1 Tuesday, 22 October 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
6 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
8 This is case IT-09-92-T, the Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
10 The Chamber has not heard of any preliminaries to be raised.
11 Therefore, we'll start with the testimony of the next witness, who will
12 testify with face and voice distortion and pseudonym, which means that we
13 have to briefly move into closed session to allow the witness to enter
14 the courtroom.
15 [Closed session]
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
13 [Interpretation] Good morning, Witness. I'm calling you
14 "Witness 401" because you have been granted protection measures, and I
15 will now switch to English, and I would like you to take the solemn
16 declaration, according to which you're going to say the truth, the whole
17 truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
19 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you very much. Please be seated.
21 WITNESS: RM401
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE ORIE: You will testify with -- with protective measures.
24 That is, we'll not call you by your own name. Your face is not visible;
25 your own voice is not audible by the outside world, but apart from that
1 your testimony is public. Now, if you ever feel that one of your answers
2 might reveal your identity, please address me so that we can move into
3 private session so as to avoid that your identity becomes known.
4 I also welcome the representative of the French government,
5 Ms. Bass, who is with you; and, as Ms. Bass knows, her role is limited to
6 considering any possible prejudice to the interests of the French
8 Witness, you'll now first be examined by Ms. Lee. Ms. Lee is
9 counsel for the Prosecution, and you'll find her to your right.
10 Ms. Lee, you may proceed.
11 MS. LEE: Good morning, Your Honours. And thank you.
12 On the outset, I would ask -- I had estimated half an hour for
13 this witness. I may require possibly five to ten minutes in addition to
14 the half an hour, and I would request leave from Your Honours ...
15 JUDGE ORIE: We'll follow how your examination develops, and then
16 decide on whether you have another five to ten minutes.
17 MS. LEE: Great. Thank you, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
19 MS. LEE: May we please have 65 ter number 30422, which is under
20 seal, pulled up in e-court.
21 Examination by Ms. Lee:
22 Q. Witness, as you've heard this morning, the Court has ordered
23 certain protective measures with respect of you, and this includes the
24 use of a pseudonym. So I will now refer to you by your name but as
25 Witness or RM401.
1 I ask that you take a look at this document, and can you please
2 confirm whether this is your name and your date of birth?
3 A. Yes, this is correct.
4 MS. LEE: Your Honours, I would tender this document, 30422, into
5 evidence under seal.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, the number would be?
7 THE REGISTRAR: Document 30422 receives number P2536,
8 Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ORIE: P2536 is admitted under seal.
10 MS. LEE: Thank you.
11 Q. Witness, did you provide a signed statement under oath in
12 response to questions by the Office of the Prosecutor before the Tribunal
13 de Grande Instance in Paris on the 3rd of March, 1998?
14 A. Yes, absolutely.
15 Q. And in preparing to give that evidence -- give evidence here
16 today, did you have a chance to review that statement?
17 A. Could you please repeat your question, please.
18 Q. In preparation of your testimony here today, did you have an
19 opportunity to review the statement that you had given to the Tribunal de
20 Grande Instance?
21 A. No, it wouldn't be necessary.
22 Q. Witness, my question was: If you had an opportunity to review it
23 before coming here today.
24 A. Yes, absolutely.
25 MS. LEE: May I please have 65 ter number 30392 brought up in
1 e-court and under seal.
2 And while the document is being brought up, Your Honour, there is
3 the witness's signed statement in the form of a proces-verbal given
4 before a court of justice and we have seen similar statements from other
5 witnesses. It is Witness R176, and his statements were admitted under
6 P640 and P641. And I just would like to draw your attention to the fact
7 that statement is given in a form of a response to specific questions put
8 to the witness, and so pages 1 to 12 of the statement in both English and
9 B/C/S contains responses given by this witness to specific questions that
10 appear on pages 13 to 19 of the same document.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed.
12 MS. LEE: Thank you.
13 Q. Witness --
14 JUDGE ORIE: By the way, I would have, however, one question,
15 unless you want to continue. I see that something has been attached to
16 the statement, which I did not find.
17 MS. LEE: I -- I -- I have a -- I have difficulty hearing ...
18 JUDGE ORIE: You have difficulties hearing my voice or is there
19 anything with your --
20 MS. LEE: [Microphone not activated] I have difficulty hearing
21 your voice. I don't hear anything.
22 JUDGE ORIE: If you use another socket, perhaps that may assist,
23 since there's voice distortion. This may have an impact.
24 Yes --
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Can you now hear me?
2 MS. LEE: Yes, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I noticed that, at the end of the statement mention
4 is made of an attachment, which I did not find; a sketch by the witness.
5 MS. LEE: Yes, Your Honour, and that would be an associated
6 exhibit to the statement which I will be tendering -- which I will be
7 using during the course of the testimony and I will be tendering into
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes, okay. Usually when it's attached, I
10 expect it to be part of the statement. But if you deal with it in that
11 way, there's no problem.
12 Please proceed.
13 MS. LEE: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Witness, do you recognise this document to be the statement that
15 you had given before the Tribunal de Grande Instance?
16 A. Yes, absolutely.
17 Q. And I understand that you would like to have one clarification to
18 the document that you would like to make. And this is in response to
19 question number 34, which appears on page 8 in e-court for both English
20 and B/C/S.
21 And the question put to you was:
22 "Is that true that during the afternoon, my men and I were forced
23 to give up our UNPROFOR French battalion uniforms and don Serb uniforms?"
24 A. It is true that I was forced to put on a Serb uniform. I don't
25 really know why. I don't know why I had to do this. And afterwards, I
1 think that there were other people who had to put on these Serb uniforms,
2 people who were with me, but -- but it is a little bit vague and blurred
3 in my mind. But what is absolutely sure is that I had to put on this
4 Serb uniform.
5 Q. And, Witness, with that clarification, if you were asked about
6 these matters today, if you were asked the same questions, would you
7 ask -- would you give the same answers to the answers that you had given
8 in this statement, in substance?
9 A. Yes, absolutely.
10 Q. And having taken the solemn declaration, do you affirm that the
11 information in the statement is truthful and accurate?
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 MS. LEE: Your Honour, the Prosecution tenders this document,
14 65 ter number 30392, into evidence under seal.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic.
16 MR. IVETIC: No additional objections beyond what we wrote in our
17 Rule 92 ter response.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, the number would be?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Document 30392 receives number P2537, under seal,
20 Your Honours.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 MS. LEE: May I proceed?
23 JUDGE ORIE: One second, please.
24 May I take it that you wanted to tender it under seal?
25 MS. LEE: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. P2537 is admitted under seal. Yes, I see that
2 you asked for it.
3 Please proceed.
4 MS. LEE: Thank you, Your Honour. And as mentioned earlier,
5 there is one associated exhibit and it's 65 ter number 11493, which I
6 will be using with the witness later on. And with your leave,
7 Your Honour, I would like to read a brief public summary of this
8 witness's evidence, the purpose of which has been explained to the
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
11 MS. LEE: Witness RM401 served with UNPROFOR in Sarajevo in 1995.
12 The witness provides evidence that he and several other UN personnel were
13 taken hostage by the Bosnian Serb forces on the 27th of May, 1995. The
14 witness and nine other men from his unit were disarmed and taken to
15 various locations in Serb-held territory, including, the Lukavica
16 barracks. Upon arrival at the Lukavica barracks, the witness saw several
17 other UN personnel detained by the -- by the VRS.
18 For at least two days, the witness and other UN personnel were
19 beaten by their captors, tied to each other and threatened with death.
20 The witness heard a message from the VRS to UNPROFOR stating that if
21 UNPROFOR did not heed to their request, the witness and other UN
22 personnel would be executed.
23 The witness and other UN personnel were released on the
24 13th of June, 1995.
25 Your Honours, this concludes the summary for this witness's
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. If you have any additional questions
3 please put them to the witness.
4 MS. LEE: Thank you, Your Honours. May we please go into private
6 JUDGE ORIE: We move into private session.
7 [Private session]
11 Pages 18211-18218 redacted. Private session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Lee. May I remind you that, in
22 relation to the half an hour, you've taken already seven additional
23 minutes. Please proceed.
24 MS. LEE: Your Honours, I will be very brief.
25 I only have two different areas that I'd like to go into, and it
1 won't take more than -- more than ten minutes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Try to keep it as limited as possible and avoid
3 repetitious evidence.
4 MS. LEE: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Q. Now, Witness, you were not executed at that time and you say that
6 you were brought back to the Lukavica barracks. Now, may I ask when was
7 it that you -- you and your men first received food after -- since --
8 since you were first detained by the VRS?
9 A. We received a very small breakfast on the following morning, on
10 the 28th, in the morning.
15 [Private session]
11 Pages 18222-18223 redacted. Private session.
10 [Closed session]
17 [Open session]
18 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
20 Mr. Ivetic, if you are ready to start your cross-examination.
21 Witness 401, you will now be cross-examined by Mr. Ivetic.
22 Mr. Ivetic is a member of the Defence team of Mr. Mladic.
23 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
25 Q. Sir, I would like to first ask you some questions about the
2 MR. IVETIC: Which is P2537, under seal, and the same should not
3 be broadcast to the public.
4 Q. First of all, were you presented with the questions in written
5 form or orally during that procedure?
6 A. During -- in March 1998, this was in an oral form. During this
8 Q. Did someone meet with you prior to the proces-verbal in order to
9 obtain preparatory information from you that would be used in preparing
10 the questions that were presented?
11 A. Could you specify your question or make it clearer, please.
12 Q. Some of the questions appear to be fairly detailed in nature.
13 Did someone meet with you prior to the proces-verbal in order to obtain
14 preparatory information that would be used in preparing the questions
15 that were to be presented.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps it may create some confusion, Mr. Ivetic.
17 Prior to the proces-verbal. The proces-verbal is the written version of
18 the examination of the witness so perhaps -- did you meet with anyone to
19 give information before you were questioned, which resulted in that
20 proces-verbal to be drafted?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We first had an informal interview,
22 and then there was a formal interview. The proces-verbal was taken
23 during the official interview. A judge from the cour d'appel de Paris
24 put questions to me, and I answered his questions. My answers are
25 contained, therefore, in this proces-verbal.
1 MR. IVETIC:
2 Q. Apart from the judge and yourself, who else was present for the
3 informal interview that took place before the generation of the
5 A. I don't recall.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Was the judge present during the informal
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, he was.
9 MR. IVETIC:
10 Q. Do you know if there was a transcript or recording of this
11 informal interview that occurred before?
12 A. Yes. After this informal interview, a document was drafted.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps there's a misunderstanding there as well.
14 Was there any verbatim recording of the informal interview as it is
15 produced, for example, in this court, verbatim? Or was it
16 audio-recorded; if you know?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have a written trace of this
18 informal interview. Questions were first put to France, and France had
19 accepted some of these questions, and I answered these questions. This
20 was during the informal interview.
21 After that, it was an informal -- it was a formal interview, and
22 the questions were quasi-identical.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And could I ask one question in relation to one of
24 your previous answers. You said you don't remember whether other persons
25 were present during the informal interview. Now, we know that the formal
1 interview, it is recorded that a person working for the Office of the
2 Prosecution of the ICTY was present. Do you remember whether that person
3 was present also during the informal interview and whether it was the
4 same person, or whether there were more or other persons, or was it just
5 that one person?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember. I had rather not
7 answer this question because I could answer erroneously. I remember one
8 particular person who gave me his or her card. I don't know if this
9 person was there during the first interview. I can't recall.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Ivetic.
11 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
12 Q. In relation to the written answers that we have in court, which
13 have now been admitted as P2537, under seal, was that generated after the
14 informal meeting or after the formal meeting?
15 A. All the interviews I attended have the same content. The formal
16 interview -- the informal interview led to the formal interview, and I
17 stated again the same positions.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic, it will not change any of the answers of
19 the witness, but when I said earlier that one person is recorded as
20 having been present at the formal interview, I looked at the French
21 version and I overlooked that at the first line of page -- of the next
22 page, it is recorded that a second person was present as well.
23 MR. IVETIC: That's correct.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Since the witness has no recollection, we don't --
25 MR. IVETIC: [Overlapping speakers] ...
1 JUDGE ORIE: -- have to revisit it. But I would just like to put
2 that on the record that I made a mistake there.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
5 Q. Sir, I understand your position that the interviews had the same
6 content. My question is: With respect to the written answers that you
7 signed every page of, were those generated after the informal interview
8 or after the formal interview?
9 A. I will repeat what I said in order to be more precise.
10 Questions were sent before the informal interview to Paris.
11 Paris accepted some questions, and I was asked these questions during the
12 informal interview, and then the same questions were asked again during
13 the formal interview.
14 Q. At the time of the formal interview, did you already have the
15 typewritten answers of yourself to those questions which you signed?
16 A. Given that the answers were the same, there wouldn't have been
17 any difference if I had have them or not.
18 Q. Then could you tell us whether you had them or not?
19 A. Yes. These were my answers.
20 Q. And am I understanding your answer to be that you did have in
21 your possession a typewritten set of your answers to the questions before
22 the formal interview began?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. When were those answers signed? Was it before or after the
25 formal interview?
1 A. I don't remember.
2 Q. For purposes of the formal interview, did you merely read the
3 answers that had been pre-prepared?
4 A. Of course, I reviewed the document; but as I said when I arrived
5 here, I stood by my answers. The unfolding of the events and what had
6 happened to us was in line with my former answers.
7 Q. Am I to understand, sir, then, that for the purposes of the
8 formal interview, there were no questions posed and no answers given.
9 You stood on the written answers that had been prepared outside of the
10 formal interview?
11 A. I am not sure I understood your question.
12 Q. During the formal interview, is it correct that you only stated
13 that you stood by the written answers that had been prepared prior to
14 that interview?
15 A. At the formal interview, we, indeed, took over the main lines of
16 the -- of the informal interview, but I added some details and some
18 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps, Mr. Ivetic -- perhaps this may clarify it.
19 During the formal interview, were the questions again put to you?
20 That is, did the judge read the questions again and did you then give the
21 answers as recorded? Or how did that happen actually during that
22 interview? Or did the judge say: Looking at question 24, would you like
23 to add anything to what you have prepared as an answer? We're interested
24 in -- to know exactly - Mr. Ivetic, that's at least, I think you're
25 trying to find out - exactly how the formal interview then was conducted.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The formal interview happened the
2 following way.
3 The judge asked me questions about what happened to me. In a
4 chronological order, I told all the details and the different stages of
5 the hostage-taking and the detention conditions. He did not say first
6 question, second question, et cetera. He asked me questions, and,
7 actually, he rephrased some of these questions, so this happened without
8 specific preparation.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Now, that about the questions. Your answers, did
10 you refer to answers you had put on paper already, or did you really then
11 repeat or give the answers by speaking?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It lasted for more than one day,
13 and I orally repeated everything that had happened to me.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If I might put one additional question.
15 And how was that recorded? You say it took a long time. How was
16 that recorded?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A courtroom registrar was there and
18 he noted down everything. It took some time, yes.
19 MR. IVETIC: Okay.
20 Q. And now the -- the answers which you signed, were those the
21 result of what the courtroom registrar had recorded or were the answers
22 that you had in your possession -- that you had in your possession before
23 the formal interview?
24 A. My answers at the formal interview, since questions were
25 basically the same as during the informal interview. During the informal
1 interview, we had taken questions in a chronological order. We did the
2 same during the formal interview, and I repeated my answers.
3 Q. You said that you added some material to some answers. Are the
4 answers that we have in court signed by you now including those additions
5 that you made during the course of the formal interview?
6 A. Yes, absolutely.
7 Q. You say the process took over a day. How long? Was it a full
8 second day or ...
9 A. The formal interview started around 9.00 a.m., and it ended
10 around 5.00 p.m.
11 Q. Okay. Now, I note that some of the answers, for instance,
12 number 15, page 4 in the English, page 7 in the French, page 5 in the
13 B/C/S, begin with the text:
14 "We note that the witness has already provided an answer to this
16 Who was it that -- whose words, instead of yours, are recorded as
17 saying this?
18 A. The person who recorded my words was in the room along with other
19 people in the judge's office. I cannot say more than this. The judge
20 must have asked the question, and one of the attendees must have said:
21 This question has already been answered.
22 Q. Okay. Now I'd like to move to another topic. And, again, it's
23 dealing with the -- with this written statement that resulted. And it's
24 answer number 6, page 3 in the English, page 5 in the French, page 4 of
25 the B/C/S.
1 Here, sir, you talk of a familiarisation phase before deploying
2 to Yugoslavia. How long did this familiarisation phase last?
3 A. The familiarisation phase before arriving on the theatre of
4 operations can vary, depending on the nature of the operation. This is
5 what we call operational stage. And generally, we are given information
6 about the task itself, and then we have some practical exercises about
7 the mission that we will have to carry out in the theatre.
8 Q. And now specifically focussing on the familiarisation phase that
9 was held before your deployment to Yugoslavia in 1995, how long did that
10 phase last?
11 A. If I remember well - this happened more than 18 years ago - it
12 must have lasted between two to three months.
13 Q. During this familiarisation phase that lasted two to three
14 months, were the Bosnian Serbs described as an actual or perhaps
15 potential enemy or hostile force, or otherwise?
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: One to two months,
17 instead of two or three months.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When a theatre of operations is
19 presented, the different factions are presented. Our mission was a UN
20 mission. We were blue helmets, and we were an interposition force. So
21 our role was to separate two warring factions. We were trained for that,
23 MR. IVETIC:
24 Q. If we could move to number 9 in your answers in the proces-verbal
25 interview. Page 4 in English, page 5 in French, page 4 of the B/C/S.
1 Here you state that the mission given to you by UNPROFOR was to prevent
2 the Serbs from gaining access to the Bosnian Presidency building.
3 What means were you authorised to employ in order to fulfil your
4 mission to prevent the Serbs from gaining access to the Bosnian
5 Presidency building?
6 A. Our deployment on this post was a really key point in Sarajevo,
7 as you said. Our mission was, first of all, to interpose between
8 Bosnians and Serbs and to prevent Serbs from taking the symbols of
9 authority, i.e., the parliament and the Presidency building by crossing
10 the Miljacka and the Vrbanja bridge. Our means of disposal were simply
11 the post being there, to prevent any offensive by car in that
12 neighbourhood of the parliament, and if the Serbs had crossed our post,
13 we would have opened fire legitimately.
14 Q. If I can ask for one clarification. In the written statement, it
15 is said "the Bosnian Presidency building." You have now used the word
16 "parliament" building. Which is correct?
17 A. We always talked about the Bosnian Presidency building, but maybe
18 it was the Bosnian parliament. The inhabitants of Sarajevo, or people
19 who know more about this, could give you a clearer answer. But in any
20 case, the symbols are what matters here.
21 Q. Were you also tasked by UNPROFOR with preventing the BiH Muslim
22 side from gaining access to Serb territory?
23 A. As I said, and I will limit my answer to our mission, I was
24 positioned on the line of the Jewish cemetery that you might know,
25 between the Vrbanja bridge and the Debelo Brdo position, and our mission
1 was to operate interposition on this line, between the two factions. I
2 can only answer about my mission and what I did in the field in the
3 framework of my mission. An interposition mission goes both ways, of
5 Q. Was it part of your interposition mission to prevent the
6 BiH Muslim side from staging attacks from their territory against the
7 Serb side?
8 A. Between the Vrbanja bridge and the Debelo Brdo position, on the
9 posts that we held within the framework of the interposition mission, it
10 would, indeed, have been unacceptable that any faction whatsoever could
11 stage attacks on any side.
12 Q. In the days leading up to the 27th of May, 1995, am I correct
13 that your post had been caught in a cross-fire between the Army of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Serb army, just a few days earlier?
15 A. Yes, absolutely. When we arrived on May the 12th in Sarajevo,
16 the situation was quiet. The city was relatively quiet but still quiet.
17 And from the 16th and 17th May on, combats raged between both factions on
18 that line of the Jewish cemetery, that is to say, between the Vrbanja
19 bridge and Debelo Brdo. And to be completely precise, my post was fired
20 at by mortar fire, 30-millimetre guns and LPG [as interpreted].
21 Q. And this combat that started on the 17th of May on, was it
22 initiated by the Armija BiH?
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. Okay. Then I'd like to move to the 27th of May, 1995. At
25 number 16 of your answers in the proces-verbal - page 4 the English,
1 page 7 in the French, page 5 in the B/C/S - you state that your post came
2 under attack from the Serbs at 4.10 a.m. on that date. Can you please
3 tell us what form this incoming fire took; that is to say, what type of
4 weapons were involved?
5 A. They did not use weapons. It was a commando operation, a rapid
6 one, a brutal one, at night, and many people got into our post. They
7 were dressed with UN uniforms, for some of them, and they immediately
8 captured the two soldiers who were at the observation post facing their
9 position, and one after the other, we were then captured.
10 Q. Am I correct no casualties were suffered by your side from this
12 A. You are absolutely correct.
13 Q. At the time of the unit's capture, did you have anyone at your
14 location among your fellow soldiers who was able to communicate in
15 Serbo-Croatian with the Serbs?
16 A. At the time of the capture, I voluntarily wanted to avoid a
17 bloodshed within the observation post, and I'm the one who did not want
18 any fire.
19 As I already commented, the post was in darkness so that no
20 movement could be seen from the outside. And if fire had been opened, a
21 bloodshed would have resulted from that. We were blue helmets from the
22 United Nations. We were on a mission under chapter 6 of the
23 United Nations, and as far as I'm concerned, it was out of question to
24 make any concession.
25 I tried to contact my superiors, to tell them what was happening
1 in the post, but the Serbs, the Serbian militiamen, pulled all the
2 communication wires that were in the observation post, and I could not do
4 Q. Thank you for the additional information, sir. Now, could you
5 answer my question. Is it correct that none of you -- the French
6 soldiers could communicate with the Serbs in Serbo-Croatian at that point
7 in time?
8 A. The only words that were exchanged were in English.
9 Q. Now, when you say you tried to contact your superiors via radio,
10 was that your attempt to try to peacefully resolve the situation?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Had UNPROFOR instructed you how to proceed in the event that
13 either party to the conflict took such action in capturing you or other
14 soldiers or the observation post?
15 A. The instructions were very clear. I mean the UN instructions.
16 The night before, several WPCs had fallen, as I already said, so we had
17 strengthened our observation posts. The instructions were then very
19 Q. Is it correct that UNPROFOR had called in NATO air-strikes prior
20 to the 27th of May, 1995?
21 A. About these issues, I cannot answer.
22 Q. Had UNPROFOR -- the UNPROFOR instructions you speak of, did they
23 identify that NATO air-strikes were to be expected?
24 A. As a leader, I had to operate from a tactical point of view. The
25 tactical point of view is in the field. Above me was the operational
1 level. Manoeuvres are designed, for instance, with all necessary
2 support, and above that is the strategic level, including all the
3 political and military parameters.
4 So, at my level, at the tactical level, I can give you -- I can
5 give you answers about the tactical situation at the Jewish cemetery, but
6 I cannot give you any information about the operational level or the
7 strategic level.
8 Q. Sir, I'm asking you about the instructions that you said were
9 very clear. Did those very clear instructions include information that
10 NATO air-strikes called by UNPROFOR were expected?
11 A. With regard to the air-strikes, I was not aware of the expected
12 air-strikes. What we knew was that two WCPs had been taken by the Serbs,
13 for them to take over their weaponry. We also knew that some comrades
14 had been taken hostage in these WCPs, and as far as our posts were
15 concerned, we had to strengthen our protection.
16 These were the instructions that we received.
17 Q. Okay. I want to look at number 17 of your answers in the
18 proces-verbal. Page 5 in the English, page 8 in the French, page 6 of
19 the B/C/S.
20 Here you state that initially you were convinced the assailants
21 were only militiamen, but now you state you believe a majority of them
22 were militiamen.
23 What I want to know is what you mean when you talk of militiamen?
24 Are you talking about the police, which is the milicija in Serbo-Croat?
25 A. As far as we are concerned, when I talk about militiamen, I'm
1 talking about people who take up arms, who put a uniform on, and they put
2 uniforms that they find on the ground, and they operate with or without
3 uniforms, and they take part in fightings, in conflicts, next to the
4 regular army.
5 Q. And so just to be clear, the assailants that took over the post,
6 is it your evidence that they included militiamen and regular army, or
7 militiamen and other persons?
8 A. There were militiamen and military people from the regular army.
9 Q. Okay.
10 MR. IVETIC: If we can turn for a moment to another document but
11 please also not broadcast this to the public. This document is
12 65 ter number 17449.
13 Q. It is dated July 8th, 1995, and is a questionnaire drafted by the
14 named UNPROFOR soldier whose name we should not mention. Looking at the
15 name and position of this individual, but without stating his name or his
16 relationship to you, can you tell us if you recognise or know this
18 A. You're talking about the first part? The name which is -- which
19 appears at first? Because I can see several names on the page.
20 Q. Sir, the name of the person that appears four lines from the top
21 of the page.
24 Q. Do you have reason to believe that this individual would have
25 access to accurate and truthful information as to the incident where you
1 and others were taken captive 27 May 1995?
2 A. Yes, absolutely.
3 MR. IVETIC: If we can turn to page 3 of the document.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Lee.
5 MR. IVETIC: Pardon me, page 2 of the document.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Lee.
7 MS. LEE: I'm -- may we move into private session.
8 JUDGE ORIE: We move into private session.
9 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
24 MR. IVETIC:
25 Q. Sir, this is not being broadcast. I would ask that we focus on
1 the last paragraph of item number 2, which is at the bottom of the
2 screen. And, again, I will not mention your name, but it says here that
3 your group was captured by fanatics under the command of Slavko Aleksic,
4 nicknamed Duke. And there is no mention of any other forces taking part
5 in this attack and capture.
6 Does this refresh and is it in accord with your recollections?
7 A. Yes. Yes, yes, absolutely.
8 I would like to remind you that this happened at 4 -- at 10 past
9 4.00 in the morning, so it was still dark. This group of people acting
10 like a commando overpowered us, and there were militiamen, irregular
11 Serbs, but there were also people of the regular army, because when they
12 took us from Prisunic to Lukavica, there were one or two Serbs who were
13 with us all the time. They escorted us all the way to Lukavica and they
14 had a Serb uniform. And I'm absolutely hundred per cent sure about that.
15 So these might be details that the commander of the battalion is
16 not aware of. Maybe he didn't learn about this.
17 The majority of these commando was militiamen of Duke Aleksic,
18 but amongst them were members of the regular army.
19 MR. IVETIC: If we can take a look at another document. And,
20 again, this should also not be broadcast. 65 ter number 17724. And we
21 only have the B/C/S and the French. I'm working off the B/C/S.
22 Q. And item number 4, which is on page 1 of both the French and the
23 B/C/S, indicates that during the capture your captors treated you well.
24 Is that in accord with your recollections?
25 A. Yes, absolutely. When I answered this questionnaire, and I'm
1 just putting things back into their context, this was written when I
2 reached Split after I was released. So as I was saying, this was written
3 once I had been released. And you cannot disassociate things. What I
4 mean is that after what we went through from the morning of the 27th of
5 May until the following morning, and I'm talking about, generally
6 speaking, during our detention, we were well treated. Of course, we had
7 been captured whilst we were in our post, and this was a first problem.
8 And blue helmets had been made prisoners. There was no physical
9 violence, or no important physical violence, as opposed to what happened
10 during the course of the 27th of May.
11 Q. If we can look again at item number 4 in both the B/C/S and the
12 French, it states here that the persons who captured you prevented you
13 from making contact with the UN.
14 Is this a reference to the same incident at the observation post
15 where the wires were ripped from the radio that you mentioned earlier, or
16 is this another incident?
17 A. No, we're talking about the same incident.
18 Q. Then I'd like to turn to your proces-verbal.
19 MR. IVETIC: P2537, under seal, should not be broadcast.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could I, meanwhile, ask a question clarifying the
21 last answer.
22 You told us that when they entered, you tried to contact your
23 superiors and that they made that impossible. Did, at any point in time
24 later - for example, being in Lukavica - did you ask to be allowed to
25 contact your superiors?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. In Lukavica, I did not ask to
2 contact my superiors. In Lukavica, I didn't manage to get in touch with
3 my superiors, because people in Lukavica were totally cut off from the
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And knowing this, you did not ask for an
6 opportunity to contact your superiors. Is that how I have to understand
7 your answer?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could not get in touch with my
9 superiors to tell them that the post had been taken over by Serbs. I
10 could not do that.
11 JUDGE ORIE: And also not any higher-up authority of the
12 United Nations.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. Absolutely not.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Ivetic.
15 MR. IVETIC: Thank you. If we can turn to P2537, under seal.
16 Page 6 in the English, page 10 in the French, page 7 of the B/C/S. The
17 response to question number 26.
18 Q. Here, you are talking about an officer who came to the Prisunic
19 building and then later in Lukavica. And it says:
20 "One of the two men asked me for my radio frequency with a view
21 to making contact with my superiors and I refused. I understood ... he
22 was distinctly put out by my response."
23 First of all, sir, was this person who asked you for the radio
24 frequency that you refused the request, was he a member of the regular
25 Serb forces?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Was this request of you for the frequency made at Prisunic
3 building or Lukavica barracks?
4 A. In the Lukavica barracks.
5 Q. Now, we have talked about how you wanted to make contact via
6 radio with your superiors to alleviate the situation, and now when a Serb
7 army officer is asking you for the frequency to effectuate such contact
8 you refuse.
9 Can you explain to me why you refused such contact that might
10 have served to alleviate this volatile situation?
11 A. Well, it's very simple. I did not have to give the radio
12 frequencies that we were using. This was just a question of protection
13 for the forces. In fact, this could have been -- if I'd given the radio
14 frequencies, it could have run counter to the mission. I wanted to be on
15 top of the situation. I wanted to control the situation. I wanted to
16 get in touch with my superiors, but I didn't want to other people to use
17 our radio frequencies in order to get in touch with them. I wanted to be
18 in charge.
19 I was a prisoner -- well, not. I wasn't a prisoner, in fact. I
20 was a hostage. But I referred to the Law on Armed Conflicts, which means
21 that you give your name, your first name, your date of birth, your grade,
22 and your unit, and that's all. Nothing else.
23 Q. Isn't the -- the instructions to give your name, your date of
24 birth, your grade, and your unit, isn't that in relation to prisoners of
25 war, sir?
1 A. Yes, absolutely. And this is the -- how paradoxical was the
2 situation. I was a blue helmet for the UN, and I ended up as a prisoner.
3 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, I think we're at the time for the
5 JUDGE ORIE: We are, Mr. Ivetic. We first turn into closed
6 session so as to allow the witness to leave the courtroom.
7 [Closed session]
11 Pages 18246-18248 redacted. Closed session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
22 Mr. Ivetic, once the noise has disappeared, you may continue.
23 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
24 Q. Sir, I'd like next to move to number 30 of the proces-verbal,
25 which is page 7 in the English, page 11 in the French, page 7 of the
2 And, sir, here, you state that your:
3 "... guards acted in a strange manner towards us. On some
4 occasions they were well behaved; on others they were aggressive."
5 Did it seem to you like the guards did not know what to do with
7 A. I think that they knew what to do with us because they were
8 guarding us. But on the other hand, I'm not sure that they knew which
9 behaviour to have towards us. So it is true to say that their behaviour
10 was rather strange, as I have indicated. Sometimes they were violent.
11 At other times, they were calm in order to reassure us. I have no
12 explanation about the -- this very contradictory behaviour towards us.
13 Q. Now, this is, again, still on the 27th of May. Would it be fair
14 to say that on that day, both Serb civilians and the Serbs in uniform
15 appeared upset and distraught, not only over the NATO air-strikes but
16 over the deaths of Serbs in the UN recapture of the observation post?
17 A. It's difficult to answer this question. Were they dissatisfied
18 or angry because there were two dead people and four wounded people when
19 our unit recaptured the post? We also suffered two dead and 17 injured.
20 Or is it -- or were they like this because the negotiations were failing
21 and they didn't manage to get back their dead, their wounded people, and
22 the captured people?
23 Q. Did you have knowledge of the fact that forward air controllers
24 capable of guiding the NATO air-strikes to their targets were embedded
25 with various UNPROFOR and UN units on the ground?
1 A. I didn't know that. And I don't know whether this is true.
2 Q. Were any of the men in the same unit as you with sufficient
3 training and NATO credentials to act as forward air controllers?
4 A. You asked me a question about air controllers, but they did not
5 belong to our units, so I cannot answer this question.
6 Q. Sir, my second question was in relation to the men in your unit,
7 whether they had training and NATO accreditation to act as forward air
9 A. Absolutely not. This is a skill that we did not have, but we
10 were rather well trained in order to comply with our mission. The -- and
11 I'm talking about the interposition mission that was ours.
12 Q. Did you at any point, sir, either during your captivity or
13 thereafter, learn that the International Red Cross had proclaimed that
14 you and other UNPROFOR men should be regarded as prisoners of war because
15 of the acts undertaken by UNPROFOR of calling in NATO air-strikes against
16 the Serbs?
17 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Lee.
18 MS. LEE: I would like to have the foundation of this information
19 or a source of this information.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic.
21 MR. IVETIC: Well, Your Honours, I -- I -- most of the -- most of
22 the law review articles on the topic reference it. I didn't think it was
23 a disputed fact that the ICRC had made such a proclamation. I'm asking
24 the witness if he knows of it. I'm not going to rely upon it as positive
25 proof without bringing other witnesses and other evidence, but that is
1 the foundation of my question.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could be a bit more precise. Most of the law
3 review articles on the topic. I take it if the position of the ICRC is
4 invoked, that there is a source for the ICRC expressing itself on it.
5 MR. IVETIC: If I may have a moment, I think we have a source for
6 the [overlapping speakers] --
7 JUDGE ORIE: But if the witness -- if the witness never heard
8 about it, then it's irrelevant whether -- so, therefore, Witness, before
9 we further explore the basis for the question, did you ever learn about
10 an ICRC position that you should be regarded as prisoners of war?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not at all.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Then, still, the basis for the question, I think it
13 would be fair, Mr. Ivetic, if you would inform Ms. Lee about it so that
14 if the same question would come up anywhere in the future, that she would
15 know what the basis for it was. And, meanwhile, we can continue.
16 MR. IVETIC: I can at the moment refer to an article by
17 Lieutenant-Colonel H. Wayne Elliott of the JAG Corps, retired in --
18 JUDGE ORIE: As I said before, it is irrelevant at this moment.
19 If you would reveal that information to Ms. Lee, then the purpose of it
20 is served sufficiently for this moment.
21 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Q. Now, did it appear to you, sir, that the -- that the Serb
23 soldiers at Lukavica barracks were undertaking to protect you from harm,
24 including protecting you from both Serb civilians and so-called
1 A. I don't know. They were assigned to guard us - no more, no
2 less - in these barracks. That's it.
3 Q. While in the barracks, did they prevent civilians from coming in
4 contact with you?
5 A. Yes, they did. Yes, they did. When we had our daily meals,
6 let's say, in an area of the barracks, civilians had their meals also,
7 but we were never in contact with them.
8 Q. You've mentioned the daily meals. Is it correct during the
9 entirety of your stay at Lukavica barracks you ate the exact same food as
10 did the Serb soldiers at the barracks?
11 A. Yes, we did.
12 Q. Now, if we can --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic, I would like to seek a clarification of
14 one of the previous answers.
15 You were asked whether they did prevent civilians from coming in
16 contact with you. Your answer was that there was no contact, and you
17 referred to the daily meals. Did you gain the impression that those
18 civilians that were there would have been hostile so as to be prevented
19 from having any contact with you?
20 In other words, did you consider the fact that no contact was
21 allowed or made to be in order to protect you against those civilians?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's possible.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Ivetic.
24 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 If we could return to the proces-verbal at number 31, which, I
1 believe is on the screen in both languages. For the record that would be
2 page 7 in English, page 11 in French, page 8 of the B/C/S.
3 Q. Here you describe that some high-ranking Serb soldiers came to
4 visit you, although they were not wearing any combat gear so as to permit
5 to you identify their rank.
6 How is it, then, that you were able to discern that these were
7 high-ranking officers rather than ordinary officers, or someone else, if
8 you could not discern their rank?
9 A. When I talk about combat gear, I'm not talking about battle
10 dress. They were wearing uniforms, but they were not in combat gear.
11 They were wearing shirts and trousers but not in battle dress. Let's
12 say, these were uniforms they wore when they wanted to go out and one
13 could identify them thereby. These people were of a certain age and had
14 a certain authority. I saw them at a meeting, and they were discussing
15 things. So I can say that these were people with a high level of
17 Q. Is that merely based upon their age and the fact that you
18 believed them to be officers of unknown rank?
19 A. I state that these were high-ranking officers. They were not
20 wearing battle dress, like what can be seen in war operations. These
21 were staff officers who were wearing uniforms, and that's why I can say
22 that these people were high-ranking officers.
23 Q. If we can look at number 42 of the proces-verbal. That is at
24 page 9 in the English, page 14 in the French, page 9 of the B/C/S. And
25 this is the incident you talked of where you were forced to kneel in the
1 middle of the road.
2 First of all, sir, this is all still happening before you were
3 taken to Lukavica barracks and taken into possession by the regular army;
4 is that correct?
5 A. We were forced to kneel at that time, but I state that at that
6 particular location, which was close to a square, militiamen were
7 present. There were soldiers of the regular army that were there, and a
8 host of civilians that was there also.
9 Q. I -- I understand that, sir, and I believe that's contained in
10 your written statement.
11 My question is: Was this before you were transferred into the
12 custody of the regular army at Lukavica barracks?
13 A. This occurred before we were transferred to Lukavica. What I
14 would like you to understand is that when we were in this negotiation
15 phase and when the negotiations had floundered, these things were tied
16 together. In the building where we were detained, there were militiamen
17 who were guarding us. There were these staff officers of the regular
18 army that there were too. This was to-ing and fro-ing, incessant to-ing
19 and fro-ing in this building. And when we went down and were forced to
20 kneel down before our UN post and before the Bosnian sector, the
21 militiamen, the civilian population, and the regular army were all
22 connected to one another.
23 Q. At paragraph number 43 of the proces-verbal, which is on the same
24 page in the English and the French and the B/C/S, too, I believe, you
25 state that the crowd showed hostility toward you. Are you here talking
1 about the civilians, the mixed group of militia and regular army that
2 that were at this square, or are you talking about only specific elements
3 of them?
4 A. I mean everyone. Tensions were running very high. People were
5 screaming, were shouting. The attempted exchange failed. We were at a
6 time when the French vehicle had brought back these two dead Serb people.
7 When the bridge was taken back, you can imagine that when the soldiers,
8 the civilians, and the families came to fetch the bodies, the two bodies,
9 you must understand that everybody was in a highly tense state, and
10 people were mad at us. You can imagine that perfectly well, can't you?
11 Q. Yes, and we'll get to that. I'd like to now move to -- to the
12 question -- or to the answer number 46 of the proces-verbal - page 10 in
13 English, page 15 in French, page 10 of the B/C/S - and, first of all,
14 sir, the French-speaking woman whom you describe here, how would you
15 describe her knowledge of the French language? Was it fluent in nature
16 or basic, rudimentary, in nature?
17 A. She spoke French extremely well. That struck me at the time.
18 Q. Okay. Now, in this answer number 46 of the proces-verbal, you
19 say that you "now recall." What was it that caused you to recall that
20 she said you were to die. Why had that not been recalled earlier?
21 A. Could you rephrase your question more clearly, please.
22 Q. Yes, sir. The last paragraph of number 46 of the proces-verbal
23 states -- and I will not use the names, of course, states:
24 "In fact, I now recall that she indicated that," and she mentions
25 a name, "and I were to die and that I was to designate two other
2 What caused it to -- for you to now recall such a significant
4 A. I'm trying to put my -- to return to that formal interview as
5 opposed to the informal interview.
6 As I said earlier, when I came to the formal interview, I
7 provided more details. My answers were more accurate. This is
8 undoubtedly due to the fact that a request had been put to me. I
9 remember this now, today, but you can check in the -- in the informal
10 interview, I have always said that I had been designated, and I was to
11 die, and I had drawn up a macabre list of people who were to die.
12 Q. Now, sir, in the -- in the information report arising from your
13 proofing with the Prosecution yesterday, the Prosecution reports as
14 follows, and I will not use the -- neither your name, nor the name of the
15 position. But it says:
16 "On 27 May 1995, during the collection of Serb bodies from," and
17 then it names the post, "the witness was told that if anything went wrong
18 during the process, he would be released into the Bosnian front lines
19 while wearing the Serb army uniform."
20 Does that version from the proofing session you had the past few
21 days with the Prosecution more accurately depict what, in fact,
22 transpired during this occasion?
23 A. As regards this particular incident, the Serbs had told me that:
24 In any case, if things go wrong, you will be released on the Bosnian
25 front line.
1 Q. And, so, sir, were you told that you would be shot or that you
2 would be released towards the Bosnian lines? Which is it?
3 A. I don't know.
4 Q. Now, while this all is going on, isn't it a fact that prior to
5 this instance, that is to say, when the Serbs encountered casualties and
6 the French encountered casualties in taking over the post, isn't it
7 correct that the UNPROFOR forces participated in joint combat with the
8 Armija BiH to take over that check-point, thus causing the casualties
9 among both the French and the Serbs?
10 A. That's totally wrong. I have had a lot of questions about that
11 particular issue. The French blue helmets just re-took the post they had
12 lost, and our president of the republic gave an order for that. We had
13 been humiliated for long enough. We needed a striking fact and the
14 Vrbanja bridge was the pretext. We wanted the blue helmets to be
15 considered legitimate. And what the Bosnians do -- did when they re-took
16 the bridge was an action which was undertaken by them and by them only.
17 That decision was theirs.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Could I just intervene for one second. Mr. Ivetic,
19 you're held holding the paper at such a position that it can be caught by
20 the cameras, which is to be avoided. So would you please -- I take it
21 that you were unaware of that, but could you please leave them on your
23 I interrupted you. Apologies for that. You said:
24 "... it was an action which was taken by them and by them only.
25 That decision was theirs."
1 Could you please resume from there.
2 And could Mr. Mladic remain seated and speak at a low --
3 MR. IVETIC: If I may --
4 JUDGE ORIE: -- volume.
5 MR. IVETIC: -- seek leave to consult briefly.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Well, let's be polite and first --
7 MR. IVETIC: After the answer.
8 JUDGE ORIE: -- ask the witness to complete his answer and then
9 you have an opportunity to consult, Mr. Ivetic.
10 You said it -- that action was theirs and theirs only. Did you
11 want to add anything to that when I interrupted you?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At no point in time - I wish this
13 to be very clear - were the Bosnians informed about the fact that the
14 bridge had been re-taken. They noticed this when French soldiers started
15 infiltrating and moving towards the bridge. They realised then that
16 something was happening and that some action was undertaken. Because on
17 the other side of the Miljacka, the river, we had established armoured
18 support to control the takeover of the bridge. We did not need the help
19 of the Bosnians to take back the bridge. The Bosnians benefitted from
20 this action --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask you also to slow down a bit.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The Bosnians
23 benefitted from this action, and then -- let me remind you that the
24 Bosnians were never informed about our desire to take back the post, and
25 we never turned to them for support or help. What they initiated, they
1 initiated themselves.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic, you have an opportunity to consult with
3 Mr. Mladic if you wish to do so.
4 [Defence counsel and accused confer]
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE ORIE: Low voice, please. Low voice, please.
7 Please proceed, Mr. Ivetic.
8 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Sir, again, according to the information report given to us by
10 the Prosecution resulting from the last two days of meetings that you've
11 had with them, it is recorded as follows, and I will, of course, edit out
12 the names involved, but it reads:
13 "Two French soldiers were killed during the re-taking of the
14 Vrbanja bridge," and then it names them. "17 other French soldiers were
15 wounded. The ABiH assisted the UNPROFOR in the retaking of the," and
16 then it names the post. "At that time, the UNPROFOR and the ABiH were
17 not aware that two French soldiers," and then it names them, "were
18 present in the post."
19 Then it says that:
20 "One of the French was wounded in the knee by support fire by the
22 Sir, is everything that I've just read you to the truth?
23 A. The Bosnian army started shooting when the Vrbanja bridge was
24 re-taken - that's a fact - which made the fire more intense, of course,
25 but I challenge the fact that this was a joint operation. You can't deny
1 the fact that they shot at the post while we were re-taking it. We have
2 a proof of that. There was a stray bullet that wounded (redacted)
3 (redacted) tendered mentions the
4 fact that this injury might have been caused by the Bosnians. No one at
5 the post was aware of the fact that two French soldiers were still
6 manning the post. They were hostages --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: They were not
8 manning the post. They were hostages of the Serb soldiers.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I told you, I was unable to
10 contact my superiors to describe them what had happened at the Vrbanja
12 MR. IVETIC:
13 Q. And so at that time, prior to the threats being issued to you,
14 prior to you being forced on your knees, the combined crowd of civilians,
15 Serb soldiers and Serb militiamen, as you call them, had witnessed the
16 French forces taking the check-point with the ABiH forces offering
17 support fire and assisting the French, causing Serb casualties. That all
18 happened before the threats that occurred that you testified about. Is
19 that correct?
20 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Lee.
21 MS. LEE: First of all, I -- I believe it is fair to ask the
22 witness whether or not he is aware if the crowd of civilians of Serb
23 soldiers and militiamen witnessed the French forces taking the
24 check-point back, because that statement has been put to him. And I
25 think it is only fair to the witness to ask him whether or not he was
1 aware of that and then the subsequent question could be asked.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I understand there's a request to split up the
3 question, including the part that the combined crowd of civilians had
4 witnessed the French forces taking the check-point.
5 Would you please split it up, Mr. Ivetic.
6 MR. IVETIC: Yes, Your Honours.
7 Q. Is it your testimony that this crowd of mixed civilians,
8 soldiers, and militiamen had witnessed the re-taking of the check-point
9 and the support fire by the ABiH?
10 A. I don't know. I don't know whether they had seen the post being
11 taken over. I myself was unaware of it. I heard about it in the
12 afternoon. I inferred that that must have been the case. And then when
13 we moved into the negotiation phase for a potential exchange, what
14 happened in Grbavica is something I know nothing about it. I don't know
15 what people knew about it and I don't know how much they knew about it.
16 Q. And the re-taking of the check-point, the support fire from the
17 ABiH and the casualties resulting therefrom had all occurred before there
18 were any threats to your life, whether to execute you or to release you
19 to the Bosnian army positions?
20 A. Yes, this happened before. But the casualties on the French
21 side, the wounded on the French side, and the casualties on the Serbian
22 side and the dead people on the Serbian side was -- happened because a UN
23 bridge had initially been taken by the Serbs.
24 Q. If we can focus on your proces-verbal at number 48, which is on
25 page 10 in the English, page 16 in the French, page 11 of the B/C/S. And
1 again, this is where you say that at Lukavica you were read the
2 Geneva Conventions by the Serb commander.
3 Can we mark this as the first time in the proces-verbal where you
4 felt or understood yourself to be in the custody of the regular Bosnian
5 Serb army?
6 A. When the Geneva Conventions were read, I first was surprised in
7 my head because I thought, Hmm, I'm a blue helmet, and I'm a prisoner.
8 There's something wrong here. And then I thought that I was no longer,
9 along with my fellow soldier, in that hell we experienced on the Vrbanja
10 bridge. We were in a more quiet and peaceful environment.
11 So you can imagine how we felt at that moment. We were quite
12 reassured, actually. We were reassured because we had escaped this hell
13 that we were in during 24 hours on the Vrbanja bridge.
14 Q. At Lukavica, at the time that the Geneva Conventions were being
15 read to you, isn't it also correct that the Serb officers explicitly
16 stated that they regarded you as prisoners of war?
17 A. I remember very well this officer who told us, You are going to
18 be treated according to the Geneva Conventions, and he added that we
19 would be treated as prisoners of war, yes. Maybe it was a bit too late
20 to mention that.
21 Q. Now I'd like to move to number 50 in the proces-verbal, page 11
22 in the English, page 17 in French, page 11 of the B/C/S.
23 And, first of all, I'd like to focus on the first incident on the
24 29th of May, 1995, the other men that you learned had been taken away and
25 filmed handcuffed to military equipment.
1 First of all, did you ever learn or did they tell you what kind
2 of military equipment this was?
3 A. On May 29, two of my soldiers were, indeed, taken away to be
4 filmed near some equipment. I don't know which equipment it was exactly.
5 They did not report that to me. They did not tell me the type of
6 equipment they had been handcuffed to.
7 Q. Did they tell you how long approximately they had been handcuffed
8 to such equipment? Was it a matter of minutes, dozens of minutes, hours,
9 et cetera?
10 A. It was very, very short. And then these images were relayed
11 around the world, in newspapers, on television, to put pressure on the
12 international level about this conflict.
13 Q. During the time that they were very shortly handcuffed, is it
14 correct that there were no actual ongoing air-strikes in their immediate
16 A. Yes, that is absolutely correct.
17 Q. And they were uninjured and unharmed when they returned to be
18 rejoined with the rest of you at Lukavica; is that correct?
19 A. Yes, that is correct.
20 Q. And now I want to focus on the second incident in answer number
21 50 to the proces-verbal, that is, the 30th of May, 1995, when two other
22 men were taken for the same purpose and you served as the English
23 interpreter for the same.
24 First of all, am I correct that you yourself were not handcuffed
25 to any structures or equipment? It was just these two other men?
1 A. Yes, that is correct.
2 Q. On the 30th of May, 1995, were these two men beaten or mistreated
3 in any way?
14 [Private session]
11 Page 18266 redacted. Private session.
14 [Closed session]
11 Page 18268 redacted. Closed session.
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
13 Mr. Ivetic, same as before. We wait until the noise disappears.
14 Please proceed.
15 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Sir, I'd like to again focus on the 30 May 1995 second incident
17 in answer number 50 of the proces-verbal.
18 These two men that were affixed to a military structure or
19 equipment, how long did they remain affixed to the military structure or
20 equipment in question?
21 A. A few minutes.
22 Q. What kind of military equipment or structure were they affixed to
23 for those few minutes?
24 A. I do not remember exactly.
25 Q. Now, during the few minutes that these two men were handcuffed to
1 whatever it was they were handcuffed to, am I correct that there were no
2 actual air-strikes in that area in their immediate vicinity at that time?
3 A. That is absolutely correct.
4 Q. Looking now at number 51 of the proces-verbal, which is at
5 page -- it's the same page in both the French and the English, and
6 page 11 of the B/C/S. Can we conclude that, apart from these two
7 incidents which we have now described, there were no other incidents
8 where you witnessed men being taken away from Lukavica to be handcuffed
9 to equipment or structures and taped -- or filmed?
10 A. These are the only two moments when my men were asked to follow
11 the Serbs to be filmed. The only two moments.
12 Q. Now, if we could focus on number 54 of the proces-verbal, and
13 that's on page 12 in both the English and the B/C/S, page 18 of the
14 French. And this is the visit from the Serb Orthodox priest that you
15 mentioned. Did he have a translator or were you able to speak directly
16 to him in a language that you understood?
17 A. The visit of the Orthodox priest happened in English. He had no
18 interpreter. And one of my soldiers who was fluent in the language acted
19 as an interpreter.
20 Q. When you say one of the soldiers who was fluent in the language,
21 are we talking about English or Serbo-Croatian?
22 A. English.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Could I --
24 MR. IVETIC: Yes --
25 JUDGE ORIE: -- ask one clarification. I think earlier you said
1 you served as an interpreter for - let me see - it's --
2 MR. IVETIC: Number 50, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, 50. I'm just -- you said you served as an
4 interpreter and you gave responses. What language did you serve as an
5 interpreter? French/English or ...
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, French/English.
7 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ...
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I added, I do not speak English
9 fluently, and I acted as an interpreter for those people. But when the
10 Orthodox priest came to visit us, since the conversation was longer, I
11 was helped by one of my men who was fluent in English.
12 JUDGE ORIE: So you speak English, but you preferred here to be
13 assisted by someone who better speaks English. Is that -- yes. It was a
14 bit surprised by at one moment serving as an interpreter yourself and
15 then -- but let's leave that aside.
16 Please proceed, Mr. Ivetic.
17 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
18 Q. And during the course of your stay at Lukavica barracks, did you
19 get the impression that the regular Serb army did not condone of the
20 treatment that you had received during the first day from those men of
21 Duke Aleksic who had captured you and held you during that time-period?
22 A. When we were in detention at the Lukavica barracks, the people
23 who guarded us and us had polite relations. At no time they told us what
24 they thought about the men of Duke Aleksic, and at no time we told them
25 what we thought about them.
1 Q. Okay. Did you happen to know the -- with -- in respect to the
2 Serbian Orthodox priest, was he just a priest or was he a higher
3 official? Did you have any further information of where he came from?
4 A. I had no information. He introduced himself as an Orthodox
5 priest. He was wearing the insignia of the Red Cross. He told us that
6 he represented the Red Cross, and he said that as -- in this capacity he
7 came to visit us. At no time he introduced him and told us the details
8 about his rank within his church.
9 Q. And is it correct that this priest who introduced himself as from
10 the Red Cross, when you say that you received correspondence, would it be
11 correct to say that he had correspondence that had been written
12 directly -- specifically for yourselves as recipients from -- from --
13 from -- from persons outside of the -- from back -- back -- from
15 A. The Orthodox priest gave us letters. Among the letters was one
16 letter from my superior. I think, but I'm not sure about that, I think
17 that there were also letters from our relatives. I don't remember that
18 very well.
19 Q. Okay. Now, when you say that you were released and went via Pale
20 and Belgrade, during that travel, is it correct that you were not
21 mistreated in any way?
22 A. That is correct.
23 Q. Sir, I thank you for your patience in answering my questions.
24 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I have completed my cross-examination.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
1 Ms. Lee, any requests in re-examination? I take it from what you
2 told us earlier that you have a few.
3 MS. LEE: Yes. And I would require about ten minutes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we have.
5 MS. LEE: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
7 MS. LEE: Thank you, Your Honours.
8 Re-examination by Ms. Lee:
9 Q. Witness, you were -- you were just asked during cross-examination
10 about any mistreatment that you have -- you and your men may have
11 received on the 30th of May, 1995, and I refer you to transcripts 64,
12 lines 17 until 65 and line 4. And this was -- and this was in relation
13 to your men who were being handcuffed to equipment and structure. And
14 we've heard more evidence on that just now on pages 67 and 68.
15 And I would like to just read you the question that was put to
16 you, and it was at -- line 64, 17 says -- 64, line 17, and it says:
17 "My question had been specifically related to the 30th of May,
18 1995, when two men were taken with you acting as the English interpreter
19 to a site, a factory near Lukavica, and were handcuffed to something
21 And the question put to you was:
22 "On that date, is it correct that neither you nor those other two
23 men who -- were beaten or mistreated in any other way?"
24 And then it was said:
25 "I'm not talking about the time-period prior."
1 And you responded:
2 "Yes, we were not beaten then."
3 What -- my question to you, Witness, is: The fact that you were
4 handcuffed to military equipment, do you consider that to be a
5 mistreatment or not?
6 A. Yes, this is part of mistreatment. That's obvious. I'm sure
7 that you have understood that I'm talking about a global event. It is
8 the same event, the taking over of the Vrbanja bridge. And I compare
9 what happened afterwards with what had happened during the 27th of May.
10 So, sure, we were handcuffed to -- we were handcuffed, we were
11 tied to military equipment. This is not acceptable, of course. But
12 compared to what we had gone through during the 27th of May, this was a
13 better treatment.
14 Q. And ...
15 MS. LEE: May I proceed --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MS. LEE: May I please have 65 ter number 30424 on the screen and
18 not to be broadcast because this is a statement that this witness had
19 given, and we have heard evidence about the statement earlier today. It
20 is the informal statement. And -- and if I could have page 5 and focus
21 on paragraph 5 near the bottom of the page.
22 Q. And before -- before looking into this document, Witness, today
23 you were asked at line 40 [sic], you know, whether your captured treated
24 you well. At any time, did you or your men -- I mean, were you or your
25 men ever told the reason for being held at Lukavica barracks?
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic.
2 MR. IVETIC: Where's this document on the exhibit list? It's not
3 on the one that I have.
4 MS. LEE: I mean, yes, but this -- this document arises from
5 Mr. Ivetic's cross-examination and so I still do not intend to tender
6 this document. However, I would like to refer to it.
7 MR. IVETIC: I'd like to know where we were given notice of it.
8 I would not have asked the questions if I had that --
9 JUDGE ORIE: But if it arises from cross-examination, then, of
10 course, the situation is different.
11 Ms. Lee, put the question and ask yourself whether you really
12 need this or perhaps first could have put the question --
13 MS. LEE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- to the witness in a -- please proceed.
15 MS. LEE: Yes. I will get straight to the question, then.
16 Q. You were asked several questions during cross-examination on the
17 NATO bombing air-strikes. And I would like to know, first of all, if
18 you -- if NATO bombings continued during your detention at Lukavica
20 A. I do not know.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Microphone, please.
23 MS. LEE:
24 Q. And if you could now -- if -- read paragraph 5 at page 5, and --
25 where it says:
1 "During the remainder of our captivity, we were well treated.
2 The only threat when the commander told us that if NATO resumed its
3 air-strikes, things would go badly for us."
4 Now, were you ever told that -- the -- the reason of your
5 detention at Lukavica barracks, whether or not it was in any way related
6 to the NATO bombing attacks?
7 A. I do not know. During my detention in the Lukavica barracks, I
8 heard -- I didn't hear air-strikes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Microphone, please.
10 MS. LEE: May I please have page 2 of this -- the same document.
11 JUDGE ORIE: But just for our information, was NATO air-strike,
12 were they mentioned in your presence, Witness, and that things would turn
13 out badly if they would continue?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, absolutely.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
16 Please proceed.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 MS. LEE: I apologise.
19 Q. I see that we're on page 2. And I would refer to paragraph 2.
20 Now, Witness, in relation -- during cross-examination today, and
21 this figures at line -- at page 35, lines 12 to 23, and you were asked --
22 and this relates to the time you were held -- you were taken hostage on
23 the 27th of May, 1995. And the question put to you was -- was:
24 "Can you please tell us what form this incoming fire took; that
25 is to say, what type of weapons were involved?"
1 And your response was:
2 "They did not use weapons. It was a commando operation, a rapid
3 one, a brutal one, at night, and many people got into our post."
4 And I refer you to paragraph 2 of your informal statement that we
5 had discussed prior -- previously, and you said:
6 "The one who was the leader held me with a Kalashnikov at my
7 temple so that I would go to wake up the others. I had already been
8 struck with a rifle-butt by him when I wanted to alert my superiors, and
9 he ripped out all the radio wires which then became inoperable."
10 This portion of your informal statement that I have just read to
11 you, does it accurately illustrate the incident as it happened on -- in
12 the morning, in the early morning of the 27th of May, 1995?
13 A. The commando that took control of the post, that surrounded the
14 post, did not use its weaponry. In other words, not a single shot was
15 fired but they all had weapons. They all had Kalashnikovs. They had
16 daggers and pistols. After having briefly assessed the situation, I
17 decided we should not have a face-to-face combat to avoid a bloodshed.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I put one question.
19 In this statement we have on the screen, I read:
20 "I had already been struck with a rifle-butt ..."
21 Does that mean this weapon was used? Not by firing a shot but in
22 another way?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right. Yes, I'd
24 been -- I was hit by the rifle-butt.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
1 Ms. Lee.
2 MS. LEE:
3 Q. And my final question to you is: Today, do you have any
4 knowledge of the reason of your detention from --
5 A. No, still not.
6 JUDGE ORIE: No further questions.
7 MS. LEE: This concludes my re-direct.
8 MR. IVETIC: Just one or two on this document, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed.
10 MR. IVETIC: If we could turn to the first page of this document,
11 and again not broadcast the same.
12 Further Cross-examination by Mr. Ivetic:
13 Q. Sir, this document that we have before us, is this the informal
14 interview that you mentioned took place before the formal interview, or
15 is this something else?
16 A. This is the document that coincides with the informal interview.
17 Q. Looking at the first paragraph of the same, it would appear to me
18 that, apart from French army personnel and personnel from the Office of
19 the Prosecutor, there are no court personnel from the court in Paris. Is
20 that accurate?
21 A. I can't remember anymore.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, those are my questions in relation to
24 these documents.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
1 It seems that Mr. Mladic wants to consult with you.
2 MR. IVETIC: If I may have one moment.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 [Defence counsel and accused confer]
5 MR. IVETIC: Just one question, with Your Honours' leaves, in
6 relation to the priest that represented himself to be a representative of
7 the International Red Cross.
8 Q. My client would like to know whether that priest was dressed in
9 civilian, military, or church clothing?
10 A. I cannot answer that question. I'm unable to.
11 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
13 [Interpretation] Witness, this concludes your testimony. I'd
14 like to thank you for having come to The Hague and by having answered all
15 the questions that were put to you by both parties. I wish you a safe
16 journey home.
17 [In English] For the witness to leave the courtroom we turn into
18 closed session. But before doing that, I wonder whether it is of any use
19 to start with the testimony of the next witness. Perhaps we should
20 rather delay that until tomorrow.
21 MS. MARCUS: Yes, Your Honour, if we could delay it until
22 tomorrow, please.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I take that all parties agree that that's the
24 most sensitive conclusion.
25 Then we turn into closed session in order for the witness to
1 leave the courtroom.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 [Closed session]
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
18 I would like to give a follow-up on some outstanding issues
19 relating to Emir Turkusic's testimony.
20 Regarding the 82-millimetre and 120-millimetre mortar manuals,
21 the Chamber would like to put on the record that it agrees with the way
22 of proceeding as proposed by the Prosecution in its e-mail dated the
23 21st of October, 2013. That is, to tender excerpts of both manuals
24 during Richard Higgs' testimony. The Defence is instructed to provide
25 the Prosecution with the 82-millimetre mortar manual by the
1 28th of October, 2013.
2 Then with regard to the line on D351, the Chamber hereby confirms
3 that this is for demonstrative purposes only.
4 Then we adjourn for the day, and we'll resume tomorrow,
5 Wednesday, the 23rd of October, in this same courtroom, I, at 9.30 in the
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.10 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 23rd day of
9 October, 2013, at 9.30 a.m.