1 Monday, 24 September 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, your next witness.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, our next witness is
7 Admiral Vlade Nonkovic.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Nonkovic.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
13 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
16 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
18 You'll now be examined by Mr. Visnjic on behalf of Mr. Ojdanic.
19 Mr. Visnjic.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 WITNESS: VLADE NONKOVIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Admiral. Admiral, can you tell
25 the Trial Chamber briefly about your military career, when you completed
1 the military academy, and what posts you held.
2 A. As for the military naval academy, I graduated in 1965. I sailed
3 on ships for ten years. Then I taught at the navy teaching centre, then I
4 was commander of a logistics base, one, and another one. And the last
5 seven years of my career I spent in the General Staff of the Army of
6 Yugoslavia as chief of administration for the navy, or rather, the sector
7 for the navy.
8 Q. What is the highest rank you held in the Army of Yugoslavia?
9 A. Vice-admiral.
10 Q. Vice-admiral. Can you tell us if we compare this to ranks in the
11 army, what army rank would correspond to vice-admiral if it is possible to
12 classify it that way?
13 A. It is simply possible, that is lieutenant-general.
14 Q. General, what duties did you discharge in 1998 and 1999? You said
15 that you spent the last seven years of your career in the General Staff?
16 A. Chief of sector for navy, or rather, assistant Chief of Staff of
17 the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia for navy and also chief of
18 navy sector.
19 Q. I just have to ask you that we pause between question and answer
20 so that the interpreters catch up and they manage to clearly interpret the
21 questions and the answers.
22 As chief of sector, as chief of navy sector, or rather, assistant
23 Chief of Staff for the navy, did you attend collegium meetings that the
24 Chief of Staff had?
25 A. Yes, on a regular basis.
1 Q. You were a permanent member of the collegium, right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. Now I would like to go through a few collegium
4 meetings from 1998 with you.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And for that purpose could the
6 witness please be shown Defence Exhibit 3D657.
7 Your Honour, this is the collegium of the 10th of April, 1998, and
8 could you please display page 16 in the B/C/S and page 2 in the English
10 The lower part of the page, please, in B/C/S. Could that please
11 be displayed. Thank you.
12 Q. Admiral, at this collegium meeting, like at many others, the
13 situation was reviewed concerning developments in Kosovo. Do you remember
14 what was discussed on this occasion and what General Ojdanic's
15 participation in the discussion was?
16 A. Well, I think it would be too broad-based to go into everything
17 that was discussed. I would just like to focus on the main statements
18 made, if I can put it that way, and General Ojdanic's remarks. I think
19 that the essence of this was, as he said, that the problem of Kosovo
20 cannot be resolved through war, but rather that it has to be resolved
21 through politics and diplomacy.
22 Q. Tell me, at that time, which is already the spring of 1998, and
23 the KLA terrorist forces were on the rise, was there a pressure that was
24 felt that the army should in a way be involved in resolving the problems
25 in connection with terrorist activities in Kosovo?
1 A. I don't know what pressure you're referring to, I mean pressure on
2 the part of the people or the population in Kosovo or members of the
3 collegium of the Chief of General Staff.
4 Q. Thank you. Perhaps I wasn't specific enough, but at that time was
5 one of the options considered the one that had to do with the MUP not
6 being able to deal with terrorism on it own and that the army would have
7 to get involved?
8 A. I think that there were some discussions -- well, not having the
9 army involved, but having them take a more active position. This was a
10 free discussion, so to speak, and perhaps it was stated, stated, if I can
11 put it that way, that if this trend were continue in terms of terrorist
12 activity in Kosovo, that probably even the MUP will not be able to handle
13 all that.
14 Q. Thank you. What was the position of the international community
15 and General Ojdanic's view?
16 A. I think that precisely at this collegium General Ojdanic pointed
17 out that the international community in this situation as it was, at that
18 point in time, would not take a favourable view if the army were to
19 directly oppose the terrorists.
20 Q. Now I would like to draw your attention to a particular section of
21 General Ojdanic's remarks, page 16, paragraph 3 in B/C/S, when he
22 says: "I think," in English by the way it is around the middle of the
23 first paragraph. He says: "I think that the method of Albanians in terms
24 of further pressures is going to be continuing with this terrorist
25 activity because that has yielded result. This activity will gradually
1 increase, the aim being for them to become so strong that they cannot
2 objectively be opposed by the MUP forces as the only competent and
3 internationally recognised force for confronting terrorist groups."
4 General -- sorry, Admiral, rather, as the discussion continued, in
5 General Ojdanic's view what was necessary in order for the Army of
6 Yugoslavia to do something, prepare something, or address the state
7 leadership in terms of developments that were yet to ensue?
8 A. Well, in terms of these forecasts and assessments and these
9 discussions, if I can put this in very concise terms, the Supreme Defence
10 Council should be provided with an objective picture in terms of what the
11 abilities of the military were, so that on the basis of this picture, if I
12 can put it that way, the state leadership were to make realistic decisions
13 on the basis of the objective possibilities of the army and the country as
14 a whole.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please look at page 17 in
16 B/C/S, paragraph 1, and in English, page 2, the last paragraph in the
17 English version.
18 Q. It's the last few lines when General Ojdanic says: "That is going
19 to be a good indicator to have political and state decisions based on the
20 realistic abilities of this army and this country naturally with the
21 assumption that the mobilisation carried out by this state will not face
22 the same problems it has had in this unfortunate war."
23 And the last sentence: "Nobody will support our force as far as
24 Kosovo is concerned."
25 Admiral --
1 MR. STAMP: Could counsel please just indicate clearly where this
2 is in the English part of e-court.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] The last page, or rather, the last
4 four or five lines on page 2. They tell me it's the last seven lines if
5 that means anything as far as Mr. Stamp is concerned.
6 Q. Admiral, you said that this was an open, frank discussion. This
7 discussion continued during the ensuing period at collegium meetings of
8 the General Staff as the situation developed and as the terrorist forces
9 stepped-up their activity?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I would like to ask you to have 3D658 displayed, please.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is the collegium of
13 the 17th of April, 1998, B/C/S page 46, English page 2. Please, in B/C/S
14 the lower part of page 46. In English the same thing, the lower part of
15 the page.
16 Q. Admiral, a few moments ago you talked about this proposal made by
17 General Ojdanic at the previous collegium meeting; however, now I think it
18 was defined somewhat better, so could you please give us your comments --
19 actually, General Ojdanic says: "To have our state leadership make
20 decisions that would be realistic and optimal as much as possible in the
21 interests of both the people and the state, I judge that it is our
22 obligation, and that is the only thing I would like to propose, to send
23 immediately a brief report to the VSO on the situation with regard to the
24 VJ's combat-readiness and capacity where we would clearly describe what
25 General Kosta has talked about."
1 Admiral, first I'll ask you who General Kosta is?
2 A. Kosta Arsenovic, Lieutenant-General Arsenovic, assistant Chief of
3 General Staff for logistics.
4 Q. General Arsenovic spoke at this collegium meeting. Can you tell
5 the Trial Chamber briefly what the essence was?
6 A. The essence of his remarks was that he portrayed through tables,
7 if I can put it that way, the smallest and the biggest calibres of
8 weapons. As for ammunition he said what the resources were in terms of
9 fuel, clothing, and so on and so forth, practically he gave us all the
10 data from his line of work.
11 Q. And what were his conclusions? What was it that he warned about?
12 A. Well, no one had to make any conclusions whatsoever. It was so
13 clear, this picture, how much the Army of Yugoslavia could take in terms
14 of war days, as we say. Yes, I understand what you're asking.
15 Q. And could you tell us in greater detail how many days the Army of
16 Yugoslavia could take, how long?
17 A. Well, at that collegium we did not specify whether it was five or
18 ten days, but at any rate our estimates as to how long realistically the
19 struggle against terrorism could take in Kosovo, that would take far
20 greater amounts of materiel and equipment than was shown in the tables.
21 Q. I would now like you to look at paragraph 2 where General Ojdanic
22 says: "This is our situation and our capacity, and I'm convinced that
23 after we've realised this people will think differently about any possible
24 war option which will end. I must, I'm not a skeptic, I was never afraid
25 in my life, but to go into a war, I don't agree with the statements made
1 here that something can be finished in two days."
2 Admiral, if I'm right, this is precisely -- or this is rather
3 similar to what General Arsenovic himself presented. But now I would like
4 you to explain to us how you understand this passage in what
5 General Ojdanic said, where he says: "The moment this happens the air
6 force will cease to exist, a decision will be made to prohibit all its
7 flights, and the variety -- the option for 700 ethnically clean villages
8 in Kosovo and Metohija, if we divide -- if we allot just one company per
9 each such settlement, how many companies, how many battalions it would
10 take, how many brigades," and so on.
11 My first question regarding this is: What is General Ojdanic
12 talking about when he's talking about 700 ethnically clean settlements in
13 Kosovo and Metohija?
14 A. Well, indubitably he's talking about the 700 ethnically clean
15 settlements where Serbs lived. So since we're talking about clean
16 settlements, the army had no ability whatsoever to rely on the people, on
17 the territory, and that is why he said that if only one company, one small
18 company, were to be assigned to each such settlement, the question would
19 be how many battalions, brigades, and so on it would require for the Army
20 of Yugoslavia to be able to cope with all the troubles in Kosovo and
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please move on to the next
24 page in B/C/S. And the next page in English as well. It's the first
25 paragraph in both version sincere midway through this passage where
1 General Ojdanic says: "But we have to tell the state leadership the truth
2 that our materiel reserves are so exhausted that we are not capable that
3 because of this we cannot wage a long-lasting war, that all our resources
4 are like -- I hope that after this their reasoning of those who may be out
5 of touch with all of this will be much more realistic and these decisions
6 which they will consequently make will be closer to the views of those of
7 us who are sitting here."
8 Q. Admiral, my question to you: The General Staff of the Army of
9 Yugoslavia was aware of the fact that the Army of Yugoslavia cannot and
10 need not join the war?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you, for the avoidance of any doubt, make it
14 clear which war you're referring to, war with whom?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we're still referring
16 to the war against the terrorism in Kosovo, direct involvement of the army
17 in the clashes with the terrorists. And probably in the background, given
18 the situation and the developments, perhaps a war at a larger scale was
19 also meant, but let me repeat the focus at this moment was on direct
20 involvement of the army in the war against terrorism.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: And in just a few words can you summarize for us
22 the options presented by Generals Bane and Aco.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, this was a term of
24 endearment, a nickname, that's Bane, an intelligence officer, and Aco, Aco
25 was Aleksandar Dimitrijevic, the chief of the security administration.
1 Well, the options were rather broad and they were both in the sphere of
2 politics. So they took into account the international community, the
3 international factor, various pressures, what the conditions that were
4 placed upon us, what we should do, but these two options were quite
5 similar, both in the sphere of politics. And of course there was a
6 certain threat of a military intervention present there, too.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Now could we please have yet another collegium shown to the
10 witness, and that's the last collegium meeting, that's 3D659. This is the
11 collegium meeting of the 4th of May, 1998. And could the witness please
12 be shown page 8 in B/C/S and page 2 in English.
13 Q. Admiral, at the end of this paragraph, that's the first paragraph
14 in what General Ojdanic said, that's in both versions on this page,
15 General Ojdanic repeats here that the leadership should be told what the
16 army was capable of doing if it turns out that the war in Kosovo is
17 inevitable. And now I would like to focus on the second paragraph in his
18 intervention where he says: "I repeat what I have already said several
19 times and what you have also confirmed several times, that the shortest
20 and fastest way to lose Kosovo is by war, precisely because nobody will
21 allow us to resolve that on our own, faced on one side, on the other side
22 with the secessionist movement in Kosovo and Metohija."
23 A little while ago when Judge Bonomy asked you a question about
24 the options that were discussed at the previous collegium meeting you said
25 that this is what General Milovanovic and General Dimitrijevic said. They
1 both talked about the situation in Kosovo from a broader international
2 aspect, if I understand you correctly?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. When General Ojdanic said nobody will allow us to resolve that on
5 our own, who is he talking about?
6 A. I think that General Ojdanic is referring to the international
7 community, that they would not allow us, they would not take a favourable
8 view of that if we were to decide to deploy the army using our own
9 decision-making and our own chain of command.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: And is that what Dimitrijevic and Milovanovic
12 wanted to do?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. I think that here this is a
14 proposal, a view, made by General Ojdanic. So this is the collegium of
15 the 4th of May. What we were talking about General Dimitrijevic, that was
16 on the 17th of April.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I understand that. What I'm trying to be clear
18 about is what it was that he and Milovanovic suggested, which was
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, they did not make any
21 proposals about the use of the army. They merely presented their view,
22 security assessment, a security and intelligence assessment, in light of
23 certain thoughts on the part of the international community and certain
24 conditions that were imposed, but they did not make any proposals as to
25 what the army should do. So this collegium has nothing to do with what
1 they had said at the previous one.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you finished with this page now, Mr. Visnjic,
3 or have you more from this?
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Just one more question relating to
5 this page. The last few lines on this page.
6 Q. Could you please look at where General Ojdanic
7 says: "General Borovic is absolutely right that those Serbs down there
8 are at present unprotected. At this moment, forces of the MUP of Serbia
9 are responsible for their protection; whether they're doing this and how,
10 that is another matter, and whether there are enough of them to be able to
11 perform all those tasks in a proper manner."
12 Admiral, do you know about what General Ojdanic was thinking
13 regarding the role the army was to play in protecting the population?
14 A. Well, at this collegium meeting it is quite clear that
15 General Ojdanic was trying to avoid at any cost using the Army of
16 Yugoslavia in Kosovo. I think that General Borovic is actually talking
17 about some Serbs, unprotected villages, and so on, and General Ojdanic
18 says that in this situation the only competent force to deal with this
19 problem is the MUP of Serbia. And now another issue is whether it was
20 capable to do so.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I am done with this
23 collegium meeting.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: I'd briefly like to go back to 3D658, please, if we
25 could have that on the screen, and it's page 2 in the English. I think it
1 was page 46, was it, in B/C/S. It's enough at the moment if you just let
2 me see the English version. Thank you. Yeah.
3 The sentence that aroused my interest here says this, and this is
4 General Ojdanic speaking: "I think that all indicators mentioned today
5 and not only today confirm that the international community and its
6 relevant institutions are set to make the FRY resolve the status of Kosovo
7 by one of the two current options which we heard today from General Bane
8 and General Aco."
9 Now, what were these two current options?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that none of the options was
11 such that it proposed the use of our forces, but as far as I can remember
12 one of the options was that the international community would be exerting
13 pressure on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to try and find a political
14 settlement for the crisis in Kosovo. And there would be some other
15 demands that would be made, for instance, to recognise the referendum that
16 had been carried out in Kosovo. It is well-known that the president of
17 the state and -- other elections were also carried out and also another
18 option was that the referendum in Serbia would also be taken into account
19 and recognised. And also in solving this situation in Kosovo and
20 Metohija, the mediation of the international community had to be accepted
21 and I think that mention was made of an international force was to be
22 brought to Kosovo, NATO force, not just international force, and that this
23 option -- and that the terrorism in Kosovo would be supported, that the
24 terrorists would be armed and equipped, and that would require in one way
25 or another for the Army of Yugoslavia to be used. As far as I can
1 remember this debate or the intervention by General Dimitrijevic, that was
2 the first option. And there was also the threat of a more comprehensive
3 set of sanctions that would be in force for six months. This -- the
4 second option was a bit milder, selective sanctions for the duration of
5 six months were envisaged. Again, the presence of the international
6 factor in trying to find a settlement for the political crisis, possible
7 bringing of troops in Kosovo, and again support for terrorism. But I
8 remember that this second option, that if such conditioning were to be in
9 place, that again the Army of Yugoslavia would have to be engaged. And I
10 think that in accordance with those two options that were presented, I
11 think that General Ojdanic just mentioned them in passing.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
13 Mr. Visnjic.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may be of
15 assistance, or rather, I would like to make a proposal to amend this
16 exhibit. The same document page 11, let's try to agree on the nominal
17 pages in the B/C/S, pages 11 through 16, that's where we find
18 General Milovanovic's contribution from page 24 to page 29 we see the
19 contribution of General Dimitrijevic. What I can do is ask the CLSS to
20 translate both documents, both portions of the document, rather, and then
21 with your approval, Your Honours, we might try to additionally tender
22 that. I think this will make the situation easier for everyone for
23 further analysis.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]... The Admiral
25 has explained the position. Please continue.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Q. Admiral, a while ago we looked at all these documents and several
3 times we returned to the materiel situation of the VJ, or rather, its
4 ability or inability to carry out some of its legal obligations. You
5 looked at the overall budget of the VJ for 1998 and 1999, did you not?
6 First of all, can you tell us if this was one of your responsibilities
7 that stemmed from your job, your position? Can you tell us more about
9 A. Yes, that was one of my responsibilities, to remain involved in
10 the drafting of what we used to call the annual budget plan, assignment
11 and the financing of the VJ, and I was in charge of this budgetary plan
12 for the navy.
13 Q. I want to take a closer look at the time-frame. When does one
14 start planning a military budget?
15 A. This normally starts sometime around early September each year --
16 MR. STAMP: Your Honours --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
18 MR. STAMP: The plan and the preparations of the budget might well
19 be within his -- his job description, but that is not within the 65 ter
20 describing what he would testify about. I am taken by surprise by this.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, paragraph 3 of the 65
23 ter says: "Witness will testify about planning in the General Staff of
24 the VJ throughout 1998 and 1999." I think that is precisely what the
25 witness started telling us about; otherwise, I wasn't going to dwell on
1 this for too long.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp, does that not cover the issue?
3 MR. STAMP: I would submit no. I would suggest that this is much
4 too vague to cover the preparation of the budget. If he's just going to
5 deal with it on its face and move on, then perhaps he could, but we have
6 not looked into anything dealing with the budget in preparation for this
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, please continue and we'll hear if there is
9 particular prejudice caused in due course, Mr. Visnjic.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
11 Q. So you told us that the planning stage begins around early
12 September each year?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. When is the final decision taken on the budget, at what time?
15 A. The final decision is made by the federal government normally
16 sometime in December.
17 Q. December. All right. The budget, when the budget is planned, I
18 mean, it refers to all the planned activities of the army, we're talking
19 about the military budget for the following year, right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. All right. You looked at the 1998 budget and the 1999 budget.
22 Can you tell us if there were any substantial differences between the
23 planning for these two budgets in relation to both years?
24 A. Virtually no difference. It was slightly bigger in relation to
25 1999 because of some degree of inflation, but this wasn't the only reason.
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. If you could please just explain once more. You said it was
4 bigger because there was a certain degree of inflation, but not the entire
5 inflation was included in this enlargement, so to speak, of the budget?
6 A. Yes, roughly speaking.
7 Q. Let me phrase this differently. Are you telling us that the 1999
8 budget was nominally bigger than the 1998 budget, but still smaller than
9 the inflation grade at the time, the inflation rate?
10 A. Yes, that's precisely what I'm telling you.
11 Q. When a budget is planned by an army, is there a difference
12 normally between the wartime budget and the peacetime budget or is no
13 distinction made along these lines?
14 A. There should be a distinction, but we never planned for a wartime
15 budget; we continued to plan a peacetime budget.
16 Q. Thank you. You said that the budget was normally adopted sometime
17 late in December. In lately December and early January, what was the
18 situation concerning the NATO forces around the Federal Republic of
19 Yugoslavia, and I mean here specifically your own area, the navy?
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And can we please have Defence
21 Exhibit 3D685 prepared for us.
22 Q. All right. Let's move on to this exhibit straight off.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you probably remember
24 this is the intelligence and security assessment dated February 1999.
25 Can we please have page 27 in the B/C/S. The English reference is
2 Q. Admiral, sometime early in 1999, was there an increase or greater
3 concentration of NATO forces around the FRY?
4 A. Yes, in relation to the preceding period, there was a greater
5 concentration of NATO's navy in the Adriatic, given the fact that there
6 were certain activities that were being carried out at the time. There
7 were preparations for political negotiations on Kosovo, work was
8 continuing on the monitoring mission that was being set up in Kosovo, we
9 have assessments of a growth of terrorist activity in Kosovo at the time,
10 and gradually multi-ethnic forces were being introduced into Macedonia and
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please focus on the left-hand
13 side of this document, the portion entitled: "The decisive force or
14 deliberate force."
15 Q. Certain vessels are mentioned there and cruising missiles --
16 cruise missiles. 120 cruise missiles and 20 warships. Cruise missiles
17 are normally vessel-borne, aren't they?
18 A. Yes, for the most part, normally they are, but you can launch them
19 from a plane of course. But these are the sort of criteria that we used,
20 we see the number of warships, no auxiliary warships mentioned here, and
21 the main reference, cruise missiles. So this was the situation in
22 February 1999.
23 Q. Thank you. Between the beginning of February and the end of
24 March, was there an increase? When I say "by the end of March," I mean
25 until the start of NATO's attack, was there an increase in warships and
2 A. No, not generally speaking, but the structure changed. Certain
3 warships that were better, that were better equipped, their number
4 increased, and the cruise missiles as well. So at the beginning of the
5 war, the numbers were about 220 in terms of cruise missiles.
6 Q. Admiral, what was the situation in the navy throughout the
8 A. I'll try to keep this short. The greatest concentration of the
9 naval forces was between the 35th and the 60 days of the war, the increase
10 having been about 100 per cent in relation to what it was in February, 35
11 warships, 25 vessels, 23.000 soldiers, and 660 cruise missiles.
12 Q. What was the assessment of the effect of the naval forces on the
13 situation in Kosovo and Metohija and how it would develop, these two seem
14 to be some distance away from each other, don't they?
15 A. No, quite the opposite is true, in fact. They're very close.
16 Q. Can you please slow down, Admiral.
17 A. The concentration that I talked about was closely related to the
18 fact that forces were being introduced into Albania and Macedonia. Our
19 assessment at the time was that it was highly likely that there would be
20 an invasion, a ground attack that would take place in Kosovo and Metohija.
21 So these two matters were closely related, and our assessment in the navy
22 was that there was a high likelihood that there might be a ground attack
23 on -- in the south-east of our coast using the port of Bar in order to
24 introduce new forces and lend support to the ground forces in Macedonia
25 and Albania.
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. We see that in the document itself, but let me ask you. The
4 forces, the warships, the cruise missiles, this is about NATO, right?
5 These are NATO forces, right?
6 A. There are different groups being mentioned here, there is the 6th
7 Army Fleet, which is a USA group. There are permanent NATO forces in the
8 Mediterranean, this is STANAVFORMED group and then again you have Italian
9 groups, Alba Due was a special one and then there's another special
10 Italian group around the Vitorio Veneto warship.
11 Q. What is your information on the number of cruise missiles that
12 were actually fired from these ships during the air-strikes?
13 A. When the concentration of forces was the greatest, there was 660
14 cruise missiles, and according to our information about 400 of those were
15 actually fired at various points in time.
16 Q. Thank you. Admiral, during the war you were at the Supreme
17 Command Staff, right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What were your responsibilities there?
20 A. As I've already said, I was assistant Chief of Staff of the
21 Supreme Command for the navy, and I was also the leader of the duty
22 operations team.
23 Q. When you say "leader of the duty operations team," can you explain
24 to the Chamber what this looked like, your term of duty, so to speak.
25 A. This was a team that would be on duty around-the-clock, and then
1 we would take shifts every 24 hours. We would monitor closely the
2 situation all the time throughout the VJ and throughout the entire area
3 covered by the VJ with a special focus on the area covered by the 3rd Army
4 in this case.
5 Q. What sort of information did you normally receive as the leader of
6 the duty operations team?
7 A. We received information from subordinate units through their
8 combat reports.
9 Q. Did you produce any documents? What were the basic documents that
10 a team like that produced during these 24-hour shifts?
11 A. There was a combat report at the Supreme Command Staff level,
12 there was a war log that was being kept, and war maps were being updated
13 at the operations centre all the time.
14 Q. Did you attend any meetings of the collegium? How often? In what
15 capacity? Let me ask you this, first of all: When were these held?
16 A. In the evening hours, every day.
17 Q. Were you required to attend all these meetings? What was it like
19 A. I was required in a dual sense because of my capacity as the
20 chief -- assistant Chief of Staff for the navy and as leader of the duty
21 operations team.
22 Q. Let me ask you this, briefly: You said something about the war
23 log. What sort of information was recorded there, or rather, you said
24 that three types of documents were being produced: Combat reports, the
25 war log, and the war maps.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Can you tell us about the order in which these documents were
4 A. The war map was being updated throughout as soon as new
5 information was received, especially whenever a combat report was received
6 from one of our subordinate units. Combat reports were produced based on
7 the overall reports from all the armies and units. Having completed work
8 on our combat reports we would draw up a war log, recording virtually only
9 information on combat activities. This is a permanent document, which
10 means that it is kept permanently until further notice.
11 Q. So a war log is narrower in terms of its scope than a combat
13 A. Yes, it records combat activity and their potential consequences.
14 Q. Admiral, let me ask you this: Based on your contribution I see
15 that you attended a great number of collegium meetings before the war.
16 During the war you were at the command post -- just a minute, please.
17 [Defence counsel confer]
18 MR. VISNJIC: I'm sorry. Some small problem with translation but
19 we will live with that.
20 Q. [Interpretation] So as I said, you attended numerous meetings
21 before the war, during the war, and you took part, directly or indirectly,
22 in the drafting of many documents that were produced by the General Staff,
23 or rather, the Supreme Command Staff. Do you know that, or rather, do you
24 know whether a plan of ethnic cleansing existed that would involve moving
25 the Albanian population or expelling the Albanian population to Albania or
1 do you have any knowledge to that effect?
2 A. I never heard of such a plan, let alone saw such a plan.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have concluded my
5 examination-in-chief of this witness.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
7 Mr. Stamp.
8 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
10 Q. Good afternoon, General.
11 A. Good afternoon.
12 Q. According to the estimates that the General Staff had, how many
13 international ground forces were there that were capable of intervening in
14 Kosovo in March 1999?
15 A. Mr. Stamp, although this was not directly my line of work, I did
16 attend the collegium meetings, so I do recall some of it. I think the
17 estimates were around 20.000, 20.000 in the territory of Macedonia, and
18 about 10.000 in the territory of Albania. I think that also about 3.000
19 members of the landing forces or air-borne forces of the Army of the
20 United States of America, not taking into account the Siptar terrorist
21 forces, of course, because you referred to the international forces.
22 Q. Yes, that's what I was asking about. Now, in looking at and
23 discussing some of the documents that you were shown, you indicated that
24 General Ojdanic was saying that it would be imprudent or words to the
25 effect that it would not be wise for the VJ to engage in a war or to join
1 the war against the KLA. In one of the documents, that's the collegium
2 minutes of the 17th of April, 1998, one of the reasons was because
3 strategic resources were exhausted, and in another one of these minutes it
4 was suggested that it was because the international community, as you
5 explained, would not allow the VJ to resolve it independently.
6 What I want to ask you is this: Was the estimation or the
7 statement that it might be imprudent for the VJ to join the war based on
8 the fact that the international community would intervene or that the VJ
9 did not have sufficient resources to defeat the KLA?
10 A. Mr. Stamp, I would not like to provide a focus now as to what was
11 going on at the time, but both things were taken into consideration. On
12 the one hand our resources were not that great and we were going into a
13 war, and on the other hand we were clashing with the international
14 community. So it would not be wise to do it from either aspect or both.
15 Now, where the focus was, it's hard for me to say now whether it's the
16 international community or the resources.
17 Q. But you will agree with me that according to the assessments of
18 the VJ General Staff in 1998, you did engage the KLA and successfully
19 executed a war against the KLA in the summer and early autumn of 1998; is
20 that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And you did this with only a fraction of the budget and a fraction
23 of the units available to the Pristina Corps?
24 A. Yes. May I explain a bit, Mr. Stamp? I just confirmed, I just
25 said "yes," but I can provide an explanation, too.
1 Q. Very well, if you must.
2 A. I think that this is not in contradiction, that is to say that we
3 estimated that our resources were poor, and on the other hand that we --
4 well, that there's no contradiction involved. Quite simply, the terrorist
5 forces had grown to such a degree that things could not be put off any
6 longer, one had to react. And this operation, if we can call it that way,
7 as I remember it dimly, was completed in a relatively short period of time
8 and without the participation of international forces, or rather, a more
9 significant participation of international forces; they did take part,
11 Q. Very well.
12 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours. I have nothing further for
13 this witness.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions either,
16 Your Honour.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nonkovic, that completes your evidence here;
20 thank you for coming to give it. You may now leave the courtroom.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we do have another
25 witness, that is Colonel Milivoje Novkovic.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 Can you give me the number, exhibit number, of his statement,
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] 3D [In English] 1115.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know whether it
7 would be convenient if we were to take the break now. There seems to be a
8 problem with bringing the witness in. I guess that we were
9 over-optimistic as far as the cross-examination was concerned regarding
10 the previous witness, but the court deputy seems to be checking now,
11 so ...
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I assume he's here waiting, and we have this
13 inevitable time lapse between every witness. We've tried to do something
14 about it, but regrettably failed.
15 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Apparently he's not in the building, Mr. Visnjic,
17 because he was scheduled to arrive later. So we will have to take the
18 break at this stage.
19 Mr. Hannis.
20 MR. HANNIS: May I raise one issue before we do that, Your Honour.
21 There are two exhibits proposed for use with this witness that I have an
22 objection to based on foundation and relevance 3D735 which is
23 entitled "NATO aggression on civilian populations and facilities in
24 Yugoslavia." It's our position, Your Honour, I'm not sure what issue in
25 the case it goes to and I'm not sure what this witness will be able to
1 provide about the foundation. I think it's propaganda in our view, Your
2 Honour, and should not be admitted, likewise for 3D737.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the nature of these documents, Mr. Hannis?
4 Are they newspaper articles? Are they pamphlets or --
5 MR. HANNIS: There are photographs of damage partly done by NATO,
6 pictures of victims, pictures of a head lying in the field, a picture of a
7 small child crying. There are some videos as well. 3D737 does have --
8 these are basically daily reports about what is going on in the war. They
9 will have reports about where bombings occurred and maps, et cetera, in
10 both B/C/S and English. It appears it was prepared in both languages at
11 the time, and that fact alone, we suggest, Your Honour, underlies our
12 argument that it was meant in part as propaganda, the fact that it was
13 published in English at the time the bombing was going on.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm going to start with
16 the second document. This is a war log or a war review. This is material
17 that was prepared, and the witness is going to testify about that, and
18 provided to foreign journalists, on the basis of which they later made
19 requests and were allowed to visit facilities or locations that were
20 specified in that material as well as other locations that they wanted to
21 see. On the one hand it is a review of developments in the territory and
22 it primarily has to do with the bombing, the air-strikes. We think that
23 it is significant because, number one, it is a contemporaneous document;
24 secondly, it primarily deals with facts. I think that if there is
25 propaganda, it is only very slight. And three, this can give us a review
1 of the strikes and the effects of these strikes on civilians and the
2 civilian population. This review does not only include Serbia proper and
3 strikes in that area, but also in Kosovo; that is to say, the entire
4 territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, on a daily basis at that.
5 As I said, all of this information was fully open to all users, as it
6 were. Quite simply, if the Prosecutor thinks that any of this is
7 inaccurate or is propaganda, of course he will be able to put questions to
8 the witness in that regard. That is what I wish to say in relation to
10 JUDGE BONOMY: And what about 3D735?
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] As for this other document, 735, it
12 is -- well, it is a summary of photographs that show the degree of
13 destruction, so that is its sole purpose, to show the effects of the
14 air-strikes in this particular case. Again, I'm saying that it does not
15 only pertain to the area of Serbia proper, but the entire territory of the
16 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo and other parts. Again,
17 we would like to tender this in terms of what the effect of the NATO
18 bombing was on the civilian population and the movements of the civilian
20 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the link of the witness to these documents?
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] The witness took part in preparing
22 both documents, or rather, he was head of the service that prepared both
23 documents. He can testify to how it was that these documents were
24 compiled, what the sources for these documents were, what their purpose
25 was. If Mr. Hannis thinks it was propaganda, he can cross-examine the
1 witness about that.
2 Finally, the witness had direct communication with many foreign
3 correspondents, and he can even give hearsay evidence about what they
4 experienced in these locations that are included in these two documents.
5 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour ...
7 JUDGE BONOMY: You were going to say something else, Mr. Visnjic.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wanted to say merely
9 that a part of this package included set of video recordings that for
10 technical reasons could not be uploaded to e-court, but it was disclosed
11 to the parties. But I assume that the document as it stands would be
12 sufficient, but we would like to tender that. But we would be guided by
13 you. That was supposed to be part of 373 -- 737, but for technical
14 reasons it could not be uploaded to e-court. I'm referring, of course,
15 for the record to 3D737.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE BONOMY: We will hear the evidence as it progresses. If we
19 feel it's inappropriate, then we will interrupt it, but on the face of it
20 the real issue seems to be one of quality and weight. And if it is
21 largely propaganda, then obviously that would have an impact only the
22 weight to be given, and that's something that can be brought out in
24 One thing you may bear in mind, Mr. Visnjic, is that where the
25 events are in Serbia rather than Kosovo they may be of doubtful relevance,
1 and perhaps you would concentrate on what's clearly relevant. These are
2 both extensive documents and there's a limit to how much material can be
3 considered on issues which could be peripheral if not occurring in Kosovo.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour ...
5 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Visnjic.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that it's not
8 the right moment to provide argument, but I do have to say something about
9 the relevance in terms of Serbia. One of the points made by the
10 Prosecutor that Mr. Hannis tried to make through a few witnesses was
11 related to the direction in which the refugees left Kosovo. In this way,
12 if we show what the intensity of the bombing was in Serbia and in Kosovo,
13 I think it will be clear that if somebody left they went to places where
14 they would be sure that they would not be bombed. That is one point.
15 Secondly, the question of whether people were leaving Serbia, too.
16 I think that that is going to be part of our case at a later stage, linked
17 to other evidence, but the first thing that crossed my mind now is what I
18 spoke of just now. I also wish to add that the intensity of the bombing
19 in Serbia was directly related to what General Ojdanic was doing, too,
20 because one of his duties was- and do not forget that he was commander, or
21 rather, Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command of the overall army of
22 Serbia- one of the things that he had to deal with intensively was the
23 situation in the entire territory of the then-Federal Republic of
24 Yugoslavia, because NATO did not declare war in Kosovo only, but in the
25 entire territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. And General
1 Ojdanic had to grapple with the entirety of the problem.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: So you want us to deny admission now, do you?
3 You're not content with a result in your favour?
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, no, no, no. I just want to make
5 a comment in relation of your last observation.
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we'll adjourn now and resume at five past
9 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.05 p.m.
11 [The witness entered court].
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Novkovic.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours, and
14 good afternoon to everyone else in the courtroom.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
16 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
19 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
21 You will now be examined by Mr. Visnjic on behalf of Mr. Ojdanic.
22 Mr. Visnjic.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 WITNESS: MILIVOJE NOVKOVIC
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 Examination by Mr. Visnjic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Colonel.
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 Q. Colonel, is it correct that you gave the Defence team of
5 General Ojdanic a statement on the 20th of August, 2007, and that you
6 signed this written statement?
7 A. Yes, that is correct.
8 Q. On your arrival in The Hague were you able to go through that
9 statement and were you to testify before this Court would you give the
10 same answers to the questions as indicated in that statement?
11 A. Yes. I went through the statement and I would not have anything
12 particular to add or to amend.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will just be asking
14 the witness something about what my colleague Mr. Sepenuk drew my
15 attention. In paragraph -- in paragraph 18 of the statement there may be
16 a translation error. Let me just clarify.
17 Q. Colonel, in paragraph 18 of your statement you said that: "During
18 the NATO air-strikes a total of 25 press conferences were held and
19 briefings." And in Serbian it says: "On the average every third day."
20 Is that what you stated?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think there is a
23 discrepancy in the text that you have in front of you. It says "on the
24 average three a day," that's paragraph 18 --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: We will correct it so that it reads what has just
1 been said by the witness, every third day.
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Q. Colonel, in your statement in paragraphs 16, or rather, let me
4 first ask you: What post did you hold in 1999?
5 A. In 1999 I was the chief of the information section in the
6 administration for information and morale guidance in the General Staff of
7 the Army of Yugoslavia, and at the same time I was the deputy of the chief
8 of this administration.
9 Q. Thank you. In your statement in paragraphs 16 through 19 you
10 provided some basic details about the activity of your administration
11 which is the organized provision of information for domestic and foreign
12 media organized by the Army of Yugoslavia. Could you please tell us
13 something more about this aspect, how this dissemination of information
14 was actually organized.
15 A. Apart from the information provided which reflect to a good
16 measure the activities of the Yugoslav Army press centre, I can add that
17 when the armed aggression was launched by NATO against our country we
18 faced a problem of how to organize a desk, some kind of a place, that
19 would meet the requirement, the high demand on the part of the domestic
20 and foreign reporters, and at the same time that was to be a place that we
21 could use to facilitate to the fullest possible degree the organizational,
22 technical, spatial, and any other requirements for the unimpeded operation
23 and provision of objective information to the journalists.
24 Q. Could you please tell me, give me a figure or a percentage of for
25 the foreign journalists accredited during the war in 1999.
1 A. In the Yugoslav Army press centre that was set up in the military
2 centre in Belgrade, that was a place that met the requirements I was just
3 talking about, we gave the accreditations to a total of about 2.500
4 domestic and foreign journalists, and out of that number about a thousand
5 and 500 or about 60 per cent came from 490 foreign media outlets.
6 Q. Thank you. The interests of the international community for the
7 events in Yugoslavia was quite high, I assume in light of the war.
8 A. Yes, there was a great deal of interest, and this was the reason
9 why we organized this, in order to be able to provide objective and full
10 information for all the journalists, because in light of the nature of the
11 aggression, the Army of Yugoslavia did not have any need to hide anything,
12 quite the contrary. It was in our own interest to -- for as many
13 journalists to see what is happening in the field and to report on what
14 was happening in our country as objectively as possible.
15 Q. You say that in light of the nature of the aggression the Army of
16 Yugoslavia did not have any need to hide anything, it wanted to be open.
17 What would the key components, the key characteristics, be of the media
18 campaign that NATO launched against Yugoslavia?
19 A. Well, to sum up, if we can, we could say that the media campaign
20 during the NATO aggression against Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was
21 primarily very broad, comprehensive, if you look at the type and number of
22 media outlets involved. One could also say that it was very intense, if
23 you take into account the number and frequency of the reports that were
24 broadcast or published in that area. And in light of the character and
25 the objectives of the campaign, it was our assessment - and I in fact
1 still hold this opinion - that the entire information and propaganda
2 campaign was aimed at creating an unfavourable picture of the Federal
3 Republic of Yugoslavia in the international community, an unfavourable
4 picture of its state leadership and its security forces. In order to
5 create an alibi or a justification for the causes and consequences of the
6 aggression that was carried out, and as we all know it was carried out
7 without a prior decision of the Security Council.
8 Q. Colonel, let me ask you something. You had about 1500
10 A. Foreign journalists.
11 Q. Yes, foreign journalists that worked with your centre, press
12 centre. I don't know if you can -- I don't know if you can do that, but
13 could you give us a general assessment of the way they were reporting on
15 A. As a whole, the journalists that were accredited by the Yugoslav
16 Army press centre acted, generally speaking, in a very responsible manner,
17 they were professional, and we didn't have any problems with them. They
18 all complied with the code of their profession, but nevertheless a certain
19 number of reporters from foreign media outlets would go into the territory
20 of Kosovo and Metohija, evading the procedure, evading the existing visa
21 regime and the accreditation regime. They used their own channels from
22 Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro to get into Kosovo and Metohija, and
23 they mostly filed tendentious reports, they usually -- that was in favour
24 of the Kosovo Liberation Army because they were mostly, for the most part,
25 working from within their ranks.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you able to give us any example of a foreign
3 journalist who wasn't accredited and may have made his or her own way into
4 Yugoslavia and -- or into Kosovo or Albania and who reported accurately,
5 in your opinion?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't give you an example,
7 but I can -- what I can do, I can give you a different kind of example.
8 For instance, Ms. Christiane Amanpour, a highly respected reporter from
9 this media outlet went to Kosovo and Metohija, evading this procedure, and
10 her coverage was mostly negative but it was very high-profile coverage,
11 her comments were mostly negative. And I assume that there were those who
12 reported in an objective manner in accordance with their professional
14 JUDGE BONOMY: I wonder if you could name one.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I couldn't at this point.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 Q. I don't know whether perhaps we missed this question, but what
19 were the key components of the NATO media campaign? What did NATO base
20 its media campaign --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: You've already had a very long answer to that
22 question, haven't you?
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps I can be more specific, Your
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, just a second. Yes, your question was, you
1 said that in light of the nature of the aggression against Yugoslavia --
2 sorry, that Yugoslavia did not have any need to hide anything. Then you
3 said: "What would the key components, the key characteristics, be of the
4 media campaign that NATO launched against Yugoslavia?"
5 And that was answered.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I do apologise, I did miss
8 Q. As part of this campaign that you just told us about, NATO relied
9 on several - let me put it this way - arguments or facts that were not
10 true in essence. Could you please list, but very briefly as a summary so
11 that we don't get a very broad answer. What were those elements that were
12 always stressed as facts, or rather, as arguments that would -- were put
13 forward against Yugoslavia as part of this campaign?
14 A. Well, in the information and propaganda part --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Hold on a second, please.
16 What is the purpose of this, Mr. Visnjic?
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't want to lead
18 the witness, but if he gives an answer you will see that some of the
19 elements that I believe were put forward by NATO during this campaign that
20 were aimed against the Army of Yugoslavia, this is something that is first
21 of all mentioned in the evening briefings as a response on the part of the
22 Army of Yugoslavia or the discussion among the highest-ranking officers in
23 the Yugoslav Army on that topic, and on the other hand some of the
24 arguments that were put forward as part of this campaign against
25 Yugoslavia are completely untrue by their very nature, and I believe that
1 we will be able to prove that as our case continues. Perhaps I did not
2 formulate this question all that well, but we're talking about a number of
3 arguments that are being put forward throughout this NATO campaign and you
4 will see that in various discussions, in order to get a clear
5 clarification as to what was being debated at the evening briefings, to be
6 quite specific now, you should know what were the accusations levied at
7 the Army of Yugoslavia so that you can see what it is defending itself
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I remain very doubtful about the value of
10 this, but please continue until we see if it goes anywhere that can assist
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Q. Colonel, could you please tell us briefly, really very briefly,
14 what were the basic arguments that were used by NATO in their campaign,
15 we're talking about facts. What did they accuse the Army of Yugoslavia
16 and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a whole?
17 A. In this campaign several untrue arguments and assumptions were put
18 forward, and they were exploited to quite high degree in the media. Let
19 me just give you very briefly some examples. First, that the Army of
20 Yugoslavia is threatening to use nuclear weapons and radioactive munitions
21 in light of the fact that in Vinca --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a moment.
23 Is this a serious example that you are going to show us collegium
24 minutes dealing with the answer to this allegation?
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, why are we listening to? This witness is --
2 he may well be an expert in propaganda. He's not here to continue that
3 exercise; he's here to give evidence in answer to specific questions. So
4 please control what he's doing so that we do hear relevant material.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when I said that I
6 would not be showing you specific examples in the collegium meetings, I
7 will not be doing it through this witness, but I do have specific examples
8 that relate to what the witness just said because this is an issue raised
9 by Mr. Stamp and Mr. Hannis with the previous witness so --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Nuclear weapons being used by Yugoslavia, that was
11 raised by the previous witness?
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Prosecutor asked
13 the witness, I think it was -- well, I can't recall now who it was
14 exactly, but somebody who attended the evening collegia, he asked him
15 about the reactor in Vinca, whether Yugoslavia had a nuclear bomb. And
16 one of the arguments that were put forward against Yugoslavia was that --
17 this thing that the witness is talking about. So he's telling us now
18 where this information had come from initially.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: And are we going to see the newspaper in which the
20 allegation is made?
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] At this moment --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]... Dead ends at
23 the moment, Mr. Visnjic, but since the matter has been raised please
24 continue and deal with it. Not everything you read every day in the
25 newspaper has a -- has even the basic grain of truth in it. People are
1 generally able to make fairly sound judgements object what might be
2 rubbish and what might merit further attention; however, please continue.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: No, just please continue.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Q. Colonel, very briefly.
7 A. As for what Mr. President said --
8 Q. No, please, just answer those -- tell me about those theories
9 four, five, six, and what were the basic issues in the campaign.
10 A. Well, apart from this theory that was published in the
11 Washington Post, a similar thing happened with the threat of chemical
12 weapons, that chemical weapons would be used; the next theory or argument
13 was that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is continuing with the ethnic
14 cleansing and has carried out an aggression in -- into the territory of
15 northern Albania; yet another theory was that the Supreme Command Staff
16 was deployed in a hospital, which would imply that there was a severe
17 violation of international law of war; and leaflets were also used as one
18 of the boldest forms of propaganda war.
19 Q. Now that you've enumerated all that, can I ask you whether this
20 was made public or published sporadically in some of the newspapers or did
21 it crop up often; and how was this information used during this campaign
22 on the part of NATO member countries?
23 A. The information about the ethnic cleansing of the Kosovo Albanians
24 was a permanent feature of almost all foreign media, and as for the other
25 theories that I just mentioned, they were -- they would be aired
1 sporadically; and then after a few days there would be a lull.
2 Q. Very well. You mentioned this theory about alleged ethnic
3 cleansing. How did the VJ see the problem of Albanian refugees? Did you
4 issue any communiques about this, make any announcements? Was there any
5 reaction on your part at all?
6 A. It was as part of our overall media analysis that we monitored
7 this issue as well, the issue of Albanian refugees. What was typical,
8 however, was that in terms of the way the refugees were treated in Kosovo
9 and Metohija there was no reference to refugees belonging to other ethnic
10 groups. The information service of the VJ analysed part of this campaign
11 in relation to Albanian refugees, and I can say that in terms of media
12 coverage this was hyped up as some sort of exodus and humanitarian
13 disaster. Our take on it was that the objective of this approach was to
14 misrepresent this to the international public in order to come up with
15 some sort of justification for the aggression against the FRY, another
16 objective being to mobilise the Albanian group and create greater
17 homogeneity among the Albanians and also among the international players
18 to mobilise them against Yugoslavia and also for --
19 Q. I apologise for interrupting, but let me ask you a more
20 straightforward question and we'll come back to this later. Your
21 information centre, did you publish any announcements about the refugee
23 A. The information service of the Supreme Command Staff did not make
24 any announcements about this specifically, but we seriously analysed this
25 problem, we assessed the situation, and we pressed for someone from the
1 federal bodies to address this issue, which in fact happened on more than
2 one occasion. There was a press conference that I believe was held on the
3 10th of May which was dedicated solely to this issue. The army itself did
4 nothing about this directly because we believed this to be a problem that
5 was beyond our scope of action.
6 Q. You said in your evidence that you had about 1500 journalists
7 there. How did you work with them within the press headquarters, the
8 press centre? How did you provide them with information on the combat
9 situation and its consequences?
10 A. It was for the benefit of all these journalists that every morning
11 by 9.00 we would prepare and publish a bulletin, a daily bulletin we
12 called it, providing a specific time-line of NATO air operations
13 throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This was something for
14 them to familiarise themselves with the situation, and then it was their
15 call whether they would eventually use the information, whether their
16 agencies would use this information or whether they would ask to be taken
17 to the theatre of war so that they could get some footage and write up
18 their reports. In addition to this they had access to computers, to the
19 internet. They enjoyed a wide TV coverage, RTS included. So on the whole
20 I believe that their working conditions were quite fair and sufficient for
21 them to report in an unbiased and objective manner.
22 Q. All right. So they received the information and then there were
23 two options open to them. They could go on their own to particular places
24 to produce their reports, and the other option was for you to organize
25 their departures. In terms of procedure and method, were there any
1 differences between these two options and were there certain restrictions
2 imposed on journalists during trips like these?
3 A. In more drastic cases of particularly destructive, devastating
4 air-strikes resulting in a greater number of casualties, we would set up
5 the entire security regime for groups of journalists to go there and see
6 for themselves. We had convoys sometimes comprising over a hundred
7 journalists. They could go there with no restrictions whatsoever, take
8 their footage, talk to people, and eventually dispatch their reports to
9 their respective agencies. There were cases, however, where certain teams
10 belonging to certain news agencies decided to go on their own to visit
11 certain facilities, certain areas. There had been over 720 such requests
12 throughout the three months of aggression. We dealt with these. We made
13 it possible for these people to go there on their own, but we would always
14 contact a unit that would then welcome them as soon as they arrived in the
15 area and to look after these journalists. Restrictions were only about
16 issues that had to do with military confidentiality, subjects of a
17 confidential nature for the military, deployment of units, perhaps some
18 tactical manoeuvres or restrictions to do with security and safety. So
19 these were factors that we generally took into account. We wanted to keep
20 these journalists safe from harm, and very often in their line of work
21 these journalists are known to come to grief in a war situation.
22 Q. Did a single journalist get killed in your area?
23 A. No, not a single one.
24 Q. There was no form of war censorship imposed by the VJ or anything
25 like that, was there?
1 A. No, there was no wartime censorship. All the media throughout the
2 FRY were following their journalistic policies in the way they were
3 reporting, and the information service of the VJ never interfered.
4 Q. Did you exercise any form of control over the work of these media?
5 Did you perhaps control the work of Radio and Television Serbia throughout
6 this period of time?
7 A. No. At no point did we monitor or exercise any control over the
8 work of Radio-Television Serbia.
9 Q. You were preparing those bulletins every morning for the benefit
10 of the journalists, you say.
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have 3D737.
12 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, before we begin with that, during the
13 break I was handed another CD from case manager for the Ojdanic Defence
14 which is entitled: "Addition to 3D737." So I'm not clear if this is
15 additional material to what we were disclosed previously or not; if it is,
16 I have a different objection than what I made before.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] First of all, if I may just explain
19 something to Mr. Hannis, the material on that CD was received previously
20 as a 65 ter disclosure, as 737. I said that we did not have, technically
21 speaking, an option to put everything into e-court because some of the
22 material proved unuploadable, bearing in mind the discussion that we just
23 had. And possibly your ruling too. I will leave this material aside for
24 the time being. I will not be tendering any of it --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: You're making it more complicated. What's the
1 answer to the question: Is it additional material that hasn't been
2 produced as part of 737 or is it some part of what you've already labelled
3 as 737?
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] That's 737, it's part of it, Your
6 JUDGE BONOMY: And why did you hand it over just now and label it
7 as additional material?
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Because only the textual component
9 was uploaded into the e-court system.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: So 737 could not get into e-court, is it?
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Precisely.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, have you an objection to that?
13 MR. HANNIS: Well, is it proposed to be part of the evidence? And
14 if it's not in e-court, I haven't seen it.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I gather it is proposed as part of the
16 evidence, but Mr. Visnjic was going to move to something else for the
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may respond. At
19 this point in time I will not be tendering this. Just to avoid any
20 further discussion with Mr. Hannis, this will be submitted from the bar
21 table, but this was part of the 65 ter disclosure on the 15th of June,
22 2007. There was a separate CD which included this material. I believe it
23 was submitted both to the OTP and the Chamber.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Well, please move on then. Thank you.
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Q. Colonel, what is it that we see before us, this document, Exhibit
3 A. It's one or two copies of this daily bulletin or review that we
4 prepared each morning for the journalists. This was done both in Serbian
5 and in English so that there would be no need for any translators.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I think this is the title page in
7 this case, but if we can move on to page 2 perhaps of this document and
8 then page 3. Page 4. And finally page 5, this is the introduction.
9 Thank you.
10 Q. Colonel, when was the first daily war bulletin published?
11 A. I don't have this information at my finger-tips, but it was
12 probably five or six days after the start of aggression. We took some
13 time to organize ourselves, and we realised that this was a necessity in
14 order to facilitate the work of all the journalists.
15 Q. So from that moment on, how often, was it published daily?
16 A. Yes, daily.
17 Q. The bulletin was published in two languages, right?
18 A. Yes, Serbian and English.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you go through this
21 document you will see that the first bulletin was published on the 4th of
22 April from that time on until the end of war, more specifically, until the
23 16th, until the 18th of June, day by day, war bulletins.
24 Can we please move to page 84 of this document.
25 Q. Colonel, there is a diagram here. What were the key elements of
1 this daily war bulletin? What did it contain?
2 A. The key components were the time-line containing information on
3 NATO air-strikes, targeting certain buildings and facilities, and we would
4 also provide a diagram, or rather, a map of the FRY to show exactly what
5 was going on so that the journalists might get a bearing. Sometimes
6 typical photographs were included depicting the horror of war. These
7 photographs were mostly put up somewhere in the press centre of the VJ.
8 Throughout the aggression on two or three occasions we organized these
9 photo exhibitions.
10 Q. Thank you very much.
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we move on to the next page,
13 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I have just a question. Was this war bulletin
14 only meant for the journalists, international journalists, who would come
15 at the -- by a press room or whatever or was it meant for the general
16 public? Was it circulated amongst the general public?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we saw this daily war
18 bulletin as a document that would provide journalists with fundamental
19 information for their work. We did not just release this to foreign
20 journalists, though. Domestic journalists, too, had access to it but only
21 within the perimeter of the press centre. We did not officially publish
22 it anywhere outside the building in the form of a public announcement or
23 anything like that.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Colonel, if I understood you correctly, in response to
1 Judge Chowhan's question, if I understood your answer correctly, this war
2 daily review was fundamental material for journalists so that on the basis
3 of that they would write their own stories?
4 A. That's right.
5 Q. Or rather, submit specific requests to visit particular facilities
6 or particular territory?
7 A. That's right. It was not drafted as something that would be
8 presented to the public in its final form, but it was auxiliary material
9 for journalists so that on the basis of this material they could
10 objectively decide what they wanted to write about.
11 JUDGE CHOWHAN: But where were -- why you didn't allow this to go
12 to the foreign journalists? Why couldn't they have access to it?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you did not understand
14 what I was saying. I said that it was primarily meant for foreign
15 journalists, and they did receive it; however, in addition to them, others
16 did, too.
17 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Thank you very much.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Q. Colonel, now when we look at this page here it says here: "NATO
20 raids on civilian industrial facilities on May 4th and in the night
21 between May 4th and 5th, 1999."
22 From whom did you receive the information that you included in
23 these reviews? Who was your source of information?
24 A. Well, there were several sources, primarily through the operations
25 centre of the General Staff, that is to say in the command system. And in
1 addition to that there were other ways, other factors that were in the
2 defence system, civil defence primarily and other factors, too.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
6 Q. Colonel, you are familiar with the title of this book or
7 publication, I don't know what word to use. Tell me briefly, what does it
9 A. That's right. This is a publication from a photograph exhibition
10 about the air-raids and the destruction of civilian facilities and
11 economic facilities. I already mentioned that during the course of this
12 aggression we organized such photographic exhibitions twice I think, and
13 then finally we made a selection of photographs that were particularly
14 characteristic. And then we published this in a single place so that
15 journalists could use it and the wider public. We had the problem of
16 civilian destruction and economic infrastructure destruction, and that is
17 how we dealt with it. These are authentic photographs.
18 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us who the authors of these photographs
19 were? Is it one author? Several authors? Your own service? Just tell
21 A. There were several authors involved, and ultimately it was
22 impossible to identify all of them because these were different
23 facilities, different localities. There were also photographs there from
24 our own photo service, our own press centre, but for the most part these
25 were photographs of anonymous and other authors.
1 Q. Thank you. I'm going to ask you, or rather --
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to move on
3 to another topic in relation to paragraph 20 of the witness's statement,
4 and I would just like to ask the witness to identify a document, Defence
5 Exhibit 3D989. As for this document, the next witness is going to speak
6 about it in greater detail.
7 Q. Colonel, can you tell us what kind of a document this is and who
8 issued this document?
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please see page 2.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, this is a publication, a
11 brochure, a pocket brochure primarily meant for commanders of basic units,
12 with a view to dealing with their knowledge of social psychology and
13 personality psychology, refreshing it and applying it in practice in
14 command in working with soldiers, all of this with a view to confronting
15 fear. So that soldiers and officers could adapt to the situation more
16 easily so that they could cope with war-related stress in a better way and
17 so on. The publication was issued by the administration for information
18 and morale; however, it was revised professionally by professors of
19 Belgrade University who teach these particular subjects.
20 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Let us move on to another topic now.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: What's the relevance of that document, Mr. Visnjic?
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if we hear the next
23 witness, then we will hear about the research he carried out in relation
24 to fear that appears in the ranks of the Army of Yugoslavia soldiers who
25 were in Kosovo and Metohija. This fear was an element of something that
1 is caused, or rather, that is called morale in their terms, if I'm not
2 mistaken, but then the witness will explain this better. So when you look
3 at these causes of fear you will see how relevant external factors are,
4 what it is that causes fear. You will see how and in which way, or
5 rather, what the consequences of fear are among the population, among
6 soldiers; that is to say among people who were not particularly trained as
7 opposed to soldiers. We heard different evidence here --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Is this an expert who's going to be dealing with
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. He was directly in
11 charge of the research that he wishes to present to you. So it's a
12 document from the relevant period, this is empirical research, and the
13 next witness is going to talk about that. Quite simply, this is not
14 expert evidence; it is a document in this case that is from the relevant
15 period of time.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE BONOMY: We'll deal with that problem when the witness is
18 there. But going back to these other two exhibits, speaking for myself at
19 the moment, I have no idea how 3D737 and 3D735 are going to assist us to
20 determine matters of fact in this case when we've clearly indicated to you
21 that newspaper reports are not an acceptable form of evidence, and that's
22 essentially what these are. This is telling the journalists the
23 information that they then put in the newspapers. And then -- and the
24 other one with anonymous photographs.
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] May I respond to the first thing you
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] In relation to the first matter, I
4 think that the witness said what their sources of information were, and he
5 said that the operations centre of the Army of Yugoslavia and other
6 sources were the source of the information that he offered to the
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, let's have the sources. Don't give us
9 this media propaganda machine as supposedly evidence. Use the source --
10 I'm beginning to wonder what your -- what it is you're actually doing
11 here, whether you're, in fact, engaging in a bit of propaganda through the
12 courtroom --
13 MR. VISNJIC: No --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: -- In relation to the history in Yugoslavia,
15 because this -- I thought we had indicated this wasn't the way to present
16 evidence of events. And you see the tendentious nature of the language
17 used in this material presented to journalists also, whereas we could be
18 seeing the reports that tell the facts. And we may even be seeing the
19 reports, which makes one wonder why this material's here at all. I simply
20 indicate to you at the moment, I for one would find it very difficult to
21 give any weight to this. And perhaps we did make the wrong decision in
22 allowing you to go down this road at all. You've a tight time-line to
23 present solid material to us in the presentation of your defence, and this
24 doesn't strike me, for one, as the way to use that time wisely.
25 Anyway, let's hear what else you have to present from this
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Colonel, during the course of May 1999 you were part of the team
4 that toured the army units in Kosovo-Metohija. Can you tell us when this
5 happened, in what period?
6 A. Yes, it is correct. Within the team of the Supreme Command Staff
7 I was in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija from the 23rd until the 26th
8 of May, in the command of the Pristina Corps; and after we finished our
9 work at this command, I toured the command of the 15th Armoured Brigade
10 and the 243rd Mechanised Brigade.
11 Q. Thank you. Thank you. During that tour, or rather, at the end of
12 that tour was there yet another meeting where the results of this control
13 were openly presented?
14 A. Well, that is the customary way of doing this, because there were
15 other teams that went to other units of the Pristina Corps, and at the end
16 it was customary to have a meeting to summarize and present the situation
17 as it was and the observations made in these units.
18 Q. Thank you. When was this meeting held to the best of your
20 A. Usually it is on the last day of the tour and the control; I think
21 it was precisely on the 26th.
22 Q. Thank you. Just tell me, who was the leader of the control team?
23 A. The leader of the control team from the Supreme Command Staff was
24 Lieutenant-General Ljubisa Velickovic and together with him on the team
25 was General Miodrag Simic. I was with them in the command of the Pristina
2 Q. Thank you. Tell me now, did anyone in any way, either while you
3 were in these units that you mentioned just now or at these meetings, say
4 to you that a number of members of the MUP and also to a certain extent
5 smaller units as well were committing grave crimes against the Siptar
6 civilian population in settlements, shelters, namely, murder, rape,
7 burglary, theft, aggravated theft, and so on, and that they intended to
8 ascribe these crimes in a premeditated fashion to members of the units of
9 the Army of Yugoslavia?
10 A. I did not hear this kind of assessment in any of the corps organs
11 or in any of the units that I toured.
12 Q. Thank you. Tell me, Colonel -- or maybe you've actually already
13 responded to this question. I always ask witnesses this at the end. Are
14 you familiar with any plan that the Army of Yugoslavia carried out in
15 relation to expulsions of the civilian population from Kosovo and
17 A. I am not aware of the existence of any such plan.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, no further questions
20 of this witness.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
22 You'll now be cross-examined by the Prosecutor, Mr. Hannis.
23 Mr. Hannis.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could all microphones
25 please be switched off except for the person who is speaking. Thank you.
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
2 Q. Good afternoon, Colonel --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you now make sure your microphone is switched
4 off, Mr. Visnjic, and any others apart from Mr. Hannis's.
5 MR. HANNIS:
6 Q. Now, the administration that you were a part of in 1998 and 1999
7 as I understand it was called the administration for information and moral
8 guidance; is that correct?
9 A. That is correct, Mr. Prosecutor.
10 Q. And I understand that in the preceding years that administration
11 had gone through a number of name changes, correct?
12 A. That's correct as well, Mr. Prosecutor.
13 Q. And one of the names it had in the past had been the
14 administration for information and psychological and propaganda
15 activities, right?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Do you know why the name was changed before 1988 [sic] and 1999?
18 A. Well, I'll try to answer this question as briefly as possible,
19 although it does require a broader approach. In the briefest possible
20 terms, if you allow me.
21 Q. Please.
22 A. Because of the events in the former SFRY in 1990, because the one
23 party system was abolished and because Yugoslavia broke up, the former
24 political administration from which all those organs or names stemmed, it
25 was not viable anymore as such and it had to undergo functional and other
1 transformations. And that is how, in particular 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994,
2 things were going in all directions and you saw that I explained some of
3 that. And then in -- sometime in 1994, again as part of this process of
4 transforming the military and in an effort to depoliticise the army, we
5 came up with this term which is similar to the terms and names used in
6 other armies for such units, and that was how it was defined in effect.
7 But quite soon we realised that this component, the psychological
8 propaganda activities, was something that we were not good at, that we
9 didn't really have capabilities for it. And the original idea for the
10 most part was to have the defensive component, as it is called, in order
11 to set up a system to protect the army personnel against modern
12 psychological activities. So that was the concept, that was the approach.
13 But quite soon we abandoned that, we realised that moral guidance or
14 morale as an expression of the combat spirit in -- of the troops is
15 something that is unavoidable, and that's why we came up with this name.
16 It was transformed again as the -- and it became the administration for
17 morale. I was no longer there and I think that it functioned for a while
18 and then it was abolished.
19 Q. In 1998 and 1999 I take it from paragraph 12 of your statement
20 that the administration for information and moral guidance had four
21 organizational units, including a department for psychological and
22 propaganda activities; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that is correct, Mr. Prosecutor.
24 Q. And in paragraph 13 of your statement it -- you list the basic
25 functions of the administration. And about two-thirds of the way down the
1 page I see the functions include: "To organize a system of psychological
2 and propaganda activities in order to protect VJ members from enemy
3 psychological and propaganda activities and offensive PPD," which is the
4 acronym for psychological and propaganda activities,"against the enemy."
5 So that's correct, you -- you were trying to deal with protecting
6 your own VJ members from propaganda from the other side, but it was also
7 part of your job to create offensive propaganda against the other side,
9 A. Yes, that is correct, but in the redistribution of all those
10 functions, the emphasis was placed on the defensive component and very
11 little focus -- in fact, it depended on the need - was placed on the other
12 one. We never really developed it. According to the wartime
13 establishment, we could have set up those units, too, but we simply never
14 did establish this offensive component.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Defensive and offensive don't mean a lot to me in
16 this context, I'm afraid, and the answers do appear confusing. Can you
17 assist, Mr. Hannis?
18 MR. HANNIS: I'll try, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: With the different -- and also is it possible to
20 deal with the question of is it moral guidance or is it morale we're
21 talking about?
22 MR. HANNIS: Well, sometimes I think moral is typed where it
23 should be morale, but moral guidance could pertain to morale in my
24 understanding, Your Honour. I'm not sure.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
1 MR. HANNIS:
2 Q. But, Colonel, as I understand it, and I'm trying to follow-up on
3 the question the Judge just posed, defensive propaganda, you're really
4 talking about how to help your soldiers deal with the kinds of propaganda
5 that they might be hearing from the other side, in this context NATO and
6 Radio Free Europe and Deutsche Welle and the propaganda they might be
7 hearing in foreign media or in seeing in leaflets dropped by NATO. Is
8 that what you're talking about when you talk about the defensive
9 activities of your unit?
10 A. Yes. I think your interpretation is quite fair. I have nothing
11 to add to it.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I think now that I read the answer again it is
13 clear. It was something that was abandoned, but -- it was something
14 unavoidable and they returned to it, so I think I understand now.
15 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
16 Q. Let me follow-up just to I'm clear, Colonel. Then the offensive
17 activities in this case would be your side, the VJ army and the Serb side
18 in this conflict, trying to put out information or propaganda that would
19 either make NATO want to abandon the fight or make the international
20 community put pressure on NATO because of how they perceived what NATO was
21 doing in Serbia. Would that be an example of the offensive propaganda?
22 A. Yes, in essence.
23 Q. And, Colonel, I would dare to suggest that these two documents,
24 3D735, which is entitled: "Trace of inhumanity," and 3D737, the daily
25 briefings, are, at least in part, examples of offensive propaganda. Would
1 you agree with me?
2 A. Well, I wouldn't agree because we provided this to the reporters,
3 who would then assess themselves whether there were any elements to use
4 this document as a basis from which to work. So I can't really see how
5 this can be qualified in this manner.
6 Q. Okay. In fairness to you, let's break it down into two parts
7 because I think there's a stronger argument as to one of the documents
8 rather than the other. Let's talk about 3D735, which is the publication,
9 the book, that is mostly photographs, and it's calls: "Trace of
10 Inhumanity." I'm looking at page 5 of the document and it says this was I
11 guess published by Vojska Publishing Information Centre, special editions
12 department. So that's a -- that's an in-house publishing body in the
13 army, correct?
14 A. Yes, the Vojska Publishing Centre, that was part of, or rather, it
15 was an organizational unit of our administration.
16 Q. And this is -- this indicates this is the 3rd edition published in
17 1.000 copies. Do you know how many editions there were in total? I take
18 it there were two earlier editions of this; do you know when they were
20 A. Those editions were a result of an exhibition that was put up by
21 the military, and probably after this exhibition a selection was made and
22 photographs were put together and this publication was published after
23 that. I don't know how many editions there were. I don't think, in fact,
24 that there were any other editions apart from this one that you're
1 Q. Okay. So you think this one which is called the 3rd edition is
2 the only edition; is that right?
3 A. I don't think that it's the only one. I guess there have to be
4 the first one and the second one, but I don't think that any editions were
5 put out after this one, after the third one.
6 Q. Okay. I understand. And to whom were these given? Were they
7 sold or were they given away? How were they distributed?
8 A. Those publications were not sold. They were displayed at the desk
9 of the Yugoslav Army information centre. Anyone could take them and use
10 them as they see fit -- as they saw fit.
11 Q. And I thought you had said earlier that one of the purposes of
12 this publication was to help the reporters in writing about the war; is
13 that correct?
14 A. I said that about daily overview, that was its main purpose, but
15 this publication, quite specifically, did not serve that function.
16 Q. I would agree with you. I think this publication was intended to
17 and did serve the purpose of offensive propaganda against NATO, correct?
18 A. I couldn't agree with you, with this assessment, because it was
19 not intended for that. That was not its function. It painted a realistic
20 picture. It was an overview of the destruction caused to civilian and
21 business infrastructure. I can't see how it could have been used as
22 offensive propaganda against NATO, whose member states have much better
23 developed psychological operations and who have much better methods of
25 Q. You don't see how portraying pictures of body parts and small
1 children crying could have a positive offensive propaganda effect against
2 NATO? Isn't that why this publication was created?
3 A. No. We didn't do it in order to do propaganda work against NATO,
4 but simply to show the consequences, the destruction, the suffering of the
5 victims. And if we can talk about the propaganda aspect, then we can only
6 talk about it within the context of the defensive component that I was
7 talking about, to build the unity among the people, to motivate them for
8 the defence. That's the way I see it. Secondly, I apologise, all the
9 photographs are authentic, they're true. There are witnesses to
10 corroborate what is shown on each and every one of them, authentic
11 testimony, so I can't really see how that could be used as offensive
12 propaganda activities against NATO, except for this element that I
13 mentioned to present to the domestic and international public what
14 actually is going on.
15 Q. Colonel, I would suggest that there are certain kinds of
16 propaganda. Good propaganda is the kind that can serve both purposes at
17 the same time. It serves the defensive purpose of uniting the VJ soldiers
18 because they're outraged at seeing these kinds of photographs, which
19 suggests that these crimes have been committed by NATO against their
20 families and their people, and at the same time it could cause outrage in
21 the international community or help widen the gap that may have existed
22 among all the NATO parties about this bombing campaign. So this book is
23 an example of the kind of propaganda that serves both purposes, right?
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Have you heard the question, Mr. Novkovic?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I understand the comment and I
1 can partly agree with it, but not with the conclusion.
2 Mr. Prosecutor, that was the raw truth, the reality. We wanted to
3 show this to the people, that was our aim, and that we were building a
4 national unity on victims, on destruction. And what you're characterizing
5 and offensive propaganda aimed at our population, and in particular at
6 NATO, that's not something that I can accept. And I'm quite amazed
7 because no one has ever levied any such accusation at us from the
8 reporters, from the international community, nobody has ever labelled this
9 as propaganda.
10 MR. HANNIS:
11 Q. Well, I'd be surprised if that turns out to be correct. I want to
12 ask you about the photographs. You said they're all authentic and all
14 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, I don't know if this is the time for
15 the break or --
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
17 MR. HANNIS:
18 Q. I'm sorry. We'll take a break right now, Colonel.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Novkovic, we do have to have a break at this
20 stage, that will be for half an hour, and we shall resume at 6.00. Could
21 you meanwhile leave the courtroom with the usher.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 --- Recess taken at 5.29 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.
25 [The witness takes the stand]
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
2 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
3 Q. Colonel, before the break we were talking about Exhibit 3D735, the
4 book called: "Trace of Inhumanity." And earlier at page 62, line 4, in
5 your answer you indicated that all these photographs are authentic,
6 they're true, there are witnesses to corroborate what is shown on each and
7 every one of them, but I thought I heard you say earlier in response to a
8 discussion about this book that some of these photographs were anonymous,
9 is that correct, are there some of these photographs that you don't know
10 where they came from?
11 A. I may have said that, yes. But, if I may correct myself, that is
12 not quite what I meant, anonymous. Perhaps it was the case that I didn't
13 know who the author was, as simple as that. But as for the editorial
14 board and the publishing operation itself, I suppose they have records on
15 each and every photograph. Therefore, I have to correct my previous
16 statement. Perhaps I did say anonymous, but we didn't just pick those
17 randomly. As far as I'm concerned, I really didn't know at the time who
18 the authors were of each and every photograph that we used.
19 MR. HANNIS: Could we look at the exhibit and look at page 4.
20 Q. Colonel, I have a question for you about this. I think the first
21 photograph on the inside next to the editorial information and it simply
22 saying: "Yugoslavia, wartime spring, May 24th 1999." Do you have any
23 idea what this is a photograph taken of, where it was taken, by whom? You
24 don't know, do you?
25 A. I don't know, but you're pushing me into a corner here and making
1 me answer questions that I'm unable to answer. I wasn't in charge of that
2 myself. It wasn't my job; however, it's perfectly easy to interpret what
3 the photograph itself shows. Anyone can see that for themselves. It's
4 about sorrow, it's about pain.
5 Q. Yes. I would suggest to you it's propaganda intended to unite
6 your soldiers and to make NATO lose support in the international
7 community, both defensive and offensive propaganda purposes, correct,
8 because it's not for informational purposes. There's nothing about it
9 except Yugoslavia, spring, and a date, so it's certainly not for
10 informational purposes, is it?
11 A. I couldn't quite agree. This photograph informs the public about
12 the pain and suffering of our people, the civilians. If you really think
13 that it can make a Yugoslav airlines pilot cry and make him give up his
14 professional responsibilities, well in that case, yes, perhaps you might
15 choose to call it propaganda. The simple fact is I don't agree,
16 especially the part where you talk about an offensive component.
17 Q. Okay. I'll take it that you don't agree with me.
18 MR. HANNIS: Could we look at page 96.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, page 65, I'm not sure
21 if the witness said Yugoslav airlines, because that's what the transcript
22 says, I don't think if that's what the witness said. If you really think
23 that it can make a Yugoslav airlines pilot cry.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] NATO.
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] NATO, all right.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the translation we have is: "If you really
2 think that it can make a Yugoslav airlines pilot cry ..."
3 Now, is that what you said?
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness said JAT,
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I may have misspoken. What I had in
7 mind was NATO because they were the ones carrying out the air-strikes
8 obviously. Thank you for this correction.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: You appear to have said JAT, J-A-T.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's possible. Probably.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you.
12 MR. HANNIS: Can we look at page number 96 of this exhibit,
13 please. Well, perhaps my page numbering is wrong. I think I have to go
14 back two pages from this item for a paragraph. It's page number 94.
15 Thank you.
16 Q. Now, what about this photograph, it has no caption at all. Can
17 you tell us anything about who that's a picture of, when it was taken,
18 where it was taken?
19 A. I can't provide this kind of information simply because I was not
20 directly involved and it wasn't possible for me to obtain that sort of
21 information. It may have been an omission on the part of the publisher.
22 I think this information should have been clearly stated; however, one can
23 see what the photograph itself shows. It's crystal clear.
24 Q. Well, I think it's crystal clear what its intended to show, I
25 agree. Let me ask you about the -- one of the other jobs of your
1 administration. I think in page -- or at paragraph 12 you mentioned the
2 department for culture and tradition and the Vojska news and publishing
3 centre was linked to that department, correct?
4 A. Yes, the publishing and information centre, Vojska, was one of the
5 organizational units of the moral guidance department. There was the army
6 museum, the military history institute containing the military archive.
7 Q. And did the army department for culture and tradition focus
8 primarily on Serb culture and tradition?
9 A. It wasn't just Serb culture and tradition. In practical terms we
10 used that department to organize certain features in the VJ, and this
11 included all of its members. We nourished the traditions and culture of
12 each and every ethnic minority present within the VJ because we were the
13 VJ. The whole of Yugoslavia was included, and we followed this principle
14 with no exceptions. We were very consistent.
15 Q. In 1998 and 1999, what percentage of the VJ was composed of
16 soldiers and officers of the Serb ethnicity? Wasn't the army at that time
17 a substantial majority of Serbs?
18 A. You mean the military or the professional?
19 Q. Well, tell me about the professional first.
20 A. The professional set-up to a large extent reflected the overall
21 ratio between Serbs, Montenegrins, and ethnic minorities in the FRY. It
22 was, roughly speaking, within those boundaries in terms of the presence
23 and involvement of the overall population of the FRY. I do have to
24 mention this, though, there were no Albanians or next to none, and their
25 involvement certainly didn't reflect their share in the overall Yugoslav
1 population. As for the military set-up, the situation was more or less
2 similar, but again I have to point out that members of the Albanian
3 minority boycotted the VJ and boycotted to a large extent their regular
4 military terms.
5 Q. Would it be fair to say that because of that boycott and that
6 underrepresentation of Albanians in the army, that the army didn't spend
7 much time talking about Albanian culture in the department of culture and
9 A. As a matter of principle, no restrictions were imposed by us on
10 the Albanian ethnic minority or, indeed, their culture. As for active
11 features, shows, every time there was something organized in the way of
12 arts and crafts, there was never any restriction on a show or a feature
13 being shown from that particular area and belonging to that particular
15 Q. Let me ask you about paragraph 19 of your statement, and this has
16 to do with the journalist and credentials that were handed out. You told
17 us and I think you testified that there were some 1.535 credentials issued
18 to journalists from 490 foreign media. Can you tell us from what area
19 those countries were? Did you hand out any credentials, for example, to
20 reporters from the United Kingdom, from Australia, New Zealand, or the
21 United States?
22 A. There were journalists from the countries you mention as well. I
23 can say that journalists from all over the world were represented. There
24 was enormous interest. There were journalists from South America,
25 Australia. Given the amount of interest, it was precisely the way you say
1 it was.
2 Q. And you mention Christiane Amanpour you wouldn't have given her a
3 credential, would you?
4 A. At the start of the air-strikes, she was in Belgrade, she was
5 accredited, she was working there for some time. For some reason, I think
6 in mid-April, she left of her own accord. She took a route out through
7 Hungary and Budapest and all of a sudden, as soon after, she turned up in
8 Kosovo and Metohija.
9 Q. Isn't a possible explanation for that because she wanted to get an
10 objective view from the other side rather than just the information that
11 was being provided to you -- by you to the foreign press?
12 A. That could be one possible interpretation, but considering the
13 visa regime that applied in the country, considering her accreditation
14 that had been granted, I think a fair thing to do for her would have been
15 to simply request that and I'm sure we would have accommodated her and
16 made it possible for her to go to Kosovo and Metohija. Additionally what
17 happened is that at long last she accessed Kosovo and Metohija, which was
18 our territory, illegally, and then she did what she did.
19 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Visnjic asked you about some of the NATO
20 propaganda or the -- the untrue things that were being said about you that
21 you had to confront and deal with. You mentioned that one of the -- one
22 of the primary things was the theory or the argument- this is at page 41-
23 that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is continuing with the ethnic
24 cleansing, and are you saying that there was no truth to that at all or
25 that it was exaggerated?
1 A. We should distinguish between ethnic cleansing and refugees.
2 There were refugees. There is no doubt about that. In my view, if I may,
3 I can tell you what the reasons were for the existence of refugees and for
4 the fact that their numbers grew up to a level where it was eventually
5 termed an exodus or a humanitarian disaster. First of all, I think the
6 refugees convoys, not to the same extent of course, came about already in
7 1998, as early as that, because of combat activity by our security forces
8 as they were fighting Albanian terror groups. Their lives were at risk,
9 and there was pressure on the population in those areas. I believe that
10 to have been one of the reasons. This occurred as early as 1998.
11 Secondly, the steep increase in the number of refugees in Kosovo
12 and Metohija occurred when the air-strikes were started. There were many
13 agencies in the western world that conveyed statements made by Albanians
14 who were part of those convoys, clearly showing that it was the NATO
15 air-strikes that caused them to flee and be afraid for their own safety
16 and that of their families, which eventually increased the number of
18 Next - this is my own personal view but this is also based on some
19 analyses and inferences that can be made - the increase in the number of
20 refugees, which is what eventually happened, was part of an organized
21 media campaign, another kind of campaign, being launched by certain
22 players in the west. There were refugees on both sides. What I have been
23 talking about here for the most part was about media manipulation and
24 media misrepresentation and misuse of this problem of refugees. I never
25 challenged that because there were refugees belonging to almost each and
1 every ethnic group present in the area. For the most part, they were
2 Kosovo Albanians naturally because they are the predominant population in
3 the area.
4 Q. And that's true, Colonel. Would you allow for the possibility
5 that one of the reasons for those thousands of Albanian refugees -- Kosovo
6 Albanian refugees leaving Kosovo, as testified to by a number of them in
7 this trial, was that they were forced out by forces of the Serbian MUP and
8 by the army, according to their testimony?
9 A. I'm unable to confirm that. I can't describe it in that way. It
10 is possible that in certain areas where combat operations and clashes were
11 continuing, especially in 1998 when the fighting was fierce, certain
12 groups were taken away from those areas or taken to safety. But I really
13 have no information indicating that this was done solely on account of
14 ethnic cleansing.
15 Q. And you mentioned the daily briefings and you prepared your daily
16 bulletins, I guess you called them, for the journalists. And I think you
17 said at line -- page 42, line 25, you provided a specific time-line of
18 NATO air operations throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This
19 was something for them to familiarise themselves with the situation, and
20 then they could decide on their own what they wanted to do about it. But
21 in those daily bulletins you were not providing the journalists any
22 information about combat operations being carried out by the VJ in support
23 of the MUP or in coordination with the MUP and anti-terrorist operations
24 against the KLA. You weren't giving them that information, were you?
25 A. No, not in this form that you mentioned, as part of the daily
1 bulletin, but we did organize press conferences. We did issue public
2 statements. The information service of the Supreme Command Staff did. We
3 had a total of about five press conferences throughout the aggression, and
4 we published about 35 public announcements. There were five press
5 conferences, and these focused most of all on combat operations. And also
6 when they toured units, they had a chance to see for themselves.
7 Q. Okay. And these daily information reports on the NATO bombing,
8 they didn't include every target that NATO had bombed, did they, but only
9 those that you had selected to put in the daily bulletin, right?
10 A. Not every target was included, because then the bulletin would
11 have had to run into several pages. A selection process was needed and
12 there were a couple of people who were in charge of that. A time-line
13 needed to be provided for these combat operations, but the principal idea
14 was to prioritize the targets, to prioritize also in terms of destruction
15 levels and casualties. Our selection was geared towards the most severe
17 Q. At page 48, line 21, you said that this was auxiliary material for
18 journalists so that on the basis of this material they could objectively
19 decide what they wanted to write about. But I suggest to you that there's
20 a limitation because since you're doing - and by "you" I mean the army and
21 your unit - you're doing an initial screening process so that they could
22 write about anything that you had initially screened and then spoon-fed to
23 them. Isn't that right? You've preselected what they can choose from?
24 A. The daily bulletin was supposed to be used in some sort of a
25 reference point and the -- the editors and journalists were free to use it
1 as they saw fit. They may have had other sources of information and
2 neglected the daily bulletin altogether. They could have requested to go
3 and take shots of a entirely different target or facility. We always
4 tried to accommodate any such requests. As I mentioned before, I think we
5 dealt with over 700 such requests that were made on individual basis.
6 Q. Okay. Mr. Visnjic then asked you about what was your source of
7 information for the facts you were putting in the bulletins. You
8 mentioned there was several sources, primarily the operations centre in
9 the General Staff. I want to know, sir, did you also get -- or did you
10 also use information that you heard in the -- in the daily Supreme Command
11 Staff briefings that you attended? Did you sometimes use that information
12 in the bulletins?
13 A. You could say that, yes. I attended briefings every day at the
14 Supreme Command Staff. For the most part, information on combat
15 activities was sent through the operations centre and the command system.
16 In addition to that, as I mentioned already, we used other sources such as
17 civil defence sources, civil protection sources. Objectively speaking, it
18 wasn't possible to use only the command system to register every single
19 time a target was hit and every single time a combat operation took place.
20 So we used this information network in the civil protection system too.
21 We used information from local media as well because they, too, were
22 providing information, but we would check and verify every single thing,
23 every single bit of information before it was included in the bulletin.
24 Q. Okay. Were you then providing only information about the NATO
25 bombing or were you -- I thought you -- I understood you to say before
1 that you were providing other information about the conflict in Kosovo,
2 not just the NATO bombing targets. Is that right?
3 A. We were providing other information, too, but the overview of NATO
4 air-strikes on civilian and industrial targets had the major share. But
5 we also spoke about the taking down of such planes as F-117 and F-116
6 fighter planes. We also included other information -- other information
7 occasionally that we believed might be of interest to the journalists.
8 Q. Okay.
9 MR. HANNIS: Let's have a look at Exhibit 3D721, and if we could
10 first go to page 2 of both the B/C/S and the English.
11 Q. And, Colonel, I would tell you this is a briefing of the staff of
12 the Supreme Command on the 3rd of April, 1999, which apparently started
13 about 8.30 in the evening. I think you told us you attended every session
14 from the 1st of April on through the conflict; is that correct?
15 A. Every session for the most part. Sometimes I was away on official
16 business controls and such, sometimes I was not at the Supreme Command
17 Staff. On those occasions, I didn't attend, but I did attend most of
18 them, yes.
19 Q. I want to look at the paragraph in B/C/S on the page in front of
20 you it's the paragraph that begins right after the one that has the number
21 2.000 in it. And in English I'll read you how it's translated. It
22 says: "With regard to the territory, there are problems with paramilitary
23 formations. Intelligence has it that there are volunteers who have
24 arrived in Kosovo and Metohija without the army being aware of it, and
25 these are the MUP reserve forces."
1 And then there's a proposal: "Inform MUP and other organs to
2 undertake measures within their competence."
3 And finally a reference to: "A group of 32 volunteers was sent
4 back from Kosovo and Metohija. Seven looted," and then it's incomplete.
5 And finally the next one is General Ojdanic speaking. The prior comments
6 I can tell you from the preceding page came from Colonel Gajic.
7 And General Ojdanic here says: "The command of the 3rd Army is to
8 explain why these 32 were together and not in the units."
9 Do you recall this being discussed at that meeting about problems
10 with volunteers and ...
11 A. I personally cannot remember specifically from this particular
12 collegium, but I do have reason to believe that it was the way you said it
14 Q. Now, that was not the kind of information you were putting in the
15 daily bulletins, was it?
16 A. No, no. That kind of information we did not put in the daily
17 bullets because -- well, as I was saying, this review could not have been
18 that succinct and it could not have been as functional as we wanted it to
19 be. We wanted it to be there to assist the journalists in their work.
20 Q. Okay. Let's go to page 5 of the English, and I believe it is page
21 4 of the B/C/S.
22 Colonel, this is the same briefing and this is General Ojdanic
23 sort of -- it looks like summing up at the end of the meeting. And under
24 number 18, item 2, it says: "Prepare denials on refugees (administration
25 for information)."
1 Do you recall what that was about? I will tell you in the first
2 page of this meeting General Krga mentions that they claim there are about
3 500.000 refugees, so I assume he's referring to NATO when he says "they"
4 there. Does that help you recall what this was about?
5 A. I'm saying that I don't know whether I specifically attended that
6 collegium meeting, but I remember that practically as for the problem of
7 refugees, Albanian refugees, as this was present in the public all the
8 time, we always examined that problem -- well, always, I mean to the
9 extent to which we pointed this out as a permanently present problem in
10 the international public. Then I understood General Ojdanic to say that
11 this should be dealt with, denied, a denial should be issued from the
12 federal government. You know why? You know why there was this problem
13 with the issuing of these denials, what it boils down to as far as we in
14 the military are concerned? The media were saturated with all these
15 figures that were being bandied about. There was a race going on. The
16 figures varied to such an extent, tens of thousands, and there were even
17 high officials who stated that it was over 1 million, 1.2 million, 1.3
18 million, that is why we thought and that is why it was the position of the
19 collegium that somebody should speak up and say what the truth would be in
20 approximate terms, in terms of actual figures. We were not denying the
21 fact that there were Albanian refugees.
22 Q. But here it does say "administration for information," that would
23 have been you and your -- your administration, your department, correct?
24 A. Yes, of course. The tactical mainstay involved is issued with a
25 task and the moral guidance --
1 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt. I'm running short of time and I want to
2 try and finish you today so you can go home. If you can give short
3 answers where I ask a question for a short answer, that will help.
4 MR. HANNIS: If we can go to the next page of the B/C/S and keep
5 the English page that we have now.
6 Q. Colonel, the next one will be item number 20, and this again is
7 General Ojdanic talking. And now I'll read the English to you. It
8 says: "Colonel Novkovic to see to it as to what information is needed for
9 work of the press centre in the VJ club and no other information is to be
10 supplied by anybody else. All assistants are to be briefed as to what
11 information should be announced."
12 Were you aware of that? Whether you were present at the meeting
13 or not, were you aware that that was what General Ojdanic had said?
14 A. Yes, and I was present at this meeting. We thought that it was
15 only natural because in all well-regulated systems, especially in the
16 military, the army is a well-regulated system, there is a system of
17 subordination and we thought that that was indispensable in order to
18 preserve the system of command. This warning was there in order to
19 prevent improvisation, also wilful behaviour on the part of individuals,
20 because there were such attempts too --
21 Q. Okay --
22 A. -- And attacks at units themselves in terms of jeopardizing the
23 security and safety of the units themselves and of journalists.
24 Q. And this is also to control the flow of information, correct?
25 A. Well, no. As for lower commands, we did not carry out any
1 corrections in terms of their press releases and the information they
2 provided. We just wanted this to be within a single system in terms of
3 coordination and in terms of appropriate assistance, otherwise we did not
4 correct anything, and we did not exercise any immediate influence unless
5 something drastically went against the grain of soldierly norms or
6 threatened the system of military secrets.
7 Q. Are you saying that during the war the lower units, for example,
8 the 3rd Army, the Pristina Corps, the 243rd Brigade, issued their own
9 press releases about what was going on without any review or control from
10 above? Is that what was happening?
11 A. They had a high degree of independence in view of the assessments,
12 the situation, the substance that they were trying to get across. We just
13 coordinated things, if necessary, also in terms of giving them some
14 assistance to convey what it was that they were releasing. They have a
15 rather high degree of autonomy in that.
16 Q. So they weren't required to submit their press releases for
17 approval to you or some higher body before they went out? That's what
18 you're saying, isn't it?
19 A. Yes, yes, we did not do that.
20 Q. And how often, if you know, was the 3rd Army or the Pristina Corps
21 issuing press releases? On a daily basis?
22 A. It was not on a daily basis. It was only natural that they were
23 in the focus of everyone's interest and the greatest pressure of
24 journalists was precisely aimed at that command and those units. As for
25 their relations with the public and the information they provided, they
1 combined it with several -- in several different forms. Statements made
2 by the commander of the 3rd Army or the corps commander or some other
3 organ from the command or through press releases or through clips at the
4 RTS or through other media, so it was combined. Methods were combined.
5 And also those who spoke in public varied, those who provided information.
6 Q. From what I've seen and heard about the VJ, it seems like this was
7 a -- this was a well-organized army. There must have been some rules or
8 regulations controlling what could be said, what could be released in
9 press releases by the 3rd Army or the Pristina Corps or subordinate units;
10 that's correct, isn't it, limitations on the kind of information that
11 could go out?
12 A. Well, if I understood you correctly, you are talking about a
13 general principle that exists in all armies in the world. So from that
14 point of view one could say that that was the way it was in our army.
15 However, due to the dynamic of combat activities and everything that was
16 going on, we could not fully exercise such a principle. On the other
17 hand, we thought it was necessary that the public should be made aware of
18 what was going on in that war.
19 Q. Would those rules be found in the VJ rules of service if I were
20 trying to find them or do you know?
21 A. I think that that provision can be found in the rules of service.
22 I cannot remember exactly which particular article, but I think that this
23 was regulated in normative terms.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. HANNIS: And finally could we look at item 23.
1 Q. And the English translation says: "On Monday in the VMA meeting
2 room, review the defence plan again in case there is a land operation."
3 Can you tell us what the VMA meeting room is?
4 A. I assume that these are perfectly normal, official premises. I
5 personally think that apart from this official room that is used every day
6 for these everyday meetings, it's nothing else, it's nothing else. There
7 is no special room as far as I am aware at the VMA.
8 Q. What does "VMA" stand for?
9 A. It means the military medical academy, Vojno Medicinska Akademija.
10 Q. That's where the army hospital is located as well in Belgrade,
11 isn't it?
12 A. Well, in actual fact, that is a specialised military hospital;
13 however, with the status of a research institution. So it has different
14 clinics, poly-clinics, institutes. So it is a hospital, but a very
15 high-level hospital that also engages in scientific research.
16 Q. And that reference is to a meeting of the collegium that was held
17 on the 9th of April, 1999, correct?
18 A. Well, I assume that that is that collegium. I also attended it;
19 however, I think that the choice was made to have it held at the VMA
20 because the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command with his collegium
21 wanted to pay a visit to the military medical academy, or rather, the
22 patients there who were in hospital at the time. But as far as I can
23 remember, it was nothing special, it was regular type of meeting, without
24 anything special about it, just that one single one.
25 Q. You don't remember that that was a marathon session of the VJ
1 collegium where the situation in the republic after the first 17 days of
2 the NATO air-strikes was discussed at great length and there were concerns
3 expressed about the storage of resources and supplies, I can't remember if
4 it was General Kovacevic or General Krga talked about might only have
5 enough to carry on for another seven to ten days of the war. And at the
6 end of that session, a directive was drawn up for how to deal with the
7 upcoming days in the war. You don't remember April 9th as being a special
8 meeting, a long meeting with hours spent dealing with having an analysis
9 and writing up assessments which General Ojdanic said that he was going to
10 take to the Supreme Command the next day? You don't recall that?
11 A. I don't recall that meeting. I'm not aware of that.
12 Q. You were there, Colonel, weren't you?
13 A. I don't know whether that's the one, but in my view it wasn't a
14 marathon meeting, as you had put it, as it was not presented that way
15 either as far as materiel reserves and resources were concerned and the
16 situation in the Republic of Serbia was not characterized as dramatic.
17 Within the scope of my own authority, and that was following the situation
18 regarding morale in the army, I was a member of the collegium, but I
19 personally do not recall such descriptions and characterizations and I
20 don't really have the impression that it was a meeting that was that long,
21 a marathon-type meeting.
22 Q. Well, Colonel, we have that document in evidence. I don't have
23 the time to go through it with you now because I want to ask you about
24 Exhibit P2941. And I'm sorry, sir, I don't have this in Serbian. I have
25 English. And these are some media reports in which you are represented as
1 having made certain comments. I'll read it to you in English and ask if
2 you remember speaking about this. The first one is from page -- starts at
3 the bottom of page 28 of Exhibit 2941. It's from Belgrade Radio Beograd
4 Network it's entitled: "FRY army spokesman denounces NATO's intensified
5 attacks." And I want to go over to page 29, actually, at least in my copy
6 and I go down to where it says: "Begin Novakovic recording ..."
7 The first part I want to ask you about relates to the number of
8 Albanians in Kosovo, because you mentioned that that was a matter of some
9 dispute. Sir, you're attributed as saying: "So the number of over 1.5
10 million Albanians who lived in Kosovo and Metohija is still being
11 manipulated with completely inaccurately and arbitrarily. Over 800.000 of
12 them have allegedly left the area. It's also being claimed without any
13 grounds that the remainder of the 600.000 Albanians are hiding in the
14 hills and woods, allegedly out of constant fear of the Yugoslav security
15 forces. Claims are being made -- also being made about alleged mass
16 executions in the villages and towns in Kosovo and Metohija. The facts,
17 however, show something different. The truth lies in the following: The
18 number of Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija did not exceed 800.000."
19 Can you tell us where you got our figures from, that in 1998 and
20 1999 the number of Kosovo Albanians did not exceed 800.000? What was your
22 A. As far as I can remember, I used the federal government as a
23 source, their Ministry of Information. For the most part they used that
24 figure, of 800-something thousand Albanians, 200-something thousand Serbs,
25 Montenegrins, Yugoslavs, and so on and so forth. On the whole this is
1 what the official statistics was. The figure that was being bandied about
2 was 1.4, 1.3 million, but that is the source I used primarily. It was an
3 official source in a way. They did rely on certain estimates and so on.
4 Q. I want to go to the bottom of the page. This is another topic,
5 again attributed to you saying: "The headquarters of the Supreme Command
6 energetically denies this loathsome lie. We absolutely reject any thought
7 that the Supreme Command Staff of the Yugoslav armed forces could threaten
8 the security of sick and wounded persons with any move and endanger the
9 regular functioning of this respectable and internationally recognised
10 health constitution. The military medical academy in Belgrade is a highly
11 specialised scientific medical institution in which both military and
12 civilian persons, as well as foreign citizens, are being treated with
13 equal care."
14 And you go on to say: "Those who know this or should know it
15 would never place the General Staff of the army that was victorious in the
16 Balkan and both world wars in a hospital. In addition to the
17 preposterousness of such tricks, this and similar lies demonstrate the
18 absurd attempts by the aggressor to undermine through well-established
19 military propaganda the unity of the Yugoslav Army and the unity of people
20 in the defence of their country."
21 Now, this was you speaking to rebut the claim that the Supreme
22 Command had been based or had been meeting in the military medical
23 academy, and the fact is it had met in the military medical academy at
24 least once for that collegium session on the 9th of April, 1999. Isn't
25 that true?
1 A. Well, yes, probably, but I guess it's a mistake in the translation
2 because I never said undermining our propaganda. I don't really see where
3 this construction comes from. This was probably an attempt made by the
4 information service to tell the international public and the public at
5 home that in keeping with military tradition the General Staff and
6 officers will never abuse the military hospital. And it is from that
7 point of view that I made this statement.
8 Q. Well, sir, I suggest that you weren't being truthful when you
9 acted with outraged indignation to the suggestion that the General Staff
10 had been meeting in the military hospital. That's correct, isn't it? You
11 didn't tell them the truth when you made that denial?
12 A. No, it's not a meeting at the VMA that is referred to here. What
13 is being said here that -- is that the General Staff is deployed at the
14 military hospital, and you must admit that the difference is drastic. The
15 collegium could have been held somewhere else at a military school, at the
16 military museum, wherever, but it just so happened that this time it was
17 held at the military medical academy, but it certainly wasn't deployed
18 there and I stand by that.
19 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
20 MR. HANNIS: I have no more questions, Your Honour. Thank you.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
22 Mr. Visnjic.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I do have some
24 questions. Please, this same Prosecution Exhibit, I can't see what it is,
25 I can't see the number, 2941. I see the page here, K0541233. Could I
1 please have K0541231, that is to say two pages before this one.
2 Re-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, Mr. Hannis was a bit unfair to you. Now
4 I'm going to show you this very same document and please pay attention to
5 the date when it was that you made this statement. Colonel, when was this
6 statement made about the Supreme Command and the Supreme Command Staff not
7 being deployed or based in the military hospital?
8 A. What I see before me is the 16th of May, 1999.
9 Q. Thank you. Now I'm asking you the following. Do you know that
10 between the 9th of April and the 16th of May at any time any meeting of
11 the military or state leadership was held at the military medical academy
12 and whether they were deployed there or based there at any point in time?
13 A. After this collegium that was referred to, the 9th of April, that
14 is, as far as I know and on that basis I claim that not a single meeting
15 of the collegium of the Supreme Command Staff was held at the military
16 medical academy. So this denial I issued here had to do with the
17 statement that the Supreme Command Staff was deployed at the military
18 medical academy and that was functioning from there.
19 Q. Colonel, let me ask you something. If the Supreme Command Staff
20 had really been based at the military academy, would the hospital have
21 been a possible legitimate target in terms of what you know concerning the
22 rules of war and warfare?
23 A. According to the rules, if such a facility is abused by the
24 military, then it does become a legitimate target.
25 Q. Thank you, Colonel. Could you please look at 3D735 now. While
1 we're still on this topic, the military medical academy and so on, could
2 you please tell me, what was the basic purpose of General Ojdanic's visit
3 and the visit of members of his collegium to the military medical academy
4 on that day?
5 A. The basic purpose of that meeting was to actually visit some of
6 the wounded army personnel there.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could I please have 3D735.
8 Q. Mr. Hannis showed you page 4 of this document. This shows -- this
9 is a photograph of some persons, there is no caption.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
11 pages 9, 10, and 11, one after the other.
12 Q. Colonel, below each of these photographs there is a caption. What
13 does it say by and large?
14 A. Well, I can't see because it's too small, but -- well, it says
15 here Aleksinac - I have the English version here. So you have the
16 location, you have the picture, the picture speaks for itself, and there
17 is a description of what it is all about underneath.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have page 11, 2 now.
19 Could we have the next page, please. And the one after this one.
20 Q. Could you please pay attention, there is a date here on the next
21 page, yes. Again, we have the location and the date.
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
24 page 94. And could we please have page 93. 92.
25 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour --
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] And 91 --
2 MR. HANNIS: -- Page 93 shows the Dubrava prison in Istok. If
3 we're going to show that I want to move to re-open our evidence about
4 Dubrava prison rather than what's shown in that caption to that photo.
5 MR. VISNJIC: May I answer?
6 JUDGE BONOMY: What do you have to say?
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was not my intention
8 to show anything about Istok, but I just wanted to show that underneath
9 each photograph there is a caption containing either the location or the
10 date or both the location and the date and the identification of the
11 person. What Mr. Hannis did is to show the witness the first photograph
12 and the last photograph in this book. If you go through the whole book
13 you will see that every photograph has to do with a certain location. In
14 some cases there is also a reference to a date and to a name. So it is
15 very easy to verify whether such an incident really happened, the one that
16 is depicted on the photograph. Well, Istok is really on this photograph
17 by mere chance. It was not my intention to bring it in any way in the
18 context of the indictment or things that are at dispute here.
19 So in this document that contains about 90-so pages, except for
20 the first page which is, in fact, just the cover and the last page, which
21 is again some kind of a cover, in most cases a photograph has at least a
22 reference to the location, in most cases there is a reference to the
23 location, date, and the name of the person that was involved in the
24 incident. And since now I actually replied instead of the witness, I have
25 no further questions.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I repeat what I said earlier, Mr. Visnjic,
2 and I make the point on my own behalf, but I find it very difficult to see
3 the probative value at the moment in these pictures even with what's said
4 in them. I find it difficult to see that they're any different from the
5 press reporting that we've encouraged you to avoid utilising as evidence
6 in the case.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Novkovic, that completes your evidence here.
9 Thank you for coming to give evidence. You may now leave the courtroom.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 [The witness withdrew]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, what's happening tomorrow?
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I know we
14 have a videolink set up for tomorrow, two witnesses, first
15 General Geza Farkas and then General Andjelkovic. And, Your Honours, if
16 we may move into private session for just a moment, not more than ten
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
19 [Private session]
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: We shall sit at 9.00 tomorrow -- sorry, is tomorrow
11 2.15? Oh dear. Clearly my fault. I have a list here. So we'll sit at
12 2.15 tomorrow.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.07 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 25th day of
15 September, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.