1 Monday, 26 March 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: Yes, let the witness make the declaration.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 WITNESS: LUKA DRAGICEVIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter].
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Good morning, everyone. Today is
12 the 26th of March, 2007. As you've noticed the President, Patrick
13 Robinson, Judge Patrick Robinson is not with us today, and I will be the
14 acting Presiding Judge. Under Rule 15 bis of the Rules, the Trial Chamber
15 believes that it can sit; and on behalf of the Trial Chamber, I would like
16 to greet everyone in this courtroom, starting with the representatives of
17 the OTP, with Mr. Whiting and his associates. I would like to greet the
18 Defence with Mr. Tapuskovic, his co-counsel, and his case manager. I
19 would like to great the accused, General Dragomir Milosevic, the
20 registrar, and all personnel assisting the Trial Chamber.
21 With regard to the Defence, the Trial Chamber has learned that
22 Mr. Tapuskovic has lost someone very dear to him, and the Trial Chamber
23 would like to express its deepest condolences to him and hope that he has
24 found necessary strength to continue working in these proceedings. In
25 this Tribunal we work according to the principle of the publicity of the
1 proceedings. The public will have noticed that the Trial Chamber did not
2 sit last week; and for the record and to inform those who watch the
3 proceedings, I would like to state that the Trial Chamber was not on
4 vacation. The Trial Chamber went on site together with all the parties,
5 and I would like to thank all the parties who took part. I would like to
6 thank the Office of the Prosecutor as well as the Defence for the spirit
7 of cooperation they've shown throughout our stay in Sarajevo.
8 This is what I wanted to say. We are now going to resume the
9 regular proceedings with a witness today who has just taken the solemn
10 declaration; and according to the Rules of Procedure and is evidence, I
11 would like to make sure that the witness can understand me in his own
12 language. If that's the case, please say that it is the case, Witness.
13 Please say that you understand.
14 Witness, do you understand me.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 I would like to ask the Prosecutor to tell us what sort of witness
18 we're dealing with today. Is this is a viva voce witness or is this a 92
19 ter witness we have in front of us? And what is your time estimate? How
20 much time will you need for the examination-in-chief?
21 Mr. Whiting.
22 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Good morning. And on behalf of the Prosecution, our condolences
24 also to Mr. Tapuskovic for his loss.
25 To respond to Your Honour, this is a viva voce witness. I have
1 been allowed two hours for the direct examination, and I will do my best
2 to finish it in less time than that, if possible, but I may have to take
3 the full two hours. I note that we -- I won't be starting till about 12
4 or 13 minutes past the hour.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. So please go ahead, and
6 keep in mind that the 27th of April is the date by which the Prosecution
7 is supposed to finish the presentation of its case.
8 MR. WHITING: Yes. We have in mind, Your Honour, though, that
9 topic will be the subject of a motion from the Prosecution, which will be
10 received shortly.
11 Examination by Mr. Whiting
12 Q. Good morning, Colonel. Could you please state your name for the
14 A. Luka Dragicevic.
15 Q. Colonel, in order to save time and unless there is an objection, I
16 am going to summarize your background, and then just ask you to confirm it
17 when I am finished. So if you could please listen carefully to what I
19 You were born on the 14th of November, 1951. You graduated from
20 the Air Force Military Technical Academy in Rajlovac in 1972, and you were
21 then a member of the JNA. In 1992, you were a lieutenant-colonel in the
22 air force academy in Rajlovac and still an anybody of the JNA, the army of
23 the former Yugoslavia. You became a member of the VRS, the army of the
24 Republika Srpska, on the 19th of July, 1992, and on that date you were
25 appointed Chief of Staff of an infantry brigade in Visegrad. That
1 infantry brigade was first known as the Visegrad Brigade, later known as
2 the 2nd Light Infantry Podrinjska Brigade. When the Drina Corps was
3 formed in November of 1992, that brigade part of the Drina Corps. You
4 were appointed commander of that brigade on the 26th of October, 1992, and
5 you remained commander until August of 1993. At that time you were
6 appointed head of a staff of the Visegrad Tactical Group to coordinate the
7 work of various brigades.
8 Is that all correct up to now?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. Then at the end of November or beginning of December 1994, you
11 were appointed as an assistant commander to General Dragomir Milosevic who
12 was then the commander of the SRK, and you were the assistant commander in
13 charge of morale, religion, and legal issues, and you had the rank of
14 colonel. You held that position until the end of the war sometime in
16 Is that all correct?
17 A. Right.
18 Q. Now, Colonel, just a few questions about how you got here today.
19 Were you interviewed by the OTP in August of -- of 2006?
20 A. On the 3rd of August, 2006.
21 Q. Thank you for the precision. After you were interviewed by the
22 OTP, were you contacted by the Defence in this case, and did you agree to
23 be a witness for the Defence?
24 A. After that interview, I was told that a month later an
25 investigator would give me a call and ask me if I was willing to testify
1 for the accused; however, that didn't happen. Three -- more than three
2 months elapsed when he called me and asked me again if I wanted to be a
3 witness for the Prosecution if I required any protective measures.
4 In the meantime, Mr. Milosevic's wife called me by phone and asked
5 if I wished to be a witness for the Defence. I told her what I already
6 said a minute ago. I described the situation with the OTP investigators,
7 and this month that he had indicated had already gone. I told her that if
8 the Defence believed that I should testify, then I will do so.
9 Q. So just to summarize, the answer to the question is, yes, you
10 agreed to be a witness for the Defence at that time; correct?
11 A. I said that I would give testimony if necessary both for the
12 Prosecution and the Defence, and I stand by that statement. In my mind,
13 it is only logical that as an assistant commander for morale to be on the
14 side of the Defence; that is, to give to evidence on behalf of my
15 commander. It's only normal, given that I was his assistant.
16 Q. And just one final question on this topic before we move on. Were
17 you subpoenaed here to testify today? Did you receive a subpoena?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. I'm going to move on to the next topic, which is the laws and
20 regulations that applied in the army of the Republika Srpska. And just so
21 you're aware, for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, my questions to you,
22 sir, are going to be on very narrow and specific topics. They're not
23 going to be wide-ranging. You will see they are going on very specific
24 purposes. The first topic is on laws and regulations.
25 Could you tell the Trial Chamber, please, what -- what was the
1 relationship, if any, between the rules and regulations that applied in
2 the JNA and those that later applied in the VRS. Just generally and
3 briefly, please.
4 A. Initially, the rules of the JNA were applicable on the VRS. Later
5 on, these rules were amended but the basis were the rules of the JNA.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. WHITING: Could we look at 65 ter Exhibit 1654, please.
8 Q. Sir, these are regulations from the JNA from 1988 on the
9 application of international laws of war in the Armed Forces of the SFRY.
10 Did these rules continue to apply when the VRS was formed in May of 1992
11 and when you were a member of the VRS? Did these rules continue to apply?
12 A. As far as I can remember, yes.
13 MR. WHITING: Could this document be admitted into evidence,
15 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P474, Your Honours.
17 MR. WHITING: Could we now look please at 65 ter exhibit 1692, and
18 if we could zoom in on the lower right of the B/C/S.
19 Q. Colonel, this is an order on the application of the rules of
20 international laws of war in the army of the Serbian republic of Bosnia
21 and Herzegovina, and it's dated 13th of June, 1992. I want to draw your
22 attention to paragraph 2, which we have to go to the next page of the
23 B/C/S to get to paragraph 2. It's on this page of the English.
24 It states that commanders and commanding officers and each member
25 of the army or other armed formation shall be responsible for the
1 application of the rules of international laws of war; and then it goes on
2 to say: "The competent, superior officer shall initiate proceedings for
3 sanctions as provided by the law against individuals who violate the
4 international laws of war."
5 Was this an order in place during the entire time that you were a
6 member of the VRS?
7 A. Yes, it was.
8 Q. And was this consistent with your understanding of the obligation
9 of commanders to initiate proceedings in the event of a violation of the
10 laws of war?
11 A. I didn't understand you altogether.
12 Q. My question was perhaps unclear.
13 Was this -- in this provision, paragraph 2, it states that
14 superior officers shall initiate proceedings in the event of a violation
15 of the laws of war. Is that consistent with your understanding of the
16 obligation of a commander in the VRS during the time that you were a
17 member of the VRS?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And just if I could --
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Prosecutor, could you please inform us who
21 issued this order?
22 MR. WHITING: If we turn to the next page -- if we scroll down on
23 English, it may be visible. Yes. It's issued by Dr. Karadzic.
24 Q. And just to bring this into the terms of the SRK, just to be
25 clear, under this provision, under this order, and specifically paragraph
1 2, if a brigade commander in the SRK or the corps commander of the SRK
2 became aware of a violation of the international laws of war, did he have
3 an obligation to report that to the military prosecutors?
4 A. His duty was to initiate proceedings and -- through expert organs
5 in the command, and send an appropriate document to the military
7 Q. And in the event that a brigade commander took this step; that is,
8 initiated proceedings, did he have a duty or obligation to report that to
9 the corps command, up the chain, and report that he had done that to the
10 corps command?
11 A. Yes. Among other things, in regular reports, this information was
12 included as well.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, I want to move to another topic, and that is to
14 focus in --
15 MR. WHITING: Oh, could this document be admitted into evidence,
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Registrar, can we have a
19 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P475, Your Honours.
20 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Now, I want to move to another topic and focus on the time that
22 you were the assistant commander in the SRK for morale, religion, and
23 legal issues from the beginning of December 1994 until sometime in 1996.
24 When you were in that position, did you receive information from the
25 military prosecutor in Sarajevo about cases that had -- criminal cases
1 that had been initiated?
2 A. Yes. The corps command, or rather, its legal department received
3 such documents.
4 Q. And the legal department, just to be clear, was it under our your
5 command; that is, did it fall under your command?
6 A. Yes. In terms of responsibility, in the military parlance that
7 would be subordination. However, according to their professional
8 competence, they were responsible to superior command levels.
9 Q. And how often would you receive this information from the military
11 A. The military prosecutor's office had their schedule of work, and
12 supplied this information to the corps command most often once a month.
13 So you may say it that it was a rule, and this applied to the previous
15 Q. In other words, they would supply the information in -- in one --
16 in one month, and it would be about the month that had just completed, the
17 previous month?
18 A. Yes, in the next month for the previous month.
19 Q. In addition to sending the information to the corps command of the
20 SRK, would the Sarajevo military prosecutor send the information to
21 anybody else?
22 A. I suppose they did, but that's the purview of the military
23 prosecutor's office, so I don't have exact information.
24 Q. Well, let ask me the question more directly. Would he send it
25 to -- was there a -- in addition to there being a Sarajevo military
1 prosecutor, was there a military prosecutor above him for the entire VRS?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And would the Sarajevo military prosecutor provide the monthly
4 information also to his superior, the VRS military prosecutor?
5 A. I wasn't a superior to the Sarajevo military prosecutor, but my
6 assumption is that he must have relayed the same information to a higher
7 level through his chain of operation.
8 Q. Okay. Now, after you received the information from the Sarajevo
9 military prosecutor, what would you do with it, if anything?
10 A. We would inform -- inform members of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps
11 command during regular briefing sessions; and then in an appropriate form,
12 it would be conveyed to lower levels of command; that is, brigade command
13 in order to inform both the officers and soldiers in the brigade.
14 The essence of this information would be the same as the one
15 received from the military prosecutor. However, it wasn't so much
16 elaborate, only examples of behaviour were provided to lower level. So
17 each individual case is being listed in this information.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. WHITING: Could we look please at 65 ter number 2397. I'm
20 going to look now at some examples of this reporting.
21 Q. Now, this is a report that is dated the 2nd of June, 1995, and it
22 is from the military prosecutor of Sarajevo, Todor Todorovic. And it is
23 to the command of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, specifically to the organ
24 for morale, religion, and legal affairs, and it is information about the
25 crime trends in the month of May 1995. Do you recognise this document;
1 that is, is this the type of document that you would receive from the
2 military prosecutor's office?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. WHITING: Could this be admitted into evidence, please.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Registrar, a number,
7 THE REGISTRAR: P476, Your Honours.
8 MR. WHITING:
9 Q. Now, just before we move to this document, take note that this
10 document is dated the 2nd of June, 1995.
11 MR. WHITING: And now if with we could look at 65 ter 2410, and
12 could we go to the second page in English, please.
13 I'm sorry, I meant the second page in B/C/S. Thank you.
14 Q. This is a document which is dated the 6th of June, so four days
15 later, and this cover page is --
16 MR. WHITING: If we could have the English on the screen. Thank
18 Q. The cover page is from the military prosecutor of the VRS.
19 MR. WHITING: No, that's not the right English page. That's it.
21 Q. Mr. Supcic, and it is entitled, "Report on crime trends in May
22 1995, Sarajevo."
23 MR. WHITING: And now if we could turn to the second page of the
24 document, or let's say the next page.
25 Q. Attached to this document is the document that we just saw from
1 the 2nd of June, 1995, from Todor Todorovic. Is this consistent with your
2 understanding of how the military prosecutor of Sarajevo would send the
3 report to the VRS military prosecutor, and then the military Prosecutor of
4 the VRS would put a cover page on it.
5 A. Well, this is what I assume; that this is the way that it was, but
6 I do not have direct knowledge as to the way in which Prosecutor's offices
7 functioned at different levels.
8 MR. WHITING: If we could go back to the previous page of this
10 Q. Based on your dealing with these sorts of documents at the time
11 and your familiarity with the VRS, and just -- paying attention, looking
12 at the format, the stamp, and the signature of the document, does this
13 appear authentic to you?
14 A. Specifically, here I cannot see the stamp. But apart from that, I
15 think that this is the way things usually were.
16 MR. WHITING: Could this document be admitted into evidence,
17 please, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Registrar, can we have a
19 number, please?
20 THE REGISTRAR: P377, Your Honours.
21 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Whiting, sometimes I do not
23 respond immediately because I'm waiting for the interpreter from the
24 French booth to finish translating so that explains why I take sometime to
1 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour. I don't mean to rush, but I
2 do mean to rush.
3 If we could look at 65 ter 2416, please.
4 Q. This is now a document which is dated two days later, the 8th of
5 June. So the first document was the 2nd of June, 1995 from the Sarajevo
6 prosecutor, then the 6th of June from the VRS prosecutor attaching the
7 same information. This is now the 8th of June, 1995. Do you recognise
8 this document, sir?
9 And perhaps we will have to be turn to the next page for you to be
10 able to see the signature page. Would you like to see the signature page?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. WHITING: If we could look at page --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 MR. WHITING: -- page 2 of the B/C/S and page 3 of the English,
16 Q. Is that your signature on the page?
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. WHITING: If we could go to the first page now of the
20 Q. And could you tell us what this document is?
21 A. This is information that the legal department of the corps command
22 sent to lower ranking commands, or rather, legal officers in brigade
23 commands, with a view to informing officers and soldiers.
24 Q. And --
25 A. Specifically -- sorry to interrupt. Specifically, this was sent
1 to the forward command post of the corps command.
2 Q. Okay. Just --
3 A. If necessary, I can explain what a forward command post is.
4 Q. No, thank you.
5 A. That is part --
6 Q. We have actually had evidence on that, but I appreciate it.
7 Can you explain what is the relationship of this document to the
8 document we saw just a moment ago that was from the Sarajevo military
10 A. Well, the basic source for compiling this kind of information, or
11 rather, the information that is right in front of us is the preceding
12 document that was received from the military prosecutor's office.
13 Q. Okay.
14 MR. WHITING: And now if we could go to the last page of the
15 document again.
16 Q. Does the last page, in the left there on the bottom, does it
17 indicate to -- to whom this information, this report was sent?
18 MR. WHITING: Scroll down on the English to the bottom there.
19 Q. Colonel, does it say who this was -- to whom this was sent?
20 A. Yes. It says to all units. Specifically, this example that
21 you're showing here is what was sent to the forward command post where
22 part of the officers from the corps command were and part of the soldiers
23 from the command who are supposed to provide security and everything else
24 that is required for the forward command post to function.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. WHITING: Could this document be admitted into evidence,
3 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please.
4 THE REGISTRAR: As P378, Your Honours.
5 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honours.
6 Q. Now, we've just looked at the three reports from the Sarajevo
7 military prosecutor, then the cover page put on by the VRS military
8 prosecutor, and then, finally, your report summarizing the report of the
9 Sarajevo military prosecutor. These were all written in June for the
10 month of May, consistent what you had explained to us.
11 Now, what I would like to do is go through each month to show you
12 reports, similar reports for each month. Unless -- if the Defence would
13 accept into evidence all of the reports for the months that have been
14 disclosed, I could save time and not go through it; otherwise, I will go
15 through each month.
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic.
17 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] We are absolutely in accord. All
18 those reports that exist from the month of September all the way into
19 1995, we agree that they be admitted into evidence. I don't think there
20 is any need for repeating all of that.
21 MR. WHITING: Could I then just -- if I could just provide the
22 numbers, the 65 ter numbers and then they could be given exhibit numbers,
23 and I will tell you what months they're for.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Whiting, in principle, we are
1 not against what you're suggesting. We've taken note of the fact that the
2 Defence agrees for all these exhibits to be tendered into evidence.
3 However, we would not like to be flooded under documents that might not
4 all be relevant. These exhibits you would like to tender, are they all
5 relevant for the case here in these proceedings and for the indictment in
6 these proceeding?
7 MR. WHITING: Yes, they are, Your Honour. And there are only ten
8 documents. It's one or two for each month, and they are all within the
9 indictment period and they're all relevant.
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] For example, if we look at the
11 document we have here in front of us, we are talking about disciplinary
12 measures taken in relation to violations of the rules that apparently at
13 first site have absolutely no connection with our case, with our
14 indictment. Therefore, I'm afraid I would not like to be flooded under
15 documents of that kind; but if you give us the assurance that all the
16 documents, all the exhibits you want to tender are relevant to the
17 indictment, then go ahead.
18 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I give you that assurance, and I could
19 explain why that particular document is highly relevant, but I'd rather
20 not take the time now to do that.
21 For December 1994, the report is 65 ter number 2200; for February
22 of 1995, it's 65 ter number 2259; for March of 1995, it's 65 ter 2311 and
23 2313; for April of 1995, it's 65 ter 2336; for June of 1995, it's 65 ter
24 2522 and 65 ter 2554; July 1995 is 65 ter 2567; August 1995 is 2628; and
25 October 1996, it's 65 ter 2678. If those all could be given numbers at
1 this time.
2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please.
3 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 2200 becomes exhibit 479; 65 ter 2259
4 becomes exhibit 480; 2311 becomes exhibit 481; 2313 becomes exhibit 482;
5 2336 becomes exhibit 483; 2522 becomes exhibit 484; 2554 becomes exhibit
6 485; 2567 becomes exhibit 486; 2628 becomes exhibit 487, and 2678 becomes
7 exhibit 488.
8 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honours. Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
9 I want to move on to a new topic now.
10 Q. During the time-- during the time that you were assistant
11 commander for morale, religion, and legal affairs from the beginning of
12 December 1994 until the end of the war, do you recall any instances where
13 a commander from the SRK reported a criminal violation of the
14 international laws of war to the military prosecutor.
15 A. I never learned of or heard of something like that happening in
16 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps in the period that you refer to. As far as I
17 can remember, if there had been any such thing in these reports from the
18 Prosecutor's office, then certainly officers from the command would have
19 received information about that and appropriate measures would have been
21 Q. And you explained to us before about how reporting occurred within
22 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. So if there had been a report made by a
23 commander from the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps about a violation of the
24 international laws of war, would you have known about it and would the
25 corps commander have known about it?
1 A. Of course, I would have to know about it, or rather, that officer,
2 well, depending on his level, in daily combat reports, inter alia, there
3 would be information of that kind, too.
4 Q. Now, I want to move to another topic which is to look at some
5 additional reports?
6 MR. WHITING: If we could look at 65 ter 2174, please.
7 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Whiting, just a brief question
8 to the witness.
9 Witness, you state that the according to your information no
10 member of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps was ever prosecuted for war crimes
11 or violations of the Geneva Conventions or for any violation of
12 humanitarian law by the Prosecutor of Sarajevo. Is that what you stated?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I stated that I never received such
14 information, nor did I personally learn of any such thing.
15 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
16 Mr. Whiting.
17 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Okay. Now, if you could look at the document on the screen, this
19 is a document dated the 27th of December, 1994. Was this signed by you?
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. WHITING: Could this document be admitted into evidence,
23 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Registrar.
24 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P489, Your Honours.
25 MR. WHITING: Could we look at 65 ter 2318, please. This is a
1 document that's dated -- an order that's dated the 22nd of April, 1995,
2 and if we could scroll down to the bottom. It's the bottom of the B/C/S
3 that I'm interested in. Thank you.
4 Q. Who signed this document?
5 A. I signed it.
6 Q. You signed it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could you explain how that occurred, because it has the name of
9 Dragomir Milosevic, but you say you signed it. How did that occur?
10 A. Since this is subject matter from my own line of work, the
11 commander gave me approval, consent as his assistant commander that I
12 could sign such a document.
13 Q. Just to be clear, did he approve this particular --
14 A. I beg your pardon.
15 Q. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you. Let me just ask this
16 question. When you say he gave you a approval, did he approve this
17 particular document, or do you mean he gave you approval generally to sign
18 documents under his name?
19 A. No, only from the purview of the work of the organ that I headed.
20 As for this specifically, he probably gave me instructions and authorised
21 me to sign it. The document was created by the legal officer in the corps
23 MR. WHITING: If we could look at the first page of the document.
24 It's already on the first page in B/C/S, but the first page in English.
25 Q. And the subject heading is, or rather, the two line says "to be
1 delivered to," and then it says "PRB commander." What does PRB stand
3 A. Just a moment please. Well, since I didn't see this, let me say
4 something. As this is an order, for every order I had to get specific
5 approval that from the commander that I sign it on his behalf. I as
6 assistant commander did not have the right to command. As for this
7 abbreviation, I think that it is Pracanski Battalion. The Pracanski
8 Battalion. That is the way it should be.
9 Q. And was the Pracanski Battalion a battalion within the SRK?
10 A. It was. Although, I do not see here who exactly who this was
11 submitted to. I cannot see it on the screen.
12 Q. Well, the -- I think you have the entire document before you,
13 so ...
14 A. Yes. I have the letter P, but that doesn't really mean anything
15 to me.
16 Q. Oh, I understand. Just to be clear, in other words, what you're
17 saying, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you don't know who received
18 this, whether it was actually received?
19 A. That is not what I was saying. Over here, I cannot see exactly
20 who this was submitted to. I cannot see it on the document.
21 Q. Well, on the line that says --
22 A. This is a reply.
23 Q. Okay. But on the line it says "to be delivered to," and then it
24 says "PRB commander." What do you understand that to mean?
25 A. I have already told you, but I really cannot see it here. Where
1 is that written?
2 Q. Oh, I'm sorry. If can he could zoom in on that, it is at the top
3 of the document. I didn't understand that it was hard to see.
4 Do you see that now?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Okay.
7 A. I think it is the Pracanski Battalion that was within the
8 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. That battalion had written to the corps command
9 with regard to certain problems. They asked for an opinion, and by way of
10 an order we regulated this; that is to say, how this problem should be
12 MR. WHITING: Could this document be admitted into evidence,
14 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, registrar, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P490, Your Honours.
16 MR. WHITING: Could we look now at 65 ter 2546. This is a document
17 which is dated the 18th of June, 1995. We still don't have the English.
18 There we go, and if we could go down to the bottom, please.
19 Q. Is that your name at the bottom?
20 A. Yes. My first and last names are typed out.
21 Q. Now, do you -- looking at this document and maybe we have to
22 scroll to the top, do you know how this document was prepared?
23 A. This document was drafted by my assistant for legal affairs, a
24 lawyer. This is a dispatch. It is not a classical written order.
25 Q. And to your knowledge, was your assistant for legal affairs
1 authorised to write this dispatch. Did he receive authorisation to do
3 A. Yes. This particular line of work is directly related to morale.
4 Since I was not in the corps command, it was done by the professional who
5 was in a position to do that on my behalf. I was out in the field, and I
6 agree with everything that people who were under -- that was done by
7 people who were under my command. This is a team that worked in harmony
8 and with responsibility.
9 MR. WHITING: Could this document be admitted into evidence,
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, registrar, please, do your
13 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P491, Your Honours.
14 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Q. Thank you, Colonel.
16 MR. WHITING: I have no further questions. I note that I took
17 just 50 minutes to complete the examination.
18 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Congratulations. As we still have
19 30 minutes, I'm now turning to the Defence. I don't think there are any
20 questions for the moment.
21 Mr. Tapuskovic, if you'd like to begin your cross-examination.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Tapuskovic:
23 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I thank
24 the trial and you, Judge Mindua, the President and my learned colleague,
25 the Prosecutor, for their expression of condolences.
1 However, let's me begin.
2 Q. Mr. Dragicevic, I'm Defence counsel for Dragomir Milosevic. As
3 you know, it is true and you may confirm that if you know that at the time
4 while you were not yet on the Prosecutor's list of witnesses, through my
5 investigator in Sarajevo I tried to get in touch with you as well as with
6 any other commander. Is that true?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Let me first ask you something about Dragomir Milosevic who was
9 your immediate superior officer. I'm not going to suggest anything to
10 you. I would simply like to ask you to tell us, if you can, in the
11 briefest possible terms, and I'm kindly asking you to make the best of the
12 time allocated for this cross-examination, I would appreciate if you could
13 give me brief answers, probably yes or no. However, with regard to this
14 question, I would like to ask you to tell me in your own words something
15 Dragomir Milosevic, about a commander, a soldier and a person. Can you
16 tell us briefly, tell the Chamber briefly about that.
17 A. Mr. Milosevic was a professional of the highest ranking. He was
18 an a extraordinary personality. He knew that a victory cannot be achieved
19 in the office but rather in the field. I can say that 90 percent of his
20 time is spent in the field with lower ranking units, brigades up to the
21 lowest ranking unit that is a platoon. In view of the operational
22 position of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, he needed enormous time and
23 energy in order to accomplish these tasks.
24 I would like to underline that he was a man of high moral values.
25 He was an altruist, and never did I hear from him using the word enemy for
1 the opponent. He never considered any people his enemy, both in official
2 capacity and when we went together to inspect the units. I never heard
3 anything like that from him. He was an exceptional professional and a
4 person of high moral values.
5 Q. Do you know and can you confirm that he was a fiercest opponent to
6 the use of alcohol and that he imposed the most stringent measures on all
7 soldiers using alcohol in the field?
8 A. I know that he was fiercely opposed to that and to a large extent
9 he was successful in implementing this first and foremost by setting an
10 example himself and he managed to put this into practice. I cannot say
11 for sure whether it was up to the lowest level but as far as he was able
12 to keep this under control he was fully successful.
13 Q. And he pronounced short imprisonment measures for people who were
14 found intoxicated?
15 A. Yes, either directly or he issued an appropriate order to his
16 superior officer.
17 Q. However, in line with good customs applicable by the Serbs he
18 always kept a bottle of homemade brandy in his office which he served to
19 his visitors?
20 A. Yes, he did. And it was customary for him, as far as I know, he
21 would just toast his guests especially if those were VIPs.
22 Q. Thank you. Let us now move to specific topics and I'm kindly
23 asking you again to give me the briefest possible answers in order for us
24 to conduct and finalise this dialogue in the Chamber for the benefit of
25 what needs to be down.
1 Can you confirm that, since you said he was such a professional,
2 honoured and abided by the decisions of the General Staff and that he
3 never took any decisions that went outside the lines that were set up by
4 the army of Republika Srpska?
5 A. Yes, I can.
6 Q. Can you also confirm that all of decisions that you know of were
7 always in the spirit of the general decisions take by the Supreme Command
8 and the General Staff and also that they were fully in accordance with
9 international law?
10 A. Given that I said that he was highest professional is
11 self-explanatory and the answer would be yes.
12 Q. When he dealt with civilian authorities, can you say that he
13 primarily contacted them with regard to the basic needs of the army, the
14 food, the fuel, the humanitarian aid? In other words, the provision of
15 basic necessities for an army to sustain?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you confirm that he never succumbed to any political or
18 civilian pressures in any way whatsoever, Yes or no.
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, a short while ago I
21 checked with the colleague of Mr. Whiting whether there's -- whether
22 there's a translation of document 0529411, and our number is DD00-1903.
23 There's only a B/C/S version of it, and today I'm very seldom going to use
24 B/C/S documents. I have documents that have been translated. I would
25 like just to put a few things to this witness.
1 Q. Now you can see this document. It's dated 9th of February, 1995.
2 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please move to page 2.
3 Q. Is it true that you signed this document?
4 A. Yes. Excuse me, no. It was signed by the head of the legal
5 department, by my authority. He was a superior of mine -- correction
6 subordinate of mine. My name has been typed out by I authorised him to
7 sign this.
8 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we go back to page 1 briefly,
10 Q. Let's look at the first sentence which reads as follows: "Recently
11 attempts by the municipal and higher authorities -- leadership of the SDS,
12 that is the Serb democratic party, to infiltrate in any possible way and
13 excerpt influence on a command and control."
14 Is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In paragraph 5, let's look at that. It says: "Basically attempts
17 are being made to discredit the current commanders and to have them
18 replaced and to bring in their place SDS officials."
19 Is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In other words, is it fair to say that various political intrigues
22 often threatened to undermine the reputation of various commanders, and
23 here I primarily refer to Dragomir Milosevic?
24 A. Yes. That was second nature of civilians, that they liked to
25 interfere with military affairs which is something that the least know
1 about. The commander wouldn't allow such practices, and the undermining
2 of the command and control by the civilians structures. He reacted
3 whenever he heard of any such instances.
4 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic.
5 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: Yes.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I feel somewhat blind
7 because I have the B/C/S text on my screen. But in this particular case,
8 I want to make sure that what you have just read out tallies with what the
9 interpreters of the Tribunal have up on their screen. I'd like to check
10 this with the OTP to make sure that the content is what we have here.
11 Is that right, Prosecutor, because we don't have the translation.
12 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, unfortunately, I'm as blind as you are.
13 I -- I don't have a translation either, so I'm unable to tell.
14 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Registrar, do the interpreters have
15 this text on their screens.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. They should be able to see the
17 B/C/S channel in e-court.
18 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Tapuskovic.
19 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, do I have to read
20 again what's already been confirmed by the witness?
21 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] No, please proceed.
22 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. I had and opportunity, Witness, just to listen to the audio
24 recording of your statement. To this date, I haven't received it in
25 writing this interview, except in English. I don't have a B/C/S version
1 of it. However, after listening to this interview, I remember and I know
2 that the OTP showed you a document from November which is the time when
3 you were not discharging your duties in the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
4 Do you remember that there was mention about some meeting with
5 civilian authorities? Yes or no.
6 A. I saw it in this document, but I heard about that for the first
7 time in this interview with the investigator.
8 Q. You had no direct knowledge about this issue; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. But you were deeply convinced that it must have been only a kind
11 of intrigue when political and civilian authorities interfered with
12 military affairs with a view to discrediting certain officers, and here I
13 refer primarily to Dragomir Milosevic? Yes or no.
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have this document
16 marked for identification and be given an MFI number --
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Registrar, please.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours --
19 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] -- pending translation.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be marked for
21 identification as D135.
22 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before I proceed
23 with my questions to this witness, Colonel Dragicevic, I have in my hands
24 a very short document on his appointment dated 22nd November 1994, number
25 DD00-1891. It's a very short document.
1 Q. Can you see it now on the screen, Colonel Dragicevic. It's dated
2 22nd November 1994, and it was signed by Commander Dragomir Milosevic; is
3 that correct?
4 A. His name is typed out, but I don't know whose signature this is.
5 This letter was drafted by someone with the initials SK.
6 Q. At any rate --
7 A. But this is the document issued by the SRC command?
8 Q. It is authentic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So someone else signed on behalf of Dragomir Milosevic within the
11 authority given to this person by Dragomir Milosevic?
12 A. Yes. This could have only be signed by personnel officer, and he
13 had power and authority to do that for this specific kind of affairs.
14 Q. In paragraph 2, it reads: "The above named shall be charged
15 duties of the assistant commander for morale and religious affairs."
16 Is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. There's no mention here of being in charge of legal affairs; is
19 that correct?
20 A. Yes, that's correct. But in military terms and in terms of the
21 setting up of this department, I was superior to the legal department in
22 its functioning as a military formation, not in professional and expertise
23 because I'm not a lawyer, and I cannot be a superior to a lawyer.
24 Q. Precisely, that is what I wished to clarify before the Trial
1 You had a military education, and you did not have any kind of
2 training as a lawyer; is that right?
3 A. Yes, that's right. We just had what any professional officer has
4 by way of completing the Military Academy or higher ranking levels of
5 education. It is only natural to act in accordance with the rules, but in
6 essence that does not mean that we have training as lawyers.
7 Q. In other words, you had lawyers who had degrees in law who worked
8 on documents for you and, of course, after that you would sign these
9 documents or you would authorise somebody else to sign these documents?
10 Yes or no.
11 A. Well, yes. That is to say, experts in particular fields, educated
12 trained people, who had their training verified, they are the ones who
13 created professional documents. And those who had the right to sign
14 documents and to put a seal, a stamp on it, did so, especially when given
15 authority by the superior officer.
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. I have a
17 question to put to the witness.
18 You were heading, I believe, the legal department or part of the
19 legal department of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps; is that right?
20 So below you, you had lawyers or I believe these must have been
21 officers that belonged to a totally different department, totally
22 different from the military magistrates; by that, I mean the military
23 prosecutor of Sarajevo. Is that right?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. We did not have any
25 connections in terms of superior or subordinate levels in terms of
1 subordination with the military prosecutor. The military prosecutor in
2 Sarajevo did cover the same zone as the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps; however,
3 the corps command had nothing to do with the military prosecutor's office
4 in terms of subordination.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. But in your particular
6 department, you had a number of officers that had -- were trained lawyers.
7 Is that right?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me explain this for you.
9 In the organ for moral, religious affairs, and legal affairs,
10 there was a department for legal matters. There is was a department for
11 morale that I headed, and at the same time I was assistant commander. And
12 according to establishment, there was a department for religious affairs.
13 There was a trained lawyer with a degree in law in the legal
14 department and also a person with some legal training at post-secondary
15 level and also a person who was a typist.
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Milosevic.
17 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for your assistance,
18 Your Honour, Judge Mindua. I did wish to deal with the matter, but you
19 have done so already. That is why I would like to ask for this document,,
20 DD00-1891, be admitted into evidence, or rather, marked for identification
21 until it is translated. It is a very brief document.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Tapuskovic, could you please enlighten the
24 Chamber a bit and tell us what the document that you seek to have admitted
25 really is? What is the contents of this document?
1 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Harhoff, this
2 is a document appointing Colonel Dragicevic assistant commander for
3 morale, religion, and legal affairs in the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps on the
4 22nd of November, 1994. This document shows when he assumed this duty,
5 and when he became department commander.
6 So this a document that related to his appointment, and his
7 appointment to this duty precisely on the 22nd of November, 1994. That is
8 when he came to this position, and from that moment, of course, he bears
9 certain consequences as commander in the sense that is referred to here.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, the Trial Chamber,
12 of course, would have liked to admit your document but we have no
13 translation, so we can just marked for identification.
14 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Mindua that is
15 precisely what my proposal was, that it be admitted but just marked for
16 identification. It is very brief, but I haven't tendered it until it is
18 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Registrar, could you give us a
19 number, please.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be marked for
21 identification as D136.
22 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Let me continue with my
24 Q. If could you please give me answers that are as brief as possible
25 to these few questions before the break.
1 You can confirm, can you not, that in the beginning of August
2 1995, Commander Dragomir Milosevic went to Belgrade for medical treatment
3 due to an eye injury that he sustained in a situation at the front line.
4 A. Yes. I can say that we had great difficulty in talking him into
5 doing that; although, the medical complication was already quite serious.
6 The wounding took place a couple of months before that. So in spite of
7 all of that, he barely agreed to do that, or perhaps it would be better to
8 put it this way. We had great difficulty in talking him into this; that
9 is to say, to have this resolved so he could continue his work.
10 Q. Can you also confirm that as for this medical treatment in
11 Belgrade in hospital, and then treatment at home, he stayed all the way up
12 to the 10th of September until the NATO air-strikes began against the army
13 of Republika Srpska?
14 A. Yes. I know that he cut his sick-leave short, and he came to the
15 command post; that is to say, to the area of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
16 Q. Just another thing, if you could give me a brief answer: Did he
17 spent most of his time at forward posts at the Nisic plateau, which is up
18 in the north, and then at Trnovsko, or rather, the Trnovsko part of that
19 front in trenches most of the time, rather than in Lukavica where the
20 command post was? Yes or no.
21 A. Mr. Milosevic, as I have already said in the beginning, I think,
22 was a commander who knew -- who won battles and where. He knew that
23 battles were won by well-motivated soldiers with a high morale and high
24 discipline. That is why I'm sure that he spent over 90 per cent of his
25 time, at least while I was there when I could see this for myself, he
1 spent out in the field due to the position that the Sarajevo-Romanija
2 Corps had.
3 For example, in order to visit a brigade in Ilidza, the command
4 corps was away from the commander of the Ilidza Brigade, only five or six
5 kilometres as the crow flies. In order to get there, you would have
6 travel for three or four hours in the summer, and during the winter about
7 five hours along roads that were under possible constant fire by the other
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours.
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, we're going to stop
12 now. It is now 32 minutes past 10.00, and we will resume at 50 minutes
13 to, 20 minutes later.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
17 Mr. Tapuskovic.
18 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Mr. Dragicevic, now I would like to deal with a subject as quickly
20 as possible, so could you please give me the briefest possible answers.
21 At the moment when the conflict started in the former Socialist
22 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, can you tell me where you were exactly?
23 A. In Sarajevo, or rather, in Rajlovac, at the air technical centre,
24 that is where I was serving.
25 Q. Although you were there in terms of your duties, you did
1 nevertheless receive information about what was going on in the country,
3 A. Yes. We were informed along the military lines, or rather, it was
4 compulsory to inform all officers, or rather, all members of the Yugoslav
5 People's Army about what was going on in the country. This was done by
6 way of the media as well. Of course.
7 MR. WHITING: Excuse me, I am sorry. I am just wondering if we
8 could clarification about when -- what time-period we're talking about
9 here, because the reference is to when the conflict began, but that can
10 mean different things.
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, you've heard the
12 question put to you by Mr. Whiting.
13 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I understand this full
14 well, and I can spell it out in more specific terms.
15 Q. You know full well what it was that was going on late in June 1991
16 in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia. Do you know about that?
17 A. Yes. By way of our information and through the media, I know what
18 was happening there. That is how I was informed. That is how I learned
19 about things.
20 Q. What I'm interested in first and for most and what should be
21 explained to the Trial Chamber is the following: This army, the Yugoslav
22 People's Army, up until those days that I referred to very specifically
23 now, the Yugoslav People's Army was deployed like any other country, in
24 the territory of the entire country. Isn't that right?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. So, it was in Slovenia, in Croatia, in Macedonia, in Montenegro,
2 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Isn't that right?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. And in Serbia, of course?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. It was in the barracks; and for the most part during a period of
7 45 years, it carried out peacetime duties only, putting out forest fires,
8 building roads, railways, only peacetime tasks, and assignments. Do you
9 know about that as an officer of the Yugoslav People's Army?
10 A. Yes. For the most part, it carried out training, which is what
11 its purpose was anyway; that is to say, training people to protect the
12 country, to defend the country.
13 Q. Did you receive information through military channels or through
14 the media that the Territorial Defence in Slovenia had attacked the
15 Yugoslav People's Army? Yes or no.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you learn that between the 25th and the 27th of June, the
18 Territorial Defence of Slovenia took part in the killing of unarmed
19 soldiers in considerable numbers? Yes or no.
20 A. Yes. I don't know the actual number, but I do know that there was
21 a certain number of casualties, or rather, killings.
22 Q. You know that the barracks were surrounded, that is where soldiers
23 lived; otherwise, there were power cuts. There was shortage of water, and
24 that these barracks were fired at as well?
25 A. Yes, that's the information that we received.
1 Q. In order to prevent the loss of young lives and casualties in the
2 army ranks, the decision was passed for the army to withdraw, is that
3 right? Yes or no.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did all Slovenian officers and soldiers accede to the Territorial
6 Defence and that became the army of Slovenia? Yes or no.
7 A. Yes. For the most part, I do not know about exact figures; but
8 according to the information we had, most of them, yes, most of the
9 officers who were Slovenian crossed over to the Territorial Defence of
11 Q. Did the Territorial Defence keep most of the weaponry, or by then
12 it was already the army of the Republic of Slovenia?
13 A. That's the information that we had.
14 Q. It was still within the SFRY, is that right, at that time?
15 A. The Republic of Slovenia, yes.
16 Q. Did the JNA withdraw from Slovenia in different directions through
18 A. Yes, by sea and land towards Serbia and Montenegro, or rather,
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, too.
20 Q. In Croatia, was there the same kind of situation that took place
21 in Slovenia before that, that barracks were under siege and without
22 electricity and water and that soldiers in these barracks were killed?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did the Yugoslav People's Army withdraw further on from the
25 Republic of Croatia, too, again in different directions?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The Territorial Defence and the army of Croatia as it was at that
3 particular time already, did they take over most of the equipment,
4 weaponry that belonged to the Yugoslav People's Army? Yes or no.
5 A. That is the information that we received.
6 Q. Did all officers and all soldiers who were in the JNA and who were
7 ethnic Croats join the army of Croatia in that situation?
8 A. For the most part, yes.
9 Q. And the army was forced to withdraw further from Croatia, in
10 different directions? Yes or no.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Part of that army arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well? Yes or
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. The army, the Yugoslav People's Army, as it was withdrawing from
16 Croatia through Bosnia-Herzegovina, too, was it being attacked by the
17 Patriotic League and the Green Berets, these paramilitary units, all the
18 way up to Sarajevo because they were moving in that direction as well?
19 A. Yes. These paramilitary units from Bosnia-Herzegovina were in the
20 territory of Croatia within the ZNG, and later on they came to
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina as already trained and with battle experience.
22 Q. At one point in time, the Yugoslav People's Army had to leave
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina as well; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Is it correct that the Territorial Defence that was in the
1 territories where Serbs lived and Territorial Defence in the areas
2 primarily populated by Muslims, although, there were not the strict
3 delineations everywhere, did they take over the equipment of the army, and
4 did they keep that within their own weaponry?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Is that the way in which the army of Republika Srpska and the BiH
7 army were formed?
8 A. Yes, on the same principles. The forming of both armies was based
9 on the Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina which was divided along
10 ethnic lines.
11 Q. Did all officers and soldiers, Muslim officers and soldiers, join
12 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 A. For the most part, yes. There were some honourable exceptions.
14 Q. Was that the case also with the VRS?
15 A. I didn't understand your question.
16 Q. Did the people who composed the Territorial Defence in the places
17 where they lived as a majority, did they also, that means, the Serbian
18 soldiers and officers from Bosnia-Herzegovina, joined VRS?
19 A. At the beginning of the war, on the territorial basis, units were
20 formed what I would call of people's army made up of the population or the
21 residents of one or the other ethnicity. So the same situation prevailed
22 in both communities, but the basis was the Territorial Defence. The war
23 broke out before the VRS army was ever formed.
24 Q. Strictly speaking, in Sarajevo, but in other Bosnian towns as
25 well, were the barracks also surrounded where JNA soldiers were billeted
1 and that they were under fire, they were killed, that were shot by
2 snipers, that they were deprived of food and electricity, the same
3 situation used to prevail in Croatia?
4 A. Yes. But not only in the barracks but the highest commands as
5 well, even the army commands were in the same situation.
6 Q. Did something even more specific happen here, meaning that when
7 the JNA started to withdraw from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, this
8 particular part of the JNA that was in BH, while they were leaving their
9 barracks and passing through Bosnia-Herzegovina, were they killed?
10 A. Yes, the most outstanding example is the pullout of the command of
11 the 2nd army under the auspices of UNPROFOR. It's a well-known story of
12 the massacre on Dobrovoljacka Street. Although everything had a been
13 agreed under the sponsorship or auspices of an UNPROFOR commander, a
14 marching column, not a combat column but a marching column, and convoy of
15 vehicles was cut in two and over 100 men were killed.
16 Q. I'm not going to mention other incidents, but let me just mention
17 the withdrawal of the army from Tuzla. You know that in the course of the
18 withdrawal of the JNA several hundred soldiers were killed walking in a
19 column without having any intention of carrying out any operation or
21 A. I also know about this column, and I know that there was agreement
22 with the local authorities in Tuzla to provide safe pullout of the army.
23 However, as a result of deceit, the column came under the attack. The men
24 were in vehicles. This was not a combat formation, and they didn't expect
25 that they would have to put up resistance because the agreement had been
1 reached to allow the column to be pulled out in a peaceful and orderly
3 Q. You also know or you heard that several hundred soldiers were
4 killed, approximately?
5 A. Around 100, that's the information I have, at least 100. And it's
6 possible that more were killed. I don't know the exact number.
7 Q. Let me ask you this: The weapons that the JNA had in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina was kept by the Territorial Defence of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina and that of the VRS. .
10 A. Yeah, that constituted the basis of armament of all formations in
12 Q. So each side had at their disposal all kinds of weapons that
13 belonged to the JNA?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I'm not going to put a leading question, but who remained in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina when we talk about the VRS? Who constituted the VRS,
17 and are you able to tell us what their task was?
18 A. 99 per cent of the population, of the Serbian population, made up
19 the army of Republika Srpska, or rather, the army was made up of 99 per
20 cent of ethnic Serbs. Their task was to protect and defend the people who
21 found themselves in the area of VRS, more specifically in Sarajevo and the
22 area of Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, which means in the territory controlled
23 by the SRC. Of course, the basic principle for an army to be able to
24 carry out its primary task according to all our rules, and it's only
25 logical, it first needed to create conditions to protect itself, because
1 only if an army can survive will it be able to protect someone else.
2 The strategy of the VRS, particularly that of the SRC, was to
3 maintain and preserve the territory populated by the Serbs in Bosnia and
4 Sarajevo and to ensure as normal every day life as possible. Our strategy
5 was not to capture and occupy the whole of Bosnia, but rather to control
6 only those parts of territories that ethnically belonged to the Serbian
7 people, unlike the other side which claimed the right. And their strategy
8 was to capture the whole of Bosnia, and that was their principal goal.
9 Stemming from that was their -- their decision to pursue offensive actions
10 in the first place.
11 Q. Can you tell me, who were members? Let us put aside the
12 population for the moment. Who were members of the army of Republika
13 Srpska. Those were predominantly local ?
14 A. These were members of these ethnic communities that lived in the
15 territory that was at the time controlled by SRC; in other words, those
16 were the people who had been living there for centuries with their
17 families on their land and in their homes.
18 Q. If there were any officers from Serbia, those were for the most
19 part people who had their own families that had also been living there for
21 A. Well, yes, that was the case for the most part.
22 Q. Is it fair to say that already at beginning, this was in no way
23 any kind of Serbian Montenegro army but made up exclusively by people who
24 were living in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
25 A. Yes, that was the army of the Republika Srpska.
1 Q. My last question is: When the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
2 imposed sanctions on the VRS, the so-called self-styled "VRS," can we say
3 that in 1994 after the beginning of August when the sanctions were imposed
4 by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, there was no one else there except
5 for the people who were living there for ages and who were defending that
6 you are homes and their loved ones and their own lives. Is that correct?
7 A. That was the case from the very beginning. However, the
8 conditions were much more complex for both the people to survive and also
9 to provide supplies for the VRS and for the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps in
10 particular, because its position was extremely complex and its tasks were
11 very difficult.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 Mr. Dragicevic, let us now move to specifics. From the moment
14 when you took -- assumed your duties on the 22nd of November, 1994, at
15 that time when you took up your position, was this situation that I asked
16 you a little bit a while ago still prevailing? I'm talking about the
17 sanctions imposed by the FRY in indication to those imposed by the
18 international community? Yes or no.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In other words, at that time there were shortages of food and
21 fuel; is that right?
22 A. Yes, it is.
23 Q. We can also say that there was insufficient quantity of ammunition
24 and weapons?
25 A. Yes, that particularly referred to large calibre weapons. We were
1 in a very bad position vis-a-vis that particular type of weapons. We were
2 aware what was coming within the next few months, and we were very
3 weakened. Our position was very weakened as a corps in that respect.
4 Unless we were able to fix something and repair something, the whole
5 capability and capacity of putting up an efficient resistance would come
6 under question.
7 Q. In November 1994, you already knew that units of the BH army were
8 superior both in manpower strength but also in terms of weapons; is that
10 A. Yes. They were superior in every respect, except in the domain of
11 combat morale and strict military discipline of the corps that was
12 positioned opposite the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, and I'm talking about the
13 1st BH Army Corps.
14 Q. During your tour of duty; that is to say, from late November 1994,
15 you strictly adhered to the heavy weapon exclusion zone and you never
16 violated it; is that correct?
17 A. As far as I know, and I do know that from the staff meetings and
18 as a result of inspection of units, that that was the case.
19 Q. But you also knew that the BH army frequently violated the
20 exclusion zone?
21 A. Yes. There were violations, but I cannot say exactly how many.
22 There's probably is a document to corroborate that, so there were
23 violations of truce by the 1st Corps of the BH army.
24 Q. When you arrived, you knew that from the month of August 1994 and
25 onwards, an offensive and action of the BH army was primarily focussed in
1 the Nisic plateau - and later on I'm going to place before you a map - and
2 also the Trnovski positions? Yes or no.
3 A. Yes. That is where most of the combat took place; that is to say,
4 in two completely different directions of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps,
5 which meant that we were overstretched. Also, there were attacks coming
6 from the part of Sarajevo that was under the command of the 2nd -- under
7 the control of the 2nd Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Well, at the point when this started, we did not know what the
9 main thrust of the attack would be. This was a strategy that was in their
10 view supposed to yield results.
11 Q. Can we say that you and the Main Staff of the Sarajevo-Romanija
12 Corps noticed that the units of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina that were
13 otherwise stationed in Sarajevo - I'm referring to the 1st Corps - that
14 many of their forces from Sarajevo were taken out of Sarajevo through this
15 tunnel that existed, and that then they operated in Ilijas, Vogosca,
16 Lukavica, and Trnovo? Yes or no.
17 A. Yes. Well, the 1st Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina at
18 first, for the most part, was focussed on the part of the town of Sarajevo
19 that was under their control. As the road was opened, under the runway of
20 Sarajevo airport, which with was then under UNPROFOR control, through that
21 tunnel, actually, they managed to get their forces out because it was
22 their assessment that they could achieve much greater success if they were
23 to attack from the external side.
24 Up until then, they were convinced that from the town itself they
25 could not achieve any meaningful results.
1 Q. Yes. Thank you. Can you tell me something else. In addition to
2 these attacks that they carried out once got their units out in the way
3 that we just described, at the same time they were launching attacks with
4 all kinds of weaponry from that part of the inner-city of Sarajevo that
5 was held under their control?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Because a considerable part of the inner-city of Sarajevo; that is
8 to say, Grbavica, Hrasno, Dobrinja, Nedzarici was under the control of the
9 army of Republika Srpska?
10 A. Yes, and I would add Ilidza and Vogosca. All of that is an
11 integral part of Sarajevo. Rajlovac, too. Yes, that was under the
12 control of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 A. As parts of the town of Sarajevo; that is to say, all of these
15 municipality, like Ilidza, Vogosca, Rajlovac were in fact municipalities
16 of the city of Sarajevo, and different neighbourhoods were linked up; that
17 is to say, there were no strict separation. For example, Ilidza, in fact,
18 was linked to Sarajevo.
19 Q. Thank you. We'll get to that, but we have to look at the map. At
20 this point in time you have answered my question, yes, or rather, you have
21 made the Chamber aware of this.
22 Now I would like to deal with documents, Mr. Dragicevic.
23 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I have a 65 ter document here,
24 00603. There is a translation, of course, so could this document please
25 be placed on the monitors. That is a document dated the 26th of December,
1 1994. Could we please have page 2 displayed?
2 Q. You see it says here underneath this document: "Colonel
3 Dragicevic," and then underneath that there is some explanation in
4 relation to who it was that signed this. Can you please explain how this
5 document was created, and could you tell us whether it is an authentic
7 A. Could it please be enlarged, and could we start from the
9 Q. All right. Page 1. Do you see it? Is says, "Commander of the
10 SRK organ for MV and PP." Can you explain that, first?
11 A. Yes, but could it please be enlarged a bit because I can't see it
12 very well.
13 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask that -- well,
14 yes, precisely.
15 Q. Those first few paragraphs, I'm actually interested in the first
16 two paragraphs.
17 A. Yes, yes. I see them now, yes.
18 Q. So the "Command of the SRK and the MV and PP organ."
19 A. The organ for morale, religious, and legal affairs.
20 Q. The date is the 26th of December, 1994. That's a month after you
21 arrived; is that right?
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. Here it says, "Urgent instructions on how to proceed."
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. First paragraph: "On it's 24th of December, 1994 at 1.200 hours,
1 a cease-fire agreement between the warring parties entered into force.
2 With regard to this, focus your activities on the following."
3 Is that correct? Is that what it says there?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. "Explain to military and command personnel that it is in our
6 interest to fully respect this agreement and not to bring its
7 implementation into question by our acts and activities, meaning that we
8 should not hinder, impede, and slow down the activities of the state and
9 army leadership aimed at establishing peace." Is that the way it was?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. All right. Let us now move on to page 2, so that I don't read the
12 rest of it.
13 Could you tell me how this document was created, and who signed
14 this? Did you give any instructions with regard to that? Was this done
15 with your consent?
16 A. Of course, with my consent. But I think -- well, I can't see
17 this, this thing down here. I can't see what it says, what is written
18 here, but there is no doubt about that. This is a document of my organ,
19 or rather, the commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
20 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could this 65 ter
21 document, 00603, be admitted into evidence because it does have a
23 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 Mr. Registrar, number, please.
25 THE REGISTRAR: As D137, Your Honours.
1 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Dragicevic, already at that moment when you signed this at the
3 end of December, you were aware and you had been informed by the security
4 services that people, or rather, the leadership of the army of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina had already started well in advance preparations for an
6 offensive that was supposed to come in spring or summer. Is that right?
7 Yes or no.
8 A. We had received information from intelligence organs, but every
9 experienced, professional officer knew that a major offensive was being
10 prepared. Based on everything that was going on in the previous period,
11 we knew exactly that every cease-fire that had been signed by the commands
12 or their political leaderships, of the army of BH that is, were only used
13 to prepare new offensive activities.
14 It was not the case only now. It was done in the previous period
15 but now in particular. So, yes, we did know. We didn't know the date
16 when it would start, but we knew that something like that was being
18 Q. And can you tell me, since you were under sanctions, international
19 sanctions and sanctions imposed by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
20 since you did not have food or enough weaponry, can you tell me did you
21 not pay great attention not to do anything in the period that was to ensue
22 that would jeopardise your own position? Yes or no.
23 A. Well, yes. Our position was such that the only thing that suited
24 us was peace; that is to say, without any kind of combat activities. That
25 was our operations position and the general position of the units of the
1 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. We were totally, completely without any
2 reserves, especially in terms of large calibre ammunition, we only had
3 some scant reserves in the brigades. The corps itself did not have its
4 own reserves, in fact.
5 Q. Can we say that in this period of time; that is to say, especially
6 when you arrived, that you made every effort not ever to launch any
7 offensives; whereas, offensives and attacks were permanently being
8 launched from that part of Sarajevo, the inner-city of Sarajevo that was
9 under the control of the BH army?
10 A. Of course. That situation made it incumbent for us not to take
11 any kind of measures that would turn out to be counterproductive; that is
12 to say, that in this situation what suited us was to have peace so that we
13 would somehow try to improve our situation, especially in terms of
14 supplying units with basic supplies and equipment that was needed for
15 combat activities, because we knew what kind of offensive awaited us in
16 the coming period.
17 Q. Can we say that in this period of time from December until April;
18 that is to say, December 1994 until April 1995, there were permanent
19 attacks from the part of Sarajevo that was under BH army control, and
20 there was random shooting from moving objects? Yes or no.
21 A. Yes. We knew that they were using these mobile platforms on which
22 they would usual place artillery pieces of larger calibres. They would
23 shoot from or fire from one position and then quickly mover to another
24 position. In order to cause counteractivities, they used localities that
25 they were not supposed to use; that is to say, hospitals and other
1 important localities.
2 Q. Now we have another document, 65 ter 02297.
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have it shown to
4 the witness on the screen. It's been translated and it's very short.
5 Q. You can see it here. Is this a document issued by the SRC command
6 information centre-press centre dated 11th of April, 1995? Yes or no.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Yes. I'm going to ask you this. First confirm what I asked you;
9 the 11th of April, 1995?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Let's look at the bottom at who signed it. It says, "Assistant
12 commander for MV and PP, Colonel Dragicevic." Did you personally sign it,
13 or did one sign it on your behalf?
14 A. This was signed on my behalf by the head of the legal department
15 who normally stood in for me, so everything is in order with this
16 document. It was done with -- on the basis of authorisation as he was
17 given permission to sign a document of this nature.
18 Q. In this document, one can see that this is an instruction on
19 information of public on VRS general staff information system. And what
20 do these abbreviations stand for, ISGS VRS?
21 A. This is an instruction on how to inform the public by the
22 information service of the Main Staff of the army of Republika Srpska.
23 Q. Thank you. Item 1: "Muslims violated the agreement on cessation
24 of hostilities." Is that what says here?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Item number 2 "The offensive has taken many victims on Muslim
3 Is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. "VRS forces hold the defensive lines with a firm hand."
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. "UNPROFOR has sided in the conflict."
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. "We do not carry out combat operations and we do not violate the
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And there is a note: "Strictly bear in mind the above mentioned
13 instructions when preparing information from the war front."
14 Yes or no.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So you stand by what's written here. Is that how it was?
17 A. Yes, definitely. This is the information we received from our
18 superior command.
19 Q. And you abided and adhered to the cessation of hostilities? You
20 held defence lines; and everything you did, you did in order not to
21 violate the agreement? Yes or no.
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can document 65 ter
24 02297 be given a number, because there's a translation provided?
25 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Judge Harhoff would like to put a
1 question to you, please.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: We will certainly admit this document. But I
3 would like you to ask the witness if he with explain the meaning of point
4 number 4 in the instruction: "The UNPROFOR," it says in point number 4,
5 "has sided in the conflict."
6 Does the witness know what this refers to?
7 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. I'm going to take this into consideration with respect.
9 Witness, can you explain to Chamber what this UNPROFOR sided in
10 the conflict means, and we're talking about the 11th of April, 1995?
11 A. It is not directly related to there specific date. That's the
12 date when the instruction was received with relation to something that was
13 happening in the previous period, that is failure to undertake any
14 punitive action with regard to the incident on Dobrovoljacka Street, the
15 passive attitude of UNPROFOR with regard to the building of tunnel under
16 the airway of the airport, the tunnel being used by the BH army to commute
17 and communicate, and a number of other indicators. One of the conclusions
18 was that UNPROFOR has sided -- had sided with the BH army.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Tapuskovic.
20 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have this document
21 02297, please be tendered as Defence exhibit.
22 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Registrar, please.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this is will become D138.
24 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, and Your Honour
25 Judge Harhoff, in order to explain in more detail about what you asked
1 you, I have a document here, 65 ter 00257, and I decided to discuss it as
2 well. Can we please have this document displayed on the witness's
3 monitor. It's another brief document.
4 Q. Witness, you can see that this document is dated the 27th of May,
5 and this order apparently seemed to be issued by General Major Dragomir
7 A. That's what it says here.
8 Q. I asked you a minute ago and you gave an explanation to me, but
9 most of all to the Chamber, that the VRS units did not breach the rules of
10 the total exclusion zone throughout the whole period that you spent there;
11 that is, until April and May. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. However, when you -- once you realised that the BH offensive was
14 imminent, you had to think about the possibility of any way taking some of
15 the heavy weaponry placed under the protection of UNPROFOR in view of the
16 imminent situation?
17 A. That was the idea. But in view of the gravity of our situation,
18 we had to take measures in order not to be tricked with respect to the
19 return of our weapons in case an offensive would be launched. In other
20 words, we want to prevent this from being too late. The corps was adapted
21 for very quick action and adaptation.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you counsel.
23 The answer given by the witness seems to trigger another question
24 about the lack of ability on the UNPROFOR side to control the activities
25 of the BiH army, and my question is this: Was, in the witness's opinion,
1 was the UNPROFOR mandated to take punitive measures against UNPROFOR --
2 sorry. Was UNPROFOR mandated with the authority to take punitive measures
3 against violations committed by the BiH army or by the Serbian army, for
4 that matter?
5 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] That is perhaps the crucial issue
6 in this case that you are going to render a definitive ruling.
7 Q. Witness, you know that UNPROFOR had found itself in this position
8 and this role, precisely in order to prevent violations of total exclusion
9 zone agreement by any party involved; is that correct?
10 A. Yes. According to the agreement, that should have been the case;
11 however, the practice was something different.
12 Q. Not a single violation of the total exclusion zone was
13 committed -- that was committed by the BH army was ever punished by NATO
14 air-strikes? Yes or no.
15 A. No. Or rather there were never punished for breach of the
16 agreement by the NATO air force.
17 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge Harhoff, this
18 is precisely the reason why I put this document to the witness in order to
19 address this issue.
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: I understand. But the document seems to be about
21 securing of the taken UNPROFOR checkpoints and not so much, as I can see
22 here, about violations of the exclusion zones.
23 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I will try by way of questions to
24 gain the answer that you precisely ought to be interested in.
25 Q. You know that as soon as the VRS took over a number of heavy
1 weapons on the 25th and 26th of May, it was immediately bombed, even
2 though the VRS did not use these weapons in any operation at all? Yes or
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And in Pale and other positions of the VRS were bombed on the 25th
6 and 26th of May? Yes or no.
7 A. Yes, but most of all ammunition, weapons, and food depots and
8 storage facilitates.
9 Q. And only after that did this order -- was there order issued and
10 formulated as it reads here. I'm going to read it out to you. It was
11 issued on the 27th of May. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And the instruction was to carry out this order in the spirit
14 contained in this document, and everything else that is written here. You
15 can read it for yourself, and you confirm that this order is related to
16 the bombing of the 25th and the 26th.
17 A. Probably, this precipitated this kind of order, presumably. That
18 was a direct cause.
19 Q. Is this the reason that you were at the time convinced that
20 UNPROFOR sided with the BH army, because immediately after the weapons had
21 been taken over without it being used at all NATO intervened and bombed
22 with their air force?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like this
25 document, 00257, to be tendered as Defence evidence.
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 Registrar, please.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, I show that 65 ter number 00257 is
4 already Prosecution Exhibit, P396.
5 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] My oversight but --
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Whiting, is that right?
7 MR. WHITING: Yes, P396.
8 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Witness --
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, what do you have to
12 say? What do you suggest?
13 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] In that case, I withdraw my
14 proposal for it to be tendered into evidence as Defence exhibit. It's
15 sufficient, and we have our own perception of --
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. We have -- we can't have
17 it tendered twice. We need to check the numbers.
18 Registrar, please.
19 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm going to give our evaluation
20 of this document. Thank you.
21 Q. Mr. Dragicevic, after these strikes of the 25th and the 26th May,
22 the BH army was encouraged and launched more and more offensive
23 operations? Yes or no.
24 A. Yes. We construed this based on our military assessment that this
25 was a prelude to what we knew was coming, and that is a fierce offensive
1 that they were planning to launch.
2 Q. Is it fair to say that even before June, there were offensive
3 operations, vehement attacks launched by the BH army that you had to
4 respond to?
5 A. Yes, especially on the outside front line, Nisic, Trnovo, et
6 cetera, there were constant combat operations.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] And now can the witness please be
9 shown document, 65 ter 02447, since it's a 65 ter document and there is a
10 translation of it existing.
11 Q. You can see this document. The SRC command, number 20/05-189,
12 dated 16th June 1995. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And it's signed by the assistant commander, Colonel Luka
15 Dragicevic. Is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. This document contains information and report of the Sarajevo
19 A. About the beginning of the offensive, by joint forces of the BH
20 army against the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
21 Q. You know that in this offensive, not only the 1st Corps but rather
22 the 3rd and 7th and other corps took part, and at that time it was a
23 massive offensive on all front lines with ten times the stronger manpower
24 of the BH army? Yes or no.
25 A. Yes. But not only stronger in terms of manpower, number of
1 attackers, but in every other aspect, except, of course, what later turned
2 out to be true: We were better organised, and our morale was at a high
3 level. Our combatants and fighters knew what they were protecting, and
4 they knew that they had to sacrifice their lives in order to defend their
5 families and their homes.
6 Q. I would like to show you the first paragraph. Just a few things
7 in order to move faster. That on that day, on the 15th of June, at 3.00
8 in the morning, the Muslim forces carried out an all-out attack at all
9 sections of the front line with stronger artillery and mortar support?
10 Yes or no.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And further on it says that the corps units were ready for the
13 onslaught of the enemy on all parts of the front, right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And then in the next paragraph: "With regard to the strengths of
16 the troops engaged and width of the front of the attack, it can be
17 concluded that it was the commencement of the long ago announced Muslim
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And then further down: "According to reliable information, the
21 Muslims, despite the losses sustained and unrealised tasks during the 15th
22 of June, they continued -- continued with the attack in the days to come.
23 "And that Muslims also go for the option that our units not saving
24 mortar and artillery ammunition during the first days of combat activities
25 in such a way that they would be left without artillery support." Yes or
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Could this 65 ter document,
4 02447, please be admitted into evidence as a Defence exhibit.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 Registrar, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become D139.
8 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Now we have a document that the Prosecutor already introduced
10 today as P491, and the 65 ter number is 2456, and the date of the document
11 is the 18th of June.
12 This document is one that you signed as well; is that right?
13 A. I cannot see.
14 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please -- yes, yes.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] And now, yet again, if we could
17 lift it up a bit, the document, I mean.
18 Q. So here it is. Again, it has to do with information concerning
19 the Sarajevo front; is that right?
20 A. Yes, yes.
21 Q. And now it says here in the first paragraph: "In spite of losses
22 sustained and further on during the course of the day as well, the enemy
23 was desperately and fiercely attacking all lines of Defence and shed
24 shells on our positions, barracks, and units and corps and civilian
1 Yes or no.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And in the third paragraph: "Until now, the fiercest attack was
4 launched yesterday on the positions." Could you please help me with this?
5 A. The Igman Infantry Brigade.
6 Q. "The Igman Infantry Brigade, Zanik, Vala, Kokoska, where around
7 2.000 tank, artillery, and mortar projectiles landed."
8 Is that right?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. Then in the next paragraph you say at that moment you had
11 information that 14 of your soldiers were killed and 42 were wounded, 13
12 of which seriously. Is that right?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. Oh, yes, yes, yes. This was a document that was already tendered
15 by the Prosecutor, so it's a Prosecution Exhibit. So, of course, I'm not
16 insisting on us tendering it as well. There is no need really.
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, you're quite right.
18 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] The number is P491. In order for
19 the transcript to reflect it, I need that.
20 Q. Mr. Dragicevic, further on in June and July, this offensive,
21 including attacks, took place every day? Yes or no.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So then it was not as intensive in August, but there were attacks
24 in August, too?
25 A. Yes, of far lesser intensity. Quite simply, this was the time
1 that was required to carry out some preparations and probably changes in
2 tactics in order to move on to the next stage of the offensive.
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have a document
4 SRK, of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, which has not been translated, and
5 its date is the 17th, or rather, the 27th of August, 1995. In relation to
6 that, since the date is the 27th of August, 1995, I would just like to put
7 one paragraph to the witness. The document is DD00-1897. Out of a series
8 of documents, I selected this one.
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: And what is it, Mr. Tapuskovic?
10 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] It is a combat report for that
11 day that was signed by the then deputy of Dragomir Milosevic, because
12 Dragomir Milosevic was on sick-leave in Belgrade. And this has to do with
13 very intensive activity on the part of the BH army on that day, on the
14 27th of August, that is. Many civilian neighbourhoods were targeted..
15 Actually, perhaps I don't even have to tender this document.
16 Q. I would just like to ask the witness whether on the 27th of
17 August, in terms of helicopter sorties and these activities, did you feel
18 that a preparation -- that an offensive was being prepared by Sarajevo or
19 in Sarajevo on the 27th of August?
20 A. Yes. You can see it further down here in this document. If the
21 forward command post is being taken, that means that something forceful is
22 to follow.
23 Q. Well, then, I don't really have to show this document, and I don't
24 have to tender it. I don't even have to ask to have it marked for
25 identification be. At any the rate, you can say that on day, according to
1 intelligence information, you noticed that in Sarajevo something was going
2 on, as if a new offensive was being prepared?
3 A. The document probably says so, too.
4 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, I don't mean to do
6 any bean counting here, but you have already had an hour and eight minutes
7 for your cross-examination -- no, you've had an hour and 38 minutes and
8 you have 22 minutes left to finish your cross-examination.
9 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, if I may.
10 MR. WHITING: I just out of fairness want to be clear about where
11 we stand at the moment with respect to time. We learned this morning and
12 I informed the Defence, and I believe we sent an e-mail your legal
13 officer, that one of our witnesses for this week is ill and unable to
14 travel. I don't want to refer to him by name because he has protective
15 measures. It is 114 who is scheduled to be either last or next to last
16 for the week.
17 In addition, we are not planning -- we were not planning to start
18 the next witness until tomorrow, because we thought this witness was to
19 going to take the entire day and the next witness will not be ready until
20 tomorrow. I just want that to be clear.
21 I do anticipate some redirect examination, maybe ten or 15 minutes
22 at the most, maybe 15 minutes, but I thought that should be put on the
23 record for Your Honours to consider.
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you, Mr. Whiting. As far as we can see, the
25 Defence still has roughly half an hour left of its cross-examination and
1 that will bring us to the break or, in fact, we will have the break before
2 the Defence will complete its cross-examination. The Chamber also has a
3 number of questions to put to the witness after the cross-examination and
4 the redirect. So I'm sure we will find good use of our time. Thank you.
5 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, really, I had the
6 intention of asking you in view of the importance of this witness and the
7 documents, the documents I have -- the documents, I wanted to ask for an
8 extension of time to a maximum, because I have these very important
9 subjects to deal with and I have not even touched on them yet. And all of
10 the questions I did put so far were important ones, so I really should be
11 allowed to examine this witness properly. Time should be observed, but we
12 should also observe matters that are of crucial importance, because I
13 cannot do a thing in 20 minutes only.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, in light of the
16 explanation provided by the Prosecutor, and of the information regarding
17 our next witness, we may give you some extra time. But I would like to
18 draw your attention to the fact that you must try and be as short as
19 possible, but be as you succinct as you can be in relation to the
20 indictment this particular witness and make sure that we are able to
21 finish within the allotted time frame.
22 Thank you.
23 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will do my best.
24 Q. Mr. Dragicevic, if you can really, whenever possible, just give me
25 yes or no answers, please.
1 A. Very well.
2 Q. I have a document. The 65 ter number is 02550.
3 If you have a look at it down here, it is yet again a document
4 that you stand by; however, under the authority given to you. Is that
5 right? I mean, it bears your signature? .
6 A. I cannot see the signature, but my first name and last name are
7 printed out there. But if I read this document out, if I see what the
8 content is, there will be no problem. However, could I see it from the
9 very begin, please.
10 Q. Yes. It is dated the 25th of July, 1995. I'm going to read out
11 this big paragraph here, the one that says: "Based on intelligence
12 information and serious complications in relations with UNPROFOR forces
13 which aim at provoking our forces fire in order to ask for the
14 intervention of rapid deployment forces and NATO air-strikes and with the
15 aim to secure strict control of fire of our forces, to eliminate
16 unnecessary, negative, or even catastrophic consequences."
17 Is that right?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. Can we say that even at the moment, when there was strong mutual
20 shelling primarily from the Muslim side, in your responses you prohibited
21 any kind of action to be taken vis-a-vis places were UNPROFOR was. Is
22 that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. But let's go back to civilians. You know that when you came, the
25 anti-sniper agreement was in force?
1 A. I was made aware of that agreement that was in force, and this
2 agreement had a been signed earlier on.
3 Q. Can we say that during your period, so to speak, great attention
4 was paid to that, to not violating this agreement. And in this period up
5 until April, there were practically no violations of this agreement?
6 A. I can claim with responsibility that on our side maximum efforts
7 were made to fully observe every agreement that was signed. That was the
8 case while I was there, and that is what did happen indeed in practice.
9 Q. We can say that that was the period when on the 12th of March,
10 those two little girls were killed in Grbavica by sniper fire; is that
11 right? In March, remember? Remember two little girls of Serbia ethnicity
12 were killed by sniper fire?
13 A. In 1995?
14 Q. In 1995.
15 A. There were civilian fatalities, unfortunately. In most cases,
16 they were children.
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. On both sides. They are the least cautious of all, and that is
19 probably the reason.
20 Q. Can we say that you, on your side, were aware of these actions,
21 particularly during the Muslim offensive where there was certain intensity
22 of shelling on one side and another intensity on the other, that civilian
23 casualties could not have been avoided? Yes or no.
24 A. Unfortunately, most often, especially in densely populated areas
25 when there is fighting between two parties, the victims and the casualties
1 are civilians. It was evident not only in Sarajevo, that applies to all
2 wars, especially civil wars. Civilians are always the ones who suffer
3 most casualties in terms of number.
4 Q. Can you confirm that on the territory under the VRS control, there
5 were lots of casualties among soldiers?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. There were also many casualties among civilians?
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Can this 65 ter document, 02550,
10 please be tendered as Defence exhibit.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Yes. But, Mr. Tapuskovic, this document seems to
12 be an order from the VRS leadership to prevent fire on the UNPROFOR
13 forces, and I'm not sure of the meaning of the last part of the order as
14 we can see here on the first page. It says that a decision on a possible
15 activity against the UN forces, if found in an apparent suspicious or
16 provocative mission or activity, is to be made by the commander of the
17 SRC, or the operative team of the SRK command.
18 Could you ask the witness to clarify the meaning of this last
20 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Generally speaking, you took a firm position not to launch any
22 activities against UNPROFOR, and you never took that course? Yes or no.
23 A. Yes. I mean, combat activities.
24 Q. However, in the situation where there was the heaviest possible
25 fighting, you issued an additional warning to avoid any mistaken or
1 circumstantial fire being opened in the vicinity of UNPROFOR?
2 A. That was a standing order. Occasional orders just reinforced this
3 order or amended it, if the previous practice imposed some new approach to
4 be taken.
5 Q. Did the BH army often carry out actions precisely in the vicinity
6 of UNPROFOR in order for a certain shell to hit UNPROFOR forces as a kind
7 of response fire?
8 A. We had this kind of --
9 MR. WHITING: I'm going to object. This is not the first time
10 this has happened, but it's the first time I'm objecting. I'm not sure
11 what the foundation is for the witness to be able to speak about that, to
12 offer any kind of opinion about that.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: That was -- that would have been my question in
14 extension of the witness's answer.
15 Could you ask the witness directly if the accused, General
16 Milosevic, ever issued any order to -- to strike against UNPROFOR forces?
17 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I'm going to ask a very direct
19 Q. You know very well that neither General Milosevic nor anyone else
20 from the VRS had ever issued any order to act against UNPROFOR soldiers;
21 is that correct?
22 A. As far as I know, the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commander or for
23 that matter any member of the command or commands of the subordinate units
24 within the corps did issue any kind of order of that nature, nor did I
25 ever read anything about that.
1 Q. One might say that the major danger of hitting UNPROFOR was due to
2 the fact that the BH army often fired from the vicinity of UNPROFOR
4 A. Their main and basic tactics was to open fire from the locations
5 close to the -- these positions that could be punishable or presented in
6 the media as the doing of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. We had information
7 that they were firing from nearby UNPROFOR and UNMO, I think it's called,
8 positions, as well as other vital facilities such as hospital, cultural
9 and religious buildings, and et cetera.
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]
11 ... Very well. I think it is now time to have a break. I think the
12 parties can ponder this question and we shall get back to it afterwards.
13 It is now 23 minutes past 12, and we shall resume at 12.43.
14 --- Recess taken at 12.23 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 12.44 p.m.
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed.
17 Mr. Tapuskovic, before letting you proceed, Judge Harhoff would
18 like to have some clarification about the question he asked before the
20 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you. The question I wanted to put to the
21 witness was in relation to the order which the Chamber has before it on
22 the screen. It appears to be an order possibly signed by the accused - I
23 cannot see the signature - but the important thing about the contents is
24 in point number 2 of the order, which as I quoted before, says that
25 attacks against UN forces can be ordered if the UN forces acts
1 suspiciously or provocatively.
2 And my question to the witness, and I would just like to you
3 answer yes or no, is if General Milosevic or anyone acting under his
4 command every issued such an order.
5 Do you understand my question?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I do, yes. As far as I know,
7 in order to attack UNPROFOR, forces has ever been issued --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Has never been
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic.
11 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would start now
12 with a few topics that I have left through most of my time, and I would
13 deal with the ten documents that have been entered with my approval when
14 they were tendered by the Prosecution. I would focus on 65 ter 2522.
15 That's the information about crime trends in the month of July. That's
16 Prosecution Exhibit 484.
17 Q. Mr. Dragicevic, can we say that all these dozen or so reports were
18 identical in one aspect. If we look on page 4 of the B/C/S version and
19 page 5 of the English version of this report relating to the month of
20 July, and if we look at item 2, international law of war, it says here as
21 follows: "No criminal reports for this type of crime were filed in this
22 reporting period."
23 Is this what it says here?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. When talking about international laws of war, in all ten reports,
1 it says that no criminal reports were filed for violations of the
2 international law of war.
3 A. I already said that I never heard or read anything about any kind
4 of violations of that nature committed by the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps. I
5 haven't seen all of these documents though.
6 Q. What I mean to ask you is this: As Defence counsel for Dragomir
7 Milosevic, I'm particularly interested in the period that you were there
8 and about which you can give direct evidence.
9 Let me ask you this. It is a straightforward question. You know
10 very well that in the area of responsibility of the SRC and the territory
11 under its control, in the south itself; that is to say, Grbavica, Hrasno,
12 Dobrinja, Nedzarici, Ilidza, Lukavica, not a single war crime was
13 committed in these areas?
14 A. Not that I know of, and my answer is yes.
15 Q. Can we also say that the same applies to the general area,
16 including Ilijas and Vogosca and elsewhere? Is that fair to say, too?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you confirm that in these areas there were no camps, yes or
19 no, for civilian or any kind of detainees?
20 A. No, there weren't.
21 Q. Can you confirm that detainees, members of the BH army, were not
22 maltreated and most of them were exchanged? Yes or no.
23 A. They were under the jurisdiction of security organs, but I never
24 heard of any single incident of maltreatment, nor did I read about it and
25 heard about it at command briefing sessions, and most of them, as you
1 said, were exchanged.
2 Q. Now concerning civilians --
3 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Tapuskovic, there seems to be so sort of
4 contradiction between the two answers just given by the witness. In the
5 English transcript, the witness confirmed that there were no camps. And
6 in the second answer, he then says that the detainees in the camp were not
7 maltreated. How is the Chamber to understand this?
8 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, then, it's badly
9 translated. I said that captured members of the army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina were always exchanged and none of them was ever
11 tortured or experienced any hardships and unpleasantness, but were,
12 rather, exchanged for those captured by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 There was no mistreatment or killing of the captured Muslim soldiers.
14 A. I never heard of anything of that nature happening in the area of
15 responsibility of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
16 Q. Is it fair to say that not a single civilian, even if there were
17 Muslims and Croats in the area of responsibility, were mistreated or
18 killed outside of combat operations?
19 A. I can confirm that for the relevant period, while I held this
21 Q. Is it fair to say that, therefore, no criminal report could have
22 been filed for any war crime in the territory in inside the city and in
23 other places under the control of the SRC?
24 A. If these things didn't happen, then no criminal reports could have
25 been filed.
1 Q. Thank you. Let us now go back to the period when this heavy
2 shelling took place between the two parties that you mentioned earlier.
3 Can we say that in a conflict of that nature, it is only to be
4 expected that both of civilians and the casualties on both sides would be
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Whiting.
8 MR. WHITING: I'm going object to the kind of broad nature of
9 these questions and the lack of foundation. I mean, you know --
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, you've heard the
12 Prosecutor. Can you rephrase your question, please.
13 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] First of all, I do appreciate the
14 Prosecutor's reaction, but the Chamber should evaluate whether there is
15 anything inadmissible in my question. I don't understand the objection
16 put forth by my learned colleague, Mr. Whiting. I asked in amid this
17 heavy shelling exchange, it is only to be expected that casualties will be
18 sustained by both sides, both in among civilians and soldiers.
19 Q. Witness, was that something that was inevitable?
20 A. Absolutely.
21 Q. In war conditions and during an offensive, were you able to
22 investigate anything whether -- about what was happening on the other
23 side, in order to institute proceedings against anyone? Was it possible
24 at all in war to carry out any kind of -- investigation while there were
25 shellings landed on -- landing on both sides?
1 A. There were no conditions for anything like that in the territory
2 under the control the SRC, and there was absolutely no possibility to
3 conduct any investigation in the opponent's territory. Even in more quiet
4 times, it was impossible to do because there was an explicit prohibition
5 issued by the highest leadership of BH barring any Serb from entering
6 their territory.
7 Q. In a war of that kind, was it possible at all to trace someone and
8 prosecute him when the front line was over 200 kilometres long? Was
9 anything of that kind possible?
10 A. During such fierce offensives that was ongoing at the time, that
11 was a life-and-death situation, there was no possibility of that sort, in
12 my view.
13 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, I'm getting
14 worried. I'm looking at the clock. How much more time do you need to
15 complete your cross-examination? How many more minutes would you like?
16 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will do me best
17 to complete it in 20, or maybe 15 minutes. I am aware that I have
18 overstepped my time-limit, but I think can I finish by 1.20.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] 1.15.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. My last question relating to this topic is this: You were not
23 able to investigate the cause of death of civilians in the territory under
24 your control. The only thing you could do was to just bury them. You did
25 not conduct investigations, did you?
1 A. No. We were not even able to bury them peacefully.
2 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, there is a mistake
3 -- no, no. 65 ter 02550 has not been entered, although I have requested
4 it to be tendered and admitted as -- into evidence. That's 65 ter 02550.
5 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] You're quite right, Mr. Tapuskovic.
6 I remember now.
7 Mr. Registrar, please give us a number.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be admitted as Exhibit
10 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Mr. Tapuskovic.
12 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Witness, can you please explain to the Chamber a few things about
14 this map that you see behind you. Can you please just turn around so that
15 you can answer my questions and look at it.
16 You may have seen this map. This is the map made by Commander
17 Major-General Milosevic and approved by Major-General Ratko Mladic. Do
18 you recognise this map?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you show to me and explain to the Chamber where the separation
21 lines were and how long they were? Can you confirm that they were over
22 200 kilometres long?
23 A. May I stand up?
24 Q. Yes, please stand up, and then afterwards you will explain to the
1 A. These are separation lines.
2 Q. Maybe you can do it sitting down.
3 So can you confirm that these blue lines were the ones held by
4 units of the BH army?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you confirm that it was over 200 kilometres altogether
7 including those lines?
8 A. The overall line, separation line was certainly over 200
10 Q. All right. In your day, in view of the existence of this tunnel
11 that did you know about, when units of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
12 primarily the 1st Corps, would get out through that tunnel, who was in a
13 worse situation then? Can one actually talk about a siege imposed on
14 anyone, or who was under siege then?
15 A. Siege is a term, if I can put it that way, that was promoted by
16 the media and generally accepted. So no one can really talk about any
17 kind of siege. You can see this full well on the map. You can see the
18 position, as I have already said, that the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps was in.
19 It was unbearable from an operations point of view.
20 Q. When BH army units would go out that you tunnel and would take up
21 these blue linings, isn't it Ilijas and Ilidza that is under siege, and
22 there Nisic plateau up there as well?
23 A. Absolutely, you can see it on the map.
24 Q. The existence of this tunnel fully eliminated the concept of any
25 kind of siege?
1 A. Absolutely.
2 Q. And if we're talking about hills within the blue line, were all
3 hills above under BH army control, except for the viewpoint at Trebevic?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. From Ilijas, Ilidza, or from the Nisic plateau, in order to get to
6 Lukavica where the command is, especially when there were wounded persons
7 involved, wasn't that something which absolutely exposed people to even
8 greater danger, the danger of losing one's life. Can you show the Trial
9 Chamber what road this is, say, from Ilidza?
10 A. I don't know if I will be able to do it technically speaking in
11 view of the headphones that I have.
12 Q. Just please don't say anything for a moment and just go up to the
13 map and show us what this is, but just don't cover the map with your back.
14 So Ilidza, where is Ilidza?
15 A. [Indicates]
16 Q. So which one way does one have to go? Is this 90 kilometres away
17 from Lukavica?
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We cannot hear the witness
19 without a microphone.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To get to Lukavica, well, it
21 depended on the weather and other things related to possible firing at
22 those roads. In the summer, about two or three hours would be needed.
23 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Could you show the Nisic plateau? Is it up there?
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreters cannot hear
1 the witness.
2 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Was it under siege of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina? Was
4 Ilidza under siege by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Where is Ilidza --
5 no not Ilidza, Ilijas? If you could please confirm in the microphone?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Was Grbavica fully encircled as well? Show us.
8 A. I cannot see very well.
9 Q. But do you know?
10 A. Well, yes. I lived in Sarajevo. Yes.
11 Q. Well, sit down and give us answers.
12 Was Nedzarici encircled?
13 A. Nedzarici, no, not totally, but - how should I put this? - almost
14 totally encircled.
15 Q. At any rate, can we say that the separation lines in the
16 inner-city of Sarajevo were always at the foot of the mountains or hills?
17 A. Yes, the foot of the mountains and the hills that are in Sarajevo.
18 Q. Was Vogosca underneath Zuc and Hum?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Now, there's this other topic, and then I'd like to conclude.
21 You are an air force man?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. I assume that you know what air bombs are.
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. What is their regular purpose? I mean, they are a permissible
1 military weapon.
2 A. Yes, of the air force.
3 Q. You know that the representatives of the army of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the representatives of the army of Republika Srpska
5 both had air bombs?
6 A. Everybody had the same type of weaponry, more or less, depending
7 on the depots that were under their control, from the beginning of the
8 war, that is.
9 Q. Can you now answer a few questions in relation to Prosecutor's
10 Exhibit 188, in terms of 65 ter. Of course, it has been translated, so
11 188 is actually a 65 ter number.
12 Here it is. Please look at page 2 for a moment, if we can just
13 have it shown for a second. Can you tell us who it is that signed this?
14 Yes. It says verified by on behalf of the commander Major Mile
15 Radic, and you will see here on the left, isn't that right, commander
16 Major-General Dragomir Milosevic, right?
17 A. But I would like to see this in B/C/S is it right now.
18 Q. Can we move on to page 1 now, please.
19 See, this is a document dated 19th of April, 1995. That is the
20 time when you knew that this offensive of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
21 was being prepared?
22 A. Yes. We knew before this date.
23 Q. Yes. You see what it says here under very urgent, order on full
24 combat readiness for all SRK units. Could you explain that, briefly
1 A. Full combat readiness means that all units should be totally ready
2 for rapidly going into action, or rather, repelling attacks. I mean the
3 soldiers who are on furlough or who are doing something else, too. Also
4 weaponry artillery pieces that the positions should be prepared.
5 Q. Thank you. See, is says in the next paragraph, "We have
6 information indicating that the enemy is preparing actions and planning
7 activities against the forces of the corps. In order to thwart and
8 intentions, I hereby order." Is that what it says?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And then there is a series of orders; for example, the Defence
11 line are to be met to the maximum, crews and teams are to be positioned by
12 their weapons, take positions and be ready act instantaneously. Is that
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. "Personnel in barracks should be well rested and prepared to
16 respond." This is an a bit further down; and then it says, "air bombs and
17 launching pads should also be ready," right?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. "Should be ready," and everything else it says here,"to take
20 possible action if there is an attack by the other side." Is that right?
21 A. Yes, of course.
22 Q. I don't want to repeat all of that. It is clearly state what had
23 it is what. I have to finish. But it says at the end here: "Check to
24 see whether any drunken soldiers or officers; and if there are some such
25 persons, they should be detained straight away."
1 If at the very end of the document, and if necessary, we can deal
2 with that -- well, actually, we're not going to use up the remaining two
3 minutes, but this is what we can show at the very end, if you would please
4 turn to page 2.
5 And let me read out two more thing from the very end. "Duty to
6 take all necessary measures in order to prevent attacks by the enemy."
7 It's towards the end. Can you see that?
8 And it says further on: "When engaging the enemy fire, only a
9 targets you can see in order to avoid unnecessary waste of ammunition."
10 It's towards the end, the fifth paragraph from the bottom?
11 A. Yes, yes, yes.
12 Q. Right? That's what I have read out to you. That's what it says?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And then it was insisted here on some occasions -- well, let me
15 say this: Check that there are no drunken soldiers or officers; if such
16 are found, put them in prison immediately?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. "Such measures and instructions can no longer be changed without
19 proper authority."
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So that means that you can only use the resources you have
22 available only if you are attacked. Is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions. I
1 wish to thank you, Your Honours, and the witness, too.
2 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Tapuskovic, for your
4 I shall now give the floor to Mr. Whiting.
5 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, before I begin, I wonder if Defence
6 counsel wants to put the last document into evidence. I don't believe
7 it's in evidence.
8 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Of course, of course.
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic --
10 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] My omission. 65 ter number is
11 188. I would have like to have it admitted into evidence as a Defence
12 exhibit, yes.
13 Thank you.
14 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Registrar, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be admitted as Exhibit D141, Your
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
18 Mr. Whiting for re-examination.
19 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honours.
20 Re-examination by Mr. Whiting:
21 Q. Colonel, can you tell us when you arrived in The Hague for your
22 testimony here?
23 A. Saturday.
24 Q. Yesterday, on Sunday, did you have occasion to meet with me and
25 with other members of the OTP?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Afterwards did you also have occasion to meet with members of the
3 Defence team to discuss your testimony?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, in your cross-examination, you testified - it's at page 34 -
6 that after Dragomir Milosevic was treated in Belgrade for his eye injury,
7 that he returned to his command post on the 10th of September, 1995. Do
8 you remember that testimony?
9 A. Probably, yes.
10 Q. What do you mean "probably"? Did he or didn't he?
11 A. Well, no, he did return, but perhaps, you know, the date. Well,
12 if that is what the document says, then that is the way it was. I don't
13 really remember dates. I just read them.
14 Q. I understand. But approximately at that time your memory is that
15 he returned to the command post.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you resume command?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You also said that the -- he cut short his leave after the NATO
20 air-strikes; do you remember that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When he resumed command, did -- was he informed about the events
23 that led up to the NATO air-strikes?
24 A. I assume that was the case, but just let me explain something to
25 you. The corps commander as soon as he enters the zone, the area of
1 responsibility that is under his command, he in fact assumes his role as
3 Q. But I was focussed on a different point. You assume that he-- you
4 testified that he cut short his leave as a result of the NATO air-strikes.
5 And so is it based on that you assume that he was informed of the events
6 that led up to those strikes when he resumed command, or do you have other
7 knowledge of that?
8 A. I did not understand you.
9 Q. Why did you say --
10 A. What did you see.
11 Q. The question has to do whether or not he was informed when he
12 resumed command about the events has led up to the NATO air-strikes? And
13 I believe you answered just a moment ago that you assume he was. Why do
14 you assume that? That's based on what?
15 A. It is only natural. It is it a matter of course as far as the
16 military is concerned that the commander has to be aware of what was going
17 on in the previous period and he should be informed about this directly
18 about the -- by this from -- by the person who stood in for him.
19 Q. Okay. And do you know who stood in for him?
20 A. The Chief of Staff of the corps.
21 Q. You testified at page 45 of the cross-examination that the ABiH
22 had superiority in terms of number of persons but also weapons. Are you
23 sure about that answer, that the ABiH had superiority in terms of weapons?
24 A. In terms of the concrete situation that was evolving during the
25 offensive, I'm sure about that. And I am even more sure of the quantity
1 of ammunitions and shells and other things that they had.
2 Q. So your answer is limited to the offensive that occurred in the
3 middle of June of 1995. That's what you were talking about when you gave
4 that answer?
5 A. Yes, yes. It was obvious then.
6 Q. How -- did that offensive last more than a couple of days?
7 A. Yes, more than a month.
8 Q. Was the ABiH successful in that offensive or were they repelled by
9 the Bosnian Serb army?
10 A. The army of Republika Srpska carried out its task with full
11 success. That to say, the members of the command of the Sarajevo-Romanija
13 Q. What do you mean by "full success," in terms of whether the
14 offensive was repelled? Was the offensive stopped or not?
15 A. Yes, yes. The offensive was stopped and the main task that the
16 corps had before them were carried out. That is to say, it maintained
17 most of the territory, its own personnel levels and the population that it
18 was duty-bound to defend.
19 Q. You testified at page 45 of the transcript that the VRS strictly
20 adhered to the heavy weapon exclusion zone. Did UNPROFOR share this
21 opinion, to your knowledge?
22 A. I don't know what UNPROFOR felt and thought.
23 Q. On May 24th of 1995, did the Bosnian Serb army remove weapons from
24 the Weapons Collection Points?
25 A. I'm not sure.
1 Q. Do you --
2 A. I don't know the answer to this question, a full answer. If I had
3 some documents, maybe that would help refresh my memory.
4 Q. Well, if they had, would that have been a violation of the total
5 exclusion zone?
6 A. Well, depending what the agreement stipulates, i.e., in which
7 situation the weapons are to be returned or rather, placed under the
8 control of the party that had handed in the weapons. I don't know the
9 details thereof, but in any case, it would be only normal to return the
10 weapons if one of the parties is threatened by fierce offensive, and it
11 was common knowledge that such an offensive was in the offing.
12 Q. If you are not aware of the details of the agreement, and you are
13 not aware of events that occurred on May 24th, for example, then on what
14 basis did you give your opinion that the VRS strictly adhered to the
15 exclusion zone?
16 A. Based on all the documents at our disposal or rather that I had
17 opportunity to see as well as on the basis of all the collegium meetings
18 and briefings and discussions with lower ranking commands when we visited
19 these units as well as other information. That's the crux of the matter.
20 Q. Are you aware -- do you know anything about an ultimatum that was
21 given by Sir Rupert Smith on the 24th of May to the VRS to re-establish
22 the exclusion zone? Do you know anything about that?
23 A. No. I know of no such document. Generally speaking, I know there
24 were such cases. However, I didn't have any document or order relating to
25 this concrete incident.
1 Q. Well, I'm not speaking at this moment about a document. Were you
2 aware of an ultimatum that came from General Smith on or about that date?
3 A. I cannot remember. Therefore, if you remind me in some other
4 manner, but at this juncture I just cannot remember.
5 Q. Well, you testified in cross-examination and I don't -- I don't
6 recall difficulty on this subject but you testified on cross-examination
7 that there were NATO air-strikes at that time. Do you recall testifying
8 about that? NATO air-strikes occurring on the 25th or 26th of May and
9 that the ammunition depot in Pale was bombed. Do you remember testimony
10 to that effect?
11 A. Yes, yes. That's what happened and I know that.
12 Q. Let me rephrase the question then. Do you have any knowledge
13 about a ultimatum that came before those air-strikes by NATO, or do you
14 know nothing about that?
15 A. I personally don't know in what form and to whom this ultimatum
16 was issued, whether it was to the command of Sarajevo-Romanija Corps or to
17 someone else. I don't know anything about it. I just can't remember this
18 minute anything specifically about it.
19 Q. Well, I'm just going to press a little bit here on this question
20 because of the way you answered the question. Is it that you don't
21 remember anything about this topic at all or you don't remember specifics?
22 A. I don't know why I should be aware of the ultimatum. If there was
23 one, those in charge in the command were aware of that. Those who
24 cooperated with UNPROFOR. The only thing we could have received about
25 this was a piece of information on an order.
1 Q. Colonel, I am going to ask if you could please focus on my
2 question and try to answer the question. Do you know anything about an
3 ultimatum that came before the NATO air-strikes or not. It's a simple
4 question. Do you know anything about it?
5 A. I already responded to that. I cannot remember any specific the
6 about that.
7 Q. Do you remember anything general about it, anything at all?
8 A. About what?
9 Q. An ultimatum from NATO before the air-strikes occurred. Do you
10 remember anything at all, whether general, specific, anything at all about
12 A. Not now. But I probably knew something -- had I probably known
13 something, of, I would have remembered. It's been a long time ago. I
14 truly don't remember anything about that or any role of mine in relation
15 to this ultimatum.
16 Q. That's fine. I'll move on.
17 MR. WHITING: If we could look, please, at Prosecution Exhibit
18 396, which was discussed during the cross-examination.
19 Q. Now, this is following -- I said I would move on, but it's
20 actually on a related topic, events that occurred in the following days in
21 May. And this order which you discussed on cross-examination,
22 it says -- it is talking about -- if we could just blow up, yeah. Thank
24 It is talking about UNPROFOR checkpoints which have been taken by
25 SRK forces. Can you tell me why UNPROFOR checkpoints taken by SRK forces?
1 What was the reason for that?
2 A. I don't know what the direct cause was, but I know what the
3 general situation was and what awaited us, and there is probably a direct
4 relation and cause to all this, but I don't know what it is.
5 Q. In your mind, does the taking of UNPROFOR checkpoints constitute
6 an attack on UNPROFOR?
7 A. Not necessarily. The taking can be performed in various ways. I
8 don't know how it actually happened in this particular instance.
9 Q. And could you explain to us in what way would a taking of an
10 UNPROFOR checkpoint not be an attack.
11 A. Well, in my view, and that's how I see it, an attack during a war,
12 if carried out with weapons and produces certain combat activity, and
13 something is taken or captured by means of this activity.
14 Q. That's a taking that is an attack. Can you give -- are you able
15 to give an example of how a checkpoint, an UNPROFOR checkpoint could be
16 taken and it not be an attack?
17 A. I said that I don't know how this was carried out in this
18 particular case, in what way. I know nothing about that. This is an
19 order which shows that some of the checkpoints of UNPROFOR have been
21 Q. Do you know anything about UN hostages, personnel of UNPROFOR
22 being taken hostage by the SRK or forces of the SRK on the 26th of May
23 1995, at this exact time? Do you know anything about that subject?
24 A. I know that there were hostages, or rather, that UNPROFOR members
25 were, in military terms, captured and this was done on orders by the
1 superior command.
2 Q. When you say "the superior command," what command are you talking
4 A. The Main Staff of the army of Republika Srpska.
5 Q. And would such orders be communicated through the corps command of
6 the SRK down to the forces on the ground?
7 A. Yes, that's mandatory. As soon as you receive an order from a
8 superior command, it specifies how this particular task is to be carried
9 out and who will carry it out, whether it's going to be the corps command
10 or some other unit than the level to which this order is forwarded works
11 out the details.
12 MR. WHITING: Yes, Your Honour?
13 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Witness, I would like some
14 clarification about this question that has just been put you by the
16 A while ago my colleague, Judge Harhoff, asked you if in the event
17 that General Milosevic or his subordinates had given an order with a view
18 to action being under taken against UNPROFOR, and your answer was to say
20 Now, as regards a question that was put to you by the Prosecutor
21 regarding hostage taking, you said that the decision had undoubtedly been
22 taken by the Main Staff of the SRK, but that this had been communicated by
23 the standard and usual chain of command. Don't you see that there is a
24 slight contradiction here?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I'd like to be cited
1 precisely. I don't think that this is what I said, because it is
2 contradictory. If an order reached from a higher level, then lower levels
3 were supposed to carry it out.
4 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. So you are saying that
5 the accused or his subordinates handed down orders which hinted at
6 measures to be taken against UNPROFOR but that these orders came from
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely. Because communications
9 with the highest level of UNPROFOR command were maintained as well as
10 cooperation the highest command organs of the VRS, which in this case was
11 the Main Staff of the army of Republika Srpska.
12 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
13 Mr. Whiting, you have the floor.
14 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Does -- did the taking of hostages, of UNPROFOR hostages,
16 constitute an attack on UNPROFOR, in your mind?
17 A. Depends on the specific circumstances that it was carried out. If
18 it was done under threat or during fire, I see that as an attack.
19 However, there were liaison officers who explained directly to UNPROFOR
20 why something was being done, why things were happening, that there was no
21 need for any clashes and fire being opened at each other, and how problems
22 can be solved in a more dignified and normal way.
23 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Tapuskovic, you have the floor.
24 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no objection to the Trial
25 Chamber, but it was Mr. Whiting who raised this issue for the first time.
1 I must say that in view of what Dragomir Milosevic is accused of, I think
2 this is irrelevant. It may be a subject to certain evaluation. However,
3 as far as the indictment is concerned, it is irrelevant, and therefore I
4 object to this question. He has not been accused of this in the
5 indictment at all.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Whiting, you have the floor.
7 MR. WHITING: Thank you. I think that the Defence opened the door
8 to these kinds of questions because they spoke specifically about the
9 events at the end of May and the NATO air-strikes which this is connected
10 to, and, secondly, they raised in cross-examination the witness spoke
11 specifically about the attitude towards UNPROFOR and attacks on UNPROFOR.
12 There is a document that went in about attacks on UNPROFOR and specific
13 statements were made.
14 If they were relative on cross-examination, they are relevant on
15 redirect examination. And this was a topic thoroughly explored on
16 cross-examination, and I have a right to explore it.
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, quite right, Mr. Whiting.
18 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Colonel, were the UNPROFOR hostages ever mistreated, to your
20 knowledge, of course?
21 A. As far as I know, they weren't, at least I don't know of any one
22 of them being hurt. They may only have suffered some psychological
23 consequences as a result of fear, but I have no knowledge of that.
24 Q. To your knowledge, were they -- were any of the hostages chained
25 to targets, potential targets, within VRS territory? Do you have any
1 knowledge of that?
2 A. I heard about that in the media, but I myself didn't see anything
3 like that. It could possibly be the case, but then again it may not. I
4 personally didn't see it.
5 Q. Two questions to follow on from that. First of all, if -- would
6 hearing about such a thing in the media be a sufficient basis to refer the
7 event for criminal investigation?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Second question is: Is -- was the taking of the UN hostages
10 consistent with the international laws of war?
11 A. No, it was not in accordance with that.
12 Q. Was there any referral made by any commander, including the corps
13 commander of the SRK, to investigate that -- the taking of the UN hostages
14 as a possible violation of the international laws of war?
15 A. The corps commander carried out the order he received from his
16 superior officer in relation to these activities.
17 Q. Was --
18 A. In other words, it was not him who gave this order but, rather,
19 carried the order received from his superior officer.
20 Q. My question again: Did any commander, including the corps command
21 of the SRK, initiate any steps to commence an investigation of the taking
22 of the UN hostages as a possible violation of the international laws of
24 A. Not that I know of.
25 Q. Now --
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Whiting, you don't have much
2 time left, two minutes.
3 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I'm going -- I have a number of topics
4 to cover, and I think given the length of the cross-examination and the
5 topics that were covered I'm going to ask for additional time and that we
6 have the witness again tomorrow to finish.
7 JUDGE HARHOFF: This is why I exactly take the floor because we
8 have one more minute to go, and we should not overexploit the patience of
9 the interpreters and the staff. The Chamber, too, has a few questions, so
10 it may be that we shall have to call you back, Mr. Witness, tomorrow
11 morning for not too long time because we have another witness.
12 But let me just confer with my President.
13 MR. WHITING: I don't think I would be any longer than 15 or 20
14 minutes, and I believe we have sitting in the afternoon.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Whiting, we had planned to have
17 two witnesses today. We only have one, and we can't even finish off with
18 this witness today. We can't bring him tomorrow again. You have five
19 minutes left, and then Judge Harhoff would like to put a few questions to
20 the witness. That will be it.
21 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I am sorry to press the matter. We
22 actually only had one witness scheduled for today. There was supposed to
23 be two hours on direct and two hours on cross-examination. I took 50
24 minutes on direct, and the Defence took, I believe, well over two hours,
25 two and a half hours, perhaps more. I don't think it's fair that the
1 Prosecution is prejudiced by that.
2 We do have the time this week, and there are a number of important
3 topics that I cannot cover in five minutes. I made no objection to the
4 Defence having additional time, and I think we should be entitled to have
5 another 15 minutes to cover the topics that need to be covered. It will
6 not cause us any difficulty with the witnesses for the week. And I am
7 sorry to press the matter, but I do think in this case it is only fair.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well. The Trial Chamber has
10 heard what you have said. You mentioned fairness and equity, and
11 therefore we shall adjourn now and resume tomorrow.
12 So we shall again discuss a matter which I discussed at the
13 beginning of this hearing. Both parties should abide by the time that is
14 being allocated; otherwise, we will be unable to finish within the time
16 The Court stands adjourned. And, Witness, we shall ask you to
17 return tomorrow. Thank you.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 27th day of March,
20 2007, at 2.15 p.m.