1 Tuesday, 11 November 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Mr. Court Deputy.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is Case Number
8 IT-02-60-T, the Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
10 Mr. McCloskey.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning.
12 WITNESS: RICHARD JOHN BUTLER [Resumed]
13 Examined by Mr. McCloskey: [Continued]
14 Q. Now, Mr. Butler, remind us both to remain -- try to keep it slow.
15 I know we have a lot to go through. We yesterday had talked about orders
16 briefly. Before moving on, can you tell us what the normal direction and
17 chain of orders is. Where do they go? From what unit to what unit
19 A. Well, as a general rule, the order chain flows from the higher
20 unit or the higher command to the lower one. At the macro level, the
21 orders would originate from the president of the republic as the supreme
22 commander. We go through the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska.
23 It would then be sent to the corps and forwarded to the brigades and
25 Q. And we'll in fact see some orders later on that reflect that. Is
1 that right?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. Now, we've also seen in this case situations where General Mladic
4 appears to be issuing orders directly to brigade commanders. What can you
5 say about that?
6 A. Well, that type of event is -- well, it's not normal. It's
7 certainly not unheard of, either in the structure of the VRS or even in
8 other military structures. General Mladic as the commander of the Main
9 Staff is, in effect, the commander of the army. And it's not unusual for
10 them to give orders to brigade commanders, sometimes bypassing the corps
11 commander. It's not the normal chain of events, but in a situation that
12 requires some expediency, it can be done.
13 Q. If a brigade commander receives such an order from Mladic, is he
14 duty-bound to carry it out?
15 A. He is duty-bound to carry it out. It is considered part of the
16 chain of command. In the normal procedure both envisioned in the
17 regulations and when this issue was discussed with a number of VRS senior
18 officers is that it would be carried out, but that what would occur is
19 that immediately after receiving the order, the brigade commander would
20 take the initiative to ensure that his superior, the corps commander or
21 whatever the skipped commander was would be informed immediately what the
22 order was, to ensure that there was no difficulty with the larger plan.
23 Q. We've also heard evidence that in this case intelligence or
24 security officers of the corps issued instructions or orders directly to
25 the security officer of a brigade. Is that normal?
1 A. That is normal under what is known in that particular system as a
2 management or professional chain. It is not a chain of command. These
3 individuals -- it's not a higher to lower command relationship. It
4 reflects the relationship where the technical services person, it may be
5 security, it could even be rear services in this case, is charged by the
6 regulations to manage the professional affairs and issues of the lower
7 branch. So in that respect, the orders being passed down is part of the
8 normal chain of communications.
9 Q. Let me give you a particular situation where according to
10 Momir Nikolic he received orders or instructions on the morning of the
11 12th from a corps security chief Popovic relating to the separation,
12 detention, and execution of the prisoners. How does that fit into this
13 scheme that you're talking about?
14 A. In that respect, that would be an example of a superior organ, in
15 the case the corps security officer, giving instructions to a brigade
16 security officer in that respect. Those types of orders are given under
17 the general umbrella that the commanders at both the corps and brigade
18 level are already aware of the larger plan and that they're leaving the
19 details of the information of the plan, again be it security or otherwise,
20 to the technical officers at each level who are best equipped to do this.
21 Q. In your study of this case and this investigation, have you
22 identified any to indicate that there was a deliberate effort by the Main
23 Staff to cut out any brigade commanders involved in the -- either in the
24 military operation or the operation to murder Muslims?
25 A. No, sir.
1 Q. Also on that same subject of orders, when a subordinate officer
2 such as the chief of security reports back to his commander about actions
3 that he has carried out pursuant to the orders of another superior, and if
4 that commander remains silent in relation to that report, what if anything
5 does the commander's silence communicate to the subordinate?
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. It calls for speculation, Your Honour.
7 I don't think that the gentleman is clairvoyant and can look backwards and
8 say what -- I think an inference can be made, but if there's going to be
9 an inference, I suggest that a more thorough foundation be laid.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, we have heard the evidence during
11 the testimonies of the previous witnesses. I think this question is quite
12 clear here. So we also want to know what the witness's conclusions on
13 that issue.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY:
17 Q. Yes, Mr. Butler, can you answer that question?
18 A. Yes, sir. And going back to the JNA regulations with respect to
19 command and commanded staff where the commander has the requirement to
20 verify that orders are being carried out, in that particular situation
21 when a subordinate has reported back what orders are being accomplished,
22 if the superior does not change his instructions or order him to stop
23 doing it or modify them in some way, he in effect is endorsing the orders
24 that are in effect.
25 Q. And is that principle, to your knowledge, any different in any
1 other armies than just the VRS and former JNA?
2 A. Certainly in my knowledge of other armies, and particularly my own
3 army, in that type of situation if the superior officer, the commander,
4 did not modify the instructions, it would be taken as the commander is
5 endorsing the plan of action that has been discussed.
6 Q. All right. Now, if we could move on to another area related to
7 the commander's responsibilities. Have you assembled various documents
8 relating to the laws governing the duties of a commander to prevent war
9 crimes and punish war crimes?
10 A. Yes, sir, I have.
11 Q. And let's try to, just briefly if we can, go over each of those.
12 I believe the first one you've chosen is P378. It's called: "An order on
13 the application of the rules of international laws of war in the Army of
14 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina," dated June 1992 from the
15 Official Gazette.
16 Can you tell us first what this gazette is and what you want to
17 say about this particular document.
18 A. Well, in general at the time frame of June of 1992, as what was
19 then known as the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was
20 organising itself into an governmental entity. There was a publication of
21 a number of laws regulating the structure of the armed forces,
22 particularly what we call the Republika Srpska law on defence and the law
23 on the army. As part of that there were also a number of decrees
24 published which, in effect, allowed or directed that this newly
25 established armed force would follow the general international rules and
1 regulations pertaining to the conduct of land warfare. This particular
2 order, published in the Official Gazette, which is the Republika Srpska's
3 legal publication, outlined that the army is instructed to apply the rules
4 of the international law of war, both within the concept of the Geneva
5 Conventions and as well as within the context of a more specified body of
6 regulations published by the former JNA in 1988.
7 Q. And can you go through each of the documents you've chosen to
8 illustrate these concepts. The next one I believe is P379.
9 A. This is the SFRY regulations on the application of international
10 laws of war in the armed forces. It was published in 1988 and it is the
11 technical application to the former JNA of the Geneva Conventions as well
12 as the additional protocols that were ratified by the SFRY. In this
13 particular respect I would like to draw the Court's attention to
14 paragraphs 19, 20, 21, and I'll get to some on the next page in a second.
15 Paragraph 20 particularly discusses the issue of individual
16 responsibility for the violations of the laws of war, noting that every
17 individual shall be personally accountable for such violations.
18 Paragraph 21 specifically articulates the responsibility for
19 actions of subordinates. It specifically notes that "an officer shall be
20 personally liable for violations of the laws of war if he knew or could
21 have known that units subordinate to him or other units or individuals
22 were planning the commission of such violations and at a time when it was
23 still possible to prevent their commission, failed to take measures to
24 prevent such violations."
25 The last part of paragraph 21 is also particularly relevant. "An
1 officer shall be responsible as an accomplice or instigator if by failure
2 to take action against his subordinates who violate the law of war, he
3 contributes to the repeated commission of such acts by units or
4 individuals subordinate to him."
5 Q. Would the accused in this case, would their training have, to your
6 knowledge, have covered these specific paragraphs?
7 A. My understanding, in discussing this issue with a number of former
8 VRS officers and VRS officers, is that this is a block of instruction at
9 their higher staff academies at almost all levels.
10 Q. All right. And what is the next document that you've chosen in
11 this area? I believe it's P380, the guidelines for determining criteria
12 for criminal prosecution. What is this?
13 A. This is a document that was published in October 1992 by the
14 military prosecutor's office at the Main Staff, and there's an
15 accompanying cover letter by the commander of the Main Staff that's not
16 attached to this. But what this in effect articulates the policy of the
17 Army of the Republika Srpska with respect to taking legal action against
18 three specific types of crimes. Two of those crimes aren't relevant in
19 this particular case, one of them being failure to be called for service
20 or evading service. However, the third one is relevant because it
21 discusses the policies and procedures by which the army and the military
22 prosecutor are to prevent and investigate war crimes and crimes against
23 humanity under the SFRY law.
24 Q. So could you go to that section in the document. I believe it's
25 page -- it begins on page 7 of the English, please.
1 A. In this particular case, this document reflects back to what was
2 then chapter 16 of the SFRY criminal code, and it's interesting to note
3 that this chapter of the criminal code was, in fact, completely adopted by
4 the Republika Srpska as part of the programme of incorporating their own
5 laws in 1993. They essentially just published a decree that the entire
6 body of SFRY law will now be known as the RS criminal code. So this is a
7 body of law that the Republika Srpska has, in fact, adopted. The second
8 paragraph in this particular case notes that "crimes against humanity in
9 international law can be committed by individuals acting on their own.
10 But by their nature, these criminal offenses are usually committed in an
11 organised fashion in the implementation of the policy of the ruling
12 circles. Most of these offenses are committed during armed conflicts or
13 are in some way closely connected with armed conflicts, which means that
14 they are committed within the context of broad military operations and on
15 orders from superior officers."
16 Q. What other sections would you highlight for the Court?
17 A. Well, I have a number in this document.
18 The next one is also on page 7 at the bottom of the page. Noting
19 that in this particular case "in addition to preventing criminal acts,
20 which are violations of humane conduct and international law, the armed
21 forces of the Army of Republika Srpska are required to abide by the
22 instruction on the application of the international laws of war in the
23 armed forces," which was the document we've previously discussed.
24 As part of that same paragraph, again dealing with the issue of
25 the superior it notes that following -- "from this follows the explicit
1 responsibility of the officer corps of the Army of Republika Srpska as the
2 giver of orders and commander of the armed forces whose members could
3 commit or are committing some of these offenses to take uncompromising
4 action to prevent such conduct. This responsibility belongs by its nature
5 particularly to high-ranking individuals and officials in state, military,
6 or public organisations who are in the concrete circumstances in a
7 position to issue orders."
8 The next paragraph follows on with that: "If officers merely find
9 out that units of the armed forces of the Army of Republika Srpska or
10 their members have committed or are committing such acts and take no
11 measures to prevent the consequences or the acts themselves and expose
12 perpetrators to criminal prosecution, this in itself makes them answerable
13 for these criminal offences."
14 Q. Now, Mr. Butler, I noted that you in reading that last paragraph,
15 it says that: "If officers merely find out that units of the armed forces
16 of the Army of Republika Srpska," would that include the MUP or is that
17 just the army?
18 A. Under the circumstances it certainly does include the MUP as a
19 member of the armed forces, and I would also cite back to the early
20 legislation on the law on defence which particularly notes that the MUP is
21 part of the armed forces. And as you continue to read on and as you go
22 back to the SFRY regulations, it makes it clear that the responsibility of
23 the officer in this case is not limited to subordinates of units under his
24 command, that officer has a positive responsibility under paragraph, I
25 believe it is, 21. It specifies not only of his unit -- paragraph 21 of
1 the regulations on the application. It specifies that it's not only his
2 unit but any unit that he comes across knowledge of.
3 Q. All right. Let's go to the next -- what is the next document
4 you've chosen? I believe it's P381. What is this?
5 A. This is the decree on the proclamation on the law of the military
6 court system. There's nothing inherently in detail that needs to be
7 brought out in this document, however this is the fundamental document
8 that outlines the military court system of the Army of the
9 Republika Srpska or more accurately of the Republika Srpska in its
10 entirety, and is the primary apparatus by which these charges would be
11 brought through.
12 Q. So was there a system in place to punish people who violated these
13 rules related to war crimes and such?
14 A. Yes, sir, there was.
15 Q. All right. And what is the -- what's the next document you have
16 on this?
17 A. This document is the law on the implementation of the law of
18 military courts and the law of military prosecutor's office during the
19 state of war.
20 Q. This is P382/A.
21 A. Yes, sir.
22 Q. 382.
23 A. This recognises that in the -- in a declared state of war this
24 document gives expanded power to military commanders to order court
25 martials within the context of their own unit for certain crimes,
1 primarily the disobeying of orders, desertion in the face of the enemy.
2 And where is this is relevant is that on 15 July 1995, the President of
3 the Republic declared a state of war in the Skelani, Srebrenica
4 municipality. Part of that municipality is covered by the
5 Bratunac Brigade, so some of these extraordinary legal powers would have
6 been at the disposal of the commander of the Bratunac Brigade effective at
7 that period.
8 Q. Okay. So what is the next document, P383.
9 A. This document is dated 16 June 1995, and it is from the government
10 of the Republika Srpska -- in fact, it is from the supreme commander, to
11 all entities of the government. And what it is doing is declaring is a
12 formal state of imminent threat of war. In the Republika Srpska, there
13 were three states under which the government existed, a normal or
14 peacetime state, an imminent threat of war state, or a state of war.
15 Q. How would this time in June 1995 with the war beginning in 1992
16 can there have been prior to this decree a peacetime declaration in
18 A. For its own legal purposes, the Republika Srpska in November 1992
19 having achieved what it considered to be its war aims, effectively ended a
20 declared state of war and put itself legally on a peacetime or normal
21 footing. Now, certainly conflict occurred well after that, but from a
22 legislative or legal perspective, the laws and the functioning of the
23 Republika Srpska operate under a state of peacetime rules and regulations.
24 In December of 1994, based on the worsening military situation in the
25 Krajina, a state of war was declared specifically for the zones of the 1st
1 and 2nd Krajina Corps. By June of 1995, faced with a worsening military
2 situation country-wide, the government declared an imminent threat of war
3 on 16 June, which gave the VRS expanded powers at the expense of the
4 civilian government in order to conduct the prosecution of the war. And
5 as time goes on, by the end of July 1995 throughout the Republika Srpska,
6 a state of war is declared.
7 Q. What is the fundamental difference between the powers of the VRS
8 in an imminent state of war and a state of war?
9 A. There are some documents or some regulations which only come into
10 effect during a declared state of war. For example, the last exhibit that
11 we looked at, the law on the military court system in a state of war, it
12 is specific only to that state. For example, those powers of -- those
13 powers of immediate disciplinary action and the power to start his own
14 court martial at that level only applied to him during that state. He
15 does not have those powers during an imminent state of war. So it's a
16 legal clarification to even more expanded powers in some cases.
17 Q. Which commanders would have those powers?
18 A. Well, under an imminent threat of war or a state of war, those
19 powers are delegated down to the Main Staff commander, the corps command,
20 and with respect to immediate court martials, they could be delegated down
21 to brigade and regimental level with the prior approval of the corps
23 Q. All right. So what's the next document you want to talk about?
24 A. This is a rather lengthy document. I won't be talking about all
25 of it at all, but this is the body of legislation which is known as "The
1 series of laws on ministries during an imminent threat of war and a state
2 of war". This was published on 29 November, 1994, and it is the, as you
3 can note, it is not an open law. It is a state secret. This is the
4 series of laws that would govern the conduct of the government of the
5 Republika Srpska in time of imminent threat of war and a state of war.
6 Specifically in this one there are three issues I would like to
7 highlight being relevant here. On page 4 under the body of law known as
8 the law on implementing the law on defence in case of an imminent threat
9 of war or a state of war, it talks about the issues of full mobilisation
10 of all individuals who are over the age of 16, either in the armed forces
11 or in compulsory work service. And article 10, the establishment of
12 compulsory work units in each municipality to carry out the occasional
13 tasks and to meet the needs of the armed forces as well as other defence
15 Q. All right. Is there something else from this section that you
16 wanted to talk about that was relevant to our situation?
17 A. Well, in this body of law, the next relevant situation would be
18 moving further, and it's actually a separate exhibit, since we'll refer
19 back to it as Exhibit 385, which is with respect to the law on the
20 ministry of the interior during a state of war or an imminent state of
21 war. And what this law does is it specifically regulates the use of
22 police units in combat operations as a part of the armed forces.
23 Q. Now, going back briefly to our chart, who would this include in
24 terms of police units?
25 A. This would include the police units under the regional security
1 centres, the CSBs, and it would include the police units of the special
2 police brigade headquartered in the Janja area.
3 Q. And I don't think you need to read this out, but can you just
4 paraphrase roughly what it entails and I think we can go over a document
5 to see how it fits in this particular rule.
6 A. In this particular case, article 14 is the important issue that
7 will revolve around the issue of police units coming under the command of
8 the army units in the area that they're operating. If you look at the
9 last paragraph of article 14, in effect it explains why this procedure is
10 so important. As you might imagine, police units do not have the same
11 logistical support or organisation to sustain themselves in combat
12 operation as army units are. Obviously they're not designed to do that.
13 One of the historical problems when you look at the documents in the
14 research on the use of police in combat situations is the fact that they
15 do not have the ability to sustain themselves over the long term, in short
16 they just don't have the logistic support. They don't have medical, they
17 don't have food, water. These all have to be provided by the brigade or
18 the unit that they're operating in the zone of. It is also important with
19 respect to issues of command. This law prevents a police unit from
20 effectively being broken up and having its members placed individually in
21 army units, and it also ensures that by putting the police unit under the
22 command of the army force, that it's going to be treated on an equal
23 footing and that its operations will be controlled by the army and
24 coordinated. And of course in a combat environment that's very important,
25 because all parties to the combat operation have to know what each other's
2 Q. Okay. Let's go to exhibit -- let's keep this at hand, but let's
3 go to Exhibit 386 which is a document the Court has seen before. It's a
4 10 July order under the name of Tomislav Kovac who we know is the acting
5 Minister of Interior. And can you just first of all briefly tell the
6 Court what this, what this Kovac document is and how it fits in, if it
7 does, with this regulation relating the use of police units in combat
9 A. I believe this document is a practical application of that
10 regulation. In paragraph 1, the police are effectively being pulled from
11 one area of the battlefield and are being sent -- are being directed to be
12 on 11 July in Bratunac. It's designating the commander of the units and
13 it's instructing them when the arrive in the area, and it's instructing
14 the unit commander, in this case designated as Ljubisa Borovcanin, is
15 obliged to make contact with the corps chief of staff, General Krstic. As
16 we go into other documents and we look at the relationship, clearly in
17 this instance when it says obligated to make contact with the corps chief
18 of staff, General Krstic, this is putting the unit at his disposal or
19 being under his command. It follows on from a series of documents that
20 we'll see on the 12th where the army is giving orders jointly to the army
21 and police.
22 Q. Mr. Butler, you said being at his disposal or being under his
23 command. Can you clarify that. Are those two different things?
24 A. I shouldn't say the word "disposal," because it means something
25 different in the JNA parlance. It is, in effect, placing his unit under
1 command of the army.
2 Q. In order for MUP units to be placed under the command of the army,
3 Article 14 requires that police units assigned to combat operations by an
4 order of the commander in chief of the armed forces. Does this July 10th
5 document indicate that there's been such an order?
6 A. Yes, sir. The preamble -- it's not a numbered paragraph, but it
7 notes that pursuant to the order of the supreme commander that the
8 following series of orders, 1 through 5, are being given.
9 Q. So let me take you to a practical situation that arose, that the
10 Court has heard evidence on where thousands of prisoners were being
11 assembled along the Bratunac/Milici road on the 13th of July by mostly MUP
12 forces and shipped out in buses and trucks to Bratunac. Would the MUP
13 forces have the logistical capability to have buses and trucks in your
15 A. No, sir, certainly not buses. And any truck transport that they
16 did have would simply be limited to what it would be necessary to move
17 themselves from battlefield area to battlefield area. By design, and
18 particularly in the case of the CSB companies -- or I'm sorry, the PJP
19 companies as part of the CSB, they don't have any of the military
20 infrastructure necessary to do a lot of that type of movement. So all of
21 those resources would have to come from the army.
22 Q. And who in your opinion would be commanding and controlling those
23 transportation resources in the situation I've described on 13 July?
24 A. Based on my research and the documents that were available, many
25 of them which we will discuss, that was being commanded and controlled by
1 the headquarters of the Drina Corps.
2 Q. All right. Okay. Now, that is what I wanted to ask you about on
3 the basic issues of command. Now, if we could go a little further into
4 the rules and regulations related to the conducting of security and
5 intelligence affairs. And have you identified some of the pertinent rules
6 related to that subject?
7 A. Yes, sir, I have.
8 Q. All right. But first, before we go into those rules, I think
9 you've touched on this somewhat, but can you just give us the barest
10 outline of the chief of security or other assistant commanders or officers
11 in that situation. What basically are the chief of securities and
12 assistant commanders, how do they relate to their command in terms of
13 command responsibility, power to issue orders, that sort of thing?
14 A. In the terminology of the former JNA which is in effect here,
15 those are known as special branch bodies. It acknowledges that unlike the
16 operative staff, these branch bodies are specialised bodies which do
17 specific types of functions.
18 Q. Can you give us some examples besides security.
19 A. Well, rear services is an excellent example of a specialised
20 branch body. Within the greater confines of the rear services, for
21 example, you will have specialised organs and officers in charge of a
22 variety of fields to include technical services, which would include
23 ammunition, which would include medical and veterinary support, which
24 would include food services, which would include finances. All of those
25 functions which are part of what a military organisation and a brigade, if
1 we can use that an example, need to successfully conduct day-to-day
2 operations. Yet, it's recognised that an individual who will command the
3 brigade will probably be an infantry or armour or other type of officer,
4 and he will not necessarily be a rear services professional.
5 So while the commander of the unit will have a general knowledge
6 of what those functions are and how they support the overall conduct of
7 the brigade, by virtue of the specific nature of those tasks, he's not
8 going to know the details of accounting, the details of medicine, the
9 details of veterinary, the details of ammunition. So as part of the
10 military system, a series of officers will specialise in these fields
11 through their career. That same principle applies to the security branch.
12 It is a specialised field, and people who are in this field generally have
13 spent a career in this field.
14 Q. Mr. Butler, if I could direct you to the, as you've stated, to the
15 brigade level. So what in the brigade level is the title of the -- that
16 particular position?
17 A. Well, again depending on the type of JNA brigade, it is considered
18 to be the assistant commander for security and intelligence affairs or a
19 regular brigade, it is the assistant commander for security.
20 Q. Let's stay with the Bratunac Brigade model, the light infantry
21 brigade. So could you, again, describe to us that specialised branch, how
22 that fits in with the command, the basic duties of that officer.
23 A. As the security branch is a specialised branch, over the course of
24 the development of the regulations of the former JNA in the past, there
25 are a number of very specific regulations dealing with the roles of the
1 security officer and more importantly the means and methods by which the
2 security officers work within the laws of the greater SFRY. And these are
3 a rather lengthy and arcane series of rules and regulations. Now, a
4 security officer, and certainly the assistant commander for security, by
5 virtue of his position is expected to know in great detail the functioning
6 of that branch and the specifics of the means and methods of work, keeping
7 in mind that the roles primarily envisioned are counter-intelligence and
8 security of the general forces.
9 Now, again the commander will have a general idea certainly of
10 what the security branch is and does and how it incorporated within his
11 brigade, but the commander is not going to have the detailed knowledge of
12 the means and methods and the regulations specifically used by the
13 security officer in the conduct of his daily affairs.
14 Q. Mr. Butler, can you define for us simply -- we've heard this word
15 "counter-intelligence," and it has all kinds of potential layman's
16 meanings, but can you define for us the term "counter-intelligence," as
17 it's meant in the VRS context and then we'll go to the next body of
18 responsibility of the security officer.
19 A. In the VRS context, counter-intelligence is again a broad category
20 by which they label the means and the methods which they use to ensure the
21 greater security of the unit that they're assigned to. It encompasses two
22 particular areas, if you will. In the first area it is what other
23 countries would call "counter-espionage". Those types of measures to
24 prevent an enemy force from learning details about the particular unit.
25 Counter-reconnaissance-type of operations, operations to prevent the enemy
1 from gaining intelligence information or battlefield information about the
2 unit, operations to prevent members of that particular unit from passing
3 information to the enemy. And in another sense, it also relates to the
4 issue of protecting information, military, confidential, or state secret,
5 from either the deliberate or inadvertent exposure to the enemy that could
6 be of use to them.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: I don't mean to interrupt, but given that we have
8 this definition in the context of which the gentleman put it, if he could
9 tell us for the record where did he get this definition from or was it
10 something that he derived from his general knowledge from reading the
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, the witness is giving testimony.
13 And if you have some questions, you could raise it during your
14 cross-examination. But of course we come to this juncture. If you think
15 it's feasible, Mr. McCloskey, you could ask this question so that we could
16 have a whole picture of that situation.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. As I'm sure you've seen, I
18 try to start off with the general so we can understand generally what the
19 picture is and we go to the regulations and get the more specific and then
20 we will have actual examples of counter-intelligence orders. So I'm
21 getting there and we can keep going in that direction.
22 Q. So for counter-intelligence, Mr. Butler, we haven't gotten to the
23 regulations yet, but there are definitions of counter-intelligence and
24 discussions of counter-intelligence in those regulations, aren't there?
25 A. Yes, sir, there are.
1 Q. Just briefly, in these sorts of counter-intelligence operations,
2 does a security officer have his own assets that he can use separate from
3 the corps or the brigade, excuse me, let's stay with the brigade.
4 A. Normally the assistant commander for security will have one or two
5 subordinate security officers that work to him to assist in the
6 accomplishment of this task.
7 Q. Let's stay with the Bratunac example and Mr. Nikolic. What did he
8 have in this time period? I think you've already discussed it, but can
9 you just remind us.
10 A. Well, in the case of the Bratunac Brigade, the other officer who
11 was assistant, who was also designated as an intelligence officer was
12 unavailable. I believe Mr. Nikolic had indicated he had one former
13 non-commissioned officer who assisted him in some of the administrative
15 Q. All right. Now, you said counter-intelligence was one
16 responsibility of the security officer. What was the other?
17 A. One of the other responsibilities: It is envisioned is he also
18 functions as a law enforcement arm of the brigade as well. He has
19 responsibilities under the regulations for criminal investigation and for
20 the conduct of supervising the activities of the military police. As it
21 was designed within the JNA regulations, they saw criminal prevention and
22 security as very closely related fields, and in many cases overlapping.
23 So in that particular aspect, it makes sense to do that.
24 Q. What was the security officers particular command relationship
25 with the military police in the Bratunac Brigade at this time?
1 A. Well, in the Bratunac Brigade at this time, it was, in effect, as
2 prescribed by the regulations. The assistant commander for security
3 supervised the daily functions of the military police, he recommended the
4 most appropriate use of the military police to the commander, and it was
5 up to the commander to either accept that recommendation or to make
6 changes according to the events that were occurring on the ground at the
8 Q. So did the security officer have absolute control over the
9 military police platoon in Bratunac?
10 A. No, sir, he would not have had absolute control.
11 Q. Can you give us examples of the practical day-to-day operations
12 prior to Srebrenica what the military police would be involved in in
13 relation to the security -- well, to Momir Nikolic.
14 A. One of the things that most occupied the time of the military
15 police when they weren't actually conducting combat operations was the
16 functions generally associated with law enforcement. Particularly in the
17 Bratunac area and a lot of cases, this meant being tasked to go out and
18 apprehend service members who had left their units without authorisation
19 and to bring them back to their unit. You would also have within the
20 Bratunac Brigade the military police were assigned fixed checkpoints, one
21 of them being just outside the Srebrenica safe area perimeter at a place
22 called Zuti Most or Yellow Bridge. You would also have a manned police
23 station or a police desk where the military police would be available, and
24 again that would be the focal point for the conduct of law enforcement
1 Q. And who was the commander of the military police, who was his
2 direct superior?
3 A. His direct superior in terms of command would have been the
4 brigade commander.
5 Q. Okay. Well, with that general background, let's go into -- have
6 you identified the rules that were most applicable for the conduct of
7 security affairs in the brigade, such as Bratunac?
8 A. I've identified a series of these former JNA documents which are
9 applicable. With respect to the command of security organs and the
10 supervisory or professional chain of communication, the most applicable
11 one is the rules of service, which is Prosecution Exhibit 387. With
12 respect to more general terminology on the means and methods of that work
13 and on intelligence support to the armed forces, there were other
14 regulations that are incorporated in my revised narrative.
15 Q. Okay. Before we get in particular to some of the sections of
16 rules of security service, as you've stated before it would be
17 Momir Nikolic's job to be not only -- he was the chief of security and
18 intelligence. So what again roughly would his intelligence
19 responsibilities be and how did that relate to security responsibilities?
20 A. With respect to intelligence responsibilities, by regulation, the
21 responsibilities are to take the necessary steps to organise the gathering
22 of reconnaissance information, intelligence information, defector or
23 prisoner of war report information, to analyse it, synthesise it, and
24 report it up through the chain of command to superiors. He is, in
25 essence, the person responsible to the brigade commander as well as
1 reporting up to the corps on the intelligence and reconnaissance-related
2 issues that are occurring in the Bratunac Brigade zone.
3 Q. Okay. Well, let's go to what you wanted to point out to us for
4 the rules of service for the security organs. And again, if you could
5 just highlight what you feel to be some of the most significant, and I'm
6 sure you'll be prepared to talk on anything in particular on this subject.
7 A. This chapter 2 of this regulation delineates the differences
8 between command of the security organ and the provision of specialist
9 administrative services or professional support to the security organ.
10 Paragraph 16 specifically notes that "the security organ is directly
11 subordinate to the commanding officer of the command, unit, institution,
12 or staff of the armed forces of whose strength it is placed in the
13 establishment and it is responsible to that officer for its work."
14 The next part of that sentence deals with the JNA security organs
15 in the larger former ministry of the interior and national defence and
16 generally aren't applicable here.
17 Paragraph 18 notes that the security organs of the superior
18 command, unit, institution or staff of the armed forces provide specialist
19 administrative services for security organs in subordinate commands,
20 units, installations, staffs of the armed forces, provides assistance to
21 those organs, and organises, directs, coordinates and supervises their
23 Q. What does that mean?
24 A. Those are the professional tasks of the security branch within the
25 former JNA, in this particular case within the VRS.
1 Q. Professional task being what?
2 A. Those professional tasks would be things related to
3 counter-intelligence or counter-espionage operations. Those types of very
4 specific and arcane tasks which the security officer is mandated to do by
5 the regulations and are best given to him by security officers at a higher
7 Q. That seems to conflict with the previous paragraph 16 where the
8 security officer is -- must come under his -- the command of his
9 commander. Can you explain in a little more detail what kinds of
10 relationship the, for example, the corps security officer has with the
11 brigade security officer that is outside the competence of the brigade
12 commander, if any?
13 A. There are some relationships that the corps security officer will
14 have that will be outside of the competence of the brigade commander with
15 respect to professional tasks. One of the things that has to be noted in
16 the context of the former JNA and the VRS is that many of these
17 regulations are also again designed within the framework of the
18 environment of the former Yugoslavia in the mid-1980s. We are not talking
19 about a democratic state for nature, we are talking about a country whose
20 security rules and regulations were designed at a time when there was a
21 totalitarian power or communist party in charge there. So many of these
22 regulations have a fallback position to allow for the security branches to
23 monitor events that are occurring in the units, in part to ensure the
24 complete reliability and the complete fidelity of the unit commander.
25 Now, as time goes on through the 1980s and certainly by the 1990s when the
1 VRS adopts these regulations, you do not see that particular political
2 aspect in existence anymore. However, that same channel is used as a
3 reflection of the fact that in many cases, battalion and brigade
4 commanders can be seen as the targets of either a counter-espionage
5 investigation themselves or as the target of a law enforcement
6 investigation that would run under the auspices of the security
7 operation -- of the security branch. So those are examples of where the
8 system is designed that the object of investigation, should it be the
9 commander, that there is a way to conduct this investigation without the
10 commander's knowledge.
11 Q. We'll see some examples of that a little later on. Is that right?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. How about in the work related to working with the military police
14 in the detention and handling of prisoner affairs which you discussed
15 earlier. Does the corps have any special relationship outside the
16 commander in that area?
17 A. In that particular instance, the relationship is not outside of
18 the command or the commander. The security branch by regulation and by
19 the commander's direction is the branch that is responsible for many of
20 the aspects of dealing with prisoners. However, it is also recognised
21 within the JNA rules that it cannot obviously strictly be a function of
22 the security branch. Particularly with the conduct of prisoners and
23 prisoners of war, there are a lot of other things that have to occur for
24 their safeguarding. So while the security organ can ensure that the
25 military police can safeguard the prisoners, and while the security and
1 intelligence organs can begin the initial intelligence interrogations of
2 such prisoners, it is recognised that other branches of the brigade in
3 this case are going to have to be brought in to the process, to help to
4 secure prisoners with respect to a facility to secure prisoners or to feed
5 the prisoners, to provide for medical assistance to the prisoners, to
6 provide for their movement from the initial holding point to future
7 holding points.
8 So while the security branch in this respect is the branch that so
9 to speak takes the lead in this issue, the issue of prisoners cuts across
10 a lot of different staff sections of the brigade.
11 Q. Okay. And can we go to, I believe, paragraph 23 in these rules as
12 well. Can you briefly synopsise what that's about?
13 A. This talks about the relationship between the security officer in
14 a particular unit and his management function over the military police of
15 that particular unit. It notes "he recommends to use of the officer to
16 the command, unit, institution or command, and he is responsible to him
17 for the state and activity of that unit."
18 Again that is a technical supervisory function. When we look at
19 the practical aspect of that, as Mr. Nikolic has testified, he does
20 discuss the issue of making recommendations to the commander on their
21 daily use or on their use for specific tasks, and it is up to the
22 commander to either approve those recommendations or to modify them as he
23 sees fit.
24 Q. Okay. Is there another -- what was the next -- did you want to
25 say anything else about those particular rules?
1 A. No. I think we're ready to move on to the next exhibit.
2 Q. Okay. And what else did you want to say on this subject? I
3 believe it's P388. And what is this?
4 A. These are the 1985 service regulations of the former SFRY
5 pertaining to armed forces military police. If you look at paragraph
6 number 13, it is again a restatement of the roles and responsibility of
7 the security officer as we've just seen in the 1984 security regulations.
8 It notes that "with respect to speciality, the officer in charge of the
9 security body of the unit or institution controls the military police. He
10 makes suggestions to the officer in charge of the unit on their use and is
11 responsible for the combat readiness of the military police unit and the
12 performance of its tasks."
13 However, back to paragraph 12, it specifically notes that the
14 officer in charge of the military unit and institution to which the
15 military police unit is attached commands or controls the military police.
16 Q. All right. Now, we have another document that was recently
17 identified by Ms. -- by the defence of Blagojevic from one of the
18 voluminous collections of the Prosecution. It's P389. This document is
19 dated October 1994, and it is under the name of General Mladic. It
20 appears to be signed -- well, it's hard to make out the signature. Is
21 this a document you had heard about prior to it actually being provided to
22 us by the Blagojevic defence?
23 A. This is a document that in general terms we knew to exist. In the
24 case of Radislav Krstic, it is a document which the Defence knew existed
25 in general terms as well but neither the Prosecution or the Defence were
1 able to come up with. So in general terms, we knew of the existence of
2 this document. Specifically as the Defence in that case had noted that it
3 was something that they felt exculpated their person. For us, finding
4 this document was always a rather high priority as we recognised it as
5 something we would have to deal with under Rule 68.
6 Q. And what efforts were made to identify this document?
7 A. Personally on my part and on the part of a number of assistants
8 who work for me, a great deal of man hours and days were spent searching
9 through various databases in an effort to come across this document.
10 Q. And where was it finally found by the Defence?
11 A. The document was found in a collection of over 125.000 scanned
12 electronic documents, which were provided by the SFOR in Bosnia when they
13 searched two facilities, one of them the former Zvornik Brigade, one of
14 them a brigade in Brcko for violations of weapons storage procedures under
15 the Dayton Accords. When SFOR searched these facilities, they seized all
16 of the documents, they made electronic scans and at the request of the
17 Office of the Prosecutor, we obtained a copy of the electronic scans. We
18 did not obtain the original documents. This particular document comes
19 from one of the documents that was seized by -- or that was taken from the
20 brigade that was searched in Brcko, which is in the Bijeljina area.
21 Q. And did you actually make efforts to scan that collection in an
22 electronic search capability?
23 A. We made considerable efforts, the first effort being an 18-month
24 process with my assistant analyst, Ms. Brettell, and the people working in
25 the OTP software service to actually develop search capabilities for this
1 system. When we originally received it from SFOR, all we had was
2 essentially a number of CDs with scans on them with a very limited search
3 capability. So for the first 18 months of the process, our people were
4 designing prototype search tools necessary to scan this collection in both
5 the Latin language and the Serbian Cyrillic language which of course
6 complicated things. Once the search protocols were installed, we
7 certainly realised that on any given search that we were looking for we
8 were only getting 50 or 60 per cent of the hits available because of the
9 quality of the scans themselves.
10 Q. And if you had looked at each one of the thousands of documents
11 individually or printed them all out and looked at them individually, I
12 take it you would have come across this?
13 A. Eventually we would have come across it. It would have been at
14 the tail end of the search, because I can honestly state that given the
15 priorities at the time, looking for documents that came out of a search in
16 Brcko would have been the last priority as opposed to looking for
17 documents that came out of Zvornik. So ultimately we would have come
18 across it, but had we started that process a year or two ago, it would
19 have probably been next year when we found it.
20 Q. So this came out of the Brcko collection?
21 A. This came out of the documents from Brcko.
22 Q. Setting all that aside, let's get to the document itself. What is
24 A. This is a document which is the -- which are the instructions for
25 how the head of the security organ of the VRS and how the commander of the
1 Main Staff, General Mladic, wants the security branches within the army to
2 function. It is a series of instructions which detail to commanders and
3 to security organs what part of their work, they're going to do and which
4 part of their tasks that they're going to focus on.
5 Q. Does it provide anything of major import or anything new that you
6 recognise or different?
7 A. There are many of these part which are restatements of the 1984
8 security regulations and the following armed forces intelligence
9 regulations. But one of the things of specific note is in paragraph 1,
10 where the commander of the Main Staff is directing that the VRS security
11 and intelligence organs spend 80 per cent of their time or 80 per cent of
12 their resources engaged in intelligence and counter-intelligence tasks
13 and they should only spend the remaining 20 per cent involved in
14 administrative responsibilities, military police oversight, and criminal
15 legal tasks and duties.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I think that's probably a good time
17 to break.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll resume at quarter to 11.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.15 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 10.46 a.m.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. And just for the
23 record, this document has also been previously marked D22/1 in the Defence
24 version of it.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Butler, you -- before the break you pointed out what
1 paragraph 1 said, basically as it says, dividing the tasks 80 per cent and
2 20 per cent. And those were divided along the lines of tasks that you
3 already have described. Is that right?
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. Okay. How about paragraph 2. What can you tell us about that? I
6 note that it starts off with: "The security and intelligence organs are
7 directly commanded by the commander or the unit or institution of which
8 they form part."
9 A. In this --
10 Q. Where does that come from?
11 A. This is again out of the regulations for security organs, again
12 reflecting the fact that the organ is commanded by the commander, but with
13 regard to professional activities, they are controlled essentially by the
14 security intelligence organs of the superior command. The next sentence
15 makes it clear that they have full independence in the implementation of
16 intelligence and counter-intelligence tasks and operative combinations,
17 based on the authority set forth in the law and the authority of the
18 appropriate superior organs.
19 One thing I would like to note in this particular instance is: I
20 would like to check the translation. If this in fact is accurate and it
21 is "law," we don't have a copy of this law. So I'm not sure exactly what
22 it is. If it is regulations, then they are referring back to the service
23 regulations which we've already discussed. So that's one thing I want to
24 highlight up front. If it's a separate law, it's not a law that we have.
25 Q. And you've already discussed briefly the counter-intelligence work
1 as you understand it?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. And paragraph 3, what is that?
4 A. Paragraph 3 sets the framework that obligates all members of the
5 armed forces, the VRS in this case, VRS institutions commands, and other
6 members to provide assistance to the organs in the realisation of their
7 intelligence and security tasks and to not take any actions which could
8 endanger those type of tasks.
9 Q. All right. What else in this document do you find of
11 A. Well, paragraph 4 again refers back to the rules of service and
12 the instructions on applying work and means of the intelligence organs of
13 the VRS. Those are clearly referenced back to regulations which we have,
14 and noting that this is how these operations are to be performed in
15 accordance with those rules. Paragraph 4 also notes the fact that with
16 respect to the intelligence and counter-intelligence reports, that the
17 telegrams and mail in this respect are delivered exclusively to the
18 security organ, and that no other organs of the command, including the
19 commander, have the right to inspect their contents. So it creates the
20 inviolability of the communications channel between the superior organ and
21 the subordinate organ in this case.
22 Q. And why would that be necessary in your opinion?
23 A. Well, in the broader sense in the intelligence and security world,
24 and as it's certainly noted in the JNA rules and regulations, that
25 intelligence and security matters are generally regulated, and the
1 knowledge of them are regulated on a basis of need-to-know. Part of that
2 type of operation is the fact that generally the more people who are aware
3 of an operation, the higher degree of compromise, obviously. It goes back
4 to the point where in some cases brigade officers or potentially the
5 brigade commander may be the target of an investigation, and, clearly, if
6 the brigade commander or his staff are aware of that, that's going to
7 handicap the ability to do that investigation adequately.
8 Moving to paragraph 5, this clearly regulates or sets out the
9 protections that a security officer has with respect to his contacts with
10 the brigade commander and with respect to the superior officer of the
11 security organ above him. It notes that, for example, that VRS units and
12 institution commanders who have members in their ranks may be consulted on
13 matters pertaining to decisions on transfers, appointments or assignments,
14 and that they may recommend, make proposals, but they cannot in effect
15 take their own action. Again, reflective of the special circumstances of
16 the security branch, where these individuals cannot be automatically
17 transferred or moved by the brigade commander without at least clearing
18 this through the superior chief of security. It also notes that unit and
19 institution commanders may pronounce stimulative measures, punishment or
20 other measures for these members only with the obligatory consultation of
21 the first superior in the service.
22 Q. What does that mean?
23 A. Well, in a practical sense and again reflected on a lot of the VRS
24 documents from 1992 to 1995, it's not unheard of where commanders will
25 attempt to retaliate against security officers who have reported on them
1 in some means of nature. This is a means of mechanism by which security
2 officers can be protected. It means that before the commander can take
3 any disciplinary measures or otherwise, he must be able to justify those
4 measures to the next in the chain of command. It would be the security
5 officer at the higher level and also presumably the corps commander in
6 this particular case.
7 It also designates that the chief of security and intelligence
8 organs are, by functional task, the nature of the work, members of the
9 collegiums and commander's personal counsel of their unit. It's restating
10 the fact that commanders cannot, whether they trust their security officer
11 or not, they cannot isolate the security officer. They have to recognise
12 that the intelligence and security officer is a key component of his core
13 staff and needs to be wrapped into the process.
14 And the last one is that the recruitment is carried out in
15 according to the criteria defined by the headquarters of the Main Staff
16 security and intelligence sector, and that they are the only ones who can
17 recruit members of the security and intelligence branch.
18 Going to paragraph 6, instructing security and intelligence organs
19 and units and institutions to provide assistance in their work to the
20 410th Intelligence Centre and the VRS Counter-intelligence Group,
21 consistent with their work as well. I mean, again mandating the security
22 officers have to deal with other security organs as well. Chapter 7
23 places the onus on the superior security officer to monitor the
24 professional correctness of the work of the security organ, except for the
25 part of their engagement relating to the command and staff affairs. That
1 professional supervision and that command remains under the purview of the
2 unit commander.
3 And finally paragraph 8, instructing all commanders and other
4 officers to adhere to these and noting that the instructions should be
5 forwarded to all commanders and units at battalion level. And battalion
6 level is the lowest level you see an officer designated as a security and
7 intelligence officer.
8 Q. Okay. Do you -- what do you make overall of this document as it
9 relates to this situation in our case?
10 A. Well, in this particular case, I mean the key thrust of the
11 document is clearly the statement that the Main Staff is trying very hard
12 to ensure that the bulk of the work that the security officers do are
13 dedicated to what they perceive the most important tasks of the security
14 officers, the intelligence and counter-intelligence functions. As a lot
15 of these security officers engage in law enforcement activities, and many
16 security officers were sent because of their experience as line commanders
17 to command units. And this is an attempt in these instructions by the
18 Main Staff to limit that practice as much as possible and have these
19 trained assets to focus specifically on the areas to which they're
21 One of the interesting things to note about the commander's
22 ability to remove these officers while in isolation it appears to be a
23 significant degradation in command. If you look at the rules and
24 regulations in effect in the Republika Srpska army specifically in the
25 ministry of defence, the ability of a brigade commander to remove his own
1 officers is already somewhat limited. Depending upon the position
2 function and the rank of the position in question, many of those
3 appointments are already limited to the minister of defence or the
4 commander of the Main Staff in making those changes.
5 So it's not really that big an event that a brigade commander is
6 informed that he does not have the singular authority to remove one of his
7 subordinate officers. That is similar in other cases as well depending on
8 the rank position of the officer in question. And those are all regulated
9 in the army law and the special instructions published in 1992 by the RS
10 minister of defence.
11 Q. The security officer's at the brigade level dealings with the
12 military police in the detention and housing and interrogation of
13 prisoners fit into the 80 per cent counter-intelligence side of this
15 A. My reading of the rules and regulations and particularly the
16 intelligence and counter-intelligence piece, most of those functions would
17 not fall strictly within the 80 per cent. In the counter-intelligence and
18 espionage functions, they would with respect to interrogation of prisoner
19 of war and intelligence issues, while intelligence falls into that, those
20 tend to fall outside because they are issues that the commander is
21 involved in with respect to needing to know the intelligence information.
22 And certainly it specifies that issues pertaining to oversight of the
23 military police fall outside of that 80 per cent and fall strictly into
24 the lesser duties of the security officer.
25 Q. All right. Have you been able to identify some documents that
1 show a practical application where brigade commanders are working with and
2 reporting on the work of security branches?
3 A. Yes, I have, sir.
4 Q. And let's go, I think the first one is Exhibit 390. Can you tell
5 us what this is.
6 A. Under the reporting regulations of the VRS, units were required to
7 publish an annual report, and in some cases a semiannual report concerning
8 the combat readiness of their unit. This particular document is a report
9 of the combat readiness of the Zvornik Infantry Brigade for the period 1
10 January - 31 December 1994. As a component of this report, if I can
11 direct your attention to page 11, paragraph 6, the brigade command starts
12 a rather lengthy explanation on all of the activities in a general sense
13 that are being conducted by the intelligence and security organ of the
14 brigade. It lays out the strength of the organ, what the organ is
15 missing, and further on page 12 discusses issues pertaining to training.
16 In paragraph 6(A), it discusses the issues of intelligence
17 support. And in paragraph 6(B), it discusses in detail issues of security
18 support. And by their own definition, they're identifying the type of
19 work that is given to what they call counter-intelligence work; these are
20 the tasks which they consider. And some of the examples that they give:
21 The confiscation of radios from Serbian individuals to prevent them from
22 talking to Bosnian Muslims across the lines. The protection of military
23 weapons from thievery was considered a counter-intelligence or a security
24 related task, while it was also related to law enforcement. It talks
25 about issues where cases of one soldier in the zone of responsibility had
1 direct contact with the Bosnian Muslims, and that once the security organ
2 found out about it, they took the steps to prevent that. Notice that all
3 data collected by counter-intelligence work is duly delivered to users.
4 Again, still under security, it discusses the roles and activity
5 of the brigade military police company and what it is doing in its role up
6 over the year. And more along the lines of the relationship between the
7 security organ and the military prosecutor and military court. And in the
8 last paragraph, a general assessment by the brigade command as to the work
9 of the security branch and how they see the future going.
10 Q. So what does this indicate to you regarding the involvement of a
11 commander in security affairs?
12 A. This typifies the broad knowledge that the commander and the
13 command in general have on the functions of the security organ in the
14 Zvornik Brigade. As you might expect, you do not have specific
15 information where the security officer of the Zvornik Infantry Brigade is
16 putting in this document how many informers are members of his unit or
17 where they were located. You do not have specifics, since this is an
18 annual report, you will not specific pieces of intelligence placed in
19 here. But what this reflects is the fact that there is a general
20 awareness on the part of the brigade command, what the roles and
21 responsibilities of the brigade security and intelligence organs are as a
22 member -- as a part of that brigade.
23 Q. Okay. Now, let's go to the next document. Were you able to find
24 a Bratunac Brigade document along the same lines?
25 A. Yes, sir. It is listed as Prosecution Exhibit 391.
1 Q. And where did you get this document from?
2 A. This document was seized by the OTP during the search of the
3 former Bratunac Brigade headquarters.
4 Q. And can you put on the ELMO so we can see whose name is on there?
5 A. Is it possible to scan out, please.
6 Q. The machine will scan up, I believe. It's an A4 document. There
7 we go. Thank you.
8 So what is this document?
9 A. As discussed before, recording the requirements of the VRS, this
10 is the Bratunac Brigade semi-annual evaluation of their combat readiness
11 for the first half of 1995. It's dated 4 July, 1995, and it, of course,
12 is sent to their superior, the Drina Corps command.
13 Q. And it's under the name of Mr. Blagojevic, dated 4 July. How long
14 had he been -- just remind us, how long had he been the commander at that
16 A. Colonel Blagojevic assumed command of the Bratunac Brigade on 25
17 May 1995. So he has been the commander for two and a half months at this
18 point roughly. And as you can see from the original, this is the original
19 B/C/S version, and he has signed this report.
20 If I can direct your attention to page 6 of the English language
21 translation, just like the Zvornik Brigade report, this also has a section
22 pertaining to intelligence and security support. And noting that the
23 security branch is -- for the most part is devoting most of their time to
24 intelligence and counter-intelligence tasks, pursuant to that October 1994
25 instruction from Main Staff. It notes that the training of the staff,
1 that they're planning courses for battalion security organs. It notes in
2 the next paragraph one particular instance where the brigade does not have
3 an established sabotage and reconnaissance platoon, as a result of
4 well-known reasons. In this particular case, that platoon known as the
5 Mungus platoon effectively deserted en masse and showed up later in the
6 Serbian Republic of the Krajina as mercenaries under the ministry of
7 interior of Serbia. So they mass-defected in this particular instance,
8 as far as we can tell from our material. It notes the reconnaissance
9 squads are being formed in all battalions. It reflects the fact that they
10 themselves in their communications platoon do not have equipment to
11 intercept the radio communications of the enemy, but that they're working
12 with the corps radio reconnaissance platoon in order to intercept
13 equipment working at the VHF frequencies. It talks about "the engagement
14 of intelligence and security organs and reconnaissance uses collecting
15 information of which decisions on the use of our own forces can be made
16 successfully and on time."
17 Clearly, the practical application of this information being
18 collected is going to the disposal of the brigade command and brigade
19 commander for use of his tactical decisions. Counter-security-related
20 issues: They're working very hard to prevent communications via Motorola
21 so the enemy doesn't intercept their conversations.
22 The last paragraph in this page specifically notes that the
23 military police platoon is engaged as planned on orders of the brigade
24 commander. And the training was also planned and completed in accordance
25 with the situation.
1 Q. Mr. Butler, on that --
2 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Sorry, Mr. McCloskey, one question.
3 Before you leave this document, you said that Colonel Blagojevic
4 became the commander of the Bratunac Brigade under 25 May --
5 THE WITNESS: Yes, ma'am. There will be an exhibit which
6 indicates that.
7 JUDGE ARGIBAY: This document is for July. For me, it's not two
8 months; it's one month and a half at most.
9 THE WITNESS: Yes, ma'am, I'll take that into account.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY:
11 Q. That's not your first mistake, is it Mr. Butler.
12 A. And I suspect it won't be my last.
13 Continuing with this document, there's a slight break in the
14 paging, again noting the activities of the military police platoon, and
15 continuing on in that same topic, it also reflects some of the issues and
16 problems of military police platoon. One of the things of interest here
17 is it notes that during 1995 that the military police had the
18 responsibility of monitoring the passage of the various international
19 organisations as they pass through or stayed in the brigade's area of
20 responsibility. This, of course, the travelings in and out of the
21 Srebrenica safe area. And it reflects that this information is monitored
22 and that every significant event was reported to the superior organs of
23 the Drina Corps and Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska.
24 So here clearly a situation where the brigade command might not
25 know the exact details of each and every one of those reports that
1 Captain First Class Nikolic has sent up to his superior organ, but they
2 are well aware that he is reporting to those people.
3 And the final observation in this one, how they evaluate
4 themselves with respect to their performance of their tasks, "particularly
5 from analysis of the work done in the last six months, we concluded that
6 the intelligence and security work in the brigade has improved and that
7 all intelligence and security records are in good order." So again, not
8 specific details of what those intelligence and security records are, but
9 a general awareness of the records themselves, what they contain and what
10 type of order they're in.
11 Q. If I could just go back briefly to page 8 where you mention
12 briefly the fourth paragraph down, the brigade's area of responsibility, a
13 checkpoint was established for the control of all international
15 Can you relate that back to any orders that you have previously
16 discussed relating to international support for the enclaves?
17 A. Well, what this will relate to, I don't believe we've discussed it
18 yet, but what this will relate to will be supreme command directive 7,
19 which discusses what the role of the Republika Srpska armed forces with
20 respect to the monitoring and later the actual conduct of trying to
21 prevent international organisations from fully accomplishing their duties.
22 In this particular case, the checkpoint that they are discussing will be
23 the military police checkpoint established at Zuti Most or Yellow Bridge.
24 Q. All right. Thank you. That's my mistake. I realise we haven't
25 gotten to that document yet.
1 All right. The next exhibit, 392. It's listed as a command of
2 the Drina Corps security department to various commands of various
3 brigades, strictly for the chief of intelligence and security affairs.
4 And it is under the name of Vujadin Popovic. Can you tell us what this is
5 and why you've chosen to discuss this document.
6 A. Well, there has been a lot of discussion in a number of cases over
7 the types of information that may or may not be withheld from a commander
8 by a security officer. And I chose to discuss this document because I
9 believe it is an excellent example and one of the few that I know exists,
10 certainly within the OTP, of a document that it's fairly simple to
11 conclude that this document would not have been shown to the commander or
12 his relevant staff officers and would have been maintained only by the
13 chief of intelligence and security affairs.
14 Q. So tell us -- we don't want to read the whole document, but can
15 you tell us what this document is about.
16 A. In this particular instance, the Main Staff intelligence and
17 security branch has obtained information which indicates that the
18 assassination of General Mladic and General Tolimir have been ordered by
19 some members not designated. And what this document does or what this
20 order does is it directs that during visits to the area, security officers
21 will ensure adequate physical security and counter-intelligence security,
22 and they will also establish an investigation, each security officer will
23 begin investigations in their own unit to try and determine if there is
24 any information which could assist in the investigation in this respect.
25 It notes specifically that they are to inform the security organs
1 in their unit, their own security referent and the subordinate battalions
2 on a need-to-know basis in order to collect information related to this
3 case. It notes the security file that's going to be opened and it gives
4 instructions for passing the information that's received and instructions
5 on what to do if you actually come across the individuals who are part of
6 this conspiracy. It also notes that all information on this subject will
7 be reported by mail, again to ensure security, that it isn't compromised
8 through normal telecommunications channels or it isn't inadvertently
9 leaked to another staff member.
10 So this is what I would view as a classic example of a document
11 from the security department of the Drina Corps that would go to
12 subordinate security officers that by necessity the brigade commander and
13 his staff would not be made aware of.
14 Q. The secrecy and the nature of this document, would that relate to
15 a security officer's duties with the detention of large numbers of
17 A. No, sir, it has nothing to do with that.
18 Q. All right. Now, if we can move from security, unless Your Honours
19 have any questions on that, any further questions, we can go and discuss
20 some of the issues related to the duties of the Zvornik Brigade chief of
21 engineering. And can you briefly describe for us -- you've already
22 pointed out where that person fits in the structure, but can you briefly
23 describe what kind of a job that is.
24 A. In many respects, the chief of engineering services, while they're
25 considered part of the operative organs of the brigade staff, because
1 engineering is an operations-related function, it is recognised that
2 engineering services are a specialised field. To give an example, it
3 would probably be the same in the case of air defence, anti-aircraft
4 defence forces. It is part of operations but it is a specialised field.
5 The role of the engineer officer on the staff is to provide that
6 professional technical advice and suggestions to the commander as to the
7 use of the engineer assets in that unit, once the commander approving them
8 or modifies them, it is his job to take the commander's directives in that
9 part and ensure that they are carried out by the subordinate engineer
11 Q. When you say ensure they're carried out, how would a chief of
12 engineering ensure they are carried out? What authority does he have?
13 A. Like other staff officers, he's operating under the delegated
14 authority of the chief of staff and the brigade commander.
15 Q. And so what can he do?
16 A. As the regulations indicate, he has the ability to task those
17 units that are directly under his staff supervision with respect to
18 regulating their professional activities. A practical example would be
19 while the brigade commander would order a series of bunker emplacements
20 to be built at a certain location, it would be the responsibility of the
21 engineering staff officer to determine which units of the engineer company
22 would best do that, what orders have to be given to ensure that the
23 resources are available to be there, that the fuel is available to be
24 there. Those type of technical issues which a commander by definition
25 would not normally have the time or the technical expertise to get into
1 the details of. That is the classical role of a staff officer on a staff.
2 Q. Does that include issuing instructions to the engineering company?
3 A. Yes, sir, it would.
4 Q. Well, can you tell us a bit about the engineering company and how
5 it relates, if it does, to the chief of engineering.
6 A. Well, the engineering company in many respects is exactly like the
7 military police company. The engineering staff officer is responsible for
8 all of the professional and training aspects of that organisation.
9 However, the engineer company commander falls under the direct command of
10 the brigade commander.
11 Q. Can you tell us more about the engineer company in the Zvornik
12 Brigade for July 1995, roughly how many people, what kind of assets it
14 A. I believe the engineer company, and we will get into the details
15 on this later, as we have the actual breakdown roster for July 1995,
16 consisted of approximately 70 to 90 individuals broken down into three
17 platoons. One of them heavy equipment road construction, one of them
18 general engineering, one of them what we call pioneers or combat
19 engineers. They had more equipment than most units, but certainly not
20 engineer-related equipment to meet their own needs. One of the things
21 that we'll see in this regard is that a lot of the equipment they're using
22 has been requisitioned from local industry. For personnel and manning,
23 the engineers like a lot of the other formations of the military were
24 short on qualified individuals.
25 In July of 1995, for example, the company commander was an
1 individual by the name of Dragan Jevtic who by professional was a civil
2 engineer. He was not a professional military engineer. A lot of the
3 other platoon commanders were of the same background. They had an
4 engineering background, but not necessarily a military engineering
5 background. So in that respect, the staff officer who was an engineering
6 staff officer had additional oversight, and in many instances directed the
7 activity of those platoons and that company because of their lack of
8 military engineering experience.
9 Q. Who was Dragan Jevtic's direct superior?
10 A. Well, his direct superior in a command sense would have been the
11 brigade commander Colonel Vinko Pandurevic.
12 Q. And let's go to the exhibit you've chosen for the engineering
13 unit. I believe the first one was P393. Can you tell us where you got
14 this document and what it is.
15 A. This is a definition -- I mean, this is the rules on the
16 utilisation on the rules of the SFRY and this is a document that the
17 Office of the Prosecutor did not have and was provided by Defence counsel
18 for Mr. Jokic. It is like many of the other things that we've seen
19 already, it is the SFRY rules on engineering and the utilisation in the
20 armed forces.
21 Q. Don't go too fast. I'm -- we need to keep it slow, but keep
23 A. As we've seen in the cases of other officers, by regulation their
24 general duties and functions are specified. And I believe since the Court
25 has seen this, there are only a few issues I would like to point out. The
1 last paragraph on the first page again reflects that "Pursuant to the
2 commander's decisions, coordinating and consulting with organs of the
3 command, it proposes tasks of the engineering units in terms of priority,
4 makes a plan of engineering security, prepares orders for engineering
5 security of the subordinate combined units and as well as directly
6 subordinated and supplementary units."
7 Q. Just make sure the record is clear, it reads "cooperating and
9 A. I'm sorry, "decisions, cooperating and consulting". Again, and
10 noted on the second page the third bullet, "controls execution of tasks
11 issued to subordinate engineering units, provides the units with necessary
12 expert assistance and monitors effectiveness of employment of engineering
13 units and material and technical resources."
14 Again, going through these entire series of roles, the classical
15 statement of a staff officer on a brigade staff.
16 Q. It says: "Controls execution of task". In a practical sense, how
17 would the chief of engineering control a particular task and what
18 authority does he have?
19 A. Well, from a practical standpoint, in most cases the commander of
20 an infantry brigade is not going to be a professional military engineer,
21 present exception noted in this case with the Bratunac Brigade.
22 Q. Can you just tell the Court what you mean by that.
23 A. It is my understanding that Colonel Blagojevic is, in fact, a
24 military engineer. But in the case of the Zvornik Infantry Brigade,
25 Colonel Pandurevic is an infantry officer and Lieutenant Colonel Obrenovic
1 is an armour officer. So these individuals are not going to have the
2 detailed knowledge of all of the steps and procedures necessary to
3 adequately supervise an engineering project. That responsibility or that
4 task is going to be delegated by the commander and the chief of staff to
5 the officer on the staff who has the training and the ability to do that,
6 in this case the engineer staff officer.
7 Q. All right. Now, let's go to the job in -- that's referred to as
8 the brigade duty officer. Now, we've heard a fair amount about that
9 already, Mr. Butler, but can you just give us your very brief outline
10 understanding, based on the documents you've read, about what that job
12 A. The specific in this instance, the brigade duty officer is a
13 rotating job that each of the officers qualified in the brigade assume on
14 a 24-hour basis. The duty operations centre is manned on a 24-hour-a-day,
15 seven-day-a-week basis. It is a continually functioning organ or internal
16 organ of the brigade command post. Officers are placed in this duty based
17 on a roster by the chief of staff. This office, by its design, is the
18 focal point where all information impacting the brigade and their
19 combat-related activities passes through. So it is, in effect, the nerve
20 centre of a lot of the information which comes in and out of the brigade
22 Q. Okay. What, in particular, are the responsibilities of the
23 brigade duty officer?
24 A. If I can direct the Court to Exhibit 394. Again, this is the
25 manual for the work of the command and staffs. Page 34, starting at
1 paragraph 64, it discusses the duty operations officer and at 66, his
2 specific duties. It makes it very clear that the duty operations officer
3 is a very, by regulation, active participant in things that are occurring
4 that are of importance to the brigade, the monitoring of combat
5 operations, particularly the second bullet: "To inform the commander and
6 chief of staff about any major changes or orders issued by a superior
7 which require a decision of the commander." To the third bullet: "To be
8 familiar with the disposition of the elements of the command post and to
9 know the locations of the commander, chief of staff, and assistants to the
11 Further on: "To make sure that control and communications are
12 maintained with superior and subordinate commands." It further calls for
13 the receiving and dispatching of orders and reports to other organs which
14 they not be able or off shift at the time. To monitor and verify measures
15 for the immediate security and defence of the command post and sound alert
16 in case of attack. And in that last paragraph, it discusses all of the
17 documents and plans which the duty operations officer must have in order
18 to do his work.
19 Q. When it says to receive and dispatch orders, can you describe what
20 that means.
21 A. In a practical manner, the functions of command mandate that the
22 commander and frequently the chief of staff are going to be out among the
23 actual forces. I mean, certainly the commander will, that's his place to
24 be is with his troops. In recognition of that fact that there will be
25 times when the commander is not physically at his command post, that when
1 orders come in from the superior command, as they will be passed to the
2 superior duty operations chain, or by direct telephone contact from the
3 superior command, it is his case to make sure that those orders are
4 implements and to keep his commander informed of those orders when they
5 need his decision. Some orders can be independently implemented by the
6 duty officer. The bulk of the orders that the duty officer receives are
7 in fact orders that have to be passed on to his commander because they
8 will require a commander or chief of staff decision.
9 But it recognises the fact that the duty officer -- if the
10 commander and chief of staff are not available for whatever reason or out
11 of communication, the duty officer -- it is within the purview of the
12 regulations for him to take the initiative and make the orders that are
13 required to fit the combat situation at that time.
14 Q. When a brigade duty officer such as Major Jokic receives an
15 illegal order from above, such as to make arrangements for the detention
16 and killing of prisoners or the burying of prisoners, what are his
17 duties -- excuse me, under his rules, what are his responsibilities in
18 responding to such an illegal order?
19 A. In this particular case, the regulation goes back to -- this one
20 is the 1988 regulations on the applications of the law of war. It clearly
21 specifies that no officer or no soldier is under the obligation to follow
22 an order that they recognise as being unlawful at face value. Regardless
23 of any other tenet of the regulations, if the officer can recognise that
24 the order is unlawful, he is not obligated to carry it out. And again, as
25 a position, as an officer and a person of superior responsibility, granted
1 not a commander, he is obligated to take steps in order to ensure that the
2 violation or the order for the violation is reported up the proper chain
3 of command.
4 Q. What would the duty officer's responsibility be if he merely
5 passed on that order for others to carry out?
6 A. Again, going back to the SFRY instructions on that, just passing
7 it on he becomes part of that process. And those are regulated in those
8 paragraphs. We can go back and look at them specifically. The Court and
9 obviously everyone has those. You become part of that process.
10 Q. As the brigade duty officer, is he more than just a switchboard
11 person passing on things? What is his responsibility, really?
12 A. If I can refer back to the document here, paragraph 65. And it
13 notes that the operations duty officer and his assistant commander are
14 commanding officers in the command.
15 In this respect, they're not talking about individuals who are
16 actively battalion or commanders or brigade commanders of that nature.
17 What they're talking about are officers who are qualified to command and
18 lead formations. These are experienced, seasoned officers because this is
19 recognised as an important duty, particularly given the absence of a
20 commander or deputy commander as the circumstances occur. This is not a
21 function that they're going to give to junior officers with no experience.
22 They may very well be assisted, but it is recognised that the operations
23 duty officer when he's on is considered to be a representative of the
24 commander and that the people who are performing this duty are, in fact,
25 the most qualified officers in the formation.
1 Q. All right. Now, let's switch gears a little bit and I want you to
2 be able to give the Court some of the basic background information that
3 you have learned about, first, Colonel Blagojevic. Can you briefly
4 summarise what you know about his background.
5 A. With respect to the VRS background of Colonel Blagojevic, we do
6 not have that many documents which would assist in laying that out; we
7 have a few. I will detail through them just to give a quick synopsis of
8 what information we do have on his background and where we have received
9 that information.
10 If I can direct the Court's attention to Exhibit 395, this is the
11 translation of an article from a VRS military magazine called Drinski
12 magazine. It was first the military magazine of the Zvornik Brigade and
13 later became the military magazine of the entire Drina Corps. On the
14 third anniversary of the Zvornik Brigade, it gives a rundown of the former
15 brigade commanders. I would highlight for the Court that where it notes
16 "three years have passed since 02 June 1990," as printed, clearly in this
17 instance, the magazine misprinted that and it's 1992, as it notes in the
18 first line. But, of significance, it notes that the first commander of
19 the Zvornik Infantry Brigade was established was Lieutenant Colonel
20 Vidoje Blagojevic.
21 Q. Do you know how long he was the commander there?
22 A. It is my understanding that he was not the commander there more
23 than a month, month and a half. As you go through the article, he is
24 replaced at a point in time by another JNA officer. And at that point in
25 time, I don't know where he goes.
1 Q. How do you know Mr. Blagojevic was a JNA officer before being in
2 the VRS?
3 A. I believe we've had a number of individuals who have told us that
4 again Colonel Blagojevic was a professional JNA officer. He is not a
5 reserve officer. He has his rank as a basis of his former status in the
6 JNA as an active service officer.
7 Q. What else do you know about him from the document?
8 A. The next glimpse, it's probably the best word to use in this
9 instance, of the tracking of the career of Colonel Blagojevic in this
10 respect is an order published by the Drina Corps to the Zvornik Infantry
11 Brigade detailing reserve Lieutenant Colonel Bosancic to assume the
12 position as the acting chief of staff of the Bratunac Light Infantry
13 Brigade. And this is dated 28 October, 1993.
14 At the bottom of that order under that explanation it reflects
15 that the present acting chief of staff of the brigade, Lieutenant Colonel
16 Vidoje Blagojevic, is to return to his previous duty at the corps command,
17 so another person must be appointed to ensure the proper operation and
18 functioning of the brigade staff. This indicates that during some period
19 in the fall of late summer or early fall of 1993, Colonel Blagojevic
20 performed the duties as the acting chief of staff of the Bratunac Light
21 Infantry Brigade.
22 Q. But you don't know for how long?
23 A. No, sir. Where I start to get an accurate picture of
24 Colonel Blagojevic starts when he assumes command of the Bratunac Light
25 Infantry Brigade on 25 May, 1995.
1 Q. And this is Exhibit 397. Can you explain what this exhibit is,
2 what this document is.
3 A. Generally speaking, and we will see more of these types of
4 documents, as part of their reporting requirements, brigades were required
5 to submit a daily regular combat report to the superior command, and in
6 this particular case being it's the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, that
7 superior command is the Drina Corps command. This is the daily reporting
8 mechanism by which the brigade command and specifically commander reported
9 the activities of his unit to the corps command, specifically for the
10 corps commander. Paragraph 2 of this particular document notes that the
11 transfer of duties was established -- took place at 1000 hours under the
12 supervision of Major General Zivanovic. And while it does not
13 specifically note him as being appointed as the commander, he signs the
14 document as the commander of the Bratunac Brigade, as is the custom.
15 Q. Do you have a signature?
16 A. In this particular document, all I have is the electronic version.
17 So while we have the typed, signed signature, we do not have his actual
18 signature like we saw in other documents. In many of these documents and
19 as we'll get to them later, we will actually have the handwritten draft of
20 these documents before they were typed into message form, and you'll see a
21 variety of signatures, some of which will be his on these documents.
22 Q. Okay. Now let's go to briefly what you know about the background
23 of Mr. Jokic.
24 A. This document P398 is the English translation of a document found
25 in the professional military personnel file of Dragan Jokic during the OTP
1 search of the Zvornik -- or the former headquarters of the
2 Zvornik Infantry Brigade. This reflects all of the pertinent information
3 on one sheet pertaining to then-Major Jokic. At this particular time when
4 this document was done, he was listed still as Captain First Class. It
5 notes his branch as in engineer. It notes his current duty assignment in
6 the VRS is the chief of engineering of the brigade. And moving further
7 down, it notes one of the interesting phenomenon which we see with
8 officers of the former JNA, those professional officers, and how their pay
9 and other related forms of military subsistence and administrative support
10 are regulated through the 30th Personnel Centre of the Yugoslav Army
11 General Staff. One of the things we will see consistently when we look at
12 VRS officers who are from the former JNA and who are active serving
13 officers, is they will hold a duty appointment in the VRS and you will see
14 that on line 15 and they will also hold what I call a shadow appointment
15 within the VJ, the federal army of Yugoslavia, and you notice that on line
17 Q. When did Mr. Jokic begin the chief of engineering job based on
18 this document?
19 A. Excuse me. I'm having trouble reading off the monitor. Let me
20 just go ahead and ...
21 It notes - again, it's a handwritten notation - that he assumed
22 the position of chief of engineering on 6th December, 1992. And of
23 course, it also notes in line 12 that he had actually been in the VRS
24 since 16 May of 1992.
25 Q. All right. Do you have another document related to Mr. Jokic and
1 the engineering -- well, excuse me, related to Mr. Jokic.
2 A. This document, and because of the lines it's not showing up well
3 on the monitor, obviously.
4 Q. P399 for the record.
5 A. This document is the English translation of the log which tracks
6 the presence of - in this particular case - the officers and soldiers of
7 the Zvornik Brigade command in July of 1995. If you note line 13, that
8 indicates that Major Jokic is the chief of engineering of the brigade, it
9 is his duty in July of 1995.
10 Q. Well, it says Major Jokic NINZ, how do you know what that means?
11 A. What will be the limit probably of my ability to understand the
12 Bosnian Serb language, N is the abbreviation for "nacelnik," which is
13 chief. INZ is engineering.
14 If I can then note, this is the actual Bosnian Serb language of
15 the chart, noting again on 13, Major Dragan Jokic and this of course shows
16 where he is accounted for on each and every day of the month.
17 Q. And do you know what those little pluses mean next to his name?
18 A. Going back to this, the English language translation, as a part of
19 this log, the person who filled out this log put an index as to what the
20 place names and what the codes are. A plus indicates that they are
21 present for duty. There are other codes that you will see, SL or C equals
22 off. T is a reference to on the terrain or in the field. You have
23 references for sick leave or hospitalised. You have references for AWOL.
24 You have references for if they are attached to a battalion. And of
25 course T is noted twice in this case.
1 Q. I don't see a plus. How do you know plus, what that means?
2 A. In interviewing a number of individuals about this log, we were
3 informed that plus is the sign that they use to indicate present for duty.
4 Q. And --
5 A. This is so they wouldn't leave the spot blank.
6 Q. And this document shows Dragan Jokic present for duty from --
7 A. If we can scan up just a bit it will be clearer. This is 13,
8 column is him. And we scan along. It shows the period on the ELMO now
9 from 1 to 23. And it shows that with the exception of the 13th, he is
10 present for duty -- I'm sorry, I think I'm on the wrong line. With the
11 exception of 12th, he's present for duty. Yes.
12 Q. All right. Now I want to switch gears again, and if you could
13 provide us a brief historical outline of the events leading up to July
14 1995, some of the key events, and then, of course, we'll get into some of
15 the documents that lead up to the attack on the enclave.
16 A. Without going into too much on the broader context of military
17 operations in the Drina valley or the Podrinje region, it's fair to say
18 that as part of the creation of the state of Republika Srpska, there was a
19 lot of military operations involved in various parts of that what later
20 would become the Republika Srpska. With respect to the Podrinje area,
21 after initial takeovers of various municipalities by the local Bosnian
22 Serb forces, the Bosnian Muslim forces begin a series of counter-attacks
23 and over the ensuing months of 1992 greatly strengthened their hold on a
24 lot of that area. In some effects the Bosnian Serb forces were almost
25 limited to the major populated areas of that region which is known as
1 Lower Podrinje.
2 In a greater sense, the Republika Srpska army chose to allow that
3 to happen because a more significant and critical issue for them was to
4 control the Posavina corridor area in the northern area from Bijeljina
5 towards the Krajina. At a strategic level, they understood that if they
6 could not secure the Posavina corridor during the summer months of 1992,
7 there would be no chance for them to ever have a viable state. By August,
8 September, and moving into October of 1992, the army of the Republika
9 Srpska by and large achieved those military goals. And then began to turn
10 towards now securing the rather precarious hold they had on the Podrinje
11 area. One of the first manifestations we have of this - and it's a
12 document I'll go into some detail in a little bit - is the directive for
13 further operations, or what we call, Supreme Command Operational Directive
14 Four, which lays out in macro terms what the goals and objectives of the
15 army were.
16 Now, one issue to note in this particular case is that in November
17 1992, the Drina Corps is established as a corps entity in the Bosnian Serb
18 or VRS army for the very first time. That's significant in so much as the
19 fact that while the VRS used former JNA corps headquarters that had left
20 the country as the nucleuses for their own corps as they were formed, the
21 Drina Corps had no such advantage. The Drina Corps headquarters was
22 organised essentially from scratch. And it was organised on 1 November
23 1992, when it became clear that the collection of other units and other
24 corps that covered that zone prior would be militarily unable to conduct
25 operations and to secure that area. So in effect, the creation of the
1 Drina Corps represents, you know, the Main Staff of the army and the
2 supreme command now focusing on the critical area of the Podrinje valley.
3 I think in this context, the UN report provides an adequate
4 background as to the military and political events which lead through 1992
5 to the establishment of the safe areas in the summer or May, spring of
6 1993. So I won't go into those in too much detail. That status
7 essentially remains until January of 1995. In January of 1995, as I've
8 discussed earlier - let the interpreters catch up here for a second - the
9 strategic balance seems to be shifting away from the Republika Srpska and
10 towards its adversaries. And despite the ceasefire that's in effect in
11 January and February, certainly the VRS understands that that cease-fire
12 will not last and that offensive operations by their adversaries will
13 begin in the spring. This leads to the publication of the Supreme Command
14 Directive Seven and the version of it, 7.1, which in effect note that the
15 issue with the enclaves is now coming to a head and that a permanent
16 solution for these enclaves has to be effected, because manning around the
17 enclaves is now more critically needed in other places. So that is the
18 broad overview which brings us from the Podrinje valley campaigns of 1992
19 to the spring of 1995.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, we start getting into the documents
21 now. Perhaps it's a good time to take our break.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll resume at 12.30.
23 --- Recess taken at 11.58 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Q. Mr. Butler, after your brief synopsis, historical synopsis, I want
3 to take you back now to the time frame, I believe it's November 1992. You
4 mentioned a directive. Let's start to go through the documents that will
5 help with the outline you've just given us. So if you could take the
6 document you've chosen, I believe it's Exhibit 400. Tell us how that fits
7 into what you'd told us before. Tell us what it is, first of all. And
8 could we -- thank you.
9 A. This document is what is known as directive for further operations
10 of the Army of Republika Srpska or what we call operational directives.
11 In this particular case it's operational directive number 4.
12 Q. And what is an operational directive?
13 A. An operational directive is a political military document which in
14 effect lays out the long, intermediate, and short-term goals and war aims
15 of, in this case, the Republika Srpska. So these documents are very
16 useful, particularly for me, in being able to look at one document and see
17 where the political objectives are outlaid and how the plan is to
18 accomplish them militarily.
19 Q. And how did you get hold of this particular document?
20 A. This document, and I believe all of the strategic directives or
21 operational directives that we have were seized by the Office of the
22 Prosecutor during the search of the headquarters of the former 1st Krajina
23 Corps in Banja Luka.
24 Q. So what does this document tell us relating to what you had begun
25 telling us about before?
1 A. Well, in paragraph 1, and I won't go into detail on this, since
2 you can read it down the line. But I mean, within that context it outlays
3 what the Bosnian Serb military view is of the overall war situation. And
4 it discusses what they believe the Croatian aims are, what they believe
5 the Bosnian Muslim aims are and as the course of the document will go down
6 it will outline, in general terms, what the Army of the Republika Srpska
7 plan to be.
8 Now, specific to campaigns related to the Drina Corps, if I can
9 invite your attention to page 5 of that document, the paragraph D if I can
10 get it on the ELMO correctly. This specifically outlines the goals and
11 directives of the Drina Corps in context with the overall political
12 objective. And if I can read it says: "From its present positions, its
13 main forces shall persistently defend Visegrad to the dam, Zvornik, and
14 the corridor, that's the south end of the Posavina corridor, while the
15 rest of its forces in the wider Podrinje region shall exhaust the enemy,
16 inflict the heaviest possible losses on him, and force him to leave the
17 Birac, Zepa, and Gorazde areas together with the Muslim population.
18 "First, offer the able-bodied and armed men to surrender and if
19 they refuse, destroy them. After that, unblock and repair the
20 Konjevic Polje/Zvornik road, make it fit for traffic and stand by for
21 intensive combat against infiltrated sabotage, terrorist, surprise and
22 ambush attacks, and paramilitary groups."
23 And finally it designates to set up a command post in Vlasenica
24 and a forward command post as decided by the corps commander.
25 Q. All right. Is there any problem or anything wrong in terms of the
1 Geneva Conventions to exhaust the enemy, inflict the heaviest possible
2 losses on him, and force him to leave the area of Birac, Zepa, and
4 A. In that context, no, sir.
5 Q. In the next line, together with the Muslim population. What do
6 you think that means?
7 A. Well, it indicates to me that the overall objective of the attack
8 is to force the Muslim population out of the region. That is not
9 something that is supposed to be able to happen within the contexts of the
10 Geneva Conventions. So as I look at this, this is -- my impression is
11 what we're looking at is generally an unlawful operation as described to
12 the Drina Corps.
13 Q. You have a map -- we just provided you with a map, 364. If you
14 could just point out again, just to remind us, where Birac, Zepa, and
15 Gorazde are.
16 A. Birac is this region right here in and around Sekovici and in
17 here. The Zepa area is here. And the Gorazde area is here. So in
18 effect, what they're calling for is the depopulation of most of the area
19 within the zone of the Drina Corps of the Muslim population. Now, what
20 has not been noted in this specific order is the eastern portion of the
21 Drina Corps zone, known as the area of Romanija has not been specified.
22 But by November of 1992, the Romanija area was predominant Bosnian Serb,
23 so there was not a significant Bosnian Muslims population in it.
24 Q. All right.
25 A. Continuing with this document, if I can draw your attention to the
1 last page in English, page 7 noting that this document was drafted by
2 Major General Milovanovic. Again, as the chief of staff of the Main Staff
3 and signed by Lieutenant General Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Main
5 Q. All right. What's the next document you've found relevant for
6 this period?
7 A. As we move forward to 1995, the next document that is relative
8 with respect to the safe areas in Eastern Bosnia is directive number 7.
9 And this was published on 17 March, 1995. And again, coming off the cover
10 sheet, that's Prosecution Exhibit 401. From the supreme command of the
11 armed forces, state secret, and in the same context as operational
12 directive 4, the first series of paragraphs outlined the political
13 military context as perceived by the leadership of the Republika Srpska.
14 So when I make that characterisation of what I understand to be the
15 strategic situation, in a large part, this is what I'm basing it on, the
16 perceptions of the Republika Srpska government, as articulated in these
18 Q. Okay. Like you did before, can you go to the section related to
19 the Drina Corps.
20 A. If I can take you to page 10 of the English translation. This is
21 the task of the Drina Corps. It notes that: "Enemy breakthroughs along
22 selective operational tactical lines should be prevented by extremely
23 persistent defence in cooperation with the forces of the SRK," and that's
24 the Sarajevo Romanija Corps, a neighbouring corps, "and on the north-west
25 part of war front around the enclaves. As many enemy forces as possible
1 should be tied down by diversionary and active combat operations on the
2 north-west part of the front, using operational, tactical and camouflage
3 measures. While in the direction of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves,
4 complete physical separation of Srebrenica and Zepa should be carried out
5 as soon as possible, preventing even communication between individuals in
6 the two enclaves."
7 And the last sentence: "By planned and well-thought-out combat
8 operations, create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no
9 hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica and
11 Q. Now, that last sentence, can you relate that in any way to the
12 directive from November?
13 A. If you couple it with the directive 4 from November 1992, it's a
14 continuation of the longer-term policy goal that the Republika Srpska is
15 not willing to tolerate a sizable Bosnian Muslims presence in Eastern
17 Q. All right. Is there anything else in this section that provides
18 any information about that process of creating a situation?
19 A. Well, moving to page 11, part of that same paragraph it specifies
20 that: "In case the UNPROFOR forces should leave Zepa and Srebrenica, the
21 Drina Corps command shall plan an operation named Jadar with the task of
22 breaking up and destroying the Muslim forces in these enclaves and again
23 definitively liberating the Drina valley region."
24 Moving to page 14 of the English language translation, there's
25 paragraph 6, support for combat operations. The fourth paragraph notes
1 that: "The relevant state and military organs responsible for work with
2 UNPROFOR and humanitarian organisations shall, through the planned and
3 unobtrusively restrictive issuing of permits, reduce and limit the
4 logistic support of UNPROFOR to the enclaves and the supply of material
5 resources to the Muslim population, making them dependent on our good
6 will, while at the same time avoiding condemnation by the international
7 community and international public opinion."
8 Q. Can you relate this to a previous Bratunac Brigade document you
10 A. As I've mentioned previously, in the semi-annual report of the
11 Bratunac Brigade, there was that phrase which indicated that the work at
12 the checkpoint at UNPROFOR was proceeding in accordance with the plan of
13 the Main Staff and also the brigade commander. So in connection with
14 those two, you see the practical application or the actual manifestation
15 of part of this plan.
16 The last piece of this document, page 15 of directive 7 again
17 notes: Drafted by Colonel Miletic, who was at this time, he is the chief
18 of operations of the Main Staff, and it is signed by the supreme
19 commander, Dr. Radovan Karadzic. And this is the B/C/S signed version of
21 Q. Okay. So as we move ahead from March 1995 towards July 1995, is
22 there a document that's -- excuse me, there's another document that's
23 related to that one you've just mentioned, P401, and that is P402. Can
24 you tell us what that is and what the significance of that is?
25 A. Yes, sir. This particular document, given the very large-ranging
1 goals for the entire army in directive number 7, in this instance the Main
2 Staff published supplemental directive 7-1 or 7/1 in order to break up
3 those goals into more manageable pieces for the military in terms of time
4 and objectives. This document was published by the Main Staff.
5 With respect to the Drina Corps, it takes the broader objective
6 that is listed in 7 and puts it into more appropriate military terminology
7 with respect to the sequence by which military operations will take place,
8 indicating that the first task in coordination -- I'm sorry in corporation
9 with the IBK, and in this instance, IBK is the Eastern Bosnia Corps,
10 that's the corps to their north, is the complete task from Operation
11 Spreca 1995 as soon as possible. It would then work to continue the other
12 tasks in directive 7. This takes into account that at the time operation
13 7.1 -- this directive is being published, they are in the middle of
14 Operation Spreca 95.
15 Q. What's that?
16 A. Spreca 95 was a VRS operation designed to counter offensive
17 operations by the Bosnian Muslims 2 Corps in the Majevica and the -- in
18 that greater Majevica area. And that was primarily within the East Bosnia
19 Corps. But because the Drina Corps was the corps just to the south,
20 particularly the Zvornik Brigade was significantly involved in components
21 of that operation as well.
22 Q. Is there anything else you find significant in this document?
23 A. In paragraph 6, support for combat operations. It notes that:
24 "Through planned and coordinated information and propaganda activities
25 with state organs and media institutions, exposed the bias of UNPROFOR and
1 the international community, which are allowing the enemy to arm freely
2 and continually attack Serbian defensive positions from the protected zone
3 of Tuzla." In, effect, is part of the Spreca 95. Now, what else is
4 significant in this document is probably best defined by its omission. In
5 directive 7, we had the language with respect to Srebrenica and Zepa that
6 they're to create situations where the population has no hope of survival.
7 That language is absent in directive 7.1. Also in directive 7, you had
8 the directions with respect to the plan to create the conditions where
9 UNPROFOR could not properly supply the enclaves. That language is also
10 not present in directive 7.1.
11 Q. So what do you make of the lack of those two dramatic bits of
12 information in the previous directive?
13 A. My assessment is that again, reflecting that operation directive
14 7.1 is designed to cover a shorter period of time and be more specific to
15 the corps, that given the focus of the events occurring in March and April
16 of 1995 in directive 7 and 7.1, that language wasn't included because it
17 wasn't relevant to the operations that were occurring in those separate
18 months. Clearly we see operation -- we see the language in operation 7.0,
19 particularly the strangulation of the UNPROFOR forces in the enclave
20 manifested in the activities. And I believe a number of UN people have
21 testified to the situation there over the months of January to July. So
22 clearly we see the effects of operational directive 7, even though it is
23 not specifically specified in 7.1.
24 Q. All right. Now, as we move up towards July to the period of the
25 actual attack on the enclave, is there an another relevant document you've
1 chosen among this group?
2 A. In this context, since as a course of my research for this trial
3 we were focusing primarily on the issues with respect to the
4 Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, one of the more relevant documents that
5 we have, the OTP came in possession of through its seizure operation in
6 Bratunac, is a book where the minutes of commander's daily meetings or
7 select commander's daily meetings were noted down, and we call this the
8 meetings and report book of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade.
9 This book is fragmentary in so much as it does not have notations
10 for every single day, and in some cases it skips notations by month. But
11 there are relevant notations for the period of late June and July of 1995
12 that provide insight as to the working operations of the Bratunac Brigade,
13 as well as insights into the effectiveness of command and control of that
15 I start here on page 2. This is simply the commander's
16 observations at a meeting on 28 June, 1995. And just looking over it, it
17 just demonstrates very simply nothing more than effective exercise of
18 command. The next one of significance will be page 4 on the English
19 language translation. And this reflects the 30 June 1995 meeting with the
20 commander and brigade command. And again you'll note, some of the more
21 routine items on the agenda. The semi-annual analysis which we've talked
22 about earlier, courses for the battalion, and one thing it does note of
23 interest, or at least interest to me, is that this notation that the chief
24 of staff of the Drina Corps with the staff visited the brigade zone of
25 responsibility, the 3rd Infantry Battalion. The 3rd Infantry Battalion
1 with its headquarters at Pribicevac ultimately becomes the main access of
2 advance or avenue of the attack, if you will, by which the operation of
3 Srebrenica takes place. So this indicates to me that this is the first
4 visible piece of planning by the command of the Drina Corps in the
5 operation which would be known as Krivaja 95.
6 Moving to the next page which is 1 July 1995, page 5 of the
7 English translation. This affects 1 July 1995, again reflects meeting,
8 the commander, chief of staff, assistant commander for logistics, morale.
9 The practical application of the issuing of orders and the staff reporting
10 compliance of past orders. These are the normal functions of a brigade
11 commander and his staff.
12 Q. I don't see the chief of security at this meeting. Can you -- do
13 you have any reason why he wouldn't be there or do you have any
14 information about that?
15 A. There is not a chief of security listed there, and it does not
16 specifically say. However, if you look down under assistant commander for
17 operations and training, it does say Nikolic. So I don't know what to
18 make of that particular thing. The only thing I do note is that Nikolic,
19 Captain First Class Nikolic is the only Nikolic that I'm aware of on the
20 brigade staff.
21 This is a particular lengthy one starting on page 6 of the English
22 translation. And what we're now getting into the time frame when the
23 Drina Corps is publishing the operations plan, Krivaja 95, for the
24 reduction of the Srebrenica safe area. This reflects a broader meeting
25 between the command staff and the commanders of the battalions, all four
1 battalions and the worker's battalions. And the commander is present at
2 this. And again the practical application of a commander and his staff
3 going battalion by battalion, and becoming aware of all of the relevant
4 security and personnel and logistics issues within the framework of the
5 area of responsibility of his forces. And on page 7 of that, it
6 continues, where we discuss issues or where they discuss issues of the
7 4th Battalion, the commander of the workers battalion. Major Nikolic
8 talking about with respect to what lies ahead. So further about what to
9 do with rifles that were taken away, his suggestions. And then continuing
10 on in page 8 to the end of the meeting, what all of the other staff people
11 are doing, Major Eskic, his chief of personnel, Captain Gavric, the chief
12 of artillery. Major Trisic, the chief of the rear. And then the
13 commander's guidance at the back. That last notation: "The battalion
14 commanders will stay with me and the chief of staff, and the rest of the
15 staff is dismissed."
16 So while nothing of significance jumps out, this is a practical
17 demonstration of a brigade commander in effective command of the brigade.
18 The last two notations on this go to 4 and 5 July, and again reflecting
19 that at this point in time the brigade command and its core command staff
20 are now becoming fully engaged with the Bratunac Brigade's role in the
21 upcoming operation against the Srebrenica safe area. And it notes
22 particularly that they've read out the order from the chief of staff of
23 the Drina Corps for full combat readiness of our unit, also preparing the
24 work for the brigade command, and some other things that have to be
25 resolved, the status of the former workers battalion, and it also notes
1 that you need to prepare a plan for the engagement of the command staff in
2 the units. And we'll see bits and pieces of that further in the future.
3 And on 5 July, the last meeting of this series in the notebook,
4 again administrative orders pertaining to the visit of a unit of the
5 Bratunac Brigade deployed out of the Drina Corps zone in Trnovo.
6 Instructions to Nikolic to provide a public address system and interpreter
7 and select a place from where the address shall be best heard from
8 Potocari village. It notes that he's telling his staff exactly where he's
9 going to be, "I'm going to the 3rd Battalion zone." Micic, who is a
10 lieutenant and operations officer at the Bratunac Brigade is to go to the
11 2nd Battalion zone and do what we agreed with respect to collective
12 weapons. And to clarify for the Court, if I can, "collective weapons" is
13 what we in the U.S. military parlance would call crew-served of weapons.
14 Those are weapons such as mortars, recoilless rockets, types of military
15 weapons where it takes two or three or four persons to operate.
16 It notes that the chief of staff will go to the 1st Battalion to
17 increase accuracy in the direction of artillery fire. And that his other
18 staff officer Eskic will go to the crew of a 20 millimetre anti-aircraft
19 cannon. And where this is significant to me is that it highlights one of
20 the techniques that a commander at any level will use to ensure that his
21 subordinate commands are fully cognizant of what the orders are and that
22 they will be complied with. And that he sends members of his staff down
23 to those subordinate units in order to monitor the activities of those
24 units. In this case, Colonel Blagojevic is directing his staff officers
25 to go to the subordinate battalions where they will monitor the activities
1 of those units. And this is something that we'll see in the continuing
3 Q. Let me ask you about this reference to Nikolic to provide a public
4 address system and an interpreter to select a place from which the address
5 shall be best heard in Potocari village. Do you have any idea what that's
7 A. Only from what is listed at the face of the document itself, that
8 Potocari village at that time is under the control of the UNPROFOR forces,
9 headquarters UNPROFOR battalion is there, and there are some Muslims
10 living there. But I don't know the specific details of what that's
11 supposed to imply.
12 Q. All right.
13 A. And the last notation at this time continuing 5 July, 0730 hours,
14 is the brigade commander presented the order of the Drina Corps command to
15 presumably his command at the time. And that was all that was discussed.
16 Q. Do you have that order from the Drina Corps command regarding the
17 attack on the Srebrenica enclave, the Exhibit 543. Now, we don't want to
18 go over this entire exhibit, but can you tell us from your analysis, what
19 can you point us out to of importance?
20 A. Well, again the date published, 2 July 1995. This particular
21 order came out after our previously published preparation order to get
22 forces moving. But I will try to focus it on the relevant aspects for the
23 Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade, if I can.
24 Q. Well, does this document cite any previous documents?
25 A. As indicated in paragraph 2, it is referencing the operations
1 directive number 7 and 7-1. So it's using that as its base directive
2 to -- as the planning foundation for operations to split apart the
3 enclaves of Zepa and Srebrenica, reducing them to their urban areas.
4 And that, again, is the goal reflected in directive 7.
5 Q. Now, can you -- what does it mean by reducing the enclave - let's
6 talk about Srebrenica - to its urban area. Do you have the map that will
7 give us an idea of the enclave and its urban area? That is Exhibit
8 364 -- actually, that's not the one I was thinking of. The one that
9 actually has the urban area. Yes, that one. This is Exhibit P85.
10 If we could blow that up, focus it on the Srebrenica area. If we
11 could zero in on that a little more -- no, I'm sorry down. Yes, thank
13 A. Well, this gray line is the outline of the border of the
14 Srebrenica enclave. This small little switchback in the road here which
15 you can see, the brown doesn't show up unfortunately too well on the
16 monitor, is the actual urban area of the town of Srebrenica.
17 Q. What's the rough sizes of the urban area?
18 A. Well, as -- based on the geography primarily, it is in a very
19 narrow valley. So I think the rough size we tend to use as a working rule
20 is 1 kilometre wide by 2 kilometres long. And that is the urban area of
22 Q. And where do the population of the enclave live?
23 A. A good chunk of the population of the enclave lives in the urban
24 area, however, there are also a number of very large settlements,
25 particularly towards the south end of the enclave here. One particular
1 settlement of note for displaced Bosnian Muslims is the Swedish shelter
2 project, which is a refugee village, if you will, under a Swedish NGO,
3 where 5.000 people are living. So there is a substantial Bosnian Muslim
4 population in a lot of those southern villages.
5 Q. So what do you think reducing the enclave to the urban area means?
6 What effect would that have in your opinion?
7 A. Well, as I've testified to this extent in the Krstic trial, the
8 practical effect of that would be to replicate the conditions that existed
9 in early May 1993 before the UN designated that as a safe area. A
10 situation where you had a very large humanitarian crisis, where you had 30
11 to 40.000 people pushed into an area and you did not have the life support
12 functions necessary to sustain them. And as a result of that humanitarian
13 crisis in May, the UN initially attempted to evacuate the Bosnian Muslims
14 out of that area.
15 Q. When you say May, you mean May, 1993?
16 A. May of 1993, sir.
17 Q. And I think you've already spoken briefly about the separation of
18 the enclave from Zepa. I don't think we need to get into that again.
19 So --
20 A. Continuing on, it's page 4 of the English language translation.
21 It starts talking about projected offensive tasks for these units. Now,
22 in this particular case, and one of the things I'd like to clarify in
23 advance, is you will see the acronym first BPR, and you'll also see first
24 BLPBR. To clarify, when you see the acronym first BPR, the unit they're
25 referring to is the 1st Birac Infantry Brigade. When you see the acronym
1 first BLPBR, that is the acronym for the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry
2 Brigade. So in this case the instructions to other units of the 1st Birac
3 Brigade and the 2nd Romanija Brigade, and then further down instructions
4 to the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade and where they're going to conduct
5 offensive operations.
6 Turning to page 5, it talks about reserve forces of the
7 Drina Corps being comprised of two or three companies of the MUP and one
8 company from the Vlasenica Light Infantry Brigade. In this respect I only
9 highlight this because at the beginning of my testimony in the case of
10 Krstic, when asked my opinion on these reserve forces, it was my
11 understanding at the time that these were part of the special police
12 brigade from Bijeljina. As noted later in my testimony in the Krstic
13 case, the investigation came to learn of the existence of these PJP
14 companies subordinate to the Zvornik Infantry Brigade. And we've also
15 come to learn that those, in fact, are the companies that were designated
16 as the reserve, not the companies of the special police brigade in Janja.
17 I just want to clarify up front when we talk about the reserve companies
18 with respect to Krivaja 95, we're talking about one or two of the PJP
19 companies from the Zvornik CSB, as well as one company from the
20 Vlasenica Light Infantry Brigade.
21 Q. I notice it says for the reserve forces to prevent an enemy
23 A. That is a traditional role for reserve forces under a commander.
24 One of the things that was anticipated was that the enemy would withdraw
25 rather than become actively decisively engaged in Srebrenica and that
1 additional forces might be required. The police forces since they
2 wouldn't be engaged in active combat operation made the type of forces
3 that you could ideal assemble and put anywhere on the battlefield without
4 disturbing other operations.
5 Q. What did the police forces end up -- that did come later to assist
6 this operation, what did they actually end up doing, just very briefly?
7 A. Well, in fact they did just that. They were deployed along an
8 axis which the enemy was withdrawing.
9 Q. All right.
10 A. On page 6 of the English language translation, it designates the
11 combat security intelligence functions on page 6, and then later page 7,
12 the security functions. And again, for intelligence, making it clear that
13 information is to be gathered and that it will be available for the
14 commanders and units engaged in the attack. And in paragraph -- on page 7
15 under security support, talking about again the more traditional
16 counter-intelligence function in security, preparing the conduct of the
17 operation work out, coding documents, and take care of documents to make
18 sure they are not compromised. It also indicates that the security organs
19 in the military police will be indicate areas for the gathering and
20 securing of prisoners of war and war booty. The next line is that dealing
21 with prisoners of war in the civilian population, they will behave in
22 every way in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
23 Q. In those sections is the corps commander taking any responsibility
24 for prisoners?
25 A. In effect, the corps commander is directing that the security
1 organs take these measures. So he's giving that authority or he is giving
2 that authority to the security organs as the professionals to regulate
3 that. He is designating it as the commander.
4 Q. And does that give up his responsibility by delegating the
6 A. No, sir, it does not.
7 Q. All right. What else, if anything, in this document do you think
8 is of interest in understanding the situation as we approach the attack on
9 the Srebrenica enclave.
10 A. Well, one thing on page 9, just in communications, command and
11 communications. Communications readiness and the requirement to submit
12 daily reports. Again, part of the broader command issue of verification
13 that orders are being carried out and the results are being transmitted up
14 to the superior command. The corps command expects to be fully informed
15 on what's happening in this operation.
16 Q. It also says, designates the forward command post in the
17 Pribicevac area. Can you -- if you could get that map out again, and if
18 you can show us where that is.
19 A. This is Srebrenica, and literally going uphill from that, you will
20 find a small -- very small village called Pribicevac. And this is where
21 the forward command posts were designated for both the Bratunac Brigade
22 and the forward command post of the Drina Corps for this operation.
23 As part of the continuing reporting process from the Bratunac
24 Brigade to the Drina Corps command, the Bratunac Brigade on 4 July is
25 providing the situation to its superior. It is noting its forces are at
1 high state of combat readiness in accordance with the corps order. It
2 notes the brigade commander visiting artillery firing positions, and the
3 chief of staff is visiting positions of the 2nd Infantry Battalion.
4 Now, this particular report is one of the ones where we have the
5 handwritten draft version of it before it was put on the teletype machine.
6 And while this is a handwritten one, and this is the teletype one. And
7 where the significance is here is that on these teletype messages, you
8 will of course not see the physical signature of the brigade commander if
9 he signs the document. All you will see is a notation from an individual
10 who the investigation understands is a communication clerk of the
11 Bratunac Brigade at the time. And I should also note that the
12 investigation also understands that this individual has passed away.
13 But going back to the handwritten document, here you will see the
14 physical signature, in this particular case a signature which I understand
15 to the Colonel Blagojevic's.
16 Q. Why do you think it's Mr. Blagojevic's signature?
17 A. As previously indicated on a number of documents and a number of
18 documents which we were not going to tender specifically as exhibits here
19 because they're not relevant to court proceedings, there are documents,
20 orders, promotion orders, things that are signed only by the commander.
21 And in reviewing all of these documents over a number of years, I have
22 come to recognise myself that this is his signature. What you will
23 normally see and we will see on a number of documents, is that if another
24 officer signs for the commander, and officers are delegated to be able to
25 do that under circumstances, you will see in this area here the letters
1 z-a, za, indicating that the signature is for the commander and it is not
2 the commander's signature. And when we get to some of those examples, I
3 will of course point them out, sir.
4 This document now is a document that I believe the Trial Chamber
5 has seen, P406, which is the Bratunac Brigade order for active combat
6 operations with respect to Krivaja 95.
7 Q. Now, where did you get this document from?
8 A. This document originally came as a Defence exhibit. I understand
9 that the origins of the document are somewhat unclear as to where it came
10 from. All I can say is it does not have an Office of the Prosecutor ERN
11 number on it, so I'm not able to track it back to any of our documents.
12 Having said that, in examining the document in detail, with what I could
13 do with respect to analysing the document and how it interrelates with
14 other material which we know, it is my opinion that what we are looking at
15 is an authentic document itself. There is nothing wrong with the document
16 from that regard.
17 Q. All right. And just to be clear, you say it doesn't have an ERN
18 number on it. What does that mean?
19 A. It is the practice of the Office of the Prosecutor that every
20 document that is in the possession of the Office of the Prosecutor has
21 a -- or any document that we take from any witness or search or seizure,
22 anything that could potentially be an exhibit before the Court, for
23 accountability purposes is stamped with an ERN number. If I can go back
24 very quickly to the last document, P405, just for demonstrative purposes,
25 this number here is what is called the ERN number. The document will have
1 an ERN number in its original B/C/S form as well. So for accountability
2 purposes, back to 405, on the electronic version the ERN version ends in
3 4515. The handwritten version ends in 4517. And the back page of the
4 document was also placed in and ends in 5416. The final piece of that is
5 as we go back to the English language translation, not only does the
6 Office of the Prosecutor ERN as evidence the original B/C/S version of the
7 document, it also ERNs as evidence the English language translation of it.
8 And this is the mechanism by which the Office of the Prosecution tracks
9 material through its possession for accountability purposes before the
11 Q. Now, the electronic SFOR collection where co-counsel Tomanovic
12 found the October security instructions, they don't have ERN numbers on,
13 do they?
14 A. They do not have a classic ERN number, they have what we call a DA
15 number on them. In order to ensure the accountability of that collection,
16 what was done as part of the processing of that collection was that each
17 of the scans was electronically printed with the numbers that begins with
18 the letters DA. So each scan has a DA number associated with it and that
19 is the mechanism we used to track that. Because of this number, once the
20 document that had come up earlier, the 24 October document arrived at my
21 desk using that number that indicated it was DA, we knew instantly that it
22 was a document that had been in the possession of the Office of the
23 Prosecutor and we were able to track it back to the collection.
24 Q. Be that as it may, whether or not all the numbers are correct, can
25 you tell us what you find important on this document for your overall
2 A. Well, one of the things that I find important is if you look at
3 the first page of the English language translation, it discusses the
4 deployment of the 28th Infantry Division, the Bosnian Muslims forces in
5 the enclave. And one of the things we see here is that this text is
6 almost a direct lift from the intelligence situation as published in the
7 Drina Corps July 1995 op plan for Krivaja 95. This is actually a common
8 practice in the VRS and one we will see later in our own documents where
9 they will just take blocked paragraphs, if you will, from the document of
10 the superior command and republish it as its own.
11 On page 2 of this document, after the intelligence overview, the
12 commander designates the tasks of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade.
13 That task being for the most part to defend decisively.
14 Q. And can you -- just for the record this is Exhibit D17/1.
15 A. But moving to paragraph 4, it is where specifically the
16 Bratunac Brigade commander begins to delegate the tasks out. It begins
17 with his statement of what we in a western military parlance would call
18 the commander's intent. The commander sets out his intent of the
19 operation on behalf of his brigade. Now, while for the most part the
20 Bratunac Brigade has an active defence role --
21 Q. What does that mean? We keep hearing this over and over again,
22 decisive defence, active defence?
23 A. An active defence role in this instance is different in so much as
24 a passive defence. An active defence is to conduct the operations
25 necessary to keep the enemy forces who are in front of you engaged with
1 you. It doesn't mean go over on the attack, but it means that you cannot
2 sit there passively. You are to do the things necessary to keep the enemy
3 forces engaged against you in contact with you. Clearly from a military
4 perspective, what no one wanted to happen was that once the operation
5 began on the south-eastern side of the side of the enclave, that Bosnian
6 Muslims forces engaged against Bratunac Brigade units along the more
7 north-eastern side would disengage and be used to reinforce. So this
8 active defence is a military operation designed to keep those forces fixed
9 in place so they would not be able to reinforce other areas of the
11 Now, as well as that, the 3rd Battalion was given another specific
12 task of preparing and conducting with auxiliary forces an attack along a
13 significant axes, the Pribicevac, Olovine, Kvarac, and Divljakinje - I
14 apologise for the pronunciation - axis.
15 Q. Keep it slow, especially if you're going to mispronounce words.
16 A. My apologies. And in fact, this is a supporting attack designed
17 to complement the larger attack being conducted by other units of the
18 Drina Corps. In paragraph 5.6, the commander designates his reserve, that
19 being that, if necessary, have the military police platoon ready for
20 deployment in the sector of the command post of the 1st Bratunac Light
21 Infantry Brigade.
22 Q. Now, is using the military police platoon for reserve normal, from
23 your review of these materials?
24 A. With respect to the SFRY regulations, it is not a normal use of
25 the military police platoon. With respect to the practical reality of
1 warfare in Eastern Bosnia in July of 1995, the military police were very
2 frequently used in combat operations. It's a reflection of the shortage
3 of manpower, and again it highlights the fact that while the assistant
4 commander for security can recommend and even disagree with the use of the
5 military police platoon, the police platoon belongs to the commander and
6 he uses it as he sees fit under the circumstances.
7 Q. Now, as you've stated before and as this Court's heard evidence,
8 there are significant numbers of the 30 military police platoon soldiers
9 have permanent assignments at various places, guarding Zuti Most, the
10 headquarters, other things. Can you tell -- militarily, does this order
11 anticipate that?
12 A. My understanding of paragraph 5.6 is that not that these people
13 will be withdrawn from their current assignments. What it is is that
14 these people can continue their current assignments, but if necessary they
15 need to be prepared to deploy from the headquarters of the Bratunac Light
16 Infantry Brigade in response to the commander's direction. This is what
17 in my military background we would call a be-prepared order, to stand by
18 to do this, but continue on with your normal activities.
19 Q. If they get pulled as reserves, what happens to their normal
21 A. Their normal duties get set aside.
22 Q. All right. What else in here do you think is significant?
23 A. Again, paragraph 10 with respect to intelligence support, in many
24 ways it echoes the fact that intelligence is to be conducted on these axes
25 and the information provided. It provides for reliable guides to every
1 platoon. It provides for protection of cryptographic materials at all
2 levels of command. And it designates where prisoner of war and war booty
3 will be collected. In this case it is to be taken to Pribicevac. It
4 further directs that all forces will comply with the Geneva Convention in
5 the treatment of prisoner of war and the population.
6 Q. What significance do you hold the commander's statement regarding
7 prisoner of war?
8 A. Well, two issues in this one. One, it is the commander who is
9 directing where the prisoners will be assembled. And this makes a certain
10 amount of sense, given the fact that the operation commanders will be at
11 Pribicevac. By directing that the prisoners that are taken during that
12 part of the operation be sent there, it ensures that any intelligence from
13 those prisoners can be rapidly used by the military commanders. It also
14 is his personal direction that in the case of prisoners of war, they will
15 comply with the Geneva Convention. This order applies to his
16 subordinates. So as a broader level, this is a commander designating a
17 command function. He sees the issue of treatment of prisoner of war as a
18 command responsibility, not a security one.
19 Q. And this was dated 5 July, 1995. Have you seen any evidence
20 indicating that Commander Blagojevic no longer took responsibility for
21 prisoner of war on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th of
23 A. No, sir, I don't see an abdication of that command function.
24 Q. Anything else in this document of significance?
25 A. If I can turn to page 6 of the B/C/S version, again noting the
1 commander's signature and the official stamp of the Bratunac Light
2 Infantry Brigade.
3 Q. Now, I note there's a stamp here. Does that -- do you notice any
4 za in front or under that stamp in any way?
5 A. No, sir.
6 Q. Would it be appropriate for anyone else to sign anyone else's name
7 or copy the commander's signature on such a document?
8 A. Within the general framework of certainly the JNA and in most
9 militaries, forging your commander's signature is a significant offense.
10 Certainly given the fact that officers were designated to be able to sign
11 for the commander on certain issues, there's no need to do that. If the
12 document required the commander's signature and couldn't be signed by the
13 commander, the chief of staff or the deputy commander was normally in
14 power to do that. Certainly minor staff functionaries would not be
15 signing the commander's name for him.
16 Q. Okay.
17 A. The last thing I'd like to bring out on page 7 of the English
18 language translation, again, is the reporting requirement. Again, for his
19 battalions to forward their daily reports of the situation and interim
20 reports as necessary.
21 Q. And where does that fit into your analysis, just to remind us?
22 A. Those are proper and diligent exercises of the command function.
23 Since we raised the issue of prisoners of war, I would again invite the
24 Court to turn back to the regulations on the application of internal law
25 of war on the armed forces of the SFRY.
1 Q. This is Exhibit 407.
2 A. Where issues pertaining to prisoners of war are discussed on page
3 60 of the English language translation. Now, many of these, and I don't
4 need to go into them in detail, because for the most part they are direct
5 lifts from the Geneva Conventions. What I would draw the Court's
6 attention to are those provisions found on page 63 of the English language
7 translations, which discuss the issues of the beginning of captivity of a
8 prisoner of war. These are found in paragraph 213, 214, 215, and 216.
9 And in this it is codified by the Geneva Conventions and noted in 207
10 under the basic rights of a prisoner of war, it notes that these rights
11 and privileges to be granted are not those of an individual or those of
12 particular units. They are ultimately the responsibility of the authority
13 of the detaining power.
14 And in practical terms, the armed forces is the executive agent
15 for the detaining power with respect to prisoners of war. It specifically
16 notes that individuals are not the property of the unit necessarily that
17 captures them. The fact that a prisoner of war is taken in one specific
18 unit does not relieve other formations or other people from the
19 responsibility for their proper detention and their proper care and their
20 proper transportation.
21 Q. You're referring to paragraph 207?
22 A. That is correct, sir.
23 Q. Okay.
24 A. And finally, the last sentence: The responsibility does not rule
25 out the personal responsibility of individuals.
1 Q. Do you note anywhere in these rules the process or an ability to
2 turn prisoners over to civilian authorities, such as civilian police or
3 other civilian authorities?
4 A. The rules in this particular case do not specify a procedure that
5 turns them over to a civilian authority. The general practice, at least
6 as far as the SFRY is concerned, is that prisoners of war generally remain
7 in the custody of the armed forces. Armed forces in this case being the
8 army, and on limited occasions, the Ministry of the Interior police
9 forces. When you look historically at the pattern of prisoners of war in
10 the Republika Srpska, you see that manifested in so much as prisoners
11 taken by the army, they're moved by army means of transportation, and
12 certainly in 1995 the military prisoner of war detention camp in Batkovica
13 is controlled by the military. So the entire chain of custody for
14 prisoners of war in the practical sense is a military chain of custody for
16 Q. Where is the military prison in Batkovica?
17 A. The military prison in Batkovica is located just to the south-west
18 of the Bijeljina area in the zone of responsibility of the East Bosnia
20 Q. And that's just several kilometres north of Zvornik?
21 A. That is approximately 15 to 20 kilometres north of the boundary
22 between the Drina Corps and the East Bosnia Corps. Probably about 35, 40
23 kilometres from the city of Zvornik.
24 Q. Okay. Anything else you wanted to note about -- Well, let's go
25 down to -- well, is there anything else you wanted to note about this law
1 relating to prisoners?
2 A. Well, it's not a law. It is the regulation for international law,
3 and again my wider point is these are direct lifts from the Geneva
5 Q. And can you just briefly summarise for us what the -- 216 is about
6 the personal belongings of prisoners of wars.
7 A. In a military sense, property on a prisoner of war is delineated
8 in two fashions. There's military property and there's personal property.
9 Military property in this sense would be his weapon, certain parts of his
10 military equipment, whatever types of other military-related equipment he
11 would have, and that of course becomes war booty of the capturing state.
12 Personal items belonging, and it is in effect specified here in paragraph
13 216, include first and foremost clothing, food, personal protection, and
14 in this sense it would be his helmet and any other protective-related
15 material that he's wearing, his identity card, personal correspondence,
16 and family photographs, and things of that nature.
17 Q. All right. And briefly on interrogation, maybe one last question,
18 in interrogating a prisoner, how important is it to have ID documents
19 related to that prisoner and why?
20 A. Well, going back to the JNA manuals on the work and means of
21 intelligence in the armed forces, you're required to have the identity
22 documents, notwithstanding Geneva Convention requirements to identify the
23 prisoner, but because as an intelligence official that is one of the ways
24 you would verify information that the prisoner is telling you that he
25 would have a means of knowing that information. One of the first steps in
1 any interrogation, and we will see that in future documents, is the
2 identification of the individual providing the information.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, it might be a good time to break.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll resume tomorrow at 9.00.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
6 at 1.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
7 the 12th day of November, 2003,
8 at 9.00 a.m.