1 Friday, 18 July 2014
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. This is the case
8 number IT-09-92-T, the Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
10 While we're waiting for the witness to be escorted into the
11 courtroom, the Chamber takes this opportunity to inform the parties that
12 it will deliver guidance before the summer recess on how the Chamber
13 expects both of the parties to use court time more efficiently and
14 effectively going forward.
15 Ms. MacGregor, it will be you who will cross-examine the witness?
16 MS. MacGREGOR: Yes. Good morning, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning.
18 MS. MacGREGOR: Thank you.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Before you give evidence, the Rules require that you
23 make a solemn declaration. May I invite you to make that declaration.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
25 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 WITNESS: ZORAN NIKOLIC
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please be seated, Mr. Nikolic.
4 Mr. Lukic -- Mr. Stojanovic will examine you. Mr. Stojanovic -
5 and you find him to your left - is counsel for Mr. Mladic.
6 Examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. I should like to ask you to tell us for the record, very slowly,
10 your first name and your last name.
11 A. Zoran Nikolic.
12 Q. Mr. Nikolic, did you at a certain point in time give a statement
13 to the Defence of General Mladic in written form?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we please
16 have in the e-court document marked 1D01655, that's the 65 ter number.
17 Let me just repeat: 1D01655. Thank you.
18 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you have in front of you on the screen your
19 statement, and I should like to ask you to see whether these are your
20 personal particulars, the name of the father, the ethnicity, the date of
21 birth; are they correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Is your personal signature below these data?
24 A. Yes.
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] And can we now turn to the last
1 page of this document, please.
2 Q. Is this signature and the date on this page, are they written in
3 your hand?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. Mr. Nikolic, if today I were to ask you the very same
6 questions that we asked you during the proofing for this trial, would
7 you, after having made the solemn declaration today in court, repeat the
8 same answers as the ones that you gave us and that are contained in this
9 written statement?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I tender the
12 statement of Witness Zoran Nikolic, which bears the 65 ter number
13 1D01655, into evidence.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D1655 receives number D581,
16 Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
18 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] With your permission,
19 Your Honours, I should like to read a summary of the statement of the
20 Witness Zoran Nikolic.
21 Up to the outbreak of the war, Witness Zoran Nikolic -- up to the
22 outbreak of war in Foca, the witness, Zoran Nikolic, worked in the
23 employment office of the city of Foca. When the war broke out in Foca
24 and the Crisis Staff was set up, TO units were established, which
25 consisted of three platoons organised upon the territorial principle. As
1 the commander of one of the platoons was his brother, Dragan Nikolic, he
2 joined precisely his unit.
3 Already on the 8th of April, 1992, an armed conflict broke out
4 after fire had been opened on Serb territorial units from a modified
5 thrower. The fighting lasted all that day, and in the days that
6 followed, Serbian forces managed to enter the part of the city which is
7 called Aladza and later also the section of the city Donje Polje, where
8 the fighting was the fiercest. In those battles, his brother was killed.
9 The fighting around the city itself lasted for several days. As
10 the Muslims started losing on the battle-field, they started to withdraw
11 from the city, and a large number of Muslim civilians left the territory
12 of the town of Foca together with their armed forces. The reason for
13 their departure was fear because there did not exist any kind of a
14 proclamation order along those lines by the Serb authorities.
15 At that time, there did not exist the VRS in Foca but only
16 Territorial Defence units. In April and May 1992, there was a number of
17 armed groups in the town of Foca, and one cannot say at all whether there
18 existed a single command over those units.
19 At the time when control was assumed over the city of Foca, as
20 far as he understands, there did not exist either a military or political
21 organ that had managed to put under its control all these armed groups.
22 That is a short summary of the witness -- of this witness. And
23 with your permission, I should now like to ask him several questions in
24 connection with his statement.
25 Could we now see in the e-court this document that we now have
1 before us. Let us take a look at paragraph 2 of his statement.
2 Q. Mr. Nikolic, in paragraph 2 of your statement you stated that
3 during those conflicts you were engaged in the Territorial Defence, and
4 then you say:
5 "And later I was engaged in the Army of Republika Srpska from
6 time to time."
7 Please tell the Court what does this answer of yours mean, to the
8 effect that you were engaged there from time to time?
9 A. In the beginning of the conflict, I was engaged -- or better to
10 put it, I joined the unit which was commanded by my brother. And that
11 unit was part of the Territorial Defence. After a month and a half, or
12 more precisely in mid-June, I believe it was the 18th of June, 1992, the
13 Executive Board of Foca municipality instructed me and assigned me to
14 organise the work of an institution, the employment office in Foca.
15 So my engagement on the Territorial Defence started on the
16 8th of April and ended on the 18th of June. And later after the setting
17 up of the Army of Republika Srpska, I would be engaged as required for
18 the work obligation, if there were some incidents or some situations
19 which so required, during religious holidays as additional security for
20 the lines or when there were some incidents occurring.
21 Q. Were you in some concrete units at the positions or did you hold
22 some -- did you perform some functions in the army?
23 A. I was in the concrete units at the positions. I did not hold any
24 military office, discharge any military function at all.
25 Q. In paragraph 6 of your statement, you speak about the
1 developments on the 8th of April, and you say, if you can see: In the
2 morning we received information -- received notification because there
3 was a connection with the Crisis Staff.
4 My question is: How were you so notified, through what means by
5 the Crisis Staff?
6 A. As I said, my brother was the commander of this platoon and he
7 was the only one who had a Motorola radio connections, a direct
8 connection to the Crisis Staff. And it was in this way that we received
9 specific orders; and namely, my brother received them and then he relayed
10 them on to the soldiers.
11 Q. At that time on the 8th of April in the morning, where was the
12 Crisis Staff? Did you have such information?
13 A. Yes, we did have that information. And also from earlier, we
14 knew that the Crisis Staff was located in Cerezluk, this is a section of
15 the city.
16 Q. Were the Muslim forces or political forces in Foca, did they have
17 a Crisis Staff?
18 A. Yes. We were actually right opposite the headquarters of the
19 Muslim Crisis Staff, the Crisis Staff of the Muslim organisations of the
20 Territorial Defence. That is how they called their organisation.
21 Q. At that moment when the tensions ran high between the
22 ethnicities, did you have any information about any negotiations being
23 conducted between the two Crisis Staffs in order to overcome that
25 A. On that day, the 8th of April, namely, we were informed -- or,
1 rather, we were ordered by the Crisis Staff that on no account should we,
2 without orders from the Crisis Staff, open any fire because in the
3 building of the municipal assembly, at that moment - namely, from 8.00
4 and on - representatives of the two Crisis Staffs, the Muslim and the
5 Serb, one -- were sitting and talking about the current situation
6 prevailing in town.
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we see in
8 e-court document 1D4511. 1D4511. Thank you. Thank you.
9 Q. Mr. Nikolic, the heading of this document states that it was
10 compiled --
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] If we could please scroll down
12 so that we could see the top left corner and the date. Thank you.
13 Q. It reads that this is an agreement, and it is indicated it was in
14 Foca on the 8th of April, 1992, and that there are given specific
15 conclusions. And in brackets it is indicated either "Crisis Staffs" or
16 some other organ next to the actual conclusions. Can you tell us what
17 this is about, if you know?
18 A. Yes. This document is something I saw in the original. I know
19 what it is about, and this is actually the outcome of the talks conducted
20 between the representatives of the Crisis Staffs on that day, the
21 8th of April, at that time that I just referred to a while ago.
22 Q. May I draw your attention to item 10 of this agreement which
24 [As read] "The removal of all armed people from outside (crisis
25 staffs) and verification by observers."
1 So I should like to ask you: Was it the case that already on the
2 8th of April, 1992, there were armed men in Foca who had come from
3 elsewhere, from parts outside the municipality of Foca?
4 A. Yes. In Foca, both sides - and I am referring to the Muslims and
5 the Serbs and their organisations on which they worked - and they both
6 sought to organise themselves as best as possible. They all had people
7 from outside. This was not a large number, but it is a fact that they
8 were present there on both sides.
9 Q. Were they precisely the people that you referred to in the two
10 last paragraphs of your statement when you said that you don't know under
11 whose control they were or that they were under anybody's control?
12 A. Yes, but this is a lesser number of people. After the beginning
13 of the conflict, some five or seven days later, this number of people who
14 had come from other parts increased. I meant for the most part those
15 people, but more than that I was referring to the groups that arrived
16 during or after the end of the fighting in the city proper.
17 Q. And where were those armed groups from, if you know? Or where
18 did they come from to the area of Foca?
19 A. Serbia, Montenegro, Sandzak, possibly from some other areas too.
20 But mostly from Serbia and Montenegro.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
23 tender the document 65 ter 1D4511.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to see the bottom of the page.
1 Witness, you said that you saw the original of this document.
2 Who signed this document?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I saw the original of this
4 document. There were several signatories. As for this that you've shown
5 me, I recognise only one signature, and others can only be discerned
6 slightly. There were several signatories. Do I need to add anything?
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to know the names of the people you
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do recall, because it was an
10 interesting event, noteworthy. On that day in the building of the
11 municipality, in the office of the president of the municipal assembly,
12 the following persons were present: Radojica Mladjenovic, president of
13 the Executive Board; Taib Lojo, president of the municipal assembly;
14 whereas Edhem Varajic [phoen], who was appointed chief of the military
15 department after the democratic changes. Then as far as I can remember,
16 there was Vojo Bodiroga, he was a member of the Executive Board; then
17 Predrag Lakic, also a member of the Executive Board. And Aganovic was
18 there, too, but I cannot recall his first name. He was a member of the
19 Executive Board as well. All of them were --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. MacGregor.
21 MS. MacGREGOR: Thank you, Your Honours. The testimony so far
22 about this document and about this witness's knowledge about the
23 agreement goes beyond the scope of the statement. And in the agreement
24 that we'd put to the Defence, because this witness was appearing in
25 violation of the agreement we made, was that his testimony on direct
1 would be narrowly within the scope of the direct. I'm not objecting at
2 this point, but the Prosecution hasn't had an opportunity to prepare for
3 this topic of cross-examination -- for cross-examination. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic.
5 Mr. Stojanovic, any reason why you went beyond the scope of the
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I just put a
8 question that corresponds to the statement, paragraph 10 of the
9 statement. I did not ask about the signatures and that is not something
10 I asked the witness during proofing. This is an answer to a question put
11 by His Honour Judge Fluegge.
12 MS. MacGREGOR: My objection actually is -- is before the
13 question put by Judge Fluegge. It has to do --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Let me be -- Mr. Stojanovic, where is there any
15 reference to such an agreement in the statement?
16 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] There is no mention of the
17 agreement, Your Honour. Paramilitary forces, conditionally speaking,
18 armed groups that weren't under anybody's control. So I found a link in
19 paragraph 10 of this agreement that supports part of his statement.
20 JUDGE ORIE: There is nothing about an agreement in paragraph 10,
21 is there?
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, no. This is the agreement.
23 And in paragraph 10 there is a reference to armed persons who should be
25 JUDGE ORIE: Well, there is no objection at this moment. But to
1 say that this is clearly set out in the statement, there is no way of
2 that, Mr. Stojanovic.
3 Please proceed.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before --
5 JUDGE ORIE: But I think we first need a number.
6 Madam Registrar.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you proceed, Mr. Stojanovic, I just want --
8 this document doesn't tell us who are the parties to the agreement, and
9 this is an agreement that this Court can't take cognizance of when we
10 don't know who are the parties to the agreement.
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no problem
12 with asking this. We did notify the Prosecution on time that we would be
13 using this document.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Does --
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document will speak for itself on that point.
16 It's not the point.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, the number would be?
18 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D4511 receives number D582,
19 Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And --
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. MacGregor, is there an objection against
25 MS. MacGREGOR: No.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Then D582 is admitted into evidence, Mr. Stojanovic,
2 but the objection was about notice. And there is certainly some merit in
3 it. You may proceed.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to have an answer from the witness.
5 I asked him who signed the statement.
6 Then you, Mr. Witness, you answered who was present. You listed
7 quite a lot of people present in the office when this agreement was
8 signed. Did all these people sign this, the agreement?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's exactly what I said a moment
10 ago. I mentioned all of the persons who were present. And I do
11 apologise that I did not mentioned Josip Milincic. All of those --
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is not my question. Did all these people
13 sign the agreement?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Is there any way to have the original sooner or
17 later available? I mean the original not cut off at the bottom but --
18 Mr. Stojanovic?
19 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, according to the
20 information I have, this is in the Prosecution collection; whereas we
21 managed to find this document while we were preparing through EDS. So
22 this was disclosed to us by the Prosecution.
23 MS. MacGREGOR: Your Honours, I'm informed by Ms. Stewart that
24 this is the best copy that the Prosecution has.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then we have to do with it for the time
2 Please proceed, Mr. Stojanovic.
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 Actually, Your Honours, with your leave, I would like to ask that
5 we go back to the witness's statement, D581, if I remember correctly, if
6 I noted it correctly.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I'm waiting for it to see -- this document.
8 Mr. Stojanovic, there is not a word not only about an agreement
9 but there is also not a word about this witness being present at the
10 meeting where this agreement, apparently, was signed. So therefore,
11 there is really a notice problem because the Prosecution might have
12 prepared for to search for such a meeting and who were present,
13 et cetera, and with this statement they're unable to do so.
14 Please proceed for the time being, but it's not how it should be
16 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please take a look at
17 paragraph 7 of this statement.
18 Q. Sir, Mr. Nikolic, this is what you say in paragraph 7. At one
19 point in time fire was opened at a police vehicle and that was after a
20 modified launcher had been used against you. Could you please tell the
21 Trial Chamber, first, what kind of motivated launcher this, the one that
22 fired at you?
23 A. Well, I think that you did not formulate this properly. This is
24 not what I had stated. In my statement I said, and this is what I wrote,
25 that fire was opened before the reaction of the modified launcher. On
1 our right-hand side there were territorials. Our platoon consisted of
2 chosen people irrespective of their territory. This was an elite unit, a
3 select unit. I cannot say exactly now which side opened fire first. It
4 seemed to me that it was at the same time. And the reason for opening
5 fire was the arrival of the police vehicle and its movement towards the
6 building of Focatrans where the Crisis Staff of the Muslims was.
7 We had strict orders not to open fire. When arriving in that
8 territory, my brother took over command over these territorials as well,
9 so he immediately ordered a cessation of all fire. This was communicated
10 and fire from our side stopped because we strictly abided by the order;
11 namely, that without any order of the Crisis Staff we should not open
12 fire. That is what this is all about.
13 So could you please repeat the second part of your question to me
15 Q. What kind of modified launcher was this, the one that fired at
17 A. At the time I did not know what that was. I could not recognise
18 the weapon they used to fire at us, but later on I found out -- actually,
19 I saw this device, this modified launcher. This was actually a launcher,
20 a rocket launcher adapted for the use of shells.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue, Mr. Stojanovic.
22 Witness, you said that you did not state what was read to you.
23 You said in your statement you said that fire was opened before the
24 reaction of the modified launcher. The statement, however, reads that
25 only after the modified launcher was used against you that fire was
1 opened. So that's something different from what your testimony is now.
2 If there is any translation issue, Mr. Stojanovic, the Chamber
3 would like to be informed about it.
4 But I just put it to you that what you now say is not what we
5 read in your statement. Is the statement wrong?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I'm afraid that what I'm --
7 what I said in the statement is being misinterpreted. So where I was,
8 where I was involved in the platoon that was commanded by my brother, and
9 he also took over command over another unit, the order was not to open
10 fire. However, what happened was --
11 JUDGE ORIE: No, I stop you there. I'll read the relevant part
12 of the statement.
13 "Fire was opened only after a modified launcher was used against
14 us, and we responded by opening fire," et cetera.
15 Now you said here in court that you may have been misunderstood
16 and you said fire was opened before the reaction of the modified
17 launcher. Now, that's not the same. Therefore, instead of further
18 explaining, what is wrong: What we read in the statement or what you
19 said in court?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge, sir, you read out the other
21 part or, rather, the second sentence. Please allow me to read the
22 sentence that precedes the sentence that you read out.
23 "Fire was opened at a police vehicle, and I later learned that
24 Abid Ramovic was killed at that time and that another police officer was
25 wounded in that vehicle. Fire was opened only after that modified
1 launcher was used against us when we responded by opening fire on the
2 Focatrans buildings and the facilities immediately above Focatrans from
3 which fire was opened."
4 So what I'm trying to say is that irrespective of the order, I
5 think that the unit next to us reacted and the Muslims fired as well at
6 the police vehicle. So after a while, on orders from my brother, who was
7 the commander of that unit, fire was stopped and the situation calmed
8 down. Immediately after that, half an hour later, this modified launcher
9 started firing. Then my brother established contact with the
10 Crisis Staff. I was right there next to him. He explained the
11 situation, that we are under heavy fire, and then he received orders to
12 respond. So that is what happened.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Now, Mr. Stojanovic, next time take care that the
14 statement reflects what the witness intends to say because what he
15 actually now is telling us, that fire was opened, that later a modified
16 launcher was used, and that after that again fire started. Which is not
17 what the statement says. It says "only after." But we now understand
18 the testimony better, and we still do not understand why the statement is
19 phrased as it was.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Tell me, what was your impression about the weaponry and the
23 power of the weaponry of the opposing side at that point in time?
24 A. Could you be more precise in putting your question? Do you mean
25 at that moment, what my impression was then, at that moment that I spoke
2 Q. At the moment of the fighting between the 8th and of the
3 12th of April?
4 A. Believe me, at first I did not expect or assume that they could
5 fire at us with such weaponry and such force. As for the actual area
6 where we were, this kind of force was used and at -- and we could not
7 have believed what was happening. It was terrifying. On the other hand,
8 our unit and the units of the Territorial Defence were armed with light
9 weapons, rough rifles, M48 for the most part. The only automatic weapon,
10 an automatic rifle, was the one that my brother had. And also there were
11 two semiautomatic rifles that were in the hands of some soldiers. All
12 the others had M48 rifles and used them.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have in e-court
16 Q. Sir, this is a document of the Supreme Command staff of the
17 security administration of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, bearing
18 the date 17th of July, 1993.
19 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] And can we now please see the
20 next page.
21 Q. The title of this report of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina is:
22 "Some intelligence on the causes of the lack of organisation in the
23 defence of Foca against the conquest by the aggressor and the persecution
24 and plight of the majority Muslim population."
25 Please look at the last paragraph in B/C/S.
1 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] That is, Your Honours, the
2 beginning of the second paragraph in the English version.
3 Q. Where it is stated in this report after the democratic elections
4 for -- Lojo Taib was an electrical engineer, a respectable citizen, was
5 appointed vice-president -- was appointed president of the Foca SO.
6 However, from the very beginning, Senad Sahinpasic, aka Saja, and
7 Halid Cengic, who are related, having the greatest political influence in
8 the SDA thanks to the powerful support of influential relatives and
9 friends from Sarajevo, especially Muhamed Cengic, the then deputy prime
10 minister -- minister.
11 Is this information consistent with what you know about the
12 people who were in the government, in the municipality of Foca at that
14 A. Believe me, I don't know where from this man who submitted this
15 report or this memo drew his information. It is as if he had asked me.
16 It is everything that I knew about the organising of the Muslims. The
17 reference to these names and their activities in the area of the
18 municipality of Foca is consistent with what I know, in other words.
19 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we just move to the next
20 page in B/C/S and in the English version it is this page.
21 JUDGE ORIE: And could you meanwhile inform us, Mr. Stojanovic,
22 where we find anything about your present line of questioning in the
23 statement of the witness?
24 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours, this part of
25 my question referred to just the political struggle --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] -- and the situation with the
3 weapons in Foca.
4 JUDGE ORIE: That's exactly my problem, that it is about
5 something different from what is found in the witness's statement. And
6 then to explain that it is different is not a proper answer to my
8 Please proceed.
9 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Please look at the last sentence in the first paragraph here
11 where it is stated they included Aziz Sljivo and a wide circle of men
12 loyal to them in the arms smuggling so that the Muslim people in this
13 area, for fear of the ever-increasing Chetnik threat, are giving the last
14 penny to those whom they have elected to protect their interests, to
15 supply them with weapons.
16 So they paid the rifles that Sahinpasic and Cengic are selling
17 them, 1.200 to 1.500 German marks. According to some intelligence,
18 5.200 rifles came to Foca via the SDA which Sahinpasic and Cengic sold.
19 My question is: Did you know about this or anything similar about the
20 arming of the Muslim population in Foca municipality at any point in
22 A. Yes. I did have such information from a number of sources --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. MacGregor.
24 MS. MacGREGOR: Mr. President, you can probably guess my
25 objection is still about notice. Specifically right now, he's being
1 asked about his knowledge about the arming of the Muslims. This is not
2 something that was covered in depth. And I did have notice of this
3 document, but would not have been able to foresee this as a line of
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, where do we find it in the statement
6 and where do we find it in the Rule 65 ter summary?
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it does not
8 contain this part. It does not arise from the statement given to the
9 witness, except for what he said today in relation to arming and the
10 amount of equipment at the -- the adversary side had.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, would you please put questions to
12 the witness which are in direct relation with his statement and are
13 covered by the 65 ter summary.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I have something to say.
15 Mr. Stojanovic, I've got also another problem of a different
16 kind. You tell the witness a story and then telling him how arms were
17 acquired and paid for with German marks, and then having told him that
18 story, you ask him if he knows anything about it. Why do you lead and
19 not ask questions? Why do you tell him a story before you ask him a
20 question? That's leading.
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I showed him the
22 document. I did not ask him that. That is what the Army of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina says.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Stojanovic, this is what you read. Do you
25 want me to read what you said to this witness?
1 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: But look at what you said before you put your
4 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] This is a quotation from a
5 document of the Army of Bosnia.
6 JUDGE ORIE: The proper way would be, Mr. Stojanovic, to ask the
7 witness whether he has any knowledge about arming, then ask him what he
8 knows about it, and if there is any reason then to compare that with any
9 document, you put that document to him. But you do not start reading the
10 document saying, "So they paid the rifles," et cetera, according to it
11 challenges this and this and this, and then to ask the witness: "My
12 question is: Did you know about this or anything similar ..." You've
13 given the whole story before you ask him whether he has any knowledge
14 about. It should be the other way around.
15 And I invited you to put questions to the witness which are --
16 can be directly linked to his statement and are covered by the
17 Rule 65 ter summary, and please limit yourself to that.
18 Apart from that your time is over already by far because you
19 claimed half an hour. You started at 20 minutes to 10.00. It's now
20 close to 10.30.
21 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I will be concluding,
22 Your Honours, I just have another question. One more.
23 Q. In your statement, Mr. Nikolic, you say that a large number of
24 Muslims left Foca that night. Will you tell Their Honours where did the
25 Muslim population and armed members of the Muslim people head for when
1 leaving Foca?
2 A. Several days later, after several days of fighting in the city,
3 when Bosniak - i.e., Muslim forces - at that time realised that they were
4 losing on the battle-field, first their political and military
5 leaderships, in the night of the 12th, as far as I know, they were the
6 first to leave. Then the military forces became panic stricken --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, I stop you there. The question was where
8 did they go. Not why did they go, not who went. Where did they go as
9 far as you know?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that most of the Muslims,
11 armed persons and inhabitants, left in the direction of Ustikolina and
12 further on --
13 THE INTERPRETER: And the interpreter did not hear the last word.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Could you repeat the last word you said?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Gorazde.
16 JUDGE ORIE: That was your last question, Mr. Stojanovic?
17 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, it was, Your Honours. And
18 I have no further questions for this witness.
19 Q. Witness, thank you for your answers.
20 A. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Then I think it would be an appropriate time to take
22 a break first.
23 Could you give us a further estimate, Ms. MacGregor, on how much
24 time you would need?
25 MS. MacGREGOR: Last night we informed the parties that we
1 expected an hour and a half and I hope to go under that.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 MS. MacGREGOR: Thank you.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll take the break first. Could the witness
5 be escorted out of the courtroom.
6 We would like to see you back in 20 minutes.
7 We resume at 10 minutes to 11.00.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 10.53 a.m.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, the Chamber wonders what will be the
12 consequences. Are there any changes to your witness list?
13 MR. LUKIC: [Microphone not activated]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Because we had Mr. Simovic as the next one, and
15 then -- but he will appear, will he not appear today?
16 MR. LUKIC: It is not our plan to bring Mr. Simovic today.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
18 MR. LUKIC: I just spoke with Mr. Ivetic. The -- we are trying
19 to accommodate Witness and Victim Unit. At the beginning we had
20 witnesses here for a long time, so we were criticised heavily by this
21 unit who is really helping agree time to everybody. And we organised our
22 witnesses coming here based on the estimate received from the
23 Prosecution. As we saw lately there were some cuts in cross-examination
24 and that created a shortage, we can say, of witnesses on our part.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Now do we have another witness then for later
2 MR. LUKIC: Mr. Simovic is the only one who -- whom -- who was
3 spoken to, but --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 MR. LUKIC: -- I'm not sure that he is ready.
6 JUDGE ORIE: When did he arrive?
7 MR. LUKIC: He arrived --
8 [The witness takes the stand]
9 MR. LUKIC: -- the day before yesterday, but Mr. Ivetic was in
10 the courtroom yesterday, so --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but then you have to organise it in such a way
12 that -- but let's first continue with this witness. But please
13 reconsider whether or not Mr. Simovic would --
14 MR. LUKIC: But I know we will change the way we bring witnesses
15 here. We will have to add extra day, so I think --
16 JUDGE ORIE: That's fine, but --
17 MR. LUKIC: -- we have to reason that to Victim and Witness Unit.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but --
19 MR. LUKIC: We hope that they will accept that.
20 JUDGE ORIE: -- for today, please consider whether or not - and
21 we would urge you - to call Mr. Simovic as the next witness to start
23 Mr. Stojanovic, if you're ready -- no, apologies. Ms. MacGregor,
24 are you ready to cross-examine the witness?
25 MS. MacGREGOR: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Nikolic, you will now be cross-examined by
2 Ms. MacGregor. You'll find her to your right. Ms. MacGregor is counsel
3 for the Prosecution.
4 Please proceed.
5 Cross-examination by Ms. MacGregor:
6 Q. Good morning, Mr. Nikolic. This is the first time that you
7 testified at this Tribunal; is that correct?
8 A. Good morning. Yes, it is correct. This is my first time.
9 Q. And this is also the first case for which you've given a written
10 statement at this Tribunal; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Mr. Stojanovic showed you your statement earlier on the screen,
13 and you agreed that you signed it on June 8th, 2014. Can you just tell
14 us where it was that you signed your statement?
15 A. In Foca.
16 Q. Other than members of the Mladic Defence team, were there any
17 other people present?
18 A. No. There were other witnesses waiting outside, but in the
19 actual room in which I signed the statement, there were only the Defence
20 team members present.
21 Q. In the room outside, did you spend some time waiting along with
22 the other witnesses?
23 A. No. I was late. Actually, I did not arrive at the scheduled
24 time because I had other obligations so that in the meantime, during the
25 break between my previous obligation, when I came, almost everybody else
1 had already finished, and they were all sitting in this room and talking
2 among themselves. I don't know what about.
3 Q. Do you know the names of any of those witnesses that you saw?
4 A. Well, for instance, Petkovic. We call him Miso. I'm not quite
5 sure about his first name. We call him Miso. That's Petkovic. Then I
6 saw, I believe, Trifkovic. I don't know his first name. I didn't pay
7 much attention. I was in a hurry. I was not really interested, in fact.
8 Q. Did you see a witness with the last name Simovic?
9 A. I cannot recall having noticed him. I know who he is. I don't
10 think he was present. I'm not sure. I cannot give you a precise answer.
11 Q. I'd like to move on to the subject matter of your statement. I'm
12 going to take us to April 1992. At that point you were living in Foca
13 municipality you've testified and you said in your statement. Before the
14 war, were you politically active in Foca?
15 A. Please, could you be more precise? In what sense do you mean
16 "politically active"? I am politically active in accordance with my own
17 needs. If you mean specifically whether I was a member of a political
18 party, the answer is yes. I was a member of the League of Communists.
19 Q. Were you a member of any sort of political assembly or political
21 A. No. If I leave aside the League of Communists, I was not a
22 member of any assembly. I was a member of that party.
23 Q. And during the war, did your political activity change in its
24 nature in any way other than what you've just described?
25 A. During the war? No. But after the war, yes.
1 Q. Briefly, can you describe how it changed after the war? What you
2 went on to do that was different than your political activity before the
4 A. After the war, or more specifically in 1996, in the second half
5 of 1996, I agreed to be involved in a political party that is called the
6 Serb Radical Party. I was nominated by the leadership of that party to
7 be commissioner, to try to establish a committee of the
8 Serb Radical Party in Foca, which I managed to do.
9 Q. Thank you for that explanation. Now, in April 1992, there was a
10 call for mobilisation. Now, were you yourself mobilised?
11 A. I did not receive any call-up papers for mobilisation. It is of
12 my own free will that I joined the unit that was commanded by my brother.
13 Q. According to your statement, that unit was commanded by a man
14 with or a person with the last name Mandic. What is the first name of
15 that person?
16 A. As far as I know, in my statement here I did not mention the name
17 of any Mandic. If you can, please show me the statement and let me take
18 a look. But as far as I can remember ...
19 MS. MacGREGOR: If I can ask the court officer to please show
20 Exhibit D581, and we'll focus on paragraph number 3.
21 Q. Sir, I'm going to bring that up for you. While I'm bringing it
22 up, I'm going to direct you to the third paragraph and to the first
23 two sentences.
24 MS. MacGREGOR: For the record, I'll read it out loud.
25 Q. But you can also look at it in front of you.
1 "At the beginning of the conflict in Foca I was not a member of
2 any formation. After the Crisis Staff was established in Foca, a unit
3 commanded by Mandic was established."
4 Do you see the sentences I'm referring to?
5 A. Madam Prosecutor, in the English Prosecutor it says "Mandic." In
6 the Serbian statement, the one that I signed, that is not what is
7 written. I never mentioned the surname Mandic. I don't know how come
8 you have such a document in the English language, but look at the Serbian
9 version and you will see that there is no such name.
10 Q. Mr. Nikolic, I see what you're saying to the extent that I can
11 read it, and I will follow-up with the Defence who provided this
12 translation. Thank you.
13 Moving on to the unit that your brother commanded. Do you know
14 who he was responsible for reporting to?
15 A. As far as I know and at the moments when I was present, he
16 directly reported to the Crisis Staff. I remember that the names were
17 coded or, rather, I remember that Soko was the name via radio
18 communication. They did not actually use real names, so conversations
19 were coded. Therefore, I don't know. If you're asking me about the
20 first and last name of a person who communicated with my brother, I
21 cannot tell you exactly.
22 Q. Although you weren't mobilised, you stated you were an escort of
23 your brother's unit. Can you describe what that role was, what you were
24 responsible for doing?
25 A. I did not have specific assignments. In the statement I said
1 that I left the town of Foca on the 7th in the evening, after 7.00 p.m.,
2 to be specific, when my brother closed the cafe that he owned, and I left
3 Foca together with him. I did not have any specific assignments at that
4 moment. I was present throughout. I was with him throughout.
5 Q. Did you have a weapon?
6 A. At that moment, I did not have a weapon. However, my brother's
7 brother-in-law had a hunting carbine, 7.62, with optical sights, and he
8 gave it to me so that I would have a weapon.
9 Q. When did you receive that?
10 A. At the moment when we arrived at the position where we were
11 supposed to be deployed, in a house in the area where the unit was
12 deployed. In this house we found Mitar Filipovic, who is the brother of
13 my brother's wife. He gave me that weapon because he didn't have any
15 Q. According to your statement, there was a list of members of your
16 brother's unit. Now, you -- you saw that list?
17 A. My brother said to me that there is a list, and I asked how, in
18 which way, they selected these persons. I talked to him about that, and
19 he said something to me that I found interesting; namely that in that
20 unit, it could not happen that two brothers would be members of that
21 single unit. So this was an unwritten rule. That is how I know that
22 this unit, as he said to me, had about 120 members.
23 Q. Now, during Mr. Stojanovic's questions, you also described the
24 unit as "select" and "elite." What did you mean by that? What was your
25 understanding of the role of that unit and why they were selected?
1 A. I know why they were selected. Since I did not take part in the
2 selection of these people, I don't know how this was done exactly. I
3 just told you about some of the details that I know of. I know, though,
4 that this unit consisted of healthy, young, physically and mentally
5 capable men. So if there were to be some situations that could crop up
6 in the town of Foca at the time, they could act in terms of preventing
7 incidents from happening. In practice, this was an intervention unit.
8 Q. The rule you just talked about where two brothers wouldn't be in
9 the same unit, to your knowledge is that a rule that was in place
10 throughout the Territorial Defence or was that a -- was that the only
11 time you heard of that rule as it applied to this specific unit?
12 A. I spoke specifically about the unit that was commanded by my
13 brother. So that rule was not applied to other units that were within
14 the Territorial Defence, as far as I knew and heard. I was only speaking
15 about this particular unit.
16 Q. The other members of your unit, did they -- or of this unit, did
17 they have weapons?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you describe what kind of weapons?
20 A. Most of these soldiers had M48 rifles, and that's what they used.
21 A few of them had semiautomatic rifles. And my brother had an automatic
22 rifle with an extended rifle-butt, a wooden rifle-butt.
23 Q. And do you know where your brother's unit received their arms
25 A. My brother and a few other men were involved in the organisation
1 in terms of supplying weapons. I don't know specifically because, in a
2 way, this was a secret. I don't have any information. He never told me
3 how and in which way they obtained some of their weapons.
4 Q. Were you aware of another intervention unit commanded by
5 Gojko Jankovic?
6 A. At that moment, in the beginning of the conflict, I did not know
7 that there was a unit that was commanded by Gojko Jankovic. Later on, I
8 found out that in the territory of the local commune and the local
9 communes that gravitate towards his local commune, a group was
10 established and Gojko Jankovic commanded that formation or, rather, that
12 Q. You just referred to the territory of the local commune and other
13 local communes that gravitated towards them. Can you -- can you just
14 explain to me what you're meaning when you talk about different communes?
15 A. Well, you see, the municipality of Foca has several
16 organisational sections or, rather, local communes. I don't know the
17 exact number but it was between 20 and 30, closer to 30 than 20. This
18 was a large territory. I think that in terms of the area it encompassed
19 it was the second largest in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Specifically, the local
20 commune of Gojko Jankovic was Brod, and then there was Mjesaja. I cannot
21 say exactly what the territorial organisation was, what all the local
22 communes were. But all of that gravitated towards his local commune.
23 And that goes for the people from that territory as well. So all of
24 these people were involved -- I mean, they came from the neighbourhood,
25 possibly there could have been some people from other territories but
1 this would have been an individual case only.
2 Q. And you personally knew Gojko Jankovic; is that correct?
3 A. Mr. Jankovic, I knew him for ten years before the war. I am
4 quite sure it's even more than that, but I can say with certainty that it
5 was ten years before the war.
6 Q. When did you learn about his -- that he had established a unit --
7 or that a unit was established under him?
8 A. I cannot remember exactly when this happened, but I know at one
9 moment -- or, rather, when I was present during a specific situation, I
10 saw Mr. Jankovic and his unit in a concrete situation when an incident
11 occurred. Or rather, when the armed forces of the Muslims attacked the
12 defence line of the front and when they took our positions. Then, in
13 addition to other units that were involved in order to have these
14 territories recaptured, Gojko Jankovic's unit took part as well. That's
15 when I saw the structure and number of persons involved in that unit.
16 Q. When did this occur?
17 A. On Saint Nicholas Day 1992. Specifically, the position where I
18 saw him is that of the repeater.
19 Q. And what were you doing there?
20 A. On that occasion, Major Pejovic, who was a cousin of my wife, so
21 I knew him personally, he was the commander of the units of the
22 Army of Republika Srpska in the area of Foca; or, rather, he stood in for
23 Marko Kovac who was absent at the time. He asked me to be at the command
24 together with him because of a special situation that he happened to be
1 At that time, after that situation was resolved and after
2 additional forces - i.e., reserve forces were mobilised, the reserve that
3 existed in Foca - I participated in an action to recapture our positions;
4 i.e., occupy the positions that had been seized by the Muslim Bosniak
6 Q. I want to just break this down a bit. You referred to a special
7 situation that he -- that Major Pejovic was in and that because of that,
8 he asked you to be there present at the command. So starting first, what
9 was the special situation that you are describing?
10 A. Mr. Pejovic called me because he thought that his personal
11 security was threatened at that particular point.
12 Q. And then why would he call you specifically to help with that
14 A. He's a human being and a human being always relies on friends
15 when the situations are difficult. He considered me a friend, I consider
16 him a friend, and we were actually kin. And I felt secure when I was in
17 his presence, and he also. And I felt that he would feel secure when I
18 was present during that incident.
19 Q. To be sure that I'm understanding you, was he asking you to
20 provide physical security for him in the way that a body-guard or
21 something like that would? That's how I'm understanding what you're
22 testifying about, but if I'm incorrect please let me know.
23 A. In a sense, you are right. One of the reasons was that
24 practically I should provide physical security for him. But I think that
25 at that time he needed someone also in the psychological sense because he
1 had found himself in a very difficult and stressful situation.
2 Q. Returning to Gojko Jankovic's unit. Did that unit report to
3 Major Pejovic or Major Kovac -- excuse me, Mr. Kovac when he was back?
4 A. As far as I know, at that time Gojko Jankovic's unit was part of
5 the system. It was a part of the Army of Republika Srpska.
6 Q. Reporting to Colonel Kovac; is that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And I apologise for my ignorance, but my understanding is that
9 Saint Nicholas Day is around May 25th; is that correct?
10 A. No. It is the 19th of December.
11 Q. Thank you. I was way off. And that would have been
12 Saint Nicholas Day 1992, so December 1992 - thank you - is that right? I
13 see you nodding your head.
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. Did you see Gojko Jankovic in Foca from the start of the conflict
16 throughout the conflict?
17 A. No.
18 Q. The first time you saw him was in December 1992 after the
19 beginning of the conflict?
20 A. Yes.
21 MS. MacGREGOR: Can I please have -- excuse me, 65 ter 30985.
22 Q. While this is coming up, I'll tell you about this document. It's
23 from 1993. It's from the Foca Tactical Group to Vojislav Seselj. And if
24 we look at the heading on the left side of the page, you can see
25 Gojko Jankovic is named. Do you see there where it says: "Proposal that
1 Gojko Jankovic be proclaimed Vojvoda" or "military leader." Do you see
2 that part?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And if we look, I'm going to look at the first -- well, the
5 second paragraph under the word "explanation." I'm looking at the end of
6 that paragraph, and I'll read from there.
7 "Jankovic himself formed a special detachment with which he
8 obtained excellent results in the liberation of Foca, Cajnice, and other
9 areas, impressing on his soldiers and his fellow commanders by example
10 how to fight against the Ustashas for our Serbian people."
11 Is this description of Jankovic's activities during the war
12 consistent with what you know about him?
13 A. I cannot comment on this. I never had occasion to make a profile
14 or to make any kind of structure associated with the person of
15 Gojko Jankovic; therefore I would not venture, pursuant to this or on the
16 basis of what is available, to give any comment or any opinion on that.
17 MS. MacGREGOR: Your Honours, the Prosecution moves to tender
18 this into evidence.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Document 30985 receives number P6683,
21 Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
23 MS. MacGREGOR:
24 Q. Were you aware that -- of another unit commanded by
25 Dragoljub Kunarac that was in Foca during 1992?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you personally know Kunarac?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you also at this time know a man named Pero Elez?
5 A. Yes. Not for a certain period. Actually, I knew the late
6 Pero Elez since I was nine years old.
7 Q. And he commanded a unit as well in Foca; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And did you know a man name Predrag Trivun?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And did he also command a unit in Foca?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In 1992 did you see Kunarac?
14 A. I saw Mr. Kunarac only on one occasion, just like Mr. Jankovic
15 whom I also had occasion to see on just one occasion but a different one.
16 Q. What was the occasion when you saw Mr. Kunarac?
17 A. I think that it was in 1993 when an attack had been organised
18 against Gorazde. I was on the right bank of the Drina river. And at
19 that time he was assigned to bring us to a specific destination, to a
20 specific spot, within our work obligation. He was practically our guide,
21 and that spot where he took us was contaminated by infantry mines, and he
22 did that successfully.
23 Q. I have a few questions about the -- specifically about the night
24 and the next day of the take-over.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before you do that, let me ask one question for
2 Mr. Nikolic, you said -- you mentioned two persons, Mr. Kunarac
3 and Mr. Trivun, and you said they were commanders of units. To which
4 army did these units belong?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the outset of the conflict, they
6 were members of the Territorial Defence. And afterwards, I believe in
7 the beginning of July, they became part of the Army of Republika Srpska.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
9 MS. MacGREGOR: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Now, you mentioned that on the evening of April 8th -- or on
11 April 8th, when you were positioned across from the Focatrans building,
12 that a man named Abid Ramovic was killed. This is in your statement at
13 paragraph 6. Was he a Muslim fighter? If you can just answer out loud
14 for the record.
15 A. At the time when he was killed, he was a policeman. He was not a
16 fighter because he simply didn't have the time for that. So he was
17 killed on the 8th of April in his vehicle -- in a vehicle.
18 Q. And he was Muslim?
19 A. This was a mixed patrol. There was one Muslim and one Serb --
20 there were one Muslim and one Serb in the vehicle. The Muslim,
21 Abid Ramovic, was killed and the Serb was wounded.
22 Q. Moving on to the next day, by this point your unit had progressed
23 into the Aladza neighbourhood. You mentioned in your statement that on
24 that day Rodoljub Trifkovic was killed. Was he a member your unit?
25 A. I do not agree with what you said that was on the next day that
1 we had progressed into the Aladza neighbourhood, whereas it is correct
2 that Rodoljub Trifkovic was a member of that unit.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreter said: "I
4 do not agree with what you said that it was on the next day."
5 MS. MacGREGOR: Your Honours, I'm referring to the first
6 paragraph -- excuse me, the sentence of paragraph 9, but I don't think
7 it's essential so I'm going to move on from which day it was.
8 Q. Now after your brother was killed, did you immediately leave the
9 front lines to return to Prevrac?
10 A. It is a bit difficult for me to actually evoke that particular
11 moment. At the moment my brother was killed, it was my task to protect
12 him and to cover with fire the positions from which the Bosniaks, the
13 Muslims, were opening fire. I apologise for the term I'm using,
14 "Bosniaks," but at that time they were Muslims at any rate. So he
15 crossed the street. This is an alley, a very short and narrow street.
16 And he entered a garden or an area or he went through the gate, better to
17 put it, and I never saw him after that. His cousin was with him, namely,
18 his wife's brother. Some ten minutes later from that -- Mitar emerged
19 from that yard and he informed me that my brother was killed. At that
20 moment I was totally numb, I had no feelings, but all the strength was
21 drained from me and I just collapsed and I needed several minutes to come
23 Then together with Mitar, I entered the yard and in this yard
24 there was an old Muslim house, and we reached a small window from which I
25 could see the body of my brother. At that moment I didn't know whether
1 he was alive or dead, so I asked a person or persons -- or the persons
2 who had killed my brother to let me approach my brother to see whether he
3 was alive or dead and to help him, if possible, but there was no reply.
4 A young man, who was a member of this unit and his surname is also
5 Filipovic, he lost it, and he wanted to get inside the room. But when he
6 entered the room, a bullet was heard and he was wounded so that he
7 couldn't actually help me implement my intention. He couldn't do it
9 So afraid that I might make a similar try, a similar move,
10 Mitar Filipovic threw a tear gas bomb inside. After that, I tried to
11 enter the room, but the concentration of the gas was so high that it
12 actually stopped me in my tracks and prevented me from physically moving
13 altogether. My friends and fellow combatants took me away from the
14 scene, not far away from it, and I don't know how they managed to pull
15 out my brother's body.
16 A vehicle came, pulled him out -- or actually, transferred him to
17 the field hospital which was 3 kilometres away, specifically in Velecevo,
18 and my fellow combatants -- or one man, Krnojelac, Dragan, actually took
19 me under my arm and took me to a spot where they put me in a vehicle and
20 they drove me to the village of Prevrac, where my wife and children were.
21 At that time we organised for my parents to be transported, and on the
22 following day, because we were unable to bury my brother at the city
23 cemetery, we buried him in the village of Prevrac.
24 Q. And how long did you stay in the village --
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: One second --
1 JUDGE ORIE: One second, please.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Madam MacGregor, I see that the witness gave about
3 a page of the answer, and in all that page he doesn't say a word about
4 the question you put to him. Your question was:
5 "After your brother was killed, did you immediately leave for
7 MS. MacGREGOR: I understand the end of his answer to be an
8 answer to that question.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Come again? You understand?
10 MS. MacGREGOR: That the end of his answer was the answer to my
11 question, that he was driven in a vehicle immediately after that to the
12 village of Prevrac.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I thought your question was whether this witness
14 went to Prevrac.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 MS. MacGREGOR: I understand his testimony at lines -- it's
17 page 39, from 7 until 14, specifically 9 and 10:
18 "... Krnojelac, Dragan, took me under my arm and took me to a
19 spot ... they drove me to a village ..."
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. If that was the answer, then that would
21 have been the answer. Not the rest of the page that we heard.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Could I seek verification of one thing. You talked
23 about your fellow combatants and you said: "One man, Colonel," and could
24 you repeat his family name. His first name being Dragan.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Krnojelac.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's, I think what I heard before, where the
2 transcript gives a name different from --
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's wrong again --
4 JUDGE ORIE: You read to him Jehovac and where I understand the
5 witness to say "Krnojelac." Let's proceed.
6 MS. MacGREGOR:
7 Q. Mr. Witness --
8 JUDGE ORIE: But even now, it is -- could you please spell that
9 name --
10 MS. MacGREGOR: Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: -- Witness?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] K-r-n-o-j-e-l-a-c, Krnojelac.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that.
14 Please proceed.
15 MS. MacGREGOR: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 Q. How long did you remain in the village of Prevrac?
17 A. You see, it was the day of the funeral -- or, rather, the day
18 before the funeral. That was the 11th. So then the following day when
19 the funeral took place, and then according to our Orthodox custom there
20 is a certain protocol, if I can put it that way, when, after how many
21 days, a grave is visited and candles are lit. I cannot recall exactly.
22 I wasn't counting the days, but I think that it was seven days, namely,
23 that I stayed in Prevrac for seven days.
24 Q. And after --
25 A. And I also went to --
1 Q. I apologise for interrupting. As Judge Moloto has pointed out,
2 we're unfortunately short on time, so if -- if you can just tailor your
3 answer specifically to the questions I'm asking. Although, I know this
4 is a difficult topic.
5 Where did you go after the time that you spent in Prevrac
6 surrounding your brother's funeral? Where did you go next?
7 A. My parents lived 10 kilometres away from Foca in a weekend
8 cottage. They had an organised household. They had livestock. And I
9 took care of my wife and children, but I also took care of my parents. I
10 went to see them all the time and --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Is that where you went next?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm afraid that I did not
13 understand your question. You mean the first time I went --
14 JUDGE ORIE: The question was where did you go after the time
15 that you spent in Prevrac surrounding your brother's funeral. Where did
16 you go next? And I asked whether it was to this weekend cottage that you
17 went. If not, please tell us where you went.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After that period, I think that it
19 is about seven days, I took care of my family. I managed to get them out
20 just before the war broke out, a few days, to stay with my brother's
21 father-in-law, Todorovic, and my family were there and -- well,
22 conditionally speaking, maybe it's a harsh word, after the liberation of
23 Foca I returned them to the apartment. Whereas my parents lived in the
24 village of Kuta, 10 kilometres away from Foca. Then I went to see them
25 regularly because they were in great stress, their psychological
1 condition was very grave.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that these were difficult times, but
3 do I understand that from Prevrac, after this period of seven days, you
4 went to your parents or to that cottage? Because that was the question.
5 And I do understand that it reminds you of unpleasant days, but -- to say
6 the least.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I shall try to be as precise as
8 possible. The fact is that my family, that is to say, my wife and two
9 children then, were in the house of Todor Filipovic. Seven days later, I
10 transferred my family and together with them I entered my apartment.
11 Now, from that apartment I regularly went to see my parents who were
12 10 kilometres away from Foca. I really cannot be anymore precise than
13 this, with the best of wishes.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. MacGregor will put her next question to you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I just ask, where was your apartment?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My apartment was in the local
17 commune of Gornje Polje I. The building was 125. It was in the street
18 of --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
20 MS. MacGREGOR:
21 Q. Around June 18th you were ordered by the Municipal Executive
22 Committee to start working at the employment office; is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Is this the same employment office that you worked at before the
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What was your role there?
3 A. I was the supervisor. I was the head of the bureau.
4 Q. And did you work --
5 A. I do apologise. I do apologise. My role was to organise the
6 work of the bureau and to provide services to unemployed persons.
7 Because the order of the civilian authorities was to normalise life in
8 Foca as much as possible. That meant having all public institutions
9 function and all institutions that were founded by the municipality of
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the context is not something Ms. MacGregor
12 might be interested in at this moment, and you explained your role.
13 Please proceed.
14 MS. MacGREGOR: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Did you work at the employment offices as a full-time worker?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And from June 18th, 1992, when did you -- till when did you
18 remain in that role?
19 A. Could you please be more precise on that? Or repeat the
20 question, if you will.
21 Q. How long did you stay in that job?
22 A. I stayed in that job until the present day.
23 Q. You continue to be employed there?
24 A. Yes.
25 MS. MacGREGOR: Your Honours, I see that it's break time and this
1 would be a good time. I have only a few subjects after the break to
2 cover with the witness.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll take a break first.
4 Witness, we'd like to see you back in 20 minutes. You may follow
5 the usher.
6 [The witness stands down]
7 JUDGE ORIE: We resume at -- Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, I'm not sure if I understood you
9 correctly. Is your ruling that we bring the next witness even if he's
10 not fully prepared?
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, could you first further explain. We had
13 an early finish yesterday. Why -- well, let's say, six, seven,
14 eight hours would not be enough to prepare the witness for appearing as a
15 witness today, where part of this morning was available as well. So all
16 together working time anything between seven and ten hours.
17 MR. LUKIC: What I can tell you is that I know my colleague
18 Ivetic met with the witness yesterday afternoon, and he is or he was with
19 the witness this morning as well. I'm -- I don't know. Even if he
20 finished his preparations. I'm only asking you is it your ruling that we
21 bring the witness no matter what?
22 JUDGE ORIE: We'll further discuss it, having heard your
23 explanation now. So therefore within the next 20 minutes we'll tell
24 you -- after these 20 minutes, we'll tell you whether the Chamber expects
25 you to call your next witness. Or whatever other matters we would
2 We'll take the break.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ORIE: And could you get information from Mr. Ivetic.
5 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
7 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then hear that after the break and we'll
8 consider the present situation.
9 We resume at 10 minutes past -- no, let's say 15 minutes past
10 midday. That's a little bit more than 20 minutes.
11 --- Recess taken at 11.54 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 12.20 p.m.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, I will give you an opportunity to further
14 explain your position. However, I would like already to briefly mention
15 that the 92 ter statement is relatively short and covers quite some
16 matters which were dealt with in -- with the witnesses we've heard the
17 past days, that we already received the corrections to the statement
18 which suggests to us that you do that once you have briefed the witness
19 and once you have gone through this very short statement. And we also
20 noticed that at least considerable time has been available yesterday
21 afternoon and this morning, and therefore the Chamber thinks that you
22 should have very good reasons not to call the witness. But we give you
23 an opportunity to explain your position.
24 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, if you allow us, since Mr. Ivetic was
25 with the witness and he's now with us, so I think it's the best way to
1 allow Mr. Ivetic to explain what happened.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 Mr. Ivetic.
4 MR. IVETIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. The clarifications to
5 the statement were sent at approximately 10.38 this morning because at
6 10.30 I received word that we should end the proofing with the witness,
7 that he should be returned to the hotel to rest, if, indeed, he had to
8 testify today. Per the VWS instructions, the witness should have
9 adequate time to rest between proofing and testimony.
10 The proofing was not done at the time that the clarifications
11 were sent. We were scheduled for proofing from 9.00 to 12.00 this
13 Yesterday, I had a brief opportunity to meet with the witness,
14 who although it is a short statement, this is a witness who has never
15 testified before, either in proceedings at any domestic court nor at the
16 Tribunal, and thus, of course, had to be dealt with in much more detail
17 to explain to him the procedure of the court and to allay any fears he
18 might have and to make him feel comfortable with giving testimony.
19 I can tell you that yesterday we met beginning at 4.00 and we had
20 to cut the proofing short after the witness indicated he was tired and he
21 wished to go back to the hotel. We have instructions from VWS to always
22 keep in mind the witness and not to overtax them, and that is what we
23 were relying upon yesterday.
24 That is, I believe, what I can present to you as additional
25 information. We -- I -- I believe that there were additional matters
1 that I wanted to raise with him in proofing that I did not raise, but I
2 leave it upon Your Honours to make a decision as to whether -- as to how
3 we will proceed, and we will abide by any decision you make.
4 Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic, how long did you meet with the witness
7 MR. IVETIC: From 4.00 until just before 6.00.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And the witness had had the whole of that
9 day -- he was not -- there was no interference in his programme by the
10 Defence team, so that means that until 4.00 there were no specific
11 matters he should look after?
12 MR. IVETIC: Unless he had matters with VWS. VWS sometimes has a
13 schedule of their own that I'm not privy to, but as Your Honours know, I
14 was in court until 2.15 yesterday.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let me just briefly consult with my
16 colleagues. And you said and this morning you resumed your conversations
17 with the witness at what time, Mr. Ivetic?
18 MR. IVETIC: I met him at the hotel at 9.00. At approximately
19 9.15, 9.20 we arrived back at my apartment office to work, and then we
20 started working until approximately 10.30, when word came to me that he
21 might be required to testify this morning, and then I sent the proofing
22 statement which was just rather briefly typed in an e-mail because I
23 wanted to comply with all the instructions that I'd been given.
24 And I point out that the changes in reductions in the cross time
25 by the Prosecution, basically, prior to those, this witness was scheduled
1 to begin on Monday, which is why the scheduling was done the way that it
2 was done to have -- we considered we'd have sufficient time, even for a
3 new witness, to proof him during that time-period that we thought we were
4 going to have.
5 JUDGE ORIE: May I take it from your brief note that at least you
6 went to and through paragraph 12 of the witness statement?
7 MR. IVETIC: Yes, Your Honour.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE ORIE: And this statement is 14 pages. Let me just look --
10 MR. IVETIC: 14 paragraphs, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: 14 paragraphs, yes. Let me have a look.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Where earlier said that we -- that we had an early
14 finish yesterday, I was mistaken because it was the day before yesterday,
15 so I apologise for that.
16 The Chamber has considered the situation and is of the opinion
17 that the witness should have been ready. Even if you give sufficient
18 time for a witness to rest, that doesn't mean that you start at 4.00
19 where you could have started at 2.30 or 3.00.
20 Apart from that, the statement is extremely short. Apart from
21 that, paragraphs 13 and 14, well, contain not that much that you would
22 need to consider whether the witness should in any way reconsider that
23 because it's mainly what he doesn't know. I mean, that wouldn't change
24 that much during proofing, I take it, or at least it should not take that
25 much time.
1 Nevertheless, the Chamber is not forcing at this moment the
2 Defence to bring this witness this morning, but adds to it a very strong
3 warning that this should not happen again, and that next time we think we
4 would be fully justified to force you under similar circumstances, but we
5 refrain from doing it now. And the Defence should always be prepared to
6 organise its preparations in such a way that there would be a reserve
7 witness ready, which is, as was shown over the many, many years in this
8 Tribunal, is well possible within the time limits of arrival and
9 departure of a witness which the Victims and Witness Section accepts as
10 normal. Let that be clear.
11 Mr. Lukic.
12 MR. LUKIC: I just want to thank Your Honours for understanding
13 our position, and I can assure you that we will adjust our schedule of
14 arriving future witnesses based on such situations, so we'll have to have
15 more witnesses ready.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and whether you should change your schedule,
17 Mr. Lukic, if that brings you into conflict with VWS, then it could also
18 be that you would use your time better once the witness has arrived. So
19 I leave that in your hands, whether the one is the reasonable solution or
20 whether the other is.
21 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, I have to add, I've just been told by
22 our support staff, it was something I should have known, the time that
23 the witnesses are permitted to stay or anticipated to stay per VWS has
24 been shortened due to the number of witnesses that stayed for prolonged
25 periods at the beginning of the case when the -- their testimony lasted
1 longer than was the estimates. So we do have some limitations in terms
2 of how long a witness can arrive prior to their scheduled testimony and
3 how long they can stay. We also had instances where witnesses were
4 staying longer than originally anticipated by VWS were sent back to their
5 country of origin because of the financial restraints of keeping them
6 here longer.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic, it seems that you do not understand what
8 I said earlier. I was not discussing the policy. I wondered why you had
9 not started yesterday at 2.30, why you had you not started at 3.00. Why
10 two hours a day is too much of a burden for a witness and that he is
11 tired instead of saying, Well, another half an hour or we should have
12 started half an hour earlier. And that knowing that you have no other
13 witnesses, that you should have completed the job, urging the witness how
14 important it was, and saying that instead of two hours, that you could
15 have asked him to spend three hours on a day which leaves, on a normal
16 working day, five hours of additional rest. That is our primary concern,
17 not your conversations with the Victims and Witness Section.
18 Let's proceed and let the present witness be escorted into the
20 MS. MacGREGOR: Your Honours, while the usher is getting the
21 witness, I know that I'll be asking to look at Exhibit D582, if that
22 saves some time.
23 [The witness takes the stand]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Nikolic, the break took a little bit longer than
25 expected. We had to deal with a procedural matter. Ms. MacGregor will
1 now continue her cross-examination.
2 MS. MacGREGOR:
3 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you'll see on the screen in front of you is the
4 document that Mr. Stojanovic asked you about earlier. Now, you testified
5 that you saw the original of this document. How did you -- in what
6 circumstance did you see the original of this document?
7 A. Yes. It is fact that I have seen the original of this document.
8 This was - I'm not sure about the exact date, but approximately a month
9 after the conflicts broke out - in the office of Josip Milicevic
10 [Realtime transcript read in error "Filipovic"], the president of the
11 municipality of Foca, at his invitation, and he invited me over for
12 coffee so that we could discuss the situation and the actual beginning of
13 the war. And I took advantage of the situation or the opportunity to
14 talk about the situation which he was in at that time. We were in
15 practically the same situation but I was -- I participated from the very
16 beginning of the armed conflict, and he was with other people and he was
17 actually involved in a meeting, and the outcome of that meeting was this
19 On the basis of our talk, he showed me this document on that
21 Q. You describe being in the same situation as Mr. Milincic [sic],
22 what do you mean -- or excuse me, Filipovic. Although I'm not sure if
23 the transcript recorded the name correctly. Can you repeat the name of
24 who you were meeting with?
25 A. Josip Milicevic, the president of Foca municipality.
1 Q. Thank you. You described being in the same situation as him, the
2 same situation that he was being in at the time. What do you -- what you
3 are referring to?
4 A. When I said that we were in different positions, I clarified a
5 while ago where I was on the 8th of April, and he was in the municipal
6 building at the same time when the conflict began. I am referring to the
7 morning of the 8th of April, 1992. Mr. Milicevic, together with the
8 other persons whom I already mentioned, members of the
9 Executive Committee, was conducting talks and negotiations on the
10 situation in Foca. The upshot, the outcome of their talks is this
11 document which is in front of me, this agreement, this two-page
13 Q. So to be closure, that's a meeting that occurred on August --
14 excuse me, April 8th, that you were not present at?
15 A. Yes. I never said that I was present to the talks and the
16 signing of this agreement. I said that I saw this document about a month
17 later, when, on one occasion when talking to the president of Foca
18 municipality, we discussed that event because I had found out from my
19 brother via radio that the meeting was ongoing and that for that reason
20 we were not to open fire without any specific orders. And that was
21 interesting for me, and as he saw my position and my view of matters
22 interesting on that day, the 8th of April, 1992.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: May I just ask for clarification,
24 Madam Prosecutor.
25 I'm trying to follow your story, sir, Mr. Nikolic, earlier you
1 were asked by Judge Fluegge who signed the document and instead you told
2 us of people who were present at the time. Now you're saying you didn't
3 attend this meeting. How did you know the people who were present if you
4 were not in the meeting?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The signatures are affixed to the
6 original document of all these people that I mentioned, and also
7 Josip Milicevic also mentioned all those who had been present in our
8 talk. And all who had been present also signed the agreement.
9 MS. MacGREGOR:
10 Q. Mr. Nikolic, what is the relationship between you and the
11 president of Foca municipality that he would want to ask you to have a
12 coffee with him? Was that a close relationship that you had?
13 A. We were on exceptionally friendly terms, and for a long time
14 prior to the war we were exceptionally good friends.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MS. MacGREGOR: I no longer need this document.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before this disappears from the screen, I would
18 like to ask a question in relation to paragraph 16 of this document. I
19 read there:
20 "The return of captured prison inmates to the Foca KP Dom."
21 Mr. Nikolic, have you any idea what that could mean?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know what it means. In that
23 period, I do not know how, and under what circumstances, and at whose
24 orders, but it was a fact that all the prisoners who were serving their
25 regular sentences, so not prisoners of war, but all prisoners who
1 happened to be at that time in the KP Dom were released, whether Serbs or
2 Muslims or of any other ethnicity. Somebody had released them all. This
3 caused fear and sowed panic among the population, irrespective of their
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In your statement, paragraph 10, last sentence,
6 you say:
7 "That is when they withdrew from the KP Dom, having previously
8 released all the inmates, both Muslim and Serb."
9 When did this release happen?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I kindly ask for this statement
11 to be shown me on the screen for me to be able to answer?
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, of course. It is D581. It must be page 3,
13 paragraph 10. It's now on the screen in B/C/S. Please have a look at
14 the last sentence of paragraph 10.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So talking about this last part of
16 the sentence, which says "and before that, all prisoners, both Muslims
17 and Serbs, who had been released from the prison," that refers precisely
18 to what I was saying before. The regular prisoners, practically all
19 prisoners who had been sentenced by final judgement in the prewar state
20 were there, and that is whom I mean. Although, I do not know --
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm asking you -- I'm asking you when they were
22 released. When did that happen?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not know the exact date, but I
24 believe that it was a day before the conflict began. I believe it was a
25 day or two or, rather, day before, but I do not have exact information.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In paragraph 10, you are describing Muslims
2 leaving Foca town out of fear. Was that before the conflict, the war
3 broke out?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not have interpretation.
5 Nobody managed to translate your words for me.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'll repeat. In paragraph 10, you are describing
7 Muslims leaving Foca town out of fear. Was that before the conflict, the
8 war broke out?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I need to explain to you the
10 atmosphere and the situation --
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- which prevailed.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, please. I'm only focusing on the time. When
14 did the Muslim people leave? When were these people from KP Dom
15 released? I'm just asking you for a time-frame. When did all that
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The majority of the Muslims, armed
18 people and inhabitants, left in the night between the 12th -- on the
19 night of the 12th, actually. And the prisoners, the convicts, better to
20 put it, had been released before that. Not during the conflict. Or as a
21 consequence of -- not as people who were imprisoned as a consequence of
22 the war conflict. When I said this in my statement, I was referring to
23 people who were serving regular prison sentences. Although --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I understand that.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- I have information that the
1 Muslim forces --
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I fully understand that. I just wanted to know
3 the sequence. Now I understand what you were saying by "having
4 previously released all the inmates." I understood at first it was on
5 the first day, but now you are explaining that happened quite a while
6 before. Thank you.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And I have still a few questions on this matter.
8 What's the source of your knowledge of this, of the prisoners
9 being released? Were you there when it happened? How did you learn
10 about it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I left the initial position
12 and when we got to the village of Prevrac, where my family was, the
13 entire population was panic stricken because they had received
14 information that armed convicts --
15 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not talking about that. I want to know what is
16 the source of your information about the release of the prisoners. Did
17 you learn that when it happened? That's my first question.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not at the time when it happened,
19 but rather a few days --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next question then is: When exactly was it
21 that you learned about it?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that it was the 9th, the
23 night between the 9th and the 10th of April.
24 JUDGE ORIE: You earlier started an answer, "rather a few days,"
25 and I expected you to say a few days after it had happened. Could you
1 now tell us then in more detail when exactly those convicts were
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot be more precise than I've
4 already been, because I did not have any timely information; that is to
5 say, I have provided the source as to when and how I found out.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Now, how did you know that both Serb convicts and
7 Muslim convicts were released?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that moment I did not know, but
9 when it says that they were all released, then I imagine it's one and the
10 other and the third, if you will. All ethnicities.
11 JUDGE ORIE: So --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may --
13 JUDGE ORIE: No, one second, please. You say "when it says that
14 they all were released," I read that as your statement, but from your
15 answer I do understand that you do not really know whether both Muslim
16 and Serb prisoners were released because you say "I imagine," which means
17 not knowledge but rather a conclusion.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Exactly. However, if you allow me,
19 I received the exact information from the warden of the KP Dom who, at
20 the time when I took part in government, held the office of the president
21 of the Executive Board. I spoke to him about that in great detail.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Who was that?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Radojica Tesovic.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Now, who was the warden of the KP Dom when these
25 prisoners were released?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Radojica Tesovic.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And he was of what ethnicity?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Serb.
4 JUDGE ORIE: And were you ever able to verify whether Muslim
5 convicts had been released in reality?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: How did you do that?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By talking to Mr. Tesovic who
9 explained the situation to me, I mean the one that prevailed at that
10 moment, because as I've already said, he was the warden of the KP Dom.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but --
12 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
13 JUDGE ORIE: That's what he told you, but whether it happened or
14 not you were unable to verify?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. There was no need for me
16 to verify. That was not a subject that I was interested in. I just
17 meant in terms of my personal needs.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now did he also explain why he released all
19 those convicts which then caused such panic among the population?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know Mr. Tesovic. I have known
21 him for many years. I knew him before the war as well. He was a highly
22 moral and responsible individual --
23 JUDGE ORIE: No, no, I'm --
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] His assessment was --
25 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not asking about the morality of Mr. Tesovic.
1 I'm asking you whether he explained why he had released all those
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is precisely what I wanted to
4 say. I had just prefaced it with something else. His personal
5 assessment and his responsibility was such, and his conclusion was that
6 he could not provide for the security and safety of those prisoners, and
7 that is why he released all of these persons. According to my
8 information, according to what I learned from him -- as a matter of fact,
9 even part of the prisoners who had committed some serious crimes, he
10 tried to organise their transfer to some other prisons.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do I understand you well that it was
12 Mr. Tesovic, his decision, to release those prisoners, being the warden?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the basis of this conversation
14 and the information that he provided to me, I am speaking to you. That
15 is the information that I am conveying to you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Now, did Mr. Tesovic remain to be the warden at --
17 on from the moment that these convicts were released, did he remain to be
18 the warden of the KP Dom?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. He had certain problems
20 because of these steps he had taken.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Now I take you back to your statement and go to the
22 second part of paragraph 10. You said:
23 "I learned later that many Muslim civilians had left Foca with
24 their armed forces in the course of the night."
25 And I continue:
1 "They did it out of fear and no proclamation or order was issued
2 to that effect by the Serbian military or civilian authorities."
3 Where you say "they did it out of fear," did you refer to the
4 Muslim civilians leaving Foca with their armed forces?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Now I continue to read, where it says:
7 "That is when they withdrew from the KP Dom, having previously
8 released all the inmates, both Muslim and Serb."
9 Who are "they" in this sentence?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am not saying that they were
11 released. I mean, that they released the Muslims. Well, before that --
12 I mean, this is a statement; namely, that all prisoners - Muslims and
13 Serbs, that is -- please, please --
14 JUDGE ORIE: No, I stop you there. I read the beginning of this
16 "That is when they withdrew from the KP Dom ..."
17 Who withdrew from the KP Dom?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Muslim armed forces under the
19 control of the Muslim Crisis Staff.
20 JUDGE ORIE: So where it reads: "That is when they," that is,
21 the Muslim forces, "withdrew from the KP Dom, having previously released
22 all the inmates, both Muslims and Serb," that suggests - the language
23 seems to be clear - that the Muslims had released them and you just told
24 us that it was the Serb warden that had released them. Have you -- do
25 you have an explanation for this, what seems to be a contradiction?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're right when you say that this
2 is not worded properly. There were two parties to this war, to this
3 conflict, and there are no joint prisoners. Therefore, as for the
4 meaning of this sentence, this is what I'm stating and this is my
5 interpretation. It is badly worded. It would have been better had they
6 said "convicts" before that, because I never mentioned that before and I
7 thought that that was an important thing. And it was important that --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you there. You have reviewed this
9 statement and you've signed it. Did you at that moment see that the
10 wording was not what you intended to say?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge, sir, I know that it is hard
12 to translate the statement from Serbian into English, French, et cetera,
13 but for me there is no dilemma. There is nothing unclear here. I read
14 this in Serbian and I'm speaking Serbian. I believe that this
15 formulation is puzzling for you but it's not for me. I'm adding this
16 explanation in terms of the situation involved.
17 JUDGE ORIE: If you say it's wrongly translated, we'll have that
18 verified. We'll look at it again and we'll ask our interpreters, and
19 some of the members of the Defence team are bilingual, they can read both
20 the one and the other, and if you say it's a translation issue, then
21 we'll verify that.
22 It brings me to another question, which is the following: You
23 were interviewed on the 8th of March, if I see correctly. Was your
24 statement put on paper on that same day?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That statement and conversation, I
1 mean the one that was drafted on the occasion of the first conversation.
2 I didn't want to sign that statement at first because it was a note. I
3 mean, the Defence insisted that I sign this. I didn't want to until I
4 saw the complete statement. And it is only then that I signed it.
5 JUDGE ORIE: So you say a first statement was made on the day
6 when you were interviewed, although you didn't sign it. Is that
7 correctly understood?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct. Correct. During the
9 first interview I did not sign a statement.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Why were you hesitant or reluctant to sign that if
11 it reflected what you had said?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From a technical point of view, it
13 had not been completed. They did not have the technical conditions for
14 writing the proper statement, like the one that was compiled during the
15 second meeting. You notice that there were no technical errors. There
16 were different mistakes, though, in terms of names. So I insisted that
17 the text be clear, that it be e-mailed to me, and then I signed that
18 statement. That is why I insisted.
19 I think that this really matters. And this may have seemed a bit
20 confusing during my testimony.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. You received it by e-mail when?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, a few days -- a few days
23 now -- oh, please, within a few days, I cannot say exactly, I got the
24 e-mail. I have that noted down, of course, when I received the e-mail
25 and when I returned it. I had to scan the statement, then I had to sign
1 the statement, and then return the statement by e-mail.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we have the last --
4 JUDGE ORIE: And that's what you did?
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- page.
6 JUDGE ORIE: And that's what you did? You signed it and you
7 returned it. How did you return it?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] E-mail.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Now, I think you also told us that you signed it in
10 Foca during a meeting.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Now --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Oh, no.
14 JUDGE ORIE: How --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. During the meeting I did
16 not sign it. I mean, during the interview. A statement was drafted with
17 quite a few mistakes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: You received the statement through e-mail. You
19 signed it. You returned it. Were there any mistakes in that statement
20 that you returned?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think there weren't any, as far
22 as I could notice. I didn't find any mistakes, except for that poor
23 wording that you objected to a moment ago. But I did not react because
24 it was understandable to me.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Why did you then have to go, if I understand you
1 well, on the 8th of June to, if I understand you well, again sign the
2 statement? You told us that you arrived late, you did see some others,
3 they had a conversation but you did not know what about. You told us all
4 that. Was that -- was that on the 8th of June?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I met on two occasions
6 with a member of the Defence team of Mr. Mladic. The first meeting was
7 in a catering establishment a month or two before. They then insisted
8 that I should come for a talk and that was the first talk. It was then
9 that between the two -- between two obligations that I had, I took
10 advantage of the opportunity to meet with Mr. Stojanovic, Mr. Dundjer,
11 and I do not remember who else was there. At that time present were some
12 people, and I did not pay any attention to them. I didn't even have the
13 time for that. I mentioned some names that I could recall. It was only
14 after a month or two, I cannot be precise --
15 JUDGE ORIE: I'll stop you there. The statement says that you
16 were interviewed on the 8th of March and that you signed on the
17 8th of June. That makes two occasions. Are you telling us that on the
18 8th of March, that you had a conversation and that Mr. Stojanovic was
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe so, yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Well, what do you do you mean by "believe"? Was he
22 there or wasn't he there?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that that is the date, the
24 one that you are mentioning. I know that there were two interviews. The
25 first interview -- at the first interview were present Mr. Stojanovic and
1 Mr. Dundjer. At the second interview, only Mr. Dundjer was present and
2 another person whose name I cannot recall.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. And that were the two only occasions when you
4 met with the Mladic Defence; is that correctly understood?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Now you told us that a statement was sent to you by
7 e-mail, that you signed it, and that you returned it. You also told us
8 that a statement was given to you for signature but you said: I don't
9 want to sign it because I want to see the complete statement. Now, I
10 take you back to the two occasions when you met. That incomplete
11 statement, Mr. Nikolic, was that given to you at the end of the first
12 meeting you had where Mr. Stojanovic was present, or was it at the end of
13 the second meeting you had where you said Mr. Dundjer was there with
14 another person but not Mr. Stojanovic. Was it at the end of the first or
15 at the end of the second meeting that you refused to sign an incomplete
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the first meeting, I gave
18 absolutely no statements, nor were any minutes kept.
19 JUDGE ORIE: So was it then after the second meeting that you
20 were given a -- offered to sign a statement which you were reluctant to
21 do and finally did not do?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct. The statement
23 which was offered to me to sign, first of all, was full of grammatical
24 mistakes and the village names were wrong, for instance, that of the
25 village of Prevrac. I cannot remember what was in it. So I insisted on
1 that. And they jotted down my suggestions and they edited the statement
2 in that sense. But I believe that it was also the result of the fact
3 that the Defence team was in a hurry. So in order not to lose time, we
4 agreed that they would send me the revised statement via e-mail and that
5 I would sign it and return it to them in the same way, which I did.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you still have those e-mails; that is, the
7 statement that was sent to you? And do you have a copy --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
11 JUDGE ORIE: And do you also have a copy of the first incomplete
12 statement which you were reluctant to sign and did not sign?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I do not. I see no point in
14 keeping something that I didn't sign as a document.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Now on a further detail. You said the first
16 meeting, it was not a real interview. It was only the second time, they
17 were in a hurry. Was this statement prepared already when you had this
18 second meeting with them, where you said you didn't want to sign because
19 it was an incomplete statement?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The outcome of our talks and of the
21 giving of my statement was the drawing up of the statement which I was
22 supposed to sign, but after I had read it, I noticed that, as I've just
23 said a while ago, what I noticed, and I gave you the reasons why I
24 wouldn't sign it until all those shortcomings were removed.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Now, that second meeting, how long lasted that,
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At least half an hour. I cannot be
3 precise. I didn't keep time. But certainly not under half an hour.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That I can guarantee. But I cannot
6 say with precision how long it took.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. But was it, to see what maximum time it would
8 have taken, was it more than one hour?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Possibly. Possibly. Sometimes
10 when time is filled with substance, like, for instance, with talk, like
11 today, I'm really surprised to see how much time has already passed.
12 That might happen. So I cannot say with precision, but it is possible
13 that it lasted over an hour, in fact. I'm not sure. And, of course, I
14 wouldn't wish to give you some inaccurate information. I'm not sure
15 about the duration of our interview, when it began and when it ended.
16 JUDGE ORIE: You said they were in a hurry. Could you tell us
17 what made you believe that they were in a hurry?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that Mr. Dundjer told me
19 that he had more potential witnesses with whom he was to conduct
20 interviews. After I had finished, I saw Mr. Radojica Mladjenovic in
21 passing outside. I think that they had allotted precise slots in terms
22 of time which would be devoted to these potential witnesses. As far as I
23 recall, my scheduled time was at 9.00, but of course I didn't see any
24 need for me to remember that particular time but I do think I -- it seems
25 to me that it was 9.00. I was there on time. How much it lasted, I
1 cannot say with precision.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And you think you saw another witness waiting who
3 was scheduled for later that day? Is that ...
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Did you see him before you entered the room where
6 you had this conversation, or did you see when you left that room?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Namely, afterwards we were
8 talking. We had these interviews in a -- in a room on the first floor.
9 It was on my way out of the building that I came across Mr. Mladjenovic
10 and I assumed that he was --
11 JUDGE ORIE: And you remember that you finished before lunchtime?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was certainly before lunchtime.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And what do you consider to be lunchtime?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you know what regular
15 lunchtime might be, p.m., of course. Breakfast is in the morning. Lunch
16 is in the afternoon, and dinner - and I personally do not have dinner as
17 a rule - but it's about 8.00 or 9.00 in the evening.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's dinner time. But lunchtime is at 12.00
19 for you, at midday, or is it at 1.00 or?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I usually have lunch after
21 working hours. And my working hours end at half past 3.00 p.m., and I
22 only have my lunch then. I use a break to have breakfast, if I may
23 finish, and that break is from 10.00 to 10 -- to 10 past 10.00, and I
24 might have a snack later if I'm hungry.
25 JUDGE ORIE: We'll take a break soon, don't worry. One issue
1 remaining for me, which is: Was the name of Mr. Mandic mentioned at all?
2 We see that it is in the English version, not in the version in your own
3 language. But was the name of Mr. Mandic mentioned at all when you met
4 with Mr. Dundjer and when you were interviewed? Did they ask about it or
5 did you say something about -- even if you had said: I don't know him
6 or -- was his name mentioned?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judge, sir, so many names from the
8 Defence team, and today also by the Prosecutor, that were mentioned. I
9 do not rule out the possibility that the name of Mandic and that of Elez
10 and Kunarac and Jankovic, that all these name were mentioned. I gave my
11 statement in respect of the facts and circumstances that I was
12 knowledgeable about. I do not rule out the possibility that in the
13 interview we did mention Mandic. Concretely, I don't know which Mandic.
14 The Mandics are a large family. I could not even -- I could not say yes
15 or no. It is a possibility.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know anyone by the name of Mandic who you
17 considered to be in command of whatever unit?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Believe me, this is a large family,
19 that of the Mandics. I know one Mandic who was the commander of a
20 platoon and later of a company, even a neighbour of mine, whose first
21 name I do not know, he is a neighbour of mine. And I know quite a few
22 other members of the Mandic family. I don't know what their roles were
23 or what their positions were during the war, so I cannot say anything
24 about that.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Finally, do you have this e-mail in which you were
1 sent the statement? Do you -- did you take that with you when you came
2 to The Hague?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not have it in The Hague, but
4 I have it in my computer, in my e-mail. But, of course, I have a
5 reservation there, I might have deleted it accidentally. But I'm
6 convinced that this message is still in my e-mail folder, so if you need
7 it, I can also send it to you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you're willing to provide it to the
9 Chamber, that is the e-mail message and the attachment or the statement
10 which was attached and which you signed and returned, that would be
12 Ms. MacGregor.
13 Judge Fluegge has one question for you.
14 I know that we have stolen quite a bit of your -- or at least
15 it's not stolen because it's still your time, Ms. MacGregor, but we
16 intervened for a quite long series of questions. I suggest that you
17 continue after the break but give an opportunity to Judge Fluegge to put
18 one question to the witness now.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Nikolic, the Presiding Judge asked you about
20 the second meeting with the Defence team, which started 9.00 in the
21 morning. When did that take place? On which day?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was nothing which would have
23 prompted me to actually remember that date. I don't know what date it
24 was. I cannot say.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm asking you because only one date is noted in
1 your witness statement, date of interview 8 March 2014. This is only one
2 interview, but you told us that two interviews were conducted -- or
3 meetings, at least, with the Defence team. Was it, the second one, on
4 the 8th of March or later?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The sequence of my encounters of my
6 meetings is what I've just explained. The first encounter, the actual
7 introductions, the meeting, and they're asking me the question whether I
8 would be a Defence witness for General Mladic, and I accepted them. At
9 that meeting we had no further discussions about any other subject,
10 because I was in a hurry. They just would -- said that they would take
11 my telephone number, call me, and schedule a meeting.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take it that only one substantial meeting took
13 place, one interview with the content which we can find in the statement.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So the result of this second
16 meeting that you're referring to was the statement which I wouldn't sign,
17 and I explained why.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
19 JUDGE ORIE: And again, that first meeting took place where? In
20 what city?
21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the witness
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was in Foca.
24 JUDGE ORIE: And this second meeting was also in Foca?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, it was.
1 JUDGE ORIE: We'll take a break and we'll resume at two minutes
2 to 2.00, but only after the witness has left the court -- 10 minutes to
3 2.00 but only after the witness has left the courtroom.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 --- Recess taken at 1.31 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 1.51 p.m.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. MacGregor, I hardly dare to ask you how much
8 time you'd still need.
9 MS. MacGREGOR: My estimate is 10 to 15 minutes. I fully expect
10 to be finished before the end --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 MS. MacGREGOR: -- of this session, with time for the Defence.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I think that the time the Chamber has
14 taken doesn't need much of an explanation. There is some concern about
15 the taking of statements.
16 Mr. Lukic, if suddenly names appear in the English version which
17 do not appear in the B/C/S version, and if the witness explains to us
18 that what we find in the English version is really not what he intended
19 to say, then we have some concerns about the way in which statements are
20 taken and that explains why the Chamber took more than usual to explore
21 that aspect.
22 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour. And I -- I would suggest that he
23 reads that sentence in B/C/S so it could be translated --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Well --
25 MR. LUKIC: -- maybe on the record to -- so at least to correct
1 it that way.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And was -- is it a CLSS translation?
3 MR. LUKIC: I have to check that.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, do you know whether it's a CLSS
6 [Defence counsel confer]
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 JUDGE ORIE: That last question remains, for the time being,
9 without an answer.
10 And, Mr. Lukic, you know that interpreters are not in a way
11 prepared for the interpretation so as to either correct or to change any
12 written translation, which is, of course, prepared in a different way
13 with the access to all kind of dictionaries and rethinking. So
14 therefore, that's not a very good matter.
15 Ms. MacGregor, please proceed.
16 MS. MacGREGOR: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. Mr. Nikolic, in response to Mr. Stojanovic's questions you
18 testified that from time to time you were engaged with the VRS during the
19 war; for example, religious holidays and some incidents. Can you give an
20 example of an incident where you would have been engaged by the VRS,
21 other than the incident that you've described on Saint Nicholas Day at
22 the end of 1992?
23 A. Well, for example, there was this offensive launched by the
24 Muslim forces against the area of the municipality of Trnovo on
25 Mount Treskavica. Or rather, our positions were on the very slopes of
1 the mountain of Treskavica. The work platoon was there, the one that I
2 belonged to, and it included about 120 soldiers. And they were busy
3 there for about three months. That's an example because there was this
4 Muslim army offensive.
5 Q. A few things there. When you refer to the work platoon that you
6 were part of, are you referring to your brother's unit that we have been
7 talking about today?
8 A. No, that was a separate unit as a reserve of people who had the
9 obligation to work during the war. That is why it is called work
10 obligation or the unit consisting of persons like myself who were engaged
11 for work assignments during the war.
12 Q. Is it accurate to say that you were a member of the VRS reserves
13 during the war and that periodically you would be called up to perform
14 work obligation?
15 A. Well, it can be put that way, too. So from the moment when in
16 the territory of the municipality of Foca, as an organisational part of
17 the Army of Republika Srpska, the forces of the TO, until then, and other
18 units that I assume were parts of the Territorial Defence, they became
19 part of the Army of Republika Srpska, became an integral part of it. As
20 far as I can remember, the period involved is either the beginning of
21 July, if I remember correctly, or the very end of June.
22 Q. From July onward, your role was as a reserve member of that unit
23 that you've just -- of this entity, the VRS, even though it wasn't always
24 the VRS; is that accurate?
25 A. Well, I think from around the 18th of June or on the basis of the
1 decision of the president of the Executive Board, I was sent for work
2 obligation. From then onwards, all the way up until that incident that
3 took place on Saint Nicholas Day that I spoke about, I had not been
4 involved anywhere. Rather, I had work obligation. And then, I've
5 already explain this, when Major Pejovic called, during that incident,
6 during that case I --
7 Q. Mr. Nikolic, please listen to what I'm saying. You've stated
8 that you did not have a formal role in the VRS, but you've described now
9 two situations, at least, where you were near or in fighting
10 circumstances involving VRS forces. All I'm trying to understand is why,
11 if you were not in any way a formal member of the VRS, you would be
12 called periodically to report to a front line situation and what you did
13 at the front line situation. That's my question.
14 A. Madam Prosecutor, all of us, most of us, were an organised,
15 disciplined organisation that knew what it was doing. I've explained my
16 status when I was part of the Territorial Defence. Later on I had work
17 obligation. When military organisation was introduced in respect of the
18 Army of Republika Srpska, then, when necessary, people were engaged in
19 work obligation status, and then I was called up when necessary. I think
20 I'm saying this clearly.
21 Q. How would you receive the information that you'd been called up?
22 What was the method that you would be contacted by?
23 A. Written call-up papers. They were brought to my place of work by
24 soldiers. These were mobilisation call-up papers.
25 Q. Would you wear a uniform when you showed up for duty?
1 A. Yes, it's the one that I had available.
2 Q. Which was what?
3 A. At the very beginning of the war, after those clashes in town,
4 the unit commanded by my brother gave me a military uniform, camouflage,
5 as a token of appreciation. This was a donation. It came in from I
6 don't know where, but I always wore that when I took part in armed
8 Q. Did it have a VRS insignia?
9 A. I personally did not wear VRS insignia. There was this emblem
10 that I had on the sleeve --
11 Q. Sorry, please continue.
12 A. Depending on the situation, we would wear ribbons too, in order
13 to recognise one another in certain situations. These were specific
14 things so that we could recognise each other. Most soldiers had these
16 Q. Switching subjects. After June 18th, 1992, did you continue to
17 see members of your late brother's unit in Foca?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. At this point was the unit commanded by a man named
20 Brane Cosovic?
21 A. That unit was commanded by Brane Cosovic, not Kosovic. It is a
23 Q. Thank you. But the unit still was referred to as the
24 Dragan Nikolic Unit in honour of your brother; is that correct?
25 A. Yes. The exact name was the anti-sabotage -- well, if this is
1 going to be correct, what I'm going to utter now, that is what I know,
2 the Anti-Sabotage Detachment Dragan Nikolic.
3 Q. Thank you. We've talked about the Gojko Jankovic unit and the
4 Kunarac unit. Did you spend time with those units in Foca during 1992 or
6 A. No.
7 Q. Are you familiar with a house located in Trnovace that
8 Gojko Jankovic would sometimes use and go to?
9 A. No. To this day I don't know which house is Mr. Jankovic's. I
10 know that it is in Trnovace, but as for this exact location and house, I
11 don't know.
12 Q. This Chamber has heard evidence that a house in Trnovace was used
13 by Mr. Jankovic and Kunarac to imprison and rape Muslim girls after Foca
14 fell to the Serbs. Do you -- have you ever heard of such a thing?
15 A. I have heard but I heard of that only after the war, after these
16 people had been put on trial, prosecuted. But during the war, I never
17 heard any information to that effect.
18 Q. And from your answer, I take it you're aware that Mr. Kunarac and
19 others were convicted here by this Tribunal in 2001? I see you're
20 nodding your head.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In the judgement in that case, the Trial Chamber stated that
23 Mr. Kunarac and his associates frequently used the house in Trnovace for
24 the rape of Muslim girls. In that same judgement -- and right now I'm
25 referring to a judgement from a Trial Chamber, not this Trial Chamber,
1 but in the Kunarac case. In that same judgement at paragraph 269, the
2 Chamber states Witness FWS-191 -- and that's a pseudonym referring to a
3 witness in that case. This witness was also raped by: "... another
4 soldier called Zoran Nikolic. The latter raped her twice, once when
5 'Zaga' was in the house ..."
6 And this paragraph refers to the time-period of August or
7 September 1992.
8 MS. MacGREGOR: Your Honours, for the record I'll refer the
9 Defence and the Chamber to paragraph 269 of that judgement.
10 Q. Were you aware that the judgement in a case here mentions your
12 A. No, I am not familiar with the details. I would like you to tell
13 me. Because in Foca also prior to the war there existed two -- at least
14 two Zoran Nikolics, with an identical name and surname. I do know that
15 in a group that I have talked about which came from Montenegro, there was
16 a member of that group, there was a person by the name of Zoran Nikolic.
17 If you have other information, please tell me the year of birth, the name
18 of the father, and other particulars for the purpose of identification
19 because we would not wish to mislead anyone that they might think that
20 this actually concerns or relates to me. It would be fair in the very
22 Q. From your answer, I don't understand if there is two or three
23 Zoran Nikolics. I see that there are two before the war, yourself, and
24 another person, and then you mention a Zoran Nikolic from Montenegro. Is
25 that, in fact, a third person or is that also a person who was there
1 before the war?
2 A. There were two Zoran Nikolics who lived -- who were there and
3 lived there before the war. A third Zoran Nikolic was a member of a
4 group that had come from Montenegro, and I know that for a fact.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You've answered the question.
6 I'm with some concern looking at the clock, Ms. MacGregor.
7 MS. MacGREGOR: This is my last topic for questioning.
8 JUDGE ORIE: That's your last topic.
9 But, Mr. Stojanovic, could you tell us how much time you would
11 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Only a couple of minutes,
12 Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: I would like to know, perhaps, Madam Registrar, you
14 could assist, whether we could extend for not more than five to
15 ten minutes today's session because it's the last session of the week.
16 Madam Registrar is quite confident that we'll be -- that all
17 those assisting us would allow us to finish the evidence of this witness
19 MS. MacGREGOR: I only have one final question.
20 Q. Mr. Nikolic, as you've heard, we're trying to finish, so I want
21 to respond. I've reviewed the evidence underlying the judgement, and I
22 don't have the information about the date of birth that you've asked for,
23 so all I can ask you is: Is this Zoran Nikolic, who is being referred to
24 in the chamber -- excuse me, in the judgement, is this a true accusation
25 about yourself?
1 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. MacGregor, without a warning under Rule 90(E)
2 you can't put this question to the witness. So either you invite me to
3 do it or refrain from that question because the witness says it's unfair
4 to relate it to him where there were others.
5 MS. MacGREGOR: I ask you to give the warning then --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 MS. MacGREGOR: -- so I can ask the question.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Well, this last question, Mr. Nikolic, I inform you
9 about our Rules. Our Rules says:
10 "A witness may object to making any statement which might tend to
11 incriminate the witness. The Chamber may, however, compel the witness to
12 answer the question. Testimony compelled in this way shall not be used
13 as evidence in a subsequent prosecution against the witness for any
14 offence other than false testimony."
15 I would like to inform you that if you have concerns that by
16 answering the question in accordance with the truth that you would
17 incriminate yourself, that you may address me and ask to be relieved from
18 answering that question.
19 Could you please repeat the question.
20 MS. MacGREGOR:
21 Q. Are you the soldier called Zoran Nikolic who in the Chamber's
22 judgement in Kunarac raped twice a Muslim detainee at the house of
23 Kunarac in Trnovace -- or Jankovic in Trnovace?
24 A. No.
25 MS. MacGREGOR: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. MacGregor.
2 Mr. Stojanovic.
3 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, can we see in
4 e-court, I believe it's D581, paragraph 3. I think it is now in the
6 JUDGE ORIE: We have to go to the first page -- or there is -- I
7 think it's the second page, but at least to the page on which paragraph 3
9 Please proceed.
10 Re-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nikolic, in order to overcome this problem,
12 because we have an incongruence between the English translation and
13 B/C/S, I shall just ask you this: Talking about the second sentence
14 here --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could we have a reference, please? The
16 interpreter does not have a reference.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Paragraph 3 on the screen, is that -- second
19 Please put your question to the witness, Mr. Stojanovic.
20 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. So my question is: Was this unit that you said contained --
22 consisted of three platoons, does that have its separate command and
24 A. I believe that it was directly subordinated to the head of the
25 Crisis Staff, as I've already said, because -- actually, I concluded that
1 having been present at a talk and communication between my brother and
2 the Crisis Staff. I cannot give you any further details because I don't
3 know them.
4 Q. Thank you. In -- was the commander, or the komandir, the
5 commander of one of these three platoons someone who went by the last
6 name of Mandic at that time?
7 A. I don't know. The people I knew were my brother and
8 Mr. Brane Cosovic. And as I've already said, I was not formally a member
9 of that group and I actually have explained in which way I became a
10 member of that group.
11 Q. Thank you. And I shall only ask you another thing in order for
12 us to clarify the time of the taking of the statement. When you first
13 met with the Defence team of General Mladic and when you also mentioned
14 the name of Mr. Stojanovic, was any statement taken from you in the sense
15 of a written text?
16 A. No.
17 Q. To the best of your recollection, could that have been on the
18 17th of January, 2014?
19 A. I've said already ...
20 Q. Yes, please go on.
21 A. I've said already -- I said a while ago that I could not remember
22 the exact date because it meant nothing to me. I did not consider it of
23 the essence, that particular date, on what date it was. I know that we
24 conducted the interview and I know that there was an event that I
25 attended, and I can tell you what it was. I was present at an interview
1 which was conducted with a number of persons -- with many persons, over
2 300 persons were being interviewed on that day and I was there by virtue
3 of the work that do. For that, I could hardly actually find the time to
4 meet with you. I don't know exactly now what date it was, but taking
5 that event as a reference, I could subsequently inform you of the exact
6 date of our interview.
7 Q. I should conclude with this question: When asked by the Defence
8 team of General Mladic then, specifically myself, did you promise that
9 you would be prepared to conduct an interview with the Defence team about
10 what you knew about events in Foca in 1992?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Mr. Nikolic, thank you. That concludes my questioning. I have
13 no further questions for you.
14 A. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Stojanovic.
16 I have a few very short questions, and I would like to ask you to
17 respond to them in a very brief way.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have any personal knowledge of arming and
20 distribution of weapons among the Serbs in 1991 and 1992 in Foca? And
21 I'm thinking in terms of hundreds and thousands. Do you have any
22 personal knowledge about that?
23 A. I have no knowledge for 1991. Or I do have some knowledge but
24 not about -- in terms of hundreds of thousands, the quantities that you
25 referred to. As I said before, my platoon was involved in the
1 procurement, transport, and distribution of weapons. These were not
2 quantities that could be measured in terms of some huge numbers.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Let me interrupt you there immediately. I was
4 thinking in a time-frame well before the war started.
5 A. I have no such knowledge.
6 JUDGE ORIE: My next question is: Do you have any personal
7 knowledge about Muslim prisoners in KP Dom, prisoners of war, their
8 treatment, and what happened to them? I'm asking you again for any
9 personal knowledge.
10 A. I never set foot in the KP Dom or the compound.
11 JUDGE ORIE: So you have no personal knowledge, if I understand
12 you well.
13 A. I was just about to say except that, as I've already said, that
14 my parents lived in the direction of Miljevina, 10 kilometres away from
15 Foca. Because of the crisis and the lack of fuel - I had my own car but
16 I had no fuel - I was compelled when I went there to stop -- to
17 hitch-hike, sorry. At a certain point, the van from the KP Dom arrived
18 and they stopped for me and they told me that there was -- I could not
19 sit next to the driver but I could only sit in the rear, the section
20 which is used for other purposes. I didn't actually pay any attention
21 and didn't know what lay in store, and I entered the rear of the van in
22 which there were Muslim prisoners who were being taken to work in the
23 Miljevina mine there. I recognised some people. I was surprised, I have
24 to say, unpleasantly. At the first moment they asked me whether I had
25 any cigarettes. I did. I gave them cigarettes, and then I asked them,
1 concretely, the brother -- about the brother of one of those men, where
2 he was, and he said that his brother was in the KP Dom. Then I
3 disembarked the van near the house where my parents lived, and I decided
4 to go and visit this friend of mine because he was a colleague from work.
5 I asked them whether they needed anything, and they said that
6 they needed nothing but cigarettes, and that they had food which was very
7 good and which was better than otherwise because of the work that they
8 were doing.
9 JUDGE ORIE: But you have no personal knowledge about the food,
10 how it was prepared. That's hearsay.
11 A. I heard that directly from a prisoner.
12 JUDGE ORIE: That's what I mean by hearsay.
13 I have no further questions.
14 Have my questions triggered any need?
15 MS. MacGREGOR: I do have one follow-up question. I just --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MS. MacGREGOR: Based on your question.
18 Further Cross-examination by Ms. MacGregor:
19 Q. Mr. Nikolic, do you remember, approximately, the date of the
20 incident where you were in the van with the detainees?
21 A. Please don't make me go back all that way. After all, it's been
22 20 years, if not even more than that. And --
23 JUDGE ORIE: If you know, tell us. If you say you don't remember
24 the date, then that's an answer as well.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember.
1 MS. MacGREGOR:
2 Q. Could it have been in October of 1992?
3 A. No way. It was either 1993, middle of the year, or the end of
4 1993. Please don't take my word for the exact date, but there is no way
5 it could have been October 1992.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Then this concludes your testimony.
7 Witness, I would like to ask your co-operation. Earlier we --
8 Mr. Stojanovic.
9 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise. Just one
11 Further Re-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Do you know what happened to the man that you
13 talked to and what happened to his brother that he said was at the KP Dom
15 A. Both of these men that I did not mention by name, specifically,
16 were exchanged at a given point in time. To the best of my knowledge, I
17 know for sure for one of them, because he visited me after the war, he
18 came to see me, and he even brought me gifts, I know that he is alive.
19 And he had been a prisoner, I think, for almost two years at the KP Dom.
20 JUDGE ORIE: What's his name?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ekrem Cemo, that colleague of mine.
22 He was my colleague from work and a friend. A colleague from work and a
24 JUDGE ORIE: What did he tell you about the fate of his brother?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He told me that he was alive and
1 that he had been exchanged as well. Now further on, I do not know.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 Then no further questions triggered by questions by the Bench.
4 Witness, I would like to seek your co-operation. If you could
5 have access to your e-mail account through the internet, which is usually
6 possible, would you be willing, if assisted by technical staff of the
7 Tribunal, to see whether you can retrieve already right away this
8 afternoon your e-mail exchange in relation to your statement, are you
9 willing to explore that possibility with the assistance of our
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you would fail to retrieve the e-mail
13 through that means, then of course we would like to invite you then to
14 send it from where you live to the Victims and Witness Section. And
15 since we do not know what will appear from those messages, we cannot
16 exclude for certain that there would be any need for a recall. And under
17 those circumstances, both parties are hereby instructed not to contact
18 the witness, and you should not be in contact with anyone about your
19 testimony, especially not the parties, up till the moment once you have
20 retrieved your e-mails. Then, of course, you are free again -- yes,
21 Ms. MacGregor.
22 MS. MacGREGOR: Thank you, Mr. President. If there is any way to
23 allow a bit time between when he's retrieved the e-mail and any response
24 from the Prosecution should the Prosecution also -- if the Chamber
25 chooses to review the e-mail, just in case we do choose to recall him --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you would say then -- okay.
2 Until further order, Witness, you should not speak with anyone
3 about your testimony, the testimony you have given, and I'm not saying
4 how likely it is but we cannot exclude for the full hundred per cent that
5 you would be recalled. And we would like to receive copy, through the
6 Victims and Witness Section, of your e-mail exchange about your
7 statement. Is that clear to you?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Since it is likely that we might not see each other
10 again, I would like to thank you already now for coming to The Hague and
11 for the having answered all the questions that were put to you by the
12 parties and by the Bench. You may follow the usher. And please keep in
13 touch with the Victims and Witness Section about the exercise to retrieve
14 that e-mail, those e-mail exchanges.
15 And, Madam Registrar, I take it that it has been clear enough
16 until now what kind of assistance the Chamber expects both VWS and the
17 technical staff to provide, and could you take care that that assistance
18 is provided.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
21 You may follow the usher.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 [The witness withdrew]
24 JUDGE ORIE: I would again like to thank -- give full thanks
25 to -- yes. I first would like to thank all the interpreters, security,
1 whoever allowed us to finish to conclude the testimony of this witness
2 today, for their flexibility, and it's really highly appreciated.
3 Then before we adjourn, I'd like to use this opportunity to
4 inform the parties that the Chamber will deliver guidance before the --
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE ORIE: I'm sorry, I had done that already. Yes.
7 Due to the revised witness schedule, Witness Milan Pejic, GRM206,
8 is scheduled to testify as the third witness next week. Taking into
9 account that the Defence corrigendum tendering the witness statement was
10 filed on the 4th of July of this year, the time agreed upon between the
11 parties regarding the calling of 92 ter witnesses will be undercut by a
12 few days, and the Chamber would like to know what the parties' position
13 is on the matter. At the same time, I think this could be exchanged --
14 unless you could do it in one or two words, Ms. Bibles, otherwise we do
15 it through informal exchanges.
16 MS. BIBLES: We're prepared to cross-examine that witness,
17 Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. That's hereby on the record.
19 We adjourn and will resume Monday, the 21st of July, 2014, 9.30
20 in the morning, in this same courtroom, I.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.33 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Monday, the 21st day
23 Of July, 2014, at 9.30 a.m.