1 Thursday, 30 May 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 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.
10 Before we start, I have a question for the Defence. I don't know
11 whether you're going to deal with it, Mr. Stojanovic. Could you give us
12 an indication, if we continue tomorrow with Witness RM322, how much time
13 would you need or could you tell us?
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we requested
15 six hours. I think we are on the third or fourth hour, and I hope that I
16 will be able to complete in two or two and a half hours tomorrow.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Two, two and a half hours, that would leave
18 sufficient time for a re-examination if needed. That is understood.
19 Thank you.
20 Mr. Groome?
21 MR. GROOME: Good morning, Your Honour. The next witness the
22 Prosecution will call is Momir Nikolic. And may I take this opportunity
23 to introduce Julian Nicholls to the Chamber. It's his first time
24 appearing on this case. And there are no protective measures for this
25 witness, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Welcome, Mr. Nicholls. Then I do -- yes,
2 Mr. Nicholls.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Good morning, Your Honours. Sorry to interrupt.
4 I just wanted to say also that Virginia Lindsay, counsel for
5 Momir Nikolic, is with us today.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Welcome, Ms. Lindsay. I take it that your task will
7 be to take care that Rule 90(E) is properly applied. That is that if
8 there is any risk for self-incrimination, that you'll deal with those
9 matters and not to coach in any way the witness when testifying.
10 That's -- I see that you're nodding yes so apparently we agree on the
12 Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Nikolic. Before you give
15 evidence, the Rules require that you make a solemn declaration, the text
16 of which is now handed out to you by the usher. May I invite to you make
17 that solemn declaration.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I
19 solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and
20 nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, please be seated, Mr. Nikolic.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nikolic, before the examination will start, I'd
1 like to inform you about Rule 90(E) of the Rules of Procedure and
2 Evidence. And I'll read it to you, and if you have any questions
3 remaining, don't hesitate to ask.
4 Rule 90(E) reads, a witness may object to making any statement
5 which might tend to incriminate the witness. The Chamber may, however,
6 compel the witness to answer the question. Testimony compelled in this
7 way shall not be used as evidence in a subsequent prosecution against the
8 witness for any offence other than false testimony. It means that you
9 can object to answer a question if a truthful answer might incriminate
10 yourself, especially in order not to expose yourself to further
11 prosecutions but the Chamber may insist on you answering that question.
12 Mr. Nicholls, if you're ready you may proceed.
13 You'll first be examined by Mr. Nicholls, you'll find
14 Mr. Nicholls to your right. Mr. Nicholls is counsel for the Prosecution.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Examination by Mr. Nicholls:
17 Q. Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. What I want to do first, very briefly, is go through a little bit
20 of your background for the Trial Chamber. You were born in Bratunac in
21 1955; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And could you briefly tell us, just briefly, about your
24 educational background and what your occupation was before the war
25 started in 1992?
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, before we invite the witness to answer
2 that question, I assumed that this is Mr. Nikolic but I think that's the
3 first question, apart from where and when he was born, who he is.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour, thank you.
5 Q. Could you please state your full name, sir?
6 A. I am Momir Nikolic. I was born on 20 February in 1955, in --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter kindly asks that Mr. Nikolic
8 repeat the name.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Would you like me to talk about my
10 professional background? That was your first question.
11 MR. NICHOLLS:
12 Q. I think the interpreters just missed that you were born in
13 Bratunac; is that right?
14 A. Yes. I was born in Bratunac, yes.
15 Q. Thank you. And then, yes, if you could please just briefly tell
16 us your educational background and your occupation before the war started
17 in 1992.
18 A. I completed my elementary and high school in Bratunac where I was
19 born. After completing high school, I went to serve my military term of
20 duty. When I -- at the time, usually you would serve the military term
21 of duty after completing high school. I served in Postojna in Slovenia.
22 After 15 months I returned to Bratunac, and then after that, I enrolled
23 at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo, which
24 I completed in the Department of Defence and Protection. After four
25 years I returned to Bratunac and my first job was in the high school
1 centre Djuro Pucar Stari where I worked as a professor of defence and
2 protection. The next five years I worked at the high school centre, and
3 then sometime in 1986, I transferred to the Territorial Defence staff,
4 where I worked until the war broke out, i.e. until 1992, when I was
5 officially mobilised into the military unit where I proceeded to serve as
6 an officer.
7 I left the army with the rank of sergeant, and I was a platoon
8 commander. After completing my university and transferring to the
9 territorial staff HQ, I was promoted to officer where I was the assistant
10 commander of the TO HQ for intelligence.
11 Q. Thank you. Now, without going into the specific reasons, is it
12 right that from roughly the end of May to November 1992, you were in
14 A. Yes. In late 1992 -- actually in May 1992, I was in Belgrade,
15 and then I returned to Bratunac in November, I believe.
16 Q. And in November 1992, when you returned, is it right that you
17 became assistant commander for intelligence and security in the Bratunac
19 A. Yes. That's correct. After a certain period of time, pursuant
20 to the proposal by my brigade commander, I was appointed to that post.
21 Q. And that was your post in July 1995, as well; is that right?
22 A. Yes. From the time I was appointed until demobilisation, I was
23 at the position of the chief of the organ for intelligence and security
24 in the 1st Light Infantry Bratunac Brigade.
25 Q. Thank you. And what was your rank in July 1995?
1 A. In July 1995, I held the rank of captain.
2 Q. And currently, you are serving a prison sentence of 20 years; is
3 that right?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. Moving on now to May 2003, it's correct that you pled guilty in
6 this court to count 5 of your indictment, crimes against humanity; is
7 that right?
8 A. Yes. In 1993 [as interpreted] I pleaded guilty to count 5 of the
10 Q. Now, just very briefly, during your discussions with the Office
11 of the Prosecutor, at the time of your plea, did you at one point falsely
12 claim personal involvement in some offences, in some crimes, which you
13 were not involved in? Can you briefly explain that?
14 A. Yes. Attached to my document or documents that I signed with the
15 Prosecution, there is a statement. The contents of that statement are
16 correct. Because of the Trial Chamber, I would just like to clarify
17 briefly what this is about.
18 The first thing that is in the statement is the identification of
19 a photograph, my own photograph, and I did not have any intention,
20 absolutely no intention, of placing myself where that soldier was or
21 anything like that. So it was truly a person who absolutely looks like
22 me, was in uniform in that place. At that time, at the very beginning,
23 when we began the interviews my attorneys showed me that photograph and
24 I said yes, the picture does resemble me, but the circumstances were not
25 clear to me as to where this was exactly. When I found out that this was
1 in the region of Sandici, I said that I never was there outside of my
2 vehicle. I was there in the critical period but I was never there
3 outside of my vehicle. And then we -- simply when we talked or when
4 I talked with the Prosecution I simply did not want to rule out the
5 possibility that I was there. I did not simply want to, as I say, a
6 priori, say I was not there. Simply I said, yes, it's possible that it's
7 me in that picture, and it was clear to me then that it was not me when
8 my lawyers investigated the matter, went out to the area, and found the
9 person who really is in that photograph and that is Mile Savic, aka Cuko,
10 from the Special MUP Brigade. And then we presented that documentation,
11 myself and my lawyer, to the Prosecution, we said that is that person and
12 it is not really me. But in view of the fact that I said that I was
13 there, I accepted and agreed to sign the statement and I accepted that at
14 the time when we talked I really did say what I did say.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nikolic, would you please slow down so that the
16 interpreters have time to translate all your words? Otherwise we will
17 miss part of your testimony. Please proceed, Mr. Nicholls.
18 MR. NICHOLLS:
19 Q. Let me show you a document.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have 65 ter 19004, please?
21 Q. Now, if you take a look at that document, Mr. Nikolic, is that
22 declaration the document that you signed that you were just discussing?
23 A. Yes. That's the statement that I signed as part of all the
24 documentation that I signed with the Prosecution.
25 May I continue with the following thing that I would like to
1 explain that I would wish to explain?
2 Q. Yes, just briefly, please.
3 A. Very briefly. Very briefly. Same thing. When the negotiations
4 with the Prosecution were in their final stages, the Prosecution --
5 actually I and the Prosecution were going through various documents,
6 countless times, different events, and of course the Prosecution insisted
7 on the truth. I come from an organ which precisely knows how
8 investigations are conducted. I'm familiar with the problems. And that
9 is why I understand the attempts of the Prosecution to get to the truth
10 that they were interested in. At one point in time, actually several
11 times, we talked about Sandici and about Kravica and the events there.
12 Each time I said that I had nothing to do with the crime in
13 Kravica, and at one point we got to that topic again and I was upset,
14 I was angry, and because I didn't know what else to say, anything else,
15 revolted, I said yes, I was there. And then at one point I understood
16 what I did. We interrupted the interviews, there was a day of break, and
17 I told my lawyers that I would like to apologise to the Prosecution and
18 tell them that that was a mistake. And then after a day we met again,
19 I gave my apologies, and after that we continued to talk and everything
20 that I said I did say. I said everything that I knew, so I believe that
21 that is the truth as I saw it.
22 So on that matter, therefore, the Prosecution said that I still
23 would need to sign so that what I said would be still on the record,
24 documented. I said that was all right, I have no problem with that, that
25 I made the mistake, and that I need to accept responsibility for that,
1 and I signed that. And that is the entire truth, as far as this matter
2 is concerned.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender this document, Your Honour?
5 JUDGE ORIE: No objections?
6 THE REGISTRAR: Document 19004 receives number P1503,
7 Your Honours.
8 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. If I could have 65 ter 19002, please.
10 Q. And, Mr. Nikolic, do you need help with your headphones? I'm not
11 sure if they are comfortable for you the way they are.
12 A. It's all right, it's all right, it's all right. Here we are.
13 Q. Now, what's coming up is your plea agreement that you made, the
14 written plea agreement, with the Office of the Prosecutor.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: If I could just go to the last page in both
16 languages, please.
17 Q. And simply do you see your signature on the document, sir? I'll
18 wait for the Serbian version to come up.
19 A. Yes, that is my signature.
20 Q. And is this the plea agreement that you signed?
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have page 4 of the English, page 5 of the
23 Serbian, please?
24 Q. Now, as part of your plea agreement, did you agree to testify
25 truthfully in trials when called upon to do so by the Office of the
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And if you focus on --
4 MR. NICHOLLS: If we could show Mr. Nikolic paragraph 11, we need
5 to go to the top of the page, please.
6 Q. It states:
7 "It is understood and agreed by Momir Nikolic and the Prosecution
8 that all information and testimony provided by Mr. Nikolic must be
9 absolutely truthful. This means that Momir Nikolic must neither minimise
10 his own actions nor fabricate someone else's involvement."
11 And my question is, do you stand by that provision of the
12 agreement and do you understand that's your obligation today?
13 A. Yes, of course I stand by it and I know exactly what my duty is.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, I tender this document as well.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar?
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document 19002 receives number P1504,
18 Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence, no objections.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
21 Q. Without going through it, since your plea, you've testified in
22 quite a few trials?
23 A. That is correct, yes.
24 Q. All right. I'm now moving on to a new topic and speaking about
25 the period around July 1995, the summer of 1995. I'd like to have you
1 explain to the Trial Chamber what your duties were in your capacity in
2 the security and intelligence organ of the Bratunac Light Infantry
4 So first of all, just to clarify, in the Bratunac Light Infantry
5 Brigade, you were chief of security and intelligence. Was that usual or
6 in other brigades of the VRS were those duties sometimes divided between
7 two people? Sorry, that was kind of a long question.
8 A. In July 1995, I was in the 1st Light Bratunac Infantry Brigade as
9 the chief of the organ for intelligence and security. It's true that in
10 brigades such as infantry brigades, those two functions were separate,
11 and are carried out by two officers. In my brigade -- or, rather, in
12 light infantry brigades, from what I know these two functions were merged
13 and carried out by one officer.
14 As for the remit of our work, as the intelligence security
15 officer in the light infantry brigade, I carried out the following
16 duties: Intelligence work. I carried out tasks in counter-intelligence.
17 Then I worked in command staff security, those matters. Then I was also
18 dealing with military police duties as well as criminal, legal matters.
19 So briefly speaking, all these are responsibilities of the intelligence
20 security organ in the light infantry brigade.
21 If we look at it in percentages, the intelligence security organ
22 in the light infantry brigade in practice, percentage-wise carries out
23 tasks and assignments approximately -- intelligence and
24 counter-intelligence jobs account for some 80 per cent and all the other
25 things I mentioned, the staff administrative, police and criminal duties
1 account for some 15 to 20 per cent of the total work. If you're
2 interested in details of these activities, I can talk about that as well.
3 Q. That's good for now. Thank you. Was there a person named
4 Zlatan Celanovic in the brigade in July 1995?
5 A. Yes, there was.
6 Q. And just very briefly, what was his role and if any way did it
7 intersect with your duties in the intelligence and security organ?
8 A. I'll try to be as brief as possible. Mr. Celanovic, as per war
9 assignment, was part of the organ for religious and moral affairs.
10 However, in practical terms, he was engaged with -- in the military
11 police. Why? Because in the light infantry brigade, security and
12 intelligence organs do not act as authorised officials. We did not have
13 official IDs as opposed to similar personnel in infantry brigades.
14 The area of law and criminal procedure, that is to say, drafting
15 criminal reports and gathering documents as well as preparing criminal
16 reports to be submitted to the commander for signature, all that was done
17 by Zlatan Celanovic while I was in the Bratunac Brigade . In addition to
18 that, Zlatan Celanovic interrogated 98 per cent of the cases, I believe.
19 He interrogated all those who were taken prisoner or fled from the
20 Muslim-held territory to our territory. So he interrogated prisoners and
21 gathered documents and information on potential war crimes carried out by
22 Muslim soldiers who were captured, or committed by some persons who fled
23 over to the side -- the Bratunac Brigade side. After he would complete
24 all of these tasks, he submitted criminal reports to the brigade
25 commander for signature. The reports on interrogations and the case
1 files pertaining to other offences pertaining to members of the Bratunac
2 Brigade were forwarded to the brigade commander and myself. That was the
3 scope of his activity. When all of that was done, certain reports that
4 were signed were handed over by him to the military judiciary.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, briefly, I'm going to ask you some questions
6 about reporting -- your reporting duties and the way the command
7 structure worked.
8 Who was your direct commander in July 1995?
9 A. My commander in July 1995 was my brigade commander, Colonel
10 Vidoje Blagojevic.
11 Q. And you would report to him then?
12 A. Whenever there was a need to do so.
13 Q. And what about the so-called professional or expertise chain of
14 reporting? In other words, the intelligence and security organs. Was
15 there any reporting you did up to the Drina Corps level, to the intel and
16 security chiefs there?
17 A. Yes. I did submit reports. If I may, I'd like to explain it in
18 two sentences because I believe it requires some attention. Security
19 organs are commanded by the officer in whose unit you were. In my case
20 it was the commander of the Bratunac Brigade. He commanded me, he issued
21 commands to me, as the chief of the organ.
22 Professional management is a different concept, and in that
23 regard, we are managed by our first superior in the superior command, the
24 person in charge of security and intelligence. In my case, it was the
25 sector for intelligence and security in the command of the Drina Corps.
1 When it comes to reporting, usually during daily briefings, I reported to
2 my commander about all matters and information pertaining to my scope of
3 authority, that is to say, security and intelligence.
4 Depending on the needs, daily reports were drafted, sent to the
5 professional body that manages my organ, that is to say, the sector for
6 security and intelligence of the Drina Corps. That was standard
7 procedure. However, there were exceptions. If information is crucial,
8 that is more general in scope, then only the area of responsibility of
9 one's brigade or corps, and if you believe the Main Staff should be
10 appraised of it, then you send a report. If it has to do with security,
11 then you send it to the security department of the Main Staff, either to
12 the chief or the sector itself, and then that piece of information is
13 automatically sent to the Drina Corps command, to the sector for
14 intelligence and security, as well as the sector for intelligence and
15 security of the Main Staff. That is the professional line of reporting
16 when it comes to security and intelligence organs.
17 Q. Thank you. And just quickly, who was your superior in the
18 professional line, in the security branch in the Drina Corps? Do you
19 remember his name?
20 A. I sent my reports to the sector of the Drina Corps. Two officers
21 worked there. One of them was Vujadin Popovic and the other,
22 Mr. Kosoric. They were the two officers in the sector within the
23 Drina Corps in the period you are asking me about.
24 Q. Thank you. And is that Svetozar Kosoric?
25 A. Yes, precisely. Popovic and Kosoric.
1 Q. And just very quickly, which of these two men was in the security
2 organ and which was in intel?
3 A. From what I know, and I still believe it to be true, Popovic was
4 in the security organ and Mr. Kosoric was in charge of intelligence.
5 Q. Thank you. I'm just going to move on a bit now, just a few
6 questions about the military police in the Bratunac Brigade. Was there a
7 military police platoon in the brigade in July 1995?
8 A. Yes, there was.
9 Q. And who was the commander of that unit?
10 A. The military police commander in Bratunac was Mirko Jankovic.
11 Q. And just quickly, who was his superior? Who would issue him
13 A. When it comes to the military police, there too are two things
14 that need to be clearly distinguished. First of all is who is in command
15 of the military police and who professionally manages the military
16 police. The military police is directly commanded by the officer in
17 whose unit the military police unit is. In my case, direct command of
18 the military police was in the hands of Vidoje Blagojevic. In
19 professional terms, the military police is directly managed by the
20 security organ. The security organ in my brigade was me. My task was to
21 propose the use of the military police to the commander, to keep an eye
22 on combat readiness of the military police, and to keep an eye on the
23 implementation of tasks or task issued by the commander. These are the
24 basic three tasks in all respects when it comes to professional
25 management over the military police in the brigade.
1 Q. Thank you. But just to be clear, then, the final person who has
2 a say over what tasks the military police should carry out, is it you or
3 the brigade commander?
4 A. When I said that the commander had command over the military
5 police, this entails precisely that. The commander is the person issuing
6 orders to the military police through the military police commander in
7 the MP platoon in the case of my brigade. So the commander is the one
8 who issues tasks and orders the use of the military police and everything
9 else when it comes to the concept of command over the military police.
10 The security chief does not have a possibility to command the military
11 police or to issue orders to them.
12 Q. Thank you. Moving on to another topic now, still focusing on
13 your duties during 1995, and we'll get to July soon, did you act as a
14 liaison officer to DutchBat and to various humanitarian organisations in
16 A. Yes. On top of the duties I had, which is the head of the
17 security and intelligence organ, I also carried out tasks entrusted or
18 actually ordered to me by the brigade commander, when a check-point was
19 set up at the Yellow Bridge, the duties of liaison officer. My task was
20 to be in contact with members or representatives of DutchBat, that is to
21 say, of the UNPROFOR peacekeeping forces in the protected area of
22 Srebrenica. Also, as the liaison officer, I was in contact with all
23 those who had an office in the enclave, in Srebrenica. This includes the
24 military observers, the international civilian police, the Medecins Sans
25 Frontieres, the ICRC, and I think there was a representative who was in
1 charge of humanitarian assistance and was also a UNHCR representative in
2 Srebrenica. During that time, as of the moment when the Srebrenica was
3 declared a demilitarised zone, I was the liaison officer who was in
4 contact with the aforementioned organisations.
5 Q. All right. Thank you. And I'll break this up now and ask you
6 some questions first about your duties in regard to DutchBat and later
7 with the other organisations, but, first of all, you mentioned the
8 Yellow Bridge check-point. Could you briefly tell the Trial Chamber the
9 location of that Yellow Bridge, the check-point you referred to?
10 A. I can even show you where it is on the map, but to put it in the
11 simplest terms, it is on the border between the check-point of DutchBat
12 and the territory that was controlled by my, that is to say, the Bratunac
13 Brigade. The distance between the two check-points was about between
14 100 and 150 metres. Geographically speaking, it was five to
15 six kilometres from Bratunac. From Potocari -- no, I would say
16 four kilometres away from Bratunac and perhaps three kilometres away from
17 Potocari. I'm not sure whether I got the kilometres precisely. But the
18 important thing was that the Yellow Bridge was along the demarcation line
19 between the forces of the VRS, where our positions are, and UNPROFOR
20 forces protecting the enclave. It was precisely in the area where my
21 2nd Infantry Battalion was.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, if you could just briefly, as briefly as you
23 can, give us a short overview of what the topics were of your
24 conversations and contacts with DutchBat? When you met with DutchBat,
25 and let's focus on 1995, what would you talk about with them? What were
1 their issues, what were your issues?
2 A. I can only answer in principle because each of our meetings or
3 actually the reason for a meeting was different every time. However, in
4 principle, the biggest problems we discussed were those that had to do,
5 first of all, with violations of the border of the demilitarised zone, by
6 either side. We met and discussed things when victims were not soldiers
7 and were unarmed. Seldom did we meet and discuss when there was an
8 exchange of fire and when there were wounded and casualties on the
9 demarcation line, when it came to soldiers.
10 We also met when we, or they, had a problem with entry or exit in
11 or from the enclave. The Serb forces occasionally violated the borders
12 of the zone by setting up a new position, and then in such cases we would
13 meet with the DutchBat representatives who required that the Serb forces
14 withdraw to their original position. In other cases, Muslims in groups
15 made incursions deep inside Serb territory, setting up ambushes, carrying
16 out sabotage actions, when, as a result, civilians were often wounded who
17 moved along roads in vehicles, but soldiers as well. We also met when it
18 came to their requests, if there were some issues to be raised regarding
19 rotations of their companies. So, for example, they had a plan to rotate
20 one of their companies on a specific date and did not receive permission.
21 In that case, they would send their request to me and I would forward it
22 to the Main Staff and the corps command to deal with the issue or at
23 least to provide an answer to their request.
24 When it comes to other organisations, representatives of the
25 ICRC, the physicians without frontiers, the UNHCR, et cetera, I was
1 always in contact with all of them, and there were different issues at
2 different times. Let me cite one issue per organisation. For example,
3 the ICRC --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Your question, I think, was about subjects of
5 discussion with DutchBat. Now, the witness apparently -- unless this is
6 exactly what you wanted to ask from him, but I noticed that short and
7 focused questions might lead to shorter answers.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: You're quite correct, thank you, Your Honour. In
9 fact, he, Mr. Nikolic answered the question I had about the DutchBat. My
10 next question would have been to similarly give an overview of the types
11 of issues that were dealt with with the humanitarian and other
12 organisations and I will try to tailor the questions to be --
13 JUDGE ORIE: If you do it in such a way, if you ask for an
14 overview or a brief description of something, the result usually is that
15 we have a very long description. So focused questions might be a better
16 use of your time, but of course it's your witness. I leave it to you.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. So, sir, Mr. Nikolic, if you could just briefly in the next
19 couple minutes, tell us just the big topics, the kind of usual topics,
20 that you would discuss with the international organisations, if you can
21 just tell us quickly kind of what -- what the issues were.
22 A. I think I already answered with regard to the protection forces
23 in the enclave. When it comes to the ICRC, we discussed the status of
24 civilians, the captured persons on both sides, and on people who flew
25 from the enclave. I was particularly interested in discussing the issue
1 of Serb civilians who remained in the enclave, to have those who wanted
2 to leave the enclave brought out. They would then bring them to the
3 Yellow Bridge. Those who wanted to leave, I accommodated their request
4 and reunited them with their families. Those who wanted to stay were
5 allowed to stay.
6 When it comes to the UNHCR, we discussed the entry of
7 humanitarian convoys and the issues that they were facing inside the
8 enclave. Then there were requests from the Serb side to assist, and they
9 did so, to assist for the Serb population in Bratunac and the Muslim
10 population in Srebrenica.
11 As for the Medecins Sans Frontieres, I frequently discussed
12 medical issues with them and usually they had a problem with medication,
13 and there were requests by the Serb side as well as the Muslim side. The
14 Muslims usually required more medication, bandages and everything. They
15 needed to keep their health centre and the hospital running. Those
16 are -- were more or less the issues that were discussed the most.
17 Q. Thank you. I now want to talk to you about the period leading up
18 before the fall or liberation of the enclave in July 1995, and what the
19 goals were of the VRS at that time. First of all, though, just -- this
20 may have already been in evidence, but what is the meaning of the word
21 "Podrinje," what is the area encompassed when we say the "Podrinje"?
22 A. The word "Podrinje," it includes a number of municipalities
23 located along the River Drina. There is Gornje Podrinje, to put it in
24 broad terms, those are the municipalities in the upper part of the Drina,
25 that is to say, Foca, Gorazde, Visegrad, Srebrenica, Bratunac, Zvornik,
1 and Bijeljina. Well, Bijeljina is already part of Semberija but it
2 follows the Drina. So these are the municipalities along the river. And
3 that is the general area next to the river.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, Your Honours, is the schedule a break at
7 JUDGE ORIE: A break at 10, yes.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Just quickly, if I could have 65 ter 05924.
9 Q. This is a document you've seen before, Mr. Nikolic. It's a
10 Bratunac Brigade command report for the brigade. It's dated 4 July 1994.
11 And it's signed by the then commander of the Bratunac Brigade,
12 Slavko Ognjenovic. Do you recall this document, sir?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. And the first paragraph refers to the visit to the corps, the
15 recent visit, by the commander of the VRS General Staff, and do you
16 recall General Mladic visiting at that time, around that time?
17 A. Yes. I do know that General Mladic visited the Bratunac Brigade
18 in that period.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: And could we go now to page 2 of the English and
20 also of the Serbian.
21 Q. And if you look at the top of page 2 in your language, which
22 begins "U Podrinju," and if we look at the bottom of the English it
24 "We have won the war in the Podrinje but we have not beaten the
25 Muslims ..."
1 And if we could go to page 3 of the English now.
2 "... but we have not beaten the Muslims completely, which is what
3 we must do in the next period. We must attain our final goal, an
4 entirely Serbian Podrinje. The enclaves of Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde
5 must be defeated militarily."
6 Then it continues:
7 "We must continue to arm, train, discipline and prepare the RS
8 army for the execution of this crucial task, the expulsion of Muslims
9 from the Srebrenica enclave. There will be no retreat when it comes to
10 the Srebrenica enclave. We must advance. The enemy's life has to be
11 made unbearable and their temporary stay in the enclave impossible so
12 that they leave the enclave en masse as soon as possible, realising that
13 they cannot survive there."
14 Now, can you just comment on this section I've read out, in your
15 understanding as it reflects the goals of the -- of the Bratunac Brigade
16 at this time?
17 A. I will try to answer based on what I could see and what you just
18 read out. I will comment on it. But limiting it to my own position, my
19 personal position, as regards the text. I'll start with this latest part
20 of it. There will be no retreat concerning the enclave of Srebrenica.
21 We must go forward, the enemy's life has to be made unbearable and their
22 temporary stay in the enclave impossible. This part, in my mind, is a
23 military part and I see nothing in dispute here. It discusses the enemy.
24 I think in military terms, and in linguistic terms, it means as it is
25 spelled out.
1 What I find worth discussing is the next part which has to do
2 with the en masse expulsion from the enclave, the part that has to do
3 with expelling the Muslims. These things should not be in this document,
4 nor is it a military task. In my understanding, nothing that has to do
5 with combat should not and ought not be directed against the retreating
6 Muslim population. It can be directed against the armed forces and
7 soldiers, those that you are engaging with, but not against a civilian
8 population. If I didn't know what I know, if I didn't know what happened
9 in 1995, then I would not even dispute part of what we read; but since
10 I do know what happened with those who were supposed to be protected,
11 that is also how I understand it, that is to say, that the goal was to
12 empty the enclave unselectively, of course it had to be militarily
13 defeated but the ultimate goal was to have the enclave devoid of Muslims
14 so that they leave it entirely. That is what comes to mind reading this
15 part of the text.
16 Q. Thank you, I'll have a couple more questions on this document for
17 you, Mr. Nikolic, after the break.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we will first take the break.
19 Could the witness be escorted out of the courtroom first.
20 I think the usher and security together should take care of that.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 JUDGE ORIE: We will take a break and we'll resume at 20 minutes
23 past 10.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.03 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 10.27 a.m.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
2 We will take the next break a bit earlier than usual, most likely
3 at ten minutes past 11.00 and the break will be slightly longer, most
4 likely 45 minutes.
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, you may proceed.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Could we now go to the last page, page 6 of the English, page 3
9 of the Serbian.
10 Q. At the very end of this report, just above the commander's
11 signature, it states:
12 "Circulate this report among all brigade members and have them
13 sign for it. Review the report in companies, et cetera."
14 My question is: Was this report, in fact, disseminated to the
15 members of the brigade as ordered?
16 A. Just to be precise, I have a bad interpretation, it's an
17 information, it's not a report. This is an information. The signatory
18 is the then commander, Slavko Ognjenovic. This information was first
19 worked through at the meeting of the Bratunac Brigade command in its
20 extended composition, attended by the battalion commanders as well.
21 After we were informed, the battalion commanders were given the task of
22 working through this information in their battalions, company by company,
23 so that all the soldiers could be informed about this information. And
24 that's what was done. The person responsible for this assignment was the
25 assistant commander for morale, religious and legal affairs,
1 Major Jevtic. Meaning, what you asked me, the information was entirely
2 worked through the way the commander ordered.
3 Q. Right. Now, you talked before about one of the issues that you
4 discussed with DutchBat was violations of the enclave and you talked a
5 little bit about civilian casualties on the Muslim side. What was the
6 effect, if any, that you could see from your position as intelligence and
7 security chief, that this information had on sniping attacks, other
8 attacks on civilians in the enclave?
9 A. In my previous answer, regarding what we talked about, I and the
10 members of the Dutch battalion, we talked about violating the enclave
11 frontiers and opening of fire from positions, and now I'm talking about
12 the opening of fire from positions of my brigade. Since the Srebrenica
13 area was declared a demilitarised zone, we were never ever able to
14 establish peace and a complete cease-fire. So opening of fire, sniper
15 action, fire from different weapons happened constantly, sometimes it was
16 more intense, sometimes it was less frequent. After this information,
17 well, this is more or less, I will be free to say that this was the green
18 light and an alibi for those undisciplined with whom I personally, as a
19 security organ, had problems before that, because this served, and I can
20 say freely, simply, they were perhaps not able to, nor did they want to,
21 differentiate between targets that should be fired at, and those that
22 should be not fired at. Those that I had problems with I requested that
23 they be brought in, I asked that they be punished. Those who opened
24 fire. Mostly -- actually, fire was opened in the enclave at those who --
25 other than soldiers. I'm not talking about -- other than soldiers, other
1 than those who were armed and were moving from their positions to their
2 homes or were walking between trenches at their positions. Fire was
3 opened at civilians who should not have been the targets of either sniper
4 action or any other fire because now we are not talking about sniper
5 action. We are talking about weaponry that you have in a battalion. You
6 have an undisciplined soldier with a semi-automatic rifle who can fire in
7 front of him some 200 to 300 metres ahead, and these are positions where
8 they were. They were places where there were civilian houses, fields,
9 yards, where people were going about their everyday business, they were
10 working in their fields, mowing, so on and so forth. So it was a major
11 problem. And according to my understanding and what I had as a problem
12 was an intensified action at those who happened to be in the enclave.
13 Q. Okay. So that was a long answer, but just let me make sure I'm
14 clear. This information, once it was passed down, you're saying gave the
15 green light to opening fire on Muslim civilians who were in their fields
16 and going about their business?
17 A. After this information was read out in the brigade units, in
18 battalions, companies, platoons, then you can see for yourself from this
19 text, regarding making life more difficult, creating impossible
20 conditions, everything that says in that part, it says, and
21 I personally -- I am personally talking from my own personal experience.
22 I never could not explain to anyone on the line that they should not fire
23 anymore into the enclave. Whatever I would say to them, I got the
24 answer, "We have permission, the commander permitted us to do that, we
25 should be opening fire, and what are you playing at?" This was
1 literally, "What do you want now? We have permission from the
2 commander." So then in the beginning I had problems with the commander
3 also and I requested, I requested that this be suspended, that this be
4 prevented, so that we could explain somehow what it was exactly that they
5 could open fire at. And like that.
6 Q. All right.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender this document, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar?
9 THE REGISTRAR: Document 05924 receives number P1505,
10 Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
13 Q. Let me move on now because of the time and I'm going to now ask
14 you some questions on a different topic and that is about convoys
15 entering the enclave and how that process worked, and we are going to
16 talk about two sorts, humanitarian aid and supply to DutchBat. All
18 A. All right.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have 65 ter 05517, please.
20 Q. While it's coming up, I'll read, this is a Drina Corps command
21 very urgent order of 24 July 1994. So 20 days after the document we just
22 looked at. I'll try to go through this a bit quickly, sir.
23 Now we see here on the front page, the preamble is that this
24 order is pursuant to a briefing on 1 July 1994 to the VRS Main Staff
25 commander by Drina Corps commander and regiment brigade commanders about
1 the level of combat readiness in units. Regarding measures, actions and
2 tasks relating to Muslim enclaves of Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde.
3 JUDGE ORIE: If you're reading, Mr. Nicholls, you should slow
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
6 And this is signed by then commander of the Drina Corps,
7 Milenko Zivanovic.
8 If I could go to page 2 of the English, still page 1 of the
10 Now, if we look at point 3:
11 "No equipment is to be allowed into the 'enclaves' apart from
12 food and medication which are approved by the VRS Main Staff."
13 Below that, we see, now in Serbian page 2, I believe:
14 "All authorised cargo and people (authorisation from the VRS Main
15 Staff) is to be thoroughly checked at the following check-points."
16 And then below, point B is about leaving the enclaves.
17 Now, first of all, can you tell us if that's correct, what we see
18 here, that the equipment allowed into the enclaves is strictly to be
19 limited to that approved by the Main Staff?
20 A. Well, we can see that can be concluded on the basis of the order,
21 as far as I can see.
22 Q. Yes. And in practice, based on your position, being there at the
23 time, were the orders of the Main Staff followed, as it's ordered here,
24 in terms of what materials would be allowed to enter the enclave?
25 A. As for the check-point in Zuti Most, the whole time I and all
1 those working at the check-point acted in accordance with the orders and
2 the approvals we received from the Main Staff or from the coordinating
3 body of Republika Srpska.
4 Q. Thank you. We will talk about that more in a minute.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender this document, Your Honours?
6 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar?
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document 05517 receives number P1506,
8 Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ORIE: P1506 is admitted into evidence.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Now, again, you started talking about it. If you can, really as
12 briefly as you can, describe the process about how you would determine
13 what materials would be allowed into the enclave at the check-point at
14 the Zuti Most or Yellow Bridge? In other words, how these orders
15 regarding what was to be admitted reached you from the Main Staff.
16 A. I'm obliged to say for the sake of precision that I received
17 orders at the Bratunac 1st Light Infantry Brigade signed by
18 Mr. Dragan Kekic. That is one type of approval or permission. The next
19 type was signed for the most part percentage-wise by
20 Mr. Manojlo Milovanovic, the chief of the Main Staff. And then from time
21 to time, I would receive orders signed by Vice-President Koljevic, by
23 All those orders, regardless of who signed them, when they came
24 to my brigade, they were to be executed and we acted strictly pursuant to
25 the orders that we received. I don't know the ratio, I don't know the
1 relationship in the coordinating body, in the term -- in terms of who was
2 in charge of what, as for convoys that had to do with humanitarian aid
3 and civilians and those that had to do with DutchBat. But I know that
4 each order, regardless of the signature, was valid when received at our
6 Once we received an order, it would list precisely who would be
7 allowed to pass. There would be the first and last name, ID information
8 of those persons, and there would be a list of the cargo per truck, the
9 types of cargo in the truck, the quantities, the type. So regardless of
10 whether that applied to the DutchBat or anyone else, this is how it
11 worked. Before the convoy actually arrived to the check-point at Zuti
13 Q. Thank you. Let me stop you there because we will look at a
14 couple documents to illustrate what you're describing. When you said
15 "coordinating body," you're referring there to the coordinating body in
16 Pale, the civilian body?
17 A. Yes, that was the coordinating body of the government of
18 Republika Srpska.
19 Q. Are you aware of whether there was a member of the Main Staff on
20 that coordinating body?
21 A. The -- what I know is that the member of the coordinating body
22 was Dragan Kekic. Biljana Plavsic was in that body and Dr. Koljevic.
23 What I know from the Main Staff, and I'm not sure, is -- I think that a
24 member of that coordinating body was Mr. Manojlo Milovanovic, the Chief
25 of Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska.
1 Q. Let me move on now, if I could show you --
2 MR. NICHOLLS: If I could please have 65 ter 05526.
3 Q. Sir, this is a document which has Main Staff, Army of VRS, on the
4 top left, 2nd of April, 1995. It's signed by General Milovanovic, who
5 you just spoke about, if we were to look at the -- you can see that on
6 your page -- no, not on your page but we'll get to that. And it
7 states -- well, first I'd like you to read the handwritten part on the
8 top right. Tell us what that says.
9 A. "Not a single convoy or ICRC team or MSF may enter Srebrenica
10 without my permission and presence."
11 And then the signature is Momir Nikolic, which is my signature.
12 Q. And is that your handwriting?
13 A. Yes. What it says here, that's what I wrote, and it's my
15 Q. Thank you. Now, this is to the command of the Drina Corps, SRK
16 and IBK, and it says at the top:
17 "We hereby inform you that we consent to the request of the RS
18 coordinating body for HP emergency services as follows."
19 And now if we look at the bottom, item number 3, I won't read it
20 out for time's sake, but if you take a look at that it talks about how
21 many pencils, how many markers, how many staples. Is that the kind of
22 detail that you were referring to when you said you would receive
23 detailed instructions from the Main Staff of exactly what was allowed
24 into the enclaves, into Srebrenica?
25 A. As far as I can remember, these permissions, I don't know of any
1 other form, so practically in each one of them, it was written in this
2 way what could enter, total, identification, number, name, quantities,
3 vehicle, persons who were entering, everything. That was the usual form
4 of the permits that I would receive and that I would see.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. May I tender this, Your Honours?
6 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar?
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document 05526 receives number P1507,
8 Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
10 Mr. Nicholls, your last question, could there be any doubt as
11 that this reflects a level of detail? I mean, if you read it, you know
12 it, isn't it?
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, but he had -- Your Honours, the reason I did
14 that, he answered a question earlier describing that things were spelled
15 out in detail and I was trying to show this as a typical example confirm
16 that --
17 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber, having this document in evidence, can
18 see that it's the level of detail apart from what we have -- I think we
19 have similar documents in the past but ...
20 MR. NICHOLLS: All right.
21 JUDGE ORIE: There could be possibly no doubt about that, you
22 could even agree on it, that this reflects a level of detail. Please
24 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm just checking, Your Honours. I may skip a
25 couple documents now.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I don't know what they are but if you think it's
2 wise to do it, then do it as you -- or if documents, of course, if you
3 don't need to go through them with the witness, then of course there is
4 still a possibility to bar table them at any future point in time.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. I'll move on a little bit.
6 Could I have 65 ter 04215, please?
7 Q. Sir, this is now in July 1995, 4 July 1995. It's headed
8 "Military Secret, Strictly Confidential, Analysis of combat readiness in
9 the first half of 1995," to the Drina Corps from your brigade, the
10 Bratunac Brigade. And just, if you can with a "yes" or "no," you're
11 familiar with this document?
12 A. Yes, I do know.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I please go to page 17 of the English, which
14 should be page 31 in the Serbian original?
15 Q. Now, this report to the Drina Corps, from your brigade, the
16 six-month report on the combat readiness, states:
17 "During 1995, international organisations and their
18 representatives have passed through and stayed temporarily in the
19 brigade's area of responsibility. Their stay and activities in the area
20 of responsibility were monitored and every significant event was promptly
21 reported to the superior organs of the Drina Corps and the Main Staff."
22 Then it says:
23 "In the brigade's area of responsibility, a check-point was
24 established for the control of all international organisations entering
25 and leaving the enclaves of Srebrenica. This check-point functions in
1 accordance with the orders of the Main Staff and instructions and orders
2 of the brigade commander."
3 This is in the intelligence and security section of this report.
4 Could you just tell us if what is written there is accurate based on the
5 situation in that period?
6 A. I wrote this, and it is accurate.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender this document, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar?
9 THE REGISTRAR: Document 04215 receives number P1508,
10 Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ORIE: P1508 is admitted.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
13 Q. Now, what I want to ask you about now is having discussed the way
14 the convoy system worked, and your role in it, checking it at the
15 Yellow Bridge, speaking now about DutchBat and UNPROFOR, what was the
16 effect of the orders passed on by the Main Staff about how much material
17 should be allowed in to resupply DutchBat? In other words, I'm asking
18 you, as head of intel and security and liaison to DutchBat, whether,
19 during this period, let's focus in April, May, June, 1995, if enough
20 material was being allowed in to DutchBat to allow them to carry out
21 their tasks.
22 A. What I know for certain is the following: In April, May and
23 June, and until operations began, is the period, that is to say, the
24 three months, where certain restrictions were imposed with regard to
25 DutchBat, but also all of the others who depended on the convoys and who
1 were in Srebrenica.
2 I will focus on DutchBat. Given the fact that I was in permanent
3 contact with them, I can address their requests and I can discuss my
4 analyses that I did concerning DutchBat. I can confirm that there were
5 different restrictions on lubricants, fuels, and on timely rotation of
6 forces in the enclave of Srebrenica that were foreseen to be rotated.
7 They did it from time to time, sending some on leave and bringing in
8 others. I can certainly tell you that it all had a negative impact on
9 the combat readiness and on the implementation of the designated tasks
10 they should have been carrying out in the enclave.
11 Q. And what was the impact? If I can just help you, I'll refer to
12 as an example something you testified to in the Tolimir case at T12325.
13 You said that according to your estimates, not even 10 per cent of the
14 fuel required by DutchBat would be allowed in at this time. So what was
15 the effect, you said there was an effect, what was it, of these
17 A. I believe I've answered the question, but I will repeat. If
18 I said there were negative consequences for their combat readiness, the
19 readiness of the protection force's battalion, it entails that they
20 lacked fuel and lubricants to carry out their designated tasks. This
21 entailed the engagement of APCs and everything else that required fuel in
22 order to function -- for the unit to function normally. It includes the
23 hospital, the health clinic, their own premises, generators, APCs,
24 trucks, and everything else. I speak on the basis of my own analyses and
25 on the basis of their objections they forwarded to me and their requests.
1 They asked me to convey to my superior commands that their requests and
2 quantities should be respected. Otherwise, they would be in no position
3 to carry out their designated tasks. As far as I know, although I was
4 not in the enclave, it was all based on their requests sent to me, and it
5 was on the basis of the quantities that eventually entered the enclave.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, could I ask you, Mr. Nicholls referred to
7 your testimony in the Tolimir case, where your estimate was that not even
8 10 per cent of the fuel required would be allowed in. Is that still your
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I still claim that the quantities
11 provided were the bare minimum. As an intelligence person, I can discuss
12 assessments based on the elements I had. So it would be in the range of
13 10 to 15 per cent. I stand by it. That was far from sufficient.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Okay, just ten minutes before the break, sir, so I want to ask
17 you now a similar question but regarding the restrictions on humanitarian
18 aid. Based on your knowledge as the intelligence and security officer of
19 the brigade, what was the effect on the Muslim population of the
20 Srebrenica enclave during this period of the amount of supplies allowed
22 A. I assessed the situation in Srebrenica. I received information
23 from the organisations that -- who dealt with civilians and humanitarian
24 assistance. Given the fact that I know that during that period there
25 were constant requests to increase the limited quantities irrespective of
1 the permissions in place, there were, and I need to mention it, oral
2 orders and requests made to me that I be present to control it all. I
3 know precisely that always, on our side, the requests were that some of
4 the quantities envisaged for Srebrenica be provided to the Serb side
5 because the Serb side believed the distribution to be unfair. So there
6 were constant problems in that regard.
7 What was conveyed to me from the ICRC and the UNHCR was that the
8 situation in Srebrenica was terrible, in all respects, health, that there
9 were sick people, that there were many contagious diseases, lice, and
10 that they lacked hygiene items, and that they had insufficient quantities
11 of food. The quantities allowed in were not enough for the people to
12 survive there in rather normal conditions. Based on their reports and
13 statements, the situation was terrible. That was the kind of information
14 I received directly from the people who were in charge of civilians.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, I don't know if you would be
17 interested in taking the break now because I'm now going to go into a
18 completely new area.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps I ask one question. You said those
20 were the reports you received. Did you have any reason to doubt the
21 accuracy of those reports?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have a single reason to do
23 so. My relationship with the people I was in contact with was an honest
24 one and it seems to me that we never tried to cross each other when we
25 discussed either misunderstandings or problems. We were frank, no matter
1 how painful the misunderstandings were or unpleasant for either myself or
2 them. I am 100 per cent convinced that we had a fair relationship,
3 providing accurate information. I have no reason to doubt that.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. No only providing accurate information but
5 also receiving accurate information from your counterpart?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Basically, always, according to my
7 reports, which I sent, I think the reports were absolutely correct. Of
8 course, to the extent possible to be viewed by them, because the
9 territory was a large one and the issue complex. However, I do believe
10 that, to a large percentage, the reports were accurate, true.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we will take a break, but could first the
12 witness be escorted out of the courtroom.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 JUDGE ORIE: We will take a break, longer than usual. We will
15 resume at five minutes to 12.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 11.06 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.06 p.m.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be -- could the accused be brought
19 into the courtroom.
20 [The accused entered court]
21 JUDGE ORIE: And could the witness be escorted into the
23 [The witness takes the stand]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, if you're ready, you may proceed.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Nikolic, moving on now, I'm going to move up to the events in
2 July, just before, during and after the fall or liberation of Srebrenica,
3 and what you saw and know happened there. So that's where I'm going.
4 Now, the days leading up, immediately preceding 11 July, do you
5 remember seeing any Drina Corps or Main Staff officers in Bratunac who
6 had come, just prior to the 11th of July?
7 A. Yes. I saw a number of officers from the Drina Corps command.
8 I also saw a number of officers who arrived from the Main Staff.
9 Q. So if you could name them, please. First, from the Main Staff,
10 and then Drina Corps.
11 A. From the Main Staff, I saw commander of the Main Staff,
12 General Ratko Mladic. I saw Colonel Jankovic, who is also from the
13 Main Staff and their intelligence administration. From the Drina Corps,
14 I saw many officers, including General Krstic, Lieutenant Colonel
15 Popovic, Lieutenant Colonel Kosoric, all of the officers who were
16 participating in the activities at the time, starting with
17 Vinko Pandurevic and from the other brigades. They are members of the
18 Drina Corps but they were not from the Main Staff. I saw all of those
19 men in the course of those few days in the Bratunac Brigade headquarters
20 in Bratunac.
21 Q. Thank you. When you talk about Colonel Jankovic from the
22 Main Staff, is that Radoslav Jankovic?
23 A. Yes. I had Radoslav Jankovic in mind from the intelligence
24 administration of the Main Staff.
25 Q. And do you remember approximately what day it was that you first
1 encountered Colonel Jankovic from the Main Staff in the brigade?
2 A. I am doubtful as regards that. In any case, what I can recall is
3 that it was on the 8th or the 9th of July. I'm inclined to say that it
4 was the 9th rather than the 8th, although I cannot guarantee that I'm
5 correct. In any case, it was within that period that I saw him at my
6 brigade command.
7 Q. Okay. Thank you. Just to be clear, Mirko Jankovic was
8 captain -- or was, sorry, commander of the military police in the
9 Bratunac Brigade. So there were two Jankovics in Bratunac at this time,
10 so we need to be careful. Right?
11 A. Yes, precisely.
12 Q. Now, can you just -- can you briefly tell me what you did with
13 Colonel Jankovic from the Main Staff intelligence administration once he
14 arrived, since you were the intelligence officer in Bratunac. If you
15 worked with him, in other words.
16 A. Yes. I did, after his arrival in the brigade. Before that, I
17 don't know if he had seen my commander. In any case, he arrived in my
18 office and told me that he came to the Bratunac Brigade, to my sector, on
19 orders of the Main Staff in order to assist me. That is to say that as
20 of the day of his arrival he was to undertake all obligations regarding
21 contact with members of DutchBat and other international organisations in
22 Srebrenica. He also said that as of that moment on, all activities that
23 had to do with intelligence and security, including the drafting of
24 reports to our superior commands, would be done jointly, that is to say,
25 together in my office.
1 Q. Thank you. So just to be very clear, he shared your office while
2 he was working there?
3 A. As of that date, when he came to my office, until the very end of
4 the operation, when he went back to the Main Staff, he spent time with me
5 and worked in my office. We were sitting in the same office, working
6 together, pertaining to our department.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Excuse me, Your Honours, I'm sorry to ask but when
9 approximately will be the next break, just for my planning?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Next break will be at, let me see, at 12.55, five
11 minutes to 1.00.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
13 Q. Turning now to 11 July 1995, there is evidence in this case
14 already, I believe, about the movement of the population, a large body of
15 people moving from Srebrenica towards Potocari. Can you tell me -- tell
16 the Trial Chamber if you heard about that population movement and when
17 you learned about people going from Srebrenica to the DutchBat base in
19 A. I'd like to be precise on this topic. I had information that
20 people were moving away from the direction of attack of the Serb forces,
21 and that civilians were on the move towards Srebrenica. As for any
22 en masse movement from the area of Srebrenica to the area of Potocari,
23 I received such information and I could see that on the 11th of July,
24 sometime in the afternoon for the first time.
25 Q. Thank you. And at some point, did you receive information about
1 military-age men or able-bodied men, however you would like to describe
2 them, being present at Potocari?
3 A. In the course of those few critical days, I kept receiving
4 information from the units of my brigade and the infantry battalions. A
5 piece of information on the 11th was, and it was sometime in the
6 afternoon, it arrived from the command of the 2nd Infantry Battalion,
7 that they had observed a large group of civilians moving towards Potocari
8 and the base. As part of that report, they included their assessment,
9 and it was my assessment as well, that in a group that size, there would
10 be also able-bodied men.
11 Q. At some point did you make an assessment that there were 1500 to
12 2.000 military-aged able-bodied men at Potocari amongst the crowd?
13 A. Yes. That was the assessment of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, that
14 is to say, my subordinates in the battalion command. It was also my
15 assessment based on my previous counter-intelligence assessment on the
16 size and force of the enemy. It was my assessment that in case of an
17 attack or the fall of the enclave of Srebrenica, there would be a number
18 of able-bodied men amongst the population.
19 For the sake of the Chamber I would like to explain what
20 I understood as able-bodied men. The fact that someone is able-bodied
21 does not mean that he was engaged in the military sense. I knew
22 precisely that in Srebrenica the number of able-bodied men was greater
23 than the number of those who were actively involved in the units of the
24 Srebrenica Brigade, that is to say, the Muslim brigade. That was the
25 assessment of the intelligence organ concerning the situation which
1 ensued after the fall of the enclave. So we relied on that figure, that
2 is to say, between 1.000 and 1,500 people, as the number of people who
3 could -- who were able-bodied and who could end up amongst the population
4 in Potocari.
5 Q. All right. And I think if I understand your explanation, what
6 you're saying is that not all of those men would be members of the ABiH?
7 A. According to my assessments, that is to say, before the fall of
8 the enclave, as well as in the course of those few critical days, it was
9 my assessment that some of the able-bodied men under the then law, well,
10 that would include the category up to 60 or 65 years of age. However,
11 they are still able-bodied and they were duty-bound to join the reserve
12 force if called upon to do so. However, according to my assessment, some
13 of those men were not assigned to the different units of the
14 28th Division.
15 Q. Thank you. I'm going to move on a bit now and start talking
16 about the Hotel Fontana meetings in Bratunac.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you do that, Mr. Nicholls, I have a
18 question on what the witness said a little earlier. Somewhere you said,
19 sir, that you received information and you saw that large groups of
20 people were moving from Srebrenica to Potocari. Just wanted to ask where
21 were you when you did see them, that large group. I'm trying to find out
22 where I found it.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I believe it's page 40, line 2, Your Honour, or --
24 line 6 to 11, excuse me, on page 40.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. At line 10, "I received such information and
1 I could see that on the 11th of July, sometime in the afternoon for the
2 first time." I just wanted to find out where were you at the time when
3 you did see.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 11th of July, in the
5 afternoon, several times, not once, I was in the area of responsibility
6 of the 2nd Infantry Battalion in the Kokarde sector and my brigade had an
7 observation post that sector. And several times that day, when the
8 operations started, when the attack on Srebrenica started, on that day,
9 on the 11th, I went to the sector of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, the
10 village and the observation point were called Borici, that's where the
11 observation point was, and from those positions you could clearly see the
12 entire area that was in front of the positions of the 2nd Battalion of
13 the Bratunac 1st Brigade which was in immediate contact with the Potocari
14 sector, and that sector where the civilians were arriving.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Nicholls.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. I'd like you to tell us, if you heard about -- how you heard
18 about the first Hotel Fontana meeting, how it came up that you learned
19 there was going to be a meeting at the Hotel Fontana, and then after you
20 tell me that, I'll ask you what you did.
21 A. The information that a meeting would be held at the Fontana Hotel
22 came to me from Radoslav Jankovic, Colonel. I heard it from him. He
23 told me that members of the DutchBat soldiers and non-commissioned
24 officers or officers, I don't remember their ranks anymore, surrendered
25 and that they were in the Fontana Hotel and they asked for a meeting to
1 be held with General Mladic, and that the attendants at the meeting would
2 include General Ratko Mladic and the head of the DutchBat,
3 Colonel Karremans.
4 Q. All right. And what did you do? What was your duty regarding
5 this meeting, talking about the first meeting held on the 11th of July at
6 the Hotel Fontana?
7 A. Colonel Jankovic from the Main Staff told me that it was my duty
8 or that we should prepare the place where the meeting was supposed to be
9 held. My task and the task of the military police, the commander of the
10 military police and the police, was to prepare the Fontana Hotel
11 physically for that first and then subsequently the second meeting.
12 Q. All right. Now, I won't go through all the details of the
13 meeting, but can you tell us where you were during the meeting,
14 whether -- we can see that you're not on the video of that meeting but
15 where were you, what were you doing, during that first meeting at around
16 8 p.m. on 11 July?
17 A. After we provided security at the Fontana Hotel, after we secured
18 it physically, outside the exit and a part of the reception area using
19 military police, together with Colonel Jankovic and the interpreter
20 Petar, we went inside the hotel to wait for General Mladic. That's where
21 we waited for him. The meeting was held in a small conference room at
22 the hotel. I was to the -- well, to the left, there is a stage where the
23 musicians are supposed to be, so as you look from the entrance to the
24 left that is where I was standing. General Mladic and Karremans went to
25 this small conference room, which has a sliding door, and that is where
1 they went and that was where the first meeting and their first contact
2 took place.
3 Q. Okay. And just a last question on this. Could you observe the
4 meeting from where you were standing?
5 A. Yes, I could see the participants of the meeting and I could hear
6 what they were saying.
7 Q. Thank you. I have basically the same questions for the second
8 meeting, the one that was held later that night with the man this time
9 from the civilians in Potocari. If you could just tell us very briefly
10 what you did in relation to that meeting? Did you secure the area the
11 same way?
12 A. Exactly the same. My role and the role of the military police
13 regarding the meeting was exactly the same as the first time. So more or
14 less we knew the time, when they were supposed to come to the meeting
15 held at the order of General Ratko Mladic. My task again was to provide
16 the conditions and security for the Hotel Fontana and the area around it,
17 as well as the route the DutchBat took, because -- and possibly members
18 of the Muslim side. At the time I did not know if they would be there or
20 Q. Okay. And same thing: Did you observe this meeting without
21 participating in it?
22 A. Throughout the meeting, the second meeting, I was present in the
23 same area of the Hotel Fontana. I could see who was taking part.
24 I could hear what they were talking about, and at the end of the meeting,
25 pursuant to General Mladic's order, I escorted the participants to
1 Potocari once the meeting was finished.
2 Q. Okay. And at the time of the night-time meetings, had the
3 information -- well, the information would have reached Colonel Jankovic
4 and the Main Staff about the intelligence assessment of the number of
5 men, able-bodied men, if we call them that, in Potocari; is that right?
6 A. All the information, everything that I wrote during those few
7 days, was something that Colonel Jankovic knew because he was sitting in
8 my office. So officially I was in the office, together with Colonel
9 Jankovic, and I wrote intelligence reports to the command of the
10 Drina Corps, and I think this was also sent to the Main Staff, and all
11 the information that we both had at our disposal we knew before we
12 informed the corps command and the Main Staff about them. This
13 information was sent out in written form and we would also send out
14 questions about what it was that we needed to do.
15 Q. Okay. But then just specifically to this information about the
16 1500 or so men in Potocari, that information was available to the
17 Main Staff by the time of the Potocari meetings? Fontana meetings,
19 A. In a professional way, in written form, it was addressed to the
20 superior commands, so I can just say that we sent out the information.
21 I assume - I can only assume - that all the key pieces of information
22 arrived at the intended destination along that command line. I cannot
23 comment more on what happened to what we wrote. All I know is that we
24 did write it and send it to the intended recipients.
25 Q. Right. But just last point, I'm just trying to be clear: That
1 was before the last Hotel Fontana meeting that you had sent that
3 A. Of course.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, if you're talk about the last Fontana
6 meeting --
7 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm sorry, last Fontana meeting on 11 July, I
8 should clarify.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, thank you. That late evening meeting.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, thank you very much, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: That is how you understood the question as well,
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understood the question that
14 this was before the last meeting on the 11th in the evening.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed, Mr. Nicholls.
16 MR. NICHOLLS:
17 Q. Sorry, when you say "we" provided this information and you wrote
18 it up the chain, that is you and Colonel Jankovic; is that right?
19 A. Yes. I mean the two of us. To be perfectly clear, no document,
20 once he arrived, was sent to the Drina Corps command with either my
21 signature or his signature or just from me or from him. During those
22 days, we were a team that wrote all the reports together. There were no
23 separate reports, one written by me, one written by him. What this means
24 was when it was needed, we would sit at the desk, we would write the
25 information together, or a question, and then we would send it. There
1 were no separate, distinct opinions or information or anything. We would
2 draft it together.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, I just want to move through the chronology of
4 the next couple days. After the second Hotel Fontana meeting on 11 July,
5 what did you do that night? Did you go anywhere and do anything else?
6 A. After the second meeting, the evening meeting, late-night
7 meeting, after an order by the commander, Mr. Ratko Mladic, I escorted
8 the participants of the second meeting to Potocari. After that, I did
9 not return to the Fontana because there was no need to do that. After
10 that, I went to the command of my own -- the Bratunac Brigade.
11 Q. Thank you. So let's move on to 12 July, about what you remember
12 from that morning. Do you recall a meeting at the Bratunac Brigade on
13 the morning of 12 July, including General Mladic and others?
14 A. Yes. I remember those meetings. I remember the meeting on the
15 12th, in the morning, but there were many such meetings. But of course
16 I remember that day. I do need to say that on the 12th of July, from
17 7 a.m., I was on duty at the Bratunac Brigade command. I was the duty
18 operations officer in my brigade.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have 65 ter 15141, please?
20 Q. And what I'm about to show you, Mr. Nikolic - and I hope it's
21 clear on your screen - is a report of 12 July 1995. It's a MUP report
22 signed by the chief of the CJB in Zvornik, Dragomir Vasic. I see it's
23 dated 12 July. And the part I'm focusing on is paragraph 2, a meeting
24 with General Mladic and General Krstic was held at the Bratunac Brigade
25 headquarters at -- and we have 0800 hours at which tasks were assigned to
1 all those involved.
2 The question is: Do you remember Mr. Vasic being at the brigade
3 or being at this meeting in the morning?
4 A. I did have that noted down in the operations logbook, which
5 I kept meticulously, but I remember that on the 12th, a meeting like this
6 was held in the morning. It's true that I don't know what was discussed
7 at the meeting, but I know that the meeting was attended by those who are
8 referred to here, senior officers from the police and the army.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender that, Your Honours?
11 JUDGE ORIE: I noticed that quite a few portions are translated
12 as "illegible." Looking at the original, I wonder what is illegible
13 there. For example, the second it says "illegible of the minister in
14 Pale." Now, I read in the original, "kabinet ministra [phoen] Pale." So
15 same for the "illegible of the police forces in Bijeljina," I see
16 "SSTAB," so I wonder what explains the illegibility.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: I don't have an answer, Your Honour, other than
18 perhaps Ms. Stewart's advised me that it may have -- the translation amy
19 have been from an earlier version that was not good quality, so we could
20 send this for a revision. But it's the same document, but I see you're
21 quite right.
22 JUDGE ORIE: I do not know whether it's the same document. If it
23 was another one which was badly legible, I don't know if it's the same,
24 but you apparently are certain of that. The first, for example, says
25 "MUP Republika Srpska." That is, there is no way that it would be
1 illegible. So therefore we will MFI the document, if you would come up
2 with a full translation. Mr. Lukic?
3 MR. LUKIC: I'm sorry for interrupting although this is not my
4 witness. We have to actually object to this document. Obviously there
5 is something in the text, and we saw that previously, that is not in the
6 original. Somebody took the right to explain what some terms mean. So
7 here, in the translation, we have "Turks, derogatory for Muslims."
8 That's not in the document, and we will not accept documents that
9 translate or explain to us what something means. So this is not
10 translation. And we ask the Prosecution to replace this document, if
11 they want to MFI it.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I take it that you want a translation and
13 nothing else, apart from -- are there other matters? Because to say
14 that --
15 MR. LUKIC: Not from my part at this moment. I just wanted to
16 point out this --
17 JUDGE ORIE: It's just "Turks derogatory" -- and I'm also looking
18 one second to -- if you have one second for me. Further down in the
19 text, under paragraph 7, there seems to be something illegible as well.
20 Even there I also have -- so it's not only in the upper part but -- one
21 second, please.
22 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
23 Mr. Lukic, just to say not to MFI it, it's exactly because of our
24 concerns about the accuracy of the translation, whether it's about
25 illegibility or whether it's comments, that we will MFI it. Then it's
1 not in evidence and we will not admit it until we have a full translation
2 and then a translation only.
3 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls?
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, just briefly, Ms. Stewart's informed
6 me she has found another translation which is a -- of the same ERN as the
7 B/C/S original. It does not have the "illegibles" and is a complete
8 translation, so if we can upload that, that may --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Does it also not have the comments?
10 MR. NICHOLLS: I can't see it now if it has the comments,
11 Your Honours, but I would just say that that is common in lots of
12 translations in this Tribunal and it's very clear that they are not in
13 the original. So I don't really see a problem with --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Well, at the same time, a further explanation of the
15 word "Turks" might not be needed, and let me just -- the document --
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ORIE: The document will be marked for identification.
18 Mr. Lukic, the Chamber, of course, observed that on many occasion this
19 kind of interpretation or, you say, comments or explanation is found
20 often and of course often you have not objected to it. So it's not
21 entirely clear to the Chamber why here you do, but technically you're
22 right, it's not translation but comment. At the same time, comment which
23 I think most of us in this courtroom have seen many, many times,
24 especially in relation to this word. But technically you're right.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Of course it's clear that it was added, but we leave
2 it to that. The document will be marked for identification until a new
3 translation without comments is uploaded.
4 MR. LUKIC: I'm sorry, we would inquire who added this, whether
5 that was done by CLSS or by the Prosecution.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Of course it's CLSS.
7 MR. LUKIC: Okay. Then we'll ask from the CLSS to retranslate
8 and extract these additions.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: But -- but -- [overlapping speakers] --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Let's -- let's -- [overlapping speakers] --
11 MR. LUKIC: We don't think CLSS is allowed to tell us what some
12 terms mean. It's not their job.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, if we need a discussion on that, we will
14 have to do it fundamentally because often you have also relied on
15 documents where, for example, acronyms are explained further, so this is
16 not uncommon. But let's not use this document at this moment, but then
17 if you want to make submissions on that matter, of course you're free to
18 do so and then we may have a more fundamental discussion on it. I would
19 say let's try to focus on what really is in dispute, and that Turks --
20 let's say the following: The evidence shows here and there that "Turks"
21 is a derogatory term for Muslims. That may be clear to everyone in this
22 courtroom. But let's not have it now. New translation.
23 It's MFI'd under what number, Madam Registrar?
24 THE REGISTRAR: Document is 15141 has been MFI'd under number
25 P1509, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And is marked for identification, therefore. Please
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honours. I take it then we have
4 permission to upload and replace the translation.
5 JUDGE ORIE: No, the replacement is upon approval by the Chamber,
6 done by the Registrar, and you may upload it. That's the system.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: I see. Thank you.
8 Q. Now, without going back to this document in much detail, it
9 refers to that a meeting will be held at 10.00 a.m. with representatives
10 of UNPROFOR and the Muslim representative of Srebrenica, et cetera.
11 Could you tell us how and when you learned of the Hotel Fontana meeting
12 held on the morning of 12 July?
13 A. At the last evening -- meeting of that evening of the -- on the
14 11th of July, General Mladic and Mr. Karremans agreed. And of course at
15 this second night meeting there was a representative of the Muslim
16 civilians, Mr. Mandzic, so it was agreed that the next meeting should be
17 held the following day, on the 12th of July, at the same place in the
18 Hotel Fontana, starting at 10.00, and then the following day, my
19 assignment, the assignment of the military police and everything that
20 happened for the previous two meetings was provided for -- again. The
21 hotel was emptied and security was provided so that that meeting could be
22 held, and it was, in fact, held on the 12th of July at 10.00.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, before the meeting started, did you meet with
24 any Drina Corps Colonels outside the Hotel Fontana?
25 A. I arrived much earlier, at the Fontana, before the meeting was
1 supposed to be held because of all the duties I had regarding security,
2 preparation of the space and the police for the meeting, and then
3 sometime before the meeting, I met Lieutenant Colonel Popovic,
4 Lieutenant Colonel Kosoric in front of the Fontana before the meeting
6 Q. Did you speak with Colonels Popovic and Kosoric?
7 A. I did. I spoke with Popovic. Kosoric was also there.
8 Mr. Popovic told me that that day, all the children, women, would be
9 transferred to the territory, meaning that that was more or less the
10 position, the agreement, that they would be transferred to territory
11 under the control of the Muslim forces, meaning Kladanj or Tuzla, or
12 actually meaning that it would be a destination to which they wanted to
13 go. Then he said that able-bodied men would be separated, and to my
14 question, "Lieutenant Colonel, sir, what will happen then with the men,"
15 he said arrogantly, "All balijas should be killed." So that is what he
16 said to my question, "What about the men?"
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you please clarify, witness, who said these
18 words? It's not absolutely clear from the transcript. That "all balijas
19 should be killed."
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic and I had a
21 conversation. It was a face-to-face conversation, and in response to my
22 question, "Lieutenant Colonel, sir," I was addressing Popovic, "what will
23 happen to the men?" He arrogantly, as was his style, said, "All balijas
24 should be killed." So I am conveying, I'm quoting what he said to me.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
1 MR. NICHOLLS:
2 Q. And then, what further conversation did you and Vujadin Popovic
3 have about the men who were to be killed, the balijas?
4 A. I have not received interpretation.
5 Q. I'll try again. Can you hear me?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. After Popovic told you that all the balijas would be killed --
8 would be killed, what conversation followed between you and Mr. Popovic,
9 if any, about the execution of these men?
10 A. I need to be precise. That's why I have to say this. Before we
11 discussed the executions, there was another topic we discussed. It was
12 the facilities where the separated able-bodied men from Potocari should
13 be accommodated temporarily or imprisoned. Since I originate from
14 Bratunac and it was the area of responsibility of my brigade and I was
15 familiar with the terrain, I told Mr. Popovic that there were facilities,
16 vacant facilities, in Bratunac which could be easily secured with a small
17 number of forces. Those separated at Potocari could be transported and
18 temporarily held in those facilities in Bratunac. I mentioned the
19 Vuk Karadzic primary school, the hangar, the sports gym, and the
20 buildings within that perimeter, which is about 100 metres. All those
21 buildings were in the centre of town, and yet vacant. It was possible to
22 have them secured with a small number of troops.
23 After that, once we were through that topic -- with that topic,
24 two locations were mentioned, where the people should be executed, the
25 people separated at Potocari and transported to Bratunac. The Sase mine
1 was mentioned and the brick factory. I need to say the following as
2 well. At those two locations, no murders took place and there was no
3 organised execution of Muslims there captured there. No one was ever
4 transported to the Sase and the brick factory locations, not a single
5 execution or murder took place there.
6 Q. Okay, that was quite a long answer. Let me just make sure this
7 is clear. After Vujadin Popovic said all the balijas would be killed,
8 there was a discussion of execution sites and it was suggested that the
9 brick factory and Sase mine could be used as execution sites. Is that
11 A. Yes, it is. It is correct.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, I'm looking at the clock. We are half
13 a minute away from the time of the break.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: We can break now, Your Honours, and I'll carry on.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then could the witness first be escorted out of the
17 [The witness stands down]
18 JUDGE ORIE: We will take a break and we will resume at quarter
19 past 1.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.55 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 1.16 p.m.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
23 [The witness takes the stand]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, if you're ready, you may proceed.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Now, Mr. Nikolic, let me just ask before we move on to another
2 topic, we discussed -- we were just talking now about the discussion --
3 and you -- and the locations discussed for executions of prisoners were
4 the Sase mine and the brick factory. Did the brick factory have a name?
5 A. As far as I know, everyone referred to it as the brick factory.
6 I don't know of any other name. So the Sase mine and Ciglana, meaning
7 the brick factory. It's its original name, I know of no other.
8 Q. Thank you. Ciglana was the word I was trying to make clear.
9 Now, if you remember, please tell us, who was it in that
10 conversation between yourself and Mr. Popovic who first mentioned
11 locations in Bratunac for the executions, Ciglana and the Sase mine? Was
12 it you or Mr. Popovic or somebody else?
13 A. In my testimony thus far, because I cannot quote, and I do not
14 recall exactly who mentioned it first, but I do know that first we
15 discussed the facilities for detaining them and then there was a
16 discussion. I was there, Popovic and Kosoric. I truly do not recall who
17 mentioned it first. In any case, all three of us took part in the
19 Q. Okay. Let me just, for your memory, read you back a short
20 question and answer about this topic, this is from your testimony in the
21 Blagojevic case, page 1677. 22nd September 2003.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: And I'm sorry, I don't have this in e-court.
23 Q. "Q. Were there any locations discussed for the killing of the
24 Muslim men?
25 "A. Yes, yes, Mr. Prosecutor. The places of execution were
1 discussed and two locations were mentioned. The first to be mentioned
2 was the brickworks, the Ciglana, a state-owned company in Bratunac, and
3 the area of the Sase mine in Sase village.
4 "Q. Who brought up these two locations as possible locations for
6 "A. I mentioned both locations."
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrusic, you're on your feet.
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor has quoted already
9 and has been leading for quite a while now. I believe he could have
10 received an answer in a different way. However, I truly need to
11 intervene now, having in mind that he's putting a transcript to his own
12 witness, trying to jog his memory by engaging -- by basically in
13 cross-examination while the witness has already answered. It is a fact
14 that the transcript is in existence, and in it, the witness said what he
15 said, which is that he mentioned the location. However, the witness has
16 already provided an answer during examination-in-chief here.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I'm afraid that I do not understand either
18 Mr. Nicholls nor you, Mr. Petrusic. First of all, Mr. Nicholls, I do not
19 understand why you would read an answer which is, I'd say, the same
20 answer as the witness gave, that they were mentioned. You can just ask
21 the witness who came up with those names, so therefore I cannot see the
22 use at this moment, but perhaps I'm missing something.
23 At the same time, Mr. Petrusic, I therefore also do not see what
24 is there leading, if you read a portion of a previous testimony, which
25 gives more or less the same answer as the answer already given by the
1 witness. I mean it may be useless but to say it's leading is not what
2 I understand it to be.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: May I --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. -- there may be good reasons for that, but
5 I still wonder whether you could have asked who came up with those names.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: If I may, Your Honours, what I did ask him was who
7 was it in the conversation who first mentioned the locations for the
8 executions Ciglana and Sase. That's at page 56, lines 14 to 16. Part of
9 the answer given by Mr. Nikolic on line 20 at page 56 is: "I truly do
10 not recall who mentioned it first." So as he stated he didn't recall who
11 it was in that conversation who first mentioned these two locations as
12 possible execution sites, I was reading back this answer to try to
13 refresh his memory of who it was who first mentioned them, which is
14 contained in the section I'm reading from 2003.
15 JUDGE ORIE: I'm afraid that I have to reread it in order to
16 fully -- let me see. My LiveNote is causing me some problems but I'm
17 there now. Let me see. If you just give me a few seconds to read it.
18 Yes. I missed that. I have to apologise for that. But now
19 let's see what you did put to him as a quote.
20 Yes, you're asking the same question, you're not refreshing his
21 memory at this moment yet. You tried again, and then after that I take
22 it that you would -- I don't know what follows in the transcript so
23 I can't tell you whether --
24 MR. NICHOLLS: I can just make a quick proffer, Your Honour. In
25 this portion of the transcript from 2003, the witness was asked who first
1 mentioned these two locations as possible locations for execution, and
2 then he gave an answer which answers the question I was trying to refresh
3 his recollection, and I already read out his answer actually at page 57,
4 line 10. Where he had said that in that prior case that he mentioned
5 both locations.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Let me see, then. I am not -- I must admit -- you
7 said 57, line -- yes.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: That's a quote there, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: That's a quote there. Yes. Then that is refreshing
10 the memory of the witness. That is okay. I missed that. I apologise
11 for that. I'm not at my best at this very moment because I had forgotten
12 something else as well. That is to inform the parties that Judge Fluegge
13 is for urgent Tribunal reasons unable to continue to sit but only for
14 this last hour of today, and that Judge Moloto and I have considered
15 whether it would be in the interests of justice to continue to hear this
16 case and we decided it was. That's the reason why there are two Judges.
17 That's not my best performance, Mr. Nicholls, neither the intervention in
18 the last one nor the 15 bis. I'll try to improve my performance.
19 Please proceed, the objection is denied, Mr. Petrusic.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
21 Q. Mr. Nikolic, it's been a while since I read out this portion to
22 try to refresh your recollection, but in short, what I read out, in
23 Blagojevic, when you were asked who brought up these two locations as
24 possible locations for execution, you answered:
25 "A. I mentioned both locations," but let me read the complete
1 answer in fairness, "but in view of the way in which they reacted, my
2 conclusion was that they already knew, that is, that they both knew them
3 already, knew about both locations."
4 So having heard that, your testimony from ten years ago,
5 actually, does that help you remember who first mentioned Sase mine and
7 A. My answer is as follows: We were discussing those places, and
8 I said that in my first testimony in the Blagojevic case, and in all
9 subsequent evidence. I believe that it was irrelevant. All three of us
10 discussed the locations for executions. If I said that it was me
11 ten years ago, which I truly do not recall anymore, and I can't quote
12 myself, but if I did say at the time, ten years ago, that I brought it
13 up, I don't have a problem with acknowledging or accepting that.
14 However, all three of us were discussing the locations. So I see nothing
15 controversial in accepting this as something that I did say.
16 Q. And just to be clear, where this conversation took place, where
17 was it in relation to the Hotel Fontana, the conversation between you,
18 Mr. Popovic and Mr. Kosoric?
19 A. That conversation was in front of the Fontana Hotel, in front of
20 the entrance. It was a conversation, but it was not a meeting. It
21 happened before the meeting, and had this conversation of between five
22 and ten minutes, but I don't recall it very well. The conversation took
23 place before the meeting scheduled for 10.00 on the 12th of July. It was
24 just before the meeting.
25 Q. Now, did you attend the third Hotel Fontana meeting in the sense
1 of were you present during the meeting?
2 A. If you mean whether I was physically present in the Fontana
3 Hotel, I was not present in the area where the meeting took place.
4 Throughout that time, I was in front of the hotel at the reception, and
5 in that area, making sure that the security measures that were undertaken
6 for the meeting were in place. I did see, though, all those who came and
7 entered the hotel to attend the meeting.
8 Q. Thank you. That's clear, then. What happened after the meeting?
9 What were your next duties? What did you do next?
10 A. Following the meeting, the participants came out, including
11 Colonel Radoslav Jankovic. He told me that the next thing that had to be
12 done, the next task, for all of us, including myself, was to work on
13 evacuation - I called it forcible transfer - of the population to
14 Muslim-held territory. Of course, the people from Potocari. That's what
15 I'm referring to.
16 Q. Thank you. And then where did you go? Did you go to Potocari?
17 A. For a while, I stayed in front of the Fontana Hotel. Perhaps
18 some half an hour later, I saw two or three DutchBat officers arrive.
19 I talked to them in front of the Fontana, and Petar Uscumlic and Kosoric
20 were present as well. They were interested in buses. In front of the
21 Fontana Hotel, there was Colonel Acamovic at the time. I think
22 Colonel Krsmanovic was there too. They were from the logistics of the
23 Drina Corps. I told them to discuss it with them to obtain all
24 information regarding transport and the arrival of buses. After that,
25 I went to Potocari.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I seek on two points of clarification, Mr. Nicholls,
2 the first is was about who mentioned the sites, the suggested sites of
3 execution first. Mr. Petrusic, I'm especially addressing you. The
4 witness more or less said, If I said this in one of the previous cases,
5 then he says, I do not challenge that, I accept that. Now, of course we
6 haven't seen the transcript. Is there any challenge on the Defence side
7 on the accuracy of the quote given by Mr. Nicholls? Because that is
8 relevant for the appreciation of the evidence of the witness.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The Defence will not question the
10 quote from page 1677 from 2003 in the Blagojevic case. We do not dispute
11 that it is what the witness said.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. That's clear. Then I have another
13 question for you, Witness. You said that on from a certain moment, that
14 the work to be done was evacuation, and you said, "I called it forcible
15 transfer of the population." Which I understand to mean that they were
16 not free to choose but that they had to leave. Is that what you intended
17 when you said, "I called it forcible transfer"?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have an explanation for what
19 I said and it is as follows: If we look at it from the legal point of
20 view, officially, and if we take into account what kind of choice was
21 presented to them, then in legal and formal terms they could choose
22 whether to stay or leave.
23 However, if we view it from a different angle, from the human
24 angle, I would say, in my view, I know the people. I know the mentality
25 of the people. None of the people in Potocari would voluntarily leave
1 their house and property and everything they had in their lives and say,
2 "Well, now I will voluntarily go to Kladanj to be a refugee, leaving
3 behind everything I have acquired in my lifetime." From that point of
4 view, as for the reason why they were leaving, why they were leaving
5 their house, property and everything they owned, the reason was simply
6 because after the operation, after everything that took place, it was
7 their assessment that remaining there would be unsafe. They believed it
8 wouldn't be safe to go on living there in the circumstances created after
9 the fall of Srebrenica. That is why I believe, I think, that none of
10 those people, hosts, left Potocari and Srebrenica because they liked to
11 go. They left because they were forced to. The issue was that of safety
12 and existence, and further action, because that was the very end of the
13 operation, the end of the war in that area. That is why I called it
14 forcible transfer of civilians.
15 Of course, it is my opinion. None of the things I mentioned, as
16 security and safety aspects, could be guaranteed to them by anyone. You
17 could tell them, yes, we will guarantee this or that, and then you
18 choose, but in practice, I claim that could not be provided, especially
19 in the moments of the enclave's fall, when it was taken. That is why,
20 and I could explain it in different ways, but this is the basic thing why
21 I consider it to be a forcible transfer of the population from their
22 hearths, from the -- to another part of the country which is where they
23 felt safer and which was at the time controlled by Muslims.
24 JUDGE ORIE: You've answered my question. You may proceed,
25 Mr. Nicholls.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Now, Witness, I'm going to ask you, again, just going through the
3 chronology, after this third Hotel Fontana meeting, you talked about
4 staying there for about half an hour. Where did you go next, what did
5 you do?
6 A. After that, I went to Potocari.
7 Q. And could you just tell us, as best as you can, when -- well,
8 first of all, approximately what time did you get to Potocari,
9 approximate, on the 12th?
10 A. What I recall is, I think twice or thrice I was in Potocari
11 before the transport began but I think it was sometime after 12.00, that
12 was the first time I went to Potocari.
13 Q. Okay. Can you tell us first which -- personnel from which units
14 of the VRS or MUP did you see present in Potocari when you went there?
15 A. I'll tell you one thing, which I believe is important, regarding
16 the units. Before I went to Potocari, and before Colonel Jankovic told
17 me that assistance had to be provided during the evacuation or the
18 forcible transfer, I asked him what kind of units were engaged and what
19 needed to be done. He literally told me that there are no problems in
20 that area, that the units in charge of the evacuation from Potocari had
21 already been assigned their tasks and that some of those units with their
22 commanders were already in Potocari.
23 I can enumerate more or less the units engaged up there. I'll
24 start with my brigade. Part of the Bratunac Brigade military police was
25 engaged. Then there was a unit which carried out an attack from the area
1 of Pribicevac. It arrived around that time in the area of Potocari.
2 Next, parts of my 2nd Infantry Battalion were engaged. The Wolves from
3 the Drina were there. They were members of the Zvornik Brigade. There
4 were different kinds of police units. For example, members of the public
5 security station from Bratunac, then members of the special brigade of
6 the MUP of Republika Srpska. There was a company, a police company, of
7 the PJP. And there was a unit, I don't know what its name was, though,
8 but they all had police dogs with them. I think, or actually I'm sure,
9 that there were parts of the police force from the 65th Protection
10 Regiment from Nova Kasaba, and I think there were individuals or a group
11 from the 10th Sabotage Detachment, which is a unit of the Main Staff of
12 the VRS. I don't think I have omitted anyone. Sorry, there were also
13 parts of the military police from the MP Battalion of the Drina Corps. I
14 don't think I forgot anyone. Those were the forces which at that moment
15 were in Potocari.
16 Q. Thank you very much for that detailed answer. Now, in the same
17 vein, could you tell me who you observed in Potocari -- are you okay?
18 A. Am I okay? Yes, I am. I was listening to you.
19 Q. Which officers, if any, did you see from the Main Staff in
20 Potocari when you were there?
21 A. I will be precise. It was perhaps not on the first occasion, but
22 I did tell you I was in Potocari a few times. And what I believe is
23 important is to say that I was there at the moment when evacuation began.
24 Or the forcible transfer. On that occasion, I saw General Ratko Mladic
25 in Potocari and I saw quite a number of officers from the brigades which
1 were engaged in the attack. I saw Ljubisa Borovcanin, who was deputy
2 commander of the special brigade, as well as different security organs,
3 and officers, members of the State Security Service and so on and so
4 forth. I saw many people present.
5 Q. Okay. Let me just ask some names then. Did you see Colonel
6 Jankovic in Potocari?
7 A. Well, yes. He was there countless times.
8 Q. And did you see anybody from Drina Corps intelligence and
10 A. There was Popovic and Kosoric, and from the Drina Corps there was
11 Acamovic, Krsmanovic, so the first two -- the two are from the
12 intelligence department and the other two were assistant commander for
13 the logistics and the head of the traffic service. I saw them in
15 Q. All right. And can you tell us what you saw happening to the
16 civilian population in Potocari when you were there, regarding the men,
17 the women and the children, how they were treated and what happened to
18 them, if you could describe what you saw?
19 A. At the very beginning of evacuation, in the area between where
20 the civilians were on one side and the area where they were supposed to
21 go, where the buses had arrived, there was a ribbon placed there. It was
22 a kind of delineation mark where the civilians were. Order was kept by
23 members of DutchBat, the police and the forces which happened to be there
24 at the time. The first convoy, the first getting on board, occurred
25 without any separation. Men were not separated from women and children.
1 They all simply went as they were directed. From one side, from the
2 direction of Bratunac, on the right-hand side, there was a passage, a
3 free passage, which could be used by the people going to the buses to get
4 on. At first, it resembled a normal process of having them transported.
5 At some point, however, there was general commotion and people shoving
6 and everything was stopped. After that, separations occurred, a
7 selection. What I do know is that the reason why it was ordered at first
8 was that the women and children should apparently be -- have priority and
9 then the men would be let through later. And that's when the selection,
10 the separation of men from women and children, took place. The men were
11 taken on one side and the children and women to the buses. Then the men
12 who were separated were escorted by the police or soldiers who were there
13 to the nearby buildings, houses, where they were placed.
14 What I could see, and it was also the first signal which
15 indicated to me that something was wrong, was the way the people
16 separating them were treating them like. They first of all took all of
17 their personal belongings, creating an enormous pile of plastic bags and
18 everything they carried, and then they took them there. They insulted
19 them, maltreated them, hit them, spat on them. They said things to them.
20 That's what I could see in that area while I was there.
21 Q. Just to be clear, when you say these persons who were separated
22 and had their belongings taken away and were hit and spat, is that
23 referring to Muslim men, what happened to the men who were separated and
24 then taken to houses?
25 A. Yes. I'm talking about them.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I have 65 ter 19562, please.
2 Now, this is a document dated 12 July. It's got 1730 hours at
3 the top on the left, very urgent, and it says "Drina Corps IKM Bratunac."
4 If we go to page 2 of the English, please, all right, there we
5 can see paragraph 3, and to save time I won't read the whole paragraph
6 out. It talks about the numbers of women and children and the elderly
7 and the sick, how many people have been evacuated so far. But the last
8 sentence says:
9 "We are separating men from 17 to 60 years of age and we are not
10 transporting them."
11 Sorry, that's the penultimate sentence. Then:
12 "We have about 70 of them so far, and the security organs and the
13 DB," state security, CLSS has added, "are working with them."
14 And it's from Lieutenant Colonel Popovic.
15 Q. How does that last couple sentences in Popovic's report, how does
16 that fit with what you saw and what you told us? Is what he's saying
17 here accurate?
18 A. All right. You directed me to this third paragraph and what it
19 says here, mostly, was my estimate as well, and that of Colonel Jankovic,
20 regarding the number of these people, 30 to 35, to 40.000 people. These
21 are the estimates. And I agree this is what our estimate was as well.
22 As for what it says in the last sentence, these are men, those
23 who happened to be among the civilians in Potocari, and at this point of
24 time he's reporting about how many of them were captured and placed in
25 the building or facility that I mentioned a little bit earlier.
1 Q. And when he says about 70 of them so far, does that seem right
2 based on your experience or does it seem high or low or about right?
3 A. I'm not sure what the number is based on here, but I cannot
4 debate what he's saying here. What I know is what I wrote in my report,
5 and what my estimate was, and that is that after that first day, between
6 350 and 400 men were separated and then they were transferred to these
7 facilities. This is after the first day. The first day of the transport
8 was on 12 July.
9 After the second day, there was a slightly smaller number than
10 the first day, but it is my estimate and that of Colonel Jankovic, based
11 on what we saw and knew, is that approximately, during those two days,
12 about 600 to 650 to 700 men were separated. These were all estimates.
13 We didn't count them, take their names, but these are estimates based on
14 what we saw.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender this document, Your Honour?
16 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar?
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document 19562 receives number P1510,
18 Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: P1510 is admitted into evidence.
20 MR. NICHOLLS:
21 Q. Now, you said that on the -- I don't have it in front of me, but
22 words to the effect, just a minute ago, that on the first convoy out
23 there was no separation and that men were able to get on it, that convoy.
24 Do you recall whether that convoy, with men on it, was filmed or not?
25 A. What I saw then, and then later, over the public information
1 media, is that the first convoy, the first departure, and the
2 conversation and interviews with certain officers in Potocari was later
3 broadcast by the press service of the Drina Corps command.
4 Q. Yes. And you've testified about this before, but based on being
5 there, being an intel and security officer, what was the purpose of
6 filming those men getting on the first convoy?
7 A. That act in itself, right from the start, was something that
8 nobody knew where that would go, what would happen. What I know is that
9 after that convoy, there were no more men in the buses, and I know that
10 later the filming, the photographing, was used as something indicating
11 that nothing unusual or bad happened, but that everything proceeded
12 properly. So then and now, my conclusion is that that filming or
13 photographing was misused and used for propaganda purposes.
14 Q. Now, when these men, Muslim men, were separated in Potocari and
15 put in these houses, captured, as you said a minute ago, did you see any
16 screening process? Was there any screening, checking of these men to see
17 if they were war criminals? Did any of the men leave the house and then
18 be allowed to get on convoys? In other words, was there any screening
19 whatsoever of the men you saw being separated?
20 A. No. What I know, as an intelligence security organ, is that in
21 such operation, military triage is a militarily legitimate act. On the
22 basis of indicia and prior information, you would perform regular
23 military triage. This is not something that was done. Perhaps somebody
24 else knows but I don't know of any cases that somebody was questioned,
25 listed and then checked or vetted and then released. I know two
1 individual cases. I know of a Muslim deputy who was handed over to the
2 state security and I know of one wounded person taken over by the State
3 Security Service. Those are the two cases that I know of. In Potocari,
4 there was no military triage and there were none who were returned to
5 join their family after their -- they were questioned.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I please have, very quickly, 65 ter 04067.
8 While it's coming up, this is a document dated 13 July 1995. It's an RDB
9 document, state security. It's to the deputy of -- Minister of the
10 Interior personally to the head of the RS MUP Bijeljina. We don't need
11 to go to the second page but there it shows that it's signed by RDB head
12 Dragan Kijac or, rather, type-signed.
13 Q. If we look at the first paragraph, Mr. Nikolic, it talks about
14 captures of Muslim soldiers, which I'm not going to get into now, but at
15 the bottom of that first paragraph, it states that:
16 "The operation is continuing and the movement of the Muslim
17 column," which we will talk about later, "has been confirmed many times
18 in interviews with prisoners."
19 And then a little further on it says:
20 "Igban Mustafic, a former SDA deputy in the former BH Assembly
21 and a great opponent of Naser Oric, was among the prisoners and can, with
22 the necessary preparation, be used well in the media."
23 And the question is: Is that man listed here, Mr. Mustafic, is
24 this the incident you are referring to when you said that a prisoner was
25 taken over by state security?
1 A. Yes, I talked about Ibran Mustafic specifically. Before the war,
2 in the first multi-party elections, he was a deputy in the Assembly of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I know that Zlatan Celanovic also went. They called
4 that processing, meaning that he questioned Ibran Mustafic regarding the
5 activities there. There is another person, I think that he was wounded,
6 his name was Halilovic, for whom there were indications that he had
7 committed war crimes. He was separated, taken to Zvornik, and processed
8 by the MUP, but I don't know the outcome. I don't know what happened to
9 him. In any event, I know of these two cases.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, may I tender this document?
12 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar?
13 THE REGISTRAR: Document 04067 receives number P1511,
14 Your Honours.
15 JUDGE ORIE: P1511 is admitted into evidence.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
17 Q. All right. Can you just round off the 12th of July for us?
18 Where did you go after your final point of time in Potocari? What did
19 you do that night?
20 A. At the beginning of my testimony, I already said that I was the
21 duty operations officer on the night of the 12th and 13th of July. A
22 number of times, depending on the need, I went to Potocari and I went
23 back. I spent some of the time in the operations room and a part of the
24 time in Potocari. When that day was over, I went to the operations room
25 or centre and I was on duty that night, which means that I was in the
1 operations room until 3.00 a.m. Before I went to sleep, after I came
2 back to the operations room, I informed my commander about all the
3 activities and I wrote a report about all intelligence information that I
4 had at my disposal that day. I also sent that to the Drina Corps
5 command. After midnight, sometime around 3.00 in the morning,
6 Mirko Jankovic came, who was my deputy, and he relieved me of duty. He
7 stayed in the duty operations room and I went to sleep. And I slept
8 perhaps for two or three hours.
9 Q. All right.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, Your Honours, is it 2.15 we go to?
11 JUDGE ORIE: 2.15.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, sorry.
13 Q. All right. Then let's continue now just with the chronology,
14 sir. 13 July, if you could tell us, I think you went to Potocari that
15 day again. I don't think my friends mind me leading that way. Can you
16 tell us what happened on the morning of 13 July when you got up and what
17 you did before going to Potocari?
18 A. I've already said, this was already the 13th of July, at 3.00
19 I went to sleep and I slept. And then, if I remember correctly, at about
20 7 a.m. I returned to the Bratunac Brigade command. I came to the duty
21 operations room, and I think that I just carried out all the formalities
22 regarding the handover of duty. I think I also wrote in something in the
23 duty operations logbook. These are just regular activities. And then of
24 course I saw my commander, of course, Vidoje Blagojevic. And then after
25 that I was simply told that, on the 13th, the activities started on the
1 12th in Potocari would continue and that my first assignment would be to
2 go to Potocari and to see what was happening there.
3 Of course, I went to Potocari and saw what was happening in
4 Potocari. The evacuation was already underway, the buses started
5 arriving. I did not walk around, but I got in touch with Dusko Jevic on
6 the 13th and I told him then, if he was in radio contact with units
7 engaged on the Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road, he should convey the
8 information to them that those who were captured in that area should be
9 transferred to the detention facility in Baljkovica [as interpreted], and
10 then I told him to move some 50 or 100 metres away from where he was
11 working to a broader -- a wider area. On the 13th, the evacuation from
12 Potocari continued.
13 Q. Okay. Let me stop you there. Let me just ask you, the
14 transcript says, when you spoke to Dusko Jevic you said that captured
15 prisoners should be transferred to a detention facility in Baljkovica.
16 You testified before they should be transferred to Bratunac. Can you
17 just check that transcript for us if that's the right -- if what we see
18 there is right?
19 A. No, no, perhaps I made a slip. I never said Baljkovic or
20 Baljkovica. I said that the prisoners should be transferred to the
21 detention facilities in Bratunac. These were the facilities allocated
22 for that purpose on the 12th. I said if they were in contact with the
23 forces engaged in that direction, I said that all those detained should
24 be transferred to the facilities in Bratunac.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 We only have five minutes left. If you could just tell the
2 Trial Chamber quickly, what information did you have at the 13th -- on
3 the 13th of July, when you were speaking with Mr. Dusko Jevic about the
4 movement of the Muslim column through the forest?
5 A. Already on the 12th, in the afternoon, and to a good part on the
6 13th, we, or, rather, I had information about the movement of an armed
7 column of Muslims from two sectors, the sector of Jaglici towards
8 Konjevic Polje, Cerska and farther, and from the Susnjari sector also
9 towards Konjevic Polje and farther. Cerska and farther. Also, on the
10 13th already we had information from the neighbouring unit, from the
11 Milici Brigade, that also in the area of responsibility of their brigade
12 there were already captured Muslims or those who had surrendered. And
13 also on the 13th already, on the mentioned roads, I had information that
14 there was sporadic fighting already, there was shooting, there were
15 woundings, and one policeman died in the Sandici sector. And I had
16 information that in that area, along that axis, there were prisoners and
17 there were already groups surrendering to the Serbian side. This is the
18 most general type of information that I had at my disposal.
19 Q. Thank you. And now we talked about -- you explained how men were
20 separated in Potocari and then brought to Bratunac. Muslim men who were
21 captured or surrendered along this Konjevic Polje-Bratunac road, were
22 they treated the same or any differently from the men who had been
23 separated in Potocari?
24 A. What I saw, and I did see captured individuals on that road,
25 I saw individuals, groups, and large groups that were captured on that
1 sector, and their status of prisoners was the same as in Potocari. They
2 were searched, their items were put to the side, their valuables were
3 confiscated. And of course, after that, they were detained in the
4 temporary facilities in Konjevic Polje where the 5th Engineering
5 Battalion of the Drina Corps was billeted, and then in the school. And
6 then after that, in the same way as these others, they were transported
7 in buses to Bratunac.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: This would be a good time for me, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just one question.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Judge Moloto has one question for you.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Nikolic, at page 74, lines 15 to 17, you said:
13 "I stayed if --" and I suspect you wanted to say "I said." "I
14 stayed if they were in contact with the forces engaged in that direction,
15 I said all those detained should be transferred to the facilities in
17 Just two questions.
18 Do you know whether they were indeed transferred to the
19 facilities in Bratunac?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I know.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Were they?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: And to which facilities in Bratunac?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To the facilities of the
25 Vuk Karadzic elementary school, the sports hall of the Vuk Karadzic
1 elementary school, the hangar, and one old school of the Djuro Pucar
2 Stari high school centre, until they were full. After that, those who
3 were transferred were held in buses and trucks that they had been brought
4 in and they were guarded by the police forces, military, and, in the end,
5 by civilians who were engaged to do this later.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Then, Mr. Nikolic --
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Just one transcript correction I've been reminded
11 of. At page 6, line 7, this is a minor point --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Page 6, line 7.
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, it says that Mr. Nikolic pleaded guilty in
14 1993, it should be 2003.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that may be obvious and is hereby corrected.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Nikolic, we will adjourn for the day.
18 Your testimony will not be resumed tomorrow but only at the beginning of
19 next week. Meanwhile, you should not speak with anyone about your
20 testimony, whether that is testimony you've given today or testimony
21 still to be given. And I instruct you to refrain from doing that. Not
22 to speak, not to communicate, any other way. If that is clear to you,
23 the witness can be escorted out of the courtroom.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I am aware of
25 all my obligations.
1 [The witness stands down]
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, I see that you're on your feet. If
3 you would like to raise the matter I'll address now, then let's see what
4 happens. I do understand and I've seen that a new translation has been
5 uploaded for P1509 MFI'd. That new translation, Mr. Lukic, no illegible
6 portions are found there anymore, but the explanation of Turks as
7 derogatory for Bosnian Muslims remains. Now, the Chamber has considered
8 your objection against that to be admitted and rejects that, unless you
9 would want to say anything further on it.
10 MR. LUKIC: We will raise this issue in one general motion where
11 we will ask for all those interpretations to be redacted.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Well, let me say the following. I give you the
13 reasons why the Chamber rejects your objection at this moment. A literal
14 translation often does not bring the real --
15 MR. LUKIC: It's not translation at all.
16 JUDGE ORIE: One second, Mr. Lukic. I was about to give the
17 reasons. A literal translation of a word often does not give the real
18 meaning of that word in the context. For example, here, if you would
19 translate it by Turkish or Turks, then the ordinary understanding of that
20 word is a person of Turkish nationality or origin, whereas in this
21 context, it has a different meaning. It is common that where a literal
22 translation is not -- does not -- is not an accurate translation, then
23 CLSS will usually provide a very short explanation for the meaning of
24 that word in the given context. That is what happens here.
25 The appropriate way of dealing with it would be to challenge the
1 explanation. So if you say "Turks" is not in this context a derogatory
2 word for Bosnian Muslims, then we could discuss that, but it is on this
3 basis that a literal translation would not do and this explanation is, as
4 the Chamber is aware of, is quite commonly used, that we admit into
5 evidence P1509. But first, Madam Registrar, you are hereby instructed to
6 replace the English translation of this document by the newly uploaded
7 translation, doc ID 01776571 ET and P1509 is admitted into evidence. We
8 are looking forward to any further submissions on the general system,
9 Mr. Lukic.
10 MR. LUKIC: And I'm sure that we have in previous cases dealt
11 with the same issue in a different way.
12 JUDGE ORIE: We will then see that and we will seriously of
13 course pay attention to it. We adjourn for the day and we will resume
14 tomorrow, Friday, the 31st of May, 2013, in this same courtroom, III, at
15 9.30 in the morning.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.20 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Friday, the 31st day of May,
18 2013, at 9.30 a.m.