1 Thursday, 2 May 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.30 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone. Madam Registrar, would
6 you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
8 IT-09-92-T, the Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar. I hereby establish that
10 the Chamber is complete again and was informed that both parties have a
11 preliminary question to raise.
12 Defence first.
13 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. And good morning,
14 Your Honours. We were warned by the Prosecution kindly this morning that
15 we missed two deadlines in responding to Prosecutor's 92 bis motions
16 number 14 and number 19. We checked, and number 19 is dealing only with
17 one witness and we are not going to file the response to this 92 bis
18 motion, but we are -- we were a bit uncertain about the deadline for the
19 14th 92 bis motion and we could kindly ask for an extension as of today
20 for 21 days.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Groome?
22 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the Prosecution has no objection to
23 that. Can I inquire with respect to the 19th motion is it that the
24 Defence has no objection or --
25 MR. LUKIC: No objection.
1 MR. GROOME: Thank you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Before we grant the 21 days, Chamber would like to
3 first verify when the deadline expired before we give -- grant additional
4 time, if you would do so, but we will decide this in -- very soon but
5 also not until after we've heard the Prosecution's view on the matter.
6 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the Prosecution has a standing position
7 that the Chamber feels that in the interests of justice the Defence
8 should have whatever additional time is necessary to file a response, the
9 Prosecution has no objection.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I believe that's what you said already,
11 I think, on page 1, line 21. I missed that.
12 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, if my memory serves me correctly, the
13 response was due on the 8th of April.
14 JUDGE ORIE: We will consider the matter and we will let you know
15 today, Mr. Lukic.
16 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ORIE: That was the matter the Defence wanted to raise.
18 Mr. McCloskey.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.
20 I wanted to alert you to what is going to be a unique filing today. It
21 relates to two witnesses that -- could we go into private session
23 JUDGE ORIE: We move into private session.
24 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 JUDGE ORIE: And could the witness be escorted into the
24 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar. Mr. Lukic, some 40 more
1 minutes to go.
2 [The witness takes the stand]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Witness. Before we resume, I'd like
4 to remind you that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've
5 given at the beginning of your testimony.
6 WITNESS: PAUL GROENEWEGEN [Resumed]
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, you may proceed.
9 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Cross-examination by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Groenewegen. I'd like to ask
12 you something about the night between the 12th and 13th of July, 1995.
13 Did you hear of any suicides in Potocari that night?
14 A. Yes. The next morning we heard about that, yes.
15 Q. You don't know anything about the number of persons who actually
16 committed suicide?
17 A. No, not as far as numbers are concerned.
18 Q. Now we are going to move on to the 13th of July and I'm going to
19 ask you the following: The men who had been separated were all put up in
20 the same house; is that correct?
21 A. Yes. As far as we heard and saw, that's correct.
22 Q. What did the house look like?
23 A. From what I remember, the house almost didn't have any walls on
24 the bottom floor.
25 Q. So could one see into the house through these walls that were
1 actually not there?
2 A. Yes, partially.
3 Q. When you testified in the Blagojevic case, is it correct that you
4 were shown a video-clip and that you could not recognise that house?
5 A. That could very well be correct.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Now I would kindly ask for the video
7 that the Prosecution tendered yesterday, P1164, so I would kindly ask
8 Ms. Stewart to play the video for us.
9 [Video-clip played]
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise, could we pause now?
11 Could we please restart with the audio because I heard that there is a
12 sound track from the very beginning of the clip.
13 [Video-clip played]
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. I don't know whether you can see yourself in this video-clip.
16 A. I know that I must have been among them, but to this day I have
17 not recognised myself among the peacekeepers.
18 Q. Did you know what General Mladic said at that moment on camera
19 and to the assembled civilians there?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Did you know, and through the translators there, did you find out
22 that civilians were discussing among themselves whether they would leave
23 or whether they would stay?
24 A. No. That was incomprehensible for us as well.
25 Q. Do you know which day this was?
1 A. No. As far as I can remember, this was the 12th but it could
2 just as easily have been the 13th.
3 Q. You say that you saw General Mladic on the 13th in Potocari. Can
4 you tell us where you saw him in Potocari on the 13th?
5 A. As you just saw on the video, in that area.
6 Q. Who was with you from amongst your colleagues? Who was in your
7 immediate vicinity when you say that you saw General Mladic in Potocari
8 on the 13th?
9 A. On the video, I actually recognise only two people.
10 Q. How long did General Mladic stay there?
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic. Witness, you told us that you do not
12 know what you saw, whether it was on the 12th or the 13th. Now, all the
13 questions are about the 13th and you refer to those images telling us --
14 give -- answering the questions about the 13th. That confuses me a bit
15 because is it now your recollection that this must have been the 13th
16 or ...
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. As I just said, based on the
18 video images, I couldn't say specifically whether that was the 12th or
19 the 13th.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you therefore also cannot rely on these video
21 images in answering questions about what happened on the 13th. Would you
22 agree with me?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely. I'm trying to answer
24 the questions as best I can.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, you may proceed.
1 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. [Interpretation] In your view, on the 13th of July as well, were
3 cameramen there and were they filming what was happening?
4 A. Yes, absolutely.
5 Q. Thank you. Now we are going to move on to some more general
6 questions about the period before the 11th of July, 1995. Is it correct
7 that from your observation post, you could see Muslims leaving the
8 enclave of Srebrenica, in order to smuggle food supplies and weapons?
9 Also you could see them leaving the enclave and going into combat?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Let's take it one by one. First whether they left,
11 second for the one purpose, third for the other purpose.
12 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. [Interpretation] So did you see Muslims leaving the enclave of
15 A. I never actually saw them leaving the enclave myself.
16 Q. Did you have any reports to the effect that Muslims were leaving
17 the enclave, first of all to smuggle food supplies, but weapons as well?
18 A. Well, no official reports, but we were told that that was the
20 Q. Did you hear that Muslims were leaving the enclave in order to
21 launch offensive operations against the Serb forces and civilians?
22 A. That, too, is through hearsay.
23 Q. Is it also correct that at your observation post, you were often
24 exposed to cross fire between the warring parties?
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. How close were the armed Muslims in the enclave to you? What is
2 the point where they were at the shortest distance compared to your
3 observation post?
4 A. Speaking for myself personally, that was between 500 and
5 1.000 metres was the closest.
6 Q. You personally never disarmed anyone in the enclave of
7 Srebrenica; is that correct?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Also, you never had an opportunity to see anyone else disarming
10 anyone in the enclave of Srebrenica?
11 A. That's correct.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, could I ask a bit of clarification.
13 Witness, did you also see Serb forces near to your observation post?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Never until that time, no.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And when you said you saw Muslim -- armed Muslims in
16 the enclave at a distance shortest between 500 and 1.000 metres, could
17 you describe in more detail what you exactly saw. Were they in groups,
18 were they individuals, how could you see at that distance their arms, and
19 what kind of arms were there? I take it one by one. Individual or
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Both.
22 JUDGE ORIE: What kind of arms did they carry or have?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Pistols and what to us from a
24 distance -- what to us looked like long-distance firearms.
25 JUDGE ORIE: What do you mean by "long-distance firearms"?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Rifles.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Anything else than rifles?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I just follow up, please. Now, did you
6 observe these people 500 to 1.000 metres from your observation post?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. That was only during the
8 patrols that we made of the area.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not quite sure I understand you. You said the
10 shortest distance to you was 500 to 1.000 metres. Did you come any
11 closer than that to them? Did you come and talk to them?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, absolutely. One of our
13 assignments while on patrol was that if we encountered armed people, to
14 pursue them and try to disarm them.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: And in disarming them did you have any exchange of
16 words with them to find out who they were and what nationality they
17 belonged to?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If during our patrols we could get
19 near the people that we saw were armed, either at that point they no
20 longer had their arms or we couldn't find them any more.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Then I must ask the question: How did you make a
22 determination that they were Muslims?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To us, that was the way to
24 determine that they were walking around inside the enclave and did not
25 seem to be from the other side.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: But I'm confused, Witness. I have just asked you
2 if you had any exchange of words with them to -- and find out their
3 nationality. You said: No, during our patrols when you get near the
4 people that you saw armed, either at that point they no longer had their
5 arms or you couldn't find them anymore. If you can't find them, how do
6 you make a determination what nationality they belonged to?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you specifically mean the
8 individuals or groups that we saw and had the opportunity to find and
9 speak with them, it was by using the very little we knew of that language
10 that we knew they were indeed the Muslim population.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
12 Yes, Mr. Lukic, you may proceed.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps I have one follow-up question: Do
14 I understand your testimony well when I think that you're telling us that
15 armed men walking around or moving around within the enclave, in your
16 view, could not have been anything else than Muslims because Serb armed
17 forces were at that point in time, that's before the 11th of July, were
18 not moving around within the enclave? Is that how I have to understand
19 your testimony?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct, yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. [Interpretation] You told us, or you testified about the theft of
24 UN equipment and items that belonged to the Dutch Battalion, and you
25 mentioned an incident where some petrol cans were stolen. Do you
1 remember that?
2 A. Yes, absolutely.
3 Q. Someone broke into the warehouse where the petrol or the oil was
4 and that was stolen; correct?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. On that occasion, the oil was stolen by the Muslims. Is that
7 something that was established?
8 A. To us, that was the most logical party that would have stolen it.
9 Q. Is it correct that you did not have to submit any reports to your
10 superiors about the deployments of the BH Army units in the territory
11 which was under your control, which you observed?
12 A. No. That's extremely unlikely.
13 Q. What is the case, then? Can you tell us, what is the truth? Did
14 you submit reports?
15 A. I did not do so personally but all these unusual particularities
16 would always need to be reported to higher ranks.
17 Q. Is it an unusual incident when you run into or find an armed
18 group within the enclave? Was that reported?
19 A. As far as I know, that was reported, yes.
20 Q. Did you report incidents of violations of cease-fire?
21 A. We did indeed always communicate special details about parties
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see 1D909, please, in
25 Q. That is your evidence on April 15th 2010 in the Tolimir case.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We need page 21 in e-court, which
2 should be 1186 of the transcript, page 1186. We need lines 5 through 9.
3 [In English] And I will read in English:
4 "Q. Well, let me clarify. Did you have to send the report on
5 where units of the BH Army were deployed in the territory that you were
6 keeping under control and whether they were complying with the agreement
7 on the cease-fire?
8 "A. In my personal experience, no."
9 Q. [Interpretation] So what you said in -- while testifying in the
10 Tolimir case, was that correct, or is what you said today in this trial
12 A. All I can tell you is that I never had to make such reports.
13 I think the response "no" refers to that.
14 Q. Were you ever present when such a report was submitted, either
15 orally or in writing?
16 A. No.
17 Q. So how do you know that they were actually submitted?
18 A. Every so often we would receive a briefing about unusual
19 incidents in the area, and what had been reported or not.
20 Q. You, yourself, or your battalion never took any action in order
21 to prevent offensive operations launched from within the enclave; is that
23 A. I can speak only on my own behalf on that, and that is indeed
25 Q. Such operations by the Muslim army from within the enclave, you
1 never received any reports; is that correct?
2 A. I can't remember anything about that, no.
3 Q. All you heard was rumours that there were such operations carried
4 out; correct?
5 A. Yes. As far as concerns me personally, yes.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Groenewegen, for answering my questions.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] These are all the questions I had for
8 this witness at this time.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
10 Ms. Hasan, any need for re-examination of the witness?
11 MS. HASAN: Yes, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: How much time do you think you would need?
13 MS. HASAN: I suspect I will take until the break and maybe a
14 little bit after the break.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Witness, you will now be re-examined by
16 Ms. Hasan.
17 Ms. Hasan, you may proceed.
18 MS. HASAN: Good morning, everyone.
19 Could we have P1160 displayed, please.
20 Re-examination by Ms. Hasan:
21 Q. Witness, yesterday, and this is at transcript page 10513, you
22 were asked in cross-examination about belongings that the refugees left
23 behind and you confirmed that a few belongings were left behind in the
24 compound. I'd like you to look at this aerial image and if we could just
25 zoom in a little bit closer, if that's possible, and take a look down
1 towards the bottom of the screen, just right in the centre, if you can
2 see there is a house there. Do you see that there? At the very bottom
3 at the centre of the screen. There is a line of buses and there appears
4 to be one bus close to that house, and what looks like a tree. Can you
5 see that in the image?
6 A. Yes. If you're referring to the bus that is positioned
7 perpendicular to the long line of buses toward -- in the direction of the
8 house, yes, I see that.
9 Q. Okay. That is what I'm referring to.
10 MS. HASAN: Now, this is, Your Honours, what we in this case
11 refer to as the "white house."
12 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Hasan, if you please put a question to the
14 MS. HASAN: Yes, I'm about to.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 MS. HASAN:
17 Q. Witness, were you positioned at any time on the 12th and 13th of
18 July in the vicinity of this house?
19 A. I walked past it several times along the road.
20 Q. Okay. Do you have any -- do you have any recollection of what
21 you saw?
22 A. All we saw was that men were being collected in there.
23 Q. Do you recall when you saw that, whether it was the 12th or the
24 13th, or on both days?
25 A. No. It was only on the 13th.
1 Q. And, Witness, now, is that what you refer to as the unfinished
2 house or is the unfinished house a separate building?
3 A. I couldn't say that based on these photographs.
4 Q. If I can just direct your attention, the -- in the centre of this
5 image you've circled a house and you referred to that house as being a
6 house where men were taken to. Is that house what you refer to as the
7 unfinished house or is this also a third house that you're referring to?
8 A. No. As far as I know, that's the circle marked H. From what
9 I remember, it's a spot where the white house should have been.
10 Q. And just to confirm, as far as you can recall, you saw men being
11 taken to the house that's circled and to the house that's at the bottom
12 of the screen? Is that -- have I understood you correctly?
13 MR. LUKIC: I have to object.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Let's try to avoid confusion, Mr. Lukic.
15 Witness, when you told us about men taken to an unfinished house,
16 was that the only house you remember men were taken, or were there more
17 houses, in your recollection?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. From my perception, there was
19 only one house.
20 JUDGE ORIE: You described that house as an unfinished house. Is
21 the unfinished house you described for us, is that the same house as you
22 refer to a minute ago as the white house?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that some confusion has
24 indeed arisen as to what the actual house was based on an aerial. At the
25 time I circled the house designated H was from my perception the
1 unfinished house.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And when a while ago you referred to the white
3 house in one of your answers -- let me just see, I'll read exactly to you
4 what you have said. One second, please. You said in one of your
6 "As far as I know, that's the circle marked H. From what
7 I remember, it's a spot where the white house should have been."
8 Do we have to understand this, that when you're talking about the
9 unfinished house and the white house, that you're referring to only one
10 single house, irrespective of where it is at this moment?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I mean the same house there.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Hasan, you may proceed.
13 MS. HASAN: Okay. Thank you.
14 Q. Witness, we can get rid of this exhibit from the screen, please.
15 Witness, yesterday at transcript page 10504 in cross-examination, you
16 were asked about the separation of men and specifically asked about the
17 separation of men on the 12th of July, and in answer to counsel's
18 question, you said -- you were asked whether it was correct that on the
19 first day men and women were -- men were not separated from the women and
20 children, and your answer was:
21 "I stated that at the time. Now I don't remember it as well.
22 But this must be correct."
23 And counsel had referred you to a statement you gave on the
24 29th of September, 1995.
25 During your Popovic testimony, you were asked the same question,
1 and during that testimony - I'll just read out the excerpt - at page --
2 transcript page 2972 in cross-examination, you were asked:
3 "Q. Can you explain the reason why you changed this statement of
4 yours later saying that the separations took place that day as well, the
5 separations of men?
6 "A. At each statement, I tried to describe the situation as
7 close as possible to the truth. If anything, I state -- if anything
8 I stated is not entirely accurate, I would be happy to correct that. As
9 far as not separating the men, I've revised that."
10 And just a little bit further in the transcript, counsel asks you
11 in cross-examination:
12 "Q. Did you give a correct statement on the
13 29th of September, 1995, that the refugees on the first day of the
14 evacuation were not separated?
15 "A. That would not have been accurate."
16 Do you remember exactly what you said when you were -- when you
17 provided the Dutch debriefing statement? And that statement is dated the
18 5th of September, 1995, so before you gave the statement to the Dutch
19 military police and the ICTY. Do you recall exactly what you said at
20 that time?
21 A. No. I can't remember exactly what I stated about that time.
22 Q. Okay. Let me read that to you. So on the 5th of September,
23 1995, you say, well, the statement provides:
24 "He saw that Muslims" --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Hasan, you're reading from what exactly at this
1 moment? Is it available to the Chamber?
2 MS. HASAN: Yes, it's 65 ter 28862.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Hasan, we are usually not roaming around in
4 65 ter material but if we can have it on our screen, we can have a look
5 at it.
6 MS. HASAN: 65 ter 28862 at page 7 in English. Perhaps we
7 could --
8 JUDGE ORIE: It can be put on our screens.
9 MS. HASAN: We have a hard copy in the Dutch version for the
10 witness, if it may be handed to him.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Is the Dutch version in e-court as well? Yes.
12 Okay. Then I'll try to find it.
13 MS. HASAN: Okay. I don't believe that's a correct page in the
14 B/C/S. If we could go to page 8, please. I'm sorry, it's page 9 in the
15 B/C/S and it's still page 7 in the English. And I'll just read from the
16 very top of that -- of the English:
17 "He saw that Muslim men from 16 to 60 years were being captured
18 by the BSA units at a location 200 metres from the compound. These men
19 were taken into a house. He did not see the men go out of the house. He
20 saw that men were regularly taken out from the group of refugees. He saw
21 this take place repeatedly on 12 and 13 July."
22 Q. Witness, does that refresh your recollection, then, of what you
23 said at the time?
24 A. Yes, absolutely.
25 Q. And is that correct? Is the information correct?
1 A. I cannot answer that.
2 Q. Okay. Witness, let's move on to another topic. At yesterday's
3 transcript page 10508 - we no longer need this statement - you were asked
4 about whether you personally as a member of DutchBat helped with the
5 evacuations of those who were gathered in Potocari, and you were asked
6 whether it was your official role or did you do it of your own accord.
7 In fact this was read to you from the Tolimir transcript. It was
8 questions you were asked by General Tolimir. So I'd like to ask you
9 about this participation in the evacuations. Did you assist the refugees
10 in boarding the buses?
11 A. Yes. We were immediately present there. I never actually placed
12 people on the bus, but I did help people right next to the bus.
13 Q. And the tasks that you were engaged in on that day with respect
14 to these evacuations, could you explain what those were?
15 A. No. I don't remember exactly in words anymore what the specific
16 assignment was.
17 MS. HASAN: Mr. President, I have no further questions for the
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Hasan.
20 Mr. Lukic, have the questions in re-examination triggered any
21 need for further questions?
22 MR. LUKIC: We have nothing further.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Nothing further. Then, Witness, this concludes your
24 testimony. I'd like to thank you very much for coming to this courtroom
25 and for having answered all the questions that were put to you, questions
1 put to you by the Bench and questions put to you by the parties, and
2 I wish you a safe return home again.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 JUDGE ORIE: You may follow the usher.
5 [The witness withdrew]
6 MS. HASAN: Mr. President, there was just a question you had
7 yesterday about the initials of the witness on -- it was Exhibit P1159.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 MS. HASAN: Can I address that now or after the break?
10 JUDGE ORIE: No, perhaps it's better to address it now.
11 MS. HASAN: Okay, the exhibit itself was created during the
12 Popovic case and at that time, the witness was asked first to mark the
13 execution point. I have the transcript reference. He was asked to mark
14 where the execution took place, and then the honourable Judge Agius asked
15 him to initial right next to it. And there was some further discussion
16 and subsequently he was asked to mark the diagram -- the aerial image
17 again, this time showing the movement of the refugees as well as where
18 the VRS soldiers were standing closest to the refugees, and then the
19 honourable Judge Agius again asked him to initial it on the left-hand
20 side of the image, so that's the explanation for the two initials on the
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Explicit request by Judge Agius, yes.
23 MS. HASAN: That's correct.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Does that raise any further questions? If not, it
25 has been sufficiently explained where it comes from. I take it,
1 Mr. Lukic, that we don't have to receive any evidence on the sequence of
3 MR. LUKIC: No, Your Honour, we don't.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I think it's time for a break. We will
5 take a break, and is the Prosecution ready to call its next witness after
6 the break? And that witness will also testify in his own language, if
7 I understand it?
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ORIE: We will take a break and resume at 10 minutes to
11 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Nicolai, I presume. Mr. Nicolai,
16 before you give evidence the Rules require that you make a solemn
17 declaration, the text of which is now handed out to you in English. If
18 you prefer to make that solemn declaration in your own language, you are
19 free to do so.
20 THE WITNESS: I can do it in English.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then please.
22 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
23 whole truth and nothing but the truth.
24 WITNESS: CORNELIS HENDRICK NICOLAI
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please be seated, Mr. Nicolai.
2 Mr. Nicolai, you will first be examined by Mr. Vanderpuye.
3 Mr. Vanderpuye is counsel for the Prosecution and you will find him to
4 your right.
5 You may proceed, Mr. Vanderpuye.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you very much Mr. President. Good morning
7 to you, Your Honours.
8 Examination by Mr. Vanderpuye:
9 Q. Good morning to you, General.
10 A. Good morning.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps I address you as Mr. Nicolai, Witness. This
12 Chamber has the habit of not addressing people by rank or by title, and
13 it's not in any way an expression of depreciation for ranks and titles
14 but everyone appears before us as an individual person who gives
15 testimony of the truth.
16 Please proceed, Mr. Vanderpuye.
17 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you again, Mr. President.
18 Q. Yes, General, if you could please state your full name for the
20 A. I'm Cornelis Hendrick Nicolai.
21 Q. And sir, just by way of background, can you confirm that you have
22 given evidence before this Tribunal in the following cases: The case of
23 Dragomir Milosevic back in January of 2007; the case of -- the Popovic
24 case, rather, in November of 2007; and the Tolimir case in August of
1 A. Yes, I can confirm that.
2 Q. And for the purposes of these proceedings, can you confirm that
3 you provided a statement to the Office of the Prosecutor dated
4 18 November 1996?
5 A. Yes, I did that.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could please have 65 ter 28850 in e-court.
7 Q. Do you recognise the document that's on the screen, General?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Is that the statement that you provided to the
10 Office of the Prosecutor on the 18th of November, 1996?
11 A. That's correct.
12 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could just go to the last page, it should
13 be page 16 in e-court.
14 Q. Is that your signature that appears underneath the witness
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. General, have you had a chance to review the statement prior to
18 testifying here today?
19 A. Yes. I still had a copy in my files, and an additional copy was
20 sent to me as well.
21 Q. Can you confirm that the statement accurately reflects what you
22 said at the time and was true to your knowledge when you made it?
23 A. Yes, I can confirm that.
24 Q. And were you to be asked the same questions related to the issues
25 discussed in your statement, would you in substance give the same
2 A. Yes. I would certainly do that.
3 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I would move at this time to
4 admit the General's statement 25 -- I'm sorry, I have the number. 28850,
5 together with the associated exhibits that are listed in the exhibit
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic?
8 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, subject to the objections that were set
9 forth in our responsive filing to the Rule 92 ter motion filed on
10 2 April 2013, I have no further objections and those objections set forth
11 in that filing.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let me just check with you, Mr. Vanderpuye,
13 the associated exhibits, they do not include the ones you would like to
14 have added to your 65 ter list, or do they?
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: On the list, they are included, Mr. President.
16 They are 28851 through 28853.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And so I take it that before you want to
18 tender it, you are first seeking leave to add them to the 65 ter list.
19 MR. VANDERPUYE: Indeed, Mr. President, that's part of our 92 ter
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Ivetic, you objected to that?
22 MR. IVETIC: Yes, we did, Your Honour, in our filing, the three
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber grants leave to add the three documents
1 to the 65 ter list and all the remainder will be MFI'd, the statement
2 et cetera, and we will decide at the end of the testimony of this
3 witness. And perhaps, Madam Registrar, if you would prepare already a
4 list of numbers for the associated exhibits included the three new ones.
5 If you --
6 JUDGE FLUGGE: One correction for the transcript.
7 Mr. Vanderpuye, at page 23, line 17, I think there is a mistake. You
8 said, "They are 28851 through 28853." If that is correct then it should
9 be corrected like that.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, otherwise we would have a different problem.
11 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, the numbers reserved for those
13 documents are?
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, first maybe number for the
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, for the statement and then just a range of
17 numbers for the associated exhibits.
18 THE REGISTRAR: The statement, meaning document 65 ter 28850,
19 receives number P1165, while the associated exhibits documents received
20 numbers starting from P1166 up and including P1181, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you prepare a chart with description and
22 65 ter numbers and provisionally assigned numbers. They are all MFI'd
23 for the time being.
24 Mr. Vanderpuye, please proceed.
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I have a
1 summary I'd like to read into the record.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please do so.
3 MR. VANDERPUYE: The witness entered the Royal Netherlands Army
4 in 1965. In February 1995, he arrived in Bosnia as brigadier-general
5 serving as chief of staff of UNPROFOR's BH command under
6 Lieutenant-General Rupert Smith, until September 1995. As
7 Chief of Staff, General Nicolai was responsible for keeping the commander
8 fully aware of current situations and dealt with day to day matters. He
9 followed the daily situation, ensured that reports were timely completed
10 and forwarded accordingly and made sure the command's functions were
11 carried out.
12 Throughout his tenure, General Nicolai had contact with BiH
13 political and military leaders. He also dealt with military leaders from
14 the Bosnian Serb side, including VRS Main Staff Generals Mladic,
15 Milovanovic, Gvero and Tolimir. General Nicolai was directly involved in
16 discussions concerning Sarajevo-related events, such as freedom of
17 movement, humanitarian aid, the use of Sarajevo airport, and firing and
18 shelling incidents.
19 He recalled particularly a letter of protest that he wrote to
20 General Mladic on or about 3 July concerning Bosnian Serb mortar fire
21 into UN headquarters, for which General Mladic denied VRS responsibility.
22 He also recounted a later request to General Mladic to investigate the
23 28 August 1995 shelling of the marketplace in Sarajevo which Mladic
24 similarly denied.
25 As concerns the Srebrenica enclave, the witness had regular
1 contact with DutchBat commander Colonel Karremans and was well informed
2 about the worsening humanitarian situation. Karremans informed
3 General Nicolai about continuing problems faced by DutchBat because of
4 convoy restrictions imposed by the VRS, these affected troop rotations
5 and resupplies of equipment, parts, ammunition, food and especially fuel.
6 In June, Karremans reported that these problems had become so
7 severe that his unit could no longer effectively discharge its mandate.
8 Convoy restrictions also severely affected humanitarian organisations.
9 During the VRS attack on the enclave in July, General Nicolai spoke with,
10 among others, VRS Main Staff Generals Tolimir and Gvero on several
11 occasions between the 8th and 12th of July. He repeatedly insisted that
12 the VRS desist and withdraw. However both Main Staff generals, Gvero and
13 Tolimir, persistently and falsely denied the VRS offensive engagement.
14 On 9 July, UNPROFOR headquarters issued a written warning to
15 General Mladic in which General Nicolai took part. This was based on the
16 VRS's firing into the safe area directly targeting UN facilities and
17 causing civilian deaths during the ongoing offensive. Having reached
18 within one kilometre south of the town UNPROFOR headquarters warned that
19 the VRS should immediately withdraw at the risk of NATO close air
21 When on 10 July VRS troops attacked UN blocking positions, close
22 air support was requested but could not be delivered until the early
23 afternoon of 11 July. General Nicolai spoke with General Gvero later
24 that afternoon during which General Gvero falsely claimed that the VRS
25 was neither attacking UNPROFOR nor the civilian population.
1 Gvero further threatened that if the air attacks did not stop
2 immediately the witness would be held responsible for all further
3 developments and the destiny of the UNPROFOR soldiers and the civilian
4 population in Srebrenica.
5 Ultimately close air support was called off as the VRS had taken
6 Srebrenica and because it threatened to shell the Potocari compound at
7 enormous risk to the civilians gathered there. General Gobillard spoke
8 with General Gvero that evening and Gvero said that once the civilians
9 were on VRS territory, they would be totally safe and were welcome to
10 leave the enclave. Mladic met with Colonel Karremans that night,
11 General Nicolai noted that Karremans had been instructed to stay with the
12 civilian population and to observe that international rules were followed
13 during the course of an evacuation made likely because there was no food,
14 there was not enough medical care or even protection from the weather for
15 the people there. Following the removal of the Srebrenica population
16 from Potocari on 12th -- on the 12th and 13th of July, General Nicolai
17 remained engaged with the VRS Main Staff concerning the evacuation of the
18 wounded, remaining in Potocari and Bratunac, and concerning the
19 withdrawal of DutchBat from the enclave a few days later on 21 July.
20 Mr. President, that concludes my summary. I have a number of
21 questions for the General.
22 JUDGE ORIE: One second, Mr. Vanderpuye.
23 I usually do not comment on summaries but if you want to give the
24 public a fair report about what is found in the evidence of the witness,
25 I think that is a malcommunication between UNPROFOR headquarters and the
1 local command in Srebrenica and was part of the statement as well. And
2 also, you said if the air attacks did not stop, you had -- there was air
3 support given. That is also missing in your summary. But for the public
4 to know that that is part of the evidence as well. And that's the
5 purpose of all of it, that the public gets a fair picture of what the
6 evidence in the 92 ter statement is about.
7 Please proceed.
8 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. General, as you know your statement is from 1996. So if you
10 could just catch us up a little bit on what you've been up to. First,
11 let me ask you, are you still a member of the Dutch military?
12 A. No. I'm no longer in active service. In September 2004, I was
13 dismissed due to my age. I was discharged due to my age. From 1995
14 until I left the service, I subsequently held three positions: First,
15 I was commander of the operations staff, so operations staff officer
16 within the army; next, I was commander of the 1st Division; and in
17 conclusion, I was in commander of the training command of the Dutch army.
18 Q. Can you tell us what rank did you leave with, did you retire
20 A. I was general-major then --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me, major-general.
22 MR. VANDERPUYE:
23 Q. If I could take you back a little while to Bosnia in 1995. While
24 you were General Smith's Chief of Staff, in performing your functions,
25 did you make use of a military assistant?
1 A. Yes. That's correct. As my personal assistant, I had a military
2 assistant, Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter.
3 Q. In your dealings with the VRS Main Staff and other officers, did
4 you rely on the assistance of an interpreter?
5 A. Yes, because I don't have any command of Yugoslavian.
6 Q. Do you recall the name of the interpreter which you relied on
7 during that period of time?
8 A. Yes, I remember her first name, Svetlana which was shortened to
10 Q. I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about the humanitarian
11 aid in the enclave of Srebrenica and of course the issues facing
12 UNPROFOR, particularly resupply issues. In your statement at
13 paragraph 39 you refer to resupply difficulties facing UNPROFOR. And you
14 also talk about a particular convoy which left on the 28th of June and
15 was headed to the enclaves but arrived essentially stripped of its
16 material. Also you note in your statement that humanitarian
17 organisations also experienced similar problems. So with respect to
18 those humanitarian aid organisations, first, can you tell us what you
19 mean by that? Because it's not indicated in your statement. What
21 A. In most cases, these were UNHCR convoys because we did not have
22 much to do with convoys of civilian institutions, but we officially
23 requested permission to displace UNHCR convoys across Serb territory.
24 And to be complete, of course, also the UNPROFOR convoys, but those
25 convoys were intended to supply the military. We had to request
1 permission for those as well. Often such permission was denied and in
2 many case, after permission had been granted, the convoy would either be
3 blocked en route or only partially allowed to pass.
4 Q. I just want to ask you if you can clarify something that's been
5 interpreted into the record here. And I'm not sure that I understand you
6 so perhaps you can help me. It says, page 29, looks like line 16 or 15,
7 it says:
8 "... we officially requested permission to displace UNHCR convoys
9 across Serb territory."
10 And I'm not entirely clear on what that means. Perhaps you can
11 clarify that a little bit.
12 A. What it means is that we requested permission to move the
13 convoys. The convoys needed permission to get to their destination.
14 Q. Perhaps let me ask it this way: Did you ask permission to escort
15 UNHCR or accompany UNHCR convoys of the Main Staff of the VRS?
16 A. No. Generally, I don't remember securing the UNHCR convoys with
17 UNPROFOR troops. They moved on their own.
18 Q. Okay. But you were responsible for requesting permission for
19 their movement; is that correct?
20 A. That's correct. This happened for practical reasons because the
21 UNPROFOR HQ was in contact with the VRS contacts in Pale.
22 Q. Okay. With respect to the problems that were facing the
23 humanitarian aid organisations that you alluded to in your statement, can
24 you describe how severe, or maybe not severe, the problems were that they
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye, before we seek an answer to that
2 question, could the witness first explain the plural humanitarian aid
3 organisations, where until now I think we've heard about the UNHCR but
4 not of any other humanitarian aid organisation. Were there other such
5 organisations which were facing the same problem?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Aside from the UNHCR, assistance
7 was provided by what were known as NGOs which is short for
8 non-governmental organisations and they also brought supplies to the
9 occupied areas.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Did they face the same problems?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume they did but I can't state
12 that exactly because they didn't process their requests for movement
13 through our headquarters, so I didn't have a clear view of that.
14 MR. VANDERPUYE: Sorry, Mr. President, are you -- okay. Perhaps
15 it would be helpful to put that up on the screen. It's 65 ter 28850.
16 P1165, I'm reminded. And I think we will need to go to page 39 which
17 should be -- I mean paragraph 39, page 9 in the English and 9 in the
18 B/C/S. It will only take a minute.
19 Q. I'll just quickly refer you, if I could, to the second-to-last
20 sentence of paragraph 39, which says:
21 "At the same time, the humanitarian aid organisations were having
22 the same problems getting essential supplies into the enclaves."
23 Then you talk about fresh food. Supplies being sent to the
24 enclaves were quite often ruined at the time that it reached its
25 destination due to the same restrictive practices being placed on them by
1 the VRS. So my question is with respect to this -- just this particular
2 sentence, can you tell us what was the source of your information for
3 that conclusion or that observation?
4 A. Yes. I had no view of what was happening with the convoys
5 en route, at least the ones that were not part of UNHCR or UNPROFOR but
6 what we did have an impression of was in what measure convoys succeeded
7 in reaching the enclaves. That was subject to the observation of the
8 present -- of the troops and UNMOs present so we could see what entered
9 but I couldn't see what got stuck en route.
10 Q. So with respect to this particular observation concerning
11 humanitarian aid organisations, the information that you relied on came
12 from where?
13 A. As far as convoys were concerned that did not move under UN
14 supervision, the only information I had was from troops on the ground, so
15 those were troops present in the enclaves.
16 Q. And how did you receive that information? Was it in writing, was
17 it in -- by telephone? Was there a reporting structure in place for you
18 to get that information? If you could tell us just a little bit about
20 A. Yes. What was most important of all was daily reporting. That
21 happens in every army. At the end of the day, a daily sit-rep is drafted
22 listing the most important events of the past day, and usually concluding
23 with an assessment of the near future, so the events expected in the near
24 future. In those daily sit-reps, not only the daily fighting was stated
25 but also the most important information about the supply situation.
1 Q. Let me turn back to my question which was did you receive any
2 information as to how severe, or perhaps not, the convoy situation was or
3 the supply or humanitarian situation was in the enclave during the period
4 of time that you were in Bosnia? And I mean the Srebrenica enclave, just
5 to be clear.
6 A. Yes. The supply situation was tracked very closely. And as a
7 very clear example, in the very first week of my performance as
8 Chief of Staff I was faced with the fact that DutchBat's food supplies in
9 Srebrenica were nearly depleted. The situation that arose was such that
10 even General Smith told the VRS commander that if no permission was
11 granted to allow food convoys to pass, he would have supplies delivered
12 via the air with all possible consequence that might ensue. Later, in my
13 period, food convoys were generally allowed to pass with some regularity,
14 so that while the food situation was desperate but not such that the
15 troops were in danger of starvation. It was a different situation with
16 munitions or fuel or spare parts. Those were subject to very rigid
17 restrictions. With fuel , for example, the last fuel convoy that reached
18 Srebrenica was in late February 1995.
19 Q. I'll come back to that in just a minute.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye, could I ask you to be very precise?
21 You started your questions about convoys which the witness was able to
22 tell us UNPROFOR and UNHCR. Then you moved to the other organisations,
23 humanity organisations, where the witness told us that he couldn't say
24 what happened on the way. Now, in your last question, you're asking
25 about how severe the convoy situation was, the witness said he couldn't
1 tell us anything that happened. The supply of humanity -- or humanity
2 situation was in the enclave. And then the witness started telling us
3 again about the first series, that is supplies for UNPROFOR and not
4 humanity organisations. So I do not understand why you did not stop the
5 witness there and say, My question was still focused on humanitarian
6 organisations. Let's try to keep things clear what we are talking about.
7 Please proceed.
8 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. I'll come back to the fuel and UNPROFOR supply issues in a moment
10 as I was about to say. But in respect of the humanitarian situation,
11 that is the situation affecting the population of the enclaves
12 distinguishing from UNPROFOR, did you receive information as to the
13 impact of restrictions on humanitarian aid to the enclave with respect to
14 them? That is with respect to the population, as opposed to UNPROFOR.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye, it's implied more or less in your
16 question that the UNHCR was not given because you're still talking about
17 humanitarian organisations. We should be very clear on what was
18 monitored by the witness and what he learned from the final result in the
19 enclave. Are you including now in this last question UNHCR and the other
20 humanitarian organisations or are you focusing on one of the two?
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: I'm focusing on the humanitarian situation as a
22 whole within the enclave which may involve UNHCR or a number of other
24 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. That should then be clear for the witness,
25 the humanitarian situation as a result of problems with convoys, either
1 UNHCR or other humanitarian organisations. That is what you're asking
3 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yes, sir.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness answer the question.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The local population in
6 Srebrenica depended on aid from outside for its survival. The enclave
7 contained far more than the original population. There was an estimated
8 number of about 30.000 people in the enclave, and insufficient food was
9 available in the enclave for them. So they depended on aid from outside
10 for food, and most of that was brought in by UNHCR convoys and I assume
11 incidentally also by convoys pertaining to NGOs. As for fuel and medical
12 supplies, they depended on outside aid as well. Within the enclave, on
13 the DutchBat compound, a supply of fuel was available intended for the
14 local population. That was actually part of the UNHCR supplies, and even
15 if no more convoys arrived, fuel was distributed from that supply to the
16 local population, medical supplies was a painful situation. Wherever
17 possible DutchBat did its best it could to issue medical supplies to the
18 medical institutions present in the enclave from its own supplies, but
19 generally the shortage of food was a serious problem.
20 MR. VANDERPUYE:
21 Q. Thank you. Between the time that you arrived in February of 1995
22 and July of 1995, when the enclave ultimately fell, did the humanitarian
23 situation improve in any way?
24 A. No. The contrary is true, because of the many restrictions on
25 moving convoys, the supply situation only deteriorated.
1 Q. I want to turn your attention, if I could, to some of the issues
2 more directly affecting UNPROFOR, and at paragraph 40 of your statement,
3 you discuss the problems facing or concerning, rather, troop rotations
4 into the enclave from May onward. And let me ask the same question:
5 Between that period of time, May and July when the enclave fell, did the
6 problem concerning troop rotations abate in any way?
7 A. No. The contrary is the case. Until May, there were not really
8 any problems with relieving troops, I mean troops that had been to the
9 Netherlands for a brief period of leave. From May, problems did arise
10 there, and that's how it happened that a large number, I believe nearly
11 200 military troops, were not given permission to return to the enclave
12 after their leave.
13 Q. And was there any action that was taken by UNPROFOR in order to
14 either stem or diminish the amount of troops that were not being allowed
15 to return; in other words, in order to prevent troops from leaving the
16 enclave and then not being able to return?
17 A. Yes. Of course, the very first thing that happened, and I think
18 that is fairly logical, is that when it turned out that our troops were
19 not receiving permission to return, we suspended the leaves of the troops
20 still present in the enclave. So we did not issue any more leaves until
21 the other troops received permission to enter the enclave, and that
22 permission wasn't granted. The second thing we did, of course at all
23 levels, was that we addressed requests to the HQ of the VRS to get those
24 troops back in after all. But that did not receive a response.
25 Q. Militarily what was the effect of not granting leave to the
1 troops that were in the enclave? What was the effect on morale or the
2 effectiveness of the troops?
3 A. As for the impact on the morale of the troops I can't assess that
4 very specifically. Of course, it's unpleasant if you don't receive your
5 leave, not only for the troops but also for those at home, but what's
6 worse is that one-third of the manning strength of the troops was not
7 able to return to the enclave, and if you have to perform tasks with
8 one-third fewer troops, and originally there were about 650 troops in the
9 enclave ultimately, only 400 were left, then you understand that to -- to
10 keep an enclave of that size under control in a very hilly terrain that's
11 difficult to see properly, you understand that that mission then becomes
12 almost impossible to carry out. And we had great difficulty manning the
13 observation posts that were still present but you must understand that
14 there were 13 observation posts along the entire perimeter of the
15 enclave, and that means that you have only very limited control of what
16 is happening along those boundaries so you can't properly control who
17 enters or leaves the enclave.
18 And let me add something to that. At the start of my period as
19 Chief of Staff, mobile patrols were carried out with APCs - those are
20 armoured personnel carriers - but due to the scarce fuel, these had to be
21 discontinued fairly quickly, and only patrols on foot were performed.
22 Clearly, of course, when the number of troops diminished so much,
23 carrying out foot patrols in addition to manning the observation posts
24 was reduced to virtually nil.
25 Q. Thank you, General. Did you bring that or those concerns to the
1 attention of the VRS Main Staff, and particularly to General Mladic? And
2 when I say "you," I mean either you or your command.
3 A. Yes. This was raised at various moments. There were moments
4 when complaints arrived from the VRS headquarters accusing UNPROFOR of
5 not doing enough first to demilitarise, and to disarm the Muslim troops
6 within the enclave, and in addition that we were not properly supervising
7 the fact that the Muslim troops were expected to remain within the
8 enclave. They complained about exfiltrations from the enclave and being
9 attacked in Serb villages on Serb territory.
10 Q. Let me show you, if I could, 65 ter 19 -- 19282, please.
11 MR. VANDERPUYE: We will need to go to page 4 in the English and
12 it should be the same in the B/C/S if we've got all the pages uploaded.
13 Q. Have you had an opportunity to look at this letter a little bit,
15 A. Yes, I have, and I recognise the letter.
16 Q. And does it relate to what we've just been discussing concerning
17 the troop rotations affecting, or the limitations, rather, on troop
18 rotations affecting the Dutch Battalion?
19 A. Yes. This is not about the very last part of my previous
20 statement but what I stated before that, when I stated that we tried to
21 get permission at all levels of the VRS HQ to get these soldiers into the
22 enclave. After all, this is one example of that. It's a letter to
23 General Janvier, the commander of UNPF, so the highest of the commanders
24 in former Yugoslavia -- excuse me, a letter from General Janvier. He's
25 referring to the consequences of the reduced manning strength and
1 urgently appeals to the VRS HQ for permission to admit those 170 troops
2 to the enclave after all.
3 Q. Thank you, General.
4 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President I move to admit this document.
5 MR. IVETIC: No objection.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, I will just make one correction
8 considering that I reserved numbers up to P1181, well, one of the
9 documents that numbers were reserved for was already admitted in
10 evidence. Therefore, reserve numbers are up and including P1180. So
11 consequently, the document 19282 will receive number P1181, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President, may I continue?
14 JUDGE ORIE: You may.
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you.
16 Q. Is this letter, for lack of a better term, typical of the type of
17 letters that would be sent to the Main Staff or to General Mladic
18 personally regarding issues affecting the Dutch Battalion or UNPROFOR?
19 A. Yes. That was done with some regularity. Of course, the
20 subjects varied. This concerned the rotation of troops who had been on
21 leave but the same held true for the supply situation, blocking convoys,
22 sometimes it was about fighting incidents. If at a certain point serious
23 problems arose, this was handled not only orally over the phone but also
24 through letters or submission of protests or complaints that were
25 conveyed to the headquarters of the parties concerned.
1 Q. We can see in this document that General Janvier says that almost
2 daily since 27 April there had been refusals to allow clearances for the
3 rotations of UN personnel. Does that comport with your recollection of
4 the circumstances at the time this letter was issued?
5 A. Yes. That corresponds with my recollections.
6 Q. Let me just go to the area of resupply that you spoke about a
7 little bit earlier, and that was -- concerns statement paragraph 39. You
8 mentioned just now and also in your statement that the resupplies were
9 affected by convoy restrictions including food, ammunition, equipment and
10 things like that. Can you tell us in terms of the degree of the
11 restrictions, for example, what percentage would you say or could you say
12 of what was needed was actually getting through for the troops to be able
13 to carry out their duties effectively pursuant to their mandate?
14 A. I can't give you an exact answer but from what I remember,
15 somewhat less than half of what was really needed entered the enclaves.
16 Q. Let me ask you, in terms of fuel restrictions particularly, in
17 your statement at paragraph 38, you refer -- well you say, rather, that
18 you were in contact with Colonel Karremans and that fuel shortages were
19 in a desperate situation and denied right up until July. And at a
20 certain point Colonel Karremans provided a report saying that his unit
21 had not become fully operational or, rather, could not become fully
22 operational because of them. My question is: Did you raise this
23 specific issue of fuel restrictions with General Mladic or the
24 VRS Main Staff?
25 A. Yes. As I've stated previously, that was raised on various
1 occasions. One excellent opportunity to do this was when the VRS HQ
2 complained about UNPROFOR's poor performance of duties. If they
3 complained about attacks by Muslims on Serb territory, then of course we
4 were able to reply that we had little view of that one because we didn't
5 have freedom of movement, but especially because due to fuel shortages we
6 were unable to patrol adequately and keep a clear view of movements
7 within the enclave, so it was very difficult for us to check whether any
8 Muslim troops left the enclave.
9 Q. Let me show you, if I could, 65 ter 17891. And then I've got
10 just a couple of questions for you about this one. First, do you
11 recognise your signature at the bottom of the page?
12 A. Yes, that is my signature.
13 Q. And we can see here that the addressee is General Ratko Mladic;
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. And this letter is dated 26 June 1995. I have just a couple of
17 questions regarding it. The first relates to the very last sentence of
18 the first paragraph where you say: I warned you of such consequences
19 several times before. And in particular, you're referring to the effect
20 of fuel restrictions concerning the ability to effective patrolling --
21 the ability of DutchBat to effectively patrol the area. When you refer
22 here in this letter to several times before, about how many times before
23 had you made this case to General Mladic?
24 A. I really wouldn't know that. I didn't keep an exact record, but
25 if you figure that there was almost weekly contact with VRS generals,
1 then this subject came up in several of those contacts, but I couldn't
2 give you exact numbers as to how many times that happened.
3 Q. Fair enough. The second question that I have for you relates to
4 the second paragraph, where you have asked for VRS troops to avoid or to
5 cease basically targeting UNPROFOR OPs. Do you see that there in the
6 second-to-last or rather third-to-last sentence? It starts with, "On the
7 other hand ..."
8 A. Yes. I've seen that.
9 Q. And to your recollection, it appears in the letter that there was
10 certain activity directed against UNPROFOR OPs by the VRS. Can you tell
11 us what the result of your complaint, observation, was in this letter to
12 General Mladic?
13 A. Well, as with most, or I could in fact say all complaints, the
14 response from the VRS was denying that UNPROFOR troops, as well as the
15 OPs, were attacked by VRS troops. Nonetheless, they suffered regular
16 shellings, sometimes from grenades but also ground attacks, and until
17 11 June, this was denied very strongly by the contact persons concerned.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I would move to admit this
20 document as well.
21 MR. IVETIC: No objection.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Document 17891 receives number P1182,
24 Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
1 Mr. Vanderpuye, I'm looking at the clock. We are close to the
2 moment where we should take a break. Would that be --
3 MR. VANDERPUYE: It would be a great time. I'm about to go to a
4 different topic.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Then I would first like to invite the witness to
6 follow the usher and leave the courtroom.
7 [The witness stands down]
8 JUDGE ORIE: We will take a break and we will resume at quarter
9 past 12.00.
10 --- Recess taken at 11.54 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.21 p.m.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Vanderpuye.
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: As the witness is being brought in, I've looked
16 over the transcript and also looked at my outline and I wanted to let you
17 know that I'm running a bit slower than I anticipated. I understand that
18 I've used about an hour. I'll try to pick up the pace during this
19 session, but with your permission I would like to be able to update you
20 on what my situation is at the end of the session, so that I can give you
21 at least a reasonable approximation, if I'll need additional time. But
22 in any event, I will not need a substantial amount of time, like another
23 hour or something, but I just want to let you know that ahead of time.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you're encouraged to see whether you can get
25 back on track again so that your report at the end of this session is of
1 comfort to the Chamber rather than to alarm the Chamber, Mr. Vanderpuye.
2 You may proceed.
3 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yes, good afternoon, General. At your
6 statement, and this concerns the events the attack on the enclave which
7 you indicated commenced on 6 July, at your statement in paragraph 43 you
8 describe the surrounding attack, and you describe also the killing of a
9 gunner, a Dutch gunner by the ABiH, when passing through ABiH Defence
10 lines. First let me just ask you generally if you recall the event.
11 A. Yes. I still remember it like it happened yesterday.
12 Q. Do you remember the name of the gunner, by any chance?
13 A. Yes. That was Raviv van Rensen.
14 Q. You refer to a document which is a note of a conversation - if
15 I could have 65 ter 5747 in e-court, please - it's a conversation, a note
16 of that conversation, taken down by Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter.
17 MR. VANDERPUYE: I'm sorry, it's P1170. It's MFI'd, okay. Thank
18 you, Janet. All right. I think we have it in e-court now.
19 Q. Do you recognise the document, General?
20 A. Yes, absolutely.
21 Q. Okay. And with respect to this document, we can see in the
22 paragraph, unfortunately we don't have a better copy of this, but the
23 paragraph just below the evidence registration number, towards the bottom
24 of the screen, and it refers to the BiH, LO, is that liaison officer?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. Okay. Was interested in the exact locations of the OPs in
2 subject. And it refers to OP Foxtrot, OP Uniform, and OP Sierra. With
3 respect to the soldier, the gunner, that was killed, can you just tell us
4 briefly what the relationship of that event was to these OPs as we see
5 reflected in this third paragraph of this document?
6 A. Yes. First I have to correct one thing, the time of the phone
7 conversation indicated at the top is incorrect because the incident
8 occurred in the course of Saturday afternoon so the conversation must
9 have taken place after that time. So it would more likely be 1830 hours
10 than 0830 hours. So -- but otherwise, the text is entirely accurate.
11 The relationship between the various incidents is as follows: On
12 Saturday afternoon OP Foxtrot was attacked, and was shot at with small
13 calibre arms and by tanks, it was shelled by tanks, so the commander of
14 the observation post for the safety of his soldiers, found it necessary
15 to leave the OP, he had permission to do so, he then retreated with the
16 crew on his vehicle and wanted to retreat to the compound in Potocari.
17 The BiH troops did not like it that UNPROFOR was leaving the observation
18 post and wanted to block the retreat of those soldiers, so they shot at
19 the vehicle en route to Potocari, and I believe that they even threw a
20 hand grenade at it, and as a consequence the gunner was hit and also died
21 en route to the compound. Now, how this relates to the other OPs in the
22 immediate surroundings of Foxtrot Uniform were involved, these were not
23 fully equipped observation posts, as we had throughout the enclave up to
24 that point. No, they were improvised positions nearby OP Foxtrot,
25 positions taken to be able to continue the tasks of OP Foxtrot from that
2 Q. Okay. Did you bring to the attention of the VRS Main Staff the
3 circumstances or rather, yes, the circumstances concerning the
4 surrounding of the UN OPs and the death of the Dutch Battalion gunner,
5 van Rensen?
6 A. Yes. Of course, we explained that it was out of extreme
7 necessity that there was a withdrawal from that observation post and we
8 urgently requested that should this happen again elsewhere, that there be
9 no shooting at the retreating troops.
10 Q. We note again -- I just want to note for the record that in the
11 second paragraph of this document, it refers to 1515 hours attack
12 essentially on DutchBat APC from BSA fire, and I'd like to show you an
13 intercept dated 8 July 1995 and it's timed at 1530 hours. It's
14 65 ter 25115.
15 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, just for the record, this is listed as
16 being under seal on my list that I was provided by the Prosecution.
17 JUDGE ORIE: For one reason or another, our computer screens
18 stopped functioning immediately, perhaps due to this but we have no
19 computer evidence on our screens. Could that be fixed? Yes.
20 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yes, Mr. President, Mr. Ivetic is right, it
21 should be under seal.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then not to be shown to the public.
23 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you. Okay. There we have it.
24 Q. General, this is the intercept I was referring to, and as you can
25 see, it's an intercept dated --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Before we deal with this, could I ask one additional
2 question? Witness, you were asked whether you brought to the attention
3 of the VRS Main Staff the circumstances concerning the surrounding of the
4 operation -- of the observation posts and the death, and then you said of
5 course we explained that it was -- you talked about necessity and that if
6 it would happen again, that there be no shooting at the retreating
7 troops. But it was not the VRS that had shot at the retreating troops,
8 wasn't it?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. It was the ABiH, the Muslim
10 troops, shot that gunner.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Did you bring it to their attention as well?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, the phone
13 conversation or the previous message displayed on the screen concerned
14 conversation with the BiH liaison officer.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. My attention is drawn to the fact that since
16 I'm listening to the Dutch channel, that sometimes I'm too quick in
17 answering. Therefore, the transcript is not complete but I think nothing
18 essential is missing at this moment.
19 Please proceed.
20 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. General, first, do you recognise the conversation that is shown
22 in this intercept? As you can see, it purports to be a recorded
23 conversation between UN [Realtime transcript read in error "you and"]
24 General Nicolai and one of General Mladic's deputies, 8 July, 1530 hours.
25 JUDGE FLUGGE: Perhaps you misspoke, Mr. Vanderpuye, "between you
1 and General Nicolai," you are recorded as having said. Perhaps you
2 should check that again.
3 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't say that.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE:
6 Q. Let me just clarify that. This purports to be a conversation
7 between UN General Nicolai and one of General Mladic's deputies, at
8 1530 hours, July 8. Does this conversation seem familiar to you?
9 A. Yes. And as far as I can tell from that brief excerpt, it
10 corresponds with a conversation I had in the course of that afternoon
11 with, I believe, General Tolimir.
12 Q. What I'd like to show you is page 2 of this document and it will
13 be just about six lines up from the bottom in the B/C/S, at the top of
14 the paragraph -- at the top of, rather, page 2 in the English, X, who you
15 believe is General Tolimir says: I'm going to check what this is about,
16 I'm not informed about the problem the general was talking about, but in
17 the course of the day Muslim forces carried out attacks in that part of
18 the front towards us.
19 Can you tell us a little bit about this? First, in the reference
20 here where General Tolimir says, I'm not informed about the problem the
21 general was talking about, who was he talking about?
22 A. As far as I can remember, he raised the fact that the BiH Muslim
23 troops in the enclave were using six UNPROFOR armoured personnel
24 carriers. Well, of course, that was entirely unknown to me because it
25 was such an absurd accusation that I couldn't possibly attribute any
1 credibility to it, but the accusation was made, and I believe I said that
2 we would inquire and investigate how this misunderstanding could arise,
3 but I can still assert that it's absurd to assume that the UN would lend
4 military equipment to one of the warring parties.
5 Q. During this conversation, if we go back to page 1 in the English,
6 it refers right at the very first paragraph to Svetlana. It says: We
7 could not hear General Nicolai and his interpreter Svetlana at all.
8 Do you recall engaging in this conversation with General Tolimir
9 through the use of the interpreter Svetlana that you referred to at the
10 beginning of your evidence?
11 A. Yes. All my conversations with the warring parties were with the
12 assistance of this interpreter. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to
13 communicate with them.
14 Q. And so where General Tolimir refers to "the general," "I want to
15 say to the general," or "the problem the general is talking about," is he
16 using that term because he's speaking to Svetlana and referring to you?
17 A. Yes, that's correct.
18 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President I'd like to tender this document,
19 65 ter 25115 under seal.
20 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, we maintain our objection to this
21 document as we do to the whole series of these types of intercepts.
22 There are many authenticity problems with the same that are evident from
23 the document itself including the fact that if they couldn't hear the
24 general and Svetlana, how do they know that it was the general and
25 Svetlana on the other line when it's not mentioned in the document. Also
1 the document purports to not be complete. There is no conversation
2 recorded from the side of the UNPROFOR and the closing part to this
3 document indicates that it is not complete and some other individual is
4 bringing this document. So we stand by our objection as to these types
5 of intercepts without having the individuals who actually recorded the
6 intercepts to explain these anomalies. They are not reliable and do not
7 meet the standards for admission under Rule 89.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. One of the reasons
10 why I had the General look at the document himself is because he's a
11 participant in the conversation. There is probably no better form of
12 authenticity than to have a participant in the conversation attest to the
13 fact of the conversation and its circumstances. So I think it is
14 admissible under Rule 89(C) whether it's complete or not, and certainly
15 that's a matter that Mr. Ivetic can address on cross-examination.
16 JUDGE ORIE: It doesn't fix the incompleteness, does it,
17 Mr. Vanderpuye?
18 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yes, Mr. President, I think the witness said -
19 I'll have to find it in the transcript - but I think he said that it was
20 accurate to his recollection. If you give me just a moment I'll look
21 that up and see if I can find it.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
23 The Chamber has decided it will MFI the document.
24 Madam Registrar.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document 25115 receives number P1183 under seal,
1 Your Honours.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And it has the status of marked for identification
3 and keeps that status for the time being.
4 Please proceed, Mr. Vanderpuye.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thanks, Mr. President. Just for the record, we
6 have managed to locate something at least relevant to this issue and that
7 is at page 47, lines 18 through 20. The witness said:
8 "As far as I can tell from the brief excerpt, it corresponds with
9 a conversation I had in the course of that afternoon with, I believe,
10 General Tolimir."
11 I'll move on to the next document. Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. In your statement at paragraph 44, General, you indicate that
13 General Tolimir was the only officer available on 8 July. So first,
14 I would like to know when you made the call at 1530 on 8 July, was it
15 General Tolimir that you were looking to speak to or someone else?
16 A. Well, ordinarily, and this is how it happened, in 90 per cent of
17 the cases the conversation was from one Chief of Staff to the other
18 Chief of Staff, so ordinarily my regular counterpart at the VRS
19 headquarters was General Milovanovic, but he can't be present 24/7 so now
20 and then he was replaced by others. I believe, from early July, I did
21 not reach General Milovanovic on the phone anymore and he was
22 consistently replaced by somebody else. In this case, it was
23 General Tolimir but that mattered little to me. What mattered was that
24 I had a counterpart at sufficient level so that at the other end I would
25 be given direct answers and decisions could be taken, and
1 General Tolimir's rank was definitely sufficient for that.
2 Q. Okay. The document that I just showed you, the intercept P1183,
3 introduces the intercept saying that General Nicolai was looking for
4 General Mladic and since he was not there a person X responded. Does
5 that comport with your recollection with respect to this specific
6 intercept, that is the one at 1530 hours on 8 July 1995 that I was just
8 A. Well, I believe that that Saturday, my only contact was with
9 General Tolimir, and I don't remember -- which I do remember about 10
10 June when in the evening at a certain point I spoke over the phone with
11 somebody who was not a general. But I think that on the 8th and the 9th,
12 I was consistently in contact first with General Tolimir and later on, on
13 the 11th, with General Gvero. But that's easiest to check based on the
14 reports of the phone calls I had with those concerned because they list
15 exactly whom I spoke with.
16 Q. Okay. And those are the notes that Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter
17 took that are referred to in your statement; is that right?
18 A. Yes, that's correct. In this period, when the situation became
19 so urgent, reports were drafted of all those phone conversations by my
20 personal staff officer.
21 Q. All right. If I could just quickly show you another intercept,
22 it is 65 ter 25116, it's dated 8 July also, and the time of this one is
23 1725 hours. This should probably be under seal as well. It should be.
24 This intercept is number 513 which by the way is the next in sequence
25 from the one I just showed you by the CSB, SDB Tuzla. And it indicates
1 here a time of 1725 hours and starts with someone from the UN was looking
2 for Mladic and since he wasn't there another officer, X, from the
3 aggressor army, responded. About halfway down the page, we can see here
4 a reference to van Rensen and it's written down with two Ss. Do you see
5 that, General?
6 A. Yes, I can see that, yes.
7 Q. Okay. And do you recall first whether or not you were a
8 participant in this conversation at the time?
9 A. Yes. That afternoon, I conducted various phone conversations,
10 not only with LSO of the BiH but also with the VRS, that was
11 General Tolimir, of course about the events, the attack on the OP, but
12 also about its consequences, because after Private van Rensen had been
13 shot to death the problem arose as to how to evacuate his remains, and we
14 wanted to transport those remains back to the Netherlands as quickly as
15 possible but we wanted to evacuate them by helicopter to get them out of
16 the enclave, and of course I needed permission from the VRS HQ. And
17 I think that that's what this phone call was about.
18 Q. Thank you, General.
19 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I would similarly tender this
21 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, we would also object to this one on the
22 same grounds. Again, it is only half of a conversation. We don't know
23 how the entity involved recorded this information. And there is also on
24 the second page in the English again a discussion that the -- someone
25 from the UN who was completely inaudible, so we could state that the
1 reliability and probative value of this document is put in question by
2 these anomalies unless the persons who took these intercepts testify and
3 explain the same to the satisfaction of the Chamber. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. I do have also to
6 tender with this document the audio, while there is an audio version of
7 it. It's the same intercept except it's the actual tape recording. It's
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye, talking about these intercepts, is
10 my recollection well that they are part of a written motion for admission
11 from the bar table? And if I am not mistaken, I signed a decision on
12 that motion this morning, and I see that 25115 and 25116 were part of
13 that motion. Now I have to check whether we admitted them or not. Of
14 course, the parties couldn't know, I take it that it is filed, but
15 therefore, that's perhaps not a reason not to decide on the matter at
16 this very moment and even for this one, not to assign a number depending
17 on whether that decision is filed or is not filed. So therefore I'm a
18 bit hesitant, both for 25115 and 25116, to say anything further at this
19 moment until we have checked it.
20 MR. VANDERPUYE: I'm just wondering whether or not if it's marked
21 for identification -- you're right it would have to be assigned a number
22 in any event.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Then we would have to change the decision later.
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: It's clear for the record with the 65 ter number
1 JUDGE ORIE: There might be a need to vacate that number at a
2 later stage.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye, please proceed. Meanwhile we will
5 later verify whether P1183 should be vacated or not.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 Q. In your statement at paragraph 44, you describe a telephone
8 conversation with the VRS headquarters of 1945 hours, also on
9 8 July 1995. As you indicated previously, this is indicated in a note of
10 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter which has a 65 ter number of 5591. What I'd
11 like to do is to just put that into e-court just for a moment. It's
12 P1167 MFI'd. And once we've looked at that I'd like to show you another
13 intercept very quickly. This is the note that you've indicated in your
14 statement. And we can see here that this is an information that was
15 passed to the BSA or VRS headquarters by you at the time indicated
16 1945 hours on 8 July. In it, there is a quote written down by
17 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter that: I talked to General Tolimir this
18 afternoon about the BSA attack on OP Foxtrot. Do you recall this
19 particular note and conversation?
20 A. Yes. I remember that.
21 Q. All right. Just for the Chamber's benefit, I would just like to
22 refer to a couple of items that I'd like us to keep in mind, and one is
23 the reference to the OP Foxtrot, the other to UNPROFOR positions, about
24 500 metres west of OP Foxtrot, because I'd like to show this intercept
25 now which is 65 ter 25051. This is an intercept that was provided by
1 Croatian authorities or from Croatian authorities, the military. And in
2 this particular intercept we can see that it refers to
3 "General Micolai" - do you see that at the top? - and also to interpreter
4 Svetlana. Do you see that, General?
5 A. Yes, I can see that.
6 Q. And it says, S, meaning Svetlana, and it writes -- it says:
7 I spoke to General Tolimir this afternoon regarding an attack you carried
8 out at the observation post located at the south of the Srebrenica
9 enclave close to Zeleni Jadar. Do you recall -- do you recall this, one;
10 and, two, is the OP post located at the south of the Srebrenica enclave
11 OP Foxtrot?
12 A. Well, it's difficult for me to answer all of that so
13 specifically. If I look at the text, it corresponds almost exactly with
14 the notes that Colonel de Ruiter made of my conversation, so I think it's
15 the same message; that's my complaint that after OP Foxtrot was attacked
16 subsequently, the positions 500 metres to the west of that observation
17 post were also attacked because I was objecting strenuously to that.
18 Q. Okay. I'd just like to focus you on -- looks like it's about
19 10 or 15 lines right about the middle of the page where it says "so, your
20 forces circled two UNPROFOR positions." Do you see that?
21 You'll have to answer yes for the record.
22 A. Yes, I see that.
23 Q. And as I read now from 65 ter 5591 I'd like you to take a look at
24 the intercept and it says:
25 "Although General Tolimir promised that UNPROFOR and UN positions
1 would not be attacked, now two UNPROFOR positions about 500 metres west
2 of OP Foxtrot have been surrounded by your troops."
3 A. Yes, I read that.
4 Q. The next thing Svetlana says in this intercept is -- in the
5 intercept is, "It's happening again. I strongly protest and ask you to
6 withdraw your forces immediately." In this reference to "it's happening
7 again," what does that mean?
8 A. Well, in the afternoon, we protested about the attack of
9 OP Foxtrot and now UN positions are being attacked again. That's the
10 impression conveyed by it's happening again.
11 Q. Okay. And just for the record, Svetlana says, "I protest most
12 strongly and request that the troops withdraw from there immediately,"
13 which you can see in this intercept just at the line we have just been
14 reading where it says, "I strongly protest and ask you to withdraw your
15 forces from there immediately."
16 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I'm not sure how to deal with
17 this. I have the same application, but to the extent that the motion is
18 being decided I think I'll leave it at that and move on to my next
20 JUDGE ORIE: Is it part of that motion?
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: I can't tell you off the top of my head,
22 Mr. President. I apologise for that. I can check it though at the
24 JUDGE ORIE: The number was, the 65 ter number was?
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: 25051.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I'll let you know in a second. Please proceed
3 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. Just for the record
4 also, this intercept is timed at 1941 hours, 8 July; whereas 65 ter 5591,
5 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter's note, is timed four minutes later, 1945
7 Q. General, I'd like to take you to 9 July and very quickly at
8 paragraph 46 of your statement, you refer to a report that
9 Colonel Karremans sent to your command on or about 9 July.
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: For the record that's 65 ter 5750. If we could
11 have that in e-court very briefly. I'm sorry, it was MFI'd as P1152.
12 Q. General, do you recognise this document?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Is this the report that was sent to your command by
15 Colonel Karremans?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. I'd like to go to page 2 in the English and the B/C/S, please.
18 In this document, you can see that Colonel Karremans provides background
19 information concerning the situation --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye, in order to avoid any
21 misunderstandings, 65 ter 05750 was marked for identification as P1173,
22 not P1152.
23 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. General, in this document, you can see that Colonel Karremans
25 provides background of the situation, describes the attack at page 1, and
1 then he talks about the situation on page 2 concerning the OP crews, the
2 APCs that you refer to, and the situation around the enclave and
3 describes the shelling of the Swedish shelter project in the south. Does
4 that all comport with your recollection of this -- of the events?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. At paragraph 9, which is what I'd like to refer you to
7 specifically, Colonel Karremans writes of the BSA, or VRS, that if they
8 manage to reach their objective, which in my opinion they can in due
9 time, then two possible goals are left, firstly the conquest of the
10 entire enclave, and secondly the enhancement of the occupation of the
11 southern part.
12 So my questions are these: One, did your command share
13 Colonel Karremans' assessment in this respect?
14 A. Yes. That's basically correct, but we spent some days guessing
15 at what the ultimate objective was of the attack by the VRS, and there
16 were two options: One, the VRS would settle for merely occupying the
17 southern section of the enclave, which was crossed by an important supply
18 route; or they wanted to take the entire enclave, and that would yield
19 the benefit that they would no longer need any troops controlling the
20 surroundings of the enclave. It's always very difficult to ascertain
21 what the actual objective is. For a very long time we thought that the
22 VRS would settle for just the southern section of the enclave, but in
23 retrospect, we were mistaken.
24 Q. Let me ask you with respect to paragraph 10 concerning
25 Colonel Karremans' assessment of the use of close air support which you
1 can see he's indicated there that it was not feasible yet. And he lays
2 out a couple of reasons for that. Did your command share his assessment
3 with respect to the use of close air support at this particular time, and
4 this is on 9 July?
5 A. Yes. I'd like to remind you what Colonel Karremans based this
6 assessment on. When air force had been used previously by the UN - I'm
7 referring to the incidents on 25 and 26 May - the VRS responded very
8 violently to the air strikes, and all enclaves were heavily shelled and
9 shot at by the VRS, specifically there was a blood bath in the city of
10 Tuzla in which over 80 civilians were killed and a few hundred injured.
11 Colonel Karremans was worried that if the UN were to use air power in
12 Srebrenica, similar response would follow and all the means available to
13 the VRS surrounding the enclave would be used to shoot at the enclave
14 with disastrous consequences for both the civilian population and
15 possibly the military troops within the enclave as well. That's why he
16 said if we were to consider using air power, then we would need to attack
17 all -- attack and neutralise all positions surrounding the enclave
18 immediately to prevent such a response from being carried out.
19 Q. And so was Lieutenant Karremans' assessment informed by the
20 policy undertaken by the UNPROFOR command concerning guidance following
21 these air strikes, that you refer to in paragraph 35 of your statement?
22 If you need to, I can put that up on the screen to help you remember, or
23 if you can remember, please let us know.
24 A. I don't fully understand your question. What I can say about
25 this is that as UNPROFOR staff, we understood this assessment by
1 Karremans, but I might add immediately that close air support would
2 exclude this opportunity to shoot all surrounding positions at the same
3 time. You can use close air support only against weapons being deployed
4 at that time. So you can use it retroactively but not preventively. And
5 then because otherwise you're not referring to close air support but air
6 strikes, and that was not within the competence of UNPROFOR or UNPF to
7 carry that out. General Janvier could sanction close air support but
8 only the UN HQ in New York could approve air strikes.
9 Q. Okay. Thank you for that clarification. At your statement, at
10 paragraph 47, you note a series of phone calls again with
11 General Tolimir, the first of which occurs at 1230, I believe, 9 July.
12 And in particular you refer to the note taken by
13 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter - which for the benefit of the Chamber is
14 65 ter 5748 - if we could have that up on the screen for just a moment.
15 It is MFI'd as P1171. Okay. First do you recognise this document? It's
16 dated 9 July, timed at 1230 hours and signed by
17 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter.
18 A. Yes. I recognise the document, and I recognise the signature of
19 my military assistant.
20 Q. And in this document, we can see that it refers to a telephone
21 conversation between you and General Tolimir and it refers to a number of
22 items that I'll quickly point out, one is General Tolimir expressing his
23 condolences for the death of the soldier in Srebrenica. Is that
24 Mr. van Rensen as you indicated previously?
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. The second is in the third paragraph: General Nicolai concluded
2 that he expected his soldiers would be allowed to return to their base
3 today. Do you recall what that concerned?
4 A. Yes. There were soldiers that had manned observation posts that
5 had been attacked by the VRS, earlier on that day, when they were shot at
6 by the BiH, that's the Muslim soldiers, when they were retreating, the
7 soldiers preferred to surrender to the VRS, so to the Serbs, that
8 happened in several cases. Those soldiers were subsequently transported
9 away, I believe, to Bratunac. My request refers to that. I ask
10 General Tolimir whether he could enable these soldiers to return as
11 quickly as possible to the compound in the Srebrenica enclave.
12 Q. Okay. And in the last paragraph we see two things I'd like to
13 note. One is that General Tolimir responded that he was not aware of his
14 subordinate commanders obstructing the case evac or casualty evacuation
15 by road. Does that refer to Mr. van Rensen?
16 A. Yes. An agreement had been reached about transporting the
17 remains of Private Rensen. He would be brought to a spot where the
18 helicopter would land and during the transport, along the road, the
19 convoy was blocked and that's what this discussion with General Tolimir
20 is about, and he says that he'll check into that and will order that the
21 transport be continued.
22 Q. Okay. I'd like to show you an intercept, 25 -- no, I'm sorry,
23 let me give you the -- 25118. That's the 65 ter number. It's the same
24 date, 9 July, timed at 1240 hours, ten minutes later than the time
25 indicated on the note. And here we can see that this is a -- should be
1 under seal as well. I'm sorry if I didn't mention that before.
2 [Prosecution counsel confer]
3 MR. VANDERPUYE: I apologise, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye, we are close to a break anyhow. I
5 don't know how much time you need to start with this. Otherwise we will
6 take the break first.
7 MR. VANDERPUYE: It should take me two minutes, hopefully, to get
8 through this, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Then we take those two minutes and take a break
11 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. As you can see, General, this is an intercept timed at 1240 as
13 I indicated. It says, once again, General Nicolai was inaudible. If we
14 go to page 2 in the English, yes, then we will see X speaking and saying:
15 Good afternoon to you, greetings to you and General Nicolai too. And the
16 next time you see your name in the transcript, about midway through, it
17 reads, the general -- I'm sorry: Once more, regards to General Nicolai.
18 Please accept my condolences for the death of the UN staff member in
19 Srebrenica. The last paragraph of the last five lines or so of the page
20 it says: I'm not informed that my commanders prevented the evacuation of
21 the body by land and would ask general to send by land his team towards
22 Bratunac and I would immediately order that they are accepted and
23 escorted to Zvornik and says, as he does in the note, I'm going to issue
24 necessary orders immediately so that the Muslims cannot listen to it and
25 create obstacles. Does this comport with your recollection of the
1 conversation that is in the note recorded by
2 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter, 1230, 9 July?
3 A. Yes. That text corresponds almost exactly. These transcriptions
4 as are being projected now are likely to be the literal report, de Ruiter
5 always drafted a summary of the contents of a conversation. And the time
6 is roughly the time at which the conversation took place. If you wanted
7 to be very precise, you would need to indicate the start and the end of
8 the phone call, but for understandable reasons, that didn't happen. So
9 this corresponds with the message shown previously with respect to the
10 time as well.
11 Q. Thank you, general.
12 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President I indicated a little earlier that
13 I would need a little bit more time and I think I --
14 JUDGE ORIE: How much more would you need?
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: I would say probably not more than a half an
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic one of the concerns that the Chamber
19 might have is whether we would be able to conclude the testimony of this
20 witness tomorrow. If Mr. Vanderpuye would need another half an hour,
21 that would take, then, almost the whole of today's session. Would you be
22 able to cross-examine the witness in tomorrow's session or would that not
23 be sufficient time?
24 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I have four hours of cross-examination.
25 I believe that we do not have four hours tomorrow of court time. I think
1 the math is just under.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye, the Chamber grants you ten, at a
4 maximum 15 minutes after the break, so therefore reorganise your further
5 examination. Witness, we take a break. Mr. Nicolai, you may follow the
7 [The witness stands down]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Meanwhile, I put on the record that 65 ter 25115,
9 25116, 25118, and 25051, that's four documents, are all part of the
10 decision which is meanwhile filed although not yet distributed, in which
11 these documents are -- it is distributed now as well, I do understand.
12 Therefore P1183 can be vacated. Mr. Vanderpuye, you also talked about an
13 audio, 25116A. I do not know -- as a matter of fact, I can't see whether
14 that's covered by the decision, most likely not. So we'll check that
15 first and then the tendering of 25116A is pending.
16 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate that.
17 I just wanted to know if there is a way for me to know -- never mind,
18 I'll sort it out. Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We take a break and resume at 20 minutes to
21 --- Recess taken at 1.23 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 1.41 p.m.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
24 Mr. Vanderpuye, I'll be rather strict. Everyone is aware that we lost an
25 hour this week. Everyone is also aware that Dutch interpreters are there
1 for two days so we should all make serious efforts to stay well within
2 the time limits. Perhaps in this respect, Mr. Ivetic, also in relation
3 to making use of our time, if a witness has not told us that he has
4 received special training in VRS structures, et cetera, the Chamber will
5 not assume that he will have, what has not been said by the witness, and
6 it's a line of questioning which is repeatedly appearing. Therefore, if
7 it has not been positively established, the Chamber will not assume
8 anything in that respect. Mr. Vanderpuye, you have until 5 minutes to
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
11 [The witness takes the stand]
12 Q. General, I'll skip up to 11 July. We left off at 9 July and your
13 statement does mention a series of conversations that you had with the
14 members of the Main Staff but particularly General Tolimir and
15 General Gvero so let me move to the 11th of July very quickly. In your
16 statement, at paragraph 35, you refer to a conversation that you had with
17 General Gvero, 1615 hours on the 11th. In that paragraph of your
18 statement you say that:
19 "He threatened me by saying that I would be held responsible for
20 all further developments, the destiny of my men and the civilian
21 population in Srebrenica."
22 And you refer specifically to Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter's note
23 corresponding to that time.
24 I'll show you 65 ter 20918, which again is an intercepted
25 communication and should be under seal. This intercept is, as you can
1 see dated 11 July 1995. The time indicated is 1610 hours, report number
2 534, and it begins with an introduction of a conversation between
3 General Gvero and General Nicolai who we did not hear. And the
4 conversation goes as follows: The first thing I'd like to draw your
5 attention to is General Gvero's statement that it's not true that our
6 forces, meaning VRS forces, attacked UN soldiers. Is that something that
7 was consistent with your knowledge of events on the ground at the time
8 that you had the conversation with General Gvero. First, if you can
9 confirm that you had the conversation as indicated in the intercept?
10 A. Excuse me, yes, I conducted that conversation with General Gvero
11 and even now after 18 years I am still angry that there was a situation
12 that the UN had been attacked by VRS troops for five consecutive days and
13 still on the afternoon of the 11th, General Gvero firmly denied that that
14 was the case.
15 Q. If you go a little bit further down the page in this intercept,
16 he says, that is General Gvero, it's not appropriate to look for excuses
17 like this to attack our forces unprovoked. First, did the UN attack VRS
18 forces and second, was -- if there was such an attack, was it unprovoked,
19 according to your recollection of the events on the ground at the time?
20 A. Yes. General Gvero refers to the fact that General Rensen,
21 excuse me, Private Rensen was killed by the Muslims and he also alleges
22 that the soldiers that surrendered to the VRS, the soldiers that fled
23 their observation posts, he says that they were well treated by the VRS
24 and that's also true. But he firmly denies that they were attacking and
25 shooting at observation posts for several days directly firing at them
1 and with other arms. It's not for nothing that they left the observation
2 posts. He is simply ignoring that.
3 Q. And lastly on this same page with respect to General Gvero's
4 third point where he says in case General Nicolai doesn't order the
5 bombing to stop and doesn't withdraw NATO air planes he will have
6 personal responsibility for the further developments and the destiny of
7 all people in the area. First, did you have the power to order that
8 bombings stop?
9 A. No. I could exert some influence, but please remember that I was
10 the Chief of Staff, not the commanding officer. In the absence of
11 General Smith, the highest-ranking general, and deputy commander at that
12 time was General Gobillard, who of course was in the same building where
13 I was present as well, so I could help with decision-make but I was not
14 the person who had the ultimate authority to that end.
15 Q. And how did you understand General Gvero's threat as you
16 described it in your statement at paragraph 55? How did you understand
17 it that he said you would be personally responsible for further
18 developments and the destiny of all people in the area? How did you
19 understand that to be a threat, as you've characterised it?
20 A. Yes, that I was being held personally responsible did not impress
21 me at all, but we did experience a threat. I deliberately say we, both
22 General Gobillard and I, took that threat very seriously. On the one
23 hand, threats were expressed in the enclave that were more specific than
24 those stated by General Gvero, but given the memory of the retaliation
25 acts at the end of May, it seemed very likely that if we did not desist
1 from the air strikes, the enclave would come under heavy firing with all
2 kinds of consequences for the massive concentration of refugees in and
3 around the compound.
4 Q. Thank you, General.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I would like to tender this
6 particular intercept as I don't see that --
7 JUDGE ORIE: It's 2900, you're talking about 2918 is part of the
8 decision and was admitted into evidence this morning.
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I have only
10 one question.
11 JUDGE ORIE: You have five minutes.
12 MR. VANDERPUYE: I have five minutes. That's good to know.
13 Thank you.
14 Q. General, with respect to your statement at paragraph 65, you
15 indicated that in your discussions with General Mladic, related to the
16 departure of Dutch Battalion on 21 July, that General Mladic agreed to
17 allow you to inspect the areas of Srebrenica and Bratunac. Do you recall
19 A. You mean on the date that DutchBat was to leave the enclave, the
21 Q. Yes, I believe so. I could put your statement up if you'd like
22 to see it. That might be more helpful.
23 MR. VANDERPUYE: It's P1165. We will have to go to page 15 in
24 the English and it should be at the bottom of page 14 on to page 15 in
25 B/C/S. Okay. If we go to the very top of the page, in the English,
1 I think we will have to start at the bottom. Yes, that's it in the
3 Q. We will see on 21 July, Dutch soldiers were to be evacuated from
4 Srebrenica and says that this was a result of an agreement reached with
5 Mladic and senior officers from both parties were to be represented at
6 the event. We can see that in the first couple of sentences in the
7 paragraph. It says: On my way to Srebrenica I was stopped at a Serb
8 check-point where Mladic was waiting for me. We arrived at Srebrenica
9 together, then we went to Bratunac just outside the enclave where we had
10 a meal and discussed the conditions of departure of DutchBat. And then
11 it says: Mladic offered during our discussions to let me make a tour of
12 Srebrenica and Bratunac so I can inspect the situation after DutchBat had
13 left. That's what I'm referring to specifically. Does that help you
14 recall the event?
15 A. Yes. I remember that entirely, but the weekend prior to that,
16 there was a conference in Zagreb attended by both General Smith and
17 General Mladic where various agreements were reached including DutchBat's
18 departure later on Wednesday, I believe, on the 18th. That was confirmed
19 in a meeting between General Mladic and General Smith, and in that
20 encounter, it was agreed specifically that the UN parties present at that
21 departure would have the opportunity to look around Srebrenica and
22 Bratunac and to inspect the surroundings.
23 Q. Did you have the opportunity to inspect Srebrenica, Bratunac
24 surroundings, as General Mladic had indicated that you would be allowed
25 to do?
1 A. Only partially. After DutchBat's evacuation had taken place,
2 General Mladic said that he was pressed for time and that he would only
3 be able to show me Srebrenica and the immediate surroundings, but had no
4 time to let me look around in Bratunac.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yes. Mr. President.
7 JUDGE ORIE: When you said I have one question, you're now
8 putting the third question to the witness. I said you have five minutes.
9 Five minutes are over. That's exactly what I was meaning.
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: I apologise, Mr. President, it's just the
11 witness raised one issue with respect to General Mladic's conduct which
12 I thought would be of relevance to the Chamber, but I can leave that to
13 Mr. Ivetic or to redirect examination if you prefer.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Vanderpuye. Then, Witness, I
15 have to be strict on time. You'll now be cross-examined by Mr. Ivetic.
16 Mr. Ivetic is a member of the Defence team of Mr. Mladic. Mr. Ivetic you
17 may proceed.
18 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
20 Q. Good day, General. I would like to move immediately to my
21 questions for the sake of time. To begin with, in your Rule 92 ter
22 statement, which is P1165 marked for identification, at paragraph 2,
23 which is page 2 of the English and page 2 of the B/C/S, you describe that
24 you underwent both a training course in the Netherlands Institute of
25 International Relations on the background and history of the conflict as
1 well as a military peacekeeping course. The question I have for you is
2 if these courses were offered by the same entity or if the second one was
3 taught by some other entity?
4 A. There was also a course at the training centre for peace
5 missions, and that also covered a bit about the history but the main
6 training was at the Clingendael Institute.
7 Q. Thank you, sir. And as I understand it, you were not a part of
8 the DutchBat battalion; is that correct?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And as I understand it, the training courses for DutchBat were
11 supposed to take one year of time before deployment whereas yours took
12 just about one month. Is that also correct?
13 A. Yes. But I need to explain that. I was being prepared
14 specifically to operate in a specific position, namely Chief of Staff,
15 within UNPROFOR. I did not need training to be suitable for operating as
16 a general. These DutchBat soldiers received comprehensive training,
17 first military training to act as military troops, plus additional
18 training to operate in specific peace missions, and that requires far
19 more than brief follow-up training targeting a specific position.
20 Q. And, sir, once you became Chief of Staff of BH command in
21 Sarajevo, did you have occasion to verify or oversee if in fact the
22 DutchBat personnel in Srebrenica had all received the requisite one year
23 prior training prior to their deployment?
24 A. No. It wasn't necessary and that's not my responsibility. It's
25 the responsibility of the Dutch commander to ensure that his troops had
1 had received the required training prior to deployment.
2 Q. Thank you. I'd like to now ask you about the last line in this
3 same paragraph, paragraph 2 of your Rule 92 ter statement, wherein you
4 say: Before I left for Bosnia I received a lot of reading material, and
5 then you identify certain things. I want to ask you from whom did you
6 receive this material? Was it from an official source or from an
7 unofficial source?
8 A. I received the overwhelming majority from an official source.
9 These are documents that were made available to me on behalf of the
10 commander of the ground forces, but I remember that in addition to that
11 I read books and the books that I did not own I received from friends.
12 Q. Just one clarification, sir. You say that you -- they were made
13 available to you on behalf of the commander of the ground forces. Could
14 you identify which commander of which ground forces?
15 A. There was only one commander of the ground forces, and that was
16 General Kuzi [phoen] at the time, but I admit that I did not speak
17 personally with General Kuzi but I did speak with his deputy, General van
18 Baal, and he ensured that on behalf of the operations staff -- these
19 documents were issued by the operations staff under his command.
20 Q. Okay. Now, if I could ask you, sir, during the course of your
21 deployment to Sarajevo, did you or any of the other members of the
22 UNPROFOR BH command receive situation reports from NATO in addition to
23 the United Nations sit-reps?
24 A. We did not receive sit-reps from NATO. The sit-reps we received
25 were the sit-reps of sectors under UNPROFOR command, and we received
1 copies of sit-reps drafted in Zagreb so the level above us so those were
2 the documents we received officially but if I want to be truly complete,
3 and this also concerns obtaining intelligence, there was some contact
4 with NATO, especially G-2, that's the intelligent officer on the staff,
5 who was in contact with the HQ in Naples as well as with the US fleet
6 section in the Adriatic, and they received information about that. So
7 that was intelligence from NATO sources gathered by NATO air force.
8 Q. Let me try to break this down one item by one item. First of
9 all, you've identified a G-2 individual in the headquarters. Am I
10 correct that we are talking about Lieutenant-Colonel Powers?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. And from which country did this individual come from prior to
13 serving as a member of the BH command of UNPROFOR?
14 A. He came from the United States of America.
15 Q. And am I correct that you identified him at the level of the HQ.
16 Am I correct that in addition to the BH command, that every unit in
17 UNPROFOR had an intelligence officer who maintained contact with, as you
18 said, the NATO HQ in Naples and had access to NATO satellite and other
19 reconnaissance just as the G-2 at the headquarters at the BH command?
20 A. If I understand you correctly, I'll try to answer it as follows,
21 and if this isn't enough, please let me know. Each level or NATO unit
22 had an intelligence officer, a staff officer responsible for gathering
23 intelligence, and that is G-2, or at lower levels the S-2. To obtain
24 intelligence we had few resources available and depended on others. At
25 the level of UNPROFOR in Sarajevo, we were authorised to contact HQ in
1 Naples as well several US units that I just mentioned. This was not the
2 case for the levels below UNPROFOR, so lower than UNPROFOR. My G-2 was
3 authorised to do this and I assumed that the G-2 in Zagreb was also
4 authorised to this effect but levels below that did not have those
6 Q. One point of clarification, sir. You started off your answer by
7 saying each level or NATO unit had an intelligence officer. Did you in
8 fact mean to say each level or UN unit had an intelligence officer?
9 A. Yes, that's correct, that's what I mean.
10 Q. And if you remember, who would have been the intelligence officer
11 or officers assigned and operating as part of the DutchBat in Srebrenica
12 during the time period of your deployment?
13 A. I definitely don't remember a name of such a person and I was not
14 in contact with them. It was two levels below UNPROFOR so it was already
15 remarkable that I was in contact with the DutchBat commander, certainly
16 not with his S-2. It was probably a captain from his staff but
17 I definitely don't know his name.
18 Q. And earlier, you said that -- you referred to your G-2. Am I
19 correct that the intelligence service within the UNPROFOR BH command
20 designated as the G-2 branch came under your direct command as Chief of
21 Staff of the BH command?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. Now, am I correct that within your position, you had occasion to
24 deal with Generals Gobillard and Janvier, and that both of these generals
25 relied heavily on the use of English translators?
1 A. Yes. General Gobillard hardly knew any English and
2 General Janvier was a bit more proficient but not sufficiently proficient
3 to operate without an interpreter.
4 Q. Thank you, General. And am I also correct that the translator
5 that you identified in direct examination, the individual named Svetlana,
6 that you used this translator always when dealing with Serbo-Croat
7 speakers, that it was always the same translator that you used?
8 A. Well, always might be an exaggeration, but I did in 90 per cent
9 of the cases. Very rarely if something happened at a time when Svetlana
10 was not present we would sometimes need to use one of the military
11 interpreters present at the HQ.
12 Q. Thank you, sir. And your military assistant,
13 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter, would he also be relying upon the same
14 translations that you were receiving from the translator, whether it was
15 Svetlana or somebody else?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. With regard to the translator Svetlana am I correct that she was
18 ethnically of Croatian origin?
19 A. Yes, that's correct as well.
20 Q. And now, relation to potential problems with the translations
21 that you relied upon, I would like to revisit something you were asked to
22 testify about in the Popovic case. First of all, do you recall being
23 asked about a conversation that you had with General Gvero and whether he
24 actually issued a threat to shell the Potocari UN compound if you do not
25 cease bombing the VRS with NATO planes?
1 A. Yes. I remember that a question about this was asked when I was
3 Q. And do you recall, sir, that you were presented with the notes of
4 Lieutenant-Colonel de Ruiter as well as a purported intercept of the
5 conversation which did not, in fact, have the language of that threat as
6 you had initially stated at that trial?
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
8 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I don't see it in e-court. I
9 don't know if we have a line and page Mr. Ivetic can provide perhaps for
10 [overlapping speakers]
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic, a source?
12 MR. IVETIC: Yes, Your Honours. 1D926 which is the
13 29th of November, 2007, transcript page 18513, it's page 69 in e-court.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
15 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
16 Q. And if we can perhaps focus at line 18 and onwards, sir. And
17 perhaps for purposes of the translation I will read the pertinent section
18 and it goes as follows:
19 "Mr. Josse: We can put this on the ELMO, Your Honour. It's
21 "A. I've read it.
22 "Q. General Gvero did not say to you that he would have the
23 compound at Potocari and the surrounding areas shelled, did he?
24 "A. All I know is what Svetlana interpreted for me. If these
25 transcriptions are correct, and I'm happy to assume that they are, then
1 he did not say it in so many words during that conversation."
2 And then we go to the next page.
3 "Q. If we go back, please, to page 1, at the bottom, it, the
4 relevant part, would appear to be 'thirdly, in case General Nicolai
5 doesn't order the bombing to stop, and doesn't withdraw NATO air planes,
6 he will have personal responsibility for further developments and for the
7 destiny of all people in the area.'
8 "A. Yes, that's correct. That's how it reads and what
9 I understood at the time.
10 "Q. What was the threat in those words?
11 "A. I've explained that as being shelling the compound and the
12 surroundings with the civilian population gathered there."
13 Now, sir, does this refresh your recollection and do you stand by
14 the testimony from the Popovic proceeding that I've just read out to you
15 as to -- as to this selection?
16 A. Yes. I certainly stand by this. It corresponds with what
17 I answered in previous questions. General Gvero did not state directly
18 in so many words that he would order bombings but he did say that I would
19 be held personally responsible for the subsequent course of events
20 concerning the persons in the enclave, and I interpreted that based in
21 part on the events at the end of May and threats that had apparently been
22 received in the enclave as well, that this would refer to bombings.
23 Q. Now, General, with the benefit of hindsight that there was no
24 actual threat voiced by General Gvero, would you agree with me that this
25 notion of a threat did not come from anyone from the VRS but, rather, it
1 was the result of being suggested to you either by the Croatian
2 translator Svetlana or by the DutchBat commander, Colonel Karremans
4 A. Well, I'm convinced that this had nothing to do with the quality
5 of the translation by my interpreter Svetlana. At that point throughout
6 the day the city of Srebrenica had been shelled so it was not strange at
7 all to assume that since the city had been abandoned by DutchBat that the
8 firing would be transferred to the compound.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic.
10 MR. IVETIC: Yes, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ORIE: I'm looking at the clock.
12 MR. IVETIC: I have just one follow-up question before we lose
13 this train of thought.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please ask the question.
15 MR. IVETIC:
16 Q. Sir, apart from your Croatian translator Svetlana and
17 Colonel Karremans, did any VRS source ever voice a threat to shell the
18 Potocari compound to you directly?
19 A. Well, I don't remember specifically but on that day, I did learn
20 from DutchBat that a threat had been received there, that something like
21 that might happen. And that was communicated to me in some way. And
22 that certainly didn't surprise me, given the experience that both the OPs
23 and the compound and the city of Srebrenica had regularly been shelled
24 and shot at earlier.
25 Q. Thank you, sir.
1 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours we can have the break now.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Witness, we would adjourn for the day and
3 I would like to instruct you that you should not speak with anyone or
4 communicate in whatever way with whomever about your testimony, whether
5 that is testimony given today or testimony still to be given tomorrow.
6 We would like to see you back tomorrow morning at 9.30 in this
7 same courtroom.
8 You may now follow the usher.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
10 [The witness stands down]
11 JUDGE ORIE: We will adjourn and resume tomorrow, Friday, 3rd of
12 May, 9.30 in the morning in this same courtroom, I.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.17 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Friday, the 3rd day
15 of May, 2013, at 9.30 a.m.