1 Wednesday, 18
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.25 a.m.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and
7 gentlemen; good morning to the technical booth, the interpreters, legal
8 assistants, registrar; good morning, counsel for the Prosecution, counsel
9 for Defence; good morning to you, General Krstic.
10 We are five minutes late to begin our hearing today, but we will
11 try and stick to the new timetable today and in the following days as
12 well, of course, bearing in mind the health condition of General Krstic.
13 We will be working in blocks of one hour and a half with half-hour
14 breaks, and the last break will last one hour. The most important reason
15 for this break was, actually this long break, the one-hour break, so that
16 we can all work and have lunch. So I should like to suggest the
17 following: Instead of having one hour and a half blocks of work, that we
18 should proceed with 45 minutes of work, which will enable General Krstic
19 to have more short breaks, and instead of having one-half-hour break, we
20 will have two 15-minute breaks. So we will use the same timetable but
21 with a different length of breaks; that is to say, we will be working
22 until quarter past ten. Afterwards, we will have a 15-minute break, and
23 we will resume at 10.30. We will work until 11.15, which will be followed
24 by another 15-minute break, and the next block of work will start at half
25 past eleven, and we will work until quarter past twelve. After that
1 block, we will have another 15-minute break. We will resume at half past
2 twelve and work until quarter past one. After that, we will have a long
3 break, one-hour break, and we will resume at quarter past two and work
4 until 3.00. So actually, we will have three 15-minute breaks.
5 When I said at the beginning that we were five minutes late, I was
6 perfectly aware that if we have several breaks, we also run the risk of
7 starting late. So I appeal to all of you to start -- to be punctual so
8 that we do not lose any time with the breaks.
9 So we will stick to this timetable, and we will be working four
10 hours, as we did with our previous time schedule. So this is an attempt
11 to reorganise our timetable in view of the circumstances.
12 So without much further ado, we will continue with the testimony
13 of General Krstic.
14 General Krstic, I remind you that you are still under an oath. So
15 we will work until quarter past ten. And when I say "quarter past ten,"
16 of course it can always be fourteen past ten or sixteen past ten. The
17 counsel will tell us when it is the convenient time to have a break.
18 Let me now give the floor to Mr. Petrusic.
19 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President; good
20 morning, Your Honours; good morning counsel for the Prosecution. The
21 Defence should also like to bid good morning to everybody present in this
23 WITNESS: RADISLAV KRSTIC [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Examined by Mr. Petrusic:
1 Q. General, yesterday you mentioned Zeleni Jadar, and you linked it
2 with the documents that were presented to you and the Chamber. My next
3 question is the following: At the beginning of June, was an operation
4 conducted by the forces of the Drina Corps in the area of Zeleni Jadar?
5 And I should like you to tell us something about that operation.
6 A. After Srebrenica had been declared a safe area and after the
7 boundaries of the safe area had been established, Zeleni Jadar, or to be
8 more precise, one particular furniture factory located in Zeleni Jadar,
9 remained outside the boundaries of the safe area; that is, it remained on
10 the territory of Republika Srpska. That is the territory which was under
11 the Serb control, which can be clearly seen from this map when looking at
12 the initial positions of the Drina Corps in the Krivaja 95 operation.
13 I am referring to this axis here. I am pointing at the Zeleni
14 Jadar locality. The positions in question are behind Zeleni Jadar facing
15 Srebrenica and further on the Bojna facilities. So these are the axes in
16 question, and these are the forces deployed on their starting positions,
17 so they were actually north of Zeleni Jadar.
18 Q. Zeleni Jadar is therefore behind the red lines which indicate the
19 positions of the Drina Corps forces, that is, the VRS?
20 A. Yes, that is correct. The command of the armed formations of the
21 BiH army even after the boundaries of the protected areas had been
22 established, that is, those formations very often infiltrated themselves
23 in the factory, whether it was with a view of carrying preparations for
24 operations or to conduct operations from that particular locality. Very
25 often, those formations took furniture and other fixtures from the
2 So the command of the Drina Corps, because of such a situation and
3 also because of the security of its units in that particular portion of
4 the frontage, the command was -- had to protect its units, and it also had
5 to protect the property in question and prevent looting of the factory.
6 Appropriate measures were taken to that -- in that respect, and after that
7 the UNPROFOR command moved its checkpoint which used to be situated east
8 of the factory. The new location of the checkpoint was behind the factory
9 facilities, and the command of the Drina Corps didn't in any way prevent
10 the UNPROFOR forces to carry out their assignments and their mission.
11 This move cannot be interpreted as a violation of the Security
12 Council resolution and the agreement that was signed between the warring
13 factions by the VRS. The agreement in question was signed by General
14 Mladic and the Chief of Staff of the BiH army, General Sefer Halilovic.
15 Q. After the attack, or rather, at the time of the attack and those
16 military operations, or perhaps sometime before that, were elite units
17 grouped, elite units of the Drina Corps or the VRS, were they grouped in
18 the area around Zeleni Jadar at the time of that operation?
19 A. First of all, I have to say that in view of the situation at the
20 time and the period of time during which the VRS was acting, and also
21 because of the ever-present danger of a breakthrough of front lines in the
22 western part of the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, that is,
23 from the direction of Tuzla, Kladanj, and Zivinice, the Drina Corps
24 command and the corps in general were not able to deploy any additional
25 forces around the area of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves, so that's one
1 of the reasons.
2 The second reason was the fact that in the western part of
3 Republika Srpska, the situation was very complex at the time, in
4 particular in the area of responsibility of the 2nd Krajina Corps. The
5 events that unfolded later on will prove that.
6 The Drina Corps Command, therefore, was not in a position to
7 deploy any additional forces to close the area from the direction of
8 Srebrenica and Zepa. So around the protected area of Srebrenica, the
9 remaining forces were those forces that had been there from earlier on,
10 that is, the Bratunac Brigade, the Independent Skelani Battalion, the
11 Milici Brigade. Of course, the combat readiness at the time was increased
12 because of the offensive of the BH army that we thought might happen
13 because of the information that we had at the time.
14 The Drina Corps Command, acting pursuant to an order issued by the
15 Main Staff, was forced to move one battalion from the Milici Brigade and
16 to dispatch it to the area of responsibility of the 2nd Krajina Corps.
17 The replenishment of that battalion was carried out by deploying elderly
18 people who were not able to carry out any combat activities. Such units
19 were only able to remain in trenches and on defensive lines.
20 So those were the reasons that the Drina Corps Command and its
21 units were not able to deploy any additional forces at that time, let
22 alone elite units, and bring them around the area of the enclave.
23 Q. In one of your previous responses regarding this issue, you
24 indicated the area in question on the map, but technical conditions were
25 not perfect, so I will try to clarify the issue through another question.
1 The Bratunac and Milici Brigades and the Independent Skelani
2 Battalion, were they still at their positions, the positions that they had
3 taken up at the time the safe area was declared?
4 A. At the time Srebrenica was declared a safe area, those units were
5 indeed on their positions which they had held from before, that is, before
6 Srebrenica had been declared a protected area.
7 Q. General, you are referring to the north-western part of the
8 theatre and to the military operations that were taking part at that time
9 in the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps. Could you tell us what
10 was actually happening in the north-western part of your area of
11 responsibility and what brigades and what units from your area of
12 responsibility were engaged?
13 A. As part of the spring offensive of the BH army, on the 14th or,
14 actually, the 15th of June, 1995, forces of the 2nd Corps of the BH army
15 launched an offensive that had been planned before. The offensive in
16 question was launched toward defensive lines of the Drina Corps, more
17 precisely, in the north-western area of the Drina Corps area of
19 The attack was carried out along two axes. The main body of
20 troops of the BH army, of the 2nd Corps, were grouped along the
21 Tuzla-Zvornik axis, whereas the additional forces of the BH army were in
22 the area of Kladanj-Vlasenica, along the Kladanj-Vlasenica axis.
23 It was a synchronised attack, and it was directed against the
24 1st Bircanska Infantry Brigade and partially also against the 1st Zvornik
25 Infantry Brigade but also against the positions of the 1st Vlasenica
1 Infantry Brigade.
2 After the initial successes, the forces of the 2nd Corps of the
3 BH army and the loss of some of the territory on the Tuzla-Zvornik axis,
4 to be more specific, in the area of the Kalesija municipality and the
5 Osmaci municipality, the offensive launched by the 2nd Corps of the
6 BH army was stopped. On that occasion, the Drina Corps forces, in
7 particular along the Tuzla-Zvornik axis, again to be more specific, the
8 forces of the 1st Bircanska Brigade and also part of the 1st Zvornik
9 Brigade, did suffer some casualties.
10 So this offensive lasted for two days, and after the regrouping of
11 the forces within the two brigades that I have just mentioned and the
12 introduction of the new forces from the area of responsibility of the
13 Drina Corps which had not come under the attack or were attacked by a
14 smaller body of troops, we managed after stopping the offensive to repel
15 the forces of the 2nd Corps of the BiH army to their initial positions.
16 So this was the beginning of the offensive launched by the forces
17 of the BiH army on the 15th and the -- in fact, the 14th and the 15th of
18 June, 1995.
19 Q. You don't have to use the map any more.
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I would now like to ask the usher
21 to remove the map from the ELMO that's Prosecution Exhibit number 2, and
22 to place Defence Exhibit 127 on the ELMO.
23 Q. So this is Exhibit 127, a report of the Drina Corps command,
24 number is 15-354/32, dated 15th of June, 1995. It is entitled "Report
25 About the Combat Situation in the Drina Corps Area," and it is this
1 dispatch submitted to all the subordinate units by the commander, Major
2 General Milenko Zivanovic. General, can you tell us something about this
4 A. Yes. This is a report filed by the commander of the Drina Corps,
5 General Zivanovic, to all his subordinate commanders within the corps.
6 This report shows that the Drina Corps Commander notifies his subordinate
7 commanders about the fact that the spring offensive of the BiH army is at
8 its peak, and that the forces of the Republika Srpska army managed in all
9 sections of the front to stop the forces of the BiH army, and in some
10 cases, they created conditions for launching counter-attacks.
11 At the same time, he advises them that the BiH army has not ceased
12 with its attacks on the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, and as
13 I have already stated, you can see that from this report, that an
14 offensive has been launched against the Drina Corps by the 2nd Corps of
15 the BiH army. He further advises them that as part of this offensive
16 launched by the 2nd Corps, there is a simultaneous activity launched from
17 the safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa against Drina Corps forces within
18 its area of responsibility. He also notifies them of the fact that the
19 forces of the 2nd Corps of the BiH army in the first stage of the
20 operation, or rather, the offensive, did achieve some success, but that
21 the forces of the Drina Corps have managed to hold the offensive
23 So the assessments of the Drina Corps Commander and of the
24 subordinate commands were correct, in fact, and the assessment was that
25 the BiH army, or to be more specific, its 2nd Corps, would also be engaged
1 in the spring offensive attacking both the positions of the Drina Corps in
2 the northwestern part of the corps area of responsibility.
3 In crushing the second stage of the operation launched -- I
4 apologise -- of the first stage of the offensive launched by the BiH army,
5 the command was forced to regroup its forces in order to halt this
6 offensive and to crush the offensive and to push the forces of the 2nd
7 Corps to their initial positions.
8 Q. Our next exhibit is Exhibit 88 issued by the Drina Corps command.
9 Its number is 94/67-3 -- 94/76-3, dated 19th of June, 1995, issued by the
10 commander of the Corps, Major General Zivanovic.
11 General, is this document in a way a result of the report, or how
12 do you interpret the order issued as part of this document?
13 A. Precisely. This report is related to or deals with the initial
14 stages of the offensive launched by the 2nd Corps of the BiH army against
15 the area of responsibility of the corps. In particular, in this report
16 the commander of the Drina Corps stresses and warns his subordinate
17 commanders about the fact that from the safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa
18 and Gorazde, extremely strong forces are being infiltrated into the area
19 of responsibility of the Corps, more specifically, behind the forces that
20 are engaged in the defence. He provides an example of that in the
21 direction of the Gorazde enclave when the forces of the
22 8th Division from Gorazde infiltrated their forces in behind the lines of
23 the 1st Podrinje Light Infantry Brigade, on which occasion they inflicted
24 enormous casualties on them.
25 We have information that the forces of the 28th Division from
1 Srebrenica, after the beginning of the attack which was launched from the
2 direction of Tuzla, that they were infiltrated into the wider region of
3 Udrc and Cerska, waiting to be linked up with the forces attacking along
4 the Tuzla-Zvornik axis.
5 We did touch upon that yesterday. I said something about it when
6 I explained the documents of the BH army related to the tasks assigned to
7 the 28th Division in the course of the offensive launched by the 2nd Corps
8 of the BH army.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Document 89. This is a document
10 issued by the Command of the 1st Milici Brigade, and the number it bears
11 is Roman numeral I/01-617-1. It is dated the 19th of June, 1995. It is
12 signed by the Commander of the brigade, Captain First Class Milomir
13 Nastic. The document is entitled: "The Activities of the Reconnaissance
14 and Terrorist Groups of the Enemy, Intelligence Report."
15 Q. The Milici Brigade was around the area, the safe area of
16 Srebrenica, and it was a subordinate brigade, brigade that was subordinate
17 to the Drina Corps. I should like to ask you to comment on this
19 A. The Milici Brigade was engaged in the defence of the area west of
20 the safe area of Srebrenica. This report was written by the Commander of
21 the Milici Brigade, and he sent it to all his subordinate units within the
23 This report primarily deals with the activities of the
24 28th Division, which is carrying out reconnaissance and sabotage
25 activities against the positions of his brigade and deep behind the lines
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 of the brigade. In this report, he also mentions the activities of the
2 28th Division, which at that time was carrying out reconnaissance,
3 sabotage, and terrorist activities within the area of responsibility of
4 the Bratunac Brigade and of the Skelani Independent Battalion. He warns
5 his subordinates about the fact that the forces of the 28th Division are
6 making good use of the status, in inverted commas, safe area, and "pass
7 through our undefended and intermediate areas with no problems at all,
8 carrying out reconnaissance actions and infiltrating sabotage and
9 terrorist groups which inflict great losses upon the other forces."
10 Q. This is the 19th of June that we are talking about. What was the
11 situation like in the north-western area of your corps' area of
12 responsibility had it been stabilised?
13 A. Yes. It is indeed the 19th of June, 1995, and as I have already
14 said, the forces of the Drina Corps had managed to halt the offensive of
15 the 2nd Corps of the BH army to stabilise its defensives and to restore
16 lost territory, restore control over the lost territory.
17 The activities of the 28th Division continue uninterruptedly
18 before the offensive and during the offensive.
19 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The next exhibit is Exhibit
20 number 90. This is a regular combat report of the Command of the
21 1st Bircani [Realtime transcript omitted "Bircani"] Brigade. The number
22 is 03/1 -- sorry -- 03/1-691, dated the 21st of June, 1995. So it is a
23 regular combat report to the Command of the Drina Corps, signed by
24 Commander Colonel Svetozar Andric.
25 Q. What is this report by Colonel Andric informing the Corps Command
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I apologise, but in
3 the transcript it says the "1st Brigade" but not the "1st Bircani
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. We've corrected it
6 now. It is indeed the document issued by the Command of the 1st Bircani
7 Infantry Brigade. Thank you.
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Please continue, General.
10 A. The Command of the Drina Corps had correctly assessed that the
11 forces of the 2nd Corps of the BH army would not give up their intention
12 of re-launching the offensive or, rather, of continuing it. So on the
13 21st of June, once again along the Tuzla-Zvornik axis, they carried out
14 synchronised attacks against the positions of the 1st Bircani Brigade,
15 partly the Vlasenica Brigade, and partly the Zvornik Brigade.
16 In this report, the Brigade Commander informs the Corps Command
17 that an attack has been launched, that the attack is an extremely powerful
18 one, that very large infantry units were engaged in the attack, of course,
19 supported by artillery and other logistic support. He also informs the
20 Command of the Drina Corps that in this renewed offensive or, rather, the
21 continuation of the offensive, the forces of the 2nd Corps of the BH army,
22 in view of the circumstances, were extremely successful. After having in
23 the area of Kalesija, Bis, the territory of the Serbian municipality of
24 Osmaci, having formed a bridgehead on the Spreca River, they managed to
25 gain control of the village of Vukovina, the village of Markovici, the
1 larger area of the village of Osmaci, the village of Zelena. These
2 mentioned villages were burned down, inflicting civilian casualties, and
3 the Brigade Commander reports that in his brigade -- this is the Commander
4 of the Bircani Brigade -- reports to his superiors that he is having
5 casualties but he does not know exactly how many dead or wounded. We will
6 see later on that after this offensive was crushed, the forces of the
7 Drina Corps, or more specifically, the 1st Bircani Brigade, had about 120
8 dead and wounded combatants.
9 The offensive went on round the clock, day and night, until the
10 26th of June when forces of the Drina Corps, holding defensive positions
11 and forces being brought in from other parts of the Drina Corps front, and
12 also some other forces from the areas of responsibility of other corps, we
13 managed to halt and repel this offensive. That was how on the 26th we
14 managed to thwart the offensive, push back the forces of the 2nd Corps to
15 their initial positions.
16 We had information at the time, and this could be seen from the
17 relevant documents of the BiH army, that the forces of the 28th Division
18 from Srebrenica took an active part in the offensive activities launched
19 from the Tuzla axis. Before the beginning of this offensive, the forces
20 of one infantry battalion strength were transferred systematically from
21 Srebrenica, and their commander was General Naser Oric.
22 At the same time, units of the 28th Division throughout the
23 renewed offensive engaged in reconnaissance and sabotage and terrorist
24 activities in the first place behind the lines of the Milici Brigade west
25 of the safe area of Srebrenica, and also towards the territory of the
1 municipality of Han Pijesak.
2 Q. That is fine, General. In the meantime, that is, during the
3 period we were discussing and the events you described for us, where were
4 you situated?
5 A. Throughout the duration of the operation, that is, from the 14th
6 of June until the offensive was crushed on the 26th of June, I was within
7 the area of responsibility of the 1st Bircani Brigade, that is, on the
8 forward command post of this brigade in the village of Osmaci where,
9 together with the other officers, and I have in mind in the first place
10 the commander of the 1st Bircani Brigade and the 1st Zvornik Brigade as
11 well as of another officer from the commander of the Drina Corps, that is,
12 Colonel Milanovic, I monitored the combat operations. Together with the
13 commander of the 1st Bircani and 1st Zvornik Brigades, I undertook
14 measures to halt the offensive of the 2nd Corps of the BiH army.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, would this be a
16 good moment for the break? So please look at your watches now, and come
17 back in a quarter of an hour, please.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.16 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 10.31 a.m.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Madam Registrar is not here yet,
21 but I think we can still proceed. Mr. Petrusic.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. General, you went back from the area of the Bircani Brigade to
24 your command post in Vlasenica; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I should like the Exhibit 91 to be
2 presented at this point.
3 Q. This exhibit is an interim combat report issued by the command of
4 the 1st Bratunac Brigade, number 03-253-82/1, dated 23rd of June, 1995.
5 The document is signed by the commander, Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic.
6 Did this interim combat report reach the command post in
7 Vlasenica, and what was the issue that Colonel Blagojevic wanted to notify
8 you of in this document?
9 A. After I had come back to the command post, from the forward
10 command post of the 1st Bircani Brigade --
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Visnjic, is there a
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, there is a
14 discrepancy in Exhibit 91A and 91B. I'm sure that it is a mistake in
15 translation. In the heading of the document 91B in the original, it is
16 stated, "Command of the 1st," and then there is an abbreviation which
17 means the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade. However, this acronym was
18 translated into English the "1st Bircanska Light Infantry Brigade." It
19 should be corrected. The brigade in question is actually the 1st Bratunac
20 Brigade which was commanded by Vidoje Blagojevic.
21 I just wanted to draw your attention to this mistake in
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
24 Mr. Visnjic. I have also noticed this discrepancy which will have to be
25 corrected. Bircanska will have to become Bratunac, the 1st Bratunac
1 Brigade. Thank you.
2 Mr. Petrusic, please continue.
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. General, I should like to know whether you are familiar with this
5 report, and whether the command of the corps was notified of this report,
6 and what the report is all about.
7 A. After I had come back from the forward command post of the 1st
8 Bircanska Brigade, that is from the area of Osmaci to the command post in
9 Vlasenica, I was briefed on a number of documents of this kind, like this
10 combat report that we have here which was submitted by the commander of
11 the 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade.
12 Throughout the time of this offensive, the 28th Division was very
13 active towards our defensive lines in Srebrenica, around Srebrenica, and
14 also by infiltrating themselves into the depth of our territory around the
16 As regards this particular report, the Commander of the
17 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade is informing the Drina Corps Command
18 about one particular operation which was carried out by the members of the
19 28th Division against his positions. In this report, he makes mention of
20 the losses he sustained in the operation. One soldier was killed, a
21 member of his brigade, of a unit which was deployed in the area where this
22 incident took place.
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Our next exhibit is document
24 number 92. This document is also a report of the Bratunac Brigade and
25 bears the number 02/415-1, dated 24th of June, 1995. The document again
1 was issued by Vidoje Blagojevic.
2 The situation is the same as the one described in the previous
3 document; that is, again, we have a mistake in translation. The English
4 version reads the "1st Bircani Brigade" but the signature is the same in
5 both documents, that is, the signature of the Commander, Vidoje
7 Q. General, these two reports follow one another day after day.
8 Could you tell us something about the contents of this other document,
9 document number 92, and what this document is all about.
10 A. This document is another document in the series of reports to the
11 Drina Corps Command to its subordinate units whereby the Command of the
12 corps is informed of the activities of the 28th Division from Srebrenica.
13 The commander of this brigade is informing the Drina Corps Command
14 about the fact that in the past previous days, the 28th Division did not
15 engage in major operations against the positions of his brigade. However,
16 he learned that from the headquarters, and he's probably referring to the
17 General Staff of the BH army, an order was issued to emphasise sabotage
18 and terrorist activities and to continue with the infiltration of such
19 groups, that is, to focus on infiltration activities, and that with such
20 activities, the objective can be reached in the most efficient way while
21 incurring major losses within the enemy forces and causing panic amongst
22 the enemy forces both with the members of the Drina Corps units and also
23 amongst the population living in the area of responsibility of the Drina
24 Corps, that is, in the theatre of these operations.
25 The Commander of the 1st Bratunac Brigade, in this report, gives a
1 number of examples of the activities conducted by the 28th Division, the
2 way you described, day by day, day after day. He states localities where
3 the infiltrations took place, and he also indicates the strength of the
4 infiltrating units as well as the result and the effect of their
6 I should just like to draw your attention to the second example
7 that is given in this report involving what took place on the 23rd of
8 June. It says that in the area of the Osmaca village, which is on the
9 road to Zeleni Jadar, on the same day at about 17.30, they infiltrated a
10 group of their soldiers and laid an ambush in which they killed four
11 members of the MUP of Republika Srpska who were returning from a mission.
12 Actually, there had been a rotation at the checkpoint near the Zeleni
13 Jadar factory, and that locality was actually under the control of the MUP
15 Q. This report and the previous report were sent at the time while
16 the operation and combat activities were still ongoing in the
17 north-western area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, that is, the area
18 of responsibility of the Bircani Brigade.
19 A. Yes. The forces of the 28th Division, in this period of time,
20 were conducting the assignments of the Skakavac operation, but they were
21 also actively involved in these type of activities, cooperating with the
22 forces acting from the direction of Tuzla. Those forces were attacking
23 along the Tuzla-Zvornik axis towards the area of Podrinje and Srebrenica.
24 Q. You mentioned on several occasions, both today and yesterday, that
25 Skakavac operation. What was the final objective of that operation?
1 A. This operation was carried out by the forces of the BiH army. The
2 very name of the operation Skakavac, or meaning grasshopper in English, is
3 symbolic and has to do with the way the operations were conducted. And
4 the way the assignments were being carried out, the idea was to conduct as
5 many terrorist activities as possible throughout the area which was under
6 the control of the VRS, that is, on the territory controlled by Serbs.
7 In this way, by carrying out the assignments that were part of
8 this operation, the forces of the 28th Division were participating in a
9 most direct way in the attack which was also carried out by the forces
10 attacking from the Tuzla-Kladanj axis, from that direction.
11 Q. During that period of time and also before that, that is, during
12 the combat activities around the area of Zeleni Jadar at the beginning of
13 June, did you and your command engage in the preparations for the Krivaja
14 95 operation; and the activities that were going on around the area of the
15 Zeleni Jadar that were conducted by the members of the Drina Corps, were
16 they some kind of introduction to the preparatory phase of the Krivaja 95
18 A. In view of the situation that the command of the Drina Corps found
19 itself in, as well as its units, and that was the period of the
20 preparations for and implementation of the spring offensive against the
21 area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, and in view of the activities
22 of the 28th Division from safe areas, I wish to state with full
23 responsibility that in the command of the Drina Corps, no one in those
24 days, before those days and at that time, had any plan for an attack
25 against Srebrenica.
1 Regarding activities carried out at the beginning of June in the
2 area of Zeleni Jadar, I would describe those operations as lawful
3 operations and measures taken by the Drina Corps to protect its units in
4 this segment of the front from the activities of the 28th Division, and to
5 protect the property of the Zeleni Jadar factory. Under no circumstances
6 did we by those activities violate the provisions of the United Nations
7 resolution in relation to the safe area.
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] One more exhibit, please, D93. It
9 is an interim combat report of the 1st Milici Light Infantry Brigade,
10 number 332-1684, dated the 26th of June, 1995. The report is from Milomir
12 Q. This interim combat report coincides with the period when the
13 offensive was being thwarted in the northwestern part of the theatre of
14 the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps. So, the date is the 26th
15 of June, 1995, and the report relates to the activities of enemy units
16 engaged in from the safe area.
17 Could you comment, please, and give us your interpretation of this
18 combat report which was addressed to the command of the Drina Corps on the
19 26th of June.
20 A. This is the period when the offensive was still ongoing and was
21 being repulsed, the offensive by the 2nd Corps of the BiH army. The 28th
22 Division, however, was still extremely active in sabotage and terrorist
23 activities in the rear of the lines of our units deployed towards
24 Srebrenica and Zepa.
25 This report of the 26th of June in which the commander, or rather,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 his representative of the 1st Milici Brigade, informs the command of the
2 Drina Corps that the forces of the 28th Division which had spent some time
3 in the area of Radava, as I was describing yesterday, via a feature called
4 Kupusna which is located within Vlasenica municipality, they entered the
5 village of Visnjica, carried out an act of sabotage there, and in the
6 attack on this village and the positions around the village, they killed
7 one soldier from his brigade. Then they attacked the village, inflicted
8 losses among the civilian population, torched the village, and then
9 withdrew from the area.
10 I spoke about this yesterday when I testified about the documents
11 of the BiH army that we have in our possession.
12 On that same day -- and I also testified about that yesterday --
13 from this same area of Radava, the broader area of the Main Staff of the
14 army of Republika Srpska was attacked from the east, and on that occasion,
15 six soldiers who were providing security of the Main Staff were killed and
16 a number of them wounded. On that same day also, those same forces
17 continued their operations and attacked the village of Rjecice in the
18 municipality of Han Pijesak, where they killed ten civilians and torched
19 the remaining houses which had not been burnt down during the operations
20 in 1993.
21 Q. After the offensive was crushed or, rather, at the end of combat
22 operations in the area of responsibility of the Bircani Brigade, did that
23 brigade and the Corps Command engage in certain activities to reclaim and
24 clean up the theatre in the areas of Osmaci and other places that you
1 A. The Drina Corps Command and the Command of the 1st Bircani
2 Infantry Brigade and the 1st Zvornik Infantry Brigade had the duty or were
3 in a situation when they urgently had to put some order in these two
4 brigades, the focus being on the 1st Bircani Infantry Brigade. What this
5 means is stabilising the front lines, removing the consequences of the
6 operations by the 2nd Corps of the BH army to clean up the areas in which
7 battles were conducted, as well as in the villages which had been captured
8 by the 2nd Corps of the BH army.
9 I personally was assigned the task by the Commander of the Drina
10 Corps to carry out these activities that I have just described, as soon as
11 possible. So he gave me orders that at the Vis feature a facility be
12 built and as a forward command post for the Drina Corps within the area of
13 responsibility of the 1st Bircani Brigade because there was the danger of
14 this offensive being repeated. I was also tasked to repair damaged roads,
15 roads that had been damaged during these operations, and if necessary, to
16 build new roads to facilitate supplies and evacuations.
17 As soon as I received these orders from the Corps Command, I
18 called the Commander of the 5th Engineers Battalion, giving him specific
19 assignments in this regard. The Command of the 5th Engineers Battalion
20 accepted those orders and took steps to carry them out immediately, and he
21 completed all these activities in the course of the month of August.
22 Q. Let us briefly comment further on this particular date, the
23 26th of June.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Exhibit number 94, please. It is a
25 regular combat report, number 03-253-86 of the 26th of June, 1995, signed
1 by Vidoje Blagojevic.
2 Q. In the heading of this document, we do not have the name of the
3 brigade, but in view of the signatory, General, would this be a report of
4 the Bratunac Brigade?
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. President. Microphone.
7 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Excuse me. Is there a
8 discrepancy again that you wish to attract our attention to?
9 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. On the original
10 document the number is 03-253-86, but the translator said 03-253-85. So
11 this last number differs between the original and the English text. But I
12 think that the mistake is in the original, in view of the order in which
13 the documents have been marked. So strictly speaking, the translation
14 differs from the original.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So we will take note of it and
16 make the correction. My translation that I received was that this was a
17 Prosecution Exhibit. Is that correct?
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] No. No.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Never mind. But that was the
20 interpretation I received, and I was a bit confused. But please
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. General, first of all, is this a document issued by the Bratunac
25 A. Yes. You can see that from the signature which is at the bottom
1 of this document, indicating that it is the Commander, Colonel Vidoje
3 Q. Does this regular combat report indicate -- can it be concluded on
4 its basis that the activities continue, that the enemy operations in the
5 area of the Zvornik Brigade, that they continue?
6 A. Yes. In paragraph 1 of this report, the operations of the
7 28th Division against some parts of the positions of this brigade are
8 discussed, so this is not the infiltration but the operations launched
9 from the safe area against the positions of the brigade.
10 More specifically, he states the area, the section of the
11 positions from which his forces came under an attack, that is to the north
12 of Buljim. I apologise, of Buljim.
13 Q. Were members of the 5th Engineer Battalion also engaged in this
14 area? I mean the engineer battalion of the Drina Corps.
15 A. In the area of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade, or more
16 specifically, on its positions to the east of the safe area, mention is
17 made of the engagement of the forces of the 5th Engineer Battalion. I
18 have already spoken about the use of this battalion, explaining the
19 documents of the army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These
20 were their reports in which they indicated that they had noticed the
21 construction machinery at work to the east of the enclave.
22 This Caus facility, more specifically, the positions of the
23 Bratunac Brigade, were fortified, or the fortifications were reinforced on
24 the Caus facility. As I said yesterday, there was no need to fortify your
25 positions if you were planning an attack, or at least, not to such an
1 extent that you would need to engage construction machinery. And on this
2 occasion, the road and bridge construction company of the engineer
3 battalion was engaged, and they were located in Konjevic Polje.
4 Q. I would now like to go on to the planning of the operation Krivaja
5 95. As you have already said on several occasions, you were aware of the
6 Security Council resolution as regards the establishment of the safe areas
7 of Srebrenica and Zepa.
8 A. Yes, I was aware of the Security Council resolution establishing
9 Srebrenica and Zepa as safe areas.
10 Q. You spoke about the demilitarisation agreement, and we really do
11 not need to go back to that, but were the units of the Drina Corps that
12 were deployed around the Srebrenica safe area in compliance with the
13 Security Council UN resolution indicating that the safe areas should not
14 be attacked?
15 A. As far as I know, because I was absent for a longer period of time
16 after taking over the post of the Chief of Staff, and I did not spend a
17 long time in the Corps command even thereafter. There are no examples of
18 the 1st Bratunac and Milici Brigades and the independent Skelani Battalion
19 that were deployed around the safe area of Srebrenica, that they violated
20 the UN Security Council resolution.
21 There are no examples so far of any -- not a single instance when
22 any of these units entered into that safe area. If there were some
23 activities launched from the front lines, from the defence lines, then it
24 was only carried out in response to the fire being opened by the 28th
25 Division against their positions.
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I would now like the Exhibit 74 to
2 be placed on the ELMO.
3 Q. The heading of this document indicates the following: Military
4 postal code; and the number is 161-1; date, 14th of March, 1995; Milici;
5 and it is unsigned.
6 You were aware of the military structure and organisation that
7 existed within the zone of the Muslim forces.
8 A. Yes, I was, primarily from the intelligence, the ones that I
9 received either from the subordinate units or from the intelligence organ
10 of the Drina Corps command.
11 Q. Was this -- the intelligence about their structure contained in
12 this exhibit?
13 A. Yes. This is the intelligence, the data, but from the time period
14 when the forces of the BiH army in the safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa
15 were organised as part of the 8th Operative Group, from mid-1994 until the
16 May of 1995.
17 I spoke about the restructuring, the strong restructuring and the
18 reestablishment of the units of the 28th Division, and in this process,
19 they became larger. So this formation in the safe area had 5.000 -- had,
20 I apologise, had five brigades.
21 At the time when the units of the BiH army in the safe areas were
22 organised as the 8th Operative Group, the 8th Operative Group had five
23 brigades, and all of them were deployed in the safe area of Srebrenica.
24 Also as part of the 8th Operative Group, in addition to the five brigades,
25 there was also the independent battalion composed of the crack troops from
1 the area. The commander of the forces of the 8th Operative Group was
2 Naser Oric, and later after the 8th Operative Group was restructured to
3 become the 28th infantry division.
4 Q. According to your estimate, or rather, the estimate of the Drina
5 Corps command or the relevant organs, how many soldiers, active soldiers
6 of military age were involved in these brigades?
7 A. The data obtained from the intelligence organ of the 1st Milici
8 Light Infantry Brigade referring to the strength of each of the brigades,
9 I would say that they are indeed correct, so that we can draw the
10 conclusion that the 8th Operative Group at the time when it existed as the
11 8th Operative Group numbered about 6.000 soldiers. However, later when
12 the 8th Operative Group was restructured as the 28th Division, their
13 strength changed considerably so that each brigade had between 1.000 and
14 1.800 soldiers.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] General, I suggest we make a break
16 now, and we can continue at 11.30.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, very well. Thank you very
18 much. We are now going to have another 15-minute break.
19 --- Recess taken at 11.15 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 Q. General, I should like to know something about the structure of
24 the weapons that the units which were concentrated in the protected area
25 had. I'm referring to the units of the 28th Division or the 8th Operative
2 A. From this report, which among other things provides information
3 about the type of weapons which the units of the 28th Division had, were
4 armed with, one can see that the said units were armed with light infantry
5 weapons or, rather, infantry weapons, which should also include weapons
6 for combat at close encounters, such as Zoljas and Osas, the hand-held
7 rocket launchers, then hand-held rocket launchers M57, then mortars of
8 60 millimetre calibre. They also had anti-aircraft weapons whose calibre
9 was 20 millimetres. One can see here that some heavy weapons were also
10 used by this division. Mention is made of a howitzer which was concealed
11 or, rather, dug in somewhere inside the protected area of Srebrenica.
12 I should, however, stress that the units of the 8th Operative
13 Group, when it comes to their further organisation in terms of formations
14 according to establishment, were additionally armed, received additional
15 weapons. And this is something that I spoke about yesterday and the day
16 before when I said that weapons were being brought into the area from the
17 direction of Tuzla and Kladanj.
18 On one occasion, I interpreted one of the documents of the
19 BH army, and I noted that they had 120 millimetre mortars as well. Those
20 units were additionally armed with infantry weapons, as the units of the
21 28th Division were growing in strength. And the 8th Operative Group was
22 renamed 28th Division at the beginning of May 1995.
23 At that time, apart from the Division Command, it also had
24 headquarters units, staff units, and an independent battalion which
25 consisted of elite units from that area. The division also had five --
1 that is, six brigades which were located inside the protected area, and
2 one such brigade was located in the area of the Zepa protected zone.
3 After the 8th Operative Group was renamed the 28th Division, that
4 particular unit, the unit of that type of organisation and structure, was
5 organised according to the principles of structuring and organising of
6 such units in the former Yugoslav People's Army, so that the strength of
7 the brigades was between 1.000 to 1.800 troops. So altogether, the
8 division could have be somewhere between 6.000 and 10.000 members who were
9 armed, who had been armed as members of the 8th Operative Brigade and
10 continued to be armed as members of the 28th Division.
11 Q. For the record, can we just conclude that there were five brigades
13 A. In Srebrenica as part of the 8th Operative Group, there were five
14 brigades during that period of time. Later on when the 8th Operative
15 Group was renamed 28th Division, there were five brigades in Srebrenica,
16 plus one independent battalion, and one additional brigade which was
17 located in Zepa.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I should like to have the exhibit
20 number 33 put on the ELMO, please.
21 Q. We spoke about this particular exhibit yesterday, and I should
22 like to ask you to tell us briefly whether the information that you had,
23 that your command had obtained as regards the organisational structure of
24 the 8th Operative Group and later the 28th Division, so I'm referring both
25 to the organisation of the unit and the types of weapons that they had, so
1 whether according to that information the two units, the 8th Operative
2 Group and the 28th Division, were similar in type in terms of strength and
3 organisation and weapons?
4 A. According to what we received from the intelligence department of
5 the 1st Milici Brigade and when we compared their report with this
6 particular exhibit, it was obvious that the 8th Operative Group was
7 organised as -- in a way described in this document that we have
8 previously seen. So there were five brigades in Srebrenica, and there was
9 one independent mountain battalion. The brigades are the 28th East
10 Bosnian Brigade, 281st East Bosnian Light Brigade, 282nd East Bosnian
11 Light Brigade, and 283rd East Bosnian Light Brigade, 284th East Bosnian
12 Light Brigade, and one independent battalion, mountain battalion.
13 Q. General, could you tell us something about how you and the Drina
14 Corps command came to the decision to plan the Krivaja 95 operation, and
15 how a decision was made to attack Srebrenica?
16 A. So far I have spoken about the intentions, objectives, and
17 specific measures that were undertaken in respect of the spring offensive
18 of the BiH army, the main objective being, let me repeat, the linking up
19 of the protected areas with the territory of Tuzla, Zivinice, and
21 However, what is far more important and what should be emphasised
22 is the fact that Srebrenica, like Zepa, were never really demilitarised.
23 There was a large amount of military-able men and troops that were
24 organised in five or six brigades. The brigades were constantly
25 conducting combat operations against the positions of the Drina Corps area
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 around the protected area of Srebrenica and also deep behind the lines of
2 these units, and such attacks resulted in major losses for us, losses
3 involving both our troops, and also one has to bear in mind that it caused
4 considerable panic among [Realtime transcript read in error "Monday"] the
5 civilian population.
6 So the Drina Corps command for those reasons could no longer
7 tolerate this behaviour, and it decided to undertake an operation whose
8 secret code name was Krivaja 95. So this operation began both in terms of
9 preparations and plans, was caused by the situation in the territory where
10 the members of the 28th Division were particularly active.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic. Mr. Visnjic,
12 I'm sorry.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, page 30, line 20, the
14 word that we can see on the transcript is "Monday," and I don't think that
15 it was mentioned. The word should probably be "amongst" the civilian
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you, Mr. Visnjic, but
18 I think that it's one of the mistakes that are corrected on a regular
19 basis by the typists later on. Of course, no mention was made of
20 "Monday." I'm sure that the typist will be able to correct the mistake.
21 Mr. Petrusic, please continue.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. General, did you and the command of the Drina Corps become
24 familiar with the directives number 7 and 7/1, directive 7 having been
25 issued by the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of Republika Srpska,
1 and directive 7/1 which was issued by the Main Staff of the VRS?
2 A. Yes. The Drina Corps Command knew about those directives that
3 were issued by the Supreme Command of Republika Srpska and the Main Staff
4 of the VRS. The directives in question are directive number 7 and
5 directive number 7/1.
6 In these directives, the Drina Corps Command had -- these
7 directives constituted a formal basis for the Drina Corps Command to plan
8 and conduct an operation of this kind. However, I have already mentioned
9 the main reasons which governed the decision of the Drina Corps Command to
10 plan and implement this type of operation.
11 In directives number 7 and number 7/1, specific assignments or,
12 rather, general assignments were given to all units of the VRS, including
13 the Drina Corps, and the directives also made mention of the type of
14 activities that had to be taken around the protected areas.
15 Q. On the basis of what did you or, rather, the command make the
16 decision to plan and carry out the operation Krivaja?
17 A. Naturally, the Drina Corps Command, in spite of these two
18 directives and in spite of the situation in the area that I have described
19 at length, could not make such a decision independently. The Command of
20 the Drina Corps was given an oral order from the commander of the Main
21 Staff immediately to prepare and carry out this operation, being guided
22 exclusively by all the developments in the safe areas which climaxed, I
23 would say, on the 26th of June when units of the 28th Division broke into
24 the villages of Visnjica and Rjecice, and when they attacked the Main
25 Staff from the direction of Banja Lucica and Krivace.
1 Q. What was the main idea of the Corps Commander?
2 A. The basic concept of the Drina Corps Commander, which would later
3 be translated into a decision, was exclusively to separate the two
4 enclaves, Srebrenica and Zepa.
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could we have Prosecution
6 Exhibit 427, please. That's fine. Thank you. It is the preparatory
7 order number 1 of the Drina Corps Command.
8 Q. What was your response to the order or notification in view of the
9 concept of the commander to separate the two enclaves, Srebrenica and
10 Zepa, and what did you actually do?
11 A. As soon as the commander of the Drina Corps, General Zivanovic,
12 returned from the Main Staff, and that happened on the 2nd of July, 1995,
13 he convened his assistants -- and I was one of them as the Chief of Staff
14 and his deputy -- and he told us what was the assignment given to him by
15 the Commander of the Main Staff, saying that we must urgently prepare and
16 carry out the operation Krivaja 95. And on that occasion, a very brief
17 assessment was made of everything that was happening at the time in the
18 north-western part of the corps area of responsibility and also within the
19 area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, and I am referring primarily to
20 the activities of the 28th Division, saying simply that the area between
21 the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves has to be placed under control.
22 After making a brief overview of the situation and of the measures
23 taken by the BH army against the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps
24 and within that area, the commander conveyed his concept, his idea, and
25 that was to separate Srebrenica and Zepa. To that end and prior to the
1 elaboration of all the necessary documents for such an operation, which
2 was planned to last a very short time, he issued these preparatory orders
3 to subordinate units which were to take part in the execution of his main
4 idea or decision.
5 Q. What was the key aim of this preparatory order?
6 A. The substance of that order is to give commanders a very brief
7 assessment of everything that had taken place until then in relation to
8 the area of responsibility and within the area of responsibility of the
9 Drina Corps. In other words, for the brigade commanders to be reminded
10 once again, though all this was still fresh in their minds, these
11 operations were still ongoing.
12 The very substance of this preparatory order was for the brigade
13 commanders who received that preparatory order to assess the situation in
14 their respective areas of responsibility and to set aside a part of the
15 forces which would take part in the execution of his concept or decision.
16 I said to make an assessment because the situation in the area of
17 responsibility and around it was still extremely complicated and there was
18 a danger that the offensive from Tuzla and Kladanj, and also from Olovo
19 even, would be renewed and continued, and we had certain information to
20 that effect.
21 Q. So the Corps Commander tasks his subordinate units from among
22 their forces to detach a certain number of units that would take part in
23 the execution of a future task. Does he define that task in this order?
24 A. No. The Corps Commander, in this preparatory order, does not
25 define the task within the framework of Krivaja 95. The detachment of
1 forces from these brigades could have been used along other axes, because
2 the situation, as I have said, was extremely, extremely complex.
3 The brigade commanders who did not know where their forces would
4 be deployed embarked upon the implementation of this preparatory order by
5 the Corps Commander.
6 Q. What was your role as the Chief of Staff in the implementation and
7 execution of this preparatory order?
8 A. My role and tasks as the Chief of Staff of the Drina Corps are
9 prescribed by the regulations on the work of commands and staffs, also the
10 regulations of the land forces, and other documents.
11 In this particular case, my role was to assist the brigade
12 commanders, and that was the duty not only of me but the other assistant
13 commanders, for the segment of the forces to be pulled out from the front
14 so that this preparatory order could be implemented.
15 After ...
16 Q. The Corps Commander, did he consult with you and other assistant
17 commanders regarding the strength of the forces that needed to be deployed
18 for this decision to be carried out?
19 A. That is regulated by our rules and regulations, by the rules of
20 combat governing warfare and the conduct of operations. If the Corps
21 Commander could do that on his own, then he wouldn't need assistants, any
22 one of those assistants.
23 When it comes to this particular situation and his decision or his
24 main idea to separate the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa, the commander
25 did not really need to consult with his assistants and with me
1 specifically as the Chief of Staff and his deputy because ever since the
2 formation of the Corps, he had been the Corps Commander.
3 He comes from the territory of Srebrenica municipality. He was
4 frequently in the area. He was familiar with the situation within the
5 safe areas. He had information on the organisation and structure of the
6 28th Division, their intentions, their aims, and throughout this time he
7 was fully briefed on what was happening and what measures had been taken
8 by the 28th Division in relation to the Drina Corps.
9 He was also very well informed about our own forces that were
10 deployed around the safe area of Srebrenica. These were the 1st Bratunac
11 Light Infantry Brigade, the 1st Milici Light Infantry Brigade, and the
12 Skelani Independent Battalion. In addition to this knowledge, the
13 commander also knew what their capacities were in terms of combat, and I'm
14 referring in the first place to their ability to take part in offensive
15 action in order to implement this decision of his.
16 But in spite of the fact that he was familiar with all these
17 things, he did want to hear the opinion of his assistants, and they only
18 confirmed what he already knew when making an assessment as to the
19 strength of the forces that needed to be engaged to carry out this
20 operation of separating Srebrenica from Zepa.
21 Q. Did you participate with the commanders of the subordinate units
22 in making the assessments as to the forces which could be pulled from the
23 front of the -- held by the subordinate units without upsetting the
24 balance of power, balance of power at the front and causing problems in
25 this respect?
1 A. Yes, this is a very important question. I did take part, together
2 with the commanders who received the preparatory order, in the assessment
3 and the possibility of detaching these forces for the execution of the
4 task, knowing, just as they did, that it would not be easy; in particular,
5 because there were grounds for concern, and the assessments indicated that
6 the offensive in the northwest part of the area of responsibility of the
7 corps could be repeated, renewed.
8 In the course of making the assessment together with them, we were
9 not optimistic, I would say, when it came to detaching these forces, but
10 we did believe that we would execute the mission very soon and that we
11 would be able to return the detached forces to their original units.
12 Q. After this preparatory order was issued and this whole process
13 that you just talked about was completed, what was the next step taken by
14 the Drina Corps command in the implementation of the preparatory order?
15 A. First of all, after the assessments were made and the units were
16 inspected by the command organs, the corps command organs, on the 2nd of
17 July, 1995, in the afternoon, the Drina Corps Commander, General
18 Zivanovic, formed a group that was to carry out the command reconnaissance
19 at the corps command level.
20 This group consisted of the Drina Corps Commander, General
21 Zivanovic; myself as the Chief of Staff; then there was the chief of the
22 operations and training section, Colonel Micic; then the chief of the
23 intelligence section, Lieutenant Colonel Kosoric; chief of the
24 communications in the Drina Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Blagojevic; and
25 there was one of the commanding officers from the logistic organ of the
1 Drina Corps, I think it was Lieutenant Colonel Jewicki, Henirik Jewicki.
2 So after this group was formed, we went to the area in which
3 combat operations would be conducted with the Corps Commander. We
4 conducted the reconnaissance, from two points. One point -- I apologise,
5 from three points. One was Pribicevac. That was the forward command post
6 of the Pribicevac tactical group. The second point was Besica Brdo. The
7 second point was Besica Brdo. This was the area here.
8 Q. Could you please repeat the first point.
9 A. The first was the Pribicevac area, the second one was Besica Brdo,
10 and the third one was the area of Bracani.
11 After we conducted the command reconnaissance at the Drina Corps
12 command level and verified what the commander of the corps had issued to
13 the subordinate units in his preparatory order, I mean the strength and
14 the forces that are to be engaged in the execution of this task, we went
15 back to the command post in Vlasenica and continued our work on the
16 preparation for the execution of this task.
17 Q. So all these activities were part of the preparatory order?
18 A. Yes, precisely. All these activities of the Drina Corps command,
19 the involvement of the Drina Corps command and their activities, were
20 connected to the preparatory order issued by the Corps Commander and his
21 basic concept that he communicated to us. But only after the command
22 responsibility was the final decision of the Corps Commander made, and he
23 issued specific tasks to his subordinate units, and all the other issues
24 related to that were solved.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Can I please have the Prosecution
1 Exhibit 428 placed on the ELMO.
2 Q. After that, the Commander's decision was issued. Is this decision
3 the order for active combat activities?
4 A. Yes, precisely. This is the order for active command activities.
5 Q. General, could you please explain to us what is the meaning of
6 this document, in fact, who issues the document, who takes part in it, all
7 that is relevant for the issuing of such a document?
8 Of course, I asked several questions as part of the single
9 question, but let us answer them one by one.
10 A. This document is the order for active combat activities or, in
11 other words, this is the decision of the Drina Corps Commander for the
12 implementation of his basic concept that I have spoken about earlier.
13 Q. Item 1 in this order contains the information about the enemy.
14 A. Yes. This was the usual practice as regulated by the manual when
15 it comes to the drafting of this document and similar documents about the
16 execution of combat activities.
17 Item 1 is the item containing information about the enemy, the
18 assessment of his intentions, objectives, what the enemy had been doing in
19 a certain period, what the enemy's doing now, and what the enemy intends
20 to do.
21 If you will allow me, I would like to read this item and explain
22 parts of this item.
23 The first portion of item 1 refers to the general assessment of
24 the enemy, stating -- the enemy, unfortunately, I have to say, and the
25 term is used to refer to the forces of the army of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina: "As part of an all-out offensive against the army of the
2 Republika Srpska carried out attacks with the limited objective against
3 the Drina Corps units. We believe," that is, the text continues, "that in
4 the coming period, the enemy will intensify offensive activities against
5 the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, mainly in the Tuzla-Zvornik
6 and Kladanj-Vlasenica directions, with simultaneous activity by the
7 28th Division from the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa, in order to cut
8 the area of the Drina Corps in two and to connect the enclaves with the
9 central part of the territory of former Bosnia and Herzegovina."
10 Q. General, I'm sorry to be interrupting you. I think that the Trial
11 Chamber has shown a great deal of understanding in setting our schedule
12 for today, and I would like to suggest that we have our break now.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic. I hope I
14 have understood you correctly.
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, you have.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Perhaps we could go a little
17 faster. It's true that I do not wish to give you any instructions
18 regarding the conduct of your case -- it is up to you -- but if we have a
19 document and if we have a translation of that document, surely it is not
20 necessary to read it and repeat it. I understand that there is a case
21 that you wish to present, and then in that context, you could put
22 questions to General Krstic to refer to this document or to make an
23 explanation, if necessary. I'm just making this observation to avoid any
24 further loss of time.
25 In any event, we are now going to have a 15-minute break.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.42 p.m.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
4 We will work until quarter past twelve, and after that we will have a
5 one-hour break.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I have to apologise, Mr. President,
7 for this delay. The Defence didn't understand you correctly, so it is our
9 Q. General, in view of the order of the commander for active military
10 activities and pursuant to that order, you give an assessment of the
11 situation and the deployment of enemy forces. We are not going to comment
12 on the document in detail, but please tell us briefly about it.
13 A. As regards the first part of the order, the first item of the
14 order of the Drina Corps Commander, I can say that the basic elements were
15 given concerning the intentions and objectives, further intentions and
16 objectives, of the BiH army forces towards the area of responsibility of
17 the Drina Corps and inside that area of responsibility itself.
18 I should say that this was known to the commanders of subordinate
19 units; however, while drafting such documents, one must include these
20 elements as well, this particular data, so that the units can be prepared
21 in the best possible way for the execution of the assignment.
22 Further on, the Corps Commander gives the essential data, the
23 essential information about the forces inside the protected area of
24 Srebrenica, where its exact deployments are and what their objectives and
25 intentions are.
1 As regards the 280th Brigade of the 28th Division in Srebrenica,
2 was engaged in defence along the Bratunac-Potocari-Srebrenica axis. Its
3 task was to defend, to persist in the defence of this axis, and later on
4 to undertake measures as part of offensive activities towards Bratunac,
5 and then to cut the Bratunac-Kravica-Konjevic Polje road from where it was
6 supposed to pursue its military activities pursuant to the orders of the
7 commander of the 28th Division.
8 As regards the 281st Brigade, that brigade was closing the area,
9 or rather, the axis Pod Gaj [phoen] Borovac, and its assignments, its
10 task, within the overall offensive plan was to continue with its
11 activities in the direction of Derventa and, further on, Milici.
12 As regards the 282nd Brigade, it was engaged in the defence
13 operations along the Zeleni Jadar-Srebrenica axis.
14 As regards the offensive operations, it's task was to become
15 engaged along the Zeleni Jadar and Skelani axis.
16 The 283rd Brigade from the 28th Division, it was closing up the
17 area Podravanje and Buce [phoen], along this axis here. Its task was to
18 engage in offensive activities in the direction of Bracani, and further on
19 to cooperate with the Zepa Brigade which was supposed to become involved
20 here along this particular axis, and to pursue offensive operations in the
21 direction of Derventa and Milici.
22 284th Brigade was covering the Ravni Buljim-Milicic route -- this
23 is the axis I'm talking about -- and its task was to participate in the
24 offensive activities and to attack along Ravni Buljim-Konjevic Polje axis,
25 to cooperate with the 280th Brigade in order to cut up the
1 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje communication and after that to continue with its
2 activities in the direction of Cerska.
3 The reserve forces of the 28th Infantry Division in the strength
4 of one Mountain Battalion were deployed in the town of Srebrenica itself.
5 They were ready to be used pursuant to the decision of the Division
6 Commander, and the most likely axis of the use of these forces would have
7 been as a step-up of the activities of the 280th and 284th Brigade, that
8 is, after they cut up the Bratunac-Konjevic Polje route. The idea was to
9 introduce these forces along that particular axis in the direction of
11 In accordance with the objective of the operation and in
12 accordance with the tasks which were assigned by the Command of the
13 28th Division, the forces had to be joined with the forces that were
14 attacking along the Tuzla-Zvornik axis.
15 Q. General, it was not my intention to have a detailed description of
16 the deployment of forces, but let us say something about the tasks that
17 the Drina Corps units were given, the units which were detached from their
18 original units. Could you tell us something about their specific tasks?
19 You don't have to go into details.
20 A. I have already referred to the decision of the Commander of the
21 Drina Corps or, rather, the idea emanating from that decision, and that
22 was to separate the two enclaves, Srebrenica and Zepa.
23 The forces of the Drina Corps that were engaged for this operation
24 had the task of gaining control of the feature Preda and to reach the line
25 of Predala [phoen], Guber Banja, and then Zivkovo Brdo, Alibegovac,
1 Kak -- Alibegovac, Kak.
2 Once they reached this line, the forces of the Drina Corps would
3 have carried out the task assigned to them by the Corps Commander.
4 Q. So in effect, that would mean the completion of and the execution
5 of the decision of the Commander.
6 A. Exactly. Thereby, the units of the Drina Corps would have carried
7 out the task assigned to them by the Drina Corps Commander.
8 Q. In this order, we see that some reserve forces have been planned,
9 amounting to two to three companies of MUP and the 1st Company of the
10 Vlasenica Brigade. Could you explain to us the tasks of a reserve force
11 and what is implied by the concept of a reserve force in general in this
13 A. It is correct that this order by the Corps Commander with respect
14 to the reserves says that these reserves of the Drina Corps should amount
15 in strength to two to three companies of MUP and one company of the
16 Vlasenica Infantry Brigade.
17 In all such documents for combat operations, the officer making
18 such a decision also designates the reserve which may be introduced. He
19 envisages such a reserve force, and depending on the situation, he would
20 deploy it.
21 Q. General, in this order, in the introductory part of that order,
22 the commander is addressing to the 1st Zvornik Infantry Brigade, the 1st
23 Bircani, the 2nd Romanija, the 1st Bratunac, the 1st Milici, and the 5th
24 MUP, a MUP is being provided -- oh, I'm sorry, and the 1st MUP, so the MUP
25 forces and the company of the Vlasenica Brigade.
1 This order and the way it is written, is it being sent to these
2 units as well which have been planned to form the reserve and to go into
3 action as reserve force?
4 A. In this order, as can be seen, the forces planned as reserves are
5 not given this order for active combat action; therefore, not a single
6 unit of the Ministry of the Interior received such a document, nor did the
7 1st Vlasenica Infantry Brigade, but only those units that are listed in
8 the document.
9 Q. The 1st Vlasenica Brigade, or rather, one company from that
10 brigade which had been planned as a reserve force, was it engaged in
12 A. Because of the extremely complex situation along the defence front
13 for the Light Vlasenica Infantry Brigade where there was a constant threat
14 of the front lines being broken through from the direction of Kladanj, I
15 have already said that this brigade did not receive a copy of this order.
16 However, because of the fact that the need arose on the 11th of
17 July, the Corps Commander nevertheless decided to call on the commander of
18 the Vlasenica Brigade to form a small unit of 50 to 60 men in addition to
19 all the defence measures that need to be taken towards Kladanj, for that
20 company to be brought to the region of Korc [phoen], which is east of the
21 Srebrenica safe area, to take up positions of the Bratunac Brigade.
22 Q. Why did the Corps Commander decide to use a part of this company
23 after all which it had designated as a reserve?
24 A. There were certain problems with the Bratunac Brigade because
25 these were mostly elderly people, and they simply never made any progress
1 throughout the time of the operation, and that is why the Corps Commander
2 made such a decision and deployed this unit of 50 to 60 men in this
3 particular area.
4 Q. So, when the Corps Commander engages this unit from the reserve
5 force, in this case, a company from the Vlasenica Brigade, did it then
6 receive specific orders and specific assignments?
7 A. Exactly so. The commander of that company is given a concrete
8 task on the spot.
9 Q. We have another unit in reserve, and that is two to three
10 companies of MUP forces. My first question is, were MUP forces informed
11 at all about the preparations for the operation? Did they engage in
12 reconnaissance together with you, and was a copy of this order sent to
14 A. I assert with full responsibility that no one from the command
15 structure in the area of the centre of -- covered by the centre of
16 Security Services in Zvornik knew, even, that we were planning and
17 preparing for this operation. They did not engage in any kind of
18 reconnaissance, not when the Corps command engaged in reconnaissance, nor
19 when brigades engaged in reconnaissance, and this was on the 4th of July.
20 The rule as prescribed by our regulations is that when it comes to
21 the engagement of MUP forces, the chain of command has to be strictly
22 respected regarding a decision on the use of a particular unit, be it a
23 MUP unit or a military unit. Therefore, if the Corps Commander felt that
24 he needed to engage MUP forces in this operation, then he had to address
25 such a request to the Superior Command, in this situation, to the Main
1 Staff, upon which the Main Staff would assess the situation from their
2 point of view and see whether they felt MUP units needed to be engaged and
3 in what way; and if they should decide to do so and comply with the
4 request of the Corps Commander, then they would address such a request to
5 the Ministry of the Interior of Republika Srpska, attention to the
6 minister. And it is only the Minister of the Interior of Republika Srpska
7 who was the authority to engage MUP units upon the request of the
8 commander of the Main Staff.
9 As far as I know, no one from the Drina Corps command made any
10 such request to the Main Staff, a request for the engagement of MUP units.
11 Q. Could it be said that the combat situation developed in such a way
12 on the ground that the need arose which led the commander or other
13 commanding officers in the Drina Corps to ask the Main Staff and the Main
14 Staff -- the Ministry of the Interior, for such an engagement?
15 A. When it came to the implementation of the decision of the Corps
16 Commander, the implementation of his main idea, and as the operation
17 developed later on, there really was absolutely no need to engage MUP
19 Q. In this order, a certain amount of artillery support is envisaged
20 for units of the Drina Corps which are engaging in combat activities.
21 Tell us, what is the structure of this artillery support?
22 A. If I may, let me go back briefly to your previous question. I
23 really do not understand under whose orders and who it was that sent a
24 special detachment of a MUP brigade, which appeared on the 11th of July in
1 As for the support for forces engaged in this operation, I would
2 have only this much to say: The main support of these forces was provided
3 by the mixed artillery regiment, whose task it was to set up an artillery
4 group to support the forces along the axis Zeleni Jadar-Bojna, and to
5 support the forces that were attacking from the direction of Podravanje
6 towards Viogora until they gained control of the Alibegovac feature.
7 Also, each of these units that were detached and which came to carry out
8 the task of the Corps Commander had their own support, that is, 82- and
9 120-millimetre mortars.
10 As for the Zvornik Brigade, whose task it was to detach forces the
11 strength of a battalion, of one battalion, it also had a tank company
12 consisting of four tanks, and they were deployed along the axis of Zeleni
13 Jadar towards Srebrenica. The commander of the 2nd Romanija Brigade was
14 also obliged, when detaching forces equivalent to one company, to detach a
15 tank platoon consisting of two tanks and to bring that platoon along the
16 lines of his unit which came within the 2nd Battalion, which was attached
17 to the 2nd Battalion, and this 2nd Battalion consisted of a part of a
18 company with a tank platoon from the Romanija Brigade and a reinforced
19 company from the 1st Bircani Brigade. Also included in this battalion was
20 an Infantry Company detached from the 1st Milici Light Infantry Brigade.
21 So in a nutshell, that was the support provided to the forces
22 engaged to implement the decision of the Corps Commander.
23 Q. Were, and in any way if they were, the forces of the 5th Engineer
24 Battalion of the Drina Corps engaged in any way?
25 A. The 5th Engineer Corps was also engage in a certain way in this
1 operation. In addition to the road and bridge construction company which
2 carried out repair works on the Sase-Pribicevac road leading to Zeleni
3 Jadar and which was fortifying the position east of the safe area, a unit
4 sapper was also engaged. It's task was to clear the minefield and mine
6 Q. In this order, you or, rather, the Drina Corps, also determined
7 the forward command post. Was this the location or the area from which
8 the operation was commanded or from which the whole corps was commanded?
9 A. If I may, I would like to explain what a command post is as
10 opposed to the forward command post. The term "command post" refers to a
11 wider area in which all the command organs, command organs of the corps,
12 are deployed. It should facilitate the successful command and control
13 over all the units in the area of responsibility of a corps or some other
14 operational unit which is similar to a corps.
15 As regards the term "forward command post," it's a smaller area in
16 which only a part of a certain command is deployed. In this case, it is
17 the part of the Corps Command. It is selected and determined, its
18 location, very close or indeed inside of the area in which combat
19 activities will be conducted. It is an area which enables direct
20 influence over the course of the execution of combat operations. The
21 command post was -- the forward command post, in this case, was set to be
22 at Pribicevac. I have already spoken about it. It was the command post
23 of the Tactical Group Pribicevac. But now it was necessary to improve the
24 conditions there, which would enable the part of the Corps Command to get
25 there and to deploy at the forward command post and to carry out the tasks
1 assigned by the order of the Drina Corps Command.
2 Q. Speaking about the Pribicevac forward command post, who was
3 assigned to take up positions at the command post?
4 A. Because of the highly complex situation in front of the area of
5 responsibility of the Drina Corps and indeed inside of the area of
6 responsibility and in order to command and control the units within the
7 area of responsibility of the Drina Corps as successfully as possible, the
8 Drina Corps Commander, General Zivanovic, with the larger part of the
9 command of the Drina Corps remained at the command post in Vlasenica and
10 exerted command over all the units in the area of responsibility of the
11 corps from there. And in that, I also include the temporary formations
12 that were part of the Krivaja 95 operation, through me and in the whole
13 area of responsibility, through the Brigade Commanders and the chiefs of
14 staff that remained there after the Brigade Commanders brought in the
15 units that were necessary to implement the order of the Commander.
16 The Drina Corps Commander assigned a group to take up positions at
17 the forward command post, which consisted of myself as the Chief of Staff
18 and his second in command; then the Chief of Staff of the operations and
19 the training section of the Drina Corps, Colonel Vicic; Chief of the
20 Intelligence Section of the Drina Corps Command, Lieutenant
21 Colonel Kosoric; the Commander of the Communications Battalion of the
22 Drina Corps, Major Jevdjevic; and the Commander of the Staff Command,
23 Lieutenant Amovic.
24 Q. What was your role at the Pribicevac command post?
25 A. My basic role at the Pribicevac forward command post was, first of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 all, to monitor the process of bringing in of the units and their
2 deployment in the area of deployment from which they were supposed to set
3 off to execute their tasks. And then at the beginning of the operation,
4 my task was to monitor the course of the operations, to direct the work of
5 the commanders involved in the operation, and to report to the Corps
6 Commander about all of that, to carry out his orders related to the
7 operation, and to issue additional orders for the execution of tasks but
8 which were in accordance with the concept and the decision of the Corps
10 Q. So, you were in a position to issue orders to subordinate units or
11 to units which were engaged in the operation?
12 A. Yes. I was in a position to issue orders to all the units, to
13 commanders of all the units engaged in the operation until the arrival of
14 the commander to the forward command post.
15 Q. You mentioned Colonel Vicic. He was the chief of the operations
16 and training section. Is that the post which is well known -- generally
17 known as the operations officer?
18 A. The chief of the operations and training section is a person with
19 the largest scope of tasks within a corps command. In a way, he is the
20 link between the Chief of Staff and the Corps Commander. The tasks he is
21 given, either by the Corps Commander or the Chief of Staff, are formulated
22 into orders by him, and he also drafts reports and other documents on the
23 basis of what he has been ordered.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The Defence, Your Honours, would
25 now like to suggest a break until quarter past two.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, very well. We will have a
2 break and come back at quarter past two, after a one-hour break, that is.
3 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.16 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.18 p.m.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, you may continue.
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. General, could you briefly tell us the following: You mentioned
5 the order of the Assistant Command for Intelligence Affairs at the forward
6 command post, and you also mentioned the presence of the Commander of the
7 Communications Battalion as well as the Commander of the Staff Command. I
8 should like to know what their duties and responsibilities were at the
9 Pribicevac forward command post.
10 A. I have already spoken about the composition of the group which was
11 sent by the Corps Commander to take up positions at the forward command
12 post and what assignments were included. I was there myself, and I also
13 mentioned that the Chief of the Intelligence Section of the Drina Corps
14 was there as well, Colonel Kosoric. His task was the one that he would
15 have had at the Vlasenica command post, that is, to collect data about the
16 BH army, to obtain information about its objectives and intentions as well
17 as specific measures that it was undertaking in that situation.
18 So the focus of his task at the time was to gather data about the
19 forces of the 28th Division. Once such data was obtained, he was supposed
20 to provide me with his conclusions, not only me but also the Chief of the
21 Operations Section, with the purpose of facilitating the conduct of
22 operations in terms of what units should be given what tasks.
23 In addition to Colonel Kosoric, the group also involved the
24 commander of the Drina Corps Communications Battalion, Major Jevdjevic.
25 His task was a similar one as he would have had at the main command post,
1 that is, to establish a communications centre at the forward command post
2 and to ensure that the communications are in order and properly
3 functioning between the forward command post and the Vlasenica command
4 post, as well as, of course, with the units which were deployed for the
5 purposes of this operation.
6 Present at the forward command post was Commander of the Staff
7 Command, Lieutenant Amovic. That particular post is filled by an officer
8 whose duty it is to ensure adequate conditions of work at the level of the
9 staff, in this case, at the level of the forward command post, so that the
10 group that is located there can work and live in adequate conditions. He
11 was also in charge of supplying the unit with food and other necessary
12 material which was necessary not only for the staff officers, for the
13 command, but also for the soldiers who were located there, involving the
14 troops that belonged to the Communications Battalion.
15 Q. Apart from the Pribicevac forward command post, there was also the
16 forward command post and 1DK in the area of Jasenova?
17 A. Let me first indicate on the map the location of Jasenova.
18 Jasenova is located in this area here.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, sorry to interrupt
20 you, but if the answer is "Jasenova is here" without any further
21 references, perhaps we will not be able to know exactly where, to know
22 exactly where the place was indicated on the map. So you can perhaps
23 describe for the record the exact location.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, you're right, Mr. President, I
25 was just about to suggest an explanation.
1 Q. General, could you help us with that?
2 A. Yes. I apologise to the Chamber for not being precise enough.
3 Jasenova is located to the southwest of Zeleni Jadar for approximately two
4 kilometres away.
5 Q. Can we say that it is located on the territory outside the
6 territory of the protected area?
7 A. Yes, you're quite correct. Jasenova is outside the territory of
8 the protected area.
9 Q. Why was that second forward command post envisaged at all?
10 A. The main reason why in this operation we decided to have this
11 forward command post N1 was because we were acting pursuant to the
12 decision of the Corps Commander whereby units of the Drina Corps deployed
13 for the purposes of this operation, after the completion of their task,
14 along the axis Divljakinje-Guber Banja, which I indicated previously,
15 Zivkovo Brdo, Alibegovac, Kak, be pulled out of that line and would
16 assemble in the wider area of Jasenova and Podravanje.
17 This here is the area of Podravanje, Jasenova is here and this is
18 the area of Podravanje.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. So the area of Podravanje is situated south of Jasenova?
22 A. Yes, that is correct. It is situated a kilometre, kilometre and a
23 half away from Jasenova in the southwestern direction. So that was the
24 area where the units were supposed to assemble after the execution of the
25 task pursuant to the general concept of the Corps Commander. And after
1 they reached the line that I indicated, they were supposed to be pulled
2 out of that line, and we were supposed to find possibility to engage
3 additional troops, to find additional troops which were supposed to take
4 up these positions, thereby cutting in two the area between Zepa and
6 And those units, pursuant to the decision of the commander, were
7 supposed to be taken back to their original units and deployed along the
8 front lines towards Tuzla, Zivinice, Kladanj, and Olovo.
9 Q. For the purposes of clarification, could you tell us briefly about
10 the abbreviation IKMN-1. Does that mean "forward command post further
12 A. Yes, that is correct. Pribicevac was the initial -- the main
13 forward command post, and the further -- the next forward command post was
14 the forward command post N1 which was outside the territory of the
15 protected area of Srebrenica.
16 Q. Except for this order request for combat activities, could you
17 tell us what other documents you yourself drafted for the purposes of the
18 Krivaja 95 operation?
19 A. In view of the overall objective of the operation, that is, the
20 decision of the Corps Commander, as to which line was supposed to be
21 reached and occupied as part of the execution of the decision of the Corps
22 Commander, we drafted only certain basic documents. One such document is
23 actually the written part of the decision of the Corps Commander. After
24 that --
25 MR. HARMON: Mr. President, the question that was asked of General
1 Krstic was which documents he personally drafted, and the answer is not
2 responsive. He's talking about "we" in the collective sense, so we don't
3 have an idea what is his answer to the original question, and we would ask
4 that he answer the original question.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic, have you
6 understood the meaning of the objection?
7 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes. When I put my question as to
8 which documents you drafted in addition to the order, I had in mind the
9 command of the Drina Corps, implying the General as a member of the Drina
10 Corps. I wasn't asking him in person. So my question related to the
11 Drina Corps command.
12 Q. In addition to the command itself, which documents were drafted by
13 the Drina Corps Command for the Krivaja 95 operation?
14 And of course, in future, I will bear in mind Mr. Harmon's
16 A. In addition to the order of the Drina Corps Command on active
17 combat activity, a plan of surveyance was elaborated at the level of the
18 Corps Command, and a surveyance plan for the subordinate commanders of the
19 units that would be participating in the operation, and also a plan of
20 quartermaster support for units of the Drina Corps which will be
21 participating in the operation. So those are these three basic
23 We felt that it was not necessary to draw up all the plans
24 stipulated in the regulations for the work of commands because this was an
25 operation of a limited scope. We expected it would not last long and
1 simply there was no need to elaborate the other documents.
2 Q. Does that mean that when drawing up these documents, the command
3 bore in mind the main idea of physically separating the enclaves of
4 Srebrenica and Zepa and that is why it drafted only the documents that you
5 have mentioned?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. The concept of the commander or, rather, his order, had it been to
8 eliminate the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa, would that imply a
9 lengthier analysis of the preparation and the organisation regarding the
10 execution of the operation itself and would it also imply the need to draw
11 up other documents and plans as well?
12 A. Yes. Then that would be an operation of a broader scale. The
13 planning of such an operation and its preparation would have lasted much,
14 much longer. For this type of operation, that is, operations of a broader
15 scale, preparations last a minimum between 20 and 30 days.
16 If the purpose of the Krivaja 95 operation had been to eliminate
17 the enclaves, then we would have had to strictly comply with the
18 regulations which prescribe the compilation of all the documents which are
19 necessary for the control and command of the operation, and that means
20 that we would have to draw up an order for active combat, then we would
21 have to, in text form and in graphic form on maps, detail the operation's
22 plans by day and by hour and indicate the specific lines and features.
23 Finally, we would also have to determine the duration of the operation,
24 both in the text and in the maps. Also, we would have to draw up other
25 documents such as the plan of intelligence security, the plan of
1 intelligence support, security support, the plan for moral and political
2 support, and also a plan for anti-assault combat because such a
3 possibility would always have to be envisaged in an operation of such a
4 broader scale. We would have to do a plan of engineer support, of
5 nuclear, chemical, and biological support, and we would also have to fully
6 elaborate in detail the plan of logistics support, focusing, in the first
7 place, on the transport routes, quartermaster supplies, and technical
8 support, and even a plan of construction works in support of the
10 Q. Would that imply also the need to draw up a plan for contacts and
11 cooperation with UNPROFOR, if we could call it that?
12 A. If through the process of operation planning our aim was to
13 include in the implementation of that plan the authorities in the area of
14 responsibility of the Drina Corps or, more specifically, around the safe
15 area of Srebrenica, then we should have had to draw up a plan of
16 cooperation with civilian bodies in the area. We would also have had to
17 draw up a plan of cooperation with the United Nations forces in the area.
18 All these documents that I have mentioned were not prepared,
19 except for the order for combat operations and maps of the commander's
20 decisions, that is, a graphic presentation of the text of the decision,
21 and we did a plan of reconnaissance and a plan of quartermaster support.
22 Q. Does this mean that the plans you just mentioned were not drawn up
23 by you because the idea of the commander, in the form of a decision, was
24 not to eliminate the enclaves?
25 MR. HARMON: Objection, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, please go on, Mr. Harmon.
2 MR. HARMON: I'm going to object to the leading nature of the
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic. Please ask
5 the witness what happened. Don't ask him what the intention was. Ask him
6 about the results, please, the outcome.
7 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. So did you draw up those plans or not?
9 A. No.
10 Q. When I say "you," that means neither you personally nor the Drina
11 Corps Command.
12 A. In addition to the corps staff, all the other bodies participate
13 in the drafting of plans, all the other bodies of the Corps Command, of
14 course, including the Corps Commander.
15 Q. When working on this order, did you have information about
16 anything that would relate to civilian matters linked to the safe area?
17 A. No.
18 Q. So does this mean neither you personally nor the Drina Corps
20 A. The Drina Corps Command as a whole.
21 Q. So after the order was compiled, was a map drawn?
22 A. I think I've already answered that question. A map was drawn to
23 reflect the commander's decision. It is a graphic presentation of the
24 actual textual part of the commander's decision.
25 This graphic presentation of the text of the commander's decision,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 on a map, is approved by the Superior Command. In this case, it was the
2 Main Staff or, rather, General Mladic, who, in fact, did so.
3 Q. So after all this was done, what was the first activity that you
4 personally undertook to implement the order, the order for combat action?
5 A. The first step that I took in connection with the commander's
6 order, the order of the Drina Corps Commander for active combat
7 operations, was to draw a graphic presentation of the commander's decision
8 on the map, then also to prepare a surveyance plan together with
9 subordinate commanders who would be participating in the implementation of
10 the commander's decision, so that on the 4th of July, 1995, we carried out
11 this surveyance together with all the commanders whose units or parts of
12 units took part in the operation -- reconnaissance activities.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Correction by interpreter.
14 A. I personally was in charge of these reconnaissance activities, and
15 at the level of the Corps Command, as I have already said, the leader of
16 those reconnaissance activities was General Zivanovic.
17 After the plan had been prepared on the 4th of July, 1995, we
18 carried out reconnaissance together with the brigade commanders from those
19 same three locations from which the Drina Corps had carried out
20 reconnaissance. And that is the forward command post at Pribicevac, that
21 is one location; the other is Besica Brdo; and the third is the feature
22 Bracan. I should like to show once again those three locations.
23 Q. General, I think that is not necessary because we have already
24 pointed them out on the map once, and the Chamber is aware of that, so you
25 may now continue.
1 So this was on the 4th of July?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What were your activities? What were you personally doing, you
4 the Chief of Staff, on the 3rd of July?
5 A. On the 3rd of July after we carried out the reconnaissance at the
6 Corps command level, and that was on the 2nd of July in the afternoon
7 hours, I did the following: control in the subordinate units that will be
8 engaged in the operation. When I say "control," I mean -- I also include
9 other organs in the Corps command. This control operation was carried out
10 in such a way that we as a team visited the units, assigned three groups,
11 one of which was to visit the command of the Milici Brigade, of the
12 Bratunac Brigade, and the Skelani Battalion.
13 The second group visited the command of the 1st Bircani Brigade
14 located in Sekovici and the command of the Zvornik Brigade in Zvornik, and
15 the third group visited the command of the 2nd Romanija Brigade in
17 The purpose of the control, as I have already stated, I think, was
18 to carry out the assessment of the situation together with the Commander
19 and to determine whether they really can detach the forces that they have
20 been ordered to detach and what else needs to be done. These were the
21 issues from the domain of the logistic support.
22 After all the teams had returned from the control in the
23 subordinate units, we submitted the report about this activity to the
24 Commander and then continued with the drafting of the documents that I
25 have already spoken about.
1 Q. On the 5th of July, can you tell us what were you doing as the
2 Chief of Staff in the Drina Corps command?
3 A. After I conducted the reconnaissance with the commanders of the
4 subordinate units on the 4th, I went back to the command post in
5 Vlasenica, and on the 5th of July I continued to perform my usual daily
6 duties and obligations, the focus being on issues related to the
7 implementation of the decision of the Corps Commander.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, excuse me, perhaps
9 I should remind General Krstic: You're a man of action. Mr. Petrusic
10 asked you, what was the time -- how did you spend your time as Chief of
11 Staff on the 5th of July. You answered you engaged in your regular
12 duties. I think we need to have a precise answer.
13 You're a man of action, not a man of the philosophy of action, so
14 give us a direct answer if possible, please.
15 Excuse me for interrupting, Mr. Petrusic.
16 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] In this sense, I would like you to
17 place Defence Exhibit number 96.
18 A. If I may say something. I was about to answer the question that
19 was asked of me, but Mr. Petrusic interrupted me by asking for the exhibit
20 to be placed on the ELMO.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Please go ahead, General.
23 A. As the Chief of Staff, on the 5th of July I carried out the
24 following tasks: The Corps Commander, after the reconnaissance had been
25 conducted, both at the level of the Corps command and the subordinate
1 units, again assembled all his associates, including myself. I was there
2 as his Chief of Staff.
3 We again assessed the overall situation in the area of
4 responsibility of the Corps and further away from the area itself, and we
5 realised -- we stated that we were in a position to execute the task, or
6 rather, to implement his decision as regards separating the two enclaves.
7 After that, I, together with the other staff members, I engaged in
8 direct preparations for my departure to the forward command post at
10 Q. So we have Exhibit 96 on the ELMO. It is an order issued by the
11 Drina Corps command. The number is 04/156-4, dated the 5th of July, 1995.
12 It is designated as "very urgent," and it is addressed to the commands of
13 the 1st and 5th Podrinje Light Infantry Brigades. It is issued by the
14 commander, Major General Milenko Zivanovic.
15 Are you familiar with this order, and what does this order relate
17 A. Yes, I am aware of this order in full, and this order has to do
18 first of all -- the purpose of the order is first of all to inform the
19 commanders of the 1st and 5th Podrinje Brigades which were engaged on the
20 positions around Zepa in the defence. The Corps Commander, among other
21 things, states the casualties sustained by us.
22 Because the area between Srebrenica and Zepa has not been taken up
23 or occupied because the two enclaves have not been separated and because a
24 corridor has been established between the two safe areas, the Drina Corps
25 Commander informs them that preparations are underway for active
1 operations to be carried out in order to separate, to divide the two
2 enclaves fully.
3 And to that end, the Drina Corps Commander orders the two brigades
4 the measures that they have to take against the safe area of Zepa in order
5 to prevent the separation of the forces of the Zepa Brigade, the
6 detachment of those forces, and their engagement of our flanks, the flanks
7 of our forces, or, rather, behind our forces, that will be engaged in
8 actions against Srebrenica.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I would now like the Exhibit 76 to
10 be placed on the ELMO, please.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Petrusic, I will take
12 advantage of this little break. I need to say something to the technical
13 booth or the registrar, rather. When a witness is analysing or discussing
14 a document, the document in question has to be broadcast for the public
15 gallery, if that is possible. We first have to have a general view of the
16 whole document, the entire document, and afterwards, once the witness has
17 started analysing the document, the document has to be broadcast for the
18 public. I hope that we will be able to achieve this.
19 I'm sorry for this interruption, Mr. Petrusic. Please continue.
20 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] In the original version, that is,
21 the version in Serbo-Croatian, it is stated that the document has been
22 issued by the Drina Corps. Its number is 04/156-4-1. However, in the
23 English version, the title of the command actually issuing the document is
24 not there, is missing. We assume that it is an error on the part of the
25 translators. The document is dated the 5th of July, and it is issued by
1 the commander, Major General Zivanovic, and it is signed by
2 General Krstic, and it is addressed to the Main Staff of the army of
3 Republika Srpska.
4 Q. General, could you please tell us something about the contents of
5 this document and an interpretation of this document?
6 A. Very briefly. This is a report and a request to the Main Staff of
7 the VRS. The Main Staff of the VRS is advised that the units of the Drina
8 Corps had carried out all the preparations for the separation of the two
9 enclaves, Zepa and Srebrenica, and that's one item.
10 In addition, a request is submitted to the VRS to provide
11 cooperation of the 65th Protective Motorised Regiment, in other words, of
12 the forces that are engaged on defensive lines against the Zepa enclave in
13 order to prevent the forces of the Zepa Brigade from being detached and to
14 prevent their possible action behind the units, our units, that will be
15 engaged against Srebrenica. And cooperation with the 1st and 2nd Podrinje
16 Light Infantry Brigades is requested, and they had also been given the
17 task assigning the measures that they would have to take again the Zepa
19 Q. So is this sent to the Main Staff in order for the Main Staff to
20 be able to give an order to its unit, the 65th Protective Motorised
22 A. Yes, precisely, because we did not have the authority to issue
23 orders to the units of the Main Staff, and that is why we ask for their
25 Q. Can we say then that this battalion that -- is permanently
1 located, deployed around Zepa?
2 A. Yes. This battalion, before the outbreak of the conflict, was
3 deployed on positions towards Zepa, engaged in the defence activities
4 after Zepa was declared a safe area, and this is where it's remained until
5 the end of the war.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the Defence would
7 now stop with the examination-in-chief.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Petrusic. It's indeed
9 time that we wind up for today. We have other obligations this
11 So will see each other tomorrow at 20 minutes past 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.05 p.m.
13 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 19th day of
14 October, 2000 at 9.20 a.m.
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.