1 Wednesday, 22 March 2000
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
6 morning, ladies and gentlemen. Can the interpreters
7 hear me? I'm glad to see that they're there. Good
8 morning to the counsel for the Prosecution, to counsel
9 for the Defence; good morning, General Krstic.
10 For the record, we're still hearing the case
11 against General Krstic, and we will continue with the
12 testimony that we started yesterday. So without much
13 further ado, I will give the floor to Mr. Cayley.
14 MR. CAYLEY: Good morning, Mr. President,
15 Your Honours. We are coming towards the end of
16 Mr. Mandzic's testimony. So with your permission, if
17 the witness could be brought back into the courtroom,
18 I'd be grateful.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 WITNESS: NESIB MANDZIC [Resumed]
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
23 morning, Mr. Mandzic. Did you hear me?
24 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can. Good morning, Your
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Is the
2 translation all right today?
3 THE WITNESS: I think it is.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Let
5 me just remind you, Mr. Mandzic, that you are still
6 testifying under an oath. You will continue answering
7 questions that Mr. Cayley is going to put to you, and
8 thank you for coming back this morning.
9 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Examined by Mr. Cayley: [contd]
11 Q. Good morning, Mr. Mandzic.
12 A. Good morning, Mr. Cayley.
13 Q. We left off with your testimony last night on
14 the night of the 11th of July, 1995, when you returned
15 from Bratunac to the UN Compound in Potocari, and I'd
16 now like to move ahead in time to the 12th of July of
17 1995, in the morning.
18 You're inside the UN Compound. Can you
19 describe to the Judges the scene that you saw in and
20 around the compound at Potocari and inside the compound
21 on the morning of the 12th of July, 1995?
22 A. Yes, I can do that. At the base of the Dutch
23 Battalion in Potocari, approximately 5.000 refugees had
24 found temporary shelter. Most of them were elderly
25 people, weak people. There were dozens of wounded as
1 well. Most of them had been wounded in the shelling,
2 shelling that was perpetrated by the VRS against the
3 surrounding villages.
4 The accommodation was by no means adequate.
5 People were lying on the floor of old factory halls and
6 also around the Dutch Battalion base, in the street and
7 the surrounding factories. Altogether there were
8 around 25.000 refugees who had gathered there. They
9 had the same problems as those in the camp.
10 Q. How hot was it that day, Mr. Mandzic?
11 A. The temperature was above 30 degrees
12 Celsius. It was exhausting due to the temperature as
13 well, let alone the fear. There was a shortage of
14 water, of food. There were no toilet facilities.
15 Q. The children and the babies, what was their
16 state at this time?
17 A. Well, yes, the children were in a very
18 difficult situation. As I have already stated, there
19 was no food, so their mothers couldn't feed them.
20 Their mothers were exhausted as well. So were the
21 children. They were crying all the time, screaming.
22 They had nothing to change them or to wash them.
23 It was very sad to watch all this. When I
24 try to think about it all, when I try to go back and
25 reflect on it, I really see that it was a terrible
1 trauma for all of us.
2 Q. At 10.00 that morning, Colonel Karremans
3 called you again. Can you tell the Judges why he
4 called you and what you did after your conversation
5 with him?
6 A. Let me go back to the previous night, that
7 is, the night between the 11th and the 12th of July,
8 and the first meeting in Bratunac with the
9 representatives of the military authorities of
10 Republika Srpska.
11 General Mladic made an ultimatum. He
12 demanded from the Dutch Battalion and from us that we
13 should be back to Bratunac on the following day at
14 10.00 together with a Bosniak delegation that would be
15 representing the refugees. So according to that, we
16 organised ourselves.
17 On the 12th of July, at 10.00 a.m., we were
18 again in Bratunac together with the representatives of
19 the Dutch Battalion.
20 Q. Whereabouts in Bratunac did you go on that
22 A. The meeting was held at the same place, in
23 the Fontana Hotel in Bratunac, like the first meeting,
24 the one that had taken place on the night before.
25 Q. You referred to a Bosniak delegation. Apart
1 from yourself, who were the members of that delegation?
2 A. Members of the Bosniak delegation were, well,
3 myself, and then Mr. Ibro Nuhanovic, who did not
4 survive the Srebrenica Calvary. In the afternoon, on
5 the 13th of July, he was separated from his family by
6 the forces of the VRS, and I haven't heard of him since
7 that day.
8 The third member of the Bosniak delegation
9 was Mrs. Camila Omanovic.
10 Q. If you can recall, who were the Dutch
11 officers who accompanied you to that meeting?
12 A. Yes, I remember. It was the Commander of the
13 Dutch Battalion. At that time he was a Lieutenant
14 Colonel, Colonel Karremans. Then there was a Major
15 from the Dutch Battalion, Major Boering. As far as I
16 can remember, the third officer of the Dutch Battalion,
17 who was a Sergeant, whom I remember very well but I
18 just cannot remember his name at the moment, but I am
19 able to recognise him, and I recognised him yesterday
20 on the photograph that you showed me. Now, I have
21 shown you video extracts of that meeting, which I'm not
22 going to show in the courtroom for your evidence, but
23 if you could briefly tell the Judges what you recall of
24 that meeting.
25 A. You're referring to the second meeting, the
1 one that started on the 12th of July at 10.00?
2 Q. That's right, Mr. Mandzic.
3 A. This meeting resembled more or less the
4 previous one, the one that had taken place the night
5 before, with one exception. During that meeting, while
6 we were discussing, somebody approached the group, the
7 meeting, from the side and addressed General Mladin,
8 saying that the Bosniaks were arriving in the football
9 stadium in Bratunac. So when we heard that, we were
10 very upset. But then I glanced at my watch and I
11 realised that within half an hour it was physically
12 impossible for thousands of refugees to reach Bratunac
13 from Potocari. Therefore it was a kind of provocation,
14 whose objective was to scare the representatives of the
15 Bosniak delegation, to disarm them, if one can put it
16 that way, when it comes to their requests and their
17 demands. They simply wanted to crush us, both
18 physically and morally, so that we would be completely
20 Let me mention one other fact which can
21 support this. One member of our negotiating group, our
22 negotiating team, sustained a very severe psychological
23 shock that day, a nervous breakdown.
24 Q. Do you recall anything else that was
25 discussed at that meeting, Mr. Mandzic?
1 A. There was certain indications also about the
2 possible evacuation of the population, but nothing
3 really tangible, nothing specific.
4 Q. Do you recall who was present at that
6 A. In addition to the officers from the command
7 of the VRS, two civilian representatives of the
8 Bratunac municipality attended the meeting, as far as I
9 can remember. One of them was Miroslav Deronjic, who
10 at the time was the president of the Serb Democratic
11 Party for the Bratunac municipality. The other one was
12 Milisav, I believe his name is, Milisav Simic, who was
13 the president of the Bratunac Municipal Assembly at
14 that time.
15 Q. Could you name, if you can, the individuals
16 from the VRS Command that were present at that meeting
17 on the morning of the 12th of July?
18 A. Yes, I can do that. I remember very well
19 that next to General Mladic sat General Krstic, who is
20 here today, together with some other officers, whose
21 faces I can remember very well, but I'm not quite sure
22 as to their names.
23 Q. Do you recall whether Mr. Miroslav Deronjic
24 said anything at the meeting?
25 A. I cannot recall, but I do remember, on the
1 other hand, that Simic said something.
2 Q. Could you tell the Court what Simic said at
3 that meeting?
4 A. Yes. Simic spoke to General Mladic at one
5 point and he told him that in respect of certain
6 Bosniaks, they needed to have some informative talks.
7 He suspected that they had been members of the armed
9 Q. Do you recall what time that meeting
11 A. Yes. It finished between -- sometime between
12 11.00 and 11.30.
13 Q. After the meeting, what did you do?
14 A. After the meeting we went back, together with
15 the officers of the Dutch Battalion. We went back to
16 their camp. The situation was very difficult. We were
17 trying to figure out what to do next, because it was
18 obvious that no firm guarantees had been given that
19 there would be a positive solution for all those
20 refugees. Mr. Ibro Nuhanovic, Mrs. Omanovic, Camila,
21 and myself, we were very concerned and we were thinking
22 of putting down the names of the refugees on paper, but
23 at that time it was a very difficult thing to do. Do
24 you want me to say perhaps that during the first
25 meeting, General Mladic had promised that everybody,
1 regardless of their age, sex, and so on, would,
2 according to their wishes, be evacuated. Later on we
3 would see that it was by no means an evacuation, but a
4 very cruel deportation.
5 Mladic repeated several times those words,
6 that he would allow for an evacuation to happen for all
7 those people there.
8 Q. You mentioned General Mladic. Did he appear
9 that day in Potocari?
10 A. Yes, he did appear in Potocari on that day,
11 between 12.00 and 1.00.
12 Q. At that time, at 12.00 or 1.00, had the
13 deportation started by that time, the movement of the
14 population to Potocari?
15 A. If I remember it correctly, General Mladic
16 came to Potocari. He simply entered this mass of
17 refugees sometime between noon and 1.00 p.m. And I
18 think that the deportation began after 1.00 on that
19 day, on the 12th of July, that is, after General Mladic
20 had left Potocari.
21 Q. So can you give an approximate time when the
22 movement of the population started?
23 A. After 1.00 p.m. on the 12th of July.
24 Q. Can you describe to the Judges what you saw
25 taking place in respect of that movement?
1 A. On the 12th of July, 1995, in the afternoon
2 hours, I was in the Dutch Battalion camp. I was in a
3 position to observe, like everybody else who had
4 remained in the camp, that women, children were
5 boarding buses. We could see dozens of buses waiting
6 in line, waiting for the population to board them. So
7 because of that, we concluded that there was a
8 separation of the population going on at the time. We
9 could only see women and children on those buses. We
10 didn't know where the men were between 15/16 and
11 60 years of age. This additionally upset us, but we
12 were completely helpless. We couldn't do anything.
13 Q. Let's move ahead to the early evening hours
14 of the 12th of July. I think the Dutch Commander,
15 Colonel Karremans, came to speak to you. Can you tell
16 the Judges what happened after he spoke to you?
17 A. In the afternoon hours on that day between
18 5.00 and 6.00 p.m., to be precise, Major Franken from
19 the Dutch Battalion spoke to me and Mr. Nuhanovic. He
20 told us that we had to get out of the Dutch Battalion
21 camp in Potocari because some officers of the VRS were
22 expecting us outside the camp. So this is how me and
23 late Mr. Nuhanovic went towards the gate of the camp.
24 While we were moving towards the gate, which
25 was open at that time, a Serb soldier of a heavy build
1 started running towards us, and he went straight for
2 Mr. Ibro Nuhanovic. He expressed his anger and his
3 hatred by addressing Mr. Nuhanovic with a question,
4 "Are you a Turk?" Nuhanovic remained silent.
5 However, this didn't stop the Serb soldier, who landed
6 a heavy blow on Mr. Nuhanovic, who, as a result of that
7 blow, fell down.
8 Standing next to us there was a Dutch
9 officer, a Sergeant, who saw this happening, and at
10 that moment he reacted by saying, "No. No. It's not
11 correct." Then the Serb soldiers moved away.
12 We continued for another 10 or 15 metres, and
13 then General Mladic got out of a car, and he ordered us
14 to come with him towards the centre of this mass of
15 people who had gathered in Potocari.
16 General Mladic ordered me and Mr. Nuhanovic
17 to speak to the people, though we actually had nothing
18 to tell them because our fate was the same as those
19 30.000 people. But I do remember that General Mladic
20 addressed the refugees, and he told them once again,
21 "Do not panic. You will all be safe. You will all be
22 evacuated to the area," or, rather, "the areas that are
23 under the control of the BH army. First the old and
24 the infirm, then mothers with their children, and then
25 everybody will follow as well."
1 But what created additional panic on that day
2 was the fact that as early as in the morning of that
3 day, that is, before 12.00, the soldiers of the VRS,
4 who on the previous night had surrounded the Dutch
5 Battalion camp and the civilian population, those
6 soldiers, in the early morning hours on that day, had
7 pierced the corridor and actually mingled with the
8 population. So on that day, a search for certain
9 Bosniaks started, with no apparent reason at all. They
10 also started taking them out from the group, and we do
11 not know anything about those individuals.
12 We could see nearby houses on fire. They
13 also torched the houses in a selective manner, with the
14 purpose of frightening the population and also so as to
15 prevent them from coming back. It was a very clear
16 message, very clear sign that Srebrenica -- that is,
17 that there would be no life for Bosniaks in Srebrenica
19 Q. After Mladic had addressed the crowd and you
20 had been outside the compound, did you return inside
21 the UN Dutch compound?
22 A. Yes, I did, and late Ibro Nuhanovic went back
23 to the camp of the Dutch soldiers, and spent again the
24 night in the camp.
25 Q. Did you hear anything that night?
1 A. Yes, and that is what still causes me
2 problems. It is voices, incomprehensible voices and
3 some blunt blows, such sounds. On that night, between
4 the 12th and the 13th of July, I could not really
5 establish where they came from since we were, as I
6 said, in the compound of the Dutch Battalion in
7 Potocari, and it was a building which was additionally
8 reinforced with concrete slabs by the Dutch soldiers in
9 order to improve their safety in case they were
10 attacked, in case the Dutch soldiers were attacked.
11 That night, I repeat, I heard but -- I heard
12 some shots but not very clearly. I heard some screams,
13 noise, but I could not really say which direction they
14 all came from, these sounds came from, because the
15 whole building was plated with those concrete slabs.
16 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be shown
17 Exhibit 5/2, and also if you have available 5/6.
18 Q. Mr. Mandzic, you stated to the Judges that
19 you were inside the compound that night, in a building
20 that had been reinforced against gunfire by concrete
21 slabs. Could you indicate on this photograph where you
22 stayed that night, on the 12th of July?
23 A. On the 12th of July I was in the Dutch base
24 or, rather, the building that was -- that the
25 officers -- where the officers were quartered, and
1 according to this photograph, it is here [indicated].
2 MR. CAYLEY: Let the record show that the
3 witness is pointing to the building which is in the
4 uppermost left-hand corner of the yellow square, the
5 square which delineates the UN base.
6 If the witness could now be shown
7 Exhibit 5/6.
8 Q. Mr. Mandzic, do you recognise this building?
9 A. I do, yes. This is an industrial plant, the
10 11 of March Factory, which was one of the Energoinvest
11 units in this building, and in front of it by its fence
12 posts is the road, Bratunac-Potocari-Srebrenica. On
13 the 11th, 12th, 13th of July, there were tens of
14 thousands of people forcibly amassed in that area.
15 I can also say that in this building or,
16 rather, in this hall, in this plant, that I was there
17 on the 11th of July, and I was there until 9.00, until
18 I was called to go to the Commander of the Dutch
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mandzic. We've finished with
21 those exhibits. Let's move ahead in time, Mr. Mandzic,
22 to the 13th of July, and if you can tell the Judges
23 rumours you were beginning to hear on that morning in
24 respect of the men, of the Bosniak men who were present
25 in and around Potocari.
1 A. Yes. That morning, the 13th of July, 1995,
2 several acquaintances of mine who are no longer alive,
3 that is, people who did not survive the Srebrenica
4 Calvary, approached me and said, "They killed some
5 people last night." The soldiers of the Army of
6 Republika Srpska were taking away men to nearby houses
7 and killed them there outside the camp in which there
8 was some 25.000 expellees. Nobody could sleep because
9 screams could be heard all night long.
10 And the man went on with his story and his
11 experience. He have said, "So-and-so," and then he
12 would mention a place near Skelani at Dobrak, was
13 trying to kill himself, to commit suicide all night to
14 prevent the soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska
15 laying hands on him, but they, nevertheless, prevented
16 him from that and then took it out on him.
17 I heard identical stories, shortly
18 afterwards, from people who, that morning, managed to
19 jump over the fence where the Dutch soldiers were. And
20 I was really scared, like everybody else.
21 After that I went to see the deputy commander
22 of the Dutch Battalion and asked him to try to put a
23 stop to this type of evacuation, which was not
24 evacuation, properly speaking; it was a very cruel
25 deportation. And I remember that Major Franken, who
1 was replacing Commander Karremans, said then,
2 "Impossible." And I also remember what he said in
3 English. He said, "I'm doing my best."
4 Q. Please carry on, Mr. Mandzic, if you wish.
5 If you have more to say to the Judges, I don't want to
6 interrupt you.
7 A. Right. Then I asked Major Franken, "Well,
8 what next? Where's the way out of this? Because they
9 will separate all men. Will any of the men survive?
10 Shall we have any proof that people ever lived in this
11 area, that there were some people there?" And Major
12 Franken said, "Yes, let's do something. Let's try to
13 make a list, at least in the camp, if we cannot do it
14 outside the camp."
15 So I began to do that straight away. I
16 entered those destroyed structures, those plants of the
17 factory in the camp, and with some other men I started
18 compiling the list mostly of the male population
19 between the ages of 17, 18 to 70 onward.
20 I must also say that I had some trouble as I
21 was compiling that list, first of all because some of
22 the people from my -- from the same place were afraid
23 of seeing their names on that list. I remember some
24 said, "Right. We trust you, we know you, but what if
25 our name is on this list and the army of the Republika
1 Srpska gets hold of it?" But we did manage to make a
2 list of men in that camp between the ages of 18 and 80,
3 and there were 239 men on that list, even though there
4 were many more of them in that camp, but for reasons
5 that I mentioned, because people were afraid to see
6 their name on the list, that the army of the Republika
7 Srpska would get hold of that list, and they refused to
8 give us names.
9 I turned that list over to Major Franken and
10 I was also faced with a major dilemma: What if this
11 list with 239 names, what if the army of the Republika
12 Srpska lays its hand on this list of 239 names? But
13 Major Franken said, "Well, don't worry. If nothing
14 else, I will put that list in my trousers and won't let
15 them search me."
16 And that is how it was. That list exists to
17 this day, but those men are no longer alive. And it is
18 of no help to their families, because they are still
19 grieving and still searching for all those missing
21 Q. Mr. Mandzic, the evacuation outside the UN
22 compound, the movement of this population, what time
23 did it finish on the 13th of July?
24 A. In late afternoon, as far as I can remember,
25 sometime around 1900.
1 Q. The buses and trucks that were moving these
2 people, were you able to see those trucks at close
3 quarters, the buses and trucks?
4 A. Yes, I could. I was about 200 meters away
5 from them. And because I moved around the camp, so
6 sometimes I came as close as 50 meters and I could see
7 inscriptions on those buses, so that it was -- the
8 deportation had been planned, and I concluded it
9 because I saw such a large number of buses and trucks
10 which had arrived from outside, by and large from towns
11 such as Bijeljina, Banja Luka, Bratunac, and so on. I
12 know -- I remember, that is, the inscriptions on these
13 buses: Sembreija Transport from Bijeljina. That was a
14 transporting company, a bussing company from before the
15 war. Drina Trans, another bussing company from Zvornik
16 which is still in operation. A bussing company from
17 Banja Luka, I believe, called Auto Transport, and so on
18 and so forth.
19 Q. Did you manage to observe the state of the
20 civilian population that were on those buses?
21 A. Yes, yes. I could see from a distance of
22 some 50 to 100 meters those were mothers, wives,
23 sisters, crying, screaming, tearing their hair off,
24 because they had boarded the buses and could leave, yet
25 their next of kin -- their children, their fathers,
1 brothers, husbands, and so on -- were not with them,
2 even though they, on the 11th and the 12th of July, not
3 to mention all the days before that, had been together,
4 and that was a separation which I think hurt very
5 badly. And to this day, if you could see those women,
6 if you could see how they live, under what conditions,
7 and their sorrow, which persists to this day, you would
8 understand it all.
9 Q. You mentioned earlier that there were people
10 that had been wounded that were inside the compound in
11 Potocari. What happened to those people on the 13th of
13 A. Yes. A group of wounded was evacuated that
14 day. But another group of people, who I believe had
15 sustained more severe injuries, who were awaiting
16 operations, they could not be transported and they
17 stayed behind in Potocari.
18 Q. On that day you mentioned earlier in your
19 testimony that there were a large number of VRS
20 personnel in and around the compound. Do you recall if
21 any VRS soldiers or officers came into the compound at
23 A. Yes, I do remember. As I said -- as I have
24 said, and I shall repeat it, it was already in the
25 early morning hours of the 12th of July. The army of
1 Republika Srpska entered Potocari and amongst the
2 civilian population, with a view to intimidating them,
3 especially, and taking away the male population, so
4 when the evacuation was on its way, there was no
5 choice. Men as of the age of 12 to one side, women and
6 children to the other. But on the 13th of July, I
7 remember how a VRS officer came into the camp, Momir
8 Nikolic. Before the war he was an educator in
10 Momir Nikolic, as he said, was tasked with
11 checking who were those wounded, what age groups they
12 belonged to, and how had they sustained their wounds.
13 I was not far from him when this officer, Momir
14 Nikolic, asked a Bosniak who had been gravely wounded
15 and was awaiting for the surgical operation in the
16 camp, "Where were you wounded? And that Bosniak did
17 not reply, yet Nikolic persisted, "You were wounded in
18 combat, and as such, you may not be evacuated,
19 transported for further treatment."
20 He also approached some other wounded, and in
21 the same way he asked them where they had been wounded,
22 where had they spent the time of the war, and so on and
23 so forth.
24 And also that day in the camp I saw another
25 officer of the army of Republika Srpska in glasses,
1 aged less than 40, and I recognised him on a slide
2 yesterday. I would recognise him, but I can't remember
3 his name.
4 MR. CAYLEY: Could the witness be shown
5 Exhibit 43, please.
6 Q. So it would be correct to say that
7 Mr. Nikolic was actively involved in deciding which of
8 the wounded could be moved from the UN compound and
9 which of the wounded would remain in the UN compound?
10 A. Yes, yes, quite so. He was determining which
11 group of the wounded would be transported for further
12 medical treatment and which ones of the wounded would
13 stay behind in Potocari.
14 Yes, this is that officer of the army of
15 Republika Srpska who came to the camp of Dutch soldiers
16 on the 13th of July, and on the 11th and the 12th of
17 July attended, was present at the meeting in Bratunac.
18 MR. CAYLEY: For the purposes of the record,
19 the witness is referring to a photograph of an
20 individual wearing glasses in Exhibit 43.
21 Q. If you know, Mr. Mandzic, what was the
22 position of Mr. Nikolic in the VRS? Do you know?
23 A. Some people introduced him as a colonel, but
24 I'm not sure that that was indeed so. As a colonel of
25 a unit whose operational zone was Bratunac.
1 Q. And that's all you know about Mr. Nikolic's
2 position, is it?
3 A. Yes. Rather, they called him Colonel and
4 that his zone of operations was the municipality of
6 Q. Now, the movement of the population, do you
7 recall what time the movement of the population that
8 was still in the UN compound finished on the 13th of
10 A. Yes. Sometime around 1900 on the 13th of
11 July, the Dutch soldiers' camp, where there were still
12 some 5.000 people, but it was practically empty, the
13 army of Republika Srpska ordered all the expellees, all
14 the expelled, to come out of the camp so after 1900
15 there was only a small group of severely wounded, and a
16 group of 27 Bosniaks who had been working for UNPROFOR
17 or MSF as their local staff were left in the camp.
18 Q. Now, since these were individuals that had
19 been in the compound rather than outside the compound,
20 were you able to observe more closely what was actually
21 happening with these individuals that were being
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you tell the Judges what you saw taking
1 A. I can, yes. On the 12th of July and on the
2 13th of July too, I saw and I watched women and small
3 children board buses, trucks, and the scene which I
4 described, women crying, children screaming, those
5 women tearing their hair off, in pain because their
6 next of kin had been separated from them. I could see
7 that they were evacuating or, rather, deporting women
8 and children.
9 And in the same manner they evacuated or,
10 rather, deported men from the Dutch Battalion compound,
11 where there were some 5.000 people. One could
12 invariably see one or two soldiers who would announce,
13 "Now, this group. That group goes now. One hundred,
14 200, 300, move," and so on and so forth.
15 Q. Now, you say that you saw men being deported,
16 and by the manner of your evidence, are you saying that
17 the men were being separated?
18 A. Yes. I watched from a distance of some 50 to
19 100 metres away how only women with small children
20 boarded the buses, with children up -- from infants
21 from up to 12, 13 years of age. I saw those women
22 screaming, moaning, crying, tearing their hair off.
23 On that day, the 13th of July, on the 12th of
24 July, the same scene repeated over and over again.
25 Everybody reacted in the same way. And I could see
1 that male individuals, as of the age of 12 or 13, had
2 been separated by force from their next of kin, from
3 their families.
4 Q. Who was carrying out the separation of the
5 men from their families?
6 A. Well, soldiers of the VRS.
7 Q. Now, speaking of these VRS soldiers, did you
8 observe the uniforms and the insignia of these
10 A. Yes, I did. On the first day, on the 11th of
11 July, and on the following day, on the 12th of July, as
12 I was coming back from Bratunac on my way to Potocari,
13 I could observe hundreds of soldiers standing next to
14 the road, wearing uniforms, brand-new uniforms, I might
15 say. Some of them were wearing the insignia of the
16 VRS. Some didn't have any insignia at all. But they
17 did have new military clothing.
18 I could also hear various dialects, very just
19 accents which did not resemble the dialect, the
20 Ijekavski dialect, which is used by Bosnian Serbs in
21 the region of Podrinje in Eastern Bosnia.
22 Q. Let's now move ahead in time. The compound
23 is now empty. All of the refugees have gone. You're
24 remaining with members of the Dutch Battalion.
25 On the 17th of July, you signed a declaration
1 with Major Franken.
2 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness can now be shown
3 Exhibit 47, which is the last new exhibit for this
4 witness. There are four exhibits. There's 47A; 47B;
5 47C, which is the French translation; and 47D, which is
6 the B/C/S translation.
7 Mr. President, if I can explain in respect of
8 this exhibit. There are, in fact, two English
9 translations. The reason for that is that one of them,
10 which I'll show on the ELMO, was a field translation
11 that was done at the time, on the 17th of the July, in
12 order to facilitate the signature of the representative
13 of the Dutch Battalion. There are some inaccuracies in
14 that translation. We have the original version there
15 B/C/S, in the Bosnian language, and we have had that
16 translated into English. So there is now an official
17 English translation. But in order that the Court, as
18 it were, sees all of the documents, there are, as I
19 said, two English translations.
20 Q. Now, Mr. Mandzic, first of all --
21 MR. CAYLEY: Before I ask Mr. Mandzic any
22 questions, can you put 47B on the ELMO? If you could
23 move it up slightly.
24 Q. Now, Mr. Mandzic, is this the English version
25 of this declaration that you signed on the 17th of
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could now -- if
4 you could now put on the ELMO, I think it's 47D, which
5 is the version in the witness's language. If you could
6 turn the page.
7 Q. This, Mr. Mandzic, is the version that you
8 signed in your own language, and indeed Major Franken
9 and a representative of the Bosnian Serb civilian
10 authorities; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. CAYLEY: If the witness could be given
14 the version in his own language. That's fine.
15 The French and English translations, Your
16 Honours, are the ones I would like you to follow, the
17 French being 47C and the official English being 47A.
18 Q. Now, Mr. Mandzic, a few questions about this
19 document. In the second paragraph, the document states
20 that: "On 12 July 1995, in the Fontana Hotel in
21 Bratunac, at our request negotiations were conducted
22 between the representatives of our civilian authorities
23 and the representatives of the Republika Srpska
24 civilian authorities and the army regarding the
25 evacuation of our civilian population from the
1 Srebrenica enclave."
2 Mr. Mandzic, is it accurate that that meeting
3 was called at your request on the 12th of July, 1995?
4 A. No, it is not accurate. You will remember
5 that I said yesterday, and you could see it clearly on
6 the video, that nobody from the Bosniak side ever
7 requested negotiations, neither on the 11th, nor on the
8 12th of July. It was done upon the insistence of the
9 VRS, and it was UNPROFOR who organised the first
10 meeting in Bratunac on the 11th of July. Again, I must
11 say these negotiations were not conducted at the
12 request of the Bosniak side. We never requested these
13 negotiations to take place.
14 Q. If we could move down through this document.
15 We get to a section which says: "At the end of the
16 negotiations between the two sides, the following was
17 agreed," and the first paragraph states: "Our civilian
18 population could stay in the enclave or move out,
19 depending on the wish of each individual."
20 Now, Mr. Mandzic, is this an accurate
21 reflection of what actually happened on the 12th and
22 13th of July?
23 A. No, it is not really. Not a single word from
24 this paragraph reflects the events that were taking
25 place on the 12th and the 13th of July and the
1 following days as well. The International Committee
2 for the Red Cross registered thousands of people who
3 are still listed as missing.
4 I would like to tell Your Honours, to state
5 here before this Chamber, that the Bosniak
6 representatives did not take part in the signing of
7 this statement, and I assume neither did the
8 representatives of the Dutch Battalion do so. This
9 statement was a ready-made document which was prepared
10 by the military and civilian authorities of the
11 Republika Srpska, and it was presented to us as an
12 ultimatum. It was presented also to the Dutch
13 Battalion, as well as the Bosniak representatives, as
14 an ultimatum.
15 Q. Now, in the third paragraph following that
16 paragraph it states: "It was arranged that the
17 evacuation would be carried out by the army and police
18 of Republika Srpska and that UNPROFOR would supervise
19 and provide an escort for the evacuation."
20 Is that statement an accurate reflection of
21 what actually happened on the ground on the 12th and
22 13th of July?
23 A. This paragraph is not an accurate reflection
24 of the events and the facts that took place in Potocari
25 and on the way from Potocari to Kladanj either.
1 Kladanj is a small town in the area of Eastern Bosnia.
2 It is actually the first town in the territory that was
3 held by the soldiers of the BH army since 1995 -- 1992,
4 I'm sorry, and this is where the Bosniak population was
5 deported to in July 1995.
6 As I said, this does not reflect the events,
7 because the Dutch Battalion Major complained that on
8 the night of the 11th and the 12th of July, had
9 requisitioned almost every single vehicle and used them
10 for deportation of the Bosniak population from
11 Srebrenica. He could practically no longer send any
12 soldier anywhere. They could not expose themselves to
13 risk of an attack by the forces of the VRS.
14 Q. So you're stating that in reality, there were
15 very few convoys that were actually properly escorted
16 by UNPROFOR?
17 A. Only on the first day, on the 12th of July.
18 On that day, the officers of the Dutch Battalion did
19 send soldiers and vehicles to escort some of the buses
20 carrying Bosniaks who were actually being deported by
21 the VRS to the area of Kladanj. However, on the way
22 from Potocari to Kladanj, according to Major Franken,
23 his soldiers ran into obstacles that had been put up by
24 soldiers of the VRS. They harassed them. They
25 requisitioned their vehicles, vehicles belonging to the
1 UNPROFOR forces. So they were unable to accomplish
2 that mission.
3 So on the following day, on the 13th of July,
4 the deportation was carried out mostly without any
5 escort or presence of the UNPROFOR forces.
6 Q. Now, the very last paragraph, and this may be
7 something that you can't comment upon because you were
8 not actually with any of the convoys, but the last
9 paragraph states: "No incidents were provoked by any
10 side during the evacuation, and the Serbian side
11 observed all the regulations of the Geneva Conventions
12 and the International Law of War."
13 Then there is added, I think, a sentence by
14 Major Franken: "As far as the convoys escorted by the
15 UN forces were concerned."
16 What do you say about that, Mr. Mandzic?
17 A. Yes. As I already told Your Honours, the
18 Serbian representatives, Deronjic, who represented the
19 civilian government, appeared with this ready-made
20 statement, and he made an ultimatum requesting that
21 this statement be signed. However, he was very well
22 aware of the situation. He knew that between the
23 13th and the 17th of July in Bratunac, a group of about
24 several dozen wounded, whom I said had been evacuated
25 on the 13th of July, had been retained. He also knew
1 that there was still 27 Bosniaks in the camp, in
2 addition to several other dozens of severely wounded
3 persons. So that's what he had in mind. He said that
4 we should sign the statement because human lives were
5 at stake. So this was a kind of condition for all
6 these persons that I have mentioned, all these
7 categories of persons that I have mentioned, that they
8 would be released.
9 You must be aware of the situation, of the
10 position in which some 450 soldiers of the Dutch
11 Battalion had found themselves in. I've read this
12 statement several times; that is, I read it several
13 times at the time. I looked Major Franken in the eye,
14 and he knew very well that this statement by no means
15 reflected the real situation on the ground and the
16 tragedy that ensued and that had happened actually.
17 It was very ironical and cynical to invoke
18 the Geneva Conventions, the provision regulating human
19 rights and so on and so forth, especially the
20 provisions of the International Law of War, for
21 example. But as I must stress once again, on those
22 days of July 1995, we were alone. We were helpless.
23 The world was silent. They didn't know what was going
24 on in Srebrenica or Potocari, or what to do in
25 Srebrenica and Potocari.
1 The International Community did not manage to
2 send any representative of the International Red Cross,
3 for example, UNHCR, United Nations to Srebrenica on
4 that day. The only persons I know that had certain
5 contacts were perhaps officers of the Dutch Battalion.
6 He had perhaps contact with their command in the
7 Netherlands, as well as other UNPROFOR commands in
8 Bosnia. They were concerned about the fate of their
9 soldiers. I, on the other hand, was concerned about
10 the fate of my fellow citizens of Srebrenica. Of
11 course, we didn't want any more blood to be shed, and
12 we also wanted the soldiers of the Dutch Battalion to
13 reach safely their homes. So we were all thinking in
14 those lines.
15 At that moment, Major Franken suggested, when
16 he was presented with the statement by Deronjic, the
17 representatives of the civilian authorities, that he
18 adds this particular wording here: "As far as the
19 convoys escorted by UN forces were concerned."
20 This completely changed the meaning of this
21 paragraph, and it actually meant that this statement
22 could only refer to the evacuation as far as the
23 persons escorted by the UN forces were concerned.
24 According to what Dutch Battalion soldiers were saying
25 on the 12th and the 13th of July, they managed to
1 escort only two or three buses as far as Kladanj and
2 that was that. There were hundreds of other buses, but
3 in respect of those buses, they couldn't do anything,
4 because their vehicles had already been requisitioned
5 by VRS troops, together with all their equipment.
6 So in view of the situation and in view of
7 what Major Franken said, I simply signed this
9 Please, Your Honours, members of this
10 Honourable Chamber, do consider this statement as an
11 ultimatum that was put to us by members of the VRS in
12 those days of the month of July 1995, when tens of
13 thousands of people had been deported.
14 And we didn't know what had happened to
15 them. They had perhaps reached their destination, but
16 at that time their destination was unknown to us. We
17 were completely unable to inform ourselves about the
18 situation through the media, for example. By signing
19 this statement, we had in mind the fate of thousands of
20 people, namely, the wounded persons who were still in
21 the Dutch Battalion camp, about 27 Bosniaks who were
22 still there, and we also had in mind the fate of the
23 Dutch Battalion soldiers who were there in the area.
24 It is very cynical that this statement should
25 mention anything about the provisions of the Geneva
1 Conventions and the International Law of War. However,
2 it was our estimate at that time, and we were forced to
3 sign it, because the fate of hundreds of people
4 depended on our signature at that moment, despite the
5 fact that we were actually not convinced that the fate
6 of those hundreds of people and members of the Dutch
7 battalion would have a positive outcome.
8 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, if you wish, we
9 could take a break now. I have about five minutes of
10 my examination-in-chief remaining.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, I
12 think it's a very good moment. I think our witness is
13 already a bit tired, the interpreters, myself as well.
14 We will have a 20-minute break and we shall resume
15 after that.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.53 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 11.20 a.m.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,
19 Mr. Cayley. We now had a break and I believe we've all
20 recovered, or perhaps with a cup of coffee or something
21 like that, and I think that we can now assume. So you
22 have the floor.
23 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Mr. Mandzic, from the 17th of July until the
25 21st of July, where did you find yourself?
1 A. At the command of the Dutch Battalion, in the
2 compound that were several hundred Dutch soldiers there
3 and 27 Bosniaks. I already said that those were people
4 who worked for UNPROFOR as interpreters, and some
5 others who worked for MSF. MSF is an organisation
6 called Medecins Sans Frontieres.
7 So we were in Potocari in the compound
8 between the 11th and the 21st of July, 1200 hours. At
9 that time we left Potocari, we left Srebrenica, and
10 across the Bosnian-Yugoslav border. We crossed into
11 the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
12 that is, the first town across the border, Ljubovija,
13 in the direction of Sabac, and then we moved on to
14 Croatia. And on the 22nd, in the early morning hours,
15 we arrived in Zagreb.
16 Q. Now, you've just stated that the people who
17 remained within the compound were members of the Dutch
18 Battalion, various others, and some Bosniaks. Earlier
19 you had stated that the man who accompanied you to the
20 meeting on the 12th of July in the morning was Ibro
21 Nuhanovic. You also stated in your evidence that Ibro
22 subsequently disappeared. Can you tell the Court what
23 you know happened to Ibro Nuhanovic and his family?
24 A. Yes. Ibro Nuhanovic, before the war, he was
25 the manager of a timber processing company in the area
1 of Srebrenica and Vlasenica. He had two sons, both
2 students at the time, and his wife. On the 12th and
3 13th of July, he was a member of the Bosniak
5 As you know, I already said that on the 12th
6 and 13th of July, Bosniaks were deported in large
7 numbers and people were separated, men and women, and
8 so the Serb party requested that Ibro's wife and son be
9 deported. Ibro knew about this request, but, as a
10 parent and husband, according to what he said, he
11 simply could not watch, could not suffer this
12 separation, because after the first time they were to
13 part company would not know anything about each other.
14 So he joined his son and wife, and left.
15 Several days later, when we arrived in
16 Zagreb, we learned that neither he nor his wife or son
17 had not reached the territory held at the time by the
18 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or even that his son, who
19 survives, who is still alive, who is today alone and is
20 suffering a great deal after he lost his father and
21 mother and son [sic]. They looked for him -- he looked
22 for them everywhere. He called even some people that
23 his father and he knew before the war in the territory
24 of the Republic of Srpska to ask them if they knew
25 anything about his father or mother or his brother, but
1 nobody could tell him anything definite.
2 On a number of occasions I had the
3 opportunity to talk to Ibro's son, who survived and who
4 was in that group of 27 Bosniaks. And in those
5 conversations I could see that today Ibro's son is an
6 educated, an accomplished man. He works for IPTF, for
7 UN forces, in the area of Tuzla. But he is a broken
8 man, because he has no family and he is simply unable
9 to start a normal life and live a life worthy of men
10 like other people who did not suffer such losses as
11 Hasim Nuhanovic, Ibro's son.
12 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I have no further
13 questions of the witness, so I can now offer him for
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you
16 very much, Mr. Cayley.
17 Now, Mr. Mandzic, you will answer the
18 questions which counsel for the Defence, I believe
19 Mr. Petrusic, or perhaps Mr. Visnjic -- no,
20 Mr. Petrusic will have to ask of you.
21 Cross-examined by Mr. Petrusic:
22 Q. Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
23 Mr. Mandzic. I'm sorry, I did not get your surname
24 right. Excuse me.
25 My first question is whether you can tell us,
1 Mr. Mandzic, something about how did the Serbs and
2 Muslims live in the municipality of Srebrenica before
3 the armed conflicts broke out.
4 A. Yes, I can tell you that. I am glad that you
5 asked me that question. Before the war,
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina was a multi-ethnic community with
7 three constituent peoples, Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats,
8 and other citizens. In such a multi-ethnic society
9 life was indeed harmonious. There was mutual respect
10 for religions or traditions of other peoples. There
11 were no, and I repeat it again, there were no ethnic or
12 religious obstacles, barriers between people. People
13 socialised, people helped one another, people worked
14 together. And Srebrenica was another such example of
15 good multi-ethnic coexistence in the territory of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the territory of the formal
17 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
18 Q. In 1991, the first multi-party elections took
19 place in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and a short time before
20 that political parties had been set up and various
21 political organisations. Until then, until the
22 elections or after the elections, excuse me, after the
23 elections, political authorities were to be constituted
24 in the municipality of Srebrenica. You were in
25 Srebrenica, as far as I could understand, when you gave
1 your particulars to this Tribunal, so you were there.
2 So could you tell us something about how these new
3 authorities, how the new government was constituted
4 after these first multi-party elections?
5 A. Thank you. I've understood your question.
6 The first multi-party elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
7 including the local ones for the municipality of
8 Srebrenica, took place in the autumn of 1990, not in
9 1991. After the results of the elections were
10 announced in Srebrenica, a multi-ethnic government was
11 constituted on the basis of the census and the results
12 of the elections.
13 It needs to be pointed out that Bosniak
14 political parties had the majority in the government
15 and in the Municipal Assembly of Srebrenica.
16 Q. Mr. Mandzic, you were a councilman in the
17 municipality of Srebrenica, weren't you?
18 A. No, I was not a councilman at that time, and
19 you can see that in the Official Gazette of
20 Srebrenica. You can see there how many councilmen were
21 there in the municipal hall and who were those
22 councilmen. I was not, but I was elected to the
23 Municipal Assembly in 1997, and I'm now the mayor of
24 the municipality and the councilman.
25 Q. Oh, I see. So those are the elections in
1 1997. In Srebrenica at that time, the Serbs were a
2 minority, according to some sources. They accounted
3 for some 25 to 30 per cent of the population.
4 A. Yes. That is correct.
5 Q. At that time, they did not make up part of
6 the municipal government, did they?
7 A. No. That is not correct. They were in the
8 government. They were in the executive bodies of the
9 Municipal Assembly. Let me explain this. After this
10 multi-ethnic government and even before that we had
11 multi-ethnic authorities when we still had a
12 single-party system. We had authorities on the
13 multi-ethnic basis and all the establishments and all
14 the institutions, functions, and businesses, and
15 everything else was governed by multi-ethnic
17 Q. But at that time, representatives, Muslim
18 representatives in the Municipal Assembly, did they
19 raise the question of the mayor of the municipality who
20 was to be elected on the basis of that key which was
21 widely applied in our country before and after those
22 elections? So that was Zekic who was proposed to
23 become ...
24 A. Well, let me repeat it once again, that I was
25 not a councilman. I did not have a seat in the
1 Municipal Assembly at the time. But as far as I can
2 remember, the president of the Municipal Assembly was
3 to be elected from amongst the Bosniaks, that is,
4 Bosniak political parties, because he needed -- he
5 needed a majority in the assembly.
6 Q. So can one say that in 1991 it already began
7 some fermentation amongst the population, or, rather,
8 among the political leaders and then this siphoned over
9 to the population?
10 A. No. In the multi-party system, there may
11 have been some slight differences, but it did not find
12 its reflection in the coexistence of the multi-ethnic
13 community of Srebrenica. That is, people continued to
14 live together harmoniously, to cohabit, and I can
15 mention Skelani. In Skelani, Bosniak Serbs all the
16 others, we went to school together, worked together,
17 visited one another, were family friends and all that
18 until 1991.
19 Q. But, Mr. Mandzic, why then did the Serb
20 population leave Srebrenica in 1992?
21 A. They began to move out of Srebrenica then,
22 yes, because in early spring and even before spring, I
23 should say, it was in February that some local
24 politicians, Serb politicians, began to request the
25 constitution of a monoethnic Serb assembly and
1 monoethnic Serb municipality of Skelani and some other
2 monoethnic municipalities within the municipality of
3 Srebrenica. I do not know whether this august court
4 understands me.
5 That is the territory of 529 kilometres
6 square of the municipality of Srebrenica. There were
7 some 38.000 inhabitants there. And some local Serb
8 politicians in the municipality of Srebrenica wanted to
9 partition the municipality of Srebrenica according to
10 the ethnic principle, which simply could not be done
11 because people were mixed. There were next-door
12 neighbours you had in towns. In one and the same
13 building you would have Serbs and Bosniaks and others,
14 so that the majority of people there, and in my
15 opinion, this was not really a very sensible request
16 and could only deepen the misunderstanding between
17 people there.
18 Q. So Serbs were leaving Srebrenica at the time?
19 A. According to what I can remember, a small or,
20 rather, a large part of them did leave the town area
21 itself, which had about 5.000 inhabitants. They were
22 leaving the town by actually moving away their families
23 to the towns such as Bajina Basta and other towns in
24 Yugoslavia itself.
25 We wanted to know why they were doing that,
1 because no one was doing them any harm, but they would
2 simply say, "Well, the times are somehow uncertain. We
3 don't know what's going to happen. There might be a
4 war," and so on.
5 Q. What about the municipal authorities, the
6 political structures who were in power at that time?
7 Did they do anything to prevent this movement of
8 population from the urban area of Srebrenica?
9 A. Yes. Yes, they did. First of all, it was
10 the former president of the Municipal Assembly, Besim
11 Besovic who acted at that time. He put a lot of
12 personal effort in visiting various locations, seeing
13 people, asking them not to panic, telling them that
14 they had been living in the area together for hundreds
15 of years and that they were capable of surmounting even
16 this crisis, and he would tell them that there was no
17 need for anyone to move away.
18 However, I must stress that at that time,
19 because the Serbs were leaving, some Bosniaks were
20 leaving as well. Actually, it was the Bosniaks who had
21 left the town area in March and April 1992. So, sir,
22 let us be clear. The town of Srebrenica, in the month
23 of April, was abandoned, first of all, by Bosniaks. It
24 is true that part of Serbs had already moved their
25 families away, but in the meantime, they had returned.
1 However, the majority of Bosniaks who lived in the town
2 area itself left the area at that time and, of course,
3 they haven't come back to this very date.
4 Q. Mr. Mandzic, at that time we see the
5 establishment of armed forces in Potocari, for example,
6 Sucaskin [phoen] And other villages, under the
7 leadership the Naser Oric, Zulfo Tursunovic, and
8 others. Do you have any knowledge about that?
9 A. I think we should move back in time a little
10 and see about the cause. It is true that the
11 consequence was the formation of certain village
13 Q. Please allow me, Mr. Mandzic, to repeat the
14 question. I think you should answer the question as it
15 was put to you.
16 A. In view of the fact that in early April
17 paramilitary units of Arkan and some other units such
18 as White Swans arrived in Bratunac and forced the
19 Bosniak population to leave the town and surrounding
20 areas, the same happened in Srebrenica where Arkan's
21 and Sesan's units, with the connivance of certain
22 Serbian politicians, entered the town itself and caused
23 the Bosniak population to withdraw further into the
24 interior part of the territory, into some remote
25 villages. So those paramilitary units, most of which
1 had come from the neighbouring country, that is, the
2 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, attacked the Bosniak
4 So as a result of that, as a consequence of
5 that, the population were forced to defend themselves.
6 And it is true that in certain villages, there were
7 some village guards but which were not very well
8 organised. Their task was mainly to protect the
9 population from the exodus.
10 Q. Then we see the formation of the protected
11 area and an agreement on demilitarisation was also
13 JUDGE RIAD: Will the interpreter say when
14 there is a question and when there is an answer,
15 because it is always the same voice and we don't know
16 when it stops.
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. It is the year of 1993. Relevant
19 UN resolutions were passed and the area was declared a
20 safe haven, and an agreement on the demilitarisation of
21 the zone was signed between General Halilovic and
22 General Mladic, General Halilovic being the Commander
23 of the BH army.
24 That enclave, the safe area of Srebrenica,
25 was it ever truly demilitarised, Mr. Mandzic?
1 A. Mostly it was. First of all, all of the
2 heavy artillery was handed over to the Protection
3 Forces in the presence, as far as I can remember and
4 according to some other people who lived in the area,
5 of some representatives of the VRS. An agreement was
6 signed, and the heavy weapons were handed over. In
7 addition to that, some light weaponry was also handed
8 over. This could be seen by everybody who lived in the
10 There used to be a huge pile of weapons next
11 to the PTT building, and the light weaponry was mainly
12 handed over to the UNPROFOR forces, but I don't know
13 what they did with it, whether they destroyed it or
15 Q. Was the command of the 28th Division, which
16 was commanded by Mr. Oric, quartered in Srebrenica?
17 A. Legally speaking, I can say that it did not
18 exist there at that time. In the enclave, there were
19 no armed forces. In the month of September in 1995, I
20 did see something happening in Tuzla. I know that the
21 28th Division was established there by General Delic.
22 But it happened only several months after the takeover
23 of the enclave by the VRS.
24 Q. The year of 1995?
25 A. Yes. In 1995 there was a review of the said
1 division in Tuzla by the commander of the BH army,
2 Rasim Delic.
3 And let me mention one other fact. From
4 January of 1993, I was no longer a member of the armed
5 forces; I was only a teacher and I worked in the field
6 of education.
7 Q. Could you explain to us, Mr. Mandzic, because
8 I trust that you are familiar with the situation that
9 was taking place after July 1995, and even before
10 that. In the column that was formed in the village of
11 Susnjari in the night between the 10th and 11th of
12 July, there were at least 5.000 armed men. How did
13 they end up there, bearing in mind the fact that the
14 area had been demilitarised?
15 A. Thank you for your question. First of all, I
16 must tell that I was not present in the village of
17 Susnjari at the time. I said that the demilitarisation
18 of the enclave had been mostly finished, but, however,
19 there were certain individuals who had their personal
20 weapon licence for hunting rifles and some personal
21 arms that they had kept as a souvenir in most of the
22 cases. So one could see such individuals in
23 Srebrenica, and elsewhere, and even groups of such
24 people, but they were groups of civilians who had kept
25 their personal weapons. But it was by no means, you
1 know, hundreds of people. One could perhaps check the
2 record of the police department in Srebrenica to see
3 how many individuals indeed had weapon licences, and I
4 think it would bring us to the number of, I don't know,
5 somewhere between 500 and 1.000 individuals. Those
6 were the people who had licences for their weapons, and
7 I don't know anything about any other people with
9 Those groups of people had kept weapons in
10 order to protect their villages in such difficult
11 situations. They were members of small, unorganised
12 village guards which were not under any military
13 control, properly speaking.
14 Q. As far as I can understand what you're
15 saying, those weapons were -- it was possible to obtain
16 those weapons through regular purchase, according to
17 our legislation.
18 A. Before the war, you mean, yes.
19 Q. Yes, yes. I'm referring to hunting weapons.
20 A. However, not every citizen could obtain such
21 weapons. I remember that there were requests, dozens
22 of requests coming from, for example, a particular
23 local community, but only 10 people would end up
24 getting their licences.
25 Q. What about automatic weapons, such as the
1 infantry is using in the army? Such weapons were not
2 kept. That is, I want to say that no licences could be
3 issued for this type of weapons.
4 A. No, of course not.
5 Q. Let us turn to the village of Slapovici and
6 the 8th of July. Were there any armed formations in
7 that village at that time?
8 A. I don't know. All I know is that on the 6th
9 of July, units of the VRS ran over the checkpoint in
10 Zeleni Jadar that was met by UNPROFOR forces, and they
11 continued advancing in the direction of the village of
12 Slapovici, where there were several thousands of
13 refugees who had been displaced as early as in 1992 and
14 1993 from the areas such as the area of Bratunac, for
16 Q. Mr. Mandzic, the Swedish Housing Project had
17 several hundreds of flats at their disposal?
18 A. Yes, that is correct.
19 Q. And how many people were accommodated there?
20 A. In my estimate, between two and three
21 thousand. The then-representatives of the municipality
22 of Srebrenica probably have reliable figures to that
24 Q. Let us be precise. Those people at one point
25 went from Slapovici to Potocari?
1 A. Yes, but there was a number of villages in
2 the area where such columns were formed.
3 Q. So you were referring to the columns of
4 people that were formed in those villages?
5 A. First of all, Slapovici, and then also some
6 neighbouring villages: Pusmulici and so on. The total
7 figure would be somewhere over 6.000, I think.
8 Q. Mr. Mandzic, turning to the first and the
9 second meeting held on the 10th and the 11th of July in
10 Bratunac, could you please tell us something more, more
11 than what you said yesterday in your testimony,
12 concerning the role and the participation of General
13 Krstic in that meeting?
14 A. I can only say that General Krstic, who is
15 present here today and who was here yesterday, was
16 sitting next to General Mladic. However, he did not
17 say anything about the modalities regarding the
18 population and how they should be taken care of or
19 evacuated. And it was not an evacuation; it was a
20 deportation, as we all know. General Krstic kept
21 silent. Whether by doing so he approved of what Mladic
22 was saying, that will be upon the Judges to decide.
23 Q. So you were present at the meeting, and on
24 the following day, on the 12th of July, the meeting was
25 attended by two other representatives of the Bosniak
1 population as well. Could you now tell us who it was
2 who actually conducted the negotiations; members of
3 UNPROFOR -- we saw a video to that effect -- or
5 A. The negotiations were imposed on us by the
6 Army of the Republika Srpska. They were imposed also
7 on UNPROFOR. So the negotiations were mainly
8 conducted, legally speaking, between the VRS and
9 UNPROFOR. As for ourselves, we were merely a
10 delegation which had the need and wish to express its
11 concern about the situation, about the position in
12 which more than 30.000 people had found themselves,
13 about the humanitarian needs that they had at the time,
14 and so on.
15 However, at that meeting, if you remember
16 what I said, I told General Mladic -- and it was quite
17 a difficult moment; one had to muster a lot of courage
18 to do so. I asked him, "Sir, whether, in view of the
19 situation going on in the area of Srebrenica and
20 Potocari, and bearing in mind the position of those
21 30.000 refugees and displaced persons, I wish to know
22 whether relevant international authorities -- UNHCR,
23 ICRC -- have been informed about the situation of those
25 Q. As regards the situation in the base itself
1 and the separation of males, was any distinction made
2 in that respect? Could you be precise as to the
3 criterion? Was it the working part of the population
4 that was being separated or was it simply regardless of
5 any criterion at all?
6 A. As I have already stated before this
7 Honourable Chamber, I saw women board buses, together
8 with small children between 1 and 10 years of age, but
9 I didn't see anybody else. And that is how I concluded
10 that the units of the VRS had been separating menfolk
11 from the rest of the population. Because mostly it was
12 the elderly and the infirm who were in Potocari at that
13 time, but there were also between 1.000 and 2.000 men
14 who were there at that time.
15 Let me just mention one example from a
16 village of the Srebrenica municipality. There was a
17 very old man who lived in my neighbourhood. He was 85
18 and he was there in a wheelchair. He was a very simple
19 man, a peasant, a shepherd, who had spent his life as a
20 peasant, and he is no longer alive, and there are
21 hundreds of people whose fate was the same.
22 Q. Mr. Mandzic, you talked about Colonel Nikolic
23 who entered the base at one point. Do you have any
24 knowledge as to the fact of his military position?
25 A. I'm not quite sure what you have in mind.
1 Q. Was he an officer from the infantry or did
2 you perhaps come to a different conclusion? Did you
3 perhaps think that he was an intelligence officer on an
4 intelligence mission in the area? Because we have to
5 bear in mind the fact that he was questioning those
6 people, interrogating them.
7 A. I really do not know which part of the army
8 he belonged to. I can not say anything about that.
9 Q. As regards the 12th of July, you said that
10 units of the VRS were entering the area and you saw
11 members of the VRS there at that time. Could you tell
12 us if they had -- if they had some different insignia
13 on their uniforms at that time?
14 A. As I have already told Your Honours, I saw
15 hundreds of soldiers. Some of them were wearing
16 insignia, some did not. However, what I found rather
17 surprising was the fact that there were hundreds of
18 young soldiers who were there, who were there wearing
19 uniforms, soldiers whom I had never seen in the area,
20 and I believe I know the area very well. This is where
21 I was born. I think that they would also have
22 recognised me had they been from the area. But again,
23 I must say that there were quite a few soldiers wearing
24 no insignia at all, soldiers of the VRS, that is.
25 Q. Was there any police? Could you make a
1 distinction at that time between the military and the
3 A. I could not. I didn't see such insignia,
4 whether they were the civilian or the military police.
5 Q. Mr. Mandzic, the statement that was the
6 subject of the last part of your examination-in-chief,
7 could you tell us whether Major Franken, as one of the
8 signatories of the statement, did he or anybody else
9 request a new statement to be drafted? Do you
10 understand my question?
11 A. Yes, I do, and it's a very good question
12 indeed. Looking with hindsight, it is true one could
13 ask such a question. However, you have to bear in mind
14 the situation at the time. There were about
15 30.000 refugees. Their deportation was imminent and it
16 was to be to an unknown direction. Also because of the
17 fact that on the 12th and the 13th of July, units of
18 the VRS forcibly stopped a convoy of wounded. The
19 convoy was stopped in Bratunac. And there were quite a
20 few severely wounded people, civilians, in that
22 Also, on the 17th of July, on that day,
23 dozens of severely wounded persons had been gathered in
24 Potocari as well. Some of them were still bleeding. I
25 can remember that a Dutch Battalion medical officer,
1 medical doctor, did perform certain very complex
2 surgeries on those people.
3 I also remember that during those days,
4 soldiers of the VRS came to us, were checking on the
5 population, intimidating the population. They were
6 guarding the camp. And I know that Major Nikolic or,
7 rather, Colonel Nikolic, as he was addressed to, I
8 remember that they came personally to see about the
9 people who had remained there. They wanted to know who
10 they were, where they had come from, and what they were
11 doing between 1992 and 1995. They inquired whether
12 they knew Naser Oric and this other gentleman you
13 mentioned. So a lot of pressure is being exerted on
14 those people and myself as well. So we had no choice.
15 The Serbian side wouldn't have it anyway. If
16 they had wanted to have another declaration, another
17 statement, they would have suggested that to us. They
18 would have proposed another statement to be drafted
19 which would reflect the effects on the ground.
20 Q. But, Mr. Mandzic, the Serb delegation
21 consisted only of Miroslav Deronjic at that point in
22 time, on the 17th.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And in the end, I'm quoting: "As regards the
25 convoys escorted by the UN forces," end of quote. And
1 this significantly changes the content, and that is why
2 I'm asking you, and I do not doubt that there was fear,
3 but if one adds a sentence, which, as I have said,
4 changes the substance of this text, couldn't one do
5 something, make an effort to draw up a new statement,
6 bearing in mind that at that meeting there were no
7 representatives of the army or police, there were only
8 civilian representatives, rather, Miroslav Deronjic as
9 the representative of the civilian authority in the
10 municipality of Srebrenica. He was the only one
11 present. So could you answer that question with yes or
12 no, please?
13 A. The statement mentions other representatives
14 of the military and civilian authority of the Republika
15 Srpska, and the signatory, on behalf of all of them, is
17 And I did see Deronjic in the Dutch battalion
18 compound, but until that time, until that moment when
19 Deronjic came to see Major Franken and when they
20 invited me, they had been officers and soldiers of the
21 VRS. From the place where we were sitting and where we
22 signed that document, only five metres away were the
23 guards of the Army of Republika Srpska. So that we had
24 no say. We could have no saying in changing and
25 rephrasing the document, with the exception of the last
1 sentence in the statement that as far as the convoys
2 escorted by UN -- by UNPROFOR forces were concerned.
3 Q. And finally, do you -- are you aware that
4 from Bratunac, from the hospital which was run by the
5 International Red Cross, the wounded were evacuated,
6 rather, Muslim wounded were transferred from Bratunac,
7 from the hospital where they had been hospitalised, and
8 were transported to the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 and with the Red Cross escort?
10 A. I do not know many details about this,
11 whether all those wounded managed to survive. Most of
12 them, yes, I mean, those wounded. But it was only on
13 the 17th of July that in the presence of some
14 representatives of the International Committee of the
15 Red Cross, but this -- there was, believe me, a much
16 larger number of wounded, of sick, and we know nothing
17 about their fate to this day.
18 Q. Mr. Mandzic, thank you.
19 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours,
20 I have no further questions.
21 A. Thank you too, counsel.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
23 Mr. Cayley.
24 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President. I
25 have no questions for the witness on re-examination. I
1 would simply ask to move a number of exhibits into
2 evidence. They are Exhibit 40, which is the video of
3 the second meeting in Bratunac; Exhibit 40A, "B," and
4 "C," which are the English, French, and B/C/S
5 translations of the transcript of that meeting;
6 Exhibit 41, which is a still photograph of
7 Colonel Karremans taken from that video; Exhibit 42,
8 which is a still of Petar, a translator/interpreter;
9 then there is Exhibit 43, which is the still of a VRS
10 officer who the witness was unable to identify but did
11 recognise being at the meeting; Exhibit 44, which is
12 the still of General Mladic; Exhibit 45, which is the
13 still of General Krstic; Exhibit 46, which is the still
14 of a broken sign placed in front of the witness at the
15 meeting. Then there is Exhibit 47, which composes of
16 four parts, an English translation which is 47A; 47B,
17 which is an English field translation; 47C, which is a
18 French translation; and 47D, which is a B/C/S
19 translation. And then finally Exhibit 48, which is the
20 still of the Dutch Major, Major Boering. If I could
21 apply for admission of all of those exhibits into
22 evidence, please, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes,
24 Mr. Cayley. We shall continue in the presence of
25 Mr. Mandzic, and we shall consider this at the end, but
1 I have to ask the Defence.
2 Do you have any objections against the
3 admission of this evidence?
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] No,
5 Mr. President.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] These
7 exhibits will be admitted. Now I shall give the floor
8 to my colleagues to see if they have any questions.
9 Judge Riad, you have the floor.
10 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] Thank you,
11 Mr. President. Yes, I do.
12 Q. [In English] Good morning, Mr. Mandzic.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. I would like you to give me some more
15 precision about what you have been telling us. First
16 concerning the meeting in the Fontana Hotel, which you
17 talked about with the Prosecutor and with Defence
18 counsel, the meeting of the 12th of July at 10.00. You
19 mentioned that General Krstic was sitting next to
20 General Mladic and that he was silent.
21 Was there any other manifestation in that
22 meeting, whether from the side of General Krstic or the
23 others, of approval of this or disapproval or threat or
24 anything, or were they just silent witnesses. Could
25 they have expressed anything in the presence of Mladic,
1 in your opinion?
2 A. Thank you. Your Honours, when I speak about
3 the second meeting which took place on the 12th of
4 July, 1995 in the Fontana Hotel, yes, indeed, next to
5 General Mladic was General Krstic. General Krstic and
6 other officers representing the command of the Army of
7 Republika Srpska were not adding anything to what
8 General Mladic was saying.
9 When he would say something -- I mean,
10 General Mladic, when General Mladic turned to me and
11 said, "Nesib, everything is in your hands. You can
12 survive or you can vanish as people from the face of
13 the earth because God Almighty has given us life and
14 given us room to leave in peace, so it is logical that
15 the survivability of a community, of a people is
16 determined, decided by the Maker," and the other side
17 of General Mladic then says, "Or you may vanish," none
18 of the military representatives of the Army of
19 Republika Srpska or the civilian authorities reacted to
20 that. They went along with the General's idea that a
21 local community might or the population might vanish,
22 and that is -- that particular thing which instilled
23 fear in the Bosniak delegation, in us, all along those
24 days we felt this tremendous pressure to begin with
25 because of the presence of all those officers and
1 soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska, but we were
2 also under tremendous psychological pressure which was
3 created by the encirclement and by the creation of a
4 ghetto, I have to put it that way, in this small area
5 in Potocari.
6 JUDGE RIAD: Then I just gathered you
7 repeated several times the word "vanish." You
8 understood from it clearly that it was to vanish from
9 this planet, from this world, or to vanish from
10 Srebrenica or Bosnia? Was it vanishing in the meaning
11 of extermination, in your opinion, or -- clearly was it
13 A. That word I understood meant "to vanish"; the
14 disappearance, the end of life of all those people,
15 their execution. Somebody was depriving, was taking
16 away their right to life. And that kind of power was
17 then with the Army of Republika Srpska, their power,
18 and General Mladic put it in so many words.
19 JUDGE RIAD: How many were the other officers
20 with General Mladic, and what was their rank, if you
21 know, of General Krstic, or his importance in this
22 group of Mladic?
23 A. I remember that on the first night, I mean
24 the 11th of July, sometime around 11.00 at night,
25 General Mladic introduced all the officers who were
1 present, the officers of the Army of Republika Srpska;
2 first, General Krstic, and he introduced him as a corps
3 commander. At that time I was slightly taken aback
4 that General Krstic was the corps commander, to begin
5 with, because listening from time to time to radio
6 news, and we had difficulty in hearing that in
7 Srebrenica, while we lived in the enclave, because all
8 the radio transmission equipment had been destroyed
9 around us and the signal was very weak.
10 But in 1993, 1994, the commander of the corps
11 of the Drina Corps was General Zivanovic. And most of
12 the Bosniaks and Serbs in the area, in the
13 municipalities of Srebrenica and Bratunac, knew him,
14 because he came -- he was born in that area, from the
15 boundary between Srebrenica, Bratunac municipalities,
16 and so I was quite surprised to hear that General
17 Krstic was the commander of that corps. But General
18 Krstic, and I repeat that, did not amplify on what
19 General Mladic was saying, nor did he say anything.
20 JUDGE RIAD: I gather from what you said that
21 General Krstic replaced Zivanovic, who you thought or
22 you knew was the corps commander. Was that related a
23 little bit to what was preceding the events which
24 happened afterwards?
25 A. No, I do not think it had any effect. I do
1 not think it really mattered who was the corps
2 commander. They simply expected General Zivanovic to
3 be that, because he came from that area, from the
4 municipality of Srebrenica. I did not know that
5 General Krstic had replaced him. But I doubt that
6 anything would have happened differently. If the plan
7 was to take the Srebrenica -- or rather, their plan was
8 to take the enclave and to expel and to separate the
9 male population, and other physical and psychological
10 barriers that the civilian population was confronted
11 with in those days.
12 JUDGE RIAD: A corps commander means that he
13 will be one giving the orders?
14 A. In the former Yugoslav Army, that is, in the
15 former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, I
16 served the army in 1981, 1982, and at that time a corps
17 commander, from what I knew, was also a member of the
18 Main Staff, that is, the second in command to the
19 commander of the armed forces. And in his area of
20 responsibility, the authority covered by the units
21 subordinate to him. He used to be the man who would
22 have complete control and therefore responsible for the
23 conduct of whatever operations, naturally, I assume,
24 while informing, while notifying the Main Staff about
1 JUDGE RIAD: Now, you mentioned something
2 about these people, the VRS soldiers, whom you never
3 saw before -- some of them were young -- and they had
4 no insignia and they had a different accent. Now, you
5 being about more or less -- I think you are a man of
6 culture and you know the accents a little bit perhaps
7 of the area. What accent did they have? From which
8 part, do you think?
9 A. Yes. I completed my secondary education in
10 Belgrade and I worked there for about a year and a half
11 after I matriculated from the secondary school. So I
12 know the Ekavian dialect, such as is spoken by
13 Counsel Petrusic.
14 In Serbia most people will use Ekavian
15 dialect. In Bosnia-Herzegovina or, specifically, the
16 north-eastern Bosnia, they will speak Ijekavian
17 dialect. But at that time I could, as I said, I could
18 hear young soldiers, whom I did not know, well
19 uniformed, clean-shaven, very tidy, very neat, who were
20 selectively torching houses in the Potocari area, I
21 assume having received orders to that effect, and their
22 speech varied. Some of them, they spoke Ijekavian
23 dialect, or there was a mixture of the two dialects, of
24 the Ekavian and Ijekavian, and, as far as I remember,
25 an Ekavian speech, but different from the one spoken by
1 those who live in west Serbia. It sounded more like
2 the speech, like the dialect of Vojvodina and Slavonia.
3 JUDGE RIAD: Now, you are finished? Good.
4 Now, another question concerning the list which was
5 given to Major Franken. It was the list of 239 men
6 which apparently disappeared, if I understood rightly.
7 And he told you he would put it in his trousers and
8 nobody would take it. Have you an idea of the future,
9 what happened to this list?
10 A. Yes. Well, I spent months trying to locate
11 this list of 239 men, and Ibro Nuhanovic's son was also
12 trying to trace it. I told you that Ibro Nuhanovic was
13 a member of the Bosnian delegation and we just do not
14 know what happened to him. And it was only through
15 some journalists who came from Western Europe to
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina that Hasan Nuhanovic was able to get
17 that list, and he showed me and I saw it and I also
18 have it. I wrote it in my own hand. But it was only
19 several months later, perhaps four or five months later
20 I was able to see it again.
21 JUDGE RIAD: But during these months you
22 don't know what happened to it, in whose hands it was?
23 A. I don't know in whose hands it was. We made
24 some guesses that perhaps the Dutch battalion
25 commander, or perhaps his deputy, Major Franken, had
1 given it to the UNPROFOR command for former Yugoslavia,
2 which I believe was headquartered in Zagreb. But we as
3 individuals could not get the list, because there were
4 some -- it was said that the list, or rather a copy of
5 that list with 239 names could be given only to some
6 organisations, and like that. But I was concerned. I
7 was really worried. I really hoped that the list would
8 not be destroyed and that we would lose any trace of
9 existence of those men.
10 But Mr. President, Your Honours, when one --
11 when I leafed through that list before I left Bosnia
12 for The Hague and for this august institution, I went
13 through that list and I felt a lump in my throat,
14 because those people are no more. And the world
15 watched quietly.
16 JUDGE RIAD: Some people refused to have
17 their names on the list. Are they also no more, or
18 perhaps some of them are still around?
19 A. If I may just a minute. May I have just a
20 minute? I need to calm down.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Sorry. I can stop my
23 A. Yes, but, you know, they were all my fellow
24 townsmen. I can. I can. Yes, I'm all right now. I'm
25 all right now.
1 Your Honours, there were also some men of
2 different ages, even those of 80 and over, who in such
3 a dramatic situation refused to be included in the
4 list, fearing that the list might fall into the hands
5 of the Army of Republika Srpska. And they thought,
6 well, if they don't know my name, then who he is and
7 what he is, perhaps it will make it easier through the
8 checkpoints of the Army of Republika Srpska.
9 Lamentably, that is not what happened. Yes, you may go
11 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned, you answered the
12 Defence counsel that Serbs started leaving Srebrenica
13 in 1992. There was something -- I think 5.000, I
14 don't -- something of that count, and they said the
15 times are somehow uncertain, this is why they left,
16 because, according to you, there was no mistreatment,
17 there was no threat. How -- I mean, were there some
18 rumours, or perhaps some information, now that you
19 effectively received, they received, to know what was
20 going to happen, and that it was safer to go out? Why
21 did they leave, if there was no threat or no
23 A. Your Honour, I mentioned, I don't know how it
24 was translated, that prior to the war in 1992,
25 approximately 38.000 people lived in the territory of
1 the Srebrenica municipality. In the town itself, there
2 were about 5.000 people, and more than 32.000 lived
3 outside the town area, and they lived in the so-called
4 local communes. So as far as the town area is
5 concerned there were about 1.500 to 2.000 Serbs. So
6 the Bosniaks were the majority in the town as well.
7 In the spring, in April of 1992, on the
8 border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in neighbouring
9 towns on the territory of the Federal Republic of
10 Yugoslavia, such as Bajina, Basta, Ljubovija, military
11 units were located on those borders, and there was a
12 heavy concentration of troops on those borders, troops
13 belonging to the army of the Federal Republic of
14 Yugoslavia. Several months earlier that country put a
15 ban on the import of food stuffs for the population in
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since both Bosniaks and Serbs
17 regularly had to cross over that border prior to the
18 conflict, they had an opportunity to see armed units in
19 the area, and according to what they said, those units
20 made it perfectly clear that they would be coming to
21 Bosnia to protect Serbs, as they put it.
22 Again, I must say, and I'm speaking the
23 truth, and nothing but the truth, that before the month
24 of April, in the territory of the Bratunac and
25 Srebrenica municipalities, there had been no armed
1 forces, either of Bosniaks or Serbs. That was the case
2 until mid-April, and until that time they lived
3 together, they worked together, their children went to
4 school together. But at one point in time,
5 paramilitary units entered the area from the republic
6 of Yugoslavia. I'm referring first of all to the units
7 of Arkan. They came to Bratunac. And this caused
8 panic amongst the population. And at that moment
9 Srebrenica was being abandoned both by Bosniaks and
10 Serbs, together, if I may put it that way. Serbs were
11 mostly moving their families away into the neighbouring
12 towns in Serbia. Bosniaks were leaving to major
13 Bosniak centres such as Tuzla, for example, and the
14 towns in that area.
15 The result of that situation in the territory
16 of the Srebrenica municipality was such that as early
17 as the 17th of April, I think, paramilitary units,
18 together with certain local Serbian politicians who
19 were hard-liners and were supported by certain members
20 of their population, they entered the town of
21 Srebrenica. There were no Bosniaks in the town area
22 itself at the time. They had fled, in the meantime,
23 out of fear. Several elderly Bosniaks had remained, of
25 But at that moment, the paramilitary units
1 entered the town, and in late April and early May,
2 several people, several elderly people, were killed by
3 the members of those paramilitary units. The victims
4 were old and infirm Bosniaks. And let us not be
5 confused about that. In April of that year, citizens
6 of both ethnic groups were leaving Srebrenica.
7 JUDGE RIAD: I think I understood. Thank
9 A. Yes, thank you.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you,
11 Judge Riad.
12 Judge Wald.
13 JUDGE WALD: Mr. Mandzic, you referred, in
14 your earlier testimony, to the fact that there were
15 about 5.000 people in the UN Compound before the
16 evacuation and maybe 15.000 to 20.000 people were
17 outside the compound in the neighbouring streets,
18 congregated, milling around. I have two questions.
19 One is: You also testified, and I think we saw a video
20 of Colonel Karremans, who said basically the vast
21 majority of the evacuees were women and children or
22 maybe the elderly or the sick. Is that true of the
23 group that was outside the compound, the 15.000 to
24 20.000, as well as those that were inside, or were
25 there considerably greater proportion of men in the
1 group outside the compound?
2 A. Thank you for your question, Your Honour. At
3 the base itself, at the camp, approximately 5.000
4 people had found shelter. However, outside the camp
5 there were no 15.000 or 20.000 people but probably more
6 than 25.000 people. I think that their situation was
7 far worse than the situation of the people who had
8 gathered in the camp two or three days before. They
9 had no water. They had no toilet facilities. They had
10 no food. On the other hand, they were being attacked
11 by the VRS units.
12 JUDGE WALD: I understand that from your
13 prior testimony. My question specifically was though:
14 In that 25.000 people outside, were they mostly women
15 and children too or were they more a mixture of men?
16 From the photographs one would see many men there, but
17 it was a greater percentage of men in the outside group
18 than of the inside group? Is that right or wrong?
19 A. In that group, in that mass of 25.000 people,
20 there were mostly women and children, but to answer
21 specifically that question as regards the male
22 population between 18 years of age and 60, I think that
23 there were more of them outside than inside the camp.
24 And proportionally speaking, there were, of course,
25 much more people outside the camp than within the
1 compound itself.
2 JUDGE WALD: Thank you. My second question
3 along the same lines is: When the evacuation began,
4 were the people outside the compound the ones -- the
5 25.000 that you talked about, were they put on buses or
6 were the people inside the compound put on buses first
7 and, later on, what happened to that group outside the
8 compound once the evacuation began?
9 A. I'm using the word "deportation." I felt it
10 on my own skin. Began on the 12th of July, in the
11 early afternoon hours.
12 The first to be put on buses were persons
13 standing outside the camp, and then it was only later
14 on, in the afternoon hours of the 13th of July, that
15 the persons inside the camp were being put on buses,
16 were being deported.
17 JUDGE WALD: Okay. Thank you. Now, on the
18 night of the 11th in the Fontana Hotel, the first
19 meeting that you went to and of which we saw a video,
20 General Mladic said several times words to the effect
21 of, "Get your people to lay down their arms if they
22 want to survive. Survival is in your hands. Bring me
23 a delegation that can produce people who will lay down
24 their arms if you want to preserve the population."
25 Now, at that point, as you have testified and
1 others as well, the people in the compound and outside
2 of the compound were mainly women and children. The
3 column that was going to Tuzla had already left, is
4 that not right? It left from a neighbouring village.
5 So how did you understand General Mladic's ultimatum to
6 be? If you had wanted to accede to it, what could you
7 have done? The people with the arms had already left,
8 as I understand it, and begun to march towards Tuzla on
9 their own, and the people that were left in the
10 compound were largely women and children. So how did
11 you -- when he talked about "survive or vanish" or "lay
12 down your arms," what do you think he wanted you to
14 A. I do remember very well what General Mladic
15 said and how he threatened us. He said, "Lay down your
16 weapons and you can either survive or vanish." It was
17 difficult to understand such a request, because we were
18 simply representatives of the displaced population. We
19 were not representatives of any armed force.
20 However, General Mladic persisted in his
21 request that we should lay our weapons, and nobody had
22 anything -- nobody amongst the population that gathered
23 there. So I realised it was a kind of psychological
24 pressure, and I feared the worst for that population.
25 JUDGE WALD: When you convened the next
1 morning with your three-person delegation, did
2 General Mladic bring that up again? You didn't testify
3 too much about what was happening on the morning of the
4 12th. Did he again say, "Well, here's your
5 delegation. I want you to tell me you'll lay down your
6 arms and everything will be all right," or did he just
7 drop that subject altogether on the morning of the 12th
9 A. Your Honour, to the best of my recollection,
10 on the following day, on the 12th of July,
11 General Mladic reiterated the request to our
12 delegation. He said, "Lay down your weapons," and
13 again, as far as I can remember, he said that, "Whoever
14 lays down his weapons, I, as a General and a human
15 being, can guarantee there would be no problems, would
16 have no problems. Our objective is not to harm the
17 Muslim population, and we will enable every single
18 individual, regardless of age and sex, to choose the
19 place where he or she wants live."
20 JUDGE WALD: Did anyone in your delegation
21 ask him or suggest to him that you didn't have a
22 population with arms, you just had some women and
23 children and some elderly and infirm displaced persons,
24 there was no way to get them to lay down arms that they
25 didn't have?
1 A. Yes. Yes, Your Honour. This was done
2 firstly by Mrs. Camila Omanovic, as a member of our
3 delegation. She said, "Well, sir, we have nothing to
4 do with those who took to the woods, who may have
5 weapons with them. What we have here are refugees,
6 displaced persons without any food, water, medicine,
8 JUDGE WALD: Am I correct that in both the
9 11th meeting in the evening and the 12th meeting there
10 was a film crew filming this, or was it only the night
11 of the 11th that General Mladic had a film crew who was
12 filming the whole thing? Were they on the 12th or were
13 they on the 11th?
14 A. On the 11th and the 12th of July, the film
15 crew was there, and they also came to Potocari on the
16 13th of July. I could see them there.
17 JUDGE WALD: Okay. My last question deals
18 with the document that we talked about that was signed
19 on the 17th. You went over, with Mr. Cayley, some of
20 the statements that you said were not correct, were
21 inaccurate. Let me point your direction to one of them
22 that you did not discuss, to get your opinion on that.
23 It is the one -- the third from the bottom which says:
24 "It was agreed that we could choose where we wanted to
25 go. We decided that the entire civilian population
1 move out of the enclave and be evacuated to the
2 territory of Kladanj."
3 Now, can you tell me your opinion on whether
4 that was an accurate statement that "we," whoever "we"
5 is, "decided that the entire civilian population would
6 move out"?
7 A. It is not an accurate statement, Your
8 Honour. Between the 6th and the 11th of July, units of
9 the VRS forced about 40.000 strong population of the
10 area to leave their homes, to abandon their estates,
11 their belongings, everything they had. Most of them
12 found themselves in Potocari; that is, they were
13 directed by VRS units to that particular location
14 because of the fire that was being opened. The
15 population was pushed up to Potocari by VRS units.
16 On the 12th and the 13th of July, VRS units
17 encircled the area and started entering the group of
18 people. Then they began separating the population
19 according to their age and sex. They started putting
20 people on buses.
21 We are the kind of people that cannot easily
22 accept departure from our homes and separation. Every
23 single change, every move to another town, another city
24 is very difficult to us, let alone deportation.
25 So this statement is by no means true and
1 does not reflect the real situation. If there had been
2 any understanding on the part of VRS units, if they had
3 withdrawn at least here at the boundaries of the
4 demilitarised area, everybody, all of the population,
5 would have come back.
6 I apologise, Your Honour, but I have to say
7 that we had been living as refugees for years. We have
8 been living as refugees for years, and we're trying to
9 go back but this is very difficult. Before the war,
10 we, and I refer to both Bosniaks and Serbs, used to
11 have a good life there. We had our houses there, we
12 had good salaries. There were no homeless people. We
13 had, you know, more houses than families. There are
14 figures that can testify to that effect.
15 JUDGE WALD: At the time of this statement,
16 July 17th, 1995, did any Serbians still live -- any
17 Serb civilians still live in Srebrenica? I know you
18 talked a great deal and told us a great deal about how
19 the Bosniaks and the Serbs, starting in April, had
20 begun to leave, but were there any Serbian civilians
21 left in Srebrenica in July?
22 A. You mean before the capturing of the
24 JUDGE WALD: At the time of the Potocari --
25 no, after the capturing. At the time of the Potocari
1 evacuation, were there any Serbians still resident,
2 living in Srebrenica?
3 A. Since 1992, that is, May 1992 until July
4 1995, there had been a small group of Serbian citizens,
5 mostly elderly people. And on that day, on the 11th of
6 July when this massive persecution occurred of the
7 members of the Bosniak community, that small group of
8 Serbian residents remained. And I can say that because
9 I work in Srebrenica, that most of them still live
10 there and work there, and they still hoped that we
11 would come back.
12 JUDGE WALD: Thank you.
13 A. But on the other -- yes.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Well, as
15 far as I can see, we have been working for one and a
16 half hours, and this has been quite an ordeal for our
17 interpreters. I'm in a bit of a quandary here. I have
18 questions myself, but it wouldn't make much sense to
19 bring back the witness after the recess. Would you be
20 so kind as to give us another 10 minutes? I will try
21 and be very brief in my questions. Very well. Thank
22 you very much.
23 Mr. Mandzic, I have three questions for you,
24 and I will try to be as brief as possible, and I should
25 also ask you to answer with the same concern in mind.
1 I'm interested in reasons of the signature on
2 this statement as it was presented to you. Did they
3 explain to you any reasons for the signing of the
5 A. What is stated here is not correct.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Sorry to
7 interrupt you. I would like to know if the persons who
8 produced this document told you, "You're going to sign
9 it because so-and-so."
10 A. Well, we were all very well aware of the fact
11 that in Bratunac, which was a town controlled by the
12 VRS, that several dozens of wounded persons had been
13 kept, that in Potocari there was still a number, that
14 is, several dozens of severely wounded persons,
15 including women and children, and we also knew that at
16 the time there were 27 healthy persons, who also wanted
17 to survive, still there.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. But
19 what you're telling me are your own reasons, the
20 reasons you perceived as being such. What I'm
21 interested in is what Mr. Deronjic told you. Did he
22 explain anything? Did he tell you why you had to sign
23 this statement?
24 A. No. No. He did not.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So you were
1 aware of the situation. You knew what would happen,
2 and you felt that you had to sign this document. Was
3 that the case?
4 A. Yes. The fate of probably 80 or 100 Bosniaks
5 depended on our signature and also the fate of the
6 soldiers of the Dutch Battalion.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes,
8 Mr. Mandzic. You have spoken about that. Thank you
9 very much. We are little pressed for time.
10 I have one other question in respect of this
11 document. You signed a declaration, a statement, in
12 your language, and you also signed a copy in English.
13 Is that true?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] At the
16 time, did you understand English?
17 A. A little bit.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 Thank you. Still on the same document. In most of the
20 sentences the plural is used in this document. It
21 says, "we," "our civilian population," and so on and so
22 forth, but at one point it is stated: "After the
23 agreement was reached, I claim that the evacuation of
24 the civilian population of the Srebrenica enclave was
25 carried out absolutely correctly," and so on. I'm
1 interested to know who was the person who was
2 speaking. Who used this particular expression "I
4 A. There was no Bosniak delegation, properly
5 speaking, on the 13th of the July. Mr. Nuhanovic, with
6 his family, had left; that is, we didn't know anything
7 about him. Mrs. Camila Omanovic had a nervous
8 breakdown because soldiers of the VRS had entered the
9 area. So they knew very well about the whereabouts of
10 the members of the Bosniak delegation.
11 So I was the only one who was capable of
12 following the situation. I was trying to record
13 everything but, of course, I wasn't in the position to
14 record everything because I feared that whatever I
15 write might end up in the hands of the Serb army.
16 So the only person they could count upon was
17 myself, and I was the one who had to understand the
18 situation of those people, and their fate depended on
19 this understanding of mine.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So this
21 expression "I claim," first person singular, refers to
23 A. Well, yes, but it is not mine, properly
24 speaking, because I was not the drafter of this
25 statement, and the statement did not reflect the
1 facts. It was prepared in advance, and it was merely
2 an ultimatum.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
4 Mr. Mandzic, you probably read this document several
5 times, and you probably read it more than I did. If
6 you have a look at it, all we have throughout the
7 document is the first person plural, "we", "our
8 population," and so on and so forth. But there is one
9 paragraph, one single paragraph where the wording used
10 is "I claim." What I'm trying to understand is who it
11 was who said, "I" and who it was who used the
12 expression "we" and "our." Are you in a position to
13 explain that to us?
14 A. We, and I, probably referred to a
15 representative of the civilian government of Republika
16 Srpska. In this document, where it is stated "I
17 claim," I do not claim anything, because I was not the
18 drafter of the document.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 So if I can use the expression, there is some kind of
21 schizophrenia in this document. We have two persons
22 speaking at the same time. At any rate, we will see
23 later on how this problem can be resolved.
24 A. Your Honour, if I may, in this document the
25 drafter of the document used the word "I"
1 conscientiously. Two other members of the delegation,
2 Nuhanovic, for example, had been taken away. He had
3 probably been killed in the meantime. Camila Omanovic
4 had had a nervous breakdown. In the previous sentences
5 the persons are speaking -- are used in plural.
6 Probably several persons are needed to have a proper
7 agreement, but I was the only one who was there, so the
8 drafter of this particular statement had all the
9 necessary knowledge about our situation.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 Another question which I have concerns the presence of
12 General Krstic. We know that he was present at two
13 meetings in Bratunac on the 10th and on the 11th. Did
14 you see him again after those two meetings?
15 A. General Krstic, I never saw him before the
16 11th of July. The only time I saw him was on the 11th
17 and the 12th of July.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
19 Another question.
20 Mr. Mandzic, it is Exhibit 40A, and this is
21 the transcript of a video, which I wish to read to
22 you. General Mladic asks you, "Are you a teacher?"
23 And you say, "Yes, I was this morning, but I don't know
24 for how long." What did you mean by that?
25 A. General Mladic put a question to me: what
1 was my profession and what had I done before the war
2 and while living in the enclave. And I told him that
3 before the war I was a teacher also in the enclave in
4 1994, 1995, that I was a teacher and school principal.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Excuse me,
6 Mr. Mandzic. Will you please try to answer my question
7 directly. General Mladic asked you, "Are you a
8 teacher?" And you said, "Yes, I am. I was one this
9 morning, but I do not know for how long yet." And
10 Mladic then goes on, "What school did you come from?"
11 And you say, "The electrical engineering."
12 My question is, what did you mean when you
13 said, "I was this morning, but I don't know for how
14 long yet." So this is my question. Would you please
15 try to answer it directly.
16 A. Well, I didn't know if I would live to see
17 another day or not, because the enclave had been taken,
18 its population expelled, and I could see that the
19 Bosnian Serb army was treating the Bosnian population
20 ruthlessly, so I simply realised that I could expect
21 the worst.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 I have finished. I do not have any more questions at
24 the moment. So you answered the questions of the
25 counsel for the Prosecution, the counsel for the
1 Defence, the Judges. Is there anything that you should
2 like to say and were not asked about? If there is
3 something that you should like to tell us, you can do
4 so now.
5 A. Mr. President, Your Honours, about life in
6 Srebrenica between 1992 and 1995, about the suffering
7 of the population, the expulsion, and so on and so
8 forth, one could go on and on. But what I should like
9 to emphasise, and it goes beyond this institution, is
10 how to overcome the effects.
11 In the first place, I have in mind tens of
12 thousands of expelled who live in Tuzla, Sarajevo, and
13 dozens of other places around the Federation, and most
14 of them have said that they would like to go back to
15 their homes. But for political and other barriers,
16 people are not returning. And they live now as
17 second-rate citizens. They suffer because their life
18 is not worthy of man. But I do know that that is not a
19 subject that is dealt by this Tribunal. But any
20 advice, any recommendation that you might have, I would
21 think would be of great help to other institutions who
22 are responsible for trying to resolve the problem of
23 refugees and displacement as soon as possible, to help
24 those people go back home and live life worthy of human
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,
2 Mr. Mandzic. We have finished. You have told us about
3 your suffering. Thank you. You showed great courage
4 in coming and testifying here. You have also given
5 evidence of your spirit of tolerance. I believe I
6 speak in the name of my colleagues when I tell you that
7 we all wish you a happy return to your home. Yes,
8 those places were witness to suffering, but they should
9 also be witness to tolerance and peace. Injustice,
10 wherever, shall always be a threat to everybody.
11 Now I believe I must make it up to everybody,
12 and especially the interpreters, and we shall make a
13 half-an-hour break now and we'll resume after the break
14 with another witness. Half an hour, therefore.
15 Thank you and farewell.
16 THE WITNESS: Thank you. Thank you, too.
17 --- Recess taken at 1.10 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 1.48 p.m.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
20 Now we have also had the opportunity of enjoying this
21 great weather, and I believe the interpreters did the
22 same thing, but now I think it is time to resume.
23 Mr. Cayley, the floor is yours.
24 MR. CAYLEY: Just a point that relates to the
25 document with which you were concerned, which is
1 Exhibit 47, and we've been notified by the translation
2 and interpretation unit that there is, in fact, a
3 mistake in the French translation in the final
4 paragraph. In the English translation -- this is the
5 final paragraph on page 1 of the document: "After the
6 agreement was reached, I claim." That is what it
7 states in the English translation, and apparently the
8 verb used in the French translation is wrong, and is
9 not a correct translation of the original version in
11 Please don't ask me the details. Being an
12 Englishman, I'm embarrassingly unilingual, so I don't
13 want to get involved in arguments over what it should
14 be but, nevertheless, we're informed it's wrong and a
15 corrected version will be produced, which we will
16 submit to the Court tomorrow.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Because if
18 one reads the French version, "exiger," "I demand it,"
19 then the English version should say, "I claimed." But
20 my question was not to find out about the correct tense
21 but whether it was singular or plural. But we shall
22 wait for the amended version to see the result. Thank
24 MR. CAYLEY: I think that the tense is
25 actually correct in terms of -- in fact, not that you
1 refer to the tense, whether the word "I" or "we" was
2 used. But from my own interpretation of this document,
3 if you go to the second paragraph, it actually states,
4 "The representatives from our side were Camila
5 Purkovic, Ibro Nuhanovic, and myself Nesib Mandzic."
6 Now, I'm obviously not really in a position
7 to really argue the matter before you, Mr. President.
8 Perhaps now is not the proper time. But I think the
9 document does actually make it clear that he was
10 signing as an individual on behalf of two people that
11 were not present, and that is why the document was
12 drafted in that manner.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Be that as
14 it may, I do not usually follow the French
15 translation. Now that I did have the French
16 translation, we have a problem, but I will still want
17 to have French translations.
18 JUDGE RIAD: I believe that "claim" is not
19 "exiger" in French. "Exiger" is stronger than
20 "claim," but there are more greater authorities than
21 me. "Claim" could be "required" or even "wanted,"
22 but "exiger" is too strong. So perhaps you have to
23 check that. Thank you.
24 MR. CAYLEY: You're asking somebody who is
25 not an authority, Judge Riad, but that is certainly the
1 explanation that has been given to me, that "exiger" is
2 a much stronger term. I think it means "request"
3 rather than "claim." It's "request" rather than
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well,
6 but we are not now to go into the review of the
7 translation, but we do work indeed under very difficult
8 conditions. These cases are very difficult. We all
9 work under very difficult conditions and, therefore, it
10 is absolutely requisite that we maintain good
12 However, I should like also to apologise to
13 the interpreters, but I also wish to say that we have
14 only a certain concentration, capacity, and after a
15 certain time, of course, it simply declines, after a
16 certain period of time. So perhaps we should try to
17 keep the -- to discuss sets of questions, entities of
18 questions separately, not to go to one or two things.
19 I also think that 50 minutes would be --
20 50 minutes is decided to be a good period of time for
21 children, during which they can hold their
22 concentration. For the adults it's closer to an hour,
23 1 hour and 10. After that, they lose the
24 concentration. So we say that 1 hour and 10 minutes is
25 a good time, and perhaps 1 hour and 20. After that we
1 should make a break because, otherwise, I'm afraid it
2 might damage the communication, because somebody is
3 about to finish something and then we get into 1 hour
4 and 10 minutes, 1 hour and 20 minutes. I believe that
5 both parties can, in such a case, take initiative, make
6 a sign, for instance, this international sign, I
7 believe everybody shows that, and say, "Let us make a
8 break because the powers of concentration are rapidly
9 declining." So we should bear in mind the time and our
10 powers of concentration.
11 Thank you very much for this. Now I think we
12 are ready for the next witness. I see that it will be
13 Mr. Harmon who will -- tell us, you are omniscient, you
14 are all-knowing, Mr. Harmon, so will you tell us what
15 we're going to do now.
16 MR. HARMON: Yes, our next witness is
17 Mrs. Camila Omanovic.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 WITNESS: CAMILA OMANOVIC
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
22 afternoon, Mrs. Omanovic. Did you hear me? Would you
23 stand up and remaining standing just for a short while,
25 Madam, you will now read the solemn
1 declaration which you will be given by the usher.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
3 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
4 and nothing but the truth.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 You may take your seat now. Just make yourself
8 Thank you for coming here to testify,
9 Mrs. Omanovic, to give your evidence before the
10 International Criminal Tribunal. You will now answer
11 questions which the Prosecution, Mr. Harmon, will ask
12 of you.
13 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
14 Examined by Mr. Harmon:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mrs. Omanovic. Can you hear
17 A. Yes, I can.
18 Q. Would you spell your last name for the
19 record, please?
20 A. O-m-a-n-o-v-i-c.
21 Q. Could you spell your first name for the
23 A. C-a-m-i-l-a.
24 Q. What is your date of birth?
25 A. I was born on the 15th of April, 1953, in
2 MR. HARMON: I'm not getting a translation,
3 Mr. President.
4 Q. We'll continue, Mrs. Omanovic. Could you
5 tell the Judges about your educational background,
7 A. I completed my elementary and secondary
8 education in Srebrenica. Then I enrolled in university
9 in Tuzla, and I completed the first stage of the
10 faculty of economics, and I came back to Srebrenica and
11 found a job there.
12 Q. Were you born in Srebrenica?
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon,
14 I'm sorry, but I cannot see on the transcript the date
15 of birth of Mrs. Camila Omanovic. Perhaps you could
16 ask her to repeat it, please. Thank you.
17 MR. HARMON:
18 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, could you repeat your date of
19 birth, please?
20 A. I was born in Srebrenica on the 15th of
21 April, 1953.
22 Q. Can you tell the Judges when you were
24 A. It was the 10th of February, 1977. That is
25 when I married Ahmet Omanovic.
1 Q. Do you have any children?
2 A. I had two children, Dzermina Omanovic, born
3 on the 28th of October, 1977; and Dzermin Omanovic,
4 born in 1981, on the 25th of December. My daughter
5 also married in Srebrenica, and she gave birth to a
6 child in 1985, in March of 1985.
7 Q. In 1985 or in 1995?
8 A. 1995.
9 Q. So at the time of the events that you're
10 going to be describing to the Judges, you had a
11 grandchild; is that correct?
12 A. Yes. My grandchild was born on the 10th of
13 March, 1995.
14 Q. Did you continue to work in the area of
15 Srebrenica or Potocari after your marriage?
16 A. Yes. I worked in Srebrenica and Potocari
17 throughout my life there, both my husband and I.
18 Q. So it would be fair to say that you're quite
19 familiar with the area of Potocari?
20 A. I know the area of Potocari quite well
21 because from 1996 my husband worked there, and besides,
22 that is my native country, so I do know Potocari very
24 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, let me ask you one last
25 question about your background. Are you, by faith, a
2 A. I am a Muslim by faith.
3 Q. And was your husband Ahmet likewise, by
4 faith, a Muslim?
5 A. Yes, my husband Ahmet was also a Muslim.
6 Q. Now, Mrs. Omanovic, I'd like to focus your
7 attention on the 10th of July, 1995, and I'd like to
8 ask you to tell the Judges where you were on that
10 A. I was, on that day, in my brother's house,
11 Zulfo Turkovic. His house is at the exit from
13 Q. Now, can you see the large map that's to your
14 right? Could you take a pointer and point to the
15 general location where your brother's house was
17 A. It was here approximately [indicated].
18 Q. So the record is perfectly clear, the witness
19 has pointed south of the town of Srebrenica, near the
20 hairpin turn indicated below the town of Srebrenica.
21 You may resume your seat. Who was with
22 you --
23 A. I'm sorry.
24 Q. It's quite all right Mrs. Omanovic. Who was
25 with you at your brother's house on the 10th of July?
1 A. The 10th of July in my brother's house were
2 my husband and my brother.
3 Q. On that date, did something unusual happen?
4 Can you describe to the Court what it was and what you
5 did in reaction to it?
6 A. That day there was a lot of gunfire around my
7 brother's house. As I came out of -- came out of the
8 house onto the terrace and was engaged in some everyday
9 chores, I could see very many people loaded with
10 luggage moving towards the town, and I didn't pay much
11 attention to it because the day before that I had sent
12 my daughter and my son into town to my daughter's flat,
13 and my husband and my brother and I stayed in the
14 house. I had livestock which we had brought during the
15 war merely to survive.
16 There was a lot of gunfire around us, but it
17 was at a distance, and we'd already become immune to it
18 and were not paying much attention. But at a certain
19 point I looked through the window, across the river,
20 the house there. I saw a group of people who were
21 carrying that luggage and were standing below the
22 terrace and indicating or mimicking that fire was
23 coming from above the house. Then I looked to the
24 other side and saw thousands of bullets hitting the
25 facade of my brother's house. My brother jumped across
1 the terrace and made his way from one house to another
2 to go there. My husband and I did not jump from the
3 terrace. We ran down the stairs to the next-door house
4 and thus we came with very many people who were coming
5 from all the houses, and we all headed towards the
7 The gunfire was gaining momentum, and I think
8 it came from all the weapons, from artillery, from
9 infantry, and shells and bullets were falling all
10 around us. We, however, managed to get to the town,
11 and the gunfire then stopped. I mean, there was some
12 sporadic, intermittent fire, one could hear it in the
13 town, but it was not as intensive as on the periphery.
14 That night I spent with my daughter and
15 grandchild, and lots of people who got there who were
16 all rallied in the centre of the town.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness be asked
18 to speak slower, please.
19 MR. HARMON:
20 Q. You've been asked by the interpretation booth
21 if you could just speak a little slower.
22 Now, let me focus your attention on the
23 following day, the 11th of July. Tell the Judges what
24 you did.
25 A. On the 11th I went back to Petrica -- that is
1 where my brother's house is -- because the livestock
2 had to be fed. And also the laundry, the diapers of my
3 grandchild, were still drying on the clothesline behind
4 the house. And my husband and I decided to go early in
5 the morning and go back to my brother's house. And
6 that is what we did. We followed the bank of the river
7 and we reached the house and there was no gunfire. And
8 on our way we met various people, neighbours, who said
9 because Srebrenica is in a valley, in a hollow, and
10 they said that a bullet would be fired from time to
11 time by snipers. But we got to the house, we fed the
12 livestock, we cut off the clothesline and all the
13 diapers fell down, and we came out. We just picked it
14 up in a hurry and went back to our daughter's.
15 And there was a lull until about afternoon
16 and then hell broke loose, because gunfire came from
17 all sides, from all possible weapons. And people
18 again, with all that luggage, they headed for
19 Potocari. And we somehow gathered all around the
20 petrol pump which was near the UN base, which was by
21 the petrol station near Bratunac. And there were very
22 many people there, women, children, and just whatever
23 they happened to be wearing. They had children on
24 their shoulders or some small belongings. They were
25 milling about, screaming, because shells were falling
1 from all over.
2 The road was so narrow that all those people
3 simply could not fit in, fit onto the road, and there
4 were several trucks which tried to take people to
5 Potocari, but --
6 Q. Let me interrupt you for just a minute,
7 Mrs. Omanovic. Were you with your husband around noon
8 on the 11th of July?
9 A. Yes, I was with my husband, and the whole
10 family was there together. And then we parted our ways
11 at the petrol station. He went towards Kazani. All
12 the men, all the men over 13, headed for it. Somehow a
13 selection started, and they headed off towards the
14 Kazani and we headed for Potocari.
15 Q. Now, what was the date of birth of your
17 A. My husband was born in Mostar on the 10th of
18 July, 1948.
19 Q. Now, were there -- at this gas station, were
20 there a lot of people who went in a different direction
21 other than Potocari?
22 A. Yes, very many people went in the other
23 direction who did not go to Potocari.
24 Q. Now, were the people who went in the
25 direction other than Potocari, were they mostly men and
1 boys, or were there some women involved in that
2 particular group as well?
3 A. Men, by and large, but there was an
4 occasional women amongst them.
5 Q. Now, did some of these men in this group by
6 the gas station have guns?
7 A. Some of them -- some of the men did have
9 Q. Did your husband have a gun?
10 A. My husband did not have a weapon. A month
11 before that he had been operated on and felt -- and was
12 unwell. But he nevertheless started for the forest,
13 because rumours spread that if he fell into the Serb
14 hands, that he would be maltreated, and he would not
15 allow that, and so he went to the forest with other
17 Q. Now, was the 11th of July, 1995 the last time
18 you saw your husband alive?
19 A. That was the last time I saw him; never
21 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, there should be some tissues
22 to your left.
23 Mrs. Omanovic, in which direction did you
24 proceed, and with whom did you proceed in that
1 A. With my daughter, son, and grandchild, I
2 started to Potocari.
3 Q. And how old was your son at the time and how
4 old was your daughter and grandchild?
5 A. My grandchild was 4 months old, my daughter
6 was 17, and my son 13.
7 Q. Can you describe to the Judges the
8 environment as people fled toward Potocari; how many
9 people there were, what the conditions were like, the
10 state of mind of the people who were fleeing from
11 Srebrenica to Potocari was like?
12 A. It was a huge crowd; several thousand women,
13 children, and old people and babies, and they all had
14 one thing in mind: to escape, to flee to the UN base
15 in Potocari. Because we believed that if we did reach
16 that, that we would be saved. Everybody was in a
17 hurry. Everybody was carrying their belongings,
18 babies. Women were crying, screaming. It was such a
19 huge throng of panicking people with only one thing in
20 mind: Let's get to Potocari as quickly as possible.
21 If we get there, we'll be all right.
22 And under such conditions, gunfire came from
23 all sides. Thousands and thousands of bullets, and a
24 swarm of bees all around buzzing all the time, and
25 every now and then shells were fired at this crowd.
1 And in all this confusion somebody lost his belongings,
2 somebody a piece of bread. An old woman who could not
3 manage in this crowd fell. And APC, if it came across
4 a body put aside, they would simply be collected, put
5 on the APC. And they were simply telling us, "Hurry,
7 I was somewhere in the rear of this column
8 and I had all my luggage and the baby's luggage in the
9 pram. My daughter took the baby and started for
10 Potocari. But there were so many remains of clothes
11 and personal affairs on the road that you couldn't
12 really push the pram really to reach Potocari, but
13 somehow we covered those five kilometres, and that was
14 really -- that was really sheer horror.
15 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, did all the people who fled
16 from Srebrenica to Potocari go on foot or were some
17 people taken in UN vehicles?
18 A. Some of the people were taken in a UN
19 vehicles; however, not everybody could be transported
20 in that way. The first group of people, who was the
21 closest to the UN base, they were put on the trucks and
22 they were crowded. But there was a lot of panic going
23 on, because everybody wanted to board those trucks at
24 the same time. They were clinging on the trucks
25 because they believed, they hoped, that they would be
1 safe if they reached the area in time. So everybody
2 rushed towards those trucks. There were lots of people
3 coming from all sides. They were trying to get hold of
4 the truck, and the trucks had to leave before everybody
5 was on board, and there were lots of people actually
6 clinging from those trucks as they were leaving.
7 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, we would now like
8 to show a film. It's about seven minutes long. It's
9 Prosecutor's Exhibit 50. And if we could have the
10 lights dimmed and Prosecutor's Exhibit 50 shown. And
11 this film, Mr. President and Your Honours, is in the UN
12 compound in Potocari.
13 [Videotape played]
14 MR. HARMON:
15 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, do these images that we've
16 been looking at for the last few minutes accurately
17 depict the condition of the refugees as you recall
19 A. Yes, they do. This is exactly how it
20 happened. Only this is just a small excerpt. You have
21 to imagine thousands and thousands of more people
22 coming in; you have to imagine all those voices. The
23 whole thing has to be magnified. This is only one
24 truck that we saw. Now, you have to imagine several
25 thousands of people and the noise being much louder,
1 and you also have to bear in mind that we kept hearing
2 fire and the shells that were falling all around us.
3 Q. What were the weather conditions like on the
4 11th of July in Potocari?
5 A. It was a very warm day. It was very hot.
6 Q. And when you arrived in Potocari, where did
7 you go specifically?
8 A. Together with my family, I went to the
9 compound of the Zinc Factory.
10 MR. HARMON: Now, could I, with the
11 assistance of the usher, have Prosecutor's Exhibit 5/2
12 placed on the ELMO.
13 Q. Mrs. Omanovic, I've shown you this exhibit
14 before. I'm going to ask you to point out on
15 Prosecutor's 5/2 the location of the Zinc Factory and
16 orient the Judges to other locations that will be
17 relevant to your testimony.
18 A. On the first day, that is, when I first
19 arrived to the compound of the Zinc Factory, coming
20 from the direction of Srebrenica, I was here, in this
21 area, in the corner of this area [indicates], together
22 with my children.
23 And on the following day, on the second day,
24 I moved to the Express plant, which was part of the
25 transport company, of the bussing company, and I was
1 here in the vicinity of the petrol station. It was a
2 petrol station that was used by buses. That's where
3 the spent the second night.
4 Q. While we're on this particular exhibit, did
5 you used to work in a building known as the Feros
7 A. Yes, I did. For the past three years prior
8 to the war, I worked there as a chief accountant. This
9 is the factory in question, the Feros Factory. It's
11 Q. We're going to be referring later in your
12 testimony to a White House that was near the Feros
13 Building. Can you locate that particular building that
14 we're going to be referring to in your testimony, the
15 White House?
16 A. The White House is situated across the
17 street, across from the Feros Factory. I was able to
18 see the White House from my office in the factory. My
19 window was facing the White House, the window of my
21 Q. Now, let me show you that. Would you
22 re-examine that image again and see if your pointer is
23 on the right building, because do you see the road that
24 is going from the top of the image to the bottom of the
25 image? You mentioned that the White House was across
1 the street from the Feros Building.
2 A. Yes. This is our warehouse, and it was
3 across the street from that [indicated]. This is the
4 road to Bratunac and the White House is the one here
6 Q. All right. Thank you very much, Mrs.
7 Omanovic. Just for clarification, you said you worked
8 in this area for three years. Is that correct?
9 A. I said three years. I worked in Feros for
10 three years.
11 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, it is 2.29. This
12 might be a good place to break before we go into the
13 more substantive areas of Mrs. Omanovic's testimony.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, you're
15 right, Mr. Harmon. I think it's much better that we
16 adjourn now for today at this point. So we will finish
17 with our work for today.
18 Mrs. Omanovic, we will continue with your
19 testimony, and we will see you again at 9.30.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
21 at 2.30 p.m., to be reconvened on
22 Thursday, the 23rd day of March, 2000
23 at 9.30 a.m.