1 Tuesday, 6 July 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused 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. Good morning, everybody, and good
10 morning, Witness.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE LIU: Did you have a good rest last night?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE LIU: Are you ready to start?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE LIU: Today it won't be long. Yes, Mr. Stojanovic.
17 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. Good
18 morning, Witness.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
20 WITNESS: DUSKO VUKOTIC [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examined by Mr. Stojanovic: [Continued]
23 Q. [Interpretation] With your permission, we will go today through
24 these documents containing references to your name, and this may be
25 related to your overall testimony. Thus, I believe, we would go through
1 and finish before the end of this session.
2 If you remember, we began discussing yesterday the intercepts or,
3 as they called them, tactical intercepts from Dekici.
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With the usher's assistance, I
6 would like to show the witness B/C/S copies of the exhibit we used
7 yesterday. It's the Prosecution Exhibit P121, and we identified it as
9 Q. Mr. Vukotic, if I may draw your attention to the part of
10 intercepts dating back to the 14th of July - that's on page 2 - for
11 identification and for the record it's ERN 00848950.
12 If you will please look at the middle of the page, time mark
13 19.30 hours. At that time a conversation was intercepted between "Omega
14 2" and "Vuk," unknown collocutors. Note of the ABiH operator says: "Our
15 men tore their right flank. They said in code that our men are firing
16 from elevation 207."
17 Can you tell us, please: Did you have this conversation around
18 1930 on that day?
19 A. I cannot remember this exchange in particular, but I know that in
20 the radio network the call sign of "Omega" was used by public security
21 forces, that is, the police. I believe "Omega 2" was at the time deputy
22 chief of police, Mane Djuric.
23 Q. On that day, on the 14th of July in the evening, did you have a
24 radio link with Mane Djuric or "Omega 2", his code-name?
25 A. I cannot say that I had any sort of coordination with police
1 units except for what I told you yesterday. In Kula town, Kula Grad,
2 where police forces had arrived, at that time I tried to brief them as to
3 the whereabouts of the units of the VRS and in the sense of escorting the
4 column or monitoring the column, as I explained yesterday. I don't
5 remember this specific conversation, but I'm certain, however, that the
6 call sign of "Omega" was used by police units to be precise. I had no
7 advisory role with the police, nor did I issue any orders. I was just
8 one of the soldiers up there who was linking up these forces in the
10 Q. Just one clarification to remove any doubt: In one of the
11 exhibits, we saw that on the 14th of July in the evening executions were
12 already taking place in the area of Orahovac. That's why I wish to ask
13 you once again: Where are you at the time of this conversation?
14 A. At Kula Grad.
15 Q. Thank you. Let us move on.
16 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] For identification, Your Honour,
17 this is page ERN 00848951.
18 Q. And for you, Mr. Vukotic, this is the lower half of the page in
19 the B/C/S copy. This is an intercept between "Igman 1" and "Lovac 1".
20 The conversation goes as follows: "Pass Vuk on to me. Give me hill.
21 Can you hear me? I will send Aco."
22 Vuk replies, or maybe somebody else: "Aco should get ready to go
23 left of you. I am at the largest hill. Send a unit to the long-haired
24 blond one."
25 According to the indictment, this is the time when Dragan Jokic
1 is the duty officer in the Zvornik Brigade, and the long-haired blond one
2 is identified as the duty officer. Can you answer this?
3 A. This reflects the beginning of combat operations in the area of
4 Maricici, Snagovo, Velja Glava, and on the axes and in areas we
5 discussed yesterday. "Igman 1", as far as I remember, is properly
6 identified here as my signalsman, who was attached to me, as I said
7 yesterday, together with his RUP field radio. So "Igman" is a part of
8 this mixed artillery division. I don't remember the name of the soldier,
9 but he was operating the RUP radio.
10 Aco, referred to here, is obviously Aleksandar Kostic. I told
11 you that he was commander of the provisional scouts group which had the
12 first clash with ABiH forces in the area of Velja Glava on the 13th. And
13 if you remember yesterday, I told you that I asked the Chief of Staff to
14 pull out this group. My request was approved. And as requested, this
15 group was then sent to another area, the area of Snagovo and Maricici,
16 where fire was much more intense by this time.
17 This reference to Brdo means my clerk for intelligence, my
18 intelligence officer. He was part of one group that was between Velja
19 Glava and Snagovo. This is how I interpret, how I read this part of the
20 text, if I can be at all correct in view of the time that has passed
22 Q. Thank you. Just let me clarify why I ask this question. It says
23 here: "Send a unit to the blond-haired -- to the long-haired blond man
24 (Djoko) ST.duty officer."
25 Does this have anything to do with Dragan Jokic, then-duty
1 officer of the Zvornik Brigade?
2 A. I don't know which Djoko is meant here, and I cannot answer
3 either yes or no to your question because this text begs the question
4 whether only our tactical conversations were being intercepted at the
5 time or the ABiH eavesdropping group was also listening to the
6 conversations between the radio centre of the brigade and other
7 participants in the network. It's very difficult to say anything
8 conclusively. I can only surmise that this is a reference to the duty
9 officer at the radio centre but I'm telling you this is only my
11 Q. Does this mean anything to you: "Send a unit to the long-haired
12 blond man"?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Thank you. I would like to move on to the next page, ERN number
15 00848952. It's again, the 14th of July, 1995. We see an exchange that
16 reads as follows: "Igman 1: Vuk has left to tour, to inspect the line.
17 If you need anything, find him through Premijer."
18 Tell us again: Who is "Igman 1" and who is informing who in this
19 sentence about your movements?
20 A. Before I answer your question, I would like to go back to this
21 part that you read. If you look carefully at the transcript, you will
22 see clearly that if Djoko's group is going to the left of Maric - and we
23 are talking about Milan Maric, who is also in the same area where there
24 is fighting with the column - then it is more than obvious that the
25 entire conversation is focussing on the area of combat and confrontation
1 with the column that we spent the entire day of yesterday discussing.
2 And now, in answer to your question. As I emphasised, "Igman 1"
3 is obviously the call sign for the signalsman operating the RUP device,
4 which was my parallel communication with the Chief of Staff. And if you
5 will allow me --
6 Could you say again what are you focussing on in this question.
7 Q. Well, "Igman 1", as far as I understand, is the radio
8 accompanying you. "Igman 1" is telling somebody, "Vuk has gone to
9 inspect the line. If you need anything, find him through Premijer."
10 Whom is "Igman 1" informing on your movements?
11 A. He is maintaining communication between me and the chief of
12 Staff, since he is speaking in the first person singular, which he would
13 not allow himself to do speaking to a chief of staff, he must be talking
14 to a signalsman in the other unit. And as to the substances, this must
15 refer to the time when I had gone towards Mladjevac or Maritice on one of
16 my regular tours to see the extent to which the units were linked up in
17 the course of combat operations that we've discussed.
18 And if I may add to explain this situation more clearly: He says
19 "If you need anything, find him through Premijer." Since I have a
20 hand-held short-wave radio on me at the time, and if you are climbing
21 down this slope - the terrain is very uneven - it's not always possible
22 to maintain communication through the radio network, and at such moments
23 Premijer helps out and transmits information from one to another.
24 Q. When you say "in simplex," and that's a word which we've had the
25 opportunity to see in the intelligence report of the 12th of July, what
1 do you mean by that? Could you please help us. We don't know these
3 A. It's a short-wave radio conversation involving a direct link.
4 There's no intermediary. You are directly connected to the other
5 participant. If this is not the case, then somebody needs to mediate,
6 even though communications people know this, there is a simplex
7 communication, a direct communication, and a duplex communication. A
8 duplex communication implies that you -- or that both participants can
9 speak at the same time and listen to one another. This is usually a
10 telephone connection. That would be a duplex connection.
11 A simplex connection would mean that one person is speaking and
12 the other can only listen, and that is why in radio traffic you have the
13 following terms. When you hear something, you can say "Roger" and then
14 "over" at the beginning and at the end of the conversation, your part or
15 the other person's part.
16 Q. Thank you. On the same page - we are continuing - we are still
17 on the 14th of July. 18.25 is the last time that is written in. There's
18 a conversation between "Lovac 1" and "Igman 1". In brackets it says
19 "Vuk." The conversation states: "They have captured a MUP commander who
20 was securing the flank. There is a mass of people in front of me. We
21 need to close the road that you and I passed the other night. They will
22 go this way for sure."
23 Could you please tell us who is participating in this
24 conversation? Do you personally remember that conversation and what is
25 it about?
1 A. It's not very clear to me except for the part about which
2 commander from MUP it is. It is Zoran Jovanovic, who is from the
3 military police, and we discussed this yesterday. It is not quite clear
4 here who is calling whom; did "Lovac 1" call or "Igman 1". The way it is
5 here, it seems that the communications officer who's standing next to the
6 Chief of Staff, is speaking to the communications person who was with me
7 at Kula Grad to maintain this parallel link. I assume that this refers
8 to the report about how the units had already arrived at this Snagovo-
9 Zvornik road, and I assume that the conversation is between two soldiers
10 who are both or were both most probably a part of the forces between the
11 12th and the 13th. And if you recall, that's the same component of the
12 force where I was with the Chief of Staff, with the tank, the
13 self-propelled gun and the Praga. And that is why they mention this, the
14 road where we passed the other night. That's where they will pass for
16 Q. My question about the 14th of July is as follows: Did you at any
17 point have any radio communications with the duty officer in Dragan
18 Jokic's brigade?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Thank you. I would now like to move to the 15th of July. On the
21 15th of July - this is ERN number 00848953 -
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 954.
23 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. There is an intercepted conversation on that day. It's on the
25 middle of the page for the 15th of July. Could you please find it,
1 Mr. Vukotic.
2 I would like to thank the usher. There is no need for her to
3 remain standing. We can follow it from here and then when we need you,
4 we will ask you to help us again.
5 It states here: "Vuk ordered for Aco to go with his people to
6 see Golub and he will deploy them further. On the right side in front of
7 us the white belts should go." In parentheses it says: "VPA." I assume
8 that means military police. Can you remember when this conversation took
9 place? Because it states at the bottom the time of another conversation,
10 8.05 hours. Could you please tell us what this is about.
11 A. I would not be serious enough if I could say that I could
12 remember every single conversation or a part thereof. I don't remember
13 everything that was happening on the ground. But from these intercepts
14 and generally from these pages of the transcript that I have in front of
15 me, I can just recall the overall situation where there was fire
16 throughout the entire region. There was firing all over the place. So
17 this is about transferring certain groups and units and so on, because at
18 the time we were in a war zone where, in the depth of it, in the
19 immediate depth of it, close to our lines, we had conflicts with forces
20 of the 28th Division and our units. This is a typical movement of units
21 to certain firing positions. I recall that the call sign throughout the
22 entire combat operations of Golub was the call sign of the mortar platoon
23 from the Podrinje Special Forces Unit. This also then confirms what I
24 said yesterday, that the unit that I saw from Kula returned and deployed
25 in the brigade sector.
1 This group of military police that is going towards Golub
2 logically should secure the positions of the mortar platoon, because
3 generally the mortar platoon and in practice always has to be secured,
4 especially because combat operations are already there. It's very
5 difficult to have a complete overview of the situation because many
6 infiltrated groups or groups that are straggling are there. There is no
7 classic line of defence any more or a classic frontal -- front of attack
8 any more. We need to keep in mind that the soldiers of the B and H army
9 and the soldiers of the Zvornik Brigade are already intermingled in that
11 Q. So if you allow me, on the 15th in the morning at 8.05 hours -
12 same ERN page - there is a note. It's a conversation between Vuk and
13 "Lovac 1".
14 "We have two of their men captured. A number of people from --
15 Glodjani remained in Glodi."
16 So this is what was said in the morning. Could you please tell
17 us who is speaking and what this is about.
18 A. Glodi is far from the place we're talking about now. Glodi are
19 in the area of Kamenica. The area where I was is at least 10 to 12
20 kilometres away. Glodi is a settlement through which the column passed.
21 I will remind you that this was the sector of Kamenica.
22 There is something illogical here, that I would be informing
23 "Lovac 1" from Kula. That is not quite clear to me here, what this is
25 On the other hand, I must say, and you must keep in mind, if you
1 are analysing the overall situation clearly that, at the time members of
2 the Milici unit, the Vlasenica unit, and so on are also carrying out
3 certain operations throughout this entire region, so that I am not sure
4 what this is exactly about.
5 Q. And in this time period, were you aware that in this
6 intermingling of units some members of the B and H army were captured?
7 A. Yes. This happened for sure, because I told you that on this
8 whole terrain there were different groups and people were captured. I
9 specifically - and this was logical - they never reached Kula. They
10 never reached the sector where I was, because had they reached Kula, it
11 would all have been over. That would have meant the end for Kula. They
12 did not get to that point. So from that position, I know that there were
13 no prisoners.
14 Q. Let us move to page 008956 [as interpreted]. This is the 15th of
15 July. It's 9.35 in the morning. It's a conversation between "Lovac 1"
16 and Vuk, which says:
17 "Include the forces to the left and to the right in the
18 operations. I saw them. They want to block the road through Krizevici
19 towards Planinci. Afterwards, they were directing the artillery. Let
20 Zoka block the road towards Planinci."
21 This is in the morning on the 15th of July. Who is
22 participating in this conversation and where are these participants,
23 "Lovac 1" and "Vuk"?
24 A. I'm still at my position, and "Lovac 1" is obviously the Chief of
25 Staff or his communications officer who, of course, is conveying the
1 information and certain orders on his behalf. It is evident that the
2 forces of the 28th Division were already very close to Baljkovica,
3 because the next village beyond Krizevici is Baljkovica. Just as
4 Planinci are right next to the Karakaj-Crni Vrh-Caparde-Sekovici road,
5 since they're on this parallel communication, the Igman 1 communications
6 officer with the RUP-12 had communication with the mixed artillery
7 division, which did not have a short-wave communication with us. So it's
8 most probable that the Chief of Staff, not having a direct communication
9 at that point because he was at some place where he could not directly
10 convey orders through the RUP-12 to the mixed artillery division. So he
11 was conveying them via this communications officer, who is part of the
12 mixed artillery division and that is why it states here "they were
13 directing the artillery later." So this is a request for barrage fire.
14 This is a request for artillery barrage fire in order to block the forces
15 from cutting the road and coming around the back of the units of the
16 Zvornik Brigade.
17 Q. Thank you. For the transcript, if we can just repeat once again:
18 "Lovac 1" is Obrenovic.
19 A. It should be Obrenovic, as far as I can recall. I'm afraid that
20 in the analysis of the previous two pages, I'm afraid that I perhaps at
21 one point mixed up "Igman 1" and "Lovac 1". There is the possibility of
22 that, but now there doesn't seem to be any point in going back to that.
23 Q. It says: "At 9.35 here on the 15th of July, Lovac 1." So
24 Obrenovic says: "I saw them. They are trying to block the road through
25 Krizevici, towards Planinci. Could you please tell us approximately the
1 area from where he can see the road through Krizevici towards Planinci.
2 Where was he at that point so that he was able to see that? If you can
3 recall that.
4 A. It would be irresponsible on my part to determine where anyone
5 was who was not in my direct line of sight. The road to Krizevici
6 towards Planinci can be seen through the area of Kitovnice - I am sure of
7 that - and it could be seen from several points or positions, for
8 example, from Kitovnice; I don't know whether from that elevation, which
9 is right above Baljkovica, I don't know whether it's possible to see it
10 from there. Of course you can see it from that inner sector, and also
11 you can see it from the sector of Orahovac.
12 Q. Orahovac is a settlement which is in front of Snagovo on the
13 Zvornik-Kalesija road.
14 A. Yes, that is correct. If you are following the road, the
15 regional road Zvornik-Karakaj, then Orahovac, then the road forks off to
16 the right for Kitovnice then goes on ahead towards Planinci, Crni Vrh,
17 and Caparde. So already after Orahovac the next village, which is
18 between Orahovac and Kitovnice, is the village of Krizevici.
19 Q. Thank you very much. And if this will assist, we will finish
20 with this. Let's just look at this -- the continuation of this
21 conversation so that we can perhaps confirm what you are stating. So
22 it's on the same page. It's conversation L -- between L and L1:
23 "Right of the road to capture that area," and then L continues,
24 "Do not send the people over -- through Krizevici, send them through
25 Jardani and Kitovnice."
1 Does this show, possibly, where "Lovac 1" was at the time? We're
2 speaking about Obrenovic. We're talking about the conversation L-L1. It
3 says: "To capture the area right of the road." And then I'm continuing,
4 because this is not translated into B/C/S: "Send the forces -- a force
5 of 40 people." This is what L1 says: "Do not send groups through
6 Krizevici. Go over Jardani and Kitovnice."
7 Where do you think "Lovac 1" was at the time, Obrenovic? If you
8 can help us and if that can confirm your hypothesis, I would be
10 A. I'm really sorry, but I cannot determine the position of any
11 participant who was not in my line of sight. I don't know how much I
12 helped you by telling you from which positions that area could be seen
13 and by providing you the geographical points.
14 I am drawing this conclusion. It's clear from a military
15 standpoint that subordinated units that are arriving to this sector of
16 combat operations should be told to go in the direction of
17 Jardani-Kitovnice because then they would avoid a large section of the
18 road towards Crni Vrh. And in this area, where these major battles are
19 already waging, Orahovac, Krizevici, Batkovic and so on.
20 Q. That was exactly what I was about to ask you. In this way, they
21 would avoid passing through Orahovac; is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. We have had a lot of testimony here to the effect that on the
24 15th of July precisely at this time there were burials going on in the
25 Orahovac area. At that point, did you know anything about this?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] In this exhibit, Your Honours,
4 there are six or seven other intercepts mentioning the name of Vuk. But
5 because time is of the essence, this is after the 15th when Dragan Jokic
6 was no longer the duty operations officer, so I will not go into this.
7 There may be questions about it later on, but please don't hold it
8 against me for not cross-examining on it.
9 I will now ask the witness to briefly go through Prosecutor's
10 Exhibit P507, that is, D93/3 for purposes of identification, and this is
11 the duty operations officer's logbook. I will show the witness these
12 documents one by one.
13 Your Honours, this is the logbook of the duty operations officer,
14 and we will go through the notes very briefly just for purposes of
15 identification. I will use an excerpt, ERN number 03089337. This is the
16 entry for the 13th of July, 1995, and in one place it says -- in the
17 B/C/S version, it's 09 -- 02934579. Vukotic and Petkovic through the
18 radio centre call Obrenovic "At the place where you were last night and
19 come up there." [As interpreted]
20 Q. Can you recall what the duty officer is recording here?
21 A. Probably this is the request or the order by the Chief of Staff
22 to go back to the place where we had spend the night between the 12th and
23 the 13th.
24 Q. Does this mean that Petkovic was to go with you?
25 A. I don't recall, but it's possible.
1 Q. On the same page for the same day, the duty operations officer
2 noted the following: "Vukotic needs to call Aco and Aco needs to be
3 dispatched to Dzafin Kamen to the 4th Battalion or that Aco needs to be
4 dispatched to the 4th Battalion."
5 A. What date is this?
6 Q. The 13th of July, 1995.
7 A. I can't recall this in any detail, but Aco was at Dzafin Kamen,
8 so yes, he was sent there.
9 Q. Thank you. I will now go on to the next page. For
10 identification, this is ERN number 03089338. In B/C/S, it's 02935743.
11 These are also notes by the duty officer of the 13th of July. At the top
12 of the page, it says the following: "Premijer called and asked that
13 Vukotic calls 365."
14 Can you help us and try to explain what this note is about.
15 A. I have already told you that Premijer, apart from having
16 communication with his commander of the Podrinje Detachment of the
17 special forces, could at the same time have communications with me but
18 also communications by telephone with the duty operations officer. When
19 he was unable to pass on information either to his commander or the
20 necessary intelligence to me, he could pass on this information by
21 telephone to the duty operations officer, especially if he couldn't find
22 me or the Chief of Staff and in those cases he would ask the duty officer
23 to mediate. He would ask him to try and find us on the field and tell us
24 to contact him. I think this is the context in which this note was made.
25 Q. Thank you. I would now like to show you the next page on which
1 your name is mentioned. This is, for the record, ERN in English
2 03089342, and in B/C/S the ERN number is 02935747.
3 Mr. Vukotic, this is dated the 14th of July, 1995, when the duty
4 operations officer was Dragan Jokic. At the bottom of the page it says:
5 "At 1300 hours, situation normal. Palma 2."
6 Then it says: "Vukotic and Aco to be at full combat readiness at
7 1500 hours." Can you see this? This is the last note on this page.
8 A. Would you please repeat what date this was.
9 Q. The 14th of July, 1995.
10 A. Very well.
11 Q. It says: "At 1300 hours, situation normal. Palma 2." Then it
12 says: "Vukotic and Aco to be on the full combat equipment."
13 A. I don't know who "Palma 2" is. I don't know why it says
14 "Vukotic." Vukotic never went to see the duty operations officer and he
15 never issued orders as to who was to be ready and why and so on. So I'm
16 not quite sure what this is about.
17 If I recall rightly, between the 13th and the 14th Aco was at
18 Dzafin Kamen. I said yesterday that in the evening of the 13th he was
19 pulled back from Dzafin Kamen and sent from there; whether to the area
20 where there were combat operations, I can't recall, but I really don't
21 know why. It's possible that there was a request by me for Aco's group
22 to be sent. It's possible.
23 Q. Thank you. The next example --
24 A. I have to stress that Aco Kostic, with his group of policemen
25 throughout these combat operations was involved in combat with this
1 column, so it's possible that I requested that he be ready.
2 Q. This may be a good opportunity to ask you the following: What
3 was the duty of the duty operations officer? Did he only note this down
4 without entering into the essence of the content of all this, or did he
5 participate in it all?
6 A. When the brigade commander or the Chief of Staff was there, the
7 duty officer -- without wishing to derogate his duty, was simply a
8 courier and a switchboard operator. His duty was to find the quickest
9 way of passing information on to the Chief of Staff or the brigade
10 commander, and that was the end of his function. I don't know how clear
11 I have been, but based on my experience - not as a duty officer, because
12 I was never that - but I was able to see that his role was what I have
13 just described, for the most part.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukotic. I will take an example of an officer
15 from your organ. In the notes made by the duty officer on a day when
16 Dragan Jokic was on duty, the 14th of July, there is a note as follows:
17 "Salapura called that Beara and Drago should report to Gulic." What I
18 would like to know is the following: I assume you know who Salapura is.
19 Was the duty officer supposed to know why Drago and Beara should report
20 to Golic and did he have the right to ask Salapura, "Why are you asking
21 for this?"
22 A. The answer to this is quite clear. He didn't need to know and he
23 didn't need to ask.
24 Q. Thank you. Let us go back to the 15th of July. ERN number in
25 English, 03089354; in B/C/S, 02935759.
1 Mr. Vukotic, this refers to the 15th of July, 1995, and the duty
2 operations officer, I think, was no longer Dragan Jokic. He wrote a
3 note: "Obrenovic should urgently report to Vuk." Can you comment on
4 this? What is this about?
5 A. Well, I was probably having a lot of problems in the field
6 because you said this was on the 15th.
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. Not only on that day, but for many days afterwards there were a
9 lot of problems in that area through which the column was passing and
10 where combat operations were going on. I was probably having problems in
11 the woods, and I was asking for the Chief of Staff to contact me because
12 I suppose I had important information to pass on to him and I needed to
13 ask for his help, ask him what I should do further up there. I am sure
14 that was the context. I'm sure I needed something.
15 Q. Was this duty officer supposed to know or did he have to know why
16 you needed to contact Obrenovic, or was it sufficient for you to say
17 through your communications line, "Pass on the message that Obrenovic
18 should contact me urgently"?
19 A. First of all, I did not have any communication line with the duty
20 operations officer. I probably tasked one of my communications men to
21 look for the Chief of Staff, because communication between the two of us
22 had been cut off. It's very hard to recall all this now after such a
23 long time, but this was conditionally speaking simply mediating, passing
24 on a message, linking up two commanding officers, and that was all.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukotic.
1 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have three
2 dates in the duty officer's logbook, the 16th, 17th, 19th, and by your
3 leave I will not go into this, in view of the time, because Dragan Jokic
4 was no longer the operations officer. Thank you.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukotic.
6 A. You're welcome.
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] We will now ask the usher to
8 assist us and hand the witness D129/3, which is a statement by Nedzad
9 Ahmetovic which he gave to the OTP on the 28th of September, 2001.
10 Q. Mr. Vukotic, at one point you said that you had an opportunity of
11 interrogating this witness.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. We have before us the statement given by Nedzad Ahmetovic on the
14 28th of September, 2001 to the investigators of the Office of the
15 Prosecutor. At one point he says the following - and this is on page 4
16 in B/C/S - the last paragraph on page 4 in B/C/S, he says that on the
17 15th of July he was interrogated by a VRS officer.
18 "This was done on the second floor of the premises. The officer
19 told me that they had searched my house in Srebrenica and that they had
20 found a diary. This officer asked me if it was my diary. And I said no,
21 it probably belonged to Adil Hasanovic, who was a refugee who was staying
22 in my house. This officer showed me another diary, asking if it belonged
23 to Naser Oric. I replied that if the writing is nice, it did not belong
24 to Naser Oric but probably to Ramiz Becirevic."
25 I wanted to ask you: In the words of this witness in this
1 statement, is the reference to a VRS officer who interrogated him in fact
2 a reference to you? And what happened to this person whom you
4 A. I have to emphasise before this Trial Chamber, because I believe
5 it is important to say before replying to your question, in view of one's
6 personal participation in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, everyone
7 including me took a long, hard look at what happened.
8 As for what happened to this man, I was very happy to learn that
9 this man was alive when I talked to the investigators when giving my
10 statement. The person who spoke to Nedzad was indeed me; however, the
11 things as reflected here are not quite correct, although I don't believe
12 there was any ill-intent on the part of Nedzad Ahmetovic.
13 To be precise, Nedzad Ahmetovic is one of the soldiers from the
14 column we discussed. Marko Dzajic, a member of the Podrinje detachment
15 of the Special Forces, found him on the road from Drinjaca to Zvornik.
16 So he was separated from the column. And directly from the gate, he was
17 the only -- the only prisoner who came directly from the gate to my
18 offices, and I don't think you can see that from this statement. Dzajic
19 called me from the gate and said that he had in his hands a very
20 interesting soldier, because on the way to the barracks he realised that
21 this man knew a lot. He was very frightened and exhausted, and he told
22 the soldier already on the way back that he was the signalsman of Naser
23 Oric and that's why Dzajic called me to take him over, and I did speak to
24 him. I did interview him.
25 I did inform the intelligence section of the Drina Corps about
1 the substance of this interview, and I was indeed one of the commanding
2 officers who suggested that this soldier was able to contribute very
3 significantly to preventing combat around Zepa, because Zepa was also a
4 subject of interest to the VRS and that's why it was taken over by the
5 intelligence administration. As far as I know, although I was never in
6 that area in myself, all casualties were indeed prevented in the area of
8 And as far as Nedzad is concerned, I am prepared to confront him
9 at any time, because I believe I was never violent at any point. I
10 treated him decently. I think I was one of the officers who gave him
11 food and drink and treated him fairly.
12 Q. He indeed says that in his statement. He says: "After the
13 interrogation was over, the treatment changed. They moved me to another
14 building," et cetera. But are you saying that combat was avoided around
15 Zepa among other things because Nedzad was able through communications
16 equipment to establish contact between the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
17 and the Army of Republika Srpska?
18 A. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying, because this young man
19 maintained the so-called package radio communication with the command of
20 the Tuzla Corps and even the Main Staff of the Army of Bosnia and
22 Q. In one place, he says that happened on the 15th of July. Does
23 that coincide with your recollection?
24 A. I don't think so. I think it could have been later, maybe the
25 16th; however, I'm not saying that the 15th could not be correct at all
1 because I think I descended from Kula for the first time on the 15th.
2 However, I'm not sure about the date.
3 Q. Maybe another exhibit will help clarify this and refresh your
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With the usher's assistance, let
6 me show you - and then we will be through with these exhibits - the
7 exhibit that we identified as D130/3. The source belongs to the
8 Prosecution, and it is in fact an intelligence report sent by the
9 intelligence organ of the Zvornik Brigade on the 18th of July, 1995 to
10 the Drina Corps Command -- or rather, its intelligence department,
11 intelligence section.
12 Q. In this report, Mr. Vukotic - shall we look at it together -
13 could you tell me what is the date on the document?
14 A. 18th of July, 1995.
15 Q. To whom is it sent?
16 A. The intelligence section of the Drina Corps.
17 Q. And who is the author?
18 A. Judging by the style, it's me.
19 Q. Is it your name underneath, signed?
20 A. I see a bit of my handwriting on this. At first I wasn't sure,
21 because I only saw the printed text, but now I see the handwriting as
22 well. The handwriting is mine and the signature is mine, so it's an
23 authentic document created by me.
24 Q. In a part of this report, we can read: "Live speech. Nedzad
25 Ahmetovic, son of Avdo and Mula, computer operator, maintaining the
1 digital communications systems in the headquarters of the 28th
2 administration of the VRS General Staff, says that Ajub Golic and a
3 mountain battalion stayed to secure the end of the column and that his
4 battalion," et cetera.
5 So it says "Live source. Nedzad Ahmetovic." Is this the same
6 person who gave that statement we discussed previously?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could this document refresh your memory as to your contact with
9 Nedzad Ahmetovic in view of the date of this report, the 18th of July?
10 A. I don't think I would have waited from the 15th to the 18th to
11 send this report. Let me just see at what time this was transmitted. I
12 cannot read the stamp.
13 Q. It says: "21.08 hours" on the stamp.
14 A. That's precisely why I'm saying that this contact could have been
15 on the 17th; however, it also says that the source had already been
16 handed over to the intelligence administration, so it could have been on
17 the 15th as well.
18 Q. In conclusion, Mr. Vukotic, how long did you stay in the army as
19 a professional?
20 A. Until 1998, May 1998.
21 Q. After that, you took up another job.
22 A. Yes. I transferred to the police administration and worked there
23 for two years. In the year 2000, I said my final farewell to all kinds
24 of uniforms and took up a job that essentially corresponded to my
25 original training: I went into politics.
1 Q. What are you doing now, Mr. Vukotic?
2 A. I am the People's Deputy in the Assembly of Republika Srpska.
3 Q. For which party?
4 A. The Democratic Party.
5 Q. And to finish with this line of questioning: In the post-war
6 period and after everything that happened in the course of the
7 investigation about Srebrenica and all the knowledge that it yielded, did
8 you at any time, as a politically active person, as a native of Zvornik,
9 have you ever heard anything about the involvement of Dragan Jokic in all
11 A. No.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vukotic.
13 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, these were all my
14 questions. Thank you for bearing with me in my first examination of a
16 Mr. Vukotic, you will now be answering questions by Mr. Karnavas
17 and perhaps Mr. Waespi, the Prosecutor. Thank you.
18 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, Mr. Stojanovic.
19 I think there's some problems with the using of the documents.
20 Since this is your first witness and since you are doing the direct
21 examination, I think we should follow the practice as we did in the
22 direct examination of the Prosecution's case as well as in Mr. Karnavas's
23 case; that is, you have to furnish the list of exhibits to be shown to
24 the witness beforehand and indicating whether those documents have been
25 admitted or not. If the document has been admitted into the evidence,
1 you don't have to furnish -- to have them copied and furnished to the
2 other party and to the Bench. If they are not, you have to supply with
3 us those documents all together before the direct examination, rather
4 than, you know, giving us one piece of a document whenever you are using
5 it. We are a little bit confused, you know, with all those documents at
6 this moment.
7 But anyway, this is the first witness, and you have a lot of
8 opportunities to improve this practice.
9 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. We will
10 certainly do that, although I have to say I believe we supplied all
11 these exhibits in a timely manner, both to the Prosecution and to the
12 Trial Chamber, including the list of exhibits we are going to use. But
13 if any misunderstanding remains, we will take care to remove it. Thank
15 JUDGE LIU: It's time for a break, and we'll take a break and
16 we'll resume at quarter to 11.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 10.15 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.47 a.m.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Karnavas, do you have any questions to put
20 to this witness?
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Your Honour. I just have a couple of
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: If we could go into private session. Private
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes, we'll go to the private session, please.
2 [Private session]
12 Page 11518 – redacted – private session.
12 Page 11519 – redacted – private session.
1 [Open session]
2 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Waespi, your cross-examination, please.
3 MR. WAESPI: Yes, I think we can stay in private session for a
4 while. I think we still are; is that correct?
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We will -- we'll go back to the private
6 session, please. Yes.
7 [Private session]
12 Page 11521 – redacted – private session.
12 Page 11522 – redacted – private session.
12 Page 11523 – redacted – private session.
21 [Open session]
22 MR. WAESPI: And if we can flip further to the page 27 in the
23 English version, which could be put onto the ELMO. And in the B/C/S
24 version, it's just about three pages later, ERN number 02935764. And
25 it's again the second paragraph, and it's the 16th July now. And I'll
1 read the passage and we see it on the ELMO.
2 Q. "At 1000 hours. Security centre asking Vukotic to call them
3 urgently regarding a captured Muslim." Can you tell us more about that?
4 A. Sir, I need to stress once again that I really do not recall any
5 details. I'm not ruling out the possibility. I'm not ruling out the
6 possibility that I perhaps took part in such a conversation, but I also
7 assume that I have no recollection of such a moment because this is quite
8 unusual because of our relations. I did not have any case with the
9 security organ in our brigade, including this one.
10 I say again: I'm not ruling out the possibility that I did take
11 part in such a conversation, but I don't recall anything of substance
12 about it, so I cannot claim with certainty yes or no.
13 When we're talking about cooperation between the security organs,
14 it states in the military rules that the intelligence organ -- the
15 intelligence organ -- in order to gather information and in order to
16 secure from an intelligence aspect combat operations can exchange
17 information with the civilian security structures. But this was not my
18 practice because usually the organ of military security and the organ of
19 civilian -- the military security organ and the civilian security organ
20 had something that was called counter-intelligence activities and
21 activities in the depth as well as work on their territory.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stojanovic.
23 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With your leave, Your Honour,
24 I'm afraid we have a problem with interpretation. During those days in
25 Zvornik there was a police security centre.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, but we don't want the witness
4 testifying here -- I mean, the lawyer testifying to clear up issues
5 related to what this person is saying. These are issues at -- that are
6 part of the contested matter. This isn't just something, a map reference
7 or something, and so I don't believe it's appropriate.
8 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Well, Mr. Stojanovic, I think this is exactly
9 the question the Prosecution put to the witness. Let the witness tell us
10 about it. Okay?
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I had no other intention than to
13 clear up interpreting issues in B/C/S.
14 JUDGE LIU: I understand about that, yes.
15 You may proceed, Mr. Waespi.
16 MR. WAESPI: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. Now, you told us yesterday that you were in Kula Grad, south of
18 Zvornik, this elevated point from, I believe, the 13th --
19 MR. KARNAVAS: At this point I'm going to object.
20 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: I thought he was going to clarify the point, Your
22 Honour, regarding the security centre. He asked the question earlier on:
23 Does he know anything about the security centre. And the gentleman said
24 which one. And then Mr. Stojanovic intervened and said he wanted to
25 clarify it. And then Mr. McCloskey popped up and said there was no need,
1 that we should get it from the witness. I think before we move on the
2 gentleman should be given an opportunity to explain which security
3 centre -- if he knows -- this notebook is referring to. That's all. I
4 think because it may -- there is a civilian versus a military and I
5 think that that needs clarification.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, if you look back at the answer of
7 this witness, the witness said that he did not remember that at all, and
8 then he explained that there was two branches: One is military security
9 office; the other is the civilian one.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: I totally agree with you, Your Honour. But the
11 question then should have been posed: In this particular notebook, do
12 you know which of the two are being referenced to?
13 JUDGE LIU: If the witness did not remember this conversation or
14 this call, are you going to ask the witness to speculate which one?
15 MR. KARNAVAS: No. I would rather have the witness say, "I
16 cannot say one way or the other."
17 JUDGE LIU: I don't mind, you know, if --
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE LIU: -- if Mr. Waespi could, you know, ask a question, you
20 know, about that. But actually, you know --
21 Yes, Mr. Waespi.
22 MR. WAESPI: Yes, I'd like to move on to Kula Grad.
23 Q. I believe you told us that you were in Kula Grad from the 13th
24 July onwards. I believe 16th or 17th July, that's when you came back.
25 A. I cannot remember the exact date when I came back, but I know
1 that is where I spent most of my time in this period. I know that I left
2 for Kula Grad on the 13th, but I don't know the exact date when I came
4 But since every word said here is important, and I have no taboo
5 topics here, I want to clarify once again. There is a public security
6 centre in Zvornik. In fact, there was a public security centre in
7 Zvornik at the time. Within the frame work of that centre, there is only
8 one unit in the same building, which is the basis of the national
9 security centre. Plus, there is a national security unit and an
10 intelligence unit in the Zvornik Brigade.
11 Q. Yes. But you don't know which one was meant, looking at this
12 brief reference out of the logbook I showed to you.
13 A. I suppose this is a reference to this national security section,
14 but it doesn't impose any obligation on me either to report or not to
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Because you don't recall the
17 reference. You can't really know what the reference is about; is that
19 A. No, I cannot recall. I really cannot recall.
20 Q. Okay. Let's --
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, before we go on, just a point of
23 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Because the record now would have us believe that
25 it happened but he just doesn't recall it. That's what I'm afraid, that
1 we're playing with semantics. It's not a matter whether he recalls.
2 Because --
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, no matter what kind of terminology used, the
4 idea is very clear, I believe.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well. I just don't want him in closing
6 arguments saying -- he just doesn't recall. It doesn't mean it didn't
8 JUDGE LIU: Well, we don't know whether it happened or not.
9 We -- actually, we don't know what is -- whether it's happened or not.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE LIU: You may proceed, Mr. Waespi.
12 MR. WAESPI: Thanks, Mr. President.
13 Perhaps it's safer we return the document; otherwise, we are
14 coming back to that all the time.
15 Q. You had, I believe you testified yesterday, a very good view from
16 Kula Grad; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you also told us that you've seen units returning back to the
19 area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, did you also see in the evening and night of the 13th July
22 hundreds of Muslim prisoners being shipped towards Zvornik? Did you see
24 A. No.
25 Q. And on the 14th July, in the morning, perhaps late morning, there
1 was a huge column; buses, trucks, a white APC in front, perhaps even a
2 blue Golf. A huge column going the very road you observed the returning
3 troops. Have you seen this huge column on the 14th of July?
4 A. No. I have to stress that from Kula Grad there is very good
5 visibility for the part of the road from Divic to the entrance into
6 Zvornik. You can see clearly 3 to 4 hundred metres of that road, and
7 from Kula Grad you can see a vehicle. You can't see who's in the
8 vehicle. But the point is I wasn't looking there. I wasn't looking to
9 that side, unless I was expecting my units, because due to the overall
10 situation developing in the field and the requirement for units to come
11 back urgently, it is only logical that I was keen to see on that road
12 vehicles carrying our units on their way back to the brigade.
13 Q. Well, you just told us you could look into the vehicles. So
14 this --
15 A. Yes. But you can distinguish a military vehicle from a civilian
16 one. So when I was looking for our units, I could clearly see military
17 trucks and military vehicles.
18 Q. So you are telling us you, the Chief of Intelligence, the most
19 senior intelligence man in the Zvornik area, you would have missed a huge
20 column of trucks and buses, even a UN APC. You would have missed that on
21 the 4th -- on the 14th of July, 1995? Are you telling that to the Court?
22 A. It may sound illogical in view of my job that I was performing at
23 the headquarters of the brigade, but I cannot tell you that I saw
24 something that I didn't see. I wasn't observing the road all the time.
25 The events that I have recounted took place exactly on the opposite side
1 of that road.
2 From Kula Grad you have a panoramic view, because it is a high
3 point. You have a panoramic view of that section of the road. However,
4 the focus of my attention was on the column attempting to break through
5 and the events taking place in front of the defence lines of the Zvornik
6 Brigade involving the 2nd Corps of the BH army. Of course I heard much
7 later from other people that using the asphalt main road, a huge column
8 of buses passed that could be seen from Mali Zvornik, from the Serbian
9 side, and -- of course I heard all that, just as every other citizen of
11 Q. Now, just let me ask you: These other buses you mentioned, the
12 huge column of buses. When was that?
13 A. You mean the one I heard about?
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. I told you I didn't see any buses. Only at one point on the 14th
16 in the afternoon when that unit came back, I was very keen to meet that
17 unit and I noticed them, but I saw no other vehicles or buses. I know
18 about the rest only from the stories I heard four or five days later,
19 stories that had to do with how idiotic it was for somebody to try to
20 cover all this up when the column was so huge. I heard all about that
21 much later, just as you did, and of course I was horrified.
22 Q. Well, I wasn't the Chief of Intelligence at that time, so there
23 is a difference between the two of us.
24 Let me go back to the document you were shown this morning, the
25 18th July 1995 document. It's Exhibit Number D130/3. And you told us
1 that you were aware of this document. You even recognised your
3 Now, let me just read out the first line, paragraph of this
4 report, which is dated 18th of July, 1995, your intelligence report to
5 the Drina Corps: "Since the last report, which has been confirmed by
6 events described in combat reports (since the dynamics of the events
7 required us to remain in the field), the information collected is as
9 Now, obviously you are aware of the combat reports which have
10 been filed from the brigade to the corps; is that correct?
11 A. Not necessarily. Not necessarily. It is only logical that
12 combat reports are sent on a daily basis by the brigade to the superior
13 command and this very principle implies that combat reports were written
14 on a daily basis. However, I neither signed them nor were they shown to
16 Q. So you write here about events described in combat reports, but
17 you don't know what was in the combat reports; is that what you are
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. WAESPI: No further questions, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
23 Any redirect, Mr. Stojanovic?
24 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With your leave, Your Honour, I
25 would like to clarify two points that have arisen from the
1 cross-examination by Mr. Waespi.
2 Re-examined by Mr. Stojanovic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Vukotic, you said a moment ago in response
4 to the question whether you had seen those buses that at one point you
5 saw a column of military vehicles that arrived at the Zvornik Brigade.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Then you said that as far as you remember it was in the afternoon
8 of the 14th of July.
9 A. Yes, to the best of my recollection, it was in the afternoon of
10 the 14th of July. The day when I talked to Semso Muminovic. I can't
11 recall exactly any more. Was it on the 14th?
12 Q. We have a series of historical documents, I would call them, that
13 seem to indicate that it was on the 15th. Are you sure that it was on
14 the 14th?
15 A. No, I'm not sure. It could have been on the 14th or the 15th.
16 Q. Let us try to find out which. I will show you once again one
17 intercept from Dekici, Prosecution Exhibit P121.
18 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] And with your leave, Your
19 Honour, only to show that this is an indisputable fact - no, thank you,
20 we won't need the document; it's only about one sentence - ERN page
21 008485997, a conversation took place between Vuk and Lovac at 1330 hours.
22 Lovac said: "I heard from Semso and discontinued operations."
23 Q. Could this intercept refresh your memory as to the arrival of
24 this column on the 15th?
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Waespi.
1 MR. WAESPI: Well, I don't see how that arises of my
3 JUDGE LIU: It does, the date on which day that column arrived.
4 Witness, you may answer that question.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can be wrong after all this time
6 about the date and hour; however, the military column returned on the day
7 when I had my negotiations with Semso Muminovic.
8 And another thing, very important to stress: Military columns
9 and military units cannot be considered as a static category. The
10 picture I have in my mind of the vehicles returning does not mean that I
11 can notice a column of the brigade from a distance of 3 to 4 hundred
12 metres. I know that I recognised the trucks from the Podrinje detachment
13 of the Special Forces. At that moment, I saw those vehicles and I knew
14 that they belonged to the Zvornik Brigade. Whether the entire Zvornik
15 Brigade returned at that moment, I cannot really say, because I don't
17 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. All right. Thank you. I hope that there will be no dispute
19 between us and the Office of the Prosecutor as to when this column of
20 Vinko Pandurevic and the Zvornik Brigade returned.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, I believe that was conducted in
24 private session. Shall we go back to the private session?
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, for the sake
1 of caution -- although I didn't intend to mention the name but -- the
2 name of the protected witness. But out of an abundance of caution, yes.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll go to the private session, please, and
4 we'll have that place redacted. Yes.
5 [Private session]
12 Page 11536 – redacted – private session.
12 [Open session]
13 Questioned by the Court:
14 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Vukotic, whom you were subordinated to
15 during the critical period?
16 A. According to establishment, when I was appointed Assistant Chief
17 of Staff for Intelligence as of November 1994, I was subordinated to the
18 Chief of Staff, Mr. Obrenovic.
19 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: What about the intelligence and security chain
20 of command? In the framework of this chain of command, I mean security
21 and intelligence chain of command, to whom you were subordinated to?
22 A. I was as Assistant Chief of Staff in disciplinary terms and in
23 every other way responsible to the Chief of Staff; however, it was my
24 duty to send on intelligence reports with which I always familiarised the
25 Chief of Staff to the intelligence department of the Drina Corps.
1 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And the intelligence department of the Drina
2 Corps could order you to do something or not to do something.
3 A. As a rule, yes, they could assign certain tasks to me. But they
4 would have to ask for the approval of the brigade Chief of Staff and he
5 would have to know about it. They could give me certain tasks to carry
6 out in my field of activity; however, this never happened to me in
7 practice. My only oral contact with this department throughout my career
8 in this domain occurred only when it was necessary to gather intelligence
9 or -- which was sensitive or used a sensitive source, which I was not
10 competent to recruit on my own initiative.
11 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Thank you. I have no more questions.
12 JUDGE LIU: Any questions out of Judge's question?
13 Yes. Yes, Mr. Stojanovic.
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, no questions.
15 Thank you.
16 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Just one question.
18 Further cross-examination by Mr. Karnavas:
19 Q. You being part of the intelligence organ, you were not involved
20 in any counter-intelligence activity.
21 A. No.
22 Q. That would be the security organ; correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. All right. Thank you very much.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: No further questions.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, at this stage, are there any documents to
2 tender, Mr. Stojanovic?
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, several
4 documents, D128/3, this is the map of Zvornik which we used during the
5 examination-in-chief of the witness; D129/3, the statement of witness
6 Nedzad Ahmetovic made to the investigators on the 28th of September,
7 2001; and D130/3, the intelligence report signed by Dusko Vukotic of the
8 18th of July, 1995, delivered to the command of the Drina Corps.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Any objections, Mr. Waespi?
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, Mr. President, could we go into
11 private session for one second?
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll go to the private session.
13 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 JUDGE LIU: So, Mr. Waespi, concerning with the other two
25 documents, there's no objections from the Prosecution?
1 MR. WAESPI: Yes, and we also don't have any documents to tender.
2 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
3 These two documents, D128/3 and D130/3 are admitted into
4 evidence. It is so decided.
5 Well, Witness, thank you very much indeed for coming to The Hague
6 to give your testimony. We all wish you a pleasant journey back home.
7 The usher will show you out of the courtroom.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, I understand that the next
11 witness is waiting. At this stage are you going to call the next witness
12 or we'll have a break and continue our proceedings after the break? I'm
13 entirely in your hands.
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I
15 would prefer to call the next witness after the break so that we can
16 organise ourselves and be as efficient as possible.
17 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
18 So we'll take a break and we will resume at 12.15.
19 --- Recess taken at 11.44 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.15 p.m.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE LIU: Good afternoon, Witness.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
24 JUDGE LIU: Would you please stand up and make the solemn
25 declaration in accordance with the paper Madam Usher is showing to you.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
2 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. You may sit down, please.
4 WITNESS: MILAN MARIC
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Stojanovic.
7 Examined by Mr. Stojanovic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. Could you please introduce
9 yourself. What is your first name and your last name?
10 A. My name is Milan Maric.
11 Q. For the transcript, could you please spell your name slowly,
12 first your first name and then your last name.
13 A. Very well. M-i-l-a-n M-a-r-i-c.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Maric. Could you please tell us when and where
15 you were born.
16 A. I was born on the 21st of October, 1956, in the municipality of
17 Banovici in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. Where did you complete your elementary and secondary education?
19 A. I completed my elementary education in Banovici, and I completed
20 my high school education in Zivinice.
21 Q. Is the municipality of Zivinice in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
22 A. Yes, it is in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 Q. When you finished your secondary school, did you continue with
24 your education? When and where?
25 A. I studied for two years at the Faculty for Electrical Engineering
1 in Tuzla. Then I went to serve my military term. I interrupted my
2 studies. I attended the School for the Reserve Officers in Bileca.
3 After I completed my compulsory military duty, I completed my studies at
4 the Faculty for Political Science in Sarajevo, All People's Defence
5 Department, and I finished these studies in 1986.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter is not sure whether if the
7 witness said 1976 or 1986 when he completed his studies.
8 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. When you say the Faculty of Political Sciences, the Department of
10 All People's Defence, can you explain to us the structure of this. And
11 did you also receive a military education.
12 A. Faculty had several department, journalism, sociology, political
13 sciences, and there was also a department for All People's Defence.
14 Q. I apologise, Mr. Maric. Could you please slow down a little bit
15 so that the interpreters could interpret everything that you are saying.
16 Thank you very much.
17 A. Since I had already served my compulsory military duty, I already
18 had the rank of second lieutenant, and the people who complete that
19 faculty gain that rank, so I already had that rank. Once I completed my
20 studies, I did not get another rank. And later I found a job in that
22 Q. Does that mean that during your studies, you acquired certain
23 military knowledge from aspects of military doctrine?
24 A. Yes, that is correct. The concept of the faculty is such that
25 the students, once they have completed that education, acquire certain
1 military knowledge and they leave with the rank of second lieutenant,
2 which is the first officer's rank. All the rules and regulations in the
3 military apply. This is the rank which would be similar to that required
4 to pass the exam of major, but this is the rank of second lieutenant.
5 Q. Thank you very much. Now we are going back to 1986. After you
6 completed your university education, where did you begin to work?
7 A. I began to work in the Municipal TO Staff in Banovici as a clerk
8 for operations and training. I did this until 1999. I was the Chief of
9 Security and the Chief for Intelligence and Security Affairs in the
10 Municipal Staff in Banovici.
11 In 1999, I transferred to the district staff in Tuzla as
12 Assistant Chief of the District Staff for Intelligence. I remained there
13 until 1992, when the war broke out.
14 Q. Were these professional military duties that you had in the
15 District TO Staff in Tuzla?
16 A. Yes. I worked as a civilian in the armed forces. That was my
17 status. It was a part of the armed forces. The TO was a part of the
18 armed forces. And this is all that I did from the professional aspect.
19 I would also like to add, all of these duties that I mentioned,
20 besides the regular training for that, I also completed all the required
21 training courses in the training centres of the Yugoslav People's Army,
22 in Pancevo, Sarajevo for intelligence and security affairs.
23 Q. When the war broke out in 1992, you were in Tuzla. Where was
24 your family at the time and were you already married then?
25 A. Yes, I'm married. I have two children. I lived with my family
1 in Banovici, and every day I would travel to work to Tuzla.
2 Q. Once the war broke out, did you stay in Banovici or did you leave
3 and go somewhere else?
4 A. Just before the war broke out - this was on the 9th of May, 1992
5 - because I was married - my wife comes from Ozren - I sent my family to
6 my wife's parents, and this is where we happened to be when the war broke
8 Q. How long did you stay in Ozren, and did you have any military
9 duties in the Army of Republika Srpska in that period?
10 A. I did work as a regular soldier in Ozren for a period of two
11 months. After that, a brigade unit was formed and I was Assistant for
12 Intelligence Affairs in the brigade until July 1993.
13 Q. When did you come to the Zvornik Brigade and what was the reason
14 for your coming to Zvornik in the first place?
15 A. I came to Zvornik in July, in late July 1993, and the reason for
16 that was as follows: My father was already living in Zvornik. He had
17 some kind of accommodation there. We did not have very good living
18 conditions at Ozren. There were sixteen of us living in one house.
19 Q. When did you join the Zvornik Brigade?
20 A. This was in late July 1993.
21 Q. When you came to the Zvornik Brigade, can you remember who the
22 commander was of that brigade?
23 A. The commander of the brigade was Vinko Pandurevic.
24 Q. Who was the Chief of Staff of the Zvornik Brigade at the time and
25 also the deputy commander of the brigade?
1 A. The Chief of Staff was Dragan Obrenovic.
2 Q. When you came to the brigade, did you receive your wartime
3 assignment, and where was your first such assignment?
4 A. Commander Pandurevic gave me seven days' time to adjust, to get
5 to know the units. Then he assigned me to replace the commander of the
6 4th Battalion because he had a car accident, so I substituted for him for
7 about a month, and then at the end of August or beginning of September I
8 was given the post of commander of the 5th Battalion, which was situated
9 in --
10 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the name.
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Allow me to ask you what your rank was then in 1993. What was
13 your rank?
14 A. I had the rank of captain. For some time I had had that rank,
15 for about five or six years back.
16 Q. Thank you. How long did you stay in this --
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: I apologise, Your Honour, but occasionally the
19 interpretation, as I think us listening in English, know -- are unable to
20 catch some of the things. Perhaps -- and I know Mr. -- they're telling
21 us that in English, and Mr. Stojanovic is obviously not getting that.
22 For example, they didn't get the name of the town that the brigade was
23 in. And perhaps if the case manager would listen to the English, they
24 might be able to help out, because I don't like to interrupt.
25 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Yes. Mr. Stojanovic, you could ask a question
1 about the location of the 5th Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade at that
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you to the Prosecution and
4 Your Honour for your intervention.
5 Q. Mr. Maric, for the purposes of the transcript, you said that you
6 were appointed commander of the 5th Battalion. Do you recall saying
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Where was the 5th Battalion located, the 5th Battalion of the
10 Zvornik Brigade? What was the name of the location where it was?
11 A. The command post of the 5th Battalion was in Staro Selo, that is
12 a hamlet, the hamlet of Staro Selo in Memici. It's on the road
13 Zvornik-Crni Vrh-Memici-Kalesija.
14 Q. Thank you for that clarification. How long did you remain as the
15 commander of the 5th Infantry Battalion?
16 A. I was at that post for about a year, until September 1994.
17 Q. And what happened after that? How did your professional career
19 A. After that, I became the clerk in the operations sector of the
20 Zvornik Brigade.
21 Q. Who was the chief of the operations sector in the Zvornik Brigade
23 A. The chief of the operations sector was Captain Miodrag
25 Q. Did you spend a long time at that post? How long were you at
1 that post?
2 A. I was at that post until practically the end of October 1995, and
3 from there I took up a new post, Assistant for Operations Affairs in the
4 Manoeuvring Brigade of the Drina Corps, which was headquartered in
6 Q. Did I understand you correctly? Are we talking about October
8 A. Yes, that is correct. Up until October 1995, I was working as a
9 clerk in the Zvornik Brigade.
10 Excuse me, this was up until just before the Dayton Accords.
11 Q. So before the war was ended in the area of Zvornik, a manoeuvring
12 unit was formed as part of the Drina Corps and you joined that corps.
13 A. Yes, that is correct. A manoeuvring brigade was formed, which
14 was headquartered in Kozluk, as I said, and I joined the brigade as
15 assistant for operations.
16 Q. Were you at that post until the end of the war?
17 A. Yes, until April 1996 I was at that post.
18 Q. What was your rank, Mr. Maric, in July 1995?
19 A. I held the rank of captain or captain 1st class, I don't
20 remember. Because that rank, captain 1st class, was later abolished.
21 But I think I was captain 1st class.
22 Q. At this point I would like to ask you: When did you meet Dragan
23 Jokic first?
24 A. I first met Dragan Jokic when I arrived at the Zvornik Brigade;
25 that is, in July 1993.
1 Q. What position did he occupy then?
2 A. Dragan Jokic was then Chief of Engineers in the Zvornik Brigade.
3 Q. At that time, in the summer of 1993, was there an Engineers
4 Company in the Zvornik Brigade?
5 A. There was an Engineers Company in the Zvornik Brigade.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With the assistance of the usher
8 now, I would like to show this witness the exhibit we used yesterday;
9 namely, a part of Richard Butler's report, Prosecution Exhibit 367,
10 marked by us for identification as D84/3. I would kindly ask that it be
11 put on the overhead projector and zoomed in, if that is possible.
12 Q. Mr. Maric, if you could assist us to understand the structure of
13 the Zvornik Brigade and the various competencies and authority of
14 different officers. In July 1993, who was the commander of the Zvornik
15 Brigade? Or rather, July 1995.
16 A. It was Lieutenant Colonel Vinko Pandurevic.
17 Q. Who occupied the post of deputy commander and at the same time
18 Chief of Staff of that brigade?
19 A. Major Dragan Obrenovic.
20 Q. Did the brigade commander have its own staff of assistants?
21 A. Yes, he had. Those were Assistant for Logistics, Sreten
22 Milosevic; Assistant Commander for Morale and Religion, Nenad Simic; and
23 there was also Chief of Security, 2nd Lieutenant Drago Nikolic.
24 Q. These five officers, functionally speaking. Did they constitute
25 the inner circle of command of the Zvornik Brigade?
1 A. Yes. These officers were the innermost circle of command in the
2 Zvornik Brigade.
3 Q. In that month, was there in operation a Main Staff or
4 headquarters of the Zvornik Brigade?
5 A. Yes. In that month as well there was a staff in the Zvornik
7 Q. Who headed that staff?
8 A. The staff of the Zvornik Brigade was led by the Chief of Staff,
9 Major Dragan Obrenovic.
10 Q. Could you assist us with the composition of that staff in July
12 A. The staff of the Zvornik Brigade included ex officio the
13 Assistant Commander for Operations, Major Miodrag Dragutinovic; the
14 Assistant Commander for Personnel and Organisation, Mihajlo Galic;
15 Assistant Commander for Intelligence, Dusko Vukotic; the commander of
16 Staff Command or Staff Commander -- I can't recall the name now.
17 Q. It doesn't matter, Mr. Maric. If you don't recall the name now,
18 maybe you will remember it later.
19 A. Chiefs of Arms and Services, Artillery, Dragan Jokic; Chief of
20 Communications, Milosav Petrovic. I think that's it.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. Just a moment. There was Milenko Jovanovic, Staff Commander.
23 Q. Thank you. Just one clarification for the record. I was advised
24 by my colleague that I should repeat my question. Who was Chief of
1 A. Dragan Jokic.
2 Q. So he was not Chief of Artillery; he was Chief of Engineers.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. Let us now try to focus on the organ to which you
5 belonged, led by Mr. Petkovic. What were its duties and what were its
7 A. The job of the operations staff in the Zvornik Brigade was to
8 take part in the planning, organisation, documentation for combat
9 operations, preparation of analyses and reports based on these documents,
10 planning and organising internal services within the command and within
11 units. And as for the staffing, in addition to the Assistant Commander
12 for Operations there were several clerks or officers including me: Major
13 Ljubo Bojanovic, Major Zoran Jovanovic, Captain Radenko Petrovic, Captain
14 Momo Vasiljevic. So there were four or five of us clerks.
15 Q. Does that mean that the operations organ was the one who was
16 preparing documents for the Chief of Staff, such as reports, combat
17 documents, et cetera?
18 A. Following instructions from the Chief of Staff, the operations
19 section prepared these documents in keeping with the rules governing work
20 in the army, which means that we would draft these documents, submit them
21 to the Chief of Staff for endorsement, and they would later be submitted
22 for final approval to the commander.
23 Q. In that month, in July 1995, did the command and staff of the
24 Zvornik Brigade operate according to those rules of the brigade and rules
25 of staff?
1 A. Yes. The command of the brigade and the brigade indeed operated
2 according to these military rules.
3 Q. Could we say that it was an organised military formation?
4 A. Precisely.
5 Q. Mr. Maric, could you assist us in clarifying the exact role of
6 these heads of arms and services. What were their duties and tasks?
7 A. Every head of a branch or service is in himself a technical,
8 professional organ suggesting appropriate use of his units to the
9 commander, taking part in the training of personnel, taking care that all
10 the equipment be in working order, preparing documents, analyses, briefs,
11 reports concerning his own units.
12 Q. Can a chief or head of arms and services have a control-and-
13 command function?
14 A. Control is a broader term, whereas command, as one of the
15 elements of control, is not a role that the Chief of Engineers, for
16 instance, has. According to the rules, it was only the commander of a
17 unit who could command his unit, and this indeed happened in practice as
19 Q. Could a unit commander use his unit circumventing the commander
20 without informing him, without obtaining his approval? Or can such use
21 be made only with the approval of the commander, on his orders?
22 A. A unit commander cannot put his unit to any kind of use without
23 an appropriate order from the commander. That never happened in
24 practice. When a unit commander receives an order from the commander, he
25 must execute that order. If he wishes to discuss the best way to
1 organise, he can consult with the commander and the chief of that
2 particular branch.
3 Q. That's precisely what I wanted to find out. In that system of
4 command and control, in an engineer's company, from the brigade commander
5 through the Chief of Staff and commander of the Engineers Unit, what is
6 the role of the Chief of Engineering?
7 A. The Chief of Engineering or Engineers is an advisory organ
8 suggesting appropriate use for engineers. His job is to take care that
9 the personnel is well trained, that the equipment is in good working
10 order, and that everything is combat-ready. His further role could be to
11 take part in the preparation of all combat documents.
12 Q. Thank you. Is the commander required to follow the advice of his
13 Chief of Arms and Services or Chief of Branch or can he act at his own
15 A. The commander is not duty-bound to take this advice. He doesn't
16 even have to ask for advice if he has little time to make a decision.
17 This happened very frequently, and the commander made decisions on his
18 own. If he did have the time, he would consult the innermost circle of
19 his assistants and make a decision accordingly. He was not therefore
20 duty-bound to ask for advice and to follow it. He could decide on his
21 own on how to use a particular unit.
22 Q. At one point you said in some situations - and these situations
23 occurred frequently - the commander could issue orders without consulting
24 his assistants. What kind of situations are you referring to when a
25 commander issues orders directly?
1 A. These are situations in which a large number of his assistants
2 are not physically present, they are dislocated somewhere, and situations
3 where there is not enough time for him to hear various proposals. In
4 such situations, the commander assesses the situation quickly and makes a
6 Q. Would a wartime situation where there is intense fighting and
7 major battles going on be such a situation in which a commander may
8 require the use of an engineers unit without consulting the Chief of
10 A. Precisely so. Intensive fighting, changes in the combat
11 situations on the ground requires fast decision-making, and this is how
12 the commander would act.
13 Q. Thank you. Another -- just one more question in this line of
14 questioning: Would it be possible for any of the chiefs of arms of
15 service to control units akin to his own? And this implies the use of
16 machinery, vehicles, and so on, without the support of the commander
17 logistically. Would the Chief of Engineers have such authority?
18 A. No, the Chief of Engineers would not have the authority to
19 command and issue orders to a unit, nor did this happen. What did happen
20 was for the commander to send the chief of an arm of service to be with a
21 unit for purposes of control and coordination in the implementation of
22 orders issued by the commander, and this happened quite often. He would
23 send the Chief of Signals with a signals unit in a particular combat
24 operation. He would send the Chief of Engineers to be present during the
25 mining or laying down minefields. But for the chief of a service to make
1 a use on his own to his unit and issue such an order, this did not
3 Q. Could you please clarify this for us. The assistants to the
4 commander that you mentioned, the Assistant for Logistics, the Assistant
5 for Morale, the Assistant for Security. In terms of hierarchy, were they
6 superior to the chief of an arm of service, functionally speaking?
7 A. Yes, functionally speaking, they were superior to all the staff
8 officers. They were assistants to the commander, responsible to the
9 commander, while the other commanding officers I have listed would be
10 responsible to the Chief of Staff.
11 Q. So the hierarchy, the three assistants, could they be termed
12 senior, establishment-wise, to the chiefs of arms of service?
13 A. Yes, they were senior, not according to rank but according to
14 their function. Yes. As the word itself says, they are assistants to
15 the commander.
16 Q. Thank you. Mr. Maric, I want to put a few questions to you
17 concerning the personality of Dragan Jokic. You told us that you met him
18 in 1993.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Would you please tell us what your impressions were of him as a
21 person and in terms of his position in the structure of the brigade.
22 What kind of authority did he have?
23 A. When I first arrived in the Zvornik Brigade, Dragan Jokic was the
24 Chief of Engineers. I learned later on that he was also the chief of the
25 brigade. He was not an ambitious officer. He was not intent on pursuing
1 a military career. I think that the role of Chief of Engineers was a
2 kind of demotion for him because previously he had been Chief of Staff.
3 The superior commander and the chief did not respect him very much. They
4 did not take his opinions into account, so that many times attempts were
5 made to keep him at a distance when certain activities were taking place,
6 while on the other hand, his men respected him and thought well of him.
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Stojanovic, the witness testified that - I
8 quote - "I learned later on he was also the chief of the brigade." I
9 have some questions on that. Would you please clarify this for us.
10 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will
11 attempt to do so through some questions, by your leave.
12 Q. Mr. Maric, at one point in your response you said that you learnt
13 in 1993 that Dragan Jokic for a time had been the Chief of Staff of the
14 Zvornik Brigade. Do you remember?
15 A. Yes. Through my conversations with other colleagues, when we
16 chatted I learned that numerous commanders and chiefs of staff had been
17 at the head of the Zvornik Brigade before my arrival, and I think that
18 Dragan Jokic had also had the role of Chief of Staff of the Zvornik
19 Brigade while its headquarters was still somewhere -- I think it was in
20 1992/1993. I'm not sure.
21 Q. Is this why you said that you understood that his position as
22 Chief of Engineers was a demotion?
23 A. Yes, that's precisely what I meant.
24 Q. Are you trying to say by this that the position of Chief of Staff
25 is far more important than that of a staff officer such as Chief of
2 A. Precisely so. The Chief of Staff is the second ranking, the
3 second-in-command, while the Chief of Engineers is a demotion compared to
4 that. It's going down to a far lower level.
5 Q. In your direct contacts during 1995 with other officers in the
6 staff, did you ever come to a conclusion why Dragan Jokic was
7 marginalised in this way?
8 A. It wasn't just 1995. I think that Dragan Jokic sought to remove
9 himself from positions of responsibility because the commander and the
10 chief did not assign any important tasks to him. They gave him tasks
11 that would demote him, embarrass him in front of his men. On several
12 occasions he went with me and the units to oversee de-mining or the
13 laying of minefields, and in essence the tasks assigned to him were such
14 that he had to be with a small group of men and this was done to
15 humiliate him.
16 Q. The attitude of Dragan Obrenovic as Chief of Staff to Dragan
17 Jokic, was it the one you've described? In other words, that he did not
18 take him seriously, take his opinions into account, that he undervalued
19 his knowledge and skills and abilities?
20 A. Dragan Obrenovic, the chief, did not like people who he thought
21 were wise guys. When Dragan Jokic tried to explain something, he would
22 say, "Oh, I've had enough of your lectures." He didn't like taking
23 suggestions from others.
24 Q. Dragan Obrenovic and Vinko Pandurevic, were they men of
25 authority? Did they have sufficient strength and authority to be leaders
1 of the brigade?
2 A. They were extremely capable officers. They had a great deal of
3 authority, both with officers and with men and with the civilian
4 authorities on the ground.
5 Q. In terms of age and rank, was Dragan Obrenovic younger than
6 Dragan Jokic?
7 A. Yes. He was much younger in terms of age. As for rank, I think
8 he was a major and that he advanced in his career by two or three ranks
9 from the beginning of the war.
10 Q. Could you say that this was an autocratic, strong, powerful,
11 authoritative officer?
12 A. Dragan Obrenovic was an ambitious officer, capable, young. He
13 wanted to prove himself. He saw a military career ahead of him, and he
14 wanted to pursue that. He was exceptionally brave and was respected both
15 by the officers and the men.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Maric, for this detailed information regarding the
17 functional and personal status of Mr. Jokic. I would now like to go back
18 and go through all of these dramatic days in mid-July 1995. And could
19 you please help us by describing all these events, your position, and
20 what you know about Dragan Jokic.
21 Mr. Maric, do you remember that day when Srebrenica fell, which
22 is what we use to describe that event?
23 A. This was on the 11th of July, 1995. I remember that.
24 Q. Could you please tell us where you were at the time and what you
25 were doing.
1 A. I remember I was at the Zvornik Brigade Command in my office and
2 in the duty operations room. I was in the section where the brigade
3 command was. I was doing my usual things. We received these reports.
4 There were many family members of fighters who were killed at Srebrenica.
5 It was quite crowded and this went on until the next day also.
6 Q. You said that there were families there of those who were killed
7 in Srebrenica. Does that mean that a part of the Zvornik Brigade was in
8 the Srebrenica sector during those several days?
9 A. Some of the forces of the Zvornik Brigade, with the commander
10 Vinko Pandurevic, went on an assignment for combat operations in
11 Srebrenica. I don't know exactly, but I think from the 4th to the 6th of
12 July the unit left to carry out its assignment.
13 Q. Does that mean that the commander left with that group from the
15 A. Yes. Vinko Pandurevic was in command of that unit, and he went
16 together with them for this task.
17 Q. Then it is logical to ask who then took over the command of the
18 Zvornik Brigade during the absence of Commander Vinko Pandurevic.
19 A. During the line-up of the unit which was preparing to leave for
20 this assignment, to leave for Srebrenica, Vinko Pandurevic announced that
21 the unit was going to carry out an assignment in Srebrenica and that in
22 his absence the Chief of Staff, Major Dragan Obrenovic, should be in
24 Q. Was this an official transfer of authority from Vinko Pandurevic
25 to Dragan Obrenovic in terms of the command of that brigade?
1 A. This address by the commander we understood just as you have said
2 it; it was an official transfer of authority, although according to the
3 regulations, if the commander is not in the area of defence of the
4 brigade, the authority is automatically transferred to his deputy or --
5 i.e., the Chief of Staff.
6 Q. During those few days, did you note the fact that Dragan
7 Obrenovic was functionally de facto and de jure in command of the
9 A. Right from the departure of Vinko Pandurevic, that's how it was.
10 This was implemented in practice. Dragan Obrenovic commanded the units
11 of the brigade.
12 Q. As the operations officer, can you tell us, can you remember how
13 many soldiers of the Zvornik Brigade left together with the commander to
14 the Srebrenica sector?
15 A. About 200 to 250 soldiers left with the commander.
16 Q. When did you find out that soldiers of Republika Srpska entered
18 A. We found this out on the 11th. I think it was in the duty
19 operations officer's room. We found out that Srebrenica fell in the
20 evening. We watched television, and we heard it also from our logistics
21 section, how the combat operations were proceeding. We had the names of
22 those who were killed and wounded, because all of that was then the duty
23 of certain officers in the brigade to deal with all of these matters.
24 Q. If you can recall, tell us where you spent the night between the
25 11th and the 12th.
1 A. On the night of the 11th and 12th, I was at the command of the
2 Zvornik Brigade. That's where I slept. We have a dormitory upstairs. I
3 was in my office. I was in the duty operations room. We were monitoring
4 the situation following what was happening with our units on the ground.
5 I was also getting ready to be the officer on duty the next day.
6 Q. What happened on the 12th in the morning?
7 A. On the 12th I took over as duty operations officer, between 8.00
8 and 9.00 hours. I acquainted myself with the situation in the brigade's
9 area of defence. And then I continued with my duties as the duty
10 operations officer.
11 Q. How long is the shift of a duty operations officer, in general?
12 A. According to the rules and also in practice, the shift -- the
13 duty shift was 24 hours, which means 8.00 or 9.00 -- from 8.00 or 9.00
14 hours in the morning to 8.00 or 9.00 hours the following day,
16 Q. Do you remember who you took over the duty from on the 12th?
17 A. I cannot remember, but when I looked at the handwriting in the
18 duty handover logbook, I could conclude that the -- that based on the
19 information I had, it was Ljubo Bojanovic. It was his handwriting before
20 mine in the logbook.
21 Q. Who did you hand over your duty to on the 13th in the morning?
22 Who came after you?
23 A. On the 13th, I handed over my duty to Sreten Milosevic, who was
24 the Assistant Commander for Logistics.
25 Q. Incidentally, Mr. Maric, was it usual and did this happen in the
1 Zvornik Brigade that the deputy commander for security ever performed the
2 duty of duty operations officer?
3 A. As far as I'm concerned, the deputy chief for security was never
4 the duty operations officer in the brigade.
5 Q. Did the security people ever do such duty in the brigade, due to
6 the nature of the work that they do?
7 A. According to the manual of work of the military police, they can
8 be on duty in their organ. They should always be available to assist the
9 commander or the chief, so they never actually perform the duty
10 operations job.
11 Q. Thank you very much.
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please show the
13 witness excerpts from the Manual of the Work of Commands and Staffs, and
14 this is P394, and for identification we use that as D87/3. We will only
15 look at the relevant articles from Rules 65 and 66, from the Manual of
16 the Work of the Commands and Staffs.
17 Q. Mr. Maric, in view of the fact that in Dragan Jokic's indictment
18 the -- his work as an operations officer is mentioned, I would like to
19 ask you a few questions on this topic. How is the takeover -- the
20 handover of duty carried out? How is this organised in the command of
21 the Zvornik Brigade?
22 A. The officer who is taking over the duty usually comes early to
23 prepare. He comes about half an hour to an hour earlier to prepare, to
24 look at the documents, to acquaint himself with what happened the
25 previous day, to see where the units were at that time, which actions
1 were started, which ones were not implemented, to look over the
2 duty-handover notebook, to see what was entered in it by his predecessor.
3 The person take over the duty signs the book, as well as the person
4 handing over the duty. This is monitored by the commander or certified
5 by the commander. If he's not here, this is done by the Chief of Staff.
6 It would happen sometimes in the absence of the commander and the Chief
7 of Staff, who were not there during the takeover of the duty. When they
8 were not in the barracks, then in the morning they would instruct for the
9 duty operations officers to hand over duty by themselves, and they would
10 then find out about what had happened from the duty operations officer
11 once they returned to the barracks.
12 Q. Does that mean that the handover of duty from one duty officer --
13 the outgoing duty operations officer and the incoming one should always
14 be approved or certified by the commander or the Chief of Staff?
15 A. That is correct. At the beginning of each month a roster of duty
16 is made by the officers in the brigade which is approved by the commander
17 and the duty operations officers have to sign this schedule so they know
18 who is on duty when, to prevent someone not being present or being on
19 sick leave or being out in the field and being unable to come back. So
20 any possible changes or substitutions could be made only with the
21 approval of the commander and from the list of those who are supposed to
22 be on duty.
23 Q. So can it happen that duty operations officers substitute for one
24 another without the knowledge of the commander or the Chief of Staff?
25 A. No, this cannot happen. If the person who was supposed to take
1 over the duty is not there, the person who was already on duty would
2 continue to do so until a person approved by the commander to replace him
3 turns up.
4 Q. Was there a book in the Zvornik Brigade recording the handover of
5 duty? Was there a notebook where an outgoing and an incoming duty
6 operations officer would sign off, according to the approval of the
8 A. Yes, there was such a notebook, and it was regularly maintained.
9 Each shift would be noted down. Everything was written down in
10 accordance with the regulations. The outgoing duty operations officer
11 would sign it and the incoming one would also sign it, and this would be
12 certified or authorised by the commander.
13 Q. Do you have any information about what happened with this
14 notebook of the handover of duty in the brigade? Did you have an
15 opportunity later to see this notebook?
16 A. I saw the notebook in the hands of the Chief of Staff when he was
17 preparing to conduct a defence. I think this was between his two
18 interviews with investigators of the Hague Tribunal. I saw it in his
19 office when he called me for a talk, amongst other thing, because he was
20 preparing his defence.
21 Q. Mr. Maric, could you please tell us, could you please tell the
22 Trial Chamber, what year was this when you saw this document, when you
23 saw Mr. Obrenovic with this notebook?
24 A. I don't know exactly. I think this was in 1990 -- something like
25 that. It was -- I think it was in 1999.
1 Q. Thank you. On the 12th in the morning, when you were taking over
2 the duty, was Obrenovic present in order to approve this handover of
4 A. Yes. I took over the duty in the presence of Obrenovic.
5 Q. Thank you very much. Could you please look at Rule 66 now, where
6 instructions are -- on the work of commands and staffs are enumerated and
7 where the operations duty officers' duties are also mentioned. Could you
8 please tell us: As operations duty officer, what were you obliged to do
9 on that day in the Zvornik Brigade? What were your duties?
10 A. The brigade duty officer needs to monitor the course of combat
11 operations and to enter changes in the working map of the staff, to
12 monitor what the neighbours are doing -- its neighbours are doing, to
13 inform the commander or the Chief of Staff about any major events that
14 are going on in the zone, or about orders received from a superior. The
15 duty officer has to be acquainted with the disposition of the unit, all
16 the elements of the units: Where the units were deployed; to control and
17 maintain communications with the superior and -- command and
18 subordinates; to receive and dispatch orders and reports to those to whom
19 those orders and reports are addressed; to monitor and check the
20 immediate security measures in the barracks, also at the command post.
21 These are the rules for the work of a duty officer.
22 Q. And you, as the duty officer, did you abide by those rules? And
23 I'm now speaking specifically about the period of July 1995 in the
24 Zvornik Brigade Command.
25 A. I did abide by all of these rules, because I performed the duty
1 officer function many times, so for me it was a routine. We mostly
2 worked on duty. We organised it. We prepared for it. We also trained
3 people for it. We also developed all the operational documents used for
4 those purposes, and also in practice we abided by all of these rules.
5 Q. Could it be said that you were one of the most qualified people
6 to work as duty operations officer?
7 A. Since I did this before the war, you could say that.
8 Q. Mr. Maric, can you help us understand. What books did you have
9 to keep as duty operations officer? In other words, out of all those
10 diaries, notebooks, logbooks, what did you have at the command, at the
11 command's duty operations centre?
12 A. We had the book of transition of duty, the one that I spoke a
13 moment ago [as interpreted].
14 Q. Is that the book that you said you saw in 1999 in Obrenovic's
16 A. Yes. Then we had a book of comments and observations, where the
17 duty officer would note down what was going on; something like a working
18 notebook, where everything that happened on a particular day was recorded
19 chronologically and which is later used as a basis for compiling a final
20 report. Those are the two main documents that I kept.
21 Plus the duty operations officer always updates certain
22 command-related documents regarding changes of codes, working map.
23 Q. Who kept this war diary, Mr. Maric, the war journal kept in every
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, foundation. I don't know if any -- if
1 what he's referred to is a war diary or if -- so I don't know -- There's
2 no foundation to that question, so we don't know what he's referring to.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Please give us an explanation about the
4 so-called war diary or just a notebook.
5 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Maybe I
6 hastened things a little, but I'll improve. I promise.
7 Q. Mr. Maric, was there also a war journal at the brigade?
8 A. Every unit in wartime keeps a war journal. It's not anybody's
9 prerogative in particular, but in view of the substance it would have
10 been normally the job of the operations organ in the brigade. All
11 elements are updated every day chronologically. Every unit had to have
12 this. And the same is true of the Zvornik Brigade, which had its war
13 journal. In our command, there was a major, a teacher of fine arts by
14 profession, otherwise a reserve major who served in the workers battalion
15 officially, but he worked at the command of the brigade. He was an
16 elderly man with an extremely beautiful handwriting and he was the one
17 who kept this war journal precisely because he had this calligraphic
18 handwriting. He would be given appropriate data and enter them into the
19 war journal.
20 Q. Thank you. When you say that this was the job of the operations
21 organ to keep this book, do you mean the operations organ in which you
22 served, not the duty operations officer of the brigade?
23 A. Precisely. Using the information, the daily information on the
24 developments of their day, a compilation would be made to be entered into
25 that war journal. This is prescribed also in the manual how to keep this
1 journal, which rubrics it should contain, and which activities it should
3 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you, by the way, are there other positions
4 in the brigade that have some overlapping duties with the duty operations
5 officer? Where would these other duty operations officers be situated?
6 A. There is a forward command post within the brigade which had its
7 own duty officer, and in all subordinated units - battalions, companies
8 subordinated to the Zvornik Brigade - there were individual duty
9 officers. According to the manual on internal service, we had guard duty
10 service, firefighting service, duty officers in the rolling stock
11 department. The duty service functioned completely.
12 Q. In those days, that is, on the 12th of July, when you were the
13 duty officer, was there also a duty officer for the barracks? Did such a
14 position exist?
15 A. Many attempts were made to integrate this at the level of the
16 barracks, but in fact we had a duty officer for the brigade, not for the
17 barracks at that time.
18 Q. You mentioned the duty officer at the forward command post. Do
19 you remember whether in those days of July a forward command post was
20 operating and where it was located, if any?
21 A. The forward command post was occupied only occasionally, and it
22 was the commander's decision when to take up position at the forward
23 command post, who should do it, et cetera, but I don't know whether
24 Commander Obrenovic issued such orders in that period and who, if anyone,
25 he sent to the forward command post.
1 Q. I would now ask you: If there is a forward command post and if
2 somebody is actually there, should there also be a duty officer at the
3 forward command post?
4 A. If somebody is holding position at the forward command post, it
5 is not necessary to have anyone on duty there serving as a duty officer.
6 One duty officer at the brigade is enough. So we had the operations
7 officer at the forward command post and the duty officer in the brigade.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Maric. I will not ask you any more questions
9 about the forward command post because, in view of your engagement during
10 those days, you are obviously not familiar with the issue.
11 My next question would be: Does the duty operations officer have
12 any authority, in terms of command and control, over the existing
13 subordinated battalions of the brigade?
14 A. In practice, the duty operations officer never played a
15 commanding or controlling role in the brigade. He could receive orders
16 from Chief of Staff or the commander and transmit those orders to the
17 designated recipient. He could also receive orders from the Superior
18 Command, and in that case it would be his duty to familiarise the
19 designated recipient. However, it was not his job to inquire about the
20 activities involved unless specifically instructed to do so in case of
21 any feedback. But the duty operations officer could tell the driver, the
22 messenger, or a guard to execute certain orders. He could issue orders
23 to these people. A vehicle, for instance, could not leave the perimeter
24 of the brigade without the approval of the Chief of Staff, let alone a
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Maric. Let us try to specify this explanation.
2 On the 12th and the 13th, did you as the duty operations officer have any
3 possibility to control the artillery or the air defence, to command the
4 intelligence organ? Was there any way for you to use your position of
5 duty operations officer to command units?
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection. Whether this person has command
8 authority over all these units, it's not the position in the indictment,
9 nor the Prosecutor's position, that this is a command-authority position.
10 I don't think there is any disagreement about the definition of "duty
11 officer." So going into detail about whether this person could command
12 artillery or anything is really beyond the relevance of the issues at
14 JUDGE LIU: I think there's a problem of the translation or the
15 courtroom, you know, issue, you know.
16 Well, maybe, Mr. Stojanovic, you could rephrase your question in
17 another way.
18 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Maybe I
19 should try again for the umpteenth time, for the record and to follow
20 your suggestion, to say that my question phrased in the language
21 understood by both me and the witness was: Was he able to - and the
22 proper word would be - to "direct"? Not to "control," the word used in
23 the indictment. We know that command responsibility is not among the
24 charges in our indictment, and we are not charged under Article 7(3) of
25 the Statute. And you know, Your Honour, that several times in the
1 indictment it says that "Dragan Jokic directed," or, rather,
2 "controlled." I will no longer go into these issues concerning the
3 authority of the duty operations officer in light of the indictment.
4 I believe that I have responded to the comment of Mr. McCloskey,
5 if I understood it correctly.
6 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just to be clear, I have no objections whatsoever
8 for him questioning on terms of, you know, direct or other things that
9 are mentioned in the indictment, of course; it's just this idea of
10 command authority is, I think, at issue, and I think everyone understands
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I understand. Thank you.
13 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] May I continue, Your Honour?
14 JUDGE LIU: Oh, yes, of course.
15 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE LIU: Or do you want to change the subject? Maybe it's a
17 good time for us to break.
18 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Very well, Your Honour. I
19 thought I would conclude with this to show exactly what our line of
20 questioning is and what our focus of attention is concerning the position
21 of the duty operations officer. And after that I would move to the
22 events of the 12th and the 13th, so this would be as good a moment as any
23 to stop for today.
24 JUDGE LIU: Can I give you five minutes to finish this section?
25 If you could, so we will sit until quarter to 2.00, but if you couldn't,
1 you know, we'll come back tomorrow.
2 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, we shall continue tomorrow,
3 with your leave, Your Honour, in view of my next questions which are
4 going to concentrate on specific events of that day.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
6 Well, Witness, I have to remind you that you are still under the
7 oath, so do not talk to anybody and do not let anybody talk to you about
8 your testimony today. Do you understand that?
9 THE WITNESS: [No audible response]
10 JUDGE LIU: So we'll continue tomorrow morning at 9.00. The
11 hearing for today is adjourned.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.42 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 7th day of,
14 July, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.