1 Monday, 3 June 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
6 courtroom. Madam Registrar, would 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 The Chamber was informed that there are no preliminaries.
11 Therefore, could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
12 [The witness takes the stand]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue the cross-examination, I would
16 like to remind you that you are -- no, the examination, I'd like to
17 remind you that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've given
18 at the beginning of your testimony.
19 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, if you're ready, you may proceed.
22 I do understand that you have one hour after 15 minutes left at least of
23 the schedule.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: Good morning, Your Honours, that's correct. I
25 will try to complete in my time, I hope to.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: Good morning, counsel.
3 Examination by Mr. Nicholls: [Continued]
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
5 A. Good morning.
6 Q. All right. When we left off we were talking about the
7 13 July 1995, the events of that day, and we spoke about the morning.
8 Now I'd like to ask you about any trips you made that day along the
9 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road. Did you travel that road on the
10 13th of July 1995?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. Can you tell us how you came to travel that road the first time,
13 where you went and why you set off down the Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road?
14 A. On the 13th of July, after returning from Potocari, I went to the
15 Bratunac Brigade military police headquarters, and in a conversation with
16 Mirko Jankovic, the police commander, I learned that on that day, on that
17 road, General Mladic was supposed to pass with his entourage.
18 The reason I went there was of a military nature because on the
19 13th already, all the activities were taking place other than the
20 transportation of civilians from Potocari, so all the military activities
21 were in place on that communication. They were happening there. As the
22 chief of security and intelligence, it was my duty, among other things,
23 to provide security for the commander of the Main Staff or any other
24 superior command, or any superior officer from one of these two commands.
25 So it was my duty to provide additional escorts and take care of security
1 of the officer who was in the area of responsibility of my unit. I went
2 to this communication to check whether the road was passable and how
3 secure it was, and everything that had to do with security on that road.
4 That was the only reason why I went there.
5 Q. And about what time, approximately, did you drive down the
6 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road, the first time, I'm speaking about?
7 A. Well, the closest that I can still recall about the times and
8 I always had to reiterate that I cannot really be absolutely precise, but
9 I would say that I was travelling down that road sometime before 12.00 or
10 perhaps after 12.00 but basically that was the time frame when I was
11 travelling down that road.
12 Q. And on the way to Konjevic Polje from Bratunac, did you see any
13 prisoners or any Muslim men? Put it that way.
14 A. Yes. The first time I travelled down there, in the Sandici
15 sector, I saw a group of Muslims who had surrendered or had been taken
16 prisoners, I'm really am not sure but they were there, at the point
17 where -- at the place where some of the officers from the special MUP
18 brigade were, that brigade, that unit was headed by Ljubisa Borovcanin.
19 Q. What was the name of any officers or MUP officers you saw there
20 at Sandici?
21 A. At Sandici, I saw members of the special MUP brigade because they
22 were easily identifiable. Of those that I saw myself, there was
23 Ljubisa Borovcanin, he was the deputy commander of the special MUP
24 brigade, and, of course, in this area, in other words the parts where the
25 police forces were engaged, that was where their engagement began. From
1 Sandici all the way to Konjevic Polje, there were different police units
2 that were engaged, in other words special purpose units, special brigade
3 members, members of the Jahorina units and so on, but what's important to
4 say is that there were police forces engaged between Sandici and
5 Konjevic Polje. They were easy to recognise because they had -- the
6 special MUP brigade had heavy weaponry, they had APCs, and of course
7 I saw their commander there who was commanding all the forces that were
8 engaged in that -- on that axis.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, on this trip, did you have any contact with
10 General Mladic?
11 A. Yes. Sometime in the afternoon, I was there waiting for
12 General Mladic to pass, and General Mladic came to Konjevic Polje with
13 his personal security. There was a department from the military police
14 of the Bratunac Brigade there. I met them at the crossroads in
15 Konjevic Polje, and Mladic stopped, his car parked, and he got out.
16 I went up to him and I submitted my report. Basically I said that
17 everything was okay on that communication, that everything had been taken
18 care, so basically this was just -- I submitted my military report.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters are kindly requesting that the
20 witness slows down, thank you.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nikolic, could you please slow down your speech
22 so that we don't miss any of your words.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. I will do my best.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
25 Q. Were there any prisoners present at Konjevic Polje at this time
1 when you made your report to General Mladic?
2 A. Yes. There were already prisoners there in Konjevic Polje. This
3 was already in the afternoon hours on the 13th.
4 Q. Now, you said that you spoke to General Mladic. Did you notice
5 if General Mladic spoke to the prisoners at all, addressed them?
6 A. General Mladic got out of his vehicle, he -- the vehicle was
7 parked, together with his escorts, on the opposite side if you're coming
8 from Bratunac, outside an old yellow-walled building. It was a co-op of
9 some sort, an agricultural kind of building or facility. General Mladic
10 moved back towards Bratunac and on a field viewing from Bratunac, there
11 was, on the right-hand side, a group of prisoners. General Mladic said
12 that everything would be all right, that they shouldn't have any
13 concerns, they shouldn't be worried, and that after that on that same day
14 after a while they would be taken wherever they chose. So this was -- he
15 did address them verbally, this group that was standing there. It wasn't
16 a large group but it was already there in the meadow.
17 Q. And after that, did you speak to General Mladic? Did you have
18 any conversation with him, after he addressed those prisoners?
19 A. Throughout the time while General Mladic was in Konjevic Polje,
20 in other words since his arrival and the moment that I briefed him and
21 all that time while he was there, I was about a metre behind him or I was
22 next to him, on his -- at his side. He stayed there briefly and when he
23 said this, that these prisoners would be all right, that nothing would
24 happen to them, that they would be taken wherever they chose, he turned
25 around and headed towards the vehicles that were --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mladic is supposed to remain seated and I do
2 understand that he would like to consult with you, Mr. Petrusic. You
3 have -- if it can be limited to 30 seconds, it may be done but only at
4 very low voice.
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 [Defence counsel and Accused confer]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Low voice, Mr. Mladic.
8 [Defence counsel and Accused confer]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Mladic, it should not be audible anywhere else
10 in this courtroom. Mr. Nikolic did you hear any words spoken by
11 Mr. Mladic?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Nicholls.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
15 Q. Mr. Nikolic, sorry for that short interruption. You were just --
16 if you could finish your answer, you just said:
17 "... when he said this that these prisoners would be all right,
18 that nothing would happen to them, that they would be taken wherever they
19 chose, he turned around and headed towards the vehicles that were --"
20 So if you could continue and, again, my question was if you had
21 any conversation with General Mladic after he had addressed the
23 A. I will continue from where I left off. General Mladic headed
24 towards the vehicles that were there, his own vehicle and the escort
25 vehicle, and then I asked him -- I was walking next to him and I asked
1 him, General, what will really happen to these people? Because I would
2 like to say it here and now, even then I didn't believe that they would
3 go whatever they wanted to, and of course today I know -- I didn't
4 believe it then and of course today I know what happened to them. He,
5 General Mladic, smiled, he didn't say anything, he didn't make any
6 comments, he just made a gesture with his hand, with his arm like this,
7 and he went into the car and continued on his way. This is what happened
8 after he addressed the prisoners and before he left the Konjevic Polje
10 JUDGE ORIE: We couldn't see the gesture you were referring to.
11 What was the gesture General Mladic made?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. He made a gesture, he sort of
13 moved his arm and hand from left to right, he smiled, and -- he laughed,
14 and he went into the car and left for Vlasenica.
15 JUDGE ORIE: For the transcript, the witness approximately at the
16 middle of his body made a movement right hand going from left to right.
17 Please proceed.
18 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Now, after that conversation with General Mladic, what did you do
21 A. After General Mladic left together with his entourage, I was
22 approached by members of the civilian police. They came up to me and
23 said that in a facility in Konjevic Polje, as far as I can recall this
24 was a facility that housed members of the 5th Engineering Battalion of
25 the Drina Corps, they told me that they had a very important prisoner
1 held in that facility. They told me the name of this person, his name
2 was Resid Sinanovic, and of course I knew who this prisoner was.
3 Q. Very briefly, how did you know who Mr. Resid Sinanovic was? If
4 you could just explain how you knew him before the war.
5 A. I knew Resid Sinanovic personally. He lived and worked in
6 Bratunac, as I did. He was a bit older than I was but I knew both him
7 and his entire family. Before the war, he was a prominent man. He was a
8 chief of police, and that is a prominent post in a town. And in addition
9 to that, he also worked for a large company in Bratunac called Kaolin.
10 He was one of the directors in the legal department. But what was so
11 special about him and what was so important about him was the fact that
12 before the war he was the chief of the public security station in
13 Bratunac, and that's why everyone knew him and I knew him, too,
15 Q. Thank you. And then what happened? What did you do with
16 Mr. Sinanovic or did you see Mr. Sinanovic?
17 A. I took Resid Sinanovic with me. He was in the vehicle while
18 I was driving to Konjevic Polje, and there was a member of the
19 Bratunac Brigade military police, so he and I, we took over this
20 prisoner, Resid Sinanovic, and took him to the Bratunac Brigade in
21 Bratunac, and the military police, and I personally handed him over to
22 Zlatan Celanovic, who was our lawyer, and he was in charge of questioning
23 prisoners of war, people who escaped or fled from various areas, and
24 people who were subject to questioning. I must say here, because I've
25 already mentioned that he was an important man, and I want to explain why
1 it was that I took him over and why he was considered an important
2 prisoner. There was indicia that Sinanovic, Resid, had committed some
3 war crimes during the war. He was on the MUP lists as one of the war
4 criminals, and in Bjelovac and in that area where his parents otherwise
5 lived and he also had a property there were indications that he had
6 committed a war crime. So I took him over and handed him over to a
7 military police organ so that they would establish the truth, whether
8 there was any evidence for that, and this is why he was taken prisoner
9 and identified as an important prisoner.
10 Q. Did Zlatan Celanovic ever tell you the results of his
11 interrogation or conversation with Resid Sinanovic?
12 A. On every occasion, including this time, Zlatan Celanovic told, or
13 rather, submitted reports to the commander and to me as well on the
14 questioning of each and every prisoner. Celanovic also told me in
15 person, perhaps on that same day in the afternoon or on the following
16 day, that during the questioning and by comparing all the reports that he
17 had received previously from the prisoners from Srebrenica, that there
18 were no grounds for this and that in his view there was -- there were no
19 grounds for submitting any criminal report against Resid Sinanovic.
20 Q. All right. And briefly, if you know, can you tell us what
21 happened to Mr. Sinanovic following his interrogation by Mr. Celanovic?
22 A. I will tell you only what Mr. Celanovic told me. After the
23 question -- after the interrogation, and after he was visited by some
24 friends and acquaintances, Serbs who had worked with him together with
25 Mr. Sinanovic, he moved him to the Vuk Karadzic elementary school on his
1 own initiative, and kept him there with the other prisoners who had
2 already been there.
3 Q. And then very briefly, if you can very briefly, if you know, what
4 was Mr. -- what happened to Mr. Sinanovic after being taken to the
5 Vuk Karadzic school?
6 A. Together with the other prisoners, on the 14th of July, in the
7 morning, he was transferred to the area of responsibility of the
8 Zvornik Brigade, and according to what I learned and the information that
9 I have, Resid Sinanovic was executed together with the other prisoners
10 who had been taken to Zvornik. He wasn't killed, he was injured. He had
11 severe injuries, and injured as he was he swam across the river and got
12 into Serbia in Banja Koviljaca. In other words he moved, he swam across
13 the river from Bosnia into Serbia and found himself in Banja Koviljaca.
14 People recognised him there because he frequently travelled that -- along
15 that route, and he frequently went to a cafe there. So people recognised
16 him and they transferred him to a hospital. He stayed in the hospital
17 for a while, he was then transferred to Loznica, and he was recognised in
18 this hospital by a doctor, a neighbour of his who lived in the same
19 building before the war where he did. They lived on the same floor in an
20 apartment building. She informed the Bratunac MUP. And now I just
21 assume based on the information that I have that the Bratunac MUP
22 informed the Zvornik police who took him over, they took him out of the
23 hospital, and Resid Sinanovic was liquidated on the bridge on the
24 Drina River somewhere in the sector of Zvornik on the way from Serbia to
25 Bosnia, the bridge spanning the two republics. And just to provide all
1 the information, I have to say that my Defence counsel researched all the
2 documents from the hospital and the events surrounding this case, and
3 they handed over these documents to the OTP before my first trial here.
4 In other words, all the documents that dealt with his transfer to the
5 hospital, his stay in the hospital, his medical records there and
6 everything else to do with that. Now, the information that I'm now
7 providing and what I'm saying here is that this doctor from Bratunac
8 informed the police, and this information I learned from my Defence
9 counsel, Londrovic and Kirsch, after they had done this investigation.
10 Q. Thank you. Now, moving on, did you make another journey down the
11 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road later that same day, 13 July?
12 A. Yes. I did go one more time.
13 Q. Let me stop you and just ask, can you tell us who you went with
14 and what vehicle you went in?
15 A. I went the same day in the afternoon with the commander of the
16 military police, Mirko Jankovic, and the deputy commander of the
17 Bratunac Brigade military police, Milo Petrovic, and we went in an APC of
18 the UNPROFOR, or rather, of the DutchBat, because during that day and
19 earlier in the Bratunac Brigade we did have a few APCs available to us.
20 Q. Okay. And can you just tell us where you went down that road and
21 if you had any contacts with Muslim men that day as you went down the
23 A. We went along the same route as the first day, the
24 Bratunac-Kravica-Sandici-Pervani-Lolici-Konjevic Polje route. And if I
25 can remember, after we passed Pervani or Lolici we caught up with a group
1 of six Muslim men, then - this was the second time that I went along this
2 road - there were already -- there were already many men who had
3 surrendered or were captured, starting from Sandici all the way to
4 Konjevic Polje.
5 Q. Now, did that -- thank you. Did the APC have a loud speaker
6 system and if it did was it used during this trip?
7 A. Yes. All the APCs including the one that we used had a megaphone
8 as part of its equipment. Mile Petrovic from Sandici, when we got to
9 Sandici, from time to time used the megaphone calling on the Muslims to
11 Q. Thank you. Now, a moment ago you said that you - and by you,
12 I mean you and Mirko Jankovic and his deputy - caught up to a group of
13 six Muslim men. What happened next? If you can just give us a brief
14 chronology of what happened after you met these Muslim men.
15 A. I will be precise. The group of Muslims was moving towards
16 Konjevic Polje. We did not capture them. We did not take them prisoner.
17 I want to be come completely clear. We caught up with them. They were
18 moving freely without anyone being there. It was not just the case with
19 that particular group. In that period there were already groups that
20 were moving towards Sandici and the other way around, from Sandici to
21 Konjevic Polje, along the route. So we stopped our APC and we took them
22 into the APC. We drove them to Konjevic Polje. There were six of them.
23 And I -- already by that time in Konjevic Polje the crossroads in some
24 torched houses, there were people who were captured who had already
25 surrendered - I'm talking about Muslims - and I, after the APC stopped,
1 told Milo Petrovic that that group of Muslims who were in the APC, he
2 should take them to a group that was in an area of Konjevic Polje. Mile
3 did not reply or say anything to me, he simply led the group away. After
4 that, I went to the other side of the crossroads in front of a house that
5 was in the crossroads area, I sat underneath a balcony, there was a fire
6 burning there, there were five or six men there, Muslims, who had
7 surrendered. After a certain period of time, you could hear a burst of
8 gunfire and then after five, six or ten minutes - I'm speaking
9 approximately - Mile Petrovic appeared. He came up to me and he said,
10 Chief, today, I took revenge for my brother. I looked at him, I said,
11 Mile what have you done? He said, I killed them all. And to be honest,
12 I just looked. I didn't react. I didn't say anything. I didn't even
13 know that his brother was killed or that he did this out of revenge.
14 I didn't comment in any way. I didn't do anything. I simply accepted
15 that as a fait accompli.
16 Q. All right. Now, let me just ask you very simply, do you know a
17 man named Nenad Deronjic?
18 A. Yes, I do. Nenad Deronjic is a Bratunac public security station
19 policeman who in that critical period was engaged at the check-point in
20 Konjevic Polje.
21 Q. Did you see Mr. Nenad Deronjic at the check-point in
22 Konjevic Polje that day, 13 July?
23 A. I did, yes.
24 Q. I have the same question about a man named Mirko Peric. Did you
25 see him there that day?
1 A. Yes. I did. He is a member of the same public security station
2 in Bratunac, and he was engaged at the same check-point in the shift that
3 happened to be on duty at the time. And for information purposes only,
4 the check-point in Konjevic Polje was working much earlier before
5 Srebrenica fell. It was a check-point manned by the Bratunac police
6 station, and shifts there were manned by members of that police station.
7 Q. Thank you. I want to move on a bit now to the afternoon-evening
8 of 13 July 1995, after you returned to Bratunac. And I want to ask you
9 if you were instructed to meet with any senior VRS officers that evening,
10 once you got back to Bratunac?
11 A. That evening, when I came back to Bratunac, after a certain
12 amount of time at the Bratunac Brigade command, I went to dinner or lunch
13 or I don't know what I should call it, I went to the only kitchen that
14 was part of the Bratunac Brigade, and I was informed by the communication
15 centre that I needed to go to the centre of town in Bratunac to meet --
16 or, actually, Colonel Beara summoned me to meet with him. And as far as
17 I can recall, at about 2000 hours, after I had a little bit to eat,
18 I went -- met with Colonel Beara in the centre of town. I just wand to
19 explain that, so as to avoid misunderstanding, when I say the centre of
20 town, Bratunac is a very small town, it has one main street, one hotel,
21 one municipal building and a few buildings in that part of the town. So
22 wherever you go, you always end up in the centre of town. So I don't
23 want there to be my misunderstanding about that. I got there, I met
24 Colonel Beara, he was standing near a square and I went up to him and
25 said, Hello.
1 Q. Thank you. And just briefly, for clarity, this is Colonel Beara,
2 the security officer from the Main Staff? Is that who we are talking
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. And had you met Mr. -- or Colonel Beara before in the course of
6 your duties, without getting into why or how? But was this the first
7 time you met him or had you met him before?
8 A. No, this was not the first time. I know Colonel Beara
9 personally. I knew him. I mean I'm talking about that date. We met
10 several times before this particular meeting.
11 Q. Thank you. You said he summonsed you. What happened when you
12 met him? Did he give you any instructions or orders, or what was he
13 calling you to meet with him for?
14 A. Colonel Beara told me that I need to go to the Zvornik Brigade,
15 that I need to find Drago Nikolic, the security chief of the
16 Zvornik Brigade, and to convey to him personally his order.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness repeat the last few words.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now I'm talking about, well, this
19 is one type of order.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Not all your words were caught by the
21 interpreters. Could you resume from where you said that you needed to
22 find Drago Nikolic, the security chief of the Zvornik Brigade, and to
23 convey to him personally his order. And what did you then say, his
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that this is more or less
1 everything that I said. I said that I nevertheless considered that to be
2 an order, because this was intelligence-security that was involved. It
3 is understood that the security organs do not issue orders to each other,
4 but this was along the professional line of engagement of the security
5 organ, so I say that as far as I'm concerned, that was still an order
6 that I believed that I should and must carry out.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And what was the content of it?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The content of the order was that
9 I should go to Zvornik, to the Zvornik Brigade, find Drago Nikolic and
10 convey to him the order that all prisoners that happened to be in
11 Bratunac at that time and who were being brought to Bratunac would be
12 transferred to the area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade and that
13 Drago Nikolic down there should prepare the area, the people, and receive
14 those prisoners.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. And what did -- did Colonel Beara tell you what would happen to
17 the prisoners after they arrived in Zvornik?
18 A. Colonel Beara told me that the Muslim prisoners that were being
19 transferred to Zvornik would be temporarily detained in that area and
20 that after that they would be executed.
21 Q. And then what happened next? Did you -- did you obey this order?
22 Did you go to Zvornik?
23 A. Yes. I went to Zvornik, and I came to the Zvornik Brigade HQ.
24 I reported at the reception. One of the soldiers who was working there
25 assigned a soldier or a military policeman, I don't know which one,
1 I think it was a military policeman, to escort me to a room in the
2 Zvornik Brigade HQ. I was received in that room by an officer. I assume
3 that that was the duty operations room and that was the duty operations
4 officer, and he asked me why I was there. I told him that I was there to
5 convey directly to Drago Nikolic an order from Colonel Beara. After
6 I told him that, he called -- actually he sent a policeman and called one
7 of the officers who came to that same room, and asked me if he could help
8 me in the matter. I said that my order was explicitly to convey the
9 order directly to Drago Nikolic. After that they told me that
10 Drago Nikolic was not at the Zvornik Brigade HQ, that he was at the
11 Forward Command Post and they sent me, since I insisted on seeing
12 Drago Nikolic, then -- I apologise, really.
13 They assigned an officer to escort me and I went to the
14 Forward Command Post. I found Drago Nikolic and I conveyed the order
15 issued to me by Colonel Beara.
16 Other than what I just said, I also told Drago Nikolic what
17 I already knew. We spoke for some five to seven minutes, not longer, and
18 I told Drago that I had information that people who were arriving would
19 be billeted first in Zvornik and then that they would be killed. Drago
20 did not comment. He said that he would report -- report or inform his
21 command about it and then they would see what they would do. After that,
22 I took the same route back with the police officer to the Zvornik Brigade
23 HQ, the policeman stayed there and I continued back to Bratunac to my own
25 Q. Thank you. On the way back to Bratunac from Zvornik, did you see
1 any buses travelling towards Zvornik or did you learn of any buses,
2 become aware of buses travelling towards Zvornik at that time?
3 A. On my way back to Bratunac, I met or I encountered a few buses
4 going in the direction of Zvornik. After I came to the Bratunac Brigade,
5 I was informed by the military police and the military police commander
6 that the check-point at the Drina bridge by a different road, an old road
7 along the river Drina, in the evening hours some buses left through that
8 check-point, they said there were some five or six buses that left in
9 that direction.
10 Q. And do you know who were -- who was being transported on those
11 buses, what kind of people?
12 A. People were transferred who had been captured along the
13 Sandici-Konjevic Polje-Nova Kasaba-Milici road and who had already been
14 transferred to Bratunac. They were in the buses, they were escorted in
15 the buses, and as such were transferred towards Zvornik.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, once you returned to Bratunac, did you make any
17 report to Mr. Beara or did you talk to him again about your -- that you
18 had carried out his order?
19 A. Yes. I returned to Bratunac that night, at about midnight.
20 I went to the Fontana. I found Colonel Beara and reported to him that I
21 had carried out his order.
22 Q. And then what happened? What did you do next?
23 A. After that, Colonel Beara asked me to take him to the SDS
24 president, Miroslav Deronjic, to his office. And of course,
25 Colonel Beara and I went to the SDS office.
1 Q. And who was there? Was Mr. Deronjic there?
2 A. When Colonel Beara and I came to the SDS office, Colonel Beara
3 was there as well as Colonel Dragomir Vasic, the chief of the Zvornik
5 Q. And then what happened? If you could just tell us what you
6 remember happening next?
7 A. First, they had an argument at the very beginning, Colonel Beara
8 and Miroslav Deronjic. They were both shouting. Miroslav Deronjic
9 requested that all prisoners leave Bratunac, and I'm going to say
10 something here which I know is absurd but I want to tell the
11 Trial Chamber exactly what happened. At that point in time, since there
12 was general chaos, a situation that could not be controlled absolutely,
13 it was beyond any control, if we are talking about the situation in
14 Bratunac, there was a lot of buses, there were a lot of trucks in
15 Bratunac, there was no street in Bratunac without buses, trucks and
16 captured Muslims. The reason why I went to Zvornik when Colonel Beara
17 told me to go there was that those Muslims would be transferred to
18 Zvornik. Then at that meeting, he insisted that the Muslims remain in
19 Bratunac. So then things were not clear to me either. Deronjic was very
20 strongly opposed to that, and he said to him that he did not want the
21 Muslims to be in Bratunac and that he did not want the killing to be
22 carried out in Bratunac. For the Trial Chamber I would like to state
23 this here. Then on the 20th -- no, actually, on the 13th in the evening
24 at 12.00 midnight - actually it was already the 14th because it was after
25 midnight - there was absolutely no further question regarding the fate of
1 those Muslims. It was known that they would be killed. The question and
2 the discussion was solely about whether they would be killed in Bratunac
3 or transferred to Zvornik and killed there. And this is what I heard and
4 saw with my own ears and eyes. So both of them in that argument cited
5 instructions that they had received from their chiefs. Miroslav Deronjic
6 directly said, I received an order from President Karadzic that they
7 should all go to Zvornik. Beara said, I received an order from my boss
8 that they should stay here in Bratunac. And that was the argument, the
9 quarrel, between the two of them about who received what sort of
10 instruction from their bosses. Of course, I don't know what instructions
11 they received but I'm just telling you what I heard and what I saw.
12 Q. Now, did you speak at this meeting? Did you take part yourself?
13 A. No. I did not take part in the argument about the status of the
14 prisoners, and so on and so forth. As far as I can remember,
15 Colonel Vasic also did not take part in the discussion. This was an
16 argument between Deronjic and Beara. When they finished with that part,
17 then at that same meeting they discussed -- they talked normally. Once
18 the argument was over, Miroslav Deronjic sat down. They took out little
19 glasses and he poured himself and Beara something. They drank that. I
20 don't know what it was but they drank it. And then after that they
21 discussed what needed to be done that night in order to secure Bratunac
22 because it was in absolute chaos. It was ordered to engage the civilian
23 police, the military police, and also to use loudspeakers during the
24 night so that the Bratunac Brigade military police and the Bratunac
25 civilian police in a military vehicle with a loudspeaker drove around the
1 inner area of Bratunac calling on all those armed and civilians who had
2 weapons to come out and to provide those who had come to Bratunac that
3 night, they were arriving from Kasaba, there was a large number of buses
4 from Konjevic Polje, trucks, a large number of prisoners, so it was
5 really general chaos. Chaos prevailed.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, do we go to 10.35 or break now?
7 JUDGE ORIE: Well, it's 10.28. We will have a break in two
8 minutes, but if you think that you should not start a new subject then we
9 could take the break now.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: If we have two minutes, I'll continue.
11 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you said earlier they referred to their chiefs. Who
12 was -- in your understanding, who was Mr. Beara referring to when he
13 spoke about his boss's instructions that the prisoners should remain in
15 A. I can say that all of us officers, including myself, I also
16 referred to General Mladic as chief or the boss. Everybody did that.
17 And as far as us officers, he was the only boss, the only chief. So I
18 think that there is no dilemma that he was thinking of General Mladic,
19 that is how we all referred to him, including Mr. Beara.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
21 JUDGE ORIE: We will take a break, but could first the witness be
22 escorted out of the courtroom.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Are you on schedule?
25 MR. NICHOLLS: I believe I am, Your Honour. I think I can make
1 my time or if I do not, I will be begging for just a little bit more, not
2 too much more.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Try to stay within your own time estimates. We will
4 take a break and we will resume at 10 minutes to 11.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
8 Yes, Mr. Groome?
9 MR. GROOME: Your Honours, while that is being done Ms. Lindsay
10 asked me to inform the Chamber that if at all possible she would like to
11 return to the United States on Thursday some time. There is a medical
12 hearing tomorrow. Could I ask that the Chamber keep that in mind when it
13 schedules the amount of time for the medical hearing tomorrow. Thank
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, of course we are not fully in control,
16 Ms. Lindsay, by the way I should have put on the record that you were
17 presents again as you were last week, Thursday, I think it was.
18 We will keep it in mind, but as you will also understand that we
19 are not in full control. At the same time I think that matters until now
20 have not caused great concerns. So at least I have not heard of them.
21 [The witness takes the stand]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls, if you're ready you may proceed.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. All right. Mr. Nikolic, just moving along, I'm going to ask you
25 some questions now about the 14th of July, 1995.
1 We just discussed the meeting. What happened to the prisoners,
2 the Muslim men, who were being had held in Bratunac on the
3 14th of July 1995? Did they stay in Bratunac or were they transported
4 somewhere else?
5 A. All the prisoners who were in Bratunac on 14 July, either at the
6 detention facilities or on buses and trucks, were moved as part of a
7 convoy in the morning of -- on the 14th, to the area of responsibility of
8 the Zvornik Brigade.
9 Q. If you know, could you tell us which units or bodies served as
10 escorts for the convoy of prisoners to Zvornik?
11 A. I hope I can be very precise when you ask -- in answering this.
12 Those structures that provided security in some of the facilities, and
13 they were predominantly the police, either civilian or military, so the
14 same structures that provided security for these facilities, they also
15 escorted the convoy. The escorts of the buses and trucks where the
16 prisoners, Muslim prisoners had been kept overnight, the escorts that
17 were on the buses and the trucks, they also provided security for the
18 convoy. So I also have to tell you that as part of the security of this
19 transport, there were various units of the civilian police, the security
20 station in Bratunac, members of the special brigade of the MUP of
21 Republika Srpska even, and finally, when all other resources had been
22 used, there were also civilians who participated in escorting these buses
23 and trucks. They were armed and they went as escorts of these buses or
24 trucks in civilian clothes. And they assisted either the military or the
25 civilian police as part of the security detail of these convoys. So most
1 generally speaking, these were the kind of people who participated in
2 providing security of the convoys.
3 Q. Thank you. Let me show you a document.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: If I could have D00285, English page 14, Serbian
5 page 17.
6 Q. Mr. Nikolic, while this is coming up this is the Bratunac Brigade
7 military police daily log and I want to show you one entry. So we can
8 see an entry now that says, "Daily report 14/15 July 1995," and it says,
9 "The police was engaged in the escort of Muslim refugees." Can you just
10 tell us, if you know, what this military police log entry refers to?
11 A. As far as I can remember, this is a daily logbook of the military
12 police, and in those daily reports usually you would note the daily
13 employment of members of the military police platoon of the brigade, and
14 then of course here I see that they were engaged in the escort of Muslim
15 refugees, the date is the 14th, and this cannot be a reference to
16 anything else because on that day, whoever was available was engaged on
17 this particular task.
18 Q. And when you say anything else, and on that date, just to be
19 clear, is that the transport of the prisoners in the convoy to Zvornik?
20 A. Yes. I'm referring exclusively and only to those men, because
21 there was no other transport other than this convoy, at least I can't
22 recall that there was any such thing.
23 Q. Thank you. I'm going to move on now a little bit to another
24 topic, and that is -- concerns the local staff, in other words Muslim
25 employees of humanitarian organisations and international organisations
1 in the enclave. And I'd like to show you 65 ter 04242. While it's
2 coming up I'll just read that this is from the Bratunac Brigade intel
3 organs. The date is 18 July 1995. And it's got your name at the bottom.
4 Do you remember this document, sir?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. And what I want to focus on - your copy is a bit blurry - the
7 last portion, which states:
8 "Will you please tell me what stand to take in terms of
9 authorisation for evacuation of the international organisation
10 Medecins Sans Frontieres? In fact, how to deal with so-called local
11 staff. This also applies to the interpreters of military monitors and
12 UNPROFOR. RDB," which CLSS says -- said is regional state security,
13 "passed on to us an opinion that President Karadzic had allegedly
14 abolished all local staff who used to work for UNPROFOR. It is our
15 opinion that they should not be hold -- or held." So can you just tell
16 us briefly what's going on here? What does this paragraph refer to about
17 the president saying -- conveying that local staff should be "abolished,"
18 as it says in our version?
19 A. I hope it is clear what we -- what is meant by local staff. As
20 for this, simply put, in my language, abolition means, in fact, freeing
21 or releasing someone from responsibility, and if I understand this
22 properly, if that is what he meant, that they should be considered free
23 of any responsibility, there was no need to release them or anything
24 similar because all the local staff, the employees who worked at these
25 international organisations, including UNPROFOR, the military monitors,
1 and other international organisations that were in Srebrenica, who had
2 Muslim local staff, these people had not committed anything that would
3 have been considered a crime that would then call for an abolition. So
4 it is -- it was our opinion, and you can see there in the last paragraph,
5 that they should not be held. That was my position and the position of
6 the officer who was in my office, Colonel Jankovic, and we considered
7 that all those who were employed and who worked there should leave,
8 together with their employers, on the convoys that were leaving Potocari,
9 in other words to leave the enclave and go wherever they chose.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: Could I see the next page of the Serbian or B/C/S,
11 please? Sorry, and then the next page?
12 Q. Now, there is also a handwritten version of this document. Can
13 you tell us whose handwriting that is, if you know, and why there is a
14 handwritten version and also a typed version, if you can explain that?
15 A. Yes. I see this document before me. This is not my handwriting.
16 In other words, I did not author this. And this is an illustration of
17 the situation which I mentioned on the first day of my evidence here.
18 During this critical period, in other words throughout the activities in
19 the area of responsibility of my brigade, Colonel Radislav Jankovic from
20 the Main Staff was assigned to my office, and just in order to clarify
21 why he was the one who wrote these things, whereas in the typewritten
22 form there is my signature as the author of the document, the reason for
23 this is the following: This was the regular procedure when reports were
24 sent to superior commands; in other words, the report is written out by
25 hand, then it is taken to the communication centre where this handwritten
1 text would be typed and sent off, and the operative who had typed it up
2 would return it to the original source, in other words to me, both the
3 original handwritten text and the typewritten text. So both
4 Colonel Jankovic and I had drafted this report. I had -- I took it to
5 the communication centre to be retyped and sent, and of course the
6 operative -- the operations officer there - he knew me because we were in
7 daily contact - he typed it up and then sent it to me for signature. So
8 we can see from the original that this was written by Colonel Jankovic
9 and me, but in the typewritten text we see that the duty operations
10 officer when retyping it, when typing it up, he put my name down and
11 brought it to me for signature. But the content and everything is the
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: And could we just go to the next page in the
15 Serbian, please?
16 Q. Do you know what that little R or the little sort of initials are
17 on the bottom left, sir?
18 A. Well, this is just what I was telling you about. You can see
19 that Radislav Jankovic initialled this. He was the officer from the
20 Main Staff that I mentioned earlier.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender this document, Your Honours?
22 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar?
23 THE REGISTRAR: Document 04242 receives number P1515,
24 Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
2 Q. I'm almost at the end, Mr. Nikolic. What I want to ask you about
3 now is what you can tell us about any operation to rebury the bodies of
4 Muslim men who had been executed after the fall of Srebrenica, and I'm
5 specifically talking about men who had been buried in Bratunac
7 A. I know a lot about this issue. The only question is what it is
8 that you want to hear. What is it that you would like me to answer? I
9 know everything, how it transpired from the very beginning through the
10 end of the operation.
11 Q. Okay. In that case, let me ask you first when you learned about
12 this operation and who you learned it -- whom you learned it from, who
13 gave the order for this operation?
14 A. Sometime in September, Lieutenant-Colonel Vujadin Popovic came to
15 the command of my Bratunac Brigade. He was the chief of security in the
16 Drina Corps. And he conveyed to my commander, and then to me, an order
17 to the effect that there was a decision by the Main Staff that the graves
18 from Glogova should be moved to the Srebrenica area.
19 Q. And do you know the people, the bodies in the graves in Glogova,
20 where were they -- when had they been buried there, the ones that were to
21 be moved?
22 A. What I know is this: All those people who were killed in Kravica
23 and all the people who were killed on those critical days on the
24 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road and in the area of the Bratunac and
25 Srebrenica municipalities were transported and buried in two mass graves
1 near Glogova, in a village near -- within the Bratunac municipality.
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter requests that the witness
3 repeat the names because it's not certain that they are correct.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you said "... in a village near...," and
5 what did you then say?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the Glogova village which
7 belongs to the Bratunac municipality; in other words, it is on the
8 territory of the Bratunac municipality.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I read literally from the transcript and see
10 whether we have now everything. You said that those who were killed
11 "were transported and buried in two mass graves near Glogova, in a
12 village near --" and did you then again want to say Glogova, or did
13 you in second instance mention another name where you continued by saying
14 within the Bratunac municipality?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that they were buried and I
16 believe I'm not getting the right interpretation, so they were buried in
17 Glogova village, not near Glogova. They were buried in Glogova in two
18 mass graves, and then I said that Glogova village was in
19 Bratunac municipality.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Now, can you tell us --
23 JUDGE ORIE: You asked for a little bit more. We are now at
24 20 minutes. Could you please try to wind up as soon as possible?
25 MR. NICHOLLS: I think, Your Honour, I have another -- if I'm not
1 wrong, I have until quarter until, unless I'm wrong. I thought I had
2 45 minutes this session to be within my time frame.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Then I made a mistake. Apologies for that.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You're right. I see that I was thinking of
6 75 minutes whereas it is 105 minutes. Apologies.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Now then can you just -- and this is a compound question, but
9 I think you can deal with it. Can you tell us if this operation to
10 relocate the bodies was carried out, and if it was, which organs, units
11 or personnel, carried it out? In other words, did it happen, and if
12 these bodies were moved, who took part in that process?
13 A. Yes. The operation was carried out. And I will try now to
14 mention all the names of the ones who participated in the operation. The
15 initiative came from the civilian authorities, and after this initiative,
16 Popovic told us that the decision had been taken to move the bodies from
17 those two graves in Glogova to the Srebrenica municipality territory. In
18 this operation, the Bratunac Brigade participated, specifically the
19 military police which provided security on the road, and redirected the
20 traffic during the operation itself to other routes. The same task was
21 assigned to the civilian police from Bratunac, in other words the public
22 security station there. Then in addition to these units, the civilian
23 and the military police, the 5th Engineering Battalion participated in
24 this operation as well which is part of the Drina Corps. In the planning
25 and organisation of this entire operation, there were also -- and in
1 providing and securing the equipment, the earth-moving machines, there
2 were the executive authorities of the Bratunac municipality, the
3 president of the municipality, of the assembly, and the chairman of the
4 SDS. The president of the Executive Council's task was to provide
5 logistical support from those companies that had construction machines,
6 the ULTs, the diggers and other machines that were used in this
7 operation. The companies that participated in this were the utilities
8 company, the public utilities company in Bratunac.
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the next company
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Then the companies from the
12 Srebrenica municipality, in other words the Sase mine and their machines,
13 the transport company from Srebrenica and their trucks, and the
14 construction company Radnik and their construction -- their earth moving
15 machines. I believe these were the ULT or U-L-T machines. I think
16 I haven't omitted anyone. These were the participants in this operation
17 of the movement, transfer and reburial of the bodies from the Glogova
18 graves to Srebrenica. I have to say that at the very outset this
19 operation was supposed to be a covert operation and there were attempts
20 to organise it as such. However, in view of the number of parties that
21 took part in this operation, and the length of the operation itself, I
22 believe it took about two months, with gaps in between. There were many
23 parties that took part in it, many people who took part, so that a few
24 days later, it was no longer covert. Everyone knew what it was all
25 about. I believe it's also important to mention that we received the
1 fuel for this operation, in other words the Bratunac Brigade received the
2 fuel from the Drina Corps command from their logistical service, and on
3 two occasions, the first time five tonnes and the second time two tonnes
4 of fuel, I believe, and it was ordered that the expenditure of the fuel
5 should be monitored by the organs and provide reports on how it had been
6 dealt with for this entire operation. We proceeded according to the
7 order, and as a security organ I briefed my commander on a daily basis
8 either orally or when we met, but certainly during the regular daily
9 briefing meetings. This would be in brief about this operation.
10 Q. Thank you for that answer. Could I have 65 ter 04204A, please?
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I ask the witness to tell us the second
12 company you mentioned, because the interpreters didn't catch everything
13 because of the high speed of your telling us, you said the companies that
14 participated in this were the public utilities company in Bratunac. And
15 the interpreters didn't get the next name. Do you remember that?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, of course. It's the
17 Rad [phoen] Bratunac utility company.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for that clarification.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Just from the cover page, Mr. Nikolic, do you recognise this
21 document which we have, reports of meetings of the
22 1st Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade in our translation?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Could I go to page 2 of this excerpt, please? Now, this is dated
25 16 October 1995. It's headed, "Working meeting of commander and command
1 staff and battalion commanders." I just want to focus on the part on the
2 bottom which is by your name, and, in fact, on the last point:
3 "We are currently engaged in tasks issued by the
4 Army of Republika Srpska Main Staff (hygiene and sanitation measures.)"
5 And it says in the Serbian "asanacija" in those parentheses. Can
6 you just tell us what this -- well, if you remember making this
7 contribution to the meeting and what it was about? What does that refer
9 A. Yes. These are minutes from the meeting at the Bratunac Brigade
10 command, Nikolic in the minutes is me, and the sentence that you read is
11 what I was talking about before. I informed the commander that we were
12 working on duties from the VRS Main Staff. My operation was being
13 conducted under the name "asanacija."
14 Q. Okay, so just to be very clear, when you say what I was talking
15 about before, is that the reburial operation?
16 A. Yes, yes. This is the operation that I mean.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: May I tender this document?
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the last few words
19 the witness said.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness repeat the last few words of his
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Maybe I should just ask the question again,
23 Your Honour, would that be simpler?
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's not clear to me on the basis of the
25 transcript that there was anything following, but apparently there was.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: I didn't see it either.
2 Q. I'll ask the question again, Mr. Nikolic, sorry. When you
3 said -- the operation you were talking about before, does this entry for
4 the meeting on 16 October 1995 we just discussed at the bottom,
5 "asanacija," does that refer to the reburial operation we just discussed?
6 A. Yes. It does refer to that, yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
8 Madam Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Document 04204A receives number P1516,
10 Your Honours.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar. Before we decide on
12 admission, Mr. Nicholls, the cover page says reports, meetings. Is this
13 an extract from a larger set of documents?
14 MR. NICHOLLS: It is, Your Honours. I understood that the
15 procedure was to make an extract.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I have one small other question. There
17 is some handwriting on the cover page in the original which is not
18 translated. Now, it seems to me that it's a note about where the
19 document has been found and when it has been found. If that is what it
20 is, and if the Defence does not object, then we could leave it like that.
21 Is that what it is?
22 MR. NICHOLLS: To be honest, I hadn't noticed, Your Honour.
23 Thank you. I think you're correct, that does look like a post-it,
24 actually, to me that got photocopied on there.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrusic, any problems to have it admitted
1 without this specific part which is not a part of the original document
2 being translated?
3 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The Defence does not have any
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes: We did not hear what
6 the Defence counsel said.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Not everything was heard by the interpreters,
8 Mr. Petrusic. You said the Defence does not have any problems and it to
9 be admitted in this --
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] No objection, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then P1516 is admitted into evidence. Please
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honours. Thank you to my friend.
14 Q. Mr. Nikolic, that's basically all the questions I have at this
15 time about these events. I would like to ask you how you feel about
16 having participated in these events and if there is anything you would
17 like to say.
18 A. Yes. I use the opportunity every time, and I would like to do it
19 this time as well, to apologise to all the victims. I would like to
20 apologise to all the families who survived this horrendous crime.
21 I would like to say that I'm very sorry and that I feel terrible, and
22 I would like to say that I made a mistake that when I became aware that
23 crimes would take place, that I did not pick up and run away and leave,
24 because I did assist individually in this operation. I did help certain
25 Muslims, some families, and they survived, thank God, but I think that
1 that was not enough, and I'm very sorry that in carrying out my orders
2 I participated in the crime.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you. I have no further questions at this
4 time, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Nicholls.
6 I have one additional question for you. This whole reburial
7 operation could you tell us, do you know, what the thoughts behind it
8 were? Why was it done?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I know for sure is that that's
10 the only reason this was done, because allegedly it was done to conceal
11 the crime and to distribute this all over the area belonging to
12 Srebrenica, thus the main objective in my opinion is concealment of the
14 JUDGE ORIE: And do I have to understand it in such a way that
15 bringing the bodies closer to where combat may have taken place, that it
16 would be easier to explain that there were combat casualties which might
17 be more difficult to explain if the bodies were found at a larger
18 distance from where combat activities may have taken place during the
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think, Your Honours, that the
21 places where the remains were buried and transferred from the Glogova
22 area, the position has no major significance because the places where
23 they were buried, there were no positions there, nor was fighting
24 conducted there. In view of a large number of these secondary graves
25 that were dug in the Srebrenica area, with the bodies being transferred
1 there, I think that the transfer, now, you could not justify anything
2 with it or bring into doubt the fact that a crime was carried out. From
3 what I understand, it would not be possible to use that to justify it or
4 to look for an excuse, and that in this way there was a desire to present
5 those victims as victims of military combat. This is the first thing
6 that occurs to me now, but I think the main reason is that the transfer
7 and concealment of the crime is the reason because a large number of
8 those killed were buried in these graves. I don't know if this assists
9 you in any way but this is what occurs to me now.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. I have one other question for you.
11 I read part of one of your answers and it's about the local Muslim staff.
12 You said:
13 "These people had not committed anything that would have been
14 considered a crime that would then call for an abolition."
15 I do understand that we are talking about local staff being
16 employed by the international organisations. What was the -- I see
17 you're nodding yes. If you say that would then call for an abolition,
18 I mean what would anyone have to do with relieving from their duties
19 apart from those international organisations themselves? What had the
20 people meeting to do with whether they would be relieved from their
21 duties in the context of their employment? That's what I do not
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if I have the correct
24 interpretation, I think -- well, I will try very briefly to clarify
25 things. It's like this: This was local staff, these were people,
1 Muslims, from Srebrenica who spent all of their time working for the
2 needs of international organisations, including DutchBat, and when all
3 the Muslims, all the civilians, all those who came to Potocari, when they
4 were transferred or were separated, so when there was nobody in Potocari
5 any more except for DutchBat members and international organisations that
6 stayed and that were waiting to leave last, there were Muslims among them
7 who were members or, rather, citizens of the Srebrenica municipality who
8 worked for them, and of course, as people who had nothing to do with
9 combat activities, were not members of war units, and that there was no
10 suspicion that they had done anything except for the fact that they were
11 employed by the international organisations who were there, this is what
12 I was thinking of. There was no need for any of them to be pardoned
13 because they didn't do anything. They were working, they were not
14 soldiers, they did not commit any crimes and, as such, now they were
15 supposed to leave the enclave together with the employees that they were
16 working for. Had it not been like that, had there been a decision for
17 them to keep them, to separate them, from their employers, then they
18 would have ended up in the same position as those who had been
19 transferred to the school, Vuk Karadzic, transferred to Zvornik and
20 subsequently killed. So to me, that is the main point. They stayed
21 there, they remained, because they were employed at their employers and
22 they left in a convoy together with them, and then after that according
23 to the information that I have they went to different countries where
24 they wanted to go. But I assert, in any event, that there was no need
25 for any kind of amnesty or pardon because they didn't do anything. And
1 this is how I understand that matter.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now do you know whether that happened, you
3 referred to them leaving and ending up in different countries, did all
4 the local staff -- was treated in such a way that they were free to go
5 and/or were some or some of them also treated like the other able-bodied
6 men who were often taken, brought to various places? Do you know whether
7 they, the local staff, was in that respect privileged?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, I know of only
9 one case of Mr. Nuhanovic and his family, that participated in
10 negotiations at the Fontana Hotel. And later, in view of the fact that I
11 know his son and that I know the entire situation, later they did not
12 want to keep Nuhanovic and protect him. He left in a convoy or was
13 separated, I really don't know precisely what happened, but according to
14 information that I had, based on what Colonel Jankovic told me, because
15 he was in charge of all of these contacts and decisions, I know that all
16 of those who happened to be there on the last day when DutchBat was
17 leaving the Srebrenica enclave or Potocari, they went together in that
18 convoy with the DutchBat, as part of that convoy. This is what I know
19 and this is what Colonel Jankovic conveyed to me after the last soldier
20 left Potocari.
21 JUDGE ORIE: So you say the position of Mr. Nuhanovic was
22 exceptional compared to other local staff employed by the international
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not his situation but that of
25 his brother and his father, because he was an interpreter, he asked for
1 his father and his brother, I'm not sure who exactly, that they be
2 protected and that they stay there. But this was not permitted,
3 according to the information that I have, so I don't know how they ended
5 JUDGE ORIE: I intended to refer to his family members but thank
6 you for those answers.
7 Mr. Petrusic, are you ready to cross-examine the witness?
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE ORIE: One more question for the witness, so if you
10 could --
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Oh, excuse me, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Nikolic, when Mr. Prosecutor asked you about
13 questions about local staff you talked about Karadzic having said they
14 must be abolished, and Judge Orie asks to you clarify this point you are
15 talking about, they did nothing that needed a pardon. I'm not quite sure
16 I understand what the meaning of abolition means in the answer that you
17 gave previously. Are you able to tell us what abolition meant in that
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I personally didn't
20 mean anything. I was just interpreting what was written in the report.
21 Information came from the RDB, the State Security Service, that allegedly
22 Karadzic "abolirati," pardoned the local population. I was just
23 interpreting what this means, "abolicija." What does it mean to amnesty
24 or pardon someone? The person subject to the abolition, and I'm speaking
25 about practice in my country, means that you had to have committed some
1 criminal act in order to be pardoned. Simply speaking in my language,
2 for somebody to forgive you for that crime. But what I meant was that
3 there was nothing to forgive because they didn't do anything wrong. This
4 is what I was explaining, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
6 JUDGE ORIE: This really clarifies the word used, I think, a lot
7 for the Judges. Mr. Petrusic, if you're ready you can start your
9 Mr. Nikolic you'll now be cross-examined by Mr. Petrusic.
10 Mr. Petrusic is a member of the Defence team of Mr. Mladic.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel be asked to speak into the
13 JUDGE ORIE: Could -- yes.
14 Cross-examination Mr. Petrusic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nikolic, at the very beginning I want to
16 tell you something that you know, and that is that we need to pause
17 between question and answer so that we could receive a complete
18 interpretation. And I would also like you to slow down your natural
19 rhythm of speech, your pace.
20 In your CV you said that you completed the faculty of
21 All People's Defence. I would like to ask you this: That faculty of
22 All People's Defence, was that something that was in line with the
23 generally accepted concept of All People's Defence that was in force in
24 our society, in the society of former Yugoslavia, and the former JNA as
25 well, the Yugoslav People's Army?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And that faculty gave you certain military knowledge which later
3 you conveyed when you were teaching to younger generations in the
4 subjects that you were teaching in high school?
5 A. Yes. When I worked in the high school centre.
6 Q. You spent seven or eight years working as assistant TO commander
7 of Bratunac?
8 A. Yes. I was assistant commander from 1986 until the war broke
10 Q. And when you were carrying out those posts, did you acquire some
11 practical experience in terms of military exercises, courses,
12 continual -- continuous education and training in those topics?
13 A. Yes. I did complete a certain number of courses, and I took part
14 in the command staff exercises as part of the TO staff in Bratunac.
15 Q. In that period, from the late 80s, the exercises you could say
16 were frequent?
17 A. Well, we are talking about different things. The exercises were
18 not that frequent but the training was frequent, the actual exercises are
19 something else.
20 Q. Thank you. Perhaps I didn't use the correct terms. But in any
21 case, the training courses which you attended were they courses that had
22 to do exclusively with the area of intelligence and security?
23 A. Yes. For the most part they were on intelligence and security
25 Q. The concept that was in force at the time, and the position that
1 you had as assistant commander of the TO, did that train you so that in
2 the event of war you could command certain military units of the
3 Territorial Defence, which again, according to that concept, comprised
4 all those who were not part of the JNA active forces?
5 A. I'm afraid I did not quite understand you but I will try to
6 answer. Well, you can also go and complete your education in a military
7 academy for a certain military specialty and then as an officer you are
8 trained for a certain military occupational specialty. And I'm an
9 infantry man, so after completing that education I was assigned to the TO
10 staff where I held a position which meant that I was at the rank of an
11 officer and given the rank of an officer immediately. Training for
12 command and control is something that goes on gradually. You are not
13 trained to command and control immediately after you finish school. You
14 are given duties in that sense and then later you are guided through
15 those posts and functions through exercises, training, and that is how
16 you acquire your capability for that particular duty. I hope that that
17 is what you meant.
18 Q. When you were given the rank of officer, is that when you were
19 actually given the rank of captain?
20 A. No. This was done gradually. First of all I was 2nd lieutenant,
21 lieutenant, and then captain.
22 Q. The armed conflict or clashes in the April-May period in the
23 territory of Bratunac municipality, what was your practical role as
24 assistant commander of the TO?
25 A. The question is very complex in terms of the period to which you
1 are referring. I could be very precise in my answer had the entire staff
2 not fallen apart. Now, you know the way that these staffs were
3 established. In my staff, in other words, where I was assigned, the
4 Staff Commander was a Muslim; the assistant commander for operations and
5 training and at the same time a deputy commander of the TO was a Muslim.
6 And in that structure, and I won't go into every detail, all of these
7 people in Bratunac in 1992 left the staff and fled from Bratunac. And
8 the only people remaining in the staff were me, Milisav Stojanovic,
9 Rajko Banjac and Mirko -- I can't remember the last name. So this was
10 something that wasn't really a staff anymore and could not operate as a
11 whole. So my role in the staff, in the period that you were referring
12 to, was to make an effort to establish a new staff, to establish and man
13 units because Territorial Defence units had been manned and established
14 in the same manner, at least 50 per cent would have been Muslims. That's
15 before the war. And now I had to deal with this, establishing staffs and
16 units, staffs, commands and units of the Territorial Defence according to
17 the establishment as it was prescribed then.
18 Q. Mr. Nikolic, did you at any point become a member of the
19 Crisis Staff of --
20 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear which
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to my function as the
23 acting Staff Commander, I was a member of the Crisis Staff of the
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Who was the commander?
2 JUDGE ORIE: Is that Bratunac municipality?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the Bratunac municipality.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrusic, I'm looking at the clock, if this
5 would be a suitable time to take a break.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I agree but I kind of
7 lost -- I'm not sure when the break should be. So --
8 JUDGE ORIE: I think now. And then perhaps we hear an answer
9 after the break to your question who was the commander, unless the
10 witness could tell us in one word who the commander was, the commander of
11 the Crisis Staff? Is that -- witness, could you tell us who the
12 commander of the Crisis Staff was?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that the president of the
14 municipality, by -- in the -- because of his function as the president of
15 the municipality, would have been the commander of the staff, either him
16 or the president of the Executive Council.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could then the witness be escorted out of the
18 courtroom? We will take a break and we would like to see you back in
19 20 minutes.
20 [The witness stands down]
21 JUDGE ORIE: We will resume at 12.15.
22 --- Recess taken at 11.56 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 12.18 p.m.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
25 Meanwhile I use the time for the following matter: On the 8th of May
1 this year the Prosecution has sent a memorandum to the Chamber and to the
2 Defence proposing to hold short procedural discussions or Rule 65 ter
3 meetings, and the purpose would be to identify proposed Prosecution
4 experts relevant to the Srebrenica segment of the case for whom the
5 Defence does not have new areas of inquiry other than those already
6 challenged in previous cases.
7 Now, the Chamber also understands that subsequently, that the
8 parties are actively discussing this issue among themselves and the
9 Chamber will await the outcome of those discussions and will not become
10 involved in these discussions at this stage. I am looking to
11 Prosecution/Defence. I see a slight nodding yes on both parts.
12 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, the Prosecution also considered the
13 Chamber's ruling with respect to expert witnesses last week as also being
14 dispositive of this and making this question moot.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Petrusic, if you're ready you may continue
16 your cross-examination.
17 [The witness takes the stand]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nikolic, apologies for being impolite and
19 continuing our discussions when you entered the courtroom. Please
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Before I resume with questions, Mr. Nikolic, to my last question,
23 you replied that the president of the Crisis Staff was either the
24 president of the municipality or the chairman of the SDS. Is that what
25 you said?
1 A. Yes, that's what I said.
2 Q. This was for the purposes of the transcript because the
3 transcript reflected that it was either the president of the municipality
4 or the president of the Executive Board -- Executive Committee.
5 Now, the president of the municipality was Miroslav Deronjic?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did he have a lot of power within the civilian structures at that
8 time, in 1992?
9 A. Well, if you take into account that he was the president of the
10 municipal board of the SDS and that after the first multi-party
11 elections, it was the time after the first multi-party elections, of
12 course everyone of any relevance in Bratunac was in the civilian
13 structures and in the authorities.
14 Q. Did Mr. Deronjic retain his powers until 1995?
15 A. I believe until he was arrested, that was the case. Nothing of
16 any significance really changed from the first multi-party elections up
17 until his arrest.
18 Q. And that was sometime in 2002; is that correct?
19 A. Yes, I don't remember the exact date but yes.
20 Q. Mr. Nikolic, between May and November, you were not within the
21 structures of the Territorial Defence and from what I could see in all
22 the documents, I can't see that you were anywhere in Bratunac either.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Which year, Mr. Petrusic?
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. In 1992?
1 A. Yes, that's correct, for a while, in the period between May up
2 until about October or November, I was not a member -- anywhere on the
4 Q. And this was your personal decision, correct?
5 A. No, it was not my personal decision. There was -- I was
6 assaulted physically and after that I had to be hospitalised.
7 Q. Were the persons who assaulted you, were they indicted?
8 A. Well, most of those people who had assaulted me were killed.
9 They got killed.
10 Q. After November 1992 did you ever have similar problems? I mean,
11 were you assaulted?
12 A. Whenever I tried to do my job properly, there were all kinds of
13 conflicts with various structures, beginning with volunteers and on.
14 Q. When you returned to Bratunac in 1992, you returned to the
15 Bratunac Brigade -- you went to the Bratunac Brigade. What was your rank
16 at the time, Mr. Nikolic?
17 A. I was -- I had the rank of captain.
18 Q. You were -- the then commander proposed that you be appointed to
19 this post. Who was it who appointed you to that duty?
20 A. I was appointed in late 1992 after my return from Belgrade to the
21 duty of chief of the security and intelligence organ in the Bratunac
22 Brigade. I was appointed pursuant to the proposal by the then-commander
23 in Bratunac, and the appointment itself under the law was carried out by
24 the administration or the sector or the department of security and
25 intelligence and all the personnel issues were ordered and any other
1 measures were ordered by the commander of the Main Staff, and I believe
2 that was how it was under the then-legal regulations.
3 Q. Well, you were -- you could not be appointed to the chief of --
4 to the post of chief of security and intelligence unless that proposal
5 came from a superior command, which would in this case be at least the
6 Drina Corps command; correct?
7 A. Well, the -- my commander and the immediate superior command
8 were -- would give their own opinions on who it was to be appointed and
9 I suppose that no one in this security and intelligence administration
10 within the Main Staff would have appointed me if the opinions from those
11 other sources were negative on me.
12 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the last part of
13 the answer.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness repeat the last part of the
15 answer? You said "... if the opinions from those other sources were
16 negative on me." That's the last what is recorded. Did you add anything
17 after that?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I said if the opinion from my
19 command or from the immediate superior command, which was the Drina Corps
20 command, were to be negative, then I'm absolutely certain that I would
21 not have been appointed to that duty by the organ in the Main Staff that
22 was charged -- that dealt with appointments.
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Let me conclude this with one final question. Once you were
25 appointed, your commander and all your superior commands had sufficient
1 information about your professionalism and your competence and they were
2 certain that you could carry out properly the duties in the
3 Bratunac Brigade of chief of security and intelligence?
4 A. Well, I just have to correct you for the purpose of the
5 transcript, to be precise. I was not the chief of the administration.
6 I was the chief of the organ for security and intelligence in the
7 brigade. The administration was in the Main Staff only. Now, as to what
8 my colleagues thought about me and my competence, I really don't know.
9 You'd have to ask them. But I do consider that I was sufficiently
10 trained in order to be able to carry out those duties properly.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrusic, it's only now that the translation
12 ends. But the last three pages of transcript, the Chamber is fully
13 unaware of what the relevance of questions and answers could be and I'm
14 not seeking an explanation, but we would rather hear questions for which
15 it is immediately clear what the relevance is. So would you please keep
16 in mind that we like to hear relevant evidence. Please proceed.
17 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Mr. Nikolic, were there any criminal proceedings initiated
19 against you in Bratunac before the conflict broke out?
20 A. No, there were no criminal proceedings against me in Bratunac
21 before the conflict broke out. I was accused of having purchased
22 500 Swiss franks from a person who had returned from Switzerland where he
23 had worked. Now, since you're asking this I can tell you why this
24 criminal report was submitted at all. It was submitted because at the
25 time I was supposed to be appointed the police commander for regional
1 traffic. In order to eliminate me from this post, so I wouldn't even be
2 a candidate, this charge was brought against me falsely because it wasn't
3 even based on a criminal offence. This would have been an offence
4 against the dealing in foreign currency, according to the then-laws.
5 Now, once this criminal report was submitted, it never really got
6 anywhere. I never -- I was never even brought before a court. It was
7 never taken to trial. It was quashed. So the only purpose of this
8 criminal report was to eliminate me as a possible candidate. Never in my
9 life had I been indicted or accused of anything or charged with any
10 charges, neither now or ever before.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Could we now please see 65 ter 1D01028?
13 Mr. Nikolic, this is information provided by the commander of the
14 police station in Bratunac, which reads, in the second paragraph -- or
15 states, rather, that you are filed in operative criminal records due to
16 the commission of the criminal offence from Article 167, paragraph 1, of
17 the criminal code of the SFRY dating from the 20th of February, 1987,
18 jointly with some other persons. And what is characteristic in this
19 report is that there is no copy of this criminal report because it had
20 disappeared at an unidentified points in time and under unclear
21 circumstances. [No interpretation]
22 JUDGE ORIE: We didn't receive any interpretation. Could you
23 please repeat your question, Mr. Petrusic?
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Nikolic, this information that was read out to you is
1 slightly different from the answer that you gave us earlier because the
2 information states that the criminal report was indeed filed but that it
3 disappeared. So the criminal proceedings under the then-laws of the SFRY
4 were instigated against you, am I correct?
5 A. So what is your question?
6 Q. My question was whether criminal proceedings were held against
8 A. I told you, I remember exactly what this was about.
9 Q. Mr. Nikolic --
10 A. Please, please don't interrupt me. Please don't interrupt me.
11 Don't interrupt me.
12 JUDGE ORIE: You can't both talk at the same time. Please put
13 clear -- yes, Mr. Nicholls?
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Just -- I have an objection, Your Honour, to the
15 mischaracterisation of his testimony and answer earlier. My friend just
16 said that this is different because it states that the criminal court was
17 indeed filed. What Mr. Nikolic says at page 50, line 1:
18 "Now, since you're asking this, I can tell you why this criminal
19 report was submitted at all."
20 So he did say that there was something submitted in the report.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. First of all, Mr. Petrusic, you have dealt
22 with the matter but I could ask the witness as well.
23 Mr. Nikolic, Article 167 of the criminal code of the Socialist Federal
24 Republic of Yugoslavia deals with what?
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] According to the law then in force
1 in 1984 the code, legal criminal code, Article 167 refers to the criminal
2 act of trade in gold coins and foreign currency. And it was considered a
3 crime, the article had two paragraphs, the first was milder.
4 JUDGE ORIE: You've answered my question. It is apparently the
5 same kind of offence.
6 Now, Mr. Nikolic said that the case was never brought to court,
7 never -- I see here that it says, "The above mentioned person is filed in
8 an operative criminal record." It doesn't say anything about any
9 follow-up. We could ask the witness whether he has any knowledge of
10 this, how this disappeared, whether he know that is it disappeared and
11 whether he knows the circumstances.
12 Could you tell us, Mr. Nikolic, but would could you please focus
13 your answers very much on the questions put to you? For example, the
14 last question you told us why had happened. That was not the question.
15 So do you know anything about the disappearance of this file?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I never worked at the
17 MUP. I never entered there. And I don't know anything, absolutely,
18 about the disappearance of the criminal report from the MUP.
19 JUDGE ORIE: That was the question. You have now answered. Any
20 follow-up questions, Mr. Petrusic?
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Not on this matter, Your Honour,
22 no. I would like to tender this document.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D1028 receives number D297,
25 Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence. Please proceed.
2 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Nikolic, is it in the description of your duties of the
4 intelligence security organ, and were you able to, in the course of your
5 work, interrogate prisoners of war, carry out their security processing,
6 as it's referred to, and similar duties?
7 A. Yes, it was. I could.
8 Q. And were you the one who was authorised to identify a certain
9 person as being of interest for security processing or not?
10 A. Any person, any person that would come from the other side, from
11 the other side meaning the territory on the other side, either as an
12 escapee or a prisoner of war, was of security interest and we took the
13 statement and interviewed each one.
14 JUDGE ORIE: The simple answer would therefore be "yes."
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, very well, Your Honour.
16 I will try to -- I will do my best to respect that.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
18 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Did you know in July 1995 that there was a list at the
20 Bratunac Brigade of persons who were described as persons who committed
21 certain crimes, considered war crimes, and these were people of Muslim
23 A. I'm going to be precise. I knew that in my section, my organ,
24 there was a list of persons for whom there were indications that they had
25 committed crimes and other criminal acts against the civilian population
1 and Serb soldiers.
2 Q. Are you able to tell us how many people were on that list?
3 A. I couldn't give you the exact number because I don't remember any
4 more, but the final list, I think I gave to the institute in Belgrade to
5 a person called Mr. Ivanisevic. I think he's the person who has the
7 Q. Are you familiar with the list of the 12th of July that was made
8 at the Bratunac Brigade command, or, rather, to be precise, do you know
9 of a list of war criminals known to the command of the 1st Light Infantry
10 Brigade drafted in Bratunac on the 12th of July, 1995?
11 A. I did see that list, I saw that document, but I assert that it
12 did not originate from my organ and I did not draft the list.
13 Q. Are you able to indicate who would have been able to make that
15 A. Another person who dealt with these matters, to a greater degree
16 than I did, regarding the questioning and documenting of war criminals,
17 is Zlatan Celanovic.
18 Q. Did Zlatan inform you about the things that he was doing as part
19 of his work?
20 A. Well, Zlatan does not need to tell me about his work. I knew
21 exactly what Slavko Celanovic was doing and what the commander had
22 ordered him to do.
23 Q. So if Zlatan Celanovic was more involved in the drafting of this
24 list, would you agree with me, then, that you also were aware of it, you
25 knew about it?
1 A. First of all, I would like to ask you, when you put questions, if
2 you want to quote what I said, then to quote what I actually said and not
3 to just try to plant things. So I -- I did not say that Zlatko Celanovic
4 for the most part took part in the drafting of that list. I did not say
5 that. I said that the only person who could have and who was also
6 dealing with those matters other than myself in the brigade is
7 Zlatan Celanovic but I did not at any point say that he actually drafted
8 that list.
9 Q. When you sent reports to your superior command, did you send that
10 to the Drina Corps or did you send that to the security organ of the
11 Drina Corps?
12 A. I always sent my reports to the intelligence security section of
13 the Drina Corps. That would be the reporting along the professional
14 line. I never addressed my dispatches or reports to the commander except
15 in exceptional circumstances at the request of the commander. I would
16 always send the documents to the intelligence security department of the
17 Drina Corps.
18 Q. So those reports went along that line?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And was the procedure the same when the Drina Corps sent you
21 reports, to the intelligence security department?
22 A. The superior command does not send reports to the subordinate
23 command. The superior command sends information and orders.
24 Q. If Popovic sent any report to you, as the Drina Corps security
25 organ, would that report be addressed to your organ, namely the
1 intelligence security organ of the Bratunac Brigade?
2 A. If Mr. Popovic were to send anything that had to do only with the
3 intelligence security organ of the Bratunac Brigade, and if this were to
4 be addressed to the department for intelligence and security, then that
5 dispatch or information or order or instruction would come to my desk.
6 And just one more thing: That document and any other document for the
7 brigade would previously go to the desk of the brigade commander and then
8 he, through the office, the records office, he would indicate to whom
9 that particular document would need to be given.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Petrusic, I have a problem with your question.
11 At page 55 line 21, to lines 22, the witness says:
12 "The superior command does not send reports to the subordinate
13 command. The superior command sends information and orders."
14 And the next question you ask is:
15 "If Popovic sent any report to you as the Drina Corps security
16 organ, would that report be addressed to your organ, namely the
17 intelligence security organ of the Bratunac Brigade?"
18 Exactly what he says doesn't happen. Of course, his answer to
19 that question, counsel, refers to information and instructions but your
20 question -- you're asking exactly what he says never happens.
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps I used the wrong term,
22 Your Honour, meaning "report," and I can rephrase that.
23 Q. Were dispatches, telegrams, that were -- or any other acts sent
24 from the Drina Corps, from the security organ to the security organ of
25 the Bratunac Brigade, go directly to the desk of Mr. Nikolic? That is my
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And this question was already answered by the
3 witness, page 56, line 1 through 8.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Nikolic, did the Drina Corps have a liaison officer with
6 international organisations, either humanitarian ones or any other kind
7 of international organisation?
8 A. Yes, it did.
9 JUDGE ORIE: The word liaison officer, Drina Corps liaison
10 officer with international organisation, any dispute about ...
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm not aware of anything, though most of our
12 liaison officers are at the brigade level that I recall.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Petrusic, when you said, "Did the
14 Drina Corps have a liaison officer," did you mean at the corps level or
15 at any lower level to be included?
16 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I meant the Drina Corps
17 command, at the corps level, not at the level of the subordinate units.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then now the question is at least clear to
20 Please proceed. Liaison officer with the international
21 organisation at the corps level of the Drina Corps.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I already answered that question.
23 What I know, even though this is not a question for me, is that I had
24 information that there was such a person.
25 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Was that Vukota Vukovic?
2 A. No, Vukota Vukovic was an officer, a signals officer, at the
3 Pribicevac IKM but he did only tasks relating to the Skelani Battalion
4 and the area of responsibility relating to the 3rd Infantry Battalion of
5 my brigade and the Skelani Battalion, but he did not cover the entire AOR
6 of my brigade and of course the Milici Brigade.
7 Q. [No interpretation]
8 JUDGE ORIE: We do not receive interpretation at this moment.
9 Could you restart your question, Mr. Petrusic?
10 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Nikolic, when you were carrying out your duties as liaison
12 officer, was there any need for you to have contacts and co-operation
13 with the liaison officer of the Drina Corps?
14 A. When you put the first question to me, I meant the liaison
15 officer of the Drina Corps who was based at the Drina Corps. This is how
16 I understood it. And then after -- this is how I understood it after the
17 intervention of His Honour. But now I see what you're asking me. You're
18 asking me about Vukota Vukovic. He was appointed by General Zivanovic on
19 behalf of the Drina Corps to have contacts and be a liaison officer at
20 that place where he was and that was Pribicevac where my
21 3rd Infantry Battalion was and the Skelani Independent Battalion. Only
22 for that area, that officer, liaison officer, of the Drina Corps,
23 Colonel Vukovic, did have contacts with international organisations.
24 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could we have P1505, please.
25 Q. This is an information prepared by Slavko Ognjenovic dated the
1 4th of July, 1994, and let's please see the next page, the paragraph that
2 was quoted earlier in the session on the 30th of May. Now, Mr. Nikolic,
3 if I understood you correctly, according to what you said on page 1178,
4 in this paragraph beginning with -- beginning just above paragraph 3 on
5 page 2, you said there, you expressed your opinion in the following
7 "The enemy -- the life of the enemy should be made impossible and
8 it should be made impossible for them to remain in the enclave, so they
9 should be made to leave en masse the enclave as soon as possible
10 realising that there was no survival for them there."
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The page in the English
12 was moved from where it should have been previously.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. First of all, according to what you said on
14 page 1178, what is that a reference to, Mr. Petrusic?
15 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] That is a reference to
16 Mr. Nikolic's answer to this question, and because it wasn't clear to me
17 I just wanted to clarify it now by citing that portion of the text in
18 this information that was drafted by Slavko Ognjenovic.
19 Q. So, Mr. Nikolic, what I have read out to you is this what you
20 said --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nicholls.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Sorry, if I could just have the cite because there
23 is no page 1178.
24 JUDGE ORIE: No. That was my question, Mr. Petrusic. What --
25 page of what?
1 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I -- I can quote
3 JUDGE ORIE: No. I want to know -- Mr. Petrusic, I want to know
4 page 1178 of what, of the phone book or of Dostoyevsky or from a
5 testimony given in another case?
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] No, no, the transcript of --
7 that's the page of the transcript on the 30th of May.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Which transcript? In another case?
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] In this case.
10 JUDGE ORIE: 1178, okay, let's see what I ...
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The transcript of --
12 JUDGE ORIE: 1178 is a page which covers the testimony of
13 Mr. Kingory and Witness RM255.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In my view -- my view, the 30th of May, 2013, the
15 transcript starts with page 11766.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters cannot hear the --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Apparently your thinking in terms of a range of
18 pages somewhere in the 11.000s, where what you said was 1178 is -- or did
19 you mean 11078? Let me just look at where we are. 30th of May starts
20 with 11766 indeed. Now --
21 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] The page that we quoted was 11788.
22 JUDGE ORIE: 88. Now the matter has been clarified. 11788.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Since we are in the process of correcting dates
25 and numbers, the document on the screen is not from the
1 14th of July, 1995, but the 4th of July, 1995.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Could you now repeat your question and we
3 have page 11788, at least I have it before me. Please proceed.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm very sorry, Your Honours. It's 1994, the
5 document, not 1995.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You are correct. You're correct. That was my
8 JUDGE ORIE: Isn't there a play which is called the
9 Comedy of Errors where perhaps it comes closes to a tragedy of errors?
10 Please proceed.
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Nikolic, in this information it says that the enemy's life
13 has to be made unbearable and their temporary stay in the enclave
14 impossible so that they would leave the enclave en masse as soon as
15 possible, in an organised manner, realising that they cannot survive
17 For you, is this sentence unacceptable?
18 A. No. I never said that that sentence was unacceptable to me.
19 Q. The sentence which starts with:
20 "We won the war in Podrinje but we did not rout the Muslims which
21 we have to do in the forthcoming period. We have to accomplish our final
22 goal which is that Podrinje is entirely Serbian. The enclaves of
23 Srebrenica, Gorazde, and Zepa must be militarily defeated."
24 Is this portion of the information unacceptable?
25 A. A part of it is a military objective, absolutely. And there is a
1 part that could be interpreted twofold. The portion that is questionable
2 to me is the portion referring to the Muslims because there is reference
3 there to Muslims, not to the enemy, because Muslims are civilians, old
4 women, old men, women, children, every one - that's what Muslims is a
5 reference to - as opposed to the earlier portion that we read out where
6 it is very clearly stated that the enemy's life has to be made
7 unbearable, which to me is a fully legitimate military objective.
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could we now see document
9 65 ter 04191 in e-court.
10 Q. This is a telegram from the Drina Corps command dated the
11 15th of May, 1995. It is signed by the deputy commander,
12 Colonel Radislav Krstic. In the first paragraph, Mr. Nikolic it says:
13 "According to the information gathered the Muslims are carrying
14 out intense preparations for offensive operations from the general area
15 of Tuzla, Kladanj and the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves," and so on and so
17 Now, please tell me, the term "Muslims are carrying out intense
18 preparations for offensive operations," what is this a reference to?
19 What does the term "Muslims" refer to?
20 A. It is a reference to Muslim armed forces in the area mentioned
21 here, including the Srebrenica enclave.
22 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this
23 document into evidence.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document 04191 receives number D298,
1 Your Honours.
2 JUDGE ORIE: D298 is admitted.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Could we now please see the next
5 document in e-court, that's 65 ter 04699.
6 Q. This document is dated the 19th of July, 1995. It is a document
7 from the Zvornik public security centre and it is signed by the chief of
8 the centre Dragomir Vasic. In the third paragraph he says:
9 "In addition to them, this morning a large group of about
10 50 Muslims attacked the positions of the Zvornik Brigade in the Pandurica
11 area in an attempt to attempt a breakthrough to reach the Muslim
13 This reference here, where it says, "about 50 Muslims attacked
14 the positions of the Zvornik Brigade," what is it a reference to? Is
15 this a reference to soldiers or civilians?
16 A. This is a reference to civilians, just as it states there. There
17 is nothing that I should add or comment on. I cannot comment on whatever
18 whoever wrote in their report.
19 Q. According to you --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrusic, to go through a lot of documents of a
21 military nature and then to ask the witness whether Muslims in that
22 context could be understood as Muslim soldiers is totally useless. It's
23 obvious. It's obvious that in this context, Muslims has limited meaning
24 of Muslim combatants or soldiers or whatever. It's really no use to ask
25 these questions for this purpose. If there is any other purpose, please
1 make it clear to us.
2 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I just wanted to place these
3 documents in context and to add on to the interpretation of the word
4 "Muslims" by this witness and to point out to the witness that the term,
5 "The Muslims" was also a term used to apply to -- to refer to the Muslim
7 JUDGE ORIE: I told you a minute ago that, first of all, it's
8 obvious and there is no reason to do that. It's totally superfluous,
9 that it depends on the context. And then to start explaining what you
10 did which was clear to us and which we think is -- and obvious and
11 unnecessary and a waste of time. Please proceed.
12 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. In relation to this document, are you aware that the assistant
14 commander for morale, assistant commanders for morale, in battalions and
15 companies, as mentioned in this document, were supposed to brief members
16 of the Bratunac Brigade.
17 A. If I understood your question, whether there is information that
18 the assistant commander briefed personally all the commanders --
19 Q. Well, did the command -- the assistant commander for morale did
20 he brief all the members of the brigade on this? That was my question.
21 A. Well, I believe that the assistant commander for morale and
22 religious affairs, that was Major Jevtic, it was not his job to
23 personally brief and to interpret these documents within units. What I
24 can recall is that the battalion commanders were duty-bound to organise
25 meetings where this organisation -- this kind of information would be
1 discussed in their battalions and that Major Jevtic had a supervisory
2 role, in a way. He had to make sure that all of this was implemented in
3 the way that the commander had ordered it. That is what I know for
4 certain about how things were done within brigades.
5 Q. In this last paragraph it says that the information will be
6 discussed with the assistants within the battalions and as for the units
7 attached to the staff, the person in charge will be --
8 JUDGE ORIE: I have difficulties in finding all this. Are you
9 quoting from a document different from the ones we have on our screens,
10 Mr. Petrusic? Would you please verify?
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Yes. I didn't pay attention to
12 that. The document should be P1505.
13 Q. So, Mr. Nikolic, did you receive information to the effect that
14 the assistant commander for morale who is responsible for the
15 implementation of this information and for its appropriate interpretation
16 actually did so at the level of the command as suggested in the last
17 paragraph of this information? Could we please see page 3, the last
18 paragraph, 14.
19 A. I believe that I answered your question for the most part in my
20 previous answer. And just to add, the assistant commander for morale and
21 religious affairs, Major Jevtic, his task was at the level of the
22 Bratunac Brigade command, and that is how it was implemented, as ordered.
23 But as I said a moment ago, the commander --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we go to the next page in English? I think
25 it should be in the second paragraph of paragraph 14, is that correct,
1 because in the first paragraph of paragraph 14 we didn't find that. Now
2 we have it.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I continue?
4 JUDGE ORIE: You may.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At battalion levels, battalions of
6 the Bratunac Brigade, it was not up to Major Jevtic to discuss within
7 those units this information and to brief them on it. That was the task
8 of the battalion commander, so each battalion commander within his own
9 battalion would have an assistant for morale and religious affairs, and
10 they were the ones who would advise and inform each individual soldier of
11 the information within the battalion, and that is the way that the
12 information was dealt with and it was something that every soldier was
13 briefed on, including those who were in positions.
14 Q. Sir, what I'm trying to get from you is whether you at the
15 command --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrusic, I think it's time to take a break.
17 Would you also make pauses yourself because your whole next question is
18 already pronounced at a moment when we are still listening to the end of
19 the English translation. Could we first ask the witness to be escorted
20 out of the courtroom. We will take a break of 20 minutes.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrusic, could you please remember for after
23 the break that questions have to be relevant and clear. We take a break
24 and resume at 25 minutes to 2.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 1.17 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 1.38 p.m.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness please be escorted into the
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Petrusic, you may proceed.
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Nikolic, after this information and you said that this gave a
8 green light for the sniping that was carried out from the area of the
9 Bratunac Brigade on the civilian population in Srebrenica, in other words
10 the border areas, was there anything that you could do on your part to
11 halt these incidents, to stop them?
12 A. I was quite precise in my evidence. The incidents always
13 existed, even before this information. However, I said that they
14 intensified after this information. The violations of the borders of the
15 enclave and opening fire and not just sniping on the enclave and vice
16 versa, fire coming from the enclave against the Serbian side, intensified
17 after this information. Also, sniping intensified after this
18 information. And as for the send part of your question, I'll answer you
19 now, I did what I could, what was within my powers, to bring this down to
20 sort of acceptable -- to an acceptable framework because you could never
21 stop all incidents.
22 Q. After your interventions, did those incidents become fewer? Did
23 they abate?
24 A. No. They did not. Because, in spite of my insistence and my
25 going personally to various battalions, the commander ordered at one
1 point that we -- that one part of the soldiers, a number of soldiers,
2 enter the enclave, and we, from the 1st Infantry Battalion and a unit of
3 the military police, we actually entered this area that Ognjenovic
4 demanded. We did that in the morning, in the morning hours, and after
5 that, because the battalion or rather the company refused to move
6 forward, we had to withdraw and remain on the same lines where we had
7 been before. So there was an order from Commander Ognjenovic -- or
8 rather, there were orders issued by Commander Ognjenovic that were in
9 absolute contradiction to all my efforts and also the efforts of many of
10 the officers within the brigade.
11 Q. When you talk about entering the enclave, the 1st Battalion
12 entering the enclave, what period of time do you have in mind?
13 A. Well, I'm referring to the period, perhaps it would be most
14 accurate if I said that this was after the writing and the discussion of
15 this information. Perhaps a month or so later. I can't really recall
16 the exact dates. But I do recall the incidents and I know exactly where
17 this particular incident occurred, not only the incident in the area of
18 the 1st Battalion but also in the area of responsibility of other
20 Q. Did you ever try to turn to the -- to your superior command in
21 order to resolve these issues, these problems?
22 A. Whatever problems I had in that area, where the enclave was
23 violated, fire was opened, there was sniping or anything else, I reported
24 along my chain of command in written form and I informed the security and
25 intelligent organ about it.
1 Q. And did UNPROFOR lodge any protests with you because of such
3 A. If under that we imply their interventions then they were
4 continuously evident whenever the enclave borders were violated or when
5 any issues arose, so they did lodge protests, perhaps even once though
6 I really don't remember the exact time, perhaps once they lodged the
7 protest in writing, in relation to our entrance in violation of the
8 enclave at TT-414, that was in front of the first line of the
9 1st Infantry Battalion.
10 Q. I think that you will agree with me or agree with the prosecutor
11 that the enclave was armed?
12 A. Yes, certainly. The enclave had not been demilitarised, and in
13 the enclave there were forces of the 28th Division which were stationed
15 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you are in the best position to say whether there
16 were some specific, precise borders of the enclave that were in place.
17 A. Yes. I'm saying this for the sake of the Trial Chamber. I was
18 one of the officers in the commission that went to Potocari on two, three
19 or four occasions, with the task to specifically and precisely define the
20 borders of the enclave, after international forces for the protection of
21 it had entered it, and if you're interested in details, I can talk about
23 Q. Could it be said that due to those imprecisely established
24 borders, there were some conflicts between the two sides, disputes, that
25 eventually ended as combat operations, disputes about what was whose
2 A. I can only partly agree with you. One section, the southern
3 section of the enclave, remained contested to the very end. There was
4 never an agreement about it. As for the other parts or sections of the
5 enclave, I'm only talking about the zone of responsibility of the
6 3rd Infantry Battalion, mine, that's the sector of Zeleni Jadar and the
7 zone of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade. We agreed almost or not
8 almost but rather everything that had to do with the enclave borders.
9 What remained contested was the southern part, a part of Zeleni Jadar
10 where the Serbian side claimed and requested that the UNPROFOR
11 check-point be moved in the direction of Srebrenica about 400 metres in
12 depth, and to set free this road so that the Serbian forces could have a
13 communication between Skelani, Zeleni Jadar and Jasenovo, so that was a
14 part that was not agreed on. And let me add just one more thing. The
15 border of the enclave as agreed and as defined in writing, we endeavoured
16 to adjust that to the facilities that could be found in the field, so we
17 didn't -- oh, I apologise, should I slow down? Yes. We did not have to
18 be physically at the borders of the enclave in order to control certain
19 territory. We used the configuration of the terrain, the dominant
20 features and the borders of the enclave with agreement of the UNPROFOR
21 forces were controlled by fire. Whatever appeared in that section in
22 front of the --
23 JUDGE ORIE: You have to slow down again. If you don't speed up,
24 there is no need to slow down again.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right. I will try to abide by
2 So we knew exactly where the enclave border was but we did not
3 cover it physically, in the military sense. We covered it from dominant
4 features, dominant points, and by fire. So that we never made any
5 problems, either us or the UNPROFOR. If anyone entered that part of the
6 enclave, which was not possessed by any forces physically, even though
7 fire was opened on it. So that was not the subject of conflict.
8 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. You also had information that a significant part of the
10 Srebrenica enclave in the direction of the Zepa enclave was practically
11 uncovered. It was open for passage; that is to say these two enclaves
12 were practically joined?
13 A. I could agree with what you just noted. Never from the moment
14 when Zepa and Srebrenica were declared enclaves were physically -- were
15 they physically separated. Communication between the two enclaves was
16 always possible.
17 Q. Would you also agree that in accordance to the agreement, these
18 had to be two enclaves on the ground, and in fact they had to be
20 A. Yes, these had to be two enclaves, but I want to make myself
21 absolutely clear. No one prevented us from occupying and closing the
22 ring around the enclaves. Actually I'm talking about the Srebrenica
23 enclave. However, we always had a problem with the lack of forces that
24 we would use to physically and militarily close the circle around the
25 enclave, as it should be done in the military sense of the word.
1 Q. And from the north of the enclave, would you agree with me that
2 there were frequent raids and infiltrations aimed both at civilians and
3 the military units of the Drina Corps, from the moment when the enclave
4 came into existence up until July 1995?
5 A. Let me just clarify. You mean the northern part of the
6 Srebrenica enclave? The area of Milici, Visnjica and thereabouts? If
7 so, I would agree with you that in that area, sometimes they would leave,
8 make ambushes, raids and even a military attack on a village that was
9 attacked and torched in that specific period.
10 Q. Would you also agree with me that when you talk about the
11 village, that that took place immediately after the attack on Srebrenica
12 by the Drina Corps? Are you talking about June 1995?
13 A. If I remember properly, though I wouldn't really allow myself to
14 comment on that, that was in the zone of responsibilities of the Milici
15 brigade so I would ask you to discuss my brigade because I don't know the
16 exact dates, but I do know for sure that the attack on Visnjica which was
17 in the Milici territory was launched before the attack on Srebrenica was
18 launched. I know that for sure but I'm not aware of the details or of
19 anything else.
20 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you also said that in the spring, that is to say in
21 April and May, the supply of humanitarian aid or the UNPROFOR convoys and
22 convoys from all other organisations was reduced. My question is this:
23 During those years and immediately before the fall of the enclave, and
24 during the spring of 1995, were there any abuses by those who were
25 supplying the enclave, both with humanitarian aid and also military,
1 logistical support? Was that ever abused by members of the UNPROFOR?
2 A. Well, I know that there were some abuses but I don't know
3 exactly -- believe me, I have forgotten that. One of the international
4 organisations which was based in Srebrenica did make those abuses, and I
5 know that a vehicle with its cargo was seized from this international
6 organisation because of the abuse, and then the UNHCR also in one
7 instance did abuse its mission, and I know that a truck with goods that
8 they were transporting without an appropriate permit was also seized from
9 them because they tried to smuggle it as part of a convoy into
10 Srebrenica, and please allow me to finish with my answer. But as for the
11 members of UNPROFOR, I do not have any information or any piece of
12 evidence that they abused something and then as a result we took some
13 measures. I really don't know or I don't remember any such instance.
14 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] 65 ter 14822, please.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Just for me to fully understand, did the UNHCR try
16 to smuggle a truck into Srebrenica - is that what you said? - a truck
17 with goods?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That's what I said. That's
19 what I said. And the truck was seized, and the -- in regular procedure a
20 report was sent to the command of the Drina Corps, an opinion requested,
21 and they decided that for the time being until the procedure was
22 completed the truck would not be returned.
23 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Nikolic you can see one of your documents before you from the
25 10th of December, 1994, and I think that you just talked about this. The
1 reason why it was seized, or rather, why the convoy was stopped was that
2 it was transporting goods that were not announced or materiel that was
3 not announced. Would you agree with me about this?
4 A. Yes. I have not seen this report for quite a long time but I
5 know more or less what it deals with. It was seized because it tried to
6 enter the enclave with goods that were not allowed.
7 Q. And the goods that were not allowed, could they be used for
8 military purposes?
9 A. If you just allow me to look at the document a bit because I
10 don't know what exactly this is about, what was seized and why, so if you
11 can please bear with me a minute.
12 All right. I understand more or less what this is about. Of
13 course, what we see here, the plumbing materials and so on, in fact
14 cannot be connected with the army and its needs but frequently -- or
15 rather, not frequently but there were some situations when some
16 representatives would bring material and try to smuggle it in and it was
17 not under their authority. They were not in charge of organising
18 something like that. Their remit of work was quite different and they
19 had nothing to do with it, so then they told me -- they would say, Yes,
20 we made a mistake. I talked to them personally about this, and their
21 chief admitted that this was not the first time and he said, We tried
22 several times, so if it can pass, fine, if not, never mind. So they
23 accepted that it was their mistake, and they asked me to suspend it and
24 to return to the previous relations that we had so that everything would
25 be decent without any further tensions, so that was the thrust.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask you what was the quantity of that
2 contraband material, tools and plumbing materials on a whole truck?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was one vehicle. I'm speaking
4 about specific cases which I think there was no special transport, it was
5 one vehicle, one case, and then in another case it was just one truck
6 that had generators or something that was not permitted.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I'm now talking about this example. What was it,
8 these plumbing materials? How much was it, what was it?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't remember the
10 quantities anymore in the notification, in the permit. Probably --
11 actually not probably, I'm sure there were certain quantities and then
12 the inspection it turned out that it was not the quantity from the permit
13 but something else, a different quantity. So the goods were seized. But
14 I don't know off the top of my head exactly which goods were in question
15 and what were the quantities.
16 JUDGE ORIE: So do I understand your last answer to be that
17 plumbing material may have been on the notification, in the permit, but
18 that it might have been more of that? Certain quantities and then the
19 inspection it turned out that it was not the quantity from the permit but
20 something else, a different quantity? Are we talking about still this
21 plumbing materials?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I would rather
23 tend to say that in the notification, quantities and the type were
24 indicated but I assume that there was something outside of that that was
25 not indicated at all, but was part of the cargo that was being
1 transported. I think that that was probably the case. I'm not quite
2 sure now if they would seize the vehicle -- a vehicle because the
3 quantities deviated. I would say that as part of the plumbing equipment,
4 there was something that was not included in the permit at all. I
5 believe so. But don't hold me to that. I cannot remember that any
6 longer. I assume that that was the reason because I'm the one who wrote
7 this report.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Petrusic.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Mr. Nikolic, before the vehicle reached you, it passed another
11 check-point in Zvornik or, rather, in Karakaj, would you agree with me?
12 A. Yes, on condition that we know where the vehicle was coming from.
13 If it was coming from Serbia, from Belgrade, then what you say would be
15 Q. I'm going to say only that at the beginning of the report, this
16 information by you, the Srebrenica-Belgrade route is mentioned, and
17 before that a convoy entered Srebrenica. So if the convoy is going from
18 Belgrade, it would pass through Karakaj and it would also be inspected
19 there. Would you agree with me?
20 A. Yes, yes, I would.
21 Q. And at your check-point, you would again inspect the convoy; is
22 that right?
23 A. Yes. This would be a routine inspection at that check-point as
25 Q. And would you agree with me that it would be impossible to
1 conduct a detailed inspection of the convoys within a reasonable period
2 of time during which the convoys would be expected to be held at the
4 A. All I can tell you is that the time was not limited. You would
5 have as much time as you needed for the inspection. But there was an
6 order which stated that convoys entering would be inspected in detail at
7 the first check-point, all those reaching Srebrenica or entering
8 Srebrenica would already have gone through a detailed check. So since
9 the enclave was formed, the check-point where routine inspections were
10 carried out of convoys and international organisations were -- that was
11 our check-point. That's what we were doing.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask you one additional question? MSF which
13 stands for Medecins Sans Frontieres, I think, the medical organisation,
14 isn't it?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Doctors Without Borders.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, if they transported something into the
17 enclave, for whose benefit would that material be used?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I can answer to that is that
19 material delivered to the enclave would probably marked as being meant
20 for somebody, and I would know that once I saw the documentation. As for
21 the actual distribution of the material, that's something that I don't
22 know. I don't know how it was distributed. I don't know what happened
23 in the enclave. But from the documents, you could see who the material
24 was intended for. Was it for the civilian population in Srebrenica or
25 the medical centre and the hospital in the Srebrenica enclave, this is
1 what I know.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Was it meant to be used in -- well, let's say,
3 treating Muslims as well?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course, of course, because that
5 was the only way. There was no other source of medical supplies and
6 material or anything else that had to do with medical assistance. There
7 was no other source, according to my information. That was the only way.
8 And, of course, it included both the population and soldiers, members of
9 the army.
10 JUDGE ORIE: They could be treated by that material as well?
11 With that material, I should say?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, they had to be treated.
13 There was no choice.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I'm asking you this because I'm reading the last
15 part of the documents we had on our screen, where it reads:
16 "We particularly draw your attention to the fact that the MSF
17 delegates did not put up resistance or try to make any excuses for their
18 attempt to import into the enclave material that was exclusively meant
19 for Muslims."
20 I have some difficulties in understanding what exactly now they
21 are blamed for.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I told you about what I remember
23 best. So it was either part of the cargo -- well, actually not either.
24 I'm quite sure that they probably had something that was not permitted or
25 something that was not included in the notification where the quantities
1 were indicated. These are the two things that occur to me now.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Okay.
3 Mr. Petrusic, we have to finish in a couple of minutes, so two or
4 three minutes from now.
5 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Nikolic, would you agree with me that only what was listed as
7 cargo could enter the enclave?
8 A. Yes, I agree with that.
9 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender 14822 to be
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Before we decide on that, I would like to ask
12 one final question. Somewhere halfway in the document, Mr. Nikolic, it
14 "Through their manipulations and abuse of humanitarian missions,
15 they are selflessly helping the Turks which goes against our interests."
16 What is the reference "Turks," what does it refer to?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What is meant are members of the
18 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina or members of the 28th Division who were
19 in the enclave.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, is "Turks" a derogatory term for Muslims?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In principle, yes.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Madam Registrar, the number would be?
23 THE REGISTRAR: Document 14822 receives number D299,
24 Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: D299 is admitted into evidence. I noticed that the
1 Defence had no problems in presenting a translation in which Turks was
2 explained as derogatory for Muslims, but since there was dispute about
3 it, I thought let's verify with the witness.
4 Mr. Petrusic, I think we are at the time for a break. Could you
5 tell us how much more time you would need?
6 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I hope to be able to
7 finish tomorrow, and there would be enough time for the OTP. Oh, yes, I
8 will try to complete my examination in the course of tomorrow. Perhaps
9 we could go over into the following day, if need be.
10 JUDGE ORIE: First of all --
11 MR. PETRUSIC: [Interpretation] If you permit me, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: First of all, we need a bit of time tomorrow morning
13 to start with with an administrative hearing. Second, whether the
14 Chamber will allow you to use the whole of tomorrow or even a portion of
15 the day after that will highly depend on the relevance and the way in
16 which you conduct the cross-examination. The Chamber will carefully
17 monitor that. Could I first instruct you that you should not speak with
18 anyone or communicate in whatever other way with whomever about your
19 testimony, whether that is testimony already given or still to be given.
20 Then we would like see you back tomorrow morning. And,
21 Ms. Lindsay, I do understand that you will still be with us tomorrow.
22 Yes. Could the witness be escorted out of the courtroom.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 JUDGE ORIE: No loud speaking, no loud speaking.
25 Mr. Groome?
1 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, with respect to the administrative
2 hearing tomorrow I think it would be in the interests of a productive
3 hearing for the Chamber to have the most current information before it.
4 The latest information the Chamber now has before it is dated the
5 22nd of May. If the Chamber looks at the last line in that report, it
6 indicates that there was to be another assessment conducted last week.
7 So the Prosecution is requesting the Chamber to inquire with the
8 Registrar whether there is an updated report and whether we could have
9 that some time today to prepare for tomorrow morning. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, you're invited to provide the
11 Prosecution with any additional information not yet received by it.
12 We adjourn for the day and will resume tomorrow, Tuesday, the
13 4th of June, at 9.30 in this same courtroom, I.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.16 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day
16 of June 2013, at 9.30 a.m.