1 Friday, 26 March 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. May I remind you, Admiral, of the
7 affirmation you took at the commencement, which still applies.
8 Ms. Somers.
9 MS. SOMERS: Good morning, Your Honours.
10 WITNESS: MIODRAG JOKIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examined by Ms. Somers: [Continued]
13 Q. Good morning, Admiral Jokic. I would ask you, please, to turn
14 your attention to tab 22. Admiral, you have in front of you a document
15 dated 24 October, 1991. Do you recognise this document?
16 A. Yes. This is a document produced by my command, and it bears my
18 Q. Admiral, I want to ask you to comment on some provisions of the
19 document. First of all, to whom is the document addressed?
20 A. This document is addressed to all the subordinate units of my
21 command. It was produced based on the report of the superior command, the
22 2nd Operational Group, indicating that during the operations conducted by
23 the Trebinje Brigade, five soldiers have been killed and eight wounded.
24 And that due to that, certain measures were to be taken to avoid this
25 situation arising again. This is a report and it is a request to take
1 certain measures with respect to improvements to control and command with
2 respect to reconnaissance, other operations, discipline, firing, and so
4 Q. Was your view that the number of casualties was excessive under
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Was your view that lack of discipline or willfulness may have been
8 involved in the combat activities that you are addressing?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And was there a concern on your part about use --
11 A. Yes, yes. Certainly.
12 Q. I'm sorry. Let me finish my question to you, Admiral, and then
13 you can respond. Were you concerned about the overall skill or lack
14 thereof with which the operation had been carried out?
15 A. In this particular case, there were errors that were made by
16 lower-ranking commands subordinate to the command; these were battalion
17 and company commanders that made these errors. These were professional
18 issues. It was about applying certain rules of combat when in combat,
19 especially as concerned those officers that were supposed to apply those
20 rules. The superior command noticed these shortcomings and these
21 unacceptable losses, and then an order was issued to those
22 commands to eliminate them. I was concerned by the fact that this
23 brigade was supposed to be resubordinated to me several days from then,
24 and I was very anxious to avoid a repetition of these occurrences so I had
25 all the more cause to be concerned.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MS. SOMERS: I would like to tender this document into evidence,
4 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
5 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P122.
6 MS. SOMERS:
7 Q. I would like to ask you to turn your attention to tab 31, please.
8 You have before you, Admiral, a document which is dated 26th of October,
9 1991, and bears --
10 MS. SOMERS: And, Your Honours, this document has been tendered
11 already in evidence.
12 Q. Bears the signature or the endorsement of -- it says: "Commander
13 of the Naval Sector," but Lieutenant General Pavle Strugar. Perhaps that
14 is an error in the original title. You can assist us, if you wish, on
15 whether or not the title of Strugar is correct there.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours -- Your Honours, this
18 document has not been tendered so far. We have not seen a document like
19 this before. It doesn't bear a number, and it has not been tendered into
20 evidence so far. I'm sure of that. Thank you.
21 MS. SOMERS: This perhaps is my error. I thought it came in with
22 an early ECMM witness. If that is the case, my apologies, but I thought
23 it came in under an ECMM.
24 It is my error. I'm terribly sorry. I have the wrong notation.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Rodic.
1 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Counsel, also, for bringing that to my
3 Q. I would like to ask you if you are familiar with the content of
4 this particular document.
5 A. Yes, I am.
6 Q. And what was your understanding of what the purpose of the
7 document was and how it was dealt with in the course of the campaign?
8 A. The purpose of this document was to finally resolve, in a peaceful
9 manner, the problem of the Dubrovnik crisis. There were supposed to be a
10 normalisation of life within the town. There was a proposal that was sent
11 to the Dubrovnik Crisis Staff comprising 11 points or items that had been
12 formulated by the command of the 2nd Operational Group and approved,
13 probably, by the superior command.
14 There is an error in this document, the title itself. You can see
15 that the Municipal Assembly of Dubrovnik I believe sent this document by
16 telex, sent it back. I think the addressee is erroneous and also the
17 signature says General Pavle Strugar, but the essence of this document is
18 familiar to everyone. These are proposals that as of the 26th of October
19 were very much in the focus of interest -- in the negotiations between the
20 Dubrovnik Crisis Staff and the 2nd Operational Group. The main request
21 put forward by this proposal was to hand over the weapons that had been
22 amassed in the town of Dubrovnik itself and also for the volunteers and
23 for the surplus men who had entered Dubrovnik
24 leave town. This was actually the problem of demilitarisation of
25 Dubrovnik; that was behind the request.
1 Q. I'd like to ask you about some of the points in there, and I want
2 to turn in particular your attention to point 7, where it says: "The JNA
3 should guarantee that its members will respect the complete cease-fire and
4 the safety of citizens and the city of Dubrovnik
5 historical assets."
6 Is this, in your view, a matter which is subject to condition or
7 acceptance? In other words, should this be a point of bargaining, in your
8 view, to protect citizens and cultural assets, or is it a mandate of law?
9 A. Well, yes, I believe this matter was worded inaccurately and
10 erroneously, in part at least. There must be a guarantee of a complete
11 cease-fire. I think that is a legitimate request and proposal. But
12 certainly on the part of the citizens, the protection of cultural
13 monuments is regulated by international conventions and this is something
14 that cannot be negotiated in this way. I don't think that should have
15 been included as part of this.
16 Q. Would you agree that the safety of civilian citizens, of citizens,
17 is also guaranteed by -- regulated by international law and -- yes.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Is this proposal a document that you have heard referred to as an
20 ultimatum? Have you heard that term used, "ultimatum"?
21 A. Yes. The Dubrovnik side called this document an ultimatum to
22 surrender the town.
23 Q. Did the 2nd Operational Group genuinely expect the Croatian
24 defenders to surrender their arms? Was there a general expectation that
25 there would be compliance with the terms of this document?
1 A. Yes, I think so.
2 Q. When you take into account, Admiral, the events occurring
3 elsewhere in Croatia, was it not expected that the Croatians would reject
4 this document and the conditions therein?
5 A. Well, the situation surrounding Dubrovnik
6 faced by the other garrisons in Croatia. We had blocked the town from
7 both sea and land. The town had not been demilitarised and it
8 was armed but not nearly sufficiently armed to pose any
9 real danger to the forces carrying out the blockade. We believed it was a
10 well-founded belief, I believe, that the crisis could be resolved in a
11 peaceful way. There had been certain indications that the proposal would
12 be accepted.
13 Q. I want to make sure you understand that my question surrounds the
14 Croatians' willingness to disarm themselves in light of all that was
15 happening in Croatia.
16 A. Yes, I agree with you that in all the other garrisons and at the
17 decision-making level of the Croatian state, no such proposal was ever
18 accepted. I agree with that.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MS. SOMERS: I would ask to tender this into evidence.
21 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
22 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P123.
23 MS. SOMERS:
24 Q. Thank you, Admiral.
25 Admiral, we are now going to ask to turn your attention to a map,
1 Exhibit 20 -- I'm sorry, tab 22(A), and because time is very much a
2 factor, we will try to move very swiftly through the next line of
4 MS. SOMERS: Everyone has his or her map in front of them.
5 Q. Admiral, I would ask if you can assist us in what does this map --
6 what date is this map covering and what does it depict?
7 A. This map covers the 14th of November, and it depicts the
8 disposition of the forces of the 2nd Operational Group on that day in the
9 Dubrovnik operation.
10 Q. And at the top -- the centre and the top -- I'm sorry. In the
11 centre and the top, what does it say? It says something "2OG." Above the
12 date, just above the date.
13 A. Disposition group for -- the disposition of the forces for the 2nd
14 Operational Group.
15 Q. And does this map accurately depict the positions of the 2nd
16 Operational Group on that date?
17 A. Yes, it does.
18 Q. And is this map a working map, a map that the --
19 A. Yes. This is a working map of the staff, the headquarters of the
20 2nd Operational Group.
21 Q. Thank you, Admiral. I'm going to try -- and yes, I'm sorry. The
22 map was also -- indicates positions, and they were indicated
23 contemporaneously with the making of the map? It is a
24 contemporaneously-made -- a contemporaneous map?
25 A. Absolutely.
1 Q. Thank you, Admiral.
2 We're going to emphasise the area which is - let's see if I can
3 help you try to focus on the map - which is around Dubrovnik
4 which is close to the Old Town of Dubrovnik. If you can indicate which
5 units are in the area closest to the lines around Dubrovnik
6 of the 2nd Operational Group.
7 A. The closest point to Dubrovnik that the units reached was that
8 reached by the 472nd Brigade, more specifically its 3rd Battalion.
9 Q. And are companies of the battalion indicated on this map, Admiral?
10 A. Yes.
11 May I have the microphone closer, please.
12 Q. Admiral, are you able to give us a scale on this map? I know it's
13 not -- it doesn't appear to be written, but are you able to indicate a
14 scale, if you can?
15 A. This scale is 1 against 100.000, I believe. The usual map that
16 would be used by JNA units would be 1:100.000. That's what the scale
17 would be, what I would expect it to be.
18 Q. Would that also have included the map you looked at yesterday for
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Would this map also -- well, were the positions from the 8th
22 through the 13th of November different to the positions that are indicated
23 on this map that represents the 14th of November, 1991
24 A. Yes, they are. They are different.
25 Q. And how so?
1 A. The difference is that until the -- before the 14th of November
2 there had been an operation carried out in the area of Dubrava, above
3 Dubrovnik, and in the area of Komolac, just across Rijeka Dubrovacka, in
4 the area where the 472nd Brigade was operating. The units of the 4th
5 Battalion that were in the Zarkovica-Dubac area had been pulled out. I
6 pulled that unit out, I detached it from the combat disposition, and in
7 order to replace it, I set up a mixed TO detachment that operated for five
8 days. The 3rd Battalion, too, had been introduced that had taken these
9 fortifications above Dubrovnik, the fortifications of Bosanka, Gradci and
10 Strincijera. You can see a disposition of the forces of the 3rd Battalion
12 Q. When was the 3rd Battalion introduced into this particular
13 operation, combat operation you're referring to?
14 A. It was introduced on the 10th of November.
15 Q. For the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd, can you please name the
16 positions that are shown on the map as -- where it has 1, 2, 3 of the
18 A. Yes. The first company comprises the Bosanka area. The third
19 company, the Strincijera Fort, and the fourth company, the Zarkovica
20 area. The mortar battery occupies the Uskoplje area.
21 Q. Admiral, who was the commander for the period shown on this map
22 and also from the 8th through the -- the 8th to the 13th, who was the
23 commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade -- sorry -- yeah.
24 A. From the 25th of October, when the commander of the 3rd Battalion
25 was seriously wounded, the Captain Kovacevic, Vladimir Kovacevic was the
1 one who took over from the 25th of October, including this date the 14th
2 of November, he was in command of that battalion.
3 Q. And particularly on the 10th of November when the 3rd Battalion
4 was introduced into this combat operation, are you indicating that
5 Vladimir Kovacevic was the commander of the battalion?
6 A. Yes.
7 MS. SOMERS: I think the area is small enough that we're looking at,
8 Mr. Usher, that we could try to put it on the ELMO. It might be easier.
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot hear the speaker.
10 MS. SOMERS:
11 Q. Admiral Jokic, if you can take your pointer and place it on the
12 position indicating the location of the 1st Company of the 3rd Battalion
13 of the 472nd Brigade --
14 MS. SOMERS: Mr. Usher, could you move the map up a little bit,
15 please. This lower portion is what we're looking at, if you could move it
16 up. There. That's better. Thank you. And the focus is a little bit --
17 if it's possible to sharpen.
18 Q. Admiral, again, if you could please indicate the location with
19 your pointer of the 1st Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd. And
20 where is it located?
21 A. The Zarkovica - Dubac area.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot hear the speaker.
23 MS. SOMERS:
24 Q. Could you speak --
25 A. Zarkovica-Dubac.
1 Q. And what weapons were in that location, Admiral, that could be in
2 the range of the Old Town of Dubrovnik?
3 A. That company, like any other, has mortars of 82 millimetres in
4 addition to infantry arms. This kind of deployment is not identical to
5 the deployment that took place later. There were some changes that were
6 made in the combat deployment of the battalion later.
7 Q. The 2nd -- let me take a quick look and make sure I've covered --
8 The 2nd company, could you point it out, please, its location, and
9 identify its location.
10 A. The second company was in the area of Bosanka, the fortification
11 of Bosanka. This is right across Srdj.
12 Q. And what type of weapons were within range of the Old Town that
13 that company had at its disposal?
14 A. Again, these mortars of 82 millimetres.
15 Q. Were there any other weapons beside mortars that would have
16 applied or belonged to either the company you just identified, the 2nd or
17 the 1st --
18 A. No. There weren't any within those companies then.
19 Q. How about the entire battalion? Were there direct-fire weapons?
20 A. Yes, yes. The battalion had other weapons with which it supported
21 these companies during attack, that is to say it had its artillery, plus
22 the reinforcements it had got.
23 Q. The 3rd company, could you please point it out and give its
25 A. The 3rd company was on the Strincijera fortress which, during
1 the 10th -- the period between the 10th and the 12th, was taken.
2 Q. The other positions that are shown with weaponry, the 3rd company
3 -- and what -- I'm sorry, Admiral, what is the marking where it says --
4 there is a triangle that says "3." Perhaps you can indicate what the
5 marking around that is, it's a round circle with dots, black dots. It
6 says "1" and "3." If you can bring your pointer down a little bit. A
7 little lower. A bit lower yet. There you go.
8 A. These are positions of the anti-armour company of the battalion,
9 however the number is not there. This is the 4th company.
10 Q. And what type of weapons are you referring to when you say
12 A. This company had 82-millimetre mortars, it had recoilless guns, it
13 had launchers for rockets, Maljutkas, and it also had anti-aircraft guns,
14 20-millimetre ones.
15 Q. Were the weapons you have just described of the 3rd Battalion
16 within reach or range of the Old Town of Dubrovnik?
17 A. In this position, this anti--armour company, on this particular
18 position was not within reach -- or rather, the Old Town was not within
19 reach or range yet. All its firearms were deployed in order to be able to
20 target the Old Town. It's not depicted on this map, but it was only later
21 that it took these positions on Zarkovica from which targets in the Old
22 Town could be engaged.
23 However, as regards artillery -- or rather, mortars,
24 120-millimetre mortars that were here within this circle, that was the
25 artillery of the 3rd Battalion in the area of Uskoplje. From there, the
1 Old Town
2 town of Dubrovnik outside the old walls.
3 Q. Admiral, can you indicate where the units of the 3rd Battalion
4 were between the 10th of November and the 13th of November.
5 A. Between the 10th and the 13th, they were in attack. This
6 battalion was introduced on the 10th for combat operations. The task was
7 to take over the fort of Gradci, Dubrava, and Fort Strincijera. And
8 before that, before the 10th of November it was resting in the
9 Ivanica/Trebinje area because it was taken out after the losses it had
10 sustained on the 23rd and 24th of October. An order was given to withdraw
11 them and to give them a period of rest of about ten days. I mean, it was
12 not within my troops, but I know what they did when they were taken out.
13 Q. The units of the 3rd Battalion were within firing range of the Old
14 Town of Dubrovnik during that period of time?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Who had ordered the 3rd Battalion to take these positions?
17 A. The command of the 2nd Operational Group gave orders regarding the
18 main part of the task of this operation. The details were given by the
19 command of the sector, the details regarding the 3rd Battalion and how
20 these forts should be taken.
21 Q. Was there a degree of risk in having this type of weaponry so
22 close to the city?
23 A. Well, yes, yes. Such potential danger did exist.
24 Q. Can we take a look, Admiral, at some of the other positions very
25 quickly that are on this map. I want to ask you about the 3rd Battalion
1 of the 5th Brigade. Was it at that point under the command of the 9th
2 Naval Sector?
3 A. The 9th Naval Military Sector, yes. This battalion was on leave
4 in Podgorica until the 5th of November. On the 5th of November, they came
5 to their area; it can be seen here, opposite Rijeka Dubrovacka. Its
6 deployment can be seen above Mokosica above the settlement of Mokosica,
7 Podbrijezje, Petrovo Selo, et cetera; that's the area. It was supposed to
8 take over -- or rather, to enter the combat deployment of the 2nd
9 Battalion of the Trebinje Brigade. It did take over from them, as was
10 ordered previously; namely, that on the 6th of November the entire brigade
11 withdraw from that area and go north-west. This battalion came in good
12 time, carried out the necessary preparations, and took over the duties
13 involved in that combat deployment, as can be seen on this map.
14 Q. Admiral Jokic, were -- what -- were the weapons of the 3rd
15 Battalion of the 5th Brigade within range of the Old Town of Dubrovnik?
16 A. No.
17 Q. On that date.
18 Admiral, can I ask, please, when was Bosanka taken? What date?
19 A. Bosanka was taken on the 10th, between the 8th and 10th of November,in that
20 period of time. I'm sorry. I beg your pardon. You asked about the 5th -- or
21 rather, the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade? Was that the previous question?
22 Q. Yes, I did.
23 A. Whether it was within range?
24 Q. It was, Admiral.
25 A. Yes, then it’s all right.
1 Q. Yes. What was your -- and your answer was for that date?
2 A. Yes. Its artillery pieces were not within reach or range of the
3 Old Town
4 Q. Thank you.
5 If we can take a look at some of the surrounding units very quickly, if you
6 can identify what they were, starting at the -- it says "the 5th of the 3rd
7 lpbr," just what the unit was, its location, and what weapons it had. Do you
8 see it on the left? It says "the 5th of the 3rd" -- yes. Describe the unit,
9 its location, and the weaponry it had. Or at least the location.
10 A. This is the area of Zaton. This is where the companies of the 3rd
11 Light Brigade were deployed. This was a unit, a newly established unit,
12 poorly armed, and for the most part it was used for auxiliary routes, for
13 controlling territory, and for giving assistance to others. It was poorly
14 armed and insufficiently trained. These are its companies.
15 Q. And then moving along very quickly, the one -- it says "1, 3 at pmtb."
16 A little bit over to your left -- left, more, more, please. There you go.
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. Okay. What is that unit and where is it located?
19 A. That is the 1st Battalion -- or rather, the 1st Company of --
20 there seems to be a mistake here. This is a company of the battalion.
21 This is a mistake. There is no such unit here.
22 Q. Then the 3rd of the -- it says: "3 of the 5th pmtbr" -- I'm sorry, I
23 beg your pardon. You're having to repeat yourself unintentionally. It
24 It says: "3 pmtb," below, if you move down a little bit. It says 3 --
25 A. Yes, yes, I see that.
1 Q. And what is the unit? Where is it located, please?
2 A. Well, I cannot say. I know all the designations and I think I
3 know everything from the combat rules, but now is this a mistake or
4 perhaps it's a territorial battalion. But I don't know this particular
5 designation, "pmt."
6 Q. Admiral, from what you're describing in terms of range of
7 weaponry, what was the -- which units that -- during this time period on
8 that day, or let's say between the 8th and the 13th of November, were
9 within range -- had weapons that were within range of the Old Town?
10 A. Well, in that period, between the 8th and the 13th of November,
11 the units that can be seen here across Rijeka Dubrovacka, that is to say
12 the 1st Battalion of the 472nd Brigade, and the 2nd Battalion of the 472nd
13 Brigade, which are the main units in this combat deployment, due to the
14 configuration of the terrain and the tasks that they got, and as it can be
15 seen from the combat deployment, their companies could not have targeted
16 the Old Town
17 deployment, that is to say outside effective reach of the Old Town
18 terms of distance.
19 Q. Then which units had reach of the Old Town, firing reach of the
20 Old Town
21 A. The 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade, which was brought into
22 action on the 10th of November, and on the 14th of November, after having
23 taken these forts which we can see here, it came into this kind of combat
24 deployment in terms of its companies and artillery support. From these
25 positions, it could have targeted -- well, not exactly within effective
1 range if its objective was to engage targets in the Old Town, but it could
2 have targeted the Old Town, yes.
3 Q. Admiral, there are some units on the outer edges of this area of
4 the map - you may have to move your map over a little bit to see it - and
5 I just want to quickly ask you about those. To the right, somewhat below
6 Trebinje, there's a circle, a black circle, that says -- can you move it a
7 bit more. Thanks. This is good. Right.
8 I can't read the abbreviation very clearly, but if you could tell
9 us what it is and what the "130 mm" designation signifies.
10 A. This is actually a division, a mobile division, coastal artillery
11 division, 130 millimetres. These are cannons for supporting the units of
12 the 472nd Brigade. Their effective range is about 15 to 16 kilometres.
13 That is why its positions are in this area of Volujac, near Trebinje.
14 That's why they're so far away.
15 Q. Do they have firing range of the Old Town?
16 A. Yes. Their range covered the entire area of Dubrovnik
17 in view of the fact that they had quite a long-range.
18 Q. And above it says -- there's a 472nd designation with a black
19 circle. Yes, please, could you describe that position and the weaponry.
20 A. This was a Howitzer division, 105 millimetres, Howitzers of 105
21 millimetres, and their range was about 10 kilometres. They were intended
22 to be support to the battalions to the right of Dubrovnik
23 the Old Town
24 not have been used except in great necessity. They could have targeted
25 Rijeka Dubrovacka, though, in this area here. The 472nd Brigade, this is
1 the command post of the brigade in this area of Cerovac.
2 Q. Admiral, the units that you have identified that were within
3 firing range -- that had weapons that were within firing range of the Old
4 Town in the period 8th through 13th of November, to what formations did
5 those units belong?
6 A. They belonged to the 9th Sector, or rather, the 2nd Operational
7 Group at a higher level. That is to say that at that time the brigade,
8 since it had not been taken out as was ordered in the previous orders of
9 the 6th of November, it still remained within combat deployment and it
10 remained subordinated to me.
11 Q. And as part -- did you indicate as part of the 2nd Operational
12 Group as the overall formation?
13 A. Yes, of course.
14 Q. If you can take a quick look at the coastal waters. Can you
15 indicate, please --
16 MS. SOMERS: I think you'll have to move your map up a little bit,
17 Mr. Usher. Thank you.
18 Q. What are -- where are vessels of the -- of your sector indicated.
19 We have blue and red markings. Can you say which are the red?
20 A. The blue are my ships, the patrol boats. And here in front of
21 Dubrovnik there is the number 2. There are two ships PC and one in the
22 Mljet canal and one in the Zupa channel. This symbolically shows their
23 tasks, providing security in the channels, for the bays, within the
24 blockade of Dubrovnik and the harbours, the ports, near Dubrovnik.
25 The colour blue denotes communications and the routes that
1 speedboats and other fast boats took from Ston, Metkovic, Opuzen, used to
2 supply the town with weapons. So this route of theirs across the islands
3 was supposed to be intercepted, hence the patrolling of these speedboats.
4 Q. Admiral, what do the red markings signify on the waters? There
5 are five red markings. Do you see them? What do they signify?
6 A. Well, those are patrol boats in their positions -- or rather,
7 within a blockade line, or rather, patrol line.
8 Q. Perhaps it's been a little less than clear. Those patrol boats
9 belong to which forces?
10 A. These are patrol boats of the 16th Border Naval Unit, and they are
11 subordinated to the 9th Naval Sector.
12 Q. And just to clarify, the blue -- well, figures, or however we want
13 to call them, the blue elliptical or triangular figures that you have
14 running along the coast, would you again please clarify what those
15 represent. Those blue figures; do you see them? Yeah.
16 A. They represent speedboats or other fast boats of the Dubrovnik
17 defence that took these routes and used these islands for smuggling, for
18 bringing in contraband weapons and personnel for the defence of the town
19 of Dubrovnik from this area Metkovic, Ston, Opuzen. They usually did this
20 during the night.
21 Q. Thank you, Admiral.
22 MS. SOMERS: I would ask at this time to move this exhibit into
24 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, it will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P124.
1 MS. SOMERS:
2 Q. Admiral, between 8 and 14 November, were there any changes in the
3 subordination relationships of the 2nd -- of the 3rd Battalion of the
4 472nd Brigade? Was there any change in the subordination relationships of
5 the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd?
6 A. Well, on the 10th of November, the 3rd Battalion was introduced
7 that had been on leave. It was brought into the battle to take the forts
8 that we spoke about.
9 Q. Can you indicate from the 10th of November whether or not the 3rd
10 Battalion of the 472nd became directly subordinated to the 9th Naval
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you explain the difference between direct and indirect fire.
14 A. Direct fire is fire used to hit the target directly, the target
15 that can be seen from the firing positions where the weapons are
16 positioned, the weapons used for firing. Indirect firing is when you
17 can't see the target from the firing positions, but rather from an
18 observation post. The hits are being reported, and there's a correction
19 of firing. There's an observation post, and then the observation post
20 reports back to whoever's firing on the success of firing, whether the
21 target has been hit or not. And then this is reported to the commander
22 who is next to the weapon. There is the crew, the firing crew, which is
23 located at the firing position.
24 Q. Thank you, Admiral. I want to take one second; I want to just
25 check a note. Thank you.
1 Which positions would have allowed the best use of direct-fire
2 weapons during the period of combat operations you have just discussed, in
4 A. You mean in relation to targeting the town of Dubrovnik
5 generally speaking?
6 Q. You're right. Excuse me. I'll rephrase the question.
7 Which positions would have provided the -- would have allowed the
8 best use of direct-fire weapons toward the Old Town of Dubrovnik during
9 that period of time?
10 A. Well, if you look at the map, it is clear that in the Zarkovica
11 area there's an elevation about 350 metres high. And from there, a clear
12 unobstructed view opens on to the Old Town. As for the other positions,
13 Bosanka and Strincijera, there's a rock just in front, the rock of Srdj,
14 which obstructs the view. As for the use of artillery, the mortars,
15 120-millimetre mortars and far-range cannon, you would need observation
16 posts placed at certain elevations; Zarkovica, if possible. They would
17 observe the hits and then report back to the firing commander. At
18 Zarkovica, there should be an observation post, and the short-range
19 weapons firing positions, too, which can be used to target certain points
20 inside the town.
21 Q. When you say "the town," are you referring to the Old Town
23 A. I'm referring to the Old Town, but I'm referring to the town of
24 Dubrovnik as a whole, because most of the artillery had been positioned
25 outside the Old Town. And in order to neutralise those, these weapons
1 were being used, at least pursuant to all the orders that we had issued.
2 Q. Thank you, Admiral.
3 If I can ask you, please, to turn your attention to tab 23.
4 Admiral, this is an order dated the 5th of November, 1991
5 the 2nd Operational Group command, the 472nd Motorised Brigade, and the
6 9th VPS for the units marked. Can you please indicate, whose order is
8 A. This order was produced by my command; it bears my signature. And
9 the time, or rather, the date given is the 5th of November.
10 Q. And what -- can you give us a brief indication of the significance
11 of this order for the operations upcoming.
12 A. The crux of this order, pursuant to the tasks given to the sector
13 by the 2nd Operational Group, I was supposed to set up a mixed detachment
14 that would replace the 4th Battalion of the Trebinje Brigade. Previously
15 -- I must add, previously I was supposed to draft a statement and send it
16 to Admiral Brovet because of firing, acts of provocation that were
17 directed at some hotels in town but outside the Old Town. It was not
18 proven exactly who was to blame, but probably the blame was on both sides,
19 the Croatian side and our side equally. In order to reduce the
20 possibility of using artillery fire against the town, I removed the 4th
21 Battalion of the Trebinje Brigade and replaced it with the Territorial
22 Defence mixed detachment, who did not have the same strong artillery.
23 They did not have 120-millimetre mortars, but rather, short-range mortars.
24 As for the guns, 40 and 60 millimetre that were supposed to be used for
25 anti-aircraft defence, those were not used from the area to target the
1 town. Therefore, I believe that the problem of these acts of provocation
2 and firing on the town was thereby eliminated or dealt with.
3 Q. Turning your attention to the section under -- it says "point 2"
4 of this order, there's a reference to the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd
5 Brigade. Would you please indicate what is discussed about that brigade
7 A. Yes. Here it says that the battalion is assembled in the area of
8 deployment and that it should remain until further notice in the Talez
9 area. It had been pulled out from combat, therefore it is outside the
10 zone of combat operations.
11 Q. So by going into Talez, is it making it available for use in
13 A. No, no. It was on leave, resting, on the 5th, when this was --
14 Q. When did it leave its position from Talez and become available for
15 combat operations?
16 A. This battalion was brought before it was introduced. I think it
17 was between the 8th and the 10th of November, but I can't specify the
18 date. I don't have that document now, but it must have been between the
19 8th and the 10th because it was introduced on the 10th, so give or take a
20 day or two.
21 Q. Thank you very much, Admiral.
22 MS. SOMERS: I would ask to move this document into evidence.
23 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
24 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P125.
25 MS. SOMERS:
1 Q. Admiral, were -- what was the number of combat casualties in the
2 course of this attack, and which units sustained them?
3 A. During these operations, there were heavy losses, especially when
4 Bosanka was taken. This mixed TO detachment, which did not have any
5 powerful artillery, there was a limited operation with no use of
6 artillery, especially not against the town itself. I think they had four
7 dead and many wounded. When those dead and wounded were being evacuated,
8 there were new losses that were sustained because the area was clear, the
9 whole rock was exposed, and the Croatian artillery from the town itself
10 opened fire, which made it impossible for them to evacuate their dead and
11 wounded, not even at night. This lasted for about two or three days, the
12 evacuation itself took about two or three days.
13 Q. Was that the total number of casualties for that operation? What
14 about from the 10th?
15 A. On the 10th, when the 3rd Battalion was brought in, and during the
16 fighting -- the fighting around the forts, the three forts, they did have
17 several men who were killed or wounded.
18 Q. And were those men casualties of the 3rd Battalion?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Who issued the orders for this operation?
21 A. The command of the 2nd Operational Group.
22 Q. And I'd ask you, please, to turn to tab 24.
23 Admiral, do you recognise this document which bears the date of 10
24 November, 1991?
25 A. Yes. This is a combat order that was produced by my command on
1 the 10th of November, and it bears my signature.
2 Q. Okay. And was this order issued following or pursuant to any
3 other orders of a superior command? What was the purpose of the order?
4 A. Yes. This is an order that was written on the 10th, and it
5 pertains to an operation that was supposed to be carried out on the 11th
6 of November. It sets out the tasks for my subordinate units, and it was
7 written pursuant to a decision on operations by the command of the 2nd
8 Operational Group, which ran the entire operation in the area.
9 Q. The reference on the first page in the first paragraph to the
10 general access of Bosanka, which units were to have participated in the
11 extension of the attack?
12 A. The 472nd Brigade, the 3rd Light Brigade, and the 3rd Battalion of
13 the 472nd Brigade. In order to better understand the situation, we must
14 point out the following: The 3rd Battalion was operating along a special
15 route. It would only take the rock just above Dubrovnik
16 special emphasis is given to their tasks. The remaining forces were
17 active in Rijeka Dubrovacka, the 3rd Light Brigade, and the 1st and 2nd
18 Battalion of the 472nd Brigade, and that's why these tasks were separate
20 Q. When you say "the rock just above Dubrovnik
21 referring to?
22 A. I meant the Bosanka, Strincijera, and Gradci forts. These were
23 the forts that were taken in this attack.
24 Q. Thank you, Admiral.
25 MS. SOMERS: I would ask to move this document into evidence,
2 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P126.
4 MS. SOMERS:
5 Q. Would you please turn your attention to tab 25. Admiral, before
6 you is a document dated 10 November, 1991
7 an individual named Radovan Klikovac. Who is that, please?
8 A. This is an officer who was in charge of the organisation and
9 mobilisation at the command of the 9th Sector.
10 Q. And it is addressed to whom?
11 A. This is addressed to the command of the 2nd Operational Group.
12 And it was probably produced pursuant to a request to forward information
13 on officers and soldiers who had been killed.
14 Q. Thank you very much.
15 MS. SOMERS: I'd ask to move this document into evidence, please.
16 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
17 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P127.
18 MS. SOMERS:
19 Q. Tab 26, please. I want to ask you very quickly about this
20 document, Admiral. It is a combat order. Do you recognise it?
21 A. Yes, I do. This is a combat order produced by my command dated
22 the 12th of November. It bears my signature.
23 Q. And does this order confirm that the 9th VPS is, in fact, issuing
24 orders to the 472nd Brigade?
25 A. Yes, precisely.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MS. SOMERS: I'd ask to move this document into evidence, please.
3 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
4 MS. SOMERS: The next -- sorry.
5 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P128.
6 MS. SOMERS:
7 Q. If you can please turn your attention to tab 27. Just briefly
8 taking a look at a document dated 13 November, 1991
9 recognise this order?
10 A. Yes. This document was produced by my command on the 13th of
11 November, and it bears my signature.
12 Q. And in this document, does it indicate that you are -- that your
13 command is now issuing orders to the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade?
14 A. Yes. This document comprises three units, the 3rd Battalion and
15 the 16th Border Naval Detachment, the 3rd Battalion.
16 Q. Both this order and the order we just looked at from -- excuse me,
17 from the 11th -- I'm sorry, from the 12th and the 13th of November, are
18 issued in the midst of combat operations, are they not?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MS. SOMERS: I would ask to move this last document into evidence.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P129.
24 MS. SOMERS:
25 Q. Admiral Jokic, was the Old Town of Dubrovnik shelled in the course
1 of the combat operations we have just discussed?
2 A. I must point out briefly that during the operation itself between
3 the 10th and the 12th, personally I was not aware of any shelling of the
4 Old Town
5 My chief of staff was back at the command post, and Captain -- Colonel
6 Kovacevic was with the 3rd Battalion. Finally, on the 10th or on the
7 11th, I believe, at the command post awaiting further action, based on
8 information that I had received about the Old Town being shelled from the
9 chief of staff of the brigade who had gone to Kupari for reporting, I
10 asked whether and why they had shelled the Old Town. He told me that they
11 didn't shell the Old Town. I called the chief of staff to confirm whether
12 he had seen him in command of the guns and what was being targeted. He
13 said that the 76-millimetre guns were being trained on Srdj, but that they
14 were not targeting the town. I told him this was only an excuse, and that
15 even if they weren't targeting the town, every shell that missed its
16 target, every single volley that missed its target, would fly past Srdj
17 and land on the Old Town. Whether he was doing it in order to take
18 revenge on his former commander, brigade commander, who had fled to
19 Dubrovnik and organised the town's defence, or whether he was doing this
20 deliberately pursuant to someone else's orders, why --
21 Q. Admiral, sorry to cut you off. Was the Old Town of Dubrovnik --
22 did you come to learn that the Old Town of Dubrovnik was shelled during
23 the combat operations in this period? Yes or no.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. Did you make an inquiry into the shelling of the Old
1 Town during this period of time, an inquiry or an investigation?
2 A. Following this operation, I conducted an investigation. I
3 questioned the commanders and officers who may have been responsible for
4 these operations, the chief of staff of the 472nd Brigade, Major Komar,
5 his commander, Colonel Obrad Vicic. I also called the battalion commander
6 following the completion of this operation from the command post when he
7 arrived in Kupari. I talked to him. I discussed with him who had done
8 this, whether it was his units, the artillery of the 472nd Brigade, or a
9 different battalion. He insisted that it had not been him. I asked to
10 have the chief of staff removed as well as the brigade commander, to have
11 them both resign. And that's what I did about this investigation, but no
12 further inquiries were made.
13 Q. Did you inquire whether or not there was any outgoing fire from
14 the Old Town
15 A. During those interviews, the commander of the 3rd Battalion
16 insisted that he had been under permanent fire from the ramparts and from
17 the turrets of the Old Town and that there must have been mortars, either
18 in the Old Town
19 Q. Was there any outgoing fire from the Old Town, Admiral? What is
20 your assessment? Was there any outgoing fire from the Old Town?
21 A. In my assessment, even if there had been any such fire, it could
22 only have been an act of provocation by 120-millimetre gun or something
23 like that. But certainly there could have been no fire coming from the
24 Old Town
25 Q. Which units of the units under your command shelled the Old Town
1 between the 10th and 13th, and with what weapons?
2 A. Only the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade was in a position from
3 which this could have been done. Possibly the artillery of the 472nd
4 Brigade also took part, its 130-millimetre guns, but I have no evidence
5 that those were ever used.
6 Q. Who was the commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade at
7 this time?
8 A. Captain Vladimir Kovacevic.
9 Q. Did he control the situation at all times during these operations?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you order the shelling of the Old Town during the November
12 operations, Admiral Jokic?
13 A. Me, never.
14 Q. Did you personally observe the attack on the Old Town, Admiral
16 A. No. I didn't personally witness this. I was in no position to
17 see that from the position in which I was at the time. However, based on
18 the reports that I received after the operation, this was possible -- it
19 was possible to ascertain that. I did, in fact, ascertain that.
20 Q. If you did not order this operation, how could the shelling of the
21 Old Town
22 Old Town, have occurred in the course of a well-planned combat operation?
23 A. My assessment at the time was - and it has only been reinforced by
24 further questioning - that this was a willful attack by the battalion
25 commander receiving support and in coordination, in combat coordination,
1 with the chief of staff of the brigade, Major Komar.
2 Q. Did you become aware of civilian casualties and damage to civilian
3 objects that resulted from this shelling or these shellings?
4 A. No. During the entire operation, we were not aware of any
5 civilian casualties or of the extent of destruction, except on the 6th of
6 December when we expected that, but not this time around.
7 Q. Was the shelling of the Old Town that you've just discussed during
8 the time period of 10 - 13 November, was it ever investigated within the
9 2nd Operational Group or by the command of the 2nd Operational Group?
10 A. Not as far as I know.
11 Q. Was Strugar -- General Strugar, excuse me, informed of the
12 investigation that you had begun?
13 A. After questioning Major Komar about his role in terms of support
14 to the 3rd Battalion and the targeting of the Old Town, on the 10th or
15 possibly on the 11th, I informed the chief of staff. I'm not sure if it
16 was General Damjanovic, but I think it was him, or possibly Stankovic. I
17 requested the resignation of the chief of staff and the brigade commander
18 because of those activities. The commander of the brigade group was not
19 at his -- of the operational group was not at his command post. I'm not
20 sure where he was at the time. We discussed the extent of damage, and he
21 told me that he would inform the commander about this, because he did not
22 have the authority to deal with this issue. The next day, I asked to
23 speak to General Kandic and General Strugar yet again to have these
24 officers replaced by other officers, and I failed.
25 Q. You failed in having them replaced or you failed in speaking to
2 A. I did speak to them, but the command of the 2nd Operational Group,
3 or rather, General Strugar did not have any competent officers to offer as
4 replacements. The general told me that he would send an officer who was
5 the commander of an armoured unit, but that he would only send this
6 officer later. Therefore, the situation remained unresolved.
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the transcript I
8 believe contains an error. On page 31, line 19, it says "General Kandic"
9 whereas it should read "Admiral Kandic." And the next thing is, this last
10 answer at line 25, it reads: "The general told me," and what the admiral
11 actually said is that the admiral would send another competent officer and
12 the way I heard it was a reference to Admiral Kandic. Therefore, I would
13 like to have this clarified.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Could you seek to clarify the position, please,
15 Ms. Somers.
16 Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
17 MS. SOMERS:
18 Q. When you said, Admiral Jokic, in the transcript -- let's see --
19 that someone of the two persons, Kandic or Strugar, would send an officer
20 who was a commander of an armoured unit, to whom were you referring? Who
21 would send it?
22 A. Admiral Kandic was the one who said that.
23 Q. Were the two officers you referred to, Captain Kovacevic and
24 Komar, chief of staff, ever replaced? Excuse me. I beg your pardon. The
25 brigade -- I beg your pardon --
1 JUDGE PARKER: I thought it was the brigade commander.
2 MS. SOMERS: Yes, I have a wrong note.
3 Q. Were the brigade commander and chief of staff Komar ever removed
4 or replaced in connection with these combat operations?
5 A. No, they weren't.
6 Q. And was Captain Kovacevic removed or replaced in connection with
7 these combat operations?
8 A. No.
9 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, would this be a convenient time for a
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
12 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
13 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the morning -- first morning break
15 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. Somers.
18 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Admiral Jokic, based on your findings and your recommendation to
20 replace the chief of staff Komar and the brigade commander Vicic, what
21 measures did you propose to take against Captain Kovacevic, whose conduct
22 - that is the shelling of the Old Town - you deemed to have been
23 willfully done?
24 A. At that time, I did not ask for his removal or replacement. I was
25 not convinced that it was his fault, in view of the fact that an
1 investigation had not been carried out and that around Dubrovnik
2 were other units belonging to the brigade as well as the brigade
4 Q. Your finding of his willfully shelling did not lead you to take
5 any action against him?
6 A. At that time, I thought that it was the responsibility of the
7 brigade command, and he was part of that brigade. I did not learn
8 anything then, but only later that he was the main perpetrator and that
9 the others just supported his actions.
10 Q. Was there any other reason you did not further pursue an
11 investigation into Captain Kovacevic?
12 A. Right now I do not remember that very clearly, but I think that he
13 was given certain support and that perhaps that was the reason then why I
14 did not raise the issue of his replacement.
15 Q. Support by whom?
16 A. I mean the support of individuals from the command of the 2nd
17 Operational Group.
18 Q. Which individuals?
19 A. I mean the chief of staff and the commander of the 2nd Operational
21 Q. Did you believe he had the support of -- by "the commander of the
22 2nd Operational Group," to whom are you referring?
23 A. I was referring to General Pavle Strugar.
24 Q. Did you discuss your findings about Captain Kovacevic's actions
25 with General Strugar?
1 A. I think that at that time I did not succeed in talking to him,
2 because he was not at the command post. Due to his obligations, he was
3 often absent, either in other corps or in Podgorica or reporting in
5 Q. Did you shortly thereafter discuss your findings, if not
7 A. I think we talked about that once when he was in Kupari, but the
8 conversation boiled down to the following, that we did not know whether
9 certain damage was greater, and that's where it all remained.
10 Actually, can I just say something very briefly? We thought -- or
11 rather, in the commands, we thought that the other side was exaggerating
12 the damage, that they were not presenting the entire truth. Their
13 newspapers wrote that all of Dubrovnik
14 ruins and casualties. So we, as units were in between, so to speak, we
15 did not know what the actual state of affairs was at the time.
16 Q. And did you do anything to determine what the actual state of
17 affairs was at the time?
18 A. Not then.
19 Q. Would you agree that irrespective of the degree of damage to the
20 Old Town
21 known to all persons in the 2nd Operational Group?
22 A. Yes, I agree.
23 Q. And that the shelling, irrespective of damage, the shelling of a
24 protected place that is a subject of orders prohibiting that shelling is a
25 serious violation?
1 A. Yes, I agree.
2 Q. You indicated earlier that you had proposed the removal of the
3 chief of staff of the brigade and the brigade commander. What was General
4 Strugar's response to that, if any?
5 A. I said that at that time I did not find him; he was absent. But I
6 think I talked to the chief of staff. He told me - and I heard later as
7 well - they did not have such officers, that their officers ranked from
8 lieutenant colonel upwards, and that he could not supply me with
9 appropriate officers.
10 Q. Who had the authority to remove or replace officers of the 2nd
11 Operational Group?
12 A. Well, the commander of the 2nd Operational Group had that
13 authority. I had authority over the units that were subordinated to me,
14 like the 3rd Battalion and the brigade. However, since these were units
15 that were temporarily subordinated, I had to seek approval from my
16 superior commander.
17 Q. If you had recommended the removal and replacement of these
18 officers for what you perceived to have been wrongdoing or indiscipline,
19 what would you have expected General Strugar to have done, as the most
20 senior officer in the area?
21 A. Well, to call them and to replace them -- or rather, to find
22 appropriate officers who could replace them.
23 Q. If you could please turn to your tabs -- to tab 28.
24 Admiral, are you -- were there protests by international community
25 representatives or the Croatians concerning the shelling of the Old Town
1 and of the city as well?
2 A. Yes. This document refers to the protest of the international
3 monitoring mission on the 10th of November. Of the chief of mission, Mr.
4 Van Houten, and his protest addressed to General Kadijevic.
5 Q. And also delivered to whom? Whose names are indicated above the
6 phrase "international monitoring mission"? To whom was this letter
8 A. The letter was delivered to General Raseta, who was negotiating
9 with the Croatian government in Zagreb, and General Strugar, commander of
10 the 2nd Operational Group.
11 Q. When you say General Raseta negotiating for the government, was he
12 a negotiator for the JNA?
13 A. Yes. He was the JNA negotiator in Zagreb
14 Q. I would ask you about the text of this document. "To General
15 Kadijevic, Minister of Defence, breach of cease-fire in Dubrovnik. I have
16 been informed by the monitoring mission team of the European community in
17 Dubrovnik that the shelling of the city is not only continuing but that it
18 is intensive. The monitors have noticed actions in the area of the Old
19 City walls. General Raseta, the deputy commander of the 5th military
20 district, was informed about this breach of cease-fire, as was General
21 Strugar, the commander of the federal forces of the region of Dubrovnik
22 and as such without any reply. I am now forwarding this information to
23 you in the interests of security for the monitors of the European
24 community in Dubrovnik. Their lives are at stake due to the actions of
25 the Yugoslav People's Army. I plead that you order a cease-fire
1 immediately so that the monitoring teams in the Dubrovnik
2 through a safe evacuation."
3 Then it indicates that it has been delivered, et cetera, et
4 cetera, signed, "Chief of Mission, D. J. Van Houten." Was there any
5 response by General Strugar to this letter?
6 A. I don't know of any. I don't have any knowledge about this.
7 Q. Did General Strugar call together the officers of his subordinate
8 units and indicate that this letter had come to his attention and pass it
9 on to these officers to be passed down to subordinate units?
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, objection.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Would Mr. Rodic please be asked to speak into
13 the microphone. Thank you.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Your microphone, Mr. Rodic.
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I beg your pardon. It would be
16 logical to ask before this question whether the witness knows of General
17 Strugar having received this letter at all. And then once this question
18 had been put, it is only then on the basis of the answer given that
19 further questions can be put as to whether he did anything about it, et
20 cetera. Thank you.
21 JUDGE PARKER: I do notice the content of the letter suggests that
22 the matter was directly put to General Strugar before this written letter.
23 But I think you're alerted to the issue, Ms. Somers. You could resolve
25 MS. SOMERS:
1 Q. Perhaps I can just ask whether or not you or any of the other
2 officers, to your knowledge, heard of the contents of this letter in any
3 means or manner while in the 2nd Operational Group.
4 A. I must have heard of the contents, or rather, elements of the
5 contents. But I don't think I had this letter. General Strugar had to
6 ask me whether these were my units or what the problem was, or rather, how
7 he resolved the response to this letter. I know that things could have
8 gone beyond me, because we did have a negotiating team that talked to
9 Dubrovnik and the mission then. So perhaps it went along those channels,
10 that is to say not including me. I believe I was asked, though.
11 MS. SOMERS: I would like to tender this document in evidence,
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P130.
15 MS. SOMERS:
16 Q. Would you please turn your attention to tab 29. In front of you,
17 Admiral, is a document indicating a delivery date of 11 November, signed
18 by or bearing the endorsement of chief of staff Colonel Dr. Vuk Obradovic
19 to Ambassador Van Houten, the chief of the international monitoring
20 mission in Zagreb. It reads -- please indicate, if you know, who a
21 Colonel Dr. Vuk Obradovic is.
22 A. Colonel Obradovic was chef de cabinet to the federal secretary,
23 General Kadijevic.
24 Q. "Your Excellency, Regarding your letter dated 10 November, 1991,
25 and by the order of army General Veljko Kadijevic, the Federal Secretary
1 for National Defence, I would like to inform you there was truly an
2 intensified shelling of the Dubrovnik
3 Bosanka and Srdja, and this is due to the fact that there were
4 strengthened provocations and attacks from the Croatian Armed forces upon
5 the JNA.
6 "At the same time, I would like to once again bring to your
7 attention upon the fact -- I'm sorry -- to bring your attention upon the
8 fact that the Croatian Armed Forces have been opened fire from the
9 direction of Stari Grad (Old City), and even with that the JNA units did
10 not act against the old city centre of Dubrovnik
11 your letter.
12 "Even though the JNA does nothing to endanger the lives of your
13 monitors, we are ready to enable a safe evacuation for them, if you so
14 regulate. For the cease-fire to take effect, it should also be acted upon
15 the Croatian Armed forces to cease with the attacks upon the JNA, given
16 that our side is at cease-fire, and that the JNA forces only answer to the
17 open fire once the lives of their members are at stake. I ask you to
18 arrange the particulars of the agreement with General Major Andreja
20 Signed. Is there a denial in this letter of shelling of the Old
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Considering your previous testimony about the events of the
24 November shelling of the Old Town, would you conclude that the
25 representations or the contents about the Old Town contained in this
1 letter are false, are not true?
2 A. I just have to be very specific. I claimed that the Old Town had
3 been shelled and that I learned about this after the action had been
4 completed, but that was between the 10th and 12th November, when the 3rd
5 Battalion of the brigade had been introduced. That is to say between the
6 10th and 12th. Up to the 10th of November, in the period when Bosanka was
7 being taken, the fort of Bosanka, there were operations around the Old
8 Town, or rather, Srdj and other old forts were targeted. However, it was
9 not established then by way of fact that the Old Town was targeted at that
10 time. That is what I wish to say in order to be as precise as possible.
11 Q. Do you agree, Admiral, however, that what is said, that is that
12 "the JNA units did not act against the old city centre of Dubrovnik
13 it incorrect? Is it incorrect?
14 A. Yes, for this period, yes.
15 MS. SOMERS: I ask to move this document into evidence, please.
16 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
17 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Prosecution Exhibit P131.
18 MS. SOMERS:
19 Q. How do you view, Admiral, the reaction of a command of the 2nd
20 Operational Group to the November shelling of the Old Town?
21 A. Well, I think that at the level of my sector and particularly at
22 the level of the command of the 2nd Operational Group, it was necessary to
23 carry out an investigation and establish exactly what had been going on in
24 terms of what the units were doing around Dubrovnik
25 Brigade and its 3rd Battalion.
1 Q. And what is your assessment, what are your views, about the lack
2 of measures taken to undertake such investigation and to establish exactly
3 what happened? Again, I address it to the lack of action by the command
4 of the 2nd Operational Group, your views on that.
5 A. I said that an investigation was supposed to have been carried out
6 at the level of my command or at the level of the 2nd Operational Group,
7 because the brigade was under its command all the time. It was only
8 temporarily assigned to me for being used over a certain period of time.
9 That is to say that I was supposed to have been ordered to carry out an
10 investigation or the investigation should have been carried out by the
11 organs of the 2nd Operational Group, within their own organisation.
12 Q. Do you, under the circumstances, view -- feel that the command of
13 the 2nd Operational Group fell short of its responsibility to investigate
14 and deal with this incident?
15 A. If I can be the judge of my superior command now, then it can be
16 put that way. However --
17 Q. Thank you --
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be allowed
19 to finish his answer. I do apologise.
20 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues]... accidental, Mr.
21 Petrovic. The two commenced to speak at the same time.
22 MS. SOMERS: I apologise. It was my fault.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Admiral. You were saying, Admiral.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. This is what I
25 wished to say: I think differently now, and of course at that time my
1 thinking was incomplete and different in relation to what I think now.
2 This is what I'm trying to say. I don't know what the command of the 2nd
3 Operational Group bore in mind, what guided them, and why such a decision
4 was made not to carry out an investigation. Because the command had other
5 information, too, as to what was going on beyond our lines. It had a
6 negotiating team which was in daily negotiations with the Crisis Staff of
7 Dubrovnik, and they also had other intelligence, too.
8 MS. SOMERS:
9 Q. Thank you very much, Admiral.
10 Moving on. I'd like to ask you to look to tab 30, which is a map.
11 Admiral Jokic, do you recognise this particular map?
12 A. Yes. This is a map of the deployment of the units of the 2nd
13 Operational Group for the 2nd of December, 1991
14 Q. What is the scale of this map, please?
15 A. The scale is 1:50.000. It's a larger scale than the one used in
16 the previous map.
17 Q. Admiral, would this map also reflect the deployment of units on
18 the 6th of December, 1991?
19 A. Yes. This is the deployment that applied on the 6th of December
20 also. Practically, it didn't change, this disposition, this deployment,
21 since the 14th of November, the 2nd of December, and the 6th of December.
22 The deployment remained the same. The units in the immediate vicinity of
23 Dubrovnik were not moved.
24 Q. In the upper left-hand corner, Admiral, the upper left-hand corner
25 of your map, what type of map does this indicate this is and what
1 situation does it cover?
2 A. This is the deployment of the forces of the 2nd Operational Group,
3 a grouping of units in the blockade of Dubrovnik
4 Q. I understand. And in the upper left-hand corner, what type of map
5 is it called? In the left, can you see, Admiral, yes --
6 A. This is a working map, yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Was this map a contemporaneous map, in other words one
8 that was used at the time?
9 A. Yes. This completely reflects the situation on the 2nd of
10 December. You can see on this map the 3rd Battalion stayed in the same
11 positions, bearing in mind the fact that on the 13th of November there had
12 been a cease-fire, a truce, therefore the positions of these units did not
13 change. But the 472nd Brigade had been pulled out, and you can see the
14 position of that brigade here on the map. It was in the area of the 2nd
15 Corps. But its 3rd Battalion remained in its previous position.
16 Q. Admiral, let's -- if it's -- if you can do it comfortably, can you
17 indicate, by the 6th of December, what territory was controlled by the 2nd
18 Operational Group.
19 MS. SOMERS: This may be convenient, Mr. Usher, to put on the
20 ELMO. I think the area would lend itself to being discussed that way.
21 Let me just take a look at the size -- in just a few minutes. I think
22 we'll start big and we'll work our way down. I think it's a bit tough.
23 Q. Admiral, what territory was held by the 2nd Operational Group as
24 of the 6th of December?
25 A. On the 6th of December, you can see the deployment from Ston, the
1 front units of the 2nd Corps, and then on towards Neretva and Mostar.
2 Those were the front-end units of the 2nd Operational Group.
3 Q. Moving down perhaps toward the Dubrovnik
4 what territory in the Dubrovnik area was held by the 2nd Operational Group
5 as of the 6th of December?
6 A. In the immediate blockade of Dubrovnik
7 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade, you can see units of the Territorial
8 Defence from the Trebinje Battalion, and the Trebinje TO detachment. You
9 can also see the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade immediately
10 surrounding the town. These were the basic units that we used -- or
11 rather, positioned around Dubrovnik.
12 MS. SOMERS: I think at this point, Mr. Usher, we can go ahead and
13 put it on the ELMO. The emphasis will be on the Dubrovnik
14 3rd Battalion of the 472nd, if you can see it.
15 Q. Admiral, can I just ask you whether or not the naval situation, so
16 we can discuss the waters first, had changed as of the 6th of December
17 from your previous indications on the earlier map.
18 A. The situation on the sea remained the same. You can see a
19 symbolic presence of boats along the patrol lines blocking the town in the
20 Mljet channel, just off the coast of Dubrovnik
22 Q. Excuse me.
23 MS. SOMERS: Could you perhaps adjust the map so that more of the
24 area of the 3rd of the 472nd is centred and covered. Yeah. Even a bit
25 more to the left, please. Thank you very much. Okay. Good. And
1 focusing. Thank you.
2 Q. Can you discuss, please, the positions of the companies of the 3rd
3 Battalion of the 472nd Brigade that are in position -- that are visible on
4 the map. And if you could take your pointer and just show the territory
5 that the 3rd Battalion had occupied as of that date, as of the 2nd -- I'm
6 sorry, actually as of the 5th, the 5th of December.
7 A. You can see the combat deployment of the units of the 3rd
8 Battalion if you go from the right flank. You can see in the area of the
9 Strincijera fort, the 3rd Company of that battalion. In the central area
10 of this combat deployment, you can see the 2nd Company in the Bosanka
11 area. Along the left flank in the Zarkovica area, you can see the 1st
12 Company of the 3rd Battalion. You can see the battalion's command post at
13 Brgat, and an observation post at Zarkovica.
14 Q. Can you just assist us before going on about the distance between
15 these areas you've just talked about and the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
16 A. From the Strincijera fort to the Old Town, the distance is about 3
17 kilometres. Between Bosanka and the Old Town, less than 2 kilometres.
18 And finally, between Zarkovica and the Old Town, about 2 and a half
19 kilometres. As the crow flies, all of these distances.
20 Q. Looking at these three positions you've just discussed, can you
21 describe -- I'm sorry, four positions, can you describe the weapons that
22 were situated at each position, and if you could indicate the name of the
23 position and then the weaponry.
24 A. At the Strincijera fort, there were infantry elements with simple
25 weapons. I think they had four 82-millimetre mortars. The range is about
1 2 kilometres.
2 Q. Sorry. What unit is that that you're referring to at Strincijera?
3 What unit?
4 A. That is the 3rd Company of the battalion.
5 Q. Thank you. You just indicated that the range was about 2
6 kilometres. Okay.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Does that range bring those weapons within firing distance of the
9 Old Town
10 A. Yes. Some sections of the Old Town, maybe half the Old Town
11 Yes, it would have been in effective firing range.
12 Q. Would you continue, please.
13 A. The 2nd Company, in the Bosanka area, had the same kind of
14 weapons, but they also had several 20-millimetre guns and there were two
15 tanks in the area for support in the operations that the company was
16 carrying out.
17 Q. Were the 80 -- I'm sorry, were the weapons within firing range of
18 the Old Town
19 A. Yes. Yes, they were.
20 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
21 A. In the Zarkovica area there was an anti-armour company, which had
22 weapons for direct fire.
23 Q. Would you please point out Zarkovica, if you don't mind.
24 A. [Witness complies]
25 Q. And which weapons for direct fire did that company have? What
1 type of direct fire weapons?
2 A. It had four recoilless guns, 82 millimetre was the calibre. Four
3 82-millimetre mortars. It had two 20-millimetre guns, too. And it also
4 had three launchers, the Maljutkas; anti-armour missiles, wire-guided.
5 Q. Can you explain the Maljutka as a weapon. Can you explain a
6 little bit about its operation. If you say "wire-guided," it is a direct
7 fire; is that correct?
8 A. Yes. It's an anti-armour missile used for the destruction of
9 armoured targets, usually tanks, forts, ramparts, strongly fortified
10 targets. It is wire guided. The crew handling the weapon must have the
11 target in sight.
12 Q. Could you again, please, with your pointer point out Zarkovica so
13 that we make sure we're pointing to the same ...
14 A. [Witness complies]
15 Q. There. Thank you very much. I think you just showed Bosanka.
16 Could you please identify Zarkovica.
17 A. [Witness complies]
18 Q. Thank you.
19 Is that the place with symbol for the anti-armour weaponry?
20 A. Yes, and the observation post of the battalion commander was also
21 here, the observation post from which he observed the areas in which his
22 companies were deployed as well as the axis of their attack. My
23 apologies, I pointed out Bosanka, yes, you're quite right, where the black
24 ellipse is.
25 Q. And the particular battalion commander you're referring to is?
1 A. Captain Kovacevic.
2 Q. And this is the same map, the positions are the same as they would
3 have been on the 6th of December with these particular weapons?
4 A. Yes. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. Can we go back for a minute to the 1st Company. I
6 believe it's -- the focus is not terribly good, so I don't know if there's
7 a way to -- it looks like it's at Bosanka. Can you discuss, please --
8 thanks, that's much better.
9 Please discuss what weapons were available at that position and
10 whether they were in range of the Old Town.
11 A. You mean Bosanka?
12 Q. I do, yes.
13 A. At Bosanka there was the 1st Company. A while ago I made a slight
14 mistake. It had the same composition as the 2nd and 3rd Companies,
15 however the anti-armour company in the black ellipse is not marked by a
16 number, so that's why I made the mistake. This anti-armour company that
17 had the missiles and other weapons. All these companies had the same
18 composition in terms of the weapons they had. They had 82-millimetre
19 launchers, but the central one at Bosanka also had two tanks in addition
20 as support.
21 Q. Is the position at Zarkovica - just going back for a moment - in
22 the direct line of fire to the Old Town?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I'm corrected to say line of observation. Is it the direct line
25 of observation to the Old Town?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Admiral, are you able to indicate if all four units of the 3rd
3 Battalion were within firing range of the Old Town?
4 A. Yes, they were.
5 Q. Can we take a look now at the other positions that are in the
6 Dubrovnik area that are indicated on this map. If you could slide the map
7 a little bit perhaps to your left, maybe up and to the left. To the left.
8 Thank you. And up a bit, please. We want to show the term "9th VPS" and
9 the position there, if it's easily visible. You were fine. That's good.
10 Fine. Thank you. Okay.
11 Can you identify, please, the positions that are shown here,
12 including whatever is marked as 9 VPS, what it represents, and just tell
13 us as quickly as you can about the positions, location, identification.
14 What does the flag 9 VPS in that red circle indicate?
15 A. The 9th VPS marks the command that is in charge of all these units
16 marked on the map. The small flag --
17 Q. Yes, that's what I want to know. Tell me, please, what the flag
18 which is at a location in a circle, what does that indicate?
19 A. Oh, my apologies. In Kupari, there was the forward observation
20 post of the 9th VPS. The command post is located at Kupari, within this
22 Q. Okay. Moving perhaps up a little bit -- let's see if we can get
23 the usher to assist us there. Okay. Thank you. Can you indicate, there
24 are some abbreviations, "OdTO-Tr." It's slightly larger than the other
25 print. "OdTO-Tr." No, it's a bit -- centre it a bit. If you come down a
1 bit, please. "OdTO-Tr.," what does that stand for, please?
2 A. This writing stands for the abbreviation Territorial Defence
3 Detachment Trebinje. This is a battalion-level unit; it's a bit weaker
4 than a battalion would normally be, subordinated to the 9th Sector when
5 the brigade was pulled out of the area.
6 Q. And there are some indications -- symbols there. One is a black
7 circle with a red symbol inside, if you can see it. If you move down a
8 little bit. Come back, down, please. Down again. In that area, the
9 black circle with the red indication -- yeah, that one. Yes, what does
10 that stand for, please?
11 A. This is the mortar platoon. They had 82-millimetre mortars. It's
12 a mortar unit belonging to that battalion. The battalion was not very
13 strong in terms of artillery. This mortar unit was all they had. The
14 position of that platoon is given here as well as the command post of the
15 Territorial Defence unit where the flag is. You can see a red circle just
16 next to it.
17 Q. Now, was that position, the one in the circle -- no, the next --
18 with the black circle and the red marking, was that -- keep going -- yeah,
19 yes. Was that in firing range of the Old Town?
20 A. No. No. This unit was not trained on the Old Town. Its axis of
21 operation was down towards Rijeka Dubrovacka. The front ends of that unit
22 are here, of that detachment. This platoon acts as support for that unit
23 along the axis of attack, but it's not within firing range of the town,
24 nor is it along the same axis of that detachment of the TO.
25 Q. Where you have your pointer right now, if you could move up to the
1 area where it says "BVG/3mtb." Could you discuss those positions and what
2 the symbols mean, please.
3 A. This is a firing group belonging to the battalion. That is only
4 its short name.
5 Q. Of what battalion?
6 A. Of the 3rd Battalion. This is a battalion firing group of the 3rd
7 Battalion providing support for other units of the 3rd Battalion. It's a
8 120-millimetre mortar battery containing six mortars.
9 Q. And is that the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Was -- were the weapons that you've just discussed in range of the
12 Old Town
13 A. Yes. From that position, it was possible to target the Old Town
14 The range is 6 kilometres, and the distance is between 5 and 6 kilometres.
15 That's at the edge of the firing range, so to speak.
16 Q. And what is the name of the area where those weapons were found,
17 where those positions were?
18 A. Uskoplje, the railway station of Uskoplje.
19 Q. If you could indicate what the "mpoad" stands for. It's just to
20 the left of your pointer right now. "Mpoad," what does that stand for,
22 A. This stands for Mixed Anti-armour Artillery Division.
23 Q. And where is that as well? Where is its location?
24 A. That division -- well, in fact, it wasn't the entire division that
25 was there. There were anti-armour guns ZIS, 76-millimetre, but this
1 marking is wrong. Not the entire division was there, only those four guns
2 were actually there. I do happen to know this for sure.
3 Q. Is that attached to which battalion?
4 A. The 3rd Battalion.
5 Q. Of which brigade?
6 A. The 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade. They got this from their
7 brigade as support, as a kind of reinforcement.
8 Q. Have you -- can you discuss the weapons that were part of that,
9 that were available.
10 A. They had the anti-armour guns, ZIS 76-millimetres. The range was
11 about 4 kilometres. This is only a symbol, but the positions of those
12 guns were in a different place. All in all, this was given only because
13 the firing group was within that unit. But these positions given here are
14 not their exact positions.
15 Q. You have "bTO-Tr." where your pointer is now. What does that
17 A. Trebinje Territorial Defence Battalion. That's what it means.
18 This is their command post, and the units are to the right. You can see
19 their combat disposition here. These are the units that are part of that
20 combat disposition, and this here means that the command of that battalion
21 was located right here.
22 Q. What weapons were available to those units?
23 A. This TO unit was poorly armed, and the battalion was usually
24 deployed along the auxiliary axis, where there weren't many operations
25 underway. They only had the 82-millimetre launchers, same as the
1 Territorial Defence detachment.
2 Q. Were those weapons within range of the Old Town?
3 A. No.
4 Q. If you can move perhaps the map a little bit to cover the bigger
5 encircled area -- yeah. That's it. That's good.
6 Can you start at the top and indicate what -- we're in a circle
7 now where the unit that we're talking about says "3/5 pmtbr." What does
8 that mean? It says "3/5 pmtbr." What does that mean?
9 A. This is the 3rd Battalion of the 5th pmtbr. Well, it's the
10 Proletarian Motorised Brigade. That was the official name of that unit.
11 The last map, there was something that I couldn't figure out, those units
12 and those abbreviations. I think those referred to this unit, "pmtbr,"
13 Proletarian Motorised Brigade, I think that's what the abbreviation
14 actually stands for.
15 Q. On the 6th of December, to whom was that unit subordinated?
16 A. The 9th Sector.
17 Q. You're saying the 9th Naval Sector, your sector?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. And was that part of the 2nd Operational Group on the 6th of
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. Can we look now at the markings. Starting at the centre, there's
23 a flag.
24 A. Yes, that is the command post of the battalion.
25 Q. What is the location of the command post?
1 A. The village of Podbrijezje. That's where it should be.
2 Q. Looking above, where it says "BVG-3," what is that position and
3 what is its location?
4 A. This is the battalion firing group equivalent to the kind of
5 weapons that the 3rd Battalion had, 120-millimetre mortars, and it is the
6 area above Mocinska Spilja. There is a graveyard there and the firing
7 position was there.
8 Q. Were they within range of the Old Town?
9 A. No, no.
10 Q. Looking up above - above - there's a red circle, a bigger red
11 circle. Do you see it? Yeah. What is that?
12 A. This is a rear unit, "poz."
13 Q. Of what formation?
14 A. That's the logistics unit of the battalion. Each battalion has a
15 logistics unit for supplies, ammunition, and all the other supplies. It's
16 actually a platoon that's used for the purpose -- a bit less than a
17 platoon, actually.
18 Q. Sorry. So that belongs to the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Brigade?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. We would like to take a look now, if you could raise the map a
21 little bit, please. Sorry, no. If you can bring it so we have a closer
22 look at the various subunits. That's it. Okay. Looking over to the
23 section of the 3rd of the 5th, look at 1/3. What does that represent?
24 Mm-hmm. That's it. What is that, please?
25 A. That's the 1st Company of that battalion. The combat disposition
1 is along the coast.
2 Q. And where is that? Can you give us a location indication, please,
3 for that company.
4 A. Well, it's at Zaton.
5 Q. And what weaponry was there on the 6th of December?
6 A. Small arms with small mortars, 82 millimetres.
7 Q. Okay. And what range -- were they within range of the Old Town?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Moving on to the centre -- yeah. 2 -- 2nd Company of the 3rd
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Where is that located?
13 A. Well, the area can be seen left of Mokosica, Podbrijezje. The
14 broader area of the village of Podbrijezje. They have the same weapons
15 like the previous, 1st Company.
16 Q. And what is the range of those weapons? Is it -- are those
17 weapons within range of the Old Town?
18 A. No, no, they were not.
19 Q. Looking at the 3rd Company.
20 A. The 3rd Company was somewhat removed towards the back, and they
21 had the same weapons like the previous two ones did.
22 Q. Okay. And were they also -- were they in range of the Old Town?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Now, there's a symbol of a -- with a flag, and it -- the symbol is
25 to the right of the word "Mokosica," if you see it. Can you tell us what
1 that represents, please. Yeah.
2 A. This is the command of the settlement of Mokosica. It's a rather big
3 settlement and all the surrounding settlements belong to it. The command of
4 this settlement is responsible for law and order and the proper functioning
5 of these settlements.
6 Q. There are some broken lines within this circle, broken red lines. Do you
7 see them? Yeah. Within the circle and generally around.
8 What do those signify, please?
9 A. The front end positions of this battalion of the Territorial
10 Defence of Trebinje. These are its companies.
11 Q. Okay. Thank you. Can we ask you to move the map so that Cilipi
12 is shown. Are you able to point out, please - yeah - the area of Cilipi.
13 A. The airport of Cilipi
14 Q. Were there -- first of all, under -- to whom were units there
15 subordinated and what units were there?
16 A. The battery, the mobile battery, of 130-millimetre cannons was
17 there. Its position can be seen at the end of the airport runway.
18 Q. And to whom -- well, what unit was actually there? Name the unit, please.
19 A. The mobile battery of 130-millimetre cannons, and it was
20 subordinated to the command of the 9th Military Naval Sector.
21 Q. So those were sector weapons?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Were those weapons within firing range of the Old Town?
24 A. Yes, yes. Almost as far as they could be, but they could be
25 targeted. The distance was about 12 or 13 kilometres.
1 Q. And what is the range of a 130-millimetre cannon?
2 A. 16 kilometres. That is the effective range, and its ultimate
3 range is over 20 kilometres; 24 kilometres.
4 Q. Looking at a flag that's -- that appears on the map, can you see
5 it? It -- a red symbol with a flag on it near -- it says near Cavtat.
6 What is that, please? The flag, yes.
7 A. This is the command post of Cavtat, in the town itself.
8 Q. And the command post for what formation?
9 A. Well, this is a newly established command post. It doesn't have a
10 formation. This is a small unit for providing security so that life
11 itself could function. How can I explain this? So the traffic would
12 evolve, so that looting would be prevented, everything that is needed in
13 that kind of situation. All such things were to be resolved by this
14 command, a few officers and a few men. It was not intended for combat
16 Q. Were there any heavy weapons in that location?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Can I ask you where the command post of the 2nd Operational Group
19 is on this map. I think you may have to move it to show us, but if you
20 could do that. Yeah. In this small red circle in the town of Trebinje
21 it says on the flag, the 2nd Operational Group.
22 Q. And the area is called?
23 A. The town of Trebinje.
24 MS. SOMERS: Mr. Usher, if you could move the map back for a
25 moment to show the area of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd Brigade.
1 Q. Admiral, can you indicate, in addition to the heavy weaponry that
2 you discussed earlier, were there also rifles or sniper rifles available
3 to all units in this area? "Sniping equipment" perhaps is a more
4 technical term.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Yes, there were?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And the 3rd Battalion then had sniping equipment, as a follow-on
9 to this? The 3rd of the 472nd had sniping equipment?
10 A. Yes, yes.
11 Q. And this equipment was usable within range of the Old Town -- do
12 you know -- was it subject to being used generally during the course of
13 the Dubrovnik operations period? Were they weapons used?
14 A. As regards to the 3rd Battalion, I don't think so. I think the
15 answer is no. Because at that time, it did not have sniper weapons of
16 that range and they didn't need it either. They had enough machine-guns,
17 submachine-guns, and other automatic weapons, so they didn't really need
18 this sniping equipment. I think that, according to establishment, they
19 only had one or two sniper shooters, but with ordinary sniper rifles, with
20 a short range, a kilometre or something. They didn't have special snipers
21 with a longer range.
22 Q. Can you repeat again the distance between Zarkovica and Srdj, just
23 remind us.
24 A. Between Zarkovica and Srdj, there is approximately 1 kilometre --
25 perhaps a kilometre and 200 metres, perhaps a kilometre and a half.
1 Q. Looking at the positions you have taken us to and shown, would you
2 conclude that it is only the units of the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd
3 Brigade that had firing range of the Old Town?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me just a second.
6 [Prosecution counsel confer]
7 MS. SOMERS:
8 Q. Can you just give us an idea of if there was any change in the
9 coastal situation, the waters -- the water patrols on the 6th of December.
10 A. On the 6th of December, these ships were not firing. What is
11 drawn on this map are symbolically depicted areas of patrolling, but that
12 does not mean that the boats were in those positions actually on the 6th
13 of December. Perhaps one boat was here, perhaps way up here on the 6th of
14 December. So these are not the positions of the ships at that time. This
15 is only a symbolical depiction as to what the boats are doing, if there
16 are three of them, and where their positions usually where. On the 6th of
17 December, they were not operating from there because they did not receive
18 such orders and no operations on their part were planned for the 6th of
19 December. Also, there were no plans for the 3rd Battalion either, because
20 there was a cease-fire in force.
21 Q. That was my next series of questions, Admiral.
22 MS. SOMERS: If we could remove the map and move it into evidence,
24 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Prosecution Exhibit P132.
1 MS. SOMERS: Admiral, you have indicated that this map, which is
2 dated the 2nd of December but is equally valid as for positions as of the
3 6th of December, on this map there are considerable heavy weapons
4 remaining in the area of Dubrovnik. Was there an operation, a combat
5 operation, planned for the time frame of up to this -- between the 2nd and
6 the 6th of December in the Dubrovnik area?
7 A. No. No operations were planned between the 2nd and the 6th of
9 Q. Was there a military necessity on the 6th of December to have
10 these positions so close to the Old Town within firing range of the heavy
11 weaponry of the 2nd Operational Group?
12 A. There was no such military necessity.
13 Q. Are you aware of comprehensive cease-fire negotiations that were
14 undertaken in connection with a resolution to the situation in Dubrovnik
15 between the JNA and members of the -- of a Dubrovnik
16 about the 5th of December?
17 A. Yes. I was given the task of leading these negotiations on the
18 5th of December in Cavtat, in the morning, together with the negotiating
19 team of the Croatian side. On the Croatian side there were three
20 ministers; Rudolf Davorin, Cifric, and Kriste.
21 Q. And what other persons were on your negotiating team?
22 A. The intelligence officer of my command was with me, Captain
23 Jeremic, Sofronije Jeremic.
24 Q. What was the intention behind the negotiations? What was to be
25 achieved? What were some of the terms that were on the table?
1 A. These were the final negotiations regarding a settlement to the
2 problem of Dubrovnik, or this crisis around Dubrovnik, aimed at
3 normalising life in Dubrovnik. Those 11 points were given up on, or part
4 of them, rather, the ones that had been discussed earlier. Practically on
5 the 3rd of December, General Strugar conveyed to me, after he was in
6 Belgrade, that I was supposed to lead these negotiations on the 5th of
7 December, together with the ministers that I referred to already. It was
8 said that various requests should be given up on, namely to surrender
9 arms, and to hand over volunteers, or rather, to revert to the previous
10 situation regarding MUP personnel levels in Dubrovnik
11 that were within those 11 points were given up on.
12 Q. When you say "MUP personnel," could you please identify what "MUP"
13 means. I know it's an abbreviation, but if you could tell us what's
14 referred to.
15 A. The Ministry of the Interior of Croatia, which grew through
16 mobilisation in Dubrovnik. So the intention was to reduce the number of
17 their members.
18 Q. Was there any meeting or briefing involving JNA commanding
19 officers on the 3rd of December that you might be able to discuss?
20 A. Yes. I mentioned that on that day there was a meeting at the
21 General Staff, at the Supreme Command, and the commander of the 2nd
22 Operational Group, General Strugar, took part in this as did Admiral
23 Kandic, commander of the navy, as well as other army commanders.
24 Q. Did you take part as well? Were you there?
25 A. No, no, that was not my level. I was not at that level.
1 Q. And who actually led these negotiations? Who spoke? Who was the
2 -- I'm sorry. I beg your pardon. Who chaired this meeting?
3 A. I think the meeting was chaired by General Blagoje Adzic.
4 Q. [Previous translation continues]... where?
5 A. The general staff, Belgrade.
6 Q. What, if any, orders did General Adzic convey to those commanders
7 present? Do you know? Did you find out what the items in the meeting
9 A. I don't know. I'm not aware of the agenda. I don't know what the
10 substance of that meeting was, but I know what the orders were, what
11 General Adzic ordered General Strugar to convey. And General Strugar
12 asked Admiral Kandic to convey this to me in Kumbor in relation to these
13 negotiations. I think it was decided at that meeting that final
14 negotiations should be held with Croatia
15 JNA from Croatia and the acceptance of the Vance plan. I don't know the
16 details. I just know what I was told in terms of what I was supposed to
17 do about Dubrovnik.
18 Q. Can you explain or do you know why Admiral Kandic was asked to
19 relay these points to you, since you were under the 2nd Operational
20 Group? You were subordinated to the 2nd Operational Group, so why would
21 Admiral Kandic have been the messenger?
22 A. I don't know the reasons. I cannot state any; I can only make
23 assumptions. Admiral Kandic came to Kumbor from Podgorica by helicopter
24 en route to the island of Vis. Since he was going that direction and he
25 reached my area of command, then General Strugar asked him to convey to
1 this to me. I think that General Strugar stayed back in Podgorica or he
2 went to Trebinje, to his command post. I don't know that. He was
3 certainly prevented by some reasons.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Ms. Somers?
6 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, it is, Your Honour. Your Honour, may I,
7 just before we break, indicate to the Chamber, I would ask for a bit more
8 time on Monday to complete the examination-in-chief of Admiral Jokic.
9 There is a bit of material that I think merits the detail that I want to
10 go into and will be helpful to the Chamber.
11 JUDGE PARKER: What does "a bit more time" mean?
12 MS. SOMERS: I have the other witness lined up, so perhaps -- no
13 more than three hours, perhaps two and a half.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Well, thank you for that indication.
15 We will take the second break now.
16 --- Recess taken at 12.26 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
19 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
20 Q. Admiral, returning to the point you were making about the meeting
21 on the 3rd of December, where General Adzic gave certain directions, what
22 did you learn about what was ordered by General Adzic as to placing units
23 within the 2nd Operational Group under control, under total control? What
24 was addressed, if anything, about levels of control?
25 A. Yes. What I was told was that full control was to be established
1 over the subordinated units to not respond to any acts of provocation, not
2 to exacerbate tensions with Dubrovnik
3 flexible way. That's what I was told.
4 Q. You mentioned also that this cease-fire that was on the table was
5 connected with more global issues beyond Dubrovnik
6 about the withdrawal of the JNA from Croatia
7 every area where there was JNA presence had some local level of
8 negotiation? By "local," I mean that cease-fire negotiations had to be
9 conducted in every area of conflict in Croatia
10 A. Yes. I believe this was only a part of a more comprehensive plan,
11 an all-encompassing plan.
12 Q. And was it your understanding that it was very important to have
13 this particular Dubrovnik component of the plan work, be effective, be
14 brought into action?
15 A. Yes, I believe so.
16 Q. Now, the level of negotiator for the Croatian side, I believe you
17 indicated Davorin Rudolf, Mr. Cifric, and Mr. Kriste. Were these local
18 persons from Dubrovnik or what level were they representing in the
19 Croatian structure?
20 A. They were ministers in the Croatian government. And on their way
21 from Zagreb heading south, they had other problems to deal with south of
22 Split, I believe, on the island of Vis.
23 Dubrovnik. That was the highest negotiation level possible for us at the
25 Q. The prior negotiations had been handled on a different level, any
1 other meetings concerning cease-fires in Dubrovnik
2 what level had those generally been handled?
3 A. Earlier talks were between our negotiating team, led by Colonel
4 Svicevic and his deputy, Captain Jeremic, on behalf of the 2nd Operational
5 Group. The opposite side was represented by representatives of the
6 Dubrovnik Crisis Staff and the monitors of the European Community.
7 Q. Do you know what General Strugar's attitude was toward the
8 upcoming comprehensive cease-fire?
9 A. He was the one who conveyed the words of General Adzic to Admiral
10 Kandic and then told Admiral Kandic to tell me, the way I just told you.
11 I think that reflected his position.
12 Q. The -- were you designated by whom -- or by whom were you
13 designated to conduct the negotiations?
14 A. I told you what I was told, how I was informed about that, and my
15 understanding was that I was designated on the basis of what General
16 Strugar had told Admiral Kandic. But I did not have any firsthand account
17 of this. This was told to me by Admiral Kandic.
18 Q. Thank you. What was the situation with the units in the areas
19 around Dubrovnik? What was the general attitude or morale of those units
20 at that time? When I say "units," I mean the units of the 2nd Operational
21 Group around Dubrovnik. What was the morale like?
22 A. At that time, it was understood that the crisis was nearing a
23 settlement. It was peaceful. There were no combat operations and
24 everyone was waiting for this final solution.
25 Q. Was there any perceptible sense of frustration about the operation
1 in Dubrovnik from a military perspective of the units?
2 A. Yes. There was a sense of frustration, especially so with the
3 more extremist elements or individuals who were dissatisfied with the
4 outcome. There was discontent with regard to why the war had been waged
5 in the first place and why people died, but they failed to hand over their
6 weapons and the reservists had not been demilitarised. Certainly some of
7 the senior officers, too.
8 Q. And how long had some of those units --
9 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have a problem with
10 the interpretation. Page 66, line 7: [In English] "... and the
11 reservists had not been demilitarised." [Interpretation] I believe the
12 admiral was talking about the discontent by the reservists, not about them
13 being militarised or demilitarised.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
15 MS. SOMERS: Would you like me to clarify that point?
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, thank you.
17 MS. SOMERS:
18 Q. Admiral, there may have been an issue of interpretation. I wonder
19 if you could go back. My question was: "Was there any perceptible sense
20 of frustration about the operation in Dubrovnik
21 perspective of the units." Your answer was not quite clear. I wonder if
22 you could revisit it, please.
23 A. What I said, roughly -- I mean, my opinion is as follows: The
24 fighters were dissatisfied, especially some of the more extremist
25 individuals were dissatisfied about the outcome of the operation, because
1 Dubrovnik had not been disarmed and the expectations of the units had not
2 been met. Dubrovnik did not accept any of the terms in terms of the
3 surrender of the volunteers, them leaving town, or the handing over of
4 weapons. Certain individuals questioned the reason for war, why people
5 were killed, and so on and so forth.
6 Q. These negotiations which were considered so important were
7 represented or had the Croatian minister level on that side, what was your
8 understanding of why the operational group commander would not have -- was
9 not conducting these negotiations? Why were you designated to do so?
10 A. It is difficult for me to answer that question. Actually, I don't
11 know why I was designated, but I was. It's a fact. I'm not sure what
12 guided them in making that decision. I find it very hard to speculate
13 what the commander of the 2nd Operational Group had in mind when assigning
14 me, or the chief of the General Staff. That's what I was told and that's
15 what I did. I carried out those tasks. I'm afraid I might make a mistake
16 if I were to speculate on the reasons.
17 Q. Excuse me. I checked my transcript and my signal went down.
18 Was it known --
19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
21 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies for interrupting, Your
22 Honour. What the Admiral said is that he didn't know what guided the
23 commander of the Operational Group or the chief of the General Staff to
24 designate him, which does not exactly follow from page 67, lines 11 and
1 MS. SOMERS: I'm not sure, Your Honour, that I see a lack of
2 clarity in that. Perhaps --
3 JUDGE PARKER: Well, it's just the structure of the sentence, I
4 think. I think it comes through clear enough that both commander of the
5 2nd Operational Group and the chief of the General Staff had determined to
6 designate Admiral Jokic to this task, which is the point being made by
7 Mr. Petrovic.
8 MS. SOMERS:
9 Q. Then, Admiral, your point is you don't know. You don't know.
10 You don't know the reasons.
11 A. Yes, precisely.
12 Q. Are you able to indicate generally what General Strugar's attitude
13 towards cease-fire agreements and peace negotiations was?
14 A. I can't say. I can't speculate. I can't second-guess what his
15 attitude may have been. As a soldier at the highest possible level, he
16 carried out his orders, the orders that he received. Now, what his
17 personal opinion was, I simply don't know.
18 Q. When were cease-fire negotiations set to take place in the
19 Dubrovnik area between the designee of the 2nd Operational Group and the
20 Croatian ministers?
21 A. They were set to begin on the 5th of December, I believe, at about
22 11.00, in Cavtat. The negotiators had arrived by ship. We secured safe
23 passage for them, and the negotiations were held and were over by 1400
24 hours, I believe.
25 Q. Were the negotiations finalised, in other words signed and sealed,
1 or was there at least some understanding that there would be an agreement
3 A. Yes. An agreement was reached quite soon. My understanding of
4 the overall tone of the negotiations and the objective was to accept the
5 requests made by Dubrovnik and to give up our own requests in terms of
6 volunteers handing over their weapons. I think effectively the
7 negotiations and dealing with the requests of the Dubrovnik
8 a very short time, and all their requests were accepted fully, with the
9 exception of one point, and that was control of the ships.
10 Q. Now, can you discuss, please, what that control of the ships point
11 entailed. What was the actual issue?
12 A. This was only about the way and place where control of the
13 incoming and outgoing ships would take place. Based on the agreement, we
14 agreed for Dubrovnik to be open to incoming ships and traffic from the
15 mainland. The question was: Where will the checks be conducted to keep
16 weapons from being smuggled into Dubrovnik
17 The ministers wanted these checks to be performed within the town itself.
18 Based on my experience, however, and knowing what the procedure used to be
19 earlier when plenty of ships were entering Dubrovnik
20 there were a number of incidents related to that, I proposed that the
21 checks be performed on the sea. Bearing in mind the safety of my men in
22 the town itself, which was a hostile environment, this could have given
23 rise to further incidents. So this was the only point of disagreement we
24 had. We agreed for me to check again with my superiors and to sign the
25 agreement the next day. As for all the other points of the agreement,
1 everything else was accepted.
2 Q. And was it your perception that both sides, both yourself, both
3 the 2nd Operational Group representatives, and the Croatian side, left the
4 meeting with the same understanding?
5 A. Absolutely.
6 Q. What time of day was the meeting to resume the next day for
7 finalisation of the cease-fire agreement?
8 A. We agreed that I would get back to them about the time, but I
9 believe we agreed on the same time as the day before, 10.00 or 11.00,
10 roughly speaking. That was when the agreement in Cavtat was supposed to
11 be signed.
12 Q. After these negotiations on the 5th of December, did you report to
13 General Strugar about the meeting, about the terms of the negotiations,
14 about the cease-fire in general, any outstanding issue?
15 A. Yes. Once the negotiations were completed, I went to Trebinje and
16 I informed General Strugar at his command post with all the terms and all
17 the modalities of the agreement. I also pointed out that the agreement
18 had not been signed, but that was a merely formal matter. Essentially
19 there were no differences, no discrepancies. The only disagreement was
20 about checking the ships. He did not wish to go about it this way. He
21 believed it was a naval problem in its nature, that it was related to the
22 navy, and he thought that it should have been up to me to decide whether
23 these checks would have been carried out on the sea or in the town itself.
24 He did not wish to go any further into that. As for all the other terms,
25 those were never challenged.
1 Q. You indicated, Admiral, that you had agreed to return around 10.00
2 or 11.00 the next day. Now, when was the cease-fire, after your return at
3 10.00 or 11.00, actually, in its entirety, to go into effect? What time?
4 A. Bearing in mind the fact that the agreement was to be signed at
5 about that time, we decided that the cease-fire should take effect at 1200
6 hours on the 6th of December, in order to comply with its final formal
7 matter in terms of when the cease-fire would begin. Essentially, however,
8 we ordered our units to start the cease-fire in the morning, on the 6th of
10 Q. How did you communicate to your units the fact that a cease-fire
11 and that a significant cease-fire was about to be going into effect? By
12 what means did you issue orders?
13 A. Having reported to General Strugar in Trebinje, I returned to my
14 command post in Kupari, where I explained to my staff what the agreement
15 was about as well as the terms of the agreement. And I ordered them to
16 convey to all the units this message about the complete cease-fire that
17 was to begin on the morning of the 6th. Even as early as the 5th, that
18 day, there were no operations, no firing, but formally it was decided that
19 the cease-fire would take place the following morning and all operations
20 would cease, all operations against Dubrovnik
21 Q. Did you receive an order from General Strugar to cease fire --
22 excuse me, to put into effect -- to make sure that the cease-fire would be
23 put into effect?
24 A. Yes. In the Decision on Further Operations, as the combat
25 document is entitled, the 6th of December, at the very end of the document
1 it reads: "The cease-fire shall take effect at 1200 hours on the 6th of
2 December." That's part of his order, and it was even underlined.
3 Q. Do you know whether or not the order was complied with?
4 A. Yes, as concerns the other units, with the exception of the 3rd
5 Battalion of the 472nd Brigade.
6 Q. Explain, please, what happened with the 3rd Battalion of the 472nd
7 Brigade; what and when.
8 A. The next day, having carried out that task, I returned, and having
9 in mind the fact that there was to be a cease-fire, I was facing
10 difficulty evacuating units and commands. From the 5th Military Naval
11 Sector of Pula, I went back to Kumbor to my original command post, where I
12 spent the night. The next day, the next morning, I received word from my
13 operations centre. I received a phone call from the duty operations
14 officer, Captain Slobodan Kozaric. At about 4.45 in the morning, just
15 before 5.00 a.m., he reported to me that Captain Kovacevic had got in
16 touch from his command post at Gornji Brgat to say that he was under fire
17 from the Dubrovnik side, especially from the front end of Srdj and that
18 one of his men had been killed and two wounded by that time. He said,
19 "I'm now leaving for my observation post at Zarkovica to see what's going
20 on." Kozaric warned him that I had issued an order, an explicit order, to
21 not go anywhere or attack.
22 Q. When you say "the morning of," what date are you referring to?
23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Admiral said that
24 Kozaric conveyed to him that Kovacevic had told Kozaric that one of his
25 men had already been killed. This, unfortunately, did not enter the
1 transcript, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, I see the omission there. It certainly was
3 reported in the English translation as the evidence was given. It was
4 reported by the -- to the Admiral that Captain Kovacevic had indicated
5 that one of his men had been killed. That might be checked in the
6 transcript in due course.
7 MS. SOMERS:
8 Q. Admiral, you had just begun to answer my question when counsel
9 needed to have a clarification. When you said "that day," what day were
10 you referring to?
11 A. I was referring to the 6th of December.
12 Q. Of 1991?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The same day that the cease-fire we have been discussing was to go
15 into effect?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What did you do upon hearing this information?
18 A. I ordered Kozaric to stop the attack -- or rather, I ordered him
19 first of all to warn Kovacevic that he should not attack and to inform
20 Zec, who was chief of staff, and Colonel Kovacevic, who was supposed to be
21 at Kupari.
22 Q. Do you know from where Kozaric telephoned you? Where was he when
23 he telephoned you?
24 A. He phoned me from the operations centre at the forward command
25 post at Kupari, the operations centre.
1 Q. And where were you, Admiral? Where did he phone you to?
2 A. I was at Kumbor, at my original command post. The distance is
3 between 45 and 50 kilometres.
4 Q. What did Kozaric tell Captain Kovacevic? I know you've mentioned
5 a Colonel Kovacevic, now I'm talking about Captain Kovacevic. What did
6 Kozaric tell Captain Kovacevic?
7 A. He cautioned him that there had been an explicit order issued by
8 myself that there were to be no operations, that a cease-fire had taken
9 effect. His answer was: I am now going to the observation post to see
10 what is going on, because I'm not exactly clear about the situation. That
11 was the answer by Captain Kovacevic, and he left the Brgat command post.
12 Q. Further to your instructions to Kozaric, who communicated with
13 Captain Kovacevic, what happened afterward?
14 A. At 6.00, Kozaric called me again, saying that Captain Kovacevic
15 had told him to start the attack on Srdj, because they could no longer
16 cope with this lethal fire. Then again he was warned about the cease-fire
17 and that he shouldn't do it. He said: "I still have time before 12.00,
18 and I may need artillery" -- or he said, "I will need artillery,"
19 something along those lines.
20 Q. Excuse me, when you say: "Captain Kovacevic told him to start the
21 attack on Srdj," who is "him"? Who did Captain Kovacevic tell?
22 A. Kozaric.
23 Q. Now, the Croatian side, you indicated, was equally in agreement
24 about the cease-fire negotiations. Did your command post contact the
25 Croatian side to find out what was going on, to inquire about the
1 allegations by Captain Kovacevic about activities up -- from the Srdj
3 A. No. As far as I was concerned and my reaction at the time, I did
4 not bear that in mind. For me, the highest priority was to stop the
5 attack, knowing what an attack on Srdj would have meant. It was perfectly
6 clear to me that attacking Srdj was the same as attacking Dubrovnik
7 rather, that firing on the city would follow. That's why I wanted to stop
8 that attack at all costs.
9 Q. To clarify a point, when Captain Kovacevic spoke to your
10 operations officer Kozaric, who did -- who was going to start the attack?
11 Who was actually -- who did Kovacevic mean was going to start an attack?
12 A. He meant the Srdj feature.
13 Q. Yeah. I mean, was it Kovacevic who was going to start the attack?
14 Perhaps I wasn't clear.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 After hearing that Captain Kovacevic was going to start the
18 attack, what happened from your own officers? What did you hear next from
19 them? This would be after the phone call from chief of staff Zec.
20 A. In the meantime, I had asked to speak to Captain Kovacevic [as
21 interpreted], and I ordered Kozaric to pass me the commander of the 3rd
22 Battalion so that I could speak to him. He said, however, that Captain
23 Kovacevic had hung up and that he left to go back to his own unit, or that
24 perhaps a shell had interrupted communications and that's why the line
25 broke down. Therefore, I was not able to speak to the commander of the
1 3rd Battalion. Then I ordered him to let me speak to the chief of staff,
3 After that, Captain Kozaric informed me that the chief of staff
4 was not at the command post and nor was Captain Kovacevic, who was another
5 person that I asked to speak to. I conveyed to him --
6 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Colonel Kovacevic, 76,
7 line 1. Not Captain Kovacevic, Colonel Kovacevic.
8 MS. SOMERS:
9 Q. And after that, what occurred? What happened next?
10 JUDGE PARKER: Can we get that clear. We have two Kovacevics.
11 MS. SOMERS: Oh, I'm sorry, Your Honour. Okay.
12 Q. If we go back, I'm going to ask you: You asked to speak to
13 Captain Kovacevic and "ordered Kozaric to pass me the commander of the 3rd
14 Battalion so that I could speak to him. He said, however, that Captain
15 Kovacevic had hung up and that he left to go back to his own unit, or
16 perhaps a shell had interrupted communications and that's why the line
17 broke down."
18 And then another sentence: "After that, Captain Kozaric informed
19 me that the chief of staff was not at the command post, nor was Captain
20 Kovacevic, who was another person that I asked to speak to."
21 Did you mean Captain Kovacevic or Colonel Kovacevic?
22 A. No, Colonel Kovacevic.
23 Q. And what is the first name? Who is Colonel Kovacevic, if you'd
24 remind us, please.
25 A. Colonel Kovacevic, Gavrilo Kovacevic, my assistant for the land
1 forces, who was in charge of control and monitoring operations by the 3rd
2 Battalion throughout the operation.
3 Q. Thank you, Admiral, for straightening that out.
4 Were you ever able to reach Chief of Staff Zec?
5 A. I issued an order to Captain Kozaric to find for me the chief of
6 staff and Colonel Kovacevic, to find them, to bring them back to the
7 command post, and to -- for the chief of staff to immediately get in touch
8 with me. As time went by, this became an urgent matter. This became a
9 top priority for me to stop the attack by the battalion. But time went
10 by, and at about 7.00 -- it's very difficult for me to say now. It was at
11 about 7.00, give or take a minute or two, I received a call from the
12 commander of the 2nd Operational Group, General Strugar.
13 Q. What did General Strugar say to you?
14 A. He told me that he had received a call by I believe General
15 Kadijevic or the chief of the General Staff, it could have been either of
16 those two, and that they asked him about the attack on Dubrovnik
17 sort of attack it was, who was carrying out the attack and what the whole
18 situation was about. I was really very surprised. I was stunned. I told
19 him what I had heard, what I had heard from the operations centre, that
20 the commander of the 3rd Battalion was about to launch an attack on Srdj
21 because he could no longer put up with heavy fire, that he was sustaining
22 heavy losses, and so on and so forth. He told me that General Kadijevic
23 was furious, that an agreement had been signed for a cease-fire to take
24 place and how, given that, could a battalion be launching an attack under
25 those circumstances? I told him that I would look into the matter, that I
1 ordered the chief of staff to get back to me, and that I would stop the
3 I don't know if it was already then that he told me - I believe he
4 did - that General Kadijevic had ordered for us as soon as we dealt with
5 the situation to come to Belgrade as soon as possible and that he would be
6 sending a plane over to fetch us for consultations.
7 Q. Given the critical nature of the situation, why did you not
8 contact General Strugar immediately, before he contacted you?
9 A. First of all, I did not know that the town was being attacked.
10 The attack was limited to Srdj, that is one matter. Secondly, the most
11 urgent thing for me was to resolve this combat situation; namely, to stop
12 the attack and to prevent any damage in town, to prevent losses in the
13 unit, not to inform my superiors. It was more important for me to prevent
14 worse things from happening rather than make telephone calls and lose
15 time, waste time.
16 Q. What time did the attack start?
17 A. The attack itself, as the battalion commander said, started around
18 6.00, perhaps a few minutes earlier.
19 Q. When you say that: "The most urgent thing for me was to resolve
20 this combat situation; namely, to stop the attack to prevent any damage in
21 town, to prevent losses in the unit," what did you mean? What damage and
22 -- "not to inform my supervisors." Explain, please, what you meant by
23 that. Why would you not inform your head of the operational group?
24 A. I did not mean that I was not supposed to inform my superiors; I
25 thought that the priority of my steps, the steps I'm supposed to take was
1 the following: First to stop a worsening, an urgent worsening of the
2 situation. Because I had the picture before my eyes. I knew where the
3 units were, and I knew that it was a question of minutes rather than hours
4 and that the most important thing for me was to stop the attack and to
5 prevent attacks on Srdj, knowing that attacks on Srdj were attacks on
6 town, too. That's the way it was in November. Every shell that missed
7 Srdj hit the Old Town.
8 Q. When Captain Kozaric telephoned at 5.45, had the attack started?
9 Could you hear --
10 A. No, I --
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic.
13 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] The witness never said that he was
14 informed at 5.45. He said 4.45. The Prosecutor is saying "5.45" without
15 any foundation.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
17 MS. SOMERS:
18 Q. When next you heard from Captain Kozaric about an attack underway
19 -- or that an attack was to be started, could you hear any evidence of an
20 attack in background or could you, from any source, hear evidence of an
21 attack? Do you know if Captain Kozaric may have heard evidence of an
22 attack or shelling?
23 A. No. Of course I couldn't hear anything, because I was very far
24 away. Kozaric did hear some sounds, but he was not sure at 4.45 who it
25 was and from what side. He could establish that only at 6.00 when he made
1 his second telephone call.
2 Q. Did you come to learn that the Old Town of Dubrovnik was attacked?
3 At any point in time, did you come to learn that the Old Town of Dubrovnik
4 had been shelled or attacked?
5 A. I heard that only later. After having spoken to General Strugar,
6 I received one or two calls from Dubrovnik
7 Old Town
8 bearing in mind that this was around 8.30 perhaps. I'm not sure of the
9 time now. It was between 8.00 and 9.00. I said that I am trying to
10 establish what the situation was and what was going on, but that I did not
11 believe that the Old Town was being targeted. The subordinate commander
12 said that he was going to attack Srdj. After a certain amount of time - I
13 don't know exactly, the communications were very poor - about half an hour
14 later, the Crisis Staff of Dubrovnik called again and on the line was
15 Minister Rudolf Davorin. He said to me: Admiral, this is now indeed an
16 operation against the Old Town. He even turned the receiver that way.
17 And I then had to believe it, because in the meantime I had received
18 information that units were already at Srdj. I said to him that I was
19 very sorry at that moment. If all of this proves to be true, this is an
20 arbitrary attack of a lower-ranking commander. I would stop that attack,
21 I would try to resolve that as soon as possible, because the communication
22 links were broken. He said that an effort should be made to do this
23 straight away. I said I think around 11.00, I think that we are going to
24 resolve the situation by 11.00.
25 Q. Admiral, you indicated that Minister Rudolf turned the receiver.
1 What did you hear when he turned the receiver of whatever phone he was
3 A. I heard the sound of shelling. I assumed that -- I mean, I know
4 where the municipality is, the municipality building of Dubrovnik
5 that is within the Old Town.
6 Q. Do you know how General Kadijevic -- sorry. You indicated that --
7 I believe that General Kadijevic had telephoned from Belgrade
8 would he have known about the attack?
9 A. At that time, I simply could not believe how it was possible for
10 General Kadijevic in Belgrade to know about the attack on town and I did
11 not know about this, and General Strugar, too. And of course this was
12 astonishing to me. And I couldn't figure it out then. However, later I
13 realised, from talking to Minister Rudolf, how this happened. The
14 representative of the European Community - I don't know whether it was Di
15 Mistura - used a satellite telephone to make a call because he could not
16 reach [Realtime transcript read in error "General Strugar"] me or General
17 Strugar. He telephoned Belgrade directly, and that is how Kadijevic found
18 out quite early.
19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, page 81, line 12,
20 "and me," the witness said. And here it says only "General Strugar."
21 JUDGE PARKER: Could you confirm that, Ms. Somers.
22 MS. SOMERS: Yes.
23 Q. Admiral, if I can just ask you again. My question was: "Do you
24 know -- I'm sorry. You indicated that I believe General Kadijevic had
25 telephoned from Belgrade, angry. How would he have known about the
2 Then I'll begin to read back. "At that time, I simply did not
3 believe how it was possible for General Kadijevic in Belgrade
4 about the town and I did not know about this. And General Strugar, too.
5 And of course this was astonishing to me."
6 We move on, it says: "The representative -- and I did not know
7 about this and General Strugar, too. Then the representative from the
8 European Community - I don't know whether it was Di Mistura - used a
9 satellite telephone to make a call because he could not reach General
10 Strugar." Then the question was: "Was there anyone else he could not
12 A. Yes. They called the command at Kumbor. They called me, too, but
13 they could not reach me. And they had the telephone of General Kadijevic,
14 so they managed to reach him.
15 Q. Thank you for clarifying that.
16 Was there a system of some sort in place for communications that
17 would have allowed the 2nd Operational Group command to receive
18 information about the attack when it happened?
19 A. Yes. The command of the 2nd Operational Group had telephone links
20 with my command in Kumbor and with my command post in Kupari. A direct,
21 secure telephone link and also another system of radio communications.
22 Q. What was the state of the communications system at that time?
23 Just up to that time in general, what was the state of the communications
24 system within the 2nd Operational Group?
25 A. Well, the communications system did function between the 2nd
1 Operational Group and the 9th Sector. There were no problems there in
2 relation to its functioning.
3 Q. Did General Strugar issue any orders to you concerning the
4 shelling or issue any orders to anyone else to stop the shelling at that
6 A. I don't know which orders he issued to his organs at the command.
7 Actually, I don't know exactly where General Strugar was, whether he was
8 at the command post in Trebinje or in Podgorica, but I know what he
9 ordered me. He ordered to have the attacks stopped, and he agreed with
10 the measures that I had taken.
11 Q. Are you able to give us an approximate time when this happened?
12 A. Well, that was during the first telephone call when I spoke to
13 him. And when I told him that what was underway was the sending of the
14 chief of staff to the observation post of Captain Kovacevic and that I
15 would send Colonel Kovacevic, who was in charge of that unit, and I
16 believe that the two of them will manage to resolve this situation in the
17 fastest possible way. I informed him that I was going to Cavtat, from
18 where the links to Dubrovnik were the best. At the same time, waiting for
19 the helicopter that was supposed to come and fetch me so that I could go
20 to the Golubovci airport in Podgorica in order to go to Belgrade
21 Q. Admiral Jokic, you indicated that you had been informed by
22 Minister Rudolf that the Old Town was being shelled. Did you issue any
23 orders to your units to not shell the Old Town, to protect it according to
24 all orders that mandated its protection? That morning, during that
25 attack, did you issue orders to those units that were involved that were
1 under your command?
2 A. Yes. Immediately in the morning, I conveyed to Kozaric that he
3 should relay to the division -- or rather, the two batteries that were
4 possibly within the range of the Old Town of Dubrovnik - this is the
5 130-millimetre battery and the 85-millimetre battery - that he should
6 prohibit them from using any of this and to tell Captain Kovacevic that he
7 is not going to get any artillery by way of support.
8 Q. Did you specifically issue an order that said: Do not shell the
9 Old Town
10 A. Absolutely. What I'm saying is not a dialogue that I'm lining up
11 now. The basic elements of all these orders are part of the war diary. I
12 read this after these events were over, and also in preparation for my
13 defence. This document does exist in the archives, and I analysed it in
15 Q. Speaking about the morning of the 6th, are we speaking about the
16 same date? Did you on the morning of the 6th, when this attack against
17 the Old Town
18 attack, on order not to attack the Old Town?
19 A. Absolutely, yes.
20 Q. Did General Strugar issue, that morning, an order not to attack
21 the Old Town
22 A. I don't know. I mean, in his order, in his written order, in the
23 Decision to Order Operations, that's the name of the document, that was
24 written on the evening of the 5th for the 6th and it is valid for the 6th,
25 his organs wrote that what is prohibited is the opening of fire, starting
1 from 1200 hours on the 6th of December. That is what it says quite
2 literally in that order. As for other orders of his, I mean, I don't
4 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Ms. Somers?
5 MS. SOMERS: I think so. I just want to see if it might help to
6 get one more -- I think so. I think the next line will take a little too
7 long. Thank you.
8 JUDGE PARKER: We will then adjourn until --
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic.
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I beg your pardon. I'm sorry I
12 interrupted you. I think that it would be necessary to resolve the
13 question of the witness's communications over the weekend, namely whether
14 the witness is aware of fact that he cannot discuss the subject of his
15 evidence with anyone.
16 JUDGE PARKER: I would expect that he's been duly advised of his
17 position during his briefing.
18 But you will understand, Admiral, that over the weekend you should
19 not discuss your evidence with anyone. And I must ask you to return again
20 on Monday morning. Thank you.
21 We will adjourn for the weekend.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
23 at 1.50 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
24 the 29th day of March, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.