Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 10162

1 Thursday, 2 August 2001

2 [Judgement]

3 [Open session]

4 --- Upon commencing at 2.35 p.m.

5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, ladies and

6 gentlemen; good afternoon to counsel for the Prosecution and the Defence;

7 to the interpreters, to the technical staff, and to the court reporters,

8 representing the Registry; and good afternoon to the people in the public

9 gallery who are with us today.

10 Madam Registrar, please call the case.

11 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number

12 IT-98-33-T, the Prosecutor versus Radislav Krstic.

13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] May we have the appearances for

14 the Prosecution, please.

15 MR. HARMON: Good afternoon, Mr. President and Your Honours,

16 counsel for the Defence. My name is Mark Harmon. Present with me are my

17 co-counsel, Mr. Peter McCloskey to my immediate right, to his right

18 Mr. Andrew Cayley, and to his right Ms. Magda Karagiannakis. Present also

19 with me are my two Prosecution assistants; to the far right Ms. Janet

20 Stewart, and to my left Ms. Kirstin Keith.

21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Thank you very much,

22 Mr. Harmon. Appearances for the Defence, please.

23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honour; good

24 afternoon, Prosecutors. I'm Nenad Petrusic, Defence counsel. My

25 co-counsel with me here today, as was during these proceedings, is

Page 10163

1 Mr. Visnjic and also our associate Ms. Radosavljevic.

2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, General Krstic.

3 "May justice be done lest the world perish," said Hegel. The

4 Trial Chamber is doing its duty in meting out justice today and, in this

5 way, hopes to have contributed to creating a better world.

6 The Trial Chamber is rendering its judgement today in the

7 Prosecutor's case against General Krstic, who stands accused of genocide

8 or complicity to commit genocide, persecution, extermination, murder, and

9 forced transfer or deportation and of crimes committed between July and

10 November 1995 following the attack of the Serbian forces on the town of

11 Srebrenica. At the time the attack was launched, General Krstic was the

12 Deputy Commander of the Drina Corps, one of the corps which constitute the

13 army of Republika Srpska, often known as the VRS. The exact date General

14 Krstic became the Drina Corps Commander has been the subject of

15 professional, courteous, but, at times, particularly acrimonious debates

16 between the parties. I will return to this point.

17 I wish to make several preliminary comments. First, I wish to

18 point out that, throughout the trial, the debates proceeded smoothly and

19 the parties conducted themselves in an exemplary manner. In this case,

20 both the Prosecution and Defence demonstrated in the most striking fashion

21 that cooperation and confrontation need not be mutually exclusive. The

22 arguments were always correct and, in particular, were of the highest

23 quality. The final arguments were presentations of excellent legal and

24 factual summaries of the respective positions of the Prosecution and the

25 Defence. I wish to extend my appreciation to all counsel and their teams

Page 10164

1 for the work they have done and the atmosphere in which it was carried

2 out.

3 I wish to pay tribute to the work of the Office of the Prosecutor

4 in the broadest sense and, in particular, to Mr. Jean-Rene Ruez, the

5 former team leader in the Office of the Prosecutor. I also have in mind

6 everyone working for the Prosecution and for the Defence who travelled on

7 site: the experts and their assistants, the investigators, technicians,

8 soldiers, security officers, and all those who saw, smelled, touched,

9 exhumed, washed, autopsied, and analysed. It is not difficult to imagine

10 how much patience, perseverance, and devotion was required to perform this

11 thankless but indispensable task.

12 I also wish to thank everyone who offered us their unstinting

13 assistance, frequently well after normal working hours.

14 I also wish to thank the staff of the Detention Unit and the

15 Serbian and Dutch physicians and surgeons who shared their experience with

16 us so that the accused would receive the treatment required for his

17 medical condition.

18 Lastly, I wish to underscore the work of the military analysts and

19 experts, Mr. Richard Butler and General Dannatt for the Prosecutor, and

20 General Radinovic for the Defence.

21 All this work made it possible to hear 128 witnesses, two of whom

22 were called by the Trial Chamber. In all, more than 1.100 exhibits, some

23 several hundred pages long, were admitted during the proceedings.

24 I will move quickly over the details of the proceedings, which

25 appear in the annex to the judgement. I will note only that because of

Page 10165

1 General Krstic's medical condition, the trial was interrupted for several

2 weeks at the start of the year. Nonetheless, as you know, the Trial

3 Chamber's work did not stop since it was hearing two cases at the same

4 time.

5 I now come to the reason for this hearing; pronouncing of the

6 judgement in the case the Prosecutor against Radislav Krstic. I do not

7 intend to read out the entire written judgement but to present a summary

8 thereof so that you, General Krstic, and the public will know essentially

9 the reasons why the Trial Chamber reached the conclusions it has reached.

10 I wish to point out that the only authoritative text is the

11 written judgement, which will be available at the end of this hearing, and

12 nothing I am going to say can be seen as modifying that judgement in any

13 way.

14 General Krstic, the crimes of which you stand accused are based on

15 the events which occurred following the attack of the Serbian forces on

16 the town of Srebrenica in July 1995. Srebrenica - the name of a town

17 which has become synonymous with the conflict which devastated the former

18 Yugoslavia. It is a name which immediately calls to mind thousands of

19 people subjected to siege, famine, and deprivation of everything, even

20 water and time to breathe. The name of an enclave which the United

21 Nations declared a safe area and which fell almost without a shot being

22 fired. Srebrenica - a name which conjures up images that one would prefer

23 not to see: women, children, old people, forced to climb into buses

24 leaving for destinations unknown; men separated from their families,

25 stripped of their belongings, men fleeing, men taken prisoner, men never

Page 10166

1 to be seen again, men who would be found - but not always - dead; corpses

2 piled up in mass graves, corpses with their hands tied, corpses with their

3 eyes blindfolded frequently, dismembered corpses as well, unidentified

4 corpses ... corpses.

5 Srebrenica is also a name for a post-traumatic syndrome, the

6 syndrome displayed by the women, children, and old people who did not die

7 and who, ever since July 1995, six years now, still have no news of their

8 husbands and sons, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers. Thousands of

9 amputated lives six years later, robbed of the affection and love of their

10 kin now reduced to ghosts who return to haunt them day after day, night

11 after night.

12 The Trial Chamber was presented with a great deal of evidence

13 which could be called impressive. Because of the violence of the crimes,

14 the almost unbearable images put before it and the pain to which the

15 victims gave voice in their testimony, the Trial Chamber needed to be

16 particularly vigilant so that it could take the necessary distance for

17 carrying out its work of justice with the requisite calm and as

18 objectively as possible. During its meticulous analysis of, inter alia,

19 all the evidence, testimony, exhibits, it was especially attentive to the

20 need to ensure that the evidence it had made it possible to verify whether

21 crimes had been committed. It carried out a scrupulous examination of all

22 these in order to decide on which or any of the criminal characterisations

23 the Prosecutor set out in her indictment a conviction could be entered.

24 Lastly and above all, the Trial Chamber carefully weighed whether one or

25 several of the crimes could be ascribed to General Krstic.

Page 10167

1 Essentially, the Trial Chamber is responding to three questions:

2 What are the facts, what are the crimes that were committed, and can

3 General Krstic be held responsible for any of these crimes? I will now

4 present a summary of the conclusions the Trial Chamber reached in respect

5 of these three questions.

6 What are the facts? Transfer of women, children, and old people.

7 The attack of the Serbian forces on the Srebrenica enclave

8 followed several months, actually several years, of confrontation.

9 Srebrenica is located in a part of Eastern Bosnia, Central Podrinje, which

10 was of particular interest to both parties involved.

11 To the Bosnian Muslims because the town was predominantly Muslim

12 before the conflict; because it is located between Tuzla to the north and

13 Zepa to the south, both of which were under Muslim control; because the

14 fall of Srebrenica could have extremely negative consequences for Sarajevo

15 which was under siege at the time. To the Bosnian Serbs because the

16 region known as Central Podrinje was in that part of Bosnia that borders

17 Serbia, and because it was important to establish the continuity of the

18 territories under Serbian control in Bosnia like in neighbouring Serbia,

19 and, of course, for the opposite reasons of those of the Bosnian Muslims.

20 In 1992 and 1993, there were many clashes between the Serbs and

21 the Bosnian Muslims for control of the region. After several successful

22 operations, the ABiH, the Bosnian Muslim army, was confronted with a

23 counter-offensive mounted by the VRS, the Bosnian Serb army, which finally

24 reduced the enclave to about 150 square kilometres. In March 1993, siege

25 was laid to Srebrenica and part of the population was transferred.

Page 10168

1 On the 16th of April, 1993, the United Nations Security Council

2 declared Srebrenica a safe area, and an agreement signed by the parties

3 turned it into a demilitarised zone to which an UNPROFOR contingent was

4 dispatched. However, the parties did not agree on the definition and

5 interpretation of the notion of demilitarised zone. In particular, the

6 Bosnian Muslims considered that only the town of Srebrenica itself was

7 demilitarised and the ABiH sent weapons and munitions to the enclave.

8 Still, the situation remained relatively stable until January 1995

9 when the Bosnian Serbs adopted a more hard-line position, in particular in

10 respect of the supply of humanitarian aid.

11 On the 8th of March, 1995, the president of the Bosnian Serbs,

12 Radovan Karadzic, issued the order which is known under the name of

13 Directive 7, which was to separate the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa.

14 In respect of what concerned the Drina Corps in particular, President

15 Karadzic wrote this: "By well-thought-out combat operations, create an

16 unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival

17 or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica and Zepa."

18 On the basis of this directive, on the 31st of March, 1995,

19 General Ratko Mladic also issued a directive which he sent, inter alia, to

20 the Drina Corps. The directive organised a large-scale attack known as

21 Sadejstvo 95 whose objective was, I quote, "to defend the territory of

22 Republika Srpska on all fronts," and in particular, to avoid, and I quote

23 again, "at any cost" the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo. General Mladic

24 foresaw that whatever the result of the events and the escalation of the

25 conflict, UNPROFOR land forces and NATO forces would probably not be

Page 10169

1 engaged, except in those cases when they come under direct physical

2 threat. During the operation, he said the forces of the Republika Srpska

3 army would collaborate in strategic camouflage and improvement of the

4 tactical position by carrying out, among others, active combat operations

5 around the Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde enclaves.

6 In the spring of 1995, the situation in Sarajevo deteriorated

7 significantly. Humanitarian convoys were obstructed and sometimes

8 blocked. Even the Dutch UNPROFOR contingent could not effect its normal

9 troop rotation. Some of the observation posts reported a significant

10 reinforcement of the nearby Serbian positions.

11 The humanitarian situation became catastrophic. The 28th ABiH

12 Division, that is, the Bosnian Muslim army in the Srebrenica enclave,

13 asked that the blockade be lifted. Harassment operations were launched

14 against the Serbian positions. This is known as "Operation Skakavac," and

15 apparently crimes were committed, in particular in the Serbian village of

16 Visnjica on the 26th of June 1995.

17 At the same time, the Bosnian Muslim army was on the move. On the

18 31st of May, 1995, it captured one of the UNPROFOR observation posts.

19 The 2nd of July 1995, the Drina Corps Commander,

20 General Zivanovic, signed the orders for a planned attack on Srebrenica.

21 On the 6th of July, the attack was launched from south of the

22 enclave. Thousands of Bosnian Muslims fled to the town. The Bosnian Serb

23 forces encountered no resistance.

24 On the 9th of July, President Karadzic decided that, under the

25 prevailing conditions, the town was to be taken.

Page 10170

1 On the 10th of July, the panicked Bosnian Muslim population began

2 to flee toward the United Nations facilities in the town (Bravo Company)

3 or out of the town towards the north, on the Bratunac road, to Potocari.

4 The commander of the Dutch Battalion, which is often called DutchBat,

5 asked for air support but he did not receive it.

6 On the 11th of July, General Mladic, Chief of Staff of the Bosnian

7 Serb army, along with General Zivanovic, General Krstic, and many other

8 VRS officers, made a triumphant entry into a Srebrenica deserted by its

9 inhabitants.

10 By the evening of the 11th of July, Srebrenica was a dead town, in

11 the hands of the Bosnian Serb forces. The inhabitants of Srebrenica and

12 the refugees there fled en masse to the United Nations base in Potocari.

13 The Bosnian Serb forces would soon learn that there were, in fact,

14 very few men in the milling crowd gathering around the UNPROFOR camp. In

15 Potocari, there were mostly women, children and old people.

16 There were very few people, very few men, rather, in Potocari

17 because, even though one cannot know for sure who gave the orders or

18 organised the departures, the men took a different route. Whether they

19 were members of the 28th Division or not, they assembled in the little

20 villages of Jaglici and Susnjari north-west of Srebrenica, and they

21 decided to flee through the woods towards Tuzla, which is much further to

22 the north in a territory which is under Bosnian Muslim control. About ten

23 to fifteen thousand men thus formed a column several kilometres long, and

24 they left on food through the woods.

25 However, General Mladic did not yet know that when, on the 11th of

Page 10171

1 July, he called the DutchBat Commander, Colonel Karremans, to a meeting at

2 the Hotel Fontana in Bratunac. Along with General Mladic, there were many

3 VRS officers, including General Zivanovic but not General Krstic.

4 At 20.00 hours on the 11th of July, General Mladic asked

5 Colonel Karremans whether UNPROFOR could organise the transport of the

6 population. He also asked him to return with a representative of the

7 population of Srebrenica.

8 The second meeting was held in the same hotel on that same day.

9 It was then about 23.00 hours. General Mladic was in attendance with

10 General Krstic but without General Zivanovic. Colonel Karremans came with

11 a teacher, Mr. Mandzic, who represented the population.

12 This time, General Mladic's tone and attitude were much harder.

13 Through the open window came the sounds of a pig being slaughtered.

14 General Mladic had the signboard of the Srebrenica town hall, which had

15 been removed from the building, placed on the table. The DutchBat

16 commander said that there were about fifteen to twenty thousand refugees

17 and that the humanitarian situation was distressing. Mr. Mandzic tries to

18 explain that he has no power to do anything. The answer fell, and it was

19 a final one: "That's your problem. Bring in the people who can ensure

20 that the weapons are laid down and save your people from destruction."

21 Another meeting was scheduled for the following day. It began

22 around 10.00 on the 12th of July. General Mladic was still there with

23 General Krstic beside him. Colonel Popovic, to whom we will return later,

24 was also there. The DutchBat representatives returned with Mr. Mandzic

25 and two other civilian representatives, Mrs. Omanovic, an economist, and

Page 10172

1 Mr. Nuhanovic, a businessman.

2 General Mladic again insisted that the condition for the survival

3 of the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica was that they lay down their

4 weapons. He said that he would supply the buses to transport the

5 population, but that the fuel would have to be provided by UNPROFOR.

6 Everyone understood that the Bosnian Muslims were to leave the enclave.

7 Last, General Mladic said that all the men in Potocari would be separated

8 in order to identify any possible war criminals.

9 At around noon on the 12th of July, General Krstic gave a filmed

10 interview to a journalist from Serbia. This took place right next to the

11 United Nations base in Potocari. Behind him, passing trucks could be

12 seen. Buses as well. These were the buses the women, the children and

13 the old people would get into. The video the journalist made shows

14 resigned people. The men are being separated from the women. Here and

15 there one sees bags, bundles, a few belongings. Further away, a larger

16 pile. The Trial Chamber would learn that these were the belongings of the

17 men who had come to seek refuge in Potocari and who had been ordered to

18 leave them there. The Trial Chamber knows that the belongings were

19 subsequently burned by the Serbian forces.

20 How did the situation appear to the Bosnian Muslims who had sought

21 refuge in Potocari? It was extremely serious.

22 One needs to remember the shelling, including the shelling of the

23 United Nations base in Srebrenica. One needs to imagine thousands of

24 people crowded into a few buildings without water or food other than a few

25 pieces of candy thrown in by General Mladic in front of the cameras and,

Page 10173

1 we were told, taken back as soon as the cameras had left. One must

2 imagine the heat. One must picture the dozens of soldiers and Serbian

3 armed men coming and going, shouting out discriminatory insults. One must

4 see the houses set on fire, the night falling, and the rising screams.

5 The witnesses described to the Trial Chamber the prevailing atmosphere of

6 terror, the rapes, the murders, the mistreatment so pervasive that some of

7 the refugees committed suicide or attempted to do so.

8 In the evening of the 13th of July, all the women, all the

9 children, all the old people were transferred.

10 The Trial Chamber concludes that for legal reasons which it sets

11 out in its judgement, there was no expulsion. There was, however, a

12 forced transfer of the women, children, and old people of Srebrenica.

13 As to the men, they were systematically separated. They were

14 forced to leave behind their meagre possessions, leave behind even their

15 identity papers. They were taken to a white house several metres from the

16 United Nations base. They were beaten. Some were taken behind the house

17 and killed. The survivors were taken away to various detention locations

18 on the 13th of July, including to Bratunac. Those who were able to get on

19 the buses were stopped right before leaving the territory under VRS

20 control and driven to other detention locations by bus, school, hangar.

21 During that time, the column, with most of the 28th Division armed

22 forces at the head, tried to go through the forest and cross the east-west

23 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road. There were about 10.000 to 15.000 men in

24 the column. About one-third was able to get through, including 3.000 men

25 from the 28th Division. The first of these arrived on the 16th of July in

Page 10174

1 Bosnian Muslim controlled territory.

2 As to the others, subjected to shelling and automatic weapons

3 fire, they were captured or surrendered, sometimes to the so-called

4 UNPROFOR soldiers who were, in fact, none other than members of the

5 Serbian forces using equipment stolen from DutchBat. Some of these were

6 killed immediately. Most were taken to collection centres, like a meadow

7 in Sandici or a football field in Nova Kasaba.

8 A last group would be luckier, because when they came into contact

9 with the Serbian forces, negotiations were initiated and they would

10 finally be able to go to territory under Bosnian Muslim control.

11 In all, 7 to 8.000 men were captured and almost all were killed by

12 the Serbian forces. Only a few of them survived, some of whom came to

13 testify before the Trial Chamber and described the horror of the mass

14 executions which they miraculously escaped.

15 The mass executions began on the 13th of July.

16 Some of the executions involved only a few individuals, like the

17 one in Jadar on the morning of the 13th of July.

18 In the afternoon of the 13th of July, there was another execution

19 at a relatively isolated place, the Cerska Valley. One hundred and fifty

20 bodies would be exhumed there, and 50 metal ties would be found, some of

21 them still wrapped around the victims' wrists.

22 Late in the afternoon, the Serbian forces indulged in a real

23 killing spree. A large number of Bosnian Muslims, 1.000 to 1.500 of them

24 approximately, were assembled in a warehouse in Kravica. The soldiers

25 opened fire and lobbed in grenades. Those who tried to escape were killed

Page 10175













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Page 10176

1 on the spot. The next day, the Serbian forces called out to any

2 survivors. Some of those who responded were forced to sing Serbian songs,

3 and they were then executed. A large machine came to carry away the

4 bodies, and in so doing, ripped off part of the warehouse doorframe. The

5 experts would find traces of hair, blood, and human tissue on the floor

6 and walls.

7 On the 13th and the 14th of July, there were executions in Tisca

8 also, that is, the place where the buses were to stop so that the Serbian

9 forces could verify whether there were still men on board, and if so, to

10 force them to get off. They were then taken to a school, and after their

11 hands were tied, they were taken to a field where they were executed.

12 On the 14th of July, a thousand Bosnian Muslim men were assembled

13 in the Grbavci School in Orahovac, in the gymnasium. Their eyes were

14 blindfolded, and they were taken by truck to a field where they were

15 executed. Machines were already digging up the ground before the

16 executions had been completed.

17 There were other executions from the 14th to the 16th of July. A

18 group of 1.500 to 2.000 Bosnian Muslims was being detained at the Petkovci

19 school. They were taken to an execution site next to an artificial lake,

20 the Petkovci dam. Their hands were tied and they were barefoot. They

21 were executed with automatic weapons.

22 This would also be the fate of 1.000 to 1.200 men at the Branjevo

23 military farm. The Trial Chamber heard the testimony of a former VRS

24 soldier convicted by the Tribunal for his participation in that

25 execution. This is Mr. Drazen Erdemovic.

Page 10177

1 The Bosnian Muslim men were brought in by the truck, many with

2 their hands tied, some wearing blindfolds. All but one were dressed in

3 civilian clothing. The execution squad fired over and over again until,

4 as Mr. Erdemovic said, their fingers hurt. Immediately afterwards, the

5 soldiers went to Pilica. In the village, there is a cultural centre, the

6 Pilica Dom. That's where several hundred Bosnian Muslim men were locked

7 up. Mr. Erdemovic and several others refused to participate any further

8 in the executions and sat down in a cafe across from the cultural centre

9 from where they could hear the shots and the explosions. There would be

10 no survivors.

11 When the investigators forced open the door to the cultural

12 centre, they discovered clear traces of the massacre and the conditions in

13 which the massacre perpetrated: bullet marks, traces of explosives,

14 bloodstains, bits of human remains everywhere; high up on the walls and

15 even under the stage of the theatre. And one single forgotten identity

16 document that belonged to a Bosnian Muslim.

17 The cultural centre is located on the side of the main road

18 crossing the village at the point where buses stop. In front of the

19 cultural centre today stands a memorial in honour of the Serbian heroes

20 who died for the Serbian cause.

21 There were other executions as well, in particular, in Kozluk and

22 Nezuk. The last mass execution appears to have been on the 19th of July,

23 1995. In all, the experts estimate that between 7.000 and 8.000 Bosnian

24 Muslim men were executed between the 13th and the 19th of July, 1995.

25 Despite the efforts which have been made, very few mortal remains

Page 10178

1 have been found. Why? Because measures were taken in the fall of 1995 in

2 order to attempt to cover up the scale of the crimes. The proof of what

3 happened can be seen, in particular in the aerial photographs provided to

4 the Prosecutor. These photographs made it possible to identify a number

5 of mass grave sites at the time the executions were carried out and also

6 to note that other sites appeared after September 1995.

7 The work of the experts has also made it possible to confirm the

8 data by comparing the older mass graves with the more recent ones since

9 the latter are always located in regions with even more difficult access

10 than those of the first group.

11 No particular care was taken when the bodies were moved, and it

12 has not been uncommon to find bodies with missing limbs.

13 There can therefore be no doubt about the deliberate desire to

14 conceal the existence of mass graves and therefore the mass executions of

15 civilians or persons no longer fit for combat.

16 Which are the crimes that were committed and that were retained by

17 the Chamber? This is the response to the second question.

18 The Prosecutor has characterised all the crimes and has charged

19 General Krstic with: genocide, or complicity therein; persecution by means

20 of murder, cruel treatment, acts of terror, destruction of personal

21 property, and forced transfer; extermination; murders within the meaning

22 of Article 5 of the Statute; murders within the meaning of Article 3 of

23 the Statute; deportation or the inhumane act of forced transfer.

24 In its judgement, the Trial Chamber responds to all these points

25 and concludes by applying the case law of the Appeals Chamber in respect

Page 10179

1 of cumulative charges. It is clear that the principal question which

2 arose was whether genocide was committed against, in the Prosecutor's

3 words, "A part of the Bosnian Muslim people as a national, ethnical, or

4 religious group."

5 The very notion of genocide is a recent one. It appeared for the

6 first time in the Second World War and was codified in December 1948 in

7 the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

8 which came into force on the 12th of January, 1951.

9 Article 4 of the Statute of the Tribunal, genocide, repeats the

10 definition of the Convention word for word. I quote: "Genocide means any

11 of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in

12 part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such..." Among

13 the acts of genocide are "killing members of the group" and "causing

14 serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group."

15 There is little case law on genocide. While the International

16 Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has rendered several decisions on this point,

17 the case law of our Tribunal on the subject is almost non-existent.

18 In this case, the fact that serious bodily or mental harm was

19 inflicted on the Bosnian Muslims or that they were murdered has not been

20 disputed. The Trial Chamber considers that one also cannot dispute the

21 fact that the victims were chosen because of their membership in a

22 national group, that is, precisely because they were Bosnian Muslims.

23 However, can one claim that there was a will or intent to destroy,

24 in whole or in part, a group as such protected by the Convention? The

25 Defence submitted that there was not and expressed this opinion

Page 10180

1 exhaustively and most clearly, both in its written submissions and final

2 arguments. I will present a very brief, and therefore incomplete, summary

3 of its arguments.

4 The Defence does not dispute the fact that the Serbian forces

5 attacked Srebrenica's Bosnian Muslim population of fighting age. It

6 claims, however, that precisely for this reason one cannot speak of

7 genocide, despite the scale of the murders committed. The Defence first

8 points out that the women, children, and old people were transferred and

9 not killed.

10 It goes on to state that a part of the column, as I mentioned a

11 few minutes ago, was able to pass into territory under Bosnian Muslim

12 control after negotiations had taken place. According to the Defence, it

13 cannot even be claimed that all the Bosnian Muslim men of fighting age

14 were targeted.

15 Lastly, and in any case, the Defence sets out that the intent to

16 destroy all the Bosnian Muslim men of fighting age cannot be interpreted

17 as the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a group as such within the

18 meaning of Article 4 Statute of the Tribunal.

19 The Trial Chamber does not share this view.

20 The Trial Chamber observes that although Bosnian Muslim men from

21 Srebrenica were able to escape the hands of the Serbian forces after the

22 fall of the enclave, this was due to chance or to the Serbian forces'

23 inability to prevent the passage of the end of the column into territory

24 under Bosnian Muslim control given the operations in which it was engaged

25 elsewhere. In other words, the Serbian forces really had no other choice

Page 10181

1 at the time than to allow the rest of the column to pass.

2 Subject only to the reservation which we have just stated, the

3 executions were carried out on such a mass scale that the men from

4 Srebrenica of fighting age were annihilated.

5 The Trial Chamber points out that the decision to kill all the

6 Bosnian Muslim men of fighting age was taken after the decision to

7 transfer the women, children, and old people. For this reason, the

8 Serbian forces had to realise the impact such a decision would have on the

9 survival of the group.

10 The Trial Chamber is not stating, nor does it wish to suggest that

11 a plan to commit genocide existed prior to the attack on Srebrenica or

12 even right before the city fell. However, according to the Appeals

13 Chamber's decision in the Jelisic case, a plan of genocide need not have

14 been formed, nor is it indispensable that, should such a plan exist, some

15 time must pass between its conception and its implementation.

16 What we are asserting here, on the basis of all the evidence

17 presented to us, is that a decision was first taken to carry out "ethnic

18 cleansing" of the Srebrenica enclave. Moreover, it is not unreasonable to

19 note that the men could be separated from the women, children, and old

20 people. Furthermore, the men taken prisoner could subsequently serve as a

21 "bargaining chip" as was frequently the case throughout the conflict in

22 the former Yugoslavia. What was important at that time was to drive out

23 all the Bosnian Muslims from the enclave, including the women, children,

24 and old people.

25 However, for reasons the Trial Chamber has been unable to clarify,

Page 10182

1 the decision was then taken to kill all the men of fighting age. The

2 result was inevitable: the destruction of the Bosnian Muslim population in

3 Srebrenica.

4 At issue is not only the commission of murders for political,

5 racial or religious reasons, which already constitutes a crime of

6 persecution. At issue is not only extermination of the Bosnian Muslim men

7 of fighting age alone. At issue is the deliberate decision to kill the

8 men, a decision taken with complete awareness of the impact the murders

9 would inevitably have on the entire group. By deciding to kill all the

10 men of Srebrenica of fighting age, a decision was taken to make it

11 impossible for the Bosnian Muslim people of Srebrenica to survive. Stated

12 otherwise, what was ethnic cleansing became genocide.

13 The Trial Chamber is also convinced beyond any reasonable doubt

14 that a crime of genocide was committed in Srebrenica.

15 Finally, for the reasons set forth in detail in its judgement, the

16 Trial Chamber considers that the following crimes were committed:

17 genocide, persecution, extermination, murder within the meaning of

18 Article 3 Statute, murder within the meaning of Article 5, and the forced

19 transfer of Bosnian Muslims.

20 In light of the rules applicable to cumulative charging, only the

21 crimes of genocide, persecution, and murder within the meaning of

22 Article 3 Statute have been retained by the Trial Chamber.

23 We have now reached the response to the third question: Is

24 General Krstic guilty of any of these crimes?

25 The final question which the Trial Chamber must answer is whether

Page 10183

1 General Krstic can be held guilty of these crimes. The Prosecution claims

2 that he can. The Defence claims that he cannot.

3 In order to establish the possible responsibility of General

4 Krstic for these crimes, the Trial Chamber took account of his position as

5 deputy commander and then commander of the Drina Corps at the time these

6 crimes were committed. The Drina Corps, as I have already said, had

7 authority over the entire area in which the crimes took place. For this

8 reason, the Trial Chamber first reviewed what in the evidence presented by

9 the parties would make it possible to establish whether or not the Drina

10 Corps forces were involved in the crimes. This review allowed the Trial

11 Chamber to conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that the Drina Corps

12 forces participated in, if not all the crimes, at least some of them.

13 However, it appeared also that other forces played a role, and

14 sometimes a decisive one at that, in what happened and in particular in

15 the capture of the Bosnian Muslims and the executions. The judgement thus

16 makes it clear that the following were involved in these crimes: the

17 forces of the Ministry of the Interior, more commonly known as the MUP;

18 forces answering in principle to the Main Staff and, in particular, the

19 65th Motorised Protection Regiment or the 10th Sabotage Detachment of

20 which Mr. Erdemovic was a member; the military police forces; other armed

21 forces which probably included civilians or reservists who had taken up

22 arms.

23 However, the evidence also leads to the conclusion that all these

24 forces acted in a coordinated manner and were organised for the same

25 objective. The presence of General Mladic in Srebrenica and Potocari was

Page 10184

1 mentioned on several occasions. At the time, General Mladic was the Chief

2 of Staff of the General Staff of the armed forces of Republika Srpska,

3 that is, the number two man in the military hierarchy, right below

4 President Karadzic.

5 The Trial Chamber then sought to verify General Krstic's role at

6 the time of the crimes and, in particular, any role he might have played

7 in their commission.

8 I will sketch out the positions taken by the Prosecution and the

9 Defence. The Prosecution claims that General Krstic was the deputy

10 commander of the Drina Corps at the time the attack on Srebrenica was

11 launched. As such, he was involved in the organisation of the troops who

12 took part in the attack. General Krstic assumed command of the corps by

13 the evening of 13 July 1995 at the latest. According to the Prosecutor,

14 he is thus responsible for all the crimes committed on the territory of

15 the Drina Corps by virtue of Article 7(1) of the Statute, that is,

16 individually responsible. However, the Prosecutor claims that General

17 Krstic is also responsible as a commander by virtue of Article 7(3) of the

18 Statute.

19 The Defence contends that General Krstic was a professional

20 officer trained in the JNA and was well aware of the rules applicable to

21 armed conflicts. The Defence never disputed that General Krstic was

22 alongside General Mladic when the town of Srebrenica fell, that he was

23 present at two of the three meetings at the Hotel Fontana, that General

24 Krstic was successively the deputy commander and then the commander of the

25 Drina Corps, a corps whose territorial jurisdiction covered all the

Page 10185

1 territory on which the crimes occurred.

2 The Defence points out, however, that General Krstic in no manner

3 committed any crime himself and claims that he cannot be held responsible

4 as a superior either. First, the attack on Srebrenica in which he

5 participated was not unlawful as such. However, according to the Defence,

6 General Krstic became the commander of the Drina Corps only on 20 July

7 1995 and learned of the mass execution of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica

8 only after that date. He had in fact been tasked by General Mladic to

9 carry out the attack on Zepa on 13 July at the latest.

10 The Defence goes on to claim that General Krstic, therefore, had

11 to change the position of his forward command post and thus found himself

12 isolated in respect of the communications he was receiving.

13 Lastly, the Defence asserts that General Krstic had no involvement

14 whatsoever in the digging up and the reburial of the bodies.

15 The Trial Chamber has carefully reviewed all these arguments. The

16 Trial Chamber has conducted a scrupulous examination of all the exhibits

17 in the case file as well as the testimony, whether of United Nations staff

18 or victims. The Trial Chamber has meticulously weighed the information

19 provided by the radio taps. In this respect, I recall that the Trial

20 Chamber did not admit the recording in which a voice alleged to be that of

21 General Krstic is heard saying, "Kill them all."

22 I emphasise this point because it might have appeared that this

23 exhibit was part of the case file, whereas that radio tap has not been

24 admitted and is not an exhibit in the case file. However, the Trial

25 Chamber did admit many other recordings, some of which are the subject of

Page 10186

1 a detailed analysis in the judgement.

2 Lastly, the Trial Chamber analysed the reports of the military

3 experts submitted both by the Prosecution and the Defence, and there is no

4 possible doubt.

5 When you entered Srebrenica with General Mladic on 11 July, 1995,

6 General Krstic, you found a deserted town. You thus knew that the

7 population had fled. You were the Deputy Commander of the Drina Corps,

8 and your Commander, General Zivanovic, was there along with many other VRS

9 officers.

10 Assuming that you did not already know, you must have wondered

11 where the population had gone, because according to your own statements,

12 your objective was to separate Srebrenica from Zepa and to reduce the

13 enclave to its urban area. It was therefore essential for you to know

14 where at least the forces of the 28th Division might be since they were

15 not there.

16 You were not at the first meeting in the Hotel Fontana in Bratunac

17 on the evening of 11 July, around 20.00 hours, but you were present at the

18 second meeting. You say that you did not hear the scream of the pig being

19 killed at that moment, but because you were sitting right next to

20 General Mladic, you heard him speak in an arrogant and threatening voice

21 both to the DutchBat commander and the "representative" of the Bosnian

22 Muslim population of Srebrenica who was there. You saw when

23 General Mladic had the signboard, which had been removed from the

24 Srebrenica town hall, put on the table. You heard General Mladic asking

25 the Bosnian Muslim armed forces to surrender and the DutchBat commander to

Page 10187

1 organise the transfer of the women, children, and old people from

2 Potocari. You were there, General Krstic, on 12 July, at around 10.00

3 hours, when General Mladic told the UNPROFOR officers that the forces of

4 the VRS were going to organise the transfer but that UNPROFOR would have

5 to provide the necessary fuel. You heard General Mladic's tone of voice,

6 even more menacing than the day before, when he spoke to the people who

7 you knew were acting as representatives of the Bosnian Muslim community of

8 Srebrenica.

9 You gave orders for buses and other transport to come to Potocari

10 quickly. You knew, at least by early morning on 12 July, that a large

11 column of Bosnian Muslims was trying to cross the Bratunac-Konjevic Polje

12 Road. In any case, you knew that the column was moving north and

13 therefore represented no danger for the rest of your operations in the

14 other United Nations safe area which you were preparing to attack.

15 You were in Potocari, General Krstic, giving an interview, when

16 the first buses arrived. You were there when they began to separate the

17 men from the women, the children, and the old people. You could not not

18 have seen their physical condition. You could not not have heard the

19 screams of the men who were taken to the building called the White House

20 as they were being beaten.

21 In accordance with the orders you received from General Mladic on

22 the 13th of July, you focused on the preparations for the attack on Zepa,

23 but you received information on a regular basis. You knew that when the

24 buses arrived at the border of the area under Bosnian Muslim control,

25 Drina Corps soldiers were making the men seeking refuge there get off.

Page 10188

1 On 13 July in the evening, you knew that thousands of men from the

2 column had been captured.

3 On the evening of 13 July, and I repeat, the 13th of July, you

4 took command of the Drina Corps and signed your first order as the corps

5 commander around 20.30 hours.

6 On the 14th of July, you launched the attack on Zepa. Nonetheless

7 you remained perfectly well-informed of what was going on in the area to

8 the north of the town of Srebrenica.

9 In the night of 14 - 15 July, troops from the Zvornik Brigade, one

10 of the Drina Corps brigades, moved up from Zepa towards Srebrenica, and

11 you knew why they were doing that.

12 On the 15th of July in the morning, the security chief of the Main

13 Staff called you and asked for your help in dealing with 3.500 packages.

14 You knew exactly, you knew exactly, what was meant by "packages," General

15 Krstic: Bosnian Muslims who were to be executed.

16 You expressed your displeasure. That same officer told you that

17 the MUP forces, the Interior Ministry police, did not want or no longer

18 wanted to do it. You said that you would see what you could do.

19 On the 16th of July, some of your subordinates, men from the

20 Bratunac Brigade, participated in the mass executions at the Branjevo

21 Military Farm. On the 16th of July, the security chief of the Drina

22 Corps, whose commander you were, continued to keep you informed about the

23 situation. You asserted to the Trial Chamber that, subsequently, you

24 wanted to take measures against that officer, but that out of fear of

25 reprisals against yourself or, more specifically against your family, you

Page 10189

1 decided not to. The Trial Chamber, however, found nothing to confirm your

2 assertions. Not a single soldier of the Drina Corps was punished for the

3 murder of one or several Bosnian Muslims. On the contrary. Nothing makes

4 it possible to establish that you participated in the activities designed

5 to conceal the massacres and, to this end, in the operations of digging up

6 and reburial of the corpses. But how could anybody think that you would

7 not have known about work requiring the use of such large machines?

8 In any case, General Krstic, you were seen being congratulated for

9 the action you took in Srebrenica.

10 You were seen right next to General Mladic when, in December 1995,

11 a ceremony was organised for the Drina Corps.

12 Finally, General Krstic, you supported General Mladic against

13 President Karadzic when he tried to remove General Mladic.

14 General Krstic, can you stand, or would you prefer to remain

15 seated for medical reasons? If you are in pain, you may remain seated,

16 General. You may remain seated. Yes, remain seated.

17 General Krstic, the Trial Chamber does not dispute that you are a

18 professional soldier who loves his work. The Trial Chamber can accept

19 that you would not of your own accord have taken the decision to execute

20 thousands of civilians and disarmed persons. Someone else probably

21 decided to order the execution of all the men of fighting age. The

22 Chamber is convinced of that.

23 However, nonetheless, you are still guilty, General Krstic.

24 You are guilty of having knowingly participated in the organised

25 forced transfer of the women, children, and old people in Srebrenica at

Page 10190

1 the time of the attack on the 6th of July, 1995 against the United Nations

2 safe area.

3 You are guilty of the murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslims

4 between 10 and 19 July 1995, whether these be murders committed

5 sporadically in Potocari or murders planned in the form of mass

6 executions.

7 You are guilty of the incredible suffering of the Bosnian Muslims,

8 whether these be the ones in Potocari or survivors of the executions.

9 You are guilty of the persecution suffered by the Bosnian Muslims

10 of Srebrenica.

11 Knowing that the women, children, and old people of Srebrenica had

12 been transferred, you are guilty of having agreed to the plan to conduct

13 mass executions of all the men of fighting age.

14 You are therefore guilty of genocide, General Krstic.

15 In order to determine the penalty which you deserve, we have, of

16 course, taken into account the extreme gravity of the crime. Still, we

17 also wish to show that in respect of the crimes committed on the territory

18 of the former Yugoslavia, there are certainly people whose individual

19 responsibility is much greater than your own.

20 The Chamber wishes to recall the words of Kant, who said that if

21 justice is ignored, life on this earth has no value.

22 We believe that it is essential to make a distinction between what

23 might be collective responsibility and individual responsibility. The

24 Tribunal has not been established to deal with the possibility of

25 collective responsibility. What is of interest to us in each of the

Page 10191

1 trials which we must hear in this Court is to verify whether the evidence

2 presented before us makes it possible to find an accused guilty. We seek

3 to judge only accused who are individually responsible. We do not wish to

4 judge a people. Yes, in the former Yugoslavia there were attacks against

5 civilian populations. Yes, there were massacres. There was persecution.

6 Yes, some of these crimes were committed by Serbian forces. Still, to

7 paraphrase the words of a great humanist, we consider that to associate

8 this evil with Serbian identity would be an insult to the Serbian people

9 and would betray the concept of civil society. It would be just as

10 monstrous, however, not to attach any name to this evil because that could

11 be an offence to the Serbs.

12 In July 1995, General Krstic, individually, you agreed to evil,

13 and this is why today this Trial Chamber convicts you and sentences you to

14 46 years in prison.

15 The Court stands adjourned.

16 --- Whereupon the Judgement Hearing adjourned at

17 4.02 p.m.