, we getting report that 5th Corps is attacking the
21 convoys down south trying to cross into the Republika Srpska. Nobody
22 would want to go there. So it was very important to us to negotiate the
23 withdrawal through Croatia
24 soldiers but the civilians within the Topusko area.
25 Q. And what impact, if any, did this four years of fear have on the
1 decision of the civilians to leave?
2 A. A great deal, I guess.
3 Q. You guess --
4 A. If you're under constant pressure by your own government, that --
5 this is a very unnatural way of live.
6 Q. What is?
7 A. Well, being in a conflict itself which is not resolved, and
8 sooner or later the Croats will try to re-take the territory. You better
9 be ready for it.
10 Q. Okay. Turning to your arrival in Serbia, what happened in terms
11 of the highway when you got over the Serbian border? What did you see?
12 A. From the moment I eventually crossed the border, even though I
13 was the seventh car in convoy, by the time we reached the area of Sid
14 which is the crossing between Croatia
15 stay behind with a couple of officers from the Croatian army and take the
16 names of the people crossing in a convoy.
17 Q. Sorry. You said -- you were asked -- with -- to take the names
18 with officers of the Croatian army?
19 A. Yes. Or the Croatian police, one of the -- people in uniforms,
20 Croatian uniforms.
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. Just -- briefly just in a notebook write down the names of the
23 people crossing. Not asking them the rank, don't ask them which units
24 they belonged to, just make a certain evidence that they did cross. And
25 that took me about, I don't know, 25, 30 hours. And when the last person
1 crossed, that's when I crossed. The moment I crossed, I parked the car
2 and slept for about 10 hours.
3 Q. But you talk about seeing Serbian police activity directing
4 people to Kosovo?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you explain what you saw?
7 A. By the time I felt fresh enough to continue my journey, I was
8 entering the Sid area, and there was already ramp made there, and
9 actually I caught up with the end of the convoy, so obviously it is
10 taking too long for people to cross. And they were all searched,
11 including my car, and I was rather annoyed. I said, We just drove
12 through Croatia
13 yet, I'm coming home, and you want me to take everything out of my car,
14 and line it up on a road so you can see what is in there. The guy had
15 apologetic kind of sound to him, saying, well, he was ordered to do this.
16 It is not his idea; so, okay. Sorry, guys.
17 So I actually had to do search. And once I managed to cross,
18 this was still the road which is leading from the old Brotherhood and
19 Unity highway from Croatia
20 It's a highway with its own exits, every now and then, and all those
21 exits were blocked by a police, the Serbian police, the regular police,
22 not special units or anything like that. Special police with rotation on
23 blocking the road and saying, No, you cannot leave the highway. You have
24 to stay on the highway and move south.
25 Now, to me, south simply meant Kosovo. Why would they send tens
1 of thousands of people to Nis
3 So they will have to continue all the way south, and to most of us, south
4 meant Kosovo.
5 So as I was -- I was driving a bit faster than the rest of the
6 convoy that I caught up with, I left them behind, and yet I did not reach
7 the end tail of the convoy that came in first. So there was one section
8 of the road totally deserted. I came to the road which is leaving the
9 highway, and there was a police car parked there but there was nobody in
10 attendance, so I just swerved around and went -- went -- I'm sorry, I
11 keep waving my arms. There was nobody in attendance there. So actually,
12 I got off the highway.
13 MR. MISETIC: I can ask one quick question or we can finish for
14 the day, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: In view of the length of the answers, I would rather
16 have that question put to the witness tomorrow.
17 Mr. Lazarevic, we'd like to see you back tomorrow, quarter past
18 2.00 in Courtroom II, and I instruct you that you should not speak with
19 anyone about your testimony, whether you have given that testimony
20 already, or whether it is still to be given; doesn't make any difference.
21 Could the usher escort Mr. Lazarevic out of the courtroom.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I would just like to inquire with you,
25 the witness has been scheduled for six hours. You're at three and a half
2 MR. MISETIC: I will be finished within half an hour tomorrow,
3 Mr. President.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Within half an hour, that's --
5 Well, then, perhaps it is useless to give you further guidance as
6 to try to keep the answers a bit short, and -- because the witness tends
7 to move on from a simple absolutely to longer answers.
8 We adjourn until tomorrow, the 3rd of June, quarter past 2.00,
9 Courtroom II.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.
11 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 3rd day of June,
12 2009, at 2.15 p.m.