1 Monday, 22 October 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman, who is your first witness?
6 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Our
7 first witness is Velimir Obradovic.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Obradovic.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
13 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
16 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
18 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Obradovic, you will now be examined by Mr.
20 Aleksic on behalf of Mr. Pavkovic.
21 Mr. Aleksic.
22 WITNESS: VELIMIR OBRADOVIC
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Examination by Mr. Aleksic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Obradovic. Could you please
1 give us your name and surname for the transcript.
2 A. I am Velimir Obradovic.
3 Q. On the 27th of September, did you give a statement to the Defence
4 team of General Pavkovic?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Did you have occasion to read this statement before you signed it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Today if you were to be asked the same questions, would you give
9 the same answers?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the statement of
12 Mr. Velimir Obradovic is 4D499, and I would like to tender it into
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Aleksic.
15 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Obradovic, could you please tell the Trial Chamber briefly
17 something about your military career and your education.
18 A. Well, after I completed secondary technical school for mechanic
19 engineers in Belgrade, I applied to the military technical academy in
20 Rajlovac, Sarajevo, and was admitted. Upon completing the academy, I was
21 assigned the position of second lieutenant at the Nis airport at the 161st
22 air base. That is where I was commander of the staff air squad in Nis.
23 At the airport of Nis, I spent ten years. In that period of time, in the
24 Yugoslav People's Army, there was an active youth organization, as an
25 independent organization related to the youth association of Yugoslavia.
1 Q. Mr. Obradovic, I think that will do. I think you can move on.
2 A. I wanted to say that during the course of my work there I realised
3 that I had an affinity for political science, and it is due to that
4 affinity that I applied to the higher political school in Belgrade and was
5 admitted there as well. I completed this school in 1984. After
6 graduation I was immediately deployed to a military political duty in the
7 492nd air base in Pristina, the Pristina airport, that is. That's where I
8 spent four years. After that I was reassigned to the 285th air base in
9 Ladjevci, Kraljevo, and was appointed Chief of Staff of the air base.
10 That is to say that these were operations duties that I had. After that,
11 I was reassigned to the command of the air corps in Nis, where I had
12 military political duties and then also in the operations organ of the
13 command of the air corps. This was in 1987, that's when I -- or rather, I
14 beg your pardon, in 1989 I came to the command of the air corps in Nis.
15 And parallel to my job, I started a graduate course at the higher military
16 political school in Belgrade, where I later got my master's degree.
17 After that, I became chief of the cabinet of the commander of the
18 3rd Army in 1992. I was chief of cabinet all the way up to the end of
19 1998. I had several army commanders there, from General Uzelac to
20 General Samardzic.
21 Q. Very well. Thank you, Mr. Obradovic. Could you please now tell
22 the Trial Chamber what duties you had in 1999.
23 A. At the beginning of 1999, sometime in January, I was appointed
24 chief of the operations centre of the command of the 3rd Army.
25 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber what your duties were as
1 chief of operations centre of the command of the 3rd Army.
2 A. Briefly, my basic duty was to tap all human resources, space
3 resources of the operations centre, and to make it possible for the
4 operations duty team as the highest organ in the operations duty section
5 in-depth of the 3rd Army to work efficiently, first of all; and secondly
6 round the clock. According to all assessments made, this was indeed
7 carried through.
8 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber what were the duties of
9 the operations centre in the period of time while you were chief of this
11 A. I've already spoken about this, but I shall expand. Staff and
12 professional support to the operations duty team consisting of the
13 following, briefly: Collecting information about the combat deployment of
14 the units of the 3rd Army; movements of the 3rd Army; movements of
15 columns, and there were many of them, especially during the war; special
16 events, the situation in the area of responsibility of the 3rd Army;
17 activities of the Siptar terrorist forces; and effects of NATO air-strikes
18 and the activity of the NATO force in general, not only the air force.
19 Also, it was very important to make sure that communications were
20 operating round the clock, both vis-a-vis the operations centre of the
21 General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia as well as towards all subordinate
22 commands, which was done through the mediation table where there were
23 encrypted and non-encrypted communications that were active, these
24 communications functioned with smaller interruptions without any affect on
25 the work of the operations team, I mean the interruptions didn't affect
1 them, and they worked throughout the war. A very important component was
2 the computer support to the -- to the centre and also electronic
3 surveillance information. Radar images were particularly invaluable, they
4 were obtained through a special unit that made it possible for the
5 operations duty team to act on-line, in realtime, by correcting --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I wonder if I could interrupt you.
7 Mr. Aleksic, you've set out in the witness's statement a number of
8 the aspects of the -- his responsibilities. Is this sort of detail that
9 we are now getting an essential part of your case? If it is, we won't
10 interrupt; but if it's unnecessary for us to know this, then there's
11 little point.
12 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] No, no. Thank you, Your Honour. I
13 do understand. We'll move on.
14 Q. Very well, Mr. Obradovic --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you do move on, I just want to ask one
17 In paragraph 3 of your statement, Mr. Obradovic, you tell us that
18 during 1999 you became the head of the 3rd Army operations centre. And
19 then you go on to say: "And further, until my retirement, I worked as an
20 assistant to the commander of 3rd Army intelligence and morale
22 Now, is that a separate job which you got later, after the war; or
23 were you doing both jobs together?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. During the war I was only chief
25 of the operations centre. Towards the end of 1999, I became assistant
1 commander of the army, not for intelligence but for information and moral
2 guidance, morale --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- That is to say the end of --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Aleksic.
6 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mr. Obradovic, you said that you received a great deal of
8 information. Tell us from whom and how this information was obtained.
9 A. The beginning of April 1999, when it was already certain that
10 there would be changes in the combat disposition of the units and in the
11 location of the command posts in the activity of the forward command teams
12 of the command of the 3rd Army and the command of the Pristina Corps, the
13 commander of the 3rd Army issued an order adjusting operations duty in a
14 new day, in-depth, down the subordination line of the 3rd Army.
15 Q. My question was --
16 A. Well, on the basis of this order, the subordinate commands, those
17 subordinated to the commander of the 3rd Army, submitted regular and
18 extraordinary combat reports which, along with daily communications 24
19 hours a day, round the clock, between the leaders of the operations team
20 and the commander units, provided a complete picture of the situation in
21 the army units and the situation in the territory, which was very
23 Q. Could you tell the Trial Chamber briefly what the subordinate
24 commands were, subordinated to the command of the 3rd Army.
25 A. These were the following commands: The command of the Nis Corps,
1 the command of the Pristina Corps, the command of the Nis Military
2 District, command of the Pristina District, the 201st logistics base, the
3 202nd logistics base, the teaching centres of the 147th quartermaster's
4 centre, the 186 technical, the 255th teaching centre in Kursumlija, then
5 the 319th communications regiment, the 109th centre for electronic
6 surveillance and monitoring. Then battalion rank units like the 3rd
7 Battalion of the military police, the 3rd Motorised Battalion, the 559th
8 auto-transport Battalion, the 19th institute for preventive medicine --
9 Q. Fine, that will do. Could you just tell the Trial Chamber in what
10 town the operations centre was, or rather, in the area of which town was
11 the operations of the command of the 3rd Army?
12 A. It was in the building of the command of the 3rd Army in the very
13 centre of the town of Nis.
14 Q. During the war were the headquarters of that centre changed?
15 A. Yes. Because one of my duties was to follow internet news, news
16 agencies and all kinds of information that can be collected over the
17 internet. About 20 days before the bombing of the building of the command
18 of the 3rd Army there was a top list of certain targets, including the
19 command of the 3rd Army. Subsequent assessment of this information led
20 the commander of the 3rd Army and the Chief of Staff to change the
21 location of the 3rd Army, and this was in the immediate vicinity of the
22 command itself.
23 Q. Very well. Thank you.
24 A. On the 5th of April at 3.55 hours, two NATO aircraft struck the
25 building with four rockets, the building of the command of the 3rd Army,
1 destroying precisely the premises of the operations centre and the
2 military court nearby. Due to this good assessment and the circumstances,
3 we all survived.
4 Q. Thank you. In one of your previous answers you said, and you
5 mentioned that in paragraph 18 of your statement as well, that you had
6 information from the air-space on the basis of radar images and you could
7 act in a timely fashion. Did the situation change during the course of
8 the war?
9 A. This situation changed the very moment when Bulgaria opened its
10 air-space and allowed NATO aeroplanes to fly over its territory, thus
11 radically decreasing the time needed to act against the zone of
12 responsibility of the 3rd Army.
13 Q. Thank you. Do you know that on the 12th of April, 1999, the
14 command of the Pristina Corps started from then on to send its combat
15 reports to the operations centre of the 3rd Army and the operations centre
16 of the Supreme Command Staff?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask you just to go back slightly about the
20 attack on your operations centre on the 5th of April. On the 4th of
21 April, was the whole command post moved from one place to another?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The operations centre is only one
23 part of the command post. Other sectors of the command had already been
24 relocated from the building. Only the operations centre was remaining
25 there as an element of the operations staff sector.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: And it was the original building, the original
2 command post, which was struck by the attack; is that right?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: And was -- had it been completely vacated before
5 the attack?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
8 Mr. Aleksic.
9 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Presiding Judge, I have
11 a picture if you want to see it.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: It's not necessary, thank you.
13 Mr. Aleksic.
14 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation].
15 Q. Colonel, just briefly, a few other matters. Are you aware that
16 for the entire duration of the NATO aggression from end March to mid-June,
17 was General Pavkovic ever present on the premises of the operations centre
18 of the 3rd Army?
19 A. No. He authorised the Chief of Staff, General Stojmirovic, who
20 occasionally visited us and gave us instructions, but on the day when the
21 building was bombed he took care to find out whether everything was all
22 right, whether everybody was alive.
23 Q. You as head of the operations centre, were you ever issued by
24 General Pavkovic any order to leave out any information from combat
25 reports or did he in any way influence the drafting of the combat reports
1 and the information covered?
2 A. No, he didn't, and he was practically unable to because combat
3 reports were drawn up every day by new officers on duty. So he couldn't
4 have talked that many people into that kind of thing.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Questions from any other Defence counsel?
9 Mr. Visnjic.
10 MR. VISNJIC: Yes, Your Honour.
11 Cross-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Colonel. My name is Tomislav
13 Visnjic; I represent General Ojdanic and I have a few questions for you.
14 Can we just make one correction. In your statement, paragraph 2, you talk
15 about the period when you were chef de cabinet of the 3rd Army commander
16 and you list the commanders under which you served.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. My question is: When was General Vukovic commander of the 3rd
20 A. I think he became one in 1991 or 1992, because he was the one who
21 actually brought me to the post of chef de cabinet of the 3rd Army
22 command. He was then Chief of Staff. General Uzelac was the commander,
23 but General Uzelac was already outgoing and General Vukovic was in the
24 process of forming his team.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: That raises a question for me.
1 First of all, that information is in paragraph 3 of our copy of
2 the statement. You say it's in paragraph 2.
3 MR. VISNJIC: Your Honour, I'm looking on B/C/S version.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, but it shouldn't matter. Presumably the
5 paragraph numbers should be the same.
6 MR. VISNJIC: Yes.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: And the second question or the second matter that
8 it raises is that Vukovic is not referred to in my paragraph.
9 So, Mr. Aleksic, do we have the final version of the statement at
10 this moment?
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, Vukovic is not listed in my
12 text; that's the reason why I'm asking the witness.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may clarify, Your Honours. I
14 did not mention General Simonovic either, I served under him, too, or
15 General Perisic, I just listed a few names that--
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a second. That's not helpful because they are
17 mentioned in your statement even though they weren't mentioned today. You
18 were only asked a few questions, nothing like the number in the
19 information here.
20 So are you saying the paragraph you're referring to is paragraph
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in my version it's
23 paragraph 2.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, Mr. Aleksic, why is there that --
25 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may be of
1 assistance, the only mistake, the only discrepancy between the Serbian and
2 the English text, was the paragraph 2. In B/C/S paragraph 2 includes all
3 this information, part of it is only in para 3. That is something that
4 must have occurred during translation. As for Mr. Vukovic, the witness
5 had not mentioned him in the B/C/S version either; that's what he just
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that mean, though, that all the paragraph
8 numbers thereafter are wrong? Where the B/C/S says paragraph 2 -- sorry,
9 paragraph 3, we will have paragraph 4 in English, and so on. Is that the
11 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] I believe we've just corrected that,
12 but I will be able to tell you more in a couple of minutes.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will try to find the
15 Q. Colonel, while you were chef de cabinet to the 3rd Army commander,
16 any one of these commanders, what was the procedure like for drafting the
17 actual orders as a formative document signed by the commander? Let's say
18 that at one point the commander orders you to prepare a -- an order and
19 you and chef de cabinet or somebody else takes up that task. You make a
20 draft and then take it to the commander to the signed.
21 A. I would first have the -- have to say a few words about the
22 methodology followed by General Samardzic, who was the last. His
23 principle was the following: He would get an order from the Chief of
24 Staff of the Supreme Command, he would study it too with his assistants,
25 the narrow circle of his command, including me; he would assign tasks and
1 give deadlines. And they would each make their own draft with the
2 accompanying documentation, such as maps and everything else that an order
3 of that level has to include. And then he would give it to me to make
4 radical cuts in it without sacrificing vital information, and I would do
5 that with my assistant Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolic.
6 Q. So once you have prepared this final version and submitted it to
7 the commander of the 3rd Army, he would sign it and what is the procedure
9 A. Well, if he is making an order on his own behalf, a "zapovest," a
10 command of the 3rd Army command, he would again summon all his assistants
11 and discuss it. But if it is just a proposal to the Supreme Defence
12 Council or the Supreme Command, then I don't know what happens at that
14 Q. No, I'm asking you what's going on in your office. You present a
15 final draft of a document.
16 A. Well, in my office, nothing happens. Nothing happens in my office
17 except my personal work on those documents; everything else takes place in
18 the office of the army commander.
19 Q. Who brings documents to him to be signed?
20 A. Chief of Staff.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Obradovic, you said that once these drafts with
22 accompanying documentation had been prepared they would be given to you to
23 make radical cuts without sacrificing vital information. What do you mean
24 by "radical cuts"?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I only meant those cases when we
1 were drafting a proposal by the 3rd Army commander to the Supreme Command
2 Staff or wherever in Belgrade he was going. But when he was about to
3 prepare an order on his own behalf as 3rd Army commander, then my job was
4 very limited.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 Mr. Visnjic.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 Q. So you did not present the 3rd Army commander with any documents
9 for signature?
10 A. After our usual preparatory work, nothing.
11 Q. But when you were preparing a final version of a document, this
12 abbreviated version as you described it, how many copies would you make?
13 A. I had one copy in my laptop and one copy for him, but let me
14 clarify again. The document I prepared for him was practically his
15 introduction on the basis of which he would make a report either to the
16 Supreme Defence Council or the Supreme Command Staff, I don't know. Other
17 documents remained intact. These forwards made by his various assistants
18 for various sectors are the only thing that were -- was abbreviated.
19 Q. It is important. Let's make a distinction. Did you have some
20 sort of log-book into which you registered documents? So when you had a
21 document signed by the commander, what happens to it technically but it
22 needs to be logged in?
23 A. The document I prepared is practically his introduction to the
24 combat documents that follow, and it is registered only informally, only
25 within the office itself. When that paper is transformed into some sort
1 of order, some sort of formal document, then it is entered into
2 appropriate registers.
3 Q. Who verified the documents signed by the commander of the 3rd
5 A. Well, depending on which assistant had prepared it. The commander
6 signed things within his own remit. Once the commander signs a document
7 for the logistics assistant, the logistics assistant takes it on.
8 Q. Where was the stamp?
9 A. The stamp of the army command was in a special office that held
10 also the register and files. The command of the 3rd Army had its own
11 stamp that said: "Command of the 3rd Army, office of the commander," and
12 there were three numbers. Only special documents related directly to the
13 commander were registered there.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we show the witness P1997.
16 Q. [Microphone not activated]
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. That's one of the combat reports of the 3rd Army, the exact date
20 is 13 April 1999, it's in the package of documents that accompany your
21 statement. Could you please look at the last page.
22 A. Yes, I can see it.
23 Q. To the best of your knowledge, where did this document originate,
24 I don't mean who wrote it, but I mean whose archives was it originate
1 A. Well, judging by the number, I recognise this number of the
2 register. It originated from and was filed with the files of the army
4 Q. I'm asking you about the last page.
5 A. You mean the Supreme Command Staff, sector for operations and
6 staff affairs?
7 Q. Do we agree that it comes from the archive that belonged to the
8 Supreme Command Staff?
9 A. Absolutely, absolutely.
10 Q. Which means that it was prepared at the Supreme Command Staff?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, could you please look at page 1.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Can we show the right, top corner,
15 Q. Colonel, what is written in Cyrillic: "Attachment number 1," on
16 this document, that's not what you sent out from the 3rd Army command?
17 A. No, it was not part of the format nor was it according to the
18 rules on official correspondence.
19 Q. Thank you. Could you please look at document P2004.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you move off this -- I'm afraid I didn't
21 understand that. "Attachment number 1" is written on it. Now, what's the
22 point you're making, Mr. Visnjic, that the document was not sent or these
23 words were not on it or what?
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, I wanted to get
25 there slowly with the witness, but I don't think it's a problem for me to
1 tell you straight-out --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, you don't need to, but I may come back then
3 to have it clarified later. Continue with your cross-examination.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 Q. I don't know if you see before you a document of the same date,
6 this time it's a combat report from the Pristina Corps command.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we look at the last page
9 Q. Last page we see the stamp and the date, it's the stamp of the
10 Supreme Command Staff, which means this document, too, was received by the
11 Supreme Command Staff on 13 April 1999; am I right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, could you look at the first page again, right-hand top
14 corner. We see attachment 1A. To the best of your knowledge, the command
15 of the Pristina Corps did not write this kind of thing "attachment
16 1," "attachment 1A" either?
17 A. I am certain it didn't.
18 Q. But we established with both documents that they were received at
19 the Supreme Command Staff on the same date, and neither the 3rd Army
20 command nor the Pristina Corps command had the habit of placing this
21 indication in the right-hand top corner of such documents. Do you agree
22 with me that it's possibly -- most probably the document was made at the
23 Supreme Command Staff?
24 A. I don't know. I don't know such thing, and I had no access to
25 such information.
1 Q. But it was not made in your command and it was not made in the
2 Pristina Corps command?
3 A. Well, it's up to you to draw a conclusion. I cannot tell you what
4 happened on the way.
5 Q. Let me ask you this then: Are you aware that -- that the combat
6 reports of the 3rd Army and the combat reports of the Pristina Corps were
7 an integral part as attachments 1 and 1A of every report that the Supreme
8 Command Staff compiled and sent up the chain to the supreme commander?
9 A. With the exception of personal communication with -- between
10 Colonel Ivkovic -- with Colonel Ivkovic, I could reach that conclusion,
11 but I really don't know.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wish to draw your
13 attention to P2005 and 4D10 -- P2005 also has the same marks on it. So
14 perhaps conclusions can be drawn for that.
15 Q. Thank you, Colonel, you've helped me clarify some issues.
16 Now I would like to go back to paragraph 19 of your statement in
17 which you say -- well, it's actually paragraph 20 in English, and there
18 you say that regular as well as interim combat reports of the 3rd Army
19 command and the Pristina Corps command, intelligence and security
20 information there were, of course, occasionally controlled by command and
21 field units fully provided the Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army with an
22 objective and consistent control or insight into the 3rd Army Pristina
23 Corps units, the situation at the state border, crucial events on the
24 territory, especially connected to movements and protection of civilians,
25 activities of terrorist groups, and so on?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. When you say that they made it possible to have an objective and
3 continuous insight into, in your system of values is that something that
4 does not allow for any other possibility?
5 A. Well, philosophically you're right, yes.
6 Q. Thank you. When you said this, did you inspect all the sources
7 you mentioned here in paragraph 19, that is, intelligent and security well
8 first let me ask you this: Did you look at all the intelligence
9 information of the 3rd Army in the course of the war?
10 A. Well, we have to be precise here. Combat reports were drawn up by
11 designated officers in all the sectors of command within the duty
12 operations team so that the intelligence man would write up the first
13 paragraph of the combat report. The operations man would write up the
14 second paragraph. The officer in charge of mobilisation and manpower
15 levels would write the next. The logistics man or the rear man would
16 write the next paragraph. As I was a member of the team and I worked -- I
17 was on duty two plus one days, and then after my day of leave, of rest, I
18 would come back and I would study all these items. And then the
19 operative -- operations centre team had to write up a war diary, so that
20 from this information one could gain an insight into the situation in the
21 army, the events on the ground, and so on.
22 Q. So you're saying this on the basis of the daily and interim
23 reports of the 3rd Army of the Pristina Corps, not on the basis of the
24 intelligence and other reports?
25 A. Well, the security organ sent that up his chain of command and
1 this was confidential, it was kept secret from me; the same applies to the
2 intelligence organ. They would simply give us the most important
3 operation that -- information that had to do with the enemy, electronic
4 activities, prediction of enemy activities, and so on and so forth. So
5 for a man of average intelligence, that was quite sufficient to gain an
6 objective picture of the situation in the army and the main tasks in the
7 forthcoming period, in the next few days.
8 Q. Well, we had three witnesses here who said that in their chain of
9 reporting, not the one that went through you, some information failed to
10 reach the staff of the main command, or rather, the Supreme Command Staff,
11 and I'm referring especially to intelligence and security.
12 A. Well, it could not happen for the security officer not to write up
13 item 5 of the daily report.
14 Q. When you say that based on these reports one could gain an
15 objective and continuous insight into the situation, the activities on the
16 ground, and especially movements of and protection of the civilian
17 population, so when you say "movements of the civilian population," can
18 you tell us in how many combat reports of the command of the 3rd Army
19 which passed through your hands are movements of civilians, the civilian
20 population, mentioned?
21 A. Well, I couldn't tell you that, especially as a large part of the
22 communication with the operations centres and the duty operations offices
23 were by phone, by protected lines, so that this information was
24 transmitted -- they were on security lines, so the information was
25 transmitted when the situation required it.
1 Q. Would you be surprised if I were to tell you that this information
2 was contained in only three combat reports of the 24th of March, the 10th
3 of May --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the last date.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These movements of the situation and
6 that information, do they have any -- is it significant to know who set
7 the population in motion, that's important for me to answer.
8 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Just a moment, I have a correction for the transcript. It should
10 be 24th of March, 10th of May, and 29th of May.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: The question hasn't been answered, though. The
12 question was: Would you be surprised to be told that information about
13 population movement was contained in only three combat reports?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't be surprised because the
15 Army of Yugoslavia, the 3rd Army, and the Pristina Corps did not have it
16 within their competence to monitor movements of the population unless
17 these interfered with the deployment of the troops or when the KLA was
18 disrupting the shield, the protection. That's why this information isn't
19 there. It's probably in the competent MUP organs because they were the
20 civilian authorities and they dealt with protection of the civilian
21 population. So that would be the logical answer.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
23 Mr. Visnjic.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 Q. This takes me back to this sentence in paragraph 20 in the English
1 version which says: "Objective and continuous insight in connection with
2 movements of the civilian population."
3 So if I understood you precisely, you have now described precisely
4 what sort of movements were reported here?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Colonel, are you aware that the commander, or rather, the Chief of
7 Staff of the Supreme Command sent an order to all subordinate units,
8 strategic groups, on the 29th of March, ordering that reports of the
9 judicial organs be included in the combat reports?
10 A. No, I'm not aware of that order, but by induction one can conclude
11 that if an order is carried out in practice the subordinate commands
12 report on it. And usually a report in its preamble says: Pursuant to
13 such and such an order, I did this and that. So you could conclude that
14 from those preambles.
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
16 questions for this witness.
17 Q. Thank you, Witness?
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Visnjic.
19 Mr. Cepic.
20 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Cepic:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, good morning.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. Thank you. My name is Djuro Cepic; I appear for the defence of
25 General Vladimir Lazarevic. I have only a few questions for you. I
1 understood from your statement and from your testimony today that you
2 spent the greatest part of the war in the city of Nis; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Colonel, did refugees from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija in
5 the war time-period arrive in the city of Nis?
6 A. As the intensity of the NATO air-strikes grew, the intensity of
7 the refugee columns grew also; there is no doubt about that.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you see, that doesn't actually answer the
10 question you were -- you posed. Do you not want an answer to that
12 MR. CEPIC: If you allow me, Your Honour, with next couple of
13 questions I will clarify everything what is relevant about that issue.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
15 JUDGE CHOWHAN: But I'm sorry, there's a very simple question, he
16 should answer that first, about Nis, that is important. I mean, he hasn't
17 answered that, it's just a vague reply, and I think he should first answer
18 that also.
19 MR. CEPIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I will try to clarify very,
20 very specifically.
21 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, did any refugees from the territory of
22 Kosovo and Metohija arrive in Nis during the air-strikes?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Thank you. What was the reason for their arrival in Nis?
25 A. The only reason was fear of the bombing, fear for their nearest
1 and dearest, and all nationalities arrived in Nis, mostly Serbs,
2 Montenegrins, but also Albanians, Turks, and so on. The former had
3 relatives in the city of Nis. They were saving the lives of their
4 children first and foremost.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I should make it clear to you, Mr. Cepic, that I
7 consider that answer valueless coming from this man without any foundation
8 indicated for coming to that conclusion, no division at all of the
9 proportions that he's talking about, and bearing in mind the sort of
10 evidence we excluded from the Prosecution case taken by people like
11 Human Rights Watch and so on. If you think that has achieved anything,
12 then I should remove that thought from your mind. I'm actually surprised
13 the question was not objected to.
14 MR. CEPIC: Your Honour, if you allow me, I will continue in this
15 way with next two questions, please.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
17 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Colonel, in the city of Nis, apart from military targets, did
19 bombs also fall on civilian buildings and were there any civilian victims?
20 A. Yes. I was in Nis all the time and I was a witness to this
21 round-the-clock bombing of civilian facilities, too, such as the market in
22 Nis on a market day and there were no military facilities in the vicinity;
23 the city hospital; the Duvaniste neighbourhood; and some other civilian
24 centres within the city of Nis.
25 Q. After these air-strikes and bombings of civilian facilities in
1 Nis, did citizens of Nis leave the town for that reason?
2 A. Yes, in droves, especially women and children. Whoever had a
3 weekend cottage somewhere or relatives elsewhere, they would leave Nis.
4 Children interrupted their schooling, the university stopped operating.
5 All the public utilities and services continued operating and the defence
6 provided assistance in that respect.
7 Q. Thank you very much, Colonel.
8 MR. CEPIC: I have no more questions for this witness.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, before he begins just for the record
12 and for your information, we had provided draft versions of witness
13 statements to the parties for their own preparation purposes, but what was
14 filed in e-court this morning is the final version and the paragraphs all
15 match up word for word with each other. So there's no problem with the
16 matching up of B/C/S and English paragraph number.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: The problem for me is knowing what I'm working with
18 in the hard copy that you sent to us. Am I working with a draft?
19 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm not sure I can answer that. If your paragraph
20 2 contains the information that Mr. Visnjic was talking about this morning
21 in the B/C/S then you've got the right one, but then you're probably not
22 reading B/C/S anyhow.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: This was submitted on the 19th, which was Friday,
24 in the morning, 9.36 a.m.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: I think there's been a modification since then,
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 Mr. Hannis.
4 MR. HANNIS: Well, before we leave that, Your Honour, it causes a
5 problem for me, too, working from that hard copy and then finding out
6 today that it's something different. We're supposed to get the statements
7 48 hours ahead of time, and I got the a supplemental information on
8 another statement and that's easier to work with than to have the whole
9 thing replaced. Now, if all that happened was that paragraphs 1 and 2 got
10 combined into one paragraph in the B/C/S, then all I have to do is add one
11 to each of the other numbers in English to follow along, but that's not
12 what happened. I see in the B/C/S there are 29 paragraphs, there are only
13 28. As best I can figure out with my limited becoming is there's
14 something happens around paragraph 20 of the B/C/S, and it appears there's
15 something in B/C/S there that's not in the English somewhere between
16 paragraph 20 and 23 of the B/C/S. But I don't know enough B/C/S to figure
17 that out.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I think there's no substantive change
19 at all. I think it was just a matter of getting the paragraphs to match
20 up with each other number-wise.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, please bear in mind, Mr. Ackerman, that the
22 need to give a final version to the parties 48 hours before the witness
23 gives evidence, and I would certainly, for one, rather never have a draft
24 at all. I'd rather have my copy immediately beforehand long enough to
25 read it than ever to be assisted with a draft. I can understand why it
1 might be of assistance to the parties themselves to have a draft but not
2 for the Bench.
3 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, sometimes the witnesses arrive in town and
4 look at their statement once they get there and say, Oh, I didn't notice
5 that before, that's a mistake. Now, we can file a supplemental, like the
6 Prosecution did. I'm not sure that makes it easier, but we could do that
7 if that's what's preferred, but that happened all the time during the
8 Prosecution case the night before the witness would come on we would get
9 that long supplemental statement so that wasn't provided 48 hours before
10 either. So they have nothing to complain about.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: I think Mr. Hannis is suggesting that the mechanics
12 of that are easier to work with than a completely rejigged statement.
13 Now, even though there's minor rejigging, as you say, in this case, it
14 probably looks a lot more than it is because of the change in numbers. So
15 I hope you can between you work out an adequate way of working together,
16 and I would rather spend time here listening to the evidence and hope that
17 that can be resolved in another way.
18 MR. HANNIS: I understand, Your Honour. I have one more point
19 that I want to -- I did get a supplemental information for the next
20 witness with four changes and that's much easier to follow and
21 incorporate. And I still don't -- haven't seen what's loaded in e-court
22 for this witness, but in paragraph 23 of his B/C/S statement that I was
23 provided on Friday, I see something here that I don't see in English or I
24 guess it's -- I'm sorry, it's in paragraph 21 of the B/C/S. It appears to
25 be a reference to some kind of bombs and rockets and radioactive something
1 or rather, and I don't see that anywhere in the English.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, Mr. Ackerman, or maybe, Mr. Aleksic, maybe
3 you can deal with this. I leave it to you to sort out a method of working
4 with Mr. Hannis that works to your mutual satisfaction, but on this
5 particular point is this something added in paragraph 21 of the B/C/S?
6 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my version is from
7 September and nothing was added. In the Serbian version it's the way it
9 JUDGE BONOMY: The matter that's concerning you, Mr. Hannis, it's
10 not what's in paragraph 19 of the English?
11 MR. HANNIS: No, I -- I thought I found that. Paragraph 19 of the
12 English I thought was paragraph 18 in the B/C/S.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you going to be finished your cross-examination
14 by half past?
15 MR. HANNIS: No.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: So let's go on and see if you can sort it out
17 together at the break.
18 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
20 Q. Colonel, good morning. You told us that you became the chief of
21 cabinet of the commander of the 3rd Army in 1992, and I understand you
22 served under several different generals in that position. I have a
23 question for you: During the time that you were chief of cabinet for
24 General Perisic and later General Samardzic, what were your duties under
25 those two generals?
1 A. Let me just say the following: The function of chef de cabinet is
2 a specific one. It does not have any strictly defined military or
3 regulatory duties; it depended on the person of the commander. For
4 example, General Perisic was an introvert who kept most information to
5 himself. He kept it in his head. So he used his cabinet or office less
6 than other commanders, he used it the least.
7 Q. And how about under General Samardzic?
8 A. General Samardzic relied on his cabinet to a large extent.
9 Q. Now, you then told us that at the beginning of 1999, sometime in
10 January, you were appointed chief of the operations centre of the 3rd Army
11 command. Who took up your old job as chief of cabinet then, in 1999?
12 A. Colonel Savic took over who was a close collaborator of General
13 Pavkovic in the Pristina Corps. He was the commander of the Pristina
14 Military District to the best of my recollection.
15 Q. Do you recall his first name?
16 A. Colonel Savic, Vojkan was either his name or his nickname, but
17 that's the person.
18 Q. Your new job as chief of the operations centre, would that be
19 viewed as a step up or a step down or a step sideways from your old job as
20 chief of cabinet?
21 A. In the Yugoslav national army and the Army of Serbia and
22 Montenegro, I retained the same position.
23 Q. I understand you kept the same rank, correct?
24 A. As soon -- well, the Chief of the General Staff was one and then
25 it went up to 20, a corporal or something at the level of the tactical
1 group. So the number marked your position, your rank, your position in
2 the military organization in a specific, particular military organization.
3 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Cepic on his feet, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Cepic.
5 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, by your leave, I'm afraid
6 that in the record we don't have the necessary translation of the term the
7 witness is using, it's the term "polozajna grupa," position group.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One position in a command is defined
9 by one's rank and by one's position group. As for the rank I had, I kept
10 the rank of colonel and also the same position group when I was chief of
11 the centre. So it is roughly the same.
12 MR. HANNIS:
13 Q. I understand about rank. I'm not clear about position group. Can
14 you explain to me a little bit about what those are and give me some
16 A. I will. Position group, it's basically your pay grade to put it
17 in the simplest terms. You say if you're in group 10 you have 100 euro
18 and then 190 if you belong to another group. I'm putting it in the
19 simplest possible terms.
20 Q. Thank you. In the operations centre, other than I guess before
21 the war you would receive operations reports from the Pristina Corps; and
22 after the war they're called combat reports. Is that correct?
23 A. No. Sometime in the spring of 1998 the commander of the army made
24 a decision or an order came from the General Staff, I cannot say for sure,
25 that reports should be called combat reports because basically there was a
1 combat situation in a large part of the area of responsibility of the 3rd
2 Army. So combat report was the right word to use; however, a combat
3 report meant a far broader quantity and quality of information, and that
4 is what the commander decided to do or he received orders to do that.
5 Q. Do you recall when in 1998 that came about, that there was a
6 change that these reports should be called combat reports? You said in
7 the spring of 1998.
8 A. I think it was in the month of April or was it May, I'm not sure.
9 Q. And who was the commander of the 3rd Army at that time? Was that
10 General Samardzic?
11 A. Yes, General Samardzic, yes.
12 Q. General Perisic had already gone on to be Chief of Staff of the
13 General Staff?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. So then in 1999, other than combat reports, were there other kinds
16 of reports you received from the Pristina Corps; and if so, can you tell
17 us about those?
18 A. Well, I explained that a few moments ago. It's not only the
19 operations centre, but also in the sectors of the command. There were
20 sector reports that were received in terms of logistics, then security,
21 morale, and so on. Abbreviated versions of these professional reports
22 that are far more extensive found their own place within the combat
23 report, too. For the operations duty team to be "au courrant" all the
24 time in terms of the situation in the 3rd Army.
25 Q. Did you personally see those other kinds of reports or did you
1 only see the summaries that were put into the combat report?
2 A. Well, I can just say the following: What happened very often was
3 that that officer from the sector of logistics, for instance, would also
4 be a member of the operations duty team. And then in that position he'd
5 write both, so that was objectively my position and that is how I could
6 see it, but otherwise no.
7 Q. In one of your answers to Mr. Aleksic at page 6, line 13, today
8 you said: "The beginning of April 1999 when it was already certain that
9 there would be changes in the combat disposition of the units and in the
10 location of the command post in the activity of the forward command teams
11 of the commander of the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps ..."
12 I have a question for you. How was it or why did it become
13 certain that there were going to be changes in April 1999? What had
14 happened or what was happening then that made it clear to you that there
15 were going to be those kinds of changes?
16 A. Well, it wasn't hard to tell. The chief of the Supreme Command
17 Staff and the commands of armies and corps appraised the situation and
18 realised what would happen, and they appraised this right. They knew that
19 there would be a NATO aggression, an escalation of Siptar terrorism. Then
20 the commander of the 3rd Army acted in a preventive fashion, combat
21 disposition of the units, the best location of command posts, and in terms
22 of protecting the units themselves, because the OSCE team actually played
23 the role not of verifiers of events, but they were reporting on positions
24 of command posts, deployment of units that could be seen from the report
25 of the team for cooperation with the OSCE that I personally had occasion
1 to see. So it wasn't difficult to assess what would happen. However, no
2 one could envisage that it would be that cruel in terms of attacking
3 civilian targets, civilian facilities.
4 Q. Well, wasn't that clear from the 23rd or 24th of March?
5 A. Well, it was clear, I'm saying, but that's when the decision was
6 made to start carrying this out. When the commanders actually made this
7 assessment, I don't know for sure, but I personally made that kind of
8 appraisal a lot earlier. Then there was a decision of the commander of
9 the army that commanders of all the subordinate units, also in the
10 beginning of April, prepare their decisions for protection or defence from
11 aggression. I think that this happened sometime on the 5th of April, so
12 they defined the locations where the army commander approved the decisions
13 of each and every individual commander from the NATO aggression and the
14 escalation of Siptar terrorism.
15 Q. Well, wasn't the change that you're talking about or the changes
16 that you're talking about in early April 1999 a result of the fact that
17 the VJ, in coordination with the MUP, had accomplished a large part of an
18 objective of removing KLA terrorists and a significant portion of the
19 Kosovo Albanian civilian population; and now, in early April, they could
20 start preparing to defend against an attack from NATO ground forces?
21 A. Mr. Hannis, the Army of Yugoslavia had very serious and capable
22 intelligence officers, and they knew what was going on. In the border
23 area near Albania and in NATO bases and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in SFOR,
24 and in other countries, and what was being prepared for the country of
25 Yugoslavia, it was no problem to assess that and to react to that. If
1 that could have been a step of deterrence, well the NATO command
2 decided -- if the NATO command decided to sacrifice a group of Siptar
3 terrorists so that this would be foreplay for a NATO land invasion --
4 well, we prevented that kind of developments from happening in advance.
5 The Army of Yugoslavia -- well, that's why Mr. Visnjic said, there were
6 only three reports that we mentioned -- where we mentioned the movements
7 of the population. The army did not do that. The army, whenever
8 possible, helped the civilian population, irrespective of ethnicity. Of
9 course, I'm excluding some individual cases.
10 Q. But I taught you talked about part of your job being to monitor
11 the international media, the internet and the media reports; that was part
12 of what you did in the operations centre, correct?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. And --
15 A. Personally, yes. This was a duty outside the extent of -- well,
16 it was a question of my level of education and training, and the commander
17 believed that I could follow what was going on in the world and that we
18 could get relevant political information in this way, in terms of
19 assessing what the future developments might be in the course of a war.
20 Q. In the course of doing that then you must certainly have been
21 aware of at least the reports in the international media about hundreds of
22 thousands of Kosovo Albanian civilians flowing out of Kosovo and into
23 Macedonia and Albania in the first ten days or two weeks of the war. You
24 saw those reports, didn't you?
25 A. Absolutely. But the first thing I saw and read was an analysis of
1 the Cato [Realtime transcript read in error "cadre"] Institute for
2 Washington where things were viewed in a far more realistic way, so this
3 was my analysis of reference when I looked at the other reports that you
4 are referring to that were highly tendentious. If you look at the dates
5 involved, if you see the time-frame involved, you see that the major
6 civilian population movements coincided with the NATO air-strikes. I saw
7 the US senator when in Tirana he spoke to many refugees and they all said
8 that they fled from NATO bombings --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please be
10 asked to speak slower.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me, just a moment. Your Honour, I think the
12 witness will confirm what he said, page 35, line 15, is the Cato Institute
13 in Washington, not the cadre.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, thank you.
15 MR. HANNIS:
16 Q. And I stopped you, Colonel, because you had answered my question
17 and you were going on to something else. Apart from what you said you saw
18 the US senator in Tirana spoke to many refugees and they all said. How do
19 you know that all of them that the senator spoke to said they fled from
20 NATO bombings? What was your source of information?
21 A. I did not say all senators, I said one senator, James Inhofe and
22 there are many others, and these are agency reports. And there's
23 Ms. Prentice, who was out in the field and who seriously Mr. Jamie Shea's
24 reports and NATO reports and briefings. There were some people who had a
25 far more realistic view of what was going on; however, there was no proof
1 that this was done by the army according to some plan and intent.
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the last sentence.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Dr. Richard Munz, who was a doctor,
4 a physician in Stenkovac, he confirmed, for instance, that not a single
5 woman had been raped out of the 60.000 who were examined --
6 MR. HANNIS:
7 Q. That's not a question you were asked. You said there were
8 people --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Obradovic, do you understand the system that
10 operates here, that you answer questions? You don't come with a prepared
11 agenda that you will expand upon. So please listen to the questions and
12 answer them as they're address to you.
13 Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
15 Q. You told us that the operations centre in Nis was moved before it
16 was struck by bombs. How many times did the operations centre change
17 location during the war, just that one time or did you move a number of
19 A. Just that one time.
20 Q. And where did you relocate to?
21 A. Very close to the command, only about 20 metres away. So at the
22 moment of the bombing we were all black but we were all alive.
23 Q. And in what -- what sort of facility or building were you housed?
24 A. It was part of a complex where the military construction office
25 was, the military library. So that's where it was, not exactly there but
1 in the vicinity, in the sector within a 20- to 30-metre radius.
2 Q. And where was the command located? You say 20 or 30 metres away.
3 Was it in the same building or a different building?
4 A. It's a block of buildings within that compound, so one building
5 follows another.
6 Q. And the nature of the buildings in that compound or the nature of
7 that compound, was that a civilian housing compound or was it a school?
8 What was it?
9 A. No, no. The army command was the army command, next to it was the
10 military court, and then these auxiliary military buildings if I can call
11 them that. Nearby there were apartment buildings, absolutely; however,
12 fortunately they didn't use bombs but they used rockets and they are far
13 more precise. So the operations centre and the military court were
14 targeted with surgical precision.
15 Q. But only that first time and not again after the 12th or 13th of
17 A. I didn't hear you.
18 Q. So they were only targeted that one time, not again after you
20 A. No, no. They never discovered where we were again.
21 Q. You mentioned that I think on the 12th of April, 1999, the command
22 of the Pristina Corps started from then on to send its combat report, not
23 only to you in the ops centre in the 3rd Army, but also to the ops centre
24 in the Supreme Command. And tell us again why that was done?
25 A. I just know that that's the order that arrived, and I can only
1 assume that the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command had the idea of
2 getting information far more quickly about what was going on in the zone
3 of the Pristina Corps and in the 3rd Army so that from a command point of
4 view he could act more efficiently, however, that is my assumption.
5 Q. Do you allow for the possibility that the Supreme Command may have
6 had a concern that not all the information from the Pristina Corps was
7 being completely and accurately forwarded from the 3rd Army?
8 A. Well, that is technically impossible. Quite simply, I told you
9 how many parallel information channels there were going on at the same
10 time. You can see what was going on. It was virtually impossible.
11 Q. Okay.
12 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, would this be an appropriate time to
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Obradovic, we have to have a break just now.
17 Today that will be at half an hour at this stage to allow the parties to
18 sort out any difficulty about your statement. While that break's ongoing,
19 would you please leave the courtroom with the usher.
20 [The witness stands down]
21 JUDGE BONOMY: And we will resume at 11.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Has the position of this statement been clarified,
25 Mr. Hannis?
1 MR. HANNIS: Somewhat, Your Honour. There is a portion in the
2 B/C/S that was not translated in English. I've been given that
3 translation. The B/C/S that's in e-court now has 29 paragraphs; the
4 English only has 27, and that's because I think what in English paragraph
5 20 in B/C/S it only goes to the colon in line 3 of our English paragraph
6 20. And then B/C/S paragraph 21 is what is paragraph A or sub-A in the
7 English paragraph 20. And B/C/S 22 is what is sub-B with some additional
8 language that talks about occasional delays in finding out about the
9 crimes and carrying out on-site investigations, but it includes a rather
10 provocative phrase about "as the war went on and NATO leaders were losing
11 their composure and control we saw carpet bombing," et cetera, et.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the one I have has 28 paragraphs.
13 [The witness takes the stand]
14 MR. HANNIS: Is that the English, Your Honour?
15 JUDGE BONOMY: The English, yes.
16 MR. HANNIS: That was the one you got on Friday?
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
18 MR. HANNIS: So I'll get an up-to-date one later.
19 Please continue.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, we will -- we're filing a motion today
21 to substitute exhibits in e-court so that the English and B/C/S statements
22 will be the same and have the same language in them and everything. I
23 apologise to the Court for this confusion.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
25 Mr. Hannis.
1 MR. HANNIS:
2 Q. So, Colonel, one of the things I'm having difficulty understanding
3 is your -- your position was bombed once and then you moved into military
4 buildings. Didn't you have concern that you would be bombed again in that
5 new location?
6 A. Well, it's not a classical type of military building, it's one of
7 the facilities, one of the logistical facilities of the army. And we
8 didn't have much choice anyway because some of the communication lines
9 related to electronic support forced us to be so close by. But we
10 camouflaged ourselves tactically and technically, so it worked.
11 Q. You say it was not a classical type of military building. Before
12 the war, what was it used for?
13 A. For instance, the military construction directorate is an
14 institution that employees civilians, who built and do interior decoration
15 of facilities, the military library is not typical military institution,
16 so it's not a directly military purpose they serve.
17 Q. Okay. You mentioned that when the -- when that bombing occurred
18 at -- a part of the operations centre's documents were destroyed. Can you
19 tell us which documents, which kinds of documents were destroyed?
20 A. The operations centre has for a long time preserved its documents
21 and batches of files that were both registered and not registered. We had
22 enough time to take only those that were operationally the most necessary,
23 papers that were reflected in other documents of the 3rd Army command, so
24 that didn't really matter. I'm sorry that some of my personal document
25 has burnt, but what can we do?
1 Q. So it's fair to say that you took your most immediately important
2 documents with you when you moved prior to the bombing, correct?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. Thank you. You told us a little bit about the operations centre
5 and how you worked, and I think it was a question from Mr. Visnjic. You
6 said that General Pavkovic never gave you any order to leave any
7 information out of combat reports. You said he was practically unable to
8 because combat reports were drawn up every day by new officers on duty, so
9 he couldn't have talked that many people into that kind of thing.
10 How many shifts worked at the operations centre? Did you have
11 three eight-hour shifts per day or two 12-hour shifts or how was that
13 A. One team was on duty for 12 hours, with the proviso that I as head
14 of the centre and two of my associates worked 48 hours in a go with 12
15 hours of rest -- sorry, 24 hours of rest. So the responsibility lay with
16 the chief of the operations team, the possibility for an army commander to
17 do the kind of thing you are suggesting is absolutely non-existent.
18 Q. I think the suggestion originally came from Mr. Visnjic, but let
19 me ask you, you say in paragraph 4 of the English and paragraph 3 of the
20 B/C/S in your statement that the operations team on duty consisted of
21 three officers ranked as lieutenant-colonel or colonel. You were one.
22 Who were the other two by name?
23 A. I think you're a bit confused. You have to distinguish between
24 the establishment composition of the operations centre and the operations
25 duty team, that included me and one lieutenant-colonel, who later became a
1 colonel, and a third one, so one colonel and two lieutenant-colonels.
2 That was the establishment element. The operations duty team was a
3 non-establishment component that was formed by the commander for the
4 following week, let's say, and those people had their establishment
5 positions in various sectors of the command. They were on duty only for
6 those 24 hours; after that, they were free, and that included the leader
7 of the team. As the combat situation changed and as people left for the
8 forward command post of the 3rd Army command, the teams were on duty more
9 and more often; the frequency of their shifts increased.
10 Q. If I'm confused --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness come closer to the microphone,
13 MR. HANNIS:
14 Q. If I'm confused, and perhaps I am, but your statement says: "The
15 continuity of work was provided throughout the shift work of ODT," which
16 appears in your statement to be the abbreviation for operations team on
17 duty. "The team consisted of three officers ranked as lieutenant-colonel
18 and/or colonel."
19 So is your statement incorrect?
20 A. No, but I don't think you understand me. You have to distinguish
21 between the operations centre and its personnel and the operation team on
22 duty. The operation team had seven or eight officers from all the various
23 sectors of the command that were on duty that particular day and they were
24 free the next day, whereas people from the operations centre created the
25 necessary technical and logistical support as employed there. That's the
2 Q. But the kind of work that you were doing and the people that were
3 under you were doing was work that was done around-the-clock, 24 hours a
4 day during the war, correct?
5 A. Absolutely.
6 Q. So I'm just trying to understand how that coverage was made. You
7 said before that I think you were on for 48 hours with -- and then had 24
8 hours rest. Say this is Monday morning, what time did you go to work and
9 what time did you leave?
10 A. After 48 hours.
11 Q. So you worked 48 hours straight?
12 A. Yes, continuously.
13 Q. Without --
14 A. Without sleep. Occasionally when there was bombing going on,
15 without sleep.
16 Q. But sometimes you would sleep part of that 48 hours when you were
17 on duty if there was no bombing?
18 A. I found it difficult to sleep.
19 Q. And then you would have 24 hours off?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Okay. Now I understand. And the 24 hours you were off, who was
22 working in your position, another colonel, another lieutenant-colonel?
23 A. The two that were left. One of them continued to work for the
24 next 48 hours, and that's how it rotated continuously. Always one of us
25 from the operations centre was on the team, the team on duty.
1 Q. What were the names of those two others?
2 A. One was Lieutenant-Colonel Gligorijevic, I forget his first name;
3 and the other one was Lieutenant-Colonel Caslav Zivkovic. The name eludes
4 me for the moment for Gligorijevic.
5 Q. And during that time you were off and they were on duty, you don't
6 have personal knowledge of any conversations they might have had with
7 General Pavkovic, for example?
8 A. Of course I don't, but when I come back the next day he would
9 inform me of what had happened in my absence of combat reports, anything
10 peculiar in them, the specific combat tasks; and neither of these two
11 collaborators ever told me anything like that.
12 Q. You mentioned in answer to a question from Mr. Cepic about
13 citizens leaving Nis during bombing there. Did -- if you know, did those
14 people just leave the town or did they actually leave Serbia? They didn't
15 go outside the country of Serbia, did they? They just left the town of
16 Nis to more remote areas?
17 A. Well, there was some young people unfortunately who left Serbia
18 altogether, but the greatest part of the population ran away into the
19 provinces, into the countryside, to their weekend cottages to pull out
20 their families and children and even the personnel of the Pristina Corps
21 [as interpreted] with the approval of the commander did the same so that
22 the officers and soldiers wouldn't at least have to worry about their
24 MR. CEPIC: I'm sorry.
25 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Cepic.
1 MR. CEPIC: Yes, with your leave, just one correction in
2 transcript, page 45, line 9 -- actually line 8, I think that the witness
3 said "army," not the Pristina Corps. Thank you.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Obradovic, you mentioned people leaving and
5 going into the countryside to their weekend cottages to pull out their
6 families and children. And you went on to say: "Even the personnel
7 of ... With the approval of the commander did the same." Personnel of
8 which body?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The officers of the army command who
10 were detached seconded to the Pristina Corps or the forward command post.
11 It was not looked upon unkindly if one tried to get one's family away from
12 all this; it was quite human.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 Mr. Hannis.
15 MR. HANNIS:
16 Q. Colonel, we saw a few exhibits that were listed with your
17 statement. When we got notice of what you were going to testify about, we
18 were provided with a list of some exhibits that might be shown to you.
19 During your time in the operations centre at the beginning of the war,
20 were you receiving daily combat reports from the Pristina Corps every day,
21 from the 24th and 25th of March on?
22 A. I received them every day, but they were not daily, they were
23 combat reports.
24 Q. Okay. By "daily," I meant in the generic sense that every day you
25 were receiving a combat report from Pristina Corps, correct?
1 A. Right.
2 Q. And --
3 A. It's the same answer.
4 Q. There wasn't a day when you did not receive a report, correct?
5 A. Only occasionally during intensive combat reports from various
6 centres in Kosovo would be late, but then the methodology of work was the
7 following. In order to -- for our report from the army command to be
8 received in time by the General Staff, we would additionally later provide
9 those elements that should have been in our report but were not because
10 the relevant subordinate reports were late. So there was just a time
12 Q. During your time as chief of cabinet under General Samardzic, were
13 you aware of any occasions where General Samardzic had a problem with his
14 then-subordinate General Pavkovic and what was being done with the
15 Pristina Corps in Kosovo? Did you ever see any documents about that or
16 hear any discussion about that?
17 A. Their conflict about the documents or their conversation? What
18 are you asking?
19 Q. Did you see any documents or hear any conversation about problems
20 that General Samardzic was having with how General Pavkovic was using the
21 Pristina Corps? Did you ever recall hearing anything about that?
22 A. Sometime in July I was present at a meeting of the Joint Command
23 where General Samardzic attended and I attended, and I looked at the
24 methodology of work. And at the end General Pavkovic got an assignment to
25 prepare a proposal and General Samardzic had a problem with it, but it was
1 later resolved ultimately through a joint proposal for the use of forces
2 to break-up Siptar terrorists and other actions. So that disagreement was
3 more of a constructive nature in the process of making a decision, but
4 once the decision was made there was more discussion. The commander made
5 his decision and it was implemented. Information was entered into the war
6 diary on a daily basis, so you can see from it who decided what, on what
8 Q. In the beginning of that answer you said "July." I take it that
9 was July 1998, this meeting with the Joint Command?
10 A. Correct, end July.
11 Q. Can you tell us where that meeting took place and who else was
12 there besides you, Pavkovic, and Samardzic?
13 A. Well, there was a group of civilians, officials, Mr. Sainovic,
14 Mr. Minic I believe was chairing, there was a representative from the
15 Ministry of the Interior, the MUP. Mr. Minic opened the meeting, and the
16 representative of the MUP was the first to come up with his evaluation of
17 the situation, what he intends to do, then the operations man from the
18 Pristina Corps presented what the army was going to do, and I believe
19 specifically they reviewed a proposal related to a place called Junik and
20 what to do there. And then Mr. Minic asked at the end, Do you have any
21 requests? And you remember then Mr. Pavkovic insisted on special
22 equipment, Kevlar vests, because it was a time when Siptar terrorists
23 started massively using snipers. And then a proposal was made by the army
24 commander. It was approved, later signed. That was the methodology I was
25 able to observe.
1 Q. Okay. After that July 1998 meeting, were you --
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you allow me, page
3 48, line 11, the witness said: That is approved by the army commander.
4 The record says: It was approved. It should read: It was approved by
5 the army commander.
6 THE INTERPRETER: May the interpreters repeat their request for
7 the witness to speak a little less fast.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, do you want to take that up and have it
10 MR. HANNIS: Yes, please.
11 Q. Witness, did you hear what Mr. Petrovic said. Was that your
12 answer, that it was approved army commander?
13 A. I didn't mention any Petrovic -- you mean him? Oh, no, I'm sorry,
14 I meant I didn't refer to any Petrovic in the context of the meeting. I'd
15 forgotten the counsel's name, Mr. Petrovic.
16 Q. But part of your answer was you said: "And then a proposal was
17 made by the army commander, it was approved, later signed." Which army --
18 well, first of all, are you saying the army commander approved the
20 A. Well, judging by what you're saying, it seems the army commander
21 approved his own proposal. No, the operations man from the Pristina
22 Corps, then under General Pavkovic, suggested what to do; then the army
23 commander reviewed it in his office, inserted his objections and comments;
24 it was returned for additional processing. Later on an order was written
25 on that basis, and that's how it was done. Those meetings were attended
1 by a team of operations men from the Pristina Corps on the orders of the
2 army command, and of course the commander of the Pristina Corps. I
3 happened to be there just by accident.
4 Q. I'm sorry, I need to follow-up on that a little bit. You said the
5 operations man from the Pristina Corps suggested what to be -- suggested
6 what to do. And then the army commander reviewed it in his office. You
7 mean General Samardzic reviewed it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay.
10 A. He reviewed it -- the commander of the Pristina Corps brought that
11 proposal, showed it to the army commander, the army commander said or
12 didn't say, because I wasn't there, what he thought. The writing of the
13 order followed shortly, and that's the course things followed.
14 Q. So then army commander, General Samardzic, looked at it, maybe
15 suggested some changes, and then sent it back to General Pavkovic, the
16 head of the Pristina Corps, who then wrote an order of how things were to
17 be done?
18 A. The combat use of units was signed by the army commander because
19 by then he was already at the forward command post and he stayed there
20 until the end of the year. So it's a separate order, where the army
21 commander had earlier ordered that he's the only one to approve the combat
22 use of units. That was the logic of things and it was not disrupted.
23 That can be seen from the war diary.
24 Q. Okay. What time-period are we talking about then? Are we talking
25 about 1998, while General Samardzic is still the army commander?
1 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Petrovic on his feet.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Petrovic.
3 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm sorry, but page
4 50, lines, let's say, 8 and 9, he said: The use of units in keeping with,
5 he said, Supreme Command Staff, and that's what's missing from the record.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you wish to follow that up, Mr. Hannis?
7 MR. HANNIS:
8 Q. Colonel, did you hear what the lawyer, Mr. Petrovic, said then and
9 is that an accurate reflection of what you had said in your answer?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I thought we were talking about 1998, and as I understood it the
12 Supreme Command Staff --
13 A. We are talking about it.
14 Q. Okay. As I understood it from other evidence, the Supreme Command
15 Staff did not come into existence until the state of war was declared, and
16 prior to that it was referred to as the General Staff, correct?
17 A. You're right. You're right. It's a slip of a linguistic nature.
18 Of course what stuck in my mind that throughout the war it was the Supreme
19 Command Staff, but at that time of course it was the General Staff.
20 Q. So in that earlier answer when you said that there was a separate
21 order where the army commander had earlier ordered that he's the only one
22 to approve the combat use of units, were you referring to Samardzic as the
23 commander of the 3rd Army or were you referring to General Perisic as the
24 Chief of the General Staff or both?
25 A. Without knowing any details, I know the logic of things. I know
1 for a fact that General Samardzic, the commander of the 3rd Army, ordered
2 the effective use of units of the Pristina Corps; but it's certain that he
3 got that order from the Chief of General Staff because it can't be
4 otherwise. But I don't know the details, nor did I see the order of the
5 General Staff prescribing that.
6 Q. But were you aware that such an order had been issued by
7 General Perisic, as Chief of the General Staff?
8 A. I am aware that he issued such an order, but I didn't see it.
9 Q. All right. In your statement, you mentioned that the operations
10 centre had moved I think on the -- did you move on the 4th of April then,
11 the day before it was bombed?
12 A. The last man and the last piece of equipment left on the 4th of
13 April. We started taking things out a few days earlier, and some people
14 had already moved to the new location, but the last person and I myself,
15 we left on the 4th of April.
16 Q. Okay. Well, that partly answers my question, because it seemed
17 from the very first hours or first days of the war that NATO was targeting
18 in large part command and control facilities of the VJ army. You would
19 agree with that?
20 A. Absolutely, yes.
21 Q. And I guess I had wondered why you hadn't moved sooner, but it
22 sounded like you were starting to move a few days before the bombing
23 actually occurred, correct?
24 A. [No audible response]
25 Q. Now, with regard to your operations centre, was there a -- was
1 there a war diary you kept in the operations centre or some sort of daily
3 A. Yes. The people from the operations centre and I myself in
4 particular was tasked with keeping a war diary and I'm sure it's still in
5 existence, I don't know where, but there must still -- it must still be
6 there somewhere.
7 Q. That was my question if you knew what happened to it. Where would
8 it have gone after the war? Do you know who would have been responsible
9 for archiving it?
10 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Ackerman on his feet, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, just to point out that the answer to
13 Mr. Hannis's line 11 question does not appear in the transcript. It just
14 goes to his next question.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: And what was the answer?
16 What was the answer?
17 MR. ACKERMAN: I didn't hear it, Your Honour. I didn't hear an
18 answer. I don't know that there was one.
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note that the witness did not
20 say anything.
21 MR. HANNIS: I think I saw him shaking his head yes and perhaps
22 didn't hear an audible answer.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I don't think it's of any real significance,
24 Mr. Hannis. Let's move on.
25 MR. HANNIS: No, I'll move on.
1 Q. Colonel, I want to ask you about a couple of documents. Exhibit
2 P2005, and I've got a -- I think I've got a hard copy here that I can have
3 the usher hand you which might make it quicker.
4 A. [In English] Thank you.
5 Q. In my English this is apparently a combat report from the 3rd Army
6 command to the Yugoslav Army General Staff on the 27th of April covering
7 the period for the 24 hours from 1800 hours on 26 April. Is this the kind
8 of document that you would help prepare? I know if you go on the last
9 page the authorisation for sending this telegram is from Colonel Kitanovic
10 but my question is: Did you have any part in preparing this kind of
12 A. Well, I've practically answered that question already, but I'll
13 repeat. My role and the role of the people in the operations centre was
14 to create the best possible conditions for the operations duty team to do
15 its work well, and that meant drawing up a good-quality report, providing
16 good information technology support, bringing all the combat reports of
17 the subordinate commands to the desk, and respecting the methodology of
18 work established by the leader of the operations duty team. However, the
19 people from the operations centre did not participate in compiling the
20 combat report and neither did I.
21 Q. Did you see these reports when they went out or at any time?
22 A. Oh, yes, certainly. I saw them all because my task was to keep a
23 war diary, and this forced me to look at all of them. And as far as I
24 could, the reports coming from the subordinate units, although there was a
25 large volume of paper coming in every day. But all the most important
1 details had to be entered into the war diary, and this forced me to make
2 an effort and look at all the most important information. And even when I
3 was off on the next day when I came back, I would catch up and review as
4 much as I could of those reports in order to register the events in the
5 war diary.
6 Q. Can you tell me something about the numbering of these documents
7 on the first page at the very top left of my English there's a four-digit
8 number 3821. Do you have any idea what that number refers to? In my
9 English it appears right above "3rd Army command." Is there a perhaps a
10 handwritten number on there?
11 A. I don't know anything about that. These numbers have nothing to
12 do with the reports. It's something that was done at a later date. I'm
13 not aware of this, no.
14 Q. How about the number under "3rd Army command, strictly
15 confidential number 26-115," can you tell us -- can you tell us about
16 that? What does 26 refer to?
17 A. That's the number in the log-book where documents were entered.
18 The number of the log-book which existed in the operations centre in which
19 the document would be entered under a certain number, 26, 100 through 116
20 or 117, 118, and so on and so forth.
21 Q. Okay. If you didn't see any other information, if you didn't see
22 the word "3rd Army command," would you be able to recognise by that
23 number, 26, that this document related to the 3rd Army command? Is there
24 anything unique about that number? I'll need an answer out loud.
25 A. I know 26 just as I know 92 or 455. These are numbers you see so
1 often on those documents that they stick in your memory.
2 Q. And we understand from other evidence in this case that 455
3 referred to the Pristina Corps in 1999, correct?
4 A. Yes, yes, the Pristina Corps, one of the sectors of the Pristina
6 Q. But sometimes we've seen other types of documents with a different
7 number that appears to refer to the 3rd Army as well. Are those
8 numbers -- is there more than one unique number referring to the 3rd Army
9 depending on a topic or what part of the 3rd Army command it is? Can you
10 explain that?
11 A. Well, as you've just said, it was the part of the 3rd Army drawing
12 up that document. Every sector and command of the 3rd Army had its own
13 number, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; and they all had their log-books and the
14 sub-numbers would refer to the topic, 115, 114, 116, that would refer to
15 the subject matter.
16 Q. Oh, okay. I had understood that 26 might refer to a particular
17 unit and perhaps a particular subject matter with regard to that unit, and
18 then the following number after the dash was chronological number or
19 sequential number. So 26-115 would be the 115th document in 1999
20 referring to whatever 26 was, 3rd Army command or operations, I don't
22 A. And entered -- yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Now, on this report, I'm not sure where to direct you to, it's
24 under 2.1, activities, consequences, et cetera, it looks like about the
25 ninth paragraph down, it's a small paragraph about awards or medals being
1 handed out to members of the Pristina Corps. Do you find that?
2 A. Yes, yes.
3 Q. Do you recall that event?
4 A. All I recall is the event from the report. I wasn't there. I
5 didn't see it. I only know about it from the report.
6 Q. If you could go to the -- I think it's on the last page B/C/S for
7 you, it's under item number 8, corps activities for the next day. Do you
8 see that item?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And about halfway down there's one that reads in the
11 English: "Reception of part of the 72nd," I think it's an abbreviation
12 for special brigade, "for joint planning and command of the forces engaged
13 in Kosovo and Metohija." Do you see that one?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And the 72nd Special Brigade, that was what, a special brigade?
16 A. Very special, very able, were operational, the pride of the Army
17 of Yugoslavia and Serbia.
18 Q. Now, do you recall that at least a part of the special brigade
19 came to Kosovo on or about that day? Do you know what that was about?
20 A. It doesn't appear in the reports, but it says here reception of
21 part of the command, command, not unit. That's a big difference. As they
22 were specialists for, among other things, anti-terrorist activities,
23 somebody must have reached the assessment that they were needed in order
24 to reach more efficient decisions for the destruction of the terrorists.
25 Q. Could you read the version you have there so I can see if my
1 English translation matches what the translators say it says.
2 A. Yes.
3 "Reception of part of the command of the 72nd Special Brigade for
4 unified command and control of the forces engaged in Kosovo and Metohija
5 for joint planning and command in the forces engaged in Kosovo and
6 Metohija." So it's quite clear, they came to assist in planning and
7 commanding more efficiently. That was the purpose.
8 Q. So if I understand your answer correctly was part of the command
9 of the special brigade going to make joint plans with General Pavkovic on
10 how forces were going to be engaged?
11 A. I don't know. Probably General Pavkovic knows what they did. I
12 wasn't there. But it says: "Reception of part of the command for joint
13 planning and command," that leads to the conclusion that they had arrived
14 to help with the planning and command. I don't know anything more about
16 Q. Okay. Thank you. Give me one moment, Colonel, and I'll see if I
17 have any more questions for you.
18 [Prosecution counsel confer]
19 MR. HANNIS:
20 Q. Thank you, Colonel. I don't have any more questions.
21 A. [In English] Thank you.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Hannis.
23 Mr. Aleksic -- sorry, Mr. Fila.
24 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Sir, my name is Toma Fila --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the matter you wish to raise?
1 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] About the Joint Command, Your Honour.
2 We've been talking about that for two years, so when I start introducing
3 myself, I wonder whether my name is Toma Joint Command, but in any case it
4 was not mentioned in the examination-in-chief, but it was mentioned in the
5 cross-examination. So it remains hanging in the air, that's why I would
6 like to clarify some points.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: The state of the information on it has greatly
8 changed in these two years, Mr. Fila, but please continue if that's the
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] That's why I'm asking. It would be
11 boring otherwise, if it didn't change, I mean.
12 Further cross-examination by Mr. Fila:
13 Q. [Interpretation] You mentioned that you happened to be with
14 General Samardzic at a meeting of the Joint Command. I would like to know
15 this: The chief of the staff of the 3rd Army was General Simic --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please make a pause between
17 question and answer.
18 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
19 Q. We are speaking Serbian so everyone understands us, but we need to
20 make a pause between question and answer for the interpreters.
21 Mr. Simic testified here, that's pages 15531 and 15532, and he
22 spoke about the Joint Command, and he said more or less the following:
23 That every evening around 1830 the corps commander of the Pristina Corps,
24 General Pavkovic, would come to his office for him to issue -- for him,
25 Samardzic, to issue orders to him. Then he went to a meeting of a body of
1 some sort of coordinating body, colloquially known as the Joint Command.
2 He would come back from there. If he had heard any suggestions from the
3 MUP and if this was accepted by General Simic, who was acting on behalf of
4 General Samardzic, evidently, then General Simic would issue an order.
5 And then he would say: My order is law.
6 Is that how things functioned in the 3rd?
7 A. I believe that General Simic said that.
8 Q. Is that how it was?
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, how do you know that?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I gave you an example when I
12 was at that meeting, but as to the chef de cabinet, every morning in the
13 command of the army in Nis regular briefings were held of the narrow
14 circle of the command, the commanding officers who were there. And then
15 these issues were considered, cooperation or noncooperation with the MUP
16 and so on. So I listened about this on a daily basis and I was a witness
17 when the Junik issue was being discussed.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: In your answer, you see, you -- well, in the
19 question it was put to you that this coordinating body was colloquially
20 known as the Joint Command. What does that mean? You seem to have agreed
21 with it.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can answer indirectly, but I'm
23 sure everybody will understand. I wrote up that war diary almost on my
24 own using a large number of combat reports, other reports, orders,
25 personal communication with the commanders, with the operations centres,
1 and I can assert that in that war diary where the major decisions and
2 activities of the 3rd Army, the 3rd Army area, the Pristina Corps are
3 recorded, not in one single instance is the term "Joint Command" recorded.
4 Furthermore in item 6 of every combat report there is an item called
5 command and communications, if that command had been a serious command in
6 a combat report in item 6, that change would have been recorded, that it
7 had entered the chain of command of the 3rd Army, but that never happened.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: So can you help me more specifically, what do you
9 mean by accepting it was colloquially known as the Joint Command?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't provide that name, but from
11 that meeting I attended I would never term that body a command. It was a
12 group of a people who listened to the assessments of the offices of the
13 police, the offices of the army, heard their requests, issued no orders,
14 and then if that's how it went and then from these papers, from these
15 briefings, at the level of the collegium of the 3rd Army command, I never
16 heard otherwise, so that conclusion follows from all that.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: But you -- just a second. Does "colloquially known
18 as the Joint Command" mean that that's how you described it among
19 yourselves, you talked about the Joint Command?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Or never they even laughed at it,
21 somebody made it up, somebody invented it and it turned up in the
22 terminology but in the military practice and in the system command, it
23 never turned up except for reports --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Please don't go back over telling me it wasn't a
25 formal organization in the command structure. Just try and deal with the
1 question. You seem very defensive about the references to the Joint
2 Command. We're just trying to get information about it. Now, how did --
3 did you talk about it with your colleagues as the Joint Command?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. We did call it the Joint
5 Command but in a pejorative sense. That was a term that existed, and we
6 admitted existed, I admitted existed. But in view of its effects as
7 regards commanding the army units, it acquired a pejorative meaning over
8 time, and that's why it never appears in a single combat report of the 3rd
9 Army or in the war diary of the 3rd Army, which I was in charge of. I
10 would have entered it had it been important, because for every day in the
11 war diary it says the commander of the army decided, the Chief of Staff
12 decided or ordered, and the team --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Obradovic, there is no need to be so defensive
14 about all this and go on forever answering a question I haven't asked you.
15 Please just confine yourself to the question that you're being asked.
16 It's as if you -- someone might suspect you have something to defend
17 yourself against and no one's making any accusation against you. We just
18 want to be clear about the facts. Now, it was you that mentioned the
19 Joint Command in today's evidence, no one prompted you, you raised it. So
20 I'm trying to be clear about what it is you were talking about when you
21 raised it. What was the Joint Command that you were referring to in your
22 evidence when you mentioned it today?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Joint Command, as far as I was
24 able to see from the documents I reviewed, was a group of civilians who
25 had arrived to ensure better cooperation between the commands of the army
1 and the command or the staff of the MUP for Kosovo and Metohija. That
2 cooperation was generally good, but occasionally it was not. So their
3 role was to make sure that that cooperation was better, but when something
4 is referred to as a command and they do not have the competency or the
5 infrastructure necessary to command, then it acquires a pejorative
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But it was called that.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you think it was a good idea to coordinate the
10 activity of the MUP and the army?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: So why give the body that was doing that a
13 pejorative name?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that was a mistake made by
15 someone, I don't know why, but in the mouths of the Army of Yugoslavia
16 it's quite clear who the command is and what its powers are. I don't know
17 where that name came from, but it suddenly surfaced and it's true that it
18 was called the Joint Command, but that was just an ephemeral part of the
19 whole story. The gist of it was that they did not have effective command
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, let me then just put a thought to you, no
22 more than that, for your comment if you can assist us. Did the army
23 perhaps think that the Joint Command was trying to interfere in the
24 command structure, and therefore tried to ridicule its name or its
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It wasn't the intention of the army
2 to ridicule it, but whoever named it named it wrongly, erroneously, and
3 those people never even tried to issue commands in an effective command
4 sense. I have seen documents which says "Joint Command" in the heading,
5 but the log-book number is that of the Pristina Corps. The signature at
6 the end of the document would be the signature of a commander of the
7 Pristina Corps or the commander of the Pristina Corps. It's the practice
8 in the army when an order is issued that the subordinate phones whoever
9 issued the order and he would say, for example, Item 5.2 is not clear to
10 me. But there is no infrastructure, no log-book, no staffing personnel
11 infrastructure that would indicate that this was a real military command
12 or a command -- any sort of command, so it never entered the army system
13 of command, and as far as I've heard not of the MUP either. I don't know.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Fila.
16 MR. FILA: [Interpretation].
17 Q. I'm asking you about 1998. I'll ask you about that meeting, but
18 do you know for how long this went on, these meetings in 1998?
19 A. I remember that General Samardzic was in a hurry, so we entered
20 the --
21 Q. You misunderstood me. I'm not asking about the length of the
22 meeting, but for how many months?
23 A. Ah, from end July to end October 1998, that's when these meetings
24 were held. I didn't hear about them anymore in 1999.
25 Q. So may we conclude that you have information that these meetings
1 attended by civilians also went on until October 1998, and after that you
2 no longer heard of any meetings attended by civilians?
3 A. No, never.
4 Q. Thank you. When you arrived at that meeting with
5 General Samardzic to see what was really going on there, you saw that the
6 meeting was opened by Mr. Minic. What was his position at the time as a
8 A. I think he was in the federal government.
9 Q. No. He was Speaker of the Assembly.
10 A. Oh, yes, the Federal Assembly, that's right, I forgot that.
11 Q. You said there was several civilians there, you mentioned
12 Nikola Sainovic. Can you tell us, at that meeting where the topic of
13 discussion was Junik as far as I can recall, what did Nikola Sainovic do
14 there? What was he doing there?
15 A. Sitting and listening.
16 Q. Throughout the meeting did he issue an order to someone?
17 A. No, he didn't even try.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. Neither did Mr. Minic.
20 Q. In the testimonies of numerous witnesses, including Minic and some
21 others, it was said that that was a coordinating body where they went to
22 hear the opinions of the army and the MUP about what was going on and that
23 Sainovic was a representative of the federal government or cabinet who
24 used that information in his conversations with international verifiers
25 and others. Would you accept that opinion as correct based on what you
1 saw and heard concerning these meetings?
2 A. Well, as he didn't interfere in command, that's the only logical
3 conclusion one can draw.
4 Q. All right. That would be all I had to ask you. Thank you.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, Mr. Obradovic, you said earlier that as far as
6 you were able to see from the documents you reviewed that the Joint
7 Command was a group of civilians who had arrived to ensure better
8 cooperation between the MUP and the VJ. Now, is that the position; and if
9 it is, was Mr. Sainovic in a different position from the other civilians
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The answer is yes, and then it was
12 Mr. Minic who practically made a brief introduction and gave the floor to
13 the officers of the MUP and the military officers. So I didn't know who
14 was in this nomenclature, who was what in this group of civilians, and
15 they weren't in uniform either. I don't even know if they have uniforms.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm trying to work out who it was that did the
17 coordinating if all that Mr. Sainovic did was listen so that he could pass
18 information on to other people. Who was it that -- among the civilians
19 that was trying to coordinate the MUP and the VJ, as you described their
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the moment when I was there,
22 Mr. Minic. After that, I wasn't interested, so I can't really answer that
23 question of yours. And this kind of information did not appear in any
24 report, that someone within this Joint Command from amongst the civilians
25 ordered this or that, coordinated whatever. I cannot really answer. As
1 for that particular day, it was Mr. Minic who was the one.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Obradovic, I only ask you because it was you
3 that said that it was a group of civilians who had arrived to ensure
4 better cooperation. However, we can move on.
5 Mr. Visnjic, what is it you wish to raise?
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, what I wish to raise is
7 something that pertains to part of the witness's statement, page 31 of the
8 transcript, lines 8 to 25, where the witness says that in the spring of
9 1998 reports of the 3rd Army that were sent out got the prefix of combat,
10 they were called combat reports, and that is the first time this was
11 referred to, during Mr. Hannis's cross-examination. In relation to that,
12 I have a few questions for this witness.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Well ...
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] May I explain?
16 JUDGE BONOMY: No, please continue. It will probably take longer
17 for you to explain than to do it. We have to try and avoid this constant
18 to-ing and fro-ing across the courtroom. There's got to be more
19 discipline in cross-examination, and hopefully you will raise additional
20 cross-examination only when it's really necessary, but please continue.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Further cross-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Colonel, could you please assist me with
24 something. You said that sometime in the spring roughly, I see it says
25 April or May, reports of the 3rd Army that were sent to the General Staff
1 got the prefix combat, they were called combat reports; am I right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Could you please look at P923 now, page 15 English text and page
4 16 in the B/C/S.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will give you a
6 reference straight away why I'm asking the witness about this. It has to
7 do with the second part of the expert report of General Radinovic,
8 paragraph 19, footnote 131. This was discussed in the transcript of the
9 18th of October, 2007, pages 17200 and then further on for the next 20
10 pages or so. So it is P923 in the B/C/S -- no, sorry, in English it's
11 fine, 15, and in B/C/S it's 16, please.
12 Now, Your Honour, on page 15 there is only the name of
13 General Ojdanic, I'm talking about the B/C/S version. And then his
14 remarks begin on page 16. It's very clear in English. Could we please
15 have the top of the B/C/S version again. Thanks. Thank you. That's
17 Q. Colonel, I have to ask you something now, and I need this for the
18 translation. Can you just read out to me the first paragraph that you see
19 up here on page 15 of the B/C/S.
20 A. I understand you that this is General Ojdanic who is speaking?
21 Q. Yes, could you please read it for me.
22 A. "I request that as your deputy I receive combat reports of the
23 commander of the 3rd Army and I suggest that this same report be received
24 by the assistant for land forces and the chief of the first
25 administration. Now I would like to give a suggestion and a proposal,
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think you see that
3 there is a difference between the B/C/S version and the English
4 translation that we have here, that is one thing that I wanted to draw the
5 attention of the Trial Chamber to.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, we went over this in detail in the
7 evidence of Radinovic. This is not an appropriate use of further
8 cross-examination. Unless you've something else to deal with, please sit
9 down and we'll move on. This is something you could perfectly easily have
10 explained without any further questions of this witness. The evidence is
11 there to be analysed.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I just have to tell you
13 one thing that this is the first time that we've heard information, that
14 reports that the 3rd Army sent in 1998 were combat reports --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: It all fits together like a jig-saw in the end,
16 Mr. Visnjic. That's not an appropriate use of the privilege of further
17 cross-examination. Please move on to something else if there is something
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I have nothing else.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 Mr. Aleksic.
22 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We have no
23 further questions for this witness.
24 Thank you, Mr. Obradovic.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
3 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, in light of some of the Court's
4 questions and the most recent questions of Mr. Fila, I have one document
5 or two documents that I would like to show the witness, or I can direct
6 the Court's attention to it and you can decide whether we need to address
7 any questions to him or just rely on the documents.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, tell me what they are.
9 MR. HANNIS: One is P1459, which is the 25 May report to the
10 Supreme Command from General Pavkovic about non-subordination of the
11 MUP --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I mean, if the point you're trying to make,
13 Mr. Hannis, is that albeit this witness can only speak of things happening
14 up until October but there is clear evidence of the Joint Command being
15 referred to thereafter, then that's -- that doesn't need any --
16 MR. HANNIS: Well, one of it relates specifically to his answer at
17 page 60, line 11: "I wrote up that war diary almost on my own using a
18 large number of combat reports, other reports, orders, et cetera; and I
19 can assert in the war diary where the major decisions in the 3rd Army,
20 Pristina Corps recorded in not one single is the term Joint Command
21 recorded. I have Exhibit 2017 which is a combat report 3rd Army command
22 on the 29th of April to the General Staff or Supreme Command Staff where
23 there is a reference to a decision on the Joint Command.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. I think you should refer to that.
25 Mr. Fila.
1 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm just asking you one
2 thing. When it is taken that I said something, you can see full well that
3 I asked the witness about 1998. From my questions there can be nothing
4 that would lead us to 1999. If Mr. Hannis wants something, let him want
5 it; if you allow him to do that, you have the right to do that, but not
6 through me. He could have asked about 1999 himself when he had his time.
7 The witness himself spontaneously, as you said, referred to Joint Command.
8 I said please read 1998. I did not even mention 1999. That is why I'm
9 opposed to having Mr. Hannis allowed to ask questions through me. He can
10 do whatever he wants through you and whatever you allow him to.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila, the result of your intervention and the
12 way in which you conducted it has been that the witness has made various
13 assertions about the period after October 1998, and that having happened
14 it's clearly an issue that may be further explored. It's for us to decide
15 whether to exercise our discretion to allow him to do so. Now, we will
16 consult on that and I will let you know the decision.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE BONOMY: This undoubtedly arose from the examination by
19 Mr. Fila, and therefore you are entitled to pursue that matter now in our
20 opinion, Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Further cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
23 Q. Colonel, I just want to hand you a document, this is Exhibit
24 P2017. It appears to be a 3rd Army command combat report dated 29 April
25 1999 addressed to the Yugoslav Army General Staff. And I think I've
1 highlighted the portion near the bottom of page 1 that I'd like you to
3 MR. HANNIS: And in the English for Your Honours and other English
4 speakers it's on page 2 and it's the fifth paragraph up from the bottom,
5 the last sentence.
6 Q. Could you read that out for us, Colonel, and we'll see if the
7 translation matches what we have in English.
8 A. It says: "Measures were taken for the following regions to be
9 blocked and tasks resolved in the spirit of the decision of the Joint
10 Command for Kosovo and Metohija."
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. HANNIS: I don't have any other questions, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. FILA: Just one.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: No, Mr. Fila.
16 MR. FILA: That is no.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: There has to be an end to this, and we have allowed
18 your opportunity, we've allowed Mr. Hannis that very limited question, and
19 that's the end of the matter with this witness.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Obradovic, that completes your evidence. Thank
22 you for coming to give evidence. You're now free to leave the courtroom.
23 [The witness withdrew]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Aleksic, it might be best to take the break at
25 this stage so that we don't interrupt your next witness shortly into his
1 evidence. So we'll break now and resume at 20 minutes to 1.00.
2 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise for
3 putting -- but I'm putting this question when there's no one else here.
4 It really is the wrong order of things when I ask after the
5 cross-examination. I agree with you on that. However, the Joint Command
6 is not referred to at all when witnesses are announced and there is
7 nothing in the material there, so I cannot put any questions on the basis
8 of what I receive beforehand. I do apologise for asking, but I only ask
9 if the words "Joint Command" are uttered. If they are uttered during the
10 examination-in-chief, I will deal with it when I'm supposed to, but if you
11 have a better solution I'm prepared to go along of course.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: We have no problem with that and one of our earlier
13 discussions earlier this morning was just to confirm that my decision to
14 allow you to ask these questions earlier was the right one. Our only
15 criticism is of the way in which you put the questions. It is
16 cross-examination, and therefore you're entitled to put leading questions.
17 But the more leading the nature of the question, the less valuable can be
18 the answer. And you may assist yourself further by the way in which you
19 approach the witness, although I understand why for reasons of time
20 you've -- you do do it the way you have done so far.
21 But you can go back and forward forever in proceedings of this
22 nature. The line has to be drawn somewhere, but where the first mention
23 of Joint Command is in cross-examination by Mr. Hannis, then if you have
24 an issue to raise, generally speaking, we'll allow you to raise it.
25 So we'll resume at 20 minutes to 1.00.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.19 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.41 p.m.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: The next witness, Mr. Aleksic.
4 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Our next
5 witness is General Mirko Starcevic.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
7 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] He will testify with a 92 ter
8 statement and a little bit of live testimony.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Starcevic.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
13 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
16 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
18 You will now be examined by Mr. Aleksic on behalf of Mr. Pavkovic.
19 Mr. Aleksic.
20 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 WITNESS: MIRKO STARCEVIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Examination by Mr. Aleksic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General. Would you be so kind as
25 to give us your full name for the record.
1 A. Mirko Starcevic.
2 Q. General, on 29th September this year, did you give a statement to
3 the Defence team of Mr. Pavkovic?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Did you have occasion to read that statement before signing it?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. If you were asked the same questions today would you give the same
9 A. The same, I would not change a thing.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that is 4D500. May I
12 tender this statement?
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Aleksic.
14 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Could you tell the Court, General, but very briefly, about your
16 military career, which positions you held in the 1990s, let us say,
17 beginning with 1994.
18 A. Beginning with 1994, that is, 1st April 1994 I was assistant
19 commander for information and morale in the 3rd -- in the Pristina Corps.
20 I stayed in that position until 9 September 1997, when I reported to
21 another duty in the 3rd Army command. In December 1997 I became assistant
22 commander of the 3rd Army for information and morale.
23 Q. And you continued in that position throughout the war?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. General, we have your statement which is an exhibit now and we are
1 not going to go through all the paragraphs, but I would like your
2 assistance on a couple of matters. In paragraph 12 of your statement you
3 speak about the recording of an audio-cassette with a proclamation to the
4 civilian population, warning them not to approach or enter military
5 installations. Could you tell the Trial Chamber why that recording was
7 A. It was made for preventive purposes, because between 120 and 130
8 military installations were in a way under observation and surveillance by
9 Albanian separatists. That audiotape was made in Radio Pristina in end
10 December 1998 in the Albanian and Serbian languages. The Albanian tape
11 was made as a translation of the Serbian version, and the translation was
12 done by the intelligence officer -- by one of the intelligence officers of
13 the Pristina Corps, a native of that region who had perfect Albanian. And
14 that was a succinct warning not to approach a military installation, lest
15 force be used against any person who tries it. And a number of these
16 cassettes were distributed to various installations and units so that they
17 could use them to distribute the message.
18 Q. In your position as assistant commander for information and
19 morale, did you go to lower-ranking units to expect and tour?
20 A. Yes, one of my duties was to accompany the commander, but even
21 without him I would tour and inspect fully or in part various
22 installations. On the orders and without the orders of my commander,
23 General Pavkovic, I toured and inspected various lower-ranking units of
24 the Pristina Corps.
25 Q. And when you went to tour the units, what did you actually do?
1 A. I talked with those units, I had briefings with lower-ranking
2 units, and all those lower-ranking units attended by the commander of the
3 army. His assistants usually held briefings. They would inform
4 subordinates about the situation -- about -- the situation in the country
5 and in the world, developments that are pertinent to the defence of the
6 country, the steps taken by the General Staff to build up the defences of
7 the country, with a focus on the units that we were touring.
8 Q. I believe you answered you went on these tours even before the war
9 began, before the 24th of March?
10 A. Yes, the whole time.
11 Q. During those tours, did you inform troops on preventive orders
12 issued by the command of the 3rd Army and later by the Pristina Corps?
13 A. I made a special emphasis when touring the Pristina Corps combat
14 groups and the attached units to draw the troops' attention to the things
15 that General Pavkovic and General Lazarevic stressed, namely, that troops
16 should be made specially aware of the need to observe and honour the rules
17 and regulations of international humanitarian law. General Pavkovic's
18 motto was humanity and then responsibility. General Lazarevic, his
19 subordinates, said humanitarian principles are something that I place
20 above the principle of military efficiency. These two were my lodestars,
21 my main principles, because it is not even in my nature to embrace
22 demonstrations of force in front of those who are weaker or to try to
23 intimidate. In those terms, these two men were not really part of the
24 times in which they were living.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Any Defence counsel have questions?
3 Mr. Hannis.
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
5 Q. Good afternoon, General.
6 A. Good afternoon.
7 Q. I just have a few questions for you related to your statement and
8 a couple of exhibits that were notified to me that might be used in
9 connection with your testimony. In paragraph 5 of your statement you
10 mentioned you sent reports on the work of your section to the Supreme
11 Command Staff administration for moral guidance. Who was the -- who was
12 the person in charge at the Supreme Command Staff level of the
13 administration for moral guidance in 1999?
14 A. Sir, since I was at a forward command post accompanying my
15 commander, General Pavkovic, there were four or five relocations. The
16 command post was in Nis. There were two officers at the command post as
17 reinforcement from the administration for morale from the General Staff of
18 Serbia and Montenegro. Professionally, my superior was Mr. Bakocevic
19 later major-general, and his deputy. Through combat reports we provided
20 reports from the forward command post reflecting all important
21 developments that took place in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija,
22 namely, the area of responsibility of the 3rd Army.
23 Just one more thing, if I may add. In mid-April 1999 there was a
24 team from the administration for information and morale conducting a study
25 of morale among the troops of the 3rd Army, focusing on the Pristina
1 Corps. There were five or six persons on that team. In May there was
2 another group of officers --
3 Q. We've heard some testimony about that from a couple of other
4 witnesses. The question I was trying to get is if you know the names of
5 the individuals on the Supreme Command Staff to whom the reports on your
6 report in the 3rd Army were sent? Can you tell us who that would have
8 A. Sir, through the regular combat reports that the command of the
9 Pristina Corps, and I suppose the 3rd Army as well, the Supreme Command
10 Staff was informed. And in para 6 of a regular combat report always
11 reflected combat activities --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: For the last three or four minutes we've been
13 trying to find out if you know the names of the personnel at Supreme
14 Command Staff who would handle your reports. Do you know these names? If
15 you don't, just say so.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, please forgive me, I
17 really didn't know. It was addressed to the Supreme Command Staff, and my
18 controllers were Slobodan Stojanovic, Mile Novkovic, Nedjo Danilovic, and
19 another officer -- there were four officers conducting an inspection and
20 control on my location, I'm more than certain of that.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: That's very helpful.
22 Mr. Hannis.
23 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
24 Q. General, you mentioned being at the forward command post. Were
25 you there throughout the war?
1 A. Yes, throughout the war.
2 Q. And where was that located? What was the physical location? What
3 building? What street address was that?
4 A. Mr. Hannis, the forward command post relocated frequently because
5 of possible attacks by Siptar terrorists and also air-strikes. We were in
6 Grmija, Kisnica, Gracanica. We relocated depending on the risk of being
7 destroyed by those who were keeping us under surveillance. There was
8 nothing certain that --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the last thing
10 he said.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you repeat the last part of your answer. You
12 said there was nothing certain, and then the interpreter missed the rest
13 of it.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, excuse me. Is it
15 anywhere on the screen?
16 JUDGE BONOMY: No, that's the point, it's not. I had hoped you
17 weren't putting your glasses on so you could hear better.
18 The -- your answer trailed off after you said that you relocated
19 depending on the risk from those keeping you under surveillance. There
20 was nothing certain, and then we didn't hear the rest of your answer. Can
21 you remember what it was?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I repeat. We had no
23 permanent building in which we could say, Here we are at the standing
24 command post of the 3rd Army. That's because there was a constant risk
25 from the Siptar terrorist forces and the NATO air force. We were one of
1 the important targets destined for destruction. We were in Kisnica,
2 Grmija, Gracanica sometimes only for one night. And I guarantee that
3 General Pavkovic and General Lazarevic throughout their working hours
4 continued touring the subordinate units to talk to troops, to inform them,
5 to conduct briefings, and in the afternoons we would meet up to exchange
6 our views on the developments on the ground.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
8 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
9 Q. General, approximately what was the number of personnel that were
10 located in the forward command post of the 3rd Army during the conflict?
11 Are we talking about ten people? A hundred people? A thousand?
12 A. Please don't hold it against me, Your Honours, if I can't be sure;
13 but it's 15 to 20. That is the amount of personnel that we moved in as a
14 group in conditions of normal work.
15 Q. Thank you, General. We heard from another witness about the
16 operations centre for the 3rd Army command. Do you know where they were
17 located during the war?
18 A. The operations centre of the 3rd Army, Mr. Hannis, excuse me, Your
19 Honour. Up to the beginning of air-strikes by the NATO air force on the
20 4th of April, I believe, the command of the army was bombed and it was
21 located at the command of the army. After that, the operations centre of
22 the 3rd Army was relocated, I don't know where, but I believe that it was
23 to the premises of a private enterprise in Dusanova Street that was a
24 back-up post of the command of the 3rd Army, but I never visited it
1 Q. Do you know what kind of private enterprise it was?
2 A. Don't hold me to it. I believe it was some sort of construction
3 company in Obilicev Venac Street, a bit further down the road from the
4 petrol station on the right-hand side. I just have a better visual
5 memory. I could even show you where it was. By sheer accident somebody
6 told me a year later, That's where the operations centre was.
7 MR. CEPIC: With your leave just to add something I think that the
8 witness mentioned how many metres was distance from the -- that building
9 and the building of 3rd Army command. He mentioned, but it is not in
10 transcript, so just for clarification.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: What was the figure, Mr. Cepic?
12 MR. CEPIC: [Interpretation] 50 [In English] 50.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 50, 50 metres, 20 and 30. 20 metres
14 from the -- to the petrol station and 30 metres down from the petrol
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
19 Q. And you mentioned the 3rd Army command being located in several
20 different locations during the war. You gave us some place names. What
21 kind of buildings was the 3rd Army command housed in in those locations,
22 if you recall?
23 A. Oh, I really cannot --
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me, Your Honour, I think we're inserting
25 confusion because he was talking about the forward command post of the 3rd
1 Army being located in several locations, not the 3rd Army command. Those
2 are two different things.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
4 MR. HANNIS: Well, maybe I should have said the 3rd Army command
5 and the forward command post.
6 Q. With that qualification do you understand my question, sir?
7 A. No, no, could you please repeat it.
8 Q. Where was the forward command post for the 3rd Army located, what
9 type of buildings were they located in those various locations you named
11 A. Beginning with wooden structures, the most primitive ones, to the
12 basic built structured -- structures, brick, and others in Gracanica.
13 Q. And similar kinds of structures in the other locations you named
14 or was it only in Gracanica?
15 A. Gracanica, Grmija and Kisnica, and Ajvalija, you will excuse me if
16 I can't name them all, it was nine years ago, but it was certainly never
17 in a luxury building.
18 Q. Was it ever in a school or a private home?
19 A. No, no, certainly not, I can guarantee that.
20 Q. In paragraph 12, Mr. Aleksic asked you about this, the
21 tape-recording that was made to warn people about approaching VJ facility.
22 Do you know, were those audiotapes used in the field?
23 A. Yes, they announced it from APCs so that people would be
24 acquainted during the war. I have to emphasise there were two stages.
25 There was a temperature emanating from the engine and it created an ideal
1 target for air-strikes by NATO, so it was from October until the 24th of
2 March, and on the 24th of March we stopped this effort for the reason that
3 I explained.
4 Q. Okay. Well, I'm a little unclear as to when the tape was made. I
5 thought from your earlier answer today you said end of December 1998. And
6 in your written statement --
7 A. Mid-December, mid-December 1998.
8 Q. Okay. In --
9 A. It could be my mistake, in which case I apologise.
10 Q. Okay. But you didn't have to worry about air-strikes until the
11 24th of March, correct?
12 A. Yes, right, but all indications told us that -- you know how the
13 saying goes, better safe than sorry.
14 Q. But for purposes of how the tape was being used in the field prior
15 to the 24th of March, is it your evidence that these announcements were
16 made from the armoured personnel carriers?
17 A. Correct, and also watch-towers, building of military clubs,
18 various buildings, and they were broadcast using a tape recorder.
19 Q. Were there any signs posted around military facilities with the
20 same kind of warning, or is it only this oral tape-recording, verbal
22 A. It was a warning that the building was a military installation and
23 it must not be filmed, but the usual pretext they offered was that they
24 could not speak Serbian and they did not understand. That's how those who
25 were caught doing it tried to get out of these accusations. But I knew
1 quite enough, and I tried to protect the troops.
2 Q. And so that's why the audio-recording was made in Albanian as
3 well, right?
4 A. Correct, correct. Out of respect for them because it produces a
5 greater effect and it is for preventive purposes.
6 Q. I'm not sure you answered my earlier question. Were signs also
7 posted with warnings in Serbian and/or Albanian written on them?
8 A. Yes. I remember Sofajlija near the Lukare barracks, I remember
9 the depot of -- explosives depot by which was later hit from an A-10
10 bomber and for four days there was successive explosions. There were
11 signposts, both in Albanian and the Siptar language saying, Don't
12 approach. So that all the measures were taken prescribed by the law and
13 the army wanted to ensure that it would remain unsoiled before the public.
14 Q. You mention in paragraph 24 of your statement an incident where
15 apparently General Pavkovic --
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you move to that, Mr. Hannis.
17 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: You are recorded as saying that there were
19 signposts, both in Albanian and the Siptar language, saying, Don't
20 approach. Is that what you said?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, yes, in Serbian and in
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Listen to me again. You said there were signposts
24 both in the Albanian and the Siptar language saying, Don't approach. Did
25 you say that?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I may have said "Albanian,"
2 maybe I said "Siptar." I wanted to say something but -- Your Honour, I
3 was very careful when I was colonel. When I spoke to Albanians I would
4 say to one, You're an Albanian, and he would be insulted, he would find
5 himself offended and say, No, I'm a Siptar. And I would say to another
6 you're a Siptar, and he would say no, no, I'm an Albanian. The name of
7 the country is Siptarije. It's the country of eagles.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: You're misunderstanding my question. I wasn't
9 until this moment aware that there were two separate languages, Albanian
10 and Siptar.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise to you. The Albanian
12 language is taken from Toska tribe on the south. It's the language of the
13 Albanians, and it's written in the standard Albanian. I apologise to you.
14 So the Albanian standard language is the standard language of the Toska
16 JUDGE BONOMY: So did you --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- Not of the Gegaj tribe.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: So did you have two separate signs in two separate
19 non-Serb languages?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Serbian and Albanian.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Do excuse me. I do apologise, Your
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
25 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. General, in paragraphs 24 and 25 of your statement you make
2 reference to an incident where General Pavkovic dismissed the commander of
3 the 175th Brigade, and in the supplemental information I'm advised that
4 you say he dismissed the commander and his 15 officers from that brigade.
5 First of all, can you tell us when did that happen?
6 A. Your Honour, I think it's mid-April. I may be wrong by a day or
7 two, but it was in mid-April 1992 [as interpreted]. Because of his
8 superficial work, his indisciplined approach to the tasks, the commander
9 of the 3rd Army, General Pavkovic, said that he no longer wanted to see
10 either General Petrovic or Drazevic or the 15 officers holding key
11 positions in the 15th brigade. They all handed over their duties. They
12 were all handed over to the VDS or to the military court for processing.
13 And as far as I can recall, Your Honour, around the 15th of May, 1999,
14 Colonel Stojanovic came instead and took over the command, and this unit
15 which did not comply with the image and the idea of the Yugoslav Army,
16 that's why he decided to take this measure.
17 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Ackerman on his feet.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: 86, line 22, it's 1999.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
20 MR. HANNIS:
21 Q. General, do you, other than the term you talked about superficial
22 work and indisciplined approach to tasks, do you know anything more
23 specific about why -- why this officer and his 15 other officers were
24 dismissed? What was the specific nature of their shortcomings?
25 A. I said only that because I didn't want to wade into legal waters,
1 but I am aware that in the village of Zegra, some 10 kilometres to the
2 north of Gnjilane, in that same 175th Brigade, something was done which is
3 below the dignity of members of the Army of Yugoslavia. There was a man
4 called Zmajevic, who had a criminal mind, and General Lazarevic heard
5 about it only later on. I think that was the straw that broke the camel's
6 back. Respecting General Pavkovic as an exceptional man, an artist, he
7 said on one occasion, Don't let me be the one to kill the criminal; let
8 the court do it. I remember that very well. When I heard him say that, I
9 understood that it was about something very serious.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that mean you don't really know? Because if
11 you do, please tell us -- please tell us what it was.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know about the specific
13 event. I just read about it. I read about it.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
15 MR. HANNIS:
16 Q. Well, according to what you read, can you tell us anything more
17 specific than it was something below the dignity of members of the army?
18 A. Well, from what I was able to read, and I will paraphrase,
19 somebody burst into a house and killed an elderly man and an elderly
20 woman. Three men entered the yard of some Albanians, attempted to open
21 the door, were not successful, shot at the door with automatic rifles, and
22 from that group headed by Zmajevic, three persons killed three Albanians.
23 I learned about this a year and a half ago from the White Book, which I
24 read in order to see what crimes had been perpetrated on the territory of
25 Kosovo and Metohija by members of the Army of Yugoslavia.
1 Q. When you refer to the White Book, are you talking about a Vojska
2 publication about how the --
3 A. The Official Gazette, Mr. Hannis, the Official Gazette of the
4 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, not the army.
5 Q. All right. Thank you --
6 A. Not Vojska.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, can you tell me, are you talking about two
8 separate killings here, the killing of an elderly man and an elderly woman
9 and then the killing of three Albanians?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm referring to one
11 single day when in a short space of time seven military conscripts did
12 things in the village of Zegra. So it was a brief period of time and a
13 brief territory -- a small territory where seven members committed that
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
16 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
17 Q. And with regard to the brigade commander and his 15 officers, do
18 you know was anything done other than dismissing them? Was there any kind
19 of prosecution against them or were they just dismissed from their
20 positions? What happened?
21 A. I know that of the 15th or the 14th Colonel Petrovic left,
22 Djurasevic left with him, how I really don't know. I asked the prosecutor
23 to tell me so that I could release information or when going to the
24 subordinate units I could draw attention to the consequences, but he said
25 to me, My ethics does not allow me to tell you that, the proceedings are
1 not over, the investigation is not over. When it's all over, we will
2 deliver it to you so that you can inform your subordinates.
3 Q. Do you recall the name of the prosecutor that told you that?
4 A. I think it was Djuro Blagojevic, captain first class, I think it
5 was him. I'm 90 per cent sure it was him.
6 Q. I want to show you an exhibit, it's number 3D732. I can give you
7 a hard copy and ask you: Can you tell us what that is?
8 A. Your Honour, this is an aide-memoire. The author is
9 Colonel Dr. Petar Kostic, and it's guide-lines for troop psychologists in
10 a brigade or regiment in a state of war. He is a professor in the
11 military academy at Banjica, he is the author of several books, and to the
12 best of my knowledge this is almost the first time he dealt with the war.
13 He had enormous theoretical knowledge and he wanted to use that and the
14 practical combat experience he had gained as a volunteer in the 175th
15 Infantry Brigade looking at all the manifestations on the faces of
16 soldiers and their body language after throwing hand-grenades. He
17 interviewed them, and based on these interviews and based on their
18 grimaces, he wrote instructions, guide-lines, with a view to having people
19 not experience what he had experienced and for people in the units to find
20 it easier to recognise fear and all the other elements that have a
21 destructive effect on morale. So that in practical terms, Mr. Hannis,
22 this is combat experience couched in theoretical terms so that future
23 generations in military schools and academies could learn from this
25 Q. Let me ask you, the cover document is dated the 29th of May, 1999,
1 and this is from you forwarding those guide-lines, correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So I take it sometime before the 29th of May you had these
4 guide-lines. Did you read them? Did you review them before you sent them
6 A. Yes, I read it before sending it out, but the commander -- the
7 commands of the independent battalions and the commands of units of the
8 same rank are not duty-bound, are not obliged to respond to this document.
9 They may keep the guide-lines to use, and after proposed changes arrived,
10 the material offered by units brigade regiment size the final version of
11 the guide-lines will be drafted and delivered to all the units. So this
12 is one of the possible versions.
13 Q. I understand that. We saw from another witness I think a more
14 final version, but my question is: Did you agree with these proposals?
15 A. Conditionally -- in my, conditionally speaking, workbook up to the
16 beginning of the war, that is, I kept a workbook. After the beginning of
17 the war on receiving orders from either General Lazarevic or
18 General Pavkovic, on a scrap of paper, a small scrap of paper, I entered
19 small, short messages of encoded as to what should be done in subordinate
20 units. And the reason for that was if I was caught or captured by Siptar
21 terrorists, they could find nothing except that small scrap of paper on
22 me. If I had had a workbook on me, they would see the whole history of
23 what I had done while I was at the forward command post. I enter data
24 which was left with the typist, with all that --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, I don't -- I'm not following that this
1 is anything to do with your question, is it?
2 MR. HANNIS: It's beyond that now.
3 Q. I want to ask you about on the last page, sir, item number 2 is
4 tasks and methodologies of work depending on the participants, and you see
5 something called: "Form of addressing the combatants." Do you see that
6 on the last page?
7 A. Yes, yes, that's page 5. Is it the fifth page? Is it page 5?
8 Q. I believe it's the last page in your bundle and it's highlighted
9 in pink --
10 A. The last page.
11 Q. Yeah. Do you see that? And do you see a section highlighted in
12 the colour pink? Yes. And this appears to be a scenario where a
13 commander is dealing with combatants, some of whom are refusing to
14 participate. And it talks about dealing with those who temporarily cannot
15 do the task but want to, those who permanently cannot but want to, and
16 those who don't want to. And in the end he proposes that they be
17 told: "Therefore, there are only three places where the conscripts can
18 be: At the combat positions; in the courtroom, prison; or in an asylum.
19 Help me choose."
20 So did you agree with that?
21 A. No, I did not. I rejected that. I wrote down: This is out of
22 the question, because in my assessment these people cannot carry weapons
23 and the madhouse is out of the question. An asylum is out of the
25 Q. And in paragraph 28 of your statement you tell us about some
1 problems VJ encountered in mid-May when the 7th -- I think it's the 7th
2 Partisan Brigade had large-scale desertions, do you recall that, or the
3 7th Infantry Brigade?
4 A. No, no, don't hold it against me, but let me ask you something.
5 The 7th Brigade had more deserters, 2.248 men, that was 48 per cent, but
6 that was on the 18th and 19th of May, Mr. Hannis.
7 Q. I'm just reading from your statement where it says "mid-May."
8 A. Well, 18th or 19th of May, 1999, there were more desertions. And
9 the then-commander, General Pavkovic, but also General Lazarevic because
10 the two acted as one, they tasked me with establishing the reasons for
11 this. And later on a team from the General Staff, including the morale
12 administration, sent two people to establish the causes of the desertions.
13 Q. Let me ask you that. Your statement says: "The order was to
14 attempt to prevent them from leaving, but to let those who wanted to leave
15 go without taking any repressive measures."
16 What did you do? What did you do to try and prevent them from
18 A. Your Honour, before leaving I asked General Pavkovic, saying as
19 there's a state of war -- I asked him what measures I would be allowed to
20 use. And he said to me, Old man - excuse me, that's what he called me -
21 he said, Old man, who has decided to leave, well good luck to him. But he
22 -- how will he be able to say later on that he left the battle-field of
23 Kosovo? They successively came back. A very small number came back, but
24 the reputation of the Serbian army was besmirched, it was soiled. The
25 reasons, because I spent four days and four nights there talking to
1 people, and if time allows and if you allow, I'm willing to tell you. I
2 will need about three minutes for that.
3 Q. Let me stop there.
4 MR. HANNIS: I don't have any more questions. Thank you.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: One thing you said there was that they successively
6 came back, a very small number came back. Is that what you said?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A large number came back, but a
8 small number remained.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
10 Mr. Aleksic.
11 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Just one point I wish to clarify.
12 Re-examination by Mr. Aleksic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] General, on page 78 of the record lines 9 and 10,
14 you said: "Professionally my superior in the General Staff was -- he
15 later became General Bakocevic did I understand you correctly that the
16 chief of administration for morale was General Bakocevic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. On page 79 lines 9 and 10 you said the four people from the
19 administration for morale came only to visit, they were not superior
20 commanders, it was General Bakocevic who was the chief of the
21 administration for morale?
22 A. Yes, I have a small digression to add.
23 Q. Thank you, General, that was quite enough, quite sufficient. I
24 have no further questions.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, thank you, Mr. Starcevic, that completes your
1 evidence. Thank you for coming to give evidence to us. You're now free
2 to leave the courtroom.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you, too.
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Aleksic, your next witness.
6 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I thought Mr. Ackerman
7 would raise this issue. Well, anyway, unfortunately we don't have a
8 witness for these last ten minutes because we -- well, the witness is in
9 town but we have not succeeded with the Victims and Witnesses Unit to
10 organize his arrival in the court on time. You can deduct these ten
11 minutes from our time, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Is the next witness Zarko Kostic?
13 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] No, the next witness is
14 Stanimir Radosavljevic. We sent notification over the weekend that there
15 would be a change in the order of witnesses.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. We shall resume at 2.15, 2.15, tomorrow
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.36 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 23rd day of
20 October, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.