1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
4 Case No.IT-95-18-R61
5 Case No. IT-95-5-R61
8 Wednesday, 3rd July 1996
11 JUDGE JORDA
12 (The Presiding Judge)
14 JUDGE ODIO BENITO
15 JUDGE RIAD
16 THE PROSECUTOR OF THE TRIBUNAL
20 RADOVAN KARADZIC
21 RATKO MLADIC
22 MR. ERIC OSTBERG, MR. MARK HARMON and MR. TERREE BOWERS appeared
23 on behalf of the Prosecution
24 (Open Session)
25 (10.00 a.m.)
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE [In translation]: First, we will check everything.
2 One moment, please. Is the interpretation coming through loud and
3 clear? Can you hear me? Prosecutor, can you hear me?
4 MR. BOWERS: Yes.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The Registrar? My colleagues? The assistant? All
6 the staff, can you all hear me? Good morning. Good morning,
7 Prosecutor. Perhaps we can continue with the testimony which we had
8 to stop yesterday? Prosecutor, please proceed.
9 MR. BOWERS: Thank you, your Honour. We would recall to the stand Captain
11 CAPTAIN PATRICK RECHNER, recalled.
12 Examined by MR. BOWERS
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Captain, can you hear me? But as you are a globe
14 trotter, I am sure you will have no difficulties. Please proceed,
16 MR. BOWERS: Thank you, your Honour.
17 Q. Captain Rechner, when we ended the day yesterday your were talking
18 about a meeting you had with Koljevic, I believe, on May 29th; is that
20 A. No, May 29th is when we tried to arrange the meeting through his
21 secretary when I was at my accommodations. The meeting actually took
22 place finally on 15th June.
23 Q. OK. On June 15th. At that meeting he made a comparison comparing the
24 taking of the hostages to the use of electric shock; is that correct?
25 A. That is correct, and as an analogy of electric shock therapy.
1 Q. What were the topics you discussed at this meeting?
2 A. My primary concern was just to raise some of our problems of the
3 treatment we had incurred with him, and also discuss the future
4 working relationship when the UN military observers and the Bosnian
5 Serb government.
6 Q. Did you raise with Mr. Koljevic the fact that you had been singled out
7 of your observation team and the subject of allegations that you had
8 been observers for the air strikes?
9 A. Yes, among the different topics discussed relating to future
10 possibilities of UNMOs working on Bosnian Serb territory was the
11 problem of security. I mentioned to him the fact that the local
12 media had singled my team out, including me personally, as well as
13 the Czech officer, Captain Zidlik, as being the ones responsible
14 personally for guiding in the NATO air strikes.
15 I mentioned to Professor Koljevic that those allegations would
16 have to be withdrawn formally and publicly otherwise our security
17 would be untenable on the Bosnian Serb side, because a lot of the
18 local people, no doubt, would have believed the propaganda and would,
19 perhaps, decide to take their revenge on us at some later date.
20 Q. What was Koljevic's response to that request?
21 A. He did not answer that question or my concern directly, but he
22 mentioned that because of the magnitude of the crisis between the
23 Bosnian Serb authorities and the UN, as a result of the NATO bombing,
24 a completely new working relationship would have to be established
25 between the UN and the Bosnian Serb authorities. I had asked him
1 also whether we would be released to our office in Pale or evacuated
2 to Belgrade like the other hostages had been. He mentioned no,
3 everybody would be evacuated to Belgrade. That was the plan.
4 Q. Did he talk about his perception of the air strikes and why it was
5 necessary to take hostages in his mind?
6 A. Like I said, he mentioned that this crisis was of an extremely high
7 magnitude and he referred to previous air strikes as well as the air
8 strikes on the first day which was 25th May, and saying that in the
9 past air strikes were not a problem. They were a token response by
10 the UN where usually the Serbs would have some prior notice and/or
11 the UN would strike a very small target without causing any
12 significant damage.
13 So, he mentioned that in the past it was not really a problem.
14 The Serbs would understand once an air strike was conducted on a
15 limited scale that the UN was prepared to escalate things. However,
16 he mentioned the bombing on 26th May was completely out of proportion
17 to the previous bombings and was extremely serious and endangered any
18 future working relationship between the Bosnian Serbs and the UN.
19 Q. How did your meeting with Mr. Koljevic end?
20 A. On a basically friendly note. He mentioned that we should have been
21 released a bit earlier, but that there were some technical
22 difficulties and we would be released very shortly, just to be
23 patient for a couple of more days. Then he asked if we needed any
24 food or anything. I mentioned the food was not the greatest, but it
25 was military food and we understood.
1 The only concern I had with him was that all the UN military
2 observers who were detained with me get a chance to make a call, a
3 telephone call, to their next of kin. He just noted it but did not
4 mention whether or not he could do anything to grant us the detail or
5 the right to make telephone calls.
6 Q. Just as a reminder to the court, what position did Koljevic hold in
7 the Republika Srpska at the time this meeting took place?
8 A. Professor Koljevic was the Vice President of Republika Srpska and also
9 the Chairman of their State Committee for co-operation with the UN and
10 international humanitarian organisations.
11 Q. What happened after this meeting with Koljevic on 15th June?
12 A. This meeting took place at the military police headquarters in the
13 town of Pale, so I was taken back to the barracks right after the
14 meeting, that is, the military barracks where we were being detained,
15 so returned back to be with the rest of the military observers.
16 Q. When were you eventually released?
17 A. It was on the afternoon of 18th June. That is, I say "released", that
18 is when we were loaded on the buses in Pale and driven to Novi Sad in
19 Vojvodina which is an area of Serbia.
20 Q. Before you were loaded on to the buses on June 18th, did you make an
21 attempt to recover some of the equipment that you had in your office?
22 A. Yes, we had all been permitted on the morning of 18th June to go
23 back to our accommodations and take our personal belongings. Because
24 of several visits that we had managed to conduct with our guards to
25 our accommodations, and as well the observers from the other teams
1 were able to make visits to their accommodations, we noticed that a
2 lot of personal things and UN equipment had been either stolen or
3 confiscated by the Bosnian Serb Army or private individuals. So,
4 naturally, we were concerned about the security of our office
6 We knew or we presumed that the soldiers would try to do
7 everything to prevent us from taking it. So we had actually too much
8 to take anyway, so we had decided to only take some of the key items
9 that would make the remaining equipment inoperable. So, in our
10 team's case, we decided to take the antenna to our INMARSAT
11 telephone, and also the hand set for the INMARSAT telephone and a
12 short or a small blue box which is the transeiver for our CAPSAT
13 which is another satellite communications means.
14 Q. What occurred when you went to the office to try to recover these
16 A. We had managed to surreptitiously to take the items. I had managed to
17 get the hand set to the INMARSAT telephone and leave the
18 accommodations with it. However, Captain Zidlik, the Czech UNMO in
19 my team, was still there and the landlady, Mrs. Mira Savic, went
20 upstairs and noticed that the INMARSAT antenna was missing. She
21 assumed immediately that we had taken it. So she turned to the Czech
22 officer, was very angry, called him "an enemy of the Serb people",
23 reported to the guard that we had taken some of the office equipment.
24 The guard searched Captain Zidlik's belongings, found the
25 INMARSAT antenna and also the transeiver to the CAPSAT system.
1 However, the guard did not know what the CAPSAT transeiver was and
2 asked Captain Zidlik what it was. So Captain Zidlik responded that
3 it was just a personal item required for his telephone. The guard
4 accepted that.
5 Unfortunately, one of our interpreters, Svetlana Babovic,
6 turned to the guard immediately and told him, "No, no, this is
7 actually part of their CAPSAT or satellite communications system that
8 they are trying to make their way with". She also mentioned at that
9 time that the hand set to the INMARSAT telephone was missing and
10 that, obviously, I had taken it because it was not in Captain
11 Zidlik's belongings. So we were forced to return all these items.
12 Q. Did you make any other efforts to acquire these items after they had
13 been taken from you?
14 A. No, that is all we could do. The only other thing I can mention is I
15 was forced to come back to our accommodations and return the hand
16 set. At that time our landlord, Mr. Danilo Savic, was there. He was
17 very angry and we had a bit of an argument. Mr. Savic either, I
18 think it was at that time, mentioned that he would immediately call
19 Mr. Krajisnik, who is the speaker of the Bosnian Serb Assembly, and
20 report this what, according to him, was a terrible act on our part in
21 trying to take our own communications equipment, so that would be
22 reported to the Bosnian Serb authorities.
23 I was then returned back to the barracks where we had been
24 detained throughout the 24 days and a short time afterwards, I would
25 estimate about 30 minutes, I received a telephone call from Professor
1 Koljevic who apologised for the incident with the guards and our
2 landlord about our communications equipment, and said he understood
3 perfectly our concern about the security of our equipments and that
4 Mr. Krajicnik had informed him of all the details, but wanted me to
5 understand that it was necessary for them to keep all the equipment
6 in the office and have it functioning because they needed to
7 communicate with the UN, and that was their only reliable means. So
8 they mentioned that they would continue using our interpreters, which
9 were Bosnian Serb civilians, to operate the equipment in our office
10 in order or to continue communicating with the United Nations.
11 Q. Did you ever get the equipment back?
12 A. No, the equipment was there. I found subsequently talking over the
13 next few months with some of my military observer friends that the
14 equipment was left there and the interpreters continued to work alone
15 in our office.
16 Q. When you were eventually taken to the buses to be removed from Pale,
17 was there anyone there that talked to the hostages?
18 A. Yes, just before being released, early in the afternoon of 18th June,
19 Professor Koljevic came over and addressed, first, all of the
20 Canadians, which was myself, plus 12 soldiers from the Canadian
21 battalion in Viseko, and the other 14 military observers. In both
22 instances, he apologised for the fact that we were detained, noting
23 that when he had done his military service he had also spent sometime
24 in a Yugoslav military jail so he understood some of the hardships of
25 our detention. But he also mentioned, basically, the same thing as we
1 discussed in our meeting on 15th June, that we should understand that
2 this whole incident with the bombing was a terrible crisis between the
3 UN and the Bosnian Serb authorities, and that the Bosnian Serbs
4 authorities needed to send a strong signal to the UN. He reiterated
5 the analogy of the electric shock, saying in some cases an electric
6 shock can kill a patient, but in other cases it can cure him. That
7 was the response or the magnitude of the response that they had chosen
8 in order to send a signal to the UN about how upset they were about
9 the bombing. He asked us to understand that.
10 Q. After you left Pale, where were you and the other hostages taken?
11 A. We were taken to Novi Sad in the Vojvodina area of Serbia.
12 Q. Did you eventually make your way to Belgrade?
13 A. Yes, we spent the night in Novi Sad at a hotel, and then the next
14 morning on 19th June we were driven to the airport in Belgrade and
15 flown from there on a UN aircraft back to Zagreb.
16 Q. Have you been back to Pale since you were taken hostage?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Your Honour, at this time we have two very brief video clips that we
19 would like to show. If we could have the lights dimmed and those two
20 clips shown, please?
21 (The video clips were shown)
22 Thank you. As I said, those were very brief but, Captain
23 Rechner, could you please comment on those two video clips?
24 A. The first one was a clip of Major Janusz Kalbarczyk who was the
25 polish military observer, as I explained yesterday, that was first
1 chained at the bunkers 300 metres away from us where the ammunition
2 was exploding. It was with Major Kalbarczyk later in that day that we
3 were taken blindfolded to the radar site at Jahorina. The image that
4 you saw was the interview that the local Serb journalists conducted
5 with him as he was handcuffed to the radar dome.
6 The second image is a picture of me shortly after I was
7 handcuffed around the lightning rod in front of the bunkers
8 Jahorinski Potok on 26th May.
9 MR. BOWERS: Thank you. Your Honours, that concludes our testimony. We
10 would tender the video as exhibits and open up the session for
11 questions from the court.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Prosecutor. I will ask my fellow Judges
13 to put their questions.
14 Examined by the Court
15 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. Captain Rechner, could you tell to the
16 court the specific role of the UN military observers in Pale during
18 A. Is that the UN military observers in general or just my liaison team?
19 Q. No, in general.
20 A. In general, in Pale, the observers from what I called Sierra Echo 1,
21 that is the normal observing team, their job was to control or verify
22 the weapons held in the weapons collection points around Sarajevo,
23 and also work on the front lines of the Bosnian Serb positions to
24 monitor conflict activity, and report to directly through their
25 headquarters to the UN Security Council on what the situation on the
1 ground was, and also with respect to any violations of the cessation
2 of hostilities agreement that was signed on 31st December 1994
3 between all the warring factions in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 The job of my liaison team was more of an administrative and
5 political nature. We were the communications link between the
6 Bosnian Serb military and political authorities and the UN
7 headquarters, and on occasion as well we were used by some of the
8 international aid or humanitarian organisations.
9 So, in Pale, my team was responsible for communicating letters
10 either by telephone or by fax to the Bosnian-Serb authorities and
11 also sent their letters either by telephone or fax back to our
12 military observers headquarters in Sarajevo.
13 On occasion also we would hold some meetings to discuss
14 problems that pertained to military observers. As I mentioned, the
15 meeting at the beginning of May where we were trying to get some
16 freedom of movement for our military observers to be able to leave
17 the enclaves in the eastern part of Bosnia.
18 Q. So you did not have freedom of movement?
19 A. No. At the beginning, that is, from the end of December until, I
20 would say, the middle of April, in Pale, that is moving around Pale,
21 and also going to Sarajevo was no problem, but then the Bosnian Serbs
22 placed severe restrictions on us where we had to request 48 hours in
23 advance to be able to leave Pale and go into Sarajevo, for example.
24 Then at the end we were basically under house arrest. We were not
25 even allowed to leave the area of our residence at all.
1 As far as the other military observers, such as the ones
2 working in the safe areas of Srebrenica or Gorazde or Zepa, they did
3 not have any freedom of movement outside of those areas, so any time
4 they wanted to leave the enclaves or have some UNMOs go to the
5 enclaves, they would have to send a message to us and we would gain
6 permission or try to gain permission for them to move through the
7 Bosnian Serb military.
8 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you, Captain.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. Go ahead with your questions.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Captain Rechner, how long did you stay handcuffed?
11 A. It was about six hours or five-and-a-half hours.
12 Q. Were you attached to that?
13 A. To that pole, yes.
14 Q. Was it in any way, did it present any dangers for you?
15 A. I would say certainly, we were concerned about our safety from the
16 point of any civilians trying to attack us. I mentioned yesterday
17 the problem that when we were held up at the entrance to a bunker
18 complex that a crowd of civilians had gathered and one of the
19 individuals had assaulted me and then tried to shoot us. We were
20 concerned at being left all alone attached to the bunkers or the
21 lightning rods in front of them that some of these people may try to
22 make their way to us and shoot us.
23 The other danger, of course, was from any potential NATO air
24 strikes because we were in front of one of the bunkers filled with
25 ammunition that had not been hit yet, and we knew it was full of
1 ammunition because the door was open and Captain Zidlik was able to
2 see that there were some mines and mortar shells.
3 Later on, one of the guards actually took a box of mortar
4 shells and put it in front of Captain Zidlik to make him more
5 comfortable so he could sit it on. I do not think it made Captain
6 Zidlik very comfortable, but certainly the danger was there that if
7 there was any resumption of bombing that any collateral damage could
8 kill us.
9 Then third problem was that, as I mentioned this Lieutenant
10 Colonel who was filming us yesterday mentioned that even if the air
11 strikes did not kill us that he would come by and shoot us at the end
12 of the day. Also we were afraid if there was any NATO air strikes in
13 other locations, that they may come by and start executing us one at
14 a time to get the bombings stopped as they had threatened to do when
15 they were in our office initially to get the bombings stopped.
16 Q. At no stage did the authorities of Pale take measures to ensure your
18 A. No, like I mentioned, the two groups of delegations that visited us,
19 including Mr. Zametica, did not make any efforts with the soldiers to
20 get us released or moved to any location. They just walked by, took a
21 look at us and, in Mr. Zametica's case, he even seemed quite content
22 with the response of the military and had added that he was curious
23 what General Smith would do now that they had taken us all hostage and
24 used us as human shields in front of their strategic or important
1 Q. So you used the "human shields", that is what they were after?
2 A. I do not think he used the word "human shields".
3 Q. But it was a description?
4 A. Yes, in my case I felt as a human shield most certainly, because we
5 were placed there to prevent any NATO air strikes from occurring.
6 Q. Apart from using you, as you said, as human shields, were you subject
7 to any ill-treatment? Were you mistreated by the authorities?
8 A. Not directly, no, but it depends what you call, how you define
9 "ill-treatment", physically no. But the problem was that we were not
10 allowed to make any contact with our next of kin. We had immediately
11 requested to see representatives of the International Committee of
12 the Red Cross who had an office in Pale and we knew all the members
13 in the Red Cross office. That visit with the Red Cross, or that
14 meeting with the Red Cross, did not take place until, I believe it
15 was, 11th June.
16 We had also requested to see a doctor because a lot of us were
17 affected by the whole stressful nature of the ordeal. The visit of
18 medical authorities did not take place, I think, until the ninth day
19 of our hostage taking, so sometime around 5th June.
20 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Captain Rechner, I would like to ask you
22 a question on the feelings you had when you were taken as hostage. I
23 will not go back to all your statements and explanations -- you have
24 done that well -- but military function is the honour, that is what is
25 a driving force for you. Did at any point of time, as a military, as
1 an officer, you feel humiliated in that situation?
2 A. Yes, very much so, and I would say that this sense of humiliation and
3 betrayal is what I guarded most from the whole experience. In our
4 case, this aspect of humiliation and betrayal was particularly acute.
5 Because of the nature of our work, we were the liaison team to the
6 Bosnian Serb government and also the military High Command, so in the
7 absence of any political, official political recognition of their
8 governments, we were the closest thing that they had to any official
9 international representation.
10 I would say that our working relationship had been
11 professional and good, and the fact that I had met Dr. Karadzic and
12 General Mladic before when I was invited to a social function -- it
13 was 9th January, their St. Stephen's Day celebrations -- and also the
14 fact that we had done a lot of personal work, in particular, with the
15 local hospital in getting some urgent medications to them to treat
16 individual cases which we think saved people's lives, we thought we
17 had good working relationships with the local community and their
18 government, and we thought that our humanitarian work had been
19 valued; and the fact that they had chosen to take us hostage, not
20 only chosen us as hostages, but to begin with us and threaten to
21 kill us or use us as human shields, was the most terrible part of the
22 whole experience.
23 I do not want to underestimate or devalue the concern we had
24 for our own security because that was very real as well. On the
25 first day I would say there were five clear instances where I thought
1 I would lose my life, but this sense of betrayal and humiliation was
2 also very, very strong.
3 Q. Would you go so far as to say that deep down you felt that you had a
4 role very similar to that as of a minister who with a white flag wants
5 to talk about armistice and wants to negotiate in a position where you
6 cannot be taken as a hostage? Do you see your situation as similar to
8 A. The UN military observers were working on the Serb side with the
9 approval of the Serb authorities. We were unarmed, living in the
10 local communities. We were there in order that we could report any
11 cease-fire violations from the other side, that is, in the Sarajevo
12 area from the Muslim forces to the UN. So our work was of direct
13 value to the Serbs and they appreciated that and wanted us to work on
14 their territory.
15 In the case of our liaison team, they had requested our
16 presence initially, and that is it was at their request that we were
17 set up in Pale. Also, I found out shortly after I was released that
18 the Bosnian Serb authorities had asked the UN military observer
19 headquarters in Sarajevo if they could again send some military
20 observers to Pale, because it was very important that they have a
21 liaison team on the ground in Pale with which to deal.
22 Q. I want to ask you a last question which is a marginal one but,
23 nevertheless, deals with your stay in Pale: what impression did you
24 have of that government, of the administration in Pale? We read a lot
25 of things, there have been a lot of descriptions. You were a living
1 witness of that government, of the administration there, of that
2 corner on a hill in Sarajevo which is a self-proclaimed autonomous
3 unit. What is your general feeling of that area?
4 A. The first one was that they were very mistrustful of any foreigners,
5 which included us. Unfortunately, for that reason we did not have as
6 much direct access to the senior leaders and to work with them
7 directly as one would normally expect. Our day-to-day working
8 relationships was only with, which concerns, for example, Dr.
9 Karadzic's office, with his secretary, Mira, and with his spokesman
10 and political advisor, Mr. Zametica.
11 In the case of Professor Koljevic, towards the end, he became
12 a bit more open and I was able to discuss directly with him some of
13 the problems, but normally I would deal with his secretary, Ceca. On
14 the military side, partly because their headquarters were 60
15 kilometres away, we dealt normally only by telephone and fax
16 machines, primarily through Colonel Milos Durdjic, who was their
17 Senior Liaison Officer to the UN. His official functional or post
18 was the head of the Bosnian Serb Army department for co-operation
19 with the UN and international humanitarian organisations.
20 But it is difficult for me to comment on the workings of the
21 governments or on the personalities because of this barrier that they
22 had put in font of them which prevented our access to them. But, as
23 far as on a democratic level, there was no political opposition in
24 Pale, no freedom of the press that we were able to see. So everything
25 was very tightly controlled by the government.
1 At the same time, because we knew a lot of people in the local
2 community, the local people also, however, put their firm trust in
3 their leadership, as far as I could tell. There were some small
4 sentiments of displeasure over certain aspects of some of their
5 policies but, in general, the people supported their military
6 leaders. When asked about the lack of any democratic, political
7 processes or freedom of press, the local people would answer that
8 that was normal because they were at war and in wartime you need a
9 strict authoritarian government in place.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Fine. I have no further questions. The Tribunal
11 would like to thank Captain Rechner for having appeared here on behalf
12 of the Prosecutor. After having thanked you once for your clarity, I
13 would like him to be accompanied out of the Tribunal. Thank you.
14 (The witness withdrew)
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Counsel, before moving on to the next aspect that
16 you will be outlining for us, the court would like to have a
17 translation of the conversation Mr. Karadzic had on the hillside
18 above Sarajevo when the sniping was taking place, the shelling.
19 This was in the video that we saw. It was the writer or the Russian
20 poet. There is a conversation there that goes on for quite a while
21 which is in English, if I understood rightly, but he is speaking very
22 fast. I would ask that in the case file we include the French
23 translation of that conversation and the English transcription of it
24 as well, of course.
25 So, if you would be so good, we would like to see that. Thank
1 you. You have the floor.
2 MR. BOWERS: Yes, your Honour. We will take care of that request right
3 away. Your Honour, this concludes our evidentiary presentation on the
4 first indictment that is at issue in this Rule 61 hearing. We will
5 now be proceeding with an evidentiary presentation for the second
7 MR. HARMON: Good morning, your Honours. We will be first calling Jean
8 Rene Ruez as our witness. He will be a summary witness to describe
9 the events relating to the
10 indictment. We have prepared for your Honours copies of exhibit
11 books. I would usher the ask, please, to present them to the court.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Counsel, will we be coming back to the documents in
13 these files -- this is just a practical question -- because if we do
14 not need these any more? OK. We will keep them up here.
15 MR. JEAN RENE RUEZ, called.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Good morning sir. First, if you would be so good as
17 to read the declaration. Can you hear me?
18 THE WITNESS [In translation]: Yes. I solemnly declare I will tell the
19 truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
20 (The witness was sworn)
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Fine. Please be seated. Now your presentation will
22 be under the guidance of counsel for the Prosecution.
23 Examined by MR. HARMON
24 Q. Mr. Rene, please state your name and spell it for the record?
25 A. My name is Jean Rene Ruez, R-U-E-Z.
1 Q. Are you employed by the Office of the Prosecutor?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Before being employed by the Office of the Prosecutor, can you inform
4 the court of what you did?
5 A. I worked in the judicial police in France. I have worked there for 10
6 years. I worked in Paris and Marseilles and I was in charge of a unit
7 in Nice. That was my last position.
8 Q. How long have you been employed at the Office of the Prosecutor?
9 A. I have been working for the Office of the Prosecutor since April 1995.
10 Q. In that capacity have you conducted an investigation into the events
11 surrounding the takeover of Srebrenica in July 1995?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, your Honour. I am not hearing the translation of
14 my questions.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You are having translation problems? Can you hear
16 the Presiding Judge?
17 MR. HARMON: I am all right now. Thank you.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You can hear the Presiding Judge?
19 MR. HARMON: Yes.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: To be sure that you also hear your witness, Mr.
21 Harmon, so please go ahead. So can everyone hear in the public
22 gallery? Can you hear the proceedings? Fine. So please go right
23 ahead, Mr. Harmon.
24 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ruez, when did you start your investigation into the
25 events in Srebrenica?
1 A. The investigation began in Tuzla on 21st July 1995. The first
2 possibility to go in the Republika Srpska was on 21st January 1996,
3 and since then several missions have been carried out in the relevant
5 Q. I would like to ask you some questions about the background events
6 that led to Srebrenica becoming a UN safe area. Could you please
7 describe those events, Mr. Ruez?
8 A. I will be brief on this, in so far as it starts with the offensive on
9 the enclave, that is what the investigation begins with. Generally
10 speaking, since 1991/92, the region was subject to very high tension
11 between the two communities there. There have been aggressions on
12 both side. Towards mid '92, the people in the surrounding villages,
13 given the aggression that was being carried out against them, had to
14 flee and people gathered around the enclave.
15 In late '92, early '93, the Bosnian Serb Army launched an
16 offensive on these refugees in the enclave. The humanitarian
17 conditions were awful there. There were air lifts to supply the
18 people there. When the offensive was going full scale, General
19 Morillon took action there and the offensive was stopped until April
20 1993 when resolution 819 was adopted by the Security Council.
21 Q. Mr. Ruez, just a moment. Your Honours, Exhibit No. 1 that is in your
22 binders are copies of the relevant UN resolutions here prepared. Mr.
23 Ruez, what was the result of resolution 819?
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I am sorry, Mr. Ruez and Mr. Harmon, to interrupt,
25 but there is a map, maybe Mr. Ruez could indicate. I think I know
1 where Srebrenica is, but I think it might be good just to explain a
2 bit more the area that is involved. You mentioned the villages. Then
3 maybe just very briefly if you could indicate on the map where those
4 villages are.
5 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, that was my next question, as a matter of fact.
6 I am going to refer to Exhibit No. 59 and Exhibit No. 2.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I do apologise. Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.
8 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ruez, would you, please, then refer to Exhibit 59 and
9 Exhibit No. 2 and indicate for the court where the safe area was?
10 A. The safe area is here near the Serbian border to the east, northeast
11 of Sarajevo, to the north of the Zepa enclave. Now, on this map here,
12 this is a blow-up of the region I have just indicated on the map, the
13 safe area is in blue here. The red line is the confrontation line
14 between the Bosnian Serb Army and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 Now, the border runs along the river. It is the Drina. That is the
16 border with Serbia to the east.
17 Q. Mr. Ruez, how was resolution 819 implemented?
18 A. On 8th May '93 there was a demilitarisation agreement signed between
19 the parties; the UN Battalion was assigned for protecting the enclave.
20 Now, that agreement was never abided by by any party and UN UNPROFOR
21 spent a lot of time trying to sort things out, both with the Bosnian
22 Serbs and the Muslims.
23 Q. Let me focus your attention in regard to the stationing of a battalion
24 of peacekeepers to the enclave. When did the Dutch Battalion go into
25 the enclave, Mr. Ruez? Is that in February 1994?
1 A. Yes, in February 1994, a Dutch Battalion replaced the Canadian
2 Battalion that was stationed within the enclave. The situation did
3 not change. The agreement was not abided by. There were offensives
4 being launched against the enclave by the Bosnian Serb Army that
5 regularly bombarded -- bombed the enclave, and there were raids on the
6 part of the Bosnian Army from inside the enclave.
7 Q. Before the actual invasion of the enclave, was there a Bosnian Serb
8 blockade of it?
9 A. Yes, the offensive started with a blockade. The convoys were no
10 longer allowed to enter into enclave which gave rise to big problems
11 when it came to humanitarian aid supplies. By way of an example, a
12 kilo of coffee cost 80 Deutschemarks at the time. The blockade also
13 had effects when it came to rotating the staff of the Dutch
14 Battalion. They had quite some problems and, no doubt, the Dutch
15 witness will be able to elaborate on that. Also, at the time there
16 were some reinforcing of the Bosnian Serb Army around the enclaves, so
17 one could assume that there was going to be an assault on the safe
18 area in the near future.
19 Q. Could you please explain when the invasion began and describe what
20 happened in the initial phases of it?
21 A. So then the invasion as such began on 5th July 1995, in the night of
22 the 5th/6th July, some Bosnian Serb soldiers entered the enclave.
23 There was more and more pressure on the enclave. The observation
24 posts that had been set up by the Dutch Battalion were under fire. A
25 number of posts, they were falling one after the other. The people
1 there were caught in the cross-fire.
2 The Bosnian Army also used the observation posts in response
3 to the firing from the Bosnian Serb Army. The hostages or Dutch
4 hostages were taken to assembly points. Their equipment was taken
5 from them. On the whole, on the basis of the information we have,
6 the people were treated relatively well.
7 A team of cameramen filmed them while they were in the custody
8 of General Mladic's forces. The villages in the environs were being
9 bombed more and more regularly, more and more intensely. The people
10 there had to flee and they moved into Srebrenica and gathering there,
11 awaiting an intervention on the part of NATO forces.
12 Q. Mr. Ruez, could you please describe for the court the significant
13 events that occurred in the enclave on July 10th?
14 A. The day before, that is to say, 9th July, the UN sent in ultimatum to
15 the Bosnian Serbs troops calling for the withdrawal of their troops
16 from the enclave by 6 a.m. the next morning, otherwise there would be
17 air strikes.
18 Now, the following day, on 10th, the attack continued. There
19 was bombing. The people who were in the environs of Srebrenica all
20 sought refuge within the town. Now, what they had to decide is how
21 to react to events. On 10th, some of the male population decided to
22 flee through the woods towards Tuzla.
23 Now, the Dutch Battalion -- that is in Srebrenica but it is
24 Potocari that it has its main compound -- were getting ready for a
25 massive inflow of refugees. In Potocari, they were getting things
1 ready because they were expecting some 25,000 people to be coming in
2 and they were expecting them from one moment to the next.
3 Q. What was reaction of General Mladic to the UN ultimatum?
4 A. The reaction of General Mladic to that ultimatum, well, was in turn an
5 ultimatum. The Bosnian Army was given 24 hours to surrender. Also,
6 the Dutch Battalion was given an ultimatum not to allow any refugees
7 within the UN compound.
8 Q. What happened to the refugees who had been in the enclave, the city of
9 Srebrenica, around the Dutch B COY unit?
10 A. On 11th July, subsequent to the ultimatum from Mladic, the crowd
11 gathered in Srebrenica at the Dutch compound B COY, is what it is
12 referred to. People gathered there right from the morning, waiting
13 for the air raids that were supposed to take place. There were some
14 15,000 people at Srebrenica at the time gathered there in front of
15 the compound.
16 The crowd tried to get inside, managed to get inside and then
17 the ultimatum from the day before goes into effect and three shells
18 land within the compound among the people. We do not how many people
19 were hurt or killed, because there is an outbreak of panic amongst
20 the crowd and people are running towards Potocari. The evacuation of
21 the hospital takes place around 11 o'clock that morning.
22 The people are fleeing under the bombs, the roads being bombed
23 all along its way, that is, from -- we are talking about four
24 kilometres, from Srebrenica to Potocari. Once they got to Potocari,
25 the people are gathered around the Dutch compound. People are left
1 within it, but quite quickly the situation becomes unbearable. The
2 compound is invaded, as it were, by the crowds. There is not enough
3 room to let everyone in.
4 The people are directed towards other areas, towards factories
5 in the neighbourhood. This is an industrial area you have around
6 Potocari. The firing goes on. There are several shells that land
7 around the compound and people have to seek shelter within the
8 factories there.
9 Q. Mr. Ruez, I would like to go back to the shelling of the B COY
10 compound in the city of Srebrenica. Who fired those shells?
11 A. The Bosnian Serb Army shelled B COY.
12 Q. Did air strikes occur on that day?
13 A. Yes, there were air strikes late in the morning. While the people
14 were fleeing towards Potocari, there was an air strike then that was
15 carried out. The soldiers, the Muslim soldiers, who were there could
16 see what the result of the firing was. Seeing that the strikes were
17 not what they had hoped for, that the result was not such as it would
18 make the Bosnian Serb Army retreat, the military leaders decided to
19 evacuate the army, the Muslim army, from Srebrenica.
20 So, people took two different directions, women, elderly,
21 children, fled towards Potocari; men, the fit to serve men, who did
22 not want to fall into the hands of the Bosnian Serb Army, headed for
23 the woods. They gathered in a village near Potocari, Susnjari, and
24 from there they all gathered and all the other men started coming in,
25 getting ready to all head out together. A lot of civilians followed
1 the soldiers and so they set up shop there waiting for night fall to
2 move on.
3 Q. After the air strikes occurred, what was General Mladic's reaction?
4 A. The immediate reaction of General Mladic was to threaten the Dutch
5 Battalion, saying that he would do away with the Potocari compound.
6 They had the military means to do so. There were some heavy artillery
7 stationed around there. There were multiple rocket launchers, tanks,
8 mortars and the threat was also to kill the hostages. I do not know
9 how many hostages there were, but there were 55 hostages in the Dutch
10 Battalion and there were interpreters there who told them what those
11 threats were.
12 Q. Do you know what happened in the city of Srebrenica after the
13 population fled?
14 A. Yes, we know what happened in Srebrenica -- Drazen Erdemovic, he
15 confessed, he is a Bosnian Serb soldier who is in custody with the
16 Tribunal. Now, that day when people left the city, the first
17 Bosnian-Serb forces entered Srebrenica. Everyone had not left. There
18 were a number of civilians who were still in the town. All of those
19 civilians were gathered on the Srebrenica soccer field. Drazen
20 Erdemovic does not know what happened on the soccer field, the fate of
21 the people there is not known. We have lost trace of them. Now, what
22 can be said is that at least one person was killed in cold blood on
23 that occasion because he saw that. He says that there was a murder
24 committed against a Muslim civilian there at Srebrenica, so on orders.
25 Q. On the night of July 11th, did General Mladic meet with the Dutch
1 Commander of the UN peacekeepers?
2 A. Yes, there was a meeting at Bratunac at the Fontana Hotel. General
3 Mladic and General Zivanovic met with Colonel Karremans. They met
4 twice on that day. The fate of the hostages and the people was
5 discussed. Since there is going to be another witness discussing
6 this, there is no point in me elaborating on it.
7 Q. All right. Mr. Ruez, I would now like to turn your attention to 12th
8 July 1995. Can you please describe to the court what happened in
9 relation to the column of men who had fled into the woods?
10 A. About 15,000 men had gathered at Susnjari on 11th in the evening.
11 The column started fleeing towards Tuzla, following the line here
12 that I am indicating on the map. Now, to do that they had to first go
13 through the minefields that had been set up all around the enclave.
14 They left towards 11.00, 11 p.m. It was a very slow process because
15 people had to go in single file. There was about a metre wide track
16 through the minefields so it was quite difficult going.
17 During the night, the column was not subjected to any attacks
18 really, so it was a rather quiet night. But, as of the morning, that
19 is to say, when the column was about 15 kilometres long, the first
20 bombing occurred. The column was ambushed on several occasions.
21 Several bombings took place. So the army was in the lead; so the
22 military forces were in the front; the civilians were in the middle
23 and in the rear mixed with a few soldiers who were there to oversee
24 their protection on the flanks.
25 All kinds of weapons were used to fire at the columns, from
1 anti-aircraft guns to others, mortars. The Bosnian Serb troops who
2 were mainly stationed there along this strategic road, and so there
3 was no possibility to flee towards Tuzla along this road.
4 A lot of witnesses referred to the fact that there were people
5 along there and there were also UN people along there. Blue helmets
6 were there. Promises had been made. They had been given assurances.
7 Several witnesses said this, that people were told that in case they
8 surrendered etc., they did not even fear for their lives.
9 Q. You mentioned, Mr. Ruez, that there was a Bosnian Serb military
10 presence along the road. Could you please point to the court where
11 the trap line was set?
12 A. The main military presence is on the road here that is in red on the
13 map, and so that is in the way of the way they wanted to flee. The
14 main ambush took place above Kamenica.
15 When the column of refugees was massively concentrated at that
16 point, there was a severe ambush that has been described by a number
17 of witnesses. People were surrounded. They tried to flee and they
18 were mowed down there. A lot of them were killed. The bodies are
19 still there. A lot of journalists have gone there and seen that a
20 lot of bodies are still there, corpses; amongst them military people
21 as well as a large number of civilians.
22 Towards 6 p.m. on the road, the Army managed Nova Kasaba, at
23 about the height there. So right after they got through, there was a
24 second ambush that occurred and the civilian population that was
25 trying to get through at that time could not get through. Everybody
1 was held up afterwards and the group started breaking up in so far as
2 possible, just a total chaos. Various groups of different sizes of
3 30, 100,000 people are looking for some way to get out of that area.
4 Now, groups are captured. One witness reports the arrest of a
5 group of about 65 people, half of them are immediately killed and the
6 rest taken to unknown places.
7 There are a number of scenes that are referred to that take
8 place during the night. One prisoner who was hiding in the woods,
9 observed the capture of another who was immediately tortured. He had
10 his nose and ears and lips cut off before he had his throat slit.
11 A number of witnesses also described the infiltration of the
12 column by Bosnian Serb soldiers who, taking advantage of the cover of
13 darkness, mixed in with the crowd, gave people faulty directions,
14 directed them towards areas where there were ambushes or directed
15 them towards the Bratunac/Nova Kasaba road where the Army was waiting
16 for them, and you can imagine what happened when they got there.
17 Q. OK. Mr. Ruez, can you describe whether or not there was a meeting in
18 Bratunac on the morning of 12th July between General Mladic and the
19 representatives of Dutch BAT unit?
20 A. Yes, a meeting did take place in the morning at Bratunac. General
21 Mladic had asked the day before the Dutch Colonel to come with
22 representatives of the Muslim population. Now, all of the
23 representatives had already taken off the first part of the column,
24 as I said earlier, that managed to get through, was made up of
25 civilians -- some civilians, mainly military people and also the
1 spouses of a number of people of the municipality. So they had all
3 Several representatives were called on. These are not
4 professional representatives, if I might say so; these are people who
5 agreed to stand in as representatives. There was a woman amongst
6 them as well as a man, Ibro Nuhanovic. In the course of the meeting
7 -- Colonel Karremans will no doubt have some comments on this --
8 Ibro Nuhanovic told his son when he came back that General Mladic had
9 asked that the men of 17 to 65 years old be questioned to see whether
10 they have committed any war crimes during the previous period. You
11 will be hearing more about that from the witness.
12 Q. I would like to focus your attention on Potocari, the UN compound
13 there, particularly on the morning of July 12th. Can you describe to
14 the court what was occurring at that compound?
15 A. Yes. On 12th July, the Bosnian Serb Army reached Potocari. The
16 night had been quiet. People had gathered in the factories.
17 Everyone was very concerned about what was going to be happening the
18 following day. In the morning, the people saw that some houses were
19 on fire in the environs of Potocari.
20 The first troops entered the city and immediately asked the
21 blue helmets to hand over their equipment. They take away the
22 bulletproof vests. They take away their helmets. They mixed with
23 the people. The refugees talked to these people and realised that
24 they are not Dutch, that they are Serbian, and they realised what a
25 terrible situation is developing.
1 These soldiers start handing out candy to children and asking
2 questions about the army, where the army is, where have the men gone.
3 The meeting that is taking place at that time in Potocari between
4 General Mladic and the Dutch Commander is not yet over, and there is
5 already a large number of trucks showing up in Potocari. Everybody is
6 quite surprised by the number of vehicles that turned up.
7 Now, shortly after the trucks arrived, General Mladic turns up
8 at Potocari and he talks to the crowd. He explains to the people that
9 they are going to be evacuated, that nobody is going to harm them.
10 Q. Mr. Ruez, have you prepared some film footage about what you have just
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Could you please describe what the court will be seeing on the film
14 footage that we are about to play?
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Harmon, we are just about ready to have a
16 recess, so maybe we could work our recesses in consistent with the
17 testimony, so it is up to you to say. Do you think we should proceed
18 to a recess now or do you think that we should first watch the video
19 that has been prepared by the witness?
20 MR. HARMON: If we could play the video -- it is not long, your Honour --
21 it would be a guide of good time to break right after the video.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Fine. So, please proceed, Mr. Ruez.
23 THE WITNESS: As regards this video, there is a choice of scenes. At
24 first, you will see the crowd gathered in front of the Srebrenica UN
25 compound. That is on the 10th, that is to say, the day before the
1 invasion. Now, as regards the quality of the film, it is quite
2 frankly not all that good.
3 Then there are going to be some excerpts from Serbian
4 television showing very briefly the attack on the city. Then there
5 will be a few scenes about showing the air strikes. Then there is
6 going to be a clip with Mladic at Srebrenica. Then there will be a
7 view of Potocari, but this is prior to the events showing where
8 things are located, the factories. Then you will see the arrival of
9 the refugees on 11th in the morning and, lastly, you will see General
10 Mladic at Potocari.
11 Q. If we could lower the lights, please, and play Exhibit 3, clip No. 1?
12 (Exhibit 3, clip No. 1 was played)
13 A. So, I said it is not very good, but there are groups of men, women
14 and children here who have assembled before the compound. People are
15 wondering what is going to happen to them, and it is here that the
16 following morning the shells would be landing in the midst of the
18 There there is a group of men involved in a discussion. It
19 was after that kind of a discussion that the men would decide to flee
20 through the woods. At times the people are standing in the way of
21 the UN vehicles, to keep them there so that they would not leave.
22 Now, this was on Serbian television. These are scenes of the
23 attack. This is an artillery commander who is directing the fire.
24 The Bosnian Serb soldiers on the road south of the enclave. Then
25 this relates to the air strikes there. General Mladic who is
1 entering Srebrenica from the south. There are a few other Generals
2 there. General Mladic gives the order to continue towards Potocari.
3 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, we have had translated the words of General
4 Mladic in the last segment of the film that you have seen. I would
5 ask Mr. Ruez to please read the translation into the record.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Harmon, thank you. That was the question I was
7 going to put to you, that we include that in the case file, but you
8 are saying that is the translation of the last bit of the film. We
9 actually would prefer having all of the last clip, that is to say,
10 from the moment on when General Mladic enters Srebrenica. So if we
11 could have all of that at one point in time? Thank you.
12 MR. HARMON: That is no problem, your Honour. Mr. Ruez, would you please
13 read what I have asked you to read?
14 A. Yes. This is just, what you refer to is he wanted to have removed a
15 Muslim flag that had remained on a barricade. He asked that a
16 picture be taken of it first.
17 With regard to the other scenes, he congratulated his
18 colleagues. He gave them the order to continue in the direction of
19 Potocari. With regard to the brief interview he gave a journalist
20 who was there and who had quite apparently been taken along in the
21 operation, the text is the following:
22 "There you go, Srebrenica on this 11th July 1995, a Serbian;
23 just before another Serbian holiday we can offer this to the Serbian
24 people. After the rebellion of the Dahijas, we can revenge the Turks
25 in this area". The rebellion against Dahijas, that is a reference to
1 an uprising of local officers under the Ottoman Empire and in 1804
2 there had been that uprising and there had been the slaughter of
3 Serbian officers.
4 MR. HARMON: Thank you, your Honours. I think this is an appropriate time
5 to break.
6 THE WITNESS: The clip was not finished. There was still a view of
7 Potocari and the refugees there.
8 MR. HARMON: We can come back to that after the break. Thank you.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will adjourn until 11.45.
10 (11.20 p.m.)
11 (The court adjourned for a short time)
12 (11.45 a.m.)
13 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I would like to read into the record again,
14 returning to that film clip with General Mladic, the English
15 translation of what he said, I quote: "Here we are in Srebrenica on
16 July 11th 1995. On the eve of yet another great Serbian holiday we
17 present this city to the Serbian people as a gift. Finally, after the
18 rebellion against the Dajihas, the time has come to take revenge on
19 the Turks in this region".
20 When we broke, your Honour, we had two portions of the film
21 that we still wanted to show, so if we could have the lights dimmed we
22 will proceed with those portions of the film clip.
23 (The video film clip was shown)
24 THE WITNESS: This video was filmed from the roof of the main compound of
25 Potocari. It gives you a general idea of the situation at that time.
1 Here you have the road which goes to Potocari, on the right to
2 Bratunac. There you have the surrounding hills with individual
3 homes. Several factories are clumped together in the peripheral area.
4 The film was taken before the events and at that moment there
5 were no refugees. This is the type of factory where the population
6 sought refuge and this is a view of the back of the factory.
7 At 11 o'clock in the morning the first refugees arrived at
8 Potocari. They were transported by truck, but the majority of the
9 people fled on foot. The people are helped by Medicines sans
10 Frontier and other people who helped them. A lot of people suffered
11 casualties, were injured. What you should note, it was July and it
12 was extremely hot.
13 Here are other trucks which are arriving at the camp. Every
14 space is used by the population so that they can flee as quickly as
15 possible. Now, these are the news of the Serb Television describing
16 the events, the arrival in Potocari. The situation on 12th in
17 Potocari. Women refugees in Potocari. The first speech of General
18 Mladic to the crowd -- afterwards there were many others. He is
19 reassuring everybody.
20 Q. Mr. Ruez, you have translated the words of General Mladic that are
21 shown in that last film clip?
22 A. Yes, I have a text here in English. When General Mladic talked to
23 the crowd he said the following: "Do not be afraid. Just take it
24 easy, easy. Let women and children go first. Plenty of buses will
25 come. We will transfer you towards Kladanj". Kladanj which is here
1 on the map, so you can see the road which was taken, for the
2 deportation of the people. "From there you will cross to the
3 territory controlled by Alija forces", this is referring to Alija
4 Izetbegovic. "Just do not panic. Let women and little children go
5 through first. Do not let any of the children get lost. Do not be
6 afraid. Nobody will harm you", and the people thanked him.
7 Then he gave an interview to a reporter who was present:
8 "Today I received a delegation from the population and they asked me
9 whether I could give them the means to help them leave the territory.
10 They wanted to leave and cross the territory controlled by the
11 Muslims and Croats.
12 "Our Army does not want combat activities against civilians,
13 nor against the UNPROFOR forces. The aim was not to fight civilian
14 populations. We have nothing against the people here or UNPROFOR.
15 We have provided transportation, food, water and medicine for them.
16 During the day we are going to evacuate women and children, elderly
17 persons and all others who are willing to leave this area of combat
18 activities without being forced to do so". That was the interview
19 with General Mladic.
20 Q. Mr. Ruez, can you describe to the court what happened in Potocari
21 after the arrival of General Mladic and the Bosnian Serb Army?
22 A. At the end of the interview with General Mladic, the soldiers
23 surrounding him went to the crowd and separated the women and the
24 men. Many men were still present in Potocari at that moment. Many
25 of them did not want to leave their families; others also had family
1 ties to remain there. Some did not want to have the risk of going
2 through the woods. About 3,000 men were still in Potocari at that
3 moment then.
4 The deportation evacuations happened almost immediately. The
5 people went to the buses. The Dutch soldiers tried to have some
6 order and instil the order in the crowd. General Mladic also was in
7 charge or controlled the evacuation and explained to everybody
8 before they got into the bus that the men would follow on. The men
9 who tried to get on the buses, some managed, others were immediately
10 separated by the soldiers and taken out and taken to houses which
11 were in the surrounding areas.
12 Murder was done by two soldiers of General Mladic of a person,
13 who of a man, who tried to get on to the bus. The soldiers in
14 Potocari mixed in with the crowd and separated the men who were there
15 with their families still.
16 A witness who was there in the factory on 11th March saw
17 several soldiers entering the factory. Some of them went towards a
18 woman who had a baby in her arms, asked for the gender of the baby.
19 The woman said it was a boy and immediately the soldier killed the
20 baby with a knife. The mother fell unconscious and everybody tried
21 to flee. The witness also left the site.
22 Many bodies were seen without having any direct witness of
23 what actually happened. Near a stream there were seven bodies lying
24 down, and he noticed that all had their throats cut and one had the
25 head severed almost completely from the body. There were about 10
1 other bodies behind the factory.
2 Then there was another group of soldiers who were hiding
3 behind a house. Two of their colleagues went towards the crowd that
4 was gathering just in front of the factory, and pointed out the men
5 and put them in small groups behind the factory. An opening was
6 created so that the people could pass and go to the side away from
7 the crowd. Men arrived in small groups of 10. About 20 soldiers
8 were waiting for them and killed them with knives one after the
9 other. There was no movement of revolt that was felt or seen.
10 This lasted for several hours. The bodies piled up. Prisoners
11 were made -- were ordered to put them in order. A truck arrived and
12 they were loaded on to the truck. Those who had to do the work were
13 then executed. There were about -- the trucks came about five times
14 to collect the bodies and took them to an unknown destination.
15 The soldiers gradually in the afternoon became more and more
16 mixed in the crowd. Some were recognised by people whom they knew
17 before these events took place. The United Nations soldiers were
18 forced to give their materiel, for example, their helmets, their
19 vehicles. The Serb soldiers got into the vehicles. Many men were
20 separated and were taken to an unknown destination behind the houses.
21 There are a lot of possibilities there in order to carry out
22 mass executions. One heard shots coming from the area around the
23 houses. A witness saw two men who were taken into a building, and
24 some time later there were seven bodies found in this location.
25 During the evacuation process one man was separated from his
1 family. He was also killed with a knife by a soldier. There was
2 panic in the crowd. People tried to clamber on to the buses, some
3 managed to, and the separation process continued throughout the
5 Q. Mr. Ruez, can you please describe the deportation process that first
7 A. That afternoon, 12th July, 5,000 people were deported from Potocari
8 to Kladanj. For the first group, the things happened relatively well
9 or according to plan. The escorts who had accompanied the convoys had
10 their people taken. The soldiers could not carry out their
11 functions. Their vehicles were taken from them.
12 On the route, the people saw groups of prisoners along the
13 roadside. They saw abandoned bags, some bodies here and there
14 scattered along the roadside in the area shaded in red on the map. A
15 medical convoy was also evacuated in the direction of Kladanj. The
16 convoy is stopped at Tisca which is the last stop before the
17 confrontation lines, and the rest they had to do on foot.
18 The prisoners left the trucks and were beaten. One prisoner
19 had a number of fractures because he was kicked when he got out of
20 the bus. The men in Potocari were also deported in the direction of
21 Bratunac. Firstly, they were left in empty, abandoned houses. They
22 were squashed into the houses. They were evacuated by bus as well
23 and left in a hangar in Bratunac. During this process they did not
24 mix with the rest of the crowd. They had buses specially for them.
25 They went towards those buses in a column; no women were amongst
2 Q. What happened to Potocari that night?
3 A. Once the deportation had taken place for the 12th, people sought
4 refuge in the factories, but also outside the factories because the
5 factories were crammed. During the night soldier groups continued to
6 monitor them. They went amongst the people with electric torches and
7 selected this or that man; they had to get up and follow the
8 soldiers. Women were shouting when their husbands or children were
9 taken. No-one really knew what was going on. Everyone was
11 One witness who was just behind the factory noticed that
12 groups of men were taken behind that factory of, say, 10 or 20 and
13 the soldiers were waiting for them there. The prisoners were killed
14 with a knife. There were hundreds of victims during that night.
15 That was according to this particular witness.
16 At the end of the evening in one of those factories soldiers
17 who were going into the crowd separated the men out. They selected a
18 family with three children. They separated the children from the
19 mother who fell unconscious because she was so frightened. The three
20 young men, about 11, 17 and 18, fell behind the factory. Then there
21 was a group of women who appeared who wanted some news about what was
22 happening behind the factory which was not lit and, therefore, no-one
23 wanted to go there. They saw the three bodies of those young men who
24 had been slit, their throats had been slit just behind the factory.
25 The procedure continued throughout the night.
1 Q. Can you describe the situation in Potocari on the morning of 13th
3 A. The next day the process continued. A witness saw two young girls
4 taken from the factory, 11th of -- and then he saw their body, their
5 throat was slit behind a building. During the night many people had,
6 obviously, quite clearly, panicked and had been stopped and
7 committed suicide. Their bodies were found hanging in the factory.
8 Witnesses who were in that area in search of water noticed
9 that the bodies were close to a river which was filled with blood.
10 Women tried to look for water. In or near Potocari there are some
11 water pumps behind the houses where people could get water. Near
12 these water pumps there were also bodies who were slit, their throats
13 were slit. There was a lot of blood around. One body was found
14 hanging, according to one witness who was there at dawn who worked
15 for the parking company, which was a bus company, there was a
16 mutilated body that was found hanging. The nose was cut, the ears
17 were cut off, the lips were cut off.
18 Again near the river another witness saw 25 bodies who had
19 been executed and all lying down. Bodies that were lying there were
20 also confirmed by the Dutch soldiers. One of these soldiers saw nine
21 bodies in a field behind the factory.
22 Q. Did the deportation process begin again on 13th July?
23 A. Yes. The process continued from 7 o'clock in the morning onwards.
24 General Mladic said that the deportation would take place at 7
25 o'clock and, in fact, that did take place. Quite a few buses
1 arrived. Then again murder was committed. Where as the crowd tried
2 to come near to the buses, they were pushing on to each other because
3 they saw what had happened in the evening and what the soldiers had
4 done, so they were trying to get away as fast as possible from that
6 One soldier approached a woman in the middle of the crowd who
7 was trying to get on to a bus. Her child was crying. The soldier
8 asked why the child was crying. She explained that he was hungry.
9 The soldier made a comment saying, "Oh, well, the child will not be
10 hungry any more" and slit the child's throat in front of everybody
11 and then she tried to flee by getting on to a bus.
12 The procedure of separation continued. It was more pressing
13 than the day before. That was the 13th. Selection was very
14 stringent. Men were put in the houses and were waiting for them to
15 be transported but at a later stage so that they too would go to
16 Bratunac where they would be put into an old school.
17 On the route to Kladanj, the buses often stopped. Soldiers got
18 on to check that there were no men hidden in the buses. Some men who
19 were there were made to get out of the buses. Women were threatened.
20 They were threatened, for example, if they did not hand over the
21 money that they had or did not hand over all their possessions. Many
22 prisoners were seen during the route along the roadside. They had to
23 show three fingers which is a sign of victory for the Serbs. They
24 were forced to sing songs. Some recognised their husband, their son
25 amongst the prisoners. For the men who managed to remain on the
1 buses, the last stop was at Tisca. That was the last point before
2 the evacuation over the confrontation line. The men were removed
3 from the rest of the refugees and taken to a school, the school in
5 During that day the deportation took place because 25,000
6 people were evacuated. 60 buses and trucks were used for the
7 transportation of all these people. The buses belonged to a civil,
8 local company. The drivers were also civilians. Some men managed,
9 however, to get across the confrontation line, thanks in particular
10 to the attitude of some of the drivers. The drivers did not all have
11 the same attitude -- far from it.
12 On that day, the civil negotiators were also evacuated.
13 Everything happened well, according to them, for the negotiations on
14 behalf of the women who were asked to represent her part of the
15 population. Things were running smoothly. She was convinced that
16 since she was selected as representative of the population, since she
17 wanted to try -- she tried to commit suicide before getting on to the
18 bus. People came to her. She had to get on to the bus. Then she
19 saw her name on a list with a question mark in the hands of a Serbian
21 She crossed the confrontation line at Kladanj. The third
22 civil negotiator, Ibro Nuhanovic, left the Dutch compound with his
23 wife and son. He was seen for the last time by a witness when he was
24 trying to get on to a bus. He was beaten by Bosnian Serb soldiers.
25 Since that time, his son, Hasan, is looking desperately for news from
1 his family. The son has received no news whatsoever from his mother,
2 from his father or from his other brother.
3 Q. Mr. Ruez, could you please describe what happened to the column of men
4 that had fled into the woods?
5 A. The night of the 12th to 13th was very, very difficult for the
6 population who were fleeing into the woods. During the night these
7 groups became more dispersed and tried to escape the ambushes waiting
8 for them, but many were captured. At dawn a group, for example, was
9 captured when they were trying to cross the tarmac road near Kasaba.
10 They were captured. Along the road the prisoners saw a living body
11 of a mutilated body. Again the nose, ears and lips were cut. It
12 seems to be a common form of torture.
13 The prisoners were put in Kasaba where they were put in an
14 army barracks before being moved to the football stadium where many
15 prisoners had gathered and were concentrated on that particular day.
16 Another witness was in the forest away from the group and saw
17 a group of soldiers approaching some injured people who had been
18 abandoned because they could not be transported. They could not
19 transported and taken by the refugees. All had their throats slit.
20 They saw other bodies when they were trying to cross and moving and
21 escaping, and they felt and think that the casualties and the injures
22 were caused by shrapnel, and also injuries caused by knives and many
23 of them again had their throats slit.
24 Another group was captured near Nova Kasaba. The soldiers who
25 captured them made some comments, were saying that the army was
1 authorised to pass but the civilians were not allowed to pass.
2 Civilian prisoners were taken apart, were separated from the rest.
3 The majority of those people were immediately executed when they were
5 During that time other groups, who no longer knew what
6 direction to take, heard the Bosnian Serbian army who were along the
7 strategic route promising through loud speakers that they would help
8 them, that they had the Red Cross, that nothing would happen to
9 them, that the United Nations soldiers were there present, and they
10 also saw blue helmets along the roadside, but they were not really
11 the blue helmets; they were Bosnian Serbian soldiers who were using
12 stolen materiel, in fact.
13 A large group of prisoners which was surrounded in or near
14 Kamenica went on to the tarmac route where they were taken over by
15 the Bosnian Serbian soldiers. All those people were taken into a
16 field which is in Sandici. They were asked to stay there and wait
17 until something further happened to them, further instructions. One
18 person expressed his dissatisfaction and he was immediately beaten by
19 the soldiers and was killed.
20 After some hours on that site in the field the prisoners were
21 taken on foot in the direction of Kravica which is very close by. At
22 Kravica, that entire group, there were about 500 to 1,000
23 individuals, were forced to enter into a hangar. The people were
24 forced to sit down. When the last one entered into the hangar, there
25 was not enough space for him to sit down. The soldiers ordered him
1 to sit down and since he did not act fast enough, he was beaten.
2 Immediately, the soldiers who were around the hangar fired
3 into all the openings of the hangar. Grenades were thrown into the
4 hangar. Those who tried to escape by the openings were beaten by the
5 soldiers at the outside of the hangar. Once the smoke was in the
6 hangar, the firing started again.
7 After the firing the soldiers on the outside asked if there
8 was anyone who still was alive, some answered. They were asked to
9 leave the hangar and as soon as they left the hangar you heard shots
10 on the outside of the hangar as well. Nevertheless, some people
11 managed to survive from this execution which took place inside the
13 Q. Mr. Ruez, have you visited that hangar?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I would like now to show you Exhibits 4, 5, 6 and 7 and ask you to
16 describe the significance of each of those to the court. Could we
17 lower the lights, please?
18 A. This is the hangar at Kravica. It is on the right-hand side of the
19 road. Just behind that there is a hill. It is a very hilly area all
20 along that road, and the people tried to get away going over the
21 hills. So that is the opening through which the prisoners went in,
22 that is right there. But others were penned in the neighbouring
23 parts. Now, the impacts here, do you see, from the bullets do not all
24 come from that incident. There has been fighting going on here since
25 1992, so there has been some damage from other causes as well.
1 Q. Which exhibit is this one you are putting on the monitor, Mr. Ruez?
2 A. Let us see. This is a photo that was taken inside the hangar near a
3 window. Grenades had been thrown in through the windows and all of
4 these spots you see here on the wall are blood. There was some
5 sampling done on 21st January of this year and it was human blood.
6 Other analyses have been carried out subsequently in the course of
7 other missions there.
8 Inside the hangar there were signs of gunshot all over, black,
9 the walls are black from previous fire when there was a fire, but
10 this was before that happened, but the bullet fire is quite clear.
11 It is white against that black background.
12 On this following photograph you can see on this wall human
13 debris, if you will, that has been splashed on to the wall, and this
14 is what you see throughout that hangar. On the inside all these
15 human remains that have been splashed against the walls.
16 The next photo this was the ceiling, from the ceiling which is
17 about 3 metres high, or rather this is the ceiling, excuse me, and
18 you can see the blood on this ceiling that is some 3 metres high.
19 Q. All right if we could have the lights, please. Mr. Ruez, would you
20 please continue with your description of what happened to the people
21 in the column that had fled Srebrenica?
22 A. Other prisoners were captured. Some of them were not taken to the
23 tarred road but stayed in the hills. Now a witness described the
24 capture of a group that had been surrounded for a number of hours.
25 The people were put in a circle. The BSA soldiers were around them.
1 They started by taking a number of the individuals in the group and
2 to execute them summarily. There is not just killing, there is also
3 torture. Prior to the killing there was a woman who was slaughtered
4 in front of everyone. There is a man who is accompanied by his young
5 son and a soldier comes up to him, makes some comments about the fact
6 that his father is in the process of killing off Serbian children.
7 He takes the old man, puts the knife through his hand, sticks it to
8 the tree, then cuts open the stomach of the little boy and then on
9 the tip of the knife he has a bit of an organ from the inside of the
10 child's stomach and then he forces the man to eat that part of the
11 child's innards.
12 A child is separated from its mother who is fighting with the
13 two soldiers to try to get her son back. The son is thrown up and he
14 is hit with bayonets before being beaten once he hits the ground.
15 This process goes on the whole afternoon. The soldiers are taking
16 their time. They are going around, the soldiers, picking up one or
17 the other and executing them in front of everyone else. There as
18 well there are in fact some survivors.
19 There are other groups that are surrounded. There are a lot
20 of suicides that are committed. Seeing what happens to people that
21 are being detained, some people would rather commit suicide than fall
22 into the hands of their enemies. A lot of people go mad, and
23 suicides are being committed in a rather wild fashion. There are
24 grenades that are let go, people are being hurt left, right and
25 centre. Those who do not commit suicide and who are captured in the
1 group are taken to Novi Kasaba to the soccer field where already some
2 3,000 people have been gathered, taken prisoners there of course.
3 Now there is a prisoner who is in the hills, a prisoner, no,
4 excuse me, a man who is trying to flee from the region. From the
5 hills he saw a group with some 30 prisoners running up to the cross
6 roads there at Janovici, that is right here. The men are lined up
7 along the road facing three amoured vehicles, including one stolen UN
8 APC. Once they are lined up the amoured vehicles open fire with
9 their heavy machine gun and execute that group of 30 people. The BSA
10 soldiers celebrate this event by letting out some screams, shooting
11 up in the air. Some of them have their faces covered. There is a
12 second group, again 30 people, the same thing happens. A third group
13 also approaches. People are lined up and everyone is executed with
14 this heavy machine gunfire and the witness left the scene at that
16 Now another prisoner who had given the promises that were made
17 via the loud speakers goes to the roadside. He is kept inside for a
18 few hours, during which time other prisoners turn up and then he is
19 put on a bus. The bus heads off towards the Jadar River, a place
20 near the Drinjaca River in this area. He is in a group of 16. They
21 are lined up along the river and once they are lined up soldiers open
22 fire and execute all of the members of that group.
23 Another group surrender en masse. They are kept along the
24 side of the road before they are brought to the soccer field at Novi
25 Kasaba, and on the way there a man who was trying to buy his freedom
1 from one of the prisoners is killed by a gun shot through his head.
2 Later in the afternoon a large number of prisoners who were
3 there in the Novi Kasaba soccer field, that group was evacuated
4 towards Kravica and Bratunac on trucks and buses. Now on the way
5 they see a large group of prisoners which has just been captured or
6 has surrendered, and there as well the prisoners have to hold up
7 their three fingers, the Serbian victory sign. There is a witness
8 among those prisoners. When they get to the road there is a person
9 there in civilian clothes who climbs down from a vehicle and says
10 that he will be taking over that group, that it will not be going to
11 Kravica because at Kravica there is no more room to kill people.
12 There is an amoured vehicle that approaches. Soldiers come down.
13 They set up a machine gun facing the group of prisoners, but there is
14 a convoy of refugees that is going by just at that moment. The
15 civilian individual wants, once the convoy has gone by, starts
16 hitting prisoners with an iron bar and the prisoners are directed to
17 a field at Sandici, the same field where had been assembled those who
18 were subsequently killed in the hangar. There they have to sing
19 songs and later they will be evacuated towards Bratunac. While they
20 are there in Sandici in that field, a woman is separated from the
21 group of prisoners and she is gang raped by several soldiers right
22 there in front of everyone. Then the soldiers discuss out loud how
23 they are going to go about killing her. They mutilate her and they
24 finish her off by cutting her throat.
25 Q. Your Honours, we have now prepared a film that I would like to show
1 the court. Before showing that I would ask Mr. Ruez to please
2 describe to the Court what they will be seeing on that film.
3 A. The first scenes will show the evacuation of the refugees from
4 Potocari. On the right in the picture there you will see a group of
5 men, and I will point it out when the video is running, who are
6 walking. They have not been mixed with anyone, that is to say, these
7 are men who have been separated from the children, women and the
8 elderly, and then they are directed towards Bratunac. The film then
9 will show a few scenes from the roadside of prisoners, a prisoner who
10 has to call on his countrymen to surrender, and then there are some
11 anti-aircraft guns that are firing at the refugees who are trying to
12 flee through the woods.
13 We will also see the surrender of prisoners. There is a BSA
14 soldier wearing a blue helmet near Kravica, so you will see him on
15 the video as well. Then to finish there will be some scenes of the
16 arrival of refugees in Kladanj and then there will be some scenes of
17 the arrival of BSA soldiers in Bosnian territory after a few days of
18 confrontation in the woods. There was a battle there around Tuzla.
19 Q. Would you please lower the lights and play Exhibit 3 clip 2.
20 (Exhibit 3 Clip 2 was played).
21 A. A UN compound at Potocari, a Dutch battalion. On the way you can see
22 the buses there waiting in a row. Men walking on the left-hand side
23 of the road. Between the trucks the soldiers who see to it that the
24 men cannot cross over and mix with the other people. Women, children
25 the elderly walking on the right-hand side. There are a few men
1 there, but that does not mean they will be able to get to on any
2 buses because the separation process is an ongoing one. This is the
3 separation line before going to the buses. The Dutch Battalion had
4 set up some vehicles there to try to straighten things out a little
5 bit before people got on to the buses. The evacuation process is
6 just about over. This is on 13th. This is when this has been
7 filmed. These are things that have been left by people before
8 boarding the buses. This is a soldier who has been forced to call on
9 the other soldiers to surrender. "Come, surrender to the Serbs", the
10 other one yells. These are soldiers who are guarding prisoners. They
11 are sitting down in a field nearby. The person who made this film
12 cut off the filming because there was something happening there in
13 the field no doubt. There is a group of prisoners there that has
14 been gathered together. This is a 30 millimetre anti-aircraft
15 gunfire against people trying to flee through the woods. This is a
16 very devastating weapon, anti-personnel use. Along the road, this is
17 a strategic road, Bratunac/Nova Kasaba, there you see there are
18 soldiers set up every 30 metres. Here you can see the hills through
19 which the refugees tried to flee.
20 Now this is Kravica, the Kravica region. That was one of the
21 main areas where a lot of prisoners surrendered. You will see some
22 men on the top of the hill here, and they are going to go down
23 towards the road to surrender. There the soldiers are counting them.
24 There is a blue helmet being worn by a BSA soldier. You can see the
25 bags there left by those who surrendered previously. These are
1 prisoners arriving. A man who as has been forced to give an
2 interview to the camera man is asking him how many days he has been
3 in the woods. He says, "How is it you look like you are frightened?"
4 and the man says, "Who wouldn't be frightened?" A soldier amongst
5 the civilians who has to take off his army t-shirt. These are buses
6 and trucks waiting to take the prisoners.
7 Q. Could we have the lights again, please? Mr. Ruez, on the film that we
8 have just seen we can see full face a number of Bosnian Muslim men who
9 were surrendered to the Bosnian Serb Army. What have you done in
10 order to attempt to identify those persons shown in the film?
11 A. What we have done is we have prepared still photos using all the
12 material we had available, and those photos were sent to the Bosnian
13 Ministry of the Interior so that there could be an identification
14 process launched so we could identify as many people as possible. By
15 way of example, I would like to show you a few ----
16 Q. Your Honour, Mr. Ruez is now going to refer to Exhibits 8 through 22
17 that are in your binders. Mr. Ruez would you please show some of
18 those photographs? Could we dim the lights please?
19 A. This picture, for instance, was made from a video where men had been
20 filmed at Potocari.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Just one question, Mr. Harmon. What is the source of
22 that video?
23 THE WITNESS: The source of the video, that is from a Serbian journalist.
24 Sometimes he says he is from Independent Serbian TV; sometimes he
25 says he works for the police. It depends on the situation. It
1 changes. This picture is from the video. This is a man who is
2 walking on the left-hand side of the road next to the trucks.
3 This is a picture of a man who is forced to call out to the
4 refugees in the woods to come and surrender to the Serbians who were
5 along the road. A picture of the man who gave that very brief
6 interview to the journalist who was filming the process while the
7 prisoners were surrendering. Here again several recognisable faces
8 among the men who were giving up surrendering. This was in Sandici,
9 the field.
10 MR. HARMON: All right. Thank you very much, Mr. Ruez. Your Honours, we
11 will be presenting evidence later in this hearing about the results
12 of those investigations.
13 Mr. Ruez, you have mentioned in your testimony on a number of
14 occasions that UN blue helmets and UN blue flat jackets and other
15 equipment were routinely stolen by Bosnian Serb soldiers during the
16 course of the takeover in Srebrenica. While you were in the Bosnia
17 conducting your investigations in this case did you recover any
18 stolen UN helmets and flat jackets?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could you please explain the circumstances of the recovery?
21 A. On 4th June we did a search of a container which was in front of staff
22 headquarters in Bratunac. Inside the container among the various
23 types of military equipment that we found there were 28 blue helmets
24 and 11 bulletproof vests. The blue helmets had been repainted a
25 blue-ish grey. Cyrillic names were written on the helmets, but there
1 were also Dutch indications inside, and on the bulletproof vests
2 there were labels written in Dutch with the instructions inside the
3 vests as well as a few names.
4 Q. Has the Office of the Prosecutor contacted Dutch soldiers by those
5 names that were found inside the vests and inside the helmets?
6 A. Yes. The soldiers who were able to be identified as being the owners
7 of the equipment were questioned. All of the objects discovered had
8 been stolen under various circumstances, but mostly as concerns this
9 group it was during the point that their observation point was
10 captured and they were being kept as hostages.
11 Q. Where were the Muslim prisoners who had been captured or surrendered
13 A. Those that were not immediately executed when they were arrested or
14 at the point they were gathering together, were put on to buses and
15 trucks. Some of them did not have any means of transportation. On
16 the evening of 13th we do know that orders had been given to execute
17 some of the prisoners who remained in the fields and who could no
18 longer be transported. Those who were transported had as the main
19 destination the city of Bratunac. They were taken into the former
20 school of Bratunac which is behind the Vuk Karadzic School. There
21 they remained inside the school where they went through a process
22 that went on all night long.
23 Soldiers came in. They were wearing military camouflage
24 outfits. There were poljica inscriptions on the sleeves of their
25 jackets. On the screen I think some things are going on? OK. When
1 those who were in the school were put into classrooms immediately
2 some of them began to be beaten, beaten by the military police. They
3 were beaten with rifle butts on their heads very brutally. Other
4 prisoners arrived while that was going on. The prisoners were then
5 taken outside, at least some of them were. Those inside did not know
6 what was going on outside. They could hear screams of pain, shots,
7 noises and assumed that those who had been taken out were or had been
8 executed since they did not see them come back. Other groups of
9 prisoners remained on the buses and trucks. A column was stationed
10 in front of the Vihor Company which is a local Bratunac
11 transportation company. Throughout the night soldiers asked the men
12 who were in the trucks questions. Asked them, for example, those who
13 came from certain villages to identify themselves. People did not
14 know what was the reason for the questions. They answered. Others
15 did not dare to answer or others did answer because they were afraid
16 not to, knowing that they would be executed if they came from a place
17 where they were not supposed to come from. Those who got off of the
18 trucks were beaten. People heard shots there as well and people got
19 back on the buses.
20 The same situation took place with a group of prisoners who
21 had spent the night on buses in front of the Vuk Karadzic School.
22 Men were separated from others. Some were beaten. People heard
23 shots. A witness saw a member of the Military Police who killed a
24 mentally retarded person, saying that this person had brushed against
25 his bulletproof vest. Others said, no, that is not something that
1 should be done, that is, they should not brush against his vest.
2 Then he said "Kill him" and he did that with a burst of his machine
3 gun. Others remained inside the buses and trucks, not in Bratunac but
4 in Kravica, between Bratunac and Kravica, and no specific event was
5 mentioned by that group.
6 Prisoners were already in Bratunac at that point. Those who
7 had been separated on 12th in the afternoon had already been taken to
8 Bratunac, and they were then at that point in a hangar. They were
9 also experiencing the same process, separation of certain men who
10 were taken outside. Noises of firing was heard and the group was
11 evacuated during the night, put on to buses and trucks and then
12 transported to the north to a little hamlet which is called Lazete
13 where they were placed into a gymnasium of the school in Grbavci.
14 The school is on the map right here.
15 Q. Mr. Ruez, you also mentioned that some men had arrived in the village
16 of Tisca. Can you explain what happened to those men?
17 A. Those who had been separated from the other bus passengers and those
18 on the trucks and, therefore, put into the teachers' school, spent the
19 afternoon waiting there. In the evening soldiers came, began beating
20 the prisoners. The beating went on for several hours until 1 o'clock
21 and then at 1 o'clock in the morning a truck arrived. The prisoners
22 were put on to the truck. They were transported near Vlasenica.
23 Before they arrived there the truck moved in the direction of the
24 woods. After having turned one of the prisoners escaped from the truck
25 right before it stopped. He was able to see that those who were on
1 the truck arrived in a field where there were already bodies. As he
2 was fleeing he could hear automatic fire coming from the direction
3 where the bus had stopped, where the truck had stopped.
4 Q. I would like to turn your attention to 14th July and I would like to
5 ask you what happened to the Muslim prisoners who were being detained
6 in Bratunac?
7 A. The prisoners who were in Bratunac spent the night under the
8 conditions I have already described. Those who were in the former
9 school remained there throughout the day. The process continued
10 throughout the day. In the same way, people were taken out. Some
11 were taken out of the classrooms, taken outside. There were cries,
12 screams, firing heard and others were evacuated. The convoys went
13 towards Lazete and also took other prisoners to the school at Grbavci
14 which is about 50 kilometres north of Bratunac. The last convoys of
15 the day no longer took them to that same point, but further north near
16 Pilica about 60 kilometres north of Bratunac where they were also put
17 into schools or rather into a school.
18 Q. What happened to the prisoners who were taken to Grbavci?
19 A. Those who had been there since the preceding night spent the night in
20 a gymnasium. Nothing specific took place during the night, except for
21 the fact that prisoners did not have very much to drink. They were
22 suffering terribly from the heat. They were piled one on top of the
23 other. They could not go to the toilet. At the beginning of the
24 afternoon those who were in the gymnasium were taken out in small
25 groups of 30 to do so. They had to go through a kind of an opening
1 which was the entrance point to the gymnasium. They were given a
2 glass of water by the soldiers and each of the prisoners was
3 blindfolded with a piece of a t-shirt. They were put on a truck and
4 taken to a field which was about 1 kilometre from the school. When
5 they got off the trucks the men were set up in rows and immediately
6 after that fire was opened. All those prisoners who had been taken
7 were executed. Others arrived in the afternoon at that school. There
8 was no longer any room in the gymnasium which was being evacuated, and
9 the prisoners were put inside the school in classrooms. They were not
10 allowed to get up. If anybody did the soldier outside would fire
11 through the windows and try to hit the person who was inside the
12 classroom. Some people there were hit, wounded, and then for that
13 group as well the transportation began. The prisoners had their hands
14 tied behind their backs. They were led to another execution site
15 which is about 5 to 10 kilometres away near a lake. They were not
16 blindfolded. There were already piles of bodies there when they
17 arrived. The soldiers were drunk. They were joking about the
18 prisoners. They were telling them to choose a free place, an open
19 spot, among the bodies. As soon as there were enough of the prisoners
20 there the soldiers all around opened fire and also executed those
22 Q. Mr. Ruez, do you have any estimates of how many prisoners were
23 executed? I am speaking specifically of the prisoners who had been
24 held in the gym and in the school at Grbavci?
25 A. On that day the number who were executed, well, since the estimates
1 that were made by various witnesses fluctuate, several hundred, there
2 is no doubt about that, in so far as the ability -- there was storage
3 space for that many at least.
4 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, would this be an appropriate time to break?
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, Mr. Harmon. The hearing will resume at 2.30.
6 The court stands adjourned.
7 (1.04 p.m.)
8 (Luncheon Adjournment)
9 (2.30 p.m.)
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The court is in session again. Would you please be
11 seated? Mr. Harmon, the witness can be brought in again.
12 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, your Honour.
13 MR. JEAN RENE RUEZ, recalled
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We can resume. Mr. Harmon, I give you the floor to
15 continue the questions you want to ask your witness.
16 MR. HARMON: Thank you, your Honour.
17 Examined by MR. HARMON, continued
18 Q. Mr. Ruez, when we broke before lunch you were testifying about what
19 happened to prisoners that had been left in Grbavci. I would like to
20 keep you along the same line of questioning. We are on 14th July. I
21 would like to ask you what happened to the prisoners who had been
22 transported north of Zvornik?
23 A. It is not understood by the interpreter.
24 Q. Let me ask that question again. What happened to the prisoners who
25 had been transported north of Zvornik on 14th July?
1 A. After the executions which took place in the Grbavci school on 14th
2 July, those people who were in the school, that is, in the Pilica
3 regional school, experienced the same fate that they had had when they
4 were in the old school in Bratunac. Some of the people were taken out
5 by the Bosnian Serb soldiers. There were screams heard, there were
6 shots heard and those people did not come back to the prisoners who
7 were inside the school.
8 Q. Will you slow down just a little bit in your answers? Thank you.
9 What happened to the survivors who remained in the woods on 14th July?
10 A. In the woods, things remained more or less the same. They continue to
11 be hunted. The troop of refugees was trying to find a way to find a
12 strategic road leading to Nova Kasaba. Some of them succeeded in
13 doing so; others were taken prisoner. A witness who was on a hill
14 overlooking the area, specifically the intersection at Konjevici, saw
15 three buses painted white, filled with people, that turned on to a
16 small road leading towards Cerska in the hills, into a valley. The
17 three buses were followed by an armoured vehicle. Shortly after that
18 vehicle passed by an excavator followed the column.
19 There was heavy firing heard from the direction that the buses
20 had taken. Immediately afterwards, they were seen going back towards
21 Konjevic Polje as well as the armoured vehicle. The excavator
22 reappeared 30 minutes later. The fate of those prisoners at that
23 point, the prisoners in the buses, were not yet known; but in the
24 evening some witnesses were able to get through that area and in the
25 morning along the road rising to Cerska they saw a row of bodies
1 lined up in the grass along the edge of the road. They were
2 frightened and they fled.
3 Q. Mr. Ruez, I would like now to turn your attention to July 15th and ask
4 you to continue your testimony about the fate of the people who were
5 in the woods.
6 A. Many were arrested, many surrendered. Most of them were concentrated
7 in the soccer field, the Nova Kasaba soccer field. There were people
8 who were looking around to find what would be the best moment in order
9 to cross over the line. They saw that those soldiers who were
10 guarding the groups of prisoners took away 15 to 20 people in a group
11 at a time toward the Jadar River and from that point you could hear
12 shots being fired.
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: When you say the name of a place, would you point it
14 out, please, on the map?
15 THE WITNESS: The episode I have just spoken about took place here. The
16 episode that we are speaking about now in the Novi Kasaba soccer
17 field was here.
18 The group of prisoners which was in the Nova Kasaba soccer
19 field, that is, those who were not taken away in small groups towards
20 the river, were seen being evacuated at the end of the day in a few
21 buses. Most of them followed the buses in a column on foot, but we
22 do not know what happened to them.
23 Between Nova Kasaba and the Konjevici intersection which is
24 here, witnesses in the hills noted that in small groups individuals
25 were surrendering on the road, going down to the road to surrender.
1 Their fate was immediate. Those who had a weapon with them were
2 given a shovel, forced to dig a hole and were immediately executed
3 when they fell into the hole. Those who did not have shovels were
4 also executed, that is, those who did not have any arms, did not have
5 to dig their own graves but were executed anyway a little bit further
7 Q. The executioners, were they members of the Bosnian Serb Army?
8 A. These were soldiers who were wearing camouflage uniforms of the
9 Bosnian Serb Army.
10 Q. On 15th July, Mr. Ruez, were there prisoners still being detained in
12 A. Yes, a last group of prisoners were still in Bratunac on 15th July.
13 Around noon the prisoners who were in the old school were loaded on to
14 seven buses. They were taken to the north of Zvornik, to a school,
15 and in the school the process which I have already described took
16 place again. Some of them were beaten, others were taken out and
17 shots were again heard. A prisoner who went to look for water for his
18 fellow detainees noted the arrival of a bus in the evening. On the
19 bus was a group of prisoners. The group was not taken to the school,
20 but instead was taken to a field near the school. Again shots were
21 heard from that field.
22 Q. Would you kindly point on the map to your left where that school was
24 A. The school is about 60 kilometres north of Bratunac.
25 Q. Mr. Ruez, I would now like to turn your attention to July 16th and ask
1 you what happened to those prisoners who were in the school in
3 A. During the morning of 16th July, according to the testimonies of the
4 survivors, the Bosnian Serb soldiers spoke to the prisoners and told
5 them that they would be exchanged. They had their hands tied behind
6 their backs. They were loaded on to buses. They were not allowed to
7 look at what was going on around them. They were taken over a very
8 short distance toward a field. Once they arrived at the field, the
9 buses remained one behind the other. Those people who were inside
10 the buses were taken out in groups.
11 When they were able to look around them, they saw that there
12 were some bodies already stretched out on the ground. They then
13 heard shots. Their turn finally came. They were led into the field,
14 lined up and executed immediately. Once the execution had taken
15 place the buses left, and then subsequently came back with other
16 groups of prisoners.
17 These facts about the executions that day were indicated in a
18 -- they were confirmed by a Bosnian Serb soldier who was on the spot
19 when that happened. I have interviewed him and he recognised what
20 happened and gave a similar description to that of the witnesses and
21 Erdemovic, in fact, has pleaded guilty before this Tribunal.
22 Q. Approximately, how many prisoners were killed on that site on 16th
24 A. According to the estimates of Drazan Erdemovic, approximately 1200
25 people were executed at that site.
1 Q. Mr. Ruez, now I would like to focus your attention on the events that
2 occurred after 16th July. If you could briefly summarise some of the
3 other incidents where there were mass executions?
4 A. The situation in the forests continued as it had. A group of
5 refugees continued to try to find a way out, a way out of the
6 situation in which they found themselves. Some of them noted what was
7 going on. 150 prisoners were seen being arrested or in Konjevici;
8 most of them were immediately executed and the others were taken into
9 an area, to an area that no-one knows. In the area of Udric, which
10 is on the escape route of the refugees column, a witness observed
11 that a group of 150 people approximately were surrendering to the
12 Bosnian Serb soldiers. The group was immediately shot.
13 The next morning a group of 250 people was captured. In the
14 morning an excavator appeared on site, dug a hole. The prisoners
15 were ordered to gather around the hole. The soldiers surrounded
16 them, the excavator pushed the people into the hole and ordered to
17 bury them. Those who tried to escape were immediately shot by these
18 soldiers surrounding the group of prisoners.
19 Q. Mr. Ruez, do you have any estimates on how many people are missing
20 from Srebrenica?
21 A. There are several figures that have been put forth. The highest
22 estimate which was one from the civilian authorities gives a figure of
23 missing at about 10,300 people, but this estimate has not yet been
24 totally confirmed. It should also be pointed out that the process of
25 prisoner exchange, according to the Dayton Agreement, has been
1 concluded now for approximately three months.
2 Q. Mr. Ruez, have you and other investigators from the Office of the
3 Prosecutor travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina and conducted
4 preliminary investigations of execution sites and mass grave sites?
5 A. Yes, the first missions on site were taken -- took place on 21st
6 January of this year and there were other trips that took place since
8 Q. Have your preliminary findings at those sites confirmed executions
9 that are associated with the testimonies of witnesses that you have
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Let me take you through a series of those sites, if I can. Did you
13 visit a grave site in Cerska? When you are answering that, if you
14 would please point on the map the location so the court can see
15 exactly where it is?
16 A. In the light of the explanations that some witnesses gave about the
17 situation, one site was analysed. It is halfway to Cerska, about
18 three kilometres from the asphalt road where the three white buses
19 were seen taking the potential prisoners and where heavy firing was
20 heard by witnesses, where the lined up corpses were seen, as well as
21 an area which might be a mass grave was identified by other witnesses
22 who went through that area a month after what had happened. When they
23 were going backwards, since they could not go across the confrontation
24 line, they decided they would go in that way.
25 Q. I would like to show you Exhibits 23 through to 27 and ask you to
1 identify those exhibits. I would ask you to show them on the elmo
2 and describe to the court what each of those exhibits represents. If
3 we could have the lights dimmed, please?
4 A. This photograph which was taken at the end of May of this year shows
5 the earth road which leads from the asphalt road which goes into
6 Cerska Valley, in the direction of Cerska. This area which is on the
7 left part of the photograph shows that a great amount of earth was
8 removed from this hill on the left. The right side of the road is
9 covered with earth over which a lot of branches were put down which
10 would make people think that logging had been going on there.
11 Three holes were dug along this road in order to ascertain
12 whether there were bodies buried at that place. The three holes are
13 where you see my colleagues dressed in blue who were in the process
14 of digging. In the first of those holes a human body appears. One
15 can see the hip over here, wearing civilian clothing, a jacket, and
16 here is the skull. There is a round hole which appears there at the
17 bottom of the skull.
18 The second hole one can see legs, actually three legs; two
19 which belong to the same person and another leg wearing a different
20 shoe from the ones you see on the other two legs and, therefore,
21 belong to another person.
22 The third hole shows us a human, a human skull. One can still
23 see the hair on the scalp. This round piece is missing at the top of
24 the skull.
25 Q. Mr. Ruez, do you have something else?
1 A. Yes. Along the road a search was conducted in order to look for
2 shells. It was not possible to go through the entire area because
3 there was not enough time and given environmental conditions, but
4 along about 10 metres there were about 60 different cases that were
6 Q. Did you also visit grave sites near Nova Kasaba?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could we please have the lights dimmed again? Mr. Ruez, I am going to
9 show you Exhibits Nos. 28 and 29. I would ask you to please explain
10 to the court what they depict?
11 A. This is an aerial photograph which was taken on 27th July 1995. One
12 can see the road on the photograph. It should be in -- you should
13 have a clear picture of it. Here is the road. These two squares are
14 houses, completely destroyed. The roof has gone and on this photo
15 one can see an area of earth which has been moved about, and it is
16 very clear and it was moved about very recently, as well as traces of
17 vehicles approaching the area.
18 This is another aerial photograph taken on the same date right
19 next to the first photograph. Two other areas of freshly moved earth
20 can be very easily seen here and here. Our research was really
21 directed on that site.
22 Q. What killings are these sites associated with, Mr. Ruez?
23 A. The photographed area is right next to the Nova Kasaba football field.
24 According to testimonies that were taken, a certain number of
25 prisoners were executed right near there, right near that stadium.
1 Another solution might be that those who were fighting had crossed
2 over this area, and bodies might be the result of fighting that might
3 have taken place at that point. That is what our research tried to
5 Q. Could you please refer to Exhibits 30 through 35 and explain what they
6 depict? Could we have the lights dimmed once again, please?
7 A. In the area that I showed you on the aerial photograph, we dug a
8 three-metre hole by two metres which was about 80 centimetres deep.
9 There you can see the first layer of people. The first layer shows
10 six bodies. This is the first body. Under it is a second one,
11 another one, another one and another one. Another part of a body can
12 be seen here.
13 On this body which is clearly visible one can see that the
14 person was wearing civilian clothes. He is wearing a civilian shirt.
15 This body, we see the back, the back here and the head there. We
16 can see that the hands, the arms, have been tied behind the back with
17 a small rope and then in the next photograph -----
18 Q. Would you stop there for a second? Mr. Cleaver, can you focus down on
19 the -----
20 A. No -----
21 Q. OK, that is fine.
22 A. This photograph clearly shows that person's hands tied behind his
23 back with a small rope, a small cord, which might have actually have
24 been a shoe lace. Here is the hand.
25 This man is also wearing civilian clothes. He was wearing a
1 bright blue, blue, green, white jacket. His hands are also tied
2 behind his back, actually lying on the head of the person under him.
3 In the next picture we will see that more clearly. In this photo
4 we can see that the person's hands were tied with iron wire which is
5 here. Here are the person's hands with the fingers and here is his
6 wedding ring which you can see here.
7 For the people who were discovered in the mass grave were all
8 wearing civilians clothes, at least those we could see. Two of them
9 whose arms we could see, we could see that the arms were tied behind
10 their backs.
11 Q. Mr. Ruez, would you point out to Nova Kasaba on the map which is to
12 your left?
13 A. Nova Kasaba is found here. It is located here.
14 Q. Did you next visit a site Tatar Glogova? Would you please point that
15 out on the map as well?
16 A. Tatar Glogova site is here and it is near Kravica which was just
17 recently mentioned. The site is actually here.
18 Q. Let me refer you to Exhibits 36 and 37 and ask you to inform the court
19 what they depict. Could we have the lights dimmed once again, please?
20 A. This is an aerial photo of 7th July 1995. It shows you the road going
21 from Kravica to Bratunac. This is a secondary road inside the old
22 village which was also destroyed. A bulldozer can be seen here at the
23 intersection. These two lighter coloured zones, this one and that one
24 let you think that some event took place here and there because the
25 ground was fresh and freshly dug up.
1 Q. Mr. Ruez, let me ask you, based on your preliminary field work at that
2 particular location, did you form an opinion as to whether there had
3 been bodies at those particular sites?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. OK. Let me refer you to Exhibits 38 to 42. Please would you explain
6 to the court what those exhibits represent?
7 A. This photo was taken on the ground. It was the freshly moved ground
8 of which you had an aerial view, so you can see heavy equipment was
9 used in digging this soil.
10 On the site we found several bones, for example, a long bone,
11 a femur. Here you can see the femur. On the second site we also
12 found bones. Here is a long bone next to a shoe. This is a close up
13 of the shoe with the bone next to it. Also close by another example
14 of human bones. This is a piece of a jaw bone.
15 Q. In your opinion, Mr. Ruez, had these sites that you inspected been
16 tampered with before you had the opportunity to inspect them?
17 A. It is quite probable, bearing in mind the human remains we saw, that
18 the bodies might have been found at that spot. The information which
19 we got from our aerial images confirms that view.
20 Q. Let me show you Exhibits 43 and 44 and ask them to be displayed and
21 would you please explain those images to the court? Could we have the
22 lights dimmed once again, please?
23 A. So on this image you have two photos, one of 27th July 1995, which
24 shows you a site, a possible burial site, and the second of 20th
25 October 1995 which shows much activity which took place during that
1 day. There is a hole there which you can see which has been done by
2 the excavator which you can see there. Bearing in mind the human
3 debris we found, it is possible to imagine that the bodies were
4 buried here, but then taken away and some of the debris remained
6 This photo which was taken on 30th October upholds that
7 hypothesis. After the first site was disturbed, a front loader was
8 active at a second site.
9 Q. Mr. Ruez, did you, in addition to those sites you have described,
10 visit a grave site at some rail road tracks near Lazete?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you point on the map behind you where Lazete is located?
13 A. Lazete is slightly north of Zvornik, here.
14 Q. What killings is that particular site associated with?
15 A. This site was the one where prisoners were taken who were in the
16 Grbavci school and who were executed on 14th July. It started at the
17 beginning of the afternoon at about 2 o'clock and continued throughout
18 the afternoon until the evening until about 23 o'clock. Heavy
19 equipment was seen on the site by people who witnessed the execution
20 taking place.
21 Q. Let me show you Exhibit No. 45 and ask you to describe what it
22 depicts. Could we have the lights dimmed again, please?
23 A. Based on the indications given to us by some survivors of the site,
24 we had material, photographic material, which we could use. These
25 photos show here are the railway tracks, here we have a road. This
1 road goes towards the school of Grbavci which is about one kilometre
2 away. The field here has no suspect traces of anything, but the
3 field here also does not have any suspected sites. This goes back to
4 the 22 July. The prisoners who say they were executed in the
5 beginning in this part of the site, their statements are corroborated
6 by activities which we saw here which is clearly visible on 22nd
8 This site of execution, once it was strewn with bodies, was
9 changed and then executions continued in another field later on. So
10 they had to cross the railway tracks and all this part of the field
11 shows significant traces of freshly moved or dug out soil.
12 Q. Would you please refer to Exhibits 46 through 48 and describe your
13 preliminary findings to the court?
14 A. This photograph shows you the site which was used in the beginning.
15 Here was the execution area. It is supposed to be here, and this is
16 the zone where the aerial photo was taken where we could see that the
17 soil had been dug out. We could not really go into detailed analysis
18 because there was a lot of water when we were carrying out our
19 investigations, so we concentrated on the second site.
20 At the second site we found some human remains, pieces of
21 bone, a complete skeleton. We dug a hole and we saw some bodies that
22 were very strongly decomposing. The soil was mixed with human
23 remains. There were also some bullets which we found on the site.
24 That shows the characteristics that you have fresh traces which shows
25 that the soil was moved or dug out in that area. On two occasions
1 you have wheel tracks, old wheel tracks, which are covered up by
2 fresher tracks.
3 This photo shows a skeleton or at least a part of a skeleton.
4 Here you see the spinal cord.
5 Q. In your opinion, Mr. Ruez, had this site also been disturbed?
6 A. Yes, I am sure of it. At the site itself there are major changes when
7 you compare the old and new disturbances. The fact that the site was
8 dug up afterwards as well, this has been confirmed by a journalist who
9 went to the spot before, one could have a guaranteed access to the
10 area, upholds the fact that this site was disturbed after the date of
12 Q. Mr. Ruez, did you and other investigators visit a grave site at a dam
13 near Lazete?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would you describe to the court what that particular site is
16 associated with?
17 A. On 14th July, execution of prisoners took place at the Grbavci school.
18 That took place at two sites. The first site was the one I have just
19 outlined to you. For those who went to the school during the
20 afternoon, or at the beginning of the evening, the execution site was
21 the top of the dam around a lake which is found just to the north of
23 Q. Let me show you Exhibit No. 49 and ask you to tell the court what this
24 particular image depicts?
25 A. On this photo you can see here the dam. This is a plateau which is at
1 the dam. This is a slope which goes downwards to the soil over here,
2 so this is the site where the executions took place. This photo was
3 taken on 5th July and has no special characteristic. The photo taken
4 on 27th July shows that on this part here you can see activity has
5 been taking place, heavy machinery was used. There are signs of that.
6 Q. Would you please refer to Exhibits 50 and 51 and please use them when
7 you explain the results of your preliminary findings at that
8 particular site?
9 A. This is a photo that shows the plateau which I have just mentioned.
10 On this plateau executions are reported to have taken place. We saw
11 and collected several bones that were strewn on the ground. We also
12 saw -- we also collected bullets that we found on the site, over
13 1,000, 1,030. The part here is a possible mass grave. According to
14 the statements of survivors, the bodies were later loaded on to a
15 truck. So we cannot exclude the possibility of a mass grave in this
16 part here because the soil here was heavily disturbed, and many of
17 the bones we discovered were found in this area.
18 The executions took place over the entire plateau. The
19 cartridges we found were found over the entire area. A more specific
20 area where there were many cartridges is here. Many pieces of skull
21 were found in this area as well.
22 Here is an example of the bones we found at the part where the
23 soil was heavily disturbed. All these bones come from human beings.
24 There is a bit of the skull, the spine, different bones, the ribs.
25 Q. In your opinion, Mr. Ruez, had this site also been disturbed?
1 A. It is difficult to say. To the extent, as I have explained, that many
2 of the bodies of the executed people were transported by truck to an
3 unknown destination. These bones could perhaps come from individuals
4 who were left behind or, indeed, it could be that they dug up the area
5 and removed the human remains.
6 Q. OK.
7 A. It is too early to make any special statement on that.
8 Q. I would like to turn to your preliminary site investigations of the
9 Branjevo farm near Pilica. Could you first turn to the map to your
10 left, Mr. Ruez, and point out that particular site?
11 A. The Pilica site is to the most northern part of the area we are
12 talking about.
13 Q. Approximately, how many kilometres is that from Srebrenica?
14 A. It is a little more than 60 kilometres.
15 Q. Mr. Ruez, what is that particular site associated with?
16 A. That site is where executions took place by Drazen Erdemovic and it
17 was also described to us by survivors.
18 Q. All right. Would you please now refer to Exhibits 52 and 53 and let
19 me ask you to explain what they depict?
20 A. These are two aerial photos. The first of 5th July 1995. This shows
21 you the farm which is here in this area. The fields here and also
22 here, and a wooded area. No particular activity was noticed in these
23 two areas. On the photo of 17th July 1995, the day after the
24 execution as described and the day when the survivors were managed to
25 flee from the massacre which took place here. Machine activity is
1 clearly visible at this part here, and here we saw some bodies. The
2 enlargement of this part will be seen on the next photograph.
3 This photo shows some of the bodies which are the points, the
4 dots you can see here. The execution zone continues over this entire
5 part. These points here represent bodies as well. A group of bodies
6 was also found here near the zone where the soil had been dug out.
7 Q. On how many occasions did you and other investigators visit this
8 particular site?
9 A. The first time when we went there was when we were carrying out
10 investigations was on 20th March this year. I went there again on 22nd
11 March, when an officer visited and then we also went back there in the
12 beginning of July this year.
13 Q. Using Exhibits 54 through 56, can you explain to the court your
14 findings at that particular site?
15 A. The first elements which we saw when we came to the execution zone
16 was the presence of shoes. There were several shoes at that site,
17 either just on top of the soil or slightly buried by the soil. This
18 is a tennis shoe, for example which was pointed into the soil. On
19 the site itself we saw several bones. On this photo, for example,
20 you can see a bit of a hip, of a rib.
21 An entire part of the body can be seen here which is in the
22 immediate vicinity of the area which had heavily disturbed soil on
23 the aerial photo. Here you can see the part of the body. Some
24 pieces of flesh were still attached to the bones of the body.
25 Q. As a result of your three visits to those sites, did you form an
1 opinion as to whether that particular site had been disturbed?
2 A. Since 20th March, no activity has taken place on that site. However,
3 according to information we have, this site was subject, as we
4 mentioned before, it was subject to an attempt to be destroyed or
5 disturbed. The next photos will help me explain the situation.
6 Q. Would you then refer to the next photos which are Exhibits 57 and 58,
7 please? What is the date that particular image was taken, Mr. Ruez?
8 A. This photo, 21st September 1995, and it shows once again on 21st
9 September activities which took place on the very site itself where
10 the mass grave was previously identified. This photograph of 27th
11 September shows you the activity which is still taking place; you can
12 see evidence of machinery being used. There is a deep hole that has
13 been dug here, and inside the building of the farm you have an
14 excavator and a hoe.
15 We carried out investigations here and we found some
16 cartridges. The field was also heavily investigated. About 60
17 cartridge shells were found on the surface of the soil. This
18 corresponds to the area where the executions allegedly took place
19 which we saw from the aerial image.
20 Q. All right. Thank you. If we could have the lights back on now? Now
21 I will turn, Mr. Ruez, your attention to a map that is underneath the
22 large white map that is on the board to your left. Your Honour, we
23 just need to take a minute to remove that particular map to get to
24 the map that is underneath it.
25 Is that map in a good location to get the video monitor on it?
1 I am not sure it is showing up on the video screen. Perhaps it has
2 to be repositioned. Your Honour, perhaps we could take a brief break
3 at this moment so we can get the correct camera angle on this map?
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, I think that that is a very welcome suggestion.
5 We will straighten out the map. So shall we have a recess or should
6 we just wait to do it in the next few minutes?
7 MR. HARMON: I leave it to the court's discretion.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We are going to step out for a few minutes so that
9 the map can be set up, so that both the Judges and the public will be
10 able to follow what the witness has to say. So we are going to have
11 a recess for a few minutes.
12 (The court adjourned for a short time)
13 MR. HARMON: Thank you, your Honours. (To the witness): Mr. Ruez, I am
14 going to ask you some questions to explain what is on that map. Can
15 we have a pan on that map, please? Mr. Ruez -- OK.
16 A. Now, on this map you can see that we have different colours here. In
17 fact, green, these are the areas there was a concentration of prisoner
18 sites; in red, you have the mass graves and the blue is the mass
19 graves that have been identified in connection with our investigation.
20 Q. All right. Would you please just take each of those sites in order,
21 Mr. Ruez, and explain what that map depicts?
22 A. The first site is in the south. This is a city of Srebrenica where,
23 according to a witness, the people remaining there were gathered at
24 the football soccer stadium. There were individual executions and
25 with regard to the people gathered there, we do not know what became
1 of them.
2 At Potocari, there were 25,000 refugees who were gathered
3 there. There were a large number of executions. That is the red.
4 Bratunac, this was mainly a transit centre for prisoners
5 because the first prisoners got there on the 12th. Men were
6 separated from the other refugees at Potocari. In the course of the
7 13th, then people gathered along the strategic road and in the
8 evening they were led to Bratunac where they were put in the old
9 school, in the convoys of buses and trucks that remained before the
10 Vihor bus company and at the school, and then also between Kravica
11 and Bratunac. That is the last group that was held in a hangar
13 Now, when the column was fleeing from the Srebrenica enclave
14 going this way, the main ambush of Kamenica took place here. A lot
15 of prisoners in the hours thereafter and in the following day were
16 brought together in a field that was used for several groups on
17 several occasions at Sandici. Some of those prisoners, at least,
18 were transferred to Kravica, placed in the hangar where they were all
20 The two mass graves that are nearby, Tatar Glogova, and the
21 sites have probably been moved. Here, where it was impossible for
22 the refugees to flee towards Tuzla, there are several executions
23 sites that have been indicated, mainly at the Konjevici intersection,
24 and also in the whole area along the strategic road between Konjevic
25 Polji and Nova Kasaba.
1 Now, at Nova Kasaba a large number of prisoners were gathered
2 as of 13th and the site was used as a point for a concentration of
3 prisoners in the following days. A number of executions had been
4 reported along the Jadar River.
5 Now, three potential mass graves exist here, right near the
6 soccer field. One of them has been analysed, and you saw that in the
7 pictures which I showed you earlier on.
8 In Cerska Valley, groups were taken there and executed and a
9 mass grave is on the site of execution.
10 On the road towards Kladanj, prisoners, males were separated
11 from the buses, put in the school at Tisca, taken by truck to the
12 hills near Vlasenica and executed.
13 Prisoners who were gathered at Bratunac were convoyed by truck
14 first in the night of 12th to 13th along the road that follows the
15 border with Serbia towards Zvornik, Lazete, the school Grbavci. From
16 there they were taken in the course of the day, the 14th, to an
17 execution site nearby near Lazete. Two mass graves are there. At
18 least one of them was probably tampered with the bodies or, at least,
19 some of the bodies have been removed in the meantime.
20 The prisoners there, for those who arrived in the afternoon of
21 14th and in the evening, those prisoners were transported by truck
22 to the plateau of the dam -- that is up here -- where they were
23 executed. There is a potential mass grave there, but we still have
24 to check up on that.
25 The prisoners were taken, some of them on 13th, others were
1 taken on 15th, in the direction of the school, Pilica. This is the
2 greatest distance to the north. So, first, they were about to gather
3 in that school. Some of them remained there two days, two nights.
4 Finally, they were taken to the Branjevo farm where they were
5 executed. A mass grave was there at the site of execution. Some of
6 the bodies have probably been moved in the meantime.
7 There is something that is worth mentioning with regard to
8 this map. The road followed the path followed by the column to flee,
9 so you can see that there is quite a bit of fair ground covered in
10 that. It is quite distant from the execution sites there to the
11 north of Zvornik.
12 Q. Mr. Ruez, was General Mladic seen at any of these locations?
13 A. Yes, General Mladic was seen at several of these sites.
14 Q. Would you please mark on the map the particular locations where he was
16 A. For practical reasons I am going to have to put some labels, some
17 stickers, black -- these black stickers will indicate where Mladic
18 went to over those several days. The first site where Mladic was seen
19 was at Srebrenica.
20 (The witness placed a label on the map)
21 So at Srebrenica, we saw the video clip earlier on and we
22 already know what General Mladic had to say on that occasion.
23 The second site is at Potocari.
24 (The witness placed a label on the map)
25 And Mladic was there the following day, that is to say, July
1 12th. He had a little bit of a conference with the journalist,
2 talked to the crowd, but he was also seen visiting the men who had
3 separated from the other refugees and put in the houses awaiting
4 transfer towards Bratunac, and he tells them that they are going to
5 be exchanged subsequently.
6 Now, still the 12th, General Mladic was seen at Bratunac.
7 (The witness placed a label on the map)
8 He visits the detainees who were being held in a hangar at
9 Bratunac, and he tells them as well that they will subsequently be
10 exchanged. Now, in the night from 12th to 13th those prisoners were
11 evacuated towards the school at Grbavci and General Mladic is seen at
12 the time that they are evacuated to go to that school at Grbavci.
13 In the course of 13th -- (The witness placed a label on the
14 map) -- General Mladic goes to the field where a lot of prisoners are
15 concentrated at Sandici and the prisoners have been there for five
16 hours. One prisoner was killed there. He made some -- rather, he
17 showed up afterwards. He talks to the prisoners and he tells them
18 again that they will be exchanged. 15 minutes after General Mladic
19 leaves, all of these prisoners are taken and taken in a hangar at
20 Kravica where they are all executed.
21 That same day, on the 13th, that is, General Mladic was seen
22 speaking to a crowd of prisoners before they were transferred to the
23 Nova Kasaba football stadium.
24 (The witness placed a label on the map)
25 And he tells the crowd there they will be exchanged later on
1 as well.
2 He participates personally in the separation of a group of
3 some 30 men from these prisoners without telling them why they are
4 being separated from the others.
5 Then he goes to Nova Kasaba -- (The witness placed a label on
6 the map) -- to the soccer field and there again he speaks to the
7 crowd. He usually starts by saying the same thing, "Hello,
8 neighbours. Do you know who I am? I am General Mladic". Then he
9 makes a number of comments about the situation and usually concludes
10 by saying that the prisoners will be exchanged later on.
11 The following day, 14th July, General Mladic is seen at the
12 Grbavci school.
13 (The witness places label on the map)
14 He speaks to the prisoners. He explains to them that there
15 are some technical difficulties involved in their exchange, but that
16 the situation should be improving and shortly after his departure the
17 prisoners are given a glass of water, are blindfolded and are taken
18 to the execution site nearby. In the evening, General Mladic was
19 seen at that execution site while the executions are taking place.
20 (The witness puts a label on the map)
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ruez. Now let me change the subject and ask you since
22 the takeover of Srebrenica has Dr. Karadzic or representatives of the
23 Republika Srpska made public statements about the events that occurred
24 in Srebrenica?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Could you please inform the court what they said?
2 A. The comments of General Mladic are few and far between. The
3 explanation that seems to be given as regards the existence of these
4 mass graves in the area amounts, basically, to saying that the bodies
5 in those graves are those of soldiers who were killed in the course
6 of combat, and who were then buried for reasons of hygiene.
7 Radovan Karadzic, for his part, made a few comments to the
8 press. On 17th July 1995 he was speaking to television, Banja Luka
9 Serbian television, and I am going to read this in English, if you do
10 not mind?
11 Q. I do not mind.
12 A. "In the past several days, the international media aided by the Muslim
13 authorities have used vile propaganda unrealistically reporting on the
14 events relating to a situation in Srebrenica. The accusation
15 concerning alleged torture, killing, rape and deportation of Muslim
16 civilians are being repeated without any independent verification.
17 The truth is that none of these accusations have a firm basis".
18 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, this, for the record, is a press release issued
19 by Jovan Zametica who was an adviser to Radovan Karadzic. (To the
20 witness): Please continue, Mr. Ruez.
21 A. Then again on Banja Luka television on 24th January 1996, questioned
22 as to the acts, Radovan Karadzic said: "Our Army did not commit war
23 crimes. Our Army followed orders from the General Staff and the
24 General Staff Commander. Therefore, our Army and our police did not
25 commit crimes".
1 Q. Would you read the next sentence as well, just continue with that one
2 sentence more?
3 A. "The propaganda against us will turn to our advantage one day".
4 Q. OK. Please continue.
5 A. 12th February 1996, in the course of an interview with The Times
6 Radovan Karadzic said: "In connection with these so-called massacres
7 of Muslims in Srebrenica, there was no order to kill them. Nobody
8 under my command would dare kill those who were arrested or captured
9 as prisoners of war. I am absolutely fully involved. Everything
10 concerning the Serb Republic is in my hands".
11 Amongst other reactions on the part of Radovan Karadzic is the
12 promotion of General Krsic and Zivanovic who are the masterminds of
13 the Serb victory over Srebrenica, so they got a promotion as a result
14 of that.
15 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Ruez. Your Honours, that concludes our
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. Now we will move on to
18 questions. Let me first turn to Judge Riad, whether you have any
19 questions, sir?
20 Examined by the Court
21 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Ruez, first, I would like to thank you for having spoken
22 so clearly and for giving us all these details. That said, I would
23 like you to confirm some of the conclusions we are likely to draw.
24 First, I deduce from what you said that deportation, detention
25 etc., transport for execution operations took place quickly, very
1 carefully and on a very large scale to the point that in the course
2 of a single day there were 25,000 people evacuated. That was on 13th
4 You being an expert, was that feasible without a lot of
5 co-ordination in terms of logistics and without having his high
6 command that would be co-ordinating the whole process? To take it a
7 step further, would it be feasible without the assent of the supreme
9 A. Well, yes, on 12th July, there was a first group of about 5,000
10 persons that was evacuated. Then on 13th July, the remainder of the
11 refugee population at Potocari was evacuated. So that was 20,000.
12 So 25,000 people over two days. In fact, things went ahead quicker
13 than planned by General Mladic, because the military observers there
14 said that he was even surprised to have done with the whole operation
15 by the 13th. Apparently, the 14th had also been scheduled with
16 finishing up that operation.
17 So the observers they were also struck by the large number of
18 buses that were there, a large number of trucks as well. It is quite
19 clear that the preparation of the evacuation had been carried out in
20 quite some detail. The civil transport companies had certainly been
21 commandeered for that purpose, and it was local companies who
22 provided the vehicles -- mining companies and transport companies,
23 in fact.
24 Q. So there was a certain amount of co-operation on the part of several
1 A. Well, yes. All this equipment had to be made available in advance.
2 Q. (No translation of the question)
3 A. Given the efficiency with which everything unfolded, there is no doubt
4 that there was a pre-established plan for that deportation.
5 Q. You said that when he entered Srebrenica, General Mladic indicated, I
6 do not remember exactly what the words he used were, that "Finally, we
7 have revenged the 1804 uprising against the Turks", that was before
8 the massacres?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. That was when he entered?
11 A. Yes, that is when he entered Srebrenica on 11th July.
12 Q. So was he calling on people to seek revenge or what?
13 A. Well, it is not really for me to comment on that. All I can do is deal
14 with that statement with the historical reference.
15 Q. What exactly did it say? Let me get hold of it.
16 A. "Srebrenica is now Serbian on 11th July 1995. The evening of another
17 great Serbian festival we offer the city to the Serbian people. After
18 the rebellion against the Dahijas, the moment has now arrived to
19 avenge ourselves of the Turks in this region".
20 Q. "To avenge ourselves"?
21 A. Yes, "The time has come to avenge ourselves of the Turks in this
22 region". This is the translation of the comment that I have of
23 Mladic's comments that day.
24 Q. Afterwards, General Mladic, according to the latest information you
25 have, he was present five times you were able to give details about,
1 in Srebrenica, in Potocari, Bratunac, at the prisoners (sic) field and
2 in the school and in the execution site right before the execution?
3 A. The execution had already been begun.
4 Q. He is the one who was speaking to the detainees?
5 A. Yes, he systematically spoke to the detainees every time came to a
7 Q. So that one could say that he directed the operations?
8 A. I can only say that he was speaking to them. He was after all the
9 commander of the army.
10 Q. He was present?
11 A. Yes, he was present.
12 Q. His presence has been established. However, what do you have to say
13 about Dr. Karadzic's participation? Was he present at any time?
14 A. No, Radovan Karadzic was never seen at the sites when the acts took
15 place, which is why the only reference we have to him are the
16 declaration that he himself made to the press.
17 Q. As when he said that "everything is in my hands", that is when he
18 assumed the principal role?
19 A. In the comment that he made to the press that day, yes.
20 Q. In respect of the Dutch Battalion, there was a statement from Mladic.
21 He said that he was threatening to kill the hostages, the 55
22 hostages. How were these hostages taken?
23 A. I think that Colonel Karremans would be in a better position to speak
24 to you about that. The investigation for which I am responsible
25 starts with the enclave and mainly is focused on the fate of the
1 prisoners. The military operational aspect prior to the fall of the
2 enclave was not the purpose of our investigation, but I am sure that
3 the Colonel will address that issue at the proper time.
4 Q. Therefore, you do not know how they were able table to take that truck
5 which had the clothes of the United Nations people?
6 A. Yes, the equipment which was stolen from the Dutch blue helmets was
7 done by force. It was either through using weapons or using the fact
8 that there was no way that they would be able to oppose the desire of
9 the Bosnian Serb soldiers surrounding them, and they would have to
10 give over the equipment that was being asked.
11 Q. Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. Mr. Ruez, do you know how many people
13 there were in Srebrenica from the beginning of July 1995?
14 A. According to the estimates which have been given, at the beginning of
15 the operation which led to the fall of the enclave, the population of
16 that was about 40,000 in addition to a certain number of military
17 personnel. The number of that personnel, however, is not known. The
18 estimates concerning the number of military personnel fluctuate
19 between 3,000 and 6,000.
20 Q. Were they all ordinarily from Srebrenica or where they displaced
21 civilians, refugees, coming from other safe areas like Zepa, Gorazde,
23 A. No. The population which comprised the enclave of July 1995 came from
24 the Srebrenica region, but also from those surrounding regions where
25 the ethnic cleansing was going on and chasing out people, especially
1 from Zvornik and from Vlasenica, in the direction of the enclave. That
2 municipality actually had been brought into a single unit at the time
3 the enclave was taken. The entire Muslim population of the area which
4 could no longer cross the current separation zone, that is, the old
5 frontline, took refuge in that enclave, and the enclaves communicate
6 among one another, that is, Zepa and Srebrenica when it came to
7 supplies and anything having to do with the black market.
8 Q. Yes, because, according to the Security Council resolutions from 1993,
9 the ethnic cleansing had begun in 1993 in this region. So I suppose
10 there were a lot of refugees and displaced persons around this area;
11 is that correct?
12 A. Yes, that is correct. The population of Srebrenica under ordinary
13 conditions was about 7,000. Therefore, it had swollen up to 40,000 in
14 July of 1995. Before that situation in 1993 already, the population
15 had swollen very significantly and a part of that population was able
16 to get back to Muslim territory after intervention by UNPROFOR which
17 took place at the beginning of 1993, that is, in March.
18 Q. In this connection, do you know if these displaced people were
19 basically sick and wounded people, women, children and elderly
21 A. No, they were all types of cases. Among the many witnesses that we
22 spoke with, many came from places where they had lost everything
23 because of the fighting. Their physical condition was no worse than
24 anywhere else, except for the fact that the enclave itself had
25 problems having to do with supplies. But the population was divided,
1 distributed normally. There were families, there were children.
2 Q. Yes, but among these displaced people, were there sick, wounded,
3 elderly, women, children and families, of course, but .....
4 A. Yes, absolutely, yes of course. Those people who were evacuated from
5 the enclave, all of them who arrived -- actually we did not see part
6 of the video which was prepared on that subject. We can see families
7 with women and children arriving, and already by the end of June 1995
8 all the women and children were in Tuzla, and most of them on the air
9 base where there were 6,000 people. They were put into various
10 centres in Tuzla and around Tuzla, but the people, those who were not
11 there were the men.
12 The elderly could be evacuated, and the medical convoys ran
13 into many problems which probably would be too long to go into
14 details about here, but in general most of the wounded later on were
15 exchanged, but they were just about the only ones who were able to be
16 exchanged and the release of prisoners which took place at the
17 beginning of the year affected a very small number of people who came
18 from the Srebrenica enclave when one compares them to the number of
19 people that are missing.
20 Q. For the Tribunal's record, it is obvious that there were large numbers
21 of women arriving in Potocari. Do you mean how many, approximately?
22 A. No, I do not.
23 Q. Can you describe what happened to those women in and around Potocari,
24 basically in those factories that night, that terrible night, after
25 the fall of Srebrenica?
1 A. They were the victims of the same type of crimes as the other people
2 there. There were not specifically targeted at that point. Those
3 who were targeted were the men. The Bosnian Serb soldiers were more
4 interested in the male population of the enclave. The women were
5 affected indirectly but were not actually targeted during the
7 The apparent objective of the Potocari situation was to allow
8 the crimes to be committed in a public enough way, so that the
9 population on site would be terrorized and then to evacuate the site
10 as quickly as possible. In fact, this is the situation -- is
11 Mladic's main argument which puts forth two points, that is, that
12 everything that was done was done at the request of the civilian
13 representatives of the population. We spoke about what had to do
14 with those representatives. The second point is that the departure
15 of those populations was a voluntary one; that everything was done to
16 make this voluntary departure into something which was organised.
17 Q. What you are basically saying is that the horror on the hill was the
18 same for everybody there. Do you know whether or not there were
19 Bosnian Serb paramilitary units taking part in the operation that
20 followed the fall of Srebrenica or only regular troops?
21 A. There is information according to which there was paramilitary
22 involvement in that. The investigation which is now going on into the
23 perpetrators is continuing, so the identification of those who
24 participated in the military operation, on the one hand, and in the
25 exterminating operation, on the other, is still going on and for the
1 time being it is difficult to give any specific facts about this since
2 it is still under review.
3 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. No further questions.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Ruez, this is a beginning question. What is the
5 status of the enclave, according to the Security Council resolutions,
6 what type of protection was it supposed to offer, quickly? I think
7 that for the records of the Trial Chamber it would be important to
8 have specifics on that.
9 A. I can rely on what the Prosecutor tells me about this, but since this
10 investigation has taken a lot of time, I did not look at all into the
11 question of the legal status.
12 Q. No, I am not looking for a legal status; simply, what was the level of
13 protection that the international community gave to those enclaves?
14 How many enclaves were there? What was the status of those who were
15 taking refuge? I can then turn to you, Mr. Harmon, for that question.
16 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I do not think Mr. Ruez is the person to answer
17 that specifically with the enclave in Srebrenica. Our next witness,
18 Colonel Karremans, will be testifying about the enclave and the level
19 of protection in the enclave.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: The other question that I wanted to ask you, Mr.
21 Ruez, is whether, in your opinion, could you tell us why Srebrenica
22 was chosen and why so late, when we look at the chronology of events?
23 Since July 1995 the conflict has been going on for several years; the
24 international community is aware of what is going on; I might even
25 dare say that our Tribunal has already been created. Why Srebrenica?
1 Why at that specific time? Was there an historical, a strategic, a
2 cultural or a media interest? Do you have any opinion you would like
3 to put forth about that?
4 A. I have an opinion, but it is a personal one and is not specifically
5 related to the investigation. The only thing that I could really
6 state, but will be a personal opinion -- I am not an expert in the
7 matter -- so the only thing that I can say having to do with those
8 acts that were committed, that is, having to do with historical
9 context or the reasons for it were not the purpose of the
11 Q. Turning again to Mr. Harmon, would you like to supplement anything
12 that was given as a partial answer to that question?
13 MR. HARMON: Not at the moment, your Honour. I would be prepared to
14 address that in my remarks at the end of the presentation.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: All right. I would like to ask you a question
16 having to do with the statement from Radovan Karadzic that you quoted
17 from The Times. This is a question I can either ask you or the
18 Prosecutor. Do you consider these being completely in support of
19 General Mladic or do you have the feeling that there was some slight
20 difference between their points of view, some specific, distinct
21 separation specifically in the declaration which appeared in The Times
22 where he said that those soldiers finally obeyed an order? I do not
23 know which of you would like to answer this question, whether this is
24 a personal opinion or whether the Prosecutor would prefer to answer?
25 MR. HARMON: Again, your Honour, I am prepared to answer that question, if
1 the court pleases, at the end of my summation to your Honours. Mr.
2 Ruez is a fact witness here to describe the facts of his investigation
3 and his particular findings and is not in a position to give opinions
4 such as the ones the court has asked. I will be prepared to answer
5 those questions for you, your Honour, at a later time.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Very well. A last question I would like to ask, but
7 perhaps it will also be part of your concluding statement. This is
8 for the Prosecutor. In your opinion, was the main purpose of
9 Srebrenica, was this, if there was any kind of a premeditated plan,
10 and only the Tribunal will be able to determine that, was the physical
11 elimination or deportation the main objectives as part of ethnic
12 cleansing? Were both of these chosen without making a distinction or
13 was deportation, expulsion, freeing of the territory given preference,
14 and that these people were killed because there were logistical
15 problems that arose at the last minute; or in your opinion -- I am
16 asking you to give the opinion -- was the physical elimination part
17 also of ethnic cleansing of that enclave as something being
18 premeditated? Could you give us proof of that premeditation or would
19 you prefer to talk about this as well in your concluding statements?
20 MR. HARMON: Again I will talk about that in my concluding statement, but
21 it is clear from the indictment that we have presented to the court
22 that it is the Prosecutor's position that these killings amounted to
23 genocide and they were part of the ethnic cleansing that took place
24 throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina; they being the final and, perhaps, most
25 repulsive manifestation of that ethnic cleansing.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Mr. Prosecutor. I do not have any
2 further questions, nor do my colleagues. The only thing left for us to
3 do is to thank our witness for the consistency and the clarity of his
4 statement. I suggest that we suspend the hearing until 4.45. The
5 court stands adjourned.
6 MR. HARMON: Thank you, your Honour.
7 (4.20 p.m.)
8 (The court adjourned for a short time).
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecutor.
11 MR. HARMON: Thank you, your Honour. As our next witness we would like to
12 call Colonel Karremans. While we are waiting for Colonel Karremans,
13 your Honours, we will tender the Exhibits that were referred to by
14 Mr. Ruez in his previous testimony. In regard to the large map with
15 multi-coloured dots and markers on them, we propose to have a colour
16 photograph taken of that large exhibit. We will preserve the large
17 map and submit as part of the record the colour photographs of the
18 map, if that is all right with the Court?
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecutor, the Tribunal accepts that evidence, all
20 the documents, and accepts that a photograph of the map, according to
21 the technical facilities we have, will be added. We have now Colonel
22 Karremans before us. We will have to give limb some headsets. Can
23 you hear me sir? Can you read the statement which you have in your
24 hand? Can you please give Colonel Karremans some headsets? I think
25 that you must give the headsets each time and the Usher should be told
1 of that. Please read the statement which you have in your hand.
2 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole
3 truth and nothing but the truth.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Colonel. Please be seated.
5 Colonel Thomas Karremans, sworn.
6 Examined by Mr. Harmon.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Can you hear me, Colonel?
8 THE WITNESS: Yes, your Honour, I can.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Colonel Karremans, the Tribunal dealing with Mr.
10 Karadzic and General Mladic wanted to call upon you here so that we
11 can see what you have to say in the light of the indictment. I think
12 it is the Office of the Prosecutor who will introduce you. You have
13 the floor.
14 MR. HARMON: Thank you, your Honour.
15 Colonel Karremans, could you place state your full name and
16 spell your name for the record?
17 A. My last is name is Karremans. I will spell that. K-A-R-R-E-M-A-N-S,
18 Karremans. My first name is Thomas, T-H-O-M-A-S, and middle name
20 Q. Colonel Karremans, what is your occupation?
21 A. My occupation now is that I am taking over an assignment in the United
23 Q. Are you a member of the Dutch Military?
24 A. I am a member of the Dutch Military.
25 Q. Did you participate in UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and
2 A. Yes, I did, sir.
3 Q. Where were you assigned in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
4 A. I was assigned in Bosnia-Herzegovina last year from January up to July
5 in Srebrenica.
6 Q. What were your duties and responsibilities in that particular
8 A. My mission was I was the Battalion Commander of Dutch BAT in the safe
9 area of Srebrenica.
10 Q. What was the UN mandate that you received in relation to your
12 A. The UN mandate for specially the safe havens or safe areas like
13 Srebrenica was based on one of the United Nations' Resolutions, I can
14 remember 819, after there was a cease-fire agreement between General
15 Morillon and General Mladic in 1993. After that agreement the
16 Canadians went in in the safe area and we took over a year after that
17 in 1994. My assignment there was the Commander of the Dutch
19 Q. Colonel Karremans, did the Bosnian Serb Army interfere or obstruct
20 with your Unit's ability to perform its mandate after you had arrived
21 in Srebrenica?
22 A. I think not at the time that we arrived, but they did during our stay
23 in the enclave during, let us say, the last five months, as of half
25 Q. Can you expand on that, please?
1 A. I can expand on that, but then I have first, let us say, to explain
2 what the mission was of the Battalion.
3 Q. Please.
4 A. That was two-fold. One was the purely military side of the mission
5 and the other side was the humanitarian one. The military was to
6 look to the cease-fire agreement between both warring factions of
7 both parties, to assist the civil authorities in the opstina of
8 Srebrenica, to maintain negotiations between the BSA and the BiH and,
9 of course, trying to reject the BSA from attacking the enclave. On
10 the other hand, the humanitarian side of the mission was to support
11 the refugees within the enclave as much as possible on medical, by
12 food, by, let us say, the infrastructure within in the enclave, to
13 enhance that, and that was, let us say, the second part of the
14 mission of the Battalion.
15 When we took over in January 1995 from, let us say, the second
16 Battalion, we were the third there, we had no problems during the
17 rotation. We had no problems in the beginning with the BSA. There
18 were some problems with the BiH, the Bosnian forces, in the enclave.
19 Q. What problems developed with the Bosnian Serb military? Can you
20 describe those, please?
21 A. Those problems started actually on 18th February when the last convoy
22 came in with diesel, gas, which we needed for the performance of the
23 mission. I can a little bit expand on that. Normally we used 4,000
24 to 5,000 litres a day for our vehicles for patrolling, for resupply
25 of the observation posts, etc. As of 18th February the last diesel
1 convoy came in, and that meant that we have to reorganise our
2 mission, our work, because you need that amount of fuel for doing a
3 mission. At the end during February, March, April up to July, the
4 amount of diesel we had became less and less, and that meant that at
5 the end we did our patrolling, and this is just one example, by foot.
6 We were not able to resupply our observation posts. We were not
7 able to do the patrolling by cars or combat vehicles. That meant we
8 have to do all the patrolling by foot, with all the possible problems
9 of the mining around and within the enclave.
10 That was the example of diesel. At the end of April the real
11 convoy terror, as we called it in those days, started because as of
12 26th April no convoy came in at all. That meant no personnel which
13 was on leave in the Netherlands came back. They were stuck in Zagreb
14 and they never returned. Under those persons, the military from our
15 Battalion, about 180 at the end stuck up in Zagreb, there were some
16 quite important persons. For instance, my Ops officer, a Major, most
17 of the Deputy Company Commanders, and some other persons working in
18 my battalion staff. That happened as of the end of April. That
19 meant also that at the end of April, not allowing convoys coming in,
20 that I had no resupply of medicines for the Battalion but also for
21 the population, the refugees, within the enclave, no food supplies,
22 no spare parts for my vehicles, the weaponry, no engineer equipment
23 to assist the opstina and the people living in the opstina for
24 repairs of the infrastructure, and no equipment to test my ammunition
25 vehicles. That happened, let us say, until the last day I was there.
1 Q. What effect did this have on the civilian -- did the Bosnian Serb
2 blockade have on the civilian population within the enclave?
3 A. Yes, sir, it did, because almost, let us say, 25,000 persons living in
4 the enclave were refugees, as there used to live about 8,000 in the
5 village of Srebrenica. So you can imagine that the civil authorities
6 had a mighty challenge to bring under all those refugees in a city
7 with infrastructure for only 8,000 persons. But also the food for all
8 the people living in the enclave was a problem, because the UNHCR was
9 responsible, or at least they were responsible, for bringing in the
10 food. Also the UNHCR had the same problems with getting in their food
11 for the inhabitants of the enclave.
12 Q. Were complaints made to the Bosnian Serb authorities about the
13 blockade and its effects?
14 A. Yes, we did, sir. Every day at 6 o'clock in the night we sent our
15 information daily to the higher echelons and that started in sector
16 northeast in Tuzla, going up to Sarajevo, the Bihac Command, up to the
17 Force Commander in Zagreb. They were aware of, let us say, the
18 problems within the enclave, on one side with the Battalion and on the
19 other side with the population. We noticed that and we put all the
20 information, let us say, on a daily basis to the higher echelons. On
21 top of that I have written a lot of reports during my may stay over
22 there, let us say, once in two days, in describing the poor situation
23 of the people over there. Also after the meetings we had with the
24 local authorities they always mentioned what their problems were
25 towards the people. We mentioned that in our daily reports and I
1 mentioned that quite some times in my, let us say, own reports up to
2 the Force Commander in Zagreb and also to the Crisis Staff here in The
4 Q. Colonel Karremans, did you have contacts with the Bosnian-Serb
5 military officials from Bratunac?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. In your context with those officials did you complain to them about
8 the effects of the blockade?
9 A. Yes. Every time when we had a meeting with, let us say, with
10 representatives of the Bosnian Serb Army -- I think we will come to
11 the persons later -- we made out complaints given by the civil
12 authorities within the enclave, what happened with the population, not
13 only in providing food for them, but also on the medical side of the
14 whole support for the people. In the beginning we supported the
15 population as much as we could in combination with MSF, Medecins Sans
16 Frontiere, by ambulances in the area, by giving them medicines, giving
17 them medical care, pick up wounded persons or sick persons, bring
18 them to the hospital in Srebrenica or, if that was not possible, to
19 our own field dressing station. That was as of end of April also
20 stopped. The same applied for, let us say, the normal daily living
21 within the enclave. All those complaints we told several times when
22 we had a meeting, we presented to the BSA to those representatives.
23 Q. What was their reaction, Colonel Karremans?
24 A. None.
25 Q. Can you identify some of the persons in the Bosnian-Serb Army with
1 whom you had contact and with whom you liaised on?
2 A. Yes, I can, sir. In the first place, and I met him in the first week
3 when I arrived in Bosnia in Srebrenica, I met Colonel Vukovic. He was
4 the so-called Liaison Officer between the Battalion and the Drina
5 Corps Commander or the Drina Corps. He was also the Commander of one
6 of Brigades, the Brigade in the southern part of the surroundings of
7 Srebrenica. The second BSA representative which we met quite often
8 was Major Nikolic. He was the Liaison Officer from the Bratunac
9 Brigade, and the Bratunac Brigade was the Brigade in the northern area
10 outside the enclave. He was the representative of that Brigade and he
11 was also the LSO which we dealt often. Those two persons we met
12 during not daily meetings, but sometimes a couple of times a week,
13 sometimes even once a month when they liked to have a meeting and not
14 when we liked to have a meeting. A third person I know as Petar.
15 Petar is an interpreter which both just named officers used all the
17 Q. Colonel Karremans, during your contacts with Major Nikolic, did he
18 ever express an opinion to you about his attitude towards the Bosnian
19 Muslim population of Srebrenica?
20 A. Yes, sir, he did. Actually that was in one of the meetings what I can
21 remember in February. We had always our meetings either on OP Echo,
22 that is an observation post in the southern part of the enclave, or OP
23 Papa in the northern part. This was on one of the occasions which I
24 can remember in February in which he told me, you could see it on his
25 face too, the hatred of the Muslim people, especially those who were
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.Pages 608 to 621.
1 living in the enclave, and he said that he had a reason for that
2 because half of his family had been murdered during the Second World
3 War. Secondly, he told me that, in his opinion, all the Muslims
4 should leave Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thirdly, I think looking in those
5 days at that moment to his face that he meant that, and that there was
6 a quite some hatred in his eyes. Also in the words I must say.
7 Q. Colonel Karremans, you have mentioned that a number of Dutch soldiers
8 were stationed inside the enclave of Srebrenica. Let me show you an
9 exhibit which is a map of the enclave. It will be presented to you
10 and then I would like to ask you some questions about it.
11 Your Honours, we have copies as well for your Honours which I
12 would ask the usher to please take up to the bench.
13 Colonel Karremans, there should be a monitor in front of you,
14 there should be that particular exhibit appearing in front of you on
15 the monitor. Can you please point to the map and identify the
16 locations where Dutch soldiers were stationed within the enclave?
17 A. Sir, I can. If your Honours you look to the map you can see a dotted
18 line in there with a C on top and a B, Bravo, in the south. What we
19 did, and we took that over from the previous Battalion, was that we
20 divided the area into two parts. The northern area was the
21 responsibility of our C company, and the southern part of the area
22 was the responsibility of the B COY, the Bravo company. We started
23 off in January with eight observation posts from which we could see a
24 great part of the area. In the beginning in January and February
25 both companies had some observation posts. I start with the one here
1 on top, OP Papa, that was the observation post I just was referring
2 to when we had our meetings with BSA representatives. Then we have
3 here OP Quebec and OP Romeo on the east side. We have OP November on
4 the north. Those four, November, Papa, Quebec and Romeo, belonged to
5 the C COY including the Alpha observation post. So that means five
6 observation posts when we started off. The southern part of the
7 enclave, OP Charlie, in the west, OP Echo here in the south and OP
8 Fox Trot also in the south. That meant eight observation posts when
9 I took it over.
10 What I explained before, your Honours, is due to the convoy
11 terror, if I may say so, and the lack of gasoline, diesel, we changed
12 our mission, let us say, daily by daily, but especially our main
13 mission working from observation posts and patrolling between
14 observation posts and within the enclave to more observation posts
15 and less patrolling by cars and later on only patrolling by foot.
16 We decided to build more observation posts. We did that in contact
17 with the BiH forces inside the enclave and we also discussed that
18 with the BSA representatives. They all agreed to that, except
19 observation post, Kilo over here, but I would like to come to that
20 one later on, if I may. During our stay there we made OP Mike and OP
21 Delta and OP Hotel, that is the old one, and at the end of our stay
22 OP Hotel in the direct vicinity of the village of Srebrenica.
23 There have been a lot of problems about OP Kilo, that was last
24 one and Delta, because OP Kilo and Delta we projected those
25 observation posts on smuggle routes, if I may say so, during our stay
1 and also during the stay of both previous Battalions, we noticed
2 there was a lot of smuggling between the safe area of Srebrenica and
3 the safe area of Zepa and used a couple of routes from the southern
4 part of the enclave in the southern direction to Zepa. That is why
5 we put Delta and Kilo on those routes. From the Bosnian military
6 side they had, let us say, quite some problems that we established
7 those two observation posts. At the end we did.
8 Q. Let me ask you, Colonel Karremans, how many soldiers were stationed in
9 each of those observation posts?
10 A. We started in January with, let us say, 10 soldiers per observation
11 post, but after the end of April when the leave convoys did not return
12 to Srebrenica and we made more observation posts and we did less
13 patrolling or, let us say, it in another way, another kind of
14 patrolling, we changed a little bit the manning of the observation
15 posts and went to six in some cases and 10 in other cases. We had
16 some observation posts with 10 persons just for observation and doing
17 the patrols, and we had some observation posts with only six persons
18 on it just for observation. In total at the end of our stay on 12
19 observation posts I had about 90 to 100 soldiers working day by day on
20 the posts.
21 Q. Colonel Karremans, had the Bosnian Serb blockade not taken place, what
22 was the normal number of soldiers you would have had in Srebrenica?
23 A. The Battalion consisted of 780 soldiers. 180 were situated in the
24 Tuzla area, one company, a large company I must say, and I had 600
25 soldiers, including 50 of the field dressing station, to my disposal
1 within the enclave, 600, but at the end, let us say, in April about
2 150 to 180 did not return. So I had about 400, 420 soldiers at my
3 disposal as of the end of April till the end of July.
4 Q. Of that 420 soldiers how many of those soldiers were infantry men?
5 A. About half, 100 on the observation posts, about 100 for doing the
6 patrols, especial patrolling in the enclave, along the borders of the
7 enclave, for the guarding of both compounds in Srebrenica itself and
8 in Potocari, and the other 200 soldiers were all for manning the three
9 company staffs, the Battalion staff, for all the logistics and the
10 field dressing station.
11 Q. So by the time the invasion started in July less than half of your
12 available military personnel were infantry soldiers, is that correct?
13 A. That is correct, sir.
14 Q. Can you describe to the Court what type of weaponry was available to
15 your troops at the time the invasion started?
16 A. Yes, I can. Our government has chosen for a so-called light option,
17 and the weaponry we had in those days were small arms, every soldier
18 had his own arm, either a pistol or a light machine gun or a rifle.
19 Then we had a light machine guns, guns on the observation posts and
20 also on both compounds. We had the heavy machine guns on our armoured
21 personnel carriers. Besides that we had six mortars, 81 millimetre.
22 They were on the observation posts, let us say, on some of the
23 observation posts. I had to my disposal anti-tank weapons, medium
24 range and long range. Amongst them, for instance, the tow wide
25 anti-tank systems and some small anti-tank weapons as well. I think
1 that is what the main armament was of the battalion.
2 Q. Did the Bosnian Serb Army blockade of Srebrenica that started in April
3 have any effect on the amount of ammunition or the quality of weaponry
4 that you had at your disposal?
5 A. No, not really. That had already happened when we entered, let us
6 say, the first Battalion, the enclave, because we had to work, I gave
7 you that example, with small arms, our personal arms, which we took
8 over from the previous Battalion and they took it over from the first
9 Battalion. Those weapons, small arms, although they were maintained
10 daily they were used a lot. The same applied for the anti-tank
11 systems I had. Every half a year, for instance, a tow rocket should
12 be in a test bed, you have to test it if it works well. I did not
13 have that test equipment, so I could not rely on my anti-tank weapons.
14 Another thing is when the Battalion came in, the first one, is that I
15 had only 16 per cent of the ammunition I normally should have. That
16 ammunition was after more than a year in bad circumstances as well.
17 Q. Colonel Karremans, did General Mladic have good intelligence about
18 what was happening in enclave?
19 A. Yes, sir, he did. In the first place he could notice by all the
20 troops which he had around the enclave what was going on within the
21 enclave. He could see what we were doing when we are patrolling, when
22 we are leaving the compounds with vehicles or by patrols, when we were
23 resupplying the observation posts. He knew everything that we did
24 internally. Secondly, he was well aware of our supplies in the
25 Battalion because he was the person or, le us say, his staff, were
1 persons who refused, especially after the end of April, refused all
2 our convoys. Those convoys which came in we used so-called loading
3 papers on which you have to describe what you will have or receive.
4 So they know exactly what was on supply in the enclave for our
5 Battalion, food, medicines, spare parts, engineer equipment, etc. In
6 the third place, he was well aware of what was going on in the enclave
7 on both sides of the Battalion and also on the population and civil
8 authorities. He mentioned that to me in one of the meetings I had
9 with him, that he was well aware of what was going on in the enclave
10 every day, every minute, by persons he had posted in the enclave.
11 Q. When the Bosnian Serb invasion on the enclave started, did Bosnian
12 Serb Army attack the outposts that you have described?
13 A. Can you repeat the question, please?
14 Q. When the invasion started in July 1995, did the BSA attack your
15 observation posts?
16 A. That already started in June, 3rd June. I would like to recall or go
17 back to the end of May when the air strikes were executed in the Pale
18 area, with the result that I think over more than 300 UN soldiers
19 were hijacked in those days. After that the problems in the safe
20 areas Gorazde and Zepa with all the British and Ukrainian observation
21 posts, and that happened also in the beginning of June. On 1st June
22 I had to come to OP Echo, that is just at the southern part of the
23 enclave, and there was a telephone call. We had a land line between
24 the observation post Echo and one of the posts of the BSA, and we had
25 a land line which we could use for making telephone calls and when we
1 liked to have a meeting with them or they liked to have a meeting
2 with us. I used the telephone and I got the interpreter on the other
3 end, Petar, I referred to him, and the name of Vukovic asked me to
4 consider leaving OP Echo. I asked him for a reason which he did not
5 give me and that was it. I stated that I would not leave OP Echo at
7 Two days later, and that was on 3rd June, in the early
8 morning, I think it was about 9, all of a sudden after a warning of a
9 couple of minutes the BSA attacked OP Echo with about 60 soldiers
10 heavily armed with mortars, hand grenades, with anti-tank weapons,
11 and the manning of the observation posts were all under fire to
12 leave OP Echo. They happily succeeded without result leaving persons
13 behind, but they left behind a lot of equipment. What they took with
14 them were the vehicles, the communications systems, some personal
15 stuff and weaponry. The rest was left on OP Echo.
16 That was the first observation post we lost in the beginning
17 of June.
18 Q. Colonel Karremans, how many Dutch soldiers were manning OP Echo at the
19 time of the attack?
20 A. In those days?
21 Q. At the time of the attack.
22 A. I think 10 soldiers.
23 Q. Please continue describing the attacks on the observation posts?
24 A. After that attack executed by what I stated before, by about 60
25 persons, leaving by the APC, with the APC, OP Echo, we did two things,
1 actually three. In the first place, we made an immediate report for
2 the high echelons what happened, what was going on. Secondly, we
3 asked for a meeting with Colonel Vukovic or Nikolic to ask them what
4 was going on, the purpose of that attack, that we would like to have
5 back the observation post and that we would like to have back the
6 equipment left behind on that observation post. The second thing we
7 did immediately after losing that observation post was establishing OP
8 Shera and OP Uniform, that is say, 200 to 300 metres north of OP Echo.
9 That gave a remarkable reaction on the BSA because they, I think, did
10 not expect that reaction. So, also we lost OP Echo. We had two
11 observation posts nearby.
12 Q. What was the reaction of your Bosnian Serb Liaison Officer when you
13 asked for the observation post back and for your equipment back?
14 A. It took quite a while when we had a first meeting after the loss of OP
15 Echo. I cannot remember when we had the first meeting after, let us
16 say, 3rd June, but the reaction was that we could not get back the
17 equipment and we could not get back the observation post at all.
18 Q. Were there additional attacks on the observation posts prior to or
19 during the invasion of Srebrenica?
20 A. No, sir.
21 Q. As a result of the attacks on the observation posts, were Dutch
22 soldiers taken prisoners by the Bosnian Serb Army?
23 A. Not on that occasion.
24 Q. Can you tell us on which occasions they were taken prisoners?
25 A. Yes, I can. That happened, your Honours, on the start of, let us
1 say, on 6th July that was already a month later. In the period
2 between 3rd June, OP Echo, and 6th July, it was rather quiet in the
3 area, also there was a tense situation, I must say, but it was really
4 quiet, except one occasion somewhere in the middle of June, what
5 happened in the vicinity of Srebrenica itself.
6 On 6th July, in the morning, about 3 o'clock, the war started
7 over there. It started in our area, the compound of Potocari, by
8 shooting over the compound with some rockets. The attacks started in
9 the southern part of the enclave, in the area of OP Fox Trot. That
10 was on the Thursday, Thursday, 6th July. Those attacks were carried
11 out, let us say, during six days.
12 The first OP which has been attacked really by small arms, by
13 mortars and by tanks was OP Fox Trot, that one on Thursday, on Friday
14 and on Saturday, and it was Saturday, I think, by noonish or 1
15 o'clock that I ordered to retreat the manning of the OP and leave it
16 during a pause of shootings.
17 Q. How many men were stationed in OP Fox Trot?
18 A. Just a moment -- seven men.
19 Q. Thank you. Please continue, Colonel Karremans.
20 A. On Saturday, in the afternoon, when OP Fox Trot has been attacked for
21 a third day, and I ask, I can remember, for a second time for close
22 air support, things were going on rather quickly, because on Saturday
23 and Sunday I lost quite some observation posts in the southern part
24 of the enclave here.
25 There were two possibilities for the soldiers on the
1 observation posts -- actually, three possibilities: just leave the
2 observation post and go back to the compound; secondly, stay as long
3 as they could, making use of the defence walls, making use of the
4 shelters within the observation post; thirdly, retreat from the
5 observation post knowing that the BiH should make problems because
6 they, not order us, but they thought that we should stay on the
7 observation post and not retreat it or not leave them. There was
8 another possibility just to end up, let us say, taken away by BSA
9 forces. In most of the cases leaving the observation post, the last
10 thing happened. The observation posts were attacked by BSA forces.
11 They were encircled by forces, and the only thing the soldiers could
12 do is hand over equipment, use their vehicles and they were sent, let
13 us say, to Simici(?) or later on to Bratunac.
14 Q. As a result of those actions by the BSA against the observation post,
15 how many Dutch soldiers were taken into custody by the BSA and
17 A. At the end there were 55 soldiers taken in custody and detained from
18 seven or eight different observation posts.
19 Q. Those 55 soldiers were all infantry soldiers; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, sir. They were all infantry soldiers.
21 Q. If my mathematics are correct, that represented about 25 per cent of
22 your infantrymen available in the compound at the time of the
24 A. That is correct.
25 Q. Do you know how many Bosnian Serb Army soldiers participated in the
1 invasion of Srebrenica?
2 A. Not at the moment.
3 Q. Did you subsequently find out?
4 A. Yes, because Mladic told me, General Mladic told me, at the end that
5 he had quite some troops around the enclave of Srebrenica. Those were
6 not the original troops around the enclave, but let us say fresh
7 troops, fresh Brigades. He used one Brigade for the attack in the
8 southern, from the southern direction, from south to north; he had
9 another Brigade from east to the west and he had one Brigade in
10 reserve north of Bratunac. Bratunac is the city somewhere over here.
11 Actually, he told me he had three Brigades or Brigade sized units
12 which he used too.
13 Q. How many men are in a Brigade?
14 A. I do not know, but I think that in every Brigade there were about
15 between 1,000 and 1500 soldiers with this heavy weaponry and other
16 weaponry than we had in those days.
17 Q. I want to ask you specifically that question, Colonel Karremans, who
18 type of weapons were available to the invading Bosnian Serb forces?
19 A. They had all equipment from the former Yugoslavian Army -- at least
20 what was left out of it. They had quite some artillery pieces. We
21 have noticed those pieces already around the enclave during our stay
22 over there. Sometimes they changed the position of those artillery
23 pieces. Sometimes they changed the positions of mortars they have,
24 heavy mortars, light mortars -- quite a lot, I must say.
25 They had some main bell tanks, the old T55s, and even some new
1 types which we have noticed and which they had used; some
2 anti-aircraft vehicles which they did not use for anti-aircraft but
3 for the attacks on the villages in the southern part of the enclave,
4 I mean, in direct line and a lot of anti-tank weapons.
5 Q. Did they also have multiple rocket systems?
6 A. They had a couple of multiple rocket systems, small ones, all on
7 wheels, of which we have noticed at least three north of the compound
8 of Potocari around the hills and he had, let us say, a larger multiple
9 rocket system in the city of Bratunac which he used as well shelling
10 the city of (indecipherable).
11 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I am looking at the clock; perhaps this is an
12 appropriate time to recess for the day?
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I share your view. This is a good moment to have a
14 recess. We will stop the hearing for today and the Tribunal will
15 resume tomorrow at 10 o'clock.
16 (5.40 p.m.)
17 (The court adjourned until the following day)