1 Monday, 10 May 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 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 Good morning, everybody. We'll continue the procedures today.
11 Witness, would you please stand up. Please make the solemn
12 declaration in accordance with that paper.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: SRETEN PETROVIC
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.
21 Examined by Mr. Karnavas:
22 Q. Good morning, sir.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. Would you please tell us what your name is.
25 A. Sreten Petrovic.
1 Q. And could you please tell us your last name letter by letter.
2 A. P-e-t-r-o-v-i-c.
3 Q. Mr. Petrovic, were you a member of the Bratunac Brigade in July
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Were you in Potocari on 13 July 1995?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you please tell us what you were doing in Potocari on 13
9 July 1995.
10 A. I was in hospital. On the 12th in the evening, I expressed a wish
11 to go to Srebrenica. So they came to get me in the Zvornik hospital,
12 transported me by car. I spent the night of the 13th. I said I wanted to
13 go to Srebrenica because I had a flat there. We arrived as far as
14 Potocari, and were unable to proceed any further.
15 Q. All right. Now, Friday we had a Prosecutor here, Ms. Issa, asking
16 the question of why you didn't go back to the battalion and report
17 yourself so you could go back on official duty. Could you please tell us
18 why you didn't do that on July 13th.
19 A. I didn't even know where the battalion was at the time, so I
20 couldn't go. How could I go? They were transporting me by car.
21 Q. What was your physical condition at that point in time, sir?
22 A. I was wounded with two bullets in the left leg, above the knee,
23 and in my right arm, forearm. They were entry/exit wounds. I had bled
24 profusely, and I was very tired. I was exhausted.
25 Q. All right. Well, one by one. Your leg, where exactly were you
1 injured in your leg?
2 A. I was hit in my left thigh.
3 Q. And you said that there was an entry and exit wound?
4 A. Yes. Yes. Entry and exit.
5 Q. Did the bullet hit any bones?
6 A. The bone was undamaged.
7 Q. Were you able to walk without the assistance of a cane or someone?
8 A. No, not in those first days.
9 Q. Now, what about your arm? You said that one of your arms had
10 received a bullet as well. Which one was that?
11 A. My right arm, my lower right arm.
12 Q. Could you please demonstrate for us or show us where exactly. You
13 don't have to take off your jacket, but if you could just stand up and --
14 A. Here.
15 Q. All right. And was there an entrance and an exit wound?
16 A. Yes, yes. Entrance and exit.
17 Q. Please sit down.
18 Now, are you right-handed or left-handed?
19 A. I'm right-handed, completely.
20 Q. All right. So if you had a weapon, you would be using your
21 right-hand -- your right hand at the trigger. Is that correct?
22 A. I wouldn't be able to hold a weapon without this arm, not in that
24 Q. All right. Now, when you went to Potocari, were you in military
1 A. No.
2 Q. Did you have any weapons with you at the time?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Could you please describe to us exactly what you did once you got
5 to Potocari.
6 A. I tried to get out of the car, but couldn't. We stayed there for
7 a bit, then they took me out of the car because I said I wanted to get out
8 to see what was going on there. I stood in front of the car for some ten
9 minutes. After that, I got back into the car and we drove off to
11 Q. All right. Now, where did you receive your medical treatment?
12 A. In Zvornik, at the surgical ward.
13 Q. What day was that?
14 A. I was wounded on the 9th at 1800 hours. I arrived in Zvornik on
15 same day, at around 2300 hours.
16 Q. And where did -- when did you leave the Zvornik hospital?
17 A. As I said, on the 12th in the evening, at around 2100 hours, I
18 expressed the wish to go.
19 Q. And what was the doctor's opinion with respect to your wish to
20 check out of the hospital?
21 A. The surgeon was against it. I had to sign a document saying that
22 I was leaving the hospital on my own initiative, of my own free will.
23 Q. After leaving that hospital in Zvornik, did you get any further
24 medical treatment with respect to your wounds?
25 A. I did. I had to go and have my wounds dressed daily and also
1 receive an injection every day. After the third day, I was to go back to
2 the surgeon for a check-up.
3 Q. Now, on July 13th, that is the day after you checked yourself out,
4 did you go to any medical facilities to have your wounds dressed?
5 A. The Bratunac health centre. That's where they dressed my wounds
6 and gave me the injections.
7 Q. Was that before or after you went to -- towards Srebrenica when
8 you stopped at Potocari?
9 A. I can't recall now precisely whether it was before or after, but I
10 think it was after.
11 Q. Now, do you recall being questioned in Banja Luka on the 29th of
12 November, 2001? Do you recall that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And do you recall whether you were asked about being in Potocari?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you have had an opportunity to read your statement, have you
18 A. Yes, I did make a statement.
19 Q. Yes, but they provided the -- the translation was done on Friday,
20 I believe, or Saturday. So that would have been the earliest that it had
21 been provided to you by the Office of the Prosecution for you to review.
23 A. When we finished, when I finished making my statement, I asked
24 that they send me the recording and the photograph that they took of me.
25 They promised to do that, but I never received that, nor did I receive any
1 translation until Friday.
2 Q. Friday or Saturday? Because Friday I think you were still in
4 A. I think it was Saturday, yes, yes. Saturday.
5 Q. Okay. Now, in reading your statement, do you recall whether you
6 were asked any questions with respect to being in Potocari on the 13th?
7 A. Yes, I remember.
8 Q. And do you recall informing them at that point in time that you
9 had been injured?
10 A. Yes, I recall that.
11 Q. Do you recall whether you provided them at that point in time with
12 any documentation that would confirm, one, that you had received treatment
13 at the Zvornik medical facility; and two, the injuries that you had
14 sustained for which you were treated?
15 A. Yes. They asked me for a document that would show I had been
16 wounded. I had been wounded in 1993 also, so by mistake I gave them my
17 letter of release from the military academy. Later on, I gave them the
18 other document, the letter of discharge from Zvornik when I was wounded in
20 Q. And in fact, in reading your statement it would appear that
21 the -- that it was even translated into English by the interpreter at the
22 time that you were questioned. Am I correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And that can be found on page 17 of the statement.
25 Now, let me show you what has been marked for identification
1 purposes as 147. It's an untranslated, an untranslated, document. It's
2 in Srpski. If you could please look at it first. Sir, do you recognise
3 this document?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What is this document?
6 A. This is the letter of discharge from Zvornik.
7 Q. And what is the date on this document?
8 A. The date on the document is the 12th of July, 1995. I was
9 admitted to the hospital on the 9th of July, 1995, and I was in hospital
10 until the 12th of July, 1995.
11 Q. Now, for the record, since we don't have it translated as of yet,
12 if you could please read what it states, that short paragraph, which was
13 translated or interpreted to the Office of the Prosecution when you were
14 being questioned in Banja Luka.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I don't know if there's a
17 misunderstanding, but it was part of the Prosecution's case that this man
18 was wounded. It's in Mr. Butler's report; it's in the documents. It's
19 not in contest. I don't understand, you know, the point of all this.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I think there's no dispute between the parties
21 concerning the wounding of this person.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Your Honour. Well, I was getting back to that
23 good-faith basis that we heard on Friday. The good-faith basis was based
24 on Ms. Issa's questioning as to why this man was in Potocari, why he
25 didn't report to go on searching. And now what I'm demonstrating is the
1 Prosecution, when they were questioning the gentleman on Friday, knew very
2 well that this man was not ambulatory, was not able to walk. Yet
3 nonetheless they wanted to give the impression to the Trial Chamber that
4 he was the deputy commander in Potocari, as a presence, somehow lending to
5 the ominous presence of the Bratunac Brigade being there. And what I'm
6 trying to demonstrate is they knew very well as of Friday, in fact before
7 that, that this gentleman could not walk, was merely there, and when you
8 look at the report and you look at Butler's testimony, and you look at the
9 line of questioning from the Prosecution, they don't put it into context.
10 This man was there visiting. And we don't see that. We don't see that he
11 was injured. We don't see that he could not walk. But we do see from his
12 statement that the Prosecution knew about this. What I'm trying to
13 demonstrate is there is very little good faith coming from that end and
14 which is why I'm going through this line of questioning.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: I am absolutely appalled that this is a personal
17 attack on Ms. Issa.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: It's not.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's completely unjustified, it's unethical for
20 him to be doing. It's a violation of the ethical rules of this Chamber.
21 And it's just uncalled-for. But the point is that he is in Potocari and
22 he is wounded; that is the point. And that he's in there because he has a
23 great motivation to be there. That is the only point, and that has been
24 the Prosecution's point all along. He certainly was questioned about his
25 ability to report what he saw to his commander. This idea that now the
1 Prosecution is on trial for not asking questions in good faith is
2 absolutely absurd without justification and it should cease and desist.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Page 65, Your Honour, line 1: "Would it be fair to
4 say then that his injuries weren't so extreme" --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Would the counsel please slow down. Thank you.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: I apologise. "Would it be fair to say then that
7 his injuries weren't so extreme that he would be able to leave as the
8 doctor discharged him and go to Potocari. Isn't that right." There is an
10 Next question: "Why wouldn't he come back to the battalion to
11 help you in the middle of all that was going on at the time. Why was he
12 still officially gone from the battalion?"
13 These are the questions coming from the Prosecution on Friday.
14 Had she read the document, had she read the medical report, all of which
15 belonged to them and they had, one would know that this line of
16 questioning is improper, because it suggests somehow that this gentleman
17 was able to report for duty back to the battalion. And what I'm trying to
18 demonstrate is all of this information was brought to the Prosecution's
19 attention when the gentleman was questioned back two years ago.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I did not expect such a heated
21 debate between the parties on Monday morning. Normally Monday is kind of
22 a low day. And last Friday, I think the Trial Chamber made it very clear
23 on the manners to conduct the direct or cross-examination, that is we
24 should not concentrate on the attack of the other parties. We should
25 concentrate on the case itself. In this situation, I believe there is no
1 disputes between the parties; this witness was wounded. There's no
2 dispute between the parties that this witness was in Potocari on the 13th
3 of July. I think this is the common ground between the parties at this
5 As for how serious the person is wounded, there may be some
6 different views. And you could possibly point out how serious this
7 witness is wounded.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Your Honours, and I was doing that when I
9 asked him to read from the section.
10 JUDGE LIU: But it is not necessary to attack the other parties on
11 this stage.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: I was merely bringing out their position on Friday,
13 Your Honour.
14 JUDGE LIU: Because we could compare the notes by ourselves at a
15 later stage.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE LIU: So that's why I told you that we haven't formed any
18 opinions on this case yet.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I was merely trying to be of assistance,
20 Your Honour, but I take the point and I realise it is Monday.
21 Q. Sir, if you could please read that one paragraph, so at least we
22 know, because we don't have a translation version -- translated version
23 yet. If you could please read it slowly now so it can be translated. And
24 there may be some Latin terms which you may have to soldier through, I
25 guess, in pronouncing them.
1 A. Thank you.
2 "Admitted because of tangential exit/entry wounds of the right
3 upper arm -- right lower arm and left upper arm, sustained from firearms
4 fired by the enemy during wartime operations in the area of Srebrenica."
5 And then what follows is in Latin, and I can't really -- I'm
6 sorry, but I don't really speak Latin. You could need someone with
7 medical education to read this out and translate it.
8 Q. Okay. Thank you. And this document was provided to the
9 Prosecution when you were questioned.
10 A. Yes, I gave it to them on the 29th of November, 19 -- 2001.
11 Q. All right. Now, since we're talking about your injuries, let's
12 stay with that. Could you please tell us when and where you sustained
13 these injuries.
14 A. On the 9th at 1800 hours, I was wounded with two bullets, and
15 these were entry/exit wounds. This was in the area of Kvarc Divljakinje,
16 where the battalion was holding its positions.
17 Q. First of all, please tell us with which battalion and which
18 battalion you were serving.
19 A. I was in the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade.
20 Q. What was your position in the 3rd Infantry Battalion?
21 A. You mean the entire battalion or me personally?
22 Q. No, you personally. What was your -- you know, what function did
23 you have? What title?
24 A. At that time I was deputy commander of the 3rd Infantry Battalion
25 of the Bratunac Brigade.
1 Q. Could you please tell us how long you had held that position as
2 deputy commander with the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade.
3 A. I don't recall exactly, but I think it was in late 1994 or early
4 1995 that I was appointed. Before that, I had been wounded. I had been
5 for rehabilitation, medical rehabilitation, and then I was appointed to
6 this post.
7 Q. All right. We're going to cover that earlier period, but I
8 thought we would get right to this area. Now, who was the commander when
9 you were the deputy commander?
10 A. The battalion commander was Mr. Dragan Zekic, and the brigade
11 commander was Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic.
12 Q. All right. Now, the -- I want to focus a little bit on the period
13 when the events took place around Srebrenica, with ultimately Srebrenica
14 falling on July 11, 1995. Now we do know that July 6th is when these
15 events began. Could you please tell us on July 6th where you were
17 A. Between the 6th and the 7th, I was on Pribicevac. In the morning,
18 I went to the right flank of the 3rd Infantry Battalion -- on the 6th of
20 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises.
21 MR. KARNAVAS:
22 Q. All right. Now, how long had you been in that position, prior to
23 the 6th of July?
24 A. I was, as I said in the beginning, for the battalion had been in
25 that position from 1993, but I was appointed to my post in late 1994 or
1 early 1995.
2 Q. Okay. Had the lines moved during that period?
3 A. No.
4 Q. On the 6th of July, did you move your lines or your position?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did you, with your men, the ones that you were commanding at the
7 time, fire any attacks toward the enemy?
8 A. No.
9 Q. What about the 7th? Did you advance at all?
10 A. On the 7th and the 8th, the fog was so thick that I could hear no
11 attacks or detonations at all.
12 Q. So does that mean that you did not advance?
13 A. We did not advance, that's right.
14 Q. Did you fire any -- fire at any targets?
15 A. No. No.
16 Q. All right. That's the 7th and the 8th. Now, let's get to the
17 9th, 9th of July. Do you advance at all?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did any members of the 3rd Battalion that you were associated with
20 move at all or did they maintain their entire position that they held
21 from, say, July 6th?
22 A. On the 8th, the brigade commander, Vidoje Blagojevic, and I toured
23 the right flank together. He ordered us to stay at the lines we had been
24 holding before, but we had to put a few men forward to reconnoitre, to
25 observe the movement of enemy forces, because we were expecting a possible
1 counterattack from them.
2 Q. And did you do that, sir?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. When did you do that?
5 A. On the 9th in the morning. We went 100 or 150 metres before the
6 front line. We made some temporary protection barriers, because we had
7 been told to expect bullets. And we stayed there. I was wounded there.
8 We stayed there until --
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch what time.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And then I was taken back to the
11 vehicle after I was wounded.
12 MR. KARNAVAS:
13 Q. I want to go step by step. So first of all how long -- when did
14 you leave that area or how long were these observers at that area?
15 A. We were in the area on the 9th, up to the time when I was wounded
16 we stayed there. After that, we withdrew, or rather, I was carried out.
17 They remained at the line of the 3rd Infantry Battalion.
18 Q. Now, you say "we." Could you please explain to us who "we" is.
19 A. I was with the squad, so myself and those ten men. And when I was
20 wounded, they brought me out on a stretcher to the 100 -- 1.013th
21 elevation point at Kvarc.
22 Q. Now, this squad, did it belong to a particular unit?
23 A. Yes, they were all members of the 3rd Infantry Battalion.
24 Q. Okay. Now, were the Red Berets there by any chance?
25 A. Well, those were the men, the ones that were with me.
1 Q. All right. And how many men exactly were there?
2 A. 10 to 15, not more.
3 Q. Were they all in one location or had you spread them out?
4 A. We were in front of the line at a distance of perhaps 100 to 150
5 metres. We weren't grouped. We were spread out, 5 to 10 metres between
7 Q. Now, how long had the Red Berets been part of the 3rd Battalion,
8 to your understanding?
9 A. They were attached to the 3rd Infantry Battalion as a
10 reconnaissance platoon.
11 Q. And who was -- I'm sorry. Go ahead. Continue.
12 A. In 1995, that's when they were attached to the 3rd Infantry
13 Battalion as a reconnaissance platoon.
14 Q. Now, how many Red Berets were there?
15 A. As far as I know, 20 at the most.
16 Q. How many commanders did the Red Berets have?
17 A. Well, their komandir was killed at Krajina somewhere. I don't
18 know the exact location. They were together, then they dispersed so that
19 the ones that were attached in 1995 just had a deputy commander, komandir.
20 Q. All right. And who was that?
21 A. It was my son, Rade Petrovic.
22 Q. Now, you said those -- "the ones that were attached." Were there
23 others, other Red Berets, that were not attached to the 3rd Battalion that
24 you're aware of?
25 A. Well, what I know is that in 1992 a Red Beret company was
1 established, and one or two months later they dispersed. Because the
2 komandirs and deputy komandirs couldn't agree, so they dispersed. Twenty
3 were left on this one side, and over there, I don't know.
4 Q. Who was the komandir or the deputy komandir of the other -- of the
5 ones that were not attached to the 3rd Battalion, if you know?
6 A. There was Prodanovic and his nickname was Mungo.
7 Q. Welcome. Did you Mungo during those days where you were?
8 A. No. No. I didn't see him.
9 Q. Now, could you please tell us when you advanced with the 10 or 15
10 Red Berets, could you please tell us what sort of weapons, artillery,
11 mortars, cannons, what have you, were available to you at that observation
13 A. My personal weapon, that is to say an automatic rifle, like all
14 the ten men that were with me, side arms. We had no support and we didn't
15 communicate with anyone or have any artillery pieces, no, we didn't.
16 Q. Now, you say you didn't communicate with anybody. Did you have
17 any means of communication when you were there at that position on the
19 A. Yes, I did. I had a Motorola, and I could communicate with that
20 Motorola with the battalion connections lines.
21 Q. Now, behind you where the 3rd Battalion, your men had been
22 stationed prior to you with the 10 or 15 going 100 to 100 [sic] metres
23 forward as an observation post more or less, could you please tell us what
24 kind of artillery was there to lend support to you.
25 A. No, they didn't have any artillery pieces. They were just holding
1 the lines and on guard in the trenches. They had no artillery.
2 Q. Were the Drina Wolves there?
3 A. No. If you mean the axis I was at, no.
4 Q. That's right, where you were located. You didn't see Legenda and
5 his Wolves?
6 A. No.
7 Q. All right. Now, when you were hit, were you in the process of
8 attacking the Muslim forces?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Well, how was it that you were hit? What happened? Who attacked
12 A. Well, it was our intention, since it was 1800 hours already, to go
13 back to the line up there, where the rest of the battalion was located.
14 And at the point of our return, I assumed the Muslim forces happened to
15 notice us. And they showered us with a round of gunfire. And I was
16 unlucky enough to be hit by two bullets.
17 Q. All right. And I take it after you left, from the 9th, and went
18 to the hospital, you didn't engage in any more fighting during that period
19 of time, that is on Srebrenica fell on July --
20 A. Well, I couldn't even walk. How would I fight?
21 Q. All right. Now, let's start with some background information.
22 Where are you from?
23 A. I was born in the village of Spat, Srebrenica municipality, and I
24 lived in Srebrenica.
25 Q. Where do you currently live?
1 A. I live in Srebrenica today, in my flat, in the flat I lived in
2 before our disagreements and conflicts.
3 Q. All right. During the war, were you living in Srebrenica?
4 A. No.
5 Q. When did you leave Srebrenica?
6 A. I think it was sometime towards the end of April or perhaps the
7 beginning of May. I fled, I escaped from Srebrenica, simply stated.
8 Q. Now, you said April or May, what year are we talking about?
9 A. 1992.
10 Q. Where did you go from there?
11 A. I went to the village where I was born, the village of Spat.
12 Q. And how far is that from Srebrenica?
13 A. Well, about 20 kilometres.
14 Q. And how long were you at that location?
15 A. I was there -- we kept guard because we were afraid of an attack
16 on the village. On the 8th of June, they did indeed attack us. And it is
17 a village numbering eight houses. They attacked us. We had four wounded
18 men, and my brother was killed in the village.
19 Q. And then -- well, did you stay there or did you flee from there as
21 A. We stayed on there until the 12th of July, 1992, when they
22 launched another attack. And then we had to withdraw down to the Sase
23 mine to pull out. And that's where I was for a certain time.
24 Q. All right. And from there, where did you go?
25 A. They launched another attack, or rather, there were several
1 attacks at the Sase mine. But on the 14th of December, there was an
2 all-out fierce attack, so Bjelovac fell, and the other villages, the Serb
3 villages, had fallen of course. And we had to withdraw from Sase, too, on
4 the 15th to go to Bratunac.
5 Q. When was this? What year are we talking about?
6 A. The same year, 1992. The 15th of December, 1992.
7 Q. Do you know how many Serbs were living in that area prior to that?
8 A. You mean in Srebrenica?
9 Q. Srebrenica and all that area that -- what was the percentage?
10 A. Well, as far as I know, in Srebrenica municipality 30 per cent
11 were Serbs, the rest were Muslims.
12 Q. What about these villages that you spoke of? What was the
13 breakdown, the ethnic breakdown?
14 A. They were purely Serb villages.
15 Q. All right. Now, when you went to Bratunac in 1992, at the end, in
16 December, were you formally mobilised at that point in time?
17 A. Well, the Bratunac Brigade had been formed, and I myself actually
18 didn't receive any call-up. But of course I was forced to take part; I
19 had to take part, even without that, to join the army.
20 Q. When exactly was it that you joined the Bratunac Brigade?
21 A. I don't know the date, but I do know that upon arrival in Bratunac
22 some of the men were sent to above Hranca, the village of Glogova, to take
23 up there positions, where there was another attack, and about ten of them
24 were killed, ten Serbs. And then after that, we got the line, Ladza,
25 Pajici -- prior to the new year, Ladza, Pajici, Glogova, that's when we
1 got that line. 1992, 1993.
2 Q. All right. In which unit were you serving?
3 A. At the time, it was the 4th Infantry Battalion. And I myself
4 headed the battalion as the commander of the 4th Infantry Battalion.
5 Q. Now, what period are we speaking about?
6 A. Well, we're speaking about the 14th of December and the beginning
7 of 1993.
8 Q. All right.
9 A. January 1993.
10 Q. Now, could you just please tell us very briefly the various
11 positions you've held from that point in time until July 1995. What
12 positions have you held with the Bratunac Brigade?
13 A. Within the Bratunac Brigade - as I said, at that time, I was the
14 commander of the 4th Infantry Battalion - after my wounding the battalion
15 was attached to the 9 -- in 1993 to the other battalions. So it was
16 disbanded and two companies were attached to the 3rd Infantry, and one
17 company remained in the 1st or 2nd Battalion, I don't remember, but I was
18 undergoing treatment at the time because I had been wounded, in February
19 actually, 1993.
20 Q. Okay. Now, what kind of wounds did you sustain in February 1993,
21 just very briefly.
22 A. Well, an exit/entry wound in my left arm from a sniper, the upper
23 arm above the elbow, and part of the elbow was smashed. And I got an
24 entrance/exit wound through the right hip, also by a sniper.
25 Q. And how long were you on leave, recuperating, from your injuries?
1 A. I was in Loznica and Zvornik in the hospital there, and then
2 afterwards the medical military academy, the VMA. After I left the
3 academy, I had to wear a fixation device on my arm and had to go for
4 monthly check-ups to see the surgeon. So I had to go from Bratunac to
5 Belgrade to the medical military academy to have my examination and have
6 the extension removed. And then I had to go for spa treatment and
8 Q. Okay. Let me put it another way. When did you return to the
9 Bratunac Brigade. You say you were injured in February 1993, so when did
10 you return to the Bratunac Brigade?
11 A. I think it was the end of 1994, or perhaps even the beginning of
12 1995. I really can't remember the date, but that was the general period.
13 Q. And when you returned, where were you placed within the
14 Bratunac Brigade?
15 A. Well, I was still listed as an injured man of the 3rd Infantry
16 Battalion. And I was deployed at the time as deputy commander of the
17 3rd Infantry Battalion.
18 Q. Could you please tell us what sort of training you received in
19 order to become the deputy commander of the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the
20 Bratunac Brigade.
21 A. None.
22 Q. All right.
23 A. I don't have any military training, except for having served
24 the -- in the Army of Yugoslavia doing my compulsory military service in
25 1974, 1975.
1 Q. All right. Well, when you did your compulsory military service
2 with the JNA, did you by any chance go to the reserve officer's training
3 programme that was provided for some?
4 A. No. No.
5 Q. All right. Could you please tell us in what capacity or what unit
6 you served in the JNA.
7 A. I went as a young soldier to Krusevac, and I was recruited to the
8 atomic, chemical, biological defence, the ABHO, as it was known. And
9 after Krusevac, three months later, I was redeployed to Zagreb where I was
10 at Borov Gaj [phoen], throughout the rest of my military service.
11 Q. Now when you left your military service, as part of the
12 All People's Defence I understand everybody was in the reserves, could you
13 please tell us whether you were and if so what sort of unit you were
14 serving in the reserves.
15 A. I was within the civilian protection system in Srebrenica.
16 Q. All right. Now, after you did your JNA service, I take it you
17 began working. Cold you please tell us just very briefly what do you
18 do -- what were you doing prior to the war?
19 A. Well, I had graduated from the mining vocational secondary school.
20 I then went to the Yugoslav army. When I left the army, I went back and
21 worked in the lead and zinc mine of Sase at Srebrenica, again.
22 Q. Were you supervising anybody there?
23 A. For a time, I was the shift supervisor, but afterwards, five or
24 six years later, I was head of the pit.
25 Q. All right. So at least before --
1 A. Foreman of the pit.
2 Q. Before becoming the deputy commander, you had some sort of
3 supervisory role over people?
4 A. In the mine, yes.
5 Q. Okay. But in the field, as a soldier?
6 A. As a soldier, I was the deputy battalion commander.
7 Q. All right. Now, prior to the events - and I want to focus our
8 attention a little bit closer to July 1995 - prior to the events on
9 Srebrenica, were there any meetings held to at least notify you about the
10 events that were ensue July 6th and onwards?
11 A. I didn't know about any meetings, and I wasn't -- I didn't receive
12 any notification of that kind.
13 Q. Well, on July 6th were you told what the goals were that -- what
14 was about to happen?
15 A. No.
16 Q. All right. Well, did you ever ask your commander, Mr. Zekic, or
17 the commander of the Bratunac Brigade, Colonel Blagojevic, did you ask him
18 what the objective was of this -- of these activities?
19 A. No, I didn't.
20 Q. Okay. Were you ever told that you and your men had to advance to
21 try to capture Srebrenica?
22 A. No.
23 Q. During that period of time, did you ever come across any
24 prisoners, any Muslim soldiers?
25 A. No.
1 Q. All right. Now, prior to this incident on Srebrenica that
2 started -- or the events in Srebrenica, starting with July 6th, there was
3 some -- there was an incident or there was some activities that had
4 started a month or so earlier. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. All right. And I'm specifically referring to around Jadar. Am I
7 correct in stating that?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. First of all, did you participate in those events?
10 A. I did, yes.
11 Q. So you were on active duty at that point in time?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Could you please tell us what those events were about. What
14 happened, to your understanding?
15 A. Well, with -- there were shifts replacing each other every seven
16 or so days from certain lines, so that the Skelani battalion, part of the
17 battalion, had a shift replacement. And at Osmaci, the Muslim forces had
18 placed an ambush for that incoming shift and killed 13, 14, or maybe 15
19 men. I'm not sure of the number; I think it was approximately 15. And
20 the UN checkpoint, we referred to it as UNPROFOR, was in Zeleni Jadar in
21 front of the industrial zone there. And its task was to prevent events of
22 that kind from taking place along the Zeleni Jadar/Skelani road, and of
23 course the Zeleni Jadar/Bratunac road, too; however, ambushes did take
24 place. When the Serb forces came to take up their shifts along those
1 Q. Well, first of all, I want to go step by step, and this is a
2 rather important area. Do you know about when this occurred?
3 A. I think it was in June, the end of May, beginning of June. I
4 don't remember exactly.
5 Q. The ambush that was set off by the Muslim forces, could you please
6 tell us how close that was to the UNPROFOR checkpoint that was there or
7 observation point.
8 A. It was on the road towards Skelani in the Osmaci region,
9 underneath Osmaci, on the main road, asphalt road, underneath Osmaci. As
10 to kilometres, I really can't say.
11 Q. All right. Well, is it very far, or is it nearby? Do you have
12 any understanding of where the ambush was in relation to the observation
13 post, where the UN was supposed to be there, not only to protect the
14 citizens of the Srebrenica enclave, but to protect the Serbs from the
15 Muslim forces that had not been demilitarised within Srebrenica.
16 MR. WAESPI: Excuse me, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
18 MR. WAESPI: Counsel is just testifying and said what the UNPROFOR
19 mandate was.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, I'll ask another question.
21 Q. Do you know what the --
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I think we spent 30 minutes on
23 those areas before Srebrenica on 12th of July already. I hope you get
24 over this part as soon as possible.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: I will, Your Honour, but keeping in mind that the
1 Prosecution's theory is that this was a prelude to the attack on
2 Srebrenica. This was the first step. This is what Butler advocates.
3 This is what their star witness, Nikolic, has stated. And they make also
4 reference to a debriefing from the Srebrenica report as well. So this is
5 part of their theory, and I think, one, we need to put it into context;
6 and two, get the gentleman's understanding of what he believed the June
7 incident was all about.
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think there's no dispute that both parties
9 during their time committed the serious crimes. And those instances were
10 related to the attack on Srebrenica. But the attack itself is not a
11 subject matter of this case.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, Your Honour, I would agree with you in part,
13 but when we have this joint criminal enterprise where they're saying the
14 attack on Srebrenica was one continuous process --
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me, Your Honour, this is a discussion which
16 I think it may be an interesting discussion to have for the Court at this
17 point, but it shouldn't be done in front of the witness. We could do it
18 very briefly; we also may have some agreements with counsel. But to tell
19 the Prosecution what he believes the Prosecution's theory is in front of
20 the witness, this may affect the testimony.
21 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas, the gist of my intervention is just
22 to ask you to speed up your direct examination.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm trying to go as fast as I can, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE LIU: Especially on this section.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well.
1 Q. Now, after the Muslim forces conducted that ambush, what was the
2 response? Do you recall?
3 A. We were frightened. We expected to be ambushed at any moment or
4 attacked from the back. We had to be at the ready all the time. We had
5 been at the lines for 15 days.
6 Q. Now, was there a counterattack or a response by the VRS forces as
7 a result of this Muslim attack?
8 A. No. We didn't carry out any attacks or any sort of retaliation,
9 but above Jadar, above the UNPROFOR checkpoint, there was a wood we
10 decided to take because we thought that between the Biljeg checkpoint and
11 the Zeleni Jadar checkpoints, I'm speaking of UNPROFOR checkpoints that
12 there was a free zone, that it was not under any kind of control. And
13 that this is where the Muslim forces would pass through and ambush us. So
14 we took that wood.
15 Q. All right. Now, before doing so, do you know whether there were
16 any negotiations to try to see whether the UN could find some sort of a
17 way to get the parties, the Muslims and the Serbs to resolve this
18 situation, short of military force?
19 A. I wasn't aware of that. I don't know if it was before the
20 negotiations, but I did observe from that wood because we were some 20
21 metres above the UNPROFOR checkpoint. And I saw Momir Nikolic, a colonel
22 from the corps, negotiating about moving the Zeleni Jadar checkpoint,
23 asking them to go back to Ljubisavic.
24 Q. Okay. Now, the Prosecution's in-house military analyst - and I
25 say that with quotation marks - states here in his report on page 16,
1 paragraph 138, he says, and I'm just going to read just one sentence:"With
2 the political stage set, the initial military operation against the
3 Srebrenica safe area began on 31 May 1995. VRS/Drina Corps forces launched
4 Operation Jadar 95."
5 Now, to your understanding, sir, this operation or counterattack
6 as a result of the ambush from the Muslims, was this, to your
7 understanding at the time, the first step to occupying Srebrenica?
8 A. No. We only concluded that this is where Muslim forces were
9 passing through and we wanted to close off the area. We wanted to have
10 control over that area.
11 Q. All right. Had that been the objective, that is a military
12 objective, to take over Srebrenica, can you think of what operation might
13 have -- what the operation might have looked at -- like or what territory
14 they would have -- you would have tried to take over, to facilitate, that
15 is, the second attack that occurred or started in July 6.
16 A. Zeleni Jadar is in a valley. It has no strategic dominance, so
17 Zeleni Jadar would not have to be taken if we wanted to take Srebrenica.
18 If we were going to attack Srebrenica, we should have taken the checkpoint
19 on Biljeg, and cut the Srebrenica-Jadar communication at Ljubisavic,
20 because from there, you can see all of Srebrenica.
21 Q. All right. Now, after that incident did you and your battalion do
22 anything else in preparation for what was to occur, starting with July
23 6th, 1995?
24 A. No.
25 Q. All right. Let me read to you just before we leave this area what
1 Momir Nikolic has testified to in court when he was being questioned by.
2 Mr. McCloskey on 19th September 2003. It's open session. It's page
3 1.637, line 7.
4 He's asked: "Did you become -- was there any official
5 announcement of this attack plan after Zivanovic told you informally?"
6 There's an answer: "I was not aware of any official announcement.
7 I did not have an opportunity to see any official announcement, not in
8 that sense that I had insight into accounts a complete set of documents
9 related to the attack; however, in my position, I knew when preparations
10 were underway for the attack on Srebrenica.
11 Question: "When did the brigade start making preparations for
12 the attack?"
13 Answer: "Preparations began much earlier, much before the
14 official date when everything became obvious. In my estimate, this is a
15 personal assessment I'm giving you, the preparations began when the
16 UNPROFOR checkpoint in Zeleni Jadar was attacked and when this checkpoint
17 was taken. This is in late May or early June. Intensive preparations
18 began in late June and early July."
19 My question to you, sir, is: Is Mr. Nikolic correct in his
20 assessment that the attack and the takeover of the UNPROFOR checkpoint was
21 a preparatory attack in order to destroy or do away with the enclave?
22 A. I'm surprised that such a high-ranking person should make this
23 assessment. I'm sure he's wrong. The UNPROFOR checkpoint was something
24 he personally negotiated to have moved peacefully so that we could control
25 that area and that road. Had we been preparing to take Srebrenica, it
1 would have been more logical and strategically important to bypass that
2 checkpoint and take the one at Biljeg.
3 Q. All right. Just lastly, for those of us who are unfamiliar with
4 that area, why was that piece of road so important to the VRS or to the
6 A. It was important because we always felt unsafe, insecure, when we
7 were changing shifts at the line. When we were going down that road, we
8 were always afraid of an ambush because the Muslim forces were able to
9 pass by that checkpoint.
10 Q. All right.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm about to go into a bunch of
12 documents, and maybe -- this may be a good time so that way I can just go
13 through all the documents.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I think we'll break here and we'll resume at 20
15 minutes to 11.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.11 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.48 a.m.
18 JUDGE LIU: I'm sorry for the delay.
19 Mr. Karnavas, you may proceed.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
21 Q. Mr. Petrovic, I want to show you now some documents before we
22 return to the narration. Let me show you what has been marked as D144 for
23 identification purposes. Please look at it; take your time. And I'm
24 going to focus your attention on paragraphs 3, 4, and 8. All right. Now,
25 do you know what this document is by looking at it, the top? Is it not an
2 A. This cannot be treated as an order. This is simply information
3 for the unit commanders. These are suggestions.
4 Q. All right. Well, does it not say: "Deployment" -- at the top
5 "deployment of units in the defence region of the 3rd Infantry
6 Battalion," and underneath it says: "Order."
7 A. This is the first time I've seen this document and held it in my
8 hands. As far as I can see up here it says: "Trisic." This document
9 probably arrived -- was with the commander of the battalion.
10 Q. All right. But is this not an order, though? Is it not -- does
11 it not state: "Order"?
12 A. It does say "order," yes.
13 Q. And the date is 4 June 1995. Correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. Now, looking at the very first paragraph before we got
16 to the enumerated paragraphs, it states: "On the basis of clear need and
17 for the purpose of completely closing the line, taking up combat
18 positions, and organising the defence in the wider region of the village
19 of Zeleni Jadar."
20 And then the commander hereby orders several points, 11 to be
21 exact. In light of your position as the deputy commander of the
22 3rd Infantry Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade, do you know what this
23 first part calls for?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. All right. Could you please give us your opinion as to what is
1 being called when it says that: "On the basis of clear need and for the
2 purpose of completely closing the line, taking up combat positions, and
3 organising the defence in the wider region of the village of
4 Zeleni Jadar," what does that mean?
5 A. When we closed off that part above the UNPROFOR checkpoint, the
6 need arose because the 3rd Infantry Battalion did not have enough manpower
7 to remain at that line. And then probably the commander estimated that
8 other units should arrive there so that we can hold that line securely.
9 Q. Okay. Now, if we go to paragraph 3, it talks about your
10 particular battalion, does it not?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. And in paragraph 3, it says: "The commander of the
13 3rd Infantry Battalion shall task a leader of a company consisting of one
14 platoon, each from the 1st 2nd, and 3rd Infantry Battalions, to occupy the
15 defence region of the asphalt road between the village of Zeleni Jadar and
16 Srebrenica on the left, and Tucak on the right."
17 Do you know whether this was accomplished, sir?
18 A. Yes. This is the area of responsibility of the 3rd Infantry
19 Battalion, and it was logical for the commander to issue an order that we
20 should designate a komandir, a company komandir for those units, and this
21 was done. Tucak was a dominant place; I think it was taken. And the wood
22 towards Zeleni Jadar was -- well, the units that the commander ordered
23 were deployed there.
24 Q. Do you know who was the komandir that was assigned? Do you
1 A. I think it was Bozo Vuksic, that he was the company komandir.
2 Q. Okay. And where is he from? Which unit?
3 A. He is from the 3rd Infantry Battalion, I think from the
4 3rd Company.
5 Q. All right. Now, we go to the next paragraph, number 4. It
6 states: "The commander of the 3rd Infantry Battalion shall incorporate
7 this company in the battalion's control and command system and with the
8 assistance of the brigade's chief of communication organise wire and radio
9 communication with this company."
10 First question: Was this done, to your memory?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. All right. Could you please tell us: Why would this be
13 necessary? What is the significance of this particular task, in light of
14 the order and the circumstances as they existed back then?
15 A. The units had to be ready so that they could communicate with the
16 battalion command, and for that reason communications had to be
18 Q. Would that be normal or would that be an extraordinary task as
19 sort of a prelude to some sort of ongoing -- some activity that was about
20 to happen?
21 A. No. This was normal. Every unit normally had communications with
22 its command.
23 Q. All right. Now, if we go to point 8, it states: "The Red Beret
24 platoon shall be held in reserve in the region of the 3rd Infantry
25 Battalion command post to intervene along endangered axes."
1 Do you see that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Okay. Now, first of all it says: "The Red Beret platoon," as
4 opposed to a Red Beret platoon. To your understanding at that period of
5 time, how many Red Beret platoons were there?
6 A. Only they were the Red Berets at that time, and the ones that
7 separated off from the Red Berets were called the Mungosi as far as I
8 know. But only the ones attached to the 3rd Infantry Battalion were the
9 Red Berets.
10 Q. All right. And the Red Beret platoon, to your understanding,
11 consisted of how many men?
12 A. 20 people at the most.
13 Q. All right. And that's the one that was -- the deputy commander
14 was your son, Rade?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Okay. Now, here it states that they shall be in reserve in the
17 region of the 3rd Infantry Battalion command post. Now, what does that
19 A. When we took that wood, it was logical to expect an attack by the
20 Muslim forces. We had to have some men in reserve in case there was
21 fighting. They were at Pribicevac where the battalion command was, and
22 they were stationed there the whole time.
23 Q. All right. So they were physically located there, at least as of
24 4 June 1995, pursuant to this order?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do you know whether they had been attached to or were part of the
2 3rd Infantry Battalion prior to this particular order, prior to this date,
3 if you know?
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. All right. Now, going back to this last paragraph, just for point
6 of clarification it says: "To intervene along endangered axes."
7 Now, intervene, one would get the impression that this is some
8 sort of an intervention platoon. Am I correct?
9 A. At that point in time, it was an intervention platoon because they
10 were to intervene along endangered axes. That's the reason for the name,
12 Q. Okay. Well, when one hears of Red Berets, they conjure up images
13 of some sort of a special force, sort of like the Green Berets of the
14 American forces, or the real Red Berets that we've heard about from
15 Serbia. What kind of an intervention platoon was this, really, since your
16 son was deputy commander, and you were there on the line with him on 9
17 July 1995 when you got injured?
18 A. They were only known by the red berets they wore in 1992. After
19 that, they took them off and didn't even wear them, but the name stuck.
20 They were just like other soldiers.
21 Q. Okay. One last question.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: We don't need the document anymore, Madam Usher.
23 Q. Just one last question. Your son, how old was he at the time when
24 he was a deputy commander of the -- this intervention platoon?
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
1 MR. WAESPI: Maybe -- Mr. Karnavas has misspoken. I'm not sure
2 whether he meant deputy commander. He was the commander, I understand.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: No. When the son was the deputy komandir, the son.
4 I can clarify it.
5 Q. Your son, Rade Petrovic, was he the commander or deputy -- was he
6 the commander, komandir, or the deputy komandir of this intervention
7 platoon, the Red Berets?
8 A. The komandir of the Red Berets was killed in the Krajina, I think
9 in Drvar, and he replaced him.
10 Q. Okay. So was he -- was -- was his title komandir?
11 A. I don't know how they treated him, but I do know he was the deputy
12 commander. He deputised for the komandir.
13 Q. All right. We'll leave it at that.
14 In any event, could you please tell us what his age was at the
15 time back in July 1995.
16 A. My son was a minor when the war broke out. At this point in time,
17 he would have been 18 or 19.
18 Q. Okay. But he had some experience I take it, at least two or three
20 A. He didn't have any experience. He hadn't even done his military
21 service. How could he have gained experience? That's why he was wounded
22 on several occasions.
23 Q. All right. Okay.
24 Let me show you now -- just going right back. The Red Berets were
25 at the command post and were in compliance with that particular order, to
1 your understanding. Correct?
2 A. Yes. There was no need to intervene; they just remained
4 Q. Let me show you what has been marked as P416. And I'm going to be
5 focusing on paragraphs 1 and on paragraphs 5. Do you recognise what this
6 document is, sir?
7 A. This is a report to the command of the Drina Corps.
8 Q. Right. It's a daily combat report. Correct?
9 A. Probably it is a daily combat report, yes.
10 Q. Can you tell us what the date is; it's at the top.
11 A. It's illegible here.
12 Q. Okay.
13 A. On this document.
14 Q. All right. The English version states 10 July 1995. Let me go to
15 the first paragraph. It states: "The enemy carried out combat activities
16 all along the brigade defence line, in particular in the 3rd Infantry
17 Battalion area of responsibility."
18 Do you know whether this occurred on that particular day, this is
19 the 10th of July, 1995?
20 A. I don't know. I was in hospital at that time.
21 Q. All right. Let's go down to paragraph 5. It says here:
22 "Sreten Petrovic, son of Ilija, (deputy commander of the 3rd Battalion)
23 suffered serious injuries in the thigh and the forearm. "
24 Now, that is your name, is it not?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And that is your father's name, is it not?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Okay. And if we go down to the signature line, it states that
4 this -- at the end of the page it says 10 July 1995 at 1740, which would
5 be 5.40 in the afternoon, would it not?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, is this correct, in light of the medical report that I showed
8 you earlier, and of course your own personal knowledge of having suffered
9 the injuries and having received medical attention?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Okay. But is this date correct? Did you suffer those injuries?
12 A. The date of my wounding, it's well known it was the 9th, at 1800
13 hours, not the 10th.
14 Q. All right. But there's nothing here on this document that
15 reflects -- at least if it was going to be an accurate document, there's
16 nothing here that reflects that the injuries that you sustained had been
17 sustained the day before, that is on the 9th?
18 A. The report was probably a day late.
19 Q. Right.
20 A. The report to the corps.
21 Q. Exactly. But there's no correction as to when the injuries
22 occurred, thus giving perhaps the impression that the injuries occurred on
23 that particular day. Correct?
24 A. I know very well that it was the 9th. I was admitted to hospital
25 on the 9th, as can be seen in the document from the hospital where I was
2 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, let me show you another document. And
3 this is P688. This has been admitted. Would you please look at this
4 document, sir. Do you recognise it?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. Okay. And have you seen it before coming here today?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. All right. Now, first of all what is this document?
9 A. This is a decision on the appointment of the War Presidency of
10 Srebrenica, and this was issued on the 14th of July, 1995.
11 Q. Now, if we go down there on I believe it's number 4, it says:
12 "Sreten Petrovic."
13 Is that you?
14 A. Yes. "Sreten Petrovic, deputy commander of the 3rd Battalion."
15 Q. Now, I believe you told us earlier that you had been injured on
16 the 9th of July. We know that you were spotted in Potocari on the 13th of
17 July, 1995. And now we have this document that you have been appointed to
18 the War Presidency of Srebrenica on 14 July 1995. Sir, could you tell us
19 whether you attended any meetings, during which time you had put your name
20 forward for this particular appointment.
21 A. I did not put my name forward, and I don't know who put me on this
22 list. But during those days, I was not able to attend -- I couldn't have
23 attended any meetings because I wasn't able to move. And they didn't
24 invite me to attend either during those days.
25 Q. All right. Well, on the 14th of July, 1995, that's the day after
1 you had tried to get to Srebrenica but were unable to go past Potocari,
2 where were you July 14th, if you recall?
3 A. I think that on the 13th of July I tried to reach Srebrenica
4 because it was my wish to go to my flat in Srebrenica. As for the 14th, I
5 don't know about that. I know that afterwards I went for treatment and
6 back to my flat for a rest.
7 Q. When you say "flat," where was the flat for a rest? Are we
8 talking about the Srebrenica flat or is there another flat as well?
9 A. Well, no. In Bratunac. I was accommodated in Bratunac
10 temporarily in a flat in the Lamele area along the Bratunac/Konjevic Polje
11 road, where the electrical distribution company is located.
12 Q. Okay. Just one point of clarification, because I think I might
13 have missed it during the first session. When you said you had a wish to
14 go to Srebrenica, did that wish also include a wish to see the people that
15 had been or that were in Potocari on that particular day, who had been
16 there the day before as well?
17 A. Had I known that there were people in Potocari and that I wouldn't
18 be able to pass through Srebrenica, I wouldn't have gone to Potocari at
19 all. I did not have any wish. My only wish was to go to see my flat in
20 Srebrenica, from which I had to escape in 1992.
21 Q. So we can exclude you from the group of the curious that
22 had -- that might have been in Potocari for those reasons?
23 A. Well, I've given you my reason, and that was the only reason.
24 Q. Okay. Thank you. Let me show you another document which has been
25 marked for identification reasons as D145. Please look at it, spend a few
1 moments. Look at the date on top and look at the name at the bottom. And
2 of course give the rest a quick glance. All right.
3 Now, what is the -- first of all, what is the date on this
5 A. The 13th of September, 1995.
6 Q. Now, at that point in time, were you still convalescing, or had
7 you returned to your position with the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the
8 Bratunac Brigade?
9 A. I think I had already recovered in this period.
10 Q. All right. So that would have put you back on the front line or
11 back at least within the fold of the 3rd Infantry Battalion. Correct?
12 A. The 3rd Infantry Battalion at this point in time was, I believe,
13 at Drvar.
14 Q. Where were you?
15 A. I had received an assignment from the brigade command when I
16 returned and recovered that I should take part of the battalion which had
17 not gone to take up its positions at Drvar to secure a campsite of
18 Slapovici, a camping site at Slapovici.
19 Q. All right. We'll get to that. But first, at the bottom of the
20 page of this document, it says: "Sreten Petrovic."
21 It says: "On behalf of the 3rd Infantry Battalion commander,
22 Sreten Petrovic."
23 Do you see that?
24 A. Yes, I see that.
25 Q. That's your name, is it not?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, the document that I handed you, which was provided to us by
3 the Office of the Prosecution, does it have your signature on it?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Have you ever seen this document that bears your name at the
6 bottom of it, that states: "On behalf of the 3rd Infantry Battalion
7 commander." Have you seen this document?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Now, if we go to the title of this document, it states: "The war
10 history of the reconnaissance platoon of the 'Red Berets.'" Does it not
11 state that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, prior to coming here today, you have seen the document? I
14 have shown it to you, have I not?
15 A. I saw it yesterday.
16 Q. All right. Was that the first time or had you seen it previously?
17 A. The first time.
18 Q. It wasn't shown to you, for instance, when you went to Banja Luka,
19 when you gave them your documents, they didn't show you theirs?
20 A. No.
21 Q. All right. Now, if you look at this document and you look at the
22 points from 1992 all the way down to the bottom, which talks about 1995,
23 were you aware of what the Red Berets were doing during that period of
24 time, as it's stated in this particular document, that bears your name,
25 albeit not your signature, at the bottom.
1 A. I couldn't have known that. Where would I have known that from?
2 Q. I don't know. I'm asking you.
3 A. No, I didn't.
4 Q. Do you know who generated this document? Who was the person, the
5 author, the creative genius behind this particular document that talks
6 about the war history of the reconnaissance platoon of the Red Berets?
7 A. I don't know, nor was I ever sent a document like this to certify
8 and sign.
9 Q. Were you ever, sir, a member of the Red Berets?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Well, did your son, perhaps, who had been the acting komandir,
12 deputy komandir, did he sit down, perhaps, and narrate a history, the
13 glorious history of the Red Berets for you to put your name to at some
14 point in time as sort of an authentication of their bravery and their
15 accomplishments during this period?
16 A. Had he written this, he would have probably authenticated it or
17 sent it to me to authenticate. But I wasn't able to verify it because I
18 didn't know their war history at all. My son was injured several times,
19 and I'm sure that he doesn't remember all these dates, let alone me. So
20 as for this document, I'm holding it in my hands for the second time, that
21 is to say, when you gave it to me and now.
22 Q. Thank you, sir.
23 Now, we can go on to the next document. And this one is D143. It
24 has been admitted I am told. If you could -- this document, if you could
25 look at the first page. Perhaps by looking at it you might be able to
1 tell us what the document is.
2 A. Well, I don't know what this is about.
3 Q. Okay. All right. But in looking at it you see several names, do
4 you not, listed on this document? It's a compilation of names, and as you
5 move from left to right at the last column there seems to be a designation
6 as to where these names belong to, in which company, which battalion.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. Now, I want you to focus on a name -- there are two names
10 there actually, but I'm interested in the first name, the first one that
11 I've underlined for you. Miroslav Stanojevic. Do you see it?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Okay.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: The ERN number for this document, Your Honour, is
15 00658848. I don't see it -- there's no pagination.
16 Q. Now, if we go all the way to the last column it says: "3 PB,"
17 which would mean 3rd Battalion, from what I understand. Correct? And
18 then you see another word that's in brackets. Could you please tell us
19 what that word means or stands for.
20 A. Well, the word has just been disclosed. It says "crveni" in
21 quotation marks, red.
22 Q. What does that mean? What does it stand for?
23 A. Well, I don't know. They used to call each other individually,
24 say, "Crveni," Red, or some secret name. Maybe it was taken from the
25 Red Beret name, I don't know.
1 Q. Okay. But this might denote that this gentleman was with the
2 Red Berets, would it not? Because if we go up in the same page, if you
3 just give it a look, you see "crveni" on several other names in quotes, do
4 you not?
5 A. Well, it could perhaps mean that, but perhaps not on the other
7 Q. Okay. Well, let's assume that it does. I want you to make that
8 assumption. Do you recall --
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
10 MR. WAESPI: Yes. I think the witness indicated right at the
11 beginning he doesn't know the document. Now he sort of doesn't know what
12 he's -- what "crveni" means, and I'm just wondering if the witness is
13 helpful in answering questions on this list.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think, Mr. Karnavas, first of all you have to
15 ask this question whether he knows what this document is, so as to
16 establish the knowledge of this witness to this document. Otherwise, it
17 will get us nowhere.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll go about it in another way, Your Honour.
19 Q. The Prosecution has maintained and has claimed that this
20 particular gentleman, Miroslav Stanojevic, was a member of the Red Berets.
21 Now, to your recollection -- first of all, do you know this man, the man
22 that's designated here as part of being the 3rd Infantry Battalion with
23 "red" in quotes? Do you know him?
24 A. I knew the man, but he wasn't with me within the Red Beret
25 composition when we were at the forward command post in front of the
1 battalion on the 9th of July, 1995.
2 Q. Do you know whether he was a member of the Red Beret platoon?
3 A. No.
4 Q. So are you saying that he was not or you're not aware of whether
5 he was, which of the two?
6 A. I don't know. I'm not aware of that.
7 Q. But the Red Beret platoon was with you on the 9th of July, 1995,
8 100 or 150 metres --
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. And Miroslav Stanojevic was not there?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Now, if we look at the previous order, the previous order, that I
13 showed you that dates back as early as 4 -- is it 4 June? 4 June
14 1995 -- I'm sorry. It was 4 July 1995. I'm sorry. I was correct the
15 first time, 4 June 1995. That's D144. We talked about it earlier. Where
16 the Red Berets were to be part of the intervention force there. And you
17 stated that to your recollection the Red Berets were there with the
18 3rd Battalion as of this date, 4 June 1995. So my next question is: From
19 4 June 1995 until 9 July 1995, when you were taken off the battlefield,
20 did you notice Miroslav Stanojevic among this intervention platoon that
21 was being led by or commanded by your son?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, let me move on to the next document.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: That will be it for that document. Thank you very
1 Q. Let me show you a document that has been -- that's come into
2 evidence as D132. We've discussed it to some degree with other witnesses.
3 Perhaps you might be able to shed some light. You were the deputy
4 commander of the 3rd Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade. Sir, did you ever
5 see this document while you were the deputy commander?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Now, it has a date on it, 4 July 1994. If I understood your
8 testimony correctly, that might have been a time when you were still
9 convalescing from your injuries. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And then after you return to the Bratunac Brigade, you indicated
12 to us that you were put in the position of deputy commander. Right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, surely if this information, which has been prominently
15 displayed before us here in this trial, surely this would have been made
16 known to you when you returned to the Bratunac Brigade in your position as
17 deputy commander, would it not?
18 A. I don't remember.
19 Q. All right. Now, if you go back -- I want to focus your attention
20 to paragraph 2, the latter part. And I'm going to quote, if you could
21 follow along. It's on page 3 of the English version. D132. It states:
22 "We must attain our final goal, an entirely Serbian Podrinje. The enclave
23 of Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde must be defeated militarily. We must
24 continue to arm, train, discipline, and prepare the RS army for the
25 execution of this crucial task, the expulsion of Muslims from the
1 Srebrenica enclave.
2 "There will be no retreat when it comes to Srebrenica enclave, we
3 must advance. The enemy's life has to be made unbearable and their
4 temporary stay in the enclave impossible so that they leave the enclave en
5 masse as soon as possible, realising that they cannot survive there."
6 Now, as a deputy commander of the 3rd Battalion of the
7 Bratunac Brigade, were you ever told about this policy that's announced in
8 Commander Ognjenovic's information dated July 1994?
9 A. Not me personally. Now, as to Commander Ognjenovic, I knew him
10 personally. I knew that he had large ambitions.
11 Q. All right. Well, if he had large ambitions and large appetites,
12 he must have surely given orders for you to advance, move your positions,
13 try to take Srebrenica.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
15 MR. WAESPI: Yes. I think it's leading and he's just arguing his
16 case at this point. The witness said he had not received it personally,
17 and I think that's as far as it can go.
18 JUDGE LIU: That also is speculation, Mr. Karnavas.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll rephrase.
20 Q. While you were there, when you returned, when you became the
21 deputy commander, were you given any concrete orders to advance towards
23 A. No.
24 Q. Did you get any concrete orders for the expulsion of the Muslims
25 from Srebrenica?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Now, it says here: "The enemy's life has to be made unbearable
3 and their temporary stay in the enclave impossible."
4 Were the Muslims there temporarily or had they been there, as
5 you've indicated, prior to the war to the tune of about 70 per cent?
6 A. They had been there before the war, too, the Muslims.
7 Q. Ognjenovic must have known that, the commander?
8 A. Well, probably he did know.
9 Q. All right.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
11 MR. WAESPI: As you said, Mr. President, that's entirely
12 speculative. The witness said before what he knew about the document, and
13 the rest is pure speculation on the witness's part.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I agree with you.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well. Well, it's a possibility that the
16 commander did know that they had been there.
17 Q. Okay. Now, when Ognjenovic left and the new commander came in,
18 Colonel Blagojevic, did he ever share with you and your immediate
19 commander, Zekic, this information to tell you that there was going to be
20 a continuation of this policy that Ognjenovic, previous commander, had
21 announced in his information dated 4 July?
22 A. Not with me, no.
23 Q. All right. Well, you did have an occasion to see
24 Colonel Blagojevic prior to the events leading up to the fall of
25 Srebrenica, did you not?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Okay. And in your meetings with Colonel Blagojevic, did he ever
3 express this policy or any policy that the moment of truth was coming
4 where the enclave was going to be dismantled?
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
6 MR. WAESPI: The same as before, it's entirely argumentative, the
7 choice of words: "The moment of truth has been coming," I think it's
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour --
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, in this occasion I don't think so.
11 Maybe there is some problem with the choice of the words,
12 Mr. Karnavas, but the main gist of this question is correct.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll rephrase.
14 Q. Did Colonel Blagojevic, when he took over and when you would have
15 contact with him, did he ever state that there had been some policy or
16 that there were orders that you would be involved in that would result in
17 the elimination of the enclave?
18 A. No.
19 Q. All right. Now, I want to fast forward a little bit in period of
20 time. In October 1995 --
21 MR. KARNAVAS: We're through with that. Thank you. And I
22 apologise for not bringing it to your attention earlier.
23 Q. Now, October 1995, did there come a time when you came across some
24 prisoners, some Muslim men that you took in as prisoners?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Okay. Now, before we talk about that, first of all, prior to that
2 period, prior to October 1995, were you engaged in any searching
3 operations where you came across prisoners?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay. And when were those occasions where you searched the
6 terrain, if you recall? What dates?
7 A. I don't recall the date, but I do know that from the command I was
8 given the assignment to secure the settlement of camp Slapovici, but those
9 people two or three days later noticed that they were having night
10 visitors in that camping site of Slapovici. And I ordered them not to
11 open fire but just to observe. They were frightened. They thought they
12 were strong Muslim forces that had remained behind in the hills and
13 forests around Srebrenica.
14 Q. All right. First of all, where is this location, Camp Slapovici?
15 Where is that?
16 A. Well, on the left bank of the river Zeleni Jadar, not far from
17 Zeleni Jadar proper, the industrial zone there which is about 4 kilometres
18 to 5 kilometres away from the industrial zone called Zeleni Jadar.
19 Q. All right. Now, you said that the assignment was to secure the
20 settlement. What does that entail, securing the settlement?
21 A. Through force of circumstance, the settlement was complete without
22 inhabitants, of course. But the other people wanted to loot and pilfer
23 and destroy it, demolish it, and to take away any of the goods they
24 needed. In simple terms, to steal from the settlement.
25 Q. All right. And you said that you went there. Now, who was
1 staying at that location? You said: "Those people two or three days
2 later noticed that they were having some visitors." Who are those people?
3 A. Well, they were some elderly people and members of the
4 3rd Infantry Battalion who were not able to go on assignment to Drvar.
5 Q. Well, why not?
6 A. Well, they were exhausted, didn't have any strength left, they
7 might have had some family problems. Anyway, they stayed behind.
8 Q. Now, when you went to secure this location, how many men went with
10 A. This -- for the security of the Slapovici camp settlement, there
11 were two shifts, ten days each, eight to ten men in each shift.
12 Q. Okay. And I take it you would do one shift and then somebody else
13 would take out -- take over the next shift?
14 A. No. I was in charge of both shifts.
15 Q. All right. So you would remain and the other men would just be
17 A. No, I wasn't there with the men all the time. I would bring the
18 shift there, leave them there, go to Bratunac, and then I would visit them
19 every two or three days.
20 Q. All right. Now, how is it that you came across some prisoners
21 while you were up there?
22 A. When my men informed me that there were night visits to the camp
23 settlement of Slapovic, I knew that for the safety of those men and in
24 order to carry out the task fully, we had to search the wider area of
1 Q. And did you search the wider area?
2 A. Yes. We did carry out the search of the wider area of Slapovici.
3 On the first day, we didn't find any traces; all we found were trampled
4 meadows, old footprints that were a month or more old. In the evening on
5 our way back to the camp, near the camp, there is a pine wood. And there
6 we heard a dog barking. From my personal experience, I know that a dog
7 without its owner does not bark. And this was a sign that there was
8 somebody there.
9 Q. All right. Now, first of all could you describe to us the manner
10 and method in which you searched the terrain, so at least we can visualise
11 how the search was done.
12 A. When I heard the dog barking, it was already night. We got back
13 to the Slapovici camp, spent the night there; and on the following day, in
14 the morning, at 4.00 or 5.00 in the morning perhaps, we blocked all the
15 entrances, the paths leading in and out of the wood. A Muslim called
16 Refik who knew me personally came along, he knew me, I didn't know him.
17 He was scared. I told him not to be afraid and not to flee. He didn't
18 try to flee. I asked him how many other men were there; he said there
19 were six others. We asked if he would lead us there; he said he would.
20 The rest of my men gathered around. He took me to their camp. There were
21 two others there; one of them was his brother Sefik. The other was an
22 older man; his name was Nezir Djozic, and I knew him. Well, I didn't
23 really know him, but I'd heard of the name before the war because he was
24 well known in the area We went into their camp. They had pistols and hand
25 grenades, so we disarmed them. We asked if there were other Muslims in
1 the woods. They said there were others, but they were 500 metres away.
2 Refik decided to take us there and we set out all together. We found
3 those four men asleep in their camp; they were young men. One of them had
4 been wounded, I'm not sure, but I think it was in the arm. So we took
5 them to the Slapovici camp, loaded them on a vehicle, and brought them to
6 the Bratunac Brigade, where we handed them over to Momir Nikolic.
7 Q. All right. Now, before we go into what happened once you handed
8 them over, I want to go back and ask you if you could clarify the one
9 question that I asked. The day before you actually found these men, the
10 day when you heard the dog barking, you indicated that you were searching
11 the terrain. What I would like to know is how you searched the terrain,
12 what method did you use? How were the men positioned as you searched the
14 A. Well, we moved in threes and searched the terrain in sections,
15 section by section. However, I wasn't expecting them to be in the wood
16 nearby, the Muslims. We thought they were further away, so we went
17 further away from our base.
18 Q. All right. So I take it you didn't march in column?
19 A. No, no.
20 Q. Okay. Now, you said that you took the prisoners and you handed
21 them over to Momir Nikolic. First of all, why would you hand them over to
22 Momir Nikolic?
23 A. Momir Nikolic was in front of the headquarters when we arrived,
24 and he received them.
25 Q. All right.
1 A. I didn't have any specific orders as to who I should hand them
2 over to.
3 Q. All right. Now, did you see those men later?
4 A. No. When I handed them over to Momir Nikolic, he took them to the
5 canteen. We had breakfast together, not at the same table true to say,
6 but I know the food was the same.
7 Q. All right. And you were able to observe them eating breakfast?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And from that point on, do you know what happened to the men or
10 where they went?
11 A. I don't know what happened to them; I didn't ask. All I know is
12 that one of them was among the first people to return to Srebrenica,
13 Nezir Djozic. I see him now every day. I didn't know him before, but I
14 know him well now.
15 Q. Thank you. All right. Incidentally, did you ever receive any
16 orders from your commander or from Colonel Blagojevic to kill any
17 prisoners that you came across?
18 A. No. Had I received such an order, I would not have carried it
20 Q. Prior to this searching operation, the one that you talked about
21 where you're up there securing Camp Slapovici, were you involved in any
22 other searching operations to try to locate whether there were other
23 Muslim men that had not made their way from Srebrenica to Tuzla?
24 A. No.
25 Q. All right. Finally I want to show you a document that was faxed
1 to me yesterday afternoon. I know you looked at it briefly. I only have
2 the Serbian version, but I want you to look at it. It's my only copy,
3 unfortunately, but if you could just look at it. And take a couple
5 First of all, do you see your same in that particular document?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In fact, I marked it so you could see it.
8 And do you see the name of the individual that's mentioned in
9 there that reportedly has made this report? Further up. It's the first
10 page, the first line -- the first part that's marked.
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, what's the number of this
14 MR. KARNAVAS: The -- this document for identification purposes
15 will be 147, D147.
16 Q. Now, could you please tell us the name of the individual -- first
17 of all, what is this? What is this document?
18 A. This is a statement. This is a record of a statement.
19 Q. Okay. Now, the person who has made this statement, do you know
21 A. Yes, I know him personally.
22 Q. All right. And for the record what is his name?
23 A. His name is -- his last name is Ademovic.
24 Q. All right. That will be enough. When was the last time that you
25 saw this individual?
1 A. Ten days ago.
2 Q. And what is your relationship with this particular person? And by
3 that I mean how well do you get along with him or don't get along with
5 A. Adem Ademovic used to work in that zinc mine where I used to work.
6 He was a colleague of mine on the machine side to be sure, but we knew
7 each other very well. We met in Srebrenica ten days ago. We shook hands;
8 we chatted for a bit. We invited each other for a drink, but he said he
9 didn't have time so we parted.
10 Q. Now, in this particular document your name has come up with
11 respect to certain activities back in 1992. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were you involved in the activities, were you personally involved
14 in the activities that are referenced in this document?
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
16 MR. WAESPI: Yes, perhaps if we go into more detail, namely
17 locations, I would suggest to go into private session.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: I wasn't planning on going into any more details,
19 but if the Prosecutor wants me to go into details, I can.
20 JUDGE LIU: Maybe on the safe side we should go to private
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LIU: We will go to private session, please.
24 [Private session]
12 Page 9014 redacted, private session
15 [Open session]
16 MR. KARNAVAS:
17 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Petrovic. I have no further questions.
18 I appreciate your honesty in answering all of my questions. There may be
19 some questions from Mr. Jokic's attorney, the Prosecution I'm sure, and
20 perhaps the Judges. If you could be as forthright and as honest as you
21 have been with me, I would appreciate it.
22 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
23 Well, Mr. Lukic, do you have any questions for this witness?
24 MR. LUKIC: No, Your Honour, we don't have any questions for this
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
2 It's almost time for a break. We'll resume at 12.30.
3 --- Recess taken at 11.59 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
6 MR. WAESPI: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Waespi:
8 Q. Witness, I'd like to go back to the issue of the UNPROFOR
9 checkpoint at Zeleni Jadar. You remember having talked about this this
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And I believe you told us that you didn't carry out an attack,
13 that you just went into a free zone, and I think you said you took a wood.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, in these days was this UN checkpoint actually attacked, and
16 they have -- the UN people have to abandon it?
17 A. No. We were in the woods for three days and Momir Nikolic was
18 down there with the corps colonel, and they negotiated so that they could
19 hand it over.
20 Q. And were the negotiations successful? Was it handed over?
21 A. No.
22 Q. So the UN checkpoint remained the way it was?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. Let me read then what the Dutch reported about that
1 MR. WAESPI: And, Your Honours, it's P851, a report by DutchBat.
2 It's been quoted several times, I believe by the Defence,
3 cross-examination of UNPROFOR witnesses. It's on page 15, paragraph 247.
4 And I would like just to read four lines.
5 "On 1st June, the BSA, Bosnian Serb army, demanded that the
6 battalion move OP Echo, enabling unrestricted use of an important road in
7 the area of the OP. When the battalion refused to meet the demand on 3rd
8 June OP Echo was attacked by the BSA, using hand-held weapons, motors, and
9 anti-tank weapons. OP Echo was surrendered and two new OPs were
10 immediately set up to take over the task of OP Echo."
11 Now, does that refresh your memory as to whether the UNPROFOR
12 checkpoint was attacked or not.
13 A. I can't say that it was the classical type of attack. We did
14 receive an order from Momir Nikolic, that's true, to simulate an attack.
15 That means with infantry weapons to open fire but to fire into the air,
16 strong firing up into the air and not at the UNPROFOR checkpoint. So
17 these are two different concepts, whether it's an actual attack, a proper
18 attack, or a simulated attack, so it was not an attack.
19 Q. So in our saying, you used, in fact, weaponry, but in your opinion
20 or your assessment, you fire into the air?
21 A. We fired into the air. Our intention was, according to the
22 agreement reached, that since they didn't wish to hand their checkpoint
23 over we wanted to frighten them. And it bore fruit. Had the checkpoint
24 remained there, we would have remained at our positions and I don't know
25 what would have happened next.
1 Q. So the checkpoint was, in fact, moved, contrary what you told us
2 just a minute ago?
3 A. Well, I said that it was not an attack. And to this day I
4 consider that it was not an attack. As to the checkpoint, after they were
5 frightened, they came out and attacked a point 200 metres from the first
6 checkpoint they were at.
7 MR. WAESPI: No further questions, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
9 Any re-direct?
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Just a couple of points.
11 Re-examined by Mr. Karnavas:
12 Q. Sticking with that same document, P851, this report, which is the
13 report based on debriefing on Srebrenica, and it's dated 4 October 1995,
14 not to be confused with the NIOD report. It goes on to say where counsel
15 left off that: "OP-E was surrendered and two new OPs were set up to take
16 over the task of the OP-E."
17 And then it states: "From then onwards, DutchBat was no longer
18 able to disarm BiH soldiers, as there was ultimately no cooperation
19 whatsoever from the local authorities (including the local civil police)."
20 And that's in the same paragraph. My question is: Had the
21 DutchBat been disarming or had they disarmed the BiH soldiers in the
23 A. I'm not aware of whether there was any disarming, but what I do
24 know is that the Muslim forces behind our lines set up ambushes and killed
25 the Serbs.
1 Q. Now, I want to read from another report, another Dutch report, the
2 NIOD report, the one that we quoted last week. This was a report done by
3 the Dutch government regarding the fall of Srebrenica. I'm referring
4 from -- I'm reading from chapter 5. I'm going to read this section, and
5 please -- I'm going to ask you to comment on it.
6 It says here: "The Bosnian Muslims were in agreement regarding
7 the VRS objective of capturing OP Echo. The use of the road link with
8 Milici, the closure of the link between Zepa and Srebrenica, and gaining
9 access to the bauxite mines. With the occupation of Zeleni Jadar as
10 mentioned that the VRS also had the southern access to Srebrenica in their
11 hands. According to Ramiz Becirovic, the commander of the ABiH 28th
12 Division, there was no direct connection with the latter attack on the
13 enclave, however. There were provisions -- there were provocations by the
14 ABiH all the time. And the VRS had responded to it since December 1994.
15 At the start of the actual attack on Srebrenica on 6 July, Becirovic also
16 assumed that the only objective of the VRS was to further open the road
17 from Zeleni Jadar to Milici. Osman Suljic also thought that the
18 objective of capturing OP Echo was to enable the free use of the road from
19 Bratunac to Milici. And underlying reasons seen by the intelligence staff
20 of the 2nd Corps in Tuzla was that the ABiH was supplied from Zepa via
21 Zeleni Jadar and the VRS wanted to bring an end to that situation. Within
22 sector north-east, the staff likewise thought that the issue was the use
23 of the road. It shortened the east/west links from the VRS considerably.
24 It increased the possibility of keeping the population in the southern
25 part of the enclave under control, of keeping an eye on the factory
1 complexes to the south of OP Echo, of restricting the traffic to Zepa and
2 of exercising control on the bauxite mines, which were said to belong to
3 the vice-president of the parliament of the Republika Srpska. Civil
4 affairs officer Ken Biser said that he had been proclaiming for a year
5 that the VRS wanted to wrest control of the road concerned."
6 Now, sir, having read that to you, this is from the Dutch
7 government, do you have an opinion as to whether Ramiz Becirovic, the
8 commander of the ABiH, 28th Division, was correct when he stated that the
9 incident that happened in June was not directly connected with the later
10 incident in July 1995?
11 A. Ramiz was right. He probably wasn't connected to that on the 6th
12 of September, 1995.
13 Q. And it states here that the whole purpose was to take control over
14 that piece of the road. Correct?
15 A. Well, for the road to be safe and secure and for us to have
16 control over that line of communication, that's why that was done.
17 Q. Now, you were asked whether you attacked UNPROFOR. Did the Serb
18 forces, the VRS, or your unit, did they ever fire directly at UNPROFOR?
19 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, this question is asked and answered.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
21 Q. Did UNPROFOR ever fire back at the VRS, as their rules of
22 engagement might have allowed them to do so?
23 A. As far as I know, no. They didn't return fire from the checkpoint
24 either, but they were collected up the weapons, got into an APC, and
25 withdrew from the checkpoint.
1 Q. Okay. Thank you. I have no further questions.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
3 At this stage are there any documents to tender? Mr. Karnavas?
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President. D144, which is the order,
5 deployment of the units in the defence region of the 3rd Infantry
6 Battalion, dated 4 July 1995.
7 JUDGE LIU: I think it should be June.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: It should be June. You're absolutely correct. I
9 keep making that mistake. Absolutely. Thank you.
10 D145, the War History of the Reconnaissance Platoon of the
11 Red Berets, that was dated 13th September, 1995; 147, the letter of
12 discharge for Sreten Petrovic. And that's it.
13 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
14 Any objections, Mr. Waespi?
15 MR. WAESPI: No, Mr. President. Again, if we receive a
16 translation of the last document.
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think I have received the translation during
18 the break.
19 MR. WAESPI: Yes, I'm sorry. I wasn't informed. I apologise for
21 JUDGE LIU: If you -- if the Prosecution hasn't received it, I
22 think it's an obligation for the Defence to furnish the translation to the
23 other side.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: We have, Your Honour. I wasn't aware that they had
25 received it, but apparently everybody has received it.
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. These three documents are
2 admitted into the evidence.
3 Are there any on the part of the Prosecution?
4 MR. WAESPI: Yes, Mr. President. That's Prosecution Exhibit 851.
5 Mr. Butler has made reference to it a number of times and you had ruled
6 not to admit it when it came in as a bunch. But again today it was on the
7 list of exhibits for this witness from the Defence side, it wasn't used.
8 But we used it and we believe it would be a useful document for Your
9 Honours to consider.
10 JUDGE LIU: Any objections?
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, it's a big document and we just made
12 reference to one portion of it. And obviously if we're going to admit
13 this, I have to find a way of going through every statement and maybe
14 bringing a bunch of DutchBat folk over here to contest each and every
15 portion of it. Now, I don't object to the one relevant portion that was
16 read, which was paragraph 2.47. But to have the entire document puts an
17 inordinate burden on the Defence of having to challenge now everything
18 that's in the document, you know, just as I'm not putting forward the
19 entire NIOD report, I'd like to, it's about 8.000 pages. But I think to
20 the extent they make reference to this, I think that those relevant
21 portions certainly can be admitted and we have absolutely no objection to
22 that. But the entire document, that's another matter. Unless they want
23 to lay proper foundation. They can bring in a witness through their, I
24 guess, re-direct -- or their rebuttal case to lay the foundation. This is
25 just a report based on briefings. So -- and we didn't hear from the
1 rapporteur. We certainly haven't heard how this document was created, but
2 for the purposes of making references to various portions, obviously I
3 have no objection, but the entire document, that's another matter.
4 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I don't think that document has to
5 be absolutely true to the facts. Just like the documents we admitted
6 before, we don't believe that some documents say the truth. But so long
7 as it has some probative value and as long as it's relevant to this case,
8 we could admit them into the evidence.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Generally I would say yes, generally, I underscore
10 that. Specifically, I would have some problems with that, because one I'm
11 being given a rather short period of time to put on my defence. And now
12 I'm being burdened with, if this document comes in, of having to challenge
13 everything, because I don't know where perhaps somebody might anchor a
14 particular paragraph in this report, and say: "A-ha, it's in this report,
15 therefore it must be true," and then they use this as a basis for
16 anchoring another portion of some other conclusion. So if you want to
17 admit it, that's very well; I've stated my objection. On the other hand,
18 I will probably go over it with a toothcomb and it may require, it may
19 require, it may require me to bring in some further witnesses to discuss
20 this. Now, hopefully if we get Colonel Karremans here, as I'm trying to,
21 the Dutch government will need some cajoling, but if we get him in here,
22 of course, I can discuss this very thoroughly with the gentleman, as with
23 the NIOD report as well.
24 But at this point in time my basic fundamental fear is that there
25 are things in this report that someone may latch on to, whether it be in
1 one of the footnotes in Mr. Butler's report and he makes reference to
2 this, or somebody later on, they hear a witness and say: "Ah, now we have
3 circumstantial evidence, now we even have direct evidence, because it
4 comes in this report," and all of a sudden something that is marginally,
5 if at all, being proved is being given credence and weight in this trial
6 as the basis of a report that has not even been -- the foundation has not
7 been laid by the Prosecutor. So that's part of my problem. Again, I
8 don't mind snippets of it coming in, when appropriate, as in this case.
9 It was quite fair for Mr. Waespi to make reference to this report as a
10 means of trying to impeach the gentleman, in anticipation. That's why I
11 didn't use it. You notice I even have it marked. I have my own report,
12 the NIOD, and I have the appropriate sections singled out. So that's my
13 position, Your Honour.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, after the consultations with my colleagues, we
16 decided not to admit this document at this stage, but we believe that in
17 the future proceedings this document will be frequently quoted and used.
18 And before the Defence case is closed, we'll consider the admission of
19 this document, all together with all the evidence we heard through the
20 various witnesses. It is so decided.
21 Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, perhaps to assist you in that, I
23 think the Prosecution will go through Mr. Butler's report, see where he
24 has cited it, and perhaps there are some other small sections that you may
25 consider in part of your overall opinion for your final decision on that.
1 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
2 Anyway, this issue is still pending, it's still pending. We did
3 not say that we refused to admit it into the evidence and we did not say
4 we admit it into the evidence at this stage. But anyway, before the
5 closing of the Defence case, we'll consider the admission of this document
6 once again. I hope at that time the Prosecution could remind us about the
7 pending issues.
8 Well, Witness, thank you very much for coming to The Hague to give
9 your evidence. The usher will show you out of the room. We wish you a
10 pleasant journey back home. You may go now.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, are you ready for your next
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, I am ready, but -- I am ready, but
17 the next witness apparently -- yesterday was rather tired and in my frank
18 opinion, even though he's waiting in the wing, I would prefer that we have
19 a little more time to meet with the gentleman before I put him on the
20 stand. Coming to The Hague, he's quite anxious and was rather tired
21 yesterday, so I wasn't able to spend too much time with the gentleman. In
22 due deference to his needs - I'm prepared to go forward - but I would
23 appreciate it, if at all possible, that we start with this gentleman
24 tomorrow. For this week we have six witnesses. I don't think that there
25 will be any problem in covering all six of the witnesses. I think
1 tomorrow if I had the opportunity to meet with the gentleman a little bit
2 more, I could be much more efficient, and tomorrow I believe we might even
3 finish with two witnesses or close to that. But I think two witnesses is
4 very possible. But this week we have six, again I leave it up to the
5 Court's discretion. If you wish for me to start, we can, though I would
6 prefer to have that little extra time. And I apologise for not being able
7 to prepare the gentleman more thoroughly, but again they're coming over
8 here, they have anxieties, I don't want to be pushy. So -- and I think
9 Mr. McCloskey is fully aware of sort of the problems witnesses have at
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. If we're on schedule and
13 we're going to finish up, we don't have any problem with this. And
14 I -- let me just offer perhaps a suggestion you may not want to consider,
15 but the issue of the Zeleni Jadar checkpoint is an issue that I think
16 Mr. Karnavas and I have -- can agree to disagree and that it does have
17 some relevance in our view to Mr. Blagojevic. And I -- it's one of those
18 many, many issues that may never fully get argued by the time we get to
19 the end of the case or it may be left to the actual paper argument. And I
20 think it's going to be an issue that's relevant in his future witnesses.
21 Perhaps Mr. Karnavas and I could identify the issue for you in a -- I
22 could speak for 3 minutes on it and he could speak for 3 minutes, that way
23 you would see the issue as we see it. I don't know if you want to listen
24 to us anymore and I certainly would understand if you want to see as the
25 issue goes. But with a trial that's this long, it's so impossible to try
1 to argue all the issues. This is -- and I thought perhaps something we
2 could do to take up a little bit of the time, and I don't know --
3 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, do you agree with the suggestion put
4 forward by Mr. McCloskey?
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I agree, Your Honour. I'll try to maintain my
6 thoughts within three minutes. I think that's possible. I could speak
7 for about three hours on the issue, but I'll keep it short to three
9 JUDGE LIU: Well, first of all I would like to say that this
10 Trial Chamber would only take into the evidence the testimony of the
11 witnesses and other documents we admitted through other means like the 92
12 bis. I know that the parties have different views and positions on
13 certain issues, and whatever the party claimed or alleged is not the
15 Having said that, and I hope both parties will bear that in mind.
16 Who will start for the three-minute presentation?
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, I offered this programme. If you could
18 please interrupt me in three minutes and we can do the same thing and wrap
19 it up. I will really just speak about the issues and I hope to not argue
20 too much. I wasn't prepared, so this is coming a bit off the top of my
22 It is my understanding from reading some of the 65 ter and
23 listening to the Defence that the Defence will be -- that
24 Colonel Blagojevic was really unlucky in that he was in the wrong place at
25 the wrong time and that he was -- just happened to become commander on May
1 25th and that he wasn't really listened to by various commanders. And
2 it's the position of the Prosecution, as was referenced in Mr. Butler's
3 report, that the attack on the enclave, which we know is July 6th, which
4 really was preceded by the attack on OP Echo, which was the Zeleni Jadar
5 checkpoint, which happened May 31st, and you heard about this negotiation
6 to get rid of it. Therefore, it's our position that by May 31st, there
7 was clearly an plan afoot to attack the enclave and take it out, and that
8 Colonel Blagojevic's appointment on May 25th was done at a time when the
9 Drina Corps staff was fully engaged in preparing plans and thinking about
10 attacking the enclave. So they had him in mind during the attack. And so
11 that's why I think this is an important issue for the Court to understand.
12 We have two different viewpoints on it.
13 And regarding the last point that was made regarding the OP and
14 the road between Zeleni Jadar and Milici, if you remember there are two
15 objectives to the Drina Corps attack plan. One is to separate the two
16 enclaves, Srebrenica and Zepa, Zepa being south, this road being right
17 between the two enclaves, separate them because there is this line of
18 communication where there's smuggling going on and the BiH have troops
19 there that are able to do ambushes, like we heard. The legitimate
20 military objective was to stop that, cut them in half and stop that so
21 that doesn't happen, that's one objective; the second is to reduce the
22 size of the enclave to its urban area, that being the more, as you know,
23 insidious objective, from our viewpoint. And so that the Zeleni Jadar
24 attack is part of objective number one, so they can reduce those attacks,
25 and it happens to be right in the avenue of the attack and the preparation
1 area. So it really interfered with the VRS plans to get ready and to
2 prepare for that attack. And that -- this was something that needed to be
3 done in order for the overall attack on the enclave to occur, and that it
4 happened at a very similar time that Colonel Blagojevic was appointed.
5 So that's the issue. Those are the points. That's why we have
6 been responding with the questions that we have, and I know it's an issue
7 that Mr. Karnavas is arguing as well from the other viewpoint. That's all
8 I needed to say in my three minutes. And I hope that -- and I know you
9 will listen to the evidence on these points as they come out.
10 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. It's exactly three minutes.
11 Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll give it a shot.
13 Well, part of the problem with drafting the indictment the way
14 it's drafted is it covers this historical context. And they're anchoring
15 what happened to what -- the events of July 1995 back to as far as 1992,
16 more specifically to this area, however, if you look at Butler's testimony
17 you will see that he uses Krivaja 95, which was drafted much earlier. And
18 then they use the Jadar incident as a prelude to Srebrenica, as if
19 Srebrenica -- the total elimination of the enclave was the goal. We all
20 agree, or I think we have, that the attack on Srebrenica was not a crime.
21 However, from there, the Prosecution's argument has been that while the
22 attack was not a crime, what ensued thereafter, the humanitarian crisis
23 and the evacuation was actually a forcible transfer, which originated its
24 genesis was back as far as early 1992. So more or less when we see the
25 Krivaja 95 and then we see the events of July 1995, it is more or less
1 pregnant with this objective to eliminate the enclave, albeit when we look
2 at the concrete orders it is very clear that it is not the elimination of
3 the enclave, but rather it is to shrink the enclave, both Zepa and
4 Srebrenica, because there had been quite a bit of smuggling of weapons
5 going on, it wasn't demilitarised, there were lots of attacks and so on
6 and so forth.
7 If we look at the NIOD report, the section that I read has been
8 consistent with what our position has been. And also the NIOD report
9 makes reference to Major Nikolic -- they say Major Nikolic because he was
10 representing himself to be everything but his true rank, which was
11 captain. But you see that Major -- that Nikolic was negotiating, and the
12 whole purpose of this was to try to find some resolution where the Muslim
13 forces would not be committing these ambushes. So our position is you
14 have two different incidents; one is not connected with the other. And
15 that Colonel Blagojevic obviously had the luck or lack thereof to appear
16 at the scene right before these two incidents. And it's been our position
17 that he has never been involved in any of the activities, either before,
18 during, or after. He wasn't involved in any forcible transfer. He wasn't
19 involved -- his troops were not involved in the attack on Srebrenica or to
20 eliminate the enclave, even as late as the 10th or 11th, that he wasn't
21 involved in hunting down anybody who was on their way to Tuzla in order to
22 capture them and to kill them. And so that's been our position. And I
23 think that the Prosecution has been making their argument that Jadar and
24 the attack on Srebrenica on the 6th are interconnected. And
25 it's -- that's why it's necessary, for us at least, to be able to mount a
1 defence to show that there perhaps may be other reasons, reasons that the
2 Dutch government in its very comprehensive NIOD report has concluded
3 through ABiH commanders that one was not related to the other. The
4 Prosecution believes otherwise. That's their belief; they're entitled to
5 it. They can try to prove it, and of course we are trying to do the
6 opposite. That's why when we get to this particular issue, while it may
7 not be directly on point with what happened after the fall of Srebrenica,
8 because it's part of the Prosecution's case and part of their case as it
9 relates to the forcible transfer issue and the ethnic cleansing issue, I
10 think that we need to have a certain amount of latitude in order to mount
11 a defence. Because I'm already anticipating their closing argument. I
12 can deliver it for them, in fact. And that's why, knowing what I'm about
13 to hear on closing, I'm slowly trying to anticipate that and fire back
14 with my own ammunition in order to establish that they have no case, and
15 they certainly can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
16 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
17 As I said before, the statement by the parties is just the
18 expression of the views they hold on the particular issue, and it has no
19 evidential value at all. And we'll base our findings on the live
20 testimony of the witnesses and other documents admitted through other
22 Well, thank you very much. I think the hearing is adjourned until
23 tomorrow morning at 9.00.
24 Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.08 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
25 the 11th day of May, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.