1 Friday, 19 September 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. Case Number IT-02-60-T, The
7 Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Today
9 we'll continue the proceedings. But before that, there are several
10 procedural matters I would like to address. The first one is that on the
11 15th of December, the Appeals Chamber dismissed before Vidoje Blagojevic's
12 appeal of the Trial Chamber's decision concerning this Counsel issue.
13 Accordingly, Mr. Karnavas and Mrs. Tomanovic will remain as
14 Mr. Blagojevic's counsel.
15 But that does not mean that there's no fault or problem on the
16 part of the Defence team. If a lawyer could not win the confidence and
17 the trust of his client, he's not a good lawyer, at least in my
18 jurisdiction. So I hope Mr. Karnavas could take the initiative to
19 approach to your client and rebuild the confidence and the trust.
20 The reasons of that decision by the Appeals Chamber will follow
21 and will be made available to Mr. Blagojevic in B/C/S as soon as practical
23 I want to stress here that the option for a legal representative
24 remains available to Mr. Blagojevic if he wants that legal representative.
25 This Trial Chamber has taken extraordinary measures to create that
1 so-called legal representative to help Mr. Blagojevic help himself. I
2 must confess in the Statute and the Rules of Evidence and Procedures,
3 there's no such kind of legal representative.
4 Another thing I want to mention, the specific mandate for the
5 independent counsel as defined in the Trial Chamber's May 9th order has
6 been fulfilled. If Mr. Blagojevic wants to have a better understanding of
7 the reasons of the Appeals Chamber, he may first approach Mr. Karnavas. I
8 believe that Mr. Karnavas will help him to understand the meanings of the
9 reasoning of the Appeals Chamber. Secondly, he may use the legal
10 representative assigned to him, and I am told that the Registrar is ready
11 to provide a list for him to choose.
12 The second issue is about the motion of Mr. Jokic related to
13 disclosure of Rule 68 materials of the 15th September, 2003. Following
14 the Prosecution's response of 17th December in which the Prosecution
15 states that "all the material that Mr. Jokic's Defence has asked for has
16 been previously provided to it." Does Mr. Jokic's Defence wish to
17 withdraw this motion?
18 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour, we do not wish to withdraw the
19 motion. But we are satisfied with the answer from the Prosecution has
20 fulfilled their obligations under Rule 68. And that becomes part of the
21 record, and we would like it to remain part of the record, that they have
22 stated they have fulfilled their obligations. Which we trust that they
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your cooperation. But if you
25 do not withdraw this motion, I'm afraid that the Trial Chamber has to
1 dismiss it.
2 MS. SINATRA: Well, I would like the motion to stay on file saying
3 that we asked for it because it makes a record that we are continually
4 putting the Prosecution to its burden of providing under Rule 68. And I
5 think the next step would be that the Trial Chamber would have a finding
6 that the Prosecution has satisfied that burden. But whatever the Court
7 wishes to do, this Honourable Trial Chamber wishes to do with it, I would
8 like it to stay on the record that we have requested that information that
9 was used during Mr. Obrenovic's request for provisional release. And
10 we're not so sure that we have it in our hands, but maybe we'll be able to
11 locate it as soon as possible, with the help of the Prosecution.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. I understand your meaning.
13 MS. SINATRA: Thank you.
14 JUDGE LIU: The third matter is the presence of Mr. Nikolic's
15 counsel in the courtroom and his status. Today, we are going to hear a
16 very material witness; that is, Mr. Nikolic, a former co-accused and a
17 convicted person waiting sentencing in another case. He's testifying as a
18 Prosecution witness. His presence here as a witness, and he still has
19 proceedings pending before this Bench which may be affected by his
20 testimony in this case. And as he has not waived his right to be
21 represented by counsel in those proceedings, the Trial Chamber finds that
22 it is appropriate for his counsel to be present in the courtroom
23 throughout his testimony.
24 The Trial Chamber would like to make it clear that the only
25 parties to these proceedings are the Prosecution and the Defence for Mr.
1 Blagojevic and Mr. Jokic. It is these parties who will be examining Mr.
2 Nikolic and have the right to address the Trial Chamber in relation to his
3 examination or cross-examination. Mr. Nikolic may, however, ask to
4 consult his counsel in the course of his testimony, and the Trial Chamber
5 will grant him the opportunity for such consultation.
6 Are there any other matters the parties would like to bring to the
7 attention of this Bench? Yes, Mr. Blagojevic.
8 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, having
9 considered everything you've just said, I would like to point out three
10 very important issues. The trial was in recess, and now I wish to say
11 that I have no counsel representing and defending me in this case before
12 this Tribunal. Secondly, I was visited at the Detention Unit yesterday by
13 Mr. Rajlic, the infantry colonel retired. I hired Mr. Dragutin Ilic as my
14 military expert on my Defence team. I wish to use his expertise on
15 several military issues. Ilic told me that Mr. Karnavas had sent him to
16 see me, and that he had brought him directly from Belgrade the day before.
17 Therefore, Mr. Karnavas instructed Ilic to tell me that Mr. Ilic, who was
18 visiting me, should sit here in the courtroom and listen to Nikolic's and
19 Obrenovic's testimonies.
20 And on the basis of that, to put together questions for
21 cross-examination and give them to Mr. Karnavas in order for Mr. Karnavas
22 to cross-examine Nikolic and Obrenovic. Furthermore, he told me that
23 Mrs. Tomanovic saw him back to the gate of the Detention Unit encouraging
24 him to succeed in his mission. For obvious reasons, I turned all of this
1 I broke my meeting with Mr. Ilic in less than five minutes. I
2 told Ilic that he was in no position to exercise that kind of work, that
3 he was not competent for that kind of work, and this was far above his
4 duties as part of our Defence team. I abide by my position that Mr. Ilic,
5 as a military expert, may, based on his study of certain military
6 documents, provide an expert analysis of maybe two or three very, very
7 specialised military issues. It is my belief that the art of
8 cross-examination is taught in special schools, and this duty cannot be
9 taken over by a retired officer. These actions of Mr. Karnavas have only
10 deepened the gulf between the two of us, and my mistrust of his behaviour
11 and his work. And it further exacerbates my doubt concerning his work
12 which will not be to my benefit as I believe, but rather detrimental to
14 Thirdly, I would like to have again forwarded to me the decision
15 of the Appeals Chamber containing the reasons and to have a meeting with
16 Mr. Sekrun [phoen], an independent lawyer, who will then explain to me all
17 the legal reasoning and qualifications from the brief version and the
18 long, integral version of this decision of the Appeals Chamber.
19 Your Honours, this is all I wish to say. Please try to understand
20 why I have raised these three issues. Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
22 Mr. Karnavas.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll respond to
24 Mr. Blagojevic's concerns first, and then my other concerns. When I was
25 retained by Mr. Blagojevic, I made it very clear that I would be selecting
1 every member of the Defence team. In that process, I asked for him to
2 give me recommendations of potential expert witnesses, military expert
3 witnesses. After interviewing several of them, and after a period of
4 approximately six months, we met -- I met with Professor Ilic, who is, in
5 fact, one of the authors of the rules on brigade -- on the brigade rules
6 for the VRS or for the JNA and has also taught at the military academy
7 teaching generals how to become generals or colonels how to advance to the
8 level of generals. Having been impressed by Mr. Ilic for, one, his
9 knowledge, two, his professionalism, three, his objectivity, I brought him
10 on to the team for a very few hours, though he has been working more or
11 less full time on this case because of his commitment to the Defence.
12 Mr. Ilic was brought to The Hague once before with another
13 military expert and spent approximately three and a half days with
14 Mr. Blagojevic, again going over all of the military matters. For my
15 experience, having practiced 20 years as a trial lawyer, having taught
16 trial advocacy, having taught how to cross-examine experts, it's my
17 opinion that no lawyer can cross-examine an expert unless he or she
18 becomes an expert themselves prior to the cross-examination and works with
19 an expert, both in assisting in the cross-examination and setting up the
20 direct examination for the Defence case.
21 Mr. Ilic, or Professor Ilic has been assisting us in that
22 capacity. Mr. Blagojevic is fully aware of that.
23 Secondly, a few months ago, Mr. Blagojevic contacted Mr. Ilic in
24 Belgrade and spoke to him over the phone asking him to remain on the team
25 in the event the Karnavas/Tomanovic Defence team were to be dismissed, at
1 which point, Professor Ilic indicated that he would remain as the expert
2 in the case if Mr. Blagojevic so desired.
3 It was Professor Ilic's understanding from the conversation that
4 Mr. Blagojevic was reaching out and was -- to Mr. Ilic to assist. After
5 receiving the final decision from the Court - and might I add, before the
6 decision throughout while we have been in recess, we have been intensively
7 working on the cross-examination of Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Obrenovic through
8 our expert witnesses. We've met with Professor Ilic in Belgrade. I met
9 with him with Ms. Tomanovic; Ms. Tomanovic met with him in addition on her
10 own. So this is not something new. But in any event recognising now that
11 the Prosecution has switched its list and was bringing Nikolic on forward,
12 we went to great pains to rush Mr. Ilic over here, yes, to assist us,
13 because after all he has spent his entire life in the military and I
14 haven't. If I am going to provide the best possible legal assistance to
15 Mr. Blagojevic, I need someone like that to assist me. So that was the
17 I also thought, given the Court's understanding that we should be
18 reaching out to the client, and in light of the Court's earlier remarks
19 which I do take some difference to, as to whether I'm a good lawyer or bad
20 lawyer, I thought that this would be one more effort, and the cost of
21 bringing Mr. Ilic over here for the next two or three years are being
22 borne by the Defence team, not by the Registrar who will not pay for this
23 sort of assistance. So it is an added cost to the Defence that we're
24 willing, gladly, to have in order to provide Mr. Blagojevic with the best
25 possible defence. And so it was decided that it would be best if Mr. Ilic
1 could meet with Mr. Blagojevic and speak with him before Mr. Nikolic took
2 the stand; one, to convoy the issues that we were planning, that we
3 thought were relevant to the cross-examination; and two, to solicit any
4 particular areas of concern Mr. Blagojevic may wish to have with respect
5 to the cross-examination. And I want to stress that throughout this
6 entire period, we have been sending letters repeatedly to Mr. Blagojevic
7 seeking a meeting with him. However, he has refused to communicate. So
8 it's not for lack of trying, and I don't know what else I can possibly do
9 to win this gentleman's confidence at this stage of the game, which may be
10 a reason for me to be withdrawn. I leave that to the Court and the
11 Registrar. But nonetheless, we have been making these efforts.
12 So that was the purpose for Mr. Ilic meeting with Mr. Blagojevic.
13 Yes, we had hoped that the meeting would be successful. No, we are not
14 that concerned that because of the lack of its success that we are unable
15 to go forward. We are. So I'll leave it at that.
16 The only other issue I wish to bring up at this point,
17 Your Honour, was with respect to the last point that you raised with -- in
18 regards to the lawyers for the witness, Mr. Nikolic. I understand he was
19 a co-accused before. But now he is a witness. He has waived his right to
20 remain silent. And I think it is very, very -- I cannot see -- I'm
21 unaware of, I should say, I'm unaware of any legal precedence where a
22 witness is allowed to consult with his lawyer in answering questions in
23 the middle of a trial proceeding. And I take strong objection to that. I
24 want to register my objection, not only to that but also to their
25 presence. I understand they wish to be present because they need to make
1 sure at the end that they can argue convincingly to the Court that their
2 client has fully cooperated and has been truthful in his testimony. They
3 can be provided -- first, they can watch as they're watching right now
4 from the public gallery. Secondly, they can be provided with a full
5 transcript of any of the closed proceedings. So they are not going to be
7 But I do take exception to Mr. Nikolic being treated as a
8 privileged VIP in the courtroom when he's nothing more than a witness at
9 this point. And I understand he hasn't been sentenced yet, but
10 nonetheless as a witness, I believe he should not be consulting his
11 lawyers prior to answering questions. The only other area where I know
12 this happens is in the United States in the grand jury proceedings where a
13 witness is allowed to go outside the proceedings and consult with a
14 lawyer. There may be other jurisdictions that allow this. I'm unaware of
15 it. However, I do think for the process that we have before this
16 International Criminal Tribunal, it is a dangerous precedent to set unless
17 it has been set that I'm totally unaware of. And if it has been set and
18 I'm unaware of it, then I still stand by my comments, but I apologise for
19 my ignorance.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Let me deal with these issues one by one.
21 The first one is that Mr. Blagojevic claims that he is not
22 represented by a lawyer. This Bench could not agree with you, especially
23 after we received the decisions from the Appeals Chamber.
24 I quite understand what you are thinking and what's in your mind
25 after hearing the decisions from the Appeals Chamber. As you probably
1 know that I'm a Trial Judge in Krnojelac's case, and the day before
2 yesterday, the Appeals Chamber rendered a decision overruling almost all
3 the findings of the Trial Chamber. But as for the jurisprudence of this
4 Tribunal and in all other jurisdictions, the Appeals Chamber's decision
5 has the binding force on the Trial Chamber and on everything. I promised
6 you many times, I believe, that whatever conclusions the Appeals Chamber
7 may arrive at, this Bench will comply with it. So I said at the very
8 beginning, that Mr. Karnavas and Mrs. Tomanovic will remain as your
9 counsel. There's no doubt about it, especially we received the decisions
10 from the Appeals Chamber.
11 Secondly, this Bench appreciates the effort by Mr. Karnavas to
12 call a legal -- a military expert. We regard it as an effort from the
13 Defence team to rebuild the confidence of his client. But after all, this
14 is a matter between the lead counsel and his client. The Chamber has no
15 mandate to interfere in this matter. I hope the two of you could find a
16 way out to this issue because, as I said, we are going to hear a very
17 material witness today and after today.
18 As for the third matter Mr. Blagojevic mentioned, we believe his
19 request is reasonable. He needs somebody to help him to understand the
20 reasonings of the decisions of the Appeals Chamber. As for the functions
21 of that independent counsel, I believe that we have to consult with the
22 Registrar to see whether to explain the meaning of that decision is still
23 within the mandate of that independent counsel.
24 There's objections from the Defence team of Mr. Blagojevic the
25 functions of the Defence team of Nikolic. Before making decision, this
1 Bench also made some research into the jurisprudence this Tribunal. In
2 other cases, in the same situation, the counsels for the witness were
3 allowed to be present in the proceedings in this courtroom. And the
4 witness has the right to consult with his counsel during the proceedings
5 or during the break.
6 Well, we have spent much more time than I expected in those
7 procedural matters. Having said that, could we have the witness, please.
8 Mr. McCloskey.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, good morning. We had one other
10 procedural matter which if we could go into private session briefly after
11 counsel and witness get here, I would appreciate it.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes. If your matter is related towards certain
13 documents, could we come to that when we come across that document?
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President, it was going to be the first
15 thing I dealt with.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
18 [The witness's counsel entered court]
19 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE LIU: Would you please stand up. Would you please make the
22 solemn declaration in accordance with the paper the usher is showing to
24 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
2 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, if we could go into private session
7 very briefly, then we'll be ready to get started.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go to the private session.
9 [Private session]
20 [Open session]
21 JUDGE LIU: Now we are in open session. You may proceed,
22 Mr. McCloskey.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Examined by Mr. McCloskey:
25 Q. Mr. Nikolic, good morning, could you state your full name, please,
1 spell your last name for the record.
2 A. Good morning, Mr. McCloskey. My name is Momir Nikolic.
3 M-o-m-i-r, N-i-k-o-l-i-c.
4 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you have plead guilty to the persecutions indictment
5 in this case. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes. I pleaded guilty on count 5 of the indictment.
7 Q. Do you stand by that guilty plea and acknowledge your criminal
8 responsibility in this case?
9 A. Yes, I stand by my guilty plea with regard to count 5.
10 Q. And did you enter into a plea agreement with the Prosecution in
11 this case?
12 A. Yes, I did. Yes, we entered into a plea agreement which I have
14 Q. Are you testifying today in part pursuant to that plea agreement?
15 A. Absolutely, because I'm obliged to do so according to the
16 agreement. It is my duty to testify on the basis of that agreement within
17 these proceedings.
18 Q. And within that agreement, there is a declaration that
19 Mr. Karnavas has so kindly referred us to. And I would mark that as P81.
20 During the discussions prior to your plea, did you make two false
21 statements to the Prosecution taking responsibility for Kravica and
22 falsely identifying yourself in a photograph?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. Shortly after making those false statements, did you realise that
25 was wrong?
1 A. Yes, I realised that I had made a mistake. I can state the
2 reasons if the Trial Chamber would like me to do so. But I did realise
3 that I had made a mistake.
4 Q. Are those reasons in part spelled out in this document, the
5 declaration P81?
6 A. Yes, they have been spelled out in part.
7 Q. You made those false statements because you thought it would
8 assist you in gaining a plea agreement. Is that correct?
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I object to the leading nature of
10 the -- you know, I did not object too much with the other witnesses.
11 However, at this stage, with these witnesses, I'm going to ask Mr.
12 McCloskey and his team to please not lead witnesses while they do their
13 direct examination.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, you may ask why he made those
15 false statements.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY:
17 Q. Can you tell us why, Mr. Nikolic.
18 A. With regard to the photograph, I initially said that I could
19 recognise myself in the photograph. At that time, I was not sure because
20 the person in the photograph really looks like me. The first photograph
21 that I had was not very clear. It was a fairly bad photograph. And this
22 is something that I also stated when I spoke to you, and I identified
23 myself in that photograph because that's what I believed. I believed that
24 to be a photograph depicting myself.
25 Shortly after that, my lawyers investigated that matter, and the
1 person was identified and a first and last name was given to that person
2 in the photograph. So it was quite normal for me to say that the person
3 in the photograph was, in fact, not myself. That's the explanation I have
4 to give as far as the photograph is concerned.
5 As far as the statement I made that is in the statement provided,
6 I would like to inform the Trial Chamber that that was my decision, that
7 was an assessment that I made. And at that time, I was not influenced by
8 my lawyers or by the Prosecution. No one exercised any pressure on me at
9 that time. No one exerted any pressure on me. Once the agreements with
10 the Prosecution had already advanced, I came to the decision that there
11 would be no agreement, and I really wanted to obtain an agreement. I made
12 a mistake. I admitted something I hadn't done because I wanted to obtain
13 such an agreement. I accepted responsibility for something that I had not
14 done. I accepted a greater degree of responsibility.
15 But when we met again, when I spoke to the Prosecution again, I
16 first of all told my lawyers, and then Mr. McCloskey, that I had made a
17 mistake, that I hadn't told the truth. I apologised for that. And I said
18 that in the next interview, in our future discussions, I would attempt to
19 tell the truth to the best of my recollection. And that is what happened.
20 Those are the explanations I can provide with regard to these two
22 Q. Do you understand today and throughout the rest of your testimony
23 how critically important it is for you to tell the whole truth?
24 A. Yes, I do understand.
25 Q. All right. Can you first tell us how old are you.
1 A. I was born in 1955. So I'm 48 years old.
2 Q. And where were you born?
3 A. I was born in Bratunac, in a village in the village of Hrancin in
4 Bratunac on the 20th of February, 1955.
5 Q. Where did you grow up and go to your beginning schools?
6 A. I grew up in the village I was born in. I went to primary school
7 in my municipality, the municipality of Bratunac. And likewise, I went to
8 secondary school in Bratunac. It was a school for construction.
9 Q. When did you first get to know Mr. Blagojevic, your former
11 A. I knew Mr. Blagojevic and his family -- well, I had known them for
12 my entire life. But we personally met when he came -- when he joined the
13 army of Republika Srpska. And we became more familiar when he came to the
14 Bratunac Brigade.
15 Q. And do you see Mr. Blagojevic in court today?
16 A. Yes, I can see Mr. Blagojevic.
17 Q. Can you point him out to us, tell us what he's wearing.
18 A. Mr. Blagojevic is sitting between the guard on the right, if
19 you're looking from my direction, between Mr. Jokic and the guard. As far
20 as I can see from here, he's wearing a light-coloured shirt. He has a
21 dark suit, a grey suit. He's wearing a tie.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Let the record reflect the witness has identified
23 the defendant Blagojevic.
24 Q. All right. Tell us a little more about your schooling, what you
25 studied, what occupation or profession you wanted to get into.
1 A. After I had completed secondary school, secondary technical
2 school, after I had done my military service in the former JNA, the
3 Yugoslav People's Army, I did my military service in Slovenia. I spent
4 15 months there. After my military service had been completed, I enrolled
5 in university to study political science. I studied the subject of
6 defence and protection in 1977, 1977. I graduated in 1981, in February.
7 On the 17th of February, 1981, that is when I graduated. So it took me
8 three, three and a half years to graduate. I graduated a little early.
9 Having graduated, I returned to the municipality of Bratunac. I
10 got a job as a professor in the secondary school centre, Djuro Pucar
11 Stari. I worked in that secondary school centre until 1986. And after
12 that, I moved over to the Territorial Defence staff where I worked as
13 assistant commander for intelligence. While I was performing those
14 duties, the war broke out. I was mobilised on the 18th of April. I was
15 mobilised into the Territorial Defence, like many other people from
16 Bratunac. And during that crisis period, from about the 25th of April, I
17 acted as commander of the Territorial Defence staff in Bratunac. I had
18 never been appointed to that post by an order or by a document issued by a
19 superior command.
20 After that, I spent a certain period of time in Serbia. I can
21 tell you the reasons for having spent some time there if the Trial Chamber
22 is interested in them. I returned in November, sometime in November 1992.
23 And after a week, I was assigned to the post of assistant commander for
24 security and intelligence in the Bratunac Brigade. I remained at that
25 post in the Bratunac Brigade until the end of the war.
1 After the end of the war and demobilisation on the 20th of April,
2 1996, I was appointed as chief of the department of the ministry for
3 refugees and displaced persons in Bratunac and as coordinator of that
4 ministry for the municipality of Srebrenica. I remained in that ministry
5 for 15 months. After that, I was appointed as director in the
6 municipality of Bratunac, I was appointed as director of the international
7 company Guber in Bratunac. After the multiparty elections were held, I
8 was replaced because that post was taken by the SDS, or rather by the
9 radical party and the SDS party. I was unemployed for one year after
10 that. And then after a year at the assembly, I was again appointed as
11 director of the Kartonaza Bratunac company. I remained there until
12 privatisation occurred, and after the privatisation had been carried out,
13 I was unemployed again, and that was the period during which I was
15 Q. Mr. Nikolic, thank you for that biographical background. For the
16 biographical background, that was fine, but now we need to go question by
17 question now. Okay?
18 Now, you remained the chief of intelligence and security for the
19 Bratunac Brigade. The period of spring up to July 1995, can you describe
20 to us briefly the structure of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, just
21 briefly. How was it different than a regular infantry brigade? How many
22 battalions, for example?
23 A. There were three infantry battalions in the Bratunac Brigade, as
24 per establishment as far as I know. And if we're talking about this
25 critical period, then there was a battalion from the Zvornik Brigade which
1 was attached to the Bratunac Brigade, but it didn't form part of its
2 composition. The Bratunac Brigade had its command in -- there was a
3 commander in the command of the Bratunac Brigade, and then there was a
4 chief of staff, an assistant commander for morale, religious and moral
5 guidance, assistant commander for logistics. There was a chief of the
6 security and intelligence organ. And I'm not sure whether it was the
7 assistant of the commander or the chief of staff of mobilisation and
8 personnel affairs.
9 In addition to those units, rather commands of the battalion, the
10 Bratunac Brigade had a military police platoon. According to
11 establishment, it had a reconnaissance platoon. It had a mixed artillery
12 battery. It had a logistics platoon. Perhaps I have forgotten to mention
13 something, but on the whole that would be its composition.
14 Q. And about how many men under arms did it have in July 1995?
15 A. I really couldn't provide you with precise information for the
16 battalions, but a battalion has between 450 and 500 men, according to
17 establishment. It was never brought up to strength in accordance with the
18 establishment, but if there were about three battalions, that would be
19 about 1.500 men. Perhaps there were another 300 or 400 men in other units
20 and commands. So I'm not sure exactly how many men there were, but about
21 1.800 men, up to 2.000 men, if you include the 4th Battalion which was
22 attached to the Bratunac Brigade.
23 Q. About what date roughly, as you recall, did Colonel Blagojevic
24 come over and take over command of the Bratunac Brigade?
25 A. I think Colonel Blagojevic came in a direct manner before the
1 Srebrenica operation. I'm not sure whether that was in April or May. I
2 really don't know the exact date of his arrival.
3 Q. Had he been in that brigade in any capacity prior to that?
4 A. Yes. At one time, he was the chief of staff of the Bratunac
5 Brigade when Colonel Jovanovic was the commander of that brigade.
6 Q. Is that -- could you pronounce the name of that other colonel for
7 the booth, the former commander.
8 A. The name of the former commander was Slavko Ognjenovic, and I
9 think that Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic was the chief of staff at that time,
10 the chief of staff in the Bratunac Brigade.
11 Q. What year roughly, or what time period?
12 A. I think that was in 1994. I really don't know the exact period.
13 Q. Now, in July 1995, who was the chief of staff deputy commander for
14 the Bratunac Brigade?
15 A. The chief of staff, and at the same time, the deputy commander was
16 Major Novica Pajic.
17 Q. And who was the next person in rank of hierarchy of authority,
18 after Mr. Pajic?
19 A. After Mr. Pajic, there were the assistant commanders. All I can
20 say now is what I believe. I did not see any official lists indicating
21 who came after him, but that could perhaps be the assistant commander for
22 logistics, the assistant commander for moral, religious -- and religious
23 guidance. Perhaps the assistant commander for organisational affairs and
24 personnel, and then the chief of the security and intelligence organ in
25 the brigade.
1 Q. Could you name the individuals whose positions you just described.
2 A. Yes, the assistant commander for the Bratunac Brigade was reserve
3 Major Trisic, Dragoslav. The assistant commander for morale, religious,
4 and legal affairs was also the reserve major Jeftic, Ratko. The assistant
5 or the deputy commander of the staff for organisation, mobilisation and
6 personnel affairs was the active-duty officer Major Dragomir Eskic, and
7 the chief of the organ for security and intelligence, I was that person,
8 reserve captain Momir Nikolic.
9 Q. You've made a difference between active-duty officers and reserve
10 officers. Could you explain that to the Court, what that difference is.
11 A. Yes, I can. I'll try to do so. Active-duty officers are
12 professional soldiers who have been schooled for such posts in military
13 units, whereas reserve officers are people who have other professions.
14 These people are usually people who have finished schools for reserve
15 officers. That's what such schools were called among civilians. In
16 peacetime, these people had other jobs. They weren't involved in the
17 military profession. That wasn't their job. But when there's an imminent
18 danger of war and in the course of war, these reserve officers are
19 mobilised and join units. They're assigned to units. That would be the
20 main difference between reserve officers and active-duty officers.
21 There are certainly other differences, too, but those are the main
23 Q. Was there a difference in how much they got paid and where they
24 got paid from?
25 A. Well, I know that there was a difference in the way they were
1 paid, a difference in the salaries of reserve officers and active-duty
2 officers. Active-duty officers received their monthly salaries from the
3 JNA budget. I think that their rights were regulated, their rights and
4 other status issued. They were regulated through the 30th personnel
5 centre which was located in Belgrade, whereas reserve officers received
6 salaries from funds that formed part of the budget of Republika Srpska.
7 That is what is most likely. That was one of the differences.
8 And then another difference was that, for example, in respect of
9 the same position, same rank, the income of a reserve officer and an
10 active-duty officer would differ, even though they held the same rank and
11 same position.
12 Q. All right. In July 1995, how many soldiers were in the military
13 police battalion -- platoon of the Bratunac Brigade?
14 A. In July, the military police battalion had 30 military policemen.
15 There were 3 squads and 1 platoon.
16 Q. Can you describe the command structure of the military police
18 A. Yes, I can. The military police platoon had three squads. In
19 each squad, there were nine policemen, plus the commander. Three squads
20 would form a platoon. Within the platoon, there was the commander of the
21 military police platoon and his deputy. This military police squad --
22 this military police platoon didn't have particular squads, for example,
23 for transport, traffic, et cetera. The structure was very simple. It was
24 the simplest structure that a military police platoon could have. And its
25 purpose was to carry out usual military police duties and fulfill the
1 needs of the brigade.
2 Q. Who was the commander of the military police platoon?
3 A. The commander of the military police platoon, that was Mirko
5 Q. What was his rank?
6 A. I think he did not hold a military rank. He was a former
7 active-duty policeman working in Tuzla. After the war broke out, he came
8 back to Bratunac where he had been born, and then he joined the police.
9 Q. Who was his immediate commander? Who was Mirko Jankovic's
10 immediate commander?
11 A. His immediate commander, meaning the one issuing orders to Mirko
12 Jankovic and the military police platoon was the brigade commander. In
13 this particular case, Mr. Blagojevic.
14 Q. Can you briefly describe what the normal duties of the military
15 police were engaged in before the attack on the enclave on July 6th, 1995.
16 A. Yes, I can. Mainly, the military police platoon was carrying out
17 tasks within the purview of all the usual military and police tasks. This
18 entailed duties on the bridge over the Drina River, providing security for
19 the gate at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters. They also had tasks at the
20 Zuti Most yellow bridge checkpoint, and most of the time they would bring
21 in military conscripts who went absent without official leave from their
22 units, without authorisation from their commanders. They provide security
23 whenever necessary for the brigade commanders, commanders and officers --
24 other commanders and other officers as necessary.
25 Q. Can you describe where the checkpoint of yellow bridge or Zuti
1 Most is for the Chamber.
2 A. Certainly, the yellow bridge checkpoint straddles the road between
3 Bratunac towards Srebrenica. The distance may be, roughly speaking, 3 or
4 3 and a half kilometres from the centre of the town of Bratunac in the
5 direction of Potocari.
6 Q. All right. Going back to Mr. Trisic, can you describe his
7 position and what his general duties were.
8 A. Mr. -- That is Major Trisic was assistant commander for
9 logistics. Mainly and briefly, his task was to look after the brigade's
10 logistics, to provide everything that the brigade needs, to provide all
11 the logistic support and the supplies needed. First and foremost, the
12 materiel and technical equipment, and then all the rest.
13 Q. Okay. Let's now go to your position, as you've described, as the
14 chief of intelligence and security for the brigade. Is that a combined
15 position, as it sounds, intelligence and security?
16 A. Yes, yes.
17 Q. In other brigades, is this position always combined like this?
18 A. As far as I know, it was the same thing in all the Light Infantry
19 brigades. Infantry brigades, on the other hand, were different. In all
20 infantry brigades, these two were separate positions or duties, whereas in
21 light infantry brigades, the intelligence and security affairs were joined
22 and this duty would usually be carried out by a single person, official.
23 Q. Now, in the Drina Corps, the organisation above the brigades, how
24 were intelligence and security organised? Just briefly, were they
25 combined or separate?
1 A. The Drina Corps as such had a department for intelligence and
2 security. As far as I know, the Drina Corps kept those two positions
3 separate. They had on the one hand chief of intelligence and on the other
4 hand the chief of security. However, as far as I know - I'm not sure
5 about this, however - the commander, or rather the chief of the
6 intelligence department was also the chief of security, and that was
7 Vujadin Popovic.
8 Q. Sorry, I've --
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me, I hit the wrong button.
10 Q. So who was the chief of intelligence of the Drina Corps?
11 A. The chief of intelligence of the Drina Corps was
12 Lieutenant-colonel Vujadin Popovic.
13 Q. Was that chief of intelligence or security, Popovic?
14 A. He was the chief of security in the Drina Corps.
15 Q. Who was the chief of intelligence in the Drina Corps?
16 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric.
17 Q. Briefly go back, you described that there is a combination of
18 intelligence and security in light infantry brigades. What other basic
19 differences are there between a light infantry brigade and a regular
20 infantry brigade?
21 A. Well, in addition to the number of units and their size, and what
22 I've spoken about in relation to security and intelligence, I think the
23 internal organisation of these different brigades were alike. I know
24 about my own sector. I know that the infantry brigades were keeping those
25 positions separate, as far as my sector is concerned. And I know that
1 this particular position was a concurrent position in a light infantry
2 brigade. I never studied in depth the structure of the infantry brigade,
3 but this is one difference that I am aware of.
4 Q. Can you describe for us your duties, especially in 1995, prior to
5 the attack on the Srebrenica enclave. What were your duties, and let's
6 first concentrate on intelligence. And then I'll ask you about security,
7 and you can tell us how they interacted.
8 A. How they interacted, do you mean the intelligence part of my
9 operations and the security part of my operations?
10 Q. Yes, first tell us what you as an intelligence officer did, what
11 was your basic job.
12 A. My fundamental tasks as concerned intelligence activities were
13 mostly related to gathering, monitoring, and processing information,
14 operative information, on the enemy. Monitoring all the activities,
15 assessing the strength, equipment, and weapons at the enemy's disposal,
16 analysing their movements and their intentions. Everything that concerned
17 the enemy. In this case, in 1995, the enemy we were talking about were
18 the Muslim forces.
19 As for security-related issues, mostly it was about planning and
20 proposing security measures in order to protect our own forces, our own
21 units, to protect our weapons, our equipment, and everything else that
22 could have been attacked by the enemy as part of a military operation or
23 outside any operations. To put it simply, those were intelligence and
24 security tasks.
25 Q. And who did you -- who was your immediate supervisor? Who did you
1 report to as the chief of intelligence and security?
2 A. The immediate supervisor, my immediate supervisor would have been
3 the brigade commander, and my superior, my direct superior was the brigade
5 Q. And in July of 1995, that was Mr. Blagojevic?
6 A. Yes, Colonel Blagojevic was at that time the brigade commander, my
7 superior, as well as the superior commander of all the other assistant
9 Q. What was your relationship and your duties in relation to the
10 military police platoon?
11 A. As for the military police platoon, I was in charge of expert
12 coordination of the military police platoon. This means that I was
13 responsible for the combat readiness of that particular unit and for
14 training the unit of the military police platoon, training them to carry
15 out military police tasks and any other tasks.
16 Q. Did you have -- was it your job to propose uses of the military
18 A. Yes. As for that aspect, my task was to propose to the commander
19 the most economical way to use the military police in carrying out
20 missions, missions potentially defined by the commander himself.
21 Q. If the commander accepts your proposal for the use of the military
22 police, what would your duties be in a normal situation to see that that
23 proposal was carried out?
24 A. If the commander accepts my proposal concerning the carrying out
25 of a mission, then I would make an assessment, I would instruct the
1 military police commander if I deemed it necessary. If the tasks were of
2 a more general police, military nature, I would just inform the military
3 police platoon commander about the task. If this task was given at a
4 meeting or at a briefing where commanders were present, and the commander
5 of the military police platoon was not, I would just convey this order to
6 him, this task. I would monitor their effort, and I would make sure that
7 it was carried out as ordered by the brigade commander.
8 Q. Can you give us some examples of how practically this worked in
9 the everyday workings prior to the Srebrenica event.
10 A. Well, for instance, here's an example: Bringing in military
11 conscripts who went absent without leave from their units. This is how it
12 worked. Battalion commanders would report those missing without
13 authorisation from their units. A list would be drawn up and forwarded to
14 the commander of the military police platoon. Depending on how many
15 people were missing from the unit or from the units, then there would be a
16 briefing with the commander present.
17 As this was a day-to-day task, I would make a proposal as to what
18 to do. And I would forward this proposal to the commander, I would
19 propose how many military policemen I thought were needed to carry out
20 this task. The commander would then accept my proposal, or propose other
21 measures himself, something that he thought was priority, a priority task.
22 He'd listen to my proposal and the proposals of other assistant commanders
23 concerning other issues following which he would make decisions and define
24 tasks. More specifically, the tasks to be carried out by the military
25 policemen. I would convey this defined task to the commander unless he
1 was already present at the briefing. And then accordingly, that is, in
2 keeping with the orders given by the commander, we would try hard to carry
3 out this order in a timely fashion and exactly as ordered.
4 Whatever aspects were not clear, professionally speaking, it was
5 up to me to explain everything to the commander of the military police, to
6 instruct him how to go about this particular task.
7 Q. What kind of discretion and trust did your commander have in you
8 to do these duties in 1995?
9 A. Well, my commander should speak about this. But in view of the
10 relationships then in town, I think there was a sufficient measure of
11 trust as concerns my own responsibilities.
12 Q. Did he ever relinquish his power of command of the military police
13 over to you?
14 A. No.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, it may be time for a break.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes. And we started late this morning for 30 minutes
17 because of the technical problems. But since we have a large presence in
18 this room, that is more than 25 people, I have been asked to guarantee
19 that the break will be 30 minutes. So we'll resume at quarter past 11.00.
20 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Do you know when we will finish, the regular time,
22 or will we go a little longer to make up for it? Just for planning
24 JUDGE LIU: I'm not sure. I have to consult with the Registrar
25 about it.
1 So the hearing is adjourned.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.50 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.15 a.m.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, during the break, I had an opportunity to
5 consult with Madam Registrar, and she is kind enough to allow us to sit
6 30 minutes more, which means that we'll break at 2.15 to make up the
7 30 minutes we lost at the beginning.
8 Yes, Mr. McCloskey, you may proceed.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY:
10 Q. Mr. Nikolic, referring to your intelligence duties, as you have
11 briefly described them, who did you report to regarding intelligence
12 information and duties? Who was your immediate supervisor for
14 A. My immediate superior for this in Bratunac Brigade and for other
15 tasks was the brigade commander.
16 Q. Now, I'd like you to look on the screen if you could to what is
17 the Prosecutor's Exhibit 84B. That's the B/C/S. And I don't want to go
18 into the detail of this, but this is from a book dated from 1984 --
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, would you please wait a minute.
20 We have some problems here.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sorry, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE LIU: I'm sorry about that.
23 Mr. McCloskey, you may start.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE LIU: But we also have a problem with this document because
1 it's not that clear on the screen. Do you have some hard copies?
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, we do, Mr. President. I've got three
3 screens, and it's a different clarity on each one. So we've asked them to
4 have the ELMO ready in this event, so we can do that.
5 Q. Mr. Nikolic, can you -- if you could take a look at this first
6 page. I don't know if your screen is readable, but the document next to
7 you certainly is readable.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may object to it --
9 A. Yes, I can.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: If Mr. McCloskey could just properly introduce the
12 document, identify it for the record, that it has been marked for
13 identification, and just do it in a proper fashion as opposed to launching
14 right in and asking the witness to identify it.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, that may be a good idea. Mr. McCloskey, would
16 you please make some foundations for this document.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, as I referred to before the break, this is a
18 B/C/S document, Prosecutor's 84B. And if the witness could look at this
19 document and identify it for us if he can.
20 In fact, we have the complete document which has been provided to
21 everyone, and that may be easier for him as opposed to a page inside the
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may be of some assistance here,
24 and I don't wish to interrupt the Prosecutor. However, this is one page
25 from a particular document. If you could just identify the document
1 itself, the entire document, introduce the document perhaps, and then get
2 to the page itself because having one page out of a text which is where
3 this comes from makes it very difficult for the rest of the text to come
4 in at this point in time, which is necessary under the rule of
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, that's what we're doing, I think.
7 I have now asked Mr. Nikolic to look at the complete document, which is
8 B/C/S 84B. He now has that in front of him. And it's because we don't
9 have enough screens, I can tell the Court of this document in English is
10 "Rules of service of security organs in the armed forces of the Socialist
11 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia," dated 1984. And we will have an
12 English version of that also marked as 84A.
13 Q. Mr. Nikolic, does this -- does this document, is it all familiar
14 to you? Can you identify what it is?
15 A. This document I have in front of me is an instruction concerning
16 the methods and -- used in the work of the security organs of the
17 Yugoslav People's Army.
18 Q. Does that -- did that book have any relevance to you in your work
19 as a VRS officer throughout the wartime period?
20 A. Yes. For the most part, as concerns the rules and this document,
21 I used this book of rules and this particular rule in my work, in
22 exercising my duty.
23 Q. Did you use any other manual for -- of rules related to your
24 security work?
25 A. In connection with my duties as a security officer, I mostly used
1 these instructions concerning the work of the JNA, and I had no other
2 instructions or documents. I did occasionally use another set of
3 instructions, but this was related not to security affairs, but rather
4 intelligence affairs.
5 Q. Can you tell us what instructions you used for intelligence
6 affairs, if you could name the book and the date, if you know it.
7 A. For intelligence affairs, I used a manual entitled "Intelligence
8 Security for Combat Operations," which was published in 1987. This is a
9 manual that I used when I worked for the Territorial Defence staff, and
10 also after that I was using the same manual when I worked for the brigade.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may interrupt here again.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: I notice that the witness is looking down. I don't
14 know if he's looking at any prepared notes that he has. I noticed that
15 when he did walk in he came in with some notes in his hand. I would ask
16 that he not refer to any notes unless he needs to refresh his
17 recollection. So I don't know, and I'm not suggesting that he is looking,
18 but I've noticed it. I am concerned. I would like to make sure that he's
19 testifying independently from his memory. Thank you.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, do you know about this matter?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm a little closer than Mr. Karnavas, and he's
22 looking at the document I gave him. But he does have a stack of material
23 in front of him, and he has never made a reference to it. But as a
24 witness, I don't see any problem of him referring to something as long as
25 he tells us what it is and he gives people a chance to look at it. I
1 don't know what his plans are, Your Honour, regarding that.
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Nikolic, do you have any notes at your
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have here in front
5 of me my own notes. You can have a look if like, but they are not at all
6 related to this specific question. There is nothing here related to the
7 question Mr. McCloskey asked. These notes are merely to refresh my
8 memory. I used these notes when preparing my testimony as concerns this
9 document. You can have a look if you like, and there is nothing in it
10 about the document I have been speaking about. And if I may please
11 explain something in relation to this document, to this rule --
12 JUDGE LIU: Let me ask you a question: You mean that you prepared
13 this document yourself, rather than furnished by others. Am I correct?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand your question, but
15 which document exactly do you mean?
16 JUDGE LIU: I mean the note you have in your hands.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, the notes. I prepared
18 them on my own, and I was not receiving anyone else's instructions. I
19 prepared this document in my own room, in my own cell at the Detention
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. If the gentleman going to
23 be referring to his notes, even though they are his notes, he's making
24 reference to something that is not part of the record, I would ask that we
25 be provided with a copy of his notes. I'm sure he would not object since
1 obviously he's here to tell the truth and what is contained on the notes
2 should be nothing but the truth.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes, I agree with you.
4 Mr. Nikolic, would you please give your notes to the Madam
5 Registrar and ask --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course.
7 JUDGE LIU: -- And pass them to the Defence.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: There has been no reference made to these notes in
11 Court today. And as his private notes, until that happened, I don't see
12 the relevance of that. I have no idea what's in them, except they are his
13 private notes. Now, if they were made at the time of the events or
14 something like that, I can see their relevance. But preparing -- notes
15 that witness's prepare themselves for evidence, unless they are referred
16 to in some way, they really should not be part of the record.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, you know, I think you would like
18 to have the testimony of this witness established on a sound basis so that
19 it is the job of this Bench to ensure that there's nothing irregular. The
20 purpose to let Defence counsel have a look of these notes is to erase
21 their suspicions on this matter. Nothing else.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm not sure we'll ever erase their suspicions,
23 Your Honour, but I understand your ruling. Thank you.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right, if we're ready to go.
1 Q. Mr. Nikolic, let's -- can you tell us a bit more about this rules
2 of service. It's dated 1984. What was it originally designed for, as far
3 as you know?
4 A. Mostly all the rules, including those concerning security organs,
5 were meant to govern the work and the proper functioning, as well as the
6 carrying out of tasks from the security and intelligence areas. The aim
7 was to define the relationships within certain commands and certain units
8 belonging to certain institutions, to define methods and means used by a
9 security organ in its work.
10 Q. For what institution was this book designed? What military
12 A. This book was for military units, for military commands,
13 institutions, initially for the staffs. Then for the brigade commands,
14 corps commands, and even superior units and commands.
15 Q. For which country?
16 A. The former Yugoslavia, of course.
17 Q. Now, we know that in 1995, it was the entity or country of
18 Republika Srpska. Did the army of the Republika Srpska have its own
19 manuals for security and intelligence?
20 A. As far as I know, the army of Republika Srpska did not publish any
21 particular sets of instructions, rules. And I know, I am speaking from
22 experience, that I myself used rules that had been used previously in the
23 Yugoslav People's Army. Maybe there were some other sets of rules, but I
24 was not using any other sets of rules. However, I cannot rule out the
1 Q. All right. Now, I want you to explain for us, if you could, how
2 your reporting procedures worked, both for intelligence and security. How
3 would you communicate information to your command, first of all, and how
4 would you communicate information to superior commands?
5 A. As for conveying intelligence information to my command, mostly
6 this was done directly by speaking to them. And as a rule, this was done
7 orally. All the intelligence gathered by using a variety of methods used
8 in gathering information was conveyed to the command and the commander
9 personally at meetings or outside meetings, depending on the grade of
10 urgency pertaining to a particular piece of information. You sent written
11 reports to a superior command, and a superior command would be informed in
12 writing about the intelligence gathered. This was the usual method.
13 Q. When you communicated by writing to a superior command, what
14 superior command are you talking about?
15 A. I am talking about the Drina Corps command, the department for
16 intelligence and security.
17 Q. And did you normally communicate to the Drina Corps command about
18 intelligence, or how did that work?
19 A. This worked very much in keeping with the relevant norms on a
20 regular basis and whenever this was needed.
21 Q. These written documents to the Drina Corps, reports on
22 intelligence, can you describe to us whose offices they went through, if
23 any, before going to the corps. How they were transported, who got to see
25 A. I'll answer your first question first. Those were written
1 reports. Before they were forwarded to the Drina Corps command as
2 reports, the command and the brigade commander were familiarised with the
3 content of these reports. After that, I was the one who wrote those
4 reports. They went to the communications centre, and then they would be
5 coded at the communications centre, and they were sent off to the corps
6 commander, rather, the department for security and intelligence affairs of
7 the corps in a coded form.
8 Q. So after you actually wrote the report down, did your command or
9 anyone in the brigade look at it before you sent it off to intel and
10 security, normally?
11 A. This did happen occasionally. I can only tell you that this was
12 not the established practice, for every document to be looked at
13 physically. But the established practice was to have the report shown to
14 the commander and the brigade commander brigade commander and the brigade
15 command, or rather the officers for whom this would have been relevant.
16 This is in keeping with the rule governing intelligence work and security.
17 Q. So you're -- are you saying most of the time, the actual report,
18 written report, did not go to your commander?
19 A. The written report would normally not go to the brigade command.
20 Q. But would you discuss -- generally discuss the contents of such
21 reports prior to that report being sent?
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. I know it doesn't sound
24 it, but there's a leading nature to all of these questions, especially any
25 question that begins with the word "so." It's a common knowledge that
1 it's either a conclusiory [sic] or leading nature.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I object to these talking
3 objections. This is the necessary argument.
4 JUDGE LIU: Mr. McCloskey, you have to be patient. Let Mr.
5 Karnavas finish.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: What I am suggesting here is that the Prosecutor
7 here, who has over twenty years of experience, should be asking
8 non-leading questions on direct examination. This is a critical witness.
9 We are not into a crime-based witness, so I would please ask that he ask
10 non-leading questions, who, what, why, where, how, and explain, and I
11 think we'll get along just fine.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, in this matter, I'm afraid I
13 cannot agree with you. I checked all the questions starting with "so,"
14 and I don't see any leading natures.
15 You may proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. Mr. Nikolic, we were trying to clarify whether or not it was the
18 normal practice that you verbally informed your commander of the
19 intelligence information, and then would send the written report without
20 him reviewing it. Is that basically what you have been saying?
21 A. Yes, precisely so.
22 Q. Now, let's talk about intelligence information that you receive.
23 Can you describe for us how you receive information from within your
24 brigade, where you normally get it from and...
25 A. Intelligence within the brigade would mostly come from subordinate
1 units, from battalions, through battalion assistant commanders for
2 security and intelligence.
3 Q. Now, for security information and reports, is the process any
4 different? If so, can you explain it.
5 A. Could you please repeat the question. I'm not quite sure which
6 reports you are referring to.
7 Q. Yes, I will. And I apologise.
8 When you -- can you describe to us the process by which you go
9 through when you send a written security report to the intelligence and
10 security unit of the corps. Is it any different than you've described for
12 A. The procedure is identical. It's quite the same.
13 Q. When you receive -- do you occasionally receive security
14 information from the corps?
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 Q. And can you describe how that normally works, how the information
17 comes in, where it comes in.
18 A. If it concerns data information from a subordinate command, from
19 the superior command, it came through the communications centre. It was
20 coded. All documents on the whole would then be forwarded to the command.
21 They would be placed on his desk. The commander would then familiarise
22 himself with the documents that had arrived. He would direct the document
23 to the addressee, the logistics organ, the personnel organ, the security
24 organ, for example. Each assistant had his own number, Mil 1, Mil 2, 3,
25 4, 5, et cetera. Afterwards, it would go to an office where those
1 documents were kept. And the clerk employed in that office gave those
2 documents to the officers who were concerned by those documents, and the
3 book would be personally signed. That was the usual procedure. Those
4 were the rules that were followed when receiving posts and all documents
5 in the brigade command.
6 Q. Were there any special procedures for security information?
7 A. No, the procedure is the same.
8 Q. Did the security branch from the corps have the right to send
9 sealed information to the security officer, to the brigade, without the
10 brigade commander seeing it?
11 A. As far as I know, yes, such a right did exist.
12 Q. And why was that, as far as you know?
13 A. But I think that this was the exception rather than the rule.
14 Sealed documents, information requests under seal addressed to the chief
15 of security, well, this would happen only in cases when the request was
16 addressed to the security organ and concerned, let's say, one of the
17 officers from the Bratunac Brigade command, or perhaps if it concerned the
18 commander of the unit who was suspected of having committed a crime.
19 Q. Did the security officer of the brigade have the power to
20 investigate his commander, if so ordered from above?
21 A. Yes, he did. He had the power to carry out investigations and
22 inform the superior command and the corps commander about this.
23 Q. For information coming from the corps regarding intelligence, did
24 the same procedures apply? Did the corps intelligence branch have the
25 authority to send you sealed documents that your commander could not see?
1 A. No. All intelligence was sent openly. It wasn't under seal. I
2 never received intelligence that was under seal.
3 Q. And from July 1995 through November 1995, do you recall receiving
4 any sealed information from the corps or the main staff, security
6 A. No. I never received such information from the security organ or
7 from the main staff. I never received such information that was under
9 Q. Are you aware of any other sort of special differences or
10 privileges that security officers, that you yourself as a brigade chief of
11 security, had aside from this ability to receive sealed mail?
12 A. I didn't have privileges of any kind, none at all, not with regard
13 to any matters.
14 Q. Perhaps "privileges" is the wrong word. Were there any procedures
15 that you didn't have to go through that other officers might have to go
16 through, in transportation or reporting to a military post or anything
17 like that?
18 A. Yes, the security organs had the privilege of not having to be
19 disarmed and detained in front of gates. It was sufficient for us to
20 present ourselves, to show our papers. That's the only privilege I'm
21 aware of.
22 Q. Now, in the Bratunac Brigade prior to the attack on the enclave on
23 6 July, 1995, was there any effort to begin an intelligence branch in the
24 Bratunac Brigade, a separate intelligence branch as functioned in a normal
25 brigade, as opposed to a light infantry brigade?
1 A. If you're thinking about a separation of functions, if that's what
2 you're referring to, in that case, my answer is yes.
3 Q. Okay. Can you explain that.
4 A. Yes, I can. Sometime around April -- I'm not sure about this, but
5 I think that the establishment, the brigade's establishment, was modified.
6 And according to the new establishment, there was a post for the chief for
7 intelligence. And at that point, there was a separation made -- a
8 separation of duties. There was a chief of security and a chief of
9 intelligence in the Bratunac Brigade. That was around the beginning of
10 April, the 3rd or the 4th, in the year 1995. Dragisa Jovanovic was
11 appointed as the assistant of the chief of staff for intelligence. And
12 I'd just like to point out that Dragisa Jovanovic, up until the time he
13 had been appointed to that post, was an officer for intelligence in the
14 security and intelligence organ of the Bratunac Brigade. And that is, in
15 fact, what was done in that respect.
16 Q. Now, was that creation actually carried out?
17 A. In theory, yes. In terms of administrative procedure, yes, it was
18 carried out.
19 Q. What happened in practice, on the practical level?
20 A. Well, in practice, because of a number of circumstances that
21 prevailed during that period, nothing of importance changed as far as the
22 functioning of this organ is concerned. I remained the chief of that
23 organ. All reports continued to be forwarded through me. Orders and
24 information from the superior commander continued to be addressed to me.
25 So in principle, nothing really changed.
1 Q. Why?
2 A. Because Mr. Dragisa Jovanovic was absent at that time. He went to
3 Trnovo. And he wasn't an educated man. He hadn't been trained to perform
4 such duties on an independent basis. And if we're talking about that
5 critical period, he wasn't prepared, and he was physically absent from the
7 Q. When you say "critical period," you mean from the time of the
8 attack on the enclave until after, let's say, July 20th? What do you
9 refer as you say, "the critical period"?
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Again, Your Honour, it's a minor point. But
12 there's a way of asking the question in a non-leading fashion. What do
13 you mean by critical point. He can explain. But by asking him and then
14 giving him the answer, the suggested answer, is a leading manner --
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I agree, and I cleaned it up at the
16 end. This is silliness.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, I don't want the Counsels to
18 argue with each other directly.
19 Well, in this matter, I agree with Mr. Karnavas. You have to
20 rephrase your question.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY:
22 Q. What's the critical point? What are the critical days?
23 A. From about the beginning of the attack on the Srebrenica enclave,
24 up until the 20th or the 22nd or the 23rd of July, 1995. Perhaps the
25 period was a little longer. I really don't know exactly, but on the whole
1 that would be the period concerned.
2 Q. Do you know roughly when Mr. Jovanovic was able to go to the
3 intelligence school to be trained?
4 A. I really don't know when he went to the school. I know that he
5 was sent to Banja Luka. But as to the date, I really don't know.
6 Q. When, if ever, did the separate intelligence organ get off its
7 feet and actually start working?
8 A. Well, I can't answer this question precisely as to when the
9 intelligence organ came to life. He was appointed. He was trained. So
10 in principle, the answer could be yes, because in practical and in
11 theoretical terms it did exist as an organ. But there are always
12 obstacles for it to function within the context of the chief of staff.
13 Q. Did it get functioning sometime after the fall of the enclave?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you just give us a rough estimate of, you know, how many
16 months, weeks, days, whatever?
17 A. Well, let's say after return from Banja Luka, it was possible for
18 something to be done independently, perhaps 15 or 20 days later. But I
19 helped him with regard to this matter. And in fact, I continued
20 performing such duties. I provided him with professional assistance,
21 instructions. But he had to accept the decision because it was a
22 definitive decision.
23 Q. All right. Now, let's go to the period of late 1994, early 1995.
24 Can you describe the situation regarding the Srebrenica enclave. And I'll
25 ask some particular questions.
1 First, was the enclave demilitarised from the Muslim army?
2 A. I sent reports, and that was the assessment of the representative
3 of the Serbian army. The assessment was that the demilitarisation in the
4 Srebrenica enclave was not complete, and that was the assessment that was
5 made at all levels.
6 Q. Okay. Let me broaden my time frame to include all of 1995 up
7 until the fall of the enclave. Can you describe what kind of Muslim
8 military activities were carried out from within inside the enclave
9 against Serb forces or civilians.
10 A. After Srebrenica had proclaimed to be a UN safe haven, and up
11 until its fall, on the whole, ambushes were laid. There were attacks
12 against positions of the units of the army of Republika Srpska, which were
13 around the enclave. Sniper fire was opened at the positions of men
14 outside the enclave. Attacks were carried out against certain villages or
15 parts of villages that were on the border of the enclave. And other
16 provocations were carried out. There were armed provocations from the
17 enclave directed at the positions and units of the Bratunac Brigade and
18 other brigades that surrounded the enclave.
19 Q. And what were -- what military activities, if any, were conducted
20 by the VRS towards the inhabitants of the Srebrenica enclave in the time
21 period from the beginning of the enclave through the beginning of the
22 attack on Srebrenica?
23 A. After Srebrenica had been proclaimed a protected zone on the 18th
24 of April, 1994, the VRS units - I can talk about the units of the Bratunac
25 Brigade in particular - they also opened sniper fire from their positions.
1 They fired at members of the army and civilians in the enclave. And
2 during that period, the units of the Bratunac Brigade on two occasions
3 entered the demilitarised zone, and on one occasion, that was in the zone
4 of responsibility of the 1st infantry battalion, and on the second
5 occasion it was the responsibility of the 3rd infantry battalion.
6 Q. Did the brigade commander at the time, Ognjenovic, ever made a
7 policy statements regarding his intentions?
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: May I ask what the relevance is of all this. We
10 don't have Mr. Ognjenovic here on trial. This period is not in the period
11 of the indictment. So what the particular commander of the Bratunac
12 Brigade policy was at that particular time prior to Mr. Blagojevic taking
13 over the Bratunac Brigade, in my opinion, is not relevant.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, you have to lay some foundations
15 for this question. Try to establish the relevance.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY:
17 Q. Do you know, if you can answer briefly, how it happened that
18 Muslims from all over Eastern Bosnia ended up in the Srebrenica enclave in
19 July of 1995?
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: He needs to lay a foundation, and he can't do that
23 through this particular witness. The way the question is phrased, it's as
24 if somehow at the end of July or in July 1995, all of a sudden something
25 happened. Srebrenica was an ongoing event. We all know that. The whole
1 purpose of my objection was he's referring to a policy by a different
2 commander that has nothing to do with Colonel Blagojevic. And that's why
3 I objected on the grounds of relevancy. Now if Mr. McCloskey wishes to
4 give us a proffer as to why he believes this area is relevant, then
5 perhaps I might respond, and the Bench could make a ruling.
6 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, you know, sometimes things don't happen
7 at one time. There must be some process. I believe that Mr. McCloskey is
8 trying to start from the very beginning of the process. And I believe
9 that there is a consistent policy in that brigade, no matter who is the
10 commander of that unit. And this Bench is eager to hear all those
11 background informations before the enclave falls and before some incidents
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour. However, with all due
14 respect, and I say with this the utmost respect, as far as the continuity
15 and policy, as far as I'm aware of, we haven't heard any particular
16 evidence to lead me to believe there is a continuity in policy. Thank
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I believe that this is the
19 Prosecution's position and allegations. You may not agree with it, but
20 you have the full opportunity to challenge it during the
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, may I briefly explain the
25 foundational relevance of this question, just it may clear up things. I
1 can go on, but it may help.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I think this is the first question I asked you,
3 but you changed to another question.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: I misunderstood, Your Honours. I thought you
5 wanted me to go through the witness for that information.
6 As Your Honours are aware, the indictment outlines the events from
7 the outbreak of the war and the -- what we have referred to as the
8 cleansing of the Eastern Bosnia that resulted in many of the Muslims
9 living in the Srebrenica safe area. We have outlined the two, three
10 critical documents and actually placed them in the indictment that show
11 this. There are several excellent reports, UN reports, that we have
12 marked as exhibits that will outline this area. It's not an area I would
13 prefer to go into great detail with this witness. The most relevant
14 matter to this case is, as you're aware, the 1995 period, but a
15 fundamental understanding of those basic time frames and those basic
16 documents are important to understand what was going on when the enclave
17 was attacked and fell.
18 And so I -- my questions are relating to the 1994 period and the
19 policy of the Bratunac Brigade command at that time, and I will continue
20 if so allowed.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you may proceed.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY:
23 Q. Mr. Nikolic, were you aware of a particular policy or statement of
24 intent towards the enclave by the commander Ognjenovic in 1994?
25 A. Yes, Mr. McCloskey. I was aware of a report of Mr. Ognjenovic's
1 from 1994. And among other things, one of the positions it contained
2 concerned the Srebrenica enclave, or rather, the relation towards the
3 Srebrenica enclave.
4 Q. And what was the position professed?
5 A. In addition to a number of other issues included in this report,
6 the report also stated the following: All activities and measures should
7 be taken in regard of Srebrenica that would bring life in Srebrenica to a
8 boiling point for its civilian population with the final and ultimate aim
9 to get those people, the civilians, out of the enclave. This, of course,
10 is a paraphrase of the original wording of the statement.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: If I could ask the witness to look at Exhibit --
12 I'm sorry, I don't have an exhibit number yet, Mr. President. And we will
13 get back to that when we do.
14 Q. If you could take a look at the --
15 JUDGE LIU: Mr. McCloskey, I just want to ask whether everybody is
16 furnished with this document.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. Everyone has had this for a
18 very long time, and most recently it was given to everyone in a packet of
19 material in the last couple of days.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: This also is quoted in the indictment.
22 Q. Mr. Nikolic, this document dated 4 July, 1994, by Commander Slavko
23 Ognjenovic, does this appear to be the document you're talking about?
24 A. Yes, it does.
25 JUDGE LIU: Are there any entitles for this document? You may
1 read it so we could find it easily.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, Your Honour. "Report for the Brigade."
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY:
5 Q. If I could direct your attention to the end of what's marked as
6 paragraph 2, and is this the sentence you're referring to, and I'll quote:
7 "The enemy's life has to be made unbearable, and their temporary stay in
8 the enclave impossible so that they leave the enclave en masse as soon as
9 possible realising that they cannot survive there"?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Was this statement made in any other way than this -- than in this
12 particular document?
13 A. Well, you see, I'd just like to make a correction related to the
14 interpretation. This is a report meant to be looked at by brigade
15 members. This is a report for brigade members written and signed by the
16 then commander, Slavko Ognjenovic. I can only add that in this period of
17 time, in 1994, I had no occasion to see any similar written documents in
18 the Bratunac Brigade. Later, though, I did.
19 Q. Who was this document distributed to?
20 A. First of all, the Bratunac Brigade command was familiarised with
21 this report at a meeting, a briefing. Further, this report was forwarded
22 in its entirety to commanders of the subordinate units, battalion
23 commanders, whose duty was to inform their units, all the officers and
24 soldiers within their battalion, with the content of this report. As far
25 as I knew, this was done, carried out in full.
1 Q. When Mr. Blagojevic took over in the spring of 1995, did you see
2 anything -- did he do anything to change this practice or to enforce this
3 particular policy?
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may, I want to object on the
5 basis that no foundation has been laid with this particular witness. In
6 other words, first, does the witness know if Mr. Blagojevic was, in fact,
7 aware of this particular memorandum that was prepared by his predecessor?
8 Then, the following -- the question asked by Mr. McCloskey would be
9 proper. In other words, no foundation has been laid to ensure that this
10 particular witness knows that Mr. Blagojevic at the time they took command
11 over the Bratunac Brigade was aware of this particular policy. Thank you.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, you may ask the first question,
13 whether the witness knows or not if Mr. Blagojevic was aware of this
15 MR. McCLOSKEY:
16 Q. Do you know if Mr. Blagojevic was aware of this document or this
17 policy towards the enclave?
18 A. I really can't answer that question with any degree of accuracy.
19 If at that time he was chief of staff of the Bratunac Brigade, which right
20 now I cannot confirm because I simply don't know, then he must have been
21 informed. If at that time when Ognjenovic was there, he was not the chief
22 of staff, then I really can't say whether he knew about this or not.
23 Q. After he took over command, are you aware of any attacks on
24 civilians in the enclave prior to the 6 July attack?
25 A. I've already answered this when answering your previous question.
1 With regard to the entire period, as well as when Commander Blagojevic was
2 there, fire was being opened on the enclave, on the civilians there, on
3 the soldiers inside the enclave. This was a violation of the truce, and
4 the arrival of another commander changed nothing in this respect. This
5 was a permanent thing going on all the time. It was continuous.
6 Q. Can you describe what you mean in more detail what was continuous,
7 these attacks on civilians and soldiers. Just tell us what you mean in
9 A. As I was a communications officer, a liaison officer, I was in
10 direct contact with the UN battalion based in Potocari. I was in touch
11 with them constantly, talking to them and receiving their comments. They
12 said fire was most usually coming from the positions of the 2nd infantry
13 battalion and that they were firing at the people who lived just in front
14 of those same positions. There were objections that the same thing was
15 being done from the zone of responsibility of the 3rd infantry battalion,
16 firing against people who were mowing their lawns and going about their
17 daily business. I was always informed about these incidents. I was
18 always receiving warnings from members of the Dutch Battalion, DutchBat,
19 which spent most of the time in the enclave. I had personal knowledge
20 that measures had been taken against perpetrators. I personally insisted
21 that this be stopped, that we try to keep up the truce as it had been
22 agreed, and I was, to a degree, successful in this.
23 I can also tell you that following this report and in the period
24 after that, the brigade members were encouraged by this. They saw that
25 they could keep on opening fire at will and act in an irresponsible way in
1 relation to the enclave itself and its population.
2 Q. Was there anything done by the Bratunac Brigade command to reduce
3 the amount of international aid and convoys into the enclave?
4 A. Yes. As for convoys, I'll try to explain the situation. I was
5 personally responsible for checks at the yellow bridge. I was personally
6 responsible for everything concerning the entry of convoys, catering to
7 the needs of DutchBat and the Muslim population. I'm talking about
8 humanitarian aid convoys. I was responsible for everything to do with
9 international organisations present in Srebrenica.
10 As concerns the convoys, mostly during that period of time,
11 immediately before the attack on Srebrenica, convoys for the Dutch and for
12 the Muslim civilians coming in were prevented from entering. The Bratunac
13 Brigade had no authority to keep convoys out or let them in. All orders
14 that were issued in this respect went from the main staff through the
15 Drina Corps command, through the Bratunac Brigade, trickling down to us
16 eventually. We were the last to receive these orders, and we had the task
17 to stop certain convoys, to reduce the number of trucks in a convoy, or to
18 make certain requests regarding the humanitarian aid being shipped into
20 As for the Dutch Battalion, the situation was perfectly clear.
21 DutchBat was not allowed to have sufficient supplies of fuel, victuals, or
22 other staples that were necessary for the proper and normal functioning of
23 DutchBat. The final aim of these restrictions imposed against DutchBat
24 was for DutchBat not to be ready for combat, not to be ready for carrying
25 out their tasks within the enclave. This was the chief reason why no
1 supplies of fuel, victuals, clothes and other staples, and other things
2 were not allowed into the enclave. The rotation of certain units and
3 companies was not allowed either. All these restrictive measures had the
4 same aim as I just described.
5 Q. What was your opinion of the reason to restrict humanitarian aid
6 to the Muslim inhabitants of Srebrenica?
7 A. My personal opinion, and this was common knowledge, this was one
8 of the ways to make the Muslim population leave the enclave as soon as
9 possible. This was the final aim, the final objective, to make life
10 unbearable for the people in the enclave. To make it impossible for them
11 to live on, and as a consequence people would then eventually leave the
13 Q. When did you first become aware that there was a plan to attack
14 the Srebrenica enclave?
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, could we break here. I think
16 it's time.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you very much. Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LIU: And I hope during the break, during the afternoon, the
19 court manager in your team could work with Madam Registrar for the numbers
20 of certain documents so as to facilitate the proceedings.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, that's my fault. I think I hid it
22 from her by accident. But we'll sort that out.
23 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. We'll resume at 1.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
25 --- Upon resuming at 1.02 p.m.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Mr. Nikolic, when did you first become aware of the plan to attack
4 the Srebrenica enclave?
5 A. I first became aware of the plan in July, early July 1995.
6 Q. And how did you become aware of it?
7 A. The then corps commander, General Zivanovic told me. He was in
8 the Bratunac Brigade. This was no official meeting. We were sitting
9 outside the Bratunac Brigade headquarters. We were seated at a table.
10 And he spoke about the attack on the Srebrenica enclave. He also spoke
11 about the intentions of the army of Republika Srpska.
12 Q. And what did he say about the intentions?
13 A. He said that Srebrenica should be separated from Zepa, that an
14 attack on Srebrenica should be carried out, and that Srebrenica was to be
15 defeated militarily and cleansed from its Muslims.
16 Q. Was there anybody else with you and General Zivanovic when he was
17 talking about this?
18 A. I can only say that to the best of my recollection, with us at the
19 table was also Major Trisic, 2nd Lieutenant Micic, and some other
20 members of the brigade who just happened to be there.
21 Q. Was this a formal announcement or an informal -- how did this come
22 about that he just says this at a table outside the Bratunac Brigade?
23 A. Well, as I said, this was no official meeting. General Zivanovic,
24 who hailed from the area, from Bratunac, the village of Fakovici, that is
25 Ducici, he did not stay very often in the zone of responsibility of the
1 Bratunac Brigade.
2 Q. Can you again say the village that Zivanovic was from?
3 A. General Zivanovic hailed from a village, the village of Ducici. I
4 think this village is part of Srebrenica municipality, but I'm not
5 positive. Geographically speaking, it might be somewhere on the border.
6 However, the name of the village is Ducici.
7 Q. Did you become -- was there any official announcement of this
8 attack plan after Zivanovic told you informally?
9 A. I was not aware of any official announcement. I did not have an
10 opportunity to see any official announcement. Not in the sense that I had
11 insight into documents, the complete set of documents related to the
12 attack. However, in my position, I knew when preparations were underway
13 for the attack on Srebrenica.
14 Q. When did the brigade start making preparations for the attack?
15 A. Preparations began much earlier, much before the official date
16 when everything became obvious. In my estimate - this is a personal
17 assessment I'm giving you - the preparations began when the UNPROFOR
18 checkpoint in Zelani Jel was attacked and when this checkpoint was taken.
19 This is late May or early June. Intensive preparations began in late June
20 and early July.
21 Q. Again for the record, the village of Zelani Jadar is what you
23 A. Yes, that's what I said.
24 Q. Now, the attack itself, were Bratunac Brigade forces involved in
25 that attack?
1 A. Yes. The battalions, or rather members of the Bratunac Brigade
2 were involved in that attack.
3 Q. Can you briefly describe other units that you're aware of that
4 were involved in the attack.
5 A. To my knowledge, in addition to units of the Bratunac Brigade,
6 units from the Drina Corps were also involved in the attack on Srebrenica.
7 More specifically, a Zvornik Brigade unit usually referred to as the Drina
8 Wolves. For the most part, those were, conditionally speaking, combat
9 groups established in brigades that belonged to the Drina Corps.
10 Furthermore, some units of the main staff also took part.
11 Elements of the 65th Protection Regiment, part of the 10th Sabotage
12 Detachment of the main staff, and elements of police forces from the
13 special MUP brigade of Republika Srpska.
14 Q. During the time of the attack, were you aware of any targeting of
15 civilian objects in the enclave by the VRS?
16 A. What I can say is that I had no opportunity to see any plan of the
17 artillery attack, or rather artillery fire. But I do know that the town
18 of Srebrenica was the target of artillery fire, a target which I consider
19 to be a civilian target.
20 Q. In your interview earlier with Bruce Bursik, myself, you stated
21 that the school at Potocari and the March 11th factory were also civilian
22 targets. Do you stand by that today?
23 A. This information was not part of the intelligence that I had. In
24 my own assessment, at the time I classified them as civilian targets.
25 However, based on what I saw later, when I saw the Krivaja plan, I
1 realised that I had been wrong and those had been no civilian targets. I
2 believe I made a mistake there.
3 Q. And you're referring to the document entitled "the Krivaja 1995
4 attack plan" which was the Drina Corps plan of attack which will be the
5 subject of a later exhibit, Your Honour. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Aside from the shelling of Srebrenica town, were you aware of any
8 other targeting of civilians or civilian objects?
9 A. I know for sure that there was firing on, I believe, the 11th of
10 July, 1995, in the afternoon hours when word reached me that enemy forces
11 from the direction of Srebrenica were moving towards Potocari, and then on
12 to Bratunac. I know for a fact that civilians were being targeted,
13 civilians who were on the move, and those were certainly no military units
14 travelling down that road.
15 Concerning this same situation, following the fall of the
16 Srebrenica enclave, and military observers confirmed this information,
17 military observers present in Srebrenica at the time, they also told me
18 that on that same day, civilians had been targeted along the road.
19 Q. We need to go question, question, answer by question, answer.
21 A. Very well.
22 Q. Do you know what units targeted or shot at those civilians coming
23 up from Srebrenica towards Potocari?
24 A. It could have only been from the zone of responsibility of the
25 2nd infantry battalion. From the so-called cockade or star region.
1 Q. Is that battalion a battalion of the Bratunac Brigade?
2 A. Yes, that's the 2nd infantry battalion from the Bratunac Brigade.
3 Q. Do you know what sort of ammunition we're talking about?
4 A. At those positions, I think there was a B1 gun, or a Zis. I think
5 that's a 76 millimetre gun. I think that's a Z-i-s, a Zis. That would be
6 a 76 millimetre gun.
7 Q. Is that an artillery piece as opposed to a mortar, or is it a
8 mortar? Sorry, my knowledge doesn't go too much beyond that.
9 A. It's not a mortar. My knowledge of artillery pieces is also
10 limited, but no, it's not a mortar.
11 Q. During this period of 11 July, where did you spend your time on
12 the 11th of July?
13 A. I was in the zone of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade, or to
14 be more precise, I was in the command of the Bratunac Brigade.
15 Q. Can you tell us what senior officers, if any, had arrived to the
16 Bratunac Brigade either on or before the 11th of July?
17 A. As far as the presence of officers in the Bratunac Brigade is
18 concerned, I personally saw General Mladic from the main staff. I also
19 saw Colonel Jankovic, also from the main staff, Lieutenant-Colonel
20 Popovic, Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric from the Drina Corps command. I
21 saw -- I would see General Krstic who at the time was the chief of staff
22 of the Drina Corps. I would see General Zivanovic. And I also saw
23 commanders who were the commanders of these combat groups, Commander
24 Zekovic, chief of the 2nd Motorised Brigade. So I saw these officers.
25 Q. Did any particular -- any of these officers actually make their
1 base in the Bratunac Brigade offices that you were aware of?
2 A. Yes. From the main staff, the administration, Colonel Jankovic
3 found office space in that command.
4 Q. Now, you say Colonel Jankovic is from the main staff. Do you know
5 what unit or branch he was from, what his job was?
6 A. As far as I know, Colonel Jankovic was part of the intelligence
7 department. He was involved in the intelligence and security field. He
8 was part of the intelligence administration of the main staff.
9 Q. And where in particular did he set up his office?
10 A. He had an office -- you mean in Bratunac?
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. He had an office where my office was. That was in the building
13 where the command of the Bratunac Brigade had its offices.
14 Q. Do you recall what day he actually moved in?
15 A. I think it was the 8th of July, 1995.
16 Q. Did you notice any other main staff officers from the intelligence
17 and security section arrive in the Bratunac area prior to the fall of the
19 A. From the intelligence section, no, I didn't see anyone. I didn't
20 notice any other officers. But I heard that there was another officer who
21 was present there. But I personally did not see him.
22 Q. And who are you talking about?
23 A. I'm talking about Captain Pecanac. I know he's from the
24 intelligence sector, but I don't know what his post was in 1995.
25 Q. How about any officers from the security section of the main
1 staff? Did you see them in Bratunac before the fall on 11 July?
2 A. Not before the fall of the enclave. I didn't see anyone from the
3 main staff. I may have seen Colonel Beara, whom I know. I didn't see
4 him, but I heard he was present in Bratunac. A day -- on the day that the
5 enclave fell, or the day before, but I didn't see him. I heard he was
7 Q. What day did the enclave fall?
8 A. The enclave was taken over on the 11th. That's when it fell. And
9 the forces of the army of Republika Srpska took it.
10 Q. Who is Colonel Beara?
11 A. Colonel Beara is an officer from the main staff. He was the chief
12 of the security department in the main staff.
13 Q. Did you see any officers from the Ministry of the Interior combat
14 forces at around this time frame?
15 A. Yes, I did. Yes, I saw members of the special brigade from the
16 MUP, from the Ministry of the Interior, during that period. And if we're
17 talking about the period after the enclave fell, I saw the chief of the
18 centre of security, Colonel Vasic. The centre was the Zvornik centre.
19 Q. Let's start with the special police forces. What officer or
20 officers did you see from the special police forces in Bratunac?
21 A. I saw the deputy commander of the special MUP brigade of Republika
22 Srpska, Mr. Miso Goracanin.
23 Q. Again, just for the record, to get the pronunciation and the
24 spelling right, who was the commander again?
25 A. The commander of the special MUP brigade was Mr. Goran Saric, the
1 general, and the deputy commander of the special MUP brigade was Mr.
2 Ljubisa Borovcanin.
3 Q. So the person who you actually saw in Bratunac was the deputy
4 commander. Is that right?
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. So when did you the deputy commander in Bratunac?
7 A. I saw Mr. Ljubisa Borovcanin on the 11th of July, 1995, in the
9 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber what the minister of the
10 interior special police forces are, how they are different from the army
11 of the Republika Srpska combat forces?
12 A. Well, I'll first of all try to explain, or rather to tell you that
13 in terms of combat capacities, the structure, the organisation, I think
14 these units were very similar to the units of the Republika Srpska Army.
15 They're organised in the same way as the units of the Republika Srpska
16 Army, into platoons and companies. And instead of battalions, the special
17 MUP brigade had its detachments. There were a number of them. I don't
18 know how many of them they had, but they had a number of detachments
19 within that brigade. They had automatic and semiautomatic weapons, just
20 like the members of the Republika Srpska Army. They had armoured
21 mechanised vehicles, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, Pragas, and other
22 heavy weapons. So the special MUP brigade was a combat unit from the
23 Ministry of the Interior of Republika Srpska.
24 Q. This weapon, the Praga, will come up perhaps again. Can you
25 explain to us briefly what a Praga is.
1 A. It's a self-propelled device. I don't know what kind of weapon it
2 is exactly. I think it has a 12.7 millimetre machine-gun, perhaps guns of
3 other calibres, too. A Praga is a weapon that has guns that uses
4 ammunition of a large calibre.
5 Q. Were there other minister of interior forces that could be used as
6 combat forces in the area of Zvornik?
7 A. In the area of Zvornik?
8 Q. All throughout Bosnia actually, aside from the special police
9 forces, were there other Ministry of the Interior combat units?
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to object to the nature of
11 the question. He's talking about the entire country of Bosnia. I thought
12 we were discussing Srebrenica at this point.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey. Would you please focus your
14 question on certain areas. Or you may tell us the reason why you asked
15 that broad question.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. Your Honour, these fundamental structures
17 that I'm going through are applicable for the entire region of Bosnia.
18 And I was just trying to clarify the question for the witness so he
19 understood what I was getting at. And I'm not interested in these forces
20 working outside of the area we're concerned, so I don't intend to go into
21 that. I'll just ask him a few more questions on that point.
22 JUDGE LIU: Please concentrate on the area which is relevant to
23 this case.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Are you aware of police -- other police forces that were -- that
1 would be engaged in combat in the Zvornik/Bratunac area?
2 A. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that there were special-purposes police
3 units from the Ministry of the Interior that were involved.
4 Q. Can you describe what those forces are as opposed to the forces
5 under Borovcanin?
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: And I should tell the Court, there's a translation
7 issue with these forces. They both get translated as "special" in
8 English, but it's a different word in Bosnian. But I think it will be
9 made clear that we're talking about distinct forces.
10 Q. So could you explain the difference between the forces you just
11 mentioned and the forces under the command of Borovcanin?
12 A. The forces that were under the command of Ljubisa Borovcanin were
13 units of the special brigade. And the PUP units were units which were
14 formed at the level of a centre. And I know that the Zvornik centre had
15 such units that had been established. The main difference between the
16 special MUP brigade and the PUP units, the PJP units were mainly composed
17 of men from the territory where that unit was formed. Up to 80 or 90 per
18 cent of the men came from the territory where that unit was formed. So a
19 company was formed for the Bratunac area. For such a company from the
20 SJB, the public security station, you would appoint a commander, and it
21 would be brought up to strength with men on the whole who were from that
23 And as far as weapons are concerned, those units didn't possess
24 heavy weapons. They had infantry weapons, automatic, and semi-automatic
25 weapons. On the whole, they didn't have Pragas, they didn't have tanks,
1 and they didn't have other heavy weapons.
2 Q. When you met Mr. Borovcanin on the afternoon of the 11th of July,
3 can you tell us what occurred.
4 A. I met him in the afternoon. He was in the Zuti Most area. I was
5 called to come, summoned to the Zuti Most area, and Ljubisa Borovcanin
6 asked me to show him the military objectives, the fortified features and
7 the trenches in the area of the village of Budak and the village of Likavi
8 [phoen]. As an intelligence officer, it was my duty to know about these
9 things, and I showed these military objectives to Ljubisa Borovcanin. He
10 fired at these objectives from a T-55 tank in my presence.
11 Q. Could you tell what kind of forces he had with him at that time?
12 Numbers of people? Equipment?
13 A. On the whole, what I was able to see, the young members of that
14 special MUP brigade, he had automatic weapons, mostly automatic weapons, a
15 tank at Zuti Most when I was there. And I couldn't tell you what the
16 strength was exactly, the strength of the forces. Perhaps between 200,
17 250, maybe 300 men. I really couldn't say exactly.
18 Q. And how did you happen to meet with him that afternoon? Had you
19 received any prior information about his arrival in the area?
20 A. No. The first time I saw him and heard that he had come was when
21 I was summoned to the Zuti Most. I hadn't been informed that he was
22 coming on that day. I previously heard that he was supposed to come, but
23 I didn't know exactly on what date or at what time he was supposed to
25 Q. How did you hear that Borovcanin was supposed to come to the area?
1 A. Well, at that time, I had contact with the chief of the SJB from
2 Bratunac, Mr. Josipovic, and he told me that they were expecting parts of
3 the special brigade to arrive.
4 Q. And why were they arriving, as far as you know?
5 A. They came to help, to step up combat operations because as far as
6 I know, they were expecting the Muslim forces to put up fierce resistance.
7 And as far as I know, no one thought that the resistance would be so short
9 Q. What did you do after assisting Mr. Borovcanin and his forces?
10 A. After that, I returned to the Bratunac Brigade command.
11 Q. Do you know roughly what time you arrived there on the 11th?
12 A. I think it was about 1800 hours, but I really can't remember
13 exactly now. It was before night had come. It was about 1800 hours,
14 perhaps, 1830 hours. 1900 hours. I really don't know exactly. That's
15 when I returned to the brigade. Perhaps it was a little earlier. I'm not
17 Q. Were you aware of any meeting or meetings that occurred between
18 superior officers at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters in the evening
19 hours after you returned?
20 A. When I returned to the brigade command, all I knew was that a
21 meeting was supposed to be held in the Fontana Hotel in the evening.
22 Q. All right. Well, I will get to that meeting. But were you aware
23 of any meetings of VRS officers at the Bratunac Brigade headquarters on
24 the evening of the 11th or the evening of the 12th?
25 A. I'm in a little -- in a slight dilemma. I know that one of the
1 meetings was held in the evening. I'm not sure whether it was on the 11th
2 or on the 12th. And I can't answer your question precisely.
3 Q. All right. But tell us what you can remember. How do you know
4 there was a meeting?
5 A. I don't know whether it was on the 11th or 12th, but I know that a
6 meeting was held in the Bratunac Brigade command in the evening. And it
7 was attended by commanders of those combat groups, together with the chief
8 of staff, General Krstic, who was in charge of the operations. And I know
9 that that meeting was held in the office of Commander Blagojevic. But I
10 really don't know whether it was on the 11th or on the 12th. I'm not
12 Q. Do you know whether Commander Blagojevic was part of that meeting?
13 A. As far as I can remember, I think he was.
14 Q. When you say the commanders of the combat groups, is that the
15 groups that you've mentioned earlier that were involved in the attack on
16 the enclave?
17 A. Yes, yes. Colonel Andric, Vinko Pandurevic. From the 2nd
18 Romanija Brigade, I don't know what the officer's name was. But these
19 officers participated in the attack on Srebrenica and were in command of
20 those groups.
21 Q. So were you present at this meeting?
22 A. No, I wasn't present.
23 Q. Who did you hear about it from?
24 A. This is something that I saw. I saw the commanders who came to
25 the barracks. I saw them entering and leaving that office. And after
1 that meeting, I found out about certain things, so I was able to come to
2 the conclusion that it was a meeting.
3 Q. Okay. First of all, tell us who you found out information about
4 that meeting from.
5 A. You mean when the meeting in the Bratunac Brigade command would be
6 held? Is that what you're referring to?
7 Q. You just made reference that you had found out certain things
8 about that meeting, and I'm just asking you who you heard about the
9 meeting from.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, the witness said he saw those
11 participants coming in and out of the meeting. And then later on, he
12 found out about certain things. So he was able to come to the conclusion
13 there was a meeting. It's quite clear in the transcript.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Your Honour. I just was asking about
15 who he found those certain things from, is what I meant to ask.
16 Q. Do you recall?
17 A. Well, I didn't found out about it from anyone in particular. No
18 one told me that there was a meeting in the Bratunac Brigade. No one told
19 me about the people attending the people. Everything that I have said,
20 these are things that I saw because I was present in the Bratunac Brigade
21 command. And I saw all of this. But after that meeting, I heard
22 something that just confirmed the fact that this meeting had been held.
23 They discussed preparing forces for Zepa. Vinko Pandurevic objected to
24 this. It's quite natural that I was able to draw this conclusion. And
25 that is what I can remember as far as this meeting is concerned.
1 Q. Do you remember who told you the details about the meeting that
2 you just mentioned, about Mr. Pandurevic objecting to going to Zepa?
3 A. I think that afterwards, this was discussed in the brigade
4 command. And Colonel Blagojevic spoke about this, too, and about certain
5 other details from that meeting.
6 Q. Can you tell us what else you remember that Colonel Blagojevic
7 said about this meeting.
8 A. I think they discussed the fact that General Krstic was unhappy
9 about the action of Bratunac units, from the Bratunac Brigade. Something
10 like that. But they really didn't discuss any particular details. They
11 just mentioned what the forthcoming orders would be, and they discussed
12 the activities of the Bratunac Brigade units and how they should be
13 viewed. That's what I can remember.
14 Q. From your position, what was the role of General Zivanovic and the
15 role of General Krstic in the attack of the Srebrenica enclave?
16 A. In my view, General Zivanovic was officially the corps commander.
17 Yet again, General Krstic in my personal opinion was the man who really
18 ran the operation and called all the shots. That's my personal take on it
19 as far as those two generals are concerned.
20 Q. All right. Well, let's go back to where we know we are on 11
21 July. And you mentioned that you had found out about a meeting at the
22 Hotel Fontana. Can you tell us how you found out about that meeting.
23 A. When I returned from Zuti Most, Colonel Jankovic informed me that
24 on the 11th of July, there would be a meeting at the Fontana Hotel, a
25 meeting with General Mladic and representatives of DutchBat in attendance.
1 Q. And did you have any responsibilities relating to that, or were
2 you given any by anyone?
3 A. Yes. Colonel Jankovic told me that I should provide security --
4 that I should make sure an interpreter was present, and that I should
5 arrange security for the hotel during the meeting.
6 Q. And do you have any information whether or not your commander
7 Blagojevic was aware of the instructions that Jankovic had given you?
8 A. I didn't report this to Commander Blagojevic at the time, and I
9 really don't know whether he had information that this meeting would take
11 Q. And why didn't you inform your commander of your job to provide
12 security for the meeting at Fontana?
13 A. The reason was that there were certain tasks that were within the
14 purview of the intelligence and security organ. There would have been no
15 need to do that. Those were day-to-day tasks. There would have been no
16 need for me to run over to Commander Blagojevic and inform him about
17 everything single thing that I had to do. Those were my day-to-day tasks,
18 my regular tasks. I did not need to obtain special authorisation from
19 Commander Blagojevic in order to carry out those.
20 Q. What was a -- how was General Mladic and DutchBat a day-to-day
21 task? To an outsider, that seems like something that is not an everyday
22 occurrence. How was it that you viewed that as an everyday task?
23 A. You are right, counsel. This was no day-to-day task. If you had
24 the commander of the main staff present in the zone, that certainly would
25 have been no day-to-day task. But I knew my duties, what my duties would
1 be if he were present in Bratunac. I knew what to do in terms of securing
2 the building, the premises where he was to hold a meeting.
3 Q. So what did you do?
4 A. After I received my task, I made sure the interpreter, Petar
5 Uscumlic was at the hotel. I used my police contacts to bring him. 30
6 minutes later perhaps, I went to the Hotel Fontana myself, and I took all
7 the relevant measures, starting with physical security and ranging to
8 evacuating the hotel in order for the hotel to be prepared for that
9 meeting to take place.
10 Q. Did your work in this regard involve communicating with the
11 military police platoon of the Bratunac Brigade?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you explain when you first communicated with them and how that
15 A. Well, quite simply, I asked the military police commander, Mirko
16 Jankovic, to give me a sufficient number of men to provide security for
17 the Fontana Hotel, which he did.
18 Q. How many men did he give you?
19 A. I think there were five or six people for security. In addition
20 to those, I'm not counting in one department of the Bratunac Brigade
21 military police, that was always providing security. But that's escorting
22 General Mladic at the time.
23 Q. Did you need to get approval of your commander Blagojevic before
24 requesting troops from Mirko Jankovic?
25 A. That was not normal procedure. In order to carry out this police
1 task to provide security - personal security - for anyone in particular, I
2 would not have needed to ask for authorisation. This was an everyday
3 task. It was a very usual police task, usual for the police and for me as
4 the chief of security.
5 Q. All right. And can you describe the events as you brought the
6 interpreter to the meeting and what do you recall happening as people
8 A. Briefly, yes. Fontana Hotel was prepared for the meeting. It had
9 been evacuated and empty as a result. A room was envisaged to have the
10 meeting in, and we waited for General Mladic's arrival. At the hotel, he
11 would arrive with his colleagues and with representatives of DutchBat. At
12 first, we were standing near the entrance, Petar Uscumlic , the
13 interpreter, and myself. After a while, we were joined by Colonel
14 Jankovic. General Mladic arrived with the people escorting him. His
15 security entered the hall, and he followed. General Zivanovic was with
16 him. I welcomed him. So did Colonel Jankovic and Petar. We introduced
17 our interpreter to them, and the interpreter said his last name was
18 Uscumlic. General Zivanovic then started yelling and he threw the
19 interpreter out of the room.
20 Q. Was General Zivanovic or General Mladic that started yelling?
21 A. General Mladic. I apologise. Did I say Zivanovic? General
22 Mladic was the one who started yelling. The reason he had thrown the
23 interpreter out of the room is because he was convinced that the
24 interpreter was a Muslim. He proceeded to the room, the hall, where the
25 meeting was to be held. He was followed by people from DutchBat,
1 Mr. Karremans and his two colleagues, who were officers. Colonel Jankovic
2 took over the role of interpreter. He spoke some English. That proved a
3 failure. Then I was ordered. I was standing a stone's throw away from
4 that room. I was ordered to find someone else to interpret. Someone told
5 him it was Petar Uscumlic. And I went outside and brought Petar back into
6 the room, and that's when Petar became the interpreter. And he was to
7 serve as our interpreter for all the meetings that later took place at the
8 Fontana Hotel. This first meeting --
9 Q. Let me ask you, do you know where your commander Blagojevic was at
10 the time this first meeting was underway?
11 A. Really, I didn't see Colonel Blagojevic at the Bratunac Brigade
12 headquarters at that time, or rather I didn't go to his office, to the
13 section of the building where his office was. I can't tell you if he was
14 there. I assume he might have been at that time. But I really can't say.
15 I don't know whether he was or not.
16 Q. Was there any other representative of the Bratunac Brigade at that
17 first meeting besides yourself?
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection to the characterisation representative.
19 The gentleman has never indicated he was there representing the Bratunac
20 Brigade. He was ordered by the main staff to provide certain services
21 without the knowledge or the authorisation of his commander. So I object
22 strenuously to the word "representative."
23 JUDGE LIU: Mr. McCloskey, you may use other words. Maybe "were
24 there any other people from the brigade at that first meeting?"
25 MR. McCLOSKEY:
1 Q. Were there in other people from the Bratunac Brigade at that first
3 A. No, no, not to my knowledge. There was no one else there at that
4 first meeting.
5 Q. And why were you the only one there as far as you know?
6 A. I was at the meeting as the chief of the security and intelligence
7 organ which had the role that I have already explained, to do with
8 preparations providing security for the commander of the main staff and
9 all the other persons attending the meeting. As for the participation of
10 DutchBat, I was also the liaison officer for the needs of the Bratunac
12 Q. Were you there under your normal military -- performing your
13 normal military duties as the chief of security and intelligence for the
14 Bratunac Brigade?
15 A. Yes, precisely.
16 Q. And under whose authority are you acting when you're performing
17 your normal duties under the -- as the chief of security and intelligence
18 of the Bratunac Brigade?
19 A. Well, as always under the authority of the unit commander, which
20 is only logical. I never do anything on my own behalf. I do what I'm
21 supposed to do as part of my remit.
22 Q. Then did Colonel Jankovic's instructions to you appear in any way
23 to be part of some secret that was being kept from the command of the
24 Bratunac Brigade? Was there anything secret that was being kept from the
25 Bratunac Brigade that occurred at the Hotel Fontana as far as you know?
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to object to this line of questioning.
3 First of all, it's a mischaracterisation. The objection that was raised
4 has nothing to do with secrecy. It has to do whether he was there as an
5 official representative of the Bratunac Brigade. He has indicated that he
6 never went to Colonel Blagojevic's commander after receiving the order
7 from Colonel Jankovic because he wasn't there, that is, Colonel Blagojevic
8 wasn't there. So now the Prosecutor wishes to inject the word
9 "secrecy" as if there was some sort of secret operation. I think he can
10 rephrase the question. But as it's phrased, I believe it's misleading,
11 it's a mischaracterisation, and I believe it's prejudicial in the way it's
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, maybe you can put your question
14 in some other way.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm just looking for
16 the jury. I don't see one.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to object to this kind of
18 behaviour. These are theatrics, and he's behaving like a drama queen.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY:
20 Q. Mr. Nikolic, can you tell us -- were you able to see the video in
21 the Prosecution's possession of the first meeting at the Hotel Fontana?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And you cannot be seen on that video, can you?
24 A. [No Interpretation].
25 Q. Can you tell us where you were during that first meeting?
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, we lost the answer of the witness
2 in the transcript. You asked, "you can't be seen on that video, can you?"
3 Then we missed. Could you please repeat your question.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY:
5 Q. Can you be seen on the video of that first meeting of the -- at
6 the Hotel Fontana?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Can you tell us where you were during the first meeting?
9 A. Yes, I can. I was not in the room where the commander General
10 Ratko Mladic and representatives of DutchBat alongside with the
11 interpreter Uscumlic, Petar were. I was outside the room standing at a
12 distance of between 3 and 5 metres from the scene actually being recorded.
13 Q. Why were you out in the wings like that?
14 A. Because I was doing my job. In my capacity as chief of security,
15 in such circumstances, I chose my own spot where I thought I should stand,
16 where I should position myself. In the room or outside or anywhere else
17 where the meeting was being held for that matter. I could see everything
18 that was going on and everything that was being said from where I decided
19 to position myself.
20 Q. And could you give us, briefly, just your impressions of what went
21 on at that first meeting.
22 A. Yes. First of all, my impression, my assessment is that this was
23 no meeting at all. All those who were present were standing. General
24 Mladic was the only speaker. He was trying to intimidate the DutchBat
25 commander and his officers. He was threatening them. And he was acting
1 violently. He dictated his terms, told them what he wanted to say. The
2 tone was that of an order, and no one except Mladic said anything at that
3 meeting. He asked the questions and provided the answers. This was all
4 finished in no time at all.
5 An ultimatum was given to the DutchBat commander as to what he
6 should do before the next meeting.
7 Q. And what was that?
8 A. The request was for the DutchBat commander by 11.00 the same
9 evening to get representatives of the Muslim armed forces, Muslim
10 representatives, and reappear with them for a second meeting the same
11 evening. Which, of course, Mr. Karremans said he would see what he could
12 do about it. And then he went back with his colleagues, back to Potocari.
13 Q. And did you receive any instructions from anyone?
14 A. After that meeting, I knew there would be the next meeting, at
15 about 11.00. And no one gave me any special instructions. I knew what I
16 was supposed to do for that meeting.
17 Q. So was there a second meeting?
18 A. Yes. It was held sometime between 10.00 and 11.00 the same
19 evening. I think it was almost 11.00.
20 Q. What did you do during that period, from the end of the first
21 meeting and the beginning of the second meeting?
22 A. I went over to my office at the Bratunac Brigade command, and I
23 wrote up a report including all the information I received on the 11th
24 from the subordinate units.
25 Q. Had you received any information at that time about the number of
1 people around Potocari?
2 A. Yes. I received information mostly from the 2nd Infantry
3 Battalion concerning a large number of civilians moving towards the UN
4 base in Potocari. I received information also that there were between one
5 and two thousand military-aged men among those civilians moving towards
6 the UN base. That was the information I received then.
7 Q. Did you communicate that information about the one to two thousand
8 military-aged men in Potocari to anyone?
9 A. I conveyed this information to the command, which means that the
10 information had previously reached the operations duty officer. My
11 opinion is that those who were in command of the Bratunac Brigade had been
12 informed in the same way. All the officers who would have found the
13 information relevant could have obtained it.
14 Q. Can you describe that process by where information comes into the
15 duty officer and that others would become aware of it, other commanders --
16 excuse me, other officers of the -- in the command. How does that work?
17 A. Mr. Prosecutor, the information being passed on to the operations
18 room, I'm talking about intelligence, this information is mostly meant for
19 the command of the Bratunac Brigade. First of all, the commander of the
20 Bratunac Brigade, chief of staff, and the other high-ranking commanders.
21 The direct way to convey information is not the only way to inform the
22 superior commanders. The operations room and the operations duty officer,
23 at any time the information is received in the operations room, must
24 inform the superior officer, the commander, if we are dealing with the
25 kind of information that cannot wait, no matter where the commander
1 happens to be at the time. In his office or somewhere with his
2 subordinate units, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd infantry battalion. This didn't
3 matter. That's how it worked in units, the level of brigade. That's how
4 it works. There are a number of other ways to convey information, but
5 this is the method we used in our brigade.
6 Q. Did you receive any intelligence that these able-bodied men were
8 A. No. I did not have information that those people in that group
9 moving towards Potocari were armed.
10 Q. Did you pass on the information about the able-bodied men in
11 written form or in oral form to anyone after you received it?
12 A. I passed on the information in writing to my superior command, the
13 Drina Corps command, security and intelligence department.
14 Q. Did you discuss this information orally with anyone?
15 A. Yes, I discussed this with the operations duty officer at the
16 Bratunac Brigade headquarters or command building.
17 Q. Do you recall who that was on this night of the 11th?
18 A. I really can't remember the person's name. But I do know that
19 there was information coming from the security and intelligence organs and
20 from the commanders of subordinate units, and that both streams of
21 information were almost identical.
22 Q. Did your duty officer office have a logbook where this kind of
23 information was noted down in?
24 A. Yes, mostly. There was an operations duty logbook where the
25 operations duty officer would enter all the information and all the
1 changes, all the requests, all the orders, anything that happened during
2 his time on duty.
3 Q. Did you pass on this information about the numbers of able-bodied
4 men to any of the -- any senior officers from the corps or in the main
5 staff that night?
6 A. As I said, I wrote up a report that I forwarded to the Drina Corps
8 Q. Orally, did you contact any of the people that had been at the
9 Hotel Fontana about this information?
10 A. Yes. I was in touch with Colonel Jankovic, who was with me all
11 the time.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I see it's 2.15. It's a good time
13 to break.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Nikolic, now you are a witness under oath in
15 this case. So during the break, do not talk to anybody about your
16 testimony, and do not let anybody talk to you about it. You may consult
17 with your counsel on the legal issues, but not on the factual issues. Do
18 you understand that?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Clear enough, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
21 We'll resume next Monday morning, 9.00, in this same courtroom.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
23 at 2.17 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
24 the 22nd day of September, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.