1 Monday, 2 April 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: So, good morning, everybody. Madam Registrar, could
7 you kindly call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, ma'am. For the record, all the accused
11 are present. I see no absences in the Defence teams except for
12 Mr. Krgovic.
13 MR. JOSSE: Yes, Your Honour. He's working on the issue of
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Madam Nikolic as well is absent.
16 MR. BOURGON: Also absent working on other matters. Thank you,
17 Mr. President.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. For the Prosecution I see Mr. McCloskey
19 and Mr. Thayer and no one else. The witness is already present in the
20 courtroom. And we can continue with his testimony.
21 Witness, good morning to you. Are you receiving interpretation?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Welcome back. You are still
24 testifying pursuant to your solemn declaration that you will testify the
25 truth. So Mr. Josse will be proceeding with his cross-examination and
1 then we will see where we stand after that.
2 Mr. Josse.
3 WITNESS: HAMDIJA TORLAK [Resumed]
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Josse: [Continued]
6 Q. When we broke off on Friday, Witness, you had just told the
7 Chamber that you were aware of one attack from within the enclave to the
8 outside in mid-June of 1995. Was that the only attack of its sort that
9 you knew about in 1995, or were there others that you were aware of?
10 A. I do know this from mid-June 1995, the first one. As to the
11 second I really didn't know about that or any others. And I can confirm
12 the one in mid-June. I don't know about any of the others.
13 Q. What did you think would happen as a result of these attacks?
14 A. Well, at any rate it was realistic to expect a response from the
15 Serb side. And, in the best of cases, with shelling. However, as to the
16 course of events that followed, we saw that what followed was an --
17 infantry attacks and finally the protective zones were taken control of.
18 Q. Well, I'll come back to the attack on the enclave in a few
19 moments' time.
20 Before I do that, I want to ask you about your knowledge of
21 smuggling into the enclave and perhaps the easiest way of dealing with
22 this is to look at 6D27, a document already in evidence.
23 This is a report dated the 31st of December of 1993. And in
24 effect it's an intelligence and security report produced by a -- the
25 command of the 1st Podrinje Light Infantry Brigade. And I would like you
1 to have a look at page 2 in your language, page 2 in the English.
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly ask that the English be
3 put up in e-court as well, please. Thank you.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: It's being done.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS:
7 Q. Whilst that's being done I think I can continue, because we see
8 that it says that there is information that Avdo Palic is black-marketing
9 cigarettes, weapons and ammunition. Did you have any knowledge of that?
10 To help you and to put it in context, this would have been in 1993,
11 bearing in mind the date on this document.
12 A. Is the question whether Avdo Palic was included in this criminal
13 undertaking, this black-marketeering?
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say that Avdo Palic was included
16 in those criminal acts, involved in them. Of course after the arrival of
17 UNPROFOR, well, I don't really know anything about all that. But
18 humanitarian aid did arrive, however, not all the items sent and as was
19 generally the case, not only in Zepa, but in other areas, I assume, as
20 well, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, certain things would enter via UNPROFOR or
21 were brought in in some other way and a system was set up for further
22 distribution and for selling.
23 Now, I really have no knowledge of the fact that Avdo Palic was
24 directly involved in any of that. As far as I know, this was done by
25 other people.
1 Q. I see that the English is still not up on the screen, because
2 there is one small part of this document that I would like to read to you,
3 and ask you about.
4 THE REGISTRAR: The document is on the screen on the English
5 channel. It's not on the channel you can see, it's in the B/C/S for the
6 purpose of the witness.
7 MR. JOSSE: That's fine, thank you.
8 Q. It says, "The former president of the War Presidency of Zepa
9 municipality, Dr. Benjamin Kulovac is reselling medicines, morphine and
10 heroin and is reportedly make some narcotics and hallucinogenic drugs
11 himself." As far as you are aware, is there any truth in that allegation?
12 A. I don't believe that. Well, the reselling of medicines, I don't
13 believe that happened nor do I have any knowledge about that, particularly
14 not the second part of sentence that some narcotics and hallucinogenic
15 drugs being dealt with, I don't know. It's incorrect.
16 Q. Thank you. Let us move on to the period that I was asking you
17 about a few moments ago and I want you to look at a document dated the 2nd
18 of June, 1995, 6D75. This is a document by Captain Bektic of the command
19 of the 28th Division to the Zepa Brigade. And it gives various
20 instructions. First of all, and I'm summarising, to cover UN check-points
21 and not allow UN troops to cross over to the Serbian side; in case UN
22 troops attempt to leave Zepa, they are to be disarmed and captured and
23 their weapons and hardware put to use in the defence of the territory;
24 assurance to Colonel Dudnik. The fourth point is let him know that we are
25 prepared to defend both ourselves and them in the event of an attack. The
1 fifth point, also use the civilian organs of authority to give him this
3 Were you aware of the existence of this set of instructions?
4 A. No. This is the first time that I see this. I've just read
5 through it, and I think that the way this is written -- well, it's
6 original and valid, I would say, but of course no document which reached
7 Zepa to the military command there, I didn't have an opportunity to see.
8 I heard about some of these things but as I say, this is the first time
9 that I see this. Yes, it was written on the 2nd of June, 1995.
10 Q. So neither Colonel Palic nor anyone else passed this information
11 on to you, bearing in mind it says that the civil organs should be used to
12 give Colonel Dudnik the appropriate assurance.
13 A. No. Quite certainly, this isn't what he discussed with me or with
14 the civilian authorities.
15 Q. The next issue I want to ask you about is the communications
16 centre within the enclave. Prior to the start of hostilities, where did
17 it operate from?
18 A. You mean the hostilities dating back to 1995?
19 Q. I do.
20 A. Well, at first the communications centre was in the same building
21 that I was in. I think it was on the first floor. It was sometime in
22 mid-1994 or the second half of 1994 when it was procured. I think it was
23 1994, I can't remember exactly. But later on I think that it was moved to
24 another place that wasn't to be its final position, final location, when
25 the attack on Zepa came, it was on Mount Zepa ultimately but I think there
1 was another location which I can't remember just now whether I knew what
2 that was or not, I really can't remember.
3 Q. Well, I'll try and jog your memory in a moment, Witness, but
4 before I do that, bearing in mind you were the communications officer of
5 the brigade itself at one point in time, are you telling the Chamber --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I'm sorry to stop you like this, but yes,
7 Mr. Thayer, what is the problem?
8 MR. THAYER: Good morning, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning.
10 MR. THAYER: I don't believe that that was this witness's
11 testimony, that he was ever the communications officer for the brigade.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: It was put to him. It was put to him from one
13 document in three different places which he said on paper it looks like
14 that in but in reality it was --
15 MR. JOSSE: I'll put it differently.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
17 MR. JOSSE:
18 Q. Bearing in mind you had some involvement in communications, in
19 relation to the Zepa Brigade, are you telling the Chamber that you don't
20 know where the communications centre was moved from -- I beg your
21 pardon -- to. In other words, you're telling us it was in the farm
22 cooperative building, then you say it ended up in the mountains, but you
23 don't know where it went in the middle period. That's your evidence?
24 A. Yes, that's precisely what I wanted to say. I don't remember,
25 perhaps I did know at the time. I know where it ended up. But as to the
1 in-between period, it was a long time ago.
2 Q. The in-between period, it went to the hospital, didn't it,
4 A. Possibly. I don't know whether it's to be challenged or not. Let
5 me just say that there isn't a hospital building. What it could have been
6 was to have been the clinic or outpatients' department building.
7 Q. There was -- I'll start again, if I may.
8 Was there a hospital in the centre of Zepa which had one or more
9 patients who actually stayed in that hospital?
10 A. Let me repeat again. In the centre of Zepa, before the war, there
11 were premises which were intended for a clinic or outpatients' department,
12 which is quite different to a hospital. Now, on those premises, I think
13 they were expanded during the war, or rather additional facilities were
14 attached within that outpatients' department or clinic, and in -- to all
15 intents and purposes, a sort of hospital was set up with certain room -- a
16 certain number of rooms and a certain number of beds for patients. That's
17 the real truth of it.
18 Q. And I've made the suggestion to you that it was in that place that
19 the communication centre was located. You're saying you don't know
20 whether that's true or not, correct?
21 A. That means that for a time, well, I don't remember, perhaps I did
22 know at the time. But it's been what, 12 years since then. Well, let's
23 say that that's how it was. I don't really know. But between this time
24 when it was in the building where I was myself, from that time, and to
25 the -- this other period when it was transferred to Mount Zepa, it was
1 somewhere. Now, you claim it was there. I say I am not aware of it. I'm
2 not claiming that it wasn't, but I don't know myself.
3 Q. Perhaps it's only fair if you have a little -- a quick look at
4 6D81, please. This is a document already in evidence. It's a memo from
5 an Alija Gusic, chief of communications of the 285th Zepa Brigade. Item
6 number 5 that I would like you to look at, Witness. I'm not going to read
7 it out, because as I say, it's already in evidence. You can read it for
8 yourself. That seems to suggest, doesn't it, that the communications
9 centre was moved to the hospital basement?
10 A. Yes. I've just read it. And from what I read here, that's
12 Q. Can you think of any strategic reason as to why the communications
13 centre would be located in the basement of the hospital?
14 A. Well, probably the only available space. That's what I assume at
15 least. And it was to some extent protected from the shelling, as it says
16 in this portion that I've just read.
17 Q. I am now going to move on to the course of the negotiations and
18 events as they occurred. And to do that I'm going to take you through a
19 series of documents, primarily in chronological order so that we can try
20 and see how the situation developed.
21 Firstly, could you have a look at 6D104, please. This is a
22 document from the army general staff, signed by General Delic dated the
23 30th of July. It's to the 1st Corps command, and indeed was intended for
24 the president of the Presidency of BiH. And it says, "We received a
25 report at 0920 hours through our communications system that people have
1 rallied in Zepa, demanding that the president of the War Presidency attend
2 the negotiations with the Chetniks, not to agree anything at these
3 negotiations, but protract them to see if something may be resolved on the
4 international stage. The president of the War Presidency has requested
5 permission to go to the negotiations."
6 Stopping there --
7 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Josse, do we have an English translation?
8 MR. JOSSE: I am told -- I certainly have one, and I am told there
9 is one in e-court. We're just checking.
10 THE REGISTRAR: It's not been released, I think.
11 MR. JOSSE: We'll put one on the ELMO, Your Honour. Thank you
12 very much.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Because I see that the assistant...
14 MR. JOSSE: In fact, I think we've got hard copies.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
16 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honour. And a few of the documents
17 that I'm going to be referring to, translations may only be available in
18 hard copy. We will try to attend to that as I go through them.
19 Q. Did you receive instructions, Witness, to protract the
21 A. Well, it's like this: The document that we have here is from the
22 1st Corps -- no. It's from the main command to the presidents -- to the
23 president. Now, I know what I happened over here in Zepa. So the
24 substance of it was as follows: We received the invitation for
25 negotiations on the 12th in the evening. And we had a War Presidency
1 meeting in Zepa in the night well, between the 12th and the 13th of July.
2 That night. And it was -- agreement was required that we could negotiate
3 locally. So this request was probably sent out to the army, to the
4 command, to the General Staff, as well as to the political leadership.
5 Now, a response, we received a response on the 13th, telling us
6 that we could go to the negotiations, and to see what was being offered,
7 what was being put on the table. Now, all this protraction and
8 prolongation was a question of communication between the General Staff of
9 the army and -- Amir and the Presidency. So we were alone there at the
10 time, and this didn't mean much really. Nor did it help in any way.
11 Q. Interweaving instructions that you may or may not have received
12 with events on the ground, could we have a look at 6D34, which is a
13 document already in evidence. And this is a report from Colonel Palic to
14 a Brigadier Dzambasovic at the army General Staff. And he, Colonel Palic,
15 is talking about the fact that his men were coming under heavy attack,
16 were very tired, and he says, "We are disarming UNPROFOR in accordance
17 with the directive we received earlier."
18 What's that about, please, Witness?
19 A. I am not aware of any directives. This was the period from the
20 13th, although this document is dated the 16th of July, 1995. This was
21 probably communication between the command in the army. This never
22 reached me. I do not have any knowledge of this. This was probably true,
23 according to what is stated here, but I have no comment to make. In that
24 period of time when this was written, I was not in any kind of contact
25 with Avdo, for instance. Or not in any detailed contact. We mostly dealt
1 with UNPROFOR; negotiations, maintenance of communications, so as to find
2 some sort of a solution.
3 Q. Are you saying that in those days, around the 16th of July, you
4 didn't speak to Colonel Palic at all?
5 A. During those few days before this date, I am almost certain that I
6 didn't. I didn't see him. I was in Zepa, and I think he was dislocated
7 up there on the mountain.
8 Q. Well, as is clear from this document, he was fighting hard to try
9 and save the enclave being taken by the Serbs, wasn't he?
10 A. Yes, yes, yes. That's quite clear, and that was never in dispute.
11 Q. The next sentence reads, "I received certain instructions earlier
12 from you too. Everything is going according to plan." I take it from
13 what you already said, you don't know what plan Colonel Palic is talking
15 A. That's right. I don't know. This is a communication that I hear
16 of and see for the first time now.
17 Q. I would like you next to have a look at 6D107, please. This is a
18 document dated the 18th of July of 1995, from Mr. Izetbegovic to General
20 MR. JOSSE: Does the Chamber have a translation? It does, I am
21 told helpfully by Madam Registrar. Could I say there is clearly a
22 translation error, one that even I can spot. In number 2 the translation
23 says, "500 and 100 volunteers." If one looks at the original document it
24 says, "500-1-000." The Chamber can make of that what they will. But it
25 is -- clearly, as presently translated, it is inaccurate.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there -- are there any comments on your part,
2 Mr. Thayer?
3 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, we accept that.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's clear. Yes.
5 Thank you, Mr. Josse, and thank you, Mr. Thayer.
6 MR. JOSSE:
7 Q. Here we see that in point number 1 Mr. Izetbegovic says he had
8 been speaking to General Smith, and adds the possibility of an evacuation
9 by UNPROFOR of women, children and the elderly.
10 Point number 2 I want to ask you about. "Perhaps in this case we
11 could insert a brigade or battalion of soldiers to Zepa across the forest
12 path and thus continue the combat with more success. These men from Zepa
13 say that they could find between 500 and --" looks like, "1.000
15 Were you aware of this idea from Mr. Izetbegovic?
16 A. No. I am not aware of this. This is dated the 18th of July,
17 1995. The fighting in Zepa was at its fiercest at the time. These were
18 probably plans or ideas that our military and political leadership had in
20 Q. Bearing in mind the following day you were going to enter into
21 negotiations with the Serb military leadership, how was it that you
22 weren't getting instructions from the Bosniak political leadership?
23 A. Well, you see, the negotiation that occurred a day after this
24 document, that is on the 19th of July, that those were negotiations that
25 were not initiated by us. The fighting was ongoing. There was
1 communication with the military and political leaderships, and the
2 following day I didn't have any particular instructions. The fighting
3 stopped, and Mladic asked for the first time that we talk.
4 We weren't sitting around and making plans. This was quite a
5 dramatic and chaotic situation, at least in Zepa.
6 Q. I'm now going to show you a document which details purported
7 instructions from Mr. Izetbegovic to Mr. Hajric, president of the
8 municipality. And this is 6D36. Which is a document dated the 19th of
9 July. I've already said who sent it, who received it.
10 It begins significantly, perhaps, bearing in mind your last
11 answer, "Here are my answers to your questions of last night." And we'll
12 go to item number 3, "My plan: Move out as --" presume that's, "Many
13 civilians as possible. All if possible. The troops stay on and continue
14 to resist. We will do all to help you, one, by supplying MTS; two,
15 volunteers; and three, offensive action in your direction. I believe this
16 is starting today. If we do not succeed in this, you try to push on on
17 those roads. You know which. But now without the burden of women and
18 children who would, in the meantime, be taken out."
19 These are clear instructions, are they not, from the very highest
20 echelon of the Bosniak leadership?
21 A. Yes. But I do not remember receiving any instructions of this
22 kind. This was a communication, I don't know where it ended up or who
23 received this document in Zepa. Was it Mr. Mehmed Hajric or was it just
24 the communications centre? Because this document would first reach the
25 communications centre, which was on Zepa mountain, five or six kilometres
1 away along very hilly terrain, so that each of those documents or
2 instructions, which were not of any significance, would reach the centre
3 of Zepa.
4 So this one is one I don't remember. I don't remember having
5 occasion to see it in Zepa in this period of time.
6 Q. Well, let's worry a little less about whether you've actually seen
7 the document. What I'm driving at, Witness, is the suggestion that you
8 were carrying out negotiations as instructed clearly and carefully by
9 Mr. Izetbegovic, weren't you?
10 A. I wouldn't agree that there were clear instructions by
11 Mr. Izetbegovic. Even if there were things like this, the situation on
12 the ground was quite different from the way it was seen, shall we say,
13 from Sarajevo.
14 Of course we used all these things more as a device, but
15 unfortunately we were forced to make our decisions mostly on our own.
16 Because our own lives were in question, and the lives of our families.
17 Q. Do you recall what time of day it was that you met General Mladic
18 on the 19th of July of 1995?
19 A. I think it was the second half of the day of the 19th of July.
20 Q. At that time, as far as you were concerned, did you think,
21 genuinely think, that the Zepa Brigade wanted to surrender?
22 A. Well, things are quite clear. To surrender, quite certainly no.
23 Never for a moment did anyone want to surrender. Because we feared for
24 our own lives.
25 Q. Well, let's have a look briefly, if we may, at some of the
1 things -- conversation between you and Mr. Mladic that day. When I
2 say "you" I mean either you or Mr. Kulovac.
3 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I'm not sure whether the transcript of
4 the first video that was played has an e-court number.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, it has.
6 MR. JOSSE: It does. Could I be assisted, please.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: It has because in trying to get the transcript
8 before everyone else, we identified that. But it does have. I think
10 MR. THAYER: It's P02490, Mr. President.
11 MR. JOSSE: The first page in the English that I would invite the
12 Chamber to look at, and I think the first page in the B/C/S as well.
13 Probably best not to broadcast this, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I agree with you. Thank you.
15 MR. JOSSE: Could we scroll down, please. It's the second part of
16 the page. Thank you.
17 Q. We see that Mladic says, "Is there anyone who wants to stay?" You
18 say, "Well, yes." Doctor Kulovac says, "This is what I wanted to tell
19 you, sir. There are people interested in staying." Mladic says, "How
20 many?" And Kulovac says, "What we (unintelligible) through the
21 (unintelligible), that's about 10 complete families, but I personally
22 think that this number could be greater."
23 So at that point in time there was a serious and genuine
24 discussion about certain members of the Bosniak community staying in Zepa,
25 wasn't there?
1 A. As far as I can recollect now, probably some local inhabitants, if
2 they had guaranteed safety, that nothing would happen to them, I don't see
3 anything strange in them not staying in their own homes and on their own
4 land. I looked a couple of days ago at the testimony, and probably -- not
5 probably, certainly Beno had more information about this because he was
6 more familiar with the local population and what they were thinking at the
7 time. That's as much as I can say.
8 Q. Thank you. Let's move on with the chain of events, and could we
9 have a look at 6D102. This is a conversation between an Amor Masovic and
10 Zepa itself, timed sometime after 2200 hours on the 20th of July of 1995.
11 Could we scroll down, please. That's fine. We see it says, "You
12 should know that at the negotiations yesterday General Mladic agreed to
13 the evacuation of the civilian population and all military conscripts from
14 Zepa in whatever manner you and Bulajic agree. This is why our side will
15 release 400 of their soldiers from the list of prisoners you have in your
17 As far as you are concerned is that a fair summary of your meeting
18 with Mladic on the 19th of July?
19 A. First of all, my memory is now coming back slowly of these
20 things. When we were at that meeting Mladic dictated the conditions, and
21 I think that the last item was that all military-capable men of military
22 age should surrender, et cetera, et cetera. And then we, I think,
23 Mr. Benjamin Kulovac asked whether this could be done, and General Mladic
24 said that there would be an exchange of all for all; all the people of
25 Zepa for all the captured Serb soldiers in prisons over there. And as far
1 as I can remember, things were left at the point when we would contact
2 them to see what our political and military leadership would do to try and
3 find a way for the exchange of the 400 Serb soldiers for all able-bodied
4 men from Zepa.
5 Later, the course and all the activities we engaged in were aimed
6 at putting into effect this idea.
7 Q. And to that end you, the negotiators on the ground, presumably had
8 to liaise closely with Sarajevo; isn't that correct?
9 A. Yes, yes, yes. Yes, yes.
10 Q. And if I could show you 6D103, which, in fact, chronologically
11 must precede the document I have just shown you. This is a communication
12 from the War Presidency of Zepa to various high-ranking dignitaries within
13 the BiH establishment. It describes -- again, it shouldn't be broadcast,
14 Your Honour, please.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Josse.
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. It describes the negotiations of the day before. We see that in
18 item 1 it says it would allow safe passage across Serbian territory by
19 free choice to the population according to the following schedule, and
20 then it lists those people who would be allowed to leave by free choice.
21 It then deals with the organisation of the transportation. And
22 then it deals with this idea, as you have already told us, about all for
23 all. It mentions in item number 5 the man who was involved in that last
24 conversation we've just looked at, Amor Masovic. It says, "He deals with
25 exchanges on our side."
1 And then I would ask you to note that at the very bottom it
2 says, "The fate of 7.000 people from Zepa, including 2.000 men fit for
3 military service is at stake."
4 So in effect this is you, the War Presidency, setting out what you
5 had agreed and/or asked for at the negotiation with Mladic the day
6 before. Correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And perhaps I could return briefly to 6D102, please, the second
9 page of that document. We see it says, "The all-for-all agreement reached
10 at the airport on 20th of July includes the release of all members of the
11 army from all of the aggressors' prisons and camps including the new
12 captives from Srebrenica and the release of a number of civilians held by
13 the aggressor in prisons and the evacuation of everyone from Zepa who
14 wishes to go."
15 Two questions: First of all, do you know anything about the
16 negotiations on the 20th of July at the airport?
17 A. I can't recall now, but I think that I had information in view of
18 the fact that the communications ended up in the communications centre up
19 there, I think I had information -- actually, I did have information that
20 this agreement had been reached. I can't say exactly on what date that
21 was, the 20th, 21st, the 22nd, but as far as I can remember we felt a
22 slight feeling of relief in Zepa.
23 But later it emerged that that was not so, at least that this was
24 not carried out.
25 Q. My second question is, it's clear from this conversation between
1 Masovic and someone at Zepa, that the understanding was those who wanted
2 to remain in Zepa could do precisely that? It's clear, isn't it, from
3 this conversation.
4 A. Which conversation? The one before?
5 Q. The passage that I just read to you and that's on the screen at
6 the moment.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you see it on the screen?
8 Usher, I think he needs --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do. I can see it. Only the
10 document starting with the words, "The army of BiH at this point in time
11 has a total of," et cetera.
12 MR. JOSSE:
13 Q. Yes. Let me read you the relevant bit again.
14 A. Yes, I'd like that, please.
15 Q. I'm reading from the middle of the sentence, "The release of a
16 number of civilians held by the aggressor in prisons," and now the
17 important bit, "and the evacuation of everyone from Zepa who wishes to
19 A. Yes, yes. I don't know what actually, if someone is living there,
20 living in his own home, and he personally believes that he is safe, and if
21 he wants to stay, I don't see anything strange or -- in it. Yes, that's
22 true. As you say, who wished to stay.
23 Q. I'm going to interrupt this chain of documents, and look, because
24 they arise chronologically, at some UN documents dealing with the course
25 of the conflict itself, if we may, Witness.
1 Firstly, could you have a look at 6D87. The documents that you
2 are now going to see, Witness, are English language documents. Could I
3 ask you, do you read English?
4 A. Well, I can understand English, but I don't think I can really
5 read or translate correctly any sentences of -- that are complicated in
6 any way, so I would request a translation, please.
7 Q. Absolutely. I just wanted to know that, and any relevant passage,
8 I will read extremely slowly.
9 This is a document dated the 20th of July, it's some sort of
10 UNPROFOR report. It says, by the word "Charlie," "The commander of
11 Bosnian BDE in Zepa, Avdo Palic, announced that if the helicopters with
12 representatives of BHC FWD, UkrBat-1, UNHCR, UNCRC and UNMOs doesn't
13 arrive to Zepa by 21 0800B 95, Bosnians will kill Ukrainians."
14 Did you know anything about that from Colonel Palic?
15 A. Well, I don't know anything about that, and so I can't comment.
16 All I can say is that it was a very difficult situation, and so possibly
17 some things were -- well, extorted or tried to be arranged with these oral
18 threats. Although I don't know about any physical attacks on any members
19 of UNPROFOR.
20 Q. Well, in that regard let's have a look at 6D91. This is a report
21 the same day, the 20th of July, at 1950, by the looks of it. It
22 says, "Three mortar rounds directly targeted the barracks of UKRCOY.
23 Numerous explosions registered in the UKRCOY enclose. Also UKRCOY camp
24 has been hit with SA and HMG. Origin of fire is ABiH."
25 Do you know anything about that, and is this true?
1 A. Well, this is very strange, this document. I can't say a hundred
2 per cent, but with great probability, on this date at that -- in that
3 year, in that month, members of the BH Army in Zepa did not have a single
4 mortar round. All I can do is to confirm that I was in the UNPROFOR
5 circle compound and saw with my very own eyes, well, shells were fired
6 from Serb positions. I think it was a PAT weapon that was firing. People
7 in the army know what that is. So that's all I can say about that
9 Q. Let's have a look at 6D92, please. About half an our later, by
10 the looks of it, similar type of report. It says, "ABiH is firing at
11 UKRCOY camp with HMGs. Bosnian soldiers had thrown several grenades into
12 the UKRCOY enclose. Ukrainian personnel took its defensive positions but
13 didn't respond yet. Situation is extremely critical."
14 What do you say about this?
15 A. I don't know about these occurrences. This is the first time that
16 I hear of them.
17 Q. Before I move away from the battle itself and back to the
18 negotiations, could you have a look at 6D82, please, which is already in
19 evidence. This, to be clear to you, is a Serb-generated document from
20 Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric dated the 24th of July, 1995, and it's an
21 intelligence report that deals with events in the battle you have just
22 been talking about. It's quite a long document, but if you look towards
23 the bottom of the first page, it describes, "For four days now the Muslims
24 have been making their presence know with," and goes on then to detail
25 equipment and weaponry, artillery -- of an artillery type, in the
1 possession of the Bosniak defenders. I can see you reading it to
2 yourself. You may want to look at the second page, please, as well, when
3 you're ready.
4 A. Well, I'm reading the -- do you want me to read the part of the
5 document that's on the screen, or something else? I might not have
6 understood you, where you want me to focus.
7 Q. No, the part that's on the screen, beginning from, "In any case,
8 for four days now the Muslims have been making their presence known."
9 A. [In English] Okay.
10 Q. The question is, was Serb intelligence completely wrong when it
11 suggested that the defenders had this sort of equipment at their disposal?
12 A. Well, it's difficult to say. I really -- well, whether this
13 information is correct or whether it is all correct or not, I can't
14 confirm. Probably a part of it is all right, but things that I never
15 fully knew about, I can't comment on now and say yes or no.
16 Q. Witness, you must have known what Colonel Palic and his men had at
17 their disposal to defend the enclave. Isn't that right?
18 A. Not all of it. We knew things in general, as anybody in the
19 enclave knew, that's as far as I knew. But that somebody reported to me
20 and said, "we have this, we have that," no.
21 Q. How did you think Colonel Palic was holding out for so long,
22 bearing in mind what the Serbs had at their disposal?
23 A. Well, it's -- I'm not contesting that there were weapons, but as
24 to the time, the period, holding out for how long, when you haven't got
25 anywhere else to go, you have to fight. You have to fight as much as you
1 can, as far as you can. So I suppose the situation itself imposed this
2 struggle and how it's described here, and the fact that they held on for
3 so long.
4 Q. As one of the chief negotiators on behalf of the defenders, surely
5 it was essential that you knew the exact military position?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Well, did you know the exact military position?
8 A. Well, let me explain this a little bit. As far as military
9 positions are concerned, everybody in Zepa knew what they were, and the
10 axis of attack came from two sides; the south and let's say the west. Two
11 key axis on the enclave. Now, as far as the situation is concerned
12 itself, it was quite clear to us, to all of us, and this is information
13 from the BH Army command, that it was only a question of time as to how
14 long one could hold out without receiving assistance from outside and
15 holding the lines. It was never a question that this could be done. And,
16 in keeping with this, these activities were undertaken to resolve the
18 Q. All right. I'll move back to the negotiations themselves. You
19 saw Mladic again on the 24th of July; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that is right.
21 Q. And you have already described, and indeed I asked you about it at
22 the start of my cross-examination, the process of evacuation. One thing I
23 failed to ask you then which I would like to ask you now: Is it right
24 that each of the buses was escorted by two members of UNPROFOR?
25 A. I don't remember things like that, but most probably that was how
1 it was. Because it was one of our -- well, if I can put it this way,
2 demands, that there should be UNPROFOR members in each of the buses
3 because people felt safer, more secure. So if you have information that
4 that's how it was, then I confirm that that's right. Although, as I say,
5 I didn't see it, but I can't contest it either. I can't say it wasn't so.
6 Q. I would now like to turn to the third meeting that you had with
7 Mladic on the 26th of July. And a small part of that meeting was recorded
8 on video and has been played to this Chamber, correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And you may recall, and I don't think there's any need to show it
11 again, that there was a man in military fatigues sitting to the left of
12 General Smith, whom you were unable to recognise. Do you recall that from
14 A. I think so. But perhaps it would be a good idea if I were to --
15 if I were to -- well, if we could have a look at it again for me to be
16 able to confirm it 100 per cent. Could we look at the photograph or the
17 video again?
18 Q. Witness --
19 A. But, yes, I apologise, if I said that I didn't recognise it on
20 Friday, that I didn't recall it, then that's how it is.
21 Q. I do think that's all right, because as will become apparent in a
22 moment, not a great deal turns on this, save to say that that person, I
23 would suggest, was a Lieutenant-Colonel Baxter, who was the -- General
24 Smith's military attache. He clearly had something to do with General
25 Smith, didn't he?
1 A. I don't know that. Probably, but I don't remember.
2 Q. All right. Could we have a look at 6D108. This is a document
3 that is not in e-court, Your Honour. It's another UN document, it's only
4 in English, and so I'll need to read parts of it very slowly to the
5 witness. We've got lots of hard copies.
6 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, could I invite the members of the Trial
7 Chamber, when they get this document, to remove the last page. Not that I
8 don't want you to see it, it's just it doesn't form part of this document
9 and it will simply confuse. That's all.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think that the last page I had in my
11 document was indeed the last page, because...
12 MR. JOSSE: Yes, I'm grateful to Mr. Thayer. He pointed this out
13 to me this morning.
14 Q. Witness, this is a report, in effect, from Lieutenant-Colonel
15 Baxter. And it's a summary of the meeting that he attended along with
16 General Smith and yourself. Again, it should not be broadcast.
17 In paragraph 2 he says, "At the heart of the situation is the
18 local agreement concluded by local Bosnian officials with the Bosnian
19 Serbs. The agreement is dependent on three things that those who signed
20 cannot deliver. Firstly, that the cease-fire will hold. Secondly, that
21 the Bosnian fighters will lay down their weapons and accept POW status on
22 the basis of a putative POW exchange. Thirdly, that the Bosnian
23 government will accept the conditions for a POW exchange with the Bosnian
25 Do you agree with that assessment by Lieutenant-Colonel Baxter
1 that the parties simply couldn't deliver on the agreement?
2 A. I don't know. Perhaps the first point with respect to the
3 cease-fire. At least as far as our side was concerned, I don't think that
4 anything was challenged there or that there were any military
5 provocations, or anyway I don't know about them. Now, as to the other two
6 points, to lay down their weapons and the conditions of exchange, in
7 principle I can say that I agree with the assessment made by this person,
8 General, Lieutenant, or whatever he was, that there were problems there.
9 Q. Because -- and we could look at the agreement if need be, but
10 perhaps the easiest is that I just read from it. At paragraph 5 it
11 says, "Avdo Palic shall immediately proceed with the disarmament of his
12 units. All weapons from Zepa enclave shall be handed over to
13 representatives of BSA in UNPROFOR's base in Zepa."
14 I'm not blaming you for this, Witness, but it's a fact, isn't it,
15 that when you signed this agreement you knew that wasn't going to happen?
16 A. Yes, I did know, and I stated that loud and clear to General
17 Mladic. There's nothing being contested there. So I did not have any
18 efficacious control or influence over the army.
19 When this document, on the 24th, was placed on the table, I said
20 this quite specifically to General Mladic. But they sort of said that
21 will be decided with Avdo, but anyway as far as I was concerned, although
22 I signed the document at that point in time I knew, and I said this
23 clearly, that I could not put it into practice.
24 Q. Turning to the -- in fact this is the second page of the document,
25 the exact spot that is on the ELMO at the moment is the one I want to ask
1 you about. This is headed, "The agreement." About seven or eight lines
2 down in that paragraph, talking about Mladic, it says, "He expressed some
3 irritation with the tactics of the government, in particular Minister
4 Muratovic, who he claimed was attempting to misrepresent his position and
5 his good intentions towards the people of Zepa. To emphasise this, he
6 stressed that a doctor, Mr. Kulovac, would leave the pocket with the first
7 medical evacuation and would carry an appeal from the population to the
8 President for the evacuation to take place."
9 Did that happen?
10 A. I confirm that Dr. Kulovac, with the first convoy, the convoy with
11 the wounded, went to Sarajevo. Now, as to any possible further talks
12 between Mr. Kulovac, et cetera, I don't know about that. I wasn't in a
13 position to know about that later.
14 Q. And I want to suggest to you, Witness, that the Bosnian Serbs
15 stuck by their part of the agreement at paragraph 7, and I'll read it
16 slowly, "The civilians from Zepa shall enjoy freedom of choice of place of
17 living and residence in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 12
18 August 1949 and the additional protocols from 1977."
19 Would you agree with my suggestion?
20 JUDGE KWON: That will be on a separate agreement.
21 MR. JOSSE: 6D30, Your Honour, if it helps.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that time, so I'm going to go
23 back to Zepa 1995, the 25th of July was the date. The overall situation
24 at that time, well I don't know, actually I don't understand what this
25 means -- well, I'd like to clarify matters and say that people afraid for
1 their lives chose the path that they felt was safer, and that was to leave
2 the area. So I don't see anything in dispute there.
3 Yes, I'm quite sure that people, on the basis of their intuition,
4 felt, and all those who had houses who hadn't been destroyed yet, that had
5 they felt that nothing bad would have happened to them, they would have
6 stayed. But people react according to their feelings and intuition, so
7 that's my answer to this choice of place of residence or living.
8 MR. JOSSE:
9 Q. The Bosnian Serbs were saying that anyone who wanted to could
10 stay, weren't they?
11 A. Yes. Now, I'm not claiming that anything bad would have happened
12 to those people, but what I am telling you is why people left Zepa
13 generally. That's it. So I am addressing that second issue, because I
14 know what the emotions were like, and I understand the fear of the people
15 who decided to leave Zepa, and that's what I'm saying.
16 Q. I think in fairness to you we should look at paragraph 8 of the
17 document on the screen, remembering that this certainly shouldn't be
18 broadcast. Paragraph 8 on the ELMO, please. Another option, since -- is
19 that the witness be given a hard copy. I think that might make life much
20 easier. Thank you.
21 General Smith explained that on his return to Sarajevo he would
22 meet with Muratovic and wanted to pass on your wishes or concerns, and I'm
23 paraphrasing here for obvious reasons, to the Bosnian government. You
24 stated that the biggest problem in the implementation of the agreement
25 would be the departure of the men of military age from the enclave.
1 So, as you've told us a few moments ago, you made it clear that
2 that was a problem, didn't you?
3 A. Yes, precisely.
4 Q. At paragraph 9 it says that you emphasised the agreement allowed
5 all males under 18 and those over 55 to leave freely, as well as those who
6 were injured.
7 A. [No interpretation]
8 Q. That's right, isn't it?
9 A. Yes, correct. That was never in dispute.
10 Q. At paragraph 10 we see the point that I was asking you about a
11 moment ago. General Smith asked whether anybody wished to remain in the
12 enclave. You replied that the general atmosphere was that everyone would
13 leave on the grounds of security. That you had no details about the
14 handing over of weapons and said that you would have to check that with
16 You went on to say that if the men in the enclave were more
17 confident that the Bosnian government would agree to the POW exchange, the
18 mood of fear would immediately alter. That's right, isn't it?
19 A. Yes, everything you've said up to now is correct.
20 Q. Let me just ask you this, Witness: As far as you were concerned,
21 did you believe that the government in Sarajevo were genuine at that point
22 about the all-for-all exchange?
23 A. Well, at the beginning we did of course believe it. When you have
24 a problem and somebody offers you a solution, you always tend to believe
25 it. It's a sort of psychological thing, psychological aspect. It's what
1 people tend to do.
2 Later on, somewhere around the 26th of July, however, it became
3 clear that nothing would come of that. The promises that were made about
4 these exchanges. So that the events that followed proved that to be
6 Q. And my last question before the break, when you talk about
7 promises, you mean promises from the government in Sarajevo, don't you?
8 A. Yes, here. Because this part of the communications with respect
9 to the exchange of able-bodied men was supposed to be led by Minister
10 Muratovic, the then-minister for I think he was relations with foreign
11 organisations in Bosnia.
12 And I've just remembered, looking at this document, that this
13 first meeting was on the 24th of July, at which General Smith attended.
14 And we did have some information, I did at least orally from Avdo, Colonel
15 Avdo Palic, that is, that those negotiations with the Serb side at a
16 higher level, that they were being conducted, and that this should result
17 in a favourable outcome. On our part the negotiations were to be led by
18 Minister Muratovic.
19 Now, from these documents we can see that some meetings were
20 indeed held, but that a final ultimate agreement with the Serb side was
21 never reached on this issue.
22 MR. JOSSE: I'm content to break now, if the Chamber would like
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's have a 25-minute break, starting from now.
25 Thank you.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.34 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.04 a.m.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Josse.
4 MR. JOSSE: The next document flows directly from what we were
5 just looking at. It's 6D98, and it should not be broadcast. It's a memo
6 or report from the War Presidency, dated the 26th the July of 1995. To
7 Messrs. Izetbegovic and Muratovic.
8 Q. It deals with the negotiations at Boksanica which you, Witness,
9 attended. It says three lines down, "Nothing was agreed at these
10 negotiations, because General Smith did not bring the agreement on the
11 all-for-all exchange but today I was informed by the General Staff that
12 the agreement on all-for-all exchange had been accepted by our side and
13 that General Smith had taken it with him."
14 General Smith stated in your presence, Witness, that you, this is
15 presumably the BiH president, were seeking a few more concessions for the
16 exchange to take place. And then a few lines down, "We ask you once again
17 if you have accepted and signed the all-for-all agreement. Please send it
18 overnight to General Smith so that the evacuation method can be discussed
20 It would seem, would it not, from this document, Witness, that
21 you, in the municipal War Presidency, were genuinely hoping at that point
22 that the BiH leadership would agree to the all-for-all exchange?
23 A. Yes, as can be seen from this document. We sincerely hoped and
24 believed. I remember this meeting on the 26th with General Smith. My
25 memories have been refreshed now, and I had information, as stated in this
1 document, as that is how it was, that agreement had been reached in
2 Sarajevo on an all-for-all exchange.
3 Let me just clarify: In this document there is reference
4 exclusively to the able-bodied men, and at that meeting, at least at the
5 beginning, I was relaxed, as a result of this information. However,
6 General Smith picked up his diary and he said, "No, nothing has been
7 agreed." So that as for these details, whether our side was asking for
8 additional concessions, I don't recall that. Or I don't recall all the
9 details, but in general terms, that is right. We believed and hoped that
10 the agreement would be reached.
11 Q. And it says in the penultimate sentence, "We repeat that General
12 Smith stated that you had not agreed to the all-for-all exchange and that
13 you had not signed the agreement."
14 When did you first realise that the Sarajevo leadership were not
15 going to agree to an all-for-all exchange and that some other solution had
16 to be sought?
17 A. I think that was on the 27th, 26th of July, towards the end of the
18 day. On the 26th I was at Boksanica, I didn't go back to Zepa again, nor
19 did I have any contact with Colonel Palic and other members of the War
21 I personally realised this after this meeting with General Smith.
22 Q. And at that point what did you think the military-aged men were
23 going to do, bearing in mind Sarajevo were not agreeable to the
24 all-for-all exchange?
25 A. Well, you see, whatever I were to say would be speculation,
1 because this was a long time ago; 12 years ago. There was a special
2 atmosphere in the air, and it's hard for me to say anything intelligent.
3 I can't say that I thought they would surrender, they would not surrender,
4 they would do this or that I really say that it was on the 26th of July
5 that I realised that nothing would come of that agreement. And then I had
6 no physical or any other kind of contact with anyone from Zepa, including
7 and above all, Colonel Avdo Palic and other members of the War Presidency.
8 Q. In other words, what happened after that point in time was not
9 within your control or personal knowledge; is that what you're saying?
10 A. Yes, precisely so. So the last meeting with General Smith was on
11 the 26th, and on the 26th, sometime in the afternoon, I reached Boksanica
12 and after that I didn't go back to Zepa, nor did I have any contact, as I
13 have said, with the people and leadership in Zepa.
14 Q. Could we have a look at 6D89, please. This is another UN document
15 it's a daily sitrep dated the 28th of July and it's page 3 that I would
16 like you to have a look at. It's at the bottom of the page there. On the
17 screen now. It says, "Zepa: The evacuation of displaced people
18 continued. A total of about four to 5.000 displaced people have been
19 evacuated from Zepa to Central Bosnia since 25 July 1995. It seems there
20 are no more people in Zepa to be evacuated. The BiH troops (approximately
21 1500) remain."
22 That is a fair assessment, is it not, from UNPROFOR that the 1500
23 people who remained were, in fact, BiH troops?
24 A. That is quite a correct assessment, but these were men of the age
25 group from 18, and maybe even under that, from 18 to 55 years of age. To
1 what extent they were involved and engaged during the war, that's another
2 matter. But I'm sure there weren't 1500 who were actually armed.
3 Q. And then it goes on for completeness, "At 1800B, as a result of
4 negotiations between BiH authorities, BSA General Mladic and UNPROFOR
5 commander, it was agreed that BiH will surrender and give up weapons under
6 UNPROFOR supervision once incident involving security of UN personnel was
8 But that didn't happen, did it?
9 A. No, no. It never happened.
10 Q. In conclusion, Witness, what I want to do with the Trial Chamber's
11 permission, is put to you various propositions which amount to the Defence
12 case in this regard. Some of them I accept you have dealt with, and to
13 the extent to which you want to deal with them in the course of the next
14 few minutes is up to you, but bear in mind that some I've already asked
15 you about.
16 The first proposition, I suggest to you, is that the enclave was
17 not demilitarised at all, and I think you've accepted that?
18 A. I wouldn't agree that I said explicitly that it was not
19 demilitarised. In 1993 weapons were handed over, a part of the weaponry,
20 shall we say, to UNPROFOR. And I can say that probably all the weapons
21 were not handed over because quite a number were private property, so
22 people kept these weapons for themselves. Therefore, weapons were
23 partially surrendered, whereas a part still remained in the hands of the
25 Q. The next point I want to put to you is this: That the Serbs
1 offered some degree of autonomy, in other words a political solution to
2 the inhabitants of the enclave. I think when I asked you that on Friday,
3 you said you knew nothing of any autonomy-type proposal. Is that correct?
4 A. That is correct. I, and through contacts with anyone, or rather
5 any leader who was in Zepa at the time, these things were not presented to
6 us, nor was I at all aware of it. Whether this happened, who conducted
7 any possible talks, is something I do not know.
8 Therefore, I heard this for the first time in the courtroom here
9 on Friday.
10 Q. The next point is that there were attacks from the enclave to Serb
11 targets outside. That I know you accept to some extent. What I want to
12 suggest is that to some extent these attacks were inspired by reason of
13 instructions received from your political and military leadership in
15 A. So you are referring to attacks from 1993 until the fall of Zepa;
16 is that right? From the enclave? Well, you see, these attacks I don't
17 know about the term "inspired," but they were carried out under the direct
18 command of the 2nd Corps from Tuzla. So there's no question about that.
19 In my understanding, and I'm not the only one in Zepa, those
20 attacks, and I'm speaking exclusively about the attacks carried out in
21 mid-June 1995, those attacks were counter-productive. In military terms
22 they didn't change anything, and they could only provide an alibi to the
23 Serb side to attack, shall we say Zepa in this case.
24 In principle, I personally did not agree with these attacks. I
25 was not alone, but these things were done by the military, because as we
1 were told they were within the system of command and we, as civilians, had
2 no influence over them.
3 Q. As you have just, in effect, conceded, by reason of those attacks
4 the VRS launched a counter-offensive against the enclave; correct?
5 A. Whether those things are directly related, I don't know. But it
6 is a fact that immediately after those attacks, among other things, the
7 attack was launched on the Zepa enclave.
8 Q. There then followed a battle where a fire fight over a number of
9 days between the VRS and the Zepa Brigade, both sides having heavy
10 artillery at their disposal.
11 A. I am not a soldier so I don't really know what heavy artillery is,
12 but as far as I am aware we in Zepa did not have such heavy artillery.
13 This was mostly infantry weapons that we had. Maybe a couple of those,
14 what do you call them, anti-armour weapons. But tanks or guns, we
15 certainly didn't have in Zepa.
16 Q. The next proposition I've asked you about already at some length,
17 but let me put it to you shortly. When the negotiations took place,
18 civilians were allowed to remain within the enclave if that is what they
19 wanted to do.
20 A. I think that I clarified this repeatedly, actually what this
21 phrase means, and I will repeat once again.
22 Civilians left Zepa because they were afraid for their lives if
23 they stayed behind. And that is the only reason for their departure. As
24 for the choice of whether they should stay or not, you must admit that in
25 such circumstances it is an issue for each individual. It's not as if one
1 is making a choice to go to this restaurant or another. The situation was
2 quite different.
3 Q. What I do want to suggest to you in this regard is that a decision
4 was made, from either Sarajevo or locally by the War Presidency or perhaps
5 both, that all the civilians were going to be evacuated.
6 A. I don't know about any decision from Sarajevo. As far as I am
7 concerned, it is the document I signed on the 24th of July. And I wish to
8 say the following: The situation was such that you couldn't have any
9 influence over any individual when it came to making that choice, and I
10 claim, with full responsibility, that there was no coercion in the sense
11 of forcing everyone to leave Zepa. Because, from the beginning of the
12 evacuation on the 25th, out of fear of boarding buses and crossing
13 territory and Bosnian Serb control, to use those terms, people were afraid
14 of doing that, even. And the actual fact that on the 25th everything was
15 carried out successfully, and there was information received that there
16 was no mistreatment, that everything was successful, then there was a
17 great deal of pressure on the part of the entire civilian population to
18 leave Zepa as soon as possible.
19 So I wish to point out once again that people were informed about
20 the agreement reached, and it was up to each and every one to decide what
21 they would do. All I know is the emotions and fear people felt, if they
22 were to stay behind, and I think the option of staying behind in people's
23 minds did not exist at all at that period of time in Zepa.
24 Q. The only problem, Witness, with your reliance in that answer on
25 the agreement, is that, as you have already conceded, you knew full well
1 that the agreement was not going to be honoured by the Bosniak side in
2 relation to the laying down of the weapons. Correct?
3 A. Well, yes. I am repeating that for the third time. I said that
4 clearly to General Mladic, that neither did I have the authority, nor
5 could I give such an "order." The subsequent course of events showed that
6 there was an attempt to exchange all for all, referring to able-bodied men
7 from Zepa, but at the moment of signing I knew that I had, first of all,
8 no control over this, and from that moment on until the 26th -- even
9 before that, I apologise, from the 19th until the 26th, there were
10 activities being conducted in Sarajevo with a view to finding a solution
11 to this problem and an attempt was made to reach an agreement from the
12 Serbian side for the able-bodied population from Zepa to be exchanged for
13 captured Serb soldiers and civilians.
14 Q. And would you agree that it was part of your tactic, as a
15 negotiator, between the 19th and the 26th, some would say an
16 understandable tactic to try to buy time, firstly to see how the battle on
17 the ground developed and then secondly to try and help out the armed men
18 as best you could? In short you were buying time, weren't you?
19 A. Partly I agree with your statement, but not with respect to a key
20 point. I repeat that on the 19th, even on the 13th, it was clear to us
21 that Zepa could not prevail, and there was no dispute as to whether Zepa
22 would be abandoned. What was disputable was the way in which this would
23 be done. After these negotiations we were more or less sure that for the
24 civilians there shouldn't be any problem with respect to their
25 evacuation. But this tactic that you are referring to related exclusively
1 to the safety and lives of 1500 people of that age group, as described by
3 And with regard to this group, there were constant talks regarding
4 this problem between the Serb side, UNPROFOR and our side in Sarajevo.
5 This encouraged us to a certain extent when, on the 25th of July the
6 evacuation started without any strings being attached regarding the
7 surrender of the army. So this tactic related literally only to the way
8 in which people could be pulled out of Zepa alive in a safe manner.
9 Q. Very near the end now, Witness. We're agreed, everyone's agreed
10 that the civilians were evacuated. So far as the brigade was concerned,
11 it's right, isn't it, that they ultimately abandoned Zepa, still in
12 possession of their weapons?
13 A. Yes, that is true. I can't talk about the numbers, because all
14 this was happening when I was already in prison, but judging by talk later
15 on, six or seven months later, you hear things from people. But I did get
16 an overall picture as to how this happened. A part of the troops with
17 weapons, that is true, managed to break through Serb territory and reach
18 somewhere around Olovoj and Kladanj, most of them came out there, and a
19 part went to Serbia And were later released or exchanged and allowed to
20 go to third countries.
21 Q. In fact those who made it to Serbia across the Drina were treated
22 as prisoners of war. Did you receive that information?
23 A. I received that information when I was released from prison.
24 People were talking about this. I know more or less from what I heard
25 from others, what happened. They crossed into Serbia, I don't know how
1 many of them, actually most of them, they were put up in two reception
2 centres, and as far as I can remember most of them before I was exchanged,
3 had the opportunity which they accepted, to go to third countries.
4 Q. I think finally this: Would you accept that ultimately the
5 brigade were actually instructed by the BiH leadership not to surrender,
6 and to make good their escape?
7 A. Well, you see, whatever I was to say would be speculating because
8 I wasn't there at the time. Some documents which you may find on an
9 Internet page even refer to some subsequent "instructions" of the military
10 leadership in Sarajevo, the command of the Zepa Brigade. So I wouldn't
11 like to comment on that. Because I know that if you stay behind, and now
12 I'm considering this as a human being, your only goal is to save your live
13 and to go somewhere where you can feel safe. I can imagine how it was for
14 those 1.000 or so men on Zepa mountain. What kind of instructions they
15 received, I really don't know.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Witness. I have no further questions.
17 A. Thank you.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: So, thank you, Mr. Josse.
19 Let's try and review once more the time that have been asked for
20 cross-examination by the other Defence teams. I'll start with you, Madam
21 Fauveau. Do you still require two hours?
22 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour. I think that I'll
23 need approximately one hour -- one hour 15 to one and a half hours.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Fauveau.
25 Mr. Ostojic or Mr. Meek. You had indicated you needed one hour.
1 MR. MEEK: Mr. President, we have no questions of this witness.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So that -- I don't think I need to pass
3 on the others because we are talking of minutes. So I suggest, unless
4 there is an agreement amongst you that someone else will go before Madam
5 Fauveau, I suggest that Madam Fauveau proceeds with her cross-examination.
6 Madam Fauveau.
7 Cross-examination by Ms. Fauveau:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, during your testimony here you told us that
9 you knew that the weapons were delivered to Zepa after the arrival of the
10 UNPROFOR and this by helicopters. Did you know that the weapons were also
11 arriving to Zepa from the land route, from various land routes?
12 A. No, I didn't know about that. I know about the helicopters; every
13 inhabitant in Zepa knew about those. Let me add to that. Who entered
14 Zepa, well UNPROFOR entered Zepa. They were the only ones. Nobody else
15 entered. So then you can draw your own conclusions from that, who it was
16 who could have supplied those weapons.
17 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown Exhibit
18 5D265, please. And I'm terribly sorry, but I do not have the English
19 translation of this exhibit. Could the witness be shown point 3, it's at
20 the bottom of the page. So would you please scroll down.
21 Q. Sir, can you see this paragraph in which we can see the
22 following: "After training in RNC Bjelevac a group of fighters from Zepa
23 is sent on the 18th of October, 1994 in the direction of
24 Kladanj-Petrovici-Cude-Nevacka, and further on towards Zepa. A group at
25 the strength of 10 fighters and two reconnaissance men from OG6 Istok took
1 the following materiel with them and technical equipment."
2 [Previous translation continues] ... to waste more time, I am not
3 going to ask you to tell us what weapons were brought into Zepa. But as
4 you can see here this document dates from 1996, and, in fact, this is a
5 document stemming from the staff, the Main Staff of the Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 army. Can you see this in the left-hand corner of this document?
7 A. I can't see the very beginning of the document. Can we just stay
8 with the document for a moment, at the top of it? Can I see the end of
9 the document now, please? Lower down. I think that points 1 and 2 relate
10 to Srebrenica. If I understand what I'm reading correctly.
11 And as for point 3, that is the radio device via which
12 communication was conducted later on. And that device was brought in
13 physically by people on foot. They brought it in.
14 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown the
15 second page of this document, please.
16 Q. But before you look at page 2, is it true say that helicopters
17 were arriving to Zepa until the end of May, 1995?
18 A. Until the beginning of May, I believe. Not the end of May. And
19 when the last one fell, I think that was the beginning of May.
20 Q. Thank you very much. In fact, I don't need the second page of
21 this document.
22 Do you agree that the UNPROFOR forces that were in Zepa knew that
23 the weapons were brought into Zepa via helicopters?
24 A. Well, it's like this, you see: Those helicopter arrivals were a
25 spectacular event. The helicopters usually flew at night, after midnight,
1 and there was strong firing at them from Serb positions. And that was
2 always -- well, if I can put it this way, a spectacle. So anybody in the
3 vicinity would have had to have seen it, if nothing more. And in my
4 opinion it is quite illogical that after shooting of that kind, and I'm
5 looking at logics here, that somebody from UNPROFOR shouldn't ask
6 themselves and wonder why the shooting was going on in the first place and
7 what was happening.
8 So if you take a logical approach, although I haven't got
9 information to that effect, they should have known, ought to have known.
10 Q. But at any rate, according to you, the UNPROFOR never did anything
11 to stop the elicit arrival of weapons into Zepa, did they?
12 A. I have no knowledge of that, no information about that. So I
13 can't say whether UNPROFOR did anything or not, whether it sent out any
14 reports or not. I really don't know, so I can't say. Nor was I in a
15 position to know.
16 Q. At any rate the UNPROFOR people did not talk to you, as a
17 representative of a local government, in order to do something so that
18 these helicopters stopped from flying and entering the territory?
19 A. Not with me, no.
20 Q. Did you know that in the month of February, 1995, precisely
21 because these helicopters were flying about and because of the behaviour
22 of the UNPROFOR Serbs had requested that Zepa be declared a
23 non-demilitarised zone?
24 A. I really can't remember. Now, if you have any documents or notes
25 about that, it's probably correct. But I personally don't remember that,
1 not looking at it from the passage of time that has elapsed.
2 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown Exhibit
3 5D228, please.
4 Q. Sir, this is a document stemming from the staff of army of BiH to
5 the Zepa Brigade. Can you see that on top of this document?
6 A. Yes, yes, I can see all that. This document, as I say, I'm not
7 familiar with, it says the general staff of the army to the 2nd Corps
8 command. Is it a problem for you to show me the end of the document?
9 Because I assume the conclusions appear at the end.
10 Q. No, there is no problem, but the end of the document is on page 2,
11 and we can see the signature of General Hadzihasanovic. It's not, in
12 fact, his signature, but his name appears on the second page.
13 A. Yes, yes. Well, that's fine. I don't need to see it anymore. I
14 had a look. I can't remember, actually, because the document itself is
15 conceived in such a way that it presents reasons to begin with, and then
16 an order follows. So that's what I wanted to read through, and I assume
17 you're going to ask questions about that next. Is that right?
18 Q. In fact, what I would like to know is your comments regarding the
19 top page or the top part of the document, above the order, if you could
20 please just show that portion.
21 Can you see the portion in which it is said, "The aggresor on the
22 16th of February, 1995 presented the demand of UNPROFOR to proclaim Zepa
23 non-demilitarised zone, explaining this by the following reasons: That
24 helicopter flyovers were recorded by which the ABiH brought in weapons and
25 ammunition, that movements were noticed of the BH Army in the Zepa region,
1 and that the UkrBat members were being accused of covering up activities
2 and intentions on the part of the BH Army and could no longer guarantee
3 safety and security and that in the night between the 15th and the 16th of
4 February, 1995, flyovers were noticed of our helicopters and infantry fire
5 was targeting them. On the basis of the above the aggressor informed the
6 UNPROFOR command, sector Sarajevo, that if Zepa --"
7 A. I can't see that part. Can we zoom down the document, please.
8 That's fine, thank you.
9 Q. "That if Zepa is not proclaimed a demilitarised zone, combat
10 operations -- attack combat operations would begin within a period of
11 seven days. The ultimatum dead-line expires on the 23rd of February,
13 A. May I be allowed to answer now?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. The fact that there --
16 that events were dramatised in February, 1995 or that they were dramatic,
17 I don't remember. I don't remember whether everything ended in
18 communication with Colonel Palic. That's something I am not aware of, I
19 didn't know about that. But I wouldn't agree with the first part, that
20 there were movements, troop movements, BH Army troop movements, I don't
21 agree with that.
22 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
23 Q. In fact, what I would like to know, and what I'm interested in,
24 because you were the president of the Executive Board of Zepa at the time,
25 what I would like you to tell us is, did you know in the month of February
1 of 1995, that an attack would be possible on Zepa?
2 A. In February 1995 I did not know, no.
3 Q. Did you think that the military authorities of the city of Zepa,
4 would they -- should they have informed you of the fact that there was a
5 military threat, there was a threat of a military attack on Zepa?
6 A. The then organisation of the military and political -- and
7 military authorities did not make it incumbent on the military authorities
8 to inform the civilian authorities about their own activities. The only
9 thing that had to do with the life and safety of the citizens, I don't
10 know whether they were regulated on the basis of a document of any kind,
11 but anyway they were placed on our table to discuss and deal with. The
12 civilian authorities and representatives of the military authorities.
13 Q. Isn't it true that, in fact, if such a threat was imminent that
14 you should have taken the necessary measures to protect the population of
15 Zepa. And when I talk about "you" I mean the civilian authorities as well
16 as the military authorities.
17 A. I don't know what we could have done, we being the civilian
18 authorities. In fact, we couldn't have done anything. That was the kind
19 of situation it was, and the relationships that prevailed. Our place
20 within a system. So that according to what I know, nothing more could be
22 Q. Would it not have been normal to inform the civilian population
23 not to gather, not to leave their homes? Would it not have been normal to
24 let them know that there is a threat of an attack?
25 A. Well, it's like this, you see: At that time at that place, even
1 if you wanted to inform people you would have to go from house to house
2 and inform everyone, tell them not to go out, to go outside. That would
3 have been superfluous because the people had experienced war for already a
4 year. The shelling in -- in 1992 and 1993, all that had gone before. And
5 they're villages, after all. It's not an urban area where you have --
6 where life is organised in a different way.
7 And you didn't have the firm distinction between the civilians and
8 the army. The army members were incorporated into the other, because in
9 1995 everybody had some military activities, but they would leave from
10 their own homes. There wouldn't be a barracks or anything like that. So
11 it wasn't such a big distinction.
12 Q. Is it true that the headquarters of the brigade were in the centre
13 of Zepa?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
15 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if we could just have a time-frame to
16 orient the question, that's all, please.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau.
18 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I'm talking about May and June of
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, according to my recollections,
21 I think the answer would be yes for May. They were the offices of Colonel
22 Palic and perhaps some others -- for some other activities. But it wasn't
23 a building with all the amenities, logistics and so on.
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Did you ever ask Avdo Palic to move the headquarters of his
1 brigade from the centre, so that the brigade is not situated in the centre
2 of an inhabited area?
3 A. I don't remember that we ever discussed the matter.
4 Q. Is it true that, in fact, you did not ask him to do so because
5 Zepa was not shelled up until the month of July of 1995?
6 A. Well, it's like this: May 1993, until June 1995, there were
7 hardly any military activities at all. And what you referred to as the
8 brigade headquarters, that was just one or two small rooms in which -- or
9 to which Colonel Palic happened to drop by. And the communications centre
10 later on was in one of those rooms. And there was no need for any
11 discussion of displacement or moving, as you call it, the brigade
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown Exhibit
14 5D249, please.
15 Q. Sir, this is a document of the Zepa Brigade dated the 4th of July,
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And according to this document the Chetniks, and I'm just quoting
19 basically what we can read in this document, that the Chetniks did not
20 have any activities in the last 24 hours, and that there had not been any
21 shelling or any shooting in the area of responsibility of the brigade. Is
22 that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Such a calm situation [overlapping interpretation] respond to the
25 situation as it was at the end of June to mid-July?
1 A. End of July? This document is dated the 4th of July, 1995. So
2 this was two days before the attack on Srebrenica. And this situation
3 does correspond to the situation as I remember it. Because I can even
4 remember an UNHCR convoy arriving in Zepa, possibly on this very day.
5 Q. Sir, just to confirm there must have been an error. I was talking
6 about the beginning of July. So can you -- yes, can you confirm that such
7 a calm situation existed in June and the beginning of July 1995?
8 A. I can just remember the shelling of a village, I think it was
9 Pripecak across the Drina, the Visegrad municipality and I think that this
10 occurred maybe at the same time as the attack on Srebrenica. Now whether
11 it was a bit before that. In any event it was before the beginning
12 the "official" military attacks on Zepa. But in general terms, from May
13 1993 through 1994, and the first half of 1995, the situation was without
14 -- I wouldn't say any activity, but any significant military activities
15 on the part the VRS.
16 Q. You mentioned a humanitarian aid convoy, and I wanted to ask you a
17 few questions about that. During the hearing on the 29th of March, 2007,
18 you said that in 1993 a consensus of the population was organised in order
19 to have a distribution plan for humanitarian aid.
20 Could you tell us whether this plan that you referred to was a
21 written plan? Was it in writing?
22 A. I don't remember nor do I believe it was because we didn't really
23 have any paper. We used what was left behind in the farming cooperative.
24 We used the other side of the paper, there were a couple of typewriters.
25 Whether, in the minutes of a meeting, this may have been recorded to have
1 a census, I really don't remember that.
2 Q. Do you remember how humanitarian aid was distributed?
3 A. Yes. People would come to the centre of Zepa, and a team was
4 working there. We organised things in the following manner: When a
5 convoy arrived we see the quantities of goods that had arrived, and this
6 would be put in warehouses, prepared in advance, and then we would meet
7 and make a plan of distribution of aid arriving in that convoy.
8 So if so much flour had arrived, and there were so many
9 inhabitants, then we would know per capita or per family. If a family has
10 five members, they would receive so much, depending on the amount
11 available. General speaking we didn't make any reserves of food, et
12 cetera, because it was best to distribute it to everyone, because we
13 wouldn't know what to do with these goods if they were left in the
14 warehouses of the Zepa authorities.
15 Q. Is it true that a part of the humanitarian aid was given to the
17 A. On our part, on our side, you mean, on the part of the civilian
19 Q. Yes, sir. On your part, on the part of the civilian authorities,
21 A. Perhaps these things started at the beginning of 1995 for a part
22 to be set aside for the army. As far as I remember, earlier on there was
23 no need for this because every civilian is also a "soldier" so that the
24 distribution was done by families.
25 Q. Why did the local government allow humanitarian aid to be allotted
1 to the army?
2 A. You see, if there were such instances, and I assume there were,
3 I'm trying to refresh my memory, these were small quantities. It may have
4 been a request from the army for aid to be extended in certain
5 activities. But this was something, as far as I remember, that occurred
6 in 1995 and not before.
7 Q. A moment ago we were referring to helicopters bringing weapons to
8 Zepa. Do you know why these helicopters were not used to bring food and
9 clothing to Zepa?
10 A. First of all, a helicopter has a limited carrying capacity, and
11 from the standpoint of food, to use those helicopters for these other
12 purposes would mean negligible quantities. And these were risky flights.
13 And I believe -- I of course didn't take part in decision-making about
14 what and how would be transported, but the delivery of food in this manner
15 and other kind of aid would not "pay off."
16 Q. Did you know that the Zepa Brigade was regularly financed by the
17 authorities in Sarajevo and even by certain humanitarian organisations?
18 A. I do know that on a number of occasions some money was received,
19 or rather the army received this money. As for the amounts, as I said on
20 the first day of my testimony, I don't know. I don't remember. A couple
21 of hundred thousand German marks were mentioned as a quantity. This was
22 in the hands of the headquarters. What was purchased with those funds, I
23 don't remember. I didn't take part in this, and what I do know is from
25 Q. Can we show the Witness document 5D213? Sorry, 216.
1 Sir, this is a financial report regarding the means received and
2 spent by the Zepa Brigade. And this report is dated the 27th of June,
3 1995, and covers a period from January 1994 until June 1995. Do you
4 confirm that?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can we show the witness the bottom
7 of the first page?
8 Q. At the very bottom you can see that the total is 818.800 German
9 marks. Does this sum roughly correspond to the information that you had
10 about the financial resources of the Zepa Brigade?
11 A. I must admit that this is a little more than I assumed. Of course
12 I didn't see a concrete report, nor did I hear about it. But this total
13 sum, to me, appears to be somewhat higher than I had assumed was the
14 amount that was received for the army.
15 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown the last
16 page of this document, page 4.
17 Q. Sir, what I'm interested in is the person whose name you see
18 here. Do you know this person?
19 A. The "calculation compiled by"?
20 Q. Yes, sir.
21 A. I think I do.
22 Q. And this is someone who was working in the Zepa Brigade, wasn't
23 he? He was mobilised to the Zepa Brigade, wasn't he?
24 A. Judging by his rank, yes. But he's just the financial officer.
25 Q. Can we go back to the first page, please? Could we see item 10,
2 Looking at this point 10, regarding the sum received from a
3 humanitarian organisation which is indicated as 30.000 German marks?
4 A. That is what it says, so it means that is true. Now, which is
5 this humanitarian organisation? I really haven't heard of it. I don't
6 know which organisation that is, Bridge on the Zepa.
7 Q. Unfortunately I can't help you with that.
8 Have you heard, particularly during 1995, that humanitarian aid
9 was the object of some misuse? That there was some abuse of it?
10 A. You mean were humanitarian aid? I did not hear of any such
11 thing. I think that generally speaking humanitarian aid in Zepa was
12 distributed in a very fair and transparent manner. Whether anything was
13 done that I was not aware of, it is possible. But this could be only
14 minor occurrences. As for 1995, I don't know. But generally speaking,
15 there was full control and we did everything for all the aid to reach the
16 entire population. And we did ensure that virtually 100 per cent.
17 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown Exhibit
19 Q. Sir, could you look at top left corner. It is said the General
20 Staff of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is dated the 24th of June,
22 A. I can see everything.
23 Q. And this document is addressed to the civilian authorities of
24 Srebrenica, Bratunac and Zepa.
25 A. Yes, yes.
1 Q. Can you remember whether you had occasion to see this document?
2 A. No, I see it for the first time.
3 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown page 2 of
4 this document? And the last paragraph, please.
5 Q. In the middle of this paragraph you find the following
6 sentence: "It is particularly unfavourable that there is no order in the
7 distribution of humanitarian aid. Various forms of crime and
8 black-marketing have developed, among other things, because there is no
9 organised influence of the competent bodies in preventing this."
10 A. You see, regarding problems with respect to the distribution of
11 humanitarian aid, if we can call them problems, in Srebrenica, I have
12 heard about these things as an inhabitant of Zepa in those days. But I
13 can say with full responsibility, because it was under my control, that
14 distribution of humanitarian aid received from the UNHCR and perhaps
15 Medecins sans Frontieres was done in an honest and transparent manner and
16 whatever was intended for the population was received by the population.
17 As this sentence refers to the territory of Srebrenica, I too
18 heard about this. Nothing official from anyone, but what the stories were
19 circulating at the time.
20 Q. Did you hear of situations when members of the army or the police
21 mistreated drivers of the convoys or the people escorting the humanitarian
22 aid convoys?
23 A. You mean in the territory of Zepa?
24 Q. Yes, sir.
25 A. This is something I absolutely have no knowledge of, because in
1 principle full control of the entry and exit in the Zepa enclave was
2 conducted by UNPROFOR. And, as far as I know, our police did not have any
3 check-points or places where they could check the convoys and the escorts
4 of those convoys. Therefore, I don't know of that.
5 Q. You have no knowledge of a check-point at the Brezova Ravan held
6 by the Zepa police?
7 A. Yes, I do know that such a check-point existed, but for a time
8 only. I think it wasn't functioning from the spring of 1993 until 1995.
9 Q. Is it true that it was functioning in March 1995?
10 A. Possibly. I don't remember. Possibly. It's more realistic that
11 it was then than before. That it was functioning then than before that
13 Q. And since we are now talking about this particular check-point, do
14 you now remember that there were some problems that the convoys had with
15 the Zepa police at this check-point?
16 A. I really don't know. I am not claiming anything that I didn't see
17 myself, but if there was any mistreatment of anyone or if anyone was
18 treated incorrectly, members of the humanitarian organisations, this would
19 be counter-productive for the population of Zepa. So the general approach
20 was that we have to be very careful and that no conflicts should be
21 provoked. And if there were any such disturbances or mistreatment, I
22 don't know about it or I don't recollect it, but our general approach was
23 that that act in itself would be counter-productive for the inhabitants of
24 Zepa in the first place.
25 Q. Do you agree that throughout the war Zepa had water-supply?
1 A. Water, yes. Because in the centre of Zepa there is a large
2 natural source and as far as I know the surrounding villages too, where
3 the people of Zepa were housed, did have this water-supply ensured. So
4 water was not a problem in Zepa.
5 Q. Did you know that UNPROFOR was selling fuel to the people of Zepa?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Wasn't this covered by Mr. Josse and the witness,
7 Madam Fauveau?
8 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Partly, yes. But I will move on.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: If you have new questions, different questions on
10 the same issue, of course go ahead, I will not stop you, but if we can
11 avoid repetition, otherwise feel free to go ahead as you wish. Thank you.
12 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] If I may rephrase the question, that
13 would perhaps be simplest.
14 Q. Do you know that the 29th [as interpreted] division that was based
15 in Srebrenica was being provided with fuel from Zepa?
16 A. Possibly --
17 THE INTERPRETER: The 28th division, interpreter's correction.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- did receive fuel from Zepa. I
19 may have heard of this but I really don't remember those things anymore.
20 As for your first question, I did hear that this was done at certain
21 UNPROFOR check-points where fuel was being sold, and the local people were
22 purchasing it. I didn't see it, but that was the story being spread in
23 Zepa throughout that period.
24 Q. Are you aware that an UNPROFOR convoy arrived in Zepa in June
1 A. In June 1995, UNPROFOR? No. The forces were already there.
2 Maybe there was a change of shifts by the Ukrainians. Maybe the question
3 should have been of the UNHCR and not UNPROFOR.
4 Q. No, sir. I'm interested in an UNPROFOR convoy, and I wish to show
5 you document P2497.
6 Sir, this is a document of Republika Srpska army, and of course
7 you cannot have had any knowledge of this document beforehand. Can you
8 confirm that according to the first sentence of this document the movement
9 of the UNPROFOR convoy was approved by the direction in Zagreb via
10 Belgrade, and to the enclaves, and the first enclave is Zepa?
11 A. Yes. My understanding of this document is as follows: Each of
12 the UNPROFOR units had to have logistic supplies. And if I am reading
13 this correctly, one of those convoys carrying logistics is the subject of
14 this document. Because as far as I can remember, every fortnight or so
15 they had to receive fuel, food, et cetera, because this is a group of
16 people whose lives had to be organised.
17 Q. And according to what you can read in this document, this
18 particular convoy was approved?
19 A. Yes. You see all these UNPROFOR convoys, as far as Zepa is
20 concerned, they were never announced beforehand to anyone, no one had any
21 right to stop them, and as far as I know, they entered their protected
22 areas. You might see them passing but you don't know who is passing,
23 where they're going, et cetera. We would just observe this as the regular
24 supplies going to UNPROFOR headquarters, carrying food, fuel, water, et
1 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, would this be an
2 appropriate time for the break?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Fauveau. Yes, we'll have a
4 25-minute break starting from now. Thank you.
5 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 1.00 p.m.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Fauveau.
8 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Q. Witness, on the 29th of March, page 675 -- page 75, we were
10 talking about a census of the population that took place in the month of
11 July of 1993, and you said that in 1993 there were 9.000 inhabitants but
12 that later, only 7.000 inhabitants were left in Zepa. Is it right to say
13 that between 1993 and 1995 a lot of people had left Zepa?
14 A. As far as I remember, well, I can confirm that there was this
15 population migration, and most of the people went in the direction of
17 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown Exhibit
18 5D201, please. It's the witness statement, and this document should not
19 be broadcasted.
20 Q. Witness, this is a statement that you gave to the Prosecutor on
21 the 19th of January, 1998. I would like you to look at page 4, the
22 penultimate paragraph in B/C/S, and it's on page 4, last paragraph in
23 English, please. Take a look at it.
24 Sir, when you made this statement in 1998, or at the beginning of
25 that year, you said the following: "[In English] In 1993 we needed to
1 have a kind of census in Zepa because of the distribution of the
2 humanitarian aid. We established that there were 7.000 people in Zepa."
3 [Interpretation] So what I would like you to tell us is if, in
4 1998, you stated that there were 7.000 people in Zepa in 1993, and during
5 the hearing of the 29th of March of this year you stated that there were
6 9.000 people in Zepa.
7 Is it possible that your memory was, in fact, better in the month
8 of January of 1998 and that when you made the census of the population in
9 1993 there were 7.000 people in Zepa?
10 A. Well, my memory was certainly better in 1998 when I made the
11 statement, and it's just based on my memory that I know that there was
12 somewhat more than 7.000 people. Now, when I said up to 9.000, I think
13 that was accepted as being a definite figure, that there were 9.000, and I
14 know that the figure kept cropping up, this figure of 7.000, from mid-1993
15 right up until the fall of the protected Zepa zone.
16 Q. During the hearing of the 30th of March you talked about attempts
17 of the population to leave Zepa, and in connection with this I would like
18 you to be shown document 5D259. And before the document is put on screen,
19 I would like you to know that this is a document stemming from the War
20 Presidency of Zepa.
21 Sir, so this is a document from the War Presidency of Zepa dated 5
22 May 1995, and it talks about a possibility of an evacuation of the
23 population of Zepa for social reasons. I would like you to take your time
24 and examine this document, and tell me what you think of this document.
25 A. Well, it's like this: More or less everything that it says here
1 is correct in this document to the best of my recollections. 65 per cent
2 were refugees or displaced persons, so that might have been a more exact
3 figure, those who weren't locals. So if you were a refugee, you were not
4 in your own home, and you were living in a problematic area from -- in all
5 respects, then it was a very valid human desire to leave that place and go
6 somewhere where it was safer.
7 Now, I remember the pressure exerted by certain people. Well, his
8 son might live somewhere like Sarajevo, for instance, so regardless of the
9 situation in Sarajevo this person or people wanted to get out and link up
10 with their other family members who were living elsewhere and change their
11 place of residence. Because that wasn't their original place of
13 And as to this last sentence, well, I don't have that information
14 myself. That was written probably without my -- well, not in my presence
15 anyway, so I don't know about this. I'm not aware of this fact. This
16 offer for negotiations about the displacement of people and their moving
17 out, those who wanted to.
18 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness now be shown page
19 2 of this document, please.
20 Q. While we're on page 2 of this document, what you see, this is a
21 request made by the War Presidency of Zepa to the government in which they
22 would like to know if it is possible to negotiate at a local level with
23 Serb officers on -- or officials on social -- on evacuation on a social --
24 on social grounds, and to see if such a thing would be justified by the
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina political government.
1 Now, you already told us that you have no memory of such an offer
2 by Serb officials. Now if you see this additional information, could you
3 tell us if this document refreshes your memory as to such an additional
5 A. I really don't remember, I'm looking at these dates here, but I
6 don't remember any of this, and if what it says here is correct, and I'm
7 not saying it isn't, then it must have ended up with Colonel Avdo Palic.
8 Now, the questions posed by the War Presidency of Zepa under A and
9 B, they're general questions. The rules of the game were such that there
10 were no negotiations at local levels without previous acquiescence of the
11 higher authorities, and this was a rule that held true in all parts of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina for all sides. So that this question, this second
13 question under B, whether this evacuation from Zepa would be justified,
14 is -- well, they wanted to see what this would look like from the
15 positions of the top-most authorities. Whether, at that point in time, to
16 use the term, it might be counter-productive.
17 So let me repeat, I really don't remember any of these offers for
18 negotiations set out along these lines, and I can't remember having taken
19 part in the compiling and creation of this document.
20 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown once
21 again page 1 of this document?
22 Q. Sir, as you can see, this document stems from the War Presidency,
23 but it was sent by the Zepa Brigade. Is that right?
24 A. Well, it's like this, you see: The only way of communicating with
25 anybody was -- well, that includes the civilian authorities in Sarajevo,
1 was via this means of communication, the Zepa Brigade, which meant that
2 every document from mid-1994 onwards, which was sent to Sarajevo, was sent
3 this way. There was no other route, no other way of doing it. And so I
4 assume that the heading is always the same. It says, "The BH Army, the
5 285th Light Infantry Brigade, Zepa" as it says in the top left-hand
7 And then it states the organ compiling the document and who the
8 document is being sent to. So we didn't have our own systems of
9 communication, separate ones. We had to use the only communication system
10 in existence and that was under the control of the BH Army of the Republic
11 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. While we're still on the same topic, the departure of the
13 population of Zepa, I would like you to look at the document D284 [as
14 interpreted]. [In English] 5D284.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Sorry, the document doesn't appear in the system.
16 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] In order to save time, could we
17 maybe ask Mrs. Usher to place the document on the ELMO? I'm terribly
18 sorry, the document has a different number. It's 224. Let's try not to
19 lose any time.
20 Q. Sir, this is a document stemming from the Zepa Brigade, and I
21 would like you to tell us if you know the name of the person at the bottom
22 of this page. Do you know whose signature that is, whose name that is at
23 the bottom of the page?
24 A. Yes, I do know this person. And he was involved in the BH Army,
25 engaged in the BH Army.
1 Q. He was an officer charged of the security of the Zepa Brigade; is
2 that right?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. And according to this document dated 25 May 1995, a certain number
5 of people, including civilians, women and children, left towards a free
6 territory farther than Srebrenica, that is Kladanj and Olovo; is that
8 A. Well, in the document itself it says -- well, the -- it is in the
9 conditional, that's the tense used in the document. That it could, and
10 then it says what should be done. Now, I don't know that in 1995 there
11 were any -- there was any large-scale departure from Zepa towards Kladanj
12 and Olovo. Whether people wanted to, quite obviously they did. That was
13 the wish. And this document seems to confirm that.
14 Q. What I would like to know, what I'm interested in, is paragraph
15 2. According to this paragraph, the necessary measures or the measures
16 that should be taken in order not to allow this departure are enumerated.
17 I would like to know why is it that the Zepa Brigade wanted to
18 stop women and children to leave Zepa --
19 THE INTERPRETER: From leaving Zepa, correction.
20 A. Well, it's like this: The departure of civilians with women and
21 children leaving across the forest, that would be impossible. Perhaps
22 we're thinking along the same lines. But in this way it was only the
23 fittest men with arms that could leave the region who knew the terrain
24 well. And I think that there is a slight contradiction here in the
25 document itself. Because women, children and civilians are mentioned at
1 the top of the document, and then this exit which would mean going on foot
2 for 40 kilometres, passing through two military lines in the process.
3 So the document itself, well I don't know whether it was shown in
4 a previous testimony, but it doesn't represent anything special or
5 separate and I don't think it reflects the actual situation because how
6 could all these people move out? Civilians, women, children, that would
7 have been impossible. It would have been mission impossible to traverse
8 this terrain in that way.
9 Now, why the 285th Eastern Bosnian Light Infantry Brigade didn't
10 want this to take place, I think that refers to members of the BH Army,
11 only them.
12 Q. Were you aware that members of the BiH army had fled to Serbia
13 before the fall of Zepa?
14 A. I didn't have that information, although of course in principle
15 that that had happened, I would have had to know about it but I really
16 didn't know about it and I didn't receive information of that kind, even
17 later on. I never heard this confirmed by anyone, that is to say that
18 before Zepa fell that somebody crossed over to the territory of Serbia,
19 which was actually Yugoslavia at the time.
20 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown Exhibit
21 6D74, please -- 64, please. [In English] 64.
22 Q. This is a document stemming from the 8th Operational Group of
23 Srebrenica dated 25 February 1995, and this document talks about weapons.
24 It's not the topic of my cross-examination at this point, but I would like
25 you to look at the last page of this document, please.
1 Can you see, and I will quote what I read in this document, "[In
2 English] The enemy Chetniks found out about all the helicopter flights and
3 MDS transport from Zepa to Srebrenica, from the deserters who deserted to
4 the Republic of Serbia by telling the enemy everything about all
6 [Interpretation] Do you have any reason to doubt the truthfulness
7 of this document that would have been written by Naser Oric?
8 A. Well, it's like this: Everything I say is speculation, because I
9 really don't have any information about this, of the nature contained
10 in -- on page 2 underneath all the specifications for the weapons, what --
11 the materiel that probably arrived. So this is the first time that I hear
12 of this. And it's something new for me too.
13 Now, whether, with this sentence or these couple of sentences, at
14 that time they wanted to express something else, to say something else, I
15 really can't say. I don't know.
16 Q. During your testimony of the 30th of March, 1995 [sic] you talked
17 about negotiations that you had with Serb officials after the fall of
18 Srebrenica. Is it right that after the first negotiations that took place
19 on the 13th of July, that Serbs offered you to evacuate all of the
21 A. Yes, I have been testifying about that. It was a meeting with
22 General Tolimir. I think I explained that. Do you want me to go back to
24 Q. I would like to ask you a few very specific questions. I would
25 like to perhaps correct something that's written on page [as interpreted]
1 23, I wanted to mention the 30th of March 2007 and not the 30th of March
2 1995. I made a mistake.
3 A. Yes, I noticed that, but I knew what you meant.
4 Q. That Serb offer during this first round of negotiations also
5 included the evacuation of men who were able-bodied, so able-bodied men.
6 Is that right?
7 A. Yes. And I emphasise that. The offer on paper put down on paper,
8 and also expressed orally, was to that effect. They said that everybody
9 could leave the territory of Zepa safely.
10 Q. However, is it right that at the time you did not have the
11 authorisation to negotiate or to sign any agreement?
12 A. Before my departure to attend those negotiations we received
13 permission to go to the negotiations without permission to sign anything,
14 but to attend the talks and to see what it was all about. Because we
15 didn't know what specific demands were being made by the Serbs.
16 Q. Were you aware that the military authorities of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina, and namely General Hadzihasanovic, was against the fact that
18 you go and participate to these negotiations?
19 A. As far as I remember, on that day, the 13th of July, in the
20 morning, and let me repeat, all communication went via the communications
21 centre held by the army. So most of those things we received orally,
22 without any documents. As far as I remember, it was from two different
23 places at our request that two opposing answers arrive. One in favour of
24 us going, and the other, I don't know whether that was the military one,
25 that was against, or whether it was the other way around. Which side was
1 against and which side was in favour, but we decided to go and attend
2 those talks anyway.
3 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown Exhibit
4 5D275, please. Could you please scroll down? I'm interested in the name.
5 Q. Do you recognise this document as being one of the documents that
6 you mentioned long ago -- [overlapping interpretation] we were speaking
7 about just now?
8 A. I see this document for the first time. Could you please roll it
9 down so that I can see the top of the page? But what I have said stands,
10 there was a lot of confusion. Someone said we could go, someone else that
11 we couldn't. I see this is the 13th of July at 10.50. I think that by
12 then we had already left for the -- to attend the negotiations. If the
13 time indicated is correct, as far as I can remember, by then we were
14 already at the negotiations.
15 Q. Do you agree that in this document, which was sent by General
16 Hadzihasanovic, according to paragraph 2, the president of the War
17 Presidency of Zepa should be informed that he should not go to negotiate
18 with the aggressor?
19 A. Yes, that is what is stated very clearly.
20 Q. Did you know that when you had the second negotiations the Zepa
21 Brigade was receiving orders from the headquarters of the BH Army to
22 continue to fight?
23 A. You mean the negotiations on the 19th of July?
24 Q. Yes, sir.
25 A. In view of the overall situation at the time, this is something I
1 am not aware of because everything was chaotic, things were not
2 centralised in one place where you could receive all the information. So
3 that it is something I don't know, that there were any specific orders to
4 continue the struggle. Because by then the situation was such that it
5 required for us locally to deal with the issue. Each of those orders
6 needs to be compared with the situation you found yourself in, and you had
7 to make a decision on that basis, because, after all, the lives of the
8 people in Zepa were in question.
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown 5D270.
10 Q. Sir, this is an order, and we'll come back to the word "order."
11 Anyway, it's a document dated the 19th of July, 1995 addressed by the
12 General Staff of the BH Army to the command of the 2nd Corps, and to the
13 Zepa Brigade.
14 A. I have no comment to make. This is information of the General
15 Staff passed on to the command of the 2nd Corps, or rather the 285th East
16 Bosnian Light Brigade.
17 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown the very
18 bottom of this first page?
19 Q. Is it true that the last word on this page is the word "I order"?
20 A. Yes, that is correct.
21 Q. Can we now go on to page 2 of this document, please?
22 Sir, don't we see at the bottom of the page of this document the
23 name of Rasim Delic, the commander of the BH Army at the time?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And in paragraph 1 of this order is it stated that the defence
1 should be organised and activities continued?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And when you were at the negotiations on the 19th of July, you
4 didn't know that such an order had reached Zepa?
5 A. I didn't know.
6 Q. And did you know that after you signed the agreement with the
7 Serbs the Zepa Brigade sent to President Izetbegovic a letter informing
8 him that it was out of the question that the brigade members, that the
9 soldiers of the brigade would surrender?
10 A. I repeat for the third time, the general position or feeling was
11 that members of the unit may not and will not surrender. I'm saying this
12 perhaps for the fourth time.
13 In principle I was aware of this position, because people feared
14 for their lives.
15 Q. You said during the hearing of the 30th of March, pages 31 and 32
16 of the transcript, that when you saw General Mladic on the 28th of July,
17 that on that day General Mladic did not greet you, and you interpreted
18 this as being due to the fact that you were a prisoner. Is that what you
19 told us?
20 A. Yes, more or less that is right. On the 27th we were sitting
21 normally, and in the evening of the 27th, when I was informed that my
22 status was that of a prisoner of war, and I went to Borak and was brought
23 back, I was sitting with Amir Imamovic at Boksanica or near there, General
24 Mladic passed by without any greetings. That is what I said, yes.
25 Q. Would you agree that on the 28th of July, 1995, it was quite clear
1 that the agreement that you had signed would not be respected by the
2 Bosniak side?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I think this has been asked several times in
4 different shapes and manners. Let's go to the next question.
5 Incidentally, since this is obvious that we will not be finishing
6 with the testimony of this witness today, the other Defence teams, Popovic
7 Defence team, do you have any questions?
8 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Yes, we have a few questions.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: And the Nikolic.
10 MR. BOURGON: We will have no questions for this witness,
11 Mr. President.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Borovcanin.
13 MR. LAZAREVIC: Nor do we.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: And the Pandurevic.
15 MR. SARAPA: Only a few questions.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. But it's obvious that we won't finish
18 And will you have a re-examination as well?
19 MR. THAYER: I will, Your Honour. And I will engage in some
20 discussions with my friends to see whether I can minimise that with the
21 schedule, perhaps.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: So if could I kindly ask you to wind it up for
23 today, and you will continue tomorrow, Madam Fauveau, because we'll need a
24 few minutes to hand down an order relating to the intercepts that you have
25 all been waiting for. Whenever it's convenient for you. I need about
1 three, four minutes.
2 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. President, we can stop now. And
3 tomorrow I will need between 5 and 10 minutes, certainly not more than
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam.
6 One thing is I hope that, after this witness, you've only got one,
7 and that's 135? Because I wouldn't like the subsequent witness to start
8 and then go home for the Easter period and then come back. I wouldn't
9 like that.
10 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, it's a bit late, the witness
11 unfortunately, we had to make a call sometime last week to bring the
12 following witness after the next witness in. I think Mr. President,
13 you're correct, I don't think we are going to reach him, so unfortunately,
14 we'll just have to send him back, but that's the reality we live with with
15 our schedule, unfortunately.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. On the issue of the intercepts, and --
17 yeah, the witness can be escorted out.
18 Witness, we will meet you again tomorrow. And hopefully we will
19 be able to finish with your testimony in about 30 minutes, and then you
20 are free to go home.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: So on the issue of the intercepts and following the
23 debate that took place a few days ago, we have decided to proceed as
25 [The witness withdrew]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: First, the Defence have proposed to put forward an
2 expert witness at this time, in other words, in the course of the case for
3 the Prosecution in order that the evidence can be considered by the Trial
4 Chamber in reaching its decision on whether the intercepts will be
5 admitted or not. The Prosecution has not agreed to this, however we are
6 of the opinion that in the interest of justice the Trial Chamber should
7 have the evidence before it prior to any decision on admissibility.
8 Therefore, pursuant to Rule 85(A) and in accordance with the
9 request of the Defence, the expert report should be disclosed under Rule
10 94 bis by the 23rd of April. The Prosecution then will have the 30-day
11 period to respond in accordance with the rule, and following that time
12 period, if necessary, arrangements should be made for the recalling of the
13 witness as soon -- for the calling, not recalling, for the calling of the
14 witness, as soon as feasible in terms of the court schedule. Roughly we
15 have in mind on or around May 23rd, as you had suggested, Mr. Bourgon.
16 We do not propose at this time to speculate on any possible
17 applications that the Prosecution might wish to make or may make in
18 response to such evidence. We will address any such issues if and when
19 they are raised.
20 Now, in regard, or in terms of the filing of submissions, we
21 believe that it is not necessary to alter the schedule of submissions
22 significantly. Therefore, the Prosecution will proceed with its
23 submissions as set out in the original order of 7th March, which the
24 four-week extension that was requested by the Prosecution on the 22nd of
25 March. As you will recall, an extension was granted orally on the 27th of
1 March, until the 29th of April. The Prosecution submission at this stage
2 obviously would not address the proposed evidence of the expert witness,
3 who would not have testified by then.
4 The Defence will then have 14 days from the conclusion of the
5 testimony of the Defence expert to file their full submission, including
6 any related to the expert evidence.
7 And finally, the Prosecution will then have 21 days to file a
8 reply, including any submissions it wishes to make regarding the expert
10 I hope this is clear and that it accommodates your respective
11 requirements. We stand adjourn -- yes, Mr. McCloskey.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Just if we could get an estimate from the Defence
13 how long they think this expert will be testifying, because we have people
14 coming in from gaols around the world that month.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I think, Mr. Bourgon, I trust you will
16 communicate with Mr. McCloskey on this, you don't need to make a
17 pronouncement in Chambers. Okay. Thank you.
18 We stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank you so
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 3rd day of April,
22 2007, at 9.00 a.m.