1 Friday, 17 November 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused enter court]
4 [The witness enters court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Registrar, call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecution versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I see everybody is here. If there are problems with
10 interpretation, please let us know.
11 Prosecution, same team as yesterday, Mr. Thayer and Mr. McCloskey.
12 I see the witness already in the courtroom, and I take that to
13 mean that there are no preliminaries; correct?
14 I also wish to thank the Defence teams for filing the estimated
15 time for cross-examination for the next batch of witnesses, which is
16 extremely helpful, fully understanding that the situation remains fluid
17 and can change at any time, requiring less or more time as necessary. I
18 think, all in all, we are doing fine, but we will step in, in no soft
19 manner, if we gather that there is an unnecessary or unreasonable,
20 unacceptable, usage of time. But so far so good.
21 WITNESS: WITNESS PW-107 [Resumed]
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer started examining you yesterday. We only
24 ran the direct for about half an hour. We will continue this morning,
25 sir. Good morning to you. Hopefully we will finish with the
1 examination-in-chief, hopefully, and then we will move to the
3 Mr. Haynes, is there a reason why you are trying to hide from me?
4 MR. HAYNES: There must have been a very short person sitting in
5 that chair before me and it's rather too high.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Thank you.
7 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning to you and
9 Your Honours.
10 Examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
11 Q. Good morning, Witness.
12 A. Good morning.
13 Q. Witness, you testified yesterday at page 4084, lines 9 to 12, that
14 your separate police formation was a company, and let's use the
15 abbreviation of "PJP" from now on to refer to your separate police units,
16 if we may. You testified that your PJP company comprised approximately
17 100 to 120 men, and that they were drawn mostly from the surrounding
18 area. Do you recall that testimony, sir?
19 A. Yes, I do.
20 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, if we may move into private session for
21 a moment, please.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: By all means. Let's go into private session.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 4088-4106 redacted.Private session
11 [Open session]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. Please, therefore, pay
14 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Sir, you just described your arrival in the Snagovo area. Can you
16 please describe for the Trial Chamber how your operation actually got
17 under way, and what you did, what you saw, what you encountered for the
18 first couple of days, first few days, of the operation?
19 A. That day, when we spent the night, and then the next day the
20 company commander came to us there and he informed us where we would be
21 going and what we would be doing. And we were there until the evening.
22 We went back in the evening to the place where we spent the night, the
23 first night. That's where we spent every night. We would go a couple of
24 kilometres away, and at the end of the day we would return to that
25 starting position.
1 Q. And, Witness, would you describe the terrain you found yourself
3 A. The terrain was hilly. It was a mountainous area. It was above
4 the town, and there were mountains already there, villages, and so on. It
5 wasn't civilised. There are woods mostly and mountains in relation to the
7 Q. So physically what would you do during the day in these woods and
9 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Thayer, before that, I'd like to hear what he
10 heard from his company commander. He testified that, "the next day the
11 company commander came to us there and he informed us where we would be
12 going and what we would be doing." What did he say in specific terms?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He told us, "Well, here we are. We
14 arrived. We're going -- actually, you will be going to mop up terrain,
15 mop up terrain. I personally did not hear him say "killing." We received
16 orders at the station before we left. Perhaps he did say it, but I didn't
17 hear that. There were more than a hundred people there, and you cannot
18 hear everything, perhaps, and I was not in a good position to be able to
19 hear that. We were sent there, and we went to search the terrain and
20 everything, mopping up, searching.
21 In those first few days, we didn't encounter any resistance. We
22 didn't. And then on the fourth or the fifth day, there were some people
23 running across. Muslim people were arriving at the line in order to go
24 and link up with Tuzla.
25 MR. THAYER:
1 Q. And just to be clear, when you refer to your company commander,
2 what was the company commander's name?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly. He has already given us his name
4 before in private session, so I think we need to go back to private
5 session to have him answer your question. Unless you think it's safe, but
6 I don't think it's safe.
7 MR. THAYER: Very well, Your Honour. Given the region it covers,
8 but out of an abundance of caution, absolutely.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
10 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session now.
25 JUDGE KWON: Could you clarify with the witness what the word in
1 Serbian for "mopping up" is, as the witness has said?
2 MR. THAYER:
3 Q. Did you understand the question, Witness?
4 A. Yes. In Serbian the term is "ciscenje terena osvajanje."
5 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
6 MR. THAYER:
7 Q. Now, Witness, prior to the time that you personally saw any
8 Muslims or encounter any Muslims during this operation, what, if anything,
9 did you hear going on in the woods around you?
10 A. You could hear, but not so near that you could hear everything,
11 but you could hear shouting, moaning, something like that. I didn't see
12 anything. It was far off in the distance.
13 Q. Did you hear anyone being called out to?
14 A. From what side, do you mean? There were calls to surrender from
15 this side, from the Serb side, using loudspeakers and so on.
16 Q. Did you hear any gunfire or shooting of any kind during this
17 period of time?
18 A. Yes, yes, but in the distance, somewhere over there. It wasn't so
19 far and it wasn't so near. It was a couple of hundred metres off, 2 to
20 300 metres, all depending on the terrain where you were. That's what I
22 Q. And during this period of time, Witness, did you also discover any
23 bodies in that area?
24 A. Yes, I did. I passed by a couple of corpses that were a meter
25 away, and I wasn't even paying attention to the rest. Well, you could
1 smell the corpses. It was summer, so you could smell that. And you would
2 run away from something like that. If the wind was blowing in that
3 direction, you would try to bypass the bodies as much as you can so that
4 you didn't smell the stench.
5 So I didn't see so many corpses, but I did see what I saw with my
6 own eyes. What I said about the bodies stinking and things like that,
7 yes, depending on the direction of the wind.
8 Q. Among the bodies that you did see, sir, were they men only or did
9 they also include women and children?
10 A. Men who had remained until that breakthrough of theirs. I saw
11 them, and there were children, too. I didn't go up to actually look,
12 because it was a corpse, decomposing corpse, and it was summer and it was
13 a pretty strong stench. It was a very unpleasant smell, so you would just
14 run away from that, go somewhere else.
15 Q. Well, you just testified that there were children or dead children
16 among the bodies that you saw. How was it that you knew there were
17 children among the corpses?
18 A. Well… Looking from a distance, one would say that it was a child. I
19 didn't go up personally to the corpse, but when you looked at it from a
20 distance, you could see that it was a child, looking at it from far off.
21 There were bloody traces on clothes; there was footwear. I also saw some
22 of that. I saw that. I passed next to things like that, and I saw that.
23 Q. Now, Witness, at some point did you, in fact, encounter some
24 Muslims who were still alive?
25 A. No. No, I did not, until this group that came out in front of me
1 personally. Before then I didn't see anyone alive, until I saw this group
2 that came up right in front of me.
3 Q. Would you please describe for the Trial Chamber what occurred when
4 you saw this group.
5 A. I can say that the group came out of the woods in front of me some
6 5, 6, to 10 metres in front of me, let's say, and they were
7 shouting, "Don't shoot." But this group that I was with from the (redacted)
8 (redacted) nobody fired from the group. They surrendered to us, but then
9 when they did that, all the others from the other stations gathered around
10 to see who was there, what was going on, and then somebody came up, I
11 don't know who he is or what he is, he had some sort of band tied around
12 his head. We were all dressed in the same way, in the uniforms of the
13 olive-drab colour.
14 I can say that the man took his pistol out, and before he took his
15 pistol out, three of them came out. I hid the youngest one behind me and
16 I protected him while this man took out his pistol, and the other two --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment. Could you just look at line 8 on
18 page 27. We're in private session, and the witness has mentioned the
19 origin of -- we are in open session, and the witness has mentioned -- I
20 think we need to redact that.
21 MR. THAYER: Yes, Your Honour. I was trying to catch his
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
24 So, Madam Registrar, please redact the words -- the last three
25 words in that line, line 8, and the first word in line 9. And I think we
1 can proceed.
2 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Now, Witness, let's back up for a moment. When you first saw
4 these Muslims, can you tell the Trial Chamber, were they men, women,
6 A. They were men. They were men ranging from 35 to 40 years of age.
7 That's what they looked like when you looked at them. One of them was 16,
8 a child at the time, whom I hid behind me to stop him from getting killed.
9 Q. And, sir, I just want to caution you again not to mention specific
10 names while we're in open session.
11 Let me ask you: How many Muslim males did you personally see --
12 recall seeing with your own eyes?
13 A. I saw three. I saw three from my own angle, from the position
14 that I was in at the time. I saw three. It all just happened very
15 suddenly, quickly, and from what I remember, I saw three of them from my
16 angle of vision.
17 Q. Were you told by fellow PJP officers a different number?
18 A. Yes. I saw three from my angle. In their statements that they
19 provided, they said it was four. Maybe he saw four. I saw three. This
20 is ...
21 Q. Now, Witness, can you describe the general appearance of these
22 males when you encountered them.
23 A. They looked exhausted, as if they had slept in the woods, in the
24 fields. In that sense they weren't at home. They slept wherever they
25 found themselves, in the woods, on the road, in the fields, wherever they
1 happened to be. That's what they looked like.
2 Q. Now, you testified that things seemed to be happening fast to you,
3 that a crowd gathered, others came over. Can you describe what happened
4 after the males surrendered? What happened to them physically?
5 A. What happened was that the youngest one amongst them, the one who
6 was 16 years old, he -- I personally hid him behind me, and the others
7 were killed on the spot, a couple of metres, 5, 6, or 10 metres, away from
9 Q. Do you recall whether or not those individuals were searched?
10 A. Yes, they were searched, but there was nothing. They didn't have
11 any bags with them. Maybe a rucksack, a plain rucksack, that didn't have
12 anything special in it that would warrant a search. They didn't have
13 anything on them.
14 Q. When these other officers began to gather, do you recall any
15 discussion or anything that was said by the officers after they had
16 learned that you had captured these Muslim men and boy?
17 A. I don't remember whether anything was said, how. We didn't
18 capture them. They gave themselves up.
19 Q. Did you see -- and you described to some degree already, but did
20 you see who did the shooting?
21 A. I did see, but that was the first time I saw that man. I have no
22 idea who it is. I even thought that he was from the Bijeljina station,
23 but he wasn't. Later, there were stories, and it was said that it was
24 some man from Zvornik. I wouldn't recognise him. This all happened in 5
25 to 10 minutes, and then there is no more trace of anything after that.
1 Q. Did you see where these men were shot? Not the location but where
2 in their bodies they were shot.
3 A. In the head area. I turned my head slightly so that I wouldn't
4 look, but it was in the head area. Then after they fell, I didn't turn
5 around any more and I didn't look at those people who were killed. We
6 left immediately. I took away the child from that place. I turned his
7 head also so that he doesn't have to look. I mean, it was traumatic for
8 me - I was younger then - and I'm sure it was traumatic for him who was
9 only 16 at the time. We left that terrain, and we didn't return again.
10 Q. Can you describe the reaction that this boy had to the shooting.
11 A. I can. The boy was frightened, traumatised. You know how it is
12 when everything is disrupted because of fear. There were all sorts of
13 things going on with him.
14 Q. Did you restrain the boy at any time?
15 A. Yes. We restrained him immediately for his safety and security,
16 so that he wouldn't run off and escape and so that he would stay alive,
17 because when he saw all of that and he wasn't killed immediately, he
18 probably thought that then he would stay alive. So he was restrained with
19 handcuffs, and that was safer for him. He probably saw, since he wasn't
20 killed immediately, that he would survive.
21 I couldn't do it when he just turned up in front of me, and I
22 wouldn't allow anyone else to do it, at least as far as he was concerned,
23 because he was the youngest. He was a child. I don't know if anyone
24 could do something like that. Just speaking for myself, I couldn't even
25 kill a child or an older person, in any event, in a case when there is no
1 firing on both sides. When a person surrenders by themselves, I don't see
2 any reason to kill them or anyone else.
3 But the line of separation is something else, where there is
4 shooting on both sides. But in this case, where people surrender on their
5 own and are begging for their lives, why would you do anything like that,
6 take away what they're asking for? At least that's what I thought then at
7 that time, that he shouldn't be killed.
8 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I'm about to move into a different area
9 that's in private session. I see we're approaching the break, so I would
10 suggest --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We will have a 30-minute break, because of the
12 redaction, starting from now. Thank you.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer, you may proceed. Please remember that
16 we are in private session, and I got the impression that you wanted to go
17 into private session.
18 MR. THAYER: Yes, I did, Your Honour. Thank you.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: That we are in open session and you wanted to go
20 into private session.
21 MR. THAYER: I understand.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's go into private session, please.
23 [Private session]
11 Pages 4117-4145 redacted.Private session
16 [Open session]
17 JUDGE AGIUS: When we finished, we were in private session. Do
18 you want to proceed in private session?
19 MR. THAYER: Please, Your Honour, yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's go back to private session, please.
21 [Private session]
11 Pages 4147-4150 redacted.Private session
11 [Open session]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm not accustomed to staying in private session for
13 that long, so I get lost sometimes.
14 Is it you, Mr. Haynes?
15 MR. HAYNES: Mr. President, yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. We'll need to stop at 1.30 or a
17 little bit before that, if necessary -- if possible.
18 MR. HAYNES: With your leave, what I'm going to try and do is deal
19 with one topic, because I'm conscious of the fact that the Court will be
20 constituted differently on Monday, apart from anything else.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we well.
22 MR. HAYNES: And with the best will in the world, I think it's
23 going to be largely in private session.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So let me explain to the witness who you
1 Mr. Haynes is lead counsel appearing for General Pandurevic in
2 this case, and he will be cross-examining you first from the various
3 Defence teams. He will continue -- he will start today and continue on
5 Mr. Haynes, let's go into private session --
6 MR. HAYNES: Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: -- I take it.
8 [Private session]
11 Pages 4153-4158 redacted.Private session
17 [Open session]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: We will continue on Monday morning, if I remember
19 well. Monday morning. In the meantime, the same caution I gave you
20 yesterday: You are not to communicate with -- or allow anyone to
21 communicate with you on the subject matter of your testimony.
22 Have a nice weekend.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.32 p.m.,
24 to be reconvened on Monday, the 20th day
25 of November, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.