1 Wednesday, 9 July 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, everyone.
6 And good afternoon, Mr. Dimitrijevic.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
8 WITNESS: ALEKSANDAR DIMITRIJEVIC [Resumed]
9 [Witness appeared via videolink]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Questioned by the Court: [Continued]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I want to pick up on one matter from yesterday
13 that I interrupted you endeavouring to explain to us. You said to us
14 that in the rules it said that in the war the General Staff becomes the
15 Supreme Command Staff, and you then said: "So in wartime the Supreme
16 Command comprises the president with his advisors and associates, and the
17 Supreme Command Staff is an integral part of the Supreme Command."
18 Can you help me by explaining a little more about the Supreme
19 Command as you understood it and who were the advisors and associates.
20 A. Mr. President, I have to say that at the time I did not go into
21 all that detail too much, who was by the president as the supreme
22 commander; however, what I remember now are the rules, namely that the
23 Supreme Command is the highest organ that commands the army. In
24 peacetime, it's the Supreme Defence Council; in wartime, it is the
25 supreme commander. So I allow for the possibility that perhaps I'm
1 making - well, let me say this - a mistake. Perhaps I'm not saying
2 things very precisely, but certainly this was a solution that was
3 provided for earlier on in the JNA, and that is what I had in mind as
5 So who is by the supreme commander, that is to say the president?
6 I do not rule out the possibility that some changes were introduced and
7 that it was supposed to be the Supreme Defence Council as a whole;
8 however, as far as I know, throughout all this time not a single meeting
9 was held of the Supreme Defence Council. That is what was known
10 publicly. So next to him he had the military cabinet or office. There
11 were a few officers in it in charge of certain matters, and when
12 necessary he could call whoever else he might have needed to use that
13 person as an advisor for a particular matter. So that would be the
15 As for the General Staff, during the war it grows into the
16 Supreme Command Staff. I think I said yesterday --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: You explained that yesterday that --
18 A. -- that basically it remained the same.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: So --
20 A. Yes, that it was divided into three parts and -- well, that was
21 the change --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Let me ask you --
23 A. -- and the basic task was --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, let me ask you two things first of all. We
25 know that the presidents of Serbia
1 Supreme Defence Council. What was their role in the Supreme Command?
2 A. As far as I know, Mr. President -- we're talking about the state
3 of war, aren't we? As far as I know as a retired general, that is to say
4 as any other citizen, I think that their role was non-existent --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Just tell me if you actually know anything about
6 the role that they should play during wartime.
7 A. No, no, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, you were -- the second thing was this, and
9 you were about to embark on it a moment ago. You said that although the
10 Supreme Command Staff was formed similarly to the General Staff, you
11 indicated that it was perhaps disposed differently, that part of it was
12 in one place where that would not be the case during peacetime. Can you
13 clarify that for me.
14 A. Mr. President, I think that perhaps something happened during the
15 interpretation. First of all, I did not say "perhaps." I said that
16 according to the rules and in practice, as far as I know, when exercises
17 were carried out the General Staff was never in one place, all of them
18 together. Quite simply, so that they could not be jeopardized in any way
19 or targeted, all of them together. So in principle they were subdivided
20 into three parts. One part, along with the chief, was always supposed to
21 be by the supreme commander; the second part was supposed to be at the
22 rear command post, that is to say the remaining part, they are to
23 operationalise through documents, planning, et cetera, everything that is
24 decided upon; and the third part could be deployed at the forward command
25 post depending on what is being done. So basically it was organized in a
1 different way because now the complete administrations were not there any
2 longer. Part of them were along with the basic command post, another
3 part was with the rear command post, and the third part was at the
4 forward command post if there was one.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: I would now ask you to look briefly at the last of
6 the minutes I intend to refer to; that's the 18th of March, P938, and in
7 the English at page 25. Now, in B/C/S that is -- it's page -- well ...
8 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
9 JUDGE BONOMY: It may be page 23 in the version you have,
10 Mr. Dimitrijevic. It's where General Ojdanic is speaking. It starts
11 with a reference to the theft of pistols. Can you go to the third
12 paragraph, please, of that section where in the middle of the paragraph
13 he refers to the army together with the MUP having to undertake some
14 measures with the purpose of blocking and searching the terrain. And he
15 goes on to say: "I think that we all agree about that, but any other
16 rampage without the knowledge of the army and the corps commanders must
17 be prevented at higher levels ..."
18 Do you know what he was referring to when he talked about any
19 other rampage?
20 A. Mr. President, it is hard for me now in view of the time distance
21 to be very precise in terms of what he is referring to. However, I
22 believe that all of it can be intimated in relation to what you had asked
23 me about yesterday. There is one thing I wish to say first and foremost;
24 I think it wasn't mentioned yesterday. As far as the method of work of
25 the collegium of the Chief of General Staff is concerned, that is to say
1 all assistants first and foremost would present their assessments, or
2 rather, they would report from their own domains of work; and the chief
3 of the first operative administration talked about engagement and
4 proposals and tasks that are to be carried through subsequently.
5 At the end of each and every collegium --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: May I stop you there, please. We do have a
7 limited amount of time, Mr. Dimitrijevic, and I really want to know if
8 you can recollect what he was referring to by "any other rampage," which
9 doesn't sound like something you would regard as official conduct.
10 A. I understand, Mr. President. That's precisely what I wanted to
11 say, that this is the conclusion made by the Chief of General Staff, and
12 he says here in one sentence, the army cannot sit with its arms crossed
13 if a military vehicle had been hit with two officers in it. Yes, he says
14 that before this sentence here, we cannot very well sit idly by if a
15 military vehicle with two officers is hit and just let it pass. There
16 were such cases --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: With respect, Mr. Dimitrijevic, that's not what
18 he's talking about because he's talking about a rampage without the
19 knowledge of the army and the corps commanders and that sort of thing
20 must be prevented at higher levels. Now, that does look like he's
21 talking not about attacks on the army and the MUP but about the
22 activities of the army.
23 A. Mr. President, with all due respect, my understanding of this is
24 his reaction; see, there are killings, woundings taking place, and all
25 this is the result of certain rampages. That's the term he's using.
1 Again, he is expressing practically -- well, I don't want to say that
2 he's complaining, but in a way he seems to be complaining to the
3 collegium that this is happening outside his knowledge and without the
4 army commanders or corps commanders knowing about this if it happens at
5 lower levels. I think that that was the underlying idea of what he had
6 conveyed to us.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: And what is it that he's referring to as happening
8 that the superior officers did not know about?
9 A. Well, probably that the army should be engaged, that units should
10 be used, and that it doesn't go through the General Staff to the army
11 command and to the corps. I assume that that's it.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: So you understand that to be talking about an
13 action by members of the VJ without authority through proper channels?
14 A. Yes, Mr. President, that is how I understand it.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, you've told us that you had occasion to meet
16 with the British military attache. Do you remember also meeting with the
17 British ambassador, Mr. Docherty -- sorry, it's my mistake, Donnelly.
18 A. Yes, Mr. President, but as far as I can remember it wasn't one
19 meeting. There were several such meetings at which problems in Kosovo
20 and Metohija were practically the only topic that was discussed and how
21 these problems should be resolved. So the problems were that the
22 verification mission never started operating at full capacity. The
23 problem was, and as a matter of fact --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Hold on a second, please. I want to ask you more
25 direct questions. Are you saying that you met with the British
1 ambassador on a number of occasions?
2 A. Yes, Mr. President, and always in the presence of the military
3 attache, Mr. Crosland.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
5 A. And that was intensely intensive. These meetings took place
6 between November and the end of January/beginning of February because
7 after that, practically, I was outside the main stream, if I can put it
8 that way.
9 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: In one of the communications from that ambassador
11 which has been presented to us, which is P683, there is reference to one
12 of your discussions in which you're recorded as saying that you wished to
13 distance yourself and the Chief of the General Staff, who at that
14 time - this is October - who at that time was General Perisic, from
15 responsibility for recent actions. And it records you as pointing the
16 finger of blame clearly at Sainovic and the MUP and saying that you would
17 be using your best efforts to keep the army out of further entanglement
18 except on the border where they belonged.
19 Is that an accurate reflection of your discussion with Crosland
20 and Donnelly?
21 A. Mr. President, this is the first time I see this sheet of paper,
22 and I see that it is a telegram that the military attache, I believe,
23 sent to his headquarters. What I have before me is a summary only, in
24 which it says - that's the second sentence - "dissociates himself and
25 Chief of General Staff from responsibility for recent actions."
1 I don't know what that means, but my understanding is that this
2 is the impression of the person who was writing this, perhaps on the
3 basis of the conversation held or part of the conversation or perhaps
4 some sentences were even misunderstood. Mr. Crosland knew the Serbian
5 language up to a degree. The discussion took place in the liaison
6 officer -- in the liaison office for liaising with foreign
7 representatives, and there was an interpreter present, but if he
8 understood something then there would be no interpretation.
9 And I'm also surprised by this other sentence that he's trying to
10 keep the VJ out of further entanglement. First of all, I was not in a
11 position to do that, and I was not authorised to say any such thing.
12 Probably we talked, and probably like on all other occasions I said that
13 it was my understanding that the army should be at the border primarily.
14 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry, we had a brief technical hitch,
16 Mr. Dimitrijevic.
17 On the second page of this document in paragraph number 6, this
18 is explained more fully where it is said that you conveyed the
19 information that you and the General Staff personnel did not agree with
20 the actions that had been taken in recent months since Sainovic had taken
21 over in Kosovo.
22 Now, what was it that had been happening since he took over that
23 you did not agree with?
24 A. Mr. President, well, to put it this way, that they did not agree
25 with the actions that had been taken since Sainovic had taken over in
1 Kosovo, I never could have said any such thing, and I did not say that
2 because Sainovic absolutely was no authority in Kosovo, and that would
3 have been a lie. He was the chairman of the Federal Commission for
4 cooperation with the verifiers in his capacity as deputy prime minister
5 in charge of foreign affairs. He was there in that capacity down there,
6 but to say that he took over, that he took power, I'm absolutely certain
7 that no such thing could have been said.
8 As for the first part of the sentence, he personally and the
9 General Staff personnel - referring to me - did not agree with the
10 actions -- well, this is a very general statement or conclusion. I did
11 not agree with the information that reached me to the effect that the
12 army was being used beyond the orders given from top all the way down the
13 chain, from the General Staff -- or rather, Supreme Defence Council,
14 General Staff, all the way down to corps level, et cetera. I never
15 agreed to that, and to this day I think that I would not agree to any
16 such thing. Probably I did make comments. Now, it is a matter of free
17 interpretation, his interpretation. On the basis of this, it is my
18 understanding that this is not a recorded conversation, so it's not a
19 recording; this is an interpretation of something that someone could have
20 experienced this way or that way, yes. What it says further on is
21 correct, that I react to this, that due to the humanitarian catastrophe,
22 if it cannot been resolved this way, the bombing would resolve it even
23 less. I kept repeating that to the British and American and all other
24 ambassadors and military attaches. However, that's where we stood.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: There are two other points in this document where
1 there is a reflection of your indication that Sainovic was exercising
2 certain power there. Paragraph 8, if you have it, there's a reference to
3 you saying that Sainovic had overridden General Staff wishes. Now, what
4 had he done to override the wishes of the General Staff?
5 A. No, but, Mr. President, if I understand this text correctly, that
6 is Donnelly's interpretation. He asked me, so I really can't say what he
7 based this assertion on. In light of what he said about Sainovic, he
8 probably is referring to what he said in the previous paragraph and so on
9 as to what he thought. So it is an interpretation on the part of
10 Mr. Crosland. That's the way I see it.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Dimitrijevic, it's very difficult to think of
12 any reason that Crosland and Donnelly would have for recording this
13 inaccurately, and I understand the point you're making about a mistake.
14 But there are several references here to their understanding of you
15 saying that Sainovic was responsible for policy which had changed the way
16 in which the VJ were being used in Kosovo. And what I'd like you to tell
17 us is what he did to alter the way that the VJ were used or what you
18 believed he had done to achieve that.
19 A. Mr. President, I'm absolutely certain that something along those
20 lines, that Sainovic was the one who changed the military policy. I'm
21 sure that I never said anything of the sort. Sainovic, as I've just
22 explained, was in Kosovo. He had a certain function there. He went,
23 like all the others, to the Pristina Corps command; you asked me about
24 that yesterday. So if Sainovic had been the one to change the policy of
25 the use of the army -- well, that's not something that I said at the
1 time. That's not something that I would be able to say now. I know that
2 at some collegium meetings, in some discussions, I would intervene and
3 say that no civilians - and I think that I specifically mentioned
4 Sainovic's name - could not use the army, could not decide on its use
5 because the chain of command is well-known and it can only be done in
6 accordance with the chain of command. So Sainovic was mentioned in those
7 discussions but as somebody who was there on behalf of the government
8 representing the politicians [as interpreted] of the country there at
9 Kosovo and Metohija.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: In November, there is another document of a
11 similar nature if you look, please, at P684, and if you look at paragraph
12 5 of that document.
13 Mr. Petrovic. Yes.
14 A. Just a moment, please.
15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you allow me, at
16 page 11, line 5 of the transcript, the witness said on behalf of the
17 government where he represented the politics of the country, whereas in
18 the transcript it says "politicians."
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
20 Now, you'll see in paragraph 5 that there was a reference to you
21 admitting that the VJ had overstepped the mark during the summer
22 offensive. Can you tell us in what way you understood the VJ to have
23 overstepped the mark?
24 A. If that's the way I phrased it, that it overstepped the mark,
25 first of all, Mr. President, I don't agree with what it says here, that
1 he admitted -- did admit. What does it mean? He was not some kind of a
2 judge that I would be admitting something to. This was probably through
3 the conversation. I'm just noting that in order to give you an idea of
4 how this was interpreted, so I can't really accept that. But I probably
5 did say when he remarked that the army was being used, that there may
6 have been instances of such use and that I deeply disagree with it, and
7 that's nothing new. Because if you allow me, it goes on to say -- there
8 is a comment; it is quite clear that DA saw the army use the heavy
9 artillery and the mortars and so on. So now I'm asking myself, who is DA
10 if I'm General D in the very same passage? I don't think that I can be
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm not suggesting you are. I'm just asking you
13 about the comment that the VJ had overstepped the mark.
14 A. Well, I --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: You see, Mr. Dimitrijevic, it's consistent -- this
16 might be seen to be consistent with things you were saying at the
17 collegium, is it not? I mean, we've been through the collegium minutes,
18 and is this not --
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: -- a repetition of what was being said there?
21 A. Well, I don't see this as a repetition. I still stand behind
22 this, what I said at the collegium, not in this sense, not to this
23 extent, this is something that I discussed with the military diplomatic
24 representatives with one goal so that they could relay the information,
25 the proper information, to their governments about the situation in the
1 country so that a political solution could be found. Our basic
2 goal - this is what I always insisted on; this is what the General Staff
3 always insisted on - was that a political solution should be found.
4 And if you allow me, the last sentence in this paragraph,
5 paragraph 5, says: "Possibly an attempt to distance the VJ General Staff
6 from the 3rd Army actions under General Pavkovic."
7 So we're talking about October or whatever the time-period. This
8 is the time when Pavkovic was not the commander of the 3rd Army. So I
9 notice quite a few errors here, interpretations that he made, and this
10 doesn't mean that what he saw, what he wrote here, is an accurate
11 depiction of how it really was.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Have you heard of an organization called the MUP
13 Staff for Kosovo?
14 A. Mr. President, I think that it may have been mentioned at the
15 meetings with President Milosevic or at some other meetings to the effect
16 that the MUP had established its staff for Kosovo or in Kosovo in order
17 to exercise control over all the MUP units in Kosovo and Metohija. So I
18 do remember this term being used, the title, the MUP Staff.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: And did you know --
20 A. But I don't know much more about that, please.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you know who was at the head of the MUP Staff?
22 A. Well, to be quite honest, I don't know that. But according to
23 the chain of command, that would -- should have been General Djordjevic
24 because he was the highest-ranking officer there, but I am not claiming
25 that this was indeed the case.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: When you were removed from office on the 23rd of
2 March, were you told why you were being removed?
3 A. Yes. President Milosevic told me why he relieved me of my
4 office. He said that I had spent a long time in that position, that this
5 was very exhausting work, and that I should get some rest. There was an
6 offer for me to get diplomatic posting, but I refused it. I demanded
7 that I retire because I had all the conditions for it, all the
8 requirements for it, and that's why I retired. So he told me verbatim,
9 Well, you've spent a long time in this position; it's a difficult job; it
10 would be a good thing for you to get some rest. And I said,
11 Mr. President, bombs are about to start falling, and you're offering me
12 to get some rest? Of course, he did not budge, and I refused all the
13 other offers and demanded that I retire; so he accepted and said that I
14 would get a paper confirming that within the next ten days or so, and
15 that's what happened.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Did you consider that his interest in your welfare
17 was the true reason for your -- the termination of your position?
18 A. Mr. President, I think that I had gotten to know President
19 Milosevic quite well, and of course this was just fairytale. The real
20 truth was something else. I personally think that he was under a great
21 deal of pressure - I know that because of the position where I was - to
22 remove me from that post. That pressure came from the MUP, primarily the
23 State Security Service, from General Pavkovic, and probably all that
24 culminated in this decision on his part that one day before the
25 air-strikes began I should be removed from that post and put in
1 retirement. So this story that he served me was a story that I couldn't
2 really credit at all.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: And why did these others want rid of you?
4 A. Well, probably because there were constant complaints about the
5 use of units, the use of the MUP as a whole, the wire-tapping on the part
6 of the State Security Service that I was talking about yesterday. So I
7 think that because I was the way I was, because I always talked straight
8 and didn't mince words, I always told everyone the truth, and I always
9 told the truth to the president, that I was some kind of a problem for
10 those people, and those people wanted to put somebody else on that
11 position, somebody who might be, so to speak, more cooperative.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: And is my understanding correct that on the 4th of
13 February efforts were already underway to remove you?
14 A. Mr. President, I think I would be a very bad -- I would be doing
15 a bad job as the chief of the security administration if I had just read
16 in the papers about my removal from office. That was not the case. This
17 initiative to remove me from office started way back in December.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: In February, General Ojdanic said it was only a
19 proposal and it was up to the president; it was his constitutional right.
20 Who do you understand made the proposal?
21 A. As far as I know, no proposals were made on the part of the
22 General Staff; but probably such proposals did reach President Milosevic
23 through informal channels, and it is quite obvious that this particular
24 channel was quite successful in terms of influencing personnel decisions
25 because formally speaking, for somebody to be promoted to the rank of the
1 general or to be removed from an office, transferred somewhere else, or
2 to retire, the proposal should have come from the General Staff, the
3 Chief of the General Staff, with the approval of the defence minister;
4 and then the supreme council would consider this request and decide on
5 it. In this case, this procedure was not followed at all; none of these
6 elements were in place.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank --
8 A. Well, with the exception of the decision on my retirement, which
9 I did receive in due course.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
11 We will confer as a Trial Chamber just briefly, Mr. Dimitrijevic.
12 Just give us a moment while we do that, please.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE BONOMY: The course of action we followed in relation to
15 the evidence of Mr. Djakovic was that the Prosecution cross-examined
16 first. We will follow that course today, and at the first break we'll
17 resume -- we'll review the situation so far as time is concerned.
18 Mr. Hannis.
19 You'll now be cross-examined, Mr. Dimitrijevic, by the
20 Prosecutor, Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
23 Q. Good afternoon, General. I want to, I guess, try to go
24 chronologically for a while, if I may, and I'm going to start with some
25 of the VJ collegium sessions, and I will try not to duplicate questions
1 that you've already been asked by Judge Bonomy.
2 The first one I want to ask you about is Exhibit P921. That's
3 for a meeting on the 19th of June, 1998, and I would like you to go to
4 page 9 in your B/C/S.
5 MR. HANNIS: It's page 10 of the English, Your Honours.
6 Q. Do you find that, General, at the very bottom of the page. This
7 is you speaking, and you say: "There is a growing conviction that the
8 MUP does not have the force to combat terrorism. People still cross the
9 border illegally and bring in weapons from Albania. Our units react each
10 day, but it would be naive of us to think that nobody manages to cross
12 Do you recall saying that? Wasn't that true? As early as June
13 1998 there was already a concern about MUP's ability to deal with that
14 problem in Kosovo?
15 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. At that time, there was concern about the
16 ability of the MUP to carry out those tasks. Why? First of all, the MUP
17 had this problem --
18 Q. No, I'm sorry. Let me interrupt you. I have limited time --
19 A. To put together a sufficient force and to dispose -- to dispose
20 it to position. So at any rate, there was concern.
21 Q. Okay. The next thing you said was: "The MUP inter-sector staff
22 has been changed. They are now relocating to Pristina, and MUP General
23 Lukic has been appointed Chief of Staff."
24 Does that refresh your memory about what his position was at that
1 A. No. No, sir. I don't recall those details, but if that's what
2 it says here, I accept that I did say that and that I had the arguments
3 to back it up.
4 Q. Okay. I want to go next to a meeting in July. It's Exhibit
5 3D641. This is from the 10th of July.
6 MR. HANNIS: In the English, Your Honours, we only have two
7 pages. This was a partial translation, I guess.
8 Q. And, General, I need you to look at page 9 and 10 of your copy,
9 the last two paragraphs on page 9. The speaker, I believe, is General
10 Borovic. Did you find the paragraph that starts with a sentence that
11 says: "As concerns certain views according to which we should extend the
12 scope of the army's engagement ..."?
13 You find that? I think it's the second paragraph up from the
14 bottom of page 9.
15 A. Sir, excuse me, what is the question? This is what General
16 Ojdanic is saying.
17 Q. Well, I think --
18 A. -- so --
19 Q. -- it's General Borovic, is it not?
20 A. At page 9, that's General Dragoljub Ojdanic. So first you have
21 Spasoje Smiljanic at the top of the page followed by General Dragoljub
23 Q. Thank you. I have a typo in my notes. And he is saying: "As
24 far as an anti-terrorist operation is concerned, I'm not aware of such
25 operation, but I would like to stress that since General Dimitrijevic,
1 and we all know that military and diplomatic representatives are now
2 permanently stationed in the area, they will carefully record all
4 MR. SEPENUK: Excuse me, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Sepenuk.
6 MR. SEPENUK: Yeah, I think there's a mistake, Mr. Hannis, on the
7 page that you're referring to. I think you -- I believe you said page
8 9 --
9 MR. HANNIS: Of the B/C/S.
10 MR. SEPENUK: Page 9 of the B/C/S. It's on page 2 of the
12 MR. HANNIS: Yes, but this is only a partial English translation.
13 MR. SEPENUK: Right, but for the Court to follow I would think
14 that -- I don't know if the Court can follow this on page 2. Is it --
15 okay, I just want to make sure.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm assuming we have on the screen what is going
17 to be asked but maybe not.
18 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, what should we be looking at?
20 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honours. You have on the screen the
21 correct English. That second paragraph is where I was beginning: "As
22 concerns certain views ..."
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that's what we have on the screen.
24 MR. SEPENUK: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
1 Q. And General Dimitrijevic, can you look at -- on the page 10 for
2 you. You're speaking and you say: "When it comes to the protection of
3 the population in over 200 villages, that part is going on in an
4 organized fashion. As far as the anti-terrorist activities are
5 concerned, they are being carried out, too, taking all these things into
6 consideration. They have been planned so that the MUP forces never
7 appear as initiators but always responding to attacks."
8 That's how it was being done in July 1998, right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Okay. Thank you.
11 A. So if we're talking about the protection of the population, I
12 spoke about that yesterday --
13 Q. I'm sorry, General --
14 A. -- that measures were taken to --
15 Q. I'm sorry. You answered my question, and I understood you say
16 yes, that's how it was being done, that the MUP forces were never -- it
17 was planned so the MUP forces never appeared as initiators but always
18 responding to the attacks, right? Can you say yes or no?
19 A. Well, probably yes because yesterday I spoke about reacting on
20 several occasions because in all of the reports it always said that a
21 unit had come under an attack, and then there had been a response to that
23 Q. Correct. Let me take you to another exhibit. This is P922 for
24 the 20th of July, another VJ collegium meeting.
25 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, it's page 3 of the English.
1 Q. For you, General, on page 2. And first of all, it's about four
2 lines down. General Perisic is noting that the MUP went to Orahovac the
3 day before, and as you read a few sentences down he says: "And somebody
4 from the army used a combat group ..."
5 Do you see that, first of all? Are you on the same page?
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. Do you recall that discussion at this meeting on July the 20th?
8 A. No. At this point I can't recall -- well, it was ten years ago,
9 but --
10 Q. Okay.
11 A. It is quite possible that General Perisic did speak in this
13 Q. Okay. If you'll go to the next paragraph at the bottom of the
14 paragraph or the bottom half. General Perisic is saying: "I issued an
15 order - I ban the use of the army except in the defence in the border
16 area where it is to act in full compliance with combat ... to protect
17 military facilities and defend army personnel. In any other situation,
18 the decision to use it must be made here ..."
19 And on to the next sentence: "Just refer to that order, why was
20 the army used despite my order, specifically ... find out about the
21 circumstances under which that happened, who violated the order and the
22 proposal ..."
23 Do you recall if that was done, if it was determined who violated
24 General Perisic's order in connection with what happened in Orahovac in
25 July 1998?
1 A. Sir, as to what happened in Orahovac in July 1998, I really can't
2 comment on that because I don't recall that at all. As regards the
3 second passage in what Perisic is saying on this page, that was how it
4 was; he did issue orders after all the reports that came in that were
5 problematic in terms of the way in which the army was used. He did issue
6 an order that the army could not be used without an order from the
7 General Staff except to protect the state border belt and to protect the
8 facilities in accordance with the rules of combat. But if I am not
9 wrong, yesterday I answered to a question by the Presiding Judge that as
10 a consequence of the failure to comply with this order, the army
11 commander - already General Samardzic, the commander of the 3rd
12 Army - had a disciplinary investigation instituted against General
13 Pavkovic because of the failure to comply with this order. It was in
14 July, and I think that I said yesterday how this investigation ended.
15 Q. Thank you, General. You did mention that there was some sort of
16 disciplinary proceedings instituted against General Pavkovic. I can't
17 recall precisely what you said yesterday, but I had wanted to follow up
18 and ask you what the outcome of those proceedings were, and do you know
19 what happened?
20 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I mentioned that yesterday as well. Only a few
21 days later, there was a meeting with President Milosevic whereupon he
22 told us that General Pavkovic was being promoted to the rank of
23 lieutenant-general. That was the response to the commander of the 3rd
24 Army and the Chief of the General Staff following their initiative to
25 launch an inquiry, a disciplinary inquiry.
1 Q. Okay. Yeah, let me remind you --
2 A. I think I mentioned that yesterday.
3 Q. Yeah, let me remind you of what you're recorded as saying about
4 that yesterday. It came at what was then page 48. I don't have the
5 updated number. This was when you were answering Judge Bonomy's
6 questions about a VJ collegium in December and the discussion about the
7 commander, General Pavkovic, having been in Belgrade for two weeks, et
8 cetera. In that answer you mentioned that: "General Samardzic at some
9 point" -- you said "towards the end of June started disciplinary
10 proceedings to punish Pavkovic because he didn't adhere to orders."
11 Now, this VJ collegium you were just looking at is from the 10th
12 of July. So does that refresh your memory about when the proceedings
13 might have been instituted? Did they happen in June, in which case they
14 must have been for something else other than Orahovac, or did they happen
15 after the 10th of July? Do you know?
16 A. I can tell you with a degree of certainty, although I cannot be
17 precise as to the exact date but that it happened in late July, not June,
18 but July. And it was some four to five days later; it may have been on
19 the 28th or the 29th of July, and right after that, a few days later - I
20 believe it was the 4th of August - it was when we were invited to see
21 President Milosevic when, among other things, we were told that General
22 Pavkovic as of that day, in his words, is being promoted to the rank of
23 lieutenant-general. What was mentioned yesterday concerning the December
24 collegium -- well, yes, but that has nothing to do with it. This order,
25 indeed, was issued in July, and on that basis some ten days later,
1 whether on the 28th or the 29th or the 30th, General Samardzic following
2 the order initiated proceedings against General Pavkovic.
3 Q. Okay. I'll see if I can help you out with the dates a little bit
4 because I know this was almost ten years ago. And we have some
5 documents -- I have a document reflecting that General Pavkovic was
6 promoted on the 21st of July, 1998, and 21st of July, 1998, was the same
7 day that you had one of those meetings. General Pavkovic talks about it
8 in his interview with the OTP, and we have other documents reflecting a
9 meeting with President Milosevic on the 21st of July with the
10 highest-level people from the VJ and the MUP, and that's where the plan
11 for combatting terrorism apparently was first presented by General
12 Pavkovic in the presence of Mr. Milosevic.
13 You remember that meeting?
14 A. No. At that meeting when he presented the plan, it wasn't there
15 that he was promoted; he was promoted after that. For some reason, the
16 4th of August is the date that I have in my mind as the date when we
17 attended the meeting with Milosevic, when we learned that Pavkovic was
18 being promoted. Of course, the formal requirements needed to be met
19 subsequently, and there was some time needed to draft a proposal, and I
20 believe the formal appointment came later in late August or in September.
21 But on that day, on that meeting, President Milosevic told us that
22 Pavkovic was promoted that day. I truly cannot recall anything being any
23 different than that.
24 Q. Well, General, I will tell you we have a document that is a
25 report from, I think, Tanjug. You're familiar with that publication in
2 A. Certainly.
3 Q. And dated the 21st of July, it says: "'Yugoslav President
4 Slobodan Milosevic has passed a decree on the promotion of Major-General
5 Nebojsa Pavkovic, Pristina Corps commander, to the rank of
6 lieutenant-general,' the military cabinet of the Yugoslav president said
7 on Tuesday, the 21st of July."
8 A. Lieutenant-general.
9 Q. That's what I said. Maybe there was a translation -- but it's on
10 the 21st of July, 1998, in Tanjug. If it's published then, would you be
11 willing to concede you might be mistaken about which day and which
12 meeting you learned about this?
13 A. Absolutely, Mr. Prosecutor. I told you I have no notes or
14 anything that could confirm what I've been telling you. I speak from
15 memory as best as I can recall and as the things happened. Of course, it
16 may have happened ten days before the date I indicated.
17 Q. Thank you. I --
18 A. In any case, he was promoted.
19 Q. Thank you, General. I understand. I know it was a long time
20 ago, and you didn't know precisely what you were going to be asked about
21 when you came in.
22 Did you keep any diary or any journals during that time, back in
23 1998 and 1999?
24 A. As all officers, including the generals, I had my workbook.
25 Until the very last day of my professional career I was using it, noting
1 down important things, events, or anything I may have reported or been
2 given a task. All those notebooks were handed over on the 23rd when
3 General Farkas came. As far as I know, they were torn or shredded. In
4 any case, I do not have a single piece of paper relating to that period.
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. The notes were the property of the army.
7 Q. And --
8 A. Everything I was doing was in professional terms. That wasn't
9 for private use.
10 Q. And they were not preserved in the archives, but they were
11 shredded, you say?
12 A. As far as I can tell, yes.
13 Q. And some --
14 A. -- they were not preserved.
15 Q. And some VJ witnesses we have had occasionally kept their private
16 notebooks as well. You didn't have anything like that?
17 A. No, never, Mr. Prosecutor.
18 Q. Thank you. Just --
19 A. What would I do with it?
20 Q. Just to get back to the disciplinary proceedings. You say those
21 were instituted by Samardzic, but when you learned from Mr. Milosevic
22 that Pavkovic had been promoted to lieutenant-general, you understood
23 that those proceedings weren't going any further; is that correct? Or is
24 that just an assumption you made?
25 A. No. Time showed that nothing was done subsequently to, indeed,
1 have those proceedings.
2 Q. Okay. Do you know who stopped them or how that was done?
3 A. No. As far as I know, nothing was done and the procedure was
4 never completed.
5 Q. Now, about that same time, actually, two days later, on the 23rd
6 of July, we have an exhibit, P717. I trust you have a hard copy there.
7 This is a letter written by General Perisic to Mr. Milosevic concerning
8 what General Perisic saw as problems with the use and misuse of the army.
9 Have you ever seen that document before? I think the cover page is just
10 from a book in which this letter was published.
11 A. Yes, yes, Mr. Prosecutor. I think Perisic showed it to me, but
12 not before sending it but after having sent the letter to President
14 Q. Okay. And you'll see that one of the things he complains about
15 in item 1 is the -- what he calls the tendency to use the VJ outside the
16 institutions of the system, and he's suggesting that a state of emergency
17 should be declared. And that was a position that you agreed with at the
18 time, wasn't it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And because you thought for the army to be engaged in fighting
21 the terrorism -- the terrorists, it really needed to be under such
22 circumstances, right, so the army could be fully engaged in Kosovo, not
23 just in the border area and not just regarding VJ property and personnel,
25 A. Yes, basically that is so.
1 Q. Look at --
2 A. If I may, I'd like to offer a comment.
3 Q. Please, if you can be brief.
4 A. This tallies with what I talked about yesterday. The opinion in
5 the General Staff was something that had to do with what I said
6 yesterday, the surveillance of the Pristina Corps command and the
7 following conversation including President Milosevic. It is then when I
8 said that, I guess you're checking on us because you don't trust us.
9 This is another proof in that regard. Obviously, the army was not being
10 trusted. Obviously, a standing option was to use it little by little and
11 that the state did not want to support such use officially. Because of
12 the escalation of terrorism, they didn't want to declare a state of war.
13 Since they were unable to come up with a political solution, they should
14 have at least come up with a solution on a constitutional use of the
16 Q. Thank you, General. If you could look at -- I don't know, it may
17 be page 2 or page 3 for you. It's item number 3, 3(b). This is
18 regarding attempt to command the VJ by unauthorised persons. And do you
19 see where it says: "The attempt by the civilian part of the staff to
20 command the corps ..."
21 Do you find that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What staff is that referring to of which there is a civilian
25 A. I cannot tell you what he had in mind specifically --
1 Q. Could you read on --
2 A. -- I do presume, though, that it had to do with persons who were
3 civilians ...
4 Q. General, if I may, if you read on, it said: "The corps
5 commander," in this case Pavkovic, "is responsible for assessing the
6 situation and for planning VJ and MUP operations in cooperation with the
7 civilian part of the staff and the MUP for forwarding it to Sainovic and
8 Minic for them to distribute assignments to all except the Pristina
9 Corps ..."
10 So I read that to mean that Sainovic and Minic are engaged in
11 this process, and I'm trying to figure out what staff that has a civilian
12 part is involved in this process. Can you help us?
13 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I couldn't tell you what staff it was. I don't
14 know what this refers to. As for the other thing, I read it the
15 following way, that Pavkovic as the corps commander was the one that was
16 to assess the situation and make decisions on what needed to be done.
17 Given that Pavkovic could not issue tasks and orders to the MUP, this
18 would mean that some of the civilians, if indeed the situation was like
19 that, was supposed to tell the MUP what they were to do. I'm not
20 familiar with the methodology they used, but that is my understanding of
22 Q. And General, doesn't that say that the civilian part of the
23 staff --
24 A. Because then Perisic goes on -- yes.
25 Q. Doesn't that suggest that Sainovic and Minic are going to
1 distribute assignments to the MUP and to anybody else who's not the
2 Pristina Corps, right?
3 A. That's what's in the document.
4 Q. And then you see General Perisic goes on and says: "In practice,
5 the commander of the Pristina Corps," Pavkovic, "plans what he has been
6 ordered to, and this is at the request of Sainovic and Minic and the MUP,
7 and so it turns into something like a service of theirs for planning and
9 That sounds like Pavkovic is working for Minic and Sainovic and
10 the MUP in making these plans; wouldn't you agree?
11 A. Not fully, Mr. Prosecutor. To me this seems a bit confused. In
12 the previous sentence, he says in cooperation with the civilian part and
13 the MUP to plan and so on and so forth and that Sainovic is to relay that
14 to the MUP. And then he says that he was doing and planning what he had
15 been ordered to upon Sainovic's request and the MUP. On the one hand, we
16 have the MUP and the requests, and on the other hand we have assessments
17 and tasks. To me, the whole text is confusing.
18 Q. Okay. General, we'll see that the proposal in connection with
19 this problem is: Do not permit the VJ to be commanded outside the system
20 of military subordination and unity of command, right? So that suggests
21 that General Perisic thought there was a problem with the chain of
22 command and subordination, right?
23 A. I don't think that is in dispute at all, Mr. Prosecutor. I think
24 I spoke about that yesterday.
25 Q. Thank you. Number 4 talks about bypassing levels of command.
1 General Perisic notes that under the rules of service Milosevic, as
2 supreme commander, can have official conversations with anybody he wants.
3 But he says: "Sometimes you do this without the knowledge of the Chief
4 of Staff," meaning himself, Perisic.
5 Were you aware that that was happening sometimes; and if so, were
6 you aware it happened particularly with General Pavkovic?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Thank you. Number 5 talks about conducting personnel policies
9 without legal basis, and you'll see it says: "Generals and colonels are
10 frequently promoted, within and without the Supreme Defence Council,
11 without a law or a decree or criteria ..."
12 And at the end of that number 5 he proposes: "No promotion of
13 colonels to generals and of generals to higher rank if this is not in
14 keeping with the law and the proposal by the Chief of Staff."
15 Now, my question is: Two days earlier, on the 21st of July,
16 General Pavkovic was promoted to lieutenant-general, and he told us - we
17 have in an exhibit here, in an interview - he said that was one of two
18 early promotions he got in his career. Based on what you told us before,
19 I take it General Perisic in July 1998 had not made a proposal for
20 General Pavkovic to be promoted, right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Thank you. Let me move on. I want to go now back to a couple of
23 collegium sessions, and the next one is 3D644. This is from the 16th of
24 October, 1998. And, General, I need you to look at your page number 11,
25 and in English we're on page 7. It's about five lines down from the top
1 of your page, General, and I think this is you speaking. And, you know,
2 this is about the time of the Holbrooke-Milosevic Agreement and just
3 before the other agreements were signed later in the month. The last
4 thing you say in that section is: "General, sir, we believe that through
5 the implementation of these activities we do not know what the government
6 will do about the withdrawal of the MUP forces."
7 General Perisic informs you that: "One of the orders has already
8 been" signed.
9 And you said: "I am not sure that they, in their wisdom, will
10 not try and cheat and just move units to other locations ..."
11 Now, why did you say that about the MUP? Did you have some
12 reason to think that they weren't going to comply with the agreements?
13 A. Mr. Prosecutor, by that time I had had certain experience with
14 all that, and for some reason at that moment I doubted, I had my reasons
15 to suspect that that could happen, especially since it would not have
16 been the first time trying to manipulate the task.
17 Q. Do you know if in fact they did, in your words, cheat?
18 A. No, I truly couldn't say. I don't know. I know that that
19 evening when there were talks with General Clark and his team, the
20 agreement was for three army units to remain in the area and that the MUP
21 should be downsized to 25 or 28 check-points and that all MUP units in
22 the area of Kosovo which had come from Serbia were to return to their
23 initial locations. As to whether it was done that way at the time, I
24 truly can't say for the very simple reason because I focused, following
25 the Chief of General Staff's task, to work on the work of engagement of
1 security organs and institutions to assist the people of the diplomatic
2 verification mission because a true verification mission and people from
3 it came only about 20 days later, but I was still working on it at the
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. All the units had to go back to their initial areas, including
7 MUP units, and that was the focus of my work.
8 Q. Thank you. You said in your earlier answer: "I had my reasons
9 to suspect that that could happen, especially since it would not have
10 been the first time trying to manipulate the task."
11 Can you tell us about an earlier example of manipulating the task
12 by the MUP?
13 A. Well, Mr. Prosecutor, I can't tell you anything specifically,
14 but --
15 Q. Okay. That's fine if you don't recall a specific incident --
16 A. -- but I knew that some such things had happened.
17 Q. Let me --
18 A. -- otherwise I truly can't tell you.
19 Q. Let me do one more before the break. Exhibit 3D646. This is
20 another VJ collegium. This one's from 26 October 1998. Sir, if you
21 could look at page number 12, and it's page 9 of the English. General,
22 it's the -- I think the second paragraph down from the top of page 12.
23 Again, this is you speaking, and this is the day after, I think, the
24 October agreements with Clark and Naumann had been signed. You say in
25 that second paragraph: "There's another thing that I would like to add
1 to all this, and that is that special attention should now be paid to the
2 chain of command and that units should not be used down there unless
3 they're threatened ..."
4 I take it this is a reference to using VJ units in Kosovo, right?
5 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I apologise. I wasn't able to follow because on
6 my page 12 there is a part of General Smiljanic's intervention, and then
7 we have Lieutenant-General Obradovic. I am not to be seen on that or the
8 next page; therefore, I wasn't able to follow what you've just read out.
9 Q. Would you look at the bottom of page 11, and I think the last
10 words on that line are your name, and then at the top of the page there
11 are two paragraphs --
12 A. Yes, I can see it now.
13 Q. And that second paragraph, do I need to read it again? You said:
14 "... special attention should now be paid to the chain of command, and
15 units should not be used down there unless they are threatened ..."
16 A. I can read it for myself.
17 Q. You're talking about Kosovo, right?
18 A. Yes, that is clear, yes.
19 Q. This is clear because the agreements have been signed, and the
20 internationals are going to be watching closely, and you knew prior to
21 October 1998 there had been instances where units were being used in
22 Kosovo without your knowledge at the General Staff ahead of time, right?
23 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, that is what had been discussed at various
24 collegium meetings, and the threat of bombing here was truly very big,
25 and I think that we missed it just by a single hair, so to speak, I mean,
1 the fact that we weren't bombed that time.
2 Q. I think you're right. Thank you.
3 MR. HANNIS: Could we take our break now, Your Honour?
4 JUDGE BONOMY: We can, Mr. Hannis, but we need to make decisions
5 about timing. We would expect you to be, if possible, less than half an
6 hour. I know that you would wish to be longer, but we're here with
7 limited resources and --
8 MR. HANNIS: I understand, Your Honour. I'm trying to focus on
9 material I think will be helpful to you --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Indeed.
11 MR. HANNIS: -- and that is relevant, and I'm moving as quickly
12 as I can. I'll try to comply with your order.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you'll have to comply with it. But in a
14 perfect world, what would you be seeking?
15 MR. HANNIS: [Microphone not activated]
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I would be seeking at least another
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Okay.
20 If we give you half an hour, then if we are able to sit a little
21 later tonight, that would allow us to give two hours to the Defence if
22 they are able to agree on how to divide it up.
23 So with that information in hand, you should address how best you
24 can deal with the situation, and if anything in particular has to be
25 asked of us, THEN you can ask us when we come back.
1 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: AND we'll resume at 4.15.
3 Mr. Dimitrijevic, we have to have a break at this stage for half
4 an hour. We'll resume at 4.15.
5 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 4.18 p.m.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Any further thoughts, Mr. Hannis, on timing now
8 that you've had a chance to think about it?
9 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I'll try to do it in 30 minutes.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there somebody who can tell me whether the
11 Defence have been able to agree a disposition of time, or did you try?
12 Did you fail? So will you be able to work out how you would distribute
13 two hours or a little more? I can do two things here. One is to set
14 limits and just get it done, and the other is to ask Mr. Dimitrijevic,
15 who wasn't really told that a third day was a possibility, whether he can
16 accommodate us for, say, an hour or so tomorrow.
17 Now, I was hoping to avoid that, but if that turns out to be
18 necessary, then we will raise it with him in due course, and we will sit
19 for as long as we can today, but that's not going to be significantly
20 beyond 7.00. It might go to half past 7.00. So let's see where we get
21 to, Mr. Hannis. Do your best. If there's something really significant
22 that takes you beyond that time, then tell us about it.
23 MR. HANNIS: I will. Thank you.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Dimitrijevic, we're doing our best to try to
25 finish your evidence in the course of today; as we undertook, we try to
1 do. So if you can, direct your answers as briefly as possible to the
2 particular issues raised. That will help us try and complete the
3 business today.
4 Mr. Hannis.
5 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
6 Q. General, next I'd like to look at Exhibit P925. It's a VJ
7 collegium on 27 November. It's page 10 of the English and page 8 in your
8 hard copy, General. You are speaking, and you tell General Ojdanic that
9 there's one incident that you need to speak about, and you say: "When on
10 the night the decision was taken to appoint a new Chief of the General
11 Staff, all barracks, all units, all facilities were placed under full
12 armed control by the MUP and a number of senior officials of the army
13 under the control of state security."
14 Were you one of those senior officers that were placed under
15 control of state security?
16 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. I remember that night very well and that
17 morning too.
18 Q. And --
19 A. On the evening of the 26th, the previous day, that is, President
20 Milosevic told General Milosevic around 2200 hours that he was being
21 dismissed or replaced. After that I received information from the state
22 security and the MUP --
23 Q. Let me interrupt you. You were translated as saying General
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter misspoke. General Perisic. I
1 am sorry.
2 MR. HANNIS:
3 Q. Sorry, General, please continue.
4 A. Of course we are talking about President Milosevic. President
5 Milosevic called him and told him that he would no longer be the Chief of
6 General Staff. I -- Perisic's idea was to convene his collegium. It
7 could have been around midnight
8 be done, that we would wait until the morning and that we would discuss
9 things peacefully then.
10 A few days after that, I remember that Mr. Markovic, who was then
11 head of state security, said to me, It's a good thing that you talked
12 Perisic into not having the meeting held at midnight because we would
13 have arrested all of you en route to the General Staff. I had
14 confirmation of that information later on, too, when I talked to other
15 people from the service.
16 Q. And who would have had the authority to order the MUP to place
17 the army under that kind of control by the police?
18 A. I don't think it's really hard to answer that question,
19 Mr. Prosecutor, the president, through the minister of interior, perhaps
20 directly, as well; I don't know about that. But at any rate, measures
21 had been prepared, and had we gone to this meeting en route we would have
22 been ambushed.
23 Q. Let me be clear. When you say the president, you mean President
24 Milosevic of the Federal Republic
25 the Republic of Serbia
1 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor.
2 Q. Okay. If you could go to page 13 in your version. Now, this was
3 General Ojdanic's first day in the new job, and he says in the second
4 paragraph: "In connection with the first report by General Dimitrijevic,
5 I would not like to make any comments about this at all. This is another
6 proof of many things."
7 There he's referring to what you just said about the army being
8 placed under the control of the MUP when the change was made from Perisic
9 to Ojdanic, correct?
10 A. Mr. Prosecutor, it doesn't have to do with the control over the
11 military over a certain duration of time. We're talking about that
12 night, between the 26th and the 27th of November, 1998. Since President
13 Milosevic had assessed, once he tells General Perisic that he had been
14 replaced, he believed that he could react in an inadequate manner. In
15 the morning, I came to the General Staff, and I first went to see General
16 Ojdanic, congratulated him on his appointment as Chief of General Staff;
17 after that, the collegium meeting was held and the entire hand-over took
18 place peaceably and as required by the rules and regulations. Obviously,
19 someone was afraid of a reaction that did not actually happen.
20 Q. Let me take you to a different meeting now. This is the 10th of
21 December, 1998. It's Exhibit 3D484, and I'm looking at pages 13 through
22 15 of the English. Yours starts on page 12. Yesterday, Judge Bonomy
23 discussed this partly with you in the part on page 13 where you were
24 talking about the discrepancy between the Pristina Corps and the army,
25 the alienation of the corps commander. Do you remember that?
1 A. You mean yesterday's testimony?
2 Q. Yes. Do you remember talking with Judge Bonomy about that?
3 A. Yes, I do remember.
4 Q. And as I recall, your answer was -- you related that to partly
5 these unusual incidents, but I would ask you to go back to page 12 and
6 right above where your name appears and you start speaking, if you would
7 read the last paragraph, which is a paragraph by General Obradovic. And
8 he said: "I'd like to ask you when discussing the overall problem, both
9 in the 3rd Army command and in the corps command there appears some sort
10 of dualism decision-making, some kind of discussion. I would like to ask
11 you that we take clear positions or that we are to know who does what and
12 who's responsible for what and have it defined."
13 You'll see above that he's talking about dealings with the OSCE
14 and how it appears that sometimes the 3rd Army tells them one thing and
15 the Pristina Corps tells them something different. Does that refresh
16 your memory about what the problem was at this time, in December 1998?
17 A. Well, regrettably, I have to say yet again that I don't remember,
18 but now I'm reading this, and this is what my understanding of it is:
19 General Obradovic was speaking about some provocation, or rather, that we
20 as the army had been ambushed in a way because the state was not doing
21 what it was supposed to do. What I'm saying here is that I received this
22 information through different channels and that two teams from the
23 British mission talked with the leadership and the terrorists of the KLA,
24 and they said to them that they had reliable information that the MUP of
1 this to the army. So we had this information, so yet again we were being
2 ambushed. Whatever happened, they could create this provocation which
3 would a priori be ascribed to the army. That is my reaction to that part
4 if that is what you meant.
5 Q. That wasn't actually what I meant --
6 A. And thirdly, thirdly -- yes.
7 Q. Up above where you speak, General Obradovic is talking about the
8 3rd Army commander and the Pristina Corps commander saying different
9 things when dealing with the Federal Commission and the OSCE. Did you
10 see that? Two paragraphs above where your name is.
11 A. No, no.
12 Q. Well, General, let me move on because I have limited time.
13 Despite whatever the particular problem was, would you look at
14 page 14 in the B/C/S, and we're on page 15 of the English. General, near
15 the bottom of page 14 you'll see General Ojdanic speaking, and the second
16 line, it says: "With regard to the conduct of the Pristina Corps, the
17 problem is broader, and allow me and some other people present here to
18 analyse some things and try to resolve it like soldiers and men. It
19 concerns not only the Pristina Corps but also the 3rd Army command. I
20 can't say it before this audience, but yesterday I analysed it
22 Do you know what the problem was with the Pristina Corps and the
23 3rd Army that he's talking about there?
24 A. I think, Mr. Prosecutor, that we have already dealt with part of
25 that yesterday. That is when that group of soldiers who had already
1 completed their term were supposed to go back home and when call-up
2 papers were being issued and when the 3rd Army mobilised more people than
3 had been approved and probably some other things as well. So I don't
4 know what the general said -- well, but yesterday -- I don't know what he
5 is saying here. He said: "Yesterday I viewed this exactly." That is
6 what he says, and he says that he's trying to deal with it in a soldierly
7 and human way. I assume that he talked to the corps commander and
8 President Milosevic; that is my assumption. That's the only way in which
9 he could have meant this.
10 Q. Okay. Let me take you to another collegium session. This is
11 Exhibit P928, a meeting on the 30th of December, 1998. You talked about
12 part of this before, yesterday, with Judge Bonomy. I need you to look at
13 page 14 in your B/C/S, and it's also page 14 in the English. You see
14 your name there, General, and I want to go to the second paragraph from
15 the bottom. And you mention that -- you mention General Marjanovic. And
16 right after that, you say: "I think that it is a priority to ensure that
17 not even Sainovic or any other Sainovic can solve these problems by
18 lightly deciding to use the units."
19 Does that not mean that prior to this date Mr. Sainovic had
20 somehow been engaged in decisions to use the VJ units?
21 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor, no. The context in which I said this was not
22 to allow that to happen; namely, that everything should be done, that no
23 civilians, no one outside the chain of command, no one outside the
24 military can use the units of the army. This was a general position, and
25 I insisted upon it.
1 Q. I know -- let me stop you --
2 A. Since from time to time --
3 Q. Let me stop you. Why did you use Mr. Sainovic's name in that
4 context? That's consistent with what you told Donnelly and Crosland,
5 isn't it, that he was involved in how the VJ units were being used,
7 MR. HANNIS: I see Mr. Fila on his feet.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I never said that --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]...
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we will be wasting a
11 lot of time if people speak inaccurately. Mr. Dimitrijevic never said
12 that he had said that to Donnelly. You asked him twice, and both times
13 he said that he had never said that to Donnelly and this other man,
14 Crosland, whatever his name was. And if you put that kind of question,
15 we will stay here for three days.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: I doubt if we'll be here for three days, Mr. Fila.
17 It's for us to decide whether to believe Mr. Dimitrijevic's version or
18 the Crosland version of the -- of what was said. So Mr. Hannis puts it
19 on one basis, but we're capable, perfectly capable, of assessing both
20 versions when we come to look at all the evidence at the end of the case.
21 Mr. Hannis, please continue.
22 MR. HANNIS: [Microphone not activated]
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
24 MR. HANNIS:
25 Q. You're saying you never said that Sainovic was using the VJ
1 units; is that your claim?
2 A. That Sainovic was using VJ units? That is something I've never
3 said to anyone.
4 Q. Okay. But he was, wasn't he, whether you said it or not. You
5 know he was, right?
6 A. No. Mr. Prosecutor, I said what I said --
7 Q. No, you said -- no, stop, stop --
8 A. -- however, I never said that he had used the military.
9 Q. You saw General Perisic's letter, Exhibit P717, where he
10 complained about how the army was being commanded outside the chain of
11 command and complained, in particular naming Mr. Sainovic and Mr. Minic?
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
13 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Objection. Again, there is an
14 inaccurate representation of the document. Show the witness the
15 document, and you will see that the word used is "attempt." Attempt is
16 the word that's used twice. What was attempted was not done because if
17 something is attempted and then done, then it is done. It is no longer
18 an attempt. That's the way it is in Anglo-Saxon law, in the English
19 language, in our language, any language. So if you want to get something
20 from the witness that is not good, try to do it fairly and honestly.
21 Read what it says.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
23 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I think looking at my question there's
24 nothing inconsistent with the document the way I framed the question.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't have it in front of me, but Mr. Fila's
1 complaint is that all it says is that there's an attempt to command the
2 army outside the chain of command.
3 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, the document --
4 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Here's the letter. It's right on your
5 screen, paragraph 3: "Attempt to command ..." Attempt, I say --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a moment. My problem here is that I need
7 three screens today.
8 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the question should be formulated in
10 accordance with paragraph 3 of that letter, Mr. Hannis.
11 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, in light of my time I'll move on.
12 Q. General --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we'll make allowances for this sort of
14 difficulty arising, and you shouldn't be discouraged -- we're not going
15 to have a record that reflects that somehow or other you were railroaded
16 into a position that you say later is unsatisfactory.
17 MR. HANNIS: No, that's all right, Your Honour. I think given
18 the witness's attitude about this, I'm going to move on to something that
19 may be more constructive.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
21 MR. HANNIS:
22 Q. Exhibit P939, General, is a VJ collegium dated the 21st of
23 January, 1999. Now, I think you told us previously that you didn't know
24 about the Joint Command by that name in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999; is that
25 correct? Is my understanding correct?
1 A. No. What I said was that I heard that different names were being
2 used: Joint Command, coordination staff, and multi-disciplinary staff,
3 and so on and so forth. I don't know what it is here, but please, if I
4 said something could you read that out to me, what it was that I had
5 said, because I really cannot keep in my head every sentence I uttered
6 over five hours.
7 Q. Okay. Well, I just want to make the point that you yourself used
8 the point "Joint Command" in January 1999. It's at page 24 in your
9 B/C/S; it's page 26 of the English. This is a day you all were having a
10 discussion and in part about Racak, and at the bottom of page 26 in the
11 English, it's near the middle of the page. You make a reference to
12 General Marjanovic's dilemma, and then you say: "I don't know what is
13 being presented there and whether what is being presented by the Joint
14 Command is this or something else entirely ..."
15 So you referred to that body down in Kosovo as the Joint Command
16 at least on one occasion, right?
17 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I think that it would only be fair if you read
18 the next sentence to me, as well, where it says, I quote --
19 Q. Could you just answer my question. You used the term to refer to
20 that body down in Kosovo as the Joint Command, right?
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: It is impossible to
22 interpret when there are two speakers speaking at the same time.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, perhaps somebody did -- I did
24 use it, but I meant coordination, MUP and the military, because -- allow
25 me to say this. In this sentence, it says I was personally present when
1 the minister of the interior was received here by the Chief of General
2 Staff and when the man unequivocally said that the backbone of terrorism
3 had been broken, the terrorism had been destroyed, and this was a
4 showdown with the remnants or remains of gangs and terrorists.
5 I think that it is perfectly obvious who and what I meant and
6 that you can draw a conclusion about that. For me, it was the MUP and
7 the military, but probably somebody in their previous statements
8 mentioned something, this Joint Command. So then I mentioned it, too, in
9 that sense, but unequivocally I meant the MUP.
10 Q. And earlier in that same meeting, General Ojdanic used the term
11 to refer to that body down there as the Joint Command, right? Do you
12 remember that? You saw that page yesterday.
13 A. No, I do not remember that he called it that because, indeed,
14 December 1998 was a long time ago. Possibly he used the term, and I
15 relied on that. So what was in my mind was the MUP, the army,
17 Q. Okay. Let me take you to February 4th, Exhibit P932 -- or, I'm
18 sorry, I don't want to do that one. Let me move to February 25th,
19 Exhibit P941, at page 14 and 15. You're talking about Pavkovic having
20 brought in a part of the 72nd Special Brigade into Kosovo without you
21 having received any prior notification about that. Do you remember that?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And the --
24 A. What page?
25 Q. I believe it's page 14 and 15, at the bottom of 14 going on to
1 page 15.
2 A. 14. Yes, I found it. 14.
3 Q. And it's correct that General Pavkovic had during the time that
4 the October agreements were pending brought in this additional element
5 into Kosovo in violation of that agreement and without informing you; is
6 that right?
7 A. Mr. Prosecutor, first of all Pavkovic could not have ordered the
8 anti-terrorist battalion of the 72nd Special Brigade to move towards, not
9 to but towards Kosovo and Metohija because such an order could only be
10 issued by the Chief of the General Staff. And since yesterday we talked
11 about this, and I remember that I reacted then to say why this unit was
12 being sent down there; it was not sent to Kosovo. On the orders of the
13 Chief of the General Staff, it was sent to the rim of Kosovo. That was
14 at the time when terrorism was already escalating. That was why it was
15 sent to the rim of Kosovo in accordance with the orders that we discussed
16 yesterday and today about how units can be used.
17 Q. Yes --
18 A. I complained because I wasn't aware of this unit being moved
19 because I, as the chief of the security administration, was in charge, or
20 rather, I was the mainstay in professional terms of this. The commanders
21 decided on the use of the units, but we in the service were those who
22 made sure that the units are not misused but are used properly for
23 specific tasks. And this unit should always have been used in its
24 entirety, not to be broken up into elements. That is why I sent a team
25 from the security administration to check how the unit was being used,
1 why it was being used, and so on.
2 Q. But in fact --
3 A. And as far as I can recall, it was sent to the rim.
4 Q. But in fact, it also moved into the interior, did it not? You
5 know that, don't you?
6 A. Yes. That is why I sent this team down there to check what was
7 happening when I learned that the unit had gone there. That was
8 precisely because I was mistrustful, so to speak, because I was afraid
9 that instead of remaining at the rim of Kosovo it would go further in,
10 and that's exactly what happened, unfortunately.
11 Q. At whose order did it go in?
12 A. Well, I can't tell you now at this point, but probably it was the
13 3rd Army that decided that because it was also moved closer -- this unit
14 was moved closer to the rim of Kosovo at the request of the 3rd Army.
15 Q. Okay. Sorry, General, I don't mean to be rude, but I do need to
16 move along. I want to show you next Exhibit P938, 938. This is another
17 VJ collegium from the 18th of March. You already spoke yesterday about a
18 part of this. Two things I want to ask you about: One is at page 21 of
19 the English, page 18 and 19 for you. You told us yesterday about the
20 problems with attacks being reported in what you suspected sometimes VJ
21 had initiated action. But your second question, and it's at the bottom
22 of page 18, regarded unusual incidents. And you talk about an incident
23 in Leskovac, apparently, where there were some 200 drunken conscripts
24 involved in what you refer to as shenanigans.
25 Do you recall that?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And was this a part of an ongoing problem you had with the 3rd
3 Army in failing to report --
4 A. Well, I don't recall, sir.
5 Q. Okay. If you would then go to page 25 -- or 22 of the B/C/S --
6 A. Mr. Prosecutor, it is possible that this was contained in the
7 report from the 3rd Army. I can't say that, but when I spoke about
8 extraordinary incidents yesterday, well, this is one such instance, when
9 conscripts --
10 Q. Okay --
11 A. -- are not under control and then they engage in this kind of
12 shenanigans, if I may call it that.
13 Q. I'm sorry. I have to move along. Page 22 and 23 in your B/C/S,
14 General Ojdanic is speaking. I think it's the second big paragraph on
15 that page, page 25 of the English. He mentions that: "All the major
16 decisions regarding the use of the army in accordance with the
17 authorisation from the competent body, the president of the FRY ..."
18 But then he goes on and says: "It's obvious that something here
19 is not right, and I will call and talk to the 3rd Army commander about
20 that, and I also think that should be followed by him coming here so that
21 we can sit down and talk properly on the subject" -- "on this
22 subject ..."
23 Do you know after this meeting on the 18th of March, did General
24 Ojdanic actually call General Pavkovic and/or have him come in to talk
25 about the problems?
1 A. No, I don't know that for sure, but I assume that General Ojdanic
2 did call him. I assume that for a very simple reason, because in those
3 days this problem kept cropping up with increasing frequency at the
4 collegium meetings. That was just a couple of days before I left, let me
5 remind you, so that at that time I already did not receive quite a lot of
6 information. I assume that this was the case because whenever he said at
7 the collegium meetings that something should be done, then it was -- it
8 got translated into tasks. So I assume that this was the case now, but
9 obviously there was a problem vis-a-vis the 3rd Army.
10 Q. You have no personal knowledge whether that actually happened,
12 A. No, no.
13 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, if I may, about five, seven more
14 minutes. Thank you.
15 Q. General, you mentioned meetings you went to in -- I think you
16 recall July and August 1998, meetings with Mr. Milosevic, General
17 Perisic, the highest-ranking people in the army, in the VJ. I would ask
18 you, General Pavkovic has provided information to us in interviews. He
19 mentions five such meetings, and he dated the first one as the 31st of
20 May, 1998. This is from pages 321 through 329 and at page 395 of his
21 interview, which is Exhibit P949.
22 He mentions you as being a person in attendance at those
23 meetings, and the other meetings in addition to 31 May he said took place
24 on 21 July, 4 August 1998
25 1999, where instead of General Perisic, General Ojdanic attended.
1 General Pavkovic was the 3rd Army commander instead of General Samardzic,
2 and he mentions Mr. Milutinovic and Mr. Sainovic as attending those
4 Would you disagree with him about either the dates or the persons
5 attending those meetings?
6 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I said that I unfortunately --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters couldn't hear the rest of the
8 answer because of technical difficulties.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now, whether those were the exact
10 dates, I can't tell you, but there were three, four, five, six such
11 meetings. I think that I attended all of the meetings in 1998, but that
12 meeting that you mention in January 1999, not only did I not attend this
13 meeting, but until this moment I was unaware of this meeting ever being
14 held. But it just proves the point that I have already made: At that
15 time, I was already sidelined.
16 MR. HANNIS:
17 Q. And I think your part of the answer about who attended the
18 meeting and whether Mr. Milutinovic and Mr. Sainovic were at those
19 meetings was lost due to a technical difficulty. Can you repeat whether
20 you would dispute General Pavkovic's statement regarding those two being
21 at those meetings?
22 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I said that I attended the meetings in 1998, but
23 as for the meeting in January 1999, this is the first that I hear of it.
24 As regards the presence of those persons, I think that at all the
25 meetings that were held in 1998 Mr. Sainovic was one of the participants.
1 Now, as for Mr. Milutinovic, the then-president of Serbia, I cannot be
2 that certain. There were several meetings that I attended and that he
3 attended too. It is quite possible that he did attend one of those
4 meetings, but I cannot claim that with any certainty.
5 Q. Okay. Two last items, one relates to Joint Command. Yesterday
6 at page 21, you said: "It's my impression that at a later stage it was
7 supposed to serve somebody's purposes, and by that I mean General
8 Pavkovic, to cover some of his activities so that he could say, I have
9 the Joint Command behind me."
10 Cover what activities? What were you referring to when you said
12 A. Probably the use of some units or elements of units of the army.
13 Q. Okay. And --
14 A. Because this expression, staff command and so on, that something
15 was being decided there, this is where it came from, Pristina. And
16 yesterday I said that I had never seen any such paper. I know how a
17 command is established, and if you allow me half a minute I think it
18 might be of some use to you --
19 Q. I'm sorry --
20 A. -- in 1998 alone --
21 Q. -- maybe one of the other lawyers will ask you --
22 A. I just wanted to say about the controls or checks that were
23 carried out by the General Staff.
24 Q. Please, I have to move on. From whom would Pavkovic need cover?
25 To whom would he be saying, I have the Joint Command behind me.
1 A. Well, probably when a question was asked down the chain of
2 command why a unit was used or why an element of a unit was used by the
3 army commander, the Chief of General Staff, well, probably it was easier
4 to say, Somebody told me that, or any other kind of excuse along those
5 lines, but not to specify who said that. And that is probably the result
6 of that. I am now speculating as to the possible reason because I really
7 can't deal with this question in any other way.
8 Q. Okay. The last thing, General - I thank you for your time - I
9 want to ask you relates to what you told Judge Bonomy today about the
10 circumstances when you were told by Mr. Milosevic that you were being
11 removed from your position and you declined what he offered for you to do
12 instead. And you explained that one of the reasons behind your removal
13 was because certain people didn't like the way you were speaking up about
14 what they were doing. And isn't that consistent -- weren't you just the
15 third or fourth one in a line of people who weren't doing things the way
16 Mr. Milosevic and General Pavkovic wanted them, and specifically I mean
17 General Samardzic, General Perisic, and Jovica Stanisic all had been
18 removed from their positions before you got removed, and they had all
19 been complaining about General Pavkovic and General Milosevic and how
20 things were being done with regard to the army under those two, right?
21 A. Well, perhaps you could put it that way, but I think,
22 Mr. Prosecutor, that what we're dealing here first of all is a shift in
23 the policy and that people who opposed certain things were simply not
24 acceptable anymore.
25 Q. Thank you very much, General. I don't have any more questions
1 for you.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
3 Mr. Zecevic.
4 MR. ZECEVIC: I believe we don't have any questions, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 Mr. Fila.
7 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Mr. President --
8 Cross-examination by Mr. Fila:
9 Q. Well, first of all, good day, Mr. Dimitrijevic, please bear with
10 us for a moment. First, I would like to ask you to complete the thought
11 that you started when the Prosecution interrupted you. What was it that
12 you wanted to say about the checks by the General Staff? You told us
13 that we would learn something, and then you were interrupted.
14 A. Yes. Well, I thought that this might be important when we were
15 talking about the issues that I was questioned about. When we're talking
16 about this -- since stress is being placed on this Joint Command,
17 probably rightly so because this term is contained in some papers. I can
18 say that -- based on my recollection, I can say that I think that in 1998
19 there were four or five inspections carried out led personally by the
20 Chief of the General Staff. The last one was in December, and I think it
21 was led by the then-Chief of Staff, General Ojdanic; all the others were
22 led by General Perisic.
23 It is inconceivable for me to imagine that the Chief of the
24 General Staff would come to Pristina with his team, 30 or 40 strong, and
25 not to be received by highest-ranking command in the garrison. So he
1 would always come to the Pristina Corps command, and nobody ever told him
2 there based on the papers that I saw because after every inspection there
3 would be reports and the President Milosevic was also made aware of those
4 reports and the tasks that the corps, the army, should carry out and the
5 tasks that are in the purview of the General Staff; so it is quite
6 inconceivable for me to understand how somebody could go there five times
7 and not notice this Joint Command and not sit down with the Joint Command
8 and discuss those issues. Quite simply, nobody mentioned the existence
9 of any other command outside of the Pristina Corps command. There was
10 mention of coordination and cooperation with the MUP, but as far as the
11 commands are concerned not a single letter was written about that.
12 Q. So you would agree with me that no Joint Command was ever in
13 command of the Pristina Corps based on your knowledge?
14 A. Based on my knowledge, no command except for the corps commander.
15 And in my interventions at the collegium meetings, I insisted that
16 everything must be done to prevent, since names of people who were down
17 there were being bandied about, that -- prevent that any of them would
18 make decisions or use the troops, which would be very bad.
19 Q. So can we agree, then, that nothing of the sort ever happened,
20 that no Sainovics, no Minics, or no other civilians ever commanded the
21 3rd Army, the Pristina Corps?
22 A. Well, what do you mean that nothing of the sort happened? But I
23 do agree with you that civilians did not exercise command. It was the
24 corps commander.
25 Q. So the chain of command in the Army of Yugoslavia was intact in
1 that sense?
2 A. Well, yes, in the essence it was the case. The only problem was
3 that the reports that were coming in were not always realistic. They did
4 not depict the real situation.
5 Q. Well, fair enough. Let us complete this topic. You as the chief
6 of the security administration on any basis, whether through reports that
7 you got from your security officers or through private channels or any
8 other channels or in any other way, for instance, as you had coffee with
9 somebody, did you ever learn that Nikola Sainovic exercised command over
10 the Army of Yugoslavia, that he had any command role over Ojdanic, that
11 he had effective control over the whole of Army of Yugoslavia, including
12 yourself, because all of those issues, all of those claims were made here
13 without any corroboration, but this is what we have on record here.
14 A. Well, I have to say that you made me laugh.
15 Q. Well, thank you very much.
16 A. Of course, I sent my own inspections to Kosovo, to the Pristina
17 Corps area. Reports were written. All the reports, again, were sent to
18 the president. The security administration gathered lots of information
19 and sent it to the president, and this was not written in any single
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. Least of all that Sainovic would come to the General Staff and
23 issue orders to Perisic, Ojdanic, myself, well, this really made me
25 Q. Well, it would have made me laugh, too, if I weren't in a
1 situation to be defending a man who is in Detention Unit. All kinds of
2 claims are being made here.
3 I want to ask you something else. You said yesterday that in
4 wartime a part of the General Staff with the chief was in communication
5 with the supreme commander, which was -- and who was President Milosevic.
6 Was it necessary to have somebody between the Chief of the General Staff
7 and Milosevic to relay orders?
8 A. Well, I don't think so -- well, they were not in the same
9 premises, but they were -- or rather, not in the same room, but they were
10 in the same building.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speakers please
12 slow down and make pauses between question and answer.
13 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, interpreters, I don't have
14 much time.
15 Q. You said yesterday that General Pavkovic was in direct
16 communication with President Milosevic. You said that he spent two weeks
17 there and so on. What does it mean, direct communication? Could you
18 please clarify that a little bit? Did he have access to him and -- I
19 don't know.
20 A. I'll try. He had communication with him because President
21 Milosevic would call him on the phone. I don't know what they talked
22 about, but it was one of the questions that I asked of President
23 Milosevic when we realized that our phones in the Pristina Corps command
24 were being wire-tapped. That is why I asked him, If this is not done on
25 your orders then you will not fare well yourself. So he did have
1 communication, line of communication. It could have been over the phone.
2 He would go to Belgrade
3 Staff; that's what I mean. The army commander was not aware of that. I
4 know that later on they would visit each other in private capacity,
5 birthdays, family visits, and things like that.
6 Q. Okay. I understand that, but did he need Sainovic then to
7 establish communication with Slobodan Milosevic?
8 A. Mr. Fila, I think that on the basis of everything that I said
9 that would directly follow that -- it would directly follow that he did
11 Q. Well, to complete this story, that being as it is, is there any
12 possibility for you when you received him - so I'm talking about foreign
13 diplomats, the British ambassador, whoever - for you to tell them that
14 Sainovic was the one through whom Sainovic is relaying orders, receiving
15 orders, that he was his operational -- that there was this operational
16 diary or whatever. Is there a theoretical possibility that you did
17 express this kind of a thought?
18 A. No, no.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Speakers are kindly asked
20 to speak one at a time. It is impossible to interpret.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Dimitrijevic, the interpreters are having some
22 difficulty because you're speaking immediately after Mr. Fila completes
23 his question. To allow the interpreters to catch up into whatever
24 language they're translating the evidence, could you please just pause
25 for a little time before answering each question. Now, as a result the
1 last answer was not interpreted, so could you answer that question again,
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, could we have the question
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The same thing happened
6 again. Two speakers are speaking at the same time.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, my answer was that I did not
8 say anything like that to anyone because if I had said that I would have
9 worked against myself because I always raised this issue of subordination
10 and command at every collegium meeting.
11 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Fine. Let us move on to a different topic. Mr. Dimitrijevic, a
13 couple of weeks ago, we had General Milan Djakovic testify here as a
14 Court witness. In 1998, he was a colonel or a lieutenant-colonel, and he
15 was the operations officer of General Pavkovic. Do you know this man?
16 A. I have to say that I met him sometime after the air-strikes at a
17 reception for -- to commemorate the army day.
18 Q. In his testimony, in particular when the Trial Chamber asked
19 questions, he insisted that the term the "Joint Command" was invented by
20 him together with Pavkovic and that when those civilians appeared in
21 Kosovo in the period between July and October, as he said, and I see that
22 you said the same thing, that Pavkovic said that those meetings should
23 continue to be called the Joint Command. In other words, he confirmed
24 that the author of the term "Joint Command" was Nebojsa Pavkovic.
25 My question to you is this: Do you believe -- do you tend to
1 believe that rather than the memo that was read to you by Judge
2 Bonomy - we don't know who the source of this information was - to the
3 effect that Slobodan Milosevic invented this term "Joint Command"? Which
4 is the most -- more probable option?
5 A. Well, the question is whether it was invented by President
6 Milosevic or by Pavkovic?
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. Well, I think, Mr. Fila, that President Milosevic did not need to
9 invent anything; he was the president at that time. So the answer is
10 that this was needed as cover for General Pavkovic. He needed this.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: This is pure speculation, Mr. Fila. Let's move to
12 something concrete.
13 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
14 Q. If General Djakovic, the operations officer of General Pavkovic,
15 keeps notes or minutes at those meetings, do you think that he is in a
16 position to know what the name of the meeting is? And he said that he
17 termed those meetings "Joint Command" in agreement with Pavkovic. What
18 do you think? Does he know what he's talking about?
19 A. Well --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: I can see counsel being reluctant to intervene in
21 a situation where the witness is being brought here by us, but again,
22 that's a matter for the Trial Chamber and is not for this witness to
24 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 Q. Yesterday, you talked about Lieutenant-Colonel Momir Stojanovic
1 having informed you of certain meetings which he did not attend. I won't
2 go into any further detail because of the time.
3 A. I remember.
4 Q. You said that in your opinion it was a type of cooperation
5 between the MUP and army. In that cooperation, did any civilians
6 participate in it or, according to your information, was it only done by
7 the army and the MUP?
8 A. According to the reports I received from the Pristina Corps and
9 the security organ as well as in personal contact over the phone with
10 lieutenant-colonel Stojanovic, he told me that he does not take part at
11 those meetings, that he is not in attendance, and that with General
12 Pavkovic there is always General Djakovic accompanying him, I believe,
13 and that there are MUP representatives there who are in attendance as
14 well as some civilians referred to here. When I asked him what was going
15 on, he said, Well, there was nothing for us there, I do not attend those
16 meetings, and as a service we did not deal with it.
17 Q. Thank you. This will be the last stage of my questioning. I
18 want to ask you about the famous letter of -- by Perisic. It is Exhibit
19 P717. Let us not be hasty concerning this letter because it seems you
20 were rushed through it by the Prosecutor, and I will take it slowly.
21 Look at item 3 at page 162, I believe --
22 A. Yes, I can see it.
23 Q. Item 3: "An attempt to control the Army of Yugoslavia by
24 unauthorised persons ..."
25 What does it mean, attempt?
1 A. Well, an attempt is when you are attempting to do something but
2 you fail. An attempt means that you have an idea about trying to do
3 something but you fail to -- well, in any case attempts can be successful
4 and unsuccessful.
5 Q. In sub-item (a), what does Perisic say? Who is trying to command
6 the army?
7 A. To subordinate units -- well, the MUP. The general is talking
8 about the MUP. He's talking about this constant wish on the part of the
9 MUP to have some of our units subordinated to them.
10 Q. So MUP, not Nikola Sainovic?
11 A. That's what it says.
12 Q. What --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila, one of the things we've tried to avoid
14 with the witness is going over things that speak for themselves. This is
15 a matter that you can make submissions to us about. Why is it you need
16 to address it directly with the witness? When it was addressed by
17 Mr. Hannis, it was because the witness had seen the letter, was able to
18 tell us a bit about Perisic's position; he saw it at an important stage
19 after it had been sent, for example, and these things were all
20 established by evidence. But we don't want an analysis done by this
21 witness of that letter. If there's something he can personally tell us
22 that will be of significance, please turn to that.
23 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I'm doing that.
24 Q. We heard Momir Bulatovic here, page 13921 and you let him read
25 the letter, as well, and then he told you something about the meaning of
1 the word "attempt" in the Serbian language.
2 A. Defence counsel, I never provided that letter --
3 THE INTERPRETER: The speakers are overlapping.
4 MR. FILA: [Interpretation]
5 Q. When we go to sub-item (b), after having read that, my question
6 for you is this: Rather than interpreting what Perisic wanted to say,
7 because you've already been asked by the Chamber about that and you said
8 it was some sort of confusion, but do you have some personal knowledge as
9 the head of administration that what actually is stated here took place,
10 that Sainovic tried or, indeed, controlled the VJ? Please read the
11 sub-item (b). Have you ever come across any information that would
12 corroborate what is stated here or not?
13 A. Defence counsel, the sub-item begins with the word "attempt."
14 There is no mention of anything being completed successfully. There was
15 an attempt to have this or that happen -- rather, to have Sainovic and
16 Minic --
17 Q. Let me interrupt you --
18 A. I had no information to that effect.
19 Q. That's what I wanted to ask you. Did you have some such
21 A. No, never of that nature.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] This concludes my examination.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic -- Mr. Dimitrijevic, the next counsel
25 to examine you will be Mr. Visnjic, who represents General Ojdanic.
1 Mr. Visnjic.
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Visnjic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General.
5 A. Good afternoon.
6 Q. General, before beginning I'd first like to ask for clarification
7 from you. Perhaps there's something you can confirm for me, and it is in
8 the documents, but I want to have it corrected in the transcript. Today,
9 in one of your answers you said that there were several inspections
10 carried out by the General Staff which visited the command of the 3rd
11 Army and the Pristina Corps and that they were headed by the chiefs of
12 the General Staff and that one of them was headed by General Ojdanic.
13 You said that that inspection was in December 1998.
14 Since there is documentation in existence, would you allow for a
15 possibility that it was in early March 1999?
16 A. It is possible for the simple reason that Ojdanic became the
17 Chief of the General Staff, and I know that at one of the collegium
18 meetings said that he was to head the team personally and that he wanted
19 to acquaint himself with the situation personally. Therefore, it could
20 have been in January or February rather than in December, but that's why
21 I said that he headed one inspection in particular.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have a look at
23 Exhibit 939, which is collegium meetings, P939, collegium meetings of the
24 21st of January.
25 Mr. Haider is going to help us. It's in the Chamber's binder.
1 I'm interested in page 28, paragraph 4 in the English, and page 31,
2 paragraph 3 in English. In B/C/S, it is page 28, paragraph 4.
3 A. I have not found that.
4 Q. While Mr. Riaz is looking for it, I want to remind you this is
5 the minutes which you referred to the Racak events and the participation
6 of the army. A working group was established, so that was supposed to
7 deal with -- it is K05222069 [as interpreted].
8 MR. VISNJIC: P939, I believe.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have it now.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Thank you. At the meeting, a working group was established
12 which, among other things, dealt with the problem of reporting. I would
13 kindly ask you to read the paragraph.
14 General, my question has to do with how in your view General
15 Ojdanic requested from his subordinates to tackle this issue. Did he
16 encourage them within their respective authorities to investigate and
17 carry out checks?
18 A. I think he did. Every time a question was tabled concerning
19 which we were unsure of whether reports were good or not, he usually
20 insisted that we use all possible lines to inquire. This part whereby he
21 mentions the principles of subordination, as stated and written here, he
22 allowed for a possibility that some of the subordinates contacted
23 president directly --
24 Q. No, the paragraph below.
25 A. This group -- yes, let me read it first.
1 Yes, I've nothing to add. This is completely correct.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. If I may, at the collegium meetings we kept receiving reports,
4 which spoke of the failure to act --
5 Q. Well, you've already testified about that.
6 A. Yes, yesterday.
7 Q. Another thing which has to do with reporting as well. If you
8 recall, it has to do with the events mentioned at the collegium meeting
9 of the 10th of December concerning problems with extraordinary events.
10 You've explained to the Chamber what those were. Do you remember General
11 Ojdanic ordering that he should personally be informed on any
12 extraordinary incident or event?
13 A. I think he did because he said that such incidents and events
14 have to be examined carefully and that all levels responsible need to
15 undertake measures. When such incidents occurred, usually it will be
16 dealt with by the General Staff rather than at the level where it took
17 place; therefore, there were comments for the army command to be made as
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I just wanted to mention for the
20 Chamber that this is 3D559; in the English, page 20, paragraphs 2 and 3
21 and 4.
22 Q. To go back to an exhibit which was shown on a number of occasions
23 today, it is P938. It is collegium meetings of the 18th of March, 1998
24 Judge Bonomy asked you about the portion of it where rampage is mentioned
25 without knowledge of the corps command. The Prosecutor asked you
1 something, as well, about the same paragraph. You explained to him -- it
2 is paragraph 25 in English. You explained to him that General Ojdanic
3 requested and probably talked to the 3rd Army commander.
4 A. What page is that?
5 Q. General, it is Exhibit P938. In the English, it is page 25; in
6 the B/C/S --
7 A. Probably 22.
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. Go ahead.
10 Q. Could Mr. Riaz show you 3D682. While we're waiting for it, I
11 wanted to ask you this: The General Staff's concern had to do with the
12 situation at the time trying not to provoke a NATO intervention, not to
13 give them any reason to. Am I correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. A number of your complaints had to do with that?
16 A. Yes. The talks in Rambouillet were getting to their end. We
17 knew how things went. There were threats issued by the West on a daily
18 basis, and it was our assessment that it literally depended on at what
19 hour the bombing would begin rather than the day.
20 Q. This document was issued by the General Staff two days following
21 the collegium meeting.
22 A. I have it.
23 Q. Have a look at it and tell me -- first of all, concerning the
24 comments of rampage, so-called rampage, mentioned at the collegium
25 meetings. Does this correspond to the comments made?
1 A. Among other things, yes. This describes the situation and its
2 complexity in more detail. When it comes to the Siptar, or rather,
3 terrorist forces and the foreign elements as well as dangers which were
4 clearly visible and, of course, when reference is made to --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: We've had that suggestion -- I mean, it -- unless
6 there's some problem in translation, it's very difficult to see that this
7 is a reference to KLA activity or terrorist activity. It -- reading it
8 in English, it looks clearly to be a reference to actions of forces of
9 the state without the knowledge of their superiors. And in any event, if
10 we're talking about an argument over interpretation, that's not for this
11 witness; that's something we can deal with in another situation. But
12 it's very difficult to read it the way you're suggesting, that these are
13 rampages against the state.
14 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I see this as a
15 preventive document which was to prevent any sort of action. That's why
16 it's called warning. It was supposed to warn the subordinate commands
17 that any such activities should be curtailed, having in mind the
18 consequences those could bring about.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: The minute clearly says action has to be taken
20 against these outrageous attacks. No one would dispute that. You're
21 pushing an open door on that here. The question is how you react, and
22 that seems to be what the rampage is referring to, overreaction. But you
23 can address that in your submissions to us in due course.
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I will, Your Honour.
25 Q. General, we are still on the same collegium meeting. I would
1 like to ask you to have a look at 3D1073 [as interpreted].
2 When answering some of the Prosecutor's questions, you mentioned
3 the way the collegium worked, and you talked about the tasks which were
4 issued. As far as you can recall, this document representing the tasks
5 from the collegium meetings, can it be included in the measures
6 undertaken by the General Staff as regards the issue of reporting and
7 reports which were sent from the lower to higher commands, especially
8 having in mind item 1?
9 A. Yes, counsel. This is it. When I talked about the work the --
10 the way the collegium worked, I said that at the close of each meeting
11 the Chief of the General Staff addressed the meeting and then issued
12 tasks. This was done so that there would be a conclusion rather than all
13 of us having sit around the table and then leave without having done
14 anything. Each of the meetings was attended by chef de cabinet of the
15 General Staff. In this case, it was Mr. Vlajkovic, and it was presented
16 to all of the participants so that they could all implement their
17 respective tasks within the dead-lines set.
18 Q. Thank you, General. Let me ask you another thing. Over these
19 two days, you testified about Podujevo and what the Chief of General
20 Staff did and about Racak and what the Chief of General Staff did. And
21 today, we looked at these comments that had to do with the work group and
22 the encouragement of subordinates to analyse reports. We also looked at
23 evidence related to the collegium meetings held on the 4th and 18th of
24 March. In relation to the period during which you worked with General
25 Ojdanic, can you tell me whether General Ojdanic was sincere in his
1 efforts to truly find out what it was that was going on, or rather, what
2 the problems were in reporting; or, quite simply, did he turn the other
3 way? What is your view on this?
4 A. No doubt, yes, he was sincere in these efforts. As for the
5 extent to which he succeeded, I cannot speak about that.
6 Q. Thank you, General.
7 A. Yes, I'm saying yes, he wanted to, but the question is whether he
8 managed every time to bring things to an end.
9 Q. Thank you, General.
10 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I don't know whether it would be
11 the right time to take the break now.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: It would be helpful if you continued for a little
13 while, Mr. Visnjic. We'll probably have a 20-minute break, and then
14 we're going to try to go to half past 7.00. So we need to have no more
15 than about an hour and a half. If you can get to quarter to 6.00, that
16 would be ideal.
17 MR. VISNJIC: I'll try.
18 Q. [Interpretation] General, the records of the collegium meetings
19 that you read yesterday and today, do they correspond to your own
20 recollection of the discussions at the collegium? I'm referring
21 particularly to 1998 -- the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. There are some details that I remember with full accuracy.
25 They're really striking.
1 Q. Thank you. Did the collegium ever look the any plan that
2 considered the option of expelling the Albanian population from Kosovo?
3 A. I am not aware of any such plan or did I ever attend any such
5 Q. I assume that, then, your answer would be no to my following
6 question, whether this thesis was mentioned as a solution in terms of the
7 control of Serbia
8 at least?
9 A. No, never.
10 Q. Yesterday, you said that in 1998 most of the high officers in the
11 General Staff were against the extensive use of the military in the fight
12 against terrorism. My question is: To the best of your
13 recollection - and we have quite a few records of the collegium, so we
14 don't really have to go into all of that - can you remember what General
15 Ojdanic's position was with regard to that matter?
16 A. Well, I think that he talked about that before he was Chief of
17 General Staff and when he became chief and that that was precisely why he
18 insisted that the chain of command had to function and that the army
19 should be in the function prescribed by the constitution and by laws. So
20 I don't think that he differed on that score, either. The -- namely,
21 that the worst way of using the military was exactly the way in which it
22 was being used.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a second.
25 That was not, with respect, an answer to the question,
1 Mr. Dimitrijevic. The question was whether General Ojdanic was against
2 the extensive use of the military in the fight against terrorism, and all
3 you told us was that he believed in obeying the chain of command. Now,
4 can you answer the question that you were asked. Was he against, as you
5 were, the extensive use of the military in the fight against terrorism?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think he was, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: And what did he do about it once he was Chief of
8 the General Staff to sort out the fact that the army was being used
9 outwith the border area?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I really cannot tell you. I
11 know what he said at the collegium meetings and what I said. As for what
12 he did in direct communication with the president, I really don't know
13 about that.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Even more so because my position by
16 then was a bit worse.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 Mr. Visnjic.
19 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. This is what I'm going to ask you, General. In your view, did
21 the Army of Yugoslavia
22 A. As for the General Staff, yes; but as for the army as the army,
23 that is to say some parts, I don't think it did. But basically, if you
24 are referring to the withdrawal of units, if you mean the withdrawal of
25 units into the garrisons, yes, that was honoured.
1 Q. Thank you. Now let us look at a document, please. It is the
2 21st of January, General Obradovic's remarks -- or rather, let's try to
3 do it without the document. At that meeting, General Obradovic claims
4 that the army is observing the Milosevic-Holbrooke Agreement but that at
5 the same time the situation had changed from October onwards, bearing in
6 mind that the KLA grew into a respectable force at that point -- I'm
7 sorry. It is the collegium of the 2nd of February, 1999, page 9 in
8 B/C/S. So bearing in mind that then it numbered some 12 to 15.000 men,
9 am I right?
10 A. Yes, yes. And these are the objections that we raised all the
11 time, namely, that at one point the verification mission is going to
12 verify what the situation was, and by then everything will have been too
13 late. That is to say after the agreement the military honoured their
14 obligations, they withdrew into garrisons, and as for these empty areas
15 the KLA entered straight away, and the situation thereby became more
16 complicated and escalated. We said that to General Clark that night,
17 too, that that would happen; however, of course, the agreement had been
18 signed, and as far as that is concerned, we had fully carried it out.
19 Q. General, at the time, at collegium meetings didn't you make a
20 certain assertion that there would be a problem in relation to the
21 agreement because the side that controls the crisis on the one hand is
22 concentrating on restricting the security forces of the Army of
24 in this way they can provoke the security forces?
25 A. Yes, counsellor. That's what I said on a few occasions because
1 whenever we raised the issue at a few meetings with President Milosevic,
2 what we were told is we did not accept a foreign presence, a foreign
3 force; we accepted civilians. My knowledge from that period is as
4 follows, I remember some of the details even today, that 90 per cent of
5 the verification mission were active-duty officers of the armies that
6 took part in the setting up of the mission except that they were not in
7 uniform, and they all came from intelligence structures, from the
8 intelligence community. That is to say that we had quite a few cases
9 when we realized that members of the verification mission were actually
10 transferring weapons and providing information about the Army of
12 same time, they asked and in many cases they actually overstepped, they
13 went beyond their mandate, and they asked for information that they were
14 not authorised to ask about.
15 Q. Thank you, General.
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] I believe that the time for the
17 break has come now.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Visnjic, there are limits to which repetitive
19 evidence is appropriate in the context of this witness. It's plain from
20 the minutes that he repeatedly complained that it was unfair that the KLA
21 were in a position to occupy the vacuum, and he's amplified the answer to
22 some extent along lines that we've heard a number of witnesses deal with
23 already. Please try to concentrate on things that either have to be
24 challenged because of what he's said already or that are peculiarly
25 matters within his knowledge that he can assist us with.
1 Mr. Dimitrijevic, we will have another break now. It will be a
2 bit shorter this time. We'll resume at ten minutes past 6.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 5.47 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 6.11 p.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Please continue, Mr. Visnjic.
6 MR. VISNJIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. [Interpretation] General, could you please look at 3D685. This
8 is an assessment of the intelligence and security situation and danger to
9 the security of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. My question is,
10 first of all, General: Can you confirm that you took part in the writing
11 of this document and that you signed it?
12 A. Counsellor, I don't believe that I signed it. I could only sign
13 the attachment about security that was taken from the security
14 administration to the General Staff when this assessment was being
15 compiled whenever these assessments were made. As for the paper of the
16 security administration is concerned, my deputy usually went to the
17 General Staff with that, and over the last few years it had been Colonel
19 Q. I assume that Colonel Gajic went there with the agreed views of
20 the security administration?
21 A. Absolutely. He went with a final paper so that what we concluded
22 could be incorporated in this assessment.
23 Q. Thank you. And could you look at the last page of this document
24 where the conclusions are. E-court, it is page 3D0501 --
25 A. I see it, I see it. I see that all the chiefs signed this, so my
1 signature is there, and that is quite right.
2 Q. Thank you. My last question, General. Bearing in mind what
3 happened after this assessment, can you tell us to what extent this
4 assessment was justified, and could you perhaps tell us whether you agree
5 with the conclusions that were presented at the end of this assessment?
6 A. Yes. That is to say it was realistic, it was justified, because
7 the Chief of General Staff had requested this assessment precisely so
8 that, I assume, he could present this assessment to the top echelons of
9 the state, and I believe that it was submitted to the members of the
10 Supreme Defence Council since we're talking about February 1999; and
11 these conclusions are basically correct. As for the foreign factor, it
12 came from the assessments of the intelligence administration, so
13 absolutely, all of us as -- as long as we signed it, of course, we were
14 in agreement, especially in view of avoiding any conflict with NATO as
15 stated in paragraph 5.
16 Q. Thank you, General. That's exactly what I wanted to ask you
17 about. Thank you, General. I have no further questions.
18 A. You're welcome.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: [Microphone not activated]
20 Mr. Dimitrijevic, you will now be cross-examined by Mr. Aleksic
21 on behalf of General Pavkovic.
22 Mr. Aleksic.
23 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Aleksic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. General, yesterday on page 81 of the transcript you said -- since
3 you had been asked about reporting, you said that every morning you read
4 the combat report of the Pristina Corps. My question in relation to this
5 is whether during the summer of 1998 and throughout 1998 you read, or
6 rather, received combat reports that were sent by the command of the 3rd
7 Army from the forward command post in Pristina.
8 A. No, counsellor. As a matter of fact, what you said at first --
9 well, the combat reports from the Pristina Corps did not come to the
10 General Staff throughout the year. It was only later, sometime towards
11 the end of the year, that they started coming in because that was what
12 was requested in -- irrespective of the army report that the corps report
13 be sent in. Yes, every morning. I read everything that had arrived
14 during the course of the night.
15 Q. So, General, you don't know what General Samardzic reported to
16 General Perisic if you had not seen these reports; am I right?
17 A. No, I did not see these reports. They went along the chain of
18 command, and they were sent to the office of the Chief of General Staff
19 because that is the chain of command, and I was not the chain of command.
20 Q. All right. General, although you have not seen this, please look
21 at one of these reports at least. Could Riaz Haider please show you
23 General, do you know that the 3rd Army in the summer of 1998 had
24 its forward command post in Pristina and that General Samardzic --
25 A. I know. I know that in accordance with the order of the
1 commander of the 3rd Army the forward command post was activated, and if
2 I remember correctly I believe that at first the chief of the army staff
3 was there, General Simic, and then the commander of the army.
4 Q. All right. General, you have the document in front of you, so
5 could you please look at page 2 now. In English, it's also page 2,
6 paragraph 3, and it says: "Situation in the army units."
7 Have you had a look?
8 A. Yes, I see it.
9 Q. Am I right, General, this report was signed by General Mladenovic
10 and the combat groups are reported here and the axes and the activities
11 that are being carried out in the area in Kosovo and Metohija?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you, General. Could you please have a look at the next
14 page, page 3, paragraph 5, that is. On behalf of General Samardzic,
15 General Mladenovic says that General Samardzic decided as follows inter
16 alia: "Continue the blockade of the villages of Junik, Jasic, and
17 support MUP forces in breaking up terrorist forces in the areas of the
18 village of Baboloc
19 A. Yes, that's what's written there.
20 Q. General, the date of this document is the 10th of August, right?
21 That can be seen on the first page.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you. I'm sorry, let's be very specific about this: 1998.
24 Isn't that right, General, the 10th of August, 1998?
25 A. Yes, yes. I've said yes, yes.
1 Q. General, earlier on you talked about these inspections and tours
2 of units by the General Staff, and you will agree with me that in the
3 period from the 10th until the 13th of August, 1998, a big team headed by
4 the Chief of General Staff, General Perisic, toured the units in Kosovo
5 and Metohija; isn't that right?
6 A. I allow for the possibility that that is the correct date. There
7 were a few during the course of the year, as I've already said.
8 Q. Fine. General, could you now please look at 4D526.
9 A. Yes, I had a look at it.
10 Q. So, General, am I right if I say that General Obradovic, Milorad
11 Obradovic, as part of the General Staff team is reporting from the
12 forward command post of the Pristina Corps in Djakovica to the Chief of
13 General Staff on the 13th of August, 1998, about this tour?
14 A. Yes. He's sending this to the General Staff but not to the Chief
15 of the General Staff, although it is addressed to the chief because the
16 chief was actually leading this inspection team.
17 Q. Okay. So, General, this is the third paragraph that I want you
18 to look at where it says -- well, in the second paragraph it says that
19 the commander of the 3rd Army briefed the team and then the commander of
20 the Pristina Corps and the commander of the special units, that was
21 General Stanimirovic, about the -- that they briefed the chief about the
22 combat-readiness in the units and the tasks that were carried out; is
23 that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In the next paragraph, it says "The briefing of the commander of
1 the 3rd Army, the Pristina Corps, and the special units corps in terms of
2 contents and questions were at the appropriate level and served the
3 function of the objectives and the tasks of the General Staff of the Army
4 of Yugoslavia
5 A. Yes, that's what it says.
6 Q. Thank you, General.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Aleksic, we don't really need this witness to
8 read things from documents to us. We can read these, and you can
9 submit -- make submissions about them. That's not advancing the case
10 any. So please try to confine your questions to things of which he has
11 personal knowledge or things that you require to challenge as a result of
12 what he said earlier.
13 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour, this pertains to
14 his previous testimony. Let me ask the question.
15 Q. General, sir, do you know of any specific example, any specific
16 actions, where General Pavkovic carried out without the approval of
17 General Samardzic?
18 A. Well, if you want me to be specific now, I really can't do that
19 after ten years.
20 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
21 A. But I know that such things happened on the basis of the reports
22 of the army commander.
23 Q. Well, thank you, General.
24 Could you now please look -- since you said that in the
25 reports -- that you did not have any reports about the locations of the
1 units or actions they were engaged in. Could you please look at 4D131.
2 4D131. I have this document in front of me.
3 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
4 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm advised this document is not released in
5 e-court. Is this a document that's not already exhibited?
6 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I have a hard
7 copy here, and according to my information it was in e-court. But the
8 reason why I'm showing it to the witness is because it was not admitted
9 into evidence during the trial so far.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it's not in e-court either, so you need to
11 move to something else, I'm afraid.
12 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. General, am I right when I say that sometime in August 1998 in
14 the General Staff that operational duty teams were set up that monitored
15 the situation in the units in the field in Kosovo, that practically every
16 collegium meeting started by the head of the operations team submitting a
17 detailed report to the collegium about the location of the units, the
18 situation at the border, the situation in the area, the actions that were
19 taken, where MUP was given support, and that somebody from those
20 officers, either General Paja Smiljanic or General Terzic or some of the
21 colonels from the first administration showed the location of the forces
22 of the Pristina Corps and the 3rd Army on slides or on maps when the need
24 A. Counsellor, the operations team always existed as part of the
25 duty service of the General Staff. The size depended on the situation.
1 I assume that you're talking about the team that was established in the
2 second half, at a later stage, in light of the fact that the situation in
3 Kosovo and Metohija got more complicated. Yes, at that time when this
4 team existed, when it was set up, the Chief of the General Staff ordered
5 that each collegium meeting should start with a briefing on the part of
6 the operations duty team, but this was not always -- always the case.
7 This was at the time when he requested that this be done by the head.
8 Maps were not used at all times -- well, the maps that were used were
9 those that are always present in the operations centre. As for the
10 slides, I don't recall anything being shown on the slides, but there was
11 discussion about where the units were and what was going on on the basis
12 of the reports that came in during the night or between the two collegium
14 Q. Thank you, General. Now, I don't want to show you too many
15 documents, but on the basis of your military experience can you tell me
16 some geographical terms. Where is the Jablanica and Juzni [phoen]
17 Orlovac districts? Are they in Serbia Proper or in Kosovo and Metohija?
18 A. Well, I'm not sure that I could give you a correct answer. I
19 don't know what the administrative divisions were like to tell you where
20 the borders of those districts were. It is in the south, but now whether
21 it was part of the territory of Kosovo
22 about that.
23 Q. Thank you, sir.
24 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
25 further questions for this witness.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Aleksic.
2 Mr. Dimitrijevic, the next counsel to ask questions will be
3 Mr. Bakrac on behalf of General Lazarevic.
4 Mr. Bakrac.
5 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Bakrac:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General.
8 A. Good afternoon.
9 Q. I will be brief. My first question, General, is the following:
10 Do you know that General Lazarevic until January 1998 was in the Nis
11 Corps, that he was the Chief of Staff there?
12 A. Yes, counsellor. I think he was actually chief of communications
14 Q. Do you know that General Lazarevic was transferred into the
15 Pristina Corps in January 1998 on the orders of General Perisic?
16 A. Well, I know that he was transferred there. I don't know on
17 whose orders, but yes, he was -- he was transferred there, and I think
18 that his post was that of the Chief of Staff.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you know that in June 1998 - and we have this
20 document, that's 1D760 - at the proposal of General Perisic that General
21 Lazarevic was promoted to a higher rank?
22 A. Yes. General Lazarevic, based on all the evaluations of all of
23 us in the General Staff at the collegium, was an excellent officer, and
24 it was a unanimous decision at the collegium to recommend him for
1 Q. Thank you, General. Do you know that General Lazarevic from
2 April - that was the time when the forward command post in Djakovica was
3 established - up until the end of that year, that he was actually in
4 Djakovica dealing with the state security -- state border security
6 A. Well, I have to say that based on my recollection I remember the
7 time when the forward command post was located in Pristina. So as far as
8 I'm concerned, this period begins at a later date. I really didn't
9 register this. I don't recall it being in Djakovica, but I do know that
10 General Lazarevic or Colonel Lazarevic as he was at the time, that he was
11 in Djakovica.
12 Q. So when we're talking about the forward command post, I'm
13 referring to the forward command post of the Pristina Corps, not of the
14 3rd Army.
15 A. Oh, no. Yes, I was thinking about the forward command post of
16 the army. That is why I said that Djakovica, that's not something that I
17 would remember. I know that General Pavkovic sent him to the forward
18 command post. I don't know where it was, but I do know that General
19 Lazarevic was there at the time and that he exercised command and control
20 over activities related to the protection of the state border.
21 Q. General, do you know that General Lazarevic in the performance of
22 his duties was in direct contact and direct communication with the Chief
23 of the General Staff, Mr. Perisic, and that he reported to him about the
24 situation at the state border?
25 A. Well, I never attended. I was never present when such
1 conversations were made. I assume it was by phone.
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. But this sounds like General Perisic. He would call his
4 subordinate commanders over the phone and ask them about the situation,
5 whether they needed any assistance, something to be done, yes. So I
6 think that is correct.
7 Q. Thank you, General. And you have already partially answered this
8 question, but let me ask you what might very well turn out to be my last
9 question. We heard testimony from General Dusan Loncar here, and he said
10 that everybody in the army knew about high professional human qualities
11 of General Lazarevic. A protected witness called by the Prosecution also
12 testified, K-73, also a member --
13 JUDGE BONOMY: We don't need a rehearsal of what other witnesses
14 have said. If you have a question for this witness, please ask him.
15 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
16 Q. This witness, K-73, also stressed --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, no. Ask this witness his personal
19 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Based on your personal knowledge of General Lazarevic, would you
21 say that he was considered as a highly professional soldier, an honest --
22 an honourable man, a professional commander who defended his country?
23 A. Absolutely --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Don't answer that question, please. That was a
25 quite inappropriate question to put as a leading question of that nature
1 after the order I gave you, Mr. Bakrac.
2 Now, if you've something else to turn to, please turn to.
3 MR. BAKRAC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, well, I don't have
4 anything else, but I was not aware of this stricture, that I was not
5 supposed to ask questions of this nature in the cross-examination. I
6 just wanted the witness to confirm whether what I said was true, and he
7 said he did, but if you think this is inappropriate I don't have any
8 other questions. Thank you.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: You were told not to rehearse the evidence of
10 other witnesses in asking that question, and you proceeded to do it by
11 simply omitting the name of the witnesses. And if you want the
12 Trial Chamber to place any value on character references coming from
13 other witnesses who are familiar with them, you should ask open questions
14 about it. Leading questions about character are useless for the benefit
15 of the Trial Chamber, and indeed, if you had wanted this witness for the
16 purpose of a character witness, it was open for you to have called him as
17 a witness in the trial in the first place. That was not an appropriate
18 use of the time of this witness here at this stage in the trial.
19 Now we'll move to the next and final counsel to cross-examine
20 you, Mr. Dimitrijevic, and that will be Mr. Lukic on behalf of Mr. Lukic.
21 Mr. Lukic.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Lukic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. Well, as you've just heard, I know that you're tired but at least
1 there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I would like you to look at Exhibit P1259. Mr. Haider will give
4 you this. You were asked yesterday about page 8 of document P928, about
5 whether you knew about the arming of civilians. We can see a document
6 from the Federal Ministry of Defence, the regional organ in Pristina, the
7 Pristina defence administration. The date is the 21st of May, 1998
8 Could you please look at item 1 just underneath the word "order."
9 What is ordered here?
10 A. Yes, I've read it. So that the chiefs of departments and heads
11 of sections shall immediately establish contacts and so on and so forth
12 with municipal leaders and to ensure that lists are compiled for the
13 purpose of arming of the population, which will be carried out by the
14 Ministry of Defence and so on through its organizational units, and the
15 request or demand is made to make sure that those lists should not
16 include persons or conscripts who already have a wartime assignment in
17 units of the army, of the MUP, of the Ministry of Defence, and so on.
18 Q. Thank you. Were you aware that at that time the defence
19 ministry, through its district units, is actually arming the population?
20 A. No, but I think that yesterday I spoke about the fact that the
21 army commander ordered, to the best of my recollection, that for the
22 purpose of the defence against any attacks a certain number of persons
23 who were not members of the MUP should get weapons, that weapons should
24 be distributed to them, and that activities followed to put this under
25 control, that all the staffs and branch offices should be mobilised
1 precisely to prevent any misuse of those weapons. As far as I know,
2 there were no such instances. But now I can see that this was going
3 well. I assume that it went down the chain of command, but since the --
4 those branch organs belonged to the Ministry of Defence organizationally,
5 that is why they are here playing this role. So I think this is okay.
6 Q. Thank you. Let us move on.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Of course, this relates to the 21st of May, 1999,
8 is that correct, after -- two months after the witness was out of the
10 MR. LUKIC: It's 1998, Your Honour.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. You can't see the year --
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] 1998. [In English] Maybe it's a
13 mistake in translation, but ...
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You can't see the date here, but
15 this should be so.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Let us move on, General. Could Mr. Haider show you Exhibit 3D100
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 4D100.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. General, yesterday when you were being asked about the plan: We
23 went to the Grom operation immediately. I don't know whether something
24 remains unclear as regards that. In any case, did you hear of the
25 existence of a global or five-stage plan to counter terrorism; and in
1 relation to that, I will show you two documents.
2 A. I think I said yesterday that when President Milosevic ordered
3 that a plan be made, the plan was created by General Pavkovic. Its basis
4 was Grom, which had previously been done on the request of the Supreme
5 Defence Council. Based on that, he devised a plan containing five
6 stages, whereas the earlier plan only had two.
7 Q. In this document of the 22nd of July, 1998, we can see that what
8 is envisaged is the participation of the units of MUP and the Pristina
9 Corps. Did you know that the plan envisaged the use of both MUP and
10 Pristina Corps units?
11 A. Be so kind as to help me, please. Is this the meeting at which
12 the plan was ordered to be made, or was it one of the subsequent meetings
13 because they were held after each of the stages more or less?
14 Q. We can see that a reference is made of the meeting of the 21st of
15 July, 1998, when the implementation was ordered.
16 A. Yes. That's why I say that I don't know which meeting in the
17 sequence of those meetings this one is. There were meetings, the plan
18 was put forth, and it was done in stages. That is not in dispute.
19 Q. I'd like to focus on whether you know that the plan envisaged use
20 of MUP units as well?
21 A. I believe it was present throughout, that it was the MUP who was
22 supposed to carry out anti-terrorist actions; that is to say that the
23 military was there to secure the border and facilities as well as roads,
24 and the MUP in the area of Kosovo and Metohija was to conduct
25 anti-terrorist operations. That's what was said at the meeting when the
1 plan was devised.
2 Q. From the document, we can also see that what was envisaged was
3 the use of the Pristina Corps units?
4 A. Yes, that is not in dispute.
5 Q. We needn't go into 4D101 because it speaks of the same thing.
6 A. We have the requests of the Pristina Corps commander sent to the
7 army commander in both 4D100 and 101.
8 Q. Could you please be shown Exhibit 6D1674 next. Do you have the
9 document before you, General?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Very well. We need page 5.
12 A. Very well.
13 Q. For the record, it is the collegium minutes of the chiefs of
14 departments of the General Staff dated the 1st of June, 1998; is that
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. On the page number 5, there is your intervention, and it is
18 important to refer to some of the dates. First of all, I'd like to ask
19 you whether in 1998 you remember on what days the chiefs of the General
20 Staff met for collegium meetings?
21 A. For the most part of the year it was on Fridays, but if the
22 situation required we also met on Mondays as well.
23 Q. That is the information I have as well. Thank you.
24 Here you say, General, when it comes to the security situation
25 assessment there were no significant changes in the past few days in
1 relation to last Friday. I checked this date, the 1st of June, 1998;
2 this was a Monday. It was Monday, the 1st of June. You were talking
3 about the Friday before that, which was the last Friday in May; is that
5 A. Yes, two days before that -- well, Friday was the end of the
6 previous week for us, and then Monday was the first day of the next week.
7 Q. Please show us page 7 next, paragraph 2, which begins with the
8 words: "As regards or when it comes to the situation in the territory,
9 the planned actions of MUP forces to clear the road between Pec, Decani,
10 and Djakovica was not implemented during the weekend" --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: What's the position about the English translation
12 of this?
13 MR. LUKIC: I think that we translated only those highlighted
14 sections, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: So is there a translation?
16 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm told there's not one in e-court.
18 MR. LUKIC: And I was told that there is one only for those
19 sections, but I think that we -- that's all I need this document for.
20 I'm not going to use it anymore.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, this document's not been admitted before,
22 and in the absence of translation we will not be considering it today.
23 So you'll need to move to something else unless you can put a question
24 without the document.
25 MR. LUKIC: I still think that the General can answer my question
1 without having this document in front of him.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: [Microphone not activated]
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. General, sir --
5 A. I have the document in front of me.
6 Q. However, we cannot use it since there is no translation. Thank
7 you in any case.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: The court deputy will remove the document from
9 you, and Mr. Lukic will ask a question without the document.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. General, sir, do you remember whether there was a collegium
12 meeting between the Friday and the Monday? If it was the 30th, there
13 should have been -- or there could have been something on the Saturday;
14 is that correct? Excuse me, a meeting with Milosevic. We can see that
15 the action was underway. Do you remember whether there was a plan
16 created during the action or whether there was a meeting with Milosevic
17 between the Friday and the Monday?
18 A. If we are talking about the road between Decani and Djakovica,
19 then it was supposed to be cleared, and that was supposed to be done over
20 the weekend. That's why I mentioned that Monday, and I just saw it from
21 the document that it began on -- at 5.00 a.m. If that is the incident in
22 which several soldiers were killed, then it could be the Sunday because I
23 think there was a problem between the State Security Service and the
24 armed forces because two or three soldiers were hurt in the course of
25 that action. It was General Perisic who insisted and asked urgently to
1 see Milosevic to clear that up. If that is it and if I still recall the
2 details well, in addition to Perisic --
3 Q. Just a moment, General. I cannot confirm whether it is the
4 Sunday; therefore, we have to move on. I cannot use the document --
5 A. I remember that particular incident, which occurred on a Sunday.
6 Q. Let us move on.
7 You were asked about P1011. The Prosecutor put questions to you
8 concerning it.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it was the Chamber, Mr. Lukic.
10 MR. LUKIC: Or maybe Chamber, yes. I'm sorry.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have it.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Very well.
14 A. If that is the news article. I have page 56 from the magazine
16 Q. I will put my question without the document. In any case, at
17 page 112 of the document it says that the deputy president of the
18 commission, Major-General Aco Tomic, and that the president of the
19 commission was Major-General Krgovic --
20 A. Counsel, I don't have a document in front of me. I have an
21 excerpt from the army magazine. It's a single page, and you seem to be
22 referring to something else.
23 Q. Thank you very much. We won't go into that either.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] If I may have a moment.
25 [Defence counsel confer]
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. P717, please. You were asked about it and Perisic's letter of
3 certain efforts to have certain army units brought under the command of
4 the police. Do you know whether in practice in 1998 and 1999, were there
5 ever cases in which an army unit was put under the command of the Serbian
7 A. No, counsel. I have no such knowledge.
8 Q. Thank you. I have a few short questions left. When providing
9 answers to Judge Bonomy's questions, you explained the authorities and
10 organizations of the administration for security and the Army of
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat the question.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely not. That hypothesis
14 came from certain circles, but I can claim with full responsibility that
15 it never took place, and I can tell you that for the security
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Thank you.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lukic, there's been an overlap in question and
20 answer, and that question is not recorded. Can it please be repeated.
21 The witness obviously heard it, but the interpreter did not translate it
22 into English.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We have the last answer recorded.
24 Q. My question was whether the two administrations gathered
25 operational information concerning the activities of the MUP of Serbia.
1 A. Absolutely not, counsel. It would have been nonsense to have
2 anyone collecting information on the MUP. Absolutely not.
3 Q. Thank you. Do you remember when Aleksandar Vasiljevic was
4 replaced from the position of the head of security administration of the
5 JNA? Do you recall that taking place in 1992?
6 A. Yes, May 1992, perhaps the 12th or the 14th. I think the 14th.
7 Q. Thank you. Was he also arrested on that occasion?
8 A. Yes -- no, not at the -- at the point in time when he was
9 replaced but subsequently.
10 Q. Do you know when he was reinstated?
11 A. I believe I said yesterday what I knew. I learned it from the
12 media. It could have been in April or May 1999.
13 Q. Thank you. Aco Vasiljevic, when he was not with the Army of
15 the security administration of the VJ?
16 A. No, he could not have such an access. Occasionally, he would
17 drop by the security administration. Perhaps throughout those years I
18 saw him on a couple of occasions, but he had no business there and no one
19 was authorised to give him any information. I don't know of any such
20 thing. He possibly talked to some of the officers, but I don't know.
21 Q. Those conversations could have been informal?
22 A. Yes, absolutely informal.
23 Q. Thank you. A special anti-terrorist unit of the Serbian MUP --
24 sorry, the JSO unit for special operations of the state security sector
25 was established on the 5th of April, 1996. Aco Vasiljevic, or Aleksandar
1 Vasiljevic, in this courtroom stated that the security service of the VJ
2 had information that the SAJ included convicted criminals who jointly had
3 acquired over 150 years of prison sentences. Do you know of such
5 A. No.
6 Q. Do you know personally when the unit was formed?
7 A. I can't tell you anything precisely. I heard different -- of
8 different dates. I don't know exactly.
9 Q. Thank you. General, thank you. This concludes my examination.
10 That's all I had for you. Thank you.
11 A. Thank you.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
13 Further Questioned by the Court:
14 Q. JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Dimitrijevic, just a couple of matters to be
15 cleared up. In answering questions earlier when you were asked about the
16 reasons for your termination of your service with the VJ, you said:
17 "Probably because there were constant complaints about the use of units,
18 the use of the MUP as a whole, and the wire-tapping."
19 Now, you told us about your complaints about the use of VJ units,
20 and you told us about the wire-tapping. Can you tell us what you were
21 referring to when you said one of the complaints you were making was
22 about the use of the MUP as a whole?
23 A. Could you please -- well, perhaps I'm tired by now. I didn't
24 quite understand your question.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Earlier I asked you about the circumstances in
1 which you came to have your service terminated, and one of the questions
2 right at the end was: "Why did these others want rid of you?"
3 And you said that the pressure had come from the MUP, that was
4 principally the State Security Service, and from General Pavkovic. And I
5 asked you why these others wanted rid of you, and you said: "Well,
6 probably because there were constant complaints about the use of units,
7 the use of the MUP as a whole, the wire-tapping on the part of the State
8 Security Service that I was talking about yesterday."
9 Now, what did you mean by the use of the MUP as a whole?
10 A. Mr. President, I think that it is possible that a mistake was
11 made there, that I meant the use of the units of the army; namely, these
12 complaints were being addressed because I indicated that, and then on the
13 other side it was interpreted in a different way. So when I told you why
14 I retired, I did not say that that was it, but I said that I did think
15 those were the reasons. I mean specifically the late minister of the
16 interior, Vlajko Stojiljkovic, and of course, I stand by what I said, the
17 head of the state security.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, but what I'd like to know is what
19 Stojiljkovic had against you.
20 A. Against me?
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. If you --
22 A. Well, I can assume -- well, Mr. Stojiljkovic -- well, I have to
23 put it this way. He was a blind yes man in terms of everything that was
24 said to him, and I -- and he didn't like - and I think that was the key
25 thing - he didn't like the fact that General Perisic and I both on some
1 occasions warned President Milosevic about -- well, not in general terms
2 but about some members of the MUP behaving improperly as far as
3 activities are concerned that shouldn't really be something that they do,
4 that is to say having something taken away, taken general, that's what I
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry, I don't understand that. Behaving
7 improperly, could you explain what you said after that.
8 A. Now I'm a bit perplexed too. Now, what was I saying exactly?
9 Well, Mr. President, I'll try to explain it again slowly --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: No, no, just let me make it clear to you,
11 Mr. Dimitrijevic, that it doesn't look as though you were confused when
12 you made this point because you said that the pressure came from the MUP,
13 among others, and also Pavkovic; and then you said that that was because
14 there were constant complaints about the use of units, the use of the MUP
15 as a whole, and the wire-tapping.
16 Now, it looks on the face of it that you had a genuine belief
17 that behind your dismissal was the MUP dissatisfaction with you
18 complaining about their activities, and it's the activities I want to
19 know about. What activities of the MUP were you complaining about?
20 A. First of all, may I say, Mr. President, that practically as for
21 half of what you were saying I didn't hear it. I heard the last two
22 sentences --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: I will say it again, then. I don't want there to
24 be any misunderstanding about that. Are you hearing me clearly now or
25 hearing the translation clearly?
1 A. Now, yes.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Okay. Well, I'll speak slowly.
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: You mentioned the MUP twice in connection with the
5 circumstances in which your service was terminated. You referred to
6 pressure coming from the MUP as well as from General Pavkovic, and you
7 then when asked why they wanted rid of you said that it was because --
8 probably because of your constant complaints about the use of units,
9 which I think's clearly the army, and the use of the MUP as a whole. And
10 what I would like you to tell us is what use the MUP were being put to,
11 what were the activities of the MUP that you were complaining about.
12 A. Now I heard all of it. Mr. President, a few times, precisely at
13 President Milosevic's, there was mention of the following: When some
14 actions were completed some members of the MUP took advantage of the
15 situation. They would take certain things away; they would pack this up
16 and put it in vehicles and so on, and we warned about that too. We
17 warned President Milosevic about that once. And after that he said to us
18 that he did not believe that, and then ten days later he said that we had
19 been right, that he had ordered Vlajko Stojiljkovic to take the most
20 energetic measures possible against such individuals and that this should
21 not be repeated again.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: When was that?
23 A. That was in the summer of 1998, the beginning of autumn. The
24 period is August/September 1998.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, speaking for myself I have to say to you that
1 that does not sound like a description of the use of the MUP as a whole,
2 which was what you said yesterday. And I would like you to think again
3 about that phrase and tell us what it was that you were describing as the
4 use of the MUP as a whole, which suggests some sort of command exercise.
5 A. Well, with all the goodwill in the world I cannot tell you now,
6 Mr. President, what I meant when I uttered those words, but objections
7 were raised in terms of overall conduct for the above-mentioned reasons.
8 Now, what it was that I said yesterday precisely in those terms, I really
9 cannot tell you now.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lukic, does --
11 A. But when I was speaking -- I beg your pardon. When I was
12 speaking about that, when the MUP was mentioned, I think that what I
13 particularly pointed out was the State Security Service but the MUP, too,
14 of course.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Now, Mr. Lukic, does that raise anything for you?
17 MR. LUKIC: No, Your Honour. Thank you.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
19 In the course of Mr. Fila's cross-examination this afternoon, you
20 were being asked about the use of the word "attempt," and you will
21 remember the document which talked about the attempted command of the VJ
22 by unauthorised persons, and you said the following: "There is no
23 mention of anything being completed successfully. There was an attempt
24 to have this or that happen -- rather, to have Sainovic and Minic ..."
25 and you were interrupted at that point before you could completely
1 answer. What was it you intended to say there?
2 A. Yes, I remember very well that the question was that I should
3 explain what "attempt" meant in our language. I think that "attempt" is
4 "attempt" in any language, that is to say if you attempt to do so
5 something and you do not do it after all. So since this is a letter of
6 the Chief of General Staff sent to President Milosevic, that means that I
7 did not take part in the writing of the letter and I was not aware of the
8 letter. I think that I said that later at some point he told me about
9 it, that he had sent a letter to President Milosevic. So he made
10 proposals there as to what should be put out of force, and now he's
11 talking about these attempts to command by the MUP and also the
12 attempts --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: There was an interruption.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I take this to be a warning to
15 President Milosevic because --
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, let me stop you there. I understand that,
17 and I understand your view which others may well share that an attempt is
18 an attempt. But in answering that question, you said: "There was an
19 attempt to have this or that happen -- rather, to have Sainovic and
20 Minic ..."
21 Now, you were going to say something about an attempt to have
22 Sainovic and Minic something. What was it you were going to say?
23 A. I really am sorry, Mr. President, but I cannot answer that
24 question of yours. I don't know. Probably -- well, it's not probably.
25 I mean, it's certain that there was something in my mind; there was a
1 thought there, but I really cannot tell you now what it was.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one final matter. We've had some evidence in
3 the case that in June 1998 you ordered the security department of the
4 Pristina Corps command to report directly to the security administration
5 of the General Staff on a daily basis. Can you confirm that that was the
7 A. Yes. I think that we asked that regardless of the fact that the
8 chief of security or the Pristina Corps was duty-bound to send his
9 reports to the chief of security of the army and then he to the security
10 administration, I think that that is what we asked for, namely, that we
11 get direct reports from the corps so that when the army processed them
12 something might be omitted. Indeed, we did get reports, dispatches
13 signed by the chief of security of the Pristina Corps.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Could that be a -- be said to be a departure from
15 normal practice?
16 A. Yes, yes. This was not regular practice. The situation required
17 it then, that we wanted to have direct reports from the corps --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Why --
19 A. -- otherwise in a normal situation that is not done.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: What --
21 A. Well, because, because the focus was on the Pristina Corps, and
22 the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, that is to say in the area of the
23 Pristina Corps, was getting increasingly complex day by day; every day, I
24 can say.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, have any issues arisen that any counsel
1 wishes to explore any further?
2 Very well. Mr. Dimitrijevic, that completes your evidence.
3 Thank you for -- I'm sorry, Mr. Fila.
4 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I really don't know whether I should
5 ask, so I'm going to ask you for your leave, and then you tell me whether
6 I should or not. I interrupted him, so now I feel guilty, and I do
7 apologise. Does he know at all whether such an attempt was made by
8 Sainovic and Minic?
9 JUDGE BONOMY: There is nothing -- Mr. Fila --
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] If I'm asking a silly question, then
11 never mind.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: There is nothing further you can do in the
13 circumstances. The matter's been explored, and we will make of it what
14 we can in due course.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Dimitrijevic, thank you for coming to the
17 Tribunal to give evidence. I'm sorry we've taken a little longer than we
18 had intended, but with the goodwill and cooperation of all involved in
19 this courtroom we've reached the end of your evidence today in the course
20 of the two days and do not require you to return. So you're now free to
21 leave the office when the link is severed in a moment, and you do not
22 require to return. Thank you very much.
23 And the link can now be severed.
24 [The witness withdrew via videolink]
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, we said that we would address the issue of
1 the final briefs in light of the circumstances at the end of the evidence
2 of General Dimitrijevic. We now do that.
3 Mr. Hannis, what do you wish to say on that matter?
4 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, we would like to request to have until
5 next Tuesday, the 15th.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: And what's your position on the closing arguments?
7 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I know there's a strong desire to have
8 it done before the recess, and I share that. But I am also of concern
9 that it will be difficult to read six closing briefs in that amount of
10 time and be prepared to respond to them. I think I sent an e-mail to
11 your Legal Officers inquiring what your procedure was going to be. I
12 know in some other cases the procedure has been the parties were directed
13 not to say anything in their oral submissions that is in their written
14 pleadings but, rather, to focus on addressing arguments raised by the
15 opposite side. If that's the position that you decide to take, then that
16 will help somewhat. And also if you have specific questions that you
17 want to address for us that will help us focus our oral arguments. And
18 we might be able to do it on the currently scheduled date, but it will be
20 JUDGE BONOMY: There may be particular issues that we identify to
21 be addressed. Apart from that, we say that the parties may consider
22 addressing any controversial matter on which further argument or review
23 of all the arguments is likely to be of assistance to the Trial Chamber;
24 secondly, may consider addressing points made in other briefs that were
25 not fully addressed in their brief; and thirdly, and this is a very
1 general direction, to simply do whatever in your professional judgement
2 would most effectively advance your client's case.
3 Now, beyond that we do not see that it's for us to interfere in
4 how parties choose to frame the closing arguments.
5 Now, on the question of briefs, does any Defence counsel wish to
6 say anything in addition to what Mr. Hannis has said inviting us to
7 postpone the date until Tuesday?
8 Mr. Visnjic.
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours -- I'm sorry.
10 Your Honours, we all know that Mr. Hannis is a modest man when it
11 comes to assessments, but we know that he has three times as many people
12 as we do, so we would seek for twice as much time, that is, until Friday
13 instead of Tuesday. That would be our request.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, Mr. Visnjic, you know that that would prevent
15 the closing arguments taking place in the following week?
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours -- well, I'm just
17 going by what Mr. Hannis has said about the closing arguments.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: But it's impossible -- there's a rule that says
19 there must be five days between the final briefs and the closing
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Well, there is a rule if you decide
22 to do it before the recess, but in this case it seems to us that it would
23 be impossible for us to deal with this task before the recess.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Anyone wish to say anything else on the subject?
25 Mr. Fila.
1 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Well, I will not address this topic
2 because I have this remorse because I have this feeling that I took up
3 too much of your time, but I have a request for you, not to allow me to
4 get 5.000 words more but at least 2 or 3.000 words, perhaps, if you would
5 allow me that. There is a great difference between our two languages.
6 You have "the," the definite article that you put everywhere. So when I
7 want to express myself in my language it becomes twice as many words in
8 your language. For instance, I say "Hag" and you say "The Hague
9 that's two words already, so could you please --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Twice as many in English? That's one where it's
11 half the number of words in your language.
12 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] That's what I'm saying. That's why
13 it's difficult for me. It is easier -- if I had 60.000 words in Serbian,
14 that would be great, but that's almost is 100.000 words in your language.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. Well, in French, Mr. -- even if you had to
16 write in French -- even if you had to write in --
17 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] In French too.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Even if you had to write in French, we wouldn't be
19 increasing the number of words --
20 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] That's the same thing. That's why I
21 said this may sound funny. That's what I said. What can I do? That's
22 how it is. So if you can, I would be very grateful; if not, well what
23 can I do?
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour. I would just join the proposal of
1 my colleague Visnjic.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, one thing that -- it's perhaps understood in
3 what Mr. Visnjic said but just for the avoidance of any doubt, if we fix
4 Tuesday as the day for the final arguments, would you still seek until
5 after the recess for the closing arguments?
6 MR. LUKIC: I can ask in the name of my colleague Visnjic because
7 we talked before, I think, that we would still ask to be able to analyse
8 all the motions of the other parties, to have that closing arguments
9 after the break.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you.
11 [Trial Chamber and legal officer confer]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, may I first of all apologise to the
13 interpreters and others who are assisting us in court for the additional
14 delay this evening, but we're almost there. We'll be finished in a
15 minute or two.
16 We shall recall the part of our order of the 2nd of May, 2008,
17 requiring final trial briefs no later than 8th July and closing arguments
18 22nd to 25th July, and we shall order the parties to file the final trial
19 briefs no later than the 15th of July, which is Tuesday of next week.
20 And we shall hear closing arguments the first week after the recess,
21 which will be from the 19th to the 22nd of August.
22 That then completes our sitting for today, and we now adjourn
23 until the 19th of August.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.36 p.m.
25 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 19th day of
1 August, 2008.