1 Wednesday, 16 January 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
5 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-05-87-T, the Prosecutor versus Milutinovic et al.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome back to the
9 courtroom to continue our consideration of the various challenging issues
10 raised by this trial. We will now proceed -- continue to hear the Defence
11 case for the fifth accused, Mr. Lazarevic.
12 Mr. Bakrac, your next witness?
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, thank you
14 for your welcome. First of all, I would like to wish everyone a happy new
15 year and for our work in 2008 to be at least as successful as it was in
16 2007. Our next witness is Goran Jevtovic, a colonel of Serbian army.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Jevtovic.
20 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
22 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
25 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Jevtovic. Please be seated.
2 You will now be examined by Mr. Bakrac on behalf of the accused,
3 Mr. Lazarevic.
4 Mr. Bakrac.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 WITNESS: GORAN JEVTOVIC
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examination by Mr. Bakrac:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Jevtovic, good afternoon to you.
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 Q. Please be so kind and tell us your full name for the purposes of
12 the record.
13 A. Goran Jevtovic.
14 Q. On the 24th of December of 2007 did you make a written statement
15 to General Lazarevic's Defence?
16 A. Yes, I did.
17 Q. Did you have a chance to go through that statement to check what
18 it says and did you eventually sign it?
19 A. Yes, I had a chance to read it carefully and to reassure myself
20 everything was accurate. I eventually signed the statement.
21 Q. If you were to be asked the same questions on the same subject
22 matter today would you still provide the same answers as you did for the
23 purposes of that statement, sir?
24 A. Yes, I would provide the same answers, those that I signed.
25 Q. Mr. Jevtovic, in order to speed things up a little, which was
1 after all the purpose of the statement that you made, there is no need for
2 us to rehash what you stated in your statement. I will merely ask you a
3 couple of additional questions and perhaps show you a number of exhibits.
4 I would like to move on immediately to 5D1172.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Just before you do, the statement is 5D1385; is
6 that correct?
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour. I apologise for
8 omitting to point that out for the benefit of the Chamber. I also move
9 that it be exhibited.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Could we briefly have the statement on the screen.
11 I'm particularly concerned about the English, and I would like to see
12 paragraph 8 of the English.
13 Now, if you look at this you'll see that some of the letters in
14 the translation are not letters but just simply marks like dashes or
15 brackets or whatever and it's to do with the formatting. Now, it doesn't
16 matter for today, Mr. Bakrac, but I think this should be replaced by a
17 version which is clearly all language and not punctuation in parts where
18 letters should be. It's to do with electronic formulation and you can do
19 it at your convenience. It can be read as it is, but it's more -- it
20 ought to be done in proper form at some stage.
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, thank you very much. I
22 do apologise, but this is an official translation from CLSS. I asked the
23 CLSS to translate these statements for us on purpose. I thought there was
24 a typing error on our part, at least in our hard copy. I will do my best
25 to set things right. I will also draw the attention of CLSS to these
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, please see what you can do, but as I say it's
3 not vital, we can read it as it stands, but it's something to try to avoid
4 in case it is repeated -- certainly repeated in other later statements.
5 So please continue.
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
7 Exhibit 5D1172.
8 Q. Mr. Jevtovic, do you see the document in front of you?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Do you recognise the document?
11 A. I do. In the second half July, as the document reflects, it was
12 received among others by the forward command post of the Pristina Corps.
13 Q. Mr. Jevtovic, in paragraphs 16, 17, and 18 of your statement you
14 made comments concerning Prosecution Exhibit P969 which is a command [as
15 interpreted] of the Pristina Corps command about Djakovica signed by the
16 Chief of Staff, the then-Colonel Lazarevic. The order is about not firing
17 on terrorists if there were foreign and international representatives of
18 the peace mission in the area. Was this something that was based on a
19 Pristina Corps document, specifically item 1 of this order dated the 7th
20 of July, 1998?
21 A. Yes, to the extent that I can remember that seems to be correct.
22 It has been a long time, however. All the other documents and orders that
23 were drafted based on this one were produced early in July, bearing in
24 mind that the date on the one you're talking about is the 7th of July,
1 Q. Can we now please have 5D1174.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the paragraphs that I'm
3 referring to, 16, 17, and 18, contain a detailed explanation of what
4 documents such as the one we've just looked at are about. There is no
5 need to dwell on this any further.
6 Q. Colonel, sir, you have in front of you 5D1174.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we please go to page 2 of this
8 document, item 3, the situation in the army's units.
9 Q. Can you please comment on the first paragraph of that item, or
10 rather, in order to speed things up a little you said in your statement
11 something about the Glodjane, Rznic, and Prilep actions and also something
12 about the Slup and Voksa actions. You commented about those orders as
14 A. Indeed I did.
15 Q. My question is this: At the time these actions were carried out,
16 did the Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, Mr. Perisic,
17 along with the team from his General Staff spend some time in the
18 Djakovica area, which was where these actions took place?
19 A. Yes, that's right. It's a well-known activity that was carried
20 out by the General Staff. It was a specific mission for this General
21 Staff team that arrived in the area to inspect and check the situation
22 across the corps' units and the 3rd Army. The team was led by the Chief
23 of the General Staff, General Perisic, in person. There was a team
24 comprising a number of people, generals and colonels. There were
25 documents and a plan that this inspection was based on. This all happened
1 at this very time.
2 Q. Can one actually see that based on this document?
3 A. This is an operations report of the 3rd Army command. It's a
4 report that was produced at the forward command post of the 3rd Army, and
5 all I have in front of me now --
6 Q. Yes, I can see it now.
7 A. Item 3, it's implicit if we look at item 3, it is crystal clear.
8 In paragraph 1 whoever produced this report emphasises that checks were
9 continued and units of the Yugoslav Army in Kosovo and Metohija were still
10 being inspected. I won't read any further, but this tallies with what
11 I've been saying. It even says that the team was to return on the 15th of
12 August at 0800 hours. I do remember that very clearly since I was the
13 operative organ at this forward command post, and I know what the plan was
14 that had arrived. This activity was based in its entirety on a plan.
15 Q. Let me interrupt you here. My next question is: What about the
16 Chief of the General Staff, Mr. Perisic, was he familiar with these
17 actions that you have been talking about and you have been commenting on
18 documents in relation to these actions: Glodjane, Slup, and Voksa, was he
19 familiar with all the details of these actions, and did he make any
20 remarks about these actions?
21 MR. STAMP: A question phrased in that way has no foundation.
22 There is no foundation for this witness to comment on General Perisic's
23 awareness and what he was familiar with.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Can we establish a foundation, Mr. Bakrac? In
25 other words, what's the source of the witness's knowledge about Perisic's
1 state of knowledge. Could you ask him that?
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I understood him to be
3 saying in the B/C/S that he knew this very well because he was there when
4 the inspection took place. Maybe it was a case of poor interpretation,
5 but I can ask him again. I'm just trying to speed this up.
6 Q. Mr. Jevtovic, were you present for the briefing to the Chief of
7 the General Staff about these actions and who did the briefing?
8 A. Yes, I was present there. He was briefed on these actions. This
9 was part of a general briefing. He was the Chief of the General Staff
10 after all, and I was present there because I was an operative officer at
11 the forward command post of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica. I remember
12 really well his arrival and the arrival of his team as well as the
13 briefing itself or, for that matter, in general their entire stay in the
14 Pristina Corps in the state border area specifically.
15 Q. Who did the briefing for the benefit of the Chief of the General
17 A. The commander of the Pristina Corps at the time, General Pavkovic,
18 in the presence of all the other organs from the Pristina Corps command
19 who were at the time at the forward command post.
20 Q. I asked you a question but the we didn't have time to hear your
21 answer because my learned friend had an objection to raise. What about
22 the Chief of the General Staff, Mr. Perisic, did he raise any objections?
23 Did he make any comments regarding this briefing, the briefing about these
25 A. Quite the contrary, in fact. He was quite satisfied at least as
1 far as the official part of the briefing was concerned, which is the part
2 that I attended, and I can state this for the record. There were reports
3 about this that they produced as a team and those reports were very
4 upbeat. Their entire stay, the entire inspection ran smoothly and in a
5 very positive tone. There were briefings, there were reports that were
6 submitted, certain proposals were adopted, and so on and so forth.
7 Q. Thank you very much, Colonel. Let us look at item 5 on this
8 document very briefly just a single sentence that I am interested in. The
9 second paragraph of that item, it's a single sentence really and tell me
10 if this decision of the 3rd Army command reflects what you saw in the Slup
11 and Voksa orders signed by the Chief of Staff General Lazarevic which you
12 explained in detail. Is that consistent with the action the decision
13 being taken here by the 3rd Army command?
14 A. Precisely.
15 Q. The second paragraph.
16 A. Precisely item 5 in its entirety and particularly the second
17 paragraph of item 5 talks about the fact that the army commander was
18 behind the involvement of this Combat Group of the 15th Armoured Brigade,
19 number 3 which was to lend support to MUP forces and so on and so forth,
20 whatever the paragraph goes on to state. This was the established
22 Q. Colonel, let us now look at 6D692. Colonel, it appears to be on
23 the screen and do you recognise this document and can you very briefly
24 comment on it, please?
25 A. The title of this document that was developed at the command of
1 the Pristina Corps in Pristina is a preparatory order for support to MUP
2 forces, and the commander of the corps practically from his -- based on
3 his own competences and estimates made on the ground and all these
4 circumstances practically informs the units or maybe gives them some
5 initial preparatory, preliminary, tasks for the purposes of their general
6 preparation for something that will follow from a further decision or some
7 other document. This is indeed enumerated item by item, combat group by
8 combat group, covering all the forces that would be eligible to
9 participate. So this is a preparatory order for units that may be
10 involved pursuant to some future document.
11 Q. And after that the actions we discussed followed?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. Now, before we move on, I believe it's a misinterpretation, could
14 you -- or a mistranslation. Could you read the title of the document. It
15 says: "Addressed to the commander personally," I think it's a
16 mistranslation in English. Can you read it.
17 A. "Preparatory order to support or for support to MUP forces."
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe this is now
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is an official military term,
21 Envisaged by military legislation and regulations.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we now look at the next
25 document, 5D206.
1 Q. We see the title: "Command group PrK, 30th March 1999."
2 Could you explain briefly what this document is about.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Could we move to page 2 where we see
4 initials G.J..
5 Q. Did you prepare this document? Could you comment briefly?
6 A. It's a regular combat report, and I indeed prepared this document.
7 I developed it, and I actually made it on the computer.
8 Q. So on the 30th of March there was no forward command post, there
9 was just the combat group?
10 A. Right.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Command group.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it was a command group which is
13 of a smaller strength than a forward command post, and the purpose of that
14 command group was explained in my statement. As such, it was based close
15 to the border in the area of Metohija and its purposes and its tasks were
16 mainly to link up our forces, forces of the Pristina Corps, and units that
17 were reinforcing the Pristina Corps in defending the state border against
18 the aggression that had, by that time, begun. And of course that command
19 group had the obligation to produce regular and as-required interim combat
20 reports as well as all and any other documents envisaged by rules and
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. If we look at item 7, it appears -- and we will see something
24 about it later in a further document. It appears that almost every day on
25 the border there were clashes with terrorists from the KLA?
1 A. Yes, that's correct. This report is representative, as we see in
2 item 7, because on the previous day, the 29th of March on the axis
3 indicated here, which is the broader area of Babaj Boks village, a large
4 group of terrorists was intercepted carrying quite a large amount of
5 equipment and weapons. And it was a serious event, a serious incident on
6 the border. It was practically an incursion and an attack on security
7 forces because at that time the forces that were to be deployed in
8 securing the state border had not been deployed yet and had not taken up
9 positions envisaged. So it was a classic attack that they mounted. It is
10 one of the most serious incidents as I said.
11 Q. Thank you, Colonel. I would now like to move on to the next
12 document, Exhibit 5D210. To move on more quickly while we're waiting,
13 it's another combat report of the command group of the Pristina Corps
14 dated 9 April. It's still named "command group." Could you comment on
15 this document because I believe on page 2 we will again find initially
16 G.J., you seem to be the author.
17 A. I am the author, and I am particularly proud of it because that
18 day was practically the beginning of an open attack from the Republic of
19 Albania across a wide front. I did this report to describe the situation
20 as of 11.00 a.m. That's the moment, that's the day when the land
21 aggression by Siptar terrorist forces began with a main attack on
22 Karaula-Kosare axis. Losses were incurred, our forces were relatively
23 weak, and the situation on that day is reflected by my penultimate
24 sentence which reads: "Combat morale is at a high level," which was
25 true, "and we shall defend the border at any cost."
1 Such language is rarely used in military terminology, but that
2 sentence reflects the fierceness of that attack across a wide front, as I
3 said. And item 6 is also telling because before the beginning of the
4 ground aggression an organized disruption of all types of communication
5 was executed so that militarily speaking the forces in the first military
6 echelon, those on the state border, were cut off.
7 Q. Colonel, let me interrupt you. I have a few subquestions. Was
8 the Kosare border post defended? Did the enemy penetrate in-depth of our
9 territory and how long did this ground attack on Kosare border post last,
10 that is, the attack between the Kosare border post and Morina?
11 A. The attack on that axis Kosare-Morina and further on across other
12 border posts lasted without cessation with the same intensity. On the 9th
13 of April we managed to fend off the enemy which was very, very large in
14 numbers on the very line of the state border, but things started to get
15 complicated a day or two later when the border post fell, the very
16 structure of the border post, and two dominating elevations, Rasa Kosare
17 and Maja Glava features. What is important and what I wish to say is that
18 from that day on the intensity of the attack from Albania by enormous, I
19 would say, forces of the terrorists who were well led increased and built
20 up --
21 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you, Colonel, but our time is limited.
22 Tell me, how long was that attack? My second me was: Did they penetrate
23 behind the lines inside the territory of the Republic of Yugoslavia?
24 A. Yes, they did penetrate, not perhaps at the first moment, but the
25 next day. They penetrated indeed on the first day, engaged in combat, and
1 the next day they had practically taken control of the border post and
2 they were already 500 metres deep into the territory on two sub-axes.
3 Q. How long was the attack?
4 A. It started at 4.00 a.m. on the 9th of April with strong artillery
5 preparation, and it did not stop until the end of the war. So until the
6 end of the war 24 hours a day it went on with extremely strong air support
7 and artillery support from the Republic of Albania.
8 Q. You said here that there was no telephone communication or any
9 other communication with the corps command. Did anyone from the corps
10 command on the 9th or the 10th of April come to this location, to this
11 axis of attack?
12 A. Not on the 9th of April. On the 9th of April I just sent my
13 report, Colonel Drajkovic was wounded as you can see in my report on the
14 first page, but on the 10th of April sometime around noon if I remember
15 correctly, after receiving this report, the corps commander, General
16 Lazarevic, arrived.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you go any further, do I rightly understand
18 that throughout the time of this attack, which was from the 9th of April
19 until the end of the war, the degree or the extent of penetration into
20 your territory was only 500 metres?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, that's what I said
22 about those two sub-axes, 500 metres is a large area, it's a long distance
23 when we are speaking about penetration into the sovereign territory of a
24 state, that they were keeping, they were holding those 500 metres. But
25 incursions from the terrorist forces from Albania went even deeper.
1 However, not in the same numbers as in that part of the front line which I
2 described on those two axes or sub-axes.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you for that clarification.
4 Mr. Bakrac.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Q. Colonel, you said that the corps commander inspected those
7 locations on the 10th of April. All that time until the end of the war
8 you were at the forward command post in Djakovica, that command post
9 changed throughout the war. After the 10th of April did the corps
10 commander come again to Djakovica at any time; and if so, when was his
11 next visit?
12 A. I remember this very well because I was there all the time in
13 Djakovica, not only in Djakovica but in that broader area. And if I can
14 remember correctly after all this time, sometime in the second half of May
15 or in the end of May in 1999, I and all of us at the forward command post
16 saw General Lazarevic for the first time.
17 Q. Let me interrupt you here. Let us look at 5D230, that's -- we see
18 it's no longer the command group of the Pristina Corps, it's the command
19 of the Pristina Corps forward command post combat report. Let us look at
20 page 2. It's dated 26 May 1999. Is that the right date? You said in
21 your statement that after that ground aggression General Lazarevic came
22 again to Djakovica only once more in the second half of May. Here we see
23 a combat report from the 26th of May, item 2. Could you read just one
24 sentence, it's short, is that it? Is that what you meant when you said in
25 your statement that he came once again in the second half of May?
1 A. Yes, that's it. In the first paragraph it is written that in the
2 area of responsibility of the forward command post the commander of the
3 3rd Army and the commander of the Pristina Corps paid a visit. I made
4 this report personally. It was signed by the Chief of Staff of the
5 Pristina Corps, Colonel Velimir Zivkovic, at the time.
6 Q. Colonel, you spoke to us about the breakthrough across the state
7 border and the permanent aggression on the axis Kosare border post Morina,
8 the penetration into our territory by Albanian terrorists, and you said
9 that it lasted until the end of the war. Can you tell us about that axis?
10 Where does it end inside the territory of Kosovo and Metohija and what is
11 that region called?
12 A. That axis is part of a broader axis, but I would denominate as
13 Kosare- Liken border post, and now this sub-axis, Kosare-Morina, leads
14 towards Djakovica, that is, Radonjic Lake, passing through river-beds,
15 river valleys. On our topographic maps we see that it goes through river
16 valleys. It's an axis of some operative significance. It is passable for
17 tanks, and in the course of the war it turned out that the axis was
18 important in terms of admitting staged landing by forces, enemy forces,
19 into Kosovo and Metohija. And that's why activity and aggression along
20 that axis went on very intensively until the last day of the war.
21 Q. When you say "river valleys," does that valley of a river also
22 have a different name?
23 A. I know the local population called it "Caragoj valley." In fact,
24 it's not about valley. On the official topographic map of Yugoslavia it's
25 not just a river, it's an area that stretches from Junik village until
1 Djakovica, and it's crisscrossed area in the sense of manoeuvres. It is
2 not a typical valley. It is -- it's a large wooded area.
3 Q. Did you have any intelligence or any other sort of information
4 indicating that in the Caragoj valley there was a KLA brigade that was
6 A. Well, given the time that has passed - and I remember quite well
7 even though I ceased dealing with intelligence and counter-intelligence
8 affairs - there was information indicating that terrorists were active
9 there, quite strong forces the size of a brigade, equivalent to a brigade.
10 We received daily information about their activities. First of all,
11 during that long period of time they attacked especially MUP check-points
12 as well as columns and individual vehicles of the army and Pristina Corps
13 moving about in that area in the Caragoj valley which is the border area
14 of the state.
15 Q. Are you familiar with the fact that on the 27th and 28th of April
16 in the territory of the Reka valley there was an action carried out?
17 A. Yes, I am familiar with that. The term "action" was a jargon
18 term, and I stress this quite knowledgeably. Why do I do so? Because
19 this so-called action -- no document was prepared for this so-called
20 action, and these events came about precisely as a result of something
21 that I have spoken of earlier, namely, continuous activity of Siptar
22 terrorists and this brigade of theirs which incessantly put at risk the
23 combat disposition of the units in the first combat echelon and it also
24 put at risk communication, or rather, roads, Decani-Djakovica and Prizren
25 as well as other roads leading to our border post, to our border, which
1 were of major importance for us. So this action came as a result of what
2 I have spoken of earlier. We are dealing now with the sweeping of the
3 terrain. This was an attempt to suppress Siptar terrorist forces in this
4 broader area and to render them harmless to the combat disposition of the
5 units, not just units but all other forces there in the field.
6 Q. Could you tell us briefly who participated and how in this?
7 A. Well, this is how it was, combat action and the search and
8 sweeping of the terrain that was conducted in that valley was something
9 that the MUP forces were tasked with. As far as I remember, PJP units
10 were tasked with this. As for the units of the Pristina Corps, their role
11 was to, in coordination with the MUP, to safeguard our combat disposition
12 and the road between Decani and Djakovica as well as the perimeter of the
13 town of Djakovica, the outlying areas of Djakovica. Before the action
14 began, if I remember correctly, I think that three companies of PJP units
15 were to participate; however, for some reason one of the companies could
16 not be engaged. I think that it was the company from Pec or perhaps
17 that's how they referred to it. I'm not sure of its precise name right
18 now. And then the problem of the insufficient number of members of MUP
19 emerged. However, I'd like to stress that our combat disposition first
20 and foremost our battalion in the first combat echelon was at risk on a
21 daily basis. I do not want to repeat what I have already stated.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: I wonder if you can clarify something for me. The
23 action that you're talking about is the action in coordination with the
24 MUP to safeguard your combat disposition and the road; is that correct?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: And there was no order or decision in relation to
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no written decision or order as
4 basic documents were produced.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: So this is a situation where you had tasks but no
6 order. So how did you know your tasks?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, those were the tasks
8 that stemmed or originated from regular duties, routine duties, of units
9 in the area. If I were to try to explain this in a bit more graphic
10 terms, this is how I would put it. We have a combat disposition of a unit
11 which is located in a certain sector, and this combat disposition is
12 intended for the defence of the state border which is constantly at risk
13 due to terrorist activity over a prolonged period of time. So in a way,
14 that was an ongoing duty of those who were out in the field. To put it in
15 other terms, if somebody attacks you, you have to protect yourself given
16 something that was confirmed later, namely, that those were quite strong
17 terrorist forces that were located in several villages in the Caragoj
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
20 Mr. Bakrac.
21 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Colonel, perhaps we could assist everyone to understand this by
23 looking at Exhibit P2019, which is the combat log of the 2nd Battalion of
24 the 549th Motorised Brigade, and the date is the 26th of April, 1999.
25 This page is marked Y0045827.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: It may be, Mr. Bakrac, that this document is under
2 seal. Can you assist?
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I'm not sure, Your Honour. Perhaps
4 the Prosecutor could help us, but I don't think so. P2019 no, I'm being
5 told that it is so.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: In that case, please ensure that it's not exhibited
7 out with the courtroom.
8 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] In that case, could we move into
9 private session, please, so that we look at --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, are you going to be reading parts of the
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Just one sentence on that date.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
14 We shall move into private session for that.
15 [Private session]
11 Page 20360 redacted. Private session
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you ask anything else, to be very clear
6 about this, Mr. Jevtovic, are you saying that that records an order for
7 the action that was carried out on the 27th and 28th of April or do you
8 still say that what happened on the 27th and 28th of April was simply
9 spontaneous response to routine activity?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I didn't say that it
11 was a spontaneous response to routine activity. I didn't use those terms.
12 All I said was that no document was produced in the form of an order. As
13 for combat disposition, combat disposition of every unit needs to be
14 defended, given that this activity in the Caragoj valley was carried out,
15 part of the forces of the army, that is to say of the Pristina Corps, was
16 engaged in a broader area to block off a sector that that unit held in
17 accordance with the plan on the defence activities which had been prepared
18 much earlier. In this particular case, the Chief of Staff conveyed tasks
19 orally to the commander of the unit, and these tasks pertained to what I
20 have mentioned earlier.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: I remain confused, I'm afraid. You did tell us
22 that your tasks originated from regular duties, routine duties. Are you
23 now telling us these tasks were actually instructed by General Zivkovic or
24 perhaps he was colonel at the time? I can't remember.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, he was colonel at the
1 time. The tasks that he gave practically represented putting into action
2 something that was duty of the units to begin with, and the tasks that he
3 conveyed to the commander of the unit were, in fact, something that came
4 as a result of the coordination with the MUP organs aimed at suppressing
5 the activities of that terrorist brigade which was located in that area.
6 I don't know if I was clear enough.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: What we've seen doesn't refer to coordination,
8 though, so where did that emerge from, that you were to coordinate with
9 certain MUP units?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the document that I
11 see now in front of me in e-court is the document which was produced at a
12 lower command level, in a tactical unit, something that's called a
13 tactical unit. Commander of a unit is not duty-bound to be informed of
14 all of the results of coordination or planning of a particular action. In
15 order to be even clearer, let me say this: He was given the tasks that
16 concerned him, his unit, and the sector where they were located. Further
17 on --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: That's very helpful. No doubt someone will then
19 show us later any document that might assist in identifying where the
20 coordination was arranged, or it may even be that we have already in
21 process a document which clarifies that. So we needn't trouble you
22 further on that, Mr. Jevtovic.
23 Please continue, Mr. Bakrac.
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Mr. Jevtovic, do you know Captain Nike Peraj?
1 A. Nike Peraj. Yes, I know him really well.
2 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, when this witness
3 testified in private session, and there was also another witness who
4 testified in private session, so therefore may we please move briefly into
5 private session so that we can ascertain how this witness came to know
6 Peraj and since when.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Is that appropriate, Mr. Stamp?
8 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour, I think it is.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
10 [Private session]
11 Page 20364 redacted. Private session
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Where was the HQ of the forward command post on the 27th, 28th,
12 and 29th of April in Djakovica?
13 A. At the time the HQ of the forward command post of the Pristina
14 Corps was in the centre of town. It was housed in a building of a
15 construction company in Djakovica.
16 Q. Where were the offices of this forward command post?
17 A. Their offices, or rather, this building was actually located
18 between two residential buildings. It was a three-storey building. There
19 was a ground floor and a basement in which the files of this company were
20 kept. This was the centre of town. It was near the main department store
21 near the post office.
22 Q. Did Nike Peraj ever go to the forward command post, and especially
23 did he go there on the 27th, 28th, and 29th of April?
24 A. No, never, never. He never went there nor could he have, given
25 his duty at the time.
1 Q. Witness Peraj in his statement and before this Court stated that
2 on the 28th of April in the morning hours at about 9.00, to be more
3 specific, he arrived at the command, the forward command post, where he
4 found you and General Lazarevic in the basement of that building in your
5 and Lazarevic's office running the Reka operation and marking all of this
6 on a map. Is that statement truthful?
7 A. This is not just a lie, it's a blatant lie. It's a blatant
8 fabrication and is entirely baseless. I can go on explaining for as long
9 as you like me to but the truth of the matter is --
10 Q. Let's just try to speed this long, if possible. Was
11 General Lazarevic in Djakovica on those days that I mentioned?
12 A. No, certainly not. As I said a while ago, he certainly wasn't in
13 that basement to begin with. He never set foot there in that basement. I
14 don't think he even knows that there was a basement in that building to
15 begin with.
16 Q. Let's try to cut this short. My question, we have an assumption,
17 let's talk about this assumption, the assumption being General Lazarevic
18 as commander of the Pristina Corps was there where Nike Peraj claims to
19 have found him. Could Nike Peraj just have walked into that building,
20 walked into that basement, walked into that office, stand right there next
21 to you unmonitored and watch you discuss something and make markings on a
23 A. That is sheer nonsense. A forward command post, as the name
24 implies, is a command post. It is secured in keeping with particular
25 procedures. A command post is a place of command. There is an outer
1 perimeter of security, if you like; there is a system of internal security
2 in place; there is reception; and this is an organized place with security
3 measures, especially at a time of war. These are paramount, the security
4 measures. When a commander arrives at a command post, the situation is
5 quite particular because each commander under wartime conditions has his
6 own security that follows him around. We have a security system, we have
7 reception in place, there would have been additional forces, especially if
8 General Lazarevic as the corps commander had been there; and this doesn't
9 just apply to Nike Peraj, it applies to everyone else such as the brigade
10 commanders, for example. They weren't just free to walk into that command
11 post unannounced. I think the only person who actually had approval to
12 access the building was the garrison commander at the time, General Djose
13 [phoen]. Those occupying the external security perimeter and those at
14 reception would normally get in touch with me since I was the operative
15 officer there, whoever on duty, and then I would go there or maybe an
16 officer would send somebody else there, whichever officer was in charge,
17 and they would see this person and most of these conversations ended right
19 Q. You say when they went there to see these people and most of the
20 conversations ended right there. Right where? Where do you mean?
21 A. Outside this building, the agency for construction land. Maybe
22 you want me to draw up the ground plan so you see what it's like. There's
23 an entrance, there's a small internal hall and there's a small corridor
24 inside the building and there's a stair case leading up.
25 Q. So it was inside that hall that it ended for the most part?
1 A. No, it was outside this hall because that meant the person would
2 have already accessed the forward command post; but we didn't receive
3 anyone, we didn't receive any parties. This would have been too much for
4 us to deal with at the time since there was so many things happening along
5 the border. We didn't even have enough time to share a cup of coffee
6 undisturbed let alone to receive parties for anyone to go there for the
7 purposes of just simply obtaining information.
8 Q. In paragraph 29, 30, and 31 of your statement, Colonel, because I
9 do have to wrap this up now, you provided detailed account in relation to
10 all the other statements that Nike Peraj made. It's all written down
11 there and the Chamber can see for themselves. I thank you for your
12 evidence, sir.
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] And, Your Honours, I have no further
14 questions for this witness.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Jevtovic, on the 27th and 28th of April were you in the
17 forward command post?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I rule, I would be there in the
19 morning --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: No, just tell me whether you were there on the 27th
21 and 28th of April.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not during the day. Every
23 morning I would go to the border area, most often to Morina or Kosare
24 border posts, and the same applies to those two days, at least as far as I
25 can remember now.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you know where Peraj was on the 27th and 28th of
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't, I really don't --
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you know --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't see him on those two days.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you know where General Lazarevic was on the 27th
7 and 28th of April?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't. I don't know where
9 General Lazarevic was on the 27th and 28th of April.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He wasn't in Djakovica.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Does any Defence counsel -- Mr. -- Yes, Mr. Ivetic.
13 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
15 Q. Mr. Jevtovic, good afternoon, sir. I'm Dan Ivetic, one of the
16 attorneys for Sreten Lukic, and this afternoon I will have some questions
17 for you. Please pay close attention to the questions and try to give me
18 concise answers. Now, first of all, looking at your statement this
19 5D1385, and specifically focusing your attention on paragraph 11 of the
20 statement in both the B/C/S and the English, in English it's page 4, in
21 B/C/S I believe it's page -- I believe it's page -- it is also page 4 on
22 the B/C/S as well. In any event, you mentioned that all MUP requests for
23 support had to be collected through the MUP staff for KiM.
24 You were never an eye-witness to any such requests actually
25 originating from the MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija, are you?
1 A. I believe I don't understand your question. I was never an
2 eye-witness to what?
3 Q. You never witnessed any such request originating from the MUP
4 staff in KiM? That is to say you never saw any such request from the MUP
5 staff for Kosovo and Metohija, did you?
6 A. No written requests in the form of a document.
7 Q. Did you ever --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: While we're on this, could you, Mr. Jevtovic, could
9 you read the first sentence of paragraph 11.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "I remember well that the 3rd Army
11 commander, General Samardzic, had already ordered that all MUP requests
12 for support had to be collected through the MUP staff for KiM and that
13 the" --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: That's fine. That's all. The word "collected" in
15 English didn't sound right, but apparently that's the word.
16 Please continue, Mr. Ivetic.
17 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, sir.
18 Q. Mr. Jevtovic, you said: "No written requests in the form of a
19 document," at page 30, line 9. Am I correct that you never witnessed any
20 such requests coming from the MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija in any
21 other form as well? You were never a witness to anything like that, were
23 A. I did not -- a MUP document, no.
24 Q. I understand that, sir, and my question is: You did not witness
25 any other type of request apart from -- even -- you did not witness any
1 oral requests coming from the MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija for their
2 support either, did you?
3 A. I did witness oral requests. Oral requests are one thing.
4 Written documents are a different thing altogether. I don't remember ever
5 seeing a written document.
6 [Defence counsel confer]
7 MR. IVETIC:
8 Q. What did you receive from the staff of the MUP in Kosovo and
10 A. As far as I can remember - this having been quite a long time
11 ago - at the Djakovica forward command post we received nothing from the
12 MUP staff, not even the information or anything like that to the extent
13 that we were concerned in the Metohija area, everything came through the
14 Pristina Corps command and the commander, of course, and also through our
15 documents. Sometimes we exchanged information, there was some
16 coordination linking up that sort of thing.
17 Q. Now, I'd like to clear up or move to another area of your --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, do you understand any of that, Mr. Ivetic?
19 If you're happy, then please carry on, but it's incomprehensible to me.
20 MR. IVETIC: Let me try then to clarify --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Jevtovic, are you aware personally of any
22 request for support coming from the MUP?
23 Is that the question?
24 MR. IVETIC: From the MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, from the MUP staff for Kosovo and Metohija?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not from the MUP staff for Kosovo
2 and Metohija.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: It's simple, isn't it.
4 Please continue.
5 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Excuse me, how do you say that you witnessed some
6 of the oral requests? What do you mean by that? I'm also confused. What
7 do you mean by stating that you are a witness to some of the oral
8 requests - What do you mean by that, sir - coming from the MUP? Can you
9 be more specific? Can you direct us towards that?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I mean precisely those
11 couple of situations from the war when coordination and coordinated action
12 between our forces and forces of the MUP were arranged, and in the course
13 of 1998 when the actions of Siptar terrorists in the territory of Kosovo
14 and Metohija were fought, there was also coordination, coordinated action,
15 and cooperation, and support, of course. That's what I meant, that part.
16 But Mr. Ivetic was quite precise. He asked me whether documents arrived
17 from the MUP staff, supposing it was in Pristina, whether they arrived in
18 Djakovica; such documents did not come to us directly ever.
19 MR. IVETIC: If we can look -- or focus your attention, I should
20 say, to the paragraphs 24 through 26 of your witness statement wherein you
21 describe, that's on the seventh and eighth pages of B/C/S and also the
22 seventh and eighth pages of the English, where you describe your knowledge
23 of the Operation Sekac, or chisel and P2011. First of all, if we can call
24 up P2011, this document, once it comes up, this "zapovest," or order,
25 first of all, am I correct that this is a command document originating
1 from the command of the Pristina Corps, the IKM, or the forward command
2 post, in Djakovica itself.
3 A. Yes, you're right. I made this document; its title is: "Order to
4 crush Siptar terrorist forces in the area of Radonjic Lake."
5 Q. Thank you. Now, in drafting this document, specifically section 5
6 of the same, which is in pages 2 through 4 of the B/C/S but pages 4
7 through 9 of the English. If the witness needs to review it, we could go
8 to those pages, but I think he should know since he drafted it whether
9 this is correct or not.
10 Is it correct that your order contains precise assignments or
11 tasks to smash the terrorist forces for both MUP units and VJ units?
12 A. Yes. This paragraph resulted from coordination linkage and
13 coordinated action with MUP units in Djakovica. The tasks were issued
14 precisely. I wrote them in very precise terms because the operation
15 chisel was very complicated. It was practically the most complex
16 operation during the war. It was to be performed in three stages, and it
17 was necessary for units of the Pristina Corps --
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Bakrac.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry to interrupt, but twice
21 already -- earlier we made a distinction here between "action"
22 and "operation." The witness keeps saying "action" and the interpretation
23 comes through as "operation" and it's the same mistake in this document.
24 The original is "action" and the translation is "operation." If you
25 remember when General Lazarevic testified, he gave an explanation, and we
1 made this distinction.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: We have that in mind, Mr. Bakrac, and generally
3 speaking it is possible to understand that the word "operation" is being
4 used in different contexts in the English; however, we'll be particularly
5 aware of it, as I'm sure the interpreters will, and we'll try to make that
6 distinction in the record as we go along also.
7 Mr. Ivetic.
8 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
9 Q. Now, Mr. Jevtovic, with respect to this, as you said, complicated
10 or complex tasking given to both VJ and the MUP units, am I correct that
11 these assignments for these forces, both the VJ and the MUP, were also
12 clearly depicted on an "odluka" map, a written map, decision.
13 A. I cannot now recall the map. I had never seen it after that, but
14 I emphasise what I didn't manage to finish a moment ago. The action was
15 coordinated with MUP forces in a -- the title of paragraph 5: "Tasks of
16 the units," we see that's it's a designation, a definition of what various
17 participants in the action will be doing. Why was it described in such
18 detailed terms? Precisely because the action was so complex and the
19 intention was to avoid problems on the ground. And I know very well and I
20 recall very well because I remember that with Colonel Kotur who signed
21 this order went to SUP Djakovica that one time only where with the chief
22 of Djakovica SUP and his operative officers we developed this action in
23 coordination and we developed these details that were indispensable
24 because it was a very complicated action, and I want to emphasise it was
25 important primarily for our forces and our units who participated in this
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the question?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The question I have for you is with respect to the "odluka," map.
5 Was there an "odluka," map, to your knowledge prepared for this action;
6 and if so, who prepared it?
7 A. I made this document, and as far as I remember -- because, really,
8 I never saw this document after that or the map. What is written in
9 paragraph 5 and the order itself was reflected on the map, but the map is
10 an auxiliary document meant to orientate units in the territory and to
11 help them find their way around better while executing tasks. But
12 everything was stated in such great detail precisely to avoid problems in
13 the execution of that action because it was performed from a circular
14 basis --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Jevtovic, the question is whether there was a
16 map, and you just say you can't remember; is that right?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really cannot remember. I made so
18 many maps, and all I see now is this document. I cannot recall the map,
19 and all we used --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. You've answered the question. Please
21 try to confine what you're saying to answering the various questions that
22 are put to you.
23 It's time for us to have a break. We have to interrupt the
24 proceedings at this stage for a short time, Mr. Jevtovic. Please go with
25 the usher, who will show you where to wait for the next 20 minutes or so.
1 [The witness stands down]
2 JUDGE BONOMY: And we shall resume at five past 4.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.08 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: As you can see, we are without Judge Kamenova, who
6 is unwell. She was not particularly well before we started but doesn't
7 feel able to continue. We've considered the position and we think it is
8 in the interests of justice to continue today in her absence.
9 [The witness takes the stand]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
11 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Mr. Jevtovic, before the break we were talking about this action
13 Sekac or chisel. In regards to that I would like to focus your attention
14 to your written statement paragraph 26 which is in both the B/C/S and the
15 English page 8 of the same, that's 6 -- pardon me, 5D1358, I believe --
16 1385, thank you.
17 And while we're waiting for that I can ask you the question, sir.
18 Here you talk about the fact that Colonel Kotur and the chief of the
19 Djakovica SUP were to be at the observation post at the Suka Vogelj
20 feature. Now, I know you in your statement have said that there was not
21 formal resubordination. I would like to ask you assuming for the purposes
22 of this question that there had been resubordination of the -- of any MUP
23 unit to the elements of the Pristina Corps at the time of this operation,
24 wouldn't it be correct that the commander or leader -- commander of the
25 MUP forces, the MUP superior would still have been the superior
1 transmitting orders to his unit, that is, that the subordinated commander
2 would still be the commander of his unit?
3 A. Is that a question?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. Even if it had been so, he would still have been in command of his
6 units; however, that was not so.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, if we can -- I think we're finished with Sekac
8 and I would like to move to another area that I think you can help me
9 with. First of all, following the conclusion of the war and specifically
10 in the year 2001, were you posted or assigned within the office of the
11 Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia during any period of
13 A. I worked but not at the office. I worked at the cabinet --
14 Q. Thank you --
15 A. -- of the Chief of the General Staff.
16 Q. All right. And towards that end I'd like to show you a document
17 marked 6D1128. It's a one-page document dated the 18th of October, 2001,
18 originating from the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia
19 at that time and directing in paragraph 4 for a certain
20 Lieutenant-Colonel Goran Jevtovic to -- one moment.
21 [Defence counsel confer]
22 MR. IVETIC: I apologise.
23 Q. In item 4, tasking a Goran Jevtovic to effectuate this order which
24 effectively calls for certain originals of documents from 1998 and 1999 of
25 the Army of Yugoslavia to be removed from the archives and to be secured
1 in a separate location within the cabinet of the Chief of the General
2 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia. Are you familiar with this task and are
3 you that Lieutenant-Colonel -- or at that time that Lieutenant-Colonel
4 Goran Jevtovic?
5 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this task, and I am that lieutenant-colonel
6 in that period.
7 Q. And then would you have drafted this document, 6D1128 that we
8 see --
9 A. Yes, I wrote it.
10 Q. And in regards to your tasks effectuating this decision to remove
11 certain documents from the archives of the VJ, I'd like to have a moment
12 to show you something that's been used previously in this case, 6D1130,
13 and if the cover and the first page of this exhibit can be shown to you.
14 The question I would have for you, sir, once that document comes up is:
15 Is 6D1130 your work product in effectuating the creation of a list for
16 documents that were said to be removed pursuant to the order from 2001?
17 We'll need to -- I think the first page -- if we go to the first page --
18 the next page, I'm sorry, page 2 in e-court, that ought to be enough for
19 the -- and flip it, that should be sufficient for the witness to see the
20 date and the contents and to see if this is familiar to him.
21 A. Yes, I'm familiar with the document, but I would appreciate it if
22 learned counsel Ivetic would let me provide a short explanation. I don't
23 know if the translation is wrong. The term that was used was "to remove."
24 First of all, it's not -- that's what I hear in my headset, to remove. It
25 was not about removal. It's an activity that the Chief of the General
1 Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, according to the Law on Archives and
2 Records from 1998 that was in effect then and is still in effect now -- I
3 can explain how this all came about, but that would be the answer to your
5 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
6 A. But I do have this request.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, let's go back to 6D1128.
8 MR. IVETIC: I was going to suggest if we could clear it up if he
9 could have him read the first point under [B/C/S spoken] which is
10 apparently the part where there was a translation difference between what
11 I said in English or what was translated to the witness and what the
12 Serbian terminology is.
13 Q. Sir, I would ask you, Mr. Jevtovic, if you look at item number 1,
14 if you could perhaps read item number 1 in it entirety then we could be on
15 the same page as to what I have been asking you about.
16 A. The first paragraph states:
17 "Make a selection and take out or separate from the archives of
18 the Army of Yugoslavia originals of documents of the command of the
19 Pristina Corps and the command of the 3rd Army from 1998 and 1999 and
20 replace them with authentic and invisible [as interpreted] copies."
21 So the word is "separate" or "take out."
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I don't know if we need to
23 show you again 6D1130. The question I have for you is: Is 6D1130 your
24 work product in completing the tasks that were set forth in this order
25 originating from the Chief of the General Staff of the VJ to separate
1 originals and replace them with copies?
2 A. Yes, that's the result with the proviso that originals from the
3 archives are not to leave army installations.
4 Q. And when you say they do not leave the army installations, would I
5 be correct that this order called for them to be secured within the
6 cabinet of the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia?
7 A. Correct. The reason for that -- in fact, there are a number of
8 reasons, but the first and most important reason --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: We don't need -- just answer the question.
10 Please continue, Mr. Ivetic.
11 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
12 Q. I think --
13 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your leave, the
14 witness wanted to explain what this document is about, and I believe he
15 should be allowed to do that because the question was asked. In re-direct
16 I would be spending my precious time to clarify the question asked by
17 Mr. Ivetic.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm afraid you'll just have to do that. The
19 question's been answered.
20 Please continue, Mr. Ivetic.
21 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
22 Q. Okay.
23 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, actually I think I'm done. I think I'm
24 done with my questions in respect to this.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
1 Mr. Stamp.
2 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
4 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Jevtovic.
5 A. [In English] Good afternoon.
6 Q. Can we have a look at your statement. I would like to ask you a
7 couple of questions about the term you were using, "Joint Command." I
8 would like to look at paragraph 10 of your statement, and we saw earlier
9 in the document you were shown, Exhibit P1427, that at item 6 it was
10 stated that the command of the operation shall be by the Joint Command for
11 Kosovo and Metohija from the forward command post in Djakovica. And in
12 this paragraph you explain the expression "Joint Command" by saying that
13 it referred to an operation in support of the MUP in routing terrorists.
14 And later on you say that right before this operation MUP generals were at
15 IKM in Djakovica in order to coordinate action and support.
16 Do you not know of a body or a group that existed in 1998 that was
17 referred to as the Joint Command?
18 A. Is that the question?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. From my superiors I heard about the term "Joint Command," and as
21 far as I'm concerned I as an operations officer at the forward command
22 post that was a virtual notion for me. Joint Command as an organized
23 structure of the state, army, and MUP was not something that was present
24 where we were at the forward command post. We did see documents, we did
25 hear of those terms, I was familiar with that term "Joint Command."
1 However, as for the chain of command in implementing tasks, that was in
2 place. At the time, General Lazarevic who headed forward command post was
3 directly subordinated to General Pavkovic, corps commander at the time.
4 Since I'm a trained officer, I was familiar with this term, and I knew
5 that it represented something that transpired in reality, a sort of
6 cooperation linking coordination, support, exchange of information, and
7 this is something that existed in our heads, in our minds.
8 What I said to you as for the MUP generals, they did spend time
9 there; and in that way, they agreed on how to operationalize what was done
10 together in areas where it was done, either where we supported MUP or
11 where certain coordination was needed given the strong forces of
12 terrorists and the dynamics of their hostile and other attacks.
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
14 A. If I was clear enough.
15 Q. The distinction I want to make in the question is that your
16 definition in your statement of the term "Joint Command" and in your
17 answer just now seem to me to refer to an activity, an activity of
18 coordination. All I want to know is whether or not you knew of a body, a
19 group of persons, that were referred to as the Joint Command for Kosovo?
20 A. No, I did not know that a group of persons existed. I knew that a
21 group of senior officers of the army and the MUP cooperated on a daily
22 basis, exchanged information, and dealt with the then-existing problems in
23 Kosovo and Metohija. What I was familiar with from my superior officers,
24 I knew from them. I did not attend any meetings, I was not present at any
25 meetings in Djakovica, nothing of that sort happened in Djakovica. The
1 line -- the chain of command was intact, as envisaged by regulations.
2 This is why I would like to reiterate that the term "Joint Command" --
3 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
4 A. I apologise.
5 Q. Were you not aware of a group including members of the MUP,
6 including General Pavkovic, including political figures that Mr. Sainovic,
7 Mr. Minic, and Mr. Andjelkovic who were involved or engaged in meetings of
8 a body referred to as the Joint Command in 1998?
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Look at the previous question of the
11 Prosecutor. The witness responded on page 42, line 24, that he knew
12 nothing about that. Is it really necessary to ask him ten times if he
13 said right out at the outset that he knew nothing about it? That's what
14 I'm wondering about, and I keep repeating that question. Thank you.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: This is a specific question that's being put to
16 ensure that there's no misunderstanding, and therefore the witness may
17 answer the question.
18 MR. STAMP:
19 Q. Do you recall the question or would you like me to repeat it?
20 A. I recall. Mr. Prosecutor, the group of people as you described
21 them in your question did not exist in reality. There existed commanders
22 of units. You are mentioning some politicians, or rather, people from the
23 political sphere, and what I am familiar with are the representatives of
24 the legal authorities, of the state as it existed at the time. I know
25 that members of various parliaments came to Djakovica at the time as well
1 as people from the political life, representatives of authorities. But as
2 for a specific group of people in command of the units on the ground that
3 existed as a special staff or as some special Joint Command, no, that's my
4 answer to your question. There was a chain of command --
5 Q. Yes, but you have introduced something which I didn't ask you
6 about. I didn't get to asking you about a specific group of people in
7 command of units on the ground that existed as a special task or as some
8 Joint Command. I'm just asking you simply: Were you aware of those
9 persons being involved in a group called the Joint Command? You were
10 aware of that or you were not, were you?
11 A. No, I didn't know --
12 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
13 A. -- I knew of the term "Joint Command," but as for the group and
14 its composition, no.
15 Q. When you use the term "Joint Command," who told you to use it
17 A. Sir, I never used that term.
18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
19 A. Because in reality --
20 Q. Very well. You have disposed of that. You drafted orders
21 including one that you were shown, P1427, in which the term "Joint
22 Command" is used. I don't know -- I don't think we need to show you that
23 again. And that is an -- and in your draft -- or in that order which you
24 wrote up you said that the combat operations would be commanded by the
25 Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija from the PrK forward command post.
1 Who first told you or authorised you to incorporate the term "Joint
2 Command" in orders that you drafted?
3 A. In my previous answer you did not let me complete my thought, but
4 let me tell you now, nobody had to authorise me to use it. I heard of the
5 term for the first time, if I remember well, in early July of 1998. When
6 I drafted several of those documents, I think that there was several of
7 them, I as operations officer was duty-bound to copy down the heading of
8 the document that had arrived from Pristina. So this explanation that I
9 gave you that this term meant nothing to me, it really meant nothing to
10 me, both in theoretical and in practical terms. I think I heard it for
11 the first time either from Colonel Djakovic or General Pavkovic, but I
12 can't really recall when nor was it particularly significant at that
14 Q. When you put it in orders in the terms that I just read out,
15 combat operations would be commanded by the Joint Command for Kosovo and
16 Metohija from the PrK forward command post in Djakovica," are you saying
17 that this was not significant and it meant nothing in practical terms?
18 A. No, I didn't say that. This term, this heading, had to be copied
19 down because it had been awkwardly coined or used previously in Pristina.
20 What it meant that in Djakovica at that point in time there was going to
21 be a unified command post where there were going to be practically two
22 structures. What it meant for our units was that if there should be a
23 problem in terms of coordination and cooperation on the ground, they had
24 to know clearly whom to address, whom to go to resolve a problem that they
25 came across --
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I'm asking you about this
2 part of the order where you say that command operations were to be
3 commanded by the Joint Command, and you said that it meant nothing and it
4 was insignificant as far as you recall. But that still doesn't answer the
5 question I asked you. Were you told about it by anyone to incorporate
6 that term? Either you were told or you were not told to use the
7 term "Joint Command."
8 A. Mr. Prosecutor, that means that if there was a term "Joint
9 Command" used in the heading and it was awkwardly used and
10 General Pavkovic as corps commander signed it or General Lazarevic, that
11 would mean that they were commanders of the Joint Command; however, we
12 were never officially informed of that nor did they introduce themselves
13 as such nor did I receive such information from anyone from the command
14 nor was General Lukic a commander of such a command.
15 Q. But -- I'm not understanding. I just want to know why you put the
16 term here, why you put that sentence here, that combat operations are to
17 be commanded by the Joint Command for Kosovo and Metohija. I take it from
18 your answer that you were not told or ordered to do so. Am I
19 understanding you correctly, that you heard this term being used
20 informally and you decided on your own initiative to put it in the order,
21 that combat operations should be commanded by the Joint Command?
22 A. No, I didn't use it on my own initiative. I affirmed this with
23 full responsibility. This term was intended for those who took part in
24 combat operations so that they would know how to link --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Jevtovic, you're not answering the question.
1 You're being asked who told you, if it was somebody who told you, to use
2 that expression or whether you yourself decided to use it. You've said it
3 was not your decision, so the question is: Who told you to use it?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, are you referring to
5 this specific document that the Prosecutor put to me?
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you've used it in a number of -- the
7 expression is used in a number of documents, but you've used it in this
8 particular one, P1427, where you've said that the operation will be
9 commanded or the action will be commanded by the Joint Command. And the
10 question is: What was your authority for writing that?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In writing documents at the lower
12 level of command in a situation where there are documents of that nature
13 at higher levels, there are certain rules that we have to abide by. I
14 cannot recall now because I do not have the document in front of me, but I
15 think that there was a document preceding this one that had come from
16 Pristina. And this is why the heading was copied down, so this heading
17 reads: "Joint Command," and there is the same term used in item 6.
18 However, essentially this Joint Command represented what I have described
19 in my statement, namely, that there is going to be a combined command
20 post --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: You've already told us that.
22 Yes, Mr. Bakrac.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I can see that the answer satisfied
24 you, and I think that it would be fair to the witness to put to him the
25 document that the Prosecutor wishes him to comment on. The witness
1 doesn't have the document in front of him, and he asked to see it in order
2 to be able to explain it. I think it would be fair if the witness were to
3 be shown this document.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: But do you want to see this document, Mr. Jevtovic?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Prosecutor insists on me
6 explaining the term, and in that case, yes, I do wish to see it.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it will be shown to you on the screen, that's
9 Can you tell us meanwhile where the combined command post was for
10 this action?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you zoom in, please. Combined
12 command post was at the forward command post in Djakovica. I think that
13 it says so in item 6, or I don't know which item it is, command and
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, let him see item 6, please.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have it in Serbian.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: You should now.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's fine.
19 As it reads here: "In the premises of the forward command post in
20 Djakovica in the then-barracks called Devet Jugovica it was there. Why
21 there, because all communications -- there was a communications hub there.
22 Both telephone lines and radio relay communication lines, and naturally we
23 had many other pieces of equipment, and we had the ability to have such
24 combined action there logistically. It was also a very significant place.
25 We had a Heliodrom there. We had helicopters used for transport for
1 medical purposes and that was the reason. So this is part of the order--
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- the abbreviated order.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: And who from the MUP was there during the action?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember certainly
6 General Obrad Stevanovic who came for the reasons of coordination, and I
7 think that there was also General Djordjevic there. The two of them I saw
8 there, and the coordination unfolded as stipulated by regulations in
9 peacetime. Nobody was in command but simply future action was harmonized,
10 coordinated, support, coordinated action, and they raised questions
11 concerning the implementation of tasks. Everybody implemented their own
12 tasks and acted in accordance with what I have stated, and this is
13 evidenced by the signature of General Pavkovic, the corps commander. And
14 you can also see underneath where it says "forward" that our units were
15 listed. He signed here as corps commander not as commander of the Joint
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So the forward command post
19 continued to exist.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: You've dealt with the question.
21 Mr. Stamp.
22 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
23 Q. Witness, Mr. Jevtovic, I just wish to understand clearly on the
24 record on what basis it is that you wrote that action was to be commanded
25 by the Joint Command. You have told us that you didn't need to be
1 authorised to do so, you have told us that you didn't do it on your own
2 initiative. And in your last answer you seem to be saying, and tell me if
3 I'm correct, that in a preceding order you saw the heading "Joint Command"
4 used, and therefore in writing of this order on that basis because of a
5 heading in some preceding order you decided to say that command of the
6 action was to be by this Joint Command. Is that the reason you put "Joint
7 Command" there?
8 A. No, I didn't have such authorities. Something of this nature
9 could have been ordered to me by General Pavkovic in this particular order
10 or by Colonel Djakovic, but again on the basis of something that had been
11 previously treated by this document. At that time I did not see any joint
12 command or some commander of this Joint Command. Essentially, nothing
13 changed. As for the term "Joint Command," as I have told you, I had heard
14 of it earlier, but as far as I know, it was always used when some complex
15 actions and operations were carried out where MUP forces and army forces,
16 first and foremost, the Pristina Corps forces, acted together in
18 Q. Can I take it then that your final answer is that you put in this
19 order that the action would be commanded by the Joint Command for Kosovo
20 and Metohija on the basis of an order from General Pavkovic or from
21 Colonel Djakovic?
22 A. I can't be certain as to who specifically told me that, and I
23 especially can't be certain given the passage of time. To tell you the
24 truth, I simply don't remember, and I didn't use it on my own without
1 Q. Very well. You put it in the order in bold. Did someone tell you
2 to do that or did you do it on your own initiative, the expression "Joint
3 Command for Kosovo and Metohija" on the order is in bold. On what basis
4 did you do that?
5 A. The text in bold, if I'm allowed to be less formal here, is just
6 our own artistic, creative effort. The fact that it was printed in bold
7 had nothing to do, absolutely nothing, with the implementation of the
8 task. The words "forward to" is also in bold. And as for this text here,
9 coordination with MUP forces, the same goes for that as well. So my
10 answer to you is that it has no significance that the text is in bold.
11 It's simply an issue of mere aesthetics.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Is bold used in every section 6 of an order to
13 identify the body that will command?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if I understood your
15 question. In many instances in this document there is text in bold,
16 certain headings, subheadings are in bold. The same applies here. Given
17 that a lot of time has passed I really can't explain to you why this
18 particular text is in bold and not some other text, just like, for
19 example, it says here "reports" in bold and "forward" is not in bold.
20 Essentially it makes no difference whether it's in bold or not. According
21 to our Rules of Official Correspondence and Official Practices - and I'm
22 quite knowledgeable of this - that has no practical meaning. This is just
23 a mere issue of aesthetics. Nebojsa Pavkovic is also in bold; however,
24 the word "commander" is not. I cannot remember now how come I didn't put
25 the word "commander" in bold.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
2 MR. STAMP:
3 Q. During the action that this order refers to, you said that
4 General Obrad Stevanovic and General Djordjevic from the MUP side went to
5 the premises of the command, forward command post, for the purposes, as
6 you put it, of coordination. Who were the corresponding members of the VJ
7 present during the action with these MUP generals?
8 A. During the action most certainly General Pavkovic was there. I
9 think General Lazarevic, actually I'm sure, he was not there on the day,
10 one of the reasons being the initials here, the document was drafted by
11 myself and Colonel Kotur. As far as I remember at the time there were
12 incidents, serious ones along the border, even attacks I would say along
13 the number of different axes along the state border.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
15 A. I even remember that this was in the --
16 Q. I'm sure what you're saying is -- might well be interesting for
17 some reason. I just wanted to know who were the corresponding VJ member
18 or members, and you're saying it was General Pavkovic.
19 Would you agree with me that when army units are involved in
20 combat operations there has to be singleness of command? Would you agree
21 with that?
22 A. No, I wouldn't. What you asked me earlier, I never said that
23 General Pavkovic was an equivalent of a MUP general, so there's one thing
24 that you must bear in mind. I was only saying who was there. MUP
25 generals and army generals especially in peacetime cannot be compared --
1 or in wartime for that matter, they cannot be compared because their jobs
2 are just so different. Nor do I know any of this in theory. I'm not
3 qualified to explain the theory behind this, but I do know there can be no
4 comparison, especially not the type that you suggest. As for the other
5 part of your question --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Please answer the question you've been asked.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I remember,
8 Mr. Prosecutor, it was about unity of command and measures to be taken.
9 Can you please ask that question again.
10 MR. STAMP:
11 Q. Well, you -- the question was: Would you agree with me that when
12 army units are involved in combat operations there has to be singleness of
13 command? And you said: "No, I wouldn't."
14 Do you understand or have you ever in your training as an officer
15 of the VJ encountered the term "singleness of command"?
16 A. I didn't understand the beginning of your question. Whose
18 Q. I'm not sure which question didn't you understand.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: The question you asked isn't clear. The witness
20 wants to know what combat operations you're talking about. That's a very
21 vague and general concept.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first part of the question.
23 MR. STAMP:
24 Q. As a principle, Mr. Jevtovic, when you -- when army units are
25 involved in combat actions or operations, isn't there singleness of
1 command in respect to these army units?
2 A. Yes, there was and strict subordination, yes, that's right. I
3 hadn't understood that. When units are carrying out combat operations
4 there is unity of command -- singleness of command, actually, singleness
5 of command is compulsory. It's one of the fundamental postulates of how
6 an army works.
7 Q. If you could answer me and tell me briefly why is it fundamental?
8 Why is it a fundamental postulate of how an army works?
9 A. As any army in the world, the same applied to our army, it
10 couldn't function properly without that principle, but the same applies to
11 NATO countries, does it not? You can't exercise command or responsibly
12 take measures against someone if there is no clear chain of command that
13 is responsible for all these steps that are taken. That's what our
14 regulations say.
15 Q. And when combat operations are being carried out you would agree
16 with me that it is even more fundamental that there is what you refer to
17 as a clear chain of command?
18 A. Certainly in as far as that applied to units of the Yugoslav Army,
19 the 3rd Army, and the Pristina Corps specifically in this case. In as far
20 as it applied to the army's units.
21 Q. During the course of the -- of combat operations or actions where,
22 for example, General Pavkovic was present along with Generals Stevanovic
23 from the MUP and General Djordjevic from the MUP, if there was not
24 unanimity in respect to a decision to be taken while soldiers are engaged
25 in combat who would have the final say?
1 A. There was no final say, simply, because there was no such
2 resubordination or Joint Command, especially not back in 1998. The
3 mission of an army in peacetime and in wartime is clear and the same
4 applies to the MUP. I don't know that anybody had final say the way you
5 put it or, indeed, that there was anybody who did as a matter of fact have
6 final say, because our laws and bylaws and regulations are quite strict in
7 this regard.
8 Q. Where there were these joint combat actions and operations with
9 Generals Stevanovic, General Djordjevic from the MUP, General Pavkovic
10 from the VJ present, where a decision needed to be taken in respect of a
11 combat action or operation and there was no unanimity, is it your evidence
12 that no decision would be taken?
13 A. It certainly would not have been taken, no decision would have
14 been taken, or at least everybody would have gone on working
15 independently, but it's about commitment. This is a state border that
16 we're looking at, there were laws under which we worked under. It didn't
17 matter whether we were enjoying any support from the MUP or not, just like
18 they had commitments and tasks of their own elsewhere. This is how it was
19 and this is exactly the way I understood it. When there is a mention of a
20 Joint Command within this framework that you suggest, it didn't work this
21 way you didn't have several army and MUP generals all sitting together in
22 one place conferring and making decisions; I wasn't aware of anything like
23 that going on. Actions and steps were agreed, coordinated, coordination
24 was organized, if there was a severe problem that affected both, them and
25 us, and whenever there were overlaps both in peacetime and wartime. It
1 wasn't like there was someone who had final say or anyone in a position to
2 foist anything on anyone else, at least not that I was aware of, never saw
3 a thing like that, never heard of a thing like that.
4 Q. Very well then. I hear you.
5 The operation or action on the 27th and the 28th of April in the
6 Caragoj valley, that is what you at one point in time referred to as the
7 Reka action; it is, correct?
8 A. This word, "action," as I said was used and accepted by the
9 subordinates at the time and it was part of our jargon I would say simply
10 because there was no specific document calling it that. The
11 expression "Reka," meaning river in B/C/S is a matter of topography. It's
12 something -- it's a word that everybody uses. It would have meant nothing
13 special. We simply used this name, Reka, to conceal something, to
14 preserve the secrecy of the action itself, otherwise it wouldn't have been
15 called that, Reka, it would have been called "Upad," which is B/C/S for an
16 incursion or something like that. Reka is a perfectly commonplace word
17 used by everyone. Everybody uses it. It means "river" in B/C/S. That's
19 Q. How many units from the VJ were involved in that operation, do you
21 A. As far as I know, as I said I was at the Morina border post at the
22 time, and I was busy there because on those days there was a great deal
23 happening and there were attempts at incursions all the time, but as far
24 as I know there were about two platoons. I didn't finish answering, I'm
25 sorry, about two platoons of the 2nd Battalion of the 549th Brigade
1 practically turned and faced the other way in relation to the existing
2 combat disposition in the Korenica sector. The 52nd Rocket Brigade
3 dispatched a small company of their men from their rear battalion. I'm
4 not talking about infantry specialists and anybody else that they had. I
5 think about 30 men were involved from the Pristina Corps military police
6 battalion, at least as far as I knew, and about a platoon from the 63rd
7 Odulava [phoen] Brigade, who used to be in the Jasic village sector before
8 that after the fighting in the Kosare sector. They were resting there and
9 they were getting resupplies of weapons and ammunition, that sort of
10 thing, and that's precisely what I was talking about. There were
11 insufficient forces. There was a shortage of forces. There was a serious
12 problem. The 137th Brigade, the terrorist brigade that we were facing,
13 and that was our problem.
14 Q. The 63rd Brigade that you referred to is the 63rd Parachute
15 Brigade from Nis, is it?
16 A. Yes. That was only a small contribution as big as a platoon.
17 It's a very small part of that brigade, a brigade is far more large-scale.
18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... I'm going to ask you,
19 Witness, just to answer my question briefly. Was it resubordinated to a
20 Pristina Corps unit; and if so, which unit?
21 A. I'm not sure who you mean resubordinated to. Are you talking
22 about the 63rd Brigade? Is that what you have in mind?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. The 63rd Brigade was resubordinated during the war to the Pristina
25 Corps command, and the corps commander had the authority to exercise
1 command over that brigade.
2 Q. And the --
3 A. As far as I remember, that's how it worked, it was resubordinated,
4 but I can't think of a specific document.
5 Q. And the 52nd Rocket Brigade was --
6 A. The 52nd Artillery Rocket Brigade was from the establishment of
7 the Pristina Corps, it was a component of the Pristina Corps used for
8 anti-aircraft defence, that sort of thing.
9 Q. And there were -- the platoons are the men from the military
10 police battalion, who were they subordinated to?
11 A. The 52nd Military Police Battalion, it was part of the corps
12 subordinated to the corps commander. There was this rather small unit the
13 equivalent of a company I think comprising less men also. It was facing
14 serious problems along the state border the losses, part of the 125th
15 Brigade roughly at the same time and I can't be certain when exactly this
16 smaller unit was resubordinated to the 125th Brigade.
17 Q. And I think you said that there were elements of a 2nd Motorised
18 Battalion involved in that operation?
19 A. Yes, this is a unit --
20 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... which unit were they
21 subordinated to?
22 A. The 2nd Motorised Battalion was a battalion of the 549th Motorised
23 Brigade. As far as I remember, and I do actually remember, in the sector
24 covered by that battalion there was the Chief of Staff of the 549th
25 Brigade, along with the battalion commander under the establishment of
1 course, and they were resubordinated to the command of the 549th Brigade.
2 But they were in the immediate vicinity of Djakovica.
3 Q. Now we've got your evidence sir --
4 A. -- defending the border.
5 Q. Is it your evidence that there was no written plan in relation to
6 this action or operation, and that is operation -- the Reka operation of
7 the 27th and the 28th of April?
8 A. No plan, is that the question?
9 Q. Yes. No written plan.
10 A. No written plan, no order, no decision existed, not that I saw,
11 plan, order, decision.
12 Q. Would you find it unusual, sir, that an operation involving so
13 many units from different brigades and some directly subordinated to the
14 corps command would go on without a written plan, a written order, a
15 written decision? Would you find that unusual?
16 A. It's not unusual. You say so many units or forces, this is only a
17 very small number, this is insignificant you might say. As Mr. Bakrac was
18 examining me I explained exactly what was going on there. As far as the
19 army was concerned, there were some very small shifts of position, and the
20 manpower involved was very small, exceptionally small, I should say too
21 small, even bearing in mind what sort of an opponent you were facing in
22 this so-called valley. A platoon is the lowest-ranking army unit in this
24 Q. Do you know how many MUP units --
25 A. But --
1 Q. -- or personnel were involved in the operation?
2 A. I can tell you what I know. I didn't go to that sector nor was I
3 directly involved in this action. The equivalent of two companies, two
4 companies that -- well, I don't know what their numerical strength was,
5 but I don't think it exceeded a total of 200 men, roughly speaking.
6 That's as much as I know, but I don't have any firm indicators. As far as
7 I know there should have been three companies involved, but then the Pec
8 Company for some reason dropped out and that's why there was a shortage of
9 manpower that occurred as a result of that, and that's why they requested
10 our assistance and that's why Colonel Kotur had to go there, to coordinate
11 our involvement.
12 Q. Can we have a look at P326, and that's a map.
13 And while it comes up, do you know where the VJ field command post
14 was for this operation or action?
15 A. Can you please first explain what we're looking at, what sort of a
16 document is this? Who drew this.
17 Q. Before we get to that the question is this: Can you tell us if
18 you know where the VJ's field command post for that action on the 27th and
19 the 28th of April was?
20 A. No. There is no command post, not even an observation post, that
21 didn't exist. That's what I know and I know this sure and certain
22 knowledge. I know there was no such thing. This is not an army document
23 to the extent that I can tell, is it?
24 Q. No, it's not an army document for the record. This is a map that
25 was marked by the Witness Nike Peraj. Do you know where the MUP field
1 operation command post was during that operation or action?
2 A. No, I don't, nor am I aware of that. I would have realized that
3 they were somewhere probably, but I really don't know and I can't say.
4 Q. Who from the VJ side commanded the VJ units in that operation?
5 A. VJ is quite a broad notion. There were the small units from the
6 Pristina Corps that were involved, each in their own sectors, and they
7 were -- there were commanders under the establishment that exercised
8 commands of those units, the commanders of those units, but within their
9 own sectors. I am certain about that. There was no command post for this
10 action or operation. I'm talking about the operative level, the corps
11 level, a company commander, a platoon commander with a platoon, for
12 example, that is involved in the Korenica village sector, but I don't
13 think --
14 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
15 A. -- this map is reliable. Sir --
16 Q. Witness, I have not asked you yet about the map. Please focus on
17 my questions. You just said in answer to my question: Who from the VJ
18 side commanded the VJ units in that operation? And you said there were
19 small units of the Pristina Corps that were involved each in their own
20 sectors, and they were commanders under the establishment that exercised
21 command of these units, the command of those units but within their own
23 Earlier you said because of the manpower issues that is why
24 Colonel Kotur had to go there to coordinate our involvement. Where did
25 Colonel Kotur had to go to?
1 A. As far as I remember, he didn't go because there was a problem
2 with manpower, as you said, with all due respect; but he went there
3 because the chief of the Djakovica SUP had called him. I don't know
4 exactly because I wasn't there at the time, but based on the reports that
5 I received they did coordinate their work together on this problem, but it
6 didn't go any further than that. There was coordination and the results
7 were --
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters couldn't hear the last portion
9 of the answer.
10 MR. STAMP:
11 Q. Witness, where did Colonel Kotur go to to coordinate the
12 involvement of the VJ in this operation? "Where" is a place. Where did
13 he go to?
14 A. Sir, Mr. Prosecutor, he went to a place where on that day the
15 chief of the Djakovica SUP was. I don't know where exactly he was. Was
16 he stationary on that day, was he moving about, I really don't know. I
17 don't know where it was that he left for. The Djakovica SUP had been
18 razed to the ground by bombs. They had to move from one place to another,
19 it was a fluid situation, and the same applied to us. I don't know what
20 the location was on that day. I don't know where they met. I know what
21 he told me about that meeting and later came Zivkovic transformed this or
22 included this in oral orders by the Chamber's leave I think a
23 clarification is called for. I do have an example to name a specific one.
24 Q. Witness, I just wanted to know what you meant when you said that
25 Colonel Kotur went there to coordinate our involvement. Did Colonel Kotur
1 exercise any command responsibilities over the VJ forces that were
2 involved in that operation?
3 A. No, definitely not, not at the time. On that day Kotur was
4 dealing with problems at the Kosare border post, and I was dealing with
5 problems at the Morina border post and this had nothing to do with all of
6 this. I would still like to cite an example just to clarify for the sake
7 of truth, for the sake of justice, if you like.
8 Q. Yes, and insofar as that is necessary you will be asked by one of
9 the lawyers here. Just for the time being can you just focus on my
10 questions. You are telling us now that Colonel Kotur was dealing with
11 problems at the Kosare border post, and that is in answer to my question
12 as to whether or not he exercised any command responsibilities with
13 respect to the VJ units there. What you said earlier, that Colonel Kotur
14 had to go there to coordinate our involvement. Now, when you say "our
15 involvement," are you not referring to the VJ units that were involved in
16 that operation on the 27th and on the 28th?
17 A. Esteemed Prosecutor, involvement is a very broad concept. We had
18 the task to block and secure the road Decani-Djakovica and then to secure
19 our own areas, parts of Ponosevac-Junik road and another of other
20 obligations. That is involvement. Active or I don't know what kind of
21 other activities are something else. It's a significant difference. You
22 said a moment ago in Karaula -- in Kosare border post. It's not that,
23 it's in the broader area of Kosare. Kosare had by that time had fallen,
24 it was in enemy hands, so he couldn't have been on the Kosare border post.
25 Q. Witness, what I want to know is based on what you have said. I
1 want to know who, if anybody, commanded the VJ units that were involved in
2 this operation, and you said that Colonel Kotur was sent there to
3 coordinate our involvement." You don't --
4 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that this is
5 misrepresentation of the witness's evidence. The witness said that every
6 commander commanded his own unit, and there was no one command post and
7 that Colonel Kotur before the action went to talk to the MUP and organize
8 coordination. I believe the Prosecutor should look at the transcript
10 JUDGE BONOMY: I suspect it's that coordination that he's
11 referring to, but perhaps you can clarify the position, Mr. Stamp.
12 MR. STAMP: The -- but may I just say so before I proceed that the
13 witness did not say what counsel just represented, and I suspect that in
14 seeking to clarify it the witness will just adopt what counsel has said.
15 And I think in making objections we should be careful, very careful --
16 JUDGE BONOMY: The witness has already said that every commander
17 commanded his own unit.
18 MR. STAMP: Yes, he did.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, and he said the rest of what was there, has
20 he not?
21 MR. STAMP: At one stage --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: And I think you're quite right to pursue it to get
23 clarification because it's difficult to understand how that could work.
24 So I thought that's what you were trying --
25 MR. STAMP: I was.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: -- to do, and the misunderstanding was where you
2 referred to Colonel Kotur being sent to coordinate our involvement, and
3 Mr. Bakrac is suggesting that gives the impression Kotur's in command of
4 the action, when in fact his visit was to the SUP chief to arrange
6 MR. STAMP: Mr. Bakrac -- very well.
7 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we can hear the tape,
8 the Serbian tape, what the witness said in Serbian has that meaning, and
9 indicates that, that he went to the MUP building for coordination, but
10 there was no talk about when. Let the Prosecutor ask the witness when.
11 Maybe the English interpretation suggests something different. If we hear
12 the Serbian original it indicates this, but let the Prosecutor ask: When
13 exactly did Colonel Kotur went to reach an agreement and perform
15 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm not following, Mr. Bakrac. Are you saying that
16 there is something in the Serbian that has not been translated?
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I'm just saying
18 that sometimes the meaning is difficult to get across, although we are
19 able to understand it. I'm therefore suggesting that the Prosecutor
20 should clarify when, when, exactly did Kotur go for that coordination
21 meeting, when relating to the action.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: The answer's already in the answers we have because
23 he says that following that coordination meeting Zivkovic converted what
24 happened into orders. We know that the oral orders are said to have been
25 given on the 26th of April, so all of that's there.
1 Mr. Stamp, please pursue the point you are pursuing because it's
2 of interest to us, but it looks as though you'll have to start again.
3 MR. STAMP: Very well, Your Honour.
4 Q. Colonel -- well, before I get to Colonel Kotur.
5 As a result of this meeting that you spoke of that Colonel Kotur
6 attended, were any orders issued by him in respect to the coordination?
7 A. Kotur did not issue any orders regarding coordination.
8 Coordination took place before the beginning of the action. He
9 transmitted MUP requests and the positions that had been agreed, and from
10 what I remember, General Zivkovic issued verbal orders, in other words,
11 implemented the results of coordination between Kotur and the chief of SUP
12 from what he said. So it was more of a clarification what should be done
13 by whom in that story rather than a classic planning of an action. I did
14 not attend the meeting between Kotur and the chief of SUP, so I cannot
15 speak about that.
16 Q. And is it your evidence that General Zivkovic issued separate oral
17 commands to all the units that you have mentioned participated in this
18 operation or action, including units that belonged to the 125th Brigade,
19 units that belonged to the 549th Brigade, and units that were directly
20 subordinated to the Pristina Corps command?
21 A. What I know now, or rather, what I can remember is that he
22 conveyed tasks to the commander of the 52nd Battalion, or rather, the 2nd
23 Battalion of the 549th Brigade. I believe the Chief of Staff of that
24 brigade was present I'm sure, and to the commander of the Chief of Staff
25 of the 52nd Brigade of anti-aircraft defence, but I cannot say that for a
1 fact because I was physically not present during those activities. That's
2 written, for instance, in that diary we have seen. As for the unit of the
3 military police that was engaged there, I really don't know how they
4 received their task. It would have been logical for them to receive it
5 from the command of the 125th Brigade, but that is something that I
6 neither recall nor attended.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp, can you find a suitable place to
9 MR. STAMP: I'm sorry. Perhaps we could just take it now.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Jevtovic, we have to have another break for
11 half an hour. Could you again leave the courtroom, please, with the
13 [The witness stands down]
14 JUDGE BONOMY: And we shall resume at 6.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 5.31 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.
17 [The witness takes the stand]
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp.
19 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. It you look at the map on the screen in front of you, and this is
21 P326, Nike Peraj marked in grey the positions and the activities of the VJ
22 and explained that the VJ blocked off the borders, so to speak, of the
23 valley, of the Caragoj valley while VJ and MUP units pushed down the
24 valley towards Meja and Djakovica. Would you agree with me that that's a
25 fair assessment of the role the VJ played on that operation on the 27th
1 and the 28th of April?
2 A. I could not agree, Prosecutor, but could we enlarge this picture?
3 I could not agree. If you allow me, if Nike Peraj did this, I
4 don't know on what basis he did it, but this picture, the lines, the grey
5 lines that purportedly represent the army, bearing in mind the scale that
6 I have just noticed cannot correspond to the strength or the size of the
7 units that were engaged. According to his drawing it would seem that many
8 more troops were engaged and whoever did this drawing cannot be consistent
9 with reality, especially what is drawn next to the communication -- to the
10 road Djakovica-Decani, and especially this part in the area of Korenica,
11 Sisman Baks, Babaj Boks, and to the left towards Ilok. So this drawing at
12 this scale, I don't know what the scale is but I'm saying this because I
13 know the terrain, is completely unrealistic.
14 Q. Were VJ units involved in activities in pursuing Kosovo Albanians
15 down the valley towards Meja?
16 A. Kosovo Albanians never pushed back, I never heard of any such
17 thing. There was the very strong elite brigade of the terrorists, 137 --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: There must be a mistake in the translation; you're
19 not answering the question that was put to you.
20 Try that question again, Mr. Stamp, please.
21 MR. STAMP:
22 Q. Were VJ units engaged in activities in pushing Kosovar Albanians
23 down the valley towards Meja?
24 A. Kosovo Albanians and terrorists are two different things to me,
25 that's why I said no.
1 Q. Were VJ units involved actively with the MUP, as indicated in this
2 drawing in pushing as in the word you use is "terrorists" down the valley
3 towards Meja?
4 A. I said a moment ago, to my mind the drawing is completely
5 incompetent --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Please ignore the drawing for the moment. Listen
7 to the question. Try to help us by answering the question, please. Now,
8 that question is a simple one: Were VJ units involved actively with the
9 MUP in pushing terrorists down the valley towards Meja?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand, Mr. President. What I
11 know is this that one unit that consisted of one part of the company of
12 the military police, that is, around two platoons 30 to 40 men in movement
13 protected the battle order of units that were in the first echelon, and of
14 course acted in coordination MUP units if that's what we're going to call
15 it; but I cannot say anything further about that because I was not on the
16 spot and there was no -- no particular plan that would reflect this.
17 There were contacts with terrorists according to reports received from
18 commanders and there was pushing back in that sense, but there was also
19 combat and some of our members were killed there, one or two from the
20 police company, and I believe that was even an attack of the terrorists
21 against them from what I remember and from what the commander of that
22 temporary unit reported.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: The English translation says: "... around two
24 platoons 30 to 40 men in movement protected the battle order of units that
25 were in the first echelon, and ... acted in coordination with MUP
1 units ..."
2 Now, who were the battle order of units that were in the first
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first combat echelon of the
5 Pristina Corps that was intended to defend the state border was made up of
6 the 125th and 549th Motorised Brigade in that area. The first combat
7 echelon in this specific case had a depth of over 5 kilometres, so there
8 were forces at the first, most forward line of defence, and forces further
9 behind the lines that form an echelon in combat if we look at it that way.
10 This unit of ours --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Jevtovic, in English this means something quite
12 different from what you've now said. The impression in your answer is
13 that there was a battle order of units, in other words, VJ units engaged
14 in combat. Is that not what you're saying?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I did not say it that way. You
16 asked me what was the first combat echelon of the Pristina Corps, that
17 first combat echelon performs completely different tasks on the border.
18 The rear end of that combat echelon is exactly somewhere along the road
19 Junik-Ponosevac-Djakovica. So that combat echelon has no direct
20 connection with the action we are talking about here. They are defending
21 the border.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Why then did you say this, and I'll read more of
23 your answer because I really don't understand it now.
24 "What I know is this, that one unit that consisted of one part of
25 the company of the military police, that's around two platoons 30 to 40
1 men in movement, protected the battle order of units that were in the
2 first echelon and of course acted in coordination with MUP units, if
3 that's what we're going to call it."
4 Now, what did you mean by that and who were you referring to as
5 the battle order of units that were in the first echelon who were being
6 protected by two platoons of military police?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to say that the rear end of
8 that combat echelon on the border was in significant danger from the
9 activities of terrorists in depth in the valley of the river, or rather,
10 the Caragoj valley. And that's what gave rise to our engagement, so the
11 temporary unit --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: The question, Mr. Jevtovic, is what units of the VJ
13 were going in the opposite direction, that's towards Meja. The question's
14 not about who was behind at the border. So could you address that. Which
15 VJ units were actually engaging the terrorists in the valley and forcing
16 them down towards Meja?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So the temporary unit, I already
18 explained, but it was not towards Meja. From what I know, it moved on a
19 local road towards Ramoc village and no further. No units of ours ended
20 up in Meja, and as far as I know that's the task that was issued.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: This is --
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a unit -- distinguished
23 Mr. President, that was in the area of Korenica village, and that's a unit
24 from that first combat echelon that protected itself basically.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: And this is what you say you've heard because you
1 were not there to witness it; is that the position?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's hard to see with the naked eye
3 because it's a huge area, that's one thing; and second, I was not in the
4 valley nor was I directly engaged in terms of command or any other sense.
5 So I'm saying what I knew and from what transpired according to reports
6 received from commanders.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: From what you heard or read; is that correct?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: You wanted to say something, Mr. Bakrac.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I didn't want to say
11 anything before the witness. I believe you may have cleared this up, but
12 I believe the misunderstanding is due to -- lies in the military term that
13 is being used. If you want to have the witness leave the courtroom and we
14 can try to clarify it --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you -- I don't think it's necessary for that.
16 You can clarify it if you feel it's necessary in your own re-examination.
17 Mr. Stamp.
18 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
19 Q. You're saying that what you know of the operations or actions and
20 what transpired on those two days came from reports received from the
21 commanders. These were reports that you read or heard?
22 A. I cannot recall now. I don't have any documents with me, but
23 those could have been verbal reports. I don't know if there were any
24 written reports, but it was regular reporting as in the war. There was no
25 particular, special report about that. There was regular reporting.
1 Q. Can we look quickly, as time is going on, at P1086. And while we
2 are getting it, by regular reporting you mean the regular, written
4 A. Regular reports in the war, not only written reports but regular
5 reporting by telephone, radio communications, and other devices.
6 Q. P1026 [sic] is a war diary of the 52nd Artillery Rocket Brigade
7 command, and if we could have a look at page 9 in the English, page 10 in
8 the B/C/S -- sorry, page 33 in the English --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the number of this, Mr. Stamp?
10 MR. STAMP: P1086.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: 86?
12 MR. STAMP: 86.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
14 MR. STAMP: Page 33 in the English corresponds to page 36 in the
16 Q. You see item 10 which is a last entry for the 26th of April. Can
17 you see that?
18 A. If we can zoom in a bit more because it's handwritten.
19 Q. Can you read the second sentence, if you can, of that entry.
20 A. "From the command of the KG (forward command post) of -- we
21 received a decision to engage units in the Reka action." The following
22 are engaged and then I cannot make out what follows. One of the officers
23 is engaged, but I can't see which; I can't make it out. It says -- I see
24 here the acronym for company commander, one rifle platoon, if the
25 person --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: I think you've read what you've been asked to read.
2 Mr. Stamp, do you want him to read the whole entry or one
4 MR. STAMP: Once sentence.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that's been read. Let's concentrate and try
6 and make progress.
7 MR. STAMP:
8 Q. I would also like you now to have a look at the second entry and
9 that is for the 22nd of April and that's also on page 33 in the English
10 but that is on the next page, page 37, in B/C/S. And I will just read it
11 here. It says here that: "The 'Reka' clean-up operation began with the
12 participation of the 1st Manoeuvre Battalion, the 1st Rifle Platoon and
13 the 2nd Rifle Platoon of the command battalion. The Reka operation was
14 carried out according to plan and dynamics."
15 Now, having seen that, Mr. Jevtovic, do you still maintain that
16 there was no plan or decision, written plan or decision, in respect to
17 this operation?
18 A. As for what you've just read out, I'm straining and I'm straining;
19 but I just can't see it. I'm not sure which line you're referring to.
20 I'm referring to the handwritten portion. I'm not looking at the English,
21 I'm looking at the Serbian.
22 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it was -- the page was
23 turned. It's what the witness was trying to read.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What you've just said, I simply
25 can't see it.
1 MR. STAMP: Do we have page 37 of the B/C/S?
2 Q. Item 2.
3 A. I see what you have in mind. I can't read everything but I get
4 the gist.
5 Q. Having seen that, do you still maintain what you said earlier in
6 answer to a question from the Bench, that --
7 A. [No interpretation]
8 Q. -- the VJ were carrying out routine duties in that area and what
9 they were doing was part of their ongoing duties in the field?
10 A. Precisely. I still maintain that. May I answer?
11 Q. Well, you have.
12 A. Precisely. I maintain that. This document is a document produced
13 by a subordinate unit. As such, it says that they carried out tasks
14 according to some plan and some dynamic, which can mean, for example, that
15 the brigade commander perhaps produced a document of his own in that unit
16 or maybe this term that they're using here, according to plan, was used as
17 to who produced the document saw fit; but it's difficult for me to comment
18 this. This is a person from a subordinate unit discussing a plan that
19 simply didn't exist.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: In giving that answer are you also having regard to
21 what you read earlier in the entry number 10 where the diary records: "We
22 received a decision from the command group that our elements would be used
23 in the Reka action"?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Mr. President, when we
25 have documents such as this one - and I've been doing this job for years -
1 stating: We received a decision, then it is necessary to quote the number
2 of this decision and the filing number. That would be a professional way
3 of recording something like that. What I see here is that the term "plan"
4 is being used but the "p" is not capitalised. When we talk about plans in
5 the military it's always capitalised, a capital "p," and you have a blank
6 number, filing number, date, and so on and so forth. The way both terms,
7 plan and decision, are used here including the term dynamic is a little
9 I think this reflects the impression, the mere impression of
10 whoever wrote this document. They don't give a number for this plan. I
11 don't know that this plan exists if they do not quote a number or decision
12 for that matter. There is no filing number, there is no combat code or
13 anything like that. You saw my orders, the orders that I drafted and the
14 numbers were always stated. This is a very colloquial use of the term
15 plan at best, but I don't know who produced this document therefore I'm
16 not qualified to interpret the expression plan as used in this document or
17 the expression decision. I can state with full responsibility there was
18 no plan, no decision, no order, and those would have been the only
19 authoritative documents. This is a war diary, somebody kept it the way we
20 see they did and you these expressions being used here, plan according to
21 plan, what plan, what dated, what number. If it's a plan, it must have a
22 code-name, mustn't it? This is a very arbitrary use of the term and we
23 saw that with the word Reka, river, that was no code-name at all. It is a
24 fact of geography. It was public and even people over in Albania knew
25 about that --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Could I ask you yet again, please, to just deal
2 with the questions you're asked.
3 Mr. Stamp.
4 MR. STAMP:
5 Q. You said what you know transpired on those two days you discovered
6 from reports, and you've said earlier that on the morning of the 27th you
7 went to the border. Did you at any time on the day of the 27th go to the
8 forward command post in Djakovica?
9 A. I spent the night between the 26th and the 27th there, I did my
10 regular business [as interpreted] in my capacity as an operative officer,
11 and then according to a set schedule I would go to the border itself, just
12 as Kotur did and all the other officers. At the forward command post
13 there would remain the security detail and maybe some signalsmen --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: You have answered the question. Thank you.
15 Mr. Stamp.
16 MR. STAMP:
17 Q. What time did you go to the border --
18 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just one thing there is
19 an error in the transcript. It says: "I did my regular morning operative
20 business," morning operative duties.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 Mr. Stamp.
23 MR. STAMP:
24 Q. What time did you leave to go to the border on the 27th?
25 A. It's been too long for me to remember exactly. I don't have any
1 notes on that. I can speculate --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: You've answered the question. Thank you. Let's
3 move on. If you don't know, just say.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know, Your Honours,
5 it's been too long.
6 MR. STAMP:
7 Q. Very well. On the 28th do you remember if you were there on the
8 morning of that day?
9 A. I don't know if I was. I don't know if I wasn't. I spent the
10 night there, I suppose. I can't remember. I can't remember. It's not my
11 intention to offend you, but I don't have any notes that could jog my
12 memory. All I know is that I spent every single day at the border.
13 Q. No, no, I'm not offended. I just asked because you told us in
14 answer to a question from the Bench which was: Where were you on those
15 days, you told us that you went to the border, so I got the impression
16 that you were saying you were not there on the day when Nike Peraj said
17 you were there. But you now say that probably you don't know if you were
18 there on the 28th?
19 In respect to Peraj, Peraj was a captain first class in the VJ.
20 Your allegation that he made inaccurate reports which you say were
21 documented, was he disciplined for any of these inaccurate reports that
22 you say you documented?
23 A. When I say "inaccurate reports," I mean --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Please answer the question. Was he disciplined?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was reprimanded, but I can't
1 answer that question with a simple yes or no, Your Honour. Measures were
2 taken such as those within the remit of the security organ, several times
3 in fact.
4 MR. STAMP: Perhaps we should go into private session in respect
5 of --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
7 [Private session]
11 Pages 20420-20423 redacted. Private session
4 [Open session]
5 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
6 MR. STAMP:
7 Q. P1428, you spoke about it earlier in your evidence, and if you
8 have a look at the last page you see, as we indicated, that it was signed
9 by General Lazarevic. Do you know where General Lazarevic signed it?
10 When I say "where," at which place was he when he signed it?
11 A. This is 1998 I think it was, or rather, he was in Djakovica.
12 Q. And it's dated the 14th of August, 1998. Would that be the date
13 when he signed it?
14 A. Well, that's what I see.
15 Q. Well, that's the date of the document. Can you comment or do you
16 know whether or not that is the date he signed it or can you answer based
17 on the date at the front of the document?
18 A. I remember when this document arrived from Pristina, and to the
19 extent that I remember, it was signed by him in Djakovica. I think that
20 the corps commander was away because this was a time when the Chief of the
21 General Staff was carrying out the inspection rounds with his teams in the
22 Pristina Corps, the surroundings.
23 Q. What I'm asking you is: When, when did he sign it? Can you say
24 when? If you can't, just say you can't.
25 A. Probably on that day, based on what it says. On that day. I see
1 nothing to lead me to a different conclusion.
2 Q. Very well.
3 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours. I have nothing
4 further for this witness.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 Questioned by the Court:
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Jevtovic, your statement is 5D1385. Could you
9 look, please, at paragraph 14 of that statement. Look about the middle of
10 page -- of paragraph 14 you will see the following:
11 "I think in June 1998 the state leadership adopted a decision
12 which was endorsed by the highest military leadership that the 3rd Army
13 and the Pristina Corps could use a small part of their forces (no more
14 than 5 to 6 per cent) to support MUP forces in preventing terrorism ..."
15 And there's then a reference to the areas that would apply.
16 What decision does this refer to?
17 A. What I know is that we were informed at the time that at one of
18 the meetings of the Supreme Defence Council a decision like this had been
19 taken, the decision that I'm talking about. And after that, what followed
20 was an operation against the terrorists because by now this was an
21 operation, it had turned into an operation in the sectors mentioned here.
22 I think this was a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council or another body
23 of a similar rank, that at least is what we were told and that is the
24 extent to which I can comment.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, who told you?
1 A. One of the superiors, my superiors, it could have been Djakovic at
2 the time it could have been Colonel Lazarevic, General Pavkovic perhaps,
3 but I can't remember with certainty who specifically it was who said that
4 the decision had been taken.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: What do you mean by the expression "the state
7 A. At that time it was usually the Supreme Defence Council that was
8 implied that commanded the army, and if I remember well --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, what --
10 A. -- it was a session of the Supreme Defence Council, if I remember
12 JUDGE BONOMY: What then did -- do you mean by "the highest
13 military leadership"?
14 A. Well, the highest military leadership at that time was the
15 minister of defence, his assistants, and of course Chief of the General
16 Staff together with his assistants, that is, chiefs of sectors and
18 JUDGE BONOMY: What do you mean by that they "endorsed" the
20 A. I used that term here in the sense that they acknowledged the
21 decision and the intent of the state leadership and proceeded to implement
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Had they a choice?
24 A. I didn't hear the interpretation.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Had they a choice?
1 A. No, they did not, but I wanted to add that the minister of defence
2 and the Chief of General Staff also participated in proposing measures.
3 Maybe it's a clumsy term, the military leadership endorsed or supported.
4 What I meant is acknowledged, accepted, and proceeded to implement. And
5 generally speaking, sessions of the Supreme Defence Council were attended
6 by the Chief of General Staff and the minister of defence. Such issues
7 were within their purview and they were the ones who proposed measures to
8 be taken.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: In the next paragraph, 15, you're dealing with the
10 expression that you've been asked a number of questions about " ...
11 commanding being done by the Joint Command for Kosovo'" and you go on to
12 say: " ... this clause was used for every operation of support to the
13 MUP, and the essence is the same ..."
14 And you've told us that the actual orders were being issued by the
15 Pristina Corps, but the heading "Joint Command" was used. Did you mean to
16 say that was the case every time an operation involved support by the VJ
17 to the MUP?
18 A. No, it was not always the case. This happened in one period in
19 1998. In 1999 that term was not even used anymore.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, are you saying that this always happened, for
21 every operation where the VJ supported the MUP in 1998 reference would be
22 made to command by the Joint Command?
23 A. No, it was not mentioned. The example of the chisel action is a
24 case in point. That term "Joint Command" was used for a period in 1998 in
25 a number of documents, but it was not the rule.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: You're quite right. That should be redacted in
8 fact and we should be in private session.
9 [Private session]
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
23 Mr. Bakrac, re-examination?
24 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe I can finish
25 within 15 minutes if the Chamber agrees. Maybe we can within 10, 15
2 JUDGE BONOMY: We're happy to continue as long as we get no howl
3 of protests from any other quarter. None received, so please continue,
4 Mr. Bakrac.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Re-examination by Mr. Bakrac:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Jevtovic, we'll start from the end from the
8 last questions asked by Mr. Stamp that's the freshest in your memory.
9 When you say placed on stand-by, can you explain what that means.
10 A. That means removed from his duties.
11 Q. In military terminology?
12 A. That's the official military term, removal from duties for a grave
13 breach of military discipline, a military infraction. All these are
14 military terms at the proposal of the security organs of the 15th Armoured
15 Brigade and the chief of that organ was myself. And this must be
17 Q. Thank you. You've just explained it. Not to waste time, I don't
18 want to show it now, but you have seen the war diary of the 52nd Rocket
19 Artillery Brigade of anti-aircraft defence, and before I ask you my
20 question concerning that war diary tell me, are decisions also imparted
21 orally and is that in keeping with military rules?
22 A. Yes, it's in keeping with the rules and regulations. When there
23 is not enough time or for other good reasons, decisions can be imparted
25 Q. When a decision is imparted orally it is written in lower case and
1 there is no number of the decision?
2 A. Yes, of course, and that's why there is no number. In principle,
3 that's the way it works.
4 Q. You testified about another military term, and I believe it gave
5 rise to a misunderstanding so I would like you to clarify it now. When
6 you say that there was a danger to go -- of going into the battle order of
7 units in the first combat echelon, does that mean that those units are
8 necessarily active or are they just in position on the state border?
9 A. They're in position at the state border, and that's their main and
10 only task at the moment, if I understood your question correctly.
11 Q. In the area of Reka, was there a danger that the 137th Brigade of
12 the KLA, according to the disposition might emerge behind the back of
13 those units in the first echelon?
14 A. Yes, there was a clear and present danger, and that's what they
15 did all the time, using various provocations.
16 Q. Was there any military unit in that Reka action that went before
17 this one military police company from the 62nd?
18 A. Not as far as I know.
19 Q. Was there any other unit that was involved in this?
20 A. No, no, I'm quite certain there was none, not in any sort of
22 Q. Let me just ask you something about Mr. Ivetic's
23 cross-examination. First of all, before we move on to Mr. Ivetic, if my
24 understanding is correct, or rather, you tell me. You said that you had
25 spent the night every single time at the forward command post and that
1 after your regular morning operative business you would go straight to the
2 state border. This was a daily routine for you, right?
3 A. Yes, a daily task, several nights perhaps. But throughout the
4 war -- well, yes, but that was the duty.
5 Q. What about the 28th of April? I'll try to pin-point the date for
6 you. On the 27th the Reka action started and it was completed on the
7 28th. You may try to use that as a reference point. The morning of the
8 28th of April were you at the forward command post in Djakovica going
9 about your regular operative business?
10 A. Yes. In the early morning and then I went to the Morina border
11 post. The area referred to as the Morina border post, that's what I
12 remember, because the strikes from Albania - I'm talking about the frame
13 between the 9th of April and the 1st of May - were at their most intense.
14 Q. Mr. Ivetic asked you about paragraph 11 of your written statement,
15 whether you ever saw a written request by MUP for support, the assumption
16 being that such written reports were dispatched. Where were they
17 dispatched to, to the Djakovica forward command post or the Pristina Corps
19 A. They could have gone to either of these places, the forward
20 command post of the 3rd Army or the command post of the -- or the Pristina
21 Corps command.
22 Q. And where was the forward command post of the 3rd Army?
23 A. Pristina.
24 Q. Were they under any obligation to dispatch these written reports
25 to you -- written requests to you?
1 A. No, not at all.
2 Q. All right. Mr. Ivetic asked you something about Operation Chisel
3 could we please have 5D1382. Before that comes up, I will be needing page
4 2 of this report. The question was this: Under the assumption that the
5 MUP was resubordinated Mr. Ivetic asked you whether the MUP commander, the
6 MUP unit commander would still have remained in command of these units.
7 You said yes, but that's not what happened. Could you please read for me
8 a sentence from this combat report? You have it right there in front of
9 you. It's the first paragraph on that page. The control of the action.
10 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in English this is
11 paragraph 3 just above item 3, focus of activities for the following day.
12 Q. Be so kind as to read and comment on this sentence.
13 A. "Control of the operation. Colonel Milan Kotur with the Djakovica
14 SUP chief at the observation post at the Suka Vogelj feature."
15 Q. Can you comment on that?
16 A. This sentence, this combat report which is another one that I
17 produced, if anything confirms everything that I've been saying about the
18 relationship between us on the one hand and MUP on the other. It states
19 in no uncertain terms that this is not a case of command, this is a case
20 of control. Colonel Kotur is there on behalf of our units, is in command
21 of our units, and the chief of the Djakovica SUP is in command of the MUP
22 units or the PJP units.
23 Q. Fair enough, Mr. Jevtovic. Thank you. Can we now please have
24 6D1128. Mr. Ivetic showed you that one document about something being
25 seized from the archives. You tried to explain -- you said you knew what
1 that was about. So can you please now explain what this order is about.
2 I'm giving you now a chance to explain.
3 Can you see that in front of you, sir?
4 A. Yes, I'm waiting for your question.
5 Q. Explain why this order was issued?
6 A. It was the right of the Chief of the General Staff at the time and
7 what about his motive, I'm basing this on what you told me. It was about
8 taking certain documents out of the archive, the focus being on combat
9 documents, for the purpose of producing a book on the application of the
10 international law of war.
11 Q. Stop there for a minute, please. The application of international
12 law of war in armed conflict is P1011 in this trial. Please continue.
13 A. That was the first motive but this was the first edition of this
14 book. There was a civilian, second, working on this, who was a journalist
15 by professional named Ivan Markovic. It was necessary for those documents
16 to be taken to a place where it was possible to work on them without
17 allowing him to take them anywhere outside these military installations
18 and facilities. The other motive was the production of this book. When I
19 went there to collect these files from the archives, these documents,
20 records, if you like, at this point in time they still hadn't gone as far
21 as the archives. I found that the situation was not very conducive to the
22 preservation of the army's archives. This was in the army museum at
23 Kalemegdan. The archives of the Pristina Corps and the 3rd Army were
24 being kept by a single guard, civilian, in the basement of the army
25 museum. The window-panes had been shattered and these rooms were moist,
1 humid. When I went there for the first time after that I proposed to the
2 Chief of the General Staff for the archives to speedily be removed from
3 that location because civilians had access there precisely because of the
4 Law on Archives. It wasn't safe. That's what I'm trying to say.
5 Q. My question is this: These files that were used for the
6 production of this book, did that ever physically leave the premises of
7 the army? Where was it written?
8 A. In the premises of the Chief of the General Staff, it never left
9 the army in a manner of speaking.
10 Q. Did you make copies of those documents?
11 A. Yes, and these copies were consistent with the Law on Archives and
12 then the originals were returned. This is something that the Chief of the
13 General Staff is entitled to, as is the defence minister. There's an
14 awkward interpretation that we often come across. The archives and all
15 the files in it is something that a unit commander is entitled to use,
16 especially if he was the one that he produced. There is something that is
17 referred to as a list referring to the chain of custody of the files
18 preserved in the archives.
19 Q. Just another question. My first question is: Are there any Rules
20 of Service that envisage this?
21 A. Yes, of course there are. There is the Law on Archived Files of
22 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and this was adopted in 1998. And
23 then we have rules on office work and official correspondence and
24 amendments, too.
25 Q. Just a minute, please.
1 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we didn't realize that
2 this would crop up in the cross-examination. We didn't know that the
3 issue would be raised. I have these Rules of Service here. It didn't
4 have a number because we didn't know; therefore, I ask your permission if
5 we could just very briefly place this on the ELMO and that's my last
6 question. There's a particular article I would like the witness to read
7 that from the Rules on Official Correspondence and Office Work in the Army
8 of Yugoslavia.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, do you have any objection?
10 MR. IVETIC: No, no objection.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
12 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] I even think that this is a
13 Prosecution exhibit, I'm not certain. I will come up with a number in
14 case I'm right for our present purposes.
15 Q. Would you please read it, sir, item 13, the heading, what it
16 pertains to, and the two articles, the two articles on taking out, of
17 separating, material from the archives.
18 A. Do you want item 137?
19 Q. Yes, but first read the heading to us just slowly, please.
20 A. Well, that's chapter 13, item 137, the taking out of archived
21 material from an archive institution. Item 137 reads: "Archive material
22 may be taken out from the archive institution of the command for temporary
23 use. This taking out is conducted on the basis of a request of -- for
24 archive material form KN7," and then this is elaborated further in the
25 following items or paragraphs. What is important here is as follows.
1 Archive material, regardless of when it was created, whether it was at
2 peacetime or in wartime, as a rule needs to be preserved for three years
3 within a unit, at least three years. Certain documents need to be kept
4 for longer.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ...
6 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. We are not interested in the rest of it. You have answered my
8 question, and my final question is: Everything concerning the taking out
9 of this material based on this order for the purposes of writing this book
10 was everything done in accordance with the Rule on Legislation, rather,
11 regulations of the Army of Yugoslavia?
12 A. Yes, that's correct. This was kept in the office of the Chief of
13 the General Staff, and when the then-chief left the position, there are
14 many witnesses that can give evidence about how this book was produced and
15 how the archive material was used.
16 Q. That's enough. Thank you.
17 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is Exhibit P1548,
18 the Rules on Office Procedures.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
20 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] This is what the witness read out.
21 That's all I had.
22 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
23 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Jevtovic, that completes your evidence; thank
25 you for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You're now free to leave the
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 JUDGE BONOMY: We shall resume here tomorrow at 2.15.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.15 p.m.,
5 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 17th day of
6 January, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.