1 Monday, 16 October 2000
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and
6 gentlemen; good morning to the technical booth, the interpreters; good
7 morning legal assistants and registrar.
8 Madam Registrar, please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: This is case number IT-98-33-T, the Prosecutor
10 versus Radislav Krstic.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
12 Mr. Harmon, good morning. Can we have the appearances for this
13 session, please?
14 MR. HARMON: Yes. Good morning, Mr. President; good morning to
15 Your Honours; good morning to my colleagues. With me are my colleagues,
16 Mr. Peter McCloskey, to my immediate right, and to his right, Mr. Andrew
17 Cayley, and to my left, Ms. Kirsten Keith.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
19 Mr. Harmon.
20 Mr. Petrusic, for the Defence, please.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours, my
22 learned friends from the Prosecution. With me during these proceedings is
23 my colleague, Mr. Visnjic, and as from today, we will also be assisted by
24 Ms. Tanja Radosavljevic who will provide technical assistance during this
25 sitting as we consider her assistance necessary. Thank you.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Good morning,
2 General Krstic too. Welcome to you all.
3 So we are here to begin the Defence case. And Rule 84, do you
4 have an opening statement to make, Mr. Petrusic?
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honours, as the
6 Defence has already indicated at the Status Conference held on the 6th and
7 8th of February, the Defence will make a very brief opening statement
8 referring to the evidence that the Defence will rely on this the course of
9 these proceedings.
10 Mr. President, Your Honours, in our case the Defence will seek to
11 prove that General Krstic did not order, participate, or in any way
12 contribute to everything that happened in Glogova, Cerska, Orahovac,
13 Pilica, Petkovci, Kozluk, and all other locations referred to in the
14 indictment. We will seek to prove that there was another parallel chain of
15 command which was concealed from sight, knowledge of General Krstic so
16 that he had no possible means of having any influence over it.
17 In the course of this case, we will provide evidence that General
18 Krstic throughout these events was the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps,
19 and in that capacity, by orders of the Commander of the Drina Corps
20 engaged in combat activities in Srebrenica from the 6th of July, 1995.
21 And upon orders from the Commander of the Main Staff of the Army of
22 Republika Srpska, after the fall of Srebrenica on the 11th of July, 1995,
23 was dispatched to engage in combat operations in and around Zepa.
24 The Defence will seek to prove that the purpose and plan of
25 Operation Krivaja 95 was not to capture the town of Srebrenica, nor to
1 carry out everything that happened afterwards, but to narrow down the
2 enclaves to the city area itself. Units of the Drina Corps entered
3 Srebrenica, which was a deserted town, a town abandoned both by the
4 civilians and the military. The fate of Srebrenica in the past war to
5 appear as if it had been abandoned by the military, regardless of the
6 military of which side. Three times Srebrenica changed hands from the
7 control of one military to another, and it was always deserted.
8 The Defence will present a whole series of evidence of violations
9 of Security Council resolutions whereby Srebrenica was declared a
10 protected area. All violations of this status of a safe area, which
11 lasted for about two years, occurred without any serious warnings or
12 actions being taken first by the Canadian and later by the Dutch
13 battalions. No serious measures were taken to demilitarise the zone and
14 to withdraw the weapons from the area. Humanitarian aid that was
15 dispatched to Srebrenica was, at times, in short supply, but through that
16 same channel, the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was supplied;
17 local bosses gained wealth, black markets cropped up, but one thing is
18 without any doubt true, and that is that there was never a shortage of
19 weapons in the declared safe area.
20 Your Honours, the Defence will focus, in particular, on the
21 Operation Krivaja 95. We will provide evidence to show that that
22 operation was carried out under pressure and that in itself it denies all
23 allegations by the Prosecution that there was a predesigned plan to carry
24 out deportation and commit crimes.
25 In the course of these proceedings, the Defence will seek to prove
1 that General Krstic left the area of Srebrenica on the 12th of July and,
2 with units under his command, embarked upon a new military operation, that
3 of Zepa. The Defence will provide evidence to show that the President of
4 Republika Srpska at the time, Radovan Karadzic, by his decree of the 13th
5 of July 1995, which came into effect a day later, that is, the 15th of
6 July, appointed to the position of Commander of the Drina Corps General
7 Krstic, whereby the de jure situation was established.
8 The Defence will tender evidence to show that General Krstic, on
9 the 20th and 21st of July, 1995, was only then in a position to de facto
10 take over control of the corps and that as of then he has control and
11 responsibility over it. This fact will be corroborated by witnesses that
12 will appear before this Trial Chamber.
13 Furthermore, the Defence will offer evidence to show that
14 General Krstic commanded forces that were engaged in Zepa from the 14th of
15 July onwards, or rather from the moment when they gathered on the 12th and
16 13th of July until the 1st of August. General Krstic will be supporting
17 every officer commanding subordinate units from the time of the fall of
18 Srebrenica until the completion of the Zepa operation. He will say in
19 defence of all of those officers that they acted in a professional manner
20 deign of military officers, that neither he nor any of them besmirched the
21 reputation of an honourable Serbian officer that dates back to the
22 beginning of this century.
23 The Defence will disclose to Your Honours and the Trial Chamber
24 all the documents that it has managed to gain possession of, though we
25 believe that this is only one part of the documents of the army of
1 Republika Srpska that will all go to corroborate our submissions. The
2 Defence was not in a position to gain hold of the report on the handover
3 of duty between the outgoing Corps Commander, General Zivanovic, and the
4 incoming General Krstic who came to take his place. That document
5 certainly exists; it was entered into the book of records. But not only
6 has that document disappeared, but so has the book of records. Someone
7 took care to do this, to get rid of those documents, and that is why
8 General Krstic is here before you.
9 Your Honours, that is all that the Defence has to say in its
10 opening statement, and we would like now to start with the testimony of
11 General Krstic.
12 Mr. President, before General Krstic takes his place in the
13 witness box, the Defence would like to make a request to Your Honours to
14 make it possible during the testimony of General Krstic for us to have
15 unhindered contact with him. The reason for this is that, in the first
16 place, the Defence is of the opinion that the main determining position of
17 the General is the status of an accused, and only then comes his status as
18 a witness. And these two positions distinguish him from what I would call
19 an ordinary witness. This will be an exception in relation to all the
20 other Defence witnesses that will be coming after him, so we appeal to you
21 to grant us this request.
22 The Defence has not discussed this request as it should have in
23 the spirit of good cooperation with the Prosecution for the simple reason
24 that we didn't have time, and so we do apologise to both Your Honours and
25 the Prosecution for failing to do so.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon.
2 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, we believe the request by Defence
3 counsel is reasonable and appropriate, and we have no objections to it.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Regarding the request and the
6 non-objection of the Prosecutor, and in view of the fact that this is
7 indeed an exceptional situation, we will make an exception to the order of
8 the Chamber and we will authorise contact between the Defence and General
9 Krstic after he has taken the solemn declaration.
10 So we are ready now to call General Krstic to the witness box.
11 [The accused takes the stand]
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Krstic, can you hear
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning. Could you please
16 first of all read the solemn declaration that the usher is giving you.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I will. Good morning, Your
18 Honours. I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
19 and nothing but the truth.
20 WITNESS: RADISLAV KRSTIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you, General Krstic. You
23 may sit down now.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please make yourself as
1 comfortable as possible.
2 Before we proceed with your testimony, General Krstic, I have to
3 remind you that you're coming from a different system than ours. In that
4 system, an accused cannot testify. So I have to remind you that you will
5 be testifying under an oath and that you have an obligation to tell the
6 truth. If not, you are likely to face consequences. In our system, the
7 accused have the right to lie, if I may put it that way; however, here in
8 this type of proceedings, you are in a capacity of a witness.
9 I will first give the floor to your counsel, Mr. Petrusic. You
10 are already familiar with the procedure, and you know that you will be
11 first answering questions that will be put to you by your Defence
13 Having said that, I should like to thank you for having decided to
14 testify in the name of the truth.
15 Mr. Petrusic, your witness. You have the floor.
16 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Examined by Mr. Petrusic:
18 Q. General, could you first of all tell us the date and the place of
19 your birth?
20 A. Your Honours, I was born on the 15th of February, 1948, in the
21 village of Nedjalista, situated in the municipality of Vlasenica, in the
22 Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 Q. General, could you describe briefly for us your biography? Tell
24 us where you went to school.
25 A. I went to the primary school in my place of birth, in my village,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 and I completed the elementary school in the town of Han Pijesak, where I
2 also completed my secondary education in a grammar school. Upon
3 completion of my secondary education, I enrolled in the military academy
4 which I attended in Belgrade and in Sarajevo. I began my university
5 education in 1968 at the military academy, and I graduated in 1972,
6 whereupon I became an active-duty officer of the former JNA.
7 Q. You have mentioned three different localities, Han Pijesak,
8 Sarajevo, and Belgrade. You told us about your early childhood and your
9 youth. Could you also tell us something about the places where you lived
10 at the time you were completing your military academy? And could
11 you also tell us something about the ethnic composition of those places in
12 those years?
13 A. I went to the primary school in my place of birth, and that is one
14 of the very few places in the territory of the municipality of Vlasenica
15 which was rather heterogenous when it comes to the ethnic composition.
16 Never had there been any incident, anything that would have been caused by
17 national intolerance. Quite the contrary. We all went to school
18 together, we socialised together, and we had a great respect for each
19 other. This applied also to the elderly population of the village, but it
20 applied in particular to the younger generation.
21 As regards the military academy and the years I spent there in
22 Belgrade, in Sarajevo, I should like to say that the cadets at the
23 military academy were also of various ethnic backgrounds, and I have to
24 stress that we never had any problems, any incidents amongst us which
25 would have been caused by ethnic intolerance.
1 We were always taught,
2 educated, and we were brought in the spirit of Yugoslavia. We were taught
3 to defend and to respect our country, the country of Yugoslavia, which was
4 a community which consisted of various ethnicities of equal nations and
5 nationalities. So that spirit at the military academy was something that
6 was not only nominal and formal for us. It was something that we all
7 strived for, and the idea was to preserve the brotherhood and unity in
9 Q. General, upon your graduation from the military academy, which is
10 a high-level educational institution which lasts four years, you became an
11 active-duty officer and you started your military career. Could you tell
12 us, in brief terms, what was your career like in the former Yugoslavia?
13 A. Yes, I will do that. After I graduated from the military academy
14 and after I became an active-duty officer of the former JNA, I was first
15 assigned to the Sarajevo garrison; more precisely, to the centre of
16 military schools which was called Josip Bros Tito. My first assignment
17 was a platoon commander at the secondary military school.
18 Apart from that duty, the duty of the platoon commander, I was
19 also a company commander, and later on I was a head of class in the last
20 year of the secondary military school there.
21 Q. Bearing in mind those two duties that you fulfilled at the time,
22 apart from the fact that you were an officer, you were also an educator,
23 you were also a kind of teacher. You trained young cadets in that school
24 there. I should like to know, what kind of environment was that? I'm
25 referring to the school where you worked as a teacher and when you were an
2 A. It was not in any way different from the years that I spent at the
3 military academy in Belgrade, in Sarajevo. The only difference, perhaps,
4 was the fact that there were many young people in secondary military
5 schools. Those were children, very young people, and the work with them
6 required a great amount of effort, because those young people were
7 separated from their parents for the first time in their life and they
8 were not used to living in a community.
9 So from time to time there would be an incident here and there,
10 but again, never caused by any ethnic or national intolerance. I don't
11 remember anyone at any point in time asking anyone else about his ethnic
12 background or nationality.
13 So that was the kind of atmosphere where I worked in the centre of
14 secondary military schools. The objective, again, was to fight for, to
15 strive for, the ideals of brotherhood and unity, and I believe that we
16 educated in that spirit the officers who later on -- the people who would
17 later on would become officers and promote the ideals that we taught them.
18 Q. General, could you please slow down just a little bit because I
19 believe that the interpreters are having some difficulty in following
21 A. I will do that.
22 Q. You started a family in Sarajevo.
23 A. Yes, I did. The years that I spent with my family in Sarajevo
24 were, I should say, the best years of my life. That is where I got
25 married, had a daughter. That is where I was given an apartment for the
1 first time. And those were beautiful years of my life.
2 As regards my social contacts outside the garrison, outside the
3 barracks, I have to say that all of us officers whenever we came to take
4 up duties somewhere, we would be new in that particular environment, so at
5 the beginning it was only natural for us to socialise amongst ourselves.
6 However, as time went by, we established more contacts with local people,
7 with the residents of the place where we happened to live at the time and
8 where we spent our free time.
9 The town of Sarajevo in those years had something that other
10 cities in the former Yugoslavia didn't have for sure. This spirit of
11 unity was particularly pronounced in the town of Sarajevo. We never
12 inquired about each other's ethnic backgrounds. We all felt like the
13 residents of Sarajevo. I believe that such an atmosphere lasted until the
14 beginning of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, or rather until the
15 culmination of that crisis.
16 Q. After your tour of duty in Sarajevo which I believe lasted until
17 1981, what did your career look like? What did you do next?
18 A. My tour of duty in Sarajevo ended in 1981, whereupon I was posted
19 to the general staff of the military academy in Belgrade. I can say that
20 that was a dream of all military officers in the former Yugoslavia who
21 were career-minded. I began my education there in 1981 and I completed
22 that training in 1983. So, that part of my education lasted two years.
23 Throughout that time, my family stayed in Sarajevo. I didn't want
24 them to be forced to come to Belgrade because I was sincerely hoping that
25 I would have coming back to Sarajevo and that I would go on with the life
1 that I used to have prior to my going to the general staff academy.
2 Q. However, obviously it was not meant to be because your next
3 assignment was Negotin.
4 A. Yes. Though I felt like a real Sarajevan, my wishes also
5 depended on the wishes of my family and my superiors. I was given an
6 assignment in Negotin which is a very small town positioned on the borders
7 of three different countries: Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania. I was
8 posted in the garrison as the battalion commander, but at the same time I
9 was also the garrison commander in that area. So that was in mid-1983
10 that I joined that garrison.
11 As regards the relations amongst people in the unit where I
12 started to work, the same spirit prevailed, the same spirit as the one
13 that I had in Sarajevo. But that environment was no longer the
14 environment of cadet corps but professional military officers. I had
15 people from various parts of the former Yugoslavia, and the people there
16 were of various ethnic backgrounds. Although the crisis in the former
17 Yugoslavia had just about started to brew and was mainly caused by
18 economic problems and developments, we, the members of our unit and the
19 garrison in general, managed to preserve a total unity amongst ourselves.
20 And the fact that the garrison was nationally heterogenous was
21 something rather special which made us persevere in our objective. And we
22 didn't have any incidents that would have been caused by ethnic
24 When it comes to social contacts amongst each other, amongst
25 military officers, and contacts with the people outside the barracks, with
1 the locals, I can only repeat what I have already said in respect of
2 Sarajevo. At the beginning we, officers of the garrisons, somehow had to
3 socialise amongst ourselves and amongst our families. However, as time
4 went by, we managed to acquire a number of friends and acquaintances
5 outside the barracks as well.
6 Q. Your next posting from Negotin was to Kosovska Mitrovica in
7 early 1987.
8 A. Yes. In mid-1986, again because of the requirements of the
9 service, I was posted away from the Negotin garrison to the Pristina
10 garrison where I was appointed to the operations organ of the command. I
11 was in charge of training of officers and units in the Pristina corps.
12 Although this is Kosovo, which was at the time rather specific in
13 comparison to other localities in the former Yugoslavia, the command to
14 which I had been posted was also very ethnically heterogenous. But there
15 was harmony; people respected each other. We socialised both in our work
16 in the command but also in our private lives outside of the command
17 itself, I would say to a much greater extent than it was the case in
18 Sarajevo or in Negotin where we socialised mostly with the people outside
19 the barracks.
20 The reason was the specific situation in Kosovo at the
21 time. So that we somehow had to socialise with each other and we depended
22 on each other, but of course we never consciously avoided contacts with
23 the persons outside of the service, but these contacts were rare.
24 Q. This is the time of the great crisis in the former Socialist
25 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The secession or the breakdown, the
1 collapse of Yugoslavia, a political economic and crisis of any other kind.
2 And then in 1991 armed conflict breaks out in the former Yugoslavia.
3 Where were you when the war started?
4 A. Yes. In the Pristina garrison, I remained until mid-1987 when I
5 was posted to the Kosovska Mitrovica garrison where my post was the
6 Chief of Staff of the Motorised Brigade. I remained at that post until
7 1990 when I took over as the brigade commander in that very same
8 garrison. This is the beginning of the constitutional and political
9 crisis in the former Yugoslavia, or rather the culmination of the
10 constitutional and political crisis. We tried and we managed to retain at
11 the beginning the mixed character of our community in the garrison and the
12 unity that existed among us, the commanding corps and the soldiers, made
13 us believe that any conflicts could be avoided and would be avoided, and
14 that politicians would manage to find solutions and solve all the
15 problems, avoiding conflict and keeping Yugoslavia together and alive.
16 However, the worst case scenario came to pass. Conflict breaks
17 out first in the northern-most republic of the former Yugoslavia, in
18 Slovenia, and then in Croatia. This was painful and horrible for all of
19 us in my unit. Not only in my unit, but in the whole of the Pristina
20 corps. This in fact had an impact on the mixed ethnic character of the
21 garrison because soldiers and commanders, officers from our unit, left the
22 unit. Parting with those people was painful for us and it was very
23 emotional for us. As they left, we would say goodbye believing and hoping
24 that we -- perhaps we'll see each other again and perhaps that we would
25 work together again.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 I firmly believed, in light of the previous situation and the
2 ethnic relations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, that that would be the one place
3 where conflict would not occur and where conflict would be avoided.
4 Unfortunately, conflict breaks out in Bosnia-Herzegovina too, and the
5 ethnic mix, the ethnic heterogenity in the new Yugoslav army was
6 completely destroyed, and only officers and soldiers of Serbian and
7 Montenegrin ethnic background from the territories of Serbia and
8 Montenegro remained there. Muslims from the Serbian territory of Serbia,
9 and of course Albanians.
10 I realised that this was no place for me anymore in that unit, and
11 indeed in the state, in the new Yugoslav state, and I decided to leave my
12 post as the brigade commander. Of course I did that voluntarily. The
13 reasons which prompted me to make this decision were the following: There
14 were quite a few of them but I will just give you the three basic reasons
15 for my actions:
16 The first reason is my family and my wife's family who were still
17 in Bosnia. We had been out of touch with them for quite some time; the
18 telephone lines were down so that we were very worried and we had every
19 justification to be concerned for their lives and safety.
20 The second reason is because my colleagues, not only from my
21 brigade but from the whole corps, had for a long -- had left their
22 communities, their posts a long time ago and they joined their nations,
23 their people.
24 The third reason is that I realised that in the new Yugoslavia
25 there was no place for me. I didn't have anything to do there. And I
1 realised that Bosnia-Herzegovina was my state.
2 THE INTERPRETER: I apologise.
3 A. In the army of the new Yugoslavia, I had nothing to do so I went
4 to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. General, when you said, "I realise that Bosnia-Herzegovina was my
7 state," in light of the year when you were born, are you a citizen of the
8 former Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the Socialist Federal Republic of
9 Yugoslavia in the sense in which those citizenships were given out to
11 A. Yes. My wife, my daughter, and myself, we're all citizens of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We were also citizens of the Republic of Yugoslavia,
13 just like all the other inhabitants in the territory of the former
15 Q. The reason why I asked you this question was, in fact, your
16 previous answer. So you left the army of Yugoslavia voluntarily.
17 A. Yes, I left the army of Yugoslavia, the Yugoslav army,
19 Q. So finally you arrive in the territory of the former Republic of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was at the time already, as of April, an
21 internationally recognised state of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Can you tell us,
22 where did you arrive and what were your activities after -- what were you
23 doing after you arrived in Republika Srpska, or rather
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as it was at the time?
25 A. When I crossed the border between the Republic of Serbia and the
1 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I saw that all hell had broken loose. I
2 saw villages burning, the burnt remnants of the villages. Unfortunately,
3 I also noticed as I passed by that the villages that before the war,
4 before the conflict, were ethnically mixed, that they were the first to go
5 down. And for me personally it was really horrible.
6 I went to Han Pijesak, to my brother's place, he lived in Han
7 Pijesak, where I found my mother who had been to the village where I
8 had -- where I was born, just a little while ago. And I also visited my
9 wife's parents; They lived, and indeed they still live in the territory
10 of the municipality of Han Pijesak.
11 I spent a few days with them and then I reported to the Han
12 Pijesak garrison. This is where the command of the Main Staff of what was
13 then the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was located.
14 I was immediately assigned to the post of the Commander of the 2nd
15 Romanija Brigade, which was located in the Sokolac garrison. The handover
16 of duty from the previous commander, who was born in Croatia, took about
17 ten days, the whole process took about ten days. So that I took over the
18 command of the brigade in early July.
19 Before I say a few words about the brigade itself, where it was
20 and what it was doing, I would just like to say the following: The
21 overall situation at the Romanija plateau, Han Pijesak and Sokolac
22 municipalities, was extremely difficult. It was chaotic and it was
23 impossible to predict how things would evolve. I saw villages that
24 before the war had been ethnically mixed, I saw that they were deserted by
25 Serbian and Muslim population, that they had been -- they had gone or they
1 were evicted, expelled, from these areas to go to areas which were
2 very homogenous in ethnic terms.
3 But there were some rare examples of villages where either the
4 Muslim or the Serbian population remained there throughout the
5 war even in areas which were ethnically very homogenous despite the fact
6 that they were of a different ethnic background. The villages of Burate
7 and Vrbarija in the Sokolac municipality which had a majority Muslim
8 population, an overwhelming majority, yet they left the area only after
9 the signing of the Dayton Agreement. They had remained there throughout
10 the war, and after the signing of the Dayton Agreement, they went to
12 Q. General, when you arrived in Han Pijesak and reported to the
13 garrison, was that the time when the army of Republika Srpska was already
14 a legally established institution in accordance with the constitution and
15 the laws in force at the time in the Republika Srpska?
16 A. Yes, that was the impression that I got. The army of Republika
17 Srpska, or rather of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina had
18 already been set up and organised. My brigade, the brigade that I took
19 over and which came under my command, had been established and organised,
20 as had all the other units in the army. It was established and organised
21 predominantly in accordance with the territorial principle and with the
22 participation of the population who had fled from other areas. So that
23 this particular brigade was composed of the people from the Sokolac
24 municipality, Olovo and Kladanj municipalities, and from the refugees from
25 the Zenica, Kakanj, Breza, and Vares municipalities. So it was ethnically
1 homogenous, composed only of ethnic Serbs. For me, of course I understood
2 what the situation was, but it was very difficult for me, after I left the
3 post where the situation was completely, completely different.
4 However, I was hoping against hope that the situation in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina would calm down and that it would not
6 escalate into armed conflict, or that the armed conflict would not
7 escalate, because I simply could not believe despite all the
8 developments, probably because I had been away from Bosnia-Herzegovina for
9 such a long time and I was not there right at the beginning, I did not
10 know -- I was not aware of all the problems, in particular of political
12 Q. When you said that the unit you took command of, the 2nd Romanija
13 Motorised Brigade, was composed of exclusively ethnic Serbs, the opposing
14 side, conditionally speaking, or the enemy, were their forces also
15 ethnically homogeneous? Of course there were exceptions but they only
16 confirm the rule.
17 A. Yes. On the basis of intelligence reports that we had at the
18 time, I think it was so. In fact, I do believe that the units facing my
19 brigade were similarly ethnically homogeneous, though I do not exclude the
20 possibility of some Serbs being in those units as well.
21 Q. When you took over command, the duty of commander of that brigade,
22 were combat activities engaged in? Were the front lines already
23 established? Could you describe to us the situation in the brigade and
24 around the brigade, and specifically in the area of your command.
25 So please make a pause between the question and answer, and slow
1 down a little bit.
2 A. When I took over as Commander of the 2nd Romanija Motorised
3 Brigade, the entire brigade was engaged on the front of defence towards
4 Kladanj, Olovo, and Vares. There were combat activities between the
5 warring parties; however, within my area of responsibility, there were no
7 When I took over as Brigade Commander, regarding the command and
8 control functions, I had a certain number of difficulties primarily caused
9 by the fact that the officers in the brigade command and subordinate units
10 lacked experience in the kind of duties they were expected to perform, and
11 they simply were not familiar with the prescribed duties for a particular
12 position in the chain of command. However, with time that situation
13 significantly improved, so that later on I didn't have any particular
14 problems regarding the command and control functions.
15 Q. So you took over that unit with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So this was the rank that you acquired in the former army of the
19 A. I joined the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
20 having the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and in October of the same year,
21 that is, in 1992, I was regularly promoted to the next highest rank, and
22 that is the rank of Colonel.
23 Q. So this is a regular promotion.
24 A. Yes. I had already served as Lieutenant Colonel for four years,
25 so this was the next step.
1 Q. Were there any significant events in the area of responsibility of
2 your brigade?
3 A. Before I answer that question, I should say if I may, I should
4 like to say a few more words about control and command in my brigade.
5 Q. Yes, please do so.
6 A. For me it was a great advantage that in the command and in
7 subordinate units I had active-duty officers holding key positions,
8 officers from the former Yugoslav People's Army with sufficient experience
9 to perform those duties successfully. A particular advantage for me was
10 the fact that as Chief of Security, one of the key positions in those
11 times, was held by an active-duty officer with many years of experience
12 and years of service in that kind of service.
13 His main duty in the brigade was counter-intelligence, and he was
14 indeed the man who organised and implemented security measures in the
15 brigade. Not only did he implement them, but he also carried them out.
16 He made a particularly noteworthy contribution to the organisation and
17 implementation of such measures in subordinate units, and particularly
18 with respect to prisoners of war and the treatment of the same from the
19 moment of their capture until their handing over to the superior command.
20 Q. Did your brigade have prisoners of war during the time when you
21 were in command?
22 A. Yes, the brigade did have prisoners of war. In most cases they
23 were captured on the front lines in attempting to infiltrate our units and
24 those areas which were not defended or were inadequately defended.
25 Similarly, we had prisoners captured deep within the rear of our
1 territory. They were mostly sabotage and terrorist groups operating from
2 Kladanj and Zepa and infiltrated deep within our territory with the aim of
3 carrying out diversionary activities.
4 I would like to add that these prisoners of war were treated in
5 every respect as required by our own rules and regulations and the Geneva
6 Conventions. Their treatment was absolutely correct. They were housed in
7 buildings under the conditions in which we lived and worked; they were fed
8 with the same kind of food that our troops were provided with; they did
9 have adequate medical treatment; they were registered in a regular manner,
10 always with the International Red Cross and other institutions and
11 organisations that were responsible for them.
12 The security service took care of the prisoners, more particularly
13 the chief of security, as was his duty, and the security of them was
14 provided by the military police. After a certain period of time and when
15 all the checks had been done, and after they had been registered with the
16 International Red Cross, they were then sent on to the superior command
17 for further treatment.
18 Q. So you were satisfied with the work of that body.
19 A. Yes, I was extremely satisfied. As I have said, these were
20 wartime conditions and it was normal that he should be one of the key
21 figures in the brigade.
22 Q. I assume that as the Brigade Commander you dispatched regular and
23 extraordinary and periodical reports to the higher command, in this case,
24 to the Drina Corps, the Command of the Drina Corps. What I would like to
25 know is in compiling those reports, did the security body participate;
1 that is, whether the security organ of your brigade sent separate reports
2 or was this a single combined aggregate report sent by your brigade
4 A. The Chief of Security in my brigade would frequently and in a
5 timely fashion inform me about all problems regarding security in the
6 brigade. He did so accurately and on time. Within the framework of daily
7 and extraordinary reports, one of the items was always security, and the
8 compilation of those reports, the Chief of Security did participate; and
9 as such they were forwarded to the Superior Command.
10 However, there were cases while I was the Brigade Commander of
11 certain security chiefs in the brigades of the Drina Corps not submitting
12 their reports to their immediate superior, that is, the brigade commander,
13 and they even failed to inform him about certain questions and
14 problems. Instead, they forwarded their reports directly to the security
15 organ of the higher command, more precisely, to the security organ of the
16 Drina Corps and the Main Staff.
17 Let me mention by way of an example the reaction of the Commander
18 of the Zvornik Brigade in 1994, I think this was sometime in the middle of
19 the year, when the brigade commander informed the Corps Command and the
20 Main Staff that his chief of security is not reporting to him in a regular
21 manner, nor is he informing him about problems and difficulties, but is
22 instead sending his reports to the security organ of the Drina Corps, and
23 even to the security department of the Main Staff in some cases.
24 Q. General, the relationship between the Drina Corps Command and the
25 brigade of which you were the Commander, were those relationships regular
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 in terms of tours, controls, visits, reports, suggestions,
2 recommendations, everything that occurs between the higher- and
3 lower-level commands?
4 A. Contacts between us in the brigade command and the officers in the
5 superior command in this case with representatives of the Drina Corps
6 Command were regular, and when the corps command toured the brigade, to
7 gain insight into the overall situation and any problems that may exist
8 in the brigades, it would be normal for such touring teams of officers to
9 be led by the Corps Commander. However, that never happened in the case
10 of my brigade. The Corps Commander in most cases came, escorted by
11 General Mladic.
12 I don't know why this was so. I know for certain that he
13 acted quite differently in the case of some other units, such as, for
14 instance, the Bratunac Brigade, the Skelani Battalion, and even the
15 Zvornik Brigade. When those units were toured, the Corps Commander often
16 spent several days with them. However, in the case of my brigade, he
17 stayed only as long as General Mladic stayed.
18 So my impression was that this officer somehow had something
19 against me personally, not against the brigade, and this would prove to be
20 true later on when I took over duty as Chief of Staff, and later on.
21 Q. The duties of a brigade commander, did they involve contacting
22 officers in the Drina Corps and in the Main Staff, specifically General
23 Mladic and his assistants?
24 A. Yes. That would occur when units of the Drina Corps were being
25 toured. And I think that on two or three occasions I did have contact
1 with General Mladic, who led those Main Staff teams to check the combat
2 readiness of Drina Corps units. Each time when he came with his team, in
3 his company, General Zivanovic was always there.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The Defence, Mr. President, would
5 suggest a break now.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Very well, Mr. Petrusic.
7 Perhaps you could see with General Krstic how much time is most
8 convenient, in view of his health, for us to continue at a time.
9 So we're now going to have a half-hour break.
10 --- Recess taken at 10.49 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 11.23 a.m.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
13 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. General, before we finish with this area, could you just tell me
15 whether during the time you were commanding the 2nd Romanija Motorised
16 Brigade, that is, whether in the area of responsibility of that brigade
17 there were any serious or major armed conflicts between the warring
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the General, please.
20 A. It is difficult for me to say what was the most important at the
21 time I was the Commander of the 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade. Combat
22 operations were conducted on a daily basis at the front lines, that is,
23 along the confrontation line between the warring factions. There weren't
24 any major changes of the lines with either party. There were some
25 attempts to improve the tactical situation so that a better control over
1 the territory would be gained.
2 Let me perhaps mention two examples as being somewhat more
3 important. Firstly, in the summer of 1993, behind the positions of my
4 units that were engaged in the front line in the area of Kladanj, there
5 was a synchronised infiltration of some significant sabotage forces, and
6 the villages in the territory of the Han Pijesak municipality, such as
7 Zerovice, Rijeka, and Potkosovaca were levelled to the ground during those
8 attacks. A major portion of that population was either killed or captured
9 and a smaller part managed to pull out. That occurred at the beginning of
10 August 1993, on the St. Ilijas Day, which is an important Orthodox
12 There is another event that I should like to mention, and it
13 involves a pre-planned operation which was carried out by the army of the
14 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the beginning of spring, that is,
15 in late April, around Easter, when from the direction of Kladanj
16 significant forces were moved with the objective, and according to the
17 forces that had been engaged and according to the intelligence data that
18 we had at the time, the objective was to capture Vlasenica and to link up
19 from the direction of Kladanj with the protected area and the forces
20 within the protected area of Zepa.
21 This particular offensive lasted for about 20 days, and it was
22 crushed only - and the forces of the army of Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina were stopped - only around the 20th of May. The combat took
24 place day and night. The battle in question was referred to as Spilacko
25 Bilanska battle, as far as the Serbian side is concerned, but I believe
1 also as far as the BH army forces are concerned.
2 After that offensive had been crushed, the forces of the army of
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina were returned to their initial positions.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. You left the 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade in 1994. You were
6 transferred to another duty. Before we broach this new subject, let us
7 deal with the following: It is common knowledge that the army of
8 Republika Srpska granted awards and decorations to their staff. During
9 that period of time while you were the Commander of the 2nd Romanija
10 Motorised Brigade, were you ever awarded any such decoration? If you
11 were, could tell us very briefly about that.
12 A. No. No. Neither during the time when I was the Brigade Commander
13 nor later on; I never received any decoration.
14 Q. General, could you now describe for us the duty that you took over
15 at that time, that is, the duty which is directly related to the Drina
16 Corps in 1994, that is, in the second half of that year?
17 A. According to a decision which was issued by the Ministry of
18 Defence of Republika Srpska, on the 15th of August, 1994, I was appointed
19 to the duty of the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps. The takeover of
20 duty between myself, who until that time was the Brigade Commander, and
21 the new commander, the incoming commander, lasted from the 15th of August
22 until the 1st of September. After that period of time, I took up my new
23 position within the Command of the Drina Corps, that is, the position of
24 the -- the post of the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps.
25 I was appointed to that post, as I have already indicated,
1 pursuant to a decision issued by the Minister of Defence of Republika
2 Srpska. Thereafter, a takeover of duty took place between myself and the
3 outgoing Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps, General Skocajic.
4 I should like to describe in very few words the procedure of
5 takeover of duty. It is a procedure that takes a prescribed amount of
6 time, during which time the new officer who is supposed to take up that
7 post is supposed to familiarise himself with the most basic duties and
8 responsibilities encumbered upon him by virtue of the post according to
10 The takeover of duty between myself and the former Chief of Staff
11 of the Drina Corps lasted between the 1st of September, 1994, until the
12 28th of September that same year, 1994. During that period of time, the
13 time which was regulated by the Corps Commander, I became familiar with
14 the following: First of all, I was supposed to acquaint myself with the
15 duties and responsibilities which are prescribed for that particular post,
16 that is, duties and responsibilities of the post according to
17 establishment. After that, I was briefed on the structure of the bodies
18 of the Command of the Corps and on their duties and responsibilities so
19 that I would be able to fulfil my duties as best as possible.
20 During that time, I was also briefed with all statutory
21 regulations governing the work of the Corps Command and the work of the
22 Corps in general, after which I was briefed on the type of organisation
23 and structure of subordinate units, their working and living conditions,
24 but I spent most of the time getting briefed about the situation on the
25 ground. When I say "on the ground," I refer primarily to the forces which
1 were engaged on the defence of the north-weastern area of the area of
2 responsibility of the Drina Corps, that is, Zivinice, Kladanj, Tuzla, and
3 Olovo area. So it means that I had an opportunity to personally inspect
4 on the ground the relevant units and to be briefed on all the relevant
5 problems that we were faced with at the time.
6 Of course, the said amount of time was not sufficient because the
7 procedure of the takeover of duty constitutes a basis for further action
8 and further successful work.
9 Q. Does that mean, General, that on the 28th of September, 1994, you
10 actually took up duty or, rather, the post of the Chief of Staff of the
11 Drina Corps, and legally speaking, de jure and also de facto, on the
13 A. Yes. It is as of that particular date that I was officially on my
14 post, that is, the post of the Chief of Staff of the Corps. After that
15 particular date, I was able to avail myself of all the rights and to
16 fulfil and exercise all the duties and responsibilities of that functional
17 position, functional post.
18 But let me say one other thing. Before a record was made on the
19 takeover of duty, I was also briefed about the situation involving the
20 army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and its intentions towards the
21 area of responsibility of the Drina Corps and inside that area of
22 responsibility. I was briefed about the activities, the operations,
23 coming from the direction of Tuzla, Zivinice, Kladanj, and Olovo against
24 our defence lines.
25 Q. Let me interrupt you for a moment, General.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I should like the assistance of the
2 usher, and can Exhibit 27 be placed on the ELMO, Defence Exhibit 27, D27,
3 that is.
4 A. While the usher is looking for the documents, I would like to add
5 that I was also briefed about the activities of the 28th Division from the
6 protected areas of Zepa and Srebrenica against our positions, the forces
7 that were engaged in the defence around the protected areas and inside of
8 the area of responsibility of the Corps; and also of the weapons they had,
9 and daily deserters, the people who deserted daily from the protected
10 areas towards Tuzla, Zivinice, and Kladanj.
11 Q. General, we have in front of us a document of the army of the
12 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 8th Operative Group, Srebrenica. The
13 number of the document is 130-01-63/94, of the 26th of July, 1994. It was
14 sent to the Command of the 2nd Corps, attention of the commander in
16 In this document - we have it also in the English translation and
17 that is good - with reference to a telephone conversation with the member
18 of the Srebrenica War Presidency, "we forward the list of materiel and
19 equipment required and ask you to procure and deliver these to the free
20 territory of the municipality of Srebrenica."
21 Mentioned here are rifles, light and heavy machine-guns, and the
22 quantity is 4.000 pieces; the ammunition, and the quantity is 500.000,
23 300.000, 100.000, 5.000 respectively; 100.000 again on several items; then
24 weapons such as Zoljas, hand-held rocket launchers; Osa likewise; and also
25 shells and mines.
1 Did your predecessor brief you about the situation and the
2 armament -- the process of arming which was going on in the Srebrenica
3 safe area? Or to be more specific, the quantities of weapons that were
4 requested and the quantities of ammunition requested, in your estimate,
5 what do they amount to?
6 A. Yes. My predecessor briefed me and told me that regardless --
7 despite the status of the safe area accorded to that area and the
8 obligations stemming from the agreement on demilitarisation, that the
9 forces of the 28th Division of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in
10 Srebrenica and Zepa were, in fact, continuously arming themselves,
11 obtaining or procuring more weapons in addition to the light or infantry
12 weapons they already had at their disposal and failed to hand over; that
13 they were obtaining future -- further weapons from Tuzla and Kladanj or
14 directly from Sarajevo.
15 Q. This is the 26th of July, 1994, and this request was submitted to
16 the Supreme Command, to the General Staff of the army of Republika Srpska
17 [as interpreted].
18 If Srebrenica and Zepa were demilitarised and safe areas protected
19 by the United Nations, then why such a request for additional weapons?
20 But also for the procurement of a huge amount of ammunition for the
21 weapons listed there. This is signed by the commander of the 28th
22 Division, Mr. Naser Oric.
23 The next document is Exhibit 25 -- sorry, 28 --
24 MR. HARMON: Excuse me.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Harmon.
1 MR. HARMON: I apologise. There appears to be a mistake in the
2 transcript, and it appears at -- let me just find it again.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
4 MR. HARMON: There appears to be a mistake on line 11:43:20 to
5 28. In other words, the exhibit is referred to as a request that was
6 submitted to the Supreme Command, to the General Staff of the army of
7 Republika Srpska, and the exhibit is different on its face.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Harmon.
10 The request or the document referred to by the Defence, document
11 number 27, is a request of the 8th Operative Group Srebrenica of the army
12 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, number 103-01-63/94, 26th of July, 1994. It is
13 submitted to the Command of the 2nd Corps in Sarajevo, attention Commander
14 in Tuzla.
15 So I would now like us to refer to the other document. That's
16 Defence Exhibit number 28.
17 Mr. President, since this document has not been translated by the
18 translation service, we only have a copy in the Bosnian or Serbian
19 language. I will read the heading of the document so we know what the
20 document is about. It has been marked for identification as 28, 28B, in
21 fact. "Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8th Operative
22 Group, Srebrenica Command."
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Mr. Harmon, do you have the document?
24 MR. HARMON: We're waiting for it, Mr. President. We don't have
25 it yet. We request that we not proceed until we have a copy of it. Thank
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Very well then. We're going to wait, because I
3 don't have the document either.
4 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, I have copy of it now. I've located
5 it in a binder that was given to me by counsel for the accused.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Can we, therefore, proceed?
7 MR. HARMON: Yes. I would ask, however, that in the future when
8 an exhibit is disseminated to the witness, that we be provided in court
9 with a copy of the exhibit. Otherwise, we're going to be looking through
10 a rather thick binder, trying to find a needle in a haystack.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: Yes. I think that Madam Registrar will take
12 care of that for our future hearings.
13 Mr. Petrusic, I believe we can now continue.
14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 So in the document that was quoted before that was submitted to
16 the 2nd Corps Command, the security section in Tuzla, the situation in the
17 territory of Srebrenica is discussed. More specifically, that in the
18 night between the 24th and the 25th of July, 1994, a group of around 17
19 people left the free territory of Srebrenica, heading towards Tuzla.
20 General, did you have any knowledge of such activities?
21 A. Yes. This problem -- I was also briefed about this problem by my
22 predecessor. This is just one in a series of documents presenting the
23 fact that people were leaving the protected areas of Srebrenica and Zepa
24 is presented as a problem. These were actually members of the
25 28th Division leaving the areas. Sometimes there were even civilians when
1 there were larger groups.
2 In most cases, desertion from the protected area of Srebrenica
3 involved those members of the 28th Division whose families had left the
4 area immediately prior or after the outbreak of the hostilities that left
5 the area of responsibility of the 28th Division, that's the municipalities
6 of Zvornik, Vlasenica, Bratunac, Srebrenica, and Milici. So one of the
7 main reasons and causes for desertion was the fact that the families of
8 those fighters had left for Tuzla, Kladanj, and Zivinice, whereas they
9 remained in the 28th Division. Then later, they decided to leave their
10 unit and to get back together with their families.
11 In document, this overview, indicates that these are the members
12 of the 28th Division. It is even specified what duties they had, and it
13 is indicated that they had their weapons with them. The fact that they
14 were armed caused great problems to us at the front lines as they crossed
15 the intermediate areas of our units. It is -- you can see that this --
16 that this document was sent by the 8th Operative Group to the security
17 organ of the 2nd Corps in Tuzla, and it is signed by the assistant to the
18 commander for security, Mr. Nedzad Bektic.
19 Q. Thank you, General. I would now like to refer to Exhibit 29B.
20 This document is also a document issued by the Srebrenica 8th Operative
21 Zone. The number is 103-26-18/94, dated 31st of August, 1994.
22 Can you tell us, from the point of view of familiarisation of the
23 situation in the Drina Corps, can you make a brief comment about this
25 A. This document also refers to the desertion of the area of
1 responsibility in the direction of Tuzla and Kladanj. It mentions a
2 rather large number of persons who in the period covered by the report had
3 deserted their units and who went to Tuzla and Kladanj. Most of them were
4 from the Vlasenica municipality and the Bratunac municipality, and their
5 families had, before the outbreak of the hostilities, had gone to Kladanj
6 and Zivinice, and this is the basic reason why they left their units and
7 the whole area. And I could say at the time, the Serbian propaganda was
8 not the reason. Their goal was to get back together with their families.
9 I also have to say that a large number of them, of the people
10 listed here, are, in fact, from my home village, and I know for a fact
11 that after I came to Bosnia and Herzegovina, that the inhabitants of my
12 village and of their village at the beginning of the conflict fled towards
13 Tuzla, Zivinice, and Kladanj. The document is signed by the intelligence
14 officer, Mr. Ekrim Sahlihovic.
15 This mass desertion of the protected areas was a great problem for
16 the 28th Division, primarily because of the loss of personnel, both
17 soldiers and officers, and the fact that they took their weapons with them
18 was also a major problem.
19 I have already mentioned, referring to the previous document, this
20 was a great problem for us too, because they crossed the depth of our
21 territory between the protected area of Srebrenica and the positions of
22 our forces that were engaged on the front lines against Tuzla, Kladanj,
23 and Zivinice.
24 I have to say that en route, as they encountered the members of
25 our units and when they were spotted by our units, that combat occurred
1 and a large number of those people were injured or killed, and we also had
2 casualties. Our units had casualties too.
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next document that I would like
4 to have tendered into evidence is document 30B. This document is also a
5 document of the 8th Operative Group of Srebrenica, number 130-17-04/94,
6 dated the 7th of September, 1994.
7 Q. Before I put a question to you, I would like to know, General, and
8 I think that in the course of these proceedings, the unit in the protected
9 area of Srebrenica has been established to be the 28th Division; and the
10 name we see in the heading of this document, that is, the 8th Operative
11 Group of Srebrenica, is that the same unit? Tell me, please.
12 A. Yes, it is the same unit. At the beginning of the outbreak of
13 fighting in Eastern Bosnia where forces of the army of the Republic of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina were located, the name given to those forces, that
15 grouping, was the Defence Staff of Srebrenica, or rather the Defence Staff
16 for Eastern Bosnia.
17 Later on those forces reorganised by order of the Supreme Command
18 of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that name was
19 changed to the 8th Operative Group of Srebrenica. And then at the
20 beginning of May 1995, this 8th Operative Group was again, by order of the
21 Supreme Command of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, renamed
22 and became the 28th Division Srebrenica, which was located in both
23 protected areas, that is, in the territory of Srebrenica and Zepa.
24 Q. So let us now go back to this document and my question. As they
25 left the protected area, or during attempts to flee from the area, did
1 these soldiers and civilians come across minefields that had been placed
2 there by the 8th Operative Group, when we are talking about Srebrenica?
3 A. Yes. This document or, rather, report does not specifically refer
4 to the departure from the protected area. These are planned activities of
5 the 28th Division in Srebrenica, and I have spoken about this, which I was
6 briefed about when taking over duty; that in fact they continuously
7 carried out reconnaissance activities regarding our forces' positions
8 around the protected areas of Srebrenica and Zepa and also deep within our
10 This particular document refers to reconnaissance into our
11 positions on the 27th of July, 1994, in the area of Pribicevac, when a
12 soldier member of the 28th Division was seriously injured; it says that he
13 was here reconnoitring enemy positions. And also on the 6th of July,
14 1994, in the area of Pribicevac, another soldier was wounded. Then on the
15 6th of August, in the region of Buljim, while reconnoitring Serb
16 positions, two fighters were killed, three were seriously injured, and all
17 of them belonged to the 280th Light Bosnian Brigade -- Eastern Bosnian
18 Brigade which was deployed in the area of Buljim at the time.
19 We see that the officer for engineering signed this, Mr. Mirsad
20 Dudic. So in accordance with his position, he is reporting to the Command
21 of the 2nd Corps, probably to the engineers' body, because his duty was
22 mining and demining and other such activities that come under his
24 Q. The next exhibit is Defence Exhibit D31B. This is a report of the
25 8th Operative Group of Srebrenica, number 130-13-75/94, addressed to the
1 2nd Corps of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, dated the 9th of September,
3 At the bottom of this report, on the first page, the last sentence
4 says: "There is massive desertion from the enclave. In the last seven
5 days, the enclave has been abandoned by about 1.200 people, of which
6 one-third are without weapons."
7 If we were to -- judging by the documents we had in our
8 possession, the previous cases of desertion could be described as sporadic
9 and in small groups or individuals; in this case we are talking about a
10 large group, a large number of people who are abandoning the enclave.
11 Were you aware of this? And since these were armed personnel,
12 were they a danger for the units deployed around the enclave? Were they a
13 threat to them?
14 A. Yes. This is another in a series of documents, and this stands
15 out in particular, this one, from which we can see that desertion of the
16 protected area of Srebrenica was carried out on a large scale. I said
17 that there were such cases daily, they were daily occurrences, and they
18 were a cause of great problems for us especially when they were armed.
19 In this case, we are talking about a large number of individuals,
20 as stated in this document, and they were indeed a very serious threat;
21 not only for our units facing Tuzla, Zivinice, and Kladanj, but also for
22 the civilian population within the area of responsibility, because they
23 had to cross that area in order to reach Tuzla, Zivinice, and Kladanj from
25 So in this report, too, reference is made in several places to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 people who are leaving the area of responsibility and giving their
2 particulars, that is, which municipalities they came from; their aim being
3 to reunite with their families. So in those days there were no attacks,
4 no offensives, against protected areas, and there were no other reasons
5 for them to leave those areas except the one I have just given.
6 I apologise. One of the reasons that is expounded in this
7 document by the author of the report is that they're leaving the protected
8 area, among other reasons, because of the propaganda activities offering
9 free passage towards Tuzla and Kladanj, safe passage to Tuzla and
11 Q. The next document is 33B. General, the document is in front of
12 you. This document bears the number 130-28-169/94, dated 7th of November,
13 1994. It is sent from Srebrenica to the Command of the 2nd Corps.
14 In paragraph number 4 reference is made to the delivery of
15 humanitarian aid and selection of certain supplies from that delivery of
16 aid which is being distributed to members of the army of
18 Were you aware about the arrival of such humanitarian aid at all
19 and how that aid was distributed, and to whom; that is, as far as this
20 fourth paragraph is concerned?
21 A. Yes, I did have some information to the effect that humanitarian
22 aid was being delivered to the protected area of Srebrenica. I must admit
23 that I had no knowledge about the possible problems that existed prior to
24 the entry of such humanitarian aid into the protected area.
25 On the basis of intelligence reports that we had regarding the
1 distribution of that aid within the protected area itself, how it was
2 distributed and to whom, all I can say is the following: And that is that
3 the vast majority of that humanitarian aid was distributed among members
4 of the 28th Division and their families, of course. A part of that
5 humanitarian aid was put aside for certain individuals who traded in those
6 goods for personal gain, and this will later prove to be true.
7 Q. On page 2 of this report, there is reference to offensive
8 activities by each brigade belonging to the 8th Operative Group, and the
9 Defence and Their Honours are interested in knowing whether this was so
10 and whether you had information about all these things.
11 A. This is the first document in a series of documents in which there
12 is reference in quite specific terms about measures that are being taken
13 in preparation for offensive activities from Srebrenica towards Tuzla,
14 Zivinice, and Kladanj. It is true that this is a report on the morale of
15 the members of the 28th Division, but among other things, this report also
16 states as follows -- if I may, I should like to read it out:
17 "A turning point in the improvement of combat morale occurred
18 after the order of the Commander of the 2nd Corps of the army of the
19 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to carry out reconnaissance of enemy
20 positions and to carry out preparations for possible combat activities
21 towards Konjevic Polje, Cerska, and Kamenica. All units showed a full
22 measure of willingness and readiness to carry out all such assignments
23 from superiors. Combat morale has not declined because of the death and
24 wounding of a number of soldiers when reconnoitring enemy territory."
25 So this document mentions for the first time preparations for
1 carrying out offensive activities and their actual implementation, which
2 means that the Supreme Command of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
3 2nd Corps in Tuzla, even during 1994, had planned offensive combat
4 activities not only from the direction of Tuzla, Zivinice, and Kladanj,
5 but also it had planned to engage the forces of the 28th Division in
6 Srebrenica and Zepa so that the territory of the protected areas should be
7 linked up with the territory of Tuzla, Zivinice, and Kladanj.
8 Specifically, the author of this report, of this document, who is
9 sending it to the Command of the 2nd Corps in Tuzla, the sector for
10 morale, makes an individual assessment of morale in all the brigades of
11 the 28th Division and explains how this morale had increased in the units
12 of the division after they had learned that there would be offensive
13 activities. As an introduction of those offensive activities, we will see
14 later, and we've already seen from one document, was the carrying out of
15 planned sabotage activities deep within our territory along the axes from
16 Srebrenica via Konjevic Polje, Cerska, and Modrica.
17 Q. General, on page 3 of this report -- let us finish with it -- the
18 second paragraph, it says: "The greatest problem will be the infiltration
19 of a large number of soldiers from the demilitarised zone to the
20 destination without UNPROFOR noting them, and also avoiding minefields on
21 the road from Srebrenica to the destination."
22 A. Yes. Clearly all the activities that they engaged in from the
23 moment Srebrenica was declared a safe area were carried out in such a way
24 as to not to be noticed by UN forces. They concealed these activities
25 from them. I simply find is hard to believe that the Canadian Battalion
1 first and later the Dutch Battalion would not have reacted to this if they
2 had known about it.
3 Q. How long did you, therefore, stay at the Corps Command and how
4 long did you tour the units after the takeover of your duties as the Chief
5 of Staff of the Corps Command?
6 A. After I took over my duties as the Chief of Staff of the Corps
7 Command, and after being briefed about the situation through the procedure
8 of the takeover of duty, while carrying -- I stayed at my post at the
9 Corps Command until the 1st of November, 1994, whereupon, upon an order of
10 the Corps Command and pursuant to an order issued by the Main Staff, I
11 established a unit with the strength of a brigade and took it to the area
12 of the Herzegovinian Corps for the purpose of taking part in the crushing
13 of the offensive which was being conducted at that time by the BH army
14 from the area of Bjelasnica and Igman towards the area of the
15 responsibility of the Herzegovinian Corps. I'm referring to the area of
16 Treskavica and Trnovo. And I was personally commanding that brigade as
17 the Chief of Staff.
18 Q. Maybe I haven't followed you, and I apologise for that. How long
19 did you stay in the area of Treskavica and Trnovo?
20 A. In the area of responsibility of the Herzegovinian Corps, that is,
21 in the area of Treskavica and Trnovo, I remained until mid-December 1994,
22 whereupon I returned to the command of the Corps in Vlasenica, to my post,
23 in order to continue with the duties that I had taken up.
24 After I had returned from the area of responsibility of the
25 Herzegovinian Corps, naturally, I was briefed about the situation in the
1 area of responsibility of the Corps, and I became familiar with all the
2 problems that they were facing at the moment, in particular, with the
3 activities which were conducted by the forces of the BH army at that time
4 towards the area and inside the area of responsibility of the Drina
6 The briefing involved the situation in general, the attempts and
7 intentions of the BH army in the north-western part of the area of
8 responsibility of the Drina Corps, that is, towards the area of Tuzla,
9 Zivinice, Kladanj, and Olovo.
10 I was also briefed on further activities and operations that the
11 Command of the 28th Division in Srebrenica, acting upon orders of the Main
12 Staff of the 2nd Corps in Tuzla, that they were conducting towards the
13 positions of the Drina Corps and also in the depth of the area of our area
14 of responsibility. In particular, I'm referring to the area of the Milici
15 municipality, Han Pijesak, and also parts of the territory of the
16 Vlasenica municipality.
17 I was also briefed about the continuation of the army and weapons
18 and ammunitions supply to the protected area, that is, to the members of
19 the 28th Brigade. Also, I was informed on the first case of a helicopter
20 landing from the direction of Kladanj in Tuzla, into the protected areas.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think that there
22 is a procedure regarding breaks that has been well established by now.
23 However, I should like to ask Your Honours to deviate a bit from that
24 established procedure and to shorten the length of testimony for a couple
25 of minutes, and I should like to request a break at this point.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Petrusic. We
2 will have half-hour breaks, and, therefore, we will be acting according to
3 the procedure that has already been established. If we have a half-hour
4 break at this point, we will have to work 1 hour and 30 minutes after
6 I don't know whether General Krstic is in a position to continue
7 for about ten minutes at this point. If not, if his health condition does
8 not allow him to do so, we will have a break. What do you prefer? You
9 prefer to have a break now?
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. We will have a
12 half-hour break at this point, then.
13 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 1.03 p.m.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, please continue.
16 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, before resuming,
18 in principle we are going to work until 2.30. Will General Krstic manage
19 to work for that period, or do we need a small break in between? We'll
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] From your gesture, I assume that we
22 will see.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Let's see around 2.00.
24 In any event, General Krstic, if you need a break, please let us
25 know whether you can continue or not.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, please continue.
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
4 In line with the answer that was received, the answer to the
5 previous question, I would now like to ask the usher to place Exhibit 32B
6 on the ELMO.
7 Q. This document bears the number 130/01/220 [as interpreted]. I
8 have to admit that the heading of this document is illegible, but its
9 contents, however, are in a better condition. It is originating from the
10 Commander of the 8th Operative Group, Brigadier Naser Oric, and it is sent
11 to the Command of the 284th Brigade, attention Commander. The document is
12 dated the 6th of October, 1994, 10.00 a.m.
13 This order, in the first paragraph of this order, it is stated as
14 follows: "Immediately start preparing and selecting personnel for
15 reconnaissance activities in the temporarily occupied territory of the
16 wider region of Konjevic Polje."
17 My first question, General, is whether at the time Konjevic Polje
18 was an area controlled by the units of the Republika Srpska army, of the
19 Drina Corps, which is outside of the territory of the Srebrenica safe
21 A. First of all, this was not an area that was controlled by the
22 Republika Srpska army units. It was not defended, it was not a defended
23 area, because facing Srebrenica there were Drina Corps units in front of
24 this area, and I'm referring to the Bratunac and Milici Brigades. So this
25 is a space in which the 5th Engineer Battalion of the Drina Corps was
1 located. This is where they stayed, this is where they resided and
2 worked. The 5th Engineer Battalion is --
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Visnjic, you want to
4 interrupt? I beg your pardon.
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would like to
6 apologise, but in order to speed up the matter, I will be correcting the
7 errors in the transcript.
8 The number of the document is 130-04-020, dated 6th of October,
9 1994 -- I have to intervene. The number of the document is 202. So it's
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, you are right,
12 Mr. Visnjic. Thank you very much for drawing our attention to this
14 You may continue, Mr. Petrusic.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. So in this territory, in Konjevic Polje, this is where the 5th
17 Engineer Battalion of the Drina Corps was deployed.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Does this document show that the activities -- that the 8th
20 Operative Group continue activities against the forces of the Republika
21 Srpska army?
22 A. Yes. This is an order issued by the Commander of the 8th
23 Operative Group to one of the commanders of the subordinate brigades.
24 This was sent to the attention of the Commander of the 284th Eastern
25 Bosnian Light Brigade, and he issues a specific order which axes to
1 reconnoitre, in what time period, and what is the deadline for the
3 This order is related to an explanation that I gave for the
4 previous documents relating to the preparations for offensive operations
5 on the Srebrenica-Konjevic Polje-Cerska-Tuzla direction. This is, indeed,
6 the shortest direction from Srebrenica to Tuzla for actions to be carried
8 Q. The next document is document number 570-11/94, that's Exhibit
9 34B, dated 7th of November, 1994.
10 So this document is entitled "The Plan For Counter-offensive
11 Action of the S.B. Battalion," and since this is a plan, the Defence would
12 like to know -- the Defence would be interested in hearing what you knew
13 about these activities carried out by the 8th Operative Group or the
14 S.B. Battalion.
15 A. This document relates to the previous document. The Commander of
16 the Independent Mountain Battalion from Srebrenica takes action in
17 accordance with the order issued by the Commander of the 8th Operative
18 Group, and he drafts a plan which he entitled "The Plan for
19 Counter-offensive By the Independent Mountain Battalion."
20 The Independent Mountain Battalion, according to the intelligence
21 we had at our disposal, was a unit, the unit that was the best unit for
22 combat at that level in the 28th Division, which can also be seen from
23 this report.
24 The Commander of the 8th Operative Group gives a task -- assigns a
25 task to him first. His battalion that was issued -- given the task to
1 penetrate into the depth of the territory controlled by Serbs as an
2 advance for other forces, the remaining forces which should start from the
3 wider area Srebrenica towards Tuzla [Realtime transcript read in error
4 Tuesday] in order to link up with the forces from Tuzla.
5 So he gives a specific task that is to be his units, specifying
6 the axses, direction of movement to each of the units and the tasks
7 assigned to those units, the composition of the groups which are to carry
8 out certain tasks.
9 He goes as far as to determine the type of weapons they are to
10 use, the weapons that they will take with them as they carry out the
11 tasks. He also determines the quantity of ammunition and other materiel
12 that is necessary for the execution of the reconnaissance and sabotage and
13 terrorist operations.
14 To conclude, I would like to read what it says at the end of this
15 plan. Page 2, the last paragraph: "When the Stolica elevation is taken,
16 half of the soldiers are to remain there and hold the area, and the
17 remaining forces should go to Tusto Brdo," and the direction of new
18 operations is in that direction, and that is in the depth of the territory
19 controlled by Serbs. When personnel from Avdaginu Njivu, which is closer
20 to the positions of both parties are being -- are freed, the brigades from
21 the barricades from Kravica, Radukica, and Magasica, soldiers are supposed
22 to go towards Tusto Brdo and the new operations -- direction of operation
23 is Polom.
24 In this plan for counter-offensive, the soldiers from Krusev Dola
25 are not taken into account. Krusev Dola is in the territory of the
1 protected area of Zepa. So they were not a part of this independent
2 battalion nor of any other brigade located in the Srebrenica territory.
3 So he takes soldiers from the 1st Zepa Brigade, which was also
4 part of the 28th Division after the restructuring of the 8th Operative
5 Group into the 28th --
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Visnjic.
7 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, for the transcript,
8 line page 46, 24th line, which is still on the screen, from "Srebrenica
9 towards Tuzla." That is what it should say in the original.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, I noticed that instead of
11 "Tuzla," we could see "Tuesday." So something -- an error in the
12 transcript. But it will be corrected, as you know.
13 On the other hand, I would like to draw your attention to the fact
14 that if you're quoting a document, one has to be very clear when you're
15 beginning to quote and when you come to the end of the quotation.
16 Otherwise, there may be problems. You understand, Mr. Petrusic, because
17 [Realtime transcript read in error Busovaca] reading the text, if
18 General Krstic is commenting on the text is one thing and quoting is
19 another thing. So unless you tell us that it is the end of the quotation,
20 there could be confusion.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. The next exhibit is number 35B.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I see that the word "Busovaca"
24 appears in the text. There was never any mention of "Busovaca" here.
25 We'll have to correct all that. Those are the conditions we're working
1 in. I'm talking about page 48, line 7. But nevermind. We will have
2 "Busovaca" deleted because it has nothing to do with these matters we're
3 discussing here.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. The document was issued by the army of the Republic of Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina, Command of the 283rd Brigade, number 191-10/94, dated 7th of
7 November, 1994. I will quote: "Our units in the strength of
8 200 soldiers, our unit has been assigned the task of infiltrating into the
9 enemy rear, and it could be considered as an Infantry Company strengthened
10 with Engineer Platoons, Anti-Armour Platoon, and Sabotage Platoons. We
11 feel that the lines that should be occupied have not been determined
12 because they are deep in the rear. We assume that the enemy has a
13 barracks next to the school where there is a company-strength unit and
14 that the location is guarded by a tank and an APC. The same location is,
15 in fact, protecting a vital road for Milici."
16 The next thing that I would like to quote before asking my
17 question, it is from the order that has already been referred to, page 1,
18 that's paragraph 5: "Our unit has 200 sharp rifles. At least 30 should
19 be left to defend Srebrenica. In my estimate, 120 sharp rifles are at our
20 disposal, and about five Zoljas," that's hand-held grenade launchers, "and
21 grenade launchers with three grenades."
22 General, do you, from this information about the enemy, reach
23 certain conclusions as to their intentions and as to the way in which they
24 conduct their activities? And could you please explain the term "sharp
25 rifle" or "sharp barrel"? What does it mean? Because this is the first
1 time that we come across this term.
2 A. This order issued by the Commander of the 283rd East Bosnia Light
3 Brigade is given to the subordinate units for the execution of the task
4 given to them by the Commander of the 8th Operative Group; that's General
6 This document relates to the document I referred to earlier, the
7 previous document in which Oric issued orders to all units pertaining to
8 the combat activities in the Srebrenica-Konjevic Polje-Cerska-Udrc-Tuzla
9 area, and as is usual, they carry out the orders they received from their
11 As regards this quote that you have just given me and the request
12 for me to explain what this term "sharp barrel" means, I would first like
13 to refer to what he is saying about the enemy and his own forces, stating
14 that they have engineers, sabotage, and anti-armour units in their
15 formation equipped and armed with all the materiel that enables them to
16 carry out their assigned duties.
17 The term "sharp barrel" is not a specific term. It refers to
18 rifles they had. And these are the rifles that also have bayonets. It
19 can be fitted onto semi-automatic rifles which they had from the former
20 JNA, and also automatic rifles which they had, and Kalashnikovs. I think
21 that the knife, the bayonet, was not actually attached to the barrel, but
22 there is a knife that can, if necessary, be placed on the rifle itself.
23 At the end of this order, that's page 3, the penultimate
24 paragraph, I quote: "It is my opinion that we should wait for the units
25 from Tuzla to occupy the key points Udrc, Kuljic, Cerska," and so on, "and
1 then carry out the infiltration. Any extension of the action for longer
2 than 2400 hours on our lines and the failure of the forces of the 2nd
3 Corps to advance towards us would be fatal for us."
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's remark: There is a typing mistake
5 in the original text.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Does that mean that this plan or action should have been
8 synchronised with the forces of the 2nd Corps from the direction of Tuzla,
9 from the one side, which would then come out to the Zvornik, Milici, and
10 other brigades, into their rear, and on the other side there would be an
11 advance from Srebrenica on the part of the 8th Operative Group?
12 A. Yes. It was an order issued by the 2nd Corps of the army of the
13 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina with the goal of linking up their forces
14 with the forces from the Srebrenica area, and the events that will
15 transpire later will prove that this was indeed so.
16 The Commander of this brigade expresses his opinion in a very
17 realistic way and justified way, because infiltrating that deep into the
18 territory controlled by the Serbs was very risky. If the forces from
19 Tuzla failed to move, and if they do not move fast enough in their attack,
20 it would be very hard for the infiltrated units to hold the positions they
21 had taken without linking up with the forces attacking from Tuzla.
22 We will see later in the developments in early 1995 how these
23 events actually transpired.
24 Q. In one of your previous answers you mentioned Naser Oric and you
25 said he was a General. Is this an error on your part, or was it the rank
1 that he had?
2 A. No, it was not an error. According to our information, Naser Oric
3 was a General, the Commander of the first staff of the Srebrenica
4 Territorial Defence, which later became the 8th Operative Group; and as of
5 May 1995 he was the Commander of the 28th Division. So he was, indeed, a
6 General and the Commander of the 28th Division.
7 Q. The next document is a document bearing the number 36B. It is a
8 document issued by the Command of the 8th Operative Group in Srebrenica,
9 number 01/1-2, dated the 9th of November, 1994, submitted to the Command
10 of the 2nd Corps in Tuzla.
11 On page 2 of this document, signed by Naser Oric, and I quote:
12 "I, therefore, ask you, because of the planned combat operations on the
13 linking up of the 8th Operative Group and the 2nd Corps, to postpone the
14 realisation and implementation of this order until the completion of the
15 planned operations, and to advise us thereof a little bit in advance."
16 Was there, then, a continuous and planned activity on attempts to
17 link up the Srebrenica enclave with the forces of the 2nd Corps, with its
18 headquarters in Tuzla?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Before you go into your answer, we have Prosecution Exhibit 2; it
21 is a map. Could you please point at the map -- could you please show on
22 the map the positions of the 2nd Corps. So the position of the units of
23 the 2nd Corps and the positions of the 8th Operative Group.
24 A. As everyone knows, the Command of the 2nd Corps of the army of the
25 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was located in Tuzla. The forces of the
1 2nd Corps of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina were deployed
2 along three axes or in three directions.
3 One of those axes was west of Tuzla, towards Doboj, in the
4 direction of the 1st Corps of the army of Republika Srpska.
5 The second axis of activity was northwards, that is, towards the
6 forces of the Eastern Bosnia Corps, whose Command was based in Bijeljina.
7 A part of the forces was deployed in defence and offensive
8 operations in the direction of the area of responsibility of the Drina
9 Corps from the direction of Tuzla. This is Tuzla, Kalesija, Zvornik --
10 Tuzla, Kalesija, Zvornik. So these are these forces here.
11 The area where the 2nd Corps were to link up in the planning and
12 execution of offensive operations was between Srebrenica and Tuzla. This
13 is the area from Srebrenica towards Kalesija. So this is this area here.
14 The axis we are talking about is this one: Srebrenica, Konjevic Polje,
15 Cerska, Udrc, and further on towards Kalesija.
16 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] For the transcript, the forces of
17 the 2nd Corps, on Prosecution Exhibit number 2, are marked in blue.
18 Could I ask for Exhibit 39, please.
19 Q. This document was issued by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina of the
20 283rd Brigade. The number of the document is 22-50-52, dated 13th of
21 November, 1994. Dated the 13th of November, 1994, I see. The number of
22 the document is 22-50-59.
23 This document, General, constitutes a plan as the heading
24 indicates, and I quote: "To disarm members of UNPROFOR in the Vezionica
25 compound in Srebrenica. The plan envisages seizure of materiel and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 equipment held by UNPROFOR, infantry weapons, ammunition, communications
2 devices, clothing, footwear, and others which could be of great use for
3 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the further course of the defence and
4 liberation of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the
5 information that we have, there are about 70 UN members in the camp armed
6 with personal weapons and with six anti-aircraft guns located on APCs.
7 For the execution of this operation, we intend to deploy 50 members of our
8 brigade, of which 35 members from a" -- an abbreviation I am not familiar
9 with, "DIV, and 15 members of" -- another abbreviation I'm not familiar
10 with, "POC, divided into five groups of ten."
11 Are you familiar with this plan in view of the fact that many
12 documents that we have discussed so far are linked to activities within a
13 relatively brief period of time, on the one hand, the activities of the
14 28th Division or, rather, the 8th Operative Group in collaboration with
15 the activities of the 2nd Corps.
16 Just a moment, General, please. As this document exists in
17 translation, we have an English version of this document. Could you
18 please place the English version on the ELMO if Their Honours don't have
19 the English version in front of them. It is document 39A.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic, we do have
21 the document. But in any event, I think it is always a good idea to place
22 it on the ELMO, because I was able to note that there may be certain
23 differences between the translation that we have here on paper and the
24 interpretation that we get from the booths on the basis of the B/C/S
25 document, which means that tomorrow, if we have to review these documents
1 once again, the reading of the document will not coincide with the
2 quotation that is registered on the LiveNote. And to avoid such
3 discrepancies, whenever you have the English version -- as you know, the
4 transcript is in English and not in B/C/S, of course we're still waiting
5 for translations of the other documents which you hope we will have as
6 soon as possible.
7 So to sum up, whenever you have a document in English, you should
8 put it on the ELMO so there should be no discrepancies between the
9 document itself and the translation in the transcript.
10 Please continue now.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Please, General, continue.
13 A. This document is linked to the participation of the 28th Division
14 in offensive operations carried out by the forces of the 2nd Corps along
15 the axis from Tuzla to Srebrenica and vice versa as part of the offensive
16 operations going from the direction of Srebrenica towards Tuzla with the
17 purpose of linking up with the forces of the 2nd Corps.
18 When I was speaking about the fact that when taking over duties
19 and being briefed about the situation, among others, in the army of the
20 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, their intentions and goals with respect to
21 the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, and I said that I had been
22 briefed that those forces, in spite of the fact that this was a safe area
23 and the fact that the area of Zepa and Srebrenica should constitute
24 demilitarised zones, that nevertheless, they were constantly procuring
25 weapons. And one of the ways in which they armed themselves was through
1 this plan of disarmament of UNPROFOR forces in the Vezionica camp in
2 Srebrenica, as you have just quoted from this document.
3 In this plan, which is carried out by the 283rd Eastern Bosnian
4 Light Brigade, very precise assignments are given to units which are
5 expected to carry out this task, and, among others, there is a sketch
6 drawing of everything stated in text form regarding the number of UNPROFOR
7 forces in the Vezionica camp and also with respect to the way in which the
8 assignment should be carried out by the 283rd Brigade.
9 I don't know, I really don't know whether this plan was indeed
10 carried out by the 283rd Brigade.
11 Q. This plan envisages opening of fire in certain cases in the
12 process of the implementation of the plan, and this is part of the
13 assignment of the 5th Squad, on page 2.
14 Do you have any comments to make?
15 A. Yes. With respect to the tasks given to the other groups, they
16 were not given such a task. However, the 5th Squad was given such a task,
17 with the annotation that if UNPROFOR forces put up resistance -- I may
18 have already said that the Command of the 28th Division and the
19 subordinate brigade commands and lower-level commands carried out all
20 combat activities of which UNPROFOR forces were not aware and, as I was
21 saying -- and it can be seen from this document that one of the tasks, in
22 quotation -- that one of the targets, in quotation marks, were UNPROFOR
23 forces, which means that they do not trust the peace mission of the
24 UNPROFOR forces.
25 Of course, it is noted that this should be done only if they do
1 not join in their defence or if they do not act in the way they wish in
2 accordance with the implementation of the plan for offensive operations.
3 Q. The next document is document number 40. 40B, please. This
4 document, too, was issued by the 8th Operative Group of Srebrenica, number
5 01/130-125, dated the 15th of November, 1994, and addressed to the
6 headquarters of the Supreme Command of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
7 attention Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic, in Kakanj.
8 For the first time, mention is made here of Kakanj as a town, a
9 place within the area of responsibility of the 2nd Corps to which this
10 document is being addressed. Maybe my recollection is not quite correct,
11 but it seems to me at least that this is the first time that we have come
12 across this town in these documents.
13 A. Yes. It is one of the advance command posts of the Supreme Staff
14 of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina situated in Kakanj, and
15 in charge is General Enver Hadzihasanovic.
16 Following the course of subsequent events, we will see what was
17 the purpose of General Hadzihasanovic's stay at the advance post in
18 Kakanj -- forward advance post in Kakanj.
19 From this forward command post, he commanded the operation
20 code-named Skakavac or Grasshopper. It is an operation of planning and
21 executing sabotage activities within a broader area of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
22 among other places, including the eastern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 Operation Skakavac is a secret code name of that operation, and in the
24 implementation of this operation, the forces of the 28th Division from
25 Srebrenica were included, from Srebrenica and Zepa, regardless of the fact
1 that it is clear to everyone that these two areas were protected areas,
2 under the control of the United Nations' forces.
3 Q. The Commander of the 8th Operative Group, Naser Oric, is
4 requesting from the Brigadier-General reinforcement, and I quote -- I'm
5 sorry, "replenishment of 100.000 pieces of bullets," this is the last page
6 of the document, please, "7.9 millimetre bullets, pieces 55.000; and
7 Zoljas, 150 pieces, or portable grenade launchers; chargers for Osa, a
8 portable rocket launcher, 50 pieces; shells with basic chargers, 200
9 pieces; and 50 Motorolas," or radio equipment.
10 In view of this fact and the composition, which we'll be coming
11 back to, of the 8th Operative Group, this quantity of ammunition and
12 weapons which is being requested, is it an important indicator for
13 assessing the strength and intentions of the 8th Operative Group in
15 A. Yes. The Commander of the 8th Operative Group is requesting from
16 his superior from whom he received orders to carry out a task, in this
17 case, his task assigned to him by the Supreme Command from the forward
18 command post in Kakanj, and in response to the question you put to me with
19 regard to the quantities of ammunition and weapons and materiel requested
20 by the Commander of the 8th Group, this is fully in line with the task
21 assigned to the Division. He is requiring fresh supplies of those means
22 which have already been spent from what they had at their disposal. So
23 they need these replenishments to be able to embark upon the execution of
24 the assigned task.
25 It is very important to mention here the requests for hand-held
1 rocket launchers, so-called Zoljas. This is an anti-armour weapon, and
2 he's asking for 150 pieces. Also, the charger for Osas, he's asking again
3 for 50 pieces, the ammunition for these. And the shells, these are M-53
4 launchers. So he's using to -- he is asking for replenishments so as to
5 be able to embark upon the implementation of the task assigned to him by
6 General Hadzihasanovic; and linked to the tasks coming under the Operation
7 Skakavac, which was an introduction to offensive operations, or this
8 operation may have been conducted in parallel with the offensive
9 operation. But we will see that later.
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is Exhibit 38B.
11 Mr. President, with great hesitation we deviate from the Rules of
12 this Trial Chamber, but I would request only five minutes as a break,
13 please, not more.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We'll give you ten minutes.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 --- Recess taken at 1.58 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 2.08 p.m.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic, let us
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, would you please place
21 document number 38B on the ELMO. Document number 38B, Command of the 8th
22 Operational Group Srebrenica. Could you please place the document on the
24 Q. I'm going to read it because it's rather short. "8th Operation
25 Group Srebrenica, number 130-01-123/94." The document is dated the 11th
1 of November, 1994; it was addressed to the 2nd Corps Command, to the
2 attention of the Commander in Tuzla.
3 "In your strictly confidential document, number 02-1/1347-1,
4 dated the 1st of November, 1994, you requested that together with the
5 Commander of the Zepa Brigade, Avdo Palic, and a number of guides from
6 Zepa, that I dispatch a group of soldiers towards Kladanj for the purpose
7 of bringing in materiel and equipment, in particular ammunition.
8 "Since at that time the Zepa Brigade Commander was in Srebrenica,
9 I personally acquainted him with the order and we agreed to send a joint
10 group towards Kladanj. He was accompanied by a group of soldiers from
11 Srebrenica so that he could organise the trip to Kladanj from there.
12 "However, five days later the group came back from Zepa to
13 Srebrenica and informed me that Commander Palic could not organise the
14 trip towards Kladanj because his soldiers had refused to act as guides and
15 to carry out the stated assignment.
16 "Would you please inform me in writing about the status of the
17 Zepa Brigade, because Commander Palic told me orally that the said brigade
18 was placed under the Command of the 8th Operative Group Srebrenica. I
19 should also like to ask you to ensure that 'Ciko' speeds up his work on
20 the supply of ammunition towards our positions.
21 "Till final victory," the document is signed by the Brigade
22 Commander, Naser Oric.
23 General, does that mean that this action of linking up the 2nd
24 Corps and Srebrenica, that is, the forces deployed in Srebrenica, was also
25 assisted by the Zepa Brigade? Did the Zepa Brigade take part in that
2 A. Yes. The Zepa Brigade was part already at that time of the
3 28th Division.
4 From the text which you have just quoted and in relation to the
5 implementation of the assignment which was received by the Commander of
6 the 28th Division from the Commander of the 2nd Corps, he makes specific
7 mention of that particular order. From that text it can be seen that the
8 Commander of the 28th Division has certain problems with the Zepa Brigade
10 Regardless of the corridor which had been established between
11 Srebrenica and Zepa, it seems that that brigade was separated from the
12 main forces of the 28th Division in Srebrenica, that is, from the Division
13 Command and other units deployed in the area of Srebrenica.
14 Q. The next document is document number 37B. This document was
15 issued by the Command of the Srebrenica 8th Operative Group, that is, from
16 the intelligence section of that group. The number of the document is
17 130-26-31/94. The document is dated 11th of November, 1994.
18 I'm going to quote the last paragraph of that document, but let me
19 just mention that the document is addressed to the 2nd Corps Command, that
20 is, to the intelligence organ of the Corps.
21 "Chetniks have probably learned about the forthcoming offensive
22 activities of our units. That is why they are currently conducting
23 preparations so as to prevent the intrusion of our forces in the rear area
24 of the PZT."
25 And the document is signed by intelligence officer Ekrem
2 General, were you or the Command made aware of that? Did you
3 undertake certain measures or activities? And the previous document and
4 this present document, are they in any way linked together?
5 A. We did have intelligence reports according to which preparations
6 were under way to plan and conduct offensive activities. This particular
7 document is linked with the previous document.
8 Reconnaissance forces of the 28th Division observed a reinforced
9 presence of the forces of the Drina Corps in the area of the safe zone
10 which were around Srebrenica, that is. The rotations were not taking
11 place as previously, and offensive activities were obviously under way.
12 The forces of the Bratunac and Milici Brigade and the Independent
13 Skelani Battalion were deployed, all of them, on the positions around the
14 protected area.
15 Q. As regards the combat readiness of the Milici and Bratunac Brigade
16 and the Independent Skelani Battalion, was that combat readiness linked
17 and made conditional upon the activity of the 28th Division?
18 A. Yes. That was the reason for their combat readiness, that is, the
19 activity of the 28th Division. All forces of the Drina Corps at that
20 time, regardless of the place of their deployment, whether it was in the
21 north-west part of its area of responsibility in Zivinice, Zepa, Kladanj,
22 and Olovo or around the enclaves of Zepa and Gorazde were on a higher
23 level of combat readiness because of the Grasshopper or Skakovac Operation
24 whose preparations were under way and because of the operations that were
25 being under way by the forces of the BH army in the area.
1 Q. Our next document is document number 41B. Could the usher please
2 place the document on the ELMO. 8th Operative Srebrenica Brigade Command,
3 Security Organ, document number 130-13-104/94, document dated 17th of
4 November, 1994. The document was addressed to the 2nd Corps Command, that
5 is, to the Security Department of that Corps in Tuzla. It is a weekly
6 report which, in paragraph 3, subparagraph (G), that is the last
7 paragraph, states as follows: "On the 14th of November in 1994, the
8 Sabotage Reconnaissance Group of the 281st Brigade liquidated three enemy
9 soldiers, wounded one of them. Nothing is known of one other. It seized
10 three rifles and an insignificant amount of ammunition."
11 The document is signed by the Commander, that is, Commander for
12 Security Affairs, Nedzad Bektic.
13 General, does that mean that despite a higher level of combat
14 readiness that you spoke about earlier on, the sabotage and terrorist
15 groups from the area of Srebrenica were still infiltrating themselves and
16 opening -- launching combat activities and sabotage activities against
17 your units?
18 A. Yes. When it comes to these type of activities, they usually
19 focused on the unoccupied areas around the Srebrenica protected --
20 Srebrenica and Zepa protected areas. And they infiltrated these type of
21 forces into those areas for the purpose of conducting the type of
22 activities that you just quoted from this document. The document was not
23 signed by the Commander but the Assistant Commander for Security Affairs,
24 Nedzad Bektic.
25 However, despite a presence of reinforced forces of the Drina
1 Corps around the Srebrenica protected area, they were able to find ways to
2 infiltrate themselves in undefended areas for the purpose of carrying out
3 these type of combat activities.
4 Q. Let us move on to document number 42B. This document was issued
5 by the Main Staff of the Supreme Command of the armed forces of the
6 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was issued to -- at KM Kakanj.
7 The number of district, confidential document is 02-1/1608-1. The
8 document was issued on the 13th of December, 1994. The document was
9 issued by Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic and is actually a
10 response to the document which was sent by the Zepa Brigade, number
12 In this document, on page 2, I will quote the words of the
13 Brigadier-General: "To conduct sabotage activities on the axis used by
14 the supply -- for the supply lines or to infiltrate there so as not to
15 uncover them."
16 General, does that mean that in this particular case, the Zepa
17 Brigade had a kind of communication line or march route which it used for
18 the supply of ammunition and weapons in the area, and does it mean that
19 the Brigadier-General who signed this document was in charge of all these
21 A. Yes, that is correct. I already explained and described earlier
22 on the Supreme Command of the BH army was directly in charge and was
23 directly conducting everything through the 2nd Corps Command. Very often,
24 they were -- they had an immediate and direct control over all of the
25 activities that were conducted by the 28th Division. This very document
1 shows this. The document was sent by General Hadzihasanovic to the
2 8th Operative Group Command as regards the infiltration of forces on
3 certain axes, and he is suggesting that forces should not be infiltrated
4 in those areas which were used for supply -- to supply the BH army units
5 with ammunition and weapons.
6 Q. In paragraph 4 of this document, the following is stated, I
7 quote: "The procedure with UNPROFOR was indicated in strictly
8 confidential document number 02-1/1597-1. However, they should not be
9 permitted to pull out. However, in case you cannot prevent them from
10 doing so, you should seize the weapons from them, the weapons that had
11 been handed over for us -- by us for storage."
12 General, did you have any knowledge about the relationship between
13 members of the BH forces and UNPROFOR, and did any reports from liaison
14 officers reach the command concerning those problems, if there were such
16 A. Not too -- not enough. We did dispose of certain intelligence
17 data concerning the relationship between the 28th Division command and
18 UNPROFOR command in Srebrenica. However, as regards these particular data
19 and the document that was quoted earlier on regarding the disarming of
20 UNPROFOR in Srebrenica were the only documents which had such detailed
21 information contained in them.
22 Q. Could I ask for document number 43B, and if it could be put on the
23 ELMO. This will be our last document for today.
24 This document was issued by the Staff of the Supreme Command of
25 the armed forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kakanj Command
1 post. The number of the document is 02-1/1613-1, dated the 14th of
2 December, 1994. The document was issued by the Brigadier-General that we
3 mentioned earlier on, Enver Hadzihasanovic.
4 If my memory serves me well, and correct me if I'm wrong, General,
5 this is the first document that we have come across that officially
6 mentions the operation with the code name Skakavac.
7 A. Earlier on I mentioned this operation because we had information
8 about its secret code name, and also about the activities that were part
9 of that operation in the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps and
10 around its area of responsibility.
11 This operation was conducted and commanded by General
12 Hadzihasanovic, Enver Hadzihasanovic, and the document shows once again
13 that the 28th Division from Srebrenica and Zepa, pursuant to the orders of
14 General Hadzihasanovic, participated in the events that were taking
16 Among other things it states, and if you will allow me I will
17 quote only the first paragraph:
18 "With the purpose of continuing the Ciko-Kale operation, which is
19 only a part of the secret Operation Skakavac, which was regulated in the
20 order issued by the Chief of Staff of the General Staff, Brigadier-General
21 Enver Hadzihasanovic, and approved by the Commander of the army of the
22 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina ..." which means that the Commander of the
23 Main Staff of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was involved
24 in this action. And we know very well who that person was at the time.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. General, we are now approaching a period of time during which you
3 were absent from the Corps. On the 29th of December, 1994, you stepped on
4 an antipersonnel mine, you sustained injuries, and as a result of that you
5 were transferred to the Sokolac military hospital.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, with your
7 permission, I believe that this would be a convenient time to stop the
8 testimony of our witness today and to resume tomorrow morning.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Harmon.
10 MR. HARMON: Mr. President and Your Honours, I notice that we have
11 seen 14 exhibits this afternoon and this morning that are only in B/C/S,
12 and in order to prepare properly for cross-examination, we would request
13 that we receive copies of these in English. I anticipate that the
14 cross-examination may start as early as Friday, so I bring that to the
15 Court's attention and make that request. Thank you.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Harmon. Thank you very
17 much. I myself also had the intention of asking about the translation
18 issue. I'm not going to ask that the documents be translated into French
19 as well.
20 As you know, tomorrow we will be sitting until 2.00 only, and I
21 thought that we might have three blocks of one hour and ten minutes, with
22 three breaks of 20 minutes in between. I don't know if this is agreeable
23 with General Krstic and his health condition.
24 Let me ask you, General Krstic. What do you think of the proposed
25 schedule? How do you feel about it? You don't have to stand up.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I will do my best and
2 try to respect the schedule that you have just proposed.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you. We will try, we will
4 make an attempt, but whenever you need a break, please tell us so. Can we
5 agree on that?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you very much, Your
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, then.
9 Mr. Petrusic, I don't know if you wish to add anything to this
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President. We accept your
12 proposal, by all means.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
14 Tomorrow at 9.30, and we will be working until 2.00.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.37 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day of
17 October, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.