Through the testimony of a participant in the attack on Dubrovnik on 6 December 1991, the defense is trying to prove that General Pavle Strugar did not issue the order for the attack, laying the blame on Admiral Miodrag Jokic.

The attack on Srdj Hill above Dubrovnik carried out on 6 December 1991 by the 3rd Battalion of the JNA Trebinje Brigade was authorized the day before. This is what an officer of the army of Serbia-Montenegro, Zoran Lemal, testified at the trial of Pavle Strugar. As commander of the 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, Lemal took part in the attack. The shells that hit Dubrovnik’s Old Town that day were "collateral damage" from the attack on Srdj Hill.

The witness was called by General Strugar’s defense; the General is charged with shelling Dubrovnik’s Old Town on 6 December 1991. Lemal described how news of the authorization for the attack on the repeater on Srdj Hill was communicated to the officers by the battalion commander, Vladimir Kovacevic a/k/a Rambo, after he reported to the forward command post of the 9th Naval Sector in Kupari.

When asked by the defense counsel who authorized the attack on Srdj Hill, the witness said he assumed it was the command of the 9th Naval Sectorin Kupari, as Captain Kovacevic returned from there on the evening of 5 December.

The 9th Naval Sector was commanded by Vice-admiral Miodrag Jokic. After pleading guilty to the shelling of Dubrovnik, he was sentenced to seven yearsin prison and testified at the trial of General Strugar as a prosecution witness. The defense is trying to prove that in his testimony, Jokic did not describe the events of 6 December in a credible manner and that the attack onSrdj Hill, and on Dubrovnik, was coordinated by the 9th Naval Sector commanded by Jokic, not by its superior command, the 2nd Operational Group, commanded by General Strugar.

Lemal described the preparation for the operation and its course: the JNA took the repeater on Srdj Hill on 6 December 1991. Five JNA soldiers were killed primarily, the witness claims, because of the lack of artillery support promised to them by the 9th Naval Sector on the eve of the operation.

In the course of his examination-in-chief, Lemal testified about early promotions given to members of the 3rd Battalion, including its commander Kovacevic, but claimed they had nothing to do with the attack of 6 December1991. Rather, they had to do with operations carried out in October and November, when positions in the Brgata area were captured.

Zoran Lemal's testimony continues tomorrow with cross-examination by the prosecution.