1 Thursday, 20 November 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused 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. Before we have the witness, are there any
10 matters that the parties would like to inform us?
11 Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
12 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour, this involves the next witness
13 proposed by the Prosecution, Mr. Manning. And we thought it would be
14 untimely if we waited any longer, but we wanted to make an offer to the
15 Prosecution that Dean Manning would be accepted as a witness under 92 bis
16 (D) for the transcript to be admitted and under 94 bis (C); The opposing
17 party accepts the statement of the witness. The statement may be admitted
18 into evidence without calling the witness to testify. We have no
19 objections to his report or his transcript being admitted into evidence
20 and for the sake of expediency in the trial, I believe we have an
21 agreement also with the counsel for Blagojevic. We think it would just be
22 best to have his transcripts admitted through 94 bis (C).
23 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Could I hear Mr. Karnavas about
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Your Honours. In principle, we would
1 not have any objections, however it has been brought to my attention that
2 there is one particular issue that perhaps needs clarification through
3 Dean Manning. And so while I did make representations to Ms. Sinatra
4 yesterday that I did not think that would be a problem, that I would
5 probably join her in this motion, in retrospect - and I didn't get a
6 chance to discuss this with her - there is one minor issue. I
7 don't -- having said that, I certainly don't think that his testimony is
8 necessary for two full days, unless -- I know the Prosecution wants
9 to -- well, I don't know what they want to do. Far be it for me to make
10 recommendations to Mr. McCloskey, but I suspect he wants to get a lot of
11 documents in and what have you. It appears that this is a witness that
12 could be handled in less than a day or one day, perhaps. So I don't know
13 if that is of any assistance. I would like to hear what the Prosecutor
14 has to say.
15 JUDGE LIU: I am very encouraged by your submissions,
16 Mr. Karnavas. And of course we should not ask anything about your case at
17 this stage, but could you give us some indication how minor that issue is.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: How minor that issue is? Well, it's an issue that
19 would require confrontation of the witness. In all due -- it's not my
20 position, it's not my approach to cross-examine every witness or to try to
21 impeach every witness. I have a particular theory in mind of the points
22 that I need to make. There are some points that I need to obviously
23 question the gentleman on. On the majority of his testimony, I have no
24 objection to it coming in. If the point was not relevant to the case, I
25 certainly would not be standing here, especially as I indicated yesterday
1 after discussing the matter with Ms. Sinatra, I did make representations
2 to her that I would in all likelihood join her because obviously I
3 don't -- I want to make sure I don't cause her any embarrassment on the
5 But as I said, upon reflection, it appears that there's a point
6 that I need to question the gentleman. Having said that, I think a lot of
7 the testimony that the gentleman has to offer can be offered very quickly
8 through the Prosecution, unless they wish to go document after document
9 after document. It's a dog and pony show, that's what we call back home.
10 They're entitled to do that. I'm not suggesting that that's his
11 intention. So we could expedite Mr. Manning's testimony, but I think he
12 probably will be needed for us. I don't know if that assists
13 Mr. McCloskey.
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
15 Ms. Sinatra.
16 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour, and in light of the representation
17 by counsel for Blagojevic, either Dean Manning will testify or he won't
18 testify. If he testifies we'll be forced to go through our full
19 cross-examination also. But that's a decision that, I guess, the Trial
20 Chamber will have to make. We're making an offer to allow his evidence to
21 be presented through 94 bis (C). We agreed to that. If there are minor
22 issues, then once the direct examination begins, they may become major
23 issues and we were trying to forestall that. As the report exists at this
24 time, we have no problems with it.
25 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
1 Mr. McCloskey, could I hear from you about your view on this
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: First, I haven't heard of any of this,
4 Your Honour. I generally like the idea of discussing 92 bis. I would
5 prefer to have time to discuss it prior to the moment of trial. But
6 Ms. Issa will be putting on Mr. Manning and anticipates hopefully less
7 than a day of direct. I think we put two days just because it was our
8 estimate on what the Defence might want to do. And of course with this
9 difficult period of trying to judge how far Mr. Butler would go,
10 Mr. Manning seemed to fit well into that slot.
11 As you know, much of what Mr. Manning will talk about is a summary
12 on and a synthesis of what many experts have already testified about and
13 have been accepted in the evidence as 92 bis. And in part Mr. Ruez's
14 testimony was designed to fit in with Mr. Manning's testimony. So
15 Mr. Manning's synthesis is an important part of our actual courtroom
16 presentation, in that so much of this important evidence has come in
17 through 92 bis. And so with less than a day of Prosecution material and
18 we won't be bringing in any dogs or ponies, I think this is important
19 evidence and the Prosecution would intend to put this evidence in in this
21 JUDGE LIU: So, Mr. McCloskey, you mean that you would like to
22 have this witness as a live witness?
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. I forgot to mention that part.
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
25 Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Since we're talking about this issue, we recently
2 got notice that they would like to have Mr. Deronjic come in through 92
3 bis and I would like to make sure and put everybody on notice that we
4 vehemently oppose that. Because he's vital to our case, it's an integral
5 part of the Prosecution's case. And of course, I think given that the
6 Prosecution has indicated that they need someone like Dean Manning who is
7 more or less a summary witness to come forward, to put on that sort of
8 evidence, I think it would be reasonable that we would be allotted to have
9 Mr. Deronjic who is a guest of the Detention Unit here. There is not any
10 cost other than a trip to the Tribunal to come here and testify.
11 So I just want to put everybody on notice on that, because we just
12 received notice that they intend to try to move his testimony in in that
13 manner. And of course it would be a violation of Mr. Blagojevic's right
14 to confrontation. So I just thought I'd mention it right now.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
16 Ms. Sinatra.
17 MS. SINATRA: Your Honour, we agree that Mr. Deronjic's testimony
18 should not come in. He is testifying, I believe, in the Krstic appeal
19 hearing and they're trying to get that in through 92 bis, which is
20 inappropriate. But going back to the issue of Mr. Manning, we still
21 believe that the probative value of his testimony is outweighed by the
22 prejudice, because all that the Prosecution wants to do is show the bodies
23 and the forensics with this witness and to -- which it possibly inflames
24 the Trial Chamber. The Trial Chamber has seen these videos. They
25 understand it; they have 92 bis witness statements talking about the
1 forensics involved. We believe that it is totally unnecessarily if we all
2 accept the reports of this witness. If there's really nothing further,
3 it's cumulative that this witness can offer at this point. So we one more
4 time urge that Dean Manning's reports and transcripts from the Krstic
5 trial under 92 bis (D) and 94 bis (C) be admitted without live testimony.
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
7 Mr. McCloskey.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, just regarding Mr. Deronjic, we just
9 communicated that that possibility so we could begin discussions with the
10 Defence about that. He is scheduled to testify. It's unclear exactly in
11 my mind what the Appeals Chamber has and how complete his testimony will
12 be, but what we're hoping is that it may form at least some complete part
13 of this case and that we can offer that testimony into the record for 92
14 bis, perhaps put him on direct for a little bit, if necessary, and then
15 open him up for cross. This was never meant to be a situation where
16 Mr. Deronjic would be purely a paper, 92 bis, witness. So we understand
17 the Defence's concern there, as is our concern. So that shouldn't be a
18 problem. And that's all I have to say.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, after the consultations with my colleagues, we
21 decided that as for the witness of Mr. Manning, we are going to hear him
22 live in this courtroom. But these proceedings should be very short and
23 with the proper cross-examinations by the Defence of both parties.
24 As for Mr. Deronjic's testimony, we believe that he could be a 92
25 bis witness with cross-examination, which means that the Prosecution
1 should spend very little time in their direct. The main purpose of that
2 direct examination is to draw our attention to certain particular
3 important elements in his testimony, then we'll leave it to the Defence
4 for the cross-examination. It is so decided.
5 Is there anything else? Yes, Ms. Sinatra.
6 MS. SINATRA: Yes, Your Honour, I hate to -- I will be brief. But
7 we just did receive a new updated witness list from the Prosecutor. And I
8 think that's a good offer on their part, but if you go down to December
9 9th, 10th, 11th, and -- 9th, 10th, and 11th and the 19th, we have
10 something that they list as spill-over VRS witnesses. I believe that that
11 is insufficient notice for the Defence to be prepared for
12 cross-examination of these witnesses. And we're only looking at two weeks
13 away. We must be prepared. It's before the Christmas holiday. And just
14 the term "spill-over VRS witnesses" is insufficient.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe those are the protected witnesses. I'm
16 not sure about it.
17 Mr. McCloskey, could you shed some light on that issue?
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think that means that we don't anticipate being
19 able to do two witnesses a day, as it's scheduled, because these are
20 subpoena witnesses. We put them down for the dates that they are
21 subpoenaed. I think, and as we've discussed with counsel before, we won't
22 be able to do two witnesses a day. What spill-over means is the insurance
23 time period to make up for witnesses that take too long. So I don't think
24 we have any other witnesses in mind for that. I do -- there are
25 another -- there are at least one other witness that I can think of that's
1 on the list that we're still trying to figure out where we can put him in,
2 but that's not meant to go into the spill-over. As soon as we figure out
3 where to put that next witness in, we'll talk with counsel about it. But
4 that is just purely meant as our rough estimate given the time frame that
5 the Bratunac witnesses took, we are guessing that the Zvornik witnesses
6 and the few new other Bratunac witnesses will take. That's all that
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You mean that you should leave sufficient
9 time just in case you could not finish the previous witness. Thank you
10 very much.
11 Is there anything else that the parties would like to bring to the
12 attention of this Bench?
13 Mr. Butler, do you have anything to say at this stage?
14 THE WITNESS: Yes, sir. I was reviewing last night's transcripts
15 and I noted one error in the transcript that I wanted to correct before
16 the final transcripts were done. It would be day 53 and the time is
17 12.14.49 and in the sentence there it says "the rear service company" and
18 what should be in there is "elements of the rear service company".
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You also have to bear in mind
20 that yesterday the communication between and Mr. Karnavas is just too
21 fast. We should make it humanly possible to take every word of your
22 testimony in the transcript.
23 Well, Mr. Karnavas.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please continue your cross-examination.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Is it my understanding we're only sitting until
2 12.00 today?
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, exactly.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: All right. Thank you.
5 WITNESS: RICHARD JOHN BUTLER [Resumed]
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Karnavas: [Continued]
7 Q. Good morning, Mr. Butler.
8 A. Sir.
9 Q. I believe we were talking about the orders yesterday when we left
10 off, the order with respect to -- the combat order of the
11 Bratunac Brigade. Do you recall that?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. And I just briefly want to go over it. Do you have it handy with
14 you? It's been marked for identification purposes as P409.
15 A. Is that 406, sir?
16 Q. 406, yes. We're off to a bad start, I guess.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, we received a new list of the
18 documents you are going to use during the cross-examination. It seems to
19 me that list keeps growing day by day.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I wasn't aware of that, Your Honour. Very well.
21 I'll see what I can do about it.
22 JUDGE LIU: Okay.
23 MR. KARNAVAS:
24 Q. Now, Mr. Butler, we talked -- yesterday we said that the order of
25 July -- 5 July 1995 was slightly different than what was tasked of the
1 Bratunac Brigade by the 2nd July order issued by the Drina Corps.
3 A. That is correct, sir.
4 Q. And I believe you had indicated that something might have happened
5 in between receiving that order and the order that was drafted by the
6 commander of the Bratunac Brigade. Isn't that correct? Or am I
7 misstating your testimony?
8 A. No, sir. That's generally correct.
9 Q. All right. Might that be an assumption on your part that there
10 was a verbal or an oral communication by the Drina Corps to the
11 Bratunac Brigade commander? Is that what you're relying on?
12 A. Yes, sir. In light of the fact we have no document which
13 reflects that, I am assuming that it was an oral directive or an oral
15 Q. Could it also be a modification of that order based on the
16 commander's own interpretation of the order given to him and his
17 assessment, his realistic assessment of what his brigade could actually do
18 given the -- under the circumstances?
19 A. I expect that would be the most probable reason.
20 Q. Okay. That would be the most probable reason for him getting an
21 oral modification, but what I'm saying is could the commander of the
22 Bratunac Brigade on his own had decided to give his brigade a lesser role
23 and still try to maintain within the spirit of the previous order, given
24 his understanding of what his troops could realistically do under the
1 A. He could, but he would be expected to then inform the corps
2 commander that his troops could not realistically achieve the goal that
3 was set. So there would be some back and forth between the superior
4 command on this, but that is what the commander would do.
5 Q. But that is an assumption on your part, is it not?
6 A. Yes, sir. We have no doubt on that one way or the other.
7 Q. Right. And you're not discounting the commander of the
8 Bratunac Brigade on his own, without even seeking permission from his
9 commander, sought a lesser role for his brigade but within the context of
10 what was mandated of him from the order that he had gotten?
11 A. It is a possibility.
12 Q. And we -- in fact, we discussed briefly how the Zvornik Brigade,
13 Colonel Pandurevic, even on the very same day as the order that was
14 drafted, or the order that he received from the Drina Corps, had drafted
15 his own order in which it would appear that he has taken on, perhaps not a
16 larger role, but he's going down there with more troops than the order
17 originally envisaged. Isn't that correct?
18 A. I did check that, and according to the preparatory order from the
19 Drina Corps, Colonel Pandurevic was directed to assemble the equivalent of
20 an infantry battalion. He did so. He brought with him some extra
21 firepower with respect to the armour mechanised company and some artillery
22 support, some very small artillery support. So it was certainly a very
23 robust battalion. Whether that was the overall intent or not, I don't
25 Q. Okay. If you could flip to the very last page of this order
1 prepared by the commander of the Bratunac Brigade, we will see, will we
2 not, that there is a designation as to who was copied with this order,
3 where this order was forwarded to. Do you see that?
4 A. Yes, sir, I do.
5 Q. And it designates that there were six copies made and forwarded
6 and it designates the various places. But we don't see any designation
7 that a copy of this went to the Drina Corps commander, does it?
8 A. No, sir, that is correct.
9 Q. Okay. Although one might make the assumption that they were
10 handed a copy perhaps in Pribicevac which is where the Drina Corps had its
11 forward command post during the attack on Srebrenica, that is an
12 assumption we could make?
13 A. That is one possibility, yes, sir.
14 Q. Now, in looking at this order, it would appear, would it not, if
15 we went down to each particular battalion, the 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd, and
16 I'll stop there for now, it seemed that they had a defensive role to play.
18 A. Yes, sir. With the exception of the 3rd Battalion which had some
19 limited offensive tasks assigned to it.
20 Q. Okay. And then if we were to see -- there was -- the commander
21 apparently had envisaged the place where the prisoners would be kept in
22 the event they were -- his brigade came across prisoners, captured
23 prisoners of war. Correct?
24 A. Yes, sir. That is correct.
25 Q. In fact, as I understand it, the prisoners normally when they are
1 captured, they move backward from the battle line on backwards. Correct?
2 A. That is the general practice, yes, sir.
3 Q. And normally they would move from backwards to upwards, in other
4 words it goes to a higher command the further back they go. Correct?
5 A. The practice that was established by the VRS with this respect was
6 that when a prisoner was captured, the commander of the units that
7 captured him would have a limited time to interrogate the prisoner to
8 obtain what we would call combat information. Once that was done, the
9 prisoner was supposed to be evacuated back to the next higher level of
10 command as rapidly as possible so additional information could be taken
11 from the prisoner.
12 Q. And then after that collection point, perhaps go even further up
13 to a bigger facility if the numbers became so large that their temporary
14 holding facilities could not contain them. Correct?
15 A. I'm not sure about facility, but it's a process that a prisoner
16 moves up through various levels, and at each level he can be questioned
17 with respect to the data that he might have that that next level would
18 find to be of use.
19 Q. All right. And in this particular case the commander of the
20 Bratunac Brigade had designated Pribicevac, the forward command post, his
21 forward command post, which was adjacent to the forward command post of
22 the Drina Corps, as a storage place for prisoners of war. Correct?
23 A. I'm not sure whether it's the storage place, but at that point it
24 is the first collection point.
25 Q. Collection point.
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 Q. We can assume, using the sort of logic that you have been using in
3 your process, that the commander who was also there throughout that entire
4 period wanted to be in close proximity to any prisoners captured.
6 A. Yes, sir. In this respect it would make a great deal of sense to
7 allow the information that the prisoners had that could be put to
8 immediate use by the commanders.
9 Q. And also to ensure full compliance with the Geneva Conventions as
11 A. That is a possibility, sir, yes.
12 Q. Because if the commander is there, he can ensure that they are
13 properly cared for, fed, and they're not mistreated. Correct?
14 A. Yes, sir, that's proper command oversight.
15 Q. And as I understand it, throughout that period, at least until the
16 fall of Srebrenica, no prisoners were captured by the Bratunac Brigade,
17 unless I'm wrong?
18 A. There are no documents which reflect that prisoners were captured
19 during that period.
20 Q. And so can we conclude, since the commander was there on the
21 battlefield or at the command post overseeing the situation, that his
22 troops did not bring any prisoners back to Pribicevac, which was the
23 collection point for prisoners where they would be questioned and kept
24 until they moved further down or further up the line?
25 A. I can't conclude that because the fact that prisoners aren't being
1 reported as being captured in the daily combat reports. There is evidence
2 that notes, although it's at a later period of time, that prisoners were
3 being captured, and they're also not being reported. So I just can't make
4 that conclusion. It is a logical assumption, but I can't conclude that.
5 Q. If we look at the terrain where the Bratunac Brigade was situated
6 and that's where the static defence line had been and we look at the tasks
7 that they were given, and then we add the fact that there was no real
8 engagement between the Bratunac Brigade and the 28th Division, in fact
9 there was -- it is my understanding that there was almost no engagement at
10 all and then they leave Srebrenica. Would that also not -- those facts,
11 would they not help us at least get us closer to an assumption we could
12 rely on, that in all likelihood no prisoners were captured by the Bratunac
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: That's a compound question. Several facts stated
17 in there and then a question at the end of the facts.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll break it down, Your Honour. I assumed the
19 gentleman wanted to go home on time. I'll break it down, take my time,
20 fact by fact. I'll go back.
21 Q. You knew where the static defence line was of the
22 Bratunac Brigade, did you not, sir?
23 A. Yes, sir, I have a rough idea.
24 Q. And in fact, when you look at this particular order by the
25 commander of the Bratunac Brigade, in essence they were still at that
1 static defence line, albeit they had been given some tasks along those
2 lines. Correct?
3 A. Yes, sir.
4 Q. All right. And do you know for a fact whether that defence line,
5 whether the Bratunac Brigade, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Battalion were ever
6 attacked and came into contact with the 28th Division?
7 A. I believe that in the daily combat reports, with respect to the
8 1st and 4th Battalion during that period, in some of their reporting they
9 indicate some minor skirmishing along their lines with the 28th Division.
10 But again, the skirmishing, it's not significant contact.
11 Q. It's not significant contact because they're not close enough to
12 come across any prisoners of war. Isn't that a fact?
13 A. In this particular instance while they're still in their trench
14 lines, I don't believe that prisoners were taken by those two units..
15 Q. It wouldn't make sense, in fact. It wouldn't make, to quote one
16 of your terms, military logic for the 28th to attack in that direction,
17 given that at this point in time they were wondering what to do next?
18 A. No, it would not make a lot of sense to launch a major attack in
19 that particular direction, given the fact that they were facing a
20 superior, at least in firepower, force in another direction.
21 Q. And wouldn't that be a piece of information that would be helpful
22 to synthesise into this analytical process that you have used throughout
23 your investigative or your analytical period with the Office of the
25 A. It is a helpful piece of information, yes, sir.
1 Q. And when we synthesise that piece of information, along with the
2 piece of information we talked about where they were located, and the fact
3 that we don't have any prisoners in Pribicevac, can we then not come
4 closer to the assumption that in all likelihood no prisoners were captured
5 by the Bratunac Brigade between the 5th and 11th of July, 1995?
6 A. Sir, it is an assumption. However, the fact is that I don't know
7 one way or the other whether there were prisoners in Pribicevac. That is
8 an open question which I do not have an answer to.
9 Q. Okay. All right. So what you're saying is you didn't come across
10 any documents, any daily reports, anything that would give you some
11 inkling. Correct?
12 A. That is correct, sir.
13 Q. But you did come across some daily reports of the Bratunac Brigade
14 throughout -- during that period, no?
15 A. I believe we have the entire selection of Bratunac Brigade daily
16 reports through that period, sir.
17 Q. And would not one expect that if a prisoner or prisoners were
18 captured and put in Pribicevac where the commander was, that that
19 information would be put in the daily report and forwarded up to the chain
20 of command of the Drina Corps. Would one not expect -- would you not
21 expect to see that in the daily combat report?
22 A. I would expect to see it, however keep in mind the process that
23 during that period, most of the leadership, certainly with respect to the
24 chief of staff and then by the 10th, the commanders, were there at
25 Pribicevac. And for that to happen, he would also have to have that
1 information transmitted from the Pribicevac headquarters down to the
2 operations centre of the Bratunac Brigade, which was actually drafting the
3 daily combat reports. To my knowledge, they were not drafted in
5 Q. All right. And there was no means of communication between
6 Pribicevac and Bratunac. Is that what you're telling me today,
7 Mr. Butler?
8 A. No, sir. I didn't say that at all.
9 Q. Okay. So they could have, given the communication means
10 available, placed a call to inform them that we have a prisoner, so that
11 whoever was responsible for preparing the daily report that would have to
12 be sent at or around 1600 hours every day to the Drina Corps could make
13 sure that that information was in the daily report?
14 A. Yes, sir. They could have. And in fact, in some of the reporting
15 it is clear that they're receiving information from Pribicevac.
16 Q. And isn't it a fact, sir, that we have sat here for an entire
17 week, your direct examination, where you use these reports, selectively
18 albeit, to establish that everything is working as the rules require,
19 because you're piecing -- you're looking at one report and another
20 document and you're drawing certain conclusions from them. Haven't you
21 done this the first week on direct examination when you were being
22 questioned by your colleague, Mr. McCloskey?
23 A. Yes, sir. I believe that that is true, that the system was
24 working as designed.
25 Q. Okay. So -- and we don't have anything in -- we don't have any
1 combat daily reports from the Drina Corps that it would send up to the
2 Main Staff that would reflect that any prisoners came from the
3 Bratunac Brigade or were captured by the Bratunac Brigade. Correct?
4 A. We do not have any Drina Corps combat reports or their daily
5 reports prior to the period, I believe, 11 July.
6 Q. Okay. So we're handicapped there at least?
7 A. Yes, sir, we just don't have any data on that.
8 Q. Okay. And from your, it would make it about five years of
9 investigation on this case, you have not come across any witnesses, have
10 you, that would -- that have told you that we had X amount of number of
11 war prisoners in Pribicevac that were captured by the Bratunac Brigade?
12 A. No, sir, no witnesses have indicated that.
13 Q. Okay. All right. Now, in this report the commander of the
14 Bratunac Brigade has designated that his military police will be his
15 reserve. Correct?
16 A. Yes, sir. That is correct.
17 Q. All right. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, we're talking about on
18 the average of 30 military police for the entire brigade as -- that's the
19 number, 30 police, give or take one or two. Correct?
20 A. I believe that number is roughly accurate.
21 Q. Now, is that 30 when they're all on duty or is it -- are some of
22 those off-duty on a rotation. Because after all, these were reservists,
23 were they not, citizen soldiers, serving two weeks on, one week off, one
24 month on, one month off?
25 A. That may even be the entire end strength number. I just -- I'd
1 have to go back and look at it. I don't have a number to throw out, but
2 it was not a very large formation. The fact that it was serving one week
3 on or one week off, again we're at a point in time where there was,
4 supposedly after 16th June, 1995, a full mobilisation and everyone was
5 supposed to be there an a full-time basis.
6 Q. So we can assume that everyone was mobilised and that's a good
7 assumption, at more or less full strength 30 military police.
8 A. I could check the numbers, yes, sir.
9 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Butler, am I not correct in stating that a certain
10 number of military police were required to conduct day-to-day affairs for
11 the brigade?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. All right. And do you have a ballpark figure of how many -- what
14 the number might be?
15 A. In this respect, the Bratunac Brigade MP log might be the most
16 accurate barometer by which to measure that in the days up to or prior to
17 12 July where it lists the duty functions of the MPs and where they are.
18 I think the ballpark number between the shift work and everything else is
19 probably 10 to 12 with the various checkpoints and things of that nature.
20 Q. Okay. So if we can agree on a figure of 30, and I know that you
21 can go check it and you can do that at some point, and we can agree on
22 another figure of 10, we're talking, realistically speaking, 20 MPs as the
23 total reserve for the Bratunac Brigade during the attack on Srebrenica.
25 A. I would assume that if the unit were to be assembled and thrown
1 into a combat function, that a decision would be made to stop the police
2 duty of the other 10 and send them or not, but still we're talking about a
3 rather minuscule force of 20 to 30 military police as the reserve, yes,
5 Q. And what was the size of the Bratunac Brigade at the time of the
6 attack on the battlefield or the -- let me correct that, on the static
7 defence line, albeit they had some offensive tasks as well?
8 A. Numbers?
9 Q. Yeah. Ballpark figure.
10 A. I believe that the number of 2.150 or so is the number that the
11 Bratunac Brigade reports to the Drina Corps in their 4 July semi-annual
12 report as their end strength, their total number of soldiers.
13 Q. Okay. And if we use the assumption we did earlier, that is that
14 full mobilisation, you could expect more or less all of them are going to
15 be there, minus the ones that have -- are absent, because as you indicated
16 that was a common problem that they would go AWOL, absent without leave?
17 A. You have those individuals who would not be present. You have
18 individuals who would be sick who would not be present. So there are a
19 lesser amount of numbers from the total end strength, yes, sir.
20 Q. So the total reserve for the Bratunac Brigade during the attack on
21 Srebrenica was about 30 for 2.000. What do you make of that number?
22 A. A very small reserve force and one that would not be capable of
23 accomplishing very many missions.
24 Q. And what would that say, you know, this little scenario, what does
25 it say of the Bratunac Brigade, its capabilities as a brigade itself on
1 the field?
2 A. In a comparative measure with standards --
3 Q. I'm not asking for comparative measure on standards. You see, I
4 know how to ask that question. I'm asking you: Given what was going on,
5 work with me today. Given what was going on, what do you make of that?
6 You have 2.000 soldiers and you got 20 in reserve and there's a battle
7 going on. In that scenario. I don't care how much the Milici Brigade has
8 or the Zvornik Brigade has, that's not my concern. I'm concerned about
9 the Bratunac Brigade in this situation. What does it tell us? And you're
10 the military analyst.
11 A. In isolation, what you have then is a unit that is in rather poor
12 shape with respect to the ability to conduct combat operations.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, those numbers didn't change during -- the
14 numbers with respect to the military police did not change over the days,
15 that is, after the fall of Srebrenica?
16 A. To my knowledge, that's correct, sir.
17 Q. That remained the same?
18 A. Again, to my knowledge, that's correct, sir.
19 Q. Now, if we were to go from there to -- I don't want to get ahead
20 of myself too much, but just since we're on the military police, once
21 Srebrenica falls and you have all these, for lack of a better term, VIP,
22 executive officers, coming into Bratunac, as I understand it one of the
23 missions for the military police is to provide security for them. Is that
24 correct? Not all of them, but some of them.
25 A. Yes, sir.
1 Q. And so you know who was there and you know what was going on, so
2 help me out. Mladic, General Mladic, he would require a few MPs.
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. By this point they have guests, the DutchBat, who are at
6 Hotel Fontana. Correct?
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. And even though it is a rather comfortable or was a comfortable
9 hotel, nonetheless they need security, both to make sure that nothing
10 happens to them and I would suspect to make sure that they don't wander
11 off, because in all likelihood they would be viewed as a bargaining chip,
12 correct, and in fact I believe they were at one point?
13 A. Yes, sir. There would have been a military police requirement to
14 provide security for them.
15 Q. All right. Do you have any numbers as to how many were required
16 for that mission?
17 A. I believe while the mission is noted in the military police log, I
18 don't know if there's a number associated offhand, sir.
19 Q. Okay. And when you had indicated that you believed that on the
20 average of 10 to 12 every day for their general everyday activities, did
21 that figure include providing security for the DutchBat at Hotel Fontana?
22 A. No, sir. That would have been -- that would be an excess
23 requirement, not an anticipated one.
24 Q. And I take it if I were to ask you about the security for
25 General Mladic, the answer would be the same?
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 Q. And did they need to provide any security for General Krstic,
3 after all he is the commander of the Drina Corps?
4 A. I would expect that General Krstic would have his own security,
5 and in fact, I understand from his testimony in the last case that he did
6 at least have one of his own security people there.
7 Q. Okay. Well, Mladic had his own security people, too -- or I guess
8 his close protection unit, CPUs, as you probably know them. But in
9 addition to his own close protection unit, he also had an entourage, if I
10 could use that word, of military police from the Bratunac Brigade, who
11 apparently travelled around as Mladic went about his way during those
12 days. Correct?
13 A. Yes, sir. He was escorted by the Bratunac military police in that
15 Q. All right. So now if you could, if you could help us out here,
16 and again I think we fixed on a number of 30 or maybe slightly more, but
17 we'll stay -- for the sake of consistency, let's stay with 30. If we had
18 30 known military police, and let's say everybody was healthy and had
19 reported and was on duty, when we take the 12 -- 10 that are required,
20 we'll stay at a low number, that were required on a day-to-day basis to
21 carry out their normal functions. And then we add the security for the
22 DutchBat and the security for General Mladic and whoever else may need
23 security, could you tell us approximately how many military police would
24 the Bratunac Brigade have left?
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could have a time period for this specific
2 question. Because there's periods where Mladic and Krstic are gone during
3 these days, so it may be more valuable if it was more specific to dates.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I think that's reasonable.
5 MR. KARNAVAS:
6 Q. From the period of the 11th to the period of the -- say the 17th.
7 Could you give me that or do you want to go day by day? You pick. It
8 doesn't matter to me.
9 A. Just to note that the requirement would change by the afternoon or
10 early evening hours of the 13th of July when both General Mladic and
11 General Krstic are no longer in the Bratunac Brigade area. So that would
12 be a major shift. The other functions should, in theory, remain the same.
13 So while I'm not sure I want to speculate on a ballpark number, there
14 should in the abstract be more military police available by the later
15 hours of 13 July, because those that were assigned to the security of
16 General Mladic would have presumably been released from that task when we
17 departed the area.
18 Q. Why do you say presumably when some have, I think there's been
19 testimony here, that they've gone as far as Han Pijesak with him. That's
20 where his headquarters is, no?
21 A. Yes, sir, it is. And again I'm assuming that once he arrives that
22 there at a point in time they would be released and returned back to the
23 Bratunac Brigade zone.
24 Q. How far is Han Pijesak from Bratunac? How long would it take to
25 get there during that period?
1 A. Depending, again, on the road situation, at least a few hours
2 during the day and I suspect that if it was during the evening, the
3 military police may well have spent the evening there because the road was
4 probably too dangerous to travel at night.
5 Q. So the picture you've painted for us doesn't really change that
6 dramatically until perhaps the 14th, mid-morning or early morning?
7 A. Again, sir, I don't know the window. I don't want to indicate a
8 time, because obviously we don't know facts in this instance.
9 Q. Fair enough. Mladic did come back into the area, I believe, on
10 the 15th?
11 A. My understanding is that General Mladic from the late afternoon or
12 early evening of the 14th July and through the 15th of July was in
14 Q. I know on the 14th he was. But we do have testimony -- we do have
15 a statement, do we not -- maybe I'm getting my days mixed. But we do have
16 a statement from the chief of the military police of the Bratunac Brigade
17 who indicated that, in his statement to OTP when he testified, that Mladic
18 ordered him and Popovic to escort a convoy of prisoners into the Zvornik
19 area. Do you recall reading that?
20 A. I'm not sure that I've read that. The issue that I'm recalling is
21 that during the Krstic trial, and I assume it has been one of the exhibits
22 that has been forwarded through as part of all that, is an affidavit from
23 a British Major General Elliot who was a military advisor to Mr. Bildt who
24 places General Mladic in Belgrade on the evening of the 14th and in
25 meetings of the 15th. So that's the piece of information that I'm working
1 off of the location of General Mladic.
2 Q. And of course the piece of information I'm working off of is a
3 piece of information that came into your possession - your, the
4 Prosecution's possession - after the Krstic trial. But in any event --
5 A. No, sir, it was during the Krstic trial.
6 Q. That --
7 A. The affidavit.
8 Q. Well, I'm talking about what I'm referring to. I'm referring to
9 fresher information. In any event --
10 A. Well, in that context, and again, yes, sir, even in
11 General Krstic's own testimony, he makes the testimony that General Mladic
12 is with him at the IKM in Krivace on the morning of 15 July 1995. So
13 there are conflicting reports, sir.
14 Q. Okay. Now that we've settled that. You can even discount how
15 many military police would have been with General Mladic. We still have
16 the DutchBat, do we not, up to a certain point, guests of the Hotel
18 A. I believe that the DutchBat people from the Hotel Fontana are
19 evacuated to the FRY sometime during the 15th, yes, sir.
20 Q. Okay. So could you give us a ballpark figure now. Take out what
21 would be -- what would have been required for General Krstic and tell me
22 what would be the ballpark figure.
23 A. If we are using the number of 30, I suspect the number of military
24 police available for other duties, the high end number would be 15 and it
25 would probably be even less.
1 Q. Now, when you say -- are we talking out the 10 that we talked
2 about earlier?
3 A. Yes, sir, I'm subtracting the 10 that are doing routine duties.
4 Q. So now you have 20, so you're saying from then you probably need 5
5 or so, so now we're down to about 15. But of course you had some wounded
6 folks at the hospital, did they not?
7 A. Yes, sir, I understand there was a military police presence there
8 as well.
9 Q. Okay. So we're talking relatively 10 to 15, as a high number,
10 military police available for other duties during that period. Correct?
11 A. Yes, sir. I mean that takes into account other variables that I
12 don't know which would be when the military police or if the military
13 police abandoned the Zuti Most checkpoint because it no longer needed to
14 be garrisoned, things of that nature. But yeah, 10 to 15 is a good
15 number, sir, I think.
16 Q. Okay, now, the next stop we're going to be speaking about is
17 Potocari. But before we get there, I want to run through some of these
18 orders since we started with the orders to see what the Bratunac Brigade
19 was tasked to do during this period. As I understand it, after
20 this -- after the fall of Srebrenica, the next order in essence we have
21 for the Bratunac Brigade is to send a company towards Zepa. Is that
23 A. Are we talking only the written order, sir?
24 Q. Yes, the written orders. You're assuming now - that's an
25 assumption on your part - that they are oral orders, right? Is that an
2 A. In one of the interviews, and we discussed this interview
3 yesterday, the battalion commanders indicate, at least the 2nd Battalion
4 commander indicates that they were instructed to move from their positions
5 and to occupy the positions of the former -- that the 28th Division had
6 formerly held. So there was some limited orders given.
7 Q. But you're assuming that that gentleman is correct, right, and
8 that the other one is incorrect?
9 A. It's not an either/or situation, I try to look at every piece of
10 information and see where it fits in context.
11 Q. Mr. Butler, I don't want to fight yesterday's battle but I got
12 plenty of energy today. Now, yesterday, you said that one gentleman said
13 that he had received the order and his commander said, "I'm unaware of
14 that, maybe the deputy commander might have given him an order, but as far
15 as I know he wasn't given any orders." Is that correct?
16 A. That's not the piece I'm talking about, but I can explain. The
17 deputy battalion commander at that time -- or the acting battalion
18 commander noted that on the morning of the 12th he was instructed that the
19 companies were to move out of their positions, and as he notes, to occupy
20 the positions of the former 28th Infantry Division. It has nothing to do
21 with the next step whether they were ordered to go to Potocari or not. I
22 see no reason to believe that that would not be a logical order to give.
23 Q. Okay. The next order that we have that was handed down, I
24 believe, by General Zivanovic, was that -- was it not to -- for the
25 Bratunac Brigade to assemble a sizeable company to send towards Zepa?
1 A. No, sir. The order by General Zivanovic, if we're referring to
2 the 13 July orders where the retransmission of -- or the -- essentially
3 the reiteration of a Main Staff order with respect to activities related
4 to the column. The one that you're referring to --
5 Q. You're right.
6 A. -- On the company was the one that was published afterwards by
7 General Krstic while he was still the chief of staff.
8 Q. You're absolutely correct. So we have -- which order came first,
9 by the way, Zivanovic's or Krstic's?
10 A. I'd have to go back and look at the time stamps. I don't know the
11 answer to that offhand.
12 Q. Okay. And I'm referring to what has been marked for
13 identification purposes as, I believe, 468/A, and then while you're at it,
14 if you could pull out 467/A. Then I wanted to talk about the other 13th
15 July order. And this one is -- I believe it's 472/A. Sir, I wanted to
16 talk about those written orders on July 13 just very briefly. No drama.
17 If you could look at those orders, because I'm trying -- I would
18 like at least since we have these documents to try to get a time frame on
19 how things are evolving, at least with respect to the Bratunac Brigade, in
20 light of everything else that's going on. Okay.
21 So which order comes first on the 13th, sir? And incidentally,
22 before you answer that question, we don't have another written order
23 before that for the 12th or the 11th, do we? I mean, I don't know. You
25 A. Yes, sir, from the Drina Corps to the Bratunac Brigade, yes, sir.
1 Q. And what is that?
2 A. Those are a series of orders by General Zivanovic with respect to
3 orders for the subordinate brigade formations to assemble buses and have
4 them sent to Bratunac. And the other one which is specific to the Zvornik
5 and Bratunac Brigade, which one directs the Zvornik Brigade to send a
6 military police detachment to Konjevic Polje and the other one directs the
7 Bratunac Brigade to work with, and I don't know the exact word there, that
8 may be an issue so we'll leave it for the document, with the Bratunac
9 municipal police for providing security along the Bratunac/Konjevic Polje
10 road. So those orders are issued on the 12th.
11 Q. Okay. And is there anything nefarious, if I could use that word,
12 about those orders?
13 A. Not at face value, no, sir.
14 Q. Okay. Now we get to the 13th -- and by the way, those orders did
15 not require -- were not directed towards the battalions or were they?
16 A. They were directed to the brigade commands.
17 Q. The brigade command, but the orders require the usage of the
18 battalions within the brigade?
19 A. With respect to providing for transport. I mean, whether it was
20 decided to go to the battalions and pull any vehicles they may have had or
21 not, I mean, that's speculative. I don't know the answer to that. It's
22 certainly not directly to the battalions.
23 Q. And the orders don't require the commander to pull off any troops
24 from the line --
25 A. No, sir.
1 Q. Pardon?
2 A. It's not specified to do anything like that.
3 Q. So now we get to the 13th. Now, on the 13th which order comes
5 A. The issue in trying to determine that is that of the three,
6 Prosecution Exhibit 468, which is the Krivaja forward command post order
7 signed by the chief of staff does not have a stamp on it which would
8 indicate when it was sent.
9 Q. Okay.
10 A. My, again, assessment on this is given the fact that it is still
11 signed by General Krstic as the chief of staff as opposed to corps
12 commander indicates that it was sent prior to between 18 and 2000 hours
13 during the period he assumed command.
14 Q. Okay.
15 A. The Prosecution Exhibit 467, which is the 13 July order with
16 respect to preventing passage of Muslim groups to Tuzla signed by
17 General Zivanovic as the commander indicates that it was sent out at 1720
18 hours on the 13th.
19 Q. All right. So from that -- well, can you conclude which one came
20 first, because I thought you said when I mentioned one you said -- you
21 corrected me. Can you determine which one came first?
22 A. Well, in this instance I can't determine which one came first
23 because I do have no way of knowing. I can tell you with respect to the
24 Krivaja 0714 order, which is Prosecution 468, it would have been sent no
25 later than, because of the reference to General Krstic as the chief of
1 staff. But I can't say how much earlier it was sent.
2 Q. What if we were to use military logic, which of the two would you
3 expect to come first? Or it's totally different and you couldn't
4 speculate or you could not look at them and make any conclusions?
5 A. I suspect that looking at the actual internals of the order that
6 the order from General Zivanovic, which was Prosecution 467, probably
7 originated first.
8 Q. All right. And that's 467?
9 A. Yes, sir.
10 Q. And I thought that was the one that I had started with, I might be
11 wrong, but isn't that the one that requested a company or so be assembled
12 by -- I might be wrong --
13 A. No, sir. What you're referring to is a directive in Prosecution
14 Exhibit 468.
15 Q. Okay. So what is General Zivanovic requesting?
16 A. In this one, the first one which is Prosecution 467,
17 General Zivanovic is directing or giving a series of orders to the brigade
18 commands in their areas of responsibilities, and it lists seven or eight
19 specified tasks.
20 Q. In essence, what is the essence of this?
21 A. What he is directing is that the brigade commands take the steps
22 necessary, all measures necessary, to block, disarm, and capture the
23 Muslim groups observed and preventing them crossing into Muslim territory.
24 I think the first paragraph or the first order in that encapsulates the
25 other ones. There are some other functions that are a part of that, but I
1 think that's the big picture.
2 Q. Does he order the Bratunac Brigade to advance in any way, in other
3 words to chase after the column that's on its way towards Tuzla?
4 A. No, sir. It's not specified.
5 Q. All right. Then we have the next order from General Krstic. What
6 order was that -- was does that order say, that's 468?
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. What does that call for?
9 A. 468 calls for -- with respect to just the Bratunac Brigade?
10 Q. Right.
11 A. It calls for them to form one company and, I think I can put it
12 specifically on the ELMO, if that's what you want, sir.
13 Q. You could do that.
14 A. Paragraph 7 or paragraph 5/7 specifies that task.
15 Q. All right. And what is that task?
16 A. Just to allocate one company to join the Milici Light Infantry
17 Brigade and carry out the tasks assigned to the Milici Light Infantry
19 Q. Okay. And so now we're reducing the Bratunac Brigade in size a
20 little bit more, not by much, but --
21 A. Yes, sir, that's correct.
22 Q. And it's your understanding that based on this order, the
23 commander of the Bratunac Brigade did, in fact, act on it, and in fact, I
24 believe it was the chief of staff that led that company. Correct?
25 A. Yes, sir, both the size of the company and the individual
1 directing it were specified in what is, I believe, an interim combat
2 report for the 13th.
3 Q. Do you have any -- have you drawn any conclusion as to why the
4 chief of staff might have been assigned to that task and not just some
5 lower level commander?
6 A. No, sir. I've drawn no conclusions on that.
7 Q. Okay. Did you in your mind think about it at all?
8 A. I have actually thought about it a lot, sir.
9 Q. Okay. I was just wondering. All right. And then there's another
10 order on the same day, on the 13th. Correct?
11 A. Yes, sir.
12 Q. So now we've got a third order to the Bratunac Brigade, and what
13 does this order call for?
14 A. This particular order is Prosecution 472, is the order to the
15 Bratunac Brigade, Skelani Separate Battalion and Milici Brigade to mount
16 active [sic] search operations or to search the terrain along various
17 axes -- along various different axes in order to search the terrain
18 through the former enclave area.
19 Q. Now, you say "mount active" --
20 A. No, I said mount axis.
21 Q. I didn't see that.
22 A. They were coming on different axis of advance.
23 Q. I didn't hear you. I just thought -- I notice this time you said
24 the word "search," when you normally like to use the word "sweep". I
25 think it's about time for the break, but if you can answer that very
1 shortly, fine. If not, we can leave it -- well, we could leave it for
2 after the break if you like.
3 A. It says "search" and it specifies "search". That's a fair
4 translation, as far as I understand, yes.
5 Q. But there are other times, sir, when the document says search and
6 you interject the term "sweep"?
7 A. When I discuss the term "sweep," it's my own understanding and
8 that's again maybe a transference of my own Western terminology. Again, I
9 try to be as true to the document and its terminology as possible.
10 Q. But the searching that we're talking about here is sweeping, are
11 we not?
12 A. In my mind what we're talking about in a Western term is that we
13 are sweeping.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you for that admission.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: And, Your Honour, this might be a good point if the
16 Court so desires.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll resume at quarter to 11.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.17 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 10.46 a.m.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas, please continue.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
22 Q. Okay. Mr. Butler, I believe that we agreed on 13th July 1995 an
23 order was issued by the now new commander as it would appear from this
24 particular document for the Bratunac Brigade along with others to conduct
25 a sweep operation. Correct, to use the terminology that you have been
1 using on cross or direct examination?
2 A. Yes, sir, it says "search". I've seen it alternatively translated
3 as "combed". But translating it to my Western terminology, they're
4 conducting a sweep operation or they've been directed to conduct a sweep
6 Q. And as I understand it, we agreed that a sweep operation is a
7 proper military function, is it not?
8 A. Yes, sir. It's a normal military function. There's nothing
9 sinister or nefarious about conducting one.
10 Q. And in fact not only is it normal, it is one that would be
11 expected after a particular battle. Correct?
12 A. Yes, sir. That is correct.
13 Q. And in fact, you would expect that such an order should have been
14 issued. Correct?
15 A. Yes, sir. I mean this is consistent with what should have been
16 happening on the battlefield.
17 Q. Now, I take it you have had an opportunity to look at the map and
18 to plug the coordinates or at least get a ballpark figure of where the
19 search or the sweeping of the terrain was to occur. Correct?
20 A. With respect to this specific order, not in broad terms. We did
21 that more with the Bratunac Brigade's order, which was the one that
22 follows on.
23 Q. Right. And we're going to get to that. But if we were to look at
24 the map that we had yesterday, it would appear, would it not, that the
25 area that at least General Krstic is ordering to be swept is one area
1 which does indeed require sweeping?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. Okay. Now, if we could look at the -- what the commander of the
4 Bratunac Brigade does based on the order that has been given to him by his
5 commander or his superior, we see a rather detailed, do we not, order?
6 A. Yes, sir, we do.
7 Q. And in this particular order, we see at least the 1st, the 2nd,
8 and the 3rd Battalions are given rather detailed coordinates. Correct?
9 A. We're talking about a different document here. I don't have that
11 Q. Well, the trig points. I'm talking about the --
12 A. I still have the Drina Corps order.
13 Q. I apologise. I truly apologise. We've now moved on to the 14th.
14 A. I don't have that.
15 Q. It's an assumption on my part because I have my documents here I
16 assume that I asked you to -- if we could go to what has been mark as
17 P483. I have an extra copy --
18 A. I have it, sir.
19 Q. I apologise again. If you could take a look at it. Now, would it
20 not appear that the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd Battalion are given rather
21 detailed coordinates on the map?
22 A. Yes, sir. They are given detailed boundaries to conduct their
23 operations in. Yes, sir.
24 Q. And did you have an opportunity to take the map and to try to plot
25 them out?
1 A. Yes, sir, we did that several years and that was a component of my
2 testimony in the Krstic case.
3 Q. And when plotting out these points, did you find anything sinister
4 or nefarious about that?
5 A. With respect to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Infantry Battalions, no,
7 Q. In other words, the order that was issued by the Bratunac Brigade
8 commander was consistent with the order given to him and consistent with
9 the terrain requirements at the time, that is that particular terrain that
10 needed to be swept. Correct?
11 A. Yes, sir, that is correct.
12 Q. All right. And then when we get to the 4th Infantry Battalion,
13 there may be an issue as to the interpretation of one word. I don't know
14 if you're aware of that. The word "spreading." It says: "From its
15 position, the 4th Infantry Battalion will control the area in front of it
16 spreading from," and there may be some room for interpretation on that
17 particular word. Were you aware of that?
18 A. No, sir, I wasn't aware that that was an issue in question.
19 Q. Now, is it your understanding -- is it your understanding
20 that -- well, what is your understanding of controlling the area?
21 A. I leave that as an interpretation issue. Controlling the area
22 could imply physically having your forces on the ground. There is another
23 interpretation that is controlling an area could be controlling it through
24 the use of fire. So it is open to multiple interpretation.
25 Q. All right. And based on that order that was issued by
1 Colonel Blagojevic with respect to this particular battalion, this aspect
2 of the order is -- it is not sinister or nefarious in any way, is it?
3 A. Insomuch as the order, it's -- the issue of course is that
4 the -- it is a known fact that Bosnian Muslim prisoners were being
5 assembled at the meadow in Sandici, and this is a form of linkage. And
6 again the answer is how far the forces moved forward with respect to
7 controlling it and then they would come across what was then a crime scene
8 at Sandici.
9 Q. The order itself, what I'm asking you to look at, and in light of
10 the situation on the ground. And before you answer the question, let's go
11 over the facts. The 28th Division was a fairly large force, at least
12 numerically speaking. Correct?
13 A. Yes, sir. I believe we discussed the number yesterday.
14 Q. And now they are going through RS territory, are they not?
15 A. Yes, sir. Once they leave the enclave, they are in the territory
16 of the Republika Srpska.
17 Q. And in fact they do pose somewhat, if I could borrow your term, a
18 significant danger to the RS, do they not?
19 A. Yes, sir.
20 Q. In fact, had they taken perhaps a different option, they may have
21 even captured Zvornik?
22 A. That is a possibility, sir, yes.
23 Q. And so this force, and incidentally at that time the RS, albeit
24 it's after the 12th and the 13th, at that time the RS or the VRS was still
25 not certain as to the actual strength and capabilities of this column.
2 A. I don't believe that they became fully aware of it until, at best,
3 the late evening of the 13th of July. Yes, sir.
4 Q. And even then, it would appear that at least the upper echelon is
5 rather indifferent to the pleas of Obrenovic or totally blind to the
6 situation, because at least in the testimony of Colonel Obrenovic he
7 indicated that when he was asking for help even on the 14th, the answers
8 that he was getting seemed to be that the folks at the higher up had
9 actually no clue of what was happening in his area. Do you recall reading
11 A. Yes, sir. And I believe, again going to some of the intercepts on
12 the 14th, that you see are indicated again, that the senior leadership or
13 senior officers still don't understand the gravity of the situation.
14 Q. Okay. So in light of all of what is happening on the ground and
15 keeping in mind the limited information that is known and keeping the
16 order that was given to the commander of the Bratunac Brigade, when we
17 dissect and analyse and synthesise this order the 14th that was prepared
18 by the commander of the Bratunac Brigade and we look at what tasks are
19 given to him, to the -- are given to the 4th Infantry Battalion, can we
20 not conclude that those tasks are reasoned and proper, militarily?
21 A. Yes, sir.
22 Q. All right. So nothing sinister, nothing nefarious?
23 A. No, sir. Other than just the association at Sandici, that's it.
24 Q. Now you say association. Are you assuming that it was the
25 Bratunac Brigade that committed atrocities in Sandici?
1 A. No, sir. I didn't say that.
2 Q. Okay. Well, I just want to make sure that there's no subliminal
3 messages being sent. All right. Now, if we could go to the 15th of July
4 and on this -- what I want to focus your attention on is the proposal that
5 was prepared by, as is commonly referred to these days, as the late
6 Colonel Milanovic, because I believe he's no longer with us. He's passed
8 Now, in your testimony I would like to -- well, first let's talk
9 about this: It appears as if he has been tasked by his commander to make
10 an assessment. Correct?
11 A. That is correct, sir.
12 Q. So based on his assessment, and I would imagine that he had to go
13 around, get a lay of the land and see what everybody was doing, he then
14 makes a proposal to his commander. Correct?
15 A. Yes, sir.
16 Q. Now, before we get to the proposal, there is a section where he
17 says: I have ordered. Do you see that?
18 A. Yes, sir.
19 Q. Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm wrong, but when we look at number
20 4, it would appear that he has ordered somebody from the
21 Bratunac Brigade -- or am I incorrect in reading that?
22 A. No, sir. That's a correct interpretation.
23 Q. Okay. And so is he ordering the entire brigade or is he ordering
24 the 1st Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade or do you know?
25 A. It specifically says that he has ordered -- that the
1 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade to continue searching the terrain,
2 clearing the battlefield in the direction of
3 Bratunac/Konjevic Polje/Kasaba, and also to create some sort of reserve
5 Q. Now, what was Colonel Milanovic's, what was his position in the
6 Drina Corps?
7 A. His normal function was the chief of air defence, or
8 anti-aircraft -- PDO, essentially.
9 Q. And we don't have any anti-aircraft activity going on, do we, at
10 this point in time?
11 A. Arguably speaking, given the fact that there's still a concern
12 about NATO bombing, there should have been a concern. But there's no
13 active anti-aircraft activity going on.
14 Q. So the answer is no?
15 A. That's correct, sir. Not to my knowledge.
16 Q. Now, where is he in the order, if you're looking at the staff of
17 the Drina Corps? You've got the commander, you've got the chief of staff
18 who was also the deputy commander, or acting commander when he's filling
19 in, and then who would come after that.
20 A. After that would be Colonel Obrad Vicic is the chief of
22 Q. Chief of operations. Where does this fellow fit into the
24 A. He is a member of what is known as the corps -- he's part of the
25 operative staff.
1 Q. Okay. But he's not the number 2, and he's certainly not the
2 number 3. Correct?
3 A. No, sir.
4 Q. But it appears that here he is giving direct orders to the
5 brigade. Now, is that a violation of the unity of command principle?
6 A. No, sir.
7 Q. And why is that?
8 A. Given the context of the orders that he's giving, I believe that
9 the inference could be drawn, and the proper inference is the orders that
10 he's giving are in effect on the delegated authority of the corps
11 commander. I mean --
12 Q. The corps commander told him to make an assessment. He didn't say
13 go order people around?
14 A. The fact that Colonel Milanovic is informing the corps commander
15 what orders that he's given, the fact that he states that he's given them
16 as orders is to me an inference that the orders he's given in this respect
17 are in conjunction or in line with the directives of the corps commander.
18 Q. And that's an assumption that you're making. Correct?
19 A. Yes, sir. Looking at it the next step down, he's very clear on
20 what he can order or what he believes he has the authority to order and
21 what things he has to propose for approval.
22 Q. That's when we get to the proposal?
23 A. Yes, sir.
24 Q. And the proposal in essence is that since there's nobody else
25 available to do a particular job that is required that he proposes that
1 there be -- the appointment of the commander of the Bratunac Brigade to
2 coordinate and to command this particular -- or to execute this particular
3 proposal. Correct?
4 A. Yes, sir. Paragraph 1, it states that: "To authorise and appoint
5 the commander of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade as the commander of
6 all forces which participating in searching the terrain and sweeping the
7 battlefields of the east of the road." And it specifies from there that
8 they have no one available to appoint from the Drina Corps command.
9 Q. Now, this is another sweeping operation or searching operation, is
10 it not?
11 A. I believe this is just a continuation of the one that's already in
12 place, sir.
13 Q. All right. The one you mean of the 14th?
14 A. The Bratunac Brigade was conducting its operation on the 14th, but
15 in the broader context, other units that were along the road to
16 Konjevic Polje and then down towards Milici were conducting similar
18 Q. Okay.
19 A. And in fact, the same order from General Krstic on the 13th gives
20 tasks to the Milici Brigade as well.
21 Q. Again, if we follow an earlier conclusion, nothing is requested in
22 this proposal of the commander of the Bratunac Brigade, should he be
23 appointed to do anything that is militarily improper under the
24 circumstances. Correct?
25 A. No, sir. I believe that's very correct.
1 Q. Okay. Now, just a minor point, a minor point of clarification.
2 When you testified you were asked a series of questions with respect to
3 this particular proposal, and I would like to invite your attention to
4 your specific answer to that. So if we could have some assistance here.
5 I want to go to page 4529 -- I'm sorry. 4529 and I will be referring to,
6 actually it will be 4530 and 31. But at first if you could just look at
7 this. This is from the official transcript or the corrected transcript
8 dated Thursday, 13 November 2003. If you see on line 4, it refers to
9 Exhibit 495, which I believe was the exhibit we were just discussing.
11 A. Yes, sir.
12 Q. Okay. And so now if you could go to the following page and look
13 at -- this would be page 4530. And if we could look at line 17, there is
14 a question posed to you on direct. And I'll read. It says: "Now,
15 Mr. Butler, it appears that this proposal he has volunteered
16 Mr. Blagojevic to command all these units and he has done it apparently
17 from the Bratunac Brigade. Can you -- what can you conclude if anything
18 about that?"
19 And here is your answer: "Well, with respect to that individual
20 piece, from a military perspective I have to presume," I'm underscoring
21 that, "I have to presume that Colonel Milanovic discussed the issue with
22 Mr. Blagojevic before recommending him for the task."
23 Follow-up question: "Why is that?"
24 Answer, this is line 25, we're about to go into the next page:
25 "It would be very unusual and it certainly wouldn't be the proper
1 function of a staff officer to make a recommendation or a proposal that
2 subsequently would not be able to be carried out. As a matter of military
3 professionalism on the part of the staff -- of staff officers, you don't
4 make proposals that you know aren't going to be able to be executed. So
5 as a matter of military common sense, as you will, one would not expect
6 Colonel Milanovic to make this proposal if he did not already believe that
7 Colonel Blagojevic would agree to the proposal or would be incapable of
8 carrying out."
9 Do you recall being asked those questions and giving those
11 A. Yes, sir.
12 Q. Okay. Now, before -- I just want to discuss some portions before
13 I show you another document and ask your comments on it. But first of
14 all, towards the end. It's not up to Colonel Blagojevic to agree with a
15 proposal like that. Colonel Milanovic doesn't need to get
16 Colonel Blagojevic's agreement. Correct? Because if his commander,
17 General Krstic, gives him an order, a proper order such as this one, even
18 if it might be somewhat a difficult task, basically he has to salute him
19 and go about trying to carry out the order. Correct?
20 A. In an abstract, yeah, that's how superior command works, yes, sir.
21 Q. In other words, it's not a debating society where they debate,
22 "Well, maybe I'll do this, maybe I'll do that". The commander gives an
23 officer, it's expected that the lower officer will do it. So that part of
24 your answer isn't very helpful, is it? I could be much more caustic, but
25 that's the best I can do. I'm trying to sugar-coat it today.
1 A. I can answer that with the fact that I disagree and what I would
2 say is that in keeping with the functions of the staff officer as they are
3 outlined, again, in the 1983 staff regulations, part of a staff officer's
4 function is to be able to provide to his commander realistic
5 possibilities, realistic plans for their approval.
6 From a matter of military professionalism, as a staff officer, it
7 would be hard for me to believe to Colonel Milanovic would have taken up
8 the time and effort to make proposals to his corps commander as to the
9 best way to accomplish what was rapidly becoming a very difficult mission
10 without, at least in his own mind, understanding the options that he was
11 proposing were feasible.
12 Q. But now we're going to the feasibility aspect. And I would agree
13 with you to some extent on that, because you can't ask the impossible --
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. Karnavas is again referencing his own personal
16 viewpoints and agreements, which is not relevant, is not appropriate, and
17 it tends to ratchet up the argumentative -- potential for argument.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, whether the testimony of this
20 witness is helpful or not is the conclusion arrived by the Judges, not by
21 you. Of course, during the cross-examination there are many, many
22 occasions that you do not agree with the testimony of this witness. But
23 just show your case to rebut whatever the witness said, rather than jump
24 to the conclusions.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I asked him about whether a lower
1 officer would have to give his agreement. He went on to explain the
2 latter part of that -- of his answer or would be incapable of carrying it
3 out. Now, I could have done one of two things, one, act like
4 Mr. McCloskey and be rude and stop him or let him go and then agree with
5 him, the latter part is something that you would expect. He's not going
6 to make a silly proposal that can't be carried out. I agree with him.
7 That wasn't part of my question. My question was for the first part and
8 it was a nicer way of trying to guide the witness back to the question
9 that I had asked, as opposed to saying that's not what I asked and try to
10 be aggressive. I'm trying a different tactic, Your Honour, but very well.
11 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, try to put your question in a
12 sugar-coated way.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well.
14 Q. You would agree with me, would you not, that they don't need
15 Colonel Blagojevic's agreement. It would be nice, but they don't need his
16 agreement, do they?
17 A. They don't need his agreement, no, sir.
18 Q. That's why I said that part of your answer is not very helpful, is
19 it? It doesn't make sense, in other words, militarily speaking, because
20 if we're going to apply military logic, a military common sense, your
21 terms, even military professionalism, when a higher officer gives an
22 order, he doesn't need the agreement of the lower officer, even if he's
23 asking the lower officer to do something that may seem rather impossible.
24 Isn't it correct?
25 A. Well, Mr. Karnavas, not only do I agree, but I believe that you're
1 forgetting the context under which this document was drafted. In this
2 particular case at the direction of the corps commander, Colonel Milanovic
3 went out, he visited these units, he discuss the situation or he learned
4 the situation, and it is a component of his proposal to the corps
5 commander, he was the one who proposed that Colonel Blagojevic should be
6 appointed in command and he specified that the proposal was made because
7 there were no other available Drina Corps officers. That is in my mind,
8 and again using all of the various logic and common sense barometers that
9 I know of, that is a proper and appropriate function of what a staff
10 officer should be doing with respect to offering realistic proposals to
11 his commander.
12 Q. Okay. But it was -- but I guess what I'm having some difficulty
13 is with your assumption or presumption here that he would have discussed
14 this matter with Colonel Blagojevic at the time. That's just a guess on
15 your part, is it not?
16 A. I have caveated that as a presumption, yes, sir. And I believe I
17 have explained why I have caveated it as a presumption. I don't believe
18 that Colonel Milanovic, if he was doing his job conscientiously and
19 attempting to give, at that time, General Krstic the best available
20 proposal that he would have made a proposal for Colonel Blagojevic to
21 assume command of those units if he knew that there were circumstances
22 that would preclude the successful accomplishment of that function.
23 Q. Okay. And one of them was not whether Mr. Blagojevic would have
24 agreed or disagreed?
25 A. I assume that the conversation, if in fact one had occurred, would
1 have been less along the lines of agreement or disagreement and more along
2 the lines of: "Are you capable of carrying out the mission if it's given
3 to you."
4 Q. All right. I want to show you, just as an aside, what has been
5 marked as P466/A. Just to show you an -- I have a copy. I believe you
6 recognise this order and I believe you've already commented on it?
7 A. Yes, sir, that is correct.
8 Q. Okay. And this comes from Lieutenant General Gvero?
9 A. That is correct, sir.
10 Q. And where is he from?
11 A. Lieutenant General Gvero, or it should be Lieutenant Colonel
12 General Gvero, at that time was the assistant commander for morale, legal,
13 and religious affairs from the VRS Main Staff.
14 Q. Okay. And it would appear he is a staff officer, is he not?
15 A. He is an assistant commander, yes, sir. It's not a staff officer
16 at that level. He is the assistant commander.
17 Q. And here he's not the number 2 at the Main Staff, is he?
18 A. No, sir, he is not.
19 Q. Is he the number 3?
20 A. In the general staff hierarchy, given the absence of
21 Colonel Milovanovic -- or Colonel General Milovanovic, it should have been
22 General Major Miletic with respect to operational issues.
23 Q. So the answer is no? He's not the number 3.
24 A. I don't know the answer for that for all purposes. I just know
25 for operational issues it should be General Miletic.
1 Q. And I believe you even stated that during that period of time at
2 some point he was filling in as the chief of staff?
3 A. Yes, sir. He was listed as the acting chief of staff of the
4 Main Staff.
5 Q. Now, if we look at this order, we seem to see a staff officer or
6 an assistant commander from the Main Staff giving orders all the way down
7 to the brigades. Correct?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. Okay. And so -- the order is not going to the commander of the
10 Drina Corps and then for him to give those orders, but it would appear
11 that here we have an aberration, do we not?
12 A. Yes, sir. This is not the normal way that it occurs.
13 Q. All right. And my point being, we really can't make these broad
14 generalisations, such as the one that you made with respect to Milanovic,
15 that obviously or presumably he would have spoken to Mr. Blagojevic
16 because of X, Y, and Z, because there seem to be quite a few aberrations
17 in this particular army at this particular time given the circumstances.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection to the form of the question. He has
19 called Mr. Butler's answer a broad generalisation, which is argumentative
20 and is actually, I think, a misstatement of Mr. Butler's more specific
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, you'll have to rephrase your question.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll rephrase it.
25 Q. We see one aberration, rather visible. Correct?
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 Q. Okay. So we can accept that. And so what my point is:
3 Given -- this is just one example by which we can conclude that we just
4 can't make presumptions in this case that things are always done by the
5 book, can we?
6 A. I'm not sure what this document has to do with that point insomuch
7 as when this document is discussed with other individuals that, while they
8 note that it's an aberration, they also note that it is not an uncommon
9 occurrence. Now, getting back to your question --
10 Q. Yes, please.
11 A. -- I did in fact say it was a presumption on my part. I clearly
12 don't have facts which say a conversation did or did not occur.
13 Q. Then you go on to state, sir, and this is where I have some
14 problems --
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, Your Honour. He's interjecting he has
16 personal problems with the witness. It is argumentative and if it goes on
17 and on it will eventually end in chaos.
18 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, in this question, I did not see
19 any problems. Maybe Mr. Karnavas has not finished his question yet.
20 Would you please move on, Mr. Karnavas.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes.
22 Q. You then state, however, it would be very unusual and it certainly
23 wouldn't be proper, proper function of a staff officer to make
24 recommendations or proposals that subsequently would not be able to be
25 carried out and as a matter of military professionalism on that part of
1 staff officers, you don't make proposals and so and so forth. So here you
2 seem to be not making merely a presumption, but then you're saying that it
3 would be very unusual. In other words, are you not, sir, trying to have
4 us come to the conclusion that in all likelihood, there must have been
5 communication and perhaps even approval by Mr. Blagojevic. Isn't that
6 what you're trying to get us to conclude, sir?
7 A. What I'm trying to forward before the Court in this matter is that
8 if Colonel Milanovic was diligently conducting his functions as a staff
9 officer with the background that he had and with the knowledge that he
10 had, and had he been doing it the way it was supposed to be done as
11 envisioned in the rules and regulations, that that should have occurred.
12 I can't say that it did and I cannot say that it didn't.
13 Q. Okay. Fine. I accept that answer, and as I've indicated by
14 showing you P466, we saw one rather major aberration from someone who you
15 would expect to know the rules and to apply them. Correct?
16 A. Well again, sir, with respect to P466, the answer that we hear
17 when we discuss this issue with VRS officers is that, one, it is addressed
18 to the command of the Drina Corps. And if it's directly addressed to some
19 of the subordinate brigades, the practical aspect is that this is a
20 message that the higher-ups wanted to ensure that the people heard and
21 everyone heard it at the same time and in a hurry. It's not necessarily
22 an aberration with that respect. I mean, it's a military necessity issue.
23 Q. Okay. So now you're backtracking from your initial position? It
24 sounds like you're back-pedalling, Mr. Butler. Is that because I've been
25 able to show you proof that by making these presumptions, sometimes you
1 may reach the wrong conclusion, might that be the reason why you're
2 back-pedalling right now?
3 A. No, sir, I suspect that you think I'm back-pedalling because
4 that's what you want to hear.
5 Q. Okay. Now, if we go to the 16th. Now, on the 16th, the commander
6 of the Bratunac Brigade was given another order, was he not? Or was it on
7 the 15th? Was he not to mobilise to go off to Zepa?
8 A. No, sir. That's the 16th.
9 Q. As I said, on the 16th he was given another order. Correct?
10 A. Yes, sir.
11 Q. Okay. So if we look at what Milanovic has done, he's made a
12 proposal. And if we look at the date, that's on the 15th. Correct?
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. What time on the 15th?
15 A. I believe that going back, and I guess it's Prosecution Exhibit
16 495, the sent stamp is at 1615 hours.
17 Q. Okay. So that means that's when he sent it out. And can you draw
18 any conclusions? Can you make any presumptions on this as far as when the
19 approval would have come and when the next order would have been issued?
20 A. In this respect, all I can go back to is that in his own
21 testimony, General Krstic acknowledged receiving this and acknowledging
22 that he did agree to the proposal. I don't believe that a time issue was
24 Q. Okay. But then it seems almost immediately thereafter, maybe
25 that's an overexaggeration, but we're talking about the 16th, the next
1 day, the day that he's supposed to be carrying out these proposals, he's
2 given another task, and that is to mobilise to leave the area and to go on
3 another military campaign. Correct?
4 A. He's given the task to assemble one infantry battalion to be
5 prepared to deploy to Zepa.
6 Q. Okay. And what might that entail?
7 A. I believe it's specified in the order.
8 Q. No. But what I'm saying is you from the military standpoint, what
9 would it require from a commander's point of view? What does he need to
10 do? Can he just issue an order and then relax and kick back and assume
11 that it's been done or does he need to get actively involved?
12 A. No, sir. Again, presuming the process works as it's supposed to,
13 what should happen is the commander will, of course, notify his staff and
14 the affected battalion commander. The staff will begin to work on the
15 various things that need to occur in order to make this happen. They will
16 begin to assemble the transport. They will begin to ensure that all of
17 the combat sets of ammunition, weapons, supplies, rations, all of that
18 will be assembled and in the proper place. The battalion commander will
19 have to engage in the process of stopping what military operation he's in
20 then, withdrawing his forces from the field, doing some rest in whatever
21 refit might be necessary, have them at the proper place at the proper time
22 to embark on the vehicles.
23 While at face value it appears to be simple, certainly behind
24 every military order there is a variety of implied tasks that have to
25 happen by a lot of people in order to make these functions occur.
1 Q. And would that require the commander's oversight, and keep in mind
2 that the chief of staff is gone, he's already down in Zepa?
3 A. Yes, sir. It is something that as an order the commander should
5 Q. Okay. Now, if I could show you what has been marked for
6 identification purposes P497, it might give us some inkling from which to
7 work back on. If we could go to the July 16, 1995.
8 Have you seen this document before, sir?
9 A. Yes, sir.
10 Q. And it would seem, would it not, that as early as 0700 hours, it
11 says here -- I'm sorry it says that the formation of the battalion to
12 Zepa -- I guess by 0700 hours on the 17th?
13 A. Yes, sir. That is consistent with the written order.
14 Q. And do you know when this meeting took place?
15 A. No, sir, I do not.
16 Q. Okay. And so this may not -- this could not necessarily give us
17 any indication as to whether Colonel Blagojevic had received the order for
18 Zepa early on the 16th or later during the day on the 16th?
19 A. No, sir. To my knowledge there's no indication associated when
20 this order was received.
21 Q. Incidentally, before receiving this order for Zepa, as I
22 understand it, we have some documentation, do we not, where the commander
23 in a rather detailed fashion indicated who would be transferred to the
24 Trnovo -- to Trnovo where they had their mandatory obligation. I guess
25 every month or so they would send a certain amount of troops, and the ones
1 that were there would come back. Do you recall what I'm talking about?
2 A. I believe you're referring to a 15 July order which sets up a
3 rotation at the Trnovo front. Yes, sir.
4 Q. Rotation. That was the word that didn't come to mind. So that
5 rotation was coming up, and in fact if we look at that order it would seem
6 that it would take some diligence and some precision to ensure that the
7 right mixture of people were sent down. Correct?
8 A. Yes, sir. That is correct.
9 Q. And was that -- did that rotation occur, if you know?
10 A. I'm not sure that it occurred on schedule, because some of the
11 records that we have from the 4th Drinski Brigade, which was in
12 fact -- Bratunac was part of that unit or the Bratunac rotation was part
13 of that unit indicate that the shift had been delayed. It may have taken
14 place at a later point in time. I just don't know the answer to that.
15 Q. Might the new campaign towards Zepa been one of the reasons for
16 that shift delay?
17 A. Yes, sir, and it would be the most logical reason -- or not
18 necessarily the new campaign. It's the engagement of the Bratunac Brigade
19 forces to replace those from the Zvornik Brigade that had been pulled out.
20 Q. Okay. And in fact if we were to look at the July 16 order by
21 Colonel Blagojevic at P498 on paragraph 7, it does state, I believe,
22 members of the 1st Infantry Battalion who were scheduled to replace troops
23 in Trnovo on 20 July 1995 will be included in the formation of the
24 1st Infantry Battalion.
25 Do you see that?
1 A. Yes, sir.
2 Q. Okay. And of course if we look at, again at P497, it is the
3 1st Battalion that's going to go down there in full strength. And in fact
4 I believe you've already testified to, it's going to be led by the
5 commander of the Bratunac Brigade. Correct?
6 A. There is no order that specifies that it's going to be led by the
7 commander, but in fact our understanding through the intercepts is that
8 the brigade commander did accompany that formation down on 17th of July.
9 Q. Okay. So -- all right. In other words, he could have sent
10 somebody else to command his troops, instead the commander went with his
11 troops. Correct?
12 A. In this particular instance, yes, sir.
13 Q. Which may also help us understand why perhaps the commander, when
14 he sent the company on the 13th to Zepa that was going to be attached to
15 another unit to fight a campaign down there, send his chief of staff to
16 make sure that his troops were properly cared for and not put in harm's
17 way unnecessarily by some other reckless -- by some reckless commander or
18 someone who might wish to place the Bratunac Brigade soldiers in a
19 situation where others would not wish to be in.
20 A. That is a possibility, sir.
21 Q. And that's why I asked you whether you had considered that as a
22 possibility in the mix as to why Colonel Blagojevic sends his chief of
23 staff in the middle of these activities down there. Now, if we look at
24 what has been marked as P539, I believe. It is the 17th July -- I
25 apologise to Madam Usher for all the traffic.
1 If we look at this, this is the -- dated July 17th, is it not?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. And it appears that it is sent very urgent and it is an order from
4 none other than the commander of the VRS, General Mladic. Correct?
5 A. That is correct, sir.
6 Q. Now, if we look at this order, it would appear, would it not, that
7 the Main Staff, not the corps but the Main Staff is ordering all the way
8 down to the brigade that a search operation take place. Correct? At
9 least in paragraph 3.
10 A. No, sir. I believe that it's just -- what they're ordering is
11 that a Main Staff officer will take over the search operation that has
12 been continuing. It's not a new operation.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you for that clarification, but that's exactly my
14 point. This is just a continuation of the sweeping of the terrain, which
15 you have already indicated was a proper military function in that
16 particular area at that point in time, given the circumstances. Now,
17 Lieutenant Colonel Keserovic, where is he from?
18 A. Lieutenant Colonel Keserovic is a Main Staff officer. He is from
19 the security branch, so he's from the intelligence and security
20 administration. And by function his job is oversight of the military
21 police of the VRS.
22 Q. And if I'm not mistaken, if I'm not mistaken, you have indicated
23 at least for this limited task, this order, those who are under the
24 command and control, those who are -- that Keserovic is directing are
25 under his command and control or the Main Staff's command and control. Is
1 that correct?
2 A. Yes. Those individuals or those components of the units that are
3 conducting the sweep operation and that are under his direction are, in
4 effect, under his command. He controls them and he is a Main Staff
5 officer. Yes, sir.
6 Q. Okay. So -- because I believe the question came from the
7 Prosecution whether this was an -- whether the Main Staff was effectively
8 taking over the brigade, the Bratunac Brigade, and your answer was: "No.
9 They're not exercising total control and command over the brigade," but in
10 this particular order for this particular period, for these particular
11 tasks they are no longer under the command and control of the
12 Bratunac Brigade commander, but rather under the command and control of
13 the Main Staff, and in particular, Lieutenant Colonel Keserovic. Correct?
14 A. In this context, yes, Colonel Keserovic does not take over control
15 of the brigade or command of the brigade but he is put in charge of or
16 he's placed in control of those forces that are engaged in the sweep
18 Q. And have you considered or done any thinking as to why would
19 General Mladic at this point intervene. Do you have an answer for us on
21 A. I suspect that, given the fact that Colonel Blagojevic had
22 deployed with his forces, and I will take one step and say that I assume
23 if Colonel Blagojevic deployed to Zepa he did so with the direction of
24 General Krstic, considering that took out the person who was controlling
25 these operations prior and that there were no suitable officers at the
1 Drina Corps, given the engagements, that the Drina Corps had either
2 requested or the Main Staff directed that they had to appoint an officer
3 to take control of this. In the context of the overall military
4 situation, they were rapidly running out of qualified people to command
6 Q. Okay. If we trace this back only two days earlier, you had the
7 assistant commander for anti-aircraft activity making a proposal. And we
8 can assume that General Krstic, the commander then, made an order. At the
9 same time, the same commander orders, slightly thereafter, for the
10 commander to leave and engage himself in a military campaign for which
11 will take the part of a better day to prepare for the mobilisation
12 process. What does that tell us, if anything?
13 A. I believe what it tells us, looking in the broader context of the
14 events occurring around Zepa, is that once the forces of the
15 Zvornik Brigade were pulled out of the Zepa operation and as that
16 operation continued, or on the 15th kind of slowed down for lack of
17 forces, that as the day or the next series of days wore on, it became
18 apparent that the VRS did not have the required combat power to achieve
19 the military solution that they wanted in Zepa, particularly with respect
20 to General Mladic apparently pushing the issue harder to get a successful
21 resolution before outside intervention that he perceived.
22 So you have a series of incidents where forces have been pulled
23 out of a main operation in Zepa. The operation is slowing down. You have
24 the commander going through the resources and then making a decision at a
25 point in time, and again we don't know when that decision was, that one of
1 the sources of additional resources that he could pull was from the
2 Bratunac Brigade, and that is the order that he did. So I believe that is
3 the context in which to look at these events.
4 Q. All right. But just as an aside, why would General Krstic get
5 involved in the situation? Why have none other than General Mladic? I
6 mean, this is Drina Corps territory, isn't it?
7 A. Sir, I guess the best I can say on this one is that reading it in
8 context with the proposal by Colonel Milanovic, if on the 15th of July the
9 Drina Corps had no officers to -- who were capable of controlling this
10 operation and that's why they chose Colonel Blagojevic to assume command
11 of that, then when Colonel Blagojevic was then directed to go with his
12 troops to Zepa, they still didn't have any other officers. And whether or
13 not General Krstic became involved with the Main Staff and requested
14 relief or requested assistance from other officers is an answer I don't
16 Q. In other words what you're saying to us is: General Krstic could
17 not, assuming Lieutenant Colonel Keserovic was available, General Krstic
18 could not order him or place these assets under
19 Lieutenant Colonel Keserovic's command, rather he would have to go to the
20 Main Staff and then that order could come directly from the Main Staff
22 A. Yes, sir. That would be the correct sequence of things that
23 should have happened.
24 Q. All right. Just one last point. When these men are under
25 Keserovic, I take it that is in keeping with the principle of unity in
2 A. With respect to the men assigned the mission of sweeping the
4 Q. Right.
5 A. Yes, sir.
6 Q. All right. I believe that's all I have for this segment. And why
7 don't we move now to -- we're going to take a step back and we're going to
8 go to the 11th of July. Now we're in Bratunac. Srebrenica has, in
9 essence, fallen, and we're at the first meeting, okay? The first meeting
10 between General Mladic and DutchBat, Lieutenant Colonel Karremans. Okay.
11 Are you with me?
12 A. Yes, sir.
13 Q. At that point in time we have the Main Staff, the head of the
14 Main Staff on the ground. Correct?
15 A. Yes, sir.
16 Q. Now, we already know that this is -- that Bratunac falls within
17 the zone of responsibility of the Drina Corps. Correct?
18 A. That is correct, sir.
19 Q. Okay. Because we do know, if we look at the rules, that a corps
20 does in fact have a geographical designation of a zone of responsibility.
22 A. Yes, sir.
23 Q. All right. In fact, it's written in the rules, lest there be any
24 misunderstanding. Correct?
25 A. It's in the 1990 corps provisional rules, yes, sir.
1 Q. And the headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade happened to be in
2 the -- they happened to be located in or slightly outside the centre of
3 Bratunac, Bratunac town, that is?
4 A. I believe it is -- it's not in the centre of town, no, sir. I'm
5 not sure how far on the outside.
6 Q. It's in the town but not in the centre.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, at that point in time, who is in control? Is it
9 General Mladic, or at that point it would be General Zivanovic, because
10 he's still, as far as we all agree on, the commander of the Drina Corps?
11 A. In control of what, the meeting? The military events?
12 Q. Well, let me rephrase. Who is in command?
13 A. General Mladic is always in command. He's the commander of the
15 Q. So wherever he goes, he's in command?
16 A. Yes, sir, and even where he doesn't go, he's still in command.
17 Q. Does that also mean that when he's in command, he's also in
19 A. If he's exercising command, he is controlling, yes, sir.
20 Q. Okay. And was he exercising command in Bratunac on the 11th, the
21 afternoon of the 11th?
22 A. The early evening hours of the meeting, yes, sir.
23 Q. Okay. Well, even before --
24 A. He was in Srebrenica the afternoon of the 11th.
25 Q. Was he in command and control in Srebrenica when he's making that
1 victory march and he's ordering the platoon commander, you know, the
2 soldiers, go there, go there?
3 A. That is actually a very accurate description of what he's doing.
4 He's in command, he's acting like a platoon commander, and he's doing just
6 Q. And he's not only in command, but he's also in control. Correct?
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. So when he orders someone to go, go to Potocari, go to Bratunac,
9 he's giving an order, is he not?
10 A. Well, in some respects what he's doing is bombastic in that
11 regard. My understanding is that he did at that time, although maybe not
12 in that format, direct that the brigades and the forces from Srebrenica
13 push forward to Potocari.
14 Q. And in fact, if my memory serves me correct, there is one snippet
15 where we see Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic, tall, strikingly good-looking
16 man, fairly confident. Do I have my dates correct where in fact he seems
17 to be raising a concern about the 28th Division?
18 A. Yes, sir. Colonel Pandurevic was in Srebrenica at that time. And
19 it is my understanding that he did raise a concern about the location of
20 the 28th Infantry Division.
21 Q. That was a -- Srebrenica was the place that they dreamt of taking
22 over, and now it had been a realisation?
23 A. Yes, sir. Certainly the people from the Bratunac Brigade, many of
24 whom resided there, were anxious to have their hometown liberated.
25 Q. But also they knew there was a 28 Division, and lo and behold,
1 when they entered Srebrenica on the 11th, there was nobody there.
3 A. Yes, sir. The division had broken contact the prior evening and
4 had moved out.
5 Q. And I'm not a military man, but it would seem that there are three
6 choices. One, they could have gone towards Zepa, not very logical or
7 realistic, because they could -- there was passage still. Two, they could
8 have gone to the Bandera triangle where they normally kept to themselves.
9 Or they could have headed towards Tuzla, another path which they had taken
10 over the years. Correct?
11 A. Yes, sir. Those were the three general military options.
12 Q. And it would seem to me from listening to your testimony that
13 initially they thought that perhaps they had concealed themselves in the
14 Bandera triangle, hence why they -- some forces were sent in that
15 direction, I believe, on the 11th or 12th. And it was only after they had
16 more or less left the Bratunac Brigade area and they were just about
17 coming into contact with the Zvornik Brigade that they realised, here was
18 a column, a fairly large column, a large column that was armed and moving
19 towards Zepa. Correct?
20 A. The sequence of events is not correct. As we have from the
21 military documents and from some of the other conversations, reflect that
22 the VRS believe that the 28th Infantry Division wasn't in the Bandera
23 triangle and in fact, they had decided they were going to deploy it and
24 try and make it out towards Tuzla. The first indications that they were
25 getting that there was a significant military column forming and trying to
1 make the breakthrough through the mine fields, again started based on the
2 intercept evidence during the morning of -- or the early morning hours of
3 12 July, 1995 and by the afternoon hours of 12 July, and certainly by the
4 early evening hours of 12 July, there was an awareness that the bulk of
5 the column was trying to make it towards Tuzla, however the actual size
6 and the military capacity of that column was still being downplayed.
7 Q. All right. Needless to say, when Pandurevic is there -- well, let
8 me ask you this: Do you think his concerns, Pandurevic's concerns, at
9 that time and place were legitimate, the ones that he's expressing to
10 General Mladic?
11 A. Yes, sir. In military -- pretty much in general military tactics,
12 one of the things you do not want to do is lose contact with an opposing
13 military force. You want to be in contact with it so you know where it is
14 and what it's doing. And if I'm correct, Colonel Pandurevic's concern was
15 that there was no contact with the 28th Division and they had no reliable
16 intelligence information or combat information as to where it might be
17 located and what it may be doing next. So it's a very significant and
18 proper concern.
19 Q. Yet, General Mladic exercising his command and control decided
20 that he was going to do other things. Correct?
21 A. No, sir. As I understand it, from both the testimony of
22 General Krstic and interviews with select brigade commanders,
23 General Mladic was persuaded not to advance immediately on Potocari. And
24 the units remained in and around the Srebrenica area consolidating and
25 preparing for the next day's operations. So I think in that case his
1 subordinates were able to convince him that that was not a prudent thing
2 to do.
3 Q. He cooled his jets and remained in place for a little bit?
4 A. I'm not sure if General Mladic ever cooled his jets, sir.
5 Q. All right. Well, when he was in Bratunac on the second meeting
6 that took place between Mladic and the DutchBat and the representatives
7 from the Muslim community?
8 A. Yes, sir, that would be the roughly 1000 hour meeting -- I'm sorry
9 2200 hours.
10 Q. Yes. That's on the 11th. Who was in command and control?
11 A. Certainly General Mladic was.
12 Q. And where might his forward command post have been at that given
13 moment? Was it the Bratunac Brigade headquarters, was it Hotel Fontana?
14 A. In military terms, his forward command post should have been the
15 Bratunac Brigade headquarters.
16 Q. All right. And where do you think they were?
17 A. I'm sorry, say again.
18 Q. Where do you think they were?
19 A. Where do I think who was?
20 Q. His forward command post, do you think that's where it was?
21 A. Yes, sir. The Drina Corps forward command post was at the
22 Bratunac Brigade headquarters, or one of them was, and that would have
23 been where the Main Staff would have deployed their forward command
24 people, and by extension a command post.
25 Q. And the reason you stated earlier is that, one, that's where you
1 have the communications centre. Correct?
2 A. Yes, sir.
3 Q. Security reasons?
4 A. That could be a valid one, yes, sir.
5 Q. And of course for logistics as well. Every time you need
6 something, if you're in the Hotel Fontana and that's your forward command
7 post, it becomes virtually impossible, would it not, for him to function?
8 A. It would be difficult, yes, sir.
9 Q. Okay.
10 A. That's why they normally set it up so that it falls in the lower
11 command post, because they realise that all of these logistics already
13 Q. All right. And I take it he doesn't have to ask permission from
14 the commander of the Bratunac Brigade whether he can use the command post?
15 A. He does not have to ask permission. I suspect that that is
16 assumed that when he comes here he will do that.
17 Q. We can make that assumption also when the commander of the
18 Drina Corps comes and decides, as you have indicated, to put its command
19 post, its forward command post at the command post of the
20 Bratunac Brigade, again the Drina Corps commander doesn't need to ask
21 permission of the commander of the Bratunac Brigade. Correct?
22 A. No, sir.
23 Q. And -- now, when you have all three in that building, in that
24 command post, Main Staff, that's their forward command post; Drina Corps,
25 that's their forward command post; and the Bratunac Brigade, that's their
1 command post; who is really exercising command and control?
2 A. It depends on what echelon formation forces that we're talking
3 about. The argument can be made that wherever General Mladic is, he
4 exercises command and control. And as the commander of an army, that is,
5 in a broad sense, exactly what happens. However, within the more
6 stratified environment or military environment, commanders are going to
7 exercise command and control generally within their competencies of
9 So while certainly there are going there are going to be instances
10 where General Mladic will give orders to officers that may be one or two
11 echelons below him. That fact that General Mladic is in command and in
12 control in Bratunac doesn't meant that suddenly General Zivanovic isn't.
13 And when General Zivanovic is in command and control in Bratunac, it
14 doesn't mean that Colonel Blagojevic isn't. It's no absolute in this
16 Q. It all depends on what --
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Is there a problem?
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: I just have an appointment at 12.00 at my son's
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I have no problems with that, Your Honour. Far be
21 it for me to -- I can pick up tomorrow where we are.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, very good. We'll resume at 9.00 tomorrow
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
25 at 12.01 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
1 the 21st day of November, 2003,
2 at 9.00 a.m.