1 Thursday, 15 April 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Court Deputy, would you please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours, this is Case Number
8 IT-02-60-T, the Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
10 Before we hear the first witness, are there any matters that the
11 parties would like to bring to the attention of this Bench? Well,
12 Mr. Karnavas, do you have the witness here?
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President, and we are ready to proceed.
14 And the witness has asked for no protective measures.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
16 Could we have the witness, please.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
20 JUDGE LIU: Would you please make the solemn declaration.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
22 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 WITNESS: LJUBISAV SIMIC
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
1 Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
3 Examined by Mr. Karnavas:
4 Q. Good morning, sir.
5 A. Good morning.
6 Q. Could you please tell us what your name is for the record.
7 A. My name is Ljubisav Simic.
8 Q. And could you please spell your last name for us.
9 A. S-i-m-i-c.
10 Q. Mr. Simic, where are you from?
11 A. Bratunac.
12 Q. And how long have you lived in Bratunac?
13 A. My family had a property in Srebrenica municipality and in
14 Bratunac. I was born in Srebrenica municipality, and I have resided and
15 completed my elementary school in Bratunac and my high school in
16 Ljubovija. And I went to college in Belgrade. I've worked in Bratunac,
17 which is how it is today. I also reside in Bratunac nowadays.
18 Q. And Ljubovija, that's across the river, across the Drina. Is
19 that correct?
20 A. Yes. 6 kilometres from our town on the outside of the Drina
22 Q. Could you please briefly describe to us your educational
24 A. I have completed high school, focusing on humanities, following
25 which I studied languages at the university in Belgrade. I majored in
1 Yugoslav literature and Serbo-Croatian language. This is what I studied
2 at the time. I also taught this at school, up until the war started.
3 Q. Okay. And where did you teach?
4 A. I taught at the secondary school centre in Bratunac, which is
5 where I work nowadays as well.
6 Q. Okay. Now, you said you taught up until the war. Could you
7 please explain to us what your occupation was or what you were doing in
8 general during the war.
9 A. I became involved in politics during the first multi-party
10 elections. And I was proposed by a Serbian assemblyman to the position of
11 the president of the municipality, and I held that office for a certain
13 Q. Okay. Were you the president of the municipality back in July
15 A. Yes, I was.
16 Q. Now, before we speak about the events around July 1995, and in
17 particular prior to and after the fall of Srebrenica, could you please
18 describe for us what exactly that function as president of the
19 municipality encompassed.
20 A. President of municipality up until the last elections when this
21 was changed, was also the president of the local assembly, was in charge
22 of organising the sessions of the assembly, preparing agendas, and the
23 functioning of the assembly, as well as implementation of assembly's
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot hear the witness.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay.
2 Q. You may need to speak up a little louder.
3 A. The decisions of the assembly were implemented by a collective
4 body which was called the Executive Board. Yes, that's what it was
5 called. It's some kind of local government, this Executive Board. Yes,
6 that's what it was called. There were also other assembly organs in
7 charge of their respective affairs, such as finance, economy, and so on.
8 They also implemented decisions within their scope of authorities.
9 Q. Okay. Thank you.
10 Now, we just may need to have you speak a little louder so the
11 interpreters can hear you. And please, if you could speak maybe a little
12 slower too so they can keep up with the translation.
13 A. I will try.
14 Q. All right. Now, Mr. Simic, I want to focus your attention to
15 July 1995. Okay.
16 A. All right.
17 Q. And in particular, I would like us to discuss the events about
18 Srebrenica. Could you please tell us where you were about the time that
19 you heard that Srebrenica had fallen or was about to fall.
20 A. I was away on business in Podgorica and Gnjilani. I heard about
21 this while travelling in the car from Podgorica to Gnjilani. I came to
22 the hotel in Gnjilani. It was quite late at night, midnight or 1.00 a.m.,
23 and the receptionist, upon seeing my ID and upon seeing where I was from
24 asked me whether I had heard that Srebrenica had fallen. Because of that
25 and because of what I heard while travelling in the car, I called my wife
1 at home to see what was going on.
2 Q. And what did you learn from your wife?
3 A. She told me that that seemed to be true, it appeared to be true,
4 and that she -- and that Mladic's police came looking for me twice at
5 home. I asked her what she had told them, and I believed that she had
6 given a good answer, saying that I wasn't there. It wasn't clear to the
7 policemen or to General Mladic where I was exactly. I determined this
8 later. I was unable to go back that night because I had to finish the
9 business I had in Gnjilani. We completed that the following morning and
10 then we headed back to Bratunac. We encountered a lot of difficulties of
11 technical nature on our road back. We did not have enough fuel, our car
12 was out of order. It was difficult to find fuel. And we arrived there in
13 the evening in Bratunac.
14 Q. Okay. Now, when you arrived in the evening back in Bratunac,
15 could you tell us what did you do.
16 Q. Could you tell us what did you do?
17 A. The whole time from the moment I heard the news, up until I
18 returned back in Bratunac, I felt very uncomfortable and I was anxious as
19 to what I would find upon returning home. I had no details, I didn't know
20 why General Mladic came looking for me, and why I was needed, and this is
21 why I immediately went to the municipal building. I found president of
22 the Executive Board there, and he told me that it seemed that Srebrenica
23 had fallen and that there would be no more fighting, military combat, and
24 that there would be some negotiations in the Fontana Hotel the following
25 morning regarding that. And I was to meet him the following morning at
1 the command at General Mladic's, that there was supposed to be a meeting
2 or something there.
3 Q. If I can stop you there for a second. The individual that you met
4 that evening, what is his name?
5 A. Srbislav Davidovic. He is the president of the Executive Board.
6 He was also, I don't know if I can say, mobilised, but he was a member of
7 the Labour Battalion. And these people were deployed in times of specific
8 danger or specific threat. And he had to go from the municipality to the
10 Q. Okay. Now --
11 A. Where his son was as well. That was in Pribicevac.
12 Q. All right. Now, you indicated that you had been informed that you
13 were to meet with General Mladic the next morning. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Could you please explain to us what you did the next morning.
16 A. Pursuant to the suggestion of the president of the Executive
17 Board, I put on a military uniform, as if I held some kind of a military
18 post as well. And I came to the meeting wearing a uniform. So in a way,
19 I would deter Mladic from asking me where I had been. I came to the
20 meeting with the president of the Executive Board. I think he also wore a
21 uniform at the time. I think he did. We came to the office of the
22 Bratunac Brigade. We found Mladic there, together with a couple of other
23 soldiers who I think were on his security detail. We greeted each other.
24 The general asked me: I was unable to see you these past few days.
25 That's what he told me. And I tried to be relaxed and joked about me
1 being on one hill and general being on the other hill so that we missed
2 each other. And in this way, I avoided any further conversation and
3 inquiry as to where I had been. Then we sat down. He ordered coffee for
4 us. And I think we were waiting for somebody else to arrive.
5 Q. Okay. Now, if I could stop you here for a second. Could you
6 please tell us exactly, could you please tell us exactly, where was the
7 Bratunac Brigade headquarters that you had this meeting or this encounter
8 with General Mladic?
9 A. The staff of the Bratunac Brigade, the headquarters of the
10 Bratunac Brigade from the very beginning was located in the ceramic tile
11 factory on the ground level to the right from the main entrance. That's
12 where that office was.
13 Q. Where you met General Mladic, on the ground floor?
14 A. Yes. Yes. In that office.
15 Q. Now, when you were in that office having this conversation with
16 General Mladic, did you ever see Mr. Blagojevic?
17 A. No. No. Definitely not.
18 Q. Did you know of him?
19 A. I did. He was one of brigade commanders who was appointed shortly
20 before that, one of the newer commanders. I couldn't tell you exactly how
21 long before that he was appointed, but we knew of him.
22 Q. Very well. Had he been in the room at that time, you would have
23 been able to recognise him. Correct?
24 A. I would not only recognise him, I would also greet him and I would
25 definitely remember that he was present. Perhaps it would have been
1 easier for me had he been there because it would have been easier to
2 defend myself from Mladic's inquiry as to where I had been. Was I clear
3 enough or do I need to explain this further?
4 Q. That's fine.
5 Now, if I could please tell us what exactly was discussed between
6 you and Mladic and whoever else was there at the time?
7 A. In addition to the president of the Executive Board,
8 Aleksandar Tesic also came, who was in charge of mobilisation, with the
9 office which was within the Ministry of Defence. There was a local priest
10 there who arrived later. I think that Mr. Deronjic was supposed to come
11 as well, but -- although I had heard that he had been invited, to my
12 surprise he didn't come to the meeting.
13 Q. Okay. And could you please tell us what was discussed. And
14 incidentally, before you tell us, could you please tell us exactly or to
15 the best of your recollection, about what time in the morning is it?
16 A. It could have been between 7.00 and 8.00 in the morning.
17 Q. And could you please tell us now what was discussed during that
18 meeting that you and the others had with General Mladic.
19 A. The meeting did not impress me as a typical meeting held at the
20 brigade, when we were invited to be briefed about the situation of the
21 brigade, when we needed to be informed about what assistance we needed to
22 provide, be it footwear, cigarettes, food, whatever we were in charge of.
23 So this was more of a conversation-type meeting. I would say that this
24 was an exploratory meeting, where the general wanted to feel our pulse, so
25 to speak, and see what we thought about the new situation.
1 He said that Srebrenica had been defeated, the army had been
2 defeated in Srebrenica, and that following that, we were to have a meeting
3 at the Fontana Hotel. He said that I and president of the Executive Board
4 should attend the meeting, and that it would be an official meeting held
5 at 10.00 in the morning. And since I was not informed of the situation on
6 the ground, I had to conceal that fact. I couldn't show that. I couldn't
7 demonstrate that. And I had to figure out what had actually happened and
8 what problems we encountered. The general gave us a summary description
9 of the situation. So without being physically present there I gathered
10 that the population had left the town of Srebrenica, that the population
11 was gathering in Potocari, in the industrial zone. And Mladic expected us
12 to attend the meeting and to give some proposals to what should be done.
13 Mladic at the time proposed several options about which he claimed
14 he had heard from people in Srebrenica, probably through some officers
15 subordinated to him who had gone there. Some suggested that the
16 population wanted to be evacuated, some suggested that some wanted to
17 remain, and that all these options should be analysed and appropriate
18 solutions found. I did not give any comments to any of the options,
19 except that I said that the option which covered the population remaining
20 there, which I did not oppose at all, I said that we should undertake to
21 protect the population which expressed desire to remain in Srebrenica. I
22 said that because I was afraid of the consequences that would ensue
23 following the conflicts in previous years. I simply did not trust in the
24 ability of local police and the army to protect adequately the remaining
25 population. This is why I insisted with the general that this should be
1 an obligation of his and that we were unable to guarantee that. So that
2 we wouldn't come in a situation where we would blame ourselves for
3 something we weren't able to do.
4 The general listened to the comments. He said that the
5 representatives of civilian government and the army as well as
6 representatives of the Dutch Battalion would be there, that they would
7 give their requests, and that everybody would be able to voice their
8 opinion at the meeting. The meeting started at 10.00.
9 Q. Let me stop you. Before we get to the next meeting - and we have
10 to take a pause occasionally - that first meeting with General Mladic,
11 could you please tell us about how long did it take.
12 A. I don't think it was more than an hour, not even that. Because as
13 I told you, it wasn't a typical meeting. It was a type of brief
14 conversation. That's what it was. I said what I've just described to
15 you. Most of the people agreed with my opinion. They said that they were
16 concerned, that this should be taken care of so that we wouldn't be -- we
17 wouldn't encounter problems that we had encountered at the beginning of
18 the war.
19 Q. Okay. Now, did you go to the next meeting, the one that
20 General Mladic had told you that would take place at 10.00 at the Hotel
22 A. Yes. He also added that we were to go home, to take off our
23 uniforms, and that we were to wear our normal work clothes, the clothes
24 that we normally wore when we went to work. And so I did that, and I came
25 back to the meeting which started at 10.00.
1 Q. Okay. Now, could you please give us a brief description of what
2 you recall happened at the meeting.
3 A. I will try to tell you everything I can remember.
4 Q. Try and make it brief, though, so we don't go out for too long.
5 A. The residents of Srebrenica were represented by a woman and two
6 men. And there was a representative of the Dutch Battalion. I think he
7 was a commander. I don't really know much about the ranks, but I think he
8 was a senior officer. So somebody from that battalion. Then there was
9 General Krstic; General Mladic; president of the Executive Board,
10 Srbislav Davidovic; myself; Miroslav Deronjic; and some people from the
11 Zvornik police, I think somebody called Vasic.
12 The people from Srebrenica were quite frustrated. They suggested
13 that the population be evacuated to Kladanj and Tuzla. They said that
14 this should not be postponed, that a catastrophe was about to take place
15 there and while we were meeting there, there were things going on there
16 that were not civilised. I'm quoting here the words of the lady who
17 represented the residents of Srebrenica. As I told you, I wasn't there,
18 physically present, but I believed that what she was saying was true.
19 Then General Mladic suggested that the three of them and the
20 representatives of our government, meaning myself and Davidovic, the
21 president of the Executive Board, and perhaps some other persons, should
22 establish a team that would assist in that situation. The three of them
23 were to convey to the citizens gathered in Potocari that there were two or
24 three options. So one was to remain, to remain in Srebrenica; some could
25 return to Bratunac, those who went from Bratunac to Srebrenica; or they
1 could go wherever they wanted, which could be Tuzla, Serbia, Yugoslavia,
2 as it was called at the time, or any other place of their choice, that
3 everything would be done in order to enable them to go to the place of
4 their choice. It was also stated that we should remain in contact
5 continuously as a team, and that we should assist each other and take
6 action in a timely manner. So I wouldn't go into any further details. I
7 believe this to be the most important because this pertained to my
8 responsibilities and my involvement in it.
9 The lady across the table from me complained that there was
10 certain problems. And I cannot be certain now whether it concerned her
11 children or her grandchildren, but she said she had some problems
12 involving small children whom she wished to be evacuated. Whereupon
13 General Mladic suggested that she should take her children to the Fontana
14 Hotel, where arrangements would be made to provide for them. Whereas, she
15 herself should stay because she was among the first people to arrive at
16 the meeting and she was supposed to be one of the key players in the team,
17 in this team that was supposed to play an informative and assisting role
18 and help the citizens who had already spent one night in the place they
19 were gathered in and were in for another very hard day.
20 Q. If I could interrupt you for a moment. Now, before we go on, at
21 one point you said you hadn't there when the lady was talking about the
22 conditions. I take it that you were referring to that you hadn't been to
23 Potocari or Srebrenica. Is that correct?
24 A. No, I was not in Potocari or in Srebrenica.
25 Q. Okay. Now, if you could please tell us how did the meeting end
1 and what, if any, tasks you were given during those meetings and by whom.
2 A. After that meeting where we were told that we should ensure some
3 water tanks, food supplies, bread, milk, et cetera, as well as an
4 infirmary and an ambulance, to provide for some wounded persons who were
5 supposed to be transferred from a hospital that was attached to the Dutch
6 Battalion and which was too small. And the infirmary was too small to
7 accept -- to admit everybody who needed to be admitted when transferred
8 from the hospital and who needed to continue to be treated as inpatients.
9 The director of the infirmary needed help in order to make the infirmary
10 operative. And we were told to provide the water and the rest.
11 We continued to talk after the meeting was formally over in
12 clusters in an informal exchange. And we were saying to each other that
13 we would shoulder the burden as best we can and we will contribute as best
14 we can to the alleviation of all these misfortunes. But after that I did
15 not see anyone who attended that meeting again, and I think it is a great
16 shame and I'm still sorry today that this meeting never came to anything.
17 And it would have come to something, if we had acted as we had planned,
18 namely if we had met together with the people in charge working to help
19 the people from Srebrenica and us on the other side, keeping in touch with
20 the representatives of the Dutch Battalion, coordinating work in a team
21 spirit, as we had envisaged to do. If that had really been done, we would
22 not have faced the tragedy of Srebrenica.
23 Q. If I could interrupt you for one second. Were you given any
24 particular tasks?
25 A. Well, the general told me personally that it was a job for the
1 civilian authorities. He saw me as the most responsible among them, and
2 everybody continued in their line of work. We put to work everybody to
3 make the arrangements, we organised the water tanks and the food supplies,
4 because I suppose the shops were empty in Bratunac, and food was lacking
5 for a great number of people.
6 Q. Before we go on -- Mr. Simic, I'm going to ask very concrete
7 questions, if you could give some concrete answers here and we'll go step
8 by step. Were you given any specific tasks by General Mladic, and if the
9 answer is yes, could you please tell us specifically what did
10 General Mladic ask you or order you to do.
11 A. Well, the task that he assigned to me and that I was supposed to
12 assign to all the relevant authorities was to provide food and milk for
13 infants who were also among the people gathered in that assembly point
14 with no roof above them, to organise an infirmary for the admission of
15 people who were ill or wounded and who had hospital treatment in
16 Srebrenica and were evacuated from that hospital after Srebrenica fell.
17 And they were transferred later to the hospital of the Dutch Battalion.
18 And those were four important tasks as far as I'm able to judge, and I
19 wasn't even aware of the scope of my task until I arrived on the spot.
20 Q. All right. Now, if we could go through some of those tasks. Did
21 you accomplish any of them?
22 A. We succeeded to the extent possible. If you consider our
23 abilities, I think that we succeeded in the most unselfish manner. I
24 don't want to sound as if I were boasting, but we really gave our utmost.
25 We sent water tanks. We had one ambulance on the ground. The infirmary
1 was reorganised and re-equipped. All the personnel that we had in the
2 health centre was mobilised, called back to their jobs, and they were on
3 duty in the infirmary. We increased the number of beds in the infirmary,
4 with a contribution of the Dutch Battalion who must have been in touch
5 with our people and who provided the things that we lacked, medicines, et
6 cetera. All -- you have to take into account that it wasn't a real
7 hospital; it was just an infirmary. And you know how an infirmary
8 operates in less developed environments. We also managed to provide a
9 certain amount of bread, water, fruit juice, and we also enjoyed in this
10 respect great assistance of the Dutch Battalion, whose soldiers literally
11 did manual work handling and carrying cartons like everybody on our side.
12 There was a woman who was wounded there and who needed to be
13 transferred to the infirmary and the ambulance was there on the spot when
14 it was needed. And the mother of that woman was assured that they could
15 go to the infirmary and that they would be treated just as everybody else.
16 It was a Muslim woman. The food was a drop in the sea, I must say. I was
17 surprised when I realised what the situation was. I had never seen
18 anything like it. It was shocking and remains shocking to me to this day.
19 Q. Okay. Now, we're going to go step by step. Before we get to your
20 observations and further concretely speak about what you did specifically,
21 did you contact any international organisations or work with any other
22 internationals, other than the Dutch Battalion that were there?
23 A. Yes. As soon as I arrived and when I saw that the water was
24 flowing in and that the infirmary was doing its work, I started
25 concentrating on food supplies, because there was not enough food even in
1 the Dutch Battalion. There were so many people who needed it and it
2 required our immediate efforts. The problem was critical in Bratunac,
3 because there were only two or three shops working in Bratunac, the local
4 bakery baked bread for the entire population gathered there; that bread
5 had already been distributed. So we asked for the assistance of the
6 Zvornik bakery. And I also went to the neighbouring municipality of
7 Ljubovija, where I had friends. I knew also my counterpart in the
8 Ljubovija assembly and I asked him to appeal to their citizens to join in
9 the aid operation of gathering bread and food supplies to assist the
10 population gathered in Potocari.
11 Ljubovija is a small and a poor place. The people responded
12 immediately to our appeal, and they brought whatever they had. It was all
13 collected in one spot, and we wanted to avoid any suspicion of abuse. You
14 know how it goes in wartime. There are always stories going around about
15 people who make a profit.
16 Q. If I can stop you for a second. Where is Ljubovija? You said it
17 was 6 kilometres away, but where exactly is it?
18 A. On the right-hand side of the Drina, just across the river from
19 Bratunac. You can see from one town for another. If it hadn't been for
20 the Drina River, it would have been one town. If you could go in a
21 straight line from one to the other, it would be just 2 kilometres if
22 there was a bridge between the towns. It wouldn't even be 2 kilometres.
23 Q. Is that in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Which country is it in?
1 A. Well, nowadays, it is Serbia and Montenegro. It used to be
2 Yugoslavia. States change overnight where I come from.
3 Q. Okay. Other than going to Ljubovija, did you contact any
4 international agencies or organisations for assistance?
5 A. Yes. That's what I started talking about. We realised very soon
6 that the abilities of Ljubovija were very small. It was far below what we
7 needed, and that's why I decided to call the UNHCR, which had an office in
8 Belgrade and which I had visited several times and had the best experience
9 in cooperating with them. They assisted the people in our lands a great
10 deal in those times. I knew some of the staff personally and I decided to
11 ask them to intervene, if at all possible, and provide a certain amount of
12 dry food, dry rations, that could be distributed on the spot without
13 cooking, something that could be consumed in the field, so to speak. I
14 was told that I should address a request, a formal request, if I wanted an
15 affirmative answer, and that's where the problems began. I had to address
16 this formal request, whereas everything was literally burning under my
17 feet. I had to deal with the Serbian representatives on one side; on the
18 other hand I had to organise humanitarian aid and to ask them that they
19 turn a blind eye or somehow approve it. In any case, I needed their help.
20 I asked them to intervene, and indeed two men who were on duty understood
21 my plea and intervened. Because Serbia had imposed an embargo against us,
22 against imports, to Bosnia at the time. So we were not able to import
23 even the various necessities. So I had to ensure their help, and on the
24 side of Ljubovija I wasn't sure what connections they had with the UNHCR.
25 A commission for refugees and displaced persons was formed on
1 behalf of Republika Srpska, and they provided assistance to Bratunac as
2 well. I don't know what the official name of his position was, but the
3 man number one there was Dragan Kekic. And he also promised to intervene
4 to the extent of his abilities. I asked him to visit Bratunac if he could
5 and to see the people in Potocari. I don't know why, but all that help
6 arrived too late.
7 Q. Okay. Well, I was just about to ask that. Did any help arrive by
9 A. Yes, it arrived. I don't think I would be mistaken in saying
10 there were five trucks, white trucks. I don't know the type. But those
11 were the trucks that usually carried humanitarian aid to Bratunac and
12 other places. They arrived in the evening hours when the evacuation was
13 already underway and when the drama was far gone. And they stopped at the
14 UNPROFOR base.
15 Q. Did you have any contact with any representatives from UNHCR when
16 this aid came to Bratunac?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And what were --
19 A. I met with a Russian man or maybe he just had Russian parents but
20 lived in Belgrade and worked for the UNHCR office in Belgrade. I think
21 his name was Andrej Kazakov. He was accompanied by a lady or a young lady
22 perhaps I should say. She was Korean, or at least we called her Korean
23 lady. She was with him when he arrived in Potocari and continued to
24 accompany him later on, as you will hear maybe if you're interested. I
25 spent the entire working day with them.
1 Q. Okay. About what time do you recall did they arrive?
2 A. Well, I never wear a watch, you see, because time means nothing
3 where I live. Money does not have the same significance as here. If
4 there is work to do, we do it; if no, then not. I still don't wear a
5 watch, and I look to the sun to have an idea of the time. It was still
6 early. It --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was not so hot anymore. It was
9 getting towards dusk. The sun had already set. The transportation
10 vehicles were fewer and fewer, and the whole commotion of running towards
11 the buses and trucks that were supposed to take people away had subsided.
12 So it was closer to the evening. It could have been 5.00 or 6.00 p.m. It
13 may be important now to determine the exact time, but at that time it
14 didn't seem so important.
15 MR. KARNAVAS:
16 Q. Now, before we talk, before we talk about your contacts and what
17 you did with UNHCR, I want to move back earlier when you -- before they
18 arrived, earlier in the day, and I want to focus your attention when you
19 were running around and trying to get the food and organise all these
20 events. Did you at any point in time go to Potocari that day?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. About what time was it?
23 A. I spent there most of my time when I was needed the most. And as
24 soon as the need subsided, I went to Ljubovija to channel the transport of
25 aid. There were also people from Ljubovija who were supposed to bring
1 this aid, these supplies, and who were afraid to cross the line outside
2 their town. And I had to go there to tell them they had nothing to be
3 afraid of and to express my gratitude.
4 Q. Okay. Now, when you were in Potocari, could you please tell us
5 specifically and concretely and very briefly what you did, you Mr. Simic.
6 A. I did all the manual work. I distributed water. I carried this
7 and that. People called to me from all sides. They wanted jugs of water.
8 I had to take care of some elderly people who had been literally run over
9 by the crowd running towards the buses. I had to check the progress, if
10 there had been any problems at the infirmary, to deal with these problems.
11 I had to keep in touch with the UNHCR with the commission, and when these
12 people arrived from the UNHCR it could have been 12.00 noon, or maybe 1.00
13 p.m. It was very hot. At that point, this smaller vehicle arrived,
14 usually carrying senior commanders, officers, with their escorts. I
15 stopped and I saw General Mladic addressing me. He said: "President, did
16 you go to Srebrenica?" And I thought to myself: Why would I go to
17 Srebrenica in this situation? He said: "I'm going there right now. If
18 you want to go there, you can come with me." I was in two minds for a
19 while, but --
20 Q. Now, before we talk about that incident where as I understand you
21 went to Srebrenica at some point with General Mladic. Is that correct?
22 A. Yes. When this vehicle came by.
23 Q. Now, before we discuss that, I still remain in Potocari and I want
24 to ask you: Did you recognise anybody there and did you speak to anybody?
25 A. Yes, I did. Some people knew me, whereas I didn't know them.
1 They could have been parents of my students or some people who knew me as
2 a fellow citizen. They called me by name and asked for a favour of this
3 type or another. They wanted me to bring them bread or water while they
4 stayed in line. And they were afraid they would lose their place in the
5 queue to the buses. At one point General Mladic came to me and said it
6 would be a good idea for me to go with the commander of the Dutch
7 Battalion to the base where there were a lot of civilians who were in this
8 fenced-in area holding the command and the army, the troops. I didn't
9 think any assistance was needed there because the Dutch Battalion was in
10 charge and it would be impolite of me to trespass on the territory of the
11 Dutch base. I asked the commander of the Dutch Battalion if he would
12 mind, if I would be interfering with their work if I went there and the
13 man no problem, I could come with him and he would escort me through.
14 So I went and we toured the area around the building which housed
15 the factory producing batteries, at least that's what I believe. I don't
16 know much about industry or production, and I was never interested in what
17 was produced where. All I know is it was a big plant and it was adjusted
18 to house the soldiers of the Dutch Battalion. The people who were there
19 had a much better time than those who stayed outside the fence. The Dutch
20 Battalion had provided them with running water through a hose and
21 everybody could come up to the hose and even take a shower if they wanted
22 to. They could wash their clothes, which is exactly what women did. They
23 washed clothes and men sat around waiting for evacuation.
24 When I came inside, the indoors was rather ugly and for some
25 reason muddy. There was water on the floor, and it was difficult to walk.
1 At one point, two or three young female students of mine came up to me,
2 whom I had no difficulty recognising because I knew them well. They
3 seemed glad to see me. And after exchanging the usual small talk, how I
4 was doing and how they were doing and their families, I asked if I could
5 help them with anything. And they said: "You would help us only by
6 speeding up this evacuation, because all that we had suffered through in
7 Srebrenica could be over in a couple of days." One of them told me that a
8 part of her family had already left for Tuzla or some place like that, and
9 that when she is reunited in her family in Tuzla, she would have a much
10 better life than in Srebrenica. Srebrenica, she said, was hell for her.
11 Q. Okay. Now, you indicated that at some point you went to
12 Srebrenica with General Mladic. Just very, very briefly could you just
13 tell us what you did with General Mladic when you went to Srebrenica, very
15 A. As I've told you, I agreed to come along to that I wouldn't have
16 to explain why I didn't wish to go. So there were some other people there
17 in this street, that main street, leading towards Srebrenica. So we
18 entered Srebrenica. There were no people there in the town itself. We
19 saw very few people, maybe 20 older -- elderly persons around the
20 department store. And that there was a journalist there. Mladic came up
21 and talked to the journalist and I remained in the car. And since this
22 conversation with the journalist was a very brief one, he came back and he
23 asked me where was the Banja Guber source. He had never heard of it
24 before and he wanted me to show it to the driver so we could go to the
25 source, to the spa. And we continued to the source. En route there we
1 stopped at a smaller source, because there are a lot of water sources
2 there. I remember that he sat there, took off his boots, and I saw and
3 was surprised to see that he wore wool socks. And then he took off his
4 socks. It was quite unusual to see in the middle of the summer.
5 Then we continued on to the source. We stayed there for about
6 five minutes. He took off his shoes and cooled down a bit. And then we
7 continued on and came to a spot that had been flooded before and the road
8 was in disrepair. So we had to clean it and ensure that we could pass on
9 that road. We continued on to the source and we found there only two or
10 three abandoned horses wandering around. There was a wooden hut or a
11 house there that had been burned, and everything that was man-made was
12 destroyed. The nature was the only thing we found there.
13 Then we went back and I was busy with my tasks, with my affairs,
14 and the general continued on.
15 Q. Okay. Now, let's pick up with the UNHCR convoy and their
16 representatives, when they showed up sometime in the late afternoon.
17 Could you please --
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you please explain to us, again very briefly, what did you
20 do with them, if anything.
21 A. I took them to the place where the evacuation was being
22 implemented. I showed them where there was some other residents there
23 waiting for evacuation. I told them that I had already been once to that
24 place. I didn't want to go again, that I would wait for them there and
25 that they should go and say that they had arrived and that they should be
1 given every assistance they needed so that the Dutch soldiers could assist
2 the residents that hadn't been evacuated yet. So they went there, I
3 waited for them. They came back and said that unfortunately they were
4 late, that they had some difficulties en route, I'm not quite sure, and
5 then we were wondering what to do. They suggested this humanitarian aid
6 be turned over to the Red Cross and should it be needed, that our Red
7 Cross should be given the task of distributing the assistance, the aid.
8 That's what we did. And since the warehouse of our Red Cross was located
9 in the building we normally called DC in our town, which is an
10 abbreviation for distribution centre, we headed there. We were travelling
11 in trucks. Andrej, myself, and the young lady were going ahead. And at
12 the entrance, I saw for the first time Mr. Blagojevic. He was standing by
13 the main gate with a man, and I can give you my impression about what it
14 looked like to me and what was my impression of that meeting.
15 I think that there was somebody with a camera there, in that
16 compound. I couldn't tell you for sure, because I didn't really care much
17 about journalists or about people going around with cameras. I simply
18 considered this to be an event with which I had nothing to do. Our
19 president of the Red Cross was informed. He normally always had some
20 group of workers around who could load and unload the goods and distribute
21 the aid. So he came along. And I think that Mr. Blagojevic and this
22 Russian man talked with somebody in front of the camera. I really don't
23 know who was taping this, whether this was a TV station or it was somebody
24 with a private camera taping this for private purposes. So they stayed
25 there while the unloading was going on. They asked me if they could stay
1 overnight in Bratunac.
2 Q. Let me ask you this: Did you have a conversation with
3 Mr. Blagojevic when you saw him there?
4 A. Naturally when passing him I greeted him and we exchanged
5 conventional greetings. How are you doing? Are there any problems? How
6 are things? And he basically indicated, shrugged his shoulders, and
7 indicated that there was nothing in particular. My impression was that he
8 looked quite fresh, as though he hadn't been there at all previously but
9 was rather somewhere resting in the shade and simply came to take a walk
10 there. He was quite relaxed, not showing any concern or anxiety, because
11 I would have noticed that otherwise. So this was my impression. It
12 looked a bit strange to me, and I was somewhat envious to see that he was
13 not very busy, where I was running around all day long.
14 Q. Did you ask him where he had been to look so fresh?
15 A. No. I was afraid it would be impolite. As I told you, I was away
16 myself for three days, so it wasn't proper for me now to question others.
17 Q. Did you ever find out where he had been during that day?
18 A. No, I never inquired, nor did I hear about it.
19 Q. Now, you indicated the folks from the UNHCR wanted to express the
20 desire of staying overnight in Bratunac. Do you know whether they did?
21 A. They did, definitely, because I took them to the only restaurant
22 or tavern and a small bed and breakfast which we had in town. I used to
23 go to that place before for lunch and so on. We had quite a friendly
24 relationship with them, and I tried to maintain that. So I invited them
25 there. I told them that the food was good; I didn't know what the
1 accommodation was like. It was privately owned and that we would probably
2 find two beds there. So we went to that place, and as I expected they did
3 have room for them. And they stayed overnight there. We had dinner there
4 as well. We stayed up talking quite late. They were not in a hurry on
5 one hand, and I didn't want to leave them alone. So I stayed keeping them
6 company for quite a while, and then I went home to sleep. It had been
7 quite a long day for me. I started early in the morning, and when we
8 parted it was near midnight.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours, perhaps this may be a good time
11 before we get into the following day. Hopefully we will -- I will
12 complete my direct during the next session.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will have a 30-minute break. We will resume
14 at 20 minutes to 11.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.12 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 10.43 a.m.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas, please continue.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
19 Q. Mr. Simic, before we go on to the 13th, very briefly, I want to
20 take you back to that meeting that took place at the Hotel Fontana around
21 10.00 that morning. Okay?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, you indicated to us that at some point -- when I asked what
24 tasks were given to you, you told us about receiving some tasks from
25 General Mladic. Do you know whether those tasks were on the video footage
1 of that meeting? Apparently the meeting was videotaped.
2 A. I don't know whether the entire meeting was taped, but I know
3 that it was taped. I saw a man with a camera there. I don't know whether
4 they taped only the very end and the informal part of the meeting. I
5 couldn't tell you that.
6 Q. All right. Now, when you met with the Prosecutor or their
7 representative back in March the 2nd, 1998, did they show you that video
8 by any chance?
9 A. They didn't.
10 Q. Did you provide that information to them when you gave that
11 statement back in 1998?
12 A. I don't remember that.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. Because I never received the transcript. And after that
15 interview, I never read -- reread what I had stated back then.
16 Q. And when was the transcript -- was the transcript ever made
17 available to you by any chance?
18 A. Only yesterday.
19 Q. Thank you. Now, let me fast forward now and let's get to --
20 incidentally, did you read your statement yesterday, the one that you gave
21 to the Prosecution back in 1998?
22 A. I did read it.
23 Q. And incidentally, did they ever come to ask you any further
24 questions, say in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, or 2004? Did they ever
25 come to ask you for any additional information, given the position that
1 you held and the activities that you were involved in during that -- those
2 critical days after the fall of Srebrenica?
3 A. I was notified to come to Banja Luka. I couldn't tell you
4 exactly which month it was, and I also remember that on the day of my
5 family's patron saint, I was invited by an investigator -- I was called by
6 either an investigator or the Prosecutor and told that there was no need
7 for me to come, that they didn't need to talk to me. That was what was
8 stated in the letter.
9 Q. Now, in the statement that you read yesterday that was provided
10 to you for the first time, which is when we received the B/C/S version
11 incidentally, did you notice anywhere where you discuss seeing
12 Mr. Blagojevic by that -- in that location in that afternoon of the 12th
13 of July, 1995?
14 A. I think that I mentioned him, just like I did today, as standing
15 by the entrance of the DC building. If I omitted that, then it was by
16 accident. I'm -- I would need to take a look at it now. I couldn't claim
17 with any certainty, although I know for a fact that I did see him and I
18 told you what triggered that.
19 Q. Okay. Now, let's move to the next day, which would be July 13th,
20 1995. Now, on that particular day, how did it start?
21 A. I was a bit late for work that day, which was unusual for me. But
22 I was late probably because I was very tired. I believe that most of the
23 work had been completed and that I had nothing further to do in that
24 respect. I came to the municipal building. I found the president of the
25 Executive Board in his office. I stopped by to see him. He told me
1 something that I heard for the first time then and there, which is that
2 during the night some buses carrying people came to Bratunac and parked
3 from the school all the way up to the stadium, including the stadium. He
4 couldn't tell me how many buses there were there, but he told me that the
5 buses had come during the night, that they remained there, and that in the
6 morning hours, the buses were leaving heading towards Konjevic Polje. It
7 was quite shocking for me to hear that. That was unexpected. I did not
8 expect that something like that would happen. Not once was it mentioned
9 that anyone, any convoys, were supposed to stop in Bratunac. I was
10 especially surprised by the fact that it was done overnight, during the
11 night, and that the town was practically without any male population
12 because all of the males were mobilised. I didn't see any in the streets,
13 so I was truly shocked by this. I asked him whether he had done anything
14 and what ought to be done about that, who should we go to see to intervene
15 to ensure that this was removed, that these people who had been brought
16 there are evacuated as soon as possible. I didn't know the reason why
17 these people had been brought there. He told me that perhaps it would be
18 a good idea to go to the Fontana Hotel because there was probably somebody
19 on duty there or to the SDS office where I could find a duty officer with
20 whom I could inquire with somebody about this. I naturally did this --
21 Q. Let me interrupt you for a second. Why didn't you ask him why he
22 didn't go to check out the situation at the Hotel Fontana?
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. All right. So did you go to the Hotel Fontana?
25 A. I first went to the SDS office because it was closer. So I
1 thought perhaps I should check there first and then I could continue on to
2 the other place. I saw an officer there, a senior officer, whom I know
3 now -- for whom I know now is called Beara. At the time I didn't know his
4 name. I was quite upset about what had been done. As the president of
5 the Executive Board told me, the minors had been mobilised during the
6 night, minors who had no military experience who were used to provide
7 security for the buses. And this was completely outrageous. I asked that
8 these people be evacuated urgently and said that if any food or anything
9 else was needed - and in the meantime the president of the Executive Board
10 told me that he had contacted the Red Cross to provide all these things
11 for these people - so I asked for that.
12 After these supplies were unloaded, the president of the Red
13 Cross was informed about why these supplies were needed and was told to
14 distribute them where necessary. So following that, the evacuation of
15 these people started. They were evacuated towards Konjevic Polje along
16 the same route that was used the previous day for evacuation.
17 Q. Now, let me stop you here. Why did you go to the SDS office
18 since you were one of the highest officials in the government? Why did
19 you go there?
20 A. The president of the Executive Board told me that there might be
21 a duty officer in that place. That was the only place where we could find
22 the duty officer. And the other place was the Fontana Hotel.
23 Q. Okay. Now, did you -- how did Colonel Beara respond to your
25 A. Quite confused and I would say uninterested, which upset me even
2 Q. All right.
3 A. So I went back and conveyed to the president of the Executive
4 Board that we should find Miroslav because he was in charge of civilian
5 affairs. I said that we should have Miroslav protest and say that unless
6 things were done as promised, that we would intervene. And I think that
7 he did convey that.
8 Q. Okay. Now, when you say "Miroslav," you're speaking of
9 Mr. Deronjic. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And by that point in time, had you been aware of any particular
12 position that he had been given?
13 A. At that meeting I heard him say in front of everyone that he was
14 in charge of civilian affairs, that he was appointed to that post by the
15 president and that he was basically supposed to supervise the state of
16 affairs in the civilian sector.
17 Q. All right. Well, did you have a meeting or did you run into
18 Mr. Deronjic after this encounter with Colonel Beara?
19 A. I did not. Because he had probably contacted him earlier, talked
20 to him about resolving this, and I didn't really know enough about these
21 things. I didn't know what was his task. I didn't know what exactly the
22 president had charged him with, so I didn't know enough details.
23 Q. All right. Did you do anything else that day that is of any
24 significance that we might be interested in hearing about?
25 A. I had nothing else to do in Potocari in that place, because the
1 Red Cross was in action there. Andrej told me that should the evacuation
2 continue in -- at the same rate as previous day, that it could be finished
3 by the afternoon. So I stopped by the health centre to see what the
4 situation there was, and I was quite afraid that there might be some
5 discontent leading to certain incidents and so on because there were
6 wounded there. And I ensured that the place was secured by people who had
7 good reputation in the community. So I hoped that this would deter any
8 incidents. They knew that they should not let anybody in, except for the
9 authorised personnel.
10 Later on, I saw the Dutch Battalion doctor there. He was quite
11 active there, also providing medical assistance, medications, some
12 technical equipment to ensure that things were done in a proper way.
13 Q. Okay. Now, you indicated that the Red Cross was in action. Did
14 you actually see them in action or was this an assumption that you had
15 made based on your conversations with the UNHCR representative, Andrej?
16 A. The president of the Executive Board told me that in the morning,
17 that they had already taken certain steps to calm down the situation, to
18 deal with hunger, thirst, the anxiety of people who were at risk of doing
20 Q. Did you go to Potocari that day?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Now, on that particular day something happened in Kravica, the
23 Kravica warehouse. Did you ever become aware of that incident?
24 A. I heard about that the following day, not the day when it
25 happened. And the story that I heard was that a policeman who was
1 guarding those people in Oka and I don't know how they came to be there,
2 whether they were brought or they had come on their own, that that
3 policeman was killed and then shooting ensued. And these people were shot
4 and killed by the returning soldiers.
5 Q. All right. But did you in your capacity go to visit that area to
6 see what might have happened?
7 A. No, I did not. It was not advisable for civilians to use that
8 road, to go that way. It was said to be unsafe because armed people could
9 come from among the trees, could emerge from the forest and shoot, and I
10 could not make anyone drive me there. The police in the army were there
11 and it was not my job to go. I don't know. I can't say what I could have
12 done even if I could go.
13 Q. Okay. Now, when you learned of the Kravica warehouse incident,
14 did you have any discussions with any other members of the government or
15 the SDS president, also the commissioner, by now, of civilian affairs,
16 Miroslav Deronjic?
17 A. I asked him why that had happened and whether it could have been
18 avoided. He seemed equally shocked and taken aback. He seemed to have
19 heard about the incident when it was already too late for anything to be
21 Q. Now, we know from the testimony that we've heard so far that
22 there were buses and trucks and men in -- Muslim men in those buses and
23 trucks in the Vuk Karadzic school and elsewhere on the night of the 13th.
24 Were you aware of that?
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, leading.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
2 Well, Mr. Karnavas, maybe you could break up your question.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Not a problem, Your Honour. Not a problem. It
4 was leading in nature.
5 Q. During the afternoon of the 13th, did you become aware of
6 anything that was happening in the town, if anything indeed was happening?
7 A. Was that the second day of evacuation?
8 Q. Yes, that would be the second day of the evacuation.
9 A. Apart from what I already told you about the convoy of people in
10 buses heading towards the stadium, I didn't hear anything else.
11 Q. Okay. Now, I want to switch to another topic, unless you want to
12 supplement with any comments with respect to the second day, the 13th, or
13 anything thereafter that you think might be relevant to this case.
14 Okay. Now, prior to -- well, the Prosecution has argued that
15 this was a forcible transfer, that the folks in Potocari were forced to
16 get on the buses and to be -- and were forced to leave the area. From
17 your observations, could you please tell us whether in your opinion they
18 were being forced to get on those buses.
19 A. What I saw would seem to indicate the opposite. Those people
20 were leaving -- I don't know exactly how to put it, but they were racing
21 each other to the bus, leaving behind their family who were infirm and who
22 couldn't move fast enough. I had to help them to the buses. I did not
23 have the impression that anybody was forcing anyone on to the buses. And
24 up to the very end, I didn't see anybody being driven at gunpoint. And
25 from talking to my female students, as I told you, I heard that they
1 regretted not having been able to leave Srebrenica much earlier. Life
2 there had been very difficult for some time, and many people wished for a
3 way out of that situation. The number of people there, that I realised
4 only then was so great, had to lead a very difficult life.
5 Q. All right. Now, you said that your students had expressed a wish
6 to having to been able to leave earlier. Had you in your capacity been
7 engaged with any international figures or authorities in trying to make
8 arrangements for the Muslims of Srebrenica to leave and for Serbs to come
9 back during this period of time when the war was going on?
10 A. In 1992 I believe we missed the chance to save the people in our
11 area from tragedy. We were supposed to hold a meeting somewhere outside
12 of Potocari with the authorities of Srebrenica and their army to agree on
13 a cease-fire, on a cessation of hostilities, to reach an agreement, make
14 it public, and ensure that no action was taken on either side to provoke
15 the other side. However, the key man - at least in our belief he was the
16 key man - failed to come to that meeting. He was said to hold all the
17 strings in Srebrenica. He commanded the army or the units around
18 Srebrenica. And that was Naser Oric. Without his presence and without
19 his voice, we couldn't do anything. We had the impression that somebody
20 above us did not want him to attend. That was a message from Sarajevo and
21 that was one chance that we missed.
22 Q. Okay. Now, if I could --
23 A. There was another situation, however --
24 Q. Now, before we get to the other situation, I want to concentrate
25 on your dealings with a particular individual from the international
1 community that was there during that period of time, 1992 or 1993, when
2 efforts were being made to find some sort of a solution. Do you know who
3 I'm speaking about?
4 A. That's exactly the person I meant, General Morillon and his entry
5 into Srebrenica. I was there in an informal capacity when
6 General Morillon talked to some representatives of the staff of the Army
7 of Republika Srpska. You surely know about that meeting. I should not
8 recount it to you. Those talks presented an opportunity to find a way out
9 rather than let the status quo continue. These talks took place at the
10 border crossing at the Ljubovija bridge. I was coming back home; it was
11 perhaps around 10.00 p.m., General Morillon noticed me. We exchanged a
12 few words. He was amiable. I wanted to hear from him whether he had any
13 ideas, any solutions to offer, anything he wanted to suggest we do to
14 avoid the oncoming disaster in Srebrenica and Bratunac. So at his
15 invitation, I came into this booth and talked to him through an
16 interpreter. One of his questions took me aback. I even thought he was
17 trying to taunt me. He said: "What kind of people are you, the Serbs? I
18 am trying to help you with your ethnic cleansing and you are standing in
19 my way."
20 I was taken aback because that term "ethnic cleansing" was very
21 ugly to me and I did not want to embrace it as an idea that I approve of
22 or that I promote. But I said that since he had already lead a convoy of
23 people out of Srebrenica - in which by the way I did not participate in
24 any way, all I know is that the convoy had passed through - and an
25 enormous number of people from Srebrenica were willing to be on that
1 convoy and go to Tuzla. I heard from him that another convoy was in
2 preparation, provided that an agreement was reached with the other side so
3 that people who wanted to get out of Sarajevo could do so. However, that
4 did not happen. After the exit of that first convoy -- and he admitted as
5 much. I will quote him, although he used rough talk. I said: "Why are
6 you blaming us? We made a concession. We released a number of people so
7 the other side would do the same and release our people." I, in my job,
8 knew that people were willing to pay thousands of Deutschmarks to help the
9 release someone they loved from Sarajevo, from the war area, from
10 conditions that were insufferable. And he said literally: "Somebody is
11 screwing me here." And I said: "If that was being done to you, then what
12 am I supposed to do?"
13 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear quite who the
14 general meant in his remark.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that our brigade and our
16 officers were willing to talk to him again in search of a humane solution
17 that needed to be found at any cost then and that we shouldn't have given
18 up on. I still regret that it wasn't found to this day. Our brigade was
19 not very fortunate in the choice of commanders either.
20 MR. KARNAVAS:
21 Q. Okay. Before we get to that. Before we get to that, I want to
22 focus on this. Now, the transcript here says that Morillon,
23 General Morillon said to you somebody was screwing him. Could you please
24 tell us exactly what were his words and mention the person, if he
25 mentioned anyone specifically.
1 A. He said literally: "I was screwed by Alija Izetbegovic," he
2 referred to the man by name. Because Alija Izetbegovic was supposed to
3 issue his approval for the release of people from Tuzla and Sarajevo who
4 wanted to leave these towns. These were the words he used verbatim. I
5 remembered it very well because I pretty much liked the language he used
6 about a serious topic like that. Since we were so impotent we could at
7 least vent our frustration in language.
8 Q. Did you know General Morillon? Did you have any personal contact
9 with him before this encounter?
10 A. No, no. I did not. I saw him at the Fontana Hotel when that
11 meeting took place before the evacuation of a certain number of civilians
12 from Srebrenica, the evacuation that he led. And he told me at that
13 border crossing that he had a very difficult time removing a number of
14 people who were spending the night in those trucks that were meant to take
15 people to Tuzla and who were beating them up. And he was claiming that 90
16 per cent of the population of Srebrenica was willing to leave at that
18 Q. Incidentally, incidentally, what year is that?
19 A. It could have been the beginning of 1993 or maybe the winter of
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. I know it was cold. And when those convoys were on the way I was
23 surprised there was so many people willing to be on the convoy that they
24 accepted to spend the whole night in trucks parked in Srebrenica in order
25 to be on them when they left for Tuzla.
1 Q. Now, prior to this period, had Serbs lived in Srebrenica or was
2 that 100 per cent Muslim town?
3 A. Neither in Bratunac nor in Srebrenica was the population mixed at
4 the time. It was an ethnic or a civil war, as you want to call it, and
5 everybody wanted to have a majority.
6 Q. Okay. Prior to the war, had they been mixed communities?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, are you aware of any legislation, any laws, or any
9 commissions that became in existence during that period of time that
10 provided for the protection of the property of those leaving one area in
11 order for them to claim the area after the civil war?
12 A. Yes. Yes.
13 Q. Now, as I understand it, however, you were not directly involved
14 in implementing that law.
15 A. I don't understand the question. What do you mean I did not
16 participate actively?
17 Q. Well, not participate, but you were not the director or the -- of
18 this commission, otherwise there were others who were in position
19 to -- that implemented this law?
20 A. I cannot remember when that commission was established and
21 whether it was established by the assembly or by the War Presidency or by
22 the Crisis Staff. If it was the assembly, then the assembly nominated the
23 commission and set it up. And I, as an individual, was not authorised to
24 set up any commissions without the knowledge and consent of the assembly.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction in line 19 of page 38,
1 people were willing to beat each other up to be on the transports. Nobody
2 was being beaten up.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I think that's a critical and important correction
4 and we thank the interpreter's booth.
5 Q. Now, during those days, the 12th, the 13th, other than that one
6 encounter that you had with Mr. Blagojevic, did you see him?
7 A. I hadn't seen him for a long time until one invitation that both
8 of us received to see General Mladic in Crna Rijeka.
9 Q. But I'm talking about back in July.
10 A. July, that's what I'm talking about, too.
11 Q. Well, July the 12th, the 13th, the 14th, the 15th.
12 A. After the evacuation and after learning that the majority of
13 able-bodied men did not come to the assembly point for evacuation but
14 instead went in the direction of Tuzla, the army went after them. So I
15 had no opportunity to see Blagojevic. I had no idea what he did the
16 following day, nor did I feel any need to interfere in something that was
17 not my job and that I was not authorised to interfere with.
18 Q. All right. Now, you told us earlier that the Bratunac Brigade
19 did not have a lot of luck with its commanders. What did you mean by
21 A. They changed very often. They were replaced very often. And
22 very frequently commanders tried to interfere in business that wasn't
23 strictly theirs, especially civilian affairs. They blamed the
24 municipality for everything, claimed that everything would have been much
25 better if we allocated more food, more clothing, more cigarettes to the
1 army, that we were to blame for all the omissions and failures. And a lot
2 of the blame was assigned to us, although we were doing our best. So the
3 commanders came and went, and it is true that sometimes we complained
4 against them as well and they were replaced. But most often they replaced
5 their own commanders. And Commander Blagojevic came to that position
6 without our intervention. We were not even asked. I had not expected him
7 to come to our locality. But when he did come to the brigade, it turned
8 out that he had a decent attitude. He was simply doing his job and he did
9 not interfere in our business, which was quite welcome. Because all we
10 wanted was to do what we were supposed to do without mutually assigning
12 Q. All right. Now, you indicated at one time in July General Mladic
13 asked you to meet with him, and at that occasion you met Mr. Blagojevic.
14 My question is: Did you meet General Mladic on that occasion?
15 A. Yes, we did. And that notification or invitation was delivered
16 to me by the command, and they said that Commander Blagojevic was also
17 invited. I said: "What is the purpose of this? Why am I supposed to see
18 Mladic? Why am I supposed to go to Crna Rijeka?" And I could see that
19 they knew nothing about it. And indeed we did not find out the purpose of
20 our going there until we arrived.
21 Q. Okay. Now, I'm not interested in all the details of the meeting.
22 The Prosecutor may want to ask you these questions. But when you went
23 there and when you attended this meeting, did it have anything to do
24 Srebrenica, Potocari, or any of the events surrounding those incidents?
25 A. No. None.
1 Q. Now, have you heard what has happened after the fall of
2 Srebrenica to many of the Muslim men that were either captured or
3 surrendered or separated?
4 A. I heard as many of these stories as anybody in Bratunac, but I
5 don't want to repeat any hearsay. It is a fact regrettably that a lot of
6 people unnecessarily suffered and perished. But we were not able to do
7 anything at the time. I don't want to recount any hearsay. I am willing
8 and able to tell you what I saw, what I heard, what I did.
9 Q. Tell us how you feel about what you heard, you as a Serb, as a
10 member of the government there in Bratunac.
11 A. Then and today I feel absolutely the same. I feel ashamed. What
12 somebody had done brought no good to either us or the Bosnian people. And
13 from a nation, from a people, who had every right to be proud of
14 themselves, we were turned into a people who have to suffer shame. And
15 the Bosnians ended up as they did.
16 Q. And after all these years of what you heard, what you saw, what
17 you participated in, did at any point in time you hear anything about
18 Mr. Blagojevic being directly or indirectly involved in any of these
20 A. Never once. Not from a single person did I ever hear a single
21 word that would link him up with the events. I never heard such a thing.
22 I'm not claiming that he had nothing to do with it, but I'm claiming that
23 I never heard this being asserted by anyone in Bratunac. There would be
24 no reason for me to withhold the truth, had I heard something like this.
25 But I never heard anything like this. 99 per cent of residents of
1 Bratunac believe that Blagojevic was blamed because he was at the post of
2 the commander of the brigade, and this is the only reason why he was ever
3 linked with this. Otherwise, he never did anything, never took any
4 action, and we don't think that he could prevent it. He was considered
5 guilty without guilt. Although I said that I would not quote other
6 people's opinions, I did do it just now, but you asked me what was the
7 general opinion of Blagojevic and I could not withhold it.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Simic. I believe the Prosecutor and
9 Mr. Stojanovic may have some questions for you. I would most appreciate
10 it if you could be as frank and open and complete in your answers as you
11 have been with me. Thank you very much for coming to The Hague.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
13 Mr. Stojanovic, do you have any questions to this witness?
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With your permission,
15 Your Honours, I would have just one question.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Stojanovic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Simic, good morning.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. In view of all your tasks and posts you held in July 1995, I
21 would like to hear whether you had an occasion to meet Dragan Jokic ever
22 in Bratunac or in Srebrenica?
23 A. No, I heard of his name but I never met him or at least I do not
24 remember meeting him. I have to tell you of a fault of mine. I have
25 difficulty remembering names, numbers, and geographic terms. I heard the
1 name Jokic mentioned. I knew that he was somewhere in the army, perhaps
2 in Zvornik, but that's the extent of my knowledge.
3 Q. You have difficulty remembering names, but could we agree that
4 you never saw Dragan Jokic around that time in Bratunac?
5 A. Even had I seen him, I wouldn't have known that this was
6 Dragan Jokic. I told you about the officers that I did meet in those
7 days. Had I even seen him in the street, I wouldn't have known that it
8 was him.
9 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
10 no further questions.
11 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. We were informed that there is some
12 technical problems, so we'll break now and give the technicians some time
13 to do some preparations.
14 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
15 JUDGE LIU: And we'll resume at 10 minutes past 12.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 11.35 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.17 p.m.
18 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. McCloskey:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Simic.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. And you were born and raised in the Bratunac area, as you've said?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And Vidoje Blagojevic was also born in the Bratunac area?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And did you know him growing up?
3 A. No. However, I knew his brother who was a bit younger than me and
4 who went to the same secondary school as I did.
5 Q. In the lead-up to the war and the war years, did you know
6 Vidoje Blagojevic?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Did you know -- when did you know that he was in the VRS for the
9 first time?
10 A. Well, I heard that before he arrived. However, I don't think that
11 he was with our brigade. I think he was with the corps in Vlasenica or
12 something like that.
13 Q. Do you recall him being stationed in Bratunac in 1993 at some
15 A. I don't know about that.
16 Q. And you say you were in politics during the war. What was your
17 party affiliation?
18 A. I was with the SDS.
19 Q. And in 1992, were you a member of the Bratunac Crisis Staff?
20 A. I was.
21 Q. And did you work with Miroslav Deronjic in 1992, 1993?
22 A. I worked with him at the Crisis Staff.
23 Q. During that time period?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you were in a powerful position in 1992 and 1993, the same
1 position you were in in 1995. Is that right?
2 A. Well, that is frequently referred to as an important position.
3 However, I believe that from the very beginning they exaggerated a lot
4 about that post. Many people used the term "president of the
5 municipality," whereas I in fact was president of the Municipal Assembly.
6 Q. Okay. And prior to the war, the majority population in the
7 Bratunac municipality and area was Muslim. Is that right?
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. And in July 1995, the only Muslims in the area were in the
10 Srebrenica enclave. Is that right?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. Did you follow Mr. Deronjic's statements as he pled guilty in this
13 case and talked about the ethnic cleansing that he and the Bratunac
14 officials were involved in from 1993 onward?
15 A. I heard some parts. However, I can't say that I heard all of his
16 testimony because that was during my working hours. I am a teacher and I
17 have to teach school.
18 Q. Would you agree with me if I said this was an ethnic war where
19 both sides wanted to have the majority of the population in control?
20 A. I would agree.
21 Q. Including yourself during 1992 and 1993. Is that right?
22 A. My own position was not such. However, that was the public
24 Q. Well, let's go to 1995. Were you still in the SDS in July 1995?
25 A. Yes, I was.
1 Q. Were you aware that in March of 1995 the president, Karadzic, the
2 top member of the SDS, had ordered the army, the VRS, to make life
3 impossible for the inhabitants of Srebrenica?
4 A. I was not aware of such an order. I never saw or received such an
5 order from anyone.
6 Q. Were you aware that this order included an order to restrict the
7 flow of goods to that enclave to make the inhabitants of the enclave
8 dependent on the goodwill of the Serbs?
9 A. I've already said that I never saw such an order nor did I
10 participate nor could I have participated in such an action.
11 Q. You were in Bratunac during the time period of 1994 and the
12 lead-up to July of 1995. Did you see the slow strangling of convoys into
13 the enclave, what has been described by the DutchBat as convoy terror?
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection to "the slow strangling of the convoys,"
16 and what the DutchBat may or may not have characterised it as such.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, I guess you have no objections to the gist of
18 this question, just for using some words?
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Absolutely, Your Honour. Other than that, he can
20 ask what he observed. I don't have a problem, but to those inflammatory
21 words, because I believe those are his words. That's not what we believe
22 occurred. Yes, I do object just to the words but not to the question
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
25 Mr. McCloskey, you might rephrase your question.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: I can pick another word, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: But I can also use the words of Mr. Karadzic which
4 will perhaps ...
5 Q. Were you aware that the humanitarian -- sorry. Can you hear all
6 right now?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Were you aware that the humanitarian convoys to the enclave were
9 slowly cut off and restricted at an ever-increasing rate?
10 A. I don't know. I had no information as to who was sending the
11 convoy, nor did I know how much was needed up there to distribute it to
12 everyone. So I don't know why you are asking me this.
13 Q. You don't know anything about any of the convoys that went into
14 the Srebrenica enclave?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection. That's a mischaracterisation to what
16 the gentleman stated. He didn't say that he didn't know anything about
17 convoys, but he objected to having any knowledge with respect to the
18 previous question the way it was asked. So I would respectfully request
19 for Mr. McCloskey to be very careful in not trying to put words into the
20 witness's mouth.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I think at this stage the witness
22 has the right to agree with the Prosecution or to object to any questions.
23 I --
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I totally agree, Your Honour. I totally agree.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: But the Prosecution does not have the right to
2 mischaracterise or twist and turn the witness's answer in the form of his
3 following question. That's what I'm objecting to, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE LIU: But I'm not thinking in this way. I think the
5 Prosecution is just leading the witness step by step.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour. I beg to differ, but very
7 well. I accept the Court's ruling.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
9 You may proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. So did you know anything about the convoys that were going into
12 the Srebrenica enclave?
13 A. The convoys passed through Bratunac and I saw them passing through
14 the town. Now, as to who was sending them, I knew nothing about that. I
15 couldn't increase their speed or volume or decrease it or do anything
16 about it. I had nothing to do with international humanitarian aid.
17 Q. So as far as you know, the civilian -- through the civilian
18 authority and the other civilian authorities had nothing to do with
19 whether or not convoys went in or went out of the Srebrenica enclave?
20 A. Nobody informed us about that, nor did I consider that somebody
21 had to inform us about that.
22 Q. Did you know that the Dutch Battalion's materials and supplies and
23 food were also being slowly cut off up until July 1995?
24 A. I can reiterate what I've already stated. I didn't know what were
25 the needs of the Srebrenica enclave. I didn't know how much aid they
1 needed. I didn't know whether what was arriving there was sufficient or
2 insufficient, and I don't see why should I have known this. The Dutch
3 Battalion for a while was receiving supplies from Bratunac. Now, as to
4 whether the Dutch Battalion was in some kind of a crisis or not, that's
5 the first I hear of it.
6 Q. All right. Now, you spoke of different commanders of the
7 Bratunac Brigade. Thought the years of the war, what were your basic
8 contacts with the commanders of the Bratunac Brigade, just roughly?
9 A. Officially?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. Just official contacts. Through the Executive Board, we had to
12 use the unit with the work obligation to provide food, cigarettes,
13 medication for the population, take care of the handicapped persons,
14 assist families, assist refugees who were pouring in from other
15 municipalities which was frequent in view of the combat going on. Very
16 often the municipality had to pay for the funerals, and our budget was
17 very modest to begin with. So due to the work obligation, all of the
18 companies barely managed to cover those expenses.
19 Q. Was helping support the army and the war effort part of your job
20 and the community's job?
21 A. With respect to the goods that I've mentioned, just those goods;
22 and with respect to all other matters, we were unable to help them.
23 Q. And the army was pretty demanding in requesting the materials
24 you've described, I take it?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And you didn't have a choice. You needed to do what they told
3 A. We had to use the labour force that we had at our disposal to give
4 the utmost under the circumstances and everything was used mostly to
5 provide for the needs of the population and for the army, the ones that
6 I've enumerated.
7 Q. And how many different commanders were there in the
8 Bratunac Brigade from the beginning of the war in 1992 when the brigade
9 was formed, in November of 1992, just roughly if you know?
10 A. More than six, definitely more. I couldn't give you the exact
11 figure, but there were at least six.
12 Q. Do you remember telling Mr. Ruez something like 12 or 13 when you
13 were interviewed a long time ago by the Office of the Prosecutor?
14 A. Yes. It seems to me that every few months there was a new
15 commander. But I told you just now that I was sure that there were more
16 than six.
17 Q. All right.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: I've got an exhibit I'd like to mark because I
19 want to just make a reference to it. It's P845. It is a document that
20 was seized from the Bratunac Brigade entitled the: "War history of the
21 Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade." I don't want to go through the details
22 of that with you.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. This has not been
25 previously admitted. There's no foundation for this document, it was
1 referenced in the Butler report. But the gentleman, who for instance
2 generated this so-called history has never testified. There's nothing in
3 the Butler report that he met with this gentleman who authored this. So I
4 do object at this point in time in showing this particular witness a
5 document which the Prosecution has not authenticated and laid a proper
6 foundation to. We have seen the document. I am aware of the document.
7 But if we're going to say that this document is true, accurate, and
8 complete in what it has and then use this document as a basis of
9 confronting this particular witness or refreshing's witness's memory or
10 trying to get this witness to substantiate something in the document, I
11 would have to object unless Mr. McCloskey can give us an offer of proof at
12 this point in time as to how he intends to lay the foundation in order to
13 get this document admitted, Your Honour. Very well, I think I made my
14 position clear.
15 JUDGE LIU: Frankly speaking, I think we had the same doubts as
16 you did concerning the authenticity of this document, because we just
17 received this document a few minutes before. I leafed through it. We
18 don't know about the author, the source, anything about it. I am prepared
19 to deal with the issue when we discuss about the admission of this
20 document at a later stage. But at this stage, especially in the
21 cross-examination, I believe that Mr. McCloskey is entitled to use this
22 document to ask some questions to this witness depends on the answers
23 given by this witness. Should we proceed on the basis of this document at
24 this moment and later on we'll see whether we should admit it into the
25 evidence or not.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour. And I have no objections
2 to proceeding as long as the record is rather clear that I do not waive
3 any objections, and I would be able to even object and request that any
4 answers given by this gentleman be disregarded on the record unless
5 authentication can be established or we're sufficiently satisfied for the
6 document to come in.
7 JUDGE LIU: We'll deal with it at a later stage. We'll bear in
8 mind your objections at this time.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Now, Witness, this document that was seized from the
13 Bratunac Brigade, we don't need to -- we don't need to give him the
14 document. I'm not asking him to look at it. It purports to be a history
15 of the brigade and it lists the different commanders that took over at
16 various times. And I just very simply and briefly want to mention the
17 names of each of those commanders and tell me if you remember them being
18 the commander. Maybe if you remember there's some other ones, too. It
19 said: "The brigade was established on 14 November 1992, and the commander
20 was Lieutenant Colonel Borivoje Tesic."
21 Do you remember him at the beginning of the brigade?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. And then 22 December, 1992, it says that "Tesic was replaced by a
24 Lieutenant Colonel Milan Urosevic." Do you remember that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And then it says: "On 1 April 1993 that -- excuse me, it says
2 that on 3 February 1993, a Lieutenant Colonel Slavko Ognjenovic replaced
4 Do you remember that?
5 A. He was the brigade commander -- yes, he was. I don't know who
6 replaced him.
7 Q. Okay. Well, this says on 1 April 1993 Colonel Cvjetin Vuksic
8 replaced Ognjenovic?
9 A. He also was the brigade commander.
10 Q. And then it says that on the 22nd of September, 1993, Lieutenant
11 Colonel Slavko Ognjenovic was again made commander and replaced
12 Vuksic. Do you remember that happening?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. And so then we go all the way through the fall of 1993 all the way
15 through 1994. And then we have May of 1995 where it says that
16 Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic replaced Ognjenovic and was there through the
17 end of the war. Does that sound about right to you?
18 A. I think he came after Ognjenovic. I don't know the chronology. I
19 know the names that you've mentioned. I know that all of them were
20 brigade commanders, but I don't know at which point in time.
21 Q. Did you know that Slavko Ognjenovic had issued orders and had a
22 policy to make life impossible for the Muslims living in the enclave at
24 A. What he told the army and how he worked with the troops, I don't
25 know anything about that.
1 Q. But did you know about his policy towards the inhabitants, the
2 Muslims, of Srebrenica?
3 A. I don't know about that.
4 Q. You had a chance to look over your interview with Mr. Ruez that
5 happened back in 1998 just recently?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And I want to just ask you a couple of questions about some of
8 your answers. On page 4, Mr. Ruez asked you on line 18: "Who were your
9 contacts among the police for the Bratunac area?"
10 And you say: "We didn't have any special contacts, since I myself
11 being president of the Municipal Assembly had no responsibilities or
12 jurisdictions over the police forces. They would receive their
13 instructions and orders from the Ministry of Interior. And in the case of
14 an armed attack or clashes, they would be put under the command of the
16 Is that correct, that last part? "And in the case of armed
17 attacks or clashes, the police would be put under the command of the
19 A. Any time the brigade or the army in that area encountered
20 problems, police, as far as I know, as far as I saw it, would also be used
21 for certain military activities. Our police station and its unit, with
22 respect to whom I had no responsibilities as I've said, that police was
23 under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior. I was not in the
24 position to issue any orders to them, request them to do anything, or to
25 be accountable to me on any matter.
1 Q. All right. And a little farther down Mr. Ruez says: "And on the
2 military side, what was the military unit in charge of providing the
3 security for your town?"
4 And you say: "It was the Bratunac Brigade."
5 Is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, getting to -- closer towards July of 1995, were you at the
8 handover of command for Mr. Blagojevic, Colonel Blagojevic, in -- when he
9 became commander?
10 A. I was not.
11 Q. Well, if I could show you what's been marked as P397. And I'll
12 show you the -- provide you the B/C/S copy. This is a daily combat or a
13 regular combat report from the Bratunac Brigade. And if you could take a
14 brief look at it. We could put the English on the ELMO, perhaps.
15 Is that you, Ljubo Simic, mentioned in paragraph 2?
16 A. That's how I'm called. I don't remember attending any handover or
17 transition of duties between commanders. That has never been the
19 Q. Does this help refresh your recollection that the transfer of
20 duties was carried out and that you were present along with
21 General Zivanovic?
22 A. I heard that a new commander was coming, that it was Blagojevic.
23 And I heard that from the logistics officer who often came to see us about
24 the supplies that we were supposed to provide. He told me that. He gave
25 me some details about Blagojevic, and he told me that he would be a better
1 man for the Bratunac Brigade than Ognjenovic.
2 Q. Now, let's get into July 1995. You mentioned that you had left
3 the area right before the enclave fell. And do you recall telling
4 Mr. Ruez that you had gotten approval to do that from General Zivanovic?
5 A. I remember that. It's correct.
6 Q. How was it that you had to get approval from an army commander?
7 A. I didn't have to, but I did that out of courtesy. Because the
8 general had come to the municipal building. I don't know whether he was
9 on his way to Fakovici, his home village. I was going away for a while I
10 said. I asked him if there were any problems. I asked briefly about his
11 replacement. I didn't know if there were any underlying problems that
12 caused his replacement. I didn't want to ask any further -- it's just
13 that he happened to be there. He was a general after all. If he decided
14 to grace me with his visit and to talk to me about our problems, I decided
15 to take the opportunity and talk to him informally. I was under no
16 obligation to tell him anything. I did so just because I decided to. I
17 didn't have to say anything. Maybe you could say I had a big mouth.
18 Q. You've told us that when you returned you were told that you
19 needed to go to a morning meeting at the Bratunac Brigade command. This
20 would have been, according to your chronology, the day after Srebrenica
21 fell. Is that correct, that you went to this morning meeting at the
22 brigade command?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Since we know that the brigade -- that the enclave fell on the
25 11th, this morning meeting that you went to would have been on the 12th of
1 July. Is that right?
2 A. If the previous statement is correct, then this one is correct,
3 too. I told you already I had difficulty remembering dates, place names,
4 et cetera, and I hope you will not hold it against me, that I did not
5 learn these dates by rote.
6 Q. Okay. We won't worry about the dates then. I will just say this
7 after the day Srebrenica fell.
8 A. I can easily orient myself according to events.
9 Q. Okay. And can you tell us again who was at that meeting?
10 A. When I came into the office, General Mladic welcomed us. He was
11 inside that conference room. I came inside with the president of the
12 Executive Board. We were joined later, if I remember correctly, by
13 Aleksandar Tesic, who was working at the Ministry of Defence. In fact,
14 the municipal section for defence. I was expecting Deronjic to join us as
15 well, but I remember very clearly that he did not come. He did not enter
16 the office where meetings were held at the Bratunac Brigade.
17 Q. Do you know why you weren't able to tell about this meeting to
18 Mr. Ruez when he was asking you about meetings?
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, Your Honour. If I may object.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: If the Prosecutor could point specifically in all
22 fairness to the witness where Mr. Ruez asked him to describe the meetings
23 so he would have been able to have that opportunity to respond to such a
25 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think the Prosecution is asking an initial
1 question just to try to refresh the memory of this witness. If the
2 witness fails again, I believe that Mr. McCloskey will show the
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Very well, Your Honour. But again the
5 question says that Ruez -- when Ruez was asking him about meetings. So I
6 just think that in fairness to the witness it might be good to point him
7 to the right direction. Thank you.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. McCloskey, maybe you can be a little more
9 specific in your question.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I don't want to impeach the
11 witness. I just want to --
12 JUDGE LIU: I understand. Just to make things easier. You may
14 MR. McCLOSKEY:
15 Q. Sir, did you tell Mr. Ruez about that meeting when you saw him
16 many years ago?
17 A. I did tell him that there was a meeting and that I attended it. I
18 can't quite understand your question in as far as you seem to be saying
19 that I failed to mention something. I told him the same thing that I'm
20 saying here today. Unfortunately I don't have this text before me to look
21 it up, but to the best of my recollection I named the people who attended
22 the meeting. I have no reason to conceal any details.
23 Q. Okay. Well, let's just -- maybe it will be easier. Maybe this
24 will help refresh your recollection. Page 7.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: If the gentleman could be shown a copy in his own
1 language, Your Honour, and be pointed in the right direction, line, and
2 page in his own language. I think that it's only fair since the Defence
3 was required to do that of the Prosecution witnesses.
4 JUDGE LIU: As you did before?
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Your Honour. Yes.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, of course.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Okay. If we could just show him that.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: And for the record could we know what exactly he's
9 being shown, the page in the Serbian language I take it so we can follow
10 it as well over here.
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, you have to be a little patient.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: I know, Your Honour. I'm just trying to assist as
13 much as I'm able to.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY:
16 Q. So if you could go to page 61 in your text and it's page 6 in the
17 English text, lines 10 through 20. Mr. Ruez starts out and says:
18 "According to information in our possession you were requested to
19 participate in a meeting just at the nearby at the moment the enclave was
20 falling. Do you have any recollection of that meeting?"
21 And you say: "Yes, I was attending a meeting."
22 And then you go on to talk about the meeting, and it's clear
23 you're talking about the 10.00 a.m. meeting at the Hotel Fontana.
24 A. I'm sorry that I don't have the audiotape. Now, it seems to me
25 that the gentleman asked me also about another meeting that was held at a
1 different time which I did not attend. And it took place at the Fontana
2 Hotel or at the command. And I never mentioned that meeting to him. And
3 I didn't mention it now. Actually, I'm not aware of it at all. All I
4 know is what I said. In the morning around 8.00 a.m., I attended a
5 meeting which involved talks that were more informal and did not resemble
6 an official meeting; whereas, the official meeting took place at the
7 Fontana Hotel at 10.00 in the morning, as I said. I remember very clearly
8 that a couple of times the gentleman mentioned other meetings held at
9 Fontana or elsewhere. And it was the first time that I heard from him
10 that there was some two meetings at issue at the command or at the hotel.
11 Q. I'm not asking you -- I don't want to know about any meetings that
12 you weren't at, so don't worry about those other questions. If you can
13 take a look at your page 7, lines 16 through 18. In the English, it's
14 lines 17 through 23. Mr. Ruez says: "And do you remember if this meeting
15 was held in the morning or if it was held in the meeting?"
16 This is the one at the Fontana that you have been talking about.
17 And you say: "I believe it was held at about 10.00 a.m. I don't
18 know about any other meeting was this was the only meeting I have attended
19 since I have returned from my trip in the evening. I was informed of that
20 that meeting was supposed to be held in the morning, and indeed I attended
21 that one."
22 All I was asking you is do you remember why you didn't tell
23 Mr. Ruez about the one you're telling us about now.
24 A. I think ...
25 Well, you see on the previous page there is a reference to that
1 meeting. I really have to say that I don't understand what you want me to
2 say now, what do you want to hear from me? I remember the gentleman
3 asking me if a meeting had been held in the evening perhaps or at some
4 other time, apart from the meetings I mentioned. And I replied that I
5 don't know anything about any other meetings, apart the one that was held
6 at 8.00 in the morning and the one after that at 10.00. I still believe
7 to this day that it must be recorded in this transcript. I cannot go
8 through it all now and find my way around it so quickly, because I saw it
9 yesterday morning for the first time. I'm really sorry that I can't help
10 you any further. Either I am failing to understand you or --
11 Q. No problem. I can guarantee you that there's no mention of that
12 morning meeting, but let's not worry about that. Sometimes people don't
13 remember all the meetings they were at. The fact was there was a meeting
14 at the brigade command. Is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And Mladic gave you and the others with you orders to do certain
17 things. Is that right?
18 A. He asked us for our opinion as to what was the best thing to do
19 now. I thought he was sounding out what we thought was the best solution.
20 He himself did not take any particular position at that time. He said
21 that the residents of Srebrenica would be represented there and that that
22 meeting would take the final decision. He also said that whatever
23 solution is taken there will be accepted and all of us will have to work
24 to implement it in the best possible way.
25 Q. At that morning meeting, were you or anyone else issued any
1 specific tasks by Mladic?
2 A. I believe he talked about the options that he had heard about, the
3 options that were in play according to his information. He said that we
4 would be required to help out in our side of that job, food, water, and
5 other supplies, the transfer of people who were ill or wounded, and who
6 were at the time put up at the command of the UNPROFOR in that building
7 that was already filled over its capacity.
8 Q. What was your understanding of Mr. -- the tasks Mr. Tesic
9 received? Which one of those jobs was he supposed to be involved
10 according to Mladic's tasks?
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, Your Honour --
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, this is getting ridiculous.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: I am entitled to object because there has been no
14 testimony that orders were issued to anyone. The gentleman indicated that
15 this was a sounding opportunity for them to respond to Mr. Mladic's
16 questions. And so the objection is that it assumes a fact not in evidence
17 and this is so elementary that even a neophyte Prosecutor would be able to
18 recognise it.
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, if there's no order issued to
20 Mr. Tesic, the witness can deny that.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: But the question, Your Honour, is suggesting that
22 orders were issued. Had the gentleman indicated that orders were issued
23 to us, I would totally agree with the Prosecutor that he could go forward
24 and answer that question. But now he is suggesting that orders were
25 issued. He can lay the predicate. There is no predicate.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, the witness answered in his previous answer. He
2 said: "We would be required to help out in our side of that job." Which
3 implies a sort of order.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY:
7 Q. Sir, when General Mladic issues you a task that he says is
8 required, it's pretty much an order, isn't it?
9 A. It was an oral order, a verbal order.
10 Q. And --
11 A. You can take my word for it. That's how I saw it, as an order,
12 and I had every intention of complying with it. I had very good reasons
13 for it, even before I saw the situation with my own eyes after my absence
14 and my efforts to cover it up. And finally, if I was asked to help people
15 who needed help, I saw no reason to refuse. A refusal would be
16 discourteous, to say the least.
17 Q. So what was your understanding of these orders that were issued by
18 Mladic of Mr. Tesic's responsibility in relation to them?
19 A. I do not remember what Tesic was told, if it was anything specific
20 at all. But since he was in charge of mobilisation of the civilian
21 defence force, there was no particular building where the civilian defence
22 people were waiting to be issued with assignments. As the situation
23 developed, they were asked or would be asked to participate in
24 arrangements for supplying water or food, et cetera. I'm talking about my
25 assumptions. I did not hear and I'm not claiming that I heard what Mladic
1 said to Tesic about what he was supposed or required to do.
2 Q. But Tesic was with the other civilian authorities when Mladic
3 issued these orders?
4 A. I said that I think he was at the meeting.
5 Q. Dragomir Vasic, chief of the Zvornik CSB, do you remember if he
6 was at that meeting?
7 A. Do you mean the meeting at the brigade command or at the Fontana
9 Q. At the brigade command.
10 A. No, not as far as I remember. I saw him at the Fontana meeting
11 for the first time.
12 Q. Okay. And then you went over and changed out of your army uniform
13 and then went to the Hotel Fontana meeting at about 10.00. Is that right?
14 A. Yes. I left earlier in order to be at the Fontana meeting at
15 10.00, and I was there in time after changing my clothes. And I arrived
16 at the time when I was due.
17 Q. And at that meeting you described General Mladic as giving the
18 Muslims several different options. Is that right? They could stay or
19 they could go towards Kladanj or they could go to any place they wanted to
20 go. Is that right?
21 A. I think that the lady whose name I don't know voiced her opinion.
22 There were also other people from Srebrenica who contributed something. I
23 couldn't tell you exactly what they said. And after that conversation,
24 General Mladic told them that he would go along with every option. He
25 offered them both the option of evacuation and protection, not only to
1 Kladanj or Tuzla as they asked, but also Serbia or Yugoslavia or maybe
2 third countries. And he would also go along with the option that involved
3 their staying there. That was what was said at the meeting. I think it
4 can be verified.
5 Q. Was General Mladic pretty amiable to the Muslim people at that
7 A. At one point he raised his voice and I was embarrassed. But he
8 seemed irritated and provoked by the wrath of that lady, who had good
9 reasons by the way because of the situation her people were in. And in
10 response to that, General Mladic invoked the memory of the soldiers who
11 fell in Sarajevo and elsewhere. Anyway, the situation calmed down after
12 that and we stayed behind after the official meeting was over, in informal
13 conversation. He left with two other men. That lady also left, and after
14 that I didn't really see him again. And I didn't see the other two
16 Q. Did you know Ibro Nuhanovic?
17 A. I did not. I heard later that he was originally from Vlasenica.
18 The president of the Executive Board who also attended the meeting told me
19 that he was from Vlasenica and that he knew him.
20 Q. Do you know that the last time Ibro Nuhanovic and his wife and one
21 of their sons was seen was in Potocari at the 12th and 13th of July? They
22 haven't been seen since?
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection, Your Honour. What is the relevance of
24 this particular witness in light of what he is here to testify? There's
25 no dispute that this gentleman is missing. There's no dispute and there
1 never has been a dispute. But this gentleman here who's come here to
2 testify is not here to verify who's missing and who's not missing. And I
3 think it's unfair to this particular witness. And the question is merely
4 designed to provoke and to embarrass.
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, we also fail to see the relevance
6 of this question. Maybe you could ask more questions to give us some
7 background on it.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I can give you some relevance.
9 This is the president of the municipality. He is at a very important
10 meeting. The people that are representing the Muslims are also at this
11 meeting. Those are the people that are his negotiating partners. And as
12 Mr. Karnavas has said, it's very clear from historical record that one of
13 his negotiating partners disappeared after that meeting. I think it's a
14 historical part of this case, that is a simple question. And if he
15 doesn't know anything about it, he can say so.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, from what I understand now, there
17 seems to be a new twist to the Prosecution's case that somehow the
18 negotiators were executed right after the meeting. That's what he's
19 trying to suggest. If he can tie in how this gentleman here has any
20 knowledge of what happened, I don't have a problem. I believe they have
21 evidence that the gentleman chose to stay there and somehow was separated
22 or somehow went missing with his entire family. We surely admit that this
23 is a tragedy, but now to suggest somehow that the negotiators were
24 targeted right after the meeting and killed to somehow lend credence that
25 this was a preplanned genocidal plot, I object to that.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, we don't think along your line, Mr. Karnavas.
2 But, Mr. McCloskey, you may ask this witness whether he knows the
3 whereabouts of this witness and his family.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. And of course
5 Mr. Karnavas's imagination has nothing to do with the Prosecution's
6 position, as I'm sure the Court's aware.
7 Q. Do you know anything about what happened to Mr. Nuhanovic and his
9 A. I said already that I expected him to join that team up there and
10 that unfortunately I did not see him either up there or later. That's all
11 I can say about him. That's all I know about him.
12 Q. Okay. I'm going to ask you one more question before the break
13 about something that Mr. Mladic said -- I'm sorry.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm a little confused, Mr. President. I'll keep
16 Q. And we have the transcript of -- as Mr. Karnavas told you some of
17 this meeting was on videotape. And we do have a section of that videotape
18 that I want to allow you to see and I wanted to ask you a couple of
19 questions about it.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: So if we could play that clip.
21 [Videotape played]
22 MR. McCLOSKEY:
23 Q. Do you remember being there when he, General Mladic, made that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you see anything in that comment that might frighten the
3 A. Well, I believe it was that Mladic was quite rough in his
4 language. And I didn't like to be near him in these situations, because
5 he was quite rough, cutting. I don't think that it was necessary in this
6 situation. That could have been put in milder terms than it was.
7 However, I couldn't stop him talking.
8 Q. From your knowledge of the situation, did you find anything in
9 that statement that would frighten the Muslims?
10 A. Well, naturally this phrase "survive or disappear." It was not
12 Q. You earlier said that the Muslims were running to get on the bus,
13 and that they even left their infirm relatives behind and you had to take
14 them. Did it cross your mind that those people might have been getting on
15 that bus because they were scared to death of what would happen to them if
16 they stayed behind?
17 A. I don't think so. They were probably afraid that not all of their
18 requests would be met. They were afraid that there wouldn't be room for
19 all of them in the transport in view of the experience they had in
20 wintertime. I conclude this based on the sentence of the girl, student of
21 mine, who asked me for help, asking that I use my power to ensure that the
22 convoy would pass through and that all of them would leave.
23 Q. It says here: "There is no need for your people to get killed,
24 your husband, your brothers, or your neighbours. All you have to do is
25 say what you want, as I told this gentleman last night. You can either
1 survive or disappear. For your survival, I demand that all your armed
2 men, even those who committed crimes, and they did against our people,
3 surrender their weapons to the VRS."
4 So in this statement Mladic has conditioned the evacuation of the
5 Muslims on whether or not all their men surrender, doesn't he?
6 A. I think that the gist of his sentence was that he urged Muslims
7 not to put up any further resistance, because that could lead to further
8 bloodshed and that would be ridiculous. This is why he urged them to
9 surrender their weapons.
10 Q. Didn't he condition the evacuation on the surrender of the Muslim
11 men, yes or no?
12 A. I don't see that this was conditioned. This was promised to them,
13 so why would he condition it now saying that unless you do this there
14 would be no evacuation? I think that their position was very clear. They
15 asked for evacuation. And they could verify it with others upon their
17 Q. He goes on to say: "Upon surrendering the weapons, you may choose
18 to stay in the territory or if you wish go wherever you want."
19 That sounds like a condition to me. Don't you see it that way?
20 A. I don't see how would they interpret it had he said to them:
21 "Stay with your weapons with you." What could they have concluded based
22 on that? Would that mean they could defend themselves if somebody
23 attacked them and that they would be safe there? Would that be the only
24 possible interpretation?
25 Q. In fact, as you've mentioned, there was a Muslim army escaping
1 through the woods, and they did not all surrender their weapons, did they?
2 A. Yes. That's what I heard and that's what one could observe. I
3 also saw that the only males there were the elderly, and then there were
4 women and children. And it was the way you heard it.
5 Q. Those men that didn't surrender, who fought their way or walked
6 their way through the woods, do you know how many of them disappeared,
7 have never been seen from since? What information do you have about the
9 A. I heard about that, and I have said so today, that there was a lot
10 of truth in it. And a further confirmation of that are the cemeteries
11 that have been uncovered lately.
12 Q. I ask you if you had a number. Do you know roughly how many of
13 those Muslim men do you believe disappeared, if you care to know or learn?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to object to that last part
15 of the question: "If you care to know or learn." Now we're being flip
16 with this witness. I don't think it's necessary, because the gentleman is
17 not denying these facts. I think a little courtesy would be -- because
18 this is my first witness, obviously this will have a chilling effect on
19 all my other witnesses.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I think there is a reason for this objection.
21 You may just drop off the last part. Or you may just ask, if you know --
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Can I ask him if he cares to know? I don't see
23 the problem with that.
24 JUDGE LIU: I think that's too personal.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
1 Q. Did you learn of any estimated number of Muslims that disappeared?
2 A. Did I learn?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. I heard about the figure of 7.000 or perhaps more.
5 Q. At that meeting, did General Mladic or any other authority say
6 anything to the Muslims and Dutch about reviewing military age men to be
7 screened as war criminals?
8 A. I did not understand your question. Could you please repeat it.
9 Q. Did Mladic or any Serb authority tell the assembled group that the
10 military age men in the crowd in Potocari would be screened to determine
11 if there was war criminals among them?
12 A. No, not military aged men. He said, and I think you could hear it
13 yourself, that among the soldiers there could be something -- some people
14 for whom there is evidence that they had committed war crimes. And I
15 think that he said that such individuals would be detained and that
16 proceedings would be instigated against them.
17 Q. So when you were in Potocari later that day, did you see military
18 age Muslim men being separated from their families and detained?
19 A. No, nor did I have occasion for that. As I've told you, my scope
20 of responsibilities was to deal with a tremendous number of civilians.
21 And that's all I could deal with.
22 Q. So during that time period while you were handing out milk and
23 juice and other things, did you see any suffering from the Muslims as a
24 result of being hit or struck by Serb soldiers or police officers?
25 A. No. The army and some soldiers from the Bratunac Brigade as well
1 as soldiers from the Dutch Battalion tried to prevent the stampede of
2 people who wanted to reach the vehicles. People were pushing back and
3 forth, pushing each other. I could see that.
4 Q. How do you know there were soldiers from the Bratunac Brigade
6 A. They wore uniforms of our army. No other army could have been
7 present there. I have no information to the effect that there was some
8 other army there, so I assumed that they were from our army, from our
10 Q. Did you see anyone shot or killed, any Muslims, around Potocari
11 that day?
12 A. No. As I've said, I was told about a woman who had been wounded
13 in the vicinity. I went there and I asked for medical assistance for her.
14 Q. Did you receive any reports of any corpses in the area around
15 Potocari, in the woods or anywhere else?
16 A. I did not receive any such reports, nor would there be anyone who
17 would be sending reports to me who would have such an obligation.
18 Q. On the night of the 12th of July, did you receive any reports of
19 rapes or murders or abductions from the Muslim population around Potocari?
20 A. None of that. I heard nothing to that effect from anyone.
21 Q. Did you have any knowledge that at least 200 military age Muslim
22 men were separated on the 12th of July and taken and stored in the
23 buildings around the Vuk Karadzic school on the night of the 12th, that
24 day after Srebrenica had fallen?
25 A. As I've said, I didn't see that. And I was not in the position to
1 see that.
2 Q. Did you receive any reports that Muslim prisoners were being held
3 in your town at the Vuk Karadzic school area?
4 A. I did not.
5 Q. Do you recall telling Mr. Ruez about the Vuk Karadzic school and
6 prisoners being there at any time?
7 A. No, I do not recall. I only said that I had seen buses in the
8 evening upon my return with the people from the UNHCR. We saw buses lined
9 up from the school onwards behind the municipal building. However, these
10 buses were empty. And since it was already evening time, I took it to
11 mean that the evacuation had been completed for that day and that it would
12 continue the following one. So this didn't look strange to me.
13 Q. On the night of the 12th, that day after the fall of Srebrenica,
14 did you receive any reports that Muslim men were being murdered in and
15 around the Vuk Karadzic school?
16 A. No. Nobody reported that to me.
17 Q. On the 13th of July, did you become aware that thousands of
18 Muslims were being detained in and around the Vuk Karadzic school complex
19 as well as in vehicles up and down the streets of Bratunac on the
20 afternoon and evening of the 13th of July, two days after the fall of
22 A. The vehicles that president of the Executive Board told me about
23 I've already said everything that I had to say about them.
24 Q. So you don't know anything else about the thousands of Muslims
25 that were detained in Bratunac on the afternoon/evening of 13th July?
1 A. No, I don't know.
2 Q. Did you hear about the effort to pick up the dead bodies left over
3 from that evening on the 14th of July?
4 A. I don't understand your question at all.
5 Q. Did you hear of any effort to pick up bodies of dead Muslims in
6 the city of Bratunac on the 14th of July, after ...
7 A. No.
8 Q. Do you know who may have told Dragan Mirkovic to arrange for the
9 retrieval of many bodies from the town of Bratunac at about that date?
10 A. Somebody from the army. At least I was taught that in war
11 operations the army usually has a unit involved in cleaning up of the
13 Q. You're not aware of any combat that was going on in the Bratunac
14 town on that night, are you?
15 A. No.
16 Q. When you saw Colonel Blagojevic at the supply centre in Bratunac,
17 can you tell us where that is in Bratunac, what's the address?
18 A. This is the street leading up to Srebrenica. It's on the
19 outskirts of the town, next to the main street.
20 Q. And could you tell what he was doing there?
21 A. He stood there with another man when I came by.
22 Q. Was he in uniform?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Who was the other man, if you know?
25 A. I can't remember. I didn't really look carefully. I don't know.
1 Q. Roughly what time of day was this?
2 A. It was towards the evening. It could have been around 8.00,
3 around that time. A little bit before, a little bit after.
4 Q. What is at that site?
5 A. It's a building of the distribution centre where the warehouse of
6 the Red Cross was, because the commercial enterprise who normally owned
7 this site didn't have any goods, wasn't functioning as it did before the
8 war. So they lent this site to the Red Cross. So the Red Cross was
9 storing its supplies there in order to distribute it to the population.
10 Q. Do you know where the Muslim men that were murdered at the Kravica
11 warehouse were put?
12 A. I don't know.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Excuse me, Your Honour. Just for the clarity of
14 the record. "Put," put before the incident? After the incident? I'm not
15 quite clear, so I think there's some clarification that is needed.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think the witness answered that he does not
17 know, no matter in which situation.
18 We'll move on.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY:
20 Q. Do you know of any mass grave anywhere near Bratunac containing
21 any bodies of Muslims from July 1995?
22 A. I don't. Somebody in the army in charge of the cleaning up of the
23 area must have been involved in this. And I doubt that that person would
24 be revealing any of this information to me or to anyone else.
25 Q. If I told you there was a mass grave in Glogova that had more than
1 a thousand bodies in it after these events of July 1995, would that
2 surprise you?
3 A. Probably due to the fact of how close this is to the place in
4 Kravica where the events happened. This made it probably convenient for
5 somebody in the army to bury these people in the vicinity.
6 Q. Glogova was a Muslim village before the war, wasn't it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Were you aware of the efforts to unbury these thousands -- over a
9 thousand bodies from the Glogova grave and move them into scattered graves
10 in the area?
11 A. Do you really think that the army would be telling such things to
13 Q. Information provided that the trucks carrying corpses went through
14 town and you could smell it for days and children were finding things on
15 the streets and that everybody in the town knew about it. Were those just
17 A. I don't know that it was done during the day. It was possible
18 that it was done during the night.
19 Q. Did you ever see Colonel Beara at Miroslav Deronjic's office in
20 the late-night hours of 13 July, a couple of days after the fall of
22 A. I did not. I've said that in the morning upon hearing the news
23 from the president of the Executive Board, I went to him because he was a
24 duty officer. And I asked that the buses with people at the stadium be
25 evacuated from Bratunac, as had been agreed and done prior to that. I've
1 said today that I did not know that man before.
2 Q. Did you know of a soldier in the Red Beret unit named
3 Miroslav Stanojevic?
4 A. I don't.
5 Q. He was killed a while back in an auto accident after the war
7 A. I don't recall.
8 Q. Did you hear about any soldiers from the Bratunac Brigade being
9 involved in the killings at the Kravica warehouse?
10 A. I didn't hear that.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: No further questions.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
13 Any re-direct?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: No, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
16 Questioned by the Court:
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, I just have one question, Mr. Witness.
18 You said that on one occasion you talked with Mr. Blagojevic and
19 Mladic outside the scope but still the period was still in July. When was
21 A. I've said that I was bad with dates. It is true that the two of
22 us were asked by General Mladic to go to Crna Rijeka and we attended that
24 JUDGE LIU: What was discussed during that meeting?
25 A. I think that the meeting was completely pointless and useless. I
1 didn't know until I got there - and neither did Colonel Blagojevic - why
2 we were invited to attend. Later on it turned out that we were invited
3 because somebody had told him that I was advocating the abolition of some
4 military co-ops. He had probably heard what my position on the matter
5 was. He had probably heard that I called them Sovhoz or Kolhoz or
6 something like that. And based on that he probably concluded that I
7 wished them to be disbanded. So because of that, president of the
8 Executive Board and president of Kalesija municipality were also invited
9 to attend. He yelled at them quite badly and also at me.
10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
11 Any questions out of these questions? Mr. Karnavas.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Just one clarification.
13 Further examination by Mr. Karnavas:
14 Q. So this was some military co-op and you gave the term of that, I
15 believe. Is that correct? That's what it turned out to be?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And General Mladic thought there was an attempt to somehow disband
18 these sort of co-ops and that's why he was a lashing out at some of the
19 people. That was your understanding?
20 A. Yes. And I think that he was under the impression or perhaps
21 somebody told him that on purpose that I was supporting this, I was
22 advocating this. And this is the reason why I was invited to attend. And
23 I was told very harshly to not do that. General Zivanovic supported this
24 as well. This had no economic justification from the very beginning.
25 However, they operated somehow. And basically it was a bad investment.
1 We invested more than we got out of it. And I was quite open in voicing
2 this. I think that this is why they were angry at me.
3 Q. Okay. Thank you very much.
4 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Nothing, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
7 At this stage, are there any documents to tender? I guess there's
8 none from --
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Nothing, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
11 Mr. McCloskey?
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I do have the war history document
13 that does lay out the commanders of the various brigades, which is an
14 issue that has been repeated by the Defence several times. It's from the
15 same collection of all the rest of our documents and it was captured at
16 the same time as the rest. And it's a well-known document to everyone,
17 well on this side anyway, that we've been sharing this material for years.
18 So I thought it may be of some help to the Court to see what it said about
19 the various commanders. So I would offer that into evidence on my oral
20 representations, which is the way I know we've been offering these sort of
21 collections that have come from that search warrant.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas. Any objections?
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, there's a major objection on that one. First
24 of all, the fact that that document lists the names of the commanders,
25 some of which were said, doesn't mean that what's contained in the rest of
1 the document is true, accurate, and complete. So they can't go through
2 the front door. Now we're trying to get through the keyhole or the back
3 door. There's absolutely no foundation, no foundation. But they already
4 read into the record the names of the commanders. It's widely known that
5 this was a brigade that was going through commanders, you know, more or
6 less every six months or what have you. So I don't think that's a
7 problem. But we do have some major problems in allowing this document to
8 come in unless a proper foundation can be laid. This is not just hearsay.
9 It's hearsay upon hearsay upon hearsay. So we need to have some better
10 foundation. They have another 11 weeks ahead of them to -- perhaps
11 through some other witnesses, I don't know. They can certainly track down
12 the author of this particular document. But this is like finding some
13 kind of a document anywhere and because of what it says on top of it we
14 give it some credence and weight. I'm sorry, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, as for the foundation of this document at this
16 moment after hearing the explanations by the Prosecution, we have no doubt
17 about it.
18 As for the other part of the contents of this document, there may
19 be some problems but we don't have the time to race through this document
20 at this stage. So we'll not make a decision on whether we'll admit it
21 into the evidence or not at this stage, but I hope in the meantime the
22 Defence, since you challenge the admission, might furnish us with more
23 details or reasons on your objections to that particular document so that
24 to help us to arrive at the conclusion.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. So if I get the -- if I understand the Court
1 correctly, the Court is saying that the Prosecution has laid a proper
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: And might I ask, just for the record, for clarity,
5 how was that foundation laid, Your Honour, other than the fact that they
6 found it? Because now they're trying to get this entire document and the
7 contents of the document for you to consider and give weight. And I just
8 fail to see how, based on asking this gentleman a few questions. Are
9 these the right commanders? And I knew exactly what they were doing
10 because it's been done in other cases. It's not proper evidence,
11 Your Honour. I'm afraid --
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I think we've already made our
13 decision that we will not admit this document into the evidence at this
14 stage. And we'll give you the opportunity to challenge anything you have
15 doubts in this document.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour --
17 JUDGE LIU: Because we --
18 MR. KARNAVAS: You're putting the burden on me now. I'm having to
19 challenge every page. So now I have to decide on each and every page
20 whether it's true, accurate, and complete. It's the other way around.
21 They need to establish how accurate this document is. Just because
22 they've managed to get this gentleman to say these are the commanders, the
23 onus should not be on me now to substantiate or unsubstantiate the
24 contents of the document. It should be the other way around. Now, if
25 you're asking me to help the Prosecution, find the witness, to bring him
1 in, I can do that. He is available to the Prosecution, has been available
2 to the Prosecution, I've offered to help them out. But what you're asking
3 me now is to go through each page and try to raise objections as to why
4 each page the Court should not accept when the Prosecution has not laid
5 any foundation as to how each page is true, accurate, and complete. And I
6 don't mean to be disputatious, Your Honour, I truly don't. And I
7 apologise if I'm raising my voice, perhaps I'm a little tired. But it
8 really seems a little unfair to be putting the onus on me to do their
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, we believe that as for the scope
11 and the contents the Prosecution used through this witness, we believe
12 it's sufficient to have this document admitted into the evidence. But as
13 for the other contents, we don't have the time to read it. If it is an
14 important document and concerning with the functions of the
15 Bratunac Brigade, I believe that in the future this document will be used
16 again and again.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour. Just so the record is
18 clear, the Prosecution only made reference to one particular page. We
19 don't have a problem with that page coming in. The Prosecution did not
20 make reference to any other part of the document. And of concern -- given
21 the Court's ruling, I may now have to bring in somebody who authored this
22 document in order to go through it page by page by page, which might
23 require us to go beyond the 11 week -- because I truly believe,
24 Your Honour, if the Prosecution in their case in-chief -- this is
25 something that Butler wrote. They found this document. It merely says
1 Bratunac Brigade history; that's all it says. Anybody could author it.
2 Just like the map that we will go through that says Zivanovic zone of
3 responsibility. We will show exactly how worthless that document is. But
4 just to say because it says this in one page, list the particular
5 commanders, that we're going to hold the Defence responsible for
6 disproving what's in the document, I dare say, Your Honour -- and again, I
7 don't mean to be disputatious. I accept the Court's ruling -- well, I
8 accept that the Court is making the ruling. I disagree with the ruling.
9 And I truly don't want to leave today with there be any feelings that
10 there's animosity or discontent, other than professional disagreement on
11 the admissibility of this document.
12 JUDGE LIU: As I said before, as for that one page, as you said,
13 listing the names of the commanders, there's no problem. We could admit
14 it into the evidence. We didn't do it at this moment. We'll wait until
15 the future witness. I think maybe in the 11 weeks this document will be
16 used again and again. And later on, we'll see whether we admit it as a
17 whole of the document into the evidence or not. Is that agreeable to you?
18 MR. KARNAVAS: That's fine, Your Honour. That's fine. Again, I
19 apologise for raising my voice a little bit and getting a little excited.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
21 Mr. McCloskey.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just to clarify a little bit of that,
23 Mr. President. The commanders' names are not on one page.
24 JUDGE LIU: I understand that.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's a history. And it's really more of a
1 propaganda piece like all armies have about the glorious history of the
2 war. I'm certainly not offering it to be completely truthful. But I did
3 want to give you the whole document so you can see the document and give
4 whatever weight you want to give it. But, you're right, there may be
5 other issues that are related to it. But there's nothing underhanded
6 going on here. We're just offering the document because this issue has
7 been brought up repeatedly by the Defence about commanders.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
9 Well, Witness, thank you very much for coming to The Hague to give
10 your evidence. I wish you have a pleasant journey back home after this
11 session. The usher will show you out of the room. Thank you very much.
12 The hearing is adjourned.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
15 at 1.55 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
16 the 16th day of April, 2004,
17 at 9.00 a.m.