1 Monday, 2 February 2015
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.31 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
9 IT-09-92-T, the Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 No preliminaries were announced. Could the witness be escorted
12 in the courtroom.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Zupljanin. Before you give
16 evidence, the Rules require that you make --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
18 JUDGE ORIE: The Rules require that you make a solemn
19 declaration. The text is handed out to you. May I invite you to make
20 that solemn declaration.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
22 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 WITNESS: SLOBODAN ZUPLJANIN
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please be seated, Mr. Zupljanin.
1 Mr. Zupljanin, you'll first be examined by Mr. Lukic. You'd find
2 Mr. Lukic to your left. Mr. Lukic is counsel for Mr. Mladic.
3 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. And good morning to
5 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Zupljanin.
7 A. Good morning.
8 MR. LUKIC: I would just kindly ask the usher to provide
9 Mr. Zupljanin with his statement. Show it to the Prosecution first,
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Zupljanin, for the record, kindly tell us
12 your first and last name.
13 A. Slobodan Zupljanin.
14 MR. LUKIC: Can we have on our screens, 1D1710, please.
15 Q. [Interpretation] In front of you on the screen as well as in hard
16 copy before you, Mr. Zupljanin, is a document. Can you see a signature
18 A. I do. I can.
19 Q. Do you recognise it?
20 A. Yes, I do. It is my signature.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let us now go to the last page of the
24 Q. Do you see a signature on this page and do you recognise it?
25 A. I see a signature, and it is mine.
1 Q. You have had occasion to go through the statement. Is it the
2 statement you provided to the members of Mr. Mladic's Defence team?
3 A. Yes. This reflects the contents of the statement I gave on the
4 aforementioned date to the members of the investigations team.
5 Q. Does it accurately reflect what you told the members of the
6 Defence team?
7 A. The contents do reflect what I said to the members of the Defence
9 Q. Is the statement accurate and truthful?
10 A. Everything I touched upon in my statement is accurate and
12 Q. If I were to put the same questions here today, would you provide
13 the same answers?
14 A. In principle, the contents would be the same. Perhaps the word
15 order or sentence structure would not be identical, but the contents
17 MR. LUKIC: We would offer this statement of Mr. Zupljanin into
18 evidence, Your Honour.
19 MS. BIBLES: No objection.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D01710 receives Exhibit Number D887,
22 Your Honours.
23 JUDGE ORIE: D887 is admitted.
24 Please proceed, Mr. Lukic, if you have any further questions or
25 if you want to read a summary of the testimony.
1 MR. LUKIC: I would have one or two questions, and I would first
2 read a summary.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed as you suggest.
4 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
5 Slobodan Zupljanin testifies about the military and political
6 situation in the municipality of Kotor Varos.
7 In autumn 1991, he was mobilised in the 122nd Light Infantry
8 Brigade which was deployed in Croatia.
9 On 18th of March, 1992, the brigade was transferred back to
10 Knezevo, B and H. He was the commander of the 5th Company of the brigade
11 deployed in Maslovare village, Kotor Varos municipality. At that time,
12 the brigade was composed of the active Muslim and Croat officers. The
13 task of the brigade was to prevent interethnic conflicts, disarm
14 paramilitaries, and keep road communications open.
15 Slobodan Zupljanin states that some incidents broke out in
16 April 1992.
17 Kotor Varos was surrounded by Muslim and Croat villages. From
18 the military point of view, Kotor Varos was encircled.
19 Slobodan Zupljanin witnessed that Muslim and Croats moved around
20 the town and villages carrying automatic weapons freely. He knows that
21 Muslims and Croat had fought in Croatia and had gained military
23 He negotiated the surrender of weapons. Some of the villages
24 surrendered weapons, such as the Muslim villages of Garici and Siprage,
25 and the Croat village of Zabrdje and those villages remained untouched
1 throughout the war.
2 Mr. Zupljanin personally took part in negotiations with Muslims
3 and Croats to ease tensions and avoid conflicts. During one of these
4 attempts he was wounded in an ambush set by Muslim-Croat formations.
5 There were no combat activities at that time. His driver was also
6 wounded and another negotiator was killed.
7 Mr. Zupljanin was present when the Muslim-Croat brigade from the
8 area of Kotor Varos numbering 300 fighters surrendered to the
9 22nd Infantry Brigade. The enemy soldiers were then transferred to the
10 Republic of Croatia in 26 buses. Mr. Zupljanin's unit was tasked with
11 securing the reception of the Muslim-Croat units, disarming them, and
12 seeing them off from Kotor Varos. Other units were tasked with escorting
13 them. Everything was done without incident.
14 Mr. Zupljanin also took active part in the area of Vlasic by
15 receiving more than 5.000 civilians and 1500 soldiers of Croat ethnicity
16 who had left Travnik and Bugojno, fleeing from Muslim forces. His unit
17 was in charge of receiving these Croat civilians and soldiers.
18 Mr. Zupljanin's unit secured food, medical care, and accommodation for
20 And that was the statement summary of Mr. Zupljanin.
21 I will have just a couple of questions.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Zupljanin, we could see in your statement
23 that you were wounded and you were treated in hospital and at home. You
24 were wounded on the 25th of June, 1992. How long did your convalescence
1 A. I was wounded early in the morning on the 25th of June, 1992. I
2 was operated at the military medical centre in Banja Luka. At the time,
3 there were many wounded and injured. For a while, I even had my bed
4 placed in one of the hospital corridors rather than in a room because
5 they were overcrowded. As far as I remember, I spent about a fortnight
6 in the hospital. The overall treatment and absence from the unit lasted
7 around three months.
8 Q. Following your wounding and during the treatment, did you,
9 nevertheless, have to go in the field; and why, if you recall?
10 A. In principle, while I was being treated due to my injuries, I was
11 regularly visited by a physician from the battalion medical corps because
12 my wounded needed to be dressed for a long time. In July, I think, I was
13 still immobile, lying down, because I had received wounds to both my
14 legs, upper leg and lower leg on the right side and the left upper leg
15 were wounded. As I said, I was regularly visited by brigade
16 representatives. Often the commander himself came to visit inquiring
17 into my health situation.
18 The first time I left home, if I remember well, was in
19 mid-August 1992. Two soldiers came, one of them a battalion driver and
20 another soldier, and told me that on that morning, the 14th of August,
21 1992, there was a massacre committed over Serb soldiers in the sector of
22 Vigoste. Muslim fighters from Vecici village on the stretch of road
23 between Obodnik and Vasiljevica Brdo, in the area of Orahe [phoen]
24 village and Vilaste stream, intercepted our van taking people for regular
25 rotation as well as food that was regularly being brought to the
1 positions. Given the fact that it was one of the few vehicles that
2 travelled between Maslovare and Kotor Varos, it often carried civilians
3 as well. That morning, I was told that there were 27 people in the van
4 of whom 13 were killed and 14 were wounded.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 A. I was told that there was much panic among the Serb soldiers and
7 local population. They asked whether, with their assistance, I could go
8 to the bridge at the Vigosta river, some 3 to 4 kilometres away from the
9 incident, so as to give support to the panicking soldiers and those who
10 were wounded, trying to ease the situation in a way. I didn't have to
11 think twice. My family members helped me get dressed, and then with the
12 assistance of the two soldiers and with some aids, I managed to get into
13 the vehicle and reach the location.
14 By that time, the -- some soldiers and locals had gathered there,
15 as well as some people I didn't know. The situation was rather heated.
16 One of the people present there in a military uniform and had an
17 M-48 rifle on him but I couldn't recognise him as a member of my unit, as
18 I could confirm later, threatened me personally. He pointed his rifle at
19 my chest, thinking that I was responsible for what had happened to our
20 soldiers. He said that we were being too mild with the enemy. However,
21 the situation relaxed somewhat. There were no further incidents. The
22 soldier with the rifle withdrew. Some other people came to the location
23 in the meantime and we tried to explain to them that whenever there's an
24 enemy in front of you in a combat area, any kind of scenario is possible.
25 I think that morning we managed to defuse the situation so to speak.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, focused questions usually do not take
2 answers of five minutes which go in every direction. Could you please
3 try, if you want to examine the witness, to keep a certain focus on what
4 we should hear.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Zupljanin, did you address the civilians as well and what
7 kind of mood was theirs?
8 A. Yes, I addressed them too. There were some cries for revenge and
9 suggestions of going against the Muslim population immediately so as to
10 avenge our losses. However, that day, we managed to prevent any such
11 thing from happening.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zupljanin. That would be all we had for you.
13 A. Thank you as well.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
15 Ms. Bibles, are you ready to cross-examine the witness?
16 MS. BIBLES: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Zupljanin, you'll now be cross-examined by
18 Ms. Bibles. You find Ms. Bibles to your right. Ms. Bibles is counsel
19 for the Prosecution.
20 Please proceed.
21 MS. BIBLES: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Cross-examination by Ms. Bibles:
23 Q. Good morning.
24 A. Good morning.
25 MS. BIBLES: If the Prosecution could please have 65 ter 31901.
1 We can start off with page 1 on both.
2 Q. Sir, in paragraph 7 of your statement, you describe the
3 transition of your unit from the JNA to what would become a VRS unit;
5 A. Yes, that is what I discussed there.
6 Q. Now, the article that has come up on the screen in front of you
7 was written in 1994, and it's a retrospective about the 2nd Battalion.
8 Do you recognise this article?
9 A. I don't recall having seen this article before.
10 Q. Now, in the first paragraph, this describes a formation of the
11 battalion on 7 May 1992 and it describes: "Serbian young men rushing to
12 report." Do you see that?
13 A. I see it, but it wasn't that the people were rushing. They were
14 simply responding to a draft call.
15 Q. Now the second paragraph starts with a line:
16 "The minarets of Vecici mosques trembled at the mention of the
17 Maslovare Chetniks gathering in Borje."
18 Now, your battalion was a Serbian military unit from the very
19 beginning in May of 1992; correct?
20 A. In principle, it was a Serb army unit. Although, at the time,
21 there was Captain First Class Nijaz Vrabac who was a member of the unit,
22 he commanded a platoon of mortars, as well as Alojzije Gasparevic, who
23 was the commander of the Mixed Antitank Artillery Unit. It was a smaller
24 unit that had the Zis cannons at its disposal. He had commanded a unit
25 in Slavonia and then returned to the battalion. The assets of his unit
1 were sent to Vlasic. Of course, at some point --
2 Q. Sir --
3 A. -- I can't recall when, they did leave the battalion, though.
4 Q. And you agree that the battalion, your battalion, the
5 2nd Battalion, was a military unit to support the Serbian -- Serbian
7 A. Well, I wouldn't fully agree. I do agree in part though. It was
8 a battalion that had been a part of the JNA and after that, it became
9 part of the Serbian Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and then
10 part of the VRS. The tasks of the battalion were crystal clear. We were
11 there to support the overall population in the area of Kotor Varos
13 Q. Now, on the third page in English and I believe it's the second
14 page in the original, we'll be looking at a series of villages that are
15 listed at the bottom of -- in the English version, it's the first
17 Sir, we're looking for a list of places in which the
18 2nd Battalion was involved and includes Hrvacani, Vrbanjci, and Vecici.
19 Do you see that list of villages?
20 A. It concerns the locations you mentioned. In other words, parts
21 of the battalion units were somewhere in the general sector of those
23 Q. Do you agree that your battalion, the 2nd Battalion, engaged in
24 all of the locations listed in that paragraph?
25 A. The 2nd Battalion was engaged in disarming paramilitary
1 formations as well as in protecting the population and preventing the
2 incursions of any sabotage and --
3 Q. Sir --
4 A. -- scouting units from the Lasva valley, as well as to protect
5 their road.
6 Q. Sir, that was not the question.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Witness --
8 MS. BIBLES:
9 Q. Could you look at the list of villages at the bottom of that
10 paragraph and tell me whether you or your battalion or portions of your
11 battalion were engaged in all of those locations between 1992 and 1994.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You find in the column in the middle of this
13 page, in the first paragraph.
14 MS. BIBLES: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I saw the list. The unit or
16 parts of my battalion were not in the area of Sokolina and Visevica. As
17 for the other village, the answer is yes.
18 MS. BIBLES: Your Honours, I would tender 65 ter 31901.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Document 31901 receives Exhibit Number P7089,
21 Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted into evidence.
23 MS. BIBLES:
24 Q. Now, sir, I'd like to discuss the matters that were left out of
25 your witness statement and that is the 1992 events in Vecici and
2 In paragraph 15 of your witness statement, signed on the
3 4th of July, 2014, you indicate that your battalion was relocated to the
4 area of Vlasic in early November 1992. Would you agree that this is the
5 same time-frame in which the killings in Grabovica occurred in
6 November of 1992?
7 A. The battalion was relocated to the area of Vlasic following the
8 events in Grabovica in 1992. The first unit --
9 Q. Thank you. You've answered my question.
10 A. [In English] Okay.
11 Q. The issue of the resistance of Vecici in Kotor Varos was an
12 important military issue to the VRS from July to November 1992; right?
13 A. [Interpretation] Yes, it was an important military issue as well
14 as an important civilian issue.
15 Q. And you would agree that the people who surrendered at Grabovica
16 in November 1992 were fleeing from Vecici; correct?
17 A. I learnt that those people had left Vecici.
18 Q. Would -- we're now going to play a small portion of a video,
19 P850. The portion we'll play involves VRS actions in Kotor Varos in
20 July of 1992. I would like for you to watch and then after the video,
21 I'll have some questions.
22 MS. BIBLES: For the booths, we'll start the video at page 2 in
23 both language transcripts about halfway into Reporter Ajder's comments.
24 I believe it is starting with: "Yesterday and today the air force ..."
25 JUDGE ORIE: Have the transcripts already been revised or should
1 we play it twice?
2 MS. BIBLES: I believe we can just play it once, Your Honour.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ORIE: It's in evidence, that's true. Therefore, please
6 MS. BIBLES: Your Honour, for the record, we're beginning at 3:59
7 in the video as it's marked.
8 [Video-clip played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "... and special police units ...
10 the air force of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina also
11 participated and targeted enemy targets. The number of fatalities among
12 the Muslim-Croat paramilitary has exceeded 300, with a significantly
13 greater number of wounded. In yesterday's and today's combat alone
14 Muslim and Croat extremists had over 100 wounded and killed and about
15 200 wounded. Their own civilians, Muslim women, children, and the
16 elderly, are held hostage by the extremists who tortured and killed them.
17 Yesterday, between 1600 and 1700 hours, in the vicinity of Rujevica
18 village, on the road between Maslovare and Kotor Varos, enemy villains
19 tortured and bestially killed Stevan Markovic and Obrad Bubic. They also
20 killed Milan Stevilovic and captured Nova Petrusic. A commemoration
21 ceremony was held today in honour of Milan Stevilovic at the Banja Luka
22 Yugoslav People's Army Hall."
23 MS. BIBLES: And, Your Honours, for the record, we've stopped at
24 the video at 4 minutes, 52 seconds.
25 Q. Sir, in this video, we saw combat aircraft bombing a village. Do
1 you agree that this village was Vecici?
2 A. I believe so. I believe it is the village of Vecici that is
3 depicted on the footage. But I have to say that at that time I was in
5 Q. Well, sir, you would agree that these were VRS aircraft; correct?
6 A. I learned later from my visitors to the hospital those were
7 aircraft of the Serbian republic -- or the Army of Republika Srpska or
8 the JNA. I don't know whose aircraft it was.
9 Q. Do you know where these aircraft would have -- or planes would
10 have been based?
11 A. I don't know.
12 Q. Do you know whether, in July of 1992, the VRS air force was
13 commanded by General Ninkovic?
14 A. I think that I can confirm that it was indeed General Ninkovic.
15 His name came up.
16 Q. And you would agree that in order to have air-strikes like we
17 observed in the video, someone on the ground would have been giving
18 details up the chain of command to reach the aircraft; correct?
19 A. I didn't quite understand your question. Could you please repeat
21 Q. I'll see if I can make this more clear. The air force of the VRS
22 would have bombed this particular location with the assistance of the
23 field units in Kotor Varos; correct?
24 A. I can't confirm that. I was not in the unit at the time.
25 Q. So moving on to after you returned to your unit, you and your
1 battalion took part in different operations involving Vecici; correct?
2 A. The battalion, yes. I was not involved in Vecici at all because
3 I was not in the unit on the 29th of June when there was an operation in
4 Vecici. Neither was I there in the month of July when paramilitary
5 formations in Vecici were being disarmed.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bibles, apparently there may be some
7 misunderstanding but you're referring to a time when the witness had
8 returned to the unit, whereas the witness says: What you described was
9 something that happened before I returned to my unit. Could you please
10 seek to clarify that with the witness.
11 MS. BIBLES: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Sir, the time-period that I'm describing would be after you
13 returned to service in August 1992 until November of 1992. Were you or
14 any portions of your battalion involved in operations involving Vecici
15 during that time-period?
16 A. During that period, there was no combat until the moment people
17 left Vecici. At that time, the area was mopped up. In late October,
18 there were negotiations at the requests of the soldiers and civilians of
19 Vecici who wanted to negotiate the conditions of surrender.
20 MS. BIBLES: If we could have P440 on our screen.
21 Q. You'll see that this is an order for combat operations signed by
22 Colonel Novakovic. And, sir, Colonel Dusan Novakovic was the commander
23 of the 1st Light Kotor Varos Brigade; correct?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. And in late October, early November 1992, you were the commander
1 for the 2nd Battalion of the 22nd Brigade; correct?
2 A. Correct. However, the 2nd Battalion was not on the strength of
3 the 1st Light Croatia Brigade. I did not receive my orders from
4 Commander Novakovic.
5 Q. I'm trying to clarify that. So you commanded the 2nd Battalion,
6 Colonel Novakovic commanded the 1st Light Kotor Varos Brigade; correct?
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And both of these units were within the Operational Group Vlasic
9 headed by Janko Trivic; right?
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. So you reported directly to Janko Trivic as did
12 Colonel Novakovic; correct?
13 A. Yes. However, I was subordinated to Colonel Trivic as the
14 battalion commander, a battalion which was part of the 28th Brigade
15 commanded by Novakovic. And Novakovic was in charge of a brigade that
16 was part of the OG whose commander was Trivic.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Bibles, could you please clarify the name,
18 Novakovac or Novakovic, which is the right one?
19 MS. BIBLES: It appears to be correct in the transcript
21 Q. Is that the name, the proper name of the individual who headed
22 the 1st Light --
23 A. Dusan Novakovic.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now we have it correct.
25 MS. BIBLES: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. If we go to the last page of this order which would be page 3 in
2 the English and page 2 in the B/C/S, we see a list of military units.
3 Now, these units that we see to the left and below the signature would
4 have fallen under the command of Colonel Novakovic as parts of the
5 1st Light Kotor Varos Brigade; correct?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. And we see the Grabovica command [sic] about halfway down this
8 list. Now they were based there Grabovica; right?
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you say "Grabovica command" or "company"?
10 MS. BIBLES: Company, I'm sorry. Yes. That should be in the
11 transcript, at line 24 on temporary transcript 16, "Grabovica Company."
12 Thank you.
13 Q. Now, sir, was this unit based in Grabovica?
14 A. According to what I know, the Grabovica Company was deployed in
16 Q. And was the commander of the Grabovica Company at that time a man
17 named Mile - and I'll spell the last name - K-l-j-a-j-i-c?
18 A. I'm sure that it wasn't Mile Kljujic. But there was an officer
19 in the 1st Light Infantry Brigade whose name was Mile Kljajic. It may
20 have been him, but I don't know that for a fact because company
21 commanders followed brigade command orders and changed often.
22 Q. Do you know how many men were in the Grabovica Company?
23 A. I really can't tell you. I don't know whether they were on full
24 strength at the time. I suppose that the company had approximately
25 100 men.
1 Q. And I'm sorry, 100 men. Is that -- was that your answer, that
2 you supposed that they had 100 men?
3 A. I said that I assumed that there were 100 given the formation of
4 the Light Infantry Company. And I suppose that at that time the -- they
5 had what they were supposed to have according to their formation, about
6 100 men.
7 Q. Now going back on this document to page 1 in the English and
8 B/C/S, we'll be looking at point 3. We see:
9 "Some of the forces of the 2-22 lpbr shall block the enemy forces
10 on the village of Dabovci."
11 Is this referring to the 2nd Battalion of the 22nd Brigade?
12 A. Judging by the order it was the 2nd Battalion of the
13 22nd Brigade. However, I repeat, I never received orders from any of the
14 commanders who were not my immediate superiors. I never received any
15 such orders, nor did I ever carry out any such orders.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Bibles, I think you misspoke. It's not
17 Dabovici but Dabovci.
18 MS. BIBLES: You're quite correct, Your Honour. Thank you.
19 Q. Now, sir, in terms of an operation, if I'm understanding your
20 answer correctly, you would have received orders from Janko Trivic that
21 you would then issue to your battalion if -- in operating as part of this
22 operation, or in conducting your unit's portion of this operation;
24 A. No, not correct. I did not receive any orders for this operation
25 from Commander Trivic. There was no action at all. We were in our
1 deployment sector near Vasiljevici. There was a company there over a
2 long period of time.
3 Q. Are you saying, then, that the order on our screen is mistaken
4 with respect to the 2nd Battalion?
5 A. I don't know whether there's a mistake here or not. I suppose
6 that the commander of the 1st Kotor Varos Brigade issued an order to his
7 own brigade and according to the methodology he was also duty-bound to
8 provide information to the neighbouring units. In this particular case,
9 I was one of his neighbours. Maybe this was just to copy us and to
10 provide us with the information for reference.
11 Q. I want to shift gears and talk about your involvement in the
12 meetings of the Kotor Varos War Presidency relating to Vecici.
13 MS. BIBLES: If we could have P2884 on our screens, please.
14 We'll be looking for page 4 in the English, page 3 in the B/C/S. This is
15 an extract from the minutes of an extraordinary session of the
16 Kotor Varos War Presidency held on 1 November 1992.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Before we move on, what we looked at earlier, that
18 document which was shown to you and which described some operations,
19 was -- from the geography you could see there, was that in the Vecici
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not understand your question.
22 What do you mean? Which part are you referring to when you say whether
23 it was in the Vecici area?
24 JUDGE ORIE: Could we perhaps go back to the document --
25 MS. BIBLES: If we could -- P440. And I believe page 1.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, we have it now before us. It starts in
2 paragraph 1 with a reference to the citizens of the village of Vecici,
3 et cetera. Then specifically I think your attention was drawn to
4 paragraph 3:
5 "Some of the forces of the 2-22 Light Infantry Brigade shall
6 block the enemy forces on the villages of Dabovci ..."
7 I'm talking about those areas. Is that the Vecici area or is it
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now I understand, Your Honour. The
10 axis involving Dabovci and Vasiljevici villages may be put in direct
11 connection with the village of Vecici.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you were asked about August 1992 to
13 November 1992, and you said in answer -- in answering a question by
14 Ms. Bibles:
15 "During that period, there was no combat until the moment people
16 left Vecici."
17 Do I have to understand that this all happened when the people
18 left Vecici or ... I'm trying to understand where this is -- what
19 happened here, whether this preceded the people leaving Vecici or whether
20 it was simultaneous or whether it happened after. Could you tell us?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, what I wanted to say and this
22 is the truth, that this order -- I mean, the 2nd Battalion did not carry
23 out this order, and I don't think that the 2nd -- or the 1st Light
24 Kotor Varos Brigade ever carried out all the tasks that are mentioned in
25 here. And I repeat, the date of the order precedes the departure of
1 soldiers and civilians from Vecici village. And I repeat, the 2nd
2 Infantry Company of the 2nd Battalion had been deployed in the
3 Vasiljevici sector, which is a Serbian village bordering on the village
4 of Vecici. It was there from before, and it did not carry out any
5 special combat activities pursuant to this order at all.
6 JUDGE ORIE: But you said there was no combat, not specifically
7 you're referring to any specific unit; whereas if I read this document,
8 it is seems that at least some combat orders were given.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. But this document didn't mean
10 that a combat order was issued to the battalion. It could not have been.
11 This order was issued by the commander of a different unit.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but you said there was no combat in Vecici.
13 And I said -- again, you didn't say this unit did not -- was not involved
14 in combat or that unit was not involved in combat. You just said there
15 was no combat.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Around those days, there was no
17 combat in Vecici at all.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then I'm still puzzled by the fact that you say what
19 we see in paragraph 3 is the Vecici area. It very much looks to -- that
20 it's combat orders to whatever unit, and I do not then fully understand
21 why you say that there was no combat in the Vecici area where this
22 document apparently orders -- give orders for attack.
23 I'm just trying to understand.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was not the only case or a
25 rare case that some orders for combat were not carried out. The period
1 from the moment an order is issued to the eventual operation may give
2 rise to various situations. That's exactly what happened here because
3 there were intense negotiations going on about the departure of the
4 population from Vecici village.
5 JUDGE ORIE: So your explanation is it may have been ordered but
6 it did not happen.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a possible option.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, if you say there's no combat, and if you
9 say, I think it didn't happen, then it looks as if you're not certain
10 whether these combat orders were followed, yes or no. And you again
11 emphasised this by saying, This is what possibly was the case.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sure, I'm sure, that the
13 2nd Battalion did not carry out any combat operations pursuant to this
14 order. When I said that it was possible, I meant the orders that were
15 issued to the units of the 1st Light Kotor Varos Infantry Brigade.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Bibles.
17 MS. BIBLES:
18 Q. Sir, isn't it true that you had contact with Colonel Novakovic
19 every day from November 1st through at least November 5th as this
20 operation was being carried out?
21 A. We were in contact around those days and even earlier as
22 commanding officers of the neighbouring units.
23 MS. BIBLES: Now, if we could go now to P2884, page 4 in the
24 English, page 3 in the B/C/S.
25 Q. And, sir, the document that will come up is an extract from the
1 meetings of an extraordinary session of the War Presidency, Kotor Varos,
2 held on 1 November 1992. Now, at the top of the document, you're noted
3 as being present at this meeting. We also see Captain Balaban was at
4 this meeting on 1 November. He was a security and intelligence officer
5 in the 1st Krajina Corps; correct?
6 A. I was at that meeting, as well as some other meetings of the
7 War Presidency when the brigade commander informed me, told me, that I
8 should go. Captain Balaban also attended meetings that I attended. I
9 know that he was a member of the security organs of the 1st Krajina
11 Q. And, as such, Captain Balaban would have reported back to the
12 1st Krajina Corps command about the events in Kotor Varos; right?
13 A. Probably. Although I was not aware of what Captain Balaban's
14 authorities and competences were.
15 Q. In this document we see that Djekanovic, the War Presidency
16 president, discusses current issues --
17 A. Djekanovic.
18 Q. Djekanovic discusses the current issues involving Vecici
19 including those that have arisen from the corps command's prohibition
20 against allowing civilians out of Vecici before all had laid down their
22 We see in this document that you state that you wanted an order
23 issued to you via the chain of command with instructions on what to do.
24 Now there had been a recent change in your command structure in the weeks
25 prior to this meeting; correct?
1 Perhaps I could be --
2 A. Not absolutely correct. There wasn't a change in the command
3 structure -- structure a few weeks before. It was only one week before
4 that that happened. A change in the command structure happened on the
5 23rd or the 24th of October. From the 24th of October to the
6 1st November, it is only six or seven days.
7 Q. All right. And that would be that Janko Trivic, who we've
8 discussed before, assumed command of Colonel Peulic; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, Janko Trivic wore two hats. He took over the command of the
10 22nd Infantry Brigade from Peulic. At the same time he was the commander
11 of Vlasic OG.
12 Q. Was it your understanding that the previous brigade commander,
13 Peulic, had been replaced in part because of his failure to resolve
15 A. I'm not entirely sure that that was the main reason. I think
16 that a lot of things happened that led to Trivic and Peulic changing
18 Q. And you would agree that the failure to resolve Vecici was one of
19 those factors?
20 A. As far as I knew, I wasn't aware that the corps commander was
21 dissatisfied by Peulic's command but I allow for that possibility to have
22 been possible -- to have been present as well.
23 MS. BIBLES: Your Honour, I note we've just slightly passed the
24 time for the morning break.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we'll take a break.
1 Witness, you may follow the usher. We'd like to see you back in
2 20 minutes.
3 [The witness stands down]
4 JUDGE ORIE: We resume at ten minutes to 11.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bibles, you may proceed.
9 MS. BIBLES: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 If we could now turn to page 3 in the English. If we could turn
11 to page 3 in the English and page 2 in the B/C/S.
12 Q. And, sir, we'll see November -- 2 November 1992, continuation of
13 an extraordinary War Presidency session. And we see Colonel Bogojevic
14 referenced here. Now he was the assistant commander of the 1st Krajina
15 Corps for security and intelligence; right?
16 A. I think Colonel Bogojevic was assistant commander of the
17 1st Krajina Corps for security. I'm not sure, though, whether he was in
18 charge of intelligence as well.
19 Q. And here, we see him stating:
20 "He had received explicit orders from General Mladic that no one
21 was allowed -- was to be allowed to leave Vecici until the unconditional
22 surrender of weapons was completed."
23 In the second-to-the last paragraph, we see Major Trivic telling
24 the War Presidency:
25 "President, that he should try to convince Karadzic that the only
1 right way to solve Vecici was to push for unconditional surrender."
2 Now, you supported that position; right?
3 A. I was in favour of the option agreed upon at one of the previous
4 sessions of the War Presidency. It was to the effect that they should be
5 offered to surrender their weapons, to have those captured delivered, as
6 well as the corpses delivered to our side, and then everyone from Vecici
7 was to be allowed to leave freely wherever they wanted to, in case they
8 wanted to.
9 Q. So is that -- is your answer, yes, that you wanted to push for an
10 unconditional surrender of Vecici?
11 A. It was the decision of the military command and I was duty-bound
12 to honour the decisions of my superior command. That is why in this
13 situation I had previously asked for the following. Given the fact that
14 there were different interpretations of how that situation was supposed
15 to be dealt with, I asked that I receive direct instructions from my
16 superior commander.
17 Q. And you supported what your military commanders told you to do;
19 A. No. It wasn't up to me to support. It was up to me to implement
20 the orders of my superior command.
21 Q. Thank you. Now, were you there when the Muslim representatives
22 from Vecici were brought in as described was going to happen in this
24 A. I think I was. I don't recall it in detail because it was a long
25 time ago, but I think so.
1 Q. All right.
2 MS. BIBLES: We'll now turn to P3743, which is an extract of the
3 meeting of the War Presidency of Kotor Varos held on 3 November 1992.
4 And I see the B/C/S document has come up.
5 Q. I'll confirm that you were at this War Presidency session as
6 well; correct?
7 A. Yes, I was present.
8 Q. Under item 2 in the second paragraph, it states that you briefed
9 the War Presidency of a report that the soldiers from Vecici had
10 abandoned the village as had the civilian population.
11 My question is: Did you provide this briefing as opposed to the
12 others who were present because you were most heavily involved in the
13 operations against Vecici?
14 A. Not because of that. As you can see, this is an extract from the
15 minutes and it does not reflect the entire course of the War Presidency's
16 session. It only provides highlights. It is correct that I did acquaint
17 the War Presidency with the situation. According to the information
18 arriving from the 2nd Company and other units, the battalion command was
19 informed that the village was abandoned.
20 MS. BIBLES: Now we'll turn to P852. This is an excerpt from the
21 minutes of the 116th Kotor Varos War Presidency meeting on the
22 4th of November, 1992.
23 Q. And you would agree that you were present for this session as
24 well; right?
25 A. Yes, I was.
1 Q. And if we look at item 2, it states that you reported to the
2 War Presidency regarding several things, including the surrender of
3 150 soldiers and civilians from Vecici. Was this something the
4 War Presidency was unaware of at the time of this meeting?
5 A. I don't think it was something that the War Presidency was
6 unfamiliar with. I did not submit a report to the War Presidency. I was
7 not under any obligation to do so. As the unit commander I was supposed
8 to report to my superior command. I simply informed the War Presidency
9 about the knowledge I gathered in between the two sessions of the
10 War Presidency.
11 Q. Now, you've answered that as unit commander you were supposed to
12 report to your superior command. You -- did you, in fact, report to your
13 superior Janko Trivic that the 150 men had been captured?
14 A. Yes. When I received that information, I personally informed
15 Trivic, the brigade commander, about the information I had received from
16 the commander of the 1st Light infantry Kotor Varos Brigade, Colonel
18 Q. Did you also report to your superior that there were women in
19 this group of individuals who surrendered?
20 A. At the meeting of the battalion command, I forwarded the
21 information I had received from Colonel Novakovic.
22 Q. Did that include information that there were women in the group
23 who had surrendered?
24 A. Yes, it also included that piece of information.
25 Q. And there were children in the group that had surrendered;
2 A. I can't say anything with any certainty that there were children
3 as well, but there were people who were younger in terms of age. That is
4 definitely so.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, younger is a very relative concept. What was
6 your information about age?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The information I received from
8 Colonel Novakovic stated that there were 150 persons involved, including
9 fighters, as well as civilians, such as women and children.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So it's now the second time -- first, when
11 Ms. Bibles asked you whether you reported that there were women in this
12 group, you said: I reported what I knew. That's not an answer to the
13 question. It was only after the second question that you said: Indeed,
14 I reported that there were women in the group. So that should have been
15 your answer to the first question already.
16 Now here we have the same. You say: Younger in age. I do
17 understand that you had received information that there were children in
18 the group. Why not answer that question directly and only in the second
20 Could you please keep that in mind.
21 Ms. Bibles.
22 MS. BIBLES:
23 Q. Did you also report that the men had given up their weapons?
24 A. [No interpretation]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Apparently the witness said something which was not
2 Could you repeat what you said, Witness? Or was it the beginning
3 of your answer?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You asked why I didn't say the
5 first time around that there were women and children. What I said was
6 that I informed my command about --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Stop. We heard exactly what you said, and I invited
8 you to directly answer questions and to keep that in mind. Listen
9 carefully to the next question of Ms. Bibles and answer that question.
10 MS. BIBLES:
11 Q. Did you also report that the men in this group --
12 A. Very well.
13 Q. Did you also report that the men in this group had given up their
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, going back to the document in front of us, if we look at the
17 next paragraph, we see that Pejic states that the organisation of a
18 departure convoy should take place as soon as possible, and then:
19 "Pejic, Zupljanin, Balaban, and Novakovic shall decide on the
20 fate of the soldiers who were taken prisoner."
21 Now to be very clear, this refers to the 150 men being held now
22 at Grabovica; right?
23 A. One would conclude so from the way this sentence was constructed
24 although that could not have been the case in any respect. I could not
25 have been someone who could decide on anything in that regard for at
1 least two reasons. One reason was that it did not take place in the
2 deployment area of the 2nd Battalion. And the second reason was that I
3 could decide on such things only on -- if on strict orders from my
4 superior command. Not from somebody else --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness mentioned a
6 specific name at the very end of his answer which we did not catch.
7 MS. BIBLES:
8 Q. At the end of your answer, you gave a name that we did not catch
9 in the record. Could you repeat that name.
10 A. Pejic.
11 Q. Now, you would agree that the men, the people being held at
12 Grabovica, were the responsibility of the VRS; right?
13 A. The VRS was responsible for them, among others, because they were
14 in the deployment area of the 1st Light Infantry Brigade of Kotor Varos,
15 which was part of the VRS.
16 Q. Now Captain Balaban, the 1st Krajina Corps security officer,
17 appears to have remained on scene starting with the negotiations that we
18 first discussed in your cross-examination through the capture of these
19 men from Vecici and was still present with you at this meeting which
20 occurred on the 4th of November, 1992, discussing the captured men.
21 Did he stay near you during these days?
22 A. Not only in the course of those few days but even before that he
23 used to come to the deployment area frequently. Thus, I think he could
24 have been present.
25 Q. I want to go back to something that you volunteered up at line 10
1 through 12 on temporary page 30. You --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Before we do so --
3 MS. BIBLES: Yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: -- you put to the witness that according to this
5 document that Mr. Balaban was present, isn't it? Where do I see that in
6 the document?
7 MS. BIBLES: In the reference to -- and I apologise.
8 Q. Sir, was Captain Balaban present on that date? This document
9 refers to the fact that Pejic, Zupljanin, Balaban, and Novakovic shall
10 decide on the fate of the prisoners. Does that mean that Balaban was
12 MS. BIBLES: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Am I expected to answer?
14 MS. BIBLES:
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. In and of itself it doesn't need necessarily be so, but I know
17 that Balaban did attend some Presidency sessions and participated in the
18 discussions on that topic in the course of those days.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness needs to move
20 back and away from the microphone. The plosives are too much and we
21 cannot make out the sounds.
22 MS. BIBLES:
23 Q. Sir, if could you sit back a slight distance more from the
24 microphone that would enable the people translating to understand you a
25 little bit better. We might make some adjustments here.
1 Now, we didn't catch the end of your answer. You were talking
2 about: "... but I know that Balaban did attend some Presidency sessions
3 and participated in the" -- and then we were not able to understand your
4 answer. Could you finish your answer, please.
5 A. I think in the course of those few days, he attended most of the
7 Q. Do you know where he was working from during those few days when
8 he wasn't at the meetings?
9 A. I don't know that.
10 Q. Now, in part of your answer, on page 30, I believe, lines 10
11 through 12, you indicated that the decision which is referenced in this
12 document, that you would not be able to make that decision, that it would
13 be based -- your decision would have to be based on something from
14 superior command. Does that accurately state who would have made the
15 decision about the fate of these soldiers? It would have been from
16 superior command?
17 A. It is beyond dispute that I could not make any decision in that
18 regard. When I answered your question, I said that I could only receive
19 an order from my superior command and on such orders I would be
20 duty-bound to act.
21 As far as responsibility goes, Colonel Novakovic, according to my
22 knowledge and according to his statement, he said he was up there.
23 That's what he told me. In that regard, he could have been the person
24 responsible for them.
25 Q. We'll move now to --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bibles, could we in questions and answers - I'm
2 also addressing you, Witness - make a clear distinction between how
3 things should have been and how they were. The fact that you can't do
4 anything without instructions doesn't mean that you never do something
5 without instructions and orders. Could we clearly make a distinction
6 between the two.
7 And, apart from that, could you tell us when you refer to the
8 statement of Novakovic, which statement were you referring to?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was referring to his statement
10 about those events surrounding the surrender of the 150 people.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Statement given to whom?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard him say that. I heard it
13 from Colonel Novakovic. He presented it as information.
14 JUDGE ORIE: So when you say "his statement," you are referring
15 to what he told you? Is that how I have to understand your testimony?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And not to any statement taken for purposes of
18 proceedings or any testimony given during proceedings?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: I also have a question.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, you said that the fate of those soldiers
24 could have been decided only from -- by orders from above. Is it your
25 position that whatever happened to anybody who was captured happened on
1 orders from above? Is that -- was that a rule within the army?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One couldn't say that it
3 necessarily had to be that way.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Therefore, it could happen that people lower down
5 could decide the fate of captured soldiers without having received orders
6 from above.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is not what I meant. What I
8 meant was that, in theory, there were such situations when an order from
9 a superior command needed not be implemented if it ran counter to the
10 laws and international conventions.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can you tell me one such incident where such order
12 was not carried out because it ran counter to the laws of international
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have any such experience.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
16 Yes, Madam Bibles.
17 MS. BIBLES: Now if we could move to 65 ter 31887.
18 Q. As it comes up on the screen, you will see that it is an extract
19 from the minutes of the War Presidency of Kotor Varos of 5 November 1992.
20 Would you agree that this would have been the day after the men at
21 Grabovica had been killed?
22 A. A day before or a day after.
23 Q. Do you believe -- well, based on the information that you had at
24 the time, isn't it true that the men were killed on the 4th of November,
1 A. This could have been either on the 3rd or on the 4th; I'm not
2 entirely sure. It was a long time ago.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bibles, Madam Registrar informs me that
4 65 ter 31887 may be a mistake. Apparently not being the document you're
5 seeking to have on the screen.
6 Perhaps you move on and try to find out.
7 MS. BIBLES: If we could have 31887 on our screens, please. And
8 take a look at what the document -- it's coming up on our e-court.
9 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
10 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar informs me that she has no results
11 on searching for 31887. Yes, but that has changed over the last few
12 seconds, apparently, and now it is in the system. So let's have a look
13 at it.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 MS. BIBLES:
16 Q. All right. Sir, we see this is the 5 November 1992 meeting of
17 the War Presidency. We see that you're present; correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And there's no mention of the 150 men who had been discussed
20 in -- at least in the day before; correct?
21 A. The minutes do not reveal any number.
22 Q. Now, the -- the last item states that a commission for war booty
23 is to be set up. I can tell you that this Chamber has heard evidence
24 that the valuables of the people who surrendered at Grabovica were left
25 on the ground where they surrendered.
1 Do you know, having been present at this meeting, whether this
2 commission was being set up in response to those items?
3 A. I don't know why the commission was set up. I know that it was
4 set up. It was sent to the field, as far as I know, and they collected
5 those items.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Bibles, I think the English translation
7 doesn't cover everything which is to be seen on the -- on the B/C/S
9 MS. BIBLES: You're quite right, Your Honour. I will -- we will
10 submit this for translation. I will not tender it at this time.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but apparently the witness has answered the
12 question on the basis of what he could read. And, therefore, for the
13 Chamber to understand the evidence of the witness because he said no
14 number was mentioned. And I was about to ask him why there was no
15 reference to even persons being killed, apart from numbers, and I have
16 difficulties in putting that question to the witness, not knowing what
17 the document tells us.
18 MS. BIBLES:
19 Q. Witness, was I -- were the 150 men discussed in this meeting?
20 A. I can't remember whether they were or not. But I know something
21 else. Previously Colonel Novakovic told me that he had informed the
22 president of the War Presidency and some of its members about that. I
23 can't remember the entire discussion that took place at that session, not
25 MS. BIBLES: Your Honours, we will submit this for translation.
1 I agree that it's not satisfactory.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but let's ... yes, we'll wait for that.
3 Now, you said Colonel Novakovic had told you that he had informed
4 the president of the War Presidency and some of its members about that.
5 What are you referring to exactly with "that"?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I mean the event which had taken
7 place in Grabovica.
8 JUDGE ORIE: That is that a large number of men were killed? Is
9 that what you're referring to?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, that people either
11 surrender or were captured, because Colonel Novakovic first mentioned
12 fighting and then he said that a certain number of people had
13 surrendered. So I would say that it refers to both.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you are talking about fighting and about
15 surrendering. I'm talking about being killed. Could you please answer
16 that question, whether that was what Novakovic had told the president of
17 the War Presidency? If you remember.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Judging from what he told me, he
19 referred to that as well.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Again, the same question: Why not answer
21 that -- why not give that answer right away instead of going around it
22 for two or three times.
23 Now, was that discussed during the meeting?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, now, I wouldn't say that I
25 went around it. I can't remember of any of the details mentioned at the
1 session itself, but I believe that it --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, if I say you are going around that
3 question, that's a comment, not a question, and not the beginning of a
5 Could you tell us, could you answer my next question, then,
6 whether this was at all mentioned during this meeting of the
7 War Presidency on the --
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE ORIE: The killing. I mean the killing.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe so.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And we'll then later find -- but perhaps the
12 witness could tell us already. He can read it. Do you read in the
13 version in your language any reference to such killing?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not here. I'd like to say this
15 is just one excerpt from the minutes which does not reflect the entire
16 discussion. It is just an excerpt.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Witness. But you've answered my question, that
18 it is not found in the minutes as -- the extract from the minutes as we
19 have it before us.
20 Mr. Lukic, you're in a better position to see what is there and
21 is not there. I'm not asking you to -- at this moment to give any
22 evidence, but perhaps during the break or you could assist or any native
23 speaker could assist Ms. Bibles to know what we are looking at because
24 the Chamber doesn't know.
25 MS. BIBLES: Your Honour, I would suggest perhaps we just have
1 the witness read item 2 in the original language.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's really against what we are supposed to
3 do, because our interpreters are not translators. But, now, under these
4 exceptional circumstances, I'll ask the witness to slowly read. But,
5 again, Ms. Bibles, this is not how we should operate. And, of course, I
6 will be blamed by the interpreters for not following the rules of this
7 Tribunal in this respect.
8 But perhaps we could ask the witness to slowly read it and we do
9 not expect the interpreters to do anything else than to interpret, and
10 it's not a verified translation which we'll receive.
11 Witness, could you slowly read, and upon the instructions of
12 Ms. Bibles, remaining portions of this document?
13 MS. BIBLES:
14 Q. If could you just read item 2 to us, please.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Why don't we start with item 1?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Item 2 ...
17 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bibles, any reason why we should not start with
18 item 1?
19 MS. BIBLES: No, that's --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Most likely it is the approval of the minutes of the
21 116th -- if -- or everyone agrees that that's it.
22 MR. LUKIC: It would be better if it's read.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Then could the witness first read item 1.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Item 2 [as interpreted]: Excerpt
25 from the minutes of the 116th meeting of the War Presidency."
1 It was adopted without any objections.
2 "Item 2: Lieutenant-Colonel Novakovic reported to the
3 War Presidency about the situation in the field as it was in the course
4 of the day yesterday. He pointed out that combat operations were taking
5 place in Duboka last evening and that today the clearing up of the area
6 needs to be carried out. Savo Tepic informed about a convoy that was
7 organised and passed through safely. Zarko Mikic emphasised that the
8 clearing up of the terrain in Grabovica should be carried out."
9 JUDGE ORIE: And could you also then read item 3.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Item 3: As part of this item,
11 there was a debate about military conscripts who were not assigned to any
12 units. A conclusion was made that the commission should be set up which
13 would make a list of the war booty. The session ended at 8.15."
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Ms. Bibles, I think that we need an official
15 translation of this document. And I think it's important to -- I don't
16 know whether you intended to tender it, but there is an emphasis
17 apparently on the necessity of "asanacija" which may be relevant.
18 MS. BIBLES: Your Honour, I would ask to MFI this document
19 pending the official translation.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Full translation. Madam Registrar.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Document 31887 receives MFI P7090, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Marked for identification.
23 MS. BIBLES: Now if we could have P3705 on our screens, please.
24 This is an extract of the minutes of the 6 November 1992 Kotor Varos
25 War Presidency.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: What was the P number? It's not recorded.
2 MS. BIBLES: Oh, I'm sorry. P3705.
3 Q. We see that you're present for this meeting. And I'd like to
4 direct your attention to the end of item 2:
5 "Djekanovic advises that he was in Grabovica the day before,
6 monitoring the clearing of the terrain and the cleaning of the school."
7 Sir, based on the information you have, is it your understanding
8 that at least some of the men who surrendered were killed inside the
9 school at Grabovica?
10 A. Yes, and I based that on the information that I had.
11 Q. Were more details about the massacre or about its clean-up
12 discussed in more detail in this meeting?
13 A. I don't think that there was a detailed conversation about that
14 at the session. As you can see from the documents, and I heard that from
15 Colonel Novakovic, the War Presidency and its members were abreast of all
16 the developments.
17 Q. Sir, did you report to Janko Trivic that the 150 men had been
18 killed in Grabovica?
19 A. I reported to Colonel Trivic. I don't know whether I mentioned
20 any figures, but I remember literally that based on the information that
21 I had, the idiots up there caused a massacre.
22 Q. Now, you knew that these killings were a crime; right?
23 A. I called the event a massacre at the time because I did know that
24 a crime had been committed, indeed.
25 Q. Did Trivic tell you to preserve the scene or scenes for an
2 A. Trivic only asked me whether members of my unit had participated
3 in that. I said no. And then he said that he would have a word with
4 Colonel Novakovic about that. In other words, I was not instructed to do
5 anything that would preserve the scene intact.
6 Q. So to the best of your knowledge, is it true that there was never
7 any investigation on the part of the VRS into the killings of the 150 men
8 at Grabovica?
9 A. I know nothing about that. I know that I informed Colonel Trivic
10 about that, and I really don't know what he did next.
11 MS. BIBLES: I'd now like to go to 65 ter 31911. As this comes
12 up -- oh, I'm sorry.
13 JUDGE ORIE: You said you informed Colonel Trivic about the
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE ORIE: You had learned that from whom exactly?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From Colonel Novakovic.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did you yourself do anything in order to -- to
19 promote that the matter would be investigated?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did what I was supposed to do. I
21 informed my superior commander along the command line, and then
22 Colonel Trivic should have informed the corps command. I don't know
23 whether he did or not. I know that at the session of the War Presidency,
24 we all condemned the whole thing, and we all demanded that an
25 investigation should be carried out with this regard and that certain
1 commissions should be set up. I don't know whether those commissions
2 were ever set up or not.
3 JUDGE ORIE: So you said you demanded that an investigation would
4 be carried out and you told that the War Presidency. First of all, were
5 you certain that your own subordinates had nothing to do with that
6 crime -- those crimes committed?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was certain because they were not
8 there. Physically they were not present.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you said you demanded that an
10 investigation would be carried out. What we see in the minutes of the
11 War Presidency is, first, that there's an insistence on cleaning
12 everything and there's a report the day after that the school was
13 cleaned. Did you not say anything like: This is not what an
14 investigation should be, to clean and wipe out all the possible traces?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't know who was going to do
16 it or when. I didn't know who was going to do sanitation and hygiene
17 activities. It was not my part of my duties.
18 JUDGE ORIE: We do not find anything in the minutes that there
19 was any urging that an investigation would take place. As a matter of
20 fact, what we see is rather the contrary. Could you tell us whether
21 there's any documentary support for you urging that an investigation
22 should take place?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Maybe you misunderstood me. I did
24 not do that personally. I told you that we discussed at the
25 War Presidency session. It was not me personally who asked for that.
1 JUDGE ORIE: You said:
2 "We all demanded that an investigation should be carried out."
3 "We all," in my view, would include you, yourself, if you were
4 present. But could you then tell us where we can find anything which
5 would support your testimony that all demanded that an investigation
6 would be carried out? Because the documents, as we see it now, points
7 rather to the contrary.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only document that might
9 perhaps corroborate my words would be the entire minutes, not just an
10 excerpt from the minutes. And I say maybe.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you'd say -- is there anything more,
12 Ms. Bibles, than just the extract of the minutes?
13 MS. BIBLES: No, Your Honour, not that --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Not that you're aware. I'm also -- okay.
15 Apparently we do not know whether it would give support but it's not
17 Do you have any knowledge about where that could be found, or
18 don't you know?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the then-War Presidency that
20 was in charge of the minutes. I don't know what happened to all those
21 documents, where they all ended up. In any case, as far as I know, the
22 documents at one point were stored in the municipality building.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Bibles.
24 MS. BIBLES: If we could have 65 ter 31911 on our screens,
1 Q. And, sir, this is a 5 November 1992 article that features an
2 interview with you. Looking at page 1 in the B/C/S, I believe it's
3 page 2 in the English, you've been quoted as saying it was a victory for
4 the intelligence of the Army of Republika Srpska.
5 And about six lines down in the English, and I apologise I'm not
6 sure where it is in the original language, you speak about leading what
7 you describe as Muslim fanatics to thin ice. In the next sentence you
9 "That is how they met the fate they deserved."
10 This is referring to the men from Vecici; correct?
11 A. The extremists from Vecici, not the entire population.
12 Q. Were you quoted accurately here?
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If you ask that, you should direct the attention
14 of the witness to the respective article. There are three articles on
15 that page. Which one is it?
16 MS. BIBLES: Yes. The article starting ...
17 [Prosecution counsel confer]
18 MS. BIBLES:
19 Q. Sir, I believe it's the article that's encaptured in the box on
20 the page in front of you. Is that --
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we enlarge that?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I absolutely can't see this. The
23 letters are too small.
24 MS. BIBLES:
25 Q. Thank you. We'll expand it. Can you read it now or does it need
1 to be expanded further?
2 A. A bit further, please. And now I can't see the entire text. Can
3 you zoom out just a little bit?
4 Q. And it's in the left column in the space below the bolded --
5 A. It's good now. I can see it now. Scroll down a little.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Further. I think you can put your question now
7 because it's the second -- the paragraph on the left side, not in bold.
8 MS. BIBLES: Thank you.
9 Q. Sir, now that you've had an opportunity to read the places on
10 which you were quoted, can you tell us whether you were quoted
12 A. In principle, this would have been more or less what I said. And
13 when we're talking here about people, those would be extremists. Further
14 on, you will see what my position was towards the elderly, women, and
15 children. Our military target were the extremists, not the elderly, the
16 women, or the children.
17 Q. Well, sir, with respect to the 150 men who you've already
18 testified their killing was a crime, can you tell us if you have
19 information as to where their bodies have gone?
20 A. There was some very generalised information about all that, but
21 there was a veil of secrecy around all that. Not a lot was said. I
22 heard from somebody - I can't remember from whom - that those bodies were
23 buried somewhere in the direction of Plitska.
24 MS. BIBLES: Your Honour, I have no further questions for this
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: I have questions on this document.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Judge Moloto has a question.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sir, you say according to this document and I
4 hope -- I'll read what I see here and then you can tell me whether it's
5 correct quotation from you. You say:
6 "That is how they met the fate they deserved."
7 Can you see that?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What it reads in my version is
10 "And so the extremists received the punishment they deserved."
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: What is the punishment that was meted out?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The extremists were punished in
13 such a way, from our point of view, was that they be liquidated or taken
14 prisoner. Only in my battalion some 60 soldiers were killed and 100 were
15 wounded by those extremists.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I stop you there -- can I just stop you there.
17 You're saying it was supposed to be that they be liquidated or be taken
18 prisoner. I'm not asking you what the options were. I asked what became
19 of them. Were they liquidated or were they taken prisoner?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to my knowledge, some
21 were eliminated and others taken prisoner.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: And what do you mean by "eliminate"? Do you mean
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, these people had been taken prisoner. Isn't
1 it so?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Some extremists were killed in the
3 fighting conducted against the units of the 1st Light Infantry
4 Kotor Varos Brigade and the 1st Knezevo Brigade.
5 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not talking about those -- I'm talking about
6 these, these that you would not allow to leave Kotor Varos unarmed --
7 armed. You had to disarm them and then having been disarmed, you said
8 they got liquidated, didn't they?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You misunderstood. Some of those
10 extremists --
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't -- just a second, please. I'm reading
12 this document in which you are being quoted. You are quoted as having
14 "Our expectations have come true. Since we did not let the
15 Muslim fanatics leave the Kotor Varos armed although they had claimed
16 that they would only need them in Travnik due to the more and more
17 frequent conflicts between Croatian and Muslim armies," and then it goes
19 And now, after that, that's when you then say that is how they
20 met the fate they deserved. So you didn't allow them to leave armed and
21 then you send them to their fate which was, as you explained,
22 liquidation. Is that correct? Do I understand that article correctly?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, you did not understand it
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just tell me how I must understand it.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It should be understood in this
2 way. Not 150 people left Vecici but many more. They were in several
3 groups --
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: This document doesn't mention any number. We're
5 talking about here about Muslim fighters --
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a news report.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Precisely. And it's not talking about any
8 numbers. It's talking about Muslim fanatics which you have said to
9 Madam Bibles those were fanatics and they were not the people -- the
10 civilians. Therefore they had to meet this fate that they deserved.
11 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, if I may assist only. There is a
12 number, but upper in this text it is mentioned 500 extremist fighters --
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't see --
14 MR. LUKIC: -- and 60 killed in combat. So there are numbers and
15 maybe you should see the whole text.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Well, I don't see that. And may I be shown that,
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Perhaps in the previous page in English.
19 MR. LUKIC: In the upper part of B/C/S as well. Maybe it should
20 be shown to the witness as well.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then in B/C/S it should be scrolled up.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: I can see the number of 500. That
23 notwithstanding, my question still stands. The number of the Muslim
24 fanatics may or may not be less than the 500, but I'm just asking about
25 the Muslim fanatics who met this fate of liquidation, whatever their
1 number. Can you explain to us how we must understand that part of the
2 article where it talks about disarming them and then sending them to
3 their fate. Just can you explain --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So the military target were the
5 extremists. Those extremists needed to be prevailed over and eliminated.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I stop you. We don't have much time. I
7 understand that they were military targets. What I'm saying is, you have
8 now disarmed them and you have told us a few minutes ago that they either
9 had to be liquidated or be taken prisoner, so they are now no longer in
10 combat. They are now prisoners. But then you decided they must be
11 liquidated and they were liquidated.
12 My question is: How else do we have to understand this part and
13 your own evidence on this point? You've told us they were liquidated.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So the extremists needed to be
15 either liquidated or taken prisoner. They were a legitimate military
16 target and that's where --
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Your have told us that. You've told us that and
18 we have gone past that. You've told us that in fact between liquidation
19 and taken prisoner, they were actually liquidated. You have told us
20 that. So whatever you say, please don't repeat what you've already told
22 Now, I see you're keeping quiet. I'm going to ask you my next
23 question. My next question is: Was it within the laws -- can I ask my
24 question. Was it within the international conventions that you referred
25 to earlier to liquidate them because they were fanatics?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I must explain briefly.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Answer my question first, answer my question
3 before you explain. Then you can explain after answering my question.
4 Was it within international conventions to liquidate them because they
5 were fanatics? Yes or no. And then you can explain.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No --
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But you said I could explain. It
9 is unfair.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Go ahead.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So --
12 JUDGE ORIE: I first inform you that this is a testing which
13 takes place every first Monday of the month at 12.00. So don't be
14 worried about the sirens.
15 Then now please explain --
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please explain.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So -- so under the punishment they
18 preserved [as interpreted] is to be liquidated during combat. It
19 pertained to the extremists. It also pertained to being taken prisoner.
20 I did not want to place anything else under the concept of punishment.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: You are not explaining the point. You tried to
22 explain why you say no, it is not within the legal -- international
23 conventions to do so.
24 My next question: Who liquidated them?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to the information I
1 received from Colonel Novakovic, when he said that there was a terrible
2 incident there which primarily included Serbian civilian population, he
3 said that his security and his soldiers were unable to prevent that
4 incident from taking place.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: In your mind, now that you said this is not
6 according to international conventions, would you regard this kind of
7 killing of these people a crime?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do. I would.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Do you know if anyone of those people
10 who killed them was arrested and went through the law?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have no such knowledge.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
14 Mr. Ivetic -- Mr. Lukic, could you tell us how much time you'd
15 need in re-examination?
16 MR. LUKIC: Not more than 20 minutes, I hope I'll finish in 15.
17 JUDGE ORIE: We'll take a break first and then you have an
18 opportunity to re-examine the witness.
19 Could the witness be escorted out of the courtroom. We'd like to
20 see you back in 20 minutes.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 JUDGE ORIE: We resume at 25 minutes past 12.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 12.03 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.33 p.m.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ORIE: While we're waiting for the witness to come in,
2 Mr. Lukic, I think the Chamber did not receive yet the information it
3 wished to receive in relation to the expert witnesses, at least the
4 information was too vague. Without going into details now, could you
5 please consider whether you could, on shortest notice, give us whatever
6 information you have or perhaps even not have yet but which you
7 understand the Chamber would need.
8 [The witness takes the stand]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you'll now be re-examined by Mr. Lukic.
10 Mr. Lukic, please proceed.
11 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Re-examination by Mr. Lukic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, once again, Mr. Zupljanin.
14 MR. LUKIC: Could we have P440 on our screens, please.
15 Q. [Interpretation] This document has already been shown to you,
16 dated the 30th October 1992.
17 You said that there was no fighting before the civilians left.
18 We see in item 1 that it states:
19 "The citizens of the village of Vecici were given the opportunity
20 to persuade the paramilitary formations to give up their weapons ..."
21 And then further down it says:
22 "The stand was taken to allow the departure and evacuation of the
23 civilian population in exchange for the bodies of three dead soldiers and
24 three captured soldiers of the VRS. The convoy with the population is to
25 set out at 0700 hours on 1 November 1992."
1 Do you know if a convoy was indeed organised that was supposed to
2 carry civilians?
3 A. Yes, a convoy was organised.
4 Q. At that time, although there is combat operation referred to in
5 the date -- in the document, it is stated that on 1 November the convoy
6 was supposed to be organised. Do you know whether there was any fighting
7 between the 30th of October and the 1st of November?
8 A. My unit was not engaged in any combat operations but I'm not
9 certain about the 1st Light Infantry Kotor Varos Brigade.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: If we can have P443 on our screens, please.
12 Q. [Interpretation] We will see an excerpt from the minutes of the
13 War Presidency of Kotor Varos dated the 2nd November 1992.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you repeat the number.
15 MR. LUKIC: It's P443.
16 Q. [Interpretation] In the last paragraph we see that
17 Captain Balaban brought representatives to negotiate from Vecici, and we
18 see their names. And apparently they went back to Vecici. So on the
19 2nd of November when there were still negotiations under way, was there
20 still combat or were there only negotiations happening at the time?
21 A. As far as I know, only the negotiations were under way at the
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let's look at P ...
25 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, do you understand the English language?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not so well.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Then I'll refrain at this moment from further
3 dealing with the matter.
4 Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
5 MR. LUKIC: Thank you. If we can see P2884 on our screens.
6 [Interpretation] This document contains several excerpts from the
7 minutes. While we are on this page, please look at the bottom of the
8 page. Item 2 in the B/C/S. I apologise, item 3. In the English, it is
9 at the very bottom of the page.
10 Q. We can see that you were -- are taking the floor there.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And we need to move to the next page
12 in English where the part I will be referring to is found.
13 Q. We see it at the very top of the English page and in the B/C/S,
14 it is item 3, Captain S. Zupljanin. It is stated here that you pointed
15 out the possibility of introducing a bus line to Siprage. And this
16 discussion was taking place on the 2nd of November, 1992.
17 Was it easy to organise a bus route at the time and is this
18 something you were working on?
19 A. We were working on it, because there was constant communication
20 with Siprage and I believe our communication with the civilian population
21 there was excellent, with the representatives of Muslims from Siprage
22 village. Of course, there were reasons for that. There was the will on
23 the part of the civilians, residents of Siprage, to deal with the
24 situation in Siprage incident free. It was also in the interests of the
25 VRS because daily or weekly, at least once, parts of military units went
1 through Siprage in order to reach their positions at Vlasic. Therefore,
2 we established such links with them that throughout the period, the
3 residents of Siprage move unhindered into the direction of Kotor Varos or
4 elsewhere they wanted to go. By the same token, without any incidents
5 our soldiers passed through the village en route to their positions. The
6 situation was one of great mutual trust.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. At this same time, do you know if there were ABiH formation
10 members at Vasic who were from Siprage?
11 A. We knew that from a reliable source. There was an attack on our
12 positions between 12th and 14th of September, 1992. Among the killed
13 Muslim soldiers in the sector of Rijecica were the corpses of several
14 fighters from Siprage. However, for us it is not reason enough to cause
15 any incident in Siprage. We simply continued developing good
16 co-operation in order to preserve the peace and good atmosphere.
17 Q. Thank you. Let's go back to the situation in Vecici.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We need the third page of this
19 document in the B/C/S and the next page in the English version.
20 Actually, two pages ahead in the English. It is an excerpt of the
21 minutes from the 1st of November, 1992, from the meeting of the
22 Kotor Varos War Presidency. Somewhere around the middle of the page in
23 the B/C/S, we see: "Captain S. Zupljanin."
24 A. Slobodan.
25 Q. Yes, we have "S. Zupljanin" here. It reads:
1 "Captain S. Zupljanin remarked that previously he had wholly
2 supported the earlier adopted solution to the question of Vecici ..."
3 Tell us what were you against or what were you in favour of?
4 A. We were in favour of the weapons being handed over and that
5 everyone be allowed to leave Vecici if they so wished in whatever
6 direction they wanted to go, under the condition I mentioned previously,
7 which was that the bodies of three of our killed people were handed over
8 as well as the three prisoners they had.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. LUKIC: Can we have P852, please.
11 Q. [Interpretation] We will see an excerpt from the minutes of the
12 Kotor Varos War Presidency dated the 4th of November. This was shown to
13 you, where it says that the fate of the captured fighters will be decided
14 by Pejic, Zupljanin, Balaban, and Lieutenant-Colonel Novakovic. This is
15 the 4th of November.
16 In relation to it, let us look at P441, so do please bear in mind
17 the task issued to the four people referenced therein on the 4th of
19 Please bear with me. Before us is a report of the 1st Krajina
20 Corps Command dated the 4th of November, 1992. It has already been
21 reported in item 2, paragraph 2, that -- it's somewhere in the middle of
22 the paragraph, that some 40 members of the Green Berets were killed and
23 some 200 captured.
24 "A brutal massacre of the captured members of the Green Berets
25 started because of the wounding of four and the killing of one soldier of
1 the Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade and the burning of wounded
2 soldiers on Gola Planina (Jajce)."
3 It was on the same day that you were issued the task by the
4 War Presidency. Do you know that Pejic, Balaban, and Novakovic -- or
5 whether the three had anything to do with the implementation of the task
6 assigned to you as well on the 4th of November, 1992, to decide on the
7 fate of these people?
8 A. Your interpretation is incorrect. We did not receive a task.
9 Pejic, one of those present at War Presidency sessions, said that. It
10 was his statement. It was not binding on either me or others. Pejic
11 could not issue tasks to members of the army, in particular. I may
12 exclude the police but certainly not the army.
13 Q. What is that I'm trying to show? On the 4th of November, when
14 this discussion took place at the War Presidency, it is the same day when
15 the report by the 1st KK Command was issued. By that time, the people
16 had been killed, the day earlier; correct?
17 A. I don't know for sure, but I suppose so.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And now let's look at 65 ter 31887.
20 I don't know if it has a P number. I've not made a note of that.
21 Q. This is dated 5 November, an excerpt from the 117th Session of
22 the War Presidency. You have already seen that.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is now P7090, MFI.
24 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. [Interpretation] You have read out under item 2. Something
1 hasn't been translated, therefore I'm going to read it to you:
2 "Savo Tepic informed about a convoy that has been organised and
3 passed through safely."
4 How many groups of people withdrew from Vecici, if you know?
5 A. According to the information that I had, some of the civilians
6 withdrew from Vecici in a convoy from Vecici to Vrbanjci and then on to
7 Kotor Varos and further on in the direction of Banja Luka. Those who did
8 not opt for that kind of withdrawal and instead went in the direction of
9 Jezica or, rather, the general sector of Grabovica and Skender Vakuf.
10 According to the information that I subsequently received, they were
11 withdrawing in three groups at least. Some of those engaged with members
12 of the VRS, some of the units surrendered to the Knezevo Brigade, and
13 some to the 1st Light Kotor Varos Brigade of the VRS.
14 Q. Apart from those men who were killed in Grabovica, what about the
15 transport of others? Was it uneventful or were there any problems as far
16 as you know?
17 A. As far as I know, their transport was uneventful.
18 Q. You have told us that you informed your commander, Trivic, about
19 what Lieutenant-Colonel Novakovic had told you; right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Lieutenant-Colonel Novakovic was the commander of the unit whose
22 elements were deployed in Grabovica; right?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. You have also told us that the War Presidency was abreast of the
25 killings in Grabovica; right?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. As a battalion commander, the commander of a battalion that was
3 not deployed in Grabovica, were you in a position to carry out an
4 independent investigation at the time?
5 A. No, I couldn't do that.
6 Q. Apart from briefing your own commander, were you duty-bound to
7 brief or report to anybody else?
8 A. No, I was not duty-bound to do that.
9 Q. And now let's look at the last document I have.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] It's 65 ter number 31911. I don't
11 have its P number, if it indeed has been given one.
12 Q. We'll go back to the document but let's first look at the top of
13 the page, and we can see that the newspaper was published on Thursday,
14 5 November 1992. And it says here: "Kotor Varos, 4 November," this is
15 what the news item is about.
16 Do you remember the date when you gave this interview?
17 A. No, I can't remember the date with any reliability.
18 Q. When you're talking about the liquidation of extremists, what
19 liquidation did you have in mind?
20 A. I was talking about the liquidation of extremists who were
21 liquidated in fighting with the Knezevo Brigade in the sector above
22 Jezica in the direction of Knezevo.
23 Q. It says here in the text that there were over 60 casualties on
24 the side of Muslim fighters. As a matter of fact, I have no further
25 questions about this particular document.
1 Mr. Zupljanin, this was all I had prepared for you. Thank you
2 for having answered my questions.
3 A. Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Bibles, you didn't tender this document.
5 MS. BIBLES: Right. My appreciation to my colleague across the
6 courtroom. I would now tender 31911.
7 JUDGE ORIE: The number, Madam Registrar, would be ...?
8 THE REGISTRAR: 31911 receives Exhibit P7091, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
10 Witness, before you give an opportunity to Ms. Bibles to put
11 further questions to you, I have a question in relation to paragraph 19
12 of your statement wherein you emphasised that you were the first to
13 prepare and send the superior command the report on the event at
14 Koricanske Stijene where the 22nd Infantry Brigade played a positive role
15 in the sense of providing help to the wounded.
16 Could you -- you are not further elaborating on the event. Could
17 you tell us exactly what you refer to?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the massacre of civilians
19 from Prijedor at Koricanske Stijene, and that location is within the
20 deployment sector of the 22nd Infantry Brigade.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you say you provided help to the wounded.
22 There were not many wounded because most of them were killed, isn't it?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now - and I'm also looking at the Defence -
25 you say that you have prepared and sent a report to the superior command.
1 Is that anywhere in evidence, Mr. Lukic? Or is it -- because the
2 Chamber, in order to better understand and analyse the evidence, would
3 like to see how this report was -- what the text of that report is.
4 Do you have a copy or -- was it a written report, to start with,
5 as the first question?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have a copy of that report
7 but I know for a fact that the written report was conveyed to the corps
8 command through our communications means. Lieutenant-Colonel, or
9 Colonel, Peulic and I discussed that subsequently.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now was your positive role set out there, or
11 was the event in its entirety described? That is, with a lot of people
12 apparently just executed, very few surviving. Now what did you report?
13 Or do the parties have the report anywhere so that we could at least have
14 a look at how it was reported? But perhaps the witness could tell us
15 already and the parties meanwhile will search for whether there is a
16 report available.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When we learnt that the massacre
18 had taken place, that the civilians over there had been killed - I'm
19 talking about Koricanske Stijene - Peulic learnt about that, and he
20 immediately sent some of the soldiers to the site of the incident. There
21 were members of the scout detachment or the military police. They
22 returned and told him that the civilian population had indeed been
23 massacred over there. And then Peulic ordered the scouts and the
24 military police to try and see what could be done in order to save the
25 victims. I learned later on, not on that date, but indeed later on that.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But now what did the report say?
2 Ms. Bibles.
3 One second, please.
4 MS. BIBLES: Your Honour, I could direct your attention to
5 65 ter 6644, which is a report of the 1KK from Lieutenant-Colonel Peulic
6 regarding this event.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. We may have a look at it soon.
8 What did you report? A massacre has happened. Many civilians
9 were killed, were executed, but fortunately a few survived -- one second.
10 But fortunately we were able to help the very few survivors. And is that
11 the kind of report? Or was it: We learned about people being wounded
12 and we went there to help them? Could you describe more or less what the
13 gist of the report was.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The gist of the report was this: A
15 crime or a massacre took place in the deployment sector of the brigade.
16 A lot of people were killed. The brigade undertook measures in order to
17 learn more and to possibly help the survivors. I believe that that was
18 the gist of that report.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Let's ... one second, please.
20 Yes, perhaps we get 65 ter 6640 on our -- was it 6640? Let me
21 just a look. 6644 on our screen.
22 Yes, I see the report indeed in very clear terms describes - we
23 have it on our screen now - that refugees were taken out and genocide
24 against the civilians was committed by killing them in various ways and
25 throwing them into the river canyon. That is an unequivocal description
1 of a massacre.
2 Now I see that Lieutenant-Colonel Peulic did send this document.
3 Is there any documentary support for your participation in the
4 preparation and the sending of this report?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know if there's any
6 documentary support. When a report is handwritten, it is sent to the
7 communications service of the unit, which then in its turn does what they
8 need to do with the unit. The report is submitted to the commander, and
9 it can be prepared by anybody in the unit who was given the task to
10 prepare it.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and you said you prepared that report. Is that
12 how I have to understand or ...
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I provided the main determinants of
14 that report, as it were.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and how did you learn about it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Somebody came to the command to
17 talk to Peulic. He briefed us -- or him about the incident and then
18 Peulic in his turn briefed all the others of us at the command.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now it's still not clear what then exactly
20 your role was in that. The report is clear.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't play any particular role.
22 When we learnt about that and when we realised what had happened, we
23 immediately knew and were of the opinion that our superior command had to
24 be told the truth.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's clear.
1 Mr. Lukic, I can imagine that this clearly supports -- at least
2 that Peulic reported at some point in time, the time is a still a bit
3 unclear because the date, whether it's August or not, it looks as if it's
4 the 21st. Now it's my recollection that the -- could -- do the parties
5 have a common opinion about on what date the Koricanske Stijene -- wasn't
6 it the 28th of August?
7 MS. BIBLES: I believe it was the 21st of August, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: 21st of August. If it would be the 21st August,
9 then it may be very likely that what is illegible which --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 21st.
11 JUDGE ORIE: -- looks a bit like it could be well be an 8 in the
12 original, I would say. It also looks a bit like a 6. But the two do not
13 contradict each other necessarily.
14 Mr. Lukic, would this be a document you'd like to tender?
15 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour, we'd like to tender it. Thank you.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Madam Registrar.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Document 06644 receives Exhibit Number D888,
18 Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: D888 is admitted into evidence.
20 Any further questions?
21 MS. BIBLES: Just briefly, Your Honour. I'd like to go back
22 quickly to P852.
23 Further Cross-examination by Ms. Bibles:
24 Q. Sir, was it your recollection that most of the War Presidency
25 meetings were early in the morning, around 8.00?
1 A. Yes, in the early morning hours usually.
2 Q. And we see on our screen the document Mr. Lukic referred to on
3 the 4th of November, 1992, and this reflects 8.00 a.m. Is that
4 consistent with your recollection of that meeting?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And then if we could go to P441 which was also directed to your
7 attention on re-direct.
8 MS. BIBLES: If we could go to page 3 in both versions.
9 Q. And, sir, would you agree that the 1900 hours at the end of this
10 report would suggest that this was the evening report submitted to the
11 corps? I'm sorry, from the corps.
12 A. I don't see that. 1900 hours?
13 Q. If you -- excuse me, sir, if you could look down at the bottom of
14 the page in the little square.
15 MS. BIBLES: Perhaps we could blow that up.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Inside the stamp.
17 MS. BIBLES: Yes, thank you.
18 Q. Inside the stamp.
19 A. Yes, it may be 1900 hours because the units used to submit their
20 reports to the corps command by that time.
21 Q. So is it also reasonable to conclude from these documents that
22 the killing of the 150 men occurred sometime after 8.10 in the morning
23 and 1900 hours in the evening on the 4th of November, 1992?
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you after or do you say between?
25 MS. BIBLES: I'm sorry, between.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, now, Ms. Bibles, are you seeking a conclusion
2 from this witness interpreting the documents? Is that what you are
3 seeking from him? Ask him what he knows, and if you want to draw
4 conclusions then, perhaps that's argument rather than --
5 MS. BIBLES: And I apologise. I was moving quickly.
6 Q. Having seen these two documents and reflecting on your own
7 knowledge at the time, do you believe that it's likely the men were
8 killed during sometime between 8.10 in the morning and 1900 on the
9 4th of November, 1992?
10 A. You mean Koricanske Stijene?
11 Q. No, I'm sorry, referring to the men at Grabovica.
12 A. It may have been during that interval, yes, because we didn't
13 hear anything about that in the morning.
14 MS. BIBLES: And I have no further recross, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Lukic, I left it until the very last end
16 of -- and perhaps ... yes, just to let you know -- do you have any
17 further questions for the witness?
18 MR. LUKIC: No, I don't, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then I -- then there's no problem perhaps in
20 raising the matter.
21 You asked the witness whether it was still negotiating rather
22 than doing anything else, referring to P440. Now, of course, I've
23 carefully listened to the answer of the witness but if I read in P444,
24 under 2, the Kotor Varos 1st Light Infantry Brigade is carrying out an
25 attack with some of its forces and then the whole thing is described
1 there. Then, of course -- and we'll carefully consider the answer of the
2 witness but apparently you did not put it to the witness and you should
3 be aware that if you conduct your examination in such a way that you
4 leave the Chamber to find out whether the document is the better or
5 whether the evidence of the witness is the better evidence.
6 I think P440, I think I have -- let me just check. I think it's
7 P440. I just wanted to bring this to your attention, but since you had
8 no further questions to the witness --
9 MR. LUKIC: I can maybe draw your attention, Your Honour - you
10 can check in other documents of this kind - that it was present tense
11 used for future actions in documents like this. And you can see in the
12 document on the second page that the command post was envisaged to be
13 established on 1st of 11.
14 JUDGE ORIE: That's all fine but the language is pretty clear:
15 Is carrying out --
16 MR. LUKIC: [Overlapping speakers] -- is present --
17 JUDGE ORIE: -- an attack and describes then what should be done
18 according to the success of the action undertaken at that point in time
19 in which Vecici is -- okay.
20 I leave it to that, but just be aware that if you ask these
21 questions, that, of course, the Chamber will not stop reading the
22 documents. We leave it to that.
23 Witness, I'd like to thank you very much for coming a long way to
24 The Hague and for having answered all the questions that were put to you,
25 put to you by the parties and put to you by the Bench, and I wish you a
1 safe return home again.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
3 JUDGE ORIE: You may follow the usher.
4 I would prefer that the statement is returned to the party that
5 has provided it, and that is the Defence in this case.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE ORIE: I think we first take a break. And then is the
8 Defence ready to call its next witness after the break?
9 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour, we are ready, and we are calling
10 Mr. Kolenda, Davor.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then we will take a break and resume at
12 20 minutes to 2.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 1.17 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 1.41 p.m.
15 JUDGE ORIE: We're waiting for the witness to be escorted in the
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Kolenda, I presume.
20 Mr. Kolenda, before you give evidence, the Rules require that you
21 make a solemn declaration. The text is now handed out to you, and I'd
22 like to invite to you make that solemn declaration.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 WITNESS: DAVOR KOLENDA
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 JUDGE ORIE: Please be seated, Mr. Kolenda.
3 Mr. Kolenda, you'll first be examined by Mr. Lukic. You find
4 Mr. Lukic to your left. Mr. Lukic is counsel for Mr. Mladic.
5 Mr. Lukic, please proceed.
6 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Kolenda.
9 A. Good afternoon.
10 MR. LUKIC: I would kindly ask the assistance of the usher to
11 hand the written statement to Mr. Kolenda.
12 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kolenda, for the record, please, kindly tell
13 us your first and last name.
14 A. Davor Kolenda.
15 MR. LUKIC: And can we have 1D1705 on our screens, please.
16 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kolenda, did you provide a statement to
17 members of General Mladic's Defence team?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. In front of you on the screen and in hard copy is a document. Do
20 you see a signature on it and do you recognise it?
21 A. I do, and it is my signature.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let us go to the last page now. It
23 is on the screen.
24 Q. Do you recognise the signature there?
25 A. I do.
1 Q. Is it yours?
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. Thank you. You have had occasion to go through the statement.
4 Hence, I would like to ask you whether what is recorded in it is recorded
6 A. Yes, it is.
7 Q. Does the statement accurately and truthfully reflect what you
8 told us? Is it accurate and truthful?
9 A. I provided a similar statement in July 1993, and I think the two
10 are identical.
11 Q. If I were to put the same questions to you today, would you
12 answer the same way?
13 A. Given the fact that I was an eye-witness to these events, my
14 answer is yes, I would.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness kindly
16 be asked to speak up or approach the microphone.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please come a bit closer to the microphone
18 or to speak slightly louder.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Lukic, one of your questions were not
20 answered. The question if the statement accurately and truthfully
21 reflects what he has told.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Kolenda, you heard the question. We are missing something in
24 the transcript. The contents of this written statement, does it
25 accurately reflect what you stated at the time?
1 A. Yes, it does.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, the witness referred to a statement in
4 July 1993.
5 MR. LUKIC: He said that he gave almost the same statement in
6 1993 --
7 JUDGE ORIE: But to who --
8 MR. LUKIC: To some other organ, not to our [overlapping
9 speakers] --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do not know -- to whom did you give a
11 statement in 1993?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To the SIS service of the HVO. It
13 is the security service of the Croatian Defence Council.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. After this we would tender
17 the statement of Mr. Kolenda into evidence, Your Honours.
18 MR. BOS: No objections, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, the number would be ...?
20 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D01705 receives Exhibit Number D889,
21 Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: D889 is admitted.
23 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. And I will just read the
24 statement summary of Mr. Kolenda and I will not have questions for him at
25 this moment.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed.
2 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 In 1993, Mr. Kolenda held the positions of chief of general
4 affairs and general secretary of HVO, Croat Defence Council of Travnik.
5 Having been an official of the Croatian Defence Council in the
6 Croat Republic of Herceg-Bosna, Mr. Kolenda will testify about the armed
7 clashes between the Muslims and Croats in Central Bosnia and about the
8 exodus of the Croat population from Central Bosnia on 7th of June, 1993.
9 Mr. Kolenda tried to negotiate with UNPROFOR to help Croat
10 population to safely leave the area of Travnik but UNPROFOR
11 representatives refused to do so. Because of this, he started to
12 negotiate with the Serb side the evacuation of the wounded and immobile
13 civilians, the elderly, women, and children through the Serb-held
15 When the Muslims had cut off the road through Bukovica, a large
16 number of military conscripts were heading towards Galica and Serb-held
17 territory together with the civilians.
18 He will speak about the movement of several thousand women,
19 children, men, and soldiers across Mount Vlasic and Kupres, through the
20 Serb territory, and about the humanitarian and medical aid provided by
21 the Serbs during the passage.
22 Davor Kolenda will explain that a military element of HVO was
23 accommodated at Manjaca for several days during the above-described
24 movement, until vehicles were provided for their further transport. He
25 will testify that the accommodation was provided on humanitarian grounds
1 and without any criminal motive, whereby he will refute the assertions of
2 the expert, Witness Ewan Brown.
3 On 12th of June, 1993, Croat soldiers were taken from Manjaca to
4 Vares, Croat-held territory in B and H.
5 That was the short summary.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
7 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: You have no further questions. Could you assist us,
9 Mr. Lukic. Is it in general that the evidence refutes the assertions of
10 Ewan Brown or is it specific portions which --
11 MR. LUKIC: It is specific portion of Mr. Brown's report
12 regarding Manjaca, when he was describing that Manjaca was operating as a
13 camp in 1993 as well and had in mind this --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. That's --
15 MR. LUKIC: -- placement of HVO soldiers.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Then it is clear that it's about that portion.
17 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, even when Mr. Lukic has no questions for
19 you, it doesn't mean that your evidence is lacking importance in no way,
20 but we have it in written form here. And you will now be cross-examined
21 by Mr. Bos. Mr. Bos is counsel for the Prosecution.
22 Mr. Bos, you may proceed.
23 MR. BOS: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Cross-examination by Mr. Bos:
25 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Kolenda.
1 Sir, just prior to the outbreak of the military clash between the
2 ABiH and the HVO in June 1993, you held the position in the Travnik
3 government as minister of non-commercial sector information, general
4 affairs, and refugees; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And as the responsible person for refugee issues, I take it that
7 you had access to and knowledge of data relating to the number of
8 refugees that entered the municipality of Travnik in this period; is that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So you would have been aware that there was a mass flight from
12 the Krajina in the period between the commencement of the conflict and
13 mid-1993 and that more than 18.000 Bosnian Muslims from the Krajina area
14 registered in Travnik municipality alone?
15 A. According to my information, in early June 1993, there were
16 17.600 of them.
17 Q. Very well, sir. Almost 18.000. And is it not true that these
18 refugees from the Krajina were expelled on a daily basis from this area
19 by the VRS?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Sir, it was already mentioned at the beginning, it's true that
22 you also gave a statement to the HVO SIS, in effect it was on
23 September -- the 2nd of September, 1993; correct?
24 A. I think it was in July, although I don't know when it was filed
1 Q. But we'll -- I'm going to show you the statement. But this
2 statement is indeed almost identical verbatim to the content of your
3 statement that you gave to the Mladic Defence; correct?
4 A. I'd say 95 per cent identical.
5 Q. And it's those 5 per cent that -- there's a couple of parts in
6 that statement that were taken out and a couple of these parts that were
7 taken out I would like to go through, over with you.
8 MR. BOS: So I would ask the Registry to put on the screen
9 65 ter 31926.
10 Q. And this will be your SIS statement. And maybe if I could direct
11 you first to the last page, which is page 10 on the B/C/S version, and
12 maybe you can confirm there if that's indeed the signature -- your
13 signature on that page.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Sir, I want next direct you to the B/C/S page number 7 and the
16 English page number 8. And on the B/C/S page number 7 I'm referring you
17 to the bottom sentence, and the English on page 8, which reads, and I'll
18 read out the sentence:
19 "I was asked to give an interview to the Banja Luka Television
20 and to present the events in Travnik, which I did."
21 Can you see that sentence?
22 A. I must say that my sight does not allow me to read such small
23 text, but perhaps with the usher's assistance, it could be enlarged. In
24 any case, I did provide an interview for the Banja Luka TV.
25 MR. BOS: Let's try and enlarge it and we should enlarge the
1 bottom part of the statement because I'm talking about the one-but-last
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You enlarged the English version
4 but not the Croatian one.
5 MR. BOS:
6 Q. Give us a moment.
7 A. Certainly.
8 Q. There, so --
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That is not sufficient. We could remove the
10 English one for a while so that the witness is able to read an enlarged
11 the B/C/S part.
12 MR. BOS: Yeah, thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No need. It's fine.
14 MR. BOS:
15 Q. So is this large enough, Mr. Kolenda?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. So as I said I'd like to refer you to the one-but-last sentence
18 which says:
19 "I was asked to give an interview to the Banja Luka Television
20 and to present the events in Travnik, which I did."
21 You read that sentence?
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now we could again put the English version as
25 MR. BOS: Well, maybe if -- if we can leave it for one minute
1 because I'm going to ask about the next sentence as well.
2 Q. But let me first ask you this: This request to give an interview
3 to the Banja Luka Television, that was shortly made after you and all the
4 civilians had been evacuated from Ovcarevo to the Serb-controlled area of
5 Kalesija. Is that correct? And so this was on the 7th of June.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Shouldn't we move to the next page in the B/C/S.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, the statement was given
8 immediately after my arrival at Galica. I appeared at Galica with my
9 escort following the protection unit's end of tasks. We followed them
10 and a colleague of mine came as last there on the 7th of June.
11 MR. BOS:
12 Q. Okay. Now, this sentence just corresponds directly with
13 paragraph 38 of your 92 ter statement. But the next sentence - and I'll
14 read that one out to you - is a sentence that is not found back in your
15 statement and this one reads:
16 "The Serbs wanted to use that favour of their in media purposes
17 and they wanted it."
18 Now, the English translation is not very clear. Could you
19 explain what you meant by that sentence in your SIS statement?
20 A. I wanted to say what really happened in the field. That is to
21 say, we needed assistance with evacuating civilians, the wounded,
22 children, and a part of the armed force. The Serbs obviously used it for
23 propaganda purposes in order to show the world that they respect
24 international law and other elements of humanitarian law. They wanted to
25 have it publicised for everyone to see.
1 Q. And is it correct that after this interview that you gave to
2 Banja Luka Television that you also gave a statement to Reuters press
3 that day? And three days later that you were also giving statements at
4 Manjaca camp?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, sir, I would like to look at a press report that was issued
7 after your arrival at Manjaca camp.
8 MR. BOS: Could the Prosecution please have 65 ter 31928 on the
10 Q. Now, I hope we can enlarge it in such a way that can you read it,
11 Mr. Kolenda. Now, this is an article - and we'll read that in the first
12 part of the document - from a journalist called V. Dubocanin and it's
13 dated the 15th of June, 1993. And it's entitled: "Davor Kolenda,
14 Secretary-General of the Croatian Defence Council in Travnik, on genesis
15 of Muslim Croat conflict in former Bosnia-Herzegovina: Evil of Bajram."
16 Can you read that, that's in the first part of this document.
17 Now, this article -- in this article you discuss in more detail
18 the conflict between the Bosnian Muslims and the Croats in Travnik and
19 you express your gratitude on how you came to agreement with the Serbs to
20 save the Bosnian Croat civilians from Travnik from what you called in
21 this interview the invasion of Islamic evil. Do you recall giving this
22 interview to Mr. Dubocanin?
23 A. When I reached Galica, which is on Mount Vlasic overlooking
24 Travnik, I provided an interview to a TV crew brought there by the VRS.
25 It lasted for about 45 minutes. In that TV interview, I explained the
1 genesis of events from 1992, when the first incidents broke out involving
2 the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, until the moment we were expelled from
4 Q. Sir, if I could direct you to the last part of this document --
5 MR. BOS: And that will be page 2 of both the B/C/S and the
6 English version.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Could we first have a -- Witness, you explained to
8 us that you gave a TV interview. Was that an interview conducted by
9 Mr. Dubocanin or was that another interview?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have no idea who Mr. Dubocanin
12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
13 MR. BOS:
14 Q. Sir, I'm directing your attention now to the last part of this
15 interview in which are you quoted saying -- and I'll read out from the
16 document. This is when you were being asked about your treatment in
17 Manjaca camp, and you're saying:
18 "We were actually nicely received and welcomed, and we owe the
19 Serbs only gratitude. I have no criticisms whatsoever of the treatment
20 in the receiving centre in Manjaca, where primarily members of the HVO
21 were accommodated. They really treated us humanely."
22 Is this what you told the media about your treatment of the HVO
23 soldiers in Manjaca camp?
24 A. When I answered a moment ago, I said that it happened at Galica
25 before Manjaca. As for this interview, 22 years later, I really do not
1 recall it. However, in essence, it was so. I don't recall any
2 interviews with Mr. Dubocanin, but there were many journalist crews at
3 Manjaca and they all wanted a statement. Hence, I was unable to memorize
4 the journalists or soldiers who wanted statements.
5 In general, though, I can tell you now that as far as the
6 treatment in the reception centre in Manjaca is concerned, it was
7 correct. It was fair.
8 Q. Okay. I'd like to go back to your 1993 statement to the SIS in
9 which you also talk about your treatment in the Manjaca camp.
10 MR. BOS: So could the Prosecution please again have 65 ter 31926
11 on the screen. And this time I would like page 9 of this document of
12 both the English and the B/C/S version.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could I ask again that the Croatian
14 version be enlarged. I can follow it in English, but my mother tongue,
15 of course, comes more naturally, and I say this in order to avoid any
17 MR. BOS:
18 Q. Okay. Well, I hope we'll -- we'll [indiscernible] a bit and I'll
19 read out the parts so that -- but hopefully is this big enough?
20 A. Thank you.
21 Q. I'd like to refer you --
22 A. Yes, it's fine.
23 Q. I'd like to refer you to the top of page 9 where it reads in:
24 "In the meantime on 9 June 1992, we organised cleaning and we
25 made latrines."
1 Now this sentence corresponds with paragraph 43 of your present
2 statement, but then the 1993 SIS statement continues and I'll read that
4 "We were not eating anything at all from the time we set off to
5 Kalesija until 10 June 1993. On 10 June 1993, we got the first meal
6 which was a piece of bread and a bit of patty. On 11 June 1993 food from
7 the regional office of Caritas in Banja Luka arrived, and almost all of
8 us got diarrhea due to the milk from that shipment."
9 If we continue reading this part of your SIS statement, we get to
10 a sentence that is found back again in paragraph 44 of your present
11 statement and reads:
12 "The journalists came twice more and told us that the civilians
13 were transferred to Croatia through Novsk."
14 Your SIS statement then continues with a couple of
15 paragraphs that were again not found back in your present statement, and
16 I'll read them out again:
17 "On 11 June 1993, the TV crew of the Serb army came and
18 maltreated us the whole day, requesting us to shout together: 'Bosnia is
19 Serbian as much as Moscow is Russian. We are the war prisoners of the
20 Army of the Republic of Srpska. We are the HVO soldiers.' I officially
21 protested against that maltreatment and the words we had to shout. I
22 informed all the soldiers about it and they supported it."
23 Now, Mr. Kolenda, when you say: "I informed all the soldiers
24 about it and they supported it," which soldiers are you referring to?
25 A. All the soldiers, conditionally speaking, of approximately 882,
1 as far as I can remember, and those men had arrived in the Manjaca
2 collection centre. Some 500 had been members of the HV units and the HV
3 police. The others were of military age, between the ages of 18 and 50,
4 but they had not all been soldiers before. We were accommodated in two
5 barns, some 450 in one and some 450 in the other. Those barns had their
6 commanders. We were told that we should arrange our own life within the
7 collection centre and that the Army of Republika Srpska would guard us.
8 The barns had its two commanders, and then those commanders
9 decided that I would communicate with the soldiers of the VRS and
10 represent all the inmates. So I went to both of the barns, and together
11 with their commanders, I informed them that I had lodged a protest as a
12 result of the ill-treatment that lasted all day. I personally believe
13 that it was not in accordance with any international rules and
14 regulations. Well, I could have understood that they needed some sort of
16 Q. All right. And if you say that HVO soldiers supported your
17 protest, does that mean that they all felt humiliated by the treatment of
18 the VRS TV crew?
19 A. When somebody leaves you outside at a temperature of over
20 30 degrees centigrade and when you're asked to give a statement and say
21 that Bosnia is Serbian as much as Moscow is Russian and when you go on
22 repeating that so that you may be recorded from all the different angles,
23 obviously it is humiliating. We were not real prisoners, as a matter of
24 fact. We came to seek assistance there. We hadn't been captured in a
25 proper military way.
1 MR. BOS: At this stage, I would like to tender Mr. Kolenda's SIS
2 witness statement under Rule 65 ter number 31926.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document 31926 receives Exhibit Number P7092
5 [Realtime transcript read in error "P7192"], Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted into evidence.
7 MR. BOS: And I would also like to tender the press release under
8 65 ter 31928.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Document 31928 receives Exhibit Number P7093,
11 Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ORIE: P7093 is admitted into evidence.
13 Mr. Bos, I think we are at the time to --
14 MR. BOS: Yeah --
15 JUDGE ORIE: -- to adjourn.
16 MR. BOS: If I can make just one correction on the transcript
17 because the transcript of the first -- the first exhibit reads "P7192"
18 and it should read "P7092."
19 JUDGE ORIE: That is hereby corrected. Yes, there's more wrong.
20 I think that the words are spoken by Madam Registrar and not by myself so
21 that has to be reviewed, that line, anyhow.
22 Mr. Kolenda, we'll adjourn for the day. We'd like to see you
23 back tomorrow morning at 9.30, but before you leave this courtroom, I
24 would instruct you that you should not speak or communicate in whatever
25 way with whomever it may be about your testimony, that is testimony given
1 today or testimony still to be given tomorrow. If that is clear to you,
2 you may follow the usher.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 JUDGE ORIE: We adjourn for the day, and we'll resume tomorrow,
6 Tuesday, the 3rd of February, 9.30 in the morning, in this same
7 courtroom, I.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.18 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 3rd day of
10 February, 2015, at 9.30 a.m.