1 Wednesday, 14 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Lazarevic. Your
6 cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic will now continue.
7 Mr. Ivetic.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
9 MR. IVETIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
10 WITNESS: VLADIMIR LAZAREVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic: [Continued]
13 Q. Good morning, General Lazarevic.
14 A. Good morning.
15 Q. I'd just like to finish up one of the topics that we started
16 yesterday before moving on. We were talking about Rugovska Klisura.
17 And if we can have Exhibit 4D439 [Realtime transcript read in
18 error "4D39"] on the screen. I see we might have a bit of a delay getting
19 that, so I'll try and see if I can introduce the exhibit before we have it
20 up on the screen. This will be a combat report of the 3rd Army command
21 dated April the 23rd, 1999, strictly confidential number 26-111. And --
22 and once we get it up on the screen, I'll direct your attention to section
23 2.1, which is at the bottom of the first page of the B/C/S original and
24 it's at the bottom of the -- the top of the second page in English.
25 Okay. This should be 4D439. This is a document --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: English translation was 4D39 -- or at least you've
2 been recorded as saying 4D39.
3 MR. IVETIC: Well, I apologise. 4D439.
4 That's -- that's the -- the exhibit. And there should be -- there
5 we go.
6 Q. General, again, directing your attention to section 2.1 at the
7 bottom of the first page in B/C/S. According to the text here, you'll
8 see, I think, that units of the Pristina Corps undertake assignments tied
9 to this operation relative to a Odluka decision of the commander and
10 participated in a blockade and sweeps with the MUP. And I believe that
11 you have the indication there that units of the NK, which I take to be the
12 Nis Corps, also participated in this operation.
13 Would this information permit you to conclude that in fact the
14 Odluka for such a joint action, the decision of a joint action, had to
15 have been approved at the level of the 3rd Army command of the VJ, given
16 the inclusion of both the Pristina Corps and Nis Corps units in this
18 A. With all due respect to you, as Defence counsel, I kindly ask the
19 Trial Chamber for permission for me to say to you that you're not right.
20 This sentence, "the units of the Nis Corps and the MUP carried out
21 searches in the area of Presevo and Bojanovac, this is an area outside
22 Kosovo and Metohija. It is 150 kilometres and even more away from the
23 Rugovo gorge. So that is a completely, completely different story.
24 Q. Very well. And what about the first part of my question, sir,
25 where it says there that -- the units of the Pristina Corps focus on --
1 A. May I go back to the first part of question. It is correct that
2 the focus of the engagement of the Pristina Corps was to defend the
3 territorial integrity of the country on the basis of my decision and part
4 of the forces, that is to say, the light infantry battalion, 200, 300 men,
5 as it says here in the first sentence, takes part in the blockade of the
6 area during the search of the terrain in the direction towards Rugovska
7 Klisura. That's the first sentence.
8 Q. And if we can have the top of the -- the top of the second page in
9 the English. And that's the part I want to focus on now.
10 General, this is still on the first page in the B/C/S; the
11 second -- the second dash mark under 2.1. And do you see there it talks
12 about this being a joint operation mounted by the Pristina Corps and the
13 MUP to search the terrain and break up and destroy the STS in the region
14 of Rugovska Klisura? Does this refresh your recollection as to whether in
15 fact this was an operation that had been planned by the MUP or was this a
16 joint operation involving the MUP and the VJ for which there had been a
17 plan prepared by the appropriate VJ officers?
18 A. I really want to be very accurate before this Trial Chamber. This
19 sentence says that what is underway are a few actions in three or four
20 directions. These are independent actions, including the Rugovska Klisura
22 As for these actions, the first sentence provides an explanation
23 that part of the units of the corps is carrying out a blockade during the
24 search and the search is being carried out by the MUP. And I assure you,
25 if you look at the documents of the Prosecution, they have to do with the
1 engagement of the MUP. You will see that from the 4th of April onwards it
2 was the MUP that planned the Rugovska Klisura action. The army was doing
3 its own plans and the MUP is make -- was making its own plans.
4 There is another legitimate activity involved there. These two
5 legitimate forces were there, and then there were army units from
6 Montenegro. So this is the action that I remember.
7 I cannot confirm what you've been trying to say all along,
8 yesterday and today, that it was somebody who was planning these actions
9 for the MUP. I assure you, I don't have here in my bag the Prosecution
10 documents that I'm referring, to but I'm sure of what I'm saying, that in
11 February and in April the MUP planned the engagement of their own forces
12 in Rugovska Klisura, the Rugova gorge.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you referring to Prosecution documents which
14 have already featured in the evidence in this case?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, yes,
16 that is what I'm referring to.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
18 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. General, all right, I think I've finished up with Rugovska
21 If we can move on. Yesterday we went through the planning process
22 in 19 -- focusing on 1998, as we had a full set of zapovest and Odluka map
23 for that period. And we saw the maps for the Drenica-1. And Mr. Ackerman
24 showed you the map for the Ratis actions. And you indicated that
25 commanders would receive extracts of the map applicable for their units
1 during the operation. Am I correct -- am I also correct that commanders
2 at the brigade level or lower would have to prepare the -- the portion of
3 the map detailing their own units -- assignments -- assignments of units
4 within their zone of responsibility for approval by the superior
5 commanding officer to authorise on their own Odluka map?
6 A. The decision-making system in the army, from the operative towards
7 the tactical level, to the brigades and battalions, means that decisions
8 of battalion commanders should also be verified by the brigade commander,
9 just like the decision of the brigade commander is verified by the corps
11 Q. Thank you. In that case -- one moment.
12 [Defence counsel confer]
13 MR. IVETIC:
14 Q. All right. Thank you. Now -- now, I'd like to move to another
15 topic from 1999. The -- the letter that you wrote on the 24th of May,
16 1999 relating not only to complaints about MUP re-subordination but also
17 alleged MUP tolerance of criminal activities of its members against the
18 Siptar civilian population, murder, rape, looting, et cetera, at mixed
19 check-points. This is Exhibit P1723, which we will have on the screen
20 eventually, but I don't -- I don't think we need it now.
21 General, last Friday you were asked briefly about this letter
22 during your direct examination by your own counsel. And at transcript
23 page 18045, line 3 to 18047, line 12 you discussed it. And quite frankly,
24 apart from showing 5D376, which was a MUP staff document, you denied as
25 being the bases for these serious allegations in this letter:
1 "I still don't know what these serious allegations are based on,
2 and if the bases for these allegations was in fact verified credible
4 Can you please enlighten me on the sources for your allegations in
5 this letter that the MUP had tolerance for criminal activities of its
6 members, including murder, rape, et cetera.
7 A. I wish to say that this is not a letter of mine. This is a report
8 to the commander of the 3rd Army. The immediate reason for me to report
9 to the commander of the army about this in writing is the oral and written
10 report of the commander of the 37th Motorised Brigade that there were
11 problems from the point of view of the lack of re-subordination of MUP
12 units in his zone. That is the central issue of this report. In this
13 context, he also has problems with the clean-up of the terrain, as well as
14 problems in terms of a lack of respect for certain norms of conduct during
15 the war. Quite simply, when I received this report - and its content was
16 rather serious - I could not but inform my superior.
17 I wish to tell the Honourable Trial Chamber that I took certain
18 measures in order to see to what extent the information obtained verbally
19 and in the report was really accurate. I sent a team of operatives
20 consisting of Colonel Stefanovic and Colonel Paprica to see on the spot
21 whether there was a chance of having the re-subordination carried through
22 at all.
23 Secondly, I sent a team to check on the clean-up, sanitization of
24 the terrain, to see whether those allegations were correct as well.
25 And thirdly, I sent my assistant for security to that brigade to
1 check on the spot with the security organs in the brigade but also with
2 the head of the OUP of Glogovac whether indeed there were such problems in
3 terms of conduct on the ground by the police.
4 I can say that a few days later the brigade commander reported to
5 me that better cooperation with the OUP had been established. He did not
6 inform me any more about these incriminations. The chief of security
7 continued working on these tasks. But he did not confirm to me up until
8 the end of the war the allegations from this report.
9 As for clean-up, Dr. Tomasevic was sent to the very --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ... the
11 question -- I'm very reluctant to interrupt your evidence, but really this
12 is not dealing with the question. The question is very specific: Could
13 you tell counsel the sources for your allegations in the letter that the
14 MUP had tolerance for criminal activities, including murder, rape -- now,
15 these serious allegations, murder, rape. What's your evidence, is the
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I shall repeat. On the basis of the
18 oral and written report of the commander of the 37th Motorised Brigade.
19 But I asked for permission to say that I wanted these allegations
20 to be checked, and I made an effort to have that done. That is how I
21 continued answering.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: But does that mean there's no evidence that you're
23 aware of to support these allegations?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not receive, up until the end
25 of the war, verifiable arguments in relation to these allegations that
1 crimes had been committed.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
3 MR. IVETIC:
4 Q. Just to clarify one thing. I see a potential -- not a translation
5 issue but in English things sound differently.
6 When you say you did not receive up until the war verifiable
7 arguments in relation to these allegations, do you mean to say that you
8 have never received verification of these, up -- even at the end of the
10 A. I wanted to say to you that this verification did not end on that
11 day ad hoc. It was customary for military security organs to work
12 together with the MUP organs in charge in these verifications. That is
13 what I wanted to say.
14 And now I am answering in concrete terms that I did not receive
15 any new information that would indicate what had been reported on then and
16 what the report contained.
17 Q. Thank you, General.
18 And now if we can take a moment to go through some other documents
19 that your counsel examined you on in relation -- in relation to this
20 period of time. There was the control inspection of General Velickovic.
21 I would like to go through that rather briefly.
22 First of all, the exhibit for -- number for this is 3D692, and I
23 would ask you to first see if you can agree with me that this particular
24 document consists of several unconnected concerns in the various numbered
25 paragraphs that were found as part of this control inspection by the team
1 sent by the staff of the Supreme Command and that the concerns relating to
2 the Serbian MUP are in fact concentrated and limited solely to paragraph
3 11, which can be found at both -- at pages 4 of both the English and the
4 B/C/S original.
5 Can we agree on that general description of this document?
6 A. I can -- I cannot see what you are referring to on the screen, but
7 I have no reason to disbelieve what you're saying. However, all I can see
8 on the screen is item 11.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... paragraph 11. Can you agree
10 with me, first of all, that the complaint in the second -- actually, I
11 think it's the third paragraph in the English and also the third paragraph
12 in the B/C/S under paragraph -- the third subparagraph under paragraph 11,
13 that the complaints or concerns about privileged positions of the MUP
14 regarding regular payment of salaries, better uniforms, et cetera, has
15 nothing to do with any alleged criminal behaviour but, rather, is related
16 to dissatisfaction among VJ conscripts and their animosity towards the
17 situation where they weren't being paid for the work that they were doing?
18 A. I cannot accept your statement. At least, that's how it's been
19 interpreted, a hostile attitude of members of the army to the police.
20 What this is about was that members of the army, especially the
21 reservists, in relation to the members of the team and the members of the
22 Supreme Command and us commanders, expressed dissatisfaction because they
23 did not have certain entitlements, the ones that other armed forces had
24 defending the country. But this was not animosity towards the police.
25 Q. Thank you, General. I apologise for using too harsh of a term.
1 Would you agree with me that the dissatisfaction of these certain
2 VJ conscripts at the MUP's status as a full-time paid occupation with
3 benefits prescribed by law led to a mass desertion problem with almost
4 one-half of the manpower of the brigade in question leaving in the middle
5 of the war? Let us say, at the time prior to this control inspection.
6 A. I cannot agree with you that, first of all, half the brigade
7 deserted, especially not because they did not have the same kind of
8 salaries that the MUP had. This is a problem of such complexity, and I
9 personally participated in dealing with it. This team from the General
10 Staff tried to assist in that brief period of time, but this is a problem
11 that's not for this Court to solve. It's for the army to see what can
12 happen in wartime.
13 All I can say is that this was not a reason for half the brigade,
14 as you say, to desert because of dissatisfaction with their salaries.
15 Q. Would you agree with me that a significant portion of that brigade
16 did in fact desert during that time period?
17 A. I know precisely how many left their positions. I know what they
18 told me, because I spoke to hundreds of them. And if you and the Trial
19 Chamber insist on me explaining this further, I'm willing to do so. But
20 that's a different topic, and I don't want to be reprimanded once again
21 for speaking at too great a length.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, simply tell us how many left the positions,
23 which is the question. It's a very easy question to answer if you've got
24 all the details. You don't need all this language to explain why you've
25 actually told us nothing.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 802 members of that brigade left for
2 a while and then returned to their positions.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: It's an easy -- it's an easy job, this, if you just
4 listen to the question and answer it.
5 Mr. Ivetic.
6 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Thank you, General, for your assistance.
8 And so that we can be on the same page, am I correct that the
9 complaints contained in paragraph 11 of this control inspection by
10 General Velickovic and the problems -- the unit that we've been talking
11 about, that is to say, that paragraph 11 actually comes from one source,
12 the 354th Infantry Brigade, the unit we've been talking about with the
13 soldiers that left their positions.
14 A. This report relates to an inspection by the team from the Supreme
15 Command Staff in at least four units. It doesn't say in this text what
16 you are suggesting in your question, to what unit it refers.
17 If you look at the separate reports accompanying this central
18 report, then you could see that, but I simply cannot reply in the
19 affirmative to your question.
20 Q. Well, General, the report of General Velickovic it is clear that
21 there are attachments for the 7th, the 354th, the 125th and 252nd
22 Brigades. Surely during the course of the trial you've had time to review
23 those documents and surely at the time of the controlled inspection you
24 were made aware of the precise complaints and will find that the
25 complaints mentioned --
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 MR. IVETIC: I have to start back again. I'm told that the first
3 part of my question did not get to the translators.
4 Q. General Lazarevic, the report to General Velickovic is clear that
5 there are -- the -- the report of General Velickovic is clear that the
6 attachments contain reports of the reviews of the four specific brigades,
7 among which is the 354th Infantry Brigade, and I'm sure that in reviewing
8 the documents and in the information that the control provided to you at
9 the time that they were on the ground in Pristina, you are aware of the
10 fact that the bulk of paragraph 11 comes word for word from the review of
11 the 354th Infantry Brigade, a document authored by General Terzic
12 available at 5D436, which we can pull up on the screen, a document from
13 your -- from your Defence.
14 And specifically we can fast-forward to page 4 in the Serbian,
15 where it's the last paragraph, marked number 9, and page 5 in the English,
16 where it is paragraph 9 in brackets.
17 And here we -- we see for the first time in a little bit more
18 detail the complaints about the privileged position of the MUP. And I'll
19 ask you: Would you agree with me, based upon this text, that the-- that
20 the vast concerns in this paragraph 9 actually relate to the
21 dissatisfaction with the so-called privileged position of the MUP relating
22 to the MUP having salaries for work, et cetera, and that there is only one
23 very minor reference in passing about individual MUP members resorting to
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that's a different question from the one you
1 started with. This is becoming an -- a really tangled mess because of the
2 way in which the questions are being posed and the way in which they are
3 being answered.
4 We have to get as precise answers as we can, and to do that
5 requires precise questions.
6 Now, you started off wanting to know if only one brigade was
7 complaining. You've now moved from that, without getting an answer,
8 except that the answer is "no," you haven't explored it any further. I
9 take it you're abandoning that. Or is that still the issue that you're
10 dealing with?
11 MR. IVETIC: The -- well, let me back up again. I guess we'll
12 have to take it step by step.
13 Q. General, do you have knowledge of the facts that the bulk of
14 paragraph 11 is based upon the -- is based upon the report of the 354th
15 Infantry Brigade?
16 A. I cannot confirm that, because I did not participate in the
17 drafting of this report. I have to answer to -- I have to answer a part
18 of your question. Nobody showed me this report at the end of the
19 inspection, as you suggested. This is a conclusion reached by the
20 inspection of the Supreme Command Staff. I agree that what it says here
21 in item 9 is contained in item 11, but I cannot confirm whether some other
22 unit at that time had these or similar objections or comments.
23 Q. I apologise for my misconception that you had received a copy of
24 these reports at the time of the inspection.
25 Can I therefore then now direct your attention to the part of
1 5D436 that was paragraph 9, which I believe is still up on the screen, and
2 ask you to review paragraph 9 and --
3 [Defence counsel confer]
4 MR. IVETIC:
5 Q. Looking at paragraph 9, would you agree with me that the text of
6 paragraph 9 seems to follow the text and the concerns listed in paragraph
7 11 almost to a T, except providing even more detail than was in paragraph
8 11 of the control inspection by General Velickovic?
9 JUDGE BONOMY: The witness has already said that. And even if
10 he -- he was to answer it again, it's adding nothing at all to the
11 information that's going to help us to determine this case. It's there
12 for all to see in black and white.
13 Please move to something controversial on which you need to
15 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I have one additional
16 question relating to this.
17 Q. And I don't know whether you have information, General, so I'm
18 just going to ask you: Do you have any information based upon any news
19 reports in the news these past three days whether in fact the 354th
20 Infantry Brigade still has members demonstrating in Belgrade trying to
21 seek payment for the time that they spent in Kosovo during the war?
22 A. I do have information via television. I don't know which of these
23 reservists are demanding their rights, but I cannot respond in any detail.
24 Q. Thank you, General. Now, you indicated you can -- that you
25 firstly were involved in this -- in trying to resolve this matter. Am I
1 correct that the commander of this unit, and in particular the -- his --
2 one of his subordinates, were under severe pressure from within the VJ,
3 and in fact there were calls from the 3rd Army for them to be-- for them
4 to be replaced, that the -- that new commanders be put in because of the
5 problems that they were having and the manner they were dealing with those
6 problems relating to the desertion of certain of their members?
7 A. I have to correct your statement. My personal engagement was in
8 the 7th Infantry Brigade, not in the 354th Infantry Brigade, so that what
9 you are referring to is a report either from the team from the army
10 command or the Supreme Command Staff, but I was not personally involved.
11 If you wish to ask me something about that, please be specific. However,
12 this does not refer to my involvement.
13 Q. I apologise. Was there -- was there a plan -- or pardon me. Was
14 there action being contemplated to replace the commander and the chief of
15 staff of the brigade, at the brigade level, relating to the problems that
16 they were having with their men?
17 A. If you are referring to 354th Brigade - you weren't specific in
18 your question, so I can only assume that - and some officers were
19 replaced, not only for that reason but for reasons of implementation of
20 combat tasks.
21 Q. All right. One more document I would like to just briefly review
22 on this -- on this theme is 5D506, which is the -- further down the chain
23 the regular combat report of the commander of the 354th Infantry Brigade.
24 And this is a document that we have seen before in this case, so I'll just
25 ask you briefly: In item -- item number 3, subparagraph (b), the second
1 part of subparagraph (b), it says that the "Redeployed units of the PJP in
2 our unit's zone of responsibility and are not complying with the orders
3 and decisions of the SO Podujevo Crisis Staff."
4 And I would just like to ask of you whether in fact your April
5 25th, 1999 order on re-subordination mentioned or envisaged the Crisis
6 Staffs having control over MUP units.
7 A. Not in a single order of the corps command or in a single order of
8 mine is there even any mention of the possibility that some sort of Crisis
9 Staffs should be in command of the army. I cannot certainly command that
10 someone -- order that someone be in command of the MUP. I beg Their
11 Honours to allow us to read this sentence to the end. The gist is that
12 this is the 27th of April. On the 25th of April, the MUP units were
13 supposed to be re-subordinated. The commander asked me for information as
14 to whom these units are responsible to, because they were not
15 re-subordinated to him in that area. And what he says about their
16 non-implementation of the decisions of the Crisis Staff is not only
17 nonsense, because there's no reason for MUP units to be responsible, but
18 also there were many returnees, so the staff of Podujevo of the
19 municipality and the town issued decisions as to how that population
20 should be assisted. Whether this refers to that or not, I can only
21 speculate. But the MUP was not supposed to carry out decisions issued by
22 some sort of staff.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: So how do you explain this document? Have you got
24 a -- a commander who doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing? Is
25 that -- is that the explanation? Or doesn't know the situation, the
1 relationship between Crisis Staff and -- and MUP?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By your leave, I would answer
3 differently. The brigade commander is reporting to me that MUP -- the MUP
4 units are not under his control, and they should be. He's asking for
5 information because he wants to know to whom they are re-subordinated so
6 that certain objections which cannot be seen from this document can be
7 channeled. And there are insufficient elements here for me to speculate
8 any further.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: And you -- you take the view that it was reasonable
10 for him to think that the MUP should be answerable to the Crisis Staff.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the basis of this sentence, Your
12 Honour, Mr. President, I do not conclude decidedly that the commander
13 believes that the MUP should carry out tasks assigned to them by some
14 Municipal Crisis Staff. But I do know that in that area big, huge efforts
15 were made by the provincial executive council and the police and the army
16 to take care of the civilian population and for everybody to be engaged in
18 I have other reports on this subject from the point of view of
19 taking in the civilian population, assisting them, and quite simply I am
20 prepared to focus on answering that problem.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
22 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 General Lazarevic, I have no further questions for you. I thank
24 you for your assistance in this matter.
25 Questioned by the Court:
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Just to complete it, then, did you respond to the
2 question from the brigade commander?
3 A. Your Honour, Mr. President, a team went and I went to -- toward
4 that brigade. That is why I drew your attention to the developments that
5 were to follow. Where there was fuller coordination, in terms of taking
6 in the civilian population. We exhibited at least five documents the
7 other day, what this brigade did and what the medical battalion did
8 together with the MUP. That was the problem. These units were not
9 sufficiently involved on time in taking in this very big number of
10 refugees. That was the essence of the report.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I -- I still don't understand whether you
12 told him that -- that there was no question of the MUP being answerable to
13 the Crisis Staff. Was that ever clarified?
14 A. Well, I don't know what the translation here is like,
15 Mr. President, but I don't think it's unclear to the commander that the
16 MUP should not be answerable to the Crisis Staff. But if the decision was
17 made by the municipality somewhere, like in the village of Metohija, to
18 put up the returnees there, then the municipality asked the army and the
19 police for assistance and to be protected from further attacks. They
20 asked for medical material --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, there's a clear question. You need
22 to send us a notice regarding who's responsible for them and who commands
23 over them. Now, that is who is responsible for the PJP and who commands
24 over them. Now, did you answer that and send them a notice?
25 A. Yes. Now you're asking me -- well, I understood about the first
1 part, of the Crisis Staff, that that's what I was being asked, and now
2 you're asking me about the last part of the sentence.
3 That --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry. Before you -- before you go on, is that not
5 what the whole of these two sentences is about? The first part said:
6 "The PJP are not complying with the orders and decisions of the
7 Crisis Staff." And the second sentence says: "You need to send us a
8 notice regarding who is responsible for them and who commands over them."
9 The two are, on the face of it in English, directly related to each other.
10 A. Your Honour, Mr. President, I'm talking to you about the factual
11 situation. You are right when you read what is written here that way, but
12 I am talking to you about a problem that was there because up until the
13 25th the police units were supposed to be re-subordinated to some
14 brigades. I didn't know which ones either. Nobody ordered me. And up
15 until the end of the war, I did not know. That is what the greatest
16 problem is. And all of a sudden these units appear in that area that are
17 being replaced after given points in time and the commander says, "Who are
18 these people and who are they answerable to?" I cannot give him an
19 answer. Once it's units from Subotica. The next time they're from
20 Ljeskovac. And that is the core of the problem, the lack of
22 JUDGE BONOMY: So at that point in time, you did not know who
23 ought to command the PJP. Is that your position?
24 A. My position was that, in accordance with the order of the
25 commander of the army and the Supreme Command Staff, these units should be
1 re-subordinated in the zones of brigades to the commanders of the
2 brigades. That is what was supposed to be the case. However, that did
3 not happen.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: So what answer did you give the brigade commander?
5 Or did you fail to give him an answer?
6 A. From that point of view, teams from the corps command went to
7 attend mutual meetings of coordination, accommodation of use, if there was
8 no re-subordination because the police did not have an order of their own,
9 then relations of correlation were supposed to be created in order for
10 them to be able to survive the war, everyone within his own jurisdiction.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. You'll now be cross-examined by
12 Mr. Hannis.
13 Mr. Hannis.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I beg your pardon. Your Honour,
15 Mr. President, I -- I owe you an answer to a question that was raised
16 yesterday. Those initials from the document P2809. I could not remember
17 the initials NP, whose they were. So with your permission, I was not able
18 to answer. I could not remember yesterday. So may I say that now?
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is Colonel Novak Paprica. He is
21 the author of that document dated the 25th of April, P2809.
22 Novak Paprica, a colonel who was in the corps command for a few months.
23 He was there temporarily and he was in the operations organ.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
25 Mr. Visnjic.
1 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I just need
2 instructions on this. I just have a few questions in relation to some of
3 the topics raised by Mr. Ackerman and that were not present during the
4 examination-in-chief of General Lazarevic. Should I deal with those
5 questions now or after Mr. Hannis' cross-examination?
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, what's your view on that?
7 MR. HANNIS: Actually, yesterday after Mr. Ackerman had asked some
8 questions, during the break I inquired of Mr. Visnjic if that raised
9 something for him. So I was aware that he was going to ask. I have no
10 objection. And I would prefer that he go before me, if you're inclined to
11 permit it.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I just wanted to express a concern.
15 There is a procedure that we have set up here that we operate in turn.
16 Mr. Visnjic announced that he had no questions.
17 If I could get to the end of the cross in every case by just
18 saying "no questions," I'd love to go behind Mr. Ivetic, rather than in
19 front of him. So it would seem to me that it would be appropriate that
20 Mr. Visnjic may be allowed to ask questions if he can make a showing that
21 I -- that I raised something that he had no idea that I might raise.
22 I provided a number -- a list of a number of documents that I was
23 going to use. Those documents clearly raised issues. If he has questions
24 relating to those documents, I think it's improper at this point. If it's
25 something outside of the documents - and I don't recall asking very many
1 questions outside of the documents - if it is, then -- then I think, in
2 your discretion, it might be appropriate. But simply to say "no
3 questions" to -- to gain some kind of advantage going behind people who
4 are normally behind you, I think is against the rules we've set up here.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE BONOMY: While appreciating the mutual convenience that the
7 arrangement proposed might create for Messrs. Visnjic and Hannis, it does
8 seem to us that additional cross-examination should be the exception,
9 rather than the rule, as has been pointed out by Mr. Ackerman and has
10 indeed been the practice that we followed. And the only way we can
11 adjudicate properly on whether Mr. Visnjic should be a second bite at the
12 cherry is when we've heard all the cross-examination and can assess his
13 position in the light of all of the cross-examination. So we require you
14 to proceed at this stage, Mr. Hannis.
15 MR. HANNIS: I will, Your Honour.
16 I would like to make one comment about that. The reason that I
17 took the position they did was because -- I thought because this was an
18 accused who was testifying. There's -- I see a difference there than with
19 any other witness, because this is not somebody that anybody else could
20 try and recall later on or -- or bring as a rebuttal witness, et cetera.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I don't think that doing it in a slightly
22 different order from the one you propose is going to materially affect
23 that problem.
24 MR. HANNIS: No, and I -- I took Mr. Ackerman's point that there
25 should be a showing made about what was it that you could reasonably
2 JUDGE BONOMY: But it's also a question of when that showing can
3 best be made, and I think it's later.
4 So let's proceed --
5 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: -- with your cross-examination.
7 MR. HANNIS: There is one procedural matter I wanted to raise with
8 Your Honour. It concerns Exhibit P950, which is the OTP interview of
9 Mr. Lazarevic.
10 It is at e-court, but numbering on the document in e-court is --
11 is very unhelpful to the reader, because what apparently was done, there
12 were, I don't know, six or seven videotapes of the interview. Each one
13 was translated separately. So the first document you see will say "page 1
14 of 37." And then the next one is "page 1 of 49." And then "page 1 of
15 17," et cetera.
16 What I've done is we've made a new copy which has in the lower
17 right-hand corner the number "1" to "264", so the pages are sequential.
18 That matches up with their e-court numbering, 1 through 264.
19 I provided hard copies to each of the Defence counsel on Monday.
20 I have hard copies for each of you Judges and for the Registry and the
21 legal officer. And I would like to make an oral application to substitute
22 this into e-court at the convenient time so that we have a page numbered 1
23 through 264 version in e-court, which will make it easier for us to follow
24 when I actually get to that document, which won't be today.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there any objection to that course of action
1 being followed? No.
2 Very well. We will allow you to substitute this as soon as you
4 MR. HANNIS: Okay. And related to that, Judge, we have CDs of --
5 of the videotapes which we would like to have attached to that in -- in
6 e-court at the -- at the convenient time as well.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Have they not already been --
8 MR. HANNIS: Those, I don't believe, were in. It was only the
9 hard copy -- it was only the transcript.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah. Do you say CDs or DVDs?
11 [Prosecution counsel confer]
12 MR. HANNIS: They're on DVDs, but they're computer files, is what
13 my case manager tells me.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: So that means you can see the interview, does it?
15 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Not just hear it.
17 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, that raises a different issue. Is there any
19 objection to that?
20 Very well. We shall allow you to attach these.
21 MR. HANNIS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
23 Q. Good afternoon -- or good morning, General.
24 A. Good morning.
25 Q. During the time that you were commander of the Pristina Corps and
1 particularly during the -- during the war, was a war diary kept at the
2 Pristina Corps command?
3 A. During the course of the war, a war diary was kept.
4 Q. And who was the person or the persons responsible for keeping that
5 war diary?
6 A. The war diary is kept in the operations organ of the Pristina
7 Corps. It is kept by persons who are on duty service, operations duty
8 officers round the clock, 24 hours a day.
9 Q. Can you give us the names of those individuals?
10 A. I can give you some of the names. Ratko Tesovic,
11 Aleksandar Simonovski, Jovic. I cannot recall his first name now. And a
12 large number of other officers who were on duty at the operations centre
13 of the Pristina Corps.
14 Q. In the investigation of this case and our preparations for trial,
15 the OTP attempted to obtain from the government of Serbia a copy of that
16 war diary. I don't recall the exact wording of the response is, but the
17 essence was that it doesn't exist; it's not in the army archives. Are you
18 aware of that?
19 A. I am aware of that, because my Defence also tried to obtain from
20 the central archives of the Army of Yugoslavia that same document.
21 Q. Did you receive any explanation or your Defence team receive an
22 explanation about why it's not in the archives? It should be; correct?
23 A. Yes, it should be. I do not remember that there is an explanation
24 in written form why there is no war diary at the central archives of the
25 Army of Yugoslavia. If you ask me for anything else on that, my own
1 position, my own views, that's a different matter.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... they also kept a war diary,
3 didn't they?
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis -- sorry, just a moment, General.
5 I missed who that question related to, Mr. Hannis.
6 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry. I -- I don't think my entire question was
7 there. I was asking about the forward command post of the Pristina Corps
8 and whether or not they also kept a war diary during the war.
9 A. During the war, the forward command post of the corps did not keep
10 a war diary, as far as I know. Rather, they compiled regular daily combat
11 reports. Some were just written in hand. Others were typewritten.
12 Q. And you agree with me it would be helpful to have that document
13 for this court; correct?
14 A. I agree. If I'm permitted to say so, the complete reconstruction
15 of what happened in the war, and far more -- and a far more complex one at
16 that, can be based on combat reports of the Pristina Corps.
17 Q. Do you know if in the war diary of the Pristina Corps command
18 information would be kept about your whereabouts on particular days when
19 you were away from the corps command post? Is that the kind of entry that
20 would be put in there?
21 A. During the war, I personally did not have any insight in the
22 keeping of this auxiliary document that is handwritten. I can answer your
23 question with a "yes." It is possible. But I really do not know whether
24 such entries were made. In certain combat reports, that was the case,
1 Q. In terms of the explanation you got about why it was missing in
2 the archives, was there any information about when it was first discovered
3 that it was not in the archives? Did it actually ever arrive there and
4 then disappear later?
5 A. What was suggested to my Defence were two ways of seeking this
6 document. One, vis-a-vis the operations administration of the General
7 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, because part of the documents from the
8 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps went through the General Staff on their
9 way to the central archives.
10 The second suggestion was to ask the central archives to look
11 through all their documentation in a more detailed fashion. As far as I
12 know, this was dealt with in both ways in great detail, but this war diary
13 was not found.
14 Q. But do you know whether or not there was any record indicating
15 that the war diary had actually been received in the archives at some
16 point in time?
17 A. I personally did not have any insight into the archives list of
18 the central archives, but I believe they would have informed the Defence
19 under what number and when it had arrived. Therefore - and it's just my
20 assumption now - I believe that document did not arrive in the central
21 archives. However, I don't have anything to support this view.
22 Q. I believe we have a war diary for the forward command post of the
23 3rd Army. Why wouldn't the Pristina Corps forward command post also keep
24 a war diary?
25 A. Well, that's not just a technical question. At the forward
1 command post of the 3rd Army, there was the army commander personally. At
2 the forward command post of the Pristina Corps, the corps commander was
3 not present. Rather, it was the chief of staff with a group of officers.
4 Therefore, decisions on the use of units took place at the command post of
5 the Pristina Corps.
6 Q. Did no one ever get in -- contact you -- did no one ever from the
7 VJ archives ever get in contact with you about the fact that the war diary
8 was missing and -- to enquire whether you might be able to assist them in
9 locating it?
10 A. If you mean by that that somebody asked me personally, my answer
11 is "no." But I do have information that the General Staff and the central
12 archives, through the command of the ground forces, which is continuing
13 its obligations and is the tactical -- is tactically responsible for that
14 archives, handed over that archives when the 3rd Army was disbanded and
15 that they were consulted.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's Note: The interpreter notes that
17 the Pristina Corps was mentioned but she did not catch in what context.
18 MR. HANNIS:
19 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... that war diary?
20 A. Sir, I didn't even have this little notebook or notepad like this.
21 I didn't keep even that, let alone the war diary.
22 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I see that my -- the first part of my
23 question was not picked up in the transcript, but I assume that will be
24 listening to the tape. The question was whether or not the general had
25 kept a personal copy.
1 Q. I'll move on. General, I -- before I forget, this is something
2 that came up late yesterday, and I wanted to ask you before I -- I got off
3 into my organised presentation.
4 And it came out that regarding the issue of MUP subordination,
5 that sometime in late April -- and it wasn't clear to me whether it was
6 the 20th or the 22nd -- there was a meeting which you attended with
7 General Pavkovic and, I think, General Stevanovic from the MUP was there.
8 Do you recall that discussion yesterday?
9 A. Yesterday I said that I recalled that we had had a meeting either
10 on the 18th or the 19th. I'm inclined to think it was the 19th of April,
12 Q. And could you tell us to the best of your recollection who all
13 attended that meeting.
14 A. To the best of my recollection, the army commander ordered that I
15 go with him. I don't know whether General Djakovic was there at the time.
16 I really don't know. I am trying to recall as best I can. And in the
17 course of the night, in a building in Pristina, I remember that General
18 Obrad Stevanovic was there from the police, one of the assistant
19 ministers, and I think General Djordjevic was also there. He was also an
20 assistant to the Minister of the Police for Public Security. I knew what
21 their posts were -- if I knew what they posts were properly then and now.
22 Q. Okay. So on the army side, we have you, General Pavkovic, and
23 perhaps General or -- was he a general at the time, Djakovic?
24 A. I think he was already a general at the time, yes.
25 Q. So but just three of you from the army?
1 A. I'm sure about the two of us, the army commander and myself. And
2 I'm just guessing about General Djakovic a bit in a desire to --
3 Q. And on the army side, only two: General Djordjevic and
4 General Stevanovic. No one else that you recall?
5 A. I can't recall --
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's probably clear, but
7 in the transcript - and I think my learned friend made a slip in his
8 question - "on the army side," General Djordjevic and Stevanovic. They
9 were not on the army side. Probably my learned friend meant to say "on
10 the MUP side."
11 MR. HANNIS: That -- that's correct. I meant the police side or
12 the MUP side when speaking of General Djordjevic and General Stevanovic.
13 Q. And what building was this meeting?
14 JUDGE BONOMY: What -- there was no answer.
15 MR. HANNIS: I saw he said, "I can't recall."
16 JUDGE BONOMY: The answer was, "I can't recall." Thank you.
17 MR. HANNIS:
18 Q. Do you recall in what building this meeting was held?
19 A. No, I don't recall. I'm not very familiar with Pristina. It was
20 night-time. The airstrikes were on. So I really can't say. I know we
21 were somewhere upstairs.
22 Q. Well, it must have been fairly close to your command post;
24 A. No, it wasn't close. The distance from Pristina to the command
25 post of the corps at the time was about 15 kilometres. To move around
1 under such conditions, when there is a security risk -- no. No.
2 Q. Do you know who arranged the meeting in the first place?
3 A. As for who organised the meeting, I don't know. All I know is
4 that the army commander told me, ordered me, in fact -- he said, "Let's go
5 to see what we'll do about re-subordination," because he had with him a
6 document issued by the Supreme Command on the 18th and he had not yet
7 issued his own order.
8 Q. Okay. How long did this meeting last approximately?
9 A. It's really hard for me to say, but maybe up to an hour. But I'm
10 really guessing now. We met. We talked. We discussed the topics. Well,
11 up to an hour more or less.
12 Q. Did anyone take notes in that meeting?
13 A. I personally did not. I didn't observe the army commander taking
14 notes. As for those two, the two representatives of the MUP, I don't
16 Q. If General Djakovic had been there, he's most likely the one to
17 have taken notes; correct? He was the note-taker for Joint Command
18 meetings in 1998; right?
19 A. I personally didn't see him taking notes at those meetings, but I
20 agree with you that if he was there, as the operations man, then he would
21 be the one taking notes. But I'm only guessing when I say that he was
22 with us. It's just guesswork, really.
23 Q. Were there reports generated on your side, on the VJ side after
24 this meeting, either reports up to the Supreme Command Staff about what
25 had taken place or down to subordinate units for information purposes?
1 A. I personally didn't do anything either towards my superiors,
2 because he was right next to me, or in relation to my subordinates,
3 because no order had been issued yet. But to the best of my recollection,
4 in the morning - it must have been the 20th - the army commander
5 telephoned the Supreme Command Staff. I didn't follow the conversation,
6 but I know he told me that he had called them up and informed them that
7 the MUP had -- or rather, that the police units in Kosovo and Metohija had
8 not received a document from the Minister of the Interior. That's what
9 the army commander said to me. He told me he had spoken to the Supreme
10 Command Staff. I don't know whether he had spoken to the chief or someone
11 else. And that's how I know this, because he told me.
12 Q. This -- this issue of MUP subordination or lack of subordination
13 is -- is something that was discussed with you at some length on Friday
14 last week at page 18038.
15 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
17 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I wanted to wait for Mr. Hannis to
18 round off this topic that he has started and to draw the Court's attention
19 to an assertion made in a question that General Djakovic was the one
20 taking notes.
21 If that relates to that contentious document, there are at least
22 two different handwritings there. And I don't know on what basis the
23 Prosecution can say that General Djakovic attended those meetings at all,
24 let alone that he was the one who took notes. So this is simply leading
25 the witness.
1 There is no evidence on the record so far to support this. I have
2 evidence to the contrary. But the next time I'll rise to my feet a little
3 sooner if this happens once again. Thank you.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila, questions are not evidence. It's the
5 answers that are evidence. But counsel is entitled to put questions on --
6 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] But you told us when I'm asking a
7 question that I have to have a basis. I had to read the indictment, and
8 so on. If that is so, I want to know what the basis is for the
9 Prosecutor's question. Otherwise, it's a capricious question, as we call
10 it in our system.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's Correction: It's a leading
13 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] And such questions in my system are not
14 permitted. That's two questions in one. What if he had said "yes"? To
15 what part of the question would his answer have related?
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you quite -- are you quite finished?
17 MR. FILA: Yes.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. I was going to say to you that albeit
19 there may not be evidence on the record in relation to this, if a party
20 has information on which it is appropriate to found a question, then the
21 question becomes appropriate because the issue may arise later or that the
22 evidence may come in later. And it's only right that all the issues
23 should have been explored at the appropriate time.
24 Now, my recollection so far - and perhaps it's wrong and we'll
25 have it corrected - is that we've been told already how these documents
1 came into the possession of the Prosecution as a foundation for the
2 questions. And my recollection is that Djakovic was mentioned as involved
3 in the exercise of producing these on the basis of information available
4 to the Prosecution.
5 Now, is that wrong, Mr. Hannis?
6 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I don't recall specifically what's in
7 the record concerning that. I know there may have been something in a 65
8 ter, because he was a potential witness. But I can assure the Court and
9 Mr. Fila I have a good-faith basis for asking the questions.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, yes. And indeed, the 65 ter in relation to
11 Djakovic and Mr. Ackerman's list would be enough foundation for these
12 questions to be asked.
13 So we are very clear on the difference between questions and
14 answers, Mr. Fila. The fact that the questions asked does not establish
15 for one minute that Djakovic wrote these minutes. On the other hand, the
16 witness has added to our information because of the question that was put
17 by telling us that he would be the obvious man, if he was at the meeting,
18 to make notes, whatever you call them.
19 So we shall repel the objection and continue with the evidence.
20 Thank you, Mr. Fila.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE BONOMY: A matter which is concerning Judge Chowhan,
23 Mr. Hannis, is that at line 24 on page 32 - really line 25 - you pose two
24 questions. And the answer is therefore open to misunderstanding. To
25 which meetings was the witness referring in that answer. So you should
1 try to clarify that, if you can.
2 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
3 Q. General, I guess I did ask you two questions and you gave one
4 answer, and I don't know if the answer was for the first question, the
5 second question, or both.
6 Are you aware from your attendance at some meetings called Joint
7 Command meetings in August and September of 1998 who kept notes of those
8 meetings? That was General Djakovic, wasn't it?
9 A. I answered that I didn't know -- that I didn't see anyone taking
10 notes at those meetings, including Djakovic. I didn't see that. I didn't
11 see anyone taking notes at that meeting. That was my answer.
12 You then asked me about another meeting between the army
13 commander, myself, and two members of the MUP on the 19th of April in
14 connection with re-subordination, and you said, "Had Djakovic been there,
15 would he have been the one taking notes?" I said I didn't take notes, the
16 army commander didn't, but he might have done as the operations man. That
17 was my answer.
18 Q. Okay.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I just ask you two questions to supplement
20 that. Do you recollect whether Djakovic was at any of the Joint Command
21 meetings you attended?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time I was there, except for
23 a few people, I can't remember -- there were 10 or 12 of these. I know I
24 was with the army commander. And I really cannot identify the people from
25 the police or the state security. And I said that last time. Because I
1 happened to be there ad hoc.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Was Djakovic there, who's neither from the police
3 or the state --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't recall, Your Honour, that
5 Djakovic was there at the time I was there. I don't remember.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: The -- the second question I have is: Assuming he
7 was for the moment there, would your position be the same, that if anyone
8 were to make notes, it would be him?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's a bit different. Let me say
10 that those were informal meetings. We had coffee. We exchanged
11 information. And at such meetings, at least to the best of my knowledge,
12 there was no one taking notes. Because these were not official meetings.
13 This serious task that the army commander and I set out to perform to talk
14 about a task issued by the Supreme Command concerning re-subordination.
15 Had someone else been there, I allowed for the possibility. But neither
16 the army commander nor I took notes.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I note your answer.
18 Mr. Hannis, are you going to be exploring the nature of the
19 meetings which the witness has described as "informal meetings" and which
20 have been described as "Joint Command meetings" in the course of the
22 MR. HANNIS: Indeed I am, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. Well --
24 MR. HANNIS: I may -- I may go to some of that immediately after
25 the break.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. There's no need for us to take that any
2 further at this stage.
3 We'll break now and resume at ten minutes to 11.00.
4 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
7 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
8 Your Honour, I wanted to advise the Court that I will get into
9 evidence about Joint Command meetings and this -- this accused's
10 attendance at those meetings, but I want to do it a little later.
11 And with regard to the basis for my question, I want to indicate I
12 checked the 65 ters. The original 65 ter file with regard to the Witness
13 Djakovic on the 15th of June, 2007 only says he will describe his
14 attendance at Joint Command meetings in 1998. He will provide his
15 impression on certain documents with regarding the Joint Command in 1998.
16 My basis for asking about, offering the notes or the minutes is based on
17 an unsigned statement by him from an interview conducted by Mr. Coo and
18 Ms. Grogan which was disclosed to the Defence in connection with his
19 anticipated testifying here.
20 Thank you.
21 Q. Now, General, I wanted to ask you about your -- your answers to
22 some questions that were put to you last Friday by your counsel and then
23 by Judge Bonomy concerning this issue of subordination of the MUP.
24 And in that discussion, Judge Bonomy, at page 18038 asked you:
25 "Mr. Lazarevic, who was your opposite member in the MUP in
2 And in your answer, you said:
3 "I would like to know that after all these years. I stand here in
4 front of you as an accused and yet I don't know that."
5 So you even now don't know who your counterpart in the MUP was in
6 Kosovo in 1998? Is that your evidence?
7 A. My evidence is that this is not a question of counterparts. The
8 military and the police are institutions that are far too different. As
9 far as I can remember my entire answer now, I also added that I'm not the
10 one who is supposed to seek a counterpart or subordinates. I should,
11 rather, get from my superior information on who is being re-subordinated
12 to me. I did not get that from the army commander because he did not get
13 that from the Supreme Command Staff in concrete terms.
14 Q. And did you not make any efforts at that time to try and figure
15 out who you could or should speak to about this issue of subordination?
16 Didn't you at least take that minimal step?
17 A. One of these minimal steps was made on the 19th by the army
18 commander. And I was present there and this was with two assistant
19 ministers of the interior. That was the initial step.
20 After that, I sent my own teams at the level of the Secretariat of
21 the Interior and at the level of police detachments in the field to see
22 whether there could be some kind of cooperation if re-subordination was
24 I assure you once again that I cannot with assistant Ministers of
25 the Interior discuss that, debate these matters. I receive my orders from
1 the army commander as to what I was supposed to do.
2 Q. -- When this topic came up and when there was some extended
3 discussion about it, why didn't you mention then this meeting that you and
4 Pavkovic had with Djordjevic and Stevanovic? Don't you think that was
5 pertinent to the issue?
6 A. If you're referring to that meeting of the 19th, I did participate
7 together with the army commander. We certainly did talk up to one hour
8 how and what, and I explained how that meeting ended. The two MUP
9 representatives explained that they could not carry out orders of the
10 chief of the Supreme Command Staff because they did not have an order from
11 their own minister.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I be clear about what exactly you're saying
13 here. Am I right in recollecting that once you were instructed, sometime
14 after the 20th of April, to try effectively to re-subordinate the MUP, I
15 think you described that as "mission impossible."
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, what
17 you've referred to now is what I wanted to say; namely, that the army
18 commander, in addition to his first order of the 20th of April, issued yet
19 another order or two in which he asks me, after all these deadlines, to
20 carry out this task. Since that could not have been done even at that
21 stage, he simply stopped dealing with that and stopped asking me to do
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Am I right in saying that you described it
24 as "mission impossible"?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I described it as "mission
1 impossible" and I explained why.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, you've told us both in answer to, I think,
3 Mr. Ivetic and in answer to Mr. Hannis about this meeting, so there was an
4 effort at the level of Pavkovic, certainly, to address the issue, how you
5 do it. And then after that meeting, you've just told us you dispatched --
6 MR. IVETIC: There's no interpretation, Your Honour.
7 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there's no interpretation.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there now interpretation? All right.
9 So you told us today and, I think, now on two occasions about a
10 meeting where you accompanied General Pavkovic. And that meeting was to
11 address the difficulty of re-subordination. And you've told us that
12 following the meeting you told your various subordinates to liaise with
13 the equivalent MUP personnel to try to achieve that.
14 Now, why is it you're exempt in the middle of all this from --
15 from having an obligation to meet somebody at your level to try to make it
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, I did
18 not say to subordinate units to find their own counterparts, equivalents.
19 But from a nonexisting order of the superior command, I wrote my own
20 order, to the extent to which I knew where what MUP units were at that
21 point in time.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Well --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To have brigade commanders find
24 those MUP units on the ground and try to establish contact with them.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, let's -- let's not bandy words on this. Your
1 words were in English: "After that" -- that's after the meeting -- "I
2 sent my own teams at the level of the Secretariat of the Interior and at
3 the level of police detachments in the field to see whether there could be
4 some kind of cooperation if re-subordination was impossible."
5 Now, that suggests to me that you were telling those beneath you
6 to try to liaise with the police to make the order that you had been given
7 work in some way. And we've heard about the meeting that you attended in
8 the company of General Pavkovic.
9 And my simple question is: Why is it you in the middle of all
10 this didn't have to look for a counterpart to try to discuss making it
11 work? What's so different about your level of command?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, what you
13 are saying now is the second step that I took as commander after the order
14 sending a command group out into the field.
15 Now I'm returning to your concrete question. In Pristina, in
16 Kosovo and Metohija, there was a MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija. And I
17 was not aware of their composition. Two assistant ministers came to that
18 staff or were on that staff, two assistant Ministers of the Interior. The
19 commander of the army talked to them; I talked to them.
20 In the order of the army commander, it says: "Units and organs of
21 the MUP." That is to say, of public security and state security should be
22 re-subordinated. Which ones? That is not written anywhere. How? That
23 is not written either. Who should do this? That's not written either.
24 I tried to explain to you what it was that I tried, as commander
25 at this operative level, to do so that out in the field where people are
1 losing lives, where the defence of the country is taking place, to prevent
2 graver consequences from ensuing.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
4 MR. HANNIS:
5 Q. I have to go back, because I don't think you answered my question
6 at page 40, line 13. I asked you: Why, when this topic came up on
7 Friday, and your counsel and Judge Bonomy were asking you about it, and I
8 think Judge Bonomy asked you a question along the lines about your telling
9 us that you were persistent in trying to do something about it; what steps
10 did you take? Why didn't you not mention last Friday this meeting with
11 the assistant minister, Djordjevic, and General Stevanovic? Isn't that
12 probably the most significant meeting you had with the police about
13 subordination? Why didn't you mention it then?
14 A. As far as I can remember, I was answering my attorney's questions
15 as to what it was that I did after the 20th of April when I issued the
16 order on re-subordination. I was explaining that part.
17 Secondly, this meeting was a meeting that the army commander
18 ordered me to have, and for me he is the mainstay of that meeting. He
19 ordered me to follow that. I did not do that on my own bat. I talked
20 about my own activities and my own measures.
21 When Defence counsel, Mr. Ivetic, asked me about this, then I gave
22 a concrete answer.
23 Q. Well, Judge Bonomy, at page 18039, line 13 said: "Now, it sounds
24 as though you didn't make any effort to liaise with someone at your level
25 in the MUP to try to achieve that."
1 And in your answer just now, you said, I guess, one of your
2 reasons for not mentioning this meeting with Djordjevic and Stevanovic is
3 because this meeting was a meeting that the army commander ordered me to
4 have. He ordered me to follow that. I did not do that on my own bat. I
5 talked about my own activities and my own measures."
6 So are you telling us because General Pavkovic ordered you to go
7 to the meeting, you didn't think you needed to mention it when this issue
8 about efforts to liaise with the MUP about subordination was being
9 discussed? Is that what you're saying?
10 A. I'm trying to say that as for the assistant ministers of the
11 interior, I cannot discuss a task with them that was ordered by the
12 President of the State. For the umpteenth time, I'm trying to say that
13 with the army commander I did participate in such a meeting. And thirdly,
14 that after the 20th, within my own scope of work, I did things - I hope
15 that you will be assured of this through documents and through the
16 witnesses who are yet to come - I took many measures at tactical level to
17 have this done; namely, what I called "mission impossible."
18 Q. So you knew who --
19 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I'm sorry, I just would like to clarify.
20 MR. HANNIS: Please.
21 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I'm sorry, General. I just was trying to clarify
22 a point.
23 Now, obviously you were going to the field. You were working
24 there in a geographical area. The question is: How would you work in a
25 vacuum? Because anybody who is pitted with such a -- such a task, such a
1 situation as you were would know the other factors with whom he would be
2 dealing and knowing about your counterpart or less than a counterpart in
3 the MUP was something very obvious. This information, you required, you
4 needed for -- for interacting with the -- with those people present there.
5 And it is very strange that we are unable to get an answer from you with
6 respect to the name of that person.
7 Now, that is something which I'm really surprised at. I wonder if
8 you can -- you can answer that. Because any commander, any centurion,
9 whatever, working in the field has to know the whereabouts, the names of
10 persons around that place where he is working, even if he is not a part of
11 those people.
12 I'm sorry, General, to burden you with this. Thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, you are right when you
14 ask me this way. At that time, I would have wanted to know who they were
15 and where they were.
16 Yet again I kindly ask the Honourable Trial Chamber to understand
17 this sentence that: "Organs and units of the MUP shall be
19 Even today from this place where I am here and now, I don't know
20 what this means. The centres of state security are there. All
21 institutions are there. That is not the way military orders are issued.
22 You are now asking me to say who it was that I was looking for.
23 In the field through brigade commanders, who are out there in the
24 field, who know chiefs of the SUP, of the Ministry of the Interior, at
25 this tactical level I asked them to find people and to establish contact
1 with them. And I sent my own assistant commanders to help in this
2 correlation at this tactical level.
3 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Thank you very much, everybody.
4 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
5 Q. General, by this time, in -- in late April, mid-or late April,
6 your subordinate units had already carried out dozens or scores of actions
7 against -- against the terrorist, or the KLA. And are you telling us in
8 spite of all those joint actions with the MUP, you didn't know who was in
9 charge of the MUP in Kosovo? You were there in Pristina. They were just
10 across the street, weren't they?
11 A. With all due respect to Their Honours, I was not across the street
12 from any MUP structure. I might have been on the first day, but after
13 that neither did they know where I was nor did I know where they were.
14 That's one thing.
15 And the second thing is, I know for a fact in the initial period
16 of the war that these anti-rebel actions supports to the MUP units took
17 place in precisely defined chains of command, as we say. The units of the
18 Pristina Corps were commanded by the brigade commands and the corps
19 command and the MUP units had their intact chain of command within the
20 framework of coordination. I know that for certain.
21 Q. You're not trying to tell us that you wouldn't have been able to
22 find them if you wanted to, are you? I mean the MUP commanders or
23 superiors in Kosovo.
24 A. I'm not sure, sir, that I said I asked for particular members of
25 the MUP or that they asked for me. What I understood you to be asking me
1 about was the initial period of the war, from the -- around the 20th of
2 April or thereabouts, when anti-rebel actions were conducted without the
3 formal order which arrived on re-subordination. That was the context of
4 my reply when I said that the units had the task of coordinating these
5 activities on the ground.
6 By Their Honours' leave, we have an exhibit here dated the 9th of
7 April where I ordered that the commanders get in touch with five
8 Secretariats of the Interior, which were planning certain actions in order
9 to coordinate certain activities, to see what could be done, to report
10 back to me so that I as the commander could verify the possibility of
11 participating in these actions. That was the gist of my reply.
12 Q. Well, during that time, you knew who General Sreten Lukic was,
13 didn't you?
14 A. Yes, I do know who General Sreten Lukic was.
15 Q. Did you try to get in touch with him about this issue of
16 subordination to find out if he was your counterpart or, if not, whether
17 he could tell you who that would be that you should speak to?
18 A. I did not try to solve that problem with General Lukic, because, I
19 repeat, two members of the police of higher rank than he was told the army
20 commander and myself that they could not implement that task. On the 19th
21 of April.
22 Q. And what do you recall about what they said about why they could
23 not implement the task? What was the reason?
24 A. There was discussion, to the best of my recollection, of the
25 practical possibilities or impossibilities of re-subordination of MUP
1 units to the army in a true combat sense, as provided for in the rules of
2 combat of the army, and not as the legislator in the Law on Defence said
3 in a single sentence, which can be interpreted in every which way.
4 We discussed what units might possibly be included in the
5 execution of combat tasks and which could not.
6 Furthermore, they had a system of regular changes of manpower. In
7 the army, when you're holding positions, that is simply impossible.
8 And finally, what I recall very well from all that was said was
9 the conclusion reached by one of those two Assistant Ministers of the
10 Interior, who said, "We cannot implement this because we do not have an
11 order from our minister."
12 Q. And as a result of that, you left the meeting with the impression
13 that this was, to use your earlier term, this was "mission impossible";
15 A. That's correct, yes.
16 Q. Now, do you know -- well, first of all, did you yourself report
17 this up to the Supreme Command Staff, this meeting and the results of the
18 meeting, MUP's position?
19 A. No. No. I beg you to understand that I have neither the right
20 nor the duty to report to the Supreme Command Staff on the realization of
21 tasks ordered by the Supreme Command Staff. That is something done by the
22 army command. In the course of today, I testified that the army commander
23 told me that on the following day, the 20th, he rang up the Supreme
24 Command Staff and informed them, and that was his duty. It was up to him
25 to do that.
1 Q. General Pavkovic reported up to the Supreme Command Staff about
2 this meeting.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, asked and answered.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it has been answered, Mr. Hannis.
5 MR. HANNIS:
6 Q. And so you took no further steps to liaise at your level because
7 you thought this was impossible and you had more important things to do;
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, these questions are being asked over
10 and over and over. This is about the fourth time that question has been
12 MR. HANNIS: I disagree with that.
13 MR. HANNIS: And he's answered it about four times.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, there are two questions there, Mr. Hannis,
15 and I wonder if either of them is going to add anything to our knowledge.
16 MR. HANNIS: I'll move on. [Microphone not activated] You
17 mentioned in the beginning of your testimony about --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 MR. HANNIS:
20 Q. You mentioned in the beginning of your testimony how you came to
21 be at the Pristina Corps. And you were shown an order signed by General
22 Perisic concerning that transfer. You told us, however, that you had
23 never seen it until a few months ago and that at the time you had acted on
24 oral orders. And that was one way that business was conducted in the
25 army, that you used oral orders as well as written orders; correct?
1 A. Oral orders by the commander is a legitimate method of issuing
2 combat tasks, orders, and decisions.
3 Q. And you used that as a commander yourself; correct?
4 A. In certain circumstances, on certain occasions, especially when
5 there was no telecommunications system in place which could deal with
6 written orders, yes.
7 Q. You also told us about your commendation. When were you
9 A. I didn't speak about my commendation. What I did say was that I
10 was not commended in May 1999, in early May, as one witness claimed. And
11 this can be seen in column 15 of my personnel file.
12 Q. Well, when were you commended? I don't have your personnel file
13 in front of me. Can you please tell us when you were commended.
14 A. In my file, as far as I can recall - because I don't have it
15 before me either now - I think I was not commended but awarded a prize, an
16 official pistol, after the war by the Chief of the General Staff of the
17 Army of Yugoslavia.
18 Q. When was that?
19 A. In 2000, to the best of my recollection now. And that has been
20 entered into my personnel file.
21 Q. And was that General Pavkovic who was the Chief of Staff at that
23 A. No, to the best of my recollection, the Chief of the General Staff
24 at that time was General Ojdanic. I was the corps commander.
25 General Pavkovic was the army commander. So in 1999 and 2000, that's
1 possible. Certainly after the war.
2 Q. I noticed in the early parts of your testimony and on several
3 occasions you -- you talked about what was happening in Kosovo in 1998.
4 You referred to "the armed rebellion." I think at page 17749, you
5 said: "In June the armed rebellion in Kosovo spread to Djakovica and
6 Decani municipalities." That's correct in your view, isn't it, that by
7 this stage what was happening was an armed rebellion more than mere
8 terrorism? Right?
9 A. My military knowledge, which I admit is modest when it comes to
10 this topic, is that a forcible attempt to topple the constitutional order
11 is called "an armed rebellion." And this attempt to topple the
12 constitutional order by force is something I refer to as an officer as "an
13 armed rebellion." And in the documents of the General Staff of the Army
14 of Yugoslavia, in General Perisic's time, and in the directive this term
15 is used, "armed rebellion."
16 Q. Are you aware that the -- the state authorities had reluctance to
17 use that term to describe what was happening in Kosovo because of possible
18 implications it might carry with regard to international law?
19 A. I really don't know what the state authorities were doing in
20 regard to defining the security problems for the state on Kosovo and
21 Metohija. I didn't see any of these documents or hear any of those
22 statesmen speaking. I didn't see any of them. But from what I myself
23 experienced on the border with Albania for more than a year, what I saw
24 and experienced for myself led me to have no doubt that this was a
25 classical terrorist armed rebellion according to any category of military
1 science in the world.
2 Q. You were aware, however, that in July of 1998 that the Chief of
3 the General Staff, General Perisic, expressed concern about how the army
4 was being used and suggested his desire that a state of emergency should
5 be declared so the army could engage against these terrorists in areas
6 outside the border belt. You knew about that.
7 A. What you are talking about is something I know about from
8 documents I have seen in these proceedings. At that time, in 1998 and
9 throughout 1999, up until recently, I really did not have any information
10 about what General Perisic asked from whom. I had occasion to meet him
11 more than once in Kosovo and Metohija, but I really have no
12 contemporaneous knowledge.
13 Q. This wasn't a matter that was discussed in your presence? You
14 never heard General Pavkovic mention this during 1998?
15 A. Absolutely not, no.
16 Q. Page 17749 you told us that you had intelligence about the
17 terrorists or the KLA arming children aged 16. How do you know about
18 that? Do you have documents to show that?
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that was a Prosecution
20 document we commented on. It wasn't intelligence information. It was a
21 Prosecution document about a meeting in the Dukagjini area. I am really
22 trying not to interrupt my learned friend, but I would kindly ask him to
23 make an effort to present the exhibits correctly, as they were presented
24 here, so as not to mislead the witness. I'm sure that's not his
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, we take the view that Mr. Hannis is
3 perfectly entitled to ask the question he asked the way he did. This is
4 cross-examination and he's entitled to test the personal knowledge of the
6 You've largely presented his evidence through a series of -- of
7 leading questions, which is understandable, because you were basing your
8 case very largely on the documents that he was personally familiar with.
9 And that was not inappropriate. However, there can be more value in
10 testing personal -- direct personal knowledge, and Mr. Hannis did not in
11 that question present anything misleading, albeit the Prosecution may have
12 documents. The likely source of these documents is the Army of
14 So we would prefer that you did not interrupt to discuss the
15 detail of the potential answer unless there's something plainly unfair
16 about the question that's been asked, and this was not a question that
17 falls into that category.
18 Mr. Hannis.
19 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
20 Q. Well, let me -- let me rephrase that question. At page 17749,
21 line 14, you said, General: "They mobilised children age 16. And if the
22 Trial Chamber allows me to explain why I know that, I know that because
23 those villages were, for the most part, Catholic villages and they applied
24 to the military and to the Minister of Interior. They wanted us to
25 protect them. They didn't want to take up those weapons and they didn't
1 want to side with the armed rebellion."
2 Now, there was a document that Mr. Bakrac showed you from -- from
3 KLA purportedly, but my question is: Did you have some documents at that
4 time that reflected this? In 1998?
5 A. I understood your question. The corps command - I am primarily
6 referring to the forward command post - and I'm talking about my personal
7 knowledge. Well, we had operative information about the arming of minors.
8 We talked to people from these villages. They said to the military
9 security organs that even children were given weapons and we also captured
10 a group of terrorists that was trying to cross the border that included
11 minors who were in uniform and armed.
12 I really ask that we be very accurate. This document that we used
13 is not from the army. It is from the so-called General Staff of the KLA.
14 And we offered that as evidence.
15 Q. Well, General, I agree, we should try to be accurate. I did say
16 that was a document purportedly from the KLA. You said just now that
17 you're talking about your personal knowledge: "We talked to people from
18 these villages." Did you talk to people from these Catholic villages
20 A. I remember one occasion very well. As chief of staff of the corps
21 - and I think that the corps commander was there too - we visited a
22 village in the border area towards Kosare. I think it's called Batusa.
23 We talked to the local population there that the soldiers were passing
24 that way in order to guard the border and to guard them. We were telling
25 them not to take weapons from anyone. We brought them quite a bit of food
1 supplies. And they accepted what it was that we were saying, these
2 proposals, and they promised that they would do their best not to take
3 terrorist forces in. In the village of Batusa this was done to a
4 considerable degree; however, later on many soldiers got killed in that
6 So, yes, on one occasion quite certainly - I remember that - and
7 it's the village of Batusa. That is, June 1998. That is what I'm talking
9 Q. When was that?
10 A. In the month of June 1998. There is a video recording of that.
11 There is evidence of that. But I am referring to that by way of an
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, in the answer you've just given,
14 you've not given any indication of what, if anything, you may have learned
15 on that occasion about the particular issue that Mr. Hannis is asking you.
16 Please try to listen to what the question is about and -- and deal with
17 the question.
18 I don't know if Mr. Hannis wishes to pursue it to find out if
19 there is an answer to the question.
20 MR. HANNIS: I want to follow up on another part of the earlier
22 Q. You also said before, General, that -- that you captured a group
23 coming across the border that included minors. When was that? Is that
24 reflected in any report that you have?
25 A. From April onwards, there were quite a few times that this
1 happened. This is contained in the combat reports of the 3rd Army. And I
2 remember that what followed was an order of the corps commander that
3 additional measures should be taken with a view to preventing incursions
4 by terrorist forces from Albania because they are putting children into
5 their first lines and we do not want these minors to get hurt in clashes
6 with border security organs.
7 Q. What's your definition of minor? Under what age?
8 A. By that I mean what the Law on the Army says. That is, military
9 age, when people are eligible to do their military service. And that is
10 the age of 18 onwards. So when I say "minor," I mean under the age of 18.
11 Q. All right. You said -- you talked about these villagers from the
12 Catholic villages. What part of Kosovo are we talking about? Are we
13 talking about on the -- on the west side of Kosovo? Between Djakovica and
15 A. South-west, geographically speaking. And I'm specifically
16 referring to the villages around Djakovica. I am referring to the village
17 of Korenica, Doblibare, and a few others, in the broader area of
19 Q. Okay. How about Guska? That was a small village near Korenica,
20 as I recall. That was a Catholic village. No?
21 A. The village of Guska is one that I know. And as far as I can
22 remember, it is in that area, but I cannot be very specific on that.
23 Q. So if these villagers were asking you and the MUP to protect them,
24 why in April 1999 were the VJ and the MUP cleaning out those villages,
25 specifically Korenica and Guska, as we heard from Merita Deda and Lizane
1 Malaj earlier in this case? You recall their testimony?
2 A. I recall the testimony of Merita Deda and some others. You're
3 asking me why the army and the police cleansed those villages. I can say
4 to you what it is that I know; namely, that in that area at that time
5 there were several hundred terrorists, members of the armed rebellion.
6 There was an entire brigade that clashed with the security forces.
7 Further on, what happened specifically is what we heard of from
8 these witnesses. I'm not aware of the details, but people who took part
9 in all of that will be coming here, and I kindly ask the Trial Chamber to
10 take note of that and to allow these witnesses, the participants in these
11 events, to speak about them.
12 Q. Well, and during the cleansing of those villages and the clash
13 with the terrorists, the civilians were told to go to Albania; correct?
14 A. I have no information about any one of the members of the corps
15 units having ordered any civilian from that area or from any other Albania
16 to go to -- any other area to go to Albania.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
18 MR. HANNIS:
19 Q. Do you have any information about members of the MUP telling those
20 civilians to go to Albania?
21 A. I do not have any information about any of the members of the MUP
22 doing that. I have no such information.
23 And in particular - and I say "in particular" - I am saying that I
24 don't have such reports from army unit, because it's army units that I got
25 my reports from.
1 Q. And do you have any information about civil protection, civil
2 defence, or the armed non-Siptar population telling those civilians from
3 the villages or Korenica and Guska to go to Albania?
4 A. Today I am talking about information from units that were in that
5 area. It is only natural that my answer does not pertain to what it was
6 that we heard here from Prosecution witnesses. Once again, I repeat that
7 I did not have any information about any structures of the state organs in
8 the defence system expelled the civilian population from that area or from
9 some other area.
10 Q. Do you recall protected Witness K73 who testified here about
11 events in that area in late April 1999? Do you remember him?
12 A. Well, there were a few -- or rather, quite a few witnesses with
13 that pseudonym, "K." If you could please be so kind as to ... Well, not
14 give me the name, but I don't know how you can help me answer your
15 question. I don't know.
16 Q. You may remember him because before he left the courtroom, as I
17 recall, I think he clicked his heels together and gave you a head nod
18 before he left the room. Do you remember that?
19 Now you know who I'm talking about; correct?
20 A. Yes. Yes. Yes, now I know who it is that you're talking about.
21 Q. So do you recall his testimony about what he was doing with his
22 unit and what he saw in that area regarding the moving-out of the
24 A. I recall in principle what his testimony was during those days, on
25 the 27th and 28th of April.
1 Q. Do you have any reason to believe that he was not truthful or
2 accurate about what he described in his experience during that operation?
3 A. As for the witness statement of K73 from the level of his duty
4 about an action that is called an "operation" here, can be at this lowest
5 level. The insight that he can have into everything that was happening --
6 well, I can assess it, but I cannot deal with it. I'm trying to say that
7 that is his view or that is his statement.
8 I want to say to the Trial Chamber that I hope a witness from that
9 period of time will come, an officer, who took part in that assignment and
10 who was the superior of that person, so then we can find out a bit more
11 about whether he was telling the truth or whether he was not telling the
12 truth and whether he had enough information or whether he did not have
13 enough information.
14 Q. Well, as I recall, K73 talked about seeing the civilians and being
15 received as sort of -- at the end of the road they were coming down, as
16 K73 and those on -- those neighbours to his units on either side were
17 driving people in that direction. Do you recall he talked about the men
18 were separated out and the women and children were directed on down the
19 road? Do you recall that?
20 A. I really do not recall that statement that K73 stated that. Would
21 it be possible for the transcript to be shown to me? But I really do not
22 recall that he said that his unit at the rank of a platoon or two took
23 part in the separation from men and women.
24 Q. If we have time, General, maybe we'll do that later. Let me move
25 on to another topic at the moment. You mentioned a couple of classical
1 terrorist tactics. One of them you called the." "1.000 fires tactic."
2 The second one you mentioned was the -- the two -- "The two villages
3 tactic." At page 17754 you described this is one where one villages is
4 evacuated of civilians, and it then constitutes a fortified military
5 territory stronghold; whereas, in the second village is concentrated the
6 civilian population, which extends logistical and other support, is also a
7 live shield.
8 I'm not clear on how this works. It sounds like what you're
9 describing is one village is -- is fortified and that's what's used by the
10 terrorist and the civilians are in the second village. So why don't you
11 just attack the fortified village?
12 I understand you say that they may use it as a shield, but can't
13 you go around to the other side? Or am I being too simple-minded about
14 all that?
15 A. I will try to use a specific authentic factual example to explain
16 this terrorist tactic. The village of Smonica, which has been mentioned
17 in this courtroom more than once, was a purely paramilitary terrorist
18 stronghold at a high level. On the main road between Djakovica and Decani
19 and several border posts. The entire area in front of the village was
20 fortified and mines were laid there and there were no, or very few,
21 civilians there. The civilians from that village had been moved to the
22 village of Nec, the village of Nivokaz, the village of Birjak [phoen], and
23 the village of Smonica as a terrorist stronghold could not be approached
24 without passing through the villages to which the civilians had been
1 So what you are saying -- or rather, your question was why the
2 terrorist stronghold was not attacked. When on the 2nd of August the
3 Chief of Staff of the army ordered that this terrorist stronghold be
4 neutralised, there was a lot of tactics on the part of the units and a lot
5 of restraint needed to carry out this extremely difficult task. The
6 terrorist stronghold was neutralised but they went to these villages and
7 got mixed in with the civilians, and that was the end of the action,
8 because one could not chase and destroy them, since they had become mixed
9 up with the civilians.
10 That was the tactic I mentioned, which I am now trying to explain
11 so everyone will understand it.
12 Q. General, it seems to me that that's a -- a very good explanation
13 for why it was decided -- or why the action was taken later to remove all
14 the civilians, because of this very problem that the terrorist, the KLA,
15 would fight until they decided it was better to slip away. And as you've
16 told us -- we've heard other witnesses indicate sometimes they changed
17 into civilian clothes and mixed in with the civilian population.
18 This was a very frustrating situation for the army and the MUP,
19 wasn't it?
20 A. With all due respect, I cannot agree with this statement
21 concerning frustration or lack of it, especially as regards what was done.
22 I mentioned the date in August 1998. I assume you are referring to the
23 wartime period six or eight months later, and these two -- these things
24 have nothing to do with each other, and especially not with some sort of
25 systematic large-scale campaign of attacking Albanian villages or a
1 widespread attack to eliminate all that from the area by the army and the
2 MUP, as you say.
3 So my answer is no, that's not how it was.
4 Q. Well, with all due respect back to you, General, I would say that
5 not everyone in your army would agree or not everyone in the MUP would
6 agree that this was not frustrating, trying to fight this kind of enemy
7 who hid, who ambushed, who fired until they saw it was advantageous to
8 leave and then slip into civilian clothes and mix in with the villagers so
9 you couldn't pursue them any further. And this after having killed or
10 wounded one's colleagues in the VJ and the MUP. Are you seriously telling
11 me that the average MUP policeman or the average VJ soldier engaged in
12 those operations would not find that frustrating at least?
13 A. I ask leave as far as possible to explain that I cannot talk about
14 the MUP from every possible aspect concerning the army. I am neither
15 competent nor authorised nor do I have the required knowledge. But when I
16 said that members of the army were not frustrated with this tactic,
17 members of the army have to respond to enemy tactics with certain tactical
18 actions, whether they be frustrated or not. In the army, one acts
19 precisely according to certain principles, regulations, and orders, not by
20 responding emotionally. If such things happen, they're isolated cases,
21 but that's not what I was referring to.
22 Q. General, you're not giving yourself enough credit. I think you
23 are competent and authorised, because I'm not necessarily talking about
24 MUP versus VJ as being different somehow. This is a very human situation.
25 You're a human being. You've been a soldier. You know about combat. How
1 can you sit there and tell me with a straight face that a person engaged
2 in that kind of situation would not find it frustrating?
3 You see your buddy injured or killed. You know it came from over
4 there. You don't know which one of those so-and-sos did it. But
5 eventually aren't you going to reach the point where you want to get even?
6 Isn't that human nature?
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't know whether
9 Mr. Hannis wishes to transform the accused into an expert for psychology
10 or psychiatry, for him to tell us whether someone was frustrated or not.
11 I don't think that falls within the scope of his testimony, and that's my
12 objection. I'm doing my best not to interrupt. This is the second time I
13 have risen to my feet. But now I really think that we are asking the
14 accused to be an expert witness, a neuropsychiatrist.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, you must object when you consider it
16 appropriate. Our concern is that these objections should not consist of a
17 narrative of a possible answer for the witness or a discussion of the
18 evidence, where that can be avoided. And therefore it's important,
19 obviously, to confine those which require substantial discussion to
20 situations which necessarily involve some sort of prejudice to the
22 On this question, we shall confer.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, the question that has been asked
25 requires the sort of opinion that anyone familiar with human behaviour and
1 human emotion and reaction can give. So far as that is of any use to the
2 Tribunal in determining the issue, it's not a matter that requires expert
3 evidence, so we will repel the objection which is founded on that basis
4 but observe that one wonders what value there might be in view of the fact
5 that the witness has twice addressed the issue.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Precisely so, Your Honours. I don't
7 want to speak in front of the accused, but quite simply the question
8 always contains a trap. And as the trap is evident, it can be avoided.
9 And then we get ourselves into a situation like this one.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac, I've made the ruling.
11 See, what you have to be very careful about in this situation is
12 that unlike the position with other witnesses, we cannot ask this witness
13 to be removed from the courtroom while we discuss the rights or wrongs of
14 a question. That's why greater caution is required when an accused is
15 giving evidence.
16 You understand? That's why I am -- I am particularly concerned
17 about this problem.
18 So when we make a ruling, that is the ruling to be followed.
19 Please continue, Mr. Hannis.
20 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 In -- in light of your remarks, I will move to another topic.
22 Q. General, I want to show you Exhibit P1428. I've actually got a
23 hard copy I can hand you, if the usher can assist.
24 This is a Pristina Corps command decision dated the 14th of
25 August, 1998. You saw this one before. This is one that you signed
1 yourself; correct?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And is -- well, this is a good time to ask you this question:
4 Could you explain for me the difference for you between an operation and
5 an action, in terms of activities by the VJ.
6 A. An action is a form of combat action at the lowest tactical level
7 within the framework of tactical and joint tactical units, and the numbers
8 involved are 100 men or fewer to up to several hundred or several thousand
10 In this particular action specifically, there was Combat Group
11 15-3, which contain 197 persons. An operation, on the other hand, is the
12 most complex form of combat action carried out on a large area according
13 to a certain plan and has as its aim an operative or a strategic goal. It
14 has the highest possible goal to be achieved through the carrying-out of
15 the operation.
16 For example, the overall engagement of the Pristina Corps in the
17 defence of the country is called a defensive operation of the Pristina
18 Corps. That was the only one, and it lasted for the three months of the
19 war. Everything else within this single operation that had strategic or
20 operative aims of defending the integrity of the country, there were
21 hundreds of battles, fights, ambushes, incursions, and so on and so forth.
22 Q. So is anything less than the overall engagement of the Pristina
23 Corps in the defence of the country during the 78 days of the war, is
24 anything less than that then something that I should refer to as "an
25 action" instead of "an operation"?
1 A. That's correct. An action, a fight, or a battle, according to the
2 combat rules. There's only one operation, and within that operation there
3 are actions, battles, fights, certain tactical activities, and all those
4 lower level activities.
5 Q. Okay, and, General, I'll try to do that but I think it may be a
6 matter of translation. I seem to recall some of the documents referring
7 to specific actions in a smaller geographic area over a couple of days
8 being referred to as "operations."
9 And I note under item 1 here, the last line says: "Readiness for
10 operations at 0700 hours on 15 August."
11 A. "Readiness for activities on the 15th of August." That's what it
12 says in the Serbian version, in this document signed by me.
13 Q. Now --
14 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't think that was
15 Mr. Hannis' question. And to avoid confusion, in the English version it
16 does say "forces for diversion operations." But I would like the general
17 to read out what it says in the original, in Serbian.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: I think that might be an idea in this case,
19 Mr. Hannis.
20 MR. HANNIS: Yes. It --
21 Q. General, if you could read the last line under item number 1. The
22 last sentence.
23 A. "Readiness for activities on the 15th of August, 1998 at 0700
25 Q. All right. Well, my English translation -- says "operations."
1 That's one we'll -- we'll check on.
2 General, this -- these activities or this action was to break up
3 sabotage and terrorist forces in the Slup and Voksa villages sector;
5 A. I did not get an interpretation.
6 Q. This was an action to break up sabotage and terrorist forces in
7 the Slup and Voksa villages sector; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And in this particular action, you were in charge; correct?
10 A. No. No, I wasn't.
11 Q. Who was?
12 A. The 15th Armoured Brigade was the one conducting these activities,
13 with its Combat Group 15-3. I was at the forward command post in
14 Djakovica at that time. There was a team from the General Staff there
15 with me, some dozen officers, who at that time were inspecting or
16 controlling the corps units. General Perisic was there. Certainly I
17 monitored what was going on. But if you are referring to my signing this
18 document, that doesn't mean that I was in command of that action.
19 Q. Well, who was in command of the action, then? Are you saying it
20 was the -- the commander of the 15th Armoured Brigade, or it was
21 General Perisic, or -- or who?
22 A. The command of the 15th Armoured Brigade.
23 And if you allow my to say this, we showed the order of the
24 brigade commander for that action, this action.
25 Q. Okay. Well, then let's have a look at the meetings of the Joint
1 Command for 1998. This is Exhibit P1468.
2 I'd like to go to page 54 of the English. And I think it's
3 page -- I believe it's page 45 of the B/C/S, but I've got a -- I've got a
4 hard copy of the page I want to ask you about.
5 And I've -- I've highlighted the portion there where
6 General Pavkovic is speaking. And it appears to be about the fifth or
7 sixth -- the sixth bullet point down.
8 In English, it's translated as saying: "The Chief of Staff would
9 command the action around Vonca [phoen] and Stanpul [phoen]." I suggest
10 to you based on other evidence, including 1428, that that is a misreading
11 of the handwriting in B/C/S and should refer to "Voksa" and "Slup."
13 Because this is from a meeting on the 13th of August, 1998.
14 That's what General Pavkovic was talking about; right?
15 A. May I read this in the Serbian language as it's written here?
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Read out --
17 MR. HANNIS: Please.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: -- the part that refers to the villages.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "The action around Voksa and Slup
20 would be under the Chief of Staff." It does not say "shall command." It
21 says "would," in the conditional. That is how somebody wrote this, that
22 it would be led by. "Rukovodi."
23 MR. HANNIS:
24 Q. So could you --
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] There is a difference in the Serbian
3 language between "command" and "control." And this -- well, I'll try to
4 follow your instructions.
5 I would kindly ask the interpreters to try to make this
6 distinction, because the general read out here "would be." He didn't
7 say "command."
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's Note: We said "under." We did
9 not say "command." And the word used is "rukovodio" which is word from
10 the noun, "control." So it would be "under the control of."
11 JUDGE BONOMY: The way it was translated into English there
12 was "would be led by," which is yet a third way of -- of describing it. I
13 wonder if it matters -- I wonder if it matters for the purpose of the
14 examination. I doubt it very much.
15 MR. HANNIS: Not a lot, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: No.
17 MR. HANNIS: But I have a question based on the answer.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: It's -- let's proceed with this. And if a formal
19 translation -- retranslation is required, then the document can be -- or
20 the page can be re-submitted to CLSS and then filed by whichever party
21 wishes us to take notice of something which has not been made clear in the
22 course of this evidence.
23 MR. HANNIS:
24 Q. General, could you explain to me what the difference is between an
25 operation being commanded by you and one being under you.
1 A. Well, in essence, there is a difference if the Chief of Staff is
2 the person who commands. Then he issues assignments to all the engaged
3 forces, makes decisions, amends the decision, receives reports, and
4 monitors the implementation of that decision. If somebody else is the
5 mainstay, then this other person, the commander of the brigade of the --
6 or the combat group, carries out these tasks. I'm saying this from the
7 point of view of command.
8 However, you asked me, I think - at least, that's the translation
9 I got - you asked me what the difference was between "command"
10 and "control." Control, "rukovodjenje," is a broader notion in terms of
11 directing, organising, and coordinating all these activities. But there
12 is no direct command. Direct command is in somebody else's hands.
13 Q. Well, in your answer you just said, "There's a difference if the
14 Chief of Staff is the person who commands. Then he issues assignments to
15 all the engaged forces, makes decisions."
16 In P1428, signed by you, this is a document that's called a
17 decision, and it has "task for units." So isn't that what you're doing?
18 Isn't that exactly what you're doing?
19 A. With all due respect, that is not the way it is. We, my Defence,
20 displayed at least four documents in respect of this action the other day.
21 First of all, the commander of the 3rd Army made the decision for
22 this action.
23 Secondly, that the corps command made a decision. And on the map
24 up -- this was approved to him by the commander of the 3rd Army.
25 Fourthly, that the commander of the 3rd Army -- or rather, the
1 corps commander reported to the army commander about this action.
2 I, as chief of staff, signed this part because on that day the
3 commander was not there. He was accompanying the Chief of General Staff
4 so that the units could be prepared for this task.
5 In order for me to command the units, I have to have authorisation
6 from my commander that I can command the units and use the units.
7 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, is this a good time for the break?
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
9 Mr. Fila.
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No. Just for the transcript, I wanted
11 to draw your attention to one thing. There is a problem with
12 interpretation because Mr. Hannis keeps using the word "operation." Look
13 at 12, 71. He's asking General Lazarevic what the difference is between
14 these operations, when he -- he commands an operation or somebody lower
15 than him; whereas, what this is about is an action.
16 I don't want this to create problems for you. There is no
17 action -- there is no operation involved here. That is what the word used
18 in the -- this so-called document is "action" as well. So we are only
19 talking about action, not operations here.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Which line were you referring to?
21 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] 12.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: On which page?
24 MR. FILA: [Microphone not activated]
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Page 71, line 12. So it's Mr. Hannis'
2 question. It says "operation."
3 And that word is not mentioned anywhere. So it's 12.
4 The question that was put to General Lazarevic: What is the
5 difference between you commanding an operation or a subordinate?
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry, I can't find -- I can't find it. Which line
7 is it?
8 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] 6/7.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: It's now --
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Page 71. 7. I saw it just now.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm sure Mr. Hannis accept what accepts what you
12 say in view of the definitions he's already had from the witness of these
13 two expressions. Thank you.
14 We shall rise until five to 1.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
19 Q. General, I don't know, do you still have that document in front of
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And now -- actually, I was specifically referring to P1428, the
23 decision on the 14th of August. Do you have that? I see you have the --
25 A. I have it in my hands.
1 Q. In one of your last answers before the break, you said in order
2 for you to command the units, you would have to have authorisation from
3 your commander.
4 Well, you did have authorisation for this particular action,
5 didn't you? I mean, we see General Pavkovic on the 13th of August is
6 telling the Joint Command meeting that this -- this action in the Slup and
7 Voksa area would be under you; right?
8 A. With the leave of the Trial Chamber, I will repeat that that is
9 not what is written there. What is written there is "would be under the
10 control." So this is the conditional. It does not say "will" or"shall"
11 be under the control of. So what this person who was at the meeting wrote
12 does not mean that an order was issued to me that I command that action.
13 Q. Well, apart from what that person wrote at the meeting, did
14 General Pavkovic tell you that you would be in charge of that action? Yes
15 or no?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Well, then how is it that you're issuing a decision assigning
18 tasks to those various groups? Did you do that without his permission?
19 A. The operations organ of the corps command that planned this task,
20 being unable at that point in time to find the corps commander to sign
21 this decision, brought it to me, the chief of staff, who does have the
22 right to sign such a document. I recalled that the corps command had
23 already signed that decision on the decision map and it had been approved
24 by the army commander.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, you said that the person who wrote
1 what happened at the informal meeting used the conditional tense and the
2 word "would." What was the condition?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It probably depended on where the
4 corps commander would be at that point in time. As he was touring the
5 units with the Chief of General Staff, it depend on whether he would get
6 to the forward command post in Djakovica or not.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
8 Mr. Hannis.
9 MR. HANNIS:
10 Q. And General Pavkovic knew ahead of time that he was going to be
11 touring with General Perisic, and that's why he arranged for you to be in
12 control of this action; right?
13 A. I've answered twice. If the Trial Chamber so requests, I will do
14 it a third time. That is not what is written here, and that is not the
15 order that I received, executive, as orders are in the army.
16 Q. Well, then did you receive an order about this and what was your
18 A. A few moments ago, I explained that I had not received an order,
19 that at that time I was reporting to a big team from the General Staff
20 about securing the state border. The focus of the control inspection was
21 in Djakovica, in that part of the units. I went with that team to the
22 units. This control inspection went on for three days precisely in
23 Djakovica, and that is what General Obradovic testified about as well.
24 Q. Well, General, we've seen other documents, orders, decisions,
25 reports, et cetera, which may have the typewritten name of the superior
1 commander but it's signed for that person by a subordinate. Why wasn't
2 this signed "za"? Why wasn't this signed for Pavkovic?
3 A. For Pavkovic? If it says "commander," I'm the only one who can
4 sign it. But if it says "chief of staff" then there's no "za," for, then
5 I sign it. Had this said "commander," "komandant," General Pavkovic, then
6 I could have signed it along with the word "za," for. However, since it
7 was printed out "Chief of Staff" I signed it.
8 Q. Well, I thought from your earlier answer you said the reason that
9 you signed this was because the commander was not available. But why is
10 it compared with your typewritten name?
11 A. I've already said, because the commander was not at the command at
12 that moment. The operations people wrote it this way for me to sign,
13 because there was already a decision of the corps commander that had been
14 verified by the army commander. So this task had already been defined by
15 the army command vis-a-vis the corps.
16 Q. And you're saying between the 13th of August, when
17 General Pavkovic made this remark at the Joint Command meeting, and the
18 14th of August, when you signed that order, you had no communication from
19 him about your being responsible for this action? Why would he tell --
20 let me ask you this question: Why would he tell Mr. Stanisic and
21 General Lukic and Mr. Minic, Mr. Andjelkovic, those persons present at the
22 Joint Command meeting on the 13th of August, why would he go out of the
23 way to make the point that his Chief of Staff was going to have this
24 action under him? He told all those people and he didn't tell you?
25 A. If General Pavkovic said what is written here -- well, you are now
1 asking me to assess this, analyse it, not to say guess. If he told this
2 group of people that an action would be carried out in the border belt,
3 that his Chief of Staff of the corps is in Djakovica, probably he wanted
4 to draw their attention to that, that preparations would be carried out in
5 a timely way through control on my part. I repeat that. I'm just
6 assuming this.
7 Now, what is written here are, are these General Pavkovic's words
8 or not? I am trying to find a logical explanation through my answer.
9 Q. Me too. What -- what happened with this action? Do you know?
10 Did it take place? On the 15th of August, as -- as envisaged by this
12 A. This action did happen. Five police officers got killed, one army
13 officer, and one soldier. And this terrorist stronghold in the border
14 belt was neutralised.
15 Q. And if you would look at item 6 in this decision, under "Command
16 and communications," the English says:
17 "Combat operations will be commanded by the Joint Command for
18 Kosovo and Metohija with the Pristina Corps forward command post in
20 That's slightly different from some of the other command and
21 communications instructions we've seen. But this one seemed to
22 contemplate the Joint Command with the forward command post, where you
23 were, and you being the person who signed this decision for this action.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Zecevic.
25 MR. HANNIS:
1 Q. Correct?
2 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honours. I believe there is
3 possibly a mistake in translation, because according to my
4 understanding --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you saying the -- the mistake is in the
6 translation of paragraph 6?
7 MR. ZECEVIC: Exactly, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, let's ask the witness to read paragraph 6.
9 MR. ZECEVIC: Yeah. That's what I -- that's what I wanted to say,
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you read out loud the start of paragraph 6,
12 please, Mr. Lazarevic.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Combat activities will be commanded
14 by the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija from the forward command post
15 of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica."
16 MR. HANNIS:
17 Q. General, you signed this document. At the time, did you notice
18 the words "Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija" in bold letters a few
19 centimetres above your signature?
20 A. Yes. And I've already explained over the past few days on a few
21 other documents like this too.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Just before you -- if you're moving to that rather
23 different issue, can I just be clear about one thing.
24 Anyone reading this document and being told that the operation was
25 commanded from the joint -- from the forward command post in Djakovica -
1 and by "anyone," I mean an inferior officer, a subordinate officer - who
2 would he assume was actually commanding the operation? Or rather, the
3 action. Sorry, my mistake. Commanding the action.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Over here the actual person is not
5 specified. It's not an individual that is specified. The mainstay of
6 command is the forward command post of the Pristina Corps.
7 With your leave, Your Honour, Mr. President, the previous action,
8 Ratis, Glodjane, has this same qualification that was signed by the corps
9 commander. This has nothing to do with the signature on the document.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: No, I understand what your -- I understand your
11 point about this. But I just want to be clear about how far it goes. I'm
12 a -- a subordinate of yours and I get a document that has this paragraph 6
13 about the command being at the forward command post and it's signed by you
14 and I want to go back for instructions on something. Who would I think
15 was the person I should go to? Standing the overall terms of that
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The subordinate will call the
18 operations centre of the forward command post in Djakovica to speak to a
19 person, an individual, who is in command or control of the action or to
20 receive information, to talk to the commander if he's there, to talk to
21 the chief of staff, if he is standing in for him. You see, he's going to
22 call the forward command post and its operations centre in Djakovica.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: And who would he normally expect to be the
24 commander at the forward command post?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It can be the corps commander. It
1 can be the chief of staff. It can be another leader instead of the chief
2 of staff who got the authority to be in charge of the forward command
4 JUDGE BONOMY: So this document does not tell us who is in charge,
5 in command of the action. You only find that out by making further
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here the document does not speak
8 about that. What it says is that command takes place from the forward
9 command post. And who it is, when he calls he will know. Or if
10 preparation had been carried out before that, then one knows who will
12 JUDGE BONOMY: And do you actually know who -- who was in command
13 of this operation?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already explained, Your Honour,
15 Mr. President, that the commander of the 15th Armoured Brigade whose
16 combat group was the mainstay of active actions was in command of that
17 unit. During that period of time, the forward command post in Djakovica
18 was functioning under the control of a large team from the General Staff
19 and they were following what was going on in the field has much as they
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Does that mean the commander of the 15th Armoured
22 Brigade was in the forward command post?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was for the most part in the
24 broader area of combat activities. And the forward command post is at a
25 distance of about some 10 kilometres from that particular locality.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
2 MR. HANNIS:
3 Q. Well, can you tell us when he was placed in command of that
4 action? And was it by a written order or an oral order?
5 A. We tendered into evidence the order of this brigade commander. I
6 don't know when, how, but we do have in evidence the order of this
7 commander, of the 15th Armoured Brigade. Now, I don't know what the
8 number is so that we could go back to it.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you help on that, Mr. Bakrac?
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Continue, if you wish, Mr. Hannis, and --
12 MR. IVETIC: 6D731, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
15 Can we have that up on the screen, please.
16 Q. And while we're waiting, General, let me ask you this: If the
17 commander of the 15th Brigade is in command of this operation, how would
18 some of these other elements know that? How would -- how would the Battle
19 Group 125-2 know that if all they have is this decision?
20 A. The corps units of the combat group participating in the blockade
21 received a decision on the corps commander's map, which has also been
22 entered into evidence here.
23 Secondly, probably - I say "probably" because it's an entire
24 process - the commander is participating in the implementation of this
25 task were prepared, directly for the task.
1 Q. Well, we have on the screen now 6D731. Can you tell me where in
2 there it indicates that the commander of the 15th Brigade is in -- in
3 charge of or commanding this action. From what little I can see on the
4 screen, it looks like he's commanding his subordinate group, BG-15-3, but
5 I don't see that he's commanding BG 125-2 or the other groups listed in
6 P1428. Am I wrong about that?
7 A. Well, let me explain what this is about without saying whether
8 you're right or wrong. There was only one combat group engaged in action
9 here according to the decision of the corps command, and that is evident
10 from the previous document in item 2, "Tasks for the units."
11 This combat group was issued a special order by the commander of
12 the 15th Armoured Brigade. The other units and combat groups continued to
13 hold the previous positions which they had been holding for ten days or so
14 and where they were encircled.
15 You asked about Combat Group 125-2 and all the following ones.
16 Well, for 15 days those units had not budged from their positions. This
17 is a new combat group which arrived to carry out active activities in this
18 area, and it was given a task.
19 Q. I'm not sure if there is a translation issue again but --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you move forward, can we see the end of this
22 Now, this is where it's misleading. The question to which
23 Mr. Hannis is seeking an answer is: Where is the document that puts the
24 brigade commander of the 15th Armoured Brigade in command of this action?
25 Is that not your question, Mr. Hannis?
1 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: So you're looking for something that comes from
3 above his level putting him in command.
4 Now, is there such a document, Mr. Lazarevic?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I attempted to explain that it's
6 possible that during the preparation for the task, the commander of the
7 15th Armoured Brigade received - and this is frequently the custom.
8 That's the procedure - the person who is in charge of planning the action
9 is designated. But here in my assessment there was no need to designate
10 him specially, because that was the only unit that was being brought in.
11 That was the unit engaged in action. It was new in that position, while
12 all -- whereas, all the others had already been there for more than a
13 fortnight, for 15 days. That's why this particular unit is being issued
14 with this order for action.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
16 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Well, I have a question about that in 1428. But first, before we
18 leave this one that's on the screen, the last line before the signature
19 says: "All forces during b/d" -- and is that combat operations? Can you
20 explain that acronym for me? What does the "b/d" stand for?
21 A. With all forces in the carrying out of combat activities, the
22 command of the Pristina Corps will be in command of these from the forward
23 command post. The brigade commander copied a sentence from the decision
24 issued by the corps command. He translated it, so to speak, into his own
25 language because for him a Joint Command is not a Joint Command. Rather,
1 it's the command of the Pristina Corps which will be at the forward
2 command post.
3 Q. Well, if he had received an order placing him in command of this
4 operation, why would he care about whether it was a Joint Command or not?
5 And why is he saying "all forces will be under the command and control of
6 the forward command post of the Pristina Corps Command"?
7 A. Because the other units neighbouring to this unit with which he
8 might need to coordinate in combat activities, if he cannot solve this
9 problem directly, he should refer it to the corps command in order to
10 regulate coordination through the corps command.
11 Q. Well, General, from some of your earlier answers, I would take it
12 that you, as you're supposing for Colonel Cirkovic, you share the belief
13 that a Joint Command is not a Joint Command. So why in the order you
14 signed, 1428, do we have "Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija" in bold
15 letters above your name? Why didn't you just leave it out, like you're
16 trying to say he did?
17 A. Please bear with me for a little while and let me try to explain
18 the following: When actions of support and coordinated action between the
19 MUP and the Army of Yugoslavia were being conducted, the term "Joint
20 Command" was used to mean --
21 Q. I'm sorry, General, I just asked you a simple question. Why
22 didn't you just leave it out? If you didn't think a Joint Command was a
23 Joint Command, why is that in the order you signed on the 13th of August,
25 A. Well, with due respect, I'm trying to respond. I'm trying to
1 reply, if you let me. Because the subordinate units had to be shown that
2 there had to be coordinated action during the execution of the task,
3 coordinated action between the army and the police. That was fundamental,
4 that these were combined coordinated activities with separate chains of
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Why does that not apply to the document on the
7 screen? Which does involve coordinated action.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour. But
9 this coordinated action was regulated at the corps command and the MUP
10 Staff, and that term was used when addressing subordinates. When it
11 arrived, when the subordinates received it, they would translate it into
12 their own terms and they would know only about the corps command to which
13 they would report.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Hannis.
16 MR. HANNIS:
17 Q. Well, if that's the case, why didn't you then use what you've
18 insisted earlier was the proper term? Why didn't you say "the combined
19 operations command," instead of "Joint Command"?
20 A. Sir -- and may I say directly, I wish it had been so. That would
21 have saved you all this trouble with us. But that is a derived term from
22 the aspect of the Rules of Combat it's an erroneous term. It's combined.
23 Somebody christened it "joint," so here we are. I'm trying to explain to
24 you what this means, how it came into being, where it came from, what it
25 relies on, and what it meant in practice.
1 Q. Yeah, you've told us a few times about "somebody christened
2 it 'the Joint Command'," this non-existent body. Who christened it? You
3 must know. Who came up with that term?
4 A. I'm afraid that -- Your Honours, I am being burdened with having
5 to know something. I'm trying to assist, both myself and all of us here
6 in the courtroom.
7 At the forward command post, I saw and received such documents
8 emanating from the corps command, but with the best intentions I really
9 cannot tell you who first christened it this and who first used that term.
10 I saw in the documents - not then, but now - that the army
11 commander and the army Chief of Staff used the term, even Perisic in the
12 General Staff. At the time I really didn't think about this. I wish I
13 had. At least then I would be able to answer your question.
14 Q. Well, is this the first time that you signed a document that had a
15 reference to "the Joint Command" in it? I know we've got one later in
16 March that you signed.
17 A. If you're referring to 1998, I really don't know. It's possible
18 that there may be other documents, but I really don't know. I'm not
19 saying either that there are or that there aren't. It's possible.
20 Q. Well, you've heard me ask this question of some of the other
21 professional soldiers, retired generals, and colonels who have come to
22 testify here, so I'll ask you as well. I mean, as a professional soldier,
23 doesn't the word "command" have a special significance for you, different
24 than what it is for civilians? You'd agree with that, wouldn't you?
25 Let's start with that.
1 A. I don't know what civilians mean by "command" or who among the
2 civilians uses this term, with what meaning, but I really don't know what
3 civilians mean by "command." I agree with you, of course. But what they
4 mean by "command," I don't know. And I don't know whether I should go on
5 to explain what it means in military terminology.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you -- are you seriously saying that as an
7 ordinary citizen you don't know what people mean when they use the
8 word "command"? You might command your dog to do something or -- you
9 could use the word "command" in all sorts of situations. You say you
10 don't understand what that means in ordinary, everyday language?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I haven't thought about it,
12 Your Honour. I'm referring to "command" in the military sense of the
14 What does "military command" mean? At what level? And if that's
15 what you're asking me, I'm really willing to try and respond.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: That's what Mr. Hannis wants to know. He wants the
17 definition of "command" in military circles. He wants to know whether
18 it's got special significance.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Certainly it has a concrete
20 meaning. "Command" is an organisational part of the Army of Yugoslavia
21 which has its establishment, its organisation, its composition, its
22 structure, its purpose, its tasks, its powers; furthermore, it has its
23 location, it has buildings, premises, and internal communications and
25 MR. HANNIS:
1 Q. The point I'm trying to get at, General, is that in an
2 organisation in the military, in the army, "command" is a very important
3 term; "chain of command" is a very important concept. And from my brief
4 experience in my army, there was a big difference when I heard the
5 words "command" or "chain of command" when I was in the army, as opposed
6 to when I might hear it out in my prosecutor's office.
7 So if I were in the army and I were a commander and I saw some
8 document making reference to "the Joint Command," my curiosity would be
9 piqued. I would want to know: Well, who in the heck is this Joint
10 Command and what are they trying to do suggesting something or proposing
11 something or commanding some of my subordinates?
12 I would be at least motivated to investigate. Did you do that?
13 The first time you saw this term "Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija,"
14 did you try to find out who it was?
15 A. The first time I saw this term in a document, and bearing in mind
16 the content of that particular document - I don't recall which was
17 actually the first one - but it defined relations of cooperation between
18 the army and the police in the carrying out of a certain combat task. So
19 I understood this term to refer to the plan of coordination between these
20 two structures and the possibility in a certain part of the implementation
21 of the task to have combined command so that in one location you would
22 find a representative of the army and a representative of the police
23 monitoring the situation for a certain period of time, each of them
24 commanding his own units.
25 I understood it to be a synonym for "combined command"
1 and "combined command post."
2 Q. That seems to be -- that seems to be inconsistent with what I
3 heard you say before about the difference between a combined command post
4 and a joint command post. I thought your point was that a joint command
5 post suggested one chain of command for two different structures or unit
6 from -- from a different organisation. Is that incorrect?
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
8 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Could we have a reference. Where did
9 General Lazarevic say this? Where? Thank you.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
11 MR. HANNIS: Well, I can get a reference if the general needs it,
12 but I don't think he needs a reference to explain the difference. If I'm
13 wrong, he can tell me I'm wrong. If he didn't say that, he can say he
14 doesn't recall saying it.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: It's being asserted, as I understand it,
17 Mr. Hannis, that this is wrong, this recollection of yours. So what sort,
18 what is a source for it.
19 Mr. Ackerman.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, right at the end of the day I asked
21 him this exact question, describe for us what this joint post was. Who
22 was there. What it was like. He gave exactly this answer, almost world
23 for word. So it's not that he said something different before, he said
24 exactly the same way before. It was a place where they could coordinate
25 together, each commanding its own forces, MUP and VJ. Same thing he said
1 yesterday. Exactly.
2 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, I'll withdraw this question for now --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, you can deal with it tomorrow.
4 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: My recollection is consistent with yours,
6 Mr. Hannis. And it may be there's two different concepts of command,
7 there's command and command post and there are different descriptions.
8 You check that, though.
9 MR. HANNIS:
10 Q. General --
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, if we look at the document that we
12 just had on the screen - I think it's maybe still there - it's paragraph
13 7, the last page of that document.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
15 MR. ACKERMAN: At the very top, you see a description of a command
16 post located in the Cesta feature. That's the command post that this
17 commander is going to operate those troops from. That's a different thing
18 from the command post at the forward command of the Pristina Corps. And
19 it's important that those differences are understood. You can't -- you
20 can't mix apples and oranges when you're talking about the command of a
21 military action.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the question is withdrawn, and it can be
23 revived if Mr. Hannis can find a proper foundation for it.
24 Mr. Hannis.
25 MR. HANNIS: Well, let me follow up on what Mr. Ackerman just
1 said. We're looking at that 6D document on the screen, 6D731. This is
2 Colonel Cirkovic saying the command post is in the general area of the
3 Cesta feature.
4 Q. I suggest to you, General, that that means his command post for
5 the elements of the 15th Armoured Brigade is in the area of the Cesta
6 feature, but the overall command post for all the forces engaged in this
7 operation -- or this action in P14 -- 1428, is at the Pristina Corps
8 forward command post. Isn't that right?
9 A. You read it out correctly, the first part and the second part, and
10 I gave the answer I gave; and I never claimed that a Joint Command is a
11 single chain of command. I never asserted that anywhere.
12 Q. [Microphone not activated] And you said --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Hannis, please.
14 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
15 Q. You said in an earlier answer explaining why it was your position
16 that Colonel Cirkovic was in command of this operation was because it was
17 only elements of the 15th that were actually doing anything; everybody
18 else was just holding positions.
19 In 1428, item 2.2, it says: "Battle Group -- BG 125-2 is to carry
20 out a diversionary attack." So the 125th is doing something as well.
22 A. This combat group from the composition of the 125th Brigade, not
23 battalion, is carrying out a demonstration attack. It's not really
24 attacking. They're on the move. And I know that indeed from that period
25 of time they were in the area for already 15 days. The command of the
1 brigade did not give any particular task in writing to this combat group.
2 They moved in a given direction 500 metres and then went back, because
3 they were under blockade for 15 days already. That's the way it was with
4 the other groups too.
5 Q. You mean the command of the 15th did not give any command to the
6 125th; right?
7 A. No. I am sorry. Please take a look at the order. Please. Let
8 us all together look at the order of the brigade commander. I am saying
9 this from my own memory, and also you'll see it in writing. We can take
10 it back to the screen too.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm afraid we're in this very difficult position
12 again of having to interrupt. We have no option, Mr. Hannis. Apparently
13 it takes a full half hour for technology to be rewound for the next trial.
14 So we shall have to adjourn at this stage and resume tomorrow at
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 15th day of
18 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.