1 Monday, 12 July 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
7 Mr. Registrar, will you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
9 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-81-T,
10 the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic. Thank you.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
12 Could we have appearances, starting with the Prosecution, please.
13 MR. HARMON: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon,
14 counsel, everyone in the courtroom. Mark Harmon and Carmela Javier
15 appearing for the Prosecution.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
17 And for the Defence.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good
19 afternoon to all in and around the courtroom. On behalf of Mr. Perisic,
20 Mr. Novak Lukic and Ms. Tina Drolec.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Lukic.
22 I'm told -- yes, Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Before we introduce the next witness
24 there was one issue that I wanted to raise. I think private session
25 might be required for this purpose. Thank you.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
2 [Private session]
11 Page 12524 redacted. Private session.
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
17 May we call the witness in, please.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the witness please make the declaration.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
21 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. You may be seated, sir. And
23 good afternoon to you, sir.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Good afternoon to you
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
2 Mr. Lukic.
3 WITNESS: DUSAN KOVACEVIC
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] You're comfortable, sir, aren't you. Will you
7 please state your name for the record.
8 A. Dusan Kovacevic.
9 Q. Date of birth, please, and place of birth.
10 A. The 25th of December, 1942, the village of Ervenik, Knin
11 municipality, Republic of Croatia.
12 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, I will try to quickly go through your CV. I will
13 state certain information that I've checked with you already. Please
14 just check if everything is correct and correct me if I'm wrong.
15 Military academy, you completed military academy back in 1965;
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The staff command academy in 1980; right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The National Defence school, which is the supreme military
21 schooling institution in the JNA, you completed in 1988 and 1989, that
22 academic year; right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. At the same time throughout your military career you obtained a
25 degree in engineering as well, did you not, in Zagreb as a matter of
2 A. Yes, that's right, in Zagreb.
3 Q. What we find particularly interesting is your specialisation. It
4 was the military special-purpose industry; right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Which year did you obtain your degree in engineering, if you
8 A. 1994.
9 Q. In 1994 you were a minister, therefore I assume --
10 A. I do apologise. In 1974. It was a slip of the tongue.
11 Q. Thank you. Mr. Kovacevic, I did draw your attention while you
12 were being proofed that we speak the same language, we understand each
13 other. Nevertheless, we have interpreters here who are supposed to
14 interpret everything that we say accurately. Please pause for a couple
15 of seconds after each of my questions and I will do the same after each
16 of your answers in order to avoid overlapping. Thank you.
17 After military academy, when did you become -- when were you
18 promoted to the rank of second lieutenant?
19 A. That was in July 1965, after I had completed military academy.
20 Q. In your military career you filled all the posts, from troop
21 level all the way up to the highest-ranking positions within the corps
22 and the army as a whole; is that a fair statement?
23 A. Yes, it is.
24 Q. I will not be going through your entire military career here, but
25 one thing that I can say is everything that you were doing as an
1 active-duty military officer in the JNA had to do with logistics and
2 technical services; right?
3 A. Yes, that's right. But then as years went by, it had to do with
4 the overall logistics aspects as well.
5 Q. Yes, thank you. That's what I'll be focusing on.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Exhibit P1906
7 drawn up on our screens now. This is Mr. Kovacevic's personal file. In
8 B/C/S the page number is 7, and the English reference is pages 7 and 8.
9 It's the last portion that we'll be looking at simply because of our time
10 limitations. We also noted some discrepancies here and this is something
11 that I would like to set the record straight on with the witness here.
12 What we're looking at here, Your Honours, specifically I'm
13 referring to -- just a minute, please. I don't think the English entry
14 is consistent. Or perhaps it is. These are promotions here on the
15 English page. What I need is -- just a minute, please. The next page in
16 the English. Thank you. Page 7 in the English, as I said. All right.
17 It's the third entry that I'm looking at.
18 Q. In July 1990 you were named commander of the 744th Logistics
19 Base. Can you see that, sir?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. It reads "Tuzla," whereas, in fact, as you told me, the base was
22 located elsewhere. Can you please set the record straight on that,
24 A. This must be a mistake. The 744th Logistics Base command was
25 actually at the Sarajevo garrison, the military school centre,
1 specifically Marsal Tito barracks.
2 Q. Following that I see a concept mentioned there, 1st Military
3 District, and then in the following entry you were named in 1992,
4 February 1992, as it reads, you were named chief of logistics and
5 technical services in the command of the 2nd Military District Sarajevo.
6 We'll come to this at a later stage, but can you just please explain why
7 this is now called the 2nd Military District?
8 A. Because there had been a restructuring effort in the former JNA
9 by some elements of the 1st and 5th Military Districts, and these were
10 now joined to make up the 2nd Military District, whose command was based
11 at Sarajevo garrison. It was on the 3rd of January that I was appointed
12 in the year of 1990, I was appointed to this post, the chief of the
13 technical services. I have no idea why the document reflects the
14 8th of February, 1992, as the correct date. Other than that, there are
15 quite a number of mistakes in this file.
16 Q. While you were with the 2nd Military District command, did you
17 discharge any other duties specifically while you were in Sarajevo?
18 A. I discharged a duty also at the 2nd command -- the command of the
19 2nd Military District, but I was also handing over my duty as the
20 commander of the 744th Logistics Base at the time. For over a month
21 there was a overlap between these two duties, and throughout that month,
22 I actually occupied both of these posts.
23 Q. Were you appointed by a particular decision in terms of taking up
24 this duty in February and March 1992 and then up until the time of your
1 A. Yes. I was appointed as stand-in deputy command -- the deputy
2 commander for logistics of the Sarajevo garrison 2nd Military District.
3 Q. Who was the commander of the 2nd Military District at the time?
4 A. Colonel-General Milutin Kukanjac, who was also the person who
5 requested my appointment to that post.
6 Q. Fine. There are two further entries there. I want to know about
7 this transfer to the 1st Army Belgrade garrison, the 16th of December,
8 1992. Can you explain what that means.
9 A. I hadn't even seen this before you showed me the document one or
10 two days ago. I don't know what it means.
11 Q. To be quite specific, we identified a number of posts that you
12 filled at the time, chief of technical services, at the same time
13 assistant commander for logistics in the 2nd Military District. Did you
14 occupy those posts until the time you left Sarajevo territory?
15 A. Yes, that is right. Up until the 3rd of May, 1992. As for the
16 former -- the first appointment mentioned here in the 1st Army, no one
17 ever informed me about this or indeed delivered to me a document to that
18 effect. As I said, I'm entirely unaware of this.
19 Q. Did you at one point in time become a member of the VRS and can
20 you specify the point in time and location? What exactly was your duty?
21 We'll tackle this in more detail at a later stage. We're just moving
22 along through your CV now.
23 A. It was sometime early in September 1992. There was an order by
24 the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS, General Ratko Mladic,
25 appointing me to the Main Staff of the VRS, specifically the logistics
1 organ. I worked as an administrator for General Djukic.
2 Q. Very well. And what about later on, what was the next post that
3 you moved to, if I can put it that way?
4 A. It was the Main Staff of the VRS. If you look at this order and
5 this establishment post, I remained in this post up until the
6 19th of January, 1993. Mr. Lukic, who was appointed by the government,
7 put my name forward to the parliament of Republika Srpska as a candidate
8 for defence minister. The parliament and the Assembly of Republika
9 Srpska then elected me to that post or position. And after that, the
10 president of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadzic, published a decree
11 appointing me to act as defence minister in the RS government.
12 Q. How long did you remain in that position for, General?
13 A. August 1994. I was dismissed and I no longer occupied that post.
14 Q. What about after that, did you take up another duty in the
15 executive bodies of Republika Srpska or perhaps in the army?
16 A. There was another presidential decree by Radovan Karadzic
17 appointing me deputy defence minister in the RS government.
18 Q. All right. We have two entries here. I'm looking again at your
19 personal file, the 14th of June, 1995, there was another presidential
20 decree in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, relieving you of your
21 duties. We'll be looking at these details as we move along through your
22 CV. And then finally we see you retired by decree by the president of
23 the FRY on the 16th of January, 1996; is that right?
24 A. Yes, that's right.
25 Q. Very well. We'll be looking at these documents later on, but
1 later you were promoted in the VRS by President Karadzic to the rank of
2 major-general on the 19th of January, 1993; is that right, sir?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. We won't be going back to that particular page, but it's there in
5 your personal file which is in evidence. You were also promoted in the
6 VJ by a decree of President Lilic, again major-general. The
7 10th of November, 1993, was the date of your promotion; right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You held that rank when you eventually retired, did you not?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes.
12 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I'm going to object because these
13 questions are all leading. If the -- if these are merely questions to
14 have the witness affirm very quickly and preliminarily these various
15 assertions that Mr. Lukic is putting to the witness, then I don't have an
16 objection. But I'm worried about leading questions in general and I
17 assume that this -- these are preliminary questions only in what -- I see
18 Mr. Lukic is nodding his head, in which case I'll withdraw my objection
19 and I will -- we can proceed, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think this has been the established
22 practice so far, and nevertheless I'll try to do my best to not stray
23 from the course with any truly leading questions. I will try to do now
24 as the Rules bid me to do. Nevertheless, this was about the witness's CV
25 and that alone. We'll no longer be requiring the document that's on our
1 screens. Thank you.
2 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, the first topic that I'd like to cover with you
3 today -- well, first of all, let's clarify one thing. We talked about
4 your career a minute ago and saw that you were the commander of the
5 744th Logistics Base, and then later you worked with the technical
6 services section of the 1st and then 2nd Military District.
7 What was the territory of the then-SFRY covered by - if I may put
8 it that way - your post in 1989/1990, and onwards?
9 A. When I served as the commander of the 744th Logistics Base, the
10 infrastructure of that base covered the entire territory or most of the
11 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. When I moved on to my new post in
12 the command of the 2nd Military District, my authority in terms of
13 logistics spread to Zadar, Knin, Bihac, Bakrac, some parts of Slavonia,
14 the Yugoslav border, and all the way down to the seacoast, stopping just
15 short of Trebinje, but including Sibenik and Split where the navy was
16 based. It was a far greater territory than that covered by both Serbia
17 and Montenegro jointly these days.
18 Q. According to the concept and doctrine of All People's Defence,
19 let's talk about the logistics base. How were the reserves of the JNA
20 and the Territorial Defence deployed in the Socialist Federative Republic
21 of Yugoslavia before the former state broke up?
22 A. Most of the reserves of the former JNA and the federal reserves
23 for the manufacture of weapons and military equipment and most of the raw
24 materials were concentrated in the depots of the 744th Logistics Base.
25 According to the strategic organisation, that was in the central part of
1 the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. At the same time in
2 that central part of the former state -- or rather, in the territory of
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina, there were also the largest number of factories
4 of the so-called purpose production. The other logistics base around the
5 brims of the state covered smaller territories and had smaller reserves
6 in view of the mobility of the front line and the possibility of evacuate
7 equipment from those bases from, for example, in Slovenia and Macedonia
8 towards the interior of the country.
9 Q. Tell me, your own 744th Logistics Base, who was it subordinated
10 to and what part of the command chain did it belong to?
11 A. Before the 2nd Military District was established, the
12 744th Logistics Base in every sense was subordinated to the command of
13 the 1st Military District in Belgrade. The exception were some very
14 specific professional and technical issue, whereby it was subordinated to
15 the technical administration of the SSNO.
16 Q. And once the 2nd Military District was established, what happened
17 with that base?
18 A. When the 2nd Logistics Base [as interpreted] was established, the
19 744th Logistics Base fell under the composition of the 2nd Military
20 District under the command of the Lieutenant-General Milutin Kukanjac and
21 in professional terms it was subordinated to myself.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sir, you're interpreted at page 13, line 15 as:
23 "When the 2nd Logistics Base was established ..."
24 Was this the 2nd Logistics Base or the 2nd Military District?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said expressly this: When the
1 2nd Military District was established --
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, thank you --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- so this is a mistake. If it
4 says the 2nd base then it must be a mistake.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Let's be a bit more vivid for all of us in the courtroom. How
8 many depots were under this base? And when I say "depot," I mean a
9 facility where materiel and equipment are stored.
10 A. I can't give you a precise number. I really don't remember.
11 However, there were approximately 20 independent units that were separate
12 from each other.
13 Q. You also mentioned the military industry that existed before the
14 break-up of the SFRY, and you said that most of the military industry was
15 also located in the central part of the then-Yugoslavia, which is Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina. What was the relationship between the military industry
17 facilities in -- within the former state? Were they separate? Were they
18 independent? Or were they linked to each other?
19 A. During the former JNA, the complete military industry, all of the
20 companies within the chain of the military industry, in the territory of
21 the former Yugoslavia were linked into a chain. No single factory could
22 produce any final product on its own. When it came to completing one
23 product, several purpose industry companies had to be involved and they
24 were spread all over the former Yugoslavia. Everything was produced
25 based on partnership and co-operation in technological terms. Everything
1 was financed by the Ministry of Defence or by the federal secretariat for
2 All People's Defence. Every participant in the production of the final
3 product received a proportionate payment for the part that they produced
4 based on the production contract.
5 Q. In this courtroom we already heard that from the summer 1991,
6 when the JNA left the territories of Slovenia and Croatia, certain
7 changes started happening. Let me ask you, how did the departure of the
8 JNA from Slovenia and Croatia reflect on your work and on the work of the
9 logistics sector?
10 A. When the war started, first in Slovenia and then in Croatia, all
11 units in the territory of the 1st Military District, in the territory of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in one part of the territory of Croatia were
13 placed in the state of alert and full combat-readiness. As the commander
14 of the logistics base, I received orders from the General Staff of the
15 armed forces of the SFRY, and those orders concerned my involvement and
16 my assistance to the then-JNA with the transport of weapons, military
17 equipment, and primarily ammunition from the JNA depots in the
18 territories of Slovenia and Croatia. Some of those reserves were
19 supposed to be stored in the depots of the 744th Logistics Base, and the
20 other part had to be sent through the territory of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I did that every
22 time I received an order to such an effect.
23 The organisation of transport and transport columns, which
24 sometimes involved hundreds of heavy lorries, was in the hands of the
25 traffic administration of the General Staff of the JNA. As the commander
1 of the base, I also engaged my own vehicles and I attached them to those
3 Another form of my assistance was to receive --
4 Q. Just a moment, let's dwell upon the issue of convoys and military
5 columns, and then we'll move on to other tasks. Did you personally
6 participate in any of the convoys; if yes, where did you go and what were
7 your activities in that convoy -- and the time when that happened, if you
8 remember approximately?
9 A. I remember -- I don't remember the exact time, but I remember
10 that it was in late 1991. I went to the Plitvice sector with a team. I
11 waited for a convoy there and the convoy consisted of lorries loaded with
12 ammunition - I don't know where from - but in any case all those hailed
13 from the territories of Slovenia and Croatia. I took over one part of
14 that convoy, about half of those vehicles. I took them to the depots of
15 the logistics base and I stored all those materiel and equipment. And
16 the rest was sent to the territory of the SFRY, or rather, Serbia and
18 Q. When you say "Plitvice," could you please be more precise and
19 tell us where is Plitvice.
20 A. In Croatia.
21 Q. Could you tell us approximately how many lorries did you yourself
22 take to your base, to the territory of your base?
23 A. I believe anything between 40 and 50 lorries.
24 Q. What other activities did you engage in with regard to the
25 departure of the JNA from the territories of Slovenia and Croatia?
1 A. My task was also to receive families of the JNA members with
2 their personal belongings. Those people had either left or had been
3 expelled from the garrisons in Slovenia and Croatia. I was supposed to
4 provide them with accommodation, with board and lodging. I had to
5 organise their children's admittance to various schools and everything
6 else that was necessary to provide normal living for those families.
7 With that view, I took over a civilian hotel in Pale where I
8 could accommodate about 300 family members. The hotel had its own
9 kitchen. I accommodated all those families there. The food-supplies
10 came from the army and those families resided there; however, that was
11 not enough. Therefore, a building within the Marsal Tito barracks
12 compound was designated, and that building used to house cadets. And
13 that building was converted in order to accommodate several hundreds of
14 people, and that building then accommodated the families of the officers
15 who had arrived from Croatia and Slovenia. Their personal belongings,
16 furniture and clothes, were housed in a huge sports hall.
17 And the third form of assistance that I provided was to receive
18 the units with their arms and equipment who had left the territory of
19 Croatia. The first such place was the centre in Zadar headed by the
20 then-Colonel Momcilo Perisic. And for that unit and his officers, I
21 provided accommodation in the Marsal Tito barracks. They arrived, they
22 were deployed, and they were billeted there.
23 After a certain while, after a short period of time,
24 General Perisic - who was then colonel, mind you - he invited me and told
25 me that he had been promoted into the rank of general. I congratulated
1 him, together with the others who were present there. He also informed
2 us that he was being sent to take over the duties of the corps commander
3 of the JNA in Bileca. Further on --
4 Q. Just a moment, let's be a bit more precise. In several places
5 you mentioned the Marsal Tito barracks. Could you please tell the
6 Trial Chamber where that barracks is.
7 A. I have already told you that that barracks, Marsal Tito, is in
8 Sarajevo. That was the largest area -- the largest barracks in every
9 sense in the entire Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
10 Q. General, where did you live at the time?
11 A. At the time I lived in the Sarajevo garrison.
12 Q. And your family, where were they?
13 A. My family members were also in Sarajevo from 1987 or 1986, when I
14 was provided with an apartment in Sarajevo.
15 Q. Did they live in an apartment or in the barracks?
16 A. In the apartment. I apologise. I didn't understand your
17 question properly.
18 Q. And what about you, did you live together with your family during
19 that period of time? And we are talking about the year 1992. Could you
20 please be more precise and give us the details.
21 A. Up to the 1st of March, 1992, I lived at home and I went to work.
22 There was not that much work to do and I was no exception to the rule.
23 Everybody did the same. However, each and every one of us had to carry
24 our personal weapons because of the perilous journey across town and the
25 threats that we faced while travelling to and from work. However, on the
1 1st of March, when the incident happened in Sarajevo, when fire was
2 opened on the Serbian wedding party and when the bride-groom's father was
3 killed, the situation became a bit more complicated.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
5 MR. HARMON: I'm going to object, Your Honour. This answer is
6 non-responsive to the question.
7 I'm sorry, Your Honour, I am objecting because the answer given
8 by the witness is non-responsive to the question.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, the thing is -- the question was:
10 "And what about you, did you live together with your family
11 during that period of time? And we are talking about the year 1992.
12 Could you please be more precise and give us the details."
13 I'm not quite sure what details are being asked for here. This
14 kind of wide-open question allows for a witness to say anything he wants
15 to say under the sun because the questions are not focused. I'm not
16 quite sure what we are discussing.
17 MR. HARMON: The question that I -- the way I read the question,
18 Your Honour, is could he give -- did he live with his family --
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Right.
20 MR. HARMON: -- in Sarajevo during that period of time, in 1992.
21 Could you be more precise and give us details, and we have launched into
22 an answer that deals with --
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: A Serbian wedding.
24 MR. HARMON: -- yes, a Serbian wedding. So that's where I take
25 issue with the witness and the non-responsive nature of the answer.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, can you help us.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe that the witness is
3 answering my question, and let me not talk on the witness's behalf. I'm
4 sure that there are reasons for him to answer the way he is. Okay. Let
5 me repeat my question.
6 Q. How --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Wait a minute, wait a minute, Mr. Lukic. There's
8 an objection on the table. We've got to rule on it.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Well, I believe --
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: When you say the witness is answering your
11 question, what has a Serbian wedding got to do with his living in the
12 same house as his family?
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe that there is a link
14 between the two things, but I don't want to lead the witness into
15 answering the question. But I can rephrase the question and I can ask
16 the witness whether the incident on the 1st of March had any impact on
17 the freedom of movement around the city of Sarajevo. Maybe it will be
18 clearer to everybody.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, with all respect, the incident of the
20 1st of March has nothing to do with whether or not this witness lived
21 with his family in his house. It's a different topic.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is a big impact.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I don't think so, Your Honour. I --
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: If he lived with his family until the 1st of March
25 and because of what happened on the 1st of March that changed, he can say
1 so. I lived with my family until the 1st of March, on the 1st of March
2 something happened, and therefore I stopped -- it makes the conversation
3 flow and we can understand where he's going. But the way he's talking,
4 we don't understand how the 1st of March and a Serbian wedding have got
5 to do with a man's wedding -- with a man's place of residence because he
6 doesn't link the two. We're just getting facts thrown at us which don't,
7 on the face of them, seem to relate. Okay.
8 Let the witness then answer and tell us how all these things link
9 together, but let them be logical.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, a specific question: How long did you live in
12 your flat for with your family?
13 A. I came and I went with no obstruction whatsoever up until the
14 1st of March, 1992 --
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, Mr. Kovacevic, again you are not
16 answering the question. The question, listen: How long did you live in
17 your flat for with your family?
18 Don't tell us you came and you went. Tell us: I lived with my
19 family for three years, for four years, for hundred years, and then stop
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I lived with my family for about
22 ten years.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Starting from ...?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1972, in Sarajevo. In that flat,
25 from 1983 or 1984.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: You carry on, sir. I don't know what "In that
2 flat, from 1983 or 1984" means.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We had an interpretation problem,
4 Your Honour. The witness and I understood each other, but the
5 interpretation was not correct previously. We'll try to move on
6 gradually and take it slowly in order to not create any further problems.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. How far was your flat from your work at the time?
10 A. About 2 kilometres.
11 Q. What was the location of your flat, since the Trial Chamber knows
12 a number of locations in Sarajevo?
13 A. Specifically Dolac Malta.
14 Q. Which neighbourhood would that be?
15 A. Hrasno.
16 Q. Thank you. And what about your work, where was it at the time?
17 A. The command of the 2nd Military District, the 6th of April Square
18 at the foot of Bistrik.
19 Q. So why were you no longer able to go back home to Hrasno after
20 the 6th of March?
21 A. Because, by way of a response to the killing of one of the people
22 who were involved in the wedding, the Serbs set up barricades across
23 Sarajevo and around. They were reacting to what had occurred. Soon
24 after, the Muslims put up their own barricades across the city of
25 Sarajevo, in those areas in which they constituted a majority, and had
1 the streets and whole neighbourhoods under their control. For that
2 reason, the Muslim forces blocked the command of the 2nd Military
3 District or laid siege to it at the foot of Bistrik.
4 No one was able to go in or out without approval from the BH MUP.
5 If anyone tried to force their way out, they would be fired on. That was
6 the reason that I wasn't staying with my family from the 1st of March on,
7 until such time as I left Sarajevo altogether, until such time as I was
8 able to evacuate my family in mid-1992, sometime like July or
9 August 1992.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, I do not understand the witness's
11 answer at page 22, line 11. I seem to think that something is missing in
12 that sentence because your next question doesn't relate to what was said
13 in that answer and I suspect that you and him heard each other. The
14 answer there -- you asked him:
15 "Thank you. And what about your work, where was it at that time?
16 "The command of the 2nd Military District, the 6th of April
17 Square, at the foot of ..."
18 Something's definitely missing there because your next question
20 "... why were you no longer able to ..."
21 So it looks like he's told us something about why that he left
22 his family around the 6th of -- nothing's missing?
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No. Your Honour, if I may correct
24 this. He said it right. This is the address, the 6th of April Square,
25 it's what a square is called, the 6th of April Square. And my question
1 was in response to his previous answer about him not being able to go
2 back home any longer. So the interpretation there is correct. He stayed
3 at the command. He was at the command.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated]
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: I beg your pardon.
7 Where did he say he stayed at the command if -- before you asked
8 that question:
9 "So why were you no longer able to go back home?"
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] My question was at line 10, where was
11 his work, where was he working at the time, line 10. And his answer at
12 line 11.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: All right. I see. That's what we've just been
14 discussing. Now question at line 13, what prompts that? What prompted
15 your question at line 13?
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was picking up where
17 I'd left off before, how long did he live in his flat for, did he stay in
18 his flat for. That is the logic of my question.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay --
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Page --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please repeat the page number.
22 The interpreters could not understand whether it's 20 or 21.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: The interpreters did not hear what page you're
24 referring us to.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] 21, line 5.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you so much.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. In order to understand what follows, I'd like to go back to
4 something else. Mr. Kovacevic, how were the armed forces organised
5 before the war, the armed forces of the SFRY? What did they do?
6 A. They were the Territorial Defences of the republics and provinces
7 and the armed units of the JNA.
8 Q. Who had the command over the Territorial Defences of the
9 republics and provinces?
10 A. The Supreme Command was the Supreme Command of everyone, and each
11 of the republics had their own staff and their own staff commander, which
12 applied to the TO of that particular republic as well.
13 Q. What became of the BH Territorial Defence from the start of 1991
15 A. It fell to pieces, as paramilitary units were being set up on all
16 three sides. The members of the TO of Bosnia and Herzegovina, even as
17 late as 1991, refused to observe the orders of the then-SFRY and the
18 Supreme Command of the armed forces of the SFRY. What prompted them to
19 do that was a decision taken by the then-government at the proposal of
20 the then-defence minister, Jerko Doko, to stop sending recruits to the
21 JNA and its institutions and to separate the TO units from the armed
22 forces of the SFRY.
23 Q. When you say "the government," whose government, page 25,
24 line 12? Which government took that decision?
25 A. The government of the SF -- of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina, late in 1991.
2 Q. Who was it sending the call-ups to the TO conscripts at the time
3 which they then decided not to reply to or not to respond to?
4 A. I said that it was forbidden to send call-ups to recruits from
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina in its entirety, for them to be sent to the units
6 and institutions of the JNA. Nevertheless, the Territorial Defence that
7 was now no longer part of the armed forces of the SFRY, all three sides,
8 the Muslim side, the Croatian side, and the Serbian side, they all
9 organised their own Territorial Defence units.
10 Q. Just a minute, please. I would like us to address this gradually
11 and to get a better explanation of how this worked. How did they
12 organise their own Territorial Defence? What does your information
13 indicate and who provided them with weapons?
14 A. Most members of the Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina at
15 the time were Muslims or Croats. The Muslims left following a request by
16 their leadership and were joining the units of the Patriotic League and
17 other paramilitary units. The Croat TO members joined the Croatian
18 Defence Council, and the Serbs went to different regions and
19 municipalities to join the TO units there that were under the control of
20 the local Serbian authorities.
21 Q. When you say the "Serbian authorities," what were the political
22 bodies that in your opinion controlled those local authorities in these
24 A. The Serbian Democratic Party was in power throughout these areas
25 that had a Serb majority.
1 Q. What about any of these newly founded Territorial Defence units,
2 do you know if any of them upheld the constitutional system of the SFRY
3 or not?
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Harmon.
5 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, before we get to the -- that separate
6 question by Mr. Lukic, there is a question that he put to the witness
7 that the witness did not answer and it's found on page 26, line 6.
8 Mr. Lukic asked the witness:
9 "How did they organise their own Territorial Defence? What does
10 your information indicate and who provided them with weapons?"
11 And a portion of the second question that was asked in those two
12 questions was who provided them with weapons and the witness has not
13 answered that portion of the question, and I think we are moving on to a
14 different topic.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I agree. I agree. Perhaps the
16 complexity of my question has led to this.
17 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, what do you know about where these three forms of
18 Territorial Defence and their units got their weapons and supplies from?
19 A. There was a directive of the federal secretary for
20 National Defence, General Veljko Kadijevic. It was issued in 1991.
21 Pursuant to this directive, the then-units and institutions of the JNA or
22 the 2nd Military District command acted on that directive, which said
23 that the units should receive supplies and be organised for a defence
24 effort. It also said that a mobilisation effort should be undertaken,
25 the principal objective being the preservation of Yugoslavia as it was.
1 If it proved impossible to keep Slovenia or Croatia within Yugoslavia,
2 then by all means it should be attempted by the JNA to preserve the
3 remaining territories of the former Yugoslavia. The front line, so to
4 speak, for that decision was in BH territory.
5 The Serbian side in Bosnia-Herzegovina committed itself to
6 leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina within the SFRY, as part of the SFRY. It
7 used all of its resources and power to aid the JNA in achieving that
8 objective. At any rate, it was only the JNA that mobilised all those who
9 under their war assignment were assigned, Serbs, Croats, and Muslims
10 alike. Nevertheless, in most of the cases, 99 per cent I would say, it
11 was the Serbs who responded to these call-ups. The units received ethnic
12 Serbs, for the most part those who were with the Territorial Defence or
13 were volunteers. As for these volunteers, we would organise their files.
14 We would give them their supplies and their weapons as part of JNA units,
15 according to the war assignment, each unit as had originally been
17 Q. Just a minute, Mr. Kovacevic, I see that the Presiding Judge is
18 responding to this, but just in order to try and keep our answers
19 precise. This Territorial Defence that you mentioned at a local level in
20 these municipalities that were in the political structures of the Serbian
21 leadership, who armed them, if anyone armed them at all? Where did they
22 get their weapons from? And then we can go on to number 2 and number 3.
23 Just be more specific, please.
24 A. I believe those Territorial Defence units under the command of
25 the Serbian authorities were armed by the local Serb authorities, not the
1 JNA. The other issue was that all three sides including the Serb TO
2 attacked JNA warehouses and storage facilities.
3 Q. We'll get to that later on. Do you know who armed the TO units
4 that were, as you said, the HVO or had to do with the Croatian Defence
6 A. The HVO was armed by the Main Staff from Croatia because they
7 were directly under their command.
8 Q. Just a minute, please. Very well. Sir, what do you know about
9 the Territorial Defence that was part of the Muslim ethnicity, so to
10 speak, where did they get their weapons and how did they organise
12 A. As far as I know, they set up the Patriotic League, both the
13 volunteer units and the TO units were armed by the Muslim authorities
14 that existed at the time and the SDA political party.
15 Q. Which of these three forms of the TO, if any, were recognised by
16 the constitutional order of the SFRY?
17 A. There were these three peoples, three systems, three TOs. Only
18 the Serb side recognised the constitutional order of the SFRY.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, the answer is telling us who of the three
20 recognised the constitution of the SFRY. The question was: Which of the
21 three was recognised by the constitution of the SFRY?
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I see. I think the question was
24 I'll repeat my question. I think the witness and I actually
25 understood each other. I'll repeat the question. I apologise to the
1 interpreters. May they please correct me if I speak too fast.
2 Q. Which of these three forms of the Territorial Defence found
3 itself within or recognised the constitutional system of the SFRY?
4 A. Only the Serb TO, the TO of the Serb side or the Serb people.
5 Q. Another thing that you raised a while ago, I'd like you to be
6 slight more specific about it. You talked about mobilisation. We've
7 heard evidence here on the mobilisation. Who makes up the reserve and
8 the active component of an army or a unit? Who responded to these
9 mobilisation call-ups on the side of the JNA?
10 A. The Serbs alone. All the others, the Muslims and the Croats,
11 were banned from responding by the then-government and defence minister
12 in that government.
13 Q. If they responded to mobilisation call-ups, were they then armed
14 by the JNA, given their establishment post within the reserve component?
15 A. Only those members who accepted to now be part of the JNA and who
16 accepted the command of the JNA and its insignia. Those now regularly
17 formed all these units, platoons, battalions, and so on and so forth, and
18 got their weapons under their war assignment as envisaged.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe the time has come for our
20 first break, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Indeed it has. We will take a break and come back
22 at 4.00. Court adjourned.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.29 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, before these new forms of Territorial Defence were
3 set up, the earlier TOs with the JNA, did they have their own weapons
4 depots and storage facilities that had been given to them and placed at
5 their disposal?
6 A. Yes, they had their ammunition and weapons stock for their own
7 TO staffs at the level of republics and provinces. They had their
8 storage facilities which were, for the most part, within the system of
9 warehouses belonging to the JNA.
10 Q. Do you know what became of these storage facilities that were in
11 their hands, as it were, and that contained weapons? What happened to
12 them within this process of disintegration of the TO?
13 A. All the three sides tried to seize weapons by attacking various
14 storage facilities, both those storage facilities belonging to
15 Territorial Defence and those belonging to the JNA.
16 Q. Were these attempts on their part successful and did they manage
17 to get their hands on weapons and ammunition?
18 A. In the course of 1991 they were not or they were but to a very
19 small extent, this because all the warehouses had been established
20 according to war-time assignments and the personnel who were to man these
21 storage facilities were deployed and manned to their full size. In the
22 cases where storage facilities were held under siege, large units were
23 put together that had to break through these sieges and gain control of
25 Now, later on, especially in the months of March and April 1992,
1 in other words, after the issuing of the directive by the then-Presidency
2 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, concerning the attacks on the JNA and the
3 Serbian Territorial Defence that had been declared as the biggest enemy
4 of the BH, we within the command of the 2nd District were under a heavy
5 blockade, as were all the JNA units and warehouses, both under a blockade
6 and under attacks from armed formations.
7 Q. We will get to these events later. Were you involved in any
8 negotiations or discussions concerning storage facilities - and I mean
9 ammunition warehouses - that had come under attack from these structures?
10 A. I was involved in negotiations when the Novi Travnik weapons
11 factory was attacked.
12 Q. Pause there, please. I would like to discuss several issues
13 related to this. Can you tell us, first of all, what this Novi Travnik
14 weapons factory manufactured and who forced their way into the factory at
15 the time.
16 A. The Novi Travnik factory called Bratstvo, "brotherhood," was one
17 of the special-purpose factories in the former Yugoslavia. It
18 manufactured artillery and anti-aircraft weaponry, i.e., mortars,
19 cannons, howitzers, and anti-aircraft guns for 20- and 30-millimetre
20 calibres. They covered all the manufacturing process, save for the
21 fitting of the optical sights, et cetera, which was done elsewhere.
22 In early February of 1992, the deputy prime minister of the
23 government of the then-Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
24 Mr. Cengic, informed General Kukanjac that an amount of -- a certain
25 amount of mortars had been forcibly taken out of the Bratstvo factory.
1 He asked for his assistance in ensuring that the weapons be returned.
2 Mr. Cengic, General Kukanjac, and myself went to the Novi Travnik
3 municipal building, where for the first time I had occasion to see the
4 HVO army fully uniformed and armed walking about the streets. They had
5 dug up trenches and mounted artillery emplacements there.
6 The director of the Bratstvo factory, Colonel Pavelic, was
7 waiting for us in the municipal building and he told us that the HVO had
8 forced their way to the factory Bratstvo and seized three trailer-truck
9 loads of 82- 60- and 120-millimetre mortars as well as cannons, and I
10 don't know how many, 20/1 and 20/3 cannons. He also told us that the
11 HVO army under the command of Dario Kordic -- therefore, that they were
12 under his command.
13 We waited for an hour before Dario Kordic arrived in the company
14 of others to take part in these negotiations. It was mostly the
15 Deputy Prime Minister Cengic who talked to him, and on occasion
16 General Kukanjac joined the conversation. They pleaded with him that it
17 was an unlawful act which was unacceptable and that the weapons had to be
18 returned, otherwise a general atmosphere of insecurity would be created
19 in the area and other ethnicities would be threatened by this forcible
20 act of weapons seizure.
21 Dario Kordic's reply was that his Main Staff was stationed in
22 Zagreb and that he would comply with their orders only. He also said
23 that they should -- that they should apply to Zagreb because he would not
24 be complying with any orders coming from the BH authorities, and even
25 less so those coming from the JNA.
1 Q. You said what position Mr. Cengic held. Can you tell us which
2 party was he a member of -- he was representing authorities together with
3 General Kukanjac.
4 A. The government of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time had
5 representatives of all the three ethnic groups. The prime minister was a
6 Croat, deputy prime minister was a Muslim, and some ministers were Serbs.
7 Q. Can you tell us about Cengic, please. That's what I'd like to
9 A. Cengic was the deputy prime minister of that mixed government and
10 he represented the Muslim people.
11 Q. Thank you. Finally, the weapons that had been seized and that
12 were the subject of negotiations with Kordic, were they returned to the
13 factory or not?
14 A. For as long as I was part of the command of the
15 2nd Military District and received information, the weapons had not been
16 returned to anyone and stayed in possession of the HVO.
17 Q. Thank you. What was the situation like with the barracks in the
18 2nd Military District at the time, that's to say, around February 1992?
19 A. This event, this incident, as well as some others caused great
20 unrest and made the Serbian people [as interpreted] very upset. They
21 resorted to organising their army at a higher level and arming it as
23 Q. Just a second, please. You said - and I have a correction to
24 make - page 34, line 10, the witness said that this event made both the
25 Serbian and the Muslim people very upset. Is that right?
1 A. Yes, in this particular area that was the case.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. For this reason, Cengic and Kukanjac went to Zenica; I joined
4 them. They made an appearance on Radio Zenica and tried to persuade
5 people who had already taken to the streets to calm down and that the
6 situation was under control, although that was not the case. In fact, it
7 was not under control at the time.
8 Q. I asked you what the situation was like with the barracks and the
9 life in the barracks.
10 A. As a result, the barracks and all the military installations in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina came under increased attacks and instances of
12 blockade. The situation was very difficult and in some warehouses it was
13 highly dramatic. All the three sides got engaged in actions --
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, your question was specifically about the
15 barracks and you said specifically about the barracks. Part of the
16 answer says: "... the situation was very difficult and in some
17 warehouses it was highly dramatic."
18 I'm not quite sure --
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, we have discussed storage facilities already, so
21 I'd like you to focus now on what you knew of the barracks. What was the
22 situation on that score in that period of time?
23 A. All the barracks were blocked. The JNA personnel who were in
24 these barracks were target of sniper fire. The commander of the military
25 school centre in Sarajevo, General Baros, placed a phone call to
1 General Kukanjac, and told him that they could no longer withstand the
2 fire that the barracks was exposed to. Kukanjac took a combat infantry
3 vehicle on wheels, invited me to join him, and we managed to get through
4 the blockade that was put in place around the command building. We
5 reached the gate of the compound of the military school, got into the
6 complex, and General Baros indicated to us the sniper fire emplacements
7 that were used to open fire at the school teaching staff as well as
8 cadets. These were three or four high-rise buildings on the northern
9 side of the barracks. They were some ten storeys high, and all these
10 buildings held sharp-shooters and sniper fire emplacements. There were
11 two cranes that had been used for construction works, and I personally
12 saw a sharp-shooter in the cabin of one such crane. However, all the
13 staff within the school compound had instructions not to return fire.
14 On our return from that mission, we informed the General Staff in
15 Belgrade of the situation, but nobody acted on this and the situation
16 grew increasingly difficult.
17 Q. Can you tell us roughly when this was?
18 A. It was certainly after the directive had been issued; in other
19 words, early April.
20 Q. Of 1992; is that right?
21 A. 1992, yes.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to -- I
23 would like us to look at two documents together with the witness, and
24 bearing in mind your instructions concerning the documents that are not
25 on the 65 ter Defence list, I should first like to apply for one of these
1 two documents, number 3379D, to be placed on a 65 ter list. This is a
2 document which we were disclosed by the Prosecution under Rule 68 last
3 Thursday, and I proofed the witness on this document. I would like us to
4 look at it now. It's the report that the witness, Dusan Kovacevic, sent
5 on behalf of the 2nd military command to the sector for logistics of the
6 General Staff of the FRY, dated April 1992 --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the day.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
9 Mr. Harmon.
10 MR. HARMON: No objection, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
12 You may place it on the -- you may have a look at it.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Both documents are in English. Could
14 the witness please be shown the B/C/S version as well. Thank you. And
15 now we're waiting for the English text still. Thank you.
16 Could the English version please be blown up a little and could
17 the B/C/S version be scrolled down -- or rather, could we see page 3, the
18 signature page, to display the name of the author of the documents and
19 then we'll return to page 1. Thank you.
20 Q. General, do you know who the author of the document is? Are you
21 familiar with the signature?
22 A. I am the author of this document.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And now let's go back to page 1.
25 Q. And I will invite your comment on the document. I'm not going to
1 read the document, General, but I will ask you to read slowly for
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please go back to page
4 number 1 in B/C/S.
5 Q. But first of all, tell us what is this? What is the nature of
6 this document?
7 A. This document covers the operative logistics situation in the
8 units and institutions of the 2nd Military District, and documents of
9 this nature were issued every day in the form of daily reports. Or in
10 other words, this is a daily report which was drafted pursuant to an
11 order of the General Staff of the armed forces of the SFRY. And in such
12 documents we responded to the instructions and we described everything
13 that was requested from us in that order.
14 Q. Could you please look at the second paragraph. Could you read
15 from the screen "movement on the roads."
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Could you please read for yourself and then I will invite your
18 comment of that particular sentence.
19 A. I don't have to read. I am familiar with the contents and I've
20 read it in any case.
21 Q. Tell us, what was the situation with regard to the free movement
22 across the roads of Bosnia and Herzegovina up to then and from that date?
23 A. On the 1st of March, the barricades were placed across the entire
24 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina by all the three Territorial Defence
25 armies. Then the leadership in Belgrade struck a deal with
1 President Alija Izetbegovic. According to that deal, military columns of
2 the JNA that were passing through the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 could move exclusively under the police escort, and that police escort
4 was provided by the Bosnia and Herzegovina MUP and the military police of
5 the JNA. Every convoy, every individual movement, had to be announced to
6 the MUP of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They in turn approved such convoys
7 and they checked whether the vehicles were indeed escorted by the police.
8 That arrangement functioned up to the beginning of April, and then a ban
9 was imposed on the movement of such vehicles because the leadership of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina refused to provide escort to such vehicles and
12 The barricades on the roads prevented the passage of such
13 columns, which was a huge problem for JNA units.
14 Q. Very well. Could you please read the last sentence in the first
15 part: "The SDS forces ..." Can you see that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you remember and can you tell the Trial Chamber something
18 about the contents of this report with regard to those forces, who were
19 they and what they did?
20 A. The Filipovic Foca depot was on the strength of the
21 744th Logistics Base under my command, and I'm very familiar with this
22 whole thing. That was a brand new depot with underground tanks and also
23 storage space above the ground. The SDS forces forcibly stormed the
24 depot armed. They captured the JNA members who guarded the depot and
25 they took over the control of those depots. No intervention, either mine
1 or by General Kukanjac, managed to return the depot under the control of
2 the 2nd Military District.
3 Q. Could you tell us approximately how much fuel was stored in the
4 depot at that time?
5 A. I can't tell you exactly, but as I've already told you, that was
6 a new depot which was being filled. I believe that it was up to
7 one-third of the capacity full by that time.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could this document
9 please be given an exhibit number.
10 MR. HARMON: No objection, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Harmon.
12 The document is admitted into evidence. May it please be given
13 an exhibit number.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
15 Exhibit D399. Thank you.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] A similar procedure and a similar
18 document, Your Honours. Again, the document was received last Friday,
19 pursuant to Rule 68. It is 65 ter 03380D. It is not on our 65 ter list.
20 Could the document please be included and could we please then invite the
21 witness to comment on the document. It is a report that was issued on
22 the same day.
23 MR. HARMON: Again, Your Honour, we have no objection.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Harmon.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Again, let's wait for the English
1 version to appear on the screen next to the B/C/S version. Thank you.
2 Again, could we please see page 3 in B/C/S to display the name of
3 the author of the document, and then I'm going to ask the witness whether
4 he recognises the signature of the author.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm the author of the document and
6 I signed the document myself.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And can we now go back to
10 page number 1, please.
11 Q. Just briefly I would invite your comment, sir. I would like to
12 discuss just a couple of points, a couple of entries in the document. On
13 page 1 where it says "situation in the units," you are saying somewhere
14 in the middle:
15 "As of 1700 hours, 28 of April, 1992, all military and PTT lines
16 of the 2nd Military District command communications are cut off. A small
17 number of connections were established during the day. We do not have
18 any communications with most of the units which makes our management
19 efforts more complex."
20 General, this is your report, this is your information, and let
21 me not lead you, but here the command of the 2nd Military District is
22 referred to. Were you in your work-place in the command of the
23 2nd Military District when this report was drafted?
24 A. Yes, I was in my work-place in the 2nd Military District command.
25 And what is stated in here is correct. Communication lines were
1 interrupted between the command of the 2nd Military District and the
2 subordinated units. That was a huge problem for us. We could not
3 establish communication with our subordinated units. It was impossible
4 to do it in a physical way because of the blockade or by telephone or any
5 other similar communications because the local authorities and the
6 government of BiH had issued an order to interrupt PTT communications.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now go to the following page
9 in B/C/S and English. The subtitle reads: "Traffic support."
10 Q. Could you please look at the first paragraph, General, under
11 "Traffic support."
12 A. Yes, as I've already stated, from the 1st of March the entire
13 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina was covered by barricades erected by
14 the three peoples in their respective territories, and here I report that
15 barricades with 20-30 armed persons were put up on the
16 Tuzla-Doboj-Prnjavor road as well as on the Brijesnica-Gracanica-Doboj
17 road. Those two barricades were put up by the SDA, which means the
18 Muslim side, and in the village of Stanari it was put by the SDS, or the
19 Serb side. The JNA convoys were obstructed by the barricades put up by
20 all the three peoples.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at page 3 in B/C/S
22 and I suppose the page is the same in the English version of the
24 Q. And here you are referring to the city of Sarajevo and access
25 roads to the city of Sarajevo. General, could you please read the part
1 above the word "requests."
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is what I would
3 like to invite the witness to comment upon.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, I'll just interrupt. At page 42,
5 line 6, the transcript reads:
6 "The JNA convoys were obstructed by the barricades put up by all
7 the three peoples."
8 Now, according to this document we see SDA and SDS. Who -- I'm
9 just wondering whether the witness talked of three peoples or two
10 peoples; and if not, who is the third?
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. General, you heard Judge Moloto's words. Could you please be
13 more precise and tell us who the three peoples are. What barricades are
14 you talking about specifically?
15 A. I'm referring to the barricades put up by the Serbs. Those
16 barricades were manned exclusively by Serbs; and as for the barricades
17 which were put up by the Muslims, those barricades were manned by both
18 Muslims and Croats, the latter in a smaller number.
19 Q. General, the part that I want you to comment starts with the
21 "The focus of limitations is being implemented in Central
22 Bosnia ..."
23 I would kindly ask you, Mr. Kovacevic, to look at the part about
24 Sarajevo, where it says:
25 "One can come close to the town from the Pale direction through
1 Lukavica ..."
2 My question is this: Who was it who did not allow entrance into
3 the city of Sarajevo from any side?
4 A. The then-Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina whose members were
5 members of the Muslim and Croatian peoples. Ejub Ganic and
6 Stjepan Kljujic, respectively, supported by all the other members of the
7 Territorial Defence staff. They had set up the Supreme Command of the
8 armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They employed their forces which
9 were organised as the Patriotic League, the Green Berets, and the
10 Territorial Defence, and volunteer units to establish their own army; and
11 they deployed those units of their army who were armed, and thus they
12 managed to block Sarajevo from all sides.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please tender this document
15 into evidence, Your Honour.
16 MR. HARMON: No objection, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence.
18 Thanks, Mr. Harmon.
19 May it please be given an exhibit number.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
21 Exhibit D400.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, did there come a time when fire was opened at the
25 command of the 2nd Military District; if that was indeed the case, when
1 did it happen and what happened?
2 A. Yes, fire was opened, there was an attack. I can answer any
3 question that you may have; however, can we take things one at a time?
4 Q. Okay. Let me ask you when was the command of the 2nd Military
5 District attacked, do you remember the date?
6 A. The command of the 2nd Military District was attacked on the
7 2nd of May, 1993.
8 Q. Just a moment, please. You say "1993" --
9 A. I apologise, 1992. I apologise.
10 Q. And before that, was any other facility in Sarajevo attacked, any
11 military facility in Sarajevo?
12 A. If you will allow me, I'll try and give you the briefest possible
13 sequence of events. General Kukanjac and all of us in the command of the
14 2nd Military District expected a peaceful solution to the crisis in
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that indeed did happen. The so-called
16 Lisbon Agreement was signed. That agreement was favourable for the JNA
17 and meant that there would be no war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The
18 Muslim side was not happy with the fact that Izetbegovic had signed that
19 agreement. They decided to start a war by launching an attack against
20 the JNA.
21 On the 2nd of May, around 1200 hours, noon, the Croatian and
22 Muslim forces under the command of the Presidency of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina launched an attack against the JNA army club building in
24 Sarajevo. That was a cultural facility. It was not a military facility
25 at all. The guards were civilians and there were a few soldiers, perhaps
1 three or four, who at that moment were busy loading up vehicles with
2 equipment from the hall. We received information that the building had
3 come under an attack, and General Kukanjac sent Colonel Suput with a unit
4 and several vehicles to extend assistance to those men and help them
5 withdraw from the building.
6 Before that unit reached the building, the building came under
7 fierce attack and the commander, Colonel Suput, radioed General Kukanjac
8 and sent him a message that there were dead, wounded, and imprisoned
9 soldiers. General Kukanjac took another decision, an order that part of
10 the unit that was at the military hospital in Sarajevo should be
11 dispatched along with two medical unit vehicles and escorted by a number
12 of armed military policemen. The objective was to evacuate the dead and
13 wounded as well as any other people remaining there.
14 The men were ambushed at Skenderija before they reached the scene
15 of the incident. They came under heavy fire. Most were killed on the
16 spot. Some were burned alive in their vehicles because high-voltage
17 electricity from the tram lines was used to incinerate their vehicles.
18 All of them were either killed, wounded, or captured.
19 After this there was a fierce attack that was launched on the
20 2nd Military District command building by units that had previously
21 surrounded the building. All sorts of infantry weapons, small-arms, were
22 used as well as mortars, hand-held launchers, OSA weapons, Zoljas,
23 anti-aircraft guns. It was a scene of sheer horror.
24 Q. Were there any talks at any point in time aimed at halting the
25 attack on the 2nd of May?
1 A. The attack continued until past 2000 hours that evening. At this
2 point, General Kukanjac got a call from the airport commander,
3 Colonel Magazin. The airport was then being held by the JNA.
4 Colonel Magazin told General Kukanjac that Alija Izetbegovic had landed
5 at the airport and that he was not greeted by anyone from the
6 BH authorities or, for that matter, anyone from UNPROFOR. Kukanjac said,
7 "Let him wait. I need to see what exactly is going on."
8 Later on, General Kukanjac informed us that he had found out
9 about the Muslim extremist leadership in Sarajevo being unhappy about
10 Izetbegovic signing the Lisbon Agreement. He said that they had
11 organised an attempt on Izetbegovic's life and tried to kill him at the
12 confrontation line itself, an area surrounded by the JNA. They would
13 then go on and accuse the JNA of the attempt and also use that to justify
14 all of these ongoing clashes.
15 General Kukanjac handed over to the commander of the 4th Corps in
16 Lukavica, General Djurdjevac --
17 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, Your Honour, I'm going to object to the
18 answer. The question that was asked is:
19 "Were there any talks at any point in time aimed at halting the
20 attack on the 2nd of May?"
21 We have strayed far from that particular question.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe we are still within the
24 framework of that question. All the witness is doing is trying to help
25 us understand how he held these talks and what the talks were actually
1 held for. It would be very difficult for us to understand the entire
2 answer in terms of who was holding these talks and why unless we first
3 found out about Mr. Izetbegovic's whereabouts at this point in time.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: It would help if you want to find out the
5 whereabouts about Mr. Izetbegovic to ask about the whereabouts of
6 Mr. Izetbegovic, instead of asking about talks to hold the attacks. You
7 know, maybe you are the one confusing the witness then if you are
8 expecting him to tell us about Izetbegovic in answer to a question about
9 talks. So -- because we don't know what you want to extract from the
10 witness. We can only go by the questions that you put, and when the
11 answer does not seem to answer the question, we are left dismayed.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] All right. I'll try to not create
13 any more confusion; that is certainly the last thing I wish to do.
14 Q. General, what happened to Alija Izetbegovic, just to sum up
15 briefly, please, and then I'll go back to my question.
16 A. Once it became known that there would be an attempt on his life,
17 General Kukanjac ordered that Alija Izetbegovic be brought in and taken
18 to the 4th Corps command at Lukavica.
19 Q. Were there any talks that evening? Who was involved? And what
20 was at stake?
21 A. General Kukanjac pleaded with Izetbegovic to stop the attack on
22 the command building. Izetbegovic talked to Ganic on the phone in order
23 to convince the leadership to put a stop to the attack, which is what
24 eventually happened. An agreement was reached for talks to resume the
25 next day, the 3rd of May.
1 Q. Who was involved in these talks the next day and what was the
2 goal of these continuing talks?
3 A. A telephone agreement had been reached between Kukanjac and
4 Izetbegovic, the objective being to allow the JNA to leave the
5 2nd Military District command building unhindered in any way, to allow
6 them to simply leave. Izetbegovic accepted that. On the 3rd of May, the
7 talks continued, specifically between Ejub Ganic, a member of the
8 BH Presidency, and General Aksentijevic representing the other side. He
9 was an accredited negotiator on behalf of the JNA or the 2nd Military
10 District in this case, the 2nd Military District command.
11 The talks were also attended by Mr. Doyle and Mr. Santos,
12 representatives of international community, as well as General MacKenzie,
13 who was the UNPROFOR commander.
14 Q. Just a minute, please. Was any agreement reached and what
15 happened next?
16 A. It was agreed that General Kukanjac should leave the command
17 building on his own, that he should go to Lukavica and order a ceasefire
18 by the JNA. At the same time it was agreed that Izetbegovic would be off
19 to the Presidency building to order a cease-fire to the other side, the
20 Muslim side. As a matter of principle, Kukanjac accepted this agreement.
21 He designated he to stand-in for him once he was out of the command
23 Nevertheless, I had my own condition to impose. I wanted three
24 UNPROFOR men to stay with me back at the command building. I knew that
25 the crowd laying siege to the building would eventually be launching an
1 attack. General Kukanjac accepted that and told Aksentijevic, "Go see
2 Ganic and make that proposal." Aksentijevic left, and as we were waiting
3 for him to come back, we used our Motorolas and radio communication to
4 find out who was ordering the Muslim forces to kill Kukanjac and at any
5 cost prevent him from reaching Lukavac -- Lukavica alive.
6 Q. Where was Izetbegovic at this point in time?
7 A. Still at Lukavica.
8 Q. Thank you very much. Go on, please.
9 A. For this reason, Kukanjac gave up the plan. We were waiting for
10 Aksentijevic. Aksentijevic came back and told us - and I was there too
11 when he said this - that Ganic had refused the plan. Ganic wanted to see
12 his first request acknowledged and complied with. He said, "Kukanjac has
13 no place being there. You're all captives, prisoners, of the BH
14 Presidency. Unless you do what we ask, we'll change tack in terms of
15 what we do with you."
16 Kukanjac interrupted his talks with Ganic and got in touch with
17 Alija Izetbegovic. He resumed their previous conversation and
18 Izetbegovic accepted all of his requests. He allowed 20 trucks to leave
19 Lukavica and be on their way to the 2nd Military District command
20 building. We wanted to use these trucks to drive back to Lukavica. At
21 his own initiative he came to see Kukanjac and offered verbal guarantees
22 to the fact that the column would be allowed to pass through.
23 Q. When you say "he," you mean Izetbegovic?
24 A. Yes, Izetbegovic said, "My presence here guarantees that no one
25 would be attacked. I have here with me the responsible commander who's
1 offering the same guarantees."
2 Q. Just a minute, please. Was anyone from UNPROFOR there at the
4 A. Yes, General MacKenzie as well as those people from the
5 international community, Mr. Santos as far as I remember.
6 Kukanjac had ordered for the JNA to not fire at the column under
7 any circumstances, even if we ourselves were to come under attack.
8 Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, the column was headed by
9 MacKenzie followed by an APC holding Kukanjac and Izetbegovic. In the
10 third APC there was Izetbegovic's army commander. The convoy headed out.
11 They were intercepted in Dobrovoljacka Street and were attacked from all
12 sides. I was in the medical vehicle.
13 Q. Just a minute. In which vehicle were you in terms of the
15 A. I think it was vehicle number 11 or possibly number 10 if you
16 look at the entire convoy.
17 Q. How many men in your vehicle?
18 A. Eight, eight persons.
19 Q. What happened next?
20 A. We were stopped and the attackers opened all of the doors. They
21 held us at gunpoint and took away our personal weapons. I saw them
22 driving the JNA men out of those vehicles behind us. They were taking
23 away their weapons, taking away some of their clothes, hitting them with
24 rifle-butts, knocking them onto the ground, and pressing their necks down
25 with their boots, as well as firing shots. They ordered us to leave the
1 medical vehicle and go out, which I refused.
2 Another group arrived and one of those new men opened a burst of
3 gun-fire from automatic rifle at Colonel Miro Sokic, an ethnic Croat who
4 was seated to my right. The brain and the blood from his skull
5 splattered all over my face. It was very difficult for me to cope with
6 this stress. At the same time, there were other bursts of gun-fire
7 killing Colonel Budimir Radulovic, who was on the front seat of that
8 vehicle right next to the driver.
9 I ordered the driver to go to the military hospital. We were off
10 heading towards the head of the convoy. I saw General MacKenzie standing
11 next to the second APC, just standing there, and there was this APC in
12 which there were Izetbegovic and General Kukanjac. I saw Colonel
13 Jovo Divjak right there, who was giving orders to the effect, "Stop
14 shooting, stop shooting." I overheard conversations, but all I remember
15 is --
16 Q. Just a minute, please. Who was Colonel Jovo Divjak at the time?
17 A. Jovo Divjak was a JNA colonel assigned to the BH
18 Territorial Defence. In 1991, because of a campaign of secretly arming a
19 company of the HVO in the village of Doglodi, near Sarajevo, he was
20 sentenced to eight months in prison by the military court in Sarajevo.
21 We were awaiting a sentence from the supreme military court in Belgrade.
22 Q. I'm sorry for interrupting, but what was Jovo Divjak's position
23 at the time, the time of the incident?
24 A. I read his accounts later in the media. He suggested that he was
25 deputy commander of the TO staff of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 Q. Fine. What happened then?
2 A. We proceeded in our medical vehicle with no weapons and carrying
3 some dead bodies. We proceeded on to the military hospital. At the
4 crossroads between Skenderija and the hygiene institute, we were caught
5 in a cross-fire from the right, the direction the vehicles were moving,
6 the mosque area; and on the left there was the book shop neighbourhood.
7 There was a cross-fire. I bent down near the floor. Fortunately, they
8 missed the driver and we still managed to cross the crossroads and get
9 past it quite quickly.
10 We got closer to the hospital, got through the BH army blockade,
11 and once we were inside we concluded that along the road between that
12 place and the military hospital, when I stood back up I realised that a
13 lady who was with the medical unit, a Muslim called Nurmela Sukro, was
14 shot right through her head. In the middle of her forehead there was a
15 bullet wound, and back at the military hospital they ascertained that
16 Colonel Miro Sokic had also been killed as well as Colonel
17 Budimir Radulovic and this lady, Nurmela Sukro. Seriously wounded, seven
18 shots to the back. A private, lance corporal, Dragan Kovacevic,
19 fortunately he was wearing -- he was wearing a flak jacket. And I myself
20 had received a shot to the shoulder. I was wounded as well.
21 Q. General, I know it's very unpleasant for you to recount all these
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let's have another document from the
24 65 ter list, 00654D.
25 Q. General, I showed you this document in our proofing session.
1 You've already mentioned a number of names during the course of your
2 testimony. You don't have to mention them again. You can just tell us
3 whether you know that some other people on this list were killed on the
4 same day, on the 3rd of May, 1992.
5 A. In addition to the people that I mentioned, I know that
6 Colonel Gradimir Petrovic, who was the chief of the technical service in
7 the command of the 2nd Military District, he replaced me; and
8 Colonel Bosko Mihajlovic were also killed on the asphalt road. They kept
9 their boots on their necks, they stripped them to their underwear, and
10 then they shot them in the back of the head. And I know some other
11 people from the list.
12 Q. According to what you knew at the time and what you learned
13 later, would the number of 29 persons on the list reflect the number of
14 those who were killed on that occasion?
15 A. I know that there were 42 members of the JNA who were killed on
16 the 2nd and 3rd of May in Sarajevo. That's the list that I'm familiar
18 Q. How many were captured during those incidents, how many members
19 of the JNA?
20 A. As far as I can remember according to the data that I
21 subsequently saw, about 160 or 190, I can't remember exactly, were
22 captured or taken prisoners.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could this document
24 please be admitted into evidence and given an exhibit number.
25 MR. HARMON: No objection.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
2 The document is admitted into evidence. May it please be given
3 an exhibit number.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned
5 Exhibit D401. Thank you.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, after the 2nd of May, how long did you remain in
9 the territory of the city of Sarajevo?
10 A. From the 3rd of May, 1992, until the 8th of May, 1992, I was in
11 the military hospital in Sarajevo. On the 8th of May I was discharged
12 from the military hospital in Sarajevo and I joined a column headed by
13 General MacKenzie. That column transported the wounded from the
14 Kosevo Hospital as well as those heavily wounded who had been
15 hospitalised in the Sarajevo military hospital. Since I knew MacKenzie
16 from before and since General Kukanjac had told him to help me get out of
17 the military hospital, I joined the convoy and I did leave Sarajevo with
18 the convoy and I ended up in Lukavica.
19 Q. How long did you stay in Lukavica, do you know the date or do you
20 know the approximate date when you left Lukavica?
21 A. From Lukavica I phoned my family in the apartment in Sarajevo,
22 and I learned that that family was in a private camp. I learned that on
23 several occasions two MPs of the BH army had come to the apartment, they
24 had searched the apartment, they had ill-treated the --
25 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, Your Honour. I'm going to object to the
1 witness giving that answer. The question is very simple.
2 "How long did you stay in Lukavica, do you know the date or do
3 you know the approximate date when you left ..."
4 And now we're digressing into other elements that are not part of
5 this question.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I accept the objection and I will
8 instruct the witness.
9 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, I will be asking you about different things that
10 we discussed during the proofing session, but now I would kindly ask you
11 to answer my question.
12 A. Okay.
13 Q. The question was: How long did you stay in Lukavica?
14 A. In Lukavica and occasionally at Pale and also occasionally at the
15 Main Staff which had been set up, I stayed there and my main goal --
16 Q. Please, we'll come to that. Just tell me, please, how long did
17 you stay in Lukavica, up to what date? That was my question. And I will
18 have other questions as well.
19 A. Sometime up to the end of May.
20 Q. Okay. While you were in the territory of the city of Sarajevo
21 and in the general territory - and you mentioned Pale and as far as I can
22 see you also mentioned the base of the Main Staff which is
23 Han Pijesak - and we will come to that, we will -- did you stay in the
24 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina for some time and for how long?
25 A. Yes, I stayed until the end of August 1992.
1 Q. What was the reason? Why did you stay in the territory?
2 A. The main reason was to try and save my family from the apartment
3 in Sarajevo where they were held captives.
4 Q. Okay. Now tell me, what information do you have? Who was there?
5 What was their status? Who were your family members at the time in
7 A. My wife and my 16-year-old daughter.
8 Q. And what conditions did they live in at the time?
9 A. The first problem was that around the building shells fell very
10 often, and together with the other residents of the building they had to
11 go to a private camp in the basement. The second problem was that they
12 didn't have any food. The situation was very difficult. They didn't
13 have food or water. On several occasions, two MPs of the BiH army
14 military police came. They introduced themselves as policemen, and they
15 allegedly told them, "Madam, you're a Serb, your husband is a
16 Serb Chetnik, we can do with you whatever we want and we will not be held
17 accountable for that."
18 They wanted to take my daughter to a brothel in the atomic
19 shelter in the same neighbourhood, and then they started -- both started
20 screaming and shouting. And in the basement there was a Muslim lady who
21 resided there and she would always try to prevent that from happening,
22 and she would tell those two police officers that I, as their husband and
23 father, was a good man. And she said, "I can't let the family of such a
24 good man come to any harm." And that woman's husband worked in the
25 institution that I -- that was under my command.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just -- what does the acronym "MP" mean?
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. You mentioned the military police of the BiH army.
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter used the acronym "MP," military
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. I suppose that your family told you that those were the men who
8 came knocking on their door; right?
9 A. I said that there were always two of them, two men in uniforms.
10 And they introduced themselves and they said, "Madam, we are the BiH army
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe the time is
14 right for our next break unless you need any further clarifications of
15 the issue that you raised, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: No. Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic.
17 We'll take a break and come back at quarter to 6.00. Court
19 --- Recess taken at 5.15 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 5.45 p.m.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, the Trial Chamber doesn't want to
22 interfere with your examination, but it is nonetheless concerned about
23 where we are going with all these questions because they don't seem to
24 be --
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe that from this
1 moment on we are going straight into the matter of our case; however,
2 what we have been discussing so far is also relevant for our Defence case
3 and we wanted to hear about this episode from the witness because it's
4 very important for the position of the Defence. In any case, we are now
5 moving on to the matters which go straight into the heart of the Defence
6 case and the indictment.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. General, my question is this: In the following period, the
10 period after that, did you again meet with General Kukanjac? That's my
11 first question and then I'll have a few more after that.
12 A. Yes, I saw him once -- or rather, twice. I apologise.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can you just -- when you say "following that
14 period," can you give us a time-span what you are talking about.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I apologise. I wanted to talk
16 about the period when the General was in Lukavica, once he was discharged
17 from the military hospital in May 1992.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the first time I met
19 General Kukanjac on the 19th or 20th of May, 1992.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Just a moment, yes.
22 A. And the second time, on the 3rd of May, 1993, when he organised
23 the meeting of us who survived from the volunteers, and that meeting was
24 organised in Belgrade, from Dobrovoljacka Street actually.
25 Q. I'm interested in the first meeting. We heard the Army of
1 Republika Srpska was established, and I'm now asking you about the
2 19th of May. How do you remember the 19th of May, 1992?
3 A. Because I learnt at the time that an order had been issued about
4 the establishment of the Army of Serbia and Montenegro, and in that order
5 it said that all members of the former JNA who were born in the territory
6 of Serbia and Montenegro were supposed to join the Army of Yugoslavia,
7 which was then known as the SRY.
8 Q. I believe that you misspoke on page 59, line 9, when you said
9 that the Army of Serbia and Montenegro was established.
10 A. Yes, I misspoke and I apologise for that. At that time a
11 possibility was given to everybody, to all members of the JNA - and that
12 was also an order for all members of the JNA who were under the command
13 of the 2nd Military District - to leave the territory of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina and join the Army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
15 Q. Was somebody else with Mr. Kukanjac when you saw him on the
16 18th of May?
17 A. Kukanjac came in a helicopter and General Mladic came with him in
18 the same helicopter.
19 Q. Just a moment, please. Did you talk to him on that occasion; if
20 you did, what was the topic of your conversation?
21 A. We entered a room, or rather, an office in the 4th Corps command
22 in Lukavica. There were General Kukanjac, General Mladic,
23 Colonel Gagovic, and myself there.
24 Q. What was Colonel Gagovic's position at the time?
25 A. He was the assistant commander for logistics in the 4th Corps.
1 General Kukanjac wanted to see me, and when he saw me, when he saw that I
2 was alive and well, albeit slightly wounded, he cried which was rather
3 strange given the type of commander that he was. However, he was really
4 glad and at the same time he was sorry about all these men who had been
5 killed. And he said that. He said that he had been cheated that the
6 authorities --
7 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, Your Honour. I'm going to object
8 again --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
10 MR. HARMON: The question that was asked to the witness was:
11 What was Colonel Gagovic's position at the time, and again we seem to be
12 expanding into a much broader answer than the question calls for.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. My previous question
15 was, that is on page 59, line 24, I asked about the topic of their
16 conversation when he saw him. And I also had a subquestion about
17 Colonel Gagovic, who he was, he was the fourth member in that
18 conversation, and I believe that my questions follow a logical sequence
19 and that the witness is answering accordingly.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, the question that caused Mr. Harmon to
21 rise is the question that said:
22 "What was Colonel Gagovic's position at the time?"
23 It was not the question about -- sorry, I'm going to have to --
24 it was not the question about: "Did you talk to him on that occasion; if
25 you did, what was the topic of your conversation?
1 In answer to that question he said:
2 "We entered a room, or rather, an office in the 4th Corps command
3 in Lukavica. There were Kukanjac, General Mladic, Colonel Gagovic, and
4 myself..." At that point you should have insisted that he answer your
5 question: What did you talk about? He must answer that question before
6 you then next ask the next question. Because now if he's going to answer
7 this question after you've asked the next question, then we get lost.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, however, wouldn't it be
9 even more confusing for you if you didn't know who Gagovic was? I just
10 wanted to clarify who the fourth member in the conversation was. Gagovic
11 was mentioned and that's why I had that subquestion as --
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Then you must organise your questions in your mind
13 in that manner. You are going to ask him who Gagovic was, and then after
14 asking him that, I'm going to ask him what they talked about. Otherwise,
15 if he's now going to tell us who Gagovic was when he's supposed to be
16 telling us what they talked about, then that causes confusion. And it's
17 important -- I'm sorry, Mr. Lukic, it's very important, one, to listen to
18 yourself and listen to your own questions; and listen clearly to the
19 answer from the witness and check whether he's answering your question.
20 And if he's not, insist on getting the answer. It's just so important
21 for us to follow.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I am not trying to create even more
23 confusion --
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: I know you're not.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] -- and I had reasons for that
1 additional question, and I believe that I'm following the sequence of
2 what I wanted to ask the witness. But let's try and be as economical and
3 as up to the point as we possibly can.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic. You may try that
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, what was the subject of that conversation with
8 Kukanjac, Mladic, and Gagovic?
9 A. General Kukanjac briefly told us about the massacre at
10 Dobrovoljacka Street. General Mladic offered me the post of commander of
11 the 4th Corps, replacing General Djurdjevac who was leaving that position
12 because he originally hailed from Montenegro.
13 Q. Did Mladic tell you what would become of the 4th Corps?
14 A. Not at the time. It was only about this vacancy created by the
15 corps commander leaving his position.
16 Q. Were you familiar with General Mladic's position at the time?
17 What was his position?
18 A. Yes. I knew from the media - and he said so himself - he said
19 that the VRS had been established and that he had been appointed
20 commander of the Main Staff of the VRS. He said he had the power to
21 appoint me to an appropriate position.
22 Q. When you say "an appropriate position," given the nature of his
23 speech and given the nature of his position in the VRS, what exactly was
24 the position you thought he was alluding to and in which army?
25 A. He offered me the post of commander of the 4th Corps of the JNA,
1 which in the meantime had been renamed and was now called the
2 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. When this corps became part of the VRS, it got
3 its new name and went by that name for the rest of the war, the
4 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. He offered me the post of commander of the
5 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
6 Q. What was your reply?
7 A. I turned the offer down and I explained my refusal. I said I was
8 unable to take up any duty in any army until I was able to evacuate my
9 family from Sarajevo, and Sarajevo at the time was under siege.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I just get clarity here. This position that
11 he offered you in the 4th Corps of the JNA you say is the same thing as
12 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. So he was offering you that post. Okay.
13 Thank you.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Before August, when your family was eventually able to leave
16 Sarajevo, did you travel to Belgrade -- or rather, let's do it this way.
17 What did your information at the time suggest regarding the position of
18 former JNA officers who hailed from Bosnia and Herzegovina in relation to
19 this creation of a new army?
20 A. I had the same information that was available and known to all
21 JNA officers, all JNA members, leaving the territory of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina as well as those who were staying. The most important
23 information was this: All JNA members originally hailing from
24 BH territory, as well as volunteers who stay on in the VRS and are
25 members of the former JNA, would have their social status arranged as
1 planned and envisaged by the political leaders on the one hand of the
2 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the leadership of the former
3 Presidency of the SFRY. That the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the
4 legal heir to the former JNA and on those grounds and pursuant to that
5 agreement and contract between countries, a solution was drawn up for all
6 members of the former JNA who remained in the VRS, to have their salaries
7 guaranteed as well as their pension and health benefits and years of
8 service, that would be honoured in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
9 under the authority of the Supreme Defence Council and the federal
11 Q. You say all former members of the JNA. Was this about all of
12 them or about only a specific category of former JNA members?
13 A. Officers and NCOs, those two categories alone.
14 Q. You also say that an agreement was drawn up. You mention the
15 leadership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. When you say
16 "agreement," do you know if they actually agreed this with anyone or was
17 that their call and their decision and no one else's? What does your
18 information suggest, sir?
19 A. As far as I know, the agreement involved the leaders of
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina, above all Alija Izetbegovic, because that
21 agreement was meant to regulate or to settle the status of officers and
22 NCOs from the former JNA, I mean those who joined the BH army on the one
23 hand and the HVO on the other. The agreement, as far as I know, was
24 reached between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the
25 then-internationally recognised state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The
1 agreement was co-signed by the representatives of the authorities
2 belonging to all the three peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3 Q. What became of the former members, officers, and NCOs of the JNA
4 who joined the BH army or the HVO?
5 A. Pursuant to that agreement, they were free to choose whether they
6 would be joining the VJ and receiving their salaries there, the
7 alternative being to stay with the BH army and receive their salaries
8 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the following proviso. Those persons
9 who have reached retirement age and sufficient years of service,
10 regardless of whether they were Muslims or Croats but were members of the
11 JNA, were now entitled to collect their pensions from Yugoslavia or
12 indeed to give it up and collect their pensions from Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina. That is why the agreement was reached at the level of the
14 two countries involved.
15 Q. Did you actually see this agreement? Where do you get your
16 information on the agreement from?
17 A. I did not myself read the actual agreement. Nevertheless,
18 whenever this subject was raised at the Supreme Command of
19 Republika Srpska meeting, this agreement was always invoked.
20 Q. We'll discuss the Supreme Command of Republika Srpska later on.
21 I suppose you're saying this in relation to the time that you were a
22 member of the Supreme Command. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber,
23 just to make sure we can follow what you're saying, what was the
24 time-period you were talking about? When were you a member of the
25 Supreme Command of Republika Srpska?
1 A. Having been appointed defence minister, I automatically became a
2 member of the Supreme Command by virtue of my position.
3 Q. Thank you. We'll discuss that later at quite some length. Do
4 you know whether there was anything in the media or elsewhere about the
5 leadership of Republika Srpska calling on former JNA officers who
6 originally hailed from Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the VRS?
7 A. Yes, I know about that.
8 Q. What about the period before you were able to get your family out
9 of Sarajevo, did you travel to Belgrade between August 1992 and May 1992
10 [as interpreted]?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. I've probably managed to mix things up a little. Can you please
13 tell us, General, where did you go and who did you see and when did that
15 A. I got in touch with General Sljivic, chief of the technical
16 administration of the SSM in Belgrade.
17 Q. When was that?
18 A. I think it was in June 1992, sometime in June.
19 Q. Very well.
20 A. Having learned about my fate, he offered me a post implying the
21 rank of general in the VJ specifically to be located in Podgorica,
22 Podgorica garrison. I refused and explained that I was unable to accept
23 any appointment anywhere at all, whatever the offer. The first thing I
24 had to make sure was my family was safely out of Sarajevo because they
25 were trapped there.
1 Q. Just a minute, please. When did your family finally make it out
2 of Sarajevo? We don't need to get the date right, but roughly speaking.
3 A. I think it was the 9th of July, or possibly the 9th of August,
5 Q. What happened after that -- or rather, can you tell us first
6 where you put your family up for the rest of the war?
7 A. I put them up with friends who were in Pale. They spent some
8 time on my own property, which could not be used for actually living
9 there through the winter. I managed to get the appropriate documents for
10 my daughter to be able to continue her education over in Belgrade.
11 Sometime in late August I took my family to Belgrade and put them up with
12 my sister and her husband in Belgrade at --
13 Q. In Belgrade, but were they there throughout the war?
14 A. Mostly in Belgrade. Later on my wife also spent some time with
15 me in Pale, during the war and after.
16 Q. General, what became of your flat in Sarajevo, very briefly,
18 A. It was a flat that I owned. It had been bought. There was a
19 valid contract certified by a court. The procedure was perfectly fair.
20 The flat has not been returned to me to this very day.
21 Q. Very well. Did you see General Mladic again after that?
22 A. Yes. I saw Mladic on several occasions. I pleaded with him to
23 help me get my family out of Sarajevo. In that respect, there was
24 nothing he could do for me or at least that's what he said.
25 Nevertheless, he did ask me to take up a post to be determined by him at
1 the Main Staff of the VRS, saying this would be something to do with
2 logistics and that I would be working with General Djukic. Again, I
3 refused until I was able to make sure my family was safe. He then went
4 on to tell me -- each and every time he told me, in fact, that he would
5 ask for me not to be appointed to the VJ but to the VRS instead.
6 Q. And who was he going to address with that regard? Who was he
7 going to ask for that?
8 A. I don't know who he meant, but I suppose that he meant the
9 supreme council -- Supreme Defence Council, which was in charge of such
10 matters, of adopting the decision for me as well as for all those who had
11 been appointed to the Main Staff and the Army of Republika Srpska up to
12 then, the decision on my status, that is.
13 Q. Did you know at the time what the status of those officers in the
14 Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska was?
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. How was their status regulated, can you tell us?
17 A. General Mladic told me personally -- on several occasions he
18 explained that to me. He told me that my status would be dealt with in
19 Yugoslavia, just like mine is, Milovanovic's, Gvero's, Djukic's and
20 others. And he explained that inter-state agreement in quite some
21 detail. He had read it in Belgrade while he was with
22 President Milosevic's office and other leaders of the then-Yugoslavia.
23 He said that that was a solution for them and that it would also be for
24 me if we all accepted to be paid from Yugoslavia to have our social
25 security and medical benefits in Yugoslavia, that our pensionable years
1 of service are counted in Yugoslavia. And all that time we would be
2 members of the Army of Republika Srpska, exclusively of that army and
3 nobody else.
4 Q. You just mentioned that you were offered to be a member of the
5 logistics sector with General Djukic. Did you know General Djukic from
7 A. I didn't know him well. He was in Belgrade and he attended a few
8 professional seminars and meetings, and that's when I saw him and had a
9 few occasions to talk to him.
10 Q. Did Mladic tell you why he kept on insisting on you joining the
12 A. Yes, he did tell me.
13 Q. Can you share that with us?
14 A. When members of the former JNA joined the VJ, I was the only
15 logistics man who hailed from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina who
16 was familiar with the entire infrastructure to the very last detail,
17 since I had worked in the area for 20 years before then. If
18 General Djukic, his logistics assistant, had arrived from Belgrade, if
19 he -- actually, he said that Djukic arrived from Belgrade and he did not
20 know anything about the infrastructure, the depots, the units, he didn't
21 know anything and everything was completely new, both for him and for
22 everybody else; and I, on the other hand, was familiar with everything,
23 not only familiar but I knew it like the back of my hand.
24 Q. Okay. Did there come a time when you joined and when you became
25 a member of the VRS?
1 A. I wrote to the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska and in
2 my letter I stated my requests and I said I will take up a position in
3 the Main Staff of the VRS on a condition that my status was dealt with in
4 Yugoslavia, just like it was for the rest of the officers.
5 Q. Did you get in touch with anybody from the personnel
6 administration of the Army of Yugoslavia at the time?
7 A. No, I did not get in touch with anybody before I received an
8 answer to my written request.
9 Q. Very well. Okay. Could you please tell us about that answer,
10 when did you receive it and what the answer was.
11 A. Mladic told me that my request was accepted and that my status
12 would be resolved in Yugoslavia, and based on my letter of acceptance he
13 issued an order on my appointment as a member of the Main Staff of the
14 VRS. My position was not defined at the time; however, I worked in the
15 logistics sector with General Djukic and I considered myself a desk
16 officer at the time.
17 Q. Okay. Let's go back to the previous question. After you
18 received that information from Mladic, did you get in touch with somebody
19 from the Army of Yugoslavia?
20 A. Through the personnel administration of the Main Staff of the
21 VRS, I was asked to go and sign a document in the personnel
22 administration, a document which was my acceptance of my status being
23 arranged in the Army of Yugoslavia, and I did that.
24 Q. Let's try and avoid any confusion. I asked you whether you got
25 in touch with anybody from the Army of Yugoslavia, and you said that
1 through the personnel administration of the VRS you got in touch with the
2 personnel administration of the Army of Yugoslavia. Did I understand
3 your question [as interpreted] properly?
4 A. Yes, you did. I personally never got in touch with the personnel
5 administration or the Army of Yugoslavia with regard to my status. That
6 was done on my behalf by General Mladic.
7 Q. Very well.
8 A. And when that status was finally resolved, the personnel
9 administration of the Main Staff of the VRS informed me that I should go
10 to the personnel administration of the Army of Yugoslavia to sign a
11 document which was the decision on my status in Yugoslavia.
12 Q. General, as we heard at the beginning of your testimony, you hail
13 from Croatia; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you know what happened to the former VJ -- JNA officers who
16 hailed from Croatia, in respect of what you have just told us about
18 A. Again, General Mladic provided me with the details of that. When
19 he tried to persuade me to stay, or rather, join the Army of
20 Republika Srpska, he then told me that the position of the leadership of
21 Yugoslavia was for all members of the JNA who hailed from Croatia should
22 join the Army of Republika Srpska Krajina; and all those who were born on
23 the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina had to join the Army of
24 Republika Srpska.
25 Based on their place of birth, they were supposed to participate
1 in the defence system and the defence of their territories, peoples,
2 houses, friends, and relatives. I was told that irrespective of my
3 status being arranged in Yugoslavia, I could only be a member of the VRS
4 or of the Army of Republika Srpska Krajina. And based on those two
5 offers, I had a long thought and finally I made a decision based on the
6 elements that I've already shared with you.
7 Q. Could you please tell us, you were faced with two options. How
8 did you finally decide to respond to Ratko Mladic's invitation, to
9 respond positively to that invitation?
10 A. There were a few elements that went into that. First of all, I
11 wanted to remain a career officer. I wanted to remain with the Army of
12 Republika Srpska because I knew everything very well, like the back of my
13 hand. Wherever I went elsewhere, everything would be new, and it was
14 very uncertain how I would fare in the war-struck areas elsewhere in
15 other positions and discharging other duties.
16 The second reason was purely humane and patriotic, the
17 relationship that I had and my officers' honour that compelled me to stay
18 with the people that I belonged to. And that's why I had to participate
19 together with them with the system of defence and to help them defend
20 themselves in the territory where they were threatened. I couldn't allow
21 myself to leave to go to Yugoslavia and to become a deserter and
22 perceived as such by my relatives, friends, and family.
23 I had my old parents residing in the territory of Croatia. They
24 were living alone, threatened by the war, and I didn't think it would be
25 humane for me to leave them, that it was my duty and obligation to look
1 after them and to participate in their defence and a rescue operation, if
2 need be, of both of them and the property that was very valuable. I had
3 property in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time, also relatively valuable.
4 That was my private property. And I realised that I would lose all that
5 unless I stayed in the territory, unless I protected all that with my own
6 presence there.
7 All of these elements made me join the Army of Republika Srpska
8 or the Army of Republika Srpska Krajina, if need be, and when I wanted to
9 do so.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: And which one did you join, if any at all?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've just said on two different
13 occasions, I accepted a position in the Army of Republika Srpska, in the
14 Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska, whose commander was
15 General Mladic; and I was subordinated to General Djukic.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. General, what duties did you discharge in the Main Staff in the
18 logistics sector? I suppose that you joined the logistics sector as soon
19 as you said that you were subordinated to Djukic?
20 A. At that time we had a major task to establish the units and
21 institutions of the Army of Republika Srpska. I was appointed as a
22 member of the commission of the Main Staff of the Army of Republika
23 Srpska headed by an operative, Colonel Ilic. An order to establish that
24 commission which also defined the task of that commission had been signed
25 by General Mladic.
1 Q. Just a moment, please.
2 So what was the task of that commission?
3 A. The task of that commission was inspect all the units and
4 institutions of the Army of Republika Srpska in the entire territory,
5 also to assist with the establishment of units. I, as a logistics man,
6 and the others were tasked with preventing paramilitaries from existing
7 within the units of the Army of Republika Srpska, any paramilitaries.
8 Q. How was logistics organised in the Army of Republika Srpska?
9 A. At first there were different ways to do that and there were a
10 lot of problems. Later on some order was installed; however, in
11 principle every brigade had its own logistics support and its own
12 reserves. Every corps had its own logistics support unit and its own
13 reserves. The Main Staff of the VRS had under its command logistics
14 bases and repair and overhaul institutions which it commanded directly.
15 Q. How many logistics bases of the VRS army there were?
16 A. As far as I can remember, there were three, perhaps four, but I
17 would say that there were three rather than four.
18 Q. And what about the 774th Logistics Base of the JNA, what happened
19 to it, the one that had existed up to the 1990s, the beginning of the
20 1990s? Okay, let's not pin-point a date. What happened to the base?
21 A. When the Army of Republika Srpska was established - and I believe
22 that that was on the 12th of May, 1992 - the Main Staff renamed that
23 logistics base and its new name was the 27th Logistics Base; and its
24 command was in Sokolac.
25 Q. Okay. Let's be very precise. The 27th Logistics Base of what
2 A. The Army of Republika Srpska.
3 Q. And now, could you please explain to the Trial Chamber what does
4 it mean when you say that the three or four logistics bases were -- let's
5 say, 27th Logistics Base were subordinated to the Main Staff, what does
6 that mean?
7 A. Let's just correct your first question. There was a logistics
8 base in Banja Luka, there was one in Bijeljina, the 30th was in Bileca,
9 and the 27th was in Sokolac. In other words, there were four logistics
10 bases, and now can you repeat your last question.
11 Q. You've just told us that they were subordinated to the
12 Main Staff. Now we have heard that there were definitely four of them.
13 What does it mean when you say that they were subordinated to the
14 Main Staff? What does it mean? Who could come to a logistics base and
15 take anything from any of them? A very simple question.
16 A. Pursuant to the rules and regulations as well as the orders and
17 the Law on the Army, only the Main Staff could issue an order for any of
18 the logistics bases to issue from their depots some materiel or equipment
19 to any of the units of the Army of Republika Srpska or anybody else for
20 that matter. And the same applied to the receipt of such materiel and
21 equipment in the depots of the logistics bases.
22 Q. Now you've just put us in the picture, as it were, as to how this
23 equipment was distributed from brigade level all the way up to the
24 Main Staff. I'll now go back to the brigade that you mentioned a while
25 ago. When you toured those units at the time, what did you observe as
1 far as your own sector, logistics, was concerned?
2 A. I observed several important things, important for me and
3 important for the Main Staff. Firstly, most battalion- and brigade-level
4 were part of the JNA and became part of the JNA as TO units belonging to
5 Serb areas.
6 Q. You said "became part of the JNA," I think that was a mistake.
7 A. Yes, I apologise. Became part of the VRS. That's what I meant
8 to say. As members of the Serb TO and as volunteer units who had been
9 classified up until that point in time as volunteers. Nevertheless, they
10 all agreed to sport VRS insignia and to carry out the orders given by
11 their superior officers in the chain of command of the VRS.
12 As for them having their own depots full of ammunition, weapons,
13 and military equipment, most of all those weapons and equipment had been
14 taken or captured from the JNA when they withdrew from
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Or else depots under the control of the Serb side
16 were attacked, taken, all of the equipment and weapons being seized.
17 That was -- there was a dramatic example of that in Rudo, in Visegrad, in
18 Ustikolina, Manje [phoen], Vardiste, and for the most part Foca.
19 Next, they didn't allow for those weapons and the reserves to be
20 duly registered. I myself in a technical sense inspected all of the rear
21 units. They were poorly qualified. They didn't know how to keep their
22 files or records. They had no records at all. What that amounted to in
23 their case was making notes in common notebooks, but only what the local
24 commander allowed them to actually list. Whatever he considered to be
25 his own reserve he would refuse to have recorded or registered.
1 Q. When you say "whatever he considered to be his own reserve," can
2 you please elaborate on that?
3 A. In such cases I would always step in and ask commanders to write
4 down every single bullet, every single piece of equipment, and have it
5 recorded and registered and categorised. And he said, "No way. I was
6 the one who got this, I was the one who seized this, and there's no one
7 who can take it away from me whatever you think you can do about it."
8 Q. As far as the work of this commission is concerned, did you ever
9 inform the Main Staff about these facts or whoever requested a report
10 from you?
11 A. The first tour that I made took just over a month. We drew up a
12 joint report. In that report I provided a detailed description of all
13 these difficulties. I also put forward the proposal that the commander
14 of the Main Staff of the VRS should use the chain of command to exercise
15 his power and issue appropriate orders, for everything to be listed and
16 everything to be recorded, also that the command system should be
17 observed from the Main Staff level to the lowliest unit in order to
18 prevent any interference by local authorities in terms of the command
19 system and the supply system.
20 Q. Just a minute, please. Can you please explain this, I'm looking
21 at something that I'm interested in, something you mentioned,
22 "interference by local authorities in ... the command system ..."
23 What exactly did you mean by that, what did you have in mind?
24 A. The SDA local authorities -- or Serbian Democratic Party local
25 authorities wanted to establish absolute control over brigades that were
1 established in their own municipal territories in every respect including
2 the command system.
3 Q. These brigades now formally part of the VRS, are those the ones
4 you have in mind?
5 A. Yes, they were part of the VRS and that's exactly what I have in
7 Q. How did they want to go about establishing their authority over
8 these units?
9 A. They wanted to be the ones to issue combat orders to these units
10 in terms of what each of the brigades would be defending or attacking,
11 seizing, and so on and so forth.
12 Q. So did they actually manage to exert any influence over these
14 A. Yes, to quite a considerable extent.
15 Q. What did the Main Staff do about that?
16 A. I know that Mladic issued some orders, but the approach they took
17 was a benevolent one. Had it not been for the local authorities and
18 their assistance, they would not have been able to establish an army;
19 that is what they believed.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have Defence
21 Exhibit D50 for a moment. Thank you.
22 This is a 1st Krajina Corps document, the 22nd of February [sic],
23 1993, signed by General Talic. We'll wait up for the English to appear
24 on our screens.
25 Q. General, this document speaks for itself, at least the first
1 portion does. Nevertheless, it's the third paragraph that I'm looking at
2 and I would like to have your comment. There is a reference there to
3 donors in municipalities located in the area of the 1st Krajina Corps.
4 What exactly is General Talic implying there?
5 A. This document is a faithful reflection of the situation.
6 Commander General Talic requests that the Government of Republika Srpska
7 or the Main Staff purchase these specified amounts of ammunition or else
8 that he be allowed to gather funds from donors in order to wrap up this
9 job as a whole.
10 Q. All right. What I want to know is this: We're talking about the
11 local level and when we say "donors," who exactly were they and how could
12 they get funds for purchasing ammunition?
13 A. The local-level authorities, such as municipal authorities, were
14 the most important and for the most part permanent donors to their local
15 units, normally brigade-level units. In terms of the role of the
16 political authorities, donors were identified who in this case were
17 wealthy entrepreneurs. The political authorities ordered them to trade
18 and purchase various kinds of goods for the purposes of the VRS, saying
19 that they would be remunerated.
20 Q. We'll be addressing that at a later stage, but what I'm looking
21 at now is the local level. General, are you familiar with the situation
22 concerning the influence of the local authorities over the units and
23 these local-level donations, so to speak? This was the case in 1993, but
24 did that continue throughout the war?
25 A. Yes, by all means. Throughout the war, from the very start of
1 the war and all the way up to the signing of the Dayton Agreement.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have a P exhibit,
4 Q. This is a later document from 1995, but I just want to know about
5 the procedure that we discussed a while ago when we spoke about the
6 respective authorities and powers, who was in charge of what. Can you
7 please comment on that -- on this document in terms of procurement and
8 how ammunition was supplied that came to be in certain depots.
9 A. This document reflects a procedure. This was the official
10 procedure. The VRS Main Staff orders its own subordinate bases,
11 specifically the 27th Logistics Base, to issue these types of ammunition
12 to the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. At the same time, the Pretis Vogosca
13 company was supposed to be involved in this and issue certain types of
14 goods pursuant to this order.
15 Q. In the delivery order there is a reference to the 27th Logistics
16 Base, and you say there were a total of four of those. Do those bases
17 cover certain corps in a territorial sense? For example, could the
18 Krajina Corps go to the 27th Logistics Base? How exactly was that
20 A. No, the logistics bases were not related to any specific corps.
21 All of the bases catered to all of the units in the VRS. As a matter of
22 principle, though, the infrastructure of individual bases simply happened
23 to be wherever it was. And if there was a corps nearby, they would
24 normally rely on that base. Nevertheless, all of the bases had the same
25 commitment under the orders of the Main Staff, to issue goods or receive
1 goods and equipment from any unit in the VRS.
2 Q. You see that there is a section of this document that is
3 highlighted because someone found it relevant. There is mention there of
4 Pretis and the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps command being able to retrieve
5 their ammunition directly from Pretis. We'll talk about Pretis later on.
6 Nevertheless, could the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps get their ammunition
7 directly from Pretis without previously receiving authorisation from the
8 Main Staff?
9 A. Yes, it could and that was one of the difficulties that I faced
10 in my work as minister.
11 Q. And why is that? Why was that a difficulty?
12 A. Simply because sometimes General Mladic would go to Pretis. He
13 would order the Pretis manager to cease all supplies to anyone at all,
14 also saying that production should continue only in relation to the unit
15 that he specified. He would bring his security there and would often
16 threaten the manager that he would either be removed, replaced, or
17 liquidated. He forced Pretis to produce ammunition for a particular
19 This practice was also employed by some local commanders of the
20 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. They knew that if a platoon went there or a
21 considerable number of armed soldiers led by a commander, they would
22 simply lay siege to the production line, wait for the eventual product,
23 they would simply take it, load it onto their vehicles, and be off. This
24 kind of information was shared with me by the Pretis manager. This was
25 the reason that we were never able to set up and maintain a production
1 and financing as normal. There was always someone who came along and
2 took something away.
3 Q. I have probably come straight to the matter too soon, but let me
4 ask you: The purpose production industry Republika Srpska, who was it
5 subordinated to?
6 A. All purpose industry companies were part of the ministry of the
7 industry and the Government of Republika Srpska as state companies. The
8 Ministry of Defence had the authority and possibility to commission works
9 from such companies and order goods required by the Army of Republika
10 Srpska, including ammunition. But that was based on production contracts
11 and those services had to be paid.
12 Q. And let's come back to the work of your commission and let's
13 round the topic off. When you inspected all of those units, what
14 impression did you gain about the equality of the distribution of the
15 ammunition among the units of Republika Srpska? Did everybody have the
16 same or were there any differences?
17 A. At the local level, the distribution was even, whereas at high
18 levels, at the levels of -- level of brigades and corps, the distribution
19 was not even; some had more and some had much less and some had even too
20 much, far too much. The inner command of the Main Staff of the VRS
21 considered that report, General Mladic, General Milovanovic, and
22 General Djukic primarily, and they decided who to take the surplus from
23 and who to give it to. They were the ones who were in charge of the
24 distribution, and it was General Djukic who then told me or issued me
25 orders to draft documents together with my service, to draft orders and
1 instructions that would follow the same line as the previous ones. Those
2 orders were signed either by Mladic or General Milovanovic. And for some
3 equipment such orders could be signed also by General Djukic. And then
4 the equipment and materiel was distributed among the units.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe it is the time,
7 Your Honour, to finish today's sitting.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic.
9 Mr. Kovacevic, we are not able to finish with you today. You'll
10 have to come back tomorrow, but while you are out and not in court, until
11 you finish testifying, just to warn you, you are not allowed to discuss
12 the case with anybody. Okay.
13 And we sit tomorrow in the morning at 9.00, same courtroom.
14 Court adjourned.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 13th day of
17 July, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.