1 Thursday, 20 July 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and
7 gentlemen; good morning to the technicians, the interpreters; good
8 morning, legal assistants, court reporters; good morning, representatives
9 of the Registry; good morning, Mr. Harmon, Mr. Cayley, Mr. McCloskey; good
10 morning, Mr. Petrusic; good morning, Mr. Visnjic; and good morning to you,
11 General Krstic.
12 Good morning, Mr. Butler. We are going to continue with your
13 testimony, and let me remind you that you are still under an oath.
14 Mr. Petrusic, you have the floor.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President; good
16 morning, Your Honours; good morning, my learned colleagues from the
17 Prosecution; good morning to all of you present here in the courtroom.
18 WITNESS: RICHARD BUTLER [Resumed]
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Petrusic: [continue]
20 Q. Mr. Butler, I would like to move on to your second chapter,
21 chapter 2, of your report from the month of May. I hope that we will be
22 able to proceed at a somewhat faster pace than yesterday.
23 Mr. Butler, from a military point of view and from the point of
24 view of the VRS, could we say that in the month of July 1995, there were
25 any significant operations for the army of Republika Srpska and the Drina
1 Corps in relation to the operation Krivaja-95? This is, is there any more
2 significant military operations than the military operation Krivaja-95?
3 A. Specifically for the month of July 1995, and dealing with the zone
4 of the Drina Corps, the significant military operations would have been
5 Krivaja-95, would have been the follow-on military operation Stupcanica or
6 Stupcanica-95, which was Zepa. It would have been the issue pertaining to
7 the column moving from Srebrenica through the lines towards Tuzla, and it
8 would have been the maintenance of the line of confrontation which the
9 corps maintained throughout the zone of the brigade against the Muslim
11 Q. In the material that was available to you, did you come across any
12 fact, any circumstance, or piece of evidence that the Commander of the
13 Drina Corps, up to the day of the appointment of Radislav Krstic to the
14 office of the Commander, that is, that the previous Commander had been in
15 any way prevented to command the corps?
16 A. If I understand you correctly, sir, what you're asking is did I
17 come across any piece of information that indicates that General Zivanovic
18 was prevented from commanding the corps up to a point in time when
19 General Krstic took over. Is that correct, sir?
20 Q. Yes. That was exactly my question.
21 A. There is one piece of information that I have that would fit into
22 that, and that is an interview taken with General Zivanovic by a Newsweek
23 press reporter, and in this interview, which again I've been unable to
24 substantiate through my own documents, General Zivanovic notes that he
25 relinquished command of the Drina Corps officially at the headquarters in
1 Vlasenica on 11 July 1995, in the early evening. After that, he goes to
2 the military medical centre in Belgrade.
3 Now, clearly putting that in the context of the fact basis which
4 has been introduced to date, we have General Zivanovic signing orders as
5 the Corps Commander on both the 12th and 13th of July, and we have
6 General Zivanovic active in the zone of the corps in communications on
7 14 July, and we have the document from president Karadzic indicating that
8 he is, in fact, officially on paper the Commander through 15 July, where
9 he then becomes the -- on disposal to the Main Staff.
10 So, yes, I have that one piece of information. It's unsupported
11 by the rest of the fact base.
12 Q. That piece of information, has it been substantiated in any way in
13 terms of evidence or exhibits that you have analysed and that you have
14 mentioned in your testimony yesterday and today? Do you have any such
15 piece of evidence?
16 A. No, sir. And as I've indicated, the evidence that has been
17 introduced today refutes that version of events.
18 Q. Mr. Butler, can we say that the composition of the Corps Command
19 is made of the Commander, the staff, and the assistants, the assistants
20 being the assistants of the Commander for the Security, then morale and
21 religious issues, and Assistant Commander for Logistics?
22 A. I would add the Chief of Staff into that mix, but, yes, sir, that
23 is correct.
24 Q. That would have been the second part of my question. So can we
25 agree with this assertion or not?
1 A. That is correct, sir.
2 Q. Speaking of the staff, is it composed of the Chief of Staff and
3 the assistants, Assistant Commanders for Operations, Intelligence Affairs,
4 and also Commanders of special departments or branches of the army?
5 A. That is correct, sir.
6 Q. The Chief of Staff, is he in charge of controlling and commanding
7 the staff and coordinating the work of the command in general, of the
8 headquarters in general?
9 A. That is correct, sir.
10 Q. Can we finally conclude -- or, rather, reach a conclusion as to
11 the duties and authorities of the Chief of Staff, and can we therefore say
12 that the competence is the authority pursuant to the regulations on the
13 authority of the Corps Command in peacetime from 1990 is such authority
14 and such competence that are vested with the Chief of Staff?
15 A. If I understand your question correctly, are you -- you're asking
16 if the 1990 corps regulations are an accurate reflection of the roles and
17 responsibilities of the Chief of Staff?
18 Q. Exactly, yes.
19 A. Yes, sir. Those are baseline foundational documents which
20 demonstrate that.
21 Q. So that would be the exact roles and responsibilities of the Chief
22 of Staff, nothing more, nothing less than what has been provided for in
23 the regulations that we mentioned?
24 A. No, sir, that's incorrect. As I've indicated yesterday and on
25 previous testimony, these regulations are baseline foundational documents
1 with which then the corps themselves will articulate instructions on how
2 to accomplish and do the specific tasks.
3 As an example, I use the JNA 4th Corps document which shows how a
4 JNA corps, and later to become a VRS corps, takes those two bulk
5 regulations, those baseline regulations, and in fact makes specific
6 guidance and instructions pertaining to how their corps command and staff
7 will operate.
8 So it will be an unfair statement to say that the regulations as
9 stated are exact, and that in every case, a Chief of Staff or any staff
10 officer would be strictly bound by them.
11 Q. Is there any legal document which provides that the Chief of Staff
12 would be bound by them?
13 A. There is no specific legal document relative to the RS law and
14 defence or the RS law and the army that specifically pertains to what a
15 Chief of Staff is bound or not bound to. However, in reviewing those same
16 laws, it's specific that the soldiers and the officers of the army will
17 follow the regulations and the instructions and the orders of those
18 individuals appointed over them and carry out the instructions as such.
19 So it's a general roll-up, it's not a specific designation.
20 Q. According to your opinion, was the Chief of Staff of the Drina
21 Corps, that is, did the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps have any
22 large -- any more authority than the authority that is provided for in
23 the said regulations, Regulations On the Authority of the Ground Forces
24 Corps Commander In Peacetime?
25 A. I believe, sir, that he had additional authority, and what I use
1 to back that belief up is the series of exhibits and other things that
2 have come out of the fact base to do that. My belief is that the actual
3 standard that was being applied or that was being exercised is a standard
4 that is reflected in the JNA 4th Corps document pertaining to the roles
5 and responsibilities of the Chief of Staff.
6 And as I had previously noted, the regulations and provisions
7 certainly made account for the fact that in a wartime environment, lessons
8 would be learned, and that those lessons would be applied accordingly; and
9 the JNA document 1991 is published, the 4th Corps document, reflects many
10 of the lessons learned as a result of JNA military operations in Croatia
11 in early 1991.
12 Now, the documents that I have, and there are specific exhibits
13 that demonstrate that, indicate that the Chief of Staff of the Drina
14 Corps, at that time General Krstic specifically, was giving orders and
15 directions to subordinate brigades that would have, in theory, been over
16 and above the designated competence of such if one goes back and looks at
17 that 1990 document, both the provisional regulations and the peacetime
19 So, again, the 1990 provisional regulations and peacetime
20 regulations being the foundational documents, and the units as they
21 evolved through a wartime environment, making adjustments to those
22 regulations to suit the combat needs of the corps.
23 Q. Can we agree that the regulations of the 4th Corps is a body of
24 regulations that were issued by the 4th Corps of the JNA?
25 A. That is correct, sir.
1 Q. And let me please finish my question, Mr. Butler.
2 But is it also true that the two corps -- that the Drina Corps has
3 no physical relation, is something completely different than the 4th Corps
4 of the JNA?
5 A. I believe that I've noted that. And again, it is not my intention
6 to infer that the Drina Corps in any way, shape, or form was bound to
7 follow the instructions of another corps. The point that I'm making is
8 the fact that in those specific regulations, the Chief of Staff roles and
9 responsibilities, I see those reflected through the fact basis and my
10 analysis of those being the actual roles.
11 Q. Mr. Butler, would it be true to say that the doctrine of the
12 former JNA, including the 4th Corps, at the times of the events that took
13 place in Croatia in 1991, that the doctrine was different from the
14 doctrine of the VRS in 1995?
15 A. I would observe that, as I've noted before, while there were
16 changes made to reflect wartime experience, the base doctrine and the base
17 operating methodologies were the foundation of how the VRS conducted
18 combat in 1995.
19 Q. In your report in paragraph 2.10 on page 13, you speak about the
20 Chief Commander. I must say that I am -- when you say Chief Commander or
21 the Main Commander, the Defence is somewhat confused, and we think that
22 you probably want to say that there are some additional, some other,
23 Commanders. Can we conclude from your statement here that there would be
24 some kind of dual or concurrent command?
25 A. No, sir. I believe that in this case, we're both victims of a bad
1 translation between English and B/C/S. What I'm noting in this case, and
2 the phrase that I use in English, is the overall commander, and in the
3 cases where you have groupings of multiple forces, one individual is
4 appointed to be in command of the groupings of forces. That is the
5 overall or, in my mind, the Superior Commander of those groupings of
6 forces. So in this case, I think we're the victims of a bad translation.
7 Q. I should like the situation to be that way. So that can refer to
8 the Commander-in-Chief of the area in question and during the relevant
9 times, that is, the times you are discussing in your report.
10 Mr. Butler, am I correct in understanding you, that you are
11 referring to the Commander-in-Chief in a specific place at a specific
13 A. No, sir. I would not use the phrase "Commander-in-Chief." In my
14 vocabulary, the phrase "Commander-in-Chief" would roughly equate to either
15 the president of the republic or the Commander of the Main Staff, and I
16 don't want to make that designation. What I am saying is that when I use
17 the phrase "the overall commander" in a series of groupings where various
18 military units are grouped together and an individual commander is
19 designated, and maybe the best way to explain this is to refer back to the
20 Main Staff order of 17 July 1995, whereas part of that order a group of
21 units were identified, a specific zone was articulated, and then a
22 specific individual, a Colonel Keserovic, I believe, was identified as the
23 Commander of those groupings of forces, and that is the context in which
24 I'm trying to place the phrase "overall commander" in, those types of
25 groupings, sir.
1 Q. When the four provisional types of command were established in the
2 month of July, or four temporary command relationships, as you refer to
3 them in 2.11, does that mean that the unity of command was impaired in any
5 A. I don't believe impaired, but these temporary command groupings,
6 in some cases, were resubordinated to a formation outside the Drina Corps
7 or were resubordinated in operating under the Drina Corps control. So
8 while command responsibility for some of these groups shifted outside of
9 the corps, I wouldn't use the phrase "impaired" in any way.
10 Q. Speaking of the role of the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps and
11 bearing in mind the regulations, would any different type of role in any
12 way endanger the principle of the unity of command?
13 A. With respect to the Chief of Staff and putting it into the context
14 of, for example, July 1995, we have the example of during the operation
15 Krivaja-95, the Chief of Staff was in charge of or commanded the tactical
16 portion of the operation against Srebrenica until that point in time when
17 General Zivanovic and General Mladic showed up. And even after that
18 period he was actually the person responsible for the specific directives
19 to the brigades. He was in command of those formational units and
20 directing their activities during the period he was still the Chief of
21 Staff of the Drina Corps and General Zivanovic was the Corps Commander.
22 General Mladic was the Commander of the Main Staff.
23 So I don't see how a circumstance in that regard would or could be
24 potentially interpreted as something improper within the framework of
25 unity of command.
1 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me. Commander of the Main Staff is equivalent
2 to the Chief of Staff?
3 A. No, sir. I'm sorry. Commander of the Main Staff, General Mladic.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. In that case, that is, during the period from the 6th until the
6 11th of July, did the Chief of Staff obey orders of his superior, that is,
7 the Corps Commander?
8 A. I believe that's a factual statement, yes, sir.
9 Q. Does that follow from the stand that only the Commander has the
10 competence to command unless he transfers that authority to his
12 A. The Commander, as articulated under the body of regulations,
13 instructions, and other orders, is the sole authority to command the corps
14 at that level. And while the regulations and the instructions and other
15 orders allow for him to delegate authority down to other officers to
16 include the Chief of Staff, to include Assistant Commanders, to include
17 other staff officers, for that matter, it specifies that he, the
18 Commander, retains the responsibility for the actions of those
19 subordinates in those command positions.
20 Q. Mr. Butler, the unit, the 65th Protective Motorised Regiment [sic]
21 based in Nova Kasaba or, rather, with the command post in Nova Kasaba, was
22 a unit of the Main Staff of the army of Republika Srpska, was it not?
23 A. The unit in question was the Military Police Battalion of the
24 65th Protection Regiment. It was in Nova Kasaba. It was directly
25 subordinate to the Commander and command of the 65th Protection Regiment,
1 and that regiment was directly subordinate to the Main Staff of the VRS,
2 sir, yes.
3 Q. Is there any evidence to prove that after the 15th of July, during
4 the search of the terrain south of the Konjevic Polje-Nova Kasaba road
5 that crimes were committed in that area during the sweep-up operations?
6 A. My answer to that would be that while I'm not going to qualify
7 whether it is or is not evidence, I have information from the Bratunac
8 daily combat reports which indicates that numbers of other prisoners were
9 taken by the Bratunac Brigade units in that area through July, through
10 August, through September, and we've demonstrated and put in those
11 documents as exhibits.
12 We don't have qualified numbers of how many people were taken as
13 part of those sweep operations, and we don't have hard facts because there
14 were none taken by the brigade as to names or locations as to what the
15 ultimate disposition of these people who were captured in the sweep
16 operations or what happened to them. So again, I can't qualify it as
17 evidence, but I certainly have a fact base which shows that prisoners were
18 being taken in those areas after the date in question, sir.
19 Q. Colonel or Lieutenant-Colonel Ignjac Milanovic -- please correct
20 me if I'm wrong -- addressed a proposal to the Corps Commander -- I'm
21 referring to Exhibit 537 -- in which he makes certain suggestions as to
22 how a military tactical situation on the ground should be addressed. Do
23 we have any evidence to show that the Corps Commander acted in accordance
24 with those suggestions or, to put it differently, that he accepted that
25 proposal and naturally translated it into an order?
1 A. If you could wait for a few seconds, sir. I believe they're
2 getting me the exhibit now.
3 Okay, sir, in reference to your question, and again, you
4 specifically designated, you know, this in response to the Corps Commander
5 on 15 July, working under the premise that General-Major Krstic is the
6 Corps Commander on that date, what we see here is first in accordance to
7 your orders, a very specific designation. We also note that it's sent to
8 the corps IKM to the attention of the Commander. Taking this, and I won't
9 revisit the series of instructions in it, what I've concluded is that if
10 you review the Bratunac Brigade daily combat report for 16 July 1995, and
11 I do not know the exhibit number of that offhand, that that combat report
12 reflects the series of applications which I infer to a decision being
13 made, and further, how the Brigade Commander is carrying out those
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: That's Exhibit 539 for the -- if it's considered
17 A. As I noted earlier, those are indicated in paragraph 2.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
19 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I'm sorry.
20 Q. Is this proposal in line with military regulations regarding
21 conduct in the area of combat operations, and generally under the
22 circumstances in which the Bratunac Brigade found itself after the 11th of
23 July, 1995?
24 A. Sir, this reflects not the Bratunac Brigade, but this reflects the
25 series of circumstances which the Drina Corps found itself after 11, 12
1 July, and in this specific case, the circumstances of 15, 16 July 1995.
2 So I wouldn't limit it to the Bratunac Brigade at all, sir.
3 Q. When I said the Bratunac Brigade, I had meant that these
4 activities were taking place in the area of responsibility of the Bratunac
6 A. The activities occurring in that scope of the area, while a large
7 portion were in the zone of the brigade, it was not exclusively within the
8 zone of brigade, sir.
9 Q. Mr. Butler, can it be said that the operation Krivaja-95 was
10 completed on the 11th of July at about 1800 hours at the time when the
11 units and the Command Officers of the Drina Corps entered Srebrenica?
12 A. Sir, I don't have the information that would specifically allow me
13 to answer an exact day and time the operation ended. The only broad
14 inferences that I can make would be that in one instance, presumably the
15 operation would end prior to the beginning of the following operations
16 Stupcanica-95, although that does not necessarily have to be the case; you
17 can run multiple operations simultaneously. And I would further refer you
18 back to the comment by Colonel Pandurevic in one of his interim combat
19 reports -- and memory fails me. It's either the 15th or the 16th I
20 believe -- where he specifically notes that he doesn't consider the
21 operation Krivaja-95 completed until after all of the issues are dealt
22 with in the zone of the Zvornik Brigade.
23 Q. On the basis of your military, practical, and theoretical
24 expertise, and the positions of your military doctrine, the system you
25 belong to, what is meant when it is said that an operation has been
1 completed, and when does it actually come to an end?
2 A. That's a very broad question. There is no formula for that. In
3 many cases, in a finite sense, in terms of time, an operation ends at a
4 given date and time that's specified in the order. If the goal of the
5 operation is the destruction of a force or the seizure of an objective, it
6 ends upon the completion of those missions.
7 I guess the broadest way to put it is, the operation ends when the
8 Commander declares that the mission is completed. There's no fixing of
9 date, time, or circumstances, other than a designation by the Commander.
10 Q. Mr. Butler, could you tell us whether there is any act, any
11 document, Command document, whereby the special MUP Brigade or Police
12 Brigade was placed under the command of the Drina Corps?
13 A. In that instance, the document that I would refer back to is the
14 Krivaja-95 operations order which indicates as part of the reserve forces
15 of the Drina Corps, that two or three companies of MUP forces will be part
16 of that. Based on where we've discussed on the issue of reserve, I infer
17 that to be that those three companies are operating under the command of
18 the Drina Corps.
19 Q. In the order that you are referring to, those three companies are
20 in the reserve?
21 A. They are dedicated -- they are designated as the corps reserve,
22 yes, sir.
23 Q. Do we have any evidence to show that those three companies were
24 actively deployed in combat?
25 A. Considering that I do not have the Drina Corps orders or combat
1 logbook which reflects their orders and operations for that, there's no
2 way that I can say at what point in time they were or were not deployed.
3 The best that I can note pertaining to that is witness testimony and the
4 video exhibits which show the MUP Police in the Srebrenica area and along
5 the Bratunac-Potocari Road 11 -- I'm sorry, 12, 13 July 1995, and
6 references to their continued presence and other Drina Corps or Bratunac
7 Brigade specific documents through the 15th and 16th.
8 Q. Does that mean that the same principle of inference can be used
9 for the cessation of activities by MUP units in the zone of responsibility
10 of the Drina Corps, that is, the termination of their deployment?
11 A. I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand what you're asking me. Could
12 you ask me the question or rephrase it, please?
13 Q. You have told us that you have no documents of the Drina Corps to
14 show when those units were deployed in the operation that was ongoing in
15 the area. My question is, do you know when the need to deploy those units
16 ceased, when there was no longer any need for them to be deployed?
17 A. Again, because I don't have the documents, I would be unable to
18 give any form of a judgement as to when the exact date would be, sir, no.
19 Q. Mr. Butler, we now come to chapter 3 of your expert opinion. In
20 your opinion, and on the basis of your analytical work about which you
21 testified in the examination-in-chief, did the UNPROFOR members fully
22 execute their obligations as provided for by the resolution of the
23 Security Council and the agreement on the demilitarisation of
24 Srebrenica -- or rather, of the safe area?
25 A. You're asking me a question way over my pay grade, sir. I don't
1 believe that I can make a judgement as to whether or not a particular UN
2 force fulfilled its mandate as required by the UN. That's over my scope
3 of expertise, sir.
4 Q. Mr. Butler, I'm sorry, I really didn't have that in mind in
5 preparing for this cross-examination, but I came across one of your
6 conclusions in studying your report, and that is what prompted this
8 Let us leave the United Nations aside. But could you tell us, did
9 the Muslims respect the obligations emanating from the UN resolution and,
10 of course, from the agreement, the signed agreement on demilitarisation?
11 A. I believe that the information basis which we forwarded to date
12 reflects the fact that Muslim armed military units continued to operate
13 out of the safe area, yes, sir.
14 Q. I am now referring to the presence of General Zivanovic, referred
15 to in paragraph 3.6, in the zone of responsibility of the Bratunac
16 Brigade, and my question has to do with the 3rd and 4th of July. In the
17 combat and tactical rules on the deployment of units in the military that
18 you come from, are such activities provided for as customary, as a regular
19 component part of the operation?
20 A. I believe what you're referring to and what I'm referencing here
21 is what in the JNA, as adopted by VRS doctrine, is called the Commander's
22 reconnaissance, in which the Commander, in many cases, physically takes
23 his subordinate Commanders to a position where they can overlook the
24 battlefield, and they will discuss, as part of the planning process, what
25 steps are to be taken, what steps are not to be taken.
1 I can say that we have a similar Commander's reconnaissance as
2 part of the US army doctrine as well, sir.
3 Q. So this is something that is quite legitimate, is it not?
4 A. It's --
5 Q. And it applies to both the Commander and the Chief of Staff?
6 A. Yes, sir.
7 Q. Can the Chief of Staff, as part of the organisation of the corps,
8 have the right to issue preparatory orders and information so that the
9 units can prepare in the best possible manner for the execution of
10 assignments and carry out the orders of the Commander?
11 A. Preparatory orders are, and again as I've testified, are a normal
12 and expected part of a military operation in order to allow subordinate
13 units to -- they are the time to gather the necessary resources prior to
14 the actual conduct of an operation or to even -- even prior to the actual
15 receiving of the operations plan. I believe the regulations note -- I
16 believe they note that the Commander is responsible for publishing the
17 preparations order. However, again it wouldn't be uncommon for the Chief
18 of Staff to publish a preparations order if necessary.
19 Q. After this preparations order comes the order of the Commander for
20 active combat, this order being within the competence of the Commander, in
21 this case, the Corps Commander.
22 A. The order again actually assembled and all the portions of it, and
23 if you go back and understand through the JNA documents and the VRS
24 documents how the actual command and staff planning process works, it is a
25 very formalised process, particularly with respect to large orders, where
1 the staff organs and functions coordinate their activities, and this
2 process occurs under the direction of Chief of Staff.
3 The end result of this process is the presentation to the
4 Commander of various military options to achieve the goal that the
5 Commander has designated. After the Commander chooses the designated
6 option that he wants to exercise, the staff turns around and takes that
7 option and publishes it as an order to be executed by the brigades and the
8 remainder of the corps units. So I didn't want to oversimplify the
9 process, but essentially what you're saying is essentially correct, sir.
10 Q. Mr. Butler, in the course of your analytical work, did you come
11 across any more precise or detailed information or data about the strength
12 of the 28th Division, its structure, its composition, its weaponry,
13 generally the elements that characterise a military unit such as the
14 28th Division?
15 A. If I recall correctly, if you look at the Krivaja-95 OP order, the
16 beginning paragraphs of that OP order specifically outline the Drina
17 Corps's understanding of the enemy dispositions in the enclave. Further
18 to that, as you asked what other data I possessed, we had the limited
19 records of the 28th Division that were captured by the Drina Corps, the
20 Zvornik Brigade specifically, at Srebrenica and were in the custody of the
21 VRS for several years before we, in effect, reseized them back, and we
22 have some documents that come from the Milici Brigade which further
23 outline their view of the Muslim strength and military compositions within
24 the enclave.
25 So I believe that the documents indicate that the VRS had a good
1 understanding of the enemy that they faced inside the enclave, sir.
2 Q. You said that on the 9th of July, the Muslim military and civilian
3 leadership decided to abandon the enclave. This is paragraph 3.12.
4 A. No, sir. In paragraph 3.11.
5 Q. Yes, yes. You're right. I'm sorry. 3.11.
6 A. In paragraph 3.11, what I say is that by the evening of 9 July,
7 the situation was rapidly becoming critical for the Muslim civilians and
8 military leadership in Srebrenica. I believe, as I've previously
9 discussed, my understanding is the decision by the Muslim military and
10 civilian leadership to abandon the enclave occurred on the evening of
11 10 July.
12 Q. In view of that decision, the decision which was substantiated in
13 Exhibit 404/2, I believe --
14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, could I have your
15 assistance, please.
16 Q. So in view of this decision dated 9 July, reached in the evening
17 hours of that date, was it to be expected -- was anything else -- could
18 anything else be expected from the Serbian army except from their entering
19 an empty town?
20 A. I'm sorry, are you asking me what my view of the expectations of
21 the VRS would be pertaining to when they -- what the circumstances would
22 be when they entered Srebrenica?
23 Q. My question is as follows: If we have in mind the decision that
24 had been reached, and also if we bear in mind the fact that the Muslim
25 population was abandoning the city and withdrawing in the direction of
1 Potocari, was any other decision of the Drina Corps -- would any other
2 decision of the Drina Corps be reasonable except from the decision to
3 enter an abandoned, empty town?
4 A. Okay, sir, I understand your question. The first thing that I
5 would point out is that, again, this being a Bosnian Muslim document from
6 a Serb municipality, I would in no way enter that the VRS gained
7 possession of this document prior to or anywhere as part of the 9 July
8 decision-making process. So this is an unknown fact to the army of the
9 Republika Srpska.
10 Secondly, as indicated by the previous testimony, the forward
11 command post of the Drina Corps had excellent line of sight. The army was
12 in the hills and the town is in the valley. They had good visual
13 observation of the town, and, as such, they should have had a good
14 indication of what the state of the town was, and the reports being
15 received from their units pertaining to whether or not the town was going
16 to be defended or what the status of the civilian population or -- excuse
17 me -- what the status and location of the UN forces would be.
18 So given all of that, and particularly with respect to exhibit,
19 this is an after the fact piece of information that I would not assume
20 that the VRS knew about on 9 July.
21 Q. But in any case, in view of the position of the RKM and the
22 intelligence data and everything else that was followed by the army of
23 Republika Srpska in terms of events that were taking place in Srebrenica,
24 it is obvious that at one point in time they did have knowledge and
25 information that the town was abandoned, that it was empty, that is, that
1 the Muslim population was withdrawing from the town.
2 A. The best that I can say is that certainly by the evening of 9 July
3 1995, and again based on the directive from the Supreme Commander,
4 president Karadzic, and again based on the success to date of the
5 operation by the army of Republika Srpska, the military was given
6 permission to continue to advance in the town.
7 What one reads back from that is speculation, but certainly the
8 circumstances existed, to the knowledge of the president, that now the
9 goal of actually taking the town was open to them and they chose that
11 Q. Units of the 10th Sabotage Detachment were also spotted in
12 Srebrenica. I think we can agree on that assertion.
13 A. That is correct, sir. They were identified there over the
14 foothills where they arrived on 10 July, and they were in the town on 11
15 July, yes, sir.
16 Q. Mr. Butler, the 10th Detachment or, rather, the number of soldiers
17 of the 10th Detachment, was that number of soldiers such a significant
18 military asset that was -- that would have been indispensable to the units
19 that were taking part in the attack on the takeover of Srebrenica for the
20 purpose of those specific military operations?
21 A. Now, sir, now you're asking me to comment on the military
22 judgement of certainly General Krstic and General Mladic, individuals who
23 have many more years of leading troops than I do.
24 What I would say, though, is that given the fact that the mission
25 objective had now changed to essentially trying to physically occupy an
1 urban area, given the fact that within a military context of the attack,
2 urban area combat certainly in the US army doctrine is considered to be
3 one of the most difficult, dangerous, and high casualty potential
4 operations, and given the fact that the members of the 10th Diversionary
5 Unit were in fact extremely highly trained soldiers, the addition of even
6 the limited number of those soldiers to the actual units that were going
7 to assault the town would not have been an unreasonable addition for any
8 military commander to want to make.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, would this perhaps
10 be a convenient for you to have a break?
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We will have a 20-minute break.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.42 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
16 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. Mr. Butler, speaking of the character and composition of the 10th
18 Sabotage Detachment, which was a reconnaissance and sabotage unit in its
19 nature intended for combat activities inside the enemy territory, and in
20 view of that fact, can we conclude that the unit, as such, could not be
21 made part of the combat operations in Srebrenica on the 10th of July?
22 A. I would refer back to the statements and testimony of Drazan
23 Erdemovic which, in fact, indicates that the 10th Diversionary Unit was
24 operating as part of the Drina Wolves, the Zvornik Infantry Brigade
25 elements, that conducted combat on 11 July. They became part of that
1 unit, or were at least tactically attached to that unit in the evening of
2 10th July. I wouldn't conclude that at all, sir, no.
3 Q. In your research, did you come across a piece of evidence which
4 would support the fact that the Main Staff of that unit was resubordinated
5 to one of the units of the Drina Corps?
6 A. As translated, your question reads to me "the Main Staff of that
7 unit," and I don't understand, what unit is that that we're referring to,
9 Q. There has obviously been a misunderstanding.
10 Do we have any evidence that the Main Staff of the VRS had
11 resubordinated the 10th Sabotage Detachment to a unit of the Drina Corps?
12 A. I do not have a specific document relative to the operations
13 orders or anything of that nature which indicates that the 10th
14 Diversionary was resubordinated to the Drina Corps for that aspect of the
15 operation. Again, I draw my conclusion based on the testimony of Drazan
16 Erdemovic and the fact that how they tactically operated as part of that
17 unit, the military judgement would be that they are, in fact, attached to
18 the unit at the time.
19 Q. Mr. Butler, the events in and around Srebrenica were taking place
20 throughout the war and since 1992 up until 1995, and I will take the
21 liberty and conclude that Srebrenica was, strategically speaking, a
22 problem -- a thorn in the thigh of the army of the Republika Srpska.
23 Bearing in mind the fact that even before the relevant times, certain
24 events had happened involving Srebrenica, can we say that as early as the
25 10th of July when it was obvious that the VRS would enter Srebrenica, that
1 everybody wanted to end up as a winner, as a victor in that combat,
2 including, of course, the 10th Sabotage Detachment?
3 A. When you say "everyone," I will assume that you're talking about
4 the army of the Republika Srpska side of everyone. The conclusion that
5 you've noted is that everyone wanted to be there or to be seen to be there
6 at the eve of a significant victory, and I would say that certainly the
7 physical appearance of Mladic showing up at that time supports that
8 conclusion, yes, sir.
9 Q. My question referred to the units, Mr. Butler, including the 10th
10 Sabotage Detachment and the police as well.
11 A. In that regard, that while individuals and commanders may want to
12 show up and be part of the publicity programme, I would not credit that to
13 military units. The 10th Diversionary in and of itself does not show up
14 at a designated point on the battle for a photo opportunity.
15 Taking that aside in a military complex -- or context, even, is
16 the fact that, remembering that there are still significant combat
17 activities occurring, the VRS does not have a clear indication of where
18 the Muslim 28th Division is and what its future intentions are; and as,
19 you know, their own forces are operating in the battlefield, and we're
20 talking about an environment with a lot of life ordnance going both ways,
21 military units just don't show up unannounced and in undesignated zones.
22 That's a real easy way to get a lot of your own people killed.
23 Q. From the establishment of the IKM at Pribicevac for the purposes
24 of the operation Krivaja-1995, did you come across a piece of evidence as
25 to which Commanding Officers of the Drina Corps were present at that
1 location from the 4th of July onwards?
2 A. I have several pieces of information pertaining to that, yes, sir.
3 Q. As regards the information of the 4th of July, do you know the
4 composition of the Command staff at the Pribicevac forward command post?
5 A. Before answering your question, sir, and keeping in mind the
6 agreement that the Prosecution and you have made pertaining to some parts
7 of information, I would request that we go into closed session to discuss
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey?
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Your Honour, I would support Mr. Butler on
11 that. I'm not precisely sure, of course, what his answer is, but I think
12 it would be on the safe side if we go into closed session.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, then. We will move
14 into private session.
15 [Private session]
13 page 5384 redacted – private session
13 page 5385 redacted – private session
13 page 5386 redacted – private session
18 [Open session]
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Madam Registrar tells me
20 that we are already in public session. You may continue, Mr. Petrusic.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Butler, we are now discussing chapter 4 of your report. The
23 date is the 11th of July.
24 In your opinion, the directive of the president, Mr. Karadzic,
25 number 01-1340, on the appointment of Deronjic as the civilian
1 commissioner for the Serbian municipality of Srebrenica, that directive,
2 as regards the duties, the responsibilities, and the authority pursuant to
3 that decision, to that directive, would you doctor that directive to be
4 ambiguous or perhaps contradictory in certain of its portions? I'm
5 referring to footnote number 90.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] For the record, Exhibit
7 number 404/2, footnote number 90.
8 A. In my view, I would say that the information is relatively
9 specific. However, I would note that the investigation has gained
10 information that indicates that certainly the individual in question was
11 less than clear about his role, sir.
12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. The information that you mention is not available to us, that is,
14 they cannot be found within the materials submitted as evidence, as
15 supporting material.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, that sounds like a statement to the
17 Prosecution more than it does to the witness, and we can discuss that, and
18 if we want to discuss this topic, there's many other -- there are other
19 investigative materials, of course, that have not been provided to the
20 Defence, and if we are going to discuss those issues, we prefer that it be
21 done in closed session.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic.
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] For the time being, I will withdraw
24 my question. If later on we have to move into private session, I will
25 bring up the issue again.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
2 Mr. Petrusic. You may continue with your questions.
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Butler, in that presidential decree was there any mention of
5 the Drina Corps? I'm not referring to specific individuals, so I think
6 you can give me an answer to that question.
7 A. There is no specific reference to the Drina Corps in this
8 document, sir.
9 Q. I should now like to go on to discuss the meeting of the 11th of
10 July, in the evening, about 10.00, attended by representatives of the
11 Muslim authorities and the Commander of the Dutch Battalion, as well as
12 representatives of the military and civilian authorities of Republika
14 At that meeting, General Mladic, on behalf of the party he
15 represents, has the main say; is that correct?
16 A. As a representative of the army of Republika Srpska,
17 General Mladic is doing most of the talking, yes, sir.
18 Q. The other commanding officers of the Drina Corps are present, who,
19 without any exceptions, are all quiet; they are silent. Is that correct?
20 Or, rather, they do not take part in any of the discussions at that
22 A. My understanding is that is correct.
23 Q. On that day and at that time, General Krstic was the Chief of
24 Staff of the Drina Corps, wasn't he? Wasn't he? I'm sorry.
25 A. Yes, sir. At that meeting and during that time, I believe he was
1 the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps.
2 Q. So we can agree that General Zivanovic was the Corps Commander at
3 the time?
4 A. That is correct, sir.
5 Q. In your opinion, Mr. Butler, relative to everything that was said
6 by General Mladic, if the Drina Corps command did not agree with that,
7 would the Corps Commander have to express that disagreement or the Chief
8 of Staff, in the event that they disagreed?
9 A. That being an individual military-style judgement call, if you
10 were, there are two possible courses of action which I could conceive of.
11 The first one would be that specific disagreements, General Krstic as the
12 Chief of Staff would take them to General Zivanovic as the Corps
13 Commander, request guidance and explain where he understands the problems
14 to lie. If the disagreements were of a minor nature and did not have to
15 do with either substantive policy issues and just perhaps reflected a
16 misunderstanding about the abilities or the resources of the corps to do
17 something, then General Krstic, as the Chief of Staff, could, presumably
18 after the meeting, remind General Mladic that because of other orders and
19 considerations that they would be either unable to carry out some tasks or
20 that in order to carry out some tasks they would have to suspend others.
21 How the individual officer in question chose to deal with those issues
22 would be very much circumstance dependent.
23 Q. I understand you, as discussing the individual reactions and their
24 individual positions, but if you view the corps as an institution, which
25 it is, which has its own Commander, and bearing in mind the rights and
1 duties of that Commander, would that be the obligation of the Commander to
2 express any such disagreement?
3 A. Again, I would refer back to depending on the context of the
4 disagreement, and I'm also placing it in the military context of the Chief
5 of Staff. For example, an issue where the Chief of Staff might be very
6 knowledgeable pertaining to the amount of resources needed to move people
7 from point "A" to point "B," he might very well immediately know what the
8 answer is, that they can or cannot support that, and would conceivably
9 take the opportunity to remind the general, in this case General Mladic in
10 question, that, "Sir, you realise what you said that if we're going to do
11 that, we'll need additional resources."
12 But again, those are minor technical issues. In a certain
13 major -- on major related issues, and I won't speculate on to what the
14 qualifying line would be, certainly the Chief of Staff would be -- the
15 most appropriate course of action for him would be to go to the Corps
16 Commander and express his disagreement with the course of action that has
17 been articulated by the Superior Commander.
18 Q. You're placing this in the context of the Chief of Staff, but can
19 you also place that within the context of the Corps Commander and his role
20 and attitude towards the same issue?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: I object at this point as to vagueness, Your
22 Honour. These discussions are so open ended that the answers are not
23 relevant and are -- in many cases the questions aren't, for vagueness.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, what is your
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] In my view, the objection is
2 unfounded in view of the fact that Mr. Butler is referring to the Chief of
3 Staff context. I'm just asking him to give me the same answer with
4 relation to the Corps Commander in relation to the same problem. I think
5 the question was quite clear.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey, any additional
7 remarks to make?
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: No, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, continue, please,
10 with your question.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation].
12 Q. So, Mr. Butler, do I need to repeat the question? In the context
13 of the Corps Commander, what would be the attitude of the Corps Commander
14 relating to any objections he may have and any disagreement with what the
15 Commander of the Main Staff has said?
16 A. Without commenting on an individual's mental state or attitude,
17 with the respect of the Corps Commander, conceivably he has a similar
18 series of options. The first option would be to approach the superior in
19 his case, the Supreme Commander or Superior Commander in this case, and
20 since we're talking corps, let's put a name "General Mladic" on it just so
21 we don't get confused, and express the fact that either he disagrees with
22 the course of action or that he agrees with the course of action, but just
23 does not have the required resources to carry out an activity.
24 With regards to another avenue, it would not be unusual for a
25 Corps Commander to approach General Mladic's staff, the Main Staff, and
1 indicate that for a variety of reasons, he may or may not be able to
2 comply with certain orders. And again, I don't want to speculate what
3 those reasons can and cannot be, but that is a legitimate avenue of
4 approach to him in order to deal with militarily fundamental issues.
5 I suspect his third avenue of recourse, the other two either
6 failing and depending on how strongly the individual Commander in question
7 felt about an issue, that he has the option of availing himself to his
8 Superior Commander, which in the case of a Corps Commander, General
9 Mladic's boss, that would be the President of the republic.
10 And again, without context and without speculating as to what the
11 individual rationale would be, those would be, in my mind, the three broad
12 categories or avenues that he would have open to him.
13 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpreter] Could I ask Exhibit 404/2, footnote
14 20, to be placed onto the ELMO, the report of the Dutch, the Dutch
15 Battalion, paragraph 514.
16 Q. Mr. Butler, bearing in mind the telegram Mr. Akashi sent to the
17 Security Council of the UN regarding the transport and evacuation of
18 refugees, and his proposals that efforts must be made to reach agreement
19 with the army of Republika Srpska to allow the entire population of the
20 enclave, including all men, to depart for Tuzla, and this is dated the
21 11th of July, what would be your position regarding the legal
22 characterisation of the charge of deportation in the indictment in view of
23 this, in this context?
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection. Calling for a legal conclusion which
1 is not appropriate for this witness.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic?
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Regarding a legal conclusion, I
4 agree with the objection; but regarding the facts, my question is, do
5 these facts in any way influence the position of Mr. Butler regarding the
6 evacuation or resettlement of the population.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Sorry, Mr. Petrusic, I gave you
8 the floor to respond to Mr. McCloskey's objection.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I don't really have a problem with
10 his second question, as long as he's not asking Mr. Butler to comment on
11 charges in the indictment. I don't think we should get that far.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, then. You heard the
13 remark of the Prosecution. You can ask the question, but without asking
14 for any legal conclusions from this witness.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. I accepted the
16 objection made by Mr. McCloskey regarding any legal conclusions.
17 Q. So my question now has to do with the facts, whether the facts
18 contained in this paragraph change in any way your position, Mr. Butler,
19 regarding the role of UNPROFOR in Potocari in connection with the
20 evacuation and transportation of the population. I have to use these
21 terms so as to avoid any legal terms such as "deportation."
22 A. Sir, I'm not sure that I ever made a qualified opinion or
23 judgement as to what I believed the Dutch were or were not doing in
24 Potocari on the 12th and 13th with regards to the movement of the civilian
25 population out of Potocari.
1 I acknowledge that they're there; certainly the video footage
2 shows that they're part of the process. The testimony and observations
3 showing that they were disarmed as part of the process can infer that they
4 clearly weren't seen as equals within the eyes of the VRS. But again, as
5 I've not made an opinion as to what they are doing or not doing, I have no
6 opinion to change in that matter.
7 Q. You gave your opinion, Mr. Butler, on the basis of the meeting
8 that took place, the presence of representatives of the Dutch Battalion,
9 their Commander, General Karremans, and General Mladic, paragraph 4.4.
10 And bearing in mind the fact that mention is made here of high officials
11 of the United Nations, senior officials, does this have any bearing on the
12 view that there was a previously prepared plan by the army of Republika
13 Srpska for the transportation of the population or their evacuation?
14 A. There are two issues there, and I'll respond to both of them. The
15 first issue, in paragraph 4.4 of my report, I want to clarify that I'm not
16 stating an opinion; I'm listing the facts. An opinion of what that is and
17 what that means is not part of that.
18 Now, responding to your second question, sir, as I've noted in my
19 report and I'm not sure I've testified about it because I don't believe
20 the Prosecution indicated it was germane for that, it has been my opinion
21 and based on the fact basis and all of the other information to date, I
22 certainly conclude that there were no prior plans for the movement of the
23 Muslim population out of either Srebrenica or Potocari by buses as early
24 as the evening of 11 July.
25 Let me back off that just a bit. There were no visible,
1 observable events that would indicate that. Where I qualify that is
2 visible, observable pieces of information, the early morning message
3 requesting buses from the Drina Corps units, the additional series of
4 orders to the Minister of Defence that come out through the Main Staff
5 pertaining to buses, those are observable instances which I use to qualify
6 the judgement that there was no plan in existence.
7 Now, moving back in time from that, it's very difficult to put a
8 mark in the sand as to when at a point in time the army of Republika
9 Srpska made a decision or was following a decision from the governmental
10 leadership to execute that plan or begin to start putting the pieces
11 together to execute that plan. The reflection of the facts that I have
12 and the evidence that I have is that we start to see the manifestation of
13 that in the early morning hours of 12 July 1995.
14 Q. On the basis of the evidence at your disposal, was it, I think for
15 the first time on the 9th of July, that the possibility is mentioned of
16 the army of Republika Srpska entering Srebrenica, that is, the town
18 A. That is correct, sir, the evening of the 9th of July.
19 Q. Was it on the same date that the decision of the Muslim
20 representatives of the civilian authorities that made the decision to
21 abandon the town?
22 A. No, sir, I disagree with that. If you are, in fact, referring to
23 the prior exhibit that was shown, and I believe it's one of the footnotes
24 to my report, it in no way, shape, or form, from my reading, indicates
25 that a decision is made. What they're saying is that the members of the
1 28th Division of the ground forces are no longer able to prevent the
2 aggressor forces from entering the town. They're asking for them, the
3 BiH, to see if there's a possibility of opening a corridor to move the
4 population. They need a reply in the next 24 hours, indicating that they
5 hadn't made a decision yet if they're waiting for a reply. And as the
6 information from Colonel Karremans that I believe was previously submitted
7 to the Court indicates, he in fact met with those individuals during the
8 evening hours of 10 July.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I'm referring to Exhibit 404/2,
10 footnote 41 [sic], for the record.
11 A. Is this the correct exhibit, sir, just so I make sure I've got
13 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Yes. Yes, Mr. Butler.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, it's all right. We
16 don't need it.
17 Q. Mr. Butler, speaking about the separation of men or, rather, the
18 checks made by the Security Organs of the army of Republika Srpska to
19 establish any possible criminal charges, can this be said to be a
20 customary procedure under the circumstances that occurred in Srebrenica?
21 I'm referring to the security checks made only?
22 A. Given the history of the area, where many aspects of military
23 operations on both sides were frequently identified by the other side as
24 being criminal in nature, the fact that we have a 12 July 1995 list from
25 the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade containing several hundred names, and
1 the exact number escapes me at this moment, but it is dated 12 July 1995,
2 certainly lends credence to the theory that in that particular instance,
3 they were -- the security officers were conducting checks to -- or at
4 least had the means to conduct the checks in so much as a listing of names
5 of the Muslim males.
6 Now, having noted that piece, that the means existed, the other
7 side is that the events that occurred, as testified by the witnesses and
8 some of the survivors, indicates that in most cases, individual
9 identification of the Muslims were being destroyed by the soldiers in
10 Potocari, which would have been counter-productive to the first purpose.
11 Q. Mr. Butler, if the liquidation of prisoners is part of the plan,
12 is there any reasonable explanation why they would be moved from certain
13 locations that are tens of kilometres away from Bratunac and brought to
14 Bratunac, and then several days later from Bratunac, transported through
15 the zone of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade, which is also tens of
16 kilometres away, and then liquidated at locations which are quite well
17 populated, doesn't it seem to you that this entire project, especially
18 keeping prisoners at a location such as Bratunac, could have been called
19 in question or compromised by the public, and as a result, the public
20 would become aware of the intentions of those behind it? In other words,
21 the intentions would be revealed to the public.
22 A. That's a real long series of questions, so again what I'll do is
23 I'll deal with each specific issue in turn.
24 If I understand the first part of the question, "moved from
25 certain locations," and it says on my computer monitor "from Bratunac and
1 then brought to Bratunac," and just to clarify, from Bratunac to
3 Q. Let me make myself clearer. Is there any realistic or rational
4 explanation why prisoners would be collected from various locations and
5 brought to Bratunac, held there for several days, and then from Bratunac
6 taken to the Zvornik Brigade zone, which again is dozens of kilometres
7 away, and in relatively well-populated areas, executions carried out?
8 So Bratunac could be described as a kind of collection centre from
9 which then the prisoners were distributed to various other locations.
10 A. In that regard, yes, sir, that's exactly how I do identify
11 Bratunac, as the initial collection centre.
12 Going to, again, the first issue and setting aside the larger
13 aspects of potential criminal intent and looking at this individual case
14 strictly on an issue of logistics, as I've discussed, given a finite
15 number of buses or resources to move the civilian population from
16 Potocari, it's not unreasonable and my analysis is that the decision was
17 made to move the civilian population out first.
18 Now, clearly during the process, while you're moving the civilian
19 population out over the longer stretch of road while those buses are
20 moving, they're out of circulation longer, over the longer distance. If
21 you play the numbers game, you can use a lot fewer buses shuttling
22 prisoners over the relatively short distance, 10 kilometres, less than
23 that, I believe, from Potocari to a collection site in Bratunac, then it
24 would take -- if you wanted to move them simultaneously to the execution
25 sites in Zvornik, but the first goal being get them out of Potocari. So
1 in that respect, you can rather rapidly push them and put them into
2 facilities in Bratunac with fewer resources than it would take to take
3 them in buses and move them directly from Potocari to Zvornik at the same
5 So in that case, technically speaking, the availability of
6 logistics assets, again within determination of what the priority of
7 movement for the people was, would play a significant factor, as would the
8 availability of fuel. And certainly by the 13th and the 14th, the fact
9 basis supports the fact that the VRS was very actively looking for fuel to
11 Moving to the next part of the question. They were in Bratunac as
12 a collection centre, and as the fixed facilities filled up -- and we've
13 talked about those fixed facilities, the hangar, the school -- prisoners
14 who were taken along the Nova Kasaba-Konjevic Polje-Bratunac road were
15 placed and held in the transportation assets on the evening of the 13th.
16 So in retrospect from a planning perspective, moving the civilian
17 population out first was a smart move because if you had tried to do it at
18 the same time, you would have run out of buses very quickly because you
19 ran out of space to hold them in Bratunac.
20 The third aspect that Mr. Petrusic indicated was that as you are
21 putting all of these prisoners into Bratunac, certainly the civilian
22 population is going to find out about what's going on just by sheer
23 numbers alone, one would think. And further, as most of the survivors who
24 were held in facilities in Bratunac indicate, there were, in fact, summary
25 executions of a small scale, one or two or ten in some cases, occurring in
1 that whole area. So certainly the sound of gunfire would have been
2 alerting people. And I believe the investigation has indicated that many
3 people in the Bratunac area were aware that Muslim prisoners were, in
4 fact, being stored there.
5 As I've noted in my narrative, I also discuss the issue that there
6 is an intercept that we have between Miroslav Deronjic and an individual
7 in the office of the President on, I believe, 14 July, although I'd have
8 to verify the date, that indicates that Miroslav Deronjic understands that
9 there's an awful lot of people in Bratunac, and he's receiving
10 instructions from the office of the President that these people need to be
11 moved out of there, get them out of warehouses.
12 Now, we see the movement of those prisoners out of the Bratunac
13 area starting the late afternoon -- or I'm sorry, starting the early
14 evening of 13 July, and we see them moving into the zones of the Zvornik
15 Brigade. And again, here I would defer with Defence counsel that the
16 sites in question were not, in fact, public sites. They were, one, in
17 generally remote areas; two, under military control; and far enough away
18 from population areas that it would be relatively simple for the military
19 to secure them away from the eyes of the general populace.
20 In fact, logistically speaking, the most difficult part of the
21 operation pertaining to public disclosure would have been the actual
22 movement of the prisoners from Bratunac to those locations, because during
23 that, that's where they would have had to transit the municipality -- or
24 the actual city of Zvornik, that's where they would have come through, the
25 civilian population. So in that regards, the actual sites where they were
1 holding these prisoners wouldn't qualify as public as all; it would
2 qualify as a relatively isolated facility.
3 Q. The cultural centre in Pilica, is it not in the very centre of
4 that town? Can it be said that the Pilica Cultural Centre is in the
5 centre of the town of Pilica?
6 A. My understanding is that it is in the centre of town, yes, sir.
7 Q. Mr. Butler, I know that it's not easy to speak about this whole
8 situation. I don't -- I hate to use the word, but it -- the "plan," but
9 if it was all a part of the plan, if indeed one can talk about a plan,
10 would it not have been easier to liquidate the prisoners in the collection
11 areas, at the very spot where they were rounded up, which was far away
12 from the public eye? Let me take the example of Sandici.
13 A. First of all, my understanding is that, at least on one individual
14 case, that there was one, maybe more, executions at Sandici. Further
15 extrapolating that, several hundred of the prisoners from Sandici were, in
16 fact, marched to and executed in the Kravica warehouse, again, in a public
18 Kravica warehouse and, to some extent, the Pilica Dom, as you've
19 noted, are public places and stand out as significant differences to the
20 more private executions that occurred in other locations. Now, the
21 difficult part, as you noted, for me is trying to take those two different
22 circumstances which resulted in mass executions and fold out how those
23 fell back into the plan, and I don't know that I can make that leap from
24 point "A" to point "B," sir. I could speculate a lot, but it would mean
25 very little.
1 Q. Bearing in mind your general view and the conclusion about the
2 issue, is it true to say that the units which participated in the capture
3 had as their assignment to collect, to round up, or physically capture the
4 Muslims, and to hand them over for transport in the direction of Bratunac?
5 Was that their only assignment, and is it true that they, bearing that in
6 mind, wouldn't know anything about their fate after that?
7 A. Again, several questions, and let me take them in turn. Was that
8 their only assignment? The units, and for the sake of this discussion I
9 believe we're talking about the units along the road from Bratunac to
10 Konjevic Polje to Nova Kasaba, they had two missions at the time: The
11 function of engaging the column as it was going past, and as part of that
12 function, dealing with Muslims who had surrendered or who had been
13 captured from that column.
14 As the Dutch witnesses and other witnesses who were part of that
15 process have previously testified, in many cases, there were summary
16 executions of one or two or several along the road as those were
17 occurring. And certainly, as the Dutch soldiers went by and certainly
18 some of the other survivors went by, there were bodies on the road.
19 Certainly Kravica warehouse happens at approximately 1700 on 13 July. We
20 have a mass execution that occurs in the Cerska Valley sometime during the
21 afternoon of the 13 July, and we have several smaller killings, the Jadar
22 River killing and things of that nature, that are all occurring on 13 July
23 along that road.
24 So again, trying not to put myself into the mental state of
25 individual soldiers or small unit commanders who were putting people on
1 buses and sending them to Bratunac, I'm not sure that I would make the
2 conclusion that these individuals had no idea or would not have any idea
3 what would be happening to those Muslims at a later point in time.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would like to
5 suggest a break at this point.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, we will accept your
7 proposal gladly, Mr. Petrusic. We will have a 20-minute break.
8 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 12.37 p.m.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Petrusic, please continue.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Before
12 we continue with the examination of the witness, Mr. Visnjic pointed out
13 to me an error. Page 37, line 21 on the transcript, Exhibit 404/2,
14 instead "footnote number 41," there should be "footnote 73."
15 Q. Mr. Butler, do you have any knowledge as to whether there was any
16 other unit from the 65th Regiment, apart from the military police, which
17 was located in Nova Kasaba, that is, whether there was any other unit
18 located in that area?
19 A. In one direction of the road, I believe on a map it's further to
20 the west, you have Milici, the headquarters of the 1st Milici Light
21 Infantry Brigade, and moving the other direction up the road you have the
22 headquarters of the 5th Engineer Regiment -- I'm sorry, I believe it's
23 5th Engineer Battalion of the Drina Corps at Konjevic Polje. Further, at
24 Konjevic Polje, there are some indications that one or two elements of MUP
25 Special Police or MUP municipal police were at the Konjevic Polje location
1 as early as March as a result of the thinning of the lines in that area,
2 and the MUP was requested by the army to take over some of the military
3 security-related functions on the terrain. I believe this MUP unit moved
4 in, the documents indicate, in March of 1995.
5 Q. Mr. Butler, the 65th Protection Regiment, does it have a motorised
6 battalion amongst its members? Do you have any such information?
7 A. My understanding of the 65th Protection Regiment is that there is
8 at least one motorised battalion. However, that would not be at Nova
9 Kasaba. My understanding is that those units were garrisoned on the other
10 side of Han Pijesak and, in effect, were protecting the Main Staff
11 headquarters which was located, in that distance, very close to the Muslim
12 enclave at Zepa.
13 Q. During that period of time, was there any reason for this
14 mechanised battalion be put into usage?
15 A. Could you be more specific about the time frame, sir?
16 Q. I'm referring to the period of time between -- rather as of the
17 11th of July and then onwards until the end of July. So was there any
18 reason for that battalion to be deployed during that period of time
19 outside the Han Pijesak location?
20 A. My understanding is that the unit was deployed and became part of
21 the operation to take Zepa, sir.
22 Q. Could you tell us, Mr. Butler, which evidence leads to the
23 conclusion that as regards the wider area of Potocari, the presence of the
24 units of Sreten Petrovic was observed, Sreten Petrovic being the Deputy
25 Commander of the 3rd Battalion, and also the presence of Zoran Kovacevic,
1 the Commander of the 4th Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Bratunac
3 A. In the case of Zoran Kovacevic, we have the video still with his
4 name captioned as Zoran Kovacevic and the identification from the roster
5 of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade that he is the Company Commander
6 of -- the fourth Company Commander of the 2nd Battalion.
7 In the case of Sreten Petrovic, we identify him by position first
8 in the 10 July 1995 Bratunac daily combat report, and when I say
9 "identify" I mean in a chronological sense with regards to this, where
10 he's indicated that he had been wounded. And further, one of the
11 witnesses, and off the top of my head I won't speculate which witness it
12 is, indicates -- or I think two of them indicate, in the case of
13 Petrovic -- they give identifications, which putting the two together,
14 lead me to conclude that that was Sreten Petrovic in Potocari.
15 Further, the identification of Sreten Petrovic is noted in the
16 interview that was conducted with Serbian reporter Zoran Petrovic, where
17 he specifically notes Sreten Petrovic also being in Bratunac during that
18 period, although I do not believe he specifically designates which day
19 Sreten Petrovic is in Bratunac.
20 Q. So Mr. Butler, we can note the presence of the two of them
21 personally, and we have evidence to prove that. Is there any evidence
22 that would indicate that the units under their command were present in the
23 same area and during the same time frame?
24 A. Certainly the 13 July 1995 videotape of the events that are
25 occurring in Potocari show a large number of soldiers in the area, and
1 some of them, the soldiers, clearly in green uniforms and armed, are in
2 positions relative to the buses. But the specific task of placing those
3 soldiers within the 3rd Battalion of the Bratunac Brigade, I do not have
4 the specificity of evidence that can make that conclusion. I only
5 conclude their presence by the presence of the Commander, the presence of
6 an individual from the 2nd Battalion who is in a leadership position, a
7 Company Commander, and the fact that given the other events that we know
8 occurred on the battlefield at the time, or at least relative to
9 positional unit locations, it would be logical that they were there.
10 Q. Let me go back to an assertion that was made in respect of the
11 10th Sabotage Detachment. Although I know it's quite difficult to judge,
12 but is it true that when it comes to the mentality of the commanding
13 officers, bearing in mind the fact that they are from the area, that they
14 as individuals wanted to be present there for certain reasons?
15 A. Again, getting into the mental state of a specific commander on
16 the ground, I assume we're talking about these two individuals. In the
17 case of these two individuals, certainly there would be a reason why they
18 would want to be there, yes, sir.
19 Q. Is there any evidence which would indicate that one can reach a
20 reliable conclusion as to who was in charge of securing the positions --
21 or rather, the locations where the prisoners were being held on in
22 Bratunac as of the 13th of July? I am referring both to fixed facilities
23 and the means of transport which were taking them there.
24 A. Based on the variety of the circumstances that are occurring, and
25 the fact that the resources that are part of the process come from over
1 and above the Bratunac Brigade's own limited resources, and the
2 coordination part with the municipality of Bratunac for facilities, and
3 all of the other things that had to have occurred in order to store these
4 people to include the period of the 13th of July, my conclusion is that it
5 would have had to have been at a level of the Drina Corps Command,
6 specifically, the person who would have been responsible for dealing with
7 a lot of the prisoner specific issues, the Assistant Commander for
8 Security, Colonel Popovic; but as I've noted in previous testimony, other
9 aspects involved as well, including the logistical issue regarding the
10 Drina Corps rear staff, Colonel Acimovic and his soldiers, and within the
11 context of this, the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps.
12 Q. In paragraph 6.11 you note under the heading "Specific
13 Observations: Of note, in many instances, it is clear from the overall
14 pattern that many Serb soldiers knew the identities of Muslim prisoners
15 whom they had lived with before the war."
16 Assuming that the town of Bratunac is an urban area in which the
17 civilian authorities have a number of certain competencies, and that
18 includes the military -- the civilian police as well, would it be logical
19 to say that the civilian police in such an urban area would conduct or
20 provide for the security of the prisoners who were being killed in these
22 A. I wouldn't say that at all, sir. The military regulations and the
23 customary practice places that responsibility primarily on military police
25 Q. In view of the fact that the Bratunac Brigade structurally
1 speaking did not have a military police, but that the Brigade Commander
2 had the right to establish such a formation, which he did indeed
3 establish, with these forces, military police forces, would it be possible
4 to secure such a large number of prisoners in these locations?
5 A. In the case of the Bratunac Brigade Military Police, because of
6 the notations in their daily orders journal, one of the observations that
7 I make in both my report and, I believe, in testimony is the fact that the
8 roles that they're performing revolve around providing security for
9 General Mladic, security for the UN forces, and security of the -- or
10 security of the Bratunac medical centre, which of course at that time is
11 filling up with wounded Muslim civilians and military personnel as well,
12 wounded military personnel who are Muslims. I don't want to make an
13 artificial distinction there. So we know what the Bratunac military
14 police are doing during that period, sir.
15 Getting back to the larger scope, given the scale, the sheer scale
16 of the amount of prisoners who were being collected in Bratunac, even if
17 they were not performing that function, I would think that it would be
18 unlikely that that platoon would be able to secure the prisoners.
19 Q. Under the assumption that they were being secured by them in
20 addition to the military police platoon, they were also secured by someone
22 A. That is correct, sir.
23 Q. Would you have any knowledge and information as to what other
24 elements may have been involved in that?
25 A. Getting back to the specific observation that I made in paragraph
1 6.11, noting that many of the survivors knew or had observed the pattern
2 that Serb soldiers knew them because they had lived with them before the
3 war, what I do then is I take that and I use the word "implies," that the
4 units responsible for guarding the Muslims in the town were from the local
5 base unit, the Bratunac Brigade.
6 I make that implication, and I acknowledge that that's what I'm
7 making it on. I don't have additional information which would be able to
8 make that a more firmer conclusion.
9 Q. On the basis of that, could the units guarding them have been the
10 units of the regular police?
11 A. It is my understanding, again, from information developed by the
12 investigation team, that Bratunac civilian police were not involved in the
13 guarding of the prisoners and were, in many cases, up along the road from
14 Bratunac towards Konjevic Polje.
15 Q. The 5th Engineer Battalion that you referred to earlier on, was
16 that a combat unit of the Drina Corps?
17 A. In the US army, for the most part, tactical engineers are
18 considered to be a combat formation. I don't know that within the VRS,
19 that they make that distinction along the same lines that we do, so
20 because of that, I don't know.
21 Q. It was also located at Nova Kasaba, a little further away from the
22 65th Protection Regiment -- or rather, the military police. Was it
23 natural to expect that unit to have its own security on a permanent basis,
24 and especially during the time when the column is moving from Srebrenica
25 in the direction of the zone of the Zvornik Brigade?
1 A. The -- I'm sorry, Nova Kasaba is not the location of the 5th
2 Engineer Battalion. It is, in fact, located at Konjevic Polje.
3 Relative to your comment or question on security, the engineers as
4 soldiers would in effect, like all other soldiers, be providing for their
5 own security in many cases.
6 Q. In your specific observations and at paragraph 6.20, you refer to
7 the 1st Infantry Battalion commanded by Lieutenant Lazar Ostoric and the
8 4th Infantry Battalion commanded by Captain 1st Class Radika Petrovic.
9 Could you, although I know it's very difficult, tell us which
10 region, which zone they secured, these two battalions?
11 A. The two battalions, and as I indicated, and perhaps maybe the best
12 way to do this is to pull out the map exhibit, and then rather than me try
13 to verbally explain it, it would just be easier to point to them.
14 Q. I would be quite agreeable to that, but I'm not sure which exhibit
15 number that map has. I think on this map, one could point to it.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's Exhibit 498 [sic], Mr. President.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
18 Mr. McCloskey. We have seen an example of good cooperation between the
19 two parties. Thank you.
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Of course I too should like to
21 thank Mr. McCloskey.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Apparently that's 485. I'm sorry, Your Honour,
23 I'm mistaken.
24 A. As identified on the map --
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Butler. [In
1 English] Could you move it to the side so Mr. Petrusic can follow. I
2 don't know if it's possible or not. In a way that the Prosecution can see
4 A. I apologise for making this so hard. Maybe I shouldn't have asked
5 for the map.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: No. Thank you very much.
7 A. As indicated on this map, the 1st Battalion boundary location's
8 just to the west of Bratunac to this area south of Glogova, and the
9 4th Battalion, during the period along the enclave actually ran along the
10 former enclave boundary.
11 Now, what happened relative to the events of 12 and 13 July 1995,
12 was that as the column was moving out, the units in fact came up to the
13 road. In effect, the road became the forward line of troops from this
14 position here out. And for other units, 1st, 2nd Battalion, starting on
15 the 14th, after the events of the 13th had occurred, the units went back
16 in and started conducting sweep operations. So this, based on the
17 information we have, is a relatively accurate portrayal of those battalion
19 The one item that is undesignated is where the western or
20 right-hand boundary in case -- or left-hand boundary in this case, looking
21 at it your way, of the 4th Battalion boundary ends and where another
22 formation picks it up. We don't get a firm designation of the
23 4th Battalion boundary until the 14 July OP order by the Bratunac Brigade
24 which established them operating through Sandici.
25 Do you need me at the map more, sir, or ...
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. I was interested in learning whether we have any knowledge about
3 the neighbouring unit to the 4th Battalion to the left-hand side, but
4 obviously we do not have that information.
5 A. Well, sir, what we don't have is where the boundary is. We do
6 understand and the investigation has indicated and the other information,
7 the evidence, indicates that MUP forces were operating to the west along
8 the road from an undesignated area towards Konjevic Polje. So while I
9 can't place a military unit there, the evidence to include Bratunac daily
10 combat reports indicate that MUP units were out there.
11 Q. Mr. Butler, please correct me if I'm wrong, but if I understand
12 you correctly, you said that on the road, Kravica to Konjevic Polje, there
13 were MUP units present. Is that correct?
14 A. The elements of the Ministry of the Interior police units are
15 noted along the road in both the daily combat reports and are also
16 observed along the road as part of the 13 July 1995 Petrovic video.
17 Q. Are the units on the Petrovic video the ones wearing flak jackets
18 as part of their equipment?
19 A. Going back to the exhibits tendered, the specific photograph that
20 I tendered relative to flak jackets, those individuals I identify as army
21 members. Looking at other photographs of the MUP soldiers that are out
22 there from the stills that we have from the video, many of them do not
23 appear to have flak jackets. Some of them may be wearing flak jackets
24 underneath other clothing that's not plainly visible. So with that
25 regard, I wouldn't make the qualification that MUP units were or were not
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts
1 wearing flak jackets.
2 Q. In an infantry brigade or at a lower level, an infantry battalion,
3 do battalion members have, as a component part of their equipment, such
4 flak jackets?
5 A. I would suggest that if they didn't have them, they would want
6 them. But looking to the situation specific to Bratunac and Zvornik
7 Brigade, as we have their documents, we note that the Zvornik Brigade has,
8 as part of their inventories, a large number of flak jackets, as is
9 reflected. We know that in the case of the Bratunac Light Infantry
10 Brigade, not only did they apparently not have flak jackets, they did not
11 have helmets. So while I'm not sure whether or not, formationally
12 speaking, infantry battalions within the former JNA and VRS are
13 specifically entitled to have forms of ballistic protection jackets, flak
14 jackets, as part of their organisational equipment, certainly if the units
15 could get a hold of them, the soldiers were wearing them.
16 Q. In normal conditions in the army of Republika Srpska, this was not
17 a component part of the equipment?
18 A. I don't have enough information pertaining to the entire scope of
19 the Army of Republika Srpska to answer that question positively or
20 negatively, sir.
21 Q. You said that the Zvornik Brigade had in its possession some of
22 that equipment. According to what we could see on the video, the Petrovic
23 video as well as others, was a part of that equipment being used by
24 members of the so-called elite units of the Zvornik Brigade under the
25 command of Jolovic, that is, the Drina Wolves?
1 A. Certainly as the video demonstrates and as previous video exhibits
2 note also, the members of the Drina Wolves, the Podrinje Detachment, had
3 in many cases or were seen in many cases wearing those forms of ballistic
4 protection. But as the Petrovic video indicates, other soldiers had them
5 as well. It was not exclusive to any elite unit.
6 Q. In any event, Mr. Butler, we exclude Drina Wolves from this
7 location, Konjevic Polje-Kasaba. They were not seen in that area, were
9 A. I have one indication from a witness who, on 13 July 1995,
10 observes a van which that witness indicates has the insignia of a Drina
11 Wolf on it. That is the only report or the only piece of information that
12 I have of a Drina Wolf unit or somebody identifying somebody of the Drina
13 Wolves in that area.
14 I would just specify, since I don't see it on the transcript, that
15 that location was identified at Nova Kasaba.
16 Q. No, not Nova Kasaba but on the road between Konjevic Polje and
17 Nova Kasaba was my question.
18 A. I don't believe the witness was that specific. He says at Nova
19 Kasaba. I don't believe he specifies whether it's on the road prior or
20 not, sir.
21 Q. There obviously seems to be a misunderstanding between us,
22 Mr. Butler.
23 Mr. Butler, on what grounds do you make the conclusion that the
24 Intelligence and Security Organ of the Bratunac Brigade designated Kravica
25 as the place where the prisoners would be held and informed lower-level
1 units about it?
2 A. In this respect, I believe you're referring to paragraph 6.25 of
3 my report, and again I note that related to the fact base that inferences
4 can be drawn, several of them in this case. The inferences that I draw
5 based on the totality of the situation as I understand it and the fact
6 basis, and I believe I've gone over that in my direct testimony so I won't
7 revisit that whole area, indicate that with the units of the Bratunac
8 Brigade operating there primarily, that they would have privacy for
9 particularly some of the prisoner operations there.
10 Again, the inference that prisoners were being assembled at
11 Kravica and as a result somebody had to have designated Kravica, the
12 warehouse, as a collection location, and somebody had to have transmitted
13 that out to the other formations, and at the end of the paragraph 6.25, I
14 note that it should have been a function of the Intelligence and Security
15 Branch of the Bratunac Brigade. I can't specifically conclude that it
16 was, and I believe that I note that I can't conclude specifically that it
17 was in my report; but I note that it should have been their job and
18 function to do that based on all of the other facts surrounding those
20 Q. Mr. Butler, we've come to chapter 7 or 7.0 of your report. Can it
21 be said that the depth of the zone of the Zvornik Brigade, that that
22 territory was far removed from the combat positions and operations in
23 relation to the locations where executions were taking place?
24 A. I believe that as part of the report and, again, as part of my
25 direct testimony I've identified the locations where the executions took
1 place and showed, particularly with respect to the execution sites at
2 Orahovac, Petkovci, Branjevo Military Farm, and Kozluk, where those
3 locations are -- I'm sorry, and Pilica Dom, where those locations are
4 relative to the combat that I understand was occurring on those given
5 days, sir. So I don't want to make a general blanket statement that it's
6 near or far; I believe I've been very specific about it, sir.
7 Q. So that is your final reply to my question?
8 A. My reply is that as part of the report and my testimony, I've been
9 very specific as to the locations. Your question was, would I agree that
10 it's near or far, and again, with respect to the location of the execution
11 site and the combat on any given day, the answer is situation dependent.
12 I've qualified those in my report and my direct testimony exactly where
13 the combat was occurring at a given time, and placed the physical location
14 of the execution site where it is in respect of that combat.
15 So again, rather than talk in a broad generality, I believe I've
16 specifically designated where the sites are in relation to the combats on
17 a given day.
18 Q. Yes, Mr. Butler, I'm certainly not disputing that, so allow me to
19 go on to my next question.
20 In your opinion, Mr. Butler, the Command of the Zvornik Brigade in
21 his report dated 18 July to the Drina Corps Command, does he know about
22 the fate of the prisoners who were held in schools in his zone of
24 A. When one reads the 18 July interim combat report, and when you
25 read it in conjunction with his previously-authored 15 July interim combat
1 report discussing the issue of security obligations and terrain
2 restoration, I can conclude that he was aware of the fate of the people in
3 those schools.
4 Q. The restoration of the terrain, that is a parameter, is it a
5 determinant on the basis of which you come to that conclusion? Is it an
6 element in the process of conclusion that you make?
7 A. The elements pertaining to the conclusion that I make are not
8 based on one specific statement or one specific phrase. The elements that
9 I base my conclusion pertain to the broad reading of the 15 July interim
10 report; the fact that when you look at it in time sequence, that Colonel
11 Pandurevic is just arriving into the zone of his brigade and has been in
12 the zone of his brigade for less than six hours when that report is
13 written; the fact that he very rapidly becomes aware of what's going on,
14 to a point where he's in a position to articulate what's going on, on the
15 15th in the interim report; given the fact that he further articulates
16 numbers on the 18th of July; putting those all together, along with all of
17 the other fact-based information that's out there, that is what I draw my
18 conclusion on, sir.
19 Q. Mr. Butler, written traces and reports on crimes committed, with
20 the exception of the regular and interim reports of the Zvornik Brigade to
21 the Drina Corps Command, do not exist, do they?
22 A. If you define the commission of the crime as the actual period
23 between 15 and 18, I would again remind you that we have two reports that
24 exist during that period. If you expand the elements of the crime out
25 beyond that, we have several pieces of information which further amplify
1 that going into September when they're actually involved in the process of
2 the reburial of the bodies. So again, laying out information, it does
4 Q. Mr. Butler, perhaps I cannot phrase this as a question, but I keep
5 trying to find out why Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic would be sending a
6 report saying that he didn't know what to do with the 3.000 Muslims housed
7 in schools when they had obviously by then already been liquidated.
8 A. I believe, sir, you're reading both reports out of time context.
9 The 15 July interim combat report identifies the fact that his unit is
10 involved with obligations of security and terrain restoration. At that
11 time that that report is sent on 15 July, the prisoners had already been
12 executed at Orahovac and Petkovci. They were still alive. According to
13 survivor accounts and the information derived from the investigation, in
14 the areas of Pilica, Pilica Dom, and possibly the school at Rocevic.
15 Those executions, for the most part, did not occur until the 16th, with,
16 again, the possible exception of Kozluk which may have occurred as early
17 as 15 July. We don't know, and certainly I can't tell from documents on
19 On the 18th of July after the completion of all of the executions,
20 of all the mass executions in the zone of the Zvornik Brigade, it is at
21 that point that Colonel Pandurevic identifies the number 3.000 and
22 associates it with Muslims who were held in schools in the Zvornik
23 municipality, his zone.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic, I think that
25 this would be an appropriate moment for a break. I think a quarter of an
1 hour will be sufficient, 15 minutes.
2 --- Recess taken at 1.33 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 1.47 p.m.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Mr. Butler, we are now on the Exhibit number 609.
7 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I should like the assistance of the
8 usher, please.
9 Q. In this regular combat report, Commander Pandurevic says that:
10 "This command can no longer take care of these problems because it does
11 not have -- as it has neither the material nor other resources. If no one
12 takes on this responsibility, I will be forced to let them go."
13 In your opinion, Mr. Butler, if there is a plan to liquidate -- a
14 plan for liquidation which the Commander of the Zvornik Brigade is
15 familiar, would he submit such a report to his Superior Command?
16 A. Given the circumstances that were occurring in the zone at the
17 time and bringing it back several days, and as I've previously noted in
18 both my report and direct testimony, when you look at the movement of the
19 column and the size of the column, it appears that looking at the totality
20 of the information, the only people who really had an accurate feel for
21 how dangerous the column was to the zone would be the Deputy Commander of
22 the Zvornik Brigade at the time, Major Obrenovic. And as reflected in the
23 intercepts and written reports culminating with the interim report on 14
24 July, he is very urgently requesting the return and assistance of corps
25 units because of the developing danger.
1 And again as I note both in my report and in direct testimony, the
2 general impression is that the remainder of the Drina Corps is playing
3 down the threat. They don't believe Dragan Obrenovic, that it is as
4 serious as it is. Certainly they become aware by 14 July, in the evening
5 hours. It is an extremely significant threat. And again, we've gone over
6 that as part of my cross-examination, just how significant the threat was,
7 how it was perceived to be to him.
8 Putting it back in the context of a plan, again understanding that
9 the plan involved the movement of people up from Bratunac, understanding
10 that the plan involved putting them in several locations, going back in
11 time to when a decision must have been made to do that, prior to the
12 actual understanding of how dangerous this column was and what type of
13 military threat it represented. So here you have the plan of executing
14 these people on mass scale on one hand, you have the developing threat of
15 the column getting closer to the Zvornik Brigade, and they didn't
16 anticipate the column, and they certainly didn't anticipate how
17 significant a threat it was to them. Certainly within the scale of the
18 corps, the Zvornik Brigade, on the other hand, saying, "This is
19 significant. We need help."
20 So understanding that is the scope of the context and then looking
21 at this on 15 July 1995, Colonel Pandurevic understanding both of those
22 factors, it's completely reasonable that he'd send a report like that to
23 the Corps Commander, essentially telling the Corps Commander, "I can fight
24 the column. I can execute the prisoners. I can't do both simultaneously,
25 somebody has got to handle something." And within that context, that's
1 how I come to the opinion and that's how I make that particular
3 Q. Major Obrenovic and, later on, Colonel Pandurevic, on the 14th or,
4 rather, on the 15th of July, are taking care of the breakthrough of the
5 Muslim column. This specifically concerns Major Obrenovic on the 13th and
6 the 14th of July.
7 On the 14th of July, in the morning hours, the column of Muslim
8 prisoners is moving from Bratunac towards the locations in the area of
9 responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade. We do not have any information,
10 any evidence, or rather let me put it this way: Is there any evidence
11 which would indicate that Major Obrenovic is indeed informed at least
12 about that fact, the fact that the column of Muslim prisoners will be
13 placed in the locations where they were eventually placed?
14 A. If I understand your question correctly, what you've asked is do I
15 have a specific piece of information that indicates that Major Obrenovic
16 knew that the prisoners were being placed in those specific locations. Is
17 that correct, sir?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. I do not have a specific piece of information that says that.
20 What I have is the picture that I build relative to the larger context,
21 the fact that the Military Police Company or elements of that company go
22 to Orahovac, the fact that the Engineer Company is at Orahovac during and
23 after the execution.
24 Certainly Major Obrenovic was responsible for placing the military
25 police in the lines and the ambush positions on 12 and 13 July, and
1 certainly in one specific instance I have information that Major Obrenovic
2 was aware that the Commander of the military police was removed from those
3 lines on the late evening of the 13th of July, 1995. And as the log of
4 the Military Police Company indicates, him and 13 other people were at
5 Orahovac on the 14th, starting late evening of the 13th through the 14th.
6 So while I do not have a specific piece of paper that indicates
7 that Major Obrenovic knew, I have a lot of inferences, and one specific
8 fact that he knew that his police commander was pulled off the lines. In
9 fact, he pulled him off the lines and reports him going to the standard
11 So that, coupled with the fact that, again, Colonel Pandurevic
12 arriving in the zone after being at Zepa from the early morning hours
13 of -- or late evening hours of 13 July, early morning hours of 14 July,
14 and being out of the zone of the Zvornik Brigade since essentially 6 July,
15 comes back into the zone of the Zvornik Brigade, rather quickly gets an
16 appreciation for what is specifically going on in his entire zone, to
17 include an awareness of security obligations and terrain restoration,
18 somebody had to have informed Colonel Pandurevic of all those things.
19 Major Obrenovic as the Deputy Commander of the brigade, Colonel
20 Pandurevic's Chief of Staff, and arguably the most knowledgeable person of
21 what's going on in the zone of the Zvornik Brigade during that period, is
22 the logical person who would have done it.
23 Q. Colonel Pandurevic returns to his area only because of the combat
24 activities with the column of Muslims who was moving through. That was
25 the only reason for his return to his area.
1 A. Is that a question, sir?
2 Q. Yes. Was that the most dominant and the only reason of his
4 A. It would certainly be the most pressing reason why he would
5 return, but I could not possibly speculate as to other reasons why he may
6 have returned.
7 Q. Mr. Butler, you had access to a large number of documents of the
8 Bratunac and the Zvornik Brigades; is that correct?
9 A. Those are among the many sources of information I had access to,
10 yes, sir.
11 Q. In the area of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade is also the
12 town of Bratunac itself, as you have stated.
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. Taking into account all available materials that you had access
15 to, is there any document on the basis of which the Commander of the
16 Bratunac Brigade, his Chief of Staff, informs the Commander of the Zvornik
17 Brigade or his Chief of Staff that in his area of responsibility, a couple
18 of thousands of prisoners will be coming, that he's expecting the arrival
19 of several thousands of prisoners in his area of responsibility.
20 A. The Bratunac Brigade Commander physically located in his zone, the
21 Chief of Staff of the Bratunac Brigade accompanying the unit down to
22 Bracan, Colonel Pandurevic who until the morning, or certainly the
23 afternoon, early evening hours of 13 of July, is still in the zone of the
24 Bratunac Brigade, and Major Obrenovic in the zone of the Zvornik Brigade,
25 and I only just note that because I want to place their physical locations
1 on the ground.
2 Having done that, no, I don't have any written piece of
3 information that notes that, but realistically speaking, and given how I
4 understand the Drina Corps to work and how a corps operating methodology
5 works, that would not be the responsibility of the brigade to do that.
6 That would, in fact, be the responsibility of the corps staff to
7 coordinate those actions between two subordinate brigades. And if you
8 review paragraph 7.3 of chapter 7, one of the few pieces of information
9 that we have that we can infer to be part of that planning process is the
10 travels of a military police vehicle from the Zvornik Infantry Brigade to
11 various sites which later become holding sites, and one of those trips on
12 13 July is down to Bratunac.
13 So specifically in answer to your question, between those four
14 correspondence, the answer is "no," but I wouldn't expect the answer to be
15 "yes" given the situation and the roles and responsibilities of the
17 Q. Do you want to say, then, that this particular activity, the
18 transfer from the area of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade to the
19 Zvornik Brigade area of responsibility, is taking place at the level of
20 the corps?
21 A. I would expand that more than just the actual transfer from point
22 "A" to point "B." The entire programme represents coordinated activity
23 between the brigade Commands and the corps Command, as the higher
24 headquarters, and clearly in response to directives from the Superior
25 Command, that being General Mladic. This is -- the entire scope of this
1 type of an operation doesn't happen in isolation; it all is happening in
2 response to something.
3 Q. Mr. Butler, the documentation of the Drina Corps, at least in
4 accordance with what you say, is something that you were not in the
5 position to study. Would that be a correct statement? At least, a large
6 portion of that documentation.
7 A. As I've noted previously, certainly in direct testimony, we do not
8 have the Drina Corps records and documents that we knew or know should
9 have reflected their activities during this time period. We have over the
10 series of last couple of years been requesting that material, and as the
11 Court understands, a series of those documents are subject to
12 Court-directed binding orders for production. The last word that we have
13 received, again, comes from the RS Minister of Defence, indicating that
14 those documents are not available.
15 So within that context, I know that there is, in fact, material
16 out there; I know that I don't have access to it. And what I've tried to
17 do, based on the material that I do have, is try to construct a map or a
18 series of documents that I know that the Drina Corps did send that other
19 agencies did receive based on order numbers. So I think I have a good
20 idea of what I'm missing.
21 Q. On the basis of what you had access to in terms of documentation
22 of the Zvornik and Bratunac Brigade, and perhaps the orders of the Drina
23 Corps issued to the brigades at a lower level of command, and both regular
24 and interim reports, is it possible to say -- is it possible for you to
25 say with certainty that the Drina Corps and its command staff participated
1 in these -- in all this?
2 A. I believe that I have made that a conclusion of my report, yes,
3 sir. I do not believe that this could have occurred as an organised
4 programme that we see it to be without the Drina Corps and its staff's
5 participation. And certainly as we've gone through in direct and, in some
6 cases, cross-examination, the physical identities of many of the Drina
7 Corps staff members who were part of that programme tends to confirm that,
8 yes, sir.
9 Q. Mr. Butler, we've now come to paragraph 8.43 of your report, where
10 you say: "In reviewing the period prior to the 13th of July 1995, it is
11 clear that General Major Krstic was not only functioning as the Drina
12 Corps Chief of Staff, but he was probably also functioning as the
13 operational Commander for the military forces grouped together for
14 operation Krivaja-95."
15 Is there any evidence that an operational group was formed for the
16 operation Krivaja-95 and that the operational Commander was General Major
18 A. I believe what we have in this case is again a translational
19 terminology issue between the English language military term and the
20 military term as translated into B/C/S.
21 My identification of him is the Operational Commander, is as he is
22 the Commander of the grouped military forces that is conducting the
23 operation. And with that regard, and we've had this previous discussion
24 before on what that means as, you know, the Commander of that grouping,
25 that's the function that he performed. That is not to be confused with,
1 in the B/C/S language, in the military terminology, a formal operational
2 grouping it's called, which in the JNA, as adopted by the VRS military
3 terminology and practice, is a grouping of several units from other
4 formations, and it represents a formalised grouping with a formalised
5 designated Commander and a formal designated staff and that lasts for a
6 designated time.
7 So in this case, I'm referring to the role of General Krstic
8 performing as the Commander of this grouping of forces, not as
9 General Krstic, the Commander of a formalised operational grouping within
10 the terminology of the former JNA.
11 Q. My understanding was, as you have just said, and my question was
12 put accordingly, but even if he is the Commander of the group carrying out
13 combat operations within the framework of the operation Krivaja-95, in
14 that case is an order necessary whereby Major General Krstic will be
15 authorised to carry out that operation?
16 A. Considering within the context that he's the second senior ranking
17 individual in the Drina Corps, that the brigades would be functionally
18 under his control for many aspects of that anyway, I wouldn't see a
19 required necessity to do that. And if one looks at the operations order
20 for the Zepa operation, those same types of things are done, yet
21 General Krstic is not specifically designated as the Commander, if memory
22 serves me.
23 Now, having said that, it would have been prudent for that to have
24 occurred, but it's not a necessity, no, sir. Certainly not for operations
25 conducted within the zone of the corps that he has a formalised position
1 of responsibility in already.
2 Now, if that type of situation were to exist where you had
3 multiple corps units and things of that nature involved, then certainly I
4 would expect to see that to reflect a very clear chain of command for
5 units that are coming outside from other locations so there is no
6 confusion. And when I use the phrase "multiple corps" -- I see it just
7 came up on the transcript -- I'm not talking multiple corps units within
8 the framework of one corps. What I would be giving as an example would be
9 a unit coming in from Sarajevo, Romanjia Brigade or the Hercegovina Corps,
10 something -- multiple corps, in a plural sense.
11 Q. Regardless of the fact that he was Chief of Staff and Deputy
12 Commander, for an execution of an operation of this kind and if the
13 command function were to be entrusted to him for that operation, would it
14 be necessary, according to the regulations and the system of military
15 control and command, for him to be so authorised either by the Corps
16 Commander or the Commander of the Main Staff of the army of Republika
18 A. Certainly the implied command authority is derived from the Corps
19 Commander, the presumption being if the Corps Commander did not want
20 General Krstic to be doing this, the Corps Commander would not have put
21 him in the position to do it. So with that regard, certainly he's
22 operating under the control of the Corps Commander.
23 Q. In that same paragraph, did your studies establish that a
24 statement by president -- that the statement by President Karadzic is
25 correct and that it supports this thesis?
1 A. If memory serves me correctly, the comments made by President
2 Karadzic -- and if possible I'd like to see them just so I don't make an
3 error in memory. I think I'll wait for that, because you can probably
4 understand there are about 5.000 documents going both ways in my mind, and
5 I don't want to make an error in memory on this one. I believe it was
6 tendered as the previous exhibit.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, we should be able to come up with
9 that in a moment.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Perhaps, Mr. Petrusic, you can
11 go on to another question, and as soon as we find the exhibit, you can
12 come back to that question.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Actually, I think we have that, Mr. President.
14 It's Exhibit 99, I think.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So now you can put your
16 question, Mr. Petrusic.
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. President Karadzic stated, and let me paraphrase, that Krstic
19 planned the operation in front of him and he approved it.
20 Apart from the video, do you have possession of that evidence or,
21 rather, has your investigation established that President Karadzic's
22 statement was correct, that is, that it reflects the facts and the
23 evidence in your possession? Does that evidence corroborate this
25 A. The information that I have is broadly corroborated. I mean, the
1 statement is broadly corroborated by that. As to the specifics, can I
2 corroborate the fact that President Karadzic was accurate in his
3 recollection when he made that statement, I cannot do that.
4 Q. Mr. Butler, regardless of Karadzic's statement, can you, on the
5 basis of your analytical studies, say that you reached the conclusion that
6 General Krstic planned the operation Krivaja-95?
7 A. Considering his personal involvement in the aspects of the
8 military operation as they occurred, considering that as the Corps Chief
9 of Staff it would have been his primary responsibility to oversee all
10 aspects of the planning of the operation, I conclude that he, in fact, was
11 responsible for much of the planning if not all of the planning for the
12 military context.
13 Now, that's not to say that he planned every specific detail. He
14 may not have even written the plan himself, composed of his own hand, but
15 the plan is a reflection of the work of the staff officers of the Drina
16 Corps of which he is the functional coordinator and controller of.
17 Q. When you use the word "plan," I assume you mean for the Krivaja
18 operation or the combat order for active combat deployment?
19 A. I am referring in this respect to the Krivaja-95 plan.
20 Q. Yes.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we have another two
22 or three minutes until the end of our planned time, and the Defence would
23 like to go on to the last part of its cross-examination of Mr. Butler, and
24 we assume that we will be able to finish the cross by the first break
25 tomorrow, and that is why I would now suggest that we adjourn for lunch.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, very well, Mr. Petrusic. I
2 think it is a good suggestion. We're going to stop for today, and we will
3 resume work tomorrow at 9.30 to continue your cross-examination. You said
4 it is your last section. Does that mean in private session?
5 So we'll be here tomorrow at 9.30, but for the information of the
6 public, we'll be working in private session.
7 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President. The Defence
8 will continue to cross-examine in open session, and at the very end we
9 will request a private session; but most part of the cross-examination
10 will take place in open session.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, then. So we'll be
12 continuing under normal conditions, that is, in open session tomorrow at
13 9.30. The hearing is adjourned.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.29 p.m., to
15 be reconvened on Friday the 21st day of July, 2000,
16 at 9.30 a.m.