1 Thursday, 8 March 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: Judge Morrison is away today due to his official
7 engagement. We will be sitting pursuant to 15 bis today.
8 Yes. Good morning, Mr. Tieger. Please continue.
9 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. President. Again, thank you,
10 Mr. President.
11 WITNESS: PETAR SKRBIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Examination by Mr. Tieger: [Continued]
14 Q. Good morning, General Skrbic.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. We left off yesterday during -- when we were discussing the order
17 that you received from General Mladic via someone at the Main Staff
18 concerning the buses, and I wanted to ask you about one matter that you
19 clarified and -- earlier in your testimony, and that was you had
20 discussed earlier in your Popovic testimony a document that was related
21 to the implementation of this matter that you had originally thought was
22 originated from the secretariat of the Ministry of Defence from Zvornik,
23 but you clarified was a document from the Ministry of Defence sent to
24 Zvornik, and in that connection I wanted to ask you to look at another
25 document, and that would be 65 ter 23640. If we could call that up.
1 MR. TIEGER: Mr. President, I had sought leave to add this to the
2 65 ter list, and there is no objection to that from the Defence.
3 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. It is granted, Mr. Tieger.
4 MR. TIEGER: Thank you.
5 Q. General, we're still calling up the English, but you should -
6 that's it - see the original in your language. This is a document dated
7 13 July. It's a report on the mobilisation of vehicles further to your
8 orders, and it provides a list, and it concludes:
9 "Further mobilisation is not possible as all possibilities have
10 been exhausted and passenger transport has been paralysed."
11 And it's signed by Stevan Ivanovic. And if you look at the
12 headers we see at the top, Republika Srpska, Ministry of Defence,
13 Ministry of Defence Zvornik Secretariat, and then the header below or the
14 listing below, Ministry of Defence Pale. And I wanted to ask you,
15 General, if that is an example of -- and further clarifies or eliminates
16 your clarification; that is, that this a document from the ministry --
17 the Zvornik secretariat to the ministry rather than the other way around?
18 A. Yes. That's correct, Your Honours.
19 Q. Okay. And is it correct that this is part of the -- is this part
20 of the implementation of the efforts to mobilise buses that was set in
21 motion when you received that phone call in the evening of July 11th?
22 A. From the time that I received that call and during the following
23 days, the implementation of this activity, in fact, commenced, but here
24 the secretariat of the Ministry of Defence in Zvornik is informing the
25 Ministry of Defence in Pale as you noted, but they are referring to their
1 order, the order of the Ministry of Defence of Republika Srpska. They're
2 not referring to the Main Staff order, and you noticed that quite
4 Q. Understood, and you had contacted the Ministry of Defence
5 pursuant to General Mladic's order asking them to issue such an order to
6 their secretariats; correct?
7 A. That's quite correct.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. TIEGER: I tender that document, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE KWON: Yes. That will be next Prosecution exhibit.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P4552, Your Honours.
12 MR. TIEGER:
13 Q. General, I'd like to move on to a meeting that you indicated you
14 had with Mr. Karadzic on the 14th of July, 1995, and some aspects of
15 which you testified about during your Popovic testimony, and I know you
16 also discussed some aspects of that in your Tolimir testimony.
17 At 15484 through 488 in Popovic, you discussed your meeting with
18 the president and Supreme Commander and indicated among other things that
19 you took some documents with you for him to sign; is that correct?
20 A. That's quite correct.
21 Q. Among those documents did you -- did you take with you decrees
22 concerning the retirement and/or promotion of certain persons?
23 A. As far as I can remember, Mr. Tieger, I had two decrees with me.
24 One concerned retirement and the other concerned the appointment of two
1 Q. And who was the subject of the decree concerning retirement, and
2 who were the subjects of the decrees concerning appointments? And those
3 were -- and tell us, please, the appointments to what positions?
4 A. The decree on retirement concerned General Milenko Zivanovic, and
5 the decree on appointment concerned General Radislav Krstic. He was to
6 be promoted to commander of the Drina Corps. And Colonel Svetozar Andric
7 was to be the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps, since, according to the
8 establishment, that is the position of a general. If you appoint a
9 colonel, then the Supreme Commander or the president of the republic is
10 the person who is responsible for such an appointment.
11 Q. And although I think it's quite clear, just, as you said "if you
12 appoint a colonel," I presume you're indicating if you appoint an officer
13 at the rank of colonel on up; is that correct?
14 A. Yes. If you appoint such an individual to the position of
16 Q. Okay. Okay. And so the presentation and signing of those
17 decrees was part of your responsibility and part of the meeting that you
18 had with Mr. Karadzic on the 14th of July; is that right?
19 A. I apologise. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. General, let me ask you to look at another document. That's
21 P04485. This is a 13 July 1995 document, General, that I know you've had
22 a chance to see before and specifically during the course of the Tolimir
23 case. It's signed by Radenko Jovicic. Who is General Jovicic?
24 A. Radenko Jovicic was a lieutenant-colonel and he was a personnel
25 officer in the Drina Corps. He was a deputy commander of the command in
1 the Drina Corps for personnel affairs -- or, rather, the assistant
3 Q. And this document refers to the hand-over of corps commander
4 duties, and it indicates:
5 "Pursuant to the decree of the President of Republika Srpska in
6 the presence of the VRS Main Staff commander Colonel-General
7 Ratko Mladic, the hand-over of the duties of the Drina Corps Commander
8 was carried out on 13 July 1995."
9 And then it refers to the assumption of the post by
10 Major-General Krstic and the appointment of Colonel Andric to the
11 position of corps Chief of Staff and advises that the members of the unit
12 should be informed of that decision in a suitable manner.
13 Can you explain how this relates to the formal signing of the
14 decree or your presentation of the decree to Mr. Karadzic, the president
15 and Supreme Commander, the next day?
16 A. Your Honours, I want to explain this gap in time, this
17 discrepancy. The decree was signed, as you heard, on the 14th of July,
18 and the hand-over of duties took place on the 13th of July. So that was
19 before the decree on these amendments, on these changes, had been issued.
20 I slowed down a little bit, Mr. Tieger, for the sake of the
22 I can explain this in the following manner:
23 Lieutenant-Colonel Radenko Jovicic said on the basis of the decree, but
24 you can't see the number. You can see that in the first sentence,
25 because he didn't even know the number of that the decree but he was
1 quite aware of the fact that the decree would be issued. And
2 General Mladic, I assume, certainly knew that the president would sign
3 that decree, which is why that hand-over of duties was, in fact, carried
4 out one day earlier. And I'd like to draw your attention to the fact
5 that it says "forward to." That's beneath the signature, beneath
6 Radenko Jovicic's signature. The document had the following purpose:
7 The brigades of the Drina Corps and the other units, integral parts of
8 the Drina Corps, had to be informed of the fact that there was a change
9 with regard to the corps commander. They should be aware of the fact,
10 and they should know whose orders they were to obey in future.
11 Q. Thank you, General. You mentioned that "General Mladic, I
12 assume, certainly knew that the president would sign the decree," does
13 that mean that you have information about a conversation they had? Does
14 that mean that you know from the nature of the way these matters are
15 required to work that such a conversation must have taken place, or is
16 there another reason why you are certain that General Mladic knew the
17 president would sign the decree?
18 A. When the proposal for promotions and appointments of generals,
19 the procedure followed was of a somewhat wider, broader nature to
20 collegium sessions attended by commanders from Main Staff. These
21 discussions concerned these proposals and the commanders would make these
22 proposals to the Supreme Commander, to the president of the republic. In
23 the case of Milenko Ivanovic, well, this case was outside the framework
24 of -- that procedure was done outside the framework of that procedure.
25 And I can only assume that General Mladic, and perhaps the
1 Supreme Commander, too, decided to appoint General Krstic as commander.
2 I'm not sure whether they discussed the matter. I assume that they did
3 for sure and that the Supreme Commander accepted the proposal made by the
4 commander of the Main Staff according to which General Krstic should be
5 made corps commander and Milenko Zivanovic should go into retirement.
6 Q. Thank you, General. You referred earlier to
7 Lieutenant-Colonel Jovicic's position as assistant commander in the
8 Drina Corps with a description of -- that seemed to track your own, that
9 is regarding responsibility for personnel. What -- can you just briefly
10 explain what your relationship, professional relationship, was with
11 Lieutenant-Colonel Jovicic was? Was he your subordinate either in a
12 direct manner or along professional lines for reporting and such
14 A. Your Honours, Lieutenant-Colonel Radenko Jovicic was directly
15 subordinated to the commander of the Drina Corps. Apart from -- he
16 couldn't do anything without the Drina Corps commander's approval with
17 regard to suggestions, proposals, and so on and so forth, but in
18 professional terms, his duty was to communicate with me. This had to do
19 with technical issues, proposals for promotion, and so on and so forth.
20 If he didn't send a report on time, for example, I could warn him about
21 the fact and tell him that he should act in a timely manner.
22 Q. And do you recall Jovicic contacting you or discussion with him
23 the hand-over of duties on the 13th of July; that is, did he abide by his
24 obligation and report to you about this hand-over and the promotion
25 and -- of both Krstic and Andric?
1 A. It wasn't necessary for him to do that, and it wasn't his duty to
2 inform me of the fact, but let me draw your attention to the word
3 "forward to," Your Honours. You can see that the sector I worked in
4 isn't mentioned. It wasn't forwarded to the Main Staff is what that
6 Q. General, I'd like to ask you about -- oh, let me, before I leave
7 this subject, ask you to look at another document. That's 65 ter 22824.
8 This is a document from the Republika Srpska press office, dated
9 the 20th of July, 1995, emanating from the cabinet of the president of
10 the republic, and as you can see, it refers to the president of the
11 republic and Supreme Commander of the Republika Srpska armed forces
12 promoting extraordinarily Major-General Zivanovic -- Major-General Krstic
13 to position of the command of the Drina Corps.
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. And praising both Krstic and Zivanovic as architects of the
16 Serbian victories in Srebrenica and Zepa and further reflects the
17 president congratulating the Main Staff, the command of the Drina Corps,
18 and the staff of the police armed forces on the brilliant victory in
19 Srebrenica and Zepa as well as crushing the Muslim offensive in Serbian
20 Sarajevo. And does that communique refer to the same promotion that was
21 the subject of the decree that you took to the president on the 14th and
22 that we've been discussing in connection with the earlier hand-over?
23 A. Your Honours, as far as I can remember, and my memory's very
24 reliable in this case, I didn't take the decree on the promotion of
25 Major-General Zivanovic. However, the Supreme Commander has the right to
1 promote even without proposals an officer to the rank of general, to the
2 rank of a general-major or above, and it was customary when a
3 high-ranking officer, when a general, for example, would retire, he would
4 be conferred another rank because he was going into retirement.
5 Q. Thank you for that degree of precision, General.
6 MR. TIEGER: And I tender this document, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE KWON: So this document only relates to the extraordinary
8 promotion of Zivanovic.
9 MR. TIEGER: Let me ask the question.
10 Q. And it's also in reference to the appointment of
11 Major-General Krstic --
12 JUDGE KWON: My question -- I'm putting the question.
13 MR. TIEGER: Sorry.
14 JUDGE KWON: General Skrbic, my question is this: When -- when
15 you took the decree or received the decree from the president, was the
16 promotion of General Zivanovic already decided at the time?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE KWON: So they were related to retirement of
19 General Zivanovic and appointment of General Krstic as the commander of
20 Drina Corps.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE KWON: So it was only at this time that promotion of
23 General Zivanovic was decided. Am I correct in so understanding,
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that is correct.
1 JUDGE KWON: However, this document refers to the appointment of
2 General Krstic as the commander of the Drina Corps, which took place
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct. But this wording is the
5 sort of wording that was used for the public. The wording is not purely
7 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
8 Mr. Tieger, back to you.
9 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. Just to clarify one thing, is it your understanding that this
11 document, General, is reporting what has happened up to that date and
12 doesn't necessarily reflect the specific date of the extraordinary
13 promotion of General Zivanovic upon his retirement?
14 A. That's quite correct.
15 Q. Thank you. General, if I could move to a different matter. I'd
16 like you to take a look at 65 ter 00 -- 02275, again a document I know
17 you've seen before. And this is the decision on the proclamation of a
18 state of war in Srebrenica Skelani municipality by the president of the
19 republic, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, dated 14 July 1995.
20 When -- when you became aware either of the pending proclamation
21 of the state of war or the fact that a state of war had been declared in
22 the area on 14 July 1995, did you understand why it was done and why a
23 state of war had been declared on that day in that area?
24 A. Mr. Tieger, I didn't understand the reasons at the time. I
25 didn't understand why a state of war had only been declared in that area.
1 Q. And did you understand why a state of war had only been declared
2 in that area but also on that particular date after -- after the point at
3 which the Bosnian Serb forces had successfully entered and taken control
4 of Srebrenica?
5 A. Your Honours, I'd like to draw your attention to paragraph
6 number 2 where it says:
7 "The aim of proclaiming the state of war is to enable the full
8 engagement of human and material resources in the defence of the republic
9 and final victory over the enemy."
10 Well, that's what perplexes me a bit, to declare a state of war
11 only in part of the territory, and to expect human and material resources
12 to be involved in the entire territory of the republic, that's a bit
13 unclear. And in addition to that, the Main Staff insisted throughout the
14 war that throughout the territory of Republika Srpska a state of war be
15 declared since there was a war going on. That state of war was not
16 declared until 1995.
17 Further on in this document the reasons are explained for
18 declaring a state of war in the municipalities of Srebrenica and Skelani:
19 Paragraph 4, paragraph 5 and 6 as well.
20 Q. Paragraph 3 refers to taking all necessary measures to accomplish
21 the set goals by the organised and effective use of available resources
22 and that to be done in -- by the armed forces in the zone of the
23 Drina Corps. What were the -- General, what were the set goals of the
24 armed forces in the zone of the Drina Corps? And at that time, on July
25 14th, 1995.
1 A. Well, I do not recall, Mr. Tieger. I cannot recall these tasks
2 exactly now. If you were to show me a document in order, then I could
3 confirm for you what the tasks actually were. So it wasn't only the
4 Drina Corps that we had in mind. We had six corps and the air force and
5 the PVO, and we in the Main Staff had to deal with all of that. I cannot
6 remember the tasks of each and every individual corps.
7 Q. General, what was -- what effect did declaring a state of war
8 have on the ability of the army to mobilise both personnel and resources?
9 And let me ask you particularly -- let me ask you that particularly in
10 connection with resources. What did it allow the army to do that it
11 couldn't do before the state of war was declared in connection with
12 civilian assets, resources, equipment, and so on?
13 A. Well, Your Honours, in a state of war, and, now, that is this
14 important distinction, all material and human resources are made
15 available to the military, the armed forces as a whole in order to be
16 able to wage war. And the police as well. It is no longer necessary to
17 submit requests as far as mobilisation is concerned. The economy is also
18 mobilised for war purposes. So all the organs of the state, that is to
19 say the state authorities and the military, use human and material
20 resources in a rational way.
21 Declaring a state of war does not mean that resources should be
22 squandered in any way. They should be used rationally but without any
23 kind of special procedures and requests.
24 Q. Well, so if, for example, the military wanted the use of, for
25 example, civilian -- a civilian bulldozer or civilian excavator, they
1 would now be in a position to obtain that without going through more
2 complicated usual protocols; is that right?
3 A. That's right. But they have to have a document stating that they
4 had taken it. After all, you cannot take anything away by force.
5 Q. Thank you. General, I next wanted to --
6 MR. TIEGER: And I would tender that document, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE KWON: Yes. That will be the next Prosecution exhibit.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P4553, Your Honours.
9 MR. TIEGER:
10 Q. And finally, General, I wanted to turn to something that you said
11 in your Popovic testimony concerning the information you received about
12 Srebrenica. At page 15601, you stated that you believe that you
13 personally first heard about the attack on Srebrenica after the war.
14 However, I think you stated something a bit different in Tolimir or tried
15 to clarify that. Can you explain that to the Court, please? And this
16 concerns the subject of when you learned about the attack on Srebrenica
17 and what followed.
18 A. Well, Mr. Tieger, I cannot remember the exact date, but I heard
19 of that activity when the media started talking about that.
20 Your Honours, I would like to point out a methodological problem.
21 Over these past few days and ever since the war ended, I've learned a lot
22 more about Srebrenica than I knew at the time. I also studied some
23 documents in the meantime, too. At that time, I had certain engagement,
24 commitments, then also there was an offensive of Croat and Muslim forces
25 against the western part of the Krajina. So we did not really deal with
1 the problem of Srebrenica in 1995; after the 20th of July 1995, that is.
2 Q. So, General, you indicated that you recall first hearing about
3 Srebrenica when the media started talking about it. Does that mean that
4 you didn't learn about Srebrenica, that is, the fact that the attack had
5 commenced, the fact that it was -- that Bosnian Serb forces had
6 successfully entered Srebrenica, the -- what happened with the population
7 of Srebrenica, and so on, from your fellow members of the staff or from
8 any other members of the VRS during that period of time; that is, during
9 July 1995?
10 A. No, Mr. Tieger. I didn't hear about that. We -- when I say we,
11 it is General Djukic who was sick, and I. We were at the logistics post
12 in Han Pijesak. We were not in contact with our colleagues who were in
13 Crna Rijeka at the main command post. However, as for specific activity,
14 we had that on the 18th of July, 1995. In addition to what I heard
15 through the media, that is when I concluded what it was that was
16 happening in Srebrenica and Zepa, because on the 18th of July, 1995, we
17 had to organise defence of -- of the rear command post in Han Pijesak.
18 Q. Either during that general period of time or at any point
19 subsequently, did you ever learn generally or hear generally from your
20 colleagues or other members of the VRS whether the attack on Srebrenica
21 was a -- was essentially a defensive effort to curtail attacks by Muslims
22 from the enclave or was an offensive effort to liberate Srebrenica and
23 bring it within Bosnian Serb authority for all time?
24 A. Mr. Tieger, there are several questions here. Could you please
25 be so kind as to break the question up. If not, I have to answer from
1 the point of view of my general knowledge in respect of this question,
2 and that has to do with protected areas and the situation in general from
3 1994 onwards and the beginning of 1995, and --
4 Q. I didn't think the question was unclear, but let me try to make
5 it more clear if -- if that's -- if that wasn't sufficient in the first
7 I'm not asking you for your general knowledge or general
8 conclusions. I want to know what you heard from others, from your
9 colleagues. How did they explain, if -- if they explained it to you or
10 alluded to it, what the attack on Srebrenica was about. Was it about
11 curtailing attacks from the enclave, or was it about liberating
12 Srebrenica and bringing it within Bosnian Serb authority for good?
13 A. I'm sorry, Mr. Tieger, but I did not say that the question was
14 unclear to me. I said that it was too extensive and therefore it was
15 hard for me to concentrate. However, Your Honours, after that we did not
16 discuss Srebrenica and Zepa. However, amongst us the belief prevailed
17 that this had been liberation.
18 Q. And in that connection, let me turn to --
19 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. One thing is unclear to me. Sorry
20 to interrupt you, Mr. Tieger.
21 You said you knew about Srebrenica only later, after the fall of
22 Srebrenica. Is it related to the attack and fall of -- against and fall
23 of Srebrenica itself, or what issued afterwards? So at -- did you not
24 know that there was an operation against Srebrenica at the time? And you
25 did not know that Srebrenica fell on 11th of July at the time?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Exactly, Your Honour. At the time,
2 I didn't know.
3 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
4 Yes, Mr. Tieger.
5 MR. TIEGER: Thank you.
6 Q. General, is it correct that you attended the farewell party or
7 reception for General Zivanovic on the 20th of July at the Jela
9 A. Yes, I was there.
10 Q. Let me ask you to look quickly at a couple of -- three clips from
11 that, from a video-tape taken of that farewell party. And the first is
12 found at 20 -- 002922, and that's General Mladic speaking, and that is
13 found at page 8 of the hard copy of the transcript in English and page 7
14 of the hard copy of the transcript in B/C/S. And the 65 ter number
15 is 40206A.
16 [Video-clip played]
17 MR. TIEGER:
18 Q. Okay. And we'll look at the translation in the hard copy of the
19 English transcript that I'll tender. It indicates, "... who,
20 together" -- excuse me:
21 "You hand over the duty of the commander of the corps to
22 General Krstic, who, together with you, gave the liberated Srebrenica and
23 Zepa to the Serbian people."
24 Next I'd like to turn to comments by General Zivanovic and --
25 [Video-clip played]
1 MR. TIEGER: Okay.
2 Q. -- who comments that he's overjoyed because Romanija shines under
3 a Serbian sun and a Serbian beauty. That's at page 12 of the English
4 transcript and page 12 of the B/C/S transcript. And finally, comments
5 by -- excuse me, one moment.
6 [Prosecution counsel confer]
7 MR. TIEGER:
8 Q. Sorry, General. Before we move on, if you could quickly ID the
9 persons shown at 00:40:48.2 on the screen in front of you at the moment.
10 A. Yes, Mr. Tieger? Should I start?
11 Q. Yes, please.
12 A. On the left of the screen is General Ratko Mladic. In the middle
13 is General Milenko Zivanovic. He's holding a glass in his hand. And on
14 the right with his arms folded and there's a watch on one of his arms, or
15 on his wrist, that is General Radislav Krstic.
16 Q. Thank you, General. And turning to the last clip, these are
17 comments by General Krstic found at page 13 of the English transcript
18 in -- and page 13 of the B/C/S transcript at the bottom. And these clips
19 are found --
20 JUDGE KWON: Do you by any chance not have a hard copy number in
21 compilation of trial video, last four digits?
22 MR. TIEGER: It's not included in the trial video, if that's what
23 you're asking. Did you want the identification number of this
25 JUDGE KWON: Are you referring to this one?
1 MR. TIEGER: No, he's not.
2 JUDGE KWON: We have a compilation of transcript. It contains
3 the Jela or this one, does it not?
4 MR. TIEGER: I don't believe so. I think I know the transcript
5 you're referring to which is -- I don't think is the Jela transcript.
6 JUDGE KWON: The index it says, "Part 3, V000-9016,
7 General Milenko Zivanovic's retirement celebration Jela restaurant, ERN
8 V000-4258," is it not? Last page of the index.
9 MR. TIEGER: I'm running through that right now to see if the
10 entirety is there, Mr. President.
11 JUDGE KWON: It is explained that origin is the tape provided by
12 Nenad Petrusic, Defence counsel for General Krstic.
13 MR. TIEGER: You're right, Mr. President. I don't think these
14 particular clips are contained there, however. I think that --
15 JUDGE KWON: Very well.
16 MR. TIEGER: And if we could move on to the final clip with
17 General Krstic speaking, please.
18 [Video-clip played]
19 MR. TIEGER:
20 Q. And there we -- again, these are the same persons you identified
21 a moment ago; is that correct, General?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Thank you. And, General, are the clips we've just viewed and the
24 events at the Jela restaurant part of the expression of satisfaction in
25 the liberation of Srebrenica that you referred to a few moments ago in an
1 earlier answer?
2 A. Well, Your Honours, that satisfaction was expressed through
3 metaphors that are akin to political speeches rather than anything else.
4 That is my impression, especially General Milenko Zivanovic. He's
5 speaking in metaphors, the sun is shining, and so on and so forth.
6 Q. Thank you, General.
7 MR. TIEGER: Mr. President, I tender those clips, and that would
8 conclude my examination-in-chief.
9 JUDGE KWON: Yes. They will be admitted.
10 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P4554, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE BAIRD: General, before the other examination begins, there
12 is just one small point I would like you to assist us with. You stated
14 "We did not discuss Srebrenica and Zepa. However, amongst us the
15 belief prevailed that they had been liberated."
16 Now, how would you have known this amongst yourselves if there
17 was no discussion? Can you help us there?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, Your Honour, as far as I can
19 remember Mr. Tieger's question, he asked me, What was your belief? What
20 had happened to Srebrenica and Zepa? I would put that liberation under
21 quotation marks, you see. We discussed that later, not at that time.
22 I'm talking about ordinary conversations, not official talks.
23 Your Honour, we had constant attacks from the protected areas.
24 Let me not dwell on that subject very long, and that is why I'm putting
25 this word "liberation" under quotation marks. So in ordinary
1 conversations, not official ones, when we talked as human beings, that's
2 how we felt. That would be it.
3 JUDGE BAIRD: Thank you.
4 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Excellencies.
6 Good morning to all.
7 Cross-examination by Mr. Karadzic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. General.
9 A. Good morning to you, too.
10 Q. Since this is fresh in our minds, perhaps we should start from
11 here and then I'll work -- then we'll work our way backwards. Do you
12 agree that in this situation General Zivanovic does not look surprised or
13 sad because he handed over the corps and because he's retiring?
14 A. On the contrary, Mr. Karadzic. As a matter of fact, he seems
15 exalted to me. He seems satisfied.
16 Q. Thank you. When you were asked about how come it was known that
17 the president would sign this and whether he had spoken to Mladic and so
18 on, do you find this convincing since this was not a surprise to him and
19 it wasn't unpleasant for him in any way? Do you believe that that had
20 already been discussed for quite a while, and do you think that that
21 change had been prepared for quite a while and it wasn't sudden in any
23 A. Yes, that's what I believe, Your Honours, because
24 General Zivanovic had been wounded, and beforehand his retirement had
25 been considered as well.
1 Q. Do we agree that over the last several months General Zivanovic
2 was often on sick leave, was often absent, and that it seemed only
3 natural to all that this replacement would take place? I mean change
4 rather than replacement, because replacement seems to imply degradation.
5 A. Yes, I agree with your statement.
6 Q. Thank you. Thank you for pausing as well. This is the first
7 time that we both make pauses without the interpreters asking us to do
9 Let me ask you this now: Zivanovic spoke in an exalted way, he
10 spoke in metaphors, and he said that Mount Romanija had the Serb sun
11 shining on it and so on. Do you agree, and the Trial Chamber should know
12 that, that Romanija is not only a legendary Serb mountain, a
13 freedom-loving mountain, and that has to do with the entire period of the
14 Turkish occupation, but at that point in time and before the war it was
15 about 90 per cent Serb populated?
16 A. Yes. This was Serb territory entirely. In certain places there
17 were Muslims as well, but very few of them. Romanija particularly had a
18 glorious history in the Second World War, and there's even a legend about
19 that mountain that has to do with that particular struggle, but let me
20 not go into all that now.
21 Q. Thank you. Now that you've brought Romanija up, do we agree that
22 in the Second World War the commander at Romanija, Slavisa Vajner, was
23 not a Serb and, nevertheless, he had been accepted?
24 A. Yes. Slavisa Vajner, his nickname was Cica.
25 Q. Thank you. Do we agree that at Romanija itself there were about
1 ten Muslim villages that had remained intact because they had surrendered
2 their weapons, and we guarded them, protected them, and fed them?
3 A. Mr. Karadzic, sorry, I cannot confirm that for you. I really
4 don't know that. I'm not sure about that.
5 Q. Thank you. So you don't know if Satorovici and the rest but you
6 may have arrived later. Did you hear that we sent flour to those
7 villages and that we even supplied food to the Croatian villages around
8 Vares? If you weren't present, did you perhaps hear about it?
9 A. Well, Your Honours, it wasn't only in the case of Romanija but in
10 many locations in the RS where Muslims lived. They received food and
11 everything else, as did other citizens, Mrkonjic Grad, Prijedor,
12 Sanski Most, et cetera. On the basis of such a premise, one can freely
13 conclude that the principle was followed at Romanija as well. As for the
14 other locations I mentioned, I definitely know that Muslims and Croats
15 resided there, and yet those locations were controlled by the VRS.
16 Q. Do we agree that those Muslims and Croats who remained could live
17 freely because they didn't have anyone from their villages in the enemy
18 armies, and those who left were the parents of children who had joined
19 enemy armed forces, and that was the cause of their discomfort.
20 A. Mr. Karadzic, I know they were safe and they were treated as any
21 other RS citizen. However, I can't tell you for what reasons
23 Q. For what reasons some left?
24 A. No, for what reasons they were safe.
25 Q. Thank you. Do you agree that there were some festive speeches,
1 and do you agree that the operations around Srebrenica and Zepa were
2 conducted by a single corps and not several? In that regard, the
3 Main Staff did not carry out co-ordination, and perhaps that is why you
4 were unaware of the preparations for that operation.
5 A. Yes. That was a corps operation. Even though I still didn't
6 need to know of each and every operation, I was busy with personnel
7 affairs and organisation; hence, I didn't need to take part in all
9 Q. Thank you. If I told you that the initial and basic task of the
10 Drina Corps was to separate the enclaves of Zepa and Srebrenica and to
11 free up the road between Milici and Skelani, which should not have been
12 cut off in the first place, is it possible that this was so without you
13 being aware of the preparations and the task itself?
14 A. It is possible it was so, Mr. Karadzic, but it is also possible
15 that no one needed to inform me. Besides, I saw many documents after the
16 war, including here at the Tribunal where I could conclude that the task
17 was to separate the enclaves rather than occupy them. I also saw a
18 document by which you approved that the operation continue, although it
19 had not been originally issued as a task to the Drina Corps.
20 Q. Let us be precise. What does liberation mean? Do we agree that
21 later on it was seen as a process of liberation, although it had not been
22 the original task?
23 A. Precisely.
24 Q. Thank you. We saw that I sort of praised General Krstic, which
25 didn't help him much before this Tribunal. Do you agree that that, too,
1 was a political gesture on my part so that the fame would be distributed
2 across all in the field and that not all be ascribed to Mladic alone?
3 A. Yes, Mr. Karadzic. I also learned about that from a book written
4 by Dr. Kosta Cavoski. I saw a document, too, where you state that
5 General Mladic was a living legend because we turned him into one but
6 there were other generals who need to take the praise, which included
7 General Krstic. Perhaps I did not quote you directly. It's a
9 Q. Thank you. I'd like to show you D2058 in e-court. While we are
10 waiting for the document, General, you confirmed that on the 18th, you
11 had to organise the defence of the Main Staff area and the area of the
12 logistics base. Who were you defending the area from when Srebrenica was
13 liberated on the 11th and 12th of July?
14 A. We were defending the rear command post in Han Pijesak. It was
15 attacked by armed Muslim groups which were the leftover parts of the
16 28th Division of Army -- of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which used to
17 have its command post in Srebrenica.
18 Q. When you were asked about the reasons for the proclamation of the
19 state of war -- well, this seems not to be the right document. D2058.
20 When you were asked about the reasons why war was proclaimed in
21 that area, by virtue of your position in the Main Staff you did not need
22 to be aware of such reasons.
23 A. Mr. Karadzic, the whole of the Main Staff, and my sector in
24 particular, it was very important that the war had been proclaimed. Now,
25 why, that is something we were not interested in. It was a particular
1 situation, a particular social process which enabled us to carry out
2 certain military activities, and we could do it more easily than without
3 the war being proclaimed as I have explained Mr. Tieger.
4 Q. And you did not object, because the army wanted the war
5 proclaimed as of the moment the Muslim side declared war on us in 1992.
6 In this fashion, you -- you could more easily defend yourselves, and you
7 could use the situation of the war proclamation until the Muslims stopped
8 waging war on us.
9 A. Precisely.
10 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. We didn't hear the witness's answer.
11 "Precisely" is your answer, Mr. Skrbic?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Tieger.
14 MR. TIEGER: Well, I was going to ask for a citation of the
15 particular document. I presume this is a reference to a document
16 declaring a state of war but one which suggests that the document is
17 directed at -- at a particular other party. It's a nuanced distinction
18 but one the accused continues to make, and I think it is an inaccurate
19 reflection of what I believe he is actually referring to.
20 JUDGE KWON: Yes. I was about to ask the time-frame.
21 In the question, Mr. Karadzic said:
22 "... because the army wanted the war proclaimed as of the moment
23 the Muslim side declared war on us in 1992."
24 Did you mean that despite such wishes of the military,
25 Mr. Karadzic did not proclaim the war until this time? Is it what you
1 said, Mr. Skrbic?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the army demanded and
3 wanted that war be declared, but the president of the republic -- I'm
4 sorry, I hope I'm not too loud. But the president of the republic who
5 could do so would not until this date, on the 14th of July 1995, and only
6 in one part of RS territory, in the municipalities of Skelani and
8 As for the whole of the RS territory, a state of war was
9 proclaimed only as late as July 1995.
10 JUDGE KWON: Was there any part of the territory as -- as to
11 which the proclamation of war was declared?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. In the territory
13 of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, which is the area around Sarajevo. I
14 think it was on the 23rd of July, 1995, that the state of war was
15 declared there. I apologise if I'm mistaken about the date.
16 It also included the area of the 2nd Krajina Corps in the area of
17 Drvar and in the western part of RS. It was sometime in mid-1994 or in
18 the second half of 1994.
19 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, General.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Let me be of assistance -- well, I'll ask you to assist. Do you
23 agree that we declared a state of war in certain areas only under
24 extraordinary circumstances, when all elements of the society needed to
25 be included so as to defend it, that is to say, when we were on the brink
1 of defeat?
2 A. Yes, Mr. Karadzic. You assessed the situation, and you declared
3 the state of war by virtue of decrees.
4 Q. Although we still have not seen the minutes of the
5 Rump Presidency session of Bosnia-Herzegovina, do we agree that the
6 Muslim side declared war on us on the 20th of June, 1992, and that it
7 actually took place as of the 22nd of June? By having done so, they
8 turned Bosnia into a theatre of war.
9 A. Mr. Karadzic, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that it
10 happened even before that date. As a member of the JNA, I was in charge
11 of analysing the situation across SFRY territory. We established that
12 President Alija Izetbegovic, although he was the president of Presidency
13 of Bosnia-Herzegovina in April 1992, renamed the republican TO staff into
14 the TO staff of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the 8th of April, 1992, he
15 declared the state of an imminent threat of war, which meant that the war
16 was imminent.
17 Q. Thank you. Do you remember that on the 8th of April, he removed
18 General Vukosavljevic and appointed Hasanefendic, following which there
19 were a number of directives against the JNA and Serbs in the Serb
20 autonomous districts?
21 A. Yes, that is right. I only want to add that in all such
22 documents the JNA and Serbs were termed the aggressor. However, they did
23 not use the term "Serbs" but "Chetniks."
24 Q. Thank you. Could you cast a glance on this document from the
25 State Security Service, informing that on the 14th in the area of
1 Pobudje, the municipality of Bratunac, 5.000 group strong was spotted,
2 and out of the 5.000, 500 were armed.
3 Do you agree that on the 11th the Serb army only entered
4 Srebrenica, whereas the 28th Division was in the forests. It was only on
5 the 16th that 10.000 fighters, as the Muslims reported, broke through to
6 Tuzla. Until the 16th, they were scattered in the forests, presenting a
7 grave danger to the Serbs in both villages and towns?
8 A. Mr. Karadzic, I did not follow such activities. I can neither
9 deny nor confirm your assertion.
10 Q. Thank you. But you did know that you had to defend the rear
11 command post as it was under threat from these groups. It was following
12 the 14th, as late as the 18th; correct?
13 A. Yes. Of course there was an armed conflict. There was a clash
14 as well in Mokro village, which is between Han Pijesak and Sokolac. We
15 clashed with those groups. How many were there? Well, many, and they
16 kept moving back and forth between Srebrenica and Zepa towards Kladanj
17 and Olovo.
18 Q. Thank you. If I told you that representatives of the civilian
19 authorities of Bratunac and Srebrenica on the 14th asked me to declare
20 the state of war as they were unable to guarantee their survival if those
21 units turned on them, would you then conclude that that was the reason
22 why the entire 28th Division, 10- to 15.000 soldiers -- could you accept
23 that as the reason for the declaration of the state of war?
24 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Karadzic, the witness said he didn't know. I
25 don't see the point of further pursuing that issue with the witness.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Excellency. I'll
3 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. General, esteemed Mr. Tieger is trying to say that we needed to
5 militarise the area of the Drina Corps so that the army could mobilise
6 some excavators in an easier way. Does this sound justified, reasonable,
7 or is it simply far-fetched?
8 JUDGE KWON: I think he answered the question.
9 Yes, Mr. Tieger.
10 MR. TIEGER: I think you're right, Mr. President, not to mention
11 that that's a mischaracterisation of the colloquy that took place during
12 the examination-in-chief.
13 JUDGE KWON: He said he did not know the reason or he was not
14 interested. You have another opportunity to -- as to the reason for that
15 proclamation, but move on with this witness.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. I believe that you answered this already, how decrees are passed.
19 Do you agree that rarely, or practically never, I would promote someone,
20 especially I never demoted anyone, apart from the proposals that would
21 come from the professional and command structures of the Main Staff?
22 A. Yes, that's right, Mr. Karadzic. As president of the republic,
23 you adopted our proposals -- or, rather, proposals of the commander of
24 the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska, General Mladic, who made
25 decisions on the basis of consultations with us in the collegium.
1 Q. Thank you. Now, yesterday there was mention of the time when you
2 received General Mladic's order to take care of buses. Did you notice
3 that for the learned Mr. Tieger the time itself was important, when this
4 happened, at what time in the evening on the 11th. So let me ask you
5 then: Is it correct that in our zone summer-time is one hour ahead, just
6 like in Europe?
7 A. That's right.
8 Q. Thank you. Do we agree that in that area, especially up there in
9 the mountains, it would get dark considerably later, that the day was
10 quite long?
11 A. Yes. That was the geographical situation. It's not that the sun
12 would set very early.
13 Q. Thank you. When General Mladic ordered you to take care of --
14 or, rather, issue orders for the mobilisation of buses, did he tell you
15 that he did that after some meeting, after some meeting with Karremans;
16 or for example, did he tell you that Karremans had conveyed a request by
17 General Nikolai to have the Army of Republika Srpska assist in the
18 evacuation? Did you have any knowledge of that?
19 A. Well, Your Honours, I had already answered that General Mladic
20 did not talk to me at all. His order was conveyed to me without any kind
21 of further explanation. It was clear to me how I was supposed to act,
22 and that is what I answered a few minutes ago or perhaps yesterday. I
23 can't remember exactly.
24 Q. Now, there was a bit of hair splitting as to whether it was late
25 at night. Is it possible that this was conveyed to you considerably
1 after 8.00, and in that area there was still visibility at that point in
2 time? Was that before nightfall, actually?
3 A. Well, Mr. Karadzic, I cannot remember exactly. I know for sure
4 that it was in the early evening. I would not like to retract the answer
5 that I've already given.
6 I am sorry, Your Honours, but it didn't really matter to me then
7 what time it was, and don't that so well. It was the task that mattered
8 to me, not the time.
9 Q. Thank you, General, but yesterday at first you said late in the
10 evening -- late at night, rather, and then Mr. Tieger tried to make it as
11 early as possible. Do you allow for the possibility that it was
12 considerably after 2000 hours?
13 MR. TIEGER: I'd like a transcript reference for that. That's
14 not the way I remember the --
15 JUDGE KWON: Let us take a look at the transcript.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, that is page 74, page 75
18 JUDGE KWON: Do you refer to the summary Mr. Tieger read out?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No. I think that the questions had
20 already started, and the General was asked when it was that he received
21 this task on the 11th, and the General said, "Late at night."
22 JUDGE KWON: That's page 79 para -- line 21:
23 "Q. ... can you tell us approximately when you received it on
24 July 11th?"
25 "A. As far as I remember, it was late in the evening that I
1 received the phone call."
2 And then, referring to Tolimir probably:
3 "Q. ... let me ask you for some clarification on that. I know
4 at page 18731 of your testimony in the Tolimir case, you referred to the
5 afternoon and then most probably the evening hours. So is it correct
6 we're talking about sometime ... not necessarily afternoon, but sometime
7 around evening?"
8 "A. Yes. That was a better way to put it."
9 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. President, and if I may say, this is
10 one more in an amazingly lengthy series of misrepresentations. I don't
11 remember any reference to night. So now Dr. Karadzic tries to change it
12 from references to the evening to references at night and tries to act as
13 if that's part of the witness's previous answer. That's very unfair.
14 JUDGE KWON: Late in the evening. I read out the entire passage.
15 Let us move on.
16 What is your question, Mr. Karadzic?
17 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Well, my question -- or, rather, my clarification was the
19 following: When we say late in the evening, that does not mean evening.
20 It does -- we say late in the evening even when we refer to night-time.
21 Evening is all the way up to midnight. You can check that with the
23 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Karadzic, you are not giving evidence. If you
24 like, you could do so. Instead of making statements, put your question
25 to the witness, and I think the witness answered -- has answered the
1 question already.
2 I see the time, so put your question if you like with respect to
3 the time, and we'll take a break.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. General, when we say "late in the evening" in our language, is
7 there a restriction involved, or does late evening mean that night had
8 already fallen and that it is already night-time?
9 A. Mr. Karadzic, late in the evening, that means at dusk. I would
10 not want to change my earlier answer.
11 Q. Thank you. Dusk in our part of the world is after 8.00; right?
12 A. Yes, exactly. Since it was summer-time by then, it was after
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. We can take the break
16 JUDGE KWON: Yes. We'll break for half an hour and resume at
18 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
20 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic, please continue.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. General, can you confirm whether it is true that the buses were
24 only mobilised in Republika Srpska, or were they mobilised somewhere else
25 as well?
1 A. As far as I know, they were only mobilised in Republika Srpska.
2 Q. Thank you. On page 73 of yesterday's transcript, you corrected
3 something that was said in a question, namely that Ratko Mladic wasn't
4 the chief but, rather, the commander of the Main Staff. Why did you make
5 that correction, and is it of any significance?
6 A. Mr. Karadzic, according to the establishment position, it's not
7 the chief but the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS as a personnel
8 officer. It was my duty to draw your attention to the fact.
9 Q. Thank you. So is there a difference, a substantial difference,
10 between the post of chief and the post of commander?
11 A. The Chief of the Main Staff is someone who is in charge of the
12 army, whereas the commander exercises command over the army. Their
13 duties are similar, and there is no substantial difference. The
14 difference is just a terminological difference.
15 Q. One leads and the other commands. The commander exercises
16 command; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, that's correct.
18 Q. Thank you. And now I would like to ask you the following: Is it
19 correct that before the war you worked in the administration for morale,
20 in the Federal Ministry of People's Defence, the Federal Secretariat for
21 National Defence is what we called it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you. When you occupied that position, did you have the
24 opportunity to obtain information and to follow the events that concerned
25 politics and events that related to security and, in particular, army
2 A. Yes. We followed the information, in particular through the
3 media. We followed information that had to do with the JNA and the
4 All People's Defence, and from that administration there were people who
5 participated in expert teams from the JNA General Staff, and these teams
6 had to do with analysing the security situation in the territory of the
7 entire Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, the territory of the
8 SFRY, which is the abbreviation.
9 Q. Thank you. Does this mean that you also took into consideration
10 political movements, the appearance of political parties, political
11 phenomena? Did you analyse this from the point of view of how these
12 things might have an influence on the security of the country and on the
13 role the army was to play?
14 A. We analysed social processes in particular. As for political
15 processes and activities of the political parties that appeared at the
16 time once the multi-party system had been introduced into the SFRY, we
17 included an analysis of these things through -- or, rather, in our
18 analysis of the social processes that we were following.
19 Q. Thank you, General. So do we then agree that from the outset the
20 JNA from -- from the outset of the crisis and up until the withdrawal
21 from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, the JNA, in accordance with
22 the constitution, wanted to preserve the integrity, the territorial
23 integrity, and unity of Yugoslavia?
24 A. Yes. Its main purpose is defined by the constitution and by the
25 law on the armed forces. Its main role was to confront an external
1 aggressor. The entire system that involved preparing for defence was
2 guided by that main task. It was not prepared for armed conflicts within
3 the SFRY. You correctly defined its constitutional task.
4 Your Honours, we officers took an oath when we joined the
5 service. According to the oath, we said, I - I'm paraphrasing - hereby
6 solemnly undertake to preserve the integrity and the sovereignty of the
7 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and so on and so forth, I will obey the
8 orders issued by my officers, et cetera. I don't want to tell you what
9 the oath consisted of in its entirety off the top of my head.
10 Q. Thank you. General, is it correct that the previous system of
11 All People's Defence and social self-protection together with its
12 territorial units and together with the various levels that were
13 responsible for defence and that goes from republics through
14 municipalities, to local communes, to companies, is it true that the
15 entire system at one point in time proved to be a good basis for the
16 development of paramilitary formations, republican armies, and was it
17 something that in the end threatened the unit of the country?
18 A. I've already mentioned the law on the armed forces, and according
19 to that law the armed forces consisted of the JNA, the
20 Territorial Defence, and the police in wartime. They all received
21 weapons on the basis of the concept of All People's Defence, which can be
22 summarised as follows: Every citizen is a soldier. Every soldier is a
23 citizen. And the JNA and the Territorial Defence had weapons at their
24 disposal together with a certain amount of ammunition. So the assumption
25 that these groups could have armed themselves in this way is not a
1 groundless assumption.
2 Q. Thank you. Could I assist the interpreters. When you said
3 several bks, does that mean several combat sets, and what sort of an
4 amount of ammunition does this involve when you refer to a combat set?
5 A. Mr. Karadzic, the abbreviation bk means combat sets, so you're
6 quite correct. Every individual soldier had one and a half combat sets
7 for his personal use and for artillery pieces, and so on and so forth.
8 One combat set would be issued. In the wartime reserves there were two
9 combat sets for every combatant.
10 Q. Thank you. Do you remember that the SFRY Presidency, prior to
11 the multi-party elections, tried to repair the damage done, and they
12 wanted all these weapons to be monitored by the JNA?
13 A. That's correct, and I do think that there are documents to that
15 Q. Thank you. Is it true that it was on this basis that
16 paramilitary formations started appearing as well as republican armies,
17 first of all in Slovenia and Croatia, and they consisted of
18 Territorial Defence units, they consisted of police units, strengthened
19 police units from the reserve forces, and also they consisted of units
20 that were the Guards or the Patriotic League in Bosnia, the Green Berets?
21 They were outside of official structures. Is it true that the national
22 secretariat for federal defence had to confront an enemy that wasn't an
23 external enemy but was an internal enemy, and that enemy's military
24 capacity was increasing?
25 A. Your Honours, I'd just like to point something out for your
1 benefit. The Presidency of the SFRY and the JNA and its General Staff in
2 particular didn't consider the Territorial Defence in Slovenia to be a
3 paramilitary formation, because the Territorial Defence in Slovenia was
4 an entity that existed pursuant to the law. It was an integral part of
5 the armed forces. But the Territorial Defence in Slovenia launched an
6 attack on the JNA. As for everything else that you said, Mr. Karadzic,
7 well, yes, all these other elements that you mentioned, Mr. Karadzic,
8 were considered to be paramilitary formations by the General Staff.
9 Q. Thank you. Can we agree that you did have insight into what was
10 happening in the JNA in those two republics, and can we agree that
11 soldiers, officers, and their families, the equipment that they had at
12 their disposal were under threat, under blockade, so they had been placed
13 in an impossible situation, to be brief.
14 A. In the administration where I worked, we had a very good overview
15 of the situation, and we conducted an analysis on the way in which the
16 overall situation influenced the morale in the army. We drew the
17 following conclusions. The consequences suffered were traumatic, the
18 consequences suffered by officers and soldiers. The soldiers were
19 recruits who were 19 to 20 years old. They would be attacked. The
20 electricity supply and water supply would be cut off. They wouldn't be
21 provided with water. In Zagreb, officers complained to me. They said
22 their neighbours were threatening them and they had to move out. I also
23 spoke to a doctor in Zagreb - this was in 1991 - and he told me, Colonel,
24 the officers are very afraid. They are afraid for their families, and
25 some of them started moving out. They started moving their families out,
1 in fact. They moved them to other parts of the territory.
2 That was the situation in Slovenia. That's where everything
3 started, and then it continued in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Thank you. Did you have information --
5 JUDGE KWON: I'm wondering how much this line of questioning will
6 assist you for your defence. Could you not be more succinct on your
7 cross-examination as regards the matters that were not dealt with in
8 examination-in-chief? Just for planning purpose, how much longer would
9 you need for your cross-examination, Mr. Karadzic?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I think I've been allocated
11 two and a half hours. I've used up half an hour. I used up half an hour
12 in the first session. I have another two hours, and I will complete my
13 cross-examination within the time allocated to me, I believe.
14 JUDGE KWON: Allotted time always means up to that hours. You
15 don't have to right -- you don't have to use them all. If you can finish
16 before then, it's much better.
17 Please move on, Mr. Karadzic, but please focus on more critical
18 issues to your defence.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Excellency, but
20 when listening to the Prosecution in the Seselj case, I'm surprised. It
21 was as if there hadn't been a war, as if the Serbs suddenly launched an
22 attack on other peoples. So I want to establish the basis to see what
23 was actually happening. Were we savages who just decided to attack our
24 neighbours, or did something happen which is why the situation developed
25 in the way that it? These are why these things are important for me
1 because the General occupied a position from which he could observe
2 everything, but I'll move on.
3 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You said today that you also followed new political developments.
5 Do you agree that there were new parties that appeared, especially in
6 Croatia, and these parties had rhetoric that was frightening for the
7 Serbs? They also had symbols from the Second World War, flags, coats of
8 arms, and a particular kind of rhetoric that they would use which the
9 Serbs found frightening?
10 A. There were symbols and a certain type of rhetoric in speeches,
11 and this showed everyone that the Serbs were in danger in that territory.
12 The survival of the Serbs was under threat. And these things could be
13 noticed amongst members of the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Party, which
14 was established, I think, in 1991.
15 Q. Thank you. General, did you in Bosnia-Herzegovina know -- in the
16 Federal Secretariat for All People's Defence, did you know that there
17 were new parties that were being established and were you familiar with
18 their programmes and rhetoric that they used, as well as the way in which
19 they conducted themselves?
20 A. Yes, we followed such events as well.
21 Q. Thank you. Is it correct that the Serbian Democratic Party was
22 one of the last national parties to be established, and I appeared on the
23 political scene -- well, I was someone who appeared at the later stage on
24 the political scene?
25 A. Mr. Karadzic, according to the information we had at that time,
1 yes, that's correct. At the beginning -- I apologise to you, but at the
2 beginning we didn't really pay much attention to that party or to you
3 personally. You didn't say anything against the JNA in your speeches.
4 Q. Thank you. Do we agree that in Croatia the formation of
5 paramilitaries was undertaken by the state itself, and the only political
6 party that had its own paramilitary formation was the SDA in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina? The formation was called the Patriotic League.
8 A. Yes, and we forwarded our conclusions to the Federal Secretary
9 for National Defence, to General Veljko Kadijevic.
10 Q. Thank you. Do we agree that following Hitler it was probably the
11 first political party to have its party army?
12 A. Well, I don't know whether you can put it in such world context,
13 but in any case, in our part of the world it's the first party that had a
14 political armed force, and specifically I have in mind
16 Q. Thank you. Do we agree that in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the media
17 there was this anti-Yugoslav, anti-Serb as well as anti-army campaign?
18 Despite many contacts with the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina and many
19 agreements on the role of the JNA, the media portrayed it quite
21 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Tieger.
22 MR. TIEGER: Sorry, I hesitate to rise on matters of this type,
23 but if the accused is going to pursue them then I guess I have an
24 obligation to ask for some precision to the question here is whether the
25 accused is asking about one particular type of alleged media coverage and
1 conflating them all; that is, anti-army is anti-Serb is anti-Yugoslav,
2 etc cetera, or if he's asking about three or four separate kinds of media
3 approaches. And if it's the latter he should separate them, and if it's
4 the former, he should first ask if there is a basis in the witness's
5 assessment for lumping them together.
6 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Karadzic, even if answered in a positive matter,
7 general statements do not help the Chamber at all. Be specific. And I
8 would urge you to move on to more critical issues. Save your energy. We
9 have a lot in our adjudicated facts. I do not look into those at this
10 moment, and there are various ways for you to tender the background
11 history. You don't have to put every aspect of background to every
13 Please continue.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Excellency. Even
15 with utmost respect, I must say that it is my understanding of the
16 indictment that I was accused or charged with the creation of policy
17 which resulted in the events we are familiar with, and it is our position
18 that we merely responded to the actions of others. This General at the
19 time was positioned in the Ministry of Defence of Yugoslavia. He held
20 such a position which was in charge of assessing the impact of media
21 reporting on inciting military conflict and nobody can address the
22 influence of the media in Bosnia better than this witness and the effect
23 it had on the undermining of the country as a whole.
24 JUDGE KWON: Please proceed, Mr. Karadzic.
25 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. I'll cut it short, General. Did you in the Federal Ministry of
2 National Defence have concerns about the conduct or media reporting in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina and its impact on inter-ethnic relations and the
4 stability of the country?
5 A. Yes, Mr. Karadzic. We were gravely concerned following the
6 events in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We proposed our conclusions to the
7 General, stating that should that situation continue, a result would be a
8 bloody war. We presented it to him by way of a model, and we reminded
9 him of the war in Lebanon which had a similar civil war.
10 Q. Thank you. Were your concerns raised because you seemed to have
11 viewed Bosnia and Herzegovina as a potential powder keg?
12 A. Precisely, Mr. Karadzic. I believe we even used that very phrase
13 in a number of documents.
14 Q. Thank you. General, since I was not of any interest to you, do
15 you agree that no Radovan Karadzic could manipulate or incite the Serb
16 people given the fact that those people had fresh memories of the
17 genocide of 1941? Were you able to observe that -- whether my conduct
18 was aimed at manipulating and inciting?
19 A. Mr. Karadzic, I can only address your thesis of genocide. As for
20 the rest of your question, I'd rather not comment. No person, including
21 Karadzic or Raskovic or anyone, needed to tell the people of the dangers
22 of genocide. The Serb people were well aware of it.
23 Q. Thank you. Were you able to notice that on behalf of my party
24 and my ethnic community, I proposed peaceful political solutions and that
25 I did my utmost to avoid the conflict? Was it the extent of your
1 knowledge concerning my activities in the Federal Secretariat
2 for National Defence?
3 A. Such parts as were reported by the media or broadcast, that is
4 what we followed, including your statements.
5 Q. From the point of view of security of the state and the
6 preservation of its unity, was there anything in my political position
7 that would be of concerning to you in the Ministry of Defence?
8 A. To tell you the truth, Mr. Karadzic, I don't recall having
9 reached such a conclusion.
10 Q. Is it your belief that the danger for Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 was a realistic one and that in Bosnia they would have suffered had they
12 not defended themselves?
13 A. Yes. You put it precisely. It was a belief which is part of our
14 thinking process and figures as fact, and the fact of this fear of the
15 Serb people was based on their historical experience, especially in
16 World War II and the contemporaneous political statements, in particular
17 made by Franjo Tudjman, Croatian president, who divided Serbs into three
18 categories, and I'll paraphrase: One-third of the Serbs need to be
19 killed, another third driven out, and the last third, if they remained in
20 Croatian territory, should be converted to Catholicism.
21 A month ago, President Mesic, former Croatian president, in his
22 discussion with the RS president asked, What is Dodik going to do now?
23 Dodik is the current RS president. If there's another war,
24 Republika Srpska will disappear, as will the Serbs.
25 Your Honour, I did not discuss the historical reasons which
1 clearly indicate the danger of genocide, and you may well be aware of
2 some of them.
3 Q. Thank you, General. Do you remember that this Mr. Mesic, in
4 1991, on several occasions warned against the spill-over of war from
5 Croatia into Bosnia, and indeed it came true, thus easing the position of
7 A. Precisely, Your Honours. I would remind you of a very stringent
8 statement made by that gentleman. He went to the Croatian parliament,
9 and he said, I have completed my task. Yugoslavia is no more. And yet
10 he had been a member of the Yugoslav Presidency.
11 Q. And for a period of time he was even the president of that
12 Presidency, and he swore to preserve that very Yugoslavia; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. Did you follow the attempts in Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 made at trying to avoid the war and to use the JNA to put a stop to the
16 conflict and separate the parties at Izetbegovic's request as well as at
17 the request of other BiH Presidency members?
18 A. Yes, there were such attempts. The JNA General Staff believed
19 that the JNA should play a buffer role in order to prevent interethnic
20 conflict. However, they failed in Croatia, and we were quite weary of
21 using that idea in Bosnia-Herzegovina as we were not convinced it would
23 Your Honours, I no longer recall if it was in 1991, but I went to
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of a General Staff team. The intention
25 was to see what the situation was like, and I was particularly tasked
1 with morale issues. I was quite pleased to see that there were joint
2 police patrols together with members of the JNA, but it only lasted for a
3 short time because the same formations which had patrolled together
4 clashed later on.
5 Q. Thank you. Let me ask you this: Were you privy or did you
6 follow the international conference on Yugoslavia, especially its
7 sub-conference on Bosnia-Herzegovina chaired by Lord Carrington and
8 Ambassador Cutileiro?
9 A. Yes. We followed those developments starting with Lisbon through
10 Paris, Vienna, and other locations. There were different rounds of
11 talks. And all those commissions, starting with Vance-Owen and then
12 Stoltenberg and other UN representatives, it is -- it was all followed.
13 I can also tell you, Your Honours, that we appreciated their efforts in
14 achieving peace so as to avoid this bloodshed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
15 that was the view of the General Staff.
16 Q. Thank you. I'd like us to move on to the outbreak of war. You
17 did not immediately join the VRS, but you are aware of its formation,
19 A. Mr. Karadzic, I do scientific work and write articles for the
20 encyclopedia, and part of my entries concern Republika Srpska; therefore,
21 I am quite familiar with this topic.
22 Q. Thank you. General, do we agree that other ethnic communities,
23 perhaps not in Macedonia but in the runaway republics, quite early on
24 pulled out their command cadre and reserve force as well as conscripts
25 from the JNA, thus establishing their republican armies? Everyone had
1 done that before the Serbs in Bosnia did the same.
2 A. Yes. It's a historical fact.
3 Q. Thank you. Do we agree that the weapons and assets, as well as
4 equipment available to the ethnic communities, was confiscated right
5 away, taken over and put to use, and this included warehouses, ammunition
6 and weapons factories, depots of the TO, et cetera? Was it all
7 unilaterally taken wherever it was available and then distributed?
8 A. Yes, Mr. Karadzic. And not only that. They even received
9 weapons of different types, even heavy weaponry and missiles from abroad.
10 I'd like to remind you of the Kikas affair, Your Honours. Kikas
11 is a heavy-duty transport aeroplane for civilian use. It was forced it
12 land in Zagreb. It belonged to the JNA. It had flown in from Uganda and
13 was packed with weapons. Then there was the Cazmatrans affair.
14 General Martin Spegelj was tried and convicted of importing weapons from
15 Hungary. They had TO assets at their disposal as well as JNA items from
16 warehouses, and on top of it all they procured weapons from abroad.
17 Q. Thank you, General. Since most of it was known to the public, do
18 we agree that the Serb side was very disappointed and upset when it
19 realised that the JNA was to take up a neutral position and that the Serb
20 side expected the Yugoslav state and its institutions to protect our
21 right to remain within Yugoslavia?
22 A. Mr. Karadzic, it wasn't only the politicians who were
23 disappointed. I think the Serbs as a whole were disappointed in
25 Q. Thank you. So do we agree that the Serbian people were angry for
1 a long time with the Yugoslav People's Army? And when the JNA withdrew,
2 the Serbian people suddenly had an army, whereas the other communities
3 gradually formed an army from that very same JNA. Do we agree on that?
4 A. Well, there's several questions there, Mr. Karadzic. First of
5 all, yes, the people really were very angry. As an officer, it was very
6 unpleasant to speak to the people when people would say, What are you
7 doing? Are the people going to be killed? And you are withdrawing.
8 Secondly, weapons were not only obtained from the JNA, because
9 the JNA withdrew with its weapons, to a large extent. They withdrew from
10 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina with their weapons, but many weapons
11 arrived from Slovenia and Croatia. That is a fact. Most of the weapons
12 were obtained by everyone from the Territorial Defence.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, let me ask you this: When the
14 Yugoslav People's Army moves its reserves of weapons and artillery pieces
15 to the Serbian areas, did they want to arm the Serbs, or did they want to
16 ensure that they could defend themselves from attacks? Did they want to
17 prevent this equipment from being taken in territories where people were
18 not in favour of the JNA? Did they act in this way for their own sake or
19 for the sake of the local Serbs?
20 A. For their own sake, Mr. Karadzic, in territory under the control
21 of Serbs. That territory was the safest territory, after all.
22 Q. Thank you. The time that the VRS was established, our law
23 referred to a slightly unusual organisation, because our General Staff
24 was called the Main Staff. Do you agree that this was somewhat unusual,
25 and why?
1 A. It is usual in the case of all armies through -- throughout the
2 world that the term is the Chief of the General Staff. I think that is
3 the case in the east and in the west.
4 This term, the commander of the Main Staff, is a little unusual,
5 but it has a historical background. There are historical reasons,
6 establishment reasons for the use of this term. The establish reasons
7 are that there was the 2nd Military District in Sarajevo, and pursuant to
8 a degree from the president of the SFRY, Ratko Mladic was at the head of
9 that military district. So there was the commander who headed that
10 military district. And throughout the territory of the SFRY there were
11 commanders in those stretches of territory and not Chiefs of
12 General Staffs.
13 Q. Thank you. Is it your position that the armed forces -- a
14 complex organisation, and the Supreme Commander of the armed forces is
15 the president of the republic ex officio, and the armed forces are
16 unified only in -- under wartime conditions?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Thank you. So do we agree that either the commander or the
19 Chief of Staff has command over the army, whereas it's the minister of
20 the interior or his commander who has command over the police? At the
21 strategic level in the case of war, if war is declared, the president
22 plays the role of the Supreme Commander of the unified armed forces.
23 A. I apologise, Mr. Karadzic. Were you asking me what the situation
24 was in the case of war or state of war?
25 Q. To say state of war is probably more correct.
1 A. If there is a state of war, the supreme commanders -- the
2 Supreme Commander is the commander of all those who are armed in the
3 state, in the republic. So that concerns the police and the army. But
4 regardless of the state of war, the Supreme Commander doesn't lose his
5 role. It consists of exercising command over the army, and that is the
6 case in wartime and in peacetime.
7 Your Honours, you saw the responsibility of the president in the
9 Q. Thank you. So do we agree that when you referred to the
10 responsibilities of the president of the republic, the president of the
11 republic could command in strategic terms. The president of the republic
12 couldn't have direct control over the army without acting through the
13 Main Staff and its commanders.
14 MR. TIEGER: Excuse me, Mr. President. Is that a question asking
15 for an interpretation of the operative law or principles or asking for
16 the de facto possibilities and realities of what the president of the
17 republic could or did do?
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE KWON: The Chamber is of the view that the question can be
20 put, and if necessary, you can take up the issue in your re-examination,
21 Mr. Tieger.
22 MR. TIEGER: Mr. President, I understand, but let me just note
23 that the accused just went into about 45 minutes, if not longer, of
24 basically evidence that is intended to aid his own case. It didn't arise
25 from the cross-examination [sic]. And once again, as in many occasions
1 in the past, the Prosecution is obliged to either conduct what's
2 essentially a cross-examination that takes time out of the allotment for
3 our own case and that I don't think was intended for that process or to
4 forego cross-examination. So we are always presented with the dilemma,
5 which is why I rise, to get as much clarity during the course of the
6 cross-examination as possible so that at least we minimise the impact of
7 that problem when possible.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Let's proceed, Mr. Karadzic.
10 Now, General, can you answer the question whether the president
11 of the republic could not have direct control over the army without
12 acting through the Main Staff and its commanders?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. That is correct,
14 Your Honour.
15 JUDGE KWON: As a general, he could order or monitor and control
16 through the Main Staff, but he can directly order to the commander of a
17 corps, can he not? And the commander of the Drina Corps or
18 Sarajevo Corps, Eastern Bosnia Corps can report to the Main Staff.
19 That's envisaged, was it not?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, you referred to the
21 president as general - that's the interpretation I received - but he
22 doesn't have a rank, so I apologise for drawing your attention to that.
23 But if the president contacted corps commanders, he is not by-passing the
24 provisions. That is his prerogative. But the corps commander has the
25 responsibility of informing the commander of the Main Staff about the
1 fact that the president contacted him and the reasons for which this was
2 done. For example, if the president contacted me as the
3 Supreme Commander -- he didn't do that, but if he had done that and had
4 told me something, I would have had to report it to the commander of the
5 Main Staff of the VRS, General Mladic, and I would have had to inform him
6 of what had happened.
7 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Please continue, Mr. Karadzic.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation].
10 Q. So that Mr. Tieger is also satisfied, I'll put a concrete
11 question to you now.
12 Did you notice that I was dissatisfied with the level of control
13 and the level of influence exercised over the army?
14 A. Well, Mr. Karadzic, I don't really understand your question,
15 because there are various ways of exercising control. The Ministry
16 of Defence, for example, conducts controls that relate to inspection.
17 Within the army, you control combat readiness.
18 Please don't bear grudge against me for not having understood the
20 Q. Very well. I'll be even more concrete. Do we agree that there
21 were significant cases in which there was suspicion on the part of the
22 civilian authorities. The commanding officers were also suspicious of
23 certain ideological matters. There was suspicion aroused for ideological
24 reasons. Can we agree about that?
25 A. Yes. And it wasn't just a lack of trust. It's not just a matter
1 of these suspicions. There were differences as well.
2 Q. Thank you. Is it true that there was tension between the
3 civilian authorities, and in particular between me and the Main Staff,
4 and this was for various reasons? For example, was one of the reasons
5 that I was saying that too many people were being taken from their jobs
6 in the economy, and, as a result, the economy wasn't functioning
8 A. Yes. This was a continual objection of yours that you levelled
9 at the army. You said that they were megalomaniacs in their requests,
10 and this is something that you would practically say at all the meetings
11 of the Supreme Command, all the meetings that I attended.
12 Q. Thank you. Is it correct that I tried to exercise more influence
13 on the army, i.e., through the ministry or in direct terms? I didn't
14 really believe that I knew everything, nor did I believe that I could
15 have control over everything. In fact, did I try to exercise command,
16 and was I unsuccessful in my attempts?
17 A. Well, I think there are several examples of you making such
18 attempts, Mr. President, but in some of the cases you weren't successful.
19 Q. Thank you. Is it true that I couldn't transform the
20 General Staff into the Main Staff [as interpreted], and I couldn't
21 replace the first person in charge because he was appointed by the
22 Assembly and only the Assembly could replace that person?
23 A. Well, Your Honours, I indirectly found out that the president
24 wanted to replace Mladic in 1993, but I was the direct witness of the
25 fact that the president established some sort of a defence council and he
1 appointed General Mladic to that position, and in Main Staff of the VRS,
2 we took this to be a replacement. So the president replaced Mladic on
3 the 4th of August, 1995, and we had a collegium session of the Main Staff
4 of the VRS that almost all of us attended. That was on the 6th or the
5 8th of August. I apologise if I said July. It was on the 6th or the 8th
6 of August, several days after that replacement.
7 Q. Could you tell the Chamber how the collegium of generals acted in
8 relation to that decision that I took?
9 A. Given that we were familiar with the legal provisions that
10 governed that issue, we wrote a letter that we all signed, and we
11 suggested that the People's Assembly of Republika Srpska should not
12 accept the replacement of General Mladic. We suggested that he remain
13 the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS, and we were aware of the fact
14 that at the time the president did not even have the right to replace
15 General Mladic or to appoint him to a different position. And we took
16 this appointment to be a matter of replacement, because appointing
17 Ratko Mladic as commander of the Main Staff was done by the people's
18 Assembly in May 1992.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. Previous page of the transcript,
21 lines from 16 to 18. It's from your question, so I wonder whether that's
22 a translation issue or whether -- or it's correct. You are recorded
23 having asked like this:
24 "Is it true that I couldn't transform the General Staff into the
25 Main Staff ..."
1 Is that what you said?
2 THE ACCUSED: Vice versa.
3 JUDGE KWON: It should be the other way around.
4 THE ACCUSED: The other way around.
5 JUDGE KWON: Yes. Just a second.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic, please continue.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 JUDGE KWON: But in the meantime, I wonder whether you can try to
10 conclude your cross-examination by the end of this session.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Another half hour?
12 JUDGE KWON: Yes, half an hour from now.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Is it the total of allocated time I
15 JUDGE KWON: No. You will have about 25 minutes in the next
16 session, but I'm just asking whether it is possible.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Your Excellencies, I'd much
18 rather use up the whole time, because rarely do we have a person such as
19 this who was intimately familiar with the personnel structure of the VRS,
20 but I'll rush ahead.
21 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. General, could we look at 1D5168. I believe it has been
24 Is this a document you drafted and signed that was sent to the
25 state Assembly and the republican president concerning my attempt to
1 rename the General Staff to Main Staff and to involve Mladic in politics
2 so as to appoint him as the head of council?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we go to page 2 and 3 for the
4 General so he can see the signatures.
5 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. General, tell us when to go to page 3.
7 A. I have page 3.
8 Q. Was this some sort of petition, a letter sent to the Assembly
9 whereby you supported each other and expressed your loyalty to each other
10 by asking for my decision not to be honoured or implemented?
11 A. Mr. Karadzic, we could call it a petition, a letter, or a
12 decision. The gist of it is that we recommended to the deputies of the
13 RS Assembly to ignore your decision.
14 Q. Thank you. Do you agree that you were all ready to go to the
15 trenches should Mladic be replaced? You all stated that you would leave
16 the Main Staff but remain defending the republic, and by virtue of such
17 act, I would have been left without a Main Staff.
18 A. Precisely.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] If this has not been admitted thus
20 far, could we admit it now?
21 JUDGE KWON: Was it not admitted when General Milovanovic gave
22 evidence? I think I remember having seen this document.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I was convinced it had previously
24 been admitted, but ...
25 JUDGE KWON: Let us move on. We'll sort it out in the meantime.
1 Otherwise, we'll admit it later on.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Excellency.
3 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Do you agree that the VRS had only some 2.000 professional
5 officers for some 209- or 210.000 soldiers?
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. Thank you. Is it true that the 209.000 soldiers were not
8 professional, that it was a people's army comprised of recruits and
9 reservists, some of whom had never even served their military service?
10 A. Yes. For the most part there were reservists. There were 14.000
11 reserve NCOs and 7.000 COs. The rest were military conscripts.
12 Mr. Karadzic, we had very few recruits. The annual contingent of
13 recruits amounted to as little as 6.000. As for the social structure of
14 the army itself was that most people were workers or farmers. It was a
15 great burden on the army, because people had their vocations or worked
16 the land and wanted to work in order to support their families. It was
17 for that reason that they frequently tried to avoid serving in the
18 military and implement military tasks. The professionalism and education
19 of our military ranks was a problematic issue.
20 Q. Thank you, General. We'll see another document created by you.
21 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Karadzic, I was informed that the letter,
22 General's letter to the Assembly, was admits as Exhibit D2159.
23 MR. TIEGER: That's why I was rising, Mr. President.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Do you agree that this particular kind of structure, that is to
2 say that people who either worked or farmed, created problems in terms of
3 command and control, because people were not prepared to defend anything
4 other than their land and villages? In other words, it was impossible to
5 conduct a manoeuvre.
6 A. Yes, that is correct.
7 Q. Could we have 1D5166. Unfortunately, we only have a translation
8 of your text in the VRS from May 1992 where you address this issue of
9 social strata or structure. Did you write such an article?
10 A. This is a different thing.
11 Q. 1D5166.
12 JUDGE KWON: This is it. In your list of documents, I'm seeing
13 an item which is entitled "Notes of Mr. Skrbic." Seven --
14 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
15 THE INTERPRETER: No microphone.
16 JUDGE KWON: 1D5170. Is that what you said, Mr. Karadzic?
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 1D5165.
18 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
19 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Are you the author of this text? Can we go to the next page and
21 I'll read out the part in English which addresses the issue. Did you
22 write this article on the occasion of the second year of existence of the
23 Krajina Corps?
24 A. I'm sorry, Your Honours, but I don't have the Serbian text before
1 Q. But did you write this? I'll read it out to you and perhaps
2 you'll be able to recognise if you wrote it or not, the framed par:
3 [In English] "The social structure of fighters varied at
4 different stages of the establishment of the corps, but it was
5 essentially a mix of workers and farmers. This later became a moral
6 issue in terms of fairness as to which segment of the population would be
7 assigned the most difficult tasks, as they constituted, in fact, military
8 duties on the front line."
9 "As they constituted, in fact, military duties on the front
11 [Interpretation] If we have the Serbian version, I'd be grateful
12 to -- for anyone who provided it to us.
13 JUDGE KWON: Yes. Mr. Tieger has it. It is noted that it was
14 published on May 9th of 1994, in "Srpska Vojska," but I'm not sure if
15 Mr. Karadzic needs this in putting that question to the witness.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Excellencies, I did want the
17 witness's comment, because the text is replete with quality analyses as
18 to the true nature of that army. It will assist the Chamber in the
19 distinguishing between this kind of army and the professional army which
20 is easy to command and control.
21 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Is this your text, and did you write this? Is this accurate?
23 A. Yes, Mr. Karadzic. I was about to start with my answer. This is
24 my text published in "Srpska Vojska" on the 9th of May, 1994. I found
25 the paragraph about the social structure of fighters in the process of
1 establishment of the 2nd Krajina Corps. However, this kind of social
2 structure was characteristic of the entire VRS.
3 Q. Thank you, General.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we have this text admitted?
5 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D2191, Your Honours.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Let us address this issue briefly. Is it correct, General -- or
10 did our military courts work throughout the war, and were they
11 independent in their work in terms of any influence from the commands or
12 other authorities? What is your knowledge about that?
13 A. This is completely correct.
14 Q. Thank you. Do we agree that our documents such as the Law on the
15 Armed Forces, the Law on Defence, and others reflect in entirety such
16 regulations pertaining to the honouring of the Geneva Conventions, the
17 laws and customs of war, and other such legal documents?
18 A. Yes, and one can clearly see that if the documents you listed are
20 Q. Thank you. Let me ask you this: Do you know of a single case in
21 which a unit received an order amounting to the commission of a crime and
22 that -- or that such an order was ever implemented and then later on
23 covered up by the Main Staff or other levels of military?
24 A. I have no personal knowledge of such a document.
25 Q. Was it the position of our army and command structures that the
1 commission of crimes was encouraged, or were they clearly against the
2 commission of any crimes?
3 A. Documents show that the VRS as well as the state frequently
4 insisted on the importance of honouring the Geneva Conventions and its
5 annexes, as well as the laws of war.
6 Q. Thank you, General. Can you picture our command cadre which
7 would be silent or cover up or even order, say, rape?
8 A. Your Honour, this is purely hypothetical. However, I presume
9 that out of the 2.000 professionals we had, no one would order such a
10 thing, but it's not easy to assert that positively. You never know what
11 sort of people there are around, especially in terms of rape because that
12 was your question.
13 Q. Thank you, General. I'm not asking you about individuals but a
14 certain unit. Would a certain unit approve of such conduct or try and
15 cover up such conduct? For example, organised rape.
16 A. No, Mr. Karadzic. That is not possible.
17 Q. Thank you. Mention was made of your meeting here, your visit to
18 me on the 14th of July, 1995. Reference is also made to the documents
19 that you brought with you. On the occasion of that visit, do you
20 remember that I signed those documents without reading them? I trusted
21 the professional services from within the Main Staff.
22 A. Yes. I think you signed them immediately.
23 Q. Thank you. According to the information you had, since I'm not a
24 professional soldier, did I trust these professional services, and I
25 never checked the things they submitted to me, nor did I have any doubts
1 as to their professional conduct?
2 A. With regard to the field that I worked in, no, you never
3 expressed mistrust of the domain within which I worked.
4 Q. Thank you. Do you agree that it was your opinion that I was not
5 fully in favour of assisting the army? I wanted to impose certain
6 restrictions. I wanted to restrict the scope of activity that the army
7 had, and in that sense I obstructed the army when it came to its
8 combativeness and when it came to the army be prepared? Did you believe
9 that the civilian authorities, and I in particular, imposed restrictions
10 on you mostly because of the negotiations that I was involved in but for
11 other reason as well?
12 A. Apart from the categories you mentioned in your question,
13 Mr. Karadzic, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that you also
14 objected to discipline within the army.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 JUDGE KWON: Could you be more specific? I don't think I
17 followed you in full. You agreed with Mr. Karadzic, and you added that
18 Mr. Karadzic objected to the discipline with the army. Is that correct,
19 and what did you mean, General?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'll paraphrase what
21 the then-president, Mr. Karadzic, said. He said in the presence of
22 General Mladic and in my presence, General, how can you have an
23 undisciplined army? I bear this against you. I asked General Mladic,
24 Can I answer the president's question? General Mladic said, Please go
25 ahead. Mr. President, I said, the army only has 2.000 professional
1 soldiers, but there are 209.000 men, and you're comparing us to the
2 police that has a force of 9.000 men, and they're all professionals. I
3 don't remember what the president's answer was, but that was what was
4 said in essence.
5 THE ACCUSED: May I?
6 JUDGE KWON: My question was: What did you mean when you said
7 Karadzic also objected to discipline within the army.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. That means that at a
9 certain level orders were not obeyed. I don't know which orders the
10 president had in mind, but our impression was that there was a certain
11 hierarchy, a certain level of discipline. I apologise. Can I continue?
12 JUDGE KWON: Yes. Yes, please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Our impression was that there was a
14 hierarchy and discipline up to the level of a corps. But at lower levels
15 there was not such a level of discipline, and there were other failings
16 such as the failings referred to in my article to an extent we could
17 agree with the president's assessment, in fact, Your Honours, so we did
18 agree with it. We just wanted to tell the president what the reasons
19 were for this situation.
20 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. It's now clear to me.
21 Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. General, were there other occasions on which you expressed your
25 opinions that were contrary to mine in very strident terms, and was your
1 opinion that this could be done without suffering any consequences? You
2 said a minute ago that you can't remember what I answered. If my answer
3 had been unpleasant, you would have remembered it. Isn't that the case?
4 A. Yes, probably.
5 Q. Can you tell us whether on the whole it was possible to discuss
6 things with me openly without having to suffer any consequences?
7 A. Yes, that is correct. I spoke to you quite openly, and I didn't
8 suffer any consequences.
9 Q. Thank you. On the 14th when you visited me, do you remember the
10 time? Were the civilian authorities from Srebrenica and Bratunac in my
11 office before that time or after that time? Do you know what the time
12 was, roughly speaking?
13 A. Mr. Karadzic, the document from your secretary could have
14 reminded me of the time. Without that document, I probably would have
15 remembered the time, but in the document it says that I saw you from
16 12.15 to 12.36 on the 14th of July.
17 Q. Thank you. And after that, the civilian authorities arrived, and
18 do you agree that this is why I couldn't inform you of the fact that I
19 would be declaring a state of war in that area, because I had no
20 information according to which there was such a concentration of forces
21 from the 28th Division in the woods?
22 A. Of course you didn't tell me anything about your intentions with
23 regard to declaring a state of war.
24 Q. At the time, at the time of that meeting, was there anything said
25 about POWs or war crimes? Was there anything that had to do with such
1 issues in the air, so to speak?
2 A. No, Mr. Karadzic.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, see the time. When
4 were you planning to have a break?
5 JUDGE KWON: It's time now.
6 But is it true that you encountered Mr. Deronjic or somebody from
7 Srebrenica after your meeting is over with Mr. Karadzic at the time?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours. I didn't know
9 that person.
10 JUDGE KWON: Or delegation -- or did you see a delegation from
11 Srebrenica or that area?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I only came to a
13 conclusion on the basis of the document from Mr. Karadzic's secretary.
14 Perhaps you've seen that document yourself.
15 JUDGE KWON: Yes, I'm seeing that document before me, but it says
16 your meeting is over at 12.35, and there's a meeting at 12.40. So I was
17 wondering whether you met any of those delegations.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it's a possibility.
19 There were some people sitting in the reception area where the secretary
20 was, but I didn't pay any attention to them, nor did I speak with them.
21 I did what I had to do and then I left.
22 JUDGE KWON: That's fair enough.
23 We'll have a break for half an hour and resume at 1.00. Just a
24 second. I'm sorry, 1.30. We'll have a break for an hour. In the
25 meantime, there's an oral ruling I'd like to issue at this moment.
1 With respect to the accused's request to have assistance of
2 Defence expert in courtroom for testimony of Expert Witness Butler filed
3 on 5th of March, 2012, which the Prosecution does not oppose, the Chamber
4 grants the request in light of the technical nature of the evidence to be
5 provided by Richard Butler following the past practice of the Chamber.
6 We will resume at 1.30.
7 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.32 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 1.31 p.m.
9 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic, please continue.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. General, sir, I will try to be clear and concise in order to get
13 yes or no answers, although I hope that the Trial Chamber's not going to
14 interrupt us if we are efficient. We will have a topic or two left.
15 Anyway, was it your knowledge that buses were needed for
16 Srebrenica in order to evacuate the persons who wanted to move somewhere
17 else of their own accord?
18 A. Mr. Karadzic, that's not how I defined it in my statement in
19 Popovic et al. I said for the evacuation of people.
20 Q. Thank you. Did you know of any kind of forcible evacuation, or
21 did it go without saying that this is what the law stipulated, that they
22 were supposed to be evacuated from a combat area, and did they want to
23 evacuate themselves?
24 MR. TIEGER: Three entirely separate questions, Mr. President,
25 very easily confused if not made -- if not parsed out and presented to
1 the witness individually.
2 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Yes. Could you break down your
3 question, Mr. Karadzic.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. General, sir, did you have any knowledge to the effect that this
7 evacuation was forcible?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Thank you. Did it go without saying? Was it readily understood
10 that the people being evacuated were the people who wished to be moved
11 somewhere else?
12 A. I did not know that, Mr. Karadzic.
13 Q. Thank you. Is it correct, General, that directive number 7 was
14 passed -- or, rather, created in a somewhat different way than usual?
15 Namely, directives were usually created in the presence of all of you and
16 with the participation of all of you, but you did not take part in
17 creating this directive?
18 A. Your Honours, in my previous questions to such questions, I used
19 my general military knowledge, and that is what I'd like to do now as
20 well. As far as directive number 7 is concerned, I wouldn't want to
21 change anything in relation to what I said in Popovic et al. and earlier
22 on in the interview given to Mr. McCloskey on the 12th of July, 2005.
23 Q. Thank you. I wanted to hear you live in this case as well, but
24 let's move on then, and if you find if convenient, you're going to tell
25 us about what I ask now, too.
1 Are directives doctrinary instructions rather than strict
2 executive orders, and do executive orders come into being only after
3 directives have been created?
4 A. Yes, that's right. Directives are such documents. General
5 guidelines for warfare are provided in these documents.
6 Q. Thank you. If in a directive a higher instance ordered the
7 commission of a crime wilfully or willingly or unwillingly, does the
8 lower instance have the right to refuse that and to caution against that
9 and ask for a change?
10 A. Any action that leads to the commission of a crime is subject to
11 such procedure, namely that that not be carried out and that one's
12 superior officer should be informed. I think that that is what the
13 regulations say as well.
14 Q. Thank you. Do you know that certain sentences that are contained
15 in directive number 7 that are not quite clear or correct were not
16 repeated in directive 7/1 that Mladic sent as the basis for carrying out
17 executive orders?
18 A. Yes. These two directives are different. I saw them after the
20 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that at the time when these directives
21 were being created and implemented you did not have any knowledge of
22 their good or bad sides?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Thank you. 1D5170. I'd like to have that called up, please.
25 Did you take notes on the basis of intelligence that arrived in the
1 Main Staff?
2 A. Yes. Yes.
3 Q. Please take a look at this. Take a look at these notes and tell
4 us -- actually, first of all, tell us whether these are the said notes
5 typed up.
6 A. Yes, Mr. Karadzic. These are my personal notes that were created
7 between the 18th of March, 1995, until sometime in May that same year. I
8 put this annotation here. O denotes operative, and that is a compilation
9 of intelligence that I reviewed when I went to Crna Rijeka to the main
10 command post.
11 Q. Thank you. So these are not anyone's opinions or wishes. These
12 are documents that could be used for writing memoirs -- or, actually,
13 this is the essence of the documents that could have been used for
14 writing memoirs, studies and the like; right?
15 A. I applied scientific methods, because I wrote my own remarks by
16 saying prim.ps, my initials, Petar Skrbic, and the rest are the sentences
17 that I created on the basis of intelligence.
18 Q. Thank you. Since you or writer of certain parts of certain
19 encyclopedias, then you are familiar with that kind of writing, aren't
21 A. Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
22 Q. Thank you. 21st January -- actually, the 20th of March, 1995.
23 Does it not say that the Muslims bought 15 rockets and that they arrived
24 in humanitarian aid convoys? The circled part towards the bottom.
25 A. Yes, that's right, but that was written on the 21st of January,
1 1995, though.
2 Q. I thought that it said the 23rd.
3 A. This is something different on the 20th of March.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 JUDGE KWON: That date -- that date should read 21st of March,
6 shouldn't it? Would you like to see the next page in B/C/S?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Exactly, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have the next page in B/C/S.
10 Exactly. It says the 24th of March.
11 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. When you look at the 24th of March, 0.6, that is, in Zepa Muslims
13 and Croats clashed because the Croats did not allow Mujahedin volunteers
14 to go to Teslic. And was Teslic under Serb control?
15 A. Yes. Teslic was under Serb control.
16 Q. And also this information that although there was an alliance,
17 the Croats nevertheless did not allow the Mujahedin in. What do you
18 understand Mujahedin to mean, fighters from Arab countries?
19 A. Yes, that's right. And the unit was called El Mujahedin.
20 Q. Thank you. Can we now have operative 13, OP 13 -- or, rather,
21 O.13. I have to skip a few.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In Serbian the last three digits of the ERN number are 340.
24 Underneath these bullets or bullet points, although they're
25 interesting, too, it says:
1 "The assessment of the West is that inter-Serb squabbles will
2 continue until certain officials are replaced."
3 Do you agree that inter-Serb squabbles were something that the
4 Muslims and the Croats and the West liked?
5 A. Yes, yes, I agree.
6 Q. Thank you. Can we have O.17. In English as well, please.
7 So on the 10th of April, on the 10th of April, you have the
8 essence of some information stating that:
9 "NATO is intensively reconnoitering protected areas and gathering
10 information on Serbian features for possible bombing."
11 Do you agree that NATO Air Force did pass this information on to
12 the other side as well? They didn't only gather this information for
13 themselves. And also, officers on the ground often provided information
14 on our situation.
15 A. Yes, that is de facto correct.
16 Q. Thank you. You say here that you received information to the
17 effect that "Turkey was arming Muslims and sending Mujahedin to Bosnia,"
19 A. Yes. That is what was written in some intelligence report.
20 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Tieger.
21 MR. TIEGER: I'm sorry I didn't rise earlier because this may and
22 practice. In the last answer it's the second time the accused has
23 elicited information or a response from the witness on information --
24 alleged information that was not contained in this document. The witness
25 has indicated the basis for the -- his preparation for this document, at
1 least to modest extent, but now suddenly we're entering into areas that
2 we don't know anything about the provenance of the information. So if
3 that could be provided, I won't have to spend as much time in redirect
4 asking about it.
5 JUDGE KWON: Did you understand the question of Mr. Tieger? When
6 you agreed with the suggestion of Mr. Karadzic that NATO Air Force passed
7 this kind of information on to the Bosnian side, what is your basis?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understood
9 Mr. Tieger's question very well. The basis is an intelligence report
10 from which this information is derived.
11 Secondly, my personal experience shows what this reconnaissance
12 was like. In Western Bosnia, I saw NATO reconnaissance aircraft and
13 their flights. So the information was fully confirmed in practice.
14 JUDGE KWON: The question was whether NATO gave this information
15 to Bosnian authorities. How did you know that?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because of all the activities that
17 were undertaken by the Croatian Army and the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 vis-a-vis us. They knew exactly, Your Honours, where our artillery was
19 deployed, where the refugees were. They knew the deployment of our
20 forces. They could not have established that on the basis of the
21 resources they had. That could only have come from intelligence that
22 they had received by way of electronic surveillance or aerial images.
23 JUDGE KWON: That's the kind of answer I expected.
24 Please go on, Mr. Karadzic.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. In the last box it says -- or the date is the 10th of April:
3 [As read] "NATO aviation is -- the Muslims are doing similar
4 things in order to get NATO support, the support of NATO aircraft."
5 General, was it certain that the provocations they engaged in
6 were provocations, the purpose of which was to get NATO involved in the
7 war? I'm referring to the English page.
8 JUDGE KWON: Next page.
9 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. It says that they are moving along all the axis of Majevica and
11 Vlasic, and in this boxed-in part there's information according to which
12 they are doing similar things in the protected zones and the objective is
13 to provoke the Serbs and to make sure that NATO gets involved; is that
14 correct? And was that something that was always clear to us?
15 A. In the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the army this was
16 always completely clear to us.
17 Q. Thank you. You can keep the English version there. Could we see
18 the following page in the Serbian version. It says, in the Sarajevo area
19 there was provocative action and the purpose was yet again the same, to
20 gain the sympathy of the international community and to ensure that NATO
21 took action against the Serbs; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Thank you. Could we see O.22, please. It's the
24 15th of April, 1994.
25 A. No, 1995.
1 Q. Yes, April 1995. I apologise.
2 At the top it says, it's not in a box, in Rukavica [phoen] area,
3 the Muslims brought in the Black Swans. Were the Black Swans a
4 well-known paramilitary formation that was subsequently part of the ABiH?
5 I don't know how it's been translated. The Black Swans.
6 A. Yes. That's a paramilitary unit. They had various sorts of
7 formations with various names.
8 Q. Again it says there were provocations to make sure that the Serbs
9 responded to the provocations. Could we scroll up. Could we scroll up
10 the page in the Serbian version. In the English it says they're moving
11 out the population from parts of the town and they killed a French
12 soldier and they opened fire on a Russian soldier. Was this interpreted
13 by us as a preparations for some kind of an offensive?
14 A. Moving out the population reveals for any officer who is trained
15 or not so trained that intensive combat is being prepared.
16 Q. Thank you. Can we see O.25 now. This is something from Gorazde,
17 but Gorazde isn't in the indictment, so I don't want to waste time on
19 There's information provided on the 5th of May. An action on the
20 30th of May. Two thousand Serbs were killed in Western Slavonia. Did we
21 subsequently find out that more than 2.000 were, in fact, killed?
22 A. Mr. Karadzic, that's not information that I was provided. It's
23 information from intelligence reports.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. But you put another question. Not only were Serbs killed, but
1 about 500- to 600.000 people from territory were moved out. Serbs, in
2 the course of the war, they created many problems for us, for the army,
3 when it came to feeding them and you complained that we couldn't even
4 feed our troops let alone refugees. There was a column of refugees of
5 Bijeljina to Petrovac and Drvar. They covered a distance of
6 600 kilometres man to man, horse by horse, the elderly were pushing
7 carts. These were refugees from Croatia and then there were refugees
8 from the western parts of Republika Srpska.
9 Q. Thank you. O.35, please. It says that -- well, the date is the
10 15th. It says that Izetbegovic on the 12th of May took a decision on
11 carrying out an operation to raise the blockade of Sarajevo. The purpose
12 was to take Ilidza, Hadzici, Ilijas and to launch an attack from the
13 external part and internal part of that sector, of that ring.
14 A. Yes, that's what the text says.
15 Q. Thank you. Could we see the following page, O.36. Do we agree
16 that this concerns the 1st Corps? Do you agree that in Lukavica,
17 Vojkovici, Pavlovac and Linjaca [phoen], the population was a hundred
18 per cent Serbian and these settlements were civilian ones?
19 A. Yes, I agree, Mr. Karadzic. These places were inhabited by
20 civilians, but I don't know what the ethnic composition was.
21 Q. Thank you. If they'd broken through our lines would the
22 inhabitants there have come to harm given what you know about the action
23 that they would take?
24 A. Well, these are assumptions but quite realistic ones.
25 Q. Thank you. Can you confirm for the benefit of the Chamber that
1 these are places in the Serbian part of Sarajevo, and they are an
2 integral part of what was once a unified town?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could it be admitted.
6 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Tieger.
7 MR. TIEGER: I presume we're talking about the excerpts that were
8 referenced and to those I have no objection.
9 JUDGE KWON: Yes. That will be admitted.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] If I had time, I'd ask that the
11 entire document be admitted. It would be useful for the Chamber.
12 JUDGE KWON: How would it be useful?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Excellencies, it will give you
14 an overview of the intelligence that arrived in the Main Staff, the
15 intelligence that guided the Main Staff when they decided on action to be
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Tieger.
19 MR. TIEGER: It may not be necessary for me to rise, but I'd make
20 two very obvious points. First, it's completely contrary to the practice
21 that's been instituted and followed in this Chamber, and number two, this
22 is not the intelligence that arrived at the Main Staff. At best this is
23 a selective portion of that that the witness undertook to write in his --
24 in this particular document. So it doesn't even serve the purpose the
25 accused suggests, even if the practice was permitted as we have in the
1 past, and of course the -- there are any number of documents the
2 Prosecution would have been and remains happy to produce in their
3 entirety under this rationale.
4 JUDGE KWON: Yes. Without seeing them, we can't find whether
5 it's relevant or not. Let's follow our practice, Mr. Karadzic. That is
6 to say, if necessary, some parts can be added, if necessary at all.
7 I'm sorry. We'll admit only those passages [overlapping
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] [Overlapping speakers] I only
10 wanted the witness to confirm whether it's true that this comes from
11 intelligence that you gathered in the Main Staff, intelligence that the
12 Main Staff had at its disposal.
13 JUDGE KWON: The Chamber has given his ruling. We'll give the
14 number for that.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D2192, Your Honours.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now see 1D5164.
17 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. General, do you remember this daily report of yours that you sent
19 as the assistant commander in the 2nd Krajina Corps?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Thank you. And does it say here -- well, the first paragraph
22 speaks about the negotiations that were broken off in Geneva, and the
23 second paragraph says that according to initial information, our
24 participation in the commission for investigating the massacre in
25 Sarajevo was accepted. Do you remember that the massacre was used as a
1 reason to break off these negotiations in Geneva? Do you remember that
2 initially they accepted that our investigators should participate in
3 investigation of this incident, and subsequently they rejected this
5 A. It was on the basis of that information that I compiled this
6 report, which I forwarded to the subordinate units in the brigades.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could it be admitted.
9 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D2193, Your Honours.
11 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Let me first ask you, General, is it correct that Muslim and
13 Croatian parents prevented their children from going to serve in the JNA
14 in 1991 and 1992?
15 A. Yes, that's correct. In 1991, that was not a phenomenon that was
16 that [indiscernible] present, but in 1992, they tried to prevent them
17 from doing that.
18 Q. Thank you. And was that the position of the political leadership
19 of those communities as well?
20 A. Initially the leaderships you have referred to made an appeal and
21 asked them not to join the army, and later they issued orders according
22 to which the JNA should not be joined.
23 Q. Thank you. Could we see 1D5167.
24 General, do we agree that these very same parents, in March 1995,
25 sent their children to do their military service, and you issued an order
1 stating that their training should be provided in Manjaca? Can you
2 confirm that? Can you tell us why it was better for them to be in
4 A. Mr. Karadzic, because the training centre of the Main Staff of
5 the VRS was in Manjaca. Manjaca is a place next to Banja Luka.
6 Q. Thank you. Could we scroll up the English version. Did you also
7 think that it would be nicer for them if they were together? It was
8 better to provide them with food in accordance with their religion. It
9 was better for them to be together.
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can it be admitted, please?
12 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit D2194, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE KWON: I was told that you have three minutes left,
15 Mr. Karadzic.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, there was an important
17 document I wanted to call up --
18 JUDGE KWON: That's not acceptable, Mr. Karadzic. You have spent
19 almost an hour on just marginally relevant background matters, and at the
20 end of session you say you have important document. In order to correct
21 that -- the practice, we will not allow you any extended time. Please
22 continue. You have three minutes.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. General, perhaps you could answer by saying yes or no, but do you
1 remember that at a meeting of the Supreme Command on the
2 31st of March, 1995, freedom of movement was discussed? And would you
3 agree that on that occasion our position was reiterated, our position
4 according to which no one should be forced to stay behind or to leave?
5 And I'm referring to civilians.
6 A. Yes, I remember that.
7 Q. Thank you. General, do you know whether we ever had the
8 intention to separate from Muslims who were living in Republika Srpska?
9 Did we ever want to drive out the Muslims and the Croats from territory
10 that would be part of the constituent Serbian entity?
11 A. Your Honours, I have said that the Muslims lived there in the
12 same manner as other citizens from Republika Srpska under difficult
13 wartime conditions. It was in Prijedor, Banja Luka, Mrkonjic Grad,
14 Sanski Most, and so on and so forth. They lived in these places in a
15 very normal way. When the Croatian Army attacked Mrkonjic Grad with
16 their artillery, the Muslims and Serbs were both shelled. I was
17 personally present on that occasion.
18 Q. Thank you, General. Did anyone at any time - I'm referring to
19 those officials - have the position according to which the Muslims and
20 Croats should be destroyed in part or in their entirety? Was it their
21 position that they should be killed and destroyed?
22 A. I've never heard anyone ever put things in that manner.
23 Q. Thank you. Did you know how our army would bury enemy soldiers?
24 For example, from a certain zone Oric lost 2.000 soldiers in our areas.
25 Do you know how our army would bury these soldiers once the battles were
2 A. I do not know, Mr. Karadzic. The sector for the rear was
3 responsible for dealing with such matters.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, General. Sorry for
5 rushing through, but I wanted to gain your insight both from the level of
6 your federal ministry and elsewhere, and as I was trying to go -- move
7 things along, I may have rushed you, but thank you in any case.
8 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
9 Yes, Mr. Tieger. Do you have any re-examination?
10 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Re-examination by Mr. Tieger:
12 Q. General, today at page 23, Mr. Karadzic asked you about praising
13 General Krstic, and you recalled comments from Mr. Karadzic regarding
14 General Mladic becoming a living legend because we turned him into one,
15 but there were other generals who needed to take praise, including
16 General Krstic. I wondered if you quoted Mr. Karadzic precisely,
17 indicated it might be a paraphrase. If -- in that connection could we
18 turn to -- please to 65 ter 45049A.
19 JUDGE KWON: Is it the video?
20 MR. TIEGER: Yes, it is Mr. President.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] For the transcript, it's not
22 federation -- oh, yes. Now it was corrected. Thank you.
23 [Video-clip played]
24 MR. TIEGER:
25 Q. General, are those the comments to which you referred earlier and
1 that you had in mind?
2 A. Yes, precisely, Mr. Tieger.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. TIEGER: I'd move that into admission, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE KWON: Yes. Could you give the date of it again? August
7 MR. TIEGER: I believe it's the 4th.
8 JUDGE KWON: 4th.
9 MR. TIEGER: Yes.
10 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. That will be Prosecution exhibit.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit P4555, Your Honours.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Perhaps it would be fair to -- to
13 put the question to the General about the context, and the date is the
14 4th, and what the decision that was made was, whether it had anything to
15 do with Mladic's dismissal.
16 MR. TIEGER: I think Mr. Karadzic's examination is completed, and
17 I'd appreciate the opportunity to complete mine.
18 JUDGE KWON: Please continue, Mr. Tieger.
19 MR. TIEGER: Thank you.
20 Q. General, we saw the comments in the video. Did you know that
21 General Krstic planned the Srebrenica operation in front of Mr. Karadzic?
22 A. No, Your Honour. I found that out after the war.
23 Q. General, next I want to turn to --
24 JUDGE KWON: After the war how, General? Could you tell us what
25 you heard about the planning of that operation?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, not about the planning
2 of the operation, but I learned of this footage that Mr. Kosta Cavoski
3 commented upon in his book. I read his book, and that's how I know what
4 Mr. Karadzic had stated, and I paraphrased him here.
5 JUDGE KWON: I will leave it at that.
6 Yes, Mr. Tieger.
7 MR. TIEGER:
8 Q. General, at page 42 earlier, Mr. Karadzic asked you about
9 genocide -- the genocide of World War II and his own involvement in
10 inciting or manipulating the Serb people with those memories, and you
11 said in your response that you -- no person -- you just wanted to answer
12 the thesis of genocide and indicated that:
13 "No person, including Karadzic or Raskovic or anyone, needed to
14 tell the people of the dangers of genocide. The Serb people were well
15 aware of it."
16 But, in fact, General, is it correct or not that the SDS took
17 steps to ensure that the Serb people were reminded of the genocide and to
18 credit for reminding the Serb people of the genocide in order to warn
19 them about the alleged illusions of living together?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we have reference?
21 MR. TIEGER: I'm asking the question as a foundation first, and
22 I'll follow up if necessary.
23 Q. General, if you could answer the question.
24 A. Mr. Tieger, the interpretation I received is "SPS," which is
25 short for the Socialist Party of Serbia, but in English it says --
1 Q. Let me clarify then. It's SDS, Serbian Democratic Party.
2 A. Precisely, Mr. Tieger. Yes, I can see it in the transcript in
4 All those political parties, Mr. Tieger, act politically. They
5 tried to remind people of different things, and I do not exclude this
6 possibility that the SDS reminded the people of the genocide, but my
7 point was that the people didn't need much explanation to realise that
8 quite realistic danger.
9 Q. Let's turn then to 65 ter 11934, please. And if we could turn to
10 the second page in B/C/S. And, General, if you'd look at the first
11 column to the left, the second-to-last or third-to-last full paragraph on
12 that column. And you'll see the following reference from
13 Mr. Velibor Ostojic, who served as the minister of information of, among
14 other things, for Republika Srpska for a long period, saying:
15 "The next task initiated at that time as well was to remind of
16 the tragic events from recent Serbian history and to excavate from the
17 pits the bones of Serbs so atrociously killed during World War II. It
18 was a warning about illusions of living together with the enemy which had
19 been accepted by the Serbian people. The Serbian people suddenly
20 realised that they had been deceived and misled and that its recent
21 history full of tragedy, genocide, exodus and disenfranchisement had been
23 And then if we look at the second column at the bottom of that,
24 we see references by Mr. Ostojic to the success and crucial tasks of the
25 SDS, including preparing the Serbian people for defence so that they
1 would be prepared.
2 And then moving on to the next page, again asserting --
3 asserting --
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask Mr. Tieger not
5 to paraphrase but to directly quote Mr. Ostojic so that we see what it is
6 all about really.
7 MR. TIEGER:
8 Q. "The SDS was preparing the defence of the Serbian people, and it
9 was also preparing them in a national manner. Therefore, the Serbian
10 people were more prepared than their enemy for the first time in their
11 modern history."
12 And finally moving on to the top of the next-to-last column:
13 "So these are the two greatest achievements of the SDS and they
14 are only the first stage towards the final goal, unification of the
15 Serbian nation."
16 So, General, is that a reflection of the fact that despite your
17 view that the Serbian people didn't need to be reminded of that, that the
18 SDS took the position that they did need to be reminded of the genocide
19 of World War II in order to ensure that people abandoned the idea that
20 they could live together?
21 MR. ROBINSON: Objection, leading.
22 JUDGE KWON: Mm-hmm. Could you reformulate it.
23 MR. TIEGER: Yes, Mr. President.
24 Q. General, do you see this article as being a reflection of SDS
25 efforts to remind people for the reasons stated, or do you see this
1 article as reflecting some other aspects of efforts by the SDS as related
2 by Mr. Ostojic?
3 A. Mr. Tieger, you noticed well that we have an interview with
4 Mr. Velibor Ostojic as part of this article. I don't know whether he was
5 in the seat of a minister at the time or not, but this was his position.
6 He does indicate what you mentioned. I cannot dispute his words.
7 Q. Thank you, General. I tender this, Mr. President?
8 JUDGE KWON: I don't think I read the English part you read out.
9 Where did you read it from? Can you help me find the passage?
10 Unification ...
11 MR. TIEGER: I'm sorry. You are correct. The unification
12 appears at the top of the third column. That part wasn't translated.
13 I'm aware of that -- that translation. If we can either just -- and I
14 think the witness confirmed it. I can have that brief portion translated
15 and added to the excerpted translation.
16 JUDGE KWON: But was it not our practice not to admit third
17 party's interviews? Is it not an interview statement?
18 MR. TIEGER: It is an interviewer's statement. It reflects
19 directly on the position put by the accused. He is an official of the
20 SDS party relating the official position of the party at a time both
21 throughout the passage of that. I think it's a different matter and
22 should be admitted, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Robinson.
24 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President. I don't think you have to
25 worry about that, because the witness didn't do anything other than say
1 what is in the article. He didn't confirm anything about it, so I don't
2 think it's admissible through this witness.
3 MR. TIEGER: That's -- that -- excuse me for interrupting. First
4 of all, two things, Mr. President. This passes the test earlier. It's a
5 contemporaneous statement by the witness. That's a marker that the
6 Defence placed on admission of such documents when it attempted to
7 introduce them itself. And secondly, the witness has both contextualised
8 it. It was raised by the -- by the accused. Now the Prosecution's
9 responding to it to put further illumination on something that's already
10 been contextualised. It really would be inappropriate not to admit this,
11 and it would be running from information elicited, basically, by comments
12 and questions from the accused and now provide further amplification by
13 the Prosecution in its redirect.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Tieger, the Chamber is minded to stick to our
16 previous practice given that this is a third party's interview given to a
17 media which was called "Javnost," and all the witness confirmed is that
18 since such interview existed, and to the extent the witness confirmed,
19 that's already in our evidence. We'll not admit this.
20 MR. TIEGER: Okay. I -- I would like to be heard on it further,
21 but I don't want to be arguing against the Court's ruling, but I -- if
22 the Court wanted to hear why this is appropriate, I could amplify.
23 JUDGE KWON: Very well. I think we -- I thought we heard from
24 you, but let's continue.
25 MR. TIEGER: All right.
1 JUDGE KWON: You'll have another opportunity.
2 MR. TIEGER:
3 Q. General, I only have one more questions but I want to make sure I
4 understand this right. We saw the accused discuss with you at length
5 your access to and recording of highly sensitive intelligence
6 information, at least information that you asserted came from that source
7 during the period of April and May 1995, which reflected activities in a
8 variety of spheres. Did you have the same access to information in
9 June and July of 1995?
10 A. No, Mr. Tieger. On the 25th of May, I stopped and no longer kept
11 such information, because I was busy with other tasks.
12 Q. So on the basis -- this information allowed you to know how many
13 Serbs were allegedly killed in Slavonia, but without it you, as I
14 understand it, were unaware of anything that happened in Srebrenica until
15 you heard it from the media. Is that basically the situation as you
16 describe it?
17 A. Mr. Tieger, information I received as intelligence information
18 had to do with the period between March and May 1995 and no other period,
19 in particular the other period you pointed out. Information about those
20 killed in Western Slavonia is not something I made up. I copied it from
21 intelligence reports. I can neither confirm nor deny its accuracy.
22 That's what the reports stated.
23 MR. TIEGER: I have nothing further, Mr. President. I -- if the
24 Court wishes, again I don't mean to chafe under a previous ruling, but I
25 do think I'd ask the Court to take another look at the contemporaneous
1 statement Rule -- practices that we followed that I think Mr. Robinson
2 forgot. Other than that, nothing further. Thank you.
3 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 Questioned by the Court:
6 JUDGE KWON: General Skrbic, today on transcript page 13,
7 lines 12 to 15, while explaining to us why you have difficulty
8 remembering what happened with respect to Srebrenica, you said as
10 "Your Honours, I would like to point out a methodological
11 problem. Over these past few days and ever since the war ended, I've
12 learned a lot more about Srebrenica than I knew at the time. I also
13 studied some documents in the meantime, too."
14 So I was wondering what the result of your study was, what you --
15 what is that you learnt a lot more about it. Could you tell us about
16 your understanding as to how all those killings took place and who
17 ordered it? Could you help us in that regard?
18 A. Your Honour, I don't think anyone ordered the killings. However,
19 I do not deny that they came about. I saw some footage which you
20 probably saw, too. I saw what was being transported by the buses.
21 Sometimes such footage was broadcast on TV as well, and you can find it
22 on the internet. I did not prepare myself to write a scientific article
23 about it, so my observations were for my personal use and insight only.
24 JUDGE KWON: So what was your personal observation at the end of
25 the day, General?
1 A. My impression was that indeed the population was evacuated but
2 that they were offered to stay, too. A Muslim delegation signed an
3 agreement in the presence of Lieutenant-Colonel Karremans that they would
4 all move under the auspices of the UN. That is the information I had.
5 Then I watched some video footage on the internet and elsewhere on how
6 those columns of buses left Potocari for Kladovo and other places.
7 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. That concludes your evidence,
8 General Skrbic. On behalf of the Tribunal, I would like to thank you for
9 your coming to The Hague to give it. Now you are free to go.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Tieger, I leave it to you whether to start with
12 the next witness or not.
13 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. President. It will be Mr. Nicholls.
14 Let me see what his view is on that and if I can just have one minute.
15 Thanks, Mr. President. It seems like your sense was -- was
16 shared, and I think it would be probably more appropriate under the
17 circumstances just to commence on Monday.
18 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Given that we had some longer days
19 sometime during the week, I think it's better to adjourn for the week
20 unless there are any other matters to raise at the moment.
21 The hearing is adjourned. We will resume on Monday - in the
22 morning or in the afternoon. I have to check - at 9.00.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.35 p.m.,
24 to be reconvened on Monday, the 12th day
25 of March, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.