1 Monday, 19 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have undertaken to
7 check, as you instructed me, and I have done so; and I owe a major apology
8 to everyone and primarily to the Trial Chamber. I found the e-mail from
9 the registry about the calculation of time dated 25th October, I believe
10 that was when we had a meeting concerning translations with the Trial
11 Chamber, and the members of my team told me that we had a discussion at
12 that time and we wondered whether to raise that issue as well. On Friday
13 I was prepared to swear that I had seen that e-mail, but obviously in all
14 this chaos I must have thought it was that e-mail from the Trial Chamber.
15 My intentions were not dishonourable, but I was prepared to swear that I
16 had seen that e-mail last Friday.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm grateful to you for clarifying the position.
18 Just one other matter you could confirm to us. I take it the arrangement
19 we suggested to make available the DVDs of the interview of Mr. Lazarevic
20 and the facility and necessary assistance to view them was provided over
21 the weekend?
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I tried even before
23 Mr. Lazarevic came in to make inquiries as far as I could without breaking
24 the rules concerning talking to the accused, but I think Mr. Lazarevic had
25 a look at the DVDs.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 Good morning, Mr. Lazarevic.
3 THE ACCUSED LAZAREVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you confirm to us that the recordings of the
6 interview were made available to you and the equipment and any necessary
7 assistance to view them also.
8 THE ACCUSED LAZAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, last Friday I
9 received from an officer in the Detention Unit three DVDs with
10 instructions how to view them. I watched them and I found the segment on
11 which I tried to concentrate last Friday, and I established it was more
12 than we heard on Friday. I also said that I attended some of those
13 meetings -- one of those meetings, and that was the point I was trying to
14 make. I wanted the Trial Chamber to see it.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: I think we'll leave it to Mr. Hannis to ask you
16 appropriate questions, and no doubt he'll give you the freedom to express
17 yourself further as you wish to ensure that your position is fully
18 explained to the Trial Chamber.
19 I think we can now proceed with the cross-examination.
20 Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 WITNESS: VLADIMIR LAZAREVIC [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis: [Continued]
25 Q. Good morning, General. We will talk more about the interview, but
1 that will be later on today. If I may, I wanted to address a matter that
2 the Court raised I think on Friday, and this is -- General, I want to talk
3 about the plans Grom 1 and Grom 2 and the plan that we have referred to as
4 the plan for combatting terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija. The first
5 reference I've been able to find dealing with this sort of springs from
6 the Supreme Defence Council meeting on the 9th of June, 1998, and this was
7 Exhibit P1574 in evidence. And, General, I think you were aware -- at
8 least not the specifics of that meeting, the fact that there was
9 apparently a decision reached in that meeting in June 1998 that if the
10 terrorism in Kosovo increased, then the army would take appropriate
11 measures. Is that correct? Was that your knowledge and understanding
12 back in the summer of 1998?
13 A. In the summer of 1998, I perceived the situation not on the basis
14 of that meeting of the Supreme Defence Council but on the basis of what I
15 personally and the forward command post were told by the corps commander,
16 namely, that the army and part of the Pristina Corps would be involved in
17 supporting MUP forces in the event terrorism escalates. But I want to say
18 something about this Supreme Defence Council meeting too.
19 As I said, I didn't know this session of the Supreme Defence
20 Council had taken place, but I thought the decision was taken at the state
22 Q. Okay. Can you explain the difference to me then between the
23 Supreme Defence Council and a decision taken at the state level.
24 A. At that time, it was my understanding that there was a meeting
25 held in Belgrade by the head of state, attended by
1 representatives of the army, headed by the Chief of General Staff; the
2 army commander; the corps commander; people from the police, from the
3 Ministry of the Interior that is. That was the information available to
4 me at that time. And when I say "state level," I mean the leadership of
5 the state, the police and the army. And the Supreme Defence Council, as
6 opposed to that, is a body composed of three members.
7 Q. Okay. This other group that you're talking about, we've seen an
8 exhibit, it's Exhibit P2166 that we'll look at later on that is a meeting
9 I think from the 29th of October, 1998, the date of the minutes I think
10 are dated the 2nd of November. But that was a meeting that included
11 President Milosevic, Mr. Sainovic, Mr. Minic, and General Pavkovic,
12 General Samardzic, General Perisic, General Lukic, General Djordjevic. Do
13 you recall that document? We had quite some discussion with it when I
14 think Mr. Matkovic was here. Do you recall that one?
15 A. I do. I believe that document was shown more than once in this
17 Q. And that document was described as the meeting of the
18 inter-departmental staff for combatting terrorism in Kosovo, I believe.
19 Is this group you're talking about now, is that the same group? It sounds
20 like a similar make-up of people in terms of high-ranking police, army,
21 and civilians.
22 A. I cannot confirm that because what I know originating from
23 documents. If we could compare the documents, then perhaps that could
24 give us a confirmation, but I cannot confirm it. I knew that the corps
25 commander and the army commander were going, and I knew the Chief of
1 General Staff was there and people from the police; but I cannot confirm
2 that it was the same group of people in July and in October.
3 Q. Okay. And that was a -- I want to put the background in focus.
4 July 1998 there was a lot happening. I see from one of our exhibits in
5 evidence 1D230, which appears to be the Official Gazette decision on
6 establishing border areas. I think that's the 21st of July, 1998. Do you
7 recall, was that -- was that the decision that expanded the border belt
8 from 500 metres to a greater distance?
9 A. At that time I did not see that Official Gazette of the Federal
10 Republic of Yugoslavia. Instead, through the army command, the corps
11 received an order specifying the coordinates, trig points, and lines that
12 were the boundaries of the new border belt, but as far as I remember that
13 order on extending the border belt was from June, not July.
14 Q. And is -- what was the extent of the expansion? Is that when it
15 went from 500 metres to roughly 5 kilometres?
16 A. I don't recall that the width of the border belt was 500 metres at
17 any point. It used to be 100 metres, and then it was expanded to a
18 maximum of 5 kilometres. So it was varying between 100 metres and 5
19 kilometres at most. I don't remember the previous width of the border
21 Q. Thank you, General. I did misspeak, I think, when I said "500
22 metres." It had been 100 metres as I understand.
23 Also, I have a note indicating that on the 21st of July there was
24 a report in Exhibit P1510 that General Pavkovic was promoted. Do you
25 recall him being promoted I think from major-general to lieutenant-general
1 at that time?
2 A. I remember that he was promoted, but the date of the promotion I
3 really can't recall. If you have the decree or the ordinance, we can look
4 at the document, but I do remember he was promoted.
5 Q. And on the 22nd of July we have an exhibit, this is P -- I'm
6 sorry, this is 4D100. General, we'll put this up on the screen, it's a
7 brief document. I'll ask you to take a look at that. This is from
8 Lieutenant-General Pavkovic to the 3rd Army command, and it's about the
9 engagement of Pristina Corps units according to the plan for combatting
10 terrorist forces. And it makes reference to a meeting with the president
11 of the Federal Republic in his office on the 21st of July, where an order
12 was given to implement the plan for combatting terrorist forces in Kosovo
13 and Metohija. Did you see in that document before you came here for
15 A. I see it -- no I didn't see it before.
16 Q. Were you aware of this -- I mean in 1998 did you hear of this plan
17 that's called the plan for combatting terrorism or combatting terrorist
18 forces? Did you hear of such a plan?
19 A. I did hear what I explained at the beginning of today's session,
20 namely, that at the highest state, military, and police level a plan was
21 adopted to suppress terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija that would be
22 implemented in stages.
23 Q. And was it General Pavkovic who told you about that plan?
24 A. I and the forward command post received information and
25 instructions on our work from him as the Chief of Staff.
1 Q. I understand that, but did he tell you specifically about this
2 plan for combatting terrorism and the three or five stages?
3 A. That did not happen in one go. It was as we went along and
4 received further tasks and orders, but I knew and the corps commander
5 informed me that the decision had been made at the level that I described.
6 Q. Okay. Now, we've heard reference to and seen documents talking
7 about some plans called Grom 1 and Grom 2. You have some knowledge of
8 those, correct?
9 A. I mentioned the plan Grom 98 in stages 1 and 2, the details of
10 which I learned here in the courtroom; but from that period I know -
11 although I wasn't much involved in that because I wasn't in Pristina, I
12 wasn't in the corps command - and it was the corps command that was
13 responsible for operationalizing the plan Grom 98 in terms of formulating
14 their own orders and tasks.
15 Q. What's been a little confusing for me and I think some others is
16 the distinction, if there is one, between the plan for combatting
17 terrorism and Grom 98 with its two phases. Those are two different
18 things, aren't they? Isn't Grom 98 something different than the plan for
19 combatting terrorism?
20 A. Bearing in mind that I really wasn't very familiar with this, my
21 understanding of this problem is as follows: When we talk about the plan
22 for suppressing terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija by security forces, that
23 plan and decision to engage were made at the state level. And according
24 to that plan, some tasks were finalised by end July, and then the plan
25 Grom 98 from General Staff to corps level covered that concept until end
1 September. So that plan incorporated plan Grom 98 from end July, August,
2 and later on.
3 Q. Okay, General. Thank you. That -- that seems to make sense for
4 me regarding some of the questions I had. I'd like to show you Exhibit
5 4D101, which is to the command of the 3rd Army from General Pavkovic, and
6 this is dated the 23rd of July. And you'll see it's making reference to
7 implementation of the second stage of the plan to eliminate terrorism in
8 Kosovo. And it makes reference back to that 21 July meeting with
9 President Milosevic where the order to commence implementation of the plan
10 was given. And if you could go to item 3(A).
11 MR. HANNIS: I think we have to go to the next page in both the
12 English and the B/C/S.
13 Q. Under item (A) the English translation says that:
14 "The planned engagement of the forces of the MUP and the Army of
15 Yugoslavia was considered and accepted several times by the President and
16 the highest leadership of the army and the MUP and during consideration of
17 the plan (the directive and decision on the map) there were no serious
19 General, did you ever see the map that is referred to here
20 regarding the plan for combatting terrific?
21 A. This map mentioned in the text accompanies the directive, whereas
22 the directive is of the army command and the General Staff, it's not a
23 corps document. I'm trying to explain this to make it clear. I didn't
24 see that directive and the decision on the map because as I said the
25 directive is drafted by the General Staff and in some cases it may be
1 developed by the army.
2 Q. I think you made mention in your testimony on Friday and perhaps
3 in your interview as well about having seen some map in - well, I'm not
4 sure whether it was 1998 or 1999 - with "Joint Command" on it. Is that
5 correct? Did you say that before?
6 A. Yes. I was talking about year 1998, and I said that it was a map
7 from the corps command, though, either concerning the border belt or the
8 interior of Kosovo and Metohija. It was a plan to lift the siege of some
10 Q. Okay. And further on in connection with this implementation of
11 the plan to combat terrorism on the 23rd of July we have Exhibit 4D102,
12 which if we could put up on the screen for you briefly. This is from the
13 3rd Army commander, General Samardzic, to the commander of the Pristina
14 Corps, who we know was then General Pavkovic. And it's cross-referencing
15 the document that we just looked at. And he is authorising use of the
16 Pristina Corps units, but he has one exception which he point out because
17 of General Pavkovic 's failure to inform President Milosevic about a
18 certain aspect of the corps being used in unblocking roads.
19 Were you aware of this in July of 1998?
20 A. No, I was not. I see now that this document invokes a prior
21 document, wherein the corps commander explains to the army commander the
22 gist of the meeting they attended together in writing, and he explains
23 that this decision had been made at the state level. And the army
24 commander, as I see from this document, does not approve part of that
25 explanation and did not approve the use of corps forces - it's his right.
1 But I see that the corps commander invoked the decision of the head of
2 state in the prior document.
3 Q. Next I would like you to have a look at 4D137. This is dated the
4 28th of July, 1998. It bears the number DT-R number 23-1, and it's
5 entitled a directive. And you'll see the reference to Grom 98 on the
6 right-hand side. So is this, to the best of your knowledge and
7 understanding, is this the first manifestation of Grom 98 from
8 General Perisic and the General Staff and the army in July 1998?
9 A. To that question I can only reply as much as I have learned from
10 documents seen in the courtroom. At that time I did not see this document
11 with this date, I saw it for the first time here in the courtroom.
12 Q. But based on your experience and knowledge in the VJ, the
13 numbering of this order, the fact that this is number 23-1, doesn't that
14 indicate that this document is the first in that subject number 23 for the
15 year 1998 from the General Staff? This is the first document on this
16 topic by virtue of the fact that it's referred to as number 1? Isn't that
18 A. That is what the reference number indicates. I cannot offer any
19 further comment.
20 Q. Okay. And I have a question for you about the title
21 under "directive." It says:
22 "To deploy the Yugoslav Army for securing the State border with
23 Albania, units and facilities in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija and
24 crush the armed rebel forces."
25 Now, in a lot of the other orders we've seen about the fight in
1 Kosovo in 1998, we see references to crushing the STS or the DTS, as I
2 understand it that's the terrorist -- the Siptar terrorist forces or the
3 Siptar -- the sabotage forces. But here General Perisic seems to be using
4 a different term, if the translation is correct, by calling it the armed
5 rebel forces. Am I right in that understanding?
6 A. You put it well and you read it correctly, but I don't understand
7 if there is another question in your question.
8 Q. No. I just wanted to make sure that the translation was correct
9 because I think that's reflective of what we've talked about before with
10 General Perisic and his recorded agreement that we saw in Exhibit P717
11 about he thought that the army shouldn't be used in these kind of actions,
12 away from the border belt or not protecting VJ personnel and equipment,
13 because he thought that there was a necessity of declaring a state of
14 emergency or a state of imminent threat of war. And I think this use of
15 the term "crush the armed rebel forces," reflects that, that he thinks
16 this has gone beyond terrorism and has reached the stage of an armed
17 rebellion. And that's consistent with your view at the time, right? You
18 told us earlier that by June 1998 you thought that it -- things in Kosovo
19 had reached such a state that it really was a factual state of emergency,
20 even though it had not been formally declared by state authorities to be
21 such. Would you agree with that?
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. --
23 MR. FILA: [Microphone not activated]
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] What should General Lazarevic agree to
1 because there are about five questions in there? So out of all this, does
2 he agree with all these five or six questions you put or only with the
3 last one concerning a document he has never seen before he said he didn't
4 know what General Perisic's standpoint was, so what's this leading to?
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
6 MR. HANNIS: Well, Your Honour, I'm looking at the transcript. I
7 only see one question mark at the end of my paragraph.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: It's a torturous route to get to it. I think
9 there's substance in the point, Mr. Hannis. Could you rephrase the
10 question, please.
11 MR. HANNIS:
12 Q. General, could you agree with me that the use of that term
13 regarding the "crushing the armed rebel forces" reflects a view that the
14 situation in Kosovo has gone beyond being a matter of simply dealing with
16 A. My answer is in accordance with what I know and my personal
17 experience at the time that the forces of the armed insurgency in Kosovo
18 and Metohija were paramilitary terrorist forces. So when the Chief of the
19 General Staff uses this term at his strategic level, he's referring to all
20 these terrorist forces, naming them the forces of the armed rebellion.
21 When at a lower level orders are issued to break-up the terrorist forces
22 in a certain location, that makes sense; but overall these terrorist
23 forces in my military logic represent the forces of the armed insurgency.
24 Q. General, can we look next at Exhibit 4D456. This is also dated
25 the 28th of July, from General Perisic, as Chief of the General Staff.
1 It's directed to the 3rd Army command. And it's an order for him to make
2 an assessment and work out a plan on engagement of forces pursuant to that
3 Grom 98 document that we just looked at. And item number 3 says: "I will
4 approve the Plan of engagement on 3 August ... At 1100 hours in the
5 General Staff."
6 Were you aware that this plan was being discussed or was it at a
7 higher level than you would have had knowledge about at the time?
8 A. I didn't know about this correspondence at this strategic level.
9 I've already told you what I knew. The document speaks for itself. Of
10 course I didn't know about this correspondence between the General Staff
11 and the 3rd Army.
12 Q. And we see this is dated -- this is numbered 23-2, so it appears
13 to be the second in the series.
14 MR. HANNIS: Could we look at 4D415.
15 Q. And, General, I'm trying to follow this -- the trail concerning
16 this Grom 98 to see what was done about it at the 3rd Army and lower
17 levels. We just saw in 4D456 that this was going to be approved on the
18 3rd of August, and 4D415 is a document from it looks like the General
19 Staff and it has the agenda for the plan of work and approval of special
20 documents. You'll see item 2 refers to: "Report on the decision of the
21 commander of the 3rd Army concerning the Grom plan."
22 Now, if we could -- I just show you that to follow-up to the next
23 one which is 4D311, which we'll have for you in a minute here. This
24 appears to be a telegram on the 3rd of August, 1998, from
25 General Samardzic to the 3rd Army forward command post, Chief of Staff.
1 And you'll see he's ordering:
2 "A ban on the use of army units and reinforcement engaged in
3 Kosovo in other tasks except to secure the state border, repel attacks,
4 and protect features and all VJ forces ..."
5 There's an exception in number two for units engaged in Junik and
6 Jasic and a blockade on the Decani-Djakovica road.
7 Item number 3 says: "By 1930 hours on the 3 August send back
8 units engaged in tasks of providing support for MUP ..."
9 Did you become aware of this? Were any of those units that were
10 ordered to be sent back, were any of those in your area near the forward
11 command post of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica? Did you become aware of
12 whether or not this was happening?
13 A. I can't say with precision what combat groups in the area this
14 refers to because items 1 and 2 where I was personally involved as the
15 corps Chief of Staff remain in force; that refers to combatting terrorism
16 in the border belt, deblocking communications, that is, roads, leading
17 towards the water, and the village of Jasic. But I really cannot confirm
18 what groups were there and were to be temporarily disengaged. It doesn't
19 say here what groups they were, and I really don't want to speculate. I
20 don't recall that from the time because I didn't see this document then.
21 That's why I cannot recall these things.
22 Q. Okay. Was Junik in the border belt, within the border zone, if
23 it's 5 kilometres?
24 A. Not 5, it's a little more, but this decision refers to Junik. It
25 was made by the state military top leadership, and it remains in force.
1 In item 2: "The ban does not refer to the units engaged in clearing up
2 the border zone [as interpreted]," and so on.
3 MR. HANNIS: I think the last document that relates to this is
5 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry.
6 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Zecevic.
7 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I believe the -- there is a
8 mistake in the transcript. It's 15 -- page 15, line 4, I don't think the
9 witness said "clearing up the border zone." He said "the units engaged in
10 that zone, in clearing that zone," referring to the Jasic and the other
11 village, Junik.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Zecevic.
13 MR. HANNIS: I think that's right. I see the General agreeing.
14 Q. Now, this is 4D434 and it's to the Pristina -- to the -- regarding
15 the work of a research team. This is a research team that is supposed to
16 go out and gather information on the actual situation in Kosovo and
17 Metohija. Did you have any dealings with this research team in early
18 August 1998, General? You see item 2 says they should ask for actual
19 situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the forward command post of the
20 Pristina Corps command.
21 A. What I know about this research team, this scholarly research
22 team, sent from the General Staff is that they did most of their job in
23 Pristina; but I recall that they spent a day in Djakovica and visited some
24 of the units defending the state border in order to gather scholarly
25 experience about to what extent the units can stand psychological and
1 physical strain. So this was a specialised team from the military medical
2 academy for preventive psycho-social or whatever its name was, that was
3 another research team; but this research team, as I recall, visited for a
4 day in order to collect these experiences. What I want to say is when a
5 research team is mentioned, that's scientific research, scholarly
6 research, they were engaged in because I recognise some of these people,
7 they're from the institute of strategic research and they're linked to the
8 General Staff. It's at the highest level of military education.
9 Q. Well, if you would look two lines above the word "order," the
10 English translation says: "The team will research terrorist operations in
11 the territory of Kosovo and Metohija."
12 Now, maybe I've made a faulty assumption, but in light of what we
13 were just looking at before we've had -- we've had the directive from
14 General Perisic about making plans that deal with crushing the armed rebel
15 forces. We saw General Samardzic's telegram ordering that certain units
16 that were supporting MUP forces be sent back, and we know from other
17 evidence in this case --
18 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Visnjic.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
20 Mr. Visnjic.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, to avoid barking up the
22 wrong tree, could we please read again this sentence that has to do with
23 research because I think a correct translation will give us at least two
24 meanings. It's ambiguous and then perhaps the General will clarify.
25 MR. HANNIS:
1 Q. Okay, General, could you read out that sentence for us, then, two
2 sentences above the word "order."
3 A. "The team will work on research in connection with terrorist
4 activities on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija."
5 Q. Thank you, General. I guess, General, the reason --
6 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ackerman.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, as long as we've got a little break
9 here I want to make an objection of my own. You stopped me the other day
10 during one of my examinations by suggesting that what I was doing was
11 making a submission rather than asking questions of the witness.
12 Mr. Hannis has yet to show this witness a document that he's ever seen
13 before today or that he knows anything about, but he's making a very
14 well-constructed argument regarding the OTP's position in the case with
15 the Perisic orders and things of that nature.
16 So it looks to me like what's going on here this morning is an OTP
17 submission and not anything to do with this witness. He's yet to be able
18 to answer a question about any of these documents because he never saw
19 them before and knew nothing of what was going on behind them.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: To the extent there may be some force in what you
21 have said, it does not apply to the current one because the witness is
22 being asked about something that he specifically knows of. Whether or he
23 has seen the document before. He says that this group spent a day in
24 Djakovica and visited some of the units defending the state border, so
25 he's speaking from personal experience. But we do note the point you make
1 as I hope Mr. Hannis will note it because I think there's some substance
2 in what's being said.
3 Mr. Hannis.
4 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I hear that, but I hope that as I go
5 along you will see that what I'm trying to ask here relates to what is
6 going to come in some further documents as well as relating back to the
7 ones that we've been following along with.
8 Q. Now, General, having read that sentence the translation we got is
9 pretty similar to what I have in writing here. I suggest to you the
10 reason this research team was sent out was to find out how serious the
11 terrorist problem was because there was some disagreement at other levels
12 about whether or not the army should be engaged in supporting MUP in
13 dealing with this problem. Isn't that true?
14 A. What I know is quite contrary to what the Prosecutor has just
15 said. Bearing in mind these people's scholarly profession, I understood
16 that they were studying terrorism on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija
17 and the experiences of the units of the 3rd Army and Pristina Corps in
18 this respect. I have absolutely no knowledge that they were investigating
19 or researching whether the army was being used in compliance with the
20 decision of the General Staff.
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Bakrac.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I have to draw attention to a
24 misinterpretation, because when you look at the composition of the team,
25 or rather, mistranslation, some, or rather, the titles of these persons
1 are missing, and this might also mislead us, Your Honour.
2 In the Serbian version - and you can ask that the General read
3 this out - you will see that these people have titles, scholarly titles,
4 academic titles, which are missing in the English translation.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, if you look at the introductory
6 paragraph at the top of the screen, in the third line the composition of
7 the team is laid out. Could you read the identity of the various members
8 of the team, please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The composition of the team,
10 Lieutenant-Colonel Bozidar Forcan master of science, head of team;
11 Lieutenant-Colonel Branislav Djordjevic, master of science, deputy head of
12 team; Lieutenant-Colonel Petar Kostic, who was a bachelor of science; and
13 Majors -- Dr. Mitar Kovac and Major -- Dr. Zlatan Jeremic team members.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
15 Mr. Hannis.
16 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
17 Q. Next I want to show you Exhibit P1419, General, and I think I got
18 this one out of sequence because this is actually dated the 1st of August,
19 1998. And you'll see this is from General Pavkovic to the 3rd Army
20 forward command post requesting approval to launch the third stage of the
21 plan to curb terrorism in Kosovo, and he mentions in the first paragraph
22 that it was decided at a meeting of the Joint Command on the 31st of July
23 to launch the third stage of the plan on 2 August.
24 And looking at what was decided, it talks about operations in
25 certain areas and item number 2 is exerting psychological pressure on the
1 terrorist forces in Junik village by continuing the blockade. General,
2 can you tell, does this request relate to the telegram we saw from
3 General Samardzic on -- dated the 3rd of August or is this unrelated?
4 A. By Their Honours leave, I would have to look at this and make a
5 comparison. I really can't answer with precision whether this refers to
6 the document where he prohibits further engagement, if that's what you're
7 referring to.
8 MR. HANNIS: Yeah, if we could look at 4D415 in the B/C/S side by
10 I see Mr. Zecevic.
11 MR. ZECEVIC: I believe, Your Honours, in all fairness to the
12 witness he said he would need to compare. So he should be provided with
13 both documents, and then he can probably give the answer. Because
14 shifting it on the screen, it doesn't help -- it doesn't help me much at
15 least. I'm not able to remember the previous document when I'm looking at
16 the document now. Thank you very much.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I don't have a hard copy of
19 415. I do have a hard copy of 1419 --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: That's all we need.
21 MR. HANNIS: -- I can give to the witness.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: It doesn't solve Mr. Zecevic's particular personal
23 problem, but it solves the problem for the witness, who really matters.
24 MR. HANNIS:
25 Q. Now -- and I think I have referred to the wrong item, because I
1 wanted -- perhaps it was 4D311?
2 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it is 311.
3 MR. HANNIS: Oh, you think it's 311 on the screen, Your Honour?
4 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, I think the one you want is 4D311.
5 MR. HANNIS: Yeah, I think that's right. My apologies to the
7 Q. There, General, you see the telegram on the screen?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Your problem is also solved now, Mr. Zecevic.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Prosecutor asked me whether this
11 document on the right-hand side of the monitor is connected to the one on
12 the left-hand side. Some locations correspond, namely, Junik and Jasic,
13 but I see that the army commander does not mention the Drenica, Jablanica,
14 and Likovac actions. So I cannot be completely sure whether this is it or
15 whether there was an intervening document between these two. Because the
16 corps commander is informing the army commander that this is the third
17 stage, the third phase, which had been adopted previously, and asks in the
18 last sentence the army commander to approve the realization or
19 implementation of the plan. I really cannot be a hundred per cent certain
20 whether the army commander's reply has to do with this request coming from
21 the corps commander.
22 MR. HANNIS:
23 Q. Okay, General, thank you. And you can't tell from Samardzic's
24 telegram whether the reference to supporting MUP, what actions the MUP are
25 involved in, that item number, I think it's 3, refers to, correct?
1 A. Yes. In item 3 the army commander says that the units engaged in
2 tasks of support to the MUP should return to their areas of deployment,
3 but I don't see where that is; and the corps commander is only now
4 proposing Drenica and Jablanica.
5 Q. Okay. Thank you, General. Next I want to go to Exhibit P1435,
6 which is in evidence. This is a document from General Pavkovic dated the
7 22nd of September, 1998, to the 3rd Army command, personally to the
8 commander. And it's about the implementation of stage 5 of the plan to
9 combat terrorism. Now, you'll see in item number 1 there's a reference to
10 a meeting presided over by President Milosevic regarding the plan for
11 implementing stage 5 and a reference that that plan contemplated three
12 additional BGs, combat groups, to be moved down to Kosovo; a relocation of
13 Battle Group 211. And lastly under item 1 the indication that after that
14 meeting with President Milosevic, General Perisic, the Chief of the
15 General Staff, issued a verbal order regarding how those battle groups
16 were going to be formed because it was impossible to move other battle
17 groups into Kosovo and Metohija.
18 Now, General, were you aware of any of this, that General Pavkovic
19 was seeking to have additional battle groups formed and brought into
20 Kosovo from outside of Kosovo? Did he discuss that with you in September
22 A. As far as I remember, I said on Friday there was the fifth stage
23 as well, and this document refreshes my memory. I remember the fifth
24 stage involved additional in-depth security of the state border with
25 Albania, and I remember that the corps command evaluating possible further
1 developments suggested to the 3rd Army and up to strengthen these
2 locations mentioned here, Planeja and the other ones. A combat group
3 arrived very shortly before the arrival of the OSCE mission to that
4 location, Planeja, but it was not the 3rd Battalion of military police, it
5 was another group from the army. That is the first bullet point that I'm
6 talking about. So I remember these requests and I remember that there was
7 a reinforcement of the in-depth security of the state border.
8 Q. Do you remember -- from the way I read this, it sounds as though
9 this plan for additional combat groups to be brought in from the outside
10 appears to have been discussed with President Milosevic at the meeting,
11 and it's after the meeting that General Perisic seems to be changing
12 that - isn't that right - by means of an oral order or a verbal order?
13 Because he says it was impossible to move other battle groups into Kosovo
14 and Metohija.
15 Did General Pavkovic complain about that to you?
16 A. I understand this and I remember this in a very specific way,
17 namely, that the corps command suggested a reinforcement with two combat
18 groups from outside the corps, whereas the 3rd Army command - and I see
19 here in the document the Chief of General Staff - proposed instead that we
20 form our own combat groups from our troops. And I want to point out to
21 the honourable Trial Chamber that in order to form combat groups we need a
22 decision, not from the corps commander but from the army commander or the
23 Chief of General Staff. And I see that they propose that we form our own
24 combat groups and provide our own additional security on the border.
25 Q. And as you follow along in the document you'll see that the next
1 day apparently General Pavkovic repeated his request at the 3rd Army
2 command meeting, and talked about having another two battle groups. But
3 he says no response was given or any solution suggested.
4 Paragraph 3 then mentions that the 3rd Army command meeting on the
5 7th of September he proposed if he couldn't have two battle groups moved
6 down to Kosovo, that they engage two provisional release formations from
7 the Pristina Corps.
8 MR. HANNIS: Mr. Bakrac.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the General cannot
10 follow the last passage read by Mr. Hannis. We need to scroll down or
11 maybe turn the page so that the General can see it.
12 MR. HANNIS: I can hand him a hard copy, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Please do so.
14 MR. HANNIS:
15 Q. I apologise, General. I didn't mean to get ahead of you. Are you
16 with me now?
17 A. Yes, I see point 3. It is also consistent with --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
19 MR. FILA: [Microphone not activated]
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
21 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Now we have a situation in which both
22 the Prosecutor and the witness see something that neither the Trial
23 Chamber nor counsel do. We should all see it. It should be on the
25 MR. HANNIS: I agree, we all should see it. Can we go to the
1 second page of both the B/C/S and the English.
2 Well, I'm sorry, item number 3 in the English is on the first page
3 that we were on.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Page 1.
5 MR. HANNIS: Yeah, it's on page 1 of the B/C/S as well.
6 Q. I'm sorry, General, were you about to say something about item 3?
7 A. You are asking me?
8 Q. Yeah. Were you aware of this second meeting between
9 General Pavkovic and the 3rd Army command on the 7th of September, again
10 trying to get some additional battle groups formed?
11 A. I don't know about the meeting, but point 3 confirms what I said a
12 moment ago, namely, that the commander had asked for two new combat groups
13 because the Chief of General Staff made a verbal order and said we should
14 set up these combat groups ourselves. And the corps commander is
15 informing the army commander thereof. So the decision to form these
16 combat groups has to be made at a higher level. As for the meeting of 7th
17 September, I wasn't aware of it.
18 Q. Then item number 4 at the bottom of page 1 in the B/C/S and on the
19 top of page 2 in the English, it makes reference to a briefing on
20 implementing stage 5 of the plan, which was given at a meeting of the ZK
21 for Kosovo and Metohija, which I suggest to you is the Joint Command, on
22 10th September 1998. And it says: " ... Other command organs pointed out
23 that the VJ had not carried out two of its duties under the Plan ..."
24 Now, before we go to page 2 for the other Serbian speakers, can
25 you tell us, do you know what the reference to "other command organs" was
1 in item 4 here?
2 A. I can try to interpret linguistically and logically, but not
3 factually. Here in point 4 the person who wrote this document says that
4 there was a meeting of the ZK, I suppose it was a meeting of the police
5 and the army that we call the Joint Command, on the 10th of September and
6 other organs, participants in that meeting, organs of the command it
7 says -- it doesn't make sense when you put it this way, not to me. But
8 other participants in that meeting seems to have noticed that from this
9 plan that was approved at a higher level, the army failed to live up to
10 two of its obligations.
11 Q. Can we go to page 2 of B/C/S in e-court.
12 A. The army did not set up a helicopter unit for quick interventions,
13 as had been ordered on the 31st of August by the head of state; and
14 second, two combat groups were not brought into Kosovo and Metohija, and
15 this seems to indicate that that too had been ordered at the higher level,
16 the highest state level.
17 Q. Now, General, we've talked on Friday I think a little bit about
18 the rapid intervention units and the helicopters. Do you remember that
19 discussion? And we saw a document from General Pavkovic to
20 General Samardzic regarding that. Do you remember?
21 A. I remember that document, and I remember our brief discussion.
22 Q. And, General, I'd like to go just briefly to Exhibit P1468, which
23 are those Joint Command meetings in 1998.
24 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, I tell you at page 108 of the English
25 is the beginning page for this meeting on the -- a meeting on the 13th of
1 September, 1998, and General Pavkovic is speaking. And we'll see the part
2 I want on the following page, 109.
3 Q. General, I'll try and give you a hard copy of the B/C/S page,
4 which is page 8505 are the last four digits. I could hand this to you.
5 And, General, can you see at the top that is a meeting of 13th
6 September, 1998, and General Pavkovic appears to be the first speaker.
7 And I would like you to read the last two bullet points under him. The
8 first one starts out in English with: "In connection with the repeated
9 request ..."
10 Could you read that for us, see how our translation is.
11 A. "With regard to the repeated," and then a couple of letters are
12 missing, there's a dot there, but it can be understood as you read
13 it, "repeated." So "with regard to the repeated request for ..." This is
14 some sort of acronym or abbreviation, "the command of the 3rd Army and the
15 General Staff did not accept or did not approve."
16 Q. The translation in English regarding the HE is suggested that
17 possibly HE in this context refers to helicopters. Would you agree that
18 that's possible?
19 A. Yes. If HE, if this is indeed HE, although it looks like an S to
20 me, but if it's HE it could be short for helicopter, but I cannot really
21 make out that that is written.
22 Q. And could you read the next bullet point for us, please.
23 A. "Two combat groups that we requested have not been approved to
24 us." I think it says "approved."
25 Q. And right below that you see Mr. Sainovic is listed as speaking.
1 Could you read that for us, because part of the English translation is
2 indicated as being illegible. I don't know if you can read it.
3 A. "In" this word was abbreviated. I cannot read it " - the task
4 regarding HE," it's probably helicopters, "we are not in a position to
5 implement, to carry out, because we did not get them." I'm trying my best
6 to make it out because some letters are missing, but that could be it.
7 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Fila, Your Honour.
8 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I waited for the end of the answer --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Just --
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] -- But --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a moment, please.
12 What is the question, Mr. Hannis?
13 MR. HANNIS: [Microphone not activated]
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Well --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone, Mr. Hannis.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: We can't spend this time, valuable court time going
17 over translations like this, Mr. Hannis, unless there's a question at the
18 end of it. Mr. Ackerman has already made the point that this is the stage
19 at which you should be asking focused questions in cross-examination of
20 matters that the witness can give us personal insight into.
21 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour, and I'm trying to do that.
22 Q. The -- so we see General Pavkovic in this Joint Command meeting
23 continuing the discussion about the problem that he writes about in P1435
24 to General Samardzic. Will you -- can we return to 1435, General, P1435.
25 And on the second page near the bottom it has the phrase "we propose."
1 Right above that the English translation says:
2 "Moreover, we are giving the members of the ZK for Kosovo and
3 Metohija the opportunity to report to the president of the FRY that the VJ
4 has not carried out its duties under the plan."
5 Did General Pavkovic complain to you about this problem with the
6 battle groups and -- or the combat groups in the rapid intervention units?
7 Did he complain to you about the difficulties that was causing him?
8 A. No. The corps commander did not complain to me in those terms.
9 He told me, and we all knew. You see the last point, he suggests that we
10 form our own combat groups for Planeja and Goruzup from the troops of the
11 549th Motorised Brigade. It was decided that we do this on our own. He
12 didn't complain that we were not allowed to form this unit using personnel
13 from the army and the police, as they term it here the rapid intervention
14 team. This team consists of both forces, the army provides helicopters
15 and there were teams on duty from both the police and the army. That was
16 the plan, I knew about the plan, but he didn't complain at this meeting
17 with the commander of the 3rd Army, he didn't complain to Perisic.
18 Q. And he didn't mention that to you before you went to the Joint
19 Command meetings on the 17th, 18th, 19th of September?
20 A. I really cannot remember. I came to Pristina after such a long
21 time to inform him about a large number of issues, and even with the best
22 of efforts I cannot recall everything that we discussed. I know about the
23 general issues, state border, this problem of how to find additional
24 forces, that was the main point.
25 Q. Well, weren't you interested in your job in connection with the
1 state border and the possibility of having rapid intervention units?
2 A. As far as I understood that idea, those were not supposed to be
3 units. It's a unit, a company-strong unit, and it was not meant for the
4 border; it was meant for the territory of Kosovo and Metohija wherever
5 parts of the army or the police were in jeopardy or perhaps installations
6 and facilities. And it was our position that the border should always be
7 manned with sufficient forces to stop further escalation of terrorism and
8 incursions from Albania. That's what I know from that period.
9 Q. You recall when we talked Friday about that, that we saw the
10 document from General Pavkovic reflecting the fact that after the Joint
11 Command meetings on the 19th and 20th of September he had raised again the
12 issue about rapid intervention capabilities. You don't recall that being
13 a matter that he brought to your attention because you were attending
14 meetings at that time?
15 A. I tried to be as specific as I could. I really don't remember
16 that that was the main topic that I came to discuss. I was to propose and
17 prepare a complex study for securing the state border, and that was to be
18 implemented over the following few months.
19 Q. My question wasn't really whether or not that was the main topic
20 you were going to talk about. My question was: Was this a topic that
21 General Pavkovic discussed with you?
22 A. At some point I was informed that this helicopter unit was to be
23 set up. It was only one helicopter that could carry a maximum of 25
24 people, 50 people in two trips, but I did not participate in the further
25 operationalization of that idea, so I cannot confirm whether we discussed
1 it on the 19th. I would say that I was informed of that idea earlier than
2 the 19th, but to the best of my recollection it was not clear at that
3 time. I know about the problem, but I don't know when I first heard it
4 from the corps command.
5 Q. In connection with the five phases of the plan for combatting
6 terrorism, at the beginning of the various phases are you aware that there
7 were meetings to discuss the assignments and the task for the VJ and MUP
8 units that were going to be involved in those activities? Did you know
9 that they were meetings with both the MUP and VJ commanders present to
10 discuss those pertinent tasks?
11 A. I knew that there was coordination and exchange of information
12 between the command of the Pristina Corps and individual brigade
13 commanders on one hand and certain agencies from the police, the MUP staff
14 and MUP detachments, that there were frequent meetings starting back in
15 July, starting with the level of army down to corps level, et cetera, and
16 what you just said.
17 Q. And before each phase those meetings took place in Pristina with
18 documents being handed out to both the army and the MUP commanders,
20 A. I cannot confirm that the execution of each stage was analysed at
21 the level of the 3rd Army or at the level of the corps command or MUP, and
22 I cannot confirm that anyone collated these new documents to another force
23 concerning the following stages. And as far as I remember, I did not
24 attend those analytical meetings at the end of every stage.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, this is a good time for a break.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. We shall break and resume at ten to
4 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
7 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. The next document I'm going to use is Exhibit P939, which are VJ
9 collegium meeting minutes from the 21st of January. And I'll start first
10 with page 9 of the English and page 8 of the B/C/S. General, before I ask
11 you a question about that, just with regard to the combat groups that we
12 were talking about before. Can you tell us, BG 211, from what -- from
13 what unit was that composed? What was the 211th?
14 A. Combat group 211 was a temporary unit from the 211th Armoured
15 Brigade -- it was equivalent to two or three mixed companies, some
16 mechanised, some tank, some support. I can't recall precisely the
17 composition, but it was a temporary composition of the 211th Armoured
18 Brigade of the Nis Corps of the 3rd Army.
19 Q. And that -- where was the -- where was the home garrison for the
20 211th, it was in Nis?
21 A. The armoured brigade, 211th, was deployed in the Stevan Sindjelic
22 barracks in Nis, where I started my career as a lieutenant-colonel in that
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. As a junior -- as a lieutenant, that is.
1 Q. Now, General, when did you take up your duties with the Pristina
2 Corps as commander?
3 A. I assumed the duty of commander of the Pristina Corps on the 9th
4 of January, 1999, and I signed the record on the handover of duties on the
5 15th of January.
6 Q. I want to show you this Exhibit P939 which is a VJ collegium
7 meeting of the 21st of January, and there's a discussion in that meeting
8 as you might imagine about events at Racak. Beginning on page 8 of the
9 B/C/S you'll see that General Obradovic is speaking. And he makes
10 reference to the 8th Federal Mechanised Tank Squad. Can you tell us what
11 that was?
12 A. It's probably a mistranslation. Just give me ten seconds to read
13 the sentence, and then I'll respond.
14 Q. Certainly.
15 A. In the Serbian language the record is quite difficult to
16 understand. It's a stenographic record, but what I can say based on this
17 is that General Obradovic is reporting that an exercise was carried out at
18 the department level on topic 8. On topic 8, the mechanised section,
19 that's an exercise not to support the MUP; it's a planned exercise in the
20 general area where the combat group of the 244th [as interpreted]
21 Mechanised Brigade was employed -- was deployed. It's the lowest-level
22 exercise from squad level upwards. So this is actually a squad exercise
23 on topic 8.
24 Q. And to whom was this squad subordinate?
25 A. This squad was part of the combat group of the 244th Mechanised
1 Brigade, which according to the agreement of October was located at the
2 Dulje pass to secure the Crnoljevska gorge.
3 Q. Okay.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Is it possible for you to read, please, the
5 section, read out aloud the section from the start of what Obradovic says.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "General, sir, this was an exercise
7 which was not meant to support the MUP forces. It was a tactical exercise
8 of a squad and it says precisely, literally, on the Dulje and village ...
9 axis kilometre 988," it should be trigonometer, an exercise was carried
10 out on topic 8 a conscientious tank of the mechanised squad and the
11 exercise was carried out according to plan and the unit returned to its
12 area of deployment. Therefore, it is not any sort of activity to support
13 the MUP forces. Where it says conscientious, what they really mean is in
14 coordinated action with, but I'm now telling you my opinion, what I think
15 it should say, not what it actually says.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. VISNJIC: Excuse me, Your Honour. [Interpretation] Before it
19 goes off the screen, line 34, and 34, line 5, both times the general
20 mentioned the 203rd Mechanised Brigade, whereas the transcript reads
21 244th, it was the 203rd -- 243 -- 243rd --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] It should be 243.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Is that correct, Mr. Lazarevic?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The 243rd
1 Mechanised Brigade.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 Mr. Hannis.
4 MR. HANNIS:
5 Q. Yes, I was just about to get to that. General, you'll see the
6 next entry is from General Dimitrijevic who says: "A part of the 243rd
7 Combat Group was also carrying out an exercise in accordance with the plan
8 on 15 January. It also said' planned exercise,'" correct?
9 A. It says here -- I have to make use of what is on the screen.
10 "According to plan, a part of the 243rd Combat Group carried out
11 an exercise on the 15th of January, and it also said 'planned exercise.'".
12 Q. General, were you involved in any of the discussions post-Racak
13 about whether or not any elements or forces of the VJ had been involved in
14 any way in the events on that day?
15 A. I did not participate in the conversation as far as I can recall,
16 but the corps command delivered a regular daily operative report to the
17 command of the 3rd Army.
18 Q. And do you recall what was reported in that daily report from your
19 corps command?
20 A. To the best of my recollection, the corps command reported that
21 combat group -- the combat group of the 243rd Mechanised Brigade on the
22 14th and 15th and perhaps the following day carried out its exercises in
23 the area in two directions, on two axes; that the units carrying out the
24 exercises were very small and that they were attacked by terrorist forces;
25 that the OSCE mission had been informed; and that the unit did not
1 participate in the action to support the MUP.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I didn't want to
5 interrupt, but I'm afraid that if we continue we will run into problems
6 because we did not deal with Racak. Racak has been left out of the
7 indictment, and the Defence did not focus on documents or anything else in
8 connection with Racak. And now my learned friend is asking specifically
9 about Racak and evidence concerning Racak, so I'm afraid we may be now
10 getting into an area for which we are not prepared. I don't think that my
11 learned friend should be allowed to continue in that direction.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: You know, Mr. Bakrac, that there have been a number
13 of questions about command and control responsibility in relation to
14 events at Racak and that what has not been explored at all has been the
15 exact nature of the event itself. At that moment it seems to me that
16 Mr. Hannis's questions do not go beyond the area that's already been open
17 to exploration by both sides, and therefore we shall allow him to continue
18 with that question.
19 MR. HANNIS: Actually, I think I got an answer for the part I
20 wanted, Your Honour. I'll go to my next question.
21 Q. General, at page 10 of the English and it's also page 10 of the
22 B/C/S, this is General Ojdanic speaking - I hope it's General Ojdanic
23 speaking, yes - and I'm reading from the fourth line of the English:
24 "A number of steps need to be undertaken in order to prove that
25 the army did not take part. I was intrigued by this action, or operation,
1 or whatever you want to call it, in Racak village, and I personally asked
2 the corps commander to send me a report on where the army was and what the
3 army was doing at that moment."
4 Do you recall -- that's a reference to you, isn't it, do you
5 recall General Ojdanic asking you to send him a special report about
7 A. When one reads this like that, I can't recall. I can't confirm
8 that the Chief of the General Staff called me up as the corps commander,
9 which doesn't mean that an order was not sent from the General Staff
10 through the 3rd Army or directly that a special report be submitted. But
11 I cannot confirm that I directly received this task from the Chief of the
12 General Staff as the corps commander to explain the situation. I remember
13 only the regular operative report, and I remember that the command of the
14 3rd Army a little later on, around the 20th of January or thereabouts,
15 delivered a special report to the General Staff at the request either of
16 the chief or deputy of the Chief of Staff. I'm not sure. I've seen that
17 document here in the courtroom, but I don't know what exhibit number it
19 Q. Well, General, you would agree with me, would you not, that Racak
20 at that time was a very significant event, subject to a lot of
21 international media and controversy. It was the hottest topic in Kosovo
22 and Serbia at the time, wasn't it?
23 A. The Prosecutor is asking a very broad question. I will say that
24 at some point later on it really did become a major topic, but when it
25 comes to the Pristina Corps I want to say that in the first few days no
1 one from the OSCE mission asked anyone about that action. For the corps
2 command, it was an action which was an attempt to arrest terrorists who
3 before that had killed several policemen. This action was carried out,
4 and all the other information came from the media. When it comes to what
5 I knew and what the corps command knew, what I want to say is that the
6 corps command did not deal with that issue, the issue of Racak.
7 Q. Yes, but, General, this is basically your first week on the job as
8 the commander of the Pristina Corps. This is a very significant event
9 with a lot of international and media attention. And are you telling me
10 that you do not remember that the Chief of the General Staff, your highest
11 boss, personally asked you for a report about it? You don't remember
13 A. Well, I'll repeat what I said.
14 Q. No, can you --
15 A. -- Certainly I don't remember. No.
16 Q. Okay. Going on General Ojdanic says: "It had to be studied in
17 detail and I studied this report and I wept back to the special report,"
18 and I'm skipping. It says that: "The army did not take part but there
19 was a combat group at the entrance to Crnoljevo as you're coming from
20 Stimlje. And when the MUP started the operation towards Racak village, it
21 was fully justified for them to take this wider sector for a flexible
22 defence and, reportedly, there were no other activities."
23 Do you know which combat group that was at the entrance to
25 A. That is not correct, absolutely, that one combat group was in the
1 Stimlje area. Part of the only combat group covering the entry to the
2 Crnoljevo gorge and the Dulje pass, that was only one combat group
3 consisting of two parts. So that was a smaller part of the combat group
4 of the 243rd Mechanised Brigade, it was the first one.
5 Q. All right. So you're saying that General Ojdanic is mistaken here
6 when he makes reference to a combat group, rather, it was some smaller
7 component thereof. Is that what you're saying?
8 A. I'm not saying he said that. That's what it says here, but as we
9 have seen, whoever was taking those notes didn't take things -- many
10 things down properly. What I'm saying is it was not a combat group, but
11 rather a smaller part of that one combat group under the agreement.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, these are the collegium minutes.
13 Are you saying that they were not properly recorded?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I want to point out to Your
15 Honours is that you asked me a little while ago to read out a sentence
16 which was illogical, nonsensical. And I can't say whether the Chief of
17 the General Staff actually said that or whether the person taking the
18 minutes just wrote it down like that.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
20 MR. HANNIS:
21 Q. General, my understanding regarding these collegium minutes is
22 that they are tape recorded and then a transcript is prepared from the
23 tape. Is that your understanding as well?
24 A. I really don't know how this was done in technical terms.
25 Q. Let's move on to page 11 at the English and it's page 10 in the
1 B/C/S. I believe it's paragraph 2. General Ojdanic is speaking and he
3 "If the forces have to be used, nobody is denying that right to
4 those who have the right to order it, but that means that if this joint
5 staff command or whatever decided that the operation in Racak village
6 could not be carried out without the assistance of the Yugoslav Army, we
7 know very well who must be asked for approval, if the FRY president
8 orders, in spite of all the risk, that the army be used, this decision
9 must be carried out, bearing in mind the restrictions contained in the
10 agreement, neither Pavkovic nor I have the right. Anyone can do it but
11 then he must take on all responsibility for the resulting consequences
13 Here General Ojdanic seems to be making reference to the Joint
14 Command in January 1999. And I take it from your earlier answers, you
15 weren't aware of the Joint Command functioning in 1999; is that right?
16 A. By Their Honours' leave, may I read in Serbian in paragraph 2 half
17 a sentence which says: "But this means if this joint staff," it doesn't
18 say here "Joint Command." I really cannot identify what this joint staff
19 refers to. So in answer to your question, there was no Joint Command in
20 1990 [sic] nor do I know about the existence of a Joint Command.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you -- yeah. Could you read that sentence
22 beginning: "If the forces have to be used ..."
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "If the forces have to be used,
24 nobody's denying that right to those who have the right to order it, but
25 that means that if this joint staff command, or whatever, decided that the
1 operation in Racak village could not be carried out without the
2 assistance" --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: That's enough for present purposes. It has been
4 accurately translated. I wondered if there was another problem. You've
5 now answered the question that you were asked to say that you did not know
6 about the existence of a Joint Command I think in 1999, isn't that
7 correct, rather than 1990?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, in 1999, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis -- sorry.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have a comment on the
11 translation of the word "akcija" it's been interpreted for some time
12 as "operation," but this can have an influence in view of the level of
13 planning. In the Serbian language the word "akcija" means something quite
14 different from what is called action here.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: We have been over this problem earlier and are
16 alert to it.
17 Mr. Ivetic.
18 MR. IVETIC: Yes, Your Honour, I believe there's a could be a
19 critical issue as to the translation. The translation comes out "joint"
20 for both "zdruzeni" and "zajednicka," which is not the same word in the
21 Serbian and then in the Serbian original there is actually a comma
22 after "zdruzeni" or "combined staff," and then it says ", komanda." So I
23 think if we look at the original document we see that what's appearing in
24 the transcript is not actually correct.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well there is a comma in the English as well. Your
1 argument is over the translation of the word joint or combined and that is
2 a matter we have already said will have to be addressed in submissions in
3 due course.
4 Mr. Bakrac.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there's another
6 significant error, line 41 -- page 41, page 7. In the Serbian version
7 after "joint staff," as my colleague Mr. Ivetic has explained, there
8 should be a comma, and then it should say "command."
9 JUDGE BONOMY: In the actual document there is a comma. Just
10 because the transcriber here, working under enormous pressure, doesn't put
11 a comma in there, Mr. Bakrac, we don't need to stop the proceedings and
12 have it rectified.
13 Please proceed, Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. HANNIS:
15 Q. All right, General --
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Hold on.
17 Mr. Fila now.
18 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] May I just assist the Court. I'm not
19 going to interfere much. This is now the third term. We
20 have "zajednicka," joint; we have "objednijena," combined; and we
21 have "zdruzeni," joint or combined. Now, these are three terms now, all
22 of them translated as "joint." What General Lazarevic used
23 was "objedinjena," combined. I'm emphasising this because you heard it.
24 If that is the same thing, then Mr. Hannis is right. Now we have three
25 problems with translation, not two. You know the Cyrillic script, you can
1 read it. I'm sorry for bothering you.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: We are alert to this problem and have already said
3 on more than one occasion that submissions will have to be made about it
4 and we'll deal with these as they arise. In addition, if the matter can
5 be further clarified in re-examination, then that opportunity is also
6 available to Mr. Bakrac.
7 So let's proceed, Mr. Hannis.
8 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
9 Q. General, continuing on that same page, 10, in the B/C/S and it's
10 page 12 of the English in the middle, still General Ojdanic speaking, and
11 he says --
12 MR. HANNIS: And I think there's a translation issue here.
13 Q. -- but the word for "joint" appears to be "zajednicka" in this
15 "There is yet another option. There is an option, the Joint
16 Command down there whereby the president orders me and I have to know it
17 immediately and it says by order of the President of the FRY, due to the
18 seriousness of the situation, such and such forces and assets of some of
19 the Pristina Corps units shall be engaged and everything is fine and there
20 is no problem."
21 Now, here it's clear he's using the term "Joint Command," isn't
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, can you help us with a possible typographical error here,
25 because I have a note when we discussed this previously with another
1 witness where it says "the Joint Command down there whereby the president
2 orders me," I'm told that that perhaps could be a transposition of the two
3 letters for that word in Serbian and it may actually mean "orders them."
4 Is that correct?
5 A. I can only read what is written here with the leave of the Trial
6 Chamber, otherwise I didn't really understand what you are asking me.
7 Q. Well, then, did I read it correctly when I said: "The Joint
8 Command down there whereby the president orders me"?
9 A. That part is correct, looking at the text.
10 Q. Let's go two paragraphs farther down. It says: "As far as this
11 other issue is concerned," and I think you'll see what it refers to, "did
12 they choose the most appropriate time or not. I asked Pavkovic the same
13 thing and I asked Lazo what was the meaning of a mechanised platoon on the
14 march as a subject, is this platoon learning anything or is it just being
15 exposed to danger, is this a demonstration of force and what's the purpose
16 of such an exercise?"
17 A couple questions, is Lazo -- is that your nickname? Is he
18 referring to you there?
19 A. I suppose it's me.
20 Q. And I think this is referring to what Obradovic was talking before
21 about that mechanised tank squad engaged in an exercise. So he says he
22 asked you about what this was for. Do you recall talking to
23 General Ojdanic about that?
24 A. As far as I understood, this is the collegium meeting of the 21st
25 of January, at least that's what I heard in my headphones, although the
1 text says "24th December" at the bottom. I remember that at some point on
2 one occasion the general -- the Chief of General Staff asked me how to
3 protect units, generally speaking, both in movement and when they are
4 performing combat activities. I remember that. But I don't remember what
5 you just asked me, whether I talked on the 15th or at the time of Racak
6 with the Chief of General Staff about the operation in Racak. It's not
7 that he's suggesting that to me, but as an officer, as a general who knows
8 how security should be provided, we discussed a broader topic, flank
9 security and how that is arranged. Yes, we discussed that topic.
10 Q. But you don't recall him discussing with you before the 21st of
11 January, 1999, the specific issue of this mechanised platoon being on an
12 exercise? You don't recall that?
13 A. No, I don't recall about that period, the 15th or just after the
14 15th. I remember discussing the general problem of performing exercises,
15 and in particular providing security in movement through gorges, such as
16 the Crnoljevo gorge.
17 Q. All right. Thank you, General. I want to move on to page 21 in
18 the B/C/S, it's page 24 of the English. This relates to some answers you
19 gave last week when you were talking about what the army and the Pristina
20 Corps were doing in early 1999. You told us that you had good
21 intelligence and information that the KLA was planning a spring operation.
22 And I don't have the precise wording here, but in one of your answers you
23 said that the army wasn't doing anything. You were living as though you
24 would not have a war for a hundred years. Do you recall saying words to
25 that effect?
1 A. I recall that I said something like that in the context of the
2 fact that 50 to 60 per cent of the corps were in the areas of the
3 peacetime location and they were engaged in their regular combat build-up.
4 That was my answer.
5 Q. You'll see that General Bojovic is talking about the fact that KLA
6 is getting ready for its spring, that NATO is threatening and getting
7 ready for its spring, and he says: "We must literally prepare for this
8 spring." He talks about options. And at the bottom of page 21, the last
9 two lines in B/C/S and on to the next page -- well, the last two lines my
10 English translation says: "These are all regular things we need to carry
11 out every day with all these forces, prepare ourselves as if the war will
12 happen tomorrow."
13 And as a matter of fact, that's what the VJ did, didn't it, you
14 were making extensive preparations for a war in the spring, weren't you?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Let's go to page 22, the second paragraph. This is still
17 General Bojovic speaking. And he said: "We should strengthen our special
18 forces in that field, in particular in Kosovo and Metohija, along the rim
19 too," I'll skip a little bit. It says:
20 "That means police forces, reconnaissance, anti-sabotage units,
21 and so on. We should have all these forces -- we should have these forces
22 in all our garrisons in Kosovo and Metohija and we should be prepared if
23 the orders come and we can expect such orders to come, to participate in
24 combat with the MUP but in a specific way, so as not to damage policy, the
25 state, in other words not to use tanks and artillery."
1 Now, a few questions follow from that. In late January and early
2 February the VJ and 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps were making
3 preparations for the expected possible war that was going to come with the
4 KLA and/or NATO in the spring, were you not?
5 A. Pristina Corps as part of the 3rd Army was engaged in January and
6 February in preparing a special-purpose plan, that is, defending the
7 country from multi-national forces, from -- coming from Macedonia and
8 Albania, and armed insurgency. That is my answer to your question what
9 specifically the Pristina Corps was doing.
10 Q. And Grom 3 had been prepared in January of 1999, correct?
11 A. Depending on the level, I cannot remember when it was prepared on
12 each level. But Grom 3 is this particular plan from the General Staff
13 level down to different tactical levels below, but I believe it was
14 prepared by end January/February.
15 Q. And on the 16th of February, I think it's Exhibit P2808, your
16 Pristina Corps number 455-1 was your directive, your plan in preparation
17 for those possible events in the spring, correct? You'll see it on the
18 screen now.
19 A. I want to be a little more precise. This is not a directive,
20 because that's not what the corps command does; it is a whole plan. We
21 see the order of the Pristina Corps command to crush and destroy Siptar
22 terrorist forces in specified locations, without specifying the time when
23 the plan would be activated. The plan was to be activated upon receipt of
24 a special signal and order.
25 Q. Thank you, General. I misspoke in referring to that as a
1 directive. I would like to return to 939 for a couple more items. And,
2 General, I want to look at page 24 in the B/C/S. And it's page 26 of the
3 English. I'll tell you this is General Dimitrijevic speaking, and I want
4 to link this back to what Bojovic had said before too. And it relates to
5 the issue of using the artillery and tanks.
6 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry, I need page 26 of the English and 24 of
7 the B/C/S and the top of the page for the B/C/S. Thank you.
8 Q. General Dimitrijevic is saying in paragraph 3 on the English and
9 the first paragraph on the top of page 24 for you, General:
10 "You know that when on 15 October President Milosevic signed, or
11 rather, made the agreement with Holbrooke, that those forces were not
12 destroyed as had been said but dispersed, but the fact is that none were
13 concentrated in this area. Since then they have been coming back,
14 organizing, arming themselves, and all the rest. Why has this not been
15 done before, and I think that in the existing international conditions
16 this is the primary task of the MUP, they should carry out anti-terrorist
17 operations, not frontal operations where they first have artillery
18 preparation and then capture or destroy whatever they find afterwards."
19 And the next paragraph: "So as far as the army is concerned, I
20 think that in this phase, in addition to all these preparations,
21 activities should be focused on protecting the border, while as far as the
22 MUP is concerned, let me stress this once again, on the anti-terrorist
23 operations, to be carried out primarily against commands, staffs, and we
24 know where they are."
25 Now, General, isn't it true that international community's
1 complaints about the activities of the security forces, the army and the
2 MUP, in their actions in Kosovo in 1998 focus largely on what they term
3 disproportionate force in those anti-terrorist operations? That's what
4 General Bojovic and General Dimitrijevic are talking about here, isn't it,
5 that artillery preparation, the use of heavy weapons in those kinds of
6 actions, right?
7 A. My personal knowledge from 1998 and early 1999 is this: Only on
8 one occasion at official meetings between the OSCE mission and the liaison
9 team with OSCE was it stated that there was disproportionate use of force
10 on the 8th of January against Slapuzane village where a tank projectile
11 was fired. Nowhere else in the documents that I was able to see regarding
12 cooperation with the OSCE mission or in any reports from my superiors or
13 underlings did I find this complaint, that in 1998 the forces of the corps
14 used force disproportionately.
15 And what Mr. -- What General Dimitrijevic is saying, he's talking
16 about artillery preparation theatrically as a possibility. I'm not aware
17 of a single action of the army when they were supporting the MUP and
18 providing artillery preparation prior to the action. I understand that
19 General Dimitrijevic is saying that should not be done, that should not be
20 done. He's not saying it was done, it had been done.
21 Q. Okay. You told us just now according to your personal knowledge
22 you only knew of one occasion. You weren't aware that there were
23 widespread allegations that this kind of use of heavy weapons was being
24 taken against civilians in those operations against the terrorists in
25 Kosovo in 1998? You didn't read about it? You didn't hear about it on TV
1 or the radio or the newspapers? Is that what you're saying?
2 A. I tried to speak in concrete terms. I tried to refer to the
3 documentation of the Pristina Corps and the 3rd Army dealing with our
4 cooperation with the OSCE mission. I tried to invoke my contacts with my
5 subordinate officers in 1998, my contacts with my superiors in 1999, and
6 to say that I have no information corroborating these allegations. As far
7 as media are concerned, I remember one occurrence in particular from the
8 second half of 1998 when the location of Obrinje was mentioned in this
9 context, wherein the commander of the corps and the whole corps command
10 ordered a detailed gathering of information to investigate whether the
11 army had been involved. That is what I personally know from that period.
12 Q. Okay. Let me go to the next paragraph. This is still
13 General Dimitrijevic, bottom of 26 and top of 27 in the English. He says:
14 "I do not think we could work in any other weighty moment anyway,
15 and as far as General Marjanovic's dilemma is concerned, I also have to
16 say the same. I don't know what is being presented there and whether what
17 is being presented by the Joint Command is this or something else
18 entirely. I was personally present when the minister here was received by
19 the chief, the minister of the interior, and when the man unambiguously
20 stated that the backbone of terrorism was broken, that terrorism was
21 destroyed, and that this was a showdown with the remains of the terrorist
22 gangs, criminals."
23 Now, we see here General Dimitrijevic is making reference to the
24 Joint Command, and as I understand this - and we've seen this topic
25 before - that there's -- the army has a view that the police and perhaps
1 the politicians as well are presenting a false picture, a too rosy
2 picture, if you will, about the status of the terrorists in Kosovo. Is
3 that consistent with what you saw and knew about in January of 1999, that
4 is, that things in Kosovo were worse than were being portrayed in public
5 by the minister of interior, the police, the politicians?
6 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Fila.
7 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I would like to see where the
8 Prosecutor read the word "politicians."
9 MR. HANNIS: I didn't. That's not anything Mr. Dimitrijevic said.
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Oh, well. Well, then tell that to the
11 witness instead of asking him whether the politicians conveyed a message
12 or not. And as long as I'm on my feet, I would like to say that this text
13 had better be read by General Lazarevic than having the English
14 translation read, whereas we get the translation back into Serbian. We're
15 just wasting time that way. If Mr. Hannis wants something read, then he
16 should have General Lazarevic read it in the original Serbian. That's at
17 least my suggestion.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Fila. That will depend on the
20 Mr. Hannis, the question becomes very complicated when you throw
21 in the last line, that's line 10.
22 MR. HANNIS: I take your point, Your Honour.
23 Q. General, based on -- let me withdraw that question and try to ask
24 a different one.
25 Based on your knowledge and experience of what the situation in
1 Kosovo was with regard to the extent of the problem of terrorism, are you
2 aware of any public statements that were being made that presented a too
3 rosy picture, a false picture, suggesting that it was much better than you
4 knew it to be?
5 A. I do not recall reading at that time any public comments about the
6 overall situation of security, but at that time in early 1999, as Chief of
7 Staff and later commander, it was my belief that the situation was very,
8 very unfavourable because on the 8th of January, 1999, in the middle of
9 this peace and international presence, eight soldiers were kidnapped by
10 terrorists, which constituted a dramatic deterioration of the overall
11 state of affairs in Kosovo and Metohija. This is just an example, because
12 in your previous question you seem to ask me what my view was of the
13 situation in Kosovo and Metohija.
14 Q. Would you agree with the statement that the backbone of terrorism
15 was broken, that terrorism was destroyed in January of 1999?
16 A. My personal knowledge is that towards the end of summer 1998, or
17 rather, in end September to be more precise, the backbone of terrorism in
18 Kosovo and Metohija was indeed neutralised. But as far as the month of
19 January is concerned, they had rebuilt and restored in many ways [as
21 Q. [Microphone not activated]
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Zecevic.
23 MR. HANNIS: Sorry.
24 MR. ZECEVIC: I believe the witness said, 52, 25, the witness
25 said: Additionally strengthened, that the backbone of terrorism was
1 rebuilt, restored, and additionally strengthened.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 MR. HANNIS:
4 Q. General, in connection with that last reference to an opinion
5 expressed by the minister of the interior, I want to segue into your
6 dealings with the MUP. As part of your business, you regularly received
7 information or intelligence from the MUP, did you not?
8 A. If the honourable Prosecutor means me personally, whether somebody
9 from the MUP gave it to me as the commander, but the corps command and
10 primarily the security department, primarily through the sector of state
11 security, exchanged information, that much is true.
12 Q. And who was your security officer when you were head of the
13 Pristina Corps, when you were commander of the Pristina Corps?
14 A. The chief of the security department of the corps command was
15 Colonel Momir Stojanovic.
16 Q. He had also been -- well, how long had he been in that position?
17 He was also in that position in 1998 as well, right?
18 A. Yes, and I found him there as Chief of Staff when I arrived in the
19 corps, but I don't know how long he had been there before that.
20 Q. And in your dealings with him, how would you describe his
21 abilities and his work as head of the security department for the Pristina
22 Corps? Was he knowledgeable?
23 A. Colonel Stojanovic, to the best of my recollection, was born in
24 Djakovica. He was familiar with the general situation in terms of
25 security, interethnic, international security situation. And at that
1 time, I felt that, being familiar with the situation, he was successfully
2 carrying out his duties in compliance with his authority and powers.
3 Q. I would like to show you Exhibit P2945, and this may take a minute
4 to come up. General, this is a newspaper article dated the 22nd of
5 November, 2002 --
6 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Bakrac --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
8 MR. HANNIS: -- on his feet.
9 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understood that
10 newspaper articles cannot be exhibits, especially when they deal with
11 something somebody else stated they cannot be put to this witness. All
12 the more so as General Momir Stojanovic will be coming to testify here
13 very soon. That's my objection.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: I think you've just shot the objection down,
15 Mr. Bakrac, by telling me that he's coming to give evidence, because
16 obviously Mr. Hannis ought to prepare the way for anything he's going to
17 ask him when he does arrive; and therefore, it is appropriate in this
18 instance to use something he's reported to have said to a newspaper.
19 Mr. Hannis.
20 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. General, you see the first page of that article. That is
22 General Stojanovic that you're talking about, right?
23 A. Yes, that's General Stojanovic. He's a colonel in this picture.
24 Q. And if you could go to page 2 of the B/C/S in this article, there
25 is a document that purports to be from the colonel at the time, directed
1 to the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija. Do you see that, that's
2 item number 2 on that page, and it's from the Pristina Corps command
3 security sector. It's signed by him and has a stamp, and it's dated the
4 11th of November, 1998. I know you weren't the commander of the Pristina
5 Corps at that time, but were you aware that the head of security for the
6 Pristina Corps was providing information to the Joint Command for Kosovo
7 and Metohija in November of 1998?
8 A. No, I didn't know that. I never saw this. It's the first time
9 I've seen it now on the screen. I assume that's what you're referring to.
10 Q. Correct. And before today, you were not aware that Colonel, now
11 General, Stojanovic had given such an interview and talked about those
12 things in the paper in 2002 or 2000, I'm not sure? It looks like 2000 on
13 my copy.
14 A. I remember that he gave an interview or talked to a journalist.
15 I'm not sure whether he was in the security service at the time or not. I
16 recall that, but I didn't really read the papers and I saw this among the
17 exhibits of the Prosecution. But I really hadn't seen this document
18 before. I don't know if it's from a newspaper or if it's scanned from
19 some document.
20 Q. Okay.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lazarevic, is Politika not a newspaper you
22 would read?
23 MR. HANNIS: This is not Politika, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Oh, sorry.
25 MR. HANNIS: This is the Nedeljni Telegraf.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Is that a newspaper you would not read?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did read whatever I could lay my
3 hands on occasionally, but it's not a newspaper that anyone is bound to
4 read, either in the army or myself. I remember that allegedly he gave an
5 interview at the time, if that's the one.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: When was it you retired from active army service?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 5th of October, 2004.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: So whenever this interview was given, it was given
9 at a time when he was one of your subordinate officers?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, that's not how it was.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: I misunderstand the situation then, Mr. Hannis, I'm
13 MR. HANNIS:
14 Q. General, when did you --
15 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I'm sorry, is this the Telegraph from England, the
16 local one?
17 MR. HANNIS:
18 Q. Well, General, I'll follow-up a couple questions on what Judge
19 Bonomy asked, but let's turn to the next page of the B/C/S. And although
20 you may not have read this newspaper, it appears that you did talk to them
21 because that's your picture and that purports to be an interview with you
22 by this very same newspaper. Do you remember that?
23 A. The Prosecutor asked me two questions, that I spoke to someone, I
24 don't understand who I spoke to - does this relate to Colonel Stojanovic;
25 and secondly, as far as I can see, this is not an interview; and lastly, I
1 spoke to a journalist, Antic, who originated from Kosovo, on one occasion
2 about what was going on in Kosovo. And I recognise part of that
3 conversation in this text, but it was not an actual interview.
4 Q. So who was this journalist Antic that you spoke to and can you
5 give us some details about the circumstances of that, when and where and
6 what was it about?
7 A. Four question, if I can answer them all, I'll do my best but I ask
8 for assistance. I know of the last name Antic, I don't know the first
9 name. When and where I spoke to him I really can't recall, I can't be
10 precise. It might have been in Nis on some occasion, but it was not about
11 a specific topic. He did not put questions to me. I simply generally
12 spoke about what was going on in Kosovo and Metohija, why this had
13 happened after the Kumanova Agreement, and that was the topic of our
14 conversation as far as I can recall.
15 Q. Can you read out the headline in bold letter next to your picture,
16 can you read us what that says starting with "Mnoge."
17 A. "Many actions of the MUP of Serbia were leaked, because in their
18 intelligence service they had Siptars who later became terrorist
20 Q. And during 1998 and 1999, were you aware of this problem with the
21 MUP having a lot of leaks or their -- many of their actions being leaked?
22 A. When I say that, when the author of this article writes that, it
23 refers primarily to intelligence information of the State Security Service
24 within the Ministry of the Interior. I was aware of the problem that to a
25 certain extent, sometimes a large extent, there was misinformation and we
1 had losses, because we engaged the organs of state security and organs
2 securing the state border in the wrong places, and that was the problem.
3 Q. And that is something you talk about in what's written here, that
4 sometimes you were provided -- "you," meaning the army, were provided
5 information by the MUP about where groups might be trying to cross the
6 border with weapons and you would go there and no one would show up or
7 nothing would happen, right? Is that the kind of thing that was happening
8 in 1998 and 1999?
9 A. Firstly -- well, I believe the Prosecutor when he says that's what
10 it says here. I really don't see what the text says, but the gist of my
11 assessment and the gist of what I said refers to the following:
12 Intelligence information which we received was not always relevant, it was
13 not always precise, and this led to losses.
14 Q. General, so I take it from your earlier answers that you had not
15 seen this text before just now when I showed it to you; is that correct?
16 A. On the list of documents, I saw that an interview of mine was to
17 be presented, but I didn't deal with that. I expected it to be presented
18 here and I thought I would have an opportunity to clarify it. But I don't
19 see this actually because the writing is very small on the screen, so I
20 can't read what this journalist wrote.
21 Q. Well, what I would propose to do, General, is that I can give you
22 a copy and perhaps during the break you can read it and after the break
23 bring it to our attention. If there's anything in here that you find is
24 incorrect or needs clarification, we'll talk about it after the break. Is
25 that satisfactory? But I do want to ask you about the last paragraph, and
1 I can hand you my hard copy right now. It's the very last paragraph on
2 the right-hand column, it's under the area that I blocked out in pink,
3 it's the very last few lines. And you want to read that one for us? It
4 starts out with: "Maybe I shouldn't ..."
5 A. Yes.
6 "'Maybe I shouldn't say this, but it must be said that the MUP of
7 Serbia and its political mentors were -- cost us,' concluded
8 General Lazarevic."
9 Q. General, I don't know, there seem to be some difficulty.
10 Is "political mentors cost us"? I have a draft translation that
11 says"destroyed us." Could you read that line again.
12 A. From the beginning?
13 Q. Sure, it's short. Please.
14 A. "'Maybe I shouldn't say this, but for the sake of the truth I must
15 say that the MUP of the Serbia and its political mentors destroyed us in
16 Kosovo and Metohija.'"
17 Q. General, is that correct? Is that how you felt about things? In
18 2000 when you talked about this?
19 A. First of all, I have to say, although there is a dash here, it
20 looks like quotation marks. That's how I ended the conversation with the
21 journalist. And if I may be allowed to read the context and see what all
22 this is about, I might be able to add something. But this term "political
23 mentors," I don't really understand it, to tell you the truth, and I
24 cannot confirm that these are my words, not my original words.
25 Q. Well, General, if you were trying to tell us who the political
1 mentors of the MUP of Serbia were in 1998 and 1999, who would you be
2 thinking of?
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] The witness has already answered this
6 question, that he doesn't recall having said that in that context and that
7 he doesn't understand what the word "mentor" means.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't think he said he doesn't remember saying
9 what's here. He says he can't confirm -- in English he can't confirm that
10 these are his words.
11 But he has said, Mr. Hannis, that he doesn't understand the
12 term "political mentors."
13 MR. HANNIS:
14 Q. General, do you understand what the term "mentor" means?
15 A. "Mentor" is a term, as far as I know, used in developing a topic.
16 It's the leader who assists someone to carry out a task, directs him,
17 monitors, gives suggestions, and it's used primarily in academic work, a
18 mentor or a leader.
19 Q. All right. Who in 1998 or 1999 would have been a leader or one
20 who gave suggestions to the MUP in carrying out tasks? Who in the
21 political field would that describe, if anybody, according to your
23 MR. LUKIC: I'm really sorry, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: Now we have a double translation. Mr. Lazarevic
1 mentioned "voditelj" and now he got back "vodja," which is really leader
2 and what we have in English and "voditelj" doesn't mean leader.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: So how would you translate "voditelj," Mr. Lukic?
4 MR. LUKIC: General Lazarevic used term "mentor," definitely it's
5 not leader.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it was translated --
7 MR. LUKIC: Or somebody who guides somebody else, actually, is --
8 or advise.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: So the question you want to ask, Mr. Hannis, is who
10 from the political sphere might have fitted that bill in relation to the
11 MUP in 1998 and 1999.
12 MR. HANNIS: That's right, Your Honour.
13 Q. Did you hear that, General? That's the question I would ask.
14 A. I have heard the question and to the best of my knowledge, for the
15 organization and execution of all the tasks of the organs and units of the
16 MUP, it was the minister of the interior of Serbia who was in charge. And
17 who he reported to in the hierarchy I really don't know, I can only
18 assume, but this is what I read in the official document, the Law on
19 Internal Affairs, and that's what I know.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, if we were to break now the witness
21 would have a chance to read the document and we could resume at quarter to
23 MR. HANNIS: That's fine, Your Honour. Thank you.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.15 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 12.46 p.m.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Hannis.
2 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. General, did you have a chance to review Exhibit P2945 and the
4 portion of the interview that referred to you or the article that referred
5 to you?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And is there -- well, what comment would you like to make to us
8 about that? Does it refresh your recollection? Is it accurate in terms
9 of what you said as far as you can tell or what?
10 A. With the leave of the Trial Chamber, I would like to make one
11 comment. I would like to point out certain passages in this text and the
12 very way the topic is dealt with, which goes to show that these are not my
13 words, that they are outside the context of this brief conversation we
14 had. And if the Trial Chamber allows me, I would take it point by point.
15 I need just a few minutes.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, it really is a matter for you at the
17 moment. Nothing's been confirmed as accurate, so how do you want to
18 proceed with this?
19 MR. HANNIS: I think I want to allow him the opportunity, Your
20 Honour --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
22 MR. HANNIS: -- to hear specifically what it is.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Please proceed, Mr. Lazarevic, as you suggest.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Reading this text in the short time
25 I had, I noticed first that it is not in the format of an interview, that
1 is, a question-and-answer session -- at least that's my understanding of
2 an interview.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: It doesn't --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- And in that sense, I could
5 question the authenticity of it.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it doesn't matter whether it's an interview
7 or not. The real question is whether it's an accurate reflection of what
8 you said or thought, and if you could concentrate on that, that would help
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's understood, Your Honour. Let
11 me point out that there is no date here, so it didn't help me remember
12 exactly when this happened, the journalist, the reporter, it doesn't
13 mention it. And moving on, towards the end of the introduction, this
14 passage in bold print, he says to his readers: "A commander of the 3rd
15 Army and Chief of Staff of many years." I don't understand what the
16 author of the text is trying to tell his readership, Chief of Staff of
17 what of many years? I really don't know what he means.
18 And towards the end of the first column on the left-hand side, the
19 last few short sentences could certainly not have been uttered by me - and
20 I'll explain that. The reporter says: "Each documented proposal of ours
21 was met by the then-leadership with the words: 'You are too radical.'" I
22 was never in a position to warn the state leadership about anything, nor
23 did I discuss it with anyone. And if you allow me to point out, the
24 interview with Colonel Stojanovic contains the very same words, the third
25 column -- the middle of the third column. And I particularly want to
1 emphasise the second column of this alleged interview with me.
2 "The obstruction of our proposals had gone so far that for years
3 they failed to expand the border belt from 100 metres to 5 kilometres,"
4 something that first General Pavkovic insisted on and then later I. This
5 is complete nonsense because at this point I had been in Kosovo and
6 Metohija for a year. It can't be true that I was trying to mislead both
7 the readership or this reporter. He knows exactly when I had come to
8 Kosovo and he knows exactly what I was proposing and how I was supporting
9 General Pavkovic first and then the leadership.
10 Then the fourth column, the last passage: "We warned more than
11 once that customs authorities and services are seriously corrupted." I
12 didn't know any customs officers or authorities in Kosovo and I couldn't
13 have said anything of the kind.
14 And finally, concerning the last paragraph, we discussed it at the
15 previous session, about mentors, that's the term used here. If you allow
16 me, I want to point out something on the next page, that same word is used
17 by the author to explain the position of Zoran Mijatovic in this frame:
18 "You and your mentor Stojiljkovic."
19 All this leads me to conclude, as I did before, that I never used
20 that term myself. And I want to say in conclusion, if this author had a
21 general conversation with me about the situation in Kosovo and Metohija,
22 he abused it to turn it into a completely different story of his own. I
23 do accept that I met with this journalist, we discussed this general
24 topic, but I certainly didn't say some of these things written here.
25 Those are simply not my statements.
1 MR. HANNIS:
2 Q. All right, General, let me see if I can pick out a few then that
3 you would agree are your statements or were your statements. First of
4 all, when did you become commander of the 3rd Army?
5 A. January -- maybe not January, March or April 2000.
6 Q. So if this article is written in November of 2000 and you became
7 3rd Army commander sometime between January and April, we can narrow down
8 the time-frame of your meeting or conversation with the journalist to
9 sometime between those dates, right, sometime in 2000?
10 A. Possibly. I really cannot recall the date.
11 Q. And do you recall telling the journalist that all those who would
12 have had a decisive role, those who made the highest decisions, they now
13 want to blame the army and the Pristina Corps? That's how you felt in
14 2000, wasn't it?
15 A. No, that is not so. That's not so, because I approached that
16 conversation and that topic from the viewpoint of inconsistency of certain
17 information, security-related information at the time in 1998 and early
18 1999. That was the point.
19 Q. The article attributes to you this, that: "The federal government
20 decided to expand the bordering area to 5 kilometres only in the summer of
21 1998, when Siptar terrorists already occupied half the territory of Kosovo
22 and Metohija and when our bordering units were cut off."
23 You said that, didn't you? You've told us something similar here.
24 A. I'm saying that this position was the result of our previous
25 position, when for years we had been warning -- sorry, from that previous
1 passage where the author says I -- quotes me as saying that I had been
2 warning for years; I had not been there for years. That the border belt
3 should be expanded, that was my position, and in the month of March, when
4 I was meeting Mr. Lilic at the border and I believe he was accompanied by
5 General Perisic, I told them both that that should be done as soon as
6 possible. But I don't recall discussing this with this journalist in that
8 Q. Did you discuss it in that way with anyone else?
9 A. Well, yes, I did, within the circle of people who toured units
10 from the superior command or with people who inspected the state border,
11 such as the state officials, including Mr. Lilic.
12 Q. The next sentence says: "'During all that time,' General
13 Lazarevic continues, 'there were accusations going around that the army
14 was guilty of Siptar terrorists having armed themselves.'"
15 Is that something you said?
16 A. I never said, not even in other conversations, that at that time
17 in 1998 somebody was blaming the army for the fact that there were too
18 many weapons in Kosovo and Metohija. But it was primarily the task of the
19 army to prevent the smuggling of weapons, but this whole further story
20 that somebody was blaming the army or the customs authorities, all that is
21 not true.
22 Q. Two questions about it. You're saying it's not true that you said
23 that, right, that's what you're saying?
24 A. I did not say it to this journalist.
25 Q. Okay. Are you saying the fact is not true as well? Are you
1 saying that there were no accusations going around that the army was
2 guilty of terrorists having armed themselves? If you know.
3 A. I cannot deny that there were maybe some people who blamed the
4 army as well for the fact that terrorists were being supplied with weapons
5 from Albania, but it is a fact that the army was dealing with its mission
6 to prevent it with all available resources. I just want to point out that
7 these arms shipments took place even before 1998, in 1997, for instance,
8 when I wasn't even there.
9 Q. Okay. And lastly, with regard to the last paragraph, are you
10 saying now that you didn't mention anything about the political mentors of
11 the MUP?
12 A. Never. I really don't remember a single occasion or a single
13 person to whom I would have spoken using the term "political mentor." But
14 this same author uses the same term with another alleged interviewee, whom
15 I didn't even know. It could be this Mijatovic man who already testified
16 here, the one from MUP.
17 Q. So then should the last paragraph read that it was the MUP of
18 Serbia that destroyed you in Kosovo and only the MUP?
19 A. Well, really, I'm afraid I'm being asked to suppose what the
20 author should have written. At that time I had my own position and I
21 still have my own position, which is different to what this writer wrote,
22 and he may have known the situation in Kosovo even better than I did. And
23 I think he used the meeting or a conversation he had with me to tell a
24 story of his own.
25 Q. Well, you just said: "At that time I had my own position and I
1 still have my own position ..."
2 What was your position?
3 A. Well, my position specifically is that I, as an officer, am not
4 blaming heaven knows which agencies in the state. I as the Chief of Staff
5 was in charge of securing the state border, and I walked most of that
6 border personally. And I noticed during those tours of inspection that
7 the protection and defence of the state border had not been organized in
8 the best possible way; that was the main observation I made. As Chief of
9 Staff of the corps, I suggested measures to the corps commander, I
10 suggested measures to the Chief of General Staff, and then in November he
11 rejected them after once accepting them at the collegium meeting. In
12 November when he came to Djakovica to visit, he changed his view and
13 rejected my proposals.
14 Q. It's not clear to me from that answer. Is your position then that
15 no politicians and nobody from MUP has any blame for what happened in
17 A. What I'm trying to say is that I neither knew the politicians who
18 were in charge of security issues at state level or in that area, such as
19 head of state, the Assembly, et cetera, nor did I know anyone from the
20 leadership of the MUP or the police at that time. I'm saying specifically
21 as Chief of Staff of the corps, I walked dozens of kilometres of the state
22 border. I wrote reports and briefed all the way up to the Chief of
23 General Staff that the security is not the best. And I made -- developed
24 special studies at army level for that border.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Zecevic.
1 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, I didn't want to interrupt. 68, lines
2 20 to 23. It's completely different what the witness has said. He said
3 that in November when the Chief of the General Staff came, he accepted my
4 proposal, although he previously rejected it. So previously to November
5 it was rejected one time, and then the Chief of the General Staff came to
6 visit and then accepted the proposal by General Lazarevic.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: That needs to be clarified, Mr. Hannis.
8 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: It's the opposite way at the moment.
10 MR. HANNIS:
11 Q. General, did you hear the comments of Mr. Zecevic just now?
12 A. Yes, I did. I want to recall that we had a witness here who was a
13 member of the General Staff at the time, Colonel Cucak, who confirmed the
14 same thing. Second, documents were introduced from the collegium meetings
15 of the Chief of General Staff, I believe these are Prosecution exhibits,
16 and the collegium, including General Perisic, did not accept proposals at
17 the corps command and the 3rd Army command dealing with complex security
18 for the state border. And third, General Perisic arrived in early
19 November 1998 to the forward command post of the corps in Djakovica, I
20 briefed him. And based on that briefing and report I made and his own
21 personal tours of some units, he changed his personal position and he
22 ordered additional security to be provided for the state border and also
23 that a study be made at the level of the army.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
25 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
1 Q. General, I want to go back to page 68, line 24. I'm not sure you
2 completely answered my question about whether your position was that no
3 politicians and nobody from MUP has any blame for what happened. You
4 said: "What I'm trying to say is that I neither knew the politicians who
5 were in charge of security issues at the state level or in that area."
6 Now, we know in 1998 that you knew certain state officials by
7 virtue of the fact that you met with them at Joint Command meetings, one
8 meeting in August and four meetings in September 1998, that included
9 Mr. Sainovic, Mr. Minic. And you've also told us I think about Mr. Lilic
10 coming on tour with the Chief of Staff. So you did know those
11 politicians, correct? Just yes or no.
12 A. I did know those people who held that positions, but I didn't know
13 their responsibilities for securing the state border. That's what I meant
14 when I said I didn't know who had functional responsibility for the state
15 border. I thought it was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as far as I
16 know. I didn't know those people.
17 Q. Well, General, I think you're making it too narrow for one thing.
18 We were talking about your statement in this newspaper article, at least
19 what's attributed to you, about saying that: "Maybe I shouldn't say this,
20 but for the sake of the truth it's necessary to say that the MUP of Serbia
21 destroyed us in Kosovo and Metohija."
22 I would suggest that's not just limited to problems with security
23 of the state border, but it's broader than that.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, well, my learned friend
1 Mr. Hannis went through this text in detail, and the answer he received
2 was that these words were not uttered by Mr. Lazarevic to the journalist.
3 And now he goes back to the question what this sentence means. I believe
4 it is superfluous and unacceptable.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
6 MR. HANNIS: Well, Your Honour, as I understood he took particular
7 issue with the reference to political mentors. And then I asked him a
8 follow-up question about: "Is it your position then that neither the MUP
9 nor politicians had any blame for the problems in Kosovo?"
10 And I got an answer that he didn't know any of the politicians and
11 there was nothing discussed about MUP. I'm trying to follow-up on that
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, he has already said page 68, I think, line 2
14 that these are not his -- this is not what he said. Now, your question is
15 based on what's attributed to him, and the objection is that that's
16 already been dealt with. So you need to approach it in a different way
17 rather than harking back to something that's not accepted.
18 MR. HANNIS: Well, I hear what you're saying, Your Honour. I
19 didn't read his answer to be a non-acceptance of that beyond political
20 mentor, but I will take your point --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, perhaps -- do I read too much into it?
22 MR. HANNIS: Well, maybe not when he says: "This is different to
23 what the writer wrote -- my position is different to what the writer
25 JUDGE BONOMY: I think you should reformulate the question,
1 Mr. Hannis.
2 MR. HANNIS: All right.
3 Q. Well, General, you said you have your position -- you had your
4 position and you have your position. Isn't it your position that someone
5 other than the army was to blame for what happened in Kosovo? You don't
6 think it was the army's fault, do you?
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there was a whole
9 series of questions regarding the security of the state border and the
10 supplying of terrorists with weapons. And now we hear a new question:
11 Who is to blame for the general picture and the general, the overall,
12 situation in Kosovo? Why doesn't our colleague Mr. Hannis say exactly
13 what he means?
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
15 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, because I'm starting from a reference
16 that said: Somebody destroyed us in Kosovo. I'm trying to find out who
17 he's blaming for that.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, we repel that objection.
19 Please proceed with the question.
20 MR. HANNIS:
21 Q. General, do I need to repeat my question?
22 A. No, you need not. I want to say emphatically that these last two
23 sentences are not mine, they're not my words. The political mentors of
24 the MUP of Serbia who are responsible for what happened in Kosovo, are
25 something I did not discuss, I did not mention to this reporter or any
1 other reporter. As for the second part of the question that the
2 honourable Prosecutor has repeated a number of times, I tried to explain
3 from my personal experience, my personal viewpoint, and in view of what I
4 personally tried to do as an officer in charge of the border, what our
5 problems were but from the standpoint of the army. Of course I pointed
6 out to problems with coordination and accessibility of information. We
7 mentioned that before, but that was in another context.
8 Q. Let me interrupt you there. I think you've gone beyond answering
9 my question. Let me move on to another topic. I want to ask you: Did
10 you have a chance to review the DVDs of your interview this weekend? I
11 think you told us that at the beginning, but I wanted to confirm.
12 A. Yes, but I was focusing on the part of the interview that I
13 particularly objected to, and I said that this interview with me was
14 misrepresented to the Trial Chamber.
15 Q. Okay. And you're talking about in particular the question of how
16 many meetings of the Joint Command you attended. Is that what you're
17 referring to now?
18 A. Yes, because last Friday it was suggested that I had not confirmed
19 my attendance at any of the meetings and video-clip of 12 minutes was
20 shown. I asked the Trial Chamber to allow me to check whether my memory's
21 correct, that there is another passage in that interview when the military
22 analyst asked me whether I attended or not, and I answered that I do not
23 deny having personally attended at one of those meetings. And I found
24 that passage over the weekend on a videotape.
25 Q. Okay. I can read from that one or we can play it - do you have a
1 preference? - that portion of the interview that talks about attending
2 another meeting.
3 A. My suggestion is that I read the information from the DVD relating
4 to those two minutes of my reply, and then if that can be shown in the
5 courtroom I would like to ask it to be shown.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if I may be of
7 assistance. Over the weekend I also viewed the DVD. And I think what
8 General Lazarevic is referring to is tape V0005252-1-A from 57 to 59 is
9 the minutes, so it's up to Your Honour as to whether it should be read out
10 or not.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I think at this minute preparations are being
12 made to play it.
13 Is that right, Mr. Hannis?
14 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour. And if the general and I are on
15 the same page - no pun intended - I think we're starting at page 94, yes,
16 page 94 of the English. And as background, Mr. Coo has asked the question
17 about the General's awareness of the existence of the Joint Command.
18 Q. General, tell us if this is not the right starting point.
19 A. I think it does refer to this, but here's the video and we'll hear
21 [Videotape played]
22 "Mr. Lazarevic: [Interpretation] And I did know that they had
23 meetings in Pristina" --
24 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry, we need to back up a little bit. The end
25 of Mr. Coo's question.
1 [Videotape played]
2 "Mr. Lazarevic: [Interpretation] And that is not what I have been
3 saying. I agree with what you said toward the end, that this body was
4 primarily there for the coordination of political, diplomatic, and other
5 activities, and that they naturally had a great deal of intelligence from
6 MUP and the VJ and the state security about the situation in the province.
7 And I did know that they had meetings in Pristina, which were also
8 attended by the army commander. I also said that I was there with the
9 corps commander and that we were -- had a meeting at a civilian building
10 and where information was exchanged. If I reviewed all the combat
11 documents, maybe I would find out that I perhaps attended towards the end
12 of the year one more of these informative meetings, but I cannot remember
13 right now, but not as a member of some Joint Command, but as the Chief of
14 Staff of the Pristina Corps, who then reported to the Pristina Corps
16 I received information from those -- from those in attendance and
17 also gave information at this one meeting or maybe two, but one I'm
18 certain of that I attended. Also, I confirmed -- I confirmed that without
19 being aware of any details that there were some documents of the Joint
20 Command which were not signed, and I told you about this before you even
21 asked me these questions. But I would like to assure you that for me, as
22 the Chief of Staff of the Pristina Corps who had his superior in the corps
23 commander, for me there was only the corps commander and no other
24 commands. Even when the Chief of General Staff was in contact with me, I
25 reported to the corps commander about what we spoke of. That's why I told
1 you today that I'm not part of this story. I can agree in you in a way
2 that looking formally at this when you pile up these documents, the
3 conclusion can be drawn that some kind of command did exist, but this
4 conclusion is not consistent enough."
5 MR. HANNIS:
6 Q. General, is it all right if we stop there? Does that cover the
7 point you wanted to raise?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. So, General, I think you've corrected me to suggest
10 that in February and March of 2005 you told us that you may have attended
11 two meetings of that body that I have called the Joint Command, instead of
12 the five that we now know you attended from the meeting notes described in
13 Exhibit P1468, correct?
14 A. That's not correct. My intention and my request to Their Honours
15 was directed towards the Prosecutor's allegation based on the previous
16 video-clip, that I did not mention my presence at the meetings of the
17 Joint Command at all, whereas I, even without being asked whether I had
18 attended or not, when explaining what I knew about that group of people,
19 about that body as it is called, about the coordination between the army
20 and the MUP and various information, I explained that on one or two
21 occasions I did attend this. That was the point of my request of Friday,
22 not to challenge based on documents what the Prosecutor has introduced
23 about my presence because it did occur on two occasions. There was one
24 meeting in August and maybe three or four in September, but in my view
25 these were two separate occasions.
1 Q. Well, General, we'll leave it to the Judges to review the record,
2 but as I recall I was suggesting that you only mention attending only
3 possibly one meeting in October regarding -- around the time that the OSCE
4 came. But we'll let the Judges review the record. I want to ask you
5 about that last statement you made on the tape. You say:
6 "I'm not part of this story. I can agree in you in a way that
7 looking formally at this, when you pile up these documents the conclusion
8 can be drawn that some kind of command did exist, but this conclusion is
9 not consistent enough."
10 General, at that time when you were being interviewed, there were
11 very few documents reflecting the existence of the Joint Command that
12 Mr. Coo had and discussed with you. Since that time, as you know, there
13 have been several additional documents, particularly some of those Joint
14 Command orders in March and April 1999. How big does the pile have to get
15 before we can change your mind and get you to agree that some kind of
16 Joint Command did exist?
17 A. First of all, I don't think there are other documents, except for
18 the ones obtained by the OTP. Secondly, I can never accept the claim that
19 there was some sort of Joint Command in command of the corps while I was
20 the Chief of Staff and while I was the corps commander, never, I repeat.
21 Q. Okay, General. Then let's go to your interview at page 47 of the
22 English. You were talking about a report that the corps command made
23 in -- around March the 5th, 1998. And I don't think we have a copy of
24 this document, but you said that the corps questioned the army that the
25 police in clashes with the terrorists used combat equipment which had the
1 same colour as the equipment and devices the Yugoslav Army uses. And you
2 say: "So we addressed this as a bad thing and that the army colours
3 should not be used for such activities. To clarify, the police received
4 this equipment from the army but not from the corps but from the General
5 Staff, and they didn't paint -- but they did not paint them blue, which is
6 the colour of the police."
7 And if I can carry over to page 49 just to follow-up on to that.
8 You said:
9 "The problem was that some of these vehicles did not have MUP
10 licence plates, which were blue, and they cannot carry out their task
11 because they see a military vehicle without any kind of licence plates.
12 It's a technical problem for the army traffic police ... It could lead to
13 misinformation both among the public and local population and civilians
14 and international community that the army was doing something which it was
15 not engaged in at the time."
16 So how big a problem was that in 1998 that the MUP was -- some of
17 the MUP was using VJ vehicles and had not painted them blue?
18 A. In March I was still in the corps command in Pristina, and I
19 remember a document in which the corps command reported to the 3rd Army
20 command that on the Pristina-Klina-Pec axis some vehicles had been
21 observed, military vehicles, meaning that they had military
22 characteristics and were of a military colour, but they had no licence
23 plates, and they were moving in a column of police vehicles. We stated
24 the date when this was observed and we asked the army command that this be
25 solved at a higher level. So this was a specific event, specific
1 information that I had, and we drew attention to this information. To
2 what extent this was a general problem, I couldn't reply now with any
3 precision to that. I think additional measures were taken to harmonize
4 all this with what should be -- what should be done to mark each of the
5 structures. I don't know to what extent this was done because I didn't
6 see all those forces and structures, but I do remember this particular
7 document and I spoke about this in the interview.
8 Q. Okay. And you tell us at page 50 that the police had combat means
9 from the army, weapons, also freight and field vehicles. And you said:
10 "Between one and a half and five tonnes then anti-aircraft devices
11 such as the Praga."
12 What other kinds of vehicles did the army have -- did the police
13 have from the army besides Pragas, if you recall?
14 A. I recall that in that document we also mentioned all-terrain
15 vehicles with six seats of the AR-55 type; also one-and-a-half tonne
16 vehicles, TAM, T-A-M, T-10, we had occasion to see those photographs here
17 as Prosecution evidence; Praga which was an anti-aircraft defence means.
18 And I'm not sure exactly when and where infantry combat vehicles such as
19 the BOV, or rather, armoured combat vehicle. I didn't see that all over
20 Kosovo. There was also an issue of M-60 personnel carriers and those are
21 the vehicles I'm referring to.
22 Q. I'm not clear on the last couple of sentences of that last answer.
23 Did the police have any army BOV-3 vehicles?
24 A. Not refer to BOV-3 but to BOV-1, that's an infantry armoured
25 combat vehicle. The BOV-3 was an anti-aircraft system. I know about the
1 Praga but I'm not sure about BOV-3. The BOV-1 is a military police
3 Q. Did the MUP have any of those, BOV-1s?
4 A. To the best of my recollection, they did, but I can't be a hundred
5 per cent certain. I'm almost sure. I don't know whether the state
6 security had their own helicopters, MiG 24, or whether they belonged to
7 the army. I don't want to speculate here now, but there are documents at
8 the level of the General Staff and the Ministry of Defence; because it was
9 the Ministry of Defence that was in charge of that job. The General Staff
10 didn't have the right [as interpreted] to deal with this matter without
11 the Ministry of Defence.
12 Q. Okay. But the police did have some helicopters, you just don't
13 know whether they were their own or whether they belonged to the army; is
14 that what you're saying?
15 A. I did see a MiG 24 combat helicopter. I had information that this
16 was being used by units from the state security, but I really don't know
17 whether they belonged to the army or whether the State Security Service
18 had obtained some, had procured some for themselves.
19 Q. And what colour were those helicopters?
20 A. It's hard to say. I think they were the original colours from the
21 producers. These were Soviet-made helicopters. I can't really be precise
22 in my answer.
23 Q. And --
24 MR. HANNIS: Sorry, Mr. Bakrac.
25 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do apologise for
1 interrupting my colleague, Mr. Hannis, but I don't want us to lose this in
2 the transcript. I think there's a big mistake page 80, line 21, I think
3 the General said that this was a matter within the competence of the
4 Ministry of Defence and that the General Staff did not have the right to
5 deal with this matter, whereas the transcript reflects the opposite, that
6 the General Staff did have the right to deal with this matter without the
7 Ministry of Defence. The response was the opposite.
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes: He said: "Did not have
9 the right."
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you for clarifying that.
11 Mr. Hannis.
12 MR. HANNIS:
13 Q. And, General, did the MUP have any other army weapons such as
14 mortars, like the 82- and the 120-millimetre mortars?
15 A. I'm not aware of what weapons and equipment they had. If one says
16 they had a military mortar, one might suggest that they received it from
17 the army, but the police forces could procure weapons directly from the
18 manufacturers. They did have mortars, but I don't know whether they were
19 procured from the army through the Ministry of Defence or whether they
20 were purchased from the manufacturers. But it's true that they did have
22 Q. And you're aware this issue of the MUP possessing certain kinds of
23 equipment from the army was something that was an issue in connection with
24 the OSCE, the KVM mission, right? Did you know about that?
25 A. May I ask the Prosecutor, maybe the interpretation is not quite
1 right, but what does this mean, that this has to do with the KVM mission?
2 I didn't really understand the question.
3 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, actually it will help me to have a
4 reference to a VJ collegium meeting to ask that question, so if I could do
5 that tomorrow I'd like to break now.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. We shall adjourn now until tomorrow and
7 resume at 2.15 tomorrow afternoon.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 20th day of
10 November, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.