1 Thursday, 2 July 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good morning to everybody in and around the
8 Mr. Registrar, will you please call the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you. And good morning, Your Honours. This
10 is case number IT-04-81-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Perisic.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
12 And may we have the appearances for today, please, starting with
13 the Prosecution.
14 MR. SAXON: Good morning, Your Honours. Dan Saxon and Inger
15 du Ru for the Prosecution.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. And for the Defence.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Good
18 morning to all. On behalf of the Perisic Defence, Tina Drolec, Daniela
19 Tasic, Milos
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic.
21 Good morning sir.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Will you please make the declaration.
24 Can somebody please help the witness.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
1 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. You may be seated.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Saxon. You may proceed.
5 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Your Honour, before I begin my examination, I have one request
7 for the Trial Chamber.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Carry on.
9 MR. SAXON: Something that I've already discussed with the
10 Defence. It's simply this. Mr. Nikolic will be testifying today
11 pursuant to Rule 92 ter, and I would respectfully request formal leave of
12 the Trial Chamber to give a Rule 65 ter number to a supplementary
13 statement of Mr. Nikolic which was produced just two months ago for the
14 Popovic Trial Chamber, and the statement is dated the 16th of April,
15 2009. So because it was only produced recently it was not previously
16 placed on the Prosecution's 65 ter list. It was admitted during
17 Mr. Nikolic's testimony in the Popovic case as court exhibit number 2.
18 So I would respectfully seek leave of the chamber to add this
19 supplementary statement to the Prosecution's Rule 65 ter list so that it
20 can be part of his 92 ter package. I've discussed this with the Defence,
21 and they do not object to my request.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Saxon.
23 Just a little oversight on the part of the Bench, may the record
24 please show that we're sitting pursuant to Rule 15 bis today as Judge
25 David is not available, busy in another case. Thank you very much.
1 Mr. Lukic, do you confirm.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Indeed, Your Honour. I'm in a
3 position to confirm. We agree for this document to be marked as a 65 ter
4 document and become part of the 92 ter package.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
6 You may.
7 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour. Then Mr. Nikolic's
8 supplementary statement dated the 16th of April, 2009, will be given the
9 65 ter number of 09558.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Saxon. You may proceed.
11 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Examination by Mr. Saxon:
14 Q. Good morning, sir.
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. For the record, is your name Momir Nikolic?
17 A. That's right, Momir Nikolic.
18 Q. And were you born in the municipality of Bratunac
19 Srpska, what is now Republika Srpska, on 20 February 1955?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. Mr. Nikolic, in April of this year, did you testify in the trial
22 of Vujadin Popovic, case number IT-05-88-T, at this Tribunal?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. And during the past several days with the assistance of an
25 interpreter, have you had the opportunity to review portions of your
1 testimony and related exhibits?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. And during your review of portions of that prior testimony, did
4 you observe some mistakes in the English language -- in the English
6 A. Yes. There were a number of minor errors, for the most part, in
7 relation to the translation.
8 Q. I'm go to go over those errors with you right now to correct
10 MR. SAXON: If we could please call up 65 ter 9556, please, which
11 contains portions of the transcript of Mr. Nikolic's testimony from 21
12 April 2009. And if we could turn to page 18 in e-court.
13 Q. On this page of the English --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Saxon, please.
15 MR. SAXON: I apologise.
16 Q. Mr. Nikolic, at this point in your testimony, you were describing
17 some of your activities of the 11th of July, 1995. And on this page,
18 which is page 32914 of the transcript, on --
19 MR. SAXON: If we could scroll down, please, to the bottom of the
21 Q. And starting at line 24, you were asked a question by counsel.
22 It says: "And just briefly, sir, who was the member of your command?
23 Because you had orally informed a member of your command on the evening
24 of the 11th about the number of Muslim men in Potocari?"
25 And starting in line 25 of that page.
1 And then if we can continue on to the next page, you said: "That
2 evening, I informed members of the command who were present in the
3 Bratunac Brigade HQ, these are staff officers who were part of the corps
5 And I'm stopping on line 2 of page 32915.
6 Mr. Nikolic, that reference to the corps command, is that
8 A. No. In this context, this statement is false. We are talking
9 about the officers of Bratunac Brigade and we're talking about the
10 command of the Bratunac Brigade.
11 Q. Thank you very much.
12 MR. SAXON: Can we please move now to page 23 in e-court, which
13 should be, yes, page 32919 of the transcript.
14 Q. And, Mr. Nikolic, on lines 2 through 7 on this page, you are
15 describing a conversation that you had with Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric
16 after the meeting at the Hotel Fontana in Bratunac on 13th of July, 1995.
17 And then, from lines 8 to 16, you say the following:
18 "One more thing happened at that time is the following, but, of
19 course, it took place after the meeting, and that is that I had a
20 conversation with two officers from the Dutch battalion. They asked me,
21 'Mr. Nikolic, what is going to happen next?' I told them, 'Everything is
22 settled, everything is regulated, the buses will be here, and you go back
23 to Potocari and wait for the buses.' This would be briefly the summary
24 of my conversation with Mr. Popovic."
25 And then in the next -- beginning of the next sentence on line 14
1 it begins:
2 "Before the meeting, Mr. Petar Sumljic was also present there,"
3 and Sumljic in the transcript is spelled S-u-m-l-j-i-c. Is the last name
4 Sumljic on line 14 correct, Mr. Nikolic?
5 A. No, it's not.
6 Q. What is the correct name that should be there?
7 A. Uscumlic.
8 Q. And for the record that name is spelled U-s-c-u-m-l-i-c.
9 Can we move to page 36 in e-court, and this should be page 32932
10 of the transcript.
11 Mr. Nikolic, in lines 2 to 5 of this -- on this page, counsel is
12 asking about a lawyer named Zlatan Celanovic, who is attached to the
13 Bratunac Brigade military police platoon. And then counsel asked you to
14 tell a little bit about Mr. Celanovic's position and his duties?
15 Starting at line 6 and continuing on to line 10, in the beginning
16 of your response, you say: "I can. The light infantry brigade, that is
17 to say, my brigade, was a light infantry brigade. In terms of
18 establishment it had two functions: The intelligence and security one.
19 And there were war [sic] organs respectively."
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't see the word "war."
21 MR. SAXON: I stand corrected. Thank you very much, Your Honour.
22 You're correct.
23 Q. "And there were organs" -- I'm sorry I should have said: "And
24 there were organs respectively. Under law, I, as the person representing
25 the intelligence organ in a light infantry brigade was not an authorised
2 Mr. Nikolic, is this part of the English transcript correct?
3 A. In principle it is. There is something here, a piece of phrasing
4 that I heard in my language which might be slightly inaccurate. But the
5 essence is there.
6 Q. Is there something you wish to correct?
7 A. Well, no. I would just like to be given an opportunity to
8 briefly say what exactly that was in relation to. I may have put it this
9 way myself but there you go.
10 So I was an officer of the 1st Light Infantry Brigade in
11 Bratunac. In that brigade, in addition to the other officers and the
12 other duties, I was the officer who was in charge of the -- the head of
13 the intelligence and security organ, within that brigade. Two functions
14 came together in my organ. The intelligence function -- there are two
15 functions and the other function would be the security function. Both
16 these functions were performed by a single organ, by a single officer,
17 that was me.
18 In the light infantry brigade during the war and for as long as I
19 was assigned to that brigade there was no separation between the two
20 functions. I was intelligence and security organ and, as such, I was not
21 an authorised official. That is the gist.
22 Q. Okay. And who would draft criminal reports, if criminal reports
23 needed to be drafted then?
24 A. In my light infantry brigade throughout the war, for as long as I
25 was there, which means up to the end of the war, Zlatan Celanovic was the
1 person who was in charge of preparing criminal reports which were later
2 signed by the commander.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. SAXON: Can we move, please, to page 57 in e-court.
5 And if we could scroll towards the bottom of the page, please.
6 This is page 32962 of the transcript.
7 Q. And in this portion of your testimony, Mr. Nikolic, you were
8 describing how the reburial operation of men who had been killed in or
9 near Srebrenica took place in September and October 1995. And you're
10 describing how it required a lot of people and resources.
11 And then, in the last sentence on this page, at lines 22 to 25,
12 you say this: "And, finally, all the tasks given to me, primarily to
13 take care of the fuel, I supported by provided books to the Bratunac
14 Brigade showing all the quantities of fuel used, and we were obliged to
15 replenish those" -- excuse me, "these quantities that were used."
16 Is that comment at the end of that sentence, that you were
17 obliged to replenish quantities of fuel, is that correct?
18 A. I don't remember formulating that in such a way, or indeed saying
19 anything to the effect of what has now been interpreted to me. Our duty
20 was to account for any fuel used, any fuel received, and then we had to
21 account for it to the commander of the Drina Corps who secured this fuel
22 for us. It wasn't for us to replenish or get new supplies, that much is
24 Q. Thank you. And now the last correction on this portion of your
1 MR. SAXON: Can we turn to page 58, please, in e-court. This
2 will be page 32963 of the transcript.
3 Q. And this is the following page. And in lines 1 and 2, continuing
4 on with -- with your response, Mr. Nikolic, you said:
5 "After the operation was over, I packed up all these books and
6 sent it to the brigade?"
7 Is the word "brigade" at the end of that sentence correct?
8 A. I didn't or, rather, in the simplest of terms, the word "brigade"
9 should not be at the end of that sentence.
10 Q. And what or words should be at the end of the sentence?
11 A. It should be that I sent those reports, and the word "report" is
12 in relation to fuel, usage of fuel. I got the reports from Drina Corps.
13 I packed them all up following the completion of Drina operation, and I
14 forwarded them -- or, rather, sent them to the commander of the Drina
15 Corps. I sent the originals to them and I left photocopies of these
16 documents with the Bratunac Brigade. That is the whole truth.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, Mr. Nikolic, with these corrections, does your
18 testimony from the 21s of April, 2009 accurately reflect what you said at
19 that time?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And, Mr. Nikolic, if you were examined today on the same topics,
22 would your answers be the same?
23 A. Yes, they would.
24 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, at this time I would ask to admit 65 ter
25 number 09556 and after that, I have some related exhibits that I will
1 seek admission of.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: 09556 is admitted. May it please be given an
3 exhibit number.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be exhibit number 2511.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Registrar, P2511.
6 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would also seek the admission of what
7 is 65 ter 04557.01. This is Mr. Nikolic's statement of facts and
8 acceptance of responsibility dated the 6th of May, 2003. And it was
9 Exhibit P4489 in the Popovic trial.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Are you waiting for any response from me?
11 MR. SAXON: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry. Yes.
13 MR. SAXON: Thank you.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I beg your pardon.
15 Are you tendering it into evidence.
16 MR. SAXON: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay fine. It is admitted into evidence. May it
18 please be given an exhibit number.
19 I thought you wanted to go through it.
20 MR. SAXON: No, Your Honour, I said I would also seek the
21 admission of --
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. I beg your pardon.
23 MR. HARMON: No problem, Your Honour.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will be Exhibit 2512.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
1 Yes, Mr. Saxon.
2 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would also ask for the admission of 65
3 ter number 09558. This is the supplementary statement of Mr. Nikolic
4 which he provided to the Popovic Trial Chamber dated 16th of April 2009,
5 and it was court exhibit number 2 in the Popovic trial.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: It is admitted. May it please be given an exhibit
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will be exhibit number P2513.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Registrar.
10 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would seek the admission of 65 ter
11 number 04557.03, which is the joint motion for consideration of plea
12 agreement between Momir Nikolic and the Office of the Prosecutor, dated
13 the 7th of May, 2003, and this was Exhibit P4527 in the Popovic trial.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's admitted. May it please be given an exhibit
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit P2514.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
18 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, I would seek the admission of 65 ter
19 number 04557.02, and this is tab B to the joint motion for consideration
20 of plea agreement between Momir Nikolic and the Prosecutor, dated the 6th
21 of May, 2003, and it was Exhibit P4485 in the Popovic trial.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's admitted. May it please be given an exhibit
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will be Exhibit P2515.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
1 Yes, Mr. Saxon.
2 MR. SAXON: And I would seek the admission of 65 ter number
3 7207215. These are the Bratunac Brigade minutes of meetings from 28
4 June 1995 through the 16th of October, 1995, and this was Exhibit P219 in
5 the Popovic trial.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: They are admitted. May it please be given an
7 exhibit number.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit P2516.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
10 Yes, Mr. Saxon.
11 Q. MR. SAXON: And now, briefly, I believe you have two corrections
12 to make to a portion of your testimony from the 22nd of April, 2009
13 MR. SAXON: Can we please call up on e-court 65 ter 9557. And if
14 we can turn, please, to page 14 in e-court. And this should be the page
15 32992 in the English transcript. And it is.
16 Q. And, Mr. Nikolic, in lines 2 to 3 at the top of that page you're
17 being asked a question, and in the record the first sentence begins:
18 "Sir, you've testified previously about a meeting of the Krivaja
19 95 combat group commanders, which took place in the Bratunac Brigade
20 command ..."
21 My question for you, is that phrase Krivaja 95, is that correct?
22 A. No.
23 Q. What should that phrase read?
24 A. In this context, Krivaja, we are talking about the Krivaja 95
1 Q. And for the record, it is spelled K-r-i-v-a-j-a?
2 MR. SAXON: Can we please turn to page 23 of the e-court, please.
3 This should be page 33002 of the transcript; it is.
4 Q. And in lines 11 to 20 of this page, Mr. Nikolic, you're
5 explaining the flow of the Srebrenica operation, the way it developed,
6 and you're explaining that you wanted to explain the way the attack took
7 place and how it came about that people began leaving Srebrenica and
8 forcibly transferred to the Muslim-controlled territory.
9 And then at line -- beginning at line 16 there is a sentence
10 going on, and the sentence read this:
11 "The final goal was to have the enclave empty and all documents,
12 if you look at them, starting with the director from the Main Staff and
13 the information of Commander Ognjenovic points to the fact that this was
14 the goal of the attack on the enclave?"
15 And my question for you there is: In the English transcript we
16 see the word "director" at line 18. Is that word correct?
17 A. No.
18 Q. What should that word be?
19 A. It should be "directive."
20 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Nikolic, with these corrections did your
21 testimony from the 22nd of April, 2009, accurately reflect what you said
22 at that time?
23 A. Yes, it did.
24 Q. And, Mr. Nikolic, if you were examined today on the same topics,
25 would your answers be the same?
1 A. Yes, they would.
2 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, at this time I would seek to admit 65
3 ter 09557.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: It is admitted. May it please be given an exhibit
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit P2517.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
8 Yes, Mr. Saxon.
9 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, may have I the court's permission to
10 read a summary of the evidence of Mr. Nikolic.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: You do.
12 MR. SAXON: Momir Nikolic confirms the statement of facts that
13 was filed with his plea agreement on the 6th of May, 2003, with the
14 qualifications that he provided in his additional statement of facts that
15 he filed with the Popovic Trial Chamber on 17 April 2009.
16 During July 1995, Mr. Nikolic was the chief of intelligence and
17 security of the Bratunac Brigade of the army of the Republika Srpska, or
18 the VRS. Much of Mr. Nikolic's evidence concerns events in Srebrenica
19 and the Bratunac municipalities on the 11th, 12th, and 13th July 1995.
20 Mr. Nikolic also discusses certain activities that occur later in time,
21 such as efforts in September and October 1995 to rebury Bosnian Muslim
22 males who were executed after their capture in or near Srebrenica in
23 July of that year.
24 On the evening of the 11th of July, 1995, Mr. Nikolic was present
25 at two meetings at the Hotel Fontana in Bratunac. Present at the first
1 meeting was General Ratko Mladic, General Radislav Jankovic, and members
2 of the Dutch battalion. The second meeting was attended by General Ratko
3 Mladic, General Radislav Krstic, and other members of the VRS, Colonel
4 Karremans of the Dutch battalion, and a Bosnian Muslim representative
5 named Nedzib Mandzic. On the morning of 12 July, Mr. Nikolic was present
6 outside the Hotel Fontana shortly before a third meeting began. For
7 several minutes, Mr. Nikolic spoke with VRS Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic.
8 Mr. Popovic informed Mr. Nikolic that the Bosnian Muslim women, children,
9 and men not fit for military service would be transported to
10 Muslim-controlled territory. With respect to the fate of the able-bodied
11 Bosnian Muslim men, Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic told Mr. Nikolic: "All
12 the balija have to be killed."
13 After the meeting finished that morning, Mr. Nikolic received
14 very similar information from VRS Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric.
15 Subsequently, Mr. Nikolic and members of the Bratunac Brigade military
16 police assisted in the operation to transport Bosnian Muslim civilians
17 away from Potocari and to separate the able-bodied Muslim men from the
18 rest of the persons gathered there.
19 On the 13th of July, 1995, Mr. Nikolic had a conversation with
20 General Ratko Mladic and asked Mladic what would be done with a group of
21 captured Muslims. General Mladic simply drew his hand across his chest
22 in a gesture that indicated to Mr. Nikolic that the captured Muslims
23 would be killed, which is what happened to those captured persons.
24 On the evening of 13 July 1995
25 ordered Mr. Nikolic to convey an order to Mr. Drago Nikolic, the
1 assistant commander for security of the VRS Zvornik Brigade. The order
2 was that the captured Bosnian Muslim men, then detained in Bratunac,
3 would be transported to Zvornik, and Drago Nikolic's task was to prepare
4 the facilities and men in Zvornik who would receive these prisoners.
5 Colonel Beara also told Mr. Nikolic that the Muslim prisoners should be
6 detained in Zvornik and executed.
7 Mr. Nikolic's evidence describes how, on the evening of 13 July,
8 he accompanied Colonel Beara to the offices of the SDS party in Bratunac.
9 Mr. Nikolic waited in an outer office while Colonel Beara spoke with
10 Miroslav Deronjic, then the president of the SDS party in Bratunac, and
11 Miroslav Vasic, the chief of the police in Bratunac, in another office.
12 During that conversation, Mr. Nikolic overheard Mr. Deronjic and Colonel
13 Beara argue about the captured Muslim prisoners then detained in
14 Bratunac. Mr. Deronjic wanted all of the prisoners to be transported
15 away from Bratunac, and he opposed the idea that any of the men be
16 executed in Bratunac. Colonel Beara stated that he had very different
18 And finally, Mr. Nikolic's evidence describes how the goal of VRS
19 forces was to have the Srebrenica enclave empty of Muslims.
20 Your Honour, may I have the Chamber's permission to clarify or
21 highlight several points in the prior testimony of the witness?
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may.
23 MR. SAXON:
24 Q. Mr. Nikolic, at page 32917 of your testimony in trial of
25 Mr. Popovic and others, beginning at line 8 and continuing to page 32918,
1 line 17, you describe how you had a conversation with Lieutenant-Colonel
2 Popovic in front of the Hotel Fontana in Bratunac on the morning of 12th
3 July 1995.
4 Do you recall that testimony?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. And on page 32919 of the transcript, from lines 2 to 7, you
7 describe how, after that meeting, you had a similar discussion with VRS
8 Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric.
9 Do you recall that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I'd like to show you a -- a short video clip. I see you have
12 your glasses with you.
13 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, this will be the start of Exhibit P438.
14 [Video-clip played]
15 MR. SAXON: Can we stop it there. Thank you.
16 Q. Mr. Nikolic, can you -- can you --
17 MR. SAXON: We've stopped, Your Honour, at -- the timer says
19 Mr. Nikolic, can you identify the persons in the video where
20 we've stopped it here? Perhaps starting from left to right, as we see
22 A. Yes I can. The first on the left is Momir Nikolic; that is me.
23 The one next to me is Colonel Jankovic. The person standing in the door,
24 I don't know exactly his name but I know that he was from the security
25 detail of General Mladic, and to the far right is Lieutenant-Colonel
1 Vujadin Popovic.
2 Q. And --
3 A. Excuse me, and the location where this shot was made is in front
4 of Hotel Fontana in Bratunac.
5 Q. And when was this shot taken, this video footage taken?
6 A. This footage was made on the 12th of July, 1995, approximately
7 immediately prior to the meeting -- the third meeting that was convened
8 to be held on the 12th of July, 1995, at 10.00 at Hotel Fontana.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. SAXON: Can we continue for just another few seconds.
11 [Video-clip played]
12 Q. We've stopped here -- oh, well -- we've stopped here at
14 Mr. Nikolic, there is one person in the foreground with his back
15 to the camera but there are two persons facing the camera. There is a
16 man on the left, a rather tall, thin man, and there is a man more towards
17 the right facing with us a bald head and a moustache.
18 Can you identify those men, please?
19 A. The man on the left is Mr. Karremans, the DutchBat commander, who
20 were in Potocari at the time, and the man with the moustache, the bald
21 person, is Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric, who was the chief of the
22 intelligence department with the Drina Corps command.
23 Q. Okay.
24 MR. SAXON: And can we run the tape just a bit more, please.
25 Stop there.
1 Q. Now the man who previously had his back to us has turned to face
2 the camera, and this is at 01.42.55.6. Can you identify the man who is
3 now looking at the camera on the left side of the screen, Mr. Nikolic?
4 A. Yes. That's Mr. Vujadin Popovic, chief of the security
5 Department of the Drina
6 Q. Thank you.
7 MR. SAXON: We can leave that video-clip now.
8 Q. Continuing with Mr. Kosoric, who you speak about -- who you spoke
9 about in your prior testimony.
10 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness what is 65 ter 9507,
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you say 9570?
13 MR. SAXON: I apologise, Your Honour, I thought I said 9507.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: 9507.
15 MR. SAXON: Nothing is coming up on my screen. I don't know
16 about other persons in the courtroom. Here we are. Here we are.
17 Q. Mr. Nikolic, this is a document dated the 23rd of May, 1995, from
18 the Republika Srpska Army Main Staff.
19 Do you recall that I showed you this document a couple of days
21 A. Yes, I do.
22 Q. What is this document?
23 A. This is a document issued by the Republika Srpska Army
24 Main Staff, and it concerns the secondment or the request for secondment
25 of officers pursuant to Article 58 of the Yugoslav army law, specifically
1 two officers to be sent to the Army of Republika Srpska. Of course, you
2 can read what it concerns in detail. You can see yourself. I don't need
3 to read it. This is a request for two officers to be sent.
4 Q. Okay. The first officer mentioned is Svetozar Kosoric. Do you
5 see that?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. At some point in 1995, did you become aware that Svetozar Kosoric
8 became a member of the VRS Drina Corps?
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. And can you recall approximately when that was and the position
11 of Mr. Kosoric?
12 A. Yes, I remember how the Drina Corps was being manned and how the
13 recruitment was done for the Drina Corps at that time, which was sometime
14 before the Operation Srebrenica, and from this document one can see when
15 this exactly occurred and when this request was forwarded. So it might
16 have been sometime in June when Mr. Kosoric joined the Drina Corps
17 command and he assumed the duties of chief of the intelligence department
18 of the Drina
19 Q. And did you meet Mr. Kosoric at that time?
20 A. I really cannot tell you at this moment when was it that when I
21 met him for the first time, but I know it was that the gentleman from the
22 intelligence and security department were active at the time, that they
23 used to come and visit the brigade, but I honestly cannot tell you the
24 exact date.
25 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would seek to tender this document,
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's admitted. May it please be given an exhibit
4 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit P2518.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
6 MR. SAXON: The Court's indulgence.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: You have it.
8 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I have been notified that I made two
9 errors when I read out the summary of the witness's evidence, and I would
10 like to correct them please. Both of them involve names.
11 At line 21 [sic] of today's LiveNote, I made a reference to
12 General Radislav Jankovic. That should actually read General Radislav
14 And --
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: When you say at line 21 of today's LiveNote, what
16 page are you referring to?
17 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm referring to page 14.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
19 MR. SAXON: And then on page 16, Your Honour, line 6, I referred
20 to Miroslav Vasic and I should have used the name Dragomir Vasic.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
22 MR. SAXON:
23 Q. Mr. Nikolic, at page 32915 of your testimony, starting at line 5
24 through page 32916, line 2, you testify about a Colonel Radislav
25 Jankovic, a Main Staff intelligence officer from the VRS, who, during the
1 time of the events in Srebrenica in July 1995, shared an office with you.
2 Do you recall that portion of your testimony?
3 A. Yes, I do.
4 MR. SAXON: Can we please show the witness 65 ter 0949.
5 Q. Mr. Nikolic, this is a document dated the 25th of April, 1995
6 Do you recall seeing this several days ago?
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. And just briefly, what is this document?
9 A. Well, it's similar to the previous one. It is another request
10 sent by the VRS Main Staff to the General Staff of the Yugoslav army to
11 the effect that they asked for the below-named officers from the
12 intelligence department to be sent, and under number 2, we see the name
13 of the officer who shared an office with me during the period that we are
14 discussing, and that is Lieutenant-Colonel Radislav Jankovic.
15 Q. And do you recall how you first -- or when you first met Radislav
16 Jankovic, and the circumstances?
17 A. Yes. I met him the first time, that is Mr. Radislav Jankovic, on
18 the 8th of July, 1995, when General Mladic arrived and he was accompanied
19 by a group of officers from the Main Staff, among them was Colonel
21 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, I would ask that this document be
22 admitted, please.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's admitted. May it please be given an exhibit
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit P2519.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
2 MR. SAXON:
3 Q. And, finally, the last topic, Mr. Nikolic, starting at page 32963
4 of the -- of your testimony in the Popovic trial, at line 18 and
5 continuing to page 32964, line 10, you describe the resources that were
6 used in the reburial operation during September and October 1995. And on
7 page 32964, at line 6, you make a brief reference to "the number of
8 labourers who were engaged to work."
9 Mr. Nikolic, where did these labourers come from?
10 A. If I remember correctly, and I think I do, I believe that I was
11 talking about all those who were involved in the reburial operation and
12 the burial of the remains of the Muslims who had been buried in a grave
13 in Glogova.
14 These labourers came and I was referring to them. They came from
15 various quarters. So within the whole operation, involved were members
16 of the Bratunac Brigade, members of the Drina Corps, members of the
17 Bratunac public security stations, members of the Srebrenica public
18 security station, then Bratunac and Srebrenica municipal civilian
19 authorities, and work organisations or companies that had among their
20 resources machinery and those were work organisations from the territory
21 of Srebrenica and Bratunac, and another participant was an engineer
22 battalion of the Drina Corps and the Bratunac utility company.
23 So I was referring to all these men who came from all these
24 sources and who were involved in this operation that was dubbed in my
25 brigade as asanacija, or clear-up operations.
1 Q. And you mentioned the utilities company from Bratunac. What did
2 the members of the Bratunac utility company do? What was their
4 A. The workers from the utility company, and I believe that it's
5 clear to everyone what a utility company does in a town, they had
6 machinery and trucks and their workers were mainly involved in the work
7 in the grave itself. That is to say, digging up the grave in Glogova.
8 Q. And do you know where this reburial operation in Srebrenica and
9 Bratunac was planned?
10 A. Do I know where it was planned?
11 Q. That's my question, yes.
12 A. Yes. All I know --
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Carry on.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With a great degree of certainty I
15 can say that this operation had not been planned at a local level.
16 According to what I know and based on all the information that I have
17 received to date, indicate that this operation had been planned at the
18 level of the Main Staff and that is how it was presented to the brigade,
19 to my brigade, that is to say, and I testified to this effect in the
20 previous trials.
21 MR. SAXON:
22 Q. And just so the record is clear, when you refer to the
23 Main Staff, is that the Main
24 A. Yes. I was referring to the Main Staff of the Army of Republika
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic.
2 MR. SAXON: I have no further questions at this time, Your
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Saxon.
5 Mr. Lukic.
6 Cross-examination by Mr. Lukic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
8 A. Good morning, Mr. Lukic.
9 Q. Have you counted the times you answered questions for the benefit
10 of various Defence counsels so far?
11 A. No, not really.
12 Q. I'm asking because you probably know that we both must speak
13 slowly and we must make a pause between each of the questions and answers
14 and vice versa in order to ensure an accurate transcript. I've noticed
15 that you have a tendency to speak fast. So do I.
16 Let's do our best to try and help the interpreters and keep the
17 transcript accurate.
18 A. I'll try to keep track of this, and I hope that everything goes
20 Q. I would first like to go through the chronology, if I may call it
21 that, of your status. A number of questions about that, although a
22 number of things can be gleaned from the documents that have now been
23 exhibited, above all I'm referring to the joint agreement on facts.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Judging by the speed at which the interpreter is
25 going, two seconds after your warning.
1 MR. LUKIC: Uh-huh.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Your indictment was published in March 2002,
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the answer.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: The interpreter didn't hear the answer to the
6 question, Mr. Nikolic. Will you please answer again.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. You were arrested on the 1st of April, 2002.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You were charged with genocide, involvement in genocide,
12 extermination, persecution all within the joint criminal enterprise. Do
13 you remember that?
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. About a year after your arrest you drew up an agreement with the
16 OTP to plead guilty. Pursuant to that agreement, you plead guilty before
17 the Tribunal, guilty of persecution. That was on 7th of May, 2003. Do
18 you remember that?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 Q. Pursuant to that agreement, the sentencing ruling was deferred
21 until the close of your number in the Blagojevic case; is that right?
22 And Jokic too.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Your conviction came on the 2nd of December 2003, right?
25 A. I don't remember the exact date, but I will take your word for
2 Q. Another thing that I have come across is that nearly two and a
3 half years later on the 8th of March, 2006, the final judgement came, the
4 20-year prison term which you are now serving. That was the final
5 sentence, right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can we look at your -- B/C/S page 4, the English page is 7.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: I hear the interpreter telling us pages, but he's
9 not telling us pages of what.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] This is exhibit -- and I think my
11 note is right, P2514. This is it a joint plea agreement annex; the B/C/S
12 page is 4, and the English page is 7.
13 Q. I want to know about paragraph 9. Yes, that's right.
14 This is the plea agreement that you entered into with the
15 Prosecutor of this Tribunal. It reads that, in actual fact, you were
16 willing to cooperate with the Prosecutor and to furnish truthful and
17 complete information whenever so required.
18 Is that right?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. Above all, this is in reference to your knowledge about the
21 events surrounding Srebrenica.
22 The next sentence reads that you agreed to be truthful and candid
23 and to freely answer all questions put to you by members of the Office of
24 the Prosecutor. Also, you agreed to testify at their request in any
25 trial before this Tribunal.
1 Is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You have so far not refused any contact or conversation with
4 The Hague Prosecutor or indeed to appear as a witness before this
6 A. No, I've never refused that.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Next page, please, paragraph 11.
8 Q. It reads here that both you and the Prosecutor agree for all
9 information and testimony provided by you to be absolutely truthful,
10 meaning you must neither minimise your own actions nor fabricate anyone
11 else's involvement.
12 Is that right?
13 A. Yes. You're stating that and what would be the question in it
14 for me?
15 Q. My question, you personally signed this agreement, right.
16 Can you just respond for the transcript?
17 A. That's right I signed the agreement.
18 Q. When you signed the agreement and afterwards as well, when you
19 provided statements to the OTP and when you appeared as a witness before
20 the Trial Chamber, you were fully aware of your obligations under
21 paragraph 11 of this agreement were you not?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You were also aware of the fact that you were in no way to
24 minimise your own involvement or indeed fabricate anything at all about
25 other people's involvement.
1 A. Yes, that's right.
2 Q. And that was what you did. You consistently acted in that way
3 after you signed this agreement, right?
4 A. Yes. I consistently acted like that, to the extent that I could
5 intellectually or indeed in any other way.
6 Q. I fully understand your response, sir.
7 During your negotiations with the OTP, surrounding your plea
8 agreement, at one point in time you felt that the Prosecutor - at least
9 based on how you felt - was not happy with the information provided by
10 you during those interviews. It therefore crossed your mind that you
11 might be expected to offer something more as opposed to what you had been
12 saying up until that point in time.
13 You testified about that a number of times as far as I remember?
14 A. Yes, indeed.
15 Q. Is that right?
16 A. Can you please ask your question. Try to ask questions. I do
17 have to say this, respectfully. I'm trying to be fair. I wish to answer
18 any and all your questions, but can you please start asking questions and
19 then I start answering. You keep making statements and declarations
20 asking me to confirm. I'm not sure I'm willing to go along with that.
21 Just ask the questions and I'll try to answer all of them.
22 Q. I do believe that that was a question.
23 THE INTERPRETER: One speaker at a time, please.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. One question -- at one point during your negotiations with the
1 OTP, you personally felt or thought that any information that you have
2 been providing up to that point was not sufficient in order to reach an
3 agreement with the OTP. You therefore offered to give them something
4 more, more than you had been giving up until that point in time.
5 Is that right, sir?
6 A. No. My answer to your question is at one point in time, and I've
7 testified to this fact countless times so far, at one point in time,
8 there was a moment when negotiations became gridlocked in relation to one
9 particular incident, which I can explain if you would like me to.
10 After the Prosecutor was adamant that I should be there, at one
11 point I became unsettled. That was towards the end of our talks. I'd
12 given them everything that I knew. I told the Prosecutor about
13 everything. And at one point a question came from the Prosecutor, were
14 you involved in that crime? And I said yes. I ordered this and that.
15 After that, and I'm talking about Kravica, the Kravica case, I realised
16 immediately what I had done. I had told an untruth. I asked that the
17 talks cease immediately. We spoke -- I spoke to my lawyers, I told them
18 immediately, "Gentlemen, I actually told an untruth. I want to apologise
19 to the OTP and I want to press on with the talks." That's what happened.
20 And just to be perfectly clear about this, both the Prosecutor
21 and my lawyers, with my consent, needless to say, drew up a statement
22 detailing everything that it said about me telling an untruth about my
23 own involvement in that incident. I apologised to the OTP and we
24 continued with our talks.
25 As talks continued -- or at least I -- I hope, to the extent that
1 I was able, I talked about my crimes, I talked about my own involvement
2 in these crimes and the involvement of other people. I believe I ended
3 up telling the complete truth at least as based on my knowledge and based
4 on my vision of what might -- my experience of what happened. So that's
5 about my additional statement and about any untruths that I may have
7 Q. It's easy for both of us to understand what we're talking about.
8 Probably, I'm not sure that the Chamber is aware of all these facts that
9 we are now discussing specifically.
10 Can we please clarify this one thing at a time.
11 As far as I understand, or, rather, let me try to tackle it this
12 way. At one point in time you told the Prosecutors something that was
13 not a truthful and accurate fact, something do with the Kravica incident;
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. As far as I understand your last answer, you said this on the
17 spur of the moment, you were revolted because you thought that your talks
18 with the OTP were not proceeding in the right direction. You were in
19 a -- peculiar emotional state and that's why you said it. It wasn't
20 something that was a result of any calculations on your part. You were
21 simply thinking that the Prosecutor was trying to get something more from
22 you as opposed to what you had said up to that point, that was my first
23 question. And then you provided this exceptionally broad answer, just to
24 be perfectly precise. This inaccurate fact or false fact that you then
25 shared with the OTP, was that a result of any calculations that you may
1 have made during your talks with the OTP or was that simply a result of
2 your peculiar emotional state at the time, your revolt?
3 A. I will answer that question and I'll be perfectly clear about
4 this. The fact remains what I said a while ago. Nevertheless, I have to
5 admit because of the truth. The talks with the Prosecution were nearing
6 the natural end, and I had said up to that point whatever I'd had to say,
7 and I was perfectly clear about this. I said everything that I knew.
8 Any withdrawal from these talks would have been fatal for me, because I'd
9 already given them everything that I knew, and I had said that in my
10 previous testimony. My assessment was that I would not have any avenues
11 open in terms of withdrawing from the talks or stopping the talks,
12 putting a stop to the talks. My assessment was I had to be there. I had
13 to stick with it.
14 I had to remain in these negotiations, and given the situation
15 that I was, that would have been optimal solution for me, so please try
16 not to interrupt that as some form of calculation or speculation. I
17 thought it was the best decision for me at the time and the fairest
18 decision, too. I hope you understand the situation that I was in.
19 Nevertheless, I assumed this responsibility. I never accused
20 anyone else. I apologise. I did make a mistake. I did tell an untruth.
21 I apologised and we continued the talks.
22 Q. You see this capital letters on the screen, sir, you see these
23 capital letters? That's about you and me. That's about us slowing down,
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think it's a very good time for a
1 break, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... and come back
3 at a quarter to 11.00.
4 Court adjourned.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.18 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.47 a.m.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes -- yes, Mr. Saxon, I see you are on your feet.
8 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 May we move briefly into private session, please.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
11 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
2 Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nikolic, A question in relation to your last
5 answer. At page 32, line 12, you say that had the talks stopped this
6 would have been a fatal development for you.
7 Why would that have constituted a fatal development for you, as
8 you say, if the talks between you and the OTP had stopped or ground to a
9 halt? Briefly, if you can. Thank you.
10 A. First of all, I'm no lawyer myself. Obviously, this was the
11 first time in my life I was facing a prosecutor or, indeed, an
12 indictment, the first time I've ever stood accused of anything at all. I
13 had no idea at the time, and I took far too long finding my feet, as it
14 were, in this situation. I'm only talking about my own personal
15 conviction. I believed that I had said everything. I was entirely open
16 and forthright about my involvement. This was towards the end of the
17 talks, and I believed at that time that I had run out of arguments
18 defending myself because I had told the Prosecutor everything already
19 about myself, about my involvement, the mode of my involvement.
20 Again, this was my call, my personal assessment. I believed that
21 I would find myself in an unenviable situation. After all these talks
22 and after all information that I provided to the OTP, I believed that I
23 would find myself in a very difficult situation. That was my assessment
24 at the time.
25 Q. If you had remained in your status as an accused, the amount of
1 information had you already provided would have been detrimental to your
2 Defence; is my understanding correct?
3 A. Yes, that was my understanding, too. Was I right or wrong I
4 don't know. I'm not a lawyer. As I said, it was the assessment that I
5 made at the time.
6 Q. During the talks with the OTP, you wanted to get at the truth
7 about any facts that you were aware of. You wanted to make all this
8 available to the public. That was the ambition behind your admission of
9 guilt; right?
10 A. During the talks, I did my best to tell the OTP the truth, the
11 truth that I remembered from back then, the period in relation to which I
12 stood indicted and in relation to the area where -- in which I was
13 deployed to that particular unit.
14 Q. Can we please just look at this, the portion of your testimony in
15 the Blagojevic case, an answer you provided to Mr. Karnavas.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please draw up document, it's
17 part of the transcript that's in e-court from the Blagojevic trial. This
18 is 1D03-2995, page 65. This is 2143 in the official transcript of the
19 Blagojevic case.
20 Q. What is about to come up on our screens will be in English,
21 Mr. Nikolic. It's about the subject matter that we have been discussing
22 right now, what you termed your assessment, your estimate at the time,
23 the assessment that was behind your decision to tell an untruth about a
24 particular fact.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The transcript page is 65; in
1 e-court, 2143, if our information is accurate.
2 Q. Starting with line five, Mr. Karnavas' question.
3 [In English] "Okay. But getting back to what I said, the false
4 information in this story relates to Nikolic, and Nikolic stood to gain
5 the most from the story that Nikolic himself had created and served to
6 the Prosecution [sic]."
8 "Answer: [In English] I did not, Mr. Karnavas, at that point in
9 time think along those lines as to what I would gain and what I will
10 lose. Just then I had decided, since the Prosecution and I were in
11 advanced stage, and since I had conveyed ... the Prosecution everything
12 that I had done and I had been involved in, I simply felt that the
13 agreement should be signed with the Prosecution and that that agreement
14 should be reached, that I should confess my guilt and plead guilty. And
15 within that framework, I made this error, and that is all I can say now."
16 [Interpretation] Do you stand by these words that I have just
17 read back to you, the words you uttered in the Blagojevic case on the
18 29th of September, 2003.
19 A. I will take your word for it. I'm not receiving any
20 interpretation in my language, but I take your word for it. I stand by
21 it and it is the gist of what I said. I do apologise, just for the Trial
22 Chamber and generally speaking, there is one thing that I'd like to say.
23 I am unable to quote my previous testimonies every time I appear
24 again. But I would like to say that what I said today and what I said in
25 my previous testimony, in my first testimony, that remains the gist. I
1 wanted to reach this agreement, that is true, and I wanted to share with
2 the OTP the truth that I knew. I wanted to share with them what I saw
3 and what I investigated at the time. That was my intension then, as now.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just before you go on, Mr. Lukic. Part of the
5 answer by the witness is that he is not getting any translation in a
6 language he can understand.
7 Are we having any problem with the B/C/S booth.
8 THE INTERPRETER: No, Your Honour, we did interpret.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
10 MR. SAXON: I'm wondering perhaps whether it's a question of
11 which channel the witness is tuned into? I don't know.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we help the witness, please. I think it is
13 crucially important --
14 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation].
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's crucially important that the witness
16 [Overlapping speakers] ...
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that what
18 happened was something to do with his interpretation.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... we can all
20 sing; we cannot all talk at the same time. You're talking, the
21 interpreter is talking, I was trying to talk. I was trying to deal with
22 this problem, and I was trying to say it is crucially important for the
23 witness to hear his previous testimony for him to be able to answer you
25 And can you reread that passage from that testimony, and can we
1 have the interpretation for the witness being made so that he hears
2 exactly what was said.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Certainly.
4 Q. Mr. Nikolic, he wants to say something.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- I am receiving interpretation
8 in my headphones. Maybe I wasn't accurate and precise enough. I
9 expected that next to the English version I would see on the screen a
10 translation in my language. That is the problem. If that is not
11 supposed to happen, then there is no problem. I heard the interpretation
12 and I understand the gentleman and I trust the interpretation that I have
13 received. I heard everything through my headphones.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Nikolic. Now, unfortunately, you
15 not see the interpretation in the language that you understand on the
16 screen. You will only hear it here, okay? So if you hear it, that's
17 fine. Thank you very much.
18 Mr. Lukic, you may proceed. You don't have to reread.
19 MR. LUKIC:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Nikolic, whenever I put to you portions of
21 your previous testimonies, if you wish to have the reference page, the
22 only way we can do this is to read from the English transcript and then
23 have your comments, and that is similar to the procedure that you had
24 when you had your sessions with Mr. Saxon.
25 Let us now be precise, you did say that you stand by what I read
1 out to you today?
2 A. Yes.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please speak off the
4 microphone while the witness is speaking.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did you hear that, Mr. Lukic? When the witness is
6 speaking, switch off your mic. You are going to speak; you can have it
7 on now.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I will, Your Honours.
9 Q. At one point during your negotiations, you offered to the OTP an
10 untrue fact in order to remedy your status that you thought was, at the
11 time, unfavourable.
12 This is my brief conclusion. Just tell me do you agree or not.
13 A. I already answered that.
14 Q. Very well. I'm not going to insist on this any further.
15 From the point of your arrest and you were afforded the rights of
16 an accused, you continuously received material from the OTP in your
17 capacity of an accused.
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. This is the material that is incriminating or exonerating. At
20 any rate, you have received an abundance of material relating to the
21 events that you are testifying about today; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. And these documents, materials, statement, video footage, these
24 photographs served, among other things, to refresh your memory of the
25 events that happened seven or eight years ago; is that correct?
1 A. Well, you may put it that way.
2 Q. And most probably, this material helped you to draw certain
3 personal conclusions about some of the events that you were not aware of
4 at the time, but thanks to the material provided to you, you were able to
5 draw these conclusions concerning people who were involved in those
6 events. To put it simply: After you've seen certain video footage, you
7 establish a connection with what you remember about that and that enables
8 you to draw conclusions?
9 A. I wouldn't say so. I knew a lot, even without those materials
10 and statements and documents. And whenever I testified, it, for the most
11 part, referred to what I personally saw or was participant to. So we can
12 agree that the usage and reading of certain statements, orders, or
13 documents helped me just to reinforce and confirm my knowledge.
14 So you can -- you can say that, and that would be my answer to
15 your question, in this particular context.
16 Q. At one point, you had an opportunity to see a photograph taken on
17 the Sandici site, and you thought for a moment that you were in that
18 photograph. Therefore, I assume that, based on that original fact, you
19 tried to remember whether you actually were in Sandici at the time.
20 Later on, with the assistance of your counsel, you established that it
21 wasn't you.
22 Is that correct?
23 A. Both you and I know what this photograph relates, but let me make
24 it clear. The photograph that I was shown, it was taken out of a set and
25 the person depicted in the photograph resembled me. Without the checking
1 done by my counsel on the ground, I initially didn't know where this
2 photograph had been taken. As soon as I was told that this was taken in
3 Sandici I expressed my doubts, because they told me also the period. I
4 knew for a fact that at that period I was not in Sandici and that made me
6 After, I expressed these doubts. But, yes, at the beginning I
7 did say, yes, this man, this soldier in the photograph resembles me or I
8 resemble him. After an investigation conducted on the ground, my counsel
9 found the man who was in the photograph. He confirmed that himself. And
10 then the assertion that it was me in the photograph was rebuked.
11 As for the declaration of guilt, was provided to the OTP later
13 Q. This is what I actually asked you a while ago, as an example.
14 After seeing an OTP document, you made an effort to try and remember
15 whether there was any connection between you and their documents, so you
16 tried to think back whether you were in Sandici or not.
17 What I wanted to say is that certain documents supplied to you by
18 the OTP helped you to draw certain conclusions about certain events.
19 Is that correct?
20 A. I wouldn't say that. That's not correct. Any document provided
21 to me -- or this particular document did not serve me to establish that I
22 won't -- that I wasn't in Sandici. As soon as I was given information
23 about the area where the photograph was taken, I said, No, I wasn't in
24 Sandici at that time. I did pass through Sandici, but I was in a car and
25 nobody could have taken a photo of me in that pose. And nobody could
1 claim otherwise, because I wasn't in Sandici.
2 Q. Let's move on.
3 You were also on the OTP list of witnesses in the Popovic case;
4 is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And during the proofing, you were interviewed by Julian Nicholls
7 from the OTP when you were visited in detention unit or, rather, in
8 prison in 2007; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You didn't appear in these proceedings as the OTP witness, but,
11 rather, you were summoned as a court witness in April of this year; is
12 that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now see another portion of the
15 transcript from this trial, which is not part of the 92 ter package.
16 That's 1D03-4218 in e-court, page 33101, and page 48 in e-court.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before we do that, Mr. Lukic, what do you wanted
18 to do with 1D03-2995?
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm not tendering it into evidence
20 because I have put only one portion of the transcript, and the transcript
21 is already in evidence. I'm only relying on your guidance and your
22 guidelines, and I think that's sufficient.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Lukic.
24 MR. LUKIC:
25 Q. [Interpretation] This has been read out to you when you
1 testified. This is page 33101 from that same trial. You can't see this
2 on this page. It's actually page 17398. And that's the day when
3 Mr. McCloskey on behalf of the OTP provided certain information to the
4 Trial Chamber and -- which reads as follows. Line 3:
5 "[In English] Mr. President, as I think you are aware, about two
6 weeks ago we had a proofing session with Momir Nikolic. Julian Nicholls
7 met with him and from that proofing session it has arisen that
8 Momir Nikolic has become adverse to Prosecution [sic] case. Adverse to
9 the Prosecution case. He made statements at the proofing session that we
10 don't believe are credible, and in reviewing his overall situation, we
11 have decided, on a balance, to withdraw him as a witness."
12 [Interpretation] You are familiar with this, because this was
13 read out to you during your testimony.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. At that point when this interview was conducted with you in
16 prison, you were prepared to appear as an OTP witness in the Popovic
18 A. Yes, I was.
19 Q. You didn't put forward any preconditions concerning the OTP 's
20 intention to bring you as an OTP witness.
21 A. I never opposed the OTP's intention, because I understand what my
22 obligations are under the agreement that I signed with the Prosecution.
23 Q. During the proofing session, did the representative of the OTP
24 show you some documents that you hadn't seen before? Do you remember
1 A. No. As far as I remember, no.
2 Q. During that interview, were you asked to write new information
3 that you hadn't provided previously? Did they ask you some new
5 A. No, they didn't seek any additional information.
6 Q. Did the OTP representative tell you at the time that there is
7 contradiction between your present and previous statements and that they
8 were dissatisfied with what you have provided in terms of facts?
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, Mr. Lukic. I'm getting a bit lost
10 here. In terms of the witness's agreement with the OTP, he did not
11 undertake this plea bargain. Did he not undertake to testify in favour
12 of the OTP or to testify in support of the OTP case. He undertook to
13 testify truthfully.
14 This passage here does not say that they are dropping him as a
15 witness because he is now contradicting his prior statement. It says he
16 is now giving adverse testimony to the Prosecution's case. If it's
17 truthful, so be it. That's what he has undertook to do.
18 Now, I don't know whether somewhere else in this transcript there
19 is a proposition that he is contradicting his prior statement, but based
20 on the transcript before us, there is no allegation of inconsistent
21 statements. There is an allegation of adverse testimony.
22 I'm not sure whether the question you are putting on is based on
23 this or is based on some other excerpt from this testimony.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] With the Court's indulgence, may I
25 have a minute, please.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: You do have a minute, Mr. Lukic.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, what you asked me
3 about, this is only fact that I read from the transcript that was stated
4 by Mr. McCloskey concerning their position why they were unwilling to
5 call this witness. I wanted to check with this witness whether something
6 new occurred during the proofing session without going at all into
7 whether his statement and previous testimonies were truthful or
9 This is important for me because of the credibility of this
10 witness, and I'm going to ask some more questions about that later. I am
11 wondering about how interested he was to make the Prosecution satisfied
12 with his testimony.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I understand, Mr. Lukic. But my problem is once
14 you now suggest that he is -- his current statement at the time was
15 inconsistent with a prior statement he had made, then you are
16 mischaracterising the transcript as it stands. The transcript as it
17 stands does not allege an inconsistent statement, a prior statement. It
18 alleges adverse testimony to the case of the Prosecution. The
19 Prosecution -- the Prosecution here just feels that because he is saying
20 something that hurts them, therefore he must be dropped. They are not
21 saying he is untruthful. They are not saying it contradicts a prior
22 statement. This is my problem.
23 So when you talk of inconsistent prior statement, I find that a
24 mischaracterisation of the testimony that is before us.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. If I -- just to be -- if I said
1 that there was a discrepancy between his statement and his previous
2 testimony then I made a mistake. That is not what I was trying to talk
3 about. I did not go into the truthfulness of any allegations made at
4 that interview at all. That was not my intention.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... from page 44,
6 lines 25 up to page 45 line 2.
7 "Did the OTP representative tell you at the time that there this
8 is a contradiction between your present and previous statements and that
9 they were dissatisfied with what you have provided in terms of facts?"
10 That was your question.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I will clarify that right now.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... or did you
13 make a mistake when you said so?
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to rephrase that
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much, Mr. Lukic.
17 MR. LUKIC:
18 Q. [Interpretation] During a number of different interviews that you
19 had with the OTP over a long period of time, did you ever face a
20 situation where someone from the OTP presented to you a conclusion about
21 your evidence, in terms of saying, "We believe you" or "We do not believe
22 you" in relation to a fact, any fact?
23 A. That is a difficult question.
24 Q. Just briefly, please.
25 A. Briefly? I can't do this briefly.
1 Q. Let me first please check whether my question is all right by the
2 Trial Chamber. That's just what I -- the only thing that I wanted to
3 know. If this question is not perfectly proper, then I will try and
4 change it again.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: My problem is, I don't see the basis for that
6 question. If -- if the basis for your question is the testimony here,
7 then again you are slightly embellishing the testimony here. They don't
8 say they disbelieve him. They say he is adverse to their case.
9 MR. LUKIC: Yeah.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Now, to suggest at some stage the Prosecutor might
11 have said to him, "I don't believe you," is to take it a step further. A
12 legitimate question would be, Did at some stage the Prosecutor say to
13 you, "Your answer is hurting our case"? That's what the Prosecutor said
14 to the Court.
15 Okay, I beg your pardon. I must withdraw my statement.
16 I must withdraw. There is a passage to that effect; I'm awfully
17 sorry. I only remembered what you had put to the witness, but I see on
18 reading further there is something. My apologies.
19 That last question -- [Microphone not activated].
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I answer?
21 MR. LUKIC:
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. If I understand your question correctly, I will try to provide an
25 The Prosecution and I had countless conversations. There was
1 never a single conversation in which we had the exact same opinions, me
2 on the one hand and the OTP on the other, about a whole range of
3 different issues. I had my convictions, my opinions which I freely
4 stated to the OTP. Believe me, whenever I talked to the OTP I never
5 tried to say what I believed they wanted to hear. I always tried to say
6 what I thought was the truth. I always tried to provide my understanding
7 of whatever problem the Prosecution wanted to know about.
8 Along these lines, I think our talks were extremely fair. I
9 never had anyone from the OTP making any complaints about me. They
10 didn't praise me either, but they didn't have any particular objections
11 to raise to what I was saying or the way in which I was putting it.
12 That, in principle, would answer your question.
13 As to what I was actually talking about, what we were talking
14 about during the proofing in Finland played into the OTP's hands or not.
15 The manner in which I explained certain problems, now that is not
16 something that I can say. The OTP never told me what you asked me about
17 or what you suggested: "Mr. Nikolic, this is adverse to the OTP's case,"
18 they never said. Nor indeed did they express an opinion to the effect
19 that anything I was saying was favouring their case. They just told me
20 that I had to say whatever I felt I had to say. This, in the briefest
21 possible terms, would be an answer to your question.
22 Q. What you heard in court when it was read back to you, what
23 Mr. McCloskey had previously told the Trial Chamber, I bet you didn't
24 like it when you heard that assessment of the OTP when they said why they
25 chose not to call you; right?
1 A. That's right, I didn't like it. I said then - and I think when I
2 eventually appeared towards the end of my testimony I had another
3 opportunity to reiterate that I simply said that I had never refused to
4 appear. I also said there was nothing adverse in terms of my disposition
5 towards the OTP, nothing hostile. I had no problem with that. I was
6 perfectly willing, in keeping with my duties and obligations under the
7 agreement, to appear as a witness whenever summoned by the OTP. That was
8 my answer in court, the last time I appeared, and it still is today. I
9 can only repeat that. I'm willing to appear as a witness whenever
10 summoned by either of the parties, and all I will be talking about all my
11 evidence will be about the truth as I know it.
12 Q. What you really care is for the truth to be established about
13 what occurred in Srebrenica; right?
14 A. Of course I do. I am trying to contribute to that. I'm trying
15 to help get at the truth about what happened, about the crime, within my
16 powers and to the best of my knowledge.
17 Q. You would also like to see established the involvement of each
18 and every individual in those events, right? Briefly. Let's try to
19 speed things along a little.
20 A. Yes, I do care about that too.
21 I admitted my on responsibility, and I would like for the
22 responsibility of everyone else who was involved to be established as
23 well, and obviously I know about those too.
24 Q. Yet you refused to appear as a witness before the national court
25 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in relation to these same events; isn't that
2 A. That is not right. I appeared there twice, as a matter of fact.
3 Q. But you refused to go there to testify because you believed that
4 that wasn't part and parcel of your agreement with the OTP; isn't that
6 A. Again, you appear to have been misinformed. Nobody asked me to
7 go to Sarajevo. They wanted me to testify via videolink from Helsinki,
8 which is exactly what I did. The first time around I refused to appear
9 as a Prosecution witness simply because I had been given no documents at
10 all, nothing apart from the summons to appear as a witness.
11 On the other hand, I believed that I should be given information
12 or an indication as to what I would be testifying about. I believed that
13 this required some proofing, and I also believed that since under my
14 agreement with the OTP I had no obligation to appear before a court in
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, by the way, didn't even exist at the time.
16 I believed it was the duty of the BiH prosecutor to at least come over
17 and ask me whether I was willing to participate in those trials.
18 On the other hand, I did not wish to not appear at all and then I
19 asked to be the court's witness. And that is the capacity in which I
20 appeared in the first trial there.
21 As for the second trial, they told me what I would be testifying
22 about. I was provided documents, and in that second trial I eventually
23 appeared as a Prosecution witness.
24 Q. My information suggests that you were not willing to testify
25 because that wasn't in the terms of your agreement with the OTP. Your
1 agreement with the OTP was only about appearing before this Tribunal.
2 Do you remember ever saying anything like that? Yes or no,
4 A. I think that is true. But what I'm telling you now is that, as a
5 matter of fact, I did appear as a witness there.
6 Q. That was never in doubt.
7 A. Fair enough then.
8 Q. The statement that has been exhibited - and, Your Honours, I'm
9 talking about Exhibit P2513 - is a statement that you hand-wrote in
10 Finland, in prison before appearing in the Popovic case.
11 If I understand correctly, the substance of that statement is
12 about your clarification of certain facts from your admission of guilt.
13 You drew up this statement in order to adjust certain statements or the
14 allegations made in your previous admission, right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You know that each time one appears as a witness before a court
17 one testifies under oath, and perjury has certain consequences. You
18 handwrote this statement, despite which you are prepared and willing to
19 bear any consequences as if the handwritten statement had been provided
20 under oath, right?
21 A. Yes, I understand what you are saying and I agree.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: It's not intention of the Defence to tender
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, same as before.
25 Q. Let us go through a couple of things. Can we have page 2 in the
1 B/C/S and the English page is right there at the bottom, Prosecution
2 Exhibit P2513.
3 That is your statement. What shall I call it? Yeah, that's
4 probably the best. Handwritten statement to be perfectly accurate;
6 What I want to know about is when as a matter of fact you explain
7 paragraph 1 of the admission statement and here you go on to say: "The
8 intentions of the VRS, the first intention was to" --
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Just direct us exactly on the page where you are
11 Okay, I can see now.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Halfway down the page, roughly
14 Q. "To physically separate two enclaves, the enclaves of Zepa and
15 Srebrenica, to liberate the Zeleni Jadar-Jasenovac-Milici road and, in
16 phase 2, to reduce the Srebrenica enclave to the town area. The forcible
17 removal of the entire Muslim population from Srebrenica was the result of
18 the fall of the enclaves and subsequent decisions."
19 I assume, since you provided a clarification, that -- and let me
20 try to be accurate.
21 When the operation was launched, Krivaja 95, that's what we'll be
22 calling it; right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. This was the plan. What you said here, that was the original
25 plan for that operation; right? Meaning to physically separate the two
1 enclaves, and in stage two to reduce the Srebrenica enclave to the area
2 of the town itself, the restricted area of the town itself.
3 Is my understanding correct, when Krivaja 95 began that was the
4 principle objective and only after the fall did all the other things --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could counsel please speak
6 up, speak directly into the microphone. Thank you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is what I wrote.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic, just read what the interpreter has just
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Fine.
11 Q. At the time the attack was launched on the enclave, you will
12 agree with me that there was no talk of a forcible removal of the
13 population or any crimes when the attack on the enclave started, when the
14 objective was to do what you just said, to separate the enclaves and to
15 reduce the Srebrenica enclave to the area of the town itself; right?
16 A. Sir, you're asking me as if I had been involved in the planning
17 of this operation. I can only tell you about my level.
18 Q. That's what I'm asking you.
19 A. You're asking about my level, my level, my brigade, my organ, we
20 were not discussing the issue that you just raised. Was this perhaps
21 discussed at a level higher up? I don't know.
22 Q. And then what you go on to state about the intention of the VRS,
23 these are facts that you had at your level, the brigade level, right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. At the brigade level, you were not receiving any information from
1 higher up about any further consequences of the attack on the enclave.
2 A. I don't know what you have in mind.
3 Q. When the attack on the enclave began at your level, the Bratunac
4 Brigade, you did not receive any information from higher up receiving
5 something, for example, from the corps, intelligence organ, information
6 that there would be a forcible removal of the population when the attack
7 began. You did not receive any information like that, did you?
8 A. You can't have any information like that at a moment when the
9 operation is already under way. To be perfectly clear, please, these
10 issues are subject to assessments; the results and consequences of an
11 attack carried out in a certain area. There are assessments that are
12 made prior to an attack as to what might happen. You can't expect
13 someone to inform you to provide reliable facts as to what would perhaps
14 happen. You make an assessment. Every time you make an assessment you
15 must make certain allowances or predictions knowing what forces will be
16 deployed, knowing what the objective of the operation is, you have to try
17 and envisage the possible consequences.
18 What I wrote here, what eventually happened after the actual
19 combat that was part of the operation. There was another part of the
20 operation which was the forcible removal. Forcible removal was a result
21 of decisions taken following the combat part. That is what I tried to
22 explain, to make that perfectly clear to everyone.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now look at a document, which
25 is 65 ter 2529.
1 Q. Mr. Nikolic, you're going see it shortly and the screen, but I
2 think that Mr. Saxon has already shown this document to you during
4 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session.
6 I think it's placed under seal. [Microphone not activated].
7 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
1 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
2 MR. LUKIC:
3 Q. [Interpretation] We shall first look at page 1 and then look at
4 the last page, and we will just briefly comment on this document.
5 This is from the Drina Corps command, entitled an order for
6 active BD, which I believe stands for combat activities, dated the 2nd
7 July 1995.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please look at the last page
9 first to see who signed the document and then we will go back to page 1.
10 Q. Do you recognise this signature and do you know this individual,
11 Mr. Nikolic?
12 A. I know who the corps commander was at the time. Therefore, I
13 know who signed it.
14 Q. It was General Zivanovic, right?
15 A. Of course.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now go back to page 1, please.
17 Q. Let's read number 1.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can you please scroll the document
19 down a bit, please, so that we can see who the recipient is, and this is
20 right beyond the title.
21 Q. Mr. Nikolic, was this order sent to your Bratunac Light Infantry
22 Brigade as well?
23 A. Yes, it was.
24 Q. Mr. Zivanovic says in this first part, I'm reading the
25 paragraph under the paragraph numbered 1.
1 "We believe that in the forthcoming period that in -- the enemy
2 will intensify offensive activities ... in the area of responsibility of
3 the DK."
4 DK is the Drina Corps?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. "Mainly in the Tuzla-Zvornik and Kladanj-Vlasenica axis with
7 simultaneous activity by the 28th PD," I suppose that stands for
8 "infantry division," "... from the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa in
9 order to cut the DKZO," I suppose which stands for area of responsibility
10 of the Drina Corps, in two, and linking the enclaves with the central
11 part of the territory of the former B and H held by the Muslim forces.
12 The next paragraph. "During the last few days, the Muslim forces
13 from the enclaves of Zepa and Srebrenica were particularly active." They
14 are infiltrating DTG
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. "Who are attacking and burning unprotected villages, killing
17 civilians and small isolated units around the enclaves of Zepa and
18 Srebrenica. They are persistently trying to persistently trying to link
19 up the enclaves and open a corridor to Kladanj" and so on and so forth.
20 This is a rather long document. On the next page we can see what the
21 intelligence organs' tasks were.
22 After looking at this document with the OTP, do you remember
23 whether there was any discussion in your command about this order to
24 launch an attack which was as part of a Krivaja 95 operation,
25 particularly the part pertaining to your brigade?
1 A. This is an order to -- for active operations. You can see who it
2 is addressed to, and the Bratunac Brigade indeed received this order too.
3 Actually, I'm confirming that based on what I see on the screen.
4 Before I came to The Hague and before I was given documents by
5 the OTP, I had never seen this order before.
6 Following this order, and that is a standard procedure, combat
7 documents have to be drawn up. So after this order had been received,
8 the Bratunac Brigade did not draw up complete combat documents for the
9 operation in Srebrenica and its participation concerning its role.
10 Therefore, what I know is that an order was prepared by the Bratunac
11 Brigade, I think for active combat operations, that laid down the tasks
12 of the Bratunac Brigade units, mainly infantry battalions. So the
13 Bratunac Brigade commander decided to issue tasks in that way.
14 Concerning this order for active combat operations, as I said, I hadn't
15 had an opportunity to see it before.
16 Q. Now given that you were an intelligence officer at the time, you
17 are familiar with the facts that I just read and that Mr. Zivanovic makes
18 reference about the situation in the enclaves.
19 A. Well, these are typical facts and typical language used in these
20 kind of orders, so I'm familiar with these things.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this document
22 into evidence, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: May it please be given an exhibit number.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit D134.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
1 Are you going to move away from this topic? It's just that I
2 have a question for the witness.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, please, ask the question. Feel
4 free to interrupt me.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Nikolic, at page 54 in today's transcript, you
6 said, and starting from line 9, "You're asking about my level, my level,
7 my brigade, my organ. We were not discussing the issue that you just
8 raised. Was there perhaps discussed an a level higher up? I don't
10 Now, this is after you have said -- after had you been shown your
11 statement that you wrote from Finland
12 of the VRS. My question to you is: At your level, at your organ, at
13 your brigade, where did you get the information that you wrote in your
14 statement, in the statement that you made in Finland? As to the
15 intentions of VRS.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I think I already answered
17 this question, but I will endeavour to give you an answer in the best
18 possible way I can.
19 The intentions of the Army of Republika Srpska, or, rather, the
20 intentions underlying the attack on Srebrenica, at the time, I primarily
21 understand, as intentions concerning the -- the enclave of Srebrenica.
22 Immediately before the attack on the Srebrenica enclave, the Bratunac
23 Brigade was visited by the then corps commander, General Zivanovic, who
24 was en route to some other destination. That happened about two weeks
25 before the attack. That was not an official meeting. He actually came
1 to his native village. He just dropped by to the brigade and he spoke on
2 that occasion about what was going to happen in the forthcoming days.
3 And he said that these two enclave, Zepa and Srebrenica, had to be
4 separated physically and that had to be done urgently, that Srebrenica
5 had to be reduced to an urban area, and these were the arguments that I
6 knew about at the time.
7 When the counsel asked me about that, I said that I never
8 understood and realized that objective of the VRS was as I stated in the
9 statement. I was talking about the information that I had available to
10 me two weeks prior to the operation, and this is indeed what happened in
11 the days after the commencement of the operation.
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
13 Is your -- your question -- your answer to my question that you
14 got this information from Commander -- I forget his name. The commander
15 of the ... sorry. Zivanovic.
16 Is that your short answer? Is that what Zivanovic told you two
17 weeks prior to the attack as what the intentions of the VRS were? A yes
18 or no will help.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the information I had and
20 that was the first time I heard about what was going to happen. Yes, I
21 heard it for the first time from General Zivanovic about the intentions
22 concerning Srebrenica.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: And those intentions are as you put them in your
24 statement in Finland
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The intention was to separate
1 the two enclaves and also everything else that I put in my statement.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
3 Yes, Mr. Lukic, you may proceed. I'm sorry about that.
4 MR. LUKIC:
5 Q. [Interpretation] We are now going to discuss your encounter
6 with -- or rather the events that took place outside Hotel Fontana on the
7 12th. Your encounter with Mr. Popovic and the conversation that you had
8 which you have described and which has now become -- became -- become a
9 part of the transcript of this Tribunal, happened sometime before the
10 10.00 meeting which was held in Hotel Fontana; is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. This conversation of yours with Popovic lasted, according to you,
13 five, seven, ten minutes at the most.
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we look now at page -- just a
16 moment. Page of the transcript, which is not part of the 65 ter package.
17 And that's document 1D03-4058, page 4.
18 I gave the wrong number of the page. It seems I gave the wrong
19 page number. What I actually need is transcript page, official
20 transcript page, 32918. It is possible, after all, that this is part of
21 the document P52512. Yes, we have it.
22 Q. This is your testimony, Mr. Nikolic, and you say the following,
23 about what Popovic told you. I'm going to read it. I'll start from line
25 "[In English] [Previous translation continues] ... he also said
1 that so-called screening would be carried out in order to separate
2 able-bodied men, to identify those who had committed or who are suspected
3 of committing war crimes, et cetera. However, at this point in time I
4 really have to provide an additional information.
5 "After all this, something happened that was absolutely never
6 planned nor did I grasp from my conversation with Mr. Popovic that
7 something could happen. Expect in the first convoy, our -- not only
8 able-bodied men were separate, but all, all men who were in Potocari were
9 separated from their families and put on bus -- actually, first detained
10 in Potocari.
11 "Therefore, I asked Mr. Popovic what was going to happen to these
12 men ..."
13 [Interpretation] I'm not going to read any further.
14 What I'm interested in is the following. When did you find out
15 with respect to this conversation with Popovic that you had, that all men
16 from Potocari would be separated?
17 A. I found out that morning, then, what, roughly speaking, would be
18 happening, what the next tasks were, and what would become of the men who
19 were still in Srebrenica.
20 At this point for the first time officially, I believe,
21 Mr. Popovic was officially my superior. If you look at the chain of
22 command. This was the first time I found out about what in the roughest
23 of terms would be happening. Even prior to this conversation I assumed
24 what would be happening to those people there, that they would be leaving
25 the enclave, but this was the first I heard of what you have just been
1 asking me about.
2 Q. Therefore, you had not found out about the separation of all men
3 before you talked to Popovic, right?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. My reading of the transcript of your evidence is this. I see you
6 asking Popovic what would become of those men because you had just found
7 out that all the men were being separated.
8 A. No, that is a misreading. If that is your understanding of my
9 evidence, I think that is false. I had asked Popovic beforehand. A
10 meeting took place before any operation to do with this transport even
11 began. The operation itself began between 1.00 and 2.00 p.m. and the
12 meeting outside the Fontana Hotel was held at about 10.00 a.m. that same
13 day. The conversation occurred before any transport at all occurred.
14 Any knowledge I had about their status and what else would be
15 happening as part of this operation was from about the -- was from before
16 the 10.00 meeting.
17 Q. What was your reason for asking Popovic what would become of
18 those men, if you had received no information at all about that prior to
20 A. I asked Mr. Popovic what would be the next steps taken about the
21 men, because there were between 25.000, 40.000 persons in Potocari. That
22 was my evidence. If it reads otherwise then it must be about
24 I asked Mr. Popovic what steps would be taken next, about the
25 people who were in Potocari, between 25.000 and 30.000 of them, including
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel kindly speak into the microphone,
3 thank you.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues] ...
5 of which the portion of the --
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... speak into
7 the microphone, and I'm asking you to also try and find a convenient
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] In a minute, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated]
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation].
12 Q. You looked through a portion of the transcript with Mr. Saxon.
13 You entered certain corrections. I'm reading what you see in the
14 transcript. I don't think any corrections were made in relation to that
15 portion. If I'm wrong, I'm sure Mr. Saxon can put me right -- [In
16 English] [Previous translation continues] ... what was going to happen
17 to these men because, to be honest, not even then I couldn't understand
18 why these men were being set aside.
19 [Interpretation] This is a sentence that you actually uttered and
20 never corrected. It's in the transcript.
21 A. I can only say one thing. I know exactly what I said. I know
22 exactly what happened. If an error was made in the transcript, I didn't
23 read the transcript myself. There was an interpreter who read it for my
24 benefit. The interpretation that I received was accurate. And it
25 amounts to this. After the meeting with Popovic and during our
1 conversation I asked what the next steps would be that would be taken in
2 Potocari. He then told me that all the women and civilian -- that's what
3 I said, and I can only repeat it now. And that was my evidence.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I move that we now take a break.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. We will take a break and come back at
6 half past.
7 Court adjourned.
8 --- Recess taken at 12.05 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. [Interpretation] We were talking about your meeting with
13 Mr. Popovic outside the Fontana Hotel, before the meeting, on the 12th of
15 As far as I understand your conversation with Kosoric, you said
16 the substance of that conversation was more or less the same as the one
17 with Kosoric but that one occurred after the meeting, again outside the
18 Fontana Hotel.
19 A. Yes, I talked to Kosoric as well when we met on the plateau
20 outside the Fontana Hotel.
21 Q. Some questions about your meeting with General Mladic on the 13th
22 of July as you were on the way to Konjevic Polje, right? That was
23 sometime about noon
24 A. I said in my evidence that I arrived Konjevic Polje at about
25 12.30 and the meeting with General Mladic occurred some 40 or 45 minutes
2 Q. You reached that location and you expected that General Mladic
3 would be there. You went there of your own accord, and then you found
4 out that he would be taking a shortcut; right?
5 A. Yes. I went there, because I was the head of the intelligence
6 and security organ. Among my other tasks, my task was also to check that
7 the roads to be taken by General Mladic was safe.
8 Q. Can we please go back to your statement of facts? This is P2512,
9 B/C/S page is 4 and the English page is 4. The paragraph number is 9 of
10 the agreement.
11 That is where you describe the event?
12 JUDGE MOLOTO: You're not going to tender 034058?
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] No. No.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] It's part of the transcript.
16 P2512. There we have the English; and the Serbian, page 9.
17 Q. Can you please read this slowly to avoid reading everything.
18 A. What exactly?
19 Q. I want to know about the facts. You arrived Konjevic Polje and
20 then what did you state exactly in your agreement on facts? It's the
21 last portion of this page, and then we can flip the page and read what it
22 says on the next page, how you describe your meeting with General Mladic.
23 A. Yes, I've read it. I've read the portion that you said.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we turn to the next page in
25 B/C/S, please.
1 Q. You go on to describe what happened. I'm not interested in that.
3 My question: The agreement concerning facts, you describe your
4 meeting with General Mladic. You never mentioned the gesture that he
5 made, that indicated to you that he was saying that the people would be
6 killed. It's not anywhere to be found -- it's nowhere to be found in
7 this agreement; right?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. At the time that he were talking to the OTP did you simply forget
10 about this and then you remembered this detail later on, or perhaps you
11 did you not want to share this detail with the Prosecutor at the time,
12 considering it to not be important.
13 A. I don't know exactly why this is not in the facts. I do believe
14 that I mentioned the gesture in all of my evidence. My lawyers drew up
15 the facts. I don't know why that was not included. It wasn't me who
16 drew this up.
17 I didn't make any suggestions to the effect that it should not be
18 included. I do believe we discussed this gesture when we talked prior to
19 the signing of the agreement. I think it was raised.
20 Q. Do you agree with me that this information is exceptionally
21 important. Your understanding of what Mladic said would happen to those
22 people. You were asked about this each and every time you testified at
23 trial. You were asked about this fact; right?
24 A. I believe that all the facts that I'm talking about exceptionally
25 important, including this one.
1 Q. A while ago we talked about why you mentioned to the Prosecutor
2 this untruth about your involvement in the Kravica incident. You talked
3 about that. But you didn't think to offer to the Prosecution this fact
4 so that this fact too might become a part of your agreement on facts, how
5 exactly Ratko Mladic gestured to you with his hand. You were not adamant
6 that your lawyers should talk about that too, right?
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
8 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, the witness has already responded to
9 this question.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like to be as precise as
12 possible, and then the Chamber might be of the opinion that I'm repeating
14 Q. Were you adamant when talking to your lawyers that this fact
15 should make the agreement?
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm sorry, Mr. Lukic, there is an objection on the
17 table. You have got do respond to the objection.
18 Question asked and answered, is the objection.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
20 I was about to rephrase the question so the Chamber would not
21 have to rule on the objection.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: But an objection must be ruled upon, Mr. Lukic.
23 You've got to explain why you want to rephrase, if it has been asked and
24 answered. What's unclear about the question and answer?
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: You have a minute.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'll just drop the question and press
4 Q. So when you spoke to General Mladic, the two of you were standing
5 alone. Mladic's body-guards were not paying attention to your
6 conversation, were they?
7 A. I don't know if the body-guards were paying attention or not. I
8 do not know that. What I do know is what happened -- what transpired
9 between me and General Mladic, or, rather, what I as a soldier did. I
10 know that. There were many body-guards with him, were they listening,
11 were they looking, did they hear what we said, I really don't know.
12 Q. Let's look at your answer in the Blagojevic case.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please 1D03-3116, page 46.
14 The transcript page in the Blagojevic case is 2245.
15 If we could please scroll down to line 20. Thank you.
16 Q. I'll read back to you what you stated at the time.
17 "Q. [In English] And it was just you and him having this
18 conversation at the time?
19 "A. Yes. I was reporting to him, and they -- then just the two
20 of us continued the conversation about this.
21 "Q. But I guess what I'm trying to make sure that we all
22 understand, there was nobody else there to hear this supposed
23 conversation that took place between you and General Mladic. That's the
24 question. There was no one there to verify that this conversation did,
25 indeed, take place."
1 Answer --
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: If can you scroll down, please. Let's see the
4 MR. LUKIC:
5 "A. Mr. Karnavas, no one could have been in the immediate
6 vicinity of me and General Mladic. I've already told you that around us
7 there were security people at a distance, which is normal. They weren't
8 close to us. They weren't listening to our conversation. And it is not
9 customary for them to be there. They were at a normal distance. There
10 were several of them, several soldiers who were securing the spot where
11 the two of us were standing."
12 Q. [Interpretation] That's -- testimony under oath in the
13 Blagojevic. That's what you said at the time, that no one was listening
14 to your conversation.
15 A. Mr. Lukic I stand by everything that I've said.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
17 MR. SAXON: Once again, Your Honour, asked and answered at page
18 69, lines 15 through 22.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] He provided a different answer as
20 opposed to what his evidence was some minutes ago. I am confronting the
21 witness with his previous testimony. I'm confronting him with what he
22 said earlier on, and this is in keeping with your guidelines, Your
23 Honours. There is a discrepancy. When he testified now he said that
24 there were people who were or were not listening and previously he said
25 something that was completely different. That is what my question is
2 MR. SAXON: I -- I will accept Mr. Lukic's point, that there is a
3 distinction. However, what Mr. Lukic just said, that the witness --
4 when -- where he testified now, he said that there were people who were
5 or were not listening. What the witness said a few minutes ago is that
6 he does not remember if the body-guards were paying attention or not.
7 That is the much smaller distinction, Your Honour. This is at page 69,
8 line 18.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Objection overruled.
10 MR. LUKIC:
11 Q. [Interpretation] So you realise what you stated then and what you
12 state now; how you observed Mladic's body-guards, and then you stated
13 what I have just quoted.
14 A. I understand, Mr. Lukic. I understand. May I just be allowed to
15 answer that question?
16 The gist of what I said the first time around and all of the
17 subsequent times and today, it's all the same to me. To me, and I know
18 what actually was happening on the ground. I know what the situation
19 was. You asked me - or at least that was interpreted in the
20 interpretation that I received - did I know, was I aware, whether
21 Mladic's security men heard this, the people who were around him, and my
22 answer was I don't know if they heard. Were they there, I explained. I
23 know exactly where they were. Were they paying attention? I believe
24 not. That was my impression. I think that they were mindful of other
25 things at the time. My opinion was they weren't paying attention, but
1 that doesn't rule out the possibility that some of them might have
2 overheard something. I don't know that for a fact. But everything that
3 I said in my response to Mr. Karnavas is exactly the same thing as I'm
4 telling you now. General Mladic came. There was a military police squad
5 from the Bratunac Brigade there. His personal security body-guards were
6 there were, and it's not that they were standing two steps away from the
7 General. They took up their standard positions as one does in a
9 I assume, I believe, that they weren't listening at all or indeed
10 heard any portion of our conversation. That is my opinion.
11 Q. That's fair enough, and I agree that you now accept your evidence
12 from the Blagojevic case; right?
13 A. If I may just add something else for the sake of completeness, to
14 have a complete truth.
15 As I said at the outset, I'm not able to quote with precision
16 something that I said five years ago in my evidence. I'm simply unable
17 to do that.
18 Q. Mr. Nikolic, I know what you're trying to say.
19 A. But the gist, I'm trying to convey the gist of a truth that I put
20 forward the first time around.
21 Q. No one hears expects you to provide exact quotes or to repeat
22 things. I'm just confronting you with certain things. I think it's only
23 fair that I should remind you of stuff you said earlier on. No one here
24 believes that you should offer a word perfect rendition of something you
25 said five years ago, but if you tell us now something that seems to be a
1 discrepancy in relation previous transcripts, I have to confront you with
3 A. Needless to say, Mr. Lukic, I am perfectly willing to provide any
4 additional discrepancies that may or may not arise in terms of bits of
5 phrasing and so on and so forth. I do hope, nevertheless, that I was
6 always saying the same thing and that I'm still saying the same thing.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Hold it.
8 Mr. Nikolic, will you please pause a while after the question to
9 allow interpreter to interpret, and when you start to speak, try to speak
10 slowly. I heard the interpreter almost breaking his neck trying to catch
11 up with you. Okay? Thank you so much.
12 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will do my best, Your Honour, to
14 comply with your request.
15 MR. LUKIC:
16 Q. [Interpretation] In the briefest of terms, please describe for
17 the Chamber what happened involving the Kravica crime or incident that
18 occurred on the afternoon of the 13th; right?
19 Okay. Let's not go into dates here. What exactly did you hear?
20 How did that come about. What happened there? Briefly, please. You
21 were later provided information about this. I would like the Chamber to
22 hear what you heard as to how the crime at Kravica had occurred.
23 A. I don't know. I wasn't there. I was not a witness to the
24 Kravica crime. I found out at a later date what had occurred on the 13th
25 of July, 1995, in Kravica. Based on such information, as I came by,
1 there were captured Muslims at Kravica, who had surrendered or been
2 arrested, captured, along that road and in the general
3 Kravica-Sandici-Pervane area at the time, within that general area.
4 Those captured were taken to this facility owned by the farming
5 cooperative of Kravica. They were detained there. This is it a hangar,
6 a co-op hangar such as they were at the time, concrete hanger.
7 Q. Just please describe how the incident came about, because the
8 Chamber knows everything about everything else.
9 A. The information that reached me was as follows. There had been
10 an incident between those securing the prisoners and the prisoners. One
11 of the prisoners seized a rifle from a person who - my information
12 suggests that it was one of the soldiers or officers securing them. This
13 person then used this rifle to fire at one of the security men there,
14 killing one and wounding another, apparently.
15 Following this incident, there was an act of revenge by this
16 unit, the unit that the man who had apparently been killed belonged to.
17 I don't know if that was true or not. My task, the task that I was given
18 in relation to this incident was as follows. To establish whether any
19 members of the Bratunac Brigade, my unit, were involved and quite simply
20 to try and find out which body was responsible for this crime. I did
21 just that and I duly informed the corps command.
22 Q. All right. Let's discuss your evidence about the meeting with
23 Mr. Beara and Mr. Deronjic on 13th of July.
24 There were two meetings, as a matter of fact. The first meeting
25 with Mr. Beara at about 2000 hours, unless I'll wrong, in the centre of
1 Bratunac; right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And then just before midnight or about midnight, again, another
4 meeting in the SDS
5 attendance; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. This is something you clarified in this trial, and it's now part
8 of your evidence. You were not actively involved in their conversation.
9 You were as a matter of fact in another room, in an adjacent room,
10 listening to what was going on. I'm talking about the conversation that
11 occurred at midnight on the SDS
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You gave evidence to the effect that Mr. Beara asked you to come
14 with him to this meeting with Deronjic, simply because he didn't know
15 where the SDS
16 A. I said what I said in that particular context. Mr. Beara asked
17 me to take him to the SDS
18 said that he either didn't know the way there or was not willing to go
19 alone. He asked me to accompany him, which is just what I did.
20 Q. The office is this in that same square in the centre of Bratunac
21 where had you previously met Beara at about 2000 hours; right?
22 A. Yes. That office and all the other offices are there in that
23 square, because that is the only square there is.
24 Q. My understanding was that throughout the 13th of July you were
25 moving about all the time. So that evening, following Beara's request,
1 you took that macadam road and went far away in the direction of the
2 command post of the Zvornik Brigade in order to convey to Drago Nikolic
3 the information that Beara had asked you to convey to him; right?
4 A. I think this -- you weren't really accurate when you talked about
5 this. You are --
6 Q. I'm trying to not to be confused about this myself. At about
7 2000 hours, you say you are meeting Beara in the Bratunac square; right?
8 A. 8.30 p.m., to be more specific, on the 13th of July. Colonel
9 Beara summoned me and I reported to him at the specified location in the
10 centre of Bratunac.
11 Q. So he goes on to tell you that the prisoners would be moved to
12 Zvornik municipality, and you should inform Drago Nikolic about this; is
13 that right?
14 A. Again, I have to set this right.
15 He ordered me to do something and specified what it was. I
16 received his order to go to Zvornik and inform Drago Nikolic to tell
17 Drago Nikolic, to convey to him, Mr. Beara's order about the fact that on
18 that day, the transfer of prisoners from Bratunac to Zvornik municipality
19 would commence.
20 Q. All right. That was my understanding. That's why I was confused
21 for a while then you said I misunderstood. All right. You left and then
22 you returned, how much later? How long did you take to complete this
23 journey and return to Bratunac?
24 A. Well, all right. 8.30 p.m., about 15 minutes to reach Zvornik,
25 spending some time at Zvornik Brigade HQ, and then travelling back I
1 would have made Bratunac again sometime before midnight or about
3 Q. All right. You're back and Beara again summons you to take him
4 to see Deronjic in the SDS
5 A. Once I was back it was my duty to report to Colonel Beara about
6 completing the mission and carrying out his order. I went to see him and
7 I reported to him, "Colonel, sir, I have carried out your order. I am
8 now back from Zvornik, and I conveyed to the other person what you had
9 asked me to."
10 Q. And then he asked you to go with him. Where was that place where
11 you reported to him?
12 A. In the Fontana
13 Q. And how far is that from the SDS premises?
14 A. About 100 metres at the most. Maybe not even that much.
15 Q. If necessary we can put this on the screen. But I assume that
16 you remember your agreement of facts, and let's not risk any error.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] But can we please look at
18 P2P12 [as interpreted], B/C/S page 5. English, I think it's paragraph
19 10, actually, so it's probably five in the English as well.
20 Q. And this is where you talk about this meeting at the SDS offices
21 around midnight
22 THE REGISTRAR: [Previous translation continues] ...
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] P2512, agreement of the facts,
24 statement of facts. Page 5, I think, in the B/C/S. In any case,
25 paragraph 10 of the statement of facts.
1 I think it's the following page, actually, in the B/C/S; I
2 apologise. It's marked paragraph 10.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Both on -- okay. Thank you.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] So it's two pages or three pages
5 more. Unfortunately, we're seeing both pages in English now, but,
6 anyway, it's the correct page in the English.
7 Can we just scroll up the B/C/S part I'm interested in --
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
9 MR. SAXON: I was just going to offer my hard copy of the B/C/S,
10 but it's on the screen right now.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Saxon.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 Q. Here, in the statement of facts you refer to this meeting and you
14 say, I'm reading the last paragraph where you say --
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is the last
16 paragraph and here it starts: "To deal with the situation..."
17 Q. "To deal with this situation it was -- this created an unstable
18 situation around Bratunac town. To deal with this situation," --
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, Mr. Lukic the last paragraph starts in the
20 English "at that time the Bratunac town was ..."
21 I don't know where you are reading.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I -- yes, I tried to skip
23 that first part.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... tell us which
25 sentence you're starting at now. It was late.
1 MR. LUKIC: To deal with this --
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Oh, okay.
3 MR. LUKIC:
4 Q. [Interpretation] "To deal with the situation, Colonel Beara, M,
5 Deronjic, (the civilian commissioner appointed by Karadzic to deal with
6 the Muslim civilians issues) Dragomir Vasic and myself met in the SDS
7 office in Bratunac. Deronjic was concerned that the prisoners in the
8 town created a security risk and did want the killing of these prisoners
9 to be carried out in Bratunac and around Bratunac. The killing operation
10 was openly discussed at the meeting and all participants indicated that
11 they had been reporting to their various superior commands. Logistics,
12 transportation, and security support were also discussed," and so on and
13 so forth.
14 This document that you signed, and I see that, as it states here,
15 you were a participant in this meeting. In all your subsequent testimony
16 you said that you were not, that your level was not such that you would
17 take part in this meeting but that you were in the next office or in the
18 office next door.
19 My question is, why is then the statement of fact -- fact like
20 this and why is this a part of it?
21 A. Well, I have to answer that not every word was really taken into
22 account and because of that I told the Trial Chamber when I received the
23 statement or the order --
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the date.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- to write things I way I thought
1 they should be, and then I specified exactly my own position and it was
2 very important to me to do that, because of my overall responsibility, to
3 make it known exactly what I did, what I was responsible for, and where I
4 had been. Specifically and precisely. Please, I am -- I'm obliged to
5 answer. So I was at the SDS
6 meeting was held on those premises, and I did see the participants of the
7 meeting who were at some three to five metres away from me, but I was not
8 an active participant in the meeting, and this is what I wanted to the
9 specify. And when you read this passage, paragraph 10, then you need to
10 read the passage together with the supplemental statement where I made
11 another correction. Now what you read it -- well, to avoid
12 misunderstanding, the participants of the meeting - I don't know whether
13 they sent reports to their superior commands after the meetings - but in
14 discussing the fate of the captured Muslims in Bratunac and what was to
15 happen with them subsequently, they referred to instructions they
16 received from their superiors. In the conversation, and this is
17 something that I talked about, and this is now what you read. This is my
18 clarification and this is my answer.
19 Q. When you were negotiating with the OTP and when you drafted the
20 statement of facts, you wanted to present yourself as having a higher
21 position than you actually did in the events; is that correct?
22 A. Mr. Lukic, nobody intelligent or normal would do something like
23 that. They would not exaggerate their own role in relation to the
24 position that they held. I mean, this is not a happy end we're talking
25 about. These are criminal indictments for serious crimes, where I am
1 charged for something that I did not participate in. It was not
2 something that even occurred to me to present myself as someone occupying
3 a higher post than I actually did. I both in the statement of facts and
4 in my subsequent testimony, and now I wish my position to be known
5 precisely and accurately in that operation at the time this operation
6 Srebrenica was taking place, nothing more than that.
7 Q. Well, you often said in your testimony that this is what you want
8 and this is also part of your statement of facts, that you wished for
9 your precise place in the events to be known. And when you were entering
10 into a plea bargain with the Prosecution, you said that nobody
11 intelligent would do something like that, and I am saying that you
12 perhaps had an interest in presenting yourself in a more important light
13 to receive a more favourable agreement; is that correct?
14 A. Well, I know you would like me to just answer with a yes or a no,
15 but you really need to hear the truth.
16 Q. I'm not stopping you.
17 A. My lawyers who were drafting this at the time, in my estimate,
18 and I testified, did not do the job the way it should have been done, and
19 they were not actually working completely in my interest, and my lawyers
20 admitted - after everything had happened and after the first instance
21 ruling - they admitted that they did not specify my position in the
22 entire picture and that they had made a cardinal mistake in terms of my
23 position and my status in this -- these entire events, and so I didn't
24 really want -- I tried in the supplemental statement to say that I was
25 unjustly placed and positioned as a high-ranking officer which I actually
1 never was.
2 Q. I think that it does not state anywhere you were highly -- high
3 ranking officer. It says, and I'm interpreting, that at the time you
4 said that you were a participant in this conversation, and before you
5 signed it you read this statement, did you not, in your own language?
6 A. The statement of facts you are thinking of? Yes, did I read it,
7 and I did, as far as the complete statement is concerned and the
8 accompanying documents, I had one day to cover them. I received it on
9 the 6th, we worked for three hours, and then on the 7th the statement --
10 actually, on the 6th I was supposed to state my position on it before the
11 Trial Chamber. And you can believe me, I'm speaking most sincerely, had
12 I had time to analyse all of this, I would have made all the corrections
13 which I actually made later in order to have the truth manifested.
14 Q. All right. Very well.
15 [Defence counsel confer]
16 MR. LUKIC:
17 Q. [Interpretation] One more clarification.
18 Earlier, and I understood your testimony in those terms anyway.
19 That was that Beara, around 2000 hours in the evening was sending you to
20 the Zvornik territory to convey information that the prisoners would be
21 transferred to the Zvornik area during that night later; is that correct?
22 Why was there a discussion then between him and Deronjic who, as you
23 said, did not accept to have these prisoners in their territory?
24 A. Well, I know you cannot understand that and I was not able to
25 understand that as well. Believe me, there are two things and that is:
1 He was sending me to Zvornik, for the prisoners to be transferred to
2 Zvornik, then I returned -- I mean, I conveyed this order from Beara, and
3 then there was a conflict between Beara and Miroslav Deronjic. I
4 absolutely agree with you that this is absurd, but at the same time
5 believe me that in that time-period, that evening on the 12th, the 13th,
6 that there was such confusion and that simply orders and decisions were
7 changing from hour most probably. I explained that in my previous
8 testimony. Probably what happened was that there was a change in the
9 decision, probably somebody was asking Colonel Beara to --
10 Q. Well let us not go into that.
11 A. Anyway, what I'm say is that is how I understood it. It is
12 absurd, but this is actually what truly happened.
13 Q. I'm asking what you actually know. I'm not asking you to
14 speculate, but all right.
15 Mr. Beara was in uniform was he not?
16 A. I always saw him in uniform. He was in uniform on that occasion
17 as well.
18 Q. He was in uniform that evening. That is how you testified to
19 date. One witness before this Trial Chamber here said that Mr. Beara
20 that evening at that meeting was actually wearing civilian clothing, and
21 I'm referring now, Your Honours, to transcript of the 25th of May of this
22 year, page 6482.
23 A. All I can do is confirm the following. When I saw Colonel Beara,
24 the first time as well and next time that evening, too, Colonel Beara was
25 always in uniform as well as all the other officers. I did not see any
1 single officer in that period of the operation in civilian clothes, and
2 it would have been inappropriate for anyone in the middle of the
3 operation to be wearing civilian clothing. I cannot accept that as
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just one moment, please.
6 Q. When you testified in the cases before the Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 court, you said that you received certain documents. Are you aware that
8 Mr. Dragomir Vasic testified there? Did you receive statements by him on
9 that event?
10 A. No, I didn't have the opportunity. I had the opportunity to read
11 Vasic's statement that he provided to the OTP investigators. I did not
12 have any access to any other statements.
13 Q. Well, he is also stating that you were not present at the
14 meeting, and you two know each other; don't you?
15 A. We don't actually know each other. Before the Srebrenica
16 operation we had never seen each other. We never met one another, but I
17 know very well who Vasic is.
18 Q. He was the head of the public security centre in Zvornik. I'm
19 thinking of him; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, he was the chief of the Zvornik public security centre.
21 Q. And you never had any disagreements; did you?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Mr. Miroslav Deronjic was your son-in-law was he not?
24 A. Well, you could say that. My sister -- actually, brother-in-law.
25 My sister, even though she was not married to Deronjic, was his partner,
1 so you could put it like that, brother-in-law.
2 Q. So here in the DU of The Hague Tribunal you spoke, among things,
3 about what he knows about the -- those events in that meeting on the 13th
4 in the evening and your attendance at the meeting. The two of you did
5 discuss that?
6 A. Yes, I think so on one occasion, and very briefly.
7 Q. And you know, because this was stated in the Popovic case when
8 you testified, that when he testified that he said that he cannot
9 remember but he also was a witness in your sentencing hearing, he said
10 that he did not recall seeing you at that meeting or in the room next
11 door; do you recall that?
12 A. No, it's not quite like that. He did not rule out the
13 possibility that I had been there, but in any event I understand why he
14 would say something like that. He did not absolutely rule out the
15 possibility that I had been at the -- or, rather, in the premises where
16 the meeting was held.
17 Q. Now we're going to look at -- oh, never mind.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just one moment.
19 We are now going to look at 1D03-4298, page 58.
20 Your Honours, this is the testimony of 33191, that is the
21 transcript page, and it is testimony in the Popovic case.
22 Q. This is the testimony of Mr. -- or the reading of the testimony
23 of Mr. Deronjic from the proceedings conducted in your sentencing
24 hearing. I'm reading the first part:
25 [In English] [Previous translation continues] ... "I reiterated
1 my position that I did not recall whether Mr. Nikolic was present at the
2 meeting or not, but I did leave a theoretical possibility, more in the
3 [indiscernible] or theory, that perhaps he could have been present, but I
4 did not register that or remember that."
5 [Interpretation] That is what he said at your sentencing hearing.
6 You remember that; right?
7 A. Yes, of course, I do.
8 Q. You were also confronted with Mr. Deronjic's testimony -- oh, by
9 the way, do you know happen to know who Ljubisa Simic is?
10 A. Of course, I do. Of course.
11 Q. He was is municipal president.
12 A. The chairman of the municipal assembly of the Bratunac
14 Q. You know that Deronjic claims he was at the meeting too. Did you
15 see him there?
16 A. When I was there in that room, Simic was not there.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we now please go to a different
18 page from the same portion of evidence -- or, rather, it is the same
19 page. Just a minute, please.
20 Can we please move this up a little. There.
21 Q. The portion of the transcript is little complicated because
22 Defence counsel is quoting Mr. Deronjic said. And then he shows who this
23 is in reference to. But in order to simplify, I will ask you like this.
24 If need be, we will read this.
25 Do you remember being confronted with Deronjic's statement that
1 -- to the effect that you told him that you had not been at that meeting
2 and that you only heard about the meeting from Mr. Beara?
3 A. I don't know if Deronjic said that. I don't know when I was
4 shown this or confronted. I'm not doubting what you are putting to me at
5 all. What I'm telling you is that these are blatant lies. That is all I
6 can say. The insinuation that I --
7 Q. I will have to read this back to you with this portion as quoted
8 to you by Mr. Ostojic when he was examining you:
9 [In English] [Previous translation continues] ... "then
10 Mr. Deronjic goes on to say, I will try to quote him, you, Mr. Nikolic,
11 as much as he, meaning you, Mr. Nikolic, said, Well, I wasn't there. I
12 wasn't present in the office. I was really confused ... said
13 Mr. Deronjic ... so how could you have talked about the conversation that
14 was conducted at the office, and he said ..." meaning, you, Mr. Nikolic,
15 "... that the details and the gist of the conversation ... learned
16 directly from Mr. Beara." That's what you said.
17 [Interpretation] I knew this would confuse you somewhat, but my
18 question is a simple one. Did you ever tell Mr. Deronjic that you were
19 not at that meeting and that you heard about that meeting from Mr. Beara?
20 As simple as that.
21 A. I did say that I was not in the office in which they were. That
22 is true. The only truth about the whole thing that you have just read
23 back is I was not in that office, in the same office where the meeting
24 was in progress. It is, however, true that I was in that building, the
1 holding this meeting. They were talking, quarrelling, and so on and so
2 forth. That much is true.
3 Q. You were also confronted in an earlier statement by Mr. Deronjic
4 in the Popovic trial. Deronjic said it would have been easier to track
5 down Henry Kissinger than you in Bratunac? Do you remember him saying
6 that? Do you want us to go back to that portion?
7 A. No. No, thank you. I know this by heart. I don't have this
8 read back to me; I know Deronjic's statement by heart. Let me tell you
9 this, however. Since you insist on having my opinion, Miroslav Deronjic
10 was defending himself. I understand that. I sympathize. In any event
11 Miroslav Deronjic was 50 times as responsible and as well informed about
12 everything as I was. That what it was about.
13 Q. May I ask you something. Why is then that you know
14 Mr. Deronjic's statement by heart?
15 A. I know that portion because it is very typical. Of course, I
16 didn't mean that literally. I may actually know about 2 percent of this
17 statement, but the portion that I read, I simply refuse to believe that
18 this man could state anything like that at all, as if I have been the
19 vice-president of the SDS
20 than that. Miroslav Deronjic was the vice-president or deputy president
21 of the SDS
22 Potocari and Bratunac.
23 Q. Fine. I will ask you some questions now, briefly, about that
24 part of your testimony that relates to the graves being dug up, as we
25 call it.
1 You were given your part of the task by Mr. Popovic, right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. When he imparted this task to you, you two were alone in that
4 room, were you not?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Who was it who told that you the operation was a secret one?
7 A. Well, its very nature and everything that was going on at the
8 time indicated to me that it would be a secret operation.
9 Q. So you acted on that. You treated this as a secret operation,
10 you personally.
11 A. Yes, I did. But that had nothing to do with secrecy or whatever.
12 Q. We have that part of your testimony.
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. Just a couple of questions about something that I think you
15 talked about in the Blagojevic trial.
16 You talked about what I shall call a peculiarity, a minor
17 peculiarity in terms of how the Bratunac Brigade was bank-rolled. You
18 said that the municipality provided materiel and logistical systems to
19 the brigade? Quite often, actually. Do you remember saying that?
20 A. Yes, I do.
21 Q. Would that imply that the municipality in some way financially or
22 materially provided support in terms of weapons, equipment, uniforms for
23 the purposes of the brigade; right?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Did you perhaps know that the same kind of situation prevailed in
1 other areas in Republika Srpska where brigades were linked to a certain
2 territory. Municipal authorities and, perhaps, economic authorities in
3 certain municipalities provided support for those brigades.
4 A. What I know about this, about relations between brigades and
5 municipalities is this: In most municipalities the situation was similar
6 depending on materiel resources. But it was similar all over the place.
7 That's as much as I know.
8 Q. You told Mr. Saxon in-chief a while ago about the procedure for
9 initiating criminal proceedings against someone. You said there was
10 lawyer in the brigade who was dealing with such matters as these
12 Firstly, you will agree me that within the VRS, there was some
13 sort of judicial system in place. There were military courts, military
14 prosecutors, military disciplinary bodies; right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I think you will also agree, although you are no lawyer myself
17 [as interpreted], but you must agree that a criminal complaint can be
18 filed by any citizen against any other citizen; right?
19 A. That's simply not something that I would do.
20 Q. Fair enough. But the intelligence organ and security -- you in
21 your capacity as intelligence organ and security organ and an officer of
22 the VRS, as any other officer, you find out about a fact, about a crime
23 that occurred, you're supposed to inform whoever is in charge of putting
24 this into a legal perspective in that unit and forwarding the matter, if
25 need be, to the military police or the relevant prosecutor.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. As far as I remember you, yourself, took some pre-investigative
3 steps over the preceding period, in the sense of carrying out an on-site
4 investigation, I'm not sure what to call that.
5 A. I did exactly what was ordered to do in my brigade. I never said
6 here that I did not collect information or evidence about any crimes that
7 were committed if, indeed, I knew that something like that was going on
8 in the are of responsibility of my brigade or in my brigade itself.
9 Nevertheless, specifically, in my brigade, having collected evidence,
10 information, reports, having taken statements and so on and so forth, the
11 person in charge of that in my brigade was the lawyer who did that and
12 that alone. Why was the situation like that? I was the intelligence and
13 security organ myself. For the most part, I'm talking about what my
14 commander required me to whilst to be involved in intellegence work,
15 which would have amounted to 80 percent of my involvement. As for the
16 security aspect, only far as concerned the command and staff security,
17 protecting one's own unit; that's it.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ...
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sorry. I do apologise.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I continue?
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: You may continue, sir.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my brigade, as far as security
24 work was concerned, I was in charge of securing the equipment, the
25 weapons, the units, their security. In my brigade, it's my brigade I'm
1 talking about, in my brigade alone, as for the other component to do with
2 criminal reports within interrogating people would collecting evidence,
3 our lawyer was in charge of that. He was gathering all of this; he was
4 documenting all of this. He would then draw up a criminal report and
5 submit it to the brigade commander to be signed, which the brigade
6 commander in turn would sign and hand over to the -- the military courts,
7 military judicial officers. That was the procedure followed in my
9 Q. I do understand that. Nevertheless, you as an intelligence
10 officer, for example, learned that someone stole fuel, that someone
11 deserted their position in a unit. You don't just sit pretty on that
12 information; you forward this information to someone, and further action
13 is then taken, right?
14 A. This is a very ordinary situation that you're quoting here;
15 desertion or positions. It is it not really a crime. It's a
16 disciplinary infraction or whatever, I'm not sure how that is classified.
17 It is not really a crime. Nevertheless, you are quite right when you
18 suggest that whatever information reaches me is not something that I keep
19 to myself. I pass it on to those in charge, and I inform those that I'm
20 duty-bound to keep up-to-date on matters such as these.
21 Q. Thank you very much.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please move on to 65 ter 7125.
23 Q. I assume you're familiar with this document.
24 A. Yes, I've seen this document.
25 Q. In general terms this is in reference to you; right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. This is an earlier period. This is 1987.
3 Do you know if there were any pre-criminal proceedings in
4 progress together Jovanovic Dragoljub [phoen] and Muminovic Nazif
5 [phoen], criminal proceedings against you?
6 A. I can explain anything that you'd like me to about this.
7 Q. I don't want to go very far into this. But do you know that
8 there were proceedings under way? It's that simple.
9 A. This is about a foreign currency infraction. These were not
10 proceedings proper. The reason this was done, I can explain, if you'd
11 like me to do. But it's not a crime that we're looking at; it is a
12 simple infraction involving foreign currency.
13 Q. I'm merely reading what it sayings. It says Article 167,
14 paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
15 Based on what I see, based on information presented here, there was a
16 criminal case under way against you, a pre-criminal, if you like,
17 preliminary criminal investigation for a crime involving foreign currency
18 a crime nevertheless, an offence, if you like. It was an offence?
19 A. If the president could please allow me to explain this -- sorry,
20 Mr. Lukic, I don't want to leave it like this. Let's get out into the
21 open and then hash out all the details, if you like.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... let him
24 Please answer, sir.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Indeed. Thank you.
1 I'm trying to answer.
2 Mr. Lukic you're showing me this document, and you extrapolate
3 based on what you like, and I'm reading to you the truth. [Indiscernible]
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Slow down. The interpreter actually through his
5 hands in the air and got exasperated. Remember he doesn't have that
6 document before him.
7 Do you have in Mr. Interpreter?
8 THE INTERPRETER: Indeed, I do, Your Honour, but it is still
9 impossible to even read from the document at this break-neck speed.
10 Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can you please slow down, gentlemen.
12 Thank you very much.
13 Read slowly Mr. Nikolic.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will, Your Honour.
15 "Nikolic Momir, son of Vaso, born the on 20th of February, 1955,
16 in the locality of Ranca, SO Bratunac, is not filed in the criminal and
17 misdemeanour's records.
18 And then what follows is what Mr. Lukic was talking about. I
19 don't wish to take up your of your time. I am not reading that, but I
20 will explain what it is about.
21 Never in my life was I punished for a criminal offence or
22 sentenced, convicted. And you can tell, if you look at this document.
23 This is an offence or a misdemeanour involving foreign currency from 1987
24 involving this. Nazif Muminovic is a former pupil of mine working in
25 Switzerland. I purchased from him an amount of 500 Swiss francs. At the
1 time, 500 Swiss francs, an amount such as that, constituted an offence.
2 Two or three months later, the presiding person, Lazar Mojsov
3 [phoen] adopted a decree or a law, lowering the threshold, according to
4 which 500 Swiss francs was no longer a criminal offence but, rather, a
5 misdemeanour, at which point the public security station dropped their
6 charges and gave up pursuing this as an offence but, rather, declared it
7 to be a misdemeanour. But the complaint never got off the ground, and
8 the Srebrenica court threw this out. I never actually faced a court of
9 law. The charges against me were never formally brought and I never
10 stood accused of anything like this or, indeed, convicted.
11 Q. I'm just asking -- let me ask you my following --
12 A. The objective of this criminal report being filed was to get me
13 out of the way at the time, because I was on my way to becoming commander
14 of the public security station in charge of all regional traffic. They
15 wanted me sidelined out of the way, and that is why they tried to set up
16 this criminal case against me. That was the only objective, and they
17 achieved their goal because my nomination failed. That's the whole
18 truth. I was supposed to become commander of the regional traffic public
19 security station in Zvornik.
20 Q. I just wanted to ask you a simple question about this document.
21 Do you know anything about what is written here? How this file
22 or this document went missing under circumstances that were never
23 explained. Can you tell us anything about that?
24 A. I don't know. I wasn't working with the MUP. Have you to go to
25 them and ask them how the document disappeared.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I move that this be admitted into
2 evidence, Your Honour.
3 MR. SAXON: Well, Your Honour, the Prosecution would object to
4 the admission of the -- of the document, given that the -- the defendant
5 -- excuse me, not the defendant, the witness has just explained that
6 these were false charges brought against him to keep -- to prevent him
7 from obtaining a professional position.
8 In our mind, then, the reliability and probative value of this
9 document is so little, it should not be admitted.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Lukic.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I'm not responding at all. I think
12 the objection is entirely unfounded, any which way we look at it.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: I agree with Mr. Lukic, Mr. Saxon. It's tendered.
14 He has given his explanation. And it stands as it stands. It never went
15 to court. Documents that are tendered into court here support the one
16 side or the other, and any other side can say, This really is not on my
17 side, therefore, it must be thrown out.
18 So the objection is going to be overruled.
19 May the document please be admitted and be given an exhibit
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit D135.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm checking the time.
24 I do have a brief topic to come, but I would like to do it in one piece.
25 SO I think it might be a good idea for us to break now and then press on
1 tomorrow. I'm not sure about our schedule tomorrow.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: The schedule for tomorrow is that we will be
3 sitting in the afternoon at quarter past 2.00 in the same courtroom. So
4 we stand adjourned. But before we do so, I'm going to warn you, sir,
5 that until you excused from the witness stand, you are not allowed to
6 speak to anybody about the case, now since you have taken the stand.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Court adjourned until tomorrow.
10 -- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.42 p.m.
11 to be reconvened on Friday, the 3rd day of July,
12 2009, at 2.15 p.m.