1 Monday, 13 February 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 p.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, everyone.
7 Yes, Mr. Robinson.
8 MR. ROBINSON: Yes. Good morning, Mr. President. If I could
9 just introduce one of our legal interns who is joining us this morning.
10 His name is Mladen Trbic. He is working with our case managers and he is
11 from Republika Srpska. Thank you.
12 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
13 Good morning, Mr. Nikolic. Would you kindly take the solemn
14 declaration, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. I
16 solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and
17 nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Please be seated.
19 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE KWON: Before we go further, could the counsel representing
23 Mr. Nikolic introduce herself, please.
24 MS. LINDSAY: Good morning, Your Honour. Virginia Lindsay on
25 behalf of Momir Nikolic.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 JUDGE KWON: Your microphone was not on. Could you repeat
4 MS. LINDSAY: Good morning. Virginia Lindsay on behalf of
5 Momir Nikolic.
6 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Mr. Nicholls, perhaps I need to give
7 Mr. Nikolic a warning pursuant to 90(E).
8 MR. NICHOLLS: It may be appropriate, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nikolic, probably you are aware of this but we
10 have a Rule, Rule 90(E), pursuant to which you may object to answering a
11 question from the Prosecution or the accused or from the judges if you
12 believe that your answer will incriminate you. Do you understand that?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand that.
14 JUDGE KWON: However, even if you think your answer will
15 incriminate you and you do not wish to answer that question, the Tribunal
16 has the discretion to oblige you to answer the question, but in such a
17 case, the Tribunal will make it sure that your testimony compelled in
18 such a way shall not be used as evidence in another case, if any, for any
19 offence other than false testimony.
20 Did I make myself understood to you?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand.
22 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. Good morning, Your Honours.
24 Examination by Mr. Nicholls:
25 Q. Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
1 A. Good morning, Mr. Nicholls.
2 Q. I want to first start off just asking a few questions about your
3 background. Could you tell us where you were born.
4 A. I was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the eastern part of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Bratunac.
6 Q. And am I right that you grew up in Bratunac and lived there most
7 of your life?
8 A. Yes, you're right.
9 Q. Could you briefly tell the Trial Chamber about your education,
10 basically how far you got in school, the highest degrees you achieved.
11 A. I have a degree, a university degree, in political science and
12 also I have a degree in national defence, and I have a degree that
13 enables me to teach in high school. Before that, of course, I completed
14 high school and elementary school.
15 Q. Thank you. And you talked about being able to teach in high
16 school. Could you tell us about your occupation in Bratunac before the
17 war, where you were teaching, what subjects you were teaching.
18 A. Before I got my degree in political science and before I arrived
19 in Bratunac, I completed a secondary vocational school in the field of
20 construction. However, I never worked in the field of construction. I
21 went to do my military service. That's what it was called in those days.
22 At that time, people did their military service, and I did that in
23 Slovenia. Fifteen months later, I went to the Faculty of
24 Political Sciences, and I got my degree.
25 My first job was at the Djuro Pucar Stari high school in
1 Bratunac. I taught a subject called national defence and protection.
2 Q. Now, just briefly, before we move on, when you lived in Bratunac
3 before the war, did you know a man there named Miroslav Deronjic?
4 A. Yes. I knew Miroslav Deronjic practically all my life. I can
5 put it that way. We were born in the same town, and we're roughly the
6 same age. I think he may be a year older, but I've known
7 Miroslav Deronjic all my life.
8 Q. And do you have any kind of familial relationship with him?
9 A. We are not related by blood, as we say in our part of the world,
10 however, Miroslav Deronjic married a relative of mine. In the state
11 where I live, and probably anywhere else, he would be considered my
12 brother-in-law on that basis.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, I want to basically briefly go through your
14 military background. Am I right that around 1986 until war broke out,
15 you had a position in the TO in Bratunac?
16 A. What I heard through the headphones was "sluzenje vojnog roka,"
17 doing military service, and that is not what this is about.
18 In 1986, I started working at the staff of Territorial Defence in
19 Bratunac after having worked at this high school. So this is proper
20 employment. This is a regular job within this Territorial Defence Staff.
21 Q. Thank you. That's what I had said, Territorial Defence or TO.
22 And can you just tell us what your position was.
23 A. In the Territorial Defence, I was assistant commander for
24 intelligence affairs -- or, rather, the assistant commander of the staff
25 of TO Bratunac for intelligence affairs.
1 Q. And were you mobilised around 18 April 1992?
2 A. Yes, I was mobilised, on the 18th of April, 1992, exactly, like
3 many others who had been military conscripts.
4 Q. Now, without getting into it, is it correct that from around the
5 end of May 1992 - excuse me - until November, you were in Belgrade and
6 then you returned to Bratunac?
7 A. Yes. It is correct that during that period of time I was absent
8 from Bratunac. I was in Belgrade, yes, and then I returned to Bratunac.
9 Q. And when you came back in November 1992, did you take a position
10 in the Bratunac Brigade which had been formed by that time?
11 A. Yes. After a while, after I had returned from Belgrade, at the
12 proposal of the brigade commander I was appointed chief of the
13 intelligence and security organ in the 1st Light Infantry Brigade in
15 Q. And did you hold that position until the end of the war?
16 A. I held that position until the end of the war, until I was
18 Q. Thank you. Now, currently you're serving a 20-year prison
19 sentence; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nicholls, before going further, can I know his
22 year of birth.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
24 Q. Could you please tell the Judges when you were born, Mr. Nikolic.
25 A. I was born on the 20th of February, 1955.
1 Q. Now, is it right that in 2003, you pled guilty in this Tribunal
2 to persecutions, a crime against humanity?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. And just very briefly, before your plea, when you were meeting
5 with representatives of the OTP, did you at one point claim to have been
6 at Kravica and Sandici and make statements about those crimes which you
7 later acknowledged weren't true and retracted? Could you briefly -- just
8 very briefly explain what happened there.
9 A. Yes, I could. It is true that while talking to the
10 representatives of the OTP at one point when the negotiations were well
11 underway, I said precisely that you said just now. The reason I said
12 that is something I'm going to explain to you very briefly.
13 When talking to the OTP, we met a countless number of times, and
14 a countless numbers of times we went back to the same topics, including
15 that one that had to do with Kravica and what happened there. Of course,
16 I understand the efforts made by the OTP, and I understand the methods
17 and work in terms of interviews and endeavours made to get to the truth
18 and the extent of participation of each and every individual, including
19 myself. So the OTP asked me a countless number of times about Kravica,
20 and that many times I said to the OTP that I had nothing to do with
21 Kravica, quite simply that I had not participated in Kravica and that as
22 far as Kravica is concerned, I am only linked by the order that I
23 received from the command of the Drina Corps after the incident that
24 occurred in Kravica; namely, to investigate whether someone from
25 Bratunac Brigade -- or, rather, from the army had taken part in that
1 crime and which structure was it that committed this crime in Kravica.
2 One day, I think it was April, sometime in that period we met up
3 again. The OTP spoke to me again about that, and a bit out of revolt and
4 a bit more -- well, for the reason that I simply didn't know what to do
5 and how to behave. At one point in time I said, "Well, yes. I ordered
6 that. I did that." And immediately after having said that, I realised
7 what I had done. I realised that I had made a mistake, and my lawyers
8 and I stopped these negotiations or talks on that day.
9 One day was a holiday here. It was Queen's Day here in the
10 Netherlands. After that day, I met with the Prosecutor yet again, and
11 together with my lawyer I said to them -- I mean both my lawyers, and I
12 said that I had made a mistake and that in all truth I had nothing to do
13 with that, and I take responsibility for having stated that on the
14 previous day.
15 The Prosecution wanted me to sign a statement, and I accepted
16 that. I said that I had no problem whatsoever. I made a mistake. I'm
17 prepared to sign this statement, and I signed this statement in which I
18 accepted my responsibility for what I had said.
19 In addition to that, there's something in that statement that has
20 to do with a picture. In relation to that, I also wish to explain that a
21 picture had been shown to me. Not knowing anything, absolutely nothing,
22 whether that was me or not, but anyway, the person in this picture really
23 does look like me. So I wasn't sure whether that was me or whether it
24 was somebody else. However, to a large extent, I really do resemble that
25 soldier who is in that picture. And I was in this dilemma until my
1 lawyer investigated the case and until he found the man who is in that
2 picture. Savic is the man. I don't even remember the name any longer.
3 And my lawyer took a statement from him. He took his picture. And,
4 actually, this document, along with his statement and photograph, was
5 handed over to the OTP.
6 That would be it, in the briefest possible terms, in relation to
7 that statement. Every time I testified here, I expressed my regret over
8 the fact that that happened. Once again I'm saying I'm very sorry that
9 that happened. And in all our subsequent contacts, I tried to be totally
10 sincere and to say everything that I know, where I was present, what I
11 saw, and what I investigated as the intelligence organ and what kind of
12 evidence I obtained. That is what I have to say in relation to that.
13 Q. Thank you. As you spoke about this statement --
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have 65 ter 21590, please.
15 Q. Can you see the document in your language, Mr. Nikolic?
16 A. Yes, I can.
17 Q. Is that the statement you were referring to?
18 A. Yes, that is the statement. That is an attachment. This is
19 actually tab B that is part of the overall documents that I signed with
20 the OTP.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender that, Your Honours?
22 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P4385, Your Honours.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: May I now please have 65 ter 21584. This is
25 Annex A to the joint motion for consideration of plea agreement.
1 Q. Now, just briefly, do you recognise this document as the plea
2 agreement which you signed, Mr. Nikolic?
3 JUDGE KWON: First shall we show him the last page?
4 MR. NICHOLLS: We can do that, Your Honours.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I remember. This is the
6 agreement in which I admitted 5(h).
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. And if we could just go to page 4 of
8 the English as well as the B/C/S. We see at paragraph 9, a section:
9 "Co-operation by Momir Nikolic." And now for Mr. Nikolic, if we could
10 just go to the next page, page 5 in the Serbian language.
11 Q. Do you see paragraph 11, Mr. Nikolic, where it states:
12 "It is understood and agreed by Momir Nikolic and the Prosecution
13 that all information and testimony provided by Mr. Nikolic must be
14 absolutely truthful. This means that Momir Nikolic must neither minimise
15 his own actions nor fabricate someone else's involvement"?
16 Do you remember that part of the agreement, Mr. Nikolic?
17 A. Yes, I do remember that, sir.
18 Q. And you understand your obligation today as stated in that part
19 of the agreement?
20 A. Yes, of course I understand that.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender this document, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE KWON: Yes. That will be admitted as Exhibit P4386.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
24 Q. Now, I won't go through it all, but as you said, Mr. Nikolic,
25 since admitting your guilt and entering into this agreement, you've
1 testified numerous times in this Tribunal, most recently in the Tolimir
2 trial last year, as well as in the state court of Bosnia-Herzegovina; is
3 that right?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. Thank you. That's the background finished. I now want to move
6 on to talking about your duties in the security and intelligence organs
7 of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade in July 1995.
8 Can you just tell us very briefly how many battalions did that
9 brigade have in 1995?
10 A. The brigade where I was, that is to say, the 1st Light Infantry
11 Brigade, had three infantry battalions as part of it. When I say three
12 infantry battalions, I mean the permanent composition on the basis of the
13 organisational and establishment structure of the Light Infantry Brigade.
14 Of course, every brigade, including my own, can have units attached to it
15 at the same level or at a lower level. However, if you're interested in
16 that, in that critical period, that is to say, in 1995, and before the
17 conflict around the enclave broke out, an Infantry Battalion from
18 the Infantry Brigade in Zvornik was attached to our Infantry Brigade.
19 This battalion was within the establishment of our brigade, that is to
20 say, my brigade, both from the point of view of command and logistics.
21 Q. Now, you were, as you said, chief of intelligence and security in
22 the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade in this period. If you could just
23 explain to the Chamber. Is it typical for one person to wear both those
24 hats, to have both of those duties, or in some other brigades, like the
25 Zvornik Brigade, was the security and intelligence assistant commanders
1 held by different people?
2 A. I think your question may have been interpreted inadequately, but
3 I know what you are aiming at.
4 A Light Infantry Brigade is the first level of unit, brigade
5 level, in which -- which has a security organ per establishment. In
6 Light Infantry Brigades, there are chiefs of organs, that is to say,
7 chiefs of intelligence and security organs who have both the intelligence
8 and security role. The two roles are part of the same duty performed by
9 the same person.
10 The first level where you find the two functions separated is
11 an Infantry Brigade as opposed to a Light Infantry Brigade where I was.
12 I was an officer of such a Light Infantry Brigade.
13 As opposed to that, the Bratunac Infantry Brigade had the two
14 posts separately.
15 The chief of organ in a Light Infantry Brigade is not an
16 authorised official as opposed to the chief of security in a Infantry
17 Brigade who is. He has an official ID and a number of powers. In other
18 words, he has the right of search, bringing in people, submitting
19 criminal reports, and other issues from the domain of criminal law, which
20 is something I did not have.
21 In my brigade, criminal legal matters are regulated in a
22 different fashion, and if you are interested how, I may explain.
23 Q. I will get to that in a minute, Mr. Nikolic. First of all,
24 focusing on intelligence, if you could just briefly for the Trial Chamber
25 explain what -- what your duties are in a few sentences as in the
1 intelligence side of your position.
2 A. Yes, I can. All duties and obligations of an intelligence organ
3 in a brigade are largely defined by a basic rule, although there are
4 more, but this rule is called security --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the specific
7 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nikolic, interpreters couldn't catch you when
8 you were naming some individuals. Could you repeat your answer, please.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Maybe, Your Honours, would you mind if I ask him
10 just to begin again.
11 JUDGE KWON: Yes, yes.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. I'm sorry, we got a bit behind on the interpretation. Could you
14 start again and describe your duties as intelligence officer.
15 A. I said that the intelligence organ or the chief of the security
16 intelligence organ in terms of intelligence matters is to work based on
17 instructions or a rule which is called intelligence support. In practice
18 in my brigade, as well as any other intelligence officer, worked mainly
19 on the following: An intelligence officer or organ collects, processes,
20 and analyses, as well as forwards intelligence data to commanding
21 personnel so that the commander or the person intended to receive such
22 intelligence information could make timely, purposeful decisions. In
23 shortest possible terms, that is the obligation of intelligence and
24 security organs at the level of brigade.
25 Q. Thank you. And in 1995, in that position in the
1 Bratunac Brigade, was part of what you needed to know about for those
2 purposes you've outlined the situation in the enclave and the situation
3 of the ABiH forces present in the enclave, what they were doing, what
4 movements they were making, and what their plans were?
5 A. Yes. That was the basic task of any intelligence officer.
6 Q. All right. I'll turn now to the security side. Same question.
7 If you could briefly outline for us what that position entailed, what
8 your duties were, and as you started speaking about the issue of criminal
9 reports, you can explain the role of Mr. Zlatan Celanovic in your brigade
10 regarding the security side.
11 A. I need to mention a fact for the sake of the Chamber, which is
12 the following: In 1995, I am aware of this fact which is obvious in a
13 number of documents about the separate functions of the security and
14 intelligence organ of the Bratunac Brigade. I don't know the exact date,
15 but this can be verified.
16 In any case, sometime in 1995, in April or May, under the new
17 establishment structure of the Light Infantry Brigade the two functions
18 were separated. However, my situation was specific. The person who was
19 supposed to be chief of intelligence was first at Trnovo in the field, in
20 a completely different theatre of war around Sarajevo.
21 Next, as he had not been trained in intelligence, he had to
22 attend the course before assuming his duties. Theoretically speaking,
23 then at the time my unit did have the two functions separated, but in
24 practical terms nothing changed. I still had both hats on.
25 When it comes to the Light Infantry Brigade, as I said at the
1 beginning, the chief of security and intelligence organ in a
2 Light Infantry Brigade was not an authorised official. That is why [as
3 interpreted] our main task was, in terms of what the chief of
4 intelligence and security in the Light Infantry Brigade is to do in the
5 area of security. In other words, he only dealt with command staff
7 What does it mean? It means that the security organ in a
8 Light Infantry Brigade is to protect his own unit and command from any
9 danger or incursion of sabotage, terrorist, and other groups which may
10 threaten in the first instance the command, then the arsenal, equipment,
11 explosives, et cetera, and the units at their positions. That is command
12 staff security, which is to be performed by the chief of security and
13 intelligence in the Light Infantry Brigade. If we were to split the
14 positions in professional terms as to where in the Light Infantry Brigade
15 the security and intelligence officer is engaged, then I could say that
16 between 75 and 80 per cent of work has to do with intelligence affairs
17 and the rest of the percentage has to do with the Staff Command
18 activities and security matters, which I explained.
19 The primary role of a security organ is that while protecting the
20 unit needs to undertake counter-intelligence assessments based on
21 which -- what does it mean counter-intelligence assessment in the first
22 place? It means that degree of threat is to be assessed either in terms
23 of the command or facilities. Based on that, measures need to be
24 undertaken or proposed to the commander to counter incursions of sabotage
25 and terrorist groups and repel any threat to its -- to the unit's
1 arsenal, personnel and equipment.
2 In my unit the security organ, in addition to
3 counter-intelligence matters, had to collect documents about crimes
4 committed in the area of the unit. This applied to all other units of
5 that level.
6 As regards criminal acts, as I was not an authorised official and
7 could not sign criminal reports, based on the order of my commander a
8 person was appointed who was Zlatan Celanovic. He was a lawyer and had
9 been part of the military police in my brigade. He was engaged in these
10 professional matters such as documenting crimes, drafting criminal
11 reports, and all procedure which was concluded with the signing of a
12 report. Such a report, criminal report, could only be signed by the
13 brigade commander. Zlatan Celanovic prepared all the necessary
14 documents, and the brigade commander then signed all those documents and
15 forwarded them to the military prosecutors, military courts. That is how
16 things functioned more or less in the brigade where I was.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: [Microphone not activated]
18 JUDGE KWON: Microphone.
19 MR. NICHOLLS:
20 Q. You spoke about your commander --
21 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. In 1995, who was your direct commander?
23 A. In 1995, my commander was Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic.
24 Q. He would issue orders to you?
25 A. Yes. The commander is the person issuing orders to his officers
1 at the brigade command.
2 Q. And would you make reports, intelligence reports and other
3 reports, to Commander Blagojevic? Would you report to him?
4 A. Of course. It was my obligation, as well as the obligation of
5 any assistant commander. We had to report on what we did and what
6 problems or issues needed tackling.
7 Q. Now, if -- what about what I understand is called the so-called
8 professional management or expertise chain? In other words, in the
9 security and intelligence chains, did you report to the Drina Corps
10 assistant commander for security?
11 A. Yes, of course I did. I understand your question, but it is far
12 from being specific. Any professional reporting -- or any reporting is
13 professional reporting, but one can report up the chain of command, and
14 there is the way of reporting along the professional line. Reporting
15 along the command line starts, say, from the level of battalion where the
16 battalion commander reports to the brigade commander, who in turn reports
17 to the corps commander.
18 In terms of professional reporting as regards intelligence and
19 security organs, then the assistant commander in the battalion in charge
20 of security and intelligence reported to me, and then I in turn reported
21 to the Drina Corps intelligence and security organ. This was the
22 reporting along the professional line.
23 Q. And in July 1995, who were the assistant commanders for security
24 and intelligence at the Drina Corps level?
25 A. In the Drina Corps it was Vujadin Popovic, as far as I know. He
1 was in charge of security affairs, and Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric was in
2 charge of intelligence.
3 Q. And if you know -- if you could tell us who was in the
4 professional reporting line? Who would Vujadin Popovic report to?
5 A. Excuse me. Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic reported along the
6 professional line to the intelligence [as interpreted] administration of
7 the Main Staff headed by Colonel Beara.
8 Q. It says "intelligence." Is it intelligence or security headed by
10 A. Colonel Beara was the chief of the security administration. The
11 chief of the intelligence administration was Colonel Salapura.
12 Q. Thank you. It's clear now. All right. I'd like to now, as we
13 continue just talking about how the brigade was structured, just for a
14 little bit talk about the military police.
15 Who was the commander of the military police in the
16 Bratunac Brigade in July 1995?
17 A. In July 1995, commander of the military police was
18 Mirko Jankovic.
19 Q. And I should have asked earlier. What was your rank in
20 July 1995?
21 A. I held the rank of captain in July.
22 Q. And have you -- well, I'll ask it this way: Who was
23 Mirko Jankovic's direct commander in the military police? Who issued him
25 A. His immediate superior was the brigade commander since Jankovic
1 was the commander of the military police.
2 Q. Could you tell us if in your position you had any role in giving
3 advice, professional expertise, advice, in terms of the use of the
4 military police?
5 A. Yes. There is an obligation regulated by a rule which is
6 professional management of the military police by the chief and
7 intelligence organ. In that sense, it was my duty and right to issue
8 proposals how to best use the military police.
9 Q. Thank you. And just to be clear, who would you make those
10 proposals to?
11 A. All proposals that had to do with the use of the military police
12 are presented to the brigade commander. In my case, it was commander
13 Vidoje Blagojevic.
14 Q. And then the commander, Blagojevic, could decide whether to
15 accept the proposal, not accept it, or do -- make a completely different
16 order to your proposal?
17 A. Yes. The commander had the discretionary right to accept my
18 proposal in its entirety or in part or to reject the whole proposal and
19 decide to do something completely different. Once he had made a
20 decision, his was the last word. There were no further discussions or
21 proposals made. We began implementing the task as ordered by the
22 commander immediately.
23 Q. Final question on the military police. Under the framework at
24 the time and the rules, did they have any particular duties in regards to
25 prisoners of war?
1 A. Yes. Orders always had to define the duties of the military
2 police vis-a-vis any POWs, if there are any, of course.
3 Q. But generally speaking, were the military police tasked with
4 dealing with captured prisoners?
5 A. Yes. The military police, among other of its tasks, since your
6 question is a hypothetical one, but it was always tasked with providing
7 physical security to POWs. On top of that, the commander could issue
8 different tasks to them if necessary. If you are asking me about their
9 primary role once there are prisoners, it is the task of the military
10 police to secure them.
11 Q. I want to move on to a different topic now and that's about your
12 duties as liaison officer to UNPROFOR and to the various international
13 organisations that operated in the enclaves.
14 What were your duties - let's talk about 1995 now - in relation
15 to DutchBat?
16 A. As regards DutchBat, it was my duty within the area of
17 responsibility of my brigade together with representatives of DutchBat to
18 deal with any issues which may arise due to the violation of the
19 agreement on the demilitarised zones by either of the sides irrespective
20 of who violated the agreement, whether the Muslims or soldiers from my
22 We dealt with all such issues which cropped up and which
23 presented problems in the day-to-day operation of both of the Dutch and
25 Q. You spoke about issues which may arise due to the violation of
1 the agreement on the demilitarised zone by either of the sides.
2 What types of complaints about DutchBat raise with you about
3 violations on the VRS side?
4 A. I can only answer in general terms, because there were many
5 incidents we discussed and tried to solve. In principle, the gravest
6 problem, and I am now talking about the VRS and my brigade specifically,
7 was entries into the enclave. In other words, moving our forces inside
8 the enclave, violating its borders. Then different entries in the
9 enclave by way of sabotage groups. Such occurrences were happening
10 daily -- or regularly. There were also problems with snipers and
11 shooting from the positions of my brigade, i.e., the 1st, 2nd, and
12 3rd infantry battalions. Then there were also problems which had to do
13 with the entry and departure of convoys and problems of supply of
14 DutchBat in the enclave, specifically during the period between March or
15 April and the fall of Srebrenica. This problem intensified during that
17 Those were the main issues we discussed and tried to deal with to
18 the satisfaction of both sides.
19 On the other side --
20 Q. Let me stop you there and then I'll ask you about the other side
21 in a minute.
22 A. Very well.
23 Q. You brought up sniping. Did -- speaking now from the Serb side
24 and then we'll talk about sniping from the other side in a minute, from
25 the Muslim side, were you made aware through DutchBat or did you know
1 through your dealings as an intelligence and security officer of whether
2 civilians inside the enclave were wounded or killed from sniper fire
3 originating from the Bratunac Brigade?
4 A. Yes. There were irresponsible soldiers who regardless of all the
5 measures taken to prevent such things from happening, they would open up
6 fire, and there were civilians who were killed or wounded, and they
7 should not have been targeted by snipers.
8 Q. Now, what were the -- where you started to answer, complaints
9 from your side about sniping and incidents coming from within the
10 enclave? In other words, attacks on Serb positions in violation of the
12 A. Well, the other side in the Srebrenica enclave, well, they didn't
13 demilitarise. Many Muslims, many soldiers, were still bearing arms, and
14 given what the members of my brigade did, well, I could say that the
15 members of the Muslim army did the same things as the members of my
16 brigade. They would kill at the line of separation. They would enter
17 into the depth, lay ambushes. They would kill civilians and others who
18 had nothing to do with the army and were not armed. These people
19 shouldn't have been targeted by snipers. They shouldn't have had
20 ambushes laid for them, and then they also entered areas where we had no
21 actual control, and they would open sniper fire on civilians who were
22 tilling their land and working around their properties.
23 There were also organised attacks, attempts to create better
24 tactical positions in relation to the positions the Serbian side had. So
25 these were the same sort of violations that were made on both sides.
1 Q. And just to be clear, those incidents, those violations you're
2 talking about from the ABiH, or Muslim side, those occurred from the time
3 you were appointed to your position in 1992 through July 1995; correct?
4 The whole time?
5 A. Well, no. You asked me about a specific period from, roughly
6 speaking - this is how I understood your question at least - from the
7 time when Srebrenica was declared a demilitarised zone. You asked me
8 about that period. During that period of time, the UNPROFOR UN forces
9 were present. It wasn't before their entry before the 18th of April,
10 1993. We couldn't speak about those things at that time because I didn't
11 have an interlocutor, so we dealt with those issues when DutchBat and the
12 UN forces entered the area and protected Srebrenica as a -- as it was to
13 be protected.
14 Q. I understand. Sorry, my question wasn't clear. My point was,
15 just quickly, attacks from within the enclave which you've discussed,
16 those occurred before it was declared a safe area as well; correct? And
17 also after it was declared as a safe area against Serb positions and
19 A. I've been referring to that period, to the period when Srebrenica
20 was declared a demilitarised zone, and I also spoke about the problems
21 that I discussed with the Dutch during that period of time.
22 Q. Okay. Now, turning to the international organisations in the
23 enclave that you were liaisoned with, can you tell us which organisations
24 were present that you had contact with?
25 A. The orders from the corps commander and -- well, I appointed him
1 for the liaison officer for all international organisations and for all
2 UNPROFOR forces that were in Srebrenica. So I had contact mostly with
3 the representatives of DutchBat, and I think that the Canadians were
4 there before, so I also had contact with UNPROFOR representatives in
5 Srebrenica. The UNHCR had a representative office. Then there was an
6 office of the ICRC. There were representatives from Doctors Without
7 Borders, and I think there were permanent -- there were no permanent
8 representatives of other organisations. Other organisations didn't have
9 permanent representatives there, but there were other visits that were
10 made to Srebrenica, and when they entered the area, I would have contact
11 with them. But the bodies I mentioned were permanently present in the
12 Srebrenica enclave, and they had their own representatives there.
13 Q. All right. Well, briefly, when you met with UNHCR, with ICRC,
14 with Doctors Without Borders, can you just tell us what topics you
15 discussed? We can start with Doctors Without Borders, the last one I
17 A. Well, with Doctors Without Borders, the issues discussed were
18 mostly to do with things that they were interested in. For example, the
19 situation in the territory where I was, where I lived, the situation
20 amongst the population, the health situation, the lack of medical
21 supplies, and had to do with these medical issues. There were also
22 issues that concerned the enclave. They would inform about the situation
23 in the enclave, about the problems encountered by medical personnel in
24 the clinic in Srebrenica. And on the whole, they would speak to me about
25 the situation in health care institutes and about the limited means they
1 had of taking measures, performing surgical operations, and so on and so
3 So what I was mainly involved in was attempts to request of them
4 certain assistance.
5 We had a similar situation in Bratunac. We asked them to help us
6 by providing us with medical supplies, bandages, injections, and so on
7 and so forth. Medical supplies.
8 Q. And what about the other two organisations you mentioned. Can
9 you just briefly tell us what the talks were, what your contacts with
10 them were about?
11 A. The ICRC on the whole tried -- or, rather, didn't try but was
12 involved in issues that concerned those who had been captured, refugees,
13 people moving from one side to the other. What I particularly discussed
14 with them, and these things I insisted on, was the question of Serbs who
15 remained in the enclave. There were several families who had remained
16 there, so we tried to reach an agreement so that those who wanted to
17 leave the Srebrenica enclave could do so, and they were at our disposal
18 when it came to organising this.
19 We even had meetings at the Yellow Bridge that were organised.
20 They would bring an old woman who had a family, a son, and they lived in
21 Srebrenica. They brought her there so that we could discuss the matter
22 and see whether she wanted to leave Srebrenica or not.
23 We also had other discussions with the ICRC, and ICRC often had
24 certain requests for evacuations of certain wounded or sick people to
25 Tuzla, patients in hospitals. And on the whole, they acted as mediators
1 when it came to submitting requests of the Drina Corps command and the
2 Main Staff. They would do this through me, through the Bratunac Brigade.
3 They would make such requests through us for the evacuation of these
4 people to Tuzla and to other towns that were under the control of the
5 Muslim army.
6 There is one other organisation. The military observers. I also
7 discussed matters them and our discussions mostly had to do with military
9 The delicate issues that I discussed with DutchBat, well, in
10 99 per cent of the cases, the military observers and myself discussed
11 these very same issues. They wanted to remain neutral in respect of both
12 sides, so we tried to view the situation -- or they tried to view the
13 situation in a neutral manner. They didn't want to be biased, and that
14 is the sense in which we attempted to deal with these military issues.
15 Q. All right. And I'll talk about that a little bit later, some of
16 your other contacts with DutchBat and some of the problems. I want to
17 talk to you now a little bit about the goals, as you understood it, of
18 the VRS towards the Muslim population in Srebrenica going back now to
19 before July 1995. Who was the commander of the Bratunac Brigade before
20 Vidoje Blagojevic?
21 A. The commander of the Bratunac Brigade before Blagojevic was
22 Lieutenant-Colonel Slavko Bijelic [as interpreted].
23 Q. We have "Bijelic" in the transcript. Is it Ognjenovic?
24 A. Yes. Slavko Ognjenovic.
25 Q. Thank you. I'd like to bring up a document you've seen before,
1 P4075. This is a 1st Bratunac Brigade document from 4th of July, 1994.
2 4th of July, 1994, not 1995. Report for the brigade member submitted and
3 this one is to the unit, the 3rd Infantry Battalion. And we'll see when
4 we get to the last page - we don't need to go there now - but it's signed
5 by Commander Slavko Ognjenovic.
6 You've seen this document before. Is that right, Mr. Nikolic?
7 A. Yes, I have seen this document before. I know what it's about.
8 Q. Before the break, let's start going through this. Paragraph 1
9 refers to the recent visit to the corps command, the commander of the
10 VRS GS Main Staff, and an indication that he would soon visit some of the
11 corps units, including the Bratunac Brigade.
12 Very simply, that's a reference to General Mladic; correct?
13 A. The commander of the Main Staff at this period of time was
14 Ratko Mladic. Colonel-General Ratko Mladic.
15 Q. Next the commander writes, regarding this document:
16 "This piece of information binds all units and brigade members to
17 carry out all preparations in commands and units regarding combat
18 readiness and to place it at the level that the Bratunac Brigade," it
19 should say, "our Bratunac Brigade is renowned for."
20 What does that mean, just briefly, get everything -- bring things
21 to the level of combat readiness. Could you explain that term?
22 A. Let me just be certain about one thing. Let me just check
24 Q. Take your time.
25 A. Obviously, this is the intention of the commander of the
1 Main Staff to visit certain units, Drina Corps units, amongst other
2 units, and Bratunac Brigade units or the Bratunac Brigade. Whenever
3 there was a visit by the commander -- commander from the high command, a
4 corps commander, or commander from the Main Staff, in fact, any such
5 visit would mean that the commander would control certain things. Well,
6 he'd go to a unit, see what the situation was like in a given unit. He
7 would visit certain positions, see how the units had been fortified, how
8 they had dug in, what the situation was with regards to trenches and
9 places to defend oneself from artillery fire. So the combat level of
10 units was at stake.
11 The commander would visit these units to check the situation in
12 the unit and to ensure that the unit was at the level that the unit of --
13 in question should -- should be at.
14 When we speak about combat readiness, this means that with regard
15 to all aspects of combat readiness, all matters should be dealt with. So
16 the first paragraph, in fact, means that the brigade or the soldiers
17 should be at their positions. They should be equipped, militarily
18 trained. They should be armed. They should have a sufficient amount of
19 ammunition, all other military equipment that is needed for combat. So
20 this is full combat readiness for the units that are to be visited by the
21 commander of the Main Staff.
22 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nicholls, if it is convenient.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, that's fine, Your Honour. Thank you.
24 JUDGE KWON: We will take a break for 20 minutes and resume at
1 --- Recess taken at 10.20 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 10.42 a.m.
3 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. All right. Continuing with this document on the screen, I'd like
6 to go down to the bottom of page 2 in the English. And we need to scroll
7 down a little bit in the B/C/S as well. Actually, to the next page in
8 the Serbian.
9 Now, there's a part, that political situation at the beginning of
10 paragraph 2 which I won't go into now, but I want to read this part to
11 you at the bottom of page 2 in English:
12 "We have won the war in the Podrinje, but we have not beaten the
13 Muslims," can we turn the page of the English, "completely which is what
14 we must do in the next period. We must attain our final goal, an
15 entirely Serbian Podrinje. The enclaves of Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde
16 must be defeated militarily.
17 "We must continue to arm, train, discipline and prepare the
18 RS army for the execution of this crucial task - the expulsion of the
19 Muslims from the Srebrenica enclave.
20 "There will be no retreat when it comes to the Srebrenica
21 enclave. We must advance. The enemy's life has to be made unbearable
22 and their temporary stay in the enclave impossible so that they leave the
23 enclave en masse as soon as possible, realising that they cannot survive
25 Now, from being there as a member of the Bratunac Brigade at the
1 time this document was issued, and we will see later it was disseminated
2 throughout the units, what's the message? What is the goal that is being
3 telegraphed to the brigade in this document from the commander?
4 A. What you have just read out, I could say the following about it:
5 There is a part here that concerns the soldiers, the enemy, and in my
6 opinion there's nothing questionable about that part. It could have been
7 drafted differently with the same objective. It would have the same
8 objective from the military point of view, make the enemy's life
9 impossible, make survival in the enclave impossible. All that's military
10 objective, and there's nothing questionable about that. Nor is there
11 anything questionable about the measures that should have been taken in
12 order to defeat the enemy.
13 What is questionable, however, is the following part, where it
14 says that the conditions should be made unbearable so that the enclave is
15 left en masse.
16 I -- if I didn't know what had happened, then this would just be
17 a political assessment, in my opinion, or a political position, but since
18 I do know what happened in 1995, this can then be placed in the context
19 of that year, the year of 1995, when, in fact, the entire Muslim
20 population did leave the enclave and the enclave was emptied. After we
21 read this document, this is the first thing that occurs to me. That's
22 the essence of what is stated in these two paragraphs that I have just
23 had a look at.
24 Q. Let's look at the last paragraph.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Next page of the English. Two pages on. To the
1 last page of the document. If we can do the same in the Serbian.
2 Q. It states:
3 "Circulate this report among all brigade members and have them
4 sign for it. Review the report in companies. Morale assistants are to
5 introduce it in battalions, while the assistant for morale, religious and
6 legal affairs is charged with introducing it in the brigade command and
7 staff units. At the same time he will be held responsible for accurate
8 interpretation of this report at the brigade level."
9 Now, did that in fact happen? Was this document circulated as
11 A. Yes. This document, this information, in fact, was implemented
12 in its entirety. The order was carried out, the order issued by
13 Commander Ognjenovic, and he stated the manner in which the order was to
14 be carried out in the brigade units and at the level of the brigade
16 Q. Now I want to ask you what the effect of this order was. You
17 started talking about it. In your previous testimony you referred to it
18 as giving the green light. What did this give the green light to, to the
19 members of the Bratunac Brigade?
20 A. I know exactly what happened and how this information was
21 disseminated amongst the troops and the members of my brigade. If the
22 Chamber is interested in this, I can provide you with a detailed
23 explanation, but the result of this information, as far as I know, in my
24 opinion, in fact it's not just my opinion, this was borne out by
25 subsequent events, but this information legitimised lack of discipline at
1 the lines of separation, and the soldiers having been provided with this
2 information acted in a certain way.
3 What DutchBat and myself spoke about with regard to the violation
4 of borders, about snipers, about infiltration, about targeting civilian
5 targets - I'm talking about the members of my brigade now - but
6 everything that we tried to prevent and to reduce to a minimum, after
7 this information was disseminated action was stepped up. Sniper action
8 was stepped up. There were several attempts to enter the depth of the
9 enclave, and there was absolutely no necessity to do this, no need to do
10 this. As far as tactical positions are concerned, the other position
11 obtained or reached wasn't any better than the previous one. But quite
12 simply stated, the truce was violated, the borders of the enclave were
13 violated, all the things that we spoke about, all the things that we
14 tried to find a solution to failed. But I am limiting myself to the zone
15 of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade when I make this claim.
16 For the benefit of the Chamber I would like to add that I wasn't
17 responsible for the incidents throughout the enclave in Srebrenica
18 because there were neighbouring units that were also present. I'm only
19 responsible for the zone of responsibility of my Bratunac Brigade. I
20 want this to remain very clear.
21 Q. All right. We talked about sniping a little while ago and you
22 talked about it now so -- and said that sniper action was stepped up.
23 Again, aside from soldiers who may have been shot by snipers from the
24 Bratunac Brigade, what -- can you describe what the circumstances were in
25 which civilians would be shot from the Bratunac Brigade after this
1 information was distributed to every member of the brigade? Just explain
2 what types of incidents were brought to your attention. What were these
3 people doing, some of whom were wounded or killed?
4 A. With regard to sniper fire from the positions of the units in my
5 brigade, all I can say here is that sniper fire was opened from the
6 positions of all battalions, from the positions of the Zvornik battalion,
7 which was within my brigade, from the positions of the 1st, 2nd, and
8 3rd Infantry Battalion as well.
9 I most frequently had to intervene and visit the positions myself
10 because of the situation in the 2nd Infantry Battalion, which is in
11 immediate contact -- well, was in immediate contact with the Likari
12 village, the Budak village, the Potocari village, and the villages in
13 front of the forward edge of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of my brigade.
14 Who were the targets? I as a soldier, as an officer, believe
15 that an armed soldier is a legitimate target. If he is preparing to
16 attack you or is moving around with weapons and is provoking you, these
17 are legitimate targets in my opinion. Members of the DutchBat and myself
18 never organised meetings if it was a matter of soldiers who were opening
19 fire on each other and wounding each other. This is something I believed
20 to be -- well, not normal. There shouldn't have been any shooting, but
21 it was war, and we believed that it was not possible to prevent such
23 As for the targets of snipers, they were most frequently
24 civilians in front of the forward position of the 2nd Infantry Battalion
25 in the village of Dugo Polje, in Likari village. There were people who
1 were tilling their land, working their fields, sowing. They were working
2 on their houses and their gardens and so on and so forth. So these
3 civilians were then targeted by snipers, and on such occasions, the
4 DutchBat representatives would complain. They would come to see me. We
5 would organise meetings and we would try to deal with these issues.
6 That's what I can say in brief about it. And naturally in other
7 battalions, too. I received information that sniper fire was opened in
8 Buljim. Then there was the Zvornik battalion area, the
9 1st Infantry Battalion in the Vresinje area. That was also an area
10 towards Bijeceva [phoen] where sniper fire would be opened. From the
11 2nd Infantry Battalion there is a position called Zvijezda, and they'd
12 open fire in the direction of the villages I have mentioned. In the
13 Zalazje sector, in the Pribici [phoen] sector sniper fire would also be
14 opened. But it was in the zone of responsibility of the 2nd
15 Infantry Battalion that such activity was most intense, as I have already
17 Q. Thank you.
18 A. I do apologise, because I held my hand up.
19 Q. It's okay. Could I move on now to 65 ter 03655, please. This is
20 a Drina Corps command document signed by the corps commander Zivanovic,
21 dated 24 July 1995 [sic]. Defining tasks from the briefing and urging
22 their completion.
23 If we look at the paragraph just above "Order." This is now
24 20 days after the document we just looked at. We see that pursuant to a
25 briefing on 01 July 1994 to the VRS Main Staff commander by Drina Corps
1 commander and regiment brigade commanders about the level of combat
2 readiness in units and corps commands, and it continues, the following
3 order is being issued to regulate measures, actions and tasks relating to
4 the Muslim enclaves at Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde.
5 You recall you've seen this document before, Mr. Nikolic?
6 A. Yes, I saw this document before, but I think that you misspoke.
7 It's the 24th and 22nd of July, 1994, whereas you said "1995" and that's
8 what the transcript says, so I think that should be corrected.
9 Q. Thank you. It's 24th of July, 1994, talking about a visit on the
10 1st of July briefing, 1994. I just want to look at a couple sections.
11 MR. NICHOLLS: If we could go to paragraph 3 in both versions.
12 If we can scroll over on the Serbian. I don't think the witness
13 can see the entire page. Scroll it to the left. If we scroll over we
14 can see the paragraph numbers, hopefully. All right. Well, I'll read it
16 Q. Paragraph 3 begins:
17 "No equipment is to be allowed into the 'enclaves,' apart from
18 food and medication which are approved by the VRS Main Staff."
19 Can you see that in your section, sir?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. If we could now go down in the English version and to page 2 on
22 the Serbian. We see:
23 "All authorised cargo and people (authorisation from the VRS
24 Main Staff) is to be thoroughly checked at the following check-points."
25 And below that:
1 "When leaving the enclaves, from the enclaves of Srebrenica,
2 Yellow Bridge" -- "Yellow Brigade," it says, "responsible command
3 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade."
4 And if we can go on now to page 4 of the English. Paragraph 9.
5 Which is page 3 of the Serbian.
6 We see:
7 "The commands," in paragraph 9, "of the 1st Bratunac Light
8 Infantry Brigade, the 1st Zvornik Light Infantry Brigade, Pribicevac
9 Tactical Group, Skelani Independent Infantry Battalion, the 1st, 2nd and
10 5th PLBRs that hold the position around the 'enclaves' are obliged to
11 engage in the 3rd level fortification and complete mining along the lines
12 reached. Therefore, at the front end a connecting trench is to be dug,
13 but where that is not possible, a stone wall is to be built or wooden
14 fence - so the enclave would be completely surrounded, that is, fenced,
15 and so it would be made impossible for the Muslims to leave the enclave."
16 So the sections I've read out discuss no equipment is to be
17 allowed into the enclaves apart from food and medicine approved by
18 Main Staff. All authorised cargo and people again are to be checked on
19 authorisation from the Main Staff, and there is this reference to
20 preventing anybody from leaving, Muslims from leaving the enclave.
21 Can you just tell us what this order is about? What is this
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection.
24 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic. On what are you objecting?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm afraid it is a language issue
1 again. The interpretation I heard a moment ago was that they were
2 leaving the enclave and now it says abandoned the enclave. They were
3 leaving the enclave in a combat sense. There are major language problems
5 JUDGE KWON: I can't follow the B/C/S, but now Mr. Nikolic should
6 have heard your intervention, and having read the -- this order, I think
7 we can proceed.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
9 Q. My question was: What is this order about? What is this order
10 stating about control of items going in and out of the enclave and
11 control of movement of Muslims out of the enclave?
12 A. This specific order is what you read out, basically, but on the
13 whole, it relates to an order that has to do with the checking of cargo,
14 persons, everybody and everything entering the enclave and leaving the
15 enclave. That is defined in one of these items.
16 Also what is defined are the directions of entering the enclave
17 and the direction in which convoys leave the enclave. What is important
18 for me and what I know is the direction in which convoys moved into
19 Srebrenica and out of Srebrenica, down a macadam road along the
20 Drina River, and that was the route that had been assigned for convoys.
21 This order also defines who carries out the main checks, full
22 control. That is to say, all convoys leaving entering Srebrenica are
23 checked in detail on the Yellow Bridge, whereas all of those entering
24 Srebrenica and are coming from Serbia are being checked in the area of
25 Karakaj, in the area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade.
1 Also in this paragraph number 9, yes, yes, item 9, regulates
2 measures that have to do with preventing departures from the enclave, if
3 I understand this correctly.
4 For the benefit of Their Honours, I would like to say the
5 following, what Mr. Karadzic intervened a moment ago -- actually, there
6 are two ways in which departures could be carried out. That is to say,
7 those who went out for diversions, sabotage, incursions, and that is the
8 armed Muslims who were leaving the enclave. And then there is this other
9 kind of departures, Muslims who, through the combat positions of my unit
10 and other unit, primarily in the direction of Kladanj and Tuzla,
11 basically through the battle order of the Milici Brigade, they were
12 leaving illegally and going to Kladanj and Tuzla. That's the way it was.
13 These are civilians. I'm talking about civilians who were
14 leaving for a variety of reasons. And they were going out. Sometimes
15 they managed to cross all of these lines and leave safely. Sometimes
16 they did not manage to do so. Sometimes they'd get into minefields and
17 fall victim there.
18 So I'm just trying to make addition continuation between those
19 military departures from the enclave and, on the other hand, these
20 civilians, these civilians who individually or in groups left the
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter notes: Could the witness please be
23 asked to speak slower. Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Also in paragraph 9 this has been
25 defined, the closing of the enclave, but the order itself regulates that.
1 Q. Now, the document we saw before this, signed by
2 Commander Ognjenovic, and you commented that you didn't agree with it, it
3 said that the -- that life must be made unbearable so that the people in
4 the enclave would realise that they could not survive there. This
5 document talks about setting up walls or preventing people from leaving.
6 So what, in your understanding, was the goal of the VRS towards
7 the Muslim population of the Srebrenica enclave at this time? Did they
8 want them to all stay there or did they want them to all leave?
9 A. Well, I cannot speak on behalf of others what it was that they
10 were thinking. I can give you my own position, my own line of thought
11 with regard to this question, and that is what I'm going to tell you
12 here. I personally thought along the following lines. If families or
13 civilians are leaving Srebrenica or if they have to leave Srebrenica,
14 then the soldiers who remain -- actually, in my view, then there is no
15 more any motive to organise defence or engage in combat or have any kind
16 of armed resistance. Certainly. I say certainly.
17 Well, actually, now I can speak a bit on behalf of these people
18 where I was born and where I live. Everybody who lived there, in view of
19 everything that had happened until then, wanted to have the enclave of
20 Srebrenica emptied. They wanted them to be defeated militarily, and they
21 wanted it to be emptied as an enclave.
22 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nicholls, let me clarify this.
23 Mr. Nikolic, a moment ago you said that the civilians, Muslim
24 civilians were leaving illegally and going to Kladanj and Tuzla,
25 referring to two kinds of departure from the enclave. Did you mean by
1 saying "leaving illegally," that Bosnian authorities prohibited their own
2 citizens from leaving the enclave? What did you mean by "illegally"?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is what I meant: In addition
4 to these departures that Mr. Nicholson [sic] asked me about, there were
5 legal departures as well from the enclave. There were organised convoys,
6 in 1994, if I remember correctly. There were organised convoys when -
7 and this is my free estimate - between 3.500 and 4.000 Muslim civilians
8 left. So these are legal departures of Muslim civilians from the enclave
9 along with proper permission and at their own request, and then the
10 authorities in Srebrenica forbade legal departures, and once they forbade
11 these legal convoys towards Tuzla and free territory, then certain
12 families and civilians left illegally. They tried to make do. They
13 tried to get to Tuzla, Olovo, Kladanj, this free territory. That is what
14 I meant when I said "illegal departures."
15 As for military departures, this was regular practice. This is
16 combat, ambushes, incursions, sabotage, involving that kind of departure
17 from the enclave. That is a military thing. Whoever leaves or enters in
18 that way takes upon himself the risk of doing that.
19 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. It is Mr. Nicholls that is
20 asking you questions now.
21 Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
22 MR. NICHOLLS:
23 Q. Let me move on, Mr. Nikolic, now to the movement of convoys in
24 and out of the Srebrenica enclave. I'm speaking -- I'm going to speak
25 about convoys to resupply DutchBat, we'll talk about 1995 now, as well as
1 humanitarian aid convoys; all right?
2 A. Of course.
3 Q. Can you first tell us, briefly as you can, but give us an
4 overview of how this worked. When convoys came to enter, tell us about
5 the authorisation process and which bodies gave the authorisations
6 regarding convoys and the equipment which could come in or out as you
7 experienced it as security and intel chief. I understand these were
8 passed down to your brigade from above.
9 A. I'll try to answer as briefly as possible. Any convoy that was
10 supposed to enter Srebrenica, regardless whether it was a convoy for
11 meeting the needs of DutchBat or whether it was a UNHCR convoy or whether
12 it had to do with any other convoy that would enter Srebrenica, this is
13 how things happened.
14 At the level of Republika Srpska there was this so-called
15 co-ordination body. This co-ordination body, well, basically I even know
16 what their composition was. Part of these people who worked in the
17 co-ordination body were from the civilian structures, the civilian
18 authorities, but there were also representatives of the Main Staff of the
19 Army of Republika Srpska.
20 As regards every convoy that was supposed to enter, they would
21 issue their own approval, and that would define everything very
22 specifically. The number of trucks, the content of the convoy, the
23 number of persons -- or, rather, soldiers, along with their IDs, and
24 everything else on the basis of which you could see exactly who it was
25 that was supposed to enter Srebrenica.
1 In most cases, my brigade would receive these approvals down the
2 chain of command; that is to say, the Main Staff of the Army of Republika
3 Srpska, the command of the Drina Corps, and the Bratunac Brigade. Or if
4 it has to do with an urgent matter, if there is not enough time, then
5 this kind of approval would come directly to the commander of the
6 Bratunac Brigade from the Main Staff. So that was the green light for
7 the convoy to enter Srebrenica.
8 There were cases -- you should know this as well. There were
9 cases when -- I mean, I remember situations like this. The late
10 Vice-President Koljevic sometimes signed on behalf of the co-ordination
11 body, and for us such documents -- or, rather, such approvals had the
12 function of an order. Of course, when it would come from the Main Staff,
13 of course it would be an order, but when this would arrive with the
14 signature of Mr. Koljevic, we would take that as an order that we would
15 fully carry out as written.
16 Q. Thank you. Thank you. And we'll get to a couple documents in a
17 moment, but what was your -- concretely what was your role in this
18 process when convoys were coming to enter the enclave?
19 A. My role was roughly as follows: In my brigade, in the area of
20 responsibility in my brigade there was a particular point that was called
21 the Yellow Bridge. That was the last check-point before entering
22 Srebrenica or, rather, the territory of the Srebrenica zone. At that
23 check-point -- so it was a check-point. That is where there were members
24 of the military police and also there was a permanent team there that
25 carried out these checks. My role in terms of normal functioning, I mean
1 when there were no limitations or any special orders apart from the
2 regular ones that came in, my role was -- well, how do I put this? It
3 was more one of supervision to bear in mind that the order that had
4 arrived from the Main Staff is fully carried out. And if there is a
5 problem, then I should go there and resolve this problem on the spot
6 depending on the problem involved and the procedure that we would apply.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: P04190, please.
8 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nicholls, do you tender that previous
9 Drina Corps document?
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
11 JUDGE KWON: That will be admitted.
12 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P4387, Your Honours.
13 MR. NICHOLLS:
14 Q. Now, this document is headed "Main Staff, Army of Republika
15 Srpska," dated 2nd of April, 1995. It's to the commands of the
16 Drina Corps, the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, and Eastern Bosnia Corps.
17 Mr. Nikolic, do you recognise the handwritten portion on the top
19 A. Yes, I do. What is written in the upper right-hand corner is a
20 text that I wrote and signed.
21 Q. Can you just read it out to us, please. Try to avoid any
22 objections or questions.
23 A. Of course.
24 "Not a single convoy or International Committee of the Red Cross
25 team or MFS," I made a mistake there, "may enter Srebrenica without my
1 permission and presence." And then it's signed in my name,
2 Momir Nikolic.
3 Q. All right. And just as an example, if we can go down to
4 paragraph 3. We see these markings on the document in paragraph 3 and a
5 description of this of the 5th of April, 1995, ICRC team trip and the
6 vehicle contents, 50 pencils, five marker pens, ten stapler boxes,
7 four bottles of red ink, five rolls of Sellotape, et cetera. Can you
8 comment on this level of detail in the contents which we see in this
9 Main Staff document?
10 A. Of course. Of course I can. As far as I can remember, approvals
11 for convoys to enter, well, let me say in 99 per cent of all cases were
12 this specific and exact quantities would be defined and would then be
13 written in the permit itself. So this order is no different -- I'm
14 sorry, it's an approval actually. This approval does not differ in any
15 way from those received by other organisations and convoys. So this was
16 a kind of blueprint, if you will, informing the check-point of the
17 Yellow Bridge, or, rather, the Bratunac Brigade about the content of the
18 convoy that is supposed to enter.
19 Q. Right.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: And if we scroll up a bit now to the top. Go to
21 the top of the Serbian as well, please. It begins:
22 "We hereby inform you that we consent to the request of the RS
23 coordinating body for HP," which for me is translated as "emergency
24 services," "as follows ..."
25 And now if we go to the back page, please, the last page to, see
1 who signed it. And it's signed by General Manojlo Milovanovic, Chief of
3 Q. Was it normal or routine that General Milovanovic would sign such
4 documents, to the best you remember? Such approvals?
5 A. Yes. Most of the orders that were sent directly from the
6 Main Staff to the Bratunac Brigade were signed by the Chief of the
7 Main Staff -- or, rather, the Chief of Staff of the Army of Republika
8 Srpska, Mr. Manojlo Milovanovic.
9 Q. And the coordinating body that we saw on the first page, that's
10 the same coordinating body you were referring to; is that right? The
11 civilian coordinating body?
12 A. Yes. Yes. That is the body that I referred to a moment ago.
13 Q. Thank you. Just to be clear, where were these -- I think I
14 understood you, but where were these checks made? Were they made at the
15 Yellow Bridge?
16 A. If you're asking about this date, this time, this period, yes.
17 All checks were carried out at the Yellow Bridge.
18 Q. Now, you earlier today talked about in relation to convoys the
19 period in 1995, March, April, May, June. Do you remember you started
20 talking about that?
21 A. Yes, I remember that.
22 Q. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber during that period what
23 was going on with resupply to DutchBat? What was being approved, and
24 what level of supplies were going in to DutchBat? Fuel, food, that kind
25 of thing.
1 A. Their process of resupplying is a complex issue, but I'll try to
2 put it in a few sentences. In this period I mentioned between March and
3 June -- well, April was already the month when the measure restricting
4 the movement of convoys was already imposed, as well as quantities of
5 fuels and lubricants intended for the use of DutchBat in the enclave.
6 My role and the role of the check-point at Yellow Bridge was
7 reinforced, because there were requests by the Main Staff or written
8 orders to strengthen control measures at the Yellow Bridge, irrespective
9 of the fact that the Yellow Bridge was usually the last check-point on]at
10 which something could be controlled on a convoy entering Srebrenica.
11 As far as I know, during that period limitations were imposed on
12 the, first of all, quantities requested by DutchBat, and I speak from
13 experience and about what I discussed with them personally. They
14 frequently put that question, which I then forwarded to the corps command
15 at the Main Staff, with regard to the quantities of fuel they needed.
16 The quantities they received were insufficient for their APCs and
17 vehicles they had at their disposal when implementing their tasks.
18 They also had problems with certain types of food. I need to say
19 here that with regard to that, they also received supplies from --
20 actually, the Serb side received supplies from the Hotel Fontana from
21 some of the stock used by the Dutch as well. The problem they also had
22 were rotations of soldiers and platoons who were supposed to leave the
23 enclave and were supposed to be replaced by other soldiers. They kept
24 putting that question to me as something that I had to relay to my
25 superior command in order to deal with it.
1 I'll try to be brief. In that period, April, May, June, and
2 July, and until the beginning of the operation, in my view they received
3 inadequate quantities of fuels, lubricants and everything else that was
4 necessary for the functioning of their unit. I knew that at the time,
5 and I knew the exact quantities, but I have forgotten in the meantime. I
6 had access to all documents, and I knew exactly how many soldiers they
7 had, how much fuel, oil, rifles, machine-guns, heavy weapons, et cetera.
8 That was all part of my job as intelligence officer. I knew everything
9 they had, and I could draw my own conclusions as to their combat
10 readiness during that period.
11 Q. All right. You said you'd forgotten in the meantime. Let me see
12 if I can -- if this helps you remember a bit. In your Tolimir testimony
13 at page 12325, you stated:
14 "According to my estimates, not even 10 per cent, speaking of
15 fuel, would enter the enclave. And I'm talking about 10 per cent
16 quantity that I, as a layman, would consider the necessary quantity."
17 So just think about it. How severe was the deprivation of fuel
18 to DutchBat in this period?
19 A. Again, I have to be precise. As an intelligence man, I can
20 address such assessments based on the information and knowledge I had.
21 Of course, such assessments need not necessarily be accurate, but at
22 least they were approximations, and I believe they were valid.
23 The quantities that I was familiar with were insufficient for
24 them to implement any tasks. I knew how they worked. I knew their
25 check-point positions, and I knew how they controlled the area and used
1 their APCs and all the vehicles they needed to be able to control the
2 protected area of Srebrenica.
3 I don't think I was mistaken if I said that they received minimum
4 quantities. In my assessment, they received minimum quantities needed to
5 carry out all tasks they had in that period as of the moment such
6 restrictions were imposed. I think they received minimum quantities
7 which were insufficient.
8 As a soldier, I claim that their combat readiness and ability to
9 implement tasks was reduced to a minimum and was insufficient, given this
10 problem with fuel and all other problems. I don't think they were
11 capable of executing combat or other purpose tasks they had in the
13 Q. I want to ask you now about supplies, humanitarian supplies,
14 during this period. How much, from your knowledge as intel and security
15 officer, how much of the necessary humanitarian materials, food,
16 clothing, et cetera, was reaching the enclave during this period?
17 A. Humanitarian goods that were supposed to arrive by way of UNHCR
18 convoys was coming in -- were coming in. There were several types such
19 as flour, oil, salt, sugar, canned food, et cetera. Those were mainly
20 the items that were arriving. I never analysed that segment in detail as
21 to its sufficiency compared to the number of people in Srebrenica. The
22 number of people were also my assessment, of course.
23 The convoys did go through. Sometimes there were requests to
24 halve the quantities that such convoys carried, but I can't address any
25 specific quantities and whether they were sufficient for the enclave. In
1 any case, there were frequent requests that the convoys organised by the
2 UNHCR be halved as well, or that a quantity of this be allowed and a
3 quantity of that be not allowed, or there were requests that some of it
4 be left to the Serbs. The Serb side believed that they were -- the other
5 side was receiving too much as compared to the Serbs, but I'm no longer
6 in position to discuss whether that was enough or not.
7 Q. All right. Well, in your prior testimony in the Tolimir case,
8 you discussed the living conditions in the enclave for the people who
9 lived there before the fall, and you describe what your understanding
10 was, your knowledge of what life was like for the people who lived there.
11 Can you please tell the Trial Chamber what it was like, as far as you
12 knew, for the people, the civilian population living in Srebrenica
13 leading up to July 1995?
14 A. Yes. It is correct that I discussed life there based, of course,
15 on my knowledge. What I am about to say mainly includes information
16 received from the people who, as I said last time -- well, there were
17 people who were fleeing the enclave, entire families who fled to the
18 [Realtime transcript read in error "west"] Serb side and they simply
19 wanted to leave Srebrenica.
20 In discussions with them, as well as through some other channels,
21 my information was, as regards the civilians in Srebrenica, that the
22 situation was very bad, that civilians, entire families, literally had no
23 bread to eat or any other food and that they lived on what they could
24 harvest from whatever they managed to plant there.
25 Also, the health situation was bad. There were many sick
1 civilians who could not be in receipt of medical assistance, et cetera.
2 In the enclave as regards the civilians, the situation was quite
3 grave. For certain families, it was even hopeless. They had a terrible
4 life in the enclaves.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] An intervention on lines 13 and 14.
6 It seems that entire families and soldiers fled to the west whereas the
7 witness said the Serb side. It was inappropriately recorded.
8 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. When you would like to intervene, please
9 wait till the interpretation is completed. Please do not overlap. Thank
11 Yes. Let's continue, Mr. Nicholls.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. I'm going to move ahead now and talk
14 about what's called either the fall or liberation of Srebrenica in
15 July --
16 JUDGE KWON: Excuse me, Mr. Nicholls, if you leave the topic of
17 convoys, can I intervene here.
18 Mr. Nikolic, we heard from you about the resupply of UNPROFOR as
19 well as humanitarian convoys. From that, I take it there were two kinds
20 of convoy, i.e., humanitarian convoy such as for UNHCR, ICRC, or MSF on
21 the one side, and the convoys for UNPROFOR on the other side. Am I
22 correct in so understanding?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Your understanding is
25 JUDGE KWON: Were the procedures for those two convoys identical
1 or there were different rules for the two -- two convoys respectively?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Technically speaking, they were
3 exactly the same, starting with permissions being granted and ending with
4 Yellow Bridge check-point controls. Notifications and approvals did not
5 differ for any kind of entry into the enclave. The procedure was
7 JUDGE KWON: Were the organs dealing with those different convoys
8 the same one? More specifically, did the co-ordination body headed by
9 Vice-President Koljevic also deal with UNPROFOR military convoys?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know about that level. I
11 don't know whether there was any difference, the way the coordinating
12 body treated them and whether someone was specifically tasked with this
13 or that type of convoy. What I know with certainty is that permits were
14 sent to us, the soldiers from the Main Staff of the VRS. Perhaps at the
15 coordinating level there were differences in terms of those convoys aimed
16 at the Dutch and -- as opposed to the UNHCR. I know that Mr. Kekic was
17 in charge of UNHCR matters, but there's nothing I can tell you about that
18 level of decision-making, and I don't know what their relations were.
19 In terms of my brigade, we received orders through military
20 channels, and that is what I know as a -- for a fact.
21 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
22 Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Now I want to talk to you about, as I said, the period of the
25 beginning of the attack on Srebrenica on July 6 and the period up until
1 the fall or liberation of the enclave.
2 Do you recall in the days preceding the fall of the enclave any
3 Drina Corps officers in Bratunac coming to the command?
4 A. You were asking me about the period on the eve of the attack
5 before the 6th of July, just before the attack?
6 Q. I'm not constricting it so much. If you can tell us around that
7 period, 6, 7, 8 July, if you saw officers of the Drina Corps and when.
8 For example, did you see General Zivanovic, General Krstic, and, if so,
9 when did you see them in Bratunac?
10 A. Of course, in that period just before the attack, as well as
11 during the attack, I saw a number of officers whom you mentioned,
12 specifically General Krstic, and I mean the corps command. So
13 General Krstic, General Zivanovic, Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic,
14 Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric. I saw at that time, around the 8th, also
15 General Mladic and Colonel Jankovic from the Main Staff and so on and
16 forth. I saw commanders of assault groups who were all from the units of
17 the Drina Corps. I saw many officers during that period at the
18 Bratunac Brigade command, because many of them came there as well.
19 Q. All right. And you mentioned Colonel Jankovic from the
20 Main Staff. Can you tell us his first name?
21 A. Radislav Jankovic, a colonel of the Main Staff.
22 Q. And what was his position in the Main Staff or which -- which
23 organ did he work in?
24 A. Colonel Jankovic worked in the intelligence administration of the
25 VRS Main Staff at the time when he came to see me.
1 Q. And was that 8th July or when was it?
2 A. At around that time, on the 8th approximately. Jankovic arrived
3 as well as General Mladic. Jankovic accompanied Mladic.
4 Q. Now, he's in the intelligence administration. You said he met
5 you. What -- what did he say to you? What did you -- what kind of work
6 did you do with him when he arrived on the 8th?
7 A. He came to my office and told me that he was there on the orders
8 of the Main Staff. He said that in the period during the operation, he
9 was going to be with me in my office and that he was to take over all
10 contact with the international organisations in Srebrenica, as well as
11 all contact with DutchBat. In other words, he took over all the duties
12 from within my remit of intelligence organ which had to do with the
13 contact with organisations in Potocari and Srebrenica. He also said that
14 in the ensuing period, he was to contact all of these organisations,
15 including DutchBat. He told me he was there as ordered by the Main Staff
16 of the VRS.
17 Q. Now, when he was there in your office, sharing the office with
18 you, was he sending reports on the situation up to the Main Staff, and
19 were you -- it's a compound question, but were you also sending reports
20 to your commander at the same time?
21 A. Colonel Jankovic sent reports, and we usually wrote them together
22 in my office. Whenever we had information or any need to communicate
23 with our superior command, when there were things we wanted to ask, we
24 then drafted such reports together. I was familiar with their contents,
25 and I knew that Colonel Jankovic was writing and submitting reports to
1 his superior command.
2 I also need to say here that I never drafted daily reports to my
3 command -- for my command, but I did draft daily reports to my superior
4 command, which was the department for security and intelligence at the
5 command of the Drina Corps, and I continued doing so during the time
6 Mr. Jankovic was in my office.
7 Q. Thank you. And when Mr. Jankovic arrived, did you brief him as
8 best you could on the security -- on the intelligence situation?
9 Let me ask that again.
10 Intelligence officer from the Main Staff comes down to the
11 brigade. You're the intelligence officer in the brigade. Did you brief
12 him about what was going on in your area of responsibility, the
13 Bratunac Brigade?
14 A. I believe I can confirm that, but I think that Colonel Jankovic
15 was from the intelligence administration, and he had everything I had
16 had. All the information that had been sent to the Drina Corps, I am
17 positive the same information was then passed on to the Main Staff. In
18 other words, on the 8th, when Colonel Jankovic arrived, he had a clear
19 picture of what was going on, and he was familiar with it. Of course, we
20 discussed details of my contacts with DutchBat but nothing much more than
21 that. I claim that Colonel Jankovic had all the information I had sent
22 concerning the situation in Srebrenica.
23 I need to say, for the sake of the Chamber, that I created an
24 intelligence assessment which I forwarded to the corps command in the
25 Main Staff which contained all the details about the situation in the
1 enclave before the attack.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, I'm sorry, I've lost track of how we
4 do the schedule on these days. If we're stopping at noon, this would be
5 a good time because I'm going to go into another chapter.
6 JUDGE KWON: Yes. Very well. We will take a break now --
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
8 JUDGE KWON: -- for half an hour. Shall we resume at -- before
9 half past 12.00.
10 --- Recess taken at 11.56 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.
12 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Now, Mr. Nikolic, still talking about the period of the attack on
15 Srebrenica enclave, up to -- from when it began to -- up through 11 July,
16 did you learn in your capacity as security and intelligence officer
17 whether or not civilian targets in the enclave -- or civilian objects or
18 persons in the enclave had been targeted by the VRS during the attack?
19 A. Yes. With regard to this problem, I'm going to make a
20 distinction between two things. First of all, we have artillery fire or
21 mortar fire from the battalion on the town of Srebrenica, and I have my
22 opinion, my own position, about this matter which I have expressed, and I
23 want to express it again on this occasion.
24 I don't know how the artillery was deployed exactly, and I cannot
25 say anything precise about the dates on which the artillery was used, but
1 as an intelligence officer from the brigade in which artillery was used
2 against Srebrenica, what I know is that at the time of the operations,
3 brigade artillery from the Bratunac Brigade was used, and fire was opened
4 on the territory of the enclave. Fire was opened from 120-millimetre and
5 82-millimetre mortars.
6 As far as the brigade's artillery is concerned, the
7 Bratunac Brigade had 105-millimetre, 122- and 155-millimetre artillery
8 pieces. The range of the artillery can reach Srebrenica. Srebrenica in
9 the course of that operation was targeted by the artillery, and I want to
10 be quite clear yet again. There were legitimate military targets in
11 Srebrenica, commands, warehouses where equipment and weapons were kept
12 and everything else, and these targets, these commands, regardless of the
13 fact that they were in the town, were legitimate targets in my opinion.
14 But given that there were a lot of people living in the core part of the
15 town, I had information according to which during the shelling of the
16 town of Srebrenica, a certain number of civilians were killed or
17 seriously wounded. So I believe that opening fire in this way had as a
18 result civilian casualties.
19 Around the 11th, when a column of civilians, many civilians, were
20 leaving Srebrenica in the direction of Potocari, I know that from
21 positions of my 2nd Infantry Battalion that column of civilians was
22 targeted. A B1 cannon targeted them. This is an artillery piece. It is
23 a cannon, in fact, that fires directly at the targets in front of it.
24 And when I asked why these civilians had been targeted, the 2nd Battalion
25 responded by saying that they were observing from that observation post
1 where the B1 was, and they thought that a lot of Muslim troops were
2 moving from that direction, which is why they were targeted.
3 So these are cases that I am familiar with, and I know that in
4 such cases civilians were either killed or wounded.
5 Q. So let me just make sure I'm clear on your answer talking about
6 the B1 weapon that was part of the 2nd Battalion. Was that B1 --
7 2nd Infantry Battalion. Was that B1 used to target the column moving
8 from Potocari to Srebrenica [sic]?
9 A. Yes. In that particular case. The date is a specific one. The
10 B1 cannon was firing on civilians who were moving from Srebrenica. They
11 were almost at the entrance to Potocari, and this artillery piece opened
12 fire on these civilians. From that position, there is a mount that is an
13 elevation that is called Red Star and from that position you can see
14 Potocari. It's as if Potocari were in the palm of your hand. So it is
15 possible to use direct fire when targeting individuals.
16 JUDGE KWON: I take it, Mr. Nicholls, that your question should
17 have been reflected as column moving from Srebrenica to Potocari.
18 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour. Correct. Yes. Thank you.
19 Q. Now, let me move on and ask you some questions about the
20 Hotel Fontana meetings on the 11th. Are you okay, Mr. Nikolic?
21 A. Yes, I'm fine.
22 JUDGE KWON: If you need at any time, please don't hesitate to --
23 to have a break.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm fine. I'm fine.
25 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
1 MR. NICHOLLS:
2 Q. Now, the Trial Chamber has heard quite a lot of evidence about
3 the meetings at Hotel Fontana on 11th July, so we won't go through
4 everything to do with those meetings. I just want to know about where
5 you were, what you saw, and what your role was.
6 Now, did you hear about the first Hotel Fontana meeting on the
7 11th before it happened, and if so, how did you hear about it?
8 A. Yes. I heard that that meeting, the first one, was to be held on
9 the 11th in the evening. I heard about that meeting. In fact, it was
10 Colonel Jankovic who informed me about the fact that that meeting was to
11 be held.
12 Q. And then what did you do?
13 A. Colonel Jankovic told me that a meeting would be held, that
14 General Mladic and DutchBat representatives would be present at that
15 meeting. My task, which was a permanent one and that concerns all
16 security organs, it concerned my own organ at the time, since the meeting
17 was to be held in Fontana, I had to provide security for Fontana and
18 prepare the premises where the meeting was to be held, which would be
19 attended by the commander of the Main Staff, General Mladic.
20 In addition, I was told that I was to send in the police and to
21 provide an interpreter to help with the conversation between
22 General Mladic and DutchBat representatives.
23 I went with the commander of the military police, Mirko Jankovic,
24 to Fontana. We provided a certain number of policemen and provided
25 physical security for the Fontana building. We then emptied the entire
1 Fontana building and none of the guests or soldiers remained in the
2 building. We emptied the internal part and secured the premises where
3 the meeting was to be held.
4 Having made these preparations -- let me recap. My task was to
5 act together with the commander of the military police and to provide
6 security for the premises where the meeting was to be held and to provide
7 security for the Fontana building as well. After we had done all of
8 this, Colonel Jankovic arrived. He, myself and Mirko Jankovic -- or,
9 rather, the interpreter, Petar Uscumlic, waited for General Mladic to
10 arrive, as well as DutchBat members.
11 They arrived, and, to be brief, the meeting took place in a small
12 room in Hotel Fontana. I have to tell the Chamber that I wasn't present
13 at the meeting. I was the officer whose duty was to provide security for
14 the premises where the meeting was to be held.
15 I was outside that small room, 3 or 4 metres away. I saw the
16 participants in the meeting there. I saw what they were doing, how they
17 were behaving. I could hear the subjects that they were discussing,
18 because it was a small room, and an entire wall is like a harmonica that
19 can be opened. Those doors were open. So we prepared the room in this
20 manner before everyone arrived, and that's where the first meeting
21 between General Mladic and the commander of the DutchBat, Mr. Karavaks
22 was held.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Karremans.
24 MR. NICHOLLS:
25 Q. Thank you. I understand, then, that you didn't participate in
1 the meeting, but you observed the meeting from a few metres away; is that
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. And what did you do when the meeting had concluded? What
5 happened next?
6 A. After the meeting had ended, General Mladic said that the
7 following meeting would be held that very same evening about 2200 hours
8 or 2230 hours, and he said that security should be provided for the
9 premises again. And the second meeting would again be held on the
10 premises of the Fontana Hotel. Afterwards, I went to the
11 Bratunac Brigade command, and that evening, on the 11th, I did what I had
12 done on the previous days, on the days prior to the operation as well. I
13 drafted a report on the situation and on the events that had taken place
14 on that date, on the 11th of July.
15 Q. Now, the second meeting at approximately 2200 hours, or
16 10.00 p.m., did you provide security for that meeting as well? Just
17 briefly tell us what you did there?
18 A. Everything I did for the first meeting, all the duties I
19 performed with regard to organising the first meeting and securing the
20 building and the individuals who participated at that meeting, well, I
21 did exactly the same things when it came to organising the second
22 meeting. That concerned the Fontana building, the interpreter, providing
23 physical security, organising the arrival of General Mladic and the
24 officers, the arrival of the Dutch and representatives of the Muslim
25 side. I did everything that concerned or related to holding the meeting
1 in the same building on the same premises. I had to make sure that the
2 individuals participating in the meeting were safe when present in the
3 building where the meeting was being held.
4 Q. And again, did you observe the meeting from just outside but not
5 participate in the meeting?
6 A. Yes. I can tell you who participated in the meeting. I think
7 the Chamber already knows, but if necessary, I can give you their names.
8 I wasn't a representative of the Serbian side participating in the
9 discussions, so naturally it was Commander Ratko Mladic who spoke the
10 most, who was the most important there.
11 Q. And just before we move on, securing the physical premises where
12 a meeting is held with a member of the Main Staff, is that just a
13 classical job of the security administration when there were visiting
14 officers from senior command?
15 A. As a rule, whenever there's a visit from the superior command, a
16 visit by the corps commander or by his deputy, by someone from the
17 Main Staff, in such cases the security organ takes all the necessary
18 measures to provide security for individuals. The MPs' duties from --
19 have to provide security for the commanders or officers from the
20 Main Staff. So that is a rule. These are legal provisions that have to
21 be abided by, and as a chief of security, taking such measures would be
22 part of the duties you have to perform.
23 Q. Now, around the times of these meetings, did you receive
24 information about the large column of persons in the enclave, large group
25 of Muslims moving in a column from Srebrenica towards Potocari?
1 A. Yes. At that time in the evening hours, I had already received
2 reports, mostly from the 2nd Infantry Battalion, from their positions,
3 from their command, reports on the movement of a large number of
4 civilians in the direction of the UNPROFOR base in Potocari.
5 Q. And did you receive any information about the composition of that
6 column of civilians? And what I'm getting at here is whether there were
7 any men, able-bodied, military-aged men in that group of civilians.
8 A. According to my assessments and the assessment of those
9 subordinated to me in the 2nd Infantry Battalion and according to the
10 general information that was passed down the chain of command and that I
11 received through the professional line, according to all that
12 information, in those columns there were, in our assessment - I'm
13 speaking about our assessment - in that column there were between a
14 thousand, 1.500 or 2.000 men who were fit for military service.
15 But I must inform the Chamber of one thing which I think is
16 important. We believed -- in fact, I make a distinction between men who
17 were fit for military service and people who are militarily engaged
18 within the 28th Division units. You can be fit for military service.
19 You might be under an obligation to be mobilised into a unit, but that
20 does not necessarily mean that you will be mobilised.
21 So according to our assessment, since I roughly knew the number
22 of people in the enclave, I roughly knew the structure of the population,
23 how many women and children and men there were there, well, since that
24 was the case, on the basis of previous assessments and previous
25 information we believed that amongst those civilians there were between a
1 thousand, 1.500 or 2.000 men fit for military service.
2 Q. Thank you. So if I understood your answer, there were between
3 1.000, 1.500 or 2.000 men fit for military service but not necessarily
4 that all of them were soldiers in the ABiH. Did I understand that
6 A. That's quite correct. That's quite correct. That's what I
7 wanted to say.
8 Q. Thank you. Now when, the second Hotel Fontana meeting ended, can
9 you tell us what you did afterwards? I'm now going to go chronologically
10 through the events as you experienced them in the following days.
11 A. After the second meeting, I received an order from the commander,
12 from General Mladic, to escort the Dutch and the Muslim representatives
13 to Potocari. Naturally, I carried out that order. I escorted them as
14 far as the Yellow Bridge, which is at the border of the enclave, and then
15 they continued from the Yellow Bridge to Potocari. And to tell you the
16 truth, I did not enter Potocari that evening.
17 Q. Thank you. One follow-up question. You said you knew the people
18 at the meeting, and you just referred to the Muslim representative.
19 Who -- if you remember, who was the Muslim representative at the second
20 Hotel Fontana meeting, the one at night on the 11th of July.
21 A. Yes. I do remember that. The second meeting -- well, only at
22 the second meeting was there a Muslim representative. Nesib Mandzic was
23 his name. There was no Muslim representative at the first meeting.
24 Q. Okay. Now, after you returned from the Yellow Bridge, what did
25 you do?
1 A. After I returned from the Yellow Bridge, I think I went to the
2 command. I think I wrote reports. I had contact with members of my
3 brigade. I think I informed them about the situation. I referred them
4 to information that related to the fall of the enclave, and I also
5 mentioned the meetings and so on and so forth.
6 I've already told you that there was oral information that was
7 provided. I never wrote written reports for my command, but written
8 reports on the entire situation and all the events, which included
9 information on the movement of the Muslim civilians and our assessment of
10 the composition of that group and the presence of men who were fit for
11 military service, I provided all this information in written form to the
12 Drina Corps and to the department for security and intelligence within
13 that corps.
14 Q. Thank you. And did you have any specific duty that night or were
15 you -- did you do anything else after that? Or was that the end of the
16 day on the 11th as far as your duties were concerned, when you finished
17 your reports?
18 A. Well, I can't remember all the details right now, but mostly
19 these activities concerned myself. There were probably certain other
20 activities, but my activities mostly concerned my sector and my police.
21 We performed these duties correctly, without any problems.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. I was in the Bratunac Brigade command all that time, but I can't
24 remember all the details precisely.
25 Q. That's fine. Thank you. So let's move on to the morning of
1 12 July. Now, first of all, early in the morning, around 8.00, was there
2 a meeting at the Bratunac Brigade command, if you remember?
3 A. On the 12th, various meetings were held. I'm in a dilemma with
4 regard to one of the meetings. I think the meeting was on the 13th at
5 8.00 in the morning, about 8.00 or half past 8.00 in the morning. On the
6 12th I was the duty officer, and I was in the operations room from 7.00,
7 and I can't remember there was a meeting in the morning of the 12th. On
8 the 13th, yes, but I can't remember a meeting on the 12th.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have P4373, please. I don't know if we
10 can rotate that and blow it up in the Serbian language, please, so
11 that ...
12 Q. All right. Take a look at this document, please.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: As we saw recently, there were some issues with
14 the English translation. I don't have a new translation yet,
15 Your Honours.
16 Q. But I'll just ask, simply, Mr. Nikolic, if you could please read
17 this document, which is a Zvornik CJB dispatch or report from
18 12 July 1995, from chief of CJB Dragomir Vasic, and it states in
19 paragraph 2 -- it refers to a meeting at approximately 8.00 a.m. Can you
20 read that document, or is it too -- is it illegible?
21 JUDGE KWON: Let us -- yes, that's what I meant.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's fine. At 8.00, in the area of
24 the Bratunac Brigade, a meeting was held with Generals Mladic and Krstic
25 at which tasks were issued to all the participants. Let me now see what
1 it says.
2 Yes. I remember this. It's difficult for me to list all of
3 these meetings in chronological order in the command of my brigade,
4 because there were so many official ones, and it's very difficult for me
5 to remember all the meetings. But this meeting, I think I can actually
6 remember it. It was held in the office, my commander's, above the
7 operations room that I was in. This document has helped me refresh my
9 MR. NICHOLLS:
10 Q. Thank you. Now, this document refers, in paragraph 5, to a
11 meeting at 10.00 a.m. That's the third Hotel Fontana meeting. Once you
12 read that I'm done with this document, and I'm going to ask you some
13 questions about what happened next in the morning on 12 July.
14 A. Yes. I've read it. I've read it, and I know what it's about.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, were you given -- were you told about this
16 12 July meeting at Hotel Fontana in the morning and were you given tasks
17 to secure the hotel again?
18 A. I apologise. With regard to the third meeting that was to be
19 held on the 12th of July at 10.00 in the Fontana Hotel, I had information
20 on the 11th in the evening. After the second meeting had been held I had
21 information about that. It was then that General Mladic said -- or,
22 rather, Mr. Karremans and General Mladic agreed that that meeting should
23 be held the next day at 10.00 in the Fontana Hotel, and General Mladic
24 and his team were supposed to attend the meeting. Mr. Karremans and his
25 officers were to be present as well as Muslim representatives. And
1 members of the Muslim army from Srebrenica were also to be present. So I
2 knew that meeting was to be held on the 12th at 10.00 in the morning in
3 Hotel Fontana.
4 And when it comes to organisation, preparations, and providing
5 security for the building and individuals, I had to do the very same
6 things at that third meeting as the things that I did for the previous
8 Q. Now, in this third meeting on 12 July, where were you physically?
9 Did you go into and observe the meeting or did you stay outside? What
10 did you do during the meeting?
11 A. At the time when the third meeting was held, I was not at
12 Fontana. That is to say, I was not on the premises where the meeting was
13 being held. For a while, that is to say, after I had taken care of the
14 security and done everything else that was indispensable for having the
15 meeting held, I sat at the reception desk for a while. So that is the
16 first area that you see when you walk into the hotel. And for a while I
17 was not even at the reception desk, but I was outside the hotel, in front
18 of the hotel on this plateau where the police was, and basically I tried
19 to make sure that all of this would evolve properly, because there was a
20 great deal of interest. There were a lot of soldiers around Fontana, so
21 I did not attend the meeting itself. I did not take part in it, and I
22 did not hear the discussion that was held.
23 Q. And you referred before to members of the Muslim army from
24 Srebrenica were also to be present. In fact, did any representatives of
25 the Muslim army, of the ABiH, attend this meeting? At least that's what
1 we have in the transcript is: "And members of the Muslim army from
2 Srebrenica were also to be present."
3 A. I have already said that General Mladic insisted that this third
4 meeting be attended by the representatives of the Army of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina -- or, rather, the 28th Division, in addition to the
6 refugee population. However, apart from Mandzic -- and again, I don't
7 know whether he was a soldier then, but I do know that he was engaged in
8 the 28th Division. Then Nuhanovic, I was sure that he was not a soldier.
9 And there was this woman who attended and she was not a soldier. Now, if
10 Nuhanovic at the time was a soldier, then he was a representative of the
11 army, and if not -- well, anyway, he introduced himself as a
12 representative of the refugee population, a representative of the
13 civilians, and that is how he introduced himself at the first
14 two meetings. I heard that. He was quite explicit. He said that he
15 could not represent the army, that he was not authorised to represent
16 anyone from the military structures. That is what I heard from
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. I am sorry. I apologise. Not Nuhanovic, Mandzic. Sorry, I see
20 in the transcript that I said Nuhanovic, but actually I meant Mandzic,
21 not Nuhanovic.
22 Q. Nesib Mandzic.
23 A. Yes, Nesib. That's right.
24 Q. Now, I'm going to ask you about something else that you've talked
25 about before. On 12 July 1995, in the morning, did you meet with any
1 Drina Corps lieutenant-colonels that morning? Did you have a discussion
2 with any officers from the Drina Corps that morning?
3 A. Before the meeting started, and it had been scheduled for 10.00,
4 I saw two lieutenant-colonels and talked to them, Lieutenant-Colonel
5 Popovic and Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric. I mean, let me be quite clear
6 straight away. This was no meeting, but it was a conversation that took
7 place before they went to the meeting. So I talked to
8 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic, and I asked Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic what
9 would happen next, and he said to me that there would be an operation of
10 transferring Muslims, women and children, to free territory -- or,
11 rather, Muslim-held territory and that military-aged men would be
12 separated. Further on -- well, this is how the conversation evolved
13 roughly. I asked him, Lieutenant-Colonel, sir, what would happen next,
14 what are we going to do with the men who would be separated, and he said
15 verbatim, in his very own way, that they should all be killed. I did not
16 comment on that statement of his, what he said. And my first conclusion,
17 I mean, my first thought was that in Potocari we would separate the
18 military-aged men, that we would carry out this military triage. And
19 that, quite simply, we would carry out a military task, that we would
20 stick to military procedure, that we would single out those people from
21 whom we had indicia or evidence or documents or witnesses to the effect
22 that they had committed crimes, namely, that we would single them out and
23 prosecute them.
24 That was my first thought when I heard about the separation.
25 After that, of course, you know what happened.
1 When I arrived in Potocari, when the evacuation started, then it
2 was absolutely clear to me what this was all about. I testified about
3 that, and that was the first time that I had my doubts, and I think that
4 that was the first time that it became clear to me that something bad was
5 in the making for these people who had been singled out.
6 I proposed -- or, rather, I suggested to him if we have people
7 who have been separated, then -- I mean, if they are to be separated,
8 then we have to ensure a place where they would be detained. So I
9 thought that these men should be singled out, and there are certain
10 buildings that are empty and where they could be kept. I told him that
11 these were buildings in the centre of town, the elementary school
12 Vuk Karadzic and buildings that are within that radius, about 100 metres.
13 After that -- so, after that, in the presence of Mr. Kosoric as
14 well, when he said that all the Muslims should be killed, we then had a
15 discussion about two locations where these people should be killed.
16 Ciglane and the Sase mine were mentioned.
17 As far as the mine and the brick factory are concerned, these
18 possible execution sites, I have to tell you one thing. I found out
19 later, later, that is to say, after everything happened, before the men
20 were separated, a certain number of officers went to the brick factory.
21 They contacted the director, and they asked there about this place as a
22 possible execution site. I don't know who these officers were. I don't
23 have any names, and I don't know who they were. However, these are
24 places that were mentioned as possible execution sites.
25 As for the execution itself at these two locations, I want to say
1 the following here: Neither at the brick factory or at Sase was a single
2 one of these separated men killed, as far as I know. So there were no
3 killings at any one of these two locations, Sase or the brick factory.
4 After that -- so in front of that plateau, that is, there was yet
5 another conversation. Kosoric was there, Petar Uscumlic and I. Also, we
6 talked about the very same things, about evacuation, the arrival of the
7 buses and so on, and roughly the position was the same. Everything that
8 we had discussed with Popovic. Kosoric basically repeated the same thing
9 to the same extent.
10 While we were talking there, two Dutch officers came up. I
11 think -- since I know them, I think it was Rave and another associate of
12 his, and they asked me, "Mr. Nikolic, when will the bus arrive? When
13 will this start?" And I said to them -- actually, I sent them to
14 Acamovic, who was standing in front of Fontana, Colonel Acamovic, and I
15 then I said to them that quite simply there was no need for them to wait
16 there, to stay there, that they should go back to Potocari, that
17 everything had been agreed upon, that everything had been taken care of,
18 and that the evacuation would start. And that is what happened in front
19 of the Fontana Hotel.
20 The meeting -- or, rather, the conversation between myself and
21 Popovic lasted five or seven minutes, ten minutes maximum. And then
22 after that, he went to attend the meeting, he and Kosoric did, and I
23 stayed in front of Fontana and worked on the security there, what my task
24 was. That is more or less everything that was happening during those
25 morning hours. And the conversation between myself, Mr. Kosoric,
1 Popovic, Mr. Rave, and Uscumlic, Petar.
2 Q. And when you say that Popovic and Kosoric then went to attend the
3 meeting, is that the meeting in the Hotel Fontana?
4 A. Yes. That's the meeting at the Fontana Hotel that was scheduled
5 for 10.00.
6 Q. Now, did you speak to Colonel Jankovic around this time? Did he
7 give you any instructions about going yourself to Potocari?
8 A. To the best of my recollection, I talked to Colonel Jankovic
9 after the meeting. Once the Fontana meeting was over, Colonel Jankovic
10 walked out of Fontana. I was standing on the plateau in front of Fontana
11 and I was waiting for the end of the meeting with the police and the
12 others who were providing security there at Fontana. And
13 Colonel Jankovic walked out of Fontana and said that everything had been
14 agreed upon about the transfer of Muslims to Kladanj, also that buses,
15 trucks, fuel, everything, had been agreed upon, and Colonel Jankovic said
16 to me that I should help during this evacuation -- or, rather, during
17 this transfer of that population that was in Potocari. That is to say,
18 transferring them to free territory under Muslim control. That was the
19 area of Kladanj, that is.
20 Q. And did you ask Colonel Jankovic any questions about which units
21 were going to take part in that operation in Potocari?
22 A. Yes. Yes. I asked the colonel the following: "Colonel, sir,
23 you know what the situation is in Potocari, you know how many people are
24 there and how many things had to be done," and I asked who is going to do
25 all of that. Colonel Jankovic said the following to me. He said that
1 everything had been agreed upon, that commanders of the units that are in
2 charge of this operation had already received orders and were issued with
3 specific tasks, and that they were already in Potocari, from where the
4 evacuation of these people was supposed to take place.
5 Q. And did Colonel Jankovic instruct you to meet with anybody in
6 particular when -- in Potocari? To contact anybody, put it that way.
7 A. Yes. He said to me that in Potocari, in addition to the army and
8 the police, Dusko Jevic was there, who was in charge of part of the
9 operation, and that I should talk to Dusko Jevic and help him, that I
10 should meet up with him in Potocari, which I did, of course. And after
11 the meeting was over and all of that, I got into my car and went to
12 Potocari, because the only officer that I had contacted on that day, the
13 12th, was Dusko Jevic, nicknamed Stalin.
14 Q. What unit was Dusko Jevic an officer in?
15 A. Dusko Jevic was an officer in the special brigade of the MUP
16 whose commander was General Saric, and the deputy commander was
17 Ljubisa Borovcanin, and he was present there.
18 Q. Who was present there, Saric or Borovcanin? Present in Potocari.
19 A. Borovcanin was present, and he commanded the forces that were
20 Special Police there.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speaker's
22 microphone please be adjusted. We have great trouble hearing him. Thank
24 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nikolic, would you speak into the microphone.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise.
1 MR. NICHOLLS:
2 Q. Now, in addition to the Special Police, you've just described
3 their being present, Mr. Borovcanin and Mr. Dusko Jevic, which other
4 units, to the best that you remember, do you remember seeing in Potocari
5 on the 12th of July? In other words, in addition to the Special Police,
6 what other forces of the armed forces of Republika Srpska, either MUP or
7 VRS, were present?
8 A. I will try to mention all of those I remember from Potocari. In
9 addition to the unit of the special brigade of the MUP, part of the
10 police forces, there was a unit that had dogs, German dogs. Then there
11 were members of the station. Actually, policemen from the public
12 security station in Bratunac. And there were members of a company.
13 These were special purpose police units, and some of them were in
15 As for the military, there were parts of the military police from
16 the Bratunac Brigade, that is to say, my own unit. Then there were
17 members of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade. Then on
18 the same day, a bit later, members of the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the
19 Bratunac Brigade arrived. Then there were members of the Drina Wolves
20 detachment. Their commander was Captain or Major Jolovic, Legenda.
21 That's what he was called, or something like that. Then there were parts
22 of the 65th Protection Regiment. That was a unit of the Main Staff, and
23 parts of this unit were in Nova Kasaba. Then there were parts of the
24 10th Sabotage Detachment of the Main Staff. This was a unit of the
25 Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska. And there were parts of the
1 battalion of the military police from the Drina Corps, that were part of
2 the Drina Corps.
3 I think I haven't forgotten anyone. These were units that were
4 present, all of these that I have mentioned, that is to say, units of the
5 10th Sabotage Detachment. I mean, I knew them personally. Also, the
6 units of the military police of the corps were involved in my own area,
7 so I know them. I know these men from that police unit. And of course,
8 from my brigade I knew everyone.
9 So these were the units that were often engaged in the area of
10 responsibility. These units were engaged in the operation of Srebrenica,
11 and after Srebrenica fell, they were in Potocari. And in Potocari, in
12 addition to all of these mentioned forces, there were also members of the
13 Dutch Battalion at the spot where the evacuation of the civilian
14 population was taking place after the third meeting on the 12th of July,
16 Q. Thank you. And if I understood your answer previously,
17 Colonel Jankovic had told you before you arrived in Potocari that these
18 units you saw there had already been given their orders.
19 A. Yes. Your understanding was correct. Yes, exactly.
20 Q. Going back a tiny bit, before the 11th of July and the
21 12th of July, did you see any members of Republika Srpska state security
22 working in Bratunac, RDB operatives? And also, did you see any members
23 of RDB state security in Potocari? If you can describe their presence
24 during this time.
25 A. Yes. Let me just say for the benefit of the Trial Chamber,
1 members of the state security, their centre was in Zvornik, and some of
2 their operatives were in charge of the territory of the municipality of
3 Bratunac as well. So the operative who worked permanently in the
4 territory of Bratunac municipality was Sinisa Glogovac, if I remember his
5 name correctly. And almost all the time he was in Bratunac. Actually,
6 before the operation and during the operation, he was present.
7 Then during the operation, actually after the fall of
8 Srebrenica -- now, I don't know whether I'm going to remember the names.
9 I think that in Bratunac -- no, it's not that I think. I saw him there.
10 The boss of that centre was there, their chief. Mile is his name, I
11 think, Mile Renovica. Then Sinisa, and I think that there was an
12 operative from Zvornik, Vito. I think his last name was Tomic. And that
13 would roughly be the team that was in charge there. Vito Glogovac and
14 Sinisa were operatives, and Milanko Renovica was the chief of this
15 centre. Now, was it a centre or whatever, but at any rate he was their
16 boss. They were present before the fall of Srebrenica and they were
17 present during -- well, before Srebrenica fell and they were present in
18 Potocari. And together with the organ or organs that were in charge of
19 separating the men, to the best of my knowledge, they worked on singling
20 out these military-aged men, or, rather, those for whom they had had
21 information to the effect that they had committed crimes during the
22 previous operations.
23 That would be it, roughly, as far as they are concerned.
24 I also know two cases when they singled out a member of
25 parliament at the time, Ibran Mustafa. Zlatan Celanovic assisted them in
1 that. He knew Mustafic. And I also know a case about which I wrote a
2 report to the command of the Drina Corps. A wounded man who they got out
3 of the health centre there. The state security had singled him out, and
4 he was suspected of having committed a crime. That Muslim was prosecuted
5 and tried later, and I think that Ibran Mustafic, after the interviews,
6 was transferred to Batkovici, I think. Both of them are alive to this
8 Q. We'll talk about that later, Ibran Mustafic. But was Mile the
9 chief in Zvornik of the state security? I think you said his name was
10 Mile Renovica; is that right?
11 A. Yes, that's right. Mile Renovica.
12 Q. Now, on the 12th of July, in addition to Ljubomir Borovcanin and
13 Dusko Jevic, did you see any other -- can you tell us which officers you
14 saw present from the Corps or the Main Staff, Drina Corps or the
15 Main Staff?
16 A. I can tell you about all of those whom I saw in Potocari, but I
17 think that there's no need. I mean, I can tell you in general terms,
18 without any exception, all the officers from the Main Staff were in
19 Bratunac, then came to Potocari on that day, the 12th, and they were all
20 there. And all the officers from the command of the Drina Corps who were
21 in Bratunac then on that day, the 12th, they all came to Potocari to see
22 what it was that was happening. I think that there was not a single
23 officer -- I mean, I don't want to say anything, but there was not a
24 single officer from any command that was not present in Bratunac on that
25 day and did not come to Potocari from Bratunac to see what was going on
1 there. If you're interested in names, I'll give you all the names that
2 I've already mentioned from the command of the Drina Corps, from the
3 Main Staff, from my brigade, from the police. I can give you all the
5 Q. Just for our record, I want it to be very clear, just give me the
6 names of the Main Staff and Drina Corps officers you saw in Potocari on
7 the 12th of July, 1995.
8 A. From the Main Staff, I know for sure I saw him, there was
9 General Mladic and Colonel Jankovic.
10 From the command of the Drina Corps, General Krstic was in
11 Potocari, also General Zivanovic, Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic,
12 Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric, Colonel Acamovic, Lieutenant-Colonel
13 Krsmanovic, and basically those are the persons I saw. Perhaps I may
14 have forgotten someone.
15 From the special brigade of the MUP there was Ljubisa Borovcanin,
16 Dusko Jevic, I think -- no, I don't think. I'm sure. Mendeljev was
17 there. I personally know him. He was commander of a company. From
18 state security, from the RDB, there were those three men I mentioned,
19 Sinisa Glogovac, Tomic, and Mile -- now, what was his last name, Mile's
20 last name. Renovica, yes. Those were basically the officers basically
22 And of course - I do apologise - from the Bratunac MUP there was
23 a person who was often present. Miodrag Josipovic, chief of the MUP.
24 And there was another officer. I cannot remember his name. He was from
25 the public security station. At any rate, those are the officers that I
1 remember from these different structures, that is to say, from the army,
2 the regular police and the Special Police, and the state security.
3 Q. All right. Now, you told us before you went to Potocari you had
4 an idea -- early in the day you had an idea of what would happen with the
5 men there and how they would be treated. Tell us what you saw, in your
6 own words, in Potocari about what happened to the population there. What
7 happened to the women and children, what happened to the men?
8 A. When the buses and trucks arrived, then people started being put
9 onto them. In the first convoy, as far as I could see, in addition to
10 women and children, there was a number of men who were released as well.
11 There was some problem with the convoy movement and the buses, et cetera,
12 and as I was local, I told Dusko Jevic to move some 300 metres up the
13 road to where there was a parking place, and that's where the evacuation
15 As I've said, on the first convoy there were some men plus the
16 women and children. The first convoy was escorted by members of
17 DutchBat. They were in their vehicles. I learned from Colonel Jankovic
18 that the arrangement was such that the convoys be escorted by DutchBat
19 soldiers. After that, the separation of men began. All the men who were
20 in Potocari moving towards the buses were singled out at a certain point
21 and separated from the women and children.
22 When I was there, throughout my stay there, the following
23 happened: Men were being separated, and during the separation they were
24 mistreated. First of all, all their belongings were taken away, such as
25 bags, and all that was thrown onto a pile. Next, they took away their
1 rings, bracelets, necklaces, anything else that the people had on them.
2 The items were taken away by the soldiers who were carrying out the
3 separation. They were then put into a number of houses nearby that were
4 used for temporary detention. They also kicked them and hit them. They
5 hit them with rifle butts and all such things that were quite
6 unbelievable. All this is something I could observe. It was a very
7 difficult, horrible situation.
8 Q. And how did you react personally?
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry.
11 Q. How did you react personally? Did you try to stop this
12 mistreatment, these beatings, this taking of property?
13 A. I could see it all. As a human being, I could have stood up to
14 everything that was going on. As a soldier, as an officer, and a member
15 of the Bratunac Brigade, I neither had the might, nor did I have any
16 command authority or a unit that could stop them from doing so. Simply
17 put, I did not try, and I did not dare either to help the soldiers or to
18 stop them.
19 God forbid if anything like that should happen again,
20 irrespective of everything, I would try to help such people. I didn't
21 then, because as I have testified already, because in 1992, I had had a
22 bad experience when I stood up to the then authorities, following which I
23 was assaulted, physically mistreated and hospitalised. I was away for
24 four to five months because of the attack. And the people who caused it
25 all were from the 10th Sabotage Detachment, the 65th Protection Regiment
1 and all those over whom no one could really have control, or power,
2 discipline. That is why I simply did not dare order any assistance to
3 the detainees.
4 I did assist certain individuals, and they are still alive. They
5 even got in touch once I was in The Hague. I also saved whole families
6 and put the them on the buses, but these were individual instances. I
7 didn't do anything generally to help the people. I helped those I knew.
8 They live and are still in contact, but I don't think it was enough to
10 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nicholls, we need to adjourn for today.
11 Yes. We will resume tomorrow at 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 14th day of
14 February, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.