1 Wednesday, 5 May 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE LIU: Call the case please, Mr. Court Deputy.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is Case Number
8 IT-02-60-T, the Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
10 Mr. Karnavas, are you ready to continue?
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President. Good morning. Good morning,
12 Your Honours.
13 WITNESS: ZORAN KOVACEVIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Examined by Mr. Karnavas: [Continued]
16 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kovacevic.
17 A. Good morning.
18 Q. Yesterday we left off on July 12th, 1995, when you indicated you
19 had received an oral order, I believe it was the previous night, to go
20 down in towards the area of Potocari. Now, do you recall giving a
21 statement to the Prosecution back on 2nd December 2001?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And have you had a chance to thoroughly read and review your
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, in your statement, and I'm making a reference to page 8.
2 There are no lines in it. You seem to be indicating that you received
3 that information on that morning -- on the morning of the 12th. And
4 that's when you were told to move towards Potocari. So my question is:
5 Were you mistaken when you gave the statement to the Prosecutor, or were
6 you -- are you mistaken -- were you mistaken yesterday when you told us
7 that it was the early evening that you received that order?
8 A. I think that I received the order in the evening, and I was just
9 made aware of my assignment in the morning, reminded of it. So both would
10 be actually correct.
11 Q. All right. Okay. Now, could you please tell us what exactly you
12 did on the 12th when you received that order. Where did you and your men
14 A. After a short preparation, the units which performed the
15 assignment of Srebrenica, I followed them pursuant to orders, I started
16 after them, which meant movement forward and advance and the clearing of
17 the forest towards Potocari.
18 Q. All right. And how long -- or for how long I should say did you
19 have to travel?
20 A. Perhaps one hour.
21 Q. Would you please tell us what the terrain is like.
22 A. The terrain is forest terrain. It's a mountain terrain 4 to 500
23 metres altitude. It's a very steep terrain.
24 Q. Is there a particular path that you were heading down to?
25 A. No. We were just moving through the forest.
1 Q. Now, as you were moving down the forest -- and I take it now
2 you're heading into Potocari. Correct, in that direction?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. As you're moving through the forest, are you able to see Potocari?
5 A. When I crossed to the other side, the other side of the hill, I
6 wasn't able to see Potocari. However, we could see Gornji Potocari and
7 the villages on the other hill.
8 Q. All right. How about as you were moving down through the forest.
9 Were you able to see Potocari?
10 A. Well, from halfway down the hill you could see Potocari, the other
11 side of it.
12 Q. When was the first time that you noticed that people had gathered
13 at Potocari, at what point?
14 A. At the very entrance to Potocari, which means as we emerged from
15 the forest, you had the first houses, and that's where we encountered
17 Q. How close were they as you emerged from the forest?
18 A. At about 20 metres. As soon as you leave the forest, the houses
19 start. And so that's where the people were.
20 Q. How many people did you see at that point?
21 A. Well, a lot of people, a whole village. People were there. There
22 was a large quantity of people; I couldn't actually tell you how many.
23 But there was so many people that it was difficult to move between them.
24 That's the only way I can explain it.
25 Q. All right. Now, according to your orders, how far were you
1 supposed to go?
2 A. Our order didn't not specify. We did have an order to move out
3 and clear the forest until Potocari, but I didn't understand that to be
4 stopping at the edge of the forest. I understood it to mean us to carry
5 on. And it was inertia. You wanted to meet the people three years after
6 the war. We simply had this desire to see the people, to meet them, at
7 least the people we thought we knew.
8 Q. All right. What was the reaction -- well, first of all, what was
9 your reaction? Let's start there.
10 A. Well, first of all suddenly as you left the forest and entered
11 this mass of people, you thought that it might be the enemy. And this is
12 a rather unpleasant feeling. So I was more collected perhaps than my
13 soldiers. And some of the men panicked because they thought they had
14 suddenly entered an ambush. Yes, it was a surprise; I was surprised, too.
15 And the people were also surprised.
16 Q. All right. Well, did you notice any armed men when you got there,
17 any armed Muslims?
18 A. No.
19 Q. All right. Now, you said some of your men panicked. Could you
20 please describe how did they panic and what did they do, if anything?
21 A. They didn't do anything, because mostly when my men were panicked,
22 they would look to me for protection. So they stuck to me mostly. But
23 then the panic dispersed because they saw they were ordinary people; it
24 wasn't an ambush that we had fallen into. So that's how it was.
25 Q. Did you ever point your weapons, you and your men, did you ever
1 point your weapons to that crowd of people?
2 A. No, no. We had a different attitude. Well, we saw them. They
3 were people -- they weren't the kind of people that you would have to cock
4 your weapons at.
5 Q. All right. Now, did you ever order your men or see your men abuse
6 any of the people in that crowd?
7 A. Not then and not throughout the war. And my attitude was this:
8 None of my soldiers could even have taken it into their head to abuse
9 anyone, let alone to actually do it. And all the soldiers were actually
10 looking for their friends, because most of them were from Srebrenica. So
11 everybody had an acquaintance or friend and expected to come across one of
13 Q. All right. Well, how many soldiers did you have with you?
14 A. I think about 58, because I had about 62 to begin with. But some
15 of them stayed behind to stand guard over the equipment that was at the
16 front line.
17 Q. And if I understand your previous answer, your men, in light of
18 the location where you held that line, they came from Srebrenica, is that
19 correct, most of them?
20 A. Most of them, yes.
21 Q. Now, how long did you stay in Potocari?
22 A. That day, you mean?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. Well, one hour at the most.
25 Q. And what did you do during that one-hour period?
1 A. Well, we went up on to the road leading through the village and
2 then across the bridge to the asphalt Srebrenica/Bratunac road and reached
3 the Distribucija building where the soldiers entered into the courtyard
4 and we sat down to have a rest. And then a television crew turned up and
5 asked me to make a statement. I gave the statement. We returned there.
6 And afterwards General Mladic turned up and started making a noise saying
7 we should advance forward. We stayed behind, because pursuant to orders
8 it wasn't up to us to move forward. But we hid from him, we hid in front
9 of him so he couldn't see us. And then some 15 to 20 minutes later, I
10 received an order from the battalion command. I think it was a courier
11 that brought the order telling me to go back to the lines, the
12 Potocari/Peciste/Djogazi line, which is what I actually did.
13 Q. All right. Now, I want to go through that answer a little bit in
14 more detail, step by step. How long had you been in Potocari before
15 General Mladic showed up?
16 A. Not even 10 minutes. He was round about there somewhere, but
17 that's when we actually saw him.
18 Q. How close were you to General Mladic when he showed up?
19 A. Perhaps 10 metres. Because the general is that kind of man, and I
20 even saw colonels fleeing from him or trying to dodge him and not actually
21 have to face him.
22 Q. All right. And do you -- did you recognise any other generals
23 that were with General Mladic at that time?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did you recognise or did you see, I should say, your own commander
1 of the Bratunac Brigade there?
2 A. No. I didn't see anybody from our brigade. And as to the people
3 from the corps, or wherever they were from, I never ever met them.
4 Q. All right. Now, when General Mladic started yelling, telling the
5 soldiers to advance, what did you take that to mean? Did he give you
6 concretely a location where to go?
7 A. Well, he said: "Forward, forward to Milacevici, Gornji Potocari,
8 Milacevici." That general direction. That's what he had in mind.
9 Q. Now, did he say this personally to you, or was he just... ?
10 A. No, he said it to everyone, all of us there.
11 Q. And did you start moving in that direction?
12 A. No. We just moved behind the building, moved out of his sight.
13 Because for me, the order I was to listen to was the order given to my
14 battalion -- from my battalion commander.
15 Q. All right.
16 A. That was the only order I was supposed to listen to.
17 Q. And how much longer after that did you receive the message from
18 the courier for you to move your position?
19 A. Maybe 10 to 15 minutes later. But it's difficult to set a time,
20 because time flies. But 10 to 15 minutes I would say, not longer than
22 Q. Is it possible that your commander came looking for you and gave
23 you the order himself, the commander of the battalion?
24 A. No, I don't think he did. And in my statement from Banja
25 Luka -- I'm not quite sure, actually. There is some mention of me saying
1 Zoran -- well, the order was issued by him, so perhaps there was a mistake
2 there. But it was handed to me by a courier. I didn't see Zoran there at
4 Q. All right. Now, during that entire period that you were there,
5 what did you and your men actually do with respect to the crowd of people,
6 if anything?
7 A. Everything we did, that is to say the soldiers did this
8 individually. They tried to find a friend or acquaintance, come into
9 contact with someone they knew, that kind of thing.
10 Q. Were you carrying any weapons at that point in time?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, when you got this order, where were you to move? What was
13 your next -- the next location that you were to go to?
14 A. The next location was Potocari, Pecista, Djogazi. From the line,
15 I had come down the hill into that mass of people. That's where my line
16 stretched, left towards Bratunac, at the foot of the mountain itself.
17 Q. When you left Potocari, do you know whether General Mladic was
18 still there, or had he moved on?
19 A. I don't know.
20 Q. All right. Now, when you were interviewed in Banja Luka, did you
21 have an opportunity to look at a map and assist the Office of the
22 Prosecution in locating your positions?
23 A. Yes. On that map, we drew in, or rather, I drew in the positions
24 of my unit before we moved towards Potocari and the unit's positions where
25 I went after Potocari. So the map was I think marked A, B, and D, or
1 something like that. And I drew in the road which we took when we
2 withdrew to Zvornik.
3 Q. Okay. Well, perhaps you could assist us. If you could look at a
4 copy of the section of the map that we received from the Office of the
5 Prosecution. And if need be, we can show you the original one if you
6 can't make it out.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: And I guess we need to give this an identification
8 number. I believe it would be 135.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Or it could be 142. D142/1.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Thank you.
11 Q. Can you see the map on the monitor?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Okay. Now, it's next to you on this little projector. So if you
14 need to point to it, you'll have to turn and actually point on the map
15 itself. Okay. So we'll take it slowly. If you could please tell
16 us -- first of all, do you recognise the markings on this map?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Whose markings are they?
19 A. Mine, my markings. I put the D and the E and the C letters.
20 Q. All right. Now, if you could explain what all these markings
21 mean, I would appreciate it. And let's start with -- first, could you
22 please tell us where your line was located, where your company was
24 A. Before we set out --
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. This C here is the line of Obadi, and that was the position I was
2 at before I set out for Potocari. And D --
3 Q. One step at a time. One step at a time. That line, could you
4 please -- where it says "C" on the exhibit, how far did it extend? How
5 far did your company extend? What was the line of defence that you were
7 A. The line of defence was from Caus hill above Potocari on the other
8 side. So the peak was held by the other unit. And on the other slope was
9 where my line began and it went through Obadi, where I had unit
10 headquarters, and then it went towards Zalazje. And the length of the
11 line was about 3 kilometres.
12 Q. Can you show us that on the map itself, where your line was. All
13 right from there --
14 A. That's it here. You go Obadi. That is the HQ. And then towards
15 Zalazje -- actually, that's where Caus is. Obadi/Zalazje is this way.
16 Q. Okay. Now -- for the record, you pointed to where the C is
17 located, that particular line.
18 Could you please tell us for how long were you at that position
19 prior to July 12th, 1995.
20 A. I was at that position from March 1993 to the end, I believe.
21 Q. Did you move from that line from July 6 to July 11, 1995?
22 A. No. We stayed at that line until the 12th, and we didn't return.
23 Q. All right. Now, if you could show us from there, where did you
24 traverse on the 12th.
25 A. On the 12th, I set out from Obadi, from the elevation, Caus
1 elevation or feature, and I went slowly down the hill. And I reached the
2 edge -- the outskirts of Pecista, because there were people from Pecista
3 already. So that's the line.
4 Q. Okay. And the record should reflect that you're pointing from the
5 northern or the uppermost part of the line with the C, and it's heading
6 towards, I believe, the D. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, for those of us who are not that familiar with maps, these
9 little ridges, what does that mean? From C -- or the area that you
10 travelled, you see all these little lines, what does that designate? Does
11 that designate the terrain?
12 A. Yes, the configuration of the terrain. It's a slope towards
13 Potocari, and from that main slope you have different hills branching off.
14 So that is the configuration of the terrain; that's what it's like.
15 Because as I said it's at an altitude of 4 to 500 metres, and you go up
16 this -- up above sea level in minutes; it's steep.
17 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, if we go to the line where you have the D,
18 before we talk about that line, if we keep going leftwards, we see a
19 couple of lines. Is that the road that goes from Bratunac to Potocari and
20 on to Srebrenica?
21 A. I think the road goes this way, that that's the road.
22 Q. Right. Okay. So that would be the road. Where would Srebrenica
23 be, in which direction?
24 A. This direction, down here.
25 Q. Okay. We can't see --
1 A. It is west of Bratunac and the road.
2 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us from the location D to
3 the road, what is the distance?
4 A. From the location, my unit's location to the road is in a straight
5 line, as the crow flies, about 500 metres.
6 Q. Now, as I understand it, right around that area, there's an
7 industrial park.
8 A. Well, yes. That's the whole compound.
9 Q. Where would that be? Could you point it out, please.
10 A. Between, say, Pecista, Djogazi. That's that factory park and
11 compound moving up to Potocari. This industrial park begins from the
12 left-hand side of the road from Bratunac to Srebrenica, and then it moves
13 on to the right-hand side of the road. That entire area and compound is
14 an industrial zone.
15 Q. All right. Now, let's look at what you've marked as A, D, and E.
16 Could you please explain to us what these -- what this line means or
18 A. The D line means my unit's position after its return from
19 Potocari. The E line is the line I set out from, from Potocari, on my way
20 to Borici, the command of the battalion, from whence I went on to Zvornik.
21 Q. All right. So just to make sure I understand it. When you went
22 down to Potocari, down the hill, the location where you and your men
23 stayed at was right around that line designated D. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And the line from E to A, E is where you set off after you
1 received the orders in Potocari and you headed off to the location of A.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now -- and you see the A is circled right around the road itself,
5 the asphalt road. If you head north, we would go towards Bratunac, would
6 we not?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us, if you -- if it's
9 possible, where is the Zuti Most, the yellow bridge? Can we see it?
10 A. I think it's this here.
11 Q. You have to point on the projector.
12 A. [Witness complies]
13 Q. Okay. So from A going north towards Bratunac, what would the
14 distance be?
15 A. About a kilometre and a half, 100 or 20 metres, plus or minus,
16 because this is where I live and I often use that bridge. I think it's
17 1.000 or 500 metres.
18 Q. Now, where were the battalion command headquarters located?
19 A. The battalion headquarters was in Borici, marked A and circled.
20 Here it is.
21 Q. All right. So basically, if I understand you correctly, you were
22 told on that day to head back and hover around with your men at the
23 battalion headquarters?
24 A. That wasn't the order I received. My order was to collect the
25 soldiers and come to the battalion command, and that there would be buses
2 Q. Okay. But is this on the 12th of July?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Okay. All right. Well, I want to be clear now. Where were you
5 told on the 12th of July to go to?
6 A. On the 12th of July, as far as I can recall, that's the day I was
7 in Potocari when I went back to the position marked D. And I stayed
8 there. There were no other orders or tasks. The first task I received
9 after that was to report to the battalion headquarters, and there I was
10 told to proceed to Zvornik.
11 Q. All right. Well, I need to clarify that, because I might have
12 confused everybody here, including myself. On the 12th, after you got to
13 Potocari and you mingled with the men, are you now stating that you went
14 back from Potocari some distance to where the D is located?
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, leading. I think it would be a lot
17 clearer if the witness did the testifying.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm trying to clarify a point.
19 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe you could go step by step.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll go step by step.
21 Q. Please designate to us exactly where you went once you received
22 the order on the 12th of July while you were in Potocari.
23 A. I went back along the same way I had taken to arrive in Potocari,
24 that is, I went on to the road for 200 or 300 metres in the direction of
25 Srebrenica. I passed to the left side of the river and took the village
1 lane to Potocari. And that is the end of Potocari or the beginning of
2 Peciste. There is a village road that goes Potocari, Peciste, Djogazi.
3 And that was my line where I remained with my unit. Those were the last
4 inhabited houses.
5 Q. Could you please show us where on the map that is located.
6 A. Just a moment, please. I think this village road should be there,
7 passing from the road through here, arriving to Peciste. At Peciste at
8 the foot of the mountain, and then going on towards Djogazi. I think this
9 is it.
10 Q. Where did you end up?
11 A. And finally, I arrived at this village road marked D. That's the
12 Djogazi/Peciste/Potocari village road, where my line was.
13 Q. All right. So on the 12th you stayed where it's designated D?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. How long were you in that location?
16 A. I can't assert with precision, but I do know I remained there
17 until I set out for Zvornik. In Banja Luka, we tried to put the dates
18 together, but dates never meant much to me. We agreed there that the
19 12th, Petrovdan was the day we were in Potocari. We stayed there until we
20 set out for Zvornik, which would have been on the 15th at 10.00 a.m.
21 Q. All right. Well, where were you when you set off to go to
22 Zvornik, what location?
23 A. I was at the location marked D.
24 Q. And where did the buses pick you up?
25 A. In front of the headquarters of the battalion in Borici.
1 Q. When you went to the headquarters over there of the battalion,
2 were you aware what your assignment was going to be?
3 A. No.
4 Q. When you got there, who gave you your assignment?
5 A. When I got there, my battalion commander from the battalion
6 command, that's where I got the task, we were told to go to Zvornik to
7 secure the Zvornik/Tuzla road. That's at Crni Vrh. That's what we were
9 Q. How many men did you have with you?
10 A. About 58.
11 Q. All right. Now, it's the Prosecution's theory that members of the
12 Bratunac Brigade, perhaps your unit, went in that direction in order to
13 commit atrocities. Did you and your men stop anywhere on the way on that
14 day or the next day or any other day, and commit the atrocities that the
15 Prosecution believes the Bratunac Brigade was engaged in?
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection to him stating what he thinks our case
18 is, because he hasn't got it right yet.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, I have been listening to those intercepts
20 yesterday, Your Honour. I thought I was getting a clue.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Those were members of the Visegrad brigade that
22 checked in to the Bratunac Brigade before they went up there.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, you may put your question another way.
24 MR. KARNAVAS:
25 Q. Were you ever given any orders to commit any atrocities?
1 A. No. Our orders were very strict. The buses took us to Zvornik;
2 that was their task. I was to report to the chief of the brigade,
3 Mr. Obrenovic, down there. And we didn't hang around. There was no need
4 to stop along the way. As for the story going around, I heard about that
5 only after making that statement in Banja Luka, that is, that our unit was
6 mentioned as one of the units that possibly did this.
7 Q. All right. Now, what time did you arrive in Zvornik?
8 A. As far as I can recall, between 12.00 and 12.30. Let's say around
9 12.00 noon.
10 Q. And did you -- who did you see when you arrived in Zvornik?
11 A. As I don't know anyone in Zvornik, in front of the headquarters
12 there were already some people waiting for me. I was taken into
13 Mr. Obrenovic's office. There was another man there, probably the leader
14 of a unit, and he gave both of us the same information, that is, that
15 there was certain enemy forces there. And he said that he assumed there
16 were three groups, two groups of about 2.000 men, or rather, women and
17 elderly, whom we should not pay attention to because they were not a
18 threat to Zvornik. And there was another group where they were all
19 extremists. He mentioned the name of Zulfo Tursum, a man whom we on our
20 territory considered to be a man who burnt down of our villages. We said
21 that this group had the task of breaking through to Tuzla or dying in the
22 attempt. And our task was to strengthen the defence lines there and if
23 possible to make the group go back to the old Zvornik/Tuzla road in order
24 to break it up as far as was possible. That was our task and we were
25 given a guide and told to report to the command of the 4th Battalion at
2 Q. All right. Let me take it again step by step. First of all, how
3 many buses of soldiers went to Zvornik?
4 A. I had only one bus.
5 Q. Okay. So all your men were in one bus?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. All right. Now, did you know Mr. Obrenovic from before?
8 A. No, and I probably wouldn't recognise him today. That was our
9 only encounter.
10 Q. Did you know Major Jokic?
11 A. Not from the Zvornik -- from the Zvornik Brigade, I only knew
12 Mr. Pandurevic, I knew him through sight, not through personal contacts.
13 Q. What was Obrenovic's demeanor as he was describing to you the
14 events that were unfolding on the front lines?
15 A. It was normal. There was no panic, no hysteria. He explained the
16 situation to us and gave us our tasks in a very normal manner.
17 Q. Did he show you a map of where you would be going?
18 A. No, he didn't show us the map. He gave us a guide who took us
20 Q. Did he explain to you what the terrain looked like?
21 A. No. That was the task given to the battalion commander up there
22 where we reported.
23 Q. But I'm asking you: Before heading off to this mission, were you
24 explained by Obrenovic what the terrain looked like?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Did you have a map with you?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Had you been in that area before during the period when you had
4 been mobilised?
5 A. No, neither before nor after. And I wouldn't know the way there
7 Q. All right. Now, you indicated that Mr. Obrenovic told you that
8 you would be going off to the 4th Battalion and that a guy would be taking
9 you there. Did that happen?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Well, please explain to us where the 4th Battalion was located,
12 what you saw, what you learned, what you did.
13 A. When I arrived at that hill, I don't know what it's called, the
14 buses went back. My men sat down to have a rest. And I went with the
15 commander of the 4th Battalion to tour his lines, which were to be
16 strengthened during the night. And when we had made the tour and returned
17 after a certain time, we had a rest. And then we received an order to the
18 effect that we were not to remain there, although it was starting to get
19 dark, but that rather we should go to the river valley down to Baljkovica
20 itself. And we were told that our unit would be given its task when it
21 arrived there.
22 From there, there was a military truck that we got on to. And
23 there was a slope. We were going downhill, and we were observed by the
24 Muslim forces right away. The mortar and machine-guns started firing at
25 us. The truck was moving along as fast as we could, and we jumped out of
1 the truck with our equipment and took cover, running down the hill toward
2 the stream. The truck made several trips, and that's how we made our way
3 along the stream, through the woods, and arrived at where the
4 5th Battalion was.
5 Q. All right. How long did you stay there?
6 A. I received a task from the 5th Battalion, from the commander of
7 that battalion or his deputy. I can't say which. And he -- from the
8 battalion command, we went for about -- their men were deployed for about
9 100 or 150 metres. And then I was to be their left flank, covering the
10 area going on from there. And they said that our left flank would be
11 units from Sekovici, but unfortunately in the morning I saw that this was
12 not true because we were there on our own. And we stayed there the next
14 Q. All right. Incidentally, did you lose any men? Did you have any
16 A. Yes. When we were getting out of the truck to go toward the
17 5th Battalion, one of my men who wore 37-size boots, but he had 42-size
18 shoes on. And he lost his shoes in the swamp we were moving through, so
19 he was barefoot. And I left him in the battalion command, because he
20 couldn't go with us barefoot. In the morning when there was an attack, he
21 went missing. But fortunately three days later, he joined the unit at
22 Crni Vrh. He managed to flee and rejoin the unit later on.
23 Q. But you didn't lose any men? Nobody lost their life? They lost
24 their boots, lost their way, but they didn't lose their life?
25 A. No, they didn't. Fortunately, that's how it was, yes.
1 Q. Okay. Now, during that period did you return any fire against the
2 Muslim forces?
3 A. Throughout the night, there was artillery fire. At first we
4 thought it was ours, but then during the evening, the Muslim forces took a
5 mortar battery, I think it was. And I received the news by courier in the
6 night from the Zvornik Brigade that at around 10.00 p.m. the Muslim forces
7 had taken some of our artillery. And they fired it. We thought it was
8 our own artillery, but it was they who were using it. And they fired, as
9 it turned out, on an empty area where there were no men. They were
10 clearing the space for the following day. During the night, it rained;
11 there was ice. We didn't return fire. There was no fighting. It was
12 only artillery fire, and an occasional shot or two. At daybreak, maybe
13 before 5.00 a.m., the attack began, as I thought, and it was close by.
14 The attack went along the river, which means that the focus was on the
15 5th Battalion command. There was fighting close to where I was, but it
16 passed us by, and we didn't have any firing on that day.
17 Q. All right. Now, how long did you stay in that location?
18 A. I stayed there until perhaps 10.00, because those forces were
19 already behind my back. They had broken through the line, so I was cut
20 off. And I went more to the left with my unit as I thought in the
21 direction of Snagovo or Crni Vrh. And that's where I managed to get to
22 Crni Vrh and then on to the Tuzla road.
23 Q. All right. And then from there where did you go?
24 A. I think -- we didn't have time to think. We didn't look at our
25 watches or think about the time, but I think it was at around 10.00 that
1 we started to pull out. At first there were five or six men with radio
2 equipment, and they tried to contact their command. But the voices that
3 responded were not familiar, and artillery fire followed us constantly.
4 So we agreed, the communications man and I, to give us these attempts to
5 communicate, because we saw that the artillery was following us because of
6 our radio equipment. They went with us for a while, and then they lagged
7 behind. What happened to them further, I don't know. We didn't have any
8 maps or compasses, so we continued moving through this unfamiliar terrain.
9 But knowing the Zvornik/Tuzla road, my intention was to get out on to this
10 road. I went more to the left than I wanted to. I thought I would get
11 out to the right of Snagovo, but I actually came out on the road 3 or 4
12 kilometres away from Zvornik.
13 Q. All right. Had you been given orders to move in any direction?
14 A. No. From Baljkovica, I pulled out on my own initiative, because
15 it was not possible to receive any orders. Our radio communications were
16 cut off. I was unable to contact my brigade command. And secondly, I had
17 been attached to the Zvornik Brigade. So I was forced to make a decision
18 on my own, either to stay there, which would not have been a good thing,
19 or to pull out, which I did. And fortunately, I saved my own life and the
20 lives of my men in this way.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Perhaps to save some time, it was part of the
23 Prosecution's case that these gents got lost. And so this is not a
24 contested issue.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: I know it's hard to remember of all of this, but
2 if we go back to some of the other testimony.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I am fully aware of the Prosecution's
5 case, irrespective of their earlier comments. But I think each witness is
6 entitled to tell their story in a sequential order, because we're getting
7 there. So I appreciate the kind concession by the Prosecutor, but we were
8 about to move on to the next segment of where we went from there.
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, in some parts, maybe we could move a little bit
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree with you, Your Honour, but as we know with
12 some of the witnesses wish to be as thorough as they can, but I will, I
14 Q. From that road, where did you go?
15 A. When I got on to the Tuzla/Zvornik road, I came across some
16 forward command post probably, where Major Zoran Jovanovic was.
17 Major Jovanovic, not the Zoran Jovanovic from our battalion. I reported
18 to him, told him what happened, and then he sent us to a school which was
19 about a kilometre or a kilometre and a half away. We stayed there and
20 rested until the early evening, and in the evening somebody came from the
21 Zvornik Brigade with a bus and took us back to the Zvornik/Tuzla road.
22 And from the quarry to Tuzla, that's where I deployed my men. And it was
23 only then that we started securing the Zvornik/Tuzla communication in the
24 Crni Vrh area.
25 Q. All right. Now, the Major Zivanovic [sic], from which brigade is
1 he from?
2 A. Zvornik.
3 Q. All right. Now, when you were moved to the new location, the
4 Zvornik/Tuzla -- to secure the Zvornik/Tuzla communication, how long were
5 you there?
6 A. In the evening of the 16th and the evening of the 17th, two
8 Q. All right. And did anything happen during those two evening?
9 A. Nothing happened during the night. In daytime we looked at the
10 Muslims across the meadows, going in groups, one by one, or in groups of
11 ten. That's what I saw in the morning. But at night, they would come to
12 the road. They could creep up to the road, cross the road, and go on
13 toward Tuzla. Our instructions were to let larger groups through and to
14 send smaller groups back. There was never any other order. And one
15 morning, I think it was on the 16th in the evening or the 17th in the
16 morning, they woke me up and they said they were crossing. And we counted
17 them. They were 30 men who would cross over, crouch by the road, and then
18 they would pass through the houses between us and go on. And we let them
19 through. We watched them, but we let them through, because that was what
20 had been agreed on.
21 Q. All right. So you didn't engage them at all?
22 A. No, that was not my task.
23 Q. And incidentally, on page 24, line 1, it states Major Zivanovic.
24 It's not Major Zivanovic, but Major Jovanovic?
25 A. Jovanovic, Jovanovic, yes.
1 Q. Now, when did you return to the Bratunac Brigade?
2 A. I think, or rather, I'm sure, because I stayed there two nights,
3 that on the 18th buses arrived to pick me up. Let me mention that on the
4 17th another unit arrived and spent the night with us. They were from
5 Bratunac. So two buses came on the 18th and we went back together.
6 Q. All right. Now, that unit that showed up on the 17th, do you know
7 who was the commander or the komandir of that unit?
8 A. Yes. It was Predrag Ilic, and it was the 3rd Company from my
9 battalion, and he told me that already on the evening of the 16th, they
10 arrived at the Zvornik Brigade late and that they stayed in the barracks,
11 spent the night there, so that on the 17th they would come up to the line
12 and stay just that one night.
13 Q. All right. Did Mr. Ilic tell you that he had been given any
14 orders to link up with Lukic or anyone else to commit any atrocities in
15 the Zvornik area?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did any of his men or he himself tell you that they had been
18 engaged in committing atrocities in Branjevo Farm or Pilica or anywhere
19 else in that area?
20 A. No. May I be allowed to add something very briefly? Our brigade
21 and our men were men who were at -- up at the front lines all the time.
22 So you couldn't find anybody for that assignment. And it would be
23 illusory to look for that. Other units, independent units, did that. And
24 as for this particular unit, the one coming from 3rd Company, I think that
25 they had problems in Bratunac because people refused to come, so that's
1 why they had to stay late. So to expect something from people like that
2 was illusory and everybody was aware of that.
3 Q. All right. Now, once you got to Bratunac, what was your next
5 A. When we got to Bratunac, to the battalion, we were told that -- I
6 was told that I was to let the men go that day, but that we should muster
7 again the next day at 10.00 in front of the battalion, and that we were to
8 going advance to Zepa.
9 Q. And did you go off to Zepa?
10 A. Yes, the next day, at 10.00. We set out by bus towards Zepa.
11 Q. Incidentally, getting back, just to clarify one point. Your line,
12 your permanent line, of your company prior to July 12, 1995, did it
13 face-off or was it in front of any Muslim forces, the 28th Division that
14 was in this demilitarised enclave?
15 A. No. In front of me were two UNPROFOR points, the DutchBat. There
16 weren't even any villages in between, because there was one hill called
17 Zanik and underneath that was UNPROFOR. On the left-hand side, that same
18 hill, on the right-hand side right below me. So no, there were no units,
19 or villages.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: One moment, Your Honour.
22 [Defence counsel confers]
23 MR. KARNAVAS: I have no further questions.
24 Q. Thank you, very much, sir. I believe Mr. Stojanovic may have a
25 question or two, then Mr. McCloskey, the Prosecutor, and the Judges. So I
1 would appreciate it if you would be as frank and forthright with them as
2 you have been with me.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
4 Mr. Stojanovic, do you have any questions to this witness?
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
6 Good morning, Witness.
7 Just a few questions, Your Honours, with respect to the events on
8 the 15th in the Zvornik Brigade.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Stojanovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kovacevic, during the examination-in-chief
11 today you said you did not know Dragan Jokic. Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, the -- my follow-up question, the man who is here and you see
14 as Dragan Jokic, did you see that man at the command of the Zvornik
15 Brigade at all?
16 A. I think only Mr. Obrenovic was in the office there, that's all.
17 Q. You have described what Mr. Obrenovic looked like and what he told
19 A. Yes, I said what he told me. Now, if I saw him in the courtroom
20 here, I don't think I'd recognise him.
21 Q. Did you gain the impression that he was a well-informed individual
22 about the situation up at the front and on the battlefield, and that he
23 was kept abreast of the military operations within the area of
24 responsibility of his brigade?
25 A. Yes, that's the impression I gained, but when I returned I met, or
1 rather, I bypassed a group, about 3.000 men. The group he said that we
2 shouldn't take account of much. So I think he was well-informed.
3 Q. So as we say he was in charge of the situation, knowing the
4 position of his own units and the enemy units as well. Is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. When you say that he wasn't prone to panic, that he was a calm
7 person, do you conclude by that that he was stable in the brigade command,
8 that is to say that he was well aware of the situation at brigade
9 headquarters and in the area of responsibility of his unit. Is that what
10 you meant?
11 A. Yes. That was what I meant. That was the impression he gave.
12 Q. So you would say that all of this went on at around 12.00, would
14 A. Yes. Because at 10.00 -- yes, exactly 12.00, give or take 10
15 minutes. Maybe a little after 12.00, but I don't think it was much before
17 Q. And you didn't see -- or did you see any police officers,
18 policemen or police officers, anybody from the police?
19 A. No, I didn't see anybody then.
20 Q. Now, the thesis of this Defence case is that on the -- in the
21 morning of the 15th, Mr. Beara was not at the command of the
22 Zvornik Brigade. Now, our question in that respect is: Do you know
23 Mr. Beara?
24 A. I saw Mr. Beara at our brigade during the war, and I do believe
25 that at the time I would have recognised him. But I didn't see him.
1 Q. So in those afternoon hours, you did not see him at the command or
2 the headquarters of the brigade?
3 A. No. It was only Obrenovic who was there.
4 Q. I'm asking you this for a very simple reason, because I understood
5 it from the examination-in-chief that in addition to Obrenovic there was
6 another man there who you didn't know and who didn't join in the
8 A. In my opinion, that was a man who was probably the komandir of a
9 unit. Because Obrenovic spoke and issued assignments that I gained the
10 impression that that was also a man from some other unit on the same side
11 as me, not the other side.
12 Q. Yes, that's why I'm asking you. So that man, you would have
13 recognised it if he were --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you assumed that he was from the Zvornik Brigade, did you?
16 A. Well, quite simply, I thought it was somebody from the
17 Zvornik Brigade, the komandir of one of the units of the Zvornik Brigade,
18 perhaps. But as I say, he didn't get involved in the conversation; he
19 just listened, just like I did. And I think he left the premises together
20 with me.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kovacevic.
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] We have no further questions,
23 Your Honours.
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
25 My suggestion is that we have an early break, and we'll resume at
1 20 minutes to 11.00.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.08 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 10.42 a.m.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey. Your cross-examination, please.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. And good morning,
7 Cross-examined by Mr. McCloskey:
8 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kovacevic.
9 A. Good morning.
10 Q. Sir, when you were in Zvornik in the headquarters, you couldn't
11 possibly have seen all the different officers that were in the
12 headquarters building that day, could you?
13 A. Yes. I'm not talking about the headquarters; I'm talking about
14 Mr. Obrenovic's office.
15 Q. That's the only office you went in in that building. Is that
17 A. Well, I didn't know the building. They took me into that room, or
18 rather, into the building. Now, what there is in the building, I can't
19 say. I can assume that there wasn't only that office.
20 Q. I asked you if that was the only office you went in. Did you go
21 in some other office, besides Obrenovic's?
22 A. No, just that one.
23 Q. So you didn't go into the security office or the duty office or
24 the commander, Pandurevic's, office?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Or the coffee room where they have a big table and coffee?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Okay. You also told us something that I think there's some
4 support for, that regular soldiers, the line soldiers, the conscripts are
5 not the most well-disciplined group in the world and probably not anyone's
6 first choice as an execution squad. Is that basically what you were
8 A. What I wanted to say is: The people who guarded the defence in
9 our brigade and probably in Zvornik were not people who could go into
10 action; they just weren't. That is something that only the independent
11 units could have done who did not -- were not responsible to anyone. They
12 worked for themselves mostly.
13 Q. So when you say "go into action," what do you mean?
14 A. Well, I mean to attack; that's what I mean.
15 Q. So you're not talking about war crimes? You're talking about
16 attack units?
17 A. Well, those attack units, you have units there which are
18 well-disciplined soldiers, young men who are ready to carry out orders in
19 an attack. No, I'm talking about the other units which are prone, to my
20 mind, and anything dirty they did, anything of that kind, was done by some
21 independent units, because as I see it -- well, this is not a nice thing
22 to say, but they are clochards, if I can put it that way. That's the only
23 word I can find to describe people like that.
24 Q. Yes, well we're not talking about 1992 when some rather bad folks
25 were in paramilitary units and doing things; we're talking about July
1 1995. Now -- and just talking about attack units, disciplined attack
2 units, that can go into a disciplined attack. Would the Red Berets of the
3 Bratunac unit be a disciplined attack unit?
4 A. I apologise, the Green Berets is the Muslim side, and we didn't
5 collaborate with them. As to the Red Berets, we had one unit of that
6 kind, and to my mind that was a highly responsible unit, a unit which
7 deserved, or rather, helped Bratunac survive. So a unit like that
8 wouldn't have done anything like that. And secondly, that unit wasn't in
9 Bratunac at that time within the composition of our brigade, because they
10 had left, they had gone on. I think they were in Dalj or some such place.
11 Q. They were given a job around Milici around the 12th or 13th of
12 July, according to the records we have. Does that refresh your
13 recollection on where the Red Berets were?
14 A. No, it doesn't refresh my recollections. I don't know. I can't
15 say yes or no. Quite simply, I do not know. I am not aware of that.
16 Q. Do you know a Red Beret, I think his name is Milenko Stojanovic?
17 A. The name doesn't ring a bell. I don't know. Milenko Stojanovic.
18 The surname might be from Bratunac.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stojanovic.
20 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. But
21 the surname Stojanovic has been recorded and the first name is Milenko.
22 Now, is it Stojanovic or Stanojevic, I think? Let's clear that up, and
23 then we can clear the interpretation up. And I don't want the witness to
24 be placed in this unfortunate situation of having to answer to the wrong
25 name. I apologise for having to intervene.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you very much, Mr. Stojanovic. I --
3 Mr. Stojanovic is right and I'm sorry, I've gotten my names slightly mixed
5 Q. The name -- can you tell us the name that Stanojevic, Miroslav
6 Stanojevic, sorry about my name.
7 A. So now the first name and the last name seems to be different.
8 Miroslav Stanojevic you're asking me about now. No, that doesn't ring a
9 bell either. Perhaps I know the man by sight, but the name doesn't mean
10 anything to me.
11 Q. He died in an automobile accident a couple of years ago I think
12 around Bratunac somewhere.
13 A. I don't know.
14 Q. Did the Red Berets, were they commanded by the brigade commander?
15 A. The Red Berets, to my mind, while they existed and were in
16 Bratunac, were under the command of our brigade. And I think they were
17 well-disciplined men and the right type of unit, if I can put it that way,
18 to go into operations and carry out assignments. But I'm not sure that
19 that whole unit was complete because -- now, if you say the whole unit was
20 there, but I thought, or rather, I thought that that whole unit had been
21 sent to Dalj three or four months earlier, that it had left the Bratunac
22 Brigade, as far as I remember. I might be wrong, but that's what I think.
23 Q. Okay. Now, the Bratunac Brigade had a military police platoon as
24 well, didn't it?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Were those military police officers better disciplined than your
2 average conscript soldier?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you know that two military police officers were at the Pilica
5 school on the 16th and 17th of July when over 1.000 Muslims were murdered
6 in and around the Branjevo Farm near that school?
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may just --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may register a minor objection. There is a
12 note in a logbook that they were there; it hasn't been established that
13 they were in fact there. So I think there's a big distinction, especially
14 since we know that record-keeping during that period of time was far from
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, this objection is registered in the transcript.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: There's also evidence beyond that logbook, which I
18 won't get into now, but there is evidence.
19 Q. So you never heard about that. You said you heard some stories
20 about Bratunac being in that area, but that's not one of -- you never
21 heard a thing about those MPs being at the Pilica school?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Did you hear the story that a busload of Muslims, as they came out
24 of the bus at the Pilica school, were shot and murdered with automatic
1 A. No.
2 Q. Okay. Let's leave Zvornik for now and go back to before the
3 enclave fell. I think you or someone else said that -- well, let me ask
4 you: Were any soldiers from your company or your battalion loaned down to
5 the 3rd Battalion at any time in the weeks before the enclave was
6 attacked, and the enclave was attacked on 6th July?
7 A. Our brigade held a position first of all somewhere up there from
8 Han Pijesak, Stijanski [phoen] hill, and then we took over a part of the
9 responsibility of holding the line at Trnovo, Treskavica, that is to say
10 above Sarajevo. So we always sent a certain number of men there and they
11 were replaced from time to time. Now, four to five days before at
12 Srebrenica, upon assignment from the battalion, I appointed four men. I
13 was supposed to give five. One was from Praha [phoen] and disappeared in
14 Bratunac and he was in hiding. I didn't know about that until the fall of
15 Srebrenica and my return from Zvornik. I thought he was there, whereas
16 the man said he hid and didn't come out of his hiding place for some time.
17 So those are all the men that we gave.
18 Q. It was a simple question. I asked you if you sent any of your men
19 on loan to the 3rd Battalion, not to Trnovo. Did you send any of your men
20 to help out the 3rd Battalion in the days before the attack?
21 A. I've just answered, sir. Four days before that, I sent four men
22 to help out the 3rd Battalion.
23 Q. And in June did you send anybody down to help out the
24 3rd Battalion for the attack on OP Echo near Zeleni Jadar?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Were you aware of the VRS attack on OP Echo in June, this Dutch
2 observation post at Zeleni Jadar that was right at the approach towards
3 Srebrenica from the south?
4 A. No, I didn't know about that. I just had contacts with the
5 battalion, and even when I went home I didn't hear about that. And
6 usually all the things I did learn about were round town, as we say, going
7 about the village.
8 Q. Okay. Did the 2nd Battalion have any heavy mortars or any mortars
9 at all?
10 A. The 2nd Battalion had a mortar battery of 82-millimetre calibre,
11 as far as I know. And it served the needs of the entire battalion.
12 Q. And how close was that battery -- what elevation or location was
13 that mortar battery located on in July 1 of 1995?
14 A. Where it was located I don't know, but as far as I know they
15 didn't change their positions throughout. At the beginning of the war,
16 they were sent to that location, and they stayed there until the end of
17 the war. And I think that was from the rear of the brigade command, at
18 the outskirts of town. They weren't up at the elevation, but behind the
19 hill, or rather at the foot of the hill.
20 Q. And did your battalion have any artillery?
21 A. The whole artillery just had that mortar battery, as far as I
22 know. I think at an elevation there was a ZIS weapon, a ZIS. First of
23 all, there was a recoilless gun which exploded and there was some dead,
24 casualties, on our side. And after that, just one ZIS, I believe, as far
25 as I know.
1 Q. Can you tell us what a ZIS is.
2 A. As far as I know, I think it's a 120-millimetre cannon, something
3 like that.
4 Q. And where was it located in early July?
5 A. It was located behind the lines of the 2nd Company of my
7 Q. And did it fire at all on the early days of July leading up to the
8 attack and the attack on Srebrenica?
9 A. I really can't say. I can't say yes or no. I just don't know. I
10 think -- I do not think it fired. I don't remember hearing any gunfire or
11 explosions, which of course does not exclude the possibility. So I can't
12 say yes or no.
13 Q. Okay. And you've told us that on the 12th that both on the night
14 of the 11th and the morning of the 12th, you got orders to go down towards
15 Potocari. Right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And that you went down through the woods and you went into the
18 Potocari area amongst the crowd of Muslims. Is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did you think you were violating your orders by going in amongst
21 the crowd?
22 A. The order was not very clear on this. It was quite vague. So
23 most probably I did overstep the limits of my task, but the instructions
24 were not complete. Had they been, they would have mentioned the line I
25 was to stay at. The instructions or the order was imprecise in this
1 respect, so I may have erred. If it's anyone's fault, it's mine.
2 Q. Okay. And you told us that you and your men were interested in
3 seeing the Muslims, to greet old friends, meet and greet old friends. Is
4 that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Is that your testimony today?
7 A. Why not? That's the kind of people we are. One day we fight and
8 the next day we live together normally. We've been warring for centuries.
9 It's nothing to us. A friend is a friend. But when we have rifles in our
10 hands, that's different, but we're not angry at each other. I have
11 members of my family who have been killed, my brother among them, but I'm
12 not angry. That was the way things were.
13 Q. Well, there was a lot of members of your battalion that had
14 friends and family killed by the enemy, wasn't there?
15 A. Yes. I have over 20 members of my family who were killed, my
16 extended family and also my closer family.
17 Q. And many of those men might not be so good-hearted as you and
18 might actually carry a grudge, wouldn't they?
19 A. In my unit, there was hardly anyone who had not had people killed
20 in their families. But everybody wanted this to be over. They all wanted
21 to go home. They all understood that the other side was in the same
22 situation we were in, so no, we did not have grudges. We were angry at
23 our leaders more than anything else.
24 Q. You can speak for all your 58 soldiers; there wasn't an angry one
25 among them?
1 A. I guarantee that.
2 Q. Wasn't it a commander's duty to know that his troops might get out
3 of hand when faced with the enemy or the family of the enemy?
4 A. I know that, but I also know that I had authority over my men.
5 They respected me and they didn't dare do anything that I did not allow
6 them to. That's why I can guarantee for every one of my men then, and at
7 any other time.
8 Q. Well, that's very honourable that you speak to highly of your men,
9 but you're sure you can get into each one of their hearts and minds and
10 tell us whether or not they were angry? You're sure about that?
11 A. They were with me for three years. I know them well. I know how
12 they tick. I know whether they had any problems. They were like family
13 to me.
14 Q. Did you see any military-age Muslims in the crowd you were amongst
15 for that hour period that you spoke of?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. How many, roughly?
18 A. It was a huge crowd of people, men, women, and children, all in
19 civilian clothes, ranging in age from 2 to 70 or 80. It was a mixed
20 crowd, but none of them were in uniform -- or at least I didn't see anyone
21 in uniform.
22 Q. But they could have been hiding weapons under their shirt or in
23 their pants, couldn't they?
24 A. Yes, but in the woods we found lots and lots of weapons,
25 especially on the way back from Zvornik. We didn't find any soldiers, but
1 we found lots of weapons.
2 Q. Did you report that to your superiors or to anyone that they were
3 able-bodied Muslim men amongst the crowd where you were?
4 A. No. Nobody asked me about that. It wasn't my task.
5 Q. Was there any buses or trucks there in Potocari amongst the crowd
6 when you were there?
7 A. Yes, on the road as far as I was able to see, but I didn't look to
8 see how many or what kind of buses or trucks they were, what was written
9 on them.
10 Q. And did you see other people in camouflage uniforms, aside from
11 your own soldiers, in the crowd and around the crowd?
12 A. There were only our units there. I saw I think it was some sort
13 of police unit going towards Milacevici where the general said they should
14 go. I think they were in uniforms that were either black or dark blue,
15 navy blue. I can't be sure.
16 Q. When you say "there were only our units there," are you talking
17 about other Bratunac Brigade units than your company?
18 A. No, I'm referring to the Army of Republika Srpska. They were not
19 from our brigade.
20 Q. So there were other units from the Army of Republika Srpska in
21 Potocari when you were?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. Roughly how many did you see?
24 A. It's hard to say among that crowd. It may have been 50 or 100.
25 This unit I mentioned I think was between 30 and 50 men. They were going
1 on towards Gornji Potocari. I think between 30 and 50 men, but they kept
2 moving around.
3 Q. Did you see Muslim men of military age, able-bodied men, separated
4 from their families in Potocari that day?
5 A. No. We were at the entrance to Potocari or in front of this
6 factory where they gathered together. And all the people were there. I
7 didn't see that being done. People were milling around.
8 Q. Did you see any Muslims get hit or kicked or shot?
9 A. I'm certain no one was hit. Throughout this time that I was
10 there, I never heard any shots, and I believe that nobody fired any shots,
11 because there was no fighting going on.
12 Q. Well, there was many dead bodies in Potocari on those days from
13 Muslim men. The Court has seen photographs of some of them, we've heard
14 about the Serb sanitation people that picked up several, we've heard from
15 witnesses that have testified about bodies around Potocari. You
16 never -- you have no idea how those people died?
17 A. No. I have no idea. I don't know. I didn't hear about that. I
18 wasn't interested, and I didn't want to see or know things I wasn't
19 interested in.
20 Q. Isn't it your duty to be interested in protecting soldiers, be
21 they prisoners of war or civilians?
22 A. Had I taken them prisoner and had they been in my care, they
23 certainly would have been protected. These were others and we could do
24 nothing about that. I probably made a mistake in going down there.
25 Someone might hold it against me, but it happened. As for what you say,
1 during this time while I was there and on my way back, I did not see any
2 dead people. I just saw women, children standing by the roadside, sitting
3 down. I'm sure I didn't see anyone killed.
4 Q. If you saw other soldiers abusing a civilian in front of you,
5 beating them, would you feel it your duty to do anything about that?
6 A. Would it have been my duty? It's everybody's duty to protect
7 them, so it would have been my duty, too. But the units working on that
8 terrain were superior to us. I did not have the right, nor would it ever
9 occur to me to interfere with what they were doing. However, had I seen
10 something like, I couldn't have kept quiet. I don't know what I would
11 have done. It is not wise to oppose units like those.
12 Q. If an officer is present, a senior officer is present, at a scene
13 where people are abused openly and that officer does nothing to stop that,
14 what, if anything, is he communicating to his troops who are there and who
15 see this?
16 A. If I were with a unit and if I had done this, that would have been
17 a signal to my soldiers that they can do that, too. But no honourable
18 officer would allow that. Most of our officers were honourable men.
19 There were both kinds in this war. That's how it was. I would not have
20 allowed it.
21 Q. Okay. So if you're present and civilians are being abused and you
22 do nothing about it in front of your troops, that would be a signal to
23 your troops that it was okay. Is that what you're saying?
24 A. In my view, yes.
25 Q. Now, that signal to your troops that it's okay to beat somebody,
1 that would be encouraging those troops to beat people, wouldn't it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So by the very fact of a commander knowing that there's abuse
4 going on, when he communicates that lack of any conduct to his troops,
5 that is encouraging those troops to carry on that conduct. Correct?
6 A. In the order of things, that's how it would appear. But in those
7 situations, everybody had something of their own. Neither of my two
8 commanders could have made me commit an atrocity. Everybody has within
9 them a human side and a wild side. Anyone can become a murderer under
10 certain circumstances, but I would not have permitted that. Maybe it's
11 not for me to say this, but as far as I know our brigade commander, he was
12 there briefly. But I think he is a person who would not have allowed
13 this. You have to be born like that in order to do that. Maybe it's not
14 for me to say, but I've taken the liberty of expressing my opinion.
15 Q. But if your brigade commander disappointed you and, in fact, was
16 aware that people --
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Objection, objection, objection. There is no
18 evidence that Mr. Blagojevic was there in Potocari during those days, that
19 he witnessed or that he encouraged or that he participated --
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm not suggesting that he was in Potocari. He
21 didn't let me ask the question --
22 MR. KARNAVAS: I totally object to this line of questioning, Your
23 Honour. It's totally irrelevant; it has nothing to do with this case.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, there should be no arguments between the parties
25 in front of the Judges at this stage.
1 Mr. Karnavas, I believe that Mr. McCloskey is talking about a
2 general situation, not particular in that location.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, he began by this hypothetical; I
4 don't have a problem with that because I think that's in the evidence.
5 But now when he starts saying Blagojevic disappointed him, based on his
6 hypothetical, I can only assume that he's talking about Potocari. Now, if
7 he's got proof, he should lay it out on the table and say: Here we have
8 Blagojevic mistreating Muslims in front of his men, giving the green light
9 to the men. Or here is Blagojevic that sees that his officers are
10 mistreating Muslims, he's giving them a green light. Where is the
11 evidence? We don't have any. So I do object to that line of questioning.
12 I think it goes way too far and it's off-limits.
13 JUDGE LIU: I don't think so, Mr. Karnavas. I think this is the
14 natural course of all the hypothetical questions that we have arrived at
15 this point. But your objection is there and we will consider it.
16 You may proceed.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes.
18 Q. And to clarify, Witness, I was not suggesting that Mr. Blagojevic
19 was in Potocari. I'm asking generally if your commander disappointed you
20 and in fact was aware that General Mladic or someone else had decided to
21 kill hundreds and hundreds of prisoners. And his troops -- or that his
22 officers knew that he knew this and he did nothing about it for several
23 days, would that be a signal to his troops to carry that out, like you
24 just said?
25 A. You're leading me to a conclusion, but I can tell you that as far
1 as I can recall and as far as I believe, the Bratunac Brigade was there,
2 but it was to keep out of the way while others were doing their job. And
3 probably Colonel Blagojevic kept as far away as he could from Mladic and
4 those people. We could only have hindered them. We had to get out of the
5 way, and that was the best thing to do. Mr. Blagojevic was not in charge.
6 He could only have fared worse with Mladic. He was -- our people were
7 nothing there. All we -- they had to do was keep out of the way. Whoever
8 did -- whoever acted differently made a mistake.
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, you did not answer the question put to
10 you by the Prosecution. It is a hypothetical question.
11 You may repeat your question, Mr. McCloskey.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. My question is that: If your commander, at this time Blagojevic,
14 was aware of a plan to murder thousands of people and his troops were
15 involved in separating, guarding, transporting these people, and he never
16 did anything to communicate to his troops that this was wrong, would that
17 very fact that he didn't do anything and allowed his troops to work on
18 this plan, would that be encouraging his troops to carry out the plan,
19 just like the little hypothetical I gave you earlier? A commander that
20 allows abuse to happen in front of him is signalling his men that it's
22 A. I've already answered this question once. As far as it refers to
23 me, a company commander, or the colonel of any other unit or any officer,
24 if he does not draw his mens' attention to this, if he does not forbid
25 them to do that, he is not acting well. If Mr. Blagojevic did this, it's
1 not a good thing, but I abide by what I said. I believe that
2 Mr. Blagojevic did not know what was going on. The only person who knew
3 that - I didn't see him in Potocari - but it was Mr. Nikolic. He was
4 perhaps the only person from our brigade who could decide whether certain
5 things should be done. He had his own superior, but it was certainly not
6 Mr. Blagojevic who issued orders to Nikolic. All the other people from
7 our brigade knew little about this.
8 Q. Going back to my question: Would an officer that did this, what
9 you call a bad thing, would that be a signal to his troops that it was
11 A. I've already said, yes.
12 Q. And that is just as applicable for a colonel in charge of a
13 brigade as it is for a brigade commander in charge of a company?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. This is a fundamental principle of military command, isn't it?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, I think you told us on direct that your battalion commander
18 was -- you initially had told the OTP in your December 2001 interview that
19 your battalion commander Zoran Jovanovic was present in Potocari?
20 A. Reading this statement - I received it recently, it was promised
21 earlier - I see that it's in there. As far as I can recall, however, I
22 only said that the order I received came from Zoran, originated from
23 Zoran, because he was the only one who could have issued it to me. And I
24 said - and I abide by this now - that I received the order by courier.
25 Q. Okay. Well, I'm not talking exactly about the order. I'm saying
1 do you remember your interview in Banja Luka?
2 A. For the most part, yes.
3 Q. Didn't you clearly tell the investigator that you saw your
4 commander personally in Potocari on the 12th of July?
5 A. Perhaps, I can't be sure, but a long time has elapsed, and now
6 that I've seen the transcript of my interview in Banja Luka I see there
7 are certain things in there that I think I said differently. And I may
8 have made some mistakes, because one recalls things, things surface in the
9 memory. I might recall other things in a year or two. But I'm sure now
10 that I did not see Mr. Zoran Jovanovic in Potocari.
11 Q. Okay. Well, I can read this back to you, but if I don't have to,
12 I won't. Can you tell this Court: Did you or did you not tell us in
13 Banja Luka that you saw your commander in Potocari? I'm talking about
14 Zoran Jovanovic.
15 A. It's possible that I said this in Banja Luka, but I think it was a
16 misunderstanding. I am asserting now -- I know it says that here. I've
17 seen it. I would like to hear the recording -- I'm not denying that I
18 said that, but now having thought about it, I am sure I did not see him
19 personally, that I received the order by courier.
20 Q. Okay. So you acknowledge you clearly said that in Banja Luka.
21 Now, did you have a chance to talk to Zoran Jovanovic after
22 telling us that he was in Potocari on the 12th?
23 A. You mean since then, to date? Or in Potocari? What time period
24 are you referring to?
25 Q. I'm sorry. I meant after speaking to us in Banja Luka and telling
1 us that your -- you saw your commander in Potocari, did you happen to go
2 see Jovanovic and tell him: By the way, I just spoke to the investigators
3 and I told them the story and I told them you were in Potocari?
4 A. No. We are friends. We see each other every day. We never
5 discussed it. A person doesn't have to know everything. I talked to my
6 neighbour who was the courier, and he reminded me that he had brought this
7 order to me. A person sometimes forgets certain things.
8 Q. Okay. Now, today you've testified that you stayed in Potocari for
9 an hour or so and then you were told to go to an area a short distance
10 from Potocari. I think you told the Prosecutor that was about 500 metres,
11 something like that, in Banja Luka. Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Okay. And now you've testified today that you and your unit
14 stayed in that area about 500 metres from the Potocari gathering for the
15 rest of the day on the 12th of July, all day the 13th of July, all day the
16 14th of July, and in the morning of the 15th of July you shipped out to
17 Zvornik. Right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So what were you doing on the 12th after you left Potocari, the
20 13th, and the 14th with you and your men?
21 A. After we got back to the line, we stayed there the whole night.
22 In the morning, as everything was already over, half the men went to have
23 a rest; half remained, and I remained with them. The same happened the
24 next day, and then we went to Zvornik. Because simply, we were the only
25 unit on the left flank that stayed there; the others had moved on. We
1 didn't have any tasks. The time before going to Zvornik was simply a time
2 of rest for us.
3 Q. So during those days, the 12th, the 13th, the 14th, you were just
4 sitting around resting?
5 A. Yes, that was so throughout the war, you just sat and waited.
6 Half the unit, and the other half was home. So it was just sitting and
8 Q. People were doing a lot of work on the 12th and the 13th in
9 Potocari, weren't they? There was a lot of soldiers working to secure
10 that population and organise those buses and move those people out on
11 those buses and take care of themselves, take care of people. There was a
12 lot of work going on in Potocari 500 metres from where you guys were
13 sitting around resting, wasn't there?
14 A. Well, that's not a big distance if you're on level ground, but
15 this was all concealed from the view of the road. There were activities
16 going on, but I don't know what was happening. Everybody had their own
17 task to carry out, and I can't say anything about the tasks of other
19 Q. Okay. And just to clarify, your map was a little unclear on the
20 point of where you actually or where you were amongst the people. When
21 you were in Potocari amongst the people, you were actually on that asphalt
22 road between Bratunac and Srebrenica. Right?
23 A. We did go out amongst the people, but it's a rural area, or
24 rather, Pecista was the place. And Potocari is the centre; it's on the
25 asphalt road. But you have Potocari on both sides of the road, and
1 Pecista is a village but following on from Potocari. So I went down the
2 slope, down the mountain, to the village of Pecista on to the road. But
3 as far as I am concerned, it's all Potocari to me. So not only on the
4 asphalt road, but underneath Pecista and the route we traversed. There
5 were people on that road all the time, in the courtyards, in the yards of
6 houses, and all around.
7 Q. I just want to make it clear that you were actually on that road
8 amongst the people for a while, that asphalt road, that main road?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And while Potocari is a little village kind of off the road and
11 Pecista is a little village off the road, this area where the Dutch
12 compound was and where these factories were, that's what everybody just
13 calls Potocari. Right?
14 A. Well, where the DutchBat was, that is the entrance to Potocari.
15 Actually, it's not Potocari proper. From that factory onwards, on the
16 road, you have Potocari left and right, whereas Pecista is to the left and
17 a little higher up from Potocari. But it's all Potocari, generally
18 speaking, the factories themselves in Potocari and the road to Srebrenica
19 for a kilometre and a half is Potocari, too. So it's a valley, and
20 Potocari is on the left and on the right, villages both sides of the road,
21 Budak, Gornji Potocari, all of that.
22 Q. Okay. Thanks. Thank you. I just wanted to clarify that.
23 Did you have a chance to see the video of your interview, during
24 your interview in Banja Luka? I can't remember.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I'm just going to show this to you just briefly again and ask you
2 a couple of questions. But let's start off with just a still shot if we
4 [Videotape played]
5 MR. McCLOSKEY:
6 Q. Can you see that okay?
7 A. Yes, yes.
8 Q. Now, the person in sort of the brown T-shirt with a bit of a
9 beard, is that a journalist? Is that the guy asking you questions?
10 A. Yes, it is. And he's holding a microphone, so it's a television
12 Q. Right. So there's a camera behind him. Okay. How about the guy
13 behind you that we can see with the dark hair, the guy that's over your
14 right shoulder, who's that?
15 A. I don't know. I don't know the man.
16 Q. He's not from your unit?
17 A. No, no. If he were from my unit, my soldier, I would know him.
18 Even if he were from the battalion I would know him.
19 Q. Do you know Lieutenant Colonel Svetozar Kosoric? He's got some
20 glasses --
21 A. No.
22 Q. So this guy over your left shoulder, we see him from his nose up.
23 If you can take a look at it. We'll play the video and maybe we can
24 freeze it when more of his face shows up.
25 A. You can't see anything here.
1 Q. Okay. Well, just watch it. This is not a big thing. I just want
2 you to watch this.
3 [Videotape played]
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now, the one with the moustache and
5 the bald one?
6 MR. McCLOSKEY:
7 Q. Right. He's Colonel Svetozar Kosoric --
8 A. I never met the man.
9 Q. Did you know that there was a chief of intelligence for the Drina
10 Corps by that name?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Okay. Let's just play it.
13 [Videotape played]
14 MR. McCLOSKEY:
15 Q. Do you know any of those people on the screen?
16 A. I know Rade Micic, he's the one in the T-shirt. He was in the
17 demining squad in our battalion, so the one in the black vest, Micic.
18 Q. How about the other guys? Do you know who they are?
19 A. No.
20 Q. We can see buses around. Were there a lot of buses around you at
21 that time?
22 A. I can see the bus now, but had somebody asked me whether there was
23 a bus behind somewhere, I would have said no. So as you can see, I wasn't
24 really aware of them. There were buses, I suppose, but I thought they
25 were further away. Now I see that it's behind my back, and had you asked
1 me yesterday, I would have said no, there wasn't a bus.
2 Q. Okay. Why don't we keep playing.
3 [Videotape played]
4 MR. McCLOSKEY:
5 Q. Now, when you gave that interview to the press, you knew it could
6 be videoed, did you think you were doing anything wrong by being in
7 Potocari at that time?
8 A. I didn't think about it that way.
9 Q. Okay. Now, do you remember what you told the Office of the
10 Prosecutor about how long you stayed in the Bratunac area after Potocari?
11 A. I can't say exactly. That would be going too far. Now, as we
12 didn't know the time and time didn't mean much, we went -- well, let's
13 take it in chronological order. I remember things that meant something.
14 Now, all the rest of it along the way, the minor events, I really can't
16 Q. Well, do you recall telling the Office of the Prosecutor that you
17 spent one night, the night of the 12th, in that location near Potocari,
18 and the morning of the 13th you got on a bus and went to Zvornik?
19 A. Yes, that's what I thought at the time, but having given it more
20 thought later on -- well, that's why I say when we spoke and when I said
21 "Zvornik," I didn't give dates because I emphasised that dates and days
22 didn't mean anything to me. Because three years on, that period -- what
23 are days for that entire period? You forget in the hope of getting
24 through the days as quickly as possible. So it was just certain points in
25 time, certain moments, assignments, things like that I remember; whereas,
1 while you're lying down and are basically bored, you don't remember that.
2 So I didn't agree, and I can't say now the 15th -- well, we just said that
3 because there was the attack in Baljkovica, but otherwise -- and it's
4 true, I was given an assignment, I went on assignment, and it was Zvornik
5 between Potocari, the arrival at that line and all that, there was nothing
6 in between.
7 Q. You don't need to go into Baljkovica. I just wanted to confirm
8 what you told us in Banja Luka.
9 And when you spoke to us in Banja Luka and you said that you'd
10 just spent one night there in Potocari and then left the next day, did you
11 know at that time when you were talking to us in Banja Luka that a lot of
12 bad things had allegedly happened the night of the 12th and on the day of
13 the 13th in Potocari?
14 A. Well, I didn't learn for a long time what happened, because I
15 wasn't in the area for a long time.
16 Q. It's a simple question. When you spoke to us that day and gave
17 that answer about only spending one day in Potocari, did you at that
18 time -- had you heard about all the alleged bad things that had happened
19 on the 12th and the 13th in Potocari? It's a simple question.
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: I don't have any more questions, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE LIU: Any re-direct?
23 MR. KARNAVAS: I think I have a couple of questions.
24 Re-examined by Mr. Karnavas:
25 Q. First of all, sir, I just want to clarify one point. When you
1 said that you left Potocari on the 12th, where you took your new orders to
2 position yourself, you said you were 500 metres away from Potocari. And I
3 just want to be clear: Which way would you have gone, up towards the
4 mountain, towards Bratunac, towards Srebrenica? Where were you located?
5 A. Looking at it from Bratunac towards Srebrenica, it's the left-hand
6 side, underneath the mountain. It's indicated on the map. It's the
7 left-hand side or south, south-looking.
8 Q. That would be where the woods are?
9 A. The edge of the woods.
10 Q. Okay. Now, I want to show you a document that has come in; it's
11 P490, if you could look at this. Now, do you recognise it, sir, or do you
12 know what it is by looking at it?
13 A. I don't recognise this document. I've never had it -- I've never
14 had the opportunity of seeing it before.
15 Q. Okay. If you look at the top, we see it's dated 15 July 1995. Do
16 you see that?
17 A. Yes, the 15th of July.
18 Q. [Previous translation continues]... that report. Right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And would this not be a daily combat report from the
21 Bratunac Brigade to the Drina Corps?
22 A. I don't see at the bottom what it says. Now, whether it is the
23 proper signature or not, I can't say.
24 Q. All right. When you look at the top it says: "Daily combat
25 report," and then it should say: "To command of the Drina Corps." Does
1 it not state that?
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: This is beyond the scope. We're not challenging
5 when he went to Zvornik either, if that's the misconception.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, we haven't heard the question put by Defence
8 But, Mr. Karnavas, I have to remind you that your questions should
9 be within the scope of the cross-examination.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank -- Your Honour, I can assure you, there's no
11 need for you to remind me, but I do appreciate that. I can always use the
12 guidance, but in this instance, in this instance, I assumed that there was
13 some sort of an implication that the gentleman was fabricating, and I want
14 to show him that there is a daily combat report here. And then my
15 follow-up question was going to be whether he was aware that daily combat
16 reports were being filed and sent off.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think the witness has already answered that
18 question. He's never seen this document. He doesn't know of the
19 existence of this document.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I understand.
21 JUDGE LIU: Which is understandable. Which is understandable.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may ask just two questions, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
24 MR. KARNAVAS:
25 Q. Were you aware, sir, whether the Bratunac Brigade was sending
1 daily command reports to the Drina Corps? Were you aware of that
3 A. No, I was not.
4 Q. Okay. All right. Then I won't ask any questions on that.
5 How well do you know Colonel Blagojevic?
6 A. I know him since his arrival in the brigade, or rather, mine and
7 until now. But I think I have had the opportunity of getting to know him
8 fairly well as a human being, as an individual.
9 Q. Did you know him growing up?
10 A. No.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I have no further questions. Thank you.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
13 Well -- yes.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Sorry. I'm reminded just for the record that that
15 video we showed was P89, for just -- so there's proper reference.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
17 Well, at this stage are there any documents to tender?
18 Mr. Karnavas?
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President, we do have just one document.
20 That would be D142, the map that we displayed.
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
22 Any objections?
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: No, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
25 This document is admitted into the evidence.
1 On the part of the Prosecution, are there any documents to tender?
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: No, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Thank you very much.
4 Well, Witness, thank you very much for coming to The Hague to give
5 your evidence. The usher will show you out of the room, and we wish you a
6 pleasant journey back home. You may leave now.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, are you ready for the next witness?
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I am, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE LIU: Are there any protective measures?
12 MR. KARNAVAS: There are none.
13 JUDGE LIU: I heard there is a change of the order of the
14 witnesses according to your original list.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes. I became aware of that myself, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I understand the technical -- that there was a
18 technical problem. I bear full responsibility for that, so it won't
19 happen again.
20 JUDGE LIU: Can you -- since the next witness has no protective
21 measures, could you please inform us about his name.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Oh, yes.
23 JUDGE LIU: So that during the break we may find the right
24 materials and the right people.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes. Again, I apologise, Your Honours. His name
1 is Radika Petrovic.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you -- yes.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just to clarify. If -- and if we need private
4 session, that's fine. Who's after him and who's the next one, just so we
5 can get ready for that.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Because I was a little confused on that, and
8 proofing notes and exhibits are getting a little late, and I know what
9 it's like to be in that position. But it would, of course, be helpful.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, first of all, they haven't arrived yet.
11 They're arriving shortly. We do have three, and I know that Mr. Zekic is
12 going to be last. Of the other two, the names escape me right now and I
13 have -- but if I could answer that question right after we come from the
14 break so I can look at -- just to make sure in my mind. Because I'm also
15 keeping in mind the time that we have, because I would like to get all
16 three of them done by Friday.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, that is a heavy workload.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, I agree, but I was under the impression that
19 I was being encouraged, shall we say, to move at a rapid clip.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes. So you prefer that we have a break right now?
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Yeah, for other reasons.
22 JUDGE LIU: There are only 10 minutes left for this sitting.
23 Yes, we'll resume at 20 past 12.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 11.51 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 12.21 p.m.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas, are you ready to tell us the order
2 of the witness list for this week? If you need, we could go into private
4 MR. KARNAVAS: No, Mr. President. We -- the next person is
5 Mr. Petrovic, Radika, who was the commander of the 4th Battalion of the
6 Bratunac Brigade. Then we will have Zoran Cvjetinovic of the 2nd Company,
7 2nd Battalion. Then we have Mr. Mladin Vuksic, who was a simple soldier.
8 And then we have Mr. Dragan Zekic, who was the commander of the
9 3rd Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade. And I was told that perhaps if
10 necessary there was courtroom space available in the afternoons. I'm not
11 suggesting, not suggesting, but I was told that there was availability of
12 courtrooms. So we'll see how we get along with this fellow here,
13 Mr. Petrovic, I expect two sessions, both for direct and cross, although I
14 don't know what the Prosecution might want to do. The other two witnesses
15 I suspect are going to be relatively short. Mr. Zekic, I would suspect to
16 take about four sessions all together.
17 JUDGE LIU: And are they there?
18 MR. KARNAVAS: They are arriving today.
19 JUDGE LIU: You mean all of them?
20 MR. KARNAVAS: All three of them are arriving today because the
21 flight patterns -- well, the patterns haven't changed but the flight
22 schedule has changed from Belgrade to Amsterdam. So we have fewer
23 flights, and of course, there's some other logistical nightmares that keep
24 popping up every day with new policies in the RS. But they're going to be
25 arriving this afternoon.
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes. As for the extra sitting, we'll look into the
2 possibilities for that.
3 And could we have the witness, please.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, Witness.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
7 JUDGE LIU: Would you please make the solemn declaration.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: RADIKA PETROVIC
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
16 Examined by Mr. Karnavas:
17 Q. I guess it's good afternoon, sir.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 Q. Could you please tell us what your name is.
20 A. My name is Radika Petrovic.
21 Q. And could you please tell us your last name letter by letter.
22 A. P-e-t-r-o-v-i-c.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. Could you please tell us where you're
25 A. I'm from Zelinje, Zvornik municipality.
1 Q. And could you please tell us a little bit about your educational
2 background. Where did you go to school, how far did you go, what kind of
3 schooling did you have.
4 A. I went to primary school in Drinjaca, the secondary vocational
5 machine technology school in Belgrade.
6 Q. All right. And prior to the war, could you please tell us what
7 your work experience was.
8 A. I worked for ten years in Partizanski Put , the Belgrade company,
9 travelling around in the field. And after 1985, I moved to the company of
10 Sperploca Jadar Zvornik and I worked there until the beginning of the war.
11 Q. And what do you do today, sir?
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat his answer.
13 MR. KARNAVAS:
14 Q. Could you please tell us again what you do today. Where are you
15 working today, sir?
16 A. I work in the republican administration for customs and tariffs.
17 Q. All right. And what is your position there? Do you have a title?
18 A. I am head of the customs department.
19 Q. All right. Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. If you could please tell us
20 about your military experience or your background, did you do your
21 military service with the JNA?
22 A. Yes, I did do my military service for seven months in Tuzla -- or
23 was it eight months? Anyway, afterwards I went to Mostar.
24 Q. All right. Did you attend any schooling while you were there?
25 A. Yes. In Tuzla, I completed the school for reserve officers.
1 Q. Did you hold a rank prior to the commencement of the mobilisation
2 process in 1992?
3 A. I was a captain by rank, reserve captain.
4 Q. All right. So in the All People's Defence, that's what your rank
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, in 1992, were you mobilised?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Could you please tell us where you were mobilised.
10 A. I was mobilised to Zvornik on the 6th of April, 1992.
11 Q. All right. Now, was that a brigade at the time or was that a TO,
12 the Territorial Defence?
13 A. It wasn't a brigade, it was the Territorial Defence.
14 Q. And could you please tell us when you were mobilised what
15 position, if any, did you hold?
16 A. I had the rank of komandir of the Zelinska Company.
17 Q. Could you please tell us how large was this company.
18 A. About 60 mobilised men.
19 Q. Okay. Now, at some point we know that the Zvornik Brigade came
20 into existence. Could you please tell us what you did from the time that
21 you were mobilised until the time the Zvornik Brigade was formed.
22 A. With the company, and they were the locals of the village of
23 Zelinje, they would just belong to that company. We were in Zelinje, we
24 would expect an attack, but the attack never came about. Nobody ever
25 attacked us, until the end of the war. Zelinje was not attacked ever
1 during the war.
2 Q. Would you please tell us what your location was.
3 A. In Zelinje.
4 Q. All right. Now, once the Zvornik Brigade was formed, what was
5 your position then?
6 A. All the companies who were there around Drinjaca belonged to the
7 2nd Battalion, the Drinjacki 2nd Battalion, the Zelinje, Ljesa [phoen],
8 Djevanje [phoen] companies, and Drinjaca company.
9 Q. All right. And where did you -- in which battalion or company
10 were you serving in?
11 A. I was the komandir of the Zelinje company, and the 2nd Infantry
12 Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade. And its location was in Drinjaca.
13 Q. All right. Now, were those the same men that you had in your
14 company that were serving with you when it was a Territorial Defence?
15 A. Yes, the same.
16 Q. Now, I want to fastforward to 1995, to July 1995 in particular.
17 Could you please tell us what your position was at that point in time with
18 the Zvornik Brigade.
19 A. In July 1995 I found myself at the defence line of the
20 Bratunac Brigade. I belonged to the Zvornik Brigade; however, we held the
21 territory in the Bratunac Brigade.
22 Q. All right. So in other words your brigade was attached to the
23 Bratunac Brigade, your battalion?
24 A. If we can call the number of men I had a battalion, yes, we did
25 perform work in the Bratunac Brigade. But we were in the rear towards the
1 Zvornik Brigade.
2 Q. All right. Now, what battalion was this battalion when it was
3 part of the Zvornik Brigade?
4 A. In Zvornik we were called the 8th Infantry Battalion.
5 Q. And when you were attached to the Bratunac Brigade, what battalion
6 did that become?
7 A. We remained the 8th Zvornik Brigade, and the name of 4th Battalion
8 of the Bratunac Brigade was added on to us.
9 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us how many men were in
10 this battalion.
11 A. The battalion numbered 218 military recruits, conscripts.
12 Q. Okay. And how many would be available to be on the lines at any
13 given time?
14 A. With the -- up at the line, there were never more than 80 men.
15 Q. All right. How many companies were in or within the
16 4th Battalion?
17 A. Two companies.
18 Q. And so each company would have approximately 40. Is that -- would
19 that be correct, serving at any given time on the line?
20 A. Yes, roughly. Up at the defence line of the Bratunac Brigade and
21 our duty was supply -- to supply men towards Pjenovac and we had
22 responsibilities towards the Zvornik Brigade.
23 Q. Now, when the 8th Battalion of the Bratunac -- of the
24 Zvornik Brigade became attached to the Bratunac Brigade as the
25 4th Battalion, did it move its position?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. Where did it move its position to?
3 A. From Drinjaca we moved to the defence line at elevation 555 to the
4 left, to elevation 561 at the right underneath Ravni Buljim.
5 Q. Could you please tell us at what time, at what date, did the
6 8th Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade become attached to the
7 Bratunac Brigade as the 4th Battalion.
8 A. The 22nd of September, 1993.
9 Q. Okay. Now, from the 22nd of September, 1993, until July, say,
10 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th, 1995, did your lines change, your position, did it
12 A. No, no.
13 Q. All right. Now, if I could show you what has been marked for
14 identification purposes as D138. You could look at this. Believe it or
15 not, that's the only copy that we have, so you're going to have to work
16 off that one.
17 Could you please show us, and you'll have to, when you point, sir,
18 you'll have to turn and point on the projector. If you could just show us
19 where your line was located from September 22nd, 1993, until July 1995.
20 A. It was by elevation 555 to elevation 651. 555, 651.
21 Q. Okay. Hold it because we're trying to -- we may have to move it
22 up a little bit. Where is 555? Could you point that out to us.
23 A. Here it is.
24 Q. Okay. So -- okay. Now, from 555, where was your line located?
25 A. The line was located going from 555 to 651.
1 Q. All right. Now -- and both companies would be from -- between
2 those two points?
3 A. Yes. The first company held the line from feature 651, eight
4 trenches moving towards feature 555. And then 1 kilometre was not
5 covered, going through a creek and meadow. And the second one was from
6 555, seven trenches.
7 Q. Okay. So -- and between the 1st and the 2nd Company, there was a
8 kilometre, I understand it, that was not covered?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, in each trench, how many soldiers were in there?
11 A. At the most, five soldiers in each.
12 Q. How many trenches were in the 1st Company?
13 A. The 1st Company had eight trenches.
14 Q. And how many trenches did the 2nd Company have?
15 A. The 2nd Company had seven trenches.
16 Q. Could you please tell us where your command post was located.
17 A. Yes. It was here.
18 Q. Okay. And does it have a name? Does that location that's
19 slightly north, north-east, of 555, does it have a name?
20 A. It was in Kajici, 1 and a half to 2 kilometres away from the
21 asphalt road moving towards feature 555.
22 Q. Well, if we look on this map, sir, and we look further up north,
23 slightly north-west, we see Kajici there, do we not?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. All right. And you've indicated that further down, sort of south,
1 south-east, is where your headquarters were located. And you also
2 indicated that that area was called Kajici.
3 A. At the beginning when we arrived, the command post was at Kajici
4 by the asphalt road. In the first half of 1994, pursuant to orders from
5 the brigade commander, Pandurevic, I had to relocate towards the line. At
6 his request, this was supposed to be exactly between the 1st and
7 2nd Company in the interim space there, because as there was no building
8 there or any facility we could put up in, I located 2 to 3 kilometres from
9 asphalt in the last house towards the line on the right-hand side. It was
10 a burnt-down house. We renovated it a bit, and that's where we were
11 accommodated. And the kitchen remained asphalt because we didn't have any
12 water. So there were two cooks down there and stablemen taking food up to
13 the line.
14 Q. All right. Well, first of all if I could get you to mark on the
15 map itself where the headquarters would be. We're going to give you a
16 pen, I want you to -- so we can have a -- if you can just write on it.
17 A. [Witness complies]
18 Q. Okay. That's a circle. Do you want to put IKM? Is that how you
19 would reflect it to be the headquarters.
20 A. [Witness complies]
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. That was the forward command -- that was the command. There was
23 no forward command post, because I was there all the time.
24 Q. Okay. Now, where were the cooks? You indicated that there were a
25 couple of cooks and that they would cook the food and bring it up to the
2 A. [Witness complies]
3 Q. All right. And so for the record this -- the gentleman marked it
4 with a dot further up north, right by Kajici.
5 All right. Now, what was the distance between where those cooks
6 were located and your headquarters?
7 A. 3 kilometres.
8 Q. And how would you get there?
9 A. We had a van.
10 Q. Okay. And the van would take you all the way from the road where
11 the cooks were all the way to your headquarters?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. All right. Now, what kind of means of communications did you
15 A. With Bratunac and Zvornik, we had a telephone line. Cables laid
16 down beside the asphalt road to Bratunac, and then from Bratunac on there
17 was a telephone line to Zvornik. We did not have radio communications,
18 either with Bratunac or with Zvornik.
19 Q. All right. So you didn't have a Motorola?
20 A. No. No.
21 Q. How far were you from the Bratunac Brigade headquarters?
22 A. About 12 kilometres.
23 Q. And how far were you from the Zvornik Brigade headquarters?
24 A. About 35 kilometres.
25 Q. Now, once you became attached to the Bratunac Brigade, who
1 assigned the men, you know, their rotation? How many would come up, when
2 and so forth?
3 A. It was assigned by the command of the Zvornik Brigade.
4 Q. And who would provide the materiel assistance necessary for you
5 and your men to function up there, be it food, clothing, transportation?
6 A. We received all this from the Zvornik Brigade.
7 Q. Did the Bratunac Brigade provide anything?
8 A. No.
9 Q. To your understanding, keeping in mind that you were now the
10 4th Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade, who was your commander?
11 A. I respected both commanders, the commander of the Bratunac Brigade
12 and the commander of the Zvornik Brigade. I carried out the orders of
13 both, as far as I was able to. But I was oriented more toward the Zvornik
15 Q. During that period of time from September 22nd, 1993, to July
16 1995, while you were attached to the Bratunac Brigade did you receive
17 orders from the Zvornik Brigade?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. When receiving orders from the Zvornik Brigade, did you inform the
20 commander of the Bratunac Brigade that, one, you had received an order;
21 and two, whether permission was being granted from the Bratunac Brigade
22 for you to carry out those orders from the Zvornik Brigade?
23 A. No, no. I did not pass on information, nor did I ask.
24 Q. Well, didn't you think it was necessary, since now you were no
25 longer the 8th Battalion but rather -- of the Zvornik Brigade, but rather
1 the 4th of the Bratunac Brigade?
2 A. I was simultaneously a member of the 4th Battalion of the Bratunac
3 Brigade and a member of the 8th Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade. I was
4 duty-bound to carry out the tasks given to me by both of these brigades.
5 Q. All right. Could you please tell us into what point of time in
6 history did you go back to the Zvornik Brigade? In other words, leave the
7 Bratunac Brigade as a 4th Battalion and go back to the Zvornik Brigade as
8 the 8th Battalion?
9 A. On the 19th of July, 1995, in the morning.
10 Q. And pursuant to whose orders did you go back to the
11 Zvornik Brigade?
12 A. Pursuant to orders from the commander of the Zvornik Brigade,
13 Colonel Pandurevic.
14 Q. All right. Now, if I could show you a document.
15 Now, could you just look at that, sir. This would appear, would
16 it not, to be a daily combat report dated 19 July 1995?
17 A. I've read the report.
18 Q. And for the record this would be D135 for identification.
19 Now, at the top we see it's a daily combat report from the
20 Bratunac Brigade. Is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And if we go into paragraph 2 at the last sentence, and I'll read
23 it. Perhaps you can follow along. It says: "We do not know by whose
24 order the 4th Battalion was attached to the 1st Zvornik Light Infantry
1 Do you see that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And as far as you know, this was the date that you returned by
4 order from Pandurevic to go back to the Zvornik Brigade. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes. Yes.
6 Q. And from reading this report, this combat daily report, it would
7 appear that the Bratunac Brigade was not even informed by the
8 Zvornik Brigade or by Pandurevic that your battalion now was going back
9 from Bratunac to the Zvornik Brigade?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us briefly if you can
12 recollect any instances where you received orders from the
13 Zvornik Brigade, what sort of orders did you receive during that period of
14 time, that is from 1993, September 22nd, to July 1995?
15 A. In this period I was constantly sending about 20 men to Pjenovac,
16 20 were on leave, 20 were at Pjenovac, that is, and 20 were at home
17 resting after having returned from Pjenovac. So that I always had 60 men
18 at my line in Kajici.
19 Q. All right. Now, just as a way of example, I want to show you a
20 document --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 MR. KARNAVAS:
23 Q. Just by way of example, I want to show you a document which
24 regrettably we have yet to have translated, but perhaps you can read this
25 one line, look at it. And for identification purposes it will be D140.
1 And I marked the appropriate portion that I want you to focus on. But if
2 you could look at this document first and please tell us what the document
4 A. This shows that a brigade was to be formed, which was to be
5 located in the area of Zvornik. I received an order that in
6 Konjevic Polje, Drinjaca, Sopotnik, and Kruske, I should prepare certain
7 buildings to accommodate these soldiers. I received the order from the
8 commander of the Zvornik Brigade, and with another officer I carried out
9 this task.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Waespi.
11 MR. WAESPI: Yes, with all due respect to speeding up the
12 proceedings, it's very difficult to follow the witness when we don't have
13 an English translation, at least of the key parts. I think this should
14 have been necessary.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we also --
16 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree, Your Honour. I totally agree. I found it
17 this morning, and I had hoped that it would -- the key part would have
18 been translated by this point in time. But as I indicated before I
19 commenced that it hadn't been. I just wanted to get that one bit of
20 information from the gentleman and the date and then -- before tendering
21 it. We will have that portion translated.
22 Q. Could you please, by looking at this document, tell us when you
23 were ordered by the Zvornik Brigade to undertake those tasks that you just
24 told us, just by looking at the document.
25 A. I received it in early 1994.
1 Q. Well, could you -- it has a date. The document does have a date,
2 does it not, sir, if you could look at the document.
3 A. Yes, yes. The 19th of January, 1994.
4 Q. All right. And is it the 19th or the 15th? Perhaps if you could
5 look at the document, physically look at the document.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: If Madam Usher could hand the gentleman the
8 Q. If you could look at the document and look at the top.
9 A. Yes, it's the 15th of January, 1994.
10 Q. And if you look at the next page, whose signature is on this
12 A. It is the signature of the commander of the Zvornik Brigade,
13 Vinko Pandurevic.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you. And if I understand your testimony correctly
15 thus far, during this period of time you had already been attached to the
16 Bratunac Brigade as the 4th Battalion. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. All right. Do you recall whether you carried out this task?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you recall whether on this particular occasion, in light of the
21 task that was involved, whether you contacted the Bratunac Brigade, the
22 commander of the Bratunac Brigade, to get permission to go to that area
23 and carry out the tasks that were being asked of you by, I believe it was
24 a major, Pandurevic?
25 A. No.
1 Q. All right. Now, I want to focus your attention to July 1995. And
2 as a point of reference, if we take the 11th of July, 1995, as the day
3 that Srebrenica fell, I think it's pretty well-established in this court
4 that the attack on Srebrenica began on the 6th of July, 1995.
5 So could you please tell us when you became aware that there was
6 going to be an attack on Srebrenica.
7 A. I wasn't aware there was going to be an attack on Srebrenica. It
8 was only when I learned it had been attacked that I became aware of this.
9 Q. Do you recall whether prior to the attack, prior to the 6th, you
10 had attended any meetings at the Bratunac Brigade?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Could you tell us what date that was.
13 A. It was the 3rd of July, 1995.
14 Q. Could you please tell us who was at this meeting.
15 A. The commander of the Bratunac Brigade, Blagojevic; I think the
16 operations man, Eskic; all the battalion commanders, together with me,
17 four of us; then there was the security man, Momir Nikolic; and several
18 other members of the Bratunac Brigade command.
19 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us what was the nature of
20 the meeting, what was discussed.
21 A. At this meeting, the commander informed us of the fact that in
22 Srebrenica there was a large number of armed men, that there was a
23 possibility of their attacking our lines and attempting to break through
24 towards Tuzla. He assigned tasks to the battalions, and he assigned a
25 task to my battalion, too.
1 Q. Now, do you recall what assignment you had received?
2 A. My task was to hold our line of defence firmly.
3 Q. All right. Well, isn't that what you had been doing for the last
4 couple of years, holding that line?
5 A. Yes, yes. That was it.
6 Q. From 1993 to 1995, July, had you been given any orders, either by
7 the Zvornik Brigade or the Bratunac Brigade, to advance, to try to gain
8 any territory?
9 A. No.
10 Q. All right. Now, you said that that was the 3rd of July, 1995.
11 Now, I want to show you what has been marked as P406 as an exhibit. If
12 you could look at it, please. If you could tell us whether you recognise
13 the document.
14 A. No.
15 Q. All right. But do you know what the document is if you look at
16 the first page?
17 A. Yes, I know.
18 Q. Okay. Now, if I could focus your attention on paragraph 5.4. Do
19 you see that, sir?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, could you take a moment and read it, read it to yourself,
22 because I will ask you some questions about that particular paragraph.
23 A. I've read it.
24 Q. All right. Now, it states here - I'm going to go slowly, step by
25 step - that: "The 4th Battalion will carry out decisive defence of
1 current combat positions."
2 What did you understand -- what do you understand that to be?
3 A. In my view, decisive defence means we must firmly hold the
4 positions we are at.
5 Q. All right. Behind you, incidentally, behind those trenches, was
6 there a second or a third echelon of forces that would protect your rear
7 in the event the Muslim forces broke through those trenches, that line of
8 defence that you had been holding for some three years?
9 A. No. There was only a line of trenches.
10 Q. All right.
11 A. Behind, there was free territory, people lived there. There was
12 even a civilian police station in Kravica, there was civilian authorities.
13 Q. All right. It then goes on to say: "With its own BVG, battalion
14 fire support group, it prevent movement and regrouping of the enemy forces
15 primarily in the Jaglici, Lupoglav, and Gradina sectors."
16 Do you recall whether you as commander of the 4th Battalion of the
17 Bratunac Brigade carried out this task?
18 A. We were constantly monitoring the territory in front of us.
19 Q. All right. Now, if I could -- if you could be so kind as to look
20 at the map that I handed you earlier.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: And for the record, it's 138.
22 Q. And if we could put it on the ELMO, because it's unfortunately the
23 only copy.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: By that, I meant the only copy that we have.
25 Q. Okay. If you could look at the map, sir, and could you please
1 tell us what area are you being asked, with your battalion fire support
2 group, to prevent movement and regrouping, the Jaglici, Lupoglav, and
3 Gradina sectors. Could you please show that to us on the map.
4 A. [Witness complies]
5 Q. You might want to use the pointer, it's a little easier.
6 A. Lupoglav, Jaglici.
7 Q. Okay.
8 A. [Witness complies]
9 Q. And do you see Gradina? Maybe it's not on that part of the map
10 I've given you. In any event, from looking at that location, at least the
11 one part that you were able to find, how far is that location from where
12 your 1st Company would have been located - and as I understand it, that's
13 on point 651 that we see on the map - what's the distance?
14 A. The distance is about a kilometre and a half.
15 Q. All right. During that period of time on the attack of
16 Srebrenica, did you carry out this? Did you use your battalion fire
17 support to prevent any movement in that area?
18 A. I didn't -- I don't have any heavy weapons. There were only
19 infantry weapons at the line. And there was no need, because there was no
20 grouping. At Jaglici, there was an UNPROFOR observation post, and the
21 Muslims didn't dare come out here because of them probably.
22 Q. All right. So this task was not carried out because there was no
23 need to, if I understand you correctly?
24 A. That's right. There was no need for me to take any action.
25 Q. All right. Then it goes on and it says: "It should pay special
1 attention to its right flank."
2 Who is on your right flank?
3 A. At my right flank, there was the Milici battalion for a time.
4 Then they withdrew and left and set up a line from Brezinci to
5 Ravni Buljim and Kosar. The space in between from elevation 651 to
6 Brezinci remained empty.
7 Q. From 651 and Brezinci is 631, that area was uncovered?
8 A. Yes. After they left it, the area remained uncovered.
9 Q. Okay. And then it says: "It will support the brigade artillery
10 group from its current positions according to the plan and requests."
11 Did you by any chance during that period of time, the attack on
12 Srebrenica, from the 6th of July, 1995, to the 11th of July, 1995, did you
13 provide any support to the brigade artillery group from your current
15 A. It was the other way around. The brigade fire group was supposed
16 to provide me with support if I needed it, but I didn't need it.
17 Q. All right. And then it says that: "The IKM, the TT651 sector."
18 What does that mean?
19 A. This means the forward command post. My command post should be in
20 the 1st Company.
21 Q. Okay. Now, do you -- did you recall whether that was where your
22 command post was during those days?
23 A. I often toured the lines, and I was often in both of the
25 Q. All right. Could you please tell us, since you are the
1 4th Battalion, if my memory serves me correctly, right after you comes the
2 1st Battalion and then the 2nd and then the 3rd. Correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So what if your neighbours --
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, yes, Mr. Waespi.
6 MR. WAESPI: Well, he's certainly leading this question. There
7 has been quite a considerable number of leading questions. I don't
8 understand or then see whether this witness testified before that there
9 were other companies -- other battalions. He talked about his companies,
10 but not about other battalions. And just for correction purposes, the
11 witness said before a "Milici Battalion." And I'm not sure whether he
12 said it or whether it was wrongly interpreted, I believe there is a
13 Milici Brigade but not a battalion, which was at the right side of his
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, maybe Mr. Karnavas could help us with that.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll do that, Your Honour.
17 Q. First of all, let's deal with Milici. Is it a battalion or a
19 A. The Milici Battalion was next to us, and it was within the
20 composition of the Milici Brigade, which I assume had a number of
22 Q. All right. Do you know how many battalions were in the
23 Milici Brigade?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Okay. Now, the Bratunac Brigade, help us out here, it's been some
1 time. How many battalions did the Bratunac Brigade have?
2 A. The Bratunac Brigade had three battalions, and I was the 4th.
3 Q. Okay. Was there a 5th or a 6th or a 7th by any chance?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Okay. Now, would you please tell us who was your neighbour with
6 respect to the Bratunac Brigade. You have Milici on one side. Who is
7 your next neighbor?
8 A. To my right was the Milici Battalion. And on the left, the
9 1st Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade.
10 Q. Okay. And after the 1st Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade, what
12 A. The 2nd and then the 3rd, I think.
13 Q. Okay. So it was the 4th, the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. How close was your neighbour, that is, from the Bratunac Brigade,
16 the 1st Battalion?
17 A. The first trench, their first trench, was about 100 metres from
18 where I was.
19 Q. All right. And so for 100 metres, there is this gap?
20 A. Well, that's customary. There's always about 100 metres' space
21 between trenches, and that's what it was like with my trenches, too.
22 Q. All right. Now, to your knowledge, from the 6th to the 11th, what
23 combat activities was the 4th Battalion engaged in?
24 A. The 4th Battalion was engaged in its regular tasks of defence at
25 their lines.
1 Q. Well, I'm -- but with respect to the attack and the fall of
3 A. No. We had no responsibilities like that.
4 Q. Did you advance at all?
5 A. From the 22nd of September, 1993, up until the 19th of July, 1995,
6 we were in the same trenches. We didn't advance anywhere.
7 Q. Did you have any Muslim forces that were nearby you that you could
8 see and shoot at during that period of time?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Did you ever shoot at any Muslim forces or Muslim men that were
11 perhaps going in that area towards Tuzla? And I'm referring to the period
12 from the 6th to the 11th.
13 A. No, no. We didn't even see them. We didn't see them moving about
14 at all.
15 Q. From the 6th to the 11th, were you ever paid any visits by any
16 higher echelon officers, and I'll start with General Mladic. Did he come
18 A. No. No officers visited our side, from the corps or from the
19 Bratunac Brigade.
20 Q. Okay. So I take it that even the commander of the
21 Bratunac Brigade, Mr. Blagojevic, he didn't come over?
22 A. No. Commander Blagojevic only came by when he took over his duty.
23 And when he left, he didn't come again.
24 Q. Now, you indicated to us that you had a means of communication by
25 way of a line that would connect you to the Bratunac Brigade headquarters
1 and the Zvornik Brigade headquarters. During that period of time, the 6th
2 through the 11th, do you recall whether you contacted either the
3 Bratunac Brigade or the Zvornik Brigade to get any instructions or to
4 check in or for any other reasons?
5 A. No, there was no need.
6 Q. All right. Do you recall whether you received any orders by way
7 of courier, somebody coming and hand-delivering you an order, either from
8 the Bratunac Brigade or the Zvornik Brigade?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Did anyone keep you abreast, keep you informed, as to how things
11 were going on with respect to the attack on Srebrenica so at least you
12 would know how the VRS forces were doing?
13 A. No, nobody kept us informed.
14 Q. Did you during this period of time, from the 6th to the 11th,
15 leave your position and go, say, to Zvornik or home or anywhere else?
16 A. I don't think I did.
17 Q. Do you think whether you -- well, do you know or think that during
18 those days you might have visited the Bratunac Brigade headquarters?
19 A. I did not.
20 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us to the best of your
21 recollection when was it that you first learned that Srebrenica had
23 A. On the 11th of July, 1995.
24 Q. All right. Do you recall what time of day it was?
25 A. In the afternoon.
1 Q. All right. Now, when you learned of this, were you given any
2 specific instructions?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Do you recall how you learned it and from whom?
5 A. I learned it from people who would come to the line, from home.
6 Q. All right. Well, now that Srebrenica had fallen, did you by any
7 chance leave the line?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did any of your men leave the line, if you know, during that
10 period? And we're talking about the 12th now -- I'm sorry, the 11th.
11 A. No.
12 Q. All right. Did anything, anything, unusual happen on the 11th of
13 July, 1995, the day that Srebrenica fell?
14 A. No.
15 Q. All right. So now I'm going to move on to the next day, the day
16 after Srebrenica fell, that would be 12 July 1995. Could you please tell
17 us where you were on that day, in the morning.
18 A. In the morning, I was at the command post.
19 Q. And now was your command post where it had always been or was it
20 still or had it been moved to the point 651 as a forward command post?
21 A. No. It was where it always was, about 1 and a half to 2
22 kilometres away from the asphalt road.
23 Q. All right. So what happened on that day? What do you recall?
24 A. In the morning between 6.00 and 7.00, the komandir of the
25 1st Company informed the command that up the hill at Jaglici he noticed a
1 large group of Muslims of between 100 to 200 people. And I informed the
2 chief of the Zvornik Brigade by phone, and the duty operations officer in
3 Bratunac of the Bratunac Brigade. I think at the time it was Eskic. I'm
4 not quite sure.
5 Q. All right.
6 A. And after having informed the Zvornik and Bratunac Brigade, I went
7 to the 1st Company so I could be at the forward command post there and see
8 for myself and to be together with my men.
9 Q. Now, let me stop you here. If you recall - and I know it's been
10 many years - but if you recall, which brigade did you call first, the
11 Bratunac or the Zvornik Brigade?
12 A. The Zvornik Brigade.
13 Q. And could you tell us why you would contact the Zvornik Brigade
14 first when, in fact, by this point in time, at least on paper, you are
15 attached to the Bratunac Brigade?
16 A. Well, I considered myself to be a member of the Zvornik Brigade
17 always, and whatever I needed they would do for me. I didn't ask the
18 Bratunac Brigade for anything, nor did they do anything for us.
19 Q. All right. Now, when you contacted the Zvornik Brigade, did you
20 receive any particular instructions or orders?
21 A. No, I did not receive any instructions, but I asked that people be
22 found to close off the space in between on my right, because I was under
23 threat with so few men and such a large number of Muslims who had advanced
24 towards my positions.
25 Q. All right. Now, let me make sure I understand the sequencing.
1 You heard -- you hear about this group of 100 or 200 Muslims from the
2 komandir of the 1st Company that's on point 651 on the map. Correct?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 Q. At that point in time, you're at your headquarters. Right?
5 You're going to have to answer so we can get it on the record.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Well, how did you learn of this if you did not have a radio? How
8 was this communicated to you?
9 A. It was communicated through -- by the phone. We had a field
10 telephone from the command to both companies, an inductor telephone of the
11 military type.
12 Q. All right. Could you please tell us whether it was you personally
13 who contacted the Zvornik Brigade, or was it someone else, if you recall?
14 A. I personally contacted them.
15 Q. Can you recall with whom did you speak in the Bratunac Brigade --
16 I mean in the Zvornik Brigade?
17 A. Yes, I talked to Major Obrenovic.
18 Q. So you personally spoke to him, not the duty officer?
19 A. Yes, I spoke to him personally.
20 Q. All right. And that's when you conveyed the information that you
21 had, and I believe you indicated you asked for some reinforcements. Is
22 that correct?
23 A. I asked that men be found and that somebody be asked to close off
24 the area to the right of me.
25 Q. Now, to the right of you again, could you please remind us of
1 what's there.
2 A. To the right of me before was in Milici Battalion, and they had
3 withdrawn and left that position, so the space remained uncovered, empty.
4 Q. All right. And what was the length of that uncovered space, that
5 no-man's-land, if we can call it that?
6 A. By road, about 3 and a half kilometres.
7 Q. And do you recall how many men did you request as reinforcements
8 for that distance?
9 A. I didn't ask for any specific number, because it wasn't my line.
10 But just for the security of the men, I asked that this area be closed off
11 or covered.
12 Q. All right. Do you recall what his response was?
13 A. He said he's do his best.
14 Q. All right. Did -- and I take it after that is when you called the
15 Bratunac Brigade?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, when you called the Bratunac Brigade, did you inform them
18 that there was in gap of some 3 kilometres to your right and that in light
19 of the situation you would need some reinforcements?
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
21 MR. WAESPI: Yes, Mr. Karnavas is leading again.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: It's not a leading question, Your Honour.
23 MR. WAESPI: He's testifying the whole morning. This time it's
24 really relevant. I mean, earlier, he said about the cooks cooking the
25 meals on the lines, bringing it to the front lines, but I think now it's
1 getting to serious issues.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, you have to put your question another way.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
5 Q. Did you call the Bratunac Brigade?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What did you say to them?
8 A. I informed them that at Jaglici the Muslims were grouping and that
9 the group numbered 100 to 200 men, and that they were moving, advancing,
10 towards my positions.
11 Q. Did you inform them that you had called the Zvornik Brigade?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Did you inform them that you had a need for men?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you inform them that you had spoken with Major Obrenovic?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Would you please tell us why you did not inform them of this
18 conversation that you had with the Bratunac -- with the Zvornik Brigade.
19 A. I didn't ask them for reinforcements, because had they had the men
20 they wouldn't have asked the Zvornik Brigade for us to arrive there. And
21 I never conveyed to them what I conveyed to Zvornik or vice versa. I
22 didn't tell Zvornik what I told them; I didn't feel the need to do so.
23 Q. Did you ever contact the Bratunac Brigade prior to this period
24 seeking men or reinforcements?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Now, you told us that you had this conversation with
2 Mr. Obrenovic, and you told us that he said that he would do something
3 about it. Did men ever arrive?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Would you please tell us when did they arrive.
6 A. They arrived on the 12th, or rather, during the night between the
7 12th and 13th.
8 Q. Would you please tell us how many men arrived.
9 A. 40 men arrived. I think they were from Vlasenica.
10 Q. Now, you said from Vlasenica, so could you please tell us, if you
11 know, from what brigade they were from.
12 A. No.
13 Q. Did they come with any instructions?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would you please tell us what those instructions were.
16 A. When they arrived, they took up their positions straight away from
17 feature 651 towards Siljkovici.
18 Q. Did they have instructions before they arrived or did they receive
19 instructions when they arrived?
20 A. I don't know who gave them those instructions.
21 Q. Do you know whether they were subordinated to you or whether they
22 were there working alongside of you?
23 A. They were not subordinated to me.
24 Q. All right. Did you have any contact with these men during that
1 A. No.
2 Q. Do you know who was their komandir?
3 A. I don't know exactly. I think it was Gagic or Garic, a surname
4 like that.
5 Q. Now, on the 12th did anything else happened that you learned that
6 there were these men of 100 or 200 and after you had placed the calls, the
7 telephone calls, to the Zvornik Brigade and the Bratunac Brigade, did
8 anything else happen?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Could you please describe to us what happened.
11 A. After my conversation with Zvornik and Bratunac, I left to go to
12 the 1st Company at feature 651. I withdrew two of the last trenches on
13 the right-hand side. I withdrew the men so that I could defend my flank.
14 And that is how those trenches remained until the new group arrived on the
15 morning of the 13th, when I returned the two trenches to the trenches they
16 were in initially.
17 As in the 1st Company, the men were under threat and we expected
18 to see a breakthrough, either at us or by us. We expected a large number
19 of Muslims to go by. I went to the 2nd Company to talk to the people
20 there from the 2nd Company and to see whether they would leave two men per
21 trench and allow the other men to go and fill in the trenches to make the
22 people there more certain. I stayed there until evening.
23 Q. All right.
24 A. And the men accepted my explanations and acted upon it, and they
25 went to the 1st Company.
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. In the meantime, while I was in the 2nd Company, the 1st Company
3 took one Muslim prisoner; they captured him. And they informed the
4 command or signalsmen in the command that they had a captured Muslim.
5 Q. Let me stop you here. I want to go step by step. First of all,
6 do you recall what time on the 12th was it that you visited the
7 1st Company that was at point 651?
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi --
9 MR. WAESPI: I don't think he said he visited the 1st Company. He
10 said while he was at the 2nd Company. The 1st Company --
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I understand the gentleman wishes to
12 be obstructionistic today, but if he can look at the monitor, it says:
13 "After my conversation with the Zvornik and Bratunac, I left to go to the
14 1st Company at feature 651." I read it verbatim from here, hoping to draw
15 an objection, hoping to show how obstructionistic he's being today.
16 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: And he bought the bait, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LIU: You may continue.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
20 Q. So we were saying: About what time did you go to the 1st Company
21 that's located at 651?
22 A. I went to the 1st Company at point 651. I went there at around
23 7.00 in the morning.
24 Q. Okay. How long did you stay there?
25 A. I stayed there until 1.00, 1300 hours.
1 Q. Okay. Now, from your command post to the 1st Company, how long
2 would it take you to get there?
3 A. About one hour.
4 Q. And how would you get there?
5 A. You can only go on foot.
6 Q. Were you by yourself or were there others with you?
7 A. I wasn't alone. There were two other soldiers with me.
8 Q. Now, after you left the 1st Company, you indicated you went to
9 visit the 2nd Company. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. How long did it take you to go to where the 2nd Company was
13 A. 45 minutes.
14 Q. And how did you get there?
15 A. I walked. That's the only way you can get there.
16 Q. Was anyone with you?
17 A. Yes, the two soldiers that I mentioned.
18 Q. All right. Now, I believe you indicated that some time -- that
19 when you arrived at the 2nd Company you received some information about a
20 prisoner. Am I correct?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Then please tell us exactly what -- when was it that you learned
23 about this prisoner.
24 A. I learned about the prisoner when I returned to the command.
25 Q. And when did you return to the command?
1 A. In the evening.
2 Q. About what time?
3 A. 7.00, 1900, 2000 hours.
4 Q. Do you recall who was it that gave you this information?
5 A. The signalsman, Milos Savic.
6 Q. Could you please tell us, if you recall, what information you
7 learned on the evening hours at around 7.00, and this would be the 12th of
8 July, 1995.
9 A. I received information that the 1st Company had a captured Muslim
10 and that the chief of the Zvornik Brigade had been informed of that,
11 Obrenovic, and that he had issued orders that the prisoner be taken to
12 Kajici, to the asphalt road there, in order to be taken over by Vukotic, a
13 security man in the Zvornik Brigade.
14 Q. Now, let me stop you here. Do you recall learning about what time
15 it would have been when the 1st Company had come across this Muslim? When
16 did they capture him?
17 A. The 1st Company didn't come across him; he came across the
18 1st Company. Because the company was stationary, whereas he went by their
19 positions and surrendered, gave himself up.
20 Q. Do you know whether this individual was armed? Did you learn
21 whether he had been armed or unarmed?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. Do you recall about what time of day when this Muslim surrendered
24 himself to the 1st Company?
25 A. I don't know exactly.
1 Q. But you do recall, as I understand your testimony correctly, that
2 you would have left the 1st Company sometime around 1.00. That's your
4 A. Yes, and at that time there was no prisoner.
5 Q. All right. Now, you said that they told you that the 1st Company
6 had contacted Mr. Obrenovic. Is that correct?
7 A. The 1st Company reported to the signalsmen at the command, because
8 they couldn't have gotten a connection to Obrenovic. And from the
9 signalsmen, Major Obrenovic was informed.
10 Q. All right. And this is what you learned?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, where exactly -- and what exactly did they tell you as far as
13 Obrenovic's instructions were?
14 A. They said that it had been ordered that the prisoners should be
15 taken down to the asphalt road at Kajici, and that Vukotic would come and
16 collect him.
17 Q. All right. Now, from the 1st Company to Kajici, where they would
18 take him by the road, would the -- any members of the 1st Company, would
19 they have to travel by the 2nd Company in order to get to the road at
21 A. No.
22 Q. All right. And as I understand it, you learned that Obrenovic had
23 sent somebody up there that would pick up this prisoner?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what is his name again?
1 A. Dusko Vukotic.
2 Q. Did you know this gentleman?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you know his position?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And could you please tell us, to your understanding, what was his
7 position within the Zvornik Brigade.
8 A. He worked in security.
9 Q. Now, aside from learning that information, did you learn whether
10 the prisoner had been turned over to Mr. Vukotic?
11 A. I learned that he had not been turned over.
12 Q. Okay. All right. Did you learn what had happened to him?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And one final question and we'll pick it up from here tomorrow,
15 but if you could just briefly tell us: What did you learn about this
16 prisoner? What happened to him?
17 A. After Obrenovic's order that the prisoner be taken along the
18 asphalt road to Kajici, the komandir of the 1st Company designated
19 soldiers to escort him to Kajici. The road that had to be taken is close
20 to a minefield. According to what the komandir of the company said, they
21 took the prisoner, and he started trying to escape. He went toward the
22 minefield which had trip-wire mines. Their lives would have been all in
23 danger, because he would have activated the mines, and they would have all
24 have been killed. That's why they shot the prisoner and killed him.
25 Q. Okay. Thank you, sir. We're going to pick up from here tomorrow.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, as for the extra sitting time, we have been
2 informed that the only time available is tomorrow afternoon. We might
3 have an extra sitting tomorrow afternoon from 3.00 to 4.30, 90 minutes,
4 but we will continue tomorrow morning in this courtroom. And tomorrow
5 afternoon -- yes.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: If I could just take 10 seconds and announce that
7 I've informally tried to tell many of the people, but the -- we have
8 decided not to appeal the Rule 98 bis decision of the Court, but we will
9 be filing a motion to amend the indictment, consistent with recent case
10 law. And I wanted to be able to -- so my B/C/S colleagues would
11 understand that.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Thank you for your information.
13 Well, Witness, thank you very much for giving your evidence this
14 morning. I'm afraid that you have to stay in The Hague for another day
15 because we haven't finished your testimony. So during your stay here, do
16 not talk to anybody and do not let anybody talk to you about your
17 testimony. Do you understand that?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand, yes.
19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
20 We will resume at 9.00 tomorrow morning in the same courtroom.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
22 at 1.50 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
23 the 6th day of May, 2004,
24 at 9.00 a.m.