1 Tuesday, 17 October 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness takes the stand]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and
6 gentlemen; good morning, the technical booth, the interpreters; good
7 morning, legal assistants and the registrar; good morning to the Office of
8 the Prosecutor, to the Defence counsel; good morning, General Krstic.
9 We are here to continue the testimony of General Krstic. I remind
10 you, General, that you are still testifying under oath, and you will
11 continue to answer questions put to you by Mr. Petrusic.
12 Mr. Petrusic, your witness, if you please.
13 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours; good
14 morning, my learned friends from the Prosecution. The Defence also bids
15 good morning to all present in the courtroom.
16 WITNESS: RADISLAV KRSTIC [Resumed]
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 Examined by Mr. Petrusic: [Continued]
19 Q. General, we stopped yesterday with the events at the end of
20 December when you were wounded during your regular activities and visits
21 of units. So I would like to ask you, regarding your further activities
22 after that injury -- or rather would you describe to us how the injury
23 occurred and what happened after that?
24 A. Returning from the area of responsibility of the Herzegovina
25 Corps, and after being briefed on the situation in the Corps and the
1 activities engaged in by the forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
2 towards the area of responsibility of the Corps and within that area, I
3 continued to study the situation in the Corps units personally by going
4 out into the field to see the forces that had been deployed on the front
5 towards Tuzla, Zivinice, Kladanj, and Olovo. And that was how, on the
6 29th of December, I set off to visit the units deployed on the front
7 towards Kladanj and Olovo.
8 On that occasion I stepped on an anti-personnel mine when I was
9 very seriously wounded. I was immediately transferred to the military
10 hospital in Sokolac where surgery was undertaken in an attempt to save my
12 In the military hospital in Sokolac I remained until the 3rd of
13 January, 1995 when, because of a general deterioration of my condition, I
14 was transferred by medical helicopter to the Military Medical Academy in
15 Belgrade. At the academy my lower leg, lower right leg had to be
16 amputated. I remained in the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade until
17 the end of January 1995 when I was transferred to the medical hospital in
18 Meljine near Herceg Novi for further treatment and physical therapy. I
19 stayed in the military hospital in Meljine until the end of March 1995
20 when I was taken back again to the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade,
21 remaining there until sometime at the end of April 1995.
22 Upon my personal request, I was discharged from the military
23 hospital, and I went to Kosovska Mitrovica where my family was residing at
24 the time. After a stay of a couple of days with my family, and because I
25 had to report to my doctors in Sokolac and Vlasenica for further
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 treatment, I went to Bosnia together with my wife.
2 Until the second half of May, I was given regular therapy either
3 in Sokolac, the military hospital there, or in Vlasenica. Occasionally, I
4 would visit the headquarters of the Drina Corps. In the second half of
5 May 1995, I officially took up my regular duties as envisaged by my work
7 Q. So this was in mid-May or the second half of May?
8 A. I think it was mid-May. Anyway, I resumed my duties in the second
9 half of May.
10 Q. During your absence from the 29th of December, 1994 until you
11 returned, did you have a deputy to take your place in the Corps?
12 A. According to the establishment and the structure of the Drina
13 Corps, the Chief of the Operations and Training unit would naturally be my
14 deputy, according to the rules. However, he didn't stand in for me all
15 that time.
16 Upon the request of the Commander of the Drina Corps, General
17 Zivanovic, the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps became the previous Chief
18 of Staff, the one I had replaced, that is, General Milutin Skocajic, upon
19 the request of General Zivanovic. So General Skocajic replaced me until
20 sometime at the beginning of April 1995 when, because of certain disputes
21 or conflicts with General Zivanovic, he went back home to his family.
22 After that, until my return, the Chief of the Operations and
23 Training unit, Colonel Milenko Lazic replaced me, and he was given orders
24 by the Commander of the Drina Corps, dating back to April of 1995, to
25 replace me in my position.
1 Q. Upon your return to the Corps Command, Colonel Lazic briefed you
2 about the situation in the Corps, didn't he? Did Colonel Lazic do this?
3 A. Yes, of course he did. The first matter I was briefed about and
4 given information on were the following: He told me that preparations for
5 a spring offensive by the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina had
6 almost been completed and that it was to be expected that the operations
7 of the BH army in offensive -- can be expected to undertake offensive
8 activities towards the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps.
9 He also briefed me on the earlier activities of the 28th Division
10 from Srebrenica and Tuzla, and told me that they had engaged in combat
11 continuously, that sabotage groups had been infiltrated into the rear of
12 our forces deep within our territory, and that in the process we had
13 suffered very considerable casualties.
14 Just when I arrived, the intensity with which these groups were
15 being infiltrated was very, very high. He also informed me that units of
16 the 28th Division were continuing to procure arms.
17 Q. Let me interrupt you, General, for a moment, because of exhibits
18 the Defence would like to offer.
19 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Your Honours, I
20 should like to ask you for a little more patience during the day, as
21 Defence will be producing a number of documents which, unfortunately, we
22 only have in one version and that is the B/C/S version, but after this set
23 of documents, all the other documents will be provided in English as
25 I know that this is a problem for both you and my learned friends
1 from the Prosecution because it is difficult for you to follow, but I do
2 appeal to you for a little more patience for us to get through these
3 documents, and I shall try to quote parts from these documents, and I hope
4 that this will not be a very great problem for the Prosecution, for their
5 cross-examination later.
6 So can I ask the usher to bring document D44B.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic, we understand
8 the situation, but I already asked for us to take stock of the situation
9 at the end of the day, because we really must do everything to have the
10 documents translated. But we will discuss this at the end of the day.
11 But there is the risk of us coming to the end of the examination-in-chief
12 of General Krstic and not being able to begin the cross-examination.
13 So we will review the situation at the end of the day to see how
14 we stand, but for the moment, please continue.
15 So the registrar can give us these documents now.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Petrusic, could you please move the
17 microphone closer.
18 On the ELMO, please.
19 Could Defence counsel move the microphone, please.
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. This is an order of the 1st Zepa Light Brigade, 08-20-22/95, dated
22 the 10th of January, 1995, addressed to the Main Staff of the army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Kakanj, attention Brigadier-General Enver
24 Hadzihasanovic, and I quote -- for the record, the number of this document
25 is 08-20-22/95, and I quote: "In reference to your documents as quoted
1 above, we are providing the following information: We suggest a new
2 landing strip, Kupusna, of which the coordinates are X=49.000, Y=81.000.
3 We're using an UNPROFOR map, the scale of which is 1 to 100.000, Zvornik
4 section (477). The strip is 3 to 4 kilometres away from Chetnik lines.
5 "Note: At the old location there is not enough room for the
6 simultaneous landing of two helicopters. We cannot remove UNPROFOR,
7 assess the situation and make a decision. Signed Deputy Commander Major
8 Dzevad Brgulja."
9 General, did you have any prior knowledge about the flights of
10 helicopters which were prohibited at the time to bring in supplies of
11 armaments, in this case for the 1st Zepa Light Brigade?
12 A. Yes, you are quite right. Flights were not allowed because there
13 was a prohibition, a no-flight rule for helicopters, but they did fly in
14 from the direction of Tuzla.
15 In this document of the 1st Zepa Brigade, the Brigade Commander is
16 suggesting to the leadership of the BH army a new location for the landing
17 of helicopters because the previous location is no longer safe. These
18 flights had been detected over territory under Serb control, so he is
19 saying that UNPROFOR forces are also representing a certain obstacle and
20 he is unable to move them away from there. So he's suggesting a new
21 location, Kupusna, which is an area more to the north-west of the Zepa
22 enclave, in fact, within the Zepa enclave, as a safer place. He also
23 provides the coordinates which a pilot has to have when landing, saying
24 that the brigade command will provide security for the landing area.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could I ask the usher for document
1 45B, please. Could you please prepare documents 47, 49, 48, and 50 so
2 that we can speed things up a little.
3 Q. This order that we have in front of us bears the number
4 08-20-48/95, dated the 19th of January, 1995, issued by the 1st Zepa Light
5 Brigade, and I quote: "The cargo which arrived by helicopter on the
6 18th of January, 1995 has been received in order and stored in a safe
7 place. We have withdrawn the personnel from the location. Give us notice
8 of the rough time when the next cargo is due to arrive so that we can
9 prepare the personnel and the landing strip. We have a lot of problems
10 with UNPROFOR regarding the landing of helicopters at the location used so
11 far. We can safely receive another delivery at the same location whereas
12 all subsequent deliveries would be extremely risky. Signed Commander
13 Colonel Avdo Palic."
14 According to this order or, rather, report or information, the
15 Commander is reporting that he has received the delivery. So my question
16 is: Did you have any knowledge of any UNPROFOR intervention, that is, any
17 intervention by the battalion that was stationed in the area of Zepa, that
18 is, the Ukraine Battalion, on overflights by helicopters and on supplies
19 of weapons for the enclave in this way?
20 A. You corrected yourself. This is not an order. This is
21 information addressed to the Main Staff of the BH army, specifically to
22 Enver Hadzihasanovic.
23 Obviously, the Main Staff of the BH army did not accept the
24 previous suggestion by the Commander of the Zepa Brigade regarding a new
25 location in the area of Kupusna, so that helicopters continued to land at
1 the old location, or perhaps General Hadzihasanovic did not receive in
2 time the previous document or, rather, request from the Command of the
3 Zepa Brigade.
4 We did have information about helicopter landings in Zepa
5 occasionally and also in Srebrenica, as we will see later, that this cargo
6 was being shared between the 1st Zepa Brigade and other units of the
7 28th Division in Srebrenica. This cargo mostly consisted of weapons,
8 ammunition, and everything else that is necessary -- that was necessary
9 for the units of the 28th Division for their combat operations.
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Please, can I have the Exhibit
12 Q. This is an order of the General Staff of the BH army. The number
13 is 1-1/224-1, dated 7th of February, 1995. In fact, it is a notice about
14 the distribution of materiel and equipment.
15 Paragraph 1, I quote: "Carry out the occupation of the heliport
16 immediately tomorrow and take appropriate action for receipt of the
18 Paragraph 5, item 5, I quote: "As regards the rifles for
19 Srebrenica, we are preparing a special delivery."
20 And paragraph 6: "Automatic rifles 7.62: For Zepa, 100 pieces;
21 for Srebrenica, none; Mortars, 60-millimetre mortars: For Zepa, two
22 pieces; for Srebrenica, six pieces; Shells, 60-millimetre: For Zepa, 40;
23 for Srebrenica, 20 --" I apologise, "120; 7.62 calibre rounds: For Zepa,
24 24.500; for Srebrenica, 66.150." The document is signed by
25 Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic.
1 Does this mean that the distribution and the manner in which the
2 distribution of weapons and ammunition is to be carried out was at the
3 hands of the Higher Command, this is something that the Higher Command
4 decided, in other words, General Enver Hadzihasanovic from the 2nd Corps?
5 A. Yes, precisely. The previous documents and this one show that the
6 process of supplying the units with weapons and ammunition, when it comes
7 to the 28th Division, was controlled by Enver Hadzihasanovic from the Main
8 Staff of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This document is again
9 composed as a report, but it can be, in fact, considered as an order,
10 because he allocates the weapons and ammunition that have arrived as
11 specified in the document itself.
12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Exhibit 49B, please.
13 Q. This is a document issued by the 1st Zepa Light Brigade. The
14 number is 08-20-109/95, dated the 9th of February, 1995. It is addressed
15 to General Hadzihasanovic, and I quote: "The materiel from the delivery
16 of the 6th and 7th of February, 1995 have been received in good order and
17 have been stored in a safe location. We expected to get the delivery of
18 the 8th and 9th of February, 1995 and we spent the whole night at
19 the heliport. Please tell us whether the delivery will arrive on the 9th
20 to 10th of February of 1995 and whether we are to wait for it at the
21 heliport." The document is signed by Ramo Cardakovic.
22 So the arming, as is obvious, continued. Do you have any
23 information --
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, excuse me for
25 interrupting you. But if you draw conclusions from the document, there is
1 a risk of you testifying instead of the General. So please put the
2 question to the General.
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. General, could you please comment --
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. -- can you please comment on this notice?
7 A. Yes. This document shows that the deliveries of weapons and
8 ammunition were quite intensive, and it went on on a daily basis. The
9 person in charge, or rather the body in charge of this process was the
10 General Staff of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 To me it would be very logical, since the 28th Division was a part
12 of the 2nd Corps of the BH army, or it was linked in many ways with this
13 Corps, it would be logical to assume that the deliveries would be arriving
14 from Tuzla. However, the situation was completely different. The supply
15 lines and the orders and the instructions go directly from the Main Staff
16 of the BH army.
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is 48B.
18 Q. This is a telegramme sent by the 1st Zepa Light Brigade. The
19 number is 08-20-110/95, and the date is the 9th of February, 1995.
20 The text goes as follows: "The delivery of the 7th of February,
21 1995 is correct as itemised. I need 30 personnel to report to me in the
22 course of the night at the destination as agreed by Ramiz and myself. I
23 await feedback. Regards from Semse."
24 This telegramme was sent to the Commander, Naser Oric, or
25 alternatively to the Chief of Staff, Major Ramiz Becirevic. Can you
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 comment on the contents of this order?
2 A. The Commander of the Zepa Brigade, after the arrival of the cargo,
3 reports to the Division Commander in Srebrenica or the Chief of Staff of
4 the Division about the arrival of the cargo. The Commander of the
5 Division in Srebrenica or the Chief of Staff already know about the
6 delivery, and that is why the Commander of the Zepa Brigade reminds him of
8 This document shows that a larger amount, a larger quantity, of
9 materiel had arrived from Sarajevo because the distribution thereof --
10 that a large number of livestock is required to report. What they mean is
11 actually cargo animals to transport -- 30 cargo animals to transport the
13 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is Exhibit 50B.
14 Q. It is a notice from the 1st Zepa Light Brigade, number
15 08-20-114/95, dated the 11th of February, 1995.
16 "Please be advised that I received the last night's cargo in full
17 and that I stored it in a safe location. There were some minor problems
18 because Chetniks fired at the helicopter, but you have already probably
19 been advised thereof."
20 The last three lines of the order, in fact, of this notice, I
21 quote: "In the previous delivery, we received some money, about
22 308.000 DM, for which we do not know the purpose nor have we received any
23 instruction. We assume that it is earmarked for Srebrenica, and we would
24 like you -- to give you instructions in this regard. Signed, Commander
25 Colonel Avdo Palic."
1 Can you please comment on this notice?
2 A. Yes. The Commander of the Zepa Brigade again reports to the
3 General Staff of the BH army about the latest cargo that had arrived. He
4 also notifies him that he has received some money, in fact, 308.000 German
5 marks, assuming that the money, that this amount was, in fact, earmarked
6 for Srebrenica.
7 I don't know what the purpose was for this money, so I can't
8 comment on it, but if we know that it has reached the Commander of the
9 Brigade, we can assume that it was meant for the soldiers, members of the
10 army, for their salaries, monthly salaries.
11 Q. All these reports that we have gone through now refer to the
12 landing of helicopters in the Zepa area. Can you explain to us, why did
13 the helicopters land in this area, at least as far as these reports are
15 A. Yes. The Zepa area was much more suitable for the landing of
16 helicopters, not only for the landing but also for the overflights of
17 helicopters from the locations from which the deliveries were sent. It is
18 much better than Srebrenica. It is mostly a wooded area, and it is very
19 difficult to spot the helicopters, and it is, in fact, very difficult to
20 target the helicopters in the conditions that our units had to contend
21 with and that is the defence that we were engaged in. And the position of
22 the anti-aircraft units in the wooded parts of the areas of responsibility
23 of the units that were located in the Romanija plateau.
24 It was much easier to distribute the materiel from Zepa towards
25 Srebrenica because that area was not occupied by our forces. That was an
1 area in between the two safe areas.
2 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I would now like to ask the usher
3 to place the documents 51 through 55 on the ELMO.
4 Q. This is a document issued by the army of the Republic of Bosnia
5 and Herzegovina, the Command of the 28th Division. The number is
6 01-47/95, dated 22nd of May, 1995.
7 Paragraph 5 contains the actual order. I quote: "On the basis of
8 the information about the slump in the morale and the general chaos in the
9 ranks of the aggressor, assess the possibility and take offensive action
10 even at the lowest-level platoon. In our conditions, it means that it is
11 possible to plan and carry out sabotage actions, but in the depth of the
12 enemy territory. In order to carry out such sabotage actions, it is
13 necessary to work out with the whole of the -- all of the officers in the
14 unit this order using the information about the situation in the ranks of
15 the aggressor and to take any measures that are necessary to reconnoitre
16 the terrain and to carry out sabotage actions.
17 "Actions are to be planned and carried out in areas where we can
18 guarantee 100 per cent success and in the depth of the aggressor
19 territory, at least 5 kilometres further down from their defence lines
20 towards the area of responsibility of the division. For the execution of
21 such actions, prior approval is to be obtained from the Division Command
22 and the plan for the execution of the actions is to be submitted to the
23 Command with all the details."
24 The document is signed by Chief of Staff, Major Ramiz Becirvic.
25 This is the 22nd of May, 1995.
1 Can you tell us something about the activities of, or whether
2 there were, in fact, some activities launched by the other party, that is,
3 the 28th Division?
4 A. This is the time just before the beginning of the spring offensive
5 launched by the BH army on the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps.
6 It had already began against the positions in the area of responsibility
7 of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, and this document clearly shows that the
8 operations of the 28th Division in the safe area of Srebrenica primarily
9 were very frequent.
10 The operations are carried out in the depth of the territory
11 controlled by the Serbs, as is quite obvious from this order. They
12 monitor the combat morale and the alleged chaos in the ranks of the
13 Serbian side and assess that this was a moment when they should intensify
14 combat operations and inflict casualties to their opponent, and they are
15 warned that only those operations in which success is guaranteed are to be
16 carried out.
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is Exhibit 52, and
18 we have this document and this exhibit in the English version.
19 Q. This is an order of the 28th Division, and the number is 02-35 of
20 1995. The date is the 2nd of June, 1995.
21 General, since we do have this document -- all of us have this
22 document in the English language as well --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone. Thank you.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. This is the order number 02-35/95, dated 2nd of June, 1995. Since
1 there is a translation of this order, I will not be quoting from it. I
2 would now like to ask you for your views in the light of the general
3 situation prevalent in the territory.
4 A. This order was issued by the Command of the 28th Division
5 regarding a distribution of ammunition and other materiel which had
6 arrived in the meantime, up to that time, into the area of Srebrenica and
8 The distribution was carried out pursuant to a plan of organised
9 activities, and the Commander of the division, that is, the Assistant
10 Commander for Operative Affairs is conducting the distribution of the said
11 materiel and equipment.
12 I'm now going to read out parts of this order which relate to the
13 way the ammunition and materiel was distributed.
14 For the 28th East Bosnian Light Brigade, there were 5.500 rounds
15 of 6.62 bullets. 7.9 bullets were distributed in the amount of
16 350 pieces. There were 35 pieces of hand grenades that were distributed
17 and there were 12 hand-held rocket launcher shells.
18 Q. General, sorry I'm interrupting you, but in this document we can
19 see what the quantities are in question, so I don't think it is necessary
20 for us to go through all of this, because I have already indicated that we
21 have the translation of this order.
22 What I should like to know is whether you can tell us something
23 about the quantity of the ammunition and other materiel and equipment for
24 one particular brigade, that is, what does that quantity represent for one
1 A. This quantity of ammunition and materiel is -- almost amounts to a
2 unit of fire for one particular brigade, an entire unit of fire for each
3 and one brigade. I think that we are dealing here with supplementary
4 quantities, because it seems that part of the quantities that they had
5 previously disposed of had already been spent.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [INTERPRETATION] Our next document is document
7 number 53, D53, which is an interim report of the command of the 28th
8 Brigade, number 13-05-77/95, dated 2nd of June, 1995.
9 Q. I will quote from the document: "On the 31st of May, 1995, in the
10 immediate vicinity of the UN checkpoint at Zeleni Jadar at around
11 9.00 a.m., our reconnaissance patrol encountered a Chetnik patrol near the
12 Opres locality. During that incident, the platoon commander and one
13 soldier of the 282nd Light Brigade were wounded and left on the locality
14 was one PHO. Around 13.00, two patrols were again dispatched, each
15 containing four soldiers to search the terrain, the patrol in which the
16 Deputy Commander was, the Deputy Commander of the 282nd Light Brigade.
17 The two patrols met again and the first one opened fire, as a result of
18 which, two enemy soldiers were killed.
19 "On the 1st of June, 1995, in the early morning hours, the enemy
20 led an ambush in the area of Podravanje. In that incident, two of our
21 personnel were killed close to the asphalt road near the workshop, and
22 near the SS curve, a soldier of the 285th Brigade was killed, together
23 with four additional soldiers of the 285th Brigade."
24 The document was signed by Nedzad Bektic.
25 General, according to your interpretation of this information
1 report, could you tell us something about this conflict, where exactly it
2 happened and where these patrols were conducted, whether the patrols were
3 conducted inside or outside the area.
4 A. Well, it was not necessary to conduct patrols inside the area of
5 responsibility of the 28th Division. From the documents that we have seen
6 so far, we could see that the reconnaissance activities and operations of
7 sabotage and terrorist units were carried out outside the area of
8 responsibility or further in the rear of the territory which was under the
9 control of the Serbian side.
10 The incident that took place in Zeleni Jadar occurred outside the
11 boundaries of the area of responsibility. Mentioned here is the village
12 of Podravanje, which was also situated outside the area of responsibility,
13 some 3 or 4 kilometres away. It is true that this area was not under the
14 control of the forces of the VRS; however, the VRS was able to control it
15 from time to time and search the terrain.
16 As a result of that, a conflict between two patrols occurred, a
17 clash involving one patrol of the VRS and one patrol of the BH army.
18 Q. Referring to the area that you just mentioned, did it actually
19 belong to the Serbian side, to the Serbian party?
20 A. Yes. After the boundaries of the safe area were established, both
21 Podravanje and Zeleni Jadar actually belonged to the Serbian side.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Exhibit 94 has been -- I'm sorry,
23 54 has been translated, I believe.
24 Q. So the next exhibit is Exhibit 54, and it's again an order, number
25 01-80/95, dated 5th of June, 1995. The order was issued by the
1 representative of the Commander, Chief of Staff, Ramiz Becirevic, and I
2 should like you to interpret the situation on the ground for us by using
3 this particular order.
4 A. The order in question was issued on the 5th of June to one of the
5 commands of a brigade which was part of this division. Briefly, the
6 Command of the 28th Division is still issuing orders and has its units
7 under control, and it is supervising the conduct of offensive activities
8 of its units; and also it is controlling the sabotage and terrorist
9 activities which were carried out in the territory under the Serbian
10 control, that is, in the rear area of the VRS forces, that is, the forces
11 of the Drina Corps, which were deployed around the protected area.
12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Our next exhibit is D55, which has
13 also been translated into English, and I should like you to put it on the
14 ELMO as well.
15 Q. It is a report, number 03-49-5/95, of the 5th of June, 1995,
16 issued by the Tuzla Defence Secretariat Department in the municipality of
17 Srebrenica. The document was signed by Suljo Hasanovic.
18 General, I should like to hear your opinion and to comment for us
19 on this particular information report bearing in mind the overall
20 situation. The time frame is the beginning of June 1995.
21 A. Yes, you are right, it's early June 1995. And the Chief of the
22 Defence Secretariat in Tuzla is an authority which is in charge of
23 replenishment of units of the 28th Division in that particular area, and
24 they are hereby informing the Tuzla Defence Secretariat about the
25 quantities of supplies that have arrived and have been distributed to the
1 members of the 28th Division.
2 As an illustration, for the month of May 1995, members of the 28th
3 Division were issued with 25.900 kilos of flour. We are talking about 26
4 tonnes of flour here. Then we have 596 kilos of sugar; then 690 kilos of
5 salt; 1.400 litres of cooking oil. So as you can see, these are
6 considerable quantities of foodstuffs which were distributed to the
7 members of the 28th Division.
8 I think that some of the conclusions regarding the humanitarian
9 situation are incorrect, in particular as regards the food that was
10 distributed to the population and the members of the forces. So some of
11 the information that we received is not correct, and this will be seen
12 later on from the documents that were issued for the month of June and the
13 month of July.
14 Q. Speaking of the quantities of supplies, were they part of the
15 humanitarian aid that was distributed?
16 A. Yes, this was taken out from the humanitarian aid. So it is
17 obvious, one can see that the humanitarian aid was not distributed or,
18 rather, was not distributed in sufficient quantities to those who were
19 really in need.
20 Q. In this particular case, the quantities stated, had they been
21 received from the Dutch Battalion?
22 A. Yes, that is correct, that the quantities indicated here were
23 received from the Dutch Battalion.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, at this point I
25 should like to suggest a break.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, we will gladly accept your
2 suggestion, Mr. Petrusic, and have a 20-minute break at this point. As I
3 already indicated, we will have three breaks today.
4 A 20-minute break.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.42 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 11.04 a.m.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Document 57B, could it be placed on the ELMO, please. Please turn
10 to page 2 of this document. Actually, on the bottom of page 2. That's
11 it. Raise it up a little, please. Move it up.
12 Q. It is a document issued by the Command of the 283rd Brigade,
13 number 03-358-41/95, dated 7 June 1995, and entitled "Opinion and Approval
14 of the Division for Suggestions and Appointments Listed."
15 This document --
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, excuse me for
17 interrupting you. Perhaps I'm lost, but the references that you gave us
18 regarding this document, 57B, do not seem to correspond, because I see it
19 is a document dated the 8th of June and you said it was dated the 7th of
20 June. So I don't know. Are we talking about the same document, 57B?
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, it is document 57B. However,
22 the document which the Defence would like to comment on is to be found on
23 page 2, at the bottom of page 2, where we see the number of the document
24 and the date.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Okay. Very well. So we can see
1 that this exhibit consists of several documents, in fact.
2 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The number D57 applies to the order
3 number 03-358-41/95, dated the 7th of June, 1995.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you for
5 clearing that up. You may continue.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher, would you please turn to
7 the next page of that document.
8 Q. General, this document gives a proposal for the composition of a
9 certain unit. I would like to avoid making any comments, so could you
10 tell us what this document is about?
11 A. Within the framework of the elaboration of the establishment for
12 the Command and units of the 28th Division in Srebrenica and Zepa, the
13 Commander of one of the units of the 28th Division -- in this case we are
14 talking about the 283rd Eastern Bosnian Light Brigade -- is conveying his
15 opinion and approval for the proposed establishment and appointments in
16 the Brigade Command.
17 It can clearly be seen from this document that the Commander of
18 the brigade is fully replenishing all the bodies in the Command, all his
19 assistants. And within the framework of the bodies of the Brigade
20 Command, he is filling in all the vacancies envisaged by establishment,
21 starting from the highest to the lowest-level officers.
22 The document also shows that this Brigade Command has 22 officers
23 or staff members as a whole. That is a peacetime structure, the kind of
24 structure envisaged in the former Yugoslav People's Army. If the Command
25 of this brigade - and also this applies to other brigades as well - has so
1 many senior officers, then the Division Command would have to have at
2 least 50 officers being higher-level command, superior to this brigade and
3 to the other brigades.
4 Q. When talking about this particular military unit, can it be said
5 that it is a fully-established military unit?
6 A. Yes, fully established in terms of the Command. And I also
7 believe that appointments were made in lower-level units of this brigade.
8 I am referring to battalion commands, to the lowest-level units, and that
9 is a platoon.
10 Q. According to this structure, how many soldiers could this unit
11 have according to establishment?
12 A. We will later see that this division -- and this is a very
13 concrete example showing that the 28th Division of the army of the
14 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was structured in every respect in the same
15 way in which units of the same level were structured in the former
16 Yugoslav People's Army. The divisions in the former Yugoslav People's
17 Army, consisting of Light Brigades, numbered between 6.000 to 10.000 men,
18 which meant that every brigade within this division could have had between
19 1.000 and 1.800 men.
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is D59. And would
21 you prepare all the exhibits as far as D67, please.
22 Q. So we're now talking about D59. This order was issued by the
23 General Staff of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The number is 1/825-84,
24 dated the 17th of June, 1995. It was issued by the Chief of Staff of the
25 2nd Corps, Sulejman Budakovic.
1 Could you tell us, General, please, what does this order refer to
2 and to which units is it addressed?
3 A. Clearly all preparations for the spring offensive by the army for
4 the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina were prepared, the aim of the offensive
5 being to liberate the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This
6 order addressed to the Command of the 28th Division was issued by the
7 2nd Corps of the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And the
8 Command of the 2nd Corps is ordering the Command of the 28th Division to
9 carry out all preparations for offensive combat operations with the aim of
10 liberating the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to
11 stretch out and inflict casualties on aggressor forces whereby it will be
12 assisting the BiH army forces engaging in operations in the area of
13 Sarajevo, which means that the spring offensive is well underway in the
14 territory of Sarajevo against units of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps.
15 The Commander of the 2nd Corps of the BH army further warns the
16 Command of the 28th Division that it should realistically plan tasks which
17 will be certain of success. We have already seen, and we will see later
18 on, that the Command of the 28th Division and its units did indeed
19 participate in the execution of offensive actions from the direction of
20 Tuzla towards Srebrenica and Zvornik, carrying out a variety of combat
21 operations in order to stretch out the forces of the Drina Corps. And
22 this document is signed by the Chief of Staff of the 2nd Corps,
23 General Budakovic.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is D60.
25 Q. It is an order of the Command of the 28th Division, number
1 01-102/95, dated 14 June 1995, a document issued in the form of an order
2 to the Command of the 284th Light Brigade, Attention: Commander.
3 In the first paragraph after the heading "Order," it says
4 that: "The Command of the 284th Brigade shall form a sabotage
5 Reconnaissance Platoon group, well-armed and sufficiently large to be sent
6 to the PZT to reconnoitre the terrain along the Buljim, Konjevic Polje,
7 Cerska, Zvornicka, Kamenica-Snagovo line and back.
8 "The task of this reconnaissance group is to reconnoitre the
9 terrain along this line as widely as possible, to gather all
10 security-relevant data on the said terrain, such as the disposition and
11 strength of the aggressor forces, the types and quantities of materiel and
12 equipment for combat operations, any changes of personnel and the like, to
13 draw up a written report reflecting all the information of military
14 importance gathered on the territory controlled by the aggressor and
15 submit it to the Division Command."
16 Then it goes on to say that: "If favourable conditions are
17 ensured, destroy personnel and materiel."
18 My question is whether this task assigned to the 284th Brigade
19 regarding reconnaissance deep within the territory controlled by Serb
20 forces or, rather, outside and far from the safe area of Srebrenica --
21 A. The 14th of June, 1995, is the day prior to the beginning of an
22 offensive by the forces of the 2nd Corps of the army of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina. The Command of the 28th Division is well aware of that
24 because it had already received orders and information to that effect and
25 a whole series of orders regarding action that needed to be taken in
1 connection with this offensive.
2 The area that the 284th Bosnian Light Brigade should reconnoitre
3 and the facilities within that axis are far from the safe area of
4 Srebrenica, and it is precisely along this axis and in this area that the
5 attacking forces from the direction of Tuzla should link up with
6 infiltrated forces of the 28th Division that had been infiltrated in this
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is D61.
9 Q. It is a brief report of the 285th Brigade from Zepa. The number
10 is 08-21-208/95, dated the 23rd of June, 1995, addressed to the General
11 Staff of the army in Kakanj, attention Brigadier-General Enver
12 Hadzihasanovic, and I shall quote:
13 "Yesterday, on the 22nd of June, 1995, at 430 hours, a group of
14 20 men was crushed which had illegally set off towards Kladanj from our
15 area of responsibility and in the area of Han Pogledi, on the road between
16 Han Pijesak and Vlasenica. One wounded managed to escape and reach our
17 positions at Kupusna. Regarding the fate of the others, nothing is
18 known. These are mostly persons who, before the war, lived in Vlasenica
19 municipality. Signed, PK for Security, Salih Hasanovic."
20 Reading this report, does it mean that certain persons, in this
21 case from the safe area of Srebrenica, are continuing to cross towards
22 Tuzla and Kladanj?
23 A. Regardless of the fact that offensive operations are under way
24 from Tuzla and Kladanj, and regardless of the fact that the 28th Division
25 is actively participating in that offensive, there still exists a problem
1 for the 28th Division - in this particular case, this problem affects the
2 285th Light Brigade from Zepa - and that is the desertion on the part of a
3 number of members of this brigade and their fleeing to Kladanj to reunite
4 with their families. These are persons who before the war used to live in
5 the territory of Vlasenica municipality.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is 62.
7 Q. It is a report of the Command of the 2nd Corps, number
8 02/8-01-998, dated the 27th of June, 1995. It is dispatched to the
9 Command of the 28th Division, and I quote:
10 "In the morning hours of the 26th of June, 1995, our forces from
11 the Srebrenica area attacked and set the village of Visnjica on fire.
12 According to information that has yet to be confirmed, Chetniks suffered
13 civilian casualties."
14 The village of Visnjica in the materials used so far is
15 mentioned. What happened on the 26th of June, 1995? You can also point
16 things out on the map.
17 A. The village of Visnjica is deep inside the territory of the Milici
18 municipality. I see that it is deep behind the lines of the Milici
19 Brigade, which is in a defensive position against Srebrenica. This
20 village is, in fact, on the axis towards the Han Pijesak municipality.
21 That morning, on the 26th of June, from the safe area of
22 Srebrenica and Zepa and into the area of Radava, which is north to the
23 Zepa safe area, extremely strong sabotage forces were infiltrated into
24 that area along two axes.
25 The first axis was towards the village of Visnjica, and on that
1 occasion the positions of the VRS came under an attack. So we're talking
2 about the depth of the territory behind the forces that headed the
3 Srebrenica area, they were protecting this village because this area was
4 not protected, not defended, by our forces. So they attacked the
5 positions of our forces and several of our soldiers were killed; several
6 of them were also wounded and a large quantity of weapons and ammunition
7 was seized. We will see that in a report filed by the Commander of the
8 Milici Brigade. The village was set on fire. A certain number of
9 civilians were killed and a certain number were wounded. After that,
10 members of these sabotage terrorist forces gathered all the cattle from
11 the village and drove it to the safe area of Srebrenica.
12 The other axis used by the forces from the Radava area to execute
13 their mission was in the direction of the area of deployment of the Main
14 Staff of the VRS in the territory of Han Pijesak. The objective was to
15 attack the Main Staff from the eastern side of the position of the Staff,
16 and indeed that is what happened.
17 In the course of the attack and the movement towards the Main
18 Staff, these forces encountered the protective units of the Main Staff and
19 they killed six young soldiers on that occasion. These were the soldiers
20 doing their national service, and as part of their national service, they
21 were part of the protective unit, of the security of the Main Staff; and
22 several of the soldiers were wounded.
23 On that same day, the village of Rjecice came under attack; that
24 is in the municipality of Han Pijesak. On that occasion, ten civilians
25 were killed, and the remaining houses were set on fire. I say "remaining"
1 because that village had already suffered damage in 1993.
2 So this is a period of time when the spring offensive launched by
3 the 2nd Corps of the BH army was at its peak. The 28th Division, as we
4 can see, participated in the execution of the missions and the
5 implementation of the objectives set by and ordered by the Superior
6 Command; the objective being to disorganise our areas in this unit, to
7 stretch them out; to intimidate the civilian population; and of course to
8 inflict casualties to our -- the required casualties to our forces.
9 Q. In this report, we are still dealing with Exhibit 62, it's stated
10 that "At 1421 hours it has been reported that our forces had carried out
11 an attack in the Krivaca area."
12 When you talk about the attack on the Main Staff Command in Han
13 Pijesak, is that the axis that you're talking about?
14 A. Yes. This is the axis to the east of the area where the Main
15 Staff in fact was deployed.
16 Q. On page 2 of this report, it is said that: "From the
17 communications centre in Pjenovac, we were informed that our forces had
18 carried out an ambush in an unknown, unidentified terrain, destroying
19 three aggressor soldiers." These are the young soldiers. That, then,
20 would be the site and the event that you have just described.
21 A. Yes. The communications centre in Pjenovac is mentioned here; it
22 is a centre in the local community to the west of Han Pijesak, 12
23 kilometres away, in the direction of Olovo. This is where the young
24 soldiers were deployed, the young soldiers who were undergoing training at
25 the time.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 In this action, where it is stated that three active soldiers were
2 destroyed - this is what it actually says here - at the same time, the
3 village of Rjecice was attacked. This is the village I was talking about;
4 this is to the north-east of Pjenovac, about 7 or 8 kilometres away.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Our next exhibit is number 63B.
7 Q. This is a document issued by the General Staff of the BH army, and
8 the number is 1/825-564, dated the 28th of June, 1995, and it is sent to
9 the 2nd Corps Command. I quote:
10 "Several members of the BH army who had deserted from the
11 territory of Srebrenica were moving along the march route Srebrenica,
12 Zepa, Radava, Veliki Dzep, Makote, Donja Medja, Visocnik, Pjenovac,
13 Nevacka, Rjecice, Donja Brdo, Sokoline, and along the Jezernica River to
14 the tunnel in Kladanj, and along the route they did not notice any Chetnik
15 formations or v/p. According to their testimony, there are no elite
16 forces or larger military formations around Srebrenica. More than 50 per
17 cent of the trenches are empty, and the lines are manned mostly by old
19 "On the Han Pijesak-Sarajevo road, on the 21st and the 22nd of
20 June, 1995, they noticed very intensive traffic in both directions. In
21 the night from the 21st to the 22nd of June, 1995, they noticed a column
22 consisting of 12 trailer-trucks covered with canvas escorted by military
23 and civilian police, escorting large cargo heading towards Sarajevo.
24 Signed, Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic."
25 General, the time is the 28th of June, 1995. According to the
1 knowledge that you had at the time or before, were the elite units of --
2 were they concentrated in the Srebrenica area?
3 A. I would like to say something about the axis that you just
4 mentioned from this document, referring to the people who had illegally
5 left the safe area. This is a route, in fact it is a corridor, I would
6 call it, that the forces of the 28th Division had already established
7 towards Kladanj not only for the purpose of illegal desertion of the safe
8 areas but for the purpose of planned transfer of forces towards Tuzla and
9 Kladanj. Of course these men, as they moved from Srebrenica and Zepa
10 towards Kladanj, they reconnoitred the area and they noticed many things
11 that were of interest for the Command of the 24th Division in Kladanj.
12 I'm primarily referring to the information about the military forces,
13 information about the army of Republika Srpska.
14 This document, among other things, mentions the situation and the
15 positions of the VRS around Srebrenica. It is stated that more than
16 50 per cent of the trenches are empty and that the personnel that is
17 there, that these are mostly old men. This was indeed the fact.
18 Bearing in mind the situation of the Drina Corps at the time, and
19 in light of the spring offensive that was under way from the direction of
20 Tuzla and Kladanj towards the area of responsibility of the Corps, and
21 bearing in mind everything that was happening inside the responsibility of
22 the Corps, I mean the Sabotage and Terrorist Units, the Command of the
23 Drina Corps and its subordinates units did not have any possibility to
24 allocate any elite forces, to deploy them around Srebrenica. They were
25 unable to deploy any units there because we were fully engaged in the
1 north-western part of the area of responsibility of the Corps.
2 And as regards the dispatching some of the forces into the area of
3 responsibility of the 2nd Krajina Corps in Western Bosnia, because the
4 situation there was very serious, we were forced to mobilised all our
5 personnel, I mean, the elderly men, in order to man the trenches primarily
6 around Srebrenica and Zepa.
7 Q. In this report, mention is made of a column of trailer trucks
8 covered in canvas that were heading towards Sarajevo. So this road to
9 Sarajevo, is it in the same direction or in the opposite direction in
10 relation to the safe areas both of Srebrenica and Zepa?
11 A. This route is to the west of the safe area of Srebrenica and the
12 safe area of Zepa. It is the Vlasenica-Han Pijesak-Sokolac-Sarajevo
13 road. I really don't know what the cargo in question was. It is possible
14 that it was a military transport for the purposes of the Sarajevo and
15 Romanija Corps, which was at the time defending itself and the spring
16 offensive against it had already been launched. This cargo, this
17 transport, was probably organised by the VRS, the Main Staff of the VRS.
18 Q. So this road is, in fact, going in the opposite direction from the
19 Srebrenica zone.
20 A. That road that I had just mentioned and you quoted yourself is
21 indeed leading away from the safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa, to the
22 west, as I have said. So this is Srebrenica, and the road goes to the
23 west of the safe area, Vlasenica, Han Pijesak, Sokolac, and then on to
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next document bears the number
2 64B. We have the translation of it.
3 Q. This is a document from the 28th Division Command, and number is
4 08-21-244/95 [sic], issued on the 28th of June, 1995, to the 2nd Corps
5 Command. This is a combat report.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, excuse me for
7 interrupting you, but I think that the document you have mentioned has
8 been marked 65.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The document is 64B and A, the
10 English version being 64A, and the number on the document is
11 01-148/95. I'm comparing both language versions and they coincide.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. I have just
13 received 64, but I have here document 65, which bears the same number that
14 you can see on page 31, line 13 of the transcript. Something has gone
15 wrong, I think.
16 So you are now going to comment on document number 64, are you?
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, precisely so, Your
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. But the document I see
20 here has a reference number 0-148/95 [sic], it is not the same number as
21 we see on page 31, line 13 of the transcript.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. President. We will
23 withdraw this document for the time being.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] So we'll go on now to document 65.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] It's not that I prefer 65
2 to 64.
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter misspoke with the numbers. This
4 is the reason for the error in the transcript, that is all.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think there was an error in
6 the translation. So please continue with your work, Mr. Petrusic. I
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I apologise. My
9 colleague Mr. Visnjic has just informed me that something's wrong with
10 General Krstic or that he has some problems. I don't know whether we
11 should continue or request a short break at this point.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Krstic, do you wish to
13 notify the Chamber of something? Do you need a break?
14 A. Your Honours, altogether the situation is not too bad, but I have
15 just felt a sharp pain, a phantom pain. I hope it will pass quickly if we
16 have a break at this point.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Twenty-minute break.
18 --- Recess taken at 11.55 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.16 a.m.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] General Krstic, are you feeling
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do apologise for asking for this
23 short break. These are problems that I'm having constantly, I'm afraid.
24 Sometimes the pain is strong; sometimes it's not so strong. But just now
25 it was really bad. It's better now. Thank you.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But whenever you need such a
2 break, tell us and we'll have one, General Krstic.
3 Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Thank you,
5 Mr. President. So we are now on document 65. This document exists in the
6 English translation too.
7 Q. It is the document bearing the number 08-21-244/95, dated the 28th
8 of June, 1995, issued by the 285th Brigade from Zepa to the Command of the
9 28th Division in Srebrenica.
10 General, could you please describe the events that are referred to
11 in this document?
12 A. This is a report submitted by the Commander of the 285th Eastern
13 Bosnia Light Brigade from Zepa which is dispatched to the Command of the
14 2nd Corps in Tuzla, to the Chief of Staff of the 2nd Corps, and that's
15 General Budakovic; and to the Chief of Staff of the 28th Division in
16 Srebrenica, attention of Major Ramiz Becirevic.
17 I say the 285th Brigade because previously the title of this
18 brigade, according to the establishment, was the 1st Zepa Brigade. But
19 after the reorganisation and the renaming of the units in the 8th
20 Operative Group, which became the 28th Division, this brigade from Zepa
21 was given the establishment number 285th Eastern Bosnia Light Brigade.
22 At the beginning of this document or, rather, the report, the
23 Commander of the 285th Brigade refers to the order of the Deputy Commander
24 of the 28th Division in Srebrenica. The question is why isn't he
25 referring to the Commander of the 28th Division. As is known, General
1 Oric was already in Tuzla at the time, and he reports to the Deputy
2 Commander, referring to the order of the Chief of Staff, Ramiz Becirevic.
3 This is the order, confidential number 01-127/95, dated the 20th
4 of June, 1995, on measures to be taken by this brigade for the execution
5 of sabotage actions with the objective of inflicting casualties on the
6 aggressor, personnel casualties, destruction of equipment and materiel,
7 and deterring, as is referred to in the document, the Chetnik forces away
8 from Sarajevo.
9 Why is Sarajevo mentioned here? For the simple reason that as
10 many forces as possible of the Drina Corps are to be tied up in various
11 forms of combat operations in order to prevent the forces from this Corps
12 from being dispatched to the Sarajevo theatre.
13 After receiving this order delivered to him by a commander of one
14 of the Srebrenica brigades, Zulfo Tursunovic, and Ibrahim Mandzic as the
15 Assistant for Intelligence in the brigade, the Commander of the 1st
16 Brigade takes specific measures to implement the order he has received.
17 One of the representatives from the Division Command who was in Zepa at
18 the time also refers to the order issued by the General Staff of the BH
19 army; that's Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic.
20 In that order, it is stated that several sabotage groups are to be
21 formed between squad- and reinforced platoon-strength - these are very
22 strong forces for the execution of sabotage actions - and to dispatch them
23 into the depth of the temporarily-occupied territory, temporarily occupied
24 by the Serbs, in order to inflict as great losses in personnel and in
25 equipment and materiel to the enemy, and to tie them up in the area in
1 which they are currently located.
2 More specifically, the Commander of the 285th Brigade is to form
3 these groups, and the groups are as follows: The first group is the area
4 of the Zljebovi-Pecnik (Han Kram) main road. That is an area on the road
5 from Han Pijesak to Sarajevo, an area between Han Pijesak and Sokolac, so
6 to the west of the safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa.
7 Group 2 is formed and dispatched to the area of Rijeka. Target:
8 The former administrative building of Romanija-Sokolac, which is now a
9 Chetnik barracks. In fact, it is true because some troops were deployed
10 there; they were active in the defence of Zepa. The area of Rijeka is
11 immediately to the west of the borders of the safe area of Zepa, around 10
12 kilometres away.
13 Q. General, if you'll excuse me for a moment. Do we have nine
14 sabotage terrorist groups which have been infiltrated and are active in
15 the depth of the territory of the area of responsibility of the Corps?
16 A. Yes, precisely. According to the order of the Brigade Commander,
17 nine sabotage terrorist groups have been formed, ranging in strength from
18 ten soldiers to the strength of a reinforced platoon. They are dispatched
19 into the depth of the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, to the
20 west of the safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa.
21 Q. We do not have to go through all the locations mentioned here and
22 with which each of the groups was tasked.
23 Do they report on their activities, and what kind of reports are
24 we talking about?
25 A. Yes. After the execution of the tasks assigned by the Commander
1 of the Brigade, they submit reports, or outside of the Brigade they report
2 to the Supreme Command of the BH army and to the 2nd Corps of the BH army,
3 stating that about 40 Chetniks have been killed, dozens were wounded, and
4 substantial quantities of infantry weapons had been seized. It is
5 itemised by type of weapon, but I do not want to go into these details
7 And the report also states that the forces that executed the
8 tasks, of the Zepa Brigade, that is, have suffered casualties but not
9 substantial. They suffered casualties in the course of the execution
10 their mission.
11 Q. All of those nine groups, were they acting simultaneously? Were
12 they synchronised?
13 A. Yes, they were acting in a synchronised manner and they were
14 commanded and controlled from the command post in Zepa. They started
15 executing their missions at the same time. In the places where they were
16 not sure of the success of their mission, they did not embark upon it at
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is number 66.
19 Q. Command of the 28th Division, number 04-113/95, dated 30th of
20 June, 1995, sent to the Command of the 2nd Corps, Morale Section, and I
21 quote: "On our part, planned combat missions of sabotage character were
22 carried out in order to draw the aggressor forces away from the Sarajevo
23 theatre. On the order of the Deputy Commander of the 28th Division, dated
24 20th of June, 1995, our sabotage groups were infiltrated into the depth of
25 the aggressor temporarily occupied territory. On the 23rd of June, 1995,
1 the Sabotage Units of the 282nd and 283rd Brigades returned to the free
2 territory, having successfully, on the 22nd of June, carried -- having
3 carried out sabotage operation on the Zeleni Jadar-Kragljivoda road,
4 further down from the village of Osmace. On that occasion, four aggressor
5 soldiers were liquidated; a passenger vehicle, a van, was destroyed; two
6 AO artillery pieces and one pistol were seized. Our side did not suffer
7 any casualties."
8 My question to you then is: All the activities listed here, the
9 activities of the Sabotage Units, were they carried out in accordance with
10 the order of the Superior Command in the depth of the territory held by
11 the Bosnian Serb army?
12 A. I have already said that all this was done, as far as the
13 28th Division was concerned, in accordance with the order of its Superior
14 Commands in Sarajevo and Tuzla. All the activities that you mentioned,
15 and I would say quite a few many them that you didn't mention, were
16 carried out deep inside the territory controlled by the Serbian side. For
17 instance --
18 Q. If you will allow me, General, we may be thinking the same thing,
19 so I will continue with my quoting from the report.
20 "On the 23rd of June, 1995, in the Koprivna area, in the location
21 of Bijelo Stijenje, the Sabotage Reconnaissance Group from the 282nd
22 Brigade liquidated three aggressor soldiers and seized one light
23 machine-gun, M72. On the 26th of June, 1995, in the depth of the enemy
24 territory in the territory of the Vlasenica and Han Pijesak
25 municipalities, 20 to 40 kilometres deep, the members of the 28th Division
1 of the ground forces reinforced with the DIV Sabotage Reconnaissance
2 Platoon of the 280th Brigade, reinforced platoon of the 284th Brigade, and
3 IDD of the 28th BB DIG from DICC in the strength of one squad, and DIG
4 from 285th Brigade in the present of 1LPC, successfully carried out
5 sabotage actions in the area of areas -- the village of Visnjica, Crna
6 Rijeka near the monument at the road junction, Crna Rijeka in the location
7 of Bojcino Brdo in the village of the Vrani Kamen. According to our
8 estimates, 40 Chetniks had been liquidated in the fighting and the
9 following equipment was seized: Two radio stations, about 5.000 bullets,
10 one BMP 30, and also dozens of heads of cattle."
11 Does it mean that the actions were not aimed only against military
12 targets, military facilities, but against civilian targets too?
13 A. Yes, that is precisely the case. The village of Visnjica is an
14 obvious example of that. It is behind the positions of the Milici
16 I would also like to say that all the operations launched both
17 from Srebrenica and from Zepa were coordinated and commanded by the
18 Command of the 28th Division. This simply encompassed the whole area
19 outside of the borders of the safe areas to the east of Srebrenica and to
20 the west of Srebrenica and to the east of Zepa.
21 For instance, the case that happened in the area between Zeleni
22 Jadar in the Osmace village area. That's on the road Zeleni
23 Jadar-Osmace-Skelani. This is deep, deep behind the lines of the
24 Independent Skelani Battalion. And all the other cases are to the west
25 behind the forces of the 1st Milici Brigade, which was engaged in the
1 Defence around -- actions around Srebrenica and to the west of the safe
2 area of Zepa or the 285th Brigade from Zepa.
3 Q. It is a rather long report. I would not -- I do not propose to go
4 through it and read it and comment it, but please comment on the
5 following: This report mentions the existence of construction machinery
6 in the vicinity of the Caus elevation. This construction machinery and
7 the construction works, were they carried out by members of the Drina
8 Corps or were they carried out by the forces of the 28th Division, using
9 their machinery?
10 A. These works were carried out by the Drina Corps, a company -- a
11 bridge construction company from an Engineer Battalion located in Konjevic
12 Polje. This company, from mid-May until the end of June, was engaged
13 in -- on the axis from the village of Sase to Pribicevac, and this is
14 where the facility Caus is located. It is, in fact, to the north of this
16 The construction machinery was deployed there in order to further
17 fortify the positions of the Bratunac Brigade. Why would it be engaged on
18 any other tasks? If an attack is planned, then you do not fortify your
19 firing positions or not to the extent which goes beyond what is
20 necessary. In addition, this road and bridge construction company was
21 carrying out road repairs from Sase to Pribicevac and to Zeleni Jadar.
22 This was a macadam road which was in a bad state of repair, and it was
23 required to be repaired in order to be able to supply the lines in that
24 part of the front more easily, I mean the Bratunac Brigade and the
25 Independent Skelani Battalion.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Now we go on to Exhibit 67.
2 Q. It is a document of the Command of the 28th Division, number is
3 04-114/95, dated 30th of June, 1995.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, I think that this
5 number is not correct, I think. The number is 01 and not 04, I think.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, it was a typing
7 error or, rather, a translation error. The original version, in the B/C/S
8 version it's 04, so that the English version needs to be corrected from 01
9 to 04. Thank you.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, we take note of the
11 discrepancy in the numbering of the B/C/S document and the English
12 translation of the document. I was reading the document in English and
13 that's how I noticed. Thank you.
14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. So the exhibit bears the number 04-114/95; the date is the 30th of
16 June, 1995.
17 General, this is an operative report submitted to the Command of
18 the 2nd Corps in Tuzla, submitted by the Chief of Staff, Becirevic. Can
19 you comment on this report, please?
20 A. Yes. It is a report submitted by the Command of the 28th Division
21 to the Superior Command in Tuzla, to the information section, advising the
22 Superior Command in addition to the execution of combat missions by
23 members of the 28th Division; and also mentions problems involving food
24 and the preservation of the free territory.
25 But they are resolute to defend the free territory and to give
1 their full contribution to the other forces of the Republic of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina in all the parts of the territory of the Republic of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina; to give their contribution to the execution of combat
4 operations we referred to so far; and they also report for the given
5 period of time the number of casualties, the enemy soldiers that had been
6 killed, the weapons that had been seized, the number of wounded enemy
7 soldiers, and so on.
8 Q. All right. Thank you very much.
9 A. This report also provides detailed information about all this that
10 I was talking about as regards the execution of combat missions. If there
11 is any need for me to comment in each case, I can do that.
12 Q. Thank you, General. The report that we followed -- the reports
13 that we've followed so far and covered as exhibits, these are all the
14 reports that were submitted by the Muslim army, in other words, the 28th
15 Division, the 2nd Corps, and the Main Staff of the BH army. We covered
16 the period through them from the end of 1994 until the 30th of June, 1995,
17 and we have seen the activities carried out by the army of the Republic of
19 Our next topic that I would like to deal with would be your
20 knowledge about the activities of the Drina Corps. After your return in
21 May 1995, primarily related to the operational documents and all those
22 things that I assume your Deputy informed you about, and that's General
23 Skocajic or Colonel Lazic, because if I'm not mistaken, in May when you
24 came back, Colonel Lazic was actually on this post.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I would also like --
2 A. If I may just briefly.
3 Q. No, please allow me.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I would like document 123 to be
5 placed on the ELMO.
6 Q. General, please go ahead with your explanation.
7 A. After my return to my post, in addition to all the other
8 information I had been given and that we have just discussed, I was also
9 briefed about the orders, decisions and combat orders, of the Drina Corps
10 Command and the Main Staff of the army of the Republika Srpska.
11 In the course of the briefing, I was told that the army of the
12 Republika Srpska in the previous period did not plan any combat
13 operations; that the units of the Drina Corps remained on the positions
14 they held in 1994 both in the north-western portion of the front facing
15 Tuzla, Zivinice, Kladanj, and Olovo, where the main body of troops of the
16 Drina Corps were deployed, and to the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa too,
17 and partly facing Gorazde.
18 When it comes to active combat, there were no specific operations
19 launched by the Drina Corps except for the fact that some of the units had
20 to pull out from some parts of the territory in order to conduct clean-up
21 operations and to fight against the sabotage terrorist units that we were
22 talking about.
23 These were the only activities that the Drina Corps units had
24 engaged in in the previous period, until the second half of May 1995.
25 Which exhibit, please?
1 Q. Exhibit 123. This is an order issued by the Drina Corps, number
2 08/8-4, dated the 2nd of February, 1995. The command was addressed to all
3 subordinate units and was issued by the Corps Commander.
4 What I should like to know in relation to this command is your
5 opinion and your comment on this document.
6 A. While commenting on a number of previous documents and everything
7 that I was briefed about after my return to work, we noted that during the
8 previous period of time there had been very -- there had been few
9 overflights of helicopters from the area of Kladanj and Tuzla towards the
10 area of the safe havens of Zepa and Srebrenica.
11 The Drina Corps Command undertook appropriate measures with the
12 objective to prevent overflights of helicopters, because there was a ban
13 which was in force at that time; and to prevent not only overflights but
14 also to try and shoot them down, because we knew, we had information, as
15 we have already seen from previous documents, that the helicopters in
16 question were often used to transport weapons and ammunition whereby the
17 units of the 28th Division were additionally armed and reinforced.
18 One such order was the command which was issued by the Drina Corps
19 Command, which you have just mentioned. The Drina Corps Command in this
20 document issued assignments to its subordinate units, the subordinate
21 units which were in charge of the areas which were overflown by the
23 Q. My colleague, Mr. Visnjic, has drawn my attention to an
24 inconsistency in the transcript. Let us clarify the issue.
25 Were there several overflights or were there many overflights?
1 A. Those overflights were a very common occurrence, very frequent.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Our next document is document 124.
4 Q. This is an order issued by the Drina Corps Command, number 08/8-5,
5 date the 7th of February, 1995. The order was issued by the Deputy
6 Commander, General-Major Milutin Skocajic.
7 This order, was it issued to the subordinate units, and did it
8 relate to the same topic as the previous order we have just seen?
9 A. Yes. This order followed immediately the order which was also
10 issued by the Drina Corps Command and which referred to the overflights
11 and landing of the helicopter. The document was signed by General-Major
12 Milutin Skocajic, who was replacing me at the time, who was acting on my
13 behalf, who was actually the Deputy Commander at that time.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Harmon, is there a problem?
15 MR. HARMON: I was trying to communicate with the registrar. We
16 don't have a copy of Exhibit 124. I now have one. Thank you.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Okay. Thank you.
18 MR. HARMON: Pardon me for interrupting, General Krstic.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic, you may
20 continue now.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] So our next exhibit is document
22 number 125.
23 Q. This document contains an order issued by the Drina Corps Command
24 again which bears the number 08/8-13 and is dated the 18th of February,
25 1995. The order was issued by General-Major Milutin Skocajic as Deputy
1 Commanding Officer.
2 General, could you analyse for us this particular order?
3 A. Yes, I can do that. The order is of the same or similar contents
4 as the previous documents that we have seen with one exception. This time
5 it is addressed also to the units which are deployed towards the area of
6 Tuzla and Kladanj; namely, the Zvornik and the Vlasenica Brigades; then
7 the Bratunac Brigade situated near Srebrenica, the Milici Brigade also
8 situated in the vicinity of Srebrenica, and also to the Independent
9 Battalion of Skelani. The order was also issued to the Command of the
10 Pribicevac Tactical Group.
11 The difference here is that for the first time we can see that
12 helicopters are landing in Srebrenica. They're flying from the direction
13 of Tuzla and Zivinice, overflying the positions of the Zvornik and Bircani
14 Brigade, and further down into the depth of our area of responsibility and
15 landing eventually in Srebrenica. Whereas previous landing of
16 helicopters, when it comes to the 28th Division in general, mostly took
17 place in the area of Zepa or in the wider area of Zepa from where the
18 equipment and the cargo which was carried by those helicopters were
19 distributed towards Srebrenica.
20 The document, again, is signed by the Commanding Officer Deputy,
21 General-Major Milutin Skocajic.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Our next exhibit is document
23 number 126.
24 Q. The document is issued by the Drina Corps Command and bears number
25 08/8-15, dated 25th of February, 1995.
1 This order is not signed. There is no signature on it. I think
2 that it was actually not copied. So it's more of a technical problem.
3 However, in the heading, we see the number of army post office situated in
4 Milici, and we also have the date when the order was received. I'm saying
5 this only by way of remark.
6 What I should like you to do, General, is to comment for us on
7 this order and to tell us whether, as far as your side was concerned, the
8 overflights were reported and recorded.
9 A. The contents of this document are similar to the contents of the
10 previous orders. It is the same time of the year, that is, the month of
11 February 1995, during which period of time we had a great number of
12 overflights and landing of helicopters.
13 This particular order was sent to all subordinate units of the
14 Drina Corps. As I have already stated while commenting upon one of the
15 previous documents, the assignment was given also to the units which were
16 deployed towards the area of Kladanj, Tuzla, and Zivinice, as well as to
17 the units which were deployed as a defence of the lines around the area of
18 Srebrenica. So we have the same case again.
19 Q. Your forces which sighted those overflights and landings, were
20 they successful in shooting down any of such helicopters and getting hold
21 of any of the cargo they may have carried? What kind of information do
22 you have to that effect?
23 A. Overflights and landing of helicopters in safe areas mostly
24 occurred during night-time and the visibility was relatively bad. When I
25 say "relatively bad," I'm referring mainly to the use of anti-aircraft
1 weapons while fighting helicopters. We very rarely had a chance to shoot
2 down a helicopter. However, we managed to shoot down one such helicopter
3 in the wider area of Zepa. I'm referring to the territory between Zlovrh,
4 which is situated between Zepa and Brestovik towards the area of
6 After the Zepa operation had been completed, we managed to get to
7 that helicopter, but we couldn't find anything. All we found was -- were
8 the remains of the helicopter which had been shot down.
9 Q. Thank you, General.
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if I have correctly
11 understood your decision, we were supposed to have one additional break
12 today, three breaks in total. If that is the case, I should like to
13 suggest a break at this point, bearing the mind the fact that we are
14 supposed to go on until 2.00.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic. I was going
16 to suggest a 10-minute break. I hope it will be sufficient for us to have
17 some rest, which will leave us with 40 minutes of work, more or less.
18 Ten-minute break.
19 --- Recess taken at 1.05 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 1.15 p.m.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Exhibit number 114.
24 Q. The exhibit contains an order issued by the Drina Corps Command
25 and bears the number 04/38-3 (correction 2), and is dated the 19th of
1 February, 1995. The order was issued by the Corps Commander.
2 General, was this order issued in the spirit of a general strategy
3 and doctrine of warfare that was applied by the VRS?
4 A. First of all, this order was issued while I was still undergoing
5 treatment, that is, in the month of February. It is, in all aspects,
6 appropriate, bearing in mind the situation in which the Drina Corps had
7 found themselves, and not only the Drina Corps but the VRS in general.
8 The time frame is the period of preparations for an offensive by
9 the BH army, whose objective at the time was to liberate the entire
10 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 It follows from the text of this order that only those measures
12 whose objective was the defence of the existing positions were ordered.
13 So I have to stress that it was indeed in the spirit of the doctrine of
14 the VRS.
15 Q. Is this order also in the spirit of the agreement which was signed
16 at the time, the agreement on the cessation of hostilities?
17 A. You're right. The order is in the spirit of the agreement on
18 cessation of hostilities which was still in force at the time. However,
19 because of its knowledge about the preparations for the spring offensive,
20 the Corps Command had to react in this way. No combat operations were
21 being prepared. They were merely reinforcing and fortifying the existing
22 positions and forces which were deployed in the north-western area of its
23 area of responsibility and also fortifying the positions of the forces
24 which were deployed in the direction of the enclaves.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Next document is Exhibit
1 number 115, please.
2 Q. This document was issued by the Drina Corps Command and bears the
3 number 04/58-1, and is dated 20th of February, 1995. The order was issued
4 to the subordinate units by the Commander of the Corps.
5 Could you tell us something about this particular order, General,
6 especially in view of the fact that it is labelled as "urgent," which is
7 followed by the following text: "Control of the territory and prevention
8 of the Muslim groups' movements through the Corps' zone of
10 A. Yes, this order was issued for the purpose of controlling the
11 territory and preventing movements of the BH army forces through the area
12 of responsibility of the Corps.
13 Q. Why urgent?
14 A. Well, on the basis of the intelligence data which was at the
15 disposal of the Command of the Drina Corps at the time and in view of the
16 fact that at that time from the direction of Srebrenica and Zepa towards
17 Kladanj and Tuzla, there was a number of infiltrations through the area of
18 responsibility of the Corps. The infiltrations consisted of relatively
19 strong forces whose objective was, first of all, to supply the units with
20 weapons and ammunition from Tuzla and Kladanj.
21 I'm quoting: "There is unchecked information that a group of
22 20 Muslim policemen will start from Srebrenica towards Tuzla on the
23 21st of February, 1995, allegedly to provide uniforms and official
24 identity documents."
25 The document further states the route that was supposed to be
1 taken by this group, the corridor in question is the one that I already
2 mentioned, namely, the one starting from Srebrenica and also from Zepa and
3 vice versa.
4 Mention is made of Bakir Oric who was supposed to be a member of
5 this group. Bakir Oric is a relative of Naser Oric, and together with
6 this group he was supposed to transport some 50 kilos of gold for Naser
7 Oric in the direction of Tuzla and Kladanj. Of course, the order was not
8 issued because of this gold but for the purpose preventing both planned
9 and unplanned movements of the BH army forces through the area of
10 responsibility of the Corps. The order was, in particular, issued to the
11 units which were in charge of the territory through which the group was
12 supposed to pass.
13 Q. The order was issued to the Zvornik and Vlasenica Brigades, to the
14 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade, to the Milici Brigade, also to the
15 Bircanska and Bratunacka Brigades, to the 5th Engineer Battalion, as well
16 as the Independent Skelani Battalion. So this order was actually a
17 command which was issued to the said units.
18 In paragraph 2 of this order we can read the following: "Brigades
19 will organise control of the territory with the help of the Ministry of
20 Home Affairs of the Serb Republic in the depth of the territory."
21 My question is as follows: In the heading of the order, we do not
22 have mentioned that the order is also addressed to the Ministry of the
23 Interior; however, in the body of the document itself, in the text, we can
24 read that the subordinate units will carry out the task together with the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 A. It is true that no mention was made of the fact that the order is
2 also addressed to the Centre of Security Services in Zvornik in the
3 heading of the document.
4 One has to note that the control and the search of the terrain
5 inside the area of responsibility, that is, within the free area, are
6 regular tasks and assignments of the Ministry of the Interior. So they
7 had probably received appropriate assignments from their respective
9 Q. Their subordinate command being the Ministry of the Interior.
10 A. Yes, the Ministry of the Interior of the Republika Srpska, and
11 also the Centre of Security Services in Zvornik, which had the territory
12 in question under its jurisdiction. Because mention is made here of
13 cooperation and not orders that would have been issued to the MUP.
14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit that the Defence
15 wishes to discuss is Exhibit 116.
16 Q. This is an order again issued by the Drina Corps Command; it bears
17 number 04/62-1 and the date is 28th of February, 1995; the order is issued
18 to all subordinate units.
19 General, could you explain to us what the essence of this document
21 A. Well, in essence, this document or, rather, this order is that a
22 certain number of measures need to be undertaken after what had occurred
23 on one portion of the terrain of the Milici Brigade, which was engaged
24 towards Srebrenica. There had been an attack in that area by the members
25 of the 28th Division, and the area in question is the area of Ravno and
2 It says here that we suffered casualties in the attack, among
3 other things, and also that the forces of the 28th Division in the course
4 of this attack managed to create conditions for further advancement and
5 gaining additional territory in that particular area.
6 So what is stated here are actually the measures that were taken
7 up by the Milici Brigade after that incident. And the document was also
8 sent to other units of the Corps for their information.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next document is 117.
10 Q. Issued by the Command of the Drina Corps, the number is 04/63-2,
11 dated the 1st of March, 1995, to the Command of the Bircanska and Milici
13 Could you please comment on this order for us, General?
14 A. This order was written on the basis of the order issued by the
15 Main Staff of the army of Republika Srpska relating to the expected spring
16 offensive by the forces of the BH army; and among other things, the
17 expectation is that the already signed ceasefire will not be respected and
18 that the offensive will be launched even before the expiry of the signed
19 ceasefire agreement. Most probably the offensive will begin towards the
20 area of responsibility of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps and partly the area
21 of the Drina Corps.
22 This order is addressed to the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade
23 and the Milici Light Infantry Brigade telling them what they should do to
24 replace the units that had been holding positions outside their areas of
25 responsibility, specifically towards Kladanj; and that the Bratunci
1 Brigade should take up positions held by the Milici Brigade because some
2 of the forces of the Milici Brigade needed to be sent outside the area of
3 responsibility of the Corps.
4 Also, a task is assigned to the Milici Brigade telling them what
5 measures they should do to have better control of the area between the
6 enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa, and that it is necessary in carrying out
7 this task to link up lines with the 65th Protective Motorised Platoon
8 which was holding positions towards Zepa.
9 Q. Excuse me. But my question is: Because we come across the 65th
10 Protective Motorised Platoon for the first time, could you explain to us
11 what kind of unit that was, and what are the positions held by this 65th
12 Motorised Platoon?
13 A. It is, in fact, an infantry battalion which, from the very
14 outbreak of the conflict, was deployed towards Zepa; it is a combat unit
15 consisting of mostly elderly people. They would defend the areas between
16 Han Pijesak and Zepa, which means west of Zepa.
17 It says here in specific terms that the Milici Brigade should
18 establish contact and cooperate with these forces when controlling and
19 covering the area between Srebrenica and Zepa, as far as that is
21 Q. So this 65th Protective Motorised Regiment consists of two
22 battalions. One is this infantry battalion which should cover that area.
23 A. According to establishment, as far as I can remember, the 65th
24 Motorised Regiment, in addition to the military police and mechanised
25 platoon, had two infantry battalions. The first mostly consisted of
1 younger people who were far more capable in combat terms than the second
2 one, and they were in the region of the Main Staff and secured the Main
3 Staff; whereas this second battalion was deployed on positions towards
5 Q. In this order there is reference to the cessation of hostilities
6 for a period of four months. Were you aware, as this is dated the 1st of
7 March, 1995, were you aware of the agreement signed by the two warring
8 parties about a four-month cessation of hostilities?
9 A. I knew in general terms but not about any particular details.
10 MR PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Document 118 is an order of the
11 Drina Corps, number 04/95-1, dated the 18th of March, 1995. It is marked
12 "extremely urgent," heading, "Protection of Property (Factories) in
13 Zeleni Jadar", addressed to the Command of the Tactical Group Pribicevac,
14 the 1st Bratunac, and the Independent Skelani Battalion, signed by the
15 Deputy Corps Commander, Major-General Milutin Skocajic.
16 What kind of order is this in this particular case as mention is
17 made of the Zeleni Jadar factory in it?
18 A. When talking about the factory Zeleni Jadar, it should be noted
19 that in Zeleni Jadar there was and still is a furniture factory. In those
20 days, it was one of the most up-to-date factories manufacturing furniture
21 in the former Yugoslavia as far as of the products it was manufacturing
22 and selling are concerned.
23 After the establishment of the borders of the safe area of
24 Srebrenica, that is, after the UN resolution relating to Srebrenica, this
25 factory remained within the territory of Republika Srpska. The Muslim
1 forces from Srebrenica would, on a daily basis, break into the factory
2 halls and other facilities of the Zeleni Jadar factory, and they opened
3 fire from them or engaged in preparations for sabotage activities towards
4 Osmace and Skelani. Also, they took the equipment from that factory with
6 The Command of the Drina Corps will, later on, undertake
7 appropriate measures to address the problem of the factory in Zeleni
8 Jadar. In fact, its duty was to protect its units in that area from the
9 activities of the 28th Division and to prevent the appropriation and
10 seizure of property.
11 After those measures were taken or, rather, before measures were
12 taken, the UNPROFOR forces, the Dutch Battalion, was in front of the
13 Zeleni Jadar factory, and after those measures, without any objections,
14 the UNPROFOR Command moved its positions behind this factory. We did not,
15 in doing so, in any way prevent the UNPROFOR Command in Srebrenica from
16 executing the tasks assigned to it under its peace mission.
17 This order signed by General Skocajic, is an order issued prior to
18 the Drina Corps Command taking the appropriate measures. It is addressed
19 to the Tactical Group at Pribicevac, the Command of that Tactical Group,
20 the 1st Bratunac Brigade, and the Independent Skelani Battalion. The
21 units, in other words, which were there, that is, east of the safe area of
22 Srebrenica where Zeleni Jadar is situated or, rather, the Zeleni Jadar
23 factory itself is situated.
24 Q. Do you have any knowledge as to whether UNPROFOR representatives
25 were informed that the equipment and property and furniture was being
2 A. Well, it is stated in this order, the order addressed to the units
3 I have named, that they should carry out this task with the assistance of
4 UNPROFOR, and if that does not produce results, to caution the UNPROFOR
5 forces that we would take measures to prevent such looting of the factory
6 by force.
7 Q. This order is issued to the Command of the Tactical Group
8 Pribicevac. This is the first time we come across this phrase. Could you
9 tell us what the Pribicevac Tactical Group stands for?
10 A. The Pribicevac Tactical Group is a group, a combat group. I say
11 "combat group." I am speaking in accordance with the combat rules of the
12 former Yugoslav People's Army, and in most cases, its strength was between
13 two battalions to a reinforced brigade in strength.
14 After the completion of the operation of 1993, that is, before the
15 Security Council declared Srebrenica a safe area, this Tactical Group was
16 formed in that area, consisting of the Bratunac Brigade and the Skelani
17 Independent Battalion, and as such, it existed until the end of the
18 operation Krivaja 95.
19 Q. So it secured the borders.
20 A. Yes. Actually, until the beginning of the implementation of
21 Operation Krivaja 95, they held positions around the safe area, that is,
22 east of the safe area, and that is Bratunac, the village of Sase,
23 Pribicevac, Zeleni Jadar, and the feature Jasinovo.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is 119, issued by
25 the Command of the Drina Corps on the 20th of March, 1995. It doesn't
1 have an official number on it. It is addressed to the Command of UNPROFOR
2 in the Srebrenica enclave. It should be sent via Captain Nikolic.
3 Mr. President, allow me to read this notification, this
4 document -- it is very brief -- because the version in Serbian is rather
5 illegible and because of the comments that will follow.
6 So it begins with: "Dear Sirs, we are confident that you are in
7 the service of peace in this area, which our side has great respect and
8 appreciation for. However, we cannot tolerate the fact that Muslim forces
9 are arbitrarily leaving the enclave and operating" --
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm sorry for interrupting you,
11 Mr. Petrusic. Perhaps it would be advisable to put the document on the
12 ELMO, because then the interpreters will be able to follow on the ELMO.
13 Thank you, and I apologise for interrupting you. The English
15 THE INTERPRETER: I'm afraid the translation is not quite
16 identical with the original.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please continue, Mr. Petrusic.
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] So: "We cannot tolerate Muslim
19 formations obstinately leaving the enclave and attacking areas out of the
20 enclave borders. In the interests of peace, we think you should do
21 something, and you certainly can do something, so that the Muslims would
22 be in the enclave protected by your units. Otherwise, I will be forced to
23 order that Muslim formations which are outside the enclave be removed from
24 our territory by force.
25 "Please inform me through Colonel Vukota Vukovic of the time of
1 your activities regarding the return of the Muslims to the Srebrenica
3 "Yours sincerely, with a wish that permanent peace rule in these
5 "Regards from the Commander Major-General Zivanovic."
6 General, I have read this letter addressed by General Zivanovic to
7 representatives of the United Nations, and I would like to hear your
9 A. This letter is the product, I would say, of what we have been
10 discussing so far with respect to the combat operations by the 28th
11 Division outside the limits of the safe area. However, it relates more to
12 the capture of a part of the area outside the borders of the safe area
13 such as Podravanje and Zeleni Jadar, and that is why the Corps Commander
14 is also addressing himself to UNPROFOR forces in Srebrenica and requesting
15 that the Muslim forces go back to within the borders of the safe area.
16 Q. This letter is sent via Captain Nikolic. Is he the liaison
17 officer for UNPROFOR forces?
18 A. Captain Nikolic, like some other officers in the Drina Corps
19 depending on the area of responsibility we were talking about, was the
20 liaison officer of the Main Staff in the area of Srebrenica, or rather in
21 Bratunac. The liaison officer is nominated by the Main Staff of the army
22 of Republika Srpska and not by the Corps Commander.
23 So it says clearly here that this request should be carried out
24 through the involvement of Colonel Vukovic, who was in fact the Commander
25 of the Pribicevac Tactical Group. So his task is to assist in every way
1 for the forces of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina to be pushed back from
2 Zeleni Jadar to the protected area, because this area was under his unit's
4 Q. Talking about the liaison officer, did the Drina Corps have a
5 liaison officer?
6 A. The Drina Corps did not have a liaison officer. It had one that
7 was appointed from amongst its members, but I said that he was appointed
8 by the Main Staff.
9 Q. So Captain Nikolic is from the Bratunac Brigade, the Bratunac
10 Brigade is part of the Drina Corps --
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. -- and the personality, the individual himself, is appointed by
13 the Main Staff.
14 A. Yes. Let me add that Captain Nikolic was Assistant Commander for
15 Intelligence and Security of the Bratunac Brigade, and in addition to
16 those duties, he was also a liaison officer of the Main Staff liasing
17 with UNPROFOR, because with respect to relations and cooperation with
18 UNPROFOR, everything went through the Main Staff.
19 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Document 86, please.
20 Q. So finally we have document 86, issued by the Command of the 1st
21 Bratunac Brigade. The number is 03/253-77, dated the 17th of June, 1995,
22 and it is a regular battle report submitted to the Command of the Drina
24 In this report, General, the Command of the Bratunac Brigade is
25 informing you that large numbers of enemy soldiers have been observed
1 taking up positions.
2 A. Yes. This was a time when the offensive was already ongoing by
3 the forces of the 2nd Corps of the BH army from the direction of Tuzla,
4 towards Zvornik and Srebrenica. And on the basis of orders received
5 previously, the Command of the 28th Division took steps to prepare its
6 forces for participation in this offensive.
7 Also, the Brigade Commander informs the Superior Command that from
8 those positions fire is being continuously opened and that those forces
9 are provoking his brigade forces.
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence would
11 thereby complete today's hearing.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very good, Mr. Petrusic. We
13 agree to adjourn for today. Let me remind you that tomorrow we will begin
14 according to the new timetable for our hearings, which means at 9.20,
15 finishing at 3.00 p.m., with two breaks. We'll try to stick to this
16 timetable, but in view of General Krstic's problems, we will see.
17 In any event, we will meet again tomorrow at 9.20.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.04 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 18th day of
20 October, 2000, at 9.20 a.m.