1 Wednesday, 14 May 2003
2 [Prosecution Opening Statement]
3 [Open session]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is case number IT-02-60-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic, Dragan Obrenovic, and Dragan Jokic.
8 JUDGE LIU: May we have the appearances, please. For the
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. My
11 name is Peter McCloskey. Appearing with me are Stacy de la Torre, Janet
12 Stewart, Stefan Waespi, and Anne Davis.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
14 And for the accused?
15 MR. WILSON: Good morning, Mr. President, members of the Court.
16 My name is David Wilson. I am counsel for Mr. Obrenovic in this case.
17 Seated with me is Mr. Slijepcevic to my left. We also have two legal
18 assistants this is morning that the Court has very graciously permitted to
19 attend the proceedings, as an exception to the general rule. We wish to
20 thank you for permitting them to be here. They are young lawyers who have
21 been working on the case and it is a great privilege and an honour for
22 them to be here this morning. They are Ms. Laura Zeman and Ms. Jennifer
23 Merrick. Thank you very much again. We appreciate the Court's courtesy.
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours. Michael
1 Karnavas for Mr. Blagojevic. Together with me Suzana Tomanovic,
2 co-counsel, and Mr. Cirkovic, who is our case manager.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
4 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. My
5 name is Miodrag Stojanovic. I am the Defence counsel for the accused
6 Dragan Jokic, and I appear together with Mrs. Cynthia Sinatra as the
7 Defence counsel and Dragoslav Djukic as the interpreter/translator.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
9 Mr. Blagojevic, can you hear the proceedings in a language that
10 you can understand?
11 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I can understand,
12 Your Honour.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
14 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] May I be allowed to say a
15 few words?
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes. But you have to be very brief.
17 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours -- yes, I
18 understand that. Your Honours, I wish you to observe that I have no
19 Defence counsel here today and that the persons that introduced themselves
20 have been opposed upon me, and that is not in order, not proper. Thank
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think this matter has been decided during the
23 Pre-Trial Conference. Maybe we should have another hearing to deal with
24 these particular issues, when independent counsel consulted with you on
25 your particular request.
1 Mr. Obrenovic, can you hear the proceedings in a language that you
2 can understand?
3 THE ACCUSED OBRENOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, Your Honour.
4 I do understand what is being said in the courtroom.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You may sit down, please.
6 THE ACCUSED OBRENOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you.
7 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Jokic, can you follow the proceedings in a
8 language that you understand?
9 THE ACCUSED JOKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
11 THE ACCUSED JOKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 JUDGE LIU: I will not ask you the same question every morning,
13 but if there is ever any problem to hear the proceedings, please do not be
14 hesitant to let us know.
15 Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Today we will begin the
16 so-called Srebrenica case by hearing the opening statement of the
17 Prosecution. As it is known to all that on the 7th May, 2003 one of the
18 accused, Momir Nikolic, has pled guilty to count 5 of the amended
19 indictment, dated 27th May 2002, namely, persecution as a crime against
20 humanity. And this Trial Chamber entered conviction against him on this
21 count on the same day.
22 On the 9th May, 2003, the Trial Chamber issued an order separating
23 the proceedings against Nikolic from the other three co-accused. On 13th
24 May 2003, that is, yesterday, the Prosecution filed a motion for leave to
25 file a second amended joint indictment. In the interest of justice and in
1 order to ensure the right of the accused for an expeditious trial, this
2 Trial Chamber has decided to begin the trial based on the latest filings,
3 while bearing in mind that the Defence will have full opportunity to
4 respond to that motion at a later stage, say, within ten days from today.
5 If they fail, the amended indictment affects the interest of their
7 Mr. McCloskey, are you ready for your opening statement?
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes. You have the floor.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Srebrenica. Before the war, Srebrenica was a
11 little-known town in rural Eastern Bosnia. Today it is something else.
12 For many Serbs Srebrenica is still a myth, a story beyond their belief.
13 For the Republika Srpska, the truth is known but it is a propaganda
14 problem. For these accused, it is their legacy, a disgrace to humanity
15 that will follow them into the miserable history of this war, no matter
16 how much they may try to blame others.
17 For the Muslim community of Eastern Bosnia, Srebrenica is a
18 tragedy, a tragedy of such proportions that my words here today can only
19 begin to convey to you the true magnitude of that crime.
20 Over a four-day period, from 13 July through 16 July, these
21 accused and their fellow soldiers systematically murdered over 7.000
22 Muslim men and boys from the Srebrenica enclave. Most of those victims
23 still lie in mass graves, scattered in the woods not far from where these
24 accused used to live and work. Many of the victims still lie with
25 blindfolds and ligatures that their captures forced upon them before their
1 executions. Over 3.000 victims have been exhumed by the OTP and the
2 International Community, and they lie in makeshift morgues, waiting for
3 identifications that for the most part will never be realised.
4 But the greatest tragedy of Srebrenica is no longer found in the
5 dead, because their suffering is over. We cannot forget the families left
6 behind, those people who have been condemned by these accused to live
7 their lives without their fathers, without their husbands, their brothers,
8 their sons, their cousins, their neighbours, their community.
9 There is too much pain, there is too much loss for any of us to
10 truly comprehend the nature and scope of this crime and what these accused
11 did to destroy the Muslim community of Eastern Bosnia, but I want you to
12 hear the words of Mirsada Malagic, a survivor, words she gave to
13 Judge Rodrigues during a previous trial when he asked her to go look at
14 The Hague before she finished up her testimony.
15 "Yesterday afternoon, when I returned from here, I went out to
16 walk around your city. That is what I wanted to tell you. I couldn't
17 really see much, but what I really liked, what caught my eye, was a
18 monument that we visited, and that monument was to women, that is, women
19 awaiting sailors who never came back, and the monument to those wives
20 touched me profoundly. I should like to find this statue and take it to
21 Bosnia with me. Perhaps it could be likened to mothers and wives of
22 Srebrenica who have been waiting and hoping for all those years, except
23 that we followed different roads. We could turn to our empty forests. We
24 saw our sons and our husbands off to those woods and never found out
25 anything about them again, whether they were alive or dead, where their
1 bones are lying. Many mothers have died hoping against hope, and it is
2 quite possible that all the mothers would end up like that, because their
3 numbers are dwindling every day."
4 Mirsada lost her husband Salko, her two sons, Elvir and Admir,
5 Admir was only 16, her father-in-law Omer, both Salko's brothers Osman and
6 Dzafer and her nephew Samir, and this was not unusual. Many suffered
7 greater losses.
8 The loss of these men and boys and the crippling of those left
9 behind can be simply put: It is a Bosnian genocide. However, this
10 courthouse has seen enough suffering, enough tears, though God knows it
11 will see more. The evidence of what this crime did to the Muslim
12 community of Eastern Bosnia and much of the other evidence related to the
13 crimes committed is in the record of a previous trial. I have asked this
14 Chamber to look there for most of the evidence on these important issues.
15 You will also find reliable written accounts of the history and
16 background leading to these events, and they can also be found in the
17 written record. What the Prosecution will do is bring into court the most
18 important witnesses to this crime, the few that survived, so you will see
19 the crime firsthand. But the overall objective of the Prosecution is to
20 provide you with the evidence that connects these accused to this crime.
21 It's the purpose of the Prosecution's case to bring to you the evidence
22 that will clearly, convincingly, and beyond a reasonable doubt link these
23 men to these terrible deeds. We will give you actual video footage,
24 Bosnian Serb military documents, radio intercepts, credible witness
25 testimony, and much more, all of which will overwhelmingly prove that the
1 men and materials under the command Dragan Obrenovic and Vidoje
2 Blagojevic, including Dragan Jokic, were directly and intimately involved
3 with all aspects of this massive murder operation, from filling fuel tanks
4 to the burial of the last victim, and even many of the actual murders in
6 The evidence will also show that the accused's superiors from the
7 Drina Corps, Generals Krstic, Zivanovic, security officer Colonel Popovic
8 and others and their superior, General Mladic and members of his staff,
9 like security officer Ljubo Beara --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. McCloskey please slow down for the
11 interpreters. Thank you.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: -- and Ljubisa Borovcanin, all fully involved in
13 the murder operation.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, I think you have been advised
15 about the interpreters, that you have to slow down so that she could
16 follow you.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Much of this evidence will not be largely contested by the Defence
19 because it appears these accused seek to blame the offences, both on their
20 superiors and their subordinates, while they remained in complete
22 As the evidence of this case unfolds before you, you will
23 understand how truly absurd this defence is.
24 While we cannot show you any of the accused standing in a line to
25 execute people, the evidence will prove that each of the accused was fully
1 aware of the murder operation and clearly involved in its commission.
2 Now, understanding this case, I have always found it easiest to
3 divide it into three chapters. The first chapter I refer to as "The Big
4 Picture." This is the -- largely the historical background, the events
5 leading up to the fall of Srebrenica, the military regulations and
6 procedures by which the VRS worked, the people, the personalities, and the
7 events as they unfolded. This is the most complex part of the case, but
8 it's -- it's really the most important, because from this you will gain
9 the understanding of how truly guilty these defendants are.
10 The second chapter, I begin to focus more on the events and the
11 material. In this chapter, I would focus on the actual documents, the
12 intercepts, the material that specifically shows the units of the Bratunac
13 Brigade and the Zvornik Brigade actively engaged in these criminal events.
14 The third chapter is much shorter. This is a chapter I call "The
15 Critical Documents and Materials." These are the few materials that point
16 directly at the accuseds' involvement or provides strong inference of
17 their involvement. Now, you will find that many of the documents involved
18 in this case were destroyed, but we do have a few and we have some
19 intercepts that go to the heart of this case.
20 So I'd like to begin by taking you through chapter 1 and providing
21 you with a very cursory and brief background of the history. This
22 Tribunal has been around a while now, and I know you've sat on other
23 cases, and there is excellent material in this record, the UN report on
24 Srebrenica, that provides the history. But first of all, I think we need
25 to look at the map, which is on -- should be on your screen, and this
1 gives us a feeling for Bosnia and the zone of the Drina Corps, which is in
2 pink, and this gives you an idea of the area of Eastern Bosnia that we are
3 talking about, and you will see that it's bordered on Serbia with the
4 Drina River as -- as a border.
5 And if we could go to the next shot. Here is the Drina Corps area
6 of responsibility, and written on it are many of the names that will
7 become second nature to you over the next few months, of the key places
8 where these crimes and these events occurred. And there'll be many other
9 maps, some military and some drawings like this that you will get very
10 familiar with, and it will be important that you do.
11 All right. And just to give you the briefest of historical
12 backgrounds. When the war in Bosnia started in this region, it started in
13 1992 in Bijeljina, worked its way down towards Zvornik and towards
14 Bratunac and many of these areas had a Muslim population that was in the
15 majority but a combination of Serb forces from Bosnia, Serb forces from
16 Yugoslavia, and paramilitaries swept down upon this area in 1992 and took
17 over much of -- of those areas and ethnically cleansed the Muslim
18 populations from those areas, killing many, in many of the same places
19 that you will hear about people being killed in this case.
20 And one important thing to remember about that - those events are
21 for another trial, thank goodness - but that Mr. Blagojevic and
22 Mr. Obrenovic were there when that started. They were part of that
23 operation. They know the history of these events. They know how this all
25 And one of the first documents that comes out of the Republika
1 Srpska is now an exhibit, which is on the screen. If we could blow up the
2 key points of that. This document is known as the 6th Strategic
3 Objectives by Mr. Krajisnik that was written out early in this conflict,
4 and it provides an ominous foreboding of what the future would bring, when
5 it talks about in set one to "Establish borders separating the Serbian
6 people from the other two ethnic communities." But number 3 is what I
7 want you to look at, because it shows that it -- the Drina River Valley is
8 an important geographical area, and they want to eliminate the Drina River
9 as the border for the Serbian states. So we know as early as 1992 that
10 this is an important strategic area.
11 Well, after the initial attacks and ethnic cleansing in early
12 1992, the Muslim forces, led by Naser Oric, fought back and were able to
13 take back quite a bit of ground. In brutal fighting, in brutal conduct,
14 some of which Mr. Oric will be on trial for in this Tribunal. And so by
15 November of 1992, General Mladic in a famous operational directive set out
16 the objectives for this part of the world.
17 And if we could go to the relevant part related to the Drina Corps
18 and blow that up. I won't read all this to you, but you can see that it
19 is basically a military plan to deal with this area, which is also
20 called -- well, the Drina River Valley, the area of Podrinje, you'll hear
21 it referred to, and he talks about inflicting the heaviest possible losses
22 on the enemy, to force him to leave Birac, Zepa, Gorazde, and areas
23 together with the Muslim population. Now, this is an amazing statement,
24 "together with the Muslim population," in black and white. That's a war
25 crime, clearly laid out in Mladic's plan of attack.
1 Well, that plan of attack was fully enforced by the VRS, and they
2 came fighting back. And by March 1993 were on the edges of Srebrenica,
3 where most of the Muslim population had fled. And at that point you may
4 recall from the history that's when General Morillon of the UN stepped in
5 and stopped the Serbs from further invading the Srebrenica area, and the
6 UN created the enclaves.
7 And then for two years we had Srebrenica and Zepa allegedly
8 demilitarised but in fact not so demilitarised. The UN was able to take
9 the heavy weapons of the -- of the Serbs, was able to take some of their
10 automatic weapons, but the Serbs -- but the Bosnian army stayed intact
11 inside the enclaves and were able to run operations outside of the
12 enclaves, attacking and terrorising Serb villages and creating general
14 You'll see as part of the Bosnian Muslim army orders that the 28th
15 Division inside the enclave had orders to do this in order to tie down the
16 Serb forces and keep them from the Sarajevo front. The Serb army was
17 short of men and materiels -- excuse me, short of men, not of materiels,
18 and by tying down the VRS around Srebrenica and Zepa it made it much
19 easier militarily for the Muslims to defend Sarajevo.
20 But that takes us to July of 1994. And I want you to see the
21 report of a Colonel Ognjenovic, who at that time was the commander of the
22 Bratunac Brigade, who was the predecessor of Colonel Blagojevic. And if
23 we could go to the relevant part. "We have won the war in Podrinje, but
24 we have not beaten the Muslims."
25 If we could blow that up. I won't read all of this to you, but
1 look at the end. "There will be no retreat when it comes to Srebrenica
2 enclave. We must advance. The enemy's life has to be made unbearable and
3 their temporary stay in the enclave impossible, so that they leave the
4 enclave en masse, as soon as possible, realising that they cannot survive
6 Well, conquering the enemy is fair. Causing the enemy to leave en
7 masse again is a reference to the Muslim civilians of Srebrenica. This
8 was the policy of the Bratunac Brigade, when Colonel Blagojevic took over
9 shortly before the attack on the enclave.
10 Now I want to take you to March 1995, to an operational directive
11 number 7 from Mr. Karadzic. Again, showing us the Serb intentions towards
12 the enclave.
13 And if we could go to the -- blow up the relevant portion. It
14 talks about going in the direction of Srebrenica and Zepa enclave,
15 "Complete physical separation of Srebrenica from Zepa should be carried
16 out as soon as possible, preventing even communication between individuals
17 in the two enclaves." Srebrenica and Zepa were illegally communicating
18 and transferring weapons and assisting each other in the attacks on the
19 Serbs. And this is the legitimate aim of the -- of the VRS, to stop this.
20 "By planned and well-thought-out combat operations, create an unbearable
21 situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life for
22 the inhabitants of Srebrenica and Zepa." Again, here is Mr. Karadzic
23 making an outrageous statement against the civilian inhabitants and making
24 their life impossible.
25 So now let's go right to the beginning of the attack on
1 Srebrenica, and we'll see the attack plan drawn up by the Drina Corps,
2 based specifically on directive number 7. And if we could go to the
3 relevant part of that. As you can see, it cites the directive number 7
4 and 7/1, talks about splitting the enclaves of Zepa and Srebrenica apart,
5 which is a legitimate military objective. And then it says, "And reduce
6 them to their urban areas." Well, as you'll see, Srebrenica is a large
7 area, and the urban area of Srebrenica is only 2 or 3 square kilometres,
8 and with a population of some 30 to 40 thousand individuals, most of whom
9 live outside the urban area. When you reduce an enclave to its urban
10 area, you cause those people to be jammed in that area, creating an
11 unbearable situation that would have to be -- would have to result in the
12 removal of that population.
13 So these are the documents that show us the intent of the Bosnian
14 Serb army as we approach the attack on Srebrenica. But before we get to
15 the actual attack and the events that bring us here today, I want to go
16 over briefly with you some of the important rules and regulations that
17 were in place at the time so you can get a feel for the VRS. It's not a
18 rabble, especially by 1995. And in 1992 it was mainly an offshoot of the
19 Yugoslav army, the JNA, which was one of the best and well-equipped armies
20 in Europe, in Eastern Europe. And it's important to realise that these
21 men were trained under that kind of an army and they were trained in
22 international law, as we'll see.
23 If we could go to the first relevant section. This is called "The
24 Instructions on the Application of International Laws of War," that was in
25 place at the time. And I won't read it to you, but you can see that the
1 regulations fully anticipated originally that these officers and that this
2 army would follow the rules of war. These were not barbarians out of the
3 woods that didn't know any better.
4 And if we could go to the next section. It even shows, as you can
5 see from the part in section 20, that "The perpetrators of such criminal
6 acts may answer before an international court, if such court has been
7 established." They even anticipated an international court, though at
8 this time they paid no heed to it.
9 Section 21 shows that an officer is responsible for the action of
10 his subordinates and will be held personally liable for the violations of
11 the laws of war that have been committed and where he fails to discipline
13 This is a professional army, fully equipped, full knowledge of the
14 international world that they live in. But in 1992 under the leadership
15 of Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic, Mr. Krajisnik and others, they set
16 aside their international conscience and they began this campaign of
17 ethnic cleansing that ended in Srebrenica. In no time from the beginning
18 of the war to its end at Dayton was there any significant disciplining of
19 any officers for the commission of war crimes. That's important to
20 remember, because by July 1995, while they knew better, nothing had been
21 done to ever rein this in. They knew there were no consequences for their
22 action. And frankly, the Tribunal in The Hague was not something that
23 gave them any concern.
24 One other document I want to show you were the guidelines that
25 were set up by the military prosecutor's office of the VRS. If we could
1 go to that and blow that up, please. And it talks about criminal offences
2 against humanity and international law. "Crimes against humanity and
3 international law can be committed by individuals acting on their own, but
4 by their nature these criminal offences are usually committed in an
5 organised fashion in the implementation of the policy of the ruling
6 circles. Most of these criminal offences are committed only during armed
7 conflicts or are in some way closely connected with armed conflicts, which
8 means that they are committed within the context of a broad military
9 operation and on orders from superior officers."
10 I couldn't have said it better if I'd wanted to. This is the
11 theme of the Prosecution's case, fully recognised as a basic truth by the
12 prosecutors of the VRS before the rampage began.
13 Also, I'd like to -- just to point to you briefly some of the
14 regulations that talk about command responsibility. These are things that
15 you will get into in more depth as the case goes on, but I think it's
16 important for me to point out some of it to you. If we could go to the
17 definitions of certain basic precepts of the army. "Members of the Army
18 shall carry out orders of their superiors without demur in full,
19 accurately, and punctually. If by any chance the order was not given in
20 good time, the person is required to take measures and act in accordance
21 with the specific situation.
22 "The order issued must be realistic and calculated so that the
23 subordinate can actually carry it out. Persons failing to carry out
24 orders fully, accurately and punctually, and who in the meantime fail to
25 report that they are unable to carry out the order shall be called to
1 account by their superior officer."
2 Now, this is important. This is an army like any army where
3 orders have to be followed. And if they're not followed, there are
4 consequences. And as I said before, we have an army that was led by
5 General Mladic, an army that was not prosecuting anyone for war crimes,
6 and they are expected to follow their orders. And if they don't, their
7 careers are over.
8 Now, let's go to some of the definitions that are important
9 regarding commander. There's a book of brigade regulations that defines
10 "command." It's a book that was specifically cited by Mr. Obrenovic in
11 some of his internal memoranda, so it's clearly the book that was in
12 place. And if we could -- I'm certainly not going to read this, but I
13 would ask you to when you have some time. It shows how important command
14 is, how all-encompassing command is, and how it's probably the ultimate
15 responsibility in human affairs. It means the difference between life and
16 death for whole communities and whole peoples.
17 If we could blow this up. This is a synopsis of a commander's
18 responsibility, and it also mentions the brigade chief of staff, who at
19 the same time is the deputy commander and has the right to assign tasks to
20 subordinates, the only one, aside from his commander that can do that.
21 Now, as you're aware, Mr. Obrenovic was the chief of staff, deputy
22 commander at the time of these events, and this will be an issue that you
23 will want to look into very carefully.
24 Now, looking at the larger command picture, if we could blow this
25 up. It's important to -- to understand that the VRS is made up of the
1 main staff, several corps, and within each corps several brigades. But
2 it's the soldiers in the brigades that are the work horses of any army,
3 especially this army. Those soldiers are the ones that fought and died
4 for their sides in the trenches. And in this case, the command chart in
5 its simplicity speaks volumes about the responsibility of this case.
6 There are really four significant commanders: General Mladic, of course,
7 is the commander of the main staff, was on the ground during many of these
8 times; General Krstic; General Zivanovic as the generals who were chief of
9 staff, deputy commander, and command of the corps, but Zivanovic washed
10 out early in this operation, so it's mainly General Krstic. And then the
11 two brigades, where most of the blood was let, the Bratunac Brigade,
12 commanded by Mr. Blagojevic, and the Zvornik Brigade, commanded by Vinko
13 Pandurevic, but who left in early July to take part in the attack on
14 Srebrenica, leaving his deputy commander, Mr. Obrenovic, in charge. So
15 basically for our key dates we have four commanders. These are the men
16 that could make a difference, the only men that could make a difference.
17 They're the ones that commanded the troops on the ground that had the
18 guns. They're the ones that had the duty, the responsibility, to not
19 allow this to happen. And if their superiors order them to happen, they
20 had the duty to walk away or to stop it, to prevent it. Only four. I
21 doubt anyone will suggest that General Mladic isn't responsible or that
22 General Krstic isn't responsible, and you will see for yourselves there
23 the troops and the men of the Zvornik Brigade and the Bratunac Brigade
24 conducting these horrors. So a simple look at this chart speaks volumes.
25 Now, also in this chart is a commander from the special police of
1 the Ministry of the Interior, Ljubisa Borovcanin. This is a unit that was
2 attached to the Drina Corps shortly after the fall of the operation and
3 under the command of the Drina Corps. You'll also see on this chart the
4 security officers connected to the main staff, the corps, and the
5 brigades, Ljubisa Beara of the main staff, Vujadin Popovic, of the corps,
6 Dragan Nikolic, of the Zvornik Brigade, and Momir Nikolic of the Bratunac
7 Brigade. Now, these are staff officers. We will get into this in more
8 detail, but basically staff officers are responsible for certain areas,
9 whether it be engineering or security or artillery. And it is their job
10 to make recommendations to their commander on how to best use the people
11 related to that activity. And once those recommendations are followed or
12 the commander makes specific orders on those recommendations, it's the job
13 of the staff officer to carry out the orders of his commander and pass on
14 those orders to be at the engineering unit, the military police acting
15 under the security office, or any other military unit.
16 Staff officers do not have command authority but they do issue
17 orders. They issue orders based on the orders of their commanders. And
18 for the soldier that's receiving that order, it sounds a lot like a
19 command order and it seems like command responsibility. But as you'll
20 learn, technically it is not; it's different. And that applies to
21 security officers as much as it does any other officers. And there may be
22 a suggestion that the security officers are the ones responsible for this.
23 Well, there's only four of them, and they don't have any troops. They do
24 have responsibility for recommending to the commander how the military
25 police are used, and then they do have responsibility of carrying out the
1 commander's orders on how to use the military police. But security
2 officers are under the command of their commanders; the military police
3 are under the command of their commanders. There is no secret chain of
4 security command.
5 And if we could go to one of the other regulations regarding duty
6 officer responsibility. As you know, Mr. Jokic was the duty officer hat
7 the key time in the Zvornik Brigade when the murder operation arrived in
8 Zvornik. And if we could go to the -- again, I won't read this out to
9 you, but you can see from this definition and from the definition in the
10 indictment that the duty officer is the key communication link both within
11 the Zvornik Brigade or any brigade and from without. So he will be
12 receiving communications from the corps, from the main staff, from the
13 MUP. He will also be receiving communications from inside the brigade,
14 from the various commands, the battalions, from the commander, and it's
15 his job to keep the commander informed of what's going on and what
16 needs -- and what he needs to know and what he needs -- what needs to
17 happen. So he's the key person. Mr. Jokic was the key person at a key
18 time in history.
19 All right. If we could now go to the section regarding the
20 security rules. It should be -- if we could blow that up. Again, I will
21 not go over all these rules with you, but I want to point out the most
22 important one. "The security organ is directly subordinate to the
23 commanding officer of the command, unit, institution or staff of the armed
24 forces in whose strength it is placed in the establishment." This is a
25 simple statement, but it is foundational to everything in this case, the
1 security officers report to their commander. You'll see that. You'll see
2 that in the evidence, and you'll see Popovic reporting to Krstic. You'll
3 see Nikolic reporting to Blagojevic. You'll see Beara trying to get
4 troops from Krstic, but this is a fundamental rule that cannot be
5 forgotten. Now, that's not to say that the security branch was not a
6 little different, because it was. It had some of the leftover remnants of
7 the old Eastern Bloc days and this was a group that held together and they
8 had passes that allowed them free access to places. They didn't -- their
9 names didn't have to be written down in books when they came in. They
10 were the only ones that were able to investigate their commanders, if
11 their commander is believed to have stolen 1.000 Deutschmarks, it would be
12 the security officer, that without the knowledge of their commander could
13 investigate them. But in military operations and operations involving the
14 assets and the materiels of the brigade, the security officer was just as
15 much a part of that unit as the other members. He was responsible for
16 using the military police; he was responsible for prisoners. That is why
17 the security officers are so involved in this case, by the rules, by the
18 practice, they are responsible for dealing with the prisoners but they're
19 also responsible to their commanders.
20 And one other point to remember is that the Zvornik Brigade and
21 the Bratunac Brigade are a little different. The Bratunac Brigade is a
22 light infantry brigade, and as such the function of security and
23 intelligence is taken up by only one officer, that officer being Momir
24 Nikolic. So for Mr. Blagojevic, he looks to Momir Nikolic not only for
25 security issues but also for intelligence issues, and so the communication
1 between Mr. Blagojevic and his intelligence officer during these stressful
2 times has to be close.
3 All right. Those are some of the issues to watch out for as we
4 proceed through the case. And now I will begin by outlining the events as
5 they proceeded on July 6th with the attack on the enclave, and we'll go
6 over some of the exhibits and some of the highlights for you, but only in
7 a cursory manner. But it's important that you get a basic understanding
8 of where we're going.
9 So by July 6th the situation is created by the Muslim army in
10 Srebrenica and by the policy of the VRS that Srebrenica is going to be
11 attacked. Now, as you noted from the original plan, the original plan is
12 not to take out the enclave; it's merely to separate it from Zepa and
13 reduce it to the urban area. Also in that mission plan is a section like
14 any good military plan, is to be prepared to take advantage of any
15 opportunity and move forward. And they had MUP soldiers in reserve in
16 case they were needed.
17 So the attack commences from the south, from the area of Zeleni
18 Jadar on this map, and as history now tells us, the UN didn't put up much
19 of a fight. The Muslims struggled for a while, but the Serbs fought hard.
20 Vinko Pandurevic, Vidoje Blagojevic, other men, and by July 9th with
21 successes in the field Radovan Karadzic made the decision to not just
22 reduce the enclave to its urban areas but to take the enclave. And so at
23 that point the military continued. The fighting increased, but by 11 July
24 Srebrenica was no longer defensible. The army that was there collapsed,
25 and by the afternoon of 11 July General Mladic was able to march into
1 Srebrenica victorious.
2 And you'll see a videotape that will be subtitled and will be in
3 part narrated by Mr. Ruez. The videotape in this case is amazing. Much
4 of the early events were filmed. And so you will see General Mladic and
5 the VRS coming toward Srebrenica. You'll see a pathetic Muslim mortar
6 group shooting out mortar shells on the advancing Serbs from an old gas
7 station in Srebrenica. You'll see Mladic come in, into town. And as you
8 see this, aside from just its historical value and interest, I would call
9 your attention to noticing the various people and personalities. You'll
10 have a book with you that you may be able to follow that will show you all
11 the different people and all the different units. You'll see the main
12 staff working closely with the corps, working closely with the brigades,
13 working closely with main staff units as they approach town and enter
14 town. And this is an important theme of the Prosecution because it's the
15 way they ran the war throughout, a very effective coordination of all
16 levels of their army. And General Mladic liked to be at the front, and he
17 was there in the front. But this is also the way they carried out the
18 murder operation. It was very natural for them to go from combat
19 operation to murder operation, same kind of cooperation. So yes, in the
20 murder operation we see main staff units, but we see corps units, we see
21 brigade units, we see them all working together. So as you see this film,
22 look at the various people and how they interact. At one point you'll see
23 Vinko Pandurevic trying to talk Mladic out of going directly to Potocari
24 because the Muslims are still on the hills. You'll see the interaction
25 between everyone. And this is, again, the foreshadowing of what will
1 occur with the murder operation.
2 And if we could go to one of the stills of this video. And this
3 is General Mladic in Srebrenica, the now famous shot, when he turned to
4 the camera and says, "Finally, after the rebellion against the Dahis, the
5 time has come to take revenge on the Turks in this region."
6 Well, I digress for a minute. The principal propaganda that was
7 used beginning this war, by many in Serbia, by General Krstic, repeatedly
8 by Mladic and Karadzic, was that the Muslims were coming to commit
9 genocide against us, like they did in World War II, like they did
10 throughout history. We must get them before they get us. That is the
11 message, they're coming to commit genocide on you. This is quite a
12 message to send to troops that are undisciplined and are allowed to carry
13 out crimes without being disciplined. And what Mladic means when he says,
14 "Finally, after the rebellion against the Dahis," well, in 1804 there was
15 the first major rebellion of the Serbs against the Dahis, who were Muslim
16 Turkish mercenaries, brutal, and it was their treatment and -- of the
17 Serbs that helped cause this rebellion of a famous Serb hero. And this
18 happened in 1804 and was brutally suppressed, and by 1817 this famous hero
19 was murdered and his head sent back to the sultan. He was murdered on the
20 13th of July in 1817. And here we have Mladic saying, "Finally, after the
21 rebellion against the Dahis, the time has come to take revenge on the
22 Turks in this region." He's well up in the Serbian populous that he knows
23 is watching this TV that we're just continuing the fight, the awful fight
24 that we've had to fight since our heads were delivered to the Turkish
25 sultans, you know, hundreds of years ago. Again, this is an ominous
1 foreshadowing of a mind that we will see shortly after this on the video
2 at the Hotel Fontana making even scarier pronunciations.
3 All right. So as General Mladic comes in to Srebrenica on the
4 11th, the Muslim population of women and children began on the 10th of
5 July and on the 11th of July to flee to Potocari, the small town just
6 north of Srebrenica, where the Dutch were based. They went there because
7 they were afraid of what the Serb troops would do to them. They remember
8 very well what happened in 1992 at places in Bratunac, at places in
9 Zvornik, and some 30 to perhaps 35.000 women and children sought refuge
10 with the Dutch Battalion, at the same time many of the military-age men,
11 we think roughly about 15.000, also were well aware of what could very
12 well happen to them if they stayed behind, so they gathered together their
13 military forces, trying to organise them, and they were ordered to go to
14 the villages of Jaglici and Susnjari, which you can see in the northern
15 part of the enclave, and there prepare a long trek through Serb territory
16 to an established smuggling route up towards the BiH territory towards
17 Tuzla through the BiH town of Nezuk. You'll see video of this and how few
18 of the men were armed. We believe about 5.000 of the 15.000 were armed
19 and were in the head of this column as it left.
20 But before we get to the column, we need to go back to the evening
21 of the 11th of July because in the evening there were two important
22 meetings, between General Mladic and some of his staff and the Dutch
23 commanders, Colonel Karremans, Major Boering, and at one meeting a Muslim
24 representative, Nesib Mandzic. And the important thing to remember about
25 these two meetings - and it will be unforgettable, because you'll see it
1 on the video - is that Mladic is threatening, is crudely threatening, is
2 frightening to both the Dutch and the Muslim, and he's obsessed with the
3 whereabouts of the Muslim army and obsessed with them surrendering. He
4 keeps demanding that they -- their representatives meet him for a
5 surrender. The most ominous thing he says at that meeting, he looked at
6 Nesib Mandzic and says, "Mr. Mandzic, have those commanders here, because
7 it's up to you, the future of your people is in your hands. They can
8 either survive or disappear." Again, you couldn't think up more genocidal
9 language if you tried.
10 So a third meeting is scheduled for the morning of 12 July, where
11 again Mladic wants the Dutch and Mandzic and representatives of the
12 Muslims to meet with him, to discuss the fate of the population where they
13 had discussed transporting the civilian population out of Potocari at that
14 time. But what's also important for the evening of July 11th is that the
15 Serb army could see from surveillance, from intelligence reports, that in
16 between the women and children in Potocari were a good number of
17 military-age men, roughly 1.000 or more by their estimate, and this was
18 reported by Momir Nikolic to his superiors. And by the morning of 12
19 July, at the morning meeting, Mladic announces to the Dutch -
20 unfortunately, this is cut from the TV -- cut from what the Serbs gave us,
21 but very clearly part of the historical record - Mladic says that the VRS
22 demands to see all the men between the ages of 16 to 60. Now, this is the
23 beginning of the separation, the beginning of the murder operation. How
24 do we know that? Well, you'll see the evidence that shortly after that
25 proclamation by Mladic buses arrived in Potocari and a separation began.
1 You'll see this on video as well. Men were separated from their wives,
2 from their kids, from their families. They were stored on top of each
3 other in a white house and in other detention centres. They were given
4 little or no water, no food, no medical attention. It was blazing hot at
5 the time. They were jammed together. Their IDs and their property was
6 taken and heaped in piles. Very few people were interrogated, even though
7 they contained potentially valuable information, about minefields,
8 intelligence, about lots of things. It was clear no one intended to do
9 anything with these people but murder them. And Momir Nikolic confirmed
11 This photo, just to give you an idea of the number of people in
12 Potocari, on the 12th of 13th - I'm not exactly sure which day this is -
13 as they crowd around the Serb television cameras. And as you look
14 carefully at this, you will see military-age men in this crowd. And that
15 was the focus of the VRS on the night of the 11th, the morning of the
16 12th, the 13th, the 14th, the 15th, the 16th, and on.
17 If we could -- this is another image from the video. These men
18 have been separated and required to walk on the other side of the trucks
19 that were to take them or the women and children to where they were going.
20 They've been separated from their families. They'll soon be put in a
21 white house. Their property will be taken away. They'll live in agony of
22 thirst and hunger and misery and violence for maybe a day or two,
23 sometimes three or four, and then they'll be slaughtered like animals.
24 You may have seen in that photo the pictures of these men. A lot
25 of them are old men, really not much of a threat to anybody. And here is
1 a -- a picture of the men in the white house. This is a new video that
2 we've obtained recently that was recorded and played over Studio B, a
3 television station in Serbia, and this is a close-up of the men looking
4 through the balcony of the white house as they're jammed together awaiting
5 their fate.
6 This may be a good time to take a break.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll take a 30-minute break, and then we'll
8 resume at 20 minutes to 11.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 10.08 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 10.42 a.m.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey. Please continue.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 We left. We were in Potocari, where you will hear evidence and
14 read evidence on the 13th and 12th of July of people being abused, people
15 being beaten and pushed on buses, people being murdered, bodies being
16 found in woods, various atrocities that occurred at night, men being taken
17 away and never coming back. Basically the troops were allowed to exact
18 their personal revenge upon the civilian victims of Potocari over a
19 two-day period that their commanders knew about and allowed. This
20 assisted the overall process to ensure that these people would get on the
21 buses and leave.
22 You'll also see in Potocari that the MUP forces play a significant
23 role and have a large presence there, the MUP forces under the command of
24 Ljubisa Borovcanin and his deputy commander Dusko Jevic. And this will be
25 an issue for you at trial to determine who the MUP forces are working for
1 and whose command are they under, and in that regard I want to show you
2 one of the crucial documents. That was a document sent on 10 July by the
3 acting Minister of Internal Affairs, Tomo Kovac, directing the commander
4 Ljubisa Borovcanin to take part with the army in the Srebrenica aftermath.
5 And if we could blow that up. Mr. Borovcanin was to take his various
6 Ministry of Interior troops, which consisted on special police troops
7 which, as you will learn, are largely combat troops under the Ministry of
8 Interior that spent a good part of their time in various combat areas. In
9 addition to that, Mr. Borovcanin was assigned special combat units from
10 the local municipal police. And he has at least one unit from the Zvornik
11 municipal police under his command, and those combat units are units that
12 only get together in times of emergency and they take municipal police
13 officers and put them in combat roles.
14 In any event, he had various units assigned to him, including,
15 according to this order, a unit from Serbia, though we have never been
16 able to confirm and corroborate the presence of a unit of Serbia with him.
17 In any event, the order required that on his arrival to the area he was
18 obliged to make contact with the corps chief of staff, General Krstic and
19 in military and MUP parlance this puts him under the command of General
20 Krstic. Now, you will also see the regulations that require when the MUP
21 and working with the army in a combat support role that the MUP is always
22 resubordinated to the command of the army and under the army's command.
23 Now, whether or not the MUP could receive direct orders from
24 brigade command is not clear at this time, as the brigade command passed
25 down orders from the corps command they certainly could order the MUP.
1 But what is clear, abundantly clear, is that the corps units, the brigade
2 units, and the MUP were all working together for the same objective, the
3 same joint criminal enterprise, and that was to move out the women and
4 children of Potocari, separate and detain the men of Potocari, and send
5 them off to be murdered.
6 And before I leave Potocari, I'll also mention one document that
7 will be important for you, and it's a document dated 17 July, created by
8 the VRS and signed by the various Dutch commanders and Muslim
9 representatives and VRS representatives, which basically says everything
10 worked out fine and people were transported according to their will where
11 they wanted to go. The evidence will unfold that this was a purely
12 propaganda stunt, a document that was foisted upon the Dutch, foisted upon
13 the Muslims, and that they really had no choice. But you'll see that with
14 the first few witnesses, and you'll see the discussion related to that.
15 All right. Now, that takes us back to the column. On the late
16 night -- evening of the 11th, the column, as we've said, about 15.000
17 strong, about -- only about 5.000 of which had weapons - they had a few
18 rocket launchers, but mostly automatic rifles, maybe a couple of mortars -
19 they take off from the villages that I've described, Susnjari, and
20 Jaglici, and head in the direction generally of Kravica and Nova Kasaba
21 and Konjevic Polje, which as you see as you move north from the enclave
22 are the villages. But the important geographic figure to notice is the
23 road, what we call at the Nova Kasaba-Konjevic Polje-Bratunac road. The
24 first part of the column, the most dangerous part, perhaps half the
25 column, made it across that road before the Serb troops set up an iron
1 curtain along that road. That iron curtain was largely made up of special
2 police officers from Borovcanin's units, from Konjevic Polje down to
3 Kravica, and from Konjevic Polje north to Nova Kasaba we had units of the
4 Drina Corps 5th Engineering Battalion, the main staff 65th Protection
5 Regiment, which happened to be stationed in Nova Kasaba, a military police
6 outfit that was there. And those groups handled that part of the road.
7 But about half the column made it through on the 12th of July and the
8 second half got trapped behind the column. And so on the 12th of July --
9 12th and 13th of July, the part of the column that was armed and dangerous
10 kept moving off in a direction of Zvornik and Nezuk and of course became
11 immediately the concern of Dragan Obrenovic, whose duty it was to defend
12 Zvornik. So Mr. Obrenovic found himself in a very difficult situation on
13 the 12th and the 13th of July. He had to protect his area from the front
14 line troops of the Muslim army, along that front line of Nezuk, which is
15 the grey area, and those were well-fed troops, they had tanks, they had
16 artillery. That was a regular army of the Bosnian Muslim forces.
17 In addition to that, he had and at the time he wasn't able to
18 really figure out how many - their estimates were underestimated in the
19 beginning - he had to cope with this armed force coming up through his
20 area, going by Serb villages, this group that was hungry, desperate, tired
21 and miserable hitting him from the rear. So he had frontline troops
22 facing him from the front and the 28th Division coming at his rear, and
23 his commander and some of his best fighting forces were leaving Srebrenica
24 on the morning of the 13th and marching towards Zepa, cross country, out
25 of touch, on their way to begin the attack on Zepa, which began on the
1 morning of the 14th of July, in which Pandurevic and his troops were
2 involved in. So this puts deputy commander Dragan Obrenovic in full
3 charge of Zvornik facing an absolutely untenable position.
4 At the same time, about half the column got trapped behind this
5 road and the MUP forces were able to set up along the road and the
6 Bratunac Brigade forces started sweeping the terrain south of that road
7 and the old enclave area, and so by the evening -- late evening hours of
8 the 12th and early morning hours of the 13th thousands of Muslims found
9 themselves completely trapped with nowhere to go and they started
10 surrendering and being captured in large quantities on the morning of the
11 13th. And basically at that time, when the VRS realised they were going
12 to be capturing large amounts of prisoners, the decision was made to
13 incorporate those prisoners into the same plan that was set up for the
14 prisoners that had been separated in Potocari, and that is detain them and
15 transport them to locations in and around Bratunac to be held and to be
16 executed around Bratunac somewhere.
17 So on the 13th of July we have vast numbers of Muslim prisoners
18 being captured along the road. We have Muslim men still being separated
19 in Potocari, all of whom are being -- are eventually destined to go to
20 Bratunac. But what's important for you to remember is that we see the
21 first signs of an organised and systematic mass execution process on the
22 morning -- beginning the morning of 13 July. The first time we see it is
23 at about 11.00 a.m., where some 16 prisoners that have been captured along
24 the Nova Kasaba-Konjevic Polje road get assembled in a hangar in Konjevic
25 Polje and get put on a bus with a squad of Serb soldiers, who we believe
1 are most likely MUP soldiers at that time. And buses on the morning of
2 the 13th were a rare item. They were needed to ship the women and
3 children out of Potocari. They wanted to get that 25 to 35.000 people out
4 of there as soon as possible. That was a huge burden on everyone, and
5 most of the buses and trucks were used for that process. However, this
6 darker operation was also very important, and in the morning, before they
7 perhaps realised how many prisoners they would have, they took 16 people
8 in a bus, drove them up the road a bit, towards the Drinjaca River and
9 where the Jadar River and the Drinjaca River join, took those men along
10 the side of the river and shot them. We know that because there's a
11 person who survived that. He was shot through the back, fell into the
12 river, floated down the river and survived, and was able to crawl out of
13 the river and eventually crawl out to Nezuk and tell us that story. So we
14 know that by the morning of July 13th we have a systemised and mass
15 execution. But if there was any doubt about the organised killings at
16 that time, by 1.00 p.m. that very same day there can be no doubt, because
17 we have witnesses that see three buses full of Muslim men going in the
18 direction of the Cerska Valley, which you can see is just above Konjevic
19 Polje on the map, followed by an armoured personnel carrier, and shortly
20 after that an excavator. And that witness heard lots of automatic
21 gunfire, and shortly after that saw the buses return empty. And as they
22 fled in that direction, they came across this horrible sight of ooze
23 coming up from the ground and an awful smell. And when we interviewed
24 them, they took us to that area and showed us where that was.
25 Well, we exhumed that area and found 150 Muslim men, most of whom
1 had their hands tied behind their back, buried in a mass grave just on the
2 side of the road where an excavator had obviously taken chunks of the side
3 of the road and thrown it over their bodies. So we know clearly from the
4 Jadar River massacre and the Cerska Valley massacre that by the morning
5 and afternoon of 13 July there is a major murder operation in place. But
6 by the evening of 13 July there are some 5 to 6.000 Muslim men in
7 detention areas from Nova Kasaba to Konjevic Polje and in Kravica. These
8 men are all destined to be sent to Bratunac. As Momir Nikolic will tell
9 you, he communicated with Dusko Jevic, the MUP commander, that the people
10 along the road were to be handled the same way as those men in Potocari.
11 And so by the late evening hours of 13 July, Bratunac is beginning to fill
12 up with Muslim men. And at some point on the 13th of July, the VRS
13 realises they're getting so many prisoners that it's too much for Bratunac
14 to handle, and the decision is made to send them up to Zvornik to be
15 killed. And so we know from our survivors that the first truckloads and
16 bus loads of Muslim men begin to go to Zvornik on the evening of 13 July.
17 But before we get up to Zvornik, I want to mention to you one
18 other massacre that occurred in the area along the road that we've been
19 talking about, and that's the massacre at the Kravica warehouse. This is
20 an area that was largely manned by MUP troops, and the massacre occurred
21 in the early evening -- late afternoon, early evening hours of 13 July,
22 where some 500 to 1.000 Muslim men had been detained as they were captured
23 along the road. And at some point that evening orders were given to kill
24 them all. There are stories that a Muslim escaped and this led to some
25 killings and that after that the army or the MUP decided to murder them
1 all. However it started, it was clear that to kill 500 to 1.000 men took
2 quite an organised operation, because you'll hear from the survivors the
3 shooting began but stopped for a while, would begin again, and then hand
4 grenades were thrown in from the windows all around the warehouse. The
5 shooting would start again, then they would call men out for medical
6 attention, anyone that would call out would be shot. This went on and on
7 and on until hundreds and hundreds of men were killed. It must have taken
8 a long time. And from our new video footage, you will see actual video of
9 that massacre. What you see on the image now is hard to make out, but
10 those are bodies. Those are bodies piled up in front of the Kravica
11 warehouse. You'll see a better image of this. Mr. Ruez will help outline
12 the shoulders, the heads, the arms, but they're three deep at one point.
13 And as you see this video, you'll hear the automatic machine-gun fire in
14 the background.
15 There's a famous video from Mr. Petrovic, that we've seen images
16 earlier. He was driving along the road at this time and put his camera in
17 this direction and it was played over the air at Studio B a few days later
18 and we have now, for the first time, have access to that film and will
19 show it to you. We believe that these murders were carried out in large
20 part by the MUP forces but also we see the presence of a Bratunac Brigade
21 member from the special intervention unit called the Red Berets, as well
22 as other members of the Bratunac Brigade who were there.
23 This particular massacre is only a few kilometres from Bratunac,
24 only a few kilometres from the headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade, and
25 was clearly such a massive thing that everyone knew about it shortly after
1 it occurred, if not before.
2 Now, if we could go to the aerial of Bratunac town. On the
3 evening of the 12th and 13th, Muslim men were being shipped to various
4 sites in the town of Bratunac. And if we could -- you'll have a better
5 chance to look at this with Mr. Ruez. I'll treat it very briefly, but if
6 we could blow up on the Bratunac Brigade headquarters, where
7 Mr. Blagojevic spent a good part of his time. It's attached to what is
8 known as the Kaolin factory and is the office buildings in front. And if
9 we move our way across the picture, we'll go to a particular area where
10 there are several schools. The Vuk Karadzic School, something that's
11 referred to as the old school, the hangar behind the Vuk Karadzic School.
12 It was in these areas that literally thousands of Muslim men were crammed
13 on the 12th and the 13th, in the early morning hours of the 14th of July,
14 and horrible things happened to them there. People were killed, were
15 beaten, just a stone's throw away from where Mr. Blagojevic was sleeping
16 or was actively engaged in command. His troops guarded many of these
17 schools, the military police. What happened in Bratunac is in this
18 indictment and it's a horrible part of this crime, and this man was right
19 next to it.
20 On the afternoon, evening of the 13th, when they realised that
21 there was going to be so many Muslim men in Bratunac that they wouldn't be
22 able to kill them all there, the decision was made to send them to
23 Zvornik, as I mentioned. And the first group of buses took off in the
24 evening of 13 July towards Zvornik but they didn't have enough buses and
25 trucks to get the rest out that evening, so it was decided to keep the
1 rest there in town and assemble all their resources and move all the men
2 up the following morning, the morning of 14 July. So on the 13th and
3 14th, men start going up to Zvornik. And as you'll see later, we've --
4 the records, the documents, the witnesses, we've -- Zvornik first starts
5 getting indications that men are coming their way sometime on the 13th and
6 they begin preparations. In the first place they begin preparations is at
7 the school at Orahovac, where the head of security Drago Nikolic, the
8 chief of the military police company, Mr. Jasikovac and many members of
9 the MP company deploy to accept these Muslim prisoners who are again at
10 this point starving, very thirsty, suffering from exhaustion, and they're
11 jammed into the school at Orahovac.
12 That continues on the 14th. Men continue to be pushed into this
13 school at Orahovac. And additionally, they go to the school at Petkovci,
14 which you can see, and they start loading up the school at Petkovci, which
15 is less than a kilometre away from the Petkovci Battalion of the Zvornik
16 Brigade headquarters. And some 500 to 1.000 men get filled up at
17 Orahovac, some 500 to 1.000 men get filled up at Petkovci. Over that day
18 they also go up to Rocevic. Perhaps 500, perhaps a thousand men get
19 filled up in the school at Rocevic. They go on and put men up in this
20 school up near Pilica, near Kula, another 500, 1.000 men. They run out of
21 room at the school in Kula near Pilica, and they end up putting people in
22 downtown Pilica, at the place called the Pilica cultural centre. And
23 we'll go over the amount of troops and materials and men it took to deal
24 with this massive influx of people to be murdered, at the same time that
25 Dragan Obrenovic is in charge and running things. Not only is he having
1 to deal with the frontline of the Muslim troops but the 28th Division
2 approaching him from the south, but he's got some 5.000 to 6.000 Muslims
3 being bust in the same place where the Muslim troops are coming from and
4 arriving in his headquarters area and the area right around his school.
5 The same resources it takes to handle those men -- those Muslim men and
6 those buses and to transport them and to guard them and to kill them and
7 to bury them, those are the same -- the same resources he needs to defend
8 Zvornik, to defend the frontlines, to do his job, to do his duty. He has
9 to know that these Muslim men are coming to be murdered in his area. It's
10 his duty to know. His troops knew, his units knew, his officers knew.
11 Perhaps one of the most outrageous statements of this trial will
12 be Dragan Obrenovic telling you through his statement to the OTP that he
13 didn't know about any Muslims coming to Zvornik until 23 July, when his
14 wife told him. When you see all the evidence, you'll know how truly
15 absurd that statement is.
16 The executions begin in Orahovac, we know, from survivors in the
17 afternoon. They're conducted by members of the 4th Battalion of the
18 Zvornik Infantry Brigade and other members of the Zvornik Brigade. They
19 continue through the afternoon and into the evening, where they are buried
20 at the same time that they're being executed by members of the Zvornik
21 Brigade Engineering Unit. Dragan Obrenovic specifically admits to
22 relieving two excavator operators from their frontlines so that they can
23 go work for the engineers at a time when they need to bury bodies, because
24 the bodies are piling up in Orahovac. The commander does not release men
25 from a frontline area like that under such extreme positions unless he
1 knows exactly what they're being released for.
2 So on the evening of the 14th, the murders start happening in
3 Petkovci, go on through the night. By the morning of the 15th, probably
4 1.000 people are near dead. They're still killing a few as the sun comes
5 up, as the survivors tell us. And at Kozluk the men from Rocevic most
6 likely are being murdered on the 15th of July at sometime. We're not
7 exactly sure when. We know that when the excavator operator goes to clean
8 them up in the morning of the 16th, the bodies are lying there already.
9 The excavator operator will tell you that.
10 So what we know, by midday 15 July Pandurevic finally comes back.
11 Mr. Obrenovic has requested desperately on the 14th for reinforcements,
12 and his commander arrives back in the area on midday 15th. But by midday
13 the 15th everybody in Orahovac is murdered, everybody at Petkovci is
14 murdered, the people at Kozluk are either dead or near dead when Dragan
15 Obrenovic takes over his duties as chief of staff.
16 Now, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, but I do want
17 to give you some indication of the evidence you'll see regarding the mass
18 graves and the killing. If we could go to the Kozluk. This is a
19 photograph of the mass grave at Kozluk, where some several hundred bodies
20 were found but at the same time we knew that several hundred bodies were
21 removed. As you know from the indictment, in September and October after
22 this murder operation there was a huge operation to remove the bodies and
23 to hide them and bury them in many locations in the woods so they would
24 not be found by the International Community when NATO troops arrived. And
25 what this photograph shows you is the claw marks of the VRS Engineering
1 Unit bulldozer. This is -- an archaeologist did this for us. He dug this
2 out so you could see the process of body thievery, basically, a backhoe
3 clawed that big mark in the soil and took bodies out, loaded them, and
4 then put them in another area, which we've also exhumed and were able to
5 tie to this area. But this is the kind of carnage that was reaped upon
6 the Muslim population while Dragan Obrenovic was in charge.
7 On the 16th of July, in the morning the Muslims at the Pilica
8 school, who were guarded in part by members of the 1st Battalion of the
9 Zvornik Brigade, and including two soldiers, a patrol from the Bratunac
10 Brigade military police who had stayed up in Pilica that night, they were
11 transported to the Branjevo Military Farm and executed all day by the 10th
12 Sabotage Detachment of the main staff and by a unit from the Bratunac
13 Brigade of collected individuals that were available to come assist the
14 10th Diversionary Unit. Some 1200 people were murdered at the Branjevo
15 Farm that day, and this is an aerial image of that murder. This is a
16 photograph taken the day after when there are some 1.000 to 1200 bodies
17 still lying in the field where they were shot. And you'll get a better
18 picture than this, but you'll be able to see a bulldozer -- or an
19 excavator digging a hole and a mound of bodies next to it. This is the
20 Branjevo Military Farm, which is an asset of the Zvornik Brigade, run by
21 the Zvornik Brigade, and part of this horrible operation.
22 Now, there were other executions, aside from these organised
23 executions. On the 19th of July, a unit from the Krajina Corps that was
24 attached to the Zvornik Brigade and being directly commanded, according to
25 Mr. Obrenovic, by himself on those days captured ten Muslims and
1 systematically murdered them. We know that because one man who was shot
2 through the back rolled down a hill and was survived and told us about it
3 and another man, this execution squad decided to keep because they felt he
4 was a military guy and maybe they could get some value for an exchange.
5 But they got on the radio before they did these killings. They did that
6 to check with their command.
7 All right. That is the -- my very rough and relatively brief
8 overview of the main events, what I call "the big picture," which we will
9 spend most of our time putting on evidence for you and directing your
10 attention to various material from the other record.
11 Now I would like to go into chapter 2, which I hope won't take too
12 long, and give you some of the examples of the direct links to the
13 Bratunac Brigade troops that were engaged in some of these activities.
14 And we'll put these exhibits, the photos, the documents, up on the -- up
15 on the wall and I'll comment briefly on them.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, are you going to use this map in
17 front of us? If not, could we have it removed? Because it's blocking the
18 views from the public gallery.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think we can -- we can move the map at this
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Okay. The first still I'd like you to see from
23 what I call chapter 2, this is General Krstic giving an interview on 12
24 July in Potocari. I give this to you because he is the commander of the
25 Drina Corps, he is the commander of Mr. Blagojevic, he's on the ground at
1 the time right as the buses are there and the separations are beginning.
2 And we see behind him number -- under number 3 is Vujadin Popovic, the
3 security officer of the Drina Corps, there also as part of this -- this
5 If we could go to the next shot. This is some new video footage,
6 where on the 12th of July we see several soldiers walking in to Potocari
7 and the investigation has been able to identify this soldier, number 1,
8 and he was a member of the Bratunac Brigade. So it was not just MUP
9 soldiers that were in Bratunac. Here we have an example on video of a
10 Bratunac Brigade soldier.
11 There is another soldier in this group of photos who was
12 identified by Drazen Erdemovic as taking part in the murders at Branjevo
13 farm. That soldier's name is Radenko Tomic. He was a member of the East
14 Bosnian Corps, the corps to the north of the Drina Corps, and he was in
15 Bratunac for the celebration of the death of his father. And he picked up
16 his gun and joined the others in going in to Potocari on the 12th, and we
17 believe he was picked up on the 16th by the Bratunac Brigade and shipped
18 off with others to the Branjevo Farm. There he was ID'd by Drazen
20 All right. Again, this is 12 July and this is a man who is the
21 commander of the 4th Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade
22 giving an interview to the Serb TV, and behind him is Lieutenant Colonel
23 Kosoric, who is, you will learn, the intelligence officer of the Drina
24 Corps. And remember the theme that I said earlier: Look in these videos
25 for the main staff, the corps, the brigade all working together. It's
1 amazing that these video shots can show us that picture.
2 Here are several soldiers that are either on duty or patrolling
3 the area of Potocari, and they are all literally from the 2nd Company of
4 the 2nd Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade, again on 12 July. What you
5 can't see is the buses and the women that are -- they're facing. And
6 you'll see that on the video. So it's not just the MUP that is there.
7 It's also the Bratunac Brigade. And remember what's going on at this
8 time: Women are being forcibly transferred against their will to Tuzla,
9 men are being separated and detained to be murdered. The Bratunac Brigade
10 is looking on. And where there are soldiers, there are commanders. And
11 where there are soldiers and commanders, the commander will know what's
12 going on.
13 This photo, this is an amazing photo. This doesn't look like
14 much, but these two soldiers that are identified here are both members of
15 the Bratunac Brigade military police. The person in number 1 has
16 identified himself and has told us what he was doing there. And has you
17 can see, he's got a little notebook in his hand. He is putting the women
18 and children on the bus and sending them out to Tuzla and keeping track of
19 them. This is a crime right on video. These people are being moved out
20 against their will from their homes by the military police of the Bratunac
21 Brigade who are under the command of Vidoje Blagojevic, under the
22 direction of Momir Nikolic.
23 Here is a group of Bratunac soldiers on a Bratunac APC that is
24 sitting in Potocari for a while, and then you'll see it drive off in the
1 If we could go to the next one. I'm not going to read this out to
2 you, but I do want you to notice it. This is an example of an intercept.
3 It's between Mirko Jankovic, the chief of the military police platoon in
4 Bratunac and a general, probably General Zivanovic from the Drina Corps,
5 and Jankovic gives him a full updating of how the transportation of the --
6 of the people in Potocari is going. Mirko Jankovic is -- will be on the
7 radio at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters as the duty officer reporting
8 to superior command what's going on. And this, of course, is the same
9 office where Vidoje Blagojevic is commanding.
10 All right. Now, this -- one of the few documents that survived
11 the purge of documents after this incident was the military police log,
12 and in this very simple one-line statement, which Janet will blow up for
13 us, it shows that the military police were engaged in the escort of Muslim
14 refugees on the 14th/15th of July, 1995. Well, you'll see that by the
15 evening hours of the 13th of July, all the women and children are out of
16 Potocari, and so the only people that can be transported at this time are
17 the Muslim men going towards Zvornik. And we know from information
18 provided us by Mirko Jankovic, the head of the Bratunac MPs, that they
19 were in fact escorting the Muslim prisoners up to Zvornik. And here is
20 documentary proof of that fact, directly linking the Bratunac Brigade to
21 this murder operation.
22 Again, a 17 July entry in the military police log. It shows that
23 "One police patrol remained in Pilica to secure and guard the Muslims."
24 Well, we know what happened in Pilica from the survivors. They were
25 secured and guarded until the morning of the 16th and then they were all
1 murdered. Clearly the Bratunac Brigade was part of that.
2 All right. I'd like to move now to the Zvornik Brigade and some
3 of the links. Again, I won't go through this in detail with you, but this
4 is an intercept that shows Dragan Obrenovic talking about the Muslim
5 column and where they are and the locations he's talking about are the
6 roadway between Kravica, Konjevic Polje, and Nova Kasaba. He's naturally
7 very concerned about this and has received intelligence information. He
8 has forces down in that area. And he's reporting it to the people who are
9 down there to make sure that they're doing the best they can to stop these
10 people, because if Bratunac can stop them, they're less of a worry for
11 Obrenovic. This shows how clued in Obrenovic is at an early stage to the
12 advance of the Muslim column. He would, of course, be clued in to the
13 advance of the Muslim prisoners.
14 All right. This is the first indication from Zvornik records, and
15 they were purged as well, so we were lucky to get anything. But what this
16 is is the vehicle log of the -- of the MP vehicles. And if we could blow
17 that up. This is our first indication that Zvornik knows and is aware
18 that Muslim prisoners are coming and that they're taking action to deal
19 with it. It shows that a vehicle is going from Orahovac to Zvornik to
20 Orahovac to Standard to Bratunac to Zvornik. Now, Standard is the name of
21 the Zvornik Brigade headquarters. It was the name of the old Standard
22 shoe factory, so they refer to that as Standard. And this becomes even
23 more important and obvious when we look at the 14th, 15th, and 16th, of
24 the same vehicle and what the same people are doing. They're going to the
25 key areas. They're going to Orahovac, they're going to Rocevic, which is
1 where a school is, they're going to Kozluk, which is where one of the mass
2 graves are, they're going to Pilica, where the cultural centre was,
3 they're going to Kula, this tiny little village above Pilica where the
4 school was on the 16th where all the people were murdered. Clearly these
5 are MPs that are closely engaged in the entire operation to murder these
6 Muslims, and this is a document they left behind that shows us how deeply
7 involved they were.
8 Here is a Zvornik engineering excavator log that shows us that on
9 the 14th of July an excavator went to, from the base, the engineering base
10 in Karakaj to Orahovac and was digging trenches in Orahovac on the 14th of
11 July. Orahovac is a tiny little place and there was no other work to done
12 except burying bodies on the 14th of July, as the excavator operators, if
13 they show up, will tell you.
14 Now, here is a daily order book of the engineering company, which
15 lists their tasks. And this is dated the 15th of July, and it shows that
16 their tasks are to send these various machines, all of which, by the way,
17 are excavators of some sort, one -- or two of them to Orahovac and two of
18 them to Petkovci, where we know from our survivors that people's bodies
19 are lying there. And excavators are burying them. And this is the
20 Engineering Unit, which was -- even as the chief of staff came under the
21 responsibility of Dragan Obrenovic. But as deputy commander he was the
22 man in charge at the time.
23 Okay. The next day they're still sending things to Orahovac. And
24 on the 17th, the day of the photograph from Branjevo Farm, you may recall,
25 they're sending equipment to Branjevo, two excavators, flat-bed trucks.
1 They've got a massive re-burial operation going on there on the 17th that
2 they're involved in.
3 Now, this is a vehicle log for the 6th Battalion of the Zvornik
4 Brigade. The 6th Battalion is that unit right near Petkovci. And the
5 15th of July is when many of the people were murdered from the Petkovci
6 school. And this shows that a vehicle drove from Petkovci, which is where
7 the school was, to Brana, which means "dam" in B/C/S. And it took some
8 six -- I believe six trips back and forth. There's only one thing it
9 could have been doing going to the dam; ferrying men to be killed or
10 perhaps picking up the bodies of people who had been killed at the school
11 and taking them to the dam to be buried. So you've got the command
12 elements of the 6th Battalion now involved on this, at the time when
13 Dragan Obrenovic was in charge.
14 This is another vehicle log of what's called the Reserve Company.
15 This is a unit that gets called up at times from the Zvornik. And it is
16 going from Kula, the little school to Pilica and back several times. Now,
17 we know what happened there is that the bodies from the cultural centre
18 and some at the school all needed to be transported to the Branjevo
19 Military Farm where they were being buried on the 17th. So this is
20 clearly a body operation. We'll show you a -- an aerial image of a truck
21 which is very similar to the truck of this vehicle log. It's backed up to
22 the Pilica cultural centre on the 17th of July with road marks going to
23 each of the exits of the cultural centre. And we know from our survivors
24 that on the -- some 500-plus people were murdered at the Pilica cultural
25 centre on the 16th of July. So this truck, this vehicle, had to be
1 unloading and loading body that is day.
2 Now, those are the examples I gave you of some of the direct links
3 of the Bratunac and Zvornik Brigade involved. There are more, and
4 Mr. Butler will discuss those in more detail. His report discusses them
5 well. And so I refer that to you.
6 But the final chapter is -- is brief. We don't have that many
7 documents in the chapter that I call "the critical chapter," because they
8 cleaned out most of it. And when you conduct a murder operation like
9 this, you don't write a whole lot of it on paper. But we do have some.
10 And the first evidence I would show you is related to the issue of
11 forcible transfer. And it's an intercept. And this intercept is from the
12 12th of July, and there's an intercept before this where it appears that
13 there are VRS soldiers suggest some of the women and children may be
14 allowed to go somewhere else and might have some choice, and then General
15 Mladic gets on the radio and says to someone, "They've all capitulated and
16 surrendered and we'll evacuate them all, those who want to and those who
17 don't want to." The answer is, "I understand, General." This ends the
18 issue of whether or not they had any freedom to go. Mladic ends it rather
20 This is a -- first half of a very important intercept. This is
21 when Ljubisa Beara, who is the Main Staff security officer in charge of
22 administering the murder operation as a staff officer for Mladic, is in a
23 desperate situation on the 15th. He has people up in those schools and he
24 doesn't have the troops to kill them. You'll see later on that Pandurevic
25 has returned and says, "Look, I've got problems of my own. I'm going to
1 put my resources in something else." And so what we have is Beara calling
2 up Zivanovic, who he thinks is the corps commander still and asking for
3 troops. Beara is very angry about Furtula now. Furtula is the commander
4 of the Visegrad Brigade of the Drina Corps and Beara feels that Furtula is
5 not following the commander's orders to send troops to take part in the
6 killing operation and he's very angry. And he's talking to Zivanovic
7 saying that Furtula is ignoring the commander's orders. I need troops for
8 the job I have. Now, you'll see from another intercept that Furtula's
9 group, their bus broke down, and so Furtula's group couldn't make it. So
10 Furtula was clearly part of the chain of communication in this operation.
11 And we have Beara waiting at Blagojevic's, which is of course the Bratunac
12 Brigade. And this conversation ends by Zivanovic saying, "Hey, I can't do
13 that any more. Call extension 385," that's Krstic. So Beara goes to
14 Krstic and goes to the next intercept.
15 Now, this is perhaps the most important single piece of evidence
16 of the case. It shows us many things. It shows us Beara, a security
17 officer, going to a corps commander, Krstic, and asking for resources.
18 He's not telling him. He's asking for them. The commanders are in charge
19 here. These other guys are staff officers. Again, he's angry at Furtula
20 and wants Krstic to help him. And Krstic says very clearly, initially,
21 Tosic and Sladojevic were heard wrong by the intercept operators, but it's
22 clear as we go down the page that Krstic says, "I'll see what I can do,
23 but it will disturb a lot. Please, you have some down at Nastic's and
24 Blagojevic's." Well, Nastic is the commander of the Milici Brigade, the
25 adjoining brigade to Bratunac, and Blagojevic is of course the commander
1 of the Bratunac Brigade. Now, Mr. Blagojevic was not as silly as some of
2 the commanders and wasn't on the radio speaking openly like these arrogant
3 senior commanders were, but yet they used his name and clearly by using
4 his name it's obvious that he is involved as is Furtula, as is all the
5 brigade commanders, well involved and knowing about what is going on.
6 Another interesting part of this: You'll see that Krstic says,
7 "Well, take some from the MUP." And Beara says, "No, they won't do
8 anything." Here's somebody that for some reason refused to take part.
9 These are the Ministry of Interior people, so they're not as connected to
10 the army as they might be, but they refused so. Whether it was out of
11 moral conviction or because they were doing -- they were defending
12 Zvornik, I don't know.
13 But at the end Beara makes his intentions very clear, when he
14 says, "There are still 3500 parcels that I have to distribute and I have
15 no solution." And Krstic says, "I'll see what I can do."
16 As you'll see, parcels is how the army referred to the prisoners.
17 At one point Mr. Jokic in a conversation makes a slip and says, "We've
18 been reporting on a number of people -- I mean, parcels since this
19 morning." So you'll see it used over and over again, and then you'll see
20 Mr. Jokic's slip. Clearly they're talking about human beings here.
21 Security officers are working under commanders. The brigade commanders
22 are keyed into this and the operation continues.
23 If you could go to the -- this is a logbook from -- that reflects
24 meetings of the Bratunac Brigade. We didn't have very many dates that
25 survived the purge, but we did have October -- I believe this was October
1 16th. And when Momir Nikolic spoke up at this meeting, where Blagojevic
2 is specifically present, he says, "We are currently engaged in tasks
3 issued by the Army of the Republika Srpska General Staff (sanitation)."
4 Well, the word "sanitation" is a rough translation of the Bosnian word
5 "asanacija", which when you see the original you'll see. Asanacija is a
6 military term out of the JNA lexicon that means "cleaning up after the
7 battlefields" and principally has to the with recovering the bodies of men
8 and animals and burying them. When they use asanacija in Srebrenica,
9 they're talking about burying human beings. And this is a direct
10 reference to the re-burial operation from the large mass graves right near
11 the Bratunac Brigade headquarters to areas south of Srebrenica. This is
12 clear from -- the evidence is clear from this statement. And Momir
13 Nikolic will now confirm that.
14 What this is is a very kind of simple-looking log. In each of the
15 brigades they have what they call the forward command post, or under the
16 VRS lingo, IKM, and it's where the command is based at the forward
17 frontlines. It's a critical place. And in the case of Zvornik, it's up
18 near Petkovci, and it's always manned by a senior officer because they're
19 the ones that are looking down the barrels of the Muslim army. It's a
20 critical position. And what this shows us is that Major Galic, one of the
21 staff officers from the Zvornik Brigade, took over on an unscheduled duty
22 change from Lieutenant Drago Nikolic at 2300 hours. Now, Drago Nikolic is
23 the chief of the security for the Zvornik Brigade, and something at about
24 2300 hours or before got his attention and got him transferred
25 unschedulely from the forward command post. We know from other Serb
1 soldiers that what Drago Nikolic was assigned to do was go accept the
2 prisoners as they came up from Bratunac that night and get them located in
3 the schools. And this is something -- you don't change the duty officer
4 at the forward command post without the knowledge of the commander. This
5 is a critical job, a critical change. The commander is in the area.
6 He's -- he is within communications at all times according to what he has
7 to say himself. Many of his communications are hard-wired communications
8 which are absolutely secure. Other communications that he carries with
9 him have to go through a operations centre on a hill above Zvornik but are
10 all linked in to the Zvornik Brigade and so he is under communications the
11 entire time. And he'll tell you this -- or he told that to the OTP. So
12 Mr. Obrenovic had to have been involved, had to have been informed of this
13 major change that Drago Nikolic had to go deal with a huge job that was
14 arriving, a mass of Muslims from Bratunac.
15 This is a military police attendance log. That was another one of
16 the logs that remained behind. And this shows that on the 14th of July
17 several -- some ten military police officers, including their commander,
18 Miomir Jasikovac, were assigned in a particular place. Now, you can't
19 tell from this copy, but from the original you can see that there was a
20 "0" written down -- an O, excuse me, and that O is erased. And on the
21 back of the original there is a little legend and it says "T" means
22 "terrain," "O" means "Orahovac." And "O" means "Orahovac" is also erased
23 but you can clearly see it through the erasure marks and you can read the
24 export reports on that.
25 So the way this started out is that these people were marked as
1 "O" on the 14th of July at Orahovac, ten of them including the commander,
2 then in a purge somebody sloppily replaced the "O" and replaced it with a
3 "T". You can see the same thing the next day where things were erased
4 and an "R" was erased which we believe means "Rocevic." So we also now
5 know from military police officers and others that the military police
6 were present at Orahovac, and the most important thing about this is their
7 commander was the one that was there. This is a commander that by
8 Obrenovic's own words was a key player in helping set up the ambushes to
9 deal with the Muslim column but that suddenly the night of the 13th
10 disappears because he has a sore groin, according to Mr. Obrenovic. But
11 then we see him in Orahovac taking charge of nine of his people, guarding
12 Muslims, getting them prepared for murder.
13 This is -- this is a point where the Muslims are approaching the
14 Serbs and the Serbs need every man, every unit they have. And the
15 military police is a bit of a cut above the rest because they have to
16 keep -- one of their main jobs is to keep the troops in the trenches. So
17 to have the commander of the MPs and nine of his people at Orahovac
18 guarding Muslims is absolutely outrageous. He should have been guarding
19 his families' security and his army's security and the ambushes in the
20 woods with the others who were doing it. But his commander, Dragan
21 Obrenovic, chose to put him there at that school. You've got 500 to 1.000
22 Muslims. If those Muslims escape and start running rampant in the town of
23 Orahovac, where they are being held, that creates ungodly panic. If the
24 soldiers at the frontline hear that their homes are being ransacked by
25 Muslims, there are not going to be too many soldiers left on the
1 frontlines. This kind of major assignment does not happen without the
2 commander's knowledge.
3 All right. When Pandurevic gets back, he gets back midday the
4 15th. He meets with Obrenovic. Obrenovic, who by definition and by
5 command should know more about what's going on in this area than anybody
6 else. A few hours after getting back and being briefed by Obrenovic and
7 others, he sends a message to the Drina Corps command. Now, the first
8 part of the message is about the horrible military situation that they're
9 in, which I have already mentioned to you and I won't go over again. But
10 these two separate paragraphs are the one time that we find in this entire
11 record where someone is making direct reference to what's really going on.
12 And he says, "An additional burden for us is the large number of prisoners
13 distributed throughout the schools in the brigade area, as well as
14 obligations of security and restoration of the terrain."
15 Well, shortly after arriving Pandurevic obviously knows all about
16 the Muslims in the schools. At the time of the writing of this, remember,
17 everyone in Orahovac and Petkovci and Kozluk are dead, thousands of
18 Muslims. He's been briefed by Obrenovic before writing, this yet
19 Obrenovic says he doesn't know about anything until July 23rd, yet
20 Obrenovic admits he's at the brigade headquarters on the 15th of July for
21 a good part of the day, where this had to have been a major topic of
22 discussion and interest and concern.
23 Obligations of security. Well, we know that Beara, Mladic's Chief
24 of Security, was running this murder operation. So when he says
25 "obligations of security," what he means is guarding and murdering the
2 Restoration of the terrain. Again, that's the term Asanacija.
3 And we know from the vehicle records, again the excavator operators
4 themselves, by the time Obrenovic wrote this they had spent hours and
5 hours and tonnes of fuel burying bodies.
6 Then he says, "This command can not take care of these problems
7 any longer, it has neither the material nor the resources. If no one
8 takes on this responsibility, I will be forced to let them go." He still
9 has some remaining at Pilica and Kula School, probably the 3500 that Beara
10 is desperately trying to get resources to kill that very same day.
11 I won't go into that any further, but that's a document you'll
12 want to study. You'll want to study the expert reports and everything the
13 Defence might have to say about that.
14 Another intercept, this time with Mr. Jokic, looking for Beara,
15 speaking to Beara, and at the bottom he says, "There are big problems,
16 well, with the people -- I mean, with the parcel." That's what I referred
17 to. Mr. Jokic is having to deal with Mr. Beara and dealing with the
18 battalions that are holding the prisoners and sending the orders to the
19 battalions that they be killed and dealing with the 4th Battalion, dealing
20 with the 6th Battalion, dealing with 2nd Battalion. He's right in the
21 centre of all this, and it's his communications that are key to the
23 One last intercept, where Jokic is talking to who we believe is
24 General Miletic, the chief of the operations of the VRS Main Staff, and
25 says, "Obrenovic is really engaged to the maximum. We all are, believe
1 me. This packet has done the most to ruin us. And since this morning
2 we've been reporting on the number of people." And then the general says,
3 "Okay, don't talk to me about that." Now, they all are engaged to the
4 maximum. The packet, or parcel - it's the same word in B/C/S - arrived
5 that morning. This intercept was on the 14th of July. He's talking about
6 this huge problem that he and Obrenovic and they all have with these,
7 having thousands of Muslim prisoners dumped on them for the murder
9 And that's the last one of my critical documents that I've chosen
10 to show you. And so I will conclude.
11 Thank you for listening to me so patiently today. We'll begin our
12 case with the testimony of Jean-Rene Ruez, the original lead investigator
13 of this case. We'll continue chronologically through the witnesses,
14 beginning in Potocari, moving into the events at Bratunac, Bratunac-Milici
15 road, and Bratunac town, then we'll go to Zvornik, where you've heard most
16 of the victims were murdered. We'll conclude with our military analyst,
17 Rick Butler, who will help explain the key military doctrines and
18 documents, intercepts and events, and he'll be assisted by General Patrick
19 Cordingley, who is an actual brigade commander in the first Gulf War, who
20 led troops in combat and at the same time captured several thousand Muslim
21 prisoners and can talk to you what it's all about from a professional
22 military man's position and where there are consequences for illegal
24 We'll also in this case call a number of Serb soldiers, getting
25 away from a traditional adversarial system. I would like you to see
1 officers and soldiers of the Zvornik Brigade and the Bratunac Brigade.
2 While many of them will not be telling the truth about various subjects,
3 they will help you in the end to -- to consider and to review many of the
4 important topics here. And I think you'll be able to identify most of the
5 time when they're not telling the truth and when they are. One of the
6 interesting things about lying is that many times you can figure out why
7 someone's lying. For example, we see most of the Serbs from Potocari will
8 never admit to you that there was any separations going on. What does
9 that mean? That shows consciousness of guilt because they know that
10 separations were part of the murder crime.
11 But it will be unusual to hear from these men, but I think in the
12 end it will be productive for you.
13 For the next few months you will see the evidence in this case
14 rise up, and it will envelope each of these defendants. You'll see that
15 there's no secret security chain of command, there's no reason to exclude
16 these officers from the murder operation, no consequences for these
17 officers for following such atrocious orders. These accused and their
18 troops were absolutely critical for the success to the murder operation
19 and none of them had that the strength of character or courage necessary
20 to say no and walk away. But unlike July 1995, today in this Tribunal
21 there are consequences for this conduct. When you've see and reviewed all
22 the evidence, I have no doubt that you will find each of the accused
23 guilty as charged. Thank you very much.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, thank you very much for this very concise
25 opening statement.
1 As we planned, we'll hear the first witness tomorrow morning. So
2 we are adjourned until tomorrow morning, 9.00, in the same courtroom.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.57 a.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 15th day of May,
5 2003, at 9.00 a.m.