Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 11370

1 Thursday, 1 July 2004

2 [Defence Opening Statement]

3 [Open session]

4 [The accused entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 2.31 p.m.

6 JUDGE LIU: Well, call the case please, Mr. Court Deputy.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Case Number IT-02-60-T, the

8 Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.

9 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.

10 For the sake of the record, could we have the appearances, please.

11 For the Prosecution.

12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Peter McCloskey and Janet Stewart.

13 JUDGE LIU: For the Defence.

14 MR. KARNAVAS: Michael Karnavas.

15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.

16 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.

17 Today I am here, Miodrag Stojanovic, as the chief Defence counsel and

18 Branko Lukic as the co-Defence counsel.

19 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.

20 First of all, I have to apologise for the delay, because the

21 morning session finished a little bit late and we have some technical

22 problems. And secondly, I have to say that Judge Vassylenko won't be able

23 to be with us this afternoon because of other business. In accordance

24 with Rule 15 bis, the remaining Judges decided to continue the

25 proceedings.

Page 11371

1 And this is an opening statement in accordance with Rule 84, which

2 is the expression of the positions and viewpoints by the Defence counsel

3 of Mr. Jokic. Therefore, we would not like to see any interruptions or

4 objections during the proceedings by the parties unless there are some

5 issues that the parties need some clarification.

6 Well, Mr. Stojanovic, are you ready for your opening statement?

7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You may proceed.

9 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We are

10 at the end, Your Honours, of this long, exhausting, comprehensive, and

11 quite difficult case. In the course of this trial, we acquired new

12 information every day, new facts, new evidence which throw a new light on

13 our case. This opening statement is meant to, at this point, at this

14 level of awareness of the facts, inform this Trial Chamber and the public

15 about the role of the accused Dragan Jokic in these events. We all have a

16 professional, ethical, moral and, above all, human duty to give our full

17 contribution to the establishment of truth in these tragic events, and

18 thus contribute to conciliation and mutual understanding in the territory

19 of the Balkans and Bosnia-Herzegovina. I would like to focus on the

20 Srebrenica enclave up until the operation Krivaja 95.

21 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, I think you have to make a pause

22 after each sentence because you really put the interpreter and the court

23 reporter in a difficult position. Sometimes we just forget it. You may

24 proceed, Mr. Stojanovic.

25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. With

Page 11372

1 this opening statement we also wanted to give a brief summary of this

2 operation from the point of time when it moved to the area of the defence

3 of the Zvornik Brigade followed by a brief summary of the combat

4 operations in the area of the Zvornik Brigade, viewing this event from the

5 aspect of one and the other warring party. Then we would like to state

6 the details about the process of bringing the prisoners and their

7 execution, as well as the role of the Zvornik Brigade in all of these

8 events. And finally, we would like to particularly look at the role of

9 Dragan Jokic, our client, the defendant, in the context of this indictment

10 and based on our theory of this case.

11 This is the order in which the Defence will try to present its

12 views to this Trial Chamber and also subjected to the review of history

13 through the testimony of witnesses who will come to testify in this

14 courtroom, and also through material evidence providing our contribution

15 to the mission of this international criminal court and the mandate

16 received from the United Nations.

17 But let us proceed in order. I am going to quote just a few drops

18 in the sea of news headlines, which for the past nine years have been

19 preoccupying the attention of the domestic and international public about

20 the events in Srebrenica, starting from the fact that Srebrenica has

21 fallen: "The tragedy of Srebrenica"; "Srebrenica for Sarajevo";

22 "Srebrenica, the Katin forest of Republika Srpska"; "the truth about

23 Srebrenica"; "the salvation or Bosnia and Herzegovina"; "Quo vadis

24 Srebrenica?"; and a series of other newspaper headlines which have been

25 published.

Page 11373

1 Following a major spring offensive by the VRS, the Army of

2 Republika Srpska, in 1993, as is well-known the United Nations Security

3 Council adopted, in May 1993, resolution number 819 on establishing the

4 protected zone of Srebrenica, the protected area of Srebrenica. This

5 resolution established the mandate of the peacekeeping forces as well as

6 the obligation to demilitarise the enclave. However, the resolution

7 remained only dead letters on paper in many segments while life took a

8 different course: An exceptionally difficult humanitarian situation in

9 the enclave; a vast number of refugees and displaced persons; shortage of

10 electricity and water; constant conflicts with the Army of

11 Republika Srpska; mutual conflicts, and hostility within the borders of

12 the enclaves amongst the various political options and paramilitary

13 structures; an undefined mandate of the peacekeeping forces of the

14 United Nations; and right from the beginning the controversial issue of

15 the borders of the enclave, and a series of other open issues made the

16 Srebrenica enclave a place that nobody would agree to live in.

17 For the Army of Republika Srpska, the Srebrenica enclave was a

18 thorn in the side, both in the strategic and military aspect. The

19 existence of the enclaves of Gorazde, Zepa, and Srebrenica disrupted the

20 homogeneity of the Serbian territory in the eastern section of

21 Republika Srpska. The border with Serbia was not fully under control

22 while in the military sense it required the engagement of at least three

23 brigades to hold the line towards Srebrenica. All these circumstances,

24 along with a number of other factors, primarily daily armed conflicts,

25 provocations, the deaths of soldiers and civilians, intelligence

Page 11374

1 information about preparations for an attack from the enclave, and the

2 linking up of the territory of the enclave with territories under the

3 control of the 2nd Corps of the Armija of the BiH brought the VRS to take

4 the decision on the operation Krivaja 95. This decision found the

5 Srebrenica enclave without a demobilisation being completed, on which we

6 have heard a series of testimonies here from members of the Dutch

7 Battalion, with an organised military structure in the formation of the

8 28th Division of the BiH army and with 5.000 armed soldiers, according to

9 sources from the BiH army, or with 9.000 soldiers armed mostly with

10 infantry weapons, according to sources of the VRS.

11 On the 2nd of July, 1995, serious preparations began for a

12 military operation, Krivaja 95. On that day, the command of the

13 Drina Corps issued preparatory order number one in which it instructed

14 selected units of the Drina Corps to send reinforcements to the Srebrenica

15 sector. Immediately upon the issuance of the preparatory order on the

16 same day, there was a second order which was an order for active combat

17 operations. Based on this order, the main objective of the Drina Corps

18 was not to capture Srebrenica, but the objective was limited to severing

19 land connections between the Muslim forces in Srebrenica and Zepa. The

20 following task was to narrow down the protected area of Srebrenica

21 followed by that of Zepa just to the urban areas of these two towns.

22 According to this order, the attack was supposed to start on the 6th of

23 July, 1995, at 4.00.

24 As is well-known, that is exactly what happened. The attack on

25 the southern sector of the enclave and the takeover of the observation

Page 11375

1 posts of the Dutch Battalion Foxtrot, Uniform, Sierra, and Kilo. Judging

2 by the initial achieved successes and undoubtedly weaker resistance than

3 expected, the disorganised state of the 28th Division, the supreme command

4 of the VRS in the evening of the 9th of July issued an order to the Drina

5 Corps in which Radovan Karadzic, in his capacity as supreme commander,

6 requested the capture of Srebrenica for the purpose, I quote, "of definite

7 disarming of terrorists and for the demilitarisation of Srebrenica."

8 The course of continued operations is well-known, so I do not want

9 to dwell on that in this opening statement. The historic facts about the

10 entry of the VRS to Srebrenica on the 11th of July, 1995, in the afternoon

11 is also something that is familiar. Video footage on the entrance of

12 General Mladic to the Srebrenica city centre is taken as the indication of

13 the fall of the Srebrenica enclave. To provide some context to these

14 events and especially for the purpose of the concept of a joint criminal

15 enterprise, we must follow the course of these events, both as far as the

16 movement of the military column is concerned as well as the movement of

17 the prisoners who had fled to Potocari and those captured during the

18 breakthrough of the military column.

19 According to the decision of the military and the civilian

20 leadership of the enclave, columns of the population set out in two

21 different directions. The militarily unfit population, women, children,

22 the elderly, and the weak, already from the evening on the 10th of July

23 set off towards the UN base in Potocari, while members of the

24 28th Division of the BiH army set off to the -- towards the Susnjari and

25 Jaglici villages. This area in the northwestern corner of the safe area

Page 11376

1 was the starting point for the breakthrough through the territory under

2 the control of the VRS.

3 Depending on the source of information, a military column

4 numbering from 10 to 15.000 people was formed. And in the course of the

5 11th and the 12th of July, about 30 to 35.000 refugees assembled around

6 the base of the DutchBat in Potocari. Therefore, without significant

7 battles and without major losses, the VRS entered Srebrenica. It is

8 logical to ask the question: Where were the soldiers, the members of the

9 28th Division? And where were the weapons?

10 As negotiations were underway on the 11th in the evening and the

11 12th in the morning in the Hotel Fontana with unauthorised Muslim

12 negotiators, members of the 28th Division set out to break through an area

13 the length of 100 kilometres towards Tuzla and Kladanj. After arranging

14 themselves in a combat disposition with the most elite units at the front

15 of the column and civilians in the rear of the column, the column set out

16 in the evening on the 11th of July towards the villages of Kamenica and

17 Pobudze, and then towards the Konjevic Polje/Kasaba/Milici road. The size

18 of the column, its disposition as it was moving, numerous minefields,

19 different psychological and physical capabilities of those who were in the

20 column immediately led to a differentiation of the column. Eyewitnesses

21 testify about a column which was over 6 kilometres long.

22 The first part of the column made it to the Kamenica Brdo without

23 major problems, while the middle sector and the rear sector in particular,

24 which suffered a lot of casualties in that part, encountered strong fire

25 as they were on their way. The first major rest for the front of the

Page 11377

1 column occurred on the 12th of July at 9.00 in the sector of the Kamenica

2 village, while the rear of the column arrived there with the wounded only

3 in the early evening of that same day. I am going to quote one of those

4 who were in this column and who also happened to be a commander who

5 describes this moment by saying the following: "The experience, the day

6 of that travel is something that everyone faced. Who will be at the front

7 of the column? As we are waiting for the answer to this question, the

8 enemy is requesting that we give ourselves up. At the same time coming

9 closer and closer to the column which was already caught up in a panic.

10 Things were not quite clear on our side either. The front part of the

11 column with the wounded and the elite units was proceeding. They were

12 going ahead. There is no longer any discipline in our trek. The

13 artillery from Sandici is firing at the column, which is in panic, and

14 there are many victims who have fallen in the bursts of fire. The enemy

15 has infiltrated our ranks. Many are starting to hallucinate, while

16 others, frightened with what they have seen, are beginning to give

17 themselves up."

18 A witness who survived the executions in Orahovac spoke about 500

19 to 800 killed, spoke about suicides amongst those in the column, and about

20 the total disarray of the second part of the column, which prompted him to

21 surrender to the VRS on the 13th of July. A large number of people from

22 the column decided to change their direction of movement and to try a

23 breakthrough in the direction of Zepa. However, in spite of all these

24 problems, the front of the column did break through all the blockades.

25 And in the night between the 12th and the 13th of July, 1995, they cut

Page 11378

1 through the Nova Kasaba/Konjevic Polje road and came to the sector of the

2 Udric mountain. On the morning of the 13th of July, from 8.00 in the

3 morning to 2.00 in the afternoon, the column rested and gathered together

4 the people who were in it. Due to the constant arrival of people in the

5 column, a group of soldiers remained behind to organise a new column,

6 while the main part of the column continues on its way.

7 Your Honours, this is where we now touch upon the military

8 operations undertaken by the Zvornik Brigade. Please allow me to speak a

9 few words about the Zvornik Brigade, to which Dragan Jokic belongs, and

10 which will be discussed in the presentation of our case.

11 The unit was formed in June 1992 with the transformation of the

12 Territorial Defence, and its staffing by physically able local population.

13 The unit functioned as a military formation based on the principle of

14 unity of command and subordination. From the 8th of December, 1992, the

15 brigade commander was Vinko Pandurevic. And from October 1992, the chief

16 of staff and at the same time the deputy commander of the brigade was

17 Dragan Obrenovic. In its composition, the brigade mobilised 6.000

18 conscripts, but actually less than 50 per cent of the establishment

19 composition of the brigade was actually engaged. While in exceptional

20 situations, mobilisation amounted to up to two-thirds of the total number

21 of the members of the brigade. The unit was organised into eight infantry

22 battalions of which one battalion, the 8th Battalion as it was called, was

23 attached as the 4th Battalion to the Bratunac Brigade. It also had a

24 company of military police, a logistics units, an engineering company, and

25 a number of other staff units.

Page 11379

1 From 1993, the length of the zone of defence of the

2 Zvornik Brigade was over 40 kilometres, while the depth of the zone of

3 defence amounted to -- from 3 to 5 kilometres. Such a large area is

4 absolutely contrary to military regulations. But an insufficient number

5 of soldiers in the VRS was simply an insurmountable limiting factor in

6 these circumstances. The Zvornik Brigade was the largest brigade within

7 the Drina Corps and amongst the largest in the VRS. And without doubt, it

8 had the youngest and most promising commanders, which is how the VRS at

9 the time thought of the young, ambitious, and qualified officers such as

10 Vinko Pandurevic and Dragan Obrenovic. Perhaps that was the reason why

11 this brigade remained in a structure of eight battalions instead of

12 organising itself as two brigades, which would be closer to the rules of

13 the brigade.

14 In this brigade, Dragan Jokic was performing the duty of a staff

15 officer, the chief of the engineering service, from December 1992, and he

16 held the rank of captain first class and then the rank of major. We will

17 hear a lot of testimony in our case about the structure of the

18 Zvornik Brigade, about the functioning of the command, and the authority

19 of the command officers.

20 Pursuant to the preparatory order issued by the command of the

21 Drina Corps on the 2nd of July, 1995, the Zvornik Brigade was tasked with

22 separating off from among its troops and establishing forces equivalent to

23 a light infantry battalion with means of support to carry out combat

24 operations in the direction of Srebrenica. The brigade commander,

25 Vinko Pandurevic, acted in compliance with this order and formed a

Page 11380

1 tactical group, which he called TG1. And with this unit, starting with

2 the 4th of July, 1995, he went off in the direction of Srebrenica. The

3 chief of staff, Dragan Obrenovic, remained in the area of defence of the

4 brigade. Dragan Obrenovic, who was the deputy commander, was responsible

5 for commanding the brigade in the commander's absence.

6 On the 6th of July, in the early morning, pursuant to orders from

7 the Drina Corps, as we have heard, they launched an attack in the given

8 direction without any major military successes, but with three soldiers

9 wounded. In the counter-attack which took place on the 10th of July in

10 the morning, the Muslim forces inflicted large casualties on the members

11 of the Zvornik Brigade, seven soldiers were killed and nine were wounded.

12 After reinforcements were brought in and a new order received directly

13 from General Mladic, they set off toward the town of Srebrenica. In the

14 course of the 11th of July, they were approaching the town of Srebrenica,

15 although at one point at about 1300 hours they were stopped by the

16 activities of the NATO air force in the area of the village of Bojna. On

17 this occasion, there were no casualties, but there was materiel damage.

18 After entering Srebrenica, a meeting was held in Bratunac where

19 the unit was required to continue its combat activities in the direction

20 of the Zepa enclave. The brigade commander, Vinko Pandurevic, opposed

21 this. But regardless of this fact, the unit had to carry out this order

22 and it set out in the direction of Zepa.

23 On the 15th of July in the early morning, after becoming aware of

24 the contents of a telegram which had arrived from the command of the

25 Zvornik Brigade, from Dragan Obrenovic, asking that the unit return to the

Page 11381

1 Zvornik area because of the dramatic situation in which the town of

2 Zvornik found itself and after receiving approval from the corps

3 commander, the unit starting at 0900 hours on the 15th of July, 1995,

4 regrouped and set out towards Zvornik. Throughout all these days in the

5 absence of the brigade commander, it was Dragan Obrenovic who led and

6 commanded the brigade. He had both the functional and formal capacity to

7 undertake all the measures that command requires. Obrenovic himself

8 admitted to this in his guilty plea. He said in answer to a question from

9 Mr. McCloskey, I will quote: "So late in the evening of the 14th and in

10 the early morning hours of the 15th" - this is Mr. McCloskey's

11 question - "you were in charge of Zvornik?"

12 Obrenovic replied: "Yes, for the brigade."

13 Mr. McCloskey went on to ask: "And you were responsible for the

14 prisoners in the schools at that time. Is this correct?"

15 Obrenovic replied: "Yes."

16 As early as on the 12th of June, Obrenovic had access to

17 intelligence information on the arrival of the column in the area of

18 defence of the Zvornik Brigade. He issued an order to Dusko Vukotic, who

19 was then the intelligence officer in his staff to gather intelligence

20 information about the movement and the size of the column. In the evening

21 of the 12th of July, Obrenovic sent a group of military policemen to the

22 area of the village of Lijesanj in order to reconnoitre the movements of

23 the column.

24 At about 2200 hours, he received information about the entry of

25 about 500 men into the area of defence of the Zvornik Brigade. We shall

Page 11382

1 hear testimony about this from witnesses whom we shall call shortly to

2 testify in this courtroom. This large group of soldiers entering the area

3 of defence of the brigade from the back side of the unit, which was

4 already weakened and holding positions facing the lines of the 2nd Corps

5 of the Army of BiH was, without doubt, a threat in the military sense,

6 both for the Zvornik Brigade and the town of Zvornik. Zvornik was

7 literally in a situation where there was no one there to defend it. The

8 route to the town was wide open. The best and toughest part of the

9 brigade was at that moment on its way towards Zepa. The 2nd Corps of the

10 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, acting from the direction of Tuzla,

11 intensified its combat activities along the entire front line in order to

12 assist the oncoming column in this way also.

13 On that day, the 12th of July, 1995, Obrenovic issued an order to

14 all battalions of the Zvornik Brigade that they should set apart a part of

15 their men who would, together with 15 engineers headed by the komandir or

16 commander of the engineers unit and the so-called donors [phoen] go to the

17 area of the village of Snagovo in order to form a new defence line on the

18 axis formed by the villages of Maricici, Perunike, Planinci.

19 On the 13th of July, 1995, this group was joined by

20 Captain Milan Maric who was an operations officer in the staff of the

21 Zvornik Brigade and he will testify about these events and about his

22 activities as duty officer before this Tribunal. The night from the 13th

23 to the 14th of July, 1995, was spent in consolidating the new line and

24 strengthening it with the newly-arrived police unit from the Doboj public

25 security centre. These reinforcements arrived as a result of several

Page 11383

1 calls sent by Obrenovic to the command of the Drina Corps, drawing

2 attention to the seriousness of the situation.

3 Meanwhile, the column of the 28th Division moved from the area of

4 Mount Udric to the village of Snagovo. And on the 14th of July at 1900

5 hours, they entered into fierce fighting with the VRS, which was at this

6 position. They broke through, took prisoner the commander of the police

7 unit for Doboj, the police station, Zoran Jankovic. And in the early

8 morning of the 15th of July, they cut off the Zvornik/Kalesija road at

9 Crni Vrh, came across an ambulance of the Zvornik Brigade, killed the

10 driver, and then came out in the area of the village of Krizevici. Here

11 they regrouped, rested again, sent out a reconnaissance unit, preparing

12 for a decisive battle, because they were already close to the border with

13 the territory under the control of the 2nd Corps of the Army of Bosnia and

14 Herzegovina. All these combat activities were monitored, coordinated, and

15 the units were commanded by Dragan Obrenovic. It was he who at that time

16 was connected to the brigade command by radio. He had radio connections

17 with his intelligence officer, and he had radio connections with all his

18 battalions. He was the focal point in the coordination of all the

19 activities in the Zvornik Brigade. He had a jeep with his driver and his

20 communications man, he was mobile and able to move at any moment.

21 In the night from the 13th to the 14th of July, he spent a certain

22 time at the positions at Snagovo. And around midnight, Your Honours,

23 between the 13th and the 14th, he was in the brigade command, where he

24 issued orders to Ljubo Bojanovic, an officer in the organ for morale in

25 order that reinforcements be sent to the areas of Snagovo and Maricici.

Page 11384

1 We shall hear testimony to this effect in this courtroom.

2 Likewise, after the morning roll call on the morning of the 14th

3 of July, 1995, at the command of the Zvornik Brigade, after he had

4 designated Dragan Jokic as the duty operations officer, he went with fresh

5 reinforcements led by Captain Zoran Jovanovic to the area of the villages

6 of Maricici and Snagovo. And in the evening of the 14th of July, he was

7 again in the command of the Zvornik Brigade, from where he dictated a

8 telegram containing an interim combat report for the Drina Corps.

9 Your Honours, we shall hear testimony about this as well.

10 He stayed in the brigade command until the morning of the 15th of

11 July, when he again went to Snagovo, returning to the brigade at around

12 1100 hours, as he himself testified. The distance from the brigade

13 command to the village of Snagovo can be traversed by his vehicle in 15 or

14 20 minutes of normal driving. We shall hear testimony about this, too.

15 We shall hear testimonies which will show that Obrenovic, when preparing

16 his defence, attempted to influence witnesses to say that he was at

17 Snagovo in the night between the 13th and the 14th, rather than in the

18 brigade command. By showing this, we wish to argue, and in our view this

19 follows from Obrenovic's admission, that he and he alone was the person

20 who throughout this time both led and commanded the brigade. There is no

21 leadership without command, Your Honours. Command is an element of

22 control.

23 We shall endeavour to show this by calling military experts in

24 this area. At around noon of the 15th of July, Obrenovic, or rather,

25 Vinko Pandurevic returned to the brigade command. And from this point, he

Page 11385

1 took over both functional and full control of the brigade. Obrenovic

2 informed him of the current situation in the area of defence of the

3 Zvornik Brigade, after which Pandurevic went to the forward command post,

4 which we shall be referring to as the IKM. This is the B/C/S abbreviation

5 used in the documents we shall be using. And this forward command post

6 was in the village of Kitovnice. From that point on, Pandurevic took over

7 responsibility for the brigade.

8 With regard to their meeting, we shall hear testimony, I hope,

9 from a witness who will testify as to the events of the 16th of July,

10 1995. Allow me, Your Honours, to revisit the actions of the 2nd Corps of

11 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to understand the seriousness

12 of the military situation in those two days when Dragan Jokic was the duty

13 operations officer in the brigade. Through the operative and intelligence

14 information, the 2nd Corps, with its headquarters in Tuzla, was aware and

15 fully informed of the direction in which the column was moving. They had

16 radio links with the column. True to say it was cut off at certain

17 moments either due to the configuration of the terrain or because of

18 problems with a quality of the radio equipment.

19 The command of the 2nd Corps, in order to provide assistance to

20 the column, formed a sabotage group led by Naser Oric, comprising about 30

21 officers from Srebrenica who had been undergoing training outside the

22 enclave. They asked them to break through the lines of defence of the VRS

23 and join up with the column of the 28th Division in the area of

24 Mount Udric.

25 Also, they concentrated strong forces comprising parts of the

Page 11386

1 241st and 242nd Brigade; the special units known as the Zivinicke Ose,

2 Wasps; the 24th Sabotage Detachment, known as the Black Wolves; and parts

3 of the 243rd, 244th, 245th, and 246th Brigade. These units were assembled

4 in the village of Nezuk with the view to breaking through the lines of

5 defence of the VRS and joining up with the column from Srebrenica.

6 Simultaneously, starting from the 15th of July in the morning, they

7 started negotiations between the officers of the 2nd Corps of the BH army

8 and Obrenovic. And later these negotiations were continued with

9 Pandurevic concerning establishing a truce and letting the column pass

10 through. As the initial negotiations did not achieve any results, the

11 forces were regrouped in the night from the 15th to the 16th of July, and

12 in the early morning of the 16th of July at about 0600 hours in the area

13 of the village of Baljkovica a breakthrough was carried out of the VRS

14 lines.

15 On that occasion, the command of the 4th Battalion of the

16 Zvornik Brigade was destroyed; over 40 soldiers were killed; three

17 armoured vehicles were captured; one soldier of the VRS was taken

18 prisoner, his name was Tesic, Dragan Trisic; and Dragan Obrenovic's jeep

19 was captured. Meanwhile, the column had started again, the column of the

20 28th Division, through Krizevicke Njive to meet up with units of the

21 2nd Corps, practically hemming in the VRS on both sides. The brigade

22 commander, Vinko Pandurevic, was forced by the momentary military

23 situation to accept a cease-fire. And at 1400 hours of the 16th of July,

24 1995, a corridor, about 1 kilometre wide, was opened up. As soldiers say,

25 it was three trenches wide. And the main part of the column of the

Page 11387

1 28th Division, comprising about 4.000 soldiers, emerged on the territory

2 controlled by the army of BH. This corridor was closed, according to some

3 sources on the 17th of July, and according to other sources on the 18th of

4 July. In the evening of the 18th, the fighting started again.

5 We shall hear about these events through testimony of very

6 reliable witnesses from the BH army. With respect to the fighting we have

7 just spoken of, books have been written about it, and we shall use parts

8 of these books to make present to Your Honours the intensity and scale of

9 the military operations in those days in July, and the activities of the

10 men who were engaged in these operations. In parallel with these events,

11 which are all legitimate military operations in a state of war and which

12 will be dealt with in military manuals of the future, another tragic

13 course of events took place. This was the course taken by Muslim

14 prisoners leading to killing fields in Zvornik.

15 This Trial Chamber had heard numerous testimonies, both by

16 witnesses for the Prosecution and by witnesses for the Defence of

17 Mr. Blagojevic, about these traumatic events in Potocari. We have heard

18 testimony about how members of the column of the 28th Division were taken

19 prisoner in the areas of the villages of Sandici, Lolici, Konjevic Polje,

20 and Kasaba about the decision to transport these prisoners to the Zvornik

21 municipality. You have already heard testimonies speaking of the enormous

22 convoy of vehicles with prisoners led by a UN vehicle and a Golf car

23 containing as-yet-unidentified VRS officers. This convoy set out from

24 Bratunac in the afternoon of the 14th of July, 1995, and it arrived in the

25 area of the village of Orahovac in Zvornik municipality where the first

Page 11388

1 group of prisoners arrived in the early afternoon of the 14th of July,

2 sometime between 1300 and 1500 hours. This varies in different

3 testimonies that we heard, including the testimony of surviving victims of

4 the executions in Orahovac. For this reason, we shall not deal with this

5 part of these events, that is the arrival of the prisoners in Orahovac.

6 The further transfer of prisoners in the area of Zvornik

7 municipality took place in the direction of the school in the village of

8 Petkovci. Then towards the school in Kula, in Branjevo. The community

9 centre in the village of Pilica, and the school in the village of Rocevic.

10 These facts were also confirmed by the Prosecution's military analyst,

11 Mr. Richard Butler, in his testimony concerning the military events in

12 Srebrenica in paragraphs 7.10, 7.29, and 7.30 of his report. These facts

13 have also been confirmed through the testimonies of survivors of the

14 execution and the dam in Petkovci and the Branjevo Farm.

15 Circumstantial evidence confirms that the prisoners were brought

16 to the school in Rocevic on the 15th of July, 1995, and the execution of

17 these prisoners was carried out in the area of the village of Kozluk, near

18 the River Drina river bed on that same day in the afternoon. It is

19 noteworthy that an incident occurred in the Kula school in Branjevo on the

20 14th of July in the afternoon, when a group of prisoners was brought in.

21 While they were disembarking from the vehicles, they attempted to flee.

22 The VRS soldiers who were there shot in their direction, killing several

23 prisoners. We have heard the testimony of Mr. Ruez to this effect, and we

24 shall also hear similar testimonies in this courtroom.

25 On the following day, the 15th of July, it appears that another

Page 11389

1 group of prisoners was brought to this area, to be more precise into the

2 Pilica community centre. These prisoners were killed on the 16th of July,

3 1995, either at the Branjevo Farm or in the Pilica community centre

4 itself. These are facts. This is the truth, however painful it may be

5 for all concerned. And this Defence is not attempting to deny these

6 facts.

7 The only written evidence about these prisoners is the interim

8 combat report by the brigade commander, Vinko Pandurevic, of the 15th of

9 July, 1995, Your Honours. It was sent at 1900 hours and, among other

10 things, it states, I will quote just this one sentence but during the

11 presentation of our case we shall comment on this exhibit. It says: "An

12 additional burden is the large number of prisoners held in schools in the

13 area of the brigade and the obligation to secure and sanitise the terrain.

14 This command can no longer deal with these problems because it lacks the

15 materiel and other resources. If no one else takes over this obligation,

16 I shall be forced to release them." End of quotation.

17 All of the witnesses heard so far, Your Honours, confirmed the

18 thesis of this defence that the prisoners were seen while passing through

19 Zvornik and that the general consensus at the time was that these people

20 were taken to be exchanged. This is confirmed by witnesses whom we have

21 heard so far, and this is also confirmed by the surviving victims of the

22 massacre. Through our case, we wish to show that on the 14th of July,

23 1995, Dragan Jokic knew about the existence of prisoners but not about

24 their fate, definitely not. Escorting the prisoners, organising their

25 accommodation, finding locations for their accommodation, as well as

Page 11390

1 finding execution sites is undoubtedly something that was carried out by

2 the officers of security organs.

3 What were all of the units which participated in these murders is

4 something that will be investigated for a long time to come and will

5 definitely be something for which criminal charges will be filed. It is

6 clear that there was an attempt to carry out a covert parallel operation

7 devised in somebody's morbid head so that all of these prisoners, instead

8 of being exchanged, be taken to execution sites and be killed there.

9 Could anyone reasonable believe that so many people would find their

10 tragic end in this way?

11 Finally, the key issue for the Defence and for our case that we

12 are about to present is the issue for which we are -- is the issue we are

13 addressing in this opening statement, and that is what role Dragan Jokic

14 played in all of this. And is there any individual responsibility on his

15 part for these crimes which had undoubtedly been committed?

16 Perhaps, Your Honours, this would be a good time to have a break,

17 because I believe that I will have another 20 minutes to go, as I have

18 five pages approximately left. I might take 20 to 25 minutes.

19 JUDGE LIU: It's time for a break and we have been sitting here

20 for 75 minutes. So we'll resume at 10 minutes past 4.00.

21 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.

22 --- On resuming at 4.12 p.m.

23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stojanovic, please continue.

24 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

25 The Prosecution tries to prove that Dragan Jokic was a member of

Page 11391

1 the joint criminal enterprise, that he sided with that aim and intention

2 consciously and willingly and that he supported that intention by

3 assisting in the cover-up of these crimes by leading the engineering

4 company during the burial of these people. The Defence takes the opposite

5 view, namely Dragan Jokic was not a member of the joint criminal

6 enterprise nor did he ever, ever wish to participate in any way whatsoever

7 in the implementation of this plan.

8 Dragan Jokic, as a staff officer with very limited functional

9 authorities, as he was the chief of engineering service, could not have

10 led either de facto or de jure the engineering company in the activities

11 pertaining to the burial of the deceased. The Defence will devote most of

12 its attention to that issue and it will also attempt to show to this

13 Trial Chamber its evidence stemming from the authorities of Dragan Jokic

14 as chief of engineering service, as well as to show technical and materiel

15 capabilities of the engineering company by showing the number of vehicles,

16 engineering machines at the disposal of the engineering company. We

17 believe that we will convince the Chamber that this assertion of us is

18 accurate.

19 The engineering company was an organised military formation within

20 the Zvornik Brigade, and it was organised in accordance with the

21 regulations and the law on the army. Within its composition, it had three

22 platoons, the road platoon, the fortification platoon, and the pioneering

23 platoon. Each platoon had its commander, platoon commander, whereas the

24 engineering company also had its command staff headed by the commander and

25 deputy commander of the engineering company who at the same time also had

Page 11392

1 assistant commander for morale. This senior staff of the company was

2 directly subordinated under the principle of the unity of command to the

3 commander of the brigade and chief of staff.

4 In the absence of the company commander, and this Defence will not

5 deny that on the 14th, 15th, and 16th the commander of the company was in

6 Snagovo, the company is under the command of the deputy commander in

7 accordance with the orders of the commander of the brigade on the use of

8 the engineering corps. This leaves no room for dilemma or any kind of

9 philosophising. It was well established who commanded and who controlled

10 this unit. That post was never, absolutely ever, the post taken by the

11 chief of the engineering service, which is the post occupied by

12 Dragan Jokic at the time. His duties as chief of engineering service were

13 regulated by the rules on the use of the engineering service, whereas the

14 commanding of engineering company was also regulated by the combat rules

15 for companies and platoons in the engineering service. This Trial Chamber

16 will hear competent evidence about this, which will be given by a military

17 expert.

18 Dragan Jokic was a staff officer who was duty-bound, and I will

19 now quote: "To give advice to commander of brigade on the proper use of

20 unit. In the hierarchy of the brigade staff, he worked in the operations

21 department and was directly subordinated to the chief of staff."

22 This was a quotation from Mr. Butler's evidence on military events

23 in Srebrenica, item 13.25. Therefore, the engineering company is under

24 the command exclusively and in accordance with the orders of the commander

25 of the brigade of the commander of the engineering unit. This is

Page 11393

1 something that will be covered in the testimony of several witnesses. In

2 accordance with instructions on the work of commands and staffs, only the

3 person who is in command can have control over units. The notion of

4 control over units also contains or includes the notion of command. This

5 Trial Chamber has heard several times that we have problems with

6 translation of these two notions. We wish to say, we wish to prove, that

7 Jokic neither controlled or commanded the engineering unit because he

8 wasn't authorised to do that under the rules which were undoubtedly

9 applied in the Zvornik Brigade, because that brigade was an organised

10 military formation.

11 The Prosecution case that wherever in the process of digging out

12 graves a construction machine was used, it was under the control of Jokic.

13 They also claim that he did that knowingly and with intention to assist

14 and support the crime as member of the joint criminal enterprise. Through

15 our case we will show to you, Your Honours, the evidence pointing to the

16 contrary. First of all, in July of 1995 the engineering company had at

17 its disposal only two machines. I'm now referring to construction

18 machines, BGH-700, that is to say RD-700, depending on the manufacturer.

19 And the second machine which was a small machine called Skip Torpedo.

20 These were the only machines at the disposal of the engineering company.

21 One of those machines was located in Orahovac on the 14th of July and

22 continued working there on the 15th of July. It resurfaced in Branjevo on

23 the 17th of July and did take part in the digging out of graves, while the

24 Skip Torpedo machine was located in Kozluk on the 16th of July, 1995. On

25 whose orders were those machines sent there will become fully clear after

Page 11394

1 we present our case.

2 The other machines mentioned in daily orders of the engineering

3 company, which you had occasion to see, Your Honours, are two loaders,

4 ULT-200, one of which operated in Orahovac, the other in Kozluk; two

5 operated in the village of Petkovci and one in Branjevo. These machines

6 were not the machines of the engineering company. The operators of these

7 machines were not members of the engineering company either. And these

8 machines, being requisitioned from civilian structures, were subject to

9 special procedure, with which Dragan Jokic had absolutely nothing to do.

10 We will hear witnesses who will mention this in their testimony as well as

11 a military expert.

12 It should be noted that the log of daily orders of the engineering

13 company is a commanding act, and as such belongs to the commander of the

14 engineering unit which can be gleaned from the signatures on the daily

15 orders of the engineering company. Jokic could not be held responsible

16 for their content, as he did not draft these documents, he did not

17 implement them, and these documents were not his documents.

18 From the evidence adduced so far, we were able to hear several

19 testimonies concerning the persons who participated in the burial of

20 victims. The workers of the utility company were seen in Orahovac.

21 Members of civilian structures were seen in Branjevo, as were local

22 residents and members of the Workers' Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade.

23 It was impossible for Dragan Jokic to be in charge of these activities, to

24 be the person who was in a position to issue any kinds of orders or to be

25 in control of civilian authorities or commander of the Workers' Battalion

Page 11395

1 of the Zvornik Brigade or to be able to mobilise people or requisition

2 vehicles. In the system of sanitisation of the terrain, which is a legal

3 and legitimate military activity - and we already had opportunity to hear

4 that during testimonies of various witnesses - a central role is played by

5 the units of civilian protection of the municipality. And in those hot

6 July days, sanitisation of the terrain was an indispensable measure,

7 because otherwise a terrible epidemiological crisis would have broken out

8 in a very short space of time.

9 Why is it then in Zvornik wherever a construction machine was seen

10 digging out graves, Dragan Jokic is accused of being in control or leading

11 the engineering company? We here come to the key question which is: Does

12 Dragan Jokic have any knowledge about these murders? This is the key

13 question, the answer to which will be provided by this Defence. This

14 Defence will inform the Trial Chamber about the very moment when

15 Dragan Jokic learned about this.

16 In order for there to be established that Dragan Jokic is

17 criminally responsible, in order for it to be established that he belonged

18 to the joint criminal enterprise, there must be knowledge and willingness

19 on his part to participate in that crime. Dragan Jokic does not fulfill

20 any of these two conditions. The single, literally, single proof of the

21 knowledge of Jokic about the fate of prisoners comes from the words of

22 Obrenovic's guilty plea and his description of the conversation he had

23 with Jokic on the 15th of July at around 11.00. We will show through our

24 case that these claims of Obrenovic are not true, that this pertains to a

25 completely different event, a completely different time. And in order to

Page 11396

1 prove this, we will bring a witness who will testify about this. It is up

2 to the Trial Chamber to rule on this and to decide who they are going to

3 believe. We have no material evidence to support this.

4 On the 13th of July, 1995, Your Honours, Dragan Jokic was outside

5 of the brigade command performing his regular duties. He monitored the

6 work of the engineering unit, which was removing cherry trees at a farm in

7 Karakaj in Zvornik municipality. He had absolutely no idea about the

8 scale of tragic events which were taking place in Srebrenica at the time.

9 He knew about the fall of Srebrenica just as any other soldier of the VRS

10 who was interested. It would be bad judgement on our part to say that he

11 knew nothing, because every soldier knew about this.

12 On the 14th of July, 1995, Dragan Jokic came to the brigade

13 command for regular morning inspection of troops, raising of the flag, and

14 briefing with the chief of staff of the brigade, to whom he was directly

15 subordinated because he himself was a staff officer. Not even then did

16 Obrenovic inform him about the arrival of the prisoners and their fate.

17 Obrenovic acknowledged this in his interview. When asked by

18 Mr. Peter McCloskey whether Obrenovic had opportunity to communicate with

19 Dragan Jokic on that day, on the 14th, and whether he had conveyed

20 anything to him, this is what the question read, whether he had conveyed

21 anything to him regarding the Muslim prisoners or the operation which had

22 been carried out that day with respect to the prisoners, Obrenovic replied

23 that the communication with Jokic was a two-way one and that he did not

24 say anything to Jokic regarding prisoners, nor did Jokic relate anything

25 to him concerning the Muslim prisoners who at the time were in the area of

Page 11397

1 Zvornik Brigade.

2 That morning on the 14th of July, Jokic received an order from

3 Obrenovic to take over the duty of the duty operations officer in the

4 brigade outside of the usual routine. Your Honours, you will see from the

5 evidence of an expert that a brigade has the schedule for duty service

6 for -- developed in advance, and you will see what the schedule was for

7 that day, the 14th. Therefore, on the 14th, Jokic took over this duty

8 from Sretan Milosevic, who was assistant commander for logistics in the

9 Zvornik Brigade and clearly did not receive any information about

10 prisoners, because they had not yet started arriving in the area of

11 responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade.

12 The indictment states that Dragan Jokic was the focal point, the

13 central figure, in coordination of communication between superior and

14 subordinated units. And based on that, by relaying information concerning

15 the killing operation, he participated in that operation. The Defence in

16 the coming days will show through their evidence, will convince the

17 Trial Chamber, that the opposite is true.

18 The duty operations officer is simply a relay station through whom

19 the information is conveyed, but definitely not information as important

20 and not as secret as the information concerning the killing operation of

21 so many prisoners. It is completely logical for one such monstrous

22 activity not to be discussed publicly, not to be discussed transparently,

23 especially knowing that there was a possibility that such conversations

24 were wiretapped.

25 The authorities of the duty operations officer are regulated by

Page 11398

1 Article 65 and 66 on the instructions of the work of commands and staffs,

2 which clearly show that the duty operations officer clearly cannot be the

3 focal point in the coordination of communications. It must be pointed out

4 that the position of the duty operations officer differs, depending on

5 whether officers who are senior to the duty officer, senior either by

6 formation or by rank, or when he himself is located in the brigade

7 command. We will be in the position to hear testimony of several

8 witnesses who during those days also performed duties of duty operations

9 officers during the 12th and 13th of July, 15th and 16th of July, 23rd and

10 24th of July. These witnesses will describe to the Court all of their

11 authorities, all of the authorities they had as duty operations officers,

12 what was the scope of their activities, and all of that will contradict

13 the arguments of the Prosecution.

14 It is not surprising that we have to prove that Dragan Jokic as

15 duty operations officer could not have been in command as well. The

16 Defence is aware of the fact that Dragan Jokic is not charged with command

17 responsibility under Article 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal.

18 However, looking at the context of the indictment, the notion of control,

19 which is mentioned in numerous charges in the indictment against

20 Dragan Jokic in the sense of Article 10 and 11 of the instructions on the

21 work of commands and staffs, it is necessary to adduce evidence which will

22 shed accurate light on the position of the duty operations officer in the

23 brigade.

24 We wish to show to the Court that Dragan Jokic as duty operations

25 officer took over his duties in the morning hours on the 14th of July,

Page 11399

1 1995. He handed over his duties on the 15th of July, 1995; at around

2 11.00, he handed over his duties to Nenad Simic. In accordance with the

3 rules of service in armed forces, during that period of time he could not

4 have simultaneously performed two duties, that of the duty operations

5 officer and that of the chief of engineering service. Therefore, during

6 that period of time the Prosecution cannot say that Jokic while performing

7 the duties of the duty operations officer in the brigade simultaneously

8 also led the engineering company in the operation involving the burial of

9 the victims of the massed killings. That would have been in contravention

10 of Article 202 of the rules of service in armed forces where it says

11 that: "The organs of the interior service while on duty cannot perform

12 any tasks that are not related to that duty."

13 In the following days this Defence will try to explain to the

14 Trial Chamber the full context of the notes of the duty operations officer

15 in the brigade. Therefore, the notes which were written by Dragan Jokic

16 in the logbook of the duty operations officer and which were submitted by

17 Dragan Jokic to the Court. We will explain each of those notes because we

18 believe that not a single note can compromise Dragan Jokic in the sense of

19 his knowledge about the activities carried out by security officers, other

20 individuals, and other units in the area of Zvornik Brigade.

21 In conclusion, just as Dragan Jokic did not feel guilty,

22 Your Honours, when he was charged and when as the sole, and I repeat, sole

23 officer of the VRS so far, he responded to the call and voluntarily

24 surrendered to The Hague Tribunal. Similarly, he cannot say today either:

25 I am guilty for these crimes. The truth is that he was present at the

Page 11400

1 time and at that place, but that doesn't mean that Dragan Jokic took any

2 part whatsoever in implementation of this criminal idea. He is not the

3 man of evil. He is an officer, a low-ranking officer, lacking ambition,

4 not willing to assert himself, without an ounce of ethnic hatred or

5 intolerance in him. His whole being, his life so far clearly showed that

6 he was not a person with a tendency to commit such crimes during those

7 tragic days when in his regular duties he came across a group of young

8 men, Muslims, who had stayed behind the column who had already reached the

9 territory under the control of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, showed

10 personal courage, opened the minefield, and enabled these young men to go

11 to the territory under the control of the BH army. We will hear two

12 witnesses testify about this, including both senior officers of the BH

13 army and members of the engineering company of the Zvornik Brigade.

14 The character of Dragan Jokic, his efforts to assist as

15 efficiently as possible in the implementation of annex 1 of the Dayton

16 Accords is something that will also be described by several witnesses.

17 But let us leave something for closing arguments, which will be given at

18 the conclusion of our Defence case. We hope that we will be efficient and

19 that in the coming four weeks we will present all of the evidence

20 described so far. Thank you all.

21 JUDGE LIU: Well, thank you very much. I think it's a very

22 concise opening statement, Mr. Stojanovic. The other teams should follow

23 this example in terms of the length of the opening statement.

24 Well, we have received your filings dated June 29th, 2004, about

25 your expert report and as an attachment, the 65 ter filings. Still during

Page 11401

1 the pre-Defence Conference we expressed our concern about time. You are

2 allocated with four weeks to present your evidence, and from the witness

3 list we saw 17 live witnesses you proposed. And I have to remind you that

4 we have one left-over witness from Mr. Blagojevic's case, which more or

5 less will take one day. As the normal practice, at the end of July there

6 will be two days at least for the plenary meetings of the Judges. So

7 that's exactly 17 days left. So we hope that we could hear the witnesses

8 one after another without wasting any sessions and hours and try to make

9 the direct examination as concise as possible.

10 As for the testimony of that military expert, you ask for two

11 days. I believe that during the Blagojevic Defence case, we gave some

12 instructions as for the examinations of the expert witness. At first

13 reading of the report you submitted to us, we believe that everything is

14 in this report already, so I wonder whether you still need to test the

15 memory of this expert by asking those questions again. Anyway, the expert

16 report will be admitted into the evidence, and we better leave much more

17 time for the cross-examination by the other party. So I hope you could

18 shorten the testimony of this witness into, at most, one day.

19 The next issue is about your first witness. As you mentioned that

20 he will ask for closed session, and as you know that in principle all the

21 proceedings should be conducted in open session because your client has a

22 right to have his case heard in open session, especially for the first

23 witness which may be most important. So I hope you take the opportunity

24 of the weekend to explain various kinds of protective measures to this

25 witness to see whether the other measures could be enough to protect his

Page 11402

1 identity or not. Of course, if not, just inform us so that we could be

2 prepared for the closed session.

3 The last thing is that judging from the list of the witnesses, I

4 would like to ask who is the witness number 20? Is that your client?

5 Because the last time we asked you whether your witness -- your client

6 would like to make a statement or be a witness testifying in his case, you

7 did not give us a confirmative answer at that time. So at this stage I

8 would like to ask whether you had the opportunity to discuss this matter

9 with your client again. Yes, Mr. Stojanovic.

10 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, for your

11 understanding regarding our motions which we submitted. Yes, Dragan Jokic

12 is under 20, and after a lengthy discussion with Dragan Jokic we have

13 begun to prepare Dragan Jokic for this testimony. So the answer is that

14 under number 20 will be the testimony by Dragan Jokic. We have the whole

15 day tomorrow to talk with him and to prepare him for his testimony. We

16 also discussed this with him today.

17 In any case, I would like to use this opportunity to inform you,

18 Your Honours, about some other things. Due to objective circumstances, we

19 had to change the schedule of the arrival of our witnesses so that today

20 we were informed by the Victims and Witnesses Unit about the arrival of

21 three witnesses on Saturday. Our plan - and we will submit this to Your

22 Honours and to the Prosecution - is to use next week to begin our case

23 with the testimony of witness under 20. And after that, we will hearing

24 witnesses number 10, number 2, and number 15. We plan to complete this

25 next week, and we will not need any protective measures for any of these

Page 11403

1 witnesses. This is what the witnesses told me when I last spoke with

2 them.

3 Your Honours, if I may repeat, we will hear first number 20, the

4 testimony of number 20; then number 10; followed by number 15; and number

5 2.

6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.

7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] We are also ready to give you the

8 schedule of witnesses now for next week -- for the week after that, so the

9 week after we will have witness number 1. At this point, I cannot tell

10 you more than what he insisted I say, and that is what he seeks full

11 protective measures. If anything changes, we will inform the

12 Trial Chamber in time.

13 Your Honours, we have 17 days and during those 17 days we will

14 definitely fit in the testimonies including that of the witness expert and

15 then we will of course leave plenty of time for the cross-examination by

16 the Prosecution and Mr. Karnavas. According to the schedule, we were

17 given 17 days and we will try to be an equal side in these proceedings.

18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much, Mr. Stojanovic, for your

19 information. And I hope that as a rule you could furnish us with the list

20 of the witnesses ahead of time. And -- for instance, the witnesses in

21 next week and the week after. And I notice that next week I believe that

22 we have five days but we only have four witnesses, so please be aware of

23 that we might hear one more to make the best use of the time at our

24 disposal. This is the first thing.

25 The second thing is that of course it is your Defence strategy

Page 11404

1 that we cannot interfere with, but as for the witness 20, according to the

2 normal practice, the accused, if they want to testify, normally will be

3 arranged at the end of the list rather than the first of the list of the

4 witnesses. I'm not trying to talk you out of your arrangement, I just

5 want to provide some information to you. Of course this Bench will fully

6 respect the free will of the accused and your team.

7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. That was

8 one of the dilemmas that we faced. I have to say that we were the ones

9 who insisted that witness number 20 testifies first, fearing the practice

10 from the Samac judgement where the Trial Chamber afforded little

11 importance to the testimony which came at the end of the case. If we

12 accept your suggestion, then -- and we will accept it with pleasure for

13 the testimony to be at the end. And I will try to meet with

14 Mr. McCloskey today to discuss that and all the other details regarding

15 our preparations so that we can deal with all of them in direct

16 communication. Thank you very much for your understanding. If the

17 technical possibilities permit this, we will do our best not to try

18 then -- not to open our case with the testimony of witness number 20. But

19 please, we hope that this will not affect your opinion as to the weight of

20 his testimony, that you will not take into account whether the witness

21 testified at the beginning or the end of our case.

22 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. McCloskey, do you want to assist us on this

23 issue or do you have something else?

24 MR. McCLOSKEY: I do think I can assist slightly on that issue.

25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please. Yes.

Page 11405

1 MR. McCLOSKEY: I just want to clarify and I'm not sure why we're

2 calling Mr. Jokic witness 20, but we're talking about the accused, I take

3 it, and we're talking about testifying for cross-examination, I take it.

4 Is that correct?


6 MR. McCLOSKEY: And I have not read the Samac judgement for a

7 while, but I don't think any Tribunal should take it against the defendant

8 when they testify. I don't know what practice you're referring to, but I

9 don't think they really -- they should be free to testify, if they choose

10 to testify, when they want to testify. And the Prosecution will not make

11 any argument regarding at the point in which someone chose to testify of

12 course, or of course whether or not they choose to testify.

13 JUDGE LIU: We already said that this Bench will fully respect the

14 free will of the accused and the Defence team.

15 MR. McCLOSKEY: I just wanted to agree with the Bench and let you

16 know that the Prosecution is not going to try to suggest that Mr. Jokic

17 should be criticised in some way for the time he chooses to testify.

18 Though, of course, there is an issue that I know the Court is aware of

19 regarding the statement that Mr. Jokic provided the ICTY, and of course we

20 will be reviewing that statement and wanting to use it and perhaps

21 offering it into evidence as a result.

22 JUDGE LIU: Yes.

23 Well, at this stage is there anything that the parties would like

24 to mention? Yes, Mr. Stojanovic.

25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. We thank

Page 11406

1 Mr. McCloskey on his proposal of today that these will not be arguments

2 that will be to the prejudice of our client. In the course of today, we

3 will submit the list and schedule of witnesses for next week, and we will

4 also stick to the instructions that you have issued. Thank you very much.

5 [Trial Chamber confers]

6 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think we have exhausted all the topics and the

7 hearing is adjourned for today.

8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned

9 at 5.02 p.m. to be reconvened on Monday,

10 the 5th day of July, 2004,

11 at 9.00 a.m.