1 Thursday, 2 November 2000
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness takes the stand]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.23 a.m.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good morning, ladies and
6 gentlemen; good morning, technical booth, the interpreters; good morning
7 to the Office of the Prosecutor, the Defence counsel.
8 Good morning, General Krstic. We are going to continue the
9 hearing. You are still testifying under oath and you will continue to
10 answer questions put to you by Mr. McCloskey, who is already on his feet.
11 Mr. McCloskey, your witness.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. President, Your
13 Honours, counsel, General Krstic.
14 WITNESS: RADISLAV KRSTIC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Cross-examined by Mr. McCloskey: [Continued]
17 Q. General Krstic, do you recall in early August, after you say you
18 came back from the Zepa operation, being with President Karadzic in the
19 Bratunac area of responsibility?
20 A. No. I was never with President Karadzic in the area of
21 responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade.
22 Q. Were you with him somewhere else at this period of time?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Do you recall it would have been in early August, right before the
25 big meeting with the generals, where everyone signed up that document in
1 support of General Mladic?
2 A. I do not remember that.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could have Exhibit 792/A, which has been
4 part of the supporting material now and in the Defence possession for
5 several months. If we could put the first page of the exhibit on the
7 Q. General, if you could take a moment to look at it, especially
8 paragraph 2. This is an August 4 regular combat report from the Bratunac
9 Brigade Command to the Drina Corps Command, signed by the Commander,
10 Vidoje Blagojevic.
11 General, from this document we see, first of all, that there are
12 still enemy groups hiding among the Bratunac Brigade's area of
13 responsibility, but we also see in paragraph 2 that "The President of
14 Republika Srpska and Commander of the Drina Corps were in Srebrenica in
15 the brigade's area of responsibility today." Does that refresh your
16 recollection about your being together with the president?
17 A. Mr. McCloskey, I'm telling you the truth. With president
18 Karadzic -- I did not see President Karadzic at all, nor did I know that
19 President Karadzic was in Srebrenica.
20 Q. Is this montage or is this -- how do you explain this?
21 A. I may perhaps have been in the area of responsibility of the
22 Bratunac Brigade in Konjevic Polje, touring the Engineers Battalion, but
23 in Srebrenica I never met with President Karadzic, before that day, nor on
24 that day, nor after that day.
25 Q. Are you suggesting he would be in Srebrenica and you would be also
1 in the Srebrenica area and you would not get together?
2 A. Mladic should have been with him, and he should know where he was,
3 but I really was not with President Karadzic, nor did I know at all that
4 President Karadzic was in Srebrenica.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: And if we could go into private session briefly.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Why, Mr. McCloskey?
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: I got the "Mr. McCloskey."
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Why?
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: I should know "pourquoi" by now. I was going to
10 ask the General briefly about a subject that was part of his interview
11 with Mr. Ruez but was not played publicly.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. So let us go into
13 private session for a few moments.
14 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You may continue,
18 Mr. McCloskey.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could have Exhibit 91/A and B.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Visnjic.
21 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, before the exhibit,
22 the new exhibit, is placed on the ELMO, I should just like to draw
23 attention to a discrepancy in the translation of the sentence which in the
24 Serbo-Croatian reads and relates to the questions posed by Mr. McCloskey
25 to General Krstic. I will read it in Serbian, the way the sentence
2 "In the area of the brigade's responsibility, Srebrenica, the
3 President of Republika Srpska, as well as the Commander of the Drina
4 Corps, visited the area today -- were in the area today." Sorry.
5 Could I ask the interpreters, if possible, to correct the
6 translation of this document into English. So maybe we can come back to
7 that at a later stage. I have only just noticed this, Mr. President;
8 otherwise, I would have drawn your attention earlier to it.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
10 Mr. McCloskey?
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's fine for Translation to have a second look.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Perhaps we could place on the
13 ELMO the B/C/S version so that the interpreters might follow and to try
14 and translate only the part you are referring to, Mr. Visnjic. Could you
15 please be more precise for the benefit of the interpreters which paragraph
16 you're referring to.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Mike, please.
18 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I'm talking about the
19 English version. It is paragraph 2, the fourth paragraph of item 2.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So in the English version, it is
21 the paragraph that says: [In English] "... and the Commander of the DK
22 ... were in Srebrenica, in the brigade's area of responsibility, today."
23 [Interpretation] Is that so?
24 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] It is a typed document in
2 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, but we also have the
3 manuscript, the handwritten version, which is much clearer. So what we
4 have here is page 1, which is the translation of the typed version. And
5 then we have another problem, do we? So let's try and deal with the first
7 Mr. Usher, will you place on the ELMO Exhibit 792/B, the typed
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: If I could make one suggestion. If there is
10 believed to be a possible translation glitch, I believe the
11 appropriate -- I would recommend the way to handle it would be for the
12 Translation Unit to be able to see the document in the context to really
13 double-check if it's correct or not. It's, I think, very difficult for
14 the booth translators to be expected to do that. Also, it takes away some
15 of my time, and I see a large hook in the ceiling being lowered.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand. I agree with
17 your suggestion. But perhaps the translation that you would be given now
18 might prompt you to put other questions. And we are ready to make that
19 correction, to forward the whole document to the Translation Service,
20 which will have the whole context, and then they can check. I quite agree
21 with that. I think there are also other documents that need to be
22 subjected to this kind of verification. So the point has been raised by
23 Mr. Visnjic. You take count of it and you will provide the Translation
24 Service with the document; is that correct, Mr. McCloskey?
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So we shall continue now. The
2 question has been taken note of. Thank you very much, Mr. Visnjic.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: And I believe we were at the point of General
4 Krstic was going to review this document, 91A, which is a document the
5 Defence has had, and General Krstic was at the question regarding -- by
6 Mr. Ruez. This is a document dated 5/6/August, Main Staff of the army of
7 Republika Srpska, and involves a meeting of many generals of the VRS and
8 their statement in support of General Mladic in a -- what appears to be
9 some sort of a power struggle or dispute with President Karadzic. And I
10 don't wish to get into all that, but I would like to ask some questions
11 briefly to General Krstic about this. And I would note the fourth
12 paragraph down:
13 "All VRS generals were unanimous in saying that the decision,
14 taken at the most difficult moment so far, was wrong and that its
15 implementation would have unforeseeable negative consequences for our
16 people, our struggle and the army."
17 And I should have noted that the decision for Radovan Karadzic to
18 remove General Mladic as the Commander of the VRS and put him in another
20 And then I would go down farther on the English page where it
22 "Respected Deputies! The unity of all Serbs is what we need most
23 today and not conflicts and divisions. We need every man and especially
24 an army commander like General Ratko Mladic, whose qualities are
25 recognised by the whole world, including our enemies. Nobody has the
1 right to leave the Serbian people during this most difficult of times
2 without a general venerated by the fighters, commanders and the whole
4 And then we see that many generals signed this document, including
5 General Krstic.
6 Q. General Krstic, you were aware of the mass executions that had
7 been ordered by General Mladic at this time, were you not?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Wouldn't it have been the best thing for the Republika Srpska to
10 get a new general, a general that was not a general that had ordered mass
11 executions in the thousands? Why would you sign a document in support of
12 this general?
13 A. Regarding which commander would be appointed to the Chief of Staff
14 of Republika Srpska was something I had no power to decide about. I had
15 to sign this because all the other generals signed it.
16 Q. Are you saying you were under some kind of duress to sign this?
17 A. I was not under any duress to sign this; however, can you imagine
18 what would have happened to me if I had not signed it?
19 Q. Did General Miletic sign it, General Miletic, the deputy chief of
20 the Main Staff, who we've heard about on the intercepts?
21 A. I don't know whether General Miletic signed it. He is not here on
22 the list. At the time, he was absent; he was not in Banja Luka.
23 Q. He's alive and well, isn't he, General Miletic?
24 A. Yes, he's alive and well.
25 Q. And General Bogdan Subotic, General Dusan Kovacevic, General
1 Stanislav Galic, they're alive and well, aren't they, and they're not on
3 A. Could you please ask me one by one and I will give you my answer.
4 Q. General Bogdan Subotic.
5 A. He was not in the army of Republika Srpska.
6 Q. He was a general?
7 A. Yes. He accompanied President Karadzic. He was chief of his
9 Q. He was part of the Ministry of Defence?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And in this political struggle, you could have --
12 A. No, I'm sorry. He was not a member of the Ministry of Defence.
13 He was head of the military cabinet of the President of the Republic.
14 Q. In this political struggle, you could have joined
15 President Karadzic, like these -- like General Subotic?
16 A. I am a professional soldier, and I love my profession and I have
17 respect for it.
18 Q. General Slavko Lisica, Deputy of the Rajko Vasic Military
19 Academy. He's not on there.
20 A. I never saw that general. He was not the deputy of the head of
21 the military academy. At least, I do not recall him being that. I never
22 saw that man.
23 Q. A mentioned General Galic, General Stanislav Galic.
24 A. General Galic, at the time, was a pensioner. He had retired.
25 Q. Why didn't you just retire, General, when this -- when this all
1 happened? Why didn't you just get away from it?
2 A. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, both my family and the family of my wife
3 reside. I simply could not abandon them nor my sick mother.
4 Q. But you did have a choice, didn't you, and you did make a choice?
5 A. My choice was to remain where my family was and where I was born,
6 and I stayed till the end, until I was arrested.
7 Q. Was that the right choice, General? Did you make the right
9 A. I'd rather not answer that question. I don't think it has any
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could go to Exhibit 803/A.
12 Q. Did you do business with Vujadin Popovic in August of 1995?
13 You've said earlier that he, when you first got back, he was on sick
14 leave. How about later on in August?
15 A. Yes, after I had come back from Krajina. I believe that it was
16 sometime in early or mid-September he was at the command.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Do we have Exhibit 803/A? You can have mine.
18 Q. General, this is an August 17 intelligence report to the Drina
19 Corps Command, to the commander, and for the attention of the Intelligence
20 Department. I believe it's from Momir Nikolic. It mentions Lieutenant
21 Colonel Popovic, Lieutenant Colonel Kosoric, Major Golic. Did you receive
23 A. No.
24 Q. Where were you on August 17th?
25 A. On the 17th of August, I was -- I think that I was on leave. I
1 think that I was visiting my family at the time.
2 Q. So the intelligence people didn't know that. They addressed this
3 to you anyway?
4 A. As I say, at the time, I was on leave. I was visiting my family.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: All right. If we now could go to some documents
6 that will help lay the foundation and setting of the ceremony that we've
7 discussed briefly before, and if we could first go -- that ceremony, we
8 will provide documents showing, occurred on the 2nd of December, 1995, but
9 the first exhibit I would like to show the General is Exhibit 780, which
10 is an indictment of President Karadzic and General Mladic for the
11 Srebrenica events of July 1995, and it's dated 14 November 1995 and
12 confirmed 16 November 1995, and it's in English, French, and B/C/S.
13 Could we have Exhibit 780 for the General. And if we could just
14 put the first -- the cover page on is fine for the ...
15 Q. General, when did you first become aware that your president and
16 General Mladic had been indicted by the ICTY for the July 1995 crimes
17 associated with Srebrenica?
18 A. I cannot recall when it was exactly.
19 Q. Was it before the ceremony for the Drina Wolves that occurred on
20 2 December 1995, where you were together with General Mladic on the
22 A. I think -- I think that it was later on.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could have Exhibit 794/1.
24 Q. Now, this is a -- and I'll read it in English -- FBIS text. Are
25 you familiar with a publication called Politika, a newspaper, a Serbian
2 A. Yes. Yes. They -- this is a Belgrade-based paper.
3 Q. And this is another news report, dated 19 November, from the FBIS
4 news service and from the publication Politika, and it states:
5 "A newspaper close to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic called
6 Sunday on the Bosnian Serbs to prove to the world they did not commit mass
7 genocide during the capture of the Bosnian Muslim enclave in Srebrenica by
8 opening a full inquiry into alleged atrocities. The influential Belgrade
9 daily Politika urged the Serbs to launch the probe into the July offensive
10 into Srebrenica, in a sign that Belgrade may be trying to distance itself
11 further from its Serb brethren in Bosnia and even sacrifice the
12 beleaguered Bosnian Serb leadership to the peace process."
13 And it goes on and talks about Srebrenica and related issues.
14 Were you aware of this article or articles similar to it in the Serb press
15 regarding the Srebrenica situation and how governments and journalists
16 were reacting to the allegations?
17 A. There were very few articles like that. I really can't remember
18 this one, for example. I very rarely had an opportunity to read Politika
19 at all -- not only Politika; any other newspaper -- and they very rarely
20 reached us.
21 Q. This particular article went on to say that:
22 "The incident prompted the International Criminal Tribunal on War
23 Crimes in Former Yugoslavia, currently in session in The Hague, to issue
24 fresh charges last week against Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and
25 army chief Ratko Mladic for their part in the alleged genocide, with
1 journalistic reports --"
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Sorry. Mr. Visnjic.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I didn't wish to
4 interrupt my learned colleague, Mr. McCloskey, but since we are now
5 talking about the details regarding this article, I must say that the
6 Defence has not been provided with the Serbian translation of the
7 article. So if we continue with the specificities of this article, we're
8 going to have a problem because the General doesn't have a translation and
9 we don't have a translation either.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey, the article was
11 not published in English in Belgrade, of course.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. We just -- we found this recently,
13 Mr. President, and the only point from this really -- I have two points
14 from this article: One, that it was -- the first part I read; and the
15 second is the part about announcing the indictment, and I asked him
16 whether or not he heard this.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand, but then in
18 that case your question should be a more general one. If you want the
19 General to interpret the article, then, of course, he will need a
20 translation into B/C/S.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: All I wanted to ask him about is if he heard
22 through the news about the indictment.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, because I think that, for
24 the purposes of your objective, it is not necessary to have the article;
25 you can simply ask the General if he knew about it or not.
1 Thank you very much for your comment, Mr. Visnjic.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY:
3 Q. General, did you -- had you heard announced in the press the
4 indictment of General Mladic and General Karadzic at about this time of
5 November 19th or later?
6 A. No, Mr. McCloskey. I heard it only when a campaign was launched
7 as to whether Mr. Karadzic will remain in political arena or not, and that
8 happened after the signing of the Dayton Accords.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could have Exhibit 783/A.
10 Q. General, were you aware that Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic had
11 been indicted earlier for other crimes by the ICTY? We're not quite to
12 this exhibit yet, General, so if you could just concentrate on that
14 A. I don't remember. It was only later on that I learned about it.
15 Q. All right. Now, this exhibit, 782/A, is a Srpska Vojska article,
16 dated 28 December. It's different from the article we saw before, but on
17 the second paragraph it states: "The fighters under the command of Milan
18 Jolovic were paraded on 2 December in Vlasenica."
19 And General, if you could take just a look at just the first
20 couple of paragraphs of that, and is this an article about the parade that
21 we discussed earlier where you gave a speech, Mladic gave a speech?
22 A. The title page and the one that follows refer to the ceremony
23 which was organised when one of the professional brigades of the VRS was
24 established, for that occasion.
25 Q. So as far as you know, this is an accurate article that this
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 ceremony took place on December 2nd, and this is the same ceremony where
2 General Mladic, General Krstic, and Commander Jolovic all spoke, like you
3 discussed earlier briefly?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: And we should have the video of that, a
6 highlighted version of the video. We have just given certain portions of
7 it because the whole video is not necessary. So we should have certain
8 portions of that video. But perhaps if we could direct the Court's
9 attention to Exhibit 367/A, which is the transcript of words that General
10 Krstic said that were reflected on the tape. These are the total that we
11 have in our possession, and it just is background reading material,
12 nothing of major significance in those words. But if they could have that
13 in front of them, that would save us a little time. And if the booth
14 could get ready to play the video.
15 Q. General, if you could please try to watch the video as we play it
16 because I will ask you a couple of questions about it.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could go ahead and play that.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. McCloskey, do you want the booth to
19 interpret the tape?
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: No. The booth doesn't need to try to interpret.
21 These are just little segments to give just a feeling for the ceremony.
22 [Videotape played]
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could have Exhibit 756.
24 Q. General, this is ...
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: We could get -- you've cut off a bit of the man
1 with the white hair. Thank you.
2 Q. General, this is a still of the opening shot that we just saw when
3 General Mladic and others are walking up to Legenda, whose back is to us.
4 Who is the man behind you?
5 A. The man who came with General Mladic from the Main Staff, Ljubo
7 Q. Did you speak to Ljubo Beara that day?
8 A. I don't remember if I did.
9 Q. Did you speak to General Mladic that day?
10 A. I was on the stage, together with General Mladic, and I was
11 amongst the public, with the population; and after that, we were at the
12 hotel where Mladic received families of the killed soldiers.
13 Q. Did you discuss with him his recent indictment by the ICTY for the
14 Srebrenica events?
15 A. No, Mr. McCloskey.
16 Q. Was the 10th Diversionary Unit at that same ceremony?
17 A. Yes. The ceremony was organised by the Command of the Main
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Could we have Exhibit 147 placed on the ELMO?
20 Q. This is another still from that video. Are these members of the
21 10th Diversionary Unit?
22 A. I don't know. I don't know any member of the 10th Diversionary
24 Q. General, are these the 10th Diversionary Unit?
25 A. Yes. They are wearing black uniforms. It's them.
1 Q. They're standing shoulder to shoulder with the Drina Wolves at
2 this ceremony?
3 A. I already told you, the ceremony was organised by the Main Staff,
4 and it was the Main Staff who decided which units would take part in the
5 ceremony and not the Drina Corps Command. So they did not come upon an
6 invitation by the Drina Corps Command. The whole procedure, the whole
7 ceremony, was organised by the Main Staff, and one can see on the tape
8 that it was led and chaired by General Mladic.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, I see that it's break time.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,
11 Mr. McCloskey. We will have a 15-minute break at this point.
12 --- Recess taken at 10.15 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 10.31 a.m.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You may continue, Mr. McCloskey,
16 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Now, if we could go to OTP Exhibit 4821A, which is the complete
18 version of the Srpska Vojska article 28 December 1995 that we had referred
19 to in part a day or two ago. I'm sorry, 482/A, not 1A -- bis. And if
20 the -- could we have a B/C/S version?
21 Q. General, the order of the speeches, as I think you told us
22 before -- and if we could let the General see the article again -- the
23 order was Jolovic, yourself, and then General Mladic?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And if we could go right near the end of the article, General, to
1 that paragraph that we've already spoken about. I'll read the paragraph,
2 but I won't ask you the part we've already asked you. But there's one
3 line that we didn't get to. The part that I wanted to ask you about was
4 when General Mladic -- it's the end -- page 2, right at the end of the
5 article. There we go -- starting with:
6 "You fought heroically under the leadership of your Chief of Staff
7 or Corps Commander, who, although severely wounded, made a tremendous
8 contribution to the victory of Serbian arms and the Serbian army, not only
9 against the Muslim gladiators in Srebrenica and Zepa, but also against
10 those who helped them, now by land, now by air, now from behind the
11 conference table or through the media."
12 Now, we've already talked about that part of it. What I wanted to
13 ask you about was this part:
14 "They could not be saved because they did not deserve to be
15 saved. All of those who obeyed the agreement and came to the UNPROFOR
16 base were saved and transported."
17 Was there some kind of agreement between the Muslims and the VRS
18 on July 11th or 12th regarding the transportation or anything else?
19 A. Yes. That was at the meeting in Bratunac on the 12th.
20 Q. What was the agreement?
21 A. Representatives of the Muslim people expressed the wish to be
22 transported to the territory under the control of the government of the
23 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 Q. And most of the women and children were, in fact, transported on
25 the 12th and 13th; is that correct?
1 A. Yes. We saw that here in the course of the proceedings.
2 Q. So did those Muslims ever go back on any agreement with the VRS?
3 A. I don't know about that.
4 Q. Did they or did they not go back on an agreement with the VRS?
5 A. I don't quite understand. Do you mean after they left to the
6 territory under the control of the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina or in
7 the course -- or in the course of the transportation on the 12th and the
8 13th of July?
9 Q. Did those Muslim women and children and some old men go back on
10 some agreement that they had made to leave?
11 A. I don't know.
12 Q. General, do you think they actually had a choice whether or not to
14 A. They decided to leave.
15 Q. Of their own free will?
16 A. I cannot give you an answer as to whether it was of their own free
17 will. I can only tell you about what happened at the meeting, and I've
18 already told you that.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could go to Exhibit 743/A.
20 Q. General, if you could take some time to familiarise with this
21 article that has been provided to the Defence three months ago.
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey, perhaps it would
23 be better to put the question to the General and then the General will see
24 whether he needs to study the article. If it is a general question, the
25 General knows the interview he granted. If there are details you wish to
1 refer to, then he may need to study it more closely. So please put your
2 question to the General.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
4 Q. First of all, General Krstic, this article is dated 25 August
5 1995. Do you recall giving an interview to Borislav Djurdjevic from
6 Srpska Vojska?
7 A. I don't remember that it was on that particular day, but that I
8 did give an interview, I surely did.
9 Q. Do you have any reason to doubt the accuracy or authenticity of
10 this interview?
11 A. I cannot express now any doubts or suspicions regarding the
12 authenticity of this text now because it was a long time ago.
13 Q. Let me ask you specifically a couple of questions about some
14 questions and answers. The first question, for example, which is:
15 "Q. General, let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on
16 your great victories which you achieved immediately after you assumed the
17 post of Corps Commander. To begin with, can you explain the new military
18 situation since the liberation of Srebrenica and Zepa?
19 A. Thank you. However, I am not the only one responsible for
20 this success. Credit should be given to all the soldiers and officers of
21 the Drina Corps, the people in our zone of responsibility, and especially
22 to General Mladic."
23 Now, did you have to praise General Mladic in this article that
24 goes to VRS troops?
25 A. Mladic was in charge of it all. It wasn't any special praise of
1 General Mladic.
2 Q. Did you have to praise him in this article as you did? Did you
3 have to, like you had to sign the document in support of him with the
4 other generals?
5 A. I still did not have any knowledge as to what had happened after
6 the liberation of the area of Srebrenica.
7 Q. I'll go on reading: "Thanks to the high morale of our fighters,
8 as well as the skillful and professional command and control on the part
9 of the brigade commanders, the officers in the Drina Corps Command, the
10 area of Srebrenica and Zepa was liberated in a very short time. It is now
11 free Serbian territory. As a result, the territory of Republika Srpska
12 has become even more compact and considerably larger in percentage. The
13 victories in Srebrenica and Zepa have released forces previously deployed
14 around the enclaves so that they can be used in other areas. We have
15 brought peace and calm to the population, which does not have to fear
16 Ustasha pogroms any more."
17 Who are you referring to as "Ustasha"?
18 A. It referred to what had happened in the area during the Second
19 World War and not to the army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This
20 was a war. As we were for them the enemy, they too were the enemy for
22 Q. "Ustasha" is not a complimentary way of describing anyone in 1995,
23 is it?
24 A. Yes, but the war was still going on. It's not complimentary to
25 use the term such as "Chetniks" or "Balijas."
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Now, if we could go to page 2 of the English
3 Q. The question that starts near the middle of the page with "It was
4 agreed ..."
5 "Q. It was agreed during the negotiations with the Muslim
6 authorities in Srebrenica and, later, in Zepa that the Muslim population
7 could choose whether to stay or to leave, and that the Muslim fighters
8 would surrender without resistance. They went back on their word in both
9 cases. Did they make that decision on their own, or were they obeying
10 orders from Sarajevo?"
11 In the case of Srebrenica, did the Muslim fighters ever agree to
12 lay down their arms?
13 A. No. As we have seen during the trial, they did not agree, but
14 General Mladic was explicit in his demand that they lay down their arms,
15 and he requested this from the UNPROFOR command and from the
16 representatives of the Muslim people who attended the meeting.
17 Q. And your answer to this question is:
18 "We offered the Muslim authorities the solution which was most
19 honourable for them. They accepted the solution according to which they
20 could choose to stay or to leave, and their soldiers had to lay down their
21 arms unconditionally. Why did they go back on their word? There were
22 probably two reasons for that: first, such an outcome of the negotiations
23 between the local authorities and the representatives of our army and our
24 State did not suit Izetbegovic and his clique. He used a media campaign
25 to make the inhabitants of the enclaves look like martyrs in order to
1 demonise the Serbs in the eyes of the world public. Just like before, he
2 simply used and sacrificed his own people for the purposes of his
3 fundamentalist policy. The second element which contributed to their
4 decision not to respect the agreement was the fact that many of the
5 members of the Muslim army had been slaughterers and they were afraid of
6 the people's judgement on their war crimes."
7 Are these your words?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey, I apologise for
10 interrupting you.
11 General Krstic, when you were at the meeting at the Fontana Hotel,
12 did you have the impression that the Muslims who were there were the
13 authorities in the sense you referred to them here? You said, "We offered
14 the Muslim authorities ..." At the meeting at the Fontana Hotel in
15 Bratunac, did you have the impression that the Muslim authorities were
16 there at the meeting?
17 A. Yes, Mr. President.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So at the time, you were
19 convinced that Mr. Mandzic, the lady, and the other lady who were there
20 were the Muslim authorities; is that what I should conclude from what
21 you're saying?
22 A. Yes. Mr. President, I didn't know at the time who were the people
23 in power in Srebrenica municipality. The fact that they came there was,
24 for me, an indication that they represented the authorities of the Muslim
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] But as far as I know, the people
2 who were there said on a number of occasions, "We are not the
3 authorities," "We do not have any powers," "We don't know," and so on.
4 Did you hear that at the meeting?
5 A. Mr. President, I heard that at the meeting, but it is a fact that
6 they came as representatives. Perhaps they were elected and sent there by
7 the authorities to represent them there.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you, General.
9 You may continue, Mr. McCloskey.
10 JUDGE WALD: I have one question. A few days ago, and I'm sorry,
11 I can't find the exact point in the transcript at this point, but a few
12 days ago when we were talking about the meetings at Fontana, I think that
13 you testified that you were worried, or at least you had questions in your
14 mind when you left that meeting, how those people, Mr. Mandzic and the
15 woman, were going to get in touch with the army in order for the army to
16 make a decision on General Mladic's proposal. So when you're talking now
17 about your thinking that these people represented the Muslim authorities,
18 are you drawing a distinction between the civilians and the army? Because
19 you did testify a couple of days ago that even you had questions in your
20 mind how these two people, the woman and the man, were going to be able to
21 get in touch with the army. I'm confused about exactly how you felt about
22 them and their authority.
23 A. Your Honour, I abide by what I said, that I wondered in my mind
24 how these people would be able to get in touch with the commanders, the
25 commanding officers of the 28th Division, and ensure what General Mladic
1 was requesting.
2 JUDGE WALD: But then if that was true and you wondered about
3 that, how could you be assured that they were there, authorised to make
4 this, quote, you know, "agreement"?
5 A. I answered the question put to me by the President, whether they
6 came to the meeting to represent their people, and I said the fact that
7 they came, I continued to be convinced that they represented the
8 authorities, or somebody from the authorities had sent them to the
10 JUDGE WALD: Okay.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY:
12 Q. General Krstic, we've heard from Colonel Karremans that the people
13 in the enclaves were starving and they had no medicines and it was a very
14 difficult situation. Do you disagree with him on that?
15 A. I think that we analysed one document during the
16 examination-in-chief by the Defence, and we saw that in one of the
17 documents -- we saw from one of the documents that a large amount of
18 foodstuffs were brought to Srebrenica, a large amount of supplies, at one
19 point. I cannot contest what Colonel Karremans testified about; however,
20 I'm somewhat surprised by his statement, in light of the fact that we saw
21 from a document, a document that was issued by the BH army, the 28th
22 Division, what supplies had reached Srebrenica.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could go into private session briefly.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] For the same reason that was
25 invoked a moment ago?
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Let us go into private
3 session for a moment.
4 [Private session]
19 [Open session]
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could go to --
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, you may continue.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: -- Exhibit 709/A. Now, this is a 14 July [sic]
23 communication from the General Staff of the army of Republika Srpska from
24 General Mladic to the attention of the Drina Corps, Logistics Sector of
25 the General Staff of the army of Republika Srpska, copy to the 1st Zvornik
1 Infantry for their information.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think Mr. Visnjic said the
3 document was not dated 14 July but 14 September. Was that why you're on
4 your feet, Mr. Visnjic?
5 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, then. A correction
7 will be made.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Pardon me, Mr. President, 14 September.
9 Q. And is says, "This is to approve 5 tons of d-2 diesel fuel for
10 carrying out engineering works in the zone of responsibility of the Drina
11 Corps. The Logistics Sector of the General Staff of the army of Republika
12 Srpska shall deliver the fuel to the Standard barracks in Zvornik, to
13 Captain Milorad Trpic. Captain Trpic shall be responsible for the
14 accurate maintenance of the records on the number of engine work hours of
15 engineering machines and account accordingly for consumption of fuel."
16 Now, we've heard about a Captain Milorad Trpic. Do you know
17 Captain Milorad Trpic?
18 A. No.
19 Q. He is a security officer for the Zvornik Brigade, as we've learned
20 in this trial. Did you have notice of this large requisition of diesel
21 fuel signed by General Mladic?
22 A. Let me answer -- try and answer your question. During the trial
23 here, I heard from you that Trpic was with the Security Organ of the
24 Zvornik Brigade, but I must say I didn't know the man. I've never heard
25 of him.
1 This order which was sent by General Mladic and the way it was
2 distributed to the Logistics Sector of the General Staff and the Zvornik
3 barracks was something that I never saw. The Logistics Sector of the
4 General Staff is distributing this -- is sending this to the Standard
5 barracks in Zvornik. The fuel did not reach the Drina Corps Command, and
6 the Drina Corps Command had no obligations whatsoever as to the
7 distribution of this fuel.
8 Q. This document is directed to the Drina Corps Command, is it not?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What would the Zvornik Brigade need to do with 5 tons of diesel
11 fuel after September 14, 1995?
12 A. It doesn't say the Command of the Zvornik Brigade. The fuel was
13 sent to a person, to a certain individual. I don't know what that fuel
14 would be used for by that individual. I really don't know that.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. McCloskey, I'm sorry to
16 interrupt you.
17 General, in case of a shortage of fuel, do you have any idea as to
18 the significance of this amount of fuel, 5 tons of fuel? Is it a lot, a
19 little? Is it a huge amount of fuel? Bearing in mind the situation of
20 shortage of fuel, what does it mean?
21 A. Well, when it comes to the Drina Corps and every operative
22 formation of that level, this is not a very big amount. These are
23 actually -- this is a very little quantity which cannot satisfy the needs
24 of one brigade.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you, General.
1 Sorry for this interruption, Mr. McCloskey. Please continue.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. Is this enough fuel for bulldozers to work for 30 hours and for
4 trucks to move bodies 50 kilometres? Maybe 50 trucks, 50 kilometres back
5 and forth? It's enough for that, isn't it?
6 A. I don't know that, Mr. McCloskey. I don't know whether it's
7 enough or not. Those who did it would know about that.
8 Q. You think this was the fuel used for the reburials?
9 A. I don't know, Mr. McCloskey, but something is obviously wrong.
10 Q. What's wrong?
11 A. Well, something is wrong because it was not sent to the Command of
12 the Zvornik Brigade but to a particular individual, to a person who did
13 not have any command duty within the brigade, any special commanding role
14 within the brigade.
15 Q. And this would have been clear to anyone at the Drina Corps that
16 received this document on the 14th of September, 1995?
17 A. Maybe the Logistics Organ of the Drina Corps received this, but
18 they did not have any obligations regarding it.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, if we could go into private session
20 briefly on a point regarding the last exhibit.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Let us go into private
22 session for a moment.
23 [Private session]
13 page 6855 redacted – private session
13 page 6856 redacted – private session
13 page 6857 redacted – private session
13 page 6858 redacted – private session
13 page 6859 redacted – private session
13 page 6860 redacted – private session
13 page 6861 redacted – private session
24 [Open session]
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I think, Mr. McCloskey, that it
1 is time for a break. Do you agree?
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. But first, if I could tell
3 you that we have no further questions for General Krstic.
4 JUDGE WALD: Congratulations.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Oh, that is very good news. So
6 that means that you have completed your cross-examination. Is that truly
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President, it is so.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So it's a good idea to say so
10 now because, after the break, you could reconsider and have some more
12 So we've come to the end of the cross-examination by the
13 Prosecution, and we're now going to have a break, and we will resume with
14 a Defence witness. Is that correct, Mr. Petrusic and Mr. Visnjic? Do you
15 have a witness ready?
16 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. That is
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I see that General Krstic has
19 something to say. General?
20 THE ACCUSED: Your Honour, I do apologise, but I would like to
21 have all my documents with me, among others, my telephone book and my
22 other personal documents, my medical documents, including the death
23 certificate of my mother, and I would like my briefcase to be returned to
24 me. I don't know what else was in it.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, General Krstic. I think
1 that that will be resolved by your attorneys and the Registry and the
2 Prosecutor. The Chamber doesn't have much to do with those things, but I
3 think that, as soon as your attorneys have said what they have said, these
4 things will be resolved.
5 So we're now going to have a 15-minute break.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 --- Recess taken at 11.30 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.50 a.m.
9 [The accused entered court]
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Visnjic, I think that this
11 witness has protective measures that have been granted.
12 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I was just getting
13 ready to suggest protective measures, and the Trial Chamber, I hope, will
14 not mind. It's a question of protecting the witness' name.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] What are the reasons,
16 Mr. Visnjic?
17 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the witness came
18 voluntarily --
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. Not yet, please.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the witness has come
21 to the Tribunal of his own free will and he fears the consequences of the
22 statements that he will make, as he was a member of the army of Republika
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Cayley, I think it's your
1 MR. CAYLEY: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours, counsel.
2 Mr. Harmon is the one who makes these decisions. I suspect there won't be
3 a problem, but I should perhaps just confer with him for a moment.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 MR. CAYLEY: Yes. As I suspected, we simply leave the matter in
6 your hands and we certainly have no objection to the witness having
7 protective measures.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Visnjic, if I understand
9 correctly, you're asking a pseudonym to protect the identity of the
10 witness; is that right?
11 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. A pseudonym and
12 facial distortion, but not voice.
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Let me consult with
14 my colleagues.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Bearing in mind the reasons
17 given by the Defence, and in view of the non-objection on the part of the
18 Prosecutor, and also bearing in mind that this is an exceptional
19 situation, the Chamber decides to grant the Defence request so that the
20 witness will benefit from these protective measures.
21 So we are now in a position to hear the witness. We have to pull
22 down the blinds for a few minutes so that the witness can be brought in.
23 And how are you going to call the witness, Mr. Visnjic? What will
24 be the pseudonym?
25 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, he will be Defence
1 Witness A.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Cayley.
3 MR. CAYLEY: Excuse me, Mr. Visnjic. It's purely a procedural
4 matter in calling the witness Witness A. The Prosecutor also has a
5 Witness A, and I seem to remember in the last case in which I was involved
6 we simply went through the alphabet. When we got to the end of the
7 alphabet, we had Witness AA. I make this point for the purposes of final
8 trial brief. It may get somewhat confusing for those people who are
9 reading it if there are two Witness As, so I would respectfully suggest
10 that perhaps we carry on going through the alphabet rather than using the
11 same pseudonym for a Prosecution and Defence witness.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Or we could call them "DA."
13 MR. CAYLEY: I was making a suggestion to the Judges rather
14 than --
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I did not ask you for your
16 opinion, Ms. Krystal. Of course, it is always welcome, as you know. What
17 is your suggestion, Ms. Krystal, now?
18 THE REGISTRAR: I think we could begin with DA and continue like
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. I think that perhaps it is
21 a suggestion that we could accept, so as to add for all these witnesses
22 letter D, indicating Defence, and after that A; and if we should need to
23 go back to the beginning of the alphabet, then we could say DAA. Do you
24 agree with that? I see that Judge Wald does not agree.
25 JUDGE WALD: No, no. I only dreaded the notion that we'd get that
1 far to be in DAA; that's all.
2 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, a possible -- I realise you don't want
3 to spend a lot of time on this because you've got to get on with the
4 witnesses, but a possible suggestion, I think the Prosecutor finished with
5 Witness DD. We could actually then go to Witness EE, which would be the
6 first Defence witness. That's purely an alternative suggestion, or you
7 can move ahead with the suggestion of the registrar.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We have a very important matter
10 to decide upon, so we are deciding that we shall begin with DA as the
11 first witness. So the next one will be DB, and so on. And then we will
12 know immediately that it is a Defence witness rather than a Prosecution
13 witness. So this witness will have the pseudonym DA.
14 Is that all right for the registrar? Madam Registrar?
15 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, that is fine.
16 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I get up and immediately start causing
17 trouble. The only problem with this is there will be two Witness DDs
18 because we have a Witness DD. We've used the whole alphabet. But maybe
19 we can just miss out DD. There's going to be two Witness DDs.
20 JUDGE RIAD: I believe the suggestion of our registrar is a good
21 one, but we should have started it from the beginning. So perhaps if you
22 continue now with the suggestion EE, that will be perhaps would be more
24 MR. CAYLEY: Perhaps what I would suggest is if we move ahead with
25 what the president has already said DA, DB, but we miss out DD because the
1 Prosecutor has already used that particular -- we'll skip DD.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So it must be said that it is
3 not true that as soon as you get up, you create problems. No. You're
4 helping us a great deal. You are right. According to this solution, we
5 would begin with DE.
6 MR. CAYLEY: We would begin with DA, then we would move to DB,
7 then DC, and then we would miss out DD because we've already used that.
8 The Prosecutor has a witness who has the pseudonym DD.
9 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. So do we agree now?
10 We have a compromise solution. That's fine.
11 Wait a minute. There's something else that needs to be said. In
12 order to organise our work, I think we should go on until half past
13 twelve, and then we can have a shorter lunch break. Instead of one hour,
14 we would have three-quarters of an hour to optimise the use of time.
15 I see that some people are going to protest, but perhaps
16 exceptionally today we will work for half an hour now, until half past
17 twelve, and after that, we will have a break of three-quarters of an hour
18 instead of one hour to make the best of the time available.
19 Can we have the witness brought in now, Mr. Visnjic.
20 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness, can you hear me?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We are not going to use your
25 name, as a protective measure. You're now going to read the solemn
1 declaration given to you by the usher, please.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
3 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 WITNESS: WITNESS DA
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You may be seated.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] The registrar, I think, has
9 prepared a piece of paper with your name on it. So please tell us yes or
10 no; is that your name?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you very much
13 for coming, Witness. You are now going to answer questions which the
14 Defence counsel has for you, and after that, there will be questions from
15 the Prosecution and the Judges. But it is now Mr. Visnjic's turn.
16 Mr. Visnjic, your witness. And the usher can lift the blinds
18 Examined by Mr. Visnjic:
19 Q. Good morning, Witness DA.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. I will be asking questions, but since we speak the same language,
22 will you please make a pause between my questions and your answers so as
23 to facilitate the task of the interpreters to do their job correctly and
24 in time.
25 Witness DA, when did you become a member of the army of Republika
2 A. I became a member of the VRS at the beginning of the war
3 operations in the former Bosnia-Herzegovina or, to be more precise, in May
5 Q. Until mid-1994, were you the Assistant Commander for Morale,
6 Religious, and Legal Affairs in the 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade?
7 A. Yes. I held the position of Assistant Commander for Morale,
8 Religious and Legal affairs in the 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade.
9 Q. As of June 1994, were you transferred to a new duty in the Command
10 of the Drina Corps?
11 A. Yes. I was transferred to the Drina Corps Command, to the press
12 centre of this unit.
13 Q. So it was the press centre of the Drina Corps Command based in the
14 Command of the Drina Corps in Vlasenica, isn't that so?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Witness DA, while acting as the Assistant Commander for Morale,
17 Legal Affairs and Information in the 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade, could
18 you briefly explain to Their Honours what were your duties and obligations
19 as part of your duties?
20 A. My obligations were prescribed by the rules of service of the army
21 of Republika Srpska, and they primarily had to do with cooperation with
22 the civilian authorities, keeping the fighters in the brigade units
23 informed or providing information to them about the situation on the front
24 lines, about the political situation and the policies of the European
25 countries and the International Community towards us.
1 Q. One of your areas of activity had to do with cooperation with the
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Could you make a pause, please.
5 A. Yes. One of my duties, as evident from the very name of my
6 position, which was to be assistant for religious affairs.
7 Q. What did that imply?
8 A. It implied cooperation with clergymen, with the metropolitan of
9 Bosnia, who was at the time expelled from Sarajevo and who happened to be
10 residing in Zvornik, which was in the area of responsibility of our
12 Our cooperation was very good, excellent. The clergy would come
13 to our festivities held on the occasion of holidays. Occasionally, they
14 would visit the combatants on the front lines. This was done by the
15 district bishops in the area of responsibility of the brigade as well as
16 other clergymen, the Dabro Bosanski metropolitan Nikolaj; the
17 Zvornik-Tuzla metropolitan, Bishop Vasilije; and the metropolitan of
19 Q. Tell me, within the framework of your duties related to legal
20 affairs, what did they consist of?
21 A. I can tell you that, in that area, I had the least work to do. We
22 took measures against fighters who arbitrarily abandoned their units.
23 Disciplinary measures were pronounced against them, and the only more
24 serious measure or proceeding was conducted in relation to Major Suka,
25 who, for reasons of negligence or for some other reasons, I don't know, at
1 the beginning of June 1992, led the units of the Palija Battalion into the
2 Redjani Gorge close to Zepa, in the environs of Zepa, where about 60 of
3 our fighters were killed. This act, in the legal sense or, rather, these
4 proceedings have not been terminated to this day.
5 Q. Apart from the duties that are evident from the name of the
6 position you held, did you have any other assignments outside the
7 framework of your obligations as prescribed by the rules and regulations?
8 A. I occasionally had contact with representatives of UNPROFOR units,
9 and particularly when convoys were passing for the safe areas of Gorazde,
10 Srebrenica, and Zepa. Most frequently, I would receive orders in such
11 cases from General Gvero, occasionally from General Milovanovic, to make
12 sure that the convoy would pass safely through our area of
13 responsibility. They probably engaged me because of my knowledge of
14 foreign languages, because I am -- I can speak almost all the Slav
15 languages and Italian. On the whole, we cooperated well with those
16 people. And I would have nothing more to add.
17 Q. This particular duty was carried out by yourself pursuant to the
18 orders which were coming from the Main Staff?
19 A. What are you referring to?
20 Q. Well, I'm referring to your duties relevant to the passages of
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Independently of your function that you have within the brigade.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In 1994, did you take up a new duty within the command of the
1 Drina Corps, and what duties did you take up when you arrived in the
2 command of the Drina Corps?
3 A. I was involved exclusively with the information affairs; more
4 precisely, I continued with the kind of work that I was doing at the level
5 of the brigade. Because, you see, you must understand that Republika
6 Srpska, at the beginning of the war, was left without media, which was a
7 major shortcoming when it came to spreading the truth about the struggle
8 of our people, about our just struggle of our people. So in the course of
9 those war years, we had to establish a TV station, a Serbian radio. We
10 had to start from scratch and we had to set up also local radio stations
11 in order to -- to the extent it was possible -- to fill the vacuum which
12 had been caused in the area of media in general.
13 Q. What agencies did you cooperate with at that time?
14 A. Since I used to work as a journalist before the war, I had
15 friends, I had colleagues, people I used to work with, everywhere
16 throughout the former Yugoslavia. However, our cooperation was mainly
17 focused on the Serbian TV station at Pale; the Serb radio also located at
18 Pale; the Radio Romanija, located at Sokolac; Radio Vlasenica; Radio
19 Milici; Radio Sekovici; Radio Zvornik; Radio Banja Luka; Radio Belgrade;
20 Belgrade Television --
21 Q. I'm sorry. I have to interrupt you. Were there any foreign
22 agencies amongst them?
23 A. Yes. The major TV stations, such as the CNN, CBS, Reuters and
24 others, did show interest for reporting from our parts, and we had an
25 excellent cooperation with them. We also had cooperation with the Greek
1 television, in particular with the studio in Thessaloniki, with the third
2 channel of the French television, and all of the journalists which were
3 allowed to report from our area of responsibility, that is, those who were
4 accredited to report from there.
5 Q. As part of your duties as an information officer, did you have any
6 knowledge about the situation in protected areas, bearing in mind the fact
7 that all three protected zones were within the area of responsibility of
8 the Drina Corps, either partially or entirely?
9 A. Our information activities were going along several lines, first
10 of all towards our units, our troops, and our people; and on the other
11 hand, we had activities towards protected areas. As regards the knowledge
12 about the situation in protected areas, such knowledge could be obtained
13 through intelligence data and also through contacts with the population,
14 with those residents who wanted to leave the protected areas at any cost.
15 We also used the media of the other side, of course pointing to the false
16 information that they were attempting to spread. We always made sure that
17 we reported in an objective manner, when it comes both to our domestic
18 audience and to the International Community.
19 Q. Did you have any information, any knowledge, about the activities
20 of the BiH army from the protected areas?
21 A. We did have knowledge about their activities, but we certainly
22 felt their activities in a military sense, because they engaged in
23 constant fire; they opened fire constantly along the separation line, the
24 separation line which was the boundary of the so-called protected areas.
25 But one must say that those areas were never really protected ones; that
1 is, the resolutions, the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, were
2 never honoured in that respect, because they were actually never disarmed,
3 which was evidenced from the fact that they opened fire constantly towards
4 our combat lines and towards the villages which were close to those lines.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone, please.
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Were there any troop movements between the safe areas of
8 Srebrenica and Zepa, and also between the safe areas and the territory
9 which was under the control of the BH army?
10 A. See, one usually talks about the safe areas of Srebrenica and
11 Zepa, but those two safe areas were actually never separated. Throughout
12 the war, we never managed to establish a combat line between those two
13 safe areas, so that the Muslim units from Srebrenica and Zepa
14 communicated, that is, engaged in various movements from Zepa to
15 Srebrenica and vice versa.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Cayley.
17 MR. CAYLEY: My apologies to Mr. Visnjic for interrupting, but for
18 about the last two or three pages there haven't been any dates. I just
19 wondered if perhaps the witness could clarify the time periods that he's
20 talking about when he's addressing these various subjects. Excuse me.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] You are right, Mr. Cayley.
22 Mr. Visnjic, all this information that we have just heard from the
23 witness should be somehow linked with places and dates. Otherwise, we
24 will get lost in the story. I hope that you have understood the objection
25 and the comment made by Mr. Cayley. So you should perhaps bear that in
1 mind while conducting your examination. We need to have more precise
2 information, please.
3 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Witness DA, could you give a more precise explanation to the Court
5 as to the time period that you were referring to.
6 A. I'm referring to the period of time from the beginning of war
7 operations until the proclamation of so-called safe areas. Practically
8 speaking, until the end of the war in the former Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 As I have already indicated, throughout that time, the units
10 communicated between these two enclaves.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Mr. Visnjic, to
12 interrupt you once again. [In English] When is the beginning? "Until the
13 proclamation of so-called safe areas." So it's necessary to have dates,
15 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Witness DA, let me ask you a more specific question. In June
17 1994, you took up your duty with the Drina Corps Command.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And as part of that duty, you had insight into the information
20 that reached the Command of the Drina Corps. On the basis of such
21 information, that is, information that you were able to receive in that
22 time beginning from June 1994 until July 1995, what you have previously
23 described to us as activities of the BH army, can that be linked to that
24 period of time, the period of time that I have just indicated? Can it be
25 placed in that context?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Could you tell the Judges in some detail, or perhaps if you can
3 give us an example of the activities of the BH army outside the territory
4 of safe areas as they have provided for in the resolution issued in 1993.
5 A. Yes. I can provide you with more specific information.
6 In the course of 1993 and 1994, the movements of the BH army
7 troops and passages of its members through our territory were obvious. In
8 particular, in wintertime we were able to observe such passages thanks to
9 the traces that were left in the snow, because the area in question is a
10 mountainous area which gets a lot of snow in winter.
11 And in December and January and in February, both in 1993 and
12 1994, I personally had an opportunity to see footprints that were left in
13 the snow in the area between Han Pijesak via Han Pogled, the village of
14 Riocica towards Kladanj. It was a well-trodden path which indicated the
15 way, the route that they used to take.
16 Similar movements at the same period of time could be observed
17 also along the axis from Gorazde to Sarajevo where Muslims used the
18 so-called Allah route. The area I'm referring to is the area which was
19 left as a link between Gorazde and Sarajevo after the Dayton Accords.
20 Q. The movements you're talking about, were they movements of the
21 civilian population or military units?
22 A. The movements in question were both of the civilian population and
23 of military units.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Visnjic, this is
25 probably a convenient time for our lunch break, which will be 45 minutes
1 today. So we will come back at quarter past one.
2 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 --- On resuming at 1.15 p.m.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Visnjic, you may continue,
3 so Mr. McCloskey can have a rest.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Witness DA, we were speaking about the movement of Muslim troops
8 and civilians between the two enclaves in the period 1994/1995. Can you
9 explain to Their Honours how was it possible for the Serb forces who
10 surrounded the enclaves were not in a position to prevent this movement
11 between enclaves and also between the enclaves and the territory held by
12 the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 A. Yes. I'm not a professional soldier; I'm a linguist. But I do
14 know that much, that units of the corps were handicapped throughout the
15 war because of these enclaves, that the bulk of our forces had to be
16 engaged around the safe areas, on the one hand, and on the other, at the
17 front, towards the lines of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, so that, for
18 instance, for much of the war, we didn't have firm links between the units
19 on the right flank, that is, units of the 2nd Motorised Romanija Brigade
20 and units of the Vlasenica Brigade. So that the area from the Slivanja
21 Hill, Slivan Brdo, to I think -- I can't remember the name. Spiljanska
22 Stijena and further on from there was not covered. That area was not
23 under control, just as the area between the protected areas of Zepa and
24 Srebrenica was not covered, because we relied more on the configuration of
25 the land, which is not really readily accessible for movement. And
1 anyway, as I said, we didn't have sufficient forces to cover all that.
2 Q. When units of the BH army moved between these two enclaves and
3 towards the territory controlled by the BH army, armed incidents
4 occurred. What was the customary response when information was received
5 that an armed group appeared deep behind the lines of the Drina Corps?
6 A. Well, you see, we were informed most frequently about those
7 movements by the local population, and by the time our intervention units
8 reached the area, they would have already passed through. I'm thinking
9 primarily of the axis towards Kladanj and Tuzla. And as for the area
10 between the two enclaves, I can say without any hesitation that there was
11 constant communication between those two safe areas by them.
12 Q. Do you know anything about the Zeleni Jadar operation at the
13 beginning of June 1995?
14 A. I don't know about the other operation, because at the beginning
15 of June, by order of the Superior Command, a mixed unit was formed; to be
16 more precise, a unit composed of elements of the Zvornik Brigade, the
17 Bratunac Brigade, the Vlasenica Brigade, and a part of the Milici
18 Brigade. We called this unit the 5th Podrinje Brigade. That was its full
19 name. And its task was to go to the region of the Treskavica Mountain and
20 the town of Trnovo, where intensive battles were going on, and our task
21 was to reach certain defence lines, that is, to fill in with our forces an
22 empty space at the contact between Sarajevo-Romanija Corps and the
23 Herzegovina Corps on the other side, so between those corps.
24 I was appointed Assistant for Morale, Religious and Legal Affairs
25 in this newly-formed unit, so that in the period you have mentioned, I was
1 not aware of the operation that you mentioned. I don't remember its
2 name. Zeleni Jadar. Yes, Zeleni Jadar.
3 Q. Who was the commander of the unit with which you went to the
4 Sarajevo-Romanija theatre?
5 A. The commander was Colonel Veletic.
6 Q. Was this a permanent or a temporary unit?
7 A. It was a provisional, a temporary unit. We stayed in the area I
8 have described for about two months.
9 Q. Are you aware of the way in which the forces were formed that took
10 part in the operation Krivaja 95 in relation to Srebrenica?
11 A. As I was saying, I was not in the Corps Command at the time, and I
12 do not know about the preparations for that operation. It seems to me
13 that this was done spontaneously and without any serious military
14 preparations, as far as I know.
15 Q. When did you learn about this operation?
16 A. It's interesting that I learnt once the operation started, and it
17 is also interesting that the first I heard of it was from the Muslim media
18 reports that we were monitoring in the area of Sarajevo. However, to tell
19 you the truth, I believe that this was another propaganda ploy, because,
20 actually, we thought that some kind of action was being taken to finally
21 separate Zepa and Srebrenica and to narrow down the areas so as to be able
22 to control them more easily.
23 Q. At the time, did you communicate with the Drina Corps Command or,
24 rather, did you receive any information from them about the beginning of
25 the operation for Srebrenica or about its progress?
1 A. No. We did not receive any such information from the Corps
2 Command because we were a long way away. Our communication with the
3 command was made extremely difficult because of the combat operations that
4 were ongoing in the broader area of Trnovo, so that we communicated via
5 the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, and it was very hard to establish
6 communication in that way.
7 Anyway, our communications were limited to the dispatch of regular
8 combat reports, and we were suffering serious casualties and requiring
9 materiel and equipment and other supplies.
10 Q. When did you come to the territory that was within the area of
11 responsibility of the Drina Corps? I'm referring to the period of the
12 beginning of July 1995, after the Srebrenica operation had already begun.
13 A. I was there only twice for brief periods. I mean, I would come
14 from Treskavica or, rather, Trnovo, my assignment being to intervene with
15 the Corps Commander General Zivanovic so that he should find a way for us
16 to fill in our units with new personnel because we had very great losses
17 ever since our arrival in the Trnovo area and throughout the time we spent
18 in that area. We were exposed to very severe fire from the Muslim forces
19 and the rapid deployment forces of the French battalion on Mount Igman.
20 The morale in the unit of which I was a part at the time was
21 seriously undermined. Perhaps for the first time during the war that I
22 was confronted with such a situation in the units because of these high
23 casualties, and that was the reason for me to go on the 12th of July, in
24 the evening, to the Corps Command.
25 Q. Who did you find at the Corps Command in the evening of the
1 12th of July?
2 A. The duty operations officer was Colonel Jocic. I briefly met with
3 Commander Zivanovic, very briefly. Who else was there? I saw Major
4 Pajic, several soldiers from the communications centre, and two of my
5 associates from the press centre. I can't remember now whether there was
6 anyone else that I saw then.
7 Q. Before we go back to your brief encounter with the Corps Commander
8 General Zivanovic, did your associates from the press centre inform you of
9 the situation in the press centre, the news, the current situation, and so
10 on, the things that were important at the time?
11 A. Since I was in a kind of vacuum as far as information was
12 concerned, I asked my colleagues what was going on. They didn't know
13 much. They couldn't tell me much because all the information for the
14 public at large at that time went through the press centre of the Main
15 Staff of the army of Republika Srpska. They only told me that during the
16 day they had forwarded an appeal or a call, whatever you like to call it,
17 to the local radio stations, asking companies, private haulers, to send
18 their vehicles to Srebrenica for the transportation of the population
19 towards Kladanj and Tuzla. That is what I learnt at that time.
20 Q. You said that you also spoke to the Corps Commander, General
21 Zivanovic. What did you speak to him about?
22 A. I briefed the commander on the situation in the territory I had
23 come from. He did not make any promises about reinforcements, because he
24 said he was short of forces, but he insisted that I go back immediately
25 and that all of us who were in this mini command of the unit should be
1 constantly with the fighters, that we should invest all the authority we
2 could command to maintain the required level of combat readiness and
3 morale, which, of course, we did upon our return. We were constantly with
4 the fighting men on the ground.
5 Q. This was on the 12th, in the evening, was it not?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Could you tell the Trial Chamber where you were on the 13th of
9 A. I spent the night between the 12th and the 13th in the corps. I
10 picked up some supplies that I needed to take with me for the command and
11 the fighters, and in the morning of the 13th, sometime after breakfast or
12 around breakfast time, I met with General Krstic, who just briefly asked
13 me what was new. I briefed him, as I had the Corps Commander, and I
14 received the same instructions from him as I had from General Zivanovic.
15 But General Krstic also said that it would be a good thing if I could
16 prepare some gifts, primarily cigarettes, for our wounded combatants who
17 were undergoing treatment in the hospital of the Main Staff of the VRS at
18 Sokolac, and that we should go and visit them together, as we had always
20 I went to Sokolac a little before General Krstic, and we met at
21 the Romanija Hotel at Sokolac around 11.30. From there, we went on to the
22 Main Staff hospital. We spoke to the doctors and together visited our
23 wounded soldiers.
24 Q. When you say "the Main Staff hospital," does that mean the Drina
25 Corps did not have its own hospital?
1 A. No. In the area of responsibility of the Drina Corps, there were
2 three medical institutions where our fighters were treated, and that was
3 the hospital of the Main Staff in Sokolac that was established at the
4 beginning of the war, the hospital in Milici, and the hospital in
5 Zvornik. We did not have a corps hospital.
6 Q. In the Main Staff hospital, in addition to the wounded from the
7 Drina Corps, there were wounded from other units, weren't there; is that
9 A. Yes. You have just reminded me. This hospital of the Main Staff
10 played a very important role in the course of the war. The fighters from
11 the whole territory of the eastern part of Republika Srpska were treated
12 there, also civilians. Even Muslims were treated there, and in quite
13 large numbers.
14 Q. When you say "the wounded," how many of them were there at the
15 time, if you can remember?
16 A. You mean our wounded?
17 Q. I mean the wounded that you visited, if you can remember.
18 A. Well, you see, General Krstic and I, while we were together in the
19 brigade, whenever we had an opportunity to do so, we would visit the
20 wounded soldiers, and we never made any distinction as to whether he
21 belonged to our units or units of the Sarajevo-Romanija or Herzegovina
22 Corps. We would express encouragement to all of them, give them all the
23 same gifts. And just then, on the 13th, there were about a hundred of
24 them, I'm sure, in all the wards of the hospital.
25 Q. How long did this visit of yours to the hospital last?
1 A. The visit was completed by 1500 hours or thereabouts. We also
2 managed to speak to the surgeons in the meantime. And upon the General's
3 proposal, we called on my mother who lives in a village on the way to
4 Han Pijesak. She lived alone, so we went to see her. She made us some
5 lunch and we ate there. We stayed there for about an hour, approximately,
6 an hour and a half.
7 From there, we went to Han Pijesak, that is, we went to the
8 village of Kusace where we visited General Krstic's in-laws at the parents
9 of his wife. This is where we had coffee. I think I had a glass of plum
10 brandy. I don't know whether the General did.
11 From there -- it was already getting late in the afternoon -- we
12 went to Krivaca, which is situated above Zepa, and the General told me
13 that he had established a forward command post there. He also said that
14 he would spend a few days there and that, from there, we will be able to
15 have contact, that is, he would be able to have contact with me from there
16 once I returned to Treskavica.
17 Q. Who did you find at the Krivaca forward command post and what did
18 it look like? Could you describe it for the Chamber? What is actually a
19 forward command post?
20 A. This forward command post would be established by way of a simple
21 tent, and this is what I saw there. We had a cook there. I forgot the
22 name of that woman. Amovic was also there, who was Commander of the Staff
23 Command, a few soldiers. Whether Vicic, Colonel Vicic was there, I don't
24 know. I saw him somewhere. I don't know if it was there or somewhere
25 else, I can't remember, but I saw him sometime during the day. Maybe I
1 saw him there.
2 Q. How long did you stay there?
3 A. For a very short period of time. Krstic rushed me, telling me to
4 go back, and once again he told me to spend time with the soldiers, to try
5 and boost their morale, and once conditions are created, he said that he
6 would come and that a rotation would take place.
7 Q. Where did you go after that?
8 A. I went to Vlasenica. Actually, I first went to Han Pijesak to get
9 some cigarettes for the fighters. They smoked so much. I wanted to take
10 some cigarettes to them, to Trnovo. After that, I went to Vlasenica, took
11 some hygiene supplies and some parcels that the parents of the combatants
12 were sending them. I put it all in a Yugo vehicle which belonged to the
13 press centre and went to Trnovo.
14 Q. General Krstic remained at the Krivaca forward command post?
15 A. Yes, that is correct. We didn't see each other again.
16 Q. And you don't know the whereabouts of General Krstic in the days
17 that followed?
18 A. No. I don't know. We couldn't communicate. I was able to
19 communicate with the corps but I couldn't reach him. We didn't even speak
20 on the telephone. It was not possible at the time.
21 Q. Could you tell the Chamber something about General Zivanovic and
22 his stay -- and his visit to the Drina Corps? Did you have any contact
23 with him?
24 A. Well, we were sending him combat reports on a regular basis, and
25 we also received his instructions, the instructions that he had already
1 once given. So he was repeating them. He said that we should try and
2 stick it out, to be with the soldiers as much as possible, to serve as an
3 example to them, because the commander of the corps was aware of our
4 situation. He was aware of the serious losses that we had. But the
5 contacts with him were not very frequent.
6 Q. Could you tell us how many days after your stay there this was?
7 A. You mean the contacts with General Zivanovic?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. I think that we had contact until the 20th, as far as I can
10 remember. It was actually him. He would call the communications centre
11 at the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps and then his message would be forwarded to
12 us. So that was the kind of contact that we had with him. It continued
13 perhaps after the 20th. I don't know. I had a diary throughout that
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Visnjic, I must admit that I
16 feel somewhat lost in this testimony. The witness said that he had stayed
17 two months or thereabouts at Trnovo. At least two times he came to the
18 corps. Once it was on the 12th of July, and he described to us the day of
19 the 12th of July and the 13th of July, but I don't know -- I still don't
20 know anything about his second visit. Do you plan to cover that? Oh,
21 yes. I'm sorry.
22 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I was just about to
23 ask the witness.
24 Q. When was your -- when did your second visit take place?
25 A. It took place sometime around the 23rd or 24th of July, but it was
1 on a private basis. I went there for family reasons, and again I stayed
2 two days.
3 Q. Where exactly did you go?
4 A. I went to the press centre, I went to see my mother. It was all
5 in a rush.
6 Q. Thank you. Witness DA, you have known General Krstic for quite a
8 A. Yes. I know General Krstic from our secondary school days. We
9 used to be school colleagues. We went to the grammar school together and
10 we graduated together. We finished at the same time. Once we left high
11 school, Krstic went to the military academy and I studied languages, but
12 we would see each other from time to time. And then for quite some time,
13 for several years, we didn't see each other, up until the beginning of the
14 war, and Fate wanted us to meet again in the same unit.
15 Q. Could you tell something about General Krstic as an officer, since
16 you spent quite some time in his vicinity during the war?
17 A. It is very difficult to me to separate the personality of General
18 Krstic as a man and as an officer, because, Your Honours, you must
19 understand: We went to school together; we were colleagues in the grammar
20 school. Krstic has always been a great man, in my eyes, and he is also an
21 honourable officer for me.
22 Q. While he was the brigade commander, you used to tour the lines
23 that were held by your fighters together?
24 A. Yes. It happened very often, and I was always more than willing
25 to do that. Now you just reminded me of Krstic's arrival in the VRS. To
1 be quite frank, I was really glad to learn that he had arrived, because I
2 knew, first of all, what his qualities as a man were. But I must say
3 that, at the beginning of the war, our army was not yet organised
4 properly. However, with the arrival of Krstic in the 2nd Romanija
5 Motorised Brigade, thanks to his reputation, thanks to his dedication and
6 his tireless work, this unit became a powerful military community. You
7 said that we used to tour our units together, and it is true; I was always
8 quite impressed by the way soldiers were accepting General Krstic, who at
9 that time was a lieutenant colonel.
10 As time went by, he was more and more respected and liked, not
11 only by the members of the VRS, by the members of our brigade, but also by
12 the civilians, by the people. I remember just now how much effort he made
13 in order to ensure transport for the displaced population from Olovo and
14 how he managed to organise a bus line for those unfortunate people to be
15 able to reach Sokolac, and it was all in the midst of war, to reach
16 Sokolac to buy the basic supplies that they needed or to get medical help
17 that they didn't have as refugees. There are many other examples of his
18 correct attitude, not only towards the soldiers but also towards the
20 Q. During our conversation yesterday, when we were discussing your
21 testimony here, you told me about something that happened in the autumn of
22 1993 involving Croatian soldiers. Could you briefly describe that event
23 to the Chamber.
24 A. The area of responsibility of the brigade was, during a certain
25 period of time, very large, geographically speaking, so that our
1 units -- some of our units were deployed in the vicinity of Vares. I
2 believe that it was in the territory of the villages of Okruglice and
4 Q. The municipality of Vares was under the control of the BH army and
5 the Croatian Defence Council at the time?
6 A. The majority of the population in Vares in the former
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina was Croat, and for quite some time the Croats had the
8 upper hand in that town. However, when the conflict broke out, I mean the
9 armed conflict between the HVO and the BH army, the entire Croat community
10 from Vares left the town and fled to our territory, that is, to the
11 villages that I have just mentioned, where our soldiers took them in and
12 offered them protection.
13 There were several thousands of Croats there, but, Your Honours,
14 not only civilians, women and children, but also HVO soldiers. Many of
15 them had been disarmed. However, there was still a significant number of
16 them who still had weapons.
17 Q. When you say that they had been disarmed, who had disarmed them?
18 A. Members of the BH army.
19 General Krstic engaged almost the complete -- all the members of
20 the brigade and the staff, and he made sure that we assembled all in that
21 area and offer help to those unfortunate people, and he personally spent
22 days and hours trying to help them. All those who managed to reach our
23 combat lines survived, were taken care of, were offered adequate medical
24 help. And when they arrived in Sokolac, upon their wish, they were
25 transported by us either to Yugoslavia or to the Western Bosnia via Duvno
1 and Livno from where some of them eventually reached Kiseljak.
2 Not long ago, I got a postcard from some people, greetings from
3 some people in Australia who were there, greetings for both myself and
4 General Krstic.
5 Q. The period of time you're referring to, the autumn of 1993. In
6 that period of time, HVO had a contact line, a confrontation line, with
7 the VRS in several areas?
8 A. In the area of responsibility of our corps, we didn't have any
9 major conflicts with them, as far as I know.
10 Q. But that was the case in Posavina and Herzegovina?
11 A. Yes, but that was very far from our area of responsibility, and I
12 don't know much about it except what I could read in the papers.
13 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, this may be a
14 convenient time for a break.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. I believe we should have a
16 break at this point because we are working according to the same schedule
17 as we did with General Krstic. So we will have a 15-minute break at this
19 --- Recess taken at 2.05 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 2.17 p.m.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Visnjic. You may
22 continue, please.
23 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Witness DA, a moment ago, you told Their Honours that the hospital
25 of the Main Staff in Sokolac treated, in addition to the wounded, the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts.
1 civilian population. Tell me, in the area of responsibility of the
2 2nd Romanija Brigade for the duration of the war, which means from 1992
3 until the end of the war, were there localities, villages, settlements
4 inhabited exclusively by Muslims? Could you tell Their Honours very
5 briefly some data about that?
6 A. At the very beginning of the war, that is, during the summer of
7 1992, in agreement with the local authorities, the army of Republika
8 Srpska offered the Muslims that they should stay and continue living in
9 their villages, in their own homes, guaranteeing them full security and
10 normal living conditions on condition that they return the weapons. Many
11 accepted this. Thus, for instance, the inhabitants of the villages of
12 Vrhbarje and Burati stayed on in the area throughout the war. So did some
13 other villages.
14 Personally, I would be given orders by General Krstic to visit
15 those people, to call on them to try, in agreement with the authorities --
16 and those were my duties according to establishment -- to provide them
17 with health care and essential living needs. I'm thinking of food and
18 everything else. We did so on a continuous basis. And anyway, this was
19 registered by numerous TV crews. They recorded our encounters with those
21 Sometimes I was even criticised by some people when I went to
22 visit those villagers. Why did I exchange such cordial greetings with
23 them, hugging them and so on? But all this was just normal. It was
25 Those Muslims sent gifts to General Krstic in the form of fruit;
1 plums, apples, pears. So there was something that stood out as good among
2 the general horror.
3 Q. Thank you, Witness DA.
4 MR. VISNJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
5 questions for this witness.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Visnjic.
7 Witness DA, you will now answer questions put to you by
8 Mr. Cayley.
9 Mr. Cayley, your witness.
10 MR. CAYLEY: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours. Thank
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Cayley:
13 Q. Good afternoon, Witness DA. I'd just like to talk a little bit
14 about your personal background. When did you do your military service
15 with the JNA?
16 A. It was a long time ago. In 1975 to 1976.
17 Q. And am I right in saying that, in 1992, you were mobilised, you
18 volunteered to serve in the Bosnian Serb army?
19 A. I was mobilised like all other able-bodied men.
20 Q. And I think you've already said in your evidence that your
21 position, your first position, was that of Deputy Commander for Morale,
22 Legal, and Religious Affairs with the 2nd Romanija Brigade; is that
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And that is where you first encountered General Krstic; is that
1 right? I realise you went to school with him when you were a boy, but in
2 the VRS, that's when you first encountered him?
3 A. Yes, after many years.
4 MR. CAYLEY: If I could have an exhibit, please, Exhibit 804.
5 Q. Now, Witness, as you know, the VRS relied heavily on JNA
6 regulations and rules in order to govern how military staff worked, and
7 what I want to show you, very briefly, is the instructions. I think these
8 are the instructions to the 4th Corps of the JNA on carrying out priority
9 assignments in peacetime and wartime. And you can take a look at that
10 document. Do you have the B/C/S -- do you have the Serbian version in
11 front of you?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, this document, General Krstic has already acknowledged, is a
14 document that was used in the VRS, and I want to turn specifically to page
15 16, page 16 of the Serbian version, page 21 of the English version, which
16 sets out the regulations on the Body for Moral Guidance and Legal Affairs
17 in the corps. Now, with that explanation, what was the date that you
18 moved from the 2nd Romanija Corps to the Body for Moral Guidance and Legal
19 Affairs of the Drina Corps?
20 A. I don't remember the exact date.
21 Q. I think, if I can refresh your memory, you said that you moved in
22 June of 1994; isn't that right? June or July of 1994 you moved --
23 A. Yes. Yes. I don't know the exact date. It's written down in the
24 military documents, but I didn't think it was important for me to remember
1 Q. Now, just looking at paragraph 3, you see it sets out the tasks
2 for the Body for Moral Guidance and Legal Affairs. And if you go to -- I
3 think it's line 5 in the Serb version, it says that "The Body's most
4 important tasks are to monitor, analyse, plan, and organise moral
5 education in subordinate units." Do you see that?
6 A. On page 16?
7 Q. That's correct.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you explain to the Judges what that involved? You were an
10 officer in the Body for Moral Guidance and Legal Affairs. What did you do
11 to implement that regulation, as a member of the staff?
12 A. As a member of the brigade command, I visited very frequently the
13 units in the field; I monitored the situation with respect to morale; I
14 spoke to the soldiers; I listened to all their requests, proposals; and
15 did my best to resolve all the problems within my jurisdiction, if it was
16 possible to do so. Of course, it was not always possible to resolve all
17 of them.
18 Q. And the next regulation which you can see, which states: "To take
19 measures to protect commands and units from psychological propaganda
20 activities by the enemy." Can you say what you did at both corps and
21 brigade level in order to implement that regulation on your work?
22 A. We would convey to the fighting men in both units the truth, on
23 the one hand, and what was not true, on the other, and which had been
24 broadcast to the public by the other side. There were certain
25 ill-intentioned reports in the foreign press. There were also malicious
1 reports on the radio and on television. And anyway, as a journalist, I
2 must say that sometimes I was critical of my colleagues who were not well
3 informed and properly trained, and sometimes out of the best intentions
4 they made major blunders, not knowing the situation properly and
5 adequately. So sometimes we had to correct those errors, as far as it was
6 possible to do that, by means of the radio, television, and talking to the
7 soldiers, drawing their attention to the truth.
8 You must understand that this was a period of very lively
9 diplomatic activities on the part of both President Karadzic and all the
10 political bodies that were in power at the time. There were the
11 conferences in Lisbon, Geneva, London. All these different events needed
12 to be described to each individual soldier in simple terms so that even
13 those who didn't have adequate education would be able to understand.
14 Q. Do you recall the ill-intentioned reports or malicious reports in
15 foreign press radio and television? Can you give the Judges any examples
16 of that?
17 A. My diary would mean a lot to me now. I can't remember just now,
18 just this minute, but some of those reports were carried by our own media,
19 not to mention what we had access to from the Muslim media, which we were
20 able to monitor in view of the closeness of their transmitters, so that we
21 could follow their programmes.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues ...] I'm sorry.
23 A. I'm sorry. There were examples when the achievements of our units
24 were underrated and the failures of the opposing side glorified. There
25 were even some really funny situations, and sometimes they could turn
2 Q. Did you regard the Muslim media during the war as essentially
3 biased and untruthful?
4 A. Of course. I remember before the combat operations began, during
5 talks between party leaders, one of the demands was for the second
6 programme of Sarajevo television at the time to be given to the Serbs for
7 their use. However, that was never accepted. So you can imagine, and I
8 said that moment ago, what a handicap that was for us in our efforts to
9 present the truth and to fight for justice in the world.
10 Q. Whereas you, as a Serb officer, did your utmost to present a true
11 picture of Serb army activities, Bosnian Serb army activities to the
13 A. I am, in the first place, a language expert and less an officer.
14 I did write telling the truth. For me the truth was above all else. And
15 I managed to do so to the extent to which circumstances allowed, and for
16 that I am deeply grateful as a person and as a journalist to my colleagues
17 from the third channel of French television, my colleagues from Greek TV
18 studios, and some others for their sincerity with which they informed
19 world public opinion, and particularly our colleagues from Japan, who also
20 frequently reported from our areas.
21 Q. If, Witness, we could go back to the document. I want to take you
22 to the next task that you had, which was to prepare, organise, and carry
23 out psychological propaganda activities against enemy units. Can you
24 explain to the Judges how you carried out psychological propaganda
25 activities against enemy units?
1 A. We responded in equal measure, if we could, the same way the enemy
2 treated us.
3 Q. Could you be more specific and explain to the Judges some of the
4 measures that you took in order to, as it were, carry out this
5 psychological propaganda on Bosniak units, Bosnian Muslim units?
6 A. I said, and I keep repeating, that our handicap was the absence of
7 adequate technical resources for all this. The Serb radio television at
8 Pale was formed in a makeshift studio. There were only three good-quality
9 reporters who came and were objectively qualified for the job, whereas the
10 others were young men and women who were learning the trade of journalism
11 in those difficult times.
12 Q. Witness, I'm sorry. I've got to interrupt you. I think you may
13 have misunderstood my question. What I want to know is the actual --
14 nothing -- I don't need to know about the technical shortages, material
16 Can you just explain to the Judges the measures you in the Bosnian
17 Serb army would take to carry out propaganda activities against enemy
19 A. I'll give you a concrete example. If, for instance, our lines
20 would be moved forward at the expense of the enemy, on the enemy's side,
21 the information media would deny that, and we would try, with the help of
22 images and words, to show that that was not true, that we had the
24 Q. And naturally, if, for example, your -- I just need to read the
25 transcript for a second.
1 A. Okay.
2 Q. If, for example, the Bosnian Muslim army made inroads into Bosnian
3 Serb army lines, naturally, you reported to the Bosnian Serb people that
4 the Bosnian Muslim army had made successful advances on Bosnian Serb
5 positions? Do you understand my question?
6 A. I do. You see, a war is a war. Sometimes we acknowledged and we
7 sometimes didn't, fearing that this could affect combat morale, which is
8 only logical.
9 Q. So in essence, you did exactly the same thing as the Bosnian
10 Muslims. You didn't always acknowledge when you had suffered defeats?
11 A. More often than they did.
12 Q. Now, you've said in the course of your work that you had little or
13 nothing, I think, to do with legal matters; is that correct?
14 A. Yes. Very little, relatively speaking.
15 Q. Can you recall within the corps staff, in the Drina Corps staff,
16 who was responsible for legal matters?
17 A. The assistant for moral and religious affairs.
18 Q. Would that be Lieutenant Colonel Cerovic?
19 A. Yes, while he was with the corps. But Mr. Cerovic was a sick man,
20 so he would be on leave very often, that is, from time to time.
21 Q. Now, Colonel Cerovic, when you were in the Drina Corps, was your
22 immediate superior within the staff branch of moral guidance and legal
23 affairs; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And in the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb army, the head of moral
1 guidance and legal affairs within the VRS army was General Gvero; is that
3 A. Assistant, not the head. It is true that that was Gvero.
4 Q. So he was the assistant chief for moral and legal affairs within
5 the Main Staff?
6 A. No. He was the Assistant Commander. Assistant to the Commander
7 of the VRS for moral, religious, and legal affairs.
8 Q. I'm sorry. These titles I know are very important to get
9 absolutely correct. Now, if we just quickly finish with this document
10 that's in front of us, which is the same one that you have --
11 A. Okay.
12 Q. And it moves down to the next section with the assistant commander
13 for moral guidance and legal affairs.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And the third section is: "To plan and supervise training to
16 promote the moral education of soldiers and officers and to inform
17 commands and units." Now, in supervising the training of moral education
18 of soldiers and officers, did this involve instructing people in normal
19 standards of good conduct as a soldier or an officer, civilised standards?
20 A. Of course.
21 Q. And did your work involve teaching soldiers and officers about
22 basic standards of behaviour in warfare towards civilian, towards
23 prisoners of war?
24 A. Yes. I had my own assistants for the same kind of affairs at the
25 level of battalion, so it was through them that I was able to coordinate
1 the work and to reach every single soldier, in the sense that you asked me
3 Q. Can you just tell the Judges the kind of instruction that you gave
4 to soldiers and officers about how they should conduct themselves during
5 warfare, particularly with regard to civilians and prisoners of war?
6 A. Everything we did was based on the principles of the Geneva
7 Conventions and the rules of service of the VRS.
8 Q. So it would be correct to say, based on what you're saying, that
9 the VRS soldiers and officers throughout all the brigades were familiar
10 with basic standards of conduct towards civilians and prisoners of war?
11 A. Yes, mostly. However, you must understand that the soldiers would
12 be transferred very often. Many soldiers were killed in action or placed
13 hors de combat. New soldiers would come to take their place, very often
14 refugees from Central Bosnia or from Sarajevo, whom we didn't manage to
15 form, to educate in that sense, in a timely fashion.
16 Q. How did you go about instructing soldiers and officers on basic
17 standards of international humanitarian law?
18 A. Through my assistants at the battalion command.
19 Q. Did he give lectures, classes too, of the soldiers and officers on
20 the subject?
21 A. Your Honours, it was a war, and we couldn't find time for
22 teaching. All we could do was to be in constant contact with the people
23 and try to talk to them as much as possible, I mean with the people out
24 there in the field.
25 Q. I'm not criticising the efforts that you made; I'm just trying to
1 establish with you how you actually passed on to officers and soldiers
2 these very basic standards of humanitarian law that apply in warfare. Am
3 I correct in saying that you did this through one of the assistant
4 commanders in the battalion, who would give basic instructions to soldiers
5 and officers within your brigade?
6 A. Yes. You are right. However, I must say that we also tried to
7 inform them through bulletins and magazines that we published whenever we
8 could, and amidst all these pieces of information having to do with the
9 front lines, we tried to present these aspects that you're talking about.
10 Q. And was this a practice that was carried out throughout the Drina
11 Corps; there were assistant commanders in all of the brigades of the Drina
12 Corps, as far as you know, giving basic instruction in international
13 humanitarian law?
14 A. That was done according to the establishment of each particular
15 brigade and battalion. It was a rule.
16 Q. And all of this instruction throughout all the brigades was
17 coordinated at the Drina Corps level; is that correct?
18 A. Through the Main Staff, that is, from the Main Staff through
19 corps, up until the level of individual units, basic units.
20 Q. So we can fairly say that throughout all of the corps of the VRS,
21 some efforts were made to give basic instruction to soldiers and officers
22 in basic standards of conduct in warfare?
23 A. Yes. Similarly, we would often discuss the matter with General
24 Gvero, and we were trying to find possibilities, solutions to reach
25 individual soldiers, though, as I have already indicated, it was very
1 difficult, given the circumstances.
2 Q. Now, I think you also said that a part of your job was to inform
3 soldiers and officers within your brigade, and indeed when you went to the
4 Drina Corps staff, about current affairs, world affairs that affected
5 them, and I'd like to give you an exhibit which is in fact an indictment.
6 It's Exhibit 805.
7 MR. CAYLEY: And if you could help the witness, Mr. Usher, by
8 giving him the version in Serbian.
9 Q. Now, just before I ask you a question, Witness, I think you said
10 in your evidence that you had liaison contact with press agencies from all
11 over the world: CNN you mentioned, Reuters; I think you mentioned some
12 Japanese and French colleagues that you met. Is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, you'll see that this is an indictment of Radovan Karadzic and
15 Ratko Mladic. Now, as you know, in July of 1995 Radovan Karadzic was the
16 Commander-in-Chief of the VRS and Ratko Mladic was the Chief of Main
17 Staff; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now, this --
20 A. Ratko Mladic was the Commander of the VRS.
21 Q. Thank you. Now, this indictment was confirmed and indeed
22 published on the 25th of July of 1995, and you will probably recall that
23 it made world news and, I believe, was transmitted on all of the news
24 agencies that we've just mentioned. Can you explain to the Judges the
25 effect that this had on the soldiers and officers within the Drina Corps
1 when this indictment was made public?
2 A. Both President Karadzic and General Mladic enjoyed a great amount
3 of respect both from the units of the VRS and the people in general.
4 Everyone was surprised when they heard about the indictment, but the
5 reaction was the same both by the people and by the soldiers; Why our
6 commander? Why our president, rather than Alija, for example, referring
7 to Alija Izetbegovic, and others who started the war. So that was
8 basically the reaction of both the people and the military.
9 Q. And when this indictment was made public, everybody within the
10 Drina Corps, indeed everybody in the VRS, knew about it?
11 A. I wouldn't say that everybody knew about it. It was quite
12 difficult to have this amount of material made accessible to every single
13 soldier at every single post.
14 Q. But I'm right in saying that news of this indictment was
15 transmitted by the likes of Reuters, CNN, other international news
16 agencies with whom you had contacts as a public affairs officer?
17 A. Yes, of course the agencies transmitted the news, but what was the
18 use of such broadcast for a soldier who didn't speak any other language
19 but his mother tongue, the Serbian language, and for the soldiers who had
20 perhaps only one small transistor in a far away trench somewhere in the
21 mountains? It was enough for those people to have heard about the fact
22 that their president, their commander, had been indicted. They were
23 offended, because they believed in the justified cause of the fight of the
24 Serbian people.
25 Q. Did you have to go out yourself as part of the body for moral and
1 legal affairs and try and explain why this indictment had been made
2 public, had been confirmed by the War Crimes Tribunal?
3 A. No. There was no need for me to do that nor did I have any orders
4 to that effect. People didn't need much explanation. Their anger was
5 huge because they were deeply convinced of the just cause of the struggle
6 that they had been leading for four years.
7 Q. Now, in July of 1995, when this was published, you, I think --
8 were you still on the corps staff in July of 1995, on the Drina Corps
10 A. No. I was at Treskavica. So I didn't have the complete version
11 of the indictment except for what I heard at the radio, that is, only
12 portions of the indictment.
13 Q. So you managed to discover this indictment, hear about this
14 indictment, even though you were up in Treskavica?
15 A. Thanks to a transistor that we had.
16 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, I think it's probably time for us to
17 finish for the day, if you wish.
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Cayley.
19 MR. CAYLEY: You've called me McCayley before.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: But it is Cayley.
21 MR. CAYLEY: It's a compliment, actually. We share an office,
22 so ...
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I would be very flattered if I
24 had an opportunity to christen you once again, to baptise you once again.
25 We have spent quite some time with Mr. McCloskey. And we do need a break
1 at this point. I should like to tell you that we will continue in the
2 following fashion: We will be sitting tomorrow starting at twenty minutes
3 past nine.
4 Thank you very much, Witness, for coming here to testify. We have
5 to have a break at this point in your testimony, but we will be back
6 tomorrow to hear you again, and we will see you at twenty minutes past
7 nine tomorrow morning.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.04 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Friday, the 3rd day of
10 November, 2000 at 9.20 a.m.