1 Wednesday, 24 May 2000
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.40 a.m.
4 JUDGE RIAD: Good morning, ladies and
5 gentlemen in the courtroom and in the visitor's
7 [The accused entered court]
8 JUDGE RIAD: I apologise again today for this
9 ten-minute delay. There are more urgent matters which
10 have to be settled as soon as we come to the Tribunal.
11 Mr. Harmon, you have the floor.
12 MR. HARMON: Good morning, Judge Riad. Good
13 morning, colleagues.
14 This morning, Mr. President, and all day
15 today, we will not present any live witnesses. We had
16 scheduled a witness for today but because of problems
17 in respect of passport and securing a passport, the
18 witness was not able to arrive in time for her
20 JUDGE RIAD: Is she arriving in the near
22 MR. HARMON: She's now arriving today as
23 opposed to her scheduled time of arrival which was two
24 days ago.
25 So in lieu of that, the Prosecutor proposes
1 to present video testimony film of testimony that had
2 been given in 1996 at the Rule 61 hearing involving
3 Karadzic and Mladic. I have discussed this with my
4 colleagues from the Defence long before today, and they
5 have agreed that in lieu of calling the witnesses who
6 will be shown on the videotape, they would accept the
7 transcribed testimony and the video testimony of these
8 same witnesses.
9 So today we'll be presenting the testimonies
10 of Colonel Karremans, Lieutenant Koster, and a
11 gentleman from Bosnia named Pasaga Mesic. We will play
12 those videotapes from the previous Rule 61 hearing and
13 then we'll seek to admit those tapes into evidence.
14 During the course of the presentation today,
15 I'm going to ask my colleague, Mr. McCloskey, to remain
16 in the courtroom as the Prosecutor's representative,
17 and with the Court's permission I will excuse myself
18 and return at the end of the day.
19 So that is the agenda we have proposed for
21 JUDGE RIAD: But you're on the tape too.
22 MR. HARMON: I am on the tapes, yes.
23 JUDGE RIAD: So we'll have you with us.
24 Is Defence counsel agreeable?
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning,
1 Mr. President, dear colleagues.
2 The Defence agrees to the proposal made by
3 the Prosecution so we concur that the video cassettes
4 be viewed and admitted into the file.
5 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much,
6 Mr. Petrusic.
7 Mr. Fourmy.
8 [Trial Chamber and legal officer
10 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Fourmy is asking whether
11 Colonel Karremans had been here before us in this
12 trial. I don't recall that.
13 MR. HARMON: He has not been in this trial.
14 JUDGE RIAD: I know he has not been here.
15 MR. HARMON: He has not. As I said
16 previously, I discussed this matter with the Defence
17 and they agree that the testimony that he had given
18 under oath previously would be --
19 JUDGE RIAD: Is he coming? Would he be
21 MR. HARMON: He will not be.
22 JUDGE RIAD: Good.
23 MR. HARMON: The tape will substitute for his
24 live testimony.
25 JUDGE RIAD: That answers Mr. Fourmy's
1 question, perhaps. [Interpretation] Your
2 preoccupations have been satisfied, Mr. Fourmy.
3 [In English] You can proceed, please,
4 Mr. Harmon.
5 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, Judge
7 If we could put the first video, the
8 testimony of Colonel Karremans, on the screen. If I
9 may be excused, Judge Riad.
10 JUDGE RIAD: How long do you think it will
12 MR. HARMON: The video of Colonel Karremans
13 is two hours and, I believe, twenty minutes; the video
14 of Lieutenant Koster is 59 minutes; and the videotape
15 of Mr. Mesic is 29 minutes.
16 JUDGE RIAD: So we can have the break after
18 MR. HARMON: We, perhaps, may want to have a
19 break in between Karremans given the fact that it's two
20 hours and twenty minutes.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Good. We'll see to that.
22 MR. HARMON: Thank you.
23 [Videotape of 3 July 1996 played]
24 [Court reporter's note: Transcription
25 of videotape is as follows:]
1 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Prosecutor, the
2 Tribunal accepts that evidence, all the documents, and
3 accepts that a photograph of the map, according to the
4 technical facilities that we have, will be added.
5 We have now Colonel Karremans before us. We
6 have to give him some headsets. Can you hear me, sir?
7 Can you read the statement which you have in your
9 Can you please give Colonel Karremans some
10 headsets. I think that you must give the headsets each
11 time and that the usher should be told of that.
12 Please read the statement that you have in
13 your hand.
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
15 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
17 WITNESS: THOMAS KARREMANS.
18 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you,
19 Colonel. Please be seated.
20 Can you hear me, Colonel? Can you hear me?
21 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour, I can.
22 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Colonel
23 Karremans, the Tribunal, dealing with Mr. Karadzic and
24 Mladic, wanted to call upon you here so that we can see
25 what you have to say in light of the indictment. I
1 think it is the Office of the Prosecutor who will
2 introduce you.
3 You have the floor.
4 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Examined by Mr. Harmon:
6 Q. Colonel Karremans, could you please state
7 your full name and spell your name for the record.
8 A. My last name is Karremans. I will spell
9 that. K-a-r-r-e-m-a-n-s, Karremans. My first name is
10 Thomas, T-h-o-m-a-s, and middle name, Jacob.
11 Q. Colonel Karremans, what is your occupation?
12 A. My occupation now is that I am taking over an
13 assignment in the United States.
14 Q. Are you a member of the Dutch military?
15 A. I'm a member of the Dutch military.
16 Q. Did you participate in UN peacekeeping
17 operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
18 A. Yes, I did, sir.
19 Q. Where were you assigned in Bosnia and
21 A. I was assigned in Bosnia-Herzegovina last
22 year, from January up to July in Srebrenica.
23 Q. What were your duties and responsibilities in
24 that particular assignment?
25 A. My mission was -- I was the battalion
1 commander of DutchBat in the safe area of Srebrenica.
2 Q. What was the UN mandate that you received in
3 relation to your assignments?
4 A. The UN mandate especially for the safe havens
5 or safe areas like Srebrenica was based on one of the
6 United Nations resolutions. I can remember 819. After
7 there was a ceasefire agreement between General
8 Morillon and General Mladic in 1993, after that
9 agreement, the Canadians went in in the safe area and
10 we took over the year after that, in 1994. My
11 assignment there was commander of the Dutch Battalion.
12 Q. Colonel Karremans, did the Bosnian Serb army
13 interfere or obstruct with your unit's ability to
14 perform its mandate after you had arrived in
16 A. I think not at the time that we arrived but
17 they did during our stay in the enclave during, let's
18 say, the last five months, as of half February.
19 Q. Can you expand on that, please.
20 A. I can expand on that but then I have first,
21 let's say, to explain what the mission was of the
23 Q. Please.
24 A. That was twofold; one was the purely military
25 side of the mission and the other side was the
1 humanitarian one. The military was to look to the
2 ceasefire agreement between both warring factions, of
3 both parties, to assist the civil authorities in the
4 opstina of Srebrenica, to maintain negotiations between
5 the BSA and the BiH, and of course trying to reject the
6 BSA from attacking the enclave.
7 On the other hand, the humanitarian side of
8 the mission was to support the refugees within the
9 enclave as much as possible by medical, by food, by,
10 let's say, the infrastructure within the enclave, to
11 enhance that, and that was, let's say, the second part
12 of the mission of the battalion.
13 When we took over in January 1995, from,
14 let's say, the second battalion, we were the third
15 there, we had no problems, let's say, during the
16 rotation. We had no problems in the beginning with the
17 BSA. There were some problems with the BiH, the
18 Bosnian forces, in the enclave.
19 Q. What problems developed with the Bosnian Serb
20 military? Could you describe those, please.
21 A. Those problems started actually on the 18th
22 of February when the last convoy came in with diesel,
23 gas, which we needed for the performance of the
24 mission. I can a little bit expand on that. Normally
25 we used 4.000 to 5.000 litres a day for our vehicles
1 for patrolling, for resupply of the observation posts,
2 et cetera. As of the 18th of February, the last diesel
3 convoy came in and that meant that we had to reorganise
4 our mission, our work, because you don't -- you need
5 that amount of fuel for doing a mission.
6 At the end, during February, March, April, up
7 to July, the amount of diesel we had became less and
8 less and that meant that at the end we did all our
9 patrolling, and this is just one example, by foot. We
10 were not able to resupply our observation posts, we
11 were not able to do the patrolling by cars or combat
12 vehicles, and that meant we had to do all the
13 patrolling by foot, with all the possible problems of
14 the mining around and within the enclave. That was the
15 example of diesel.
16 At the end of April the real convoy terror,
17 as we called it in those days, started because as of
18 the 26th of April no convoy came in at all, and that
19 meant no personnel which was on leave in the
20 Netherlands came back. They were stuck in Zagreb and
21 they never returned. Under those persons, the military
22 from our battalion, about 180 at the end were stuck up
23 in Zagreb. There were some quite important persons,
24 for instance, my ops officer, a major, and most of the
25 deputy company commanders, and some other persons
1 working in my battalion staff. That happened as of the
2 end of April.
3 That meant also that at the end of April, not
4 allowing convoys coming in, that I had no resupply of
5 medicines for the battalion but also for the
6 population, the refugees within the enclave, no food
7 supplies, no spare parts for my vehicles, the weaponry,
8 no engineer equipment to assist the opstina and the
9 people living in the opstina for repairs of
10 infrastructure, and no equipment to test my ammunition
11 vehicles. That happened, let's say, until the last day
12 I was there.
13 Q. What effect did this have on the civilian --
14 did the Bosnian Serb blockade have on the civilian
15 population within the enclave?
16 A. Yes, sir, it did, because almost, let's say,
17 25.000 persons living in the enclave were refugees, as
18 there used to live about 8.000 in the village of
19 Srebrenica. So you can imagine that the civil
20 authorities had a mighty challenge to bring under all
21 those refugees in a city with an infrastructure for
22 only 8.000 persons. But also the food for all the
23 people living in the enclave was a problem because the
24 UNHCR was responsible, or at least was -- they were
25 responsible for bringing in the food. Also the UNHCR
1 had the same problems with getting in their food for
2 the inhabitants of the enclave.
3 Q. Now, were complaints made to the Bosnian Serb
4 authorities about the blockade and its effects?
5 A. Yes, we did, sir. Every day, at 6.00 in the
6 night, we sent our information, daily sitreps, to the
7 higher echelons, and that started in sector north-east
8 in Tuzla, going up to Sarajevo, the BH command, up to
9 the force commander in Zagreb. They were aware of,
10 let's say, the problems within the enclave; on one side
11 with the battalion and on the other side with the
12 population. We noticed that and we put all the
13 information, let's say, on a daily basis to the higher
15 On top of that, I have written a lot of
16 reports during my stay over there, let's say once in
17 two days, in describing the poor situation of the
18 people over there. Also after the meetings we had with
19 the local authorities, they always mentioned what their
20 problems were towards the people. We mentioned that in
21 our daily reports, and I mentioned that quite some
22 times in my, let's say, own reports up to the force
23 commander in Zagreb, and also to the Crisis Staff here
24 in The Hague.
25 Q. Now, Colonel Karremans, did you have contacts
1 with the Bosnian Serb military officials from Bratunac?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In your contacts with those officials, did
4 you complain to them about the effects of the blockade?
5 A. Yes. Every time when we had a meeting with,
6 let's say, representatives of the Bosnian Serb army --
7 I think we will come to the persons later -- we made
8 our complaints given by the civil authorities within
9 the enclave, what happened with the population, not
10 only in providing food for them but also on the medical
11 side of the whole support for the people. In the
12 beginning we supported the population as much as we
13 could, in combination with MSF, Medecins Sans
14 Frontiers, by ambulances in the area, by giving them
15 medicines, giving them medical care, picking up wounded
16 persons or sick persons and bring them to the hospital
17 in Srebrenica or, if that wasn't possible, to our own
18 field dressing station. That was, as of the end of
19 April, also stopped. The same applied for, let's say,
20 the normal, daily living within the enclave. All those
21 complaints we told several times when we had meetings
22 with representatives of the BSA to those
24 Q. What was their reaction, Colonel Karremans?
25 A. None.
1 Q. Can you identify some of the persons in the
2 Bosnian Serb army with whom you had contact and with
3 whom you liaised on?
4 A. Yes, I can, sir. In the first place, and I
5 met him in the first week when I arrived in Bosnia, in
6 Srebrenica, I met Colonel Vukovic. He was the
7 so-called liaison officer between the battalion and the
8 Drina Corps commander or the Drina Corps. He was also
9 the commander of one of the brigades, the brigade in
10 the southern part of the surroundings of Srebrenica.
11 The second BSA representative which we met
12 quite often was Major Nikolic. He was the liaison
13 officer from the Bratunac Brigade, and the Bratunac
14 Brigade was the brigade in the northern area, outside
15 the enclave. He was the representative of that brigade
16 and he was also the LSO which we dealt often with.
17 Those two persons, we met during not daily
18 meetings but sometimes a couple of times a week,
19 sometimes even once a month, when they liked to have a
20 meeting and not when we liked to have a meeting.
21 A third person I know is Petar. Petar is an
22 interpreter who both of the just named officers used
23 all the time.
24 Q. Colonel Karremans, during your contacts with
25 Major Nikolic, did he ever express an opinion to you
1 about his attitude toward the Bosnian Muslim population
2 of Srebrenica?
3 A. Yes, sir, he did. Actually, that was in one
4 of the meetings, from what I can remember, in
5 February. We had always our meetings either on OP
6 Echo, that's an observation post in the southern part
7 of the enclave, or OP Papa in the northern part. This
8 was on one of the occasions which I can remember in
9 February in which he told me, you could see it on his
10 face too, that the hatred of the Muslim people,
11 especially those who were living in the enclave, and he
12 said he had a reason for that because half of his
13 family had been murdered during the Second World War.
14 Secondly, he told me that, in his opinion,
15 all the Muslims should leave Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 Thirdly, I think looking in those days, at
17 that moment to his face, that he meant that, and that
18 there was quite some hatred in his eyes, and also in
19 the words, I must say.
20 Q. Colonel Karremans, you mentioned that a
21 number of Dutch soldiers were stationed inside the
22 enclave of Srebrenica. Let me show you an exhibit
23 which is a map of the enclave. It will be presented to
24 you and then I would like to ask you some questions
25 about it.
1 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, we have copies as
2 well for Your Honours which I'd ask the usher to please
3 take up to the bench.
4 Q. Colonel Karremans, there should be a monitor
5 in front of you that -- there should be that particular
6 exhibit appearing in front of you on the monitor.
7 Can you please point to the map and identify
8 the locations where Dutch soldiers were stationed
9 within the enclave.
10 A. Yes, sir, I can. If, Your Honours, you look
11 to the map, you can see a dotted line in there, with a
12 "C" on top and a "B," Bravo, in the south. What we
13 did when we took that over from the previous battalion
14 was that we divided the area in two parts; the northern
15 area was the responsibility of our C Company and the
16 southern part of the area was the responsibility of the
17 B Coy, the Bravo Company.
18 We started off in January with eight
19 observation posts from which we could see a great part
20 of the area. In the beginning, in January and
21 February, both companies had some observation posts. I
22 start with the one here on top, OP Papa, that was the
23 observation post I just was referring to when we had
24 our meetings with BSA representatives. We have here OP
25 Quebec and OP Romeo on the east side. We have OP
1 November on the north. Those four, November, Papa,
2 Quebec, and Romeo, belonged to the C Coy, including the
3 Alpha observation post, so that means five observation
4 posts when we started off. In the southern part of the
5 enclave, OP Charlie in the west, OP Echo here in the
6 south, and OP Foxtrot also in the south. That meant
7 eight observation posts when I took it over.
8 What I explained before, Your Honours, is due
9 to the convoy terror, if I may say so, and lack of
10 gasoline, diesel, we changed our mission, let's say,
11 daily by daily, but especially our main mission,
12 working from observation posts and patrolling between
13 observation posts within the enclave to more
14 observation posts and less patrolling by cars, and
15 later on only patrolling by foot. We decided to build
16 more observation posts. We did that in contact with
17 the BiH forces inside the enclave and we also discussed
18 that with the BSA representatives, and they all agreed
19 to that except observation post Kilo over here, but I'd
20 like to come to that one later on, if I may.
21 During our stay there, we made OP Mike, OP
22 Delta, and OP Hotel, that's the old one, and at the end
23 of our stay, OP Hotel in the direct vicinity of the
24 village of Srebrenica.
25 There have been a lot of problems about OP
1 Kilo, that was our last one, and Delta, because OP Kilo
2 and Delta, we projected those observation posts on
3 smuggle routes, if I may say so. During our stay, and
4 also during the stays of both previous battalions, we
5 noticed that there was a lot of smuggling between the
6 safe area of Srebrenica and the safe area of Zepa, and
7 they used a couple of routes from the southern part of
8 the enclave, in the southern direction to Zepa. That's
9 why we put Delta and Kilo on those routes.
10 From the Bosnian military side, they had,
11 let's say, quite some problems that we established
12 those two observation posts. At the end we did.
13 Q. Let me ask you, Colonel Karremans, how many
14 soldiers were stationed in each of those observation
16 A. We started in January with, let's say, ten
17 soldiers per observation post. But after the end of
18 April, when the left convoys didn't return to
19 Srebrenica, and we made more observation posts and we
20 did less patrolling, or let's say it in another way,
21 another kind of patrolling, we changed a little bit the
22 manning of the observation posts and went to six in
23 some cases and ten in other cases. We had some
24 observation posts with ten persons just for observation
25 and doing the patrols and we had some observation posts
1 with only six persons on it just for observation. In
2 total, at the end of our stay, on 12 observation posts
3 I had about 90 to 100 soldiers working day by day on
4 the posts.
5 Q. Colonel Karremans, had the Bosnian Serb
6 blockade not taken place, what was the normal number of
7 soldiers you would have had in Srebrenica?
8 A. The battalion consisted of 780 persons,
9 soldiers; 180 were situated in the Tuzla area, one
10 company, a large company, I must say, and I had 600
11 soldiers, including 50 of the field dressing station,
12 at my disposal within the enclave, 600. But at the
13 end, let's say in April, about 150 to 180 didn't
14 return, so I had about 400, 420 soldiers at my disposal
15 as of the end of April till the end of July.
16 Q. Of those 420 soldiers, how many of those
17 soldiers were infantry men?
18 A. About half; 100 on the observation posts,
19 about 100 for doing the patrols, special patrolling in
20 the enclave along the borders of the enclave, for the
21 guarding of both compounds in Srebrenica itself and in
22 Potocari, and the other 200 soldiers were all for
23 manning the three company staffs, the battalion staff,
24 for all the logistics and the field dressing station.
25 Q. So by the time the invasion started in July,
1 less than half of your available military personnel
2 were infantry soldiers; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct, sir.
4 Q. Can you describe to the Court what type of
5 weaponry was available to your troops at the time the
6 invasion started?
7 A. Yes, I can. Our government has chosen for a
8 so-called light option and the weaponry we had in those
9 days were small arms. Every soldier had his own arm,
10 either a pistol or a light machine-gun or a rifle.
11 Then we had light machine-guns, guns on the observation
12 posts and also on both compounds. We had the heavy
13 machine-guns on our armoured personnel carriers.
14 Besides that we had six mortars, 81-millimetre. They
15 were on the observation posts, let's say on some of the
16 observation posts. I had at my disposal anti-tank
17 weapons, medium range and long range, amongst them, for
18 instance, the tow wide anti-tank systems, and some
19 small anti-tank weapons as well. I think that is what
20 the main armament was of the battalion.
21 Q. Did the Bosnian Serb army blockade of
22 Srebrenica that started in April have any effect on the
23 amount of ammunition or the quality of weaponry that
24 you had at your disposal?
25 A. Not really. That had already happened when
1 we entered -- let's say the first battalion entered the
2 enclave, because we had to work -- I gave you that
3 example with small arms, our personal arms, which we
4 took over from the previous battalion and they took it
5 over from the first battalion. Those weapons, small
6 arms, they were -- although they were maintained daily,
7 they were used a lot. The same applied for the
8 anti-tank systems I had. Every half a year, for
9 instance, a tow rocket should be in a test bed. You
10 have to test it if it works well. I didn't have that
11 test equipment so I couldn't rely on my anti-tank
13 Another thing is when the battalion came in,
14 the first one, is that I had only 16 per cent of the
15 ammunition I normally should have, and that ammunition
16 was, after more than a year, in bad circumstances as
18 Q. Colonel Karremans, did General Mladic have
19 good intelligence about what was happening in the
21 A. Yes, sir, he did. In the first place he
22 could notice, by all the troops that he had around the
23 enclave, what was going on within the enclave. He
24 could say what we were doing, when we were patrolling,
25 when we are leaving compounds with vehicles, or by
1 patrols, when we were resupplying the observation
2 posts. He knew everything that we did internally.
3 Secondly, he was well aware of our supplies
4 in the battalion because he was the person, or let's
5 say his staff were persons who refused, especially
6 after the end of April, refused all our convoys. And
7 those convoys which came in, we used so-called loading
8 papers on which you have to describe what you will have
9 or receive. So they know exactly what was on supply in
10 the enclave for our battalion: food, medicines, spare
11 parts, engineering equipment, et cetera.
12 In the third place, he was well aware of what
13 was going on in the enclave on both sides of the
14 battalion and also on the population and civil
15 authorities because -- and he mentioned that to me in
16 one of the meetings that I had with him, that he was
17 well aware of what was going on in the enclave every
18 day, every minute, by persons he had posted in the
20 Q. Okay. Now, when the Bosnian Serb invasion of
21 the enclave started, did the Bosnian Serb army attack
22 the outposts that you've described?
23 A. Can you repeat the question, please.
24 Q. When the invasion started in July 1995, did
25 the BSA attack your observation posts?
1 A. That already started in June, the 3rd of
2 June. I'd like to recall or go back to the end of May
3 when the air strikes were executed in the Pale area,
4 with the result that I think over more than 300 UN
5 soldiers were hijacked in those days. After that the
6 problems in the safe areas of Gorazde and Zepa, with
7 all the British and Ukrainian observation posts, and
8 that happened also in the beginning of June.
9 On the 1st of June, I had to come to OP Echo,
10 that is, just at the southern part of the enclave.
11 There was a telephone call. We had a land line between
12 the observation post Echo and one of the posts or --
13 yes, one of the posts of the BSA, and it was a land
14 line which we could use for making telephone calls when
15 we'd like to have a meeting with them or they'd like to
16 have a meeting with us. I used the telephone and I got
17 the interpreter on the other end, Petar, I referred to
18 him, and he, in the name of Vukovic, asked me to
19 consider leaving OP Echo. I asked him for a reason
20 which he didn't give me, and that was it. I stated
21 that I won't leave OP Echo at all.
22 Two days later, and that was on the 3rd of
23 June, in the early morning, I think it was about 9.00,
24 all of a sudden, after a warning of a couple of
25 minutes, the BSA attacked OP Echo with about 60
1 soldiers heavily armed with mortars, hand grenades,
2 with anti-tank weapons, and the manning of the
3 observation post were ordered, under fire, to leave OP
4 Echo. They happily succeeded in that without leaving
5 persons behind, but they left behind a lot of
6 equipment. What they took with them was the vehicles,
7 the communications systems, some personal stuff, and
8 weaponry. The rest was left on OP Echo. That was the
9 first observation post we lost in the beginning of
11 Q. Colonel Karremans, how many Dutch soldiers
12 were manning OP Echo at the time of the attack?
13 A. In those days?
14 Q. At the time of the attack.
15 A. I think ten persons, ten soldiers.
16 Q. Please continue describing the attacks on the
17 observation posts.
18 A. After that attack, executed, what I stated
19 before, by about 60 persons, leaving with the APC the
20 OP Echo, we did two things, actually three: In the
21 first place, we made an immediate report for the higher
22 echelons what happened, what was going on. Secondly,
23 we asked for a meeting with Colonel Vukovic or Nikolic
24 to ask them what was going on, the purpose of that
25 attack, that we'd like to have back the observation
1 post and that we'd like to have back the equipment left
2 behind on that observation post. The second thing that
3 we did immediately after losing that observation post
4 was establishing OP Sierra and OP Uniform, that is to
5 say, 200, 300 metres north of OP Echo. That gave a
6 remarkable reaction on the BSA because they, I think,
7 didn't expect that reaction. So also we lost OP Echo.
8 We had two observation posts nearby.
9 Q. What was the reaction of your Bosnian Serb
10 liaison officer when you asked for the observation post
11 back and for your equipment back?
12 A. It took quite a while when we had a first
13 meeting after the loss of OP Echo. I cannot remember
14 when we had the first meeting after, let's say, the 3rd
15 of June. But the reaction was that we couldn't get
16 back the equipment and we couldn't get back the
17 observation post at all.
18 Q. Were there additional attacks on the
19 observation posts prior to or during the invasion of
21 A. No, sir.
22 Q. Okay. As a result of the attacks on the
23 observation posts, were Dutch soldiers taken prisoners
24 by the Bosnian Serb army?
25 A. Not on that occasion.
1 Q. Okay. Can you tell us on which occasions
2 they were taken prisoners?
3 A. Yes, I can. That happened, Your Honours, on
4 the start of -- let's say on the 6th of July, and that
5 was already a month later. In the period between the
6 3rd of June, OP Echo, and the 6th of July, it was
7 rather quiet in the area. Also there was a tense
8 situation, I must say, but it was really quiet, except
9 one occasion somewhere in the middle of June, what
10 happened in the vicinity of Srebrenica itself.
11 On the 6th of July, in the morning, about
12 3.00, the war started over there. It started in our
13 area, the compound of Potocari, by shooting over the
14 compound with some rockets. The attacks started in the
15 southern part of the enclave, in the area of OP
16 Foxtrot. That was on the Thursday, Thursday, the 6th
17 of July, and those attacks were carried out, let's say,
18 during six days.
19 The first OP which had been attacked really
20 by small arms, by mortars, and by tanks was OP Foxtrot;
21 that one on Thursday, on Friday, and on Saturday. And
22 it was on Saturday, I think by noonish or 1.00, that I
23 ordered to retreat the manning of the OP and leave it
24 during a pause of shootings.
25 Q. How many men were stationed in OP Foxtrot?
1 A. Just a moment. Seven men. Seven.
2 Q. Thank you. Please continue, Colonel
4 A. On Saturday, in the afternoon, when OP
5 Foxtrot had been attacked for a third day, and I asked,
6 I can remember, for a second time for close air
7 support, things were going on rather quickly, because
8 on Saturday and Sunday I lost quite some observation
9 posts in the southern part of the enclave here.
10 There were two possibilities for the soldiers
11 on the observation posts -- actually, there were three
12 possibilities: Just leave the observation post and go
13 back to the compound; secondly, stay as long as they
14 could, making use of defence walls, making use of the
15 shelters within the observation post; thirdly, retreat
16 from the observation post knowing that the BiH should
17 make problems because they, not ordered us, but they
18 thought that we should stay on the observation post and
19 not retreat it or not leave them. There was another
20 possibility: just to end up, let's say, taken away by
21 BSA forces. In most of the cases, leaving the
22 observation post, the last thing happened. The
23 observation posts were attacked by BSA forces, they
24 were encircled by forces, and the only thing soldiers
25 could do is hand over equipment, use their vehicles,
1 and they were sent, let's say, to Simici, or later on
2 to Bratunac.
3 Q. As a result of those actions by the BSA
4 against the observation post, how many Dutch soldiers
5 were taken into custody by the BSA and detained?
6 A. At the end there were 55 soldiers taken in
7 custody and detained from seven or eight different
8 observation posts.
9 Q. Now, those 55 soldiers were all infantry
10 soldiers; is that correct?
11 A. Yes, sir, they were all infantry soldiers.
12 Q. If my mathematics are correct, that
13 represented about 25 per cent of your infantrymen
14 available in the compound at the time of the invasion?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. Okay. Now, do you know how many Bosnian Serb
17 army soldiers participated in the invasion of
19 A. Not at the moment.
20 Q. Did you subsequently find out?
21 A. Yes, because Mladic told me, General Mladic
22 told me, at the end that he had quite some troops
23 around the enclave of Srebrenica. Those were not the
24 original troops around the enclave but, let's say,
25 fresh troops, fresh brigades. He used one brigade for
1 the attack in the southern -- from the southern
2 direction, from south to north; he had another brigade
3 from east to the west; and he had one brigade in
4 reserve north of Bratunac. Bratunac is the city
5 somewhere over here. Actually, what he told me, he had
6 three brigades or brigade-sized units of which he used
8 Q. How many men are in a brigade?
9 A. I don't know, but I think that in every
10 brigade there were between 1.000 and 1.500 soldiers
11 with this heavy weaponry and other weaponry than we had
12 in those days.
13 Q. Now I want to ask you specifically that
14 question: Colonel Karremans, what type of weapons were
15 available to the invading Bosnian Serb forces?
16 A. They had all the equipment from the former
17 Yugoslavian army, at least that was left out of it.
18 They had quite some artillery pieces. We had noticed
19 those pieces already around the enclave during our stay
20 over there. Sometimes they changed the position of
21 those artillery pieces; sometimes they changed the
22 positions of mortars they had, heavy mortars, light
23 mortars. Quite a lot, I must say.
24 They had some main bell tanks, the old T-55s,
25 and even some new types which we had noticed and which
1 they had used; some anti-aircraft vehicles which they
2 didn't use for anti-aircraft but for the attacks on the
3 villages in the southern part of the enclave, I mean,
4 in direct line, and a lot of anti-tank weapons.
5 Q. Did they also have multiple rocket systems?
6 A. They had a couple of multiple rocket systems,
7 small ones, all on wheels, of which we had noticed at
8 least three north of the compound of Potocari, around
9 the hills. And he had, let's say, a larger multiple
10 rocket system in the city of Bratunac which he used as
11 well, shelling the city of Srebrenica.
12 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I am looking at the
13 clock. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to recess
14 for the day.
15 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I share your
16 view. This is a good moment to have a recess. We will
17 stop the hearing for today, and the Tribunal will
18 resume tomorrow at 10.00.
19 [Videotape of 3 July 1996 completed]
20 [Videotape of 4 July 1996 played]
21 [Court reporter's note: Transcription
22 of videotape is as follows:]
23 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] First
24 question: Can everyone hear me? Mr. Harmon, can you
25 hear me? Can you hear me, counsel for the
2 MR. HARMON: Yes.
3 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Great. Can the
4 registry hear me? Interpreters can hear me? Everybody
5 can hear what's going on? The visitors' gallery,
6 everyone can hear all right? No technical problem.
7 Fellow Judges hear me? Terrific.
8 Now, Mr. Harmon, we can proceed with Colonel
9 Karremans' testimony, and I would ask the usher to
10 bring him in.
11 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Colonel
14 Karremans, good morning. You can hear me?
15 THE WITNESS: Yes, I can, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Fine. So we
17 shall resume with your testimony. You've been called
18 by the Prosecution in the case of the Prosecution
19 against Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 WITNESS: THOMAS KARREMANS [Resumed]
23 Examined by Mr. Harmon: [Cont'd]
24 Q. Colonel Karremans, yesterday you described
25 the Bosnian Serb army blockade that slowly strangled
1 the enclave as a convoy of terror. What effect did
2 this have on the occupants of the enclave?
3 A. I'd like to stipulate some things which I
4 have said yesterday concerning the circumstances, I
5 must say, the miserable circumstances for the
6 inhabitants of the enclave, but also for my own
7 battalion. That could explain something on the
8 circumstances up to the 6th of July.
9 All those, let's say, miserable circumstances
10 in April, May, and June were caused, what I said
11 yesterday, by refusing the incoming convoys either for
12 the battalion or by UNHCR for the refugees. Thus, we
13 had to do with a strangulation of the enclave or, so to
14 call, an isolation, a total blockade.
15 That meant for the population, for instance,
16 that their situation was poorer than poor. There was
17 starvation for the refugees. Some died by starvation.
18 There was no medical treatment at all for the
19 population; no doctors, no dentists, no medicines. The
20 Medecins Sans Frontiers, MSF, was not able to fulfil
21 its job in the local hospital. We couldn't do anything
22 about the infrastructure to support the local
23 authorities, like housing, like generators, power and
24 electricity, water supply for the population.
25 It ended up, for instance, that hundreds of
1 inhabitants of the enclave lived literally on the
2 garbage collection point. There was no travel allowed
3 both for the population and for the battalion. What
4 was agreed in the beginning, in 1993, the so-called
5 freedom of movement, there was no freedom of movement
6 at all.
7 Our conclusion for the inhabitants, the
8 population of the enclave, was that the situation was
9 hopeless, inhuman and a lot of suffering for the
11 On the other side, for the battalion, I'd
12 like to describe that a little bit too, if I may, and
13 I'll use a couple of parameters which I also put in my
14 reports for the higher echelons, and also for my
15 national authorities. In the first place, the
16 logistics, I have told you, Your Honours, a little bit
17 about that yesterday on the diesel, the lack of diesel
18 which implied that we have to live in the dark with my
19 battalion for a couple of months. We had no
20 electricity for water, for heating, and the weather
21 conditions in those days, until the end of May, were
22 extreme, a lot of rain day after day. So we couldn't
23 use our vehicles, one side, because of lack of fuel,
24 but the other side, the roads we had in the enclave, we
25 couldn't use them.
1 Because of the lack of diesel we had to
2 patrol by foot, with all the consequences of the mines
3 all over the area. There was no possibility of
4 resupplying my observation posts, and that's why we
5 used horses from the locals. What I said before, there
6 was no heating especially under those extreme weather
7 conditions. We had no medicines, we had no spare
8 parts, we had no engineering equipment and no food,
9 except our combat rations, and we lived on combat
10 rations a long time. We called that in the end a
11 logistical regime.
12 Then of my own personnel, the soldiers, I had
13 a lack of personnel because they couldn't enter the
14 enclave as of the 26th of April. They got no mail from
15 home. There was no freedom of movement. We couldn't
16 leave the enclave; we couldn't enter the enclave.
17 The third parameter were the operations. We
18 had adjusted the orders for the battalion several
19 times, and I explained that yesterday, from eight
20 observation posts to 12, and even 13 at the end,
21 patrolling by foot instead of using armoured personnel
22 carriers. We made contingency plans as of, let's say,
23 the air strikes in Pale, the end of May. Contingency
24 plans were for the observation post one-hour notice,
25 and one-hour notice meant that the soldiers on an
1 observation post, after an order, should leave the
2 observation post within an hour, and that was 24 hours
3 a day, the time we have been there.
4 Humanitarian support, I just explained that
5 to you, we were not able to support the population
6 within the enclave.
7 One of the other parameters was the
8 psychological effect on the soldiers, but also on the
9 population; the morale of the battalion, but also from
10 the population. The terrain conditions were bad and
11 the weather conditions were even worse.
12 That ended up on the 25th of May where I
13 informed, in a long report to all the higher echelons
14 and to the national authorities, that I was not able to
15 fulfil my mission any longer. That meant end of the
16 mission, period.
17 Then we started with making all
18 improvisations. Using those improvisations, we could
19 handle the mission more or less until the 6th of July.
20 That was it.
21 Q. Colonel Karremans, based on the Bosnian Serb
22 blockade and its effects, as well as the capture of 55
23 of your soldiers by the Bosnian Serb army, did you feel
24 that you had the means to fulfil your mission?
25 A. Not at the end. In the beginning, when we
1 started in January, I could fulfil the mission based on
2 the mandate, based on what I had, personnel, equipment,
3 the incoming convoys. But at the end of my stay over
4 there, the answer is no.
5 Q. Now I'd like to turn your attention to the
6 actual invasion itself. What was the effect on the
7 civilian population once the invasion started?
8 A. As you know, Your Honours, the invasion
9 started on the 6th of July. It started with heavy
10 fighting in the southern part of the enclave, in the
11 direct vicinity of OP Foxtrot, and by shelling the city
12 of Srebrenica itself, the compounds and some other
13 observation posts. But actually it started in the
15 In the southern part of the enclave, there
16 was the so-called Swedish shelter project, a lot of
17 housing built under Swedish authorities. In that
18 Swedish shelter project there used to live about 3.000
19 refugees. As soon as the attacks started in the
20 southern part, all those refugees fled in the northern
21 direction, towards the city of Srebrenica. You can
22 imagine there was panic, chaos, in those days, what I
23 explained before, no food, and there was no way to give
24 them houses in Srebrenica itself. Panic, I must say.
25 Q. Where did the people flee to?
1 A. They fled to Srebrenica.
2 Q. Did they flee to the UN compound in
4 A. Not in the beginning. That was, I think, on
5 the 10th, on the Monday, and of course at the last day,
6 on Tuesday, the 11th.
7 Q. How many refugees were in and around the UN
8 compound in Srebrenica?
9 A. I don't know exactly, but there must be
10 hundreds at the compound and maybe thousands around
11 it. They were all gathered together.
12 Q. What happened to those refugees in the
13 compound around Srebrenica?
14 A. Do I have to refer to the 11th, the last
16 Q. Please.
17 A. Because at that day and the days before,
18 Srebrenica itself was already shelled quite some
19 times. At the 11th, well, while all those refugees
20 were gathered together, at least most of them, the BSA
21 started shelling the city, it started shelling the
22 compound of Srebrenica itself, and that ended up with a
23 lot of wounded persons, death. Also in the morning
24 and -- on the morning of the 11th, we already evacuated
25 the local hospital and we brought all the wounded
1 persons to the compound of Potocari.
2 As soon as the shelling started in the
3 afternoon of the 11th, just before the air strikes, or
4 during the air attacks, all the refugees fled in the
5 direction of Potocari, in the northern direction, to
6 the compound of the battalion staff and staff company.
7 Q. So, Colonel Karremans, some of the BSA
8 artillery shells landed in and around the UN compound
9 itself in Srebrenica; is that correct?
10 A. That's correct, sir.
11 Q. Did that cause civilian casualties?
12 A. That caused civilian casualties.
13 Q. Now, you mentioned as a result of the attacks
14 on the city of Srebrenica itself there was a large
15 exodus of civilians that fled to Potocari; is that
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. Did those people who fled from Potocari come
19 to the UN compound in -- I'm sorry. Did the refugees
20 who fled from the UN compound in Srebrenica flee to the
21 UN compound in Potocari?
22 A. Yes, they did.
23 Q. Approximately how many people gathered in and
24 around the UN compound in Potocari?
25 A. It's just an estimation, of course, but we
1 were forced to split up the group of refugees because
2 there were so many thousands. We put, let's put it
3 that way, or invited, that's a better word, we invited
4 about 4.000 to 5.000 refugees within our own compound
5 of Potocari, and then it was completely full, filled
6 up, with refugees and our own personnel. Then we had
7 another 15.000 to 20.000 persons still outside of the
8 compound of Potocari and we used two or three shelled
9 factories just in the vicinity of the compound of
11 Q. What was the percentage of women to men in
12 the 25.000 refugees that you say congregated in and
13 around the compound?
14 A. Of those 25.000 refugees, most of them were
15 women, children, and elderly people. I think, and
16 that's what I stated before, there were about two to
17 three per cent men between 16 and 60.
18 Q. Could you please describe the general
19 conditions that were present in and around the
21 A. Yes, I can. The general conditions from the
22 people, the refugees, it's what I explained before, was
23 poorer than poor. They hadn't had food and water
24 supplies during the six days of war over there. They
25 were in very bad condition. We had no means to supply
1 them, only by the water we had left into our own
2 compound and some food and some medicines left. But
3 the general condition of the people was miserable, more
4 than miserable.
5 Q. Amongst those 25.000 refugees, were there
6 some pregnant women who were delivering their babies?
7 A. Yes, there were. What I heard later on,
8 there were five pregnant women with their little
9 babies. What I heard was that one man hung himself
10 during the stay over there. And life was, let's say,
11 going on during the two days that we had all those
12 refugees around us.
13 Q. Okay. Now I'd like to turn your attention to
14 air strikes. Can you please describe those air strikes
15 to the Court.
16 A. Yes, I can. As everybody knows, I asked
17 several times for air strikes, looking to the mandate,
18 the mandate which asked in the beginning of the
19 establishment of the safe areas of Srebrenica, Zepa,
20 and Gorazde, that one needed about 40.000 soldiers for
21 that, and that was diminished after negotiations to
22 about 8.000; that they changed the mandate in that
23 sense, that they combined it with air strikes or, let's
24 say, close air support, air support in general.
25 That was one of the parts of the mandate and
1 that was what I am referring to, that as soon as the
2 attacks started on the 6th, I asked for close air
3 support because one of the OPs was attacked, UN troops
4 were attacked, the city of Srebrenica had been
5 shelled. There was no close air support available on
6 the days that I asked for that, except at the last day,
7 on the 11th, on Tuesday. I asked that in the very
8 early morning, I expected that at 6.00.
9 I had a meeting during the night, from Monday
10 to Tuesday, with the local authorities and the military
11 authorities. We discussed that even, and I told them
12 that we expected air strikes or close air support in
13 the very early morning, on the 11th. That didn't come,
14 didn't show up.
15 After noon, about 2.00, the air strikes
16 started. It had no effect on the population; it had no
17 effect on the mission of the battalion because
18 everybody knows that the air strikes or close air
19 support was too late and too little. It had an effect
20 on the way General Mladic reacted.
21 Q. Before I get to that point, let me just
22 clarify one point with you, Colonel Karremans. It was
23 your understanding when you were the commanding officer
24 of the DutchBat unit in Srebrenica that air support was
25 supposed to be a significant part of the protection
1 measures available to you and to the population of
2 Srebrenica; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct, it was.
4 Q. Okay. Now, you mentioned that there were air
5 strikes and that they were too little, too late; is
6 that your testimony?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What effect did those air strikes have on
9 General Mladic?
10 A. The effect was that through the hijacked
11 soldiers, about 30 in Bratunac, on one of the
12 BSA kazernes over there, Mladic or one of his officers
13 used the communications equipment of the vehicles over
14 there and ordered me to stop immediately using air
15 support. And if that was not the case, if I wasn't
16 able to stop that immediately, he should use all his
17 weaponry, that's what he said, to shell the compound of
18 Potocari, to shell the refugees within and around the
19 compound, and kill the 30 hijacked soldiers.
20 Q. Did General Mladic have the ability to
21 deliver on those threats?
22 A. He could. He had the ability because he had
23 gathered a lot of weaponry around the compound, on top
24 of the hills, like mortars, two main bell tanks,
25 artillery and, what I explained already yesterday,
1 multiple rocket launch system from different types, all
2 in direct sight or direct direction of the compound,
3 and he could use that.
4 Q. In fact, he had already used that on the UN
5 compound in Srebrenica.
6 A. Yes, he did.
7 Q. I'd like to turn to another topic now,
8 Colonel Karremans, and that is the meetings that you
9 had with General Mladic.
10 Can you explain the circumstances of your
11 first meeting with General Mladic, and explain when it
12 occurred and where is occurred.
13 A. Yes, sir. The first meeting I had with
14 General Mladic was on Tuesday night, at half past
15 eight. I was notified by my ops room, they got a
16 message, again through the same communications systems,
17 that I had to show up in Bratunac for a meeting. I
18 didn't know what kind of meeting that should be but I
19 expected with somebody from the BSA, maybe Colonel
20 Vukovic or Nikolic, or whatsoever.
21 I wasn't before in Bratunac but my LO,
22 liaison officers, had a couple of times been there
23 talking about trade, about military options with the
24 BSA, so they came with me, two liaison officers, and we
25 went to the hotel in Bratunac. There was a crowd of
1 military persons, all in combat wear, gear, and
2 clothes. There I met for the first time General
3 Mladic. I didn't know that he was there. I had not
4 met him before, not in life. There was also General
5 Zivanovic, the corps commander of the Drina Corps. We
6 were all standing there at half past eight.
7 There were a lot of press around, television,
8 and General Mladic started accusing me of all things
9 that happened in the last six days; that I was
10 responsible for the air strikes or the air support,
11 killed some of his people, soldiers; that my soldiers
12 had tried to kill him because of shooting at him; that
13 we were not able to disarm the BiH forces within the
14 enclave, and so on and so forth.
15 Q. When he was addressing you, was he speaking
17 A. No, he was shouting more or less.
18 Q. Then what happened?
19 A. Then we got our famous glass in our hands,
20 water --
21 Q. Would you describe how that occurred?
22 A. Yes. We just got a glass of something in our
23 hand and didn't toast with that, but the circumstances
24 were, if you can imagine, bad at that time because we
25 too didn't sleep for five nights and had hardly no
1 food, no water, lived in shelters and bunkers, so we
2 were all, let's say, not well for a meeting like that.
3 Q. Was there a camera crew present at the
5 A. There was a camera group present, and they
6 put everything on tape.
7 Q. After the glass was put in your hand, were
8 pictures taken of you and other Dutch officers?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. How long did that meeting last, Colonel
12 A. Not too long. I think three-quarters of an
13 hour. I was able to explain the poor situation of the
14 refugees, which I did. I asked him for a supply of
15 food, water, medicines, and then he said to me, "You
16 will have to -- you should return for a second meeting
17 at half past eleven, just before midnight," that I
18 should take with me a representative of the refugees,
19 if it was possible, one of the civil authorities of the
20 opstina. That was it.
21 Q. What did you then do?
22 A. Then we went back to -- we left the hotel in
23 Bratunac and drove back to the compound. The first
24 thing I did there, I had a quick talk with my deputy
25 battalion commander and we were desperately looking for
1 a representative of the refugees. One of my officers
2 knew, and he saw him, that the head or the director of
3 the secondary school of Srebrenica was amongst the
4 refugees, was in the compound of Potocari. We found
5 him and we explained the situation, that I had had a
6 meeting with General Mladic and that he ordered, more
7 or less, me to bring with me to a second meeting one of
8 the representatives -- a representative of the
9 refugees. I asked him if he was willing to go with me
10 to that meeting, and he was.
11 Q. Did you then return to Bratunac that evening?
12 A. I returned to Bratunac that evening, just
13 before midnight, with my same two liaison officers and
14 with Mr. Mandzic. Mr. Mandzic was the representative.
15 Q. Who were the representatives of the Bosnian
16 Serb army at that meeting?
17 A. The second meeting?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. More or less the same which I met in the
20 first meeting: General Mladic, General Zivanovic;
21 there was an interpreter which I referred already to
22 yesterday, Mr. Petar, a couple of BSA officers, and one
23 or two civilians who I didn't know.
24 Q. At that second meeting --
25 [Videotape of 4 July 1996 paused]
1 JUDGE RIAD: Can we stop here at this point
2 for a break? There has to be something where you can
3 end a phase. Is this a good end here now?
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Your Honour, I think
5 it's fine.
6 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much. We'll
7 resume in half an hour, at 11.30.
8 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11.35 a.m.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. McCloskey, you can proceed.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. We're ready just to
12 continue playing the tape of Colonel Karremans.
13 JUDGE RIAD: Good.
14 [Videotape of 4 July 1996 continued]
15 [MR. HARMON:]
16 Q. At that second meeting did you request
17 permission for convoys to pass through and to ask
18 permission for some form of relief of the refugees who
19 were in and around your compound?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Would you please describe that second
23 A. The second meeting was a little bit more
24 friendlier than the first one, I must say, and I was
25 able to explain again the very bad circumstances and
1 the situation in and around the compound concerning the
2 refugees. Again I asked for support on medicines,
3 water supplies, food, the wounded. I had about 100
4 wounded persons in the field dressing station, all in
5 shelters. He made note of my requests without saying
6 if he could do something about it.
7 Then he started with his demands in, let's
8 say, a kind of monologue. He asked me, and also the
9 representative of the refugees, Mr. Mandzic, that all
10 Bosnian soldiers should lay down their weapons and
11 deliver those weapons into the hands of the BSA. He
12 said that he had a clear attitude towards the BiH
13 soldiers: survive or disappear.
14 He asked me and the representative to come
15 back the next morning at 10.00 to have a third
16 meeting. He promised that there would be a ceasefire,
17 which I had asked for, until 10.00 the next morning,
18 Wednesday, and if there won't be any support of the BiH
19 in delivering their weapons, action should be taken by
20 him by again shelling, what he stated before, of the
21 compound and the refugees.
22 He said something about Mr. Izetbegovic, the
23 President of the Muslim people in Sarajevo, that he
24 killed more Serb people during the last years than the
25 Bosnian Serb army did. He stated that he was not
1 willing to use power against women and children.
2 He asked me if Naser Oric -- Naser Oric was,
3 let's say, the commanding officer of the BiH forces --
4 if he could show up, I mean, if I could take him with
5 me to the next meeting. I explained to him that we
6 hadn't seen Naser Oric since April, he hadn't been back
7 in the enclave since April.
8 He stated that he was prepared to take over
9 the about 100 or 110 wounded persons, and he guaranteed
10 that if he had taken over -- should have taken over the
11 wounded, he guaranteed that they would have the same
12 treatment as what is normal for treating the wounded,
13 according to the Conventions of Geneva, the Geneva
15 Again he stated or said or demanded that we
16 should come back the next morning with a delegation of
17 the people -- a delegation of the refugees, and if it
18 was possible, these civilian and military authorities
19 from the enclave.
20 Again he stated that the handing over of the
21 weapons by BiH soldiers would mean the survival of
22 them. "If they should keep their weapons," he said,
23 "that will be their death." He stated that if the BiH
24 soldiers should hand over their weapons that they will
25 be treated according to the Geneva Conventions. And he
1 stated at the end that the destiny of the Muslim people
2 was in his hands.
3 Q. Did he also make any statement with regard to
4 whether NATO or the UN were capable of guaranteeing the
5 existence of the safe area?
6 A. Yes. He quoted some words on that subject,
7 but that he already did in the first meeting. I'd like
8 to say a "meeting," between brackets. He stated that
9 the UN forces in general were not able to fulfil, let's
10 say, the arrangements made by the ceasefire agreement
11 and the UN resolutions as of 1993.
12 I refer to the demilitarisation of the
13 enclave. He said that in the first meeting and also in
14 the second meeting, that "Your United Nations forces
15 were not able to fulfil their mission."
16 Q. Now, after that second meeting did you return
17 to the UN compound in Potocari?
18 A. Yes, sir. We did return in the middle of the
19 night. I think that meeting lasted one and a half
20 hours in total. We went back to the compound of
21 Potocari. I had a telephone call with sector
22 north-east, told them what happened that day, what
23 happened during those two meetings, what was demanded
24 by General Mladic. Then we started looking for more
25 representatives, to have them prepared for the meeting
1 of the next morning.
2 I had a long talk again with my deputy, with
3 some officers of the battalion staff, how to find those
4 specific persons, and at the end we found them. We
5 found a woman and one other person. So I had, the next
6 morning, three persons for the committee of refugees.
7 Q. So the next morning there was a third
8 meeting, is that correct, Colonel Karremans?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Where did that take place?
11 A. The third meeting took place again in
12 Bratunac, in the same hotel.
13 Q. Approximately what time did that meeting take
15 A. 10.30.
16 Q. Can you describe the circumstances of that
18 A. Yes. It was more or less as the second one.
19 The same persons, at least most of them that I met in
20 the second meeting, and there were some civilians as
21 well who attended that meeting. I didn't know them.
22 They were introduced but I can't remember which jobs
23 they had. They were all from Bratunac and Zvornik.
24 He started welcoming myself and the liaison
25 officers, and also the committee of three persons --
1 Q. When you say "he," are you referring to
2 General Mladic?
3 A. General Mladic, yes. Then the two other,
4 let's say, the new representatives were able to
5 introduce themselves shortly, starting with the woman.
6 She made some statements, very clear statements,
7 towards General Mladic about the very poor, bad,
8 miserable circumstances of all the refugees, and that
9 the refugees were not responsible for what happened in
10 the enclave during the last two, three years, and that
11 women and children were not responsible for those
12 things which had been happening. She was the
13 representative of all women and children. They were
14 all civilians, and no military and no politicians.
15 Also the man introduced himself and he asked
16 for help, and he said, stated, not blaming the
17 refugees, and that they need a lot of things which I
18 have already stated -- had already stated before, like
19 medicines, food, water, and other supplies. He said
20 that neither he nor my battalion staff or myself were
21 able to make contact with the Bosnian government during
22 that night to ask for specific points for that third
23 meeting, which meant that he wasn't able to lean on
24 mandates or on other things to explain to General
1 After those statements of the two other
2 representatives, and Mr. Mandzic was already invited to
3 tell something about himself during the second meeting,
4 the day before, General Mladic started his monologue.
5 Q. Will you describe that monologue, please.
6 A. It was a very long monologue. He started
7 with a piece of history, in 1992, that the Bosnian
8 army, the Bosnian soldiers -- and he blamed Oric
9 specially for that -- that they killed a lot of Bosnian
10 Serb families, soldiers, civilians, that they attacked
11 a lot of villages in the surroundings of the city of
12 Srebrenica, devastated a lot of villages, and that
13 according to that, what happened in 1993, as soon as
14 those safe havens or safe areas had been established,
15 that the destiny of poor people was in the hands of the
16 Bosnian Serbs. That was one of his other statements,
17 he said it was too late for help, help either by the
18 Bosnian government or by the UN troops.
19 He said that there was a lot of misery in the
20 last years, that the BiH forces within the enclave had
21 murdered a lot around the enclave by raids looking for
22 food, revenge, looking for revenge, terror.
23 He stated that he was willing to assist the
24 refugees, those 25.000 refugees, but that he needed
25 assistance, assistance by the local civilian and
1 military authorities, from which I already explained
2 that they were not available at the moment, not within
3 that group of 25.000 refugees.
4 He again said regarding the BiH forces, the
5 same expression as the day before, survive or
6 disappear. He again requested to the BiH forces to
7 hand over their weapons. Even criminals amongst them
8 could hand over their weapons.
9 The second subject he stated was that the
10 gathered population in and around the compound had the
11 choice either to stay in Srebrenica or to be evacuated,
12 to be evacuated to Serbia, toward the Bosnian territory
13 around Tuzla, or even to foreign countries. He said
14 that the whole former -- at that moment, former safe
15 area had been encircled by his forces and that fighting
16 should stop. We could hear that during the night
17 before, and the day, that there were still fights and
18 attacks going on. He stated that he was not able to
19 assist the refugees as long as fighting was going on.
20 He stated that the BiH forces could hand over
21 their weapons in the presence of UN forces; UNPROFOR,
22 he stated in general. I think he meant DutchBat.
23 He stated that he was willing to assist with
24 the evacuation. That was the first time, in the third
25 meeting, that he used the word "evacuation."
1 Then he stated that there used to be a good
2 life in and around Srebrenica and in around the
3 vicinity of Srebrenica, and that he liked to have the
4 same situation, that good life before 1992, and that
5 he'd like to have that situation back.
6 He said that looking back, or referring to
7 that lecture in history, that he didn't like to kill,
8 what happened in 1992 and 1993, and he, as a
9 professional soldier, had no joy in killing either
10 civilians or military. Again he offered his help, and
11 the committee of refugees should think that over, think
12 about how they could assist in the evacuation.
13 He asked for basic needs, I mean, what did we
14 use -- what did the refugees use concerning food,
15 water, medicines, medical support, and so forth. He
16 asked again how many refugees there were and we
17 answered again 25.000, around 25.000.
18 The committee stated that most of the
19 refugees liked to go to their family and be gathered
20 together with their husbands, and he stated that nobody
21 should be forced to be evacuated. On the other hand,
22 he said that if NATO air strikes or air support should
23 be the case in other areas in Bosnia, that he should
24 use his weaponry again and taking sanctions.
25 Q. Can you explain what he meant by that.
1 A. The same what he said or stated in the first
2 meeting, before the first meeting, that if air strikes
3 should occur again, that he should shell, let's say,
4 the compound and the refugees in and around the
6 He said that he would like to see all the men
7 between 17 and 60, and I asked him, and also both men
8 in the delegation, "What for?" and his answer was that
9 he'd like to see all those persons because he said, he
10 stated, that there were a lot of war criminals amongst
11 them and he would like to speak with them.
12 Again he asked if we were able to come in
13 contact with soldiers whom Mladic knew. He was
14 referring, of course, to Naser Oric, which I explained
15 to him before that he was not available, and some other
16 persons, let's say, the commanding officers of the BiH
17 within the enclave. Again I told him that there were
18 no BiH soldiers available at the moment. So there was
19 no possibility to look for them because we were
20 gathered together with all the refugees in a very, very
21 small area, I mean, the compound and the two or three
22 factories just in the vicinity of it. And we lost our
23 eyes and ears in the rest of the enclave so we were not
24 able to pick up those military representatives.
25 Then he stated in his monologue that the BiH
1 soldiers had only 24 hours to hand over all the
2 weapons. After that statement, he asked some very
3 specific conditions of the refugees, and he stated that
4 if he was able to assist, he preferred in a kind of
5 priority to look for the weak persons first, for the
6 wounded persons, and later on the rest of the refugees,
7 women and children. He said that nobody should be hurt
8 and that coordination and cooperation with UNPROFOR,
9 DutchBat in particular, was one of his priorities.
10 What I just stated, that he mentioned
11 "evacuation" during his monologue for the first time,
12 he asked for diesel for the evacuation. You can
13 imagine that I started laughing a little bit because he
14 was exactly aware of what I had for diesel, that there
15 was none, nothing, nil, and that I was not able to
16 support him by giving him diesel. He said that his
17 forces, BSA forces, will give escort during the
18 evacuation. I said, "No. If there should be an
19 evacuation anyway, that my own battalion should escort
20 the evacuation." Then I explained to him in which way
21 I should execute that.
22 Q. What was your proposal to General Mladic?
23 A. My proposal was to put on every vehicle one
24 soldier, not knowing how many vehicles there were. As
25 soon as the evacuation started the same day, at 3.00, I
1 think we'll come to that --
2 Q. We'll come to that a little later in your
4 A. Yes. I was unable to do that, I was unable
5 to put on each vehicle one soldier.
6 Then he said, and it was quite a remarkable
7 expression, that Allah won't help, was not able to
8 help, and Mladic could. He gave his word. He said to
9 the commission not to be in panic, not to be afraid,
10 and asked them to send that message to the refugees.
11 I asked again when that was possible what
12 happened or what should happen with the men between 17
13 and 60, and he again said or stated that there were
14 quite some war criminals amongst them and that he liked
15 to investigate, person by person, what they have done
16 and what kind of persons those were.
17 At the end of that meeting, all of a sudden
18 he started to tell something about the evacuation
19 again, and he proposed, let's say it in that way,
20 "proposed," that Kladanj should be the point for
21 evacuation. Kladanj is a small village just on the
22 border between Bosnian Serb territory and the Bosnian
23 territory around Tuzla. In fact, Kladanj is the first
24 Muslim city in that area.
25 He repeated that within 24 hours all soldiers
1 of the BiH, even in uniform or not in uniform, even war
2 criminals amongst the BiH forces, could hand over and
3 should hand over the weapons. He said, "It's better to
4 live than to die."
5 Then he referred to something, what I said
6 already yesterday or explained yesterday, that he knew
7 everything that was going on in the enclave, what
8 happened in the enclave day by day, and that he had
9 persons in the enclave who informed him every day. So
10 he was well aware of what was going on.
11 Then he showed to us at the end of the
12 meeting a book, that was a book of the opstina, a book
13 in which marriages were assigned by people, marriage,
14 and that the last marriage was on the 29th of June. He
15 had as a piece of remembrance, I presume, a thing from,
16 let's say, the entry of the opstina.
17 He ended with something to say to the woman
18 of the committee, that she was a fine woman, that she
19 was open, or had been open in the way of statements
20 towards Mladic, and he didn't say anything to both male
22 Last but not least, he asked us, urged us, in
23 finding a contact with the BiH forces and to convince
24 them to hand over their weapons within 24 hours. That
25 was, I think, the whole meeting.
1 Q. What time did the meeting end, Colonel
3 A. I think about noonish, about 12.00, because
4 at 12.30 I had a meeting in the compound with the
6 Q. What time did the first transports arrive to
7 take the refugees away from the compound?
8 A. He said during the third meeting, I forgot to
9 say that, that the evacuation should start about 1.00.
10 But it wasn't well-organised in the beginning, or
11 efficiently organised, so the evacuation started at
13 Q. So three hours from the conclusion of your
14 meeting with General Mladic transport arrived in and
15 around Potocari to start taking the refugees away.
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. What type of transport arrived?
18 A. A lot of buses, I think 20 or 30, vans, big
19 lorries, and small military vehicles. I think the
20 first evacuation was about between 40 and 50 vehicles,
21 and that was also, let's say, one of my decision points
22 to change from one soldier at every vehicle to what we
23 had done later on, put two vehicles with officers to
24 escort the evacuations.
25 Q. So as a result of the number of vehicles, you
1 realised that you did not have enough troops to put on
2 one soldier per vehicle to accompany the convoy; is
3 that correct?
4 A. That's correct, sir.
5 Q. Okay. So did you formulate another solution?
6 A. We formulated, indeed, another solution.
7 Q. Describe that solution, please.
8 A. That solution was that we should escort each
9 convoy by two vehicles, two jeeps, Mercedes jeeps; in
10 every jeep, one officer or non-commissioned officer and
11 a driver with communications, up to Kladanj, and then
12 they should return and pick up, let's say, the next
14 Q. What happened to those escort vehicles?
15 A. In the first escort or in the first
16 evacuation, I put my personnel officer, a captain, and
17 one of the liaison officers, and they managed to go
18 with all the persons in that convoy to cross the border
19 in the area of Kladanj. The vehicles that left in the
20 convoy returning to Srebrenica disappeared, and that
21 happened with the other vehicles during the next
22 evacuations too. And totally, or in total, 14, they
23 were just picked up en route by -- either by BSA forces
24 or irregular forces.
25 Q. So I understand clearly, the first escort
1 vehicle made it to Kladanj, is that correct, or made it
2 to a point shortly --
3 A. Six kilometres --
4 Q. From Kladanj.
5 A. -- from Kladanj, because there was a
6 barricade between the two borders and that meant that
7 all the refugees, and later on also wounded persons,
8 were forced to walk, struggle, I must say, the last six
9 kilometres to the border of Kladanj.
10 Q. Did any other of your escort vehicles make it
11 to Kladanj?
12 A. Some of them in the beginning --
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. -- but they didn't return.
15 Q. Okay. So what happened to those vehicles?
16 A. They were hijacked, stolen.
17 Q. What happened to the equipment that was used
18 by the soldiers who participated in those escorts?
19 A. The same. Weaponry, their personal weapons
20 were stolen. Helmets, flak jackets, private belongings
21 were stolen.
22 Q. What was the consequence of losing those
23 vehicles in relation to the convoys that left your
25 A. The consequences were, I think, threefold.
1 In the first place, again we changed the way of
2 escorting those convoys by putting en route, and the
3 route was about 50 kilometres, four different points,
4 let's say, contact points, so that the vehicles
5 standing there on fixed points could see convoys
6 passing, counting the amount of vehicles.
7 What we did in the beginning, as soon as a
8 convoy left, let's say, the road in front of the
9 compound, we counted the amount of vehicles and gave
10 that to the first fixed post so that they could have a
11 look and control if the same amount of vehicles were
12 still in that convoy.
13 The second thing we did is that I ordered
14 troops just outside the compound to work either in
15 groups, armed, with their helmets and flak jackets, or
16 if they work individually, like the soldiers, the
17 doctors, et cetera, that they should work just in a
18 T-shirt, without a helmet, without a flak jacket, and
19 without a weapon.
20 Q. Why did you do that?
21 A. Because in the beginning, especially for
22 individuals working between the refugees, they have
23 been stolen from the BSA soldiers around, there were
24 not so many. They stole the helmets, personal weapons,
25 and flak jackets just by pointing a weapon on the head
1 of the soldier and said, "I'd like to have it. Give it
2 to me." They didn't do that when groups were working
3 outside, then they didn't do it.
4 Q. Did you again see General Mladic on the 12th
5 of July?
6 A. That was on Wednesday, yes. At the moment
7 that the first convoy arrived, let's say, the empty
8 vehicles, and turned around in front of the compound
9 and the first refugees were escorted to all those
10 buses, vans, and military vehicles, General Mladic
11 appeared with his own vehicle and all his officers
12 around him, and some bodyguards of course. And the
13 press was there available too; they made nice pictures
14 of him and what was going on over there. A lot of
16 Q. Did you have any conversations with General
17 Mladic on this fourth meeting with him?
18 A. I had a short conversation with him about the
19 evacuation, about what he stated in the morning, that
20 first priority should be the wounded persons, which he
21 stated, "Yes, that's correct, we should do something
22 about it. Bring them over to the hospital in
23 Bratunac." Then I said, "No, we won't do that. They
24 will stay here in the compound, in our own hands, or
25 they should be sent or brought to NorMed Corps," that's
1 the Norwegian Medical Company in Tuzla, "escorted by
2 either the Norwegian Company or by the International
3 Red Cross."
4 Q. What was his reaction?
5 A. None.
6 Q. Please continue your description of the
7 fourth meeting with General Mladic.
8 A. He was so busy during his stay there with the
9 press and impressing his soldiers and the officers
10 around him, and talking to some refugees, that I had
11 hardly any chance to talk with him longer than, I
12 think, those five minutes, and that was it.
13 Q. When was your next contact with General
15 A. The next contact was the next morning, on
16 Thursday, Thursday morning.
17 Q. Where did that take place?
18 A. Again in front of the compound, just opposite
19 the gate, the main gate. Again, a short meeting.
20 There was no press available, or present, I must say.
21 He had only Colonel Jankovic with him and Major
22 Nikolic, both officers of the BSA, and of course his
23 interpreter, Petar, and some bodyguards.
24 He offered me, that was on that Thursday
25 morning, he offered me that we could go or leave the
1 compound with vehicles after or during the evacuation
2 of all the refugees.
3 Q. In other words, that the Dutch Battalion
4 could evacuate --
5 A. Itself.
6 Q. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes, that's correct.
8 Q. What was your response?
9 A. I told him that I didn't like the idea of
10 leaving the compound because of a couple of subjects.
11 One of the subjects was that I still had some military
12 on OP Alpha, one of the observation posts that was
13 still occupied. The officers and the soldiers from the
14 day before, escorting the convoys that were still under
15 way, I missed them.
16 Q. In other words, they were still missing.
17 A. They were still missing. I was faced at that
18 moment with 55 wounded civilians within the compound,
19 and I referred to the talk we had before, that I'd like
20 to bring them over either by NorMed Coy or by the
21 International Red Cross; that I had my Bosnian local
22 workers on the compound, I mean, interpreters from the
23 battalion, interpreters from the United Nations
24 Military Observers which I had on the compound; that I
25 had all the people of the MSF, Medecins Sans Frontiers,
1 with me on the compound, and that if we leave, we leave
2 all together but after some arrangements concerning the
3 wounded persons had been made. That was my answer. He
4 agreed with that and that's why I stayed in the
6 Q. Was there any other significant matters
7 discussed at that meeting, or did that conclude the
9 A. That concluded the meeting.
10 Q. By the end of the 13th of July, had all the
11 refugees been deported from the Potocari compound area?
12 A. Yes, sir. I will look at my notebook. At
13 1600, on Thursday, the last refugee was gone outside
14 the compound, and then one started with the evacuation
15 of the 4.000 to 5.000 refugees which were able to stay
16 within the compound. It started at 1600 and it
17 finished about 7.00. That was in three hours.
18 Q. At the end of that -- at 7.00, then, there
19 were no further refugees in and around Potocari; is
20 that right?
21 A. There were no further refugees in and around
22 Srebrenica -- I mean the compound at Potocari.
23 Q. When was the next time you saw General
25 A. The next time that I saw General Mladic was
1 on the day of our departure, on the 21st of July. It
2 was on a Friday morning. We had eight days to prepare
3 our own, let's say, departure, to rest. On Friday, the
4 day after the evacuation, all of a sudden a convoy with
5 food, a lot of food, a lot of diesel, was accepted and
6 came to the Potocari area. So then we had -- from that
7 day we had enough food, enough diesel, medicines, and
8 we had eight days to recover from what happened in the
9 weeks before. I saw General Mladic on a Friday. He
10 invited me through, I think it was, Colonel Jankovic
11 who came to the compound that morning, on Friday
12 morning, or Petar, the interpreter, he said that I was
13 invited with my liaison officers to that same hotel in
14 Bratunac where I had my three meetings.
15 Q. What happened?
16 A. We drove to that hotel in one vehicle with my
17 liaison officers. There was General Mladic with a
18 crowd of officers; most of them I knew already from the
20 My own -- well, that's not the right
21 expression. The chief of staff of the BH command,
22 General Nicolae, was there, a Dutch General, and his
23 military assistant and they offered us breakfast, and
24 we had some talks over a couple of things, about
25 weaponry. I asked him again what happened with my
1 weaponry and that I'd like to have it back.
2 I knew already that we should leave at noon
3 towards the Serbian territory, and then the way up to
4 Zagreb. Again I asked, "Where are all my vehicles?
5 I'd like to have them back with me." Then he said,
6 after some general things but I have forgotten those,
7 that he'd like to visit the compound, look to our own
8 convoys, how we did that, the vehicles. He asked me to
9 have a talk with the soldiers and that that should
10 occur at 11.00, whether that was possible in the time
11 frame. It was not possible.
12 So I told General Mladic that it wasn't such
13 a good idea, talking to soldiers, not such a good idea,
14 visiting the compound, but he insisted on visiting the
15 compound. He said, "Okay. I won't be there at 11.00.
16 I will be there, escorted by the chief of staff of the
17 BH command, at 11.30."
18 I left the hotel. We went back to the
19 compound of Potocari. I had a quick talk with my
20 deputy, seeing that everything was arranged for our own
21 travel with everything which had been left. That was
22 the case. I asked my deputy, "Are we able to start at
23 noon?" He said yes, he could. I told him that General
24 Mladic would come. He said okay.
25 We went back to the gate and he was already
1 there before half past eleven. He was held up by the
2 commander of the guard, a very broad sergeant. He
3 couldn't go around that Sergeant. He was held up.
4 General Mladic had a quick talk with him, and then it
5 was half past eleven.
6 I took him with me to my own briefing room
7 within the compound, had a quick talk -- I think 20
8 minutes -- about some general things. Then I asked him
9 two specific questions. One question was, "What will
10 happen with my equipment?" I told him what equipment I
11 lost during the last two weeks: all my field vehicles,
12 the armoured personnel carriers, a lot of personal
13 arms, machine-guns, the equipment of most of the
14 observation posts. That was the first question.
15 Q. What was his response?
16 A. His response was that he should sort that
17 out. He was in contact with his Ministry of Internal
18 Affairs, and they should do that in close combination
19 or coordination, I must say, with the BH command. He
20 referred to the presence of the chief of staff of BH
22 My second question which I can remember
23 asking him was just a general one. I asked him what
24 should happen or should have happened if, during the
25 stay of the United Nations troops in the safe areas of
1 Gorazde, Zepa, and especially, of course, Srebrenica,
2 what would happen if BH soldiers were disarmed totally,
3 completely demilitarised, if they shouldn't have
4 executed raids outside the compound -- outside the
5 enclave, if both civilian and military authorities
6 should live according to the 1993 regulations,
7 arrangements, and ceasefire regulations, then he
8 answered that he -- at least that was his answer --
9 would not have thought about attacking the enclave.
10 He said it with a smile more or less, and
11 that was also more or less the end of our discussion
12 there in the briefing room. Then we went outside to
13 the entry of the compound, gate, main gate of the
14 compound. The guards were changed. My guards went
15 back to their company. Everybody in their vehicles,
16 and exactly at noon we started leaving the compound.
17 MR. HARMON: Colonel Karremans, thank you
18 very much. I have no further questions.
19 Your Honours, I have concluded my examination
20 of Colonel Karremans.
21 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you very
22 much, Mr. Harmon.
23 Let me look at fellow Judges. Judge
24 Odio-Benito, I do believe you have some questions.
25 Please proceed.
1 Questioned by the Court:
2 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Colonel Karremans, after
3 leaving Srebrenica and Potocari, where did the refugees
4 go in these convoys, buses and trucks, you have
6 A. Your Honour, all refugees, which I explained,
7 left the safe area of Srebrenica within an amazingly
8 short time -- that was Wednesday afternoon and
9 Thursday, the whole day -- and they had been evacuated
10 to the Kladanj area, the one -- the first, let's say,
11 Muslim city in the Tuzla area.
12 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: To the confrontation
14 A. To the confrontation line, exactly.
15 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Do you know what happened
16 to them during the travel?
17 A. No, because they stayed in vehicles. That
18 was one of the things that I'd like to do in the
19 beginning, to put a soldier per vehicle to have a look
20 what was going on in buses or trucks. They didn't
21 inform me what was going on in the buses because we
22 didn't have eyes and ears for that. The only thing we
23 could do, and that was the second option, was just
24 escorting those big groups of vehicles, convoys, by two
25 cars, in the beginning.
1 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: But your vehicles and
2 cars were stolen by the Bosnian Serb army.
3 A. Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: What did your soldiers do
5 after that?
6 A. You mean the soldiers --
7 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Yes, because you had
8 soldiers in those vehicles and they lost the vehicles,
9 the helmets, everything. But what did they do?
10 A. They were gathered together during that
11 night, the night of Wednesday and Thursday, by the
12 Bosnian Serb army, or the irregular part of it, I don't
13 know exactly. They were gathered together, I think 12
14 in total, or 14 officers and soldiers. They stayed
15 overnight two times. Somewhere along that route, the
16 route from Bratunac to Kladanj, they were fed by the
17 Bosnian Serb army. They could have shelter for their
18 own protection, they said. On Friday they returned,
19 through Bratunac, to my compound.
20 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Did you or any of your
21 soldiers see Bosnian Serb soldiers beating, killing,
22 raping the refugees in or around Potocari, in those
23 factories that you mentioned?
24 A. Yes, Your Honour, they did. In some cases
25 refugees had been beaten, and as soon as one of my
1 soldiers noticed that, they stopped with it. I got two
2 reports from my soldiers on Thursday, after I met
3 General Mladic; one report referring to an execution of
4 one man and a second report about an execution of nine
5 men of which they found the bodies.
6 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, we will be
7 presenting evidence in regard to both of those
8 incidents described by Colonel Karremans.
9 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Thank you.
10 Did you ever ask General Mladic during your
11 meetings what happened to the people, the refugees?
12 A. No, because the last meeting I had with him
13 was on the 21st, that was eight days later on, and we
14 were not aware of what happened with the refugees. I
15 mean, in general, I know -- I knew that they were all
16 evacuated to the Kladanj area and afterwards picked up
17 by the Pakistani Battalion and by the International Red
18 Cross, by the Norwegian Medical Company. They built
19 tents, shelters, supply points for the refugees. A
20 part of them had been transported to the air base of
21 Tuzla and other parts of the amount of refugees were
22 transported to other facilities. That's the only thing
23 I knew, and I didn't discuss that with General Mladic
24 at all.
25 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Would you say, Colonel,
1 that you received adequate support you asked for from
2 your superiors?
3 A. Again --
4 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: During those difficult
5 days before the fall of Srebrenica, you told us that
6 you asked for support.
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Did you receive that
10 A. Your Honour, I can expand on that for days
11 and days, of course. That's why I was lucky that I
12 could explain yesterday and at the beginning of the
13 morning what happened with the inhabitants in the
14 enclave, the refugees, and with my soldiers.
15 We had our daily sitreps, our daily situation
16 reports, in which we wrote everything that happened
17 that day, what we needed for supplies. Besides that, I
18 reported at different times, several times, I must say,
19 on the level of north-east command in Tuzla and the BH
20 command in Sarajevo, what I needed to fulfil my
21 mission. I was very specific in that, exactly what we
22 needed, medicines, food, diesel, et cetera. I asked
23 for support many, many times during our stay over
25 I know that there have been many discussions
1 on all levels, above the level of the battalion,
2 sitting there with the population, isolated in an
3 enclave like Srebrenica, but we didn't get any support
4 at all.
5 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: I'm going to ask you a
6 last question and ask for your personal opinion,
8 Looking back, would you say that the United
9 Nations and NATO did its best to help people, to save
10 their lives?
11 A. On the one hand, yes. If we should have had
12 our freedom of movement, which was one of the points of
13 the NATO -- United Nations resolutions of 1993, and we
14 could travel back and forth to the safe areas in
15 general, and to Srebrenica in particular, for my
16 battalion but also for the International Red Cross, the
17 other non-governmental organisations like the MSF, the
18 UNHCR, and we were able to assist, help, the refugees,
19 I think the answer is yes. But because of the
20 strangulation and because of the isolation and not
21 having had support at all, then the answer is no.
22 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Strangulation and
23 isolation ordered by General Mladic.
24 A. Yes, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Thank you, Colonel. No
1 further questions.
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 I now ask my other fellow Judge if he has any
5 JUDGE RIAD: Colonel Karremans, throughout
6 these, perhaps, five meetings that you had with General
7 Mladic, did he ever take into consideration your
8 demands, or was it always, as you said, a monologue and
9 he did not respond to any of your objections or claims?
10 A. I have had, let's say, three major meetings
11 with him, but "meetings" between brackets, because in
12 my opinion, a meeting is two directions and a monologue
13 is not a meeting. Indeed, those were monologues.
14 In the second meeting I was able to explain
15 the bad situation, and he made even notes of that, and
16 that was it.
17 The third meeting, on Wednesday morning, the
18 woman and the other men of the committee could make
19 their statements. They made note of it and that was
21 So the conclusion, only monologues, no
22 two-way negotiations. He did listen to my requests, if
23 I may say so, but didn't support them at all. He had
24 his own line in negotiating or in telling what he would
25 like to tell and what he'd like to do.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Did you express any disapproval
2 of his method of separating men, as you said, between
3 16 and, I think, 60 or 65 from women and children? Did
4 you object to that?
5 A. Yes, I did, Your Honour. I objected to that
6 already in the meeting when he said that by asking,
7 "What is the meaning of that?" His explanation was
8 what I stated before, that he'd like to have the men
9 between 16 and 60, to look if there were war criminals
10 amongst them. Maybe he thought that all the Bosnian
11 soldiers were war criminals. He didn't explain what
12 he'd like to do with them except that he wants to speak
13 with them all.
14 JUDGE RIAD: Did he ask you for information
15 about these people, to give him any kind of indication
16 of where they are and who they are?
17 A. No, Your Honour, he didn't.
18 JUDGE RIAD: So there was absolutely no way
19 of knowing about them through your battalion.
20 A. No, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE RIAD: In your last meeting with him,
22 you said it was on Friday morning, by that time it
23 seems that you had already known about the executions
24 you mentioned. Were you aware of everything that had
25 happened and the way the refugees fleeing away were
2 A. No, I think not at all. The information in
3 those days confirmed the information about, let's say,
4 the military side of what was going on in the
5 battalion, resupplying, what had to be done before our
6 own evacuation, if I may say so, and lastly, what
7 happened during our week that we stayed there, and
8 negotiations between some of the officers of my
9 battalion staff and some of the BSA soldiers on wounded
10 persons. I had still one of the colonel surgeons in
11 Bratunac in hospital to see what was going on with the
12 wounded persons over there. We had discussions about
13 the diesel because on that Friday after the evacuations
14 I got a lot of diesel; what we should do with medicines
15 and food.
16 Those were more or less the subjects we
17 discussed in a couple of, let's say, small meetings,
18 not with General Mladic, because I haven't seen him
19 after the evacuation, but with his officers. I think
20 that was it.
21 JUDGE RIAD: But did you include any mention,
22 not to say protest, against the executions or the
23 things you heard about in this last meeting you had
24 with him, and what was his response, if you did?
25 A. I haven't protested in the last meeting
1 because I even didn't expect that meeting. I was not
2 aware of that because we came -- we had a message
3 through our communications systems, the ops room, then
4 had to show up, let's put it that way, again in the
5 Bratunac Hotel. Sitting with his whole crowd over
6 there, we had -- he was again a lit bit monologueing
7 and asking me how the battalion was, how they were
8 doing, and if we were prepared to move and ready to go,
9 and there was hardly any opportunity to evaluate, let's
10 put it that way, what happened in all the weeks and
11 days before. To be frank, I hadn't thought about the
12 idea of asking him what happened with the refugees.
13 JUDGE RIAD: According to you, he was present
14 all the time and he was aware of all that was
16 A. He was present during the six days there of
17 the attack and invasion of the enclave, at least I
18 presume. He was present during the evacuation. He had
19 been there two times, which I explained, and if he
20 wasn't there, he was at the hotel in Bratunac which he
21 used as a command post, and a kazerne in Bratunac which
22 he used as a command post for, let's say, the other
23 things he had to do concerning Gorazde, Zepa, and I
24 don't know what.
25 After my last meeting with him, a short,
1 short meeting on that Thursday morning, I hadn't seen
2 him before -- I hadn't seen him afterwards, except that
3 I got some orders from the higher echelons about our
4 own travel to either the Kladanj/Tuzla area or to
5 Zagreb -- that was still a point of discussion on the
6 higher echelons -- and one asked me if I could, let's
7 say, come in contact with General Mladic to discuss
8 that, because nobody had contact with him since the
9 evacuation, nobody from the higher commands.
10 So I got, let's say, some notes by fax, made
11 a small letter about it and sent that to his
12 interpreter, Petar, who lived in Bratunac, with the
13 request to hand it over to General Mladic and ask for a
14 response. I got a response, I think, on Friday, the
15 same Friday when the first convoys with food and diesel
16 came in. That was the only contact on paper I had with
18 In his reply, or his answer, he said, "Yes, I
19 will take your requests concerning your leave, whenever
20 that should occur, and your requests on the lost
21 equipment," he said "lost equipment," not "stolen
22 equipment," he will take that into consideration and
23 asked me to have patience. He should have a meeting
24 with General Smith on Sunday, and I think that occurred
25 on the 19th, and in that meeting he should discuss the
1 leave of DutchBat, and then he should come back to,
2 let's say, make all the arrangements for our leave.
3 JUDGE RIAD: You speak of evacuation, and you
4 mentioned that several times he asked you to assist in
5 this evacuation; that means, really, that the
6 deportation of the people of Srebrenica to the Bosniak
7 side. This deportation, although you did not assist,
8 was very highly organised, and you said that buses came
9 and that everything was very minutely organised. So
10 this was the headquarters of Mladic who did it.
11 A. Yes, Your Honour. It was -- I think he
12 ordered that himself. What I stated before during many
13 briefings, also open that everything was prepared --
14 preplanned in advance. And also the massive crowd of
15 buses and vehicles, and I always use the example, in
16 modern Western countries, if you like to have 30 or 40
17 buses, then you have a challenge, but in a country like
18 the former Yugoslavia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, to gather
19 there 30 or 40 buses, you are not able to do that in
20 one day, that must be preplanned a long time before.
21 So he had a plan and he executed that plan more or less
22 minute by minute or day by day. He ordered for the
23 evacuation. He asked for assistance of the battalion
24 but not more than -- and you will hear that from the
25 next, I think, witnesses -- assist the people to go to
1 the bus, prevail -- prevent, I must say, panic, chaos,
2 and supplying the refugees, as much as I could, with
3 water, food, and medicines, at least what I have left
4 over. That was the only assistance I could give.
5 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned that 55 soldiers
6 were taken into custody by the Serbs. I think it was
7 on the 6th of July. How were they treated and how long
8 did they stay?
9 A. Your Honour, that was not on the 6th of
10 July. On the 6th of July, on the Thursday, let's say,
11 the invasions started, the attacks or -- yes, the
12 attacks started, the fighting between both parties in
13 the southern part of the enclave, also by shelling
14 compounds and the city of Srebrenica itself. It ended
15 up on Saturday, two and a half days later, on the
16 retreat of OP Foxtrot that one of my soldiers died.
17 After that, let's say, Saturday afternoon and
18 Sunday and Monday, he picked -- or he attacked a lot of
19 observation posts by using force, weapons and soldiers,
20 encircled them -- circled them and took the soldiers
21 hostage and took them with him. He gathered at the end
22 55 of my soldiers at two points; one in Bratunac, in
23 the northern part of -- let's say north of the enclave,
24 and one in Simici, south of the enclave. At the end,
25 after the evacuation, they were gathered together, all
2 I had a talk with them, not with all 55 but
3 with 30 persons staying in Bratunac, and I asked, in
4 the first meeting I had with General Mladic, if I was
5 able or allowed to speak with them. "Yes," he said,
6 "you are able to do that, you are allowed to do
7 that." I had a small talk with the soldiers, asked
8 them if they were treated well. They said yes, they
9 were treated reasonably well. And that same applied,
10 which I heard later on already being back in the
11 Netherlands, to the other 25 soldiers from Simici.
12 JUDGE RIAD: You mentioned several times that
13 you raised the matter to the higher echelons, to your
14 higher echelons. Was there a prompt response, or did
15 they leave you just to your fate?
16 A. Looking at the circumstances at that time and
17 knowing that both commanding officers of the north-east
18 command and the BH command were not available, I had to
19 deal with both chiefs of staff. My direct superior
20 was, of course, the commanding officer of north-east
21 command in Tuzla. What I did was every time I thought
22 it was necessary, in shelters and in my own offices or
23 in the communication centre of the battalion staff, I
24 had direct communications with either the north-east
25 command or BH command.
1 We did report -- we did make our reports
2 verbally, at least I did it -- it was one of my
3 responsibilities to the higher echelons -- and we did
4 it every day at 6.00 by the daily situation reports, on
5 paper, by fax.
6 In conclusion, my direct superior in Tuzla,
7 but also the command in Sarajevo, were well aware of
8 what was going on and what happened minute by minute in
9 the enclave, every day of our stay over there. Again,
10 asking for support, logistical support, in the weeks
11 before, or even, which I stated before, close air
12 support, no. The support was words.
13 JUDGE RIAD: I'd like to ask you also, in one
14 of the meetings where you mentioned Major Nikolic, he
15 stated that all Muslims should leave Bosnia.
16 A. Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE RIAD: That was at an official meeting?
18 A. That was -- no. We had a sequence of
19 meetings with both parties, not together. We tried to
20 have them together around the negotiation table. My
21 predecessor did. He wasn't able to do that one or two
22 times. We weren't because of the quarrels, because of
23 the fights over and over. So we had, every week, a
24 fixed meeting with the civil authorities, with the
25 military authorities, within the enclave, and also
1 with, let's say, the commanding officer of the chief of
2 staff of the BiH forces.
3 We should have a meeting, a fixed meeting,
4 every two weeks with the BSA outside, either on OP Echo
5 or OP Papa, but that was not the case. Meetings with
6 the BSA were always when we liked to have that or when
7 they liked to have it, very irregularly.
8 It was at one of those irregular meetings
9 where I was involved, somewhere in the middle of
10 February, if I can remember, that I met Major Nikolic,
11 and it was at that meeting that he stated what I said
12 yesterday, about the Muslims killed half the Assembly
13 during the Second World War, et cetera, and that he
14 hated Muslims and, in his opinion, the Muslims should
15 leave the complete territory of Bosnia.
16 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much, Colonel.
17 A. You're welcome.
18 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I have some
19 very short questions I would like to put to you.
20 The troops you talked about, where did they
21 come from? What was their composition? You talked
22 about the fresh troops that arrived.
23 A. Yes, Your Honour. We were -- no. Around the
24 safe area of Srebrenica there were three brigades: the
25 so-called Skelani Brigade in the south, the Bratunac
1 Brigade in the north, and a third brigade in the west.
2 Those brigades belonged to the regular army of the BSA,
3 the regular Drina Corps. But those three brigades
4 consisted of elderly soldiers, soldiers from that area,
5 an area where they belonged.
6 As soon as -- on the 6th of July the invasion
7 started or, let's say, the attack of the enclave
8 started, which General Mladic stated later on he used
9 three new brigades, one in the south, one in the east,
10 and he had one in reserve in the north. That means
11 that he didn't use the regular forces around the safe
12 area of Srebrenica. He especially used other forces,
13 which we had noticed two days before the 6th of July.
14 In Bratunac there was a lot of battle noise,
15 there was a lot of noise in moving tanks, artillery,
16 military vehicles, all those moves which we had
17 reported on on a regular basis and in our daily
19 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you. Did
20 you think there were any militia, fresh people, fresh
21 militia, in these forces?
22 A. Yes. Your Honour, what I had heard, I hadn't
23 noticed that myself, was that the so-called Arkan's
24 Brigade was involved as well. That was a brigade with,
25 let's say, special forces from the BSA. But personally
1 I didn't see them during those six days and during,
2 let's say, the evacuation of refugees. That could be
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] The evacuation
5 with the Dutch Battalion, was it possibly in the plan
6 with your superior? Was the Dutch Battalion asked to
7 provide that assistance?
8 A. Do you mean the assistance, Your Honour, for
9 the evacuation of the refugees?
10 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I'm talking
11 about the evacuation. You've talked about a meeting
12 with General Mladic, I think it was the second or the
13 third, I can't remember, where all of a sudden he said
14 that you had to proceed with the evacuation. It seems
15 that it wasn't tackled during your first or second
16 meeting in Bratunac. So I had the impression that you
17 weren't surprised, that you knew that there might be an
18 evacuation, or did you decide, as the superior, did you
19 decide that the evacuation would take place?
20 A. During the first two meetings I didn't have a
21 clue about what was going on about the destiny of the
22 refugees. Knowing that we had about 25.000 refugees in
23 and around the compound, one of my major points was to
24 ask support, as much as I could get, from the BSA; what
25 I stated before, food, water medicines, a good
1 arrangement for my wounded -- for the wounded refugees,
2 about 100 or 110, and that is what I asked for during
3 the meetings -- the first meetings with General
5 In his third meeting he started to talk about
6 evacuation, and that was a surprise for me as well. We
7 arranged a committee of the refugees to cooperate with
8 them about what should be done, or what should we do on
9 the circumstances under which those refugees were there
10 in and around our compound, what could we do, as much
11 as possible, and we needed a committee for that, to
12 talk about it.
13 I used that committee -- and I mean in a nice
14 sense of using it -- I asked them if they could assist
15 me as much as possible, at least to respond to the
16 questions, and they, that committee, went with me to
17 the third meeting. That was the meeting where General
18 Mladic stated or told about the evacuation.
19 I was as surprised as everybody was, because
20 the meeting was at the end of Wednesday morning and at
21 3.00 Wednesday afternoon the evacuation started
22 already. So I was confronted with something new, an
23 evacuation of 25.000 persons, and then I have to think
24 quickly --
25 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Colonel, I'm
1 sorry. I heard what you said but what I'm trying to
2 find out is: Faced with that surprise -- you were
3 surprised, you said; the refugee committee was
4 surprised -- did you have adequate time to ask your
5 hierarchial structure to see whether you can proceed in
6 such a way, or did you have sufficient freedom to
8 A. I had no time to -- I had time to inform my
9 higher echelons, which I did. I asked several times
10 what could I do, how could you assist me, what should I
11 do. No answer on that. There was no policy in that
12 either. So I could, let's say, do what was the best
13 thing to do at the moment. And knowing what time was
14 left between that third meeting and 1.00, which was
15 mentioned by Mladic when the evacuation should start --
16 we were completely surprised, everybody, that such a
17 thing could happen and that he already had organised
18 such an evacuation -- I wasn't able to do anything
19 about it. That's why we decided -- I decided in the
20 beginning to put on every bus, or whatsoever, a
21 soldier, that was the least I could do, and assist the
22 refugees as much as possible in going to the buses,
23 giving them food, water, and medical care, and look for
24 them during the evacuation.
25 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you. My
1 final question. If you talk about the list -- we
2 talked yesterday to the investigator from the
3 Prosecution, and it seems that there was a list of men
4 in an age range which I did not quite understand. Can
5 you very quickly tell us what happened with this list
6 of men? What was their age and what happened?
7 A. We had, as you know, Your Honour, 25.000
8 persons in and around the enclave, almost all women,
9 children, and elderly people. We estimated about two
10 to three per cent men, men between 16 and 60 more or
11 less, and we didn't know how many men there were -- in
12 general we knew -- how many men there were outside the
13 compound. We had asked through the interpreters and
14 through the committee if it was possible to note or,
15 yes, set on a piece of paper all the names of those
16 persons, male persons, between 16 and 60 within the
17 compound. There was no time left to do that for all
18 the other persons.
19 There was one person who asked me in the
20 past, "Why didn't you put the names of all the refugees
21 on a piece of paper?" You can imagine, Your Honours,
22 that that's impossible. What we did was we put the
23 names of men within the compound on a list, what I can
24 remember, 239. There were about 70 who didn't like
25 that and they didn't do that. We have done that on
1 purpose because we would like to know what could have
2 happened with those persons. What happened with the
3 list, the lists have been faxed to Tuzla and to
5 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Fine. Colonel,
6 the Tribunal would like to thank you for your
8 Last question.
9 JUDGE RIAD: Colonel, did by any chance
10 General Mladic's office get hold of this list?
11 A. I'm not sure about the answer I should give
12 now, because there are two possible answers and maybe
13 one of the witnesses after me could answer that
14 question. There are two possible answers. One said,
15 or it has been stated that one of my officers offered
16 or handed over that list to one of the BSA officers at
17 the gate. Some others said, no, that was not the
18 case. I am still at this moment not aware of what was
19 going on with the list towards the BSA. I don't know.
20 I can't answer the question, do or does the BSA -- did
21 the BSA receive that list of persons. I don't know.
22 JUDGE RIAD: Did you ask the officer?
23 A. No.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
25 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Prosecutor,
1 based on the numerous questions we put -- once again,
2 thank you, Colonel Karremans, to have spent so much
3 time with us -- but do you have any wish to add any
4 supplementary questions or not?
5 MR. HARMON: I do not, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Fine. Colonel,
7 in this Mladic/Karadzic case, we have finished with
8 your testimony, and we will now finish until 2.30.
9 [Videotape of 4 July 1996 stopped]
10 JUDGE RIAD: I think it's time for us to have
11 a break.
12 [Trial Chamber and legal officer
14 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Olivier Fourmy has something
15 to say.
16 MR. FOURMY: [Interpretation] Thank you,
17 Mr. President.
18 I think I would like to make a general remark
19 at this point with regard to the French transcript of
20 the testimony of Colonel Karremans and with regard to
21 the Rule 61 hearing. I think that it contains a
22 certain number of mistakes with regard to the substance
23 that was stated, at least in the French version. I
24 think that when Colonel Karremans speaks about BH
25 command in English, he was talking about the one in
1 Sarajevo not the Bosnian army which changes the sense
2 of what he was saying.
3 Perhaps the Prosecutor could confirm this,
4 what I have just put forward.
5 JUDGE RIAD: [Interpretation] I think that
6 Mr. Mark Harmon ought to respond to that, perhaps.
7 [In English] What do you think, Mr.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: As we saw, he was there and
10 would probably be in a good position to respond. But I
11 don't doubt Mr. Fourmy's statement. I'm sure there are
12 some errors that might change things a little bit; that
13 just seems to be a natural part of the process. But we
14 can discuss that with Mr. Harmon and see if we need to
15 make a change or try to add an addendum or something.
16 JUDGE RIAD: We'll trust you with this
18 [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Fourmy, for
19 that important correction.
20 [In English] I suggest we have a break for
21 half an hour, and then we'll try to finish with your
22 videos today, Mr. McCloskey.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: We have another video of
24 Mr. Koster that lasts for 59 minutes so ...
25 JUDGE RIAD: All right. If we start at 1.35,
1 1.40, will we finish by 2.40?
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. We'll be a little
4 JUDGE RIAD: I'll request our interpreters
5 and our staff to give us ten minutes more. Thank you.
6 The hearing is adjourned for half an hour.
7 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Yes.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] If I may. I
10 do apologise. But in this case, if we were to continue
11 working late, we're going to have the same problem we
12 had yesterday with the medical intervention for General
13 Krstic, medical treatment, so we have the same
14 problem. We should like to propose -- the Defence
15 proposes, if you permit, that General Krstic could
16 leave the courtroom earlier, like he did yesterday.
17 JUDGE RIAD: The same solution would apply
18 today too. He can either leave now or he can leave at
19 2.15, it's up to him. But you agree that we should
20 finish with the videos today.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your
23 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you
1 JUDGE RIAD: The trial is adjourned for half
2 an hour.
3 --- Recess taken at 1.13 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 1.50 p.m.
5 JUDGE RIAD: Yes. Please proceed,
6 Mr. McCloskey.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. We're ready to go with
8 the testimony of Mr. Koster, which is 59 minutes. We
9 have another tape which we'll save for another time of
10 Pasaga Mesic, which is about half an hour.
11 JUDGE RIAD: Which means that we have another
12 hour and a half to go?
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, for two witnesses. One
14 witness is an hour and then the other witness is 30
15 minutes, but we can save that for a time -- if there's
16 ever a time we don't have enough witnesses in the
17 trial, we can put in that tape.
18 JUDGE RIAD: I'm ready for both options, so
19 what do you prefer? What does the Defence counsel
20 prefer, and the registrar?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: We've talked about it and the
22 one-hour tape appears to be, with Mr. Harmon's input,
23 the decision that we've made.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Good. So one hour will take us
25 to ten to three.
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, approximately.
2 JUDGE RIAD: That will be enough, I think.
3 We'll stop at ten to three, with the permission of the
4 interpreters. If there is any objection, I'm ready to
5 hear it, if anybody has a commitment which he cannot
6 avoid. So everybody agrees.
7 Of course, General Krstic will be allowed to
8 leave at any time.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President,
10 I should just like to ask you so as not to lose time
11 whether, without your permission at that stage, General
12 Krstic can leave at 2.15, in the presence of the
13 security officers, of course. May he leave the
14 courtroom at that time, without me having to ask you
16 JUDGE RIAD: You don't need to ask me. Thank
17 you. The permission is granted. Thank you.
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you,
19 Mr. President.
20 JUDGE RIAD: Please proceed, Mr. McCloskey.
21 [Videotape of 4 July 1996 played]
22 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Prosecutor, you
23 have the floor.
24 MR. OSTBERG: Thank you very much. We would
25 like to call our next witness, Lieutenant Koster.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Lieutenant
3 Koster, do you hear me? Do you hear me? Please take
4 the statement which has been given to you and read it
6 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will
7 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
9 WITNESS: LIEUTENANT KOSTER
10 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you,
11 Lieutenant. Please be seated.
12 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
13 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I think my
14 first question would go to the Prosecutor, and he will
15 introduce you to us.
16 MR. OSTBERG: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Examined by Mr. Ostberg:
18 Q. Lieutenant Koster, would you please state
19 your full name and spell it for the record.
20 A. My last name is Koster. I'll spell it.
22 Q. Thank you. What is your present occupation?
23 A. I'm a logistics officer and an infantry
25 Q. In the Dutch army?
1 A. In the Dutch army, that's correct.
2 Q. Have you been serving with the United
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Would you please tell the Court where and
7 A. I served in Srebrenica, and that was January
8 1995 till July 1995.
9 Q. When did you start, did you say?
10 A. In January.
11 Q. In January. Was Colonel Karremans your
12 commanding officer?
13 A. Yes, he was.
14 Q. What was your position with the Dutch
16 A. My position was to be the logistics officer
17 of the battalion.
18 Q. Just give us the outline of your duties in
19 that position.
20 A. Well, I had to manage all logistic affairs,
21 although we had few means, and, well, that meant very
22 strict planning and distributing our logistic affairs.
23 Q. Where in the chain of command were you placed
24 in that position?
25 A. I was a staff officer, and my direct
1 commander, my logistic commander, was Major Franken.
2 Q. Thank you. Were you on duty in the beginning
3 of July 1995?
4 A. Yes, I was.
5 Q. Where?
6 A. I was on duty in Potocari, inside the
8 Q. Inside the compound.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So your working place was inside the compound
12 A. Most of the time, yes.
13 Q. Okay. You were there even on the 11th of
14 July, 1995?
15 A. Yes, I was also outside the compound then,
17 Q. Will you tell us about what happened after
18 the fall of Srebrenica when refugees started to arrive
19 in Potocari?
20 A. Yes, that was on the 12th -- sorry, that was
21 on the 11th of July. We were ordered to go outside and
22 to form a unit to receive the refugees. So we went
23 outside and made a hole in the fence from where we
24 could guide the refugees towards the compound.
25 When we were posted outside, approximately at
1 1500 hours, the refugees arrived in a few and small
2 groups at first, and, well, most of them were women and
3 children and older women and older men. They were
4 terrified, they were afraid, looking for help, and when
5 we were there, well, we couldn't tell them what to do
6 at that point.
7 Q. You said that you formed a unit to take care
8 of the incoming refugees. How big was that unit?
9 A. Well, approximately 30 men at first.
10 Q. Were you in command of these 30 men?
11 A. Yes, I was.
12 Q. You said you opened a hole in the fence.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Is that the way you led them into the
16 A. Yes. We were not allowed to let them in by
17 the main gate.
18 Q. Why?
19 A. Because the road which led from Srebrenica to
20 Potocari was constantly under the direct sight and
21 direct fire from the Serbs. For example, in the days
22 before when we left the compound by vehicle, we were
23 fired upon with mortar fire, that kind of thing. So it
24 was better for people to take another route and another
25 way to the compound which was more covered by trees and
1 buildings. So that was --
2 Q. And you opened that hole in the fence.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. When the people started to arrive, the first
5 ones who arrived, did you show them all into the
7 A. No, we were not allowed at first. We first
8 showed them the way to the large buildings of a former
9 bus station, where bus repair and bus maintenance was
10 done, and we told them to take cover inside of these
12 Q. When you are saying that you were not
13 allowed, allowed by whom?
14 A. By my commander.
15 Q. By your commander.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What was the kind of shelter you gave them?
18 A. Sorry?
19 Q. What kind of shelter did you give them?
20 A. The big buildings of the former bus station.
21 Q. Outside the compound.
22 A. It was outside the compound, yes.
23 Q. Then when did they start entering the
25 A. Well, that was later on that day. When the
1 total amount of people was going to be a big crowd, we
2 were ordered to let the people into the compound in
3 small groups of 25 persons, and send them through the
4 hole in the fence to the compound.
5 Q. How did these people arrive?
6 A. Well, like I said before, first in small
7 groups. Later on they -- there was one big mass of
8 people coming down the road from Srebrenica to
9 Potocari. Well, they came with a big, big noise, women
10 crying, children screaming, children also crying, well,
11 people in terror. They came down the road towards our
13 Q. On foot?
14 A. On foot, yes. When we could receive them, we
15 just only could tell them to wait and to stay at our
16 position. We couldn't tell them what to do, and they
17 kept asking these questions, "What are we going to do?
18 What are the plans for now?" They were very much
19 afraid of what was going on with them, what was going
20 to happen with them, but we couldn't tell them so --
21 and they were -- sorry?
22 Q. Had they walked the way from the city of
24 A. Most of them, yes. Most of them. There were
25 several vehicles from the compound in Srebrenica to the
1 compound in Potocari carrying some wounded. But when
2 they started to move, people who were not wounded
3 picked their places; also on every spot of the vehicle
4 where they could hang on, they got a place.
5 Q. When you're talking about these vehicles,
6 were they UN vehicles?
7 A. Yes, they were our UN vehicles.
8 Q. No other means of transportation, like buses
9 or trucks for these fleeing people?
10 A. Well, some APCs for medical aid. Those APCs
11 were also carrying some wounded people and some healthy
12 people towards our position, and the wounded people
13 toward the compound, yes.
14 Q. They started coming in small groups and then
15 they grew more and more.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you make some estimations, looking at
18 what time they started and then how they slowly
19 encompassed a big crowd of people?
20 A. Yes. Well, I was ordered to make a rough
21 counting of the people constantly. Well, it started
22 with ten people, then hundreds of people, and then even
23 more, thousands of people. Well, it started
24 approximately -- they started coming around about 1500
25 hours, and, well, until late in the evening it
1 stopped. So, for example, the road had a diameter of
2 six metres and was fully crowded with people, most of
3 them women, children, and older men.
4 Q. When you said you started to count them, did
5 you do that yourself?
6 A. Yes. Later on that day I compared with my
7 colleagues to make a rough counting of the total number
8 of people, and we came to a number of approximately
9 15.000 people.
10 Q. 15.000 people.
11 A. 15.000 people, yes.
12 Q. How many of them were led into or brought
13 into the compound?
14 A. Well, on top of the 15.000, there were 4.000
15 to 5.000 people let into the compound. So at the end
16 of the day there were 15.000 outside the compound and
17 4.000 to 5.000 inside the compound.
18 Q. We're talking now about the 11th of July.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did they stop coming in the evening?
21 A. Yes, they stopped. There were -- the crowds
22 stopped. There were a few people coming down the road
23 still, but the big mass, the big mass of people, the
24 big crowd, stopped coming towards our position, yes.
25 It was fully filled with these people.
1 Q. What did 30 soldiers do to care for these
3 A. Well, during the day I ordered for some
4 reinforcements because we couldn't stand any longer to
5 hold the people. We had some interpreters to make it
6 clear for them what to do. Well, what we were doing
7 down there was the best we could, giving them some
8 medical help, telling them that we would guide them and
9 escort them and protect them as best we could. Well,
10 whether it was help -- any help needed, we were there.
11 Q. And that with 30 persons?
12 A. Well, I ordered some reinforcements. Later
13 on that day, I guess it would be 50 to 60 men outside.
14 Q. What kind of medical support could you give
16 A. Mainly first aid.
17 Q. Like bandages and things like that?
18 A. If we had some, yes, some bandages. There
19 were several wounded men and women, also women giving
20 birth to children at our place. We also had some
21 assistance from MSF.
22 Q. "MSF" is?
23 A. Medecins Sans Frontiers. So the wounded, we
24 could give them only the first aid because we didn't
25 have more means outside, also inside the compound.
1 Q. What about giving them food and drink then?
2 A. Well, outside it was impossible for us to do
3 because we had so scarce means of food rations and all
4 that, so we couldn't give them any food outside the
5 compound. What I learned later on is that we made a
6 soup of food rations, mixed, mingled, with water for
7 people inside the compound. Outside the compound, some
8 people were carrying jerrycans and bottles of water,
9 carrying water with them, and nearby our position there
10 was a small well where people could get some water, so
11 that was -- it was needed because it was tremendously
12 hot that day, so water was a very needed factor over
14 Q. The people inside could get some soup to eat
15 or drink, but outside, could you give them anything at
16 all apart from the water from the well?
17 A. Yes, that's correct.
18 Q. Could you paint the picture, what it looked
19 like when nightfall came. What did it look like in and
20 around the compound then?
21 A. Well, it was like being on a scene. It was a
22 little bit surrealistic. Being outside, these people,
23 I slept outside, also my men slept outside. We did
24 some patrolling that night and we had some posts to
25 protect them. Well, the big noise stopped, all the
1 screaming, et cetera, and all the shouting and crying
2 stopped during the night, although little children kept
3 crying on. The noise decreased so -- but it was very
4 surrealistic being there.
5 Q. Were there any attacks from the Bosnian Serb
6 army, or any soldiers or units attacking this amount of
8 A. Well, not in person but we were fired upon
9 with mortar fire during the day. Well, the shelling
10 wasn't among the people. It was very close, close
11 firing, approximately 50 metres from our position.
12 Among the houses nearby our position, the explosions of
13 the grenades, of the mortar grenades, came down, yes.
14 That's true.
15 Q. But these crowds of people were not shelled
16 or fired at directly.
17 A. Not directly, no. No.
18 Q. Then you said you had some 30 people and some
19 reinforcements. What about the rest of the personnel
20 of the Dutch Battalion? Where were they deployed
21 during this time? What I want to know is: How many
22 persons, how many soldiers, of the battalion in total
23 were present in Potocari when this flood of refugees
25 A. Well, it should be approximately 200 men, I
2 Q. Two-hundred men.
3 A. Yes, I guess.
4 Q. Where were the rest of the battalion
6 A. They were assigned to the OPs.
7 Q. And "OPs" are?
8 A. Observation posts.
9 Q. Observation posts.
10 A. Yes. Also part of them were located in the
11 compound of Srebrenica. But most of these men and
12 women were supply forces so they were not fighter men,
13 they were not infantrymen.
14 Q. But the ones you're talking about in
15 Potocari, those were fighting men, infantry soldiers?
16 A. A few of them, yes, but most of them were
17 supply forces.
18 Q. Most of them were supply forces. Were any of
19 your personnel taken hostage or assaulted during this
20 day, the 11th?
21 A. No, not on the 11th.
22 Q. Okay. Could any of you have any rest the
23 night between the 11th and the 12th of July last year?
24 A. Well, for me personally, no. For most of
25 them, I guess not, because we were busy helping people,
1 doing some patrolling outside the compound among the
2 people. Well, maybe you could get an hour or two of
3 sleep but it wasn't such a rest. You couldn't rest
4 very well.
5 Q. Will you then turn your attention to the
6 following day and give us an account of what happened
7 on the 12th of July, 1995.
8 A. Well, in the morning it was relatively
9 quiet. The people, well, they woke up and started
10 asking questions about what was going on and what we
11 were planning to do and what the Serbs were planning to
12 do, so we couldn't tell.
13 We carried on giving them medical aid. Still
14 wounded people came down to our position asking for
15 doctors, asking for medical help. Still women were
16 looking for their children like the day before, because
17 they lost their children in the big crowd of people.
18 And also children looking for their families, those
19 kinds of things. That carried on all morning. Also
20 the sun appeared again so it became tremendously hot
21 again that day.
22 Later on that day, approximately at 1300
23 hours --
24 Q. What time?
25 A. 1300 hours.
1 Q. 1300, yes.
2 A. We heard the noise of tanks and APCs, and I
3 heard by radio that there was a tank and an APC coming
4 down the road toward the compound. So the people --
5 well, there was panic and the people were scared, and
6 they ran down to the south of our location. So we had
7 to wait for what was going on then and wait for the
8 Serbs to make a move.
9 Q. Okay.
10 A. When they did, they came to our position, and
11 also to the compound.
12 Q. You're now talking about the army, the
13 Bosnian Serb army.
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. Yes. They came to our position. We made a
17 demarcation line of some red and white tape over the
18 road and, well, they stayed behind the tape. Some of
19 them asked for the commanding officer at my location,
20 so that was me, and he introduced himself and so do I.
21 I can't remember his name.
22 I asked him what he was planning to do and he
23 didn't tell me. Well, after that he turned his back on
24 me and went down to his forces. At that time there
25 were, well, approximately 20 to 30 Serbian soldiers at
1 our position at the road. Well, their action was just
2 walking around, looking at the people, also shouting at
3 the people, asking questions. I had an interpreter
4 next to me so he could translate what they were
6 Q. Could you give us an example of what they
7 said to the people?
8 A. Well, most of the times they were mocking at
9 them, and doing that, it was a very odd situation
10 because they sat down on the ground and started
11 singing. They also -- they actually didn't make a
12 move. They were just saying over there at their
13 location, behind the red and white tape, probably -- I
14 don't know what they were doing. So we just could stay
15 there and wait for what they were going to do.
16 Q. Then what happened?
17 A. Later on that day, Major Nikolic came down
18 also to my position and he introduced himself.
19 Q. Did you know him beforehand?
20 A. Yes, I recognised him from photos in the
21 operations room.
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. Well, he wanted to have a look among the
24 people and he wanted to walk through to the other end
25 of our location. At that time it was reported from my
1 southern post, which was the last units of the Bravo
2 Company, that also at their location some Serbian
3 soldiers arrived. Well, we escorted Major Nikolic with
4 our liaison officer and an observer, and he walked down
5 through the people.
6 After that he returned, and also the
7 situation stayed the same for a couple of hours
8 probably. Then one of the commanders came to my
9 position and told me that he would bring a vehicle
10 loaded with bread for the people and that we should
11 make way for this vehicle. It really appeared, and
12 then they started to give bread to the people. They
13 also had a camera team accompanying them and the camera
14 team, well, they were filming while they were giving
15 bread to the people.
16 Q. How many people did get some bread? Did they
17 have something for everybody?
18 A. No, not at all. It was a very small truck
19 and, well, they were throwing the bread and giving the
20 bread to the people. My interpreter told me that while
21 we were doing that they were shouting at the people
22 again and mocking them and calling them names.
23 Well, the vehicle returned one more time also
24 loaded with bread, and also a fire truck came down to
25 our position to give the people some water. Well, one
1 by one, women were allowed to leave the crowd and to
2 fill up their bottles with water. Everything was
3 filmed by the Serbs. Then the fire truck disappeared
5 Later on that day, it should be approximately
6 at 1600 hours, more troops came down to our position,
7 more vehicles, more jeeps, more civilian vehicles. At
8 one time my interpreter told me that he thought he had
9 seen General Mladic, and General Mladic came to my
10 position. He introduced himself, and so did I, and he
11 asked me who was the commander in charge. I asked him
12 what he was planning to do. Well, at first he didn't
13 tell me anything and he walked right through our line
14 of tape and towards the people. At that time, of
15 course, I reported to my commanding officer and I was
16 told that I should send Mladic to the compound, to
17 Colonel Karremans, so he could talk to him. But he
18 wouldn't do so --
19 Q. He wouldn't?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Who wouldn't, Mladic?
22 A. General Mladic.
23 Q. So you asked him to go and talk to the
24 commanding officer.
25 A. Yes, several times.
1 Q. But he said no.
2 A. He said, "No, I am doing what I please to do,
3 and I am in charge here and Mate Boban tells me what to
4 do. I am outside here and you will see what's going to
5 happen." He told us to cooperate or else there would
6 be -- we were, you know, told to cooperate with him, we
7 would be best off by cooperating.
8 Q. You said "or else." Did he --
9 A. No. We would be best off by cooperating,
10 those were the words said.
11 Q. Yes. Go on with the story, please.
12 A. Then he went to the people and he spoke to
13 the people not to be afraid, that he should -- he would
14 take care of them. He was talking to little children
15 accompanied by a filming team, a camera team. I was
16 constantly protesting that he should go to the
17 compound. While doing that, some buses arrived and I
18 reported that. Then I asked him again what he was
19 going to do. He was irritated and he told me that he
20 would evacuate the people to another place. At once
21 some of the Serbian soldiers pulled down several of my
23 Q. What did they do?
24 A. They pulled down and pulled away several of
25 my men who were holding the civilians, and, well, the
1 Serbs told the civilians to go to the buses, to get
2 inside the buses. Well, at that time the situation was
3 taken out of our hands and we could only escort the
4 people and provide any harm [sic] of the people. They
5 were fully in charge at that time.
6 Q. How many Bosnian Serb troops were present
7 then, in your estimation?
8 A. Well, I estimated approximately 40, 50 men
9 and, well, they were still coming up, more men, men
10 with dogs, all that kind of thing.
11 Q. You were outnumbered.
12 A. Yes, we were severely outnumbered. Yes,
13 that's true.
14 Q. Okay. Please go on.
15 A. Then I was told to escort the people and to
16 provide any harming [sic] of the people, and we could
17 not do anything else other than just escorting them.
18 The Serbs took over and they pushed the people to go to
19 the buses, and they kept on doing that till the buses
20 were fully stuffed with people. They were putting far
21 more people inside the bus than normally is usual. The
22 buses drove away. Then we had to stop the people again
23 and we had to wait till other transport arrived at our
25 Q. Did you in any way convoy or send somebody
1 with the buses when they went away?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Tell us about that.
4 A. I learned later that we escorted the buses
5 and the trucks by sending some of our men with a jeep
6 driving in front or with the buses. Well, the first
7 transport, they succeeded escorting them, and the other
8 transports, well, the jeeps were taken away from us so
9 we couldn't escort them any more.
10 Q. By the Serbian soldiers.
11 A. By the soldiers, yes.
12 Q. Bosnian Serb soldiers, yes. Was any
13 separation of sexes taking place before they were
14 loaded on buses?
15 A. Yes. Well, they were looking for men, older
16 men -- well, men of fighting age, potential fighting
17 men, and they were separating them from their families
18 and from the rest of the people. Well, they kept on
19 doing that the whole time.
20 Q. What happened to these men who were separated
21 from their families? Where did they go?
22 A. They put them inside a house, and from what I
23 have seen they were just sitting there and waiting.
24 Their personal belongings were taken away and put
25 outside of the house, and I only saw these men
1 waiting. As far as we could, we were protesting
2 against it, but we were, as you said before,
3 outnumbered so we couldn't be at all places.
4 Q. Of course. What about General Mladic? Was
5 he present while these things went on?
6 A. Well, I lost sight of him. When the first
7 buses started to drive away, I lost sight of him.
8 Q. This transportation of people started, as I
9 remember you said, at about 1600 or --
10 A. That was the time when General Mladic
11 arrived --
12 Q. When he arrived.
13 A. -- and, well, it shouldn't be more than a
14 half hour, an hour later, when the buses arrived and
15 drove away.
16 Q. How many busloads of people left Potocari
17 this day, the 12th?
18 A. I didn't count them all but, well, they
19 started -- I'm sorry, they ended up when night fell.
20 Q. With nightfall, they stopped.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you have an idea of how many busloads that
23 was? Do you have any idea how many people left on the
24 first day?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Half, a third? No idea?
2 A. No, I have no estimation.
3 Q. You can make no estimation. They stopped at
4 nightfall, you said.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Still then, people were inside and outside
7 the compound.
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. Was anybody taken out of the compound on this
10 first day and put on the buses, or was that people from
12 A. From what I know, there were people from
13 outside the compound because I was there. I don't know
14 if people from inside the compound were taken outside
15 because I couldn't see it from my position.
16 Q. You couldn't see it.
17 A. I don't know that.
18 Q. You don't know that. Then night came, and
19 can you tell us something about what happened during
20 the night?
21 A. Yes. We were told by the Serbs that we had
22 to clear the road and to join the people on the terrain
23 in front of the former bus station.
24 Q. Clear the road of refugees.
25 A. Yes. The road should stay open because they
1 told us there could be some transport moving to
2 Srebrenica, and from Srebrenica to Potocari. Well, we
3 collected the people at the point and we stayed there,
4 patrolling during the night. The Serbs, they left.
5 Some of them came back during the night and they were
6 taking our arms and also our vests and helmets.
7 Q. Can you describe in what way they did that.
8 A. Well, they joined -- they formed groups of
9 three or four men, and they walked up to a UN soldier
10 and told him to give away his weapon, his bulletproof
11 vest, his helmet, and his equipment, and when he
12 refused that, he was forced to do so.
13 Q. At gunpoint?
14 A. Me personally at gunpoint, yes.
15 Q. How many of your soldiers did lose their
16 equipment in this way?
17 A. I don't know. Many of them.
18 Q. Many out of these 30, 40 soldiers.
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 Q. The majority?
21 A. The majority, yes.
22 Q. That went on during the night.
23 A. Yes, in the beginning of the night. Later on
24 that night they disappeared, and I didn't know where
25 they went. We were alone with these people and then
1 they were very, very quiet. Well, we kept on
2 patrolling during the night -- well, helping some sick
3 people, also again wounded people who still asked for
4 doctors, for medical help, and we had a doctor outside
5 our position -- well, till morning came.
6 Q. Okay. Then we arrive at the 13th of July. I
7 will now ask you to tell the Court what happened on
8 that day.
9 A. On the 13th, well, we put down four APCs on
10 the road to make some of the --
11 Q. "APCs" stands for?
12 A. Armoured personnel carriers.
13 Q. Armoured personnel carriers.
14 A. Armoured, yes. Sorry. To make some of them
15 an artificial gate so we could guide the people in a
16 better way. Then at approximately 700 hours the buses
17 arrived, and half an hour later the Serbs arrived.
18 Then there were more and more troops coming down to our
19 position, and when --
20 Q. Again, an estimation, if you can. How many
22 A. At least 50, 60 of them. Then they started
23 again to pull away my men and to put the people inside
24 of the buses and the trucks, and that carried on during
25 the day.
1 Q. Any attacks on you or your personnel during
2 the day?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Shooting?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Nothing?
7 A. We heard some shooting on the west side of
8 the compound coming from houses and that kind of
9 thing. But not on my position, there was no shooting.
10 Q. Did this separation type of handling, this
11 thing, did that go on even this day? Did they separate
12 men from the rest of their families, or was that done
13 only on the first day?
14 A. No, it still went on that day. For example,
15 we saw a 19-year-old boy being separated from his
16 family and, well, we protested against it, and the
17 Serbian soldier, he was impressed and let the boy go to
18 the buses. But they carried on separating the men,
20 Q. That went on on the 13th of July, all day?
21 A. From what I've seen, yes.
22 Q. When was the place emptied of refugees or
23 everybody evacuated? When was that?
24 A. I will have to look it up. One moment,
25 please. It was on the 13th of July.
1 Q. The 13th of July.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What time of the day; can you recall that?
4 A. Well, it would be approximately at 1800
5 hours. I had to do my report at the compound and get
6 some food and a few hours of sleep, two hours, and that
7 was at 1600 hours. When I reported to duty in the
8 operations room, that was at 1830, I was told that it
9 wasn't necessary any more because all the people had
11 Q. All of them?
12 A. All of them had gone.
13 Q. Even the people who were in the compound?
14 A. Yes, except the wounded people.
15 Q. Except the wounded people?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. They left the wounded people. What about the
18 men who were separated? Were they still around or were
19 they gone also?
20 A. They were also gone.
21 Q. Did you see them go?
22 A. No, because I was in the compound sleeping.
23 Q. Did you see when the people were taken from
24 that compound into the buses?
25 A. No, I didn't see that.
1 Q. You didn't see that. Did you see or hear any
2 violence during the 13th? Was there any shooting then
3 or other kinds of violence?
4 A. No, not in person. We heard several single
5 shots, like I told you before. We did hear some
6 rumours; that was on the 12th of July, while I was
7 reporting at the compound. We heard some rumours from
8 people inside the compound that there was a place where
9 they had seen eight or nine bodies laying down on the
10 ground. On the 13th of July, two colleagues of mine
11 and I investigated that place.
12 Q. Was that in the vicinity of the compound --
13 outside the compound?
14 A. Well, it was approximately -- well, 500
15 metres away from the compound.
16 Q. What did you find?
17 A. When we came down to that place, we saw nine
18 bodies laying in a field, near to a river. We went up
19 to that location and we took pictures. We didn't
20 actually investigate the bodies, but we saw seven of
21 them lying down on the ground, with their face down to
22 the ground. Two of them were lying on their sides,
23 their backs. They had -- well, the seven of them had a
24 shot in the back, in the middle of the back. We took
25 pictures, and we also found some papers. But the
1 bodies, they were just in civilian clothes, and from
2 what I could see and make of it, they were men.
3 Q. You did these findings on the 13th of July.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you hear some shooting you could relate
6 to that incident, to these people's death?
7 A. Well, I only heard the several single shots
8 during the day. That's only what I have heard.
9 Q. Did you see other killed people around?
10 A. Yes, that was in the morning. One man hanged
11 himself on the ceiling of a small building, and he was
12 already dead when we released him from the rope.
13 Q. Any other incidents of that kind?
14 A. No.
15 Q. So by the evening of the 13th, the place was
16 empty, there were no refugees any more.
17 A. Outside of the compound, no. Inside also,
18 no, except the wounded people.
19 Q. The wounded people. Did you see General
20 Mladic more than these times on the 12th that you
21 talked about?
22 A. Yes. During the night on the 12th and on the
23 13th, during that night I saw him passing by our
24 position, sitting in a jeep. He moved up to
25 Srebrenica, and later on that night he moved back
1 towards Potocari.
2 Q. So you saw him twice during that night.
3 A. Sorry?
4 Q. You saw him twice during that night?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. But he didn't stop?
7 A. No.
8 Q. You didn't talk to him?
9 A. He just drove on.
10 Q. Okay. Then when only the wounded people were
11 left, what happened then? What did you do in the
12 coming days?
13 A. Well, for me personally, I picked up my job
14 again as a logistics officers, doing the things
15 requested and waiting for us to leave the enclave. We
16 were making preparations for leaving the enclave
17 because we didn't know if we could leave with all our
18 equipment or just by taking our personal belongings and
19 then leave the compound. So I took up my old job.
20 Q. As a logistics officer, you can certainly
21 tell us, how much equipment did you lose during these
23 A. Well, I don't know the exact numbers and
24 figures. We lost weapons; we did lose some jeeps.
25 Q. How many jeeps?
1 A. I don't know the exact figures.
2 Q. Can you make an estimation?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You can't.
5 A. APCs, we lost APCs, and we lost, well,
6 equipment, soldiers' equipment, bulletproof vests, and
8 Q. When did you leave? When did the battalion
9 leave Srebrenica?
10 A. It was on the 21st, on Friday, July.
11 Q. The week after.
12 A. The week after that, yes.
13 MR. OSTBERG: Thank you very much. Your
14 Honours, I have concluded my examination.
15 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you,
16 Mr. Ostberg.
17 Fellow Judges, you have questions. Please
19 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Thank you.
20 Questioned by the Court:
21 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Lieutenant Koster, you
22 talk of 15.000 people coming from Srebrenica to
23 Potocari looking for help. Mostly, you said, they were
24 women and children and elderly people. Is that
1 A. That's correct.
2 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Were you expecting this
3 exodus from Srebrenica?
4 A. I'm sorry. Can you repeat the question?
5 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Were you in Potocari, you
6 and your team, expecting this exodus from Srebrenica?
7 A. Yes. We were outside there to receive the
8 refugees, yes, and we could expect that refugees should
9 come to our position. That's why we were posted
11 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Were you prepared for
12 receiving them?
13 A. No. Just being there, being posted there,
14 and doing the best we can. We didn't have the
15 equipment, medical equipment, or even enough food to
16 receive them.
17 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Had you, your team, asked
18 for help to your superiors or to the superior command
19 of NATO or UNPROFOR to face this emergency?
20 A. I do not know.
21 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Did you receive any
22 additional support for help before or after the 11th of
24 A. No.
25 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: What happened with these
1 people, women, children, elderly, wounded people, when
2 the Bosnian Serb soldiers arrived?
3 A. Sorry. You're only talking now about the
4 wounded people?
5 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: About the women,
6 children, elderly people in Potocari, coming from
7 Srebrenica, when the Serb soldiers arrived.
8 A. Well, they were afraid and they were not
9 harmed or anything by the Serbian people, from what I
10 could see, outside the compound. Well, later on,
11 during the periods we were outside, they were put
12 inside the buses and evacuated from my position.
13 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Did you hear about
14 massacres committed by Serb soldiers against Muslims in
15 and around Srebrenica, Potocari, Bratunac at that time?
16 A. No. I only learned on the Wednesday that
17 there was a position -- there was a rumour about eight
18 or nine bodies.
19 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: After those days, had you
20 heard about massacres committed?
21 A. No, only when I returned, in the news.
22 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Did Colonel Karremans, or
23 anyone else, say no to General Mladic when he ordered
24 the evacuation of the refugees?
25 A. I do not know that because they already
1 started it when I was reporting it. So the situation
2 was completely taken out of our hands outside.
3 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: But the refugees were
4 under your support, under the UN support, under
6 A. That's correct.
7 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: So did you or your
8 superior try to avoid that the refugees were taken out?
9 A. It was impossible to do because we were
10 outnumbered. We were pulled away, and then the Serbs,
11 they pushed the people and shouted at the people to go
12 to the buses now, to get inside these buses. So being
13 outnumbered, we couldn't do anything at that time.
14 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: I see. Thank you. No
15 further questions.
16 JUDGE RIAD: Lieutenant Koster, you just said
17 that you were outnumbered, completely outnumbered. In
18 fact, you were in a state of helplessness, completely.
19 A. Yes, that's correct.
20 JUDGE RIAD: Were you at any moment
22 A. In person?
23 JUDGE RIAD: No, the whole group, in your
24 capacity, you and your colleagues.
25 A. No. We were just told to cooperate, that
1 that would be the best for us.
2 JUDGE RIAD: Yes, "best for us" means that
3 something could be worst; if there is something best,
4 then something can be worst.
5 You mentioned that Mladic himself told you,
6 he told you you'd better cooperate, you are right, and
7 then he told you, "You will see what is going to
8 happen." Is that right?
9 A. I'm sorry. I don't understand the question.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Mladic, among his statements, he
11 told you, "You are going to see what will happen." You
12 mentioned that from your notes.
13 A. I still don't understand your question. I'm
15 JUDGE RIAD: What did Mladic tell you?
16 A. Okay. Yes, he told me that, and later on he
17 told me that he was going to evacuate the people of
19 JUDGE RIAD: Yes.
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE RIAD: Then you mentioned that you saw
22 them separate men of fighting age from the others.
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Did you protest or anything?
25 A. Yes, we did.
1 JUDGE RIAD: You did. What was the reaction
2 to your protest?
3 A. Well, sometimes they let the men go with
4 their families and their wives. Well, at the places we
5 were -- we couldn't protest where we were not located,
6 so we couldn't do a thing.
7 JUDGE RIAD: Did they pick them just at
8 random, or did they have a list in their hands?
9 A. No, just at random.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Because there was a list of
11 200-and-something people which nobody knew if it was
12 given to them or not. Do you have any idea about that?
13 A. I know about that list, yes, and that was on
14 the compound -- at the compound.
15 JUDGE RIAD: I beg your pardon?
16 A. That list was made just to make sure and to
17 inform the Serbs that we were watching them and keeping
18 things under control about what they were going to do
19 with the men, and by that list we were also protecting
20 them. So we were checking them --
21 JUDGE RIAD: This list was made by your men,
22 by the officers?
23 A. No, it was not.
24 JUDGE RIAD: No.
25 A. It was made by a committee of the refugees
1 inside the compound.
2 JUDGE RIAD: And given to you?
3 A. No, not to me.
4 JUDGE RIAD: I mean to your --
5 A. My commanding officer.
6 JUDGE RIAD: Yes.
7 A. From what I know, it was not given to the
9 JUDGE RIAD: You don't know if it was given
10 to the Serbs or not.
11 A. From what I know, it was not given to the
13 JUDGE RIAD: It was not. Thank you very
15 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Lieutenant, on
16 the basis of what we've heard, apparently there's some
17 vehicles from the battalion that escorted the jeeps --
18 some jeeps that escorted the vehicles, so you did have
19 some jeeps that went along with the convoys.
20 Now, I take it that those jeeps came back, at
21 least some of them came back, so you had a chance to
22 see some of your men before you left the compound.
23 What did your men tell you about what happened, and
24 were they aware of the events?
25 A. I only learnt about that when we left the
1 enclave. Before that I was constantly being outside,
2 until the 13th, and I didn't know what was going on
3 during these escorts.
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Because the
5 jeeps that were doing the escorting did not leave
7 A. Some of them were already taken away at our
8 main gate, and, well, that's what they told me while I
9 was doing my reports. Well, at least one of them made
10 it through, and that was the first transport. But that
11 is something I learned later, when I left the enclave.
12 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] When soldiers
13 came back, because there was a gathering before you
14 left the enclave, what did people say to one another?
15 What did the soldiers say there? Did anybody tell you
16 anything? Did they know anything?
17 A. No.
18 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Nothing was
20 A. No.
21 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] They didn't say
22 anything about what they might have seen? They didn't
23 see anything?
24 A. No, because I wasn't speaking to them. I was
25 too busy at that time doing my job as a logistics
1 officer so I don't know anything about that. I'm
3 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Fine. You got
4 together on a regular basis with the reports about the
5 meetings with General Mladic, or was there a
6 compartmentalisation between the different levels of
8 A. Can the interpreter repeat the question,
10 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Did you have
11 any input about the meetings with General Mladic, or
12 was there no information trickling down at the various
14 A. No, I didn't know what was going on. I
15 didn't know the exact details of the meetings with
16 General Mladic.
17 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 Mr. Ostberg, we have no further questions for
19 the witness so we could have the usher show the witness
21 Lieutenant, the Tribunal would like to thank
22 you for your testimony which you provided on behalf of
23 the Prosecution. Then the Prosecution can show in the
24 next witness.
25 [Videotape of 4 July 1996 completed]
1 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Mr. McCloskey.
2 That's all you have to offer us today, I hope.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE RIAD: So we'll adjourn till tomorrow,
5 at 9.30. Thank you.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
7 2.50 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
8 the 25th day of May, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.