1 Thursday, 4 October 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, it's been suggested to me that you wish
6 to raise some issue.
7 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour. And it's something I need to
8 discuss in private session.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Why is that.
10 MR. HANNIS: Because this concerns materials received from Serbia
11 for which a request was made that we not use them in public.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. We shall go into private session.
13 THE REGISTRAR: We are in private session, Your Honours.
14 [Private session]
11 Pages 16828-16833 redacted. Private session
23 [Open session]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
25 Mr. Visnjic, the challenges to the expert report of -- of
1 Radinovic are fairly limited, and they are very clearly expressed. Can
2 they be answered today?
3 If the answer to that -- if the answer to that is "no," then
4 they'll have to be dealt with early tomorrow morning. It's as simple as
6 MR. VISNJIC: Well, I think Mr. Sepenuk will take this issue.
7 MR. SEPENUK: Yeah, Your Honour, I don't think -- I just received
8 that -- I just looked at that last night for the first time. And I don't
9 think that General Radinovic is a practical matter. I mean, I'm not even
10 sure when General Krga will be through. But as a practical matter,
11 General Radinovic particularly because of these intercepts really can't
12 testify on Friday.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Sepenuk, Curcin will be through tomorrow, and
14 we have a decision to take about Radinovic, so everyone knows the position
15 when we come back if he's not giving evidence tomorrow. As things stand.
16 The rest is speculation. The challenges are very clear and should be
17 capable of being dealt with very quickly.
18 We're in this position because you didn't produce your report at
19 the time you should have produced it, and therefore we're not inclined to
20 be conceding more and more time at this stage. It has to be resolved.
21 MR. SEPENUK: I think it would be best then, Your Honour, to do it
23 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. And that will impinge on your own time
24 for your witnesses, and you have to bear that in mind as well. I was
25 giving you the opportunity to do it in writing to avoid that.
1 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: That's your choice.
3 Now, Mr. Ivetic, are you likely to have anything to say about this
5 MR. IVETIC: Apart from seeking cross-examination on -- of the
6 witness, that's all I would say at this point.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. So you oppose the position of it as it
9 MR. IVETIC: As it stands, no, with the ability of cross-examine.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
11 Now, can we return to the witness, please.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Krga.
14 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sorry about the delay, but we were dealing with
16 matters of law and administrative matters that were of urgency and had to
17 be attended to just now. So we're sorry for keeping you waiting.
18 Your examination by Mr. Visnjic will continue in a moment. Please
19 bear in mind that the solemn declaration to speak the truth which you gave
20 at the beginning of your evidence continues to apply to that evidence
22 Mr. Visnjic.
23 WITNESS: BRANKO KRGA [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter].
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
1 Examination by Ms. Visnjic: [Continued]
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General.
3 A. Good morning.
4 Q. General, before this Tribunal lieutenant colonel of the Yugoslav
5 Army Djorovic testified, and in his statement P2671, in paragraph 6, he
6 stated that on the 30th of December, 2003, he gave an expose at a forum
7 consisting of about 100 officers, and because of that speech of his, it
8 turned out to be his last working day in the Ministry of Defence. An
9 order was issued that he be transferred to the post of a legal desk
10 officer in Belgrade, in the Belgrade Corps command, and at a meeting
11 attended by General Krga, the chief of the legal administration and
12 General Zivanovic, he says:
13 "I was informed I had been punished and that I should go back to
14 the legal administration. I appealed against this order, but to this day
15 no decision has been reached."
16 MR. HANNIS: Sorry, Your Honour. If I may enquire: I know
17 Mr. Djorovic's statement was listed as a potential exhibit. But I didn't
18 see in the 65 ter summary of this witness's evidence that he was going to
19 talk about this matter. Is it in there someplace that I've missed?
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I don't believe so, Your Honours,
21 but if Mr. Hannis feels it's a major problem for him, I will withdraw this
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
24 MR. HANNIS: Well, Your Honour, I guess I wasn't prepared for it.
25 I see that it is item number 104 in his list of exhibits, but there was no
1 reference to Mr. Djorovic in the 65 ter summary.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: It is not a peripheral a matter, well depending on
3 the question, but the evidence of Djorovic is of some significance and
4 therefore we would be inclined, I think, to hear evidence that bears on
5 that and then to allow some other remedy to you, Mr. Hannis if you're
7 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, but if it is of pertinence, it should
8 have been in the 65 ter summary.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Oh, yes, I -- I entirely agree.
10 And Mr. Visnjic, I'm sure, realises that -- I don't think there's
11 any ill-will involved in these exchanges, Mr. Hannis. I think it's been
12 difficult for Mr. Visnjic because of the way in which they've put this
13 together perhaps in the latter stages of preparation to get absolutely
14 everything into these. Some of them seem to be longer than the evidence
15 of the witness in the end of the day. So it's not for want of, I think,
16 goodwill that these blips occur.
17 Please continue, Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. General, can you tell us something about the incident I've just
20 read about.
21 A. I remember that Lieutenant Colonel Djorovic and General Zivanovic
22 were in my office one day and we discussed his status. On that occasion,
23 he put forward his own view of this affair. I ordered that -- or
24 instructed, rather, that everything that could be done be done and that
25 his status be resolved pursuant to the law.
1 However, you said that afterwards he was punished by the security
2 organ. I don't think that's correct because the security organs were not
3 those who imposed sanctions on members of the army.
4 Q. At the meeting you attended, was he informed that the organs of
5 military security had punished him, as he said?
6 A. I repeat, that couldn't have happened. He couldn't have been
7 informed of that, because the security organs have no right to punish
8 anyone. That's according to the law.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Krga, when was this meeting?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I really cannot really
11 recall the date when that happened. It's very hard to remember the date.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: What was the purpose of the meeting?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The purpose was -- well, he asked
14 that I, as chief of the General Staff, receive him, for him to tell me
15 about his status problems. At the time, he was in the command of the
16 Belgrade Corps and the Belgrade Corps was subordinate to me, so that I was
17 his second in command and he had a right to ask me -- or rather, his
18 second superior - interpreter's correction - and he had a right to correct
19 a meeting with me.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: And what was he complaining about his removal from
21 his post?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He felt that the position given to
23 him did not correspond to his merits, his professional ability, and so on
24 and so forth. He requested that he be appointed colonel, and according to
25 our law, for someone to be appointed colonel, they had to complete certain
1 courses or certain training. If they had civilian education, they had to
2 have a masters degree, or if they went to the command staff school, they
3 would have to have a certain degree also. But he had neither of those
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. General, let's go back to, so to speak, more serious topics. In
8 1999 in the activities of the Army of Yugoslavia in 1999, was moving the
9 civilian population ever an aim?
10 A. No, really not. I never saw that in any document, nor did I ever
11 attend any meeting at which someone put forward such an idea.
12 Q. Thank you. You said you attended many meetings and participated
13 in peace negotiations also. In any of those situations, was an option
14 considered of moving the civilian population of Albanian ethnicity or
15 their expulsion or their retention in Albania in order to improve the
16 ethnic balance in Kosovo?
17 A. I reiterate, I never heard such ideas at any of the meeting I
19 Q. General, you were the chief of the General Staff and you know what
20 is possible from that position. Do you know whether General Ojdanic in
21 his activities in the period while you collaborated with him, from 1999
22 onwards, contributed in any way to the deterioration of the situation or
23 the bringing of Yugoslavia into a war with NATO?
24 A. To the best of my recollection, General Ojdanic on various
25 occasions before the war said that war would be the worst possible outcome
1 for us, that it would cause us enormous damage, and he did his utmost to
2 find ways of avoiding war. I think that in his activities he did not
3 contribute to or incite in any way the processes that led to the war.
4 Q. General, one more question. Did the Army of Yugoslavia ever
5 consider that the Kosovo issue can be solved by military means, through
6 the military option?
7 A. Whenever we considered the problem of Kosovo and Metohija, we
8 always considered several scenarios, and almost always the conclusion was
9 that absolutely the best way would be to solve this through peaceful
10 means. Of course, we assumed that the war option might ensue, and so we
11 carried out certain preparations that any responsible army would carry
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
14 further questions for this witness.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Zecevic.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: Yes. A very short cross-examination, Your Honours.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Zecevic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General. General, as far as you
19 know, was a meeting ever held of the Supreme Defence Council after the
20 23rd of March, 1999? So I'm talking about the wartime period up until the
21 10th of June, 1999.
22 A. The meetings of the Supreme Defence Council would usually be
23 announced in advance, and then press releases would be issued. That --
24 those meetings were held, and what conclusions were reached.
25 As far as I can remember, there were no such meetings or such
1 sessions in that period.
2 Q. Did you perhaps hear anything else, any other information from any
3 other source that any such meetings were held in that period?
4 A. No, I received no such information.
5 Q. Thank you. General, in the course of this trial, we heard the
6 term "Supreme Command" used, being used. We know that the Constitution
7 and the relevant legal regulations - I'm referring to the law on the army
8 and on defence - do not recognise this term, but it was -- its use was not
9 debatable. But could you please tell me, what did you understand? Who
10 were members of the Supreme Command? If you can tell us. How did you
11 understand that term?
12 A. Well, as you said yourself, our Constitution and our laws do not
13 recognise this term. This term is not used. And I didn't really concern
14 myself with its meaning. It is possible that it means different things
15 for different people, but I really did not concern myself with that, with
16 the meaning of the word "Supreme Command."
17 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell me, who were the members of the
18 Supreme Command, in your opinion?
19 A. Well, since the Supreme Command was not defined in our laws, there
20 can be differing views as to what it was supposed to do. My belief is
21 that it existed and that it should have included members of the Supreme
22 Defence Council, the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, the Minister of
23 the Interior, the Finance Minister possibly, and perhaps some other
24 high-ranking officials of the state. And as we know, this was not the
25 case here.
1 Q. Thank you, General.
2 MR. ZECEVIC: [Previous translation continues] ...
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Zecevic.
4 Mr. Cepic.
5 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Cepic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, General. My name is Djuro Cepic
8 and I'm representing Vladimir Lazerevic. Before I ask my first question,
9 could we please have the Exhibit 3D782 in e-court.
10 General, this document that you will now see on your screen was
11 shown to you by my learned colleague Mr. Visnjic, and the first sentence
13 "Some information indicates that NATO is planning to intimidate
14 the civilian population by airstrikes and so cause a major exodus over the
15 next seven to ten days to the centre of Serbia, Albania, and Macedonia."
16 Did you have any information that great movements of people
17 followed in those directions, in particular towards Serbia?
18 A. I explained already how we obtained this information. And as for
19 the movements of people out of Kosovo and Metohija to various -- in
20 various directions, I think that it is quite a well-known fact.
21 Q. Thank you. Then in line 5 - that's line 5 in Serbian -- or
22 rather, in B/C/S - it says: "which will enable them to mount defensive
23 airstrikes with the use of chemical agents." The use of chemical agents.
24 General, do you know that the units that were on the ground sent
25 reports that some unknown liquids were used, that they were targeted with
1 those unknown -- unidentified liquids?
2 A. Well, there were reports of some fireballs being observed, that
3 weapons containing depleted uranium were used, but I don't recall any
4 reports of the use of chemical agents.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. CEPIC: Could we have 3D898, please.
7 Q. [Interpretation] General, the last words in the first paragraph,
8 this is something that my colleague Mr. Visnjic addressed yesterday. He
9 asked you about the EC-130 aircraft. And I'm more interested in the A-10
10 Thunder Bolt Aircraft, as it is designated here. Do you know what kind of
11 ammunition is used by this plane? And you indicated that this plane might
12 be used on the 28th of March, 1999.
13 A. A-10 aeroplanes are used to provide -- provide immediate support
14 to ground forces. Among other things, it carries 30-millimetre rounds
15 containing depleted uranium.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. CEPIC: Could we have in the e-court system Exhibit Number
18 5D345, please. I'm afraid that we haven't got translation for this
19 document, so I will ask the witness just to read one sentence.
20 Oh, hopefully we will have translation. Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
21 Q. [Interpretation] General, in the bottom part of the document, do
22 you recognise the stamp and the signature?
23 A. Well, as far as I can see, that's General Lazarevic's signature.
24 Q. And do you see from the heading that it pertains to the Pristina
1 A. Well, this is the way that the documents coming from Pristina
2 Corps were marked.
3 Q. Could you please look at the first sentence. The use and
4 engagement of about 60 A-10 planes. So does that confirm the information
5 that you provided in the previous document?
6 A. Yes, not only that information, but many other reports confirm
7 that those planes had been deployed in several locations in Kosovo and
8 Metohija, but also in the southern parts of Central Serbia. In the
9 post-war period, we decontaminated four areas in the sector between
10 Presevo [phoen] and Vranjevo [phoen], where we were able to confirm the
11 existence of those depleted uranium rounds.
12 Q. Thank you, General.
13 MR. CEPIC: Could we have in the e-court system 5D319, please.
14 This document hasn't got translation, so I will ask the witness to read
15 second paragraph.
16 Q. [Interpretation] General, could you please read the second
17 paragraph, the first sentence?
18 A. "Infiltrated SAS members are close to military facilities and
19 units. They are equipped with radio devices using high frequency for the
20 purposes of communication and for -- to spot for the aeroplane and they
21 carry light weapons."
22 Q. Thank you. What are SAS members?
23 A. These are the special units in the British Army, and they are used
24 for special tasks, and they mostly operate in the depth of the territory
25 of the enemy.
1 Q. General, thank you. Could you please look at the heading here on
2 this document. Is this a document that was issued by your administration?
3 A. As indicated here, the intelligence department at the command post
4 issued this kind of documents. I believe this was obtained from the
5 National Council and that its authenticity has been confirmed.
6 Q. Thank you. General, my colleague Mr. Visnjic asked you about the
7 negotiations in early June. You were a member of that delegation. I want
8 to know whether you perhaps recall that the Pristina Corps units received
9 and took care and provided support for the delegation that went to
10 participate in those negotiations at Djeneral Jankovic?
11 A. Yes, the Pristina Corps units received and accommodated our
12 delegation, and they helped us get to the Djeneral Jankovic crossing. And
13 once we crossed into Macedonia, that was the first day of the talks with
14 the NATO representatives.
15 Q. Do you remember perhaps that en route to Djeneral Jankovic and
16 Kacanicka Kresevo that an officer from 243 Mechanised Brigade was killed?
17 A. Yes. It was a tragic incident. As we were getting there, a
18 captain from the communications unit in this brigade was killed.
19 Q. Was this a terrorist act perpetrated by the KLA?
20 A. Well, I think that it is undisputable that this was done by the
22 Q. Thank you. Do you know that on that occasion General Lazarevic
23 went back to the command in order to prepare the units for the pullout
24 from Kosovo and Metohija?
25 A. On the orders of the chief of the General Staff, General Lazarevic
1 was to be a part of the delegation that went to participate in the talks.
2 I don't know. He was not there. Probably with the agreement of the army
3 commander and the chief of the General Staff, a decision was made for him
4 to go back and to prepare the units for the pullout, because it was quite
5 clear at that time that we would face this task.
6 Q. Thank you, General. Now that we're talking about my client,
7 General Lazarevic, did you in 2003 -- were you his superior officer in
9 A. Yes. I was the chief of the General Staff, and he was the deputy
10 chief of General Staff for the ground forces.
11 MR. CEPIC: [Previous translation continues] ... System Exhibit
12 Number 5D1363, please.
13 [Interpretation] Unfortunately, we only have the Serbian or B/C/S
14 version of this document.
15 Q. And, General, I would just like to ask you: Do you recognise
16 this document? What sort of a document is it?
17 A. This is the usual form where army personnel got their evaluations.
18 Q. Thank you. Could we please have page 2.
19 Just a moment. While we still have page 1 on this document, this
20 official evaluation, who is for?
21 A. Well, you can see here that it's the official evaluation of
22 General Lazarevic.
23 Q. Thank you. General, could you please look at this official
24 evaluation. At the bottom of this document, is there your signature?
25 A. Yes, this is my signature.
1 Q. Could you please read the first paragraph that begins with the
2 words "in social context."
3 A. "In social context, he is very much respected because of his great
4 contribution to the defence of the country, his impeccable military
5 bearing, and his -- the care that he takes of his people. He enjoys a
6 great deal of respect from our citizens."
7 Q. General, taking care of the people, was this something that was
8 very much a characteristic of General Lazarevic, as you indicated in this
10 A. At the time while I was his superior, this element of his
11 personality came to the fore very frequently.
12 Q. And could you please tell me, what was the mark that
13 General Lazarevic received?
14 A. Well, as you can see from this document, the evaluation was
16 Q. Thank you very much.
17 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] General, I have no further questions
18 for you.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Krga, you will now be cross-examined by the
20 Prosecutor, Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
23 Q. Good morning, General.
24 A. Good morning.
25 Q. I understand that from mid-1994 until April 1997 you were chief of
1 the intelligence administration in the General Staff. Is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And who was the Chief of Staff during that time period?
4 A. In that period, the chief of General Staff was
5 Lieutenant General Momcilo Perisic.
6 Q. Can you tell us how you came to leave or why you left in April of
8 A. The usual practice in our army is to transfer people either
9 laterally or to a higher position. I accepted this decision as a soldier,
10 and I didn't really concern myself with the reasons why.
11 Q. So was it General Perisic's idea that you be transferred?
12 A. I really don't know whose idea it was. Even if I were to ask,
13 they'd tell me that it was the decision of the then-President of Serbia,
14 Milosevic. But I didn't really investigate that, so I don't know whose
15 idea it really was. But the decision, of course, was issued by the
16 Supreme Defence Council.
17 Q. And you didn't harbour any resentment over that transfer, did you?
18 A. Certainly not. I went to take up a high position in the ministry,
19 and even looking at the establishment hierarchy, it was a higher position.
20 I tried to do the job given me by the minister with full responsibility.
21 Q. But you happily gave up that higher position to go back to your
22 old job in January of 1999; correct?
23 A. That's not about happily or unhappily. When I was returning to
24 the duty of chief of the intelligence administration, that position was
25 vacant at the time; whereas, the establishment rank that went with that
1 duty was the same, lieutenant general -- lieutenant colonel-general.
2 Q. And who had been serving in that position during late 1998 and
3 before you came back in January 1999? Who did you replace?
4 A. Towards the end of 1998, that position was occupied by
5 Admiral Ladicorbic. But he was not chief of that administration. He was
6 just occupying that position. And by law, in that year he had to be
7 retired and the position remained vacant.
8 Q. I -- I guess I didn't understand your answer about him occupying
9 the position but not being the chief. Can you explain what that means?
10 A. Under our law, it is possible for a person to occupy not only his
11 regular position but also to discharge duties at a higher level
12 temporarily until that higher vacancy is filled, either by the person who
13 acted in that position temporarily or a -- a different appointment.
14 Q. Okay. Now, when you came back in January 1999, Mr. Visnjic asked
15 you about what was your assessment of the security situation. And in your
16 answer yesterday, at page 16771, you said, .
17 "Well, it contained quite a few positive elements,. Positive
18 elements were based on the fact that in October 1998 an agreement had been
19 reached between Holbrooke and Milosevic, and we sincerely believed that
20 that marked the beginning of a peaceful political settlement for the
21 conflict in Kosovo."
22 And when you say "we" in that context, are you talking about the
23 General Staff or the intelligence administration or all of you?
24 A. Yes, that was prevailing sentiment in the General Staff among the
25 colleagues from the collegium and the chief of the General Staff and in
1 the administration which I headed.
2 Q. Okay. I have a -- I have a question about how sincerely you could
3 believe that that was possible, given the fact that the -- the VJ and, I
4 would suggest, the MUP as well had violated the October agreements a
5 number of times in various ways.
6 First of all, the time you came back was right about the time
7 Racak had happened; correct? You were aware of Racak?
8 A. Yes, certainly. We all remember that tragic event.
9 Q. And I remember, I think from the 21st of January collegium
10 session, Exhibit P939 -- I can show you if I need to, but perhaps you'll
11 remember. You spoke at that collegium, which may have been the first one
12 you attended after you returned to your old job. And you mentioned that
13 you had been told by a military attache that the VJ had been seen
14 firing -- I can't remember if it was tank or artillery weapons in -- in
15 support of that operation in Racak. Do you recall that?
16 A. Yes. As I said yesterday, I had almost daily contacts with
17 foreign military attaches in our country, and one of them shared this
18 information with me. Of course, I understood that -- I took that very
19 seriously, and that's why I reported it at the collegium of the General
21 And if you look further through my statement, I insisted that the
22 whole situation be cleared up and that we finally establish the truth of
23 the matter, whether it was true or not.
24 Q. All right. Do you -- do you recall at a session of the VJ
25 collegium on the 25th of February - that's Exhibit P941 - General Pantelic
1 talked about new -- new army units going to Kosovo and Metohija. Do you
2 recall that?
3 A. I really don't remember that. I can't say it didn't happen that
4 way, but I really can't recall.
5 Q. According to your understanding, that would have been a violation
6 of the October agreement, would it not?
7 A. As we know, the October agreement specified the number of units
8 which should be in barracks and the number of units allowed to be on the
9 ground, but it also specified that the KLA should not orchestrate
10 provocations against the police and the army.
11 At that time, however, there were some provocations already, and I
12 remember that part of our units were at some level of readiness and some
13 of these units did not go to Kosovo. They were deployed in areas outside
14 Kosovo and Metohija.
15 Q. You mentioned the problem -- or you said it was specified that KLA
16 wouldn't orchestrate provocations. KLA was not a signatory to the October
17 agreements; right? That was only an agreement between Mr. Milosevic and
18 Mr. Holbrooke, between Serbia and NATO and the West; correct?
19 A. [No audible response]
20 Q. We'll have to hear your answer out loud if -- once you've heard
21 the interpretation.
22 A. Yes. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 If we can look at Exhibit P935. General, this is the collegium
25 session on the 11th of March, 1999. And I think I've got a hard copy here
1 I'll give you that may make it easier to find.
2 General, I think it's on page numbered 10 in the B/C/S -- or no,
3 I'm sorry, page number 7. It's page 7 of the English and page 5 of the
4 B/C/S. Sorry if I misled you.
5 Do you find the portion where you're speaking?
6 A. As far as I can see, that's on page 6, page 6 but also page 4 and
7 page 5.
8 Q. Let me find the exact spot here, General. I'm at page 6 of the
9 English, and you're talking about the agreement between Milosevic and
11 At the top of page 7 in the English, there's a reference to the--
12 a Joint Command centre being formed, I guess, for the NATO forces in
13 Skopje on the 4th of March. Do you see that?
14 A. Yes, I can see it.
15 Q. Now, were you aware of a Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija
16 that existed at that time?
17 A. Do you mean this Joint Command, the NATO one, or some other?
18 Q. No, not the NATO one but a -- a one for the VJ and the MUP in
20 A. To the extent of my knowledge at the time, I wasn't convinced
21 there was a Joint Command.
22 Q. Okay. Now, if we could go to page 11 of the English.
23 And General, I -- since I don't have the B/C/S in front of me,
24 this is General Curcin speaking, near the bottom to have page in
25 English -- bottom of the page in English. And you're -- I think that
1 might be closer to page 9 for you.
2 He's talking about 673 new troops deployed in the territory of
3 Kosovo and Metohija, and he's mentioning the 37th Motorised Brigade being
4 relocated from the Raska Garrison to Kosovska Mitrovica [Realtime
5 transcript read in error "Kosovo and Metohija"] and being re-subordinated
6 to the Pristina Corps. He also mentions that the 21st Nis Corps had been
7 relocated to the Urosevac sector and re-subordinated to the 243rd. Now --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I think in line 25 the reference was to Kosovska
9 Mitrovica rather than Kosovo and Metohija; is that correct?
10 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Kosovska Mitrovica.
11 Q. Were you able to find that, General? I'm sorry, I don't have
12 the --
13 A. Yes, I see that passage.
14 Q. That was in violation of the NATO agreement, wasn't it, bringing
15 in those additional forces?
16 A. Well, from my job, I was not familiar with the details of those
17 changes in our troop levels. As you see, this was within the remit of
18 General Curcin, chief of the operations administration. But there was
19 talk about personnel changes. Some people were leaving Kosovo; others
20 were coming to take their place. And this is not about the
21 re-subordination of the Nis Corps, to the brigade, because they are at
22 different levels. The motorised brigade is on a tactical level. This was
23 at the level of combat group, which is perhaps a reinforced company
25 Q. Okay. But my point is you were at the collegium meeting where
1 this was discussed, so you were aware at the time that these additional
2 forces were being brought in to Kosovo, weren't you?
3 A. Yes, that's correct. I attended that collegium meeting and I
4 listened to these proposals.
5 Q. All right. And did -- did General Ojdanic or anyone else at that
6 collegium meeting express concern about this transfer or -- or increase of
7 VJ forces in Kosovo and violating the October agreements? If you recall.
8 A. I recall that several times there was talk about the army having
9 to adhere strictly to the October agreement, but I really can't recall
10 every detail of this collegium meeting and everything that was said.
11 Q. Let me move on to another topic. You testified yesterday about
12 the -- the various sources of information you had in the intelligence
13 administration. You've said that included communiques from state
14 officials, from the major countries. You also used partially media
15 reports. You used sources from military and civilian diplomacy and
16 various operational sources. What do you mean by "operational sources"?
17 A. Well, you probably know that every intelligence service, in
18 addition to public sources and the technology, has operative sources, that
19 is, agents of different categories and different levels.
20 Q. And were any of those paid agents, paid by the army intelligence?
21 A. There were all sorts of agents. But the paid ones were easily in
22 the minority, because we didn't have much money to pay them.
23 Q. Based on your years in intelligence work, would you agree with me
24 that -- that some of those sources from whom you got intelligence had to
25 be viewed with a certain amount of scepticism or you would take their
1 information, as I would say in my language, with a grain of salt. Correct?
2 A. Absolutely. I think that applies to all intelligence services of
3 the world.
4 Q. That's -- that's correct. And one of the things that happens in
5 the intelligence work is that the other side, if you will, is trying to
6 mislead you sometimes -- sometimes deliberate misinformation is planted
7 and passed on. Correct?
8 A. Yes, that, too, is part of the doctrine of certain armies and
9 certain intelligence services, that so-called strategic deceiving can be
10 used to mislead the enemy.
11 Q. It works both ways; right?
12 A. Well, that depends on the capacities of a particular service for
13 this subtle kind of work, because it is very subtle.
14 Q. And I agree, it is subtle. And sometimes misinformation or
15 disinformation can come to you from an otherwise reliable agent who has
16 been fed that information and unknowingly passes it along believing it to
17 be correct. That happens, doesn't it?
18 A. Yes, in theory and in practice, that can happen, because as you
19 know, there are so-called double agents, that is, agents who work for one
20 service, for another, and maybe even a third one. And they can also serve
21 as channels for passing on that kind of information.
22 Q. Okay. Now I want to ask you about another collegium meeting. This
23 one was on the 25th of February. And there was a discussion about the --
24 the Paris talks. This was after Rambouillet and before Paris. And I think
25 you raised the issue - tell me if you recall - you raised the possibility
1 that it should be suggested that military, people from the army or from
2 the collegium or the General Staff, should be considered for participating
3 in those talk, because of the expertise you could bring to military
4 issues. Do you recall that?
5 A. Certainly that was my idea, my idea shared by some other
7 Q. And you told us yesterday that General Ojdanic supported that
8 idea, and you said: "As far as I can remember, he presented it to the
9 state authorities."
10 Do you recall any details about what you know about
11 General Ojdanic presenting it to the state authorities? Who did he
12 present it to? When? Where? And what was the reaction? Anything
13 further you can tell us about that?
14 A. No, I really can't say any more about that, because I know no
15 more. General Ojdanic did not inform us to whom he passed on these
16 proposals, who accepted them or who rejected them. The fact is that there
17 were no members of the army on that delegation, and it follows therefore
18 that the idea was not accepted.
19 Q. Okay. I'm -- I apologise, General, I have to go back to one thing
20 before I forget. I asked you about Joint Command. I think at your -- at
21 the VJ collegium session on the 21st of January, where there was some
22 discussion about Racak, General Ojdanic mentioned the Joint Command "down
23 there," which seemed to be a reference to Kosovo. Do you recall him
24 mentioning that in that January 21st collegium session?
25 A. Well, I can hardly remember every word uttered by every person at
1 a collegium meeting. I cannot really say I remember he mentioned that
2 Joint Command in that context.
3 Q. Was as a -- as a military professional, would that term contain
4 some significance for you? "Joint Command" is sort of a special term,
5 isn't it?
6 A. Yes, it's a special term. A command in itself is an institution
7 within the structure of every army. There are commands, units and
8 institutions. A command is established by a regulation. And as far as I
9 know, no regulation pertaining to that Joint Command existed.
10 The structure of a command should be strictly regulated. And as
11 far as I know, what some people refer to as "Joint Command" did not have a
12 structure that would be appropriate to a command.
13 And specifically I can confidently confirm that there was no
14 intelligence organ there, and it's hardly believable that on the eve of a
15 war there could be a command without an intelligence component. Quite
16 certainly I never submitted a single piece of information to that command,
17 nor did I ever receive any information or anything else from that command.
18 So I believe it was not a command in the traditional sense. It could have
19 been perhaps a group for the coordination of certain activities in Kosovo
20 and Metohija.
21 Q. Well, let me -- let me show you something specific from that
22 meeting. This is Exhibit P939. If we could go to page 12 of the English.
23 And I think it's at page 10 of the -- the Serbian.
24 General, perhaps I can hard you a hard copy of this one. If
25 you'll give me back that old one, I'll give you this new one.
1 And I know at the bottom it may say "24 December 1998," but I will
2 tell you that I think that's just a -- an artifact from an earlier
3 computer-generated version of other minutes.
4 And this is for the 21st of January. And do you find page 10? I
5 think you're speaking on page 11, but on page 10 about two-thirds of the
6 way down, that is General Ojdanic speaking. And he is saying -- it's --
7 the sentence starts out: "There's yet another option."
8 Do you see that sentence?
9 A. Yes. Yes.
10 Q. There's an option: "The Joint Command down there whereby the
11 President orders me, and I have to know it immediately." And it
12 says: "By order of the President of the FRY, do the seriousness of the
13 situation, such-and-such forces and assets of some of the Pristina Corps
14 units shall be engaged and everything is fine and there's no problem."
15 Now, he seems to be discussing how things might work better in the
16 future so he would be informed about what was happening, because in this
17 meeting there's a discussion about Racak and the uncertainty that the
18 collegium and General Ojdanic feel about not knowing exactly what happened
19 down there and whether any of the VJ elements were involved. That --
20 that's correct? That was the gist of the meeting, wasn't it?
21 A. Yes, you could put it that way, that it was the gist. But from
22 the passage you read, if we are interpreting this correctly,
23 General Ojdanic was speaking hypothetically, that there is an option to
24 form a Joint Command there and it could have been formed perhaps. But as
25 far as I know, it wasn't. We had one Joint Command in the south of
1 Central Serbia when in 2000 and 2001 we had a crisis there.
2 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt. Are you saying you read that to say that
3 the Joint Command didn't yet exist and he's proposing that it be formed?
4 I read that -- it sounds like there is a Joint Command in existence and
5 what he's proposing is that the President tell him, General Ojdanic,
6 what's going to be done, inform him. Isn't that what it means?
7 A. I don't know how it was translated, but way I read it, there is
8 this option of forming a Joint Command, rather than the Joint Command
9 existing already.
10 In Serbian, it says: "There is or there exists another option.
11 To have a Joint Command."
12 Q. Could you read that B/C/S paragraph word for word, or is that what
13 you just did?
14 A. "There is another option. There's the option of a Joint Command
15 down there." And then the President gives me an order and I have to know
16 it immediately. And then it says: "On the orders of the FRY President,
17 due to the gravity of the situation, part of the units of the Pristina
18 Corps join in with such-and-such forces and such-and-such assets and then
19 the whole thing is okay and there are no problems."
20 Let me show you an exhibit, then, from -- from April of 1999. This
21 is P1487.
22 I want to suggest to you, General, that the Joint Command did
23 exist in January 1999 and that it also existed in April of 1999.
24 Can you see this one? This is a document dated the 17th of April,
25 1999 from the Supreme Command Staff, staff operations department,
1 operations administration, signed by General Ojdanic. We may have to
2 scroll down to the bottom of the B/C/S page so you can see that.
3 Do you agree with me so far?
4 A. Yes, this is obvious from the document.
5 Q. Okay. And if we could go back to page 1 of the English for me,
6 you'll see that there is a reference. It says: "Link: Kosovo and
7 Metohija Joint Command order, strictly confidential number 455-148 of 15
8 April 1999."
9 And then there are some -- some suggestions from General Ojdanic.
10 Would you agree with me, General, that that seems to indicate that there
11 is a body in existence called the Kosovo and Metohija Joint Command and
12 that they've issued some sort of order to the 3rd Army command? Isn't
13 that a reasonable reading of this document?
14 A. I would say that's a formal reading of this document. In my view,
15 it would be good to look at the substance of what is written, and this
16 line where it says: "Reference: Order of the Joint Command," number
17 such-and-such. I think it would be good to have a look at this document,
18 this order of the Joint Command, and to analyse that document in detail.
19 And then we could reach a conclusion as to whether that was really an
20 order and whether it was really a Joint Command. And what is written
21 here, of course, is indisputable.
22 Q. I can do that for you in a minute, General. But are you telling
23 me -- you worked in intelligence. You're a smart guy. I see from your CV
24 that you speak, I don't know, six, seven, eight languages. You don't --
25 you can't take from this that there must be a body called the Joint
1 Command for Kosovo and Metohija that's in existence? Isn't that a
2 rational conclusion that you would make in analysing a document like this,
3 a guy who works in military intelligence?
4 A. I didn't say that is an irrational conclusion. I was just trying
5 to suggest that we should look at it in depth, not only a formal reading
6 but a detailed analysis and then and see what's behind this.
7 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, I think I should indicate that Exhibit
8 P1878, which I think is the Joint Command order referred to here, was not
9 something I included on my list of things I was going to cross-examine
10 about. But in light of the answer I got, I would ask permission to use
11 that right now for my next couple of questions.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if the Prosecution
14 would allow me to introduce a document of my own with some future witness,
15 I don't mind.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: You mean any document any time, Mr. Visnjic?
17 Please continue, Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: You are authorised to use that.
20 MR. HANNIS: If we could put Exhibit P1878 on.
21 Q. And before we go, General, you see that was number 455-148 is the
22 Joint Command Order number referred to. Do you see that?
23 Now, hopefully we'll have it for you in a minute, and we'll see a
24 document dated the 15th of April, 1999. And it should have that same
25 number, 455-148. I think you've got it in B/C/S now.
1 If we could split the screen so I can see the English. I don't
2 have my copy in front of me.
3 Do you see that, General?
4 A. Yes, I can see it.
5 Q. And could you -- could you read the -- the title of that document.
6 What -- what's it about?
7 A. "Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija. Strictly confidential
8 number 455-148."
9 Q. And it's --
10 A. 14th April, 1999.
11 Q. And it's an order to break up and destroy the Siptar terrorist
12 forces in the Rogovo sector; correct?
13 A. Yes. Yes.
14 Q. Could you go to the last page of this document in both English and
15 Serbian. And then I'll have one more question, I think, and then we'll
16 take a break, General.
17 And we see it doesn't have a signature. There's just a --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
19 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Just one thing, please. If the
20 Prosecutor is introducing a document that hasn't been announced, can he
21 introduce it in its entirety. Could General Krga first see page 2 and
22 then page 3. Let him read the first part, the next page, and then the
23 third page, to whom this order is issued. That's very important. Because
24 I, too, have an interest in the Joint Command.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, what do you say to that.
1 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I think for my present purposes it's not
2 necessary to do that. It can be address on redirect.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Indeed. So please continue the way you wish to.
4 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
5 Q. You'll see there's a typewritten name: "Joint Command for Kosovo
6 and Metohija" on the last page. No signature; correct?
7 You'll see that immediately above that, if -- if I can go back one
8 page in the English. It says: "The Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija
9 shall command all forces from the Pristina sector during the conduct of
10 combat operations."
11 So would you agree with me this appears to be an order for the
12 conducting of combat operations, a joint operation between VJ and MUP
13 forces? Would you agree with me about that?
14 A. Yes and no.
15 Q. Shall we hear the explanation of "yes and no" before we take the
16 break, Your Honour?
17 Please go ahead, General.
18 A. If, again, we read this document formally, then that's the
19 conclusion you could draw. However, if we look at para 2 of the document,
20 where under our instructions and the work of commands and staffs an
21 assignment is given to the units subordinated to that command, then we see
22 that only the Pristina Corps is concerned, not units of the Ministry of
23 the Interior. Therefore, this looks to me like an order of the commander
24 of the Pristina Corps. And the fact that it is not signed runs counter to
25 all our rules on the drafting of documents titled "Orders." Every order
1 must be signed and it must be known who takes responsibility for issuing
2 that order, which is in keeping with the principle of the unity of command
3 in our army and in every other army.
4 And as counsel feel I mentioned the fact that assignments are
5 given to units indicates that -- or rather, we see that assignments are
6 given only to the units of the Pristina Corps, not the MUP, which means
7 that this Joint Command was not really superior to the MUP units, and we
8 can reach the conclusion that this order applies only to the Pristina
9 Corps. Why this was named "Joint Command," I really can't say. It could
10 be perhaps a good idea to check the authenticity of these documents and
11 whether they are really original in terms of the heading and the unsigned
12 signature line, "Joint Command," because every other indicator points that
13 it is an order of the Pristina Corps.
14 MR. HANNIS: [Previous translation continues] ...
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Zecevic.
16 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry. Again it is a transcript. It says 40 --
17 page 40, line 6, "the unity of command." I believe the witness said "the
18 singleness of command, in keeping with the principle of singleness of
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Does it not come to the same thing? Is the
21 expression of "unity of command" not used regularly?
22 MR. ZECEVIC: Well, I think the witness said "singleness," keeping
23 with the principle of singleness of command.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you.
25 Mr. Ackerman.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I -- I must make some objection, and
2 I'll do it as quickly as I can.
3 I think Mr. Hannis is being decidedly unfair with regard to this
5 First of all, he says to the witness when talking about the first
6 document --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, just -- just hold on a second.
8 We're going to have a break, Mr. Krga, just now, and we'll be
9 resuming in 20 minutes, so could you again leave the courtroom with the
10 usher and we'll resume at five minutes to 11.00.
11 [The witness stands down]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: He first suggests to the witness when he has the
14 witness looking at P1487 that -- says to the witness, "Doesn't this appear
15 to be some kind of an order to the 3rd Army," which he knows it's not
16 because he's totally familiar with 4 -- 545-148. He was trying to get the
17 witness to accept something that he knew was not the case.
18 Secondly, he says to the witness to him: "In order to
19 understand, this an analysis of the document needs to be done." He says
20 to the witness then: "I can do that in a minute, General."
21 And then when Mr. Fila suggests that the witness should be
22 permitted to do that, if he told him he could do, Mr. Hannis says, "No, I
23 only want him to look at the first page and the last page," I don't really
24 want him to see what the order says, which he already told he would give
25 him a chance to analyse.
1 And what he's trying to do is to create a false representation of
2 what this is. This is a order that deals only with Pristina Corps, VJ
3 people and it's not even a valid order in my view, and it has nothing to
4 do with Joint Command or MUP.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: These are all matters that can be dealt with in any
6 submissions you have to make in due course, and it may be that -- that you
7 ought to have the opportunity to ask the witness further questions. But
8 no doubt Mr. Visnjic has the line you're referring to in mind.
9 We have to bear in mind the possibility, of course, Mr. Ackerman,
10 that these documents are designed to be confusing and misleading. These
11 are matters for us to resolve eventually in -- in this case. And if the
12 Prosecution wants to go about cross-examination in a particular way which
13 doesn't prevent re-examination to clarify points, then it's difficult for
14 us to find a basis for interfering.
15 So we will allow Mr. Hannis to proceed the way he has chosen to
16 proceed so far, and we'll do that again at five minutes to 11.00.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: May I just say one more thing for the record, Your
19 Although the -- the right to cross-examination or redirect exists,
20 I don't think I'm permitted, and I don't think any lawyer in this case
21 should be permitted to attempt to mislead a witness to try to get an
22 answer that might be helpful to his case. I think you have to be honest
23 with the witness about what the document is. And when you're not doing
24 that, when you're intentionally misleading, I think you are violating all
25 of the Rules, and that's what's going on here and I object very strongly
1 here. I won't do it and I have more pride than that, and I think it's
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, I can't allow that to go unanswered.
4 What do you say about the allegation that you're deliberately misleading
5 the witness and the Court, for that matter.
6 MR. HANNIS: That's utterly false, Your Honour. I may have
7 misspoken when referring to the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps, but I'm
8 not intentionally misleading the witness.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: We'll give a decision on this point when we return
11 after the break. And that will now be at 11.00.
12 --- Recess taken at 10.42 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: On the matter raised immediately before we left the
15 courtroom, we do not consider that Mr. Hannis has deliberately misled the
16 witness in any way. Indeed, a simple reference to the witness's answers
17 makes it clear that he understood clearly what he was being asked and was
18 able to deal with the questions.
19 In addition, there remains the right to re-examine on any matter
20 on which it's necessary to clarify anything that needs further expansion.
21 So we will proceed. If there are any further questions on the
22 document, then we consider it appropriate for Mr. Hannis to follow the
23 line he's been following so far.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I just want to say for the record that
25 I accept Mr. Hannis' suggestion that at page 36, lines 11 through 14, when
1 he mentioned an order to the 3rd Army, that he misspoke.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thanks very much, Mr. Ackerman. We assumed that
3 would be the position, in any event.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
6 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. General, I just wanted to clear something up, because there was
8 some concern that I -- I might have misled you about this document P1878.
9 I -- I think I had referred to the order as being directed to the 3rd
10 Army, and I understand really the Pristina Corps. And I gather you
11 understood that from -- from your answers. Is that fair? You have to
12 answer out loud. I saw you nod your head, but we need an answer on the
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 A. Yes, yes. That's right. That's right.
17 Q. Now, the -- but for me the point I was trying to make, it appears
18 that somebody called some organ -- some organ or some body called the
19 Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija was issuing combat orders to
20 elements of the VJ and in particular the Pristina Corps. And in the
21 earlier exhibit P1487, which are the suggestions from General Ojdanic, the
22 highest uniformed officer in the VJ, it -- it seems to me that
23 General Ojdanic is giving some deference to this body called the Joint
24 Command, because he's not overriding their order. He's making suggestions.
25 Do you have any comment on that as a professional career soldier?,
1 in terms of chain of command and singleness of command?
2 A. You used an imprecise expression, Supreme Command for Kosovo and
3 Metohija. Yes, it's "Joint Command" you said.
4 But as far as I know, General Ojdanic and my colleagues, we always
5 endeavoured to keep the chain of command perfectly clear and simple and
6 for there to be no doubt about it. Therefore, the existence of a Joint
7 Command, as I said, during those dramatic events was not something I was
8 aware of. Had such a command existed, I would have had to be aware of it.
9 An analysis of the documents which are registered as emanating from that
10 Joint Command, it transpires that that was the command of the Pristina
11 Corps rather than some sort of Joint Command.
12 Tasks are issued only to units of the Pristina Corps, and there's
13 nothing joint about that. As far as I know, there was one document signed
14 by General Lazarevic. There is no doubt that General Lazarevic was the
15 commander of the Pristina Corps. He could not have simultaneously been
16 the commander of the Pristina Corps and the commander of some Joint
17 Command which is said to have existed.
18 Therefore, I assume, as I wasn't down there and I wasn't part of
19 the structures mentioned, I can only assume that there existed some sort
20 of coordinating body which someone through inertia or whatever labeled a
21 Joint Command.
22 Q. Okay. So it's your position -- is it your position that there was
23 a body called the Joint Command but it -- you -- you maintained it had no
24 authority to command; rather, it was only a coordinating body? Is that
25 what you're saying?
1 A. To the best of my recollection, there were several people from the
2 political structures who coordinated life and work on Kosovo and
3 Metohija -- in Kosovo and Metohija, and probably there was some kind of
4 cooperation with the army and the MUP and they coordinated and made
5 proposals. But I'm certain they had no right to issue executive orders to
6 those units. That would have had to be done within the established chain
7 of command, which was based on the law and the regulations.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Krga, look at paragraph number 13 of the
9 document on the screen.
10 Now, what -- what -- how does the second sentence there fit with
11 what you've just said?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the second sentence is not
13 quite in line with what I said, but the first sentence goes to confirm it,
14 because as you can see, it says "joint action with MUP forces will be
15 organised." Had there been a Joint Command, the words "joint action"
16 would not have been mentioned but tasks would have been issued to the MUP,
17 just as they were issued to the brigades of the Pristina Corps.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Is it possible some body responsible for
19 coordinating the activities of these forces passed their orders through
20 the regular chain of command so that this document might be matched by a
21 similar document through the normal chain of MUP command? In other words,
22 this was an executive order based on a -- an order sent by a Joint Command
23 to both forces; that's both the VJ and the MUP?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your question is quite logical, and
25 I understand it. But I wish to suggest once more that the authenticity of
1 this document be established or that the authors of the document be asked
2 about it. I am saying what I know and basing my answer on the principles
3 of military organisation and the system of command. This runs counter to
4 the prescribed system of command. Had somebody -- well, I can neither
5 confirm nor deny that somebody drafted this document. But how it came
6 about, I really couldn't say. I can't know, because I wasn't there, I
7 didn't participate in those events.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: My impression is that what you're really saying is
9 that this document can't be genuine.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not saying it's not. But by
11 your leave, I am suggesting that the authenticity be verified, because it
12 seems a bit unusual, odd in view of its heading and signature, of the fact
13 that you can't see who it was addressed to. Documents of this kind,
14 documents such as orders, in almost all of our commands contain these
15 elements. I don't believe that a command complying with the rules would
16 make such omissions.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 Mr. Hannis.
19 MR. HANNIS:
20 Q. Thank you, General. Well, I tell you that that particular
21 document was received from your government and it was located in the VJ
22 archives. Would that change your position about whether it's authentic or
23 not, if it comes from the archives?
24 A. If it comes from the archives, which I believe you -- you're -- I
25 believe what you say, then it must be authentic.
1 Q. Let me show you two additional documents to try and further
2 unravel the -- the mystery about this. First of all, I want to show you
4 Now, I'll hand you a hard copy, General. And I'll give you the
5 next one too as well, P1967.
6 The first one, General, P1966, is from the Joint Command for
7 Kosovo and Metohija on the 22nd of March, 1999, and it's an order to route
8 and destroy the Siptar terrorist forces in the Malo Kosovo area.
9 Now, if you want to take a minute to look through it. Could you
10 do so and tell me if that appears to be in the general form -- or
11 consistent with the ordinary form of a combat order issued by the VJ. In
13 A. Yes, for the most part the contents of this document are in line
14 with this kind of document, as written in the Yugoslav Army at the time.
15 I wish to point out, however, a few features which I feel are
16 important in order to establish the nature of this document. First of
17 all, in paragraph 2, the tasks of the Pristina Corps. If there had been a
18 Joint Command, a Joint Command would not make sense unless there are joint
19 forces it is in command of. And then in paragraph 2 it should have
20 said "task for the joint forces."
21 For example, Pristina Corps and the MUP units' task. According to
22 our rules, paragraph 2 always contains that element. An overall task is
23 assigned to the unit that the command is superior to, the command that
24 issued the document.
25 In point 5 -- under heading 5, where tasks for the units are
1 mentioned, details are provided concerning what is contained in headings 2
2 and 4. And each unit that that command is in command of is assigned a
4 And as we can see, the only units mentioned here were part of the
5 Pristina Corps or were re-subordinated to it. There are no other units
6 mentioned here. So there's nothing joint here.
7 Q. Well, let me -- let me -- let me --
8 A. Only units of the Pristina Corps.
9 Q. Let me interrupt you there and ask you a question. Item
10 5.2, "Tasks for units." And this one's for the 125th Motorised Brigade,
11 combat group 4, it appears. Its task is: "In coordination with PJP,"
12 right? So that's a joint task. That has MUP units involved; right?
13 A. Is there a question for me?
14 Q. Yeah. It does contemplate that task being carried out in
15 coordination with a MUP unit to do the same job; right?
16 A. Yes. And that was the usual practice in our army and other armies
17 as well. One assigns a task to one's unit, and also mention is made of
18 the fact that another unit under another command might participate. These
19 special units of the police, had they been under this command, then under
20 heading 5.4, a precise task would have been assigned to them as well.
21 Special units of the police, acting jointly with the 125th would have been
22 given such a task. That would have been the normal practice.
23 Q. And it could have been done the way Judge Bonomy suggested before
24 the break, couldn't it? That there would have been in essence a mirror
25 order going through the MUP chain of command for that PJP company to work
1 in coordination with the 125th Motorised Brigade in carrying out the
2 attack along that axis. Correct? You allow for that possibility, don't
4 A. Yes. Probably there was a command that was the superior command
5 of the PJP which gave them such a task; otherwise, this would make no
7 Q. Okay.
8 A. This is issued only by the command of the Pristina Corps.
9 Q. Let me take you back to item 2, the Pristina Corps task. It
10 says: "The Pristina Corps, with reinforcements and armed non-Siptar
11 population shall conduct an attack in the area."
12 What was the armed non-Siptar population that was working in
13 coordination with the Pristina Corps in carrying out this combat activity?
14 Do you know who that was or what that was?
15 A. I can't answer with precision what this refers to. Perhaps some
16 structures of the civil defence and civilian protection. I assume you're
17 aware of the fact that for a long time we had the doctrine of All People's
18 Defence, where the idea of the armed population existed, and this might
19 have been left -- been left behind due to inertia.
20 Q. Okay. Or it could have been because the non-Siptar population in
21 Kosovo was provided arms by the army.
22 You were at a meeting of the collegium on the 2nd of February,
23 1999, weren't you? Well, I know you were, because you spoke at that
24 collegium session. Right? And we'll come to that in a minute. But the
25 point I want to make was at that meeting General Samardzic advised the
1 collegium and General Ojdanic about the thousands of non-Siptars who had
2 been provided with weapons in Kosovo. Do you recall that being discussed?
3 A. Yes, evidently that was discussed.
4 Q. Now, if you'll go back to the first page. I just want you to see
5 this order is number 455-56. Will you bear that number in mind for a
6 moment. Do you see that?
7 Okay. And the last page of that document, again, has similar
8 language to what we saw before. It says: "The Joint Command for Kosovo
9 and Metohija shall command and direct all forces during combat operations
10 from the Pristina area."
11 That's what it says; right?
12 A. Yes, that's what it says here.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. That's probably how it was.
15 Q. Okay. Now, can you look at the next document. It's P1967, also
16 dated the 22nd of March. And you'll see the number on that order is
17 455-56/1. We've heard other evidence that that numbering would indicate
18 that this is a document that relates to the one you just looked at. Isn't
19 that right?
20 A. [No audible response]
21 Q. Okay. You have to answer aloud. Thank you.
22 A. That's correct, yes.
23 Q. And this one is entitled "Amendment to the decision on supporting
24 the MUP in breaking up and destroying the Siptar terrorists in the area of
25 Malo Kosovo."
1 And if you'll go to the last page, you'll see this one has a
2 signature and a stamp and delivery information. And based on what you
3 told Mr. Cepic before, I assume you recognise that as the signature of
4 General Lazarevic. Correct?
5 A. Yes, it is apparent.
6 Q. So maybe I'm making an overly formal reading here, but this seems
7 like General Lazarevic is -- is recognising the authority of the Joint
8 Command, whatever or whoever that is, and he's making an amendment to
9 their decision. Isn't that what this document is?
10 A. Well, one could -- could say that this is the case and that it
11 isn't the case. In essence, the two documents have the same character. As
12 you can see, the reference number for the two documents, you can see it
13 here, but to me this indicates that all this had to do with the Pristina
14 Corps command.
15 And let me repeat once again, if anything joint existed here, I
16 can't know that for certain but perhaps some police units had been
17 re-subordinated to the Pristina Corps and then by dint of that this became
18 joint. But this is not apparent from the document. Had -- had this been
19 the case, those units would be assigned specific tasks.
20 I've already said this, but let me repeat. And you probably agree
21 with me that General Lazarevic could not have been at the same time the
22 commander of the Pristina Corps, which was undoubted - he was the
23 commander of that corps - and the commander of another command, a Joint
24 Command or whatever it was called.
25 Q. I do agree with you about that, because otherwise why would he be
1 issuing an amendment signed and stamped by him to an order that he had
2 written without his signature. That doesn't make sense, does it?
3 A. It could make sense if in the meantime some new elements occurred
4 requiring an amendment to be drafted specifying the new elements and
5 regulating their implementation.
6 Q. No, but I -- I guess what I'm saying is I understood part of
7 your -- one of your earlier answers to be suggesting that perhaps
8 General Lazarevic was the one who wrote the original order, 455-56, that
9 is, P1966.
10 A. Yes. Yes.
11 Q. But that doesn't make sense. Why isn't his signature and stamp on
12 that one? These are both done the same day.
13 A. Yes, that's correct, and that's why I'm confused myself.
14 Q. But one possible explanation, one reasonable explanation is that
15 the Joint Command was some separate body called the Joint Command - and
16 maybe for your purposes a coordinating body - but it is the body that
17 generated this order, 455-56.
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think the witness is
21 now asked to speculate. He has already indicated what he knows, and now
22 he's just being asked to speculate.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you allow me.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a moment.
25 What's being asked is not a matter of speculation for a man who
1 has recently been the chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia
2 and was directly involved in these events at the time. So we repel that
4 Please continue, Mr. Hannis.
5 MR. HANNIS:
6 Q. Let me --
7 A. Let me just give you a more specific answer to your question. The
8 order as some kind of a basic document was drafted by one structure, one
9 command, and the amendment to the decision by another command. This could
10 not have happened under our rules.
11 If one command issued or drafted one order, any amendments to the
12 decision pursuant to that order could only have been drafted by the same
13 command. The subordinate command, command subordinate to the one that
14 drafted the initial order, could have then drafted its own order
15 specifying the tasks for the units under its command.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, I -- I certainly didn't follow your --
17 your point about it being illogical for a second one to be amending
18 another order made by General Lazarevic.
19 Just looking at the terms of -- of the first one, why could it not
20 be an implementation order? That's P1966 -- that was subsequently amended
21 by P1977.
22 MR. HANNIS: Well, I guess if Your Honour views 1966 as not being
23 a implementation order.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: But what's the difference between the two of them
25 in form?
1 MR. HANNIS: Well, the signature and the seal and the stamp.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Apart from that. Just looking at the form of the
3 documents themselves.
4 MR. HANNIS: No, I -- I agree, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah.
6 MR. HANNIS: And -- but to me both written on the same day, why is
7 one signed and stamped and the other one not?
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I dare say there's a number of possible
9 explanations for that, including whether you have the original of both or
10 not. And how many copies were kept and how they were filed.
11 MR. HANNIS: Okay. I take it -- I take that point, Your Honour.
12 And -- well, that's something I have to save for submissions. I -- I
13 shouldn't make that comment in front of the witness.
14 Q. And 1967, General, does not contain any modification to the
15 provision in 1966, which says that the Joint Command shall command all the
16 combat operations, all the forces during combat operations; right? That's
17 unchanged in the amendment.
18 A. Well, I think that 1967 does not contain the repeated provision
19 that the Joint Command shall be in command and control of all the forces
20 during the combat operations. It is indicated here that the command post
21 shall be established in the village of Lausa, the command post of that
22 command that made this amendment to the decision.
23 Q. Thank you. I want to move now to another topic. You told
24 Mr. Visnjic that you had some experiences from the reactions to the Racak
25 incident and the fact that your forces were blamed for that and you were
1 concerned that something like that would occur again, that there'd be
2 another incident that could be used as a pretext for the use of NATO
3 forces. And -- and I think this is the time period in February and March
4 before the war that you were talking about.
5 Now, weren't you also worried about real incidents where your
6 forces might have attacked without provocation and -- and not in response
7 to an initial attack by the KLA? Wasn't that something that the collegium
8 was concerned about?
9 A. Well, given the position that I had, I focused my attention on the
10 forces in the region and the KLA. And as for the activities of our
11 forces, this was monitored by other elements in the General Staff, so that
12 perhaps I was duty-bound to do so, but I cannot claim now that I knew
13 about every single movement our units carried out on the ground. I was
14 concerned that our activities might perhaps cause a negative response on
15 the part of NATO that would be detrimental to our security and defence.
16 And every time I obtained such information, I would point out that this
17 should be prevented, this should be put under control, and that we should
18 not be the ones who would be supplying any kind of pretext for the
19 conflict to escalate.
20 Q. And that wasn't just your concern; that was a concern shared by
21 others on the General Staff, and in particular one person who voiced that
22 concern was General Dimitrijevic; correct?
23 A. Yes. General Dimitrijevic was a colleague of mine. He was the
24 chief of the security administration. There were some other people too.
25 But I often agreed with him on this issue, but there were some dissenting
1 opinions that were based on perhaps different information that our two
2 services had.
3 Q. Let me hand you a hard copy of the next exhibit I want to ask you
4 about. This is Exhibit P938. This is a collegium session from the 18th
5 of March, and I'm looking at page 11 in the English. And the B/C/S, I
6 think it's page number 9 for you, General. In e-court, it's actually page
7 10 in the B/C/S.
8 And this is General Dimitrijevic talking. It's fairly in the
9 middle of a very long conversation. But if you can find it, he's talking
10 about -- I think I've highlighted it or marked it with a marker. It
11 says: "With respect to that too, the theory that the MUP and the army are
12 conducting mopping-up operations of the territory are exceptionally
13 widespread. Every morning I read very carefully and in great detail the
14 Pristina Corps combat reports, and there was not a single case where we
15 were conducting something. Instead, they are always attacking us and we
16 return fire."
17 He goes on to say: "I propose that we should discuss that here at
18 the General Staff level, at least. Even if not everyone should know
19 everything, I think that you" -- and I think in this context he's
20 referring to General Ojdanic -- "I think that you more than anyone should
21 know the real truth, because you're the personalisation of the whole
22 institution. Something is not right here."
23 And before I ask the question, can I ask you to go to one more
24 comment by Dimitrijevic on that, and it's at page 21 of the English. And
25 for you, General, I think that will be page 22 in your hard copy and page
1 23 in the B/C/S e-court.
2 And he says: "There have been 16 attacks on our army units in one
3 week. Did a single one of those operations occur while we were carrying
4 out a previously planned operation and was not an attack? I would like
5 someone to tell me. I contend that the yesterday's two were conducted by
6 us and that we were not attacked. In other words, we did not launch an
7 operation following an attack on one of our units by terrorists but,
8 instead, as they say, a mopping-up of the terrain operation had been
9 launched. Hence, it was presumably supported by the MUP."
10 Do you recall that being discussed and that concern raised in this
11 meeting of 18th of March, 1999?
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the interpreters are
14 commenting. This is page 19 in the B/C/S for the witness to be able to
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have the text. I received
18 MR. HANNIS: I may have misspoke the number, but we highlighted
19 the provision in the witness's copy, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. Please continue.
21 MR. HANNIS:
22 Q. Do you recall my question, or do I need to repeat it? Do you
23 recall this being -- this concern being raised?
24 A. Yes, it was raised in the manner that you just presented to me.
25 Q. And do you recall what the outcome of the discussion was at that
2 A. No, I can't recall with great certainty, but I do know that
3 General Ojdanic always insisted that everything that was going on in that
4 area should be kept under control so that, on the one hand, we would not
5 be the ones to blame for the incidents, and, on the other hand, that we
6 should not be surprised, that our forces should not be targeted by the
7 KLA, should not suffer casualties because of that.
8 Now, as to what specifically was done after this collegium
9 meeting, whether any orders were issued to the units of the 3rd Army and
10 the Pristina Corps, I really couldn't now tell you with any certainty.
11 Q. Let me then follow up by showing you another exhibit. This is
12 P1999. I'll hand you a hard copy, General.
13 This is dated the 18th of March, 1999, the same day as that
14 collegium session we were just looking at. This is from the 549th
15 Motorised Brigade, Commander General -- or Colonel -- then Colonel Delic.
16 And he's reporting about an action that was carried out on the 17th of
17 March pursuant to an order the Pristina Corps command that had been issued
18 on the 16th of March. And it's an operation in the vicinity of the Kabas
20 You'll see under item number 1 that they estimated the strength of
21 the terrorists in that location to be between 30 and 35 men. And if
22 you'll go down one, two, three paragraphs, it says - and it's the next
23 page in English, page 2 - "During the operation, the terrorists did not
24 drop their weapons or combat equipment until the last moment. When they
25 changed into civilian clothes and attempted to break through along a
1 certain axis, where they came across our units in the line of the
3 And the estimated losses were 11 terrorists killed, no one was
5 Let me ask you a question about that: Does that mean the
6 terrorists who had switched into civilian clothes and ran into the
7 blockade, were killed?
8 A. Well, it is difficult for me to comment on it, because this is the
9 first time that I see this document. And we at the Supreme Command Staff
10 did not receive reports or documents from tactical units.
11 As you can see, this report was submitted to the Pristina Corps
13 Now, we can form various assumptions as to what actually happened
14 there, but those who took part in it know that for sure and they can be
15 reliable witnesses.
16 Q. Fair enough. You'll see below that the -- the -- in item number
17 2: "The forces involved, about 600 VJ personnel and about 350 policemen.
18 So some 950 for the 30 to 35 terrorists that were in the village. And the
19 equipment used: Six tanks, a couple Howitzers, et cetera.
20 You were aware at that time there were lots of concerns raised in
21 the International Community about excessive force being used in these
22 operations; correct? Yes or no?
23 A. Yes, this was present in the official reactions in the media, the
24 issue of excessive use of force. Although, no doctrine and no rules
25 specify what it means, the balance of power that is necessary for the
1 conclusion that there was excessive use of force. During NATO airstrikes
2 against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, I think we could talk about
3 excessive use of force.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Answer to my question.
5 And you'll see on the last page where Colonel Delic signs, the --
6 the amount and types of ammunition used in that operation; right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And -- and the point I wanted to make was this -- this document
9 describes an offensive operation by the VJ in coordination with the MUP;
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. And that's the thing that Dimitrijevic was expressing
13 concerns about, that they were getting reports that in all instance the VJ
14 had been attacked and they were just responding. But this appears to be
15 an action that is initiated by the VJ; correct?
16 A. Well, it doesn't necessarily follow that the army launched --
17 initiated this action, because it would not be proper to look at army
18 actions in an isolated way, to look at just one day, one -- because we
19 don't know what the KLA forces had done the day before. Perhaps they had
20 attacked the army units, inflicted casualties; perhaps they had attacked
21 the population, and then a decision was possibly made to target that
22 group, to attack it. So I can't really tell you what actually happened.
23 Perhaps this should be analysed in greater detail.
24 But theoretically and in practical terms it is possible. It is
25 possible that these forces and the units of the 249th Brigade had engaged
1 in combat previously, and this may be just the final act, this clash that
2 is described here.
3 Q. Okay. So how far back in time do we go before we can say that
4 it's an attack and not a response to a prior attack?
5 A. Throughout the time of the crisis in Kosovo and Metohija, whenever
6 those incidents occurred, the question that was always asked was: What is
7 action and what is reaction to the action?
8 As you know, there were many such incidents, and it is impossible
9 to give you a -- a brief answer to -- to tell you which side engaged in
10 more actions, as opposed to reactions. But I am sure of one thing: Our
11 units had their task, and they had their interest in not having the
12 conflict to escalate any further, because any escalation was counter to
13 the interests of the country, the army and the country in general, because
14 we knew the possible consequences, strategically speaking for the defence
15 of the country, so that I'm quite certain that my colleagues on the ground
16 wanted to have no conflicts, but those conflicts or clashes occurred.
17 This was more or less quite well known.
18 Q. I suggest another possibility to you, General, and that's the
19 forces on the ground who were actually living there in Kosovo and seeing
20 their comrades injured and killed did want to attack and wanted to attack
21 first, rather than waiting for the next time that they were ambushed by
22 the KLA. Isn't that a reasonable possibility?
23 A. Yes. At the tactical level, on the ground such actions are a
24 possibility. Definitely. And it's quite logical, after all, from the
25 point of view of legally speaking, they are justified. Because you don't
1 want your units to sustain any more casualties.
2 Q. Yes. And I can see where there would be a difference of
3 perspective from the private or the sergeant on the ground in Kosovo who's
4 living with that from day to day. He may not share the concern of the VJ
5 collegium or the political leadership at the highest level about, We're
6 being watched by the International Community and we don't want to start
7 any incidents, so we can only respond when attacked. That makes sense.
8 That's how it works in real life, isn't it?
9 A. Yes. This was a whole spectrum of the levels of command and
10 situations that people found themselves in, situations where their
11 soldiers, their close relatives, friends were being -- were getting
12 killed, and emotions were involved. Quite apart from the tasks and rules
13 and regulations that came from the level of the Supreme Command, the 3rd
14 Army command, and the Pristina Corps command.
15 Q. Okay. And along that chain of command from the private up to
16 General Ojdanic, I suggest to you that it's also a reasonable possibility
17 that someone in between those two extremes might find it useful to carry
18 out attacks and not report it up. Isn't that a possibility, considering
19 all the circumstances?
20 A. At various levels of command, commanders, "komandiri" and
21 "komandanti" had the right to respond once they established that they
22 were either under attack or that an attack was imminent.
23 At that tactical level, it was difficult to establish who provoked
24 in some way an attack. But I do know that the commanders at all levels
25 always reported all that up the chain of command. So it is difficult to
1 assume that if a platoon or if a company comes under attack and then you
2 have to wait for the General Staff to give you their approval to defend
3 themselves, to respond. Under the military rules, they were duty-bound to
4 defend their unit against the attack.
5 Q. I understand that. And -- and that makes sense. But the
6 operation that we saw in Exhibit P1999 seemed to be something that was put
7 together with some thought and organisation, involving 600 VJ members and
8 some 350 MUP, tanks, Howitzers, et cetera. That's not just an immediate
9 response to an immediate attack. With 950 on one side and 30 KLA on the
10 other. Right? This is -- this is an offensive operation.
11 A. Well, we can't know what preceded these events and what gave rise
12 to this response on the part of the command of the 249th Brigade.
13 Q. No, I'll move on. I understand your point. You -- you mentioned
14 it before.
15 Now I want to ask you about -- you talked about a meeting you had
16 on the 12th of March with US military attache Colonel Pemberton, where you
17 told us you proposed that there be an exchange of officers between NATO
18 and the VJ.
19 But I'm asking you: Wasn't it true that General Clark had
20 proposed to General Ojdanic that Ojdanic come to the NATO headquarter, and
21 that had been the week before or the same week as your meeting on the 12th
22 of March. Correct?
23 A. Yes, you're right on both counts. General Clark invited
24 General Ojdanic to come to Brussels with six of his men to clear up some
25 of the issues that were topical at the time. It's correct that I
1 suggested to the US military attache to have an exchange of officers, to
2 send ours to Brussels and to receive their officers in Belgrade, and I
3 wanted the misunderstandings that were already common at the time to be
4 cleared up as efficiently and as quickly as possible, and we already had
5 complaints from certain western countries that the October agreement was
6 being violated.
7 Q. And -- and the point I -- I wanted to make was that General Clark
8 had made that initiative to General Ojdanic but he had not attended. He
9 apparently had other engagements. Correct?
10 A. I really don't know why General Ojdanic did not go to that
11 meeting. I know that he had a good opinion of that initiative. I'm not
12 sure whether he had gone to the President to discuss it and what
13 transpired there.
14 Q. I want to ask you about some of the documents that were shown to
15 you. And this concerns the -- the meetings -- the various kinds of
16 meetings and briefings that were held with General Ojdanic in the --
17 between the start of the war, the 24th of March, to the end of it in June.
18 Now, we have in evidence the -- the handwritten notes that were
19 kept of the evening briefings that I think initially started out at 8.00
20 or 8.30 at night and then later on they start at 6.00 at night. We've got
21 those records. And we understand from the testimony of yourself and other
22 witnesses that there were also morning meetings. Who participated in those
23 morning meetings? Was that the collegium? Was that the Supreme Command
24 Staff? Who -- who were the participants in the morning meetings? And
25 what were they called?
1 A. Morning meetings were not as regular as the evening ones. In
2 fact, they were rather rare. And they were not attended by the entire
3 composition, the 15 or 18 people that attended the evening briefings.
4 However, for purposes of that morning meeting, we provided a short brief
5 about the events of the previous night from the evening meeting until the
6 early morning hours, and we made it available to the chief of the General
7 Staff. But morning meetings were held only when strictly necessary to
8 discuss a certain issue.
9 Q. Okay. And who -- who determined when those meetings were
10 necessary? Who scheduled them?
11 A. Meetings were convened in one of two ways: Most often the chief
12 of the General Staff would invite those persons he thought necessary, but
13 we members of the General Staff could also initiate a meeting at the
14 office of the chief of the General Staff or perhaps invite other persons
15 to clear up a certain issue.
16 Q. Did anyone keep minutes of these morning meetings? And if so, who
17 was that?
18 A. I don't think so. I don't think minutes were kept. They were not
19 held very formally, these morning meetings. It was a meeting where a
20 member of the collegium would write down the outcome of the discussion,
21 the one who raised the issue in the first place, and would inform the
22 chief of the General Staff eventually. But there were no regular minutes
24 Q. Okay. Now, I've seen two different kinds of documents from you.
25 We -- we've seen some things called intelligence reports, which seem to be
1 the more formal documents you prepared. They're usually more detailed.
2 They have more analysis. Those usually have your signature and a stamp on
3 them. Correct?
4 A. We at the intelligence administration had several types of
5 documents, and one of them is the one you mentioned. It was a daily brief
6 that comprised a number of elements and was intended to provide a
7 comprehensive view of the current situation and perhaps included some
8 proposals and suggestions. Some documents concentrated on one issue
9 alone, while other documents dealt with everything that was discussed at
10 briefings. So it was not a -- a definitively determined format. I would
11 take up an issue discussed at a briefing, would include some things that
12 were discussed, were reported, and would exclude some elements which in
13 the meantime I found out to be incorrect or irrelevant.
14 Q. Okay. Can we have a look at Exhibit 3D934. And these other
15 documents that I've seen referred to as intelligence briefings, and they
16 usually have a number such as 2/99 or 12/99, are these the daily briefings
17 you're talking about?
18 And when -- when were these used? Are these your talking notes or
19 is this a written submission you make to General Ojdanic? How are these
21 A. The document we see on the screen now, 43/99, is the draft, my own
22 personal reminder for my presentation at the evening collegium meeting at
23 the office of the chief of General Staff. It was not submitted as such to
24 the chief of General Staff. Rather, many elements from this, plus some
25 additional ones, were presented as a brief with a different number to the
1 chief of General Staff and other colleagues from the General Staff and
2 some other users.
3 Q. Okay. So these were prepared by yourself?
4 A. These documents were prepared as indicated below. A group of
5 people, the intelligence section of the Supreme Command Staff. This group
6 of people was with me at the command staff. They worked in shifts and
7 they entered these elements as they received information. And, of course,
8 I reviewed it all at the end and I am the only one who has responsibility
9 for everything that is written here.
10 Q. Now, so is the -- the Serbian that we see on the screen in the
11 left, is this the original format in which they were prepared back in
12 1999? This is the original document that was created then? Or -- or were
13 they handwritten and then typed up later? Do you know?
14 A. Yes, I know that. In that room of the intelligence section, they
15 were handwritten -- or rather, they were typed up on a PC. Elements were
16 entered in the course of the have day -- of the day as information --
17 relevant information came in and as we analysed it to see if it's relevant
18 or not, accurate or not. And then we printed out this paper so that I
19 could review it before going to the briefing. I revised it, deleted
20 something, added something.
21 After that, this document was no longer edited. As you see, it
22 hasn't been entered into any register. It was not submitted to anyone. It
23 just served as a draft for one-time use.
24 Q. Okay. And where were these kept, then, from the time they were
25 created in 1999 until today? Because most of these documents that we see
1 related to the army have -- have signatures and seals and stamps and all
2 kinds of things. Do you understand my question? Where do these come
3 from? Where were they kept since 1999?
4 A. From 1999 onwards, these documents were kept at the archives of
5 the intelligence administration. And as you can see, they are quite
6 original. Nothing was amended, added, modified. They were not destroyed.
7 And, of course, if we had known then that we would be reading them one day
8 in The Hague, maybe the contents would look different.
9 Q. Can we go to the next page of this document. You'll see item
10 number 14, which appears to be something about an exercise that's part of
11 the Partnership for Peace has been stricken through. Do you know when
12 that was done?
13 A. I think I've already said that when I received a document of this
14 kind, I would look at it before my presentation to the collegium and I
15 would make some changes. I believed that this part was not important and
16 I crossed it out.
17 Q. Okay. Now, you said that from 1999 onwards these documents were
18 kept at the archives of the intelligence administration. Is that a
19 separate archive from where all the rest of the army documents are kept?
20 A. Every institution in our country, every administration, every
21 sector has a part of its archives that it keeps on its own premises for a
22 while. Once a certain time has expired and these documents are no longer
23 topical or important or relevant, they are handed over to the central
24 archives. This particular document doesn't even deserve to be handed over
25 to the central archives because it was a draft, not an approved document.
1 And it could have been kept at the intelligence administration for a while
2 and it could even have been destroyed with minutes of the destruction
3 drawn up. However, this one has survived and you can see what transpired
5 Q. I guess my question, though, it's just a -- just a matter of chain
6 of custody of evidence. I can't tell by looking at this document -- I
7 mean, I understand what you're saying, but how can we tell by looking at
8 this document that it wasn't prepared last week or last year, as opposed
9 to 1999? There's no signature. There's no stamp. There's no record from
10 the archives showing when it came in and when it went out. You understand
11 my question? Can you -- can you tell us how we can have confidence that
12 this is the original as it was prepared back in 1999?
13 A. I can assert with complete certainty that it's that original,
14 because I know that no documents were doctored at the intelligence
15 administration and that these documents were probably provided maybe at
16 the request of the National Council for cooperation with the Tribunal or
17 maybe some Defence team. They provided everything they had. Maybe there
18 was a rule that allowed them not to provide it. They could have said
19 perhaps, We don't have it, because as you said, it has not been register,
20 it is not in the central archives, and there is absolutely no paper trail
21 of its existence. However; they seem to have been conscientious and to
22 have provided the documents as they were drafted in 1999.
23 Of course, you can check the authenticity of these documents and
24 you can also check it by comparing what is written here with the
25 contents of the document that is official and that is
1 titled "Brief," "Informacija" in Serbian.
2 Q. I'm sorry, I was waiting for the translation. Yeah. The -- the
3 "Informacija" then is the more formal document that would have a
4 signature and a stamp?
5 A. Yes. Yes.
6 Q. And everything that's contained in this briefing note, this
7 informal document, would have been incorporated verbatim in that final
9 A. Not strictly verbatim. Not necessarily. Maybe some other
10 elements relevant to the units which received this information would be
11 added, but most of it would be in the document entitled "Informacija" with
12 the same date.
13 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, is this the appropriate time? Thank
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Krga, we need another break at this stage for
16 half an hour. Could you again leave the courtroom with the usher.
17 [The witness stands down]
18 JUDGE BONOMY: We shall resume at ten to 1.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.20 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
23 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
24 Q. Could we please show the witness Exhibit Number 3D898.
25 General, coming up on your screen will be the briefing from the
1 28th of March, 1999. And I'd like to look at paragraph 4, which yesterday
2 we heard said recommendations would be made for a forceful entry into
3 Kosovo and Metohija in the event it's evaluated, our forces were built up
4 to 50.000 and if the number of refugees reached 500.000.
5 If the situation got to the point where there were 500.000
6 refugees, wouldn't you agree that that would be a humanitarian catastrophe
7 of a sufficient magnitude to perhaps call for entry by NATO?
8 A. At this time, as we well know, airstrikes were already on. The
9 war had already started. And this information is something we had
10 received as one of the possible assessments. That was true as far as we
11 were able to analyse. Namely, that NATO had evaluated or decided that if
12 the number of refugees grew to 500.000, that could be cause for a forceful
13 entry into Kosovo. But as we know, it did not happen.
14 Q. Okay. And the next sentence that wasn't read yesterday
15 says: "This is why the response to the provocations of the so-called KLA
16 should be completed as soon as possible."
17 And it's a fact, sir, isn't it, that during the first two weeks of
18 the war the VJ, the Pristina Corps, in joint activities with the MUP, were
19 fully engaged in trying to get rid of as many KLA as they could, to clear
20 the area out in the event of a NATO ground attack? Correct?
21 A. Yes. When the war had already begun, it was logical that the
22 forces engaged in the defence of the country should try to create a
23 situation as favourable to themselves as possible, and one of them could
24 be the proposition you just made.
25 Q. All right. Can we go to the next page of this document, please.
1 And, General, the last paragraph there we see the comment: "I
2 support Mr. Grahovac's suggestion for conducting a strategic military
3 assessment as soon as possible, if possible in the presence of the members
4 of the Supreme Defence Council."
5 So was that presentation done for the Supreme Defence Council
6 sometime on or after the 28th of March?
7 A. Analysing that situation which was developing rather adversely, we
8 were looking for ways to deal with it. And one of the measures is --
9 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
10 MR. HANNIS:
11 Q. I'm sorry, General, I'm short on time. That's a fairly straight
12 forward question. Was that presentation done for the Supreme Defence
13 Council? If you know.
14 A. No. No. The monitoring was done, but not for the Supreme Defence
15 Council, because they were not present.
16 Q. They were not present at all during the war? Is that what you're
18 A. During the presentation of that analysis on the 9th of April, none
19 of the Supreme Defence Council was present.
20 Q. And at that meeting on the 9th of April, we've seen the collegium
21 minutes for that day, and General Ojdanic talks near the end of that
22 session about having all that material prepared so he can take it to the
23 Supreme Command. You recall him saying that?
24 A. Yes. Maybe I don't recall every word, but it was logical that
25 after such a serious analysis the material would be made available to the
1 Supreme Defence Council. But I can't say whether General Ojdanic really
2 submit it and to whom.
3 Q. Okay. In the next exhibit, 3D906, please, there's a reference in
4 this briefing, General, to an announcement on CNN. Did you guys during
5 the war watch CNN to see what they were reporting about what was
7 A. We watched everything we could, including media we used as
8 indicators of what might happen. But, of course, we did not attach
9 absolute importance to the media. We didn't consider that everything that
10 was reported in them was true.
11 Q. Did you watch CNN and BBC?
12 A. Yes, CNN, BBC. We listened to the Voice of America and various
13 other TV and radio stations.
14 Q. And I understand the point about perhaps not giving much weight to
15 some or much of what they said, but you were aware that they were fairly
16 daily reports about thousands of Kosovo Albanian civilian refugees pouring
17 out of Kosovo and Metohija during those first few weeks of the war? Is
18 that correct? That was being reported by them, wasn't it?
19 A. Yes. Yes. There were quite a lot of reports about that in the
20 foreign media.
21 Q. And in 3D911, the next one I'd like to show you, Mr. Visnjic asked
22 you about a diplomatic initiative and then a second proposal that was made
23 regarding post or points for refugees.
24 Do you find that? I'm not sure if that's on the first page. I
25 think it's at the next page, where you have "Conclusions and proposals."
1 Could we go to the next page. I'm sorry.
2 And in connection with that proposal, it is stated: "In order to
3 avoid being demonised in the media."
4 I suggest, General, that was an even greater concern than whether
5 the refugees left Kosovo or not. It was the way it appeared and was being
6 presented in the media that you were most concerned about. Isn't that
8 A. In the media, there was, of course, correct information, but there
9 were also exaggerations and incorrect information which we called "media
10 demonisation" in those wartime conditions. The idea of organising those
11 points was calculated to mitigate the refugee problem, to provide
12 assistance in an organised manner for the refugees, and change the media
13 picture so that it would no longer be unfavourable as it was.
14 Q. Was that proposal ever actually carried out?
15 A. I think that something was done in part. I know that in those
16 days General Pavkovic called me up on one occasion and asked me about the
17 refugees and what I thought should be done. And I think they did
18 something, but I can't give you details. I'm not sure precisely what they
19 did and how much.
20 Q. And the last item there says: "Likewise, the insinuations
21 concerning the replacement of the commander of the 2nd Army could be
23 What was that issue about the replacement of the commander of the
24 2nd Army? Who was that and why was he being replaced at that time?
25 A. The commander of the 2nd Army was General Radoslav Martinovic. He
1 was replaced by General Milorad Obradovic. Why the change was made? To be
2 quite honest, I really don't know, because that was within the competence
3 of the chief of the General Staff. As in many other cases, there were
4 various media speculations about it, about why he was replaced. My idea
5 was that a truthful communique would put an end to the speculation.
6 Q. Well, you just said you didn't quite know why, so how could you
7 know what the truthful answer was?
8 A. I didn't take it upon myself to draft the truthful communique. I
9 expected that those who had replaced him would provide the reply.
10 Q. Who had replaced him?
11 A. He was replaced by General Milorad Obradovic.
12 Q. Who ordered that replacement?
13 A. The change was at the level of generals, was within the competence
14 of the President of the FRY.
15 Q. The President of the FRY; right? Mr. Milosevic.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat his answer, because the
17 interpreters did not catch everything.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Milosevic was President at the
20 MR. HANNIS:
21 Q. And he was the one who replaced the commander of the 2nd Army.
22 A. No. As far as I know, he signed the ordinance, which is the
23 document regulating the replacement.
24 Q. Well, I guess I don't understand the answer, then. Who did
25 replace him if it was not Mr. Milosevic?
1 A. According to the rules, the chief of the General Staff proposes
2 the replacement or one of the members of the Supreme Defence Council, but
3 the President is the one authorised to sign the document, which is called
4 an ordinance, whereby such a replacement at the level of the rank of
5 general is regulated.
6 Q. Okay. So it wouldn't have happened unless Mr. Milosevic signed
7 that ordinance; correct?
8 A. Well, it shouldn't have happened. I didn't see the ordinance by
9 President Milosevic myself, so I can't say exactly what the mechanism of
10 that particular replacement was.
11 Q. Okay. You were asked about some information regarding the
12 possibility of airstrikes and you talked about the credibility of NATO was
13 emphasised as a reason. It's possible that the credibility of NATO was
14 linked to events on the ground and most of all with what they referred to
15 as "the humanitarian catastrophe."
16 Now, I wanted to ask you about, I think this is from the collegium
17 meeting on the 9th of April. NATO credibility relates back to the events
18 in October of 1998, doesn't it? Because wasn't there an ACTORD that had
19 been issued and then Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Holbrooke reached the agreement
20 at the end of October, so NATO backed off bombing at that time. Isn't
21 that correct?
22 A. Yes. There was a document ACTORD, but it was not completely
23 abolished. It was only suspended. It remained in force, but it was
24 suspended, as far as we knew.
25 Q. And wouldn't it be fair to say that having gone really to the
1 brink or up to the last minute back in October, NATO couldn't simply say
2 okay again if Mr. Milosevic now said, Oh, I'm sorry, I will -- I will stop
3 doing what I'm doing and I'll do everything I promised to do in October?
4 I mean, how many times could that process be repeated?
5 A. It's very hard for me to comment on this, because I was not in the
6 NATO structures nor was I close to President Milosevic, so I could not
7 know what the relations were.
8 Q. Well, I understand that. I guess I was asking the question
9 because you -- you are an experienced professional soldier, and I think
10 you probably understand about the use of force and the threat of force and
11 that you can only -- you can only threaten so many times before eventually
12 you have to actually carry it out or you have no credibility any more.
13 Isn't that true?
14 A. Credibility. Yes, we often came across that, because the military
15 and other representatives of NATO often referred to the credibility of
16 NATO in the days leading up to the airstrikes, about preserving NATO's
17 credibility. As a counterargument, we always said that NATO's credibility
18 would be best preserved if the problem were solved without the use of
20 Q. In Exhibit 3D955 from the 12th of May, you told us about -- you
21 were exploring every option at your disposal at that time and trying to
22 find a peaceful solution and a way to end the war. And one of the
23 proposals here from you is the issue of the return of the refugees and
24 even the possible withdrawal of VJ units to garrisons away from Kosovo.
25 Proposals are great, but can you tell me -- can you point to any
1 concrete steps that the VJ took regarding the return of refugees?
2 A. I've already said that I wasn't on the ground there and I was
3 interested in the problem of refugees more from the point of view of the
4 foreign factors and trying to lessen the negative influence of that.
5 But as to what was actually happening on the ground, I couldn't
6 say. The proposals I put forward were sincere and their intention was to
7 start solving the problem, not just the issue of refugees but also
8 cessation of the airstrikes and everything else that was causing the
10 Q. Okay. Can we look at 3D753. You -- you told us about this
11 yesterday, General. And this -- this is a document I think you told us
12 was the VJ proclamation about having the Albanians return.
13 Mr. Visnjic asked you if this was the document that was issued by
14 the army, and your answer then at page 16818 was: "I can't tell you now
15 with any precision whether this is the document, whether it contains all
16 the elements, but I do know that such a proclamation was made."
17 This looks like a draft to me. I don't see a -- there's no
18 signature on it and I don't see a stamp or a date. Do you know when this
19 was created and who created this particular document?
20 A. As far as I know, it was created around that date. It was
21 broadcast on the media. That can be checked. But as I said, I can't
22 vouch for the authenticity of the text itself, because I didn't work on it
23 myself, so I can't say how authentic it is.
24 Q. Well, can you show us or can you point us to where there's
25 evidence, hard evidence that it was actually circulated to any of the
1 persons that might have an interest in it or be affected by it?
2 First of all, where is -- where is the version in the Albanian
3 language? Is there one?
4 A. I really wouldn't know that. Of course, there should have been.
5 But whether there was or wasn't, I really don't know.
6 Q. I want to ask you a general question about the intelligence
7 information you got, because you gave us a lot of examples of some of the
8 kinds of information you had. But wouldn't you agree with me that a lot
9 of information that -- that you received wasn't accurate? It didn't -- it
10 didn't pan out. It didn't prove to be accurate. That's -- that's the
11 nature of intelligence, isn't it? I mean, a lot of things you hear and
12 are given to you just don't prove to be true.
13 A. Yes. One could say that, generally speaking. And in addition to
14 the information presented to the staff of the superior -- of the Supreme
15 Command, we receive dozens of other pieces of information which we
16 assessed as being unrealistic or unimportant and we did not present those.
17 We didn't include them in the briefings that we delivered to the users of
18 our briefings. So what you say certainly applies to any intelligence
19 service in the world. Not all information received is 100 per cent
21 Q. It seems that I saw one -- one item in one of the intelligence
22 briefings about -- there was a report about some sort of bomber was being
23 painted in Croatia to look like a VJ plane with a plan to bomb civilians
24 in Kosovo. Do you recall that?
25 A. I remember an information -- a piece of information to that effect
1 which proved to be incorrect.
2 Q. You would agree with me that seems pretty far-fetched, doesn't it?
3 As a practical matter, how was that going to work?
4 A. Well, from this distance in time, it might seem exaggerated, but
5 we were in the middle of a war. All sorts of things were happening.
6 Emotions were involved, not just rational criteria. We feared various
7 threats, and that's why we responded as we did.
8 Q. Fair enough. I -- I hope never to be in that position myself.
9 All right. I won't ask you about a couple other examples. I did
10 want to ask you about a few things that were brought up this morning.
11 Mr. Visnjic asked you about whether you'd ever heard about a plan
12 to expel Albanians, and you told us that, you know, you would attend those
13 meetings and you never heard such ideas at any of the meetings you
14 attended. But you did hear the media reports and you probably heard
15 complaints from NGOs which included victim accounts about Kosovar
16 Albanians being expelled by FRY security forces and including having their
17 identity documents destroyed and the license plates taken off their
18 vehicles before they were forced across the border.
19 You were aware that there were allegations about that kind of
20 thing in March and April of 1999, weren't you?
21 A. Through the media and in other ways, such information did go
22 round, yes.
23 Q. Okay. One answer you gave I wasn't clear about. You were asked
24 some questions about the Supreme Command. And you made the point
25 that "Supreme Command" is not defined in your laws. And I agree, it
1 doesn't appear to be anywhere in the Constitution or the Law on Defence or
2 the Law on the Army.
3 And your answer is reported in the transcript as being - and I
4 quote here, General - it says: "My belief is that it existed and that it
5 should have included members of the Supreme Defence Council, the Prime
6 Minister, the Defence Minister, the Minister of the Interior, the Finance
7 Minister possibly, and perhaps some other high-ranking officials of the
9 Is that correct? It was your belief that the Supreme Command did
10 exist during the war?
11 A. I don't know what the translation was, but if it's as you say,
12 it's incorrect. I didn't say it existed. I said "if it had
13 existed," "had it existed," it would most probably have the structure I
14 spoke about. But I didn't say that it did exist.
15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... To that. Wasn't there a
16 Supreme Command that existed during the war?
17 A. Normatively, it did not exist.
18 Q. Can you explain for me what that means, "normatively."
19 A. It means that in the constitution and in the laws you mentioned
20 there is no mention anywhere of the existence of a Supreme Command.
21 Q. Okay. I understand that. And -- and we've talked about a lot of
22 things and a lot of formalities. But as you said in answer to other
23 questions, during wartime things are different. And some things that --
24 that are not on the books and some things that perhaps should not happen
25 actually do exist and do happen in real life. Correct?
1 A. [No audible response]
2 Q. Now, one of the -- I'm sorry, I guess you have to answer out loud.
3 I didn't ...
4 A. Well, that's a question of philosophy and logic, and I can't
5 answer it with a "yes."
6 Q. Okay. Does that mean you have to say "no"?
7 A. It depends on what you're asking me. Precisely.
8 Q. Well, we know that during peacetime the President of the FRY,
9 Mr. Milosevic, commanded the army in accordance with decisions of the
10 Supreme Defence Council, who we understand were the Presidents of Serbia
11 and Montenegro, that is, Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Djukanovic. You agree with
12 me so far?
13 A. Yes, that's correct. And that's what it says in the Constitution.
14 It's the Supreme Defence Council, or rather, the President of the Republic
15 that commands the army in accordance with the decisions of the Supreme
16 Defence Council.
17 Q. Yes. And the Constitution and the Law on Defence and the Law on
18 the Army say that the -- the President of the Republic of Yugoslavia
19 commanded the army in wartime as well, and that was to be in accordance
20 with decisions of the Supreme Defence Council; right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So during the -- during the wartime, 78 or 79 days, we know
23 Mr. Milosevic was the Supreme Commander. So how did he command in
24 accordance with the Constitution and those laws unless he was acting in
25 conjunction with Mr. Milutinovic and Mr. Djukanovic? Was he violating the
2 A. First of all, you stated quite correctly that the President was in
3 command of the army in peace and in war based on decisions by the Supreme
4 Defence Council.
5 Secondly, I think the second thing you said is not quite correct,
6 that is, that Milosevic was the Supreme Commander. In formal terms, he
7 may have performed the duty of Supreme Commander, but he's nowhere defined
8 as Supreme Commander in the legislation.
9 As for the third part of your question, whether he agreed on his
10 commands with the members of the Supreme Defence Council, I really don't
12 Q. Well, you're being very formal with me, General. I understand
13 that there wasn't in the Constitution that title "Supreme Commander." But,
14 as a matter of fact, isn't that a term of general usage by generals and by
15 others that Mr. Milosevic during the war was referred to as the Supreme
17 A. Yes. Yes.
18 Q. That's how it appears in many VJ documents.
19 And we also have in evidence some VJ documents that refer to "the
20 Supreme Command," which it's the Prosecution's position is basically the
21 wartime equivalent of the Supreme Defence Council and included
22 Mr. Milutinovic. Isn't that true?
23 A. I cannot confirm that this is true, because I'm not a
24 constitutional legal expert, so I cannot clarify whether or not the
25 Supreme Defence Council is equivalent to the Supreme Command.
1 As I've already said, in my opinion and after analysis of examples
2 in other countries, had a Supreme Command existed, it would have had to
3 contain some additional elements, not just the three men in the Supreme
4 Defence Council. But that's just my opinion. As I said, I'm no
5 constitutional expert.
6 Q. That's okay. We've had one of those.
7 But you were there, General, on the ground and in the Supreme
8 Command Staff headquarters. And we've seen in the April 9th collegium
9 General Ojdanic referring to having documents prepared to take to the
10 Supreme Command, not just the Supreme Commander but the Supreme Command.
11 I agree with you that makes sense that during the wartime the Supreme
12 Defence Council might be expanded to include others. After all, it's a
13 war. But would it not at least include the Supreme Defence Council
14 members, that is, the Presidents of Montenegro and Serbia?
15 A. Well, in our state, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as it was
16 then, had everything been set up the way it should have been set up, as it
17 was set up in democratic countries of the world, that would probably have
18 been the case. But as you know, this did not happen.
19 In other words, nowhere was it specified that the Supreme Command
20 existed and the composition of that command was not specified and neither
21 were the powers of that command specified.
22 Q. It doesn't necessarily have to be written down for something to
23 exist and function, though, does it?
24 A. It's possible.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, I have no further questions.
2 Thank you, General.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
4 Questioned by the Court:
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Krga, when was it you became chief of the
6 General Staff?
7 A. Mr. President, I took over the -- the duty on the 25th of June,
8 2002, and until the end -- but I was not specific enough. Until the end
9 of December, I was the stand-in for the chief and only then did I become a
10 fully-fledged chief of General Staff.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: I have some brief cross-examination, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: In -- in regard to what, Mr. Ackerman?
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Mostly it's in regard to the Joint Command issue
17 that was raised by Mr. Hannis.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Okay. Mr. Bakrac, were you going to raise
19 something as well?
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I didn't see
21 Mr. Ackerman, who precedes me. I have two short questions that were
22 raised in cross-examination related to the documents on the Joint Command
23 and another document, but that will be very brief. I will just be showing
24 the witness one sentence and I will have two quick questions for the
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Any problem with these requests, Mr. Hannis?
2 MR. HANNIS: No, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
4 Carry on, please, Mr. Ackerman.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Ackerman:
6 Q. General, you were shown a couple of documents by Mr. Hannis that
7 there was quite lot of discussion about. That's P1487, which was that
8 document where Ojdanic makes suggestions regarding an order, that purports
9 to be a Joint Command order. And then you saw the order that is purported
10 to be the Joint Command order. That was 1878.
11 When you looked at 1878, which was clear that if it was anything,
12 it was an order of the Pristina Corps regarding a prospective action;
14 A. Yes, that's the way I understood it.
15 Q. And the question I have for you, because you have been the -- the
16 number-one guy, the chief of the General Staff: The -- the decisions
17 about how to go out -- about carrying out your orders by the army
18 commander and the corps commanders are pretty much their decisions. They
19 decide which units they want to use to carry out those orders, and so
20 forth. And it's not a good idea for someone at your level to interfere
21 with those decisions. That's pretty much their job to make those
22 decisions and carry out your orders; isn't that true?
23 A. In principle, yes. But a superior may suggest to the subordinate
24 how a task should be carried out, if there is any need for that.
25 Q. But if you see an order like that one contained in P1878 and with
1 your broader experience you think there may be a better way to approach
2 that task, it's totally appropriate for you to make suggestions to that
3 corps commander or to a 3rd Army commander about how the matter should be
4 pursued, isn't it?
5 A. Well, a superior at a level of the General Staff does not present
6 any suggestions to the commander at the level of the 3rd -- of the command
7 of a corps, but he issues an order regulating all that.
8 Q. But once you see what it is the corps commander is proposing to
9 do, there wouldn't be anything wrong with you suggesting that he might
10 consider doing it a different way, would there? Wouldn't that be
11 consistent with your experience and your job? So that when
12 General Ojdanic in this case was making suggestions, he wasn't
13 saying, You're my superior. He was just saying, Here are some better
14 ways to do it maybe.
15 A. Well, it's possible, but in the majority of cases, the
16 communication went in the other way and the usual type of relation is the
17 command relations. You issue and you receive orders. But, of course,
18 there could be suggestions, provided that the subordinate commander is
19 given enough leeway to set up an operation or an action that he conceived.
20 Q. Okay. I have another document now I want to show you.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you move on to that.
22 Have you any experience, Mr. Krga, of seeing a document
23 headed "Suggestions" or making suggestions in the way that P1487 did?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I have to say that I don't
25 recall ever seeing any such document.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 Mr. Ackerman.
3 MR. ACKERMAN:
4 Q. The next document I'd like you to look at is 3D692.
5 3D692 is a document dated 29 May, 1999. And if you look at the
6 very beginning of it, you see what it's saying is that pursuant to your
7 order -- it's addressed to the chief of the Supreme Command Staff.
8 Pursuant to your order, a team inspection of the command and part
9 of the units of the Pristina Corps was carried out between -- I can't tell
10 exactly what that says, because I can't see it well. But in May of 1999.
11 It was probably 23 and 26 and it's a mistake there.
12 And then if you look at the final page, you'll see that it was
13 signed by Colonel General Velickovic.
14 Now, who was Colonel General Velickovic?
15 A. Colonel General Velickovic was the commander of the air force and
16 air defence until October 1998. After that, he became the Deputy Defence
17 Minister, and then sometime in mid-April 1999 - in other words, during the
18 war - he replaced General Grahovac at the post according to the wartime
19 establishment that was the chief of the administration for air force and
20 air defence.
21 During the war, on the 1st of June, 1999, he was killed at a
22 position of a rocket unit.
23 Q. And at this time in May, in the late days in May, he was sent down
24 to Kosovo apparently to conduct this inspection. Why would he have been
25 the person chosen to do that? Do you know?
1 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I -- I need to object at this point. I'm
2 not sure how this arises from my cross-examination.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you help, Mr. Ackerman?
4 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm getting there. It will be in maybe the next
5 question. But this is just setting background --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: -- For the information I'm trying to get to.
8 Q. Do you remember the question? Why would he have been sent to do
9 this by the commanding general?
10 A. Yes. Yes. In such cases, you had two options: Either he himself
11 had given this initiative saying that he would like to tour some units,
12 that he was either the superior commander or he was responsible for; or he
13 could have been ordered to do so by the chief of the General Staff if he
14 was deemed to be necessary. In this specific case, I don't know whether
15 he had been ordered or whether this was an initiative on his part, that he
16 wanted to go and visit that installation.
17 Q. If you look at the very beginning, I think you'll see that he was
18 ordered to do so by the chief of the General Staff. I think that appears
19 at page 1. And rather than go there now, what I really want you to look
20 at is paragraph 11 in the context of the Prosecution's contention that
21 there was a Joint Command operating in Kosovo at this time.
22 So if we'll get paragraph 11 up on the screen maybe. It's
23 probably around page 4 of the document. There it is.
24 One of the things he reports in this report is that: "There is no
25 single command over all the forces in the zone of responsibility. All
1 contacts with the units of the MUP are established by agreement, which is
2 often disobeyed, especially at the lower levels."
3 And it goes on to talk about the relationships between the VJ and
4 the MUP and basically how bad they are; correct?
5 A. Yes, that's what is written in this report.
6 Q. And that certainly doesn't look like a situation where there was
7 one command over the MUP and the VJ and they already operating together in
8 a Joint Command, does it?
9 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, with reference to the date of May 29th?
10 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, that's the date of the document. Yes. 29
11 May of 1999 is the date of the document.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: It really is part of your argument, Mr. Ackerman,
13 is it not?
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Yeah. I'm going on now to a final question.
15 Q. In the course of your testimony today, page 76, line 20 you were
16 asked about some issues regarding refugees apparently coming back into
17 Kosovo. And you said that "Pavkovic called to ask about refugees."
18 Do you remember about when it was that you call the call from
19 General Pavkovic in that regard?
20 A. I can't recall the date, but I think it was sometime in early
21 April, the first few days of April.
22 Q. And the concern by General Pavkovic was that somehow arrangements
23 needed to be made to take care of these people, make sure they were
24 clothed and housed and fed and things of that nature and what should he do
25 about that; is that correct?
1 A. Well, that's the way I assessed it, that this was also new to him
2 and that he was asking us whether he knew what was happening, what the
3 basic causes were, and what should be done about it.
4 Q. All right.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: I can't hear you.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Zecevic.
7 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry. There is a transcript -- in the
8 transcript again, it's 93, 20. I believe the witness says "he was asking
9 us whether he knew what was happening." "He."
10 JUDGE BONOMY: 93 -- not 20. Which line is it?
11 MR. ACKERMAN: It is 20, "whether we knew what was happening." And
12 that's what I heard too.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: 23?
14 It's not line --
15 MR. ZECEVIC: Page 93, line 20. It says: "And that he was
16 asking us whether we [Realtime transcript read in error "he"] knew what
17 was happening." Instead of "he knew what was happening," it should be
18 said --
19 MR. ACKERMAN: "we knew."
20 MR. ZECEVIC: The witness said "we knew what was happening."
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 MR. ACKERMAN: That's all I have, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
24 Mr. Bakrac.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Bakrac:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Krga. I have a couple of
3 questions for you, very brief questions.
4 The Prosecutor showed you document P1999, and there is no need for
5 us to have us back -- have it back on our screens. This is an analysis of
6 the command of the 249th Brigade regarding an action in the village of
7 Kabas dated the 17th of March, 1999.
8 My question to you is whether you know that this village of Kabas
9 where this action was undertaken is actually in the border belt.
10 A. Well, I couldn't really tell you off the top of my head where this
11 village actually is.
12 Q. And do you perhaps know that this action was announced in advance
13 to OSCE?
14 A. No, I don't know.
15 Q. So you don't know those details.
16 Let me now move on to the next document. That's P1966. And could
17 we please have it up on e-court. That's the order of the Joint Command
18 regarding Malo Kosovo. And could we please have page 2 of this document.
19 General, in order to be entirely fair to you, you spoke about this
20 document and also about that addendum to this document. Could you please
21 look at paragraph 4, where it says "Decision," and the last sentence just
22 above where it says paragraph 5, "Readiness."
23 Is the readiness for this task actually defined here?
24 A. In accordance with our rules, paragraph 4, "Decision," has to
25 determine -- usually determines the readiness deadline for the task.
1 Q. The fact that the readiness is not defined here, does that not
2 explain what you actually told us that a corps commander cannot amend a
3 decision that was issued by a superior command?
4 A. Well, yes, naturally. Had a Joint Command existed as a command
5 superior to the Pristina Corps, then the Pristina Corps commander could
6 not have amended their decision. He could only implement it.
7 Q. And it is quite obvious why there is this amendment, because the
8 readiness is not defined in the first document. Is that how we should
9 read it?
10 A. Well, it is quite obvious that the same command drafted both
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
13 further questions.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Anything arising from these, Mr. Hannis?
15 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, only that I would -- with regard to the
16 last question, I would direct the Court to P1967, which is the amendment
17 to the order and on the second page under item 4, it does have a time
18 listed for the readiness for combat as being 0600 hours on the 24th of
19 March, 1999.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 Mr. Visnjic. How long are you likely to be with re-examination?
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I'll have very brief re-examination.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Everyone at the moment indulging us to try and
24 insist in completing this evidence today. So please continue.
25 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Before I ask some questions, I would
2 like to draw the Court's attention to the document that was mentioned by
3 Mr. Bakrac. That's P1999, dated the 18th of March, 1999.
4 Mr. Hannis asked the witness about this document, and it was put
5 to the witness that this is one of the events that caused concern for
6 General Dimitrijevic at the collegium meeting held on the same date, the
7 18th of March, 1999. That's P938.
8 Your Honours, I would just like to draw your attention to the fact
9 that in document P1999, the time when this document is indicated is -- the
10 time when this document was sent is indicated and you -- when this
11 document was actually sent to the Pristina Corps staff, and you can see
12 from the other document that the meeting of the collegium was held on the
13 same day but substantially earlier than that time.
14 Re-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] General, Mr. Hannis asked you several questions
16 about the possibilities to launch misinformation, that one side may try to
17 misinform the other side. And then he asked you about the credibility of
18 the information that you received, and he gave you an example that, a
19 Croatian plane that was purportedly to be used to bomb Kosovo.
20 During the examination-in-chief, I asked you regarding Defence
21 Exhibit 3D43 -- 635. That was the assessment in -- that you did in
22 February. But now I want to ask you: From where you sit now, how would
23 you evaluate the assessments that the Army of Yugoslavia had before and
24 during the airstrikes? Airstrikes in 1999?
25 A. Well, I would perhaps be biased if I were to evaluate the work of
1 the service that I headed, but I think that the developments, the events
2 that followed those assessments, often unfortunately confirmed the
3 credibility of most of the information that we had and the assessments
4 that we had done. I say "unfortunately" because most of those -- those
5 information and assessments were negative.
6 Q. Mr. Hannis brought up Exhibit P935. That's the collegium meeting
7 in March. And he mentioned what General Curcin said about the
8 reinforcements and the deployment of units in and around Kosovo.
9 General, on the 11th of March, do you know about the increasing
10 the strength of the ground forces of NATO in Macedonia? We know that
11 there were 1.850 at the beginning there.
12 A. Yes, at first there were 1.850. Then in February, there were
13 about 5.000 of them. And then that number increased to 12.500 in March.
14 Q. Yet another question in this respect. Mr. Hannis mentioned the
15 Milosevic-Holbrooke Agreement, the October agreements. I think that's how
16 we should call them. Do you know that at least in one of those agreements
17 the right of the Army of Yugoslavia to self-defence is mentioned?
18 A. Yes. As far as I know, that is the case.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
22 JUDGE BONOMY: [Microphone not activated]
23 Questioned by the Court:
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Krga, how is it that you know that the
1 Holbrooke agreement contained a reference to self-defence?
2 A. I didn't mean the Holbrooke agreement. I meant -- I was referring
3 to a decision of the Supreme Defence Council from that time period that
4 made reference to the fact that we wanted peace but if the army came under
5 attack, that it is entitled to take every measure defend itself.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you wish to ask something else, Mr. Visnjic?
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, I've already been told. I
8 didn't think that it was irrelevant, but I mentioned several decisions
9 from October. I first said "the Holbrooke thing," the Holbrooke
10 Agreement," and then I mentioned several agreements from October, but I
11 don't think that it was recorded in the translation. But I was actually
12 referring to P395. That was the Naumann agreement, the Clark-Naumann
13 Agreement, P395.
14 If I may be allowed, perhaps I could ask just one question to
15 clarify that in one sentence.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we can read it for ourselves, can we not? If
17 you have --
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Just to give you the context, just
19 so that you see what I was driving at.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
21 Further re-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] General, had the Army of Yugoslavia not carried
23 out certain preparations or taken some measures of self-defence and
24 self-protection before the airstrikes began, what would be your
25 assessment? What would be its fate? What would have been its fate from
1 the 24th of March onwards?
2 A. Well, it is difficult to give you a one-sentence answer to that
3 question, but its fate would have been bad. That's for sure. And from
4 the point of view of the actions launched by the KLA and the airstrikes
5 that followed.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
7 further questions.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Krga, that completes your evidence. Thank you
11 for coming to give your evidence. You may now leave the courtroom with
12 the you should.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Sepenuk.
16 MR. SEPENUK: Your Honour, just for tomorrow morning's planning
17 purposes, we'll simply submit a -- we'll put in a written submission to
18 the Radinovic expert report comments by the Prosecutor. We'll waive oral
19 argument. We'll have it in this afternoon.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. Thank you very much.
21 And we have one -- we anticipate one witness tomorrow?
22 MR. VISNJIC: Yes, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: You've already abandoned plans to leave
24 Mr. Radinovic, have you?
25 MR. VISNJIC: Well, we wait for a decision and ...
1 JUDGE BONOMY: So it's -- it is still possible that he may give
2 his evidence in chief tomorrow.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, hardly. Hardly. In --
4 in view of the time we have at our disposal.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: When then do you envisage leading him?
6 MR. SEPENUK: No, what I was going to say- and I missed the
7 translation there - we have this whole -- all this stuff about these
8 intercepts. I think it would be -- I mean, certainly not until after the
9 break. We have the intercept materials to sort out. We have the decision
10 that Your Honours will make on whether or not there's any merit to the
11 Prosecution's objections, to his report. And I just see no chance at all
12 of his testifying tomorrow. It just -- it's just not in the cards, Your
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the -- the intercepts are really speculation
15 at the moment. You don't know how they may impact on your evidence. Once
16 you do, then it would be possible for you to lead the necessary evidence
17 to -- to handle their impact.
18 So it may be a bit premature to abandon your plans, but it's a
19 matter for you to decide at this stage. It may have an impact on the time
20 available to you after the break for the important evidence of
21 Mr. Radinovic.
22 MR. SEPENUK: Right. I think we're going to -- Mr. Visnjic and I
23 both agree that the important thing is what the lead counsel agrees to, of
24 course. But we do agree that we're going to be very summary on the last
25 two witnesses. These will not be lengthy witnesses.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: By that -- by "the last two witnesses," you're
2 referring to Radinovic and --
3 MR. SEPENUK: And General Ojdanic. Right, exactly.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you.
5 Well, the Bench are very grateful to everyone who has insisted
6 today by continuing to work beyond the normal time. We're very grateful
7 for the result that that has achieved, which is to enable us to
8 concentrate tomorrow on the final witness for this session.
9 So we'll resume tomorrow at 9.00.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.04 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Friday, the 5th day of
12 October, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.