1 Wednesday, 16 February 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, good morning, Madam Registrar. Could you call
6 the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-03-68-T, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Appearances -- sorry. Mr. Oric, can
10 you follow the proceedings in a language that you can understand?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Yes, I
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you. You may sit down.
14 Appearances for the Prosecution.
15 MR. WUBBEN: Good morning, Your Honours, and good morning to my
16 learned friends from the Defence team. My name is Jan Wubben, lead
17 counsel for the Prosecution, together with co-counsel,
18 Ms. Patricia Sellers, Mr. Gramsci Di Fazio, and our case manager,
19 Ms. Donnica Henry-Frijlink.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I thank you, and good morning to you and your
22 Appearances for Naser Oric.
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours, and my
24 learned friends. My name is Vasvija Vidovic, and together with
25 Mr. John Jones, we represent Mr. Naser Oric. And together with us, our
1 legal assistant, Ms. Jasmina Cosic, and our case manager, Mr. Geoff
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, and good morning to your team.
4 Can we bring in the witness, or are there preliminary matters you
5 wish to address? The Prosecution?
6 MR. WUBBEN: Just a short one to hand over, Your Honours, the
7 documents I promised at the end of the private session on Monday, to hand
8 over to the Court and the --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Does that include --
10 MR. WUBBEN: Defence counsel has already the copies, and I will
11 not go into --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Does that include the aerial map with
13 the two buildings you were interested in being shown or not?
14 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, it is at the end of the private session.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: We are to guess where those two buildings are.
16 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, would you assign a P number to this.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, of course, that's what we are going to do.
18 I take it that you confirm that you have these documents,
19 Mr. Jones? Yes.
20 Do you agree these are two documents, Mr. Wubben, no?
21 MR. WUBBEN: That's correct, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's start -- Madam Registrar, can you follow?
23 Let's start with the first one, and this is a one-page document in each of
24 the two languages, B/C/S and English, bearing ERN number 03642076. This
25 is given exhibit number P ...?
1 THE REGISTRAR: 494.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: 494, P494.
3 And the second document.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Number P495.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, which will be given exhibit number P495.
6 Consists of a document which starts with ERN 03639227 until 03639244, in
7 both languages.
8 Yes, are you ready, Mr. Wubben?
9 MR. JONES: Your Honour, I have a preliminary. Perhaps we could
10 move into private session.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session for a while. Yes,
13 [Private session]
11 Page 5150 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 5151 redacted. Private session.
7 [Open session]
8 [The witness entered court]
9 WITNESS: NEDRET MUJKANOVIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Dr. Mujkanovic.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: We will be proceeding with your
15 Yes. Yes, go ahead.
16 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you.
17 Examined by Mr. Wubben: [Continued]
18 Q. Good morning, Dr. Mujkanovic.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. I will start my questions regarding an issue of uniforms, wearing
21 uniforms. We already addressed that issue yesterday. Yesterday, you
22 clarified to the Judges wearing uniforms, also to be used for the military
23 actions in the various areas. Your testimony also referred to special
24 forces operating during those military actions. Now, my question is: Did
25 these special forces that you mentioned also wear uniforms, to your
2 A. When I was talking about special units, I didn't mean special
3 units in the sense of a well-organised unit. Such a unit was always made
4 of individuals, of those fighters who were ready at that moment to carry
5 out a task. Their uniforms were the same as the uniforms of other troops.
6 It was not an established unit. It was not dressed or armed differently
7 than other members of the armed forces of Srebrenica.
8 Q. And did these units, these special units, also wear bands or
10 A. They wore bands as well as the others. This was a recognition
11 sign, the sign by which they recognised each other.
12 Q. Where do these bands or ribbons, if you may use that word, come
14 A. They took those bands from a factory which was in Zenica. The
15 name of that factory was Vezionica. Its main activity was to manufacture
16 clothes, bridal dresses, night wear, bed linen, and similar things. This
17 factory stopped working at the beginning of the war, and it still had some
18 cloth on the stock, and this material was used during the war. We used it
19 for dressing wounds and similar things.
20 Q. This village where this factory is located is near Srebrenica?
21 A. It is in Srebrenica, some 300 metres before the hospital as you
22 approach Srebrenica from the direction of Bratunac.
23 Q. Can I take it, if so, that prior to an attack or a military
24 action, those bands were circulated, were given to the units involved?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And who distributed those bands or ribbons?
2 A. I don't know. Yesterday, I said whenever I got a wounded
3 soldiers, they always wore those bands. And the colours of those bands
4 differed from one action to another. One time they were white; the other,
5 they were light blue or pink, and so on and so forth.
6 Q. And where did you get the bands from? Who distributed the bands
7 to you, your hospital?
8 A. We received cloth from that factory, and then we used that cloth
9 to make dressing and material that we used to dress the wounds. It was
10 not Dr. Hasanovic who did that; he was the hospital director. But he was
11 in charge of the logistics of the hospital, so he was in charge of all the
13 Q. Another issue, Dr. Mujkanovic. During your stay in Srebrenica,
14 August 1992, April 1993, did you notice any storage houses or facilities
15 where various goods had been stored?
16 A. I know that there was a depot or a warehouse which I saw for the
17 first time in the second half of September, in Srebrenica. This was a
18 depot in the part of town called Petrica. I believe that this is where
19 the warehouse was, at the very beginning of that part of the town. This
20 was a building which, probably even before the war, used to be used as a
21 warehouse or a storage, because that's how it was designed.
22 Q. Was that the only storage house or storage facility?
23 A. Later on, towards the end of November and the beginning of
24 December, or even the end of November, the first humanitarian convoy
25 entered Zenica. It was followed by another one seven days later. This
1 convoy brought food, blankets, and some other things that were needed by
2 the people. They also brought some supplies for the war hospital, some
3 gauzes, some medicines, and so on and so forth. In the department store
4 called Srebrenica, in the centre of town, another storage facility was
5 opened in order to accommodate all those supplies.
6 Q. And in Potocari, was there also a storage facility or a storage
8 A. There was no official storage facility to store food or other
9 supplies in Potocari. There were only the two that I have just mentioned
10 in the town of Srebrenica.
11 Q. And was there a more unofficial storage house in Potocari?
12 A. I wouldn't be able to tell you anything about unofficial storage
13 facilities. However, in my conversations with the troops, I learned that,
14 in Naser Oric's house, or the house where he lived, there was a storage
15 and that is where some of the ammunition was kept. So this was in his own
16 house. There was also some food storage there, and this all served for
17 the purposes of the army.
18 Q. What purposes of the army? Can you please clarify to the Judges?
19 A. This was a reserve stock for the fighters. This is where they got
20 their food from. Yesterday, I said that the biggest problem in Srebrenica
21 was the lack of food, and that the lack of food made people to go into
22 actions, to obtain food. Those fighters who participated in the fighting
23 did not have the time to obtain food, so this storage was used to supply
24 food to extremely courageous people who fought in those actions. So the
25 most extremely courageous people would obtain food for themselves and for
1 their families from this place, from this unofficial storage.
2 Q. And who allowed those extremely courageous soldiers to receive
3 food from that storage in Potocari?
4 A. According to my information, and according to what I heard, this
5 storage was in Naser Oric's house. Who was in charge of the storage
6 itself, I don't know. I was never there, and I didn't know how this food
7 was distributed, and in what quantities.
8 Q. And did Naser Oric give permission to distribute food according to
9 the purposes you mentioned?
10 A. I don't know. I'm not sure. I would not venture to provide any
11 answer to something like that. I didn't know.
12 Q. When it comes to the other storage facilities, what kind of
13 supplies had been stored over there?
14 A. The other storages were under the control of the War Presidency
15 and the civilian protection of Srebrenica. They contained some food and
16 some other things, such as blankets, clothes. They were usually half
18 Q. And who secured the storage depot at Potocari?
19 A. I don't know about Potocari. I was never there. I'm just telling
20 you what I heard. I was not there. I can tell you something about the
21 storage facility in Petrica, where I went on two or three occasions.
22 Q. And my next question is: Where did these goods come from? I mean
23 the food, blankets, clothes.
24 A. I've already said that the convoy arrived in Srebrenica towards
25 the end of November, and the next one which came at the beginning of
1 December, those were the only two convoys. The next one after that
2 arrived at the beginning of April 1993. These convoys brought clothes,
3 blankets, and similar things, and they also brought flour, oil, some
4 sugar, some tinned food, cheese, and so on and so forth. Before that, the
5 villages which were around Srebrenica were obliged to provide a certain
6 quantity of food for the hospital, and that food was stored in the storage
7 facility in Petrica. In other words, from all the villages, people would
8 bring food. Somebody would bring corn flour, somebody else would bring
9 marmalade, somebody else would bring lard. This was just something that
10 the population did in order to provide for the normal functioning of the
11 hospital. People also brought milk.
12 Q. And is it knowledge -- and is it your knowledge whether or not
13 these goods also were brought in after some military actions, like goods
14 looted by participants in the actions?
15 A. No such food was brought into these storage facilities after
16 military operations, because the houses had already been looted by
17 civilians going to and fro. But I don't know how they organised, what
18 sort of an arrangement they had in the villages, because they had had to
19 set aside apart of the staple foods for the purposes of the army -- of the
20 military. Probably some foods obtained by civilians in such a way ended
21 up in the hospital. However, the civilians, the villagers, had the
22 obligation to set aside some of the foods that were then transported to
23 the hospital, and that was used for patients.
24 I can tell you that Srebrenica used to have some 200, 300, 400
25 wounded at a time, so that some of the wounded in the beginning were put
1 up in the Hotel Domavija, and others in the sanitary facility. And that
2 was the only source of food for these wounded.
3 Q. So, Dr. Mujkanovic, is it your testimony that storage facilities
4 in Srebrenica at that time had to serve both civilians and military, and
5 the storage house of Naser Oric had the purpose for the army?
6 A. At the time these storage facilities were used for the purposes of
7 the hospital and some exceptionally vulnerable population in Srebrenica,
8 the elderly, who were unable to come by food in any other way and were
9 thus issued with a certain amount of food to enable them to survive,
10 whereas the villages themselves, they were there to provide food for the
11 military. I was trying to explain to you that the units were not billeted
12 in any barracks. The troops stayed in their own respective homes and
13 would then go to take up their positions at the front line and would then
14 be replaced by others and return home. And this is how it functioned, on
15 a rotational basis, but more as village guards rather than
16 well-established units.
17 The troops, therefore, had their meals at their own homes, and
18 nobody had to assume responsibility for feeding them and arming them.
19 Whatever they were able to come by themselves, they would have at their
21 Q. And this practice was your experience -- consistent with your
22 experience from August 1992?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I will move to another issue. But before, I have a short question
25 again about these uniforms. Whenever they were uniforms wearing, was that
1 also -- and I know that you confirmed to the Judges that only a small
2 percentage were wearing uniforms. But was there also a possibility of
3 white winter uniforms that the soldiers wore?
4 A. It is possible, yes.
5 Q. Have you ever seen those?
6 A. Yes, I have.
7 Q. When did you see them?
8 A. Some of the soldiers that I used to see wearing these white winter
9 uniforms, which were basically camouflage uniforms, but there was a sort
10 of overcoat that was placed on the clothes that they had on themselves,
11 and these uniforms were actually tailored and sewn in the manufacturing
12 plant that I mentioned earlier on, Vezionica. Those were the ones that I
13 saw, at least.
14 Q. And when you saw those uniforms, can I take it that that was,
15 indeed, wintertime?
16 A. Precisely so. It was wintertime.
17 Q. Snowing?
18 A. [In English] Snowing.
19 Q. Can I take it that that was the end of December or beginning of
20 January 1993?
21 A. [Interpretation] Mr. Wubben, Your Honours, in Srebrenica, the snow
22 falls in October and melts in April, so basically half of the year we are
23 covered in snow. That's the sort of climate we have there. And that's
24 what made the lives of the population there even more difficult, the fact
25 that there was this harsh wintertime.
1 Q. I'm aware of that, Dr. Mujkanovic. That's why I focussed on the
2 month. Do you recall what month or time you saw those white uniforms
4 A. Sometime in December, January, February, March.
5 Q. Thank you. Yesterday, you testified about a document regarding
6 the resignation of the staff of the armed forces of Srebrenica. Did that
7 list, as you recall, and this is just refreshing -- that list of resigning
8 staff, also include Hamid Salihovic?
9 A. I saw Hamid Salihovic listed first yesterday, and then Ramiz
10 Becirevic, and then I don't recall who the other ones were.
11 MR. WUBBEN: I would like to have now the assistance of the usher
12 for document P200.
13 Your Honours, it's -- the translation in English is on Sanction.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Wubben.
15 MR. WUBBEN: This is a document, ERN number 03721253. It's dated,
16 Srebrenica, 16th of April, 1993.
17 Q. And my first question is to you, Dr. Mujkanovic: Whose signature
18 is this?
19 A. This signature does look like Naser Oric's signature.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Would you please follow the procedure that we
21 adopted yesterday, and on previous occasions, to put it for a short while
22 on the ELMO so that the public can see which signature we're talking
23 about. Yes. I thank you.
24 Witness, you have seen this signature also on the ELMO. Could I
25 ask you to repeat your answer, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This signature does look like Naser
2 Oric's signature.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
4 MR. JONES: Sorry, we have an interpretation issue. The witness
5 always uses the term, I think it's slicni, which we understand resembles,
6 when the interpreters say "does look like," to us that implies an emphasis
7 which this witness isn't -- isn't stating. He's saying it resembles --
8 it's simply that -- perhaps the interpreters could be heavy on that. As
9 we understand it, it's weaker, slicni is, it resembles --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: We're understanding it as resembling. At least from
11 my point of view, I'm not laying any emphasis on the "does." "Looks like"
12 is "resemble," in any case.
13 MR. JONES: That's fine.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: A positive affirmation, in other words, what he's
15 saying, that there is a resemblance.
16 MR. JONES: Yes, there's a resemblance, it resembles, it looks
17 like, something of that nature.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, point taken, but don't worry about it,
19 Mr. Jones.
20 Yes, Mr. Wubben.
21 MR. WUBBEN:
22 Q. My next question relates to the content of this document. Please,
23 Dr. Mujkanovic, will you read it?
24 A. I've read the document.
25 Q. This is, and I will resume, an order that Hamid Salihovic is being
1 relieved of the duty of the chief for intelligence and security affairs.
2 My question is: What is your comment in respect to the resignation by
3 Hamid Salihovic as shown in the letter of resignation done in December
5 A. Well, what I've already told you yesterday: Resignation is an
6 act. By saying that you will resign, it doesn't necessarily mean that you
7 will, in actual fact, resign. Hamid Salihovic and other members of the
8 operations staff who signed some sort of a resignation continued
9 performing their duties until they were actually relieved of their duties
10 and assigned to different duties. And this document proves it, that Hamid
11 Salihovic was -- until the 16th of April, 1993, meaning for some four,
12 five months after he had actually handed in his resignation, continued
13 performing his functions within the operations staff.
14 Q. Thank you. I will move to another issue.
15 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you, usher.
16 Q. Dr. Mujkanovic, do you know whether or not there was, at your
17 time, at your stay in Srebrenica, any exchanges of Serb prisoners or
19 A. I myself did not attend any exchanges, nor was I aware of the
20 persons being exchanged. But I did know that there were some meetings led
21 by, chaired by Atif Ustic. These were meetings taking place between
22 Srebrenica and Bratunac, speaking in geographical terms, related to the
23 exchange of dead bodies on both sides.
24 Q. Can I take it that this Atif Ustic was in charge of the exchange?
25 Is that your knowledge?
1 A. To my knowledge, he negotiated and ran these exchanges, because I
2 recall this one dead body that was exchanged for a soldier who belongs to
3 his unit. And that's how I know that exchanges took place.
4 Q. You stayed for eight and a half months in Srebrenica. Was Atif
5 Ustic all the time in charge of the exchange?
6 MR. JONES: He didn't say he was in charge of the exchange. He
7 was asked that question and he didn't accept the suggestion that Atif
8 Ustic was in charge. So that has to be rephrased.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I think the objection is well-founded, Mr. Wubben.
10 Perhaps you can phrase your question. It's no big deal.
11 MR. WUBBEN: Point well taken. I'll withdraw that question.
12 Q. My question is: Your testimony is that Atif Ustic negotiated with
13 a view to exchange of Serb prisoners or detainees. Did he do that all the
14 time? Was he the person who negotiated all the time during your stay, or
15 was there any change of persons negotiating?
16 A. Atif Ustic died in early October 1992. He got killed. So I don't
17 know whether afterwards there was someone who negotiated, officially or
18 unofficially, for the exchange of prisoners and dead bodies. The only
19 thing I do know is that he ran these negotiations until his death, and
20 that I myself witnessed the exchange of one dead body, involving a member
21 of his unit.
22 Q. And did you learn from others, perhaps, who the name of his
23 successor was, if so?
24 A. I don't know if there was any successor. We have to clarify
25 certain things. Whether Atif Ustic led these exchanges of his own
1 initiative, that is something I don't know either. I only know that he
2 was the one holding talks about it. Later on, there was talk about some
3 people discussing matters, meeting with the Serbs at some sections of the
4 defence line. There was even talk of exchange of goods in certain areas,
5 localities like Zepa, and that they were discussing exchanges of those
7 I also heard that one of the people who used to meet with the
8 Serbs primarily on the issue of exchanging certain goods, and then also,
9 in so doing, discussing the exchanges, I believe he was Ibrahim Mandzic,
10 also known as Mrki. I'm not sure about his first name. I know that he
11 was Mrki Mandzic. But whether this was his own initiative or whether he
12 was an official representative, I cannot say. I only know what I told
13 you, that according to the stories that went around Srebrenica, that he
14 used to meet with the Serbs in some localities along those lines that I've
16 Q. Did Naser Oric play any --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone.
18 MR. WUBBEN:
19 Q. Did Naser Oric play any role in these exchanges of prisoners, Serb
20 prisoners, or detainees, as far as you know?
21 A. To the extent I know, he did not play any role, or at least I
22 don't know of it.
23 MR. WUBBEN: Usher, may I have your assistance, please. Exhibit
24 number P99. P99 is, Your Honour, an exhibit with ERN number 00926395.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Wubben.
1 MR. WUBBEN: And the English version is on the Sanction.
2 Q. Please take a look at this.
3 A. I've taken a look.
4 Q. Dr. Mujkanovic, do you recognise the signature? Whose signature
5 is this?
6 A. This signature looks like Naser Oric's signature.
7 Q. It is a letter or note, handwritten, dated the 10th of June, 1992.
8 And I refer -- I will refer with my question --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Can we put it back on the ELMO, please,
10 and zoom out, not zoom in. Zoom out. Yes.
11 Yes. You have been asked about the signature. Look at the lest
12 of the document, the handwriting that it contains. Does that handwriting
13 look familiar to you?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: All right, thank you.
16 Yes, Mr. Wubben.
17 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you.
18 Q. My question refers to the sentence: "We agree to exchange
19 everyone for everyone." This quoted, "everyone for everyone," are you
20 familiar with this kind of policy or known label? Do you have any comment
21 to that?
22 A. Yes, I do. This expression was frequently used during the
23 aggression on Bosnia-Herzegovina in relation to the exchanges. This means
24 that all those present on one side are exchanged for all those present on
25 the other side, regardless of what the numbers of these people captured or
1 killed on other side is. So it's not one for one but all for all. There
2 could be 10 people on one side, 15 people on the other, and the exchange
3 would cover them all, regardless of their numbers.
4 Q. And this was a common practice when it comes to exchanges like
6 A. This is what the Bosniak side customarily asked for, because
7 usually there were more Bosniaks killed than the Serbs, although I do not
8 claim that this was always the case. There may have been some conditions
9 placed upon the exchanges of the dead bodies. Otherwise, it was -- the
10 practice was all for all, because if it had been any different than this,
11 then it did become a very inhumane practice, if you understand what I
13 Q. Thank you. I would like to move now to another document. It's
14 document number --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Wubben, this last document that we have seen, is
16 the original in the possession of the Prosecution, or do you only have
17 photocopies of the original?
18 MR. WUBBEN: We have a photocopy, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: You don't have the original. In other words, there
20 is no way one can establish whether it's possible or probable that the
21 same ink was used.
22 MR. WUBBEN: I will make an oral submission on that later on.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
24 MR. WUBBEN: I hope to do that today or tomorrow.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. And one further question: You have not, by
1 any chance, had any examination of that document carried out by an expert
2 to establish whether it's written by the same person in its entirety, or
4 MR. WUBBEN: I have no knowledge so far in that respect.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm just asking you.
6 MR. WUBBEN: Yes. So I will include that in that oral submission.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, thank you. Let's proceed.
9 MR. WUBBEN: Next one, Your Honour, is P120. Please bear me a
10 moment. It is a document with an ERN number 01787832. The English
11 translation is on Sanction. It's a document dated the 26th of August,
13 Q. And my question to you, Dr. Mujkanovic: Do you recognise this
14 signature? Whose signature is this?
15 A. This signature looks like Naser Oric's signature.
16 Q. And in this document, it is referring to a name Veselj Avdic from
17 Voljevica? Do you know that person? Are you familiar with that person,
18 if so?
19 A. Voljevica. Yes, I am familiar with this person. Veselj Avdic
20 from Voljevica is Naser Oric's father-in-law, that is, Naser's wife's
21 father. I met the man upon my return from Srebrenica, in 1993 or 1994,
22 and I believe he died a few years back.
23 Q. Thank you. I will move to another document, and that's document
25 MR. WUBBEN: The usher has the English translation. This is a
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 document dated the 24th of December, 1992.
2 Q. My question is -- oh, ERN number 01239545. My question to you,
3 Dr. Mujkanovic, is: Do you recognise this signature? Whose signature is
5 A. This signature looks like Naser Oric's signature.
6 Q. There is referring in this order to paragraph -- in paragraph 2,
7 or under 2, an appointment of Ejub Golic, commander of the Glogova
8 Independent Battalion. My question is: Do you know this person?
9 A. Yes. Yes.
10 Q. Was the position referred to in this appointment consistent with
11 your experience in Srebrenica?
12 A. Ejub Golic was commander of the Glogova before and after. Glogova
13 is a village. I've been telling you about it. It's a village, a pretty
14 large one, and had units at the strength of a battalion. He was commander
15 of Glogova, and I know him as such. But I am not familiar with this
16 appointment or this order. But I do know Ejub Golic as commander of the
17 unit in charge of the village of Glogova, meaning the members of which
18 were villagers of Glogova.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: What's the date of this document? 24th December,
21 Dr. Mujkanovic, were there any Muslims still living in Glogova in
22 December 1992?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. Glogova was a Muslim
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Wasn't it attacked by the Serbs in May of 1992?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I don't know whether
2 there was an attack in May 1992. I know that Glogova belonged to the
3 municipality of Bratunac, and that in Glogova, either the entire village
4 or parts of the village were occupied by the Serbs. I don't know about
5 that, but I know that there were men from Glogova who were defending
6 either parts of the village or the entire village or half of the village.
7 In any case, people from Glogova were protecting their village, either
8 parts of it or the entire village.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: So you're not aware that on the 9th of May, or
10 thereabouts, of 1992, the Serb artillery attacked Glogova, that a number
11 of -- considerable number of Muslims were killed, and practically the
12 whole Muslim population of Glogova was forcibly removed from Glogova, and
13 houses destroyed? You're not aware of that? All right.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I'm not.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
16 MR. WUBBEN: In addition to that, Your Honour, I have a question
17 to Dr. Mujkanovic.
18 Q. Are you aware, is it your knowledge, that in December, and that
19 should be the 24th of December, Muslims might have retaken Glogova? The
20 24th of December, 1992.
21 A. I don't know that Glogova was retaken by Muslims. I only know
22 that this man was the commander of Glogova, Ejub Golic. I don't know
23 whether this applied to the entire territory of Glogova, part of it,
24 territories adjacent to Glogova. I really wouldn't be able to tell you
25 anything about that.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: We need to clear this up. Is it possible that this
2 battalion you're referring to, the independent -- that the document refers
3 to the independent - can I see the document again, please - the Glogova
4 Independent Battalion was tasked with looking after the interests of
5 Glogova but not based in Glogova? Is that possible?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're asking me something that I
7 cannot clarify, because I don't know it in the way you're asking me. I
8 met Ejub Golic. I knew that he was the commander of Glogova. I don't
9 know whether Glogova was a village retaken, whether it was a village
10 destroyed by the aggressor. But if there was a unit that covered that
11 area, maybe it was adjacent to Glogova, maybe it was not the entire
12 village that was under the control of these fighters from Glogova. I'm
13 sure that they were located in that place, in that locality.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Doesn't the first paragraph, the one numbered with
15 the number 1, indicate to you that, before the date of this document, the
16 Glogova Independent Battalion did not even exist?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It may not have existed as a
18 battalion, but it existed as a group of village guards or a formation of
19 village guards that existed there.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben. Thank you. And my apologies to
21 you for interrupting you.
22 MR. WUBBEN: I will move to the other document, document P10, P10
23 with the ERN number, Your Honour, 01239521. I will repeat: 01239521.
24 The English translation is on Sanction, Your Honour.
25 Q. Dr. Mujkanovic, please take a look at this document dated the 20th
1 of October, 1992, under the heading of "Srebrenica Armed Forces Staff," a
2 list of names under the label of "group pass." Can you take a look at the
3 signature? Whose signature is this? Do you recognise?
4 A. This signature resembles Naser's signature -- Naser Oric's
6 MR. WUBBEN: I must state that for the good order that this
7 original is double-sided, Your Honour, but I only will refer to the ERN
8 number that I already stated, so it ended up with 21.
9 Q. I have a question for you, Dr. Mujkanovic, regarding the content
10 of this document, a group pass, and a list of names. Are you familiar
11 with the contents of the issuing of such a group pass, or, at the bottom,
12 the travel from Srebrenica to Tuzla, as referred to?
13 A. I'm aware of the fact that a group of people, and the names that I
14 see here, most of them were sent to Tuzla to try and talk to the district
15 staff of the Territorial Defence in Tuzla and secure logistics for the
16 Srebrenica enclave. And the logistics implied weapons, ammunition,
17 medicines, medical supplies. And this group was supposed to bring some
18 doctors and nurses back to Srebrenica. I know that this group of people,
19 on their return from Tuzla towards Srebrenica, at the beginning of
20 December 1992, the entire group consisted of 100 people. As they were
21 returning from Tuzla to Srebrenica, this group was ambushed near Han
22 Pijesak, and out of the entire group numbering 100 people, only 30
23 survived. The rest were killed, amongst them, two doctors and all the
24 other paramedics. The remainder of the group, in mid-January, crossed
25 Zepa in the snow. They were taken back. They were frozen when they
1 reached Srebrenica. So, in other words, I am familiar with the entire
3 Q. And did that request for support or help also include a request
4 for conscripts?
5 A. Of course. Srebrenica, or the enclave which was called
6 Srebrenica, did not have enough men to put up resistance against the enemy
7 that encircled Srebrenica, and there was always a need to bring fresh men
8 from Tuzla and elsewhere. That's why one of the tasks of that group was
9 to bring people who were ready to come to Srebrenica. Those were usually
10 people who had resided in Srebrenica before the aggression on
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And when all this was happening, they were residing
12 either in Tuzla or somewhere in the Tuzla region. Amongst other things, a
13 task was to bring new people that would defend Srebrenica.
14 I know that most of these people, I believe that Nurija Memisevic
15 managed to return. Sometime in January, he was brought frozen from Zepa.
16 Salem Mandzic was killed, and actually the majority of people whose names
17 are on this list were killed on that occasion, among them were two
18 doctors. Actually, the entire medical staff was killed in that place.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. WUBBEN: The following document is P9, a document with the ERN
21 number 01239519. And the English version is on Sanction. Your Honours,
22 this is the last document I will show this witness.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: You're free to show him more if you like.
24 MR. WUBBEN:
25 Q. Please take a look at this document.
1 A. I've had a look at it.
2 Q. This document is dated, Srebrenica, 15th of October, 1992, and I
3 quote in the heading that it is referring to "an improvement of the
4 organisational and establishing of the structure of armed forces units in
5 the free territory of Srebrenica." Then there is the naming of order and
6 formation of brigades and battalions, and at the end, under paragraph 3,
7 units, including, under 3F, a medical company. At the bottom, and I
8 quote: "All unit commanders are hereby assigned to execute this order in
9 cooperation with the armed forces staff immediately, but no later than the
10 22nd of October, 1992."
11 My first question is: Do you recognise the signature?
12 A. This signature resembles Naser Oric's signature.
13 Q. When you take a look, Dr. Mujkanovic, at those brigades,
14 battalions, and units mentioned in this document, this order, is it
15 consistent with your experience that, in the period of your time at
16 Srebrenica, that's August 1992 until April 1993, these brigades,
17 battalions, and units have been formed or established?
18 A. I was not aware of this order. I was not aware of this order.
19 The first time I saw it was when the investigators showed it to me. I can
20 only say that the military formations were to be found in the geographic
21 areas that corresponded with certain villages. When you look at this, you
22 will see that this is 100 per cent so.
23 For example, Biljeg here, there was a military organisation there
24 composed of the villagers of Biljeg who manned the defence line there and
25 prevented the break-through of Serbs into that area. If there had been
1 such an order, indeed, it only confirmed the factual situation that
2 existed on the ground. This did not serve to form units. It is not like
3 200 soldiers were taken from Suceska, 50 from there and 10 from here, to
4 form units. This just confirmed the situation that already existed on the
5 ground. If a village had a company, then it was called a company; if it
6 was a battalion, then it would be called a battalion, for the simple
7 reason that I've already explained to you: There were no logistics to
8 organise the troops in the way they should have been organised. The
9 people were linked to their homes and their lines. The lines that they
10 defended were sometimes 50 metres away from their homes. They would go to
11 the line, to the trench there. After their shift, they would go back
12 home. In other words, this was not an organised army. This army was not
13 structured in any way. I would only be too happy if this functioned in
14 the way it is described here. One would think that this was an organised
15 army, an organised territory, an organised civilian authority.
16 Unfortunately, it wasn't the case.
17 Q. My question was not referring to the order itself but, indeed,
18 would like to have your comment whether or not these brigades existed at
19 the times of your stay in Srebrenica. Please allow me, Dr. Mujkanovic, to
20 be more specific than in my question.
21 Did, in October 1992, the Potocari Brigade exist?
22 MR. JONES: Your Honour, I hate to object, but the witness has
23 just given a very lengthy answer on this precise issue. Apart from the
24 slightly leading nature of the question, it invites the response, Well,
25 the Potocari Brigade was -- well, I won't give the evidence. But he's
1 answered this question.
2 MR. WUBBEN: No, Your Honour --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I think I -- we need to allow the question put by
4 Mr. Wubben for the following reason: It's true that the witness, in
5 answering the question, the previous question, tried to give as much
6 detail as you like, but he was speaking very generically. And what
7 Mr. Wubben is now trying to extract from the witness is a confirmation, or
8 otherwise, whether the various battalions that are mentioned here were
9 already in existence separately, one by one; in other words, were already
10 in existence more or less in the location shown, although maybe not
11 formally as an enrolled battalion in terms of the decree, law, of the
12 presidency of the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, armed forces, et cetera. So
13 basically in as far as he's trying to extract that information from the
14 witness, okay.
15 MR. JONES: That's fine. It's just really there's an ambiguity
16 which will creep in, which is that this witness has said that, for him, a
17 battalion means X number of people, a brigade means another number of
18 people. So he may accept, yes, there was a brigade there, by which he
19 means 400 men or something of that nature, and not an organised structure,
20 which is what he's been saying.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
22 MR. JONES: I just want to make sure that ambiguity is avoided.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Otherwise, the question is perfectly legitimate.
24 So, Mr. Wubben, please go ahead.
25 MR. WUBBEN:
1 Q. Dr. Mujkanovic, can you confirm, according to your knowledge,
2 whether or not the mentioned Potocari Brigade existed in October 1992?
3 A. In October 1992, there were units in Potocari. I didn't know that
4 they were called either brigades or battalions. They were not called that
5 way in normal conversations amongst people. Nobody ever mentioned the
6 name, "the brigade of Potocari." The term used was "fighters from
7 Potocari, fighters from Pale, fighters from Bostahovina." We never used
8 formation terms, such as company, battalion, brigade. No such thing
9 existed, and I believe that everybody will confirm this. This is not how
10 the things were. These are not the names we used. If anybody put it on
11 paper, I don't know why they did it. I would only be so happy if this was
12 the real situation.
13 Q. My next question is: So there were -- there was a formation in
14 Potocari of fighters, and was this formation also, in part, based in the
15 places mentioned under 1, Gornji Potocari, Gostilj and Pale.
16 A. That is so. That was the line, Potocari, Gostilj, Pale. The line
17 went from one village to another, and the corresponding units bore the
18 corresponding names. There was no need to put battalion 1, battalion 2,
19 battalion 3, because the army was not organised and the formations were
20 not called according to the villages. This implied the area of
21 responsibilities on the defence of Srebrenica. Gornji Potocari and the
22 formation which numbered maybe the number of men that suffice for a
23 battalion covered Gornji Potocari. The next one covered Pale. And these
24 were the men that were members of the units. They stayed at home and then
25 they would go to the lines from their homes, and return home after that.
1 Q. Thank you. Is it your testimony that the same applies to the
2 formation mentioned in paragraph 1, under B, Suceska Brigade, a formation
3 there, including the places Spasin Do?
4 A. Yes, that was absolutely so.
5 Q. Opetci?
6 A. Opetci these are all villages in the area of Suceska.
7 Q. And the same applies in paragraph number 1, under C?
8 A. Yes. Again, these are all the villages, Kragljivoda, Krajcici,
9 and Poljak. This is the south-eastern part of the Srebrenica enclave.
10 These are the villages, and the villagers from these villages made up
11 those units that defended their respective villages.
12 Q. And also the same as the formations called as independent
13 battalions mentioned under paragraph 2?
14 A. I've already said that there were two units in Srebrenica. One
15 was in the town of Srebrenica, Akif Ustic's unit, the name of which is
16 Stari Grad, if memory serves me well, and the other belonged to Kemal [as
17 interpreted] Meholjic which was in the Domavija Hotel. The former one was
18 in Stari Grad, in the very town centre, in the old part of the town.
19 Those were the battalions, and I believe that this refers to them. I
20 cannot be sure of that. But I believe that this refers to these two
21 battalions, because there were no other units in Srebrenica at the time
22 but these two.
23 MR. JONES: The witness actually said Hakija Meholjic. It's came
24 out as Kemal Meholjic.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: You just heard what Mr. Jones said.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Hakija Meholjic.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Jones.
3 MR. WUBBEN:
4 Q. The next question is: Does the same apply to the units as
5 mentioned under paragraph 3? And then I mean the units mentioned under A
6 up to E.
7 A. See here, from A to E, these are companies, platoons. I am not
8 familiar with the organisation of these companies and platoons, and under
9 F it says medical company. It was never established as a company. I've
10 already told you how this was organised. The war hospital was the centre,
11 and the surgical outposts were in the periphery. And that's how they
12 functioned. I don't know of any medical company as such. Maybe somebody
13 thought that this should be the name used. I've explained how the medical
14 corps functioned. There was no company, there was no company commander.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, I see that it's half past. I have --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: If you're starting something new, we'd better stop
19 MR. WUBBEN: We should start after the break.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. So we'll have a 25-minute break starting from
21 now. Basically, that means we'll start at five minutes to eleven.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's continue, Mr. Wubben.
25 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. I will continue with my questions, Dr. Mujkanovic. My next
2 question relates to the leaving of Srebrenica by you, and I take it that
3 was in April 1993; is that correct.
4 A. Yes, on the 22nd of April, 1993.
5 Q. Who ordered you to leave Srebrenica? Or wasn't there any order?
6 A. I got two orders, the first one dated from mid-March 1993 and was
7 issued by the commander of the 2nd Corps, General Hazim Sadic. And it was
8 Naser Oric who personally handed the order to me. After having read it, I
9 said that I wanted to establish a radio link with General Sadic from the
10 post office, and this was in fact done the following day. And I, speaking
11 to General Sadic, said that I wasn't prepared to leave Srebrenica, and
12 that I refused to carry out the order for as long as another surgeon was
13 sent to Srebrenica to replace me and to assume my duties. You have to
14 know that this was the period of the most intense attack on Srebrenica,
15 when the wounded were flowing in daily, and I was simply unable to abandon
16 the wounded.
17 The second order was issued on the 19th or 20th of April, 1993,
18 and was served on me personally by a pilot of an UNPROFOR helicopter. The
19 order stated that I should be ensured safe passage to return to Tuzla in
20 order to be assigned to other war assignments. This took place at the
21 time of the evacuation of the wounded from the hospital in Srebrenica, and
22 this was done by airlift, with UNPROFOR helicopters. Over -- some 60
23 wounded were evacuated by helicopters and some 600 by UNPROFOR trucks.
24 Following a complete evacuation of the wounded, I left Srebrenica
25 on the 22nd of April, 1993, and reported to General Sadic in the late
1 afternoon hours, in the building of the 2nd Corps of the army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Tuzla.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, I have no further questions.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
6 Dr. Mujkanovic, before I hand you over to Mr. Jones, did you ever
7 inquire why, at such a critical moment, you were being transferred? Did
8 it seem strange to you? Did you try to find out why?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was reassigned from Srebrenica to
10 Tuzla on the 22nd of April, 1993, following the demilitarisation of
11 Srebrenica on the 17th of April, 1993. It was on that day that the
12 Canadian Battalion arrived in Srebrenica and all the military operations
13 were brought to a halt. The peace-making process and the demilitarising
14 process commenced, and that was when I left Srebrenica. And I handed the
15 hospital into the hands of a Belgian organisation, medical organisation,
16 that entered Srebrenica in late April 1993, and they were to fully assume
17 responsibility for those who were injured, wounded, or ill in the
19 At the time of the first order, asking that I be ensured safe
20 passage from Srebrenica, this order basically was a result of a constant
21 pressure exerted by my family, by my wife. You have to know that I left
22 my wife and my three-year-old son in Tuzla. On the 14th of July, 1992, he
23 turned three, and that's when I left him, and then I saw him only a year
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
1 Mr. Jones.
2 MR. JONES: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Jones:
4 Q. Good morning, Dr. Mujkanovic.
5 A. Good morning.
6 Q. Now, some questions which I may ask you may seem pretty obvious,
7 and it may be that you feel that you've dealt with some of them already,
8 so in that case, feel free just to confirm or deny, with a brief answer,
9 and don't feel obliged to repeat anything, since we have a record of what
10 you've said. But, of course, if you think there's something important to
11 add, then please feel free to do so.
12 I'm going to start with, actually, one question, just touching
13 on --
14 A. If I may be allowed, if I may be allowed just a couple of minutes
15 to calm down.
16 Q. Yes, absolutely.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you want a break? Do you need a break?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll have a short break. We will reconvene when we
20 are advised from the Victims and Witnesses Unit that we can reconvene.
21 Thank you.
22 --- Break taken at 11.11 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.20 a.m.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I recognise Mr. Wubben.
25 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, a short submission, to put it on the
1 record. We started cross-examination, and we are prior put on notice of
2 the exhibits to be used by Defence counsel. On the exhibits' list there
3 is a mentioning of a video, referring to that video. We have not seen
4 that video. We have asked several times, several days, for a copy of that
5 video. And earlier in this trial, we already, several times, for the
6 record, also stated that we haven't received a video. So we are not
7 prepared, whenever this video is shown, to react on it.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Jones.
9 MR. JONES: Well, yes, we notified --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Your reaction.
11 MR. JONES: We notified the Prosecution that we would be using a
12 video exhibit. We have technical problems about copying videos. We
13 simply don't have the equipment to do it. I would just note that the
14 Prosecution won't be re-examining for several days. They'll have plenty
15 of time to react, if there's anything they want to raise as far as the
16 video is concerned. But it's a real problem for us to actually make
18 JUDGE AGIUS: But you could have brought that to the attention of
19 the Prosecution and the Trial Chamber in good time.
20 MR. JONES: Your Honour, the agreement was that we would notify
21 the Prosecution of what exhibits we intend to use. We have fully complied
22 with that obligation. As to making copies, I didn't realise it would be
23 such an issue, for a start.
24 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, in my opinion, whenever it is a P or a D
25 number, no copies are needed, but it is a practice and a ruling by your
1 Trial Chamber that there should be provided a copy whenever it's known.
2 And we have been sent this list for several days, and reiterated our
3 request for several times, and still we don't have received any video. So
4 I don't know what's in it.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: You reiterated -- let's make this clear. You
6 reiterated your request to the Defence, not to us, because this is the
7 first time this is being raised.
8 MR. WUBBEN: That's correct.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: So -- well, I think it needs to be addressed before
10 we see this video.
11 MR. JONES: Your Honour --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: The system, as you know, is no longer the one that
13 used to be. It's not to take everyone by surprise.
14 MR. JONES: Your Honour, there is no surprise tactically here at
15 all, and you'll see when the video is played there is absolutely no
16 element of surprise in that sense. There is a problem with us copying
17 videos. I realise that that's something which now needs to be resolved,
18 and hopefully that's something we can see with the technical booth and
19 with Your Honours. I think it would be unfair for my cross-examination to
20 be interrupted by me not being permitted to play a video which is very
21 much built into the sequence of the questions I'm going to ask.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: But I think in that case, we'll start with the
23 video, we see it. If you've had this problem of not being able to copy it
24 and give a copy -- and give a copy to the Prosecution, what I suggest we
25 do is we give the witness a rest, we send him back to his room or to the
1 hotel. How long is this video?
2 MR. JONES: Your Honour, it's -- may I make the following
3 proposal, because we've had examination-in-chief for two and a half days.
4 I'm just embarking on my cross-examination.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: You haven't started, actually.
6 MR. JONES: Well, if I've started. I'm completely sympathetic to
7 the witness' difficulties, and we have no problem at all with him having a
8 break. This video is so innocuous so that for it to require us to adjourn
9 for the witness to go back to his total, for so much time to be lost would
10 be, in my submission, really not be an effective use of time and
11 resources. If -- if need be, I can not use the video today, I can use it
12 tomorrow, and perhaps at the end of this session we can see the video, the
13 witness could leave maybe ten minutes before the end and we can see the
14 video and decide whether I can -- whether I might be permitted today
15 show him this video, which is an interview with him.
16 But I do think that my learned friend is making a song and a dance
17 about something which is really not -- is not a big -- big deal, if I may
18 put it that way.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I take --
20 MR. JONES: We have transcripts. The transcript has been
21 distributed. They can see the transcript. It's about two pages.
22 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, first, the transcript is not --
23 MR. JONES: My apologies. We can distribute it now.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: But that doesn't matter.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Will the speakers please make breaks between
1 their speeches. The interpreters can't follow.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please allow --
3 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, I will start again, Your Honour. In fact, so --
4 if this is a transcript, I don't know. It will be the first time I will
5 see such a copy. I haven't read it.
6 Second is --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: How long -- one moment. How long is the video?
8 MR. JONES: The video is three minutes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Then let's see it straightaway, because we are
10 wasting more time than discussing it.
11 MR. JONES: Absolutely.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We could just have a look at it. If it's an
13 interview with the witness himself, I think he can even stay here and
14 watch it, and then you won't even have to play it again later on.
15 MR. JONES: If there's any prejudice to the Prosecution, they can
16 quite simply raise that once they've seen the video.
17 MR. WUBBEN: But Your Honour --
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
19 MR. WUBBEN: -- what Defence counsel is pleading is that I should
20 rely on his judgement for what is in the video, that I should rely on my
21 strategy for the Prosecution, what is the content. And then the length of
22 the video does not matter. It is what is in it. And it is also the
23 possibility for the Prosecution to prepare itself for such a cross --
24 sorry, such a re-examination.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's put it like this: There is no question
1 about this. If, under normal circumstances, you have a right to
2 re-examine the witness, multo magis, when you have something like this
3 happen, that right stands -- stands out. So you don't have to worry about
4 any prejudice, because at the end of the day, you always have the right to
5 re-examine the witness on this video, particularly if you feel like it.
6 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, when it is so -- so short in time, then
7 it means that I might request you for that period of time to see it before
8 the cross-examination start, so that will take five minutes, ten minutes,
9 but only before the cross-examination will start.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: This is precisely what I was going to suggest, but
11 the two of you didn't let me finish.
12 What I'm going to suggest is this: I didn't know what this video
13 was all about, I didn't know that it was an interview with -- of the
14 witness, to start with. So that explains why I said we'll see it in his
15 absence. But if it's -- if he himself is being interviewed, there is no
16 point in even seeing it in his absence. He can stay here, and that will
17 economise in time because he won't need to see it again later, that's
18 number one.
19 MR. JONES: Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Number two is this: Given that, to an extent, the
21 Prosecution is being taken by "surprise" in the sense as regards the
22 contents of this video, then if they need a short break to check for
23 themselves whatever they need to check before you proceed with your
24 cross-examination, then I think it's the case of saying yes. If it's the
25 case of proceeding with the cross-examination straightaway and delaying
1 the series of questions on this video, or arising out of this video, until
2 tomorrow, then we would be able to meet, perhaps, the concerns of the
3 Prosecution in that manner, without the need to have another break today.
4 MR. JONES: Let's do it that way. I'll only deal with the video
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And so you will have ample time to check on this,
7 and of course later on to re-examine the witness if need be.
8 MR. WUBBEN: And when will we take a copy?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you going to tender it?
10 MR. JONES: Yes, we will.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: If he's going to tender it, you can have a copy made
12 today by the staff of the Tribunal. I understand they can do it -- if
13 it's not a long video, they can do it in minutes.
14 MR. WUBBEN: That means for Defence counsel that he's able to
15 provide us fast with a copy.
16 MR. JONES: Do we really need Mr. Wubben's wrestling with anger --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Jones, let's please get on with it.
18 Does the technical booth have a copy of it?
19 MR. JONES: Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: You're going to play it from where? From there, all
22 MR. JONES: Yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into video evidence, I suppose, or computer
24 evidence. Computer evidence.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's make this clear: You don't have any
2 objection, Mr. Wubben, for the witness to remain here while this is being
3 shown, no?
4 MR. WUBBEN: No, I have no objection, first.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And you don't have an objection, Mr. Jones.
6 MR. JONES: Not at all.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I wouldn't imagine that you would. So let's
8 proceed, please. Thank you. And thank you for your cooperation, both of
10 MR. JONES: Yes. We're going to play the opening titles, and then
11 the section that we're going to show -- there's no point in showing the
12 whole programme. Just to show the introduction and then the segment.
13 [Videotape played]
14 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] [As read] Well, no. Ever since Naser
15 was taken to The Hague, I had no direct contacts with him. I had certain
16 indirect contacts, through people who went there and saw him, and then
17 came back. So we are in indirect contact. I had no direct conversations
18 with him, and I was with Naser the whole time that I stayed in Srebrenica.
19 It means that I factually fought in war under his command. I think all
20 the best about him as a person and as a commander.
21 Question: What is your standpoint, is Naser guilty or not?
22 Mujkanovic: I wouldn't like to take competencies of the Tribunal
23 or anyone else. Certainly, Srebrenica, the very concept of fighting the
24 war and the attempt by this enclave to survive in the area of central
25 Podrinje, which covered the area of some 200 kilometres from Zvornicka
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Kamenica to Zepa. Sometimes people don't have a clue. They think it was
2 a surrounded town. It was factually an enclave that was liberated at a
3 certain point in time, except for the very town of Bratunac. I'm talking
4 strictly about the town of Bratunac, not villages and hamlets around
5 Bratunac. By Drina, or as they say, downstream of Drina, practically from
6 Zvornik all the way to Zepa. During my visit to war health outposts and
7 hospitals in Zepa, I even went to Zupa Visegradska, to the right bank of
8 Drina. This was a huge territory. It was very difficult to control the
9 area. It was very difficult to organise it in accordance with all the
10 postulates, the Geneva Convention - as someone nowadays calls it -
11 warfare, et cetera.
12 People there fought for survival against the invasion by the
13 Serb-Montenegrin enemy, as they called it at the time. At the same time,
14 it was a battle for survival, battle against hunger, because for a long
15 time this enclave didn't receive any food, medicines or medical supplies,
16 and it was very, very difficult to survive there. People literally died
17 of starvation.
18 Question: Doctor, will everyone ever find out the truth about
20 Mujkanovic: Just as I said before -- you see, among all the
21 inhabitants of Srebrenica, everyone has their own truth. According to
22 estimates, there were between 80.000 and 100.000 people there at the time,
23 women, children, old people. There was both the army and civilians, and
24 it was very difficult to separate soldiers from civilians -- everybody was
25 one or the other at a certain point. Everyone has his or her own truth
1 about Srebrenica. And I think that it is good, because everyone saw the
2 truth differently, in a way as it happened to them. So it's factually
3 impossible to find out the truth about Srebrenica, the pure truth. It is
4 always coloured by emotions. If you say that the destiny of Srebrenica
5 was the one like in 1995 - an enclave turned over to the Republika Srpska
6 army - and that the crime was committed and that it is still investigated
7 as to who and how committed the crime, and that all the names of the 7.000
8 or 8.000 people who were killed there are still not known -- it means that
9 it always has this dimension of the committed crime, and then probably in
10 that moment, people do not want to reveal some other things. It is like a
11 barrier, because if someone committed a crime, then nobody has the right
12 to investigate anything else.
13 MR. JONES: That's the segment we proposed to show. After that
14 there's a discussion of Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger, which we can
15 probably skip.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
17 MR. WUBBEN: Thank you for showing, and we won't take the
18 opportunity for further delay.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes. Do I take that to mean that if
20 Mr. Jones wants to fire questions on this video today, he can do so?
21 MR. WUBBEN: Tomorrow, as discussed.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Tomorrow, all right. Thank you. Let's proceed,
24 MR. JONES:
25 Q. Dr. Mujkanovic, firstly, are you okay to continue now?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, first, just a couple of questions about the last subject you
3 were asked about, which was the evacuation of the wounded in April 1993.
4 Isn't it right that the Serbs actually shelled the evacuation of the
6 A. It is.
7 Q. Was anyone killed?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And is it right that among the people being evacuated were a
10 number of people, including children, who had been on the 12th of April,
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. There was a terrible shelling that day, wasn't there?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Could you tell us a little about that?
16 A. Yes. It was in early April 1993 when there was an overall attack
17 on Srebrenica. Prior to that, Cerska and Konjevic Polje had fallen, so
18 the entire population from those areas was transferred to the town of
19 Srebrenica, which meant that some 15.000 or more people had arrived and
20 they were accommodated in the primary and secondary schools in Srebrenica.
21 Some of them were accommodated on the streets before some more adequate
22 accommodation could be found for them.
23 On that day, in front of the school, it was a sunny day, people
24 were sitting outside. There were a lot of refugees there. Six or seven
25 shells were fired from a multiple rocket-launcher to that place, to the
1 school. This resulted in a huge massacre, and over 100 people were killed
2 on that occasion, and approximately the same number were seriously
4 It was about half past two in the afternoon. There were UNPROFOR
5 members there as well. They helped us to move the injured people in their
6 APCs and transport them to the hospital, which was about 400 or 500 metres
7 away. Among the injured people there were lots of women and lots of
8 children. There were also men. The situation was terrible.
9 I know that at 3.00, I started my first operation, and I ended my
10 last one 36 hours later. All this time I was in the operating theatre. I
11 remember a young boy who had lost his eyes through shrapnel fire. I
12 believe that his name was either Bekric or Bektic Sead. This young boy,
13 later on, was transported to Tuzla, and from there he was adopted. And I
14 believe that he currently resides in the United States of America.
15 The situation was horrible, and it's very difficult for me to go
16 back in time at this moment.
17 Q. Wouldn't it be fair to say that you probably left Srebrenica
18 because you were completely burnt out after your -- after eight months, or
19 however long it was that you were there?
20 A. Yes, I would say so. The road to Srebrenica was so difficult, so
21 dangerous, but the stay in Srebrenica was no less dangerous or difficult.
22 Getting to Srebrenica was only half the job; the other half was actually
23 being in Srebrenica. I've already said in my testimony that there was --
24 there were attempts to get additional medical teams to Srebrenica, but
25 this always failed. Seven doctors were killed, and a lot of nurses.
1 Every attempt to get additional people into Srebrenica by road failed.
2 There were a lot of people who fell victim to those attempts.
3 On the 3rd of May, a team in the helicopter died somewhere between
4 Zepa and Sekovici. The helicopter was gunned down, and everybody on the
5 helicopter killed as a result of that.
6 Q. Thank you. Just for clarification, the Belgian organisation which
7 took over or which sent doctors was Medicine sans Frontieres, right, or
9 A. That's correct. It was the Belgian branch of the Medicine sans
10 Frontieres. The head of that organisation was Eric Dachy. I met that
11 man. In the month of March, together with General Morillon, he arrived
12 helped me in my work. He even assisted me with some surgeries. And then
13 after the 22nd of April, I handed the war hospital over into their hands.
14 On my return, I was returned to the war hospital from which I had left for
15 Srebrenica. This was Kalesija. I was closer to home, I could visit my
16 family every day, I could spend time with them.
17 Q. We'll come back to that, but Eric Dachy, you had already met in
18 1992, and you had already worked with him about getting medicines to the
19 hospital; would that be correct?
20 A. Yes. The first time I met Eric Dachy was in late November 1992.
21 He entered with the first convoy. His task was to take stock of the
22 situation in the hospital and see how the Medicine sans Frontieres could
23 be of help with the overall functioning of the hospital and the medical
24 corps in Srebrenica.
25 Q. And I apologise if I seem to be cutting you off sometimes, but I'm
1 conscious that you probably want to return to Tuzla before too long, so
2 I'll try and keep the answers short.
3 Now, I've got some general questions, and then I'm going back to
4 the beginning of what you told us. Now, you may now that Naser Oric is
5 charged with, among other things, failing to prevent looting, stealing
6 chickens, cows, and other goods. So my question to you is this: Do you
7 think Naser Oric could have prevented civilians from stealing those things
8 during military actions?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, no speculation, please.
10 MR. JONES: Well, he's --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: As you said "do you think," so he needs to give a
12 carefully -- a careful answer, in other words, thinking based on
13 reasoning, not on speculation.
14 MR. JONES: Yes. He's already given a lot of evidence about the
15 problems of these civilians, so really that's my question.
16 Q. In your opinion, based on your experience, do you think that Naser
17 Oric, or anyone, could have prevented that happening? I'd be grateful if
18 the witness could answer before he's interrupted.
19 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, I hate to interrupt.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: What's the problem, Mr. Wubben?
21 MR. WUBBEN: But now it's added another kind of speculation, "or
22 anyone else." This is too wide for speculation, because --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's concentrate on Naser Oric.
24 MR. JONES: Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's concentrate on Naser Oric.
1 Yes, Dr. Mujkanovic.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You want me to answer this question?
3 MR. JONES:
4 Q. Yes, please.
5 A. In my testimony so far, over the past two days, I have said that
6 the entire area of Srebrenica - and you could hear it in the interview
7 that you showed at the beginning - I said that the entire area of
8 Srebrenica was an unorganised area. Nobody could look after these people
9 in the way it could be expected. There were no conditions in place for
10 any kind of normal life. There was no food; nobody could provide it.
11 I have to tell you, irrespective of any actions that were
12 undertaken by the troops in order to reach certain villages, to get hold
13 of food or some other things, people would sneak up to the Serbian
14 villages during the night and loot the wheat and grain storages. The
15 civilians would do that during the night. One night it would be one group
16 of people; the second night, this group would be joined by a few more
17 people. And the Serbs knew that, and on the third night they would plant
18 mines in the area. And I had a lot more problems in the hospital treating
19 civilians who were injured by booby traps, because it would happen that
20 they would enter a minefield and they would be brought into the hospital
21 wounded, multi-traumatised.
22 In my view, in that short period of chaos, which involved a large
23 number of refugees and large number of people who had been transferred two
24 or three times from their original place of residence, in that short
25 period of time, nobody could organise any way of normalcy that is linked
1 with a normal geopolitical situation.
2 Not only Naser Oric, nobody - nobody - could look after these
3 people. These people were left to their own means. Everybody was left to
4 look after themselves.
5 Q. So may I take it that the answer is no, he couldn't prevent that
6 happening? Just to summarise.
7 A. I said that there wasn't, and there could not have been, any
8 authority or organisation, be it the War Presidency or an individual, who
9 could have done that.
10 Q. Would the same apply for the destruction of Serb property?
11 A. Your Honours, I have already explained that the things that
12 happened with regard to the Serbian property, houses, furniture, food.
13 This was mostly caused by the civilians who wanted to get hold of food and
14 things that they thought could be used in barter, that would eventually,
15 again, end up with them getting food. And that was the biggest problem of
16 the Srebrenica enclave. There was no mechanism, there was no instrument
17 that could have prevented that from happening.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
20 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour, I didn't interrupt, but again, this
21 is a kind of speculation, and this is not testifying about facts that the
22 witness saw but an opinion, a conclusion.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: It's a submission.
24 MR. JONES: It's a submission.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's continue. I've made it clear that the
1 questions that are being made and answered by the witness are not to
2 solicit opinions based on speculation but opinions based on facts, so I
3 don't think we are in the realm of speculation as yet.
4 MR. JONES: No.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's continue.
6 MR. JONES:
7 Q. Finally, as far as you're aware, with your contacts with Naser
8 Oric, he never encouraged these practices, never encouraged burning or
10 A. I've already confirmed that in my testimony. I said that not only
11 did he not encourage, he saw it as a problem that was a constant subject
12 of discussion at the War Presidency. Naser Oric's position was that there
13 shouldn't be any fire set to the property. But nobody could prevent that.
14 Q. Thank you. Now I'm going back to the beginning. I'll try and
15 take these points as quickly as possible.
16 You were cut short when you began to tell of your trip into
17 Srebrenica in late July, early August 1992. You basically told us that
18 you got in on the fourth attempt. Now, I won't ask you to go into the
19 details of that journey now. Would you agree that it was incredibly hard
20 for you to get into Srebrenica?
21 A. It was impossible, to all intents and purposes. I don't know, if
22 I were in the same situation today, I would probably never do it again.
23 It was impossible.
24 Q. Sorry. I'm going to break it up. And is that because the Serbs
25 had extremely strong lines around Srebrenica which you had to crawl
1 through, crawling through land-mines and that sort of thing?
2 A. The entire area of the central Podrinje enclave was intersected.
3 It was not one continuum. The first part that was held by the Serbs was
4 around the Zvornik municipality. There was a zone composed of Snagovo and
5 Kamenica, composed of Muslim villages that managed to defend themselves
6 from the aggression at first. And then there was another interruption
7 after which was the area of Cerska and Konjevic Polje. This was one sort
8 of a continuum, but in certain places, this continuum was very
9 questionable. Between Konjevic Polje and Srebrenica, there was Kravica
10 which interrupted that continuum.
11 On several occasions, I would manage to get into the territory
12 controlled by the Serbs, and I would manage to leave that territory and
13 get to the free territory. It was a very difficult journey. My life was
14 at risk. And you could see it yourself, that in December, a whole column
15 that wanted to take the same road was killed together with the two doctors
16 and the medical team that was part of that column.
17 Q. Didn't you and Nurif and his men, on some occasions, literally
18 have to crawl on your hands and knees, single-file, to get through Serb
20 A. Yes, this is what we did.
21 Q. Yes. And weren't you ambushed on the way in, and people from your
22 group were wounded?
23 A. At the very beginning we were ambushed, and one of the people who
24 were in charge of the war hospital was wounded. There were some 50 people
25 who were employed by the war hospital. There was shelling. There were
1 injuries on that road. We had to go through minefields. This journey
2 took six days and six nights, and the distance is only about 80
3 kilometres, as the crow flies. And you had to travel for six or seven
4 days, sometimes even longer. So you can see it yourself, that this was a
5 very dangerous journey to take, involving huge risks for anybody's life.
6 Q. And did you hear, as you were coming in, on Radio Zvornik that the
7 Serbs were aware of your presence but they were exaggerating your numbers
8 and saying that you were 4.000 Green Berets?
9 A. Yes, I heard that.
10 Q. Okay. As I said, if you can keep your answers short - I'm sorry
11 if I cut you off - but we do need to make progress.
12 A. Yes, I did hear that.
13 Q. And from your time -- let me put it this way: Was that the sort
14 of typical Serb propaganda which you were hearing at the time,
15 exaggerating the organisation and the strength of the Muslim forces? Is
16 that something you were familiar with, that phenomenon?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And equally, didn't Serb propaganda typically understate the
19 organisation and strength of the Serb forces?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, I don't want to you speculate here. You're
21 either sure about this or you're not, Dr. Mujkanovic.
22 A. I don't know whether they are understated their organisation.
23 However, I know that they exaggerated our numbers. Listening to the news
24 in the morning, when we were getting ready to get into the area of
25 Srebrenica, we were listening to the Radio Zvornik news, and it was said
1 that in Nezuk, where we were, there were 4.000 Green Berets. That's how
2 they called Bosniaks and Muslims at the time. And they said that their
3 mission was to infiltrate themselves into the territory of Zenica. It was
4 a long time ago. It's very difficult for me to remember the exact wording
5 of the news. But I know that the figure that was mentioned at the time
6 was 4.000 Green Berets, and the number was five or six times more than it
7 actually was.
8 MR. JONES:
9 Q. Now, this situation that you've described of Srebrenica being
10 physically cut off, if I can put it that way, from Tuzla, wasn't that true
11 for the whole period of the war, from the start of the war to the final
12 genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995?
13 A. This is precisely so. I believe that on the 17th of April, 1992,
14 Srebrenica was taken by the Serbs, and from that moment on, even to this
15 very day, it has been practically cut off. And that situation was the
16 same in 1995.
17 Q. Now, you were asked yesterday about reports - that was the word
18 being used - sent to Sarajevo and Tuzla, and you spoke of appeals on the
19 radio for medicines and equipment, telling the world about the shelling
20 that was happening and whatnot. Now, firstly, was this by what was called
21 ham radio, amateur radio?
22 A. Yes, it was a ham radio.
23 Q. So it was an open line which anyone could listen in on.
24 A. Yes. It was an amateur radio station which was in the building of
25 the post office in Srebrenica. It was manned by Ibrahim Becirevic. And I
1 used it on two or three occasions when I spoke with my family in Tuzla. I
2 also spoke with General Sadic using that radio station.
3 Q. Wasn't it also manned by Naser, not Naser Oric but another Naser,
4 who was manning the radio?
5 A. There was another man and his name was Naser. I don't know his
6 last name. There was this guy Becirevic, whose first name was Ibrahim.
7 There was this guy called Naser, whose last name I don't know. And there
8 was also Hamid, whose last name was Alic, I believe, and he also worked in
9 the post office.
10 Q. Now, going back to the radio, firstly, it's an obvious point, but
11 the Serbs could hear what was being said on the ham radio; correct?
12 A. Probably. Probably.
13 Q. Now, my question is: These -- would you agree that these were
14 more like appeals for help to the outside world rather than a report from
15 a subordinate to a superior? Would you agree?
16 A. Yesterday, I explained that -- how these reports were sent from
17 this radio station. They were either aired directly or were first
18 recorded on the Radio Sarajevo or Television Sarajevo or some local
19 stations, such as Radio Tuzla, so on and so forth. And then at the time
20 that news was aired, and that was every hour on the hour at 7.00 and then
21 10.00, these reports were heard and they usually were read about Ibrahim
22 Becirevic. Those reports spoke about the humanitarian situation, the need
23 for medicines, the number of injured and killed, the shelling of
24 Srebrenica, and assistance was requested. And this happened almost every
25 day, or at least two or three days every week.
1 Q. So would it be right to consider these reports in the sense of, I
2 don't know, a news report on a disaster, like the tsunami which we've
3 heard about recently, saying what's happening and appealing for help to be
4 brought in? Would you accept that characterisation?
5 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, I hate to interrupt, but a report for
6 help can also contend other information. This is too general, and then it
7 becomes too speculation.
8 MR. JONES: A report can be anything. That's why I'm asking the
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Can you be more specific in your question,
11 Mr. Jones.
12 MR. JONES:
13 Q. You're familiar, Dr. Mujkanovic, with news reports which we see on
14 television? It's just a simple question.
15 A. There is a difference between those news reports and our news
16 reports. Ours were drafted by amateurs. They were sometimes aired
17 directly. And they spoke about the situation as it was. I could hardly
18 compare the quality of our reports with the quality of other reports
19 written by journalists. In any case, our reports spoke about the
20 humanitarian situations, about requirements, about shelling, the number of
21 killed and wounded, about the attacks. Those reports were all aimed at
22 requesting help for Srebrenica, help in food, medicines, and so on and so
23 forth. Maybe one could come by some of these reports so that you could
24 hear what they looked like. They were aired directly via local radio,
25 such as Radio Tuzla or even Radio Sarajevo.
1 Q. Yes. I think that's pretty clear, and I don't want to labour the
2 point, but I'll draw a distinction because the word "report" does have two
4 Firstly, a report where a situation is being described, where
5 information is being provided to the wider world, let's say, and then a
6 report in the sense of someone reporting to another person because they
7 have a duty to describe what's happening. Now, the reports which you've
8 described, these appeals for help, are they more the first type of report,
9 i.e., providing information and appealing for assistance, or a report in
10 the second sense, i.e., someone having to report to a superior what the
11 situation is? Which of the two?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's pretty much confusing. Let's leave it
13 where it is, Mr. Jones.
14 MR. JONES: Let's see if he understands.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he's already explained what this is. This
16 is a news item which also contains appeals for help addressed to whoever
17 wants to lend an ear to such appeals. But we are not talking of reports
18 in the sense of -- the second sense that you mentioned.
19 MR. JONES: Yes, thank you.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
21 MR. WUBBEN: It's already covered.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we can leave it at that.
23 MR. JONES: As I said, I didn't wish to belabour the point.
24 Q. Now, you told us on Monday that Nurif Rizvanovic, who travelled
25 with you from Tuzla, stayed in Konjevic Polje. Now, he was originally
1 from Glogova, wasn't he?
2 A. Yes, he was.
3 Q. Did he and his unit stay in Konjevic Polje because they planned to
4 help the Muslim fighters in Bratunac fight against the Serbs, including --
5 A. [No interpretation].
6 Q. Now the Muslim enclave --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because the witness' answer was not
9 MR. JONES:
10 Q. Could you repeat your last answer.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, wasn't the Muslim enclave of Konjevic Polje cut
13 off from Srebrenica at the time, at the time you arrived, so that you
14 would have to cross Serb lines to get from Konjevic Polje to Srebrenica?
15 A. Yes, it was cut off. There was no physical continuum between
16 Konjevic Polje and the Srebrenica enclave.
17 Q. And if people wanted to get from one enclave to the other, didn't
18 they have to undertake a dangerous trek through woods and hills, running
19 the risk of Serb ambushes?
20 A. Yes, that's how it was.
21 Q. And that's what couriers would have to do if they were going to
22 get a message to Konjevic Polje.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And equally, wasn't the Muslim enclave of Cerska completely cut
25 off from Srebrenica?
1 A. It was cut off from -- in the relation to Srebrenica, but it was
2 territorially connected with Konjevic Polje. It was, however, cut off
3 from Srebrenica, because first you had Cerska, then Konjevic Polje, and
4 then Srebrenica, if you take it from the north to the south.
5 Q. Yes. And, in fact, if we start from the very north, you would
6 have Kamenica as well, wouldn't you, which was cut off from Srebrenica but
7 maybe had continuity with Cerska.
8 A. Kamenica neither. Kamenica wasn't really connected territorial
9 with Cerska, because when you look at Srebrenica, then you have Snagovo
10 and then Kamenica. Between Kamenica and Cerska, there was this one swathe
11 that was very narrow where you had to pass almost through the Serb
12 territory. It was a very dangerous passage. And, of course, Kamenica was
13 physically cut off from Srebrenica.
14 Q. And wasn't that the situation until Kravica was taken on the 7th
15 of January, 1993, when finally there was continuity between Kravica and
16 Konjevic Polje?
17 A. Yes. After Kravica was taken over, there was the physical
18 continuum between Konjevic Polje and Srebrenica, so that the route between
19 the two could be taken safely, of course not along the road, because that
20 meant going through Bratunac in the direction of Konjevic Polje. But
21 there were safe passages across hills and through forest, all the way to
22 Konjevic Polje.
23 Q. All right, thank you. Now, as I said, I'm going to ask some
24 general questions about the situation, and please feel free just to say
25 yes or no or to give a short answer, if you can.
1 When you arrived in Srebrenica, would you agree that it was under
2 siege by Serb forces?
3 A. Yes, it was under siege.
4 Q. And would you agree that the reason why Srebrenica existed as an
5 enclave is because the Serbs had ethnically cleansed all the Muslims from
6 the surrounding areas and they had flooded into Srebrenica?
7 A. That was precisely what I've been saying in the past few days.
8 Srebrenica was the place of refuge for the refugees from Han Pijesak,
9 which is far off from Srebrenica, to the local areas, like Bratunac,
10 Vlasenica, Zvornik, and of course parts of the Srebrenica municipality,
11 meaning the villages around Srebrenica that were part of the Srebrenica
12 municipality, where the population fled from their homes and went to the
13 town proper.
14 Q. And so is it right that there were refugees arriving all the time,
15 every day, and that it was impossible, effectively, to keep track of who
16 was actually in the enclave at any given time?
17 A. There weren't as many flowing in. But from the direction of Zepa,
18 the refugees would trickle in almost every day, and Zepa is a small
19 village to the south of Srebrenica. These refugees would first come to
20 Zepa from the areas of Visegrad, Han Pijesak, Gorazde. They would take
21 this first leg of the journey to Zepa, but Zepa was very small. And they
22 expected Srebrenica, being a town, that there they would have greater
23 possibilities of finding accommodation. And that's why they would arrive
24 on a daily basis. Sometimes there would be 10 of them a day, sometimes 20
25 a day, sometimes none. But anyway, they would be coming to Srebrenica.
1 But this flow ran uninterrupted, particularly from mid-February until
2 April 1993, when Cerska and Konjevic Polje fell and the south-eastern part
3 of Srebrenica, all those villages along the Drina, and that's when the
4 town became an impossible place to live in.
5 Q. Did you speak to many of these refugees and hear stories from them
6 about what had happened to them and why they had come to Srebrenica?
7 A. I did not talk to these refugees much. You see, I had the
8 opportunity of speaking to them when they were patients of mine, or to
9 talk to the families of my patients when they came visiting. And that's
10 when I heard stories of them having been driven out, villages torched,
11 members of their families killed. These stories were horrendous. But I
12 did not really talk to the refugees in terms of interviewing them.
13 There were many wounded from Zepa who I operated on and treated,
14 who came downstream along the Drina River from the Zepa area. They came
15 downstream and were from there taken by trucks to the hospital. These
16 were both civilians and soldiers who got wounded up there and required
17 serious treatment.
18 Q. Did -- well, let me put it this way: We've heard Serb witnesses
19 saying that Muslims left their homes because they didn't want to live with
20 the Serbs anymore, that they just left voluntarily. Is that reflected in
21 the conversations which you had in Srebrenica with refugees?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Now, on the subject of weaponry, would you agree that the Serb
24 forces surrounding and besieging Srebrenica possessed superior weaponry to
25 the Muslims in the enclave?
1 A. I would definitely agree.
2 Q. Would you agree that they were -- I'm sorry.
3 A. This question has quite a simple answer, because the Serb army,
4 that is, the JNA, was the force waging the war in Srebrenica. The entire
5 military hardware possessed by the JNA was in the hands of the Serb army.
6 Now, whether you call it the Serb army, the army of the VRS, or the JNA,
7 they had the -- they had aircraft, they had long-barrelled weapons. And
8 this is something that UNPROFOR soldiers can confirm to you, because they
9 saw it with their own eyes. Around a thousand shells hit Srebrenica
10 daily. There were more than 50 or 60 air raids against such a small town.
11 Q. As I say, I apologise if the questions seem obvious -- if the
12 answers seem obvious, but I do need to go through it. In terms of heavy
13 artillery, would you agree that the Serbs had heavy artillery positioned
14 on the high points, the surrounding hills, north, east, south, and west,
15 around the enclave?
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Wubben.
18 MR. WUBBEN: Yes, Your Honour, as the period of time which is
19 relevant -- with a view to strategy of Defence takes a long time, and it's
20 unclear for me what time period he's testifying.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: You're 100 per cent right. I'm sure Mr. Jones will
22 agree with that as well.
23 MR. JONES:
24 Q. Wasn't that true during the whole time you were in Srebrenica?
25 A. I can speak for the period when I was there, from 5 August until
1 the 17th of April. That's the period I can vouch for and confirm for.
2 And it is in relation to that period that I'm saying that Srebrenica came
3 under attack daily, from long-distance, multiple rocket-launchers. I know
4 that multiple rocket-launchers were used to hit the Srebrenica Hospital.
5 It was -- I don't know which elevation point, trigometric point it was.
6 But you can hear them being fired, one, two, three, four, and then the
7 salvo hitting the hospital. This was on a hill that was completely razed.
8 And I saw with my own eyes, the aviation bombing Srebrenica. It was for
9 an entire month that, at five past three in the afternoon, the planes
10 would have their sorties to attack Srebrenica. And I can speak for the
11 period from 5 August until the 17th of April, the time I spent in
13 Q. Thank you. And speaking -- and I don't specify a period, you can
14 assume that I'm asking about the whole period you were there. Isn't it
15 right that the Muslims, the Bosniaks, had practically no artillery except
16 for what they could capture from the Serbs?
17 A. That's correct. When I came to Srebrenica, I found it a bit
18 strange that one rifle was to be shared by three soldiers. The weaponry
19 they possessed were mostly infantry weapons. There was no artillery at
20 the time, nor any heavy machine-guns. There were even homemade, makeshift
21 rifles, and that's a fact. This period was characterised by such weapons.
22 Q. Such weapons made from pipes of --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Leave it at makeshift. I mean it's --
24 MR. JONES: All right. I'm just trying to get a sense of how
25 improvised they were. Fine.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Didn't also, due to the shortage of weapons and ammunition, didn't
2 people often take weapons off the dead, off dead Serbs or dead Muslims,
3 just in order that they would have a weapon.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, I don't want you to speculate again. You
5 either have this information directly by having seen it, or indirectly by
6 being told so. Otherwise, please don't speculate.
7 A. I can't answer this question, Mr. President. I don't know how
8 people came by their weapons, whether they took them off the dead or not.
9 I can't really say anything about it.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
11 MR. JONES:
12 Q. Is it right that the weapons were very valuable commodities at the
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Now, a few questions about uniforms, and apologies, again, because
16 you have dealt with it at length. But today the Prosecution seemed to
17 suggest that uniforms were worn during actions. I'm not sure if that was
18 a summary, if that was your evidence. It's right, isn't it, that in the
19 actions, most people did not have uniforms.
20 A. I've already explained the matter in relation to the uniforms worn
21 in Srebrenica, that perhaps some 10 per cent of all had some sort of a
22 camouflage uniform, whereas 90 per cent of them had civilian clothes mixed
23 with, perhaps, some military dress. They would have a jacket, they would
24 have gym shoes, and so on.
25 And when we talk about uniforms in Srebrenica, I have to tell you
1 that the army wasn't uniformed. Whatever they had on them, they would
2 appear in those clothes at their positions, go back home, go to town in.
3 Those were their everyday clothes. These weren't any uniforms.
4 Q. Taking the other side of the coin, if you saw someone who actually
5 did have a uniform, would that necessarily mean that he was in the
6 military, or could it be simply that he possessed combat fatigues?
7 A. No, no, it wouldn't mean really that they were a member of the
8 army or in the military. I can, for instance, tell you about the people
9 who came with me to Srebrenica from Tuzla. They were my escorts, and they
10 wore this -- these -- this camouflage uniform. But they weren't actually
11 soldiers, they weren't a member of any unit going to a front line. So
12 this wasn't an absolute rule, although most of those who wore some sort of
13 a uniform were soldiers. But there were those who wore uniforms without
14 actually being members of any units.
15 I have to explain this to you in more detail. I think it's
16 important for this Trial Chamber to understand this. It was left up to
17 the people in Srebrenica to decide whether they want to be soldiers or
18 not, because there was no way you could force them to become one. If you
19 wanted to force them to become a soldier, you have to provide them with a
20 gun, with a rifle, and you don't have one. Then the person is going to
21 say, Okay, but then you have to provide me with meals, you have to take
22 care of my family, and then I will go and man the positions.
23 So in essence, this was on a voluntary basis, take it or leave.
24 For instance, I, and all of my medical colleagues, could simply say, We
25 don't want to work in the hospital anymore. Why not? Because we don't
1 have any medicines, we don't have any medical supplies. And nobody would
2 have been able to force us to perform our duties. It was left to a
3 person's conscience, conscientiousness, whether they were driven by their
4 sense of duty and integrity. But in general, you couldn't force people to
5 do that. There were some of those who weren't members of the army at all.
6 Q. Yes, thank you. That is a very helpful clarification.
7 MR. JONES: Your Honour, I see the time. The other matter, and
8 just bearing in mind the conversation this morning, is that I'm moving on
9 to an exhibit which we've notified the Prosecution about. It's an extract
10 of a book which was in the public domain. I have just checked with my
11 case manager, and we have copies here, so perhaps if the Prosecution has
12 that during the break -- they no doubt -- well. I won't speculate on
13 whether they've seen the book before but it's -- it's War Hospital by --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not my business to know.
15 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, we didn't receive photocopies, so we
16 made them ourselves.
17 MR. JONES: So I'll be moving on to that after the break.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: So we'll have a 25-minute break, starting from now.
19 Thank you.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.34 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 1.10 p.m.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Sorry for taking a longer break, but we didn't have
23 a break at all, we were discussing something that we will need to discuss
24 with both of you next week in camera. You will receive a communication my
25 legal officer in due course, all right? But there will be a meeting next
1 week, towards the end, either Thursday or Friday of next week, and that
2 will be after the sitting. You will be informed accordingly.
3 MR. JONES: Fine, thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's proceed. Again, my apologies.
5 MR. JONES: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Dr. Mujkanovic, I'm going to be asking you now and tomorrow about
7 a book called War Hospital, this book by Sheri Fink, with which I'm sure
8 you're familiar.
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. JONES: Just by way of housekeeping, practically, there are a
11 number of pages from this book which I intend to refer to. Rather than
12 exhibiting each page, I've put them together in a bundle. But realising
13 that even a bundle might be incoherent for Your Honours, I actually have
14 copies of the book, the whole book, four copies, which I can provide for
15 each of Your Honours and one for the Registry. I can do that tomorrow. I
16 don't have them with me.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
18 MR. JONES: It seems one way of proceeding rather than copying the
19 whole thing. So I'll have copies tomorrow.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
21 MR. JONES:
22 Q. And one question in that regard, Dr. Mujkanovic, do you read
24 A. I have a certain command of English, but I don't speak as fluently
25 as you do.
1 Q. Okay. We'll see. I'll read out sections, and I'll also provide a
2 copy so that you can have that in front of you.
3 Now, is it right, firstly, that Dr. Sheri Fink interviewed you at
4 length when she was writing the book?
5 A. Sheri Fink is a lady doctor from the United States of America, and
6 in early 1998, she came to Tuzla. Reportedly, she had a project of
7 writing a book about the war hospital in Srebrenica. We conversed for
8 some two or three years, of course intermittently, because she would be
9 there and then we would speak for some ten days and then she would go back
10 to the States. So yes, you're right.
11 Q. Thank you. And isn't it that this story that you've been telling
12 us today, and yesterday, and the day before about the situation in
13 Srebrenica is pretty much what you told Dr. Sheri Fink when she
14 interviewed you?
15 A. That's the story I was saying in 1993, 1995, in 1998, so that's
16 how I saw the events in Srebrenica.
17 Q. Right. Now, the first section which I'm going to look at, it's
18 just on the subject of uniforms which you were discussing before the
20 MR. JONES: I'm sorry, I should distribute copies, first of all,
21 with the usher's assistance. Yes, and I have a copy also for the
22 stenographer. I can provide my copy to the shorthand writer. Apologies.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Could a copy be given to the court assistant.
24 MR. JONES: Yes, that's what I'm endeavouring to arrange now.
25 Q. Now, it's -- the first section I want to turn to is pages 63 to
1 64, and I'll just -- I'll just start reading it. It says:
2 "That day he," and he's referring to Dr. Ilijas Pilav, whom you've
3 mentioned, "carried his weapons and wore what had become his typical
4 battle uniform - a white bandanna around his forehead and his old, black
5 gym suit. Fatima," and that refers to Fatima Delbasic [phoen],
6 "knew that gym suit well ..."
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I don't know if you heard the section I read out. If so, I don't
9 need to read it again. It says: "That day he," Pilav," carried his
10 weapons and wore what had become his typical uniform - a white bandanna
11 around his forehead and his old, black gym suit. Fatima," and that's
12 Fatima Delbasic, "knew that gym suit well ..."
13 My question is this: Do you agree that Srebrenica's fighters, and
14 that includes in that instance Dr. Pilav, would wear suits like that for
15 battle, a black gym suit, a blue policeman's uniforms, a former factory
16 worker's overalls, old JNA uniforms, basically whatever was at hand?
17 A. That's precisely what I've been saying. There were no
18 standardised uniforms in Srebrenica. A uniform meant whatever clothes one
19 had and would then wear. So I agree that that was the case.
20 Q. You've explained how the armed forces or the defence forces were
21 improvised. Wasn't it more common at the time to refer to fighters,
22 borci, rather than soldiers, vojnici, when describing Srebrenica's
24 A. We used the term "borci," fighters, we never used the term
25 "vojnici," soldiers. I even told you that they identified themselves
1 with their commanders. If they were Hakim's fighters, then they would be
2 Hakimnovci, or Zulfo's fighters. The term "vojnici," soldiers, was never
3 used, only the term "borci," fighters.
4 Q. In terms of proper uniforms, i.e., uniforms with distinctive
5 insignia or with some uniformity, didn't they come from Nurif -- for the
6 first time, come with Nurif Rizvanovic and his men, that they had some
7 proper uniforms?
8 A. I told you that I met Nurif Rizvanovic in the second half of July
9 1992, in the locality of Nezuka, where he was assigned as escort to ensure
10 the passage of myself and those who were carrying the equipment for the
11 war hospital to Srebrenica. That was the first time that I ever saw
12 uniformed military, those that had uniforms, boots, badges on their hats.
13 It was a unit that was 470 strong. They wore camouflage uniforms, cachets
14 with the badge of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with lilies, with military boots and
15 all the attendant weaponry.
16 Q. That's Nurif's men, is that correct, and they stayed in Konjevic
17 Polje, after you went into Srebrenica.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And just while I'm on the subject of your arriving in Srebrenica,
20 isn't it right that you brought the seal, a stamp, with you when you came
21 into the enclave?
22 A. My personal stamp as a medical doctor.
23 Q. Was that the stamp which you brought in, or was there a military
24 stamp which you brought with you into the enclave?
25 A. No. I had my own stamp of a medical doctor that I normally used
1 in my practice. I had no other stamps.
2 Q. Actually, it may -- might have been, and only answer if you're
3 aware, did Nurif bring a stamp, a military-type stamp, from Tuzla?
4 A. I can't say.
5 Q. Now, just a couple of questions on -- on these bands, these
6 strings of cloth which you mentioned which were sometimes used in actions.
7 Is it right, firstly, that those were used so that the people in the
8 actions wouldn't get shot at by their own people?
9 A. Yes, it was a sign of recognition for the fighters who went into
11 Q. Now, you've agreed that the fighters lived at home very often with
12 their families and other refugees, and that that's how those civilians
13 would learn of actions. To your knowledge, did civilians themselves
14 sometimes wear these pieces of cloth when they went into actions for the
15 very same reason, to avoid getting shot at?
16 A. I don't know about that, about the civilians wearing it.
17 Q. But would you know for sure, if you saw someone with a piece of
18 cloth, that he was part of an organised unit?
19 A. I wouldn't know that for sure. It wasn't the sort of thing where
20 you could be sure that someone who wasn't part of the unit was not going
21 to wear it. But it was a way for those who took part together in action
22 to recognise each other, probably the only possible way to distinguish
23 your own men from others.
24 Q. All right, thank you. Now, I'm going to come to Hakija's unit for
25 a moment, but leaving his unit aside, isn't it right that there were no
1 barracks, no armoury, none of the typical features which you expect of a
2 regular army in Srebrenica when you were there?
3 A. None of the units had any barracks, armouries, or anything of the
4 sort. The fighters stayed in their homes, and it was from there that they
5 manned the positions and then went back. It was only Hakija's men who
6 were put up at the Hotel Domavija. I myself stayed at that hotel and
7 worked in the hospital. So I met these people in the hotel every day, and
8 I know that there they had their own premises. Since this unit was made
9 up of fighters from the town of Srebrenica, I know for a fact that they
10 often went to their homes and then returned to the hotel, so not even they
11 stayed in the hotel only as a regular army. It wasn't any sort of a
12 barracks for them. They would simply come and go as they pleased.
13 Q. Right. And since you mentioned Hakija and his unit, would you
14 agree that he was an independent commander, that is, independent of Naser
15 Oric, for one, not under Naser Oric's control?
16 A. Yes, I'd agree.
17 Q. And Hakija didn't report to Naser, did he?
18 A. No, he didn't.
19 Q. And neither did Hakija's men, then. They were neither under
20 Oric's command and control.
21 A. No, they weren't.
22 Q. How many of Hakija's men were there, roughly, in the time that you
23 were there?
24 A. To the extent I knew from staying at the hotel, there were perhaps
25 some 200 to 300 men, at most.
1 Q. And also, on the subject of Zulfo Tursunovic, you mentioned, I
2 think on Monday, how people in Podravanje had said that Zulfo had ordered
3 them to burn haystacks. Knowing Zulfo, do you know that to be the case,
4 that he ordered that? Is that consistent with his character as you knew
6 A. I said that I saw only one haystack that was set aflame. And two
7 younger men were running across a hill slope. They came to this haystack
8 and torched it. And when asked by Hakija not to do it, they said, "We
9 want to do it because Zulfo told us it was okay." And I don't think Zulfo
10 would have said it. I knew him, and I don't think that it was the way he
11 treated property, especially this type of property.
12 I know there was a conversation to that effect. There was a
13 problem in Srebrenica on how to feed the cattle that the refugees brought
14 with themselves to Srebrenica. So I wouldn't be so sure that Zulfo really
15 told them that.
16 Q. When you came to know Zulfo while you were in Srebrenica, would
17 you agree that he was a pretty independent character?
18 A. I would agree.
19 Q. Would you agree that he would basically do his own thing?
20 A. I would agree, knowing Zulfo.
21 Q. Would you also agree that he didn't necessarily inform Naser Oric
22 of what he was doing?
23 A. If you will allow me, I would like to clarify.
24 Q. Yes, please.
25 A. Zulfo Tursunovic's nature is as follows: He had been sentenced
1 for a double homicide in 1975, in the former Yugoslavia, and he spent some
2 time in prison. He was in prison up to 1989 and then he was set free. He
3 was supposed to serve 20 years, but he was parolled.
4 He was a strange man. He would come to Srebrenica only
5 occasionally from the area of Suceska. It would be once a week or maybe
6 twice sometimes, but it would be rather once a week. And nobody really
7 wanted to have anything to do with him, or to get on his bad side. He was
8 very determined, and when he said something, he didn't like anybody to
9 object to what he said or defy him. And people usually thought that if
10 Zulfo said something, then it's better just to take it as it was said and
11 not comment upon it.
12 Q. He was considerably older than Naser Oric at the time, wasn't he?
13 A. In 1992, when I met him, he was 60, 61, if I'm right -- yes, he
14 was considerably older, at least by 30 years.
15 Q. Did he accept Naser Oric as having any authority over him?
16 MR. WUBBEN: That's, Your Honour, speculation.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Not necessarily.
18 MR. JONES: It may be something he knows.
19 MR. WUBBEN: No --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: If you're in a position to tell us, answer that
21 question with a yes or no, without speculating, then do so. If you think
22 that you could only speculate, then don't. That's the way we will go
23 about it.
24 A. I can't answer this question. I can't say whether he did or
25 whether he did not.
1 MR. JONES:
2 Q. Okay. Now, coming back to the organisation of the forces, again,
3 it's maybe an obvious point, but there were no salaries paid to fighters,
4 were there?
5 A. What salaries?
6 Q. And speaking of other commanders, we've spoken about --
7 A. There were no salaries, no.
8 Q. Yes, thank you. That's how I understood your answer. Weren't
9 there -- leaving aside Hakija for the moment, in the whole enclave of
10 Srebrenica, weren't there a lot of local commanders who had autonomy?
11 A. I've already explained that. The units were linked with certain
12 geographical areas. Heads of those units were people who had certain
13 authorities -- authority over these fighters. These men trusted their
14 leaders, and that's how they became commanders. They were not appointed,
15 they were self-appointed commanders who were approved by the fighters who
16 lived in certain localities, in certain villages or in certain parts of
17 the area. And that's the relationship that they had amongst each other.
18 If the men didn't want to do something, then they didn't do it. So there
19 was a lot of negotiations among the so-called authorities and their men.
20 If the men said that they didn't want to do it, they would just take their
21 men, go back to the village. I'm talking about the leaders. And this is
22 how the thing functioned.
23 Q. And would it be right that a commander, the success of a
24 commander, would be judged by his ability to keep the Serbs back, to
25 defend the front lines, and to prevent the lines from falling and massacre
1 ensuing? That was how he was judged by his people.
2 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour, I have an objection in the fact that the
3 question is focusing only by one judgement and doesn't leave any space
4 open for other judgements within an organisation or by a supreme commander
5 or by the people who are defended or by his soldiers. So the question is
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So maybe you can rephrase the question to take into
9 account what has been mentioned by Mr. Wubben.
10 MR. JONES:
11 Q. Was the question unclear to you, Dr. Mujkanovic?
12 A. I'd like you to rephrase it, if you could.
13 MR. WUBBEN: Your Honour --
14 MR. JONES:
15 Q. Isn't what --
16 MR. WUBBEN: I hate to interrupt, but your question to Mr. John
17 Jones was please rephrase your question, and Mr. Jones didn't rephrase the
18 question --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: No, he hasn't rephrased it, because he will now
20 certainly rephrase it because even the witness himself has told him he did
21 not understand it.
22 MR. JONES: Yes, it saves time if the witness has understood it,
23 and that's why I asked. I'll rephrase the question.
24 Q. The success -- would you agree that the success of a commander, a
25 local commander, depended on his ability to repel attacks by the Serbs?
1 A. Yes, that was the case, and that's how they were judged at the
2 beginning of the war. Whoever was the bravest in the village would become
3 commander, and he would rally fighters around him. They did not all start
4 fighting all at once. At the beginning of the war, only small groups
5 would put up resistance. And then when the rest of the people saw that
6 they had successes, they would join in. And the more weapons they
7 gathered, the more people could be armed. So people were appointed
8 commanders or selected as commanders if they had previously done something
9 really brave to prevent the Serb attacks on their respective villages.
10 Q. So is it right, then, that there wasn't a demand to have
11 commanders who necessarily had military experience or military training,
12 that it was really -- that that wasn't something which the people were
13 looking for in their commanders.
14 MR. WUBBEN: Again, Your Honour, I have to interrupt. First,
15 there is no specific date mentioning, while the witness mentioned a
16 specific date -- specific days -- specific period of time, beginning of
17 the war, and earlier my learned friend indicated to the witness, Whenever
18 I don't specify in my question the dates, I mean at the time of your
19 arrival. So this makes it very unclear, and again I protest.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think you need to be clear about this,
21 Mr. Jones. Which period of time are you referring to so that I can then
22 direct the witness to answer the question in relation to that time period
23 or time frame.
24 MR. JONES: Well, if I may, Your Honour, the witness has been
25 describing a general impression from -- Your Honour, Mr. Wubben is on his
1 feet before I even finish.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please go ahead, Mr. Jones, you are addressing
4 MR. JONES: If my learned friend would give me the courtesy of
5 sitting down while I --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's proceed, Mr. Jones. We are all very anxious
7 to hear what you have to say.
8 MR. JONES: Thank you. As am I. This witness was giving his
9 opinion which was clearly based on a number of impressions based on
10 conversations, on what he saw, on what he observed, about how units came
11 together in the beginning. It's something which clearly he's had the
12 experience and the competence to speak about. If I were to try to say to
13 him, In May 1992, were local people looking for commanders with military
14 background or were they more concerned to have someone who was successful
15 at fighting the Serbs? It's highly artificial. We're talking about a
16 general process by which the armed forces of Srebrenica came together, and
17 this witness is giving clear evidence on that, and I'm sure he has a clear
18 answer on whether it was important to have cadre staff, military-educated
19 officers, or successful fighters. It's a very clear issue.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: So basically you're not tying it up to a particular
21 period of time or a particular month, but you are tying it up to the early
22 stages when these commanders were coming to light and when their units
23 were being created.
24 MR. JONES: Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
1 Yes, Mr. Wubben.
2 MR. WUBBEN: Yes. Well, Your Honour, in particular, when I stood
3 up whenever Defence counsel stated, well, the witness is able to put on a
4 general remark, and that general remark, that triggers me.
5 First, again, not to the date. The witness said the beginning of
6 the war, and we all know at the beginning of the war, he was not in
7 Srebrenica because he was -- started from August until January, and there
8 again, that triggers me to be more specific.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 MR. JONES: Your Honour --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm putting an end to this. Be as specific as you
12 can. If you can talk about this matter, about how these commanders came
13 to be, how they became commanders from a time when you had not even
14 arrived in Srebrenica, then do so. If you can only speak about this
15 phenomenon, call it like that, from your -- from the time you started
16 gaining experience on the ground in Srebrenica, then stick to that period.
17 But I was not there, I wasn't with you. You are the one who can give us
18 the information.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I arrived in Srebrenica, the
20 commanders already existed, they were in place, they were active in the
21 areas of which I have already spoken about. However, from the month of
22 May I was in the Kalesija war hospital, and I know that the custom was in
23 the villages around Kalesija, when resistance was first being put up, that
24 the most courageous, the bravest men, were selected as commanders, despite
25 the fact that most of them did not have any military education. Up to the
1 very end of the war, none of them completed any military education
2 whatsoever. However, they acted as commanders, because at that time, the
3 priority was to choose as commanders those people whom other people
4 trusted. It was only later on, in 1994 and 1995, 1996, when the main
5 requirement was for the commanders to have military education, if that was
6 at all possible, because there was a lack of educated staff. At the very
7 beginning of the war, however, people organised themselves, they defended
8 themselves. I can't say how things were done in Srebrenica because I was
9 not there at the beginning. I, however, said that I found those people
10 there, that they were local commanders, that they enjoyed certain
11 authorities among the fighters and among the rest of the population, and
12 people generally trusted them.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
14 MR. JONES:
15 Q. And would you say that Naser Oric --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we've got two minutes left, Mr. Jones.
17 MR. JONES: Yes, this is the last question.
18 Q. Would you agree that Naser Oric fit squarely into that category,
19 that he was a brave fighter and that's why he was chosen as a commander?
20 MR. WUBBEN: Again, Your Honour, this is speculation. No time
21 frame. It suggests, again, that when he didn't put forward as Defence
22 counsel in his question the time frame that it should be the stay in
23 Srebrenica, so this make it very unclear when the witness speak about
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know why you are opposing. But yes, was
1 Mr. Oric already a commander when you arrived in Srebrenica?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I arrived in Srebrenica, Naser
3 Oric was the commander of the defence of Srebrenica. That's how he
4 introduced himself to me; that's how people referred to him.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you know how he was appointed to that position,
6 or who appointed him?
7 MR. JONES: Or how he came to be in that position?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know how he was appointed to
9 that position. However, the events in Potocari at the beginning of the
10 aggression on Srebrenica -- yesterday you looked at a paper saying that 14
11 of Arkan's men had been killed, amongst whom Arkan, who was one of the
12 most notorious at the time, and I believe that all this gave the
13 credibility to Naser Oric to be selected. I can't speak about the way,
14 how it happened, or when.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Had you heard of him before arriving in Srebrenica?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard of Naser Oric as we were
17 travelling to Srebrenica, close to Konjevic Polje. I was told then that
18 Naser Oric was the commander of the defence of Srebrenica, and as I've
19 already told you, I expected to see him a much older man. And when I saw
20 him, I realised he was a boy, practically. He was only 25 at the time.
21 And this took me by surprise, I must admit.
22 MR. JONES: Thank you.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Shall we stop here at this time?
24 MR. JONES: I think the witness should be made aware that we'll
25 probably be here until the end of next week, at this rate.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Don't worry about it. He is an important witness,
2 like many others, and we will take as much time as we need.
3 MR. JONES: It's not for me, it's the interruptions, the constant
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Anyway, we'll continue tomorrow.
6 Yes, are you giving this a number?
7 MR. JONES: Yes, it might as well be at this stage, although there
8 will be the book tomorrow.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Madam Registrar, this document is being ...
10 THE REGISTRAR: P198 --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: D198.
12 THE REGISTRAR: D198, yes.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We will adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9.
14 MR. JONES: Thank you.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 17th day of
17 February, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.